Thursday, 28 June 2012

Summer Stripes

It's nearly July but I think summer might be here. Ok, so it isn't boiling hot but at least its not pouring with rain anymore and I hope I have put my coat away until at least October.

I purchased this Forever 21 dress back in April when I was starting to think about a summer working wardrobe. Little did I know that it would hang unworn in my wardrobe for 2 months before I actually wore it:

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Dress: Forever 21, Puffy eyes c/o pollen (please stop ruining "summer")

Forever 21 isn't exactly the first place I go to for workwear but I love this monochrome striped dress and for £18.75 I couldn't not get it. The length is perfect on me but I am only 5'1 so if you're any taller it might not be work appropriate! I love the fabric of this, it's thick enough so that the dress falls nicely but still summery enough for sneaking outside on my lunchbreak to top up my Vitamin D levels.

What's in your summer work wardrobe?
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Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Downtime

Saturday was one of those rare days when I had absolutely no plans whatsoever. I spent the morning lazing around thinking that I should do something but not really being able to think of what to do. Nice. I at least decided that I wasn't going to dress up (I wear a dress and heels 99% of the time so anything else feels like extreme casual dressing) but had more time to play around with my make-up and as I didn't have anywhere to be urgently I took some blog photos:

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Top: Topshop, Necklace: Vintage

Make-up wise I'm wearing Topshop High Five Blusher, Mac Dainty Blusher, L'Oreal Superliner, Eyeko Skinny Eyeliner, Clinque High Impact Mascara, Clinque Red-y To Wear Lipstick.

I like the contrast of more dramatic make-up with a casual outfit. Made me feel like less of a slob for my wander around South Ken, a quick visit to the Serpentine Gallery and an hour or so of people watching in Starbucks.

What do you wear on lazy days?
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Sunday, 24 June 2012

Boots-aholic

Confession time. I have banned myself from Boots for the foreseeable future. I can't go into a store without emerging £30 worse off. I thought I had the problem under control as since starting work my route home no longer goes past a Boots store but I had a relapse last week and ended up with a few new buys:

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Skincare - Avene Clearance Gel Cleanser, No 7 Beautiful Skin Hot Cloth Cleanser

I've been using the Avene facewash for just over a year. My skin is oily/combination but also quite sensitive and this is the best cleanser that I've used for keeping it clear and shine free but not drying it out like a lot of teenage-aimed skincare does. At £8.25 this falls into the "Premium Skincare" aisle but one bottle lasts me a good 3-4 months using it twice a day so its definitely money well spent. My skin has been so much clearer since I started using this and it produces a satisfying foam which makes me feel like my skin is getting a good clean.

I had a No 7 £5 off voucher that was just begging to be spent so I also picked up the Hot Cloth Cleanser for £5. I don't know why I always spend the No 7 vouchers, none of their skincare or make-up has particularly impressed me in the past...I find No 7 a bit of a blah range to be honest but I can't resist a bargain! I bought this as I finally got around to trying a sample of Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish and decided that I liked the idea of a hot cloth cleanser more than I imagined I would. The No 7 cleanser is very similar to Liz Earle's. The only thing missing is the eucalpytus oil which made Liz Earle's product feel like it was cleaning my skin deep down despite it not foaming up. However, the No 7 hot cloth cleanser did a good job at taking off my make-up (I used a separate eye make-up remover first) and left my skin feeling clean and soft. I'd definitely recommend picking this up for £5 next time there's a voucher if you're yet to delve in to the world of hot cloth cleansers.

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Make-up - Bourjois 1 Seconde Top Coat, Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer, Dual Pencil Sharpener, Freebie Sunglasses

Bourjois had a 3 for 2 offer which also included a pair of free sunglasses. My inner 14 year old could not resist. Who cares that I already have at least 6 pairs of sunglasses? These are free! I needed a new topcoat anyway as my Seche Vite tured into a nasty gloopy substance a few months ago and my replacement had a tiny brush which just resulted in me messing up my nail polish even more. The 1 Seconde polishes have the most idiot-proof brushes and make nail painting so much quicker and almost painless. I'd heard a lot of good things about the Healthy Mix range and needed a new concealer, hopefully I won't be disappointed. The pencil sharpener is because all my eyeliners are looking a little sorry for themselves and sharpening them with a knife seemed like a dangerous pursuit (and one which resulted in the knife being covered with makeup and the pencil looking less sharp than before my attempts).

