Shopping From Across The Pond...

28 April 2016

What is Reformation sizing like

Has anyone else trained themselves to avoid any non UK-based websites when online shopping?  After a few too many experiences where I've been surprised with a massive customs charge and not even liked the item once it arrived, I've somehow managed to filter certain brands out.  Of course, this isn't helped whenever I catch someone in an amazing dress or using a foundation colour that you can only get abroad.  I've somehow not managed to make it to America in over five years (sob) so when GoSend asked me to test out their shipping service, I thought it was a great way to put my ordering skills to the test.  I find that you have to alter your mindset somewhat when buying from any overseas website, so I thought I'd share a few tips (and mistakes) I've made along the way!

I also have a discount code at the end of the post so you can try the service out for yourself!

Marylebone London
Reformation Lunna jumpsuit review
ordering items from the US

The Ordering Process

So first things first.  When you sign up with GoSend, you have the option of a free membership or a £6 monthly subscription which offers up to 80% off international shipping costs.  You're provided with a Delaware-based shipping address for your 'locker' (so no need to worry about that seemingly random sales tax) and you can either order items yourself, or use the Shop Assist tool just in case there's a problem using your bank card.  I used the latter, so was able to just send links with sizing and colour details (you can even Whatsapp the customer service team in case of any issues).

Once your items arrive, they're checked for any faults/mistakes and you're sent photos so that you can decide whether you want to keep them or send them back.  I used this chance to order a few bits from some US-only sites, Reformation is one of those feeds that I avidly follow on Instagram so I went for the jumpsuit I'm wearing plus this midi dress.  I also stocked up on some Thinx underwear, which is a modern solution to period-management (each pair you buy helps girls in the developing world) plus a Rifle Paper Co desk planner that I hadn't spotted in the UK.

One of the most important things is that you can get an estimate of the customs charge before deciding to release products (there's a 50:50 chance that your shipment may get flagged).  Another bonus is that you can make use of any free-shipping deals when you shop, before consolidating all your items into one shipment.  GoSend also repackage your shopping so it's lighter and my items arrived a week later after using the cheapest shipping service.

Reformation Lunna jumpsuit review
Reformation Lunna jumpsuit review
London postbox
Lotta from Stockholm clogs
Reformation Lunna jumpsuit review
ordering items from the US

My Tips For Shopping Across The Pond


  • Know your size - Make sure you're familiar with all the sizing differences of the particular brand and be honest about your current measurements.  You're better off ordering something a little larger and getting it altered, rather than going too small and having to send it back on that cross-Atlantic journey.  Reformation is not known for the most boob-friendly styles (luckily they provide matter-of-fact  descriptions with each item), so I thought I'd size up.  I'm a UK 10, so the jumpsuit fit perfectly in a medium, but the size 12 dress pulls a little at the bust.  I'm hoping to alter it a little (or find some kind of magical minimiser).    
  • Swot up on construction & fabrics - I tend to predict how items will look on me by comparing it with similar items I already have in my wardrobe.  I looked at where the waist-placement was on the jumpsuit, decided it was high enough and knew that it was a style that suited me.  Also double check the fabric content to try and gauge how it might fit your body.  As a rule, cottons and linens can be quite stiff, whereas polyester and viscose will drape more depending on the style.  
  • Take calculated risks - Now's not the time to be ordering a hot pink, off-the-shoulder maxi dress if you've never tried one in your life.  It's probably best stick to things like jackets, tops and dresses rather than denim if you've never bought from the brand before.  When it comes to beauty, look at YouTubers with your skin tone (Jackie Aina seems to be a close match for me, plus she's hilarious too) to see whether things like palettes and even foundations can work.  Temptalia has a handy swatch gallery, so you can compare shades to what you currently have.
  • Triple check everything - Did I tell you about the time I once ordered a dress and only realised that it had a netted underskirt when it arrived?  Reread the descriptions, check all the images of the item and try to imagine yourself wearing it in at least three different ways.  I've searched forums and asked friends but sometimes you will end up having to bite the bullet.  Just remind yourself that it's cheaper than a flight!   
  • Be strategic - If you find one thing you like, then it's worth looking around for other bits and bobs to make the shipping cost worthwhile.  I think that GoSend is a useful service if you want to repurchase certain beauty items or if a sale comes up and you spot the kind of bargains that don't make it over here.

