Christmas Party

Wednesday, 21 December 2016

christmas party outfit

December is a bit of a weird month, don’t you think? The first half is dominated by hustle and bustle:  you have to finish your projects, keep deadlines and seal this important deal all before Christmas. Then follows the complete opposite – in the second half work usually slows down (because you know it’s Christmas), people become suddenly unavailable and anything urgent has to wait until the New Year.

Especially in the second half of December people love to eat, exchange presents, come together and socialise (even more than they already do in the rest of the year). Suddenly there are work breakfast invites popping up by the minute, Christmas cards circulate the office and the big highlight, the Christmas Party, is highly anticipated and THE topic of the office.

My First Christmas Party: A 1920s Night To Remember

Now, I usually find it a bit hard (and awkward) to socialise with my colleagues outside of the usual work environment. Partially because it’s not as easy as it is with blogging friends and secondly I like to keep a distance, the professional line. I remember my first Christmas office party in 2013 when I worked for a super small PR agency. 

We joined all the other local agencies for a night out at Cheltenham Town Hall, which held a 1920s themed Great Gatsby party. The hall was decorated nicely with mirror tables, elaborate flower bouquets and tonnes of glitter. We had a great time adoring the dressed-up women and men with their fancy costumes and sophisticated 1920’s hairstyles. 

It was a great atmosphere and everyone was fully into the theme. Sadly, the evening didn’t end that well. My colleague got involved in a fight and as a result, punched into the face. A split lip, a ruined white dress covered in blood and five police officers later, I got home at 3 am. “Did you have a good time? You must have because you’ve stayed that long” – “Um oh well….my colleague got punched into the face” – a story to tell the children.

christmas party dress

DAN Christmas Party at The Roundhouse in Camden

So fast forward three years and I’ve yet to venture into joining another office party. This is actually the second one from my current company ever since I’ve started my job in London, but I’ve missed out on the Christmas party in my first year. 

Now that I’m making a few work friends, it was time to make an appearance. This year’s theme was “Rewind the Roundhouse” held at a super fancy Camden nightclub which was transformed into a 90’s disco with The Artful Dodger headlining the night. 

Yep, you’ve read correctly: THE ARTFUL DODGER – the legendary epitome of 2step/ UK garage that brought us Craig David into our lives. Well, and if one of my favourite DJs plays and I can dwell in 90’s music aka “the music I danced to when I was young” HELL YEAH, it means I come to the Christmas Party.

(following pictures are courtesy of DAN network. Photo credit: DAN Network)

DAN christmas party at roundhouse camden
roundhouse camden christmas party
DAN christmas party light wristband
The Artful Dodger Christmas Party
rhythmisaDANcer 90s christmas party

Together with my SEO gang we literally partied all night. We had unlimited ice cream, drinks and candy floss, my colleagues now know that I dance like a 12-year-old and pretty much know all the cheesy songs from Britney, NSync, Backstreet Boys and Spice Girls by heart. 

Yep, I do listen to those at work and at home and in between – and all this in a sober state (as you know I don’t drink) so “don’t try to tell me” (little Artful Dodger reference here) that I can’t have fun/socialise like a pro without alcohol. Our company knows how to throw a party. We even had our own hashtag for the night, if you’d like to have a look search for #rhythmisaDANcer. Can I request Chicane or The Shapeshifters for next year pretty please?

My Christmas Party Dress From Topshop And Outfit

For the night I glammed up in my recent Topshop purchase. It was one of those dresses that I saw on TV and then immediately went and bought it. Turned out it was a good decision to do so, as it pretty much sold out the moment it hit December. This blue velvet stunner has a sophisticated lace neckline, which reminds me of the 1920’s. 

The belt-like feature around the waistline tailors the dress nicely. It also comes in burgundy but I like the dark blue more mysterious and statement. To add some Christmas sparkle, I’ve teamed it up with glittery hosiery from Charnos. Black heels finish off the look to keep it sassy but sophisticated.

