A Look Back at 2015


It's pretty much been a whirlwind of a year! As I sit here with a cup of tea and look back through the archive, it's hard to believe how much I've done and the great people I've worked with!

Let's take a look back at 2015...


By now, you all know that I like to travel! I'm fortunate to have many opportunities to visit new cities as part of my job, and this year saw me head to Dallas for the first time. It's a city full of life and filled with history- I really enjoyed my first visit, and look forward to heading back again!

I also took a mammoth trip back to DC and NYC. Packed with lots of business meetings, I did make time for fun and catch-ups with friends and colleagues!


I'm over a year into running my own communications business. It's lots of fun, rewarding and enriching, and I'm really glad I took the plunge in 2014! This year I was honored to be named as one of the 35 Under 35 Entrepreneurs to Watch in Wales. I was listed amongst awesome company, including many individuals I collaborate with. I was also a finalist at the inaugural Wales Entrepreneur Awards in two categories- Micro Business and Expat.


Political Style has gone from strength to strength, and that's thanks to you, the lovely reader! New content streams have developed, including the really popular Royal Style. I've also worked with lots of new, exciting global brands and I'm looking forward to developing these partnerships in 2016. Watch this space!

Wow Moments

This year has had quite a few WOW moments, but my favorite has been interviewing Julia Gillard, the former Prime Minister of Australia. Gillard was the first female to hold the role as Australia's Prime Minister, and it was amazing to interview one of my role models when she was in Wales. A moment I'll never forget!


Plenty of fun has been had! From visiting the Harry Potter set to those everyday hilarious moments, I feel lucky to have had such a great, empowering year. I count my blessings everyday!

Thanks as always to you for your support. Wishing you and yours an amazing 2016! - L xo

2016 Home Design Trends with Robin Wilson


So the New Year is almost here, and if you're anything like me, you'll be looking at how you can refresh your living space! I'm a sucker for visiting home stores, especially when the sales are on! There's nothing more I enjoy than rummaging for a bargain and a statement piece to adorn my walls or side tables.

I'm also keen to see what the trends will be for 2016, and designer and CEO Robin Wilson has provided us with the hottest insights into what we'll all be wanting in our homes come the new year! Check out her top tips below.

  • Quartz stone countertops. The Silestone and Caesarstone countertops are more popular because of multiple options, lower maintenance, antibacterial properties and durability.

  • Shades of White. Most people do not realize that there are 96 shades of white, and more people are exploring the variations to give rooms subtle hue changes.

  • Entry foyer benches. Eco-friendly design suggests that people remove their shoes and outerwear in the foyer to prevent toxins from entering the home. More people are adding a place in their mudrooms or entry foyers for this purpose.

  • Undermount sinks. It is not a luxury to have an undermount sink, but a positive impact on your health because bacteria will not be trapped in the lip of the sink.

  • Open kitchen/Great Rooms. More clients recognize that the kitchen is the “heart of the home” and they are opening up the space so that family and friends can gather around during meal preparation.

  • Home Office. More people work from home or bring work home and a dedicated office space is essential, even if it was once a walk-in closet. Having a dedicated space allows one to separate work from home, instead of working on the dining room table.

  • Pantries. With the increase in bulk package purchases from stores such as Costco or Amazon shipments, more people are creating a space to put such items to ensure that they are properly stored, and often they include a second refrigerator/freezer for extra storage.

  • Mechanical window shades. There are more people using window shades that can move up and down with remote controls – for energy efficiency, protection of furniture/artwork or security to make it appear that someone is home. Many options allow control from smartphones.

  • Home Remote controls. With products such as Nest or Smart Home, consumers can manage security, temperature, lights, window shades and other features from their smart phones – even if they are traveling.

  • Curbless showers. This is a trend that has been common in high-end construction, but it is also useful for multi-generational design. Imagine that you are in a wheelchair one day and you cannot afford to renovate.  If you have a curbless shower, you can preserve your dignity a bit longer by wheeling into the space and using a handwand.
Robin Wilson

US Women's Chamber of Commerce supports Hillary


The US Women's Chamber of Commerce, the leading advocate for women on economic and leadership issues recently announced its endorsement of Hillary Clinton for President of the United States. This is the organization's first ever presidential endorsement, and I spoke to Margot Dorfman, CEO of the organization to find out why they're supporting Clinton and how they're helping women across America start their own businesses.

