All Posts By:

Donna

  • Inlifestyle

    Birthday Brunch, Knuckle Puck & Gorgeous Books #LittleLoves (#1)

    Year_of_the_FloodWith my fascination of documenting the every day it was inevitable that I would, one day, begin to participate in Morgana’s #LittleLoves series. With the premise being to remember those small, sometimes overlooked, joys that light up each week, I wanted to take my love of journaling one step further.

    So, here we are, and what a week I’ve chosen to start with as this week marked my 33rd birthday. With both of my closest friends being on maternity leave, we took the opportunity to go for brunch at Cobble, in Ormskirk (one of my favourite places to sip coffee and watch the world go by), talk weddings and lavish in new baby cuddles. 

    Read

    This time last year, I discovered Margaret Atwood’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and became immersed in reading more of her gloriously dystopian books. I was dedicating time to read, usually at the end of the working day. Now that I commute into Manchester, I’ve lost that glorious mid-afternoon hour to motorway traffic but I’m reclaiming it before sleep, starting with Atwood’s ‘The Year of the Flood’. Although I’m only 18 pages in, I have so many questions that have so far gone unanswered. From the first paragraph, I want to know: Why does the elevator no longer work? And, why, if Toby slips and falls climbing to the room, won’t there be anyone to pick her up?

    Watched

    The Great British Bake Off. I know what you’re thinking, didn’t we all? Well, no. This was the first episode I’ve purposefully sat down to watch (better late than never, huh?). I’ve surmised that Bake Off is essentially, watching people bake whilst you yourself eat cake with a few quips from Noel Fielding. This I can get on board with.

    How could I forget ‘The Layover’ – the gloriously, mind-numbing film I watched on Sunday evening in an attempt to relax before the working week. Billed as a comedy, the plot centres on two friends competing for the attention of a love interest when their flight is cancelled due to a hurricane. Bordering on slapstick at times, it certainly provided a laugh or two. 

    Heard

    After booking tickets for their December tour, this week I’ve continued my obsession with American pop punk band Knuckle Puck – specifically, their EP ‘While I Stay Secluded’ and new album ‘Shapeshifter’. Although it’s not quite as addictive, it’s a welcome addition to my Spotify playlist and I’m sure it’ll grow on me ahead of their Manchester show.

    And with the arrival of #StormBrian, who didn’t have the Arctic Monkey’s ‘Brianstorm’ as an unwelcome ear worm last weekend? That said, it did provide the perfect soundtrack to accompany the strong wind and downpours, as well as the perfect excuse to spend a slow weekend at home. 

    Made

    New blogging friends. It’s absolutely wonderful to meet bloggers who are very much on your wavelength and willing to support you – even though they barely know you. Steffany, the design brains behind boutique creative studio ‘Haus of Coco‘, is helping me to redesign and reimagine Polkadot Pink, bringing it up to date while staying true to my style. 

    Wore

    Recently, I’ve been investing in my work wardrobe making autumn/winter purchases mostly from online retailers. I work full-time in a creative office, so I have complete freedom when choosing how to dress.  This week, I’ve wore lots of new (and new-to-me) clothes. I took advantage of a 20% discount offer and invested in this polka dot Clara dress in a gorgeous burgundy colour and have used my staff discount to buy this smock style dress. I’ve decided that as I spend 37.5 hours a week in the office – I may as well be comfortable and presentable, while attempting to feel good about myself. 

    Lastly

    Following on from our trip to Lake Bled, Slovenia, John and I’s wedding plans are starting to take shape. As you know, two weeks ago, I visited Magpie Wedding _ The Show and this weekend, we will travel to Falmouth to meet with Mirri Damer (the designer of my engagement ring, featured here) to discuss the design of our wedding bands. We’ve never visited Falmouth before, but it holds a lot of sentimental value to John’s sister – who got engaged on Gyllyngvase beach, so to discover Mirri Damer’s studio is based there feels like fate. 

