THE PERFECT, CASUAL SUMMER DRESS.

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This is what 'happy' is.

Evenings spent with loved ones, in rural surroundings, with the nigh on smouldering warmth of an intensely hot, evening sun basking on our shoulders.

And what better a dress to gleefully dance about the fields than this?

4 WAYS TO MAKE SOMEONE'S DAY.

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I've spoken a fair amount about increasing our own happiness levels here on BTB.

From simple ways to better your mood to beautiful, positive mantras to brighten your day, and heck, I even have a whole series (14 months strong! I'm such a proud mother ;) dedicated to what's been making me happy lately.

But a part of our own happiness and self-fulfillment is linked with doing for others and giving back, so we ought to ask ourselves - what are we doing to make those around us happy?

I'm sharing 4 simple ways to make someone's day, most of them free, won't take up a lot of your time, and all them absolutely worthy and gratifying.

SUMMER.

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I'm having a bit of a reflective moment.

The kind where you've committed yourself to stopping, amidst the bustle of your ever-busy routine, to think about where where you are, and the little moments that make life what it is.

I know I have my 10 Things series but I don't tend to really purge my current thoughts, feelings and present ramblings into one post on here. Like the diary-like mentality I still sort of wish for this blog. I think it's because there's quite a bit going on behind the scenes that I'm not yet ready to document? I'd like to in time though.

Also there's always the option that no one would want to read it! ;)






There are a few things I hate about summer, that I don't remember hating until it comes around again each year. The first of which is hayfever. I've mentioned it many a time on Instagram especially already but why exactly it seems to be so bad this year I have no idea! Mornings are the worst by far. It wakes me up at around 5-6am and I've got to sit upright against the v-pillow and try not to sniffle too much as F tries his best to be supportive.. The heat as well. F's infamous for being 'the human-radiator' so cooling down at night is definitely a struggle in this weather!

But there are many things I love about this time of year.

Everything is decidedly lush and green in the garden. We've had bouts of giant peonies and beautiful cascading roses, and now we're onto produce in all it's glory. Fat green beans, that look far too heavy to hang so delicately from those spindly stems, entwining themselves with the peas. And it's the raspberries that have impressed me most this year. We've been getting a bowlful every few days, our rambling plant churning out beautifully sweet, sunsoaked fruit, plump and dark red from lazing about in the heat.




Outfit details

Navy broderie top - on sale here but more sizes here (and in white here!), White wide leg trousers (comfiest clothing item ever), Straw hat with ribbon (and a different ribbon), Flip flopsOversized sunglasses





There's a little lake nearby our house that's so beautiful this time of year. I love going down there with F in the evenings when it's cooler and the sun's starting to dip behind the trees, casting a golden glow about the fields (one that I would've liked to have captured more of had my camera not have thrown a tantrum and given up the ghost..). It's right about this time of year that the lighting around an hour before sunset is just the most beautiful light I've seen, picking up all the tiny particles in the air and sets them aglow - it gives me goosebumps.

I couldn't imagine living in a city again. I love being so close to rural, idyllic countryside now - it speaks to the very soul of me. I love that we're so close to London too, and that I can be there in under an hour door to door but I can't help but wear a little smile when, on the train home, I dip back into fields, greenery and wide, open space.

Today's post seems somewhat aimless in comparison to my usual. But I enjoy it's meandering and unimpeded nature. And I may well do more of these. I'll no doubt love looking back over these thoughts in months and years to come and remember what little moments were filling my head at the time. I think part of that instinctual rigidity regarding writing comes from school day's of writing essays and being drilled not to veer from the essay title, and to make sure you had a succinct intent and conclusion. All of which I can now eschew with sheer abandon now that I'm an Adult and can write whatever the heck I want ;)

So with that, here's to July, aimless meanderings, and eschewing with abandon :)



xx

MY CURRENT SKINCARE ROUTINE.

