Friday, 28 October 2016

The Perfect Winter Knit Dress (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

A knit dress is an essential part of my autumn-winter capsule. It's just one of those brilliant little pieces that you can chuck on in a flash, pick up a jacket and boots and head out the door. But because it's a dress you automatically look like you made an effort, when really it was a simple no-brainer. As you all know, simple but effective dressing formulas are my groove and so this Madewell dress fills the requirements perfectly. I've already worn it lots, each time i've changed the boots, bag and jacket (although with the blank NY vegan jacket they seem to be best buddies and totally made for each other!)

Well it's friday folks.. And I don't know about you but my little brain is well and truly fried.  I'm currently writing a post for next week thats a little more hard hitting and something very close to my heart ( i do hope you'll come back for a read), but to say i'm drained would be an understatement.
So i shall hand the metaphorical mic over to you, I can't wait to see what outfits you all linmk up with this week. SO many caught my eye last week... You my friends are GOREGOUS!

Happy weekend to all of you!

Biker Jacket
Boots: Primark: Love these or these


Wednesday, 26 October 2016

Tips on how to live minimally with a Capsule Wardrobe

 The one thing I'm asked more often than not is
"How do you make a capsule wardrobe work for you??"

Only second to, how do you curl your hair ;) But honestly on Instagram, ladies will often approach me and ask how i make it work.
As a previous clothes fanatic, hoarder, fast fashion crazy shopping lady I totally understand how easy it is to stand in-front of a crammed wardrobe full of clothes, yet feel like you have nothing to wear.
I have been there many, many times over and often fell on to my bed in despair wailing " Its so unfair.. I have nothing to wear, my life is so harrrdd!!"
Well sorta. Perhaps a tad less dramatic, but in my head that was totally what was happening.
So i thought i would write today, alongside these #ootd pics from my Instagram, a little capsule wardrobe help; A guideline if you will to save your sanity, and to show that if I can work to a minimal wardrobe, then so can you. And you will also find out how liberating it is, just like i have.

So here goes:

  • Dress for who you are, not who you want to be

This is the first thing i took in to consideration when i started the capsule wardrobe process 3 seasons ago.
And this basically is one of your most important factors when choosing your clothes. 
What i mean by 'Dress for who you are' is exactly that: Don't buy clothes or keep clothes for when you loose weight, gain weight, change hair colour, get a tan, etc.. A capsule is for the here and now and it needs to work for you of your present life.

  • Dress for your lifestyle

Again this is so so important and was one of the major things that i had to consider. 
I am not a lady who goes out very often. With small children, a husband that works away and hermit like tendencies, you won't generally find me out-out very often. Therefore having a ton of fancy dresses and such attire is pointless for me. 
My life consists of school run, dog walks, sitting at my desk at home, the supermarket and coffees or sometimes lunch out.  Thats it.
Be brutally honest. Your life may be much more fancy than mine (it wouldn't take much, ha!) But box clever with your dressy pieces. Buy a versatile black dress that can be remixed with shoes and jewellery, or smart trousers, a leather skirt and a dressy top, again, totally remixable.
But for the rest of your capsule, only include pieces that you know you will suit your day-to-day life.

  •  Only include pieces you LOVE

Sounds kind of obvious, but it really is important. If you have, lets say a few tops, but you look at them and think, meh.. then you won't end up wanting to wear them, you will then want to go out and shop and before you know it you are back at where you were with a wardrobe bulging and nothing to wear.
When i pick the pieces for my capsule wardrobe i only include pieces i love to wear, feel comfortabe in and confident to wear. 

  • Find your defined style, or work with a loose theme

This has always been hard for me as i tend to have a slight bi-polar style disorder, in the sense of my style changes.. regularly. Not as much as Madonna, but i do still like to dabble with different trends/ styles. This capsule sees a mix between slightly boho and a bit of preppy. Which on paper shouldn't work, but for me it does. 
Think about this when you're looking at your pieces. Do you like a preppy style, are you more girly, do you like a more scandi minimum style? Do you live in trainers /sneakers and causal attire? Have a good think and it will really help.
The one thing a lot of mums have come to me and said over the years, is that they don't have a style. I think we all have one, but perhaps we just don't know how to define it, or sometimes they just aren't confident enough to wear the style that they see in their heads. For this i say go for it. Its your life and your style. You want to be bohemian? You rock that maxi dress. You want minimal? Wear black and white every day, Sporty? Rock those trainers!  Just be true to yourself, and your style will shine through.
And if you really don't know what your style is, think of your favourite celebrities, what draws you to them, head to Pintrest and look through fashion posts and see what draws you in and feels 'right' to you. Make a Pintrest board ,I have a few i regularly use for inspiration!

