Beauty Rocks: Top 10 Christmas Delights

It was the night before Christmas and all through the night…I couldn’t stop thinking of of my top ten delights! December is here and with it I want to share my top 10 delights.

1. John Rocha linen scarf – this is a gorgeous creamy linen with peach-toned floral motifs. It’s soft and cuddly – pair it with a white sweater and snuggle up. Available at Debenhams.

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2. The Real Shaving Co. – this is a great brand for guys with simple unassuming packaging and get straight to the point products. And the products will keep your man smooth with their 3-step process. Fantastic for guys who like to groom but don’t want to think about it too much.

http://www.realshaving.com/

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The Daily Face Scrub is the first step in the process. It contains lemongrass so is very refreshing, smells great and buffs and smooths dead skin cells away.

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Step two is the Shave Gel – this an invisible gel so guys can see where they are shaving – brilliant! It also helps to prevent skin irritation.

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Step three is the final step in the process with the Daily Post-Shave Soothing Balm. This will help prevent any irritation from the shave and is very soothing with aloe vera.

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3. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream for the body – I am loving this luxurious body cream which is very hydrating and rich for dry skin that comes in the winter months. It is heavenly and smells amazing too.

http://www.elizabetharden.co.uk/

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4. Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Intensive Moisturizing Hand Treatment

I always need a hand cream in my hand bag for every season but especially for the winter. This one is soothing without being too greasy.

http://www.elizabetharden.co.uk/

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5. Gold Limited Edition James Bond 007  EDT– dare I say that this fragrance smells exciting and mysterious? It really does! Perhaps because of the association with the James Bond movies those two words instantly popped into my head when I first smelled this cracker of a fragrance. The bottle is also gorgeous – it reminds me of a really fancy whiskey flask but is inspired by the iconic 007 gunbarrel.

I also found this fragrance to smell really fresh and energising – this would be great for everyday use and the limited edition gold bottle makes an extra special Christmas gift for him. The fragrance has top notes of apple, bergamot and geranium, heart notes of lavender, cardamom and rose thorn and base notes of vetiver, patchouli and sandalwood. I really notice the lavender and bergamot coming out in this fragrance and that is what adds the refreshing kick to this!

http://www.007fragrances.com/

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6. Dear Santa I Want It All sweater – I picked this up at H&M for £14.99 and if you want a glamourous kick to the typical Christmas sweater, this is the one for you.

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7. Accessories – Leather Gloves from H&M and Feather Bobble Hat from River Island – one always needs accessories in the winter and it’s nice to have some that add sophistication and a touch of cool to your outfit as well as warmth. I have had so many compliments on my bobble hat from River Island – I saw the same one at London Fashion Week at 10x the price!

http://www.riverisland.com

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8. New Look Fuschia Lipstick – did you know that New Look does make-up now? I am loving this Fuschia lippy – it adds a bright pop of colour on the dullest of days.

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9. Melvita Extraordinary Water – I absolutely love this Extraordinary Rose Water – it’s a gel-like toner that is to be used after cleansing and before moisturising. I love this consistency because it’s easier to pat into the skin and also easy to apply. Studies have shown that after four weeks, women noticed their skin was smoother and plumper!

These serum-like gels are packed with plumping hyaluronic acid and smells of a bouquet of roses…lovely.

http://uk.melvita.com/rose-extraordinary-water,8,1,8082,91152.htm

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10. Tripp Suitcase – I am in love with my Tripp suitcase – it’s bright and yellow and stands out from all the usual black and brown suitcases. You will definitely spot this on the revolving carousel at the airport and as I say, it’s always important to travel in style. Available at Debenhams.

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Getting Cosy with Brora

Baby it’s cold outside! As the popular song written by Frank Loesser in 1944 goes, I couldn’t agree more. Not only do I want to snuggle up inside where it’s nice and warm but I also want to do it in style.

I have long been obsessed with Scottish tartan – the colours and patterns are beautiful and always remain a classic. Like a little black dress, it never goes out of fashion.

