Friday, 28 February 2014

February



February has been a roller coaster. When I say roller coaster, I don't mean the type you get at Disney with flying elephants and sweet brainwashing songs are on repeat. No, I'm talking about sudden drops, upside down, travelling at the speed of light, only to then suddenly stop kind of roller coaster.

This month I've gone from just dealing with uni work, to suddenly having lots of blogger events, interviews, and now exams to juggle. With half of my exams 4 1/2 hours (with no break), coming home to tackle my other commitments is tiring stuff. Needless to say I'm absolutely exhausted. I have one more week left of mayhem and then I think I'm going to treat myself to a little rest. Although tiring, I have been extremely lucky. I went to the Country Attire event, Manchester Bloggers Meet-Up and the Fresh laces x Harvey Nichols event and met some lovely local bloggers. That's one of the things I adore about blogging, you get opportunities, meeting people, brands and just new experiences, that you wouldn't normally do. If you didn't catch my new year post back in January, you'll know that I wanted to grab every opportunity, and this month I really have. I've said yes to things I would usually back out of, or tell myself I didn't have time for, and it really has been good for me. Hopefully by saying yes more often, this year will be amazing.

Things I've learn't this month:

  1. Sometimes you actually do need to read a manual rather than trying to just work it out as you go along. If your camera suddenly shows up that your SD card is locked, there's a switch on your SD card that you just flick. The simple things are the hardest to spot.
  2. My brain works in logic. Magic performed in front of my eyes confuses me. Ronismagic is a master at confusing me.
  3. I need to explore my home city more and try new places. Exhibit A: Almost Famous. Without Amy, Fran and Cat, I would have never gone there and experienced the delicious food coma that followed.
  4. Putting in extra work when the pressure is off means less stress when the pressure is on. Because I kept detailed notes throughout my uni course, now I'm into exams my life is a lot easier than what it could have been.
  5. Anything that makes me gasp when I'm half asleep is a good read. If you've not read Gone Girl, you need to. 

xoxo
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Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Fresh Laces x Harvey Nichols Manchester Event










On Friday I met up with Amy, Cat & Fran and headed down to Harvey Nichols for the Fresh Laces and Harvey Nichols collaboration. As soon as we walked into the store, there was a buzz, and it just got more intense the closer you got to the Menswear department.

As I've said in previous posts, Fresh Laces is an incredibly successful sneaker and lifestyle event company who have taken London by storm, and now Manchester. For those of you who think sneakers are more for your boyfriends and brothers, think again. After talking to Nathan Massiah, one of the founders, it became clear that the event targeted a far wider audience. From the most beautiful jewelry by Elisha Francis London to incredible wall art, the pop-up event catered to every taste.

Of course there were trainers, but not as you know it. I actually own four pairs of trainers not including converse, impressive for a girly girl, but even I was amazed at the range of styles sneakers actually come in. Everything from classics to limited editions were present, satisfying even the most dedicated sneakerhead. As soon as I locked eyes on a pair of baby blue Nike wedge high tops, I was a convert. I spied a pair of pink camo trainers which I may want need for the gym and am already trying the mentally fit that Paul Howath canvas in my room. 

Treated to performances by NathStar and 10 Faces, Fresh Laces is more than a pop-up shop. Entertainment creates an energy that makes it a must for anyone. I enjoyed people watching and loved seeing an eclectic mix of styles coming together, all styling their trainers in a unique way. With plans to expand and develop, Fresh Laces is a name to keep an eye out for.

How do you style trainers? Are you a gym-only person or do you rock a sport luxe look?

xoxo
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Monday, 24 February 2014

MAC A Fantasy of Flowers Collection || Heavenly Hybrid Lipstick





























I have a love/hate relationship with MAC collections. Sometimes I feel like there is a constant stream of new collections and they potentially cash in on the "limited collection" reaction. I have to admit, I've had that reaction more than once with MAC. Saying this, I love their new A Fantasy of Flower Collection and think its really strong, despite a couple of products being returns from previous collections such as Stereo Rose (which I also got).

