Monday, 27 May 2013

Free Jonathan Ward scented candle worth £22

Just a quick post to let you know about a fantastic offer that my absolute favourite candle brand is running for a limited time. Jonathan Ward London is offering a free medium candle (6.5oz) worth £22 with any purchase of a large diffuser or candle from the Verte or White collections.

Previous readers of my blog will know that I love Jonathan's candles (see my posts here and here). So it is fair to say that I need no encouragement to add more of the range to my home. However if encouragement was needed, I can think of nothing better than this brilliant offer! 

Have you tried any candles from Jonathan's range? Which are your favourites?

Saturday, 25 May 2013

8 of the best: Breton tops

When it comes to classic fail-safe fashion pieces, you can't go wrong with a Breton stripe top. Breton stripe tops have been a style staple ever since Coco Chanel first made them fashionable. They are really versatile and can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion. They have become a bit of a go-to piece for me, which I often pair with a statement necklace to give a different feel to the look.

I have been looking to add some more to my closet, so thought that I'd share some of my finds. Although I tend to opt for the classic navy and white breton tops, I couldn't resist the Maison Scotch neon pink stripe for Summer. I really like the tops which have opted for a twist on the usual look, e.g. the Maison Scotch colourblock top or the Boutique by Jaeger Breton with broderie anglaise inserts.

Clockwise from top left: 5Preview - £85 ; Whistles - £55 ; Boutique by Jaeger with broderie anglaise inserts - £40 ; Gap black and mint stripe - £13.99

Clockwise from top left: Maison Scotch neon pink stripe - £39 ; Maison Scotch colourblock - £55 ; Saint James - £55 ; Chinti and Parker organic cotton - £85

What pieces are your  fail-safe items that you know you can always rely on?

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

Natalie Massenet: More of Her Story So Far

As you will know if you read my previous post here, I really admire Natalie Massenet, the founder of Net-a-Porter, who revolutionised the way that people shop for fashion. As well as being able to view her presentation on Instagram, you can now watch the whole presentation on video. I previously asked the question, "What would Natalie do?" Well you can now find out the answer here. Here are some screen shots to whet your appetite!

Even though I have looked at the Instgram presentation numerous times since the Vogue Festival, I still found it useful to watch the video of the presentation as it gives you a real feel for the lady herself and her personality.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Top Marks : Marks & Spencer Autumn/Winter 2013 Collection

It is not every high-street womenswear collection which makes the front page of the national broadsheets. But then again, not every store can lay claim to playing a part in the lives (and wardrobes) of generations of British families. Ladies and gentleman, I give you Marks & Spencer - purveyor of clothing to British households since 1884.
Over the last few years the brand has struggled to halt the decline in sales. However it looks like that is all about to change, with the store's collections for Autumn/Winter 13: Modern Elegance, London Calling, Wild Opulence, Femme Fatale & Dark Drama. These directional collections mark a return to the brand's heritage, core values and focus on high quality. The change in direction is all down to the brand's new Style Director, Belinda Earls. Belinda, formerly of Debenhams and Jaeger, has put a lot of effort into exploring the needs of the company's customers and re-discovering what Marks & Spencer means to them.

The outfit above was the first of the looks that I saw. I absolutely LOVE this look. Simple silhouettes, brought to life in some of my favourite colours, not to mention a skirt in my absolute favourite print!

I think that this look is perfect for the office, but would also be great for going out after work. I am totally drawn to the cobalt colour of the skirt. I need it in my closet!

This outfit reminds me of Sandro, which is known for its laidback but edgy rock chick feel. However I can also imagine wearing the jumper with a simple pair of black trousers for work, or wearing the jacket over a classic monochrome outfit.

I love the combination of textures in this look, and how the bright colours of the scarf really lifts the outfit.