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Barely-There-Beauty-blog-flatlay-photography-lifestyle-skincare-routine

I chop and change with my skincare.

And because I haven't spoken about it for a while, I wanted to share today my current 'routine' and some of the items I've been really loving to use lately. My skin isn't itself at the moment due to the very warm weather we've had in the South East and the unrelenting hayfever that's making it dehydrated and sensitive, so a lengthy routine of exfoliants, retinoids, treatments and creams just isn't for me right now.

Instead I'm reaching for gentle, comfortable formulas that are light, clean and don't impede my day.

So stay tuned for some of my current favourites - I'll see you after the jump break :)

GINGHAM.

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There have been a few fashion trends/styles that were rife in my childhood wardrobe of the 90's, and after a very long hiatus, have come full circle.

Denim jackets and heavy embroidery are but a couple of examples.

Anddd.. gingham.

24 STRAW BAGS TO LOVE THIS SUMMER.

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Along with just about every blogger and even slightly fashion-minded person this summer, I'm embracing, appreciating, loving, straw bags for the summer.

They're perfect for holidays, going to the farmer's market, and make the best transportation for all your picnic essentials.

I've been having a scour for my own collection and wanted to share some of my finds - whether you're after plain and unadorned or embellished and fun, a tote, crossbody or clutch, something splurgeworthy or dirtily affordable, there's a straw bag out there for you!


10 THINGS THAT'VE MADE ME HAPPY #14

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10 things that have been making me happy recently :)


PETERSHAM NURSURIES // LA GOCCIA.

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Ever since Petersham Nursuries opened their Covent Garden branch, I've been excited for to try their new sibling restaurants.


SIZE 14: BEING A FASHION INBETWEENER.

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Being a size 14 in the fashion blogging world is almost like no mans land - an a la mode purgatory or middle ground if you will.

Over the last 10 years or so, I’ve been everything from a gaunt size 6 to a rubenesque size 18, yet this ‘happy medium’ is probably the place that feels most odd to me since I’ve taken up ‘fashion blogging’, or more, sharing photos of what I’m wearing on the Internet. I put fashion blogging within quotation marks because I feel like it seems to fall into two categories on the internet, neither of which I feel like I fit in with.

I’m absolutely not slim enough (or toned enough!) to sit among the quintessential, cookie cutter 'Instagram girl/fashion blogger' etc, but at a UK size 14 (16 on a bad day ;) I’m not large enough to be
classed really as plus size.

A'PIEU SOO BOO JI // THE KOREAN LINE FOR COMBINATION SKIN.

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I won't pretend that the clean, minimalist packaging of A'pieu's Soo Boo Ji line didn't draw me in, but I was also pretty interested by a Korean range specially formulated for combination skin.

There are a few skincare items to the line and a couple of foundations, but the SPF 50 lotion (that claims to be both non-whitening and non-greasy) and SPF 50 cushion were what I was most interested to try.

A GARDEN OF ROSES, MOTTISFONT.

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Although Great Dixter comes a close second, I've visited no more magical a garden than the rose gardens at Mottisfont.

Among the deep, herbaceous borders filled with perennials, there are thousands of roses in the stunning walled garden.

And what with my gorgeous floral dress and actually bothering to curl my hair, I feel like as dainty as Julia of GMG!

I thought it only appropriate to grace this beautiful haven, with an equally beautiful (but inexpensive!) dress - I'll see you after the jumpbreak :)


THE RUFFLED MAXI SKIRT I'M GOING TO BE WEARING ALL SUMMER.

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Today's post is in honour of the item in your wardrobe that you:

1) initially like the look of but then overlook instore,
2) lurks in the back of your mind as the regret of not purchasing creeps in,
3) is out of stock in your size when you finally go back days later to buy,
4) is available in your size in a different store yay!
5) becomes one of your favourite items of clothing.

I'll meet you after the jumpbreak for more ;)


FATHER'S DAY.

