Saturday, 30 March 2013

Breakfast at…

Tiffanies? Not quite but this breakfast was a great substitute.  My Easter break means 3 weeks of relaxation and time off the rush of school life..sort of.. if you overlook the vigorous revision schedule that is planned out for the last 2 weeks of the holiday.  And so, on this suggested ‘relaxation’ period, I decided to take a little trip down to my Grandmother's.
   One of the greatest things about visiting my Grandma, aside from seeing her obviously, is getting to raid the wardrobes of her house. Over the years my Nan has collected numerous clothes from numerous old relatives, some hand-me-downs and old clothes that have been put into storage until someone takes them out of retirement. After some sifting through the rails, I came across this old jacket of my Mum's.

 I instantly loved it. It was warm, fluffy and rare, it was something that couldn’t be found on the high street and for that reason was unique and quirky. Over the years I’d say my style has changed considerably. It has gone through stages and there have definitely been some ‘cringe moments’, but at the moment I have been rebelling ever so slightly away from the current trends and steering more towards the unique pieces out there, developing my own sort of style. This jacket, was therefore, perfect.

Another of the things that I came across was again, one of my Mum’s old pieces. My Nan had knitted it for her in her teenage years, I loved the youthful colours; happy and spring related with a homespun twist. To make the find even better it was unique with a touch of antique..(pardon the rhyme, not intended.)

Finally I also hunted down some jewellery, once belonging to old Aunts, which again, I adored.  

In addition to the wardrobe raiding, another plus of visiting my Grandma’s is the fantastic home cooking. In the festivity of Easter she decided to make one of my favourites, hot cross buns. After a few hours of intensive labour, effort and tempting, mouth-watering smells of the rising dough in the oven, they were finally done. 

preparing the hot cross buns

Several hot cross buns later, breakfast came and I had yet another delicious, homemade hot cross bun topped off with comforting tea and freshly sliced bread. If the hot crossed buns weren’t tempting enough some further home baking was done – meringue nests.  

The home made meringue nests. Topped with raspberries and mini eggs!

So, with a full stomach and some vintage-style clothing that I had adopted, I returned home happy and relaxed. It was just the sort of break that I needed. Indulged in home comforts and spending quality time with family that I rarely see due to the hustle and bustle of everyday life, the little break at my Grandma’s was an escape. And I’m pretty sure breakfast at Tiffanies, although delightful it would be, wouldn’t come close to breakfast at Grandma’s.


Sunday, 17 March 2013

9 Beauty Essentials

As all you awesome readers know, my blog is ultimately about fashion but another sub section within fashion, is indeed, beauty! I was rifling through my cosmetics drawer and day-to-day essentials and whilst admiring my faithful beauty products I thought - why not share with you all the things that I would take with me if I was allowed only 9 items, while deserted on an island. So here they are:

     1.     Girl Aloud eyelashes (Nicola) – I must admit I had been resisting the idea of wearing false eyelashes for a while. I had been tempted by the concept of false eyelashes but was afraid that the wrong choice would result in me looking like Miss Piggy’s long lost cousin – elaborate, OTT, extravagant lashes that looked super false. I was out on one of many shopping trips of mine when I came across these lashes! The whole range was displayed and trying to pick one was a tricky ordeal! The thing that I loved about the collection was that they all looked so natural. I’d heard good reviews about the Girls Aloud collection from several sources so when I came across them I took the plunge! I chose Nicola’s lashes because like Nicola, I am a natural red head. The explanation for me choosing Nicola’s lashes is no more interesting than that, it was extremely hard to choose! I finally tried the lashes and loved them!
The lashes were really quick and easy to apply. They came with a generous tube of glue and a lanyard (a random gift but could be of use to some people..maybe?).
One of my worries about wearing lashes was that they would feel unnatural, like having a massive butterfly wing stuck to your eyelid. Despite my worries of transforming into an insect, the lashes were unexpectedly lightweight and I barely noticed they were there!
Me wearing Nicola's lashes on an evening out!

Overall Nicola’s Girls Aloud lashes are fantastic and are great for an evening out or for day-to-day use. I wore mine with smokey eyes which complimented the lashes well but the lashes looked subtle solo! You can buy these lashes in almost any beauty store; Boots, Superdrug etc.