Topshop party dress
charnos glitter party tights
charnos hosiery festive tights

I’ve received many compliments from my colleagues for the dress (doesn’t help much over the fact I wasn’t voted best-dressed female. Yeah, I know!). Anyway, here is what I'm wearing:

Topshop lace velvet dress

Here Is What I'm Wearing:

Lace/Velvet Dress: Topshop (current AW16/17 season, £55)
Glittery Tights*: Charnos Hosiery (current AW16/17 season, £10)
Pointed High Heels: Stradivarius (last AW 15/16 season, sale £20)

Thanks for reading, 

Merry Christmas,

*PR sample

eXchange iPad tablet jacket by Paperblanks

Thursday, 15 December 2016

iPad air cover exchange paperblanks

Long have I struggled with myself if I should buy myself a case for my iPad. Given the fact that I barely use it and I'm generally very careful with my belongings, there wasn't really "the" need to have one. Plus, most of the models available have all been rather underwhelming and expensive if you ask me.

However, when Paperblanks released the eXchange series in autumn 2015, it was VERY hard to resist. The unique composition of an everyday item such as the case and Paperblanks' unmistakably signature print inspired by old manuscripts and world literature, remains a beloved all-time classic to me that not many stationery brands have achieved.

eXchange Tablet Jackets From Paperblanks Are A Book Nerds Dream

eXchange launched and I saw myself drooling over those tablet jackets but the heavy price tag of £50 kept me from buying. What do they say about the things we don't buy? Those will hunt us the most for the rest of our lives. An end had to be put to the misery this year, so my time came around when the Black Friday sale arrived. 

Hello 20% off! Not much, but still, a nice touch to get a few £££ off the purchase. Fast forward two days and the eXchange Shiraz iPad Air tablet jacket together with an Edgar Allan Poe 2017 diary arrived fresh from Germany.

ipad air case from exchange paperblanks

First Impressions Of The Paperblanks eXchange iPad Cover

My first impression? OMG. Literally OMG. It's not even a case - NO, it is a tablet jacket.

The jacket itself was wrapped in this classy, yet stylish packaging that had a magnetic clasp such as the famous Paperblanks Journals themselves. Alone the packaging got me massively excited. The actual tablet jacket is absolutely gorgeous and of such high quality, it is unreal. 

The hardcover is in true Paperblanks style: I opted for a medieval manuscript, a colourful cover that reproduces a 16th-century Islamic bookbinding that was originally crafted from painted and embossed black goatskin. The ornaments and enriched details are incredible and from the outside, it looks like a book rather than an iPad case.

The solid material is scratch and spill-resistant. It's so robust that it will protect the iPad in case you drop it accidentally. The iPad itself sits securely thanks to a high technology click system that allows the gadget to be positioned safely within the case. On the side, there are slits for optimal air ventilation, a slot for your headphones, a camera hole, as well as power and sound button protectors.

The interior of the eXchange Shiraz is lined with a super soft material. In the corner is a subtle eXchange logo embossed, branding the tablet jacket with an exclusive touch. You can also bend the back if you prefer your iPad standing upfront. The end is magnetic to the case to allow perfect hold and security. Nothing can slide, it all sits and holds perfectly in place.

Let's appreciate the beauty of this magnificent piece:

beautiful ipad air case by paperblanks
exchange ipad air cover from paperblanks
ipad air tablet jacket shiraz exchange paperblanksexchange tablet jacket shiraz paperblanks

Ahhh I could never get tired of the sophisticated designs and timeless styles of a Paperblanks product. In fact, I've been hoarding their journals for years now, collecting them just for the sake of their outstanding beauty and to appreciate them in my bookcase. 

Use them? I could NEVER do that, unlike the diaries which I do actively use until they fall apart. Here's just a small glimpse of my Paperblanks collection - can you spot the Shiraz? 

paperblanks collection including the exchange shiraz tablet jacket

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time,

Christmas Jumper Day

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

john lewis christmas jumper

I'm not a fan of Christmas jumpers - there I said it.

