New York’s newest trends

New York Fashion Week has always been the mecca of street style and this year was no different. Despite freezing temperatures, blizzard conditions and the cancellation of many trans-Atlantic flights, New York Fashion Week has triumphed once again and set the standard for London, Paris, and Milan to follow.

A number of key themes emerged this year and were picked up by a range of designers. Monochrome featured heavily on the catwalks, with simple lines and exquisite tailoring providing strong looks and maintaining the popular androgynous trend, albeit in a more subtle manner. This is a flattering look, which was immediately reflected on the red carpet at the BAFTAs and Grammys whilst fashion week was still in full swing.

Stripes also ruled the catwalk and featured prominently in a number of shows. From bold statement pieces to more classic silhouettes and colours, they provided a strong nod to wearable trends and offer an alternative to the floral and graphic prints, which have dominated the past couple of seasons. Rather than clashing with other patterned pieces, the stripes on show were styles with plain co-ordinating colours and minimal accessories. Vivienne Westwood’s show was the key trail-blazer for this trend, which worked effortlessly with her distinctive tailoring.

Strong, masculine lines also reigned supreme and hint at what lies ahead for buyers on the high street this autumn. Whilst it is not unusual for the autumn/winter trends to be more structured than those shown for spring/summer, the trend extended even to brands, which would normally lean towards the feminine. Instead of intricate detailing, the 2013 catwalks have focused on clever tailoring to give the impression of a number of layers within a single garment.

Ultimately, New York Fashion Week focused on strong looks, which highlighted feminine lines in an under-stated manner with technically intricate pieces, which give the impression of simplicity. The core themes were wearable and will almost certainly be translated to the high street in a matter of weeks, delighting fashion-lovers everywhere.

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Cocoa Island, Maldives

For an intimate island holiday look no further than Cocoa Island in the Maldives. This unique resort features 33 overwater self-contained suites surrounding the island and connected via a wooden walkway.

On the island itself is a range of wellbeing retreats including Asian-inspired treatments, yoga, gyms and spas, and a restaurant serving luxury world-class cuisine. Each of the suites features direct access to the turquoise lagoon.

The island is surrounded by white sandy beaches and provides an ideal space to relax and unwind. For those who want to do a bit of exploring, Cocoa Island has some of the best diving locations in the world and after a day of searching the reef you can chill out in one of the spas and treatments rooms to sooth those aches and pains.

Cocoa Island is great for those who want to experience the intimacy of island living with the luxury of a 5 star hotel. Check out Maldives holidays from ITC for more information. It’s the ideal destination for honeymooners and those looking to reconnect.

Image courtesy of Chi King

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Accentuate the accessories

Despite the fact that recent seasons have seen demure, understated accessories, designers have always taken the accents to their main garments extremely seriously. This year, though, accessories are stepping into the spotlight as the main item. Catwalks have been littered with a seemingly instant explosion of colour, over-sized jewels, and accessories worn in volume; an instant way to update any look.

Elaborate shoes - This year, shows are winning in the glamour stakes. Multi-coloured sandals are beginning to hit the shops ahead of the summer season and embellishment is a key theme for a range of notable designers. Pom poms, embroidery, sequins and crystals are featured on the most coveted footwear and making every outfit gleam.


Well-heeled - It seems to contradict the statement above of ‘the more, the better’, but this year it is not only possible, but also positively stylish to opt for a luxurious lower heel. The most sought-after designers are being generous to extremities everywhere and making kitten heels every bit as chic as towering stilettoes. Whether it is an ankle boot or court, this is a hard-working trend, which will take its equally hard-working owner from daytime to cocktail hour without any effort being required. 


Voluminous fabrics – A little extra sumptuous fabric is an accessory in itself this season. Hot from the catwalks of New York, batwing sleeves, slit open to resemble winter capes have been seen on a number of runways, as well as cruise lines, and offer a fashionable way to dress up, whilst staying appropriate to the season.


