Feeling Majestic in McQueen

fashion

Welcome back to The Monica Way, it’s been a while!

This week I wanted to introduce you to Hire That Look, a concept that I found to be both innovative and resourceful. The idea behind the concept is simple; to have accessibility to amazing designer brands all without the hefty price tags.

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Wearing Multicolour Floral Fluted Mini Dress by Alexander McQueen

Special occasions are the perfect excuse to get glammed up, feel extra special and showcase a new outfit…but this often entails buying an expensive dress, only to wear it once or twice. That’s where Hire That Look comes into play.

Hire That Look is an online dress hire site featuring top of the range dresses from all your favourite designers. By using Hire That Look you’re met with an array of beautiful designer dresses all at the click of a button. Designers range from Anna Sui to Victoria Beckham through to Marchesa Notte to True Decadence and they’re constantly being updated. The dresses are a fraction of their RRP and are delivered directly to your door in cute pink HTL suit carriers. Very convenient and straightforward.

The hiring process was super hassle-free and you can hire the dress for up to 8 days. When I was finished with my dress, the postage box contained the required returns label and I sent it back to be dry-cleaned for the next lucky lady.

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With no strings attached, using HTL was the perfect opportunity to try out a look that was a little outside my comfort zone. I went for a loud and bold Alexander McQueen number with belled sleeves and plenty of colour. I would much prefer to wear a well made and designed piece of clothing than succumb to the ever-expanding fast fashion industry… HTL makes that possible.

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I don’t often have access to designer dresses so readily and I certainly felt amazing stepping out into the streets of London in this dress. I must admit, now I’m impatiently waiting by the letter box in hope for an invitation to a glamorous event so that I justify hiring out another gorgeous dress to wear.

Let me know what you thought of this Majestic in McQueen look in the comments below!

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With love,

Monica

 

 

A Floral Frenzy

fashion

Welcome back to The Monica Way.

 

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Camden Passage, a beautiful and stimulating avenue full of vintage treasures, dainty trinkets, charming eateries and all the second hand books a girl might ever desire.

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HERITAGE SQUARE by Henry London

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A simple and sleek understated watch is perfect for a London day out

Inspired by the sylvan and antique beauty of Camden Passage, I wanted to feel dressy but also in tune with my surroundings. A floral full sleeved tier dress and my vintage inspired Henry London bronze watch was the perfect blend for a day out exploring the delights the passage had to offer.

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The Henry London Heritage Square watch is dainty and delicate, not overpowering.

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Camden Passage is a pedestrian passage off Upper Street in the London Borough of Islington. Alongside its many antique shops it also boasts quirky, picturesque back streets and contemporary markets, cafes and bars.

I spent the day here with my Mum whilst she was visiting for the weekend. We indulged in naughty Nutella crepes and trawled through the vintage stalls dotted about the passage.

Whilst you all know that I love a second hand bargain, my Mum on the other hand prefers to buy first hand. The area has the perfect balance of old and new, offering both second hand shops and also independent boutiques and well known brands.

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If you’re a vintage fan, a bloguette, a foodie or a book lover, Camden Passage is a great way to pass an afternoon, grab a coffee and maybe pick up a few treats.

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Just living is not enough… one must have sunshine, freedom, and a little flower.

-Hans Christian Andersen

 

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I hope you’ve enjoyed my Floral Frenzy look of the day as we’ve explored the Camden Passage together.

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Have a wonderful week,

With love,

Monica

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2018, A Blank Canvas makeover

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Welcome back to The Monica Way! I hope you’re enjoying the new year and getting into the swing of January.

For some, the new year means new year’s resolutions and changing old habits, for others it’s an opportunity for a completely fresh start and way of life.  For me, the new year is all about achieving the goals I’ve set for myself, building on my skills and opening the door to new opportunities and experiences.

In today’s blog I’m going to be showing you my New Year weekend makeup look using the Deluxe Hamper Set from Blank Canvas Cosmetics.

This look takes around twenty minutes to apply and is perfect for daytime events or a casual evening rendezvous.

