11/29/2013

Go With The Flow


Dress: New Look (Inspire) via ASOS.
Cardigan: New Look (main range).
Tights: Lida.
Shoes: Vintage (via Red Bows Boutique).
Flowers in hair: My beloved Pearls & Swine.
Necklace: Primark.

Last Saturday my amazing flatmate Katie had somehow managed to find herself with a spare ticket to see Queens Of The Stone Age, one of my favourite bands. This year I feel like I've not been to nearly enough gigs, although the ones I have been lucky enough to go to have been incredible and this was no exception!

Best seats in the house for QOTSA.

Excited faces!
I had felt like nothing was going to top seeing Savages and Teeth of the Sea at The Lexington earlier this year when they had come together to say goodbye to music magazine, Stool Pigeon. Sound City Players fronted by Dave Ghrol had been a close second, but seeing Josh Homme belt out all of my favourite songs from the earlier albums amidst the newer, more atmospheric songs was something pretty special. Gig wise this year, it really has been much more about quality rather than quantity. I'm hoping next year brings more free time away  from work so I can explore the music scene I once loved so much. I live so close to Camden that it feels almost criminal to not be at the Barfly or Black Heart to see someone play once or twice a month! 

Seeing more live music might just be the one news resolution I will make and keep!

Until next time,
Diana xx

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(All photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.) 

11/27/2013

How High The Moon - The Baroque Flapper Dress from Simply Be.

The amazing Baroque Flapper Dress from Simply Be.
With a big art deco themed DJ gig coming up, I was absolutely flustered by what to wear. Traditional flapper dresses don't suit my hour glass shape, and I was struggling to find something which didn't resemble a potato sack, or even worse, cheap fancy dress.

Lucky for me, the lovely people at Simply Be sent me the gorgeous Baroque Flapper Dress and have absolutely saved the day! The 1920s inspired flapper style is perfect for shimmying behind the decks, with the intricate beading creating points which pull in to give it some shape. It's fully lined and sparkles from all angles with the scalloped edges acting as a stunning design feature.

 Baroque Flapper Dress from Simply Be.
Detail of the sequins and beading on the Baroque Flapper Dress from Simply Be.

Detail of the scalloped edges and beading on the Baroque Flapper Dress from Simply Be.

Whilst I haven't quite decided how I'm going to style it (it'll be without the 1940s hair for a start!), I am certain to end up wearing my lovely La Luna necklace and art deco inspired ring from Tatty Devine with it.

La Luna Moon Small Necklace in Opal (£40) from Tatty Devine.

Tatty Devine art deco inspired ring (no longer available).
I absolutely cannot wait to wear it next week, and will be sure to grab some photos of the final look pulled together with 20s hair and make-up. In the meantime, if you'd like to buy one for yourself to get you through the party season, you can find it on the Simply Be website here for £100 (stocked up to a UK size 26).

Until next time,
Diana xx

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(All product photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)

11/17/2013

Cherry Lips - My Favourite Red Lipstick For Festive Flirtations.

Despite having two large make-up bags filled to bursting point with a collection of red lipsticks, I will always be happy to discover another which I just can't live without. Blue based, pink based, matt, sheer - there are so many to transform my face from day to night with the mere flick of a lid.

The transition to Autumn and Winter often brings beauty trends which are lead with a slew of vampish shades, and as we get closer to the sparkling fun of the party season, there really isn't a better time of year to find your perfect shade. The five below are the current selection fighting it out in my main make-up bag, all red, yet all incredibly different.

1. Bésame Colour Lipstick in Bésame Red (£22).
Bésame Colour Lipstick in Bésame Red (£22).

Bésame Cosmetics produce a line of vintage inspired beauties for your make-up bag, with their reproduction packaging as much a key feature as the product inside. Their lipsticks come in a range of reds, but it is their signature shade - a semi-matte, feather proof blue based vibrant red which has become my go to shade for every special event or photo call. The vintage inspired gold bullet shaped case comes in it's own red velvet protective pouch for storage, and the lipstick itself is enriched with vitamins A, E, C, aloe and green tea. I feel like a silver screen siren whenever I use it, with it's navy undertones cooling against the pinkness in my pale skin.

