Monday, 24 April 2017

April Love List

April has been a good month, like really good. The blossom is blooming, the weather has been dry and in-fact beautiful some days and life has been good.
After a crappy start to the year it feels like things have finally managed to turn around. I wake up happy and i go to bed tired and happy.. I want to bottle this feeling and take a shot of it on days when i'm glum. It has made me realise how good life can be when you choose to be happy and actively seek it out instead of waiting for it to fall in your lap.
Ok, so yeh.. happy, happy happy.
How are you? How was your April?


So this months noteworthy lovely things:

1.Fashion

This month i have been absolutely in love with red.. red, reddy-red red, anything an everything red. I mean, this isn't a new development, red is just my bae.. i have a life long love affair with this colour of choice. Everything seems to have that pop of colour in it for me, or the whole outfit indeed revolves around it. This embroidered top in particular is my complete favourite. I would happily wear it every day if that wasn't just a tad trampy 😁




2. Eats

I've not eaten out anywhere new this month (Zizzi's has become a fast and easy favourite), but i have been cooking some feasts up in the kitchen. I've been dabbling with tofu and abslutely loving it, its so versatile. My favourite has been the Vegan Brunch i made Salvatore and I with all the works including my fist (and successful!) attempt at scrambled tofu. It was divine. Takes a bit of time, but was very much worth it! Looking forward to making this whole brunch again soon.


3. Beauty

Nails.. Oh how i love to have my nails done. I feel like me when my nails are done, and it is rare that they aren't done. One of my boys school friends commented to her mum about how my nails are always coloured in, haha! I just feel like with nails painted it detracts from my dishpan hands (life without a dishwasher will do this to you!). This is my 3rd set of shellac gel nails and i am a total convert. Being severely heavy handed and clumsy (i jammed my thumb in the tripod this morning.. then proceeded to scrape my fingers against a wall by accident.. Such a plonker) gel nails seem to be the only thing that stays on my actual nails. I had 2 weeks off in between my latest application, as constantly wearing gels can weaken the nail, and so in-between i painted my nails with a normal nail polish.. it didn't even last 24 hours. Gel is the only way.
I'm quite boring with the colour, its usually a classic red or black, or sometimes a really dark navy, but that way i know it will go with everything i wear.
Have you ever had a shellac mani?



4. Media

I've been reading up a storm this month and thoroughly enjoying some light hearted reading and a little bit of escapism.. Would you like a full run down on things i read lately? I'm thinking of doing a blog post as i've really read some fab books of late.
The latest was The Cows by genius author and TV presenter Dawn O'Porter. I've had the utmost respect for this lady for years and i was absolutely enthralled by this feminist read with a plot and characters based around 3 different women. Brilliant read. Light hearted but with some serious key notes. I thoroughly enjoyed, was gutted when it was over but felt that i actually took a lot from the book too. It has poignant truths skillfully written in a lighthearted demeanour. Loved.
Tv wise, we're really stuck in a rut. Nothing new is catching my eye, so we reverted back to our old favourite that is actually one of my top 5 all time favourite tTV programmes: Spaced. Have you ever watched it? I fear if you are a millenial baby then you may not appreciate it.. i've tried showing some younger people and it was kinda over their heads.
Written by and staring Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson is a Brit sitcom filmed in the late 90's. It has loads of old film references and brilliant throw backs. I love it. I'm a huge Simon Pegg fan and this is possibly one of my most favourite things he's ever done. Nostalgic and comedy value is sheer genius in this 2 series sitcom, of which you can get both on  Channel 4 Catch Up here




5. Life



Neo has found the love of bike riding. It was something that hadn't struck his fancy before now, but he felt the breeze in his hair and the fun of riding a bike and now wants to go out every night after school. Its been fun watching him learn and enjoy, apart from when I'm left jogging behind. I got my step daughters bike out last week to see how it would feel to ride too, sadly it wasnt right for me, but it did get me thinking about maybe looking in to a bike for myself. Having researched small bikes (this tiny house can barely hold anything else) Brompton Bikes were the first that came up.. and they look fantastic. Granted a little pricey, but what a piece. Custom made and pretty and practical. I may have started a 'Rachel's Bike Fund' ;) Do you ride with your kids? Its not something i've done before but would love to start.



So thats another month down my lovelies.. How on earth is 2017 going so fast ay? Crazy crazy.

Just a quick favour, at time of posting i'm a few friends off 5000 on Instagram, if you didn't already know, it's my absolute favourite platform and love to have a chat with everyone on there. If you don't follow along (i hate that word Follow and Followers.. sounds so detached) I would love to have you come along and befriend me HERE, and then you can hear me bang on about pointless crap in my silly welsh accent on a regular basis.. now, surely thats an offer you can't refuse, LOL!

