Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Blog Crushes 27

Kimberley is crushin' on... Tetris and Cheesecakes

How on earth has this babe slipped the net? Lucie is another Edinburgh blogger that I've known for a while and somehow not included here. She's clever, self-depracating and plain hilarious.
Lucie's a lifestyle blogger rather than a fashion blogger, writing much more varied and in-depth content than clothes (I love me a Lucie rant) but, having known her for a while IRL, her outfits are right up my street. Lucie has a million incredible pieces squirreled away (two words- Isolated Heroes) and I want to raid her shoe collection.  Her penchant for a patterned legging, rainbow hair and all things from her native Canada make her style unique, fun and vibrant. I'll even forgive the onesies because she somehow makes it work. She's not just a creative fashion hoarder though- get into her blog for the big topics.

You can spot Lucie's selfies and vegan snacks on Instagram, or get chatting to her on Twitter. Just keep your eyes off her beautiful dog, Rhod- he's mine.


Helen is crushin' on... The Devil Wears Tartan

Like Kimberley I've gone for a blogger I've met IRL as this months crush. Granted I've only met the lovely Lauren once (at Kim's birthday celebrations in fact) but she was super nice and easy to get along with. Plus I feel like I know her a lot more from reading her blog. That may sound rather creepy but Lauren writes in a really personal way about a variety of different topics; from politics to film and sex to vintage shopping. I admire how open she is about her own life experiences and feelings, something that always terrifies me. It's amazing how she can move from posting about big topics, like feminism and consent, to writing about pizza in a way that seems natural, like having a conversation with a friend. Her style is right up my street too - relaxed and eclectic with plenty of awesome vintage finds.

Plus she's one of my favourite folk to follow on Twitter and her Instagram's rather great too.


We are also lovin'

Monday, 28 November 2016

DIY Christmas: Advent Calendar

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Christmas, Christmas crafting, Christmas DIY, advent calendar, craft, advent
Christmas, Christmas crafting, Christmas DIY, advent calendar, craft, advent

Can you believe it's December on Thursday?! I can't! November has just disappeared in a flash and I'm not feeling terribly organised for the upcoming festivities. No presents have been purchased and I haven't even made a list of gift ideas yet! Luckily our Dundee and Edinburgh festive guides are giving me hope and a bit of a shopping plan.

One thing that's become a festive tradition is that my sister (Heather Mac) and I exchange advent calendars. I try to hand make one for her each year and usually I'm desperately putting it together before the 1st roles around. This year it's the one thing I have organised, all thanks to an advent calendar class making at DCA. I'm keeping this year's design under wraps because I don't want to ruin the surprise, but I thought I'd do a quick DIY of last years effort. It was a speedy and easy one but it did look pretty effective, even if I do say so myself.

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What you'll need:
- Paper bags
- Pegs
- String
- Chocolate
- Decorations

1.) Fill your bags with treats.
I like to go for a mix of chocolate, sweets and mini decorations as advent treats. Tiny toiletries and makeup could also work, hello DIY beauty calendar. Fill up 24 or 25 depending on your preference for having an extra Christmas day treat or not (or base it on how many pegs you have).

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2.) Get your pegs in order.
You can buy ready made advent pegs like I did or make your own. These little ones are from Tiger and they have a number of other great designs in store right now (I checked). If you want to get a bit more adventurous with your DIY you can buy tiny pegs and make your own numbers using felt, paper or draw them directly on the wood.

3.) String it up.
Get your string / ribbon at the ready and attach it somewhere prominent. What's nice about this advent calendar is it also makes some rather nice festive bunting. Peg your bags to the string in any order you fancy. Go for straight through 1 - 24  or mix it up to make it a bit challenging for the recipient.

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And there you have it! Told you it was easy peasy. I always enjoy making Heather Mac's advent calendar. It's fun doing some festive crafting and it's nice to make something pretty for someone. Do let me know if you give it a try or if you have any other advent calendar ideas that I can use for the future. It would probably do me good to start thinking about it now!