    2.     Max Factor Xperience Foundation – After years of hopeful searching I’d failed to find the perfect foundation. My skin tone is exceptionally fair, with thanks to my red hair, it leans towards the palest tones that foundation brands produce. My common problem was finding a foundation that was pale enough to suit my skin tone without me looking like a complete ghost or seriously ill. After I had tried endless samples and attacked every beauty section of every beauty store, I was near to giving up. I approached Max Factor’s section with little faith due to my past misfortune and begun to rifle through their foundations. I came across their Xperience version of foundation in light ivory. A few years later I am still, to this day, faithfully using Xperience in light ivory and continue to be satisfied all this time later!
I realize that most of you reading this post will not have quite as fair a skin tone as mine but fear not because Xperience produces a spectrum of different colours for varieties of skin tones! Their other colours include; Raw Silk, Beige Linen, Dark Gypsum and Deep Soapstone. Aside from the odd choices of names Xperience foundation is light and natural.
Unlike most other foundations, Xperience gives you a youthful glow.
It’s priced at £9.99 at Boots (UK), a reasonable price and lasts for a long time. You only need a small, pea-sized amount per application.
It has fantastic coverage and gives you a flawless finish!

     3.     Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara Volume – Gifted in with a fragrance set that I bought from Lancôme, I can honestly say that I would marry this mascara. Admittedly if it weren’t for the fact that it was packaged in with a gift set, I probably wouldn’t have been attracted to the range of Lancôme mascaras because let’s face it, their above average prices aren’t exactly appealing. However, after several years of going through brands of cheaper mascaras that seemed to have that ‘clumpy’ effect once applied, I have seen the bright side – Lancôme mascaras! Hopefully my mascara will have a long life but once its time has come I can’t wait to explore Lancôme’s shelves to see what other mascaras they have to offer! Although they are pricier they are definitely worth the extra few pounds!  
 ☆ The mascara gives you the option of a more natural or dramatic look, depending on how many coats you apply! Not only does the mascara give you volume but is also gives your lashes the length that we all need and want from a mascara!
 ☆ The mascara leaves your lashes nicely defined and be assured your days of clumpy lashes are over!

     4.     Dior Addict Lipstick –Only over the past few months have I been using brighter lipstick. Before this point I hadn’t really been brave enough to try the striking bold colours that seemed to be the trend in the lipstick brands. I’d always adopted the subtle colours; the baby pinks and nuder colours, basically all the colours you can’t really see. My mother is a massive inspiration for me in all aspects of my life, one of the main aspects being beauty. She has an excellent eye for make up and how to use it properly, so most (if not all) of my knowledge of makeup and beauty products has stemmed from her. Never failing to wear flawless makeup, my Mum also never fails to have a splash of colour smoothed across her lips. Even in my earliest memories I can’t picture a time where she didn’t have some ounce of colour. So, it should come as no surprise, seeing as she is my ultimate inspiration (cute I know..), that I decided to give the bolder lipstick colours a go. At first it looked a little theatrical, a little courageous, my mouth was used to being bare.. it was going to take a little adjusting. A couple of months later I am a frequent user of lipstick! Not just any lipstick, however. Initially stolen from the depths of my mother’s makeup drawer, my Dior lipstick is one of my 9 beauty essentials.
The pinky-reddish shade of the lipstick is bold without being too adventurous. Perfect for evening or daily application.
It has a long wear and isn’t easily brushed off throughout the day.
It has a matte finish but is also perfect when partnered with some gloss coated over the top to achieve a different look.

    5.     Vaseline – Where do I start? This is the Queen of all lip balms, the saviour, the protector. In the bitter winter winds, frosty mornings and in moments of having tragic chapped lips, I turn to my best friend, Vaseline. Why do I love it so much?
It’s cheap! Forget spending dozens of pounds on a good lip balm product – Vaseline is the best you can get!
Its glossy finish leaves your lips nice and smooth.
The cocoa butter flavour is the best of the bunch in my opinion, not too sickly or overpowering.
Quick lip repair! My lips have been in utter despair but with a quick application of Vaseline they are smooth and quick on the mend the next day!

