Gucci, Chanel, Louis: My Go-To Handbags

Designer handbags are my favourite accessory.

I look for classic styles when making a new handbag purchase but my go-to designers are always (round of applause please) Louis Vuitton, Gucci and Chanel. They produce timeless. luxe, quality pieces that are feminine and classic.

I’m going to take you through my top 3 designer handbags and show you how I’ve been wearing them recently.

First up, the Gucci Soho Leather Medium Handbag in Beige with Gold Chain (a bit of a mouthful to say, right?!).

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I love this bag! It’s my Spring best friend and I’ve been wearing it everywhere recently both in the day and as an evening bag.

The quality of the beautiful beige leather is beyond anything I can try and explain through words. It’s that stunning slightly grained leather that’s soft and oh so luxe.

I wore this at the weekend with an all neutral outfit for a family gathering (Reiss ‘Lille’ blazer in Pearl, Hugo Boss pale pink pencil dress, Kurt Geiger tan wedges, Gucci rose gold watch and Marc Jacobs cream and gold bangle).

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The champagne gold detailing of the chain adds such a stunning, luxurious edge to what could be just a plain beige/tan bag. It gives it a special edge. I love the fact that the Gucci logo is imprinted in the same colour so only slightly visible – much more subtle.

Next up is the ultimate handbag every gal should have in her wardrobe – the iconic Chanel 2.55 Classic Flap Quilted Bag in black with gold hardware.

I’m actually unsure of the actual size – it’s not the classic size – but it’s not the really large version – so I’m guessing this is the medium!

I’ve worn this bag to death and must admit, I don’t think I’ve looked after it particularly well which is completely my error because of not realising just quite how delicate the leather is.

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I don’t even know what to say about this bag. It’s just a dream! I tend to wear it in the evening with an all black outfit (or recently, monochrome!) but I’ve also been experimenting by using it as a day bag with a soft beige trench (Reiss) and ripped jeans (Zara).

I’d say the only downsize to this bag is that it scuffs. So you need to be extra careful when using it and putting it down anywhere. I do feel that you can’t go wrong with this style though as it’s ultra chic, classic, timeless and just beautiful quality. All hail Chanel!

Let’s not forget Louis.

Louis Vuitton is one of those brands that can be either awfully chavvy or really timeless, elegant and glamorous. The latter is exactly how I’d describe the next star of the handbag show – the Louis Vuitton Neverfull.

 

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I actually love this bag so much that I’ve got it in all colour ways and in a mix of sizes. My go-to is the cream large size. It’s perfect for the gym, work, travel, holiday (as in the picture above with a beach dress)…every occasion!

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I’ve got the classic LV print in the medium Neverfull and the brown Damier Ebene Canvas. I love them all but would say that the cream is my favourite.

The great thing about this bag is that you receive a clutch within the tote…so it’s perfect for evening wear! You’ll see below that I’ve style the clutch up with a nude bandage dress (Topshop) and white blazer (Zara) in one picture and then a navy bodycon lace detail dress (Whistles) in the other picture.

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Who’s your go-to designer? And which bags are you loving this Spring/Summer? Do leave me a comment and let me know!

My Top 3 Beauty Essentials

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Spring is in full bloom.

The brighter days and warmer weather have encouraged me to chase a flawless, radiant complexion ready for my holiday.

As you may have read in one of my previous beauty posts, I’m addicted to the Dior Hydra Life skincare range which I’m using religiously day and night.

But who said there’s not room for another amazing skincare brand within my Spring beauty wardrobe? Enter Clarins.

I’m in love with Clarins.

And in particular, the Clarins Gentle Foaming Cleanser with Shea Butter. My cleansing routine is almost like a ritual; I pride myself on taking good care of my skin using an array of products to cleanse, tone and moisturise. This has been instilled into me by my Mamma who, like me, is a beauty junkie.

This Clarins cleanser is just beautiful both in texture and smell. It’s as gentle as a cleansing milk, and as effective as soap, but it doesn’t dry skin out at all – it’s just ultra comforting.

I use this particular cleanser as part of my skincare routine because I have combination skin and occasionally get dry areas.

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This product is perfect as the targeted ingredients for dry or sensitive skin mean it works to preserve the skin’s natural moisture balance. Perf!

The smell of the beautiful, nourishing Shea Butter is just incredible! I adore the texture of this cleanser – it turns into a kind of creamy mousse when mixed with water and just floats away all traces of make-up.

I use this in the shower and just love how the lightweight, gentle lather easily rinses off  so easily.

