S.A.D. - A Guide to Successfully Beating the Blues

S.A.D. - A Guide to Successfully Beating the Blues

I’ve been keeping a secret stash of old birthday cards, letters, gig tickets, postcards, crumpled photographs (taken on a Noughties Nixon digital camera), in a dusty Topshop shoebox stored safely in a drawer under my bed. This treasure trove of happy memories is my go to whenever I feel the seasonal pangs of the dreaded black cloud coming on. 

Today on the blog, I’m talking about S.A.D. (seasonal affective disorder) and how it can make my life and so many others lives feel utterly shit. For as long as I remember, I’ve always been affected by the change and the mood of the seasons. Fortunately it now only creeps up on me a couple of times a month but when it does my mood plummets and all want to do is stay under my duvet, in complete silence until I feel ready to surface. 

Right now, I’m in a good place as I write this post. It’s one of those Instagrammable (though rare) Autumn days where everything is golden, literally.  But if I take a few moments to think about how less light, shorter daytime hours, severe temperatures and the colour of the sky can make me feel, it’s essentially a word puzzle that goes like this DARK, DISMAL, DEPRESSED, OUT OF PLACE, GUILT, LOW, NEGATIVE, PITIFUL, WORTHLESS, FAILING, FAILURE, LETHARGIC, ANGRY, IRRITABLE, HORMONAL, LAZY, PATHETIC, UNDESERVING, the list goes on. 

Sometimes I feel like S.A.D. is in control of my life, stopping me doing the things I usually really like doing such as running in the evening or early morning because I don’t feel safe to run outside in the dark. I hate that sometimes the sky can feel so grey and low that it literally feels like I’m carrying its huge weight on my shoulders. I hate that I have constant dark circles October to February and crave 17 billion hours sleep. I’m sometimes so irritable and snappy, that I don’t recognise myself and feel plagued with horrible guilt for saying the things I have and reacting the way I did. Especially, to those who I’m closest to. And then just like that I see a glimpse of Autumn’s jewel toned trees, clear blue skies and pavements littered with conkers and I’m back to me again. 

There was a pinnacle moment in Autumn of 2015 where I had a particularly bad bout of S.A.D. It came just shortly after I’d come back from our honeymoon in America, travelling around the sun-drenched West Coast before returning home just as Autumn was approaching. More than likely my feelings were probably heightened by post wedding blues, the reality of wedding and honeymoon debt that now needed to be paid off and of course the start of the seasonal change, I was in a low, low place. I think I cried nearly every day for a month be it out of frustration, anger or just feeling utterly worthless. I then knew I needed to stop ignoring what was going on in my head and start taking better care of my heath, mentally, physically and emotionally. 

I personally decided not to go and talk to a professional, invest in special lamp or take medication though I completely appreciate that these methods work perfectly well for other S.A.D. suffers, who knows I may decide to go down this route in the future should I feel the need. Instead I called on a few close people who I know had experienced the blues (to put it lightly) and we worked out a few successful ways of beating the black cloud collectively. Whilst I can’t say I haven’t experienced S.A.D days since, there are definitely far and few between. Below, I’ve listed the ones that seem to work for me and I really hope they might be useful for fellow S.A.D suffers. If you have any more suggestions, I’d love to hear about them. Comment below or email me privately at creative@objectstyle.co.uk 

Thanks for taking the time to read this post, I felt a bit nervous writing about all of this for people read, hopefully it will help someone out there. 

Rachael x

My Top 8 Blues Beaters

1. Let in the light - No matter how dreary it is outside, I find opening the curtains, pulling up the blinds and slightly opening windows in every room of the house helps lift my mood. The natural light and cool air makes everything feel fresher and cleaner and clears the space in my head to think positively.

Image: Take just a few weeks ago when the October filled my living room. 

Image: Take just a few weeks ago when the October filled my living room. 

2. Avoid alcohol - The temptation to reach for a glass of wine when your feeling low is so appealing but it never actually makes me feel any better about the situation. Instead it heightens my emotional state and makes me feel super sensitive that I actually feel worse than before I gulped the 250 ml of Chardonnay.

3. Clean up - Whilst desire to stay in last nights pjs coupled with unbrushed teeth, unwashed hair, face and body, hidden under the safety blanket of my duvet is preferable, festering in my own dirt makes me feel a thousand times worse. Try running a bath, use your favourite salts or oil, light some tea light candles and read something if you need to distract your thoughts. 

4. Invest in Winter Hobbies - Naturally we spend more time indoors in Autumn and Winter but that doesn’t mean we can’t do something positive, mindful and creative. I’ve stepped up my kitchen game by purchasing a handful of really good cook books as well as starting a Pinterest recipe board filled with seasonal recipes. Doing this has also encouraged me to invest time into seeking out specialist fresh, produce meaning I’m visiting more farmers markets and whole food stores instead of whizzing around an unnspiring Supermarket getting pissed off because they’ve moved the cereal aisle again ! Another few winter hobbies I’m hoping to try include attending a book club in my local area, taking part in a wreath making workshop at Christmas and subscribing to inspiring pod casts. 

Image: A gorgeous day back in February when me and Alex spent a Sunday hiking some hills in the Lakes. 

Image: A gorgeous day back in February when me and Alex spent a Sunday hiking some hills in the Lakes. 

5. Work up a sweat - I know, I know when it looks like dooms day outside the last thing you want to do is put on your trainers and work up a sweat. But it’s so beneficial if you do ! It’s well known fact that when we excerise it boosts serotonin levels releasing happy, positive chemicals to our brains. Don’t beat yourself up if you don’t want to run in baltic conditions, turn your attention to trying another form of working out instead and perhaps an activity you can share with others. On my days off, I like to drive out to the countryside and wander in beautiful landscapes that inspire me and make me feel calm and peaceful. I’ve also committed myself to a Monday night yoga class where 30 minutes of the class is spent in restorative positions. I finally emerge looking and feeling like a rag doll and usually have the best, solid night’s sleep after taking part. 

Image: One morning back in November last year where I made the most of the rare Winter sun and went running through Chorlton Ees.

Image: One morning back in November last year where I made the most of the rare Winter sun and went running through Chorlton Ees.

6. Keep a memory box - As I mentioned in my opening paragraph, my own personal memory box is a warming reminder of the people around me who have shown their love, kindness and support scribed in letters and cards. Looking back through nostalgic memorabilia like this is also a good reminder of the full and diverse life I have chose to live and shared with my favourite people. 

7. Plan ahead - My friends and family are dotted all over the U.K. so it is so important that we schedule in phone chats, coffee dates and weekend breaks in advance. Making future promises to the people I care about and love really helps me to stay positive whilst giving me something to look forward to and of course keep busy. If there is one thing I’ve learnt the most about myself these last few years it is that I’m not very good with too much time on my hands and no purpose to the things I am doing.

Image: Take in around Christmas 2016 where I spent the day with my grand parents and Alex indulgencing comfort food in one of my favourite Victorian pubs in Birmingham. 

