The world’s most luxurious beach bag – The Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Tote*

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When it comes to designer purchases, I have a tendency to stick to the classics. If it’s black leather with gold hardware, I’m all over it. I’ve tried to stick to the iconic shapes, and it means I’ve developed a bit of a uniform. Is it black? Is it plain? Then I’ll probably love it.

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But, when I caught sight of Saint Laurent’s new Rive Gauche Beach Tote, it’s fair to say that I fell truly and utterly in love. It’s flashier than my usual picks (you can’t exactly miss the logo here) but the use of neutral canvas (kind of) cancels out the glitz.

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The bag is also incredibly practical – it’s big enough for all your beach paraphernalia, and I think it makes the perfect Sunday tote. There is an interior zip pocket, so you can pop your keys and phone in there, without fearing they’ll get lost in the depths of the bag. The black leather handles also keep the tote looking slick, so it will look as good with jeans and a shirt as it will with a coverup.

Saint Laurent Rive Gauche Canvas Beach Tote is priced at £765 and is available from Harvey Nichols here.

Prepping for the summer with Simply Beach*

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Even though it’s been snowing, pretty much constantly, since last night. I can’t help but look forward to summer. For the past few months, I’ve done nothing but dream about powdery white sand and warm azure waters. Is it a result of working pretty much non-stop? Probably, but that doesn’t mean that planning my summer ’18 wardrobe is any less fun!

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One of my favourite parts of summer shopping has to be beachwear. Yes, heading out in public in nothing but a few strips of lycra is horrifying, but I can’t help but adore great swimwear. Bright colours and fun embellishments mean that I can abandon my regular black-heavy wardrobe at home, and enjoy some brights in the sunshine.

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One of the best sites I’ve found in my quest for hot weather pieces has been Simply Beach. It’s a fabulous site which caters for all of your swim needs. No matter whether you’re after a basic which you can reach for all summer, or your after something that’s a little bit more of a statement, Simply Beach is sure to have something that fits the bill.

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I’m obsessed with the list of brands they stock – from Heidi Klein to Vix, there is a style and designer for every budget or occasion. I’ve been seriously crushing on this zesty bikini from celeb-favourite Melissa Odabash. The fresh lemon colour will look absolutely incredible with a tan, and the understand gold embellishment adds some much needed poolside glamour.

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Of course, your poolside fashion is only as good as your coverup, and thankfully, Simply Beach have the kaftans collection of my dreams! From hippy dippy to minimalist, the site has every kind of cover up you can ever begin to imagine.

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When it comes to my pick of the kaftans, I’m not going to lie, I love a bit of variety. When I want to look polished and put together, I love an oversized shirtdress like the above Heidi Klein option. Paired with a pair of big sunglasses and an oversized beach tote, it’s an easy way to look chic, and it’s so easy to throw on in hot climates.

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If you’re looking to keep your packing lightweight, make sure that your kaftan is a neutral colour which won’t compete with your bikini selections. This Beach Shirt from Iconique is a great ooption – priced at £75, it’s an investment, but it’s something you’ll be reaching for all summer long. I adore the mix of eyelet patterns, and the button up front – it’s a real wardrobe staple.

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I’m also obsessed with this Pia Rossini number. Priced at £49, it’s a more affordable option, but it’s equally stunning. The ombre tassels morph from orange to pink, and I can only imagine how wonderful this would look with a tan in the sunshine. The front tassels feel youthful, and the fact that you can slip it on over your bikini is fabulous when you’re  out and about in hot temperatures. Again, worn with a pair of big sunglasses – it’s an easy way to look glamorous around the pool or on the beach!

No matter where (or when) you’re off to enjoy warmer climes, Simply Beach is a must visit for before you go!

*Thank you to Simply Beach for sponsoring this post*

Waldorf Astoria Edinburgh x Edinburgh Gin Afternoon Tea*

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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

 

Chopard Happy Hearts at Laing, Edinburgh

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

Givenchy Nano Pink Leather Backpack from Harvey Nichols*

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

 

Balenciaga City Tote – Neon Pink*

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

Dior So Real Clubmaster Style Sunglasses – From Harvey Nichols*

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

Taylor Morris Invidia Tortoiseshell Sunglasses*

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

Taylor Morris Sunglasses at Harvey Nichols Edinburgh*

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.

Alexi London Midi Marquise Cut Earrings*

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.

Laing Jeweller, Edinburgh

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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!