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Fashion & Style

Christmas, Fashion & Style, Shop

The millergrey Christmas Gift Guides 2018. Him, Her, Them, You

 

Full disclosure here: I start my Christmas shopping in January. In fact if truth be told, I never really stop it. Throughout the year I pick up pieces as and when I see them, as ideas pop into my head or as I’m visiting somewhere. For some the very idea of that is enough to turn the stomach I’m sure.

I love Christmas. I always have. I love buying presents, I love wrapping presents and I love giving presents. Generally if someone receives a present in my family it’s indirectly come from me, being that I’ve been tasked with my entire family’s Christmas shopping since I was a kid.

So without further ado, I put forward my gifting advice for the season ahead. The millergrey Christmas Gift Guide 2018.

 

Him.

 

I’m all for monogramming. I’m all for dapper pyjamas. Combine the two I’m near ecstatic. Soho Home’s festively green robe (1) can be personalised with initials embroidered to the chest and positively reeks of gentlemanly cool.

Anything from Jo Malone London and I’m happy personally. This Whisky and Cedarwood (2) cologne is by far my favourite. The bottle’s a beauty too. Mast Chocolate (10) doesn’t just taste amazing, it looks amazing. Stack them up, tie in a velvet bow and please even the most design-conscious folk.
House Doctor recently launched this Instagram-worthy metal toolbox (3). If you’re the kind of person to furiously yell at the fact you keep finding DIY implements around the house (yet continue to redo just about every room in your house) let’s at least give them somewhere aesthetically pleasing to be returned to upon said yelling.

 

 

|1.| Ned Bath Robe, £75 |2.| Whisky & Cedarwood Cologne, £120 |3.| Metal Tool Box, £42 |4.| Leather Card Holder, £25 |5.| Roll Neck Jumper, £79 |6.| Toast, Hash, Roast, Mash, £13 |7.| Bluetooth Speaker, £45 |8.| Gypsy Water Shower Gel, £34 |9.| Leather Tote, £125 |10.| Gourmet Chocolate Bar, £7.95 

 

Her.

 

Gucci Soho Disco Bag (3), just ‘cause. Slouchy Arket Knit (9), again just ‘cause. My love of personalised things at Christmas is apparent. This wool sleep mask from Soho Home (6) can again be embroidered with up to three initials, whilst these leather stick-on letters from Anya Hindmarch (2) are just plain fun. If she’s the type to also love a good notebook or diary, I’d suggest a nice new leather one to go alongside them. If you’re buying jewellery, keep it classic and keep it timeless. This beautiful circle necklace from Daisy London (above) is as classic as they come.

Diane Keating’s coffee table tome, The House That Pinterest Built (4), is an excellent piece of evidence that sometimes time spent on social media is indeed productive. Elevate their commute with this incredibly stylish travel mug from Royal Doulton (7). The red plastic number they bought whilst food shopping may be practical, but it certainly isn’t as chic is it?

I like the idea of passing on your love for something; so why not gift someone your favourite book and tell them exactly why you love it on the tag. If they never read it, it’s unlikely to have cost you a fortune. If they do, maybe they’ll love it too. Out Of Africa (10) is one of my personal favourites, I’ve passed it on to several people over the years.

 

|1.| Estee Lalonde Necklace, £99 |2.| Leather Letters, £15 each |3.| Soho Disco Bag, £805 |4.| The House That Pinterest Built, £30 |5.| Facial Cleanser, £40 |6.| Wool Sleep Mask, £12 |7.| Travel Cup, £25 |8.| Linen Bath Robe, £34.99 |9.| Slouched Jumper, £135 |10.| Out of Africa, £7 |11.| Candle Set, £35

 

Them.

Nigel Slater’s The Kitchen Diaries II (4) is a beautiful book. If they’re keen cooks it’s a wonderful walk through a year of eating. Complete the gift with some organic olive oil (9) and artisan coffee (5). I couldn’t create a gift guide without a few nods to the environmental issues I continually push; this Soho Home jute shopping bag (8) is truly one of the classiest reusable bags around. Fill it with foodie treats and add a tag.

People say candles or diffusers can be a boring gift, I couldn’t agree less. Make sure you take some time to think about the kind of scent they’re going to like; this Goop candle (7) smells like roaring fires and incense.

 

 

|1.| Martini Gift Set, £145 |2.| Coffee Maker, £40 |3.| Reed Diffuser, £59 |4.| Kitchen Diaries II, £17 |5.| Brazilian Coffee, £5.50 |6.| Jacquard Thow, £55 |7.| Church Candle, £66 |8.| Jute Tote, £12 |9.| Organic Olive Oil, £35 |10.| House Bird, £155

 

 

You.

