Basil And Bea

It's not often you find a shop that you wish you could live in (literally). But as soon as I stepped through the door of Basil & Bea, I knew I had stepped in to my interior #goals. From the all white, exposed brick wall, to the delicate glass globe lighting; the ultra cool minimal vibes shone through. Nestled in the beautiful Cheshire village of Hale, was this Aladdin's cave of high end, beautifully curated fashion and homeware. 

This little gem was courtesy of the store's owner, the lovely Hari. With a background in fashion and an incredible eye for interior design, she has put her heart and soul into creating a luxurious collection of clothing, accessories and homeware; with pieces that would be at home in larger high end designer department store, she has managed to bring a friendly, welcoming and villagey feel to the shop. You can tell Hari knows fashion. Every piece is not only current, but also classic. With designers such as Etre Cecile and Elizabeth and James, Hari has selected pieces that you can treasure forever.

It was a true joy to visit last week, and I genuinely couldn't stop taking photos. Every corner was pure delight! From the scrumptious pink chairs, to the art on the wall (painted by her dad!), Basil & Bea is definitely worth a visit. It was great to meet a girl boss like Hari, who was not only lovely, but also driven and passionate about all things fashion and design.

For more information, you can find out more about Basil & Bea here.

Candy Stripes

British summertime; ahh the magical, mysterious season that somehow seems to last exactly one week in June and then is gone forever. Okay, so maybe I'm being dramatic, but up North, especially in my beautiful city of Manchester, we tend to get the rough end of the deal. Being a fashion blogger in summer is basically being a European blogger in early Autumn. You need layers, waterproof shoes and the odd coat.

But, as luck would have it, last month had a summery day - my immediate reaction was to obviously shoot some summer looks (the fun world of a blogger!) so I whipped out my super summer Zara 'candy stripe' dress and got out my camera!

Ok; so gotta be honest, this is a tad 'out there' for me. But I've realised that my style has changed so much since I started blogging 3 years ago. Not only have I become older, I've also become more confident in my style. I see high fashion looks and want to create them. I did get funny looks when wearing this dress in my little peak district village, but you know what, I felt great! The flirty feminine silhouette made me feel like I should have been in St Tropez, sipping a cocktail on a yacht (I can dream...). It's floaty and this disguises every lump and bump going; perfect.

I kept the accessories simple and chic; with my absolute dream J.W Anderson pierce bag and some simple black mules. This bag was a big investment, but I know I will treasure is for years to come (watch it be on ebay in 3 months haha!). It immediately 'designers up' a look, and considering this dress was under £50, I think it works quite well! 

Bag: J.W Anderson // Dress: Zara (similar) // Shoes: New Look

Marketplace Bolton - Part Two

So after my amazing first visit to the wonderful Marketplace Bolton (my friends keep asking me about it, and are all dying to go!) - I spent the second weekend hunting out my top SS17 picks from the stores in the centre. As I mentioned, there is A LOT of choice. Zara, H&M, Warehouse, River Island and New Look just to name a few of my faves; so I knew I would have a hard choice to select just a few looks.

This week, I took my personal photographer (AKA Mus) so I managed to get a few shots of in and around the centre, and yes, more of that beautiful architecture! 

Outside the beautiful Marketplace's original door!
Dress - New Look 
Top - Dorothy Perkins @ Debenhams 
I started off in Debenhams, which I'd forgotten just how much choice you actually get in there! I went from this beautiful off the shoulder top from Dorothy Perkins, to shoes from Kurt Geiger and bags from Jasper Conran; all in one under one roof! They also had lots of fab offers, including 20% off selected bags, including the one on this blog (my absolute fave!). Although we're well into August, there is still lots of time to get some summer florals into your wardrobe. I'm not a massive fan of patterns, but this season, florals have been EVERYWHERE, so I finally gave in and chose this red number. Perfect with mom jeans or tucked in to a pair of skinnies, this top is perfect for summer evenings!

Taking a break in the airy hidden spaces in the centre.
Top - River Island 
Tope and Shoes - Next 
I also headed to Next, who I have had the pleasure of working with throughout my blogging career. I'd not been in for a while, so couldn't wait to get my hands on some new summer pieces. After long deliberation (serious first world problems here) I went with this beautiful eyelet detail blouse and some classic animal print flats. Both are perfect for right now, but can also transition in to late September, when we always get a little Indian summer!

