This is another one of those posts where there is absolutely no point to it whatsoever, other than to tell you about a babe'in coat I picked up from Bicester - i.e my new number 1 bae for life - and say a little goodbye before I head off to Dubai.

Yep, that's right, I head off to Dubai today - and as I was writing this 2 days ago I had no idea what airport I'm going from or time of flight, yay for press trips that make anxious annie bloggers even more on edge [insert cry laughter/"no but seriously, all the nervy vibes" emoji here]. But either way, I'm excited. Like, yes I am so nervous I could quite possibly vom all over a group of people I've never met before when I get to the airport, but somewhere hiding beneath the nerves is a huge amount of excitement, and anticipation, and exhilaration at the fact that over the next 7 days, I am going to be doing things that I never ever dreamed of (hot air ballooning and sleeping in a dessert I'm looking at you), I'm going to be so damn far out of my comfort zone, and I'm going to do it all a very long way from home. 

And even though I'm all nervy and anxious and can we just get on the plane now please and thank you, it's these kind of experiences that tend to be the life changing ones. It these kind of experiences that help show you who you really are.

Lol, like, so much effing lol at getting all Oprah Winfrey on you. Let's talk teddy bear coats to put me back in my box.

 Coat - Maje (out of stock but similar here) / Trousers - Dorothy Perkins (old but similar here) / Trainers - Converse / Bag - Jacques Vert

So this coat then. Basically, I was invited on the loveliest press event ever by the babes at Bicester to celebrate Wool Week - you can check out their wool collection pop up until Jan 2017 fyi - and to have a little browse around the shops. You see, Bicester is my kinda place. It's high end, it's luxurious, but it's at a discounted price [insert hallelujah emoji here] and I love that, I love that it makes designer labels more accessible for those of us who didn't marry millionaires or have rich af parents can't justify spending outrageous amounts on designer clothing.

So here's how the story goes. I walked around the shops with Carly, Reem and Carrie, I saw lots of things I liked, but nothing I absolutely loved.

Until I went into Maje.

And saw this coat.

The rest is history.

But seriously, I'm not sure I've ever fallen in love with an item of clothing so much and so quickly. As soon as I tried it on I just had to have this teddy bear style, beautifully soft, warm and cosy babe, and I've not regretted it ever since picking it up. I really am an out and out Primark girl but this coat taught me that designer investment pieces can totally make your wardrobe.
The other "love you bae" piece in this post is this gorgeous Elie Beaumont Oxford large watch which has quickly slotted in to my wardrobe as an everyday piece. There's just something so classic about the black leather strap and rose gold face that it really does just go with every outfit. It's also a lot more affordable than other very similar styles so I cannot recommend this brand - they have so many other stunning colours - and watch, enough.
Finishing off the look with a bag that I just refuse not to use now. It's from Jacques Vert and it's kinda like the Chloe Drew's older, more sophisticated sister. Beautifully well made and the perfect size for all of my blogging essentials. Cant. Do. Without. 
And basically that's it, right now I'm having a major breakdown minor panic because I'm packing, planning content with deadlines and generally having the travel with stranger stress. Life is stressful though right now. Like, the most stressful it's ever been. But it's oh so good right now and I cannot wait to discover more of Dubai, a place I completely lost my heart to two years ago!

Anyway, I'd love to know if you've been to Bicester lately and picked up any bargains? Do you have any winter sun trips coming up? I always love hearing your thoughts!

As always, thanks so much for reading!



I've been thinking about writing this post for a while, but over the course of the last couple of months, the purpose of the post has changed approximately 4973435 times (you know, not that I like to exaggerate at all). But it has. It was going to be a "omg I've just been to the best salon ever and you baes kinda all need to go there" to subsequently realising how important good hair and finding the perfect salon for you is and wanting to include all of the jazz in it too.

So what we have here is a bit of both. I'm going to be talking to you about the importance of finding a hair colour/style that you're over the moon with - and not in a vain, "look at how sassy and fierce af I am" way, but in a confidence boosting way instead - as well as talking to you about the complete and utter babes that helped me achieve said dream hair.

P.S a little note that all of these pictures are from the day of having my do did or the day after to show you the exact colour (and also because gal pal procrastinated so long over the angle of this post that I'm now rooty Rita).
Why finding the perfect salon and the perfect cut/colour is so important

If you're as attached to your hair as I am (in the non literal sense), then getting your hair done by somebody new is a slightly terrifying experience. They don't know you, they don't know your hair, your hair history... so finding a salon with incredible colourists and stylists is so, so important. I have 100% found mine in the babes at STIL - more on them later - and I completely trust them to do whatever I like because they just get it.

