Friday, 30 August 2013

My Baby Shot Me Down Again

Wearing: Hat from Topshop, Dress from French Connection*, 
Boots from Matalan and Necklace from a jewellery party.

I love comfort, but unfortunately the most comfortable of outfits don't warrant much of a style credit. We can all relate to breathing in just to take a bit of pressure of that zip, subtly nudging that really annoying bone poking you in the ribs or sitting awkwardly in a rather restrictive outfit; but sometimes it's nice to float around in something that hardly feels like it's there.

The French Connection Ditton Sweats Crew Neck Dress  is an absolute dream to wear, I can feel comfortable yet remain true to my style. The cotton-blend fabric is wonderfully light and paired with the oversized nature of the dress itself means it's incredibly comfortable and doesn't weigh you down or cling as I thought a sweater dress might. I fell in love with the mix of textures and colour pairings, I think the sheer chiffon sleeves and chest panels really give this dress character and stop it from becoming too casual meaning you need very few accessories; a pork pie hat, statement necklace and amazing £10 cut out boots from the Matalan sale. Steal!

While it may feel light, it does not compromise on quality. The sheer sleeves feel secure and don't look like the stitching is going to give way at any minute as some cheaper items made from this fabric do, (I've seen my fair share of sheer tops and dresses falling apart at the seams in shops). It's not often I head into French Connection when I'm in the city, mainly due to money woes, but I'm so impressed with this that I'll make a point of heading in and seeing what else they have to offer.

Do you favour comfort or style? Or - like me - do you love to get the best of both worlds? 

Monday, 12 August 2013

Pounds or Practically Pennies: Flowers In My Hair

Whether they're called flower crowns, headbands, headpieces or garlands; we are absolutely no stranger to them. Equally loved and loathed among bloggers and fashionistas, flower accessories have evolved from festival must-haves to bridal accessories in an instant. 

Worn by Alexa Chung, Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightly, Katy Perry and Pixie Lott (who also has her own range over at Rock N Rose) the flower based accessories are becoming quite the sensation.  The above Dolce and Gabbana band is very cute, I love the blue accents, but is it £730 worth of cute? I'm not so sure...

Below I've popped together a few of my favourite flower crowns/garlands/headbands/headpieces for £15 and under. I've tried to keep a balance between high street retailers and independent stores to give you a rounded idea of what's available.
High street flower headbands and flower crowns

(Prices and stock are subject to change from the creation of this image!)

I don't think you can go wrong with the £3.50 Peacocks band or the £3.90 Forever 21 band especially if you're off to a festival and don't want to spend too much incase it gets ruined, or have a habit of misplacing things. The Forever 21 band would also look gorgeous with a wedding dress *drifts off to my Pinterest wedding board* and the Tesco one would look adorable on a little flower girl; they don't break your wedding fund either! My absolute favourites though are the Rosey Posey Creations Cream and Pink Dream Headband with its beautiful colour palette, the Crown and Glory Not a Lotta Rosie headband with its mini wine coloured flowers, and the Lolly Dolly Lavender Coral Crush Crown in all its big and bright glory.

They aren't just a spring fling either, get yourself in on a burgundy, wine or dusk orange and you're set for when the transition to Autumn begins. Of course, if you still don't want to fork out for a flower crown or want to make your own unique crown, Google has an abundance of D.I.Y's to hand and there's a ton of bloggers out there providing their own unique tutorials. 

Are you a fan of this seasonal headwear? Or is it a trend you are avidly skipping? I don't think anything will beat making daisy chains as a kid though. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Ideal Cases App Review.

If you aren't already familiar with the ability to create your own bespoke smart phone or tablet cases then where have you been? Plenty of bloggers and their goldfish have had the opportunity to pop over to a website, create their own and showcase it on their blog and today, I'm not much different. Rather than saying 'hey hey look at my fancy new phone case', that post will come when it arrives, what I will be reviewing here is the creative process of a new app enabling you to create your case and how easy it is to use.

I've never purchased anything through an app, quite often I'd rather visit a desktop website in my phone browser than use their mobile site or app simply because I cannot get on with the user interface and find what I want. So, when I was offered the opportunity to give the Ideal Cases app a try I did have reservations, would it be me-friendly?
In short, it was! All reservations and potential tantrums could be cast aside easily as I flowed through the process from download to order confirmation without a hitch. 

  • The app download was free, quick and easy. You can download directly from the app store by searching 'Ideal Cases' or via the website  in your phone browser.
  • The app offers a fair range of smart phone and tablet options and are currently jazzing up the following devices and models: iPad (3, 2, mini) iPhone (5, 4/4s, 3) iPod (touch 4) Amazon Kindle (kindle fire 7" tablet, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Touch, Kindle, Kindle keyboard) Samsung (S3, S2, Note 2) Google Nexus (Nexus 7) Blackberry (Bold 9900, Bolg 9700, Curve 8520) B&N Book (Nook Touch) HTC (One X)
  • You can choose from a range of case styles including leather/canvas wallet case, plastic wallet case, clip on gloss white, clip on gloss black, clip on matte black and rubber.
  • Pricing is fantastic! £12.49 (as opposed to £16 and above on other websites) for a plastic clip on iPhone 5 case and FREE DELIVERY. Other cases are priced very fairly too.

