Sunday, 29 November 2015

Online Avenue



I've just recently discovered Online Avenue, a site selling footwear that refers to themselves as 'one of the web's best kept fashion secrets'. What's rare to find is somewhere that offers women's, men's, and kid's shoes all under one roof.  A wise woman once told me that if you buy a man shoes, he'll walk away from you. However, if you're not worried about old wives' tales, Online Avenue have footwear for everyone at affordable prices.


Online Avenue recently gifted me a pair of their Zelda Boots in grey. The suedette ankle boots have a 3.5" heel - perfect for teaming with jeans for drinks on a Friday night. If you're feeling risky then they're perfect for everyday wear too, but just a little too high for me - I can just about drive in them! Fringing was a big trend this A/W for clothing, so it's no surprise to see tassels on footwear everywhere. These Zelda boots are available in 3 other shades - black, tan, and taupe, at a bargain price of £22.99. They have an inner zip fastening and a thick and sturdy block heel. Although I'm a fan of suede, it's always going to be difficult to keep clean - I'd recommend buying a suede protector spray.



Another pair I have my eye on, with only a 3" heel (more everyday and work friendly), are the Tessa boots in black for only £23.99. They're faux leather with a buckle fastening, and a comfortable block heel. Snap up both pairs now and receive free delivery! Online Avenue are offering free delivery when you spend over £40, and free delivery worldwide for orders over £99. Selected women's shoes are currently on sale and up to 60% off, plus receive 20% off full price products with code 'Launch20'. Hurry, the code expires 4th December, happy shopping!
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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills Powder Contour Kit

Clockwise from top left: Vanilla, Banana, Sand, Havana, Fawn, Java


For those of you that have read my review of the Anastasia Beverley Hills Cream Contour Kit, I had mentioned how I wished that I had bought the powder kit instead - and that's exactly what I did. However, after experimenting with the cream kit, it has become part of my daily routine. I'd decided to ditch the foundation and found that the creams works great on their own, giving great coverage and easy to work into the skin with a beauty blender. Both kits retail at the same price, £39, and again I bought from the trustworthy UK website Cult Beauty.

Available in shades 'Light to Medium', 'Medium to Dark', and 'Dark to Very Dark'
Being quite pale I opted for Light to Medium, and like the cream kit, it comes with 6 different shades - 3 highlighting powders and 3 for contouring. Unlike the cream shades, I was able to find magnetic refills on Cult Beauty costing £14 each, and taking all palettes into account, there are 28 shades to choose from. I've seen many makeup artists combining shades from different sets into empty palettes - useful if you're working with lots of different skin tones.

As I normally contour with powder, I found this palette easier to work with than the cream. Powder is more forgiving - the product is buildable and easy to blend and control. As I mentioned in my previous post, I found the cream shades to be warm and a little on the orange side, even for the light palette. These powder shades seem cooler and appear more natural, suitable for part of your everyday makeup routine. I'm currently using both palettes daily - I've dyed my hair darker and the cream is especially useful for when I'm looking for a little more colour and wearing fake tan. I'll use the lighter shades to highlight the centre of my face, and gradually get darker the closer I get to the hairline (full diagram here). If you're on the super pale side, since buying this palette, Anastasia have brought out a new 'Fair' shade with lighter creams.

One problem that I have with this palette, is that the lighter shades don't show well enough on my skin for a dramatic highlight. I'll normally use banana as it's more yellow based, and I find it compliments my skin tone, but it's hard to achieve a very highlighted look with this kit. A palette that I did find worked well for this is the Kat Von D Shade + Light Contour Palette. I had the opportunity to try it recently and found the lighter shades to be super pigmented and great for cleaning up contour lines. Unfortunately, also being an American product, I can't find it at any UK stores, and although many are showing up on eBay I'd be wary of fakes. If anyone knows of any reputable websites selling the palette, please share.

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Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Do You Measure Up?



I've recently been trained to perform bra fittings in work, and it's been such an eye opening experience. Many women I've fitted (including myself) had been wearing the wrong size bra, many being painstakingly obvious. Different shops have different ways of measuring, and I've been taught to measure the back (just below the bust), and then use your eye for the cup. As no 2 bras are usually the same size for each brand, this allows you to get a better idea of what fits. I can't stress enough how important it is to get fitted - many places offer a free fitting service and the experience doesn't have to be embarrassing or uncomfortable for anyone.




