Thursday, 29 September 2016

Welcome to the Digital Age

casio digital womens watchcasio digital womens watch
My first watch was a pink Baby G. Remember them? I think everyone who was a child in the 1990's had one and they were the coolest thing ever. But, they kind of ruined digital watches for me. Whenever someone mentions digital watches I just think err I'll just have an elegant Olivia Burton thanks. But then Sports Luxe came in, and everything changed. 

For some unknown reason, I needed a digital watch. I looked high and low for something that wasn't too sporty, trying to find something that gave a nod to Sports Luxe without straying too far from my comfort zone. As always, ASOS came to the rescue and I spotted this beauty. The Casio LA680WEA Mini Digital Black Face Watch sits daintily on my wrist, not at all reminiscent of my childhood favourite. The metal bracelet strap keeps it looking elegant whilst the square digital face is enough to subtlely hint at sporty style. And just like that I'm back in love with digital watches.

Did you have a Baby G? What do you think of digital watches? Let me know in the comments below.


Tuesday, 27 September 2016

Why I've (attempted) to Stop Shopping

spending ban

I'm a talking typing blogger cliche, but it's true; I've put myself on a spending ban. 

For those of you who don't know, I've just got back from America (travel diaries coming soon), and I'm spending a couple of days in New York in April, so I need to save those pennies now more than ever. But it's not just holidays that have got my skint. I've now started a Postgraduate degree at University, and even though I am happy to have a student discount again, funding myself means that I can't splash out as much as I used to. That's no hardship though. It was over Summer, when I was having a bit of a clear out that I realised how much stuff I've bought over the last year that I didn't really need. I mean, the odd purchase is fair enough, everyone makes an impulse buy once in a while, but to have a box full of products I haven't used is a bit too much. So I'm in shopping rehab.

What does this mean for the blog? Whilst blogging doesn't mean you have to spend money, it definitely tempts you into splashing the cash. Anyway, my spending ban essential means I'll be shopping my stash. Judging by my last rummage in the stores, the content should be flowing for a while yet so you won't notice a thing. So why am I writing this post? Well I'm asking for your help. How do you save money? What are your top tips? Every time I try and save up I seem to fall at the slightest hurdle, but that can't happen this time. My Broadway ticket depends on it. And you. Help?!


Sunday, 25 September 2016

Kylie Cosmetics Matte, Metals & Lip Gloss Review

kylie cosmetics review swatches

I gave in. For once I was early to a Kylie Lip Kit release a got a little giddy, and added a lot to my basket. Do I have any regrets? None at all. Does my bank account hate me? Maybe. Do my lips look good? Definitely.

As you can see, I picked up quite a few bits from Kylie Cosmetics by Kylie Jenner and thought it might be helpful if I show you some swatches, and give you a bit of a comparison between the Matte Lip Kits, the Metals and the Lip Glosses. A quick note on the shipping and customs charges; these seem to be so inconsistent between orders. My total customs charges was £36.28 which I was happy with for the amount I ordered, but I have heard people being charged £10 for just one. 

koko k candy k dolce k swatch

I find it so hard to find a good nude lip colour, and then three come along all at once. I picked up 3 nude/pink shades from the Matte Lip Kits and am so happy with the shades I got. Koko K is a baby pink nude, Candy K is a bit more dusty than Koko, and Dolce is a true taupe nude shade which looks amazing with a smokey eye. The formula is incredible. For some reason I expected it to be quite tacky, but it was so smooth, pigmented and easy to apply. Colour wise, I don't think you would need both Candy K and Koko, but they are different enough to have both. The real plus point with the lip kits is the staying power. Once dry, these liquid lipsticks just do not budge. Even with these swatches I spent a good 5 minutes trying to remove them. Perfect, if like me, you hate having to touch up your lip colour everytime you have a drink. 