The user interface and interaction is fantastic. It's simple, uncluttered and to the point; there is absolutely no room for you to get confused. The first screen you are prompted with gives you a simple three step process which leads you a third of the way to having a bespoke case. [Step 1] choose your device, [Step 2] choose your model and [Step 3] choose your case style. Once that's all done and dusted click 'Press here to start designing' and you'll be whizzed through to the next step. Throughout the app you are presented with 'hint' pop ups which give you a quick and uncomplicated low down on what each icon/button does and can be cancelled at any time.

Next is the creative process and, as you do on other websites, you see the potential outline of your chosen case with a white area that is your canvas for creativity! Images can be selected from your Facebook, Flickr or Instagram accounts or your camera roll and the image size and placement can be adjusted with typical finger gestures (smart phone gestures, not rudies. Tut). I did find one element of this restricting however, you can only insert one image. This means you can't create a 'collage' case like other case design websites or tile seamless images to create a pattern. Because of this, if a background is too short to reach the full length of the case and blurred zoomed in, you'd need to edit it in Photoshop (or a similar programme) to make it bigger and tile. However, I can understand that this may be done on a simplicity and accuracy basis as accuracy and line up on a smart phone may not be great as it's all down to your fingertips; you don't want a badly lined up phone case coming through do you? To finish it off you can pop some custom text on there with 17 fonts and plenty of colours to choose from. Fonts, colours and sizes can be changed easily through a scroll menu and in order to switch between different design elements like image and text, a layers menu is introduced.

I do think it would be great if you could have different background colours if you only wanted to feature text on the design or had a small centered image that didn't look right with a stark white background. Also, it'd be quite snazzy if you could change the colour of the case surround itself - all in good time I'm sure!
When you're finished click 'purchase' and the design saves to the shopping cart in under a minute. You have the option to create an account or simply checkout as a guest which is what I opted for and filling in your personal information is really quick and easy.

Overall, if all apps or mobile sites were this easy to use and navigate through then I would be inclined to use them more that's for sure. It was a pleasure to use and I can't wait to see what it looks like.

Discount treat: Would you like to order your own case? You can get 10% off all orders and cases until the end of June (not long now!) That means you can get a custom plastic phone case for only £11.24! Pop montageme10 in the promotional code box in the basket page using either the app or website et voila! Super-cheap custom case coming your way. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for a peep at the case when it pops through my letterbox.

Monday, 24 June 2013

I Hate These Blurred Lines

Wearing: Wrap Dress as top from Vero Moda, Skirt by Darling via TK Maxx
Oversized Denim Jacket from Primark, Brogues from Peacocks, Belt and Sunglasses from Tesco and 
Necklace from Olivia Accessories*.

You are reading correctly, this skirt really was a measly £3. Me and Phil were drifting round TK Maxx (a somewhat regular occurrence when I'm at his) and as I scanned the rails my eyes found their way to this super cute print skirt and a rather pleasing red sticker hiding away on the clearance rail. I completely lost my train of thought and whatever I was jabbering on about came to an abrupt halt as I admired it. There was no um-ing and ah-ing to be had, I grabbed it hurriedly and tried it on over what I was wearing in the middle of the shop before I paid the same amount as I would have for a car parking ticket and took it home. The length is perfect and I adore the little embroidered polka dots which, to me, add a little bit of texture and depth. I've styled it down with a bit of brown and denim but this would be a brilliant candidate for a day to night type outfit.

On another note, what have you all been up to? I've had a lovely chilled week with Phil, he started a new job today so last week he used up the last of his holiday from his old one. We popped to Alton Towers and had a couple of days in the park where we got our rollercoaster adrenaline fix and queued 2 hours and 50 minutes for The Smiler. We had a few hours another day in the water park where I rocked a bikini for the first time and in the evenings we explored the beautiful village of Alton after eating home cooked pub food; lovely! We also managed to book two seats for McFly's birthday show at The Royal Albert Hall in September so are searching for decent priced hotels (preferably with car parking) in the area, so if you know of any please do recommend them to me.  I now have jobs to apply for, several emails to catch up on, posts to write, comments to leave, and photos to take and edit. Wish me luck!