Neon bags - The neon trend has retained its popularity for 2013, with designers experimenting with accessories. Whether it is to put a modern twist on a classic satchel or making a statement in the evening with a clutch, a neon handbag is an effortless way to make any outfit stand out.

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An Australian road trip

Many people associate the term road trip with the USA. Whilst its vast expanses of highway certainly justify this association, road trips can be just as exciting Down Under – and a road trip through the North West of Australia, from Darwin to Broome, is an adventure with miles of highlights along the way. Flights are available from London Heathrow Airport to Darwin, with a stopover in Singapore. Once you get to Darwin, you can hire a vehicle and get straight on the road.

The Kakadu National Park – Australia’s largest national park – is one of the many attractions on offer. The edge of this park is just off National Highway 1, and features Ubirr Rock and the East Alligator River. Then there is the Gibb River Road, further towards Broome, which is great for those who enjoy picturesque landscapes.

The Gibb River Road is closed during the “wet season”, so it is advisable to travel this route between May and October (the “dry season”); although for this part of the journey, a four-wheel-drive vehicle is necessary throughout the year. The whole trip is long – over 1000 miles – so some planning is needed, as well as preparation. Water, food, and sun block are essential, so make sure you stock up your vehicle with plenty of supplies – and watch out for animals on the road. Allow at least two weeks – a fortnight will give you ample time to get a feel for the area, but an extra week can mean that you are able to explore places in a bit more depth.

Image Courtesy of BMaco

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Make a statement with your collar

One of the hot trends this fall season that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere is the statement collar. Trendy looks included bedazzled collars or those made of a metallic fabric. Some detachable collars can be purchased online, a great money-saver and a way to use the collar with multiple pieces in your wardrobe.

The statement collar can be a little too trendy if not handled right. Combining it with too loud colours or too bold prints can really drown out the simplicity of the statement. On the other hand, combining it with a solid, earth tone blouse can really create a dynamic and interesting look for any woman.

Another great idea is the addition of the collar with a more formal look. Adding it to a simple white dress, also all the rage this season, can give you something else to do with one of the more versatile pieces in your closet.

Bedazzled collars can also be interchangeable between professional looks and more dressy ones.
This helps you make a statement in many different ways. It also creates a highly polished look on a woman with minimal effort.

Just remember that the statement collar is an accessory in itself, so don’t try to do too much with it. Pairing it with a pair of stud earring and a bracelet is fine, but don’t wear it with necklaces or earrings that are too eye-catching. The collar is supposed to make a statement all on its own.

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A Concise Travel Guide to Florence, the City of Renaissance

With a rich history, culture and tradition, Florence is famous for its old town centre, museums, aristocratic palaces, artworks and last, but not least, its stunning scenery.

Things to see and do in Florence

You can visit numerous tourist attractions such as the Boboli Gardens, Piazza Signoria, San Marco Convent, Santa Croce, Santa Maria del Fiore, the Gucci Museum, Galleria degli Uffizi and other magnificent buildings. Hosting many impressive artworks, Florence is a perfect destination for anyone who loves art.

Climate

Florence has cool, damp winters and hot, humid summers with occasional rainfalls. The best times to visit this location are the spring and autumn months.

Cuisine

Simply put, Florence’s food is a treat to the palate. You can find fine restaurants, pizzerias, gelato stands, cafés and bars.

Getting in and around

Florence has good connections to major cities throughout the world. Usually, a regular flight from London to Florence takes about two hours. The public transport network is reliable, with a variety of alternatives such as car and bike rentals, cabs, buses and trams.

The city offers travellers a wide range of hotels, hostels, holiday apartments and lofts.

Image courtesy of Chris Yunker

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Luxury watches for men

Gone are the days when watches merely served one functional purpose – keeping time. Nowadays they have become one of the latest trendy fashion accessories. Many men are now more willing to part with a hefty amount of money to sport a luxury watch.

Luxury watches are appealing mainly because they are made from high quality materials. Diamond markers, mother of pearl faces and titanium metal casings are some of the trappings found on these watches.

