LAURA ASHLEYShop Online

April 10th 2014
ITALIAN FASHION

Bella Italia! The Glamour of Italian Fashion

PR Assistant Emma brushes up on Italian fashion at the V&A’s new exhibition…

This week sees the opening of the V&A’s new spring 2014 exhibition which plunges into the luxurious world of Italian fashion. The Glamour of Italian Fashion (1945-2014) has been causing quite a stir in the fashion industry, so naturally we were very excited to get a sneak peek last week…

 

2014HA0118

 

The exhibition, which features carefully selected pieces by the V&A’s resident contemporary fashion curator; Sonnet Stanfill, charts the evolution and transformation of Italian fashion from 1945 to the present day. Signature pieces from the likes of Emilio Pucci, Valentino, Versace and classic Sorelle Fontana are all on display.

 

The exhibition starts at the end of the Second World War, showing how Italy bounced back and the fashion industry became crucial in its economic growth, with factories reopening and new businesses being born focusing on natural materials like wool, fur and of course fine Italian leather- giving the industry a name for luxury.

 

2014HA0124

 

Milan is one of the fashion capitals of the world, but it may surprise you to learn that Italian Fashion Week was launched by Giovanni Battista Giorgini in February 1951 in Florence. The exhibition includes previously unseen photography and plans for Giorgini’s ‘Sala Bianca’ catwalk shows, along with the glamorous couture gowns that were shown to press and buyers from designers including the Fonatana Sisters and Roberto Capucci.

 

The Birth of Italian Fashion

 

In the 1950’s Hollywood headed to Italy. Blockbusters including Anthony and Cleopatra, War and Peace and Roman Holiday (the film that inspired Laura Ashley to make her first collection of silk scarves) were all filmed in Italian locations. Italy’s fashion was also firmly on the map with actresses like Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor and Audrey Hepburn sporting top Italian designers. Some film costumes can be viewed at the exhibition including Audrey Hepburn’s empire lined dress designed by Fernanda Gattinoni  for the ballroom scene in War and Peace. Expect a crowd when you visit, this astounding gown is decorated with sparkling scattered gems and finished with statement puffed sleeves. You also can’t miss Elizabeth Taylor bedazzling Bvlgari jewels which are rarely seen by the public.

 

ITALY-TAYLOR-BIO

Elizabeth Taylor in her Bvlgari jewels

 

The final segment in the exhibiton; ‘Cult of the Fashion Designer’is the cherry on top of the cake! The tented room is complete with a red carpet, paparazzi camera flashes and a line up of mannequins dressed in the likes of D&G and Roberto Capucci’s finest ensembles. Iconic items put on show included Prada’s playful fiery heels from 2012 which were inspired by vintage cars, and D&G’s hand painted floral dress with a blooming skirt- what can we say, we do love florals!

 

CIS:T.96-1988

‘Cult of the Fashion Designer’- Roberto Capucci 1987-88 silk dress

 

Gianfranco_Ferre_advert_1991 Image 3

Gianfranco Ferre advert 1991

 

In our opinion the V&A is one of London’s best attractions. Over 60 years ago our brand began as Laura was inspired to print at her kitchen table after seeing an exhibition on handicrafts at the V&A.  Will you be paying this museum a visit in the future?

 

‘The Glamour of Italian Fashion’ is a definite must see for all followers of fashion, running from now until 27th July. For more information on the exhibition and tickets, click here.

To browse the Laura Ashley fashion collections, click here.

April 4th 2014
HERO

ON OUR RADAR: APRIL

Don’t put all your eggs in one basket! We round up our top Easter events for the month ahead…

As we hop into the month of April, we can’t hide our egg-citement for Easter bank holiday! Kicking off the celebrations early, we are busying ourselves with some all important chocolate tasting, planning our Easter decorations (how adorable is this bunny bunting?) and organising our cracking Easter plans. To make the most of the long weekend, make it a memorable one with our round-up of fun-filled family events taking place around the country…

 

Eden Project Easter Chocolate Festival, Cornwall 

5th - 21st April 2014

IMG_4914_Credit_TOMGRIFFITHS

-

 

Celebrating all things chocolate, tickle your taste buds this Easter at the Eden Project’s Chocolate Festival. With plenty of fun to be had by all the family, journey through the UK’s largest indoor rainforest to visit Eden’s very own crop of cocoa, unwrapping the history of chocolate and how it made its way to British shores. Don’t miss the exciting chance to create your very own bespoke chocolate bar, an opportunity too good to pass!

