The Knit - List

Tuesday, 14 November 2017

The weather here in the UK has become decidedly colder, which means only one thing: Knitwear!(and hot chocolate, but this post is about knitwear..haha..but just to say that Costa's festive cups are super cute as per usual). I have compiled a list of the "knits-to-know" and I may have thrown in a few cheeky extras at the end.

This is not in any specific order in terms of price, but snugglyness (a technical term of course):

The Texas song "Halo" is just what this sweater is like...a halo around the skin. It's light and cosy and great for work and play. Toast fares favourably in this regarding, as knitwear is what this brand is known for.

I'm not usually a fan of fully acrylic knitwear, but Topshop has nailed it on the cosy front. Their oversized funnel neck is an exception to my own rule. It looks and feels like a cloud and I style mine with blue jeans.

Although red is the colour of the season I think now that the red frenzy has peaked, it calls for more of a subtler nod to the trend (in my humble opinion of course). Yet another piece of Parisian chic in the form of Vanessa Bruno's gold button striped sweater will keep you toasty and on-point....result!. Black Friday will soon be upon us, so it may be worth holding out for a few more weeks to see if

Cosy Cos also provides knitwear and scarves that you will want to keep on all day long. I myself, have a number of pieces from Cos, which I wear practically on rotation. Here's a few to add your mental wish-basket. What can be more comforting then a sweater dress, great with boots and flats alike. This one may seem a bit sack-like, but it screams effortless cool (and will hide a post-pizza tummy).

Does Christmas Jumper Day strike fear into the hearts of the style-conscious?. If it does, this sweater from Mango, has all the embellishment, but none of the cheese. For those who are brave enough to go full-speed "jungle bells", head to Topshop for their Xmas special. If you really wish to invest in something more seasonal, then N.Peal is a safe bet. Cashmere is what they do and this Jewelled Fairisle Cashmere number has "Seasons Greetings" written all over it.

Lastly, a few little extras which I will definitely be enveloping myself in over the next few months: this Toast green Donegal cashmere scarf will add a pop of colour to any dark outfit. Green is a lovely autumn colour and there's a shade out there that'll suit everyone. Saint Laurent is not an obvious choice for scarves, but their appliqued scarf has subtle branding and would make a nice treat for yourself, or a fan of the brand.

That (Black) Friday Feeling

This time of year should definitely be more about spending time with family and friends, rather than spending money, but one can't deny that shopping has become as much a part of the festive season as Christmas pudding and the Queen's Speech. Black Friday is the newest addition to the shopping calendar (thanks USA) and it would be rude not to take part. If nothing else, it provides an opportunity to save a few quid on Xmas gifts and perhaps even give the money saved to a good cause (?).

In order to make the most of Black Friday, there are a few tips and tricks you can use to ensure you get what you want.

- The details: This year Black Friday will be on Friday 24th November 2017.

- If it's fashion you're after, then I suggest going in store to try on the item/s and select the size you want well in advance. I know from experience that this can really help in the middle of a scrum on the day. Just pick up the item and head to the till. Job done.

- Try online: Online shopping has come a long way and can save time, money and serious injury than heading out and braving the crowds on Black Friday week. If you're a die-hard shopper, there are bargains to be had by hitting the (online) shops at a time when most of the country will be sound asleep (wimps!)

- Fuel: To have enough energy to be able to shop effectively, you need fuel. No, not a guzzle of petrol, that would be lethal, but rather food to give you the stamina to carry on, whilst those around you are suffering pangs of fatigue and despair. A good breakfast should provide you with the strength you need to carry heavy bags laden with treasure (or that new top from New Look).

- It's not just for a day - Black Friday has gradually moved on from a one day event, to discounts and offers being spread throughout the week, so there's even more opportunity for success.

So that's it for another Black Friday post: I will, of course, share my own acquisitions and I hope its filled with promise, joy and success for all!

2 Pieces of Toast

Saturday, 28 October 2017

Usually I'm all over the latest offerings from Toast, but this season I've been a bit more reserved. Saying that, there are two...yes...just two, items from the new collection that have really caught my eye (although, I'm sure this will increase when their Christmas collection is revealed).

