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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!


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