Thursday, 13 March 2014

{ fashion } topshop heartbreaker sandals

topshop heartbreaker sandals
topshop heartbreaker sandals
topshop heartbreaker sandals
Topshop Heartbreaker Sandals ( black or tan) £28

I sometimes wonder if I'm too old to be shopping at Topshop. Then I spot a gem such as this and think to myself 'surely not'. I am so in love with these shoes. In fact, I can't remember a time in the last couple of years when I have loved a purchase more. I love the simplicity, so elegant and chic and I love the little heel - a touch more flattering than a completely flat shoe. I'm so impressed that I even feel like I should buy a back-up pair for when these inevitably lose their newness. 

Now, they're not leather (no surprise at that price) but I genuinely had to check and double check the online info once I'd seen them in person as they look and sort of do feel like leather to me. The sole is nicely lined and cushioned for comfort. The ankle strap isn't adjustable but fits me perfectly nonetheless. So far as sizing is concerned - my true size is probably UK 4.5. Occasionally I need to take a 5, most often I take a 4. I fit comfortably into a UK 4 in this shoe, so I guess my advice is to size down if you're unbetween sizes. Roll on summer! 

Monday, 10 March 2014

{ fashion } fossil sydney crossbody bag

fossil sydney crossbody bag

I was recently gifted the Sydney Crossbody Bag* by Fossil. Since my little one was born I've used the Babymel Satchel for both her stuff and mine. It feels unorganised now though and I'm forever searching for my keys, coin purse and lip balm at the bottom of the front pocket. I really wanted to transfer back to having my own small bag and it had to be a crossbody.

This bag is the perfect, medium size. You can fit a wallet, keys (there's a key hook so no more lost keys!!), phone, sunglasses and small amount of makeup without problem. The zip fastening on both pockets is perfect for security and the adjustable strap means you can adjust it to lie correctly whether you're short or tall. You can even detach the strap, thereby converting it to a clutch bag. The leather feels buttery soft and will only look better with age. 

fossil sydney crossbody bag
Image and video hosting by TinyPicfossil sydney crossbody bag

I've long been a fan of Fossil but lately I think their styling has improved even more so lately. The quality of the leather is impressive given the price point, which still remains reasonable. I love this in brown because it matches with most of my wardrobe, making it the most practical option. However, my heart would have chosen one of the new bright colours - simply gorgeous, especially for the spring and summer months. I can't see the option for brown on the web site. This is somewhat similar and also looks a great buy. Have any of you ever purchased from Fossil? Is it a brand you're familiar with?

Thursday, 6 March 2014

{ beauty } a few new favourites

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

1. The donut bun! I use the smallest one I could find (£1.99 from H&M but just about every shop sells them, supermarkets included) and use bobby pins to pin my hair round it in a messy fashion. I prefer that it doesn't look neat but each to their own. It's a cute and easy up-do. See You Tube for a visual how-to. 

2. Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer £3.99 - I can't believe how good this is, especially considering the price. I recently ran out of the much more expensive Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer and this is my replacement. It has excellent coverage and does what it says on the tin. 

3. I've been using the Colorspot 30 Day Mascara Eyelash & Brow Dye Kit for almost a decade! I like to tint my brows for a little added definition. Colorspot recently released this new and improved formula which makes the whole process so much quicker. It's easy and saves a trip to the salon every few weeks. 

What newly discovered products are floating your boat this month? Leave a comment and tell all! 

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

{ beauty } babyliss big hair hot air styler

babyliss big hair hot air styler review
babyliss big hair hot air styler review
babyliss big hair hot air styler review
Babyliss Big Hair Hot Air Styler 

Well, what can I say? This has been a real find. In all honesty, I've not used the full range of hair tools on the market, generally staying true to my straightening irons. I'd love to try heated rollers and the new L'oreal Steampod is incredibly appealing. My friend suggested the Babyliss Big Hair Hot Air Styler and since I trust her implicitly I rushed out to buy. I even paid full price rather than holding out for a deal. I haven't regretted the expense. 

There are two size options. I chose the 42mm barrel for my just-past-the-shoulder length hair. This is marketed for short hair (bob length at a guess) but I couldn't imagine using a bigger barrel - 42mm seems perfect for me. For long, thick hair your best option might be the 50mm. In case you're interested, I've included all the links above to save you searching.

