Warehouse Printed Jacquard Shift Dress

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Warehouse Printed Jacquard Shift Dress
Warehouse Printed Jacquard Shift Dress
Warehouse Printed Jacquard Shift Dress

New dress time! I've been on the lookout for slightly more 'grown up' outfits that work in an office setting, as my current work attire is girly dresses and flat shoes. Which is all fine, but there are some days where I might be off to a meeting where I want to look like I mean business - but still keep a stamp of individuality and my own style. Warehouse have a great range of women's dresses that are great for workwear and partying alike, and I think this one hits the perfect spot of what I was looking for.

This was a bit of a wardrobe adventure for me, as I normally opt for skater rather than shift dresses, and actually the first thing I've ever owned from Warehouse! It is slightly roomy at the top, but it's not noticeable and I find the dress really comfy - and I like that the sleeves are loose, so it's really easy to move in. The length is great for me - still above the knee, but long enough that it's appropriate for work. I love the pattern, colours and lightly textured feel, and would happily wear this to a wedding or other event too!

I initially thought Warehouse would be out of my price range, but I was pleasantly suprised. They do offer more expensive, luxury outfits - but at the same time, there's plenty in their range that's affordable - at full price, this was only £35, now down to £25 in the sale. For something that feels like excellent quality and will definitely last me a long time, I think that's a pretty decent price to pay!

Dress - Warehouse, £25
Blazer - H&M (similar here)
Necklace - Matalan
Bag - H&M

Accessorize - The Willesden Satchel & Chester Wallet

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

UK Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty Blog: Accessorize - The Willesden Satchel & Chester Chubby Bird Wallet review
UK Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty Blog: Accessorize - The Willesden Satchel  review
UK Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty Blog: Accessorize - Chester Chubby Bird Wallet review
UK Lifestyle, Fashion & Beauty Blog: Accessorize - The Willesden Satchel & Chester Chubby Bird Wallet review

I really love satchel-style bags, and since my old Henry Holland satchel has almost outworn a long run as my favourite brown bag, I wanted to replace it with something similar, but slightly bigger, as a day-to-day/work handbag. I was having a browse on Oxford Street when I stumbled across THE perfect dark tan satchel, although me being me I didn't buy it, as I wanted to check if there were any good online discount deals. Looking it up on the Accessorize website, I realised the bag was actually called the Willesden Satchel - clearly fate, as I live in Willesden!

The size of the Willesden Satchel is absolutely perfect for work and day-to-day essentials, even fitting my camera in, without feeling overly bulky. Living in London, it's essential to me that a bag has a top flap and inside zip pocket to deter sneaky pickpocketers in crowded places, and this one has both, as well as two handy and subtle side pockets. The strap is a great length and adjustable, and it also detaches if you just want to use it with the handle on top. Design-wise, I couldn't have asked for anything better, the buckle detail and exposed zip are just enough to make it interesting, whilst still having a simple feel to it. For £35, it's definitely a well-priced and excellent quality bag that'll go with any outfit, and the sturdy material will last into winter and way beyond. Unfortunately I picked up the last in stock online, but they may well get more in and there were plenty instore when I looked, so if you want to get your hands on it, it should be easy enough to find!

Considering the state of my current purse, I decided to make the most of my housemate's student discount and free delivery by also picking up the Chester Chubby Bird Wallet, £15. I've mentioned it before, but for someone with a bird phobia, I really do like things with birds on them! The green colour is really lovely, but the floral inner material is even better - alongside bird prints, I'm also a huge floral prints kinda girl. There's plenty of card holders for everything I need, and they're tight enough to hold cards in so they don't fall out - which was an issue with my old purse.

With discount, I paid £45 for both purse and bag and got free delivery, and considering the amount some people will spend on a handbag, I'm really happy with this! I've never been a big Accessorize shopper before, but they have some amazing stuff in at the moment and I'm quite surprised I didn't bulk up my order any further. Definitely somewhere I'll be looking to shop more often - next up, a new going out bag...

GIVEAWAY: Latest In Beauty - The Glamour Beauty Edit

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

UK Blog Giveaway: The Glamour Beauty Edit, Latest In Beauty
UK Blog Giveaway: The Glamour Beauty Edit, Latest In Beauty

Latest In Beauty offer a slightly different take on beauty boxes to the monthly subscription style of other brands. Instead of sending out regular 'surprise' boxes, they put together collections and you can see what you're getting before you order - which is pretty handy!

Featuring nine of the summer's hottest products that will take you right through to the colder months, The Glamour Beauty Edit has been hand-picked by the magazine's beauty team. Some of the standout products include a full-size Illamasqua lipstick (!!) from their new Glamore Nudes range, the Toni & Guy Hair Whip and a product I've tried and sung the praises of before, DHC's Deep Cleansing Oil.