This skirt appeared on my radar, not just because its velvet (love!), but the shape nods to the midi length which seems to be hot right now and can be worn with boots, or dressed up with heels (may be even with socks???). Now, my new "shirt love", is this slightly cropped number, which is in the most comfortable material. The rich teal and navy shade looks great for the office with black tailored trousers and the length of sleeves means it can be layered over a thin knit for extra warmth. Both of these pieces are a bit on the pricey side (Toast is more of a high-end high-street brand), but if its quality you're after and not the fast-fashion of today, Toast is the place to go. 

Learn Direct

Thursday, 26 October 2017

I may have mentioned in previous posts that I am, or was, studying for a HR qualification. I decided to do this mainly to increase my job opportunities and also to do something worthwhile in my spare time (there's only so much shopping a girl can do). It's been a few months since I completed my course and received my qualification certificate (yippee!) and I can honestly say, it made me very, very happy.

I was reluctant to study via distance learning, as it does require a lot of motivation and discipline. However, if it is a subject that you're interested in, either for work, or pleasure, then that can spur you on to study. I'd also suggest joining any related Facebook groups and get involved in course forums to communicate with other students. I know I found chatting to one other student in particular really helpful, as you gain new learning methods and seeing others progress in the course, can motivate you no end. It's also nice to just chat about the course and exchange ideas. I remember one student posted a picture of her certificate after she completed the course and that was like a red-rag to a bull, as it made me work harder to achieve the same.

The course provider I used was ICS Learn. They've been around a long time and I remember seeing their website many years ago and I really wish I'd started the course earlier. "Better late than never" of course, but I encourage anyone to consider learning something new if you have the time and money. Although, there are many courses available to study for free these days and are also accessible anywhere in the world.

Whether it's to boost your cv or just for fun - "Because you're worth it!".

On a side note, one "Youtuber" which I find super motivating in terms of study and productivity is Sunbeamsjess's channel, check it out here: Extrasunbeamsjess. She's a London based lass, studying English at University.

Thanks for reading :)

Simply Red

Thursday, 24 August 2017

You would have had to have spent the last month or so in outta space not to know that red is one of the main colours of the the new season (unless of course you were on Mars..haha). Whilst my own wardrobe has as much colour as a 1940's movie, I am rather excited about injecting a few autumnal shades into my daily uniform. I mentioned a couple of noteworthy pieces in my previous post, but this is one entirely devoted to red.

Lets start with these ankle boots from Topshop. I actually saw these a few months ago and thought that the deep, rich maroon shade is perfect with a jumper dress and black tights.

Burgundy is also a lovely shade to wear in autumn and winter and this COS cardigan is a perfect example. The sliver of yellow on the pocket make it just a tad more interesting and is a definite work-wear winner.

This next item just makes me smile when I see. If any of you have a "Christmas Jumper Day" at work, then this one from MSGM will say "jingle bells" like no other. It is pricey, but I imagine that, as we head into the depths of the season, jumpers like these will be all over the high-street.

For bags, this Accessorize Newton cross body bag would look great over a dark navy or black ensemble and can fit all your essentials.

It would not be a post from me if I didn't mention a scarf that has caught my eye. I must refrain from buying anymore scarves and this COS one in particular, as I have exactly the same one from last year, but in a different colourway. I promise I will try not to get it...sigh. 

If the thought of wearing any item of red clothing makes you red in the face (oh the irony) then red nails might the way to go: Not the garish in-your-face shade of red of course, but this one from Tom Ford is the kind I mean, its red, but ever so slightly muted.

I hope you enjoyed this post and are having a good week :)

Autumn wardrobe refresh and a few favs

Friday, 4 August 2017

I decided to end my absence from these parts with a good ole' wardrobe refresh post with a few other bits n bobs thrown in. It's been a hectic few months with the end of term rush and the added stress of trying to get my course completed. Hopefully, I can put that all behind me and try to be more regular with my blog-posts.