Image: Take in around Christmas 2016 where I spent the day with my grand parents and Alex indulgencing comfort food in one of my favourite Victorian pubs in Birmingham. 

8. Take a digital detox - Whilst Instagram is mostly an inspiring platform full of talented, creative people posting pictures of the beautiful things they see and experience, it can make me feel like my own life doesn’t compare. And probably at that dark moment hiding under the duvet, it doesn’t. But always remember, people (including me) only really ever share the best bits of their life and sometimes it is not necessarily ‘real life’ but a beautiful, purposely styled flat-lay or still life image. Turn off your phone, stow it in drawer and invest some time in you rather than looking at other people’s lives. 


Falling Back in Love with Colour


For the past few years, I’ve been stuck in neutral. Neutral as in neutral palette, wish-washy tones of beige, nude, pastel pink, caramel, cream, white with the occasional cool grey thrown in. Now, it’s not that I was necessarily unhappy with my style or wardrobe, it's just that everything started to feel a bit samey. The clothes I was wearing to work seemed to also be the ones I was wearing out to meals, drinks, strolls in the park and in essence becoming a bit of a nondescript uniform. 

Start small with colour.

I decided to welcome some colour back into my life and started out small with lipstick and nail polish. I’ve always flirted with a red lip, experimenting with MAC’s best selling ‘Ruby Woo’, ‘Lady Danger’ and my wedding day choice of tutty, NARS ‘Red Square’ lip crayon. But then I stepped outside of the ring of fire, working my way around the rainbow exploring fuchsia, damson, ox-blood, raspberry, coral, even a very 90’s inspired lilac (cue Alisha’s Attic) though that was definitely a mistake. Making minor changes to face and hands, made even the most simplest of outfits more interesting.

How to find colour that suits you.

Now, the obvious answer would be to try stuff on but there are other things you can try before slipping into a tangerine blouse. Hold tight, I’m about to make a very geeky confession, albeit a very useful one. So reader, I try searching for women that look a little like me with similar skin tone, hair colour and body shape via Pinterest and see how different colours and prints look on them. It's also particularly useful for trying to find the perfect shade of lippie too (see above). Just for the record, I'm not for one second suggesting I have even the slightest resemblance to Sienna Miller or Cara Delevinge (though a girl can dream hey), we just both happen to love lipstick, be blonde and with warm skin tones. In short, chances are if an olive-skinned, dark-haired, willowy lady looks amazing in a certain shade or style, it probably won’t work for me. Pintrest can also a great time saver to click through to the product directly and view it on different models via a brand’s website too. 

Season-less colour.

I also had this very strange perception that you could only wear certain colours in certain seasons, why because fashion guru Autumnal conker said so ?! So this summer, I decided to listen to my eye, not club tropicana and found myself kitted out in jewel toned mustard and burnt orange and never at one point felt out of season ! Now for Autumn and Winter, I’ve fallen for bubblegum pink, costal blue and vibrant green, all the vibrant shades that are usually associated with seaside days out and fresh Spring produce. Essentially, I’m echoing my one and only wardrobe rule, be season-less; wear what you want when you want because the style or colour suits you and makes you feel happy, confident and positive. Granted, I draw the line at patrolling round in a palm print crop top co-ord in December in Manchester ! 

How to wear head to toe colour. 

This isn’t actually as much of a brave look as you first may think. It’s all about combining different textures, tones and silhouettes to keep dressing head to toe in one colour stylish and striking. Maybe try something less obvious like navy or grey before moving onto bolder colours. One of my favourite navy capsules is an indigo denim peplum pleat top paired with some navy high-waist tapered trousers and navy canvas sneakers (see it here), simple and easy to pull off. I’m celebrating Alex’s birthday this weekend and I’m looking forward to the rare opportunity to dress up. I’m planning on a green all-in-one outfit, featuring some 70’s inspired emerald wool wide leg trousers worn with a busy green geometric blouse and vintage jade suede sandals. Fingers crossed the execution will be how I see it working in my head and I don’t just look like a giant runner bean ! 

Image: Modum Paradisum

Image: Modum Paradisum

Image: Vogue

Image: Vogue

Image: Jen Schachtebeck

Image: Jen Schachtebeck

Image: The Row via Net-a-Porter

Image: The Row via Net-a-Porter

Do wear clashing colours. 

Similarly with flavours with food, normally the really horrific calorific kind, it so shouldn’t work together but it does ! Yep, the same formula can sometimes work for clothing. My favourite shouldn’t but should colour combos are baby pink and burnt orange, coral and vibrant Hollywood red, navy and emerald and olive green and lilac. As I mentioned in the block colour section, if the balance, texture and proportions are right, the colours no longer clash. 

Image: Caroline Farneman by Thomas Lohr

Image: Caroline Farneman by Thomas Lohr

Image: Pop Sugar

Image: Pop Sugar

Image: Fashionista

Image: Fashionista

Image: Steffys Pros and Cons

Image: Steffys Pros and Cons

Image: Source unkown

Image: Source unkown

Thanks for taking the time to read my love affair with colour and I hope some parts were useful for injecting a little vibrancy into your own wardrobe. Show your style by posting comments and pics below ! 

5 days Exploring Croatia

The tiled terracotta roofs of Hvar from above, taken whilst en route to the historic fortress. 

The tiled terracotta roofs of Hvar from above, taken whilst en route to the historic fortress. 

I’ve just returned from five glorious days exploring the Dalmatian coastline of Croatia’s western edge. If I’m honest it simply wasn't long enough to pack in everything we wanted to experience, managing only to visit the second city of Split and 2 beautiful islands, Hvar and Marinkovac, there’s actually another 79 to explore ! Croatia is rich with history and culture, what other European countries can you name where cities are built inside a Roman palace and moreover reasonably well preserved ! It’s also home to some of the most breathtaking beaches in the world, many which are uncrowded and unspoilt with dramatic pine-tree backdrops, colourful caves and miles upon miles of mosaic rocks and stones ! Croatia also has incredible walking routes, worth the hike in blistering heat to see the amazing scenery en route and from above. If you’re looking to enjoy Croatia from the comfort of your sun lounger, it is bursting with bohemian style beach clubs serving delicious fresh seafood, more than likely caught that very morning. Below I’ve put together a short list of must do’s, sees and experiences as well as my 5 top travel tips for visiting Croatia. 

croatia hvar blog
Croatia Hvar Blog

Best Design Restaurant

Croatia Split blog

Bokeria, Split

Whilst staying in Split we ate at Bokeria, a fairly new restaurant in the old town. Taking influence from Barcelona’s famous La Boqueira market, the menu is mostly Mediterranean cuisine created depending on what foods are in season at the time. The interior again takes inspiration from Spain with coloured mismatched tiles and ginormous hangings of cured meats and garnishes. Walls are adorned with carefully chosen wines and spirits, literally displayed from floor to ceiling as well as a special solo wall dedicated to Aperol ! Bokeria is little more pricey than most of the other restaurants in Split but worth it for the quality of the food, inventive menu and stylish ambience. I would recommend trying the ox tail and chateaubriand risotto, it ended up being one of Alex’s most favourite meals from the whole holiday !

