Monday, 29 September 2014

Simple monochrome checks | feat. Olia necklace from Psyche

I don't really like catalogues coming through the post as they always entice me into buying new things, so normally I'll just bin them without having a look. For some unknown reason I decided not to throw out the latest Simply Be copy and had a little browse, that's where I came across these beautiful black and white tartan trousers. I fell in love and simply had to have them. After reading the reviews I decided to size up to a 22 just to make sure they were comfortable and I could move, the don't have a lot of stretch but just enough to make them manageable to wear. I am glad I did size up though. I can definitely see me wearing them a lot over the next season too, I'm really digging monochrome! 

I decided to team them with a new t-shirt I picked up from New Look Inspire's collection the other week; it's black chiffon to the front and grey jersey to the back. This makes it tighter at the back for a more fitted look, but the chiffon to the front is very flowing and just skims my tummy nicely. 

A nice monochrome look needs a bit of colour, so for the pop I decided to wear my favourite blazer, the beautiful neon pink one I picked up from River Island in spring. Oh and my trusty black Hamble Oak brogues from Clarks, it's true, I do live in these now. 

This was a perfect outfit to team with my new necklace; a beautiful black and gold square pendant by Olia, from Psyche. Psyche are department store based in the heart of Middlesbrough offering high-end designers both in store and online too, with the option of collection in store or delivery. They cater for men, women and children and offer plenty of designer's apparel. 

Black contrast chiffon front t-shirt - New Look Inspire - £14.99
Black pendant necklace by Olia - Psyche - £24.99*
Neon pink blazer - River Island - £30.00
*This post contains PR sample(s) or has been written in collaboration, all opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 27 September 2014

Autumn is here | feat. House of Fraser

Autumn is finally here. My favourite time of year, apart from the dark nights obviously. I love snuggling up in chunky cardigans and layering up is my favourite look. Although we've hit autumn, it hasn't been too cold up north and that really does surprise me, we're still hitting the twenties! Saying that though, I have been preparing my wardrobe for the cooler months and that means taking my autumn and winter clothing back out of storage. 

Jeans are a perfect wardrobe staple that last seasons in and out, and can be worn for the majority of the year. I do find it hard to find the perfect fit of jeans as I have a big bottom (ooooh-er) and thighs, so I prefer to wear high-waisted skinny jeans as I think these fit a lot better. The beauty of skinny jeans is that they can be worn casually, or changed up really simple for a more formal and dressy look.

Whilst having a browse on the House of Fraser website for a new pair, I came across these Mary Portas high-waisted skinny jeans. I absolutely love them.  For starters I didn't even know she had her own clothing range, but her clothes are really quite exquisite. These particular jeans are lighter at the knees which breaks up the length of my legs. Although I'm almost 5'9 still come in quite long on me so I decided to turn them up and team them with a pair of brogues for a casual look. They would look equally stunning with a pair of heels though. As it's still been quite warm out I decided to team the look with a black and grey chiffon t-shirt from New Look's Inspire collection. I'll definitely be adding a chunky grey cardigan or boyfriend coat when the weather cools down a bit. 

House of Fraser isn't somewhere I would ultimately go for my clothing as they are known to be quite expensive, but having attended more fashion events and seeing a lot of PR lately, it shows that they do have high quality clothing for lower prices, and especially offering designers that you may never have heard of or even known designed clothing!  

Have you sorted your AW wardrobe out yet, and pulled your jeans out from the back?

High waist skinny jeans by Mary Portas - House of Fraser - were £69.00 reduced to £34.50 (bargain price may I add)*
Black contrast chiffon front t-shirt - New Look Inspire - £14.99
*This post contains PR sample(s) or has been written in collaboration, all opinions are my own. 

Monday, 22 September 2014

Polka dot patterns & brogues.

I love vintage clothing, and vintage inspired clothing too. I've seen a lot of bloggers who won't give modern vintage inspired clothes a chance because they aren't authentic, but I think some look pretty damn good. For example, this mustard polka dot dress is from Primark (via eBay) and is absolutely stunning. It's the type of dress I could wear day in and day out. I have a real obsession for Peter Pan collars. I got rid of a lot of my dresses last year as I felt my fashion style had changed since pregnancy and I wish I could have them all back in my wardrobe again. I'm currently looking for the ideal sewing pattern to make a few myself. 