    Little Loves Coffee Work Sleep Repeat

    Cobble_Ormskirk_BirthdayCobble_Ormskirk_Inside

    Cobble_OrmskirkCobble_Coffee

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  • InManchester, wedding

    Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester

    Magpie_Wedding_The_Show_Manchester

    Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester

    Like any bride to be, one of the first tasks on my agenda was to visit a wedding show to gain inspiration, meet suppliers and generally, be carried away with wedding excitement. In March, I visited The National Wedding Show in Manchester and came away feeling uninspired, underwhelmed and fearful at the suggested scale of a modern wedding. Six months later, Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester , was the perfect antidote.

    Previously named the National Vintage Wedding Fair, Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester , claims to offer artisan, creative wedding inspiration for the free-thinking bride. This resonated with me as a bride to be trying to avoid convention and also the label of alternative, or vintage. So far, my wedding inspiration has been a result of poring over back-issues of Rock n’ Roll Bride and hopping from one wedding Instagram feed of inspiration to the next. So, I decided to complete the holy trinity and purchase two VIP tickets.

    Located in Manchester’s historic Victoria Baths, the venue for Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester was any sentimental blogger’s dream. Original, antique green tiling paired with stained glass windows greeted us on arrival. Our VIP tickets granted us each a glass of fizz and myself, as the bride to be, a goody bag. Captivated by the charm of our surroundings, we decided to take in the first sight of the fair by climbing the stone steps to the balcony. We were greeted by a bustling hall, filled with exhibitors and most importantly for me, colour!Magpie_Wedding_The_Show_ManchesterMagpie_Wedding_The_Show_ManchesterBreaking my reverie, the event’s compare announced the imminent start of a floral crown workshop with Charlie’s Flower Boutique. Floristry is something I’ve never turned my hand to before, but it’s something I was interested to try. With half-drank glasses of Prosecco, we immediately made our way downstairs to find a class of patiently waiting ladies and a table filled with blooms.

    Charlie, owner of the flower boutique and leader of the class, began by naming each of the flowers laid on the table in front of us, described their properties and explained where a creative bride-to-be could source her own bridal flowers. With only one hour set aside for the class, I listened intently and set to making a floral crown adding my personal style as I went. I predominantly selected greenery, only adding flowers when necessary. Interestingly, my mum was very methodical – accurately interspersing flowers with greenery. One hour later, we’d each created two very different crowns, different but perfect for us with each of their imperfections. Of course, I had to photograph mine on my return home.

    Magpie_Wedding_The_Show_ManchesterMagpie_Wedding_The_ShowAfter expressing our gratitude for our newfound skill, we vowed to complete a Christmas wreath making class in December and left Charlie to prepare for her next class whilst we continued to the main purpose of our visit – to see the exhibitors, of which there was a real variety. After the National Wedding Show, I knew to expect a bombardment of questions and so, I was prepared: Slovenia, August next year and yes, we’ve found our venue.

    As I’ve yet to find a dress, or even envisage my perfect dress, one of the first exhibitors I was drawn to was a seller of vintage wedding dresses. The stallholder explained how she takes vintage pieces and lovingly restores, sometimes customises, vintage dresses ready for their next bride. Perusing the rail of dresses brought along to the fair piqued my interest, but only because of my love of vintage clothing, unsurprisingly for me, I did not find my dream dress here. Magpie_Wedding_The_Show_Manchester

    Flower crowns in hand, we found this to be the perfect ice-breaker at Knot & Bloom’s stall – a small company that specialise in headpieces for the vintage modern loving bride. Without a wedding dress, we could only admire the headpieces and so, as we weren’t serious buyers, we moved away and continued around the hall.

    From pop-up bars, to wedding photographers, we found quirky ateliers and eye-catching stalls but not many that were appropriate or relevant for John and I’s Slovenian wedding and as we were approaching the end of the hall, I found Lost Heritage, a small company specialising in traditional and modern print, cutting and fabrication techniques. Magpie_Wedding_The_Show_Manchester

    So far, our plan is to send traditional ‘Save the Dates’, but as there’s lots of information to tell our friends and family, I’ve chosen and bought the domain name ‘Wed in Bled‘ which I plan to update closer to our wedding date. It’s no secret that I love stationery. So much so,  I’ve been trying not to buy it (my office has an entire shelf of unused notebooks I’ll eventually get to) but wedding stationery – well surely that’s a necessity? I adore the simplicity of their previous commissions. 