 

For more details on the Eden Project’s Easter Festival click here

 

Gail’s Bakery Easter Treats

Available from 4th April 

LAURA_LEWIS_Gails_27.01.14.-157

LAURA_LEWIS_Gails_27.01.14.-191

LAURA_LEWIS_Gails_27.01.14.-102

 

Looking to satisfy your sweet tooth? Our favourite bakery Gail’s have created a scrumptious range of Easter treats. Taking centre stage are their famous Hot Cross Buns, with a unique glazed top and fresh out of the oven, we can’t deny how light and perfectly spiced they are. Our verdict: delicious. Not forgetting their marvelous range of cakes, their Gingerbread Chicks and Easter Bunny Cupcakes (almost) look too good to eat!

 

For more details on the sweet Easter treats at Gail’s Bakery click here

 

Spring into Easter at Kent Life 

5th April – 21st April 

Kent Life - Child stroking goat

Kent Life - child and goat

 

Now that spring is in the air, Kent Life are inviting families to join them as they welcome some new-born arrivals. Take part in the farmyard fun this Easter and let the whole family get stuck in. From bottle feeding the lambs to all important tractor tours, don’t miss the chance to snuggle up with a chick or two in the Cuddle corner!

 

For more details on Spring into Easter at Kent Life click here

 

Get Cracking this Easter 

Untitled-2

Easter Baking Set / Jar of Mini Eggs / Hetty Bunny Soft Toy / Whitby Camomile Check Lined Basket / Easter Egg Hunt Kit

 

Prepare your Easter weekend with our cute range of decorations, sweet gifts and baking goodies. Get little ones on board with the baking set and let the big kids create their very own Easter trail with the delicious mini eggs and special easter egg hunting kit.

 

Browse our range of Easter decorations and gifts here.

 

Easter Egg Trails with the National Trust

18th – 21st April

Child on an Easter egg hunt at Basildon Park, sponsored by Cadbury, Reading, Berkshire, during March

 

On the hunt for some egg-cellent Easter trails? The National Trust have teamed up with Cadburys to offer families a cracking Easter weekend. With over 250 Egg Trails to visit, unleash your inner explorer with adventurous hunts taking place all over the country. What better way to explore the outdoors than with a chocolate treat at the end?

 

For more details on your nearest National Trust Easter Egg Trails click here.

 

What’s on your agenda for the Easter bank holiday? We would love to know in the comments box below. Don’t forget to stay tuned on the blog for more Easter fun, including an adorable DIY make + do!

April 2nd 2014
Fashion & Garden

ONE TO EXPLORE: THE FASHION & GARDENS EXHIBITION

We take a trip to the Garden Museum to trace the inspiring bond between fashion and garden designs…

Should you take a peek in the Laura Ashley archive, you will most certainly come across a treasure trove of florals. Inspiring a great number of prints and fabrics, floral designs are at the heart of the Laura Ashley brand. So naturally, when we heard about an exciting exhibition setting up home at the Garden Museum, exploring the relationship between fashion and gardens, we simply had to see it for ourselves.

 

Set on the grounds of an abandoned church, the Garden Museum was founded in 1977 to highlight the importance of gardening. Capturing the uniquely British love affair with gardens, it also pays homage to John Tradescart, the first great gardener and plant hunter in British history. Transformed into a number of galleries, the Fashion and Gardens exhibition is the first of its kind to explore the inspiring bond between gardens and fashion design.

 

Fashion and Gardens

Fashion and Gardens

 

As you step into the museum, an enchanting floral installation welcomes you. Created by Rebecca Louise Law, the installation features hundreds of colourful flowers suspended upside down. A wonderful and unique way to experience the beauty of flowers, unlike the way nature intended.

