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Designer Dressing for less in Chelsea

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to take part in a special designer event at the British Red Cross in Chelsea.

I was joined by fellow blogger La Femme London and stylist Savannah otherwise known as Fashion Clocking. Designer Neisha Gharat was on hand from House of Gharat to help style our looks with her new and our preloved scarves.

The day brought together regular shoppers and drew in new crowds. Popular brands included Chanel, Dior, Jimmy Choo, Laboutin and Saint Laurent.

Sales on the day topped £18,000 and by the end of the week the event made £28,000 to help people in crisis.

Next time your thinking to shop designer check out British Red Cross Chelsea. The Power of Kindness.

Love Deborah Simpson Boston x

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Spring Summer 2018 Fashion – Catwalk Collections at Charity Shop Prices

At long last the sun is here, and it finally feels like Spring.  Excellent news!  I think I speak for the whole Nation when I say we were all beyond happy to feel the sun on our faces.  Then you look in your wardrobe to pull together a Spring outfit but all you see is jumper, jumper, jeans, boots, jumper.  Sound familiar?

Fear not.  Believe it or not it is possible to achieve catwalk looks at charity shop prices.  I’ve attended the Spring Summer 2018 catwalk shows and noted the trends, but catwalk prices are not for everyone, so I’ve been to The British Red Cross Shop in Shoreham By Sea to translate these trends into affordable looks.

Pastels

So many of the big-name designers Victoria Beckham, Michael Kors and Erdem Returned to the 1980’s obsession with pastel.  Remember that yellow pastel jumpsuit of your youth or the peach rara skirt?  The British Red Cross holds a number of vintage items and trust me 1980’s is going to be a popular choice for the Spring.

If you don’t want to return to the Eighties, then I found some beautiful simple dresses in pastel tones that have been donated by high street stores.  We call these items Encore and the donated high end designer store items we call Scarlet (Yes with one t!).  Ask in your local BRC store.

Bright’s

I know I’ve just talked about the popularity of pastels and now I’m contradicting myself by saying go bright, you will have to trust me on this one.  A bright shock of Red, Coral, Orange, Purple or Green is just the thing to wow for a spring wedding, go bold with sun dress and accessories.  On the catwalks it was either head to toe one mono colour or clashing bold colours, think red trousers pink shirt.  Be brave.

Denim

Oh, you may say, I’ve been wearing jeans for years.  This seasons denim is constructed into beautifully crafted jackets, trouser suits and dresses.  Charity shops are full of huge quantities of denim I found an unusual dress and skirt from the Scarlet collection here.  The beauty of a charity shop is that you can buy some items for very little and experiment.

The strappy Dress

Think back to the 1990’s Kate Moss is in her early days of modelling and pictured at a party in a sheer dress.  The dress, which was cut on the bias with shoe lace straps, was loved by the press and called a nightie by the tabloids.  And so, the strappy dress was born.  This year its back wear it on its own, with ruffles or with a T-Shirt underneath, I found so many possibilities in store.

If I had to summarise the looks for Spring Summer I’d say they were joyful and fun.  The catwalks also told a story of sustainability in fashion, choosing were you shop is also set to be a trend, you can’t really get shop more ethically than The British Red Cross.

The British Red Cross Shop in Kensington and Chelsea are holding their Spring Event on Thursday 24th May 12-8pm.

A press breakfast to preview the collection is open to press and bloggers on 24th May from 10 am-12 noon.

Get in touch for more details.

Love

Deborah x

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Fashion Revolution – Who Made this?

For several years, I’ve been aware of what used to be called Eco Fashion or Green Fashion, for me it meant consumerism and over consuming on our fashion needs.  Working in various aspects of Fashion; PR, writing, and retail, I was all to aware of the huge amount of waste fashion creates and equally concerned about the way garments were made.

