April Favourites

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April Favourites 2017

This month, I've been loving nourishing hair and nail care, clarifying skincare, a beautiful scented candle and a cute cross body bag from Topshop. Wanna see? Well, keep reading!
   
1.  Dove Dry Oil hair care range - Shampoo, Conditioner and Treatment Oil

April Favourites 2017 - Dove Dry Oil Hair Care Range - Shampoo, Conditioner and Treatment Oil

As far as I'm concerned, this range can hold its own against any high end shampoos and conditioners out there. Beautifully nourishing, it's exactly what my dry, damaged hair needs - regular readers will know all about the overly bleached areas I'm currently growing out! My hair is also quite fine, so while the temptation is to slather it with moisturising products, I also have to be careful not to weigh it down too much. This range is perfect for keeping that balance. My hair feels soft after washing and conditioning, while the treatment oil adds shine. My one gripe is that the intensive hair mask that used to be part of the range seems to have disappeared from the drugstore shelves. Please Dove, bring it back!


April Favourites 2017 - Origins Clear Improvement Active Charcoal Mask

I've had this mask for ages, but I've discovered a new appreciation for it this month. Why? Because I started to get lazy about using it, and noticed a deterioration in my skin as a result. I can get breakouts on my chin and forehead if I'm not rigorous with my skincare routine, and I know now that using this twice a week really helps to keep those pesky spots at bay. Needless to say I'm going to make more of an effort to keep using it from now on!


April Favourites 2017 - Sally Hansen Vitamin E Nail and Cuticle Oil

If I've been lazy with skincare lately, one area where I've been making more effort is nail care. This moisturising oil really makes a difference to my nails and cuticles, and helps to keep them looking neater and more polished. I massage it into my fingertips whenever I give myself a manicure, and also a few evenings a week before bed.


April Favourites 2017 - Mini Moderns Darjeeling Scented Candle

OK, I'll admit, I haven't had this candle all month. In fact, I only received it about a week ago. But I knew as soon as I laid eyes on it that I was going to love it. First of all, just look at how pretty the jar is! When the candle's finished, it will make a lovely makeup brush holder. And then, of course, there's the candle itself. The fragrance - tea, fresh green fig and spicy white pepper - is delicate and absolutely beautiful. Both relaxing and luxurious, it has a hint of the exotic, whisking you away to a far away land as you close your eyes and breathe it in. I do love a scented candle and this is a really, really good one.


April Favourites 2017 - Topshop Cross Body Bag

An absolute bargain at £19.00, I've been taking this cute little bag everywhere with me this month. It goes with everything, fits all your essentials without too many problems and totally looks designer. There is also a light pink version with silver hardware, which I probably need. Rude not to at these kind of prices, no?!

What have you been loving this month?

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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The Almost Perfect Dress

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OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 1

There is so much I love about this dress. The feminine, floral print, the floaty chiffon fabric, the high neck with the subtle ruffle. And I think we all know by now that I can't resist a bit of statement sleeve action. In fact, this is pretty much my dream dress, apart from one thing.

It's too bloody short.

OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 2

Now, I don't necessarily have a problem getting my legs out. But when you're clumsy like me, it's a bit of a pain trying to be extra careful not to drop anything. Because, naturally, if you drop something, you're going to have to bend down to pick it up, and you absolutely cannot bend down in this dress. Not unless you want to expose your entire butt to innocent passers-by, that is.

And I'm only 5'3! Goodness knows how it would work on anybody taller.

OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 3  OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 4

Luckily, the high neck and dark background mean that you can team this little number with tights and boots as well as bare legs and sandals, which is a lot safer for all concerned. And, given that the weather here has been distinctly un-spring like of late (apparently snow is forecast for later in the week!) I have been able to get some wear out of it. Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say.

OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 5

OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 6

One thing that really is perfect is this sweet little beaded bracelet that I was very kindly sent by Lola Rose. It's the Greenwich bracelet in pearl quartzite and rose gold, and it compliments the dress beautifully. The quality of this bracelet has really impressed me. It's very delicate, and the beads have a lovely lustre to them. Best of all, it's adjustable, so those with tiny wrists like me don't need to worry about whether it will fit. There's hundreds of variations on this bracelet, so I'd definitely recommend browsing the Lola Rose website if you like the look of this one.

OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 7

OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 8

Dress, Sandals (similar), Bag (similar)  - Topshop, Bracelet* - Lola Rose 

OOTD featuring a floral dress from Topshop and beaded bracelet from Lola Rose - 9

Have you ever owned an almost perfect dress?

Kate x


*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Blush Pink - The Remix

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Blush Pink OOTD featuring Zara culottes - 1

It seems we have a new obsession on our hands. After extolling the virtues of blush pink in this post, here I am bringing it back again, but this time in an entirely new way. At least, new for me.

