Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Style By Portobello Second Unboxing


Today I've got the second unboxing of my monthly Style by Portobello vintage accessory subscription boxes!

So for those of you who don't know, I am testing out these £35 a month boxes of Portobello Road Market-sourced vintage goodies for three months as a style ambassador for the brand. You can learn more and see what I received last month in my earlier blog post.

So, let's get to the big reveal.

Seriously, wow! I think I love this month's contents more than the last.

I think the belt is my favourite piece. In black and gold, it's classic but also really unusual with the little figures adorning the full width of the belt. It's quite small but is perfect as a waist belt - I've already worn it several times and got loads of compliments.

I love a good vintage scarf and have amassed quite a collection over the years. Just my style; I'm always drawn to the ones with Versace-esque chain designs like this one. I think these kind of scarves are really versatile accessories - worn traditionally around the neck, as a headscarf or even around the handles of your bag as I've done, below. It's a really easy way to update a plain bag.

Faux fur patchwork gilet - River Island*
Jumper - Warehouse
Cord Disco Jeans - New Look
Chunky 70s style Suede Boots - Topshop
Bag - Vivienne Westwood
Vintage Scarf - Style By Portobello*

I mentioned that I bought the River Island faux fur gilet above with the voucher I got from the recent Premier Inn Shopping Event. I have such a ridiculous collection of faux fur coats that it was high time that I got myself a furry gilet too. I didn't think I'd get much wear out of this but it's already become a weekend essential.

What are your go-to pieces this season?


Saturday, 14 November 2015

UD X GWEN: Urban Decay | Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette


This post is all about an uber-exciting new product launch that beauty buffs and music fans are going to go crazy for!

I have always been a huge fan of No Doubt and by association, the absolute babe that is, Gwen Stefani. So imagine my excitement when a parcel from Urban Decay landed on my desk, containing the not-yet-released Gwen Stefani collaboration eyeshadow plaette* and a CD of No Doubt's greatest hits!

Urban Decay's eyeshadow palettes are pretty legendary (who hasn't heard of the iconic Naked range?) but collaborating with a music legend and style icon like Gwen on this limited edition has proved to be a really interesting, creative partnership.

For starters, what an incredible pairing. UD was founded in Southern California - where Gwen hails from! UD confess that they've been dying to collaborate with the singer for years. Her music started to gain popularity around the same time that the makeup brand was founded and was a real inspiration to the brand's core values of individuality, self-expression and creativity.

UD X Gwen eyeshadow palette

The Palette

The packing of the palette is awesome! Apparently Gwen had a hand in every part of the process and the packaging was no less important. The bold monochrome paired with the gold is so her.

I love that the casing has her personality and even little touches like a 'Magic's in the Makeup' quote on the mirror inside - another No doubt song.

UD X GWEN packaging paletteUD X GWEN palette case design

The Shades

There's quite a few nudes and neutral shades in the palette - which is pretty true to Gwen's style. She doesn't tend to wear coloured shadows and instead opts for a bold lip (usually red) as the focus of her look (keep your eyes peeled for a lipstick range too!).

The shades are really quite interesting, with most named by Gwen with some connection to her music; like the spangly gold colour '1987' which is the year No Doubt formed - I bet that makes some of you feel old! She says that she wore lots of gold during the days of the Rock Steady album.

I think my favourites of the bunch are 'Anaheim' (a matte taupe brown and also the place Gwen grew up), 'Steady' (a rose gold/brown shade with a subtle gold shimmer - and named after the Rock Steady album) and lastly, 'Danger' (the incredible metallic royal blue, the most daring in the palette).

I did a few swatches of the darker colours below. It's hard to pick up all the different finishes; the shades have so many facets - irridescent shimmers and sparkles which have a beautiful sheen in the light.

UD X GWEN eyeshadow shades
UD X GWEN eyeshadow colour shades
UD X GWEN eyeshadow swatches


All in all I think this is a really versatile palette and considering it's a limited edition collab, it's really classic too.

The colours are really pigmented and have great staying power (made even better with UD's eyeshadow primer that I was lucky enough to get hold of recently). I can see this palette being a real go-to for day or night.

The palette retails at £40. You can sign up to be notified by email for its launch on Urban Decay's site - I anticipate it's going to be really popular!