Reformation Lunna jumpsuit review

As you can see, the Reformation jumpsuit is a really great fit and will be a staple item for the Summer months due to the light linen material and general comfiness.  If you're wanting to try GoSend out, I have the code KRISTABEL that will give you a 3 month free VIP subscription.  Let me know what you have your eye on!

This post is in collaboration with GoSend

The Wellbeing Update - 5 Changes I've Made This Year!

26 April 2016

5 wellbeing tips

How are we almost a third of the way through 2016 already?  Gahh!  Even though I had a fair bit of momentum back in January what with the constant reflections, it's now the time of year when things can go a bit pear-shaped in terms of wellbeing.  Take my recent Paris trip, I seemed to incorporate chips into every kind of meal and decided not to do stairs when it came to our top-floor apartment.  Obviously it's impossible to be perfect all of the time (no matter how it may seem when you spot another guru on Instagram) but it is important to check in with yourself throughout the year.  For this Twinings collaboration, I've decided to share some of the things I'm working on continuously and how it's all going.  Since I'm in that less-invincible stage of my twenties now, I really want to keep my mind and body in tip-top condition so that I'm not panicking (too much) in years to come.  

relaxing with a cup of tea
Twinings Freshly Picked Taste Tea Ranges
5 wellbeing tips


Tea Break


Even though a traditional cuppa isn't really my thing, I am becoming rather fond of the humble herbal alternative (I blame it on my housemate who has a whole shelf dedicated to the stuff).  Twinings recently brought out their 'Freshly Picked Taste' and 'Steamed Green Tea' varieties, which aim to provide an authentic feast for the senses without the hassle of loose-leaf tea.  They're individually foil-wrapped to seal in freshness and the green tea varieties are made using a centuries-old Chinese steaming method, so there's none of that bitterness you might expect.  I'm rather fond of the Root Ginger flavour for a great mid-afternoon boost (plus it's handy if you're suffering from a cold) plus the Camomile & Fennel is a nice relaxing drink before bedtime.  There was a time when I would load up on coffees throughout the day to keep myself alert, but gradually I've learnt to survive on less and refresh myself with some of these calmer alternatives.

Mind Over Matter

How do you solve a problem like a 28-year-old brain?  It does seem like it's more acceptable to focus on all the negatives rather than the positives most of the time, but where does it actually get us?  I don't know when things clicked exactly (and I'm not saying that I'm perfect), but my thing now is to be mindful of everything I'm putting out into the world but also to change my mindset when others don't necessarily have the same consideration.  The more secure you are in yourself, the less that others can hurt you, so when your Nan tells you that you've gained weight just before Christmas (true story), just try and think of the bigger picture.  Podcasts have been really helpful with this, I've been listening to Behind The Brilliance loads more after writing my initial post and have found that just surrounding yourself with positive words can make a world of difference.  Next on the reading list is Gala Darling's Radical Self Love, I'll let you know how I get on!    

We need to let it breathe

I'll use any excuse to incorporate a Blu Cantrell lyric into a post.  I know that I'm probably the last person to do this, but I finally downloaded the Headspace app as the relaxation elements of yoga and pilates are what I enjoy most.  You can start off with a 10-day-trial, designed to introduce the ritual of ten-minute-meditation into your daily life and progress onto other packs tackling anxiety, self-esteem and creativity.  One thing I like, is that it recognises that clearing your mind of all thoughts can be extremely difficult, so you're encouraged to gradually change your perception of them through breathing exercises.  It doesn't matter if you mess up and start thinking about the load of washing you need to do, just acknowledge it and focus on your breathing again.  You can't fail to feel chilled out and reassured by narrator Andy's voice (he actually trained as a Buddhist monk) plus they also have a podcast exploring some of the ideas behind the series.

