Enhancing an Heirloom with Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

Jewellery has always played a major role in my family. Growing up, few things were as special as raiding my mother’s jewellery box. Each piece had a story to tell and these little jewels held a world of wonder. She herself had always wanted to become a silversmith, and has instilled in me a love and respect for precious metals and gemstones. And maybe a slight obsession with all things of a sparkly nature!

It’s no doubt she got her love of jewellery from her mom. My grandmother didn’t just have a box; she had a whole drawer of magic. I’d love to watch her get ready, she’d always open that dresser drawer to add on the finishing touches. I’m not sure she ever went out without some jewellery on!

The Piper family ladies, 2010, missing one cousin! 

Sadly two years ago, she passed away. While her jewellery collection was not extensive, it was important. She liked to collect opals and had been telling us granddaughters (there’s four of us, no boys!) that we would all one day inherit one of her beloved opals.

My grandmother's opal ring, along with one of her trinket boxes

She made jewellery special. She would often talk about a piece like it was her friend. Some of the items in her jewellery box were dinky trinkets, but everything had a story. Many of the more expensive pieces were given to her by my late grandfather for birthdays, anniversaries, special occasions. Including her silver charm bracelet.

 My grandmother and I, perfecting our pouts, 2014

My grandmother and I, perfecting our pouts, 2014

Not many pieces of jewellery can tell a story as inexplicably as a charm bracelet can. The charms itself were given individually as gifts over the years. Each one has its own significance, it’s own tale to tell. While inheriting the opal almost felt like a birthright, receiving the charm bracelet felt just as dear.

I knew that I needed these pieces to become a part of my life, and weave them into my own story.  

So without hesitation I took them, along with a few other things over to the award-winning Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery. The studios themselves are like Aladdin’s Cave, full of treasures and wonder. But more so you could feel the passion, see the craftsmanship and know that if you walk out of there with something, it’s going to be special.

I love the brand for many reasons, one of which is the importance they place on nurturing new talent. The setup, while exquisitely modern, has a real feel of importance in tradition and craftsmanship to it. It’s clear that they care about the trade, and as such also uphold exceptional ethical standards – which can often be a bit foggy in the jewellery industry.

At Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery, Halls Green

Upon arrival (without an appointment I might add) at the Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery workshop in Halls Green I was offered a drink from their fully-fledged café and had a browse whilst I waited for one of their designers. After a few minutes I was introduced to designers Laurie and Beth. They were full of knowledge and ideas – pretty cool considering they’d had no time to prepare.

I wanted to have the opal ring made into a pendant necklace. The ring itself was far too dainty for me, but I thought repurposing the stone and diamonds into something more my style would be the perfect solution.

Laurie came up with a stunning design, taking everything I wanted into account but also making sure it was technically sound.  We decided to add in a new stone, a blue topaz (my birthstone) to truly make the new piece my own.

The inspiration, by Wwake

Laurie's design for the necklace

This is something the team at Harriet Kelsall excels at. If you’ve inherited jewellery that’s not quite your style, they can give it a new lease of life. Or you can incorporate meaningful stones into new items – much like Prince Harry did by adding two of his mother’s diamonds into his bespoke engagement ring for Megan Markle.

My own jewels were then taken to one of the jewelers for technical checks and pricing. The jeweler quickly noted that the charms were soldered on with lead – which was not good long-term for the integrity of the bracelet.

The charm bracelet before, very tarnished!

After carefully explaining the processes and prices to me, I decided to go ahead with the full bracelet refurb but would have to wait for the pendant as it was a bit out of my budget.

I’m sure I probably could have taken the bracelet somewhere else at a lesser price – but when you have such an important heirloom, you need to trust your jeweller. The standards at Harriet Kelsall are among the highest in the industry.

The jeweller reworking the silver fastenings. Image courtesy of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

I was given a three-week turnaround time, which considering it was just before Christmas was completely reasonable. It turned out that we would be leaving to go to the US for Christmas just a day or so after the deadline, so they very kindly pushed it up, allowing me to bring the bracelet back to show my family its transformation.

