H&M beauty palette…

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I’ve been a big fan of Urban Decay’s Nude beauty palettes for quite some time. The range of colours they offer in one shiny metallic box is enticing, practical and of course, beauty enhancing. Judging by their enormous success, I share the opinion of many.

But, I recently snapped up a new beauty rival. Check out this gorgeous mini-palette from H&M beauty.

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It’s the ‘Smoky Essentials’ selection – we’re talking nine, nude-esque, smokin’ and coordinated shades.

It’s part of the Swedish brand’s fabulous new beauty collection that includes a complete skincare, bodycare, hair styling and make-up range. Like its incredible clothes range, it’s inspired by seasonal trends and colours. That means we can match our make-up to all of our new fashionista purchases YO!

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I’m excited.

I have a long-term love affair with H&M. It started from a very young age when my stylish aunty used to send me fabulous birthday fashion from London town.

I then went on to work for the company in much later years, where I had some of the best fashion, care-free and fun years of my life. It also helped to spark my PR career which, I will always be thankful for. And, mustn’t forget the Scandi-love it’s brought into my life, be that via friendships or sheer style inspiration.

It goes without saying then, that it’s a brand that will always remain close to my oh-so-stylish heart.

If you need some Scandi-beauty in your life… get on it with H&M beauty.

Prices are great too. This palette is only £9.99 ….and it fits in your make-up bag!

#LOVE

Nadine XO

Any other new beauty recommendations? What do you think of this new, ambitious range from H&M?

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Mighty Mexicana at El Cartel…

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Depending on my mood Mexican is my absolute favourite food. The tacos, tortillas and tequila however, must be dished up right (no ol’ el paso here). Thank God then for El Cartel. One of the newest Mexicana eats-on-the-block in Edinburgh.

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For a start, it’s an authentic street-food offering. So, it’s going all out with its incredible tacos…and they’re soooooo super tasty .While the food is traditional, it’s sexy too and the dining space is styled to match. It’s hip yet casual, and its vibe is a chilled as its frozen margaritas.

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If you know me by now, you’ll know I properly love a margarita…or three. And El Cartel gets ten out of ten.

It was a sad day for me when Tex Mex closed its Thistle Street doors. I have many-a-margarita memory thanks to Fat Donny and his wee empire back then. While, it was good news that the Bon Vivant brigade were taking it over (with BIG plans for an all new Mexican place) it was sad too…end of an era and all that.

Sometimes you need a renaissance though. And, the time is definitely now!

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The current menu has nine starters and six tacos. The steak, duck and fish tacos are all piquant chic, making you just want more! While starter dishes like the salmon ceviche – served ‘Mexico city style in soy sauce, cucumber, red onion tomato and avocado’, and the chorizo Quesadillas will definitely make your day.

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It’s not a huge menu, which I prefer (being Libran, too much choice is never a good thing!). I did however, find myself contemplating whether I could chomp my way through the whole thing, there and then….hmmm probably, as long as I was sharing. Well, the food is that good.

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Don’t forget to sample the chilli-chocolate ice cream either – super tasty, and the perfect end with a bite to a perfect meal. The home-made hot sauce is spot on too.

Arriba Arriba!

Any more Margarita / Mexicana recommendations?

A wardrobe revive…

The time has come to reign-in my sports luxe look. Mat leave is officially over and I’m well and truly #backtowork. And, aside from the heart-tug of leaving Little Miss M’s side, it feels good to be back. It’s also great to be getting dressed for the office…Nadine Style, of course.

About a month before I was due back, I started thinking about sorting my wardrobe. I opened the doors and then closed them again. It felt like a huge task and part of me just wanted to start over.

But then something – or rather, someone – amazing happened. My friend Debra Hogan – Personal Stylist and founder of One Velvet Morning offered to give me a wardrobe makeover. ‘I’ll help you clear-out, revive and refresh’, she promised.

Well, how could one fashionista possibly refuse the help of another?! So, we booked three diary dates.

1. Assess. First up, the wardrobe assessment. Debra rocked-up to my boudoir looking like she meant business (she also looked gorgeously awesome). Her macbook was fired up and ready to go…in no time.

