UK Fashion, Beauty & Lifestyle Blog

Thursday, 30 April 2015

DP Dresses The Nation

Dorothy Perkins are currently running a campaign called 'DP Dresses The Nation' whereby they commissioned some research into the nation's favourite dresses to find out which city was wearing which dress the most. They kindly contacted me to see if I wanted to take part by representing Birmingham and the maxi dress! Of course.. I said yes.
Since I'm somehow representing Birmingham on the DP site I thought I'd take you with me to my absolute favourite place to visit in old B town. Those of you that know me will know that I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Birmingham as it's great for shopping, eating out and it's massive so there's always different places to go... but sometimes, it's just too much of a 'city' city. As I've grown older I've developed more of an appreciation for greenery, bird song and nature. (I know... I'm actually 24 not 84, whoudathunkit) There's lots of parks and recreational grounds in Birmingham but if you want the real deal, you're best off heading to The Botanical Gardens. My mom used to take me there as a child so that we could look at the animals, experience tropical plants and of course, so that I could have fun launching myself down the biggest slide known to man. Before that, her parents used to take her and my auntie, and I guess that somehow, it's become a little bit traditional to head there now and again and just take a deep breath in and appreciate the beautiful scenery. 
I'm a fan of maxi-dresses throughout all of the seasons whether it be a floaty summery number, or something more basic and jersey that can be worn with a chunky knit and boots. This baby however, is probably my new all-time fave... I'm so glad I came across it whilst browsing the DP dresses selection. It has a delicate lace back and shoulders and two seductive slits up the side.. I feel like I should be in a bond film or something. (Okay.. maybe that's a little far fetched but I'm pretty sure the dress belongs there even if I don't) I feel like it's super versatile and can be dressed up with heels and a clutch, or dressed down with some flats, a vintage leather jacket and a handy rucksack. The possibilities really are endless and to me? That's the sign of a worthwhile purchase!
To complete the look, I went for some nude and black ankle strap wedges.. it is Spring afterall! I thought that these were just the perfect shoe to pair with this dress: not overstated but equally beautiful enough to hold their own. Ooh, and they're super comfy too!
 I didn't even fall down any tree roots.. honest.
 Dorothy Perkins Maxi Dress* & Ankle Strap Wedges*

I had such a nice day wandering about in the sunshine (and ducking the occasional shower) whilst taking these photo's, and it was nice to feel kind of glamorous for a change. I'd actually wear this dress when the weather cools down too with some lace up chunky boots and maybe even a cropped knit and brown belt tied round the waist. And the shoes? The shoes are my new best friends too. I can't wait to wear them out for cocktails and dinner when the weather gets a little warmer and if I manage to go on holiday this year, you can pretty much guarantee that both of these beauties will be the first things in my case.

What's your favourite kind of dress, and how would you style this maxi?



Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Urban Outfitters A/W 15 Press Event

 Last Thursday I had the pleasure of attending the Urban Outfitters A/W 15 press event. Jealous? I don't blame you.. I was almost jealous of myself. I'll be telling you nothing shocking by letting you in on the fact that I fell in love with basically every single item and am now guilty of counting down the days until I can wear coats and knitwear galore.
As always, the underwear was totally on point, with the addition of some pretty snazzy Calvin Klein's too (these were definitely a blogger fave as I saw a lot of ladies getting snap happy because of their existence.. guilty as charged.) I fell pretty much head over heels for every winter boot I came across but I think those Vagabonds probably came out on top and don't even get me started on that House of Holland denim skirt. I was having a conversation with the lovely Laura who was kind enough to show me around and we were both saying that until recently, denim skirts were just a no-go but after seeing so many people style them up, it had become another must-have purchase. (Side note: Yup.. that orange scarf IS as fluffy as it looks)
After swooning over more accessories (anything with some kind of stone/rock involved and I'm all over it) and falling in love with yet another heap of shoes (these come in black too. I know... I know) I found myself back perusing the rails of clothes to find more camel and burgandy than you can shake a stick at, lots of amazing winter textures and some pretty stand out pieces. Striped co-ords, fluffy coats and lots of denim whether it be shirts, skirts or dungarees made up a heavenly amount of their stock and shock horror.. I fell in love with another coat. I didn't manage to get an amazing 'blog worthy' image of it but if you head over to my instagram I just may have had to pop up a photo on there because, well.. you just need to see it.
I also had a gander around the menswear, partly so that I could mentally make a list of all of the things that I plan to dress my boyfriend in but also for myself. I do love how easy it is for us girls to dip in and out of menswear like it's made for us. I came across lots of cool and grungey pieces along with some sports and streetwear.. a real good mix of all the real good stuff. Boys? You're in for a goodun. I also found myself being immediately drawn to the most amazing shearling coat. It.Was.Heavenly. In fact, I ran into Rob from overdressed and underprepared (probs not on name shortening terms but whatevs, I'm wild like that) and after chatting about I don't even know what, he tried on the shearling coat himself. It looked good! (Still think it'd look better on me) Maybe I'll just convince my boyfriend to buy it in the hopes of stealing it at every opportunity.
Urban Outfitters and homeware: I can't even. It can't just be me that walks out of the shop with the entire shop in their hands after a walk around their homeware section. The wonderful 'After Light' candles were burning all around the event and they smelled just amazing - and looked pretty snazzy too! The idea of using those wire baskets as a table felt just perfect and of course, they were finished off with the stylist placement of a few cool books, some dreamy mugs and of course some headphones. Everything had that classic air of 'effortlessness' that just oozes from every single UO display I've ever seen and it makes me want to live in their shops/press rooms. How dreamy would that be? 
They also had a styling competition where you had to style an outfit and I think the winner won a voucher for UO : Ideal. I had a go and really enjoyed styling an outfit and having all of the displays to play with.. I really felt in my element! If you want to see what I put together then just click here. Now then.. don't you want every single item in that image? Me too. I don't actually know who won or even if they've picked a winner yet but I would urge whoever did/does win to buy that grey coat that I fell in love with.. and probably everything else too.


