Currently Loving: Autumnal Florals

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It's no secret that I love a floral print - long term readers of this blog will no doubt have seen me wearing them time and again over the years. Often seen as more of a spring or summer thing, I have always been more than happy to wear florals all year round, so I'm thrilled that this autumn/winter season, autumnal florals are officially a Trend.

I've seen a lot of my favourite youtubers and bloggers talking about the craze for Dark Florals that's taking this season by storm, and I have been quite literally drooling at all the stunning prints that fall into that category that are currently gracing the high street. There are, however, plenty of "Light Florals" with a decidedly autumnal vibe too - including this fabulous H&M dress which I've been loving as a transitional piece this past few weeks.

Autumn Winter 19/20 Trends: Dark Florals

Autumn Winter 19/20 Trends: Autumnal Florals

A ridiculously affordable £17.99, I can safely say that I have already had my money's worth from this dress and no doubt will get plenty more when I take it away on holiday with me next month. It's an elegant, flattering cut, super easy to wear and I honestly can't get enough of the print. It reminds me of a 1970s wallpaper, in the best possible way. The fabric is light as a feather, meaning that I've been able to enjoy it during the warmer weather with a pair of sandals and a straw bag, but thanks to the lovely autumnal print, it's going to work just as well layered up with jackets, tights and boots too.

Just as well, as I don't want to stop wearing it any time soon!

H&M Autumnal Floral Dress - How To Style

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Are you a fan of autumnal florals? Is this a trend you'll be wearing this season?

Kate x
ELM RD. - The New Artisanal Home Fragrance Brand You're Going To Love (AD)

This post is in collaboration with ELM RD. All opinions, as always, are my own.

There's just something about home fragrance that feels so good. On the one hand, it's such a simple little luxury - treating yourself to a scented candle or room diffuser can be so easy and affordable to do. Yet it's also so much more than that. Scent has an incredible power to make us feel uplifted, chilled out or just plain indulged. It can remind us of our favourite people or special times in our lives, transport us to magical faraway places... a scented candle might be a small, attainable thing, but for those of us who love scent, its ability to work wonders on our feeling of wellbeing shouldn't be underestimated.

I am definitely one such person, and my home is never without scented candles or diffusers. Whether it's something fresh and floral in the hallway to welcome visitors, dreamy sandalwood in the lounge to evoke a feeling of relaxation or lavender by the bath to help me wind down before bed, I can't seem to get enough of home fragrance.

Vegan home fragrance brand

So, of course, I was beyond excited when I heard about ELM RD., a new home fragrance brand that launched late last year in the UK.

Born of a need to take time out from the daily grind and reconnect with nature and personal wellbeing, the memories and positive feelings evoked by scent are at the heart of the ELM RD. brand. Each product is handmade with love and care from 100% plant-based ingredients, meaning that they are all natural and vegan-friendly. Candles are made from a combination of rapeseed, soy wax and a blend of pure essential oils, with wooden wicks, to ensure a clean and long lasting burn. Diffuser oils are made from paraben-free botanical fragrances, a blend of essential oils and a vegan and eco-friendly diffuser base. Ingredients are cruelty free and sourced locally wherever possible, while the packaging is minimal and recyclable. 

British home fragrance brand

Each range is based on a particular combination of scents, designed to stir memories or conjure up images of a specific time or place. From the delicate sounding Petals, inspired by the gardens of Versailles in the time of Marie Antoinette, to Chalet, a blend of atlas cedar, smokiness and spice reminiscent of an alpine retreat, it was almost impossible to choose a fragrance to try. They all sounded so wonderful! Each range offers two sizes of candle, a set of tea lights and a room diffuser, with the latter being the most expensive product at £38, which in my opinion is a good price for a high quality home fragrance product. 

For those who really can't decide, ELM RD. even offers a bespoke service, where they will conjure up a selection of fragrances to capture the particular feelings the customer would love to have represented by scent. I can imagine how lovely that would be for a truly special occasion, like a wedding, for instance. In the end, I opted to try out a room diffuser in Amira and a scented candle in Secret.


Natural home fragrance brand

The Amira room diffuser is packaged in a sleek and minimal matte black bottle with black reeds, and looks very stylish on the mantelpiece in my living room. The fragrance is exotic and delicious with a hint of warmth - notes of mandarin mingling with frankincense, oud and geranium, inspired by palatial Middle Eastern architecture, desert landscapes and the Arabian Nights. 

I have a large living room, yet this small bottle fills it with scent beautifully, without being in the least overpowering. When I head in there to relax in the evenings, it washes over me as soon as I open the door, improving my mood instantly. I'm absolutely loving it and will feel quite bereft when it's finished. Even my husband has noticed how nice the room smells!


Hand crafted home fragrances from ELM RD.

