The Slip Dress

I’m not usually one to jump on celebrity fashion collaborations but when Alexa Chung teamed up with Marks and Spencer to launch Archive by Alexa earlier in the year I couldn’t help but fall in love. Generally I don’t find style inspiration by way of famous faces but there is something about Ms Chung that I make exception for. At the time I wasn’t in a position to afford any of the collection (story of my life) but when my favourite dress went down to just £6.50 in the sale a couple of months ago I was finally able to indulge my inner Alexa.

Dress: Archive by Alexa at M&S | Boots c/o Long Tall Sally

This is probably the closest I’ll ever get to trying the underwear as outerwear vibe and whenever I put this dress on I can’t help but feel I’m wearing my nightie in public but I love it regardless. I decided to put a more casual stamp on the look by pairing it with ankle boots rather than a more delicate shoe and that works for me. Just add leather jacket as a cover-up and I’d call myself good to go for any occasion.

As per usual for me I struggled massively with the lighting in the garden so you can’t especially see the little details but the dress has a delicate floral print and hangs beautifully.

Word on the grapevine is that there’s another Archive by Alexa collection coming out soon (November) and I can’t wait to see it. At least with that kind of timing I can justifiably pop a dress or two on my Christmas list…

Which celebrities style do you admire the most?


The Bake-Off Effect: Gin and Tonic Cake

Like what appears to be most of the UK (and beyond) population I’m currently swept up in Great British Bake-Off mania. Wednesday evening between 8pm and 9pm is sacred time and I resent anything that gets in my way, even a stag do of sorts. Ever since we viewed the first episode and saw one of contestants make a gin and tonic drizzle cake I’ve been informed by Mum that one just had to be made, being the dutiful daughter that I am I googled away and found this Good Housekeeping recipe and got baking.
I’m no food photographer so the photos really don’t do this justice but I was really pleased with how it turned out. It wasn’t the trickiest of cakes to make but it was time consuming thanks to several elements to the decorating process but it was worth it. This vanished in record time and has already been requested again as a birthday cake. I’ve popped the link to the recipe above but for those who can’t be faffed with clicking (guilty of this) here it is:

Cake Ingredients

200 g (7oz) unsalted butter, softened, plus extra to grease
200 g (7oz) caster sugar
4 medium eggs, beaten
200 g (7oz) self-raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
finely grated zest 1 lime
75 ml (3 fl oz) gin

For the Syrup and Topping

25 g (4oz) caster sugar, plus extra to sprinkle
125 ml (4 fl oz) tonic water
31/2 tbsp gin
2 limes, cut in half through their length and sliced into 3mm (1/8in) half moons
100 g (3 ½oz) icing sugar, sifted


Preheat oven to 180°C (160°C fan) mark 4. Grease and line base and sides of a 900g (2lb) loaf tin with baking parchment. In a large bowl beat butter and sugar with a handheld electric whisk until light and fluffy – about 5min. Gradually add eggs, beating well after each addition.

Fold in flour, baking powder and lime zest, followed by the gin. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for 55min-1hr or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make sugar syrup: gently heat the caster sugar and tonic water in a small pan, stirring often, until the sugar dissolves. Turn up heat and boil for 1min. Spoon 2tbsp of the syrup into a small bowl and mix in 2tbsp of the gin (this mixture will be used to soak the loaf later). Set pan of remaining syrup aside.

As soon as the loaf comes out of the oven, poke holes into the top with a skewer and drizzle over the reserved syrup/gin mixture. Cool loaf in tin on a wire rack.

Meanwhile, make the candied lime slices. Reheat the remaining sugar syrup in its pan until boiling, then add the lime slices. Simmer for 10-12min until the slices are translucent. Lift out slices with a slotted spoon on to baking parchment, then sprinkle both sides of the lime slices liberally with caster sugar. Leave to dry.
Make icing by mixing together icing sugar with remaining 1½tbsp gin. Remove cooled loaf from tin, transfer to a board and peel off parchment. Pour over icing and decorate with the dried candied lime slices. Leave the cake to set before serving.

Let me know what you think if you make this…and fellow GBBO obsessives, what have you been inspired to make?


Colouring Books from Ladybird

I grew up on a diet of Ladybird books. I recall my Grandparents having a huge collection of them and as a bookworm from an early age I soon made my way through them or demanded to be read to. I was therefore super excited when two colouring books from this much love publishing house landed at my door, especially the “Well Loved Tales: Cinderella” one as it always has been (and still is) one of my favourite fairytales and I think the idea of being able to colour along as you read is just wonderful.
Are these not the most charming books? I think this are such a lovely idea and would make a wonderful gift for children and adults alike. They are the perfect size for stashing in your bag, perfect for keeping young and old entertained on a long train journey or for whiling away a rainy Autumn afternoon.

