Sunday, 17 January 2016

Leather and Wool

My wardrobe has turned decidedly monochrome in the last few months. I am not sure whether it is the dull weather or my tastes are changing, but everything I pick up in the shops is either black, grey or cream. I am beginning to see the benefits of a capsule wardrobe and I am starting to spend my money much more wisely. When I was younger I could buy a whole new outfit every weekend then never wear it again. However, my more mature self hardly buys clothes anymore and I am focusing my efforts on building a collection of classic, staple pieces which will last me a long time, rather than buying masses of tops and dresses which I will only wear a handful of times. Therefore, I recently got this lovely Cos jumper which I have been wearing all the time, with everything. It can be dressed down with jeans and trainers or I can wear it to work with a funky skirt and heeled boots- the perfect classic jumper! I am currently on the hunt for my next purchase- the perfect pair of smart work trousers... I am getting old! 
Jumper- Cos
Trousers- Topshop
Coat- H&M
Boots- Miss KG for Kurt Geiger

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Russia

I have recently returned from an incredible trip to Moscow to experience the Russian New Year and winter time. I have visited Moscow once before in the summer months 3 years ago, as my sister-in-law is Russian so we were over for the wedding. However, Moscow is known for its spectacular winters and New Years celebrations, so this was the year I had to experience it for myself.  

My boyfriend, my brother, my sister-in-law and I all travelled over together the day after Boxing Day for a week long trip crammed full of activities and sightseeing. We spent our first 3 nights in Moscow city centre in my sister-in-laws family flat. As soon as we arrived after a long day of travelling, we were welcomed by the family to a full Russian spread and four shots of vodka! This was just to get us warmed up for our midnight drive around the city to take in the sights and the Christmas lights at night time. Moscow really went all out with the Christmas decorations this year and the whole city was awash with twinkly lights and spectacular displays. Over the three days in Moscow we visited all the classic touristy sights- Red Square, The Kremlin, GUM shopping centre, Gorky Park, as well as visiting the Moscow Circus which was one of my favourite memories from my last trip. As we had our Muscovite tour guides, we also got to experience the 'real Moscow' and visited some other beautiful locations which wouldn't necessarily be in the guide books. One of my favourite moments was going ice skating at the local exhibition centre which is one of the biggest ice rinks in Europe. This is because it wasn't just a standard ice rink where you skate round and round in circles and hope you won't crash into the person ahead of you. This place was lanes and lanes of ice- basically like they had frozen over the paths in a park and you could ice skate all around it!

We spent our three nights in Moscow, doing what the Muscovites do best- drinking! We were taken out for some lovely meals with friends, and shown the local nightlife with some cool beer houses and bars- one of which had a secret entrance where you press a button behind a painting to enter the underground bar!

(Unfortunately I didn't get many decent photos of the trip as it was too cold to take your hands out of your gloves for half a second to take the photo...)
After our hectic few nights in Moscow we took a road trip to the location of our New Year celebrations, a 3 hour drive out of the city and into the Russian countryside. One of our friends had rented out an entire boutique hotel for all their family and friends to spend New Year together. We arrived in the evening to the magical location, just as it started to snow. It was perfect! The hotel was absolutely stunning. It consisted of 7 individual chalets in the middle of a snow-covered forest and we immediately ordered room service and champagne to enjoy in our new home. On New Years eve we spent the day tobogganing in the snow and eating delicious food. We then spent the afternoon in a traditional Russian banya. This was an incredible experience which I will never forget. We went with a group of friends to the little log cabin near our chalet and began the routine with a group sauna. We were then invited to chill out in the living room area with some beers and snacks while each person was taken individually for the treatment. We were hit all over the body with a huge bunch of eucalyptus leaves, which felt surprisingly good. After sweating out (and hitting out) all the toxins in the sauna room we were then dunked into a barrel of freezing cold water before being sent back to the living room to relax and drink more beer. We each had a few rounds which consisted of different things like a snow massage using fresh snow from outside, and a honey salt scrub, as well as lying in a darkened room with a bush over our faces... which was  a little peculiar! After a few hours of this, we came out feeling amazing, and ready to retox for New Years Eve! The New Years celebrations were incredible. It was held in the restaurant of the hotel and there was entertainment all night- including performances, fireworks, karaoke, present-giving, a three course meal and even a visit from a reindeer and a monkey! One of the wildest New Years I have ever experienced!
The next morning we nursed our hangovers with a Russian shashlik. Only in Russia would you have a barbeque in minus 17 degrees weather! After lots of food and hair of the dog, we just had time for a horse drawn sleigh ride before heading on our next road trip. We took the 3 hour journey to the other side of Moscow to my sister-in-laws holiday house in the countryside- also known as a dacha. Here we spent 2 days with the whole family, celebrating Christmas. The house is right on the Moscow river and was a beautiful place to spend a couple of days relaxing with the family before heading home. We enjoyed plenty of walks in the snow and played lots of games and ate lots of food- just like any other Christmas! This was the perfect way to end our spectacular trip and I cant wait to visit again and enjoy more of this wonderful country.