Friday, 25 November 2016

Top 5: Dundee Festive Shopping

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We've shared our top five festive happenings in Edinburgh and now it's Dundee's turn. Since the light switch on last week the city has being feeling rather Christmassy. Twinkly lights, freezing temperatures and cheesy Christmas tunes all add to the atmosphere and it's safe to say we're getting in the swing of it. It's definitely time to get started on the present shopping and luckily Dundee has plenty of shop small opportunities coming up. Take a look at our top five:

Meet your Winter Makers 
Neo Design | 25 November - 2 December
An exhibition and selling event packed with lovely items made by Dundee designers. From woodwork and glass to jewellery and ceramics, there's set to be a whole range of choice. What's more some of the designers will be on hand to demonstrate their working methods and there are a bunch of workshops so we can get hands on!

Tea Green 4 Week Pop Up Boutique
The Old Flour Mill | 26 November - 24 December
The last Tea Green Concept Atelier was filled with some of our favourite designers, so we're very excited that they're coming back for Christmas. It certainly is an unmissable line up with plenty of opportunity for gift buying, even if we're sure to want to keep it all for ourselves!

Christmas Night Market
Duke's Corner | 6 December
Food and drink always make for great gifts in our books and this market has an excellent mix of exciting local makers that provide just that. Gin, cake, wine and more deliciousness, plus a bit of jewellery and craft thrown in for good measure. We do enjoy a market where we can sample some of the wares and have a drink as we browse.

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Wasps Studios Christmas Fair
Meadow Mill | 11 December
With studios full of amazing artists and designers, Wasps always put on a great spread when it comes to their markets, fairs and open studios. Last year's Christmas market was a good 'un so we know this time around will be just as good, if not better. With mulled wine and mince pies on the menu expect a whole bunch of festive cheer!
 
PopDundee Christmas Market
The Circle | 11 December
Money can be a little tight around this time of year and gift buying on a budget can be tricky. Do not fear, PopDundee are coming to the rescue with a £10 art and craft market. Teaming up with The Circle ( a new community facility) they're bringing together 50 artists and everything they're selling will be £10 or under! Such a great concept and perfect for ticking off that secret Santa gift.

Bonus event: Thrift-mas at The Circle | 1 December
We couldn't help but mention this additional event at The Circle because it features the fabulous Christina Miller, aka The Daydreamer. She'll be on hand to help sort out your Xmas wardrobe, styling up  basics to give them a little bit more pizzazz. Plus cocktails and canapes are always a winner!

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Now there's no excuse not to make a start on your Xmas shopping! Remember - shop small, support independents and be thoughtful. That's what we're going to be focusing on for this year's festivities! That and eating all the mince pies.


Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Top 5: Festive Events in Edinburgh

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It may be too early for tacky home decorations but we're all starting to feel a bit festive around here. Maybe it's the hygge zeitgeist, or the fact it's now dark by 4pm, but we need some twinkle in our lives. We're also trying (like we claim Every. Single. Year) to finish our Christmas shopping up well in advance of the manic Christmas Eve panic. Last year we shared how you can support independent designers and makers, with our handy 5 Tips to Shop Small This Christmas post. This year we're focusing in on the goings on in our cities- both for shopping and to treat yourself to some seasonal cheer.

Here are some of the things happening in Edinburgh this month:


Street of Light
Starting last year on the Royal Mile, this light display has moved to George Street and opened up last week. There are free music and light performances every night until 20 December, but you do need to book tickets in advance.

Edinburgh European Christmas Market
Obviously, you cannot visit Edinburgh in December without taking a trip round the Christmas market. It's the law. Whether you're sipping on gluh wein, picking up twee wooden deocrations or playing on the fair rides, it's the place to be! And it's handily based in Princes Street gardens, so you don't have to stray from the shops.
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Old Town Christmas Launch- 1st December
Want to feel festive and shop? Head along to Grassmarket for their Christmas light switch on. The lights will be switched on at 7.30pm but there will be entertainment on all day and late night shopping. We're especially looking forward to a mulled wine and mince pie at Godiva (who will also be giving £5 vouchers with every £50 spent). Be sure to also pop in to Red Door Gallery and Hannah Zakari while you're in the area.

