Mix and match maze

Good day to you my mish mash maidens,  

With the daily changing weather we tend to have in London I feel it’s so important to master the art of mix and matching your wardrobe. For this weeks post I am going to give you the top five tips to successfully making your wardrobe seem endless – the real chronicles of Narnia 😀

1) Invest in a classic little black dress.

The little black dress much like the white shirt is probably one of the hardest working pieces in my collection. I have varying styles – one with cap sleeves for that warm but crisp spring morning, one sleeveless which is perfect for summer and a long sleeve polo neck dress which looks amazing with over the knee boots and knitted stripy tights. Even if you just change the way you style your hair from one day to the next, it can make it look like you have a new outfit on. 


2) Wear colourful cardigans or jackets

At work I am known for my collection of bright cardigans and interesting jackets. I love how versatile they are, you can just throw them on to stave off the air con chill in the office or to smarten up a sleeveless pencil dress in the work place. It’s amazing the combinations you can come up with when pairing a particular dress with a pastel cardigan one day and then with a suit blazer and heels the next week. 


3) Change your jewellery 

The power of statement jewellery is a force to be reckoned with. I wear a uniform of silver bangles and bracelets on my right arm all the time and my watch on my left but if I know I am going to an event after work then I will bring either a chunky costume ring or a pair of chandelier earrings with me to alter my look from work to evening wear. Dependent on your budget you can find some great bargains on the high street or if you have similar taste to me, Swarovski or Emporio Armani have some amazing earrings and bangles. 


4) Switch from flats to heels

I am sure you have all seen the woman on the train wearing her flat pumps on her commute to work to only change into an elegant pair of court shoes when she arrives at the office – that is me to a T. My colleagues laugh at me when I open my drawer to find varying styles and colours of shoes. For me wearing heels at work or for a night out is like wearing make up is for other women. I feel like I am ready to begin my day as soon as I slip my feet into the soft leather. Shoes are such a good way of transforming an outfit too, you could go through every colour of the rainbow or stick to the classic black or nude – it’s completely your own perogative. 


5) Pair designer with good quality basics

And lastly, if you have been reading my blog for a while you know I am a huge advocate of investing in timeless designer items that will last for years to come. It is equally important to pair these pieces with good quality basics. I love the tasseled loafers and day dresses from Massimo Dutti, fitted shirts from Uniqlo and everyday pointed shoes or pumps from Dune. The prices are still deemed high street appropriate but the fabrics they use for their collection ensure they withstand a few months of daily commuting or sticky bar floors on nights out.     


By following these five top tips, you too can be the woman in the office or within your group of friends who seems to have an everlasting closet, or failing that the go to person when they need a great black court shoe or nude wedge to borrow for an impromptu wedding invite or board meeting. 

Until next time, take care

Keya X 

Brawn & Brains

Good day my sports loving stars,
As you will have read in my earlier posts, I am a keen sports enthusiast and over the years I have competed in a range of sports from Athletics, triathlons and running races. For any kind of event you are training for,  it really helps your performance and to reach your goals to be disciplined with your diet and training so I have the utmost respect for anyone who excels in their sporting field which brings me perfectly to my guest this week.
Please welcome my friend Steve, who is UKBFF British bodybuilding champion under 80 KG and owner of Extreme Nutrition store in Romford.
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Hi Steve, thanks for agreeing to take part in this interview. For the purpose of my followers, what do you do for your day job?
I am the managing director of Extreme Nutrition, a supplement and health store located in Romford, Essex and we have an online site too. I also am a competition prep coach, preparing athletes to compete in bodybuilding, physique and fitness shows.

 

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When you aren’t training for a competition what do you do in your spare time? 
 I like to read personal development books and articles.  I also like to read and research training and nutritional studies.
Is there any truth to the myth, that the body is mostly built in the kitchen not the gym? Is it mostly down to diet what separates the best from the average bodybuilders?
It’s true that diet is the most important element and you are absolutely built from what goes on in the kitchen. But in order to be the best you need to do everything with 100% effort and consistency. This part is the key to achieve not only a shredded physique but a conditioned one!! This is what wins shows… Of course lots of time in the gym supports this but it’s about delivering workouts that are consistent, with good form day in, day out!
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What is your standard outfit for working out in? 
Extreme nutrition jogging bottoms and hoodie and for cardio I drop down to Nike combat running tights for support and agility. Of course you need good footwear so Otomix for workouts and Asics for cardio.
Do you get any merchandise from your sponsors or do you prefer to stick to the brands that are tried and tested which work for you?
  I do, but I always keep to the Extreme Nutrition tracksuits as branding is key to creating a strong business and personal reputation. But I do mix it up with xxxl wear who make great gym tops and of course I always stay faithful to the Nike running tights and footwear mentioned above.
Being as ripped as you are, is it hard to fit into “regular” sized clothes? Are there are any shops that cater for athletes especially?
 Trousers and jeans especially can be a pain to find however when I find something that suits me I buy loads. I find Uniqlo great for trousers which generally have a wider leg fit. I’m also a big fan of All Saints tops and there is a great new longwear range (longer length tops etc) for men from Topman and H and M.