mary jo k kourt k swatch

I also picked up Mary Jo and Kourt K from the Matte Lip Kits.  Red Lipstick and liquid eyeliner are my thing, and with autumn coming, berry shades will be my staple. Like the nudes above, the quality and formulation is amazing.  The lip liners literally glide across your skin and look nice enough to wear them alone. If I was impressed by the staying power of the nudes, that is nothing to these two. When I tested them out, both lasted all day, from 9am to 10pm, with no touch ups and just as vibrant as when first applied. The only one gripe is that it does slightly stain your lips, but hey, at least it stays on. 

reign metal swatch like gloss swatch

I then got caught up in the hype and decided to try a shade from the Metals collection and the Lip Gloss collection. Their wasn't many swatches around when I got my order, so it was a case of hoping for the best. Thankfully I got lucky and both shades are really wearable. Reign is a bronze metallic liquid lipstick and is so beautiful. It's the exact same formula as the Matte Lip Kits so will last your entire night out.  I also think its a bit misleading to call it a metal matte as it has the perfect amount of shimmer. The best way to wear this is to let your lips be the focus and keep your eyes minimal. I can't decide what colour like is. Sometimes I think its a slightly dusty pink nude, and other times it looks more like a brownish nude. Either way it is as pigmented as the liquid lipsticks, but needs a top up after drinking.

I know a lot of people think Kylie Cosmetics are overpriced and that there are cheaper alternatives on the market, but I do think they are completely worth the price and customs charges. The quality, shades and staying power are so good and I have to admit that I've never tried a liquid lipstick as good. I guess Kylie really is the King.

What are your thoughts on the lip kits? Do you have any? Want any? Do you have any alternatives for me to try?


Thursday, 22 September 2016

A/W '16 Fashion Trends & Where to Buy Them || Part 2

slip dress fall fashion 2016

I'm back with another round up of some of the top trends for this season, and this time it's all about the slip dress. Worn alone, or over a t-shirt, the slip dress was seen at both Louis Vuitton and Valentino and is probably one of the more versatile of trends.  Wear the River Island check to work or the autumnal floral Topshop version at the weekend. But it's at night where the slip dress really comes into its own. Whether  you want to try a Little Black (Slip) Dress, give a nod to Baby Spice or embrace your inner Silver Surfer , there is something for you. I particularly love this metallic cold-shoulder slip dress from River Island, which cleverly hides and slims the top of your arms.

puffer jacket fall fashion 2016

A bit toastier than a slip dress, Puffer Jackets were also featured on the catwalks, with Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and Vivienne Westwood all wearing them over evening wear.  Before I started looking for Puffer Jackets I was a bit unsure of this trend, thinking of big ugly caterpillar type coats, but as always, the high street seem to have come up with some flattering interpretations.  Obviously there are the traditional versions, like this beige one from Mango or black Zara option, but there are also those with a twist. I really love the ASOS bomber  and pink duster style  from Topshop, but New Look win the race for the most flattering look. With a waist belt to give you some shape and a flattering snood neck, this is sure to keep you snug in style. We all know which one I'll be getting.

Have you got a favourite trend, or are you going to be brave and wear both at once?


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Organising Home, School & Blogging

best mid year diary

I'm officially a student again. This week is my Welcome Week at University and I've got that weird combination of excitement and nerves. Like all new starts, I'm determined to rock my Masters degree whilst at the same time taking this blog to the next level, and trying to have a social life too. 

We all know that working or studying alongside blogging is a tough gig, and it takes some serious organisation skills to keep your head above water. Being a bit of a stationary lover (understatement of the Century) I've probably tried and tested every blog and study planner going but I've always found the same flaw cropping up time and time again. I will organise my blog in my blog planner, my university work in a separate planner and slot in my social life when I get chance. All very well and good I hear you say? Well no, because sooner or later you get a time clash. Planning everything separately is great but you soon forget that you have one day to juggle all 3 aspects and you've overestimated you are going to be able to do. We've all been there, you have an assignment for college and 4 blog posts to write, all before you start getting ready for that much needed girls night out. Which one do you focus on? How long do you spend on each? Life is complicated. 

