Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Jane Davidson Pre AW14

I packed a lot into my Edinburgh trip this month and a highlight was the Jane Davidson fashion show. Recommended frequently as one of Vogue's best boutiques outside London, Jane Davidson is located on Thistle Street, off Hanover and George, right opposite Pam Jenkins (luxury footwear - think Louboutin and Choo). Jane Davidson is named after the very stylish founder, but is now run by Jane's daughter, the gorgeous Sarah Murray, who regularly holds fashion shows for press and her most loyal customers. I've been trying to get to one of the Jane Davidson shows for months (possibly years!) and finally, the timing was right - the morning show (she holds an evening show too) fell on a date that I was in Edinburgh. 

Sadly, I arrived at Jane Davidson in a bit of a sweaty mess thanks to the 25 degree heat (before 11 am, hello? It's Scotland!) amplified by my ghastly polyester lining. Sarah would have been so disappointed in me if she'd known what lay beneath my jersey dress. Ugh, polyester is just the worst. (Note to the high street: STOP USING POLYESTER). Anyway, I was offered champagne but opted for water to aid my cool-down situation, while the other guests enjoyed a glass of bubbles. We took our seats upstairs (the boutique is housed over two storeys decorated with chic white walls and plush cream carpets). I opened my programme and was delighted to see that Anna Freemantle was modelling (I heard on the grapevine that she keeps trying to retire from the runway... but no-one will let her! Quite right, she's far too striking not to model). The other models included Natasha, a very leggy girl with good shoulders and a beautiful smile, and Bethany, a relative new-comer to modelling but who, at just 16, most certainly has a bright future ahead of her. Sarah's casting was spot on and showed that her collections are ageless, and are for all types of women regardless of skin tone or proportion. 

We got started, the music ranging from Lily Allen to Iggy Azalea. First up was casual wear, with Anna rocking a pair of grey skinny jeans by SET with shades of oatmeal and a cool fur by Fabiana Filippi. With her Dutch features, blonde hair and sparkling eyes, she had me dreaming of wearing this outfit in a log cabin at Christmas time surrounded by friends and family, toasting marshmallows on an open fire after a roast dinner. We'd be drinking a rich, red wine and listening to Nat King Cole, taking photos, making memories. (I know I'm a self-confessed daydreamer, but doesn't everyone feel inspired by fashion?) 

Anyway, the show continued with Natasha wearing the Diane von Furstenberg Mel top in back, white and pearl - so chic for evening with simple black trousers and an up-do - while Bethany wore the Julianne dress, a classic LBD. A couple of looks later and Bethany's outfit caught my eye; a boucle knitted jacket with leather shoulder detail teamed with a soft leather skirt, both black, both by SET, both classic and on-trend all at once. The next classic-meets-trendy look that I loved was worn by Bethany again, this time a knitted top by Theory Harmona. The top was short in length but, worn with a knitted skirt that sat high on the waist, remained elegant; the entire look was ladylike but totally rocked the current trend for crop tops, without an ounce of flesh on display. The knitted, no skin affair meant that the outfit works now with bare legs, but will also work in autumn when temperatures drop and Ibiza is but a distant memory. Wear with super tight drainpipe, over-the-knee leather boots. Very chic under a longer length skirt. 

 Bethany wears SET boucle knitted jacket (£249), SET leather skirt (£225)

Look seven brought some more jeans (this time Kate Moss' denim of choice, J Brand) on all three models, with a timeless white shirt (menswear), knits and cashmere sweaters by Pringle. Come looks ten, eleven and twelve we delved into evening wear, with Roland Mouret, Preen and Temperley dresses (the go-to designers for a great dress), some Matthew Williamson in the form of the most serenely divine navy blazer with satin collar, navy silk shirt and matching trouser, as well as an embroidered floral jumpsuit and a satin pleat dress and racoon scarf, matching in the most fabulous shade of raspberry. Throw on some oversize shades and heels from Pam Jenkins and my goodness, you're F-ROW ready for New York Fashion Week. Or just for Sunday lunch on the Forth Floor.

 Anna wears Pringle of Scotland white menswear shirt (£150), Pringle of Scotland grey merino menswear sweater (£135), J Brand photoready rail jean in Nightbird (£219)

 Bethany wears Matthew Williamson satin pleat dress in raspberry (£755), Matthew Williamson racoon scarf in raspberry (£795) 

The special thing about Jane Davidson is that Sarah obviously knows her customer base very well indeed. She knows what women need (practical clothes for every day - hence the quality jeans, neutral knits and furs, and great jackets) and what women want (beautifully made dresses for every occasion) and she buys accordingly. 

