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Under my umbrella

28 Jan

life's a beach folding umbrella

It’s so cold, wet and manky at the moment, that it can be a mission just summoning up the energy to go outside. No wonder January is one of the busiest months for travel agents.

But if you can’t afford to book a holiday right now, or you can’t wait till summer to catch a glimpse of golden sands and blue cloudless skies, here’s another idea…

The quite frankly genius umbrellas from Where I’d Rather Be look like ordinary black umbrellas on the outside…



…but have beautiful panoramic photos of beaches, mountains, sand dunes and rolling hills on the underside:


So, when you’re trudging along in a downpour, all you need to do is look up, and you’re instantly transported to sunnier climes. Genius!

Available as a traditional hook-handle model for £29.99 or a bag-friendly folding version for £27.99, the umbrellas don’t just look cool, they’re quick-drying and wind-resistant, too. There are eight designs to choose from – including a mountain range design (below) for those who prefer snow to sand – but I’ve got my eye on the ‘Life’s a beach’ model (top).

Which would you choose?!

image002 (1)

The best slippers in the world (plus £5 off!)

21 Nov

photo 3 (3)

Chuck away your moccasins! Sling away your slip-ons! Because I’ve found the Holy Grail of slippers.

Choosing the perfect slipper is no mean feet, sorry, feat. A good pair needs to be snuggly and warm, yet hardwearing and – ideally – look good too. Most of the slippers I’ve owned in my life only meet a few of these criteria – slip-ons look a bit grannyish; mules lose their shape; while furry ones are cosy but you wouldn’t want a hot date to see you in them. A few years ago, I was given a pair of felt clog slippers that ticked all the boxes. They were so comfy – with a hardwearing sole – that I once wore them out to the supermarket without realising.

When they finally died – after three years of wear – I vowed to buy more. Only thing is, I couldn’t find them… until now. Say hello to Haflingers – the slippers to beat all slippers.

Made of natural (and very toasty) materials like felt, wool, leather and cork, they’re available from  and there are over 70 styles, shapes and colours to choose from, including nordic patterns, cats, cherries, flowers, chunky knits and stripes. Many have thick rubber soles – so you can nip out to empty the bins without taking them off – and you can chose either backless, slip-on or more snug versions with a lip at the heel.


I’ve gone for the Grizzly Classic Clog in green, which has a lovely Scandi-style trim, and a cork and rubber sole. They’re so ridiculously comfy they seem to mold to your feet, and I’ve already left the house in them twice by accident.

photo 1 (3)

At £49.99 (prices range from £34.99 to around £59.99 depending on style), they’re admittedly more than your average department store-bought slippers, but considering they feel twice as snug and will probably last three times as long, they’re cheap at the price I reckon.


What’s  more, the lovely people at have agreed to give all Treasure Hunter readers £5 off any pair of Haflingers – just enter the code TREASUREFOUND at the online checkout. Code is valid until 19th December 2014.

So, what are you waiting for? Get your hands on – and feet into – a pair today!

PS: Been converted to Haflingers? Send me a pic! I’m at

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Anyone for tennis?

27 Jun

Dunlop Green Flash trainers (pair) £29.99

Forget the football. With Wimbledon now in full swing, this week and next week it’s all about tennis.

To celebrate, I’m seriously considering treating myself to a pair of the greatest old skool tennis shoes every created, Dunlop Green Flash. I used to have an amazing pair of my mum’s, which had survived since the Sixties, but sadly I wore them to death. Hard to get hold of these days, you can still buy them from for a very reasonable £29.99, here.

More original than the flood of Nikes and Converse everyone else is wearing, they’re incredibly comfy and hardwearing; go well with skirts, shorts or jeans; and suit pretty much everyone.

Still feeling inspired? Why not put your pre/post-match Pimm’s in one of these cute strawberry glasses, just £3 for four from Asda; sit down on a traditional check blanket throw, £15 from Sainsbury’s; and dry yourself off after a dip in the pool with an official Wimbledon championships towel, £29 from the tournament shop,

Wimbledon kit

And if you’re lucky enough to get to the tournament yourself, avoid the queues at the over-priced Wimbledon restaurants and settle down on Henman Hill (or is it now called Murray Mound?!) with a picnic carried in a proper hamper. Most wicker hampers cost well over £50, but this little beauty is just £29.99 from Asda, and has plenty of room for a four-person feast:

4 person picnic hamper £29.99 George at Asda




Blooming lovely!

