Karen Millen Styling Sessions – Shopping with Mum | AD

karen millen mother and daughter styling session

When I was a child, I used to get a very specific aching in my knees every time we passed a women’s fashion store. My Mum, it always seemed, could shop for clothes until the cows came home, or at least until one or both of my legs had lost all feeling. I’d stand there, shifting my weight from one side to the other as my little sister wreaked havoc in the window displays and my Mum picked up each and every garment from the rails, feeling the fabric and inspecting the seams. I think that her very thorough, leave-no-stone-unturned approach to clothes shopping very much led to my own completely opposite method: scan the rails as quickly as possible and – a bit like The Terminator – identify one or two “targets”. Snatch them up, make sure they don’t feel as though they’re made out of something that would potentially be a fire hazard and then try them on, preferably over as many of my own clothes as is feasible to minimise changing room time.

So when Karen Millen invited me to a styling session with my Mum at their Knightsbridge flagship store it was with great relief that I discovered there would not only be a special – private – dressing suite (no more standing about with what we Crilly siblings used to call “death legs”) but also a personal stylist to help advise on styles and to magically call up to the room any of the things we wanted to try on. Karen Millen are offering Mothers’ Day mother-and-daughter styling sessions in participating stores (see below) all day on the 5th and 6th of March 2016 and we were test-driving the experience, complete with brilliant manicures by London-based nail specialists Le Salon.

karen millen mother and daughter styling session

I was particularly excited about our styling session because I’ve been wearing the same “new mum uniform” for months now – skinny jeans with something relatively baggy over the top to hide my (admittedly now-shrinking) tum and remaining bits of love handle roll. I needed a big shove to get me out of my comfort zone and so wanted to turn up without any preconceptions or knowledge of what I might find. Mum, on the other hand (ever well-prepared!) spent days and days poring over the Karen Millen website and investigating every single item from the new Spring Summer collection. “Have you seen the beautiful lime green coat?” she said, “the striped dress? The orange trench?”

And so we found ourselves in the Knightsbridge store, one of us (me) completely without expectation, the other (Mum) knowing with almost military precision what she wanted to try on; and the remaining member of the party, Baby AMR, tagging along for fun because Mr AMR had flu.

Mum homed in immediately upon a gorgeous navy crepe jumpsuit (she insists on calling it a “catsuit”) and loved it. Job done, thanks to Mum’s prior intensive research sessions! God bless you, internet. God bless you. If only you had been around all of those decades ago, I might now be able to cross the threshold of a clothes shop without experiencing vivid, tortuous flashbacks.

karen millen mother and daughter styling session

Mum also tried on the “lime green coat” which was actually a soft, unstructured duster jacket and looked fabulous. I have a feeling she might be returning for that one, but first she has to look through her wardrobe at home and imagine the coat with each and every one of her existing items before she can make a decision. “It has to be an investment piece when you’re older,” she said, “you want to be able to keep it and add to it.”

karen millen mother and daughter styling session

Mum loved the Karen Millen flagship store because they displayed the clothes in exactly the way she finds useful, with different combinations styled to show how things could fit into your existing wardrobe. And everything passed her quality control test; “as you get older the quality and cut of your clothing needs to be perfect – it needs to look expensive, and only a good cut can be truly flattering.”

karen millen mother and daughter styling session

I had absolutely no idea what to try on at all, but this was where the styling session really came into its own. Tempted to just plump for denim and jersey, which is what I always plump for, our wonderful stylist walked me around the new collection and suggested things I might like. When she pointed out a buttery soft, caramel-coloured faux leather skirt I was sceptical – I never wear leathery clothing apart from jackets – but I thought I’d give it a whirl. Our stylist picked a pale blouse to go with it – again, a style I’d never in a million years choose on my own – and some camel court shoes. Miles away from my current style, but look….

Instant love! The blouse is so flattering on my larger-than-usual chest and the skirt is really ladylike  and glamorous. It nipped me in at the waist but skimmed the curves rather than being skin-tight – soft and unstructured but with just the right amount of shape. I can see loads of my knitwear and my extensive collection of shirts going nicely with it and the blouse will also look great with jeans.

I tried on a lovely striped coat, too, but – one step at a time with the new wardrobe! I could imagine it getting completely covered in baby food within about ten minutes. Laundering a blouse is one thing, having to take a coat to the dry cleaners twice a week is another!

What I did indulge in, though, were the skirt and blouse – I couldn’t get to the tills fast enough! Karen Millen very kindly gifted me a wonderful black and white stretch-knit midi dress, but I want to take some proper pictures of that so I’ll do a separate post. It’s very chic, “French Riviera” and will be perfect for easy summer dressing.

You can book your moter-and-daughter styling session by using the online appointment form here. Sessions are available at the Glasgow store, at London’s Covent Garden, Knightsbridge and Westfield White City stores and then at the Manchester Intu Trafford Centre. Manicures by Le Salon will be available at the London stores from 11-4pm on the 5th March and then 12-4pm on the 6th. If you spend over £200 you’ll also receive a Karen Millen zipped pouch and canvas bag.

