Summer ’18: New Pieces I’ve Picked Up

Happy Sunday, angels!

First off, apologies for the sporadic (and rather sparse) blogging schedule these past few months – creative drought has been real and I didn’t want to post something just for the sake of it. “Quality over quantity” rings in my ears whenever I give myself a hard time for being silent on the blog or missing a couple of days posting on Insta.

The last bank holiday weekend could not have come at a better time – even just one extra day to lie in bed surrounded by snacks has made all the difference to my cortisol levels and I’m already excited for the next Monday off. We were also blessed with wonderful warm weather that had me wanting to get out of the house and do an outfit shoot, rather than finding any excuse to stay tucked up in my duvet. The tumbleweeds in the creative parts of my brain have finally started to clear so I’m coming at you today with a suitably-themed summer outfits haul.

I’m off travelling in a couple of months so should definitely not be spending money right now – especially on more black dresses – but the shops are bursting with the most beautiful pieces at the moment and my willpower just ain’t strong enough. My wardrobe has never been so full of summery dresses and accessories, and I’ve never been so excited for the weather to stay warm (I’m usually an autumn/winter girl at heart). Today’s post is going to be about some of my favourite bits and pieces I’ve picked up for the new season…

ASOS DESIGN Broderie Puff Ball Off Shoulder Sundress

ASOS has been my go-to lately (especially after treating myself to Premier Delivery last month – biggest mistake for my bank balance 🙊) and I’ve been drawn to red pieces in particular like a moth is drawn to a flame.

ASOS puff sleve summery boderie
Broderie red dress, perfect for the summerThis 
amazing puff-sleeve dress went straight into my basket when I saw it and straight onto my body when it arrived in the post. I love the delicate broderie print and those sleeves… what better way to hide the fact I’ve never picked up an arm weight? 😍

As mentioned in my last blog post I’m obsessed with interesting silhouettes, and the A-line cut and puffed arm cuffs on this dress fit that bill to a T.

I’d pair it with black or white strappy heels for a cute evening look, and some espadrilles or cork platform shoes for walks along the beach or shopping trips during the day. 

TOPSHOP Shirred Ditsy Bodycon Dress

I’ll admit it straight out – this piece was wholly inspired by the beautiful Lydia from Fashion Influx. As soon as it flashed up on my Instagram feed I fell in love with both the colour (obv) and the print. I’m not normally one for ditsy patterns – they’re a tad too girly / delicate for my preferred style – but the vibrant orange/red colour and dark accents in the print on this dress won me over.

I also love the shirred material and how it creases up around the stomach a little as you walk – great for hiding a mini food-baby and the folds of fabric help add a little bit of pizzazz to the outfits silhouette (you’ll prob hear that a lot in this post)!

H&M Orange Calf-Length Flounced Skirt

This time last year I would never have had the balls to wear something like this. Black and grey intentionally dominated my wardrobe so that I wouldn’t run the risk of wearing something that would make me stand out. The thought of drawing attention to any part of my body – let alone my bottom half – made me cower in embarrassment and red/orange pieces like this flouncy H&M skirt would never have made its way onto a hanger in my closet. I’m glad that, while there’s still room for “not caring about what other people think” in my head, this piece is getting me one step closer to the style I love and feel best in.

This skirt is really fab – it fits great around the waist while giving my legs room to breathe and it’s truly a sight when the wind catches the light material and blows the ruffles around. I’d love to get a patterned version of this piece.

BERSHKA Wide Leg Trouser

This pair of trousers is my first piece from Bershka and will definitely not be my last. They hug my bod so perfectly and are super comfortable to wear – no digging-in around the waist, no unwanted wedgies, no tightness around the top of my legs. I also love the detachable ring belt and going matchy-matchy with a pair of massive hoop earrings.

These will be coming on holiday with me for those cooler evenings and for the dinners I’ll want to dress up nice for but not look OTT. Because these trousers are quite long (or rather, because my legs are disproportionately short), they’re best worn with a pair of espadrille wedges or some high flatforms.