The one lipstick that stood out for me is Heavenly Hybrid, a lovely blue-toned orchid. After the announcement of Pantone's Colour of the Year, I have been searching high and low for the perfect Radiant Orchid shade and I think I may have found one. Although a little bit more pinker than the Pantone shade, this is a great alternative for those of you who are a bit nervous when it comes to a purple lip (me included). There's no special packaging for A Fantasy of Flower Collection, so its the iconic black bullet. The formula is lustre, one of my favorite from MAC. Being a lustre, the shade is very lightweight and hydrating, ideal for this time of year or if you suffer from dry lips. As you can see in the swatch, the pigmentation is great for a lustre and there's a nice shine to it. However, as your probably aware, they aren't the most long-wearing of formulas that MAC does but I can still get 2 & 1/2 hours out of an application, dependent on how many times you drink and eat.  

It's sold out online but is very similar to Girl About Town from the permanent collection. Limited collections usually hit the counters a week after they go online so this should be around at the end of this week or early next week. 

Have picked up anything nice in one of MAC's newer collections? Got a good Radiant Orchid lip shade?

xoxo
J
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Friday, 21 February 2014

Tanya Burr for Eye Candy













(Left to right) - Midnight Sparkles, Peaches & Cream
(Top to bottom) - Let's Travel The World, Just Peachy, Vampire Kiss

































































Despite ordering from Feel Unique on the day of the release, I've not had my hands on a couple of the items from the extremely-hyped collection from Tanya Burr for Eye Candy. After a little bit of investigation, it seems that the nail varnish supplier had difficulty supplying the demand. Anyway, now that I've got my paws on some of the line, its a pretty solid first collection.

Firstly, I just want to address the horrendous packaging. I hate cardboard packaging for make-up and think it would have been better just to leave the bottles do the talking. It completely lowers my expectations of the products from the get go and if the range wasn't so hyped I probably wouldn't pick anything up. There's also a slightly discrepancy with the pink hearts on the top of the lids. All but my version of Midnight Sparkles has them, but again that may be due to the supplier issues. Hey, you never know that might make mine extremely collectible?

Nails first, I picked up a light and a dark shade just to test variation and consistency of the formula. The polish is extremely creamy and easy to apply. The shade range is equally impressive for a debut range and I think all of them are really lovely shades. I do find Peaches & Cream to be less of a peach shade and be more of a dusky pink, peach hybrid. I was also somewhat disappointed by Midnight Sparkles. Appearing black in the bottle, the polish is actually a shimmering purple at certain angles, with no glitter as the name would suggest (although pink glitter can be seen in the bottle). Both shades applied smoothly and the swatches above are with two coats. Midnight Sparkles lasted 4 days chip free and I'm assuming the majority of the polishes will be of similar wear. 

Now for the lip gloss. I'm not a lip gloss wearer and usually opt for a lacquer, stain or just an old fashioned lipstick rather than a gloss. However, I do really like these offerings and have been reaching for them since they arrived. Although it looks like a vibrant red in the bottle, Lets Travel The World is more of a coral whist Vampire Kiss is a deep red shade. I'm not normally one for light lips as I don't think they suit my fair skin tone and dark features, but I really like Just Peachy. A baby pink, peach shade, its great for layering over nude lipstick or on its own. I definitely agree with the claims that the glosses are super moisturising, and not too sticky, making them some of the best ones I've tried. The wear time is the same as most lipglosses in that it needs topping up every couple of hours or after eating/drinking.

Overall I'm pretty impressed by this collection. I do think that the range is maybe aimed towards a younger market but for the price of the products, they are amazing value for money. Next time I'm on Feel Unique I'm definitely going to pick up another couple of lip glosses to expand my collection. The range is available from Feel Unique, and I believe will be stocked in Superdrug stores too.

Have you got any shade recommendations for me to try?

xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Spring Shopping


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I said I was going to stop shopping and I failed. Pretty miserably in fact. I honestly cannot help it, the high street seems to have got so amazing lately, it would be a fashion crime not to pick up a few pieces. The way my logic works is that if I don't get these bits now, I'll just regret it in summer when their sold out and theirs no other alternatives. Really I'm just saving myself from heartbreak. Anyone buying that? Yep, just me then.