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It's a bit of a bumper post today, so buckle up and bring snacks!

I've shopping to share, a quiet little spot for drinks, a new restaurant find, and of course for next week, my Father's Day Gift Guide.

I'll meet you after the jumpbreak :)


SUMMER READY, BARELY THERE BASES.

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I go through foundation phases.

It's my favourite aspect of makeup to try, and I'm always intrigued when a favourite brand launches a new one.

Sometimes I prefer a powder foundation, occasionally I'll even opt for a matte, fuller coverage liquid, but most of the time, I always reach for something that feels and looks light on the skin, that evens out my skin tone a little but looks effortless and natural.

As we're into June now, today I'm sharing some of the summer ready, skin perfecting, barely there bases that float my boat. See you after the jumpbreak friends!

PASTEL BLUES + PASTEL HUES.

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From a girl who used to wear exclusively black, a pastel blue top and heaven forbid white trousers seem like a big departure from those distinctly dark days!

I think I'm in a process of really honing in on my personal style, after consecutive phases of a) wearing all-black, b) worrying about my weight gain and what I can 'no longer wear', c) eschewing style altogether in favour of comfortable clothing and d) being sucked into fashion/Instagram/blogger trends that aren't actually very 'me'.

It's quite fun documenting the process here on BTB too. I recently started a new style series of 5 of my current favourite items in my wardrobe, and I'm absolutely adding this perfectly floaty, broderie top into the mix in retrospect - I've been wearing it incessantly lately!

I stumbled across it online and it's just as pretty in person - the perfect shade of pastel, cornflower blue. It's over 40% off at the moment too!

THE PERFECT DENIM JACKET, TWO WAYS.

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Whilst we've had some gloriously hot days in the UK lately, there's always the need for a coverup of some sort when the weather is this changeable.

I haven't worn a denim jacket since childhood. I think I had one with little embroidered patches all over the back, that possibly came with a matching set of dungarees or a little denim pinafore, back in the days when mum would dress me in United Colors of Benetton and Gap Kids.

Funny how things often come full circle isn't it?

Although I'm not going to burn your retinas today with the colourful striped tights and double denim of my youth, I am going to rave about the perfect denim jacket I recently picked up (30% off!), and show you two very different ways to wear it. I'll see you after the jump break!

5 FAVOURITE ITEMS IN MY WARDROBE RIGHT NOW #1

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I wanted to start a new style series here on BTB, partly because a) I've been really enjoying doing more fashion orientated posts more recently and b) the recurring structure of a series keeps me motivated as a writer.

The title has potential for change but the premise is that I just want to share five star items that I'm currently loving from my wardrobe right now, it's as simple as that!

I'll see you after the jump break for l'édition numéro un!

WISTERIA HYSTERIA, GREY'S COURT.

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Visiting National Trust gardens (or ones to that effect) is one of F and I's favourite pastimes, and I had a couple of scenes I wanted to tick off my list this year.

Grey's Court, Oxfordshire, is a gorgeous little country house, set amongst rolling hills, with pretty walled gardens, and is thankfully really close to us! I've been several times before but I really wanted to visit this year when a) the cherry blossom and b) the 130+ year old wisteria were in full bloom.

HOW TO GET A LIVED-IN SUMMER GLOW, SANS MAKEUP.

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I've seen countless articles and tutorials on acquiring that ever coveted glowy skin look, but nigh on all achieve it with the hefty use of highlighter, bronzer and luminisers - completely fair game but I'd ideally like my skin to emit it's own glow without the use of makeup.

And I often get questions on how I go about it, so today, I want to share exactly that!

How to achieve a lived in, natural, subtle summer glow, for face and body, without an item of makeup in sight.

Meet me after the jump break and I'll share all my secrets ;)

GLAZED RHUBARB + CUSTARD TART.

