A few weeks ago I popped to Bloggers Fashion Week, an event for bloggers to meet up and be introduced to lots of amazing brands. One of the brands that really stood out to me were Mink and Stone. They offer a service wear you can design your own beaded jewellery online from a huge selection of beads chains and lengths of necklace or bracelets. Once you’ve played around and designed your perfect piece of jewellery they make it up and send it to you. I couldn’t wait to create something of my own.

Mink and Stone Rose Bracelet

A couple of weeks later after playing around loads on their website and designing lots of different things I settled on a lovely spring themed bracelet with beautiful pink roses. The website is really easy and fun to use. You just have to select the item you’d like to make, there are lots of choices of length for necklaces so there’s something for every taste. You can then start selecting which beads you’d like to include. There are a huge number of beads available so it helps if you select the colour you’d like first.

Mink and Stone jewellery design

Once you’ve chosen the colour chain you’d like and made sure the length is right, you can then pay for your jewellery and a few days later it will arrive through your door. I really enjoyed the process of creating my perfect bracelet and also had fun just playing around on the website. You can save all your designs to edit and come back to later or just take inspiration from some of the designs that are already on the site.

Mink and Stone Review

Mink and Stone

My bracelet arrived after a few days, it was well wrapped in tissue and delivered in it’s own jewellery pouch which is perfect for storing it away and keeping it safe as well as being a really nice touch if you’re giving it away as a gift. I was really impressed with the delivery time as well. I also appreciated that you have the option of adding your twitter account so that they can tweet you a preview of your made up piece of jewellery before they send it out.

Mink and Stone Jewellery

The bracelet itself was absolutely beautiful and I was so impressed by how pretty the rose beads were and how nicely it had been put together. It is going to look absolutely perfect with some of my pink vintage summer dresses and I think it will be a favourite for a long time to come.

Mink and Stone Bracelet

I think Mink and Stone is just a fantastic idea and is a really affordable way of having a lovely bespoke item to treasure. I’ll definitely be considering as a gift option for friends too, as I’d really like to design different things to suit their different styles and personalities.

If you’d like to have a go at designing your perfect piece of jewellery visit the Mink and Stone website.

One of the things that made me start writing this blog was my love of fashion history, I absolutely adore looking back at the past and seeing what people were wearing, what they wore it for and the social reasons behind fashions. One of my favourite things to do is to look through vintage magazines and admire the beautiful clothes. I definitely with I could just pop to a shop and buy some of the dresses I see advertised.

One of my favourite style icons of the 1950s is the Queen. We see her as an old lady now, but when she became Queen she was a woman in her early twenties with a young family. She must have been someone that young women of the time looked up to and admired, definitely a style icon of her time.

Picture Post 1954

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I recently acquired a whole stack of Picture Post magazines from the late 40s and early 50s. Having started to read through them I’ve noticed so many issues have features on the Queen and her choices of outfits. I thought it would be great to share some of her beautiful dresses on here as a little fashion inspiration for glamorous 1950s loving ladies.

The Queens Sunshine Wardrobe 1954

I found this particular article from an issue from February 1954, which features some of the dresses worn by the queen on her Royal Tour. I particularly like the yellow Horrockses dress, as this was also available off the peg, so anyone could have bought it.

The Queens Royal Tour 1954

The Queen 1950s dresses

How beautiful is the yellow and floral print on the Horrockses dress, I’d love to own one like this!

The Queen's Horrockses Dress Print

The Queen Yellow Horrockses Dress 1954

And something a little more glamorous for the evening…

The Queen Evening fashion 1954

The Hardie Amies and Norman Hartnell dresses about are simply beautiful! I also have another issue of the magazine which features some of the dresses which Norman Hartnell designed for the Coronation in 1953 which I will try and share with you soon.

What is your favourite dress from the ones above?

Click on the images to enlarge.

Last week I popped across London to Bethnal Green to visit a museum I really love. The Museum of Childhood is a magical celebration of toys, games and everything that makes childhood memorable. It’s also owned by the V&A so you can expect to see the same creative celebration of objects as a way to tell us about the past, as you would at the larger London museum.