Anyway, the outfit, I think it's very vintage inspired with the texture, polka dot print and colour scheme. I love teaming cute pleated dresses with blazers, and I know these will be staples in my autumn and winter collection. I've already hit it on the head with the mustard and burgundy hues.

The classic finishing piece to this outfit is a pair of brogues. I adore brogues more than anything else in the world. They are the ideal, classy staple shoe for this time of year. Brogues provide more lot coverage than ballet pumps (my usual go-to shoe for spring/summer) but still allow you to feel a little summer/autumnal before the knee boots come out for the winter season.

I have such trouble with buying shoes and I'm a half shoe size so never can quite find the perfect fit. I have long, thin feet so a lot of shoes are super wide fitting on me. Clark's come up brilliantly with these Hamble Oak black leather brogues. They come in different width fittings and offer half sizes (as well as several other colours), so I can get a true comfortable fit. As well as offering various width fittings and half sizes, the brogues also come with cushioned softwear footbeds so that you can wear them all day long. Oh and they don't need breaking in! I wore them for a whole day without my feet being sore straight from the get go.

Shopping in Clark's makes me feel nostalgic too, my parents always used to take me there to have my feet measured and all my children's shoes were from there. Actually walking into the store (rather than buying online) was a trip down memory lane. I hope I can replicate that feeling when I take Dexter for his feet sizing and his first pair of shoes too!

Brogues and a matching leather satchel? Check. Hands down, my two favourite accessories of all time. 

Mustard polka dot dress with a Peter Pan collar - Primark (via eBay) - £10.00.
Burgundy blazer - Primark - £3.00.
Black leather satchel - Leather Satchel Company (via ASOS) - £75.00.
Hamble Oak black leather brogues - Clarks - £54.99*.
*This post contains PR sample(s) or has been written in collaboration, all opinions are my own. 

Saturday, 20 September 2014

Make Up Rumours | Lilacs & Purples and Reds Collection

I hope you've seen my two previous Make Up Rumour posts, and if you haven't you can catch up with the nail polish review here and the nude lipstick collection here. If you haven't heard of Make Up Rumours yet then you must have been living on another planet as they have simply taken over the blogosphere. They are another drugstore style brand of make up and prices start from £1. At the moment the only have a few products available online but will be releasing new ones shortly. 

This post is dedicated to the remainder of the lipsticks I bought, these are from the Lilacs & Purples collection and I bought one from the Reds collection too. They have a stunning array of shades with splashes of purple in them, from pale lilac to deep berry purple (great for autumn!). I bought four lipsticks in total, three from the Lilacs & Purples and one from the Reds. 

L-R: shade 13 - a deep plum colour, shade 12 - a medium pink with hints of purple, shade 2 - the darker of the reds, shade 10 - a pale pinky lilac shade. 

As I mentioned on my last couple of posts, I'm not a huge fan of the packaging but I would continue to buy them as the products are great quality for their price. The lipsticks are creamy, highly pigmented and leave your lips feeling hydrated however, they don't last long and do need reapplying but could you expect more really? I'll definitely try to complete my collection of their lipsticks. 

Thursday, 18 September 2014

The Bathory.

A few weeks ago I was invited to try out a product from the Bathory; and given the opportunity to make my own bath soak. I was really intrigued by this as I do suffer with a lot of sensitivities restricting products I can use, so being able to pick what went into my soak sounded ideal. And what better of a time to be able to try the divine bath salts? Yep, when I came out of hospital and needed some relaxation therapy!

First of all the website; it's perfectly designed and so visually appealing that I couldn't resist. To be honest I'm a sucker for visuals and normally if I don't like a website, I won't give them a second chance at checking out their product. They already won me over with their sleek monochrome look. 

