We Need to Talk About Frills

In any given sartorial scenario, even the very mention of the word ‘frills’ has always been enough to send me running for the hills. When I think frill, frills or, even worse, frilly, I think cloyingly cutesie, horrendously fussy and ridiculously flouncy. When I see an overtly ruffled dress, I immediately imagine one of those knitted doll toilet roll covers old people with pink porcelain bathroom fixtures rely on not only for decorative purposes, but to hide the bog roll’s modesty, obvs.  Quite simply, frills feel cliche. They’re just so blatantly girly.

That’s not to say I’m not all for the overtly feminine. Give me a bodycon dress, a butterfly motif or something sheer and pink and I’m all over it. However, to my mind frills either scream ‘little girl’ or ‘granny’, and don’t do much else for the self-respecting woman in between. That said, this season, I’ve been proven wrong by one glorious, sophisticated, summery and sexy frilled style in particular: the off the shoulder top and or dress.

FRILL 6

This Bardot inspired look, as seen in every high street store worth it’s salt, is one I can get on board with. I think it’s the baring of the shoulders that does it for me; this look is low key and makes me feel anything but trussed up. One of my favourite writers, stylists and all-round-envy-inducing insta queens is The Sunday Times Style section’s Pandora Sykes, and it was she who got me first thinking about the possibility of the frill. Sure, she’s tall, blonde and skinny, but it was the effortless ease with which she wore numerous off the shoulder frill pieces that made me realise: this is a look I can work around. So off I went to potter around the shops, and much to my delight I happened upon this lovely number in Zara.

This light blue and white, subtly (vertically) striped cotton dress has been one of my favourite items of the summer. It worked fantastically on holiday, either as a breathable ‘cover up’ to throw on during the day or a pretty evening dress jazzed up with some strappy heeled sandals. I love this dress precisely because of the frill, which enables you channel your inner romantic without being swathing ones self in layer upon layer of fabric.

My boyfriend’s comment was that it was sweet, although he would like it more if it was a little tighter. Well, c’est la vie, I like the sackish vibe here. This is definitely a look ‘for the girls’ as opposed to a man pleaser, which is precisely what makes it so brilliant. The horrendously girlish can also be chicly feminine. If, like me, you decide to take the plunge and invest (mostly emotionally) in something – shock horror – frilly, then there are three necessary things worth remembering.

Rule 1: It must be one frill and one frill only. Layered frills are reminiscent of layered cake or, as per my previous point, fancy toilet roll covers. In the same vein, remember to keep things simple. Print can work, but any extra adornments such as bows or beading is very unlikely to.

Rule 2: Be aware of colour here. White, pastels, or even a bold hue such as a vibrant red can all work wonderfully. But do not go for a garish pink under any circumstance, unless your purposefully attempting the “it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to” look.

Rule 3: Remember to bare in mind your frame and frill accordingly. If you’re petite, then a giant frill will swamp you and make you look like a present. You want to go for gypsy girl, not gift wrapped.

Aside from Zara, River Island, Topshop and ASOS (Lavish Alice do a great dress with an asymmetrical hem) to name just a few have all done impressive things with the off the shoulder frill, whether in dress form or as sweet little tops, perfect for pairing with denim shorts or a nice skirt. If all of this still doesn’t have you convinced, then remember, as well as allowing your armpits to breathe, this merciful style also covers them up. Pretty and practical, these pieces are perfect for those summer days when you haven’t quite had time to get round to shaving. Nuff said.

Dress: Zara
Sparkly slip ons: Office
Twisted body chain: ASOS

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FRILL SIDE 4

Carnival Jerk Chicken

I’m sharing my jerk chicken recipe today in honour of the Notting Hill carnival this weekend. I’ve been going to carnival for the last ten years and one of the best things about it is all the yummy food. The smell of the bbqs combined with the carni inebriation that only red stripe can offer is a truly amazing thing.  This is not the time to play it safe with a boring slice of pizza, you’ve got to go for the properly authentic Caribbean food as it’s some of the best you’ll ever taste outside of the West Indies.

My jerk recipe is a little unorthodox in that I use chicken breasts as opposed to the more traditional bone-in thighs or legs. That’s not to say that it’s any less delicious though, the marinade/ sauce is unreal! I often find that jerk chicken can be a bit dry but that’s far from the case here. After colouring the meat you cook it in the sauce which keeps it really tender and flavourful.