So what better way to relax then preparing for my fav time of year....Autumn/Winter?. The shops are starting to trickle in the latest collections and I for one am excited with a capital "X".

Lets discuss the colours: red, purple and every rich, autumnal colour you can think of. Surprisingly, red is a colour which I will be incorporating into my wardrobe this year. Despite what most, if not all, of my friends and colleagues think, I do actually like colour (its truuuuueeee). In terms of styles, there seems to be a resurgence of the 70's, velvet and relaxed tailoring. There's also plaid and midi skirts teamed with chunky knits. For a more "what's what" on the new season, see this post in British Vogue.

I kicked this off with this cute "Dilly" sweater by Vanessa Seward. The photo really doesn't do it justice, as it's the most vibrant, true red shade I've ever seen and reminds me of why spending more on quality knitwear is the way to go. I managed to pick this one up in the Netaporter sale at 70% off. I'll probably team it with slim, tailored trousers for work and watch my colleague do a double-take when they see me in something other than black, navy or grey.

You may need to sit down (if you aren't already) for the next item. Yes, its another jumper, but wait, its in the most stunning shade of blue and will surely turn heads (for all the right reasons). May I present the Henriqua jumper by Vanessa Bruno. My heart skipped a beat when I saw it and although the price is an eye-watering amount, I imagine I will get a lot of wear out of it during the colder months (sub-zero temperatures anyone?).

Moving on from clothes and I recently found out why paying that little bit extra for home fragrance can be worth. I was in the market for a new diffuser as the last one I bought, which does smell lovely, but only when your nose is about 1mm away from the bottle!, not what one wants from a home fragrance. Neom is a brand which I have known about for quite some time and during the John Lewis sale, I decided to pick up one of their "Happiness" diffusers and it is amazing. The room was filled with a light, but distinct fragrance within minutes of me inserting the diffuser reeds, a noticeable difference from cheaper brands.

With my insatiable love of stationary, my favourite this month (so far, that is) is the Pilot turquoise fountain pen. I haven't used such a pen since my school days and it really is a delight :) All that's left is a new rucksack and pencil case and I'll be all set for the new term come September.

"Summertime and the living is easy"

Sunday, 23 April 2017

...or so Ella Fitzgerald would have us believe. I haven't been feeling particulalry uninspired fashion-wise lately and my enthusiasm for purchasing new items seems to have waned slightly....which is probably a good thing for my bank balance.

I have been making more of an effort with my diet and wellbeing recently and in that regard I decided to include a Vitamin D supplement to my daily routine. Vitamin D is certainly the "IT" supplement of the moment and whilst I dont normally succumb to trends and "IT" anything, after reading around the subject, I decided that it may not be a bad thing to supplement my diet with a gradual intake of the "sunshine vitamin" as its also known. Living in the UK, where the sun shines as frequently as I attend the gym (yes, that much), our exposure to natural sunshine is minimal, so it makes sense to injest a little Vitamin D. My method for taking any supplement, or even medication, is slow and steady. I'd rather take a little and often, then a large dose of anything and send shockwaves through my being and potentially trigger an unwanted reaction.

In general, I prefer to source vitamins via food ("Let food be your medicine, not medicine your food", as the saying goes). However, I was able to find a vegan, liquid form of Vitamin D, which contains no nasties and actually tastes quite nice. Its certainly a genius idea and you can read more here.

A few recent fashion faves which did catch my eye include this jumpsuit by ASOS, this Topshop shirt and Accessorize silver bracelet. There's currently 20% off at the latter store, so I'd get ya skates on if you're a fan of all things silver. At a slightly higher price-point is this Scosha ring. No post of mine would be complete without a scarf fav (its not intentional I assure you, but a new scarf to me is like a red-rag to a bull). The Florence scarf from Oliver Bonas caught my eye at their small Marylebone Station store en route to Oxford. And whilst this may seem an odd choice for a mention, I was also quite taken by a Get Well Soon card (strange I know) by the brand Rosie Robins. There was just something about the design and sentiment that made we want to buy it. On a side note, Geraldine (a work colleague) has been a tad under the weather lately (no change there then), so I'm guessing the card will come in handy sometime soon. 