The festive season is a busy one. You spend all of your days buzzing around thinking about everyone else, so it’s important you treat yourself every now and then again too. This edit might also come in handy if you’re looking for those little extras to send someone’s way as a subtle hint.
Long soaks in the bath, preferably with a book or an episode or two of Brothers & Sisters are my favourite. Goop’s G’Nite bathsalts (11) my turn your bath a strange camel colour, but the results are stellar. Susanne Kaufmann Winter bath oil, included in this kit (1), is what Christmas would smell like if it were a liquid. Christmas Eve in the tub sorted. Bring the Broken Heart Gin (6).

You’ll need a party outfit (or two) so buy separates to mix and match and make the most of what you have. This sequin skirt from Zara (9) is epic and will inevitably also serve you well when that friend announces their birthday is ‘Great Gatsby’ themed next year.

Going to be spending a lot of Christmas Day in the kitchen? Give yourself a fancy pants apron (10), let’s elevate the gravy stains.

 

 

|1.| Bath Oil Set, £21 |2.| Orange Bitters Cologne, £96 |3.| Colour Block Jumper, £69 |4.| The Christmas Chronicles, £9.99 |5.| Reindeer Biscuit, £3.99 |6.| Broken Heart Gin £37.80 |7.| Cocoa Mask, £20 |8.| Handmade Face Earrings, £15 |9.| Sequin Skirt, £49.99 |10.| Cotton Apron, £25 |11.| G’Nite Bath Salts, £30

 

Stuck for ideas?

If you know someone’s a reader, or perhaps even that they want to be reading more than they are, books are one of my favourite presents to give. Each year I deliver my Grandma and Mum a stack of books I’ve spent the year buying for them. It’s a relatively inexpensive way of giving a gift that has a lot of thought behind it, showing you’ve spent time selecting things you think will interest  – Grandma likes anything to do with the war or European history, whilst Mum generally gets a selection of the ones I’ve seen winning awards or receiving amazing reviews!

Keep your eyes on sites like The Works, quite often you’ll find them do five books for £10. Place them in a nice neat stack and tie in a bow. Go all out and add in some cashmere bed socks and some gourmet hot chocolate, their own personalised winter start kit.

 

 

I always like to provide a baked good or homemade chutney with presents. Handily enough you’ll find the recipe for a quick and easy biscotti here. Baked a few days before, fill a jar and write a little note. They’ll be good for a week or two if the container’s air tight.

Don’t underestimate the pre-made gift. A whole host of brands are now producing ready made gift items; from chocolate filled baubles to sleep inducing sprays concealed in patterned crackers. They’re a great (and easy) way to add something a little extra to a gift.

 

Recently I discovered Evolve Beauty via Deliciously Ella’s Instagram. Their Radiant Glow Mask features in the You edit above, the same product that is also included in this beautiful little cracker, £20. It’s made of Cocoa and coconut and whilst it might take ALL OF YOUR MIGHT to not just eat the thing, the results are great. The brand’s organic and ecological credentials make it a firm favourite of mine.

And now to wrap them. Looking for some ideas? Check out last year’s wrapping guide, crafted with paper from IKEA. Cheap, chic and sure to look perfect beneath the tree.

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Design, Fashion & Style

Elevating The Design Of The Everyday With Rado

      

This is a sponsored post produced in collaboration with Rado.

 

 

A few months when I was first approached by Swiss watchmakers Rado to work with them I was quite intrigued as to exactly why they felt millergrey would be a good fit for their brand. I can’t claim to have known too much about the brand prior to working for them; I knew they produced beautifully minimal timepieces, but other than that I couldn’t have elaborated for you.

What swayed me into wholeheartedly agreeing to work with them was their unwavering passion for design, in all its forms. The Rado Star Prize – a worldwide search to find and support the finest up-and-coming design talent – offers students and fledging designers alike the chance to have their work showcased on a Global platform. 2018’s lucky winner actually hails from here in Newcastle and currently studies where I also spent four years training, Northumbria University.

 

Rado Ceramica Watch

Rado Ceramica Watch

 

Whilst the blog’s main focus is on that of interior design I’m fascinated by the way we apply our tastes to the objects and items that fill our life. Should we approach the selection of a water bottle or watch with any less precision than we would in selecting the sofa for our living room? Ultimately these objects become part of our day-to-day life, so in my eyes each and every piece we pick should be selected with care and individuality. I think this is perhaps where Rado resonated so well with me. A watch sits on our wrist for the entire day, touching our skin for its duration. It should be a piece we have a connection with, surely?

