Author Archives: marmaladepie

New season trends you already own or can buy second-hand

Fashion goes in cycles. You might not realise it, but you probably already have most of this autumn’s must-have items lurking at the back of your wardrobe. And if you don’t, you’ll be able to find most of them in the charity shop.

The key to being stylish is to wear these key pieces in new ways. It’ll bring a subtle originality to your wardrobe, without costing you a fortune. It’s also a far more thoughtful and sustainable way to shop – meaning you have more money for coffee and cake (or whatever).

I’ve taken some of my favourite looks from the new season which can all be created with things you already own or which can be easily found in a charity shop. I’ve also included good quality, but affordable new alternatives. 

Corduroy. We’ve been here a few times already, haven’t we? And now it’s back for autumn 2018. All the cool girls are wearing cord trouser suits – preferably in pink – although a simple blazer is a good starting point. I had rather a lot of cord in the early noughties – including several blazers. Sadly, I got rid of them all, but I bet some of you hung on to yours. Corduroy happens to be on-trend right now, but it’s always been around in the background. Which means it’s easy to find in charity shops or on eBay. Just remember to factor in a bit of money for dry cleaning. Make it 2018, choose blush pink or brown. 

New season pieces you already own or can buy second hand

Pink cord jacket, £39.99, H&M (bottom right). All other images via Pinterest.

A classic camel coat. Another perennial favourite that is having a moment in 2018. This trend has been around for a few seasons now, so luckily I already own two. My favourite is actually one I bought in the charity shop last year and wore and wore. It’s gone a bit bobbly, but I’m hoping to give it some TLC. I’ve seen some beautiful new versions at &OtherStories, but before you spend your cash try looking for something second-hand. Good quality wool coats are a perennial charity shop staple – especially those long, beige belted ones. If that fails, then do try eBay and search for classic brands like Boden and Hobbs. Make it 2018: choose a belted coat.

New season pieces you already own or can buy second hand

Main image: belted coat, £169, &OtherStories

top right: my favourite £10 charity shop coat / bottom right: Pinterest

The beret. Back again for another season. Did you buy one last year, or do you (like me) have one you bought years ago? Dig it out and wear now for jaunty autumn style. It’s not an expensive piece, but do take a look in the charity shops for a cheap and cheerful vintage buy. Make it 2018: choose blush pink like this one by H&M. Or, if you hate berets then try a baker boy!

New season pieces you already own or can buy second hand

Main image and top right: both via Pinterest / Bottom right: me in my old beret

Knee boots. Almost all of us already own a pair of these. They’re a classic that never go out of style – although in recent years have been eclipsed by the ankle boot. They look great with all the camel coats and corduroy we’ve already mentioned. My favourite way I’ve seen them worn is with long midi and maxi dresses and skirts. Inspired by the 70s, but very now. If you’ve got an old pair that are a bit battered, give them a makeover. I’ve had a pair of brown leather Hobbs boots for 15 years which I recently had re-soled and it’s given them a whole new lease of life. I took them to a small local cobbler and he gave them an amazing polish at the same time and made them look like new! Make it 2018: wear your boots with a high neck midi dress.

Main image: classic 70s vibes via Pinterest / top left: Erica Davies looking fabulous at London Fashion Week 

Leather boots by Hobbs, £299 (expensive, but Hobbs really do know how to make boots that will last for years).

What are your top tips for find new season style at the back of your wardrobe?

Make a wax jacket your best friend – featuring John Partridge & Co

John Partridge ladies wax jacket

A well-made wax jacket is a great thing. It’ll keep you warm and dry in just about any storm life can throw at you. 

I was recently sent a lovely wax jacket by John Partridge & Co. All their wax jackets are handmade in Britain and if you look after them they should last you a lifetime. I love how even a brand new wax jacket feels somehow lived-in – like an old friend, almost.