My hair is my security blanket. When I was much younger and a much uglier duckling (no seriously, I made Shrek look like Gigi Hadid), I had so little confidence in how I looked but what I did have was very long and golden locks and they immediately made me feel that little bit more confident, that little bit sassier... so keeping it in check and making sure I have the right cut and colour to suit me is always at the top of my "sort your life out" list.

Your hair has the ability to completely change your mood, when I'm having a good hair day I'm all #girlboss move over world, but when my hair looks like a dog's dinner (i.e 99.9% of the time because I'm lazy af) I immediately feel less put together and ready for the day. 

Coco Chanel once said "A girl who cuts her hair is about to change her life". I mean... I'm not sure I totally agree with that but who can argue with Coco [insert cry laughter emoji here]. In all seriousness, there's a reason why so many people have a drastic change after a break up and I think it's because hair has the ability to give you a "new you" as such. It allows you to become someone else, express yourself in a new way and for that reason, even though I am as risky as a nun and forever keep the same look, I really do think that you're hair is so important! 

So let's talk about STIL. I first found out about this salon a few months back, they were touted as the place to go for blondes/the perfect colour in general and as I hadn't been happy with my colour in a long time - "why you giving me so much warm shades that turn ginger?" - I couldn't wait to see what they had to say.

So STIL are the dreamiest dream boat of a salon nestled in the heart of Notting hill. The salon itself it pretty much designed right out of Pinterest; think minimalistic, think white and airy, think plants scattered around... I basically want them to design my home (please and thanks?) So it's an incredibly tranquil, relaxing place just to be in before you even get started with the hair.

Christel, founder and creative director of Stil (and all round mega mega babe) sat me down for a consultation. We spoke in depth about what I wanted, what I didn't like (and also so much other random shiz because yay for colourists that are so lovely and easy to talk to!) She then took out some colour charts and assessed my skin tone and eye colour and then went on to find the perfect blonde for me. I have never seen or heard of this done in a salon before and I think that's where Stil really excel themselves, they just know hair.

This is probably a good point to mention that sensitive sally over here actually had an allergic reaction to the dye whilst patch testing so Christel managed to find a way of lightening the hair without using the colour like the total genius she is. Anyway, fangirling aside, I had my colour done, we went for a lighter, brighter, more ashier blonde and to date, it is by far the best colour I have ever had. Months on, I am still absolutely over the moon with it and continue to tell every damn girl I know to go to Stil for a pretty blimmin awesome colour.

The cut. Now, I'm quite basic with my cut, I like it a particular length with soft layers - lol, I really have no idea what I'm talking about so end up saying "do what you want but please keep the length" - and was very happy to let Alex, STIL's style expert, go with what he thought would work best. You know when you're having a chat and don't pay much attention to the cutting and blow drying and an hour late holy crap, how have you made my hair look 10,000x better than it ever did? Yeah, that's kinda what happened. I'm pretty sure Alex gave me a trim and layers that suited my slightly funny shaped head a little better but that slight change made such a difference to the overall effect. Basically, I skipped out of that salon feeling like a much better, sassier version of myself and I think when you do that, you know you've found the right salon for you.
So that brings me to the end of this post. I know it's been a little bit of an organised chaotic mess but the more I thought about it, the more I realised I relied on my hair. I relied on it looking good - or you know, as good as it gets for me - and I relied on it being me. I also just fell in love with STIL, lols in case you couldn't tell by my mildly embarrassing fangirl, and honestly couldn't recommend it enough. For a colour that is measured by skin tone and eye colour to specifically suit you alone, for a team that are so incredibly lovely (and talented) and make you feel extremely comfortable from the get go... this is the place for you.

I would love to know how important hair is for you? Have you found your perfect hair salon? I always love hearing your thoughts :)

As always, thanks so much for reading!



Some of you may hate me right now and some of you may love me for bringing up the Big C. But here's the thing... yes it's only October and yes I'd much rather enjoy Starbucks pumpkin spice lattes and all orange everything for a little bit longer but retailers, brand advertising, bloggers, press and apparently Oxford Street lights are all getting up in Christmases grill* so I thought rather than pretend it's not happening at all, I'd give you a few little things to help you get into the Christmas spirit if you, like me, have been beaten into submission of making Christmas happen in October.