I’m also infatuated with the Clarins Eye Contour Gel! I use this daily as a treatment for my under eyes to reduce puffiness, minimise dark circles and for my eyelids to soothe, tone and cool the area.

It gives such a wonderful feeling of freshness and vitality plus it’s ultra-light weight (and non-oily) so suits even the most sensitive of eyes. This is a go-to beauty product for me and I always repeat purchase.

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I’m also OBSESSED with L’Occitane hand cream.

So many people forget to show their hands a little love! It’s so important both for skin and nails.

I’ve tried so many hand creams and always come back to L’Occitane world-famous hand cream made with shea butter (key ingredient theme running through this post, ey).

My absolute favourite is the ‘Almond Delicious’ hand cream. Not only does it smell divine, it’s also just so nourishing and softening for hands.

This hand cream is enriched with almond milk and almond oil and is silky-smooth in texture. LOVE! It’s perfect to pop on your desk at work to keep those hands beautifully soft.

 

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What are your top 3 beauty essentials? Comment below and let me know – I love hearing about other people’s skincare routines and new products!

The Tanning Products I Can’t Live Without

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Spring is finally here and Summer is just around the corner so it’s inevitable that we’re going to be revealing much more skin. So, it’s time to get that sought after Summer glow to ensure you’re head to toe flawless (in the words of Bey).

My go-to tanning brand for my faux glow is St. Tropez.

Believe me, I’ve tried pretty much every fake tan on the market from mass to prestige brands and come back to St.Tropez every time. Why? Because St. Tropez doesn’t streak (win), it uses a green base tone which gives the olive skin-tone vibes whereas other brands use a red base which creates the umpa lumpa vibes (!), it doesn’t smell of a packet of biscuits and it’s aspirational – remember the Kate Moss advertising campaign?

My usual go-to product is the St.Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Lotion – it’s amazing and gives perfect results every time. However, I’m also a fan of the St. Tropez Self Tan Classic Bronzing Mist.

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It’s still the usual iconic, healthy and natural looking tan but offers a 360 degree spray nozzle (which just makes tanning so much easier!) and is ideal for hard to reach (or see) areas like your back, ankles and back of the legs.

I’m loving this product and will definitely repeat purchase.

I was amazed at how easy it was to apply, it’s easy to see where you’re applying it, it’s quick-drying (I was in my pyjamas pretty much straight after tanning), it’s non-sticky and it feels so lovely on the skin – like a golden veil! I was also really happy with how even it was the next day – it looks so natural and golden. Just like I’ve been on a week’s holiday!

I’m also completely head over heels with the St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Sculpt and Glow Body Lotion. In a nutshell, this new product from St. Tropez claims to define and sculpt your body with tan toning technology, using natural sea algae and hyaluronic acid.

Don’t be put off by the word ‘acid’. Scientific studies have shown that hyaluronic acid (we have 15g naturally in our bodies) improves skin hydration, stimulates production of collagen in skin, works as an antioxidant and free radical scavenger and maintains skin elasticity – which is why it’s often added to these types of products.

I’ve been applying this lotion daily. I assume it’ll take around 4 weeks for me to really see if there’s a difference and I’m more toned…so we’ll see. But in terms of the feel of the product, it’s wonderful. The cream is thick but absorbs into the skin really quickly and it smells nice too, which is always a win! I’ve definitely noticed more of a sun-kissed glow, which is great on weeks when I perhaps don’t want to apply fake tan.

I’d highly recommend getting this product with the St. Tropez Gradual Tan Plus Luminous Veil Face Cream. I absolutely love this product as it instantly brightens my complexion in the morning and leaves almost like a light reflecting sheen. It’s also really hydrating so won’t block your pores and it gradually builds a beautiful glow so you almost feel like you’re wearing some make up – great for weekends when you perhaps want to keep it low key.

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The final product in my tanning haul is the utterly brilliant St. Tropez Instant Tan Finishing Gloss

This product was first seen on the SS17 catwalk to give models the perfect Summer dewy glow and it’s my go-to product for nights out. It creates a beautiful high shine effect that then washes off – so you’re not committed to the high shine tanning look – it’s perfect for using on your legs to create pin up pins!

It goes really well with the St. Tropez Bronzing Mist too, as it simply enhances the tan and makes it look slightly more bronzed with a skin finishing sheen. I also just love how the product looks – so summery and glistening!

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I’d suggest you use an applicator mitt for the gloss and bronzing mist…as it’ll get messy otherwise! I use the St. Tropez Applicator Mitt as it’s softer than most other mitts I’ve used and doesn’t ‘scratch’ my skin.

I’ll aim to do a post on how to perfect your fake tan application too just to give a few tips I’ve learnt over the years!

