One thing that I'm focussing on way more at the moment are wardrobe basics and capsule wardrobe items. I'm sick of spending my money on fad items and things that might look good in photos but I know I'm never going to actually wear.
I think we are all a little guilty of getting trapped into buying trend items, or a kind of 'social media made me do it' vibe, so I've been trying my best to really think about items before I buy and whether I'll 1) be getting my moneys worth and 2) be getting my wear out of it. And here are two things you really can't go wrong with; a simple and good fitting pair of jeans and an oversized tee. These two items are definitely what I would consider to be a vital part to a capsule wardrobe, i.e a bunch of staple items that you constantly wear and reproduce looks from in various ways.
These Everlane basics are the perfect place to start when building a capsule wardrobe, they are great quality pieces and that goes a long way when you're looking for a sustainable core wardrobe.
I couldn't get over how comfortable each item was. The tee was super soft 100% cotton, the jeans a beautiful stretch denim and the real leather shoes are the comfiest heels I've ever placed my feet in. Probably the comfiest shoes ever, in fact, heels or not. Everlane may have just become my favourite basic's retailer...
Here are the links to each of my items worn, all kindly gifted to me by Everlane.
If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen my recent rant on the lack of option for us tall girls in stores at the moment. Being almost 6 foot I find it super difficult. Yes, I can get the odd pair of skinny jeans in store in a 34 or 36 inch leg but that's about all I ever seem to find.
When will brands realise that more often than not, if we have long legs then the rest of our body is probably long too. I'm wanting longer bodied blazers, higher high waist trousers and extra long sleeves. And I was totally blow away by all the messages I got from girls who are in the same boat, so I've decided to introduce a little mini series of tall girl shopping on here, featuring all my best finds, tips, tricks and advice on shopping for us lanky lasses.
I picked up this Topshop midi dress in store the other week and I knew that this kind of style would be a good fit for me, as you kind of know what is going to suit your body shape before trying things on. This dress is actually the perfect length for me, I feel like it definitely would be more of a maxi dress on a shorter person but that's totally fine as it would look great that length as well. I didn't really have to worry about sleeve length here either as they are kind of a relaxed, billowy style.
I thought it would be perfect for dressing down with flat boots like I have here for a more casual look but then just as great with a pair of heels for a night out or an event.
Having been on the lookout for a new Teddy Coat this winter, I knew exactly what I wanted but I just couldn't find what I was looking for without a crazy price tag. There was one I was lusting over in & Other Stories but it was a little over my budget (but probably totally worth it). And then I came across this one.
This beauty was from Dorothy Perkins and I fell in love as soon as I saw it. It was the perfect length, the perfect colour and the perfect amount of teddy without being too shaggy. Plus, it's a really reasonable price and great alternative to the Other Stories version. I actually unpicked the silver popper buttons as I felt like this slightly cheapened the coat and I never intended on wearing it closed anyway and I think it looks much better without.
These boots were another amazing buy, these were reduced to £19.99 in the Zara sale recently. I actually got 2 pairs of boots, some jeans and a bag for less than £60 when they had reduced everything further the other week.
Coat - c/o Dorothy Perkins
Jeans - Topshop
Top - H&M
Bag - Louis Vuitton
Boots - Zara
If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that I've taken a little (and much needed) break from Instagram over the festive season. And all forms of social media actually. Considering we are a in an era where we are addicted to social media, this little break was one of the best things I've done in a long time.
I decided to have a little time off the 'gram because it was starting to take over a little. I was becoming obsessed with posting, and then seeing how/if my posts were doing well (or not as it seems to be these days). Some people may think being an 'instagrammer' or blogger is as simple as taking a photo and uploading it and it's a pretty ignorant concept. It's actually quite exhausting having to constantly think about what content you're going to create and how my engagement is going to be. I decided that I didn't want to be that person who was sat on their phone whilst everyone else was enjoying their Christmas dinner, so I decided to log off for a little while (bar a few drunk Instagram stories that were more for the lol's than the engaging, quality content).
With Instagram's constant changing algorithms and feeds, putting all your faith and all your worth in an app that you don't own or have any control over does not fill me with confidence. I did wonder at one point whether to give up this blog; Instagram was where it's at, where all the money was made and the followers were and you can post a quick pic with WAY more ease than a blog post like this. But then, what happens when Instagram isn't all that any more? Or, god forbid, Instagram is one day no longer. You've put all your eggs in one basket, in the wise words of every Love Island contestant.