21 May

Dunelm Mill floral cushions

This week, London plays host to the Chelsea Flower Show. My dad’s a botanist, and so I was lucky to visit the show several times as a kid. I always loved walking round the imaginative gardens packed with every plant under the sun, and tents full of amazing arrangements.

So I’m loving the current trend – in both fashion and homewares – for fabulous florals. Forget girly, ditzy prints, it’s all about beautiful, blowsy blooms in bright, bold hues.

Adding florals is a great, cheap way to inject a bit of fun into your home – a couple of colourful cushions like those from Dunelm Mill above (L-R: Meadow Breeze, Florale, Gigli, all a bargainous £9.99 each) will look stunning against white bedlinen or on a plain sofa. Use them to make a statement on their own, or jazz things up further by adding unpatterned accent cushions or throws in contrasting shades.

Next have got a great selection of florals this season (L-R: Bold Chrysanthemum rug, from £70; Raspberry felt flower cushion £14; Square felt flower cushion £14; Elegant Hydrangea rug, from £95)…

Next rugs and cushions with flowers


…Then there’s the folk floral trend, which works brilliantly in the kitchen (L-R: Carolyn Donnelly Eclectic Flower Teapot £17 Dunnes Stores; Floral storage tins £6.99 each, Mollie & Fred)…

Gypsy folk floral homewares…and I LOVE these Japanese print Esmie handbound A6 notebooks, £13 each, from Berry Red:

Esmie handbound A6 notebooks £13


You can get floral bedlinen too (below right: Meadow Breeze duvet set, from £11, Dunelm Mill); and even plastic outdoor picnicware (below centre and left: At Home With Ashley Thomas melamine plates and plastic hi-ball glasses, both £16 for four, Debenhams):

Delicate floral homewares

Plus there are all kinds of other fun bits and bobs to be found – I like this amazing-smelling Cherry Blossom Handcream (£6.50, Pierrot et Coco); these Rose fairy lights (£12, Cargo Homeshop) and crazy Floral Sunglasses (£1.99, Home Bargains, also available in other colours):

Girly florals

Finally, why not go the whole hog and dress in florals too? I’m particularly lusting after these fab basketball shoes – cheaper than Converse and just as wearable for summertime (L-R: Floral t-shirt £24, Next; George at Asda Statement flower necklace £12 coming soon at; Canvas basketball shoes £20, Next: Dalton Sunflower Shift Dress £24.99, Daisy Street, also available in orange/green; Floral Mac £28, Next):

Floral fashion from Next DaisyStreet and George at Asda


From Catwalk to Cushion!

23 Sep

D&G high church. Angel sisters £17 Oxford damask jacquard cushion £19.50 M&S. Peacock princess £20 Littlewoods.comHIGH CHURCH ON THE CATWALK: Dolce & Gabbana
HIGH CHURCH CUSHIONS: Angel sisters £17 
Oxford damask £19.50 M&S. Peacock £20

What’s in vogue interiors-wise is often what’s also in Vogue clothes-wise.

Each season, buyers from high street stores scour the fashion shows in London, Paris, New York and Milan for hot new trends they can translate into stylish homeware ranges . The best thing about this? While updating your wardrobe with a new coat or handbag can be expensive; you can bring your home bang up-to-date for just a few quid with a couple of well-placed cushions.  

So which designs are hot this Autumn/Winter? I’ve done the hard work for you – here’s my guide to the coolest cushions going and the catwalk looks that inspired them. What’s more, most cost under £15 each, and none cost over £35. Bargain!

New tartans and checks

TARTANS ON THE CATWALK L-R: Celine; Vivienne Westwood; Emilia Wickstead
TARTAN CUSHIONS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): Blue check £12 Sainsbury’s. Green check £12 Sainsbury’s. Lamego tartan £11.98 B&Q. Green woven Archie £16 Next. Check £7 Asda. Tweed woven £12.99 Dunelm Mill.

cosy wool Alexander Wang. Recycled wool £19.50 Eliot knit in steel £20 John LewisCOSY WOOL ON THE CATWALK: Alexander Wang
COSY WOOL CUSHIONS: Recycled wool £19.50 Eliot knit in steel £20 John Lewis