Accessory Collective- 25 November to 18 December
Grabbing handmade gifts is made easy by this pop-up shop at Hill Street Design House. There will be lots of jewellery, accessories and homeware in store 10-7 each day, and if you pop along on the opening night (Thursday 24th November 6-8pm) you can browse with fizz. Our style of shopping.
If you're up that end of town, we also recommend heading along Thistle Street to check out the likes of Covet and Kakao by K for really beautiful, quality gifts.


Alice in Wonderland
The Lyceum Theatre always comes up trumps with a Christmas production and this year is a special edition of Alice in Wonderland. Aimed at small children and adults alike, we're intrigued by this Lewis Carrol classic with a new spin.

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Hope your month is filled with mince pies, mulled wine and the perfect gifts for your friends and family (and maybe yourself too, it is Christmas...)
 photo Signature2_zpsc571518e.jpg

Monday, 21 November 2016

Styled by Kimberley: Specsavers

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Max and co glasses frames, glasses trends 2017, bold blue nerd glasses, specsavers designer glasses, how to wear bold glasses, uk style bloggers with glasses, fashion blogger scotland

"Your head looks a lot smaller today" is perhaps my favourite reaction to my new glasses.
I was recently approached by Specsavers to give their latest glasses collection a spin, and I thought I'd give it a go. And they've really upped their game in recent years.

I was once a customer of Specsavers, many years ago. It all started in a rush- at that time I wore only contact lenses, having given up wearing glasses after I lost them in the 2004 tsunami (another story for another time). After living a spec-free life for some time, I got a really nasty eye infection that meant I couldn't put in my lenses (you're wishing this was the tsunami story now, aren't you?). As I was home from university for the summer I had to be led to my nearest local opticians to get Any Pair Of Glasses They Could Give Me In A Hurry. It was Specsavers. I let the adviser pick out the frames for me, as I was essentially blind, and that was that. I repaid their ultra swift service by rudely returning to my usual optician in Edinburgh. Well, he was very cute. Unlike my quick pick glasses, which unfortunately I absolutely loathed. But then I hadn't chosen them in the first place.
(Also, it was mid-00s. All glasses were hideous.)
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This time around, I headed to the Edinburgh North Bridge store and I thought I'd have a good look around, in no rush. All my current specs are either black or tortoiseshell, so I've been lusting after some colour, and I was surprised by the choice. I have a big face, so any smaller frames make me look like a librarian. Not in a good way, either. The Love Moschino range has great chic frames, and I was surprised by how much I liked the Cath Kidston ones. Max and Co are nailing it for strong bone structure like mine though. Specsavers take your photo for you so that you can compare up to four frames at a time. It's ideal for people with a high prescription, like me. I have to admit that even four options at a time wasn't enough for someone as greedy me, as I narrowed down a short list of eleven to try on. So many good options! It was finally whittled down to five, before the final round of three. I ummed and ahhhed until 3 different advisers came to vote in. Of course they each prefered a different frame, forcing me to make the decision for myself.
These Max and Co beauts won out in the end, because the blue was much bolder, but I also really liked these Max and Co ones, which are rounder and more mermaid green in real life. Argh, just looking at them makes me want them again. I'm the worst. Luckily, you won't have that problem as it's 2 for 1 on all designer frames!

I picked them up one week later, with surprisingly few adjustments needed for my potato head, and they've been on my face (and popping up on my social media) ever since. What do you think?
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 If you are also terrible at decisions and would like some excellent advice on picking frames, head along to Specsavers, 27 North Bridge, Edinburgh, for your own frame-picking voting panel.

Thanks again to Specsavers for letting me review their glasses and Ian Finlayson for the photos.
 photo kimberleySignature_zpsf529626b.jpg

Friday, 11 November 2016

Exhibition Vist: 10 Years of Genna Design

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With some of our favourite indie brands disappearing at an alarming rate (we miss you The Whitepepper!), coming across a small business that's been on the go for a decade is certainly an achievement. Genna Design is a business that's done just that. Designer, Genna Delaney, organised an exhibition of her work to celebrate and show the journey and changes in her work over the past 10 years. Normally we like to do studio visits to get a look behind the scenes of a designers work but this exhibition seemed like the perfect opportunity to get a glimpse into the history of Genna Design. Plus, Helen's done her fair share of snooping in Genna's studio after doing some jewellery hot desking there.