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‘So, tell me what you want to get out of this session?’ Wow, part of me felt like I should be lying down on the sofa ready to reveal all. This, I thought, could be like, the best back to work therapy ever….

It didn’t take me long to figure it out. I explained that I was happy with my personal style so we didn’t need to mix things up there (obvs). But, my wardrobe definitely needed sorting. What was driving me mad was the amount of clothes I have that I hardly ever wear.

Apparently this is the most common wardrobe issue for women…and I was assured we’d turn this around.

We then chatted more about things like my clothes shopping patterns, likes and dislikes, body shape (and insecurities) etc. to give Debra a clear picture of what was required for session two.

2. The makeover. Debra arrived (looking amazing once again) and wasted no time getting to work. She went through my wardrobe to see exactly what I had and questioned me on each piece. We then worked on reorganising my clothes so that I would think about my outfits more readily and, importantly mix things up. Before I knew it we were uncovering lots of wee gems that I’d forgotten about and getting seriously excited about wearing them again. We made separate piles of ‘keeps’, ‘lose for good’ and ‘reinvents’. The latter were the items we agreed could be revitalised with a little help from either my own fine hands or Debra’s tailor Barbara, including these crazy 80s style culottes to bring them up to date.

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Other fab finds were this coat to re-rock the 70s trend, a bo-ho leather bag and an ol’ favourite Marc Jacobs skirt (which now looks amazing btw with frilly socks and boots).

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We also made a list of my ‘wants’ for shopping to update my looks. This included a new leather jacket, denim flares, statement shoes, new tops that weren’t navy or black (my wardrobe is bustin’ with these) and a new bag.

3. Shopping. Finally we had session three when Debra and I went shopping. This was great too. Debra had booked the styling room in House of Fraser and had picked out lots for me to try on.

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We then hit-up my favourite shops and more. I got the most amazing leather jacket from Kakao by K, fab Zara flares (which are off to Babs to be taking up slightly) and these shoes along with some much-needed basic tops.

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Overall, it was such a great experience. Utterly therapeutic and lots of fun. A good clear out is, as they say, good for the soul. It also really helped me get back in the zone for work. Debra is the ultimate style pro too – completely ruthless when she needs to be and inspiring and creative when bringing out the best in you and your wardrobe.

Oh, and one of the best organising tricks from this lovely lady was what she did with my scarves – check it out. #GreatIdea.

debs scarfs

Thanks Debra – you’re awesome x

If you’re in need of a wardrobe revive, some styling advice or even some wellbeing support then I’d highly recommend giving Debra a shout. The wardrobe makeover and styling sessions also make a great gift. I loved it and keep feeling stylishly inspired.

You can connect with Debra on facebook and twitter too.

Have you got a wardrobe full of clothes you forget to wear? I’d love to hear about it.

Great gift idea…

This luxury champagne & chocolate box from Fortnum & Mason makes the perfect gift.

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Two of my best girlfriends turned 40 recently and we (me and each friend) sent the other, one of these fabulous boxes.

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They both loved getting the glamorous delivery and said it was the perfect start to their BIG birthday celebrations. I have to agree – that huge milestone needs to start with proper Champers and just keep rolling on and on and on….

So, I was pretty excited to receive a special delivery myself recently. At first, I wondered if my friends had got my birthday date (and year!) confused as I’ve a (little) while yet until that BIG date.

But it was actually goodies from Time Out Edinburgh for my blogging contributions. How exciting!

I could have saved it for a special occasion or… just fired in. We (me and Mr T) opted for the latter and, it was well worth it.

Seriously, the champagne is lovely and the chocolates are super-amazing.

The perfect treat for someone…or maybe just for you.

Any fab gift ideas to share?

Design by K…

My absolute favourite Edinburgh boutique is Kakao by K on fabulous Thistle Street. And, I love it for two reasons.

  1. One of my very good friends, Karina owns it and shopping / hanging out there is as lovely as she is (okay, I’m a bit bias but go see for yourself)
  2. It’s got Scand-chic all wrapped up

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Karina – a Denmark lass – has been bringing a taste of Scandinavia to the city for well over six years now. Her impeccable taste has gained her a loyal following and the brands she stocks like Soaked in Luxury, Gestuz and Y.A.S have gone from strength to strength.