Polishing the tarnished silver. Image courtesy of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery

The transformation itself was astonishing. I didn’t think it could be polished as well as it was – I wouldn’t be surprised if its shinier now than it was brand new!

I’m so pleased with the end results as well as the customer service and care I received.

 My shiny refurbed charm bracelet, worn with my ChloBo stacking bracelets, a gift for my first Mother's Day

My shiny refurbed charm bracelet, worn with my ChloBo stacking bracelets, a gift for my first Mother's Day

There’s no doubt that I’ll be working with Harriet Kelsall team in the future. I love the romantic notion of having a ‘family jeweller’ – a place that will help us celebrate life’s special occasions with tangible objects of sparkling beauty, heirlooms to be treasured. (Husband, take note!)

If you’d like to chat with the jewelers and designers at Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery they’d love to hear from you. In addition to their expansive Hall’s Green workshop and their Cambridge studio, earlier this year they opened a shop in London’s Primrose Hill. Whatever your jewellery needs, they will be able to help!  

(Note: This is a sponsored blog post, however I sought out and had decided to use the services of Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery before the idea for this collaboration came about. I would have used their services regardless and can wholeheartedly recommend them.)

The Wedding Guest Dilemma - How to Look Stylish on a Budget

Who doesn’t love a good wedding? They are a huge part of the British summer culture. Whether you’re the bride or not, chances are if you’ve got the invite you’re already wondering what to wear.

Did you know the average cost of a wedding guest outfit comes in at a whopping £120 – and I’m sure most of us have spent much more. This need to have a brand new outfit for special occasions is just not justified!

It isn’t that you shouldn’t want to look your best, but you should spend accordingly. Most occasion wear outfits are worn only once, perhaps two or three times if you’re lucky.  I’ve seen it a million times when I go into clients’ wardrobes – they’ve got their beloved bold print Coast skirt hanging in a dust bag while they’re buying jeans from the supermarket.

Now wouldn’t it make sense to flip that on it’s head? I firmly believe in spending your money on the clothes you get the most wear of (resulting in a better cost-per-wear), and being frugal with those one hit wonders.

To help you out, I’ve pulled together a few different options for savvy wedding guest outfits. I wanted to keep this simple so I’ve chosen all items from three highstreet shops, that I regularly buy my clothes from – M&S, H&M and ASOS.

It’s important that these items don’t just hang in that dust bag in the not-so-accessible part of your wardrobe, so they are items that can be dressed up or down. And all clothing is under £40 (a few shoes are over, oops)!

 

The Capsule Collection

 

The summer I got married we attended NINE weddings. So on top of the most expensive day (err, weekend) of our lives and the ‘most important’ dress ever, I had to come up with eight other outfits. It was an expensive summer to say the least.

If I had known then what I know now, I’d have planned it much better and pulled together a small capsule wardrobe to mix and match.

If you’ve got five or more weddings this capsule will suit you perfectly.

Take three tops, two skirts and a pair of wide leg trousers. And here you get seven unique outfits. All items that can be worn for not-so-special occasions too. And the total for these SIX items is the same as the average spend on one outfit! 

 Strappy vest, H&M, £12.99

Strappy vest, H&M, £12.99

 Bardot top, H&M, £17.99

Bardot top, H&M, £17.99

 Navy cami, H&M, £17.99

Navy cami, H&M, £17.99

 Midi skirt, H&M, £39.99

Midi skirt, H&M, £39.99

 Wide leg trousers, M&S, £15

Wide leg trousers, M&S, £15

 Cargo skirt, H&M, £19.99

Cargo skirt, H&M, £19.99

I’ve added in shoes (see below) to suit but you could get away with a tan or nude strappy sandal with all the outfits.

 

The key here is choosing wisely. I’ve got one pop of colour (red) and two neutrals, navy and cream/white. This makes mixing and matching possibilities aplenty!

 

Dresses under £40


Another option (if you don’t want a lot of options) is the simple dress. Here are five of my favourites, all under £40...