 

Forever looking towards the next season, both the garden and fashion worlds work in sync with the changing seasons. From the early eras of Queen Elizabeth I to the catwalks of London Fashion Week, the exhibition traces the beginning of this remarkable relationship.

 

Unknown Artist, Lettice Newdigate aged two, 1606. Arbury Hall, Warwickshire. Courtesy of Private Collection

 Lettice Newigate, a Jacobean heiress, wears a knot garden pattern embroidered on the bodice of her dress to indicate her social standing. 

 

It was in the early 16th century that gardens and dress began to borrow one another’s designs, with embroidery patterns coming from as far as Italy and the Middle East. The English taste for botanical decoration and the introduction of exotic flower imports, such as tulips from the Far East, took the floral fashion designs to another level.

 

Screen shot 2014-04-02 at 12.54.30 PM

(c) Fashion Museum, Bath and North East Somerset Council. An embroidered pocket dating from the early to mid-1700s.

 

The Georgian elite of the 18th century enjoyed nothing more than creating beautiful and neatly tended gardens. To illustrate their wealth and social standing, floral designs and whole gardens were embroidered onto silk dresses and men’s waist coats.

 

Rhoda, Lady Birley (1900-1981)

(c) RHS - Lady Birley by Valerie Finnis. 

 

Fashion and Gardens

Burberry trench, Vivienne Westwood dress, Phillip Treacy Orchid Hat and Alexander McQueen dress. 

 

Still present today, our love of botanical style is a prominent feature in high fashion. From Phillip Treacy’s orchid-inspired hat to McQueen’s petal dress, the inspirational world of florals shows no sign of slowing down.

 

Fashion and Gardens

Valentino Dress & Garden Gate Jacket mirrors the beautiful Italian renaissance gardens, inspired by the wrought iron gates.

 

An unmissable chance to see a unique collection of some of the most intricately embroidered fashion garments from British history, will you visiting the Fashion and Garden exhibition?

 

The Fashion & Garden exhibition will run until the 27th of April 2014, for more details click here.

Browse our latest floral inspired fashion collection Wallflower here.

April 1st 2014
Hero

MONTHLY BLOGGER CRUSH: APRIL

Introducing Cat at Take Courage, the blogger that’s taking us on a never-ending adventure…

With the lighter evenings and milder mornings, we are delighted to welcome the arrival of April. As the seasons change, we are taking full advantage of the sunny skies and planning adventure filled weekends. A lady that has most certainly inspired us to do so, is our latest blogger crush. Let us warmly introduce you to the wonderful Cat, blogger at Take Courage.

 

IMG_3371IMG_3317

 

Out of the many bookmarked blogs we have on our reading list, Take Courage is a blog that instantly transports us to an exciting adventure in every post. Take Courage is penned by Cat, a twenty-something, hard-working solicitor living in the capital. She fills her weekends dutifully taking her readers on a tour of her many favourite hidden spots of London – with a few city breaks thrown in for good measure. A tourist in her very own city, we follow Cat’s life through the lens of her beautiful photography. Which may we add is shot by her talented boyfriend, who goes by the name of  The Texan.

 

With a passion for treasure hunting, a love of the ukuele, and not forgetting her trusty feline side-kick Lily, it’s about time we stepped into the wonderful world of Take Courage…

 

IMG_3716IMG_1142 copyIMG_7452 edit

 

How did ‘Take Courage’ come about?

My boyfriend, the Texan, and I have always enjoyed taking photos and discovering new corners of London. However, we didn’t really have a channel through which to share our adventures with our friends and family back in Texas – so, we started Take Courage as a way to keep in touch. Over time, however, lots of incredible ladies (and some fellas too!) in the blogging community also started to read and support my little blog, and in the space of three years it has grown beyond anything I could have ever imagined.

 

12afront

 

What do you enjoy most about blogging?

Take Courage is very much a collaborative project with the Texan – although I may be the one in front of the camera, the Texan is an integral part of the process and blogging
has become “our thing” that we do together. I don’t think this is unique -I follow dozens of amazing blogs which couldn’t exist without a patient and long-suffering partner behind the lens. I think that’s what I enjoy most about blogging – doing something I love, with someone I love. Blogging has certainly brought us closer together, even if we do occasionally argue about the best way to take a photo!