Cheap Lunch Options 


Toto’s Burger Bar, Split

Now I know it’s not exactly the height of sophistication but Toto’s situated at the front of Split’s Port does a damn good burger and fries ! I’m not just talking about a standard patty and a couple of leaves, Toto’s has a whole host of different burgers from vegan to pulled pork and chorizo, buttermilk chicken to a triple stacked pile juicy beef patties. Healthy it is not but tasty it most definitely is ! Their lunch meal included a regular burger, fries and soft drink or local beer for around £9 - £10, pretty good value for quick, cheap and tasty eats. 

Recommend by Hannah @Holejnik

Best Seafood Restaurant


Junior, Hvar

Our Air BNB host came up trumps recommending an amazing seafood restaurant, Junior. This no frills, tiny eatery is located down a backstreet just off the main square in Hvar and if it hadn’t have been recommended to us, we probably would have walked straight past it. The magic happens in the kitchen where they have been perfecting the same dishes for over 22 years ! We shared the seafood platter consisting of calamari, scampi, jumbo prawns, mussels, one whole sea bream and sea bass with a selection of boiled, buttery potatoes and vegetables, it was delicious ! The service was really warm and super attentive, our waitress kindly filleted every single bone from each fish with absolutely precision ! For a bottle of wine and the seafood platter we paid around, £55 in total. 

Best Restaurant for Traditional Food 

Konoba Menego, Hvar 

This family owned tavern in the ancient part Hvar, serves traditional Croatian cuisine; our Air BNB sweetly described it, 'recipes her Grandmother used to make'. The unique location had been formerly been used for generations as a wine cellar and was also the family home of the owner’s mother. Staff are dressed in national costumes and folk music plays in the background whilst you dine. 

Best Bars 

Croatia hvar blog

Park Central Cafe, Hvar

This sweet little side street bar has live music every night and is great place to start your evening. I love the unusual seating area on the steps, it's a nice spot to hide from the sun for a few hours and as you can see it makes a beautiful photo opportunity. 

Terrace Bar, Hvar

Situated above Hvar’s theatre house, this sweet little bar has amazing roof top views of Hvar ! Owned by our Air BNB host and her husband, their secluded little hideout offers warm table views and probably the best seats in the house to see Hvar’s historic Fortress lit up at night.

La Bodega, Split 

Built within a dramatic, gothic alcove within Split's Old Town, La Bodega was our go to place to enjoy really good Croatian wine. The outdoor seating area is situated within the historic palace walls whilst inside you can take part in wine tasting masterclasses within an antique wine cellar decorated with midcentury furniture and interiors. 

Noor Bar, Split 

This teeny, micro bar is one of those places you walk past a million times in the day and never notice it until you see the gentle glowing light gleaming through Split’s narrow Old Town streets ! Serving expertly executed craft cocktails, the dark and moody atmosphere of Noor is the perfect place to enjoy a late night tipple. Though do consider it has no seating and it can get very cosy inside the this tiny hole in the wall, so it’s probably best to enjoy your liquor on the street outside.

Split Old Town at dusk 

Split Old Town at dusk 

Split Old Town captured just as the sun was setting 

Split Old Town captured just as the sun was setting 

Croatia Split Hvar Blog

Best Beach Bars

Croatia Hvar Blog

Falko, Hvar

Ok, so I’m writing this blog post with similar age people in mind, perhaps who are holidaying with their best friend, partner or maybe even as a solo traveller ! There are many ‘in-crowd’ beach bars in Croatia that are very loud, very crowded and eye-wateringly overpriced. Avoid these. Our Air BNB host suggested a great spot called Falko, a bohemian beach bar in Hvar serving botanical-themed cocktails, fresh fuss-free food and offering heavenly lounging options, tree hammocks or huge plump cushion beds, the choice is yours ! Naturally, their playlist consisted mostly of chilled out reggae gently interrupted by the sound of the ocean. Perfect ! 

Best Beach 

Croatia hvar blog
Mamato Bar Bar

Mlini Beach 

Another great recommendation by our Air BNB host was to hop in a water taxi and visit the Paklinski Islands, located no more than 20 minutes from Hvar. She recommended that we visit Marinkovac, the second closest island and spend sometime at her favourite beach, Mlini. Just as she promised it was so picturesque and tranquil. We moored into a tiny alcove dotted with a handful of make-shift sleepy beach bars and followed the hand-made signs to Mlini. We walked a short way through a forest until we saw the turquoise water peep through the branches as we drew near ! Just when I thought Croatia couldn’t get anymore beautiful, it did !

Where to stay in Hvar


If your looking to elasticise your budget, it comes no surprise that I’d suggest opting to stay in a self-catering apartment. Be aware that a lot of places aren't exactly aesthetically pleasing so don’t go expecting a design-led loft apartment with statement lighting, midcentury furniturenand well kept botanical sun terrace. Most as very basic, functional spaces, simply as a place to lay your head. If you are however looking for that home-away-from-home feel, we did manage to a rare gem via Air BNB. Morana and her husband have creatively crafted their handmade home from scratch, literally hand making the furniture ! They have lovely taste, opting for a blue hue theme throughout the ground floor apartment which features two essential necessities air com and a shaded sun terrace ! The location is excellent too, it’s situated on a very quiet street mostly habituated by locals and is a 5-10 minute walk from Hvar Old Town and also the Port where you will arrive and depart from.


Hotel Podstine, sitting pristinely at the pinhead of Hvar’s stunning winding coastline, is my recommendation if you’re looking to splash out. The 4 star eco-friendly hotel has its own secluded beach surrounded by palms and pine trees as well as 5 restaurants and bars, including a smoothie bar where every drink is made completely from scratch ! They also offer a stunning wellness centre and spa. The hotel interior is fresh and modern, think sunburst orange paired with natural, rustic materials like rattan, wicker and driftwood adorned with huge palm trees lazily leaning in nook and corners. It’ll take you around 15-20 mins to reach Hvar Old Town, strolling along the wonderfully scenic bay and passing an array of inviting beach bars and clubs. Be warned it may take you even longer, if you give in to temptation ! 