Often, I find their colours too loud, their motives too cheesy or simply just plain tacky. "But they are fun!" I can hear you say. No, they aren't. They are neither classy nor stylish - but I'm trying - like giving my best efforts here - to blend into the British tradition: I've bought a jumper that I'm comfortable wearing in public for Christmas Jumper Day which will be on Friday, 16th.

Christmas Jumper Day In The UK Is A Thing - And Often Not The Most Fashionable

For my non-British readers - Hello Germany, US and Australia! - Christmas Jumper Day is a charity day celebrated in the UK to raise funds for Save The Children. However, the concept of wearing festively themed knitwear is widely popular here in Britain. 

People go crazy and start wearing funny Christmas jumpers as soon as it hits December 1st. This rather unique (and odd) phenomenon to the UK is something that I'm not 100% sure I will ever warm up to (sorry for the pun). However, I'm venturing into the seasonal trend and found a cool Christmas jumper at John Lewis. 

christmas jumper by joules

JL sell a collection by Joules and it first got my attention during their crafts event that I helped to organise a few weeks ago. I love their simple, yet classy designs. The fabric of the jumpers is perfect for the relatively warm winters in London as the material is breathable, lightweight and super soft. 

The toned colours and the cute print of a Mini Schnauzer wrapped up in Christmas tinsel further ticks all the boxes for me. A stylish fit, pleasant colourway and an adorable dog - what's not to like?

mini schnauzer christmas jumper
funny christmas jumper
christmas jumper day UK

At £49 this is a rather pricey Christmas jumper. If you're as picky as I am and dislike wearing jumpers in general, then finding one that looks great and flattering becomes a challenge - so when you finally find THE one, you shouldn't be sceptical. You should buy it regardless - and with Christmas approaching faster each day, once it's gone, it's gone. 

christmas jumper

Here's What I'm Wearing:

Joules Ladies Festive Intarsia Jumper: John Lewis (current AW 16/17, £49.90)
Black Stretch Jeans: Uniqlo (permanent, £29.90)
Tan Boots: Lotus (current AW 16/17, £120)

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time, 

Stocking Fillers & Secret Santa Gifts

Thursday, 8 December 2016

inexpensive christmas gifts

The end of 2016 is here and everyone is excited about Christmas by now. With friends, colleagues and family to sort out with presents, the budget can very easily explode and before you know it, you've spent a little fortune during the pre-Christmas period. I've been on top of my gifting list for my friends and family and organised a few cute Secret Santa gifts and stocking fillers to give away. 

Inexpensive Christmas gifts can be found this year mainly in John Lewis. From small Christmas gifts to stocking fillers, there are some pretty items available in the current festive collection. I've bought a few things which are perfect to give away on their own or will apply that special finish for your wrapped presents. 

Furthermore, I've also discovered a tech brand at this year's Bloggers Festival that I'd like to introduce to you for today's post as they do the most stylish power packs for your smartphone and therefore would make a great gift.  

1. Secret Santa Gift Idea: Monogram Tree Ornament, £5

Personalisation in fashion has been a huge trend and lots of lifestyle brands followed. From monogram letters for your bookcase to monogrammed travel tags, your initials have been seen on most everyday items throughout 2016. 

John Lewis follows the trend, too, and have released a monogrammed Christmas Tree ornament range. The letters in a deep festive red colour are powered by two AAA batteries so you can light up your ornament and let your initials, or a special Christmas message, shine from your tree. 