What difference will Hillary Clinton make for small businesses if she becomes President?

If Hillary Clinton is elected President, small businesses will have a real champion in the White House who has committed to making small business growth a key objective of her presidency. Her experience serving as the head of an important U.S. government agency (U.S. Department of State), Senator and First Lady has given her a real insider’s view of how government works and can be focused toward achieving goals that advance our country.

She has already committed to several important actions that will unleash small business growth including: raise middle-class incomes which will in turn drive greater consumer spending with small businesses, launch a nationwide effort to cut red tape at every level of government, provide tax relief, assist American small businesses to tap new international markets, leverage a variety of tools to improve access to capital and open the doors much wider for small business access to federal contracts.

The assessment made by the leadership of the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce, confirmed that Hillary Clinton’s policy and action commitments are right on target for small business new opportunities and growth.

What in Clinton’s record persuaded you to support her candidacy? 

Hillary Clinton has consistently been a fighter for the revitalization of the American middle class. This is very important to small businesses many of which provide goods and services in their community. Main street businesses rely upon strong consumer spending for the success of their businesses. She has received the endorsements of key leaders from both the House and Senate small business committees.

As Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton worked to open up new markets for American business and recently she supported the funding of the Ex-Im bank which provides loans to small businesses as they take part in international trade.

The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce leadership examined the organization’s priorities along with the history, capability, commitments and electability of current presidential candidates - Hillary Clinton stands out because of her markedly unique governmental experience, deep and broad policy and leadership expertise, an undeniable commitment to women’s economic priorities and a campaign infrastructure that lays the foundation for a clear pathway to the White House.

What are the main problems facing small business owners, and specifically women?

American small businesses need higher middle-class incomes to drive increased consumer spending with their firms, greater access to capital to drive and manage growth and lower taxes so that they can reinvest in their employees, expansion and new markets.

One of the biggest barrier facing small businesses, especially women-owned firms is a level playing field.  For too long, big businesses have been rigging government policies and getting taxpayer handouts while small businesses have been left out in the cold when trying to achieve growth, support their communities, employees and families. Hillary Clinton’s objectives to level the playing field will dramatically improve the economic output of small businesses.

Women left Corporate America in droves between 1997 – 2007 to start their own businesses because of the lack of fair pay, family-friendly work environments and the ability to break through the glass ceiling.  Unfortunately what they found on the outside was more discrimination.

Already at a competitive disadvantage because women-owned firms seek to pay fairly and provide family friendly work environments, they also found an inability to access business loans which stunts their growth. Women currently only receive $1 out of every $23 dollars of conventional small business loans. And women continue to be asked for their husband’s signatures even though the husband has nothing to do with the business. Banks continue to cherry-pick, lending millions of dollars to larger businesses while complaining about the cost of smaller SBA-backed loans, which impacts small businesses as a whole.

In their quest to access federal contracts, women-owned firms have been virtually locked out of the marketplace.  While there is a Woman Owned Small Business set aside program, it is wrought with fraud – the Government Accountability Office reported that, for 2012 and 2013, 40% of the contracts awarded under the program went to ineligible firms; the issue continues today. Additionally the federal agencies are reluctant to use the program.  And when they do use the program, the contracts are smaller and do not provide real opportunities.

Until these issues are resolved, women-owned firms will continue at a disadvantage which is not just bad for the owner, but also for her family, her employees and their families and ultimately the community that relies on consumer spending and tax revenues for its growth and stability.

What advice can you offer women who are thinking of starting their own business?

My number one piece of advice is, because of the challenge of accessing capital, women looking to start their own businesses should take time to build the foundation before they quit their day jobs. They need to make sure they have a sound business and marketing plan and follow it, making adjustments as market demands shift.

What are the USWCC’s priorities and objectives for the year ahead?

The U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce report on the Women's Economic Priorities highlights the contributions women have made to America, outlines our current economic condition and states clearly the types of federal budget and policies that are vital to support Women’s Economic Priorities. From this report, we narrowed down the U.S. Women’s Chamber of Commerce 2016 Top 5 Priorities to support strong economic growth which are:

1. End minimized access to capital, composition and high capital cost which holds women-owned businesses back from realizing their full economic potential
2. Increase access to federal contracts for women-owned small businesses
3. Improve workplace issues impacting women workers and business owners
4. Raise American incomes
5. Curb and stabilize healthcare costs for small businesses and individuals

Find out more about the USWCC by visiting their website. 