 

105

 

What inspires you?

I’ve tried really hard to set Take Courage apart from other blogs by focusing heavily on the quality of our photography. This is certainly not something that came naturally to me – you just have to look back through Take Courage’s archives to see how far we’ve come! I’ve found that studying the work of other photographers has definitely improved my ability to capture a moment in time, in a sensitive and not-so-obvious way. You’ll
often find me in The Photographer’s Gallery behind Oxford Circus, taking inspiration from those who really know what they’re doing. I keep a running list on my iPhone of photographers that inspire me, and try to
emulate what they did many decades ago. At the top of my list are Cecil Beaton and Jacques Henri Lartigue – their dream-like images take you to another place; that’s what I’m constantly trying to achieve and sometimes, just sometimes, it actually happens!

 

14IMG_4390

 

What are your top bookmarked blogs?

I have lots of favourite blogs so this is a very hard question to answer! If I had to pick only three, I’d say:

Rosaspina Vintage  - Ale is so incredibly talented. Not only does she have an amazing blog, but she is also an artist, animator, illustrator and designer - there’s nothing this girl can’t do! Her photos and vintage-inspired outfits are just perfection.

Messyla – Another amazingly talented lady, La’s blog is one of the prettiest and most creative out there. If the Texan didn’t protest, I’d have her beautiful pastel-coloured crochet garlands hung all over my little flat!

Human Sea – A London-based blog like mine, I have followed Human Sea for years. Dulcie’s collection of vintage clothes makes me green with envy.

 

IMG_28946

 

What is your must-have item from Laura Ashley? 

My first ever vintage purchase (many, many years ago now) was a yellow floral Laura Ashley dress – I wore it to death! And it’s clear that Laura Ashley hasn’t lost its floral roots – this floral stripe linen dress
is just perfect for spring and would look gorgeous teamed with a vintage cardigan and strappy clogs. The ideal outfit for an April picnic in the sunshine!

 

6-1IMG_7522 editmergeda

 

Be sure to bookmark Cat’s blog Take Courage, to ensure you never miss her latest adventure!

March 19th 2014
Ideal Home Show Hero

THE IDEAL HOME SHOW 2014

Transform your house to a home with Britain’s biggest home show…

Once again, Britain’s biggest home show is returning to Earls Court. Bursting with interior inspiration and home improvement ideas, can you believe The Ideal Home Show is now in its 106th year? Bigger and better than ever before, we made our way to the opening morning to see what delights are in-store for this year…

IMG_1273

Transforming your house to a home, The Ideal Home Show is your one-stop-shop for improving your home. With seven dedicated sections catering for all your tastes and needs under one roof, you’re spoiled for choice. From kitchens to bathrooms, fittings to fixtures, least not forgetting the food and garden sections! Whether you’re looking to add the finishing touches to your interiors or if you’re even on the hunt for a swish kitchen gadget, The Ideal Home Show is the perfect place to kick-start your home projects..

IMG_1260

In need of some interior inspiration to get the ball rolling? Make a beeline for the fully built show-homes dotted around the exhibition. A wonderful way to pick up new ideas and looks for your home, the queues may be a little busy – but it’s worth the wait.

IMG_1283

With the Ideal Food and Drink section appealing to our foodie nature, we excitedly made our way to the Food Interactive Theatre to catch celeb chef Phil Vickery talking us through the array of simple dishes he has devised for The Ideal Home Show cookbook. With a jam-packed schedule of chefs lined up, including the likes of Aldo Zili, GBBO’s Frances Quin and Ed Kimber – what better way to pick up a top tip than from the professionals?

IMG_1286

If taste testing culinary creations is more up your street, then you’re definitely in for a treat. Boasting an array of delicious food stalls, visitors are invited to sample various dishes from around the world, with a chance to snap up unique ingredients.