I love the idea as they make great presents for Secret Santa or can also be used to add that special finish to your Christmas wrapping. The change of batteries though is a bit tricky, as you'll need a mini screwdriver to open the battery compartment at the back of the ornament. Fiddly, but oh so cute when it is lit on.

monogram christmas tree ornament john lewis

2. Stocking Filler Gift Idea For Christmas: Clock Ornament, £6

I have a thing for chronographs and watches, so this Victorian-inspired clock ornament was a must-have for me when I saw it. John Lewis seems to have these in their standard range of Christmas ornaments, as I remember missing out on buying those last year. Luckily they had them back and I bought two to use for my own tree and as decoration when I'm wrapping up presents. The clock resembles for me the magical midnight hour on Christmas eve and the moment of swapping gifts on December 24.

clock christmas tree ornament john lewis

3. Secret Santa Gift Idea For The Office: Polka Dot Mugs, £5

Do you love Kate Spade? Then you'll be surprised to hear that these are John Lewis' own brand and cost a fraction of the price, the designer label charges for its china. I found those on the ground floor in the random gifts section of the department store and bought a few. 

They are very stylish and Kate Spade-like, perfect for when you love the label but don't want to fork out a fortune. Wrap these up in clear cellophane gift wrap and fill the mug with chocolates for a perfect small Christmas gift to treat friends or colleagues for Secret Santa.

christmas stocking fillers

4. Stocking Filler For Santa Clause: PNY Power Pack*, £14

Hands up if you bagged yourself a new phone in the Black Friday sale *lifts hand* Yup, I got one, too to give to my mum. As it is her birthday and Christmas a few days later, I thought I should not only gift her the new phone but also all the accessories. 

Like all the standard essentials that you need to start out with your very first smartphone including phone case and power packs. This one is from PNY, a tech brand that I got introduced to at the Bloggers Festival in September. Not only do these rose coloured packs look super trendy, they also come in a very handy cardholder size. 

No excuse to not take them in your handbag! I've been using mine ever since I got it and it is so easy and uncomplicated to use. Unlike other packs, it doesn't get hot and has so far been very reliable.

PNY rose gold power pack

I'm really pleased with the small gifts and presents that I've got this year to give away. Rather than the usual scented candle or sweets, I feel these are practical, thoughtful and stylish. Plus I hope today's post on Christmas gift ideas has been proven that you can get some pretty inexpensive Christmas gifts and Stocking Fillers that won't break the bank. 

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time, 

*PR Sample

The Annual Nightmare Before Christmas. Winter Coat Shopping.

Sunday, 4 December 2016

winter coats for women

Where to get the best winter coats from? A question which haunts me annually before Christmas. The thing is, my warm winter coats barely last for one season, mainly because the quality of the fabrics isn't as good as it was twenty years ago. 

The usual wool-blends to be found on the British High Street aren't resistant to the persistent rain and humidity in the UK, hence why ugly bobbling and peeling are on the cards and have wrecked one coat after another over the years. 

Currently, the retailers are fully stocked with winter coats for women and it took me a good while to find a decent one this year. It feels like you can't rely on a specific retailer anymore, for example, if I need to buy a new blouse for work I know exactly Uniqlo is the right place to go. 

For dresses, I usually check out Topshop or Miss Selfridge and M&S never lets me down with feminine underwear - but with winter coats the research has to be done over and over again.

french connection coats
winter coat from FCUK
winter coat shopping

FCUK Have Some Stylish Winter Coats In Their Current Season 2016 Collection

It wasn't until my friend's wedding a couple of weeks ago that I got a crucial hint from my other friend who was at the wedding, too. She had this beautiful grey long coat, nothing too fancy but a very classy tailoring and neat cut with a cosy faux fur. 

At first, my guess was Ted Baker but she revealed it was French Connection. So where did I go to during the Black Friday sale? Right, I checked out the winter coat sale at the Oxford Street FCUK branch and found this platform felt faux fur collar coat. It was reduced by 30% from its original £225 to £157. 

Still, a bit OMG-slightly-pricey but the incredible quality of the faux fur collar and its perfect fit convinced me to invest in the piece. Plus this ladies winter coat is a UK8 which means for the first time in a while I could buy a smaller size than to my usual UK10 and make me feel good about my shape (not like H&M where my standard UK10 is now a UK12 or UK14 shaking up my body confidence tremendously).  