I’ve recently discovered Brora, a Scottish cashmere brand that also does amazing lambswool blankets in a range of colours.

http://www.brora.co.uk

 

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I’ve got the turquoise and cobalt colour which makes a lovely decorative throw for the couch, a picnic blanket (but who would really want to get this dirty?) or something to throw on the bed for extra warmth at night. Cashmere and wool pieces are really something to invest in as they don’t often come with a cheap price tag and they are something that you are going to want to use time and time again, season after season.

You could even use this as a wrap like I did below – capes and wraps are always in season, especially in tartan.

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DSC_0617The lambswool blankets are really reasonable at £69.00 and also make a perfect gift for Christmas for someone that appreciates a thoughtful quality present. Also, being a truly a British brand this makes a great gift for someone out of the country as well!

Brora also sells luxury cashmere and even unique jewellery pieces. I picked up a very reasonable pair of cashmere gloves in ‘Flannel’ for £39.00 which will make a great gift for either a man or a woman. I hate anything scratchy on my skin and itchy gloves give me goosebumps. I’m shivering just thinking about it. So I’m pretty picky when it comes to gloves – I want them to be soft and soothing and these cashmere ones tick both boxes.

Also-who doesn’t want a pair of cashmere gloves?! Another great gift idea for Christmas.

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Currently on my wish list for Santa from Brora? This chalcedony pendant necklace with a Cobalt Blue stone set on a gold plated chain. Absolutely stunning and a sure conversation starter. We’ll wait and see what’s under the tree.

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iStyle: New Look

I love New Look for their prices and for their clothes, of course. They have also recently undergone a re-branding of their stores which makes the look and feel compete with that of Topshop. I’ve styled three pieces here…

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DSC_0601New Look Pastel Coat

http://www.newlook.com/

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My recent love from New Look has been this Lavender Pastel Coat, which looks very expensive and very French to me. I can certainly see myself twirling about the streets of Paris in this. It’s classy and has clean lines. And it was mistaken by several people to be from Zara. I got lots of compliments on this and it will certainly brighten up any old sad winter day. Ooh la la.

New Look Fur Stole

http://www.newlook.com/

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Again, I have recently been very impressed with New Look’s winter offerings. I love this faux fur stole because it looks so luxe and real! Faux fur is having its moment now and I am pleased because it has lost that horrible cheap look. I’m picky when it comes to faux fur but I love this one and as an added benefit it is very cozy and warm. And no animals were harmed in the making of this!

New Look Kimono Top

http://www.newlook.com/

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I love kimono tops because they remind me of summers, warm weather and festival fashion. This one from New Look was half price at £12.00 and it is certainly worth every penny. I’ve had so many compliments on it and looks great in the winter too. For a boho look, pair with Chelsea boots, bed hair and ripped skinny jeans.

HEMA Launches in UK

Has anyone heard of HEMA?

http://www.hemashop.com/gb/

Well, if you haven’t, you will soon wish you did. HEMA is a Dutch discount retail store. I like to think of it as a Dutch Poundland except more upmarket. It has a wide selection of products including jewellery, make-up, basic clothing, food items and kitchen accessories. All prices are fully rounded up so it makes it easy to calculate exactly what you are spending. HEMA is located in Victoria Place Shopping Centre in Victoria station so it’s great if you have some time before you have to catch your next train and you are looking to do some shopping to kill some time. I visited the store and stocked up on a few goodies. In the end I spent about £30.00 on the below items.

HEMA iPad case

I absolutely love my HEMA iPad case. It’s a ‘smartcover’ case, which means it’s magnetic and it comes in pink, one of my favourite girly colours. I had a very ugly iPad cover previously and this HEMA one came in at about £20.00 which is a sliver of the price of other retailers for something similar. So this is a great gift for a techie friend or anyone who had an ugly iPad cover, like I did.

