Wednesday, 21 November 2018

Five Shopping Hacks for Black Friday 2018

Unless you've been unplugged and put in rice for the last few days, you'll know that Black Friday is fast approaching. This year, retailers have really doubled down on their adoption of the American custom. Black Friday is traditionally celebrated a day after Thanksgiving, retailers kick off the Christmas shopping season with a day of discounts to encourage people to get spending. This year, UK retailers are starting early and extending discounts for a couple of days...which means you should absolutely NOT shop until your favourite shops are on sale.

The words 'Black Friday' conjure up scrum-like images of shoppers clambering over each other for a bargain and fist fights over a flatscreen tv. It all seems very uncivilised, the best way to make the most of Black Friday is with a cup of tea in front of your laptop. I'm sharing my five shopping hacks to help you get the most out of Black Friday, without missing out on what you really need:

1. Make a list
It's so easy to get carried away during the sales and end up with things that you will never wear or use. I can hold my hands up to that, I once bought a pink sequin skirt in a flurry of sale shopping! Whether you're getting a headstart on Christmas gifts or treating yourself, it's best to make a list. I prefer to keep it quite broad to start with. For example, I know that I want to buy a book and some grooming products for my brother, but I'll find the exact products as I browse.

If you're treating yourself, give my wardrobe a once-over to see if there is anything that you're missing. I'm keeping my eye out for black cowboy boots, lightweight oversized jumpers and dresses for wearing with OTK boots. Having a broad idea helps to narrow down what you're looking for without completely restricting you.

2. Have a reccy
Once you have a list in mind, have a reccy to find the exact products ahead of Black Friday. This way, you can get straight down to business as soon as the sale goes live. You can add products to your wishlist, add it to your bookmarks or save to your Pinterest board.

3. Set a budget
Ok I'm in 'mum mode' but it's important to set a budget so you don't go too crazy. Find a 20% off code for that Saint Laurent bag that you've had your eye on all season might seem like a sign from the shopping Gods but do you want to blow your budget on one piece when Christmas is just around the corner. I set a budget for each person I'm buying a Christmas gift for as well as myself! This will also help to stop you from getting swept up into 'sale mania' and buying just because something has been reduced.

4. Stalk your faves
Now that you have a list of what you're after, some products that you must have and a budget, all you need to know is when the sales are starting. If you haven't already, sign up to email newsletters and follow them on social media so you don't miss the sale announcement.

5. Block out some time
This might seem a little extreme but I usually block out some shopping time in my diary to make sure I can go through my list and pick up the items I really need. Ok...want. Whether it's an early morning scout over a cuppa, a quick lunchtime peruse or an evening browse, set some time aside to check whether the pieces you're after are on sale and snap them up before it's too late!

Oh the cardinal rule of sale shopping - if you didn't want it full price, it's not a bargain. Don't let the sales trick you into buying something unnecessarily just because it's cheap!

Here are a list of retailers and their discounts:

Selfridges - up to 20% off

French Connection - up to 50% off - ends Monday 26th Nov

Topshop - up to 50% off everything - ends Monday 26th Nov

Miss Pap - up to 50% off - Friday 23rd Nov/Monday 26th Nov

Boohoo - up to 50% off everything - Thursday 22nd Nov to Monday 26th Nov

Nastygal - 50% off everything excl. sale - ends Monday 26th Nov. Enter OHSNAP at checkout.

NA-KD - 25% off everything - ends Monday 26th Nov

Beauty Bay - up to 30% off - ends Monday 26th Nov

Monica Vinader - 30% off everything - ends Monday 26th Nov

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Dress To Impress This Christmas

Anyone else scanning through their calendar for the next couple of weeks and feeling slightly uneasy about the number of social engagements between now and Christmas?! Every single year without fail I get super excited about Christmas and pack my diary full of super fun brunches, dinners and drinks. I just can't help myself, Christmas is a great excuse to catch up with everyone from best friends, family, old colleagues and even past neighbours! Inevitably, I'll scan through my calendar and have a mild panic about what I'm going to wear then end up panic buying entire outfits at lunchtime...or an entire wardrobe on ASOS! This year I'm vowing to be much more organised and only buy a few key pieces which will see me through the party season. I have picked 3 pretty broad trends - sequins, velvet and prints - and of course had to share my top picks from the high street with you!


Sequins are a perennial party favourite and for good reason. Who can resist a little sparkle during the festive season?! I have to admit, I'm slightly averse to sequins in everyday life now but even I can't resist the allure of a little disco twinkle. Here are my favourite sequin pieces for the party season.

1. ASOS Edition drop-waist sequin dress - £150
I can't begin to describe how utterly obsessed I am with this dress! A chic, grown-up take on sparkles, it's the antithesis to the teeny dresses you'll probably see in your local 'Spoons on Christmas Eve. Decidedly more covered up, the flute sleeves, drop waist and asymmetric hem are offset by the open back detail which gives this dress a sexy edge. I'd pair it with simple accessories, slicked back hair and statement earrings.