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We've had rhubarb growing in the garden for as long as I can remember, so other than a tasty stick of blushing pink sourness, it's a bit of a fond memory for me.

I was so happy to see that our plant had sprouted some rosy stalks this year, and immediately set about creating something delicious to show them off!

This glazed rhubarb and custard tart is an all round winner. I've been handing out little portions to neighbours, friends and family and they've all been coming back for more!

I'll meet you after the jumpbreak for the recipe :)

STYLE ME BLUE.

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I feel like all the new additions to my wardrobe lately are an aria to blue.

Deep, rich navy, cornflower and pastel, blue and white, blue with a hint of sunshine yellow, it's all fair game!

You know, the reason you may not have seen much blue clothing from me over the last couple of years, is because a) I was a tad shy of being on the other side of the camera and b) because blue had no place in my Instagram theme at the time - how ridiculous does that sound now?! Trying to swap out my favourite blue-wash jeans in order to appease my self-set colour story rules.. ;)

But blue is well and truly welcome again, and I've so many fabulous finds I'd love to share with you today!

(I think the exact print I'm wearing above is sold out online unfortunately because it's desperately comfortable and breezy, but there are a couple of different prints/patterns here!)



1. Stripe Button-down Cami (so inexpensive)
3. Navy Broderie Bib Top (UK | US) // A cheaper alternative // An even cheaper alternative!
4. Ditsy Floral Wrap Dress (UK | US)
5. Embellished Raffia Slides (UK | US)
7. Ruffle Swimsuit (comes in a bikini set too, and a couple of other colours)
8. Striped Pineapple Tee (perfect summery feels!)
10. High Rise, Straight Leg, Raw Hem jeans (tick, tick and tick!) Love this lighter wash too.
11. Navy, Polka-dot Bardot (comes in a few colours and designs)
13. Tassle Earrings (these mini beaded ones are gorgeous too)
14. Blue Suede Shoes! (UKUS)



What's your favourite blue number at the moment? Hope you're all having a great midweek!


xx


MY HEAT-FREE HAIRCARE ROUTINE FOR FINE, DELICATE + THINNING HAIR.

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Let me tell you about my hair.

Ever since being hit hard with Telogen Effluvium several years ago, it's gone from being thick, glossy and easy to style to being fine and incessantly frizzy. 

I've spent a good while trying and testing products and methods that are both gentle on it and keep it manageable, and I feel like I've finally narrowed it down to a routine I'm happy with. My routine is now gentle, minimising the damage and breakage that I'm seemingly so susceptible to, and gives volume, body, bounce and a soft wave that holds all day. It's particularly great for fine or thinning hair that could do with a boost.

And best of all, it's heatfree and really easy

Stick with me and I'll show you how I go about transforming a frizzy, knotted, thinning mane to (comparatively) beautiful tresses, and the select few products that make the grade. See you after the jump break!

OOTD // SPRINGTIME CITY CHIC.

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It's been absolutely beautiful in the Home Counties over the last few days, perfectly timed with the Bank Holiday weekend so that each and every one of us can enjoy a little summer-like sunshine with a chilled drink on hand.

Mine's anything gingery at the minute, I'm obsessed with it lately!

I've been making an attempt to clear out my wardrobe a little and found this navy, silk dress lurking in a crumpled pile somewhere near the bottom. With it's flouncy hem and little mother of pearl buttons, it's a classic beauty, and a quick steam later, it was ready to wear!


6 WAYS TO EMBRACE NATURE FOR WELLBEING.

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I think we can all agree that there's something really fulfilling and uplifting about being surrounded by the great outdoors. Maybe it's the fresh air, feeling happily small and inconsequential when you're somewhere remote, or getting you away from yet another phone/PC screen, Mother Nature has a way of soothing our weary, digitalised souls.

And a growing number of studies are confirming that, putting forward evidence that a connection with nature makes us both healthier and happier people.

