Saturday, 29 August 2015

Lighten up your Home


A rare interiors post from me today! I find myself at that crossroads in life where my student days are long gone - I'm now in a decent job and regularly catch myself becoming increasingly boring... but I'm not fully ready to grow up just yet either!

I think my flat reflects this. I still have a crazy mishmash of mugs and plates inherited from my mum and dad (cast-offs they were happy to rid from their kitchen) and all kinds of furniture and decorations that I've been given or thrifted over the years during and following university.

In the past year, I've started to feel the importance of getting my shit together with the flat, which is the same one I moved into when I finished my degree back in 2011.

I think lighting is one of those small things that can make a big difference, so I was delighted to get the chance to choose something from the brilliant and reasonably priced range by George.

I chose these beautiful drop bead chandeliers for my living room and absolutely love them!

It looks like these are now out of stock but I've put together a little montage of some of my favourite home bits from George, below - including a couple of beaut chandeliers!

What small changes to your home do you find make the biggest difference?


Saturday, 8 August 2015

Race For Life 2015 At Heaton Park with Scottish Power


A few weekends ago I did something I've been wanting to do for ages - take part in a long distance run!

A 5k probably doesn't sound like a big deal to most but I have never been a long distance runner. I used to be really sporty at school but long distance running is just something I've never been adept at.

I don't go to the gym as often as I should, though would still consider myself to be reasonably fit. I was therefore devastated to be out of puff in less than 5 minutes on my first outdoor run (of the past year or two).

I stuck at it and although I sucked hard, it did get easier - still, I was dreading the big day.

The cause made it easier. Cancer Research is a great charity and although I've thankfully never lost anyone as a result of this awful disease, I don't think I'm alone in saying that there's plenty of people I know who have, and I've seen the devastation it brings.

My Race for Life took place in Manchester's Heaton Park.

Scottish Power, an official event sponsor, kindly offered to pay for my entry fee - which I decided to put into my sponsorship donations, as I'd have been happy to pay this myself.

I had no idea at all how I'd fare. Even during my practice runs, I'd never even got to 5k!

I had plenty of energy at the start line. I put myself with the 'jogging' group and seeing all the other runners who came in all shapes and sizes and across all ages, I felt part of something really special and that I had to do my best.

Within the first half a mile, I'd already felt that pang of exhaustion; my head repeatedly telling me that I couldn't do it, that I needed to stop and walk - I ignored it.

I used my Nike running app and hearing an update at each milstone I reached spurred me on. I pushed on and was proud to reach 1.5 miles without stopping to walk. At this point, it hit me that I was already halfway there (5k being just over 3 miles). When I passed two miles, I wondered if the whole thing was something I could complete without walking.

I would have never found the motivation to carry on if it wasn't for my surroundings; seeing all the other women with heartfelt messages and photos of lost loved ones pinned to their backs somehow gave me more strength to push on.

I had a bit of a struggle towards the end. My running app told me that I'd reached 3 miles and knowing this, I used my last bit of energy to speed up and push for the finish line. Following this, I saw a sign for 4k - what?!

I powered through but had to succumb to a bit of walking after my app told me I'd hit 3.75 miles. Still, I crossed the line proud at bang on 40 minutes. That is probably a very poor time to most runners but I was pleased to have completed the track in what I felt was a decent time.

Thank you to Scottish Power for the experience, hopefully I'll be back next year to beat my time!

For anyone wanting to take part, look out for 2016's events on the Race for Life site, or in and around the North West, there's still a 'Pretty Muddy' 5k race open in Cheshire's Tatton Park which takes place in September (so enough time for a little training) Though if you'd like longer to gear up, the races start again in June next year.

Have you taken part in any running events this year or would you like to?


Saturday, 25 July 2015

White Hot and Shredded Denim


Where has the summer gone?

I took these shots a couple of weeks back when the weather was (a little) nicer.

Boohoo recently got in touch to see if I wanted to style up some items. I was actually going to wear my choices to one of the nights at Manchester International Festival though in the end I couldn't make it, *sad face*. Thankfully it was for good reason - Chris' band got into the final of the Midlands heat for a slot to play at a festival, beating 18 other bands so I had to be there for the big night! Sadly they didn't win in the end but they did amazingly well to say they've only been occasionally playing together around a year and a half, with the final in the competition being just their sixth gig!

