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Fashion & Beauty

Luna on the Moon

Kate Hollowood/Luna on the Moon

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I’d like to introduce you all to my new favourite accessories boutique, Luna on the Moon! They create and sell quirky, eccentric and fun accessories smothered in glitter fit for anyone who wants to add a little something special to their outfit. Designer Kirsty Pate has a brilliant creative mind and comes up with increasingly kooky pieces. However, she also likes to be set a challenge and will custom make pieces for anyone who wants a one off!

Luna on the Moon sell everything from headbands, brooches, hair-slides and novelty bags in a range of styles, sizes and designs. They are perfect for a special occasions like Birthdays, Christmas, Hen-parties and Fancy-dress but if you have a more unique everyday style, you’ll be sure to find something you like here!

Last Christmas, my brothers girlfriend asked Kirsty to make 9 individual Christmas hats as a gift for my Mum, who is Christmas-crazy. They became a real talking-point and a welcome change from the usual Santa hats and paper cracker-crowns! I also got Kirsty to make me a special Valentines themed headband to add a little fun to my outfit. These pieces come with a sense of humour and make people smile…especially her hen-party range of penis shaped bags and headbands!

If you, like me, like to wear something a little different  and a little quirky, please check out Kirsty’s store HERE! Most pieces are around £15 which I find incredibly reasonable for such individual, well-made and high quality products. I can’t help but grin every time I see her collection and I’ve featured a LOT of pictures in this post because there is far too much good stuff to share…I hope you enjoy! Check out www.lunaonthemoon.co.uk for more information, links to her store and for Kirsty’s contact details.


Romance in Roma!

ROME

If you follow my “photo of the day” you’ll know I was recently whisked away to the beautiful, historical and captivating city of Rome. I have always wanted to go and it was even more important I looked good for this trip because I was away with a boy! The trouble was, I had no idea if it was going to be hot or cold, wet or snowing, if I needed smart clothes or casual ones etc, etc. With strict weight limits on luggage these days and extra charges for checked luggage, I was determined to take only what I needed so I could carry it on.

We’d be walking a lot, seeing sites, climbing up Spanish Steps and so on, so I needed to be comfortable and practical in my choices but I also want to look chic! I first thought about my feet; Rome is notoriously hard on the feet with cobblestones commonplace throughout and sites a good distance from each other. I decided on my comfortable and stylish grey Jones Bootmaker shoes and a pair of heels in case I felt brave one night! The best thing about my Jones Bootmaker shoes are that they go with so many things. They dress down dresses, look casual with a pair of jeans and even add a cute touch to mini-skirts. You can wear with them with tights when its cold, little socks when its warmer and the whole time be smiling away because your feet don’t hurt for a second! Therefore, those are the exact items I packed to go along with them. You may very well be thinking it is a little odd to plan my whole long-weekend away’s outfits around shoes…but it really is the most important thing to get right on a city break.

During our time in Rome, we went to as many places as our feet would carry us and doing it all on foot meant we really got to explore Rome’s historic streets and found ourselves immersed in flower markets, military parades and quaint Italian Piazza’s.

You can’t come to Rome and fail to see the Colosseum. It really is a “must” do and it is just as impressive on the inside as it is on the outside. It is captivating to look at and being able to go inside and walk around brings the history to life. I found it quite haunting to imagine what it must have been like for the Romans at that time, especially for the Gladiators who risked death each time they fought. They were mainly, criminals and slaves who were up against wild animals like bears and lions (who’s skeletons are now displayed)! I wish you could actually go down further into the depths of the amphitheatre as this may help give a more realistic sense of scale and perspective. My tips for here would be to get the audio guide rather than a tour guide, this gives you the freedom to explore on your own time and although the guides are English-speaking, they are not native English and were very hard to understand. Also, when it is busy outside, take a walk round to the other side to see the Colosseum from a different angle and perspective. You may also get better photos here! Also, if you are a memeber of the EU, you get in for half the price too which is a bonus so take along your passport or driving license!

We also made sure we went to Vatican City on the Wednesday so we could see the Pope in the flesh! Neither of us is particularly religious but I thought we should go as we were there. This experience was probably the worst thing about the day as you enter a very modern “Church” round the back of the St. Peter’s Basilica and it looks just like a school hall, packed with people and I had to watch the TV screens provided to see the Pope anyway! However, Vatican City itself lives up to its reputation and is beautiful, vast and very well looked after. If you go all the way there, you must make sure you go into the Sistine Chapel. It is really quite amazing, far more so in life than people are ever able to describe. Entry to the Museum is worth it but make sure you know what you want to see before you go because there are over 200 rooms and it would take 7 years for you to see everything on display! All tour guides here are native English and they know what to show you and how to get about so I think they are worth the expense! All religious sites in Rome require for your arms, chest and knees to be covered so make sure you go prepared if visiting in the summer.

From here, I’d recommend walking down to the river and crossing the famous Ponte Sant’Angelo (bridge with Angel statues on it!). It is very pretty and on a sunny day, provides the perfect setting for a romantic stroll. You can walk to Piazza Navona from here too and grab a beer in the local restaurants, check out the market and be entertained by endless street-theatre. After you’ve rested your feet for a little while, stroll across to Piazza della Rotunda, a small square with one of the most amazing sites in Rome, the Pantheon. It is free to go in and look around and they invite you to prey with them for the religious among the tourists twice a day. I won’t spoil it for you, just make sure you go!

You’ll often be told when visiting Rome that the Spanish Steps are a “must” but I wouldn’t kill yourself going. They were just covered in students eating their lunch and the volume of people around there is quite uncomfortable. Walk past and see them but I would not recommend spending ages walking up etc, there are far better things to see! This could be said too of the Trevi Fountain although this is really beautiful and I think should be seen but I wouldn’t recommend lingering. We did as we were told and bought ice-cream from their famous shops and threw 3 coins into the fountain for luck! It was lovely but very, very busy and if you ask me, there are nicer places for ice-cream in Rome!