What a lot of women aren't aware of, is that cup sizes change when back sizes do. When moving up a back size, you'll have to move down a cup. For example, if you find that a 34C is too big on the back, you're best to try a 32D, and vice versa. To ensure the bra fits you properly, I recommend leaning forward to make sure that you're completely in the cups, and always adjust the shoulder straps to ensure better support and lift. Always fit the bra in the loosest fastening - this way if the bra stretches with wear and washing, it can be tightened to give the same fit.

When looking to see if a bra fits correctly, I'll make sure that the breast isn't spilling over or leaving a gap, and that no puckering occurs on the cup. I'll also check that nothing is spilling over the sides near the underarms, and that the bra doesn't ride up at the front or back. I'll check that the customer feels supported, and that I can comfortably insert 2 fingers under the fastening at the back without too much pull. 



After being fitted correctly, I'd treated myself to this racy Freya set, and it's currently on sale via Figleaves. It's also available in a chemise, short, and separately made bra for GG+. Freya is especially suitable for busty ladies as they fit up to a K cup, but also cater for those with smaller busts, starting at a B - check out some of their cute new collections.

Also being October, it's no secret that it's breast cancer awareness month. Although this set isn't exactly pink, it's always important to get the message across. I've come across a great website that encourages people to find the signs of cancer early and therefore have a better chance at beating it. KnowYourLemons.com is an insight into how breast cancer looks, feels, and is found.

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Sunday, 4 October 2015

San Antonio, Ibiza



I visited Ibiza in mid August for 4 nights, and it's so hard to say goodbye to San Antonio sunshine. My 2 friends and I stayed in the famous Ibiza Rocks Hotel, and chose a roomy superior stage view apartment, meaning that we could watch gigs from the comfort of our own balcony (if you're not afraid of heights). We booked our stay well in advance and only found out who were playing at the hotel weeks before we arrived. On our first night De La Soul played until midnight, followed by a live session from the amazing Gorgon City on the Saturday.


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Friday, 24 July 2015

IT by Alexa Chung




Being naturally not much of a reader, I of course had to make an exception for Alexa Chung and purchase her debut book simply titled 'It'. Published in 2013 I'm about 2 years too late, but my obsession for her only recently kick-started after a late night visit to Alex Turner and Alexa Chung dedicated tumblr pages - cringe. Alexa is no doubt an It Girl of the 21st century, and the self confessed groupie has listed her somewhat strange style icons in this book, pulling inspiration from the likes of Wednesday Adams and even her own grandfather.



Even for me, I found this book to be quite a quick read. However, the lack of words is quickly made up for by the vast amount of personal photographs and doodles; a real insight into Alexa's life and musings. The top 10 best seller covers everything from heartbreak, to how to get dressed in the morning, and even tips for the perfect selfie (it helps if you have Alexa Chung's face). If you're looking for a witty read, I'd definitely recommend 'It' - also available in paperback.
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Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills Cream Contour Kit



Contouring is everywhere. I mean everywhere. Probably the most popular contour kit I've noticed being used by bloggers I admire is the 'Anastasia Beverly Hills Pro Series Cream Contour Kit'. I find it fascinating that we can give the illusion of changing our face shape and features, solely with the power of makeup, and my favourite instagram photos have to be contouring before and after posts.

Anastasia Beverly Hills was founded by Romanian born Anastasia Soare, who first opened her own salon in Beverly Hills before becoming a worldwide brand name. Being an American product, I was able to purchase my contour kit from UK website Cult Beauty, who offer free shipping over £50 and free samples with orders over £40. Rather than put faith in sites like eBay, I confidently bought from Cult Beauty knowing that they only sell genuine products and are a reputable company.



The biggest decision I've ever had to make (kidding), had to be choosing between the cream or powder contour kits from Anastasia. Both kits retail at £39 and are both loved by bloggers and makeup artists everywhere, it really just comes down to personal preference. Considering I'd been working with a darker cream foundation to contour before, I went for the cream kit in shade 'Light'. The kits come in 3 shades to suit every skin tone.

