By-elections and Brexit: Theresa May's Week


By-election success and the next stage of Brexit- this week was a successful one for the Prime Minister.

On Monday, Theresa May visited Stoke on Trent ahead of the by-election. Along with Conservative candidate Jack Brereton, the PM paid a visit to the Emma Bridgewater pottery factory. Keeping it simple in in a navy suit and white top, the PM wore the Cocktail slippers with tassel and sparkle detail for a chic take on a classic outfit.

Hot footing it back to London, Theresa May sat in the House of Lords chamber to watch the Brexit bill debate. Keeping a watchful eye over Peers, May is the first Prime Minister since John Major to sit in the upper chamber.

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On Tuesday, the Prime Minister phone canvassed for the by-election candidates in Copeland and Stoke at CCHQ.

On Wednesday, May took part in PMQs. She wore a black trouser suit and ivory cami, accessorising with a silver oversized Amanda Wakeley chain necklace and matching bracelet and the leopard Frame pumps from Russell & Bromley. Her bag was the Bathurst from Anya Hindmarch.

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On Thursday, the PM welcomed His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to Number 10. Wearing a navy shift dress and matching coat, the PM accessorised with a new pair of snakeskin, studded red kitten heels and the Coup de Fouet Hermes scarf.

On Friday, the PM travelled to Copeland to celebrate the Conservative by-election victory. Keeping it country chic, she wore the a grey jacket and navy trousers, keeping warm in the Barbour Olive Beadnell jacket with a Liberty Purple Rose print and a turquoise scarf. May also spoke at the Conservative Councillors' Association conference on her way back to London.

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Theresa May and Pazuki


I've been fascinated by Theresa May's scarf wardrobe of late, and tracking down some of the more patterned pieces has been a tricky task! Luckily, I worked out that some of her most favourite designs have come from the established brand Pazuki.

A unique name I hear you cry, and even more unique designs! A British brand based in London, Pookie Blezard is the creative brains behind the Pazuki brand. Blezard is engaged in a continuous evolution of printing and embroidery techniques, colour and fabric experimentation – producing women’s clothes and accessories, (and sometimes men’s) for anyone who wants something special. Pazuki’s ethos is to enable women to feel confident and express themselves as individuals through pattern and colour, with no rules or regulations- the perfect fit for our fierce Prime Minister!

Theresa May has been spotted in a few Pazuki scarves, including the Antique Bird, Windswept and most recently, the Mesh design, new for the 2017 summer collection.

With her scarves a firm favourite of female world leaders and powerful women, I caught up with Pookie to find out more about the design process, her thoughts on Theresa May's fashion sense and her plans for the future.

What is the story behind Pazuki and what inspired you to start your business? 

Pazuki started as a partnership with my friend from college Suzy Thompson in 1983. We both wanted to print our own designs and to carry on from what we had been doing at college (Camberwell School of Art and Crafts) but also in my case, a lack of knowledge about how to get a job in textiles.
2 months doing work experience in a Paris design studio made me realise I wasn't very suited to designing work that the industry wanted, I enjoyed all the lunches at local restaurants around the rue des Petits Champs though.

Suzy and I started screen-printing in my long-suffering parents' attic and had eleven years together with all kinds of escapades, carrying huge rolls of fabric strapped to our motorbikes, driving to Paris for trade fairs in Suzy's Deux Chevaux having been up all night making samples, trips to Japan and the USA.

It wasn't until the early 90s that we started to get serious wholesale orders, selling our quirky patchwork scarves and silk shirts to top boutiques and department stores worldwide

What have been the highlights and challenges? 

Lots of ups and downs, but I think the urge to create and love of fabric has always kept me going. I'm a lot better at being creative than I am at business and marketing, although I do quite like production - I love seeing metres and metres of my designs and all the garments going out to stockists, but inevitably there are a few cock-ups! I think one of the worst things was when we had 1,000s of metres ordered for Paul Smith's shirts and the printer left out the blue in the dye, so it was grey, luckily it was accepted, but I remember that night going to see Madame Butterfly and only being able to think about grey fabric. High spots have been a huge order of patchwork scarves selling out within 3 days when Barney's opened their Madison Avenue store, Oprah being photographed wearing one of my embroidered shawls, Joni Mitchell trying to replace her scarf that was lost, because it inspired her for her painting, designing Renoir inspired printed and patchwork scarves for the Museum in Tokyo last year, seeing a vintage Pazuki print dress from costume archives on Alicia Vikander in the film The Danish Girl.