John Partridge ladies wax jacket

Traditionally wax jackets are a bit of a country uniform, but I’ve always loved them in the city too. Like all classic wardrobe staples, they’re versatile and look good in a variety of settings. They’ll also see you right though the seasons – from summer dresses through to chunky knits.

To prove just how versatile the humble wax jacket is in the town and city I’ve tried it three ways…

John Partridge ladies wax jacket

Casual coffee date with added leopard print. Yes, you absolutely can wear your favourite animal print with your wax jacket. It’s a perfect example of how versatile this classic piece can be.

John Partridge ladies wax jacket

Client meeting in town. I wore this smart dress for an office meeting. It was a breezy day and it looked like rain, so I threw my trusty wax jacket on over the top. I love the smart/casual result.

John Partridge ladies wax jacket

A trip to the market on my bike. My John Partridge jacket felt so at home at Ely Market. I kept cosy with a thick knit underneath. The mid-length Landowner jacket is perfect for cycling.

John Partridge ladies wax jacket

I wear the Landowner wax jacket by John Partridge & Co, £185

I know I’ll be reaching for this jacket again and again. It’s a brilliant investment piece and even has the name of the person in Staffordshire who made it sewn into the label!

A big thank you to John Partridge for sending me this jacket as gift. 

Re-learn the art of good shopping with John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis & Partners purse

In 2018, fashion is fast and furious. Traditional department stores are struggling to capture our attention. Will there ever be a place for slow, considered shopping again?

With just a few taps of your finger you can have that must-have piece from Instagram sitting in your online shopping basket. It’s like one eternal race to the bottom – quick, get it before it sells out and watch your bank balance diminish on the way down.

I miss proper shopping

Remember when you used to make an event of going shopping? It was fun and sociable (most of the time). Now I often get my shopping fix while squinting at my phone screen and shoving a sandwich down my throat. Elegant stuff, hey? The nicest of the big department stores still have the potential for something more civilised. I think it’s time more of us embraced that.

John Lewis & Partners culottes and purse

How can John Lewis & Partners help?

My invitation to see the new John Lewis & Partners women’s collection at their Cambridge store came just at the right time. Note the new name. It’s part of a larger re-branding exercise, but it’s also the store’s largest own-label fashion offering to date. This multi-generational collection has been designed to sit well in the stores and make shopping easier. It’s best viewed in person, the old-fashioned way.

A new lay-out

I’ve always found department store fashion to be very bitty – everything is spread out and it’s hard to find what you want. The new John Lewis & Partners collection is different. In larger stores, like Cambridge, exploring the range is like stepping into a giant walk-in wardrobe. Everything is together in one place and imaginatively sorted by colour. Like a giant paintbox, it’s easy to spot your favourite colours and styles.

John Lewis & Partners Collection

Learn how to shop again

Denise, a personal stylist at John Lewis & Partners Cambridge, reminded me that it’s far more clever to shop for whole outfits in one go, rather than single items. Impulse buying doesn’t always lead to the most cohesive wardrobe. The theory is: invest your money wisely and you’ll always have something to wear in the morning. It’s easier to do this when you’re shopping in person – you can see straight away whether something works rather than having to wait for the postman.

John Lewis & Partners capsule wardrobe

A capsule wardrobe made easy

Everything in the colourful new John Lewis & Partner collection is designed to go together. Don’t be afraid to mix bold colours. They’ve done the hard work of making sure everything works – all you have to do is pick out your favourites. I particularly loved the colour-drenched outfits the Cambridge staff put together to show us.

John Lewis & Partners capsule wardrobe

Three steps to style

A good outfit transcends fashion and age. John Lewis & Partner’s advice for putting together the perfect look is to mix three pieces: one basic, one hero and one accent. So we’re talking a classic knit mixed with a bold trouser, perfectly accessorised with a gorgeous scarf. Or a simple wool coat with a bright pink hero dress, accessorised with a gorgeous pair of heels.

Easy, right?