 A simple stylish wrap dress. ASOS Design, £30

A simple stylish wrap dress. ASOS Design, £30

 Bright, bold and easy to accessorise. ASOS Design, £30 

Bright, bold and easy to accessorise. ASOS Design, £30 

 Make a sheer, scene-stealing statement. ASOS, £38

Make a sheer, scene-stealing statement. ASOS, £38

 Perfect for a garden party. Boohoo, £40

Perfect for a garden party. Boohoo, £40

 Because you know I love leopard print! ASOS Design, £38

Because you know I love leopard print! ASOS Design, £38

 

Show-stopping shoes


Lastly, remember you don’t need to buy a whole new outfit! Pull out something you wore a few years ago and update it with new shoes and accessories. M&S are doing some amazing things in footwear at the moment. These are my most wearable picks…

 Make a statement with a bold colour. M&S, £19.50

Make a statement with a bold colour. M&S, £19.50

 The go-with-everything stiletto. M&S, £49.50

The go-with-everything stiletto. M&S, £49.50

 The stylish (and comfortable) sandal. M&S, £39.50

The stylish (and comfortable) sandal. M&S, £39.50

 The must-have mules. M&S, £35

The must-have mules. M&S, £35

 The fashionista's favourite. M&S, £35

The fashionista's favourite. M&S, £35

And don’t forget to accessorise. Again M&S are doing some amazing accessories at the moment - whether you want a bold statement necklace or simple gold hoops.

Have you got your wedding guest outfit sorted? If you need help building your very own capsule collection or want to find that show-stopper, get in touch

Spring Clean: How to Detox Your Wardrobe

Now that the daffodils have bloomed and the beast from the east (and its little brother) are behind us, who’s ready for spring? I SURE AM!

spring-clean-your-home.jpg

Excited much, me? Yes, I love spring. The first few boring months of the year are just a warm up but spring is the real deal. Flowers, baby animals, and spring fashion, hallelujah!

And along with change of season comes the need for a good old fashioned spring clean. As I’m sure you’ll know, I’m all for a spring detox, in every sense.

As we’re moving house next month, I’ve got the just bin it bug and am weeding out what we actually need from all the crap we’ve been collecting. I’ve also finally found the motivation to get back in shape, so I’m going on a bit of a health detox too. And I’ve recently rediscovered my love of reading and learning so I think I’ll be going on a bit of a digital/telly detox and lose myself in a book more often. Does all this talk of detox sound exhausting? It probably will be! My trick is to start small and focus on one area at a time.

Fortunately for you, here’s where I can help. Your wardrobe is a perfect place to start. Just a few hours and you’ll feel truly cleansed. In my professional life as a stylist I have done dozens and dozens of closet clearings… and every single one has been a success.

So where to start? Here’s my top tips for your very own Wardrobe Detox and spring clean:
 

1. Give yourself a good chunk of time

I promise it will be worth it. A little sacrifice to start and you’ll save yourself loads of time in the long run. Set aside two to three hours one evening or weekend.

 

2. Call for back-up

Ask a friend or family member or even a pro like me (!!!) to come and help. Having someone watching over you will put a bit more pressure on you to make decisions. So things you might think I’ll just keep it for now, you’re more likely to toss, or at the very least give them some proper thought.

WS Wardrobe detox-web.jpg

3. Start with the things you’ve worn in the past 30 days

These will probably be your favourite items that fit you well. You can keep them all, unless they have holes or stains of course. Pull them out and set them on your bed or a portable rail so you can see what you’re left with.

 

4. Now get on with everything else

Go through one by one and put things in piles – keep, alter, donate, bin and if you need it, maybe. Try on all the maybes.

If you aren’t sure, pop the hanger in your closet backwards and try to wear it ASAP. If you do, turn the hanger around and keep it. If you don’t turn it over in six months – see ya later!

 

5. Don’t be precious

No matter how much something cost or how many times you’ve (not) worn it, if it doesn’t fit you or make you happy when you put it on GET RID OF IT.

 

6. Recycle, up-cycle, donate

There are so many ways to get rid of clothes nowadays. Obviously you can give them to the local charity shop. For higher priced items in good nick, try selling them at a local dress agency or on eBay (still the best in my opinion). For designer bits, check out some of the online selling platforms. There’s also loads of clothes swaps and second hand sales popping up. Or give them to an appreciative friend! I’ll pop some links for ideas below.