Anyway I thought I'd brighten up your Wednesday by sharing three fashion pieces I've picked up and entice a couple more of you to search your sofa for a few extra pennies so I'm not the only one failing at this whole spending less thing. 

Shoes. Shoes are essential right? Flat shoes are sensible, and sensible shoes are something you always need meaning that this purchase from Topshop wasn't actually that bad. I'm trying. A for excuse effort at least. These are the Margate Double Buckle Geek Shoes and I am in love. They take me back to primary school when I was rocking the Alexa Chung indie vibe well before it became cool. Did anyone else wear boater hats? Maybe that's why I'm such a hat person now. Anyway apart from making me very rambley and nostalgic, they go with everything from jeans to pretty dresses. A lot of people have complained that the single buckle version of these are really uncomfortable. Apart from rubbing the first time I wore them, they are so comfortable, but each to their own. I would say if your going to pick up a pair to really consider the size. Their quite generous, so if you a 1/2 size, go for the smaller size. 

I tend to go through phases with different stores. One season I will love their collection, then I will have no interest everything for the next couple of seasons. That happened with River Island. I've not really been into their stuff since I was around 19 but they've suddenly come back on my radar with their latest drop. I picked up this beige two-tone pleated midi skirt mainly for the fact that pleated skirts are my thing. I think I have around 6 different ones now so they are just part of my style. I think this skirt is perfect for spring, its nice and floaty, ideal for a wedding! I also spotted this light pink lace crop top and instantly needed it in my life. This dusky pink shade is my favorite colour and it has a bit of a vintage vibe to it which is right up my street. The added details like the scalloped hem just make it one piece I know I will be wearing constantly right through spring and summer, so its basically an investment. Fooling no-one.

So that's what I picked up this week. Let this be a lesson to you all that 'just browsing' will never be just browsing. 

xoxo
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Monday, 17 February 2014

Mr Nutcase Phone Cover

iPhone Case(*) - £14.95


























I was recently contacted by the team at Mr. Nutcase, asking me if I'd like the opportunity to try one of their phone covers. As a serious phone addict, I'm always looking for fashionable ways to protect my phone so of course I happily jumped at the chance. 

Mr Nutcase offers a range of cases for everything from Apple iPads to HTC Desires. They have a ready-made collection, available in Ultra Light Weight Slimline or Executive Flip Leather Style, or a "Create Your Own" service allowing you to use one or more of your favorite photos to customize your case. I originally wanted to use some of my photos but I am so indecisive I just couldn't decide which ones. I eventually chose a case from the existing collection in Ultra Light Weight Slimline style for my iPhone 45 and am completely in love with it! I like to change my cases quite often but was looking for a versatile one that wasn't too bulky but wasn't flimsy either. I really like how the design is quite 1920's and will go with everything due to the monochrome. Although its really lightweight and streamline, it seems quite tough and flexible so will take some battering too. 

One thing I will point out is that the "Create Your Own" service in a Ultra Light Weight Slimline style for an iPhone 4S will only set you back £14.95! That's one of the cheapest prices I've seen for such a service. Not only that but the shipping was incredibly fast. I ordered my case on Wednesday night and received it in Friday morning's post, making it ideal if you need a last minute present.

Overall I'm really chuffed with my case. Mr Nutcase cases are complete value for money and the quality and service provided is amazing. I'd definitely recommend checking them out for presents (Mother's Day is next month) or you've been thinking about getting a new cover for yourself!

What case have you currently got on your phone?
xoxo
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Friday, 14 February 2014

Disappointing Products


























If you try enough beauty products, every once in a while your bound to come across a couple that you don't get along with. Beauty blogging can create an enormous amount of hype and sometimes the product description just doesn't fully deliver. Today I'm going to talk about a couple of products I won't be repurchasing in a hurry.