What inspires you in the design process? 

Everything really, inspiration is everywhere. I'm a bit of a magpie, I pinch things from here and there and then re-process them. Recently I've been doing a lot of oil painting that I've adapted for designs, and soon I'm off to Oaxaca in Mexico to get inspiration for Spring Summer 2018.

What is your best selling design? 

Best sellers always seem to be prints with themes, Chandelier, Mantelpiece and Home Sweet Home were all based on friends' homes, Tara's Dressing Room was an abstracted photo of Tara Fitgerald's theatre dressing table, with make-up and post cards. Susan's Garden from one of my paintings is big for this summer.

Theresa May is the latest world leader to be photographed wearing your scarves. What do you think about the way she dresses?

I'm so glad she wears colour, or if she's in a sombre suit, accessorises it with one of our scarves. She obviously really likes clothes and isn't afraid to wear some quite bold pieces. It's very refreshing. I hate women wearing black, it may make you look thinner but it's very gloomy and draining. Clothes communicate so much about you, and I think our prime minister is expressing, "I'm not just a politician I'm a human being too", and that she has a lighter more fun and creative side to her.

Theresa May's Pazuki scarves

If there could be one famous figure that you’d like to see wearing a Pazuki item, who would it be? 

Only one? Emma Watson, JK Rowling, Meryl Streep, Adele, Amal Clooney, I don't know, I'm always thrilled to spot anyone wearing Pazuki!

What are your thoughts on the future of the British fashion industry? 

Although I make mostly in India now as our wonderful factory in East London closed, I'm hoping that the cost of shipping and need for greater flexibility will bring more production back to our shores. I think this is starting already, but we are heavily dependent on workers from elsewhere as they have the skills. It's only the older population that have the knowledge and it's not being passed on to the young.

What are your plans for Pazuki in 2017?

I'm hoping Mexico will shake up my ideas and give next summer's collection a really new feel. There is a queue of men waiting for my men's shirt collection, so I want to get going on that. I have a few other ideas but I don't want to jinx them by talking about them!

Pookie Blezard

SeeFashion: Win Free Clothes For A Year!


Who wouldn't want a new wardrobe for a year? SeeFashion is running an exciting competition for just that!

One lucky reader will win free clothes for a whole year- all you have to do is click here to enter! To increase your chance of winning, you'll be asked to share on social media and include a link back to the competition page- the more people that click on the link, the higher your chance of winning.

Additionally, three entrants who share the most will win a £50 gift card.

Full T&Cs can be found here. Good luck!

Wakeley Woman SS17 Campaign


The Spring Summer 2017 Wakeley Woman collection is filled with some gorgeous items, and features dancer Kate Byrne as the face of the campaign.

Epitomising strength, elegance and beauty, Byrne is a perfect choice for this fantastic collection, and the pieces all sum up these three characteristics. It's a classic and contemporary collection, with luxurious items that you can wear everyday to feel and look amazing.

I am loving the cashmere items, particularly the Aldridge pebble and black joggers and the Hathaway pebble and black cashmere top. So soft and the top has a gorgeous draped racer style back which makes the piece even more luxurious! The Pixel black contrast blazer is an amazing power piece- and I'm hoping that Theresa May wears this to PMQs!

Get inspired with moments of everyday luxury by checking out some other new arrivals at Amanda Wakeley here.

Amanda Wakeley

Vive Theresa! PM meets with French counterpart


It was a red, white and blue display from Theresa May on Friday when she met the new French Prime Minister, Bernard Cazeneuve. Our PM wore a navy suit from Escada and the 'vintage' leopard and rose print kitten heels from Russell & Bromley x Beverley Feldman. She wore a bright red cranberry style string of beads and matching bracelet to greet her French counterpart- ooh la la!

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Top tweed at LK Bennett


I'm partial to a bit of tweed, and I'm excited by LK Bennett's new tweed pieces for this season!

