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It’s hard to believe it’s been five years since the Waldorf Astoria group took over Edinburgh’s Caledonian Hotel, transforming it into one of the city’s most luxurious spots – so last week I popped through to join in with their celebrations.

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The Waldorf’s afternoon tea, served in the elegant Peacock Alley is something of a city institution. The hotel itself was formerly a train station, and Peacock Alley was the concourse! It’s a stunning space – all high ceilings and rust-coloured brickwork, and it provides the perfect setting for an indulgent afternoon.

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The name for the room comes from the hotel’s history – Edinburgh’s finest would visit the hotel, and would walk up and down the restaurant to show off their most fashionable outfits – their ‘peacocking’ became renowned, and the name stuck!

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As part of the hotel’s birthday celebrations, there was a special take on their famous afternoon tea. Partnering with Edinburgh tailor Walker Slater, we were treated to fashion show between courses of afternoon tea, whilst Edinburgh Gin provided a twist to tea – with a special cocktail and gin-inspired treats.

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Presented by Dougie Vipond, the afternoon was one to remember! The fashion show was presented in two parts and I think it put everyone in the mood for autumn. Sumptuous velvets were paired with smart tweeds, and it was such a lovely introduction to such a fabulous Edinburgh brand, which I (mistakenly) thought mostly catered to gents.

The models sported suitably ‘Edinburgh’ windblown hair, and the outfits have already sent me scurrying around my cupboards, pulling out my tweed blazers with abandon!

It was such a lovely way to spend an afternoon! I haven’t had afternoon tea for eons, so this grown-up version was exactly what I needed to kick-start the weekend! We started with a citrus-y gin cocktail courtesy of Edinburgh Gin. Notes of orange and grapefruit worked together to make it supremely drinkable!

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We were then presented with a tea menu to choose from – the Waldorf Astoria have over 40 teas and herbal infusions to choose from, so it took a while to decide! I opted for the Formosa Oolong Finest hailing from Taiwan. Light and refreshing, it was the perfect accompaniment to the goodies on offer!

We  were presented with the first layers of goodies – sandwiches, rolls, and the most perfect little quiches you can imagine! There was something for everyone – egg mayonnaise was served in buttery brioche rolls, whilst a rich cheddar was served as an open sandwich on rye bread.

 

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There were chicken wraps as well as ham and tomato on soft white bread, and perhaps my favourite was the smoked salmon mouse served on granary bread.

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We enjoyed prosecco with the sandwiches, and after the fashion show we moved onto the sweeter options. This is where the pairing with Edinburgh Gin really got to shine!

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Gin soaked cupcakes, and gin infused strawberry tarted were favourites of the table, but the fresh scones with jam and clotted cream were also devoured. It was the perfect way to begin a weekend, and even though the fashion show was a one-off event, you can still book in to enjoy an Edinburgh Gin afternoon tea (and really, you should!).

Afternoon Tea at Edinburgh’s Waldorf Astoria is priced from £35pp

 

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When it comes to jewelry, I’m a bit of a minimalist. On a daily basis I wear a lone gold chain which I’ve not taken off since I was about 14. I bought it on holiday, and we’ve together ever since. If I’m feeling particularly fancy I throw on some diamond studs and my watch and we’re good to go. But recently I’ve taken a bit of a fancy to treating myself to something new and a little bit fun.

So when I say that Laing Edinburgh were launching the Happy Hearts Collection from Chopard, I think I fell in love! The pieces bring together the brand’s signature hearts and mobile diamonds (super fun to play with if you’re a figiter) and are the perfect mix of sleek and whimsical.

The range starts at £1220 and I’m finding it super difficult to choose! You can find the whole collection here

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It’s pretty impossible to miss the whole 90’s resurgence which is going on at the moment. I’m still in my twenties, but seeing the return of staples of my childhood has me feeling old. Case in point –  the backpack. I’ve been a staunch ‘purse’ girl for years, but seeing all the cute little backpacks has made me all nostalgic, and the best one I’ve come across has to be the squishy little marshmallow which is Givenchy’s Nano Pink offering.

Small enough to not feel like my old schoolbag, the Nano fits my phone, makeup bag and essentials with room to spare. The front pocket means that my must-haves are easily accessible, and I just adore the pared back design.

The leather is buttery soft, the the candy pink could not be cuter! It’s perfect for Spring and Summer outfits, and it adds a perfect pop of colour to my regularly neutral outfits!