The French Connection coats this season mostly feature simple yet chic designs. Mine is a wool-cashmere blend long coat with a changeable revere faux fur collar. The zip-fastened flap pockets are big enough to hold my Oyster card and phone. For today's look, I've teamed it up with a cosy, white jumper from Stradivarius and black Uniqlo jeans. 

My tan boots, which I have won a few weeks ago a blogger giveaway, are from Lotus. These equestrian design inspired leather boots are perfect for Autumn and Winter looks, as the warm brown colour harmonises perfectly with the usual seasonal colours of white, black and grey. To me, a gorgeous pair of tan boots is an absolute wardrobe essential and shouldn't be missed in your collection.

ladies winter coats french connection
Platform felt faux fur collar coat french connection
FCUK winter coat

Here's What I'm Wearing:

Platform Felt Faux Fur Coat: French Connection (current AW 16/17 season, sale £157)
Jumper: Stradivarius (AW 14/15 season, £20)
Jeans: Uniqlo (permanent, £30)
Kennedia Tan Boots: Lotus (current AW 16/17 season, £120)

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time,

Rome Sightseeing

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

rome sightseeing travel blog post

The secret top travel destinations to explore in 2016 were said to be Copenhagen, Amsterdam, and Rome. Now that the year is slowly coming to an end, I can cross out two of those from my travel list. I’ve managed to take a trip to Copenhagen twice and recently jetted off to Rome for a few days. 

It was my first visit to the eternal city and instead of revising every day of my trip, I’d like to quickly summarise the good and the bad of my adventures in a list of ten most striking things when you visit Rome:

1. Be overwhelmed: Rome is super pretty

With all its little side streets, hidden restaurants and old build listed grade II houses, Rome has to be the prettiest city I’ve ever seen. Wandering around left me constantly admiring the incredible baroque architecture that breaks the natural light in so many different ways that literally every building looks amazing. Around every corner may await an iron gate embellished with romantic ornaments or there are marble sculptures to take the wanderer back in time. 

The street signs are usually carved in stone and to be found on house walls. Their weather marked stone - relics of the old ancient times when Rome was built. There’s a gem to discover behind every corner, no matter if you are in the touristy part of Rome or in the more local areas, it is simply pretty everywhere. A big part of that renaissance beauty is the grade II listed old-build houses with their characteristic stucco facades and heavy, wooden doors. 

I can imagine the inside of these houses have gorgeous spacious apartments with high ceilings and openness, something I know from my previous flats in Germany, which made me feel very comfortable and homey. I found the buildings in Rome, despite their age, modernised and very stylish – a place I can imagine myself to be living in. What secrets may lie behind these heavy wooden doors?

wooden door in rome

October In London

Sunday, 23 October 2016

October 2016 in london round up

Sorry, I've been rather quiet on my blog, but October has been a super busy month and living in London usually means there's barely a moment to stop moving. However, all the hard work has finally paid off and I can share some fantastic news with you, the latest blogging events I've been to and what else I got up to in London this October.

1. I Got Back Into Baking #BakedInStyle

October kicked off with a GBBO-inspired baking event*, courtesy of the Joe Bloggers Network which was sponsored by NEFF and Curry's PC World. I was delighted to be invited by them (first time) and joined the team for an afternoon workshop at L'Atelier des Chefs in St. Pauls. 

Together with a handful of food and lifestyle bloggers, we got to make a Hazelnut Torte - a cake that combines all the goodness of the Autumn season. After the baking session, we learnt some tips and tricks on how to improve our photography skills and to "tell" a story with our compositions.

L'atelier des chefs showroom kitchen st. pauls london
hazelnut torte bakedinstyle blogging event

The 5h workshop was a lovely get-together with fellow bloggers and a lot of fun. Though the actual baking came a bit short for my taste, with the main focus on the photography part, the afternoon was a great way to remind me of my passion for baking and it helped me to unwind from the workweek.