I’ve picked out my favourite outfits from the new collection, all following their three easy steps to style…

John Lewis & Partners Collection

Basic: Crombie coat, £249 / Hero: Midi dress, £99 / Accent: Slingbacks, £89

– all John Lewis & Partners

Basic: Navy cords, £49  / Hero: Rib Stitch Sweater, £39 / Accent: Scarf, £26

– all John Lewis & Partners

John Lewis & Partners Collection

Hero: Wool culottes, £99 / Basic: Grey ribbed sweater, £39 / Leather backpack, £125

– all John Lewis & Partners 

Some of the items I’ve linked to above are sold out online, however there was lots of everything in the Cambridge store. So, ditch the computer and take some time out to do some good old fashioned shopping! You can even book one of their free personal style consultations.

 

 

 

In praise of good jeans and epic sleeves

Boden Bronwen shirt and Cavendish girlfriend jeans

What do a good pair of jeans and some epic sleeves have in common? Happiness, that’s what. 

First, let’s talk about the mood enhancing qualities of a good pair of jeans. My body shape changes depending on the time of day, the month or the phases of the moon (or whatever) and a bad pair of jeans makes that a very bad thing. I have certain pairs of jeans I can only wear on good days (by which I mean slim days). And I hate that.

Boden Bronwen shirt and Cavendish girlfriend jeans

I want jeans that feel good and look good. It’s a tough gig.  Just occasionally you’ll meet a pair of jeans that fits the bill and, WOW, it certainly gives you a boost. The Cavendish Girlfriend jeans by Boden have everything I’m looking for: a slim, flattering leg combined with a generous enough cut to accommodate my decidedly ample bum and tum. It’s so refreshing to feel good and be able to breathe while wearing them.

Boden Bronwen shirt and Cavendish girlfriend jeans

If jeans are the bread and butter of any outfit, then a fabulous shirt is definitely the Morello cherry jam. The Bronwen shirt by Boden with its frilled collar is simplicity itself, until you get to the wonderfully flamboyant sleeves. They’re  the happiest bit of gold-coloured, embroidered frippery possible. Perfect for a bit of wow right now, but also later peeping out of your winter knits. I’m in love.

Boden Bronwen shirt and Cavendish girlfriend jeans

Boden Bronwen shirt and Cavendish girlfriend jeans

Boden Bronwen shirt and Cavendish girlfriend jeans

Cavendish girlfriend jeans, £60 / Bronwen Broderie Shirt, £70 – both c/o Boden

Three things I’m loving this week

Primark Dress

Hello! I hope you’ve had a great week. The boys are back at school and we’re starting to settle into our autumnal groove. I’ve been reading a lot and savouring the changing seasons. Here’s what I’ve been loving…

Hidden Lives, a family memoir by Margaret Forster. This is a truly excellent read. I’m going to gush about it in the hope that it’ll make you read it too. It’s the autobiographical story of Margaret, her mother and her grandmother. Three generations of women – one born in the nineteenth century, one in the early twentieth and one in the thirties. It’s a beautifully written examination of how women’s lives and expectations have changed dramatically during that period. The book takes us from giving up work when you married and back-breaking housework to the scandal of children born out-of-wedlock – and then onto Margaret’s liberating coming of age at university in the 50s. Find it here.

Hidden Lives by Margaret Forster

English apples. September heralds the reappearance of English apples. I like the to buy them from Ely Markets, who have some delicious early cropping, local varieties. The taste just blows you away – nothing like boring imported apples.

English apples

A new dress. I called into Primark to buy pants and came out with a new dress too.  Primark isn’t online, but this is £15 and there seemed to be plenty in store. As always, the sizing isn’t great – I had to go up two whole sizes! I’ll forgive them though as I love the colour and vintage look. I can’t decide if it looks more 1930s, or 40s? Maybe even 50s? Anyway, I love it.

Primark Dress

What have you been loving this week?

My five minute make-up routine

My quick 5 minute make-up routine

I only really started wearing make-up in my thirties, and even now I’ll have stretches of time when I won’t bother. But then I do and I remember why I love it. A little bit of make-up makes me feel like a better version of myself. I do it entirely for me, not for others. 