I did manage to brave the heels for one night and we found non-touristy places to eat which were cheaper and far better than the restaurants with the good views. I’d highly recommend both, Fraschetteria Brunetti and Brunetti both on Brunetti street. We were told to go there by a friend and both offer amazing food, friendly, fun and generous service and you are surrounded by Italians not tourists!In general, I’d say keep things casual on your visit to Rome, be comfortable and dress for the weather. I took along my favorite Dahlia dresses (in blue and cream!) and a mini-skirt from River Island that I teamed with a nice floaty white top from Urban Outfitters. Italian girls dress well…so make sure you give them a run for their money!


The Truth About London Fashion Week

Well I cannot deny that on the build up to London Fashion Week (LFW) I was stupidly excited. I carefully picked out my outfits, researched into the shows I had tickets for and sniffed out where the parties were going to be. I made my way to Somerset House, eagerly anticipating the day and week ahead, camera and notebook in hand and dressed to impress (for my standards!)

I had a “UK Press Pass” and on arrival, I quickly realised this put me in a league above the “bloggers” and “world-wide” press. I realised this from the snooty way the staff handed bloggers their passes and denied them their LFW goodie-bags they asked for, saying “they are for UK press only” in a tone I only hope you can pick up on in this post. As I am fairly relaxed when it comes to this sort of attitude and coming from an acting background, I am used to people talking to me like this and I sympathetically smiled to the girls and joined fellow UK Press Pass holder Keshini for complimentary champagne downstairs.

We walked around the exhibition enjoying the collections on display and talking to the designers who were not interested in answering questions and all about asking us who we were and who we write for. Everywhere you went, people first looked at your clothes and decided from there if they were going to talk to you or not. The ques for the shows were long, chaotic and with it being February, wet and cold. The shows were pretty much always running late too and even for the big designers, it seemed to be a free-for-all for friends, press and fashion-enthusiasts alike.

Generally, the people at LFW, no matter who they were or their position, gave off an unfriendly, arrogant and snobbish vibe which I felt really let down the atmosphere of the event and showed us British people off in the worst way. I personally feel that there is a line when it comes to this sort of behavior. On some level, I understand it, expect it and roll with it, but when it actually makes something which should be fantastic fun and a celebration of talent, tiring and uncomfortable, I think it becomes a big problem and something we should feel ashamed of as a representation of our culture and society.

We all know the fashion industry is a mean one, one evidently unaffected by the recession, where starving yourself is celebrated and looking miserable is the only way to be seen. However, what I had prepared myself for and what I actually witnessed were far from each other. It was so much more extreme and I found it quite disheartening. I felt sad for the girls who feel they have to be “this way” and dress “that way” and act like, well, complete bitches by normal standards, just to pursue their dream career. It is a corrosive environment to be involved in too long and I’d say your skin has to be 100 times thicker than that of an actor to not let it knock your confidence and self-esteem.

Catherine, the lovely lady who granted me my UK Press Pass met with Keshini and I early on the first day and stated she was “over” LFW after having to do it on her own last year. Atthe time, we thought she was crazy but I now understand that statement a lot more! However, in a great post written by her, she actually ended up really enjoying this LFW with the workload spread between four writers and outlines all the things LFW has going for it, which has made me reflect and think I’d like to go again and give it a second chance to “wow” me. However, next time I’d be far more selective about how I spend my day there and apply far in advance for show tickets. I would not attend shows alone but with someone – another normal person who will keep me sane! (I’d also dress in a bin-bag and film the reactions I get to keep me laughing!)


Circaroma – Organic Skin Care, Simply Created

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Circaroma was first brought to my attention by a Twitter chum who offered me two products to try in exchange for my thoughts. I was, of course, more than happy to accept the offer and naturally looked them up. First off, they are based in Dorset, my home county and I was excited to see a product coming from so close to home. Secondly, they have been around since the early 90s building a whole award-mountain for everything from their face-wash to hand cream, even their entire organic range.

Organic skincare is no big beauty secret, it has been around for a long time now but, perhaps because their branding and marketing are so strong, I have always gone for brands I know and that don’e use all natural ingredients. I’ve never really thought too much about that until recently when I was in South Africa and met a woman who passionately listed off all the benefits to going organic! Cicaroma puts it perfectly themselves, so I’ve lifted these bullets from their website to share with you:

  • Research has shown that we can absorb up to 60% of what we place on our skins – it therefore makes sense to use the purest of pure ingredients.
  • Using genuinely natural skincare can help to improve the health of your skin making your skin look fresher and younger
  • Organic skincare ingredients are often the best quality available. All the ingredients are grown without the use of pesticides and artificial fertilisers and in an environmentally sustainable way. This means products formulated with organic ingredients are better for your skin and kinder to the environment.
  • Organic skincare tends to contain proportionally less synthetic and chemical ingredients. Many synthetic ingredients may irritate the skin and cause skin allergies to develop
  • Organic skincare tends to be fresher by the time it gets to you, as it usually has a shorter shelf life (did you know that many creams may be over one year old before you even buy them.

With this in mind, I am far more careful about what I use now and a lot of my Christmas list was made up of Organic skin care products. However, Circaroma has just been brought to my attention and after testing two of their top sellers, I have to admit that I wish I’d known about them before Christmas!

First was their Refreshing Body Lotion, Ginger and Pink Grapefruit; which makes up part of their Uplift and Refresh range and it certainly does just that! I’ve been using it in the mornings, as recommended and although I was slightly tentative about the mix of Ginger and Pink Grapefruit, I can honestly say it smells wonderful. It has a lovely creamy texture but at the same time is very light so you can dress right away as it is absorbed by the skin. My skin certainly feels lovely and was notably softer on day 10 of use than on day 1. The smell isn’t too strong but it does last well into the day which gives me a feeling of being moisturised and fresh which naturally, I love!