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HEMA Earrings

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HEMA also carries jewellery including adorable earrings which are very tempting, especially for the price. I love my set of these various styles. They are simple, work with a variety of outfits and were a very good price at £5.00. So if I lose one I will be disappointed but it won’t be the end of the world! Give these to a friend who likes shiny things:)

HEMA Smudge Brush

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Some of HEMA’s brushes are of an incredible quality. I have the smudge brush which is a double ended brush and it is great for creating a smoky eye, blending or for applying shadow. I’ve been really impressed by this and the brush was around £3.00. I am now using mine everyday. Definitely a great budget beauty buy!

October Hot Picks From Beauty Rocks: Beauty and Lifestyle

October has been an absolutely exciting month for me in regards to beauty and lifestyle, with lots of new discoveries this month! Let’s go on a journey together so I can show you what I think are this month’s most wonderful products. From create your own Bath Bombs to gorgeous sleepwear to skincare, I’ve got something for everyone.

As you can see in the picture below, there are quite a lot! So let’s break em’ down…

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Let’s start with Hanro, the luxury sleepwear and lingerie brand from Switzerland that has been around for…130 years! With fans such as Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn, this is certainly a brand with history and clout.

Hanro sleepwear feels luxurious on the skin and my favourite is a little ribbed black camisole with lace (below) that is made of wool and silk so it feels amazing on the skin. As I consider sleep such an integral part of my beauty routine, I like to make sure that what I am sleeping in makes me feel good and is also comfortable enough to take me straight to dreamland. And believe me, Hanro will.

I am also a huge fan of sleeping masks and the one from Hanro fits snugly around my head and doesn’t budge through the night. No sun rays are getting through this one!

http://www.hanro.co.uk/

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Next, let’s talk about Beauty Kitchen (available from http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/). They hail from Glasgow and make the most adorable DIY and natural beauty products. My recent favourite is…get this…Chill Me Create Your Own Bath Bombs Kit. They are 100% natural and what a great gift to give to someone who wants to put their stamp on their own handmade products. It’s all about personalisation these days and who wouldn’t want to make their own bath bombs? They also have a make your own lip balm kit which I have my eye on.

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The bomb kit comes in a kilner jar that can be re-used once you have used all of your bath bombs. Chill Me is great for taking the stress off at the end of a long day. With lavender, eucalyptus ylang ylang and rosemary, you will be chilled out to the max in no time. Christmas gift idea anyone?

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These days I am really into things for the home. A great lifestyle pick of the month is Pacifica Mediterranean Fig Diffuser (available from http://www.hollandandbarrett.com/). It contains an earthy rich blend of sweet Fig, Oak Moss and creamy Sandalwood and evokes the sensuous scent of fig trees growing along the shores of the Mediterranean. If the weather is getting you down, pop this open and stick it next to your bed. Being an all-natural brand as well, you feel safe in the fact that you are not breathing in any nasties with this diffuser. It’s a beautiful scent for the room and makes a great gift as well.

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Recently, I’ve heard a lot of great things about Konjac sponges as a gentle exfoliator for your face. However, there are also many out there that are quite pricey. Thank goodness Superdrug came to the rescue with their very reasonably priced Konjac face sponge. It is great to use first thing in the morning when cleansing on a make-up free face. It is such a gentle exfoliator and feels like a lovely massage to wake you up and get the circulation on your face going. And at £1.99 you’d be silly not to.

http://www.superdrug.com/Superdrug/Superdrug-Pebbles-Konjac-Sponge/p/621570#.VEOlT_l4on4

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An innovation in technology has come knocking at my door. Boots No 7 has come out with a heated eyelash curler! How excited I was to try it. It comes with a battery so is ready to go immediately. This is a fabulous little tool that honestly makes lashes look bigger, longer, grander, everything you would hope it would do. And let’s be honest, sometimes bigger really is better.