    6.     Rimmel London Exaggerate Liner – After abandoning their version of pencil liner due to looking like a panda after a few hours of wearing it, I decided to divert to liquid liner. I can happily say that I’m glad I made the transition!
2It’s easy to apply with its fine line brush.
It lasts for hours, generally I never have to reapply the liner and at the end of the day it looks as good as at the start.

    7.     Simple Wipes – It’s hard to find a good ‘all round’ make of wipes. An ‘all round’ make of wipes should have enough moisture to fulfill its purpose. There are way to many brands of wipes that barely have any moisture, and as a result you feel like your scrubbing your face with a tissue.  That’s where Simple wipes come into the equation.
They have the perfect moisture so remove your makeup really well. The wipes are also really refreshing, they aren’t scented which is perfect for my sensitive skin!
They come in a compact dispenser, fitting nicely into your handbag for on-the-go use!

The only bad thing about the wipes is that they run out super fast! I use one wipe in the morning and in the evening, meaning that I’m constantly needing to buy more. Maybe that ‘s just me though…

    8.     Dior Addict Lip Polish– Christmas came and one of the most fantastic presents that I was given was my Dior lip gloss. I love my lipgloss for the following reasons;
I use colour 003 which I love, it is subtle but also has enough colour to dress your lips accordingly, going with almost any outfit/ look.
It’s not sticky! One of my ultimate pet hates are sticky lip glosses! Who needs hair and random fluffy bits sticking to your lips, which throughout the course of a day make you look like you have a ‘lip-stashe’ – not hot let me tell you. This lip gloss has a zero sticky effect which means no lip-stashe for me!
The bottle is so cute making it a perfect dressing table ornanment! Not really a constructive product evaluation I know, but it has to be acknowledged!
It smells good! I can’t specifically compare the gloss’s smell to anything else I’ve come in contact with. It has its own unique smell which is fresh and sweet!

9.  No7 Pressed Powder - This is the newest of my beauty essentials, the baby of the bunch. I actually alternate between my No7 powder and my Dior loose powder depending on my destination. However, if I’m on the go, my No7 pressed powder is the way forward.
It’s natural, so natural in fact you barely notice that you’re wearing it! There’s nothing worse than a ‘heavy’ powder. By this I mean a powder which makes you look caked, ruining your makeup all together. This powder is light and natural making it a perfect powder for daily use!
Coverage is awesome. If you’re having a particularly ‘bad skin day’ with irritating little spots cropping up here and there, one splash of this powder and you’ll be asking, ‘what spots?’

So that’s it! Those are my 9 beauty essentials! I’d love to hear what your 9 beauty essentials are! 

Thursday, 14 March 2013

The Vicious Cycle of Shopping

photo taken from google images

How to put a stop to compulsive buying and relieve yourself from the vicious shopping cycle.