Shoes - KG @ Debenhams 
Bracelet - Earnest Jones 
Bag - Julian MacDonald @ Debenhams 
Accessories were next on my list, and I found endless choices all over the centre. I decided to go for something that although is definitely on trend now, will also last you for years to come; this perfect Julian MacDonald black chain detailed bag - IN LOVE. It definitely has Chanel vibes, but this babe was under £50 - YES! I also popped in to Ernest Jones for some  jewellery inspiration. I could have been there for hours; the diamonds were to die for, Mus was getting worried! 

Being interview by Bolton FM!
The only place in the UK where 4 red phone boxes are all stood together - thanks Cathy for being the perfect tour guide!
As well as shopping, having a cheeky Nando's (in the poshest Nando's ever!) and learning about the fantastic events coming up at the centre; I was also interview by Bolton FM. This was very nerve-wracking, yet exciting and I felt honoured to be thought of as interview worthy! I genuinely had such a lovely few days with the lovely people at the centre, and felt like part of the family. In fact, Mus and I are heading back for the August Bank Holiday weekend for their food festival, which promises to be an incredible event! Thank you to everyone who made my time there warm and welcoming; see you all soon!

For more information about Marketplace Bolton, you can find all you need here!

Marketplace Bolton - Part One

Yesterday I was invited along to the 'Summer of Style' event at the Market Place shopping centre in Bolton. Although I'm a proud Northerner, and supporter of local, smaller shopping destinations, I have to admit, I'd never been to Bolton, despite it being just half an hour a way! After this weekend, I will definitely be back, as I found a modern, fashionable and best of all, super instagrammable shopping centre, which has something for everyone.

 Up North, we can get a bad rap when it comes to fashion, shopping and generally keeping up with our Southern friends; but after my little trip to the Market Place, I am pretty convinced we are hotter up North (not literally of course, raining and cold on this July Sunday) than ever before. 

The event itself, which runs this weekend and next weekend (5/6th August) is celebrating all things style, and the centre has some super fun things for all ages to get involved with. From a magic selfie mirror (which believe me, was ahhmazing) to glitter girls making all of your sparkly hair dreams come true, and all of which are FREE! I was there to offer some style advice and to find my top summer picks in the great selection of stores (Zara, Topshop, H&M to name a few!). I will be showing you my top 5 looks next week, so stay tuned!).

To be completely honest, I wasn't expecting a lot from a small centre in Bolton. I was already comparing it to my own home town (which doesn't even have a Zara, sacrilege I know!) but even after spending a whole day there, it didn't give me enough time to experience all that the centre had to offer. The centre itself is a mixture of old and new, with stunning modern architecture, mixed with bare brickwork from the original Victorian market place. It feels different and new, and best of all, it's spacious and light so you don't feel like you're in a cattle market like some places (not mentioning any names...). The biggest surprise for me, was the basement floor called 'The Vaults' where most of the food brands are based - as you can see from the pictures, each restaurant is set under it's own arch, in a beautiful, unique setting below the shops. Throughout the basement, there are hidden art works, wine bars and even mini golf along with the children's play centre. It's just incredible how much you can fit into one place!

After tearing myself away from what I call "the most instagrammable toilets in the North West" I made my way up to the top levels of the centre. The second floor comprises of a modern airy restaurant, Starbucks and more stores, with lots of room for more! At the very top of the market place is the 9 screen cinema, which yet again consisted of more stunning art work, interior design goals and even a couple of chandeliers - my idea of heaven. Returning down to the main event, I watched a bit of Face Yoga (actually really amazing!), stopped of for some of the best pick and mix I've ever seen and then listened to the 2 lovely older gentlemen belting out some tunes!

The centre was packed, and I had such a lovely day meeting the team responsible for putting on the event, and the very lovely Cathy who showed me around and made me feel so welcome. It was definitely a huge success, and I can't wait for next weekend, when I'm there again, so if you're local, pop down and we can go and get some sassy summer outfits together!

You can find out more about the event, including times and what's on, here - and with it just a 25 minute tram journey from the city centre, it's definitely worth a visit!