So how does it work? Well you basically pick out what you want your bath soak to contain. Your base  option is for the salt mix. You can bask in mineral rich salts, be soothed with oatmeal, honey and buttermilk (mmmmmm) or have a detox with pure epsom salts and rhassoul clay. I went for the soothing option; the combination is great for my sensitive skin. 

Following this you pick three essential oils to add to your soak. If you feel stuck at all you can choose from the top tab to offer you suggestions on combinations to your soak; such as feeling relaxed, sexy, or inspired. Straight away I knew I felt like having a relaxing combination so opted to add lavender and chamomile. My third essential oil was ylang ylang for a little kick. 

And it was as simple as that! 

A few days later a gorgeous little package arrived through my door, and I couldn't wait to get stuck in.   I adore the product packaging. The paper bag and the 'let's get naked' card feel very homely and natural; I like it when a product is reflected in packaging and the ethos of the brand is held throughout. The sleek black and white jar is simply divine. The card even had a few ideas on what you could do with the pot after you've used your salts! 

I was quite surprised with the product, when I thought 'bath salts' I had imagined it to be a more salt-like grainy consistency but was pleasantly surprised that it was quite a grounded powder. I much preferred this. You can add as much or as little to your bath as you like, Bathory's suggestions are a quarter, half or a full jar of the product. I honestly felt I would be wasting it if I added too much so I settled for around an eight! And the bath, was simply divine

You can make your own bath soak on Bathory for £18. Or why not make for someone else? We all know Christmas will be coming soon - yep I said the dreaded 'C' word too early! 
*This post contains PR sample(s) or has been written in collaboration, all opinions are my own. 

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Beauty Haul | Superdrug

If feels like Superdrug have had their Bourjois 'buy one, get one half price' offer on now for months. Unless they ended it and it's back on, who knows? It's been a while since I've been out. I've been eyeing up the Happy Light primer and foundation for quite a while, so I thought I would give them a try. I bought the primer in matte, and the foundation in rose vanilla. I also spotted their Color Boost lip crayon, and after trying a few shades fell in love with orange. It's more of an orange/coral shade but rather being matte and bright, it covers glossy and has a subtle buildable colour. I can see me loving this for a while to come. And obviously to make things even I had to buy another product, and that was the Healthy Mix concealer in shade 51 Éclat Clair. The tube says it's for radiance and anti-fatigue, something which I think I really need in my life. 

I always swing by the Sleek stand and have a browse. They sell some of my favourite lipsticks that provide great coverage, pigment and are long-lasting. Now winter is approaching I though I might try out a few of their darker shades. I can always seem to pull them off when I have some sort of pastel hair colour. So I treated myself to two of their True Colour lipsticks, one in Cherry and the other in Mulberry. 

The next beauty haul post will be all about the products I've recently bought in blog sales, so get ready to check that one out! 

Sunday, 14 September 2014

Origami & Pink.

This has to be one of my favourite outfits. This pink blazer is a little thicker than a summer blazer so is perfect to wear over the next couple of months, and because it's pink, what could be better? It's more of a neon shade so it will definitely brighten any outfit up. The origami dress has been doing it's rounds on the blogosphere lately and I knew I had to have it. Normally ASOS smock dresses are quite thin material but this is really thick jersey, and the print is such a delight to wear. It will go from season to season and I think in spring I will wear it with a stunning Primark pastel mint green eyelash jumper I bought in a blog sale. ASOS also offer the same dress in their Curve range, and it come with a short sleeve rather than being sleeveless. I've teamed the whole outfit with a pair of black tights and my favourite black and gold H&M boots; and finally, to make the outfit perfect, I've teamed it with my new black leather satchel. 

Neon Pink Blazer - River Island - (old)
Gold triangle statement necklace - New Look - (old)
Black leather satchel - Leather Satchel Company via ASOS - £75

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Make Up Rumours | Nude Lipsticks

This is the second post in my mini-feature series of Make Up Rumours. In case you haven't heard of them or seen them all over the blogosphere, they are a new drugstore brand of makeup with prices ranging from £1. They were advertising for beauty bloggers and I had to be straight in there, and lucky me was given a £10 gift code to shop on their online store - yippee! 