Okay, so to start I should probably confess…(deep breath) I think I am a shopaholic. I’ve done some research and I’m pretty sure I have most (if not all) of the symptoms.. I took the liberty of looking up the exact definition of a ‘shopaholic’ and its definition was ‘a compulsive shopper’. Let me just clarify, I am not an ‘all round shopaholic’, by this I mean that I don’t just shop for anything. I’m not a compulsive shopper for anything other than clothes. Yes, clothes. I seem to be trapped, trapped in a vicious cycle that is most commonly known as ‘shopping’.
    Many years ago I was surfing through my scarce wardrobe and mumbling and muttering that I had nothing to wear. To be fair, I actually had near to nothing to wear because I had undergone a common stage of life, ‘a growth spurt’. There were two things to come out of this generous ‘growth spurt’; the first, I grew considerably taller (which is always a good thing when I was used to being below average height) and the second, (not such a good thing) was that all my clothes failed to fit me any longer. There was only one option.. to go clothes shopping. I made a very practical, sensible list of all the items that my wardrobe was lacking. It included mainly the basics; jeans (although I am not a massive fan to this day), t-shirts and joggers etc. Back then my ‘style’ wasn’t really a style, I just used to treat the act of dressing as a chore, much like brushing my teeth. Some people like to choose carefully the best toothbrushes on the market, the best toothpastes, flosses and mouthwash. While others would rather reach for the bargains and the stuff that will be satisfactory… So, before I go into the ins and outs of dental hygiene, that was me, a bargain snatcher. I reached for the bargains, the deals and the basics and the resulting product was a mish-mash of boring clothes. I set off to the shops, clutching my list of essentials that I was dependant on. However, little did I know that that day was the start of a very serious, vicious cycle that is, shopping.
  It was that day that I realised that I loved clothes. It was that day that I realised that I love fashion. And.. it was that very day that the cycle of shopping started and an obsession was born. I was exposed to a world like no other, where the world of shops (or malls for you lovely American readers) became my fairy tale palace, my kingdom. To be frank I ditched the list and started uncontrollably flinging myself at rails of clothes, piles of neatly folded jumpers and yanking my feet into all the shoes that I could find. After acting like a wild animal looking for its prey, leaping and prancing around the shops, my shopping trip came to an end. An end in which left me with a massive grin painted on my face, I had clothes..and lots of them. For those of you who have read my very first blog post ‘BAGGED A BARGAIN’, you may have picked up on the fact that I adore the film, ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’. Ironic I know.  If you are unaware of it I will give you a brief background. The film is based on the life of a girl called Rebecca Bloomwood, Rebecca is a shopaholic. I love the film because the character of Rebecca reminds me of myself. For starters she has the red, long hair and most importantly she is addicted to shopping, a personality trait that I am familiar with.
    For those of you who know me personally this will probably not come as any surprise. Fashion is a massive influence on me and the one way that I can show this is through the way that I dress. In my opinion one can never have too many clothes. Clothes are a basic essential in life and although, like anything, shouldn’t be overindulged, they should be bought generously. However, shopping can be extremely expensive and over the past few years clothes shopping has been the last things on many people’s minds. Their soaring prices, the temptations of the store windows and the persuasive shop assistants sneakily guiding you to the ‘bargains’ sections that are guaranteed to have you brainwashed is enough to put anyone off. Although clothes are clearly a necessity (because let’s face it, no one wants to see the population strutting in their birthday suits), there seems to be a popular trend that people are refraining from buying the clothes that they need because it is financially and economically impossible to do so. Due to the ‘Credit Crunch’ (in the UK), local businesses suffered as well as the mega stores and in some cases suffered severely causing once successful businesses to be lost. Why? Because people weren’t shopping. Not out of choice but out of strong will and determination.
  Earlier on in this blog piece I confessed that I think I may be suffering from symptoms of a shopaholic. Well, what made me come to this realisation was the withdrawal symptoms.. Approximately a week ago I tried to get out the vicious cycle of shopping, for it is a vicious beast. I found myself trapped, found myself buying clothes and going back for more, wanting more and needing more.. My monthly subscriptions to several fashion magazines were partly to blame, they exposed me to the new clothes, trends and products that were released making me itch to go to the shops immediately to snap it all up.  But, there came a time where enough was enough. My wardrobe was over spilling, to the point where my sofa bed became the home for several ‘piles’/mountains of my clothes. Don’t get me wrong my wardrobe is no Mariah Carey style wardrobe, I have a small but faithful, wooden wardrobe that has been with me since my day of birth, partnered with a friendly chest of draws. It seemed that the capacity had been reached a long time ago and my clothes had to be vacationed to the spare room and stored in the wardrobe in there. Aside from the impracticality of having to traipse around the house to find an outfit I realised that my shopping habits had become a little out of hand. So, I vowed to stop shopping, to save money and to save my little struggling wardrobe before the doors violently catapult off their hinges. Sounds easy right? WRONG.
  Refraining from shopping is possibly the hardest thing that I have ever attempted to do. I found myself returning to old habits, searching the websites of high street shops whenever I was on my phone or laptop leading to desires of visiting the shops when I had browsed every inch of their shop. I indulged, more than usual, in fashion magazines, to get an insight of the new trends (now that I wasn’t seeing them in flesh) which left me with another restless want to visit my nearest town. All this made me realise that I had developed an addiction to shopping, not a fatal one but an unnecessary one which had undoubtedly stemmed from my intense obsession with fashion.  
  Even if you aren’t a particular follower of the latest trends or latest fashions everyone likes to shop for new clothes. There’s a lovely feeling when you return home with a handful of filled bags, containing freshly-bought smelling clothes in them. But shopping doesn’t come cheap, even on the high street. I myself only own one piece of designer produce and that’s my DKNY bag, the purchase was completely rare and probably will remain my only piece of designer wear for a very long time.  Designer pieces are virtually impossible to buy for the majority, the sky-high prices repel people away and attract them to the cheaper option of the high street where they can buy at least double the amount of items for the cost of one designer piece.  But, I believe that shopping doesn’t have to come at a high cost. Where refraining from the act of shopping is impossible shopping doesn’t always have to be expensive.  Alternatively if shopping in any shape or form is not possible I have put together a few tips that have helped me on my journey from refraining from shopping…