Back in 2015 I was invited to the launch of a new ethically produced collection of clothes from Zandra Rhodes and People Tree, I wrote about it here.  Dame Zandra Rhodes, People Tree CEO Safia Minney and Ethical Fashion Journalist Lucy Siegle had been on a trip to Bangladesh checking the production was indeed ethical on these great designs.  The evening was a huge success with Safia launching a book called Slow Fashion, a manual on fair trade production of clothes as an alternative to the fast fashion of the high street.  I bought the book, it made for a very interesting read.

Around this time, I started volunteering at my local British Red Cross Charity Shop, I loved the fact that I was volunteering for a charity whose whole shop concept was based on recycling clothing for funds to support people in crisis all over the world.  What could be more sustainable than charity shop shopping?  I now manage the shop and I’m involved in supporting BRC shops by promoting them through writing, events and PR.  Practically everything I wear is a charity shop find.

Observing the market, I’ve never seen so many people shopping in Charity Shops, people who don’t usually thrift shop are now lured by great prices, unique finds and sustainable fashion.

This year I was lucky enough to attend London Fashion Week in February, their slogan this season was Positive Fashion, meaning fashion that is ethically produced and sustainable.  Big designers are extremely keen to deliver what the public wants, and the public Wants to Know!

This brings me to the Fashion Revolution.  Fashion Revolution is a global movement calling for a fairer, safer, cleaner, more transparent fashion industry.  This week is fashion Revolution Week, you may have seen people waving messages on social media asking, ‘Who Made My Clothes?’ The idea is to challenge the high street on production.  75 Million people worldwide make clothes, 80% of those are Women, some of those live in poverty, some are exploited, some work in unsafe factories and some live on very little pay.  This week brings awareness to who makes your clothes and asks you to sign the Manifesto.  It makes for very interesting reading.  If you have five minutes check it out here.

On another not unrelated topic I’ve recently started sewing, so far I’ve made four cushions (two with zips, I know!) I don’t think I’m that far off making something to wear, dare I say I’m quite excited by the prospect?  My teacher is my wonderful friend Rhonda who makes ALL her own clothes.  Imagine that?  She only makes what she needs and wants specifically for her needs.  Check out her blog So Go Sew.

In summary I don’t really see how you can work in the fashion industry without taking part in the movement to provide ethical clothing.  Brands, designers and buyers must be clever and cautious in their choices.  As a consumer it’s up to you.  Buy sustainable, borrow, buy charity shop, make and mend.  I’m calling it Honest Fashion, the future of fashion is up to you.

If you have any unwanted clothes and would like to donate them to the British Red Cross Shops you can fins your local shop by clicking this link https://www.redcross.org.uk/shop/find-a-charity-shop

Love DSB x

 

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Win Prints to Change Your Home

I recently added some simple wordy prints to brighten my home from those clever people at www.cloud2print.co.uk  they look amazing. Witty funny prints that would work almost anywhere.

I’ve teamed up with Cloud2print to give away three of these stunning prints.

All you need to do for a chance to win is follow me on Instagram @diaryofanhonestwoman

Tag any friends who may like to win.

Follow Cloud2print on instagram @cloud2print

Like this blog post

Done!!

One week to play competition closes on Tuesday 17th April at 11pm.

T’s & C’s Apply

Good Luck!

Love DSB X

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My Volunteering Story

Summer 2015 was quite a stressful time for me I was working as a Fashion PR, juggling the commute from Brighton to London with major fashion events and clients.  I was also working with my husband trying to save our men’s accessories company in quite a volatile department store market.

That Summer was also our third attempt at IVF, sadly this didn’t work for us.  With business crumbling and pressure rising I felt a jolt of anxiety and stress, that turned at times, into an overwhelming wave of depression.

We decided to close the accessories company and my husband landed a good job in London.  For health reasons, I decided to stop my work as a PR and concentrate on writing more.

I had started to write my blog as a fashion insider back in 2010, now I had a great opportunity to do something I loved and those summer weeks and months helped me to channel my stress into writing and getting better.