Givenchy Nano Pink Leather Backpack is priced at £790 and is available from Harvey Nichols here

 

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I think Balenciaga’s City Tote was one of the first truly designer bags I fell in love with, back in the early 00’s. They were sported by all the power players of the time – you know, Hilary Duff, Lauren Conrad … all the cool kids. So, even though I have moved firmly on from the the hip belts, the skinny brows and the shiny, shiny lips of the period, I’ve harboured a bit of a soft spot for the City Tote. I don’t know if it’s the fringing, the buckles or the mirror, but there’s just something irresistible about the tote.

When I was in Harvey Nichols a couple of weeks back, I stumbled on this neon number, and honestly, couldn’t resist. The bright (and I mean neon) pink is perfect for the summer. And honestly, it fulfils every Barbie-inspired daydream I think I’ve ever had. It’s seriously bright. Like day-glow. But that’s what I love most about it.

It’s not a bag that everyone is is going to love, but it’s definitely one which will turn heads. I love how easy it is to wear too – you can throw it in your elbow, or you can use the shoulder strap if you want something a little more casual. It’s great size for day too – my wallet, makeup bag and phone all fit in with room to spare.

Will you be wearing neon this summer?

The Balenciaga City Tote is priced at £1135 and is available from Harvey Nichols

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When it comes to making a statement, but not really making an effort – you can’t really beat a pair of statement sunglasses. Dior have been absolutely killing it recently, and to say it was love, when I caught sight of their new So Real Clubmaster-style  glasses, is something of an understatement. The mix of bold colours, and updated shape make them feel super current, and they look incredible paired with a pair of jeans and simple white shirt.

The simple gold hardware feels chicly understated (a good thing considering the striped lenses), and it means they work well with a majority of my bags and jewellery. Not only that, but these are made  to be work with tan skin on a beach somewhere fabulous. As you can tell, I’m more than a little obsessed with them!

 

Dior So Real Clubmaster-Style Glasses cost £410 from Harvey Nichols here

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When it comes to sunglasses, I can be a little particular. I like them big, I like them in tortoiseshell, and I love a good cat eye. So, when I was very kindly invited to choose a pair when I met the brand founders (which you can read about here) there was one pair which I just couldn’t resist!

The Invidia Tortoiseshell glasses are probably among the girliest of the range (which tends to stay on the uber-cool, unisex look – think lots of hardware and interesting shapes), but I just adore their old-school Hollywood feel. The frames are sturdy, and the dégradé effect is absolutely stunning.

Thankfully the sun has finally decided to start shining, so I’ve been able to get these out on the regular! The blonde element of the frames really lightens the feel of the glasses, and makes them feel super modern. The lenses are also polarised with a golden mirror effect which is absolutely glorious! They feel so different to y normal, admittedly boring glasses, and it’s such an easy way to update an outfit!

The dégradé finish is just beautiful, and I feel like it was made for blondes! 

Taylor Morris sunglasses are available exclusively at Harvey Nichols, and you can find the Invidia Tortoiseshell Glasses for £170 here

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When it comes to accessories, I am a bit of a sunglasses hoarder. I’ve got pairs from years ago, when ‘blinged out’ embellished legs were all the range, I’ve got vintage classics I sneaked out of my mother’s and I’ve got classics which I can throw on with any sort of outfit and feel vaguely polished.

So, a few weeks ago, when I was invited to see a whole new line of sunglasses from luxury British brand Taylor Morris launch in-store, and have launch with the brand founders, I absolutely jumped at the chance. Taylor Morris are all about an update on classic shapes – their glasses are unisex, and designed to reflect British Design and Hollywood glamour.

Made in Italy to the highest standards, Taylor Morris glasses mix old school design with modern accents. They’re just releasing a new collection which play with colour and pattern on classic shapes, and they’re such a fun way to add a little something extra to your outfit.

Getting the chance to sit down with brand founders Charlie and Hugo was so much fun. I just love getting to hear the real stories behind brands, and why people are doing what they’re doing. Getting insight into Taylor Morris’ marketing was fascinating, and very generously, everyone at the lunch was gifted a pair of their stunning sunglasses!

I’m planning a whole post on them, because, honestly, I’m a little obsessed. So in the meantime, you can find Taylor Morris at Harvey Nichols exclusively here.