Pink trend. bella quilted £10 B&Q. pink cotton square £5.95 Debenhams. pink heart button £10 sainsburys. pink mongolian fur £35 BHS.PRETTY IN PINK ON THE CATWALK:  Pretty much every designer going!
PINK CUSHIONS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): Bella quilted £10 B&Q. Pink cotton square £5.95 Debenhams. Pink heart button £10 Sainsbury’s. Pink Mongolian fur £35 BHS

Tom Ford leopard print. Animal print chenille £15 M&S. Animal print £4 Asda.LEOPARD PRINT ON THE CATWALK: Tom Ford; Moschino Cheap & Chic; Burberry Prorsum
LEOPARD PRINT CUSHIONS: Chenille £15 M&S. Animal print £4 Asda

Junya Watanbe patchwork. Little home stars and stripes £15 John Lewis. Colours divino patchwork £9.98 B&QPATCHWORK ON THE CATWALK: Junya Watanbe
PATCHWORK CUSHIONS: Stars and stripes £15 John Lewis. Colours Divino patchwork £9.98 B&Q

furry Roberto Cavalli. grey luxury faux fur £7.99 dunelm mill. grouse slate faux fur £12.99 dunelm mill. textured silver £7 AsdaFUR EFFECT ON THE CATWALK: Roberto Cavalli
FURRY CUSHIONS: Grey luxury faux fur £7.99 dunelm mill. Grouse slate faux fur £12.99 Dunelm Mill. Textured silver £7 Asda

Rich reds JW Anderson. red felt floral £12 sainsburys. red knitted £18 Sainsburys. jumbo courduroy £15 pinch felt cushion £25 Next.RED ALERT ON THE CATWALK (L-R): Dolce & Gabbana; JW Anderson
RED CUSHIONS (CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT): Felt floral £12 Sainsbury’s. Knitted £18 Sainsbury’s. Jumbo courduroy £15 Pinch felt cushion £25 Next

Milan trends 8TWEED IS GOOD ON THE CATWALK; Dolce & Gabbana
TWEED CUSHIONS: Grey tweed mustard piped £12.99 Dunelm Mill. Grey herringbone £20 House of Fraser.

bright florals Rodarte (L) Oscar de La Renta (R). Autumn floral £9.99 dunelm mill. Blaise poppy £9.99 dunelm mill. Linea by Collier Campbell rose £30 hofBRIGHT BLOOMS ON THE CATWALK (L-R): Rodarte; Oscar de la Renta
BRIGHT BLOOM CUSHIONS: Autumn floral £9.99 Dunelm Mill. Blaise poppy £9.99 Dunelm Mill. Linea by Collier Campbell rose £30 House of Fraser.

Dogtooth Tommy Hilfiger. Dogtooth check kidney pillow £24 uk shop nonatextiles. Majestic dogtooth cushion £20 Dogtooth cushion £11 CHECK ON THE CATWALK: Tommy Hilfiger
DOGTOOTH CHECK CUSHIONS: Dogtooth check kidney pillow £24 Majestic dogtooth cushion £20 Dogtooth cushion £11

Fairisle knits Kenzo. Snowflake £12 heritage fair isle £12 M&SFAIRISLE KNITS ON THE CATWALK: Kenzo
FAIRISLE CUSHIONS: Snowflake £12 Heritage Fair Isle £12 M&S

Marios Schwab velvet red. christopher kane velvet blue. VIP lounge £19 Florence kingfisher £19 ON THE CATWALK (L-R):  Marios Schwab; Christopher Kane
VELVET CUSHIONS: VIP lounge £19 Florence kingfisher £19

Sun, sea and chic

25 Jun

Whiting Post 4

As I mentioned last week, I went to Whitstable recently, and had a lovely time. A sweet little seaside town, it’s great for mooching, with lots of cute nic nac shops, stores selling affordable vintage furniture, and more charity shops that I’ve ever seen crammed onto one main street.

I picked up some brilliant bits and bobs, but my favourite boutique by far was The Whiting Post  ( Stocking new retro-style dresses, a huge range of Orla Kiely items, and boasting a table groaning with quirky jewellery, it’s the kind of place that’s impossible to leave empty-handed.

My picks? The fun doggie brooches and the kitsch retro flower earrings, above (mentioned on this blog a few months ago), which you can also buy direct from the lady who makes them, at

So, the next time you fancy a trip to the seaside, set your sat nav for Whitstable and let me know how you fill your shopping bag!

