Every now and then a brand pops on your radar you haven’t considered for sometime and you’re actually pretty darn impressed…

I popped into Matalan and picked up a few new pieces for Autumn. A basic tee, a soft black beret, a gorgeous deep green floaty mac, cute little black pinafore dress, scallop edge flats and a stunning black handbag with scarves wrapped around the handles. Its making me want to wrap scarves around all of my handbags handles!

I also picked up a few pieces for Margot and Vivienne. The prices made it very easy to give them a full wardrobe (that I still love them wearing) for the new season. Classics like little Breton tops, black jeggings, cardigans and denim dresses.

But I honestly saw so much I wanted to take home. I’ve put together a little edit below… have a feeling you might be pretty impressed too.

The Shoes

The Bags

 

The Dresses

 

The Coats

 

Thank you so much for reading…

Ashley xx

 

This post was written in collaboration with Matalan. All images and opinions are my own. 

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Summer keeps teasing us, we think its left for good then it rears its warm little head for a glorious few days then back comes the rain. I wore just a shirt yesterday and was left shivering all day desperate for a cardigan or little jacket. But don’t despair, I have a few styling tricks that will mean you’re never left too warm or too cold – and you can still wear those gorgeous Summer pieces you bought last month. It’s time to make your wardrobe work harder for you again.

Tip 1.

Simple but oh so true – layer your clothes. That Summer dress will still work come Autumn, just add a long sleeve tshirt underneath and throw on ankle boots and a leather jacket.


The long sleeve tee

The leather jacket

Tip 2.

Buy a polo neck. Make it a lightweight knit style that you can wear as a vest under your other clothes. It looks super chic and is a really simple way to update a floral dress, summer shirt, or little cami top. Or go serious chunky and wear with jeans and delicate shoes.

Tip 3.

Rollies – and I am not talking smoking. Roll up your shirt sleeves, jumpers, ankles on your trousers and jeans. A quick and easy way to feel cooler and actually look cooler too.

Tip 4.

Go Max or go home. The Maxi skirt and dress, even one you normally ‘save for best’ look effortless styled with a denim jacket, leather biker, over-sized blazer or a chunky cardigan.

Tip 5.

Hats are your best friend. No really – forget about doing your hair on the school-run just grab a hat. And it’ll give you that added bit of warmth you need too – just to mention the practical. Baker boy, boater, fedora… what ever floats your boat. Just wear with confidence and the more you wear one the more comfortable you’ll feel.

Tip 6.

Don’t forget your sunnies. Just because its no longer Summer it doesn’t mean you should pack away the sunnies. For one you should always protect those peepers – and two – they look good so why not. Just never inside.

Tip 7.

Leopard print. Just because you have to wear a coat now it doesn’t mean it has to be black… a bright leopard print coat is a classic and there are so many good options on the hughstreet right now.

Tip 8.

Go fishing – I am talking little fishnet socks that I wore last AW and will most definitely be wearing this season too. They look great with the little kitten heels pointy designs around courtesy of Dior – and with loafers – courtesy of Gucci.

 

Tip 9.

Giant Scarf – I’ll often use the same scarf I use in the Summer as a sarong or cover-up as my Winter scarf wrapped round my neck in huge layers. When you get too hot just take it off and wear it as a loose kimono – see below pics.

Tip 10.

More a note to say you do not have to put away your straw bags. Just maybe use another bag within in case of rain, a chic little drawstring one would work perfectly for easy cover-up when the heavens open.

 

Above all, transitional dressing is about mixing what you already have – and filling the gaps where needed. Less trend led – more basic led. So if you’re wardrobe is stocked with the basics as you would your kitchen you’ll always have pieces to fill in the seasons. That’s why I always recommend either spending big on the basics – classic leather handbag/leather boots – or going cheap and buying the same piece twice or three times even, when they fit perfectly – the classic white t-shirt for example.

 

Thank you for reading… hope its helped ease you into Winter…

Ashley xx

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When I left University my first job in London was with a British High Street retailer. I remember walking into their head office in awe and seeing all the new season samples hung on rails in the showroom I got butterflies at the thought of working there. I got the job and worked in that office for a good few years. It was the best job and taught me so much about about the fashion industry, the incredible teams they have and the designers they work with. And that retailer is Debenhams.

Back then I loved what Debenhams stood for, the excitement of shopping, the variety, the trends and the classics not forgetting the designers at affordable prices. When I started working with them on their AW campaign I was so surprised by the experience you get shopping in store. They’ve opened new ‘concept’ stores that bring together fashion and beauty brands, restaurants like Nando’s and Patisserie Valerie intermixed with beauty services, prosecco bars, yoga classes, brow grooming and blow dry bars.

Its a social activity – far more than my usual sitting on my sofa on an app shopping thats for sure! Shopping should be a guilty pleasure, something to enjoy with friends, make a day of, have a mani, long lunch and a splurge then head home to excitedly try it all on again.

