Back To Basics - The Jacket

What does a jacket say? First and foremost, it gives the wearer an air of authority and takes the viewers eye to the top of the body. A jacket provides protection against the elements - those suddenly cooler temperatures and air-conditioning. And a jacket gives the wearer a “finished” look, no matter how casual the outfit.

Here are 6 basic jacket styles that work all year round, season after season.

  • Denim

  • Leather

  • Tailored

  • Classic With Colour

  • Short Trench

  • The Statement Piece

The Denim Jacket - the ultimate casual look.

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The Biker Jacket in classic black or burgundy. Leather of Faux - take your pick.

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You’ll get plenty of use from a Tailored Jacket if you don’t let it get too serious. Add jeans, cropped pants and some jewellery to keep the fashion dialogue fun!

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Wearing a Classically Tailored Jacket in a beautiful colour breaks down the formality of the garment, giving the look a more contemporary feel.

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The Short Trench is a casual staple. Sand, Black or French Navy looks great over just about anything. Wear a trench in a Snake or Leopard Print to up the ante.

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And finally, The Statement Jacket. Add a touch of glamour, day or night, with some Fur or Sequins.

This is one item in your wardrobe you can get a lot of fashion milage out of. I’ve found some great statement jackets over the years. In most cases, all you need is a black outfit underneath and away you go. Let the jacket do the talking. And the best accessory with this jacket? Has to be a glass of champagne, doesn’t it?

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Enjoy your creative life, Jules

Back To Basics - The Tee-Shirt

Lately I’ve been re-discovering my love of a few wardrobe basics. So, for the next 4 blog posts, I’m going to profile 4 basic items that I think are worth a re-visit. This week it’s the humble tee-shirt.

Our tee-shirts often languish in the depths of our wardrobe but honestly, they’re a great little “go to” item when you want to keep your outfit, simple, low-key and comfortable.

  • Cutaway sleeve

  • Sleeveless

  • Short Sleeve or long

  • High neck

  • Round neck

  • Crew Neck

  • Neutrals and Colours

  • Motifs and Words of Inspiration

The style variations are endless. Here’s a few looks I’ve been wearing lately.

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As basic as it gets - great on sweltering summers day.

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Find a colour you love that works with what you already have. This tee-shirt is new but the camo pants are an old favourite.

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Everyone needs a little merci!

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The ultimate classic that suits everyone. A blue and white stripe tee-shirt in a semi fitted cut.

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I just had to buy this sequinned tee-shirt when I saw if - Billy’s convinced it’s him!

If you’ve been bypassing the good old tee-shirt, check out what you have in your wardrobe. Like me, you might be ready to love them again.

Enjoy your creative life, Jules

Post Card From New York!

A week in New York and it’s easy to see why it’s called, The City That Never Sleeps. From high fashion to street art, fine dining to the street carts of the Halal Guys and their middle eastern cuisine, New York is a place of contrasts and inspiration. Here’s a little of what I saw during the festive season.

It’s early morning and I’m out and about in Soho. The criss crossing streets are full of fashion, art galleries and cafes. Perfect! Nothing much opens until 11am so it’s great to walk around while the streets are still quiet.

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Ice skating in front of the Rockefeller Centre.

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The Nike store on 5th Avenue where you can customise your own sneakers.

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This young mans theme? Silver and white.

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Overlooking Central Park and the famous Dakota Apartment Building, left of the towers.

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The elegance of Dior.

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Christmas decorations are big, big, big in NYC.

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Japanese ramen broth in Lower Manhattan. The perfect lunch when it’s 2 degrees outside.

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Crossing the Brooklyn Bridge.

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There she is in the distance - taken from the Brooklyn Bridge.

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If I could have bought anything while in New York, it would have been this hologram of David Bowie at the WhiteWall Store, Soho.

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Oh, and this exquisite Elie Tahari beaded dress.

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This would be my broadway recommendation. In one word - outstanding.

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Aren’t we all?

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The detailed window displays at Bergdorf Goodman department store were amazing.

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New York is a great city to walk around. You never know what you’ll see.

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Happy new year everyone. Here’s to everything you want to do in 2019 and may your dreams come true.

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Enjoy your creative life, Jules

Creating Your Own Rituals!

Is there something you like to do simply for yourself? A ritual that makes you feel good?

  • coffee at a certain table

  • wearing a specific item of clothing or jewellery

  • walking a down a street you love or past a building you admire

Each morning for the past seven years, a small bunch of frangipani and or gardenias has been placed near the steps at the beach where I walk and have coffee. It’s the ritual of a local lady who swims there each day. She picks the flowers on her way down to the water.

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A simply ritual that gives her pleasure - her simple yet beautiful offering to the world.

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As we end one year and begin another, I hope you discover a special ritual in your own life - something that brings you joy every time you do it. Have a beautiful holiday and festive season, and as always……

Enjoy your creative life! Jules xx

DYI Celebration Wreath

I love the way North Americans’ decorate their homes during the festive season. I especially love wreaths. After seeing a couple of hanging wreaths on Pinterest, I decided to make my own. And it’s easier than you think.

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Everything I used came from my local discount store. Sprays of holly, lengths of tree trim, assorted christmas decorations, ribbons, mini pegs and fairy lights.

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I made a circular frame using wire then threaded the foliage around and through the frame. A week after I made the frame, I found some wire wreaths in one of those pop-up Christmas decorations shops - so you can buy a ready-made one if you don’t want to make your own.