Sunday, 26 April 2015

Casse - toi

Remember that Cos, Zara & H&M haul where I picked up millions of amazing things like that Zara denim playsuit and that perfect Cos dress? Well.. in that case you'll also remember that I picked up these H&M culottes and was pretty excited about them. So here's the thing: I think they make me look even wider than the wide load that I am. How is it that people pull them off again? It's an art.. let me tell you that. Here's another thing though: I'm a firm believer that if you are confident in something then it looks a lot more 'right' than if you're awkwardly standing around drawing attention to how weird your outfit is.. so maybe I just need to be confident in my wide load? I mean.. I LIKE how crazy wide they are.. I was always an in the closet lover of hareem pants.. even after they went out of fashion (they were in in the first place.. right?) because lets be honest: comfort. I guess culottes are similar in a way?
The T-shirt is an oldie but a goodie from Topshop last year. As I'm sure you can imagine, I was pleased to find out that the phrase actually means 'piss off' or something similar in French. Once I knew that it had to be mine.. definitely my kinda take on a slogan tee. (Verbally aggressive? I don't know) If you want to wear it into work one day when your boss is annoying you then I won't judge.
It's pretty see through which isn't ideal if you've got serious boobage or serious anything other than abs really but whatevs, I'm more wagon wheel than abs of steel.
H&M Culottes, Topshop Tee & Necklace, Adidas Gazelles.

I finished off the look with my Adidas trainers because what else would one wear with a totally mismatched outfit? Also take note : If I don't stand in this awkward way, my body looks like a weeble (weebles wobble but they don't fall down)... so basically I'm proving that I have two legs that aren't attached the whole way down and that I'm actually fully human, honest. If anybody wants to educate me in the ways of wearing such a comfy item of clothing without looking weeblesque then that'd be great. Thanks.



Thursday, 23 April 2015

A Casual LBD

 Nothing groundbreaking here but sometimes nothing will do unless it's an LBD with a checked shirt and today is one of those days! I love the combo of something more 'evening appropriate' with something as casual as a baggy shirt as I just feel like both items compliment each other so well. The shirt looks better for the presence of the dress and vice versa. Oh, and my Nikes of course... lets not forget those. I took these photo's after having one of those mad 'trying on' sessions when trying to figure out what to wear for an upcoming meeting. As I'm writing this I'm pretty much no further forward so I might have to head back up to my floordrobe and have a rummage.
I've been steering away from anything bodycon for basically a year whilst I try and sort my rolls out but a baggy tee or shirt really can cover a multitude of sins and for that I will be forever thankful. I also went bare-legged again which is starting to become a habit but with the lovely weather we've been having I'm basically using any excuse to get my limbs out... I'm not convinced it will last!
 Topshop Shirt & Dress, Notonthehighstreet Necklace, Asos Bag, Urban Outfitters Bracelet, Nike Air Max 90's

I know I'm not exactly making fashion history with this post but I guess I wanted to reflect how my style changes on a daily basis depending entirely on how I'm feeling. I'm thinking of wearing this dress to an event I've got coming up in London but with a baggy jumper like in this post. If you do take a peek back then you'll see that once upon a time, my legs did not glow.. and it was good. I think I'd been to Mexico a few months previous and my tan was sticking around a little. Ohhhh how I miss watching the sunrise and the never ending cocktails. Take me back there please?