2. Lipstick Queen in Scarlett Red Sinner (£20).
Lipstick Queen in Scarlett Red Sinner (£20).
When my lovely sort-of-sister-in-law gave me the pow-packed Scarlett Red Sinner by Lipstick Queen for my birthday, I was over the moon! This had been on my to-buy list for as long as I could remember. The full coverage red is incredibly pigmented, opaque, matte and yet somehow still manages to remain creamy and rich on the lips. Although it leans towards the cooler blue based lipsticks, it's not quite the navy undertones of Bésame and as such sneaks under the day time radar, especially when teamed with a soft, 1940s style flick on the eyes.

3. Dainty Doll in 002 / Saucy Sailor (£12.50).
Dainty Doll in 002 / Saucy Sailor (£12.50).
I found the idea behind Nicola Roberts' Dainty Doll to be a great concept. With the palest shades of drugstore foundations often still a little on the yellow side, she created a range of products for pale skinned people which really caught my milk bottle faced attention when it first launched. I was sceptical when the items quickly seemed relegated to online discount bins, but upon seeing this lipstick reduced to just £5 on Amazon, I thought I'd take a chance. It was the name which convinced me, and I'm glad I purchased it as the lipstick offered a moisturising, modern take on the classic red lip. The colour is evocative of the 40s screen siren, but it's shiny finish made it day wear friendly. If you google the name, there are quite a few online shops offering this lipstick for around the £5 mark so grab yourself a festive bargain whilst you can!

4. Barry M Ultra Moisturising Lip Paint  in LP160 / Black Cherry (£4.49).
Barry M Ultra Moisturising Lip Paint  in LP160 / Black Cherry (£4.49).
Barry M are proof that you don't need to spend a small fortune to get a highly pigmented colour pay-off. Available at pocket money prices, their new range of Ultra Moisturising Lip Paints are made with lip loving Cocoa Butter - perfect for battling the winter cold! Black Cherry is the ultimate Christmas vamp shade - the dark purple-red feels a little film noir, and is perfect for bringing your inner femme fatale out to play.

5. No7 High Shine Lip Crayon in Berry (£9).
No7 High Shine Lip Crayon in Berry (£9). 
The No7 High Shine Lip Crayon in Berry is my go-to product when I need to make an impact, but don't have much time. The berry colour is gorgeous, and it's crayon format means it's incredibly easy to apply yet still finishes as a beautiful high-shine gloss. As it's sheer, it's also a product which despite the intense colour, easily passes as day wear. I frequently wear it to meetings with gold eyeshadow and a soft pink flush on the cheeks to create a striking look which isn't too overpowering.

(Note: This is an honest, impartial review after purchasing an item, and not one which I have been paid for.)

Until next time,
Diana xx

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(All product photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)

11/16/2013

Harmless Sparks - My Favourite Sparkling Nail Varnish from Barry M.

As someone who is utterly useless with any sort of DIY nail art, I cannot get enough of glitter nail varnishes. Although I am happy to wear them all year round, I love the additional tinsel coloured ranges which always appear in the lead up to Christmas, with the Barry M range being my firm favourites this season. With both Boots and Superdrug offering three for two across their cosmetic ranges, I couldn't resist on giving my nails a festive make-over and picked up my three favourite shades to get me through the party season.

1. Royal Textured Glitter Collection in TNP 9 / Purple Countess (£3.99).
Royal Textured Glitter Collection in TNP 9 / Purple Countess (£3.99).
The Royal Textured Glitter Collection has five shades in their range, but Purple Countess really spoke to my inner drama queen. The purple base is more pigmented than what you would normally expect from a glitter varnish, with a firework display of purples, oranges and gold glitter competing to bring the most bling to your finger tips. This is one of those rare varnishes where you can throw two coats over a base coat and have some serious talon action going on, but I tend to wear it over a coat of black, aubergine or bordeaux reds. The glitter is fine but dense, offering a solid coverage of sparkle with a matte finish - perfect for all those Christmas parties on the horizon.