The trick is to use the styler on hair that is already 90% dry. I often dry my hair to 95%. Remember, its a styler, not a tool to dry your hair. It's important to section the hair and only use on a small section at a time to avoid getting yourself into a pickle (hair can tangle until you've got the hang of it). There are three heat settings - the hotter the setting the faster the brush rotates. I tend to stick to the hottest/fastest setting so that I get the job done quicker. 

The end result is silky, smooth, frizz-free hair with body and movement. You can get significant volume at the roots, more so if you use a styling product. Pre-baby, I used to have my hair cut and styled at David Rozman, which is one of the top salons in Manchester. They like to give a blow-dry with volume rather than flatten the life out of hair with straightening irons. With the Babyliss Big Hair I'm able to achieve that effect for myself at home. I'm a happy girl and rarely use irons these days.

This product has a substantial number of positive reviews. I think those who failed to rave had unrealistic expectations. It's not a miracle worker. You kind of need to have a reasonably easy-to -work-with hair type. If you have curls you like to banish then you need to tackle those with a large round brush and your hair dryer before finishing with the styler. The styler doesn't have enough traction to do this job. The other negative jibes are that these aren't made to last. There's some truth to that. You really need to keep your receipt safe (perhaps sellotaped to the box) and accept that the unit may fail. In light of past quality issues Babyliss have improved the design, in addition to offering a three year guarantee. You definitely won't be out of pocket; you'll simply get a replacement.

Any of you tried this? Have you made any awesome discoveries lately? Leave a comment and tell all!

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

{ fashion } spring essentials

spring essentials

Oh spring, I love you so. As I type this I'm sitting in the garden room at the back of our house with sun streaming through the windows all around me. The sky is clear blue and I can hear the birds singing. All is right with the world. Spring fashion is so much fun; so girly and pretty. What's not to like? Here is a selection of my spring essentials. You'll find all the links above should something take your fancy. The breton tunic is selling out fast - I saw this in store and it's nice. A super useful basic to create looks like this. The tan sandals were a sellout for Topshop last year. It's cool that they brought them out again, but definitely buy now if you want to avoid disappointment. The Eden jeggings are a real hit and have some awesome reviews. Most of my friends own a pair - it's an easy staple to pair with sandals and loose, longer length tees. Hope that provided a little inspiration for you! 

Monday, 24 February 2014

{ recipes } best ever banana bread

banana breadbanana bread

Hey hey! I couldn't wait to share this amazing banana bread which I adapted ever so slightly from Nic's original recipe. It's by far the best thing I've made in the kitchen for quite some time and family and friends have devoured it. Definitely a favourite to make over and over again and what's cool is that it's actually really healthy, even though it tastes sweet and decadent. It certainly satisfies a craving! Hooray for healthy food that taste this good.

You can find the ingredients list and method over on Nic's blog. I simply added a huge handful of finely chopped organic apricots for extra texture and deliciousness (my local health food shop sells them ready chopped for ease) and substituted Greek Yoghurt for Yeo Valley's natural organic probiotic yoghurt. Raisins would make a nice addition and a generous spread of almond butter on each slice never does any harm :)

Thursday, 13 February 2014

{ outfit idea } spring weekend

outfit idea spring weekend

I'm so ready for spring. I've noticed that the days are staying light for longer - as soon as February is out of the way we're on the home straight! I love the idea of the jacket (all clickable links above) as a chic alternative to a coat once the weather warms up a little. I've seen a couple of very stylish people wearing coats like these and they always stop me in my tracks. This one is selling out fast so be quick if you like the idea as much as I do. How cute is the jumper? I'm completely obsessed with this colour - I think it instantly makes everyone look amazing. 

If you like any of these items there are a couple of codes (via Voucherbox) knocking around - 20% off ASOS for Premier Members, 30% off Gap Denim and a few more you might be interested in - 25% off one item at H&M, £10 off Joules and 20% off Size (good for Superga, Converse etc).

{valentine's day giveaway} win a romantic rural escape for two!

Hi guys! Just wanted to direct you to this awesome Valentine's Day giveaway. Scroll down to the bottom of this post to enter to win a romantic rural one night escape for two in association with Hallmark. Get your entry in swiftly as the competition closes at the end of today. I hope that tomorrow is filled with love and joy for you all. Good luck to all who enter!

Valentines Worst Excuses