The design team at LK Bennett have worked in collaboration with the weavers at Linton tweed utilising their 100-year old archive as a source of inspiration. Established in 1912 and based in Carlisle, Linton Tweeds are world-renowned for their luxury textured woven fabrics made using specialist weaving techniques. Unique luxury yarns sourced from all over the world are blended to produce exceptional fabrics woven at the mill in England; and their designers have selected those of the highest quality, which are dyed in bespoke colours tailored to their collections.

My two favourite pieces are the Vetti coat and the Wren dress. Crafted from blue flecked tweed and boasting a princess collar, the Vetti coat has an artfully fringed hem, pockets and sleeves and covered buttons. Versatile and chic, the coat can be worn over a dress and also with cigarette pants and a crisp white shirt for a truly modern look. 

The Wren dress is a modern update on the classic mini. With a raw edged hem and a flattering cut, this is a piece that can take you from season to season. Expect to see many female MPs donning pieces from this chic collection! 

Theresa May and Louison d'Or


Louison d'Or
Theresa May's faux fur collar from Louison d'Or caused quite a stir amongst fashion fans when it made its debut at Davos in January. It's clearly not your traditional black faux fur neckpiece, and not everyone can carry off a furry number with such aplomb. But our Prime Minister once again showed that a quirky fashion piece can work at even the most serious of venues.

Lousion d'Or is the brainchild of Emilie Lhoste. Based in London, Lhoste designs and creates the range of accessories in her studio and has been in business since 2012. I caught up with Lhoste following the buzz of her scarf making headlines and to find out more about her and her business.

Emilie in her studio

When did you first begin creating accessories?

I started to design accessories when I was a child :) I started to do this in France when I left the airline industry to work on my own and make my design dream a reality.

We moved in London in 2012 and after one year, the time needed to be sure the children were settled in, I decided to launch Louison d'Or - Name representing Louison, Oscar and Romeo, my children.

What is the inspiration behind starting your own line of accessories? 

I always liked to create things and I love fabrics. I am always in search of comfortable designs, and I try to keep my creations both trendy and chic. I use a large range of materials and colours, then I play with them. My workshop is my creative bubble.

What influences your designs? 

I am always inspired by people, culture, nature, and as I am half French, half Italian living in UK, I believe these 3 countries give me the inspiration to create beautiful things..

Dolce vita and design from Italy, elegance and romanticism from France and finally the dynamism and creativity from England! I am lucky I love these countries so much!

What do you think about Theresa May's fashion choices and sense of style?

I admire people who own their choices. I think Theresa May is a charismatic woman and she has a strong personality. We can feel it in her voice, in the look in the eyes, and of course in her great sense of style.

Politics is a serious job, and to dress how she likes, displaying her personal and original style gives her some fun and a sense of freedom. I was privileged to see her wearing my faux fur collar in Davos!

Black and White Ball, PMQs and world leaders: Theresa May's week


A week of high drama and important visits to Downing Street, this one has been a good one for the Prime Minister.
Crown Copyright/Jay Allen
On Monday, Theresa May welcomed Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu at Downing Street. The two leaders held a bilateral meeting which you can read more about here. For the meeting, the Prime Minister wore an Aztec print dress from Amanda Wakeley and a navy two fabric blazer. She wore the Saucy heels from Russell & Bromley.

In the evening, Theresa May hosted her first Black and White Party as Conservative Leader. Held in Battersea, the evening was cut short for many attendees due to the ongoing Brexit bill votes in the House of Commons. For the event, the Prime Minister wore an elegant black tailored dinner trousers suit, lace cami and an oversized black and white plastic chain necklace. I have it on good authority that she was wearing black block heels (although sadly, no photos.)

On Wednesday, May took part in PMQs. She wore a navy tweed jacket from DvF, navy skirt and the Vivacious pumps from Russell & Bromley. She was also back in the House in the evening for the final Brexit bill votes.

On Thursday, the Prime Minister welcomed the new Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni at Downing Street. The two held a press conference following their meeting.

For this meeting, Theresa May debuted a new grey tone shift dress and jacket from Escada! She teamed it with a pair of gold Twister block heels from Russell & Bromley.