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What does an typical day in your life consist of?
Get up, shower, gym, train weights, cardio, sauna, work, commute home with my little boy, bath, dinner, bed … Repeat.

 

Besides competing, what else are your true passions?
 Reading and going away to spas, massages, pampering, pedicures – it’s important to look after yourself and your well being. Spending quality time with my wife and children.

 

And finally for anyone wishing to get into body building or even just to get healthier, do you have any advice to a complete beginner?

Stay consistent and be persistent. You have to get into this sport with true love, where you live and breathe it – everything you do, do it with integrity. Whether it’s your diet, exercise or general well being, the results will come.

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Please check out Steve on his website extremenutrition.co.uk or follow him on Instagram @extremenutritionstore where you to can take that first step to a better you 😀
Until next time take care
Keya X

Every cloud has a silver lining.

Good day my wind blown wonders, 

Unless we were all living under a rock in the last week, we would have been unable to avoid the awful news of the multiple attacks around the world which just breaks my heart. It almost seems wrong of I to post an upbeat blog entry but I guess to show solidarity and strength when faced with adversity – ‘the show must go on’ and I personally do not want to look as though we have been beaten. I have close friends and colleagues who live in Paris and I know they are being wholeheartedly British and stubborn at this time, not living their lives in fear as us Londoners did also during 7/7. 

  
(Photo courtesy of Google images)

Onto lighter matters now and I am sure what with the clocks changing a few weeks ago you will have noticed how much darker it is getting earlier in the evenings and how although unseasonably mild still, the cold brisk mornings have returned to us once more.

I will wholeheartedly admit I am NOT a winter or cold person (give me a hot climate where I can wear my flip flops and bikini please) but one thing I do love about this time of year is being able to explore my winter wardrobe again. 

I am a huge fan of cosy cable knits,thick tights and awesome overcoats. Each year I always return to my fail safe favourites although usually I do try to update my collection as styles vary slightly each year. 

For the office I love wearing a fitted woolen polo neck with a high waisted skirt and my knee high leather boots from Dune or one of my amazing knitted jumper dresses paired with black 80 deniers and my Russell and Bromley Chelsea boots. 

  
For casual attire at the weekends I usually turn to my array of Massimo Dutti and Gap oversized jumpers which I usually team with my skinny wet look jeans and leather high tops.

For evenings out in winter when you cannot bare the thought of going out with bare legs, a great over the knee pair of boots look fab with an evening dress or even tights and heeled ankle boots work a charm. The goose pimple leg look is seriously not worth the bother in my opinion. 

Believe me, you do not need to forego your style just because the dark nights are setting in. There are some incredible winter overcoats on the market which are chic in their own right.The one below which I invested in recently, really looks great no matter what you are wearing  underneath.  

  
The joy of wearing a great overcoat is being able to do the “big reveal” too. It seriously adds to the surprise for your special other when you take your coat off at your chosen destination and they can see the gorgeous outfit you have hidden underneath. 

For me, winter really is the time to hibernate, my grey marl lounge pants and soft jumpers become my staple and I love nothing more than being cuddled up warm at home watching series and being with those I love ❤️

Until next week take care, 

Keya X

Why so series?

Good morning my tantalising screen sirens, 

It’s that time of the year again where the cold, dark nights set in and all our favourite tv programmes return for the winter. I love the feeling of being cuddled up in my favourite marl Uniqlo trousers and a thick jumper enraptured in the riveting story telling before my eyes. Below I will elaborate on my current favourite shows and how the main characters wardrobe inspires my own. 

I remember a few years ago when everyone was talking about a new show due to start. From the very first pilot episode I was hooked. I loved the intricate links between the main characters, the stunning scenery surrounding them and the storyline was one of the most captivating I have ever seen. Of course this show was Game of Thrones. I absolutely love the use of soft leather to form the males characters coats and boots, reminding me of my trusty leather bomber I have worn and adored for more than 14 years. The bold shades of Khaleesi and Cersei Lanisters dresses remind me of some of the colour block items I tend to wear on nights out or for work at my office.

  
   

Last weekend another of my favourite shows came back on the air, the Blacklist. I love how each episode they explore a different serial killer, baffling me more and more to think how the writers even magicked up some of the heartless, heinous villains. I think that Raymond Reddington aka James Spader makes the show with his witty sarcasm and impeccable dress sense. His standard wardrobe of a trilby hat and waxed jacket looks oh so chic and dapper. How I do like a well dressed man 😊

  
Another show I really got into is Suits. The legal profession has always interested me, and the style in this show actually influenced my own work dress sense. Rachel Zane is always wearing amazing shift dresses or pencil skirts with a slim fit shirt. She always looks immaculate and classic which describes my work wardrobe perfectly. 

