Thursday, 14 June 2018

Top 5: Ways to Relax with Apex Hotels

Scones and chocolate ducks at Apex Hotel Dundee Elemis products in the You Spa

We were recently invited along to Apex Hotel in Dundee to try out some of their new Elemis treatments in the Yu Spa and to indulge in a spot of afternoon tea. An afternoon of relaxing and pampering? We were so totally in! When was the last time that we had the chance to actually take some time to ourselves? Turns out it had been a while. With working full time, blogging and trying to keep in touch with friends and family, it can be tricky to find some time to just chill. This was the perfect opportunity to do just that and it got us thinking about they key ingredients to make the most of this...

1.) Take some time out
Being 9-5ers in our day jobs, sometimes it's nice to take a day or even just an afternoon off during the week. Weekends can be busy so taking a Monday off for our visit to the Apex was a total treat. Helen enjoyed having a lie-in while everyone else was heading to work, while Kimberley celebrated the end of a work project by leaving the office at lunchtime. There's nothing quite like some out-of-office time.

Gluten free and vegetarian afternoon tea at Apex Hotels dundee Five Ways to Relax

2.) Treat yo' self
Getting a proper pamper is something we don't do often enough. And trying out a new treatment is not something we're very good at as we tend to always stick to our faves. So it was great to get to try something new at Yu Spa. Helen got a Super Foods Facial, while Kimberley enjoyed the Yu Spa Face and Body Sensation.

The Super Food Pro-Radiance Facial included all the cleansing, toning and moisturising you would expect along with two masks (including a peel off one - always so satisfying), a scalp massage and an arm and hand massage. Bliss! The arm massage was a real treat (who knew there could be so much tension in arms!) and the masks provided an amazing fresh faced feeling. Having a minimal face care routine, it felt wonderful to have someone concentrate on that area for an hour.

The Face and Body Sensation doubled up a massage with a facial, starting with a hot stone back and leg massage, followed by cooling gel, then onto an express Elemis Advanced Anti-Aging Facial. Since Kimberley has sensitive skin, she opted during the consultation to swap out the peel off mask for a gel one (similar to a sheet mask) and a cleanser, exfoliant and moisturisers suitable for sensitive skin. The facial with scalp massage was surprisingly relaxing and top of Kimberley's wishlist. In fact, these photos are bare faced.
FYI, it turns out that stone massages involve being rubbed with small heated stones (not just placed on your back like markers, as posters suggest) and it just felt like warm hands.

Both treatments left us feeling super relaxed and glowing - that glow was even commented on as we bumped into a friend just after we left!

Kimberley of Wardrobe Conversations enjoyin gluten free afternoon tea in Dundee Five Ways to Relax with Yu Spa and Apex Hotels 5 ways to relax number 5 eat something tasty

3.) Switch off
Not only were the treatments themselves incredibly relaxing, so was the environment. Spending our working days staring at computers, our evenings staring at laptops and the rest of the time glued to our phones, it can be really hard to truly switch off. Using the facilities gave us time away from all that and their poolside no phone policy meant we weren't tempted to spend the time photographing and scrolling. The rule is in place to stop people feeling self conscious in their swimwear which is great, but the time offline was a nice bonus.

4.) Chill out and get caught up
Getting some time to use the spa facilities also gave us time to chat and catch up without any of those distractions mentioned above. We chatted in the hot tub, we chatted in the sauna, we chatted on the loungers, we chatted in the pool. We did a whole lotta chatting! A lot of the time when we get together just us two we spend most of it talking blog so it was nice to take a break from that and just catch up on everyday life stuff., especially when we got to do so in such nice surroundings. If you haven't seen your bestie for a while we can thoroughly recommend organising a spa day together for maximum opportunities for gossip, chat and deep conversations. We often do it when international friends come to visit because you can talk guilt-free for hours.

5.) Indulge in some good eating
We never hang out without some form of food. Since Kimberley discovered she's coeliac, eating out can be a bit of a minefield. We usually stick to the same few spots so it was great to discover that Apex Hotel do an excellent line in gluten free afternoon tea. Many of the items were the same on both cake stands, or good alternatives and there was not a brownie in sight!

Relaxing with afternoon tea and Elemis spa treatments at Apex Hotels

Thank you to Apex Hotels and Yu Spa for having us and making us feel so welcome. You can take a look at all the lovely treatments they offer here - we can't wait to book back in!