My best 5 travel tips for Croatia

  1. The local currency in Croatia is Kuna. Whilst some places do accept Euros and even Sterling, you will get a much better exchange rate by paying with Kuna. Change your currency once you are actually in Croatia by visiting a Mjenjačnica (bureau de change) that are really easy to find in city centre and you’ll get much more for your Sterling. Though try to avoid the ones located near ports as they are likely to offer bad rates and charge commission. It’s a good idea to plan your trip carefully by researching where you would like to eat, drink and visit to avoid changing too much Kuna and being left with unused currency. 
  2. If you are planning be active in Croatia, you’ll probably need more than a pair that flimsy flipflops as walking routes are often rocky, steep and uneven. I’m not suggesting you pack walking boots but definitely opt for a more sturdy sandal like Birkenstocks or Tevas. 
  3. Drink the local wine, look out for red Plavac from the islands of Hvar and Vis. Dalmatia’s whites include Posip and Grk from the island of Korcula, and Vugava from the island of Vis. Around £3.50 - £5 per glass. The local beer ‘Karlovačko’ is really light and not too gassy, it’s super cheap too priced anywhere between £1 - £2.50 depending on where you are. Meal portions are HUGE in Croatia, unless you have the appetite of a horse, consider sharing plates especially at lunch time.
  4. I’d suggest using Hvar as your base if you are planning on island hopping around Croatia. Personally, I found Hvar to be the most beautiful of the islands with just enough going on both in the daytime and at night. 
  5. Finally, I was a little surprised to find that Croatia is more expensive that I first thought. Having visited nearby counties such as Slovenia, Hungary and other parts of Eastern European, Croatia is definitely more pricey. You’ll pretty much pay the same for food, accommodation and travel as the UK. 
Croatia Split Hvar Blog

Have you visited any of the places listed above ? I’d love to hear about your experience and any additional actives you’d like to recommend. Please leave a comment below. 


Top 5 Exhibitions a to visit this Summer within a few hours drive from Manchester 


Every Monday and Tuesday we close our store and hop in the car in search for escapism. Working, living and socialising within a 1 mile proximity of Object means sometimes we feel like we exist in a bubble so where possible we try to see and do new things. I know we're not alone when we become a bit twiddly-fingered about how and where to spend our day sometimes so I've rounded up of my top picks of summer exhibitions, a short drive from Manchester. An hour or so north, south, east or west, they are the perfect outings for days when you’re free to meander and not wanting to spend lots of money. If you've visited any of the below exhibitions already, I'd love to hear your thoughts, post your review in the comment box below this post ! 


Visible Girls Revisited, Artlink, 7 July - 11 August, Free

In 1980’s female photographer Anna Corbin captured a series of subcultures, in which she felt women were underrepresented in Britain at the time. Photographing mods, punks, skinheads, rastas, young lesbians and rockers, these young women were ‘ flying their flag for individuality in clearly defined tribes characterised by music, fashion, geography and sexual orientation ’, Corbin exposed the spirit of these women and the significance of their unity in a portrait series depicting pairs of friends, sisters and lovers. Her photographic journal received great recognition in the 1980s and now almost 40 years on she has revisited her original subjects and captured their lives in a double portrait series. The exhibition provokes the question for us all to consider our own identity and what it means to be a woman in the 21st century.


True Faith, Manchester Art Gallery, 30 June - 3 September, Free

Bringing together work by some of the world’s most notable artists, True Faith explores the ongoing significance and legacy of New Order and Joy Division through the wealth of visual art their music has inspired.  The exhibition is centred on four decades’ worth of extraordinary contemporary works including photography, album cover designs, performance films, music videos and posters by artists directly inspired by the two iconic Manchester bands. 


Feet On The Ground, East Street Arts, 5th - 14th July, Free

A series of powerful new works, comprising video, audio, objects, and performance, exploring the history and psychogeography of the Gypsy Traveller “stopping-place” or temporary camp, and its meaning in the urban landscape. In addition to the exhibition, visitors can join Gypsy/Traveller historian Amanda Reed to explore the unseen histories of Gypsy and Traveller stopping-places in the area, dating back over a century; and learn some of the stories that lie hidden behind the face of the city.


House Style: Five Centuries of Fashion, Chatsworth House, 25th March - 22nd October, £21.90

Curated by Vogue’s editor-at-large, Hamish Bowles the exhibition explores fashion through the ages of the last 500 years in one of England’s most infamous, stylish stately homes. House Style exhibits exquisite pieces designed by renown household fashion names including Christian Dior couture, Gucci, Erdem, Alexander McQueen, once worn by notable names in royalty, parliament and even golden-age Hollywood stardom at significant ad poignant times in their life. 


‘I Want! I Want!’, Birmingham Museum + Art Gallery, 1st April - 1 October, Free

This exhibition features work by 26 artists made over the last 20 years who have all been influenced by the rapid development of technology. Using computer animation, video, computer graphics, audio, photography, drawing and gaming technology to create films, moving image, sculptures, paintings, interactive games and small and large scale drawings, the artworks themselves tackle a range of themes such as human relationships and behaviour, surveillance and the habits of modern society.


Local's Guide to Manchester: Part One: Food + Drink


One of my most favourite things about working in store at Object is having the opportunity to natter to so many different people that come through our door. We are already so fortunate to have a such a supportive community on our doorstep but when we hear of people travelling from far + beyond to visit our store, it genuinely brings us out in massive toothy smiles ! 

We often get asked by travelling customers for recommendations on what to in Manchester so we’ve decided to dedicate these next 4 blog posts to exploring our home city. From our favourite places to drink good coffee, eat authentic Indian food, find inspiration, discover local makers and dance until midnight (we’re the wrong side of 29 to see sun come up these days), we hope our local’s guide to Manchester will keep you coming back to the beating heart of the North. 

So let’s start with the important stuff … 

Part 1: Food + Drink

Coffee + Brunch

Image:  Petite Passport  

Foundation Coffee, Northern Quarter, City Centre

A beautiful Scandinavian inspired coffee house created by interior design studio No Chintz. Definitely not just style over substance, these guys know their shitz when it comes to beans ! Got the caffeine jitters ? Instead check out their great selection of cold press juices, herbal teas + vegan friendly food menu. 

Trove, Levenshulme

If you decide to eat breakfast anywhere in Manchester, eat it at Trove ! Make the short 10 min train journey out to Levenshulme and taste bread like you’ve never tasted before, so much so you’ll be purchasing a handmade loaf to take home with you for supper ! Choose from classic brunch dishes like eggs benedict to more unusual nordic inspired offerings like smoked mackerel, salsify, pickled radish + rhubabrb vinegar on toast ! Their coffee is supplied by local roasters Passion Fruit too. 

Barbecue, Chorlton

My daily go to for a caffeine fix and a homemade Madeleine cake ! Their beans are roasted onsite by Chorlton coffee roasters Passion Fruit who supply most independent cafes in Manchester. Sit in with stack of arty mags supplied by the venue or take away and go exploring around Chorlton ! 

Further Recommendations

City Centre - Federation / Pollen Bakery 

Prestwich - All the Shapes 

Chorlton -  The Spoon Inn / Our Kid / Caffeine & Co  

Cheap Eats

GRUB Mcr, Picadilly, City Centre

A weekly street food market with live DJ held every Saturday from middy until late at ABC Brewery. My personal fave is Indian street food vendor, Vaso Kitchen, get the masala fries ! Infact get them twice ! 

The Drop, Chorlton

A bustlingly little cafe serving home cooked Caribbean classics and playing top tunes ! Always a great atmosphere and super friendly service, who doesn’t love being served by staff mid dance ! 

Image: Bacon on the Beech 

Image: Bacon on the Beech 

Rudy’s Pizza, Ancoats, City Centre

The guys at Rudy’s originally started out as street food vendors with a pop-up pizza offering at nearby neighbour Bar Fringe. Their pizzas are by made using authentic, fresh Neopolitan ingrediants. They take just 60 seconds to cook and are known for their moorish soft, floppy texture, totally delicious ! 

