We are well and truly in the midst of party season and this week I am sure will see many a work-party. Then with NYE around the corner my eye is being caught by many a sequin dress, LBD and bling earring. My edit of what to wear to a party… and exactly how to style…

The Sequins

When I think Christmas / NYE sequins will always come first. I am partial to a daytime sequin especially in the Summer, a little shawl thrown over battered blue jeans is the perfect pairing. But come party-wear the bigger, the bolder the better. I would forgo the bling and let the dress/top/skirt do the talking. Keep hair and makeup simple and opt for an elegant over chunky heel…

The LBD

The classic little black dress – find the right one and it will serve you a lifetime of parties. And most can be dressed up and down to make it work harder for you. A LBD means you can definitely go big with the hair / makeup / bling. And shoe wise – I would think opposites. A dainty dress – go bolder with the shoe like a platform or ankle boot. A big wow dress – pick a more elegant scrappy sandal style shoe.

The Jumpsuit

Such an easy piece to wear, very little thought needed and it can look so much more modern than a dress. Shoes can be trickier as you want the right length trouser so worth trying a few heights. I love a flash of toe with mine…

The Power suit

Powerful – best styled simply with a cami or if you dare – bare. Maybe a delicate bralette you get a flash of every so often… add feminine earrings and an elegant clutch.

The bling

I am so routine with my bling – never taking my favourite gold pieces off so party wear is about the only time I have fun with jewellery. And my favourite way is with a huge pair of bling earrings. They frame the face so well and give just the right amount of pizzazz for the party…

The shoes

From elegant sandals, ankle boots and nude pumps – just make sure they’re comfortable. Nothing spoils a night like painful feet…

Have fun xx

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It is with great pleasure I bring to you the final pieces for 2018 from the gorgeous Coveted Collection by Avon. I have so loved being able to style these up and the excitement and surprise by people when they find out Avon design clothes. And clothes that are not only on point but also incredibly affordable.

 

First up is my favourite – these Coveted Lalana wide leg trousers. I love the colours, the waistband, the side stripe that makes your legs look even longer. I wear mine with my trainers in the day and a tee or oversized knit. And then with heels and a strappy top in the evening. Just add some bling for the festive season parties.

 

 

Second up – the Coveted Lalana cross-shoulder top. Each shoulder has a criss-cross lattice style detail giving the simple red tee a real rock edge. I like to just tuck the front into my jeans and throw a blazer over with a pair of ankle boots.

You can shop the entire collection here.

 

Ashley x

 

This post was created in collaboration with Avon but all images and opinions are my own. 

 

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I don’t usually start my Christmas shopping early – but having been so on it with all the Cyber Week deals it meant I started snapping up gifts in November. First time for everything. And its sort of rolled on from there. In fact I think I am about two gifts away from completing my entire gift list. Smug right?!

Have you seen this years Debenhams Christmas adverts? That track gets stuck in my head every time I hear it… ‘staaaaar…’ do a bit of you know you did good, do a bit of Debenhams. I drive my husband mad choosing presents – and cards. I take so long. But I want them to be really loved and for the cards to mean something personal or make them laugh. So as part of my Christmas collaboration with Debenhams they invited me to choose a gift for someone special in my life. I chose my Sister. Like me she’s a mum of two and barely has time to think about herself, working four days a week and has been juggling sick children a lot the past month. I thought she deserved a gift that she wouldn’t ever buy for herself. Something I know she’d feel so guilty spending her own money on – so a real treat.

This beautiful black silk pyjama set has the most beautiful lace detail that cannot fail to make you feel like a silky goddess at night. I’d wear with a huge fluffy dressing gown for real luxury on the skin… and after a deep bubble bath. Thats my idea of a dream evening. With a large Merlot of course! I can picture my sister already! Quite envious…

I also know she never spends much on her skincare but loves the fact her sister is a beauty product junkie so uses mine. I wanted to treat her to something that’ll work but that’ll last a long time too. The Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum is amazing. And a little goes a long way.

 

And the gift box – Debenhams has these gorgeous boxes in four sizes and they come with ribbon a tag and a choice of these little cards with notes…

Now lets hope it brings a huge smile to her face!  She deserves it.

Ashley x

I’ve linked a few other gifts which might catch your eye here too…

I am wearing the J by Jasper Conran cashmere roll neck, so soft…

…and Levis 501 – Debenhams sell a few different styles the tapered leg is great for the vintage look. Linked them all here.

www.Debenhams.com

 

This post is written in collaboration with Debenhams but all images and opinions are my own. 

 

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Continuing with my quest to get my hair back to its pre-baby glory days I bring to you part 2 of ‘How to grow your hair long’. In this piece I will be delving into more science to help us understand our hair a bit more – and have a tonne of new tips and tricks. So without further ado…

From the last post we know the facts – hair is dead keratin fibre. The only way to improve the quality of hair being produced by your hair follicles is by optimising the scalp condition as a foundation for producing healthy hair. Our hair depends on the health of our scalp and there are a lot of things we can be doing to make sure that our scalp is looked after just as well as the skin on our faces. But just as the skin on our faces ages the scalp does too and that means the hair follicles age. The deeper layers of the dermis become less effective and the regeneration slows down.  Which makes sense as I have got older my hair has definitely thinned out.

Now what about our lifestyle and diet?