2. Royal Textured Glitter Collection in TNP 8 / Lady White Pearl (£3.99).
Royal Textured Glitter Collection in TNP 8 / Lady White Pearl (£3.99).
Lady White Pearl is another varnish from the The Royal Textured Glitter Collection and although I'm normally all about the vampy nails, it was love at first sight. Two coats of Lady by itself gives a shimmering white base with a fine but solid pearly glitter. When worn by itself, nails look like they're covered in a fine dusting of snow. However when put over a soft grey or white base, the varnish offers up a proper disco ball sparkle. Like the rest of the varnishes in the Royal Textured Glitter Collection, it dries matte and works great by itself or as an accompaniment to a coloured base coat.

3. Jewel Glitter Nail Paint in 355 / Gold Mine (£2.99).
Jewel Glitter Nail Paint in 355 / Gold Mine (£2.99).
Being a bit of a 90s grunger at heart, I do love a good black nail varnish, and the black jelly base to Gold Mine if the perfect mesh of rock and roll with glamour. It has a fine golden glitter running throughout which is easy to layer up with two coats or one over a coloured base. The jelly's high shine and super sparkly finish make this the perfect polish for those who want to feel festive whilst retaining some rock and roll chic.

All three of these nail polishes are available directly from Barry M as well as most large Boots and Superdrug stores.

(Note: This is an honest, impartial review after purchasing an item, and not one which I have been paid for.)

Until next time,
Diana xx

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(All product photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)

11/15/2013

Baby, It's Cold Outside.

There's no denying that we are quickly falling into the first flush of Winter. The Autumn leaves are crumbling to dust underfoot, Christmas prints are a perfectly acceptable form of day wear and your skin feels like it's gone five rounds with a cheese grater thanks to a mixture of radiators, air conditioning, bracing winds and overheated inside spaces.

Whilst none of us are going to complain about switching from cocktails to hot chocolate and high heels to ankle boots, our skin can be a huge problem as we step into the colder months. As someone who has spent most of their lives battling with belligerent and often quite irritated winter flare-ups, I thought I'd share what I've found to be the holy grail of Winter wonders.

My skin type is naturally very dry. A mixture of English and Irish genes have led to milk bottle paleness which flushes bright red at any temperature either side of hot or cold. As such, I've hunted for a range of products which where possible are paraben and perfume free so as to avoid further irritation.

1. Botanics Ultra Calm Skin Relief Serum (£3.99).
Botanics Ultra Calm Skin Relief Serum (£3.99).
Regardless if my skin feels tight from sleeping next to a radiator or it's just been scrubbed within an inch of it's life to remove make-up after DJing, this serum, without fail, manages to calm it down and ensure it feels hydrated. It is made in part by marshmallow which has a calming effect on sensitive skin, and also includes liquorice and Linden Flower to help reduce redness.

2. Botanics Ultra Calm Skin Calming Night Cream (£4.49).
Botanics Ultra Calm Skin Calming Night Cream (£4.49).
I discover this wonderful pot of gooey goodness quite by accident. I had been using it's day cream equivalent for quite some time and having run out, was struggling to find it in any stores. Out of desperation I brought the night cream hoping it would tide me over, but feared that regular daytime use would lead to my skin being oily. I couldn't have been more wrong - being slightly thicker than the day cream, it's acted as a natural defence against the elements whilst keeping my skin happy and hydrated, even under foundation. Like the serum, the night cream is armed with marshmallow and Linden Flower ensuring that my face is calm and flake-free.

3. No7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser (£9.95).
No7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser (£9.95).
On days when I've been shooting outside in the wind and rain, or when my face just needs a little bit of a pick-me-up, I bring out the No7 Hot Cloth Cleanser. It does exactly what you'd expect it to do from it's name (and even comes with it's own cloth) but I also found it to be an excellent, rich face wash for when you need an extra burst of moisture but are short on time. Although this isn't part of the No 7 dry skin specific range, I've found that even my dire, problem skin is left looking healthy after using.

4. Smith's Rosebud Salve (£8).
Smith's Rosebud Salve (£8).
Rosebud Salve is one of those products which I see in almost every make-up artist's kit. I've seen it used on lashes to make them look thicker, on lips for gloss, even eyebrows to keep stray hairs in place. However it's also a tiny tinned whiz for cracked hands, chapped lips, small burns and relieving itchy skin. I've even been known to use it on my entire face overnight when my skin has been in extreme dire straits. I'm not going to lie - it feels like covering yourself in a nice smelling, non petrol based version of Vaseline, but the results are worth it. I always keep one in my handbag, and although it can be quite difficult to find in the UK, you can normally source them online through Amazon if the link above is out of stock.