Guilty Boots confessions? Do you always spend the No 7 vouchers?
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Thursday, 21 June 2012

Tea For NINE: The Chesterfield, Mayfair

On Saturday I went for afternoon tea at The Chesterfield as part of a friend's hen party celebrations. The hotel is in the heart of Mayfair and has an "Award for Excellence" from The Tea Guild so I had high expectations.

We had to wait a while for our table despite having booked it and mentioned that we would be a group of nine. Once we were seated in the conservatory room it was clear that we were by far the largest group there, most of the other tables were two or four people but this was quite a civilised hen party so I don't think we disturbed anyone's tranquil afternoons! Having already had champagne before our tea, we opted for the The Chesterfield Traditional Afternoon Tea at £28.50 per person but there is a champagne, chocolate lover's and children's afternoon tea to take your pick from.

The choice of teas was really good, I opted for a pretty Jasmine and Lily flowering tea:

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When our tea platters arrived we were presented with three tierred stands of cakes, scones and sandwiches. Everything on the platters was replenishable which was great as not every afternoon tea offers this and it made up for only having three platters between us when I would have expected one platter to be for two people.

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The sandwiches were the usual cucumber, smoked salmon and egg with circular chicken and hazelnut sandwiches on top which were my favourite. Scones came in both plain and raisin varieties with the usual jam and clotted cream and there was a selection of cakes - fruit cake, banoffee cheesecake, chocolate eclair, lemon cupcake and a strawberry tart. The food was all lovely, not outstandingly good but high quality and very filling. There was nothing that particularly stood out to mark it out from other afternoon teas that I've had. The service was pretty average, we had to ask for more tea rather than it just being replaced throughout the sitting and a friend who ordered the Chocolate Lover's Tea had to ask to have the chocolate scones and cakes brought out as they seemed to have been forgotten.

With so many places now offering afternoon tea little touches make all the difference. The Chesterfield's afternoon tea is very traditional and venue was really lovely but I think a group of nine might have been a little too much to maintain the high standards of service that the hotel is known for. I would go back though, although with a smaller group and more time to savour what is on offer as as soon as our scones were eaten we were off to Soho for a two hour kareoke session.

What makes an afternoon tea experience stand out for you?
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Monday, 18 June 2012

"Summer" Happenings

The rain has finally stopped. I may still be wearing tights but at least it doesn't feel like a November gale everytime I step outside. Here's the last week or so in Instagram:

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1. Short dress + gale force winds requires leggings.

2. Lunch at Tides Table cafe in Richmond, it's a veggie/vegan cafe in a lovely setting and such good value for money.

3. Free yogurts were being given out in Covent Garden. I might have walked past a few times...

4. My Graze box. The honey dippy oatcakes were nice but not the easier thing to eat at my desk. (Free box with code 7KN159X)

5. Big Ben on a sunny early morning run.

6. My Aussie summer goodie bag - lots of new products to try out!

7. I'm still 14 inside and can't resist the Elle with a free t-shirt.

8. Afternoon tea at The Chesterfield. Review to come soon.

9. More falafel at Pipel in Spitalfields. Definitely a strong contender for best falafel ever.

10. Where did this giant building come from? I love how there's always new things to notice in London and everything looks a million times better when the sun's out.
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Friday, 15 June 2012

The Future's Orange

My current go-to brand for new make-up buys is Topshop make-up. The products are very well priced so I don't feel too guilty adding to my already rather large make-up collection.