  
Lastly, this year I finished watching the first season of How to get away with Murder. This show is centred around a female lawyer who has the most impressive collection of costume jewellery and perfect hair. On a recent trip to Lanzarote my parents brought me back some amazing necklaces locally made which I usually wear with a plain black shirt or simple dress. It instantly makes my outfit more fun and vibrant. 

  
(All photos courtesy of Google images)

It does amaze me how shows that we watch on a weekly basis, will subconsciously influence our own style. Sometimes that scene of Rachel wearing a fantastic pair of Louboutins will make me reach for my own nude pair on my next night out without a moments hesitation or that classic trench worn by Reddington will inspire me to reach for my Burberry mac on the next rainy day in the city. It also is the best way to learn of the newest trends and fashions on the radar. After all, if our favourite character wears that Victoria Beckham monochrome dress in the big apple, it would be just wrong for us to not have it in our winter collection also 😊

Until next week, take care

Keya X

Sudden downpour -no problem!

Good evening to my savvy shoppers, 

Anyone who has lived in London knows that our weather is somewhat unpredictable at the best of times, so it’s always worth being one step ahead with your wardrobe to ensure a dampener (see what I did there) isn’t put on your outfit as well as your hair! 

As we are gradually moving into summer, the early sunrises and balmy evenings can cause many to result in a frenzy about what on earth do I wear? My friends will agree that I am the queen of layering, my wardrobe is like a rainbow of cardigans and light knit wear! (I knew that bright orange jumper would come in handy when paired with a LBD for work I promise) 😀 The good thing about cardigans as well is that you can throw them over a shift dress in the morning and when the haze has burnt off by lunch you can slip it off into your work tote and instantly have that easy, breezy city look. The below outfit was whilst on a game drive in South Africa. My light weight cotton jumper kept the morning chill at bay and protected me from the hungry Mosquitos at the same time. 

  
I also love my skinny chinos from Pull and Bear in the summer. I usually roll them up at the ankle paired with one of my awesome Russell and Bromley brogues or loafers. With a floaty, chiffon sleeveless shirt from Massimo Dutti or Uniqlo it looks effortlessly chic and will keep you cool on that train commute home.

  
With the festival season fast approaching, my number one rule of thumb is never leave home without your pac-a-Mac. My daisy motif parka always comes with me in case of that surprise shower (they aren’t really up to scratch in terms of keeping you completely dry but at least they look better than a soggy hoody or second skin t-shirt!) Festivals for me are all about the music, a bit of mud on your hunter wellies is a small price to pay for an awesome day or weekend out 😀

  

Until next week, take care 
Keya x

Summer loving. 

Good afternoon my high street heroes and heroines,

Firstly, sincerest apologies for my late posting of last weeks blog, I have just got back from a lovely vacation so I am suitably well rested and energised whilst writing this entry. 

  
As my last few posts have been geared towards high end brands, I thought for this weeks entry I would fill you in on my favourite high street stores and online sites which I swear by for all my fashion needs for those highly anticipated summer holiday outfits 😊

As the weather was amazing in stunning Spain, my case consisted of vest tops in every colour mainly from H&M or Uniqlo as they really last well when faced with the elements (no one likes an out of shape top after only one day at the beach!) 

I love my jean shorts from Espirit and Miss Sixty – they are a low slung boyfriend fit which look awesome when paired with my array of bikini’s. The below shorts are one of my all time favourites from French Connection – the colours are so bright and fun, and look even better with a golden tan. 

For the evenings, I usually will wear either easy throw on dresses I have managed to find in fabulous Sunday markets on my trips through Europe or I love Mango/ Massimo Dutti who have some amazing shift dresses which suit my frame perfectly and can be dressed up or down dependent on your evening’s antics 😀  

 For suitable footwear, on the sandal side, I love the embellished styles seen at Guess and Nine West and for wedges – my go to shoe on holiday for chic drinks out on the sea front (I am sure most women can recount a treacherous stiletto plus cobble stone story – absolute no-no) I love my trusty black leather ones from River Island and my tan ones from Dune.

Bikinis are fab this season in H&M, Roxy and Quicksilver – the floral and fluoro trends look incredible on swimwear – especially with your retro coloured lense Ray Bans wayfarers – so beach chic 😀

For that holiday season it really is about looking laid back, individual and above all not too try hard! Every outfit looks better with that glowing complexion, relaxed wavy hair and a wonderful umbrella clad cocktail in hand 😊

  
Bring on Summer 2015 😁

Until next week, take care Keya x

Where my fashion obsession began…

Good afternoon my beguiling beauties,

For this post I am going to delve back into my own archives revealing how my fashion journey started and my main style influences.

