Tuesday, 31 March 2015

McArthur Glen Accessories Challenge: Part Two


So, in my previous post I wrote about my trip to Cheshire Oaks designer outlet as part of McArthur Glen's spring accessories style challenge. I was tasked with finding two accessories under £250 which I could style up in different ways for the spring season.

Well here it is; the big reveal. I am so in love with the accessories I chose!

Lulu Guinness 50:50 Lips Hug and Hold Clutch*
Prada Poeme Sunglasses @ David Clulow Eyewear*

Before my trip to Cheshire Oaks, my heart was set on getting a bag from Lulu Guinness. I've wanted one of her acrylic lips box clutches for ages, though the one I got in the end changed my mind! It's an oversized clutch in patent leather and I love the classic design and neutral colours - with the signature Lulu Guinness lips motif, of course.

I wasn't planning on buying sunglasses but after trying on these amazing Prada shades, I couldn't think about anything else for the rest of the shopping trip!

I was so impressed that I was able to buy both of these designer accessories for less than £250. The Lulu Guinness clutch has an RRP of £195 but was just £78 in the outlet shop. The sunglasses retail at £250 and are available current season everywhere, including Selfridges - they were £143 which I think is a really great discount.

I've snapped five different looks with these accessories, below.

Look One: All Black Errthang

Longline black coat - Boohoo
High neck ribbed crop top - In The Style
Midi skirt - Banana Republic*

I feel like this look is a bit Kim K! This isn't really a trend; it's no secret that I love black and this is just a really simple but chic outfit that I'm totally comfortable in.

Look Two: Suede and Floral

Black suede fringed jacket - vintage, from Amsterdam
Floral cut-out dress - Forever 21
Suede-look thigh high boots - Public Desire

Something a bit more boho! I don't really do girly so if I'm wearing something like this floral dress, I'd normally throw a big jacket over it. This fringed suede jacket of dreams is a recent buy from my trip to Amsterdam. I picked it up in a really cool vintage shop for only about £18. I could have bought so much in there but had to think about my hand luggage space...

Look Three: Sports Luxe

Longline blazer - Monki
Cropped Ellesse tee - Bank Fashion
Jeans - Primark
Trainers - Adidas (Stan Smiths)

I wear this Monki blazer all the time; it has to be one of the best things I've ever bought. It instantly smartens up any outfit and is great to wear as a light coat for the spring. I picked this bright Ellesse top in the Bank closing down sale recently for just £10. I used to wear Ellesse clothes all the time when I was younger so the brand has a bit of retro nostalgia for me.

Look Four: Evening Out

Leopard jacket - vintage via charity shop
Velvet high neck crop top - River Island
Earrings - Susan Caplan @ ASOS
Gold collar necklace - Primark
Gold chain belt - Blitz Vintage
Riding pants - American Apparel
Heels - Vivienne Westwood X Melissa

This is the sort of thing I'd wear on a date night with Chris. This vintage leopard print jacket is another one of my all-time favourites - I picked it up for around £3 from a charity shop back home! I'm also wearing my new Vivienne Westwood shoes which I got in the January sales; I was praying that they'd be comfortable but sadly not, great restaurant shoes though.

Look Five: Glam Grunge

Leather jacket - vintage via Mum
Chokers - eBay (tattoo) and ASOS (tartan heart)
Checked shirt - vintage via Reading Fest
Ribbed crop top - Topshop
Moons and stars leather belt - vintage via charity shop
Ripped jeans - Ragged Priest
Boots -Vagabond

It had stopped raining by the time I got around to my fifth and final outfit (typical Manchester!), so I decided to venture outside for photos. This was my favourite outfit of the five so I was glad to get some good shots of it. My style (at least on the weekends) is quite grunge-y but I really like how my shiny new accessories glam this look up a little.

What do you think of the accessories I chose and which is your favourite look?


Sunday, 29 March 2015

McArthur Glen Accessories Challenge: Part One


I had a really exciting shopping trip last weekend as part of McArthur Glen's spring accessories blogger challenge.

McArthur Glen own several of the UK's biggest and best designer shopping outlets, as well as many more around the world. With up to 70% off top designer brands, there's no wonder than these outlet malls have become a real shopping destination.