    While there wasn’t many stalls relevant to our wedding plans, ironically, this wasn’t an issue. Both my mum and I enjoyed Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester because we felt it was an experience. One of our final activities of the day was to enjoy a catwalk show of both vintage and reproduction wedding dresses, set to a soundtrack of live music from the Nat O’Brien Band (a wedding band playing modern and classic hits.) 

    Carried along with the excitement of the day, it wasn’t until I arrived home that I had chance to look through my VIP gift bag – I was pleasantly surprised. I’d chosen the VIP package for the glass of Prosecco on arrival, it was an extra £3 to upgrade, each ticket costing £7 each. I wasn’t expecting to receive a bag filled with treats: beautifully scented rose petals, English Breakfast tea, a bridesmaid request card and my favourite piece, a beautiful macrame key ring from The Attic. 

    I could not recommend Magpie Wedding _ The Show for any vintage loving, or unique bride to be. Don’t worry, if you missed Magpie Wedding _ The Show, Manchester,  you still have chance. The show is touring the country, with different exhibitors at each fair. You can buy tickets here for Bath, Leamington Spa, London or Chester. Alternatively, you can pay on the door. If you do choose to visit, I’d love to know what you think. Magpie_Wedding_The_Show_Manchester

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  • Infashion, lifestyle

    SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW ft. JOANIE CLOTHING

    Joanie ClothingSOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW (ft. Joanie Clothing)

    Recently, a lot of my posts have featured Manchester vintage-inspired brand, Joanie Clothing – and for this, I make no apologies. I’ve finally found an affordable fashion brand that plays to the twee-loving side of my personal style and matches both vintage and modern pieces alike. 

    Even though I love wearing dresses, I’m finding myself drawn to Joanie Clothing’s cute and casual basics – which is quite unusual for me. Usually, you’ll find me throwing my money at dresses with quirky prints or detailed collars but it’s Joanie’s knitwear and denim basics that I’ve chosen to invest in. Which brings me nicely onto Joanie Clothing’s Sarah skirt. 

    (Previous posts featuring Joanie Clothing _ Joanie’s Wedding Photoshoot and A Little Birdie Told Me…)

    Not that I needed to buy more denim, but it’s become the stalwart of my wardrobe (I even wear denim for work – a definite perk of working in a creative office) so buying another denim skirt feels more of an investment than overkill. With its scalloped edges, Joanie Clothing’s Sarah skirt looks like it was made to be paired with my latest eBay find- this beautiful embroidered vintage blouse.

    Joanie Clothing

    It’s been a while since I’ve found a true vintage eBay gem and I found this one quite by accident. Since changing to an office-based job from a field-based assessor, I’ve had little spare time to pop in the north west’s charity shops.  So, you won’t be surprised to hear that my finds have started to dwindle and I’ve turned to eBay for my out-of-hours fix of vintage hunting. It was whilst searching for Mexican style embroidery that I found this shirt. Complete with vibrant embroidered flowers, scalloped edging and an amazing 99p starting price, I knew I had to make it mine. Four bids later, I departed with the grand total of £4.60 and became the proud owner of another vintage piece.    

    Joanie Clothing

    Joanie ClothingIt seemed like the perfect item to build an outfit around for Joanie Clothing’s ‘High Summer’ event held at The Vintage Beauty Parlour, Chorlton. Invited to view Joanie’s summer range, the event also promised hair and beauty make overs on the day from owner Bethany Davies and her fantastic team. As you can see, I opted for vintage curls teamed with subtle retro make-up. 

    As you may have seen from my Instagram stories taken on the day, I stumbled into vintage-inspired heaven and came out wanting the entirety of Joanie Clothing’s new summer range -it was inevitable, I guess. Let’s just say Meredith, Clarissa and Thelma are the sassiest girl gang about to enter my wardrobe array.

    Have you seen what’s new at Joanie Clothing? What’s caught your eye? 

