So last week I went on a glorious road trip around the whole of Wales and it was beautiful! Lots of stumbling across endless moors and rolling hills sandwiched between towering cliffs. Rocking up in small seaside towns where you could leave your car open, and everyone you walked past gave you a hello which often lead to a full blown ten minute conversation- or perhaps that's just me encouraging that!
There is something about the sunshine that really lifts us British folk, even when it is still as chilly in the air as January, we like to get our shorts out! Always the same, every time the weather gets nice...cider in the early afternoon, men forgetting their tops, less frowns, more relaxing air.
Driving from the South, after the motorways where I hit stunning countryside lanes and countless radio station swaps, singing at the top of my lungs and thinking deeply about life and general plans for the next few months, I have had time to sit back now at a cosy little Inn and fill you in on some gossip for your style and just some fun B-things too.
I have to tell you about this one spot I found, even though I want to keep it a secret! Portmerion. And a secret spot it really is. Driving and getting lost can sometimes be the most terrifying panicky experience but this getting lost turned out to be the most relaxing, inspirational and exciting thing. It was a warming treat after sitting for hours. I took a wrong turn and following signs which I thought were just to the next town, I found myself at the edge of a vast and intoxicating mini Disney World- without the rides and screaming over-excited kids and our favourite characters waving back! Asking the security guard at the gates, gold metal with mermaids crafted at the sides, she let me in. I wandered in this maze of secret gardens and quiet pathways littered with blossom trees and spring flowers. This palace of small joining castles sat on the side of a vast estuary, the staff calling it a folly.
It opened in 1926 by Clough Williams-Ellis. It was his idea of creating a village of peacefulness and tranquillity, a sheltered outlook over the sea with its airy position. He made every building a curve so that it was light and enveloping, a discovery of beauty on every turn. And oh my goodness. On such a peaceful sunny day, just looking out at the view made my breathing new in a way. As if the great calmness of the place was brought into you and had taken my worries or any subconscious things in my head away into the ocean ahead. Each part of every building has something re-used in its construction. From old boat masts to the mermaids at the gates, the recycled stories are endless. "Enjoyed by a celebrated clientele such as George Bernard Shaw, Noel Coward and Sir Kenneth Clark." This is such a little gem but I fear may be forgot. Somewhere where I shall definitely be visiting again and staying for longer. There's a beautiful hotel and spa with little crafty shops scattered about in caves and behind secret archways and rickety doors. Such a glorious treat.
And so I carried on......waving reluctantly goodbye to my palace of dreams. I would have loved to stay there that night however.....
I had already picked a quirky little pub with rooms situated in the middle of flipping nowhere and on a night that was just a white misty sea of deep duvet like fog! I left an afternoon of bliss, driving on curvy one car lanes and glorious fields draped in warm fresh sunshine with one farm miles from the next surrounded by little white lambs into that eeriness! 'Take me back to my palace,' I moaned!
When I first parked up I was slightly scared I was going to be the only one there and possibly attacked by a roaming sheep but these paranoid sillies were promptly quashed when I was met by a lovely lady with a mug of tea. Guided to my modest yet modern and clean bright room I closed the door to be greeted with a lovely jacuzzi bath. Thank you trip advisor!
Right enough of that, wouldn't want you to get jealous now.......
Onto my tips to the top this month.......
Layer it Luxe
Following on from last time's 'power at the office' and 'leaning in' fashion - the three piece suit, no longer reserved for wedding dates or school proms, has been transformed from masculine to ladylike. With a waistcoat not in sight, the high waisted pencil skirt has been its replacement. If you want my favourite look right now and take it to the office, layer a skirt over your trousers. I am obsessed with my floaty long jumpers and long flowy vests and tunics over either my trusted tight-at-the-ankle-but-still-baggy tracky bums or tight cropped jeans. I team a thin soft knit or ribbed effect jumper over that which only comes to just below your bust line and voila, you have a layered luxe look, lush!
For us ladies who might not want the tightness on our waists, this is a perfect style as you still create a wonderful figure without pulling everything in, squidge! The over sized dress, skirt or tunic will flow swimmingly at the knee, leaving your middle free and comfortable whilst the short jumper will pull you in under the breast line creating an inward illusion. The shortness of the jumper will also hang just straight from your cleavage making it appear that you have bigger boobies! Win win! Dress the look down with trackies or your trusted leggings or boyfriend jeans and flip flops or ballet pumps, even your cutesy converse trainers or glam up and go out by simply swapping out the under trouser with a tight jean, leather look cropped pant or even go crazy and 'get those pins out' that we talked about! Finish the relaxed yet elegant look off into the night fun with your trusted stilettos. Done and done.
Fresh- Fab Fringe Appeal
Fringing is having a love affair with fashion right now. From Junya to Gucci and all the way to the high street, jewellery with loads of strings, threads, chains all pieced together is making it one of the trendiest and riskiest looks, let alone a bit annoying and dangerous at times. I borrowed my sisters necklace, tie dyed white to blue to black v shaped thread fringe necklace and note to soup eaters....tuck into your top before you slurp! Also any washing hands or looking closely in the mirror over the basin with drips....wet jewellery, not cool.
Really? Rucksack Revenge!
And now for something I personally can't and won't get my head around...well for you London commuters and bike riders, and school children or young students, I shall make the exception, however the rucksack is back! And seems to be increasing in popularity. I am a girls' girl and I will always have my trusted leather handbags as my carrier and on my bent arm or dangled across my back but to sit on both shoulders? Hell no! Comfy yes, practical sure, I ain't arguing but for fashion. Please!!!!
Keep it for camping, hiking, outside 'trying to do what your boyfriend wants as a fun excursion' activity but not for the high street or going out! Gone is it being the mainstay of the gum chewing gabbling teens waiting for...quite frankly 'life to stop being so eeeeurrrg' and the school bus, it's a big thing right now. (Grrrr!) Will you be getting your sporty, smarter, dare I say it, even chic reinterpretation of the rucksack any time soon? Check out some 'merely acceptable ones' at Whistles, Jerome Dreyfuss and Aldo.
Something For The Shoe
For high we have a mule with a practical strap in season. Team with ankle socks and be outrageously cool this Spring.
For low, the sling back is back with a micro-heel perfect for the runaround mum or busy office hopper and sales rep. Team with cropped slim trousers, ankle flashing jeans or puff skater skirts.
Medium is our Spring staple seeing block heels with a cute thin ankle strap and peep toe. Wear with your floaty dresses, skirts and rolled up trousers for a relaxed, effortlessly yet comfy and cool look.
And shop of the week to pop in to...
Wallis. I thought I would never say that but their limited edition accessory range out now is delightful for this season. Bold, electric shades mixed with softer pastel pops of colour are a hit with their satchel style and over sized shopper bags and ankle middy heels with bold buckles and animal print designs. Hot and sassy meets safe and sophisticated but with an on trend and 'be looked at' edge.
So my beauties, until next time enjoy the lovely weather, get to the beach and try find some love rocks....I found this set in the concrete and these other ones on my wave watching and sand beneath my feet strolling.
London Frock Exchange