I've decided that blogging definitely isn't over, for me anyway. I have total control over here. So here I am, back in business, new camera in tow (thanks to my wonderful boyfriend) and ready to take on 2019. And this year, I'm over worrying. I'm creating the content that I enjoy, not what I think is going to do well on Insta. I'm enjoying more moments, rather than creating moments for Insta. And I'm going to make some amazing memories and hopefully some equally amazing content for you guys to enjoy.
As much as I always want to be one of those people who are super organised and have all their Christmas shopping done and dusted in June, it never pans out that way. So, here I am, in December, still on the hunt for the perfect gifts. And I am super lucky that, living on the outskirts of Chester, I am less than 20 minutes away from McArthurGlen's Cheshire Oaks Designer Outlet.
With some of the most sought-after high street, luxury and premium brands at huge discounts (up to 60% off RRP) it really is one of the best place to bag that perfect Christmas gift. They have brands such as Reiss, Ralph Lauren, Pandora, Thomas Sabo, Le Creuset, Vans and Bose, so there really is something for everyone there. The thing I love the most about Cheshire Oaks are how you can pick up amazing, one off deals (I was actually super gutted when I saw a lady leave with the last pair of Valentino reading glasses that were in the sale).
We started with the day with a Starbucks and made our way round the centre, visiting the new Kate Spade store where I swooned over the handbags and jewellery, visited my favourites The Cosmetic Company and Beauty Outlet, and our favourite All Saints store. They always have amazing deals in this All Saints and you can pick up amazing mens T-Shirts for less than £15.
After some Lunch in Wagamama (it took forever to choose, there are loads of amazing restaurants there) we had a walk through the cute little German style village, got some pick and mix sweeties, walked through Europes largest walk through tree and went back on our gifting mission. Another few favourites of mine there are Reiss, Rituals (the perfumes are the BEST) and Links of London where they always have beautiful jewellery.
What I Got from Cheshire Oaks
My mum had tried this on a few weeks ago and loved it so I already had this in mind for her. This amazing polka dot scarf is so big and cosy but still so chic looking. This would be perfect for mums or grandmas this Christmas. They were doing some beautiful gift wrapping too in Hobbs, with their amazing signature green packaging looking better than ever and perfect for Christmas gifting.
Ralph Lauren Socks
The one thing that is consistent every Christmas is my dad asking for a pair of socks. Without fail, every time I ask him what he wants it's just socks. So I picked up a fancy three set in Ralph Lauren, whilst also drooling over the amazing baby clothes there (for my cousin, definitely not for me...)
These candles are amazing, I have a couple at home and they smell fantastic even when they're not lit. They come in a gorgeous gift box and are such pretty presents for friends. They also do fantastic perfumes there, with 30ml options and also super handy bag sized scents which I always have with me on nights out. These make super cute stocking fillers too.
All Saints Tops
My boyfriend loves All Saints so I picked up three tops that had an extra discount on top of the outlet price too! I probably got all three for less than I'd usually spend on one jumper. They have so much choice in this store and I fell in love with some leather jackets too.
Ray Ban Wayfarer Sunglasses
Just because it's Christmas does not mean we don't still need sunnies guys! These were such a bargain I couldn't leave them and would make the perfect gift for those stylish dads or for earning some top girlfriend points. These were from David Clulow.
Anastasia Beverly Hills Subculture Palette and Models Own Brush
I was so shook when I saw this palette in the Beauty Outlet - I had lusted after this around Black Friday and it sold out, so when I saw it on the weekend I could not leave this baby behind. The colours are amazing and so pigmented, perfect for Christmas parties. I also got this rose gold contour brush there. These are perfect for sisters or best friends (this one may be kept for myself though...)
I love living so close to the centre and it's also super accessible from loads of big cities too, only 30 minutes from Liverpool and 45 from Manchester. There are a few more places that I want to pop back to before Christmas (I had my eye on some Kate Spade earrings and a Links of London necklace which I have in mind for some friends/family members) so I'm sure you will be seeing some more snaps on my story if you follow me on Instagram. Let me know in the comments if you've visited recently or if you plan on visiting and I hope you manage to complete all your Christmas shopping, because I feel a total relief after visiting and can now go and wrap my gifts in peace (minus the palette. That's definitely mine...)
*This post is in collaboration with Cheshire Oaks but all thoughts and words are my own*
If you read my previous Black Friday wish list post, you will notice that the top of my wish list was the Chloe Tess bag. And, in true Black Friday style, I decided to jump at the chance of a discount at Farfetch, took the plunge and purchased my new baby (still trying to decide if I should name her or not). The purchase did get me thinking a little bit about handbags. 'It' bags, more specifically.
Should you worry about buying an IT item?