making small changes to eating habits
Gizzi Erskine Book
Chewy Sultana Cookies Deliciously Ella recipe

Healthier Eating Habits

So living with healthier housemates does have it's advantages.  Bulgur wheat, kale and avocados seem to be permanently in my shopping basket and I'm not just forcing myself to eat them.  I can't be the only one who's found the whole clean-eating movement a little overwhelming?  The best thing is to let things digest a little (geddit) and slowly incorporate new elements into your diet.  My trick is to just search Pinterest for recipes to jazz up anything remotely plain, I'm particularly obsessed with sautéing my kale with garlic and chilli plus this amazing honey garlic salmon.  Ultimately I'm not trying to lose weight, but I'm hoping that a more balanced diet will help with my general energy levels, skin and growing out my natural hair.  These chewy sultana cookies by Deliciously Ella are also a great snack option to carry on the go, I tend to half the mixture as it makes so many (they keep for a week) and they're a great way for me to eat bananas without realising.  Yes, I'm that weird person who'll only bananas in certain forms. 

And so to bed

I'd quite like to become a morning person now, thank you very much.  After realising that the upside  of post-Asia jetlag was waking up at 6am every day, it actually felt far better to feel more alert and start getting stuff done a lot earlier in the day.  I've been reading Night School, which reinforces some of the tips we probably all know (baths before bedtime are the one) and doesn't completely chastise you for a little screen-time before bed (just turn the brightness down and keep it at least 12 inches from your eyes).  There are tips on helping you improve the quality of your sleep, studies that tackle certain myths and even ways of influencing your dreams in order to achieve your goals.  It's still early days, but I'm trying to train myself to sleep earlier in order to improve my productivity when I wake up.  Sleep is one of the first things that starts to go awry when I'm feeling all over the place, so I just want to manage it a lot better, instead of sending insomniac tweets at 3am.

Twinings Freshly Picked Taste Tea Ranges
5 wellbeing tips

How are you getting on with your wellbeing routine this year?  It's so important to remember that we make progress in increments and to enjoy the journey of discovering things a little more, rather than trying to tackle something specific in a rush.  This list has been a great reminder of how far I've come in certain ways and the things I'd like to do more of in the coming months.  I guess I'm starting to crack this 'adulting' malarkey now?
This post is in collaboration with Twinings

#ARCHIVEBYALEXA

24 April 2016

Archive By Alexa Eliza dress review
Peggy Porschen cakes London
Archive By Alexa Eliza dress review
Tatty Devine Mexican Embroidery necklace
Archive By Alexa Eliza dress review
Archive By Alexa Eliza dress review
Archive By Alexa Eliza dress review
Peggy Porschen cakes London
Archive By Alexa Eliza dress review
Archive By Alexa Eliza dress review
Archive By Alexa Eliza dress review

Is it too early to say that I've found my dress of the year?  I'd almost dismissed the Archive By Alexa collaboration after seeing the initial shots with the pie-crust blouse (that didn't seem particularly boob-friendly), but lo and behold, the day was saved with a paisley print dress.  I've become rather picky in my late twenties, so the fact that this is a great twist on the typical skater shape really appealed to me.  The construction is really flattering, with a tie back and contrast piping to complete the look and the slightly stiff cotton fabric even feels a little bit vintage.  It's a bit bizarre that a store I've only really bought pants, chicken and hummus from could come out with a wonder like this, but then again it does have over 100 years of history to draw upon.  There's so many inventive details in vintage clothing that you don't often get these days and I quite like that this was based on a rather practical apron.           

Did you buy anything from the range?  I snapped these photos with Hannah, who was wearing her own spin on the Harry dress with a leather jacket and trench coat layered over the top.  It doesn't even bother me that loads of people are obsessed with the range we'll probably look like an Alexa Army on the streets of London this Summer.  I think it's more of a solidarity thing, we've each found a collaboration that suits our style perfectly and there was no crazy queuing needed.  Well done M&S!  


how to style Archive By Alexa dress

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