Gwen's look has always struck me as really bold but classic. She's not afraid of colour and has always lead the way in terms of crazy and controversial outfits, though her make-up tends to be very classic - like old Hollywood with a rockabilly twist. I love her signature combination of winged black eyeliner, bold red lips and strong brows (well, in recent years - she definitely rocked the noughties skinny brow trend at the time!).

Below are some of my favourite beauty looks from Gwen over the years; from the crazy blue hair, bindi and space buns, to classic bombshell.

Gwen Stefani makeup
Gwen Stefani No Doubt shoot
Gwen Stefani blue hair bindi festival
Gwen Stefani makeup pink

Are you a Gwen Stefani fan?


Friday, 6 November 2015

Italy Part Two: Liguria


So here we have part two of my Italy adventure! After spending a brilliant couple of days in Milan, we headed to our Italian coastal destination - Liguria!

Liguria is on Italy's North West coast, with its coastline also known as the 'Italian Riviera'. As we flew to Bologna, we knew it would be easiest to stay fairly northern and deciding to go somewhere less touristy than Rimini on the East coast, Liguria was our first choice.

The Riviera is peppered with little old-fashioned seaside towns in pastel colours. We chose to stay in Rapallo which is a pretty quiet resort but close to the more lively Santa Margherita Ligure and also luxurious Portofino - it sounded like a great base!

The train from Milan took around two hours and we arrived later in the afternoon. It was gorgeous to sit by the sea and have a few drinks and nibbles (you seem to gets snacks with your drinks almost everywhere in Italy!) as the sun set. We sat close to Rapallo's 'castello' - a medieval mini castle that sits in the water just off the shore.

Our hotel in Rapallo was my favourite of the three we stayed in during the trip. A pastel pink renovated (actual) palace from the 1600s, it was like my very own Barbie Dreamhouse! It also has a spa which you can book into for free and have all to yourself - I'd definitely recommend it.

Playsuit - In Love With Fashion via Topshop sale

Rapallo was a brilliant base for exploring Liguria as nearby Santa Margherita Ligure and Portofino were just a short 1.80 EURO train ride away. On our second day in Liguria, we took the train and enjoyed exploring Santa Margherita, before taking the boat over to Portofino.

Portofino really is incredible for a day trip. It's where the wealthy choose to take their yachts and as soon as you step off the boat, you're greeted by boutiques like Dior and Louis Vuitton - which is quite surreal considering how small this little fishing village is!

We enjoyed the views from walking up the hill where there's a beautiful church and even further up, a castle. The photo above was taken from the top of the castle.

Playsuit - Boohoo

We were lucky to enjoy some of the best meals of the trip in Liguria. I think my favourite was our meal at Gli Angeli on the first night; I had the lobster soufflé above, followed by tiramisu. We obviously also tried a few pizzas too...

Our last day in Rapallo was up there with the best of the trip. We took the rickety old cable car up the mountain, where at the top, there's a religious sanctuary built in 1557 after a farmer claimed to have seen the Virgin Mary in this very spot. It's absolutely breathtaking to see something so beautiful and intricately built in the absolute back of beyond up a mountain - amazing!

We had lunch at the top of the mountain in a lovely family-run restaurant. Eating fresh pesto spaghetti with the most insane views over the coast is something I'll never forget.

Outfit 1: 
Sunglasses - Ray Ban
Off-the-shoulder top - Primark
Patterned shorts - bought at Milan train station somewhere when I was too hot!
Velcro sandals - Vagabond

Outfit 2:
Jacket - Luxemme*
Necklace - Zara
Dress - Motel
Patent Sliders - Primark

While you wait for the third and finally instalment of my Italy diary, why not read my part one in Milan?


Friday, 30 October 2015

#SleepWellShopWell with Premier Inn Manchester Piccadilly


So last Friday I spent a fun-filled evening with some of my favourite local blogger girls, Propellernet and The Front Row Society.

Also joining us for the weekend was the beautiful Megan of Pages by Megan, who we've definitely missed on the Manchester blogging scene since she moved to London!

We were welcomed into the fabulous, well-located Manchester Piccadilly Premier Inn as our base for the weekend; ideal for a girlie night of eating and drinking, followed by a day of shopping!