Use it before mascara to create the most fantastic eyelashes ever. Who needs a £30.00 mascara when you can use the heated eyelash curler again and again for £14.99?

http://www.boots.com/en/No7-Heated-Eyelash-Curler-Exclusive-to-Boots_1281197/

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The skin and bodycare picks continue with…drumroll please. From Boots there exists a Benefit Fun-Size Flirts set (pictured below), which is ten of Benefit’s best sellers all packed together in one package in travel sizes for the fantastic price of £29.50. That means that each product is about £3.00 each and you can test all ten out. The two mini mascaras inside alone are worth the price of the entire box. Mini-mascaras last for ages. The box comes with the top ten bestsellers including:

Porefessional Primer, That Gal Brightening Face Primer, Instant Comeback Face Serum, Ooh La Lift Highlighter, They’re Real Mascara, Bad Gal Lash Mascara, Dandelion Blush, Stay Don’t Stray Primer, Posietint Lip and Cheek Stain, Sunbeam Highlighter.

This is a perfect weekend splurge or gift idea for a beauty junkie friend.

http://www.boots.com/en/benefit-fun-size-flirts-limited-edition-set-of-beauty-bestsellers_1498091/

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Another product that I would like to recommend this month for skincare is Neutrogena Visibly Clear Pore & Shine Daily Wash (pictured above). Neutrogena recently celebrated their 10th anniversary with this product and it is great for oily skin (like mine) that tends to look like an oil slick by noon. It’s designed to tackle clogged pores and spots and over the years has improved its technology with Microclear that enhances the penetration of key ingredients. And it’s a great buy at £4.49.

http://www.neutrogena.co.uk/

Vita Liberata (pictured above) I have recently discovered at Debenhams and it is an organic tanning lotion! Yes, organic! I often wonder what is in those tanning creams that make me go brown…so I was very excited to learn that an organic one had been created. Upon testing, it didn’t leave any nasty smell, sank in easily with no streaks and left me with a golden glow. Great for white winter skin.

http://www.debenhams.com/beauty/vita-liberata

Antipodes Manuka Honey Mask (pictured above) is another pick. I have covered it previously but like it so much it is back again. It smells delicious, like vanilla and the instructions say to put in on at sunset (pretty sure they are being cheeky here). It’s lovely and not sticky and leaves skin feeling soft with a faint smell of vanilla. Yum.

http://www.naturisimo.com/index.cfm?nme=antipodes

London Fashion Week and Weekend: The Review

I love London Fashion Week and Weekend and everything that comes with it; the buzz, the gossip, the shows and of course, the CLOTHES! This year led me to the Gyunel SS15 show (Rosie Fortescue, Millie Macintosh, Pixie Lott, Amber Le Bon and Lara Whitmore spotted!) at the Bloomsbury Ballroom as well as the Vielma catwalk show hosted by Felicities at the swanky ME Hotel. When the sun went down I hit up LFW Fashion’s Finest After Party at DISCO in Soho as well as the Shopcade LFW After Party.

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Millie Macintosh at Gyunel SS15

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Gyunel SS15

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Vielma at ME London

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Fashion’s Finest LFW Party at DISCO underground club and my cool pass into the Pan-Am inspired lounge.

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Shopcade LFW Party

So what do you wear to all of these glizty events? Well, the first clue is to look at the magazines – what’s in for A/W 14? I saw a lot of draping…of coats, blazers, sweaters, jackets, whatever. Drape away!

For the Vielma catwalk show I wore a French Connection dress and blazer (draped of course) with BCBG Max Azaria shoes, paired with a Juicy Couture classic leather crossbody bag.

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However for London Fashion Weekend I wanted to be relaxed yet elegant. The French connection blazer appeared again, this time with a basic Gap white t-shirt and ripped American Eagle jeans. The BCBG shoes came back – these are the only shoes I would walk a mile in. They are truly so comfortable and this is coming from someone who loves heels but can’t wear them for very long. The BCBG heels feel like a dream and this is due to the ankle strap that lets your foot relax while walking. These are not going to slip off.