Shopping doesn’t have to come at a price:
 I sort of touched upon this in two of my previous blog posts, ‘Starring the knitted jumper’ and ‘Fashion can change lives’, if you want to check them out just click on the hyperlink that I’ve attached to the titles.

    1.    Day-to-day essentials Unfortunately the most boring types of shopping are the trips that require shopping for the day-to-day essentials. These items are inclusive of knickers, socks, bobbles, hairclips etc. Day-to-day essentials, over the years, have become my worst enemy for two reasons. 1. They are disguised under the illusion that they are inexpensive but can in fact be so expensive when they are amounted together. 2. They are no fun. They put the ultimate snooze factor in shopping. But they don’t have to be boring or expensive! It’s easy to get tempted by labels and offers in shops, displays are designed to be tempting – don’t fall into their trap!
a)    Make a constructive list and promise yourself that you will buy nothing other than what is on that list! Don’t stray! Avoid the 2 for 1 offers that defeat the meaning of ‘essentials’ because who really needs double the product?
b)    Do you really need it? Ask yourself the all important question, ‘do you really need it?’.  There have been countless times where I have bought something thinking that I have ‘run out’ or ‘lost’ a product when miraculously it turns up a few days later. Make sure those few days pass and that you have had a good old rifle before you journey to get a duplicate of something you already own. Another common mistake I have made is convincing myself that I need something when in reality I have no use for it. So keep recycling that question, ‘Do I need you?!’.
   2.    Charitable buying – Go to my article, ‘Fashion can change lives’ for more information!
   3.    One off wonders – Although it is best to walk away from the sale racks and bargain sections of shops, sometimes it is virtually impossible… Even worse is when you come across ‘a bargain’ and the price tag is a price that it should be to start with. There’s one problem, you’ve grown attached and developed a love for the bargain item. What do you do?
a)    Well, much like the day-to-day essentials, ask yourself the question ‘Do I need this?’, if the answer is yes…ask yourself again…
b)   ‘I already own you’ - If, at this point, you see your life ending at the prospect of leaving the bargain unbought ask yourself another important question… ‘Do I already own you?’. As crazy as it sounds there have been numerous times where I have bought something instantly, returned home and realised that I have a very similar item already in my wardrobe. Try and vary your wardrobe – keep it different and make sure that every item has individuality. Most importantly – avoid the compulsive buying!
c)    Defining the one-off wonder - If you are still bowing down to the god-like item that you physically can’t live without, treat the purchase as a ‘one off wonder’. By this I mean take the plunge – buy it. However, if you chose this option you need to discipline yourself and tell yourself that it is a one-off purchase and remember how wonderful it is for the rest of your life. The truth will be revealed, if you can’t imagine loving it for the duration of a lifetime, or you feel that it will go out of style – walk away. It isn’t that ‘wonder’ that is worth splashing out on.
   4.    DIY – check out my article on ‘Starring the Knitted Jumper’. Sometimes DIY is the way forward and only requires getting the ingredients for the product!