Beautiful jewelry deserves to be worn. Go to the jewelry box or drawer of women across the world and you are likely to find pieces that have only had one outing or have barely been worn at all.

Enter Gleem. Founded by Nikki Lawrence, a life-long treasure hunter, Gleem is a trusted intermediary to enable the buying, selling, discovery and obsession over sparkly things. Gleem has a number of industry veterans, all with patience and expertise in finding the right piece for the right person.

From estate jewelry to Hermes, Cartier and Chanel, Gleem has items available at every price point.

Until the end of the year, Gleem is offering customers 90% back in Gleem Credit up front when you sell an item. Alternatively, a standard 70% in cash is available when a piece is sold.

Check out Gleem today and cash in on your treasures! 

Happy Weekend


Hope that you've all had a festive filled holiday weekend! Between gifts, lots of food and spending time with friends and family, I've had a lovely relaxing one.

Here's what I've been reading during the festivities...

35 things you'll never get for Christmas again: who remembers Polly Pocket and those flying dolls? A rather nostalgic look back at Christmas gifts past!

The Great Washington Bucket List Quiz: proud to say I've been to many places on this list! How many have you done?

Inside the most expensive listing at Robert A. M. Stern's new Manhattan building: Wow. I've never quite seen an apartment as stunning as this!

Have a great weekend! 

Last Minute Christmas Entertaining


Help! You've been told you're doing some festive entertaining and have been told at the last minute! Your Christmas won't be a disaster thanks to all the holiday inspiration you could need on my Pinterest board!

From festive decor to delicious food and drink, your entertaining solutions are all here!

Margaret Thatcher Christie's Auction


Last week, auction house Christie's played host to perhaps the hotly anticipated sale of the year. Items from the collection of Margaret Thatcher, the first female Prime Minister of the UK went under the hammer, with the sale netting £4.5 million- nine times its original estimate.

One of my guilty pleasures is looking at auction catalogues, and perhaps from time to time, placing a bid or two. There were some great and truly unique items up for auction, and for many individuals, this would be the only opportunity to own a piece of political history.

Here are some of the highlights from the collection:

Prime Minister's Despatch Box: £242,500

Signed note: £37,500

Chanel Handbag and Scarf: £22,500

Chaumet Set: £12,500

Three Strand Pearl Necklace: £32,500

House of Lords Robes: £81,700

Happy Weekend!


If your week has been like mine, it's likely been filled with a few Christmas festivities and a determined effort to finish off tasks on the to do list before next week! It's easy to get overwhelmed this time of year, so make sure you take some time for yourself this weekend!

Now, here are the links that have caught my eye this week...

Natalie Portman as Jackie Kennedy: I was skeptical about what I would see when I clicked on the link, but Portman really does look like Jackie! Can't wait for the biopic to be released in 2017!

You're only 23, stop rushing life: patience is not my strong point, and I'm always thinking about the next thing and how I'm going to get there. If you're like me, take time to read this piece by Susie Shier.

The White House Holiday Photo line: A tradition of awkwardness: the stories behind the classic White House photo line!

Have a happy weekend! 

White House Week


This week, President Obama spoke at the Pentagon, providing an update on the international terrorism campaign.

The First Lady visited the Children's National Health System in Washington, taking along Bo and Sunny to read Twas the Night Before Christmas.

Gift Guide: Subscriptions and Cards


Perhaps you've left your holiday shopping a little late for delivery or you don't know what to get- a subscription or gift card is a great gift! Here are some of my favorites that I'll be giving this season.

Parisian Chic City Guide


Paris is one of my favorite cities. The food, the fashion, the architecture- take me back now! I'm always looking for new places to visit when I'm in the city of lights, and the newly released Parisian Chic City Guide: Shopping, Dining, and More by Ines de la Fressange will be shaping my next trip.

The Parisian Chic City Guide is the perfect accompaniment to her first best selling book, Parisian Chic, and provides an insight into Ines's top locations to shop, dine and hang out in Paris.