My nearest McArthur Glen outlet is Cheshire Oaks, which is actually the UK's largest designer outlet, with more than 145 stores and restaurants. I've lived in Manchester for almost four years (around a 40 minute drive from Cheshire Oaks) and have been meaning to visit the outlet for ages; so when McArthur Glen invited me to take part in the spring accessories challenge at the outlet, I couldn't wait to get shopping!

Tasked with finding two perfectly versatile spring accessories for under £250, I hit the shops with, if anything, too much choice!

McArthur Glen Gift Card

There are so many great stores at Cheshire Oaks, from high street retailers like Warehouse and Gap, to top end designers like Mulberry and Burberry. With the huge choice of stores, I had a mental hit list of where I planned to look first; these were Lulu Guinness (gorgeous bags, well known for the cult lips clutches), Daniel Footwear (branded shoes retailer) and Reiss (dreamy on-trend minimalism).

I took some snaps of my trip and favourite finds below.

Above: amazing glittery black and pink Air Max's at the Nike store
Above: Bag heaven at Fiorelli
Above: Lulu Guinness lips clutches

After a whole lot of browsing, we decided to stop off for lunch and were spoilt for choice with the selection of restaurants available. Though massively tempted by Ed's Diner, we opted for Yo! Sushi as a slightly healthier choice as we'd just got back from a break in Amsterdam and had eaten a bit too much over the previous few days!

Above: lunch at Yo! Sushi

After an amazing lunch and time to mull over the accessories I'd seen, I headed back to Lulu Guinness and David Clulow eyewear to make my purchases.

Sunglasses - Ray Ban
Black longline coat - Boohoo
Fluffy jumper - Fashion Union
Jeans - Primark
Trainers - Adidas (Stan Smiths)

Come back soon for part two - the big reveal on what I bought and to see me style up my buys five different ways!

Have you ever visited a McArthur Glen outlet?


Sunday, 22 March 2015

Marks & Spencer Bring Fashion Week to Manchester


Another season has gone by with me not attending London Fashion Week! Every time it comes around, I pledge to go and then something always crops up and scuppers my plans. There's always September...

Luckily, Marks & Spencer chose Manchester as the only non-capital location to host their exclusive Spring/Summer'15 catwalk show, which was held to mark their involvement as an official sponsor of LFW.

Sitting front row with some of my fave girls by the purpose-built runway at the Market Street store, we got a glimpse of the brand's key new season looks which if not already available, will be hitting stores very soon!

Front row Marks and Spencer SS15 Fashion Show Manchester
Frow-ing with Chyaz (and her lovely sister) and Anna
Marks and Spencer SS15 Fashion Show Manchester look 2 3
Marks and Spencer SS15 Fashion Show Manchester look 1
Marks and Spencer SS15 Fashion Show Manchester look 4 coral lace

The show was opened with a speech from Belinda Earl, M&S' Style Director. We were also shown a short film before the catwalk show which was produced with footage from London Fashion Week and outlined some of the season's top trends and how M&S had interpreted them for their own collections.

I loved the looks that were sent down the runway - as someone who doesn't really shop in M&S for clothes, I was surprised by how on-trend and wearable the pieces actually were!

There were some great monochrome looks which were really clean and minimalist; lots of floral prints and bold spring shades like coral and bright blue, plus plenty of seventies-inspired pieces with plenty of suede and denim. The 70s trend is undoubtedly one of the biggest of the season and one of my personal favourites too.

What spring trends are you loving right now?


Sunday, 15 March 2015

Branded Lab Spring/Summer'15 Showcase: Get Branded


I recently went along to PR agency, Branded Lab's Spring/Summer showcase - 'Get Branded'.

Branded Lab look after some great high street fashion brands and as I'm not so familiar with some of the labels they represent, I was really excited to see their SS15 collections and get to know them better.

The brand showcase was held in Manchester's amazing Rosylee tearooms - one of my favourite places which has recently been transformed into more of a restaurant; I haven't been in for a while so it was great to see the changes to their menus and decor.

Pieces from South Avenue
Bejewelled Coord by KoKo Couture
Pick 'n' Mix!
South Avenue Coord and NaaNaa paisley playsuit
Alex and I looking at the ranges and being papped by photographer Sophie Lobban

Rosylee provided the perfect atmosphere for a fashion event - the inside is so sophisticated yet still maintains that Northern Quarter quirkiness. It has a real vintage feel to it and lots of pretty touches like interesting light fittings and plants around the venue.