2. I Went To The Beauty Bloggers Awards (Though I'm Not A Beauty Blogger) 

The Beauty Bloggers Awards at Olympia Kensington have become a little annual "must" for me and my friend Serene. We usually check out some of the talks and then head over to the main beauty exhibitions to see if we can get a beauty bargain. 

This year, however, I went primarily to hear my friend, beauty blogger Fran, talking about blog photography and how to improve your skills. Serene and I got caught up in the morning over breakfast so I thought I may have missed Fran's talk. Luckily they ran behind schedule and Fran came onto the stage next when we arrived.

beauty blogger fran presenting at beauty bloggers awards

Though slightly nervous beforehand, she did brilliantly. The talk went smoothly and it was very insightful and informative. Fran should do this more often as I loved hearing her tips and her presentation style was casual and easy to follow. 

Alongside with other fellow blogging friends, we cheered when she finished and congratulated her on her talk. This is one of the great things about being part of the UK blogging community and living in London. You can regularly see your friends at random events and it is so easy to catch up with them, as you'll most likely bump into them at another event soon as half of my blogging friends are from London.

3. I've Applied For A New Job (And Got It!)

The second half of the year is usually a more successful period of time for me, characterised by change. I've been a little unhappy with my current job for a while. I felt stuck and trapped in a role that didn't do anything for me bar to give me a paycheck at the end of the month. As the inspirational Liz Ryan would say "my flame [passion] didn't grow", on the contrary, it was diminished by the day and I really felt like I should just give up and put an end to the silent dread every day. I didn't!

In the summer I worked on an escape plan to change this. And it has actually worked! After a long process and a couple of interviews later, I've been offered my dream position. For now, I can't reveal too much, but I am super happy right now and I'm looking forward to starting the role. 

It's in an industry that fits more with my skills and interests, plus I'll be given more responsibilities. I'm still over the moon about the news, and more, the feedback and support I've received from friends and colleagues have been overwhelming. Change is finally happening and I can look forward to a busy and exciting 2017!

4. KitKat Has Opened A Pop-Up Shop In Westfield/Stratford

KitKat follows the Magnum concept and has opened the KitKat Chocolatory, a pop-up store, in Westfield/Stratford. With stores already a massive success in Japan and Australia, London now has its own for a limited period of six weeks. In the store you can create and design your own KitKat bar, choosing a base chocolate and up to three toppings from a list of 16. Personalised packaging included!

KitKat Chocolatory London
white KitKat bar personalised chocolate

The chocolate needs then to set for around 1.5h to be enjoyed. The great thing is that there are no queues. You can walk into the store, design your KitKat via a screen and then return after they've sent you a text to pick up your chocolate. 

There's also the possibility to get your hands on some limited editions such as Bakewell cherry, millionaire's shortbread, lime and meringue or chilli and mint. However, the store has not very convenient opening times for the working folks. It closes at 7:30pm with the "Design your own" part closing one hour before. The price of £7 is quite heavy. You get a perfectly fresh chocolate bar though with some great flavour combinations.

Mine's a white chocolate KitKat with caramelised pistachios, dark cocoa nibbles and honeycomb. YUM!

5. I'm Currently On A Long Break & Will Travel To Rome Soon

I always thought it might be a smart move to work through the first half of the year and then spent the annual leave over the know when the weather is meant to be sunny and warm and the days are longer, so you actually make the most out of the day, instead of getting to bed at 5pm in winter when the sun sets. 

It wasn't such a smart move after all, as we all know summer was non-existent this year. April went, May went, June passed by, and then it was August when I finally had my first escape away from London to a lovely Tenerife holiday. I had 20 days remaining, so I quickly allocated some of them for October and now I'm OOO until November.