What are your go-to tanning products? Are you in-love with any of the St. Tropez products I’ve talked about? Leave me a comment and let me know!

If you’re interested in reading up on St. Tropez and researching the products I’ve talked about, just head to the St. Tropez website to learn more.

A few images below using St. Tropez:
Results using the St. Tropez Gradual Tan Luminous Veil Face Cream below under make up for an additional glow/bronzed effect
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Results below using the St. Tropez Classic Tan Bronzing Mist

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Why I’m Using Dior Skincare This Spring

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Winter has officially left the building!

With the promise of warmer months ahead, don’t just think about updating your wardrobe – it’s so important to transition your skincare regime from Winter to Spring, too. Take a close look at your current routine and attempt to build up a Spring/Summer skincare collection that will keep your skin protected and beautifully glowing.

We all know that rich creams are great for added luxury and protection in the Winter but far too much for the warmer months. Switch to a lighter, more hydrating face cream for Spring/Summer that will keep your skin hydrated without causing an over-production of natural oils.

To welcome Spring with open arms, I’ve chosen Dior’s Hydra Life range to help my skin become stronger, more luminous and plumped for the warmer months ahead.

This brand new range from Dior is absolutely beautiful; not only does it smell incredibly fresh and inviting, it’s also highly concentrated in natural ingredients and offers new-generation hydration in a strikingly fresh formula that helps activate the skin’s natural defences.

The first product I’ve purchased from this range is the Dior Hydra Life Lotion to Foam Cleanser. It’s beautiful and smells just like Spring to me! This lotion is different to a lot of other cleansers out there – it’s a liquid to look at but in just one pump, the lotion transforms into a rich and airy foam cleanser. It’s also highly concentrated in natural white tea leaf extract which is a great antioxidant for the skin, effectively removes all traces of makeup and deeply cleanses, purifies and refreshes the skin. I use this in the shower and it just makes my skin feel refreshed, revitalised, cleansed and polished.

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The second product I have welcomed into my Spring skincare regime, is the Dior Hydralife Deep Hydration Sorbet Water Essence Aqua Serum.

This is the most amazing 3 in 1 formula in just one single step as it has the ultra-concentrated moisturisation of a serum, the radiance boost of a gentle peel and the toning effect of a lotion. It’s a translucent blue liquid texture which immediately looks refreshing and revitalises the skin. The formula is actually concentrated in Mallow and Haberlea leaf which promotes youthful radiance; I can really see a difference in my skin after just a month of using this product – my skin is glowing, clear of blemishes and feels truly radiant without make-up.

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The final product in my Spring skincare overhaul is the Dior Hydra Life Fresh Hydration Sorbet Creme (isn’t the name amazing in itself?! It makes me want to eat it!).

This is, hands down, my favourite product out of all three purchases; the sorbet creme moisturises, nourishes and rebalances the skin for 24 hours after application, while helping strengthen its natural defences. The celadon blue creme-gel texture offers a breathtaking refreshing effect and is like silk against the skin. I’ve used this for just over a month now and my skin feels much healthier, much more hydrated and incredibly smooth as a result.

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It’s so important to address the shift in climate and further exposure to external aggressors by incorporating new skincare products that will aid your skin’s needs this Spring. So give your skincare regime a much-needed Spring clean to get brighter, healthier skin this season.

It’s important to go into department stores and ask questions about what’s right for your skin – there’s no one formula fits all – I’m all for hydrating my skin in Spring/Summer and am drawn to specific brands (namely Dior and Clarins for my skincare purchases) for their quality offerings. The Dior Hydra Life range is a welcomed addition to my new Spring/Summer skincare wardrobe and I’ll be re-purchasing all three products when needed – they’re dreamy.

What’s your go-to skincare brand? Have you tried and fallen in love with Dior’s Hydra Life range? Do you have any Spring/Summer skincare tips?! Leave me a comment and let me know!

Chanel Beauty Haul: The Products You Need This Spring

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An iconic, luxurious and truly elegant brand, Chanel is the epitome of timeless, classic style across both the fashion and beauty realm.

Chanel’s covetable beauty collection fuses the desirable world of fashion and beauty together so perfectly with exclusive products that just scream glamour. I’m a beauty junkie (always have been and always will be) and I love to try new products on a monthly basis. Yet one brand keeps me running back for more – and by more, I mean both repeat purchases and buying into new products – all hail Chanel.

It’s finally Spring and for the vast majority of us, that means a more dewy, golden make-up look, peachy shades and a nude lip. I’ve actually been lusting after a new bronzer for a while but there are so many out there that it can become blinding as to which brand to go for and which finish to aspire to achieve.