TOPSHOP Square Neck Slip Dress

Midi dresses never used to appeal to me, partly because of my aforementioned insecurity about my short legs and general fear of making myself look stumpier. I envied the tall women with long legs and torsos who rocked them during Fashion Weeks and or whilst shopping on Oxford Street. I never thought they’d look any good hanging off my bumpier, curvier, shorter body.

Summer outfits haul - I definitely didn't need another black dress

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Much like I did with culottes last summer, however, a couple weeks ago I ordered a midi dress from ASOS on a whim (I defo take advantage of their free returns 🙌) and decided they would become a staple in my wardrobe this season. In true Ellie-style though, all the midis I’ve recently treated myself to are black or dark-coloured but that’s OK – it means that, as well as being a comfy bikini cover-up, I can stick a pair of tights on and wear them into the autumn/winter with a biker jacket and chunky boots too.

This Topshop midi dress is made of an interesting material that hangs so flatteringly off the body. I’m also developing a big crush on square necklines too and I like how this one creases into an almost-cowl neck when you move around.

And now for some accessories…

Topshop net and bamboo summer bagdefinitely did not need another bag but I definitely did need to add a string-bamboo one like this to my collection. Wearing this with a long flowing maxi dress or playsuit, I feel like a summery little boho queen, stylish and sophisticated with my style pinned down to a T. The white version doesn’t seem to be available online anymore, although is probably still around in stores. There’s also a gorgeous red one  that would look amazing with a crisp white linen shirt or button-down dress. 

Big hoop earrings are the perfect addition to any summer outfit

Earrings in general have been another fun accessory I’ve been playing with this spring. I’ve not worn anything on my ears for yearsssss and it’s been super fun to shop for funky tasselled gems and diamanté studs again.

These silver hoops from River Island are my favourite so far though – I don’t know how, but they make such a difference to the composition of a style and hairstyle (and they were only a fiver – win-win!).


I hope you enjoyed my sporadic summer haul  – drop me a comment below and tell me about the accessories and outfits you’ve added to your collection for the new season!

Love,

skitch

Trans-Seasonal Dressing: My Capsule Spring Closet

Happy April everyone (sorry, I know I’m a tad late to the welcoming party – are there any hot cross buns left?)! I hope your long Easter weekends were relaxing ones full of great food, great company and great TV (there were some crackers on the box). Sadly the Easter bunny did not bring nice weather with it to the egg hunt – apart from today’s wonderful glimpse of sunshine, it’s just been rain rain rain and my hair (more like ~ball of ginger frizz~) is not happy. I warn you – this post is going to involve a lot of complaining.

These days we can’t be sure what we’ll wake up to in the morning – will the Beast of the East have returned, bringing with it another deep layer of fluffy snow? Will I be woken up by the gentle lullaby of an ice cream van jingle, mum bounding up the stairs with lollies in hand announcing the 30-degree heat that arrived overnight? Will I regret spending an hour straightening my hair the evening before when I step out of my house into torrential rain?

This topsy-turvy snow-then-sun-then-snow-again-then-sun-again-then-rain-rain-and-more-rain has had me doing the hokey-cokey with my furry boots and woolly hats – in, out, in and out of the wardrobe they have gone. Mother Nature normally likes to shake things up around March-April time but this year she’s really keeping us on our toes. This is particularly inconvenient when it comes to planning outfits for the following day – we can’t really predict what we’ll be faced with on our morning commute.

I do love being organised and I refuse to let my need to plan what I’m going to wear the night before be disrupted by the silly ol’ weather. Therefore, this desire for ultra-impressive organisation (definitely not impressive) has led me to create a SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe.