IMG_1291

Vintage Feast Cakes

IMG_1300

Schoklat Chocolates 

IMG_1278

Pick & Mix Ice Creams 

IMG_1292

Next on our travels around the show, we spotted none other than Gregg Wallace from Master Chef. Sharing a love of all things sweet, we were delighted to sneak a peek at Gregg opening his pop-up restaurant. Taking a moment to recharge our batteries, it was the perfect opportunity (and excuse) to engage in some fine dining! Not to be missed is the scrumptious afternoon tea on offer.

IMG_1267

IMG_1265

We couldn’t resist popping by to admire the Laura Ashley blinds and shutters at the Thomas Sanderson stand. How fresh do our new duck egg shutters look?

IMG_1301

IMG_1274

On hand to share their knowledge and skills, the Ideal Super Theatre has a long list of A-list experts including Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen, Rosemary Shrager and George Clarke. Plan your day with the handy timetable on the Ideal Home Show website here.

 

The Ideal Home Show is on from now until the 20th March, for more details and tickets see here.

Browse the extensive range of Laura Ashley blinds and shutters at Thomas Sanderson here.

March 11th 2014
Hero

DISCOVERING THE ROMANCE OF VINTAGE FLORISTRY

We uncover the beauty of vintage floristry at the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers…

Neatly tucked away in London’s St Martins courtyard is the charming Covent Garden Academy of Flowers. A beautiful sight to behold, chances are if you’ve stumbled across this hidden nook of Covent Garden you will have spotted the romantic blooms that dot the florist’s entrance. Peering in a little closer, we were delighted to spy that they also run a variety of classes, for those who wish to brush up their flower arranging skills or those who fancy stepping into the world of floristry.

IMG_0073

Intrigued by the Vintage Flowers day course, our Social Media Assistant Sarah was excited to don her pinny (floral, of course) and fashion together a charming bouquet of her own..

IMG_0072IMG_0039

Making our way down the spiraling staircase, we were met by the fragrant aroma of fresh blooms that are flown in especially from Holland. Taking our seat in the main workshop, we were in full admiration of the floristry team, passionately piecing together their next floral masterpiece around us.

As a beginner to floristry and unsure of what to expect, Gillian, the Principal of the academy, put the intimate class at ease as we each introduced ourselves. Talking us through her wealth of experience and what the day would entail, we were captivated by Gillian’s passion for all things floral..

IMG_0048

IMG_0064IMG_0042

Similar to fashion trends, the floristry world has its own distinct styles that come and go, more recently the charming appeal of vintage floral arrangements. Embracing the meaning behind vintage, we were talked through the elegance, glamour and romance associated with this beautiful style.

Getting started, Gillian talked us through the importance of conditioning the flowers in preparation. From stripping the roses and greenery of excess leaves to trimming stems, we discussed the best way to nurture and preserve your blooms (insider tip: fresh water!).

IMG_0038IMG_0045

With our flowers and foliage at the ready, we watched in awe as Gillian pieced together her bouquet in a spiraling fashion. With an assortment of antique roses, lemon balm and eucalyptus, Gillian worked together the greenery and foliage before adding in her chosen flowers.

IMG_0047IMG_0041IMG_0052

Now it was our turn! Inspired by Gillian’s creation and drawing on our ideas of vintage, we were free to choose whichever flowers that took our fancy. Not being able to take our eyes off the large white and pink roses, it was soon decided that these were to be the basis of our Laura Ashley vintage bouquet. Gathering a rich green foliage mixed with spray and wax flowers, it was now time to put our newly learnt skills into practice.

Easier said than done, Gillian and her team were on hand to guide us through. With a desired bouquet taking shape, we then adopted the academy’s step-by-step approach to presentation, complete with their signature ribbon!

IMG_0054IMG_0056IMG_0077

Placing our bouquets to one side, we talked through the various ways to present your vintage floral arrangements. Collectable items such as elegant crockery to period teapots, retro glassware and vintage bottles; we picked the pretty Rose Hill China cup and saucer for the basis of our next floral display.

IMG_0088IMG_0090

Taking any left over greenery and small buds, we placed a square chunk of oasis in our cup and set about creating a pretty tea-cup posy.  To complement the duck egg blue of the Laura Ashley Rose Hill design, we snipped stems short and slotted in our pink rose buds and foliage cuts.