These days my two key requirements are time and quality. I like a quick five-minute (or less) routine that’ll give me a glow with minimum effort. To achieve this I’ve learnt that it’s worth investing in good quality products which seem to go much further and look much better.

Here’s my dream team:

Mini Miracle Eye Wand by Charlotte Tilbury (shade 2), £29. One end contains a moisturiser, the other a concealer. Applying the moisturiser first stops things looking cakey. I do a quick sweep then rub it in with my fingers.

Light Wonder foundation by Charlotte Tilbury (shade 3), £32. Yes it’s expensive, but a little goes a long way. I use a 5p size piece and either use my fingers or a flat-bristled foundation brush to apply it. It evens out my skin tone without looking (or feeling) heavy. I had my colour matched in the Cambridge John Lewis store.

Instant Look in a Palette by Charlotte Tilbury, £49. These limited-edition palettes are the dream. They contain blush, bronzer and highlighter – plus eyeshadows. I sweep it all over quickly for a light, flattering look. It’s so easy and looks great!

Cloud Paint by Glossier (beam), £15. I use this cream blush when I want a bolder colour on my cheeks. A tiny dot of this on each cheek creates a gorgeous rosy glow. I just rub it on with my fingers.

Mac Blotting Powder, £22.50. My mascara kept smudging, so I invested in this stuff. Putting it on under your eyes is supposed to help, and it has! Something to do with moisture. Anyway, it works. A quick dab before my mascara means no panda eyes.

Sumptuous Bold Volume mascara by Estee Lauder, £23. A nice to apply mascara that makes my lashes look gorgeously thick. I only use a quick sweep of the brush for daytime.

Secret Selma lipstick by Charlotte Tilbury (£24). My perfect neutral shade. Not too dressy or red, it’s just the perfect natural pink. You’ll find me wearing it in almost all of my photos.

My quick 5 minute make-up routine

These are the products I reach for each day. There’s a lot of Charlotte Tilbury as this is a brand I now really love and trust – and that’s important when you’re buying make-up, isn’t it? I’d love to hear about your favourite products – drop me a line in the comments below!

A September state of mind…

New Look Shirt Dress

Come September, I want my life to feel as neat and ordered as a pencil case full of freshly sharpened pencils. The start of every school year is a new start. Even when the playground is a distant memory that feeling is hard to shake off.

Life doesn’t stop for the summer, but it does change pace. As the trees start to change colour, my attitude shifts and I become more productive. Work, hobbies and ambitions all come back into focus.

A September state of mind

I don’t want to stumble into autumn, I want to meet it head on in my best pair of new shiny shoes. I’d be kidding myself if I said I’m going to feel my best self every single day. But I do want to look like I mean business. Remember your new school uniform? It made you stand up a bit straighter, even when felt a bit nervous on your first day.

The good thing about being a grown-up is that you get to choose your own uniform. Wear things that make you feel the way the way you want to feel. My September outfits always have a back-to-school look about them. Neat, smart and productive – with not a flip-flop in sight.

New Look Shirt Dress

A shirt dress is a great piece to invest in. It’s still cool enough for warmer days – but if you choose a dark colour it’ll also feel pleasingly autumnal. You don’t have to spend much – my black spotty one is from New Look and it’s £24.99.

September fashion: shirtdress and jumper

Add a loose knit on cooler days. Preferably one with a v-neck for just a hint of school days. I bet you have one lurking in your wardrobe, but if you don’t then this one is from H&M and it’s £17.99 (the oatmeal colour I wear is currently only available in store).

New Look Satchel and shirt dress

A satchel is always very appealing in September and it’s big enough for all your to-do lists. I bought mine from New Look last year and they still sell the same bag in a gorgeous brown colour. It’s £19.99.

This outfit, or some variation on the theme, is what you’ll mostly find me wearing this September. What will you reaching for?