Are you guys heading out on any summer holidays this year?
Go on.. make me jealous.


Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Festival Skincare Survival

Kiehl's Festival Survival Kit*, Topshop sunglasses, bag & fedora

Praise the lord, festival season is finally upon us, and if you're worried about skincare then you need not be! Just keep reading! 
If you're anything like my younger self, then you'll probably just grab a pack of wet wipes and be done with it but if you were to ever need a decent skin care routine, it's probably going to be when you're covered in mud, glitter, spilt alcohol and suncream/rain/sweat ( the list really could go on.. couldn't it) Now then, I'm not suggesting that you pack your entire skincare and makeup selection into suitcases to take with you as I'm well aware of how completely unpractical that would be. However, by planning ahead and making a few minimal changes, you might leave that festival with better skin than when you arrived!

So.. Here's my easy tips of taking care of your skin when it needs it most:

Pack on that SPF : Gone are the days when I used to dread suncream as it would stay white and sticky for hours and enter a whole new appreciation for protecting my skin from those dangerous UV rays. I'm all about getting that tan on but if you're heading to any festivals this summer, you're likely to be out and about for days on end and that can really play havoc with your skin. Also.. a peeling nose is SO not instagramable. Priorities please. Ideally you're looking for something lightweight and non-greasy that you'll only have to apply once in the morning so go for something in the factor 50's and job's a goodun'.

Cleanse properly: If you're using facewipes you'll probably only be taking off one of the hundred layers of grime/glitter that have built up over the day/night and then proceeding to dry your skin out ready for a nicely irritated blotchy face (Just me? No, didn't think so.) Get your hands on a travel size gentle cleanser that doesn't require bucket loads of water to do its thang (enter the Kiehl's ultra facial cleanser), grab yourself a face cloth or flannel and a bottle of water and you're good to go!

Go light with your base: Nobody wants a face caked full of foundation, contour, powder, bronzer, blush etcetcetc when you've got a busy day ahead doing what this festival thing is all about: drinking. Haha I'm kidding.. but seriously.. you want to be able to let loose whilst listening to your favourite bands without worrying that your face is about to melt off. So, get yourself involved with a tinted moisturiser or skin perfector and you won't have to worry about your new face slipping off of your real face. 

Time to recover: If you've been watching my videos over on my youtube channel then you'll know I'm a fan of the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate.. It basically saves my face and leaves me waking up with smoother, clearer and more radiant skin : just what I'm about. The great thing about this product or those that are similar is that they take minimal effort and give maximal results! (Something else that I'm totally about.. especially when I've got more important things to worry about like who's feet are in my face in a significantly overcrowded 2-man tent). You can literally just apply it before you head off to sleep and my morning you'll feel renewed and refreshed.. well.. your skin will at least, I can't promise the same for your head.

If you're looking for 'do it all' kinda purchase then you might want to check out Kiehl's who have partnered with Zara Martin to create the ultimate festival survival kit. It includes many of their holy grail products in a travel perfect size and can we please just appreciate how frigging CUTE that tiny Recovery Concentrate bottle is? The products will last you easily through a few festivals and probably longer as a little really does go a long way with every single product included. I can't really pick a favourite as I'm in love with them all but I've been testing out the Micro Blur Skin Perfector since it arrived on my doorstep a few weeks ago and I dig it. A lot. If you purchase this little bag of absolute babein' goodies then you'll also get the limited edition tote bag which is great because A) It's got skulls on it and B) You can use it to carry round your necessities which may or may not include flower headbands and face glitter. I'm not here to judge.

I'm hoping to take my kit along to The Great Escape festival in Brighton which would be ideal for many reasons: one of which being that Brighton is my favourite place in the entire world so there's that. 
Have you got any festivals planned this Summer? 
Obviously Coachella is always the goal but for now, I'm more than happy to listen to some sweet music and soak up the rays with my pals.