Although I loved writing from our studio shed in the garden I still felt lonely and craved other human interaction.  I started to volunteer at my local British Red Cross Shop in Shoreham by Sea.  First, for one day a week, and then two.

The structure of this gave me something to get up for in the mornings.  My back ground as I’ve said was fashion so I loved the fashion aspects, recognising good brands, sorting and pricing items.

During this time volunteers turned into friends and I found myself working in a way I’d not worked before, working not just as a shop volunteer but listening to others concerns and problems.  I felt genuinely supported and loved, something that you don’t always feel in Fashion.

People volunteer for many different reasons; sometimes it’s a link between not working for a while and paid work.  Sometimes it’s for companionship, friendship, or to work through a dark time in your life, for many it’s a happy safe place to grab a coffee, have a chat and sort some stuff both physically and mentally.

Two and a half years on and I now work for the British Red Cross, I help to manage the team at Shoreham and write pieces like this to highlight what an important place a Charity Shop can be to bring a Community together and engage individuals with problems that society can often overlook.

Our little shop in a relatively small seaside town took over £120,000 last year.  I’m so proud of the profits we make but I’m far prouder of our volunteers’ achievements which can be anything from speaking another language to gaining confidence or new skills.  My proudest moments strike when you least imagine, I overheard a volunteer with learning difficulties explaining how donating just £5 can save a person’s life.  Right there in that little second I felt so proud.

You can volunteer with British Red Cross by going to the website to find your nearest shop.

Or read the recent article in The Shoreham Herald 34https://www.shorehamherald.co.uk/news/health/charity-shop-offers-friendship-and-support-1-8354234

Love DSB

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Top Five tips on Beating the January Blues

January can be a funny time, the high of Christmas and New Year can result in the January blues.  Partying and revelling can mean crashing with a bang in Jan.  With every up must come a down.

I’ve never been a fan of January.  Oh no,  cold and dark and depressing, its my least favourite time of the year, however after living with depression and anxiety for some years now I have a few tricks up my sleeve, ways to make my life better in the middle of winter.

1/ Hygge is the scandi buzzword of the moment, to me it means looking after yourself, I’m a fan of Simplicity on a Sunday. On your day off do the things that make you happy and make you smile.

2/ Go for a walk, there’s nothing like walking by the beach or in the countryside to clear the mind and put you in a good mood.

3/ Light candles and fires.  As soon as I come home on a night I light candles, it fills the air with beautiful aromas, at the moment I can’t get enough fig and musky smells.

4/ Put the music on and dance!  Well you don’t have to dance but music uplifts the soul and can be the key for me to make a bad day good and a dark day bright.

5/ Cook!  I love preparing and cooking food, I also love laying the table and making a celebration out of  the dishes you create

Ok, that’s my top five, if I can add a PS I’d say have a bath with a herbal detox oil such as Olverum, which smells delicious and go to bed with a good book and freshly washed linen.

How do you Hygge?

Love DSB X

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Wish List

I had planned to write a lovely seasonal gift guide and include some of the samples that I have been gifted this year. However since my recent trip to Milan (which was to promote British Luxury Design, which is truly amazing.) I have been somewhat obsessed by Italian design.

Now my our bank balance doesn’t really allow for any of these extravagant gifts so it’s really more of a wish List than a gift guide. Forgive me while I indulge.

Sergio Rossi Shoes

I have a pair of Sergio’s. They have been good friends to me over the years attending many a fashion party or PR luncheon. They must be at least ten years old. So it’s high time I had some more. These beauties tick all the boxes. Sky High, red and crystal encrusted. Yes please.

Valentino Gown

Every girl should have one. I seriously felling in love with Valentino when they did a collaboration with Zandra Rhodes. I think this dress is exquisite. Of course I have no where to wear it but I will find a party. I’m calling her Scarlett and she is coming with me!