On to books and currently I've been reading a oldie but a goodie, the Cat Among the Pigeons by Agatha Christie and then this is on my "to buy" list: Move Fast and Break Things by Jonothan Taplin seems like an interesting and eye-opening read.

Last, but by no means least, its National Stationary Week from 24th - 30th April and I can well imagine that many of you have already planned (in a brand new notebook of course) what you will be doing to celebrate this auspicious occasion. Ever heard of a "Stationary Crawl"?, no, me neither, until I visited the National Stationary Week website Why go to a pub when you can visit a stationary shop? A question I'm sure many people ask on a Friday after work. A pint of lager and a packet of crisps?, make mine a level arch ring binder and a Staedtler pencil :)

A few things I've been loving lately

Sunday, 19 March 2017

It's been a few weeks since I posted on my blog and that's mainly due to work commitments, but I thought I would return with a few of the things I've been loving lately...

As Spring is right around the corner (its a pretty wide corner that Spring is coming around here in the UK, so it may take a while) I felt the need to invest in a pair or blush/nude ballet flats to inject a bit of colour into my daily uniform (which mainly consists of black, grey, navy, khaki). There's something about blush/nude flats that look so nice with slim trousers for work or play.

I searched high and low (quite literally, as I looked in Primark, H&M, Topshop and Netaporter) for the perfect pair, but to no avail. I was feeling dissappointed by my lack of success, but thought as a last ditch attempt, to try that mainstay of the British highstreet; Clarks. I must admit I wasn't expecting anything, as I've always found their shoes to be rather "clumpy" (is that a word?). However, I was surprised to see that in fact they have a number of chic ballet flats in demure colours. Of course, I was looking online and the proof was in the "seeing it person" pudding.

So, at the earliest opportunity I made my way down to my local Clarks store, a tad sceptical, that the shoe couldnt be as nice as shown online, but in fact it was. I tried on the size 5 and contemplated going a size up to 5.5, but the shop assistant told me they'd sold out. However, the 5 seemed fine and as its made of leather, they will stretch out a bit. The shoe in question are the Lily flats in nude.

Mid-season sales seem to be getting earlier every year (not that I'm complaining). There's something quite nice about stores staggering their sales, rather than it being one, maddening frenzy. Warehouse is having a particular good sale lately and my picks are: the rib cowl neck jumper, jungle stripe scarf, and the daffodil makeup bag.

Topshop, Anthropologie and H&M are all having amazing mid-season sales, which are worth checking out. Although not online, this dress by H&M is half price in stores, but be wary, the sizing is seriously messed up, so you may have to go a size or even two, up (I know, such a pain).

Away from fashion and my food love has got to be organic brown rice from Planet Organic. It may not seem the most exciting purchase ever, but I'm loving it for lunch or dinner with green beans and salmon.

Do let me know your current favs, as I'm always on the lookout for new items to lust after...Oh and as a parting recommendation, this top is just too cute: Topshop gingham blouse..

Enjoy the rest of the month :)

Another piece of TOAST

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Apologeis for the lack of content over the past few weeks. What with work and trying to keep on top of my HR assignments, I must admit that I let the blog side of things slip.

But I'm back and what better way to kick off a new post than a review of this season's offerings by one of my favourite brands TOAST: I noticed their early spring collection hit their website by mid/late December and the list of items I want to pick up is getting quite extensive.

The first is this khadi silk shirt which I saw in the Oxford store and its just soooo pretty (more on my trip to Oxford soon). It's silk, but because of the weave of the fabric it only has a subtle sheen that lends it a more sophisticated edge and the khaki colourway is just lush. Next is this raised stripe jumper that would be perfect for work with slim black trousers and open-back flats (u know the ones I mean).

Another good buy is this cashmere/wool long cardigan, that will add an extra layer for those chilly mornings/evenings in Sping. 