The exhibition itself was full of jewellery goodness. From college sketchbooks and early designs, right up to a brand new 3D printed collection, there was plenty of variety on show. The pieces still all linked together with Genna's distinctive style. Inspired by architecture she creates sculptural designs that are extremely wearable. We're big fans of her statement rings, use of colourful stones and the later introduction of perspex pieces. After looking at everything on display we decided it was time to delve a little deeper and put some questions to the lady herself.

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1.) You just celebrated 10 years of Genna Design, what started you off on your jewellery journey?
I first got into jewellery when my Art Teacher suggested it to me. I was in 6th year, studying Art at high school, Largs Academy. I was a tom boy and didn't wear jewellery but really enjoyed drawing and making things. I liked the idea of studying architecture and learning how to make miniature scupltures out of metal. During my SYS studies project, I made Egyptian inspired pieces out of thin copper sheet. I loved it so much that I wanted to learn proper jewellery and silversmithing techniques. So after school, I applied to different universities and colleges studying various courses like interior design and architectural conservation but ended up choosing NC jewellery at Cardonald College as I knew I wanted to physically make things with my hands. As soon as I started working in metal, I was hooked!

2.) 10 years is a great achievement for a small business. What've been your highlights over that time?
I know I can't believe how quickly the time has went. Highlights have been winning a Goldsmiths award in 2006 and them using my image to promote the awards. Winning a Jolomo award and meeting the artist himself (John Lowrie Morrison) and having the opportunity to make lots of special and bespoke pieces for individual clients. I love how jewellery has sentimental value and makes people happy. I'm interested in helping people feel better about themselves and want to pass on my skills, so I am proud that I've started teaching jewellery making classes in my WASPS Studio. You get a great feeling when you give something back.

3.) We're big fans of your statement rings. Do you have a favourite piece or collection that you've made?
Why thank you! I absolutely love making them. My one off pieces are definitely my favourite pieces to make. I enjoy sourcing unusual and rare stones and set them in unique ways. I love using gemstones that have natural inclusions in them like my dendritic quartz ring and the rutiled quartz square wire ring. Each stone is a unique picture or landscape. I love that my statement rings are like miniture sculptures to be worn and adored.

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4.) We love independent makers. Which designers inspire you and what's top of your wishlist?
I absolutely love Irregular Choice and TUK shoes! I have lots of creative friends and really love Judy Scott's textiles and printed, full of colour and pattern! I admire a lot of designers here at Wasps Studios in Dundee. But also love the greats like Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood.

5.) What does the next 10 years hold for Genna Design?
I'm hoping that I'll find a celebrity ambassador to wear my jewels to help raise my profile further. My main goals would be to have my work in the new V&A when it opens in Dundee and to exhibit at Goldsmiths Fair in London. I would love to have my new 3d printed collection exhibited in galleries abroad. I'm also interested in helping people and collaborating with other artists/designer and organisations. I've always continued to change and evolve my brand, so who knows where the future will take me!

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Thanks Genna!

You can see more of Genna's work on her website and if you're looking for a special jewellery shaped something get your order in now. Genna also offers jewellery making classes and, from the many questions asked while hot desking, Helen can assure you that she's a great teacher.

Tuesday, 8 November 2016

Styled by Kimberley: Winter

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You turn around for two seconds and, somewhere between the clocks changing and the bonfires being lit, the temperature in Scotland drops about 10 degrees. I've been dragging out the use of my lighter wardrobe with some autumnal layering but it's now getting to the time where the serious knitwear needs to be pulled on. I took the opportunity to snap up yet another The Whitepepper goodie before it's gone for good with this insect jumper. Is it an insect though, with only four legs and a topsy turvy body? It's pretty cute, whatever it is. The jumper was huge on me at first but a hot wash has made it fit better. I just hope that doesn't backfire on me with future washes!

