28 July 2014

Style - Country Classics - A thoroughly British capsule wardrobe fit for a countryside break.


Inspired by my week at home in the Cotswolds, this week I am bringing you a series of Country inspired style posts. 

I have opted for pieces by British brands and designers. When we naturally think about Countryside attire our minds drift to Ralph Lauren, Hunter, Le Chameau and Hermes. With their equestrian detailing and rustic styling these designer brands have positioned themselves as the go-to labels.  Whilst not detracting from the fabulous products by these non-British manufactured brands, it is a time to shine a light on their British competitors. We have many British labels which create luxurious pieces with the same, if not better, quality; however they lack the big budgets to allow the creation of widespread PR campaigns and therefore rely on British journalists and stylists to promote them.  One of these brands is Pip Howeson. The coats created by this fresh label are expertly tailored and made from the finest of British fabrics. Last year I styled the 'Florence' coat on a shoot and instantly fell in love with the quality. What I also admire about this brand is the versatility of the design. Team your coat with heels and you have the perfect dress coat for an evening out or add a pair of leather riding boots and you have stylish racing attire. 

Once you find these basics which form your countryside capsule wardrobe you can start to embellish the look with jewellery, scarves and bags which add a more feminine touch to an otherwise masculine silhouette.  I love the jewellery by Daisy Knights, this feather ring is the perfect piece to finish off a country inspired look.

Look out for tomorrow's post where I shall present the best outfits for a country summer wedding/garden party.


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22 July 2014

SEVENTEEN - The #shwishlist - A weekly edit of my favourite items..

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Today I am attending the launch of #BuyBritishDay at The House of Commons, this inspired me to bring you a wishlist featuring British labels.

The first ever #BuyBritishDay will take place on 3rd October2014. The initiative established by the Best of Britannia show is to encourage customers to support brands and businesses that design and manufacture their products in Britain. I am proud that we have amazing brands that happen to also be British. Allow me to introduce you to some of my favourite this week.

Vandal Shoes have been creating women's shoes in Norwich for over 75 years. My favourite style is the Morston in black lizzard print.  Currently in the sale these shoes are a fabulous bargain as they would suit for so many occasions.

I saw Wildfire cases completely by chance while searching for a new iPad case. The brand create wooden MacBook cases using impressive craftsmanship. I have opted for the Landsdown which features a darker wood with a flame orange lining. I have always loved stylish and practical products and Wildfire fabulously put this into practice.

Oxfordshire based jeweller Lucy Sylvester is one of my instagram friends.  I love seeing her feed where she shares what she has made and how she uses our mutual love of the British Countryside as her inspiration.  I adore this twig ring for its ultimate simplicity. Made from silver and 18ct gold vermeil it is a piece you can look at with memories of the countryside.

I am really excited about womenswear brand Emelia Bass, established by two friends, Noor Albazie and Kawther Mokhlif. The clothes are elegant, modern and made to flatter the female form.  My favourite piece is the 'Monaco Dress' because not only is it pink but it is also fabulously feminine. The brocade skirt works perfectly with the chiffon overlay bodice and I love the unexpected low-back. 

Newly launched homewear brand Beulah-Home create luxury knitted cushions, throws and pet blankets all knitted and manufactured in Britain. I love blankets, even on a hot day you will find me wrapped up on the hammock with a knit for comfort. I think the Daphne throw is my ultimate favourite due to its texture and mix of colours although I have fallen for practically everything on their website. Trust me, you will too!

Adding a sporty element to my shwishlist this week is the Ensign casual shoe from Walsh UK.  I discovered these on instagram with the #BuyBritish hashtag. I loved the blue shade and decided to learn more about the brand. Founded by Norman Walsh in 1961, Norman began his career aged 14 and by age 16 he was selected to make running shoes for the 1948 British Olympic Team. The brand went on to develop footwear for a variety of sports including rugby, football and fell running amongst others. Today the brand continues to build on the heritage and history established by Norman Walsh. 
I have a feeling the Ensign isn't unisex but I am more than confident us ladies can pull them off!

To allow you a closer view of these covetable pieces, I have pinned everything I have featured to my #shwishlist pinterest board. If you would like to recommend a brand or item, email: moi@sarahhayleyfreelance.com or tweet me with the hashtag #shwishlist.