Before using this, I'd normally contour on a daily basis, quite quickly and with 1 dark shade. The Anastasia Beverly Hills kit is a little more overwhelming and comes with 6 colours to both highlight and contour with. The choice of 6 colours allows for a more natural look, being able to blend contour and highlight seamlessly, fading from the darkest to the lightest shades. Each cream shade is removable and magnetic, but unfortunately I can only find cream refills from American stockists.

From left to right: Banana, Vanilla, Cool Pink, Cream, Nude, Cinnamon




After experimenting with this kit, I regretfully wish I had bought the powder kit instead. The cream kit is very heavy and it's hard to control the coverage, where as with powder the coverage is buildable. This is great for nights out or for special occasions where heavier makeup is perfect, but it wouldn't be my daily go-to choice for makeup. Unfortunately, it was only after I bought this that I had realised the ratings for the powder kit were higher, and it's a higher seller on the Anastasia website. Also, anyone with a pale complexion may find that the shades are a little too warm and 'orangey' for them. Hopefully this review will help anyone who's thinking of purchasing an Anastasia contour kit.
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Monday, 15 June 2015

Alex and Ani






'The bumblebee is hard working and extraordinarily loyal to the Queen Bee and the entire community. A symbol of nature's perfect balance, the bee reminds us to slow down, smell the flowers, and taste the sweet honey of life. Wear the Bumblebee Charm to channel the bee's meticulous energy, work diligently towards a goal, and ultimately appreciate the sweetness of life.'

As promised, here's the Alex and Ani bracelet I mentioned in my Olivia Burton post. The 2 just go so well together, and were both presents for my 22nd birthday. Alex and Ani bracelets are the creation of Carolyn Rafaelian, a spiritual enthusiast and each piece is 'made in America with love'. Their jewellery is said to 'adorn the body, enlighten the mind, and empower the spirit'.

I'm not sure how much I believe in the so called 'positive energy' that this bracelet holds, but let's just say I'm a fan of the Alex and Ani look, and what their charms stand for. Leading up to summer, I plan on building my Alex and Ani collection, and starting a 'stack' like the many they share on their @alexandani instagram page. You can find out more about the energy their jewellery has, and see more designs here.




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Saturday, 13 June 2015

Mermaid Heels


On my recent trip to Dublin I picked up these beautiful heels in Penney's (our Primark), that can't help but make me channel my inner mermaid. They're maybe the most beautiful shoes I've ever purchased and just happened to be a bargain at €18. They really do shine in their blue and green glory, in real life like they do in these pictures - I haven't edited these one bit! Plus, not only do they look the part but they're also quite comfy thanks to the thick heel. However, not so ideal on Dublin cobbles. As we all know, Primark/Penney's don't have an online store (sob), but I'm pretty sure these will still be in store. Fingers crossed!




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Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Olivia Burton - Personalised Big Dial


I've just turned 22, and for my birthday my lovely mum was kind enough to get me this gorgeous Olivia Burton watch. My mum, like I'm sure a lot of mums, needed a few little hints and maybe a not-so-obvious link or 2 to the Olivia Burton website! I've wanted a watch for a while now but was fed up with everyone having a Michael Kors or Marc Jacobs on their wrist. Daniel Wellington watches had caught my eye, but it wasn't until my friends were eyeing up the Olivia Burton watches, that I soon fell for the brand. I'm basically copying my friend Kathryn, who had the genius idea of ordering an Olivia Burton straight from the ASOS website to benefit from the student discount. Fun fact - the duo behind the brand actually have fashion experience in buying for ASOS and even Selfridges.






The Olivia Burton brand is the genius love child of the duo Lesa Bennett and Jemma Fennings, who met on their first day at London College of Fashion, cute! And there was me thinking it was created by someone called Olivia Burton. Wanting to make a statement with my watch, I opted for the big dial in black, with a matching black soft leather strap and gold frame. I also received a gold Alex and Ani bracelet for my birthday from my friend Lauren, that goes perfectly with this watch - blog post coming soon.