Lastly, I put together user-friendly tips to help you refrain from shopping all together…

1.    Empty your pockets – If you’re going out with a couple of close mates to town, you know there is going to be that risk of splashing the cash. The only way to avoid this sinful act is to empty your pockets (or purse, wallet or whatever you use to keep your money in…). Even if you do see several to-die-for items, you won’t have the money to buy them, walking away empty handed. It may sound miserable and not a lot of fun but it saves your money and works (trust me!).
2.    Subscribe, follow and Google – if the main reason that you go shopping is to see what new trends and products have hit the shops there’s an effortless way forward – subscribe, follow and google. Subscribe to magazines such as Vogue, Harpars Bazaar, Company, Look, Glamour etc. They’ll keep you updated with trends and unlike a shop they’ll give you commentary! Follow all the fashion blogs, twitter pages and Youtubers you can find to keep ultra updated. Finally, if you’re still thirsty for more google to your hearts content! Almost any online magazine or site will have a style or trend section that will undoubtedly keep you updated! 
3.    Go vintage – By this I don’t mean go out to a vintage store and splurge the notes, I mean borrow and recycle. As some of you may know, my most favourite possession is my vintage, wool lined coat. It was a hand-me-down from my Mum and I adore it. It cost me nothing and keeps me snug and cosy in the bitter weathers of the UK. See what your Mum/Grandmothers or relatives have lying around in their wardrobes because vintage stuff is often way cooler than the high street!
4.    Make a mess – When you have the urge to shop it’s usually because your bored of the clothes that you already own so my advice is to make a mess. Empty your wardrobe’s contents, take out your drawers and look at all your clothes. Make new outfits out of the clothes you own! Guaranteed there will be some clothes that you will have forgotten about which in some cases can be as good as new!

Like I mentioned earlier, at this current stage of my life I think I am a shopaholic. I wrote this blog post as a form of therapy and with hopeful spirits that I would take my own advice, which is commonly known to be a tough thing to do.  Shopping is both your best friend and your enemy, it will be there when you need it but leave with side effects and some withdrawal symptoms. Coming to the end of the post I leave you with this, ‘Good luck’ with vicious cycle of shopping.


Friday, 8 March 2013

An insight into heaven

I’m writing this blog post with the target to show you an insight into heaven. What I am about to share with you is a fashion haven, it is heavenly and god-like..For what I am going to share with you is Alexander McQueen..

                                      *  (some of McQueen's designs)
I have been a massive fan of Alexander McQueen from the moment that I first set eyes upon a design of his.  The enriched art of his designs was like no other fashion designer I had ever come across. The quality, thought, power and emotion screamed from each collection, garment and every inch of fabric. In my opinion Alexander McQueen was a fashion genius; he broke the rules, stretched boundaries and got society to emotionally react to his collections. So, it was wh I on my recent sixteenth birthday that I received a gem of a present – ‘Vogue On Alexander McQueen’ by Chloe Fox. Forgive me for the utmost excitement but this was possibly one of my favourite presents I had ever received.
(a sneaky peak of the book!)

  The book itself is an exclusive insight into McQueen’s life, his struggles, battles, determination and an array of photographs showcasing some of his best work.
I would recommend this book for anyone who is even remotely interested in fashion and certainly for those of you who are fashion obsessed. The book educates you on the life of one of fashions greatest and most talented designers that will ever grace the earth. It is an easy read and not too long (approx. 152 pages – including pictures!), but it still has all the information that you need to know about McQueen. I found the book super inspirational and engaging and it has increased my adoration for the designer! I urge you to read this book and any other ‘Vogue On’ designer’s books, as they are compact, light and factual! And…most importantly this book will give you an insight into heaven. 

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

RiRi for RI

To translate, ‘Rihanna for River Island’, Rihanna has launched some designs for the popular store, River Island. With #RihannaForRiverIsland trending on twitter after her designs were showcased at LFW, Rihanna has been topic of talk for many in the fashion industry. Rihanna made her risky transition from singer to fashion designer with the River Island campaign and she certainly pulled it out of the bag! With a positive reaction to her designs, I’m sure lots of people will make her collection a sell out! Rihanna’s designs went on general sale to the public today, (5th March) in several River Island stores.
  Her designs are both wearable and affordable, mixing street style with class and sophistication.  Take a look at some of Rihanna’s pieces for RI’s collection at LFW;


What do you think? To view some of my favourite pieces go to our Polyvore page! Will you be rushing to RI stores to snap up RiRi’s designs? To view the full collection visit the RI's online store!

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