    Outfit Details

    Vintage embroidered shirt _ eBay // Sarah skirt _ Joanie Clothing // Bibi shoes _ Orla Kiely x Clarks // Tan handbag _ Brit Stitch // Watch _ Orla Kiely //

    Joanie Clothing

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  • Infashion, lifestyle

    A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME…

    A LITTLE BIRDIE TOLD ME…

    Have you ever reached a point where you feel you’re living life on repeat? Silencing the alarm only to wake and follow the same routine each day? Every day passing much the same with little to set each apart? Last month, I felt this way. I’d return home from work to spend time blogging reviewing search engine ranking positions, noting how many unique visitors I’d had that day and thinking of search engine friendly titles. I decided to take a blogging break, which also turned into a social media hiatus, to spend time outside of work switching off. I spent evenings engrossed in mindless television programmes, shopping and buying new clothes, drinking coffee catching up with friends and decluttering our home to plan interior projects. In general, living a less digital life.

    I simply took a step back to remind myself of what had driven me start this blog in the first place- way back in 2012 when professional blogging was almost unheard of and I was in the first few years of teaching. I missed a creative outlet, my journalism degree was going to waste and I wanted to document life with words. But most of all, I took a break to prove to myself that traffic, SEO and statistics have their place, but ultimately, writing content you enjoy is at the heart of a successful blog. It was the best decision I could have made.

    It was during this time away, I realised that two years had passed since I left teaching. (If you’re new here and want to know the full story, here are the posts that explain it all : Leaving Teaching, Leaving Teaching One Year On) When you take time away to reflect, does it make you sentimental too? I realised how far I’d come and honestly, when I think of where I was at the start of the 2015,working 60+ hours a week teaching, to where I am now- I still struggle to get my head around how different the two careers are.

    As some of you may know, in March I started my dream job as a senior social media executive. I said goodbye to my job as a social media assessor, and learners (sob) to join an exciting new company launching two fashion labels. The first being I Saw It First which saw me travel to Ibiza for their launch at Ocean Beach (the dream, I know) and LOTD  which is coming soon (remember La Muralla Roja on Instagram? Wait until you see their first campaign shoot!)

    Last month, I also travelled to Portugal and spent 10 days visiting different towns on the Algarve, crossing the border into Spain, as well as visiting Lisbon for 4 days. Medieval towns, fishing towns, beach resorts… we saw so many places, in such a short time! It’s been years since I vacationed in warmer climates, felt sand between my toes and enjoyed swimming in the sea.

    I’m planning to write about this year’s travels in numerous posts: Lake Bled, Ljubljana, Zagreb, Calpe, Ibiza, Portugal…it’s safe to say, this year has been dominated by travel! I’m also planning to document the every day, which will see me branching out from personal style posts and return to the lifestyle blog Polkadot Pink once was. What do you say? Are you with me?

    Outfit Details // Birdie bird print tea dress – Joanie Clothing (20% off with YAY20) // Pink Bibi heels – Orla Kiely x Clarks // Watch – Olivia Burton // Sunglasses – Orla Kiely //

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  • InManchester

    VIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTER

    VIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTERVIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTER

    The Viking Arty Party in Manchester had been a date in my diary for some time as something to look forward to; a chance to meet other Manchester bloggers whilst crafting in one of Manchester’s newest boutique hotels, the King Street Townhouse.

    Organised months in advance, my invite to the Viking Arty Party in Manchester, at the King Street Townhouse, offered three fabulous crafting activities: block printing, calligraphy and notebook customisation, all hosted in the luxurious setting of Manchester’s King Street Townhouse.

    Arriving in an unusually bright Manchester, early yesterday morning, I knew I was in for a treat when I discovered the event was to be hosted on the sixth floor. I had checked out the venue beforehand on Instagram and had seen the wonderful views on offer, I certainly was not disappointed.

    These days, I tend to arrive at events alone and although those initial first few seconds are sometimes awkward, it’s wonderful to be able to meet new people with whom I may never have spoken to before. On arrival, I was pleased to see Raimy, a fellow enthusiast of children’s literature, who I missed talking to at the #LivBloggersIgnite event at the start of the month.