For me, it’s perfect for adding statement pieces to my wardrobe as it offers designers that are not-so-easy-to-find in the UK. And the prices are more within my range (not cheap but not crazy top designer ££s).

The gorgeous accessories and jewellery Kakao stocks – including her own Design by K range – are also incredible. I have a drawer full of fabulous chunky, sparkly and elegant necklaces. And, a unique scarf to go with all of my outfits.

So, it was very exciting to be invited along to the launch of Karina’s latest Design by K collection: Scandiburgh.

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Inspired by her Scandinavian heritage and her Edinburgh lifestyle, the new jewellery range offers a unique mix of gold and silver designs. Each piece being a symbol of Karina’s life in some way.

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Like the beading on a pair of hoop earrings that were inspired by the black bead design that surrounds the Melville monument in St Andrew’s Square. Or the stag’s head necklace that was created thanks to the view from her boutique’s window (Howie’s 21st Century Kilts …and his stag head are across the road). While the clean lines of all of the jewellery’s design puts her Scandinavian stamp on them.

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This necklace was one of my fave pieces, which I purchased on the night. I love the clean design with the pale blue stone. The stone is a reference to the appreciation of a pure blue sky in Edinburgh, especially as we often have rain. It’s also a nod to the the current 70s trend and a great match for the many-new tan colours I have introduced to my s/s wardrobe.

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I’d highly recommend checking out the range – you can view her ranges online too at kakao.co.uk . Don’t worry either if a piece you want is sold out. Karina offers bespoke designs as part of her Design by K brand so she’ll happily make you another.

What’s your favourite jewellery to wear? Are you strictly silver or gold or, do you mix it up?

Kakao by K will also be taking Scandi-chic to Aberdeen this weekend with a pop-up shop in Amicus Apple. Danish knitwear designer Stinne Gorell will be there too.

If you’re in the area it’s a fab opportunity to combine lunch with a spot of shopping and you’ll definitely snap-up some unique items. The shop will be open 12-5pm.

Big bandana love…

It’s good news that bandanas are back. Well, I got a bit excited and bought a red one and a blue one from Zarabandanas

I was supposed to take one back but couldn’t make my mind up which colour I’d wear most. So, now I have two. I’m also looking to make it three as (thankfully) the trend is rolling on into a/w so…I clearly need a black one too.

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I might even need a baby bandana for Little Miss M…

What’s your thoughts on bandanas? Do or don’t?

Any baby bandanas you can link me to?

Fun at The Pantry…

If you’ve not been to The Pantry in Stockbridge for a while or indeed ever, you should check it out. Especially if you have a playdate to organise  – it’s only gone and got an incredible play space with toys-a-plenty.

Ah, the things that make you happy when you’re busy being mum.

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Little Miss M and I were catching up with a friend and her wee one. And, I’m not going to lie, we were all super-excited to find this new addition. It’s been well designed and thought out. The gated play area is located at the side of the main eating space. This means it gives those without babes the privacy and distance they need to enjoy their food / drinks. There’s also two tables with plenty of chairs right beside the area and enough space for two buggies.

We were coffee and caking. They have a fab selection of sweet treats at the counter so we opted for a sharey-selection of lovely macaroons and a (wow) salted caramel millionaire’s shortbread. Really flippin’ good.

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The kids had a ball in the play space and there are plenty of highchairs so, they were able to join us for post-fun refreshments.

It’s a farm shop too. And the daily menu is really appealing with things like the Breakfast Burrito and the Pulled Pork Sub. They also have ‘Toastie Tuesdays’, which basically means the kitchen has a day off and the staff serve up toasties all day.

I love toasties. And I’m lovin’ The Pantry…

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They actually run some classes too. Things like baking and pizza making classes for wee ones and cooking courses for adults. These appear to be at various locations though….

If you haven’t been lately then definitely go for food or, a coffee and cake stop. And don’t be put off by the new kid area, if you’re looking for some peace, as it’s hidden enough.

All in all, the best of both worlds.

Any more coffee catch-up / playdate recommendations?