All the best lovelies.. Heres to another great month!

Do let me know what you've loved this April in the comments, and if you've ever had shallac nails, or go bike riding, or if you're one of the rare few that have watched Spaced!

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Friday, 21 April 2017

M&S #Dressmoments for Summer Occasions (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

Summer occasions mean lovely dresses, right? One of the many things i look forward to come the summer season is carefully selecting the most perfect dress fit for each occasion.
For me the dress is very important, its a representation of who I am, how I was feeling and what I was inspired by at that point in time. 

I remember many of my special occasions over the year by what dress I was wearing, which then evokes so many great memories. I have a box in my attic of dresses from my 18th, 21st, the dress i wore on my first date with my now husband and the dress from the first wedding we attended together as a couple. 
{Sidenote: I'll never forget the look on Salvatore's face when i walked out in my little wrap dress the first time he took me out.. it was definitely a #DressMoment i will never forget}

Dresses an important pin point in time for me and I absolutely love looking back at my #DressMoments and remembering all those fantastic outfits I've worn and the joy I had whilst wearing them.

So you can see why I put a lot of thought in to each Occasions outfit. Its not just a dress. Its also a memory in the making. Where some people collect corks from bottles of champers, or other occasion paraphernalia, I collect dresses.
This season Marks & Spencer have curated a collection for all Summer occasions, whether that be a wedding, graduation or smart party or a lovely summer garden soiree, there are dresses that will have you feeling your absolute best, enabling you to make the best memories and have your very own #DressMoment.



I've picked out a dress for a Wedding, Smart function and a Garden party and styled them up in my own little way to give you some idea of what to look out for for your own #DressMoment

Wedding Guest Outfit


B R I G H T  G R E E N

Yep, this colour is the colour that will work for you so so well. Whether you're brunette, blonde, ginger, grey or white, this colour works like an instant skin tonic, giving you pep and glow all in one wonderful dress. The emerald green is a marvel, the lace detailing is exquisite and the cut is flattering and graceful. 
Try this dress like I have either with black for a strong striking contrast. Alternatively try navy for a softer look, but one that will work equally well. Blue and green should definitely be seen together.
Another great option is Peacock colours, blues, teals and purples will all work tremendously well and will give this dress a truly funky edge that will really stand out from the crowd.
Want to veer away from the darker tones? Try coral, gold and silver. All would lift this dress for an instantly lighter colour-scheme.






DETAILS:
Green Dress
Black Shoes
Fascinator
Shoes

Smart Occasion Outfit (Graduation)

L A S E R  C U T  D E T A I L

Still going strong, this on-trend style will have people asking where you bought such an expensive piece. The detailing of the laser cut detailing means you can keep everything else pretty simple. I have again chosen for a striking contrast sticking with monochrome accessories, but have also added in a punch of character with the animal print bag. Smart occasions allow for a little bit of fun to be added to a formal yet fun outfit.




 Summer Party Outfit

B O L D  P R I N T

Ahhh Summer Soirees ; food to feast on and drinks-a-flowing, for this type of event you want to feel comfy and yet, of course, fabulous. A bold fun print dress will be your best friend. Instant outfit. The cold shoulder style adds a nod to the on trend style and summer time vibes, whilst the loose flowing a line style means this dress is perfect for hiding a food baby and copious amounts of sangria *wink*, the flowing fabric means this dress is super easy to wear and super comfy to boot. I've donned the summer staples to go with this easy to wear dress, with my denim jacket and comfy wedges. Finally I added in some fun statement earrings to bring a contrast to the outfit.
This bold print will work tremendously well with a contrasting orange, or a splash of yellow to make this a really fun outfit.





With a big thanks to M&S for allowing me to work with them on this wonderful campaign.

Do you have any great #DressMoments.. past or potential to make some this summer?
I have a wedding to look forward to this year and I'm already excited to don a dress and create more memories!





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Tuesday, 18 April 2017

Be Proud of Yourself... I am!

YOU are FAB!
You really are.
Inspiration comes in funny guises sometimes. I had the idea for this post when i was writing my motivational tips post (which incidentally got side lined to next week because of this post.. what can i say the motivation just took me here, lol!)
It came to me because i was basically moaning ( only a wee bit) about how it can be hard working on your own and how my mood and inspiration can often plummet. 
As much as that's true it really got me thinking about the good stuff that also comes from working for myself, and what it is I've actually achieved here.

