OBJECT STYLE

5 days Exploring Croatia

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
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 

TOTOS BURGER BAR SPLIT

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

CROATIA HVAR BLOG

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

Budget

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.

Luxury

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 

RACHAEL ADAMSComment

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 ! 

Hull

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.

Manchester

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. 

Leeds

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.

Derbyshire

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. 

Birmingham

‘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

RACHAEL ADAMS1 Comment

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)

Altrincham

 SUGO ( Italian pasta kitchen) 

Drinks 

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

 Chorlton

The Beagle / Henry C

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

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
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

Bohemiam

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.

Minimalist

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. 

Tropical

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. 

Plants

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. 

Paint

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. 

Accessories

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. 

Scents

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

RACHAEL ADAMSComment
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.

RACHAEL ADAMS1 Comment

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. 

Statements 

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

Staples

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

RACHAEL ADAMSComment

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. 

Daywear

Layers 

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. 

Footwear

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! 

Accessories 

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. 

Nightwear

Vibrancy

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 ! 

Classic 

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. 

Casual 

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

Footwear 

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!

Accessories

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. 

Toiletries 

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! 

 

Part One: The Importance of Work-Life Balance

RACHAEL ADAMS1 Comment
object style the importance of workalike balance

Last week I burnt out. I developed a ginormous bottom lip similar to that of blow-up doll only covered in unsightly cold sores. Horrid under-the-skin spots lined my cheeks, the type you can feel growing at rapid rate, forming a nasty painful lumps then take forever to rear their ugly head. I was moody and short-tempered. I felt lethargic and over-emotional, wanting to eat every white-carb in the world whilst sitting in my biggest, fattest, comfiest pjs whilst working in bed. Yes STILL working. 

I’ve always been an over-thinker and though it’s a terrible trait to admit, I’m acutely impatient. I have been know to wake up around 3am, creep downstairs, open my laptop and work until the birds start squawking because I just can’t wait another 3 hours to reply to an email at a normal time ? My iPhone and the fact I share my home with my business, make finding a work-life balance tough. Object is essentially everywhere. I work from the moment my phone alarm pings, checking my emails with one eye shut. I work mid-mouthful through my porridge and whilst I’m sitting in my towel, concealing my dark circles. I work as I walk to the metro station dodging people in the street and almost getting run over by walking through a red light. I work through ad-breaks, when left alone at a restaurant table, on my yoga mat whilst everyone else in the class is practicing head stands. And sometimes, usually around the eleventh hour I start to hate my iPhone. 

I’m like this because I love what I do and for that I'm so grateful, it's vital to leading happy life. However, my constant thinking about new opportunities for Object, improvements, changes, reflections, analysis, the list goes on plays havoc with all the other important things in life. 99% I feel very positive about what I''m doing, I’m running on adrenaline and buzzing about what’s next ! I'm living, eating and breathing Object, every second of the day until I burn out, again. And then the guilt kicks in of not giving other people and other aspects in my life the love and attention they need.  

I know I’m not alone when I write this very honest blog about my incapability to switch-off. A work-to-live mentality has been ingrained in British culture for a very long time and it’s incredibly hard to break free from. Though I’m really going to try. This way of living isn’t sustainable, there is no balance and with no balance comes exhaustion and eventually resentment. Thankfully, I’m not at that stage but I am going to think about how to use my time in order to be more efficient, productive and take pleasure from activity that has nothing at all to do with work. 

So here are the 5 personal things I’m going to try this week. If you're a freelancer, home-worker or self-confessed workaholic like me, you might find these useful too. I'd love to hear your tips on how you find balance and switch off, feel free to pop a comment in the box below. 

  1. Dig out my old MP3 player to use for music when exercising. Also change my exercise routine so I work out in the morning before starting my work day. 
  2. Leaving my phone at home when socialising with husband, family and friends. 
  3. Taking one full day off per week and spending it away from home. This means no answering emails, Instagramming coffees or creating Pinterest boards. 
  4. Turning off my phone, laptop and iPad come 8pm every night and leaving then in a drawer downstairs, out of sight, out of mind. * Note to self must purchase an old school alarm clock. 
  5. Ensuring I take a 15 minute break every 3 hours plus a 1 hour lunch break to go for a walk, meet a friend for coffee, read a few pages of my book or bake something yummy.

This week, I’m planning Thursday as my day off. I’m going to be posting a follow-on blog about what I did in 24 hours that solely belonged to me. 

What I'm Wearing This Summer

RACHAEL ADAMS1 Comment

Like many women, my summer wardrobe is my winter wardrobe minus tights and boots, no ? This stems from the unwritten rule I’ve been (trying) to live by these last few years after acquiring adult responsibilities like utility bills and road tax by which I tend to buy less but spend a bit more. 

5-7 years ago, I preferred choice over quality, favouring a multitude of throwaway vest tops and directional style clothing that I’d be bored of 3 weeks after purchasing. Looking back, I think I was just experimenting a kind of process of elimination strategy to find a style that suited me, though it was costly and wasteful. 

I’m much more mindful and considerate when buying clothing for myself. In some ways I've zapped the fun out of shopping spontaneously, rarely do I venture into a store and buy what the 5ft 10, slender mannequin is wearing. Though this has done mini wonders for my wallet !

My summer wardrobe is probably made up of 70% staples consisting of good quality, light-weight jersey, cotton and linen pieces in muted colours grey, white, blush, nude, black and more recently navy. With the exception of a classic stripe, I very rarely wear print. 

