Sunday, 4 November 2012

OOTD 02.11.2012

I've been in a bit of a jeans rut for a while. I'm a jeans girl, I can't help it. But I'm trying to break this habit. I love dresses, and although it took me until I was well out of my teens to realise that I could wear dresses, that there was a dress to suit everybody, I am now a bona fide dress-wearer. Lately I'm enjoying the skater dress. There are lots of variations of this dress on the high street, and places like Boohoo at the minute, but the fitted top and floaty bottom make for a timeless dress that I'm sure I will be getting a lot of wear out of.
I found this version in Primark for just £13, I also bought a black and white stripy equivalent. I seek out this shade of navy blue and the berry red and forest/racing car green equivalent for this time of year. It beats always wearing neutrals when I feel like an injection of colour, and brights just don't do it for me in Autumn/Winter. The material is thicker than you would find on a summer dress, and I'm actually finding this quite a warm outfit when paired with thick, opaque tights and boots. I wasn't a massive fan of the belt that came with it so I whipped it off and put this leather plaited belt through the loops instead for a very simple, yet suitably autumnal ensemble.
Have you found yourself any Autumn dresses?

Happy Friday everybody.

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Why do you wear make-up?

A couple of weeks ago, I was offered some food for thought by a four year old when they asked me the question: What is that on your eyes? When I explained it was make-up, it was followed by the question "Why do you wear it?" I should have seen this coming, children are naturally curious, but I found this a difficult question to answer to someone so young. I don't often think about why I wear make-up, but if I had to break it down and tell you why I wear make-up I could. 
  1.  To look better. Pretty simple really, make-up is a man-made miracle. It improves our appearance, and how far you want to go with this is up to you, whether you want to completely transform your appearance or just enhance what you have naturally. Sometimes the make-up I sport is purely functional – to smooth out my skin, hide blemishes, make my seemingly non-existent eyelashes visible, that kind of thing..
  2. To feel better. Which leads on from point 1. If I look better, I feel a bit better about myself. I realise this is superficial, but I doubt there’s a female out there who doesn’t feel the same about make-up. Would we be wearing it if it made us feel bad about ourselves?!
  3.  I enjoy make-up. Yes, it has become habit, one that’s hard to break and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself and my extra time in the morning if I took my make-up application out of the routine, but I enjoy the process of doing my make-up. I’m a creative person, so I enjoy creating different looks and experimenting with colour and techniques.

I think what’s important to clarify here is that these are personal reasons, reasons that affect me. I’m not wearing it because I worry about how others perceive me. I wear make-up for myself. But, when you feel good about yourself, this gives you a sense of confidence which then affects how you present yourself with other people. There are times when I leave the house without my make-up, when it’s not necessary to wear it. I’m not thinking what are people wondering about me because I’m probably doing something where I really couldn’t care what I look like, such as jogging! So wearing make-up for me is not a case of hiding behind it, but enhancing what I have and choosing the way I want to present myself to the world, much in the same way that people choose their sense of style in clothes.

It’s easy for me to write this as a blog post and I’m sure those of you reading this have similar reasons for wearing make-up. But to explain this to the younger generation just seemed a somewhat difficult feat, to be able to articulate it in the same way I just have. Because the simple answer to why I wear make-up is to look and feel better. But to someone younger this could be misconstrued to mean you’re not good enough if you don’t wear make-up. Definitely not the message I would want to put out to an easily influenced young mind. I was well into my teens before I got interested in make-up, I’d guess around 16, but never felt pressured to wearing it, but I think things are changing and there is much more pressure much earlier on for young girls.
Anyway, the purpose of this post was, I suppose, to explain why I wear make-up, and to think of reasons why other people might. I think whether you wear it to conceal or reveal is entirely your decision. As I’ve said, I’m a mixture of the two, but what I find sad is there might be people who depend on make-up. I’m pretty much a beauty fanatic, but would not label myself in the category of dependent upon it. 

So, readers of the blogosphere, why do you wear make-up?