And whether you’re taking part in a mothers’ day styling session or not, there’s a brilliant competition running: a luxurious overnight stay at the majestic Café Royal hotel (I’ve been inside, it’s fabulous) with spa access and cocktails on arrival and a £500 gift card to spend at Karen Millen. No spend necessary – just enter the competition here, it’s running until the 7th March 2016.

*this post has been sponsored by Karen Millen. We were also treated to the most wonderful Afternoon Tea at The Capital Hotel in Knightsbridge, I’ve written about that in Sunday’s Tittle Tattle!

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Space NK Gift: The Beauty Anthology

Space NK Beauty Anthology Autumn 2014

Things in the latest Space NK gift-with-purchase that made me squeal with delight: a sample of the new REN Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial; a little tube of Becca’s cult makeup product, the Shimmering Skin Perfector; a teeny lipstick from Hourglass and – the piece de resistance (sorry, that needs accents but I can’t summon the energy to try every key on the Mac keyboard) – a miniature, perfectly formed Baume de Rose. I swear that my heart almost left the building when I saw that; I get excited over miniature products anyway, but a Baume de Rose? How cute! Let’s take a closer look:

Space NK Beauty Anthology Autumn 2014

What an absolute cutie, with its little glass jar and pretty pink box! In fact the whole gift is pretty gorgeous; twenty-eight of Space NK’s most coveted products, most of them in quite generous sizes and all of them – without fail – things that I already love or can’t wait to try. Look at these:

Space NK Beauty Anthology Autumn 2014

A Luxurious Hand Balm from Diptyque (bring back the candle! We will never tire of a mini candle!), an Eye Renewal Balm from Regenerist and the Hair Repair from swish/cool brand Sachajuan. I’m going to get cracking with those tonight! And there’s a great selection of skincare – everything from cleansers to day creams – as well as a primer from Laura Mercier, a whopping great bottle of Phyto treatment spray and a gorgeous Jurlique face mist in a dainty bottle.

Space NK Beauty Anthology Autumn 2014

Some firm favourites, too, including Sisley’s Black Rose Mask, the Good Genes Treatment from Sunday Riley and my bedtime must-have, the Deep Sleep Pillow Spray from This Works. I have yet to try the Inner Strength bath oil, but I have the candle and it’s sublime, so I imagine that the oil will be just as effective. And nice to try a different blend – I’m stuck on Deep Relax / Support at the moment and can barely pull myself out of the bath, half the time.

Space NK Beauty Anthology Autumn 2014

The new Beauty Anthology is free to Space NK customers spending £150 or more – the offer runs for the whole day on the 17th and 18th and you can also claim the gift online – here’s the page, Beauty Anthology; the gift is automatically added to any order over £150. It’s kind of early to be thinking of the Christmas shopping, but if you were going to be stocking up, then now would be the time!

Space NK: The Beauty Anthology

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Weekly Window Shop: Floaty and Feminine Lace

best lace dresses

Oh I am all over these lacy dresses and skirts that seem to be flooding the clothes shops at the moment. I’m talking about the beautifully feminine, Chloe-style lace garments, not the fitted type in garish colours that look flammable and scratchy. Floaty, romantic lace that makes you think of soft-focus seventies films; white, cream and nude shades that flatter the skin and look sexy and innocent all at the same time.

Here are the lacy things I’m lusting after. Luckily, two of them are at H&M so I won’t feel too guilty about snapping those up – I’ll try them on this week when I get near a store. I’m not making the mistake of ordering online from them again! (It took ages. It was difficult to get help from someone human. Loads of things didn’t arrive because they were out of stock. Shame, because I’d order from them a lot if it was easier…)

lace skirt white

The first is this white jersey-lined skirt – it looks luxurious and drapes beautifully and I like the geometric hemline. It’s £39.99 here.

lace body h&M

You need to see this bodysuit on, rather than as a still-life – look at the model pics here. I have absolutely no idea what I’d wear this with (perhaps a tailored pencil skirt, or beneath a structured dinner jacket on a night out?) but I love it. It’s £24.99 here.

roxo lace dress maje

This stretch-lace dress from Maje was the thing that set this whole lace-obsession off; I think I’m going to take the plunge and buy it, even if it is totally impractical! It’ll be stained with something permanent, like marker pen or shoe polish, within about ten minutes. But I love the comfortable stretch in the fabric and the way it can be worn casually with flats on a hot summer’s day or dressed up with tan sandals for an evening out. It’s £290 here.

When I’ve finished breastfeeding and I don’t have boobs the size of planets, I want to wear this. The delicate, unbelievably pretty Millie bra from Stella McCartney. It’s half-price on The Outnet (£27.50 here) and there’s an amazing matching bodysuit, if you’re into having matching sets of things…

best lace dresses

I know that I would never, ever wear this ballerina dress from Alice + Olivia (£465 here) but that doesn’t stop me from wanting it. Badly. It’s like a childhood dream come true. I’d hang it on the back of my bedroom door and stare at it constantly. I can’t even imagine what kind of occasion would call for a ballerina dress (I want to say prom, but price-wise it’s rather steep for a teen!) but if I think of one, and manage to miraculously tone up my arms and legs before the summer, I will be wearing this. On a sidenote, I’ve only recently discovered Alice + Olivia and they do such amazing dresses – I’ve added them to my list of designers to check when I need something snazzy to wear.

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