Crown Copyright/Jay Allen
On Friday, Theresa May was in her Maidenhead constituency. Here she met with constituents- and returned to her navy and white staple suit outfit. I have it on good authority that she wore the black patent over the knee boots from Stuart Weitzman.

Why I love the stylish loafer


Loafers have made a big comeback in recent years, and thankfully, are not just for the guys! Whether you call them a loafer, a brogue or a slipper, having a pair in your wardrobe makes you seriously chic.

Bridging the gap between formal and casual, the invention of loafers can be credited to The Alden Shoe Company. Creating a pair at the request of actor Paul Lukas, the slip-on shoes were accessorised with tassel detailing. We commonly associate the penny or tassel loafer with the Ivy League/preppy set, but many 'non prepsters' are equally keen to sport the laceless, low shoe.

Duke & Dexter
Perhaps one of the most exciting new loafer brands is Duke & Dexter. Founded by Archie Hewlett, the British brand specialises in premium shoes for those who appreciate modern, functional and spirited apparel. Designed and made in the UK, the Duke & Dexter range of loafers are innovative in form and function, offering an array of textures, colours, prints and motifs for a truly contemporary lifestyle. Famous fans include Poppy Delevingne, Ryan Reynolds and Eddie Redmayne, who wore a custom pair of loafers to collect his Academy Award.

Another famous fan of loafers, and a favourite of this blog, is our very own Prime Minister, Theresa May. Recognised as a lover of flat shoes, May has some pretty fabulous loafers and brogues in her wardrobe, notably from the retailer Russell & Bromley. May has sported a black suede loafer complete with silver toes and a fancy, glitzy cocktail slipper over the past several months. She has the leopard version of the latter, making her a true loafer fan.

Theresa May's cocktail slippers
I own a few pairs of loafers and embellished slippers. One pair has my monogram on, whilst another has a leather tassel with glitzy detailing on the heel. Another has intricate embroidery, and another embraces my love of leopard and metallic toes.

I wear flat shoes 90% of the time, and they should always be functional and stylish. With such stylish individuals showing that flat shoes don't have to be boring, the humble loafer will always have a place for the fashion fan.

What's your favourite style of loafer? Who do you think wears them well? Share your thoughts in the comments! 

The New Iron Lady? Theresa May Most Popular Prime Minister Since Thatcher


Theresa May
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Polls are a funny thing, but still pretty fascinating to read. A new poll out today suggests that Theresa May is perceived to be doing a better job than any Prime Minister of the last 20 years. The findings are attributed to Opinium Research in partnership with Polling Matters, the independent, non-partisan political podcast. Two out of every five UK adults (39%) rated the current Prime Minister as doing a good job.

Only Margaret Thatcher was more likely to be perceived as having done a ‘good job’ by the UK public, according to the new research (40%). While Gordon Brown had the smallest percentage of the public saying he did a ‘good job’ (13%), he is less polarizing than Tony Blair who is seen as having done a ‘bad job’ by nearly half of the population (49%).

Adam Drummond, Opinium Research said: “Theresa May retains her strong ratings with far more saying she is doing a good job than bad. However, as a still relatively new prime minister, she benefits from the fact that the end result of her actions is still undetermined and the judgement of history is, understandably, not in yet.

What’s also interesting is how loyal Conservative voters are to Margaret Thatcher and, to a lesser extent, David Cameron, giving both strong ratings. In contrast, current Labour voters are more likely to say that Tony Blair and Gordon Brown underperformed in No 10. That said, current Labour voters are quite different to those who last voted Labour into government.”

Keiran Pedley, Polling Matters said: “These results show that despite still dividing opinion Margaret Thatcher has a stronger reputation than those succeeding her as Prime Minister. Yet, for now at least, Theresa May is seen as more popular among the public and marginally so among Tory voters.

Arguably the more interesting story here is how Labour voters take a comparatively dimmer view of their past Prime Ministers than Conservative voters, which perhaps reflects the changing nature of the Labour vote over time but is surely something for the Party to ponder as it plots a route back to power.”

Common Ground


We're living in extraordinary political and social times, and are reminded everyday of the challenges facing out highly divided and polarized society.