From a very young age I was lucky enough to own beautiful, hand made French clothes – suede dresses paired with floral Dr Marten boots, or polka dot, pleated skirts with stripey tights as seen below 

  

When I became a teenager, my parents encouraged me to express myself through my outfit choices and I was always the funky girl at school who would scour shops like TK Maxx or the Brand Centre (those from school you must remember how cool that shop was) spending my wages from my part time job on Moschino jeans and Evisu jackets. 

  

As I’ve matured into a woman, I love investing in timeless pieces – mixing a classic Burberry trench with Mango or Uniqlo separates. For nights out I am partial to fitted, A-line dresses worn with my beloved Valentino or Jimmy Choo shoes.

  

My fashion influences growing up have always been my parents and younger brother who are the most stylish, elegant people I know and in the public eye I have always loved the style of the 50s era in particular my idols Marilyn Monroe and Audrey Hepburn. Marilyn’s effortless flapper dress and fur coat in the film Some Like it Hot and Audrey’s little black dress and wide brimmed hat in Breakfast at Tiffany’s filled me with excited glee. 

The most important lesson I learnt from these screen icons was that you didn’t need to show too much skin to be deemed elegant and beautiful. To this day, I do not feel comfortable in short dresses or tops that are low cut. Many top fashion designers have conveyed the message the models in their catwalk shows are like human clothes hangers for their creations – after all the best weapon a woman can possess is leaving the female shape to one’s imagination. 

Until next week take care

Keya x

Office wear – how smart/ casual can you go?

Good morning from a chilly day in London,

For this weeks entry I wanted to clear up the confusion surrounding the smart/ casual dress code in the workplace and also my staple pieces that I like to wear to the office.

In my industry Monday to Thursday we are instructed to wear smart dress. As I have quite a boyish, athletic figure I tend to steer towards fitted shift dresses with heels or tailored skinny trousers with buttoned up shirts and ankle boots at this time of year. One of my favourite dresses you can see me wearing below I find perfect for work as it is knee length, has an elegant neck line revealing the collarbone area which i think is very attractive on women and also I love wearing colourful patterns or block colours so this dress makes me smile whenever I wear it.

Office Wear

On cold days which are fairly frequent this time of year, I tend to wear fitted trousers, a shirt and blazer for work usually which looks formal but also i can make it my own by wearing statement jewellery or a nice belt. I have found that the best fit for trousers for me are from Pull and Bear. Recently when i was in Spain over New Year, I found a black pair that fit me like a glove, so perfect in fact that I preceded to buy five pairs in various materials and colours! I absolutely adore the tailored shirts from Uniqlo which again fit my wide swimmers shoulders perfectly and come in some wonderful pastel shades as spring is approaching. Even though I usually button my shirts up to the top, if you are worried about looking a tad masculine, a statement necklace over the top softens the look. In terms of blazers/ jackets I covet the styles emerging from Gap, Massimo Dutti or Zara which are all padded shoulders with nipped in waists reminding me of the power dressing, androgynous 80s era.

Blazer beautiful

I am extremely lucky on a Friday to be able to wear smart/ casual attire although surprisingly this causes me some distress. I find it harder to pick an outfit for Friday then I do the rest of the week as I am faced with the conundrum of how casual is “too” casual! I have my work week wardrobe which usually I can just fish something out with ease but Fridays is a bit trickier. Over the years I tend to stick to the adage of when in an office, it is best to be a bit too smart then too casual therefore ruling out football or rugby shirts and scruffy paint splattered jeans which you usually wear when decorating at the weekend! You really cannot go wrong wearing dark, well fitting jeans – my current favourites are the Levi skinny fit which are the perfect length for tucking in ankle boots and the dark denim imitates the look of trousers. I pair my jeans with one of my abundant selection of jumpers – I love the cable knit and cricket styles frequented in the Ralph Lauren and Jonathan Saunders catwalk shows. One of my fears when I first started wearing oversized jumpers was looking too “top heavy” but I counteract this by wearing a fitted leather jacket or cropped bomber. In my view it doesn’t get cuter then a flash of beautiful knit or cashmere from jacket cuffs merging wonderfully with a gorgeous pair of leather gloves.

I would say the final point with office dressing is learning the art of mix and matching. As much as we all would love to have an infinite wardrobe with a different outfit to wear every day this is not feasible for most of us. I find that investing in classic pieces like a well fitting jacket, pair of trousers or that ever faithful little black shift dress you can wear a different shirt or pair of shoes and it looks like a completely new ensemble. Whoops – I think i have just revealed my secret to my colleagues reading this – I wear something different every day i promise 🙂

Until next week, take care

Keya x