A post about TOAST (a rhyme...I like that) wouldnt be the same without a scarf and despite the fact that its warming up in the UK and the sun is definately getting its hat on, I STILL love a good, warm scarf and this beaut is just lovely. Hopefully, there will be a good reason for me to spend such a large amount of money on a winter'ish scarf in spring, and that that reason will transpire soon. For now though, I will just swoon and pray for a TOAST discount code to appear before me.

January Favourites

Sunday, 29 January 2017

I really like watching monthly favourite videos on Youtube. It's a great way to discover new products, books and experiences that others are loving during the month.

Here are a few of my January favourites and there's a definate lean towards stationary :)

My first favourite though, is an online clothing store which my mother loved called Poetry. I remember each season she would peruse the catalogue we received through the mail and tell me about her favourite items. I revisited the Poetry website recently and totally fell in love with their autumn/winter collection, which is on sale at the moment (result!).

The two pieces which have caught my eye are the knitted cotton and wool sweater dress in claret or charcoal, which seems like the ideal "throw on and go" item and the printed silk shirt dress looks lovely too. Although I would love to order both, I am only going to allow myself one of the two, in an attempt not to fill my wardrobe needlessly (which is going to take all the will-power I can muster).

Next is a foodie fav, which is the organic flaxseeds by Linwoods. I have read about the nutrional benefits of flaxseeds in the past, but never tried them. After watching a video by Dr Sam Bunting, she recommended them for good nails, hair and skin...and all round good health, so I thought I'd give them a go. I've been enjoying a spoonful over my cereal for the last few days, as they add a lovely, nutty (or should that be "seedy"?) taste. Flaxseeds are rich in essential fatty acids, usually found in fish, as well as minerals, such as iron and magnesium.

And now its time for stationary: Discovering new stationers should be right up there with other great discoveries....the Americas, the Theory of Relativity...ok, may be a slight exaggeration, but only slightly.

Recently, I have discovered 3, yes 3 new stationary brands and I can hardly contain my excitement. I know one of my new year's resolutions is to curtail unecessary purchases, but of course that doesn't include stationary. But enough of my waffling, the first brand is: Choosing Keeping, which is my idea of stationary heaven, with rustic, muted colours, everything on the site looks shamazing and I am already planning my visit and will report back with my findings....and purchases. The next is a brand which I discovered after buying a greeting card from Liberty and saw that it was made by Nancy and Betty. Of course, I hopped onto their website and saw that they sell quirky stationary items, which, at the moment, are on sale. An order has been placed. This month they are also offering free delivery in the UK.

The last is Papersmiths, which seems more a stationer/newsagent/ikea, which I am totally fine with. I havent had a chance to take a proper look, but no doubt during my lunch break at work tomorrow, I will be having a browse, whilst trying to ignore Geraldine and her quips (not an easy task)

Have a great February!

A New Journey

Sunday, 1 January 2017

I may have mentioned it in a previous post, but since August last year I have been doing a distance learning course in HR (Human Resources that is). It's been a few months now, I can honestly say it's been great. Sure, it requires a lot of self-motivation and there have been many times that I have just wanted to lounge in front my laptop (doughnut in hand...oops), but have instead decided to pick up my pen and books and get studying!. The online course provider I decided to go with is ICS Learn, which is based in the UK. I must admit I had been frequenting their website for years, trying to figure out what/if I wanted to study, but last year I thought it about time I took the plunge and signed-up for the course I thought would benefit me the most career-wise.

HR is something I have been interested in for a while and currently I do aspects of it in my job. By studying for a CIPD (Chartered Institute of Personnel Development) qualification I thought it would further my job prospects and help me to take on new responsibilities at work. I also liked the idea of doing something apart from work and socialising, something tangible.

As its the dawn (or evening rather, as I type this at 21:30pm) of a new year, I wanted to share my experience with the intention that it may inspire you to also try something new, whether that's studying for a formal qualification, learning a skill, trying a new hobby, etc. It does take determination and initially some gusto, but once you are on that bandwagon its a scenic ride, as slowly, but surely, you near your "destination".