by Kat. Farmer
Leading influencer and stylist Kat Farmer @doesmybumlook40 shares her top destinations and style tips for a great summer staycation on the South Coast and picks her five favourite summer dresses to pack
Influencers Kat @doesmybumlook40 and Becky @bricksandstitches head to the Hut at Freshwater with Camilla in their new statement floral print summer staycation dresses
Even though lock down rules have been relaxed and everyone’s talking about holidays, we can still can’t actually go anywhere abroad we really want to. And lets face it, we’ve only just been allowed back into pubs and restaurants, or to have friends over for dinner and I don’t know about you but A. I have absolutely not intention of voluntarily re-entering a quarantine situation just so I can queue up in Gatwick for 3 days. B. I’ve only just got rid of my lovely children and the nightmare that was home schooling. And C. Let’s face it, I don’t think either Israel or Falkland Islands are exactly high up on anyones list of holiday destinations right now. I mean for love or money can you actually even buy a plane ticket to Portugal anymore?! So for the time being this leaves us with the 'Weekend Away Mini Break' or 'the Great British Staycation'. Hilariously, I’m writing this as the rain is literally bucketing down outside. Now like you, I’m really hoping that things change and Boris gets this new Indian variant under control and by July we’re all able to contemplate some form of civilised family holiday abroad. If that’s not a complete oxymoron. But seriously folks, has anyone accurately predicted anything that’s happened so far during this pandemic? Which again leaves me contemplating some form of holiday time here in Britain, at least for the foreseeable future.
Now we’re actually really very lucky in this country, granted it’s not the French Riviera and the temperature of the sea isn’t exactly Caribbean, but if the weather behaves itself, Britain has some amazingly beautiful and civilised places to spend some time in. For me, my home from home is Suffolk, but it can be quite a slog up the M11 and that’s after you’ve tackled the M25. Now I’ve been reliably informed that there is a paradise a little closer to home. In fact our friend Camilla is absolutely convinced it’s the next best thing to Ibiza…where we should have been going this week…Thank you Covid. So with the beats of Fat Boy Slim ringing my ears and dreams of fabulous beach clubs, white sands and crystal clear seas we headed off to Britain’s answer to Ibiza... The Isle of Wight.
So first things first what should you be packing for a summer staycation? Now as we’re all well aware, summer weather here can be somewhat unpredictable so you want to cover your options and have at least a few things that would be comfortable on either very warm or overcast rainy day. Top tip. Check the forecast and particularly the temperature of where you’re going. But most importantly, a holiday wouldn’t be a holiday without a fabulous holiday dress or two to wear. Dresses are just so much more comfortable, lighter and less constricting than other options. You can literally throw them over anything, slide into a pair of sandals or clogs and you’re good to go. And let’s face it most of us just look better in a dress as the fabric skims over any unsightly areas and hides a multitude of good holiday lunches and cocktails.
Influencer and Stylist Kat Farmer pictured here in two of her favourite relaxed style Ridley London dresses. (From left) in a super versatile printed floral silk shirt dress which can be easily styled up or down for a variety of summer occasions and the new t-shirt dress with the striking Mandarin Freize Liberty floral print in satin
For me versatility is absolutely key to holiday dressing as let's face it, you want to extend your time on the beach and doing the things you love rather than wasting time going back to get changed every couple of hours. And even if you’re not travelling abroad you'll want to pack relatively lightly. If especially like me you’ve got dogs and kids and your husband doesn’t drive an articulated lorry. I mean I’ve lost count of the amount of fabulous holiday dresses I’ve taken away with me only to realise that there are two or three things which I absolutely live in and the rest return home still folded. So actually the key here is to really think clearly about those holiday hero dresses that you can just throw on and know you’re going to look and feel great whatever you’re doing. So with my eye on both trends and wearability here are my absolute must packs for a perfect staycation summer dress...
1. The statement printed floral silk T-shirt maxi dress
I Love, love, love this seasons fixation with T-shirt dresses. First off, who doesn’t love a great maxi dress, they're just so flattering. They elongate, are easy to throw on, they look great with heals or trainers and the t-shirt style is so simple and relaxed to wear which makes it perfect for all sorts of occasions from lunch by the sea to an evening out. I absolutely love the print and colours of this beautiful printed floral silk t-shirt maxi dress from Ridley London, it’s so 1970’s and feminine which by the way is really back in right now. And it’s got pockets! I mean what’s not to love. The short sleeves make it perfect for a warmer climate but flatter the upper arms ladies, and you can simply throw a jacket over the top or a jumper and jacket on and swap the trainers for boots and it will see you right through summer and into winter.
2. The super versatile summer Liberty print silk shirt dress
Again, shirt dresses are really in this summer which is great as they’re great as they’re incredibly versatile and comfortable. You can wear them to the beach or equally out for dinner. You can wear them loose or add a belt to smarten them up a bit. You can wear them with sandals or trainers. And you can add a jacket if it's cold. They just exude laid back relaxation which let’s face it is what this summer is all about. I love this willow Ridley London shirt dress that our friend Becky is wearing here. Beautiful floral print and the elasticated waste is so super comfortable.