5. Badger Balm (£6.99).
Badger Balm (£6.99).
Badger Balm is the tough talking big sister to Rosebud Salve, with it's ultra-rich, ultra-moisturising balm tackling all the big problem areas which Rosebud couldn't quite get. Although it is a heavy feeling balm rather than a lighter absorbent salve, this is the go-to product to put on your feet, hands and any other skin complaint just before you go to bed. Whether it's a cracked heel or an eczema flare up, Badger Balm never ceases to amaze me. It can also be used as a muscle rub, has antiseptic properties if you've cut yourself and is also made from USDA certified organic ingredients and contains no chemicals or petrolatum. Plus it smells like Christmas, with a strange pine and menthol scene. Although you can buy this from the link above, I've often found it cheaper in nicer independent pharmacies.

6. Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion (Travel Size - 50ml - £1.50).
Palmer's Cocoa Butter Lotion (Travel Size - 50ml - £1.50).
Palmer's travel sized bottles of Cocoa Butter are another key item which stay in my handbag over Winter. It's light enough that I can use it on my face as a regular moisturiser (especially on my nose during flu season) and it's great for putting on your hands if you need something to sink in at lightening speed. Enriched with Vitamin E, the smell will also have you wafting back towards tropical sunshine during the most coldest of days with a scent evoking memories of sunshine and chocolate.

This post was 100% influenced by Daisy from Spaced; "It's not as easy as that Tim! I can't just pluck another Winter skincare dos and don'ts out of the air!"



Until next time,
Diana xx

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(All product photos (c) Diana Thompson / Fashion Loves Photos. Please do not reproduce without written permission.)

11/10/2013

Dear Catastrophe Waitress - Red And Black Tartan Dress from Yours Clothing.

One of my favourite things about the transition into Autumn / Winter trends is that we see a shift towards grunge led aesthetics but built into softer shapes. I love skater dresses as they suit my figure and evoke a slight feeling of 50s flounce when spinning around in them.

When I saw this tartan number from Yours Clothing, my heart almost burst with happiness as it really spoke to both the vintage loving and 90s wildchild sides of my personality.

Dress: Red and Black Check 2 in 1 Tartan Dress with Patent Belt (£30) from Yours Clothing.
Handbag: Vintage.
Leggings: Black Basic Cotton Elastane Leggings (£10) from Yours Clothing.
Red Shoes: Vintage via Red Bows Boutique.
Roses: Pearls and Swine.

I was a little worried about how it would fit across my chest, as black material has a tendency to stretch to white when under pressure. I needn't have worried though - the dress is a very generous fit and the slim belt really nips in nicely at the waist. The scoop neck is high enough to make this dress a very versatile item, and is one which can easily be smartened up with nice heels or grunged down with an oversized boyfriend cardigan.

This is one of those dresses which I can already tell I will live in, and am already looking forward to it's next outing!

(Note: This is an honest, impartial review after purchasing an item, and not one which I have been paid for.)

Until next time,
Diana xx

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11/09/2013

Picture This. (The Perfect Nude Lipstick!)

Anyone reading this who's met me in real life knows that I almost always wear red lipstick. My make-up bag contains a collection of sheer pinky-red lip crayons for day, dramatic matt blue-red lipsticks for night and all manner of red tinted beauties in-between. If I were ever to actually count the amount of red lipsticks I own, I am certain I would lose track very quickly!

Pretending to be a model on-set for London portrait photographer, Tom Perry. Roses by Pearls & Swine.
I think I began to realise just how out of hand my obsession had got when I turned up to a photoshoot where I was pretending to be a model for the day, and realised I had brought more red lipsticks than clothes!