*BRB while I jump off of a cliff as that's the only thing that'll make me feel better about saying "grill". [insert eye roll/cringe emoji here].

Yes I'm basic bitching my way through life but oh my god christmas pyjamas and just pyjamas in general are life. I'm a major granny, I don't go out clubbing and I love my home comforts, so pyjamas are pretty damn important to me and if you're going to be spending 90% of your life in them - oh the joys of working from home - better that they're babe'in af than bridget jones-esque. Right? My first "boo, I love you more than life" pair of PJ's that pretty much haven't left my winter (i.e insulated, i.e tubby) bod is this rather babe'in pair of Debenhams beauts. The Lounge & Sleep Grey sparkle checked pyjama set are a gorgeous grey tartan with the prettiest silver sparkle running through it. I love these because they don't scream Christmas and are definitely wearable all year round but the sparkle gives it a sassy little somethin somethin, ya know? But seriously, nothing makes me feel more festive than getting into cosy pyjamas with a cosy pair of slippers or cosy socks.

Basically being cosy af!

*Insert Honey G's horrendous voice* "I say Basic, you say bitch. Basic..." "Bitch" "Basic" "Bitch". Yes I know it makes me slightly cliche but come on, you only have to follow my Instagram to see that candles are pretty much my life (#sorrynotsorry) and nothing says "Where's my pigs in blankets and stuffing?" like a brand new Christmas candle. I have to say, I'm not the biggest fan of cinnamon scented things, like... yes it reminds me of Christmas so I can put up with it but I'd much rather an orange/mandarin or pine and eucalyptus - if you haven't tried Jo Malone's, omg it's divine, I bought it for my Mum one year and it was the best present I ever got me her - One scent however, which I definitely love and use the perfume version of all year round but especially as mulled wine season rolls through, is pomegranate noir [insert hands up/heart eye'd emojis here]. There is something about the fruity sweetness paired with the most sensual, musky, woody, sexiness - lol for being so shit at describing scents - that makes this the most perfect Christmas candle ever.

Although, I did get a sneak peek of Jo's - yes we're on first name terms - Orange bitters candle and oh jesus, it wins in life more than Meredith Grey over Addison Montgomery.

Soz, I forget that not everybody is a raving Grey's Anatomy saddo like I am!

I do also have to mention one more candle which whilst it isn't completely Christmassy per se, it is absolutely stunning - and the colours are all brown and warm and autumnal and omg I blimmin love this time of year. Said candle is Lola James Harper The Bomboneria and if you haven't heard of the brand, you absolutely have to check them out (in short they're an amazing company that base all of their scents around certain memories.) The Bomboneria, with notes of Amber and incense i.e a musky, sexy, sweet dreamboat of a scent was created in memory of the time that the creators of the company went to Barcelona and used to visit the same cafe at 4pm every day for a tea break, and this scent reminds them exactly of that time. I bloody love a brand with a great story, that appreciates a bit of nostalgia as much as I do and Lola James Harper does this in abundance!

I can't think of Christmas calendars without the classic dairy milk coming to mind but I think these two actually top that - don't judge me, chocolate is my life OK? - I've seen a fair few calendars hanging around but for variety and the sheer quality of products The Body Shop and Clarins' versions are my favourite. The Body shop decided to go hard rather than home with their option with one of the biggest I've seen on the market. Obviously I've only opened the first day because any more would send me to the Christmas naughty step but it looks like each day gives a pretty damn good sized product with a great variety, I'm sure. The Body Shop calendar available here.

The Clarins christmas calendar excites me to a slightly embarrassing degree. You see, I'm a big Clarins fan. From the dreamiest new makeup launches to their skincare which always, always hits the spot... I'm not sure I've ever come across a product I don't like which means this calendar is just a tiny bit of a dreamboat. I can't lie, I may have opened one or two doors in the hopes of getting some of my fave skincare items to take with me to Dubai next week #sorrynotsorryclarinsoveranything.