A few years ago, when asked to describe my personal style, I said it was a sort of ‘soft minimalism’. Clean and angular, muted and monochrome… but the edges were rounded. There was a softness to it all. At least that’s what I hoped it was. I genuinely feel like Rado’s timepieces are exactly that. Over the past few months I’ve been able to explore different designs from their range, selecting ones that appealed to me and my aesthetic and incorporating them into my photography.

 

 

Rado Ceramica Watch

 

This, the last piece in the collaboration, features the Rado Ceramica. It’s a sharply geometric piece, softened with a matt grey finish. It’s solid and present, but inconspicuous and effortless at the same time. The design team picked the grey-tone for it’s universal appeal, believing a watch doesn’t need to be ‘masculine’ or ‘feminine’ in the traditional sense, but that the strength of its design and timeless nature will appeal to and work for just about anyone who may happen to try it on. That’s a concept I’m all for.

 

Rado Ceramica Watch

 

If you’re keen on interior design than it’s likely you’ve heard of Bethan Gray. Her incredible pieces of furniture have found themselves on so many of my Pinterest boards over the years, combining beautiful touches of wood with brass studded details. Together Bethan and Rado have produced a limited edition timepiece, the Rado True Thinline Studs. It’s a thing of absolute beauty and limited to only 1,001, so if you’re in the market for a watch as elegant as your interiors, you’d best act fast.

If you’d like to find out more about Rado and their approach to design, you can visit their site here.

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Design, Fashion & Style, Food

The Picnic Edit. Tackle National Picnic Week In Style.

National Picnic Week

 

This week, if you didn’t happen to be aware, is National Picnic Week. Yup, there is indeed a week dedicated to the art of picnicking. Rather perfectly it falls in the same week as the longest day and the official start of British Summer Time, so there seemed like no better time to compile a list of picnic tips and picnicware essentials.

I’m a firm believer in the idea that nothing we purchase should be truly disposable. I try to apply that logic to all situations, even picnics. If you can’t invest in something reusable then you’ll find some amazing biodegradable or recyclable options out there. After all, the very idea of a picnic is to enjoy eating outside in nature, so the less impact you can have it on whilst you’re there enjoying it, the better!

 

National Picnic Week

 

Invest in a good blanket.

In my experience the best picnic blankets are those backed with a waterproof layer. A beautiful wool blanket is all good and well but come 7.30pm on those damp. dewey evenings it isn’t going to be your friend. If you can invest in a quality blanket and picnicware and they should hopefully see you through years of picnicking action.

If you’ll be taking children (or just particularly messy eaters) there are some great wipe-clean options out there too, although these do come with a word of warning. Should you be wearing something that will have your legs coming into direct contact with it, this most definitely will not be pleasant for anyone involved. Think back to those awful lightweight kagools your mother used to make you wear in the wet summer months and I’m sure you’ll get an idea of the discomfort that lies when things are wipe clean.

 

Go all out.

No matter how good your picnic blanket is the chances of it offering much in the way of comfort are slim. Bring some cushions. Everyone’s rears will thank you for it.

 

Bag it up.

Picnic baskets are beautiful things. Beautiful yet bulky and vaguely impractical things. Personally I opt for a tote bag. I can hang a tote bag easily, I can fold it up and I can put it a drawer, I can even use it for my weekly food shop. What I can’t use for a midweek trip to Sainsbury’s however is a large four-man wicker picnic basket. I’m nothing if not practical when it comes to storage.

 

Keep it glassy.

Wine in plastic cups with rip off lids may indeed seem extremely practical, but bottles of wine however are infinitely more stylish, let’s not kid ourselves. Picnics should be an event; a celebration of Britain finally enjoying weather worthy of a picnic! Such celebrations should not involve lukewarm wine in a plastic cup, half of which you inevitably slosh down yourself as you attempt to rip off the lid.

 

 

The Picnicware Edit

 

|1.| Floor Cushion, £6.99 |2.| Floor Cushion, £8.99 |3.| Wool Picnic Blanket, £35 |4.| Striped Paper Cups, £4.50 |5.| Wool Picnic Blanket, £90 |6.| Woven Basket, £45 |7.| Melamine Plates, £18 |8.| Glass Bottle, £1 |9.| Melamine Beakers, £14 |10.| Wooden Cutlery, £9

As Featured In Imagery:
The White Company Wool Picnic Blanket, £90
The White Company Rattan Tray, Part of Set, £75
The White Company Striped Cushion, £35

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Fashion & Style, Interiors, Shop

How to survive the autumn in style.