2. TFNC one shoulder sequin dress - £65
Taking more than a little inspiration from Hedi Slimane's final collection at Saint Laurent, this dress takes the best elements of his swansong and adds an extra punch of sass. Fashion might be fawning over the Nineties now but you can't beat a bit of high octane Eighties glam come party season. This one shoulder, berry-tones dress certainly ain't for the faint-hearted. This dress is begging to be worn with statement accessories, shoes and makeup on a night out with the girls.

3. Zara sequin fringed skirt - £69.99
Only Zara could take sequins and fringing and make a skirt so chic even Phoebe Philo would approve. On paper, sequins and fringing could easily end up on the tacky side but the muted tonal shades and simple silhouette make for an understated statement piece. This skirt looks great dressed up for the work Christmas party or worn with a sweatshirt for a family lunch.

4. Peace + Love gold sequin trousers - £60
These trousers are so divine, I have dreams about them. I've been obsessing about sequins since I saw Halpern Studio's sequin-heavy debut at London Fashion Week this February. I've been scouring the high street for a pocket-friendly pair and these are the best going. I actually love the styling here with a minimal bandeau to let the trousers do the talking.

5. Topshop bejewelled knee-high boots - £89
These boots were made for walking! And being admired. Admittedly, if you're looking for a sequinned look for your Christmas you're probably not thinking knee-high boots adorned with sparkles but bear with me. These boots are surprisingly versatile and would look incredible with any dress hanging in your wardrobe as well as thrown on with a pair of jeans and a jumper for a casual dinner. Have I convinced you that you need them...because I may just have convinced myself!


The return of velvet has been one of my favourite trends over the last couple of can tell I'm an 80s baby! Velvet is such a beautiful fabric, especially for the autumn/winter season and the high street has really embraced it. Here are my favourite party pieces from your favourite high street retailers:

1. Topshop velvet and lace midi dress - £46
Romantic, decadent and vintage-inspired, this midnight blue number is an essential addition to your party wardrobe. I'm not normally a fan of midi-length dresses for parties but the lace panels of this dress add a sexy edge. I'd wear this with some classic pumps and tassel earrings for a fancy Christmas shindig, think lunch with the future in-laws or dinner with friends.

2. ASOS Maternity velvet dress - £40
How cool is this velvet dress?! Outkast may just describe it as cooler than cold. This dress is so covetable I nearly wish I was pregnant so I could rock it. Designed to fit through all stages of pregnancy, I think it's the chicest way to dress your bump for the party season. It's worth booking a couple of extra Christmas get-togethers in the diary so you have more excuses to wear this gorgeous dress!

3. Warehouse velvet trousers - £42

There's a reason why Audrey Hepburn was obsessed with capri pants; they are super flattering. For the Christmas season, simply add velvet and you have a wardrobe staple that will see you through the party season and beyond. One of the added bonuses of this sumptuous fabric is that it's toasty so these trousers will even keep you warm in the wee hours.

4. Pretty Little Thing snake-print velvet dress - £30

Ok so this dress might not be for everyone. I mean it's velvet AND snake print AND has those racy tie up sides. But who doesn't need an OTT dress in their party season arsenal? I'd wear this dress as is for a night with the girls but if you're feeling a little coy, this dress would look great with high waisted opaque tights too.

5. Topshop velvet wrap dress - £39
I love this autumn/winter update to the dress silhouette of summer - the wrap dress. This ivory midi with a touch of lace is beautiful and super easy to style up or down. I'd layer it over a polo for a daytime Christmas celebration or with a pair of statement heels for a more dressed up look in the evening.


Turn up the volume this party season in some bold, fun prints. Often overlooked, I'm a huge fan of making a style statement with a little pattern, whether it's a winter floral or something bolder like polka dots or leopard print. Here are my favourite party prints: 

I always tend to focus on dresses for party season but sometimes separates are the way to go, especially if you're heading to a shindig after work. This skirt is great as it's office-appropriate with tights, boots and a hoodie. But switch up the top, chuck on some heels and you're totally party ready. 

How delicious this sheer rose-embroidered dress any justice. This pretty dress can be worn with heels or toughened up with this season's must-have OTK boots. I'd go for the latter to give the dress a real edge rather than playing up to its obvious sweetness. 

Florals can be a little tricky in autumn/winter, however, this cute little tea dress in moody tones is spot on. Channeling more than a touch of Erdem, this cute little dress is ideal for a Christmas brunch, lunch or dinner! 

Seen in every AW17 collection from Balenciaga and Loewe to Jacquemus, polka dots are a huge trend this season. Fun and playful, they're the ideal print to wear during the party season. This long sleeve dress is perfect for the chilly evenings and is super cute for chilled out catch ups over the festive period. 

I love this little turquoise leopard print dress, the shot of colour is a welcome update to a classic print. I would wear this to a family lunch or dinner with some cute little ankle boots - the silhouette is perfect for hiding a Christmas dinner food baby! 
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