Friday, 26 October 2012

Batiste Wild, Lace and Graffiti

My love affair with Batiste is no secret. It's become as much of a staple to me as deodorant. I use dry shampoo on the days in between washes to absorb any excess oil and giving your hair a bit more life. It's also useful for when you've washed your hair but want to give it a bit of a volume boost at the roots. It feels completely like cheating and that's the appeal. There are a lot of dry shampoos on the market, but I never tend to look twice at them with Batiste being a brand I trust to deliver. The bottles are attractively decorated, the scents are gorgeous and now there's even more to choose from.  The bottles that don't state they are for a particular hair colour are the standard dry shampoos that don't deposit any colour but instead a white-ish powder which you then need to give a ruffle with your fingers to blend it in. The only difference in the bottles above is the fragrance. 
Blush was my favourite scent but the release of the new range has given me a new favourite. Lace - "seductive and elegant"...I would have to agree! It reminds me greatly of a perfume I have used in the past but since I never repurchase perfumes (bar Jo Malone Blue Agava and Cacao) I can't remember the name. But it's good enough to be compared to a perfume, who knew a dry shampoo could smell so good?! I might have to stock up on this one in case they discontinue it. The picture below shows 3 of the most recent releases. I'm missing the Paisley one which is a Superdrug exclusive. Graffiti is the Boots exclusive which if I'm correct is either very similar to, or exactly the same as the scent of the Brit Batiste from a while ago. Wild is a more original scent which I can't really compare to anything, it's probably the least girly scent out of the bunch.

So I feel that's enough waffling about dry shampoo. I thought I'd fill you in on my current reads as I always enjoy reading what other people are reading...if that makes sense. I joined my local library because I rarely read books twice. I'm also a bit anti-kindle, I like the feel of a book, I don't really know why. I'm also a huge lover of shopping in second hand book stores and love discovering new ones so if anyone knows of any in London please send your suggestions for new ones for me to check out!
Right now I'm reading Two Little Boys by Duncan Sarkies, which has nothing to do with Rolf Harris. I chose it primarily because it was endorsed by one of the actors from Flight of the Conchords which I love so didn't feel the need to find out much more about the book. I'm glad I picked it up though, it's a bit of a dark comedy which I enjoy and is an easy read, there's a few great one liners in there. I do have quite a short attention span so I often have two books on the go. I'm about to start 1Q84 by Haruki Murakami which sounds quite promising and was in the top 10 a few months back so I'm hoping it lives up to the hype. It's a beast of a book which is another reason I tend to read two books at once - one for the tube commute, the other for home. I just need to not get the plots and characters confused.

My plans for the weekend include crossing off another thing on my to-do list for the year. That is, going on a Boris bike ride (for those of you outside of the UK, they're the bikes available for public use around London with docking stations at various locations). I'm doing quite well on my list so far so I hope I commit to this. It is very cold though, so I might just read my books instead.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Oh My Love...

I first found the brand Oh My Love in the basement of Topshop last year in the form of a t-shirt (picture at the bottom). I was impressed with the quality and the design of the top so wanted to find out a bit more about them. I discovered an Oh My Love dress in Topshop a few weeks later that I fell in love with but in size XS was a little too snug. I checked online and found that they have their own website with a much wider range than I found in the store.
This is the Agatha Ponty dress and I honestly consider it to be a wardrobe staple. I chose black because a girl can never have enough LBD's no? But it's also available in dusky pink and wine red. The material is figure hugging but also very soft and of a fairly thick quality. There is a seam around the waist which helps to differentiate the bottom from the top so you don't necessarily need a belt, though I chose to team mine with this tan leather plaited belt.
 It is a bit on the short side, but I think the conservative top balances this out quite nicely.
 The envelope bag is from New Look and is available in an assortment of colour and material combinations. I quite liked the soft, dusky colours of this one. Primark actually have an identical version of this in black and light grey if you want one for half the price, I made this sad discovery today. The bag has a chain handle so you can wear it on the shoulder, but I prefer it as a clutch, just a personal preference.
Agatha Ponty dress: £35, Oh My Love
Belt: taken from some Primark trousers.
Ballet pumps: £10, New Look.
Envelope bag: £15.99, New Look.
This is the previously mentioned t-shirt. I like the batwing style and the slouchy fit. Sadly the black stag motif faded after several washes, but I went over it again with a fabric pen and quite like the effect that was left behind. In hindsight, I should have hand-washed it from the beginning, but never mind.

T-shirt: £20, Oh My Love
Shorts: Forever 21
There's currently quite a good sale on right now which is worth a browse.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

OOTD 17.10.2012

Here is my outfit of the day. It's getting pretty chilly outside now, but that doesn't mean our shorts become redundant. I bought this pair of velvet shorts last year from Topshop, I thought they were a bit overpriced at £32 but I vowed to myself they would see me through a few seasons. Luckily they did and so cost-per-wear they've actually worked out quite bargainous! The shorts have reappeared this season so you can still get your hands on a pair if you so wish. They also come in a gorgeous berry colour which is tempting me, but I think having one pair of velvet shorts in my life is enough.