Buying expensive items isn't something I can or do do regularly. A handbag purchase is something that I have to invest in in both the money and mind sense. It has to be something that I know I am going to get my moneys worth, something that I think is going to last and something that isn't a fad. Spending a large chunk of money on one item is not always realistic and whilst I have done it myself, it's not a mean feat.
This bag is definitely somewhat of an 'it' bag at the moment. It's current season, on the catwalks, on bloggers and celebs alike. But whilst something like the Balenciaga Tripple S trainers are also a total 'it' item, and boy do I want a pair, I knew that a) they are definitely something that isn't classed as 'classic' and won't be around in a couple of years time and b) are not a good investment (resale value of them is not very high). These are things that I always take into consideration when purchasing a designer item. I knew that I would absolutely get my wear out of this bag and it would still look great in years to come.
When I purchased my first Gucci bag, the Dionysus, a few years ago I had been thinking about that bag every day for about 2 years. That was absolutely the 'it' bag of the time and I think my dad winced when he saw me hand over almost £1600 to the sales lady. But I had never felt happier or prouder of a purchase because I had worked hard for it and I had saved long and hard just for it. Almost 3 years down the line, I still get that feeling when I use the bag. It still goes with everything, still looks classic and is still in great condition. So yes, it may have once been an 'it' bag and may no longer be one but I still love it as much as the day I bought it.
So if you're looking to buy your first, or second, or third designer item, then my advice would be to think about the longevity of it. Is it a fad or is it just an 'it'. Because if you're still using it years down the line, it's totally worth every penny.
One place that always stands out to me for Christmas shopping is Manchester. Whether it's the Christmas markets, the amazing decorations, the stores, the food, I am always drawn to Manchester at Christmas time. It's always been a bit of a family tradition to go over to Manchester around the festive season so when Manchester Arndale contacted me regarding their new super cute Christmas campaign, I jumped at the chance.
This campaign is all about Xmas Memories, which was to be based around a photograph. The photo I decided to use was the below, me on my first Christmas day as a one year old, dressed in what (and still is) as family tradition started by my Nana and Taid; Christmas Eve pyjamas. With added tinsel. Clutching at what looks like some gift wrap which I was probably way more interested in than any gift at that age. So with this imagine in mind, rather than getting pay back for dressing me like a 90's Christmas tree, it was instead time to thank my mum. For the memory and for passing on the tradition of Christmas Eve pyjamas once my grandparents were no longer here to carry it on themselves.
So to start out our day, we headed in to Manchester Arndale for a bit of breakfast at Gino's Deli, as every good shopping day starts with a good breakfast and a decent coffee of course. Our first stop after breakfast was Next. They have always had some of the best Christmas decoration selections and I decided that now was the best time to pick up some decorations (the first of my yearly decoration haul, in fact). I picked up some new baubles, fell in love with a beautiful pink velvet chair and have been dreaming of it every since - nothing haunts us like the things we didn't buy I guess. But I just had to remind myself that I have no more room for any more chairs....
We then headed over to boots, where we were booked in for a little pamper session with Benefit. The girls at Benefit were so lovely, and we were each assigned an artist who asked us what kind of thing we were hoping for and was there anything in particular we wanted help with or knowledge on. My mum went for a full face make up session and I had a brow profiling session, something that I had never done before and it was great to try out some new brow products. My mum loved her new look, she was hoping for a dewey finish and was so happy with it she purchased a load of the items used. We both left with some new products and new make up bag essentials, and by this time it was time for lunch.
We popped back over to Gino's Prosecco and Pizza bar (I know, two amazing combinations) for some lunch and a bit of a rest - it's hard work shopping after all. The views from Gino's were beautiful and the decor in there was just as fab. The staff at Gino's were the most friendly and helpful I have come across in a long while - one even offered to get back in touch with my mum who had been after some tiles she had seen in one of their Bathroom's in a other restaurant of theirs. The poor man didn't know what he had let himself in to. I took this time to charge my phone in Next's free phone charging booths (winner) and grab a cocktail or two whilst we enjoyed our antipasti sharing starter and pasta main course.
After our pit stop, it was back to it. We lusted over bath bombs in Lush, picking up some of the amazing Bubble Bars (which make the best Christmas gifts). We popped in to River Island, had a wander around the Monki store which was amazing, we went to Office who had a great deal on Boots at the moment. My mum loved the fact that there was a Nespresso store there and was able to stock up on their favourites. I picked up my favourite Bleach London shampoo from Boots and also have a look around the Victorias Secret store that's opened there. Before home time, we popped in to Topshop as we both wanted to look at the boot selection. I picked up a beautiful silk blouse from their Boutique collection, which you don't always see in store so it was nice to find somewhere that stocks it in store. We both tried on some perfect Winter boots (my mum trying on the same patent croc leather one's I did) but left without, giving me another excuse to pop back to Manchester Arndale to make my mind up at a later date.... Being able to get everything we needed all under one roof was super handy and also, bye bye massive coats and umbrellas as everything is indoors.