Ingredients (serves 4)

4 chicken breasts
4 corn on the cob

Marinade
– thumb sized piece of ginger
– 1 shallot
– 1 small bunch coriander
– 1 bunch of spring onions
– 1 small bunch of fresh thyme
– 3 bay leaves nutmeg
– 1 level tablespoon ground allspice
– juice of 1 lime
– 4 garlic cloves
– 3 to 4  tablespoons white wine vinegar
– slug of dark rum (approx. 2 tablespoons worth)
– 1 tablespoon of soy sauce
– 1 tablespoon of honey
– 1 scotch bonnet

Rice ‘n’ Peas
1 small bunch spring onions (chopped)
ground allspice (half tea spoon)
250g long-grain rice
chicken stock cube
tin coconut milk
1 tin kidney beans
2 sprigs thyme

Method

Start by giving the fat end of the chicken breast a little bash so as to ensure it cooks evenly or, alternatively, give it a couple of centimetres snip in a vertical line through the thickest part of the breast. Season and rub with a little bit of oil – I use coconut – and then set to one side whilst getting on with the marinade. You’ll want to put the kettle on for the rice at this point as brown rice can take forever. Pop the rice into a deep frying pan with a lid or large wide saucepan and add  200ml of water (mixed with the stock cube) plus the can of coconut milk. Throw in the herbs, spices and onions before stirring and popping on the lid. Set your oven to 180 degrees.

Roughly chop the ginger, garlic, spring onions and shallot and put in a blender together with the thyme leaves (reserving a few sprigs for the rice) and the rest of the marinade ingredients. Whizz it up until it has formed a smooth paste, loosening with  little more vinegar if needs be. Taste and adjust accordingly. It may need a little more honey or a little more soy sauce at this stage depending on your personal preferences.

Now that you’ve got the sauce all ready, put a griddle pan on a high heat and colour the chicken breasts. You don’t want to cook them all the way through, you just want the nice lines from the griddle on both sides. Once you’ve done this, pop the chicken pieces into a baking dish (put about half the marinade at the bottom of the dish so that the meat can rest on top) before evenly covering with the remainder of your marinade. Cover loosely with tin foil and put in the oven for around fifteen minutes, uncovering for the final five. When you put the chicken in, check on your rice and add the kidney beans (drained and rinsed) with a little water if needs be, before covering again.

Lightly steam the corn on the cob whilst you wipe down the griddle pan and return it to a high heat. Once the corn has steamed for around 6 minutes, take it out of the steamer and give it some nice colour on the griddle. You want lovely charred bits as you would if doing corn on the bbq.

Serve the chicken on top of the rice, covered in plenty of sauce, together with the corn!

Jerk chicken 2

 

The Embroidery Edit

Embroidered denim is everywhere this year. From Gucci’s amazing Pre-Fall 2016 embroidered denim trucker (above) to Valentino’s super cute jacket and shorts combo, there’s no doubt that patchwork style pieces are all the rage RN.

Unfortunately, the big designer offerings are, admittedly, out of most people’s price range, with said Gucci jacket going for £2,950. A girl can always dream, but for now I’ve compiled a list of more purse friendly pieces that will still satisfy your inner flower child.

Expect lots of adorable, whimsical motifs and plenty of colour. A pretty, more personalised and on-point update to your standard dull denim pieces, these items are just a little bit different. Incidentally, a lot of them are in the sales too! Get ready to celebrate stitching in all it’s floral glory…

 

Topshop MOTO Dark Embroidered Mom Jeans £58

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Miss Selfridge Floral Embroidered Denim Shorts (£17 reduced from £35)

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Glamorous Embroidered Denim Dress £35

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Marc Jacobs Embellished Appliquéd Denim Mini Skirt (£188 reduced from £375)

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Levi’s Embroidered Patch Denim Jacket £110

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French Connection Dionne Denim Embroidered Dungarees £110

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House of Holland Embroidered Denim Jacket £142.50 (reduced from £285)

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House of Holland Embroidered Denim Rouched Dress £150 (reduced from £250)

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Glamorous Embroidered Jeans  £15 (reduced from £30)

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River Island Black Embellished Festival Cropped Jacket £70 (who doesn’t love a co-ord!?)

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Matching River Island Embellished Festival Skirt £50

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Guess Jeans Oversize Floral Shirt £49.50 (down from £99)- FYI there’s a parrot embroidered onto the back of this!

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Zara Cropped Embroidered Jeans  £39.99

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Topshop MOTO Embroidered Denim Jacket £30 (reduced from £50)

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Topshop TEMP Patches Slip on Shoes  £26

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The Very Best in Natural Skincare Products

We care about what we eat, what we drink and, more recently, there’s growing concern surrounding the air we breathe. And yet, when it comes to what we put on our skin, we seem to be well behind in prioritising products that are made from more natural ingredients.