 

7. Reorganise

Now that you’ve streamlined what’s hanging in your closet, make some sense out of it. I like to colour code my closet. Some people like to keep certain items in a category together. Do whatever works for you.

Stylist tip: Don’t hang things that ‘go together’ together. This makes for lazy dressing and uninspired outfits. Take belts off of garments they came with. Give everything it’s own space.

 

8. Hang it!

Now that you’ve got less make sure you can see what you do have. Every item NEEDS its own hanger. I love the flocket / velvet non-slip ones which are available from Primark and TK Maxx for cheap.

All tops and dresses should be hung; trousers and skirts too if you have the space. Knitwear and jeans can be folded.

31fuV3CVBQL._SL500_AC_SS350_.jpg

FINALLY…

Take some time to try putting new outfits together. Take pictures to remember them. Get creative and have fun!

 

Some of my favourite dress agencies…

Brockhurst Boutique (Chesham, Bucks)

Lanes Dress Agency (Epping)

The Shiny City of Wardrobe (Hitchin, Herts)


Resale events…

Fashion Re:Boot (multiple locations)

Rockup Frockup (Herts & London)
 

Resale sites…

Cudoni (designer goods, London – contact me first as I have a direct contact!)

Vesitaire Collective (designer)

eBay

Shpock

Depop

Let me know if you know others to add to the list! 

If you need any help detoxing your own wardrobe, just get in touch! Here’s a run-down of the full service I offer. If you’re not convinced head over to my testimonials to hear about some of my results!

Style How To... Wear Trainers

Now that you’ve been inspired and found your favourite pair of kicks, how do you actually wear them? Maybe that’s a silly question but I want to be sure that your trainers are reaching their FULL potential and properly earning their place in your wardrobe.

All images via Pinterest

1) Keep it classic with a t-shirt and jeans

But add an edge, obviously. My favourite jeans with trainers are ankle grazers. This will help avoid the awkward bunched up hem you often get, plus they show off those sexy ankles.

All images via Pinterest

If you’ve got a thicker ankle, there’s no need to hide it, just choose a shoe with a chunky sole to add balance.

All images via Pinterest

Or for a different look - try trousers! 

All images via Pinterest

 

2) With a dress

Now this is probably a bit controversial to some of you, but why not give it a try. It will give those dresses in your wardrobe a new lease of life!

All images via Pinterest

I’m a firm believer in wearing what you own and not saving anything ‘for best’. So this is a perfect way to dress down that maxi you bought last summer. Or wear with a skater dress for a girl about town style.

All images via Pinterest

 

3) Skirt and jumper

Another style that might be slightly out of your comfort zone but once you’ve embraced it, there’s no turning back.

All images via Pinterest

This is my style du jour for meetings and maintaining comfort whilst also looking somewhat considered and fashionable.

All images via Pinterest

I’ve found recently a lot of my clients don’t own many skirts – if this is you, you can get the same look by throwing a jumper over a dress.

 

4) Just add colour, texture, fabulousness

If you’re stuck wearing the same old ‘uniform’ every day, like jeans and a jumper, trainers are a great way to add interest to your outfit with no extra effort.

@sincerelyjules via Pinterest

My favourite trainers ‘of interest’ are my Leopard-print Copelands by Air & Grace. They instantly make the most basic of outfits look more stylish and I receive so many compliments when I wear them.

Olivia Palermo via Pinterest

 

5) Dress down your best Items of clothing  

I already touched on this by pairing trainers with a dress, but you don’t need to stop there! Take anything you own that might be considered a bit ‘too much’ for day time, add trainers et voila – you’ve got a new look!

@rockmystyle via Pinterest

Black trainers look amazing with leather (faux or real) leggings and a chunky trainer with a wide legged trouser is top trend for 2018. Want to get more out of that sequin skirt or dress you bought for the holiday party four years ago? Just add trainers. 

All images via Pinterest

 

STYLIST TIP:

You can wear a simple t-shirt or jumper, your favourite jeans, trainers and then top it off with the coat. This also works with dresses, skirts, leather leggings, etc, you get the picture. It will instantly up the fashion factor to ANY outfit.

