Monday, 17 December 2018

Christmas Styling With Monsoon


The festive season can be a bit of a sartorial nightmare. With office parties, family get togethers and quick after work drinks (that can turn into a long night!) you not only need a Christmas wardrobe that can get you through party season in style, you also need it to be versatile, comfortable and something you can rely on! Luckily, Monsoon have you got you covered. This year, their party collection has something for everyone. From statement pieces that will make you stand out in the crowd; to beautiful accessories that can dial that work wear up from zero to party hero!

For me, the Christmas season is definitely about wearable pieces that make you feel amazing. Most of my parties are mid-December, meaning I’ve already indulged in a few mince pies and several selection boxes, making it really important to get flattering, great quality pieces that can fit easily into my wardrobe. Working with Monsoon this Christmas has been a little bit of heaven. They really do have all aspects covered! I wanted to make sure I chose pieces that reflected my style, the occasion and were something a little bit special.




The first look on my list, was something to take me straight from the office to the party! It is the busiest season after all, and with time in short supply, something that was easily adaptable is a must have! Polka dots have been 2018’s hero print. Lasting well into winter, this pretty print is the perfect way to stay on trend; so the Daisy Dot Skirt was the piece I turned to. This skirt can easily be worn with hiker boots and a knitted sweater for a day time look, and then be transformed into the perfect party look by just adding a few details. To transform this into a night time look, I turned to one of AW18’s biggest must haves - sequins! This classic embellishment is now the only way to go when you want to shine! This Shilpa Sequin Top is one of Monsoon’s most versatile pieces. Easily worn with a pair of mom jean and some heels, it’s equally at home teamed with the spotty skirt and some incredible velvet platforms (more about those later!). To finish the look I added some chic hair clips (it’s all about doubling up!) and a circular evening bag - outfit compete! 





Next up was the annual Christmas Eve pub crawl. Not as raucous as it sounds; it’s actually become one of my favourite traditions. My childhood friends come home and we go to our local haunts. This is always a tricky one to style, as it involves walking in freezing temperatures, and then boiling next to the fire in a busy pub! I wanted something sparkly, but also stylish and comfortable. The Saturn Sequin Midi Dress ticked all the boxes. Its delicious golden sequins skim over any lumps and bumps and it hangs beautifully. Although stunning on its own, I wanted to make it a little more ‘pub friendly’ so decided to embrace the layering trend add the Charlotte Cowl Neck Jumper. This instantly makes the look more casual, and almost looks like I’m wearing a skirt, making it a totally new outfit; something that can be done with so many dresses! Teamed once again with my hero accessories; the stunning blue velvet Vanya Platforms, which instantly make the look modern and topped of with the Vienna Circular black bag - the perfect Christmas Eve look!






Finally, it’s the big day itself - Christmas day! For this look, I wanted something a little bit special, but something that I didn’t have to think too much about. Enter the Tanya Shooting Star Embellished jumpsuit. This stunning one piece is the perfect way to look effortlessly chic, with very minimum effort. You don’t have to worry about separates or what will go with what; just throw on this beauty and you’re ready for the festivities in one fail swoop! The beautiful embellishments make it feel Christmassy, without going OTT, and the wide legs and sheer sleeves ensure it is flattering for every figure. I kept the accessories simple; just two hair slides and the Vanya shoes to wear underneath this floor length work of art!


So there you have it. Three festive outfits, that can also be used as a mini capsule wardrobe. Mixed together with what you already 
have, you’ll have enough looks for many Christmases to come!






Tell us about the pieces you’ve chosen;

I’ve chosen pieces that immediately caught my eye. I love sparkles, but also like them to be ‘wearable’, so nothing ‘too much’. Pieces that can be worn again are my favourite!

I love to pick and choose trends. I like to keep up to date and modern, but love a classic twist, especially pieces that can last for years to come.

How will you be styling them this festive season?

I will be styling the pieces in various ways, but mainly in looks that can be worn in more than one way. Versatility is what it’s all about for me. Being able to wear the clothes again and again is always a bonus!

How will you wear them in the New Year?

All of the pieces I chose can be worn in so many ways. The polka dot skirt and cowl neck jumper are probably the easiest to ‘dress down’, but I know I can throw a leather jacket over the jumpsuit and make it a more causal look!

Gifting:

What’s on your Christmas wish list this year?


From Monsoon - As you can probably tell, I’m a sucker for sequins, and the Rainey Rainbow Sequin Dress is definitely on my Christmas list!

In General -  Definitely some pamper bits; face masks, nails varnishes and bubble bath!


 What’s your gifting fail safe

In my family, it’s definitely a bottle of good quality gin!





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Friday, 7 December 2018

Christmas Shopping At Cheshire Oaks


Ahh Christmas...It can often mean time spent with loved ones, day time drinking and plenty of delicious food. However, it can also mean going in to total panic over gift buying, especially as there seems to be more people to buy for each year! Well I may be able to help...