A beautiful way of arranging any left overs, this unique arrangement would work wonderfully at tea parties or even used as a place setting at a wedding.

IMG_0082

Rose Hill China Cup and Saucer 

IMG_0085

Now it was time for the technical part, creating a floral corsage. Snipping a cream rose, a sprig of spray flowers and dark green leaves, we followed Gillian as she fashioned through a thin piece of wire into the leaves and secured the corsage with stretchy green tape. After trial and error, we eventually created our own button-hole arrangement..

IMG_0093

What do you think? Not bad for a first time!

IMG_0069IMG_0051

An enchanting day all round, the Vintage Floristry course was truly inspiring and provided us with the need-to-know tips on rustling up our own bouquet. With the vintage style being the trend of the moment, it was interesting to understand the specifics of which flowers embody this look. Working step-by-step under Gillian’s guidance, each of us in the class worked at our own leisurely pace, joining together to share our ideas and understanding of vintage floristry.

 

With our beautiful bouquets in hand, we left fully inspired with our minds whirring with what our next floral arrangement might be…

For more information on the range of courses at the Covent Garden Academy of Flowers click here.

To browse our china Rose Hill range click here.

March 3rd 2014
Hero 1

ON OUR RADAR: MARCH

Celebrate the arrival of spring with our fun-filled family dates for the diary…

It’s official, winter is finally behind us! Let us welcome spring with open arms and fill the month of March with fun-filled activities for all the family. Gather up the children and start to plan your weekends around these jam-packed adventures. Whether you fancy yourself as a keen explorer or even a pirate, let’s jump on in and see what’s on our radar this month…

 

There be pirates! Merseyside Maritime Museum

Liverpool

Pirate Emma 001 small for email

Take a trip back in time at the Merseyside Maritime Museum and discover the stories and treasures that are at the heart of this waterside port. Uncover the long lost artifacts salvaged from the Titanic, learn about what life at sea was like in the 19th century and learn the intelligent ways that ships used to communicate before the invention of telegraphs. Don’t forget to steer the family over to the Pirates crafting bay, where kids can create their very own fearsome pirate mask or treasure chest to hide their precious gold!

For more information on the Merseyside Maritime Museum click here. The ‘There be Pirates!‘ crafting session will take place on the 29th March.

 

Extreme Exploring  Exhibition at the Horniman Museum and Garden

15th February – 2nd November 

London

camel water pump smaller (1)

Calling all budding explorers! Step out of your comfort zone and embark on an expedition to explore the world’s most extreme climates. Embrace this rare opportunity to discover the five harshest climates, from the dark dreary depths of the earth to the freezing cold, discover how animals and plants adapt and survive in these hostile environments. Experience these tough conditions for yourself with a range of activities, from stepping over hot sand to leaving a hand print on a freezing ice wall. Do you dare to enter  the Extreme?

For more information on the Extreme Exploring Exhibition click here.

 

Chalking Around

chalk paint

With a little help from the kids, create a chalkboard masterpiece with our specially formulated Chalkboard Paint. With a lick of this innovative paint in the playroom or bedroom, let their imagination run wild as the transformed area is a blank canvas for drawings, messages and doodles. Let the artwork begin!

Browse our Laura Ashley kid’s paints here.

 

Alice in Wonderland Trail at Brodsworth Hall and Gardens 

Sunday 2nd March 

South Yorkshire

Alice in Wonderland EH 1

Step into the magical and mysterious world of author Lewis Carroll as you discover your very own wonderland. Follow the enchanting trail through the beautiful gardens at Brodsworth Hall and get lost in the imaginative world of Alice in Wonderland. Meeting some familiar characters as you go, complete the trail to collect your prize!

For more information on the Alice in Wonderland Trail click here.

 

BKD Little Monster Baking Class

8th March 2014

London

Classes Ad

Make your way into the world of little monsters and cupcakes at the BKD baking classes. Encourage the little ones to get stuck in as they decorate their very own ghoulish cupcakes. With sprinkles, icing, and glitter provided, let your little monster get as messy as they please, without the worry of  having to wash up after – perfect!