I picked up a new lipstick and blusher at the John Lewis Spotlight on Beauty event last month. I already had a cream blusher so knew that I loved the formula and wanted to try Neon Rose, a bright corally pink. I'd been looking for an orange lipstick for a while but didn't want to splash out on a Mac one for something that I wasn't entirely sure would suit me. Topshop's Fire Cracker looked like the perfect bright orange so I picked that up too:

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Before trying Topshop's High Five blusher I had never used a cream blusher. I don't have any other brands to compare the Topshop ones to but I find the formula really easy to work with, I dot it onto my cheeks using a foundation brush and then lightly blend it. The blushers are quite pigmented and I only need a small amount for them to show up on my pale skin. Neon Rose is a warm peach tone which looks very natural on me but still gives my cheeks a bright pop of colour. If I had a hint of a tan (thanks to the English weather, I don't) it would work nicely to enhance it. I've also tried this dotted onto my lips over lipbalm and it gives them a subtle tint of colour.

Fire Cracker is the first Topshop lipstick I've tried. I was expecting it to be quite a dry matte formula due to the strong colour but it isn't at all, it applies really smoothy and doesn't dry out my lips or crack after a few hours. Its easy to built up the colour from a hint of orange to a full on bright lip. I wasn't sure whether orange would suit me, it's probably not one for the office but I like how its a change from my usual weekend red lip.

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Lipstick - £8 Topshop, Blusher - £6 Topshop.

Are you a fan or orange? Which Topshop products should I add to my collection next?

PS. Boohoo are currently offering 10% off to my readers with the code WINNERHSFA to celebrate winning a Lorraine High Street Fashion Award. It's valid until 30 June.
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Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Shh...Motel Secret Sale

Checking in with a sneaky secret sale discount for you all! Motel are offering 50% off of all sale items with the code SECRETSALE50 on these secret sale items. The sale goes public next Wednesday so now's the change to snap up anything you've had your eye on. I've very tempted by the emerald green Heidi dress even though I already have it in red!



Happy shopping! What sale items would you pick?
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Monday, 11 June 2012

Summer Dress Dilemmas: Solved

While it may feel like November outside, the British summer should be in full swing and that should mean weddings, BBQs, garden parties and summer-ising your work wardrobe. I've picked out a few dresses that I would be wearing if I wasn't still in black opaques and a coat:

1. Evening Do

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Lace Dress, £99

I love this navy lace dress for a smart evening event. It's demure enough to still look formal but the lace sleeves give it a nice edge. It reminds me a bit of a dress that Kate Middleton wore and while I'm in no way a Kate copyist I do think her style is great inspiration for times when you want to look a bit more formal and "appropriate". I'd wear this with strappy heels and no jewellery to focus attention on the lace.

2. Summer Office

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Posy Print Dress, £79

Summer work wear can be difficult - no one wants to be in black when its sunny outside but offices are often freezing cold and air conditioned and you don't want to be showing an inappropriate amount of skin. Your colleagues either won't appreciate it or will appreciate it too much. Not good. This dress is bright and summery but still a decent length for work. I'd pair it with a cardigan, navy heels and put on some red lipstick in the loos when 5.30 rolls around.

3. Holiday Nights

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Maxi Dress, £110

Holiday evening outfits need to be unfussy (I'm always surprised how hot it still is in the evenings) but glamorous enough to get you into the holiday mood. This colourful maxi wouldn't need many accessories to make it look amazing, just a tan and some wedge sandals. It'd work well back home for a party or for daytime with a faded denim jacket.

4. BBQ

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Pink Lace Dress, £120.00

I love coral, its the ultimate summer colour and suits everyone. This crochet dress would look great for a casual BBQ worn with gladiator sandals and a big sunhat. It'd work well into autumn too with tights and a cardigan.

5. Wedding

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Layered Dress, £69

Summer may traditionally be "wedding season" and this year I'll be going to my first summer wedding. This red dress is simple but beautifully cut and paired with nude heels and a cropped blazer would be perfect for the service, wedding breakfast and then dancing into the evening. I'd pop a pink flower into my hair to match the contrasting pink belt.