There is a lot to be said for the lazy days of summer. Long days spent lounging in the grass, all blazing heat and melting ice creams. It is however really the autumn and the winter that capture me. There’s something about the turn of the year and the pivot of the season that feels exciting.

In an ideal world we would have all spent our summers outdoors, living the al fresco dream in our gardens. In reality however, we probably didn’t. We spent it inside, dodging rain clouds and debating exactly how much of a waste of money the new patio set actually was. Let’s pretend we are however in that ideal world and the time has now come for the mass exodus from the outside world. We drift inside, we hanker down and we revel in the glory of comfort. I think that’s what autumn and winter are truly about when it comes down to it. Comfort.

|1.| Derek Rose Houndstooth Pyjamas |2.| Derek Rose Satin Stripe Pyjamas |3.| Bronte Wool Blanket |4.| Jo Malone Incense & Embers Candle |5.| Emma Lacey Mug |6.| Stelton Coffee Press |7.| H&M Cashmere Blend Knit |8.| Lucienne Day for John Lewis Cushion |9.| H&M Quilted Velvet Cushion |10.| Serax Candle Holder |11.| Cereal Magazine

 

From the warm things we choose to eat and the soft knits we wrap ourselves up in, the daily quest is for a luxurious sense of comfort. With that in mind I started to think about what the essential things I require on a rainy Sunday afternoon in October; the things I need to bring me comfort amidst the chilly rain.

Firstly, there are pyjamas. I’m often berated for my rather elderly habit of wanting pyjamas. Quite frankly, I don’t care. I like them, they make me feel warm, comfortable and just a little bit dapper. No matter how delightful my pyjamas may be, I’ve never been able to commit to spending a day in them. It feels a little too… slobbish. So instead I shrug the pyjamas and take to an excessively deep bath before digging out a soft jumper. Preferably something oversized and made from cashmere so soft you think you might never actually wear anything else ever again.

Blankets are key to the season. I think if I advocate one purchase this autumn, is a woollen blanket. Not only does it bring you a sense of comfort akin to being a child again, it also helps save on the gas bills. If you’re anything like me you have the heating on too much as it is. Every blanket helps.

My flat – as lovely as it is – sadly no longer accommodates a roaring fire in its hearth. It’s all rather empty and dark, which is why instead I turn to a series of candles that are designed to trick you into think you’ve walked into the snuggest of country pubs. They may not emit the crackling flames or require you to satisfyingly stoke them every now and then, but if you close your eyes and wrap yourself up warm I have the faith you can trick yourself into thinking it’s all real.

Team all of the above with a steaming pot of coffee and a good magazine, truly dreamy autumn days are made.

 

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Christmas, Fashion & Style, Made

A conscious effort.

As summer was coming to a close and the first signs of autumn were beginning to rear their head my mind started to wander towards Christmas. This is certainly not an unusual occurrence; my mind can quite happily spend a great deal of time thinking about Christmas. On this occasion however I was thinking about what it was I would begin to look for to give to those around me and it was there, right then, on that wet Sunday afternoon in September that I decided to try and make as many presents as I could.

For me to gift things that I have made is not all too unusual, in the past it has mostly been a mixture of biscotti, marmalade and chutney, with only the occasional alternative. For Christmas 2016 I wanted to do something different – give something truly different. I quickly had my heart set on making my closest friends their own linen dressing gowns, each completed with their initial to the chest. I won’t lie and say it was an easy task because quite frankly, it wasn’t. After cutting the pattern and producing several rough iterations of the gown, I began work on the final product.

Washed linen in a soft grey hue meant the kimono-like silhouette draped perfectly, its pebbled surface offering an almost dappled effect. Deep cosy pockets and a generous belt, I hope, give it an inviting look overall. Finally an embroidered initial sits to the chest, a series of three tonal grey threads embroidered separately to a raw-edged patch.

This Christmas I made the conscious effort to make things people will hold onto hopefully for a lifetime however they weren’t the only presents I gave, I did purchase many things to sit under the tree. For Christmas 2017 I plan on making absolutely everything that I gift. If the dressing gowns are anything to go by then I have about a month’s rest before I’ll need to dust off my sewing machine.

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