For those of you that have read any of my previous beauty posts, you may recall me singing the praises of Tom Ford’s ‘Gold Dust’ bronzer – a beautiful golden powder bronzer with a subtle shimmer. It’s beautiful and still a favourite product of mine, but as the season’s change so does my skin and I have recently found that the powder has been clumping slightly on certain areas of my cheeks.

Which got me thinking – why hadn’t I ever tried a cream bronzer? The perfect solution.

I’d read such positive reviews about the Soleil Tan De Chanel bronzer – a cream gel formula – that I knew I had to try it. It’s amazing. Revolutionary in fact.

So, here’s the low-down. This cream-gel bronzer glides on to skin to leave a velvety finish and I’d describe the final look as unbelievably sun-kissed yet natural with a matte effect. The gel-powder texture is actually created by a composition of mineral waxes which create the ease of application and mineral powders for the truly mattifying result.

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I purchased the Chanel Touch Up brush to use with this bronzer and literally apply it as if I’m only making small retouches, starting in the centre of the face and working outwards blending well. So imagine small circular motions from the centre of your cheek outwards and repeat. It’s a stunning product and one that’s now firmly on my beauty radar. I’ll be repeat purchasing, for sure.

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I also purchased the Chanel Blush in shade ‘Orchid Rose’. It works wonderfully well with the bronzer and just simply enhances my complexion with a peachy glow. I’m not a fan of bright or overly stark blushes and much prefer peachier tones – this fits the bill, perfectly. I have tried other shades of Chanel blush before and they just weren’t for me so I’m really pleased that I’ve finally found The One.

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Lastly, I re-purchased my most favourite beauty product EVER – Chanel Lipgloss in Beige Star 206. I’ve used this for probably 5 years and don’t plan on letting it go anytime soon. I layer this gloss over Tom Ford Nude Vanille or Sable Smoke lipstick to create my preferred nude lip. The thing that I love about Chanel lipglosses is that they’re not sticky in anyway whatsover, the colour is long-lasting and highly pigmented so you get an almost creamy lipstick effect. And, the colour of nude/beige is just incredible – beyond perfection.

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What products have you purchased to update your Spring beauty wardrobe? Are you also a fan of Chanel beauty? Leave me a comment and let me know – it’s always great to hear from fellow beauty addicts.

Here’s the final look!

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You can purchase the products I’ve mentioned in my blog post, here:

Soleil De Tan De Chanel £36 http://bit.ly/2ioMzvj

Chanel Touch-Up Brush £34 http://bit.ly/2mKxuVT

Chanel Blush in ‘Orchid Rose’ £34  http://bit.ly/2mX6a70 

Chanel Lipgloss in ‘Beige Star 206’ £22 (I purchased from House of Fraser)

 

 

The Mascara Edit

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When it comes to mascara, we all have different criteria for what makes the best lash booster.

Thicker, volumised, a touch longer; whatever your chosen lash look, there’s a mascara in the big wide beauty world to suit your needs.

If you’ve read any of my previous beauty posts, you may remember that I tend to be a sworn advocate of luxury beauty brands (Chanel Beige 202, anyone?).

I’ve found what works for me over the years and pin-pointed the products that are my personal go-to; from Estee-Lauder’s double wear foundation (to see me through my working day and then to the gym in the evening) to Tom Ford lipstick in Sable Smoke or Nude Vanille (both are different but perfect velvety nudes that create a luxurious veil over the lips). When you know, you know.

With mascara, I always ALWAYS use multiple products. In fact, I use a total of three mascaras all in one beauty routine. Yes. I. Do.

Why?

Anyone who’s worked in the beauty industry will understand that with make up, quite often you need a few products at once to create the right shade or result for you. It baffles me on a regular basis that many women still use one shade of foundation – there’s not one shade of foundation that is the right colour match for your skin. You need two to pretty much custom mix your way to being #flawless. At the moment, I’m using two pumps of Giorgio Armani’s Power Fabric in shade 5.5 mixed with Estee Lauder’s Double Wear in Ivory Beige.

It’s similar with mascara; I’ve found what works for me. And it happens to be three amazing mascaras used in conjunction with one another.

My heroes?  Le Volume De Chanel in Noir. L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes in Extra Black and L’Oreal Paris False Lash Sculpt Mascara in Black. The result?

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I use the Chanel mascara for the first layer, creating longer, plumper, thicker lashes followed by L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes which then continues to elongate the lashes whilst giving an amazing fanned out look.