Cosmetics and beauty products can be filled with chemicals, so if you’re the sort of person that tries to be health conscious, changing up your daily skincare routine is something well worth considering. Gone are the days where such choices signal you out as a raging hippy, with wellness bloggers and experts alike championing alternative, often paraban-free products. Making the switch is simply about being more aware, and about treating your skin as you would your stomach. After all, our skin is porous, and some product can penetrate all the way into our blood streams over time.

I was advised by my beautician that it’s often best to use products that all come from the same line, as different brands can react with one another in different ways. So I’m not suggesting that you use all of these products in tandem, I’m just pointing you in the direction towards the best natural products I’ve found so far. Slather one of these babies on and I promise you won’t ever want to go back to picking up a generic, chemical filled brand when hitting the Boots counter again.

REN Skincare Clearcalm 3 Clarifying Clay Cleanser
This fantastic detoxifying cleanser, made from French Kaolin Clay, purifies the skin whilst Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 14.35.05gently exfoliating to unclog blocked pores. It contains a mix of essential oils – chamomile, lavender and sage – which reduce and calm inflammation and also have anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties. It has a super subtle sent and feels lovely on your skin. I was having a real problem with my skin when I began to use this, and since then it’s totally cleared up. I would highly recommend this product!
£19 for 150ml

REN Micropolish Cleanser (Exfoliator)
Once again, REN have seriously delivered. Unlike the clay cleanser the micropolish is only Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 14.33.49to be used once or twice or week, as it’s a little more intensive. It’s perfect for giving your face a good scrub, but unlike other exfoliators that can leave your skin all dry, this one gently cleanses and leaves your skin super soft. One of the key exfoliating ingredients here is an enzyme extracted from Mexican Papaya called papain, which makes your skin look bright and healthy. The microbeads are made from amber puff as opposed to pesky plastic, so you can use this product safe in the knowledge that it’s not harming you or the environment.
£20 for 150ml

Dr Lipp’s Original Nipple Balm for Lips
I discovered this product years ago in Space NK and have never looked back; it reallScreen Shot 2016-08-11 at 14.50.25y is the best lip balm around. Made from 100% medical grade lanolin – a fatty substance found on sheep’s wool (ok, so I know that sounds a bit gross, but it’s actually used extensively in skin and beauty products and is totally natural) – this product is also really versatile. The name refers to the historical use of the formula by nursing mothers to soothe sensitive nipples, but it can also be used for dry skin, split ends, cracked heels, cuticles, scars- pretty much anywhere you need a bit of extra deep hydration. Literally everyone who tries this loves it.
£12 for 15ml

Neil’s Yard Rehydrating Rose Toner
This award winning toner is one of the best selling Neil’s Yard Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 14.36.22products and it’s easy to see why. It’s super subtle, meaning it’s great for sensitive skin, and it calms and cools a treat. The rose damask gives the product a delicate scent and beautifully primes your skin pre moisturiser. It’s made with 95% natural products and is vegan to boot. Just be careful with the bottle, as it’s quite easy to pour way too much onto your cotton wool!
£16 for 200ml

Origins ‘A Perfect World’ Antioxidant Moisturiser
I first came across this product when on the hunt for a daily moisturiser that contained theScreen Shot 2016-08-11 at 15.10.11 right anti-ageing properties for younger skin (I’m in my twenties and wanted to start using this type of product preventatively). White tea is a powerful antioxidant a fantastic anti-ageing ingredient and reenergises skin whilst rose oil rehydrates. As if that wasn’t enough, the cream is light, goes on like a dream and smells gorge.
£34 for 50ml

Weleda Aknedoron Cleansing Lotion
This product is fantastic for when you’re having a bout of bad skin, Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 15.33.26like when you’ve been to a festival, or when you’ve been lazy with make up removal. I would only use this once a day, as opposed to the recommended twice a day, as it is really quite strong. That being said, this bacteria buster is all-natural and encourages balance using chamomile, essential oils and biodynamic calendula.
£9.95 for 100ml

Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Lotion
This gentle formula is made for sensitive, combination skin and is light and perfume free. Almond oil is rich in Vitamin E Screen Shot 2016-07-25 at 18.07.13and is perfect for calming over-reactive skin. Whilst I like to use a thicker moisturiser in the evening, this lotion works really well in the morning as it’s not greasy at all so is great for under your make up.
£14.95 for 30ml

Ole Henriksen Truth Serum Collagen Booster
This serum has a seriously good reputation in the beauty biz. It uses a Screen Shot 2016-08-11 at 15.04.59high- powered vitamin C complex to smoothen and protect against further damage from environmental aggressors. It’s absorbed instantly and is oil free, so it won’t make your face all greasy as other serums can tend to. The smell is fantastic and it really does refresh your skin beautifully. The product makes your complexion so glow-y that once tested you’ll never want to leave your wash bag without it again, despite the hefty price tag.
£78.50 for 50ml