I wore this for to go for a few alfresco drinks.

Coloured choker - eBay
White shirt - Warehouse
Ripped denim dungarees - Boohoo*
White cleated sole platform sandals - Boohoo*

I've worn these dungarees so much since I got them; the knees are probably a bit more busted open than when I got them! They fit like a dream, are comfy and such great quality for high street denim. I love the vintage wash and shredding to the lower legs.

I wanted to add some white to my outfit to complement the badass cleated platform shoes. My Warehouse white shirt is classic and has become a bit of a go-to if I'm short of something to wear when my brain is frazzled and my room has become a chaotic floordrobe.

Just peeking out is a cheeky sale purchase from Agent Provocateur. The set was a bit of a treat to myself that I couldn't resist with their sale being so good. The Liza bra has such gorgeous strappy detailing, it's difficult not to want to show it off. Writing this post, I've seen it's gone down in price again since I got it - always the way!

P.S. I got my purple hued ombre (which hasn't picked up so well on camera) at new Manchester salon, Red Angel Hair; highly recommend these guys.


Tuesday, 14 July 2015

In The Pink: Summer Casuals


Here's an outfit I threw on after work; seizing the opportunity of the warm evening to walk down to a close by beer garden for a few drinks in the sun.

It was so sunny, I couldn't even open my eyes without my sunglasses! Also shadows galore in these photos...

Clubmaster sunglasses - Rayban
Faux septum ring - Elisha Francis*
Colourful beaded choker - Primark
Pink orb tee - Vivienne Westwood Anglomania @ Repertoire Fashion*
Blue skinny jeans - Jailbird Jeans*
Chunky patent mules - ASOS

I was seriously lacking in cool, casual tees so when Repertoire Fashion got in touch to see if there was anything I'd like from their huge collection of designer brands, I immediately went for this colourful orb tee from Vivienne Westwood's Anglomania line. 

I'm not necessarily a pink person but I thought this bold colour would look wicked for summer.

I've casually paired it with my new skinny jeans from Jailbird. These high-rise blue jeans are amazing value at just £23.99 (currently in sale). The denim is really thick with a slight stretch, and I like that the cuffs have contrast binding so they look good when turned up too.

I made the look a bit more pub-friendly with some chunky mid-height heels. I also popped in one of my new faux septum rings from the Elisha Francis Bomani Woman collection. These are great for adding a bit of edge if you don't have the bottle or maybe an appropriate job to be able to sport a real septum piercing. 

I've met Elisha before and she has real talent for jewellery making and a fantastic creative eye. As well as making gorgeous pieces of jewellery with crystals and semi-precious gemstones, she also has an incredible line of customised trainers.

What's your go-to finishing touch to your casual outfits?


Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A Review: Silk Oil of Morocco Fibre Lash Mascara Kit


A rare beauty review from me today!

I've been hearing a lot about 'fibre mascara' recently so I was really interested to try Australian brand, Silk Oil of Morocco's own version - the Fibre Lash Mascara Kit.

My first introduction, of sorts, to fibre mascaras was the well known Moodstruck kit by Younique. The brand tend to sell through individual ambassadors so I've seen a lot about this one on social media - though it's important to say that I haven't actually tried it!

Silk Oil of Morocco have built themselves on the use of cold pressed organic argan oil in all of their products, which range from haircare to mineral cosmetics.

The fibre lash kit promises to enhance natural lashes with added lengh and extra volume. To achieve this, the kit (housed in a hinged sunglasses style case) comprises of two different tubes of product; one argan oil-infused black mascara and one tube of tiny fibres which stic to the lashes.

Silk of Morocco Fibre Lash Kit Wands
Argan Oil Fibre Lash Kit Before After
Above, I've applied the mascara fully to the lashes on my right eye with the fibres finishing the top lash line. On my left eye (note, my left eye is on the righthand side on the photos!) I have no mascara at all - just my natural lashes.
Fibre Lashes Mascara Result
Now, I've applied a normal mascara to my left eye so that you can see the difference. I would usually use my Benefit They're Real mascara but I think that it's so good, it wouldn't be a fair comparison! I've instead used a more standard drugstore volume mascara.

And here we have the full result:

Silk of Morocco Fibre Lash Kit Result
Silk of Morocco Fibre Lash Kit Result Makeup
I'm really pleased with the result! My lashes have loads more length and volume than even my favourite mascara can give.