What is a SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe I hear you ask?!? Well, it’s three fancy, fashion-y words that sound nicer together than ‘pile of clothes on my bedroom floor that I tend to reach for more often during this period of crazy weather’. Uh no wait I mean… my SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe is a collection of pieces that I’ve spent the past couple of weeks building to use as fool-proof back-up items I can wear with the confidence that I’ll be able to face any rain, sun, sleet or snow Mother Nature wants to throw at me (OK, maybe not snow, I don’t think I’ll ever be prepared for snow).

So, if you’re interested in finding out more about some of the pieces of clothing I’ve included in my fancy-pants (definitely not fancy-pants) SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe then keep reading… ☺️

Fur-lined jackets

I’m not normally one for bright colours – in fact I actively avoid them while browsing through clothing rails in stores – but I couldn’t take my eyes off this beautiful red/orange piece. In fact, red is fast-becoming my colour of choice this season.

This vibrant faux shearling biker jacket from River Island featured on my Instagram a couple of months ago and I’ve worn it most weekends since. Slipping your arms into these faux fur-lined sleeves feels like putting on a blanket – it’s the softest piece of clothing I think I’ve ever worn.

Rather than reaching for the nearest pair of black jeans or a navy chiffon dress to neutralise the blinding jacket (picking dark items of clothing for outfits is a reflex), I’ve paired it with even more colour. This summery dress is a New Look gem from a couple of summers ago. The biker jacket brings out the red accents in the dress, and the russet-coloured buckle booties enhance the spring/summer boho-vibe. For chillier days, I’d stick on a pair of high-waisted straight leg jeans and a thin grey tee.

If faux fur-lined biker jackets are your thing but red just ain’t, you can find other similar ones here and here.

Culottes

Culottes seem to be an item people either love or hate. I used to firmly place myself in the ‘hate’ group, assuming their shapeless silhouette would make my thighs look wider and butt look bigger (and not in a cute way 🙅‍♀️).

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Around this time last year though, they became a hit trend and I succumbed to the fashion slave within me and tried on a pair in a Zara changing room. It was in that changing room that I jumped straight across into the ‘AbSoLuTeLy AdOrE’ group and culottes have since become a staple item in my wardrobe.

Whereas style used to be my priority for outfits, I now tend to value comfort more than anything else (I just cross my fingers the style bit will follow suit) – luckily culottes fit the style AND comfort bill to a T. I think this navy pair from Zara (old, similar here and here) looks fab with this fluffy Topshop jumper (also old – similar here and here); I love the combination of patterns and textures. This outfit is ideal for both chilly and warmer days – culottes allow for wonderful air flow when you feel a sweat coming on during your rush to the station 😂

Roll neck tops

Roll necks are another type of clothing I have grown to love over time. As a not-so-small-chested gal who used to be quite self-conscious of any clothing that gave the impression of curves, high neck pieces were never really welcome in my wardrobe. But, like culottes, after seeing images of stylish influencers rocking roll necks under graphic tees, satin dresses, spaghetti vests and the like floating around the internet last year, I wanted to give them a chance.

Roll neck knits were my go-to this winter – they’re snug and cosy, and make you feel like you’re still tucked up under your duvet. While there are still days that make me question whether spring has actually arrived (will this rain and cold weather ever sod off?!), I’m not prepared to risk hyperthermia on my commute to work – wear a high-neck knit on a warmish day and you’ll be angrily pulling at the fabric around your armpits until you can jump into a shower. So, I’m downgrading my layers to a thin cotton roll neck tee instead.

The one in these shots is from Boohoo; similar can also be found at Suncoo and H&M. I’ve paired it with the comfiest little corduroy pinafore dress from Topshop (sold out – similar here and here) and some thigh boots. I absolutely love this outfit! Whip your hair up into a bun or high pony to accentuate the funky neckline and you’re set.

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Oversized scarves

Forgive me if this one sounds a bit boring or predictable but leaving it out of my SpRiNgTiMe CaPsULe WaRdRoBe would be an injustice to the power of this reliable accessory.