All dresses from Phase Eight at House of Fraser.

What summer occasions are you dress shopping for? And which Phase Eight dress would you pick?

[This post is in conjunction with House of Fraser. I am not being paid to write it, all opinions are my own]
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Saturday, 9 June 2012

Graduation Take 2

Last week I graduated for the second (and almost certainly last) time. I finished law school last August but graduation took place last week at the beautiful London Guildhall, fortunately before the weather turned wintery.

For my last graduation I wore a plain black dress but this time I wanted something a little more colourful as black dresses can get lost under the black graduation robes. Ideally, you should wear something with buttons on so that the hood has something to fix onto but its nothing that a couple of safety pins or hairgrips (and someone to help pin everything together) can't solve. One last tip - you're probably going to have the photos around for a while and your parents might show them to friends and family so avoid anything that is going to be "last season" by September or that isn't in keeping with a formal event (a girl at my university graduation wore jeans). I picked up my dress in the Oasis sale for £20, it's maybe a little more "Kate Middleton" than my usual style but I thought it was graduation appropriate and a good bargain.

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After arriving at the venue and sorting out my outfit (the hat is definitely worth getting hat hair for) and getting professional photos taken it was time for the ceremony. I think I enjoyed the walking across the stage part a little more this time as I knew what to expect and I was wearing slightly more sensible shoes (4 inch rather than 6 inch heels). After a champagne reception and a few more outdoor photographs the gown and hat were sadly returned and my parents and I went off to the Royal Exchange for a celebratory lunch.

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How the professional photo should look, lining up to go on stage, photos in the sun.

I guess this really does mark the end of my student days. I don't miss exams and revision but there are aspects of student life that I do miss a lot. Now I feel like one of those sad old adults but if you are still a student, I'm envious - make the most of it!

Are any of you graduating this year?
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Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Jubilations

Clinging on to the last of my jubilee spirit for this post. I don't think I've ever been so disappointed in the British weather but still managed to have a fun jubilee weekend (thanks for the extra bank holiday, Queenie!). My favourite memory will definitely be the one of me standing under a tree while wrapped in a tartan blanket to shelter from the rain at a street party. The toast to "The Queen" and subsequent singing of the national anthem made it well worth it.

My only non-red/white/blue outfit of the weekend - Royal Mint:

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Dress: Apricot @ Browns (bought on my trip to York), Necklace: Primark, Earrings: Claire's, Socks: Claire's, Brogues: Office

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1. BT getting into the Jubilee spirit.

2. Rainy early morning run across Westminster Bridge.

3 - 4. Jubilee accessories.

5. Parent's house looking patriotic.

6 - 7. Trifle-making. Lots of sherry in this.

8. More sugar.

9 - 11. Street party cake competition. I didn't make any of these but whoever made the one I had a slice of, it was amazing!

12. Street party time. So British. So rainy.

How did you celebrate Her Maj's sixty years on the throne?
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Friday, 1 June 2012

Heidi

The sun is here! Well, it was for the weekend at least so after months of wearing tights and coats I finally got to reacquaint myself with summer clothes. I purchased a "blogger favourite", the Motel Heidi dress, at the Motel sample sale a few months ago and wore it for the first time for a day in sunny London:

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Dress: Motel, Bracelets: souvenirs from Marrakech

I'm a big fan of anything red so loved this dress with my red sunglasses (knock off Raybans) and my favourite red lipstick (Clinique's Red-y to wear). One warning: the dress fabric is very light and even a slight breeze could result in a "Marilyn moment"!

I wore this for dim sum in Chinatown with friends (Fei recommended Top of the Town and the dim sum was amazing, thank you!), a visit to the Damien Hurst exhibition at the Tate Modern (amazing but maybe avoid it if you're vegetarian), chilling out by Tower Bridge and then hopping on the tube to north London for a Eurovision party. I missed the results as I had to get an early night for the Bupa 10,000 the following morning (midnight is so an early night) but did enjoy the "singing" and European inspired party food.







How have you been making the most of the nice weather?
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