This is very important – just as with the skin on our faces what we eat and consume effects the scalp. Pollutants from city living settle on the scalp and hair shaft causing dullness, loss of moisture and scalp irritation. Washing your hair will unclog follicles and remove particle pollutants but you can also protect it from pollutions in 3 easy steps:

  1. There are some great anti-pollutions hair care ranges now.
  2. Fewer styling products – gels creams and mousses can encourage pollutants to stick.
  3. Get your vitamins – Vitamin E helps repair and build tissue, reduce inflammation and maintain follicle health. Vitamin A is needed to make sebum, the bodies natural moisturiser.

And how often should we wash it?

Normal to dry hair – one wash per week

Greasy hair – two or three washes per week

 

What about coloured hair like mine?

it is the most prone to breakage as chemicals have removed the hairs natural protective layer leaving it exposed and drying it out. But hair colouring if done correctly shouldn’t impact the scalp (choose your colourist wisely). You just need to make sure that the actual coloured hair has a little extra TLC alternating a moisturising and a protein mask.

  1. Let your products work – massage a good quality shampoo with active ingredients like Hyaluronic acid into your scalp and let it work on your skin for a good three minutes. Conditioners longer if you can.
  2. Give yourself scalp facials – ‘scalpcials’ as part of your beauty routine. Massaging your scalp, exfoliating it and moisturising it.

From the experts…

I decided to speak to the two ladies I trust with my hair at Josh Wood Aterlier – Kat and Mel. First up the lovely Katherine De Rozario (@Katcutsme) queen of the scissors, shares the seven secrets to going your hair long….

  1. The aim is to have long, HEALTHY hair, so invest in a good mask. The longer your hair, the longer its been there and the more it will need noroushing.
  2. I would recommend alternating between a protein based mask to rebuild the cuticle and a hydrating mask to feed it.
  3. Don’t go for months on end without cutting it. Find a stylist you trust and ask them to take the smallest amount off the ends to see it healthy – little and often every 10 weeks or so.
  4. Then address your internal and external routine…
  5. Buy a shampoo that will stimulate your scalp and gently massage and brush your scalp. This will help the circulation of blood flowing to your hair follicles.
  6. Look at your diet, eat well and invest in some supplements that will boost your internal system.
  7. On average hair grows just over 1cm every 6-8 weeks. Then its just a patience game!

 

Part 3 coming soon….

Ashley x

 

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Ever since I had Margot which is now not too far off two years (time goes too fast)… my hair hasn’t been the same. I had masses of of it when I was pregnant – as most women do, and then it fell out when I stopped breastfeeding. As it normally does. But I have been waiting patiently for it to grow back somewhere in the middle of the thick/thin hair I’ve been having… but it hasn’t.

So in my despair I have started to look into it a bit more and thats where this blog post was born.

What have I learnt so far…

Dr Khan – hair restoration consultant for the brand KERLUXE has a prestigious 25-year career in hair restoration surgery and is a firm believer that healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp. The more I have read up on it – the more I completely and totally agree.

Scalp skin should be viewed as a variant of normal skin, in that it has an epidermis and dermis, with a greater concentration of hair follicles. In order for the hair follicles to remain strong and keep producing healthy hair the scalp needs to be in optimum condition.

With this in mind – surely we should treat the skin on our scalps with just as much care as we treat the skin on our faces.

Kerluxe is one of the brands that hold this to be the most important factor in hair care – in fact they believe that just like a skincare routine, the secret to healthy beautiful hair lies in a 4-step, Cleanse, Hydrate, Treat and Protect ritual. Treating your scalp with the same high quality ingredients as the skin on your face.

Their range uses several active skincare ingredients, including Hyaluronic Acid, Marine Collagen, Peptides and Antioxidants – all things I already use on my face but never my scalp. I never would have been thought about using these ingredients on my scalps skin. But I am on a mission to get my hair back to how it was pre-babies starting with upping my hair-product game. Then I will also start taking more care of my hair… and with that in mind have a read of these 5 sins below. One in particular was a shocker for me and my hair-lifestyle….

 

5 ways you damage your hair which you might not know about

  1. Hair is most elastic when wet, making brushing post washing a no no. You overstretch your hair as you brush and it can snap. Instead brush it before you wash it and then if needed you a wide comb or fingers when applying conditioner.
  2. Sun exposure will dehydrate your hair. UV rays cause hair to lose protein which induces breakage. Cover your hair when you’re in the sun, reduce time in the sun, and use an SPF.
  3. Your brush choice is very important. Delicate and fine – use a natural boar bristled brush as they are super gentle and glide through locks without snagging. Dry hair will also benefit from this brush as the bristles distribute the oils from your scalp along the hair for much needed moisture. Cury hair – use a mixed bristle brush. The natural bristles will smooth the cuticles helping with frizz and the synthetic bristles will detangle. Thick straight or long hair – use a paddle brush. Afro hair – Denman Classic styling brushes are supposed to be ideal as the thick rubber base adds tension when brushing.
  4. Dry shampoo. Oh this one hit me hard I love my dry shampoo its a god-send. But apparently using it 2/3 days in a row means oil and dirt build up on the scalp with the dry shampoo blocking hair follicles which can lead to a reduction in hair growth and loss of hair. If you use it a lot you should also make sure you use a really good cleansing shampoo.
  5. When swimming – always enter the chlorine water with WET hair not dry hair. Hair that’s already wet wont absorb as much pool water as hair that’s bone dry.

 

How to grow your hair long – Part 2 coming soon with even more tips and tricks – including some of the best products from different brands on the market now.

 

 

Ashley

xx

 

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