Anyone who sees me on the daily will be aware of my attachment to this gorgeous light blue H&M scarf (old – similar here and here). You won’t see one of us without the other (yeah, we’re one of those couples 🙄😂). She’s multi-purpose (yes, she’s a ‘she’) – flop her on top of your head and she’s a great hair-protector when it’s raining; stretch her out across your shoulders and she becomes a nice shawl for chilly evenings (not that I’m classy enough to wear a shawl); let her hang long around your neck and she conveniently covers up your pyjama top during a dash to the supermarket.

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If you’re not already convinced (c’mon, they’re multi-purpose hat/jacket/bad-outfit-disguises!) I think scarves also add a lot to the silhouette of an outfit.

I’ve been big on silhouettes lately, combining pieces of different shapes and textures to create an interesting outline. A tassel scarf draped twice around your neck adds a nice lil summin’ summin’ to an outfit that’s otherwise shapeless. I like contrast too – oversized sweaters with skin-tight jeans and chunky boots; figure-hugging halternecks with puffy tulle skirts, thigh boots with a flowing dress. Oversized scarves add some nice contrast to an otherwise figure-hugging outfit.

Also, while we’re looking as these ReAlLy CoOL (definitely not cool) photos of me smiling at my cute AF scarf, can we also take note of how funky these River Island jeans are???


…and that’s it, folks – the four items I will continue plonking on my body regularly until Mother Nature decides to bless us with some sweet sunshine 🌞

I’d love to know what pieces you’ve been reaching for during this strange seasonal transition!

Love,

skitch

October Favourites

I think it’s really important to reflect on what you’re grateful for and to express this gratitude on a regular basis. This could be by writing down a list of things that you’re appreciative of, meditating on it when you’ve got a few spare moments in the evening, or simply thanking someone for being a beautiful presence in your life!

I’ve tried to make “gratitude journalling” a habit and it’s slowly been changing my mindset – everything is precious and easily lost; it’s so important to appreciate what you have when you have it.

Life becomes that bit more magical when you reflect on how lucky you are to have the simple things – people that love you, a roof over your head, food on the table. Beyond these essentials are the materialistic luxuries – lots of outfits one can pick from in the morning, a camera-donning 4G smartphone, or maybe a velvety chocolate cake that waits for you after dinner.

This post is dedicated to those materialistic luxuries – the things we don’t need, but can love immensely all the same! Society puts so much emphasis on the importance of valuing relationships and experiences over materialistic things, but I don’t think it’s bad to admit how happy certain objects can make you feel. It’s all about balance!

This October I’ve been creating a little collection of the fashion / beauty / lifestyle-related bits ‘n bobs that I’ve been particularly loving & appreciating over the past 4 weeks – read on to find out what and where! 🍁🎃🍂

Fashion

RAPID Chunky Ankle Boots by ASOS

I love a chunky boot – they can toughen-up a girly floral dress, or complement skinny black jeans and a bomber jacket.

I had been on the hunt for some not-too-clumpy black boots for months before I came across this pair from ASOS at the start of summer. At just £30, I had to have ‘em!

These booties are well-made and easy to incorporate into almost any outfit. They’re going to be perfect when the autumn weather gets chillier and the regular rainfalls return.

The side zip adds detail and a touch of colour; I love pairing these boots with an all-black outfit and silver accessories.

Short Skirt by H&M

IMG_3140.jpgThere seems to be a black-and-silver theme emerging here 😂

This faux suede black zip skirt from H&M is really versatile and comfortable – I’ve been incorporating it into so many outfits this month!

It’s usually pretty difficult for me to find skirts that fit properly around my waist and my thighs, but this mini has a great A-line cut and fits well.

I like pairing this skirt with big cosy jumpers or an oversized graphic tee tucked in.

Beauty

Tea Tree Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution by The Body Shop

Tea tree oil is an antiseptic and anti-inflammatory, making it a great ingredient to use in acne-combatting skincare products or for treating minor infections.

