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Sunday, 31 August 2014

Must-Have Accessory: Fashion Backpack

A leather backpack has been high on my wish list all year, and as I don't have an everyday handbag in black leather, I decided it was time for a wardrobe update. They are still very on trend and are an easy way to modernise your look, as well as being a super practical option for work, the weekend, and the school run (leaving your hands free).

It was quite an easy choice as I already knew that I wanted a black one, and this sleek backpack from Mint Velvet features a top handle, so that you can still carry it like a tote bag. It's also tall enough to fit my ipad in properly!

Black Cara Backpack £149.99

Here are some others that caught my eye:

A stylish yet functional version from Jaegar that also has a top handle:

Penhurst Backpack £295

Beautiful quilted leather rucksack from Reiss:

Alto Black Quilted Leather Rucksack £265

A real investment piece, I adore this silver backpack from Whistles:

Verity Large Backpack £295

It also comes in black, white, and this gorgeous soft grey:

Verity Large Backpack £295

And in this cute mini version:

Mini Verity Backpack £185

Marks & Spencer has some fabulous bags this season, here is their practical and stylish rucksack:

Autograph Leather Rucksack £99

I love this simple design from Debenhams:

J by Jasper Conran Designer Black Grained Leather Backpack £99

And a real leather option from New Look:

New Look Leather Duffle Backpack £44.99

And finishing with mine, from Mint Velvet, which made its debut last week, meeting a friend for lunch at The Soulshine Cafe:

Backpack: Mint Velvet
Jumper - Hush SS14 (Autumn/Winter version available here)
White vest - Boden SS13
Black Double Zip Jeans - Mint Velvet AW13 (still available here)
Black ballet pumps - Topshop (old)

Have you got a backpack? Would you replace your handbag with one? As always, I'd love to know what you think ...

Abbi x

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Spree vs Steal: Biker Boots

So, yesterday I shared my first transitional purchase of the season, the duster coat, and today I'm revealing the first item on my autumn wish list - biker boots! I usually end up buying a pair of boots every winter - last year it was the Ash Jalouse ankle boots in dark grey, which I am beyond pleased with, and have recommended to lots of friends who now love them as much as I do.

This year, I want something completely different, and have set my sights on a pair of black biker boots, after seeing these in the Hush catalogue:

Woven Biker Boot £225

They are practical and would work with so many outfits - I would wear them with jumper/sweater dresses and floaty short skirts, to give something feminine a more edgy look for daytime, and with skinny jeans and a chunky jumper/cardigan. I also love them with a parka, like in this picture from Pinterest:

In fact, I think I will wear them more than any of my other boots, as I don't have any flat black ones apart from long boots which I am not so keen on at the moment and didn't wear at all last year. (I would also like some Chelsea boots, but that can be a story for another day, number one is definitely biker boots).

So, I love the Hush biker boots, particularly the detail on them - but they are expensive, even with the 10% off code, and I may have already ordered a couple of things from Hush, which I will share at a later date, mainly because they haven't arrived yet! So while mulling them over I happened to see these in Zara, which I also like:

Quilted Leather Low Biker Boot £89.99

A much better price, and I think I like them almost as much. What do you think? Have you seen any others? If so, please let me know!

Finishing with what I was wearing yesterday to go to my cousin's for the day - the boys had a wonderful time on their bikes and digging up her vegetable garden!

Sweatshirt - Whistles (SS14)
Shirt - Maison Scotch at YARD (AW14)
Boyfriend Jeans - True Religion (SS14)
Victoria Pumps at YARD (SS13)

Abbi x

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Transitional Purchase: Duster Coat

Yes, I'm finally thinking about autumn/winter and making a wish list, which I will be sharing with you in the coming days. I'm not packing away any summer clothes just yet though, and will switch back to my summer wardrobe at the slightest opportunity - but the rain and generally gloomy weather since getting back from my holiday has forced me into a back to school type of feeling.

On Bank Holiday Monday I wore my first new purchase of the season, this beautiful jersey coat from Topshop:

I actually bought it in July, when the new collection started coming in, as I knew it would be the perfect transitional coat for early autumn, and I loved the quirky grid pattern. It's very lightweight and loose, and is the perfect coat to layer over T-shirts, jersey tops and fine knits. It could be worn with heels to work for a smarter look, but I prefer it with jeans and trainers/pumps for a more dressed down feel:

Check Print Jersey Coat £75

White Tee (Zara SS14)
Boyfriend Jeans (True Religion SS14)
New Balance trainers

I actually want to wear it with white trainers, but that's a blog for another day!