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Styled by Kimberley: Emperor's Old Clothes

This week we've been sharing our love for Brighton-based brand The Emperor's Old Clothes to help them celebrate the launch of their brand new website! And they are offering 15% off their fab ready-to-wear clothing between 7-21 June if you use code EMPERORSW15. What are you waiting for?!

I met the brand's founder, Cecily, back in October last year, at a Godiva shop party in Edinburgh, but I've been following The Emperor's Old Clothes' goings on for some time (by stalking them online, obvs). Hearing Cecily talk about the brand was so interesting, as she is clear that she wants to maintain a sustainable model for quality clothing. All garments are sewn in-house, both ready made or custom. The brand offers an excellent bespoke service where you can receive samples by post and get made to measure pieces. Helen and I borrowed a selection of ready-to-wear items to play dress up with, and I was really impressed by how perfect even the internal stitching was. The attention to detail that goes into every garment is evident.

Even the ready-to-wear selection is somewhat exclusive, as the material used is always from a small run of vintage or end of roll fabrics. You're guaranteed never to turn up to an event matching a someone else's outfit. To be sure of the history of the clothing you can also 'meet' each member of the team on the site and read about their skills. I was surprised to realise that I already knew one of them - I've been following Louisa on instagram for a number of years and I've featured her own brand, Hey Kitsch Kitty on the blog! There's something about making those connections and knowing the people behind the work that makes it more special.

My favourite piece was this wonderful Amy dress in 'Matisse Moment' print. I've been really loving Matisse patterns recently, with many of my latest nail designs being inspired by them. I doubled it up with my fab new Benu Made earrings, which have been on my wish list since forever. Although I seemed to be having a Marilyn moment, I also thought it was time to bring out a dark lip and these huge Jackie O sunglasses that I've had for about a decade. They always make me feel like a film star. Normally I'd pile on the accessories but it's hot and this was fab enough.

Dress | c/o The Emperor's Old Clothes
Sunglasses | Tommy Hilfiger
Shoes | New Look
Earrings | Benu Made

If you love this Amy dress as much as I do you can even buy it! Just don't forget to grab that discount :) And check out Helen's fave pick. If you do get anything, give it your best twirl and share a pic with us! Just tag us on instagram @wardrobeconversations

Thursday, 7 June 2018

Styled by Helen: The Emperor's Old Clothes

Surprise, surprise - it's another red outfit from me! This time around at least I mixed it up with some white and some florals. What can I say, when find a colour I love I just roll with it/ become obsessed.

Turns out The Emperor's Old Clothes is helping to feed that obsession with this fab skirt. Kim and I had a lovely day on Saturday dressing up in a load of different pieces from this indie brand to create some fun images. I definitely confused my neighbours by leaving the house several times over the space of three hours, each time wearing something completely different! Sadly these items were only borrowed and had to be sent back ,but with good reason - the brand launch their new website today! Take a look here, and if you fancy treating yourself, you can get 15% off ready to wear clothing between 7th - 21st June with code EMPERORSW15.

Based in Brighton, this indie brand creates one-of-a-kind handmade clothing using vintage fabrics and end of roll remnants. They have some seriously kick-ass patterns and colours and all of their pieces are beautifully made. This skirt was definitely the piece that felt the most me - the colour and print are both totally up my street. I've obviously gotten used to wearing midi skirts though because this mini felt super short! I don't think it looks that short in the photos but I definitely felt conscious of my legs being on show. I think that's a sign that I need to get them out more often and re-introduce this skirt shape into my wardrobe because it looks pretty cute.

Top | H&M
Patch | Tate Modern
Skirt | The Emperor's New Clothes (borrowed)
Boots | Topshop
Bag | Play Purse
Earrings | Accessorize
Glasses | c/o Spex Pistols

I paired this floral number with a simple white tee. Well, simple for me. The ruffle sleeves make me feel very flamenco dancer and the David Shrigley patch I added make it way more fun. I'm sure I'll embrace wardrobe basics at some point but this point is not it. I have a bunch of patches just waiting for the right items to come along. Adding an iron-on patch is one of the easiest ways to customise clothes and there so many great designs out there to choose from. I quite like just adding one or two so they remain the focus but I've also seen some awesome denim jackets that people have covered in cool patches.

As well as more cool patches, I'm also on the look out for interesting hoop earrings. I really love these ones I picked up at Accessorize because they're the perfect size (and also red) but if you know of any indie designers or shops with similar sized hoops do give me a shout.

My plan is to try and wear some different colours in my next outfit post but I ain't making any promises.