I think incorporating more nature into my life has been my favourite part of my wellness journey. I feel more creative, inspired, restful and refreshed when I do. And there's much more that you can do than simply go for a walk on your lunch break!

Here are 6 ways to incorporate nature into your life - !'ll see you after the jump break!


SPRING STYLE FINDS UNDER £50.

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Does anyone else think the high street has improved greatly over the last few years?

I've been really enjoying shopping at stores such as Anthropologie (always), J.Crew and Mango lately, and there are so many good quality items available that are really reasonably priced. I've a bunch of pieces on my current Spring wishlist (let's be real, you should know I've already purchased several items ;), all of which are under £50!

1. Pearl Pansy Earrings (US | UK)
2. Tortoiseshell sunglasses (US | UK)
3. Classic Denim Jacket - A smidge over budget but there's always an offer to be had, currently 40% off!
5. Striped Ruffle Dress - I love this. Available in 2 striped shades and 2 broderie.
6. Blue + Yellow Floral Scarf - available in 22 different prints!
8. Taupe Espadrilles - I think these peep toe ones are cute too.
9. Rattan Bag - will probably sell out quickly, but this one is pretty identical!
12. Huarache Sandals - these ones are great if you want a rich brown/closed toe, and you can't go wrong with these ones at only £25!
13. Yellow Crossbody Bag (US | UK)




I'd love to know what bargains you've been loving lately :)


xx

10 THINGS THAT'VE MADE ME HAPPY #13

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Another installment in the 10 Things series.

Meet you after the jump break for the little things that have been making me happy lately :)

A FULL FACE OF BOBBI BROWN.

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I've had a number of questions re. my thoughts on Bobbi's new longwear foundation, so as well as sharing those today, I thought I'd do a full face from the brand, because I'm really loving their makeup at the moment (I've just seen they have new sparkle shadow sticks too *heart eyes*). I'll see you after the jump break!





IVY CASTLE VIEW, GUILDFORD.

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If you saw my last post, you'll have seen a snippet of our brunch at The Ivy, Chelsea, and funnily enough, the very next day, I was invited to the opening of it's sister restaurant - the Ivy Castle View in Guildford! (massively exciting as it's so close by *heart eyes*)

OOTD // TOWN + COUNTRY.

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The town and the country mice. Does anyone else remember that old story?

If I were a mouse, I'd definitely be of the country variety, but there's a bit of the town mouse left in me! And I think that's fairly reflected in my clothing choices too.

I recently popped on the train into London and met up with my friend and fellow blogger, Nish, for lunch at the Ivy Chelsea Garden (a gorgeous, bustling spot where you can disappear into anonymity) and we had the most glorious weather! I decided to go with an incredibly comfortable, practical outfit of city classics with just a smidge of country style.

THREE OF MY BIGGEST SKIN CONCERNS + MY FAVOURITE PRODUCTS TO SOLVE THEM.

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On the whole, my skin tends to behave itself (apart from hormonal blemishes which often run rife once a month). I do however have a few skin concerns, that if I'm not careful, can become a bit of a problem. There are certain products that immediately come to mind when my skin is playing up. Whether that's from dryness, sensitivity or dullness, I've come to know what are my favourite problem-solving skincare items are, that are sure to give me a boost.

I've already spoken about how I tend to deal with acne and acne scarring - all of the points from that post still stand if you're curious!

So let me share with you the items I reach for in my times of need! See you after the jumpbreak :)

OOTD // HALFWAY-SPRING FLORALS.

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I feel like I've been living in jumpers and jeans (and a particular pair of cosy cable knit socks) for most of 2018, and we're now into the fourth month of the year!

I know the UK is somewhat famed for it's.. "temperate" weather but I think there's only been one day this year I haven't had to wear a coat. Until (and I say this tentatively) now??