It was so lovely doing something a little different and feeling like we could really treat ourselves was such a nice little reward. It also felt great to be able to treat my mum for a change rather than it being the other way round and it was the perfect pre Christmas family day out.
*This post is in collaboration with Manchester Arndale but all views and words are my own.
So black Friday is fast approaching and I for one am really excited this year, more so than I have been in the past. I think it's probably because I haven't actually started ANY Christmas shopping yet and I'm hoping that I can get it all done and dusted in a day. But that doesn't mean that I can't snag a few treats for myself on the way. Here are some items on my Farfetch wishlist that I will absolutely be looking out for this black Friday.
Well, this has to be at the top of my wishlist. It's been on my radar since they came out earlier this year and I've been lusting after it ever since. It's the perfect bag; classy, stylish and practical. If this isn't under my tree at Christmas I will be most disappointed (so, I may just have to treat myself).
I have a pair of Aquazzura Wild Thing heels that I got from Farfetch a few years back now and whilst they don't get the admiration they deserve (I rarely go out) I would love to add another pair to the collection, as they've always been one of my favourite shoe brands. I love the delicate yet unique styling.
I have wanted one of these Bella Freud jumpers for years now but I've always just settled for the candle (doh). It's actually a tough decision on what colour I like most, as the red has always been my favourite, but I am really loving this sparkly green colour.
The boot that never goes out of fashion. I have been in love with these for years so it's actually quite surprising I haven't indulged in a pair yet. I love this light tan colour with the gold hardware for a bit of a change up from black.
If you follow me on Instagram you will know that 1) I am a huge fan of interiors and 2) that we have recently updated our bedroom (bye bye cream carpet and brown walls). So, whilst it's not 100% there yet, I thought I would share some little touches to our bedroom that have changed it drastically.
We got rid of our horrible yellow/cream fluffy carpet, ripped out a horrendous fitted wardrobe and painted over brown and pale pink walls. A little lick of paint and some new carpet really freshen up a room but it still felt a little lacklustre.
As you can see, I decided to go for a sort of teal green colour on the walls (this is Inchyra Blue by Farrow and Ball). This was a colour that I was torn between in our living room at first and I ended up going for Railings instead, so I decided it would go in our room instead. At first when we painted it I really wasn't sure about it and worried it was too dark for such a small room, but once I put my pictures up I think it brought it all together.
I decided to go for a mixture of earthy tones and pinks, with a few monochrome pieces for my prints. The ones that I knew I wanted as a feature was the Antibes line drawing and the La Lune moon print. I got both of these in 50 x 70. I then knew I wanted to fill it with some plant prints, so I got the Cactus and the Eucalyptus Branch posters. Then I wanted to bring in the neutrals so I went for the Across the Beach and Grass. Then I wanted a photography style print to break it up, so I got the Girl in Window print. Then I have the little Buffalo Horns print on the bedside table to brighten up that corner of the room.
Here are a list of all the Desenio prints I've put up here and you can get 25% off all posters (except handpicked, collaboration posters and frames) with my code "25olivialaura" between 9th and 11th October!
Every get one of those moments where you go to check and see if something is online, when you know it won't be in stock but you just go and look anyway, and then find out that it is in fact in stock, and it's never been in stock when you've checked before, and you know it's about to sell out any second now, so you just buy it there and then without even thinking? No? Just me?
Well, as you've probably already guessed, that's what happened with me and this skirt. I came across it on Instagram earlier this year and I knew it was sold out but I was also a bit apprehensive on the price as, to be quite honest, I don't usually spend a large amount on clothing. At £140 (plus shipping and tax), this was a bit of a splurge for me. But I knew it was something I would get a lot of wear out of and I knew I'd regret it if I didn't get it and it sold out again.
Upon arrival I was surprised to see how minimal the skirt was. I would even go as far as to say I was sliiiiiightly disappointed. The cut on the waist seems a little odd and it's VERY simple. I mean, there's no zip it's just an elastic band waistline and no lining at all, but I guess that's the Realisation Par vibe and the 100% silk does the talking really. I went for a size M, being a usual 10/12 and it fits perfectly (which I was glad to find as I was not looking forward to sending it back to the USA). Although I do need to put it on over my head rather than pulling it up...
Ive linked my favourite alternative leopard print midi's here:
Skirt - Realisation Par
Jumper - Mango
Bag - Zara
Shoes - Zara
Sunglasses - Celine