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The key peice in this look is a statement accessory and this year mine was the Ted Baker ‘Teryn’ Shopper Bag from http://www.repertoirefashion.co.uk/

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This website stocks major designer lables from Armani to Hugo Boss to Ted Baker. This bag is simply gorgeous with a colour blocking scheme of beige and black going on and is a fantastic size for holding pretty much anything and everything. I am someone who needs a big bag and this bag carried me through London Fashion Weekend while I flitted about all day. It held snacks, a jacket and countless beauty essentials. It’s perfect for everything.

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I am also currently eyeing a pair of Armani skinny jeans. Perhaps for next year:)

http://www.repertoirefashion.co.uk/designer-womenswear-c22/armani-jeans-m2

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What’s your favourite go-to bag for everything?

 

If you like my Ted Baker bag, Repetoire UK are offering 10% off for one month (starting 29/9/14)  for orders over £100- includes sale items! Use code BEAUTYROCKS10 at checkout.

 

Sports Luxe: Game On

A look that I am loving at the moment is Sports Luxe. It’s comfortable and doesn’t involve heels (unless you want to) and is the perfect look for city living. The thing about sports luxe is that you can dress it up as much as you want, pairing heels with tracksuits and sweatshirts with skirts or wearing a sports bra as a crop top. It’s a look that lets you get comfortably creative and allows you to mix fashion with sports. Yoga leggings are back and this time they can be paired with a bomber jacket and a pair of stilettos. Sports Luxe indeed.

The Sports Luxe Jacket:

I like clothes and products that can multi-task. One such jacket that I have recently discovered is the Bench One Timer hoody which is a bright lemon-coloured soft jacket that actually turns into a travel pillow. The jacket is like wearing a pillow-very soft and very comfortable but with its bright colour you can still add a bit of fun to your outfit. It’s a great jacket for the city dweller on the go.

www.bench.co.uk

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Sports Luxe T-Shirt:

I got my Celine Paris t-shirt from Amazon.co.uk for about £7.00 – a bargain indeed. You can get a range of amazing statement tees from Amazon such as ‘Homies: South Central’, ‘Ain’t Laurent Without Yves’, ‘Coco Made Me Do It’, ‘More Issues Than Vogue’, etc.

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Sports Luxe Watch:

I always go for Michael Kors in Rose Gold.

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Sports Luxe Leggings:

I got mine from H&M.

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Sports Luxe Shoes

I LOVE Soludos – they have a wide range of cool shoes with funky designs and have been spotted on celebs like Kristen Stewart.

http://www.soludos.com/

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So what are you waiting for? Sports Luxe it up while you can and don’t be left behind in the dust on this one.

 

Fashion Focus On: Monki and Kitsch

I love a good find when it comes to fashion. My most recent treasure comes from Monki (www.monki.com) , a cool Swedish clothing brand can be found on Carnaby Street. Monki is cool and funky and in their Carnaby shop, the theme is Sea of Scallops – to make you feel like you are underwater, surrounded by enormous jellyfish. Zany? Yes. Fun? Definitely.

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T-Shirt (More Issues Than Vogue) bought from Amazon.co.uk, jacket by Monki, jean cut-offs (Forever 21), Bag (Michael Kors), Shoes (Soludos), Sunglasses (Ray Ban Folding Wayfarers)

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Hair Tie by Kitsch

 

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Kitsch Hair Ties (www.mykitsch.com)

Another great find I have found lately are Kitsch Hair Ties. They are specially designed to be kind on your hair and cute on your wrist, meaning they are crease-less and do not bend your ponytail or get caught in your hair and they double as a fashionable bracelet. Finally a hair tie that looks good on a wrist!

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Another favourite buy from Monki? My cupid’s arrow necklace. And for a fiver, that’s a something to fall in love with.

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Meeting The Maker: Ilene Steele – Jewellery Designer

Everyone loves a bit of bling, especially me. I love classic and timeless pieces that last through the years – especially ones that go on my fingers. My obsession with rings led me to Ilene Steele, a jewellery designer based in Hatton Gardens, with a penchant for unique knuckle rings and candy heart jewellery.