(From top left) Influencer and Stylist Kat Farmer wears the new Ridley London printed floral silk Serena maxi dress. (Top right) enjoying an aperitif at the Hut with Becky @bricksandstitches in their new printed floral summer dresses. (Bottom) Kat's beautifully designed room at the North House Hotel in Cowes
3. The very glamorous printed floral silk Talitha halterneck maxi dress
Ok so the halter neck style makes this dress a little bit more glamorous and perfect for summer parties and evenings out. If you’ve got a special occasion or wedding this summer I would absolutely jump at this beautiful statement dress. At first I wasn’t certain how versatile this dress might be. Don’t get me wrong it’s really flattering and feels amazing on however it does leave your upper arms a little exposed, but, but, but would you wear it to the beach? Or for a casual lunch out when your other half is rocking the middle aged Dad in shorts and flip-flops look. And do you know what, I think I might. A denim jacket and trainers or flip-flops would completely change the look and the beautiful floral silk prints you could have it in just scream summer. If you got this dress, as soon as the sun comes out, I think you’d be hard pressed to take it off. I think you’d want to wear it all summer long. And that’s what makes a brilliant summer dress.
4. The super flattering new floral summer silk Sadie swing dress
This is a new style for this summer and I…LOVE it! Again the tropical floral printed silk fabric is amazing and just makes everything suddenly feel a little bit sunny. I absolutely love the shape. It’s a little bit dressy but at the same time a bit boho and an incredibly comfortable and relaxed style to wear. And the cut under the bust is very clever as it emphasises the slimmest part of a female figure so it’s very slimming. It’s absolutely perfect in fact. And then the skirt just hangs beautifully. And the great thing about a Ridley dress is I can get this skirt tailored to my ideal length, so I’ve got a longer maxi length dress but the Midaxi and midi lengths work really well as well. I really love the sleeves, which again are incredibly flattering and I love the fact that the neckline is quite simple which means it can look quite relaxed but can then be accessorised with the right jewellery for all sorts of occasions. And I know I keep saying this, but again you could throw a denim jacket or a cardigan over the top of it, stick on some flip flops or trainers and you’ve got a really versatile summer dress you could wear to all sorts of occasions.
5. The very flattering made to measure printed floral silk maxi skirt
As much as I love a summer dress I can appreciate that we’ve all got different styles and sometimes it’s actually quite nice to have a bit of diversity in your wardrobe. Plus a maxi skirt is a great way to get the amazing summer look from the incredible Ridley dress collection at a much lower price. These skirts will look great with heels, great with sandals, great with trainers a t-shirt, a denim shirt as my lovely friend Becky is wearing here, a sweatshirt, even a hoodie for that uber cool look Celine have conjured up for this summer. Ridley will tailor the length to fit you perfectly and you’ll be able to wear it to all sorts of summer things. And at the price, it’s just a brilliant investment. And what's more....they're also making matching tops, so suddenly you have a dress. Total versatility, two looks for the price of one. Very very clever.
(Top left) Beautifully cooked fresh fish and sea views from the Hut restaurant terrace. (Top Right) Ridley London's popular new Sadie Swing Dress shown here in the stunning new metallic Soho floral printed silk. (Bottom) Becky @bricksandstitches kicking back in a new Ridley London floral maxi skirt in the new White Jungle Trip printed silk
Now is the Isle of Wight really The Uk's answer to Ibiza...???
Maybe you already know Isle of Wight and if so, well you may want to stop reading. However for those of you that don’t, I can honestly say it’s really rather special and definitely well worth a visit. I’m not sure it’s exactly Ibiza Camilla, but there are some wonderful places to stay, some fantastic restaurants (particularly if like me you’re a seafood lover), some lovely sandy beaches and if the temperature is consistently in the late twenties I’m absolutely sure, you’d have a wonderful time. It’s not that big, but I reckon you could easily stretch a weeks staycation out there and the Coast path is about 70 miles in total so you could do lots of walks and bike rides. As it was we had a quick whistle stop tour of a little over 24 hours but we had the most brilliant time. Here are my highlights:
An Ibizan beach club within a two hour drive of the M25. Amazing fresh Lobsters, fritto misto, seafood and the best Rosé ever, served on a sun trap of a terrace with panoramic views of the Solent and a DJ. I mean, what’s not to love. The perfect spot for a long lunch, but you’ll definitely need to book in advance.
Yarmouth is a charming little market town in the same way that Southwold is with great independent shops, pubs and restaurants. The George is the oldest and probably the grandest hotel in town with the most amazing tropical oasis of a garden awaits with lovely views out to sea. And there's a fantastic beach club bar area serving very tasty wood fired pizzas and dangerously good cocktails.
My new favourite hotel. I love this place. The design is fabulous, the staff are great. It’s got a really wonderful atmosphere. We had the most amazing room and the bonus of a stylish sun terrace, heated pool and amazing breakfast with Bloody Marys. I would be back there for a weekend break in a heartbeat.
Don’t be fooled by the slightly rustic interior, this place is properly amazing, we’re talking full on master chef. I don’t think I’ve had such a good meal in ages. Apparently the chef is Japanese and the food definitely has that incredible Asian fusion thing going on. It’s all amazingly fresh local fish and incredible flavours and absolutely beautiful. Book, book, book!
The luxurious new collection of Ridley London floral print summer dresses and maxi skirts is available to purchase on-line and in Ridley's London store. Celebrate your individuality with a unique piece that's made to measure from your choice of any of our stunning new printed floral silks or cottons. Call us to arrange a virtual fitting:
Ridley London, 82 Church Road, Barnes, London SW13 0DQ T: 01730 823097