Small Stories at The Museum of ChildhoodI’ve visited the museum several times I remember going on a school trip as a small child as well as returning with my own children several times. I love the mix of historical toys and more recent retro and modern toys, many of which I recognise and remember playing with when I was a kid in the 80s and 90s. Whatever age you are you’ll find something to make you feel nostalgic and I just find the place completely magical.

Small Stories, Georgian Dolls HouseOn this occasion I was drawn to the museum by their latest major exhibition. Small Stories walks us through the history of the home through dolls houses and each tiny little world has a story behind it. I’m sure it’s hard to find anyone who is not drawn to dolls houses, there is something so enchanting about seeing the world in miniature, and this exhibition has some of the most interesting examples I’ve seen.

Dolls at Small Stories Museum of ChildhoodThe choice of houses on display are really well-chosen to show both different periods of history and also different sizes of house and classes of people. The stories of each house are told through the dolls themselves as characters. Not only is the history of the actual dolls house displayed on the wall but also a little story about the dolls themselves which my girls found really engaging. The interpretation definitely made the displays accessible to both adults and children. There were also two rooms which had been created for children to play in, so it was like stepping into a doll’s house which they really loved.

Small Stories V&A Museum of ChildhoodI was particularly interested in a miniature version of a house from the St Helier Estate as me and Rob bought our first house there and it was amazing to see what it might have looked like in the 1940s when the doll’s house was created.

Small Stories St Helier House

My favourite piece from the exhibition was the Whiteladies House, this amazing dolls house was created in the 1930s and plays homage to Modernist villas of the era. It shows a house party and I just love all the details including the car in the garage and swimming pool.

Small Stories Whiteladies House

Whiteladies Dolls House

There is so much to see at the exhibition and I’ve only featured a really small selection of pictures here. I’d highly recommend paying the museum a visit to see the dolls houses whether you are big or small.

The exhibition runs until 6th September

Find out more on the Museum of Childhood website. 

All the way back in December I went to a fantastic event at the John Lewis store in Kingston. As well as being shown around John Lewis amazing behind the scenes Christmas house, we were also treated to a demonstration from natural beauty product company Espa. We were given a goody bag stuffed with lovely sample size products to try at home, I’ve only recently got round to trying them all and now I’m completely hooked!

Espa Products Review

Espa started off as a spa company, and when they couldn’t find products they loved enough to use in their spas, they created their own line of gorgeous natural spa products. The products really are beautiful and are absolutely packed with essential oils. They’ve added a touch of luxury to my skincare routine over the last couple of weeks.

I thought I’d do a little review of everything that I’ve tried as I really would recommend all of the products. Not only have they been great on my skin, but the essential oils have made me feel really relaxed and pampered at the end of each day.

Espa Cleansers

The Optimal Skin Pro Cleanser is  multi-functional gel cleanser which contains tiny jojoba beads. As you rub the cleanser into the skin the tiny beads melt away. You can then rinse it off immediately or leave it on for up to 15 minutes like a mask.  As with all the Espa products this smells absolutely incredible. I’ve been using it twice a week while having a long luxurious soak in the bath and my skin has been very happy, clean and soft as a result.

I’ve been using the Hydrating Cleansing Milk to remove my make-up and clean away any impurities. I just smooth it over my skin and wipe it away with a muslin cloth and warm water. This cleanser really gets the job done and gets rid of all traces of make-up, leaving my skin looking fresh and clean.

Espa Shower Gels

I tried two shower gels from the range. The Energising Shower Gel is the perfect pick me up for first thing in the morning. It contains eucalyptus and peppermint to wake up the senses as well as coconut extract which makes the product naturally foamy. I loved the zingy smell of this one and I’m very tempted to pick up the full sized one as it takes me forever to gather my get-up-and-go in the morning and this might entice me from my bed!

The other shower gel I tried was the Body Smoothing Shower Gel. This luxurious shower cream contains rosehip seeds to exfoliate the skin as well as coconut and yucca to cleanse and jasmine and ylang yang to to moisturise. As you can imagine this lovely product smells absolutely amazing. I’ve been using this in the evening before bed as it’s really soothing.