Monday, 14 December 2015

Casual in Cos

I have a new favourite shop: Cos. I have recently become obsessed with this store and want everything in it! The clothes are amazing quality and I love the simplicity of the designs. Their jumpers are particularly good and I love all the snuggly knits currently in the store for winter. I also recently picked up these trousers from Urban Outfitters. If you know me, you will know I am a huge fan of trousers and it's very rare you will catch me in a skirt or dress. I have a whole wardrobe full of funky trousers and these are my favourite new addition. Although they really aren't very flattering and don't go with much, they are perfect with a slouchy jumper and pair of trainers for a casual weekend look. 
Jumper- Cos
Trousers- Urban Outfitters
Trainers- Adidas
Clutch- Whistles
Watch- Uniform Wares

Monday, 7 December 2015

Prepping for Russia

The majority of my Christmas list this year is focused on my trip to Russia at New Year. I am priming myself for the minus 20 degree weather forecast and the inches of snow by stocking up on lots of warm clothing! I can't quite imagine exactly how cold it is going to be as I have never really experienced extreme cold weather. I have never been skiing and all my holidays have revolved around sunshine and the beach, so this is going to be a whole new experience for me! With this in mind, I am asking Father Christmas for some snuggly snow boots and lots of cosy jumpers this year. I have been on the lookout for a super toasty winter coat for a while now and when I found this gorgeous Jasper Conran down-filled coat in Debenhams, I knew it was the perfect piece. It is so, so warm and the hood is so fluffy and cosy. I have never had a really warm coat, and always go for style over substance, but I think this is the perfect combination of being warm and practical, but not looking like a sack of potatoes! I also picked up these gorgeous Miss Kurt Geiger boots from Debenhams which I literally haven’t taken off since I got them. They are perfect for work as they have a slight heel and are super comfy....not sure if they will survive in the Russian snow though!
Coat- Debenhams
Jeans- Topshop
Boots- Debenhams
*PR Sample

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

SenSpa

I have recently discovered the lovely SenSpa range, designed around the treatments and products used at the SenSpa at Careys Manor Hotel in the New Forest. The spa offers a true taste of Thailand with authentic Thai spa inspired treatments and a focus on the health of the mind, body and spirit. From these treatments, the Body Therapy range has been created, to give you that spa feeling in the comfort of your own home. The UK made range consists of 100%natural essential oils and all the products are as natural as they can possibly be with no parabens, sulphates or animal ingredients. The range consists of three main fragrances- Relaxing, Nourishing and Detox. I tested out a couple of products form the Relaxing and Detox range to start my SenSpa journey!

Relaxing Body Wash and Relaxing Body Butter
I absolutely loved the smell of this range, and it is no wonder that it smells so amazing when you read what is in it. Organic lavender, starflower, jasmine, bergamot, patchouli and geranium essential oils all contribute to the heavenly scent. I also had a mini version of the Body Butter in the Relaxing Mini Treats gift set, which consisted of the Body Butter, the Body Wash and a body polisher. The Body Butter left my skin feeling really nourished and moisturised, however the scent was a little too strong for me as I have very sensitive skin and I am used to using unfragranced body moisturisers. This little set would be a great present or stocking filler, and it also has a little ribbon so you can hang it on the Christmas tree!
Detox Body Scrub and Muscle Soak
The Detox range blends nine essential oils with seaweed and Dead Sea salts to detoxify and rejuvenate the skin. I am a huge fan of Dead Sea salts and the benefits they have to your skin, therefore, this range was a winner for me. I found the scent of the Muscle Soak a little overpowering, but it did make me feel very relaxed in the bath! The Body Scrub is a really nice consistency and the natural pumice in the product worked hard to slough away any rough patches. I like an exfoliator that is quite abrasive and really feels like it is doing something, and this one left my skin super silky. 

This range is really well priced for a spa brand (these products were between £5.95 and £6.95) and you can pick them up with your food shop in your local Waitrose. I also really like the packaging of these products and they would make a great present, perhaps for your mum or nan, for Christmas. 

Have you tried anything from SenSpa before?  


Sunday, 29 November 2015

Isle of Wight Weekend

Last weekend I popped over to the Isle of Wight for a few nights on the island with friends. There's nothing I love more than a weekend of long walks, cosy fires and lots of food and drink with great company. I normally go over with my family as we have a little holiday cottage over there so many weekends are spent hanging out on the beach and eating in pubs, however this time we took some friends over to explore the island.

Ben and I went down on Thursday night after work to have a day to stock up for the weekend and get the house all cosy before our guests arrived. The other guys came down on Friday night and arrived to plenty of red wine and cheese by the log-burning fire. We woke up on Saturday to a beautiful sunny day and took the opportunity to go on a long (and very windy) walk over Tennyson point and all the way to the Needles. It ended up taking about 3 hours, but the stunning views and pub lunch at the end made it all worth it. Saturday night was spent drinking wine and playing games by the fire before another glorious day took us down for a long walk on the beach. We met up with one of the boy’s family who live on the island and have the most gorgeous little dog, Lula. After the long walk on the beach, it was definitely time to hit another pub. We finished off the weekend with a huge roast, expertly cooked by the boys before heading back home on the ferry.

It was so nice to get away from the hustle and bustle of London for lots of fresh air and beautiful scenery and it went far too quickly for my liking! Luckily all the boys I went with are photographers so we got some amazing shots from the weekend. The below are all from Will Douglas who takes the most amazing photos- check out his website here.