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Blank Canvas Cosmetics makeover using the Deluxe Gift Box set

The hamper comes complete with all the staples needed to create a sultry but natural makeup look. Inside the box you can find a 5 piece brush set, the F01 Face Brush, the Pippa for Blank Canvas Palette, the Winging IT Eyeliner, the Borderline Eyeliner, the Blank Canvas Brush Soap and a beautiful Blank Canvas Gift Candle.

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The colours in the hamper are perfect if you’re like me and don’t like to feel caked in heavy makeup and thick consistencies.  I like my skin makeup to be light and fresh in warm golden tones, peaches and tans.

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After priming my face, I started this look by applying a basic contour using the Blank Canvas 10 Cream Contour palette. The palette is super easy to use and blends seamlessly. As I wouldn’t contour on an average day, I followed a basic contour guide as an outline.

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A basic contour guide

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Applying the contour using the E44 Flat Brush

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FO1 Face Brush and 10 Cream Contour Palette

To blend the contour cream I used the F20 Flat Buffer Brush followed by the F22 Round Buffer Brush. The creams are lightweight and a medium coverage which render them perfect for a more natural and soft look.

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I wanted to create a really bold and alluring effect for the eye segment of this look. When choosing eye makeup shades, I often stick to the rules of the complimentary colour wheel. Orange is the opposite of blue on the colour wheel; therefore, if you have blue eyes try  colours with orange undertones like golds, champagnes, browns and tans. For those of you with brown eyes, its little more flexible, I find that shades of Merlot and deep purple can really bring clarity to dark eyes whilst pinks and salmons can make dark eyes pop.

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The Pippa For Blank Canvas Palette

Running a thick brush of the shade Susu from the Pippa for Blank Canvas Palette, along my eye line and lash line, I kept the eye-shadow really simple. To widen and enlarge the appearance of my eyes, I applied a thin winged eye using the Winging IT Eyeliner and a touch of the shade Lily on the inner corner of my eye.

To finish off this look, I added a few light strokes of the shade Armour just below my cheek bone and a light dab of the shade Lulu to the tip of my nose, cheek bone and brow bone.

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I love this look as its simple and easy to create. The warm colours add a real sense of youth and invigoration during these duller months, without looking overly chaotic. The Pippa palette is compact and can be carried around in a small purse (handy if you get caught in the January rain and need a quick top up).

This is definitely my go-to look for this January. It’s super quick and gives me the extra time needed to focus on the other tasks and daily errands that come with the new year.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this look in the comments, or if you have any questions feel free to contact me. Have a lovely week and thanks for reading!

With love,

Monica

 

 

Festive Decorating for a Healthy Mind

lifestyle

Hello! Welcome back to The Monica Way.

In today’s post I wanted to share with you the ways that we can festively decorate our homes in a simplistic, clutter-free and calming manner whilst still embodying the spirit of Christmas.

For me, it’s really important that my home environment feels bright, homely, organic and well-ordered…tidy house tidy mind. But I often find that lots of the Christmas decorations on the high street are rather brash, tacky and messy looking.

This year I’ve opted for an understated organic, floral Christmas theme for my home.

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It’s scientifically proven that freshly-cut flowers within the home can reduce both worry and anxiety. I can personally vouch for these facts, as without a doubt having fresh flowers in my home always induces a sense of positivity into my day and makes me feel invigorated. Not only are there health benefits to fresh plants in the home but they also bring an air of freshness and beauty to a room.

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To bring my floral Christmas theme to life I chose a gorgeous Christmas bouquet from Prestige Flowers UK.   The bouquet arrived within two days and was beautifully packaged in a sturdy white box.

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What I love about this particular Christmas bouquet is the colours. I tend to keep my home ornaments white and very simple but as its Christmas I love the addition of the golden star spangles mixed in with the various flowerets. The hints of gold add in the element of festivity and glamour that I’m looking to achieve with my festive decor.

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Red and green are typically the colours that are associated with Christmas. Personally, I’m not a big fan of red home decor as I find it really over powering and distracting. This bouquet was the perfect balance of the clean-cut look that I like within my home environment and the festive christmassy demeanour that this season entails.

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The bouquet is really thick and beautifully put together as well as smelling delightful! My favourite flowers are white roses and I was highly impressed by their size and quality on opening the packaging.