Sunday, 19 April 2015

Body & Mind: An Update

When it comes to fitness and a healthy lifestyle, I've always kind of dipped in and out of it like it's a new trend or only for the summer months. Winter can be quite chilly and miserable here in the UK and I always use that as an excuse for copious amounts of hot chocolate, cake and an extra layer (or ten) of body fat to keep me warm.
Nevertheless, I feel like I've come a long way on my fitness journey and no longer see it as a 'quick fix' for bikini season but more of a positive thing that can effect not only my abs, but also my mind set and for me.. that's the most important bit.
Since taking part in the 30 Days of Yoga challenge with Adrienne (ultimate woman crush right there)I've developed somewhat of an obsession with the activity, and now that the weather is getting warmer.. it's great to take the exercise outside too.
Something that I still feel is really important for keeping me motivated is getting my mitts on some practical (but cool) workout gear. When I know that I'm going to be comfortable in my outfit, I'm much more likely to want to change into it of a morning rather than stay in my pj's and as much as I rate a massive t-shirt and pj shorts for the most basic of stretching activities, if you're going to head out for a run, or accidentally end up doing a head stand on your garden decking then it really does help if you're donning the right gear. All of the workout gear I'm wearing in these photo's can be found on Matalan's Activewear shop.
I think that what I find the most refreshing about yoga, or any exercise really.. is that it's a way to take time to yourself. It might not be exactly how you envision 'chilling out' or having some 'me time' but how often does your planned relaxation actually last longer than five minutes? With our mobiles firmly attached to our bodies and push notifications galore, it can be hard to switch off, even for five minutes. When you take the decision to go out for a run, head to the gym or practice yoga.. it really gives you a set amount of time where you can't be checking your emails or updating your facebook status and that, ladies and gents.. is like a breath of fresh air in our otherwise relentlessly full days.
Matalan Long sleeved Tee*, Full length leggings*, Mesh Tee* & 3/4 length leggings*, Nike Trainers

With Summer creeping eagerly around the corner, I want to feel confident in a crop and that's only going to happen if I actually make a lifestyle change. I think that's the important thing about health really... it needs to be part of your everyday lifestyle and I want working out to feel as natural and necessary as brushing my teeth. I've found that I enjoy yoga more than any kind of regular exercise I've taken part in before and I think that's because of how much it really helps to chill me out. It helps to tone and strengthen, but it also helps to clear your mind and give you focus.. what could be better than that! I've also finally accepted that lifting weights won't make me look like the hulk but will actually tone what little muscle I have so I'm getting into that too.  GOODBYE BINGO WINGS. (hopefully)

What's your favourite type of exercise?
Have you tried the 30 days of yoga challenge?



Thursday, 16 April 2015

Lady In Red

The last time I wore this dress was over a year ago when I attended a 'pre-op' appointment. I'd been surviving on the most rubbish pre-op diet which basically consisted of nothing and this dress flowed a little easier over my hips. (These hips don't lie) Nevertheless, it's a dress that I absolutely love and with the addition of a fedora -any bloggers must-have accessory - I felt good to go.
 I'd apologise for the repetition of those beautiful bargain boots but.. I'm just not sorry. I'd also apologise for the sheer pastyness of them limbs but in a previous post you guys said you weren't offended by my paleness so here we go, I'm joyfully bringing you some more! If it gets a little cooler then I'll just whack on some tights and my leather jacket and that's warm to cold, day to evening dressing for you. Simples.
 Forever 21 Dress, Topshop Hat & Boots, Not On The Highstreet Necklace

As windy as it's been at times (see Marlyn Monroe-esque photo above), the weather has been SO lovely recently - I even did Yoga in my garden this morning.. Beautiful! I recently spent a few days in London (more to come soon, including a vlog of course) and it was so nice to be able to sit in a park and soak up the rays with some friends. 
It's funny... I'm such a fan of Autumn dressing and am convinced it's my fave season but then Summer happens... and festival dressing.. and I just.. I LOVE IT ALL. I JUST LOVE IT ALL.

Have you been enjoying the beautiful weather recently? And what's your favourite season to dress for?



Tuesday, 14 April 2015

How To Say Yes When Life Is Saying No

I'm writing this to you but also a little bit (read: a LOT) to myself.. because sometimes we all need a gentle reminder that life is not actually out to get us, and there's always things we can do to make our journey a little easier on the old body and mind. So.. here's some life advice from someone that's not very good at it.