Make sure you let me know your best bargain buys whether they're TK Maxx finds or not, I'd love to know. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Santhilea London: Magnetic Lash Extension Mascara

If you've not already noticed, I've always had issues with my eyelashes. They're short, lack volume and I only have to glance at my boyfriend's lashes before the green eyed monster in me comes out (yes,  I have wondered what they'd look like with a coat of mascara). After my previous mascara died I decided I wasn't going to repurchase and wanted something more exciting, a different brand that would wake up my sparse, short, lifeless lashes. Like knights in shining armour, Santhilea London were in the right place at the right time (Twitter, of course) and offered up their Magnetic Lash Extension Mascara. I'd never heard of this brand before which meant I was even more intrigued but what really swayed it for me is that they claim to use absolutely no inserts or post production editing (no asterisk to claim otherwise) in their advertising images and, after being reassured of this by them on Twitter, I was amazed. Their honesty is so refreshing to find, a product that actually produces what it shows!! But can a mascara really produce something like this without inserts and post production? Let's take a look at the evidence...
On unpacking it became apparent that this was a dual effort mascara, I'd heard about these but had never actually tried one; with easy to follow instructions on how to apply you can't really do this wrong but I'd recommend doing one eye at a time. First off, apply the magnetic mascara in tube 1 to your lashes just as you would any other mascara. Then, while it is still wet - hence why it's best to do one eye at a time - take the lash builder in tube two and dab on the fibres. Finally, apply another coat of magnetic mascara to seal the fibres and repeat steps two and three as desired. I've not repeated the last two steps when I've used it and the results below are from one application only.
I don't think I've ever been more happy with a mascara, I'm in love with it. My lashes are longer and fuller and best of all they're separated and aren't a clumpy mess which I am so dubious about with volume mascaras. The fibres just seem to melt in! I'm more than happy with this naturally long look they've given me and if I wanted a more dramatic look I'd just have to go for another application. I forgot to curl my lashes in the above photo but it seems the mascara had my back and has lifted them for me anyway! The formula is lightweight and I've had no issues with smudging, transferring or flaking because it isn't oil based. I thought the fibres would be a pain to remove but everything comes off as easy as you put it on. Can't fault it.

So, back to the question at hand '... can a mascara really produce something like this without inserts and post production?' The answer is both yes and no, and that no isn't clear-cut at all, it's completely dependent on your lashes. The extension system mascara is thought to be an ideal alternative to false lashes, for someone with incredibly long, thick and full lashes they would get an incredible result that would seriously rival wearing a pair of falsies. If I, on the other hand, still wanted an overly dramatic look I'd probably have to wear false lashes, however Santhilea are in luck because I don't wear them (I'm useless at applying them) and I would much rather turn to these tubes of magic any day!

This could be a silly thing to say as I haven't actually tried it, but from what I've seen and heard, I think this could be a real rival for the Benefit 'They're Real' mascara. Retailing at £24.99 it's a little more expensive but I guess you could think of it this way, you're getting two products for that price - three if you count the Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E that acts as a conditioner.

Would I repurchase? I really, really would. Chuffed! 

Have you tried the Magnetic Lash extension mascara? What did you think? Will you be giving this a go?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Wish-Want-Need: The Shoe Edit.

1. Topshop £75 // 2. Topshop £45 // 3. ASOS £17.50;
4. Matalan £8 // 5. ASOS £32 // 6. Mr Shoes £24.99;
7. Joules Outlet £25 // 8. Fashion Union £14; 
(Prices and stock may change from the creation of this image!)

The long and short of it is that these are my most sought after shoes of the moment. I'd love to buy them all, but right now it's just not going to happen so I thought an 'I want, I want *stamps feet*' kind of post was the best way to go to relieve my itchy feet caused by the #fbloggers chat which was filled to the brim with shoe appreciation on Monday night.

1. I love the Adonis 2's from Topshop, I saw them in the flesh last week and they're truly gorgeous with their muted florals and cut outs - cannot justify £75 at the moment though.
2. I'm a real lover of Swedish Hasbeen's but they're far too expensive for me so to find these Topshop clogs at £45 is fab, I love the rustic yet classy look; a world away from what my year 2 teacher used to wear. 
3. The ASOS Little Miss ballet flats are SO cute - it's an embroidered bunny face with ears! Do I need to say more? 
4. How amazing are the glitter boat shoes from Matalan? They come in silver too so for £8 you could easily get both. 
5. The brogue, I just adore the timelessness. My brown pair are dying but this classic black and white pair would be the perfect replacement and look amazing with a swing dress or ankle grazers. 
6. You either love them or you hate them, and I LOVE these Juju jellies from Mr-Shoes. I really do need a pair and since I was forbidden these exact ones when I was younger because they had a heel, I will rebel now. 
7. Another lagomorph style for crazy bunny lady over here. These Joules Hare logo wellies are super cute! I had to put plastic food bags inside my wellies last winter because they were leaking and I couldn't find the perfect pair but, here they are whilst we head toward summer.
8. I'd probably hobble in these strappy sandals from Fashion Union due to the heel, (and because I can't walk straight in flats), but these are stunning.  I've been looking for a block heel pair in this combination but I haven't found any so I'd risk my neck for these. They'd look perfect with my black elephant jacquard print jogger trousers from Primark and for £14 I'm mighty tempted.