It's quite relaxing to just enjoy London for once. Usually, I rush to work and then straight back home. All the fast-paced lifestyle around me makes me forget so easily that I actually live in one of the most exciting cities in the world - actually in my favourite city! 

So far, I've done some long overdue housework, I've been blogging, I previewed Paperchase's recycled new stationery range in collaboration with the London Evening Standard, I've been to my very first wedding, I celebrated a friend's birthday and there's still so much more to come. Tomorrow I'll be heading to the London Zoo and later this week, visit Rome for a few days.

6. Finally: Someone Explained My Camera To Me At The Manfrotto Blogger Event

I was very lucky to attend a photography workshop* organised by Manfrotto. The Italian brand is specialised in photography equipment, think filters, tripods, daylight lamps. All the cool stuff that the professionals have and you could use for your product shots (especially as it gets dark now so quickly in the day).  

manfrotto photography workshop
manfrotto mini tripod

The workshop was specifically designed for bloggers and though with a slight overkill touch of product demonstration and product selling, the event was very useful and informative. Hosted by two photography professionals, they shared their secrets with us. And I'm not talking the usual superficial "blablabla shutter speed here, F-stop there" it was proper hands-on. 

One of the professionals, Eddie, very kindly sat down with me for a good 45minutes explaining my Nikon camera to me and how to adjust the settings. My camera is quite complex and I've got zero clue as I always took shots on the automatic settings (sorry I'm a beginner and sometimes going the way of least resistance is so much easier). 

I feel so much more confident now in using the RAW format and shoot in Manual. Eddie gave me some "homework" on the day and little assignments, so the pictures from the event were all shot in Manual and in Automatic so that I could see the difference on screen at home and learn how to use my camera more effectively.

And let's not forget to mention all the amazing equipment! The daylight lamps were incredibly light-weight and so easy to pick up and move around. The mini tripods were my personal favourite as they fit into every handbag and the powerful LED light allows full-on lighting of your objects for perfect product shoot results. I was so happy to find one of those in my goody bag, so all I need now is to invest in an attachable LED light (hint, hint Christmas wish!). 

October has been an incredible month and I'm sure there's more to come. 

Thanks for reading, 

Till next time, 

*I was invited to the event.

Magazine vs Reality. Autumn Style With Matalan*

Thursday, 6 October 2016

magazine vs reality fashion shoot

Brrrrrr it's cold - that usually means one thing: I have to switch summer with winter clothes and on the way of decluttering I throw away half of my beloved pieces, which results in me going shopping to make up for the lack of fashion in my wardrobe.

So, the question is "Where to stock up"? Having lived in the UK for some time now, I've made the observation that every autumn season there's one retailer that has the absolute "Go-To" collection of the year. The one, that stands out on the High Street for miles. The one, all people will shop and the other fashion houses can only hope they come up with something clever next year.  

Matalan Have Nailed The Autumnal Season 2016

We remember in 2014 it was New Look with their affordable and groundbreaking blanket wrap range (cosy autumn look with the blanket wrap), in 2015 Stradivarius stood out with their bright miniature handbags. My award for outstanding autumn style in 2016, however, goes to Matalan - and that by a mile. Their current range bursts with so many "must-have" items, it is unreal. 

A few weeks back, the lovely team at Matalan had been in touch with me asking if I'd like to check out their new range. Sure! Whilst the PR lady sorted me out with my chosen items, I used the meantime to head over to Matalan's High Street store on Oxford Street, which is literally just down the road from my workplace. I was nosy and couldn't wait for the items to arrive, so the trip down to the store was mainly to further fuel my excitement. The entire range greeted me when I entered the store and so much more.

If you've picked up Look Magazine a few weeks ago (issue from the 12th September 2016 to be more precise), then you may have seen Matalan's ad campaign promoting the AW16/17 collection. I fell immediately in love with the advertised cut out shoulder jumper and it didn't take me long to find it in the store. I've also checked out the other items that were on their way to me and found myself adoring the soft, cosy shawls, Aztec-printed blanket wraps, western-inspired buckle ankle boots and the colour tan in all its variation.

