Natasha Ndlovu is a model, blogger and photographer based in London, England. She writes about fashion, photography, beauty and travel, as well as shares her experiences working in the fashion industry.
July marks the beginning of the second half of the year. Everyone is now officially in summer holiday mode, myself included. I recently bought a jumpsuit from Asos and it made me realise how perfect jumpsuits are for the summer. So, I thought, how about I show you a couple of jumpsuits under $100 for Summer 2018 that you would love ? A lot of these, that I chose, are perfect for a day-t0-night transition.
I typically wear black a lot, even in the summer. Black is a safe colour for anybody and any situation – weddings included, nowadays. I do own a white jumpsuit but that one is more formal, despite being a day-to-night time look. A less formal white jumpsuit, like this cotton one from Free People, would have more use in your wardrobe.
The secret to making a jumpsuit work for you for several occasions are the shoes and accessories. During the day, style your jumpsuit with a pair of flat sandals and a straw bag for a boho-chic look. A pair of sneakers could also work, depending on the jumpsuit. In the evening, wear a pair of heels (black or gold), carry a clutch and wear a pair of stand-out earrings. If your hair is going to be down and you opt for a strapless jumpsuit, go for a necklace instead.
You can always go to my Fashion page for more accessories, shoes and bags that would be great with a jumpsuit in the summer. In the end, it is about dressing appropriately for the occasion, be it day time or night time. Jumpsuits are fuss free and shouldn’t cost a fortune, in my opinion. Just be aware of the length you choose, depending on your height, how it sits on your body and how well you move in it.
June has been a pretty good month, here in England, in terms of the weather. I am almost afraid July and August may bring not-so-great weather. But I’ll keep my fingers crossed and my eyes on the current online sales. I have two months of sunshine ahead of me and I figured the best way to have a good summer is to take short, weekend trip away. I was thinking Paris one weekend, Ibiza some other time, or maybe stay in England and explore the countryside.
That being said, I created a wish list of what to pack for a weekend stay that you can put in a carry-on suitcase or weekend bag. There is nothing that kills vacation time like waiting for luggage at a busy carousel, or worse, no luggage coming out of the carousel ! So here is a list of what to pack when you spending a weekend away at one of my ideal destinations:
Recently, I met up with Micaela Nisbet, the founder of skincare brand Neighbourhood Botanicals. Having come back from touring and now based in east London, we caught up at Jim’s Cafe, along with her adorable, stylish pooch. After a glass or two of wine – it was a sunny Friday, after all – we talked all things skincare, in particular her brand of natural oils for the skin.
Tell me a bit about yourself. Where are you from ?
I’m Micaela Nisbet, 31, from the sunny beaches of south east Australia originally, but I’ve been over this side of the world for the last 8 years.
What made you start Neighbourhood Botanicals ?
I was touring the world with my job, skin always dried out, and spending so much money on trying to regain glow and get rid of dry patches. I remembered in Byron Bay we used sweet almond oil for everything, so I started using it again, and it worked! So I went along that path, getting into nicer, more luxury blended oils and was maddened that they can be so expensive. So I studied organic skincare formulation and made my own, and Neighbourhood Botanicals was born.
What influenced your choice to use all natural ingredients ? Was it your current lifestyle ?
Honestly the main reason is because they work better, for everyday products that is. I’m all for targeted science-y serums and such, (and growing older I’ve noticed my skin really needs them!) but for staple products I believe natural is so much better. The nourishment, softening, vitamin dose and protection your skin can get from a plant oil is high and above a simple coating effect you’d get from silicone for example. They both hold moisture in your skin, but why not choose the option with all the added bonuses?
Plus, mineral oil and many other synthetics in our skincare have a small enough particle size that they can penetrate your skin and weasel themselves into your body, where they stay… like forever. The body can’t break them down. There have been studies where they found mineral oil deposits in breast tissue. Kinda freaky. And synthetics are irritating to skin; petroleum is destroying ecosystems. Ah, so many reasons! Natural ingredients are more expensive to work with and so the profit margin is less, but I firmly believe it’s the way forward.
Your constant traveling must affect your skin. What have you learned to focus on or avoid doing in regards to maintaining your skin while on the road ?
Oh god, I guess a big one is ‘don’t drink’ but I can’t help breaking that quite often, haha. I don’t rage on so much anymore but a few drinks a day adds up against your skin’s hydration. I always keep a moisture mist in my bag. Very handy for dry environments, or a refreshing zing before a show. The facial mists from Evolve Organics and BYBI are my favourites. I also drink warm water with half a lemon without fail every day. I make kombucha and take probiotics. Gut health is so key to maintaining good overall health. I think it shows in your skin when your gut microbiome is off. I try get naps in wherever possible, so a huge shawl type scarf is always in my bag on tour.
What’s your skin care routine ? Any tips on what to do with the oils and what other products you use with the oils?
