Tuesday, 29 November 2016

Are you an emotional shopper?

Last week we had a scare. My baby (he's 6, but y'know..always my baby😉) was taken ill suddenly with acute pain which resulted in an emergency trip to the doctors then the hospital.
We rode a whole roller-coaster of emotions that day, from scared to worry, upset and thankfully relief.
Tears were frequent, stress was felt (i am now even greyer than last week, plus i had to cancel my hair colour appointment.. oh the irony.) and by the end of the very highly emotive day, I was exhausted, mentally and physically.

After Neo was safely deposited in to bed and snuggled within an inch of his life, I sat on my sofa, with Poldark on Netflix ( I know I'm a bit slow to the game on that one, but ooo its very good*.) my Tablet on, internet tabs open.
And i started to shop.
I browsed fiercely,  all my favourite haunts, Shopbop, La Redoute, Asos, H&M.... the usuals.
I added things to my virtual cart in each online store, I opened tab after tab and investigated piece of clothing after pieces of clothing.

At first i was just going through store after store, looking at item after item, before i stopped to actually think about what i was doing.

Internet shopping is my vice.

It is my comfort blanket. And when times get tough, i like to zone out and online-shop to ease the stress.

I think its because it feels like when i shop, i'm removing my minds clutter from the day. I start to think of outfits adding new items and things that would work well together.
It is my creative outlet, just as a painter would paint, I mentally prepare outfits and then imaginary shop for them.

Except sometimes the imaginary shop turns in to actual shopping.
And you end up with parcels being delivered to your door along with the impending guilt.
The couriers imparting packages as well as moral culpability (not sure they're acutely aware of that, although my local courier lady knows me on first name terms..), as when they hand over the goods there is of course a mixture of feelings: the rush of excitement over your next fix, delight over a bargain, but also the bitter thoughts of do i even need this, can i afford it and will i even wear it.

Then comes the trying on, wanting/rejecting and then keeping/returning with all the same feelings as above. Happiness over your new found glorious dress, guilt over the fact that you really don't need another dress and of course justification.."Well i've worked hard for this and it's been a tough week".
I have felt ALL the emotions.

I can only talk first hand about this. As a previous prolific shopper I know I'm a culprit to serial shopping, and emotional purchases are my Achilles heel. Consumerism is a vicious circle of constantly needing more and never being satisfied with what you have.
And even with my capsule wardrobe reigning me in a lot, I do still have those days when a purchase is what my brain craves to appease it.

Whats brought this more to light for me lately is Black Friday, which has now turned in to a whole week long event of sales and cheap purchases being encouraged by the retail trades. Multiple emails dropped in to my inbox hourly over the past weekend.
And yes I may have made a frivolous purchase or two.
But i'm going to mark it down as a learning curve.  Purchasing isn't always a bad thing and well, a treat can be completely harmless and enjoyable. But I think I want to be mindful of my purchases rather than finding myself cyber browsing for hours on end for no apparent reason.

I am just about to embark on my Winter Capsule and so will abstain from shopping so much, getting back on track with wearing and enjoying what i own.

And the next time I feel a bit emosh.. I'm going to try and pour that energy in to something else.

When do you shop? Are you an Emotional Shopper like me?

* Sidenote, period dramas are also my vice/comfort blanket apparently, Downton Abby is never far away.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Christmas Party Dresses with French Connection (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

Anybody else obsessed with finding a great Christmas party dress?
I guess as someone who spends most of her life in casual attire the festive season is that one time of year where i get to go all out and get properly dressed up. And i really enjoy it too.
The dress hunt obviously starts in November, as it has to be just the right dress (obvs 😉)
So with the help of fine dress purveyors French Connection, I have found a plethora of marvellous dress suggestions for you and for me.