© Dominique Maître, from Parisian Chic City Guide (Flammarion, 2015).
Looking for an authentic Norwegian sailor top or pristine tableware? The Parisian Chic City Guide is your reliable resource. This handy pocket size is ideal to carry around the city with you, and has a section for notes or jottings as well as a handy sleeve to keep tickets and other keepsakes.

Also worth checking out is Ines's own shop, located at 24 Rue de Grenelle. I'll be heading straight there next time I'm in Paris!

© Dominique Maître, from Parisian Chic City Guide (Flammarion, 2015).
Handily accessorised with a tricolore band, the Parisian Chic City Guide is all you need for a successful trip to the French capitol!

Thanks to Rizzoli for an advance copy of this publication. 

Giving back with Giftluence


The holiday festivities are in full swing, and at this time of year, giving back is perhaps more important than ever. 

If you're looking to donate to charity this year, and perhaps make it one of your New Year resolutions, check out Giftluence

Started by Ryan Charnov earlier this year, Giftluence enables charities to raise money through online shopping with individuals giving back to the community at no extra cost to themselves. Ryan shares his thoughts on Giftluence and the difference it's making below.

Tell us about Giftluence and the inspiration behind it.

Giftfluence is a crowdfunding platform that allows charities to raise money through online shopping. My Co-Founder and I have always been actively involved in the community, but after graduating from college we struggled to find effective methods of giving back. Success in our professional life required us to work hours that prohibited us from volunteering on a consistent basis, and we weren’t earning enough to make significant financial donations. After talking to friends and colleagues, we realized how many people want to support great causes, but don’t necessarily have the time or means to do so. We challenged ourselves to create a solution that makes it as easy as possible for everyone to give back to charity through their daily activities, and from there Giftfluence was born.

What are Giftluence’s aims?

We aim to make it as easy as possible to give back to the community through everyday activities. In 2016 alone we plan on raising $1 Million for great causes. As consumers become more socially conscious, we believe that brands will compete to offer the most social benefit. Our ultimate goal is to create an environment where every online purchase helps make the world a better place.

How is technology making it easier to give back? 

Technology has created endless opportunities to give back, and has allowed charities to mobilize like never before. Charities can now get their message across to hundreds or even thousands of potential supporters with a click of the button. The power of a crowd is well documented, and as innovators it is our job to create more ways for crowds to mobilize for positive causes. Giftfluence’s technology allows consumers to easily find brands that will donate a portion of their sales to charity, and to support charitable organizations at no additional costs.

What has Giftluence achieved so far?

In just a month we have already signed up over 70 retailers to donate a portion of their sales to charity. We are testing our platform with 4 great charities and have already seen surprising results. In just one day Citizen’s United for Research in Epilepsy raised over $100 on our platform without any promotion on social media. During the week of Thanksgiving consumers spent over $2,000 at retailers through Giftfluence, with the average purchase giving over $6 to charity.

How can Giftluence be used to make a positive difference this holiday season?

Giftfluence can help everyone give back while shopping for the holidays. Every user who buys their holiday gifts by clicking through Giftfluence will help a great cause make an impact in the community. Even simple actions such as going to the movies can help give back. Fandango, for example, gives back every time you purchase movie tickets. Whether you are enjoying a movie with your family or shopping for holiday gifts you can make a difference by using Giftfluence. We partner with charities that get the absolute most out of donations so every dollar donated through Giftfluence will make more than a dollar’s worth of impact in the community. The Houston Food Bank for example donates 3 meals for every $1 donated. Given that our average purchase leads to over $6 in donations, just one purchase has the potential to provide 18 meals to those in need.

What are your plans for Giftluence’s future?

Our long-term vision is to create technology so that every online purchase gives back to charity. In the next few weeks we will start selling discounted gift cards through our site, so that you can give back while saving money at your favorite stores. We have been in discussions with many great causes, and actually plan on using Giftfluence as a way to help fund construction for a school for the special needs in Colorado. There are so many potential ways that consumers can give back and it is our goal to get the word out to as many consumers as possible. We will continue to innovate until every online purchase leads to a charitable donation.

Check out Giftluence and give back this holiday season! 

Happy Weekend!


We've made it to the weekend! Like me, you're probably up to your eyes in Christmas preparations and parties, particularly as the big day approaches even faster.

