Coco's Tea Party | Fashion, Beauty and Lifestyle Blog
Coco's Tea Party is a British fashion and lifestyle blog dedicated to providing attainable style inspiration for fashionable Women. It is a leading lifestyle blog providing attainable style inspiration for fashion-savvy young professionals. This blog covers fashion, beauty, skincare, makeup, living and more for women.
Ladies, are we still hooked on gingham? The humble check print was a HUGE deal, this time last year, but I haven’t seen much of it in the spring/summer 2018 collections (polka dots seem to be the big thing now). But I don’t think we should let gingham be treated like a fad. It’s a seasonal classic – just like velvet is during autumn/winter – and I will proudly continue to wear gingham, this spring!
Conveniently, Monsoon’s gingham dress is top of my wish list, this week. The cut is super-flattering! I’d style it with Converse sneakers and a biker jacket, for days in London, and add bold, red accessories when I’m on vacation. How would you wear the dress?
Also on my radar, this week, is New Look’s adorable apple tee (great for throwing together with Madewell’s straight-leg jeans). And I also can’t resist Olivia Burton’s square-dial gold watch. The sophisticated design will work for any number of occasions and is sure to be a piece you treasure forever!
Are you also a fan of Monsoon’s gingham dress? Which style buys are topping your wish lists, this week? Leave a comment below to have your say…
Which destinations sit at the top of your travel bucket list? I love tropical temperatures, desert landscapes and crystal clear beaches. So California (Palm Springs and Los Angeles, in particular), Tulum, Austin, Nashville, Portofino and the Maldives currently complete my travel bucket list. I’ve never given snowy, mountainous destinations much thought, so it should come as no surprise that Gstaad, Switzerland, wasn’t ever a “must-see” for me.
However, I recently got the chance to spend 72 hours in the Swiss Alps, and I’m now completely sold on the winter vacation. I’d always naively assumed that because I don’t ski there would be nothing for me to do in a town like Gstaad. But, it turns out, I couldn’t have been more wrong!
Gstaad is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life (whether you plan to hit the slopes or the spa). And it also has a really lively summer season.
If you usually save your holiday days for beach destinations, here’s why I think you should give the Swiss Alps some attention…
I travelled to Gstaad with a fabulous group of London-based lifestyle bloggers, and we were lucky enough to stay at the iconic Gstaad Palace hotel. The Palace is steeped in history, and has played host to many superstars since it first opened its doors in 1913 (we’re talking the likes of Elizabeth Taylor, Marlene Dietrich, Sophia Loren and Madonna).
The 5-star hotel sits at the heart of Gstaad, and provides the most breathtaking views of the region. Eating breakfast on my private balcony, with the Swiss Alps sitting peacefully in the background, is an experience I’ll never forget. It truly felt like the height of luxury!
Once checking in at Gstaad Palace you definitely won’t want to leave. And, honestly, there is little reason to. The hotel houses multiple restaurants – from a cosy Italian though to a traditional Swiss fromagerie. And there is also a chic, ‘70s-inspired nightclub on site.
I enjoyed every second of my stay at Gstaad Palace, and hope I’ll be able to return and experience their summer season, one day.
Gstaad Palace is open during the winter and summer. Their summer 2018 season runs from June 23rd through to September 9th. Their next winter season begins on December 21st and ends on March 10th, 2019. Find more information and book your stay here.
The Palace Spa
For me, a massage is the ultimate luxury. I once read that Paris Hilton gets massages and facials multiple times a week, and I’ve never been more jealous of someone in my life! I could quite happily spend an entire month at a spa, as it’s the only time I truly relax, and the Palace Spa feels spectacularly indulgent.
The Gstaad Palace wellness complex spans 1,800 square metres, and includes both an indoor and outdoor pool, an outdoor hot tub, saunas and steam baths, eight treatment rooms and a private spa. And there is also a gym and fitness studio on site.
We were all treated to the Palace Spa’s signature massage, which is a unique to the hotel. It involves wooden rollers and energising silver fir oil, created a few kilometres from the Palace. It was such a reviving treatment, and – although it sounds totally cheesy – afterwards I felt like a whole new woman!
Ski season was coming to an end when we arrived in the Alps. But there was still a lot of activity on the slopes. And, although we didn’t ski, we enjoyed a truly magical morning on the glacier.