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If you’re struggling for Christmas present ideas, or if you’re like me and just like to treat yourself every now and then, I would recommend you check out the Prestige Flowers website. Their flowers are of such a beautiful quality and they have a really wide range of bouquet designs to suit your personal style. Whats more, they deliver them safely straight to your chosen address and you can even add in extras like a box of chocolates or a personalised card.  It’s totally stress free and can bring a lovely sense of vitality into your living space.

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We spend a lot of time in our homes, so it’s really important that we make our homes a space we enjoy living in and where we can seek comfort and relief from the stresses of daily life. Something as simple as a fresh bouquet of flowers or a half hour out of the day to do something crafty can really help the mind repose and contribute to your overall well-being.

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and I would love to hear your home decor tips.

Have a wonderful weekend.

With love,

Monica

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Red Alert

fashion

Welcome back to The Monica Way

“Red is such an interesting colour to correlate with emotion, because it’s on both ends of the spectrum. On one end you have happiness, falling in love, infatuation with someone, passion, all that. On the other end, you’ve got obsession, jealousy, danger, fear, anger and frustration.”

– Taylor Swift

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What does red signify for you? For me, the colour red says bold and fierce and I like to think that I, myself, encompass both of those attributes to some degree.

I chose to feature this look, as I feel it embodies a lot of my character, it’s adventurous and daring, but also expresses a sense of delicacy.

As I’m growing older and moving around between cities, my style is slowly changing from a form that was previously animated and perhaps a little provocative to something more classical, mature and structured.

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As I write this article, I’m listening to Do You Want to Build a Snowman from Frozen, so it’s probably worth mentioning that I do still have some rather childlike and juvenile tendencies…I get major food envy daily, I like my toast cut into triangles, I prefer Disney to most things and love to be cuddled to sleep (whilst holding my cuddly elephant wheat bag). It’s important that my style reflects who I am and how I’m feeling. Infusing vivid colour into an otherwise rather monotone outfit warrants my playful and youthful side.

 

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KENDRA PATENT Dr Martens £135

I’ve always been drawn to modish looking items. As mentioned previously in my blog, I’m on a mission to shop smart; to shop for longevity and quality. Naturally, I’m a big fan of Dr Martens, they’re renowned for their quality, in fact anyone who owns a pair will know just how durable and reliable they really are.  What’s more, Dr Martens as a brand seem to have this amazing ability to adapt and embrace change while maintaining their touch of tradition in all their boots.

For this look, I chose a classic boot brand but in an atypical design. The heeled KENDRA Dr Martens combine the masculine look of the original Dr Marten boots with a feminine twist.  I utilised these boots to infuse a sense of edge into this otherwise very imperial look.
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Another side to me is my frugal and thrifty tendencies. You’ll find that approximately half of my wardrobe is either second-hand or re-worked.

This weekend I went on a second-hand hunt with an old school friend, Molly. We spent a couple of hours together, probing through the eclectic and ever-varying clothing rails at TRAID, Peckham. If you haven’t heard of TRAID, they’re a franchise of charity shops that are dotted in and around London.

What’s really great about TRAID is that their clothing is all sorted, picked and mostly of a really great quality. It’s almost like visiting a second-hand boutique of one-offs.  Super exciting.

The aim of TRAID is primarily to increase clothing reuse whilst also helping to reduce waste, carbon emissions and consumption. TRAID proceeds go towards funding international development projects to improve conditions and working practices in the textile industry. To find your closest TRAID check out their website, they’re located all over London; Brixton, Camden, Clapham, Dalston to name but a few!

This weekend they were having a sale whereby all items were only £2-£7!

Outfit Details

Scarlet Red Tailored Jacket    TRAID £7.00

Wool Jumper Dress    TRAID £5.00

Heeled KENDRA Patent Dr Martens    Dr Martens £135.00

Black Felt Fedora Hat    Random Paris Boutique €40.00

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Wool Felt Fedora Hat Simon & Mary Audrey £60

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There are still many preconceived ideas about second-hand buying. Some seem to think that it’s dirty, bad quality or for ‘cheapskates’. But I can guarantee you, there’s just as much beauty in pre-owned clothing as newly bought, sometimes even more.

We’re living in a society driven by consumerism not to mention the continuous digression of our planet. We can all do our bit to reduce landfill and cut down on manufacturing demands. Buying second-hand clothing means you are going to reuse somebody else’s piece of clothing that may be in perfect condition but would otherwise end up in landfill.