Just your average pair of Trainers

If I designed trainers this is how they would look. The softest white leather, studs and red fur. (Forgive me fur police but this is Milan, every other person is wearing a dead animal of choice on their person.)

They are as impractical as they are daring. If Santa delivered these babies to my door I would promise to never moan about pinched toed, sore balls ever again!

Italian lighting

God said ‘Let there be light, and there was light.’ Because he went to Milan and ordered a great big floating orb and called it the sun. Seriously no one does lighting like the Italians. Just take a gander at this sexy little shop. I can’t decide if I like the shining red foil wrapped interior or the lights themselves more. I’ll take two of each please.

Valentino Boots

I’m not obsessed with Valentino or anything but when in Milan sweetie, one can play footsie! Much Like the strappy stud shoes from Ss16 and ss17, these boots of joy consist of a leather studded strap on the outer and a red sock as the inner. Love the concept, love the bootSi! Cinderella would be pleased with these hoofers.

Doggie Style

I’d definitely buy Blue one of these super toasty goose down jackets. She would get total street cred in this doggie style down.

His brush

For the man who has everything a Gold plated tooth brush.

…and for the home

Gold plated loo brush and matching bathroom condiments. I don’t know if I’m obsessed with the luxury of this or if I think it’s obscene! Yup. I could definitely clean the loo with gold!

I shopped

Valentino

Sergio Rossi

La Rinacentre

For this piece.

Love DSB x

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Victorian Christmas Table

We travel up to the North East for Christmas to the house I grew up in, in Durham.  We all share the cooking on the big day but the table decoration is always my domain.

This year my theme is around a Victorian Christmas Table.  I bought an old linen tablecloth and napkins from my local British Red Cross shop, these were in the bargain bin as they were tea stained so I took them home and dyed them a smoke grey.

I bought crystal candlesticks and candelabras as the top table dressing for my wedding from a Florist Supplier, and I’ve used them here in all shapes and sizes.  You don’t need crystal, try grouping brass candlesticks or silver together as the centre piece for your table.  Don’t use coloured candles, plain white candles work best.

Play around with foliage, a long string of Ivy, Eucalyptus and Pine are used here, but you can use anything, go foraging for driftwood, brambles, holly and sticks.

Add a little sparkle, crystal, baubles, more lights.  I’ve finished with vintage crystal glasses and gold cutlery.

Enjoy your day

Most items were sourced second hand from British Red Cross Shop Shoreham by Sea.

Wine Carafe – LSA

Love DSB x

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Winter Garland

I love the smell of December, the whole house is alive with greenery.  Christmas Tree purchased on Sunday and yesterday I put together a Winter Garland in the hall.

It didnt take a long time and it was so inexpensive to create.

Lat week I was given four enourmous pine branches, your florist or nursery will probably source for you.  I bought three branches of Eucaluptus frommy local florist Linden Tree, and cut some fresh Ivy from the garden.

I added the pine first and bound with nylon wire, I call it fishing wire or cat gut.  Then added the eucalyptus and the ivy.

I’ve punctuated the garland at the top middle and bottom with hydrangers which had dried out form the summer.  I’ve added a few baubles and again secured with the nylon wire.

Grab a water spray and sprits for a lovely smell throughout the home.  Keep spraying through the month and you have that lovely Pine smell through Christmas.

Original inspiration taken from Marks and Spencer press day last month.

Follow me on Instagram below.

Love DSB x

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Warming your Winter home

The last days of November can be bleak, it can also be so incredibly beautiful.  Clear bright skies but very cold nights.  December marks the beginning of Winter, so digg those woollies out!  

This time of year you can turn on the central heating but what truly warms your home is the little touches of love. 

I hail from the North East of England where it feels Baltic and freezation that is abominably cold on the best of days.  So We do Winter well.  Some folk now call it Hygge, I call it warming up for Winter.

Here’s my almost Winter tips.