All images via Pinterest

Just make sure the hem length is different between the two in order to create length and elongate your silhouette. 

All images via Pinterest

 

My only trainer NO-NO: trainers with tights

… it just doesn’t work. The eye is drawn to the shoe and legs look weird. 

All images via Pinterest

If you absolutely must, then choose a tight with a low opacity - avoid think black tights at all costs. 

The ONLY exception is if you have simple streamlined black trainers with tights. It just about works for a sport luxe feel. But anything lighter in colour or that stands out will just make your silhouette look rather odd!

All images via Pinterest

How do you style your trainers? I'd love to see! Feel free to tag me @lololovettstyle on Instagram .

Want more inspiration? Check out my Trainer Style board on Pinterest ❤︎

Where to Buy the Best Trainers

After reading Part One of my trainers special series, are you feeling inspired? I hope so! Now, that you’re ready to rock those kicks, here’s a few of my favourite brands to buy.

I do think when it comes to trainers, you get what you pay for. A good pair will last you for ages if you look after them, so they are worth investing in. If you can’t afford leather, go for canvas but avoid plastics and synthetics wherever possible (they won’t last, aren’t made well and will make your feet stink!).

 

1) Golden Goose Deluxe Brand

These are quickly becoming my most favourite trainers ever. It’s taken me nearly two years to commit to the price tag, but I am so glad I did (note: I did buy mine in the sale and Net-a-Porter  and MyTheresa.com still have several styles half off, hurry!). They are beautifuly made and the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever owned.

A nappy bag is the perfect accessory for my GGDB trainers

GGDB has been around since 2000, but has recently become the fashion bloggers sneaker of choice. I love that they come in such a huge selection of fabrics, colours and textures. Plus their signature worn-in look means a scuff here or there only adds to their charm.

 

2) Air & Grace

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen me wearing my Leopard print Copelands A LOT. I wore them in NYC last month where we walked about 20 miles over the course of three days – and I didn’t say ‘my feet hurt’ once!

I love clashing my leopard Copelands with a garish print

These lovely shoes are designed in London and not only are they beautiful, they have musculoskeletal benefits as well. The memory foam layers hidden in the soul work to align your spine correctly – great if you suffer from lower back pain!

 

3) Reebok

Of the traditional athletics brands, Reebok is my favourite. They aren’t as popular as Adidas or Nike these days but you know it’s a brand you can trust for comfort.

Black trainers are fab to wear with a skirt or dress - these Reebok classics go with everything! 

Their signature retro style never goes out of fashion. I also love how their standard sole is thinner at the toe with a bit of lift in the heel. Not only does this work to stabilise the heel, it’s very flattering for curvy figures.

 

4) New Look

If you want to ease yourself into trainers slowly, New Look is the perfect place to shop. You can often find designers dupes at a fraction of the price – including these glitter striped ones that bare a strong resemblance to the Air & Grace classic Copelands!

These Copeland-look-a-likes are on sale for £18 at ASOS (although if you love them, I strongly suggest going for the real thing!)

My favourite style from New Look are the slip-ons. They are great if you’re running after children and need to put on /take-off shoes quickly. Plus they go up to a size 9 and most styles can be found in wider width as well.

Celestial slip-ons in velvet... so many trends in one shoe!

5) Shoeaholics          


This isn’t a brand but a website. If you haven’t heard of it before, you’re welcome (or I apologise, depends on how you look at it!).

The site stocks popular brands such as Kurt Geiger, Carvela and Gola at a fraction of a price. And I’m not talking a few quid off – sometimes you can get up to 90% off! PLUS new customers get an extra 20% off when they sign up to emails.

I picked up these Carvela sandals for £9 last year - I wore them so much last summer, I wish I had bought two pairs! 

The styles are usually a season or two old but if you love it, who cares. It’s also a great place for trendy shoes you liked but weren’t sure about at full price. The site is a bit of mish-mash of leftover stock so shop by your shoe size to slim down the selection and curb disappointment. 

I'd love to know, what are YOUR favourite pair? Need more inspiration to shop? Check out my I ❤︎ Trainers pinboard over on Pinterest