I went for a candle in the fragrance Secret because it's slightly different to the scents I usually go for. Containing tobacco, tonka and bergamot, it's designed to evoke the atmosphere of smoky Manhattan jazz clubs - a captivating mix of cocktails, leather seating and expensive cologne. It's a really addictive fragrance and a lovely choice for the cooler months as there is such a warmth and cosiness about it. I might not have gravitated towards this type of scent much in the past, but I have a feeling that's going to change now! Just like the Amira room diffuser, the candle is housed in sleek black packaging and has an impressive ability to fill the room with scent.

ELM RD. has seriously impressed me. There are a lot of home fragrance brands out there, but the quality of this one for the price is truly fantastic. The fragrances are sophisticated and utterly irresistible, while the all natural ingredients and commitment to sustainability will, I hope, encourage modern and environmentally aware shoppers to add this brand to their must try list. Any lover of home fragrance will not be disappointed! You can browse their collection here.

Do you have any scented candles or room diffusers in use right now? If so, I'd love to know what your favourite fragrance is.

Kate x
The Trousers You Need In Your Workwear Wardrobe

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The days when I travelled to an office every day for work are a distant memory now, my place of business having been home-based for a number of years. However, I can well remember the eternal struggle of maintaining a decent workwear wardrobe.

The office I worked in wasn't a power suit and stilettos kind of place, but looking smart and put together was important. I also needed to concentrate on documents while sat at my computer for long periods of time, and as we all know, that's difficult to do if you're not comfortable. I was constantly on the lookout for pieces that would tick both boxes, and I also wanted them to be affordable. After all, no one wants to spend their entire pay check on clothes to wear to the office!

How to style paper bag trousers for work

If I was still in that job, I can say without a doubt that I would be racing to buy up these H&M paper bag trousers in every colour available (they come in black and beige as well as this checked version).  As office wear goes, in my opinion, these are about as perfect as it gets. With a tie belt to cinch in and accentuate the decorative, pleated high waist detail, and a tapered to the ankle cut, they are a really nice looking piece. Effortlessly chic when paired with a fitted turtle neck and loafers, you could easily up the smart factor by styling them with a crisp white shirt and a pair of kitten heels for an important meeting.

Are they comfortable? 100% yes. The soft fabric and loose fitting style means you can sit down at your desk and focus without being constantly distracted by restrictive clothing. You might as well be wearing pyjamas.

And finally, the price. At an incredibly reasonable £19.99, the question is, can you afford not to buy them?!

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What's your typical office attire?

Kate x
H&M Try On Haul (Pre Autumn)

Just as I start to give up on summer it seems there might be a new spell of clement weather around the corner! Even so, the shops are starting to gear up for the new season, and I thought a little mooch around H&M might be in order. I picked up a few interesting and super affordable pieces to style up and show you, all with the transition of summer into autumn in mind. Hope you enjoy the haul (you can watch here on YouTube if you prefer) and do let me know if you're starting to think about new season clothes yet!

What was your favourite look?

Kate x
Meet Your New Transitional Hero Piece: The Linen Blazer

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My love for blazers goes back years. I'm the type of person who feels the cold easily, so cover ups of every kind have always found a loving home in my wardrobe, but blazers are a particular favourite, mostly due to their magical ability to transform the most basic of outfits into something polished and put together.

When I saw this slimline linen number from Zara, I instantly knew it was going to be the perfect transitional piece. At £69.99 it was something of a splurge, but well worth every penny. For one thing, it's beautiful quality, with a silky lining and a very flattering cut, relaxed and yet tailored at the same time. The linen fabric is light enough to feel appropriate for the end of the summer, but substantial enough to provide some protection on chillier evenings. As for the neutral beige colour, it fits perfectly into my wardrobe.

I can see myself taking this away with me on a late summer holiday, to pull on over gauzy dresses when the sun has gone down and the air gets a little cooler. It also works perfectly at home as day to day wear, taking my habitual uniform of jeans and t-shirts from scruffy to stylish in one simple step.

Outfit with linen blazer from Zara

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Are blazers a staple in your wardrobe?

Kate x
Ark Skincare: The Brand Promoting Beautiful Skin At Any Age

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Way back in 2014, when my blog was just a few months old, I was invited to my very first blogging event. Part of London fashion week, with complimentary manicures, superfood smoothies and canapés, the whole thing felt very exciting. I was lucky enough to meet a friendly group of fellow bloggers there too, which made the evening even more special, and I still look back on that event as one of the best I have been to since I started this whole online adventure of mine.

Why this little trip down memory lane, I hear you ask? Well, one of the organisers of that event was a brand called Ark Skincare. I can remember taking home a goodie bag with some of their products to try, and I can also remember how much I enjoyed those products. Beauty blogging being what it is, countless other brands have graced my bathroom cabinet since then, and I never did get around to trying anything else from Ark, even though I fully intended to at the time. So when they got in touch  a few weeks ago to offer me new products to try, I didn't hesitate. I couldn't wait to see if I still liked the brand as much as I did the first time around.