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17 July 2014

the ICON 7 - Burberry Prorsum Tapestry Bowling Bag

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On occasion I fall in love with pieces quite out of character. My latest must-have is Burberry's structured bowling bag featuring a smooth leather trim and side panels which contrast with a bold geometric tapestry. The design was inspired by traditional rugs, and due to the striking style it is definitely one-of-a-kind which is why I think it is a deserved #theIcon.

However, having discussed my admiration for this bag with friends I became aware it wasn't a shared love and instead in the 'Marmite' love it or hate it category.

If I was styling this bag I would team it with a navy trench or dress, brightening up a winter look.



15 July 2014

(VIDEO) Defining Beauty - Colbie Caillat's 'Try'

When I heard about US singer, Colbie Caillat's, new song 'Try' and watched the video, the powerful message within the song resonated with me. Since its release it has achieved nine million views and undoubtedly struck a chord with all of us. 

I am not going to say anything more just watch the video and I think you will agree.



Read Colbie Caillat interview with Elle Magazine.



14 July 2014

Summer 2014 - Be a beachcafe.com 'Beach Beauty'

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If you are yet to visit beachcafe.com, the online destination for luxury designer swimwear, you must!

Established in 2009, by previous Harvey Nichols buyer and STUDIO THIRTEEN founder Rosi Farrow and ex-swimwear buyer Emma Fletcher,  beachcafe.com offers the online shopper everything for a perfect stylish holiday.  Sourcing beachwear from designers around the world, beachcafe.com houses over 20 covetable labels including London based 'Kaftan Queen' Juliet Dunn, Californian brand Vitamin A, Brazilian inspired label Sofia by Vix, Spanish brand Pily Q,  L*Space from LA and the renowned Australian brand Seafolly.


From bold colours, statement prints and metallics to pure white and pastel shades, beachcafe.com offers exquisite kaftans, beach dresses, glamorous swimsuits and bikinis to ensure comfort and style to allow you a relaxing holiday in the sun.


For more inspiration navigate the website for travel tips for specific places. From Bali to the Maldives, these travel notes contain small concise information on style, what to see and where to stay.



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Vitamin A


11 July 2014

SIXTEEN - The #shwishlist - A weekly edit of my favourite items..

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This week I am really pleased to present a selection of home-grown British talent. From fashion and beauty to jewellery and accessories, these fabulous independent brands are the next big thing!

Lashes of London, launched in 2012, offers an array of covetable trend-led pieces with a fresh look and affordable price tag, their current summer sale is amazing!  I love their printed cropped top and skirt sets and the summer dresses.

It is a rare designer gift to inspire people instantly with your designs. It can take a while to create a signature style and house ethos, although at Caterina Stratan her core aesthetic is elegant clothing with a womanly, fifties, feeling.  I started styling Wedding's last month and I have already added the silk 'Natalie' dress, with central ruffle detail and draped back, in my selection for a summer wedding. Available in an assortment of colourways this flattering dress would create the perfect look for immediate family or perhaps bridesmaids at a low-key or beach wedding.  If you are a buyer or a boutique be sure to see Caterina Stratan's collection at Pure London.

I am loving Lost Property of London who take abandoned fabrics from anything to a coffee sack, wax cotton or leather and use it to make seriously cool bags. Although Lost Property of London are eco-conscious they also completely deliver on style. My favourite design from the collection is the basket bag for its versatility and understated design quality. The brand was established by Katy Bell who graduated from Central Saint Martins, specialising in print. When you get a moment take a look at their website as there is a design for everyone.

A graduate of Chelsea College of Art, Silken Favours is the brand of the talented Victoria Murdoch.  I love the hand drawn illustrations which have been translated into print and feature on scarves, silk cushions and decorative items. I adore this butterfly design although I love every illustration in the collection.

Hush is one of my favourite finds. Easy in style, the online store is loungewear heaven.
I have a pile of I pyjamas which are wonderfully luxurious and cosy. What caught my eye this week was this fab star knit jumper which screams a DVD night in. The label launched in 2003 by Mandy Watkins and she has reinvented the look of lounging. Instead of baggy tee shirts and tracksuit bottoms we now have light-as-air knitwear and silk tops paired with the softest trousers, which I will even dare to wear to Sainsbury's for a weekend shop. This is luxurious loungewear which everyone can love.

