Friday, 30 August 2013

My Baby Shot Me Down Again

Wearing: Hat from Topshop, Dress from French Connection*, 
Boots from Matalan and Necklace from a jewellery party.

I love comfort, but unfortunately the most comfortable of outfits don't warrant much of a style credit. We can all relate to breathing in just to take a bit of pressure of that zip, subtly nudging that really annoying bone poking you in the ribs or sitting awkwardly in a rather restrictive outfit; but sometimes it's nice to float around in something that hardly feels like it's there.

The French Connection Ditton Sweats Crew Neck Dress  is an absolute dream to wear, I can feel comfortable yet remain true to my style. The cotton-blend fabric is wonderfully light and paired with the oversized nature of the dress itself means it's incredibly comfortable and doesn't weigh you down or cling as I thought a sweater dress might. I fell in love with the mix of textures and colour pairings, I think the sheer chiffon sleeves and chest panels really give this dress character and stop it from becoming too casual meaning you need very few accessories; a pork pie hat, statement necklace and amazing £10 cut out boots from the Matalan sale. Steal!

While it may feel light, it does not compromise on quality. The sheer sleeves feel secure and don't look like the stitching is going to give way at any minute as some cheaper items made from this fabric do, (I've seen my fair share of sheer tops and dresses falling apart at the seams in shops). It's not often I head into French Connection when I'm in the city, mainly due to money woes, but I'm so impressed with this that I'll make a point of heading in and seeing what else they have to offer.

Do you favour comfort or style? Or - like me - do you love to get the best of both worlds? 

Monday, 12 August 2013

Pounds or Practically Pennies: Flowers In My Hair

Whether they're called flower crowns, headbands, headpieces or garlands; we are absolutely no stranger to them. Equally loved and loathed among bloggers and fashionistas, flower accessories have evolved from festival must-haves to bridal accessories in an instant. 

Worn by Alexa Chung, Anne Hathaway, Keira Knightly, Katy Perry and Pixie Lott (who also has her own range over at Rock N Rose) the flower based accessories are becoming quite the sensation.  The above Dolce and Gabbana band is very cute, I love the blue accents, but is it £730 worth of cute? I'm not so sure...

Below I've popped together a few of my favourite flower crowns/garlands/headbands/headpieces for £15 and under. I've tried to keep a balance between high street retailers and independent stores to give you a rounded idea of what's available.
High street flower headbands and flower crowns

(Prices and stock are subject to change from the creation of this image!)

I don't think you can go wrong with the £3.50 Peacocks band or the £3.90 Forever 21 band especially if you're off to a festival and don't want to spend too much incase it gets ruined, or have a habit of misplacing things. The Forever 21 band would also look gorgeous with a wedding dress *drifts off to my Pinterest wedding board* and the Tesco one would look adorable on a little flower girl; they don't break your wedding fund either! My absolute favourites though are the Rosey Posey Creations Cream and Pink Dream Headband with its beautiful colour palette, the Crown and Glory Not a Lotta Rosie headband with its mini wine coloured flowers, and the Lolly Dolly Lavender Coral Crush Crown in all its big and bright glory.

They aren't just a spring fling either, get yourself in on a burgundy, wine or dusk orange and you're set for when the transition to Autumn begins. Of course, if you still don't want to fork out for a flower crown or want to make your own unique crown, Google has an abundance of D.I.Y's to hand and there's a ton of bloggers out there providing their own unique tutorials. 

Are you a fan of this seasonal headwear? Or is it a trend you are avidly skipping? I don't think anything will beat making daisy chains as a kid though. 

Tuesday, 25 June 2013

Ideal Cases App Review.

If you aren't already familiar with the ability to create your own bespoke smart phone or tablet cases then where have you been? Plenty of bloggers and their goldfish have had the opportunity to pop over to a website, create their own and showcase it on their blog and today, I'm not much different. Rather than saying 'hey hey look at my fancy new phone case', that post will come when it arrives, what I will be reviewing here is the creative process of a new app enabling you to create your case and how easy it is to use.

I've never purchased anything through an app, quite often I'd rather visit a desktop website in my phone browser than use their mobile site or app simply because I cannot get on with the user interface and find what I want. So, when I was offered the opportunity to give the Ideal Cases app a try I did have reservations, would it be me-friendly?
In short, it was! All reservations and potential tantrums could be cast aside easily as I flowed through the process from download to order confirmation without a hitch. 