I've recently had a bit of an obsession with nude lipsticks so I had to delve into their collection and choose a few. They have five shades, not listed as actual colours but named 'shade' and have a number corresponding to their colour. I picked shades 16, 17 and 18. 

Now I know from the image the colours don't look very nude and are quite bright, but they are some of the darker ones in their collection. If you've seen the Illamasqua Glamore nudes collection you'll understand what I mean from their shades Rosepout and Minx. 

L-R: shade 16 - just a regular light nude with a pink tinge, shade 17 - this reminds me a lot of Rosepout, and shade 17 - this reminds me a lot of Minx. I wouldn't necessarily say they are perfect dupes of the colours but that's what they remind me of anyway. 

The other two in the nude collection, shades 14 and 15 are what you would call a proper nude shade. But for £1 per lipstick you can afford to have the whole collection for a fiver. You can check out all the shades on their webstore

Packaging wise, well I mentioned this before, but I'm not keen on the branding. It's mainly aimed for younger people, mainly teenagers. This wouldn't distract me from buying it though, and that's because of the price tag. I like a good bargain. What I'm pleased about with the lipstick cases is that they actually fit and close properly, unlike one of their competing brands. That was a real bugbear of mine and I was a little panicky that they wouldn't live up to scratch. 

Overall I love the shades of the lipsticks, they apply really well, have a nice creamy consistency and leave my lips feeling super hydrated. They don't last long but I can expect that, and I did need to reapply after I'd been eating and drinking, but that really wouldn't put me off at all. They are super.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Lavender Hair | Osmo Colour Psycho

I was contacted a couple of weeks back asking if I wanted to try a couple of new hair colours new to the market. By hair product brand Osmo, they have released a bright hair colour set named Colour Psycho, and these really are amazing and bright colours. I was desperate to change my hair colour back to how I see as 'my natural colour', a beautiful lavender pink shade

Colour Psycho are semi-permenanant hair colour creams, similar to the others on the market, apart from their tubes are 150ml and you get a lot more product to work with. The hair dye itself is not as thick as some of it's competitors making it more manageable and easier to work with. A couple of super things about Colour Psycho colours are that you can play with the colours and mix and match to suit your mood; and you can also the colour tamer to create your perfect pastel shade. This I was really excited in trying. 

The packaging is amazing and really eye-catching. If I saw this in a shop I would most likely walk over to this first as it's really intriguing as to what the product is. I do love a good monochrome product, and the stripes and checkerboard are two of my favourite patterns too. The block of colour in the middle shows what colour the hair dye product inside is, so that's all good too. 

I ordered wild fuchsia and wild violet. My original intentions were to use one colour at a time but I gave in and mixed the colours. I put the wild violet in the bowl first when really I should have put the wild fuchsia in first as I wanted a more dusky pink colour. However, because I put the wild violet shade in first, and added the wild fuchsia topped with the colour tamer to make a mid-pastel lavender shade. I absolutely love my new shade, and especially when it washes out it will be a gorgeous shade of pastel lavender too. And because I chose a purple shade, it will neutralise some of the yellow tones I still have in my bleached hair. 

There are several other colours in the collection including wild blue, wild cobalt, wild purple, wild cerise and wild rouge. You can also buy a starter kit which includes sample sizes of each of the colours and a full size colour tamer for you to have a little play about with, to see what your favourite shade is. The hair dyes start from £3.99 and the colour tamer starts from £3.70. 

After having a look on their site for stockist, the most local one in West Yorkshire appears to be Sally's in the centre of Leeds. You can buy online from the Dennis Williams site too, I think they have the best priced products. I definitely think you should all check these out! 

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Beacons Festival 2014

I was so lucky to be given tickets a local festival to where I live, Beacons! The fabulous folks over at Peugeot saw my tweet trying to get press tickets to the festival but unfortunately I was too late to be on their list; anyway, they were working on a new hashtag #RandomActsOfJoy for the release of one of their new cars. So yes, I received two tickets, guest tickets at that! Oh and two camping plus passes too. I know I only live like 15 minutes away but taking a tent so little bug could be changed in private, fed and have a little nap too was such a genius idea. Obviously I came home at the end of the day to my cosy bed and a hot bath. 