Second up was their Softening Hand and Foot Balm, Wild Frankincense and Geranium Flower; which is part of their Relax and Nurture Range. This is simply amazing and I cannot scream, shout and recommend this enough! It looks and feels just like a lip balm and you only need a little bit too as it spreads really well. The texture once you start rubbing it into your hands or feet immediately becomes smooth and the balm heats up under your touch so it feel incredibly relaxing, like a massage. After use number one, I noticed and felt a change on both my hands and feet. They felt softer, smoother and that feeling lasted for 7 days before I felt I needed to reapply.

I urge you to give their products a try! www.circaroma.com


Missguided Tweed

Tweed is a trend that just won’t quit and with its ever growing popularity, I have finally given in and purchased myself a Jacket, complete with elbow pads and all! I have resisted for so long, mainly through stubbornness and an absolute refusal to look anything like a cast member from Made in Chelsea; but also because decent looking, nice fitting tweed is pricey!

However, last week I was stood on the tube and reading another girls magazine over her shoulder (as you do) and an advertisement for Missguided.co.uk caught my eye so I took a mental note. Once I was home, I looked up all the delights the site offers for women and my eyes popped at the cute designs and reasonable prices! It reminded me of how ASOS used to be in its first year, before it got so big and pretty expensive too. I thought I’d do a quality test so bought a dress I liked in the sale, the next day it arrived and I was very impressed by the material; both its durability and feel. I also thought to myself that cheaper clothes can often be shapeless but this dress was perfect and genuinely fit like a glove. So, what’s a girl to do? I immediately jumped back on the site and purchased a few more bits!

That is when I saw the tweed-style jacket! It was the price that made me take the risk. At £29.99, where could I go wrong? Plus with free returns in case I just couldn’t handle myself in it I thought it was worth a try. However, when it arrived I pretty much fell in love. It has a really nice slim fit, highlighting my waist and still showing off my curves which makes me feel feminine. I am a big fan of the soft suede elbow pads which are a great detail as are the marble style buttons which make it look more expensive than it is. It is obviously not tweed, tweed, but who cares?! It looks great and I’ve already had a whole ton of comments on it.

Let me know what you think and make sure you check out http://www.missguided.co.uk! Plus, like them on Facebook and receive 10% off!


My Top Ten Valentine Dresses

Hello All! A rather late, Happy New Year and SORRY for being so terrible at blogging lately. I damaged my hands a while back and was asked to keep my typing and computer usage to a minimum HOWEVER, I am bursting to show you these cute dresses so, here they are…

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Valentines day is quickly approaching and regardless of your “relationship status”, it is nice to spend the day with that special someone or the special people you love. I always dress a little bit “valentines themed” and there are some gorgeous dresses out there to chose from this year. I have selected a mix of casual and formal, red and pink dresses that would look suitably adorable whatever you are doing! Also, if any men are looking for gift ideas, these should help give you an idea. Happy Shopping!! X


Faux Eyelashes Made Simple!

If, like me, your meamorphsis from a Day Look to Night Look consists of refreshing your eye liner, glossing your lips and vamping your hair then I beg you to try something new . With party season in full swing and as New Years Eve is just days away, there is no better excuse to make more of a statement and I promise you, it takes far less time than I ever imagined.

Your eyes are the key to adding that night time glamour and no mascara accentuates the eyes like faux eyelashes! I used to hate them, I thought they looked too false and heavy, but over time, the creators of faux lashes have perfected their design and now they look far more natural and the biggest bonus of all, application has become easier and quicker than ever before.

I tried out Eylure Naturalites Evening Wear – available from Boots, Very and John Lewis. It took me less than two mins for each eye to apply the thin layer of glue and get the lashes in place on the eyelid. I then finished the look off with some smokey-eye make-up, which takes no time at all and adds a touch of drama! Very quickly I had a complete, glamorous night-time look and I felt sexier and more “vampy” than I normally do!

Give it ago and let me know how you get on!


My South African Adventure: Week One

My South African adventure has been slightly less adventurous than planned due to the unfortunate timing of a back injury on my part! However, always looking to make the most of things, I have managed to get my ass on the tourist trail and re-visit some of the sites I loved so much when I was here on my gap year (“gap-yar“) but also check out some of the ones I missed!

First up is the most obvious one of all whenever you think of visiting Cape Town…Table Mountain! When I was last here, it was closed every day I went to visit due to bad weather, but not this time folks! It was the most beautiful, clear summer day where the view from the top seemed never ending. I opted for the cable car option due to my damaged spine but I’d loved to have climbed up…although the people who were doing it looked rather hot and sweaty! I got really lucky because it was practically empty and I had free run of the entire mountain top and I took lots of snaps as well as stopping to munch ice-cream and drink! I wore one of my favorite white Dahlia dresses which is light and cool to wear but looks so sweet and eye-catching too. I threw round a thin, black studded belt to cinch in my waist and really show off the shape of the dress. The lace detail round the sleeves and neckline sold it to me, but what I fell in love with was the Marilyn Monroe style skirt! It is…adorable and I had a few Marilyn moments myself which is when I realised why they lined the skirt; it saved my modesty! The day ended at the famous Waterfront, watching the Volvo Round the World Yachts come in and sipping some seriously satisfying Gin and Tonic!

Next up was Spier, a vineyard in the heart of the wine-land of Stellenbosch. I’d been here on my last visit as part of a wine-tasting day but missed out on one of their star attractions…the Cheetah Outreach Program! Here you get up close and personal with these majestic creatures whilst learning all about them and the programs main goals. Cheetah’s, like many of Earths most magnificent animals, are on the endangered species list. This program helps raise awareness, takes in Cheetah’s who have been abandoned or rejected by their Mother and the personal interaction they allow brings their plight for survival to life.