Oils are going to work their best when your skin is damp, so just out of the shower, or with a moisture mist as a first layer. That’s because water soaks into your skin and plumps up the cells and surrounds, and you want to trap it in there with an occlusive layer before it dries out into the atmosphere. For dry skin I recommend using a moisturiser first also. Same principle but with extra moisture and nourishment, before sealing it in with a facial oil.
I use the oil cleansing method and hot flannel in the morning in the shower. Then a moisture mist, a cream – Majo Medicine if my skin needs a strong dose of power; that stuff is amazing! I also use Weleda Almond cream, or an Australian goat milk cream that I just love and is getting expensive to keep shipping over and whichever of my facial oils talks to me that morning.
Which of the oils is your personal fave? Daily, Mature, Night or Men’s Oil ?
My favourite child? Hmm I do use all of them actually, but I find myself reaching for Another Year Wiser (the mature oil) most often. It’s got double the amount of tocopherol (vitamin E), oils high in squalene and extra squalane added so it’s lush for dry skin.
Tell us the story behind the Mon Amour lip balm.
I’ve been touring with Alex (Rejjie Snow) for about 4 years now, so we’re mates, and it’s always nice to make things with mates. He’s always losing his lip balm and stealing mine, so I said ‘hey why don’t we make you your own!’ We made about 20 samples with different textures and ingredients, and he liked this formulation best. The packaging is gorgeous and I love how it doesn’t follow today’s minimalist trend .
Did you work with an artist to create the sketches ? Does the packaging reflect your personal style ?
Yes, that was a conscious decision. The minimalist trend is so not me, and it’s not very memorable either. I worked with an amazing artist called Mason London for the brand concept. He does mostly music based art. Everything he does blows my mind, I’m so lucky to have his pen on my products! The brief I gave him was ‘bright, approachable, tongue-in-cheek, chic’ and he nailed it. In a top shelf awash with millennial pink, I hope our products pop out. It’s a bit out there for skincare, but hey, fortune favours the brave.
What is your personal style, in a few words ? Where do you shop for clothes ?
My wardrobe is based around vintage pieces. I like bright quality pieces that look like they could be current. One of my favourite things about travelling so much is I get to go to all these amazing vintage shops and charity stores all over the world. It’s the first thing I look up in a city after ‘best coffee’ (thank god for Yelp !). I’ll mix these up with bits from Zara, Weekday, H&M. I live in Muji sneakers. Ideally I’m going for a floaty mix of 70’s southern Cali, sharp Stockholm and bright cool-gal Williamsburg. My mantra is ‘More Haha, less Blah Blah’.
Who made the best designer backpack this season? Opinions will vary but my vote goes to Burberry’s nylon and leather backpack. When Selfridges reached out to me to collaborate with them on choosing and styling one of their wide range of women’s designer backpacks, the Burberry one immediately caught my eye. The beautiful mauve pink colour and its mini size are just what I need to complement my spring / summer wardrobe.
If you are going to spend money on a luxury backpack, make sure it is worth it. You need to look not only for quality but durability. After all, we are talking about a backpack not a purse. This Burberry one is made of a mauve pink nylon material, inspired by the brand’s iconic trench coat. Any Londoner will tell you that Burberry’s iconic trench can withstand rain or sunshine, so you can imagine, the same goes for its backpack. This makes keeping the bag clean very easy to do. If mauve is not your colour or you are still not keen on backpacks, at least Burberry has a wide selection of designer handbags for you to choose from.
So what can I style my backpack with, you ask ? Honestly, I would say a lot of what is in our wardrobes goes well with this bag. I styled mine with denim and black leggings but I could just have easily worn it with a long floral dress. Summer is practically here and between all the festivals, tennis matches and beach holidays that people will be taking, this backpack will get plenty of usage. I can already see it being the perfect bag to travel with, especially at the airport when I am juggling magazines and snacks, along with my passport. So, in my opinion, it is the best designer backpack out there, this season.
Does the perfect bodysuit exist? I do not know. However, I know that I have found something close to perfection. Having owned several body suits over the years, mainly in black and white, there is always something new on the market. You would think their design is straightforward but there is always something different about even those that look similar. One can be ribbed, like mine or another can have slightly thicker shoulder straps. The slight variations in just a black bodysuit are endless. Let’s not get into the different colours and fabric variations that are also possible.
There are plenty of ways in which to style a ribbed bodysuit and in my case I opted for baggy trousers. There is something about high-waist trousers and bodysuits that makes a perfect combo of comfy meets chic. My trousers are H&M but this Asos version works for both day and night. The Acler coat which I have added is, sadly, sold out and this army green trench is the closest thing to it I have seen online. My quirky sunglasses are still available online, along with the kitten heel sling backs. If you have saved up all winter, why not treat yourself to a Chanel bag to complete the look ?
Style your bodysuit however you want. Wear it over a t-shirt if that woks for you or stack a load of necklaces on, now that our collar bones are making an appearance, thanks to warmer weather. Just make sure the bodysuit is not ridiculously tight in the crotch area because you will be uncomfortable all day and night. By now, you should also know better than to buy one which doesn’t unfasten at the bottom. No one wants to be half-naked in a bathroom stall, especially with a door that struggles to lock !