I would choose an ultimate favourite out of these, but truth be told these are my favourites. There's loafer, ballet, brogue, jelly, stiletto, clog, boot and even welly, so I technically have a favourite from each style (wormed my way out of that one didn't I?) I think these picks sum up my shoe style; classically quirky with a little bit of jazz.

Any choices here that you'd choose for yourself? What's your shoe style?

Friday, 24 May 2013

Memory Lane, We're Here Again, Back to the Day.

Wearing: Heart Swing Dress from Carousel*,
Gold Brogues from Primark and Gloves are vintage.

How completely whimsical and fanciful is this beautiful dress from Carousel? Once again, while the world is completely roaring twenties mad because of The Great Gatsby, I'm still stuck in the fifties. I don't mind, I've always done things differently. When I knew this beautiful dress was on it's way to me I immediately knew when I was going to wear it and, last Saturday, I frolicked off to Wembley Arena for the very first time to spend the night singing and dancing to my favourite band McFly. Having read that  their theme was the 1950's I knew I wanted to dress up for it whether anyone else did or not and this dress was the perfect number as it reminded me of that stunning dress Lea Thompson wore as Lorraine Baines in Back to the Future. When I first stepped out in this Phil gave me a smile and told me how much I suited the style - I'm a lucky girl. 

It fits like an absolute dream! It has an elasticated back that lends to contouring to your body in the right places whilst making sure it flares out everywhere else. I love the beautiful peach/pink colour with the kitsch cream heart print which is also infused with tiny little polka dots. The fold over neckline, the ruched thick straps and the full knee length skirt are the perfect classic touches and, if you put all these features together you get an item of clothing that is really aesthetically pleasing! I've decided that I'm going to glam up this dress for Phil's cousin's wedding in a couple of weeks, so suggestions on a postcard please.

Carousel have some of the most beautiful dresses I've ever seen, no exaggeration. While adhering to and acknowledging current trends, Carousel choose to work with independent brands with unique styles and twists while remaining essentially classic meaning they offer things that you'll be hard pushed to find anywhere else. Their selection is stunning and rivals what the high street stores can churn out undoubtedly; an absolute must-peep for vintage styled lovers. 

The gig was amazing by the way, I won't go into it too much but as I get older I get softer and I was an emotional wreck. It's McFly's 10 year anniversary this year after all and I've grown up with them every step of the way. Anyone who has a band or a film or a following that means something to them will understand whether or not you agree on the 'thing' at hand.

Do you like little gem shops like this? Do you find it refreshing to find such different styles or do you simply prefer the high street? 

Friday, 17 May 2013

Google+ Hangout with Swimwear 365 and Stylist Helen Boyle.

A few weeks ago, I was invited to take part in a Google+ hangout with Swimwear365, beautiful stylist Helen Boyle and some wonderful bloggers to talk this years hot swimwear and holiday trends. If you're jetting off someplace nice but not sure what style swimwear to go for, then watch our little hangout below to get in the know. Everything from prints, colours, cuts and embellishments to skin tone, hair colour, body shapes and problem areas were covered. 
Swimwear 365 cater for a range of shapes and sizes with '100s of styles to suit every body'. They have a really handy shape calculator which need 3 simple measurements; bust, waist and hips, to tell you which body shape you are. Armed with this new information and a sudden brazen attitude to head for a bikini over a one piece for the very first time in my life, my key question to Helen was about what I should be looking out for, for a size 14/16 hourglass figure. During the chat it became apparent that vintage and retro styles are great for my figure as it matches the 'classic' 50's hourglass look, these styles are also great because they aren't too scary or garish. In order to keep myself in proportion and balanced, matching prints on the top and bottom are great and slightly draw attention away from my non perfect belly. With my pale skin I need to avoid really harsh extreme colours like white, black, neons or block colours; navy and white is much more gentle for my skin tone and blend beautifully rather than stand in stark contrast with one another. I'm a great student aren't I?

After the hangout we were invited over to the Swimwear 365 website and asked to choose ourselves a little something. After my mini consultation with Helen regarding what to go for I plucked up the courage in a now or never sense and headed straight for the bikini section. Taking Helen's advice I picked out this classic polka dot number, it's similar to the one she chose for me but with slightly wider sided bottoms to hold in all my wobbly bits. 
I absolutely love it and it fits perfectly. As you'll see below I've a huge thing for vintage and retro swimwear styling so this is perfect. The quality of the fabric is fantastic, it's thick, lined and padded so no risk of nips being on show or thinking it'll go see through as soon as it touches water. The small strip of fabric between the cups is essential to bring some definition which is great for a bigger busted lady like myself, it's not only flattering but helps to keep the blighters where they belong! Keeping with security and the avoidable flip-flop fatalities, the straps are thick and secure which follow right under the arm to join with boned sides and a thick strip under the bust; there's also a great clasp at the back - no Carry On Camping moment for me!
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Swimwear365 are also hosting a wee competition over on their blog where you can win a spa day for two at a Bannatynes Spa, lovely! It closes on 20th May which is this Monday, so dive in if you want to get involved. You can find out more information here.