While being treated to delicious, classic spring cocktails and the most incredible mini desserts (not ashamed to say that I tried all of them!), it was great to catch up with some of my favourite bloggers as well as meet some new faces.

On to the collections! I was really impressed with the brands on display which included British-made leather bags by Harriet Sanders, Jailbird Jeans, Ruby PromNaaNaa and South Avenue. The latter two brands were behind my favourite pieces of the evening which I've photographed above: the dreamy pastel pink Clueless-inspired check coord two-piece set and the cool boho-style red paisley playsuit.

Thanks to Branded Lab for a great evening and for a fabulous goody bag which included products from Lipcote, Elf and Avon - as well as a huge bag of sweets from their amazing pick and mix stand!

Have you seen anything you'd love to wear this spring from these brands?


Wednesday, 11 March 2015

Rose Gold and Aqua Stones


A jewellery-based post for you. With Mother's Day coming up, it's the perfect opportunity to give (or receive!) something special.

I was lucky enough to get a closer look at a beautiful piece of jewellery from the 'Bronzallure' collection available at Chisholm Hunter, a UK jewellers with heritage dating back to 1857 -  they've got a store in Manchester too!

Mac Velvet Teddy lipstick worn with drugstore Maybelline Velvet Beige Lip Liner
Bronzeallure Rose Gold necklace with stone

This rose gold plated necklace is made from a unique bronze alloy metal, plunged into 18ct rose gold and finished a aqua-coloured chalcedony semi precious stone charm.

I'm definitely not one for dainty jewellery so I absolutely love how chunky the rolo chain is. Despite its thickness, the necklace is surprisingly light due to the alloy base metal.

My favourite feature of this necklace is the unusual fastening. While a typical necklace closes at the back, the large lobster clasp on this pendant is designed to be worn at the front. I love how you can adjust it so that the stone hangs lower on your neckline.

I had the idea that the necklace would look great fastened tighter and put on backwards so that it was almost like a choker chain from the front, but with the lovely aqua stone hanging down the back. I've paired it with a low-back crop top below but I think it would look gorgeous with a backless or cut-out back evening dress.

MAC Velvet Teddy worn with chain necklace
Bronzeallure chain necklace worn backwards, Japanese tattoo

The Bronzallure collection is new to Chisholm Hunter for Mother's Day. The range is inspired by classic Italian design and given a modern twist with stones like topaz, quartz and amethyst.

You can view a great selection of Mother's Day gift ideas on their site, here - which includes well-known brands like Michael Kors and Thomas Sabo.

My readers can also receive 10% off site-wide by entering 'BLOG10' at the checkout!

On another note, I can't get enough of MAC's Velvet Teddy lipstick which I'm wearing in the photos above. I know it's not exactly groundbreaking news anymore and I'm not usually one to buy into celebrity makeup trends but I actually seriously adore this shade and I never would have chosen it without its huge rep! Not wanting to splash out on a MAC lip liner as well, I've paired it with a Maybelline liner I picked up which I think works really well - it's called 'Velvet Beige' from the 'Color Sensational' (cringing at having to write the American spelling) range.

I also can't wait to blog the playsuit I'm wearing in the top photos - I recently bought it from Boohoo after spotting a presenter on MTV wearing the White version and tracked it down! I'm going to Amsterdam for a few days towards the end of next week and will hopefully get some outfit shots in to share once I come back.

Are you looking forward to treating your mum (or being a treated mum) this Mother's Day?


Sunday, 8 March 2015

A Day With Chiara Fashion


Wow, this post is so overdue! I lost the photos on my SD card from my day with Chiara Fashion last year, but luckily I've managed to recover them.

Chiara Fashion invited me and a handful of other bloggers to their HQ in Leeds for a day of pampering, clothes and a photoshoot.

We took it in turns to have our makeup done by the fantastic, Marta. In between having our hair and makeup done we were running around trying to get our five chosen outfits together - which was an ever-changing challenge as we all kept discovering new pieces we loved!

It was great to spend time with my blogger buddy, Jess and also get to know some great girls I've never properly met before; Sarah of Sequin This, Laura of A Forte For Fashion and Hollie of Hollie's Closet.

My favourite outfit of the day was the grid print co-ord pictured above, worn with a black duster jacket. I also fell in love with a red tartan jacket which I took home with me and have worn so much since the day of the shoot.

Thanks to Chiara Fashion for a great day. They really looked after us - getting us Domino's Pizza for lunch sealed the deal for me!

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