If that’s not enough to encourage you to shop second-hand, here are the top five reasons that I buy second hand.

  1. It’s affordable and gives you more freedom to experiment with your style without taking financial risks.
  1. It aids expression of individuality. Have you ever been to Zara and bought a jumper, to later find out that every man and his dog also has that same jumper? You never know what you will find in second-hand/thrift shops, so it can be really rewarding!
  1. It’s always different. Second hand shops are continually receiving new donations and merchandise. The hunt for that unique item is always new and fresh. Second hand shopping satisfies my craving for one-off items.
  1. You can still get brand names! If like me, you’re a sucker for a brand, then check out the charity shops in the more affluent areas. If you’re in Yorkshire try Harrogate and Ilkley, or if you’re in London, check out the charity shops in Kensington and Chelsea. It’s the perfect method to feed your fashionista needs while saving your pennies and helping the environment.
  1. Your Money Stays in the Community. This is a big one. Second-hand buying ensures your money stays within the community where it can benefit local businesses, charities and those from disadvantaged situations.

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And that’s my On Red Alert look.

I would love to hear your thoughts on second-hand buying and this look of the day.

Thanks for reading!

With love,

Monica

Setting and achieving your personal goals

lifestyle

Welcome back to The Monica Way.

Today I’m exploring the notion of setting and achieving your goals. For some, goal setting may seem pointless, for others setting a goal can be the catalyst that converts an idea into a reality.

Personally, I’m a very physical and practical goal setter, I love making lists and seeing my goals visually, written down onto paper. In this article I’m going to be giving you my top three tips on how to successfully set and achieve your goals.

The word ‘goal’ can sometimes connote something rather ambiguous and perhaps a little daunting. Whereas in actual fact the word ‘goal’ (in this sense) simply means the object of a person’s ambition or effort. Your goal doesn’t have to be revolutionary, it simply needs to be something that you are passionate to change or achieve in your life. Something that will impact you in a positive way and bring you that sense of achievement that we all yearn for.

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Setting Yearly, Monthly and Weekly goals is a method of life planning that I’ve been using for around four years now and I really do recommend it. It’s a highly motivating and rewarding means of tracking your progress and ensuring that you’re reaching your potential both on a personal and work level.

The tips I’m about to share are simple but effective. They’ve enabled me to get to where I am today and I feel really proud of what I’ve achieved so far.

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Goals are personal to every individual. My goals this year have been varied in size and profundity. Some as small as drinking more water, straightening my hair less and taking better care of my skin. Bigger goals that have been ticked off my 2017 list include learning a third language, living in Italy and moving to London. These are all genuine goals that I wrote down for myself over a year ago and can now look back on with pride and a real sense of achievement.

Goals big or small are still goals and all contribute to your general well-being and sense of accomplishment. With that being said, let’s get started!

1. Set your goals and be specific

We all have goals we want to achieve but sometimes we just need that initial push to acknowledge and prioritise them. Start with really thinking about what you want to accomplish and why. Ensure that this is a goal you are passionate about and that you are really going to give it your best shot. Establish what exactly the completion of this goal would look like in your mind and carve out what would be required in order to achieve it.

Tip: If you’re not ready to take on the full goal all in one, break it down into sizeable and doable segments… Baby steps!

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2. Write it down 

“When you write down your ideas you automatically focus your full attention on them. Few if any of us can write one thought and think another at the same time. Thus a pencil and paper make excellent concentration tools.”
Michael Leboeuf

In a world that revolves around technology, the old school paper and pen seems almost archaic. I firmly believe in the power of physically writing down thoughts and ideas. Writing down your goals brings about clarity and direction. A written goal is a constant reminder of what you have set out to do, it keeps you on track and can really help prevent you from swaying off track or making irrational decisions.

There are many different formats in which you can lay out your goal setting. I like to set my goals into categories by having a page for each heading such as my work goals, physical goals, lifestyle goals and material goals.

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On the completion of my goals I always give myself a big fat tick beside my original target. Looking back and palpably seeing your success on paper is such an amazing sense of satisfaction and magnifies the legitimacy of goal completion.