I never tire of classic styles and, as Helen said in the styling session, classic vintage and retro styles never get old. Whenever I think vintage swimwear I always think of the beautiful 50's bathing suits and two pieces and, of course, the stunning Esther Williams. While the world is going roaring 20's crazy thanks to The Great Gatsby, I'm going all fabulous 50's and this is my sole inspiration for this collage. The bikini and tankini are two of my favourite retro style pieces Swimwear 365 has to offer; you can't beat polka dots or halter necks when trying to recreate this era. I'm utterly smitten with this gingham dress, it'd look perfect with a pair of classic wedges to enhance the 50's silhouette while the pumps would look cute when layering up either piece with a pair of shorts.  

What were your favourite pieces Helen showed? I hope you found this helpful, I certainly did! 

Wednesday, 8 May 2013

RapidShield Eyelash Conditioner

I've never considered taking care of and conditioning my eyelashes, but why not? They're not just a feature that can be enhanced for beauty but protect your eyes from dust, dirt and grit and take a heck of a beating from the elements and mascara. When you have lashes as sparse and short as mine with regular fallout you really do realise that you need to look after what you've got, even if what you've got isn't much.

RapidShield Eyelash Conditioner, part of the RapidLash range, is the wonder potion with 'triple benefits' that insists that 'Lashes will appear more conditioned with improved definition and luster*' over a 2 week period. Claiming to work on three levels, RapidShield aims to condition, shield, protect and nourish lashes; prime and prep lashes for mascara application and refresh/define by boosting volume and increasing shine and sheen. It's completely foolproof to apply, you simply use the thick bristle mascara wand to brush on the odourless clear formula where it dries almost instantly without a horrid sticky feeling. 

I've been using this product for over a month now and use it as a mascara base/primer and a conditioner to protect and nourish for those no make-up days. On application I do notice an improvement, my lashes fan out and lengthen slightly while mascara goes on more defined and volumised. After a few weeks small lashes I didn't know I had started to become apparent and my bottom lashes seemed to come out of nowhere. The differences aren't massively obvious but I've definitely noticed an improvement due to the condition they were in before. There is clear improvement on the fallout front too, I've not had any since using this even when going at heavy eye makeup with make-up wipes; this is probably due to the Sodium Hyaluronate which improves elasticity, Silk Amino Acids which act and repairing agents and Panthenol which seals in moisture and nourishment. There is absolutely no doubt that RapidShield has rescued my eyelashes from years of mascara abuse. At one point they seemed to start growing leaning together in small clusters so it's lovely to have them fan out again like normal.

Would I repurchase? I'm undecided, there's no doubt that it's done a great job, but would I pay £28 for it realistically? It's good for a beauty routine and a great addition if you want to look after your eyelashes but it isn't an absolute must have. I did really like it though.

Have you tried RapidShield or a similar Eyelash conditioner? Maybe you've tried RapidLash or RapidBrow, I'd love to know your thoughts and results. 

Monday, 29 April 2013

Oh Mickey you're so fine, you're so fine you blow my mind hey Mickey!

Wearing: Oversized denim jacket and t-shirt from Primark
high-waisted shorts from River Island
Shoes by Converse and bag from Clarks outlet;

I'm 23, I can assure you of that, I just have a childish nature that appears to make itself apparent when I dress. I can still get away with this though I think - oh sod it, I bloody hope I can. It was a casual day anyway and,  if all else fails, I'll just wear it at Disneyland whenever that may be. See? Child. I guess this is a bit of a 90's throwback look, especially with that cracking song in the title as covered by Lolly; I was having a jolly old time listening to it the other night whilst drafting this post.

More importantly, the shorts. These shorts were in the most recent River Island mid season sale, the colour immediately caught my eye and once I had a good touchy-feel of the fine corduroy style fabric I was sold. At £10 (after having a panicked run to a different store because the original one I spied them in didn't have my size) the shorts were mine. They are undoubtedly my favourite pair out of any I own. I love the colour despite it being so Winter 12/13 and I love the high waisted flattering and comfortable fit. 

I'm utterly shattered so apologise with the quietness over the past week. I've spent all my time packing up my Nan's house for her, moving her to another, unpacking and settling her in. There's still a lot to do, but she's happy and it certainly feels like home. Whilst she was clearing out her wardrobe and deciding what to chuck in the charity shop bin bag I managed to snag myself some vintage cream 40s/50s gloves, a vintage tartan scarf, a floral blouse and bright pink dress. I'm going to need to do a bit of experimental altering on the latter two but I'm pretty happy, thanks Nan!