  •  Choose a colour scheme

Not compulsory, as some work with a whole rainbow of colours, but from my personal experience, I know that if I have a colour scheme it will make for a more coherent wardrobe, making dressing much, much easier. From the photos its quite clear to see that I am partial to : denim, camel/tan, black, grey, a bit of blue and a bit of blush pink. Neutrals, i find, are the easiest thing to remix, and for me this has been the most enjoyable capsule for me so far as i love every piece i've included ( I have actually flexed out some of the t-shirts as its just too cold now after a drastic drop in temps.. but i'll come on to that later)
So with my neutrals I love to add in a pop of colour or print here and there with an accessory.

  •  Include great basics

For me Jeans are SO important to my every day life. I love a good pair of jeans, so finding what suits and fits well, and ones you know will wear and wash well is important. A big portion of my capsule are infact jeans after coming unstuck last Spring and not having enough.
I also couldn't live without a plain white top and black top, yes they are incredibly simple, but they are a must for remixing under dresses, with cardigans, skirts etc. 

  • Have your Fun items

For me key items are those pieces that bring a little pizzaz, usually for me that's with my coat. I do like a nice coat or two.. But what this could be is a fun top, an on trend piece or something that is perhaps a bit different. Its nice to throw in a wildcard here and there and enjoy remixing it.

  • Number isn't important

Don't get hung up on a number. If you google 'capsule wardrobes' many articles will tell you your capsule should be 35 pieces or less including shoes and accessories. 
But just work with what is best for you! I work at around 40, but that doesn't include my shoes and accessories or coats at the moment. Infact i have found I'm not wearing a few of these pieces and it could decrease by about 6 i'd say, however, I'm happy to flex. 
The idea behind a capsule is to make your life less about buying more and more and working happily with a contained selection. If you previously had hundreds of items, but have now gotten it down to, say 50 items, then well done, that's awesome! 
This isn't supposed to be a painful process, its to help you wear what you have, make dressing each morning easy and enjoyable.

  •  Use the Flexi-Wardrobe way

I've mentioned this lots of times, but with British weather having a mind of its own, I find a Flexi-Wardrobe works best for me. This means that if i start a season with tshirts but know as time goes on they aren't getting worn because its just too cold, i will flex them out for pieces that i know i will wear (sweaters in my case). Its important to keep this a one in one out process, and try where possible to switch in things you already own instead of seeing it as an excuse to shop. The Flexi-wardrobe enables me to work with a smaller number of clothes but not be closed minded to the fact that sometimes, something needs to be switched out. 
Again, if something isn't working for you ( I had that recently with a particular shirt.. i liked it in theory, just not on) switch it out, donate it to a friend or sell it. There's no point keeping it and feeling bad that you're not wearing it, or feeling like you could have had a better top if you hadn't of included it. You are restricted in numbers (to a degree of course) so its important to make sure you are utilising every single piece. Therefore if its not working for you, flex it out and replace it.

  •  Make a list of outfits with corresponding items

I always do this so i feel even more prepared. I sit on the end of my bed looking in to my wardrobe and mentally plan outfits. I make a note on my phone of outfit ideas; so say biker jeans+checked shirt+ biker jacket. I do this in point form so its nice and clear. Each morning if my brain isn't firing on all cylinders, I look at my list and decide what outfit i'd like to wear

  •  Store/Sell the rest of your things

So anything that you aren't including in your capsule, sell it,donate it or store it. I sold lots recently (and still am here!)and that enabled me to buy a few more pieces that i needed for this capsule. It was self funded and meant i didn't have to touch our family income to fund some shopping. Put out of season pieces, or things that you think may be useful in future keep in storage, then each season pull out your storage and see what you have to work with. From there you will know if and what you may need to buy.

  •  Keep a separate drawer for gym clothes, loungewear.

Nothing else needs to be said there really. Just keep these to a minimum and no need to include in your capsule.

  •  Shop if you want, just try to shop less

This isn't about deprivation, if you do want to shop still do it, but it's all about moderation. There's nothing worse than craving something you feel you can't have. You will end up just being miserable and resenting the whole process. Try not to shop for the sake of it, shop clever and if you purchase something make sure it will work hard for you and with your other items in your capsule. Anything you add in has to be an asset. 
Also if you are adding something in, try taking something out so you really are careful about what you shop for. If you're already happy with what you have and can't think of anything you would want to take out of your capsule, then think, do you really need to purchase that new piece? The answer is probably no. But give yourself time to think on it before making a purchase. 