If someone said to me 3 years ago, you'll me making a living (all be it a small one) from doing something you love (primarily writing about clothes ) from the comfort of your home and being there for your kids every morning and every afternoon, I would have scoffed in their face and called them a big ol' fibber.

When I sat down and started to think about things, I realised how grateful I am for the job i have created for myself.

It made me realise that following your dreams in life is essential.
Say we only get one shot at this crazy little thing called life (or one shot that we know of at least).
Shouldn't we all want to live it the best we can, doing what makes us the happiest?
Surely doing something that makes you happy and contend is actually something to be super proud of yourself for.

With this blog, i took the step to do it as my job instead of working for someone else and it was scary (i'd always had a secure paycheque each month since i was 17, actually since before that as i started working at 15 on weekends) I was able to do this thanks to the love and support (and the paycheque) of my husband.

And even though I often have moments where i waiver and wonder should i throw myself back in to employment where i can earn more money and have a regular income (blogging/freelancing can be a little bit all over the place pay wise), heck I've even sat trawling through job sites to see if there is anything i would even want to do, but ultimately, this is what makes me happy and this is what makes me proud.

And that's when i realised.. I am proud of me.

Proud that i've written this blog for 6 years and have never wanted to quit it, proud that I keep trying to better myself, content wise and personable wise, proud that this here is all my doing, proud that i can engage, with my words and imagery with other like minded ladies, proud that i inspire you with outfits and anecdotes, proud that i can call myself a blogger and a writer, proud that this puts money in my bank, proud that this makes me happy, proud that being here every day makes my son unbelievably happy.

I am so proud of me.
And yet i've never ever said that before. I always await someone else to say how proud of me they are, the congratulatory acknowledgement that i'm doing something worthy of the compliment, and those words are of course always lovely to hear from others, but why don't we tell ourselves it more?

I'm writing this to remind myself that, you know what, I'm actually doing ok. In fact I'm doing better than ok, i'm doing good.
With the old comparison thief often stealing any joy, its so easy to feel like you're doing crappily in this 24hr fast flying media led world.
The thing is there will always be someone bigger, better  and more formidable than you, and there will always be someone bigger, better and more formidable than them too and so it goes...

But the thing is, no one else can be you. 
Nobody else could ever be a medium (small really) blogger called Rachel The Hat, who writes earnestly like shes having a good old natter with her friends (that's you by the way) and loves to post pictures of outfits shes created. 
As many other style bloggers there are, no body is me.. and that's amazing isn't it!
Comparison can't steal my joy as there is no comparison to be had surely?

And that my friends is something I need to remember.
Be true to oneself and nothing else matters.

Accepting who you are and what you've achieved is a massive step in going fourth and achieving more and excelling further than you ever anticipated.

So tell me, what are you proud of about yourself?
Think about it, compliment yourself and let me know in the comments, shout it from the roof tops in fact. The more we praise ourselves the better it can be!

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Friday, 14 April 2017

Transitional Spring Jacket


We all know I have a lot of time for the biker jacket. Having it by my side through the seasons has been a game changer, or er.. outfit maker if you will. Its just a piece that works tremendously well with all types of outfits, whether that be girly dresses you want to look less twee, or skinny jeans and a tee you just want to add a little more edge, its definitely my go to jacket and a no brainer in any incidents where i don't quite know what jacket to wear; It will always just work.

Even though we are in Spring I know I will continue to wear it (and lets face it, through the British summer too), but i wanted an option that was less dark and more spring like. An option that would stand out on its own and also work with the many black, white and denim pieces i own.
Enter the Pink Biker Jacket.
I opted for a light pink and my oh my it is a sheer delight.
Each time i pull this on i feel instantly put together, like the inner pink princess in me is satisfied.

For this simple Easter Holiday outfit I paired it with a wide leg pair of trousers, which have actually become much more of a staple than i realised they would, and my trusty breton top.
Noteworthy mention to the breton, I had been after a specific black and white stripe as opposed to a navy and white stripe, which the majority are, for SO long. Infact i had actually ordered a few that were navy as sometimes they don't list the colour and i ordered in hope, but alas they were returned as they always turned out to be navy.
So imagine my relief when i eventually found this lovely one from Joules, and it goes with everything. The hunt is over, i am indeed a happy lady.
















Outfit Details
Biker Jacket(most similar)
Marks & Spencers Wide Leg trousers
Marks & SpencersWhite Sneakers
Leopard Print Bag option 
Joules Stripe top

PINK Biker Jacket Options you need in your life!