I've been lusting after a Cambridge Satchel Co. satchel, but in the mean time, I'm wearing this satchel from New Look. It's a pretty standard satchel and does the job.
 I bought these earrings a while back from Laura Laura, and am still in love with them. They often get compliments and I like the originality of them, particularly when the buttons don't look exactly the same and have some variation on them.
This jumper I found in New Look on Oxford Street, (the one at the Topshop end) and is by a brand called Pink Boutique. I quite like that New Look now feature smaller brands as it means you can find things that are a little bit different.
The crucifixes give it a slightly edgy look, while the fact that it's as snuggly and fluffy as a Pomeranian puppy completely tones this edginess down. Whilst I like having my own style, my clothes have to feel comfortable too. What's the point in a jumper that looks good but is itchy as hell? I can't show you in these pictures, but I can assure you this is  one of the softest jumpers I've owned!

Velvet shorts: £32, Topshop
Jumper: £28, by Pink Boutique from New Look Oxford Street, you can find similar here, or check out Pink Boutique's knitwear here 
Satchel: £20, New Look
Boots: £20, Primark
Earrings: £5 for three pairs, Laura Laura, similar can be found here.

I must apologise for the bush/tree thing in the background of nearly all these photos, I thought it looked better than having more of the table though. I'll move it next time. x

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine, Magnetic and Web Effect Review

This evening I have frantically been wrapping up items I've sold on ebay. I have terrible hoarding tendencies and so from time to time, having a good purge makes me feel a little bit better! I like thinking that things I don't want yet hold on to, neglecting them, can go to a better home where they will actually be used/worn with a bit of love and care. I will ship these out tomorrow after work along with finding a present for a belated birthday like the terrible sister-in-law that I am...

This will be a three in one review of the nail polishes I showed you a few days ago. I've had time to try them all out now so can offer you my verdict. First up is the magnetic nail paint in Magnetic Sparkle Gold.
 Love this, just LOVE it. I've recently found a whole new love for glittery sparkly nails which, after childhood, I didn't think would happen again, yet here we are...

This is also available in red stripes which I think would look very festive for when the big C word comes around which I won't say now because it's still October! I'm sure you're all over the hype of magnetic nails now but I'm still keen on it. I don't think it's been done to death like certain nail crazes, aka shatter effect nails. Which brings me on to...
Web Effects nail paint? Not really Barry M. It's a croc effect at best. It's OK, as long as you do it over a light colour which might I add MUST not be dry when you do it! Over black, which I thought would be cool for Halloween, it looks horrendous, but here I did it over gold and it looks OK. I can't really say much more about it because I'm just a bit let down by Barry M here. I suppose I could rock this look on Halloween, and when it's passed, this can be my giraffe nail look.
And finally, Gelly Hi-Shine, oooh the Gelly's! I was quite excited about this range. I wanted a pastel purple and do really like this soft lavender shade called Prickly Pear. It is ridiculously shiny too so it lives up to its name. Apart from this one, the colours in the range aren't anything I don't really already have some variation of, apart from maybe the tealy type colour. My main criticism however, is not the limited choice of shades, but in the Hi-Shine on this polish. I don't really think it's worth marketing it as a new effect and selling it for £1 more than the regular nail paints. The overall effect isn't anything you couldn't recreate with a decent top coat which I tend to put on over my nail polish anyway. The only benefit I could see is that you can get away with just two coats of this and no top coat which I would find quite handy if I was going away and didn't want to pack lots of bottles of nail polish. Apart from that, I'm happy sticking with topcoat!

Sunday, 7 October 2012

OOTD 07.10.2012

This weekend was spent exploring shops and markets around town. The weather was glorious, crisp but sunny which is the best we can hope for in October in the UK. I went to Borough market for lunch, bought some fudge to munch on over the X Factor, then headed to Butler's Wharf for a little stroll before facing the crowds at Westfield at Shepherd's Bush to hunt for some inspiration for the wardrobe upheaval I'm planning on having. I'll start here with the jacket...
I am rarely one to jump on a fashion bandwagon, I like to dress for myself and wear things that suit my body type. I also prefer investing in pieces that could potentially see me through a few seasons, rather than trends that only last one season. Having said all this...I really needed a new jacket, we are in that transitional weather where it's not cold enough to dig out the winter coat but more than a light-weight jacket is needed. 