I tend to attempt a style aesthetic reminiscent of sometime between the 40s and 50s - faux bangs, pin-curls and tea dresses are a big part of my daily dress-up. However I have struggled for years to pull off the more classical vintage day time look with a beautiful classic nude lip - being neither blonde nor Brigitte Bardot, everything I tried was far too dark and brown on my pink tinged pale skin. I looked washed out and zombiefied, or even worse - like I just hadn't bothered putting any make-up on at all!

L'oreal Collection Privee by Julianne Moore - the perfect nude for my pale skin and *cough* red hair.
Step forward the game changing range from L'oreal, with the Collection Privee containing a series of stunning nude shades designed specifically for a range of skin tones. The six shades are Doutzen Kroes (Barely Pink), Eva Longoria (Barely Golden), Cheryl (Barely Greige), Freida Pinto (Barely Parma), Liya Kebede (Barely Moka) and of course Julianne Moore (Barely Peach).

My goofy, happy face wearing L'oreal Collection Privee by Julianne Moore. Necklace by Tatty Devine and Roses by Pearls & Swine.
The Julianne variant from the Collection Privee range really shocked me when I first tried it out. I initially opened the tube and immediately saw what I thought was going to be a frosted pink nightmare, but it melted onto my lips into a soft, barely there peachy-pink offering a lovely pearl luminescence. I was utterly smitten, and so happy to have finally found the perfect nude which worked with my very pink toned pale skin.

Will it tempt me away from my reds? Never - but it has certainly given me a day time alternative where I can shoot in the studio or go to meetings and feel a little more Audrey than Bettie. It's always good to have lots of choices - even if 98% of them are variants of red!

(Note: This is an honest, impartial review after purchasing an item, and not one which I have been paid for.)

Until next time,
Diana xx

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11/07/2013

Kiss Kiss


Recently my darling boyfriend Howard visited Chicago for a conference, and being the wonderful man he is, brought back with him something I'd had my beauty loving eyes on for ages.

I am a sucker for the cosmetic alchemy contained within most ladies make-up bags, and E.L.F cosmetics (Eyes Lips Face) have been a beauty favourite of mine for a few years with their cruelty free range equally kind to my bank balance. Their Daily Brush Cleaner in particular has been a key part of my make-up kit for years, but it was their Disney Villains collaboration which had me swooning over my laptop.

E.L.F. Maleficent Palette.
Sadly the Disney Villains series, designed "for the villainous beauty in you" was only on sale in selected American branches of Walgreens and as a Londoner on the wrong side of "the pond", I had given up any hope of ever getting my hands on one.

The collections were a fantastic idea - E.L.F. took four key Disney Villains (Maleficent, Evil Queen, Ursula and Cruella DeVille) and created a day and night look using their core colours as inspiration. The "look book" came with instructions, a palette of six eye-shadows, a mascara, kohl-liner, liquid liner, lip-gloss, eye primer and a blending brush, all for just $9.99 (approximately £6.21).


You can probably already tell where this story is going. I was over the moon when Howard had tracked one down whilst visiting Chicago, and couldn't wait to test it out upon his return!

The Day and Night "Maleficent" looks as suggested by the E.L.F. lookbook.
How I would use the "Maleficent" to create something which I could wear everyday in the studio.
With regards to what came in the box, it was a great introduction to some of the products I'd never used before. As E.L.F. is such a budget brand, I had overlooked some of their main products on account of them being so cheap but their eye primer and lip gloss were wonderful. The liquid liner was a strong, solid black and the mascara lifted and lengthened far more than I thought possible for such a cheaply priced item. Even the eyeshadows which I had again previously overlooked had a buildable quality to them, with the brown shade proving great at doubling up as a brow-cake.

Coincidently, I had also placed an order with the UK branch of E.L.F which arrived the same day I received my gift, and has already been used in conjunction with the lookbook and the rest of my make-up kit.

I used my E.L.F. angled foundation brush to apply the Mineral Infused Face Primer.
My favourite item in the delivery was the Mineral Infused Face Primer (£6), which has made my foundation stay put even when shooting in the studio. I chose the "clear" one which gave my skin a surge of moisture and a blank canvas on which to apply my foundation.

The Baked Blush in Pinktastic (£3.75) offered a lovely, soft wash of colour to bring out my cheekbones a little more, whilst the High Definition Powder in Translucent (£6) masked any imperfections and set my foundation in place for the day.