And here are some other duster coats that I like (the ones from Topshop are my favourite):

This one is similar to mine, but in a different check:

Check Print Longline Duster Coat £85

And I adore the colour of this lilac one:

Longline Duster Coat £79

And it is stunning in the orange version:

Longline Duster Coat £79

And I saw this great black and white check duster coat in New Look today for only £29.99

Black Check Duster Coat £29.99

Will you be buying a new coat this season? Let me know in the comments!

Abbi x

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Join the Dots

Polka dots are a classic trend that work for all seasons and have the power to make any outfit look more playful and youthful, as well as being an easy pattern to wear. This autumn they look to be spot on again - here are some pictures from Pinterest for inspiration:

Mixing polka dots with fur and florals for an eclectic look:

A classic look with a splash of colour:

Spots work well for the monochrome trend:

And my current favourites from the high street, starting with this fabulous sweater from Karen Millen, featuring oversized spots:

And a classic shirt that would look as good for work as it would dressed down at the weekend:

White Stuff New Spot Top £37.50

And for something more elegant I adore this jersey top overlaid with spot mesh lace from Reiss:

Pip Black Spot Lace Top £69

And a more classic spotty top from Reiss that could be worn with matching trousers if you are bold enough to brave the head-to-toe look:

Ellie Print Perdita Spot £89

A more subtle silk version in nude from Zara:

Polka Dot Silk Top £39.99

I'm a big fan of Boden's cropped trousers - this is the spotty version for this autumn/winter:

Bistro Crop Trouser £59

And if you don't like full on spots, try an accessory like this cute Boden clutch to add some interest to a neutral outfit:

Zip Top Clutch £69

I would like to get the Karen Millen sweater but I have banned myself from any more grey jumpers/sweaters/tops, even if they are slightly different in pattern/texture etc. But the good thing with this trend is that we all probably have something in our wardrobe already that we can wear this autumn. I wore my spotty cropped trousers on Sunday to my Mum's for lunch:

Cropped Trousers (GAP SS13)
Pink Knit Top (Zara SS14)
Silver Slingbacks (Next SS14)
Denim Jacket - Topshop (old)

So, will you be wearing spots this autumn? Do you already have spotty things in your wardrobe?

Abbi x

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Leopard Print Must Have From Esprit

Leopard print has become a wardrobe classic that never seems to date. This autumn, animal print is everywhere again, from bags and scarves that add a flash of print to your look, to dresses and coats that only need minimal styling. In my collection I currently have a scarf, ankle boots, heels and a gorgeous bag, so I'm ready to move on to my first item of leopard print clothing. So, number one on my autumn wish list is a leopard print blouse, a versatile piece to dress up my jeans outfits and wear under my khaki military jacket for an edgier look. I've looked at so many, but the front runner is this one from Esprit that I tried on in London recently:

Flowing Leopard Print Blouse £29

It's quite drapey and will look perfect under a little jacket or blazer, teamed with skinny jeans or leather trousers. And such a reasonable price! I have to admit that while I shopped at Esprit when I lived in London, it has fallen off my radar since moving to Dorset nearly five years ago. I'm glad that I was lured back in by the leopard print blouse, as I also found some other gems:

Moving on to zebra print, this chunky textured cardigan would be cosy on the school run until a proper coat is needed:

Zebra Cardigan in Textured Knit £55

And next on my list would be this sweater, which I would wear with a shirt underneath, teamed with jeans and sneakers:

Soft Sweatshirt with an All-Over Print £39

I'm also looking out for a cosy sweater dress to wear with tights and biker boots and love this one:

Fashion £45

The parka is a great transitional jacket and this one is such a great price for something that is stylish as well as  practical:

Two-in-One Winter Parka £129

And finishing with something fabulous - I love these over-the-knee boots for the boldest style statement:

Boots £139

So are you a fan of Esprit and do you have your eye on anything from the new collection? As always, I love to hear your comments.

Finishing with what I was wearing yesterday - unpacking from my holiday and generally feeling sorry for myself!
Sweater - Whistles (AW13)
Vest - ASOS (old)
Lola Joggers - Whistles SS14
Victoria Pumps - YARD (SS13)

Abbi xx

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Breton Stripes in Paris

It had to be Breton stripes for a day in the fashion capital, so synonymous are they with the Parisian chic look. They are such an everyday staple that  never go out of style, and a dress in particular is an easy and comfortable option for a day's sightseeing. I fell in love with Paris when I lived here for a while as a student and later made regular work trips, always finding time for a spot of shopping! Now I am doing the touristy thing all over again, taking my boys to see some of the sights. Naturally, they wanted to start with the Eiffel Tower (125 years old this year!):

We were lucky to have such a clear day, so the views were incredible and the seven year old was able to recognise all the major monuments:

And more importantly, back to the stripey dress, which is a black and white striped jersey dress from the Hush Spring/Summer range, so no longer available. I'm wearing it here with a Topshop denim jacket, sandals from H&M and Mulberry bag:

Hush has a dress in a different fabric, but the same shape in their new autumn collection, in black and in aubergine, available here

I don't have a stripey dress for autumn/winter but there are lots of lovely ones -  they are so easy to throw on with tights and boots.