We took a short drive from Gstaad Palace hotel to Glacier 3000. Then climbed more than 3,000 metres above sea level, in cable cars, until we reached the peak of the glacier. The views over the Bernese Alps were absolutely breathtaking and stunned us all to silence (for a while, at least).
Once at the peak of the glacier there were plenty of activities to enjoy – from tobogganing and dog-sleigh rides to a peak walk that connects two mountains via a suspension bridge. We took in the views, then enjoyed hot chocolates and lunch at Botta restaurant, which boasts panoramic views of the Alps.
Happy Friday! What do you have planned for the weekend ahead? After a hectic week, I’m looking forward to a really chilled 48 hours. If you have similar plans, and are thinking about spending some time in the kitchen, why not experiment with Broma Bakery’s adorable Robin’s Egg carrot cake donut recipe? Not only do they look adorable (these babies were made to be Instagrammed) but they’re also the perfect indulgent snack for a Netflix marathon.
Find the recipe below, along with more of the week’s top life and style stories…
If you tune into my Instagram Stories regularly you will know that I’m a big fan of country music. However, it’s a passion I discovered completely by accident – and only in recent years. Today I want to share how I fell in love with the genre, and provide a little introduction to country music playlist for new fans…
I grew up in a very musical household (my dad is a musician, my mum danced professionally in her 20’s, my brother plays bass and I used to sing); but country was pretty much the only genre of music I wasn’t exposed to as a child. I used to love singing along to Jolene by Dolly Parton, and had a bit of Johnny Cash on my iPod as a teenager, but that was pretty much where my knowledge of country music began and ended.
Then, when I was about 23 or 24 I started to explore country music properly. A few things initially sparked my interest: Taylor Swift’s Red album, the ease of discovering new artists on Spotify, the TV show Nashville and my weakness for men with a Southern accent.
“My heartbeat’s rhythm is a lonesome sound Just like the rubber turning on the ground Always lost and nowhere bound”
Traveler – Chris Stapleton
Singing is my ultimate happiness booster – despite the fact I stopped seeing a vocal coach in my late teens and no longer treat it as a serious hobby. And country music completely captured my heart because it’s such a joy to sing along to!
However, I initially found it quite hard to move beyond the biggest names in country and discover a broader spectrum of artists. There is a big community of country music fans in the UK, but it’s still quite a niche interest, so it took me a while to do my research. And, honestly, it’s still an education.
Recently, a small number of my Instagram followers have reached out through comments and DM to say they’d love to hear some of my country music recommendations. So if you’re fairly new (or completely new) to country music, I’ve put together a little introductory playlist featuring contemporary country artists…
Your Introduction to Country Music Playlist:
If you’ve been curious about country music, but didn’t know where to begin, hopefully this playlist will provide a nice starting off point for you. Let me know your favourites…
I don’t know about you, but once the seasons change I always develop an overwhelming urge to shop. And right now I’m really having to reel myself back in, because there are SO many delicious spring buys catching my eye…
Topping my wish list, this week, is Warehouse’s chic tweed blazer. I love the loose shape and gold button detailing. It would look great worn with white skinny jeans, a simple grey tee and pointed-toe heels. I’m getting major “off-duty Hollywood actress” vibes just looking at it!
Also catching my eye is hush’s leaf print pyjama set (the hot-pink piping is irresistible), and Monsoon’s lace midi dress, which is a brilliant buy if you have spring weddings to attend.
Then, on the home and lifestyle side of things, I can’t stop thinking about H&M Home’s graphic, round mirror (a total bargain at £17.99). And I’ve also fallen head-over-heels for LSA’s elegant pleated vase. The latter is a classic purchase you’re sure to love forever.
Long story short, someone needs to hide my credit card from me, asap!
Are you also fighting a serious urge to shop, right now? Which style buys are topping your wish lists, this week?
I’ve been pretty slack when it comes to style posts, so far this year. But, seriously, can you blame me? Over the last few weeks it’s been far too cold to stand around on street corners snapping spring outfits. And after January 31st no one wants to look at another winter coat.
So I decided to wait it out. And, instead of fighting against the frosty weather, I spent many happy weeks at home, layered-up in slippers, cashmere knits and Gilly Hicks sweatpants (my guilty pleasure). But now that spring has officially arrived I’ve started to get more adventurous with fashion, once again. And it seems like the perfect moment to discuss trans-seasonal layering…
As you know, layering is not my strong suit. I’m more of a “throw on an embellished dress, cute flats and go” kind of girl. But I’ve grown tired of waiting to wear my spring 2018 purchases, so I’ve started to get a little more experimental. And, as a result, I’ve dived head-first into the world of trans-seasonal layering.