Whiting Post 3

Whiting Post 6

Whiting Post 2

Whiting Post 5

Don’t worry, bee happy

7 May

Gold plated Alex Monroe bee necklace £130 Liberty

A workmate of mine used to have a gorgeous gold-plated ‘Baby Bee’ necklace (above) that she bought for her wedding day – and then wore every day since. It was small, simple, and went with everything from summer dresses to cable-knit jumpers. The necklace in question is by designer Alex Monroe, and costs £130 from Liberty ( Ah. That’s why I never bought one for myself.

Until yesterday. Idling away ten  minutes in Accessorize in Kings Cross station, I spotted the perfect homage – okay, it’s almost a copy –  a little gold ‘Bella Bee’ on a chain for just £6:

accessorize bee necklace full length and close up

Well, it would have been rude not to get it, don’t you think?!

Want one for yourself (or as a great gift for someone)? It’s available now in Accessorize stores and online at

Don’t like necklaces? You can also buy ‘Bella Bee’ stud earrings from Accessorize for the unbelievably bargainous price of £2 a pair:

Accessorize Bella bee stud earrings £2

It don’t mean a thing if it ain’t got that Shwing

16 Apr

Shwings doubled up on multicoloured trainer

My friend James wears the loudest trainers going. Neon pink, metallics… you name it, he’ll wear it. So, I’ve found the perfect present for him – Shwings shoe wings. These quite frankly AMAZING shoe accessories come in a range of fantastic metallic shades and fit onto any trainer or shoe with lace holes like so:

Shwings gold

You can even double them up and wear two colours at once (see below). Okay, so this is not a look for the shy and retiring, but it’s brilliant fun, and it’ll turn a so-so shoe into a ‘Woah!’ shoe in seconds. On-trend celebrity offspring such as the Beckham boys and Gwen Stefani’s kids have already been spotted in them, but I say you don’t have to be under twelve years old to appreciate their general awesomeness.

I’m after the metallic purple set to go on my fluoro green Converse.
How about you?

Shwings cost £10 for red, gold or blue at the V&A shop (; £9.99 for white, pink, red, green, turquoise or purple at; and £6.90 – £12.95 for a huge range of colours including neons and silver foil at

PS: Live in the USA? You can buy Shwings at

Purple shwings in packaging

Shwings doubled up on trainer

Just for scarves

11 Mar

neon flouro leopard print scarf £6 stall on Argyle St in London

It’s that time of year again, when it’s too cold not to wear something round your neck, and too warm for a full-on woolly number. One of my very first posts on this blog was about the usefulness of the Transitional Scarf (a fancy way of describing a cotton-ish scarf you can wear in spring!) and I still think they’re a brilliant solution.

And my absolute favourite place to buy them is a little market-type stall in London, situated outside Oasis on Argyle Street, just opposite Oxford Circus tube station. It’s open every day and there’s always an amazing selection. There are brightly-coloured scarves and ones in muted tones; ones with birds, horses, zebras or deers on; ones with animal print and ones with flower patterns.

They’re all £6 each or two for a tenner. I’ve bought several over the years from there, both for myself and presents, and they always get a lot of positive comments.

My latest purchase, above, is particularly awesome – it’s grey and neon pink leopard print, a new design the little man who runs the stall says he’s trying out for the summer. He’s planning to sell more in other fluoro colours too.

So, if you live in London or are planning a shopping trip there, I thoroughly recommend a visit. If not, Primark also have a good, cheap selection, or you could try Oliver Bonas stores or (immediately below: Finches and Geese prints, £18; colour block, £26), or M&S (bottom: fish scale print, £15; grey Ikat print, £15.60).

Oliver Bonas Finch print scarf, £18

Lightweight fish scales geometric border scarf £15 M&S

Show us your wellies!

20 Feb

Wellies rainbow stripe mandmdirect £16.99

There are some people in this world who wear wellies everyday as a fashion statement instead of shoes. I’m not talking about country squires or farmers, but people who live in cities and wear them to work and the like. That’s not me (although sometimes I wish I were when I’m miles from home, wearing my old hole-y Converse and the heavens randomly open), however I do love a good pair of wellingtons – for muddy festivals, snow, and torrential downpours – and I do believe it’s worth getting a funky pair.

And for me, a W.I.P (Welly Important Purchase) means a stripy welly.

I’ve currently got my heart set on these totally OTT boots (above) from Board Angels at Not only are they like walking rainbows, but they’re only £16.99.