Common Ground is seeking to address the calls for a more united society, providing tools and a fantastic range of shoes to inspire empathy and spark conversation.

The range of shoes address problems such as gender equality, immigration, gun violence and marriage equality. With thought provoking graphic design, offering unique right and left designs to represent different viewpoints whilst still reinforcing the need to work together to deliver progress. By 'walking in another person's shoes' we can open our minds and understand the other side of the debate.

The blue gender equality design is intended to portray the uniqueness of each gender, while bringing recognition of our shared makeup. The shoes are paired to symbolize equal opportunity and a required commitment to progress by both genders.

Common Ground calls upon shared humanity as a sustainable solution to our social problems, a path that recognises the necessary commitment and participation of the individual to deliver lasting social change. And the shoes are cute and comfy too!

To become involved with the Common Ground movement visit their website or check out the #ProgressLooksLike hashtag on social media.

January through Instagram


Corgi watching in Windsor | Having a House of Cards moment in Federal Triangle | Metro architecture | French Toast Sunday | Admiring all the houses in Georgetown | Cosy desk decor | Looking ahead to spring | Vivacious heels from Russell & Bromley | Visiting Windsor Castle

Theresa May's busy and stylish week


From trips to Cardiff and Malta, to the hotly anticipated two days of Brexit debate, this week has been a busy one for the Prime Minister.

Crown Copyright/Jay Allen
On Monday, Theresa May travelled to Cardiff for a Joint Ministerial Meeting with leaders from Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Following the meeting, the Prime Minister travelled to Dublin for meetings with Taoiseach Enda Kenny.

Theresa May rewore an old favourite (and an all-time favourite of ours!) to her meetings. The navy and yellow dress and coat by Amanda Wakeley was paired with a pair of Russell & Bromley leopard kitten heels, multi coloured scarf and and an Amanda Wakeley chain detail handbag. Her military inspired coat is by Daniel Blake.

On Tuesday, the House began its debate on Brexit. The PM wore her reliable black watch tartan jacket by Vivienne Westwood, a crisp white shirt, black trousers, black patent sparkly loafers from Russell & Bromley and a printed scarf by Pazuki.

On Wednesday, Theresa May took part in the weekly Prime Minister's Questions. Wearing a navy Escada suit and the Vivacious pumps from Russell & Bromley, May slayed!

In the evening, the Prime Minister hosted a Chinese New Year reception at 10 Downing Street. The yellow staircase looked awesome with all the Chinese lanterns! For the reception, May wore a red cape style jacket from Piazza Sempione.

Crown Copyright/Jay Allen

On Friday, the Prime Minister travelled to Malta for a meeting with other EU leaders. May again turned to an old favourite, wearing a blue Amanda Wakeley coat and dress, the Divine flats from Russell & Bromley and the blue Balls necklace from Mirta Bijoux.

Crown Copyright/Jay Allen

Snag a stylish steal at your charity shop with advice from Dolly Theis


For many of us, the journey to a charity shop is a one-way street. We visit our local shop to donate items, but do we actually take time to scour the rails for a bargain?

Dolly Theis, a fashionable individual working in London is a firm fan of charity shops. I know Dolly through my work in politics and digital comms, and her Instagram and Twitter feeds are two of my favourites! Dolly's charity shop advice is in high demand, and she has recently started to run charity shopping days, taking friends to some of her best haunts in London to scour out the best buys! For those of you who don't live in London, Dolly shares her advice and charity shop story below.

When did your interest in shopping at charity shops begin?

I used to go to charity shops as a child, but my interest really began when I started working for Baroness Anne Jenkin. I met her in 2010 at her Women2Win (an organisation supporting Conservative women to run for Parliament) event with the late Baroness Thatcher. Here was this inspiring woman dedicating her life to elevating other talented women in politics, who looked amazing in head to toe second hand clothes. She despises waste of any kind and when I worked for her in Parliament as her researcher people always commented on her brilliant outfits and to their surprise, she would say 'I found this in a charity shop in Essex,' or 'I got this for £2.99 on EBay!' So I started visiting my local charity shops and never looked back!