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The Hatton Garden-based native New Yorker has created a collection that references the excitement and turbulence of life; finding synergy between the shifting of ocean tides, currents and waves with the disorder and extremities of human existence.

 

Ilene’s collection – which launches this summer – is called The Wave Collection and encompasses bold, geometric and architecturally-styled statement jewellery.

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My new obsession-a knuckle ring!

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Where the magic happens! The collection comprises of a range of fine 18ct gold and silver cocktail rings, alongside studded earrings that include tilted semi-precious and precious stones, brought together through the ancient method of cuttlefish casting, which provides distinctive wave-like texture on the metal.

 

 

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Yellow on blue…great colour match! 

 

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What I like to call candy heart jewellery with a bit of rock n’ roll…

 

 The Wave Collection is available online and in store at Wolf & Badger and The Clerkenwell Collection

Prices start from £150

Wolf & Badger https://www.wolfandbadger.com/shop/designers/ilene-steele-jewellery/

Royal Ascot: The Beauty and Fashion Edit

Royal Ascot: big hats, fancy dresses, champagne, picnics, horse racing and THE Queen…are there any more reasons that you simply cannot miss this iconic event? I didn’t think so!

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My amazing (if I may say so) Ascot hat

This was my first year at Royal Ascot, the most famous horse race in the UK (www.ascot.co.uk) so I was very excited to rock it with a hat and fabulous dress. But first where to shop? As a huge fan of the classy dresses on hand at French Connection (www.frenchconnection.com) I went there first.

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It didn’t take long for me to find the perfect little black dress. French Connection dress cost? £70. Zara shoes? £30. Rocking them both at Ascot? Priceless!

Ascot is all about class and hats…and racing of course! Upon arrival I could see that everyone really made an effort and was dressed to the nines.

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In keeping with the celebratory nature of Ascot, the only drink allowed into the race is one bottle of champagne or sparkling wine per person, accompanying a substantial picnic and in a cool bag or hamper.

You can buy drinks inside (which is what I did) with a rum and coke costing around £6, a beer around £4 and a glass of wine around £6. Not terrible prices by any means. However, buying a bottle of champagne costs around £50-£70 so if that is your drink of choice, I would recommend bringing in your own bottle.

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Another great perk of the race is that you get to see the Queen up close and personal as she passes by the Silver Ring. It’s not often you get to see the Queen in person and she was looking particularly chipper at Royal Ascot as she loves horses and racing.

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Of course I couldn’t leave home feeling unprepared. So what was in my handbag? Most importantly was sunscreen. The weather was beautiful at Ascot this year and sunscreen was a necessity. As I am extremely fair, I use a professional, Swiss-made sunscreen called Ultrasun – SPF 30 for the face and SPF 50 for the body. The sunscreen for the face also has an added benefit of being an anti-ageing formula. You can find this at Debenhams.

It’s really important to also protect your lips. I have a great lip balm with sunscreen that I got from Walgreens in the States (similar to Superdrug). Its tropical flavour is yummy.

Other important products? Antibacterial gel. I use a lovely La Source gel from Crabtree & Evelyn (www.crabtree-evelyn.co.uk)-it smells like the sea and isn’t sticky. The gel is quite thick as well (I hate runny antibacterial gel) and there is no nasty scent of alcohol to be found. Also from Crabtree & Evelyn is a La Source Leg & Foot Mist which keeps feet feeling fresh on a hot day in heels.

Other items in my handbag include thickening hairspray by Bumble & Bumble to keep strands in place, a compact mirror, a small sample-size of Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire, Rimmel London’s Clear Complexion pressed powder and a Lancome brush.

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The icing on the top of the cake? My Kate Spade ‘supercalifragilipstick’ in a bright, bold red. I never leave home without it.

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So would I go to Ascot again? Most definitely.