I met Enigma, commonly known as Iggy (exactly the same name as my pet cat!) and got to stroke him and hear him purring as well as watch him play-fight with his brother. My choice of clothes here was supposed to be practical but in the end, the lose clothing flapped in the wind making Iggy think I was a toy he could play with! Don’t worry, they got me out of there safely!

Also at Spier they have a Birds of Prey “encounter” where you can watch flight demonstrations, stroke and feed some of the tamer birds and learn all about the risk to their future. I have to admit, I have always been quite freaked out by birds and although I can appreciate how beautiful strong and smart they are…I have never wanted to “encounter” one close up. However, I am also rubbish at turning down a polite salesman so reluctantly agreed to go meet some Owls…how much damage can they do??

Well…I nearly jumped out of my skin as one landed on my head at the same time as one landing on my gloved hand. I had not expected that! The bird-man (?!) was brilliant fun though and made the whole thing so fascinating that I enjoyed in equal measure to meeting the cheetahs. I ended up “encountering” more than Owls, falling in love with Barney the old Barn Owl! Annoyingly, I cannot remember the names of any birds because I was too busy coo-ing over them! One of them even had this little hat on to cover his eyes and keep him calm before his flight…amazing!

Another day, I took a ride to the Kenilworth Races. I haven’t been to the races before and the only bets I’ve ever made was a lucky one at last years Grand National and some not so lucky ones! However, in South Africa, my luck held out and in 8 races, I won 7 times…much to my Step-dads dismay as he lost 7 out 8! By the end of the day, I was up R178…which is about £17 but I was CHUFFED! I went dressed “smart/casual” in my favorite polka-dot dress I picked up from a boutique in Manchester (Dolly Daydream) and teamed it with my baby-pink boyfriend blazer I scored in Pri-mark for £4! With my cute feather fasinator purchased just days before from Cape Towns own, The Little Hattery, I think I just about pulled off a suitable racing-ensemble!


Franschhoek, where I am staying, is as famous for its food as it is for its wine! I’ve visited a few vineyards here which all have restaurants with stunning views but I think Cellars was my favorite. The food wasn’t pretentious, over-priced nothingness which you so often get when seeking out good-views, but homey, down-to-earth food with a modern interesting twist. I sipped a glass of Graham Beck Rose Champagne (famous in these parts), looked out across the fields of grapevines and just thought to myself…”how bloody lucky am I?!” I wore a dress which arrived as a surprise from Dahlia, a gorgeous burgandy handkerchief hemmed number with lipstick to match. I felt so fortunate to be alive…and yes I realise that sounds a little lame but it’s true!

One place I have seen a lot of this week is the inside of Dr Tracey’s office! I have had scans, physio and even acupuncture… thought I’d share the needle picture with you!!

I finished off the week visiting a Township, something I was keen to do again after being so moved by the experience last time. However, that particular day deserves a whole blog post of its own…so more about that next time!

 

I still have a week left so let me know some good place to go eat, play and view!


A Flirtatious Feathery Find!

On my first day in South Africa I took myself off to a craft fair just on the edge of Cape Town. I always love wondering the stalls, seeing what people make, observing what others purchase and anticipating that one special find! I was kinda hoping for something “Super South African” and what I mean by that is something with a fantastic animal print or African inspired jewelry…

However, what I did find couldn’t honestly be further from it but it’s still awesome! Feathers are very “in” right now but I’ve never been about following trends too much. Yet, I do think there is something quite lovely about feather fashion, it is soft, feminine and makes a real stand-out statement in your hair.

The Little Hattery caught my eye right away! Their stand was brilliantly colourful and their eccentric designer and her bow-tie wearing dog were hard not to notice. I loved so many of her little hats, fascinators and masks that I spent about an hour browsing her collection and trying on various…no make that most of her stock! Every single one is handmade and 100% unique in style. No one will have the same one as you!

I settled on a white and baby pink fasinator that was simple yet has a cute, flirtatious effect. However I also snapped up a very striking black and white one with animal print feathers that satisfied my desire for something that would remind of where I bought it.

I didn’t stop there…I also picked up a delightful little hat with fuchsia pink flowers and pearl detail. I couldn’t resist! As their website says, “Life Should Always Be Fun!” and these hats certainly add a fun, playful touch to any outfit! I going to team mine with my favorite Little Black Dress for a party this Christmas…photos to follow I promise!

Check out their website for your own one of a kind signature accessory! www.thelittlehattery.com


It’s Movember: It’s Mustache judging time!!

I love the concept of Movember and the way it encourages giving to charity for really the sake of just giving to charity. I understand of course that all these men donating their faces to the cause is a sacrifice they make (and their loved ones must endure) for 30 days, but the whole ‎light-hearted spirit of it just reinforces the idea of fun and gives a silly excuse to raise money for the man’s male desired charity.

However, this year it wasn’t all about the men with the introduction of the Mo-Sista’s! My friend, Eve Reynolds has delighted with me with pictures on her own take on Movember… Check this little lady out!! http://www.twitter.com/EveHazelton

Eve bringing it to you from the dark side!!

My friend Ali has ran an amazing Movember campaign and is already at over £1100 – can we help bring him to his target of £1200 by the end of the month?? If you can spare the donation…support him HERE http://uk.movember.com/mospace/231079/

Ali rocking the mo and the tee!


Top Ten Party Tips…

It is party season once more and many of us have several events to juggle which means we also have several outfits to plan. It can be expensive to keep getting new hot, on trend dresses to dazzle the crowd in so I’ve come up with a few tips to help make an old outfit look fresh, to make the same outfit look different and to generally just rock the party season like a pro!