To allow you a closer view of these covetable pieces, I have pinned everything I have featured to my #shwishlist pinterest board. If you would like to recommend a brand or item, email: moi@sarahhayleyfreelance.com or tweet me with the hashtag #shwishlist.


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Lily Kamper at thecorner.com
Sydney Evan at gift-library.com




10 July 2014

Handbag Crush - Alfie Douglas

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It's hard to express how much joy I find in discovering a new brand that is not only super chic but also BRITISH!

As a journalist and stylist British brands are my number one priority and I couldn't be happier to introduce Alfie Douglas as my Handbag Crush this month.

I spotted one of their bags during a breakfast with a friend who works at avenue32.com. When the conversation moved to their brands I began clicking through the website on my iPad until suddenly I spotted a bag from the 'Alfie One' collection and it was love at first handbag sight.

The beauty in the collection lies within the simplicity of the designs and their sleek aesthetic. It isn't easy to design bags which combine style with substance and subtlety, but Alfie Douglas perfects the art of creating the classic, timeless bag.

The family-run brand which began in 2011 is a collaboration between four sisters and their parents. Each bag is made and finished by hand with many being entirely hand stitched thus creating unique products. The brand places a priority on sourcing the finest sustainable materials.

While I covet each and every bag within the collection my ultimate favourite is the structured tote in the Alfie One collection. I have a lot to carry daily and this tote is effortlessly stylish. 

If you are looking for a bag to last a lifetime opt for a design by Alfie Douglas.  In ten years from now you will realise the value of your investment.


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Alfie One
Alfie Two
Alfie Four
Alfie Eight



9 July 2014

July Jewellery Notes: Rachel Galley

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July's Jewellery Notes feature Rachel Galley. Rachel started out her career as a jeweller in 2009. Her namesake brand is split into two lines. 'Rachel Galley Memento' which includes a range of sterling silver pieces and 'LUXE Rachel Galley' a high end jewellery line offering limited edition pieces and made to order ranges.

Rachel Galley initially found success with her brand through her latticework pieces. 'Rachel Galley Memento' draws on this success, creating collectable products with an affordable price tag. My favourite piece within the line is the Memento Diamond Cluster Pendant, constructed of six diamond lattice shapes suspended at different levels which glisten in the light.

Meanwhile 'Luxe Rachel Galley' includes jewellery made from precious metals.  My favourite collection is Snowdrop, a line including pearls which command attention from their dramatic lines and elegance.

The Venom capsule collection was created through a collaboration with Meg Matthews. The MM collection is inspired by Meg Matthew's fascination with snakes. I love the rings in this collection and how the metal set with Jade delicately twists around the finger.

Rachel Galley designs cutting edge jewellery which create completely unique collections that were made to stand out.


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'Rachel Galley Memento'

'LUXE Rachel Galley'




8 July 2014

Pack to Perfection - 15 First-Class Holiday Essentials

It is the problem we all face, packing for a holiday or summer getaway. For packing perfection I share my fifteen essential holiday items for a first-class holiday wardrobe.

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Ray-Ban at sunglasshut.com/uk
Melissa Odabash at beachcafe.com
Kora Organics by Miranda Kerr at net-a-porter.com
Mark Wojcicki at Layana London
Lancer Skincare at harrods.com





7 July 2014

Style - Sensational Swimwear : The Edit.


We have seen a shift in swimwear for the past few seasons. Designers have more freedom to create fashion-forward designs, experimenting with shape and prints. I have found some sensational pieces to suit everyone’s unique poolside style. 

My new swimwear find is Look Z at wolfandbadger.com. With a collection full of incredible prints, Look 7 swimwear is designed, produced and made in Europe, creating pieces for women who desire quality and tailoring to achieve the perfect cut and fit.

One of my favourite bikini's on the highstreet is this striking number by River Island. The retro design, featuring my two favourite contrasting colours, pink and orange, is a most flattering silhouette with a high waisted bikini bottom and sharp black edging.

Whether you're looking for a bikini or one piece. Take your pick from a further eight stylish designs guaranteed to wow on the beach.


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Beautiful Bottoms at beachcafe.com
Seafolly at John Lewis
Babajaan at beachflamingo.com
Acacia at avenue32.com
Melissa Odabash at beachcafe.com