  • The app download was free, quick and easy. You can download directly from the app store by searching 'Ideal Cases' or via the website  in your phone browser.
  • The app offers a fair range of smart phone and tablet options and are currently jazzing up the following devices and models: iPad (3, 2, mini) iPhone (5, 4/4s, 3) iPod (touch 4) Amazon Kindle (kindle fire 7" tablet, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Touch, Kindle, Kindle keyboard) Samsung (S3, S2, Note 2) Google Nexus (Nexus 7) Blackberry (Bold 9900, Bolg 9700, Curve 8520) B&N Book (Nook Touch) HTC (One X)
  • You can choose from a range of case styles including leather/canvas wallet case, plastic wallet case, clip on gloss white, clip on gloss black, clip on matte black and rubber.
  • Pricing is fantastic! £12.49 (as opposed to £16 and above on other websites) for a plastic clip on iPhone 5 case and FREE DELIVERY. Other cases are priced very fairly too.

The user interface and interaction is fantastic. It's simple, uncluttered and to the point; there is absolutely no room for you to get confused. The first screen you are prompted with gives you a simple three step process which leads you a third of the way to having a bespoke case. [Step 1] choose your device, [Step 2] choose your model and [Step 3] choose your case style. Once that's all done and dusted click 'Press here to start designing' and you'll be whizzed through to the next step. Throughout the app you are presented with 'hint' pop ups which give you a quick and uncomplicated low down on what each icon/button does and can be cancelled at any time.

Next is the creative process and, as you do on other websites, you see the potential outline of your chosen case with a white area that is your canvas for creativity! Images can be selected from your Facebook, Flickr or Instagram accounts or your camera roll and the image size and placement can be adjusted with typical finger gestures (smart phone gestures, not rudies. Tut). I did find one element of this restricting however, you can only insert one image. This means you can't create a 'collage' case like other case design websites or tile seamless images to create a pattern. Because of this, if a background is too short to reach the full length of the case and blurred zoomed in, you'd need to edit it in Photoshop (or a similar programme) to make it bigger and tile. However, I can understand that this may be done on a simplicity and accuracy basis as accuracy and line up on a smart phone may not be great as it's all down to your fingertips; you don't want a badly lined up phone case coming through do you? To finish it off you can pop some custom text on there with 17 fonts and plenty of colours to choose from. Fonts, colours and sizes can be changed easily through a scroll menu and in order to switch between different design elements like image and text, a layers menu is introduced.

I do think it would be great if you could have different background colours if you only wanted to feature text on the design or had a small centered image that didn't look right with a stark white background. Also, it'd be quite snazzy if you could change the colour of the case surround itself - all in good time I'm sure!
When you're finished click 'purchase' and the design saves to the shopping cart in under a minute. You have the option to create an account or simply checkout as a guest which is what I opted for and filling in your personal information is really quick and easy.

Overall, if all apps or mobile sites were this easy to use and navigate through then I would be inclined to use them more that's for sure. It was a pleasure to use and I can't wait to see what it looks like.

Discount treat: Would you like to order your own case? You can get 10% off all orders and cases until the end of June (not long now!) That means you can get a custom plastic phone case for only £11.24! Pop montageme10 in the promotional code box in the basket page using either the app or website et voila! Super-cheap custom case coming your way. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for a peep at the case when it pops through my letterbox.

Monday, 24 June 2013

I Hate These Blurred Lines

Wearing: Wrap Dress as top from Vero Moda, Skirt by Darling via TK Maxx
Oversized Denim Jacket from Primark, Brogues from Peacocks, Belt and Sunglasses from Tesco and 
Necklace from Olivia Accessories*.

You are reading correctly, this skirt really was a measly £3. Me and Phil were drifting round TK Maxx (a somewhat regular occurrence when I'm at his) and as I scanned the rails my eyes found their way to this super cute print skirt and a rather pleasing red sticker hiding away on the clearance rail. I completely lost my train of thought and whatever I was jabbering on about came to an abrupt halt as I admired it. There was no um-ing and ah-ing to be had, I grabbed it hurriedly and tried it on over what I was wearing in the middle of the shop before I paid the same amount as I would have for a car parking ticket and took it home. The length is perfect and I adore the little embroidered polka dots which, to me, add a little bit of texture and depth. I've styled it down with a bit of brown and denim but this would be a brilliant candidate for a day to night type outfit.