1. Switch up your Shoes! To give your outfit the edge, team it with some really bright heels. That simple change can make the most casual of ensembles a little more glam. Wearing the same Little Black Dress you wore last year? Bright red heels or cute detailed shoes like these from Kurt Geiger will really make you stand out!

2. Accessorize, Accessorize, Accessorize! Bright, bold, over-sized jewelry can dress up a simple dress and give it some added flare. However, you might rather just accessorize with an embellished bag as it gives the same results.

3. Don’t Crash Diet! Instead make it all about the outfit and find a dress that flatters your body. Crash dieting only makes your first drink go straight to your head and you feel low on energy all day.

4. Dressing for your Body! It is probably the most important factor of them all. If you have legs to die for or a cleavage to make Christina Hentricks envious, make sure you find a dress that shows off your very best feature. This will give you a confidence you’ll radiate all night and you’ll turn heads wherever you go.

5. No need to Freeze! I love to team a cute party dress with a boyfriend blazer or chic leather jacket. Both work to look great and keep you warm.

6. Remember Facebook! A dress can be see-through or underwear shows through and you don’t notice until it is too late. Snap a picture of yourself before you go out to prevent any regrets later!

7. Always have a Back-up! You can never be too careful. A zip might break, you might feel bloated or a sequin could come loose. Having a plan B is always a good idea and saves a big panic on the day.

8.  Pick a drink and stick to it! There is nothing worse than feeling like you made a fool of yourself the night before. Pick a drink at the beginning of the night and keep drinking it. Mixing just gets you more drunk quicker and makes you feel like hell the next day!

9. Hot Hair! There is a saying that your hair is your biggest accessory so make the most of it. Practice before the event so you don’t stress out on the night and play around with different styles. Also pick a hair-do that will best show off your dress. For instance, a strapless number often works best with a chic up-do.

10. Most importantly, have fun! Mingle with friends and strangers alike. Keep conversation light and relaxed. If you look and feel fantastic, your confidence will run through to every aspect of the night!

Do you have any hot tips?? Let me know!


Keeping things Chalet Chic…

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I have always found that dressing fashionably and keeping warm, don’t always go hand in hand. I think this is especially true for women because wearing lots of layers and covering up from head to toe can sometimes take away our “edge”. However, this season, the fashion world has decided that bright bold colours are IN and the oversized slouch look is still the way of the future.

In particular, I’m talking jumpers and cardigans, those items that can look bulky and unflattering have been designed to look effortlessly chic and fun too. With the high-street and designer stores alike embracing different textures, daring colours and cutesy animal patterns, your comfortable and practical clothing can now say as much about you as your cute outfit underneath. The fashion world call it “Chalet Chic”, I think of it more as a Classic Winter look. I grew up with my parents wearing this sort of thing, I even used to laugh at them for it, now I think they were just ahead of their time…

Here are my Top Ten Picks for an affordable yet stylish way to bring your winter wardrobe right up to date.


Disney does Couture – did you know?!

 

I’m massively excited about this weeks blog post because I get to talk to you about accessories I really love, that you can never have too much of and that make a real statement too. I have always been a Disney Princess fanatic. I was lucky enough to be a child when The Little Mermaid and Beauty and The Beast were out for the first time with their magical songs and iconic animation so I’ll always have happy memories conjured up whenever I think of it. However, as I got older, it was more difficult to carry this love through to my style. A Snow White tee-shirt suddenly didn’t look quite so cool! Yet that is when I discovered that Disney had solved this problem the way they solved many of my childhood ones…Say hello to Disney Couture.

It’s been around for quite some time now yet still has a fairly small but dedicated following.  First off, the quality of the product is, in my opinion, flawless. Often I buy cute accessories like this and bits break off or the clasp breaks because they’ve been made of far cheaper material than I was lead to believe. Yet if you spend £55 on a necklace, you know it will last you. I’ve had this necklace, above, for over a year and it still looks good as new.

However, what really sells it to me is the detail that’s been put into it. When you open up the locket, you see the Alice in Wonderland Melting clock with a rabbit as the hand and it’s cute message to you make you smile. All these little things show there was a lot of thought that went into the design and no corners were cut.

Last Christmas I was also given a sweet Tinkerbell necklace with interchangeable charms which I often wear to make an outfit more playful and youthful.
I personally think there is something for most girls here and these make ideal Christmas gifts (hint hint!). Here are a few of my favorites…let me know yours! Disney Couture also sell rings, bracelets, earrings and charms from a rang of films in a range of styles.



A few online stores sell Disney Couture but I’ve found this place to be the best:

http://www.zentosa.com/designer/disney-couture?limit=all


A Sika idea for Christmas!

More Sika Designs for you this week as I show off this rather delicious number I purchased for the Christmas season. It is just such a special dress for me because of the bold pattern, the classic cut and quirky details. I’ve worn it out only once so far but it turned heads from both men and women wherever I went and I received countless compliments about it.

I feel so elegant wearing their dresses and although they aren’t for everyday, they make a real statement at a party or special event. This is my perfect dress for Christmas because of the seasonal colours, the playful bow and high collar. I love the big red flowers, I think they are what really makes this dress stand out.

If you are looking for something special this Christmas, head over to their website. They can custom make dresses to suit your preferred cut and fabric and they even make adorable dresses for little girls!

To achieve this look I added a black Tutu underskirt, black shear tights and black heels. I also did my hair with a 50’s quiff for a playful way to complete the look. Do you like?!


Week TWO in Chicago has a touch more style…

This week I ended up hitting a few more bars and a brilliant piece of theatre so paid closer attention to my outfit choices (I could no longer rely on the coat). However, this week also saw me exploring the Chicago Aquarium, the Lincoln Park Zoo and  Millenium Park – all of which were awesome! I have never heard of a “free” Zoo before but sure enough, this one is. I was dubious as to how well maintained a non-profit zoo could be and little worried for the animals inside. However, it turns out this zoo is part of many conservation programs and gets its funding through this. They open it up as an attraction to get people interested in animal welfare and to show us how special these animals are. There is something incredibly humbling about seeing an animal so up-close and personal! Although I sometimes get upset by zoos and keeping animals contained, I feel it is important to show us humans how wonderful they are. It was an incredibly windy day in the windy city zoo but we still lost ourselves for a good four hours just wondering round and seeing the animals.