The collection this season is just as exciting. I have pulled together an edit of some of my favourite pieces below. That Nine by Savannah Miller ‘coatigan’ is heaven… and I have the J by Jasper Conran boots in brown but think I need the red to pair with blue jeans. Not to mention those camel boots! Oh… and that leopard coat… you will want it! Definitely time to ‘Do a bit of Debenhams’.

Enjoy….

The Statement Coat

The Flirty Skirt

The Wow Dress

The Perfect Boot

The Little Red Bag

Thank you so much for reading,

Ashley x

 

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

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When it comes to makeup as I’ve said many a time I am definitely more spit and polish than polished. I will never be that perfectly turned out woman with immaculate makeup and glossy mane of hair. Ultimately I am far too lazy to try. Not my best trait and not something I can even blame on motherhood. In fact since having the girls my few swipes of the face with a Simple face wipe every evening has evolved into a full on cleanse and bathroom cabinet full to the brim with creams and serums. But makeup wise I am the same – if I even wear any. In mum mode its cleanse, vitamin c, Hyaluronic acid, moisturiser and spf50. When I am working I use a foundation, concealer, blush, eyebrow mascara, mascara and a lip tint. Liner or shadows are for evenings and for lipstick – it has to be a really special occasion.

So when I was given the chance to sit down alone with the incredible international makeup artist and Max Factor ambassador Caroline Barnes I jumped at the chance. Caroline is responsible for many a stunning red carpet moment – she’s worked countless campaigns and her A-lister clientele is really rather impressive.

So armed with your questions you kindly sent me on my Instagram stories I managed to gather some seriously good insider tips…

A Mothers Edit X Caroline Barnes

 

How can I help my tired puffy eyes?

Firstly always massage around your eyes before starting your makeup routine. Puffiness is due to a lack of circulation so using your ring finger for the right amount of pressure push towards your tear duct and out. I grate cucumber to make my own cucumber ice cubes. Pop one in a soft muslin (not a flannel) and dab it around your eyes. The cold tightens everything up.

 

Whats the best way to moisturise before makeup?

You need Hyaluronic acid – this pulls all the moisture from the environment into your skin. Then a moisturiser on top. The Ordinary do a great budget Hyaluronic acid for about £6, other favourites are by Skin Ceuticals and Niod.

 

How can I cover my eye bags and dark circles?

After prepping the area with massage and moisture you can use a concealer under your eyes but make sure its a light reflective one. If you have very dark circles you can use an opaque one but only right in the corner. The Max Factor master touch light reflective concealer is amazing. I also love the Clinique air brush concealer.

And if you are really suffering with big eye bags – makeup your eyes – make them the focus of your face. Its the art of distraction. Kohl is your best friend.

How can I make my lips look their best?

Accentuate your cupids bow. Use a highlighter like the solid miracle glow duo which is very easy to control. Then add a Rimmel Matt lipstick all over to create a lip shape. Once that’s dry use a nice balm.

 

I don’t want to use foundation everyday but need a bit of makeup help whats the best thing to use?

Use a matt primer and blotting paper, the Body Shop ones are great. Then just dab a concealer where needed, any blemishes, age spots, pimples.

 

I need a quick makeup routine what would you recommend?

Use a stick foundation. Draw a camouflage style streak down the centre of your face and then blend in with a brush where needed. Comb your brows, add a slick of mascara and finish with a punch of colour on your lips.

 

And when I asked Caroline what she would do differently with my own makeup she told me not to wear so much. To just use foundation in the middle of my face. And since then… I am a middle of the face kinda gal. Just to say you do need to make sure you’re colour matched perfectly using this technique or you’ll look a little stripy.

 

With thanks to Caroline and Max Factor – who allowed me the time for questions to celebrate the launch of their new foundation (which I am using, love and have not been asked or paid to write about). It’s linked below and its the perfect amount of glow with longevity. It makes me look more awake and where I need more coverage you can build it up by adding more product.

Max factor Radiant Lift Foundation

 

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Anyone that’s been reading my posts over the past few years will know how much I love Avon, their ethos, their makeup, the incredible skincare and now their Coveted Collection. At the start of the year I got to be a part of an incredible shoot with Hattie Bourn and Natalie Lee (Style Me Sunday), it was the most amazing pinch me day, so nervous but so excited. I’d never worked with a full team like that – hair makeup, photographer, videographer, stylists, production, art directors and the most beautiful location house. Well a couple of months ago I got to do it all again, same team – different location and some seriously gorgeous clothes I cannot wait to share with you!

In the meantime they have just dropped the latest addition to the Coveted Collection, I wanted to share my favourite pieces that you can buy now. Think beautiful and interesting details that will make you stand out but all very affordable. So without further ado my hero pieces…

 

The Coveted Elethia Dress £25

The Coveted Katherina Ballet Slingbacks £14

 

 

The Coveted Elethia Pleated Sleeve Top £16

 

Shop the whole collection with the link here – avon.uk.com

 

Thank you so much for reading…

Ax

 

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

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