Tip: Treat yourself to a really special notebook that makes writing down your goals a blissful and enjoyable experience.

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3. Enjoy the journey and be realistic

I don’t use the word journey lightly. The reason goals are goals is because they require effort and determination.  Reaching your goals may not always be attainable in the original time frame that you set for yourself and that’s okay. There may, and probably will be setbacks, BUT REMEMBER pick yourself back up, re-read why you started in the first place and refocus.  Goal setting is fun and you can really play about with it- you may surprise yourself!

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Tip: Daily to do lists are a game changer! They can help you overcome feelings of being overwhelmed, and reduce the anxiety around whether you’re being productive throughout the day. I usually have around 3 ‘to do’s‘ per day, which personally I find attainable, but find what works best for you.

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If there’s something that bugs you daily or perhaps you’re just looking to learn a new skill, make it your goal and get started. Setting goals and achieving them is a journey that comes with so many benefits and now is the perfect time to start.

Let me know if you’ve found this helpful, I would love to hear about your tips, goals and ambitions for 2018!

With love,

Monica

 

A Weekend in Autumn

fashion, Uncategorized

Welcome to Wapping. I moved to Wapping with my wonderful boyfriend just a little over two months ago. It’s a quiet and peaceful area of London, perfectly located just a stones throw walk away from the Thames Path.

Wapping is laden with character, cobbled streets, shrouded parks and cosy, snug historical pubs. It’s for this very reason, I thought it to be the perfect backdrop to talk you through two Autumn weekend looks.

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blog 1As you get to know me, you’ll soon come to learn that I love to buy from second-hand shops and up-cycle my wardrobe (I’ve acquired this ethos from my Nana). I am actively working on reducing my wardrobe and changing my shopping habits. In place of my previous purchasing approach (relentlessly buying in the never-ending pursuit to get my hands on the “latest’ trends), I’m focusing on building a wardrobe of longevity. A wardrobe which comprises of high quality, cherished and handpicked pieces.

Look 1 Military Mod

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Leather and Suede Knee Boots – Tamaris £129.99

Origin Leather Day Satchel – Cancer Research £10

Wool Knit Peplum Skirt – Zara £32

Military Style Blazer – Mango, Second Hand £12

Black Roll Neck – United Colours of Benetton £18

For such a long time I have been scanning the internet for the perfect pair of winter boots. I wanted a pair that would be timeless, sturdy and of a really good quality. I chose to buy a pair of Tamaris boots and so far, I have been extremely happy with them, they’re so versatile and beautifully made. If you’re struggling to find your YES boots this season I would recommend you check out Tamaris. They have a great variety of designs, they’re affordable and super comfy.

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As the seasonal period approaches, my colour palette begins to shift from pastels, pales and blushes to golds, tans and burgundies. Investing in some high quality neutral staples enables me to mix and match with the more exciting pieces in my wardrobe and add a little sparkle every now and then.

Tip: A statement blazer is so accommodating if you don’t often have the time to piece together an outfit, simply wack on your basics and throw your trusty blazer over the top. In this way you look chic, simple and classy with minimal effort. 

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Look 2 – Black Gold

Bonfire night has been and gone which only means one thing; it’s officially Christmas. The festive period always brings about occasions to dress that little bit more glamorously. I’m not really a fan of busy, overly detailed outfits, I find that simple suits me best.

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Injecting flecks of gold into my outfit adds that sense of glamour and elegance.  The simple style of the dress makes this outfit super comfortable both for daytime and night-time wear. I feel glamorous but not too over the top.

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Sock boots are perfect if you’re a shorty like myself. They’re really flattering on my little legs and help to give the illusion of longer, slimmer legs.

Gold maxi dress : Zara £36

Black Cropped Jumper: Topshop £22

Black and Gold Leather Waist Belt: It genuinely was my moms in the 80’s

Leather Black Clutch Bag – Vivienne Westwood (a gift from my lovely boyfriend)

Black Overcoat – Mango £65

Black Sock Boots – H&M £15 (on sale)

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As the weather is still slightly sporadic, I have found myself relying on the magic trick known as layering. I simply do not trust the tendencies of British weather and would rather leave the house in too many a layer than too few.

I hope you’re enjoying this transitional season as much as I am!

With love,

Monica