I wrapped up warm in jeans and an over-sized jumper, cherry tomato ugg boots and my coat but still clutched a nice warm hot chocolate when it was on offer!

The aquarium was a very cool attraction with a great exhibition on Jelly fish. It also had a 4D cinema where Happy Feet was showing – a form of cinema that is not quite perfected yet in my opinion but I did enjoy it! Outside the aquarium were great views of the city and these massive iron leg structures I enjoyed playing around (big kid!). I thought I’d dress up my coat look with a fuchsia pink scarf and tried out my feather earring for the first time. I thought they added a nice touch as I was starting to get a little bored of seeing myself in the same thing! 

A few nights we went out and drank cocktails (one too many on one occasion!) and I wanted to wear something that said, “I tried but not too hard”. So, I went for a baby pink boyfriend blazer over a cute Zara dress, with thick black tights and black boots. It is a look I think is really casual yet chic and sexy. It also is really comfortable to wear because you don’t feel too “on show” and you can just relax. Another night I went for black leather leggings, a long black tank top and a blazer (which I ended up ditching when I saw the bar was pretty dressy).

The last night, I got to see my very own Blue Man perform in the exceptional Blue Man Group. I opted for an interesting grey number I got from Rare ages ago and have only worn once before. It has a very tight elastic black belt around the waist which makes anyone look tiny, a figure hugging skirt and the over-sized/baggy top half is quite modern and again, it makes it not look too “try hard” as it isn’t skin tight all the way down. I was really pleased with this look although I had to keep the black scarf on to keep warm…The blue paint got added later!

Chicago has been one magical adventure and I’ll be sad to say goodbye. If you ever get the chance to visit, do it and do it with style!


Keeping things Simple and Chic in Chicago!

I’ve been hanging out in Chicago now for the past week and there is SO much to report! First off, what a city! On one of my first nights here, it was Halloween. The Americans take this “holiday” far more seriously than us Brits which I think is amazing! I’ve always had Halloween themed birthday parties since I was a kid so it was awesome to see it being done so well everywhere I looked! We went off to this Haunted House and paid to get really scared and freaked out! No expense was spared when making this attraction and for the whole hour you wonder through all these different rooms just not knowing what is coming next. It. Was. Awesome!! Chicago is probably somewhere I’d never go to unless there was a reason for the visit but my goodness am I glad I had a reason. The city has a very gothic vibe with a mix of these gorgeous old buildings and massive modern day skyscrapers. It is incredibly spacious and clean for a city and unlike London, you never feel like you’re surrounded by millions of people on the street but instead you have breathing space. There are plenty of attractions that you can wonder in and out of for free and the ones you pay for are well worth it!

The next night we headed out to the Ice Hockey. Here I was sporting a Blackhawks tee-shirt to show my support to my new favorite team and to fit in with the locals! I was actually pleasantly surprised how stylish the tee-shirt was considering it’s a supporters top and usually they are splattered with sponsorship and a bit shapeless. This on the other hand was an awesome top! You can’t really see it in the pictures but the red is a little bit see-through which is a nice detail and makes it kinda sexy, plus it is nicely fitted and works well with jeans and my cherry tomato ugg boots! As for the game, well that was also a pleasant surprise too, the Blackhawks won in extra-time and although I didn’t get to see a fight or anyone lose their teeth, I did get to see an awesome game.

I also had to spend some time this week dedicated to The Magnificent Mile, which is just as it sounds…a magnificent mile of SHOPS! I wasn’t really looking for anything in particular and enjoyed window shopping at the designer stores and stepping into the more mainstream ones. I was a little surprised by the lack of individual boutique stores in Chicago in general but here you did find more of the unusual items you only get in flagship stores.

I bought myself some gorgeous gold leaf earrings and thought I’d purchase some feather ones too to try them out. I also picked up some gloves as I had underestimated how chilly it was in Chicago this time of year. Nothing was super cheap, like it used to be when you shopped in America, but it was good to see what they had on offer. I wasn’t blown away by the clothes inside the shops but that is probably because I like to find something a little unusual. 

I didn’t get many opportunities to lose the coat either as it was absolutely freezing! However, that was cool with me as I love my new Dahlia coat and it pretty much goes with everything. I had fun adding different scarfs and rockin’ knee-high socks with it, plus it did its job of keeping me warm which says a lot about it because, man oh man did I need it!

One unexpected surprise of this week was that I had a casting for a commercial that I was offered after the casting director saw me walking down the street! It was a little random but pretty cool to take part in and I was asked to wear a colour that would compliment my skin tone and hair  so I opted for a cool burnt orange number I picked up in a boutique in Hull – but more about that next time!

Must go…the zoo is calling! I’ll let you know how I get on next week!


Happy Birthday to Me and Dahlia!

Tomorrow is my 24th Birthday and I am off to see the one and only, Britney Spears at the O2. This of course calls for me to purchase a new outfit! Now this is a little sad, but the fact is October 28th is also the birthday of Dahlia, my favorite London boutique (don’t ask me how I know that!). So as a present to us both, I went in to purchase a dress.

 

I immediately spotted this gorgeous burnt orange dress with flower detail across the shoulders and upper chest. I loved the V-shape outline cutting the two materials together and the light brown belt finished it off casually. The colour screams autumn and reminds me of Halloween (which is easily one of my favorite days in the year)! Here I’ve teamed it with my favorite Kurt Geiger boots, cute knee high socks and added some Disney Couture accessories to keep it youthful and fun.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’ve never been great at just purchasing one thing from Dahlia and knowing I had a trip to Chicago coming up, I also purchased a warm navy mac with gold detail. It has a really high neck to keep the wind out and looks so flattering being fitted to the waist with a nice full skirt.