Light a fire.  An open fire or wood burning stove comes into its own this time of year.  If you don’t have this luxury fake it.  We have two fireplaces but the previous owners converted the loft, taking out the chimney breast so a real fire is not possible.  We fake it in one room with twinkly lights and in another with a gas fire that looks like a wood burning stove.  It kind of does the trick of looking like a wood burner and boy does it knock out some heat!

Lighten up – light candles and switch on twinkly lights, mood lighting is so warming in the winter.  Lights can trick the brain into calm, and positive mood enhancing stuff, so soft lighting and fairy lights mean relax.  Harsh blue mobile lighting is not so good. Put the phone down after 10pm! 

Buy the biggest scented candle that you can afford and indulge.  Dont just wait for the weekends.  light in on a Monday night when you get home from work, and need a pick me up, its my first step to a chilled night in.

Now pile on the pillows.  More cushions and throws on your sofa, more pillows and duvets on your bed.  Start with linen bedding then add blankets and woollies.  Snuggle up.  Keep warm.

Smells like …Candles, sprays, perfume, whatever makes you feel good, evoke the smells of the season, pine cones, I love fresh flowers in the house and eucalyptus leaves, I’m also a fan of a good pillow spray, This Works does a good spray and roll on for bedtime.

Finally, Cook.  I cook more one pot cosy dishes in the Winter, soup, broth, casserole, stew, good cooking smells enduce happy thoughts.

 

Enjoy your Winter and embrace the season, Sending you all a big British hug, (not a Hygee) not offence to our Scandi neighbours but we got this, we know you Winter. 

Love DSB x 

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Time To Party

The clocks have gone back which means the days become shorter and the nights grow longer.  How to spend the long nights?  Wrapped up reading a book by an open fire or embracing the party season with a full diary of events.  The answer can only be, PARTY!

The high street is full of sequined, laced, velvet luxury at this time of the year.  Stunning frocks with some jaw dropping high end prices to match.  Do you blow all your budget on one show stopping outfit or pull last years glittery if slightly crumpled number from the bottom of the wardrobe?

Let me share a secret with you, this week sees the launch of the Christmas Campaign at British Red Cross Retail, with Red Cross Charity shops up and down the country starting with a week of Eveningwear as the focus.

British Red Cross Charity shops have been saving eveningwear all year for this week, storing, steaming and pricing the best of glitzy, glamorous, get ups including designer labels, brand new items and vintage finds.

All 350 British Red Cross Shops across the country will be taking part with a focus on EVENINGWEAR and accessories this whole week.  Subsequent weeks will reveal Christmas Decorations, Toys, and Table Decorations.

If like me you have more than one special event in your diary get down to your nearest British Red Cross Shop to find your whole party wardrobe for less.

Did I mention all profits go to the charity, to be used to help people in crisis, whoever they may be?  Charity shop fashion gives so much back, everyone wins with slow fashion that is recycled, sustainable, and ecofriendly.

All dresses and jumpsuits in this piece are from British Red Cross Shoreham By Sea.

Love DSB X

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Aurelia – Miracle Cleanser – Honest Beauty

I’ve been planning to write a series of posts on Honest Beauty for a while now.  Taking my favourite skincare and make up products that are kind to nature, kind to skin and have had a particular impact on me.

First up is the rather spectacular Miracle Cleanser from Aurelia Probiotic Skincare.  I first wrote about this little gem back in October 2014, this little pot of loveliness was first given to me by the then new brand to try.  Since I’ve bought a glass tub (think old chemists and apocatherapy shops) for myself every Autumn, and introduced it to friends.

What has kept its space in my bathroom cabinet over the years is a mixture of very good ingredients, Bergamot, Eucalyptus, Chamomile, Rosemary, with equally amazing smells and added to that, a creamy texture which at this time of year works as a dual cleanser and moisturiser, a generally non abrasive nourishment for the skin.