The contents are worth over £86, but the box retails at just £16.96 (including P&P) - I don't think they'll be around much longer though! If you want the chance to get your hands on one completely free though, I'm giving away a box so you can try it all out for yourself!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I'll be posting about some of the individual products over the next couple of weeks too, so check back to see my thoughts on what you could be winning!

The Beach Body Problem

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Summer seems to be coming to an end, but the ‘beach body’ debate is something I’ve seen discussed a lot on blogs over the past couple of month. Variations on the phrase “How to get a beach body: go to beach, have a body” has been thrown about on various images and posts, but for a lot of people, it’s not that simple. Body confidence is an issue that’s constantly discussed in the media and across the blogosphere, and I’ve never really weighed in on this myself – mainly as I don’t really think I have any answers. I think body image and confidence is something that means a lot of different things to different people.

In a recent survey by My Voucher Codes.co.uk, 45.5% of respondents said the thing they’d most like to change about themselves was their stomach. And I’m certainly no stranger to feeling this way. Back when I was a 16 year old, I had no qualms with wearing crop tops (usually with lame, cringe-inducing slogans on them) and low rise jeans. But as I’ve got older, and my body’s changed, I’m pretty much terrified to go anywhere near them, even though I’ve seen some amazing plus size bloggers absolutely rocking them.

 Body image in general seems to be a hot potato of a topic, and there are a minefield of opinions out there, many of them more well-informed than this one little post. I do think celebrities in the media have a major effect, particularly on younger girls, who grow up thinking that tiny figures are ‘the norm’. For some people, they are – but those people aren’t necessarily body confident either. I’ve spoken to naturally slim friends who’ve been told they look ‘anorexic’ and are really upset by it. Calling someone fat has negative connotations and is completely unacceptable – but calling someone out on how skinny they are seems to be fine. Since when did commenting on anybody else’s body become something you were entitled to?

In their survey, they also polled which celebrity had their ideal when it came to body parts - which you can see in full here - and it was revealed that the ‘ideal’ stomach belongs to Lucy Mecklenburg of TOWIE fame (I don’t watch TOWIE and didn’t even know who she was. Google helped!). The dissection and judgement of celebrity figures by the media definitely plays a huge, huge role in normalising the way people are supposed to look. But those celebrities have personal trainers and nutritionists – and there’s also the fact that a lot of them are naturally slim, which isn’t the case for everyone.

I may not have the ‘ideal’ stomach that I’m supposed to want according to the media, and I do try and eat healthily and do the 30 Day Shred when I remember. But I also love eating hearty, tasty food, and relaxing in the evenings instead of spending hours at the gym. I COULD do those things, but I wouldn’t be happy or fulfilled by purely having a stomach like Lucy’s. I know some people find clean eating and the gym to be something they enjoy, but I’m more interested in enjoying myself with the things that make me happy than dedicating my life striving for the ‘perfect’ body.

Instead, I focus on the bits I do like. I might not look in the mirror and say “gurl, those abs look fiiine”, but I do appreciate how I like my legs, how my hair looks when I’ve just washed it and the fact I have fucking excellent boobs. Recently, I’ve been going beyond acceptance of my figure, and actually beginning to have a bit of an appreciation for my slightly bulgy tum. It’s where the food goes. In the end, as long as I can look in the mirror and think “yeah, I’m alright”, I’m content with how I am right now. It won’t happen overnight, but hopefully, this contentedness will continue to grow into a journey that leads to me loving my body more.

If you’ve posted your own thoughts about body image, I’d love to read what you have to say, so post me a link in the comments below!

These were the 'ideal' beach bodies voted for by survey respondents - are they unrealistic ideals?

Weekend Wishlist 23.08.14: French Connection A/W14

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Over the past couple of years, I feel like my tastes towards clothing have changed slightly. While I'm still a bargain hunter at heart, if I find a piece I adore, I'm willing to spend a bit more on it for a quality piece that I'll love for years to come. I'm not talking about dropping hundreds on a plain white t-shirt a la Kanye, but sometimes a little bit of what I like to call 'affordable luxury' is an awesome treat. French Connection is definitely the kind of shop I'd associate with this - and I've had a look through their new Autumn/Winter 14 collection and picked out some of my favourite pieces!

French Connection Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection - ladies tops, going out tops, ladies dresses
Top // Dress // Top

One thing French Connection definitely do well is their range of going out tops. I'm quite the fan of paisley print, so I was excited to find it played a big role in their Autumn/Winter Collection this year. If you're looking for something a bit lighter, this sheer top would look great with a black vest underneath (or just a black bra, if you're braver than me!). I personally absolutely love the long-sleeved, shoulder cut-out one. And if you're more of a dress person, their ladies dresses range has some really lovely bits to offer too. I love the glam-goth look of this black dress with chiffon and detailing, and it puts a quirky twist on the classic LBD.