Further Recommendations

City Centre - Bundobust (Vegetarian Indian street food ) 

Hulme -  Kim by the Sea (Modern British)

Chorlton - San Juan (Tapas)

Fancy Eats

Hawksmoor, Deansgate, City Centre

Housed in a Victorian courthouse, the decadent ambience of Hawksmoor Manchester is created with the use deep wood paneling, reclaimed parquet and 1950s lighting. The cocktail selection is amazing and are all served in beautiful hand-cut crystal glasses. Steaks here really are a cut above anywhere else in Manchester and are always cooked to absolute perfection, no matter what your preference. Definitely book ahead if you’re planning a visit !

Image: Spinningfields Manchester 

Image: Spinningfields Manchester 

Australasia, Spinningfields, City Centre

Fusing modern Australian cuisine with Japanese elements, Australia was one of the first places in the city to offer small plate dining. The unique, subterranean setting is texture heaven, styled with soft furnishings in a milky colour palette paired with pale driftwood fixtures. Our faves on the menu include the grilled mackerel in banana leaves and Seared teriyaki beef with sweet soy and spring onion. The extensive wine list is fantastic too and so extensive you have to view it on an iPad as oppose to a menu ! 

Further Recommendations

City Centre

Tattu (Contemporary Chinese) / Evelyn’s Cafe Bar (Fusion) /  El Gato Negro (Tapas)


 SUGO ( Italian pasta kitchen) 


Image: The Refuge

Image: The Refuge

The Refuge, Oxford Road, City Centre

Adorned with hundreds upon hundreds of marbled tiles, grand structural arches and industrial lighting contrasted with psychedelic prints and retro cocktail chairs, The Refuge is a achingly cool venue to enjoy a tipple or two. Check out their website for live music and DJ listenings. 

Salut Wines, Fountain Street, City Centre

Stocking over 350+ wines (yes really), with 32 choices available by the glass this quiet, snug little drinking haunt is a great choice for catching up with friends for mid-week or pre-dinner drinks. Salut’s wine vending machine is an experience not to be missed, with 50ml tipples starting from a couple of quid, it’s the perfect opportunity to experiment with tasting until you find your personal fave ! 

The Castle, Northern Quarter, City Centre

If you’re looking to experience a proper British pub whilst visiting Manchester, head to this Victorian drinking den. They have a great selection of craft beers, boutique sprits and wines and a homely charm that feels like you’re sitting in a cosy living room. Also if you have time visit their sister venue, The Parlour on Beech Road in Chorlton and sample one of their award-winning Sunday roasts ! 

Further Recommendations

City Centre

The Gas LampPLYThe PilcrowCommon


The Beagle / Henry C

Green is the new black; how to create a botanical inspired home.

Image: The Jungalow

Image: The Jungalow

I’m having a bit of love affair with plants at the moment and it seems I’m not the only one. No longer is the luxury of having a garden such a make or break deal when deciding on a place to live; many of us are creating our very own botanical haven indoors. 

In this blog post I’m exploring three themes of botanical decor and suggesting ways to introduce, style and most importantly care for your house plants. I’m also discussing various ways to incorporate botanical decor through paint, wallpaper, interiors and scents. 

Now, reader, I up until very recently have continually committed plant murder, either by drowning or starvation, so I too am new to becoming green-fingered. May I suggest a few fantastic sources that have really helped my plant knowledge, the first being ‘House of Plants’ by Caro Langton and Rose Ray , Wonder Plants by Irene Schampaert (both available in our store) and also my good friend Abigail, who is one of those amazing Mother Earth creatures that grows all her own fruit and veg and makes her own face creams. She even has a ‘family rhubarb’ that’s currently in its third generation of life but that’s a whole other blog that you can read here

Botanical Themes


Image: The Urbinite 

Image: The Urbinite 

Try experimenting with vintage-inspired floral wall paper or wall murals in dusky pinks, taupe and ercu. I personally like that beautiful decay look where wall papers have been layered upon each other and gently torn back to reveal a glimpse of a pretty flower or pattern; it creates a wonderful sense of nostalgia. Go wild with plants and blooms ! Arrange them at different heights, in mismatched ceramic and glass pots in muted tones, hung from the celing, displayed on window ledges, shelves and floors. Let greenery be your main focus of colour. Use Annie Sloan chalk paint in warm pastels to restore old tired furniture into expensive-looking French inspired pieces, perfectly imperfect with rustic edges and signs of age. Working with wooden floors add an antique Persian or Turkish rug for warmth and source one-of-a-kind vintage botanical prints to hang on walls.


Image: I have this thing for interior

Image: I have this thing for interior

The composition of fusing two solid colours like a cool white paired with a vivid, fresh green will make a space feel light and airy. Use pale stained woods for shelving and furniture to display uniformed mini succulents planted in concrete or terracotta pots. Introduce botanical body care products housed in traditional brown ointment bottles to continue a uniformed theme. Make a feature point from a large floor plant or hang one large trailing plant from the ceiling in the corner of a room. Keep walls minimum with just one statement art print, perhaps something in a geometric, graphical design. If you are looking to incorporate texture try a white and grey vein marble or tiling with square subway tiles, preferably with contrasting black grout. 


Image: Patina Studio 

Image: Patina Studio 

A nod to seventies decor with tonal green shades like sage, olive and forest expressed in beautiful tropical prints. Adorn walls with bold, statement palm tree papers or maybe just one wall if the space is on the smaller side. Introduce lots of natural textures such as canvas, cork and rattan and display wall hangings crafted from warm white wools and linens. Keep floors bare and varnish with deep, chocolatey stains using a large floor rug made from seagrass or sisal to sit underneath large pieces of furniture so it blends into the room, as opposed to becoming a dominant feature. Inject a little bit of seventies style glamour with metallic hints in antique gold and matte finish copper seen in picture frames, handles, knobs and ornaments; an original vintage pineapple would be ideal ! If the space allows, use a variety large palm plants potted in jewel-toned ceramic pots displayed on the floor to create a true paradise setting. 


Image: House of Plants

Image: House of Plants

Image: AO Life

Image: AO Life

I started off with super low matainence house plants, the ones that pretty much take care of themselves. The ‘Aloe’ plant is the perfect starter plant, it likes the sun (so position ideally near a window) and a small-medium version only needs around 1/2 teacup of water once a week, allowing the soil to dry out completely in between. It’s seriously better to underwater than overwater ! 

Another good way of keeping healthy plants is to think about where you plan to position them in your home. Whilst most plants prefer bright light, be mindful to protect them from intense direct sun, just like you would with your skin in blazing summer heat. As a simple rule to follow, consider this; South­‐facing windows - bright light, East/West­‐facing windows - moderate light, North­‐facing windows - low light, this should prevent you from scorching plant leaves ! Also consider if there is a large obstruction outside of your window, it will affect the light your plant receives. 