 Natasha wears Roksanda Ilincic Harleton dress (£939)

 Anna wears Roksanda Ilincic Ellery dress (£969)

When it comes to styling, Sarah keeps her customer in mind but brings fashion to the mix with the simple addition of a statement necklace, cool sunglasses by Spektre or this season's must-haves (this summer, the slider). Sarah's choice of shorts, skirts and light tops for summer, teamed with heavier fabrics such as wool and fur, means that she's nailed pre-fall at Jane Davidson - and each piece works with multiple others. I wish I had the budget to shop there regularly because, in addition to the quality brands and the current season's top designers and trends, you receive Sarah's expertise and knowledge - and that's priceless. 

NB: Please forgive the particularly poor quality photos that don't do the clothes justice. I was very conscious of distracting the other guests, so took quick snaps with my iPhone for the least disruption.

Monday, 28 July 2014

We Heart Melle Cloche


I first discovered Melle Cloche during my time at the wedding magazine; the Glasgow boutique specialises in bridal accessories, for both brides and bridesmaids but - if you ask me - anyone can shop there. One of Vogue's 'must visit' boutiques in their bridal city guide, you’ll find everything from vintage-inspired shoes to decorative clutch bags and statement jewellery at Melle Cloche. 
The boutique is located in Glasgow’s West End on the Great Western Road (but you can also shop online) and inside you’ll find all the beautiful Melle Cloche accessories. I was lucky to be able to visit with my job, but it’s still a hot shopping destination for me because it's such a pretty boutique located in such a pretty spot. The West End of Glasgow is really quite trendy, with interesting cobbled streets dotted with retro cafes and outdoor seating, some brilliant charity shops and plenty of other fascinating boutiques. If you're in the area or looking for something special, you simply must pop in. And, if you are planning a wedding, you'll also find Jordana Events next door to Melle Cloche, so you can nail two birds with one stone.
Talking of two birds, Melle Cloche also stocks the Two Birds bridesmaid range and you can try them on downstairs in the spacious fitting room before heading back upstairs to choose your bridesmaids' accessories. Fancy a beaded head piece? No problem. Giant pearl earrings? Done.
When I exclaimed how much I loved a gorgeous, gorgeous necklace Melle Cloche posted on their Instagram page, the girls kindly sent it over for me to try out. It was packaged so beautifully, I almost couldn't bring myself to break it open! Of course, I managed to peel away the super cute sticker and unwrap the stylish black tissue paper to reveal a very chic, very Olivia Palermo necklace which I just can't wait to wear. I'll be styling it three ways to demonstrate just how fabulous - and versatile - Melle Cloche is. Stay tuned!

Find Melle Cloche on social media:

Twitter: MelleClocheUK
Instagram: Melle_Cloche
Facebook: MelleCloche

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Beauty Busters: Sleeping Beauty Edinburgh

Edinburgh is one of my favourite places, especially on bright sunny days - and it doesn't matter if that sunny day is a crisp, freezing cold day in December or a sweltering hot day in July. Edinburgh is great any time of year.

As you guys know, I was there the other week for the Grey Goose party. I stayed the night at the Nira Caledonia on Gloucester Place (near India Street and Heriot Row - super posh), so that I could make the most of my time there. More on the hotel later but, for now, I'll tell you about my visit to a beauty salon, that I managed to squeeze in before the catching the train home.

Located on William Street, Sleeping Beauty appears small from the street. The salon front is deceptive though; once you step inside you are met by a bright, airy space artfully filled with aromatherapy candles (made especially for the salon) and Elemis products, all tucked in little coves within the walls. Straight ahead is a waiting area (with bottles of water and individually wrapped choccies for the taking - always a luxurious touch) and reception. It's rather clever to have this at the at the back of the salon because it enhances the feeling of space. 

My therapist, Melanie gave me a health form to complete and offered me a water before explaining my treatment (the waiting area was empty) and showing me the selection of Shellac polishes that come standard with the deluxe pedicure I was booked in for. I chose Tropics, a pink-coral that pops so much it's verging on neon. Perfect for this hot sunny weather and my lightly tanned feet. 

Melanie took me downstairs to my treatment room where she soaked my feet and exfoliated them with salts. After a good buff over the horrid hard skin (so gross and yet Melanie rose to the challenge within a few tickly minutes) and I was popped up on to a plinth so that I could relax.

Melanie tidied my cuticles and filed and prepped my nails before applying the Shellac polish. Her technique was flawless, and two weeks later my nails are still as good as new. She applied the polish before the massage because of the oils (and the paraffin wax) which can affect the longevity of the Shellac. 

The deluxe pedi at Sleeping Beauty includes a paraffin wax, which I've never had before so I was a bit nervous. The paraffin wax is basically like hot candle wax - all over your feet! Melanie applied the wet wax by wrapping it around each foot, bandaging them up, mummy-like. I'm not going to lie: it was HOT. But, if you can suck it up, the wax is a brilliant way of soothing the feet and, afterwards, makes them really, really soft.