A Day At Bicester Village

Designer clothes and accessories; nothing divides the blogosphere more than whether you're a bargain hunter, vintage rummager and recycle queen, or whether (like me) you can't get enough of luxury brands, and will scrimp and save until the new Gucci bag is yours!

Well, what if you could combine both! Impossible I hear you say...well not anymore! I'd seen quite a few of my fave bloggers go to a magical place called Bicester Village. I'd presumed it was just another luxury shopping destination, with brands such as Loewe, Balenciaga and Stella McCartney (to name just a few!). But it was when I saw Lindsey (from style up her new Celine shoes, that I noticed she'd mentioned how much of a bargain they were - this is when I discovered that Bicester Village was not just an amazing place with all the top designer brands in one place, oh no - it was an outlet village, with amazing discounted pieces from all of my favourite designers!

 Living up here in Manchester, I had literally no idea where Bicester was (ashamed at the lack of my English geography) but discovering it was in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside gave me an idea. My mum had wanted to go away to a spa break for months, well, what better than a break in the country! We booked in the local spa and golf resort  which was just 10 minutes from the village itself and set off for our stay-cation. It took just 2 and a half hours from Stockport, and we chose the most beautiful weekend (temps were 32c!). If you're a Londoner, you can get the train direct to the village which takes under 50mins! 

 We arrived on Sunday afternoon and it was super busy, and very overwhelming. Every single store in the beautifully designed, quaint shopping street is filled with an incredible, luxury designer. I literally did not know where to start! There were brands that I didn't even realise had outlets, such as Valentino and YSL - it was like being a kid in a candy shop (or a Lauren in designer heaven!). My mum bought a discounted Radley handbag within 10 mins of arriving; it had an amazing 60% off with an extra 10% on the Sunday that we were there.

Although it was busy (it was the weekend), it wasn't cramped as the main shopping street is lovely and wide and perfect for window shopping. There were plenty of places to sit and get some refreshments; ice-cream was a must have in the hot weather! We spent 3 hours browsing, trying on and and admiring all of the incredible outlet priced collections. The best thing about the Village, is that the pieces are only last season, not years old like some outlet places I have been. Most have been on sale within the past 6 months, or are currently on sale on the designer's websites. You feel like there must be a catch, but there isn't! It's just beautifully curated collections, in stunning boutiques with fabulous prices!

I have to say, that although I went with a Balenciaga bag, my favourite boutique had to be Gucci. I say 'boutique' but it was more like a 2 floor super store - just huge! Again, despite it being a busy Sunday, Gucci was so big, that you had enough room to browse and not feel rushed. The bags were to die for, with most having at least 50% off the RRP. I was definitely torn between several amazing accessories, but in the end, Balenciaga stole me heart.

It was love at first sight with my little navy tote. I paid just over £300 (RRP £630) which although is a lot, I knew I would use her for years to come; the perfect summer carry bag. I later found the larger size still on sale on net-a-porter which just shows how good the stock is! I had such a wonderful day at Bicester Village, and only wish I lived nearer so I could go every week! I will definitely be back, and it is 100% worth the journey if you are a big designer fan! 

Thank you to the wonderful staff and everyone at Bicester Village for the perfect day shopping with my lovely mum!

Hero Piece - Heritage Check Blazer

There comes a time in life (cough*late twenties* cough) when you have to start thinking more sensibly when it comes to your wardrobe. No, I don't mean the actual wardrobe (Ikea obvs), no I mean the contents; my favourite thing in the world; clothes. 

Things become rather boring, and bills, rent and food are slightly higher in importance than those Gucci loafers you've been eyeing up for 2 years. Having a roof over your head and paying your council tax (who knew!?) are more at the top of the priority list. Ironically, me and Mus moved back in with my parents to save for 6 months, 2 years later and we're still here...However, we're getting ready to move out again and my priorities needed to change.

Long story short; I've had to really think about what I buy.

First world problem, I know. But, I've worked since I was 15, and spending money on clothes and accessories has always felt fine! In reality, Mus and I need a house to ourselves again, and although I've got a smaller budget, with the right attitude I feel I've slowly come to terms with the fact, less is actually more.