Although Helen has pointed out that I maybe have a few more winter coats than I need (I swear when she asked to borrow one last month they just kept appearing out my wardrobe like scarves from a magician's sleeve), I never seem to have a good all-rounder that's both cute and weather proof. And fits. I really want to invest in something decent (I see you, Kerrie Aldo) but with my fluctuating weight I can't at the moment. Even the one I'm wearing here is two sizes too big and it's less than a year old. And this is the issue with all my clothes right now.. and ever. The very second I accept my current weight and dispose of ill-fitting clothes, I seem to change again. Trying to consume less while size shifting is a delicate and expensive battle. Hoarding clothes in case they fit again is a whole other, depressing story. I feel a bit guilty while I'm expanding my interests in ethical fashion but what can I do?

Jumper | The Whitepepper
Coat | Oasis
Jeans | from my sister
Brooch | The Sad Ghost Club
Hat | Topshop
Scarf | New Look
Glasses | IOLLA
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Speaking of ethical fashion, last weekend I hung out with London-based ethical blogger Ron McQuade aka Dresses On A Clothesline. She was my Blog Crush last August, although it feels like it's been much longer. We've chatted a bit over Twitter and she reached out to me to meet up while she was in town. I don't know about anyone else, but for me social media friendship is a weird thing. I'm not really one for Twitter group chats or DMing randoms so I mainly stick to idle chitchat Tweets and obsessively liking my girl crushes' photos online. After a while, and with so many people to follow, it starts to become unclear as to whether it's a mutual friendliness or simply a one-sided infatuation.

I'm terrible with names and I get the actual fear when I bump into someone and they say "I know you from instagram!" 99% of the time I do know who they are but I just cannot place them. I keep saying I'm going to clear out my many instagram follows, because I can't keep up... but I really like everyone! I become easily embarrassed if someone recognises me from the blog, because it feels like I'm bragging to talk about it in real life. Then there's other people involved in fashion. When you see creatives, or other bloggers especially, at an event and you're trying to gauge if they recognise you or if you're just a creepy fangirl, it's an awkward situation for all involved. From talking to other people about this, it seems to be insecurity and fear of rejection that can lead to bloggers having a bitchy, stand-offish rep. It's high school cliques all over again. Reject before you're rejected. Or hide before someone realises that you aren't as cool as you might seem online (guilty).

For me, it's a worry that I'll do something embarrassing, like mix them up with someone else in that moment (done that before) but I'm naturally chatty and pretty much force myself on people socially. Just ask Ron! (Or Emily, or Amanda, or Louise.) Ron and I grabbed a coffee and ended up chatting for hours about all things ethical, blogging and fashion. She is pretty cool, and really knowledgeable about her interests, which I really appreciate in a blogger. She was sort of what I expected her to be like in real life, which I think speaks volumes of her writing. Although she's oddly taller than I thought! Anyway, you should follow her too.

All of this has made me wonder about my own blog voice. I'd like to think I come across naturally on the blog, but it's really hard to look at your writing objectively. Then again, rambling at tangents is something I do in real life too, so I probably nail it.
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What are your thoughts on social media following? Am I the only one who feels like a creeper?

Thanks to Ian for taking my photos.
 photo kimberleySignature_zpsf529626b.jpg

Monday, 7 November 2016

Styled by Helen: Winter

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Styled by Helen, Scottish blogger, Wardrobe Conversations, Dundee blogger, winter outfit, winter style, dressing for winter, monochrome outfit, monochrome street style, winter accessories, Tiger, charity shop find, clashing patterns, black and white outfit Styled by Helen, Scottish blogger, Wardrobe Conversations, Dundee blogger, winter outfit, winter style, dressing for winter, monochrome outfit, monochrome street style, winter accessories, Tiger, charity shop find, clashing patterns, black and white outfit, black shoes, black brogues, leaves, fallern leaves, autumn style
Styled by Helen, Scottish blogger, Wardrobe Conversations, Dundee blogger, winter outfit, winter style, dressing for winter, monochrome outfit, monochrome street style, winter accessories, Tiger, charity shop find, clashing patterns, black and white outfit, pom pom hat Styled by Helen, Scottish blogger, Wardrobe Conversations, Dundee blogger, winter outfit, winter style, dressing for winter, monochrome outfit, monochrome street style, winter accessories, Tiger, charity shop find, clashing patterns, black and white outfit