It was only when I was late-night Amazon browsing that I stumbled upon the answer to every multi-taskers question. The planner of dreams. The life organiser. The best mid-year diary. Ever. The BLOX Academic Diary. If the purple covering isn't enough to woo you, have a look at the inside.

best mid year diary

best mid year diary

Like most planners there is a year planner at the front. Starting in August, there is then a month planner, which moves on to a week-per-page view. This is where this planner really comes into its own (yes I do appreciate how geeky that sounds). In addition to the normal week view, there's a three columned grid next to it. Such a simple idea, but it's so so effective. There's probably a load of ways in which you can use this grid to your advantage, but they way I'm using it is to use the week view lined bit to put all my appointments/lectures etc, and then use a column for Uni, Blogging and Life, so I can keep a track of my daily to-do lists. I've been using it since the start of August and noticed that I get so much more done in a day because I don't over plan. I can easily see what days I'm so busy I have no time to do anything off a to do list, or what days I can focus on blogging. Fingers crossed, this little planner will mean that I can keep on top of everything, and somehow manage to stay sane. 

How do you manage your time and stay organised? Do you have any postgraduate degree tips for me?


Sunday, 18 September 2016

Soaking with a Sea Sponge

natural bath sponge
Your Mother is always right. Well, nearly always. There was a time when my Mum was convinced a rat was waiting for her, ready to pounce the moment she got out of the car (long story).  Anyway, the point is, my mum got it right when she said I should make that random Greek market purchase. Walking through a blistering hot market hall, stalls crammed into every possible space, I paused at a plain looking corner, piled high with baskets of yellow balls. Those balls were in fact sea sponges, and I'm extremely thankful that my Mum  encouraged me to get one.

Sea sponges are living organisms that grow on the sea floor which are then harvested.  They're seen as eco-friendly  and environmentally sustainable as the sea sponges will then grow back after being gathered, and no chemicals or by products are involved if done correctly. So why sea sponges? Well, apart from supporting the local economy, they have a lot of beauty benefits. Not only are they hypoallergenic and last longer than synthetic sponges, sea sponges help make your products work harder. Although super soft, the organic natural of the sponge means that its surface is uneven and slightly abrasive, perfect for gently exfoliating even the most sensitive of skin.  Natural exorbitant, sea sponges create a luxurious lather with less product, meaning you get more use out of that cleanser, body wash  or even foundation! Yep, you can use these handy little sponges for practically anything. Needless to say I'm really enjoying using my sea sponge and glad I got pushed into getting one. Thanks Mum!

I got mine from a Greek market for under 2 Euros, but I have seen them on sale in Liberty here.

Have you used a Sea Sponge before? What's the best thing you've been pushed into buying?

Thursday, 15 September 2016

Greek Jewellery Haul

Greek bracelet

Greek braceletGreek bracelet 

Way back in May I went on a family holiday to Crete for some well needed r &r. My main priority was to lie by the pool, soak up the sun and enjoy myself. But of course, I couldn't pass up the opportunity to pick up a few little treasures whilst going through Plantanias.

The silver cuff was the most expensive out of all three pieces I bought and was handmade by a local designer who operate under Artion Jewels. The different strands of silver reminded me of the waves so it is the perfect way to remember the holiday and sitting by the sea. The blue spiral bracelet caught my eye at a market in Chania and it's been a permanent fixture on my wrist since I arrived back home. As for the last bracelet, I loved how the mixed the silver with pastel enamel on every other leaf, making it that little bit different from any other bracelet I'd scene.

What unexpected treasures have you bought on your travels?

Tuesday, 13 September 2016

The Best Fish & Chips in the North

fish and chips north west england

Who doesn't love a good Chip Shop supper? If you live in Britain, it's basically a law to sit on a bench with some chips wrapped in newspaper when you go to the seaside. I find something comforting about going into a traditional British chippy, smelling the salt and vinegar and get a tasty treat wrapped up in paper. 