When buying what I like to call, ‘super basics’ I consider how a piece will fit with the rest of the clothing in my wardrobe, the same way a visual merchandiser would do when creating a story in a retail space. I try and picture at least 3 different outfits using the piece that are all versatile for different occasions. 

If I’m looking for an outfit for a particular event, like a wedding or special birthday, I turn to Pinterest or work my way back-through a stack of my favourite magazines, where I may have come across an interview with a designer. Oh Comely, Kinfolk and Cereal are all excellent publications for showcasing emerging brands. Finally, if I still can’t find what I’m looking for, I’ll trawl through Etsy listings for vintage items that fit my search description. Ideally, I try to purchase vintage clothing a size or two bigger than my usual clothing size to allow for alterations. It’s always better to have excess fabric to work with than not. 

And - most importantly - the fit. I’ve come to learn through trial and mostly error that fit is so, so important. Now, given I don’t have the physical statistics of catwalk model and my job isn’t to be clothes horse, the clothing I choose to wear needs to work with my shape. On the plus side, I’m an average height of 5ft 6, I have good set of square, sculptured shoulders, small waist and a decent leg length, all areas I like to enhance. My not so favoured parts, muscular calves, thicker thighs, sizeable bust and rounded lower stomach are areas I prefer to conceal. 

Working with my ‘best bits’ and investing in good quality fabrics, means I’m building a season-less wardrobe, that is efficient, functioning and rarely leaves me in a situation of being stuck for what to wear. Every single piece in my wardrobe makes me feel good, comfortable and confident and will continue to do so for years to come. 

Below are a few personal tips and tricks I've picked up over the years, should you be looking for some inspiration for your summer style. Any questions or comments, pop them in the comment box below or drop me an email at creative@objectstyle.co.uk

My Summer Looks 

Look 1. Navy Chore Jacket. Toast

I love this navy chore jacket for its soft, unstructured look. The relaxed style of this workwear jacket means it is great for layering, as long as the pieces underneath are slim fitting. I like to contrast different blues with my light-wash denim pinafore dress also from Toast or my best fitting indigo denim, tapered MOM jeans from Topshop. The slouchy shoulders work really well with a small collared shirt usually in off-white or a slim fitting breton tee, that sits just below my collar bone (rule number 1 for minimising bigger busts).

Look 2. Knitted Camis, H&M/Topshop.

I’m always on the look-out for pieces that appear more expensive than what they are the shopping on the high street. H&M Premium and Topshop Boutique are worth paying that little bit extra for when it comes to buying wardrobe staples for the better quality fabrics. I tend to opt for knitted cami’s with a slight V neck and in the next size up so that appear looser around my bust, ensuring they look elegant and not too revealing. This also gives me the option of wearing a fine-fabric t-shirt underneath if I want to create a more layered, casual look. I like to wear little tops like this with high-cut trousers or skirt, in crepe or linen and often with a paper-bag waist. My favourite are a mauve linen pair from Hungarian brand, Aeron. Pairing these two garments together gives me an hourglass shape and elongates my legs without having to go through the pain of heels! 

Look 3. Culottes, COS.

Perhaps the most veritable item in my wardrobe! I’m very fussy about the length of midi-trousers ensuring they fall just below the protruding muscle of my calves and show off the slender point of my ankles. In fact when I think about it, the majority of the straighter fit trousers in my wardrobe are purposely turned up to finish an inch above my ankle, so the fabric appears fuller and my ankle slimmer ! Even though these AW15 COS culottes are made from wool, worn without tights and paired with my black ATP Atelier sliders and mustard COS (AW14) cowl neck (daytime) or A line top or simple 100% silk cami (evening time), they are still suitable for warmer weather. 

Look 4. Vintage PALM TREE Print V Neck Jumpsuit. Etsy.

A one-of-a-kind buy I’m saving for my summer holidays and wedding I have later in August. The casual fabric (100% cotton) allows for this jumpsuit to be versatile for day and night wear. I’ll be pairing this with my grey ATP Atelier sliders for strolls along the cobbled streets of Porto and digging out of red + birch wood clumpy COS heels (SS15) for a 70’s inspired look. The double V at the front and back of the garment and wide leg are flattering for my shape. 

Look 5. Nude Silk Shirt Dress, Kelly Love

This dress I didn’t technically buy for myself. My dear husband listened to my continuous subtle hints about this incredible dress I’d spotted on Kelly’s Instagram. I love the luxurious fabric of the 100% silk dress that looks amazing worn with an oversize knitted scarf and all white sneakers in the winter ! This summer I can’t wait to wear it with some off-white rope sandals I’ve got my eye on from COS and will be accessing with a statement, marble-inspired necklace by Blokk Design

Look 6. Grey Shoes. H&M, COS, ATP Atelier

I tend to wear more grey shoes than any other colour because they are such a veritable colour. I own about 3 or 4 pairs of navy trousers and they don’t work with black. I usually opt for grey suede as I like that worn it look it achieves so quickly. Suede is also the comfiest material in the world ! This summer I’ll be mostly wearing these 3 pairs of grey shoes, flats, midis and semi-high heels (I can’t walk in anything that doesn’t have a sturdy block heel plus skinny stilettos do nothing for my calves), they're the perfect solution for holidays too as they take up such little room in your suitcase !