A good number of luxury watches are known for their precision. Most watchmakers painstakingly handcraft each watch, creating a fantastic masterpiece in the process. Additionally, the watches are durable enough to last for several decades, making them perfect collector’s items, or heirlooms to be passed from one generation to another.

Some well-known names in luxury watch circles include Raymond Weil, Breitling, Tag Heuer, Franck Muller and Patek Philippe. These luxury watches will remain in high demand as long as they encapsulate desired masculine attributes such as engineering, style and perfection.

Men who wish to make a bold and lasting fashion statement should not hesitate to purchase one of these timeless pieces.

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X Factor fashion showdown

The X factor rollercoaster of raised and dashed hopes and dreams that stretches from late summer all the way up to Christmas, keeping the British public in their homes and on the edges of their seats, is the most popular talent contest. However, in reality it is a thinly veiled excuse for the judges (and contestants) to get styled up and wear fabulous outfits.

The big news for this year was the wardrobe war between Tulisa and new-girl Nicole. The question, as the 2012 season drew to its climactic finale, is, who came out on top? Finals weekend saw Nicole in all-out dramatic vamp mode. Saturday’s ensemble was a red concoction oozing Hollywood glamour, while Sunday saw her in a black, gold breast-plated Stephane Rolland number with sculptured fishtail.

Tulisa, on the other hand, was simple and elegant in a floor length silver gown with a demure and classic hairstyle which was decidedly more successful than the leather and mesh bodice with frothy black tutu she wore on Saturday. On the whole, however, it is generally considered that the style crown should go to Nicole.

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More for your Money on Family Holidays

When booking a family holiday it is important to get the most for your money. Family holidays can be expensive which means it’s a luxury many families can’t afford more than once a year, if that. All though prices are always higher during the school holidays, there are ways you can save money so you don’t have to take your children out of school, when holidays are cheap (and incur fines).

A lot of people find all inclusive family holidays one of the most affordable options, especially when booking a package holiday. Your flights, transfers and hotel are all booked under the same umbrella, which can reduce costs and offer more financial safety when things go wrong. Not only that but all inclusive accommodation means, all your meals, soft drinks and local alcoholic drinks will be included in the cost plus kids clubs, use of the pool and evening entertainment.

The joy of all inclusive means that you don’t need to take much money with you, just enough to cover excursions or buying souvenirs when out. This means the majority of the cost of the holiday can be paid up front. If you book well in advance, you generally only have to pay a non-refundable deposit first then you have until around 2-3 months prior the holiday to pay the balance off in full which gives you time to save for it, then save for spending money.

If you’re looking for an affordable all inclusive family holiday then there are a number of great deals to be found on FamilyHolidays.co.uk. Short breaks in Europe or longer breaks further afield. Just be sure to book now to get the best bargains and the places!

Image courtesy of D Sharon Pruitt

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An Egyptian tour – types of travel

Egypt, situated in north-east Africa, is a country steeped in history and culture and although synonymous with the pyramids, a lesson in history is not all that the country offers. Tours to Egypt fall into different categories depending on the visitor’s interests.

The most common tour is the historical kind. The tour is usually for 10-14 days, based around Pharaonic or ancient Egyptian sites and often covers religious sites but does not always include a Nile Cruise.

The regular religious tours are the Exodus and Holy Family tours that follow the biblical trail. They include a trip to the pyramids and the Egyptian Museum and often to the Sinai. Religious tours include a tour of Islamic sites rarely visited by non-Muslims.

Adventure or speciality tours combine a Pharaonic tour with one or more of these activities: golfing, fishing expeditions, nature tours and the increasingly common bird watching tours.

Europeans traditionally opt for a simple holiday, setting up base in Luxor or Aswan and basking in the warm sun. The Sinai and Sharm El-Sheikh are high end beach holiday spots while the Red Sea Coast provides budget resorts.

Image courtesy of Matthew Knott 

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