What difference has it made to your shopping habits, approach to fashion and outlook on social/ethical issues?

Shopping in charity shops is the best thing ever. You find top quality clothes (often with the labels still on) for under a tenner. You waste and spend much less. But best of all, there is a strong community element to charity shopping. Charity shops rely on dedicated volunteers and it means there is such a wonderful atmosphere. They are always so relaxed, full of laughter, with everyone chatting to each other. My favourite memory was when Yarna, who works in a British Red Cross, was blasting Earth, Wind and Fire as the Charity Shopping Club shopped. We were all dancing, singing and trying outfits on, it was brilliant!

What has been your best charity shop find?

I love the charity shop crawl in Victoria and Pimlico as British Red Cross, Fara, Oxfam, Sue Ryder, Royal Trinity Hospice and others are all within a couple of minutes of each other. In British Red Cross, I bought a suede black Bally dress for £35. I looked up the original price and it was a whopping £1800!! Now if that’s not a reason to go charity shopping, then I don't know what is?! One Christmas I also bought my father a Hermes tie from Fara on Warwick Way for just £15.

Where are the best areas of London/UK to shop at charity shops?

The Londonist published a great article about the best 6 best charity shopping places in London, but my personal favourites are Pimlico/Victoria, Kentish Town, Tunbridge Wells and even my local village charity shop in Sussex, the Celia Hammond Animal Trust in Wadhurst, is packed full of amazing things. However, I would also highly recommend Oxfam Online. It’s incredible and you can search for stuff in your size and by brand which makes things a lot easier.

What do your charity shop days involve and how can readers get involved?

The Charity Shopping Club sessions are arranged on an ad hoc basis. People can contact me to join on Twitter and Instagram. I send round a running order of the day before so people can join anytime and know where we'll be throughout the day. We usually start around 11am, go to a couple of shops, then stop for lunch before carrying on till everyone shopped-out. It’s very relaxed and fun, and everyone helps pick stuff out for each other.

What are your top tips for shopping successfully at charity shops?

I have found that so many times I have specific items in mind, and then go into a charity shop and find pretty much the exact thing I was looking for. In terms of top tips, my first is to be open to what you may find. Secondly, you can afford to be fussy. Thirdly, I would recommend looking through rails systematically. Often the real gems are hidden. And finally, try stuff on that you wouldn't normally choose. That’s the great thing about buying stuff so reasonably priced - you can afford to experiment with style. I get the girls to do that in the Charity Shopping Club and so many of them fall in love with and buy pieces they said they would never normally try, and they look absolutely stunning!

Who are your style icons?

My three major style icons are Grace Kelly, Moza bint Nasser and Ralph Lauren.

Dolly Theis

The Great Theresa May Clothes Mystery: SOLVED


Theresa May has an awesome wardrobe but identifying some of the pieces can prove to be a tricky challenge! I recently located what seem to be a few of her favourite items, and we've seen her wear them several times over the past several weeks.

Without further ado, here is the great reveal...

Crown Copyright/Jay Allen
Theresa May's new padded jacket is a super essential for all the cold weather we've been having in the UK! The black down cropped jacket is by Italian brand Herno. It's famous for its range of fashion-forward outerwear, and prides itself on exquisite workmanship and excellent taste.

The cropped version of a down coat is really cute, and I love how this particular style has an elevated collar to keep out the cold. Good choice Prime Minister!

Herno also has a range of other amazing down jackets and coats. There are too many cool styles to choose from, but these items would be right up Theresa May's street!

Crown Copyright/Tom Evans
In late December 2016, the Prime Minister travelled to Bahrain to attend a meeting of the Gulf Co-operation Council. She wore a chic pink cotton blend tweed coat, with frayed pocket detailing and concealed button fastening. With so many great versions at other May approved retailers, locating it was a bit of a challenge! But I am pleased to say this trans seasonal piece is from Max Mara Weekend. A matching dress is also available.

Crown Copyright/Tom Evans
Staying with our winter theme, the PM was snapped at her local parish church in casual wear. A change from the usual Amanda Wakeley sharp suiting, May wore this khaki jumper from Etro. It's also on sale!

One Beat Designs Mlekoshi playground