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When I say I’ve been looking for the perfect pair of ear cuffs for months, it’s really not an understatement. I can be seriously fussy when it comes to wearing jewellery, and earrings and a simple gold bracelet are pretty much the only pieces I wear on a day-to-day basis, so when I change up my go-tos, it really makes a difference!

I recently fell absolutely in love with these Alexi London Midi Marquise Cut earrings, which are an absolutely stunning way to update my look. The earrings come packaged in an adorable little jewellery box, which is perfect for keeping them safe in when I’m not wearing them.

The earrings are the smaller of the two sizes available, and are designed for pierced ears. Unlike a lot of fashionable jewellery, Alexi of London has made the earrings with Sterling Silver, which means they don’t irritate sensitive skin, and they’re comfortable enough to wear all day.

I absolutely love popping these on with simple outfits, as they make such a statement, and the best thing is how comfortable they are to wear. They feel surprisingly lightweight when they’re in, and I can’t tell you how many people have commented on them!

The medium size of the earrings means that they are small enough to wear, even during the day, and they are wonderfully glittery and sparkly, and people have even asked me if the cubic zirconia gems are diamonds!

These are such a fun addition to my jewellery box (and they would make a great Valentine’s Gift too!) and if you’re looking for a pair of your own, Alexi London have very kindly given LuxeList readers 10% off with the code LUXE10

 

You can find yours here.

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When it comes to jewellery, I can be a touch fussy. I can’t wear costume jewellery as it makes me itch, and the real stuff I love is a tad out my price range.  So, I’m left with something of a capsule collection of daily favourites and an ever growing wish list of pieces to save up for. So, when I got the opportunity to visit Laing Edinburgh, the swishiest jeweller in Edinburgh, I absolutely jumped at the opportunity.

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Not only was I invited to have a look around the new George Street store, but I also got the chance to learn all about diamonds from Richard Laing himself – the sixth generation jeweller who runs the place, and who is pretty much the authority on all things diamond!

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The new Laing store is an absolute joy to explore – there are cabinets upon cabinets filled with real treasures – Mikimoto pearls nestle beside diamonds, and I won’t even start on the watches (yet!). My afternoon started with a masterclass in all things diamond, and I couldn’t be in better hands than Richard’s. Not only is he the sixth (!) generation of his family to run the place, but along with his father, Richard is responsible for buying almost every diamond in the place!

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Looking at a loose stone, we talked all about those famous ‘c’s – cut, colour,carat and clarity. Obviously, we all want the clearest, sparkliest stone, but what I hadn’t realized is that colour and clarity are most important. A smaller, better stone looks far better than a big cloudy one! Getting the chance to handle an uncut diamond was such a thrill. It looks pretty ordinary to the untrained eye, but knowing the brilliance inside is so special! Once the stone on the right is properly cut, it will be about two carats (the size of the stone on the left), and I was even shown a secret test to test how well a diamond has been cut. All you do is slip the stone into a special viewer and look down. If it’s been perfectly cut, the facets all line up, creating hundreds of perfect hearts. Honestly, it’s the most magical kaleidoscope you can imagine!

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Then, once I knew what I was talking about, it was time to view the jewellery on offer in the store. Honestly, stunning is an understatement when it comes to Laing’s pieces. They are designed and made exclusively for and by artisans working exclusively for the jeweller, and the result is a whole array of pieces which are beautifully elegant and absolutely stunning!

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What Laing have also done is introduce the idea of a jewellery collection. When someone opts for a particular style of jewellery, for example an engagement ring, there is an entire set to collect. It means that birthday and Christmas gifts are more than sorted, because you can choose from tennis bracelets, necklaces and earrings all with matching settings.

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What is also absolutely adorable, is that Laing’s settings are all inspired by seven women in the family. Depending on the personalities of the muses, there are flourishes to the pieces to reflect hobbies and loves. It’s such a special nod to the heritage of the jeweller, which I think is just so important!

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There are real heritage pieces in the store too! I was lucky enough to handle the absolutely jaw dropping 175 Necklace, designed to commemorate the 175th birthday of Laing. Again, the piece has been inspired by the seven ‘Ladies of Laing’ and contains nods to all of their styles. The sheer scale and attention to detail in the piece was so wonderful to see, and honestly, it is as much an art piece as it is jewellery!