I then finish off with L’Oreal Paris False Lash Sculpt Mascara which amplifies all of the latter by curling the lashes – the great thing about this mascara is that it really is the finishing touch as the amazing comb brush coats and lifts lashes from the root. So you’ll see an impactful result, immediately.

This product is the must-have out of all three as you can use it in conjunction with your preferred mascara(s) to get the effect of having curled your lashes. It’s phenomenal. The brush looks slightly odd but it’s for a reason – I gently press the brush on my waterline, filling in between the lash roots, just like a liner. It sculpts out and defines even the smallest lashes, charging them with volume from root to tip.

L’Oreal Paris Volume Million Lashes in Extra Black  |   £10.99

Buy from The Hut Group, here: http://tidd.ly/1273daab

L’Oreal Paris False Lash Sculpt Mascara in Black |  £10.99

Buy from The Hut Group, here: http://tidd.ly/d6ac462e

Chanel Le Volume De Chanel £26.00

Buy from Selfridges, here:  http://www.selfridges.com/GB/en/cat/chanel-le-volume-de-chanel-mascara_437-73004626-LEVOLUME/

Top Tip:

I now tend to order a lot of my beauty products from The Hut Group just because they’re prompt with delivery, and they always have stock for the L’Oreal mascaras when I’ve run out and need them quickly!

You can browse all their brands/collections here:

http://www.awin1.com/cread.php?awinmid=2547&awinaffid=321805&clickref=&p=  

 

 

 

 

What I Wore This Weekend

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This weekend was an exciting one full of celebrations.

It was my Dad’s 73rd birthday and after several years of ill health, it was wonderful to just celebrate and enjoy this occasion with all the family.

We ventured to Buckinghamshire where my brother, his wife and divine Baby George live and had a lovely long Birthday lunch at The Bedford Arms Hotel http://www.bedfordarms.co.uk/ full of multiple bottles of wine and lots of giggles.

I’m not great at dressing casually.

I’ve always been an over-dresser because my motto is it’s better to dress up than to dress down. One designer that matches my ethos is Balmain;a designer that I am utterly obsessed with.

Pierre Balmain’s Creative Director,  Olivier Rousteing, is an inspiration to me – his vision, understanding of women’s bodies and designs surpass all other designers in my opinion; his designs nail glamour each and every time. And anyone who knows me knows I love glamour. Whether it be gold hardware on a jacket to add a touch of luxe or a satin material for a boyfriend blazer rather than cotton or crepe, to me these little touches are what dresses up casual dressing…if that makes sense!

So anyway, I can’t afford Balmain.

BUT it’s an absolute fashion goal of mine to own a Balmain blazer and I vow to work hard to achieve that goal. So, in the mean time, I’m replicating the look I love from Balmain’s collections by looking to the top end of the high street for help. And that’s where my favourite high street store, Reiss, comes in.

I searched high and low for a Balmain blazer replica and Reiss nailed it.The luxe nature of the fabric and the addition of gold hardware make it as close to Balmain’s style as you could possibly get. I styled the blazer with my blue Zara ripped jeans, a black silk Zara vest which I tucked in to the jeans for a sleeker silhouette and then my camel scarf from Joshua Ellis. I started out wearing my flat black leather Kurt Geiger ankle riding boots and then switched to Michael Kors bronze court shoes for a smarter lunch look. And of course, my trusty Prada tote which is the bread and butter of my wardrobe!

My second look was the same blue Zara ripped jeans styled with my over the knee grey suede Carvela for Kurt Geiger boots (reduced in the sale now if you want them!) and then my Vince silky striped shirt from Harvey Nichols.

Vince is actually another brand I’m loving at the moment –  a USA classic contemporary designer clothing line with the concept of luxury basics, that are casual and made of high-end fabrics, but moderately priced.

As a design concept, Vince could be described as a fashion equivalent of good old comfort food. Dedicated to true basics, such as plain cotton tees, striped sailor tops and khaki shorts, Vince is a beloved staple in every fashionista’s wardrobe and has established a huge celebrity following.

I picked up my shirt in the Harvey Nichols sale recently for £55 – a sophisticated bargain, bebe. Again, I added my Joshua Ellis camel scarf and my classic Barbour jacket when I hit the outdoors post full English breakfast!

Do you prefer to dress up rather than dress down? What are your go-to high street stores to replicate high end designer? I’d love to know! I’ve included the links to the brands from this post, below.

https://www.reiss.com/

https://www.vince.com/

http://www.zara.com/uk/en/woman/jeans/view-all-c719019.html 

https://www.kurtgeiger.com/women/shoes/boots/over-the-knee-boots/supper-grey-suedette-carvela-kurt-geiger

http://www.joshuaellis.co.uk/