Cheers to The Emperor's Old Clothes for this special discount code for our lovely readers. If you do treat yourself to something nice from their new online store we'd love to see - tag us on Instagram @wardrobeconversations so we can have a nosey.

Tuesday, 5 June 2018

Links We Love 03

Get yourself a cup of tea and a biscuit and let us take you on a tour of our internet highlights and things to watch out for.

  • Erin M. Riley tapestry - this piece in Dazed & Confused showcases the tapestry artist's 'complex, beautiful tapestries about trauma and sex'. Some of her work was on display in Dovecot gallery in Edinburgh last year and they look even more incredible in real life.
  • Dundee Fashion Week Style Studio - we got a nice wee write up from the Dundee Evening Telegraph about the styling we did for Overgate customers. It was a really lovely experience for us to help boost the confidence and wardrobe of lots of fab folk.
  • Kim Kardashian: Stop Hawking Appetite Suppressants to Young Woman! -  (TW) the always on point podcast 'Stuff Mom Never Told you' talk about disordered eating and laxative abuse to show the negative impact of the recent Kim Kardashian sponsor.
  • Meaning in Fashion - The Saturday Paper discusses identity, representation and appropriation in fashion studies with Parsons lectuer Kimberly Jenkins. A very interesting long read about how more consideration needs to be given to the context of clothing and cultural shifts.
  • 100 Funniest Sabrina Moments of All Time - if you ever need to be cheered up with some childhood nostalgia, this is the place to start. Sabrina the Teenage Witch is the best. Don't @ us, Kim will fight you.

  • Craft Scotland Summer Show - we really enjoyed making tassled keyrings with Emily Millichip last summer, so we were excited when this year's Summer Show details dropped in our inbox.
  • 99 Things to See and Do Guide Dundee - Creative Dundee have updated their crowd sourced city guide for 2018 and it includes some of our favourite spots around Dundee.
  • How to add some colour to your home - In Colourful Company are really making us wish we were allowed to paint the magnolia walls in our rented flats! So much interior inspo if you want your home to be colourful to the max.
  • Horror films to inspire your summer look - we love this dose of sun specs inspiration from the darker genre of films. From ombre shades to sparkly cat-eyes, we want them all!
  • Crayola x ASOS Beauty - we are so ready to colour in our faces with this new make-up range! Vivid Crayola colours, retro packaging and vegan - it's time to get arty. 

Friday, 1 June 2018

What Kimberley Wore: ECA Performance Costume

I'm going to be slightly controversial and point out (as I frequently do) that I prefer performance costume shows to straight up fashion shows. Eschewing trends and attractive aesthetics, the works are often playful and always avant-garde. As someone who loves to dress up it makes far more sense to follow the drama! I think this is my 4th or 5th ECA show and I have to say I was really impressed with the production and all the dancers/models involved this year. They really brought the designs to life. It was difficult to photograph it, as it was held in the tiny fire station building while construction is being done on the usual hall, but it was actually quite nice to just sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

One of my favourite things about attending the show again this year was reading the programme, which gave an update on the 2017 ECA Performance Costume graduates. I was delighted to see so many of our top picks going on to fresh careers in the theatre and fashion industry. Well done everyone!

So, more importantly, my outfit. I picked up this incredible tropical shirt in Monki when I had a wee staycation in Glasgow a couple of weeks ago. My summer wardrobe is really coming together into a pink and green leafy capsule. I was even going to wear my fave pink trousers but they've been making too many appearances on the blog on the short time I've had them.

Can I also point out how difficult it is to pose in jeans that don't have front pockets? Who came up with such a horrible idea? Even some fake pocket stitching would be preferable, although obviously what women want are actual pockets. I'm sure this will be no news to you, but if it is then the brilliant Rachel Charlton-Dailey explains it far better than I could in her Nopebook article Pockets are a Tool of the Patriarchy. Until now, I hadn't realised that jeans are better with the lines interrupted, or at least on my body they are. These ones show the lumps and bumps of my tucked in shirt and vest top. And also my little pot belly that seems to pop up whenever I eat. I'm still figuring out if it's due to my coeliac disease or other food intolerances. It's hard trying to dress to accommodate an extra couple of inches after lunch. Although tight trousers make my belly hurt I'm trying to just accept and embrace it by wearing my usual clothes anyway, like in this post when the food baby was making a big show. Am I totally weird or do other people manage to hide their bloat?

Shirt | Monki
Jeans | New Look
Shoes | Zara
Sunglasses | c/o IOLLA
Earrings | Mica Peet
Ring | Oliver Bonas