The MakeUp Remover Pen (£3.75), Mascara & Shadow Shield (£3.75) and Mineral Glow in Shimmer (£7) were all brought as impulse purchases, and I was very excited to work with them. The pen was perfect for removing those unsightly liner or mascara smudges offering flawless touch-ups throughout the day. The shield too does exactly what you'd imagine it would and solved the problem of how to put mascara on my lower lashes without looking like a black eyed zombie by the end of it!

The Mineral Glow was perhaps the most interesting product. 100% mineral based and with no parabens, preservatives or chemical dyes, this pink based shimmer leaves a radiant glow wherever it's placed. Perfect for legs, arms, cheeks and collar bones, this pot of sparkle will be shimmering right into my party season beauty arsenal once Christmas gets a little closer.

As excited as I was to receive my gift, I was even more happy to have Howard home in one piece as his flight was the last to leave Chicago as the UK braced itself for the worst storm it's experienced in decades. Being a bit of a night owl when editing, I finished a particular set of images a little after 2am and realised that if I left shortly after, I would make it to Heathrow with more than enough time to meet him off the aeroplane. At this point we had only really started to be pelted with rain, and I knew the worst was to come just after he landed and felt that a horrible journey from Heathrow to North London would be made easier by a sleepy girlfriend holding coffee.

Green Park during the start of the UK Storm - the first change in a network of over 2 hours of night buses!

Although the journey took over two hours to complete across a series of nightbuses, I felt so happy when I found myself walking into the International Arrivals area at Heathrow's Terminal 5. So armed with coffee and a book, I dried off and waited, having been awake for almost 24 hours by the point and bubbling with caffeine fuelled excitement!


His face when he walked out and saw me was probably one of the loveliest things I've ever seen and made the rain soaked journey more than worthwhile. And armed with the knowledge of what was and wasn't working on the London transport network, we managed to navigate our way home swiftly and happily with the longest we'd ever been apart finally behind us. 

(Note: This is an honest, impartial review after purchasing an item, and not one which I have been paid for.)

Until next time,
Diana xx

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11/06/2013

Sweet Head (Two birthdays, Halloween and a wedding.)


I know that this post comes a little late to the party, but I really love October. Not only do I get to revert back to being some sort of sugar engulfing eight year old with Halloween, I also get to celebrate my birthday, Howard's birthday and an assortment of other people's happiness which this year included a wedding.

This Halloween I was DJing at Whiskey Kittens, where I had an assortment of tricks and treats ready to play. With Howard away at a conference in Chicago, it was always going to feem more like a "girls night out" with some of my best friends and they certainly didn't disappoint with costumes ranging from a siren like Medusa to  the most incredible Sugar Skull make-up I've ever seen.


I decided to go as my favourite anti-hero, Daria complete with her trademark big fringe and *cough* "round" glasses.

Green Cardigan: Primark
Mustard Yellow T-Shirt: Primark
Black Skirt: ASOS (in the sale for just £14!)
Tights: Lida Tights
Green Sequin Collar: H&M
Record Necklace: Tatty Devine.
DM Boots: Stolen from boyfriend.
Glasses: eBay.

One of the most important lists of all lists, ever.




One of the other things I love about October is that mine and my boyfriend's birthdays are very close together. Although we will celebrate them together separately, the Saturday in the middle of them is normally reserved for a birthday blow-out with our closest friends. This year, it was a Saturday of booze, cakes and boardgames. And when I say cake, I wasn't messing around...











And then of course there was the wedding. One of my dearest friends had made the jump in the most happiest of ways, and so it was a weekend of celebrating in the countryside with my camera in tow.


Fascinator: SaiSai in Camden.
Dress and Cardigan: Matalan.
Tights: Lida Tights.
Iridescent Hearts Necklace: Tatty Devine.

The weekend was beautiful, and I felt lucky to have my most favourite arm candy with me - my dapper gentleman.

Although the day of the wedding was quite stormy, the return journey through the British countryside was filled with the most blissful sunshine and Autumn scenery.


All in, October has been  a pretty fantastic month and with November kicked off in style with fireworks and mulled wine, I can't wait to see what else it has to offer!

Until next time,
Diana xx

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