F and I took a little shopping trip to Windsor the other day, and whilst it wasn't particularly sunny, it was mild! So whilst I'm still donning this classically gorgeous pair of boots and some fairly thick tights, I'm also wearing what I think is my first dress of the year, and my new favourite coverup. See you after the jumpbreak!

10 THINGS THAT'VE MADE ME HAPPY #12

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April April April. I can't believe we're already there. Although I'm pretty excited for Spring now. I feel like I keep saying so too.

Here's what's been making me happy lately :) See you after the jumpbreak!

FINDING YOUR PERFECT SCENT
+ MY THOUGHTS ON CHLOE NOMADE.

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I'm getting excited about Spring now.

We're starting to see signs of warmer weather on the way - I drove past a magnolia tree today with buds almost fit to burst, and it was the first day this year I've put the aircon in the car on! 

I find the change in seasons really exciting - an excuse to refresh and reboot our wardrobes, our makeup and skincare, the foods we eat and ingredients we cook with. And, an excuse to buy yourself a new Spring scent. Because there's nothing like a new perfume to set you up for a new season.

SPRING FAVOURITES.

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It's time for Spring favourites! A little style, a lot of skincare, a dash of makeup - I'm sharing the pieces I'm coveting most this season, so see you after the jumpbreak! :)

OOTD // ANOTHER PAIR OF BLACK JEANS.

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You know what. I'm so ready for Spring. We've had two occasions in March of being snowed in and I'm fed up of wearing black jeans (although surely not as much as you are of seeing them ;) Feel assured in the fact though that I've managed to buy some blue/standard denim ones! Including these perfect straight leg jeans that I found for £20, for what I can only think was an incredibly fortunate pricing error?!).

But F and I did brave the blustery, pre-snow conditions the other day for a bit of a country stroll, and I took the camera with us. So if we can just be OK with a bit of an OOTD (because I really like these boots - although *note*, don't walk through wet grass/moss/mud with them on their first outing..) including black jeans you'd really make my day. Well alrighty then, I'll take that as a yes ;) See you after the jumpbreak :)

A FULL FACE OF CHARLOTTE TILBURY
FLAWLESS FILTER + LIP SERVICE TRIO REVIEW.

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I've quite a few Charlotte Tilbury favourites by now, and there have been a few new launches that I'm excited to talk about, so today I thought I'd do a makeup look using all of my favourite CT products, and trying out the new ones. Grab yourself a mug (mines a ginger and honey) and I'll meet you after the jumpbreak!

CHARRED LIME PRAWNS + RICE SALAD.

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Charred Lime Prawns + Rice Salad | Barely There Beauty blog

As far as food is concerned, I'm finally looking forward to Spring!

Eating healthily has pretty much been off the radar completely - there's nothing like cold (and snowy..) days to make me crave braised meats, rich, hearty fare and general naughtiness (sticky toffee pudding I'm talking about you).

But now that we're halfway into March, I'm finally seeing a lift in the weather, yippee! We took Jasper out for a long walk on the heath today and it was warm enough to ditch the scarf - a first for 2018, and so I'm newly in the mood for some fresh, Spring grub.

COUNTRY WEEKEND CAPSULE WARDROBE.

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F and I have had quite a few weekends away in the country lately. Only nearby - Sonning, Oxfordshire, Wiltshire etc - but I adore them. Having grown up in Surrey, the English countryside will always keep a place in my heart, and I think the older I get, the more attracted I am to gardens, country walks, and the slower pace of life. I used to be almost fanatical about living in London, determined that the second I finished uni, I'd be there, all hustle and bustle in the city - it's funny how your outlook can change quite so much isn't it? I wouldn't change my little rural life for the world now :)

Anyway, I feel myself going off on a bit of a tangent so I'll quickly zip back round to the point of today's post! F and I have had a few weekends away in the country lately, and I've been really trying to hone my skills in packing for a short trip, and putting together a failsafe capsule wardrobe that will see me through the few days with enough options, and won't leave me trailing around lots of baggage!

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