For more information on the BDK Little Monster Baking Class click here.

 

The Decorcafe Decorfest 

23rd March 

London 

decor fest

For big kids and little kids alike, the Decorfest homes and gardens festival is a all round crowd pleaser. While mum and dad take inspiring tips and talks from leading interiors and gardening experts, with masterclasses on how to paint your furniture to getting the down low on growing your own vegetables; drop little ones off at the kids crafting corner where they can try their hand at making their own bird houses and owl cushions. Don’t miss house historian Ellen Lewis who will be on hand, sharing her secrets of how to uncover the history of your home.

For more information on the Decorfest Festival click here.

 

What action packed activities will your family be adding to the calendar this March?


February 27th 2014
ROSIE HERO

TRIP TO THE ICE CREAM PARLOUR WITH ROSIE

Fashion blogger Rosie shares her take on pastel perfection with a trip to Mary’s Milk Bar…

With the gloom of February behind us, it seems like spring is just around the corner – the snowdrops are beginning to peep out tentatively, the days are getting a teeny wee bit longer and I don’t know about you, but I’m definitely feeling ready to dip my toe into the spring trends.

Blog Post 1

Soft Touch Mint Green Jumper / Pink Tweed Pencil Skirt / Geo Print Silk Square Scarf 

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect when Laura Ashley got in touch and asked if  I would style up one of their new trend collections, giving me a much needed dose of spring/summer wardrobe inspiration. Combining spring-like sugared almond shades and tactile textures, the new Laura Ashley collections are the perfect way to ease into spring – even if the weather is having other ideas.

Photo 2

photo 3

Spring’s refreshing colour palette is definitely one of my favourite things about the season, and I went for pieces from the aptly named ‘Mint Burst’ and ‘Ice Pastels’ collections. The deliciously soft, lightweight mint green jumper and tailored pink tweed pencil skirt are both versatile, transitional pieces, satiating my desire for sorbet shades whilst keeping things cosy.

PHOTO 4

I loved the vintage 50′s and 60′s influences that came through in the collection’s feminine cuts, colours and traditional fabrics. This led me to do a bit of research into my own city during this time and the immaculate, ultra-feminine style of Edinburgh’s mid-century ladies in their twinsets and tweed – never without a frame handbag and perfectly coordinated scarf – inspired the combination of vintage and contemporary references in my look.

photo 6photo 5

I wanted to reflect this retro style and polish up my choice of accessories: a ladylike vintage bag and one of my favourite ever thrifting finds – an antique heart-shaped locket from the 1950′s. The coordinating geometric print silk scarf and neutral trench coat keep things modern in a complementary colour palette.

photo 7

Edinburgh’s hidden passages have long been part of the city’s unique geography, and after clapping my eyes on beautiful shots of Edinburgh’s lanes taken by fashion photographer Norman Parkinson in the 1950′s, I knew I wanted to capture some of this character in my shots. Much to my delight, a few days later I spotted this wee lane just a few streets away from our house and was smitten with its old-fashioned lamps and pastel doors.

ELR_13ELR_14

My outfit was perfect for a crisp stroll around the bustling Grassmarket, one of my favourite Edinburgh spots with it’s great variety of independent shops, galleries, vintage boutiques and places to eat. Just opposite Edinburgh Castle is a little local haunt of mine, Mary’s Milk Bar, which sells the most delicious gelato in a beautiful, retro 1950s-style deco parlour.

ELR_16

Hot chocolate floats are an ideal way to keep warm – my favoured orange and cinnamon hot chocolate with salted caramel gelato certainly does the trick, while the mint green décor coordinates perfectly with my Laura Ashley pastels.

Thanks for having me Laura Ashley! I hope you like my spring outfit and a wee taste of my beloved Edinburgh.

 

To follow more of Rosie’s stylish happenings be sure to bookmark her blog Everything Looks Rosie, don’t miss her delicious recipe posts and insider city posts on her home town of Edinburgh.

February 6th 2014
facebook fans hero

THANK YOU – WE’VE REACHED 100,000 FANS ON FB!