Having received this for my birthday I wanted it to be extra special, so I added the personalised option on the Olivia Burton website. For an extra £30 you can choose up to 6 letters (A-Z only in caps) to be embossed on the leather wrist strap. After an extensive Google search I could only find 1 example of their personalised watches, so I'm hoping these pictures will help anyone thinking of paying the extra money. My name is 6 letters long, but rather than the obvious 'Hannah' I opted for 'HM' instead, 'M' being the initial of both my middle and last name - safe for if I ever get married in the distant distant future! If I'm being honest, I'm a little disappointed that the embossing isn't that clear, but it doesn't make me love my watch any less! I'm more of a less-is-more kind of girl but if that isn't your thing, they have a ton of illustrated and colourful watches to choose from.
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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Dublin



I had to celebrate my 22nd birthday early, and thought what's better than taking the 158 mile journey to Dublin? Road trip (shout out to Lauren for staying awake for the trip)! I've never been before and had to get a trip down for purely the drink and shopping aspects the city had to offer. We stayed in The Fleet Street Hotel above TGI Friday's on Fleet Street, obviously. It's a lovely hotel with friendly staff that even handed out wine glasses on request! The location couldn't be better - walking distance from the shops and the famous Temple Bar, and close to other pubs and restaurants.






We had arrived to some sort of heatwave in Dublin and were able to experience t-shirt weather which is somewhat unusual for May in Ireland. Not to waste a sunny day, we hit up Trinity Bar on Dame Street and ordered literally a platter of food to go with our ciders. There wasn't much shopping done on day one but we did make the mistake of going to Penney's (Irish Primark) on O'Connell Street and later found a bigger one on Mary Street that even had it's own beauty bar.

For dinner we went to Hard Rock Cafe on Fleet Street in heels, which was a trek on the cobbles despite it being metres from our hotel. I absoloutely loved Hard Rock Cafe in Budapest and had to make a visit in Dublin - their steaks are great. After dinner we ventured to the world famous Temple Bar which was crammed with tourists and then eventually onto The Dubliner, both had your typical live Irish music. After The Dubliner closed, we wanted to dance and were advised to head to Dicey's on Harcourt Street after a very drunken rickshaw journey fo€9 (queue drunken snapchat videos). Dicey's is definitely the place to head if you're looking for more than a quiet drink, it even has it's own outdoor dancefloor.




After a somewhat hungover awakening, we checked out of our hotel, paid for parking on Fleet Street (with discount for staying in The Fleet Street Hotel it cost us €18) and headed into town. Dublin has an impressive selection of shops from a massive MAC store to an underground Topshop. I tried to be good but eventually got carried away and spent lot of money. My favourite buys were these beautiful blue/green heels I got from Penney's for a bargain €18 that can only be described as mermaid heels, and a t-shirt from Pull & Bear that reads 'Mermaids are real' - definitely trying to channel my inner Ariel. Overall I'm definitely a lover of Dublin, its atmoshpere and everything it has to offer. It can be expensive but I can't wait to go back! Féach leat go luath Baile Átha Cliath!








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Friday, 22 May 2015

Camilla - Public Desire





You can't go wrong with a pair of nude heels, and I've just picked up these beauties from Public Desire for a bargain £27.99. (If you have a Unidays account you can also get 10% off.) 'Camilla' is comfortable to wear, high but not break-your-ankle high, and also comes in black and white. The gold metallic heel is definitely a step up from your average strappy shoe. Public Desire have only just turned 1 this week - meaning the future can only bring more great shoes!

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Salt House Charcuteria and Tapas Bar, Liverpool

Churros with cinammon sugar and chocolate dipping pot, £4.95


I'm just back from a few days in Liverpool visiting my cousin. Every time I visit, I never want to leave! I haven't been to many cities but this one might just be my favourite. It's not surprising that Liverpool John Moores is the #1 choice of university for Northern Irish school leavers. One of the places I went to for food just so happened to be Salt House Charcuteria and Tapas Bar on Hanover Street - purely for the promise of churros on the dessert menu. Come on, I mean look at them!