Ark Skincare: The Brand Promoting Beautiful Skin At Any Age, Vegan And Cruelty Free

Vegan friendly and cruelty free, one of the most interesting things about Ark Skincare is that they base their different ranges on age rather than skin type. Age Protect is designed for those in their teens and twenties, Age Defend for the thirties and forties and Age Defy for the over fifties. Each range offers cleansers and moisturisers with the optimum combination of vitamins, minerals, lipids and anti-oxidants for your age group, providing you with a solid base from which to build your skincare routine.

Once you have the core products most suited to your age, you can then add to them to create your own bespoke regime. Individual skin concerns, such as pigmentation and dull skin, blemishes and excess oil, sensitivity and redness, etc can be addressed by shopping Ark's Skin Perfecters range, while Skin Essentials like Pre-Cleanse and Makeup Remover, Reverse Gravity Eye Cream and Hydrating Beauty Mist provide all the finishing touches you could want.

Ark Skincare sent me the Pre-Cleanse and Makeup Remover from their Skin Essentials range, as well as the Conditioning Cleanser and Replenishing Moisturiser from their Age Defend line designed for my age group.

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Ark Skincare Skin Essentials Pre-Cleanse And Makeup Remover

I've really been enjoying using this as a change from my usual micellar water, and have been finding it just as effective at removing makeup. Formulated from a multi-fruit lipid blend with Omegas 3, 6 and 9 and containing Grape Seed, Avocado and Kiwi Oil, the product nourishes while dissolving grime and feels like a very light oil on the skin. I've mentioned before that my skin doesn't always appreciate oil based cleansing on a long term basis, so I've not been using this every day of the week. As a result, my complexion is reaping the nourishing benefits of this gentle cleanser without my oily t-zone having the chance to become irritated. In addition to the main ingredients, Margosa Leaf Extract helps to curb the spread of bacteria while Zi Cao (an Ayurvedic herb) soothes sensitivity.

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Ark Skincare Age Defend Conditioning Cleanser

Ark Skincare Age Defend Conditioning Cleanser

This is probably my favourite of the three products as it's such a pleasure to use. The gel-type consistency that my skin always seems to favour, it also has the loveliest light and natural fragrance to it. The ingredients include Moringa Oil, rich in Vitamins A and C, as well as Kiwi and Passionfruit Lipids which provide moisture boosting Omega 3 fatty acids. Powerful antioxidant Blue Lotus assists with skin firmness and elasticity, while the combination as a whole helps to calm redness and soothe sensitive skin. I've been using this morning and night for a while now, and it always leaves my skin feeling clean but not stripped, and beautifully balanced.

Replenishing Moisturiser (AD)

Ark Skincare Age Defend Replenishing Moisturiser

Ark Skincare Age Defend Replenishing Moisturiser

Top marks to Ark for the use of the airless jar packaging! I always like it when brands use these for cream based products as it gives me more confidence that the product will remain fresh until I've finished using it. Just like the cleanser, I've been using the Replenishing Moisturiser twice a day and my skin has been loving it. It's creamy enough to make my complexion feel like it's getting the hydration it needs, yet light enough to absorb easily and let me press on with makeup application. It contains Co-enzyme Q10 as well as Shea Butter and Olive Oil to provide plenty of moisture, and wrinkle plumping peptides including Matrixyl to help soften the appearance of fine lines. It's a fantastic moisturiser for anyone in their thirties or forties to have in their collection as a daily staple. My skin feels soft and looks smooth, and I love that I can just reach for this on a regular basis and know that it's working for my skin without having to think too much about it.

So, five years and hundreds of brands later, do I still rate Ark Skincare as much as I did before? No... I rate it more! I love the concept of age-based skincare, especially as you can still address additional skincare issues within the scope of their product range. The products themselves have been working very well for me and just as before, I'm keen to try more. I just have to make sure I actually get around to it this time!

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Have you tried Ark Skincare? What are your thoughts on skincare designed for specific age ranges?

Kate x
Peasant blouse from H&M

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I'd like to introduce you to my latest obsession - the peasant blouse. A piece of clothing with which you can make a real style statement, yet appear totally relaxed at the same time. I ask you, what's not to love about that?! Tuck it into mom jeans and add flat sandals for everyday chic, or pair with an A-line skirt and sky high wedges for a smart-casual night out look. Going on holiday? The peasant blouse also makes a beautiful beach cover up. Throw it on over your bikini and add distressed denim shorts when it's time to head back into town.

My blouse is from H&M and currently on sale, but just in case you feel like browsing a few others, I've listed some of my favourites below. Enjoy!

 White Peasant Blouses

White peasant blouses from the high street
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 Patterned Peasant Blouses

Patterned peasant blouses from the high street

Is there a peasant blouse in your wardrobe? If so, I'd love to know your favourite way to style it!

Kate x
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