Last week I gave my new rust orange summer dress its first outing, by layering it over leather leggings, and topping it with an olive green trench coat. The Hush dress first caught my attention because it will look dreamy with tanned skin, simple sandals and a basket bag, come summer. But I’ve discovered I don’t have to wait until my Mediterranean vacations to enjoy it…
If you’re also desperate to start wearing your spring/summer 2018 purchases, here are my top three trans-seasonal layering tips:
1. Centre your outfit around three key items that form a strong colour palette. Then use black, grey, white or neutrals to build-up the rest of your look.
2. Pay attention to proportions. If you’re wearing a maxi or midi skirt, consider a cropped knit or tuck your shirt/tee into your waistband. And pair loose tops with tight bottoms, and vice versa.
3. Keep your layers light. This will not only save you from overheating, but also prevent you from looking like the Michelin Man!
Will you be putting any trans-seasonal layering tricks into practice, this spring? Leave a comment below to have your say…
Do you worry about the effects pollution has on your skin? It’s something that’s been at the forefront of my mind for just over a year, after a skin specialist informed me a dark spot I’ve developed is more likely to have been caused by London’s polluted air than sun damage.
This week Refinery29 explored the subject of anti-pollution skincare, and I was shocked to discover this fact from OSKIA founder, Georgie Cleeve: “Currently 92% of the world’s population live in places where air pollution levels exceed the limits set by the World Health Organization. In fact, London has already reached its yearly quota.”
It’s scary stuff! Find the full feature below, along with more of the week’s top life and style stories…
This post has gone out on International Women’s Day 2018. And what better way to mark the occasion than with another inspiring #My9to5 feature? International Women’s Day was created to celebrate “the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women”, so it’s the perfect time to share a new career-focused interview.
And this month I sat down with best friends, Lesa Bennett and Jemma Fennings, who founded the accessories brand Olivia Burton. Over the past six years, Lesa (above right) and Jemma (above left) have worked non-stop to make their brand a success. And here they share the story behind Olivia Burton…
Hi Lesa. Hi Jemma! So, how did you first meet? And what made you decide to launch a business together?
Lesa: Jemma and I met while we were studying at The London College of Fashion. And we both went on to become fashion buyers, working for the likes of Topshop and ASOS. During our time in the industry we noticed there was a lack of stylish but affordable watches out there for women, so we decided to do something about it! Quitting our jobs in 2011 to set up our own brand was the best decision we’ve ever made. It’s been over six years since we took that leap, and we’re so proud and excited that Olivia Burton has continued to go from strength to strength.
Jemma: As Lesa said, we both took the plunge and left our jobs to go it alone. It was a tough decision, because we were advised not to by a few people. The brand is named after Lesa’s great aunt, who was a huge support and really gave us the confidence to follow our dreams.
Our first designs took inspiration from nature and the catwalk trends, and these remain constant sources of inspiration for our collections today.
What was the first big turning point for Olivia Burton? And when did you start to feel like the business was going to be successful?
Lesa: Harvey Nichols snapped up our debut collection, which instantly sold out. That was a real pinch-me moment! And it’s just been the most incredible journey ever since then, to be honest. Launching our first shop in Bloomingdale’s 59th Street flagship store was another huge moment for us. It’s such a wonderful feeling to see customers around the world falling in love with the pieces.
What do your typical workdays look like? If a typical workday even exists in your world…
Jemma: I tend to be a late riser – largely because I’m always so connected to social media throughout the evening. Olivia Burton now has a big following outside the UK, which makes switching off at the end of the workday even more tricky!
I’m generally in the office by 9.30am, every morning. My commute is about an hour, so I tackle all of my emails en route. I’m in the office three days a week, and I spend the rest of the week with my son, Albie. Each day is totally different, but our roles are very easily divided up. I look after all of the brand creative, product design and development at Olivia Burton.
Lesa: I’m also usually in the office by 9:30am, and I like to start my day with a light breakfast and a good cup of tea. I look after the strategy and help to drive our growth. My emails are always the first thing I look at in the morning, but I actually prefer face-to-face communication. It’s so underrated these days and something we’re losing as we become more and more reliant on technology.
How do you like to unwind after a busy week at work?