There was so much to do at the festival. I didn't even manage to check out any of the bands. Partly because my ME was quite bad that weekend and I was major exhausted, and because on the Saturday morning I sat down in an awkward position and somehow managed to make my already dislodged pelvis even more dislodged, and manage to slip two discs in the process. Anyway, lets talk about all the fun. There were so many arts and crafts facilities that I pretty much spent my weekend doing that, oh and the vintage shopping in Judy's Vintage tent. I picked up a few super cute bargains: a navy blue and white polka dot tea dress, and a gorgeous, unique map print saddle bag. 

The few crafts I did manage to take part in were screen printing (you all should know by now this is one of my favourite pastimes) and t-shirt braiding. The idea behind t-shirt braiding is that you can use and old t-shirt, cut it up (in a jazzy particular way to make it really long) and plait it. You can make them into friendship bracelets, etc, but mine was a black and grey leopard print headband. I absolutely love it and think I might do a DIY blog post on how to make them soon (for those interested). 

Oh the fooooooood. I absolutely love food. There were lots of local street food stalls there. Manjit's kitchen was up and back in full swing in her lovely horse box, providing tasty treats. On the Saturday they were serving up nutella and banana filled chapatis. They were absolutely delish. Obviously I had to pop down to Dough Boys for pizza, and we did have a Patty Smity's burger and amazing fries. The Marvellous Tea Dance company were there too, it was nice to chill in their tent with a cuppa and slice of cake when we needed a rest. Oh I also experienced the amazing Pie & Mash too, yummy. 

I have to mention how amazing the 'Diddy Rascals' field was. Especially designed for children and away from all the loud music, there was so much to do. Tents filled with crafts, and lots of different sensory play toys for the younger ones. I think Dexter was a little young to enjoy it, but he loved crawling around on the mats and the man who blew bubbles at him too. He was a happy chappy there. There were lots of team games for kids to play too, with their version of dodgeball called monkey ball, and sack races. We'll definitely be taking him back to play there next year too, he'll be older and hopefully take more in.

The experience was amazing and I will be going back next year! Hopefully I'll be able to make more time to really get into things a lot deeper and try out a lot more of the craft sessions, watch a few movies, and make time to listen to music! To be honest I didn't know any of the bands and my music taste consists of anything emo circa 2002, that's why I prefer Download generally; saying that though, Beacons has easily become my favourite festival, I love how much they put into the family element which makes it really accessible for us, and it's not too far from home. 

Friday, 5 September 2014

Poundland Pleasantries | Stationary Haul

It's probably no surprise that I, and probably every other blogger, like stationary. Cute Korean stationary is what normally floats my boat, but I adore the designs of everything in Paperchase; that shop is my downfall, and knowing that you can get a student discount online makes it all so much worse. Stationary is everywhere this time of year obviously, and normally I like to buy my bits and pieces in the sale at the end of September before I start University again in October.

Occasionally I pop into discount stores like B&M, Home Bargains, Wilkinsons and Poundland to pick up European branded products, be it beauty or food products. I'm a sucker for cheap Garnier products, what can I say? This is where my initial Poundland Pleasantries series stemmed from. 

I would't have expected to find quality products in Poundland, but my mum always raves about the place for all her baking wares so whilst I was out the other day, I popped in (ok more so dragged in my my mum). Barging people out the way with my crutches of course. And what did I see at the end of the aisle? Paperclips, in the shape of ducks; and all the sticky tape and post it notes that I could ever need. After a good rummage through the paperclips, and taking half off the stand, I found these beauties, apples. Oh yes.

I didn't just pick a pack of 10 of those up, I also grabbed a pack of 30 drawing pins that look like ladybirds. Can you see where this is going? I also bought a new pen, presuming it was pink when it is in fact red (sad face); and I presumed was meant to smell like some kind of soda but they meant it was made from soda bottles. The pen is in fact made from 100% recycled plastic soda bottles so that's nice. I also picked up a bendy plastic ruler with sticky tabs on which I'm hoping to hole punch to fit into my Filofax. And last but, not least (actually probably my favourite purchase) sticky post it notes on a roll of sellotape, in three colours. Initially I thought this was Washi tape until I read the packaging. You just roll out how much you need, stick it on, and write. PERFECT. I think my house will be full of sellotaped notes now. 