Premier Inn Manchester Piccadilly

After making myself at home in my comfortable double room (i.e. throwing jewellery, clothes and shoes across it) and a swift touch up to my hair and make up, we headed out en masse to The Front Row Society's choice of restaurant for our meet - San Carlo Fumo.

Wow. Wow. Wow. The restaurant was just incredible! Fumo is relatively new for the San Carlo group of Italian restaurants - I've actually never been to the main San Carlo restaurant in Manchester so I didn't know what to expect at all!

We were lucky enough to try pretty much everything on the menu (seriously, all. the. food.) as everything was shared. Some of my favourite courses among the many were prosciutto and fried dough sticks, mozzarella salad, spaghetti with clams, rib eye steak and obviously, pizza. If the never-ending first and second courses weren't enough, the meal was topped off with huge bowls of ice cream to share; seriously good.

Throughout the meal we chatted about our experiences with blogging and got thinking about some really interesting topics thanks to some thoughtful conversation cards provided by The Front Row Society. Sometimes when us bloggers meet up, we forget to discuss the one thing we all have in common!

Even though I could have quite easily crawled straight into bed and slipped into a food-induced coma at this point, the night was still young so on to some bars we went! A few of us headed to Lammars for some cheesy tunes and a dance. Clearly getting carried away, I lead the remaining stragglers to my favourite weekend haunt, Hula where myself and three of the girls (including the PRs - yes!) were out until 3am.

(Drunken bed selfies were an interesting find the next day...)

I won't lie; getting up for breakfast at 9am was a struggle. I thought I wouldn't be able to stomach any food but after spying the appetising hot counter, bacon and hash browns were calling my name!

Suitably saved from death by hangover thanks to Premier Inn's stellar brekkie, it was off to hit the shops with my blogger pals Frankie and Emma.

We were kindly given a gift voucher for Manchester Arndale shopping centre as well as a handy map with Megan's top Manchester shopping choices. Megan's choices echo my own, picking out some of the best-loved high street chains at the Arndale centre, as well as quirky and independent vintage shops in the city's Northern Quarter.

Manchester is really hard to beat for shopping. We've got a choice of amazing high street flagships and are lucky to have a plethora of unique and interesting independents. The Northern Quarter is usually my port of call for everything from finding vintage treasures, grabbing a coffee and a slice of cake, to a full-blown night out into the early hours.

Megan's choice of Northern Quarter stores like COW, Oxfam Originals and Pop Boutique are firmly among my favourites too. I also love to shop for vinyl in the Northern Quarter since getting a record player for my birthday a few years back - for a dying form of music, there are quite a few great independent record stores in Manchester.

So what did I spend my voucher on? I put it towards a stunning faux fur gilet from River Island that I fell in love with - it will be making an appearance in an outfit post soon, I'm sure!

Have you ever shopped in Manchester? Where do you like to go?


Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Style By Portobello Monthly Vintage Boxes


In this post, I'm excited to announce that I'm working with an exciting new start-up as a Style Ambassador.

Style by Portobello is a brand new concept in monthly subscription boxes. In these unique packages, you receive a handpicked selection of vintage accessories direct from London's famous Portobello Road Market.

For £35 a month, you'll get a selection of carefully chosen accessories which could include jewellery, scarves, bags or belts direct from the market by SBP's expert vintage stylists. You can even give them details about your own personal style to help them tailor your boxes to you.

Naturally I told the guys that I love blingy gold 80s stuff! Let's see what I got inside box number one...

I'm so pleased with my first Style by Portobello box!

The bracelet in particular, I love. It's a chunky gold tone chain with huge brightly coloured jewel chains - a real show stopper! I actually never buy bracelets for myself - I have no idea why; for some reason I just seem to be more drawn towards necklaces and rings, so it's great to receive something I love but wouldn't necessarily buy for myself.

My other item is a cute little gold clutch - it's really unique and unusual but totally wearable.

I think the nice thing about receiving the package is that it really is like receiving a gift from a good friend who knows your style.

I was actually having this conversation at the weekend; that when I shop for myself, I end up mostly buying practical clothes and accessories that are versatile enough to wear for work too and it all becomes very middle of the road. Very rarely do I spurge on things that I absolutely love.

These boxes would definitely make a great gift or a special treat and because the subscription can be cancelled at any time, they can be ordered as a one off.

How do you feel about putting your style in the hands of experts - is the SBP box something you'd like to try?

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