French Connection Autumn/Winter 2014 Collection
1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6

One of the most important A/W bits you need is a good coat, and this pastel one (1) just looks so cosy, and the colour will definitely stand out. A pair of black boots are an absolute winter staple, and these Livy Suede Ankle boots (4) are a perfect choice - and I reckon they'd be great quality too, something you'd associate with French Connection in general. Pair them with one of the FC range of ladies tops, a black skirt and these polka dot tights (6) and you're good to go! I'm currently on the hunt for a new handbag, and I really like the structured feel of the Lyla Bowler Bag (2) - it'd fit all my essentials and look amazing, and it's bound to last for seaasons and seasons to come. To finish off a look with a bit of cosy glamour, the Liberty Faux Fur stole (3) makes a great addition - and the purse (5)? I just love the colour!

What are your thoughts on the French Connection A/W14 range?

*post contains sponsored links

Old Favourites: Nails

Thursday, 21 August 2014

UK Beauty & Lifestyle Blog: Old Favourites: Nails - featuring Models Own Lilac Dream & Northern Lights, Filthy Gorgeous Air Kiss
UK Beauty & Lifestyle Blog: Old Favourites: Nails - featuring Models Own Lilac Dream & Northern Lights, Filthy Gorgeous Air Kiss
Models Own - Lilac Dream, Models Own - Northern Lights, Filthy Gorgeous - Air Kiss

I really enjoyed creating my previous Old Favourites post, on Urban Decay's Show Pony Palette, so I decided to try and make it a bit of a non-time specific, irregular 'series'. I think as a blogger these days, you can really get caught up in the NEED to splash out on high end products and the newest releases, but sometimes having a good old root around in your current stash can bring up some gems you'd forgotten you had.

Recently, I've rediscovered my love for Model's Own's Lilac Dream polish. It's a gorgeous, eye-catching lilac (obviously) that has such a nice tone to it - I'm loving it as my late summer go-to polish. And on the subject of the much-loved by bloggers brand, I've also remembered how much I appreciate their Northern Lights polish - despite it being annoying as hell to get rid of!. Part of their Wonderland collection (which I have all of...), it's a perfect party polish (I could write ace marketing copy with that great sense of alliteration, eh?), mega sparkly and packed with glitter pieces. I also love that it doesn't have to be worn over another shade, as the pale pinky tint of the actual polish makes it almost opaque in two coats. Both are great quality and don't chip easily, which is something I really like about Models Own - and their polishes are great value for a fiver. Big fan!

I also stumbled across this Filthy Gorgeous polish in Air Kiss which I got in an event goody bag absolutely ages ago. It's such a nice ocean blue! The brand seems to have disappeared off the scene at the moment and their Facebook hasn't been updated since 2013, but LookFantastic still stock their products. I really like the bottle shape, as it's a bit different from a lot of other mid-high range polishes, and the detachable guitar plectrum charm is a super cute addition.

Have you 'shopped your stash' recently? Lemme know about any good finds!

Ghost Stories: The Show

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

I do love a good scare - even though I'm a bit of a chicken and actually hide behind my hands/cushion/the person next to me for most of a horror film. I'd wanted to see Ghost Stories for ages, and after realising the season was ending soon, I decided to man up and go by myself. Gulp.

I actually ended up only paying £3.50 for my ticket, as I had credit on the YPlan app, which was quite the bonus. I went on Sunday night, the very last show of this season, and ended up sitting just four rows from the front (you can see how close to the stage I was in the sneaky Safety Curtain picture I took!). One of the big things around Ghost Stories is not giving away any of its secrets, so I'm not going to say much about what happened - only that the show starts with a sceptical professor talking about the psychology of ghost stories. As he leads the audience through acted-out spooky tales, the evening slowly begins to unravel into a rather unexpected ending.

The way the venue set the scene upon entering was really good - the passageway and theatre was decorated with yellow and black tape and numbers written on the walls, and a soundtrack of creepy noises really set the mood for the show. I imagined it was going to be a suspenseful and psychological performance, but there were actually a lot more jump scares than I was expecting. The acting was great, particularly from the actor in the professor role, and I particularly enjoyed the standalone stories and the fact the tension and scares were broken up by humour. The ending was quite strange and I'm not 100% sure I liked it, but overall I did really enjoy the show and it definitely gave me a bit of a fright. Thankfully, I did manage to leave my fear in the theatre as I had to walk down my quiet road home in the dark, and there were no nightmares and I came out entertained but mentally unscathed.

I did sleep with the telly on though...

Tickets for the new booking period from September onwards are now on sale here.