One of the most appealing uses of tea tree oil for me is its ability to dry up and get rid of spots. While The Body Shop also sell a more concentrated tea tree oil dipper that you put directly onto spots, their Anti-Imperfection Daily Solution can be applied to the whole face – you only need a couple of drops so this decently-sized bottle will last ages.

This solution has been a great addition to my skincare routine; I apply it all over my face and neck every night after cleansing my skin with Garnier Micellar Water. I then finish off with lots of moisturiser – recently I’ve been reaching for this one from La Roche-Posay.

Make-Up Cover by Dermacol

I’ve had Dermacol on my radar for a couple of years now, but have always hesitated about purchasing their products. The brand markets their makeup to the stage and theatre industry, which to me means that it’s probably heavier and more dramatic than your average everyday cosmetics. But after trying out one of their foundations, I regret hesitating for so long…

After another acne flare-up, and with the first day at my new job looming, I purchased Dermacol’s high-coverage Make-Up Cover foundation in the hopes that it would hide the redness around my spots and make my skin look less blotchy.

To my amazement, it did this and more – it evened out my complexion, made the pores on my nose look smaller and even gave me a subtle glow.

This foundation is infamous for being pretty thick but I didn’t find it any more so than the Kat Von D Lock-It Foundation. It didn’t leave my skin feeling sticky or heavy, and it lasted for the majority of the day without reapplication.

I’m now really keen to try out some more of Dermacol’s products!

Hoola Lite by Benefit Cosmetics

I have naturally very pale skin – whenever I’m picking out a powder or foundation, I know to go straight to the lightest shade to find my colour! Finding a contour or bronzer than doesn’t look orange or muddy can be a struggle – drugstore brands often don’t cater well to the palest / darkest skin tones.

Last summer I purchased a mini version of the Benefit Cosmetics Hoola bronzer but was worried it would be too dark on my washed-out complexion – and I was right. I loved the texture and wear of the product but it was definitely too orange. I felt really bummed about the lack of other shades.

So, when Benefit came out with Hoola Lite earlier this year I ran to the nearest Boots counter in the first week of its launch to test it out, and I wasn’t disappointed.

This shade is perfect, with cool undertones that complement my skin colour and freckles. It can be used as a contour colour or an all-over bronzer to get that sun-kissed glow. It lasts for hours before the need to reapply and smells beautiful.

It’s also very pigmented; you only need to tap your brush into it to pick up lots product so it will last ages.

Lifestyle

These three wonderful little books have been on my bedside table for months – and not because I haven’t gotten round to picking them up but because I keep reading them over and over!

If you’re looking for some inspiration, The Art of Creative Thinking by Rod Judkins will get your cogs whirring and ignite your creative flame again.

The Yellow World by Albert Espinosa is beautiful and thought-provoking. Diagnosed with cancer at the age of 14 and losing his leg, a lung and a section of his liver over the course of his ten-year battle with the disease, Albert creates the Yellow World. This world is based on a number of discoveries that are revealed across the pages of his book – inspirational and amusing lessons that can help us reconnect with reality and cope with our ever-changing world. I highly, highly recommend.

The Things You Can See Only When You Slow Down is written by ‘mega-monk’ Haemin Sunim. It’s full of inspiring advice, life stories, anecdotes and beautiful illustrations. It’s an easy book to read, and perfect to pick up when you’re in need of a pick-me-up.

Despite living in London my whole life, I’ve only managed to visit Notting Hill a handful of times. This weekend, I journeyed to North West London with one of my lovely pals from uni for a candy-coloured adventure.

Notting Hill is perhaps best known for Portobello Market – a haven of stalls selling cool vintage items that you never knew you needed, food from around the world, and clothes with a sentimental history. It’s also gained a reputation for being home to many beautifully coloured houses. Pink and blue and mint green and yellow houses are dotted along streets all over the area – it’s an Instagrammer’s heaven 😍


I hope you liked delving into my little collection of October favourites – I’d love to hear about what you’ve been enjoying this month too!

Love,

skitch