You are given a chance to pick a dress from the Zimmermann boutique in London, what do you choose? Do you go for the Zimmermann Melody dress like I did, or opt for its swimsuit version ? The options at the London boutique are endless. In an ideal world, I would have one of each item in there. Zimmermann’s Spring Summer collection is to die for, especially their white pieces. I loved the jumpsuit I tried on in store and the white dressI wore to their store party.
I have been shopping for what is currently an elusive Spring in London, as well as for the Summer and if there is one designer brand I suggest you invest in this season, it would be Zimmermann. A lot of their floral prints and designs are the going to last you many seasons. I personally believe it is due their balance between traditional dress cuts and a vintage look that some of their dresses have. This makes them stand out from other brands. The price point for some of them may be a bit high but that also means you won’t bump into every other girl wearing it down Oxford Street or the beach club in Ibiza.
Below is a selection of my favourite pieces from Zimmermann, a mixture of dresses, swimwear and tops. If you are looking for something white, the Lovelorn Mini dress is the perfect summer evening dress. Maybe you prefer a pair of high-waisted shorts to go with a bandeau crop top ?I have my eye on this yellow stripe dress which is something I have not seen much of around, seeing as many brands opt for a plain yellow summer dress rather than stripes. At the end of the day, the choice is yours, so shop away !
Since last summer, my love for the polka dot dress has blossomed. So recently, when I came across this high neck polka dot asymmetric hem dress on Asos, I immediately fell in love. I already have a black and white mini one but a red one, with an asymmetric hem, was a first. Lately, I have been seeing both high street and designer brands making the most beautiful variations of polka dot dresses that I had to share some of my favourites with you.
This dress , which I got from Asos, is not only stunning (just look at the open back) but retails at a super affordable £32. You can wear this on a date, to a wedding or even for your summer vacation – ideally the Hamptons, Mykonos, south of Italy south of France. Ok, you don’t have to go to those places for summer but I’m talking about Instagram-worthy summer spots. I know, first world problems !
If you aren’t a fan of rose gold, maybe you might like rose and gold furniture combined instead for your home. I love rose gold just like any blogger or Pinterest-obsessed person out there but it can be difficult to find the right piece of furniture that doesn’t feel like a passing trend.
I am no furniture expert, so I can’t tell you how long rose gold will last but I know gold has always been a staple in our lives, be it on furniture or jewellery. I also know rose (and its other variations, famously pink) have traditionally been a colour associated with a girl’s room but has now become more mainstream. You only have to look at The Gallery at Sketch to know that rose, dusty rose, pink or whatever shade of it you use is popular amongst the general public.
I admit that I am no Martha Stewart when it comes to interiors but here are a few rose, gold and rose gold pieces of furniture and decor that will be a perfect addition to your home this Spring. I personally have my eye on this Dusty Rose Velvet chair, which would go well not just in the living room but in the bedroom, especially if you have a little corner by the window where you can flick through a book whilst taking in the sun.
Cat eye sunglasses are making a comeback, just in time for Spring. Ok, maybe the cat eye is not necessarily making a comeback because it never left, but let’s just say it is back but looking a whole lot slimmer. So many brands from the high-street to designer are making a variation of the infamous shape. I tend to lean to a more oval cat eye than a triangular shape because it suits my face better.
These sunglasses I am wearing are more of an oval shape, although classified as cat eye on Asos. Nevertheless, if you are going to go for a slim oval or cat eye shape, be bold and go for colours like red, white or the occasional pink. Stock up on them now before they sell out and have fun with the shapes. I personally advise you to buy cheap ones because some of these styles may not be forever. If you know you will wear a pair regularly and it will be a staple in your wardrobe, then, by all means, fork out a couple hundred bucks. Just make sure to take a photo to look back on and show your grandkids how cool ( or ridiculous) you looked in them.
SHOP CAT EYE SUNGLASSES
Not to forget the rest of the outfit, here is what the rest of my look consisted of. When I put together this look, my sunglasses were the focal point. Usually, sunglasses are something I throw on last minute but because these are quite a unique-looking pair, I had to be more cautious of what I wore to complete them. A black, white and grey palette works well with a pair of white sunglasses, so I opted for this tailored look.
This image should come with a caption: When you are ready for Spring, but Spring is not ready for you. I never thought I would say February is a long month but it is beginning to feel as long as January was. Considering we lose a good three to four days this month, one would think we were already in March. I cannot wait for Spring. I cannot wait for when this velvet slit skirt can be worn without skin-tone tights. Also, I cannot wait for when my cable knit jumper will be more-than-enough to wear on its own. Did I also mention that I cannot wait until I put my trusty ankle boots away ? At this point, they are the only reasonable heels I can go out in. In the mean time, all of them together make for a nice head-to-toe black outfit, don’t you think?