As I mentioned in last week's post, I'm really feeling monochrome for winter and here's an example of that in full force! All through summer I wanted to wear as many bright colours as possible and did my best to avoid wearing black. Now that the nights are getting longer I'm ready to embrace the dark side again. I always enjoy the strong contrast of a black and white outfit, even if it can be a pain to photograph! I'm sure as winter goes on I'll start missing bright colours but for now I'm really going for that full on chess board look. That's a big look for A/W, right?!

This coat was another charity shop find. I didn't really mean to buy it but it just jumped out at me. It's a pretty striking pattern after all. I may have been subconsciously trying to steal Kimberley's wardrobe as she has a coat quite similar. In fact, I'd been enjoying wearing on my last visit to Edinburgh. I hadn't packed for the colder weather so got to raid her vast coat collection in order to keep warm when we were out and about. This one's a bit more on the 80s side compared to hers but it still has an interesting granny vibe that Kimberley does so well, with a bit of mobster thrown in. What I like most about it is that it's super cosy! Well that and the fact it only cost me £4.50. I do love a bargain, especially when it's a relatively sensible and seasonally appropriate one.  

Coat | Charity Shop
Hat & Mittens | Tiger
Top | Zara
Trousers | H&M
Shoes | Deichmann
Scarf | Karen Mabon
Glasses | c/o Spex Pistols

Styled by Helen, Scottish blogger, Wardrobe Conversations, Dundee blogger, winter outfit, winter style, dressing for winter, monochrome outfit, monochrome street style, winter accessories, Tiger, charity shop find, clashing patterns, black and white outfit
Styled by Helen, Scottish blogger, Wardrobe Conversations, Dundee blogger, winter outfit, winter style, dressing for winter, monochrome outfit, monochrome street style, winter accessories, Tiger, charity shop find, clashing patterns, black and white outfit

The hat and mittens are another recent purchase. All of my gloves and mittens from last year seem to have lost their partners so it was time to get some new ones. Also, I loved my pom pom hat too much to the point where it was looking rather worn. I really needed to restock before the cold got too unbearable. This matching pair fit the bill perfectly and helped to full my monochrome craving. Now I just need to find a matching scarf. I love my Karen Mabon one but I think something a bit thicker might be required before long.

I wore this get up for a fun weekend of culture and autumnal adventures. I went along to a talk from  Kengo Kuma, the architect behind the new V&A Dundee building. It was really interesting to see some of his previous work and find out more about the inspiration behind the design of the new museum. From there I popped into Wasps Studios for their open weekend. I always love nosing behind the scenes of local designers and artists so this was a great opportunity to do just that. Even if visiting Judy Scott's colourful space did make me question my monochrome look, that lady knows how to do colour! With a firework display and a walk round the park it was a rather wonderful weekend and I managed to keep warm through out. Of course frolicking in the fallen leaves was a highlight, just look at the happiness on my face!

Styled by Helen, Scottish blogger, Wardrobe Conversations, Dundee blogger, winter outfit, winter style, dressing for winter, monochrome outfit, monochrome street style, winter accessories, Tiger, charity shop find, clashing patterns, black and white outfit
Styled by Helen, Scottish blogger, Wardrobe Conversations, Dundee blogger, winter outfit, winter style, dressing for winter, monochrome outfit, monochrome street style, winter accessories, Tiger, charity shop find, clashing patterns, black and white outfit

How was your weekend? And, more importantly, how are you preparing your wardrobe for winter? I feel like with this outfit I'm getting there but there's still a few steps to go. Winter boots are probably one thing I need to add to this list. Any suggestions?

Thanks to the lovely Heather Mac for the photography.