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I think what affected me most was the sheer clarity of the stones Laing use. Honestly, the twinkling and sparkling of the diamonds was just incredible, and getting to handle the pieces and learn from Richard was just so much fun!

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Then, as if I wasn’t having enough fun, I was shown upstairs to the exclusive watch salon. It’s an absolutely beautiful, light-filled space, filled with concessions for the world’s very finest watches. Turning from Rolex, to Cartier to Jaeger-LeCoultre I was absolutely spoiled for choice. Without even saying anything to him, Richard whipped out a selection of the most perfect watches, including some of my real must-haves. The first was the Men’s all-gold Rolex Datejust which I’ve been in love with since I was about 15, and the second was a new favourite. A Jaeger-LeCoultre Reverso with Alligator strap. I’d never had the chance to play with one before, and now I’m obsessed! Originally designed for polo players, it’s a discreet, almost cocktail-esque watch which has two faces! One is a subtler, more day appropriate side, whilst the other is a bit flashier, glinting with diamonds.

To say I enjoyed my afternoon is an understatement! A huge thank you to both Richard and to Laing the Jeweller for having me!

 

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Anyone that knows me, knows that this week is pretty my my favourite of the year! For me, I just adore the run-up to Halloween – it’s probably my favourite out of all the holidays, and I’ve been known to be a little OTT in my celebrations. When I lived in Dubai I forked out the equivalent of about £50 for pumpkins to decorate my balcony, and I’ve had more Jack-O-Lantern manicures than you can imagine!  This year, I’m planning a few spooky-themed outfits, so of course, I’ve been on the look out for the best Halloween accessories available!

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I’ve fallen absolutely in love with the Black Widow hair clip from Tony & Guy, which might just be the most glamorous Halloween accessory in my arsenal. The big black jewels are super chic, and I love the tiny little crystals. They glint and glisten in the light, and honestly, I’m just obsessed!

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I’m also crushing pretty hard on Tony & Guy’s Pretty in Punk ear cuff. If you’re going for a harder, punkier look for the holiday – this is the accessory for you! It couldn’t be easier to wear either – you just kind of hang the suff around the back of your ear, then pin the chains into your ponytail or updo.

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The Pretty in Punk Cuff looks super fun on, and it’s such an effortless way to update your look. It’s not too costume-y either, so I think it would look absolutely gorgeous with a super simple outfit and cute ponytail!

Toni & Guy’s Black Widow hair slide is priced at £16 while the Pretty In Punk Ear Cuff is £12.50. They’re both available here.

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I always think buying presents for  men is super hard – and Father’s Day might just be trickiest. Thankfully though, Harvey Nichols has come to our rescue with their relaunched Menswear Department.

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Designed after the flagship Knightsbridge store, The menswear department is definitely the chicest spot to shop for Dad anywhere outside the capital, and to celebrate, the store held a super-fun weekend filled with special services for the discerning shopper. As you arrived up the elevators, you were met with the cutest little bars serving up Arbikie – an incredible Scottish Gin and Vodka distillery.

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As if that wasn’t enough, you could personalise the most luxurious of items – Grenson let you make up your ideal shoes, picking every detail from leathers to laces.

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They could be as subtle or crazy as you could imagine, and the example shoes were absolutely breathtaking.

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My favourite part of the whole event though, was the Etch’d stand, which, with an in-store purchase meant that you could get specially laser-personalised.

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Even though I was expecting just initials, Etch’d can personalise basically anything with a flat surface, and I can’t tell you how awesome their pieces looked! Considering the chaps come from a graphic-design background, their designs were insane!

 

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Based in Tollcross, you can even get phones and laptops laser etched, and I am seriously considering getting my laptop done. It’s just the coolest!

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It’s not just electronics and perfume bottles which got the special treatment though, even shoes and sneakers were etched.

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Since I couldn’t let the opportunity pass me by, I popped down to the beauty department to find something etch-able, so treated myself to Omorovicza’s Perfecting Lip Balm. It’s something I’ve been wanting since my facial (here) and the flat lid was perfect for the laser.

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I couldn’t be happier with my rather special balm, and I would seriously recommend heading up to Harvey Nichols’ first floor. The menswear section couldn’t be better, and it’s absolutely packed with awesome Father’s Day gift ideas!

Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm is priced at £32.00 (I did receive a discount on mine) and is available in-store. You can find Omorovicza here.

 

 

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