Invest in a water spray bottle ! Plants that prefer humid conditions such as ferns, ivies or tropical plants will benefit from mist sprays in-between waterings. Drought-­tolerant plants like succulents and cacti do not need added humidity as their native habitat is the desert providing dry, intense heat. I’ve added ‘watering days’ to my phone calendar so I get a reminder to water or spray my plants. I also keep an eye on my iPhone weather app, if we’re predicted some sunshine I’ll move my plants closer to light catching areas in my home. 

Of course there is much more detailed house plant reading and research out there but hopefully these 3 suggestions will be a helpful starting point. 


Image: Society via French by Design 

Image: Society via French by Design 

Creating a botanical haven, doesn't neccessirly have to involve nurturing a collection of green living things, it can be still be achieved through colour. Pantone, has named 'Greenery' the colour of the year for 2017, detailing 'Greenery is nature’s neutral. The more submerged people are in modern life, the greater their innate craving to immerse themselves in the physical beauty and inherent unity of the natural world.' And luckily in 2017, green walls are no longer just fixated to bathrooms and kitchens. There's a whole host of gorgeous shades of green glory suitable for any room in the home, from vibrant bursts of zesty lime, more classic shades like deep, rich emeralds and forest greens to the contemporary, design-led green grey that is gracing the walls of uber luxe retailers like Aesop and Workshop coffee. 

Wall Paper 

Images:  So Lovely Decoration, Graham and Brown, Wall and DecoBarker and Stonehouse,

For those wanting to make a bolder botanical statement in the home introducing a tropical wallpaper is a great suggestion. Let the walls do the talking with retro inspired palm tree papers inspired by motels in Palm Springs, vibrant jungle prints that quite literally look like living walls or opt for something softer such as sage and olive inspired safari prints. 


Image: Bungalow5 

Image: Bungalow5 

Image: H&M

Image: H&M

If you are concerned that you may tire of the botanical trend quickly, make small changes to your home that can easily be introduced or removed. One of the easiest ways to do this is to use plant inspired textiles such as bedding or cushions or maybe reupholstering a chair or headboard with a nature themed print. 

Now, here's a suggestion for those of you who are brilliant at killing plants and flowers; don't throw them away just yet ! Remove them from their water and let them completely dry out, next either hang your dried bouquets from shelving units or attach to bed frames for rustic chic inspired interior. Another good use for dried petals or leaves is to press them using a herbarium (sold here) and display in antique brass glass frames. 

Invest in a variety botanical prints like illustrations, water colours or photographs of beautiful rural landscapes and adorn you wall walls, shelves and mantels. Also try adding quirky, nature themed accessories such as vintage pineapples, bee cabinet knobs and leaf jewellery trays.

And last but certainly not least, a botanical inspired space would not be complete without at least one growing green ! Pot your plants in lots of different ceramics vessels and glass vases working with a selection of textures, colours and styles. 


Image: The Fox and She 

Image: The Fox and She 

Finally, adding an invigorating fresh fragrance like mint, eucalyptus and citrus or a rich, relaxing scent like cedar, sandalwood or pine will add to the essence of a botanical haven. Plant based skincare brands like Honest and Aesop not only smell and feel incredible but their simple, uniformed packaging is really easy to introduce into any room. Lighting a scented candle like Skandivisk's SKOG, that smells like 'pine and fir blended with aged leather and woodland lily of the valley' creates a wonderful sense of calm and relaxation, that lasts up to 50 hours ! It helps that it is packaged in a beautiful forest green glass jar complete with an oak wooden top too ! 

Search for the face of Object Woman AW16

Image taken from our SS16 look book. 

Image taken from our SS16 look book. 

We are looking for a stylish lady to be the face of our AW16 look book for Object Woman. At Object HQ we prefer to use everyday gorgeous gals to front our campaigns and what better way to find this season’s Object Woman, than to open the opportunity up to our lovely customers ! 

Shoot Details 

This Autumn we are teaming up with lifestyle blogger and photographer Sara Tasker (Me + Orla) who will be shooting our look book in beautiful rural spot hidden amongst the rolling hills of Sowerby Bridge ! Our look book will feature on Sara’s beautifully curated lifestyle blog Me + Orla and will also be printed into a series of postcards and posters that will feature in our new store. 

The shoot date is confirmed for Wednesday 7th September and is likely to take a full day. 

Transport to the location will be provided from Manchester City Centre. Models are responsible for arranging their own travel to our meeting point in the city centre. Lunch and refreshments will also be provided throughout the day. 

Payment for the shoot is £100 plus your choice of one piece of clothing from our AW16 collection. 

What we’re looking for

For our AW16 look book, we are looking for a female model aged 18+, 5ft 7” and above, up to a size UK14 with long dark blonde/light-brown hair. 

How to apply

Please submit two colour photographs, one headshot (hair to be worn down) and full body shot. Please do not wear heavy make-up or use photographic filters. Please also detail your name, age, email address and contact number. Unfortunately we are unable to accept applications from models already represented by agencies. 

Please submit the above information by email to Rachael at creative@objecstyle.co.uk by midnight on Friday 19th August. 

* Due the heavy response we anticipate to receive, it may not possible to reply to all applicants we feel are not suited to this particular campaign. 

* Should your application be successful, you will be invited to an informal meeting on Thursday 25th August in Manchester City Centre. 

* Please not apply if you cannot commit to our casting date on Thursday 25th August and our shootdate Wednesday 7th September.

Best of luck lovely ladies and I look forward to receiving your applications ! 

Rachael x 


A Modern Vintage Wardrobe.


I started wearing vintage clothing in my late teens, circa 2005 during the indie/electro-trash revival. Owning a wardrobe similar to that of Aladdin’s cave, I loved trying out different looks, playing dress-up with gaudy prints, colours and textures. Some days, I’d opt for chintzy polka dot shirts and cat-eye sunnies, aiming to encapsulate some sort of 50’s pin-up holidaying in Malibu ! Other times, I’d chameleon into an 80’s disco queen wearing glam-rock power jackets with shoulders pads the size of American football players and totter about in multi-strap, gold buckle pointy ankle boots. I owned more Jane Shilton taupe clutch bags (didn’t we all ?! ) and elasticated waspie belts with huge, door knocker fastenings, then you’d wear in a lifetime ! I would raid charity shops, vintage stores, thrift shops, car-boots, flea markets, both Nana’s wardrobes and my Mum’s attic in search of anything that was easily identifiable as vintage. And that my friends, is one of the many beauties of wearing vintage, it gives you the freedom and expression to be anyone you want to be, if only for a day. Expect, none of those looks and styles, I was trying so (cringingly) hard were ever really me. 

So after a few years, me and vintage fell out. I decluttered 70% of my ill-fitting ‘dress-up box’ in search of finding my own personal style. I swapped impulsive, throw-away purchases for more considered buys, looking at the style, shape and colour of a garment. And whilst, I still like to wear vintage now, my approach is the direct opposite than that of my ‘experimenting wth every era possible’ years. I either I look for simple staples or for a particular item I can’t find new. Essentially, I’m more so wearing second-hand clothing with an anonymous fashion era that I have chosen to purchase because it works with the existing pieces in my wardrobe. 