Wide legged trousers are one of those things I've always admired on other people but never felt suited me. After all, generally speaking, petite frames and vast expanses of fabric just don't mix. However, I don't like to be defeated when it comes to fashion, and if I love something, I'll try it on, even if I'm 99% sure it won't work on me. That's what happened when I saw these Zara culottes. I had to give them a chance, because, hello, they're blush pink.

Blush Pink OOTD featuring Zara culottes - 2

Beautiful colour aside, I absolutely love the cut and fit of these. The poser in me can't help but wish they had pockets, but at the same time I can see how that might compromise the sleek silhouette they create. I know a lot of people dress culottes down, and I think they can look fabulous worn like that, but for me the heels are necessary as I'm so little, so I'll probably be reserving these for formal occasions when I want an alternative to a dress.

Blush Pink OOTD featuring Zara culottes - 3

Blush Pink OOTD featuring Zara culottes - 4

I've paired the culottes with this pretty white blouse from (you've guessed it!) Shein. This is actually a body and very comfortable to wear. I love the neck detail and the fact that it's semi-sheer - so feminine and delicate. It also works beautifully with jeans, loafers and a blazer.

Blush Pink OOTD featuring Zara culottes - 5

Blush Pink OOTD featuring Zara culottes - 6

Culottes - Zara, Blouse*- Shein, Shoes (similar) - Aldo, Bag (similar) - Accessorize 

I felt quite elegant in this outfit, particularly in this beautiful setting! It was nice to have a change from my brick wall and work with a photographer again. (And when I say photographer, I mean husband. Obviously.) The photos were taken at Easton Walled Gardens and you can read more about the place and our visit to the area here if you haven't already.

Any culottes in your wardrobe? If so, how do you style them?

Kate x
*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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The Gatehouse Lodge, Easton

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It's been such a long time since there was a travel post on the blog. Are you ready for a new adventure?!


Long time readers might remember that I occasionally write for a travel website. Recently, they sent me off to review The Gatehouse Lodge in Easton, Lincolnshire. The sun was shining, and as my husband and I drove up to the entrance, first impressions weren't too shabby!



This impressive building was once the gatehouse to Easton Hall, a stately home which sadly fell into disrepair after the second world war and had to be demolished. Owned by the same family - the Cholmeleys - for hundreds of years, the current generation are doing everything they can to make what remains of the estate thrive again, including renting out this cute little corner of the gatehouse as a holiday cottage.

Small as it might be, it was beautiful inside. The kitchen was cosy...



...And the living room was elegant. We only stayed for two nights and went out in the evenings, so we didn't really have the opportunity to curl up on the armchairs and light the wood burner. However, if we'd been staying for longer and cooking meals in the cottage I'm sure we would have done. I can imagine this would be lovely in the winter too.




With the weather being so lovely, our favourite part of the cottage was the sunny little terrace outside. The perfect place to enjoy a cup of tea and a piece of homemade chocolate cake - very thoughtfully provided to us by the owners!


Do you see the gate behind me? That was our own private entrance into the Easton Walled Gardens. Like the gatehouse itself, the gardens are part of the old estate and have been lovingly restored. As you wander through them, you can see a few old structural remains of the Hall that once stood here. It's a very beautiful place, and we loved the fact that we were able to enjoy it even when there was no one else there. It's open to the public four days a week, but it was closed while we were there. Having it all ourselves felt very special.





Of course I couldn't miss the opportunity to take some outfit photos in this stunning setting. They'll be up on the blog soon! 

Easton is located quite close to the town of Stamford. This is a lovely place and well worth visiting, with quaint little streets full of unspoilt Georgian architecture and lots of independent cafes dotted about.








If you do ever find yourself in Stamford, make sure you pop into The George Hotel. Whether you have lunch, afternoon tea or just a quick drink and good nose around the gorgeous decor, it's well worth it!


 

I didn't document much of the food we had over the weekend, but the main courses at Piccola Venezia, an Italian restaurant in Grantham (another town close to Easton), definitely deserve a photo on the blog. Mike had a steak with rocket, Parmesan and rosemary roast potatoes, and I had a baked pasta dish with a four cheese sauce, pancetta and spinach. My mouth is watering as I think about it again!


It was a flying visit to Easton and we packed a fair amount of exploring into that time. Back at the Gatehouse Lodge, I was grateful for the luxurious bathroom and cosy bedroom to curl up in after a long but enjoyable day.




I would definitely visit this place again! Have you been on any trips lately?

Kate x
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Last Minute Easter Gift Ideas (And Not A Chocolate Egg In Sight)

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I can't quite believe I'm writing this, but it's Easter this coming weekend! Does anyone else feel like it's crept up out of nowhere?! Mike and I have spent quite a lot of time with family lately so it looks like it's going to be a quiet one for us this year, but usually it's a time where we enjoy a big get together, a home cooked roast lamb, and of course, plenty of chocolate eggs.

