I'm a summer girl by nature and only a month or so
into winter I'm already starting to loath the monotony of cold weather
dressing. The dull pallet of greys and blacks littering my wardrobe makes for a
series of outfits that resembles a nun in a smog storm, as shown in a
series of bathroom-mirror-selfies entitled ‘BLAH’.
So I’ve spent hours scouring the internet for inspiration on how to do winter in high definition colour, in the hope that it may transform my consistently gloomy outfit posts into captivatingly colourful combinations.
I understand that blues, burgundies and camels may feel like only a small step into colour for some of you, but trust me, this is a giant leap for bland-kind.
You may have noticed recently that my Instagram page has slowly changed from a constant stream of shoe pictures to hundreds of interiors images as my love of all things home-deco grows and grows. Having my own house to fill with things has left me addicted to home ware shopping and my favourite place to find unique pieces for great prices is the bi-monthly antiques market at Kempton Park Racecourse. A world of reclaimed wooden furniture and mid century pieces that make West Elm look like Ikea - it really is the place to pick up an amazing find.
I thought I'd share some images of my most recent visit so you can see what it's all about, and then share with you a guide to getting the most out of a visit to Kempton.
So here it is, my guide to getting to most out of Kempton Antiques Market - and don't forget to share with me what you buy! (@rachelingram14)
Hire a van if you plan on buying any furniture - although if you know anyone with a 4x4 car then butter them up because you could probably get away with going in that.
Get there early. It starts at 6.30am and I strongly suggest you are there for opening. I know it's a horrible time to be awake but there are hundreds of regulars who rush around the market at opening, so by as early as 8am all the best items are already gone.
Know what you are looking for. I write a list and keep it in my pocket because there is so much there it's easy to be overwhelmed and side tracked.
Head for the 'trend' items first. Things like bevelled mirrors or antique silver trays are really popular at the moment so dealers rush around picking them up from every stall. This means you have to get in there early.
Dont hesitate. If you wait, it will go. Im still mourning the mid century side table I missed out on in May.
Haggle. If they say £25 and you hand them a £20 note and say 'do it for £20?' they generally will. Dont be afraid to haggle down on big items as well. Some dealers won't budge on price, especially early in the morning, but they will expect you to ask so don't feel embarrassed.
Take cash. Very few dealers take cards and you will get better bargains with cash.
If you have a sack trolley, it is worth taking with you in case you buy heavy furniture. If you don't have one you can buy one there (for £30) or pay a man with one to bring things to your car/van.
On this recent visit to Kempton I bought a reclaimed wood and metal coffee table for our kitchen - and after persuading two nice men to carry it to the car and another two to carry it out again, it fit perfectly into the space. Phew! Now all we need is an armchair, and side table, and lamp, and rug, and cushions, and throw, and .... the list goes on!
Have you been to any great antiques markets in the UK you can recommend? Or experienced Kempton Park? Would love to hear from you....
Stylist Shops is back in the changing rooms bringing you the best - and potentially worst - of the current in-store haul. Let me take the hassle out of shopping by trying everything on for you so you can decide what you want from my awkward mirror selfies and simply buy it online.
Now first of let me warn you, it ain't pretty out there this close to christmas. Not only did I have to fight an aggressive Spaniard for the last pair of knitted culottes, I also had to sell my soul for an 8 item allowance in the Zara changing rooms, but it was worth it good people to help you find your perfect winter wardrobe.
And by jove it was in my wardrobe before you could say 'why bother trying on those boring grey trousers (£25.99, Small), couldn't you find anything more interesting to try on in the whole of Zara?'.
Next in line is the long-top-and-culotte-tonal-combo. Now I'm not gonna lie to you, I never do, this looked way more promising on the hanger. The top (£59.99, Small) was great. A heavy duty wool mix tunic with a great slit at the side and the back - and how promising, I thought, with those mustard culottes (£39.99, Small) worn tonally underneath. But how wrong I was. They were slightly too long and slightly too cheapy-looking, creasing in places you really didn't want them to crease.
This top would be a total winner instead paired back with cigarette pants or straight leg jeans and a nude strappy heel.
Next we have the little black dress, with a lacey overlay and a layer of guipure lace around the sleeves and hem (£39.99, Small). The dress fit perfectly but was super short so I would perhaps suggest sizing up for length and decorum. Not a particularly wintery item but one of those dresses that feels like it would become a year round staple and an especially great addition to any holiday wardrobe.
Nothing says A/W14 like a rollneck jumper, and this deliciously warm short sleeved knit (£45.99, Small) was overpriced yes, but it's one of those you won't want to take if off all winter long. Paired with this geometric print midi skirt (£59.99, Small) this is an outfit that would look totally professional for a day in the office with heels, and totally fun worn on the weekend with a pair of Stan Smiths.
If November weather means all you want to wear is chunky knitwear, why stop at your top half? These knitted wide leg cropped trousers (£35.99, Small) are the ultimate winter-warmers (aside from the whole cold ankle thing) and make a cool alternative to a pair of jeans. They fit slightly large, I rolled them up once at the waist to make them fit properly so you may want to size down.
After falling for the jumper in the previous outfit I had to try it on in black too (£45.99, Small) and unsurprisingly it fit exactly the same but it was blacker, and maybe even more perfectly essential to my wardrobe.
You can wear this outfit with heels as in the pictures below, but we all know that it's going to be worn with my Adidas Gazelles as soon as I get these items home.
I'm not one for formal dressing so I always find it hard to find outfits to wear when I go out at night. This black, embroidered, fringed camisole (£29.99, Small) is the perfect solution for me. It still has a bohemian edge but it's sexy enough for a night out especially when paired with these faux leather trousers (£35.99, Small). The trousers are a real staple and will go with everything in your wardrobe, for both day (knitwear / denim shirts / roll necks) and night (silk shirts / camisoles / tunics).
So, there we have it, a shop at Zara in 15 minutes without leaving your desk.
What did you like? What did you hate? Is there a shop you'd love me to tackle? A trend you want road tested? Let me know in the comments below.