After she embalmed my feet, Melanie popped booties on each foot to retain the heat while she gave me a hand massage. She dimmed the lights and cut the friendly yet professional chat so that I could thoroughly relax. After five minutes she left the lights low and removed the booties, taking the wax with them. My feet felt almost reborn, soft as a baby's! (Well, almost: my stubborn hard skin - a hazard that comes with jogging - returned within a couple of runs, but until then my feet were super smooth). 

To finish the treatment, Melanie gave me a foot massage, almost sending me off to sleep. Once finished, she let me relax for a while with my water and when I was ready I went upstairs to find her packing up a lovely gift bag with some delightful treats to enjoy at home, including one of their signature candles in its very own little heart-shaped tin. 

Sadly, my taxi arrived (Melanie kindly called it for me) before I had the chance to properly thank Melanie for the lovely treatment. However, I can safely say that should I ever need a beauty treatment in Edinburgh I'd return to Sleeping Beauty in a heartbeat; it's a salon that is friendly and welcoming without being over-familiar, and professional without being cold and clinical. Sleeping Beauty puts the customer first, in every sense - from delivering top notch treatments to going the extra mile pre and post treatment. It's perfect for locals who need a good, reliable and reasonably priced salon to visit for regular treatments, but it's equally as good for a one off visit - its quirky location (a pretty area with kooky food places and interesting boutiques) means Sleeping Beauty fits easily into an "Edinburgh tourist's" schedule, as there lots to see in the area. It's the perfect end to everyone's day. 

The Deluxe Pedicure at Sleeping Beauty is £44 (£35.20 for members) and is for 60 minutes, although mine did take slightly longer. PS - it's worth every penny.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Top Dog

The Scottish terrier is the dog of the moment after stealing the show at the Commonwealth Games Opening Ceremony on Wednesday night. Remember, people, that a dog is for life, not just for a season - so if you fancy tapping into this trend, pop to Radley where you can purchase your very own Scottie dog without the lifelong commitment. Unless you're ready to commit - in which case, you simply must have both.
Radley is synonymous with the Scottie dog and the super cute (and super trendy) 
Heritage Dog range is now availbale to buy in store and online at

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

British Fashion Council: BFC Contemporary

The British Fashion Council continuously supports British design talent and today, in association with eBay, the BFC announced the launch of yet another exciting new initiative: BFC Contemporary, sponsored by eBay.
BFC Contemporary is basically a mentorship programme for fashion designers who need guidance and advice on the business aspect of their labels. It’s welcome news, considering many designers struggle to balance the creative side of designing with the business side. Unless they establish their label with a strategically-minded partner who can deal with the “paperwork” aspect of running a business (think PR, marketing, branding, budgets, online and offline growth and consumer experience), new fashion labels, sadly, can fail simply due to lack of planning. When working creatively it’s difficult for young designers to find the time to plan ahead, and yet it’s a pivotal part of setting up shop: with strategies and vision comes revenue - without it, a creative business relies purely on luck. It seems like an easy answer – simply hire a business manager - however, not many young designers have someone they can depend on, who understands their concept and their customer so well that they can trust with them with the future of their “baby”.
That’s where the British Fashion Council comes in. BFC Contemporary will fill that “business manager” gap by providing fashion designers with a programme that delivers mentorship and offers strategic commercial opportunities. In association with eBay, the BFC will work closely with selected designers to support and build their strategies, and these mentoring sessions will be tailored to the needs of each designer, including access to pro-bono expertise from industry specialists – fashion gold dust.
Caroline Rush, CEO British Fashion Council (and a really, really nice person) commented: “We are delighted to support and help accelerate the growth of these very viable fashion businesses. Each of the inaugural BFC Contemporary designers possess incredible creativity and strong brand concepts. With invaluable support from eBay, these designers mark a new wave in British contemporary design, the rise of which we aim to fuel with this new initiative.”
BFC Contemporary has been created in response to increasing demand for worldwide contemporary fashion and the initiative aims to support designers in their ready-to-wear and accessories collections in an attempt to deliver more contemporary British fashion. To promote the initiative, each designer will create a limited edition item to celebrate London Fashion Week this September, which will be sold on the first ever BFC Contemporary shop on
This year’s BFC Contemporary participants were selected for their creative excellence, commercial potential and originality. They are:
Alexis Barrell
Georgia Hardinge
Paper London
Zoe Jordan
Because 2014 is the inaugural year, the recipients of the BFC Contemporary were invited to apply by the British Fashion Council, so no one else was given the opportunity to apply. However, if you're a designer who is interested in receiving support from BFC Contemporary, the official applications will be open to all designers next year (2015).
Image, left to right: Anna Laub (PRISM), Alexis Barrell (Alexis Barrell), Caroline Rush (BFC), Melanie Smallwood (eBay), Philippa Thackeray (PAPER London), Lea Carreno (PAPER London), Georgia Hardinge (Georgia Hardinge)