This brings me nicely (sorry for the ramble) on to my hero piece of the entire year, let alone season; my heritage check blazer from H&M. I bought it in January for £39.99 and I've probably worn it at least twice a week. It's a mixture of on trend, classic and versatile, all of which adds up to perfection. For those of you who follow me on Instagram, you'll know it's heavily featured in flay lays and the odd selfie, this is because it honestly is my fave go-to piece. 

In this post, I wanted to show how it really can last all seasons. Due to my new job and utter rubbish-ness (is that a word!?) at being a blogger, I actually shot this back in Feb, when the weather was a lot cooler and the blazer on it's own wouldn't really suffice. Layering is a massive SS17 trend, but I started to layer back in winter, when the good old UK weather never knows what it's up to, and you can be freezing one minute and boiling the next. I think lots of thin layers work best. You want to keep a nice silhouette and not look like you're just trying to beat the hand luggage weight on EasyJet (we've all been there).

I started with a long sleeve tee, added my babe of a blazer, and finished the look with another hero piece of mine, the beige trench. I brought it into 2017 with a good earring, an off the shoulder pose and some kitten heel boots. 

All of these pieces are great for mix and matching. Each will look acceptable on its own, but worn together, create a thought out, classic look. I go through phases with fashion. I sometimes want to look all "Oh I just threw this on" and other times I want to look polished and chic. I think this is a mix of both, and the statement earrings just make it more "on trend". I added a belt just to show what you can do with just one blazer. 

At the moment I'm wearing the blazer over little vest tops and mom jeans. I recently wore it with some wide leg black pants which, despite my worries of looking like a "mum", it worked really well! It's all about experimenting, choosing pieces that you know you'll wear again and again. This blazer will be in my wardrobe as long as it lasts and it's the best £40 I've spent!

Blazer - H&M (similar)
Trench - Next 
Jeans - Next
Earrings - Mango (similar


Hi guys! Just a little update as to why I have been a shockingly bad blogger of late. I started a new job last month, but also still freelance for my old brand too; basically I have no free time to blog right now, but cannot wait to get back on it when I'm slightly more...settled! 

Love the new job, so it's all positive, just feel awful for saying I would be back, then not post on here for 3 months! I'm still on IG every day at @fashion_panic - and for all you brands out there, I would still love to collab!

Thanks for sticking with me - I still love the blog life! 

"Sartorial Marmite"

Yo yo yo; I'm back! Ok apologies, I totes didn't know how to start a blog post, since I've not written one in over two months. Clearly thought the gangster greeting was appropriate...

So, as I so eloquently mentioned; I'm back and I have actually shot some new outfits for you  lovely lot to take a look at. The first of which involves a trend that hasn't appeared in my repertoire since the early nineties. That's right, the good old dress over jeans. The sartorial marmite, you will either lust or loath this familiar duo. For me, it perfectly embraces the femininity I so often lack (I never wear dresses) with the more on trend, street style queen masculine vibes that we've been seeing from fashion week.

Although I had spotted the top fashionistas out and about in layered look, I hadn't actually had any firm plans of recreating it myself until a recent collaboration with one of my old faves, Dorothy Perkins, where they mentioned their new "must have" dress. I was immediately drawn to the colour and bold floral design and although admittedly not something I would usually go for, I felt the bizarre need to style it! It's no secret that green was big on the SS17 runways last year. This has led to an abundance of the sassy shade sprinkled throughout our high streets. 

 This particular bold shade (I googled, apparently it's "shamrock" pretty apt considering it was Paddy's day on Fri, oh I do love to be topical!) fits well into my wardrobe. If you follow me on Instagram, you'll see I'm not exactly a colour connoisseur, but this green complimented denim (which is pretty much a daily occurrence in my OOTD's so is the ultimate goal), was a great length and fit (baggy, but slim) and I also love the abstract take on floral. So pretty much a great allrounder! I  teamed it with my raw hem mom jeans, kitten heels and added a little bit off sass with my DP biker. Obviously finishing the look with my new JW Anderson Pierce bag, which is the new love of my life (sorry Mus) which immediately takes it to another level, even if I do say so myself!

Jacket: Dorothy Perkins
Jeans: Asos
Boots: Zara
© Fashion Panic

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