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Autumn walks

You can’t beat a crisp Autumn day, can you? The sun shining bright, a chill in the air, beautiful auburn leaves and the conkers on the ground. If I could I’d name my first born Autumn, but I highly doubt Phill would let me.

For my Autumn walk at the weekend I put on my new Target Dry Georgia Parka, my Replay Hyperflex jeans and Jessica Simpson booties (find similar here). I was super comfy and toasty warm.  I love that this outfit is practical, but stylish too. I can go for a nice country walk and then on to do a spot of shopping without having to change what I’m wearing.

I was ready for the rain to descend at any moment with my waterproof jacket (thankfully there was no downpour), which is from Belfast-based retailer Target Dry.  The colour combo of olive green and raspberry pink/red is a favourite of mine, and I love the fur trim hood (which is detachable). I like that I can cinch the waist of the coat in to give me more shape as the one thing I often don’t like about outdoor coats is that they can be bulky and shapeless.

My jeans are from the new Hyperflex range from Replay (I’m wearing the ‘Luz’ skinny fit) - a fabulous blend of stretch and support, almost like a jean with spandex! You feel sucked in and supported but your movement isn’t restricted.  They are definitely the best quality jeans I’ve had in my wardrobe for a long time and I love the classy dark denim wash and detailed stitching (I like to think the red ‘R’ stitched into the back pocket stands for Ruth!).

And finishing off my look are my Jessica Simpson ankle boots. I bought these in TK Maxx a few months ago and they’ve barely been off my feet. They go with so much in my wardrobe. If I could get them in black I’d be delighted!

Targetdry parka coat

Targetdry Georgia jacket

Autumn walks

Autumn conkers

Autumn trees

Targetdry green parka

Targetdry  fur trim coat

Replay Hyperflex jeans

Replay Hyperflex jeans

Galgorm Manor Ballymena

Wedding attire

Galgorm Manor

I spent a lovely few days at Galgorm Manor in Ballymena last week. Phill and I were guests at a family wedding and it was fantastic to stay overnight at the beautiful hotel and enjoy a bit of luxury. The last time I was at Galgorm was for my school Formal ten years ago! The place has changed a lot since I was last there but it still maintains a traditional elegant charm and is a beautiful location for a wedding.

I opted for a blush pink lace dress and nude patent shoes from Next. I finished my look off with a burgundy jacket from H&M and hair fascinator from Claire’s Accessories. Phill wore a grey suit from Matalan, along with a vintage suede waistcoat and ICON shoes bought from TK Maxx.

Needless to say the bride looked absolutely stunning in her beautiful beaded gown. I adored the elegant look she went for. And the groom looked so handsome.

Galgorm wedding

Galgorm Manor wedding

My lovely mum-in-law and I with one of the bridesmaids beautiful bouquets!

The next day, after the best fry I’ve had in ages from Gillies Bar and Grill at the Galgorm, we took a walk around the hotel grounds and then drove to Lough Neagh for a nice long walk. It felt good to be out in the fresh air.  We’ve been so consumed by kitchen renovations of late that it was lovely to spend quality time together away from the house, the mess and the stress of getting a new kitchen fitted.

Galgorm stream

Love seat Galgorm

Willow Lane

Lough Neagh

I’m absolutely loving my Barbour-esque waxed jacket from F+F.

Each month in 2014 I will feature a female entrepreneur from Northern Ireland. I find these smart and creative women inspiring and I hope you do to. Last month I featured Freelance Photographer Sarah Kane and this month it’s the owner of online lifestyle store myluxe.co.uk, Lynn Woods.

Lynn Woods

Myluxe.co.uk launched in January 2014, tell us what sort of things we can buy from your online store.

My Luxe stocks a selection of handpicked, mostly handmade homeware accessories. From handprinted tea towels and cushions to reclaimed wood picture frames and quirky kids’ room prints, the collection has been handpicked by me and many items are sold exclusively on My Luxe.

What was the motivation behind myluxe.co.uk?

My Luxe started as an interiors and fashion blog and then I decided to expand this into an online boutique.