And that's it, I really recommend giving it a go, even if its just for one season, it really open your eyes to the potential of living with less but still have great outfits and being happy with what you have.

Let me know in the comments if you have any questions and i will help as best i can!


Friday, 21 October 2016

Lotus Shoe Giveaway (& #Passion4Fashion Link-Up)

 Burgundy and navy is just such a great colour combination, wouldn't you agree? I've been focusing on camel and black so heavily this season that i actually forgot all about this coat. When i received these fabulous boots from Lotus Shoes it reminded me of what a glorious couple these colour make, which sent me in to my attic to dig out of storage this coat, which seems like it was pretty much made to be worn with these fab dual colour boots.
It's otherwise such a simple outfit, but i love the minimal, clean lines and block colours , making it simple and effective.

I have worn a variety of Lotus shoes  over the past 3 years, and each season they bring out a new range that is both extremely comfy and fun to wear. I have to say this season they have excelled themselves on the style front with silver and pewter boots, burgundy beauties and leopard print shoes, they are seriously on point;)

These shoe boots are exactly that, the block heel isn't too high, making these great for the day and evening and leaving my feet feeling comfy, which is always a blessing. I love the idea of these with a skirt or dress and tights too.

There's nothing like a new pair of boots to put a spring in ones step.
Thankfully it's not just me that gets great new shoes. Lotus are giving one lucky reader* their choice of shoes from their website in today's epic giveaway!

 Outfit Details:
Levi Jeans
Burgundy Coat: George( Try this)
Madewell Bag
Lotus Shoes
White shirt from H&M (Try this pretty)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

*T's& C's

* The giveaway is for one pair of Lotus shoes'
*No cash alternative
*Winner's entries will be verified so please make sure you perform the entries correctly and you stick around as if you aren't still following at the time of the draw your entry will be disqualified. Its good to play nice!
*Winner will be contacted once drawn. A response must be made within 48 hours
*Your details will be forwarded and the prize will be sent directly from Lotus Shoes
*Open through UK & Europe, but if you are in the rest of the world and wish to enter but pay for shipping please let me know and i can arrange this for you.


Thursday, 20 October 2016

Beauty Review: Neals Yard x Deliciously Ella Moisturiser & Face Wash

When your favourite recipe creator brings out beauty products you stand in good hope that they will be as excellent as the food content she creates.
The web wonder Ella Mills, author of number one bestseller Deliciously Ella and Mae Deli owner, recently collaborated with the natural and organic beauty brand Neals Yard to bring some foodie benefits to the the beauty world.

Along with Neals Yard and Ella's ethics all the products are Cruelty Free, Vegan and all organic.

What Ella says about the collaboration

"I worked closely with the team at Neal's Yard Remedies to create a beautiful blend packed with some of my favourite organic ingredients including balancing rose, toning lime, cooling cucumber and antioxidant-rich blueberries and acai.  I'm so excited for you to try my new Rose, Lime & Cucumber Collection, a simple daily skincare routine to help every skin type achieve a naturally radiant glow. Love Ella x"

So, whats it like?

Well to put it bluntly, its a pure delight for the skin.

But lets start with the packaging.
The blue heavy weight bottles dispense the product extremely well and aren't fiddly. I love that with a simple push to the pump you are dispensed with the right amount of product and aren't messing around with undoing lids and such. I keep the face wash by my shower as I always give myself a good facial cleanse whilst in there, so its good to know I can easily get the face wash without faffing.

The bottles also are very aesthetically pleasing (as are all of Neals Yards products) and when the sun shines through they really do look beautiful sat on my bathroom window sill

In regards to the product itself:
Rose, lime and cucumber are the main ingredients to this facewash, the scent is a very clean smell, with the strongest being the Rose cutting through. I absolutely love the fragrance of the three aspects together, but its not at all overpowering.
What i noticed about this face wash straight away was the lather produced once rubbed on to the face. It suds up and spreads across the face extremely well, meaning a little goes a long way. 
Once rinsed it left my skin feeling uber clean, like all the days grime had been washed away. My face felt soft yet taut (in that super clean way) and like the perfect base to apply moisturiser. My skin seems to lap the moisturiser up when I've washed with this first.