Earlier in the week I was invited down to my favourite designer outlet; Cheshire Oaks. Just a 45 minute drive away from Manchester, and just 30 minutes from Liverpool; Cheshire Oaks is the largest outlet shopping centre in the UK! It has over 145 stores and restaurants, including some of my favourite designer high street clothing and homewear brands such as; Mulberry, Burberry, Marks & Spencers, Denby Pottery, Cath Kidston, Nike, Next and many many more - there really is something for every style, taste and mood!



As well as having 100s of stores offering up to 60% RRP, it's also THE place to eat and shop all in one place. My personal fave is the incredible Cafe Rouge, but they also have some other fab places like Yo Sushi and Wagamama! All this, along with free parking (top tip - head to the back of the outlet, to the multi-story car park, it's super handy and perfectly positioned), the majority of the outlet is undercover, so it's perfect for all weather - great for the very wet day I visited! 

My mission was to find Christmas presents for my family; including my 20 year old brother, 2 teenage boys, a new mum and my auntie who loves luxurious toiletries  - a challenge for any regular high street; so lets see how I got on!




I obviously needed a bit of help with all this present buying, so I asked along my mum (and personal photographer!) along for some lunch and shopping support. We started off by popping to the Costa coffee; setting things off right - with caffeine of course! Then headed straight to the shops! The best thing about Cheshire Oaks has to be the wide selection of stores. I personally love a good homewear store. With the new house, I'm always on the look out for bargains, and I wasn't disappointed. I found some beautiful pieces in Denby Pottery and also treated myself to a pan from Le Creuset; this was within 10 minutes of arriving...we had to remind ourselves that we were actually there for presents. 

First on the list was my auntie who loves Molten Brown. Their store has some of the best discounts, with most things having at least 30% off, and these are current lines too! We found the perfect bubble bath collection, which very handily came in a gift box, for just £35 (RRP £50). Whilst we were there we also picked up some gifts for my teenage cousins. Two gift sets for men, which were just £12 each - 3 presents done in one store! Walking around the outlet, we also came across a beautiful pop up shop selling personalised wooden gifts, something id not seen before. It just goes to show, it's not just  fantastic branded gifts; you can also pick up some really unique personalised presents too!




Somewhere in between the Cath Kidston store and Next, I found myself in the Clarks outlet. They were having a sale, meaning even more discounts on top of the outlet prices - heaven. I found some very on trend hiker boots, down to £50 from £180, so treated myself (again). They had so many gorgeous winter boots, it was pretty hard to narrow it down to just one pair! Next on the list to buy for was my 20 year old brother. He's pretty easy to buy for, as every year he wants Calvin Klein underwear. I usually have to fork out £35, but in the outlet store, I found the exact same pair for just £24 - yas! More or less next door to CK, was one of my favourite stores - M&S. As usual, I picked up a multipack of knickers (obvs) with 50% off - mum also got me some Rosie for Autograph PJs half off too; you really can't beat getting the things you would normally buy anyway, with such great discounts! Wandering round the centre, we also found the incredible festive corner, boasting Europe's largest walk in Christmas tree (not joking!). It felt like a mini German market, and even with the rain, it was busy and packed full of Christmas shoppers! Such a lovely surprise in the middle of the usual stores.




My favourite store of all (on this particular visit) had to be Cath Kidston. It was HUGE and part of Cheshire Oaks' new expansion. Best of all, most of the stock was up to date, and current season. I just don't know how they do it! You could pick up an over night bag for just £15 (Usually up to £65!). My cousin reads my blog, so I won't say exactly what we got her, but it's something that I know she'll love, and that I've seen for full price in their Manchester city store. Just like the other stores at Cheshire Oaks, Cath Kidston didn't feel like an typical outlet shop. It was set out beautifully, everything was laid out in order and it all had prices clearly showed (my pet hate is when there is no price!). The outlet as a whole is so beautifully set out, with lots of space to walk about; it doesn't feel crowded! You can get the latest trends, classic pieces and some amazing food all in one place - perfection.

Our final stop of the day was the Lindt Chocolate shop. I have to say, it was the busiest store without doubt. It was packed, floor to ceiling with delicious chocolates, and I could have stayed there all day. We ended up getting quite a lot, all with 30% off and all current stock - we spent over £20 so we got a free chocolate bar too!!!

We both had a fantastic day at Cheshire Oaks. We spent a good 4 hours wondering around shopping and eating, and really enjoyed ourselves. To make sure everyone gets the chance to do some Christmas shopping, the centre is open from 9am to 10pm during December, so lots of time to shop after work too! And don't worry if you're not local! McArthurGlen have 24 Outlets worldwide and 6 here in the UK; Ashford, Bridgend, Cheshire Oaks, East Midlands, Swindon and York!

A massive thank you to Cheshire Oaks for a wonderful day, and helping me get super organised and ready for Christmas! If you have any questions about a visit to the outlet, don't hesitate to email me, I'd be happy to help you plan your visit!

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