It is amazing how versatile the autumn collection is which celebrates the season in style. With all the warm gilets, jumpers, suede skirts and shearlings, it's safe to say no one has to freeze their toes off this season.

cosy autumn outfit with matalan

The Cosy Autumn Outfit: Magazine Vs Reality

Burgundy's annual revival in Germany as THE Autumn trend colour has been in previous years a bit uninspiring to me. However, as 2016 is the year were red shades and the so-called "bonfire palette" are championed, I can slowly see burgundy growing on me. 

The Matalan shawl has a warm earth tone and is made of a super soft fabric (a wool, acrylic blend). It's so amazing to snuggle up in. Whether you cuddle up at home on the settee or you take it into work - it will give you comfort and that much needed homey feeling.

I have a never-ending crush on pouch bags. There I said it. They remind me of the 18th-century French pompadour, a small pouch worn mainly by the aristocrats. These days they come with cords to tie, cute tassels and gold detailing. I once had one of these but it got stolen in a car burglary, then they disappeared off the High Street and I'm really happy they are coming back this season. 

The Matalan version has a warm tan colour which really goes well with the shoes and suede skirt. The shade also picks up the warmth of the shawl which makes the outfit coherent. Inside the bag, there's enough space for your compact camera, keys, phone and travel card. The tie opening and closure is uncomplicated and easy to use.  

I was very sceptical at first of the combination of block heel and peep-toe when I previewed the range and was allowed to pick a pair from. I usually try to play it safe and go with similar styles that I already have in my wardrobe, so this time I gambled and felt adventurous. 

The colour basically sold the pair to me, as I'm a lover of tan. Despite the killer heel, these Ghillie boots are so comfy and stylish. They are feminine and the stitching on the side applies a boho-touch. If you've fallen in love with my boots, you can find them alongside some other gorgeous styles over at the Matalan footwear section.

fashion cosy knittwear shawl matalan
ghillie block heel sandals matalan
Karma Moments JewelleryBox necklace
autumn outfit of the day styling post

Fashion Magazines tend to gloss over products A LOT. You know the kind of editing and retouching when you see an item which looks amazing on the model but on you it's kind of a different story. I hope I was able to show you with today's post, that it doesn't have to be the case every time. 

I've fallen in love with the look Matalan is currently advertising and I'm certainly not disappointed with the style and quality of the clothing. I've even taken the idea further and included a cosy knitwear and some statement heels instead of the black ankle boots.

The outfit underneath the shawl features Matalan's cut out jumper in combination with my suede skirt from Only. The mixture of muted, warm colours and different fabrics make the outfit interesting.  I find all parts of the outfit amazing and they speak for themselves. 

You could easily just wear the jumper with a pair of black trousers, or team up the skirt with a uni-coloured shirt and they would still function as the centrepiece of your look. In combination, the entire outfit is simply eye-catching. That's why I kept it fairly simple accessory-wise with my black belt from Stradivarius and my Karma Moments Necklace from JewelleryBox.

autumn fashion styling post with matalan
pouch bag fashion post matalan
Matalan promotional picture papaya cut out jumper
Matalan Promo Picture
Matalan cut out jumper papaya fashion post

Here's What I'm Wearing:

Burgundy Shawl*: Matalan (current AW 16/17, £10)
Ankle Boots*: Block Heel Ghillie Sandals, Matalan (current AW 16/17, £20)
Bag*: Matalan (current AW 16/17, £)
Jumper: Matalan (current AW 16/17, £14)
Suede Skirt: Only (AW 15/16, £45)
Necklace*: Karma Moments, JewelleryBox (current AW 16/17, £18)
Belt: Stradivarius (AW 15/16, £10)

Here you go, my take on the Magazine version of Matalan's current AW collection. 

Thanks so much for reading, 

Till next time,

*PR sample
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