    We had each been given a coloured piece of card which denoted which group we would work with, my purple card indicated I would start with notebook customisation, lead by the Crafty Hen. This was an activity that took me back to my high school days when I would deliberate over what to back my exercise books in, frightened to make the wrong choice and risk being ridiculed. Staying true, I chose bright colours alongside geometric shapes (trust me, it sounds more impressive than it looked).

    Breaking for lunch, we adjourned to the King Street Townhouse’s balcony, which overlooks Manchester’s town hall. Maybe it was the sunshine, or maybe it was the company of Codie, from Codiekinz, but lunch was definitely one of the best parts of the day. It was lovely to sit and relax, chat easily and in such a lovely setting.

    VIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTER

    VIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTERNext up, block printing. As a person who enjoys craft, especially embroidery and sewing, I was eager to try a new skill. We were shown how to create our own stamp, using erasers, to create a unique print. This was when my creativity departed me and I chose a pattern of three triangle. Sally and Gwen made amazing prints of fruits and leaves, which looked stunning when their box files were complete.

    VIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTERVIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTERVIKING ARTY PARTY in MANCHESTEROur final experience was calligraphy with Joyce, of Artsynibs who I had the pleasure of meeting at Joanie Clothing’s November festive event. Joyce reminded us of the correct posture for calligraphy, explaining this was to protect our tools as well as helping us create wonderful lettering. Of all the tasks, this is the one I enjoyed the most. Joyce was patient and cheerfully answered every question I had (she even wrote my blog name in the most beautiful style!)

    After four hours spent socialising and crafting, the event finally drew to a close and we were fortunate to be gifted with a #VikingArtyParty gift bag and a calligraphy set from Artsynibs. Thanks to Viking for the invite, their marketing team for all of their hard work and Matt for providing images.

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  • Inlifestyle, Manchester

    JANE EYRE AT THE LOWRY, SALFORD

    Jane Eyre at The Lowry, SalfordJane Eyre at The Lowry, Salford

    Oppression, injustice and the fight for independence, themes you’d expect to find in any modern day drama but it’s Brontë’s Jane Eyre we’re referring to, a book that was written almost 170 years ago. Now re-imagined and brought to life by the National Theatre, Jane Eyre at The Lowry, Salford, is not to be missed.

    I’ll admit, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Jane Eyre at the Lowry, Salford: the reading of classic novels has always eluded me, I favour dystopian, futuristic texts. Nevertheless, after visiting Wycoller and Gawthorpe Hall, places both linked with Charlotte Brontë, the opportunity to see Jane Eyre brought to life on stage, at one of my favourite venues, seemed too good an opportunity to miss.

    Working in central Manchester, Salford Quays is only a short drive away. Arriving early, I collected our tickets, programme and of course, all-important snacks before meeting my mum at The Lowry’s box office. As we settled in to our seats, I was given a brief synopsis of the plot by my mum who worried it wasn’t my thing. Turns out, she needn’t have worried as it was, undoubtedly, the best performance I’ve ever seen. From start to finish, I was enthralled.

    For those, like me, who haven’t read Jane Eyre, the story tells the tale of the protagonist’s fight for freedom, equality and independence in Victorian times. Orphaned at birth, her early life is filled with injustice, poverty and cruelty. Jane faces life head on, a feisty feminist whose moral compass ensures her final happiness. 

     A co-production from the National Theatre and Bristol Old Vic, director Sally Cookson is the brainchild behind the tumultuous and somewhat controversial reimagining of this classic novel which opens with an almighty cry from Nadia Clifford, who plays the protagonist throughout, starting with her birth at the show’s opening. Manchester actress, Clifford, is spirited, powerful and convincing: you want her to succeed in her quest for independence and equality. However, it’s Mr. Rochester’s faithful companion, Pilot (played by Ben Cutler) who threatens to steal the show with his playful, bashful mannerisms which are a delight to watch.