When selecting second-hand, I always look at the composition of the fabric and where possible opt for 100% cotton, linen, silk or leather. Natural materials always age better over time. I recently came across the most incredible second-hand Louis Vuitton leather goods stall at a flea market in St Tropez (of course). Whilst I’m not keen on new LV merchandise, seeing how their signature LV logo and print had worn over time looked so chic and authentic, I guess so after so many years of living the high-life in this prestige French fishing village ! 

Secondly, I always check the how the colour has faded on second-hand clothing, especially white pieces. Yellow stained pits, grimy collars and cuffs are to be avoided at all costs ! I never completely exclude pieces that are in need of minor repair too such as loose hems, missing buttons or basic tailoring requirements. If paying a little extra to improve the fit and style of the piece so it appears as good as new, it’s worth paying out for. 

Thirdly, if I have an idea for a certain style that’s not available on the high street, online or is out of my budget, I’ll make it my mission to find it second-hand ! American sellers on Etsy and Ebay tend to have the most eclectic choice of vintage clothing, here are some of my favourite Persephone Vintage , Metaformose  (new + vintage) and Wildfell Hall Vintage When looking for second-hand online, try searching words that describe your current style, for example Minimal / Clean. I always include the exact colour, i.e. cerise pink, fabric, era (if applicable, 90s if I’m searching for a minimalist style piece) and size (both UK, US and European, Uk8, Us4, EU34) to help filter and narrow search results. 

Every couple months, I take a trip over to Alderly Edge and visit the charity shops that adorn London Road, they have a good selection of second-hand designer clothing, meaning a more likely chance of finding better quality fabrics and interesting styles. Other good Manchester based charity shops to try, Sue Ryder in East Didsbury and Oxfam Original in the Northern Quarter. Whenever I’m holiday aboard, I always try to visit vintage stores and flea markets, in the hope of discovering a rare find. European vintage tends to be slightly cheaper too which is always a plus !

Finally, as the saying goes, "One person's trash is another person's treasure" just be sure you are choosing to buy second-hand wares for both sustainable reasons as well as economical. 

Finally, finally I have showcased by 5 favourite second-hand finds organised by Statement and Staple pieces. Where possible I've listed the seller or store where I purchased the item from so you can check out their current vintage offerings too. 

Do you where second-hand clothing ? What do you search for ? Share your tips in the comment box below. 


I have such lovely memories of wearing this dress. I first purchased it in 2010 from an American vintage seller called 'The Spectrum' via Etsy. It really is beautifully made featuring a boned-bustier top half and tulip style skirt, both are fully lined. I had to make minor alterations to the fit, adjusting the hem length and taking in the back but it's been worth it for the hourglass shape it gives me. My most recent wear was on holiday this year in Porto, see here

A recent purchase this year Spring as I flirted with the idea of print. I love the bold contrast of navy and white print and the elasticated waist and a deep double V is so flattering ! Purchased via Etsy from an American seller, Love Craft Austin. I also wore this jumpsuit in Porto, see here


My beloved grey pinafore, found in a charity shop in Birmingham a few years ago ! It's actually maternity clothing and one size above my regular clothing size but the loose, relaxed fit looks so typical of the style of COS, TOAST and Margret Howell, 3 of my favourite brands. It warms my heart to think it cost just 11 English pounds ! It's so versatile too, I like to wear it with skinny ribs in the Winter and with simple white tees in the warmer moths. Here's a recent picture posted on my Instagram of this beauty in action, click here

Perhaps my most worn second-hand item of clothing, a silk grey shirt someone brought as an Christmas present in my first year of university circa 2007. I love it so much, I wrote a whole blog about all the wonderful memories we've made together, you can read it here

Finally, an amazing pair of 100% cotton, made in America high-waisted, drawstring shorts. I spied these whilst on my honeymoon in Portland in a dreamy store called Home of Commons that combined independent brands, vintage and makers products. 

Holiday Essentials: How to minimise your packing


Two weeks from now I’m going to Porto, Portugal’s second city that’s best known for its strong, sweet gluggable stuff and of course cork, before it became a must-have interior. I wouldn’t say I’m a Port drinker, I don’t think anyone is under the age of 65 and I’m completely inundated with cork decor, the perks of owning a homewares store, so why Porto? 

object style porto blog

Well from my research, the cobbled streets and tiled walls of Lisbon’s little sister seem relatively undiscovered by tourists. I’ve had to go back a fair few pages on Google to source well-written, interesting travel reviews of Portugal’s second city, that celebrate its vibrant art and design scene. I’m so excited to see the bold architecture of Rem Koolhaas's lopsided Casa da Música and visit Alvaro Siza's famous Piscinas das Marés, a duo of seawater swimming pools cut into the rocks of the coast. I have list as long as my arm for mixed-use spaces that flaunt indie cinemas, Petiscos (Portuguese tapas) , cheap booze and a soft spot for 80’s synth. On a more traditional note, Porto is neighboured by lots of tiny fishing villages so I’m looking forward to some authentic sea-to-plate cuisine. We’ve planned little day trips to colourful Averio, the Venice of Portugal apparently and home to the oldest lighthouse in Europe. Then there’s Miramar, a small seaside town with an Instagramable idyllic 17th century chapel ‘Capela do Senhora Pedra’ , strikingly situated on a rocky, wave-beaten headland jutting out from the beach.

Can you see why I’m bordering on spontaneous combustion with excitement?! Porto, has everything we are looking for in a holiday, a cultured city with optional beach! However it’s also the type of destination to get totally carried away with your packing and risk overloading your suitcase with just-in-case pieces you’ll not end up wearing and return home with with their original labels still attached. 

Below I’ve listed a few ideas for night and daywear that I’ll be sticking to when organising my summer suitcase. I’ve also included a few suggestions about accessories and footwear as well as storage tips and tricks for crease free packing, hurrah! My post below probably relates best to a city/beach combo break but hopefully some of my ideas might come in useful for more exotic destinations too. Any comments, questions or if you have any travel tips you’d like to share, do feel free to pop you thoughts in the box at the bottom of the feature :-)

Enjoy ! 

Rachael x

Holiday Wardrobe 

I know it sounds silly but before you pack anything into your case, check the temperature of the place your going! Don’t just presume it’s going to be absolutely boiling, especially at nighttime. Also temperatures can vary day to day and there is quite a significant difference between 18 degrees and 25 degrees. 



I invest in a new, over-size white linen shirt almost every summer. I chose this one from a vintage store in Portland, as I liked how it was styled with the rolled up sleeves as it gave it more structure. I liked that it has buttons meaning I can wear it done up with shorts, open over swimwear and also layer over an all-in-one or use as a throw-on at nighttime. I also think white linen shirts look great crumpled, especially over bikinis, creating lovely relaxed look. 