As we all know, there are SO many trends out there right now, so I thought i'd share some classic pieces that will never age, pieces that are fun, fabulous, fashionable and wearable.
Lets get crackin'

Its the time of year when sequins, shiny and embellishment is completely and utterly acceptable. Whether it be house party or Christmas ball, you're fanciest wears are good to go! There is nothing nicer than shining extra bright through the festivities and these 3 dresses will most certainly help you shine.
I think my favourite for me is the Rainbow Jewel Embellished Dress which also comes in Opal grey which is utterly divine (be sure to go see that one as its not pictured above). But for a complete siren look you have to go for the Starlight Sparkle Strappy Dress: Gunmetal grey, close fitting, super flattering for the curves, low cut to show off the decolletage and a super leg lengthening split to the side. This should come with a warning for your husband/boyfriend/ partner 😉

The classic, the timeless, the chic and ever practical yet pretty, Little black dress.
I love that these French Connection dresses have the most gorgeous details to really up the LBD stakes, taking it from plain to, quite frankly, fabulous. Whether it be with mesh, lace or embroidery the LBD gets an upgrade and is perfect party attire. 

Lace is just the most pretty and girly finery a lady could wear if you ask me. Exquisite detailing makes these dresses elegant yet bold... I mean just look at the Snow Spell dress, which is the most beautiful winter white and kind of fairy-esque. Paired with black accessories (Carrie Bradshaw style) would allow this to be less 5 year old girl in dress up, and more fabulous glamour. Alternatively we have the ever present 'self portrait' style dress that embodies lace detailing at its finest. The Anouk Dress could work well for Christmas, New Year celebrations, christenings and weddings!

I have a real thing for maxi dresses this winter. I adore the flow of fabric in the cold winter breeze, the detailing and the fact that even though a lot of the flesh is covered (me no likey getting cold) the maxi dress still oozes sophistication.
I just sat staring at all 3 trying to decide which maxi dress is my favourite and i just cant decide between the Prila Drape dress or the Amore dress. So different yet both so beautiful. Again both dresses could allow for multiple wears through the year, and perfect for special occasions or a meal out.

There's something so sumptuous about Satin. I think its because as a fabric it's definitely not something we wear on the daily ( I mean, I don't.. you might.. which if you do, I totally applaud) Its an occasion dress which deserves to be worn. I am smitten with the colour of the Sasha Satin Fluted Mini Dress, the fuchsia feels unexpected this time of year, with blacks and reds and winter whites a plenty, but this makes it even more attractive. Plus it could be accessorised and remixed differently for multiple wears with silver, black, navy gold or greens. Its a surprisingly versatile colour that really packs a punch.

Tell me if you had to choose which type of dress would you wear this festive season?

For me it has to be Starlight Sparkle Strappy Dress, paired with some black pointed heels, a black clutch and a bright red lip!


Thursday, 24 November 2016

Hair Growth Shampoo Trial with Hair Jazz

A couple of weeks ago i decided i wanted to grow my bob/lob short hair out. It's been fun having short hair and I really have loved it (and will probably return to it at some point), but I have a craving for long flowing locks once again. 
When i make a decision i like the results to be instant, sadly growing hair takes time..boo! 
But maybe there is something that can help grow hair a bit faster.
Harmony Life off a range of products that promise speed in hair growth.
Needless to say I was well up for trying it out. Anything that can get these locks growing a bit faster I am willing to try.

I was given the Hair Jazz Mask Set (which is also Cruelty Free) and it includes:
1 Hair Jazz Shampoo
1 Hair Jazz Conditioning Mask
1 Hair Jazz Lotion

 I used this set for the first time yesterday and my first impressions :

  • The product is a but whiffy, its quite a clinical smell, menthol almost (it reminded me a bit of the muscle run deep heat) But it wasn't so smelly that it was off putting, just different as i'm obliviously used to pleasant smelling shampoos. It didn't leave my hair smelling strongly though, which is good.
  • My hair felt thoroughly cleansed, like it had had a deep clean, which felt really good, especially if you've had a lot of product in your hair prior to washing.
  • The lotion I applied on towel dried hair left my hair frizz free and in great condition, leaving a bit of volume to my hair and it felt soft but not flyaway.

First impressions are, that it leaves my hair feeling pretty great actually, really clean and smooth, and that's just after one wash.
I'm planning on using this 2-3 times a week

And this is my hair now, not even hitting the mark on the rather nifty measuring t-shirt. Its longer at the front from where its been cut in on a gradient, but still pretty short at the back as you can see.


I am excited to see the results after 5 weeks and shall be popping back on with a progress report!

Have you ever tried any hair growth products?