A close second is this snazzy navy pair, £37.95 (or £32.27 with the offer below) from Joules, I love the racy – if wellies can be racy – red stripe up the back:

Wellies women's Navystrp navy stripe wellies Joules

Joules is in fact the best place to go for cool patterned wellies – as well as stripes (my other two faves, £31.95 and £37.95 are below), they also sell fox print, spotty and traditional yellow fisherman-style boots (with natty striped linings) and even wellies with ribbons on… and what’s more, if you enter code NWHD97 at the online checkout before 2nd March, you’ll get 15% off and free P&P!

Wellies Joules Women's printed wellies multi navy stripe

As for the best of the rest, if you’re planning on trudging through fields of mud, Goldigga’s Festival Wellies (below left) are specially designed for the purpose. They’re currently £17.99 (usually £39.99) at And if you can’t decide between stripes and something a bit more girly, then the Multi Floral Stripe Wellingtons, £20 from Barratts, (below right), combine both zebra-style monochrome bands and flowers.

And that’s a welly good thing indeed.

Wellies Goldigga festival wellies

The Converse-ation

23 Nov

One of my favourite looks (hark at me, sounding all ‘fashion’) for weekends – well, evenings and sometimes work too – is jeans and trusty Converse trainers.

I like the traditional Chuck Taylor Allstars Ox Low Converse trainers, as they’re comfy and go with everything from jeans and shorts to summer dresses; and in my life I’ve worn them in pretty much every colour. I’m currently the proud owner of a purple pair and a bright green pair. I bought the green ones in a kids’ shoe shop, and am always getting asked where they came from.

They’re pretty much the perfect footwear. However, there’s one problem – they’re not exactly waterproof. In fact, they’re rubbish in the rain. I have firsthand experience of this, having worn them in torrential rain on a romantic weekend trip to Paris. I got soaked through to my socks and we spent a very unromantic hour or so trawling the shoe shops of the French capital for a cheap, rain-repelling replacement pair of shoes (note: nothing is cheap in Paris, particularly shoes).

So, I was properly excited when I spotted these little beauties in Office ( the other day. Not only are they a magnificent metallic silver, but they’re made of leather, so will keep my feet toasty and dry when it’s chucking it down outside.

Silver not your style? They come in gold, black, brown, navy and red too. They’re not exactly a bargain at £54.99 (that’s £15 more than the canvas versions) but if you put them on your Christmas list, as I plan to do, then someone else can, ahem, foot the bill!

Poundland Panda-monium

5 Nov

Need a hat to keep you warm on Bonfire Night? How about this one – it’s £1!

The gloves are also £1 a pair, and both are from Poundland.

Can you believe it?!

I know these woolly hats-with-ears are everywhere, but I’ve always secretly wanted one. I just couldn’t justify buying one before now. But for a pound? My head is going to be bear-y snuggly this winter, I can tell you.

Plastic Fantastic

21 Sep

It’s not often that I come across something that’s not only completely new and different, but that’s a total bargain too.

Step forward Acorn & Will ( This really lovely site – the brainchild of retro queen Daniella – sells vintage-style plastic (it looks a bit like bakelite) earrings, brooches and rings in a myriad of pretty muted colours and shapes, from daisies and deers to cats and birds. They’re the kind of thing you’d stumble upon in a cool antique shop, think “Wow”, and snap up immediately. The attention to detail is impressive – they come beautifully packaged on bits of card printed with retro fabric designs. And the prices? From just £3.75 for a pair of earrings to £3 for a brooch.

They’d make a perfect little pressie to pop in with a card, use as a stocking or Advent calendar filler, or just give a friend to say ‘Thank you’.

As well as the plastic treats there are all kinds of other cool bits and bobs, from retro button badges and hairslides to little dolls and huge honeycomb paper Christmas decorations (I’m SO getting some of those this year!).

Particularly Refreshingly, postage is only £1.45, no matter how many items you buy. Brilliant.

I predict big things for this little brand, so if I were you, I’d place your order quick, before the magazines and hip stylists catch wind of it. I’m off to fill my online basket right now!

Smart cookies

13 Jun

Mmmmn, cookies! If you love cookies and you love cakes, check out these little fellas!

These mega cute Cookie Monster cupcakes were made by designer/photographer Jane Donald. They’re surprisingly easy to recreate – you just need blue food colouring, butter icing, desiccated coconut, Milky Bar buttons, black writing icing (from the supermarket baking section) and little choc chip cookies to decorate normal cupcakes with. The full instructions are on Jane’s lovely blog at

And talking of the Cookie Monster, I’m thinking of getting this t-shirt (below, £15.95 from to wear in bed. It’ll look cool with my check PJ bottoms and make me smile every morning when I catch sight of it in the bathroom mirror.