Chocolate is the usual gift to give at this time of year, and speaking for myself, I'm happy to receive any that is offered! But that's not always the case for everyone. I've often been asked to give anything but chocolate as an Easter gift, perhaps when someone's on a diet, or maybe has kids who are already set to receive about 50,000 tonnes of the stuff from other well meaning relatives. So, just in case you've found yourself in the same boat this year, here are a few last minute Easter Gift ideas that won't involve a massive sugar rush!

Last Minute Alternative Easter Gift Ideas

1. You can't go wrong with flowers, and if you're not into giving extravagant presents at Easter, they would make a great affordable alternative to the usual sweet treats. This beautiful bouquet from Marks and Spencer just screams spring, and would be perfect for brightening up the house for any holiday visitors. Plus, they come in this pretty jug, which you get to keep and re-use afterwards.

2. My fellow bloggers would probably agree that beauty products always make a great gift! When making a present of skincare, I like to go for something a little bit luxurious, so this Rejuvenating Frankincense range from  Neal's Yard Remedies would fit the bill very nicely. I've tried skincare with frankincense as a main ingredient before, and absolutely loved its rich, slightly spicy fragrance and calming properties. The whole range from Neal's Yard looks lovely, but the refining cleanser is an award winning product, so probably as good a place as any to start.

3. OK, I know I said no chocolate, but there's so much more to this sumptuous collection from Regency Hampers and the chocolate only forms a very small part of the overall gift. My husband and I often like to bring something like this when we stay with family over the holidays. It's a way of giving to everyone in one easy package, as there will be something to cater to all tastes inside and the hosts are always grateful for extra supplies!

4. This really does look like a chocolate egg in gold foil wrapping, doesn't it? Well, don't be fooled! it's a Golden Egg bath bomb melt, from Lush's Easter Range. Lush always have the loveliest seasonal products. The Golden Egg contains sweet wild orange oil, uplifting bergamot, and cocoa butter to moisturise the skin, but there's a whole host of other egg shaped bath bombs to choose from, as well as reusable bubble bars that look like brightly coloured carrots. So much fun!

5. Speaking of fun, this Bunny Jump game from John Lewis looks like a great way to keep any little ones entertained over the long weekend! You have to pick the carrots from the field without disturbing the bunny, but if he is disturbed, you have to be ready to catch him when he jumps up. In fact, forget little ones. I want to play this!

6. My last alternative gift is a little on the extravagant side, but it really is lovely! Who needs a chocolate bunny when you could upgrade your charm bracelet instead with this cute little bunny charm from Links of London? He's made of 18kt gold vermeil and his tail is decorated with diamond pave detailing. Too cute.

Will you be buying any alternative Easter gifts this year? And what are your plans for the holiday?

Kate x

This post was in collaboration with Neal's Yard Remedies. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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Blush Pink

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OOTD featuring a ruffled Shein blouse in blush pink - 1

Apparently, blush pink is one of the colours of the season for SS17, and I for one couldn't be happier. Feminine without being overly girly, sophisticated, flattering and such a joy to wear, it's probably one of my favourite colours of all time.

OOTD featuring a ruffled Shein blouse in blush pink - 2

Blouse* - Shein, Jeans (similar) - River Island, Bag (similar), Shoes (similar) - Zara

It's put to glorious effect in this ruffled Shein blouse - as much as I love a flouncy sleeve, it was the colour more than anything else that drew me to this piece. And just in case you're thinking that my fashion posts this year have been very Shein heavy so far, you'd be right. The reason for that is very simple - they keep sending me stuff faster than I can post about it! Not that I'm complaining.

OOTD featuring a ruffled Shein blouse in blush pink - 3

The ruffles going on here are just a hair's breadth away from too much, but worn with very simple jeans and flats, I think they work. The jeans are the same River Island ones I wore in this post. I'm kind of obsessed with them - I love the artfully placed rips and raw hems - but I'm not crazy about the fact that they lose their shape so quickly. Wear them once and they're all saggy around the knees and need to be washed. Has anyone else found this with River Island jeans? Perhaps I just have an unlucky pair!

OOTD featuring a ruffled Shein blouse in blush pink - 4

Finally, I've accessorized with some old lace up flats and an even older Zara bag that I just don't seem to get tired of. I can see myself wearing this outfit a lot throughout the spring for casual days out.

OOTD featuring a ruffled Shein blouse in blush pink - 5

Time to start a hard-hitting discussion in the comments - what are your thoughts on blush pink?!

Kate x

*Gifted item. All opinions, as always, are my own.
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