Thursday, 4 September 2014

What I've Read This Week | Matthew Reilly

Matthew Reilly is, hands down, my all time favourite author. I own every single one of his books, whether be by digital copy or in print. I've been addicted to him since my mum read his first book, Contest, and recommended it to me years ago. 

Two new additions to my collection have been The Tournament, and prequel, Roger Ascham and the King's Lost Girl.
I could only manage to take a small photo of these in my iBooks library. (I don't own the print copies of these).
Reilly's books are normally fast paced with countdowns keeping the reader engrossed at all times. I normally end up reading his novels in a full day because I'm so hooked; but with both if these I was rarely interested at all. I bought The Tournament back in January on its release date and only got around to reading the whole book when I was in hospital last week, after numerous times trying to read it. 

The Tournament felt slow, and hardworking. Roger Ascham, the main character and tutor to Princess Elizabeth (as a young girl prior to becoming Queen Elizabeth), take a trip through Europe to attend a chess tournament with England's top player, Gilbert Giles. I thought the travels would be more descriptive and scenarios would be exciting, but there was not much mention of this. Normally Reilly provides a map at the beginning of each chapter to give the reader more insight into the character's adventure, but there was a real lack in either of these books, in fact, none at all. That was a real disappointment. They arrive at their destination in the Middle East and still there is no expression of how exciting the place is, such as their riches and expensive buildings. However, around halfway through the book there was a murder that Ascham was asked to solve. I expected the book to be in two parts at this points as some of his other novels are. I followed the book through until the last 70 pages with his investigation and the chess tournament itself, still finding it slow paced, and the murder was solved as quickly as it was committed. I was really let down. I won't go into full details in case one of my readers wishes to read the novel, but I was bored, let down, and regret spending £7.99 on it. 

Turning now to the prequel. This was around 100 pages so I knew it would be one of his short stories (Reilly does have a few others, but more exciting than this!) and that was fine. The story followed Ascham solving a disappearance, of the King's favourite prostitute. There are many trips to and from the brothel for the investigation, and after questioning the owner, believes he knows where she (and a few other missing women) are kept. Basically, he goes there, finds the women and the killer, and it ends. All within 35 pages. What a let down. I thought maybe there was another tale to tell afterwards? But no, it was the beginning chapters of the Tournament. Disappointed wasn't the word. I'm glad it was a free download. 

I have strong faith in his next novel though. He seems to be going back to his treasure hunting adventurous roots in ancient China. I hope January comes soon!

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Floral meets Leather.

I absolutely adore this Pink Clove floral playsuit, but when it arrived and I finally got around to reviewing it after being in hospital, the weather changed. It became cold and rainy so I packed all my summer clothing away intending on making this a transitioning season piece, and then it became warm and sunny again. You can't win really. 

As I decided to make it a transitional piece from summer to autumn, I thought I would pair it up with tights and a pair of chunky boots with gold detailing, along with my absolutely favourite necklace ever from ASOS, and my new favourite Amy biker jacket from Boohoo

I ordered the playsuit in a size 22, and for a start this isn't even my size. I've been going through a period where I've been thinking I'm a lot bigger than I am and ordering clothes in sizes that are way too big for me, and this was one of them. I think it's quite big anyway, and I could have managed to order a size 18 without it looking tight around my legs. Normally I have problems because I have big thighs and hips so I have to order a size up when dealing with things like this. I love the fact that the playsuit is very stretchy and not too clingy, and that the shorts' legs are just above knee length. Although saying that, my tights are 200 denier and way too dark for this outfit. It would have looked better with lighter denier tights and heels for a night out, but I was going for a casual look with the jacket.

Floral Playsuit - Pink Clove - was £24 now £18 in the sale. 
Amy PU Biker Jacket - Boohoo - £35
Necklace - ASOS - old
H&M Boots - old