On another note, what have you all been up to? I've had a lovely chilled week with Phil, he started a new job today so last week he used up the last of his holiday from his old one. We popped to Alton Towers and had a couple of days in the park where we got our rollercoaster adrenaline fix and queued 2 hours and 50 minutes for The Smiler. We had a few hours another day in the water park where I rocked a bikini for the first time and in the evenings we explored the beautiful village of Alton after eating home cooked pub food; lovely! We also managed to book two seats for McFly's birthday show at The Royal Albert Hall in September so are searching for decent priced hotels (preferably with car parking) in the area, so if you know of any please do recommend them to me.  I now have jobs to apply for, several emails to catch up on, posts to write, comments to leave, and photos to take and edit. Wish me luck!

Make sure you let me know your best bargain buys whether they're TK Maxx finds or not, I'd love to know. 

Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Santhilea London: Magnetic Lash Extension Mascara

If you've not already noticed, I've always had issues with my eyelashes. They're short, lack volume and I only have to glance at my boyfriend's lashes before the green eyed monster in me comes out (yes,  I have wondered what they'd look like with a coat of mascara). After my previous mascara died I decided I wasn't going to repurchase and wanted something more exciting, a different brand that would wake up my sparse, short, lifeless lashes. Like knights in shining armour, Santhilea London were in the right place at the right time (Twitter, of course) and offered up their Magnetic Lash Extension Mascara. I'd never heard of this brand before which meant I was even more intrigued but what really swayed it for me is that they claim to use absolutely no inserts or post production editing (no asterisk to claim otherwise) in their advertising images and, after being reassured of this by them on Twitter, I was amazed. Their honesty is so refreshing to find, a product that actually produces what it shows!! But can a mascara really produce something like this without inserts and post production? Let's take a look at the evidence...
On unpacking it became apparent that this was a dual effort mascara, I'd heard about these but had never actually tried one; with easy to follow instructions on how to apply you can't really do this wrong but I'd recommend doing one eye at a time. First off, apply the magnetic mascara in tube 1 to your lashes just as you would any other mascara. Then, while it is still wet - hence why it's best to do one eye at a time - take the lash builder in tube two and dab on the fibres. Finally, apply another coat of magnetic mascara to seal the fibres and repeat steps two and three as desired. I've not repeated the last two steps when I've used it and the results below are from one application only.
I don't think I've ever been more happy with a mascara, I'm in love with it. My lashes are longer and fuller and best of all they're separated and aren't a clumpy mess which I am so dubious about with volume mascaras. The fibres just seem to melt in! I'm more than happy with this naturally long look they've given me and if I wanted a more dramatic look I'd just have to go for another application. I forgot to curl my lashes in the above photo but it seems the mascara had my back and has lifted them for me anyway! The formula is lightweight and I've had no issues with smudging, transferring or flaking because it isn't oil based. I thought the fibres would be a pain to remove but everything comes off as easy as you put it on. Can't fault it.

So, back to the question at hand '... can a mascara really produce something like this without inserts and post production?' The answer is both yes and no, and that no isn't clear-cut at all, it's completely dependent on your lashes. The extension system mascara is thought to be an ideal alternative to false lashes, for someone with incredibly long, thick and full lashes they would get an incredible result that would seriously rival wearing a pair of falsies. If I, on the other hand, still wanted an overly dramatic look I'd probably have to wear false lashes, however Santhilea are in luck because I don't wear them (I'm useless at applying them) and I would much rather turn to these tubes of magic any day!

This could be a silly thing to say as I haven't actually tried it, but from what I've seen and heard, I think this could be a real rival for the Benefit 'They're Real' mascara. Retailing at £24.99 it's a little more expensive but I guess you could think of it this way, you're getting two products for that price - three if you count the Hyaluronic Acid and Vitamin E that acts as a conditioner.

Would I repurchase? I really, really would. Chuffed! 

Have you tried the Magnetic Lash extension mascara? What did you think? Will you be giving this a go?

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Wish-Want-Need: The Shoe Edit.

1. Topshop £75 // 2. Topshop £45 // 3. ASOS £17.50;
4. Matalan £8 // 5. ASOS £32 // 6. Mr Shoes £24.99;
7. Joules Outlet £25 // 8. Fashion Union £14; 
(Prices and stock may change from the creation of this image!)