I’m a little addicted to buying things for my home and love to often update my rooms with little touches like new cushions, kitchen accessories or prints to keep things fresh. I’ve spent so many hours scouring shops and websites looking for unique and quirky homewares so I decided to use that knowledge to curate my own collection and import products from around the world to offer something new to the UK and Ireland market.

You’re obviously passionate about sourcing quality products, how easy/difficult is it to decide what to stock?
The first question I ask myself when sourcing individual products is “would I have that in my home?” If I love it then hopefully it will appeal to others. I love handmade pieces as you know love and attention has gone into producing it, which always shows. It’s so easy to have a neutral, safe room but I love sourcing products that add a splash of colour or interest to a room and appeal to those who are a little more brave with their decorating tastes!

I also work really closely with an interior designer friend based in Cape Town. She has amazing contacts with local artisans who painstakingly make things like our hand beaded fruit baskets and our cement candle collection. It’s great to bring some of that craftsmanship to the UK and Ireland market.

myluxe.co.uk

Where did your love of art and design come from?

I’ve travelled a lot and nothing is more inspirational than being surrounded by a different culture.

I love pottering around local shops and markets when I travel and seeing how different cultures live and work. One of the most beautiful places I’ve stayed was a traditional Japanese Inn with only a futon and low table in the room. The view out of the window was sensational so the room needed nothing extra! I did wake up with a sore back though….

What did you do career-wise before My Luxe?
My background is in marketing and events and I still work part time in marketing alongside running My Luxe. I’ve met lots of inspirational entrepreneurs through my career which really inspired me to set up my own business and use my marketing skills in a different way.

What is the most challenging aspect of the job you do?
Balancing two careers and being a mum to an 18 month old! The process of starting a new business is always challenging, there’s so much to learn and that lingering fear of failure to keep at bay. I think the only trick is to stay focused on what you want to achieve and go easy on yourself – to know that it’s ok not to know everything!

What aspect of the job do you love most?
I love sourcing the products and speaking to the designers and makers about the inspiration behind their products and the process they’ve gone through to create it. There are so many amazing small artisans out there I just wish I could stock them all!

my luxe online shop

Do you have a motto that you live by, and if so what is it?
Absolutely – positive things happen to positive people. It’s pretty simple but if you look around at the people you know, it’s very true….

Who or what drives you to be successful?
My parents instilled in me a strong work ethic which has definitely helped along the way! I’ve always wanted to run my own business and make the decisions I feel are right so that drives me to keep going when I’ve had a rough day.

I want to show my daughter that there are lots of options in life and you should do what you’re passionate about.

How do you like to unwind?
I’d love to say exercise but that would be a lie! Relaxing on the sofa surrounded by food and watching a good box set!

Visit myluxe.co.uk.

Blog Awards Ireland 2014

On Saturday I attended the Blog Awards Ireland with my friend Carolyn.  How amazing that we were both finalists this year – me in the Best Lifestyle Blog category and Carolyn in the Best Beauty Blog category. We’ve been best friends since secondary school and have very much followed similar paths. From studying Psychology at Queen’s University to now working in Marketing, we have also been on the blogging journey together. I’m so proud of what we’ve achieved in our personal and professional lives and to be able to attend the awards together was really special.

Carolyn drove us to County Kildare, where we staying at a really lovely Bed & Breakfast just minutes away from the Westgrove Hotel where the awards took place.  Before the awards we crammed in a quick trip to Kildare Village – a fabulous outlet village with big name brands like Coach, Mulberry and DKNY to swoon over. I fell in love with a tan and black leather biker jacket from All Saints but in the end bought a beautiful wine coloured car coat from French Connection. Although, that leather jacket is still calling to me…

The Blog Awards Ireland was a fun evening. Over thirty awards were handed out for a whole host of categories – from Best Fashion Blog to Best Sport and Recreation Blog. We were lucky and sat with a lovely bunch of people. Whilst Carolyn and I didn’t walk away winners it was great to let our hair down and dance into the wee hours of the morning together.

Willow Lane Blog Awards Ireland 2014

My jacquard-weave jacket and jumpsuit are both recent buys from H&M.

Forever Scarlet Blog Awards Ireland
Blog Awards Ireland 2014

Forever Scarlet Blog Awards Ireland