With the exact same scent they work together hand in hand. Once my face is squeaky clean i dispense a couple of pumps of the white cream and rub in circular motions in to my skin.
The gorgeous scent disperses as quickly as the cream  sinks in to the skin, which is nice as it's not an overpowering fragrance.
The consistency is a light fluid liquid, rather than a thick heavy moisturiser.
I would say this is the perfect light weight moisturiser that works well underneath makeup also. I've been using it morning and night and its light viscosity make this excellent for the barrier between skin and makeup.
What i would say is that if you're after an anti ageing, wrinkle filling cream then this isn't for you (nor does it claim to be), but its perfect natural, organic and vegan ingredients make me want to put this on my skin, and it leaves my skin feeling nourished and healthy and not chemically 

Have you tried the Deliciously Ella and Neals yard range? Would you  give it a go?
I think if you are looking for a more natural beauty product, like I have been, this is a great place to start.

Tuesday, 18 October 2016

Vegetable & Lentil Stew with Mash & Greens

'Tis the season for delicious stews and comfort food isn't it? I enjoy a good stew at any time of year if I'm honest, but there's nothing nicer than having a tasty moreish winter stew in the cold nights to warm you through.
This vegetable  stew is absolutely delicious, add in the green infused mash and you have comfort food at it's absolute finest.
And yes vegetables, lentils and chickpeas, super healthy but are also absolutely delicious, I promise you won't be disappointed with this super tasty dish. You're tummy will be full and very happy.
Another couple of excellent points with this meal:

  • You will find most of the items are store cupboard or things you may already have to hand.
  • The cost per mouth fed is super low. A big pot like this would feed 5 comfortably i'd say.
  • Its a one pot stew.. no need for lots of washing up. Another pan for your potato mash, and you're done!
  • It is Gluten/Wheat free, Dairy Free, Low fat, Vegan and full of great vegetables packed with vitamins and goodness. It would also be free on Slimming World ( I know this from doing S/W in the past.. your milk may have to come out of your daily allowance, or of course omit it)


For the Root Veg Stew

2 medium Carrots
1 Medium to large Parsnip
Half a swede if you have it
1 Leek
1 White onion
3 Large Garlic Cloves
150grams of Frozen Peas
1 Tin of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 Tin of Green Lentils, drained and rinsed
1.2 Litre of Vegetable stock
12 Sprigs of Thyme (little leaves removed)
2 Bay Leaves
3 generous tablespoons of Tamari (Or regular Soy Sauce if you're not Gluten free)
Glug of Olive Oil

For The Mash

1Kg of white potatoes
150ml Soya milk
Table spoon of Dairy free margarine
100 grams (or two good handfuls) of Spinach
2 Spring Onions
2 Teaspoons of Cumin
Salt & Pepper

  • Heat a glug of oil in your pan on a medium heat
  • Whilst the oil warms chop your onion and crush your garlic
  • Add your onion first and let this cook through for 5 minutes before adding your garlic, stiring and making sure they don't burn or stick.
  • Chop your root veg: Carrots, Parsnip and swede in to small pieces and add to your pan, stirring it together, cook through for 5 minutes
  • Chop your leek all the way to the top and add to the pan
  • Add your bay leaves and thyme leaves. As well as the leaves you can leave a spring in the pan to infuse, but remember to take this out at the end to avoid a twiggy mouthful.
  • Add your chickpeas and lentils
  • Add your hot 1.1 ltre of stock and bring to the boil
  • Add you frozen peas
  • Then add your Tamari (or Soy sauce if you're not Gluten free)
  • Leave to simmer for 30 minutes
Whilst this is now bubbling away you can get cracking on your mash

  • Peel and chop your potatoes, place them in cold water with a pinch of salt and bring to the boil
  • Turn down to a vigorous simmer and let them cook till soft
  • Chop your Spring onions in to rounds, including  the green
  • Once  the potatoes are done, drain and return to the pan. Add in your Milk ( I use soya, but feel free to use whatever milk you prefer) and margarine, mix thoroughly and mash till your potatoes are smooth
  • Mix in your spring onions and spinach and cumin. The spinach will start to wilt with the heat of the mash.
  • Season as you require

Once the vegetables in your stew are soft you're ready to assemble a lovely bed of mash topped with your delicious stew!
My husband loves a side of crunchy bread with this to soak the juices up. I'm happy with an extra serving of mash ;)

Dig in and Enjoy!

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