I saw the khaki jacket with faux leather contrast sleeves in Topshop and fell in love. I tried it on but it just wasn't meant to be, it seemed to bury me and was very unflattering on my figure. I know parka coats aren't designed for flattering but it just was not for me. I'm glad that other clothes stores have cottoned on to this trend and everywhere seems to have their own version of the contrast jacket.

I went into New Look, which for me can be very hit or miss but often has a few little gems that pleasantly surprise me. This contrast sleeve jacket was the surprise of the day. It differs to the Topshop version in that the main of the coat is made from faux leather, while the sleeves are a different material, in this case, black and white boucle.
Contrast Jacket: New Look, £44.99
Acid Leigh Jeans: Topshop, £40
Scarf: H&M, £6.99
Boots: Primark, £20
Casio Watch: Camden market, £6
 I love the "edgy meets twee" of this jacket. The body has an asymmetric zip which gives it a bit of an edge, while the sleeves are saying middle aged and I love this juxtaposition.

Hope your weekend has been fabulous ladies.

Tell me your thoughts on contrast jackets!

Barry M New Nail Paints, Autumn 2012

It's no secret I'm a little bit completely obsessed with Barry M Nail Paints. I have a ridiculous tally of them now. I was curious to try out the new Gelly Hi Shine in particular, I loved the effect of the magnetic nail paint I bought awhile back so I also picked up a pretty sparkly one! With any two Barry M purchases you currently get a free Effects Nail Paint. Curiosity got the better of me and I opted for the orange web effect. Obviously in anticipation of Halloween, this is a bit of a twist on the crackle and croc effects. I think I'm going to try this over a gold polish so I'm not too overly Halloween themed!
Left to right: Prickly Pear, Magnetic Sparkle Gold, and Web Effects.
Right now I'm wearing Prickly Pear. I love pastel purple shades and the high shine this one has on it, my nails are very preened and glossy, I definitely didn't need a top coat. Pictures of all 3 nail paints to come...

Has anyone tried the latest Barry M, what are your thoughts?

Monday, 1 October 2012

OOTD 01.10.2012

Today started off extremely dull outside, and I decided to go with this lacklustre feeling by blacking out my outfit. No matter what colours are in fashion, I cannot help but love reaching for black clothes. An item of clothing might be available in a few colours, but you can guarantee I'll want the black version. This is boring, I know. But with black, you never fail.
I have a confession...

I'm new to leggings. Not new in the never worn them before way, but new as in I'm rediscovering them, I grew up in the 90s so leggings were very much a part of my world. When they reappeared, I wasn't too pleased to see them initially. But I've warmed to them now, and worn correctly, they can be flattering.

I particularly like these ponti panelled leggings from River Island, they're priced at £20 which is rather a lot for a pair of leggings, but they feel very well made and are a sturdy material which should survive a fair few washes. I really like the contrast in materials, with the panel being slightly ribbed in texture. They remind me of a jodphur which isn't actually as awful as it sounds.
These boots were a risky purchase. Primark (I love you but...) aren't well known for their good quality clothing. I have been after a pair of casual ankle boots with not too big a heel so they are comfortable to wear day and night for a little while now. I felt they should be an investment so I was prepared to spend a bit on them. I searched and I searched, and nothing really grabbed me. Then I saw these beauties.
They were just what I was looking for, not neccessarily with the studs, but I do really like this trend so decided to snap them up. I know full well they won't see me through many winters, if even this winter alone, but for £20 I can't argue too much and I can look for a better pair at a later date.
Black loose fitting top - Topshop
Ponti Panel Leggings - River Island
Boots - Primark

So that's my very unimaginative outfit of the day.

Does grey weather bring out the dull in you too?!

Friday, 21 September 2012

OOTD 20.09.2012

Hello blog. I haven't posted an 'outfit of the day' post in an age, like many things on this blog. So in a bid to prove I've returned, here is one. Ok, I wore this yesterday, and not even all day, but I liked this combination so I'm sharing it with you.
I find the dip hem skirt a great twist on the maxi skirt. You get the best of both worlds of a midi and a maxi and the asymmetric effect is effortlessly pretty and girly. I'm not one to do completely girly though, so I love to toughen it up with a t-shirt and wedge shoe boots. I do realise I'm about as tough as a bag of marshmallows but you get what I mean...
 I'm in desperate need of a haircut, roll on my Tuesday booking.
T-shirt: 'Tee and Cake' from Topshop.
Skirt: Dorothy Perkins.
Shoe Boots: New Look.
Belt: taken from a 'Louche' dress from Joy.

Thought I'd share a couple of snaps with you from last weekend aswell. I took an impromptu visit to Oxford, somewhere I've never been before, and what a beautiful city it is. I also took a lot of pictures on my Diana so  bear with me, they will be here maybe before Christmas!!