Tuesday, 22 November 2016

5 Things to shop for in the SHOPBOP Black Friday Super SALE!!

Its the time of the year when Black Friday is upon us. It still seems strange as a Brit to say this, as for the longest of times we didn't have Black Friday sales, but we followed suit and with that comes some tremendous savings of course.
Now this is the PERFECT time to do a little shopping, whether that be for your Winter capsule (like me,which will start on December 1st), for some Christmas presents or just because you feel a treat is deserved. Bargains are to be had, and if you're going to spend your well earned money, now would be a great time as you will get more bang for your buck.

For me, a self confessed shopaholic in remission, I like to give myself a strict guideline so that I don't go off the rails, spending like a crazy lady and end up with a cart full of things just because 'It was well cheap'.. which has previously been my forte.
Not anymore.

For such sales I stick to stringent plan.
Write a list of things you allow yourself to buy:

Things you need to fill any holes in your wardrobe (jeans, sweaters etc)
Things you can give as gifts (Christmas is just around the corner)
Items that will prove useful (wellies, underwear,winter coats etc)

Then just search for those things. Don't wander the cyber isles endlessly looking through page after page of goodies. 
This is how i plan to shop the sales and utilise them to my advantage.

Here are a few things I would highly recommend Shopping for in the Shopbop Black Friday Sale

 The Biker jacket. The year round perfect companion. I could not be without mine which is the Vegan Blank Denim Biker jacket (on the left). Perfect with sweaters, dresses, jeans and skirts, it will work super hard for you and is worthy of the investment. I wouldn't be without mine and would love to add another colour (a burgundy or khaki perhaps) to my jacket armoury.

 I adore my Levi's which i got earlier this year (they are the dark indigo Mile High) and would now love to invest in another pair for my capsule. Reliable, no saggy knees, flattering cuts and comfortable. I have really fallen for the classic brand for the simple fact that they are great jeans cut well for a women's shape. Whats not to love?

From working and shopping with Shopbop for a while, Madewell had been one of the brands i discovered and love. Comfy, practical and well styled their clothes fit well, wear well and have some beautiful interesting factors.
My Knitted dress I wear constantly is from Madewell and I wouldn't be without it. I would love to add another Madewell Dress to my capsule (the checked on in the centre would look so great with a black roll neck layered underneath and over the knee boots don't you think?)
A winter essential for me: Sorel boots are the best boot for rainy, snowy, cold weather on all terrain. I bought my first pair this autumn and i wear them for dog walks most days and you'll probably catch me in them most weekend when out with the kids. They have a plethora of choices, but for me the waterproof mesh boots (mine are the red Cozy Carnival booties) mean no leather which is great for this vegan :)

'Tis the season to give and therefore the Black Friday sales are ideal for purchasing a few sneaky gifts for the festive season. I'm absolutely smitten with all 3 items here: the Dogeared bracelet, the Kate Spade necklace and the Star dish would be perfect in my newly decorated bedroom, but alas these gifts aren't for me, but the Gift Boutique has some absolutely beautiful individual pieces that make the most perfect gifts.

These are all things I highly recommend.

What will you be shopping for his Black Friday?

Brands excluded from this sale: B&O Play, Marshall, Pryma, Master & Dynamic, Larson and Jennings, Shinola, What Goes Around Comes Around, Canada Goose, Ray-Ban, La Vie by Rebecca Taylor, Tumi, Kate Spade New York, Acne Studios, Gentle Monster, Hanky Panky, Sydney Evan, Calvin Klein Underwear.

Brands with some items excluded from this sale: DVF, Wolverine, Birkenstock, To Boot New York, Converse, APC, APC, Frye, Stuart Weitzman, Karen Walker, Beyond Yoga, Free People, Veronica Beard, Herve Leger, Tory Burch.

Happy Shopping, let me know in the comments if you buy anything, and thank you for supporting the companies that support Rachel The Hat.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Pleats Are In (& #Passion4fashion Linkup)

Well, there's nothing quite like shopping your own wardrobe is there. I bought this dress about 2-3 years ago and blogged about it at the time and then didn't wear it again. Not even once.
Terrible I know. I look back and cringe at how much I would buy clothes and then proceed to hardly wear them. Granted I don't go very far to wear pretty pleated dresses, but this particular item is actually super versatile!