Statement sweater styles have been a big hit for Spring/Summer, and it looks like this will be a style we can carry on wearing well into next season. I think that this would be a really versatile piece. I can see me swapping the black trousers for some boyfriend jeans to give a different feel to the look.
I absolutely love the new direction that Marks & Spencer have taken with these collections. In my opinion a number of the pieces could pass for high-end designer pieces from the catwalk. Sadly I haven't been able to see the pieces in the flesh, (or should that be fabric?!), but as soon as these collections arrive in store in July I will be trying them on for size ( and style). I look forward to reporting back!
Which pieces have caught your eye? Which pieces do you think that I should invest in?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Net-a-Porter pieces at TK Maxx prices

Net-a-Porter pieces at TK Maxx prices? Thankfully for your bank balances I am not joking! On a recent visit to TK Maxx, I was even more pleased than usual with some of my finds in there.

I picked up a really useful 'Elizabeth and James' black blazer, with a 75% discount and an 'American Retro' grey cotton & grey snakeskin print tee for £22 (from £125!).

At the moment they seem to have a great range of designer brands in store: 'Karl by Karl Lagerfeld'; 'Michael Kors'; 'American Retro'; 'Elizabeth and James' and 'Maison Martin Margiela' to name just a few. Even if you don't usually shop in TK Maxx, I think the prospect of some designer pieces at such great prices is definitely worth a few minutes of your time.

Here are just some of the pieces that were in store the last time that I went.

  • Karl by Karl Lagerfeld white 'biker' sleeveless dress £209 down to £30
  • Michael Kors red shift dress £240 down to £50
  • Elizabeth and James floral dress £260 down to £100

I am very tempted to go back in store to buy the American Retro bomber jacket in the photo above (top left) as it is one of they key jacket shapes this season. I think it was reduced to about £35 from over £200. At that price I think I better be quick if I want to nab it! Let me know if you manage to pick up some designer bargains at TK Maxx. Why not tweet me a photo @LouiseHartrey or post on Instagram @louloumuses with #louloushops .

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

Free £5 Marks & Spencer voucher

Tomorrow, Thursday 9th May, take any unwanted clothes to your nearest Marks & Spencer and you'll receive a voucher for £5 off your next £35 spend in-store and a code to use online at by the 20th May. 

The offer doesn't include donations of swimwear, underwear, socks or damaged or soiled items. All donated clothing will be donated to Oxfam.

I have spotted a few great pieces on the Marks & Spencer website, so this couldn't have come at a better time. Not to mention the fact that I recently had a wardrobe clear-out, so have now found the perfect home for my cast-offs!

Let me know what you use your voucher for by posting in the comment box below or tweeting me @LouiseHartrey with #louloushwops .

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Natalie Massenet : Her Story So Far

When tickets for this year's Vogue Festival sold out almost as quickly as they went on sale, one of the events I was most disappointed to miss out on was the Natalie Massenet presentation. As the founder of Net-a-Porter, Massenet revolutionised the way that people shop for designer fashion. Until she came along, the idea of purchasing luxury designer fashion on the internet was anathema to most fashionistas. Never one to rest on her laurels, Massenet has always stayed one step ahead of the competition by expanding the Net-a-Porter offering to include menswear (Mr Porter), a magazine (The Edit) and most recently, beauty.

I was fully prepared to follow the presentation vicariously through my Twitter newsfeed. However, thanks to Natalie Massenet's creativity, it would be another social media channel I would use to follow her presentation. In order that people beyond the walls of the Vogue Festival could share in the experience, the Net-a-Porter founder gave her presentation via Instagram. I found her presentation to be really inspiring, with her sharing her approach to not only business but also life in general.

After reading her presentation and accompanying commentary, I downloaded one of the books that she recommended, Creative Visualization . I have already found it really useful. From now on, if ever I am in doubt, the one question I am going to ask myself is: 'What would Natalie do?' It might sound a bit flippant, but when I applied it in a few situations earlier this week, it really did help me to go ahead and try a different approach.

I will let you explore the presentation for yourself at @nataporter_mystorysofar . I would love to know what you think of it.


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