Here are some that have caught my eye, starting with Boden, who always come up trumps with their Breton tops and dresses:

Boden Collared Breton Tunic £59

Love the contrasting pockets on this one from White Stuff:

White Stuff Stylist dress £49.95

A jumper version from Seasalt that will look great when it gets colder:

Eastern Dress £75

A classic shift dress with stripes and a contrasting polka dot pattern by Great Plains:

Breton Spot Stripe Dress £60

And a timeless version featuring diagonal stripes from Petit Bateau:

Breton Heavy Jersey Stripe Dress £120

Do you wear stripey dresses in the autumn as well as in the summer? As always, I love to hear you comments!

Abbi x

Monday, 18 August 2014

Drystar - Not Just for Festivals..

At the start of the summer I was lucky enough to be sent a super stylish waterproof jacket from the new range by Drystar. Founders Jo and Helen started the company earlier this year, after they failed to find a waterproof to wear to festivals, that wasn't sporty or shapeless. They have thrown themselves into every detail of the design, from the roll back sleeves and metallic finish to the inside pocket, collar and hood. The result is a wonderfully lightweight jacket in stunning colours (mine is the pink fizz):

They are definitely the best way to stay gorgeous and dry at a festival in a downpour, but they are so much more than that! I took mine on holiday to a French campsite in the Loire valley, and it was perfect for the one day that it poured with rain:

Waterproof Jacket c/o Drystar
Grey T-shirt - Topshop (old)
Black Double Zip Jeans - Mint Velvet (AW13 - available here)
Espadrilles - ASOS (SS14)

The waterproof is light enough to roll up and fit into a bag, without taking up much space. It's also a great trans-seasonal jacket to use when there's a chance of rain, but it's still too warm for a proper coat. For this reason, it will be ideal for the school run in early autumn, as well as walks on the beach, watching the boys play football, my weekend at Center Parcs in September, the list is endless!

You can check them out at

Abbi x

Friday, 15 August 2014

My Hush Crush Continues..

The Hush autumn/winter 14 collection is here, and as always I have a wish list as long as my arm. You will know by now that I'm a massive fan of their contemporary dressed down style, and each season just gets better and better as the range continues to grow with the addition of boyfriend jeans this summer and more choice for autumn including a fabulous pair of coated biker jeans.

Here is my top ten, I want them all! There is a special preview offer at the moment - just enter AUGPREV at the checkout to get 10% off plus FREE UK delivery and returns on all orders placed until 25th August. Happy Shopping!

First up, the parka mentioned above. The shape of this looks perfect, and it's so useful for the school run, walking the dog, in fact it would work with any daytime outfit:

Parka £170

Knitwear is always my biggest weakness with Hush, and this collection certainly doesn't disappoint with its beautiful, rich colours.

My favourite colour is this one (that they call everglade) and I love it in this fine knit that's thin enough to layer under a jacket for the perfect transitional piece:

Fine Knit V Jumper £49.50

I'm also still mad about the star jumper - I have the summer version with the coral star, but I love the updated winter knit in grey and black:

Winter Stars Jumper £75

Back to the everglade colour again, the Iris Shirt Dress is my favourite of all the dresses. I would wear it with tights and ankle boots for a more polished look and then dress it down with leggings and a biker jacket:

Iris Shirt Dress £79

In the winter I live in jumper dresses a lot of the time and I adore the Rosie dress which I have worn for the past couple of seasons and it's still going strong (see post on it here ). This year it comes in this gorgeous berry colour:

Rosie Dress £65

I also love the look of this sweater dress for a more modern version of the jumper dress - it looks so comfy!

Two-Tone Sloppy Joe Dress £45

And here are the new coated jeans, I will be trying these if I need to replace my Zara ones - love how they've styled them with a silk shirt for a more feminine look:

Coated Biker Jeans £79

Leopard skate shoes are still a huge trend and these would look effortless worn with leggings or jeans and are super comfy:

Leopard Skater £85

And not forgetting the basics, as they do a fantastic range of leggings, layering tops and vests, updated this time in new colours like this vest in everglade:

Soft Cotton Vest £20

And finishing with something I don't have but is now a must - how cool is this fedora hat to update your look for the new season?

Fedora Hat £40

And finishing with me in my Hush fine knit star jumper from the summer collection, totally love it! Wearing it this evening, relaxing at the campsite in France, with a Topshop white vest, New Look jeggings from three or four years ago and Birkenstocks.

So, is there anything that takes your fancy? As always, I would love to hear from you!

Abbi x