Have you got any bargains in the River Island sale? I think it's been a corker, I've bought 2 dresses as well as these shorts and there's so many other amazing things in it. 

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Too Faced Eyeshadow Duo: Rich Bitch

My most bought and used make up item is eyeshadow, there's absolutely no doubt about it. So, when I happened upon this little beauty by sheer coincidence one snowy afternoon as I was listlessly wandering around TK Maxx, I'll admit I got a little excited. I think it was the gorgeous packaging that caught my eye first; a pink, black and yellow retro affair. It was then that I saw the words 'Too Faced' staring up at me and something twigged in the back of my mind that I'd seen other beauty bloggers mention this brand, so I took a closer look. There were only four or five there and I began perusing the shades before settling on 'Rich Bitch'. 

Rich Bitch is a beautiful shimmery 'gold and teal' combo, although I'm not so sure I'd call these colours gold and teal, maybe more soft lemon and steel blue. I love the initial contrast between the warm and cool shades but once you swatch, you realise just how prominent the gold undertone to the blue is which is lovely. It didn't take a lot for that colour pay off - pigmentation ahoy! - but I'd say you need a good brush to apply it to the lids if you want it to be that intense; they melt together beautifully when blending and once on, they stayed all day without primer. I did find my MUA primer made it crease awfully. They are buttery smooth and I just can't remember the last time I felt an eyeshadow like it. Using a formula like this really does make you realise what you're missing out on/gotten used to with MUA shadows, and I'm a fan!

TK Maxx have the RRP of this product down as £17 and I've seen it selling online recently at around £14, but I swiped it for £3.99! Money saving me was very happy.

Would I repurchase? A thousand times yes. I'm on the look-out for more shades. 

Have you tried any Too Faced products or found yourself some cracking savings in TK Maxx? I'd love to know!

(Apologies for the creased sheets in these photos, that's a little embarrassing).

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Keeping Up Appearances - The Rise of Male Grooming

Do you have to race your male counterparts to the bathroom? Or do you find you skincare and haircare products mysteriously disappearing? It's becoming apparent that men are putting aside more time for male grooming and priding themselves on their appearances, and I'd love to know your thoughts and experiences.

Apparently, on average, women spend between 20-40 minutes getting ready each day and, depending on what I'm doing and where I'm going, I definitely fit into this category. Washing and drying my hair can take twenty minutes by itself because it's so long and thick, but adding a bath or shower and makeup into the equation as well as moisturising and whatnot definitely pushes me to the far end of the scale. Would you believe, though, that men are starting to take even longer than that? We have makeup to sort and longer hair to curl/straighten/style yet they are somehow still trumping us. A quick search immediately brought me the results I was looking for, the average time it takes for a man to get ready is 83 minutes. Wow. I'm not sure how I'd feel if my other half took longer than me to get ready when going out, I'm so used to him sitting there waiting for me and rolling his eyes that it would be quite a shock and very weird; yet I can kind of believe that statistic.

While I prefer to jump in and out of the bath as quick as possible, my boyfriend will easily fall asleep in a steaming hot bath for an hour. I don't think he does too badly on the grooming part, he's very conscious about his hair and will quite often focus on his while I just bung mine up. He owns a few hair products and happily uses my dry shampoo and hairspray and owns his own pair of GHD's (this saves me having to borrow mine back from my brother - I know!) Recently I've been persuading him to take care of his skin with moisturiser because he's complaining of dry skin and breakouts, but to no avail quite yet.

I always remember the comedic portrayal of male grooming in FRIENDS. Chandler getting a pedicure, Joey having his eyebrows waxed and plucked and Ross getting a spray tan and having his teeth whitened (you have to give those episodes a watch). Media representations have, however, evolved since the 90's - TOWIE and MIC do a great job of reinforcing that men can enjoy beauty too and, based on a survey by First4Lawyers, 20% of men have sustained an injury whilst using a sunbed... I don't want to know how... or what!

All jokes and digs aside though, personally, it makes me really happy to see men taking pride in themselves by embracing a beauty regime no matter how small - it makes me feel great knowing a guy has made an effort for me. It's fantastic that society is finally opening it's eyes and saying 'yes, men like to take care of themselves - so what?!' Male grooming products are becoming much more commonplace and, while there are many more products specifically designed for men with masculine and powerful names endorsed by good looking male celebs, there is also more acceptance of the fact that men can use womens products. Times have obviously changed and, while we still may have a quick joke about men stealing our products or seeing the inside of the bathroom/salon more than us, it's great to move away from this 'girly' and overly feminine ridiculing. It almost makes me angry that pride in appearance and 'vanity' are considered a female trait, why can't guys look good too?