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Darn it!

27 Apr

A moth/nail/small child/friend’s ciggie has made a hole in your favourite top – what do you do? You need a tin of Clothes Plasters!
Designed by artist Jennie Maizels (, they’re beautifully embroidered patches, which you can iron on over a hole to hide it; or just use to decorate your clothes with.

They come in either individual packs, or four cute themed tins – choose from ‘Rock’ (red lips, skull, guitar, flaming dice etc); ‘Blue’ (robot, dinosaur, pirate, etc); ‘Pink’ (babushka, cat, star, cupcake, etc); or my favourite, ‘Birds’ (hummingbird, bluetit, parrot, black swan, etc)

They’re £3.50 for a pair or £9.99 for a tin of ten, with different designs available from or or

It’s about time

23 Mar

So, if you live in the UK, the clocks go forward this weekend. The bad news is that you get one hour less in bed on Sunday morning; the good news is that it’s the perfect excuse to treat yourself to a new watch!

But step away from the sensible silver, gold and black and treat yourself to something colourful instead. If you’re wearing this season’s bright shades it’ll complete your look; if you’re wearing something darker it’ll make a statement and nod to the trend without going over the top.

Now, I hear what you’re saying: it’s not worth spending loads on a brightly-coloured watch you might only wear for one season…

Which is why these bargainous little beauties from Breo ( are such a brilliant idea. My favourite, the Spectrum (above) costs just £12.95 and comes in a range of 14 zingy colours; while the Loop, £14.99 comes in eight colours, the Minas, £8.99 comes in nine, and the Pulse, £12 (all below) comes in four. And there are 16 other models to choose from too.

At pinch-yourself-prices like these, and free P&P (I know, crazy  isn’t it?!) you could afford to get one to match every outfit! 

Say it with flowers

14 Mar

Busy, bright blooms are huge news fashion-wise at the moment, but if full-on florals are a bit too bold for you, you can dip your toe in the trend (literally) with this gorgeous new range of sneakers from Clarks (instore and at

A collaboration with Liberty, the new ‘Jilli’ shoes are made with a beautiful retro floral print from the iconic London department store’s fabric archives.

Available in a navy or a cream colourway, there’s a pair of low-rise pumps, £39.99, and a cool pair of high top ‘sports shoes’, £44.99. They’d both look great with everything from jeans and leggings to minis, maxi skirts and dresses. And as they’re made by Clarks, you know they’ll be built to last.

With all sizes from 3-8 currently in stock, I’d, ahem, hot foot it to a shop now, as they’re bound to sell out!

I want you backpack for good

5 Mar

Many moons ago, when I was at university, one of my most prized possessions was my khakhi coloured Eastpak backpack. It cost £40 – a lot to a student back then – but it was brilliantly-made and built to last.
Over ten years on, it’s still going strong. I use it for big shopping trips where I need my hands free, and holidays, where it makes excellent hand luggage as it’s so tardis-like, and also doubles as a great day/beach bag.
So I was happy to see Eastpak bags are making a comeback. Not only can you get block colours like powder blue, chilli red, slate gray and sunshine yellow; but there’s a host of new patterns, such as Hawaiian flowers, tartan and even a cool key print. What’s more, Eastpaks still cost £39.99 – making them a bargain in my book. Check out for a great selection.

You can stand under my umb-er-ella…

6 Feb

Unless you’ve been living in a hole the last few weeks, you’ll have noticed it’s Valentine’s Day next week.

But if your amour is on a diet (so no chocolates); is allergic to flowers (so no red roses); and hates cheese/tackiness (that’ll be a ‘no’ to teddies, satin hearts, etc etc), what on earth can you buy them?

My solution? A great big  heart-shaped umbrella, £9.99, in red, fuchsia or pale pink, from (or £19.99 from Implivia at in red, pink, white, black, navy or silver). It’s unusual, slightly kooky, and if it’s chucking it down with rain, as it usually does mid-February, you can shelter underneath it together, all romantic-like.

Brooch-ing the subject

1 Dec

These gorgeous glittery badges have just arrived at Superdrug stores. They cost £1, with proceeds going to a very good cause – the NSPCC’s Childline.