It was on a recent trip to the king of all fish and chip shops that I realised I hadn't shared this hidden treasure with you all. It's become a tradition in my family to have a meal at Whelan's Fish and Chips for any birthdays or celebrations. We've been going there for years now and it's become a bit of a home away from home. 

Established in 1937, Whelan's is an award-winning fish and chips takeaway and restaurant nestled away on the oh so pretty high street of Lytham St. Annes, just down the coast from Blackpool. Of course you can opt for a traditional takeaway and sit outside at the tables, or walk 5 minutes to the sea, but my favourite way to enjoy Whelan's is to visit their Fish Restaurant. 

fish and chips north west england

Hidden towards the back of the takeaway, the restaurant is pretty small, but gets full fast. If you're in a group of more than 4, I'd book a table. The menu is pretty standard for a Fish restaurant, covering everything from large cod, scampi and fish cakes, to pies and sausage. It's the quality though that keeps my family coming back time after time. The pieces of fish are the biggest, freshest and tastiest I've ever had. The Scampi is pure perfection. With super friendly and fast service, there is honestly nothing I can fault and I'm not the only one! With rave reviews from Ryan Giggs, Carl Fogarty and Gordan Ramsey, Whelan's has been give the seal of approval from foodies and families alike. My one recommendation? Go hungry.

So that's where my family head to for any celebrations, but I'd love to know any recommendations you have for special meals!


Sunday, 11 September 2016

Holding on to Summer with CK One

CK One Summer 2016 review

I've been back home for two and a half days, and I already want to go back. My reluctance to be in England isn't so much about the place, more so about the weather. Travelling through the Deep South to Miami, I got used to the searing temperatures and swaying palm trees. Apart from the odd week in June where we all enjoy a good moan as it reaches the 24 degrees Celsius mark, we don't really get to experience that whole long hot Summer vibe we lust at over Instagram. But as they say, fake it till you make it. 

So how do you pretend you are floating on an inflatable unicorn listening to the sea softly swoosh? You close your eyes and spritz CK One Summer 2016. 

Suitable for both males and females, this limited edition fragrance is the epitome of a summer fragrance, and is quite frankly, the only thing stopping me from jumping on another plane tonight.  If the blue and green bottle isn't enough to transport you to a tropical paradise, the scent certainly will. A cocktail of ingredients including lime, lemon, guava, cedar, coconut and mojito will keep you in holiday mode well into the Autumn. I was a bit confused how this concoction would be suited to both men and women, but somehow it works.  Pleasantly citrusy, it's perfectly balanced between fresh and woody, appealing to anyone and everyone. The only problem is stopping them from stealing a spritz. 

If, like me, you fancy ignoring your calendar and pretending it's Summer just a little bit longer, you can pick up Calvin Klein One Summer 2016 here from Fragrance Direct.

Whilst we're on the topic, if anyone has any holiday blues or jet lag recovery tips pop them in a comment below and help a girl out.



Thursday, 8 September 2016

A/W '16 Fashion Trends & Where to Buy Them || Part 1

Oh yes, it's time to pack away the flip flops, and dig out those cosy wooly scarfs. Not that I really mind; fall fashion is my absolute favourite season to dress for. Those burnt colours, the soft warm layers, how can you not love this season?! It's become kind of an unofficial tradition for me to do a round up of the latest fashion trends which have caught my eye, but this year I've decided to go that extra mile. Yep, this year I'm going to show you where you can shop the trends right now so you can be one step ahead. Happy shopping!