The long and short of it is that these are my most sought after shoes of the moment. I'd love to buy them all, but right now it's just not going to happen so I thought an 'I want, I want *stamps feet*' kind of post was the best way to go to relieve my itchy feet caused by the #fbloggers chat which was filled to the brim with shoe appreciation on Monday night.

1. I love the Adonis 2's from Topshop, I saw them in the flesh last week and they're truly gorgeous with their muted florals and cut outs - cannot justify £75 at the moment though.
2. I'm a real lover of Swedish Hasbeen's but they're far too expensive for me so to find these Topshop clogs at £45 is fab, I love the rustic yet classy look; a world away from what my year 2 teacher used to wear. 
3. The ASOS Little Miss ballet flats are SO cute - it's an embroidered bunny face with ears! Do I need to say more? 
4. How amazing are the glitter boat shoes from Matalan? They come in silver too so for £8 you could easily get both. 
5. The brogue, I just adore the timelessness. My brown pair are dying but this classic black and white pair would be the perfect replacement and look amazing with a swing dress or ankle grazers. 
6. You either love them or you hate them, and I LOVE these Juju jellies from Mr-Shoes. I really do need a pair and since I was forbidden these exact ones when I was younger because they had a heel, I will rebel now. 
7. Another lagomorph style for crazy bunny lady over here. These Joules Hare logo wellies are super cute! I had to put plastic food bags inside my wellies last winter because they were leaking and I couldn't find the perfect pair but, here they are whilst we head toward summer.
8. I'd probably hobble in these strappy sandals from Fashion Union due to the heel, (and because I can't walk straight in flats), but these are stunning.  I've been looking for a block heel pair in this combination but I haven't found any so I'd risk my neck for these. They'd look perfect with my black elephant jacquard print jogger trousers from Primark and for £14 I'm mighty tempted.

I would choose an ultimate favourite out of these, but truth be told these are my favourites. There's loafer, ballet, brogue, jelly, stiletto, clog, boot and even welly, so I technically have a favourite from each style (wormed my way out of that one didn't I?) I think these picks sum up my shoe style; classically quirky with a little bit of jazz.

Any choices here that you'd choose for yourself? What's your shoe style?

Friday, 24 May 2013

Memory Lane, We're Here Again, Back to the Day.

Wearing: Heart Swing Dress from Carousel*,
Gold Brogues from Primark and Gloves are vintage.

How completely whimsical and fanciful is this beautiful dress from Carousel? Once again, while the world is completely roaring twenties mad because of The Great Gatsby, I'm still stuck in the fifties. I don't mind, I've always done things differently. When I knew this beautiful dress was on it's way to me I immediately knew when I was going to wear it and, last Saturday, I frolicked off to Wembley Arena for the very first time to spend the night singing and dancing to my favourite band McFly. Having read that  their theme was the 1950's I knew I wanted to dress up for it whether anyone else did or not and this dress was the perfect number as it reminded me of that stunning dress Lea Thompson wore as Lorraine Baines in Back to the Future. When I first stepped out in this Phil gave me a smile and told me how much I suited the style - I'm a lucky girl. 

It fits like an absolute dream! It has an elasticated back that lends to contouring to your body in the right places whilst making sure it flares out everywhere else. I love the beautiful peach/pink colour with the kitsch cream heart print which is also infused with tiny little polka dots. The fold over neckline, the ruched thick straps and the full knee length skirt are the perfect classic touches and, if you put all these features together you get an item of clothing that is really aesthetically pleasing! I've decided that I'm going to glam up this dress for Phil's cousin's wedding in a couple of weeks, so suggestions on a postcard please.

Carousel have some of the most beautiful dresses I've ever seen, no exaggeration. While adhering to and acknowledging current trends, Carousel choose to work with independent brands with unique styles and twists while remaining essentially classic meaning they offer things that you'll be hard pushed to find anywhere else. Their selection is stunning and rivals what the high street stores can churn out undoubtedly; an absolute must-peep for vintage styled lovers. 

The gig was amazing by the way, I won't go into it too much but as I get older I get softer and I was an emotional wreck. It's McFly's 10 year anniversary this year after all and I've grown up with them every step of the way. Anyone who has a band or a film or a following that means something to them will understand whether or not you agree on the 'thing' at hand.

Do you like little gem shops like this? Do you find it refreshing to find such different styles or do you simply prefer the high street?