Different sleeve-length tees are a vital part our my holiday attire. Opt for a 100% cotton if possible as natural fabrics are more breathable and won’t make you as sweaty. The sun and I have never been great friends and knowing I’ll usually start my holiday with a lovely red glow, I like to wear a 3/4 length tee underneath playsuits, with shorts or capri pants to protect my shoulders, arms and back. Secondly, dress depending on your activity. If you’re visiting a gallery or museum, eating in a restaurant or browsing at a flee market, look at the locals around you, I can guarantee they won’t be exposing every spec of skin possible just because the temperature in the early-twenties. 


Is there anything worse then holiday blisters? They're even worse than normal blisters because your feet are so swollen from the heat! Invest in a pair of real leather sandals and wear them in BEFORE you go on holiday. Opt for a pair with a thick sole too, being able to feel sharp cobbles underneath your feet after 5 hours of walking isn’t exactly enjoyable. I’ll be taking my 4 year old double strap Birkenstocks. We travelled to a fair few countries together, they're my house slippers, gardening shoes and basically have stayed on my feet April to October every year since I purchased them. Great buy! 


I’ve recently updated by beach bag as one of the straps broke due to my constant over-loading of food shopping, lesson learnt! I’ve chosen this black, roomy oversize shoulder bag from COS (SS 16). Always opt for a dark colour as it’ll be accompanying you to beach where there are all sorts of sticky, stainable substances lurking about. Also by taking a bigger than average beach bag, you can use it to carry all your airport purchases too! 

 Necklace -  Blokk Design . Hamman Towel -  Bloomingville ,  both available at Object Style. 

 Necklace - Blokk Design. Hamman Towel - Bloomingville,  both available at Object Style. 

I’d also recommend taking an additional day time bag as beach bags tend to have open tops and therefore aren’t very secure. I’m taking an old faithful, my usual daytime grey leather rucksack from COS (AW 14). Again it’s secure, roomy and I know exactly where every pocket and compartment is as I use it every day. This makes it super easy to store essentials like suncream, money, my iPhone and travel guide and not be faffing around looking for them. 



Ensure there’s at least one pop of colour in your summer suitcase, if you’re blessed with a sun-kissed glow now’s the time to make the most of it! My ‘sun-kissed’ glow will be achieved from careful gradual layering of self tan and I’ll be showing it off in a backless fuchsia pink Other Stories (SS15) dress paired with pale grey soft leather strap sandals from COS (SS16) and some ridiculous chandelier earrings, that I only wear on holiday ! 


I’ve finally had to say good-bye to my favourite little black dress, it’s stood the test of time these last 4 years but it’s finally no longer fit for wear. So I’ve invested in a semi-short, halter neck black dress from COS (SS16). Now normally, given my ample bust I wouldn't have chosen this style but the loose fit ruffle collar and feminine ribbon tie combined with the casual cotton fabric keep it looking classy! I’m hoping to wear it with some flat cream leather rope sandals also from COS (SS16) to maintain an understated and undone look. 


Pack at least one dressed down outfit to wear in the evening. Ask yourself, if you were eating out on Tuesday in Manchester, would you really wear that dress and those heels? Why should it be any different abroad? I always feel more comfortable underdressed than overdressed so I’ll be taking a few more casual options. I’m opting for some tailored chambray shorts and white linen ruffle collar/cuff blouse, both from COS


As I mentioned in my previous post about building a season-less wardrobe, opt for a pair of neutral coloured shoes so they go with more outfits. If you’re taking heels, take some sturdy block heels that won’t send you wobbling over cobbles. If you are wanting to include a secondary pair of nighttime shoes, invest in a pair of plain REAL leather or suede sandals. Don’t skimp on the quality of the material, they’ll only rip your feet to shreds!


I’ve decided on two handbags to take with me to Porto. The first is a cream micro clutch featuring a pretty palm leaf print that I brought whilst on my honeymoon in Palm Springs, my husband knows it as the ‘tropical one’! It fits nothing more than some cash and a lipstick and that’s one of my reasons it’s coming, it’s so weeny it can’t hold my iPhone! Secondly the fun club-tropicana print works well to dress up plainer outfits. Next I’ve decided on a boxy, burgundy leather satchel with a removal shoulder strap I picked up in the sale at COS at Easter. Burgundy is such a versatile colour, complimenting navy, cream, black and grey all very nicely. 

Packing Tips 

COS dust bags 

From this post you’ll have probably guessed I shop at COS ALOT! And I have more of those little grey dust bags than I do underwear! However, they are brilliant for helping to organise your packing. I use them to store my shoes so the soles don’t mark my clothes, to store lighter coloured clothing to prevent staining, to separate my clean and worn underwear and my hair tools. The mini versions you receive when you purchase jewellery are great for storing, you guessed it, jewellery ! 

Tissue Paper 

Ever noticed when you buy clothing from a decent store, the sales assistant usually wraps it in tissue for you and it rarely needs ironing before you wear it? The same process works when you apply this folding + tissue method at home. Bulk buy yourself some light coloured, acid free tissue paper and use to neatly pack your freshly ironed wares. For example if you’re packing a blouse:

  1. Lay the blouse flat (front facing down) with all buttons done up.
  2. Fold the tissue paper so it fits the dimension of the back of the blouse.
  3. Carefully fold the sleeves horizontally and inwards along the seams so they lay flat on the black of the blouse.
  4. Fold the excess fabric along the sides inwards so the tissue paper is now concealed along the edges.
  5. Fold in half lengthways and turn over.
  6. Wrap tightly in tissue paper, tucking in any edges into the gaps within the folds. 

7. If this sounds like to much like a too much of a chore, it shouldn’t be if you're minimising your packing, buy a travel iron and an adapter plug! 

Finally, I find using a starch spray when ironing really helps to keep ceases out for longer. 


Avoid buying miniatures of everything, they’re such a cop out and so expensive for half the amount of product you’d usually get when buying the regular size. Instead, use what you already have at home and double wrap any already open toiletries in sandwich bags to prevent them exploding in your cosmetic bag.

And finally ... a few words of holiday wisdom to complete your pro-packing! 

object style summer braids
  1. Hair Grips - buy multi-packs because they're so easy to loose! Your hair takes quite a beating when exposed to so much sunlight so leave it to dry naturally and experiment with messy, undone-dos and summer braids created wth basic her grips. 
  2. Hammam towel - they're bigger than standard beach towels but ultra light so don’t take up nearly as much room in your suitcase. Another plus is they absorb water really well and dry in no time at all!
  3. Coconut Oil -  If you are going to buy new holiday toiletries go for multi-use products like coco-nut oil, it’s amazing at taking off your make-up (even waterproof mascara), it teams up as an excellent aftersun treatment and is great for repairing sun-frazzled hair ends. I have first hand experience of this having had a full head bleach for ten years!
  4. Swimwear - I always take one bikini and one swimming costume but make sure they have similar straps/fastenings as not to end up with a striped tan similar to that of a raccoons tail!
  5. Yorkshire Tea - let’s face it European tea just doesn’t taste the same! If I could go as far as bringing my own milk I would do this too!