At £42 its a luxury buy which will take you all through the colder seasons of the year, keeping your skin soft and smooth.

If you want the technical probiotic and bioOrganic reasons for buying check out my old post here or take a look on the website, www.aureliaskincare.com

It’s also available from Urban Retreat Beautique

Love  DSB X

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Sephora Favourites

International brand Sephora has a great take on the best beauty products on the market from skincare to make up.

Mr B knows he can be on a work trip anywhere in the world and all he has to do is find a  Sephora store for a winning gift

So good is this ubiquitous hub of beauty and so well trained are the staff that you could point a monkey into a Sephora store and they would leave with a monochrome bag of brilliant beauty finds, tailormade to suit you. No offence to monkeys or Mr B intended!

So what’s hot right now?…..Here’s my pic of current favourites……

Sephora Favourites

Skin Super Foods

Nine delicious super food treats for the skin.  I loved the the black charcoal, peel-off Luminizing Black Mask it removes blackheads, impurities, and excess oil, it leaves your skin bright and polished.

I also love the Tata Harper Regenerating Cleanser it feels like a thorough cleanse. It clarifies with fresh enzymes, clays, and essential oils leaving a smooth finish.

I’m also now addicted to the Luminous Dewy Skin Mist, it contains Okinawa red algae and hyaluronic acid for a boost of soothing hydration and a luminous complexion. All I know is this makes my skin glow and is going everywhere with me this summer.

 

Sephora Favourites

Give Me Some Nude Lip

Mr B bought something similar in the past, and as ever its a winning combo.  As a lover of a nude lip he cant go wrong with this set.  All the must-haves here to give you the perfect nude lip look, including one full size and five deluxe sizes of nude lip essentials. This multibranded set includes a liquid lipstick, gloss, lipstick, and a lip plumper to help you find your perfect nude hue—including a full-size Ciaté London Liquid Velvet Moisturising Matte Liquid Lipstick. Delicious!

Sephora Collection

Illuminate Palette

If you were a fan of last years highlighting beauty craze then you will love Illuminating powder. Highlight like a pro with this pastel palette that illuminates the face, shoulders, and décolleté. The silky formula, (yes it really is silky) blends seamlessly into the skin, delivering radiance where the light naturally hits. The stunning array of hues enhance every skin tone and can be mixed and matched for a customizable glow.

All in all I find it hard to fault Sephora for quality or choice, unfortunately we still don’t have a Sephora in the UK, perhaps its better that we don’t, it makes holidays and business trips all the more exciting.

You can order online from the US website, shipping is £6. Please note this is not a sponsored post, I just like the brand.

Love, DSB x

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What to buy in the sales now | M&S

I don’t really like sales shopping and will avoid busy places such as Brighton and Oxford Street during sales periods. Fortunately we have an out of town mall not far from us with a huge Marks&Spencer. 

I took my mum on a weekday afternoon so not quite as busy, which worked well. 

The key for me when sales shopping is to not go for things you wouldn’t ordinarily buy and are now tempted just for the price.

Quite often if you follow your own style rules you will come away with some fab pieces and may not need to try on, thus avoiding long hot queues. 

I kept my colour palate simple as I was shopping for versatile pieces for my holidays.

Autograph white T Shirt and Cream Full Midi Skirt……….

The T Shirt is very Cos like and quite structured for a T with a simple pocket and a bonded hem. 

The skirt is beautiful it has so much material heavy cotton, with pockets and reduced from £50 to £25 such a bargain. 

Stripy strappy Blouse and Striped 3/4 Wide legged pant……..

Love this top. The stripes keep it simple though you can play around with the bows for different looks. 

The pants are the perfect holiday pants,  off white with a stripe so you are far enough away from white jeans. Also practically shorter than palazzo pants so you can wear from the Mediterranean to the City. 



Shop the M&S sale here

M&S Sale 
Hope you liked the post.  Have a great week, Love DSB X