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Tuesday, 11 April 2017

To Bardot or not to Bardot.. That is the question

Last week i was talking about Embroidered peasant style boho blouses; a spring essential.
This week I'm turning to the other style that is in abundance this time of year:
The Bardot Top.
That off the shoulder trend is still present after making a come back last year.
Now this is a style i struggle with slightly, not because it isn't pretty, because ladies let me tell you, this style can be very, very flattering, showing off a little of the collar bone can be tres demure, but for me its the practical factor. As in practical, they are not.
For me these tops just scream 'Annoying & Uncomfortable', like you're going to spend the majority of the day adjusting yourself, which is just soooo not how i like to dress.
When i put a top on i don't want the sleeves to be ping up around my shoulders so i have to keep yanking it down, or feel like i cant reach up because, yet again my silly sleeves will ping up.
And yet there is a Bardot scratch that needs itching.

So today my lovelies, i went hunting for some Bardot tops, pretty but wearable ones, I have done the shoulder test to see if they are irritating and ping out of place in hope that this may help or assist if you too are looking to trial the trend.

Gingham Goodness


The first two are actually from F&F and i will say i  was really surprised with the quality, the on trend designs and the small price tag. There were quite a few things that would not have looked out of place in Zara or Mango.
These two above and below were examples of exactly that. 
Firstly, bang on trend with the bold gingham, bardot style and fluted sleeve, this little number is a pure delight. The shoulders/sleeves once arranged seemed pretty secure, i picked this up in the 8 and it was a good fit everywhere. 
This is a definite favourite and could be remixed through spring summer with culottes, white jeans and even some cute denim shorts.
Verdict: Love!
 Untucked and tucked it worked tremendously well

Embroidered and Frilled 

Next up i was astounded by this beautiful little top; bardot, embroidered and pom poms.. a complete delight. 
The elasticated shoulder was tight and made me feel secure, when i did the arm rise test it didn't ping off which made me love it all the more. The cheesecloth-esque fabric made this top perfect for summer. Sadly i can't find it online at all, but the next time you're passing Tesco be sure to pop in and try it on (and most likely buy;) I think it was a mere £16.00 too so won't break the bank.

Verdict: Love!


Nautical Stripes
Next up we have a t-shirt material, stretchy number. from Warehouse. The navy and white nautical style is, of course, spring perfection and i have to say this was very, very comfy. Again this would work well with culottes, skinny jeans, white jeans, shorts or a denim skirt. Versatile and comfy, this one definitely gets a thumbs up. Only downside, i took ages arranging the fold down bardot part, my ocd and getting the stripes just right was annoying the heck out of me, but once done it stayed put and looked great. Lovely little top.

Vedict: Like

Shirty in Pink


Another from Warehouse now and a big fat fail. This was a size 10 and was bloomin' huge! the shoulders were actually saggy and was like there was no elastic in them to hold it up. The fabric is very starched crisp shirt style, but also creased really easily and showed too. There are bows on the sleeves and because of the crisp fabric they just didn't fall right.
All in all it was a really bad fit and style. Lovely colour, but one i definitely wouldn't buy.

Verdit: DISLIKE

Emerald and frilled


This was unexpectedly pretty on. I love bright green and in real life the green is actually quite vivid, it does look more green than teal in person.
This is the a size 8 from Dorothy Perkins and I really like the fit of this one too, the perfect amount of elastic made this comfy on the shoulders, it didn't dig in, but it didn't ping off easily either.
I can imagine this at garden parties throughout the summer. 
Paired with black  cropped trousers for a retro feel this could look very smart. Equally this works casual with jeans too.
Another great little bardot number.

Verdit: LIKE

The tucked and untucked trial, which is all important in my books.

Broderie Anglaise

Lastly, some classic Spring Fabric, Broderie Anglaise; so so pretty. Sadly the top did not do much for me at all. There was a lot of extra fabric around the middle adding a lot of unnecessary bulk. The fabric was lovely, but the little tie to the front looked scraggly and a bit pathetic and impossible to get a half decent bow. This one also felt like it wanted to travel up my shoulder and ping off, but i would say this could be worn nicely pulled down or just on the cusp of the shoulder, so it could work. The sleeves are full length and actually are lovely in size (not too big), but sadly the extra billowy middle put me off.

Verdict: DISLIKE


So there we have it, Bardot top shopping has proven interesting as i honestly thought i didn't really like them prior to this try on session. I think the key is to try on a few different types of off-the-shoulder styles to see what feels right and sits nicely on you. 
Now the question is, which one should i go for?

Which is your favourite? And have you invested in a Bardot style yet yourself?

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