 

 

Summer’s golden hour

Making the most of summer's golden hour

Warming my hands on a cup of tea… wearing bed socks…noticing it’s getting darker…

All signs that autumn’s on the way, and all things I’ve done this week. Which is exciting, because who doesn’t love autumn just a little bit? It’s bittersweet though, as I’m not quite ready to say goodbye to summer.

Living the dream

Luckily, we don’t have to just yet. While the days of skipping out the door with no coat, an umbrella, or any form of knitwear are probably over, we can still make the most of summer’s last golden days. Here’s three simple things I’ve been doing to make the most of it…

Seek out the glorious colours of late summer. Autumn doesn’t start properly until the equinox on the 23 September. Don’t pine for pumpkins and crunchy leaves too soon. Until then, there’s still plenty of beautiful late summer sights to see: hedgerows bursting with blackberries, bright rose hips and jewel-like dahlias.

Making the most of summer's golden hour

There’s still time to sleep outdoors. If traditional camping doesn’t appeal, then try glamping. We stayed in a yurt the other week and it was so much cosier than a normal tent. There was even a woodburner. Wrap up warm by a campfire and look up at the stars!

Glamping at Riddlesworth Park

Enjoy the mellow end-of-the-holidays vibes. At the start of summer, everything felt more rushed. The air was thick with expectation and we all had so many plans. August has felt mellow in comparison and that’s fine by me. Once the kids are back at school, my work will ramp up again – but right now, routine doesn’t matter and I don’t care if we wear pyjamas all day.

Making the most of summer's golden hour

How are you making the most of the last days of summer?

 

 

Flares, ABBA and other new season stories

ASOS cropped flares

ABBA made me buy these flares. Or, more accurately, watching the new Mamma Mia film did. Have you seen it yet? The 70s bits of the film are awash with dungarees, flares, peasant tops and string bags. I left the cinema with ABBA as the new soundtrack to my life and desperately needing a pair of flares. 

Luckily for me, flares are going to be a thing this autumn. The easiest way to wear them is a cropped denim pair with a high waist. The hems won’t drag in the dirt and you won’t have that weird disappearing feet thing happen. It’s actually a pretty flattering silhouette for pear-shapes (like me).

ASOS cropped flares

Top, H&M (old) / Cropped flares, £32, ASOS / Shoes, £26, Warehouse

I can’t blame ABBA for making me buy these cheetah print trousers. Animal prints are everywhere though, so can you blame me?

Cheetah print Warehouse trousers

Top, H&M (old) / Cheetah trousers, £39, Warehouse / Shoes, Marks and Spencer (old) / Basket, from France

I chose this pair from Warehouse for a camping trip and they were perfect! Loose, cool and simple – like pyjamas, basically. I’m looking forward to dressing them up and down all autumn.

Cheetah print Warehouse trousers

One more thing before I go. If you had to sum your life up right now in an ABBA song, what would it be? I’m hovering somewhere between Slipping Through My Fingers and Take a Chance on Me.

 

Feeling impatient? Take things one scarf at a time…

Scarf in hair

I’m not going to mention the A word, because it’s still summer, but I can’t deny that I’m getting excited about new season trends. Just a tiny bit though, as it’s obviously way too hot to wear any of them yet.

If, like me, you’re feeling impatient, try taking things one scarf at a time. Not wooly ones, the jaunty little silky ones. They’re a cute little nod to the season ahead that we can all afford.

Scarf in hair

We’ve all got at least one lurking at the back of the wardrobe, right? And if you haven’t, then go rummage in the charity shop where you’ll always find loads.

I’ve spotted the cool girls on Instagram wearing their scarves in their hair, so I thought I’d give it a whirl. After weeks and weeks of limp heatwave-hair, it feels pretty jaunty.

Scarf in hair

Scarves are also good when you want to…

… perk up your ancient raincoat

…look like Jane Birkin

…make your straw bag look even cuter like the guys at Rock n Rose

Go forth and wear your scarves!