In between holiday fun and lots of work deadlines, here's some of the great things I've read.

The ultimate global Chanel price guide: start saving your pennies now!

How to turn your failure into success: I've also believed that failure is a part of learning. This article backs up my thoughts!

Meg Cabot and situational depression: Princess Diaries author Meg Cabot shares her experiences of situational depression- this a must read.

A letter to every young girl: This is perhaps the best thing I've read all year. Whether you're in a relationship or have just come out of one, take five minutes to read this piece that will change your life. 

White House Week


President Barack Obama signs S. 1177, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), during a bill a signing ceremony in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building South Court Auditorium, Dec. 10, 2015. (Official White House Photo by Amanda Lucidon)
This week, President Obama signed into law the Every Student Succeeds Act, a bipartisan bill to revise and replace No Child Left Behind.

This new law helps states and districts reduce unnecessary standardized tests, gets rid of one-size-fits-all mandates on our schools, ensures that our education system will prepare every child to graduate from high school ready for college and careers, and provides more children access to high-quality state preschool programs.

The First Lady also shared why college is so important!

The President and the First Lady also hosted a Hannukah reception, with the Israeli President Reuven Rivlin.

Croc Chic at Lorfords


In a world of fast fashion, finding something that has lasted the ages is truly unique. When the latest email from Lorfords arrived in my inbox yesterday, I whooped with joy to see three vintage handbags included in their latest arrivals. 

This crocodile clutch purse dates from the 1930s, and is in great condition. The perfect accessory for a LBD, this would make a great, surprise Christmas gift. 

I'm also in love with this brown crocodile handbag. Dating from the 1950s, its in superior condition and has a neat little closure on top. 

Perhaps the jewel in the crown is this make-up case from the 1970s. It almost looks like a mini doctor's bag! Made in Italy for Harrods, it has a fun quilted interior and would be the most glamorous way to store and show off your beauty purchases. 

So, who's putting these on their Christmas list? 

Why is athleisure so popular?


Trends come and go every season, but what does it take for a trend to become a mainstay in the fashion world? Athleisure is a trend that has transitioned into a staple look for many of us. The perfect mix between workout wear and a little touch of glamour, take a trip into London or New York and you'll see many a fashionista or two sporting their athleisure picks with pride.

According to Forbes, consumers spent about $323 billion on apparel, footwear and accessories in 2014, a 1% increase over 2013. The 1% represents $2 billion in sales largely driven by activewear, athletic performance and other athleisure apparel.

Equestrian blogger and Editor in Chief of EQL Hannah Madsen is well versed in the popularity of athleisure. Check out her thoughts on this popular look below.

Why is athleisure so popular?

Altheisure has become an increasingly popular trend as street wear items have met athletic wear to create a perfectly polished sporty yet casual look. Taking your running pants and pairing them with a statement chunky sweater and flats is a typical athleisure look. Although skeptics claim "athleisure" is a fad, we believe along with many others that Athleisure is here to stay. As brands like lululemon, Adidas and  Nike continue to release incredibly sporty-chic pieces, the masses will continue to line up for this ever-growing trend.

What are the basics you need to tap into the athleisure trend?

The must- have basics for athleisure are a black down puffer vest, black leggings -- particularly the fantastic line of leggings by Stella McCartney for adidas and statement sneakers by NIKE. 

Which public figures do athleisure well?

Olivia Palmero, Kate Hudon, GiGi Hadid and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley have really tapped into the athleisure trend!

How has EQL.CO embraced the athleisure trend?

At EQl.CO we are all about blending street west with authentic equestrian clothing. Many of the fabrics and textures used in equestrian apparel are made with athletic fabrics. The pieces are effortless and chic, keeping you looking and feeling your best. For today's equestrian it is all about high-tech breeches which feature X-grip technology and 4 way stretch. High-collar down vests keep you warm, while adding just enough elegance to keep your look feminine and polished.

How do you see the athleisure market evolving?

With more and more street brands becoming involved in athleisure, I see it continuing to grow. Feeling and looking your best is on of the most important details when styling a woman. Creating athletics pieces which keep a women looking sporty, fresh, young are key factors in maintaining the appeal of the athleisure look.

Hannah Madsen
One Beat Designs Mlekoshi playground