So I'd really love to know, how do you like your fellas? Would you mind a man in your life borrowing your products? Or do you think a man should be a man with their 'rough and ready' and 'blokey' exterior? Is this shift in the social paradigm and media representation for the better meaning guys can now take time on their appearances without pressure or funny looks? Opinions? 

*Partnered post, content written by myself.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

She's Just a Loner with a Sexy Attitude.

Wearing: Midi Dress from FD Avenue
Biker Jacket from New Look and 
Hi-top Wedge Trainers from Primark.

I may have to put myself on a serious ban from wearing this jacket when I'm going to do outfit posts; I think it's featured in almost all of them so far but it goes with everything! It's quite a good job I don't do one every day really because there is a high probability it'd be there again and again (avec my jogging bottoms which are not used for jogging). I'm quite late with posting this look actually, it's been on the Look Street Style website and the FD Avenue blog for quite a while now so I thought I'd leave a little time before posting it here and, well - I forgot.

I'd been eyeing up midi dresses for a heck of a long time yet putting off buying out of fear of the length making my legs look short and stumpy. Just before Christmas I threw caution to the wind and took the plunge with this amazing monochrome skull number and with a 50% off code it cost a little over £7. Ker-ching! I couldn't quite believe how bold the print was so was understandably terrified whether I could pull it off or not but, as soon as I slipped it on, I fell in lust. I silently rejoiced as I looked at myself in the mirror as my legs didn't look like they belonged to a Corgi after all! Generally though, I think you should be safe if you find a midi that rests just below your knees rather than mid-calf. I paired it with these hi top wedge trainers for a colour accent and to make my calves look slightly elongated - just incase. 

Do you all love the midi dress trend, or are you finding it a bit tiresome?  

You wonderful readers can get 20% off at FD Avenue by entering the code MONTAGE20 at the checkout.

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

Bunny Loving

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter/Bank Holiday weekend. At long last the sun is out, even if it is still a tiny bit nippy; there is promise in the air that Summer is on the way, I can smell it. I made Easter nests - the best Easter treat in my opinion - did a bit of pottering about in the garden and rabbit shed with Phil and did an education morning at Cineworld in Cambridge about rabbits NOT being good Easter gifts for children, that a hutch is not enough and adopting is better than buying. 

Keeping with the theme I thought I'd share the custom iPhone case from Caseapp that I won in Jaz xo's  giveaway last month. I was super excited to get straight down to it and start designing my case, I knew I wanted a bunny theme as I'm quite clearly a crazy bunny lady, so it was only appropriate. I initially designed the case with a photo I'd taken of my two but, when it came to it, the design interface told me the image was too small. It was a good quality jpeg as it was taken on my DSLR but I didn't want to risk it, so I went with my second choice, a tiled background image I created in photoshop. 

Here it is! Eep!
Isn't it cute? I absolutely adore it. It came out in the exact colours I had uploaded and the quality is great. You can feel where the rabbits are printed on the background colour so I just hope they don't scratch off easily from being in and out of my pockets constantly. You can choose from transparent, white, black, light pink, dark pink and cyan blue sides and as you can see, I went with transparent. You can add text and upload more than one image which is great if you want to create a collage and you can resize images to your heart's content. They're only £19 and, considering I paid £30 for my other iPhone case and considering personalised items are normally more highly priced, these are great value. This case is much thinner than my other one so this will be reserved for my non clumsy days, but I look forward to being able to change my cases around like I would my bags. 
Personalised cases certainly aren't what they used to be are they? I remember being a teen with a Nokia 3200 which came with a 'cutter' that could be used to cut photos and pictures to the right size to pop inside the clear case. I tried it with a Busted picture from a magazine and I'm pretty sure I failed miserably. 

Writing this I've just polished off a Cadbury's rabbit. Yum.

Have any of you tried custom phone cases?

Monday, 25 March 2013

Pounds or Practically Pennies: Feeling Blue

Roberto Cavalli and Erdem have a lot to answer for. We have become swamped by ornate prints against creams and whites and, while I've never been a big fan or wearer of the colour blue, I am inescapably in love. 
Erdem 1 - 2 - 3 ;
Roberto Cavalli 1 - 2 - 3;

Erdem's feminine and contemporary designs feature the dreamy French Milandes chateaus and landscapes framed by beautiful filigree. I love how these prints aren't symmetrical but are still weighted similarly on each side making them slightly more relaxed but just as refined and romantic. The Roberto Cavalli 'Resort' pieces are much more structured in terms of print placement and the simple shapes are made up for with extravagant and detailed prints and features. The prints are classic, and Cavalli lends a hand to incorporate the contemporary; the skirt features a daring side split while the shirt boasts a clashing geometric print and the neckline on the dress connects with white metal flowers and collar cutouts. 