Have a fabulous weekend!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Birthday Schtuff

My birthday was actually nearly a month ago now, but here I am just getting round to showing you my lovely presents. For a while, I've been interested in photography and have been intrigued by the analogue revival. I've frequently gone into the Lomography stores around town, telling myself  I'll buy one, 'one day', but then never actually got round to purchasing one. I was very pleasantly surprised on my birthday to open the Diana Mini in pretty much the most perfect colour - Coral Fusion, complete with flash and colour gels for adding a flash of colour.
Also in the picture is the gorgeous perfume Un air d'escapade by Givenchy. I saw this at duty free in Croatia and was tempted to buy it, partly because I loved it and partly because the limited edition-ness of it was appealing, I don't like to smell like everyone else! Luckily I didn't buy it, otherwise I would've had two bottles, but again this was a very well thought out and well received present.
Next, presents from my lovely housemates. I am doubting the boys of the house had little to do with the choice of these presents - a Cath Kidston mug and a Nails Inc nail polish, both of which I love. 
I mean seriously, LOOK at this bottle! It's stunning...more photos of it on my nails to come. It's in the colour Jubilee which is red, silver and blue glitter particles.
This foot spray is really refreshing after being on your feet all day, and a good idea for a gift aswell I thought, I often forget to pamper my feet. I also really like this bracelet, which is magnetic and you can alter the size of it as you wrap it around your wrist.
Some essential film for Diana, it takes the standard 35mm film, you don't necessarily need the Lomography's own brand, although they do seem high on the colour count compared to others I've seen, 800 as opposed to 400 or 200.
Diana in all her glory. She's been on a few adventures with me already, and hopefully a lot more to come. I haven't actually got a film developed yet, I have however, drastically ruined my first attempt because I loaded the film incorrectly and it ended up tearing. At least I didn't take too many photographs as I was experimenting, but that was a lesson learned. I'm sure some people will fail to see the point of this camera when we live in such a digital age, but for me that's kind of the point. We forget how to do things manually and picture taking has become rather stale, I quite like the fact that I don't know how these photos will turn out, and I will actually have to get them developed and printed, I couldn't tell you the last time I printed photos that I could hold in my hand!! There's also lots of cool tricks you can do with a Diana and the other Lomography cameras, I'm having a go at some double exposures, where you layer two shots on to one...we'll see how that goes.

Friday, 7 September 2012

So long Summer...

Every year I try to go abroad, and last year, for one reason or another, I didn't get to go. This year, as part of my new year's resolutions, I was going somewhere abroad, anywhere, and I really didn't care where. My criteria were very few: hot, coastal, not UK.

My friend and I had chatted briefly about going to Croatia, I knew little about it, but enough to know it was somewhere that appealed, and it met my unfussy criteria, so it was a hit. It took little more than a phone call and a quick internet search while we were on the phone, and suddenly, we were booked on a flight. I think that bar all the trips I went on whilst living in America, this was my first holiday abroad with a friend rather than a partner or family.
In Dubrovnik
Luckily, we had similar ideas of what we wanted to see and do, and in the 9 days we were there, managed to fit in lots of travel and sight-seeing as well as, of course, a bit of beach lounging.

We started in Dubrovnik, a beautiful walled city with lots of ancient history...caught a coach to Split – another equally as beautiful and old city, and in my opinion much underrated, there’s lots to see and do here. We then caught a catamaran to the glitzy of Hvar where we also made a couple of day boat trips to neighbouring smaller islands. The coast is beautiful, the Adriatic Sea crystal clear and pleasantly warm to swim in. Croatia is a very interesting place to visit, it’s on the cusp of all things Euro, still maintaining its own authentic identity and has many different influences depending where you are geographically in the country, something that makes it unique. If you want a Mediterranean style holiday somewhere still relatively untapped by tourists, especially in comparison to Italy then go to Croatia. I would love to go back, whether I will anytime soon...I haven’t decided, there’s still too many places I haven’t been on my wish list to warrant going back just yet. But I’m definitely starting to think about my next holiday already and thinking about going to somewhere like Bulgaria or Hungary, I have garnered an interest in middle Europe now!

Now I shall bore you with some snaps, sorry if this is too pictorially heavy for you.

It's lucky to rub his nose apparently.

Al fresco dining on every side street.

Around the city walls.

I'm in a bath.


The local brewski.

The beautiful Hvar.

Blog Widget by LinkWithin