Espa Moisturiser Mask Serum

The Skin Radiance Mask is a brightening treatment which revitalises and renews tired skin. I’m always looking for products that give my face a little pick-me-up as I never get enough sleep and feel like when I’m really tired I lose my glow a little. Muberry, bearberry and liquorice within the product brighten and even skin tone while pumpkin enzymes remove dull cells and meadowsweet stimulates cell renewal. All very scientific, but the product really did my skin feel lovely and I thought my skin looked better after using it. I liked the light oily consistency of the product which smoothed on easily.

The Optimal Skin ProSerum is my favourite product from the whole range. Luckily you only need to use a little bit at a time as I only have a very small sample and I’ve been using it nearly every day. This lovely serum smells incredible and all you need is a few drops spread over face and neck before moisturiser. The serum is a very light oil which absorbs instantly and is very light so doesn’t leave a heavy residue on the skin. It helps to brighten and even skin tone as well as firming and protecting against premature ageing. I really really love this product!

I also tried the Skin radiance Moisturiser, this again has lots of beautiful natural ingredients that work wonders for smooth healthy skin. This is a great every day moisturiser which is very light and absorbs very quickly. I’ve found this to be a great base under make-up as it really smooths and brightens the skin.

Espa Hydrating Toner

The Hydrating Floral Spafresh Toner is a handy essential and is perfect for use after cleanser. It’s a really refreshing product which contains rose damascena to hydrate and prepare your skin for moisturiser. It also contains rose geranium to sooth and protect as well as neroli to rejuvenate and soften skin. Again the product smells lovely and left my skin feeling fantastic.

Espa Pink Hair and Scalp Mud

The only product I haven’t yet tried is the Pink Hair and Scalp Mud, mainly because I completely forget about it every time I washed my hair. I will definitely be giving it a try soon though. I love conditioning treatments, especially since I started colouring my hair again last year. This is full of vitamins to nourish the hair as well as clay to strengthen and add shine to hair.

I was so pleased with all the products. They are quite expensive and definitely a luxury product, but I think making yourself look and feel wonderful is worth investing a little extra in. As with most high-end products you don’t need to use much, so I think all the products will last for quite some time. All the beautiful natural ingredients made me feel amazing and my skin has had a real treat trying all the fabulous Espa products.

Espa Skincare Review

Find out more about the products on the Espa website.

All the products I’ve mentioned can be bought from John Lewis.

I’m a big fan of subscription boxes, they’re like getting a little surprise present every month. There seems to be a different subscription box for every possible thing these days from food to crafts to make-up. Until now us vintage loving girls have been a little left out, but now a new box brings the best of Portobello Market straight to your door mat.

Style by Portobello Box

The Style by Portobello box is perfect for ladies who want to shop for lovely vintage accessories, but don’t necessarily have the time to go hunting or who don’t have fabulous vintage markets like Portobello on their doorsteps. It’s also nice if your lacking inspiration and just want a little treat to go with your other vintage finds.

Style By Portobello Unboxing

I like the box because I’m terrible at buying accessories. When I go vintage shopping I get so distracted by all the dresses that everything else seems to pass me by! So getting things like bags, scarves and jewellery is great for me.

Style By Portobello

I was sent a sample box to review and I was a little over-excited when the postman brought it to my door. A bit like having a birthday! I couldn’t wait to see what was inside. Once I’d opened up my box it was nice to see that everything was wrapped up in tissue paper to keep it safe in transit and it was nice being able to unwrap everything.

Inside my box was an absolutely huge 1960s gold coloured brooch, which would be absolutely perfect worn on a vintage coat. The other item in my box was an absolutely lovely vintage satin handbag. I’m not sure of the exact date of the bag but it is in beautiful condition and I absolutely love the pretty embroidered detail on it.

Style By Portobello Contents

I’ll definitely use both items, I’ll probably save the brooch for the winter as it is quite large and I probably wouldn’t risk putting it on a dress or cardigan but will definitely put it on a coat. The bag being black will go with so much of my stuff and will definitely be a staple for evenings out.

Style by Portobello Review

Style by Portobello Vintage Handbag

The box costs £35 per month and includes up to 3 vintage pieces. Although it is quite expensive compared to some other subscription boxes, I really like the idea of having something picked out for you and the convenience of having it delivered. To see some of the contents of past boxes or to sign up, take a look at the Style by Portobello Website.