This is one of my favorite pictures taken of me wearing it round Chicago!


Filming in Egypt…but what shall I wear?!

I am feeling very lucky as I find myself struggling to pack for my two weeks of winter sun in Egypt. I have been cast as Leah, a woman on honeymoon, in the first of five short films shot by Realm Pictures as part of their Underwater Realm project. Eek how exciting this all is but …Eek…what to pack, what to pack! I am already WELL aware that I will be the only member of the cast and crew giving this so much thought. However, I want to feel comfortable, look good and fit in around Egypt so I feel it deserves some of my attention.

First off, what to wear to the airport and on the plane. This is particularly tricky in winter as I don’t want to freeze this side or boil on the other. So I opt for a casual blue dress, teaming it with a thin cardigan and throwing my leather jacket over the top, both of which can be removed once I’ve arrived. I also threw on some tights which can be removed and wore flats that worked for both bare leg and tights! Problemo solved.

Secondly, I hate strap marks from the sun at the best of times, but being filmed meant it was all the more important I didn’t get any. I got myself onto ASOS and thanks to it now being winter here, picked up some very nice bargains on strapless bikinis in their winter sale…Oh hell yeah!

Next I wanted to make sure I had clothes that covered my legs and chest should we go anywhere that this would offend. Again, the winter sales came through for me and I got myself three lovely maxi dresses from French Connection, ASOS and Vero Moda that worked like a charm and looked stylish. I also threw in some wide-leg floral trousers I got in River Island as they are cool to walk around in and look feminine and stylish too.

As a way to accessorize, I packed a few pretty headscarves as they look good and for practicality…they keep my hair off my face!

Check out what I got up to over there in the blog dedicated to our week of filming! 


Going Natural

I’ve never been much of a makeup junkie. I love creams and lotions that make my skin feel and look great but I have always felt makeup has threatened that skin-feel-good-feeling. I also never learnt how to apply it properly. What foundation suits my skin tone? How do I and why would I use a lip liner? How do I get the eyeliner to go on straight?! As you can probably tell, I am a little hopeless. As I’ve aged though, I’ve experimented with a few things and makeup artists at shoots have kindly offered advice and answered my questions.

However, I can’t help but feel the natural look works best. I’m not saying not to wear makeup, just that less is often more. To achieve it is easy and the low maintenance of the look makes it desirable to anyone with a busy life!

First off, find a good foundation that you love and stick to it. Go around all the makeup stands in Boots or Selfridges talking to sales teams, trying the makeup and seeing what feels best to you. My only sweeping foundation statement is: it needs to be light-weight. Anything that sits too heavily on the skin will not only look like a mask of makeup but it will clog up your pours and stop your skin from breathing. Foundation needs to be yellowy in tone to help conceal imperfections and even out your skin tone. You’ll know you’ve found the right one when it seems to just disappear into your skin upon application.

Secondly, apply eye makeup that is earthy in tone. Browns, beige, gold or plum for shadows and brown or charcoal gray for liner. I also prefer a brown mascara because it makes your lashes look your own, not false. Of course, you could always skip right to applying mascara if you want to keep the makeup really light. However, I think at least a bit of liner helps your eyes to pop.

Thirdly, put a small amount of blush on the highest part of your cheekbone. To choose a blush colour that is natural, find one that is the colour of your skin after you exercise!

It is up to you if you want to bother with lipstick or gloss but to achieve the look below, I just applied a nude lip with a bit of Vaseline over the top.

Simples! All in all it should take no more than 5 minutes of your time and you’ll look fresh, alert and natural.


It all starts with my underwear

When I get ready each day, I have a few little rituals I rarely don’t do. There is the daily all body moisturise, cleanser,toner and facial moisturise, the GHD styling of my hair, application of eyeliner and mascara and…oh of course, the putting on of clothes!

It is impossible to leave the house without doing all of these things and they are now second nature to me, I have become so speedy at all of them, I’m usually ready before the men in the house. However, one thing I am also religious about is wearing matching underwear. I used to think I did this for the effect it had on my boyfriend, but when we broke up, I remained in this routine. I tried not to, but felt less attractive somehow, less comfortable.

I also can’t stand when people can see my underwear through my clothes. In few circumstances, this is fashionable and acceptable but more often than not, it just looks a little…cheap. I have spoken to lots of women about this and they all tend to agree that having a bra-strap on show or patterned bras showing through thin t-shirts is something they feel embarrassed and frustrated by. Sigh…

So how do we solve it? Well here is a list of Do’s and Don’t that should help!

DO

1. Find out your correct size. There is nothing more uncomfortable or more unflattering than an ill-fitting bra. Any decent underwear shop provide this service free of charge and it takes less than 1 minute so there are no excuses!

2. Get a range of styles. This allows you to have a bra for all of your outfits and means you can make the most of your assets. For instance: the balconette bra looks great wearing a low cut sundress but shows up under t-shirts and looks less flattering than a full-cup bra.

3. Get a range of colours. If you are wearing Black and have a white bra on underneath, the chances are the whole room knows. Black under red rarely works and white under white never works…make sure you purchase a nude set too! I could go on but I think you get the point, you need to cover all your bases!

4. As sexy as they are NOT – T-shirt bras are handy as hell. Get a black, a white and a nude and knickers for each. These are great on those days you feel you need comfort over style. They also never show up under blouses/t-shirts/tanks etc.

 5. Found a set of underwear you love? Buy more than 1 of the bottom. When I shop, I try to purchase at least 2 of the bottom, often they vary them and offer a thong, or a pant, or a french knicker. It means the set lasts longer and the bra can be worn more than once each week! You own less underwear this way but it allows you to always match.