Let's start with the most controversial of the products, the Rimmel Kate Moss lipstick in 107. This is the most perfect shade imaginable and I am in completely love with it and the texture, but obviously there's something not quite right if its in this post. The one issue I have with this lipstick is how it wears. Whilst it hasn't got an awful wear time, it tends to fade (patchily) from the inside out on me leaving me with a rather fetching red-lined pout. It also transfers like crazy whenever you drink or eat, more than any other lipstick I've tried. I'm going to try and match it to a good quality lip liner and see if that makes a difference, but at the moment, its just a huge disappointment. 

Another let-down has been the Loreal Super Liner Perfect Slim (review here). A bit of a bizarre one, I've loved this liner for a good year and a half and have repurchased it numerous times, until suddenly it seems to have stopped working for me. Recently, any line I've drawn with this has transferred onto my upper eyelid. I'm not even talking a slightly transfer, this is full on mirror image, full intensity stuff. How odd?! Maybe they've secretly changed the formula or my eyes had mysteriously changed(?!) but whatever it is, this obviously isn't the eyeliner for me.

When I did a huge Liberty haul  I had to include Mane 'n Tail Shampoo and Conditioner in my shopping basket. I'm planning on doing a more detailed review of the duo soon, but in case you're unfamiliar with the products, its hair care that can be used both on humans and horse hair. Both products state that they will give your hair a healthy shine and that's the look I was aiming for, so all good. What it didn't say was that when used together, as suggested, your hair is less Cheryl Cole, more Chip Pan. Extremely heavy, this takes shiny to the extreme, and not a good extreme at that.

Lastly, a bit of generic Lush disappointment. The product photographed is Sugar Plum Fairy Solid Scrub from their Christmas range, however I've now tried 3 different types of this scrub all with the same result so that's quite irrelevant. Usually a massive Lush fan girl, I don't think I've ever been truly disappointed with a product until now. I criticize scrubs for not being abrasive enough but this product is another that takes it to the other extreme. I don't have sensitive skin, and yet it becomes incredibly sensitive when I use this. Not only that but I find it very wasteful as it kind of disintegrates as you use it. I've ended up keeping it in an old Soap and Glory Scrub pot while I try and finish it just to try and use most of the product. To me, its just a complete waste, and you would be far better off buying their potted scrubs to begin with.

What are your experiences with the products I've talked about? Have you had any disappointing products you think I should avoid?

xoxo
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Wednesday, 12 February 2014

Country Attire Event







On Monday night I made my way down to Revolution de Cuba for a night of lusting after pieces celebrating British style. Country Attire brings together brands from across the world, united by their portrayal of the quintessential British look. From playing croquet and getting my nails done to failing at re-lacing deck shoes, it was the perfect way to escape the low temperatures.  

Think more Duchess of Cambridge than the Archers, the pieces available are classic capsule items, with a fashionable twist. Including the comfiest deck shoes from Sebago to buttery soft leather jackets from Hugo Boss, the site is a haven for practical luxury. My eyes were firmly set on the Strathberry of Scotland offerings, which even include a traditional lucky penny in!  All the brands are of the highest quality, whether that be the finest wool or most flattering tailoring, each representing an investment that will easily become a staple.

As you can probably guess I had a lovely evening and it was so nice to have an event in Manchester! I've really got into the habit of buying good quality staples, have you got any favorite brands I should be looking at?

xoxo
J
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Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Self-imposed Pressure

Credit
Pressure. Some people thrive off it, some people struggle. Before I start this post, I'd just like to make it clear what kind of pressure I'm referring to. I'm not talking about the kind of pressure created by leaving assignments until the last minute to complete. I've never been one of those people and the thought of doing that stresses me out in itself. What I'm talking about is the internal standards we set for ourselves, whether it be to get certain grades, get a promotion at work, stick to a 5 year life plan or just hold yourself to a higher standard.

Personally, I hold my self to a ridiculously high standard and that's something I've tried to work on for a while. I think the best example of this is my grades. I have always got consistently high grades and get so disappointed with myself when they slip. I've really had to work for my grades. In high school I had to do extra work, but now I know that's because I was actually dyslexic and didn't have support. I coped better in A-levels and in my undergraduate degree and I'm doing even better on me legal vocational course. Despite this, I'm never really content. I always want to get better marks. 