I'm a firm believer that we accept the love we think we deserve. So.. if you're not getting all of that good kinda stuff then maybe you just need to realise how awesome you are (in a totally non conceited way) and accept that you deserve the good things in life, and love from good people is one of those things.
Push yourself harder than you ever thought possible. Not having any luck in your chosen career path? Volunteer, take extra qualifications and just keep going. Struggling to learn a skill? Make time for it. Got no motivation to keep up with something? Just get the hell up and do it. Whatever you do, don't give up. You don't want to look back on your life wishing that you'd tried harder or gave more of yourself to something.
That being said.. Know when to cut yourself some slack. Everybody is different and some people are capable of more before they burn out. Don't compare yourself to these people. Know your own body and mind and don't feel guilty for allowing yourself some time off. Relax.. you'll need your energy for when you're kicking life's ass.
Do that thing that ignites a fire in your belly like nothing else: whether that be writing, running or singing. Maybe you can't afford to do it full time right now and.. I get it.. you've got bills to pay and food to buy but.. don't ever turn your back on the things that give you life. Without them you are not yourself and it's important to keep these things and carry them with us at all times. They make us special, they make us passionate, and they make us human.
Get help if you need it. I mean it. This applies to asking a friend for help if you're struggling with homework, all the way up to asking your doctor for help if you're struggling with your thoughts. All too often we can be too proud of our 'doing it on our own'ness and sometimes we just can't and that's okay. We weren't made to be lone wolves (even if you take pride in being one).. everybody bleeds and you are no different so just suck it up and ask for help. It might be the best thing you ever did.
I've been completely won over by this and would recommend it/force it onto anyone: Practice Yoga.
I don't care if you're the most unflexible potato or if you're the most zen person on the planet.. there is no -one alive that wouldn't benefit from a savasana or two. (Bold statement? I'm sticking with it). Oh.. and don't tell me that you don't have time. There's always time for the things that are important to you.
Something my Dad once said to me before another horrendously lonely day at school was 'Dont Let the B****rds Grind You Down' Now.. he's not exactly the best at advice to put it lightly but this one time he had it pretty much spot on. There will always be people in your life that just seem to be out to get you, or just put a downer on your day. I don't know why they're there or what their issue is but what I do know is that it's not a reflection on you. Smile sweetly and then move the hell on.. You've got bigger fish to fry.
Sometimes, all we need to do is just step outside. It's amazing how much difference a breath of fresh air can make to any crushing kind of situation. My personal favourite is to seek out the sea and just watch it do it's thing. It's not that easy for me as I'm pretty sure I live in the furthest possible location to the sea in the UK. Nevertheless.. I know that that's my place. Find yours and visit it as regularly as you can.
Sometimes we can be so set on getting what we want out of life that it's hard to be open to change. The thing is though.. nothing happens all linear like it does in films. People have failures and set-backs, and sometimes.. no matter how much it feels it.. it's just not the right time. Those that are able to adapt to these changes and still keep going are the ones that are able to get back on track when life gives them an opportunity to.
Annd finally, something that I think we all need to hear from time to time: It's not too late.
Whilst you've still got life left in you, there's still chance to seize the day and do whatever it is that you need to do to feel whole. Get out there and do it. There's nothing stopping you now.



Sunday, 12 April 2015

Spring Has Sprung

So I think that we can all agree that I'm more than a little bit pale right now. I never thought I'd see the day where my skin actually glows proudly against a white backdrop. Still.. the weather is slowly getting warmer and tanned skin is on the horizon.. I can just feel it.
It's clear to me that the absolute stars of the show here are these beautiful boots from Topshop. I picked them up last year in the sale for about £15? This kind of thing was a regular occurrence when I worked there and  I'd be lying if I said I didn't miss it.. but who knows.. maybe giving up beautiful bargain shoes will prove worth it in the long run. I feel like they're perfect for this kind of transitional weather we're experiencing because they're open toe and cheekily show a bit of ankle but they're still a black boot.. and I love.. a black boot.
The shorts I'm wearing are a vintage find from many many years ago and if you scroll back far enough on my lookbook account, you'll see them in action over there too. I haven't worn them for years but can't bring myself to throw them away as I just think they're so cool. I mean.. the thing is.. they're not flattering in the slightest and I'm more than aware of my recent fifty stone weight gain so they don't make me feel that good when I catch sight of myself in them but they're just SO comfy and I like the acid wash and I've basically never seen anything like them so I think they might have to stay in my wardrobe for a little while longer..
Boohoo Shirt, Topshop Boots, Cow Vintage Shorts

I've also been loving trialling out some more pink hued makeup in the name of spring as I feel like it's a bit of an update from my usual red lip and darker smokey eye. I actually filmed a tutorial for this look so if you want to check that out then just click here. (Be warned.. I was having a particularly bad skin day and yes.. without makeup I do look like a gremlin.)

What kind of footwear are you going for in this weather? I feel like sandals are maybe a little too summery at this point but I'm itching to get into summer mode!


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