Drape fairy lights around the foliage several times making sure there’s enough cord to reach a powerpoint. Use thick ribbon to hang your wreath.

I have exposed beams over my table which made the hanging process easy. Otherwise, you’ll need to make sure the wreath is securely fitted to your ceiling.

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Cut thin ribbon different lengths and thread through the end of your decorations. Use mini pegs to secure in place.

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Flick the switch and your wreath will add that extra touch of sparkle to the night. Below are a couple of images from Pinterest that I use for inspiration.

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A beautiful hanging wreath can be used as a decorative feature for any occasion - why wait for Christmas?

Enjoy your creative life, Jules

The Friendship Shortbread!

The holiday season is the perfect time for making your favourite home made goodies. I’ve been having fun assembling gift boxes filled with Rocky Road and Shortbread for friends and family with a sweet tooth.

This shortbread recipe was given to me over 30 years ago by my dear friend Mishelle and I’ve always referred to it as, The Friendship Shortbread. You can find my Rocky Road recipe by clicking HERE. If you’re in the mood for some festive cooking, you won’t find two easier things to make.

The Friendship Shortbread

  • 250g softened butter

  • 250g plain flour

  • 125g cornflour

  • 125g icing sugar

Sift the flour, cornflour and icing sugar together (at least 4 times) then gradually add the dry ingredients to the soft butter. Mix well until the mixture forms a soft dough. (No food processor needed. I just use a mixing bowl and a wooden spoon). Press the shortbread dough into a 20cm round tin and prick all over with a fork. Alternatively, roll out the dough on some baking paper and cut out shapes using cookies cutters.

Bake at 150 degrees celsius for 1 hour. Individually cut shapes take about 30 minutes. Cut the tin of shortbread into triangles while still hot and dust with caster sugar. Leave in the tin or on the tray to cool.

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Dip the cutter into some plain flour to avoid the dough sticking.

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Who doesn’t love a piece of heart shaped shortbread?

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Simply lift the baking paper and shortbread out of the tin when cold and wrap in cellophane and tie up with ribbon - an instant gift from your kitchen.

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Boxed, wrapped and ready for giving!

Enjoy your creative life, Jules


The Real Downton Abbey!

Where do writers’ get their ideas from?

It often starts with thoughts of a character, a specific era or location and grows from there. More often than not, great stories simply come from real life.

When Julian Fellows started to write the script for the television series, Downton Abbey, he based much of the story content on the historical events of Highclere Castle in Hampshire, England - the ancestral seat of the Herbert family and home of the 8th Earl & Countess of Carnarvon.

Last month I was given the most wonderful surprise - a guided tour inside this beautiful home. It’s easy to see why Julian Fellows found so much inspiration at Highclere Castle. This truly is the most beautiful place. We were not permitted to take photos inside the castle, but here’s a little of what I saw.

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This magnificent tree, a Cedar of Lebanon, planted in 1770.

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The seat featured in many of the scenes from the series.

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I couldn’t help but think about all the people who have passed through these doors over the centuries. Now I was one of them.

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Highclere Castle in the late afternoon light.

Built in 1743, these Corinthian columns form part of what’s known as Jackdaws Castle. Everywhere I looked there was something beautiful to see. I’m tempted to add an historical novel to my writing list. Maybe it’s time to take tea in the library for some inspiration?

Enjoy your creative life, Jules

Travel and Treasures!

One of the great joys of travelling are the treasures you find along the way. That painting, book or artefact you discover when you turn down an unknown alley way or lose yourself in a market place.

I recently stayed with some friends who shared with me the stories behind some of the beautiful things they’d collected on their travels, where they’d found them and the memories behind those special moments.

This beautiful dome bowl and lid is made from bone and was found in a market place in India.

This beautiful dome bowl and lid is made from bone and was found in a market place in India.

A hand made rug from Morocco.

A hand made rug from Morocco.

This antique Chinese cabinet stands 1.5 metres tall and shines as the light reflects against the gorgeous green lacquer.

This antique Chinese cabinet stands 1.5 metres tall and shines as the light reflects against the gorgeous green lacquer.

Standing monks from Ubud.

Standing monks from Ubud.

One of two Antique Chinese chairs in black stained teak.

One of two Antique Chinese chairs in black stained teak.

I fell in love with this stunning box from India.

I fell in love with this stunning box from India.

Built in 1880, this Welsh farm house table is as beautiful to touch as it is to look at. If only this table could talk. Can you imagine the conversations and laughter this table has known over the past 130 years? And in the home of Cindy and Ron, there’ll be much more to come!

Enjoy your creative life, Jules

From Paris With Love!

Walking around Paris is a non stop visual delight. Here’s what caught my eye this week when I was out and about.

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Double doors line most streets, hiding beautiful courtyards that lead to homes and businesses.

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Fresh fruit is everywhere.

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Just one of the many colourful doors in Paris.

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A tiny shop selling vintage linen and homewares.

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Tucked away down the back of a courtyard, this shop was filled with contemporary designer labels.

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I love the array of colourful doors in this city.

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Gorgeous pens, inks, paper and wax seals.

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Off to dinner at, Le Grand Colbert, a classic French bistro in the centre of Paris.

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This place is about as French as it gets and a great way to finish off a trip to Paris.

Enjoy your creative life, Jules