They’re a brilliant way to jazz up your coat for Christmas; and would make a great advent calendar or stocking filler. I’m going to buy all three!

The best things in life are tree(s)

30 Nov

Another reader request! This time, Vikki has asked me to hunt down an stylish jewellery tree that she can give to her best mate for Christmas.

And looking around, it seems everyone has moved on from jewellery boxes (and piles of knotted chains in a drawer – or is that just me?!), as classy trees are everywhere right now.

My absolute favourite is this gorgeous white metal number (above) from, £24.99. It’s like an ornament in itself, and a lovely way to display your best necklaces and rings.

Or, if that’s just a bit too expensive, check out the three trees below. The first two – the Spring Jewellery Tree, £12.95 and the Partridge Jewellery Tree, £19.95, are from The Handpicked Collection ( – while the third, which features a cheeky squirrel, is a steal at just £12.95, from Dwell (

Forever friends

11 Nov

I used to work right next to Oxford Street in London, which was good in that I could go into TopShop every day if I wanted; and bad in that I could go into TopShop every day if I wanted! My weakness? Their accessories. I spent loads on bargainous jewellery, hair clips, belts and socks.

But in the last few years, Top Shop has changed – it’s more expensive and there seems to be less choice. So now I’ve found a new place to get my cheap fashion fix…

The other day I visited Westfield, the huge shopping mall in East London, by the Olympics site. The highlight of the trip? Forever 21, which is basically like an American H&M.

The clothes are pretty much the same as you’ll find in H&M and TopShop, but the accessories are something else. There’s a whole floor dedicated to them – think gold sneakers for £16; strips of hair clips for £1.50; gorgeous chunky knit woollen scarves, £8-15; cotton Ikat print scarves for £7.40 (see pix); and row upon row of cute socks for around £3 a pair.

What’s even better is that you don’t have to go to East London to buy them. The whole range is available online, at It’s the perfect site to get Christmas presents or just treat yourself. I’m off to fill up my virtual shopping basket now!

Ricks all the boxes

31 Oct

Fair play to Rick Astley. It  might have been released in 1987, but millions of people worldwide can still sing every word of his number one single, Never Gonna Give You Up. Which is why this poster, spotted in a friend’s office yesterday, is so genius.

And even better, after a bit of internet research, I’ve discovered you can now buy it as a t-shirt, from (a US site which ships to the UK), to remind men in 2011 just what high standards we expect from them.

A Rick t-shirt comes in several different sizes, as well as men/women’s versions, and costs $22.99 (£14.38) plus $13.99 (£8.75) for postage and packing. So that’s about £23.13 in total. Cheap at half the price, I say.

I’ve put one on my Christmas list already…

You’re having a scarf

31 Aug

It’s time to face facts. The weather is definitely getting colder (yep, I’m talking to you, people who stubbornly stand in the beer garden in September, covered in goose pimples). But while it’s still too warm for a proper coat, it’s cold enough for you to catch a chill. So, what’s a girl to do? Invest in a transitional scarf, that’s what.

The perfect TS is thinner than a pashmina, long enough to wind round your neck a couple of times; and neutral enough to go with any outfit. Primark have some good options from just £1.50, but I’m going for the Twisted Star Scarf, £15, from Oliver Bonas (

Available in five shades including this season’s grey and lilac, and scattered with tiny white stars, it’s so light you won’t even notice it’s in your handbag. Until you’re shivering under that patio heater, that is. And then you’ll be very grateful.

Fair enough

26 Aug

I went on my first British holiday in years the other week, to the Isle of Wight.

While I was there, nestled in amongst the cream tea shops in the picture-perfect village of Godshill, I stumbled upon a real gem of a shop – Daisy Daisy (

I know what you’re thinking, Fair Trade is a great initiative, but ethical shops are often patchoulli-scented places, full of carved wooden boxes and spangly scarves. Thankfully, this one is different. It’s crammed full of gorgeous jewellery, classy homewares and cute kids toys unlike anything you’ve seen on the high street.

Before you jump on a ferry (or wait till the next IOW festival), they do have a website. Granted, it’s not hugely high tech, and they don’t have their full range on there, but you can still buy some great stuff.

My picks? The purple pom pom necklace, £14.99, which looks like something straight off the catwalk; the coloured lantern fairy lights, £22; the jewel-coloured aluminium serving bowls, from £8.50; and the jolly rainbow stripe teapot, £6.99. Keep an eye out for their sparkly Christmas decorations later in the year, too.

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