Enough of those though, what just-as-lovely pieces can we find for a fraction of the above prices?
H&M // Primark // Matalan // Glamorous // Next;
(Prices and stock are subject to change from the creation of this image!)

Inspired by the classic porcelain crockery and dinner sets your grandma probably owns, the porcelain prints are sure to be a big Spring/Summer 2013 hit - here's hoping for colour variations as the seasons progress . I adore the Primark dress and how the neckline just touches the shoulders, unfortunately, I haven't been able to find it in store yet. I'm also a massive fan of the H&M blazer and the Topshop pop socks (that's a mouthful). I have some brown wedges just dying to be paired with this print!

Are you loving China blue?

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Cambridge Style Week night 2: Cutting-edge Cambridge Design

The second night of Cambridge Style Week paid homage to the next generation of fashion designers and really did set the bar high for the rest of the week. Showcasing exclusive one of a kind designs from final year students from the Cambridge School of Art, the catwalk played host to an array of stunning materials and incredible shapes that wouldn't have looked out of place on the LFW catwalk. 
Cambridge Style Week
There were a wealth of designs and styles flashing before our eyes, ranging from gothic glam and futuristic frocks to embellished co-ords and effortlessly chic pieces. Each design was innovative and unique and I really would have loved to have heard about the inspirations and reasoning behind them all. There were clear trends featured throughout; leather/PU detailing was featured on large number of outfits, it's clearly still a winner for both bloggers
and designers, metallics also made a feature along with the classic cut out, embellished two piece looks, monochrome, jacquard prints and androgynous sharp cut designs. 

Cambridge Style Week student design
This striking dress was the hit of the night, incredible right? It received spontaneous applause from the outset, something about it hit the right spot. Every inch of the fabric was carded by hand and constructed on a live model ensuring a flawless finish and fit. 

As the night progressed I, and others alike, completely forgot we were watching student's works and became immersed in the fashion. This wasn't a night dedicated to 'classic' and wearable designs, it was quirky, it was somewhat eccentric but most of all, it was great. Some designs were ready-to-wear but these was easily overtaken by the arty and more 'out-there' pieces, yet I wasn't put off - not one bit. In my opinion, a catwalk night so dedicated to this type of fashion and design definitely added towards what constitutes an event to be a 'real' fashion week. What better way to celebrate Cambridge and all it has to offer by unveiling the hidden talents of the city and the next generation we will put our style and fashion faith in. See my other favourites from the night below.

Cambridge Style Week gothic student designs
These are my second and third absolute top picks, can you spy the gothic inspiration? The fierce dress on the left would have been at home on the Brit Awards red carpet alongside other black and gold numbers, it incorporates the much loved leather/PU panelling along with sheer fabric and classic split leg design. The whimsical Alice in Wonderland-esque printed collar and skirt dress on the right would be fitting for a Tim Burton film and is seriously cutesy.  I'm still not over collars yet and love the quirky mirror print.
Cambridge Style Week student designs dip hem
Two more wearable dresses here both featuring dipped hem and asymmetrical cuts. The left featured a laser cut bodice and hem while the right focused on layering.

Cambridge Style Week student designs jacquard monochrome
I adore this beautiful jacquard style glitter threaded 2 piece suit with navy ruffles, it definitely full-frills (ha!) this seasons statement frill trend. The simple monochrome satin top with nipped in waist is an elegant colour block number.
Cambridge Style Week student designs
Look at those stunning trousers! Another jacquard style piece accompanied by an on trend oversized white shirt and cape. I love how romantic and flowing this beautiful empire line dress is. It gathers just under the bust, and although it has a deep cut and exposed skin either side, it's not at all revealing or at all inappropriate. Perfect!

Cambridge Style Week student designs pu detail
These are two rather classic looks taking an update. The stunning grey blazer has embraced leather/PU detailing around the collar and elbow patches while the halter neck shift dress features a leather/PU neckline, asymmetrical front and dip hem back.

Cambridge Style Week student designs metallic
The only way I can really describe these designs is 'galactic' and that's probably not the right term at all. I was drawn towards the metallic fabrics in this collection and the contrast between the metallic texture, skintight black gloves and white panelling. The shapes are to die for.

Cambridge Style Week student designs
The amazing plastic bubble neck dress demonstrates perfectly what futuristic fashion is all about, experimenting with new materials and making something great. The woolen cape and bralet combo with tailored trousers is androgynous chic at its best; I love the high waisted trousers with their PU leather detailing and peach highlights, a definite ready-to-wear element amongst an 'out-there' piece.

All jewellery here was from the fabulous Cambridge based Catherine Jone Jewellery and complimented all outfits perfectly. The actual necklace Princess Leia wore in the final scene of Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope resides with them now and made an appearance on the catwalk. Unfortunately, my photos didn't turn out great but trust me, it's a beaut! If you have a spare £1,998.00 you can buy it here

Night 1 coverage // Nights 3&4 coming soon.