Having heard a few negative things about other fibre mascaras, my biggest concerns were whether the fibres would stay on my lashes, whether they would irritate my eyes and how easy the product would be to remove.

I'm pleased to report that the fibres clung to my lashes really well and didn't irritate my eyes at all as I was careful to only apply the fibres to the mid-end lengths. You can also apply the fibres to the lower lashes but I didn't feel that I needed/wanted to.

This isn't a product I'd use everyday (not that you can't) but I've already used it loads on weekends and when going out for drinks and food, just for that extra wow factor. It's perfect for me as I hate false eyelashes - not that I don't like how they look, I just can't (and have never been able to) apply them. This mascara kit is the happy medium for me.

Have you tried a fibre mascara before? Let me know which one and what you thought of it as I'd love to try more.


Thursday, 25 June 2015

My Bag - AW Preview


I was recently lucky enough to get a sneaky look at the Autumn/Winter collection from My Bag at their beautiful event held in Artisan restaurant, Manchester.

My Bag is, first and foremost, an online destination for luxury bags of all shapes and sizes but not only that, they carry a fantastic range of accessories too.

A handful of other bloggers and I were treated to a private viewing of some of the key upcoming styles in Artisan's cosy back room.

The range of items was stunning! From sumptious leather bags from brands like Paul Smith, Cambridge Satchel Company and Grafea; through to covetable accessories from Ray Ban and even lingerie by Agent Provocateur.

I am so an Autumn/Winter girl (give me dramatic skies and frosty mornings over sunshine any day - well, maybe not every day...) so the delectable palette of plum, earthy brown and reds and of course black, suited me down to the ground.

Among my favourites were the classic backpacks from Grafea and Lulu Guiness' quirky lips clutches, being huge fans of these brands already. I also fell in love with the Paul Smith bags on display, particularly a slick black leather backpack with gold hardware. Yum.

Speaking of yum... I was so happy when the Artisan staff brought out trays and trays of their famous chips for us to sample. I'd had the pleasure of trying these previously after going to the restaurant last year as my birthday meal out. These handmade crinkle cut chips really are the best; you need to try them if you're local to Manchester!

Though the chips were truly spectacular, I'm not sure what was the most appetising thing on the table - the food or the bags!

If you're not quite looking ahead to Autumn just yet, My Bag have an incredible selection of Spring/Summer items too.

Given that I'm currently hating everything at Glastonbury right now through a tremendous fit of jealousy, I've put together my top festival picks which are all available now on the My Bag site.

Would you wear any of the pieces above, or are you coveting something from AW15?

* A big thanks to My Bag for a wonderful evening and lovely goody bag including a Look Fantastic beauty Box and goodies from Vita Liberata and The Cambridge Satchel Company.*


Saturday, 20 June 2015

Kosmonaut Presents: The Mancorialist Exhibition


I love Manchester and the fact that there's always something cool going on in our city. One thing I'm proud of is being part of Manchester's eclectic fashion scene. Manchester's sense of style is ultra diverse, creative and entrenched in music culture - making it one of the most exciting places to be in my opinion!

Since 2012, Manchester has been host to a renowned street photographer, capturing the city's uniquely stylish residents: The Mancorialist.

Named in homage to the famous New York-based street style photographer, The Sartorialist, the anonymous style hunter created the Tumblr site ‘as a way of interacting with Manchester and its people’.

The enigmatic photographer has launched an exhibition of work for the very first time, in partnership with one of the Northern Quarter's best venues, Kosmonaut.

I was fortunate enough to be invited along to the opening night of the exhibition with a handful of other bloggers and stylists, to take part in a street street challenge with clothing from Goodstock - a charity shop with a difference on Oxford Road.

Above: the vintage shirt I wore as part of my style challenge outfit

I decided to go all out in colourful clashing vintage for my outfit, choosing a purple and gold baroque printed shirt and an incredible heavily-embellished sequin jacket.

If you like my outfit, I'd urge anyone in Manchester to head check out the Goodstock shop, which is full of vintage pieces at really reasonable prices.

The exhibition stays at Kosmonaut until Sunday 28th June and is well worth seeing if you're in the North West.

All watermarked images by Sebastian Matthes: MANOX. Other images:  The Quick Red Fox
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