This past weekend was my Best friends sons christening, and i needed a dress or something to wear. My capsule didn't really have anything church/christening appropriate, because as most of you know, I spend most of my days pretty casual. I looked in the shops and saw lots of pretty christmasy outfits (there is literally sequins and sparkle everywhere right now!) But really i knew i could do with saving my money and putting it towards Christmas presents for my kiddos.
So I went looking in my storage and found this purple pleated pretty number.

Now taking in to consideration I bought this, say 3 years ago, but its fair to say that it is still bang on trend. Pleats are huge right now, you just have to look in your fashion magazines or you local high street and see that they are still very much having a moment.
I was actually looking for a pleated skirt as I really like the trend, but didn't buy anything because I'm still in my Autumn Capsule, but was thinking of adding something for my winter capsule.
Well it turns out I already have something that fits the bill and is also super versatile.

I will be including it in my Winter capsule (which starts Dec 1st) and I'm looking forward to layering it under a big chunky knit and with some knee high boots too!

Pleated Offerings


Left: Vince
Middle: Tibi
Right: A.L.C

Left: Maje
Middle: Monsoon
Right: Topshop

Are you in love with the pleated trend this season?


Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Gift's For Him

Gifts for HIm

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet?
I am pleased to say I am over half done (yay me) and I know lots of you will be even more prepared and will be almost done. But for those who are looking for some little gifts, some inspiration or just want to get a Secret Santa for someone (male), I wanted to do a few gift guides to tie in with my festive posts.  As i mentioned before i LOVE Christmas, I actually love to give gifts more than receive, maybe it's because I'm a pro-shopper, but i really do enjoy researching items and buying things that match their likes and personality.

Today I'm starting with the fellas for the first gift guide. Now, I don't know about you but I find that the chaps are usually hardest to buy for, normally because if there's something they want, they generally go out and buy it themselves.
This year myself and Salvatore (the husband) aren't doing gifts to each other (read why here) but the kids will still get him a few small pressies and I assist in the buying. 

So without further a do.. here it is!

There are so many great band tee's out there right now,  I know my husband would LOVE this classic Led Zeppelin tee, but there is definitely a whole plethora to choose from with one fitting the genre of your man's choice. There's films: Marvel say or TV programmes: Game of thrones being very popular of course, so you can't really go wrong. These are also great for the wife/girlfriend to steal and wear 😉

Men love a good gadget. I think its like their inner boy child that never grows up, the love for gadgets that are like toys to them.
These have come down a lot in price since they came out a couple of years ago, making them more accessible for all. I've gone for the Sony S3 smart watch here, with a slimline design and compatible with android devices and perfect for interfacing with your phone. 

Controversial? (are you thinking of Joey from Friends with his man bag ðŸ˜‚? ) But instead of them (them being the blokes) giving you their wallet, keys and anything else they can't fit in their jean pockets, how about heir own bag? My husband got his first man bag last year for work relates stuff. I will be honest, I laughed and laughed and laughed. But when i stopped laughing i saw it was actually pretty good. I think if you go for a more Indiana Jones satchel look it can be pretty useful. It can also fit laptops, and all the other male paraphernalia that they generally like to carry around. 

Is your husband a gamer? Or does he sit at the computer a lot? Mine does both. For an avid gamer or even a hard worker, a great chair would be a brilliant practical present. The one I've linked to above is pretty suave too, just make sure it fits with you're decor or is out of the way, 'cos you're the one who also has to look at it ;)

5. Vinyl
Did you know Vinyl is having a major come back, to the point where even the bigger supermarkets are stocking records. Records have never gone from our house as Salvatore has collected them for years. But without a doubt, they make a perfect gift each year as there is always a new record to be found to give. If they don't have a collection, Christmas could be the perfect time to start a new tradition that could be built on year on year. Obviously if its new you may need to buy a record player too ;) This compact retro style is my absolute favourite. i think i could lay money on this being a great gift for almost any man. Buy a few records from their favourite bands and you have just become the ultimate gift giver 😉

Goes without saying really doesn't it? Perfect stocking filler, plus men always need socks, its a fact.
Love these Deadpool ones.

Thoughtful. Show you care with a nice warm hat for his lovely head 😁

Now there are a ton of things you could get, aftershave, the latest team kit, PS/XBox/PC game, personalised mouse mats, but hopefully these ideas have helped get the present ideas flowing for you.

Do you have any great ideas to share? Don't worry i don't think he'll be reading 😂

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