'Malaga Fried Fish' - fried calamari, prawns, and cod, £5.95


This was my first time at a tapas bar and like we did, I'm pretty sure most diners will share dishes - because they're small it means ordering something you haven't tried before, isn't as risky. Food comes out as it's cooked, meaning you can eat confidently knowing your plate has come out fresh and hasn't been sitting under a hot lamp for the last 15 minutes! However, I can imagine this has made for some awkward dates in the past if you've decided not to share and waited for your other half's food.

Char grilled fillet steak with pomme puree, shallots, and pepper sauce, £7.95


Libby's toast with aioli, £2.95


Don't be fooled by the idea of small dishes, we left feeling fuller than ever. In hindsight we definitely should have ordered less dishes for 2 people, but it's just so hard to decide with all of the yummy choices and reasonable prices. My favourites had to be the Libby toast to start (the aioli is to die for), the crispy fried potatoes (spicy), and not to forget the churros to finish, if you can! I'm not much of a seafood girl but the prawns were surprisingly good too. We ate from the main menu but you can see their full list of menus here. Aside from their mouth watering food, Salt House are fully licensed and offer a range of cocktails. Thankfully it was lunch time and I decided to behave myself.

Crisp fried potatos with harissa red pepper salsa and regato cheese, £4.50 & Sauteed baby chorizo with honey, £4.95





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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

MAC Haul







116 Blush Brush

Until recently, I'd favoured other brands over MAC brushes and most of my collection is from Real Techniques. I still love Real Techniques, but it wasn't until I lost their Contour brush (which isn't sold separately), that I was dying to find a brush similar. My friend Lauren let me try her 116 brush, and it was love at first blend. The 116 is small enough to fit the contours of my cheeks perfectly, but isn't overly dense so any powder is easily blended. The MAC 116 brush also has a longer brush handle than the Real Technique contour brush. The longer handle allows for lighter application - hold the handle nearer the end for less pressure. The one downside to this brush is that it's prone to casting bristles and leaving them on my face. I'm hoping after continuous use or washing, it will eventually stop shedding.



Pro Longwear Concealer

I'd been experimenting with a few high street concealers from ELF to Rimmel with good results, but longed for something with better coverage. I've used MAC concealers in the past including their Studio Fix, and Mineralize concealers. I found Mineralize to be a good concealer but wanted something with more coverage, and although Studio Fix covers basically anything, it was quite drying and cakey around my eye area. However, in my opinion their Pro Longwear concealer combines the best of both. Its provides a good buildable coverage, isn't drying or cakey and perfect for the under eye area. It also comes with a handy mess-free pump. I went for shade NC20, a shade lighter than my foundation.




Lip Pencils - 'Stripdown' and 'Oak'

I've been on a search for the perfect nude lip pencil for what seems like forever. I prefer lip liners over lipsticks purely because of the precision on application and I find them a lot longer lasting. Lean towards a liner if you're after that Kylie Jenner overdrawn look. I fell in love with Collection 2000's bargain lip liner in 'Nude Rose' which is the perfect pink shade without being frosty in colour, but can be a bit drying. After many Instagram and Google searches for swatches, I narrowed it down to 2 MAC pencils and couldn't pick between them. When the 2 shades arrived, their tips where basically identical and it's only on application that you can see a shade difference.

Oak is my go-to day time shade. It's light enough for a natural look, but not so light that my nude lips look covered in foundation (awful teen makeup flash backs). Think of it as a 'your lips but better' kind of shade. Stripdown however, is slightly darker and warmer in colour. It's one that I would wear mostly at night and is neutral enough that it can be paired with almost any eye makeup. I'd describe both pencils as to put it frankly - shades of brown, but I remember reading somewhere that apparently brown lips suits everyone. The pencils are on the more expensive side but the quality and length is well worth it.



Left, Oak. Right, Stripdown.





Studio Fix Fluid (Sample)

Studio Fix Fluid - the first high end foundation I tried and loved in my teens. I've used Studio Fix for years and only recently switched to Estee Lauder's Double Wear (you can read a comparison of the 2 here). Receiving this sample made me doubt why I had ever switched in the first place. However, after wearing it for a few days I noticed my skin got drier than usual and the foundation never lasted a full 8 hour shift in work, back to Double Wear! Shade NC25 is perfect for me and I tend to stick to yellow based foundations because I find them to be more flattering.




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