    Jane Eyre at The Lowry, SalfordImage by Brinkhoff/Mögenburg

    Without a doubt, Cookson has dragged Jane Eyre into the 21st century with the addition of a live band on stage and a modern soundtrack featuring Noël Coward’s ‘Mad About the Boy’ and Gnarls Barkley’s ‘Crazy’, the latter bringing goosebumps to my arm as Melanie Marshall, playing Bertha Rochester, uses these lyrics to explain her episodes of madness and to bring clarity to the demise of Thornfield Hall.

    The verdict? A riveting and spectacular classic brought to life through a creative director, excellent casting and imaginative staging- not to be missed!

    You’ll need to be quick to catch Jane Eyre at The Lowry, Salford. The final shows at The Lowry feature on Saturday 15th April, with a matinee and evening show.

    Our tickets were provided complimentary for review purpose.

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  • Infashion

    INVESTMENT PIECES THE TRENCH COAT

    Investment Pieces The Trench Coat

    INVESTMENT PIECES THE TRENCH COAT

    With the changing of the clocks, it seems we’ve pressed fast forward into the peak of the spring season- with little time to prepare sunshine appropriate outfits. Snowdrops are last season’s news and Magnolias are ready to be admired; the latest darling of Instagram. Blessed with an extra hour of daylight, I, for one, am not complaining. For me, spring marks the return of outfits posts, lighter layers and an increased enthusiasm for life.

    Although spring may be in bloom, the sunshine can be deceivingly cool so I’ve rarely left home without a light jacket: a classic trench coat has become a trusty ally when defending against the March chill. And, it was thanks to Jack Wills for reminding me of this hardworking wardrobe hero when they recently shared how to style women’s trench coats- a piece which not only offers style tips on how to wear investment pieces the trench coat in particular, but also explains its history and why it has become such a well-loved classic. 

    Now, regular readers will know that I’m unlikely to ever adopt a rolled jeans and sneakers style aesthetic (as much as I would love to, I find jeans uncomfortable and unflattering) but Breton? That’s a mere step away from nautical, and nautical is a style language I am fluent in. Like all keen linguists, I study the intricacies of its lexicon to learn which elements must be paired and where. So, in true Parisian style, who could omit a generous smearing of red alongside navy? Not me.

    Investment Pieces The Trench CoatInvestment Pieces The Trench Coat

    Throughout my twenties, I would dabble with the trends that I thought I should be wearing: flared, shapeless jeans, statement belts, denim mini skirts, halter neck tops, you name it! These pieces I returned to, but never felt comfortable wearing. Looking back, I wonder why I persevered for so long! Being in my thirties, I’m comfortable in my skin and know who I am (which is a completely different feeling to that in my twenties) so, I understand my personal style and the core pieces that I return to for longevity. I’m now confident to spend money on investment pieces the trench coat in particular, knowing I’ll wear them until they’re ready to be donated as rags. A trench coat will always be an investment piece to me.

    This trench has been with me for almost four years now and unsurprisingly, it’s not the first time I’ve featured it on the blog. Do you remember this post from January 2016? Or this post from October 2013? Yes, this trench coat is still a key piece of mine and didn’t cost a lot, although I’d have happily paid more had I known how long it would last.

    Susie of Old Fashioned Susie has a novel way of describing her investment pieces. In  this post, she describes them as workers and explains how she wants the majority of her wardrobe to predominantly feature hard-working pieces. Well Susie- this trench coat is a grafter! My coat’s CV demonstrates years of experience and, as you can see from its history, it’s happy to work alongside a variety of statement prints in the workplace. I’ll happily provide a testimony to its good character!

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    Outfit details

    // Trench coat :: Primark // Nautical dress :: Bonsui via eBay // Sunglasses :: Orla Kiely // Black shoes :: Clarks x Orla Kiely // Watch :: Orla Kiely // 

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    These images were taken in Liverpool’s Georgian Quarter, have you ever visited? It was during Saturday’s journey to the #LivBloggersIgnite event that I happened to stumble upon the quarter and discover the housing that was once built for Liverpool’s elite. I was charmed by its character and knew I’d return to shoot outfit photographs, little did I know it would be in less than 24 hours!

    Investment Pieces The Trench CoatInvestment Pieces The Trench CoatInvestment Pieces The Trench Coat

    *Post produced in collaboration with brand. All opinions my own*

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