A thank you to our facebook fans: £10 OFF WHEN YOU SPEND £75* ONLINE

We couldn’t quite believe our eyes when we reached 100,000 fans on Facebook. Wiping a huge smile across our social media team’s face goes without saying but first and foremost we’re just ecstatic that you are feeling the Laura Ashley facebook love! As a thank you we decided to spell it out in flowers, carefully selected fresh from Covent Garden Flower Market our visual team set about creating a giant 100k made up of blooms. To mark this mutual affection we’d also like to offer you £10 off when you spend £75* online with the code N575 until Friday 14th February…

*TERMS & CONDITIONS APPLY: £10 off when you spend £75 until 14th February 2014. Available online at www.lauraashley.com only with the code N575. £10 off when you spend £75 cannot be used in conjunction with any other discount. This offer is not redeemable instore. Not open to Laura Ashley employees. Excludes Guardsman, Design Service Fee, Delivery charges, Giftcards and licensing products.

February 4th 2014
Blog Hero

ON OUR RADAR: FEBRUARY

Feel the romance of February with our hand-picked dates for the 14th…

For us the month of February is all about the romance, from spoiling loved ones to wearing our heart on our sleeve. Whatever you have in mind for this Valentines Day, perhaps it’s time to reveal your true feelings to that certain someone or surprise your other half with a heart felt gesture. We have hand-picked our top suggestions of what to pencil in for the 14th…

 

Gail’s Bakery Valentines Treats

  LAURA_LEWIS_Gails_27.01.14.-128LAURA_LEWIS_Gails_27.01.14.-145

Perfect for your sweetheart, Artisan bakery Gail’s Kitchen has baked a scrummy line-up of Valentines treats to win over your crush’s sweet tooth. With delicious vanilla cupcakes, meringues, lip biscuits and not forgetting the iconic Gail’s gingerbread man (who’s certainly feeling the love). As founder Tom Molnar says ‘Valentines belongs to the baker…’ – and with scrumptious treats like those above, we whole heartedly agree!

Available from the 30th January, for more details and where to find Gail’s Bakery click here

 

Late Night Keats, London Keats House

Friday 14th February 

219296_129244310484330_1544963_o532741_457063931035698_536906760_n

© Keats House London 

What better way to spend Valentines night than exploring the home of one of the greatest poets of all time? Take in the star-crossed love affair as you discover where John Keat’s charmed his darling Fanny Brawne, who was quite literally the girl next door. For this late night event, Keats House open their doors for a torch-lit tour of the English romantic’s work, love and heartbreak with Regency parlour games, readings, music and workshops on how to reveal your inner romantic.

For more details on the Late Night Keats event click here

 

Cosy Night in for Two

cosy

Staying in is the new going out as they say, so ditch the last minute dinner reservation hassle and create your perfect cosy night in for two. Impress your valentine with a hearty home-cooked meal, surrounded by the soft glow of candle light before snuggling up on the sofa with chocolates and a flick – bliss!

Browse our Valentines Day inspired collection of gifts and fashion looks here.  

 

Love in the Archives

The Queens House, Royal Museums Greenwich

14th February 2014

 3

© National Maritime Museum, London.

There’s nothing more romantic than penning your valentine a love letter, an age old tradition that still has us cooing. Take inspiration from the greats as you explore the unique collection of love letters written by serving men in the Georgian Navy. Separated by the rough seas, loose yourself in the heart-felt declarations of love between navy officers and their wives.

For more details on Love in the Archives click here

 

Feline Lonely

1

There’s no need to feel lonely this Valentines Day, simply pop along to Battersea Cats & Dogs Home to find your ‘purrrrfect’ match. Both singles and romantics alike will both fall for the furry friends housed at the shelter. With a number of cat-tivating fun and frolics, be sure to visit the Cat Cuddle Booths for a chance to get up and personal with the Battersea cats, before enjoying a chance to meet fellow furry residents in a bid to help them find a home.

For more details on the Valentines happenings taking place at Battersea Cats & Dogs Home click here

 

How will you be spending your Valentines? Share your love-filled plans in the comment box below…