Now some of you may be thinking that this is a good thing, I mean usually its the case that people don't have motivation, not too much right? Well yeah being pro-active is great, but its a case of the extent you push yourself. If you push yourself too hard, its not healthy. I think, if I'm being honest sometimes, I do push it to the extreme. I'm quite a half-empty kind of person, even though I really wish I wasn't. I used have an issue admitting that, seeing even this as a defeat against my perfectionist ideals, but its nothing to be ashamed of or wrong with this, just a way in which people process situations internally. But you need to keep it in check. Like someone half-full mindset having the potential to wear 'rose-tinted glasses' and refuse to see the situation how it really is, being half-empty also has its issues. I will completely ignore what I've achieved, and instead focus on what I got wrong. Be that a question I got wrong or lost marks on or a blog post I didn't do as well as I wanted to, I look for things I didn't do rather than what I have. While this might help me to constantly improve, the pressure it puts on me is enormous.

By overlooking my achievements and focusing on mistakes, I set my standards so high, possibly unrealistically high. At my worst, I'm never happy with my performance, and loose sight of the overall picture. I forget during the stressful times of assessments that I do law because I absolutely love it. At the end of last year and a bit into January, I even forget why I loved blogging and got caught up in a perfectionist vicious circle, focusing on follower numbers and page views. I became incredibly low and felt like if I couldn't do something completely perfect, there was no point doing it at all. I had lost all motivation to do the things I cared most about. As I said at the start, some people thrive from this pressure, and generally I do too when its an external source. However, when I personally hold myself to this ridiculously high standard, its a recipe for disaster. The pressure of having to perform better, actually has the reverse effect. And then when you realise you haven't performed, you feel even worse. It's a vicious circle and one that is exceptionally hard to break. 

What makes it hard is that its self-imposed. Nobody is making you apply this pressure to yourself. Nobody is telling you need to work to this standard. In fact, chances are people actually tell you you put yourself under too much pressure. But 9 times out of 10 you will think that its because of people's expectations that your thinking like this in the first place and your scared to disappoint them. For me, half of the battle was forgetting what other people thought and focusing on what I want and what makes me happy. Pretty simple right? No. It's hard when its you who is your own worst enemy

Now that I have successfully broken my circle, all of my stress over small things seems very trivial and daft, but I bet a lot of you have put off trying something new, maybe even just karaoke on a night out, because you were scared you wouldn't be any good. A minor example maybe, but its exactly the same theory. You didn't do something because you didn't think you were good enough, and not because you weren't interested. Nothing should be about minor things which don't effect the bigger picture. The bigger picture should always be how you feel about it and what you want. Ambition and determination are such sort-after qualities, but take them to the extreme and they can be self-destructive. Nothing is worth risking your happiness.

I didn't intend this post to be some kind of public therapy session. I'm the happiest I've been in a long time and a major part of that is being able to conquer this self-imposed pressure I place myself under. I just wanted to highlight why you should look at the overall picture, and try not to get to caught up in little things that won't change a lot. I am nowhere near as bad as I used to be, and its not destructive at all. But I do have to keep myself in check and that's one achievement I won't ignore.

Do you suffer from self-imposed pressure? How do you keep yourself in check?

xoxo
J
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Monday, 3 February 2014

Introducing Nathan from Fresh Laces



Nathan Massiah. Avid sneaker collector since the late 90s, lover of hip-hop and the brainchild behind Fresh Laces. From getting his first pair of Nike Air Hurarche's on a family vacation to New York in 1994, Nathan now has over 100 pairs of rare and exclusive sneakers and is known for his unique street style and key eye for emerging trends.

Fresh Laces events are all about creating a unique atmosphere for sneaker enthusiasts to come together to buy, sell and interact with each other.Working closely with the fast-growing 'Sneakerhead' community,Nathan and his team have created a platform for sneaker re-sellers, street wear clothing brands as well as sneaker related artwork and accessories. 

After five successful events during 2013, the team are now preparing for an exclusive sneaker event hosted by luxury department store Harvey Nichols Manchester on Friday 21st February.

Personally, I cannot wait to see what the team come up with next. 

xoxo

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