Christmas Films that aren't really Christmas films
Don't get me wrong, I am not your gal pal that whacks on Elf in July but gimme a hot chocolate, blankets, a duvet, snacks and whack on some Home Alone/Harry Potter/The Holiday/[insert your own choice of Christmassy but not really a christmas film here] and you're good to go. I'm talking as if Harry Potter isn't already a weekly occurrence. Lol #number1fangirlforlife

Hot chocolate, marshmallows whipped cream
I mean, I don't really need to say much more do I? Make yourself a hot chocolate, use as much whipped cream as your mug can take and drizzle over marshmallows until they're falling off of your cup and you're good to go. Preferably do it with a good Lush bath with all the pamper products too. Yaaaas!

Lush bath
I've already mentioned a lush bath with a good ole pamper but let's be honest, it deserves a whole little section to itself doesn't it? Yes, yes it does. I am currently in a sparkly pumpkin/halloween/autumnal dream state and I'm totally happy to stay there for a while but I do have to give a big fat yes, yes, yes to Lush's Christmas ranges because they are always heart eye emoji worthy x10. This one however is Lush Autumn leaf and it smells as dreamboat-like as it looks.

Red lipstick season 
Here's why I love that Christmas season is Red lip season. I can not pull of red lips. I have huge "move over Jay Z" lips that stand out no matter what colour I wear so it's only been recently that I've learnt to embrace the bold, but when I do go bold it's usually a bright pink, dark nude or raspberry red. Never a straight up pillow box red because I feel as comfortable as a nun in a brothel in those. However, festive season is kinda just "wear whatever you want" season so sometimes the straight up reds come out to play, sometimes the glitter comes out to play, basically anything goes. Thank the lord for festive season. 

A recent discovery of mine and new favourite bold is the Laura Mercier Iconic leading lady lip kit which is an incredible duo of the Velour lovers lip colour and the lip glace. I have the shade Vivien which really is the most stunning brick red with a very very slight pink undertone, an ultimate classic that I really do think would work for everyone. The formulation of the lipstick is absolutely beautiful, a velvety smooth, moisturising but long lasting formula that completely nails the semi matte/velvet finish. Topped off with the lip glace - which I've been a fan of for a long time - and you really do have yourself the perfect festive lip. Huzzah!

You may have guessed by now but scent is just a little bit important to me. Whether it's a candle filling my entire house or a perfume soaking me in the most babein fragrances, it's just something that always evokes a certain feeling, a certain moment. And that's where the following babes comes in. Now, absolutely none of these are remotely Christmassy but, they are ridiculously fresh and fruit and basically just remind me those crisp, crunchy mornings in the winter sun. Oh and also they're just my favourites right now so why not whack them in.

First up we have Michael Kors Wonderlust and oh sweet hubba hubba this one is special. With notes of pink peppercorn, almond milk, cashmeran wood, sandalwood, benzoin siam (nope, never heard of it either) and all kinds of dreamy things, it really is the most beautiful deep, romantic exotic scent that I can't stop fangirling over. Then we have the Tommy Hilfiger The girl (fronted by babein Gigi Hadid) which is just as babein as Gigi is. This is the freshest fragrance I have smelt in the longest time and I seriously can't get enough of it, with green pear, violet leaf, green fig leaves, cedar wood and jasmine it really is the most perfect everyday autumn/winter scent. Finally we have DKNY Be Delicious and this is potentially the most nostalgic perfume I own (aka perfect for Christmas, who doesn't love a bit of nostalgia). I remember first getting this when I was 14 and I still love that fruity, appley (literally lol'ing at the shockingly bad description there), citrusy sweet scent.

Whack on dem tunes!!
I'm talking Mariah Carey, I'm talking Michael Buble, I'm talking Chris Rea. Man I love whacking on the tunes and screeching from the top of my voice as if I can sing when I really can't! Preferably with a mulled wine in hand and a hairbrush to sing into to obviously make you extra sassy. Lol. Fml!
The little things
Starbucks Red Cups. I don't think I need to say any more do I? #basicbitchforlife. Red/Glitter nails. Cinnamon absolutely everything. Fairy lights everywhere. Christmas jumpers (totally OK to whack out in October). Turkey Dinners. Mulled Wine. Normal wine. Cheese. Quality street.

You get the gist...

So that brings my Christmassy post to an end. For those thinking it's too soon move over Scrooge I apologise, for the Christmas fangirls, you're welcome ;)

I'd love to know what gets you in the mood for Christmas? Is it really too soon or can we start pulling out Elf now what it feels -024984 degrees in the UK? I always love reading your comments!

As always, thanks so much for reading!


© the Elle next door

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