Mae seemed pretty impressed too, any excuse to get in front of the camera eh?

Which of your favourite childhood reads would you most like to colour in?


How to create a brand for your blog or business*

Branding: only for the likes of big names like Coca Cola (because how iconic can white writing on a red background be), McDonalds (because who doesn’t look for the giant M after a heavy night) and Disney (enough said)…or is it? A brand is so much more than a logo and nowadays, in the age of digital it’s become far easier to create an easily recognisable identity – regardless of whether it’s for a business or a personal social media channel. One of the UK’s premier uniform suppliers Harveys tell me more…


Personal Style

The idea of having a personal style seems a little pretentious but it’s a surprisingly overlooked necessity. If you work as a beauty therapist for example your tunic will be one of the things your customer will always associate with you; from the colours to its fit it’s the only way you get to express your personality through clothing and opting for a specific colour could ultimately form the building blocks of an iconic brand later on down the line (no pressure).

Bloggers meanwhile can turn themselves into influencers if they have a firm enough grasp on fashion trends and what they like. Choose your angle wisely and when you’re known for a certain niche try not to change from it too much; if you’re a bargain shopper for example, don’t go showing off new luxury purchases and vice versa. Your fans will follow you for your brand and the moment you choose freebies over honesty you start to lose your online identity.

Logo, fonts, colours and websites

It can be daunting creating a logo or deciding on brand fonts; justifying turning something you enjoy into an instantly recognisable presence is a huge decision and can be one you can agonise on for days. Remember however that it’s what you’re selling that’s important and as long as you stay true to that you can’t go wrong.

If you’re planning a big business venture remember that what you invest is often what you get back – hire a designer to work with you to create your brand guidelines and work with a web development company to ensure you have a professional image and brand online. If you haven’t got the funds to invest there’s plenty of free templates and designs out there to use until you hit big but make sure it’s always showcasing what you do. If you’re creating a site for a company for example it’s often wise to stick with clean crisp typefaces. If you’re a beauty or lifestyle blogger meanwhile it’s all about finding something that you feel comfortable with that sums up your personality.

Social Media

Opening a social media account on every single channel might seem like a wise idea when you’re first starting off but think of your time and where your audience actually are. LinkedIn is perfect for businesses but probably less important for a blogger in the same way Instagram is an essential for any wannabe stylists but not so suitable for an investment banking organisation.
Research which channels work best for the people in your industry and consider additional benefits; Facebook for example can offer you cheap local targeting to people directly interested in your product – don’t be afraid of investing time and money in new channels but likewise don’t be scared of pulling the plug on them if they don’t work.

Remember what matters

Regardless of whether you’re building a presence for business, pleasure or somewhere in between it’s called a personal brand for a reason -it’s all about you! There’ll always be somebody somewhere offering the same as you but find what makes your offering unique and why you’re going down that route in the first place! Never try and copy anybody else and always be proud of who you are – whether it’s customers or fans on social media truthfulness to yourself is always the best way to sell your product and brand.

Harveys is a professional workwear and uniform supplier with over 60 years’ experience. Based in the UK with full customisation options available they’re proud suppliers to some of the best-known (and future best known) names.

Harveys is a workwear and uniform supplier with over 60 years’ experience. Based in the UK and offering only the highest quality products they’re proud to be known for helping businesses become a brand.


Dressing Up with House of Fraser

Firstly, how is it Friday again? I honestly cannot cope with how fast time is flying right now, the only upside being it means I’ll be back at work before I know it. With back to work in mind I was really excited to be given the opportunity to add to my wardrobe recently thanks to House of Fraser and their fabulous array of dress covering everything from work wear to party perfect pieces. As I’ve mentioned time and time again, shopping is not on the cards right now so the chance to pick out something new was a real little boost and I’m very much in love with my new frock.

Dress: Oasis at House of Fraser | Boots: Irregular Choice | Bangle: Banana Republic

I love that House of Fraser stock so many brands under one roof, it does make shopping a breeze. Oasis are one of my favourite high street dress retailers- they always have at least a dozen dresses I’m coveting at any one time and this one with it’s pretty collar and amazing flared sleeves won me over in an instant. What I failed to capture was the little bow popper fastening on the back too, it’s these little details that make all the difference to me. It’s one of those pieces that will keep on giving for years to come, it’s on trend enough to be cool but not so much as to instantly date.

I’m not sure what else I can add to this post, I certainly have no interesting anecdotes from life this week as it’s been same old, same old so I’ll spare you my inane ramble and let you appreciate the beauty of this dress instead.

Anyone else having a constant battle with the odd lighting at this time of year? I need to find a new photo spot as my parent’s garden gets no shade during the day and come evening it starts getting dark that much earlier it makes getting photos a nightmare! It’s high time I learnt how to use my camera properly to be honest, there’s a little mission for me.