latest fashion trends velvet

Well if it's good enough for Gucci, Chanel and Lanvin, it's most certainly good enough for me. Velvet, especially coloured velvet, is going to be huge this season. I know it can be a bit of a love hate material, but there are some great pieces already out that might tempt even the most resistant. Starting with the left, this beautiful cold-shoulder jumpsuit is from Topshop and really helps to bring velvet bang up to date. Missguided has so many options it was hard to narrow it down, but this pink bomber jacket and nude wrap skirt are my fave. If you're looking for a way to include velvet into your daytime wardrobe, look no further than this amazing jumper from Boohoo, or these trousers from Zara. But of course, we all know that velvet is perfect for a night out, in which case, I can't choose between this ASOS bralet, Zara frill top, Boohoo shorts and New Look dress. So many beautiful choices, not enough wardrobe space. 

latest women fashion tiers

When I think of tiers, I think of floaty, feminine dresses in the blistering heat. Preferably in Italy or the South of France. Not cold autumn nights waiting for that rush hour bus. But believe it or not, you won't be wearing things with just one layer, nope, they will be tiered a la Gucci, Oscar de la Renta and Giorgio Armani. The easiest way to incorporated this into a day time look would be to pick up a smock dress with gentle tiers (i love this Boohoo option) and pair it with leggings and ankle boots. Alternatively, if like me you don't want to add bulk to your lower half, pop this adorable cape over a black dress to add instant elegance to a night out. But, if you are prepared to go the whole hog, I'd opt for a beautiful dress. This vintage-inspired Navy London dress is very 'me', but if you want to avoid the floaty girly look, Pretty Little Thing have some how managed to toughen it with this option. I know what I'll be wearing on my next girls night out.

Which trend are you most forward to trying? I think velvet might be my favourite. 


Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Autumn Update || Who are you?

Break from blogging

Who are you? That's pretty fair question right about now, seeing as I've not published a blog post in 6 months. Sorry about that. With a half year hiatus, I reckon it was only fair to give you a bit of an update on why I've been a no show in my own space. So deep breathe, and here it goes. 

Everything started about 10 months ago. The changes were quite subtle, so subtle that it took my family another 2 months to start worrying. Although I didn't realise it then, I'd begun to lose a little bit of my sparkle until I eventually hit breaking point this Spring. In my Mum's words, I'd turned into a frightened little bird; A far cry from the bubbly, out-going person I'd always been. Not only had my anxiety stopped me from doing everything I enjoyed doing, it prevented me from even functioning.  Now that I'm writing this I think it's crazy I didn't do something sooner, but then I didn't realise how bad things were until I'd hit rock bottom. It was the most scary experience I have ever been through and I wouldn't wish it on my worst enemy. Thankfully, with the help of my amazing family, I've shaken off the demons and I'm in a really good place. 

And so I'm back. Well technically I'm not. At the time this post goes live, I'll actually be loving life in Orlando, Florida, bringing to end an epic road trip that rivals my West Coast adventure last year. No need to be tan jealous, I'm basically related to Casper the Ghost. Look out for my travel diaries becoming live in the next couple of weeks! Once I'm back on English soil, I've made the decision to go back to University, studying on a MSc Marketing course at Salford University. Say hello to student discount!

4 Things I'm looking forward to this season:
  • At the end of October I'm lucky enough to be attending the #bloggerhalloweenparty in Birmingham! I've already got my costume sorted, but I do need suggestions on cool places to go  in the city centre while I'm there for the weekend.
  • Over Summer I started to teach myself how to play the Ukulele and I'm in love. It's the most relaxing thing ever, and so easy to pick up. Now the nights will be starting to get darker, I'll be spending some time away from from the computer, and learning new songs on my Uke.
  • I'm super exited to be popping down to London for a day to attend the Blogosphere Christmas Market. At the moment I'm going by myself, so if you are going, let me know and we can meet up!
  • I genuinely can't wait until all the good A/W telly comes on. I'm thinking Strictly Come Dancing, Ripper Street, Sherlock. There's nothing better than settling down with a cup of hot chocolate on the sofa watching all the good television. 

What are you looking forward to this Autumn? Any suggestions for where to go in Birmingham or are you going to the Blogosphere Christmas Market? Let me know in the comments below!

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