6. Get a great strapless. It is a lot more attractive under tank-tops and strappy-tops and means the eye is directed to the right place…not to your bra straps.

7. Feel Sexy!

DON’T 

1. Spend lots of money on underwear you don’t know will fit. Make sure you always try Bras on in store.

2. Have straps on show when you don’t need to. It is never the way forward. Got a low cut back on a dress or top…there are brilliant solutions to this problem out there! Don’t settle.

3. Wash bras too often in the machine or in really hot water. Often just a rinse in the sink will do it. They last so much longer this way!

4. Let a man tell you what’s sexy. You decide and you stick to it. Wearing the right underwear makes a real difference to how your clothes sit on you and how you feel about yourself. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean its not the most important part of your outfit…

Good Places to shop for bras are La Senza, Marks and Spencer and Figleaves. I personally prefer M & S. Their bras are sexy, comfortable and reasonably priced.


I rarely leave home without it…

…A Pashmina of course! I honestly can’t put enough weight behind the power that the Pashmina holds. For a start, its stylish, but pushing that aside, it’s many practical uses make it a wardrobe essential in my eyes. Here’s a few things I use mine for…

1. Well first off…it is a scarf so…I use it for that.

2. It makes a plain outfit that bit more interesting. Jeans and a blazer isn’t exactly super exciting but throw on a bright Pashmina and we have something a little extra.

3. They add a touch of sophistication to any cocktail dress. It is a cheap yet effective tactic.

4. In turn, they help to take the edge off of the chill on a night out.

5. They work wonderfully as a blanket when on a cold plane – and lets face it, planes are always freezing!

6. Heading to the beach? Throw one around you!

7. I like to use mine as a blanket too on those days when I have an impromptu picnic!

If they aren’t seven reasons to make sure you go out a buy one I don’t know what are!


Their Designs are Sika!

I’m wondering through Greenwich Market with my Mum on a sleepy Sunday afternoon and we happen to “stumble” across Sika Designs Boutique tucked away in the corner. Of course, I have seen this place before and fallen in love with their clothes. However, these are Pure Silk and pricey! In reality, they are incredibly reasonable but to me, forking out £120 plus on a dress is restricted to very special occasions. However, I have one, my friend is getting married and naturally I need a new dress!! It is a fairly speedy affair and I only had 10 days notice to find the perfect Smart/Casual autumnal wedding outfit.

Sika design dresses in the most stunning fabrics with flattering cuts to suit any shape. If you like the style of a dress but prefer the pattern on another, they will custom make the one you want for you for the same cost of the original outfit. They do alterations on all of their clothes within 7 days for only £15 too so if you need to have an inch taken from under the arms or off the shoulders then they sort it for you.

I can’t describe to you how princess like you feel wearing these dresses. They make you look elegant and classic but not dull as the fabrics just make you stand out in any crowd. I ended up going for a bluey/grey coco bean design. I loved the full skirt, bow waist detail and stiff high collar. I also wanted to keep the “stand out” affect to a minimum as it was a wedding so these more muted colours on the design make the right statement without overpowering the setting.

I was really pleased with my dress choice in the end. It really suited the vibe of the day and my dashing date and I matched in our greys which was perfecto!

The day was beautiful and very emotional all in all. Watching friends get married is a whole new experience for me and something I found quite heart-stoppingly magical! Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Powell… x


Summer Wedding – AHH what to wear??!

It is August and peak Wedding Season so finding an outfit should be a piece of cake… or so I thought! I searched high and low but couldn’t find anything that had much to say for itself. That or they didn’t have my size left, it was the wrong cut for me or the colour made me look ill. So, I asked myself the question us girls hate to ask… “Do I really need a new dress?”

I rummaged around my wardrobe and was pleasantly surprised to stumble across a dress I bought to go to a wedding when I was 14 years old from Miss Selfidge. I looked it up and down and wondered…just wondered if I could still get into it. Sure enough, it fit better than it had the first time round! I’d forgotten all about it as it’s been years since I went to a wedding and I always found something new to wear.

A corset top is also flattering and cinches you in at the waist creating curves and showing off you smallest area. I love the lace detail on the dress, the nude colouring to it is very in this season and the handkerchief skirt is cute and playful. The corset top means you feel nice and secure without any straps so I knew I’d have no problems dancing the night away.

I found some sweet beaded nude shoes to wear with it, not too high as there is usually a lot of standing at weddings (gotta keep things practical). I also threw round a pashmina in case it got a little chilly later on. Just like that, I was good to go! What luck…

Congratulations to Mr and Mrs Rew. The whole day was absolutely fantastic and I hope you have a very happy life together. xx

Photographs provided by Nigel Ware


Red Lips: Minx or Clown?

I don’t know what it is but I’ve always found wearing Red lipstick makes me feel like a clown. In fact, any bright coloured lipsticks make me very aware of my mouth and I simply feel uncomfortable drawing that much attention to to it. However, bright red lips is a massive trend right now (I blame True Blood!). In fact, it seems everywhere I turn, I’m seeing women rockin’ the red-lip-look and doing it well.

So I purchased a M.A.C Ruby Woo lipstick and decided to brighten up my lips! I actually really love it now. The first few tries I was constantly worried about it being on my teeth but soon relaxed into it. It made me feel sexier too, like I was a little femme fatal character! I wore it to an audition and got the job so I now refer to it as my “lucky lippy”. People commented and complimented me on how I looked when I wore it too and I think that’s because it really makes an outfit pop. It even dresses up work-wear for those all important after-work drinks!  My only complaint would be that you have to reapply fairly often which is a little too high maintenance for my taste and I’d probably prefer a lip-stain.

I’d recommend giving it a go and let me know how it made you feel!

Picture by Mike Fox Photography

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