Jemma: Quality time with family, friends and my son is really important. Albie loves being outdoors, so weekends are often spent in the forest hunting for Gruffalos! And I usually spend my evenings binging on a box set – right now Suits is my favourite.
Lesa: Spending time with my son, Broderick, is how I love to switch off. Although sometimes playing games with him can be more tiring than work! I also love to cook, and I find it so relaxing after a long day in the office.
What advice would you give to anyone who wants to go into business with a friend?
Jemma: Be prepared to disagree, and think about how you’ll tackle disagreements when they do arise. It’s hard to believe it will ever happen, but it’s important you agree on a plan that outlines how you’ll handle differences of opinion along the way.
You need to learn how to leave work at the office and appreciate other people’s honesty and opinion.
Lesa: I’d recommend setting out roles and responsibilities ahead of time, so it’s clear what you’re both accountable for. Naturally, you’ll have different strengths, so play on what you’re both best at. And remember to listen to the other person. Communication is the key to every happy relationship.
Along with that, don’t forget to make time for your friendship. Keep doing the things you loved to do as friends before the business came along, whether that’s having a shopping day, going out for dinner or booking a girly city break.
Which other women working in the industry inspire you on a daily basis?
Jemma: I’m really inspired by Emma Hill. What she did at Mulberry was incredible – she breathed so much personality and energy into that brand. I’m also hugely inspired by the successful women in my family. My aunt Germana showed me that you can be fun, friendly and highly successful. And my Auntie Pat is a successful accountant who managed to enjoy her career whilst also raising an amazing family.
Lesa: I’m inspired by the women in my family too. Our brand is actually named after my great aunt, who has been a huge source of inspiration and support to both Jemma and I. I’m also inspired by the talented women in our office. All of our girls work incredibly hard and are so passionate about what they do. The brand wouldn’t be where it is today if it wasn’t for such an amazing team effort.
And, finally, what’s the best piece of career advice you’ve ever received?
Jemma: Don’t spend too long planning. Sometimes it’s all in the doing.
Lesa: Learn when to say no. Sometimes it’s better not to do something, rather than rush things and execute it poorly. We’re really passionate about getting the little details right at Olivia Burton!
~ This post was sponsored by Olivia Burton – a brand that I love and will be working with throughout 2018. Thank you for continuing to support the sponsors that make Coco’s Tea Party possible. ~
When it comes to condiments, mustard is always the last thing I’d reach for (I’m more of a ketchup or mayo kinda gal). However, I’m always happy to welcome a burst of mustard yellow into my wardrobe, and it’s one of my favourite shades for spring 2018.
I’m currently obsessing over Ganni’s mustard yellow silk dress, which I’d wear with Carvela’s suede boots until the temperature starts to rise. Once spring/summer is in full swing, the dress will look dreamy with espadrilles a basket bag!
H&M’s floral blouse has also caught my attention (perfect for pairing with high-waisted jeans). And I’m struggling to resist Jigsaw’s pleated midi, as it’s a trans-seasonal wonder. Style the skirt with cashmere knits and turtlenecks whilst we see out the final days of winter, then switch for casual tees, khaki jackets and sneakers. It has great cost-per-wear value as it’s so versatile!
Have you been searching for mustard yellow outfit ideas? And which style buys are topping your wish lists, this week? Leave a comment below to have your say…
I’ve been living in my apartment for just over two months, and I’m finally getting to the fun part of decorating. All of my furniture is in place (just about), the clutter has been cleared away, and I can now get down to styling bookshelves and hanging pictures.
One of the first things I did after receiving the keys to my one-bed was paint all of the walls white. I love colour, but because it’s such a compact space I decided to keep things minimal. And, instead of bright emulsion, I’m adding interest and personality to the walls with affordable artwork.
Websites JUNIQE and Desino both cater to my taste for breathtaking photography, abstract art and cool typography. So whenever I have a spare moment at the end of the day I scroll through their galleries and save prints to my bookmarks folder. At the moment I have a wish list so long I could probably open an art gallery!
If you’ve been searching for affordable artwork for your home, here is my roundup of the best prints to order online, right now. Which are your favourites?
I absolutely love my apartment, but I wish I had a larger kitchen so I could display both the ‘Hangry’ and ‘Bon Appetit’ prints on a shelf, alongside some kilner jars. If you have a large(ish) kitchen please order these prints ASAP and live out this fantasy for me…
Where do you find affordable artwork for your home? And have any of these prints caught your eye? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts…