Shopping Trips

A Weekend in Manchester!

I had a fantastic weekend with my best beauty buddy Georgie and if you have ever considered a city break in Manchester, this is the post for you! We were planning a sunny get-away but time and prices ran away with us, and it was better to plan a local trip in a UK city and shop 'til we dropped. And that's exactly what we did, deciding on Manchester! This is my student city (along with Boras, Sweden - do you remember when I lived there!?) and I love everything about Manchester and the North in general, from the style and spirit to the music/food/shopping scenes.

Georgie and I met on the train despite myself managing to book the one arriving an hour before, and we gossiped none stop until Manchester Picadilly. We booked the Premiere Inn at the Printworks, even though its a good 5 minute stroll from there, as it was also right next door to the Arndale shopping centre. If you're there for the shopping, it's best to spend a day in the city and a full day at the Trafford Centre.

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We dumped our things and headed off for lunch in the Northern Quarter; a menagerie of vintage stores, quirky record shops and trendy eateries. Trof was a favourite of my friends who continued to study in Manchester after I graduated and has a sweet menu with burgers, sandwiches, and apparently comes alive at night with a cocktail bar and three floors of music. It's not too pricey and we had the place to ourselves, minus a PDA couple that joined our corner as we finished.

Fuelled and ready to hit the shops, I showed Georgie down Market Street and towards Selfridges. I had no idea their food floor was no more and we went down to the beauty hall to hit it hard instead. We made a pact to be totally on the ball with gaining any samples we could then try out that evening, and Georgie was a master! We were in the market for oils and eye creams, and as a testemony to Northern spirit, every assistant was so friendly and more than happy to offer a sample or two, or ten in Aesop's case! We even saw some dudes rack up a £900 bill at the Tom Ford counter and gossiped about their footballer status to the Lancome ladies.

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How beautiful is this Eyes to Mesmerise shade by Charlotte Tilbury?! We carried on around the shops, Georgie was enlightened by the bargains of Bodycare, and we splurged some vouchers I won at work on a takeaway Pizza Hut, complete with salad bar and our drink of choice - sparkling water! In matching Ariel pyjamas, it was the ultimate sleepover.

A few movies and some beauty sleep later, we awoke and immediately inspected the results of all of the skin care we had sampled the night before, before applying loads of makeup and heading towards Home Sweet Home for breakfast, as kindly recommended on Twitter by Sarah of Sequin This. Sadly there was a 45 minute wait for brunch so we took a look at the many cafes in the nearby streets and stumbled across Superstore. The wooden and charcoal metal interior was industrial but rather simplistic and relaxed too, and we indulged in matching berry pancakes with honeycomb butter - not too plentiful but absolutely delicious!

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And then we hopped on the Magic bus and towards the Trafford Centre! This is truly an all-day event and the centre almost feels like you're on a cruise ship with it's Greek decor and fountains.

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The first stop I wanted to make was the new Missguided concession in Selfridges! I'm the world's biggest Missguided fan and order so much from there, so it's a real novelty to check out the latest range in person. I hope the concession travels as far as the Birmingham Selfridges too!

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I didn't actually buy or try on anything at the concession though because I'd already seen the collection on their website and would have ordered anything I liked before! We were however entranced by the Muji storage collection, and I funnily enough discovered there has been a Muji store on New Street in Birmingham for about ten years and I never even noticed it! I'm currently discarding my things (yes I am reading this book) and once I've reordered my room, I really am keen to jump on the perspex makeup drawer bandwagon.

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We wandered around the beauty hall of course and I purchased the MAC LE Fix Plus in Lavender as it was one of the few flavours left but was not as heavy as I assumed it would be. Samples whiz Georgie even bagged some Creme de la Mer samples loving wrapped in tissue!

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The food haul triumphed here and we 'met the maker' of new refreshments Just Bee, with hints of honey of course. We met co-founder Joe who partnered with his dad to tend to the family bee hives and masterminded the brand. A family of bee keepers - so cute! See more of Joe in my vlog below...

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Selfridges didn't have Gucci Bamboo in stock yet but a random cheapie perfume place did! This is SO on my Christmas list as I collect Gucci fragrances; I never find them sickly or sweet.

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A trip around Hamley's, a feast at T.G.I. Fridays with my extra winning vouchers and one Michael Bublé impersonator later, it was getting late and we whizzed back to the city centre to top up our makeup and hit the Northern Quarter! I also like Deansgate, but there are so many bars in NQ to explore and some are open into the wee hours. We indulged in cocktails and '90s r'n'b in Walrus and went onto Black Dog, an old favourite from my Uni days.

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An afternoon tea was the perfect way to treat any slightly heavy heads from the evening before, and Georgie had kindly booked us into 47 King Street West as my birthday present! The experience was absolutely delicious and the area is perfect for people watching so I recommend requesting a table by the window! I love cakes, pastries and sweet treats so this was such a treat and made for the perfect Sunday afternoon before saying farewell for now and boarding our train!

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Thank you to Georgie for a fabulous weekend! I'll definitely be visiting Manchester again - it's one of the most fun-packed cities with the room to shop and indulge as you please. Don't miss my vlog of the weekend below and subscribe if you haven't!

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Feeling #Travelogical in Leeds

I was going to start off this post by saying that I love to travel, but doesn't everyone? That's possibly a generalisation but I'm definitely not a homebody. Decorating my room with marble, cacti, and IKEA pieces does not work for me no matter how many times I reblog pristine apartments, and I have never felt ready to settle in once space in my entire life. Even now I live in a room I rent off my dad in a house with my siblings, so I could do whatever kind of DIY I want, but spending my dollars on paint and MDF strikes me with a pang of horror. Spending on travel however is my weakness.

My wanderlust travels as far as my purse can take me and I'll keep throwing my pennies into that change jar until it can stretch to far corners of the globe. In the mean time, I utilise my friends across the country for day trips, girly weekends and flying visits. The people at Travelodge (the people, not the puppets!) invited me to take the #Travelogical quiz and find which travel personality I have, and I resulted in being social travelogical; I hunt out the most hip hop happenin' spots (yes I just typed that) and search for the unique personalities of the destination, be it in food, places or people. A few suited cities were recommended for a visit and I chose Leeds! I have only visited there on a university open day almost ten years ago (now that is scary). I'd heard it was a bubbly pot of laid back style with a dash of Northern retro. One trip up the motorway on a Friday eve and we were there!

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If I visit a city other than Birmingham, I'm often thankful if each end of the town is a walkable distance apart, and Leeds fits the bill. Staying at the Leeds Central Travelodge did mean we were slap bang in the centre of everything because everything is in the centre! My best gal pal and I checked in, fell into the heavenly cloud of the king size bed, and snuggled down for the night. No of course we didn't - have you read my blog before?! We had a swift cup of tea in the said heavenly bed before squeezing into our Joni jeans and strutting out. I had printed my standard list of places to check out and we were armed with a few recommendations from friends, so our first stop was the elusive looking Smokeshack. Literally around the corner from the hotel, we eyed up a few 'younger' looking doorways before heading up the stairs of this unassuming first floor bar, grabbing a cocktail from the menu. Spotting a couple of people from the calm bar troop upstairs, we headed on up to what was in fact packed out with people jiving to jazz, blues and soul. After chatting to the locals and sipping a few more of the finest cocktails, we checked out the imfamous Mojos (is there somewhere called Mohos or Mojos in every city?) and were presented with hard drinks on arrival, and then interrupted by the bar men dancing across the bar many a time. Leeds has the vibes that only the North can pull off and it was just a damn good time! I don't think I've been anywhere that was less pretentious yet so stylish.

We did retire eventually and had the most satisfying snooze before awaking bright eyed and excited for more. I'd researched The Greedy Pig as a signature spot for a bargain brekky and we took a ten minute walk over to this cute cafe with a menu that even the most delicate person could choose from. I could not differ from a classic (vegetarian) English breakfast and it was big and beautiful. A free steaming mug of tea was the starter to a hearty plate of the classics, plus corn bread and sour dough toast. Delicious does not cover the spot this hit!

We had no plans until a little later so we browsed around the centre with a carrot juice in hand and explored the tiled arcades and marbled archways. There are dinky shops and cute cafes alongside chic designer stores with windows to rival Bond Street. The highlight for me was my first time visiting a Space NK and by God, it was like walking into a YouTube beauty video! Every product I had ever heard of was there, from Sunday Riley Luna to Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel and beyond. Painfully expensive and equally as heartbreaking, we sniffed and sampled our way around the store before leaving empty handed and vowing that we know we've 'made it' when we can exclusively shop there.

We were getting peckish now and I was looking for a hearty yet naughty dish. I had researched the Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen for their famous Belgrave Feast that falls on every second Saturday, and we stepped into the wide bar space full of tempting vendors that pop up during that lucky weekend, from Caribbean to falafel. Mouthwatering! On the roof space (Leed's biggest public rooftop!) there is a bar-come-barbeque, with cute deck chairs, benches and comfy seats to chill, sip and look out over the rooftops of Leeds. It was a fine day so we had a sweet cider and admired the views before choosing which eatery we wanted to try. So many choices! 

With different vendors each time, I was so tempted by the mac 'n' cheese from The Mac Shac but I had an insatiable craving for a really good veggie burger and Patty Smiths did not disappoint. Hearty, compact and flavourful, with a gorgeous stroke of mustard, this baby took many, many minutes to finish, complete with a dabble of hand cut fries drowned in ketchup of course. It hit the spot! My friend tried Nasi Lemak Malaysian and reported it was equally as satisfying.

We stayed at The Belgrave for ages as it had such a relaxed vibe, with cute people coming and going from the communal benches and corner nooks. It was literally the dreamiest, most chilled Saturday I've had in so long, and you just don't get that feeling when you are in your own town with your to-do list in your hand.

We finally departed, grabbed some snacks and even managed to fit in a few episodes of Dinner Date at the hotel as we tucked up under the covers and munched away. Lush! Then it was time to begin the process of jazzing up the face and sorting out the hair. When I think back to Uni days when I first really got into makeup, I would spend hours blending and adding and touching up, but now I could do my signature makeup in the dark! This makes life much easier as you can experiment as and when you feel like it.

We stepped out towards Bundobust, a craft beer bar serving a dash of Indian street food, and I sampled a signature Mumbai Mule (Finlandia Vodka, Lime, Spiced Goome & Ginger Beer) as I'm loving ginger beer right now, and it was absolutely delicious! Trusty taste bud-tingling. If I'm ever in Leeds again, I will definitely be checking out the food.

We continued onto The Botanist for some amazing live music and another tasty cocktail (my go-to is a Mohito), before spotting a rooftop bar and taking a chance. We went straight up in a lift to SkyLounge and felt slightly like we were in New York again. There ain't no bar like a rooftop bar! We gossiped in the warm night air and then hopped on to a recommendation called The Maven, where behind an elusive black doorway was a swinging, raucous bar with snazzy cocktails decorated with fresh flowers, and we ended the night at a club that I couldn't actually tell you the name of, but there was a huge queue and I used my new found New York clubbing skills and walked straight up to the entrance. The bouncer asked if we were on the guest list and I gave him a wide eyed look as though he was talking Chinese to me, and he let us in right away! Result!

Fast forward to the morning after and we stocked up at the hearty Travelodge breakfast buffet before departing from Leeds, agreeing it is a city full to the brim of fun, flare and interest. I'll definitely be back soon!


Bullring #SpringBeautyFix


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Last weekend I had the upmost pleasure of taking my mother out for the day! I was tempted to Bullring to check out this season's style event and took my favourite +1 as my mom is all about style and trying new trends. In fact she just bought a pair from the Clarks x Orla Kiely offering! Now isn't Spring the most inspiring fashion season? Some years it seems to take absolutely ages to come around but the sunshine has arrived already and I'm so set to burst my summer wardrobe out. It's a shame I don't work in fashion any more so can't wear whatever I like during the week, but I'm planning a few holidays and festivals otherwise. Beauty is something I've took a back seat in recently as my aim was to home in on my signature look before buying anything new. I've had my lighter hair for around a year now and I really need to explore some new shades though.

It's so common to feel like you're flipping your wardrobe 180 degrees when a new term comes so it's rather handy that every season Bullring hosts a one-on-one session space to offer treats and workshops from different brands. Shoppers can stop off and sample their 'fix' of new season offerings, and this year's Spring event had a beauty focus with a select few hot brands stationed near the mecca that is the Selfridges beauty hall. My mom and I hit the Beauty Amnesty first, which offered a £10 Bullring voucher in exchange of old makeup items - amazing! I even told loads of people at work about this and was sure to bring a few gloopy lip glosses and dry eye liners with me that had been languishing in my make up draws.

We did a circuit of the stands and stopped by Ole Henriksen first, who I recently found out is all organic and that really intrigues me. I find applying cheap products to my skin just feels strange as your body is actually absorbing these solutions and potions, whether good or bad. Surely natural is the way to go? We tested a few zesty gels in zingy orange pots and I made a mental addition to 'the perfect eye cream' list I am currently collating. My mom had a luxurious hand and arm treatment at the Clarins pop-up stand, and I almost booked another facial at the Clarin's Spa as all of the lovely memories of my last two came flooding back. I'm saving for an upcoming holiday though so I refrained!

I had a photoshoot with stylist Emily Jayne a few weeks ago (more on that when the photos are printed!) and was so happy to introduce this genius to my mom for a colour consultation at the event. I haven't shopped the same way since my consultation last year, and my mom has since bought a pair of '70s style flares with popping colours, just like Emily Jayne advised for her complexion! Learning the colours that suit and lift your face really transforms the way you look at the clothes you buy forever!

Then we split up and while my mom tried out the new Lancome L'Absolu Rouge Lipstick, I had a contouring session with Shu Uemura using the Lightbulb Oleo Compact Foundation, and ever since I've been taking my bronzer up much higher on my cheeks. My bedroom has quite dull lighting that somehow also exposes every flaw and line, so I'm always quite careful when applying my makeup nowadays and don't always feel too happy with the finish. I haven't had a makeover in a while so it was so useful to try something new and refresh my technique. I'm so ready to switch up my skincare as the sun's rays return, and I want to try a new foundation since MAC Pro-Longwear is setting too dry for me at the moment. For the past few months I plodded along but now I feel so inspired. It's by far my favourite fashion season in a long time and I've got so many looks and outfits buzzing in my mind, I just need the days to wear them!

I had an extra voucher to spend at the beauty hall and I gave it to my mom to repeat purchase her favourite Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua foundation. It's certainly a milestone when you go out with a parent and you pay for lunch too!


THE RESULTS! What I actually bought in the January sales


So the jury is in, the results are in and we have our conclusions. Sadly I'm not talking about the Serial podcasts but about my buys in the January sales, which did add up to a lot but I knew half, if not most, would probably be returned.

I generally buy a fair few things online across the month and go high street shopping once or twice, but I return a heck of a lot of buys. If I tried to curb myself from spending, I would want to buy more and those items would seem even more attractive! So if I see anything I like and know I have potential to wear enough times, I order without a second thought and then make my decisions once parcels arrive. I have no qualms in returning anything and do impose the rule that if I have any hesitation with the fit, a button or how easily something creases, it goes straight back to the store. If an item takes a lot of effort to wear, such as ironing, dry cleaning, a certain bra, etc, then you will probably never wear it, and if you have a doubt on the colour, fit, or anything you see in the mirror, you will always choose to wear something else instead. Your mind and heart may be willing you to keep it but willpower means sometimes you must actually reject your instincts and know a week down the line, you won't have given that item a second thought. Or you can simply purchase it again!

So I set out to find some bargains in the sales that I could wear over and over for work or replace items that I currently love that are starting to look a little worn, which is often shoes. As I returned a few things, I spotted some more items too! We are at that 'final sale - 70% offer + a discount + free shipping' stage where every store wants to just clear that stock, so I have my eagle eyes peeled.

River Island - I collected my bag of items in store last night after work. I can't wait until the new Bullring store opens! The changing rooms are quite tatty but I had a good trying-on session before rejecting all of the items but one. I really like River Island's quality but the other items just didn't fit, though I kept the pair of giraffe print trousers and am wearing them right now as I type! They add a cool element to a monochrome look and are perfectly comfortable. £42 £15

Lavish Alice - The culottes haven't actually arrived yet but I have tweeted Lavish Alice to ask. Lavish Al' have reduced the culottes plus everything else in their sale to £10 today but a lot of things have sold out and I still hope these trousers fit! I may be able to find another size on ASOS instead. UPDATE: They never replied to my tweet but the parcel was here when I got home (I started this post on my lunch break!). The culottes fit which is awesome and they do need an iron but I don't think they would crease while wearing. They add a really cool dimension to the standard black trousers of the world and will feel really cool in a subtle way. £48 £23 (£1 discount used) - although now they are £38 off!

Kurt Geiger - The heels I bought are beautifully made and have the hint of gold at the toe, along with that lace up detail I just love. They are slightly more formal than edgy, but the sturdiness should mean they last well and will be a good investment. I am usually between shoe sizes and went with the size up, FYI. I do have my eyes on the snakeskin pair so may see if there are any in store if I pass by, but the want is not great enough to warrant another postal order. £85 £49

Topshop - The Topshop suit I ordered was an impulse and the size 8 just did not fit. The giraffe print trousers in River Island were an 8, but the Topshop pair wouldn't even go up past my thighs! The width of the trousers was minuscule but I do know Arcadia sizing in general is for a girl with slim hips, and my hips definitely don't lie. Returned!

Debenhams - I did keep the Rituals set in the end as it did only come to £7 with my voucher. I had a sniff when I got home and it really does smell like a sensual version of Vicks! This will make for the most heavenly shower and I might save it for my nights out. Just the motions of getting ready for a night out has so many rituals and scents attached to it, from your fake tan to favourite perfume to the whiff of that heavy duty foundation - I'm always in a great mood when a night is about to begin! £17 £7 (£10 Beauty Club Card points used)

Bonus round! I spotted a few more things last night I just had to check out further...

Missguided - I was only my way out for an aforementioned night out a few weeks ago and needed a jacket but didn't want to take one of my coats and risk loosing it. I scrambled around in my wardrobe looking for any jacket or cover-up but my search was fruitless and I resorted in asking my brother, who produced a navy, tartan-lined bomber jacket he was about to send to the charity shop. The large, oversized fit and puffy style actually looked really cool and androgynous over a pencil skirt, and I continued to wear it!

I did leave it at my friend's house on new year's eve but I wanted to scoop up one of my own to wear on nights where I wouldn't just be slinging it on a chair in a bar. I wanted one I could wear once the weather picks up or when I am out shopping or on dates (LOL those are certainly once in a blue moon!). I used Shop Style to have a browse of all of the stores online (I always use this when looking for something specific, this isn't sponsored or anything!) and saw Missguided had a few bombers (can we call them that?) in their sale. I picked up a standard one from their main collection in the end and also a Nicole x Missguided version in a textured mesh with a super cropped fit and puffy arms. I threw a £7 khaki pencil skirt into my basket too to perk up my wardrobe as I have worn everything over Christmas and don't really have any fresh options left at the moment. Here's hoping one of these jackets is a winner! I spotted this khaki version too but my size is sadly sold out. £TBC

Urban Outfitters - After receiving an email, I browsed the further reduced sale in my lunch break to see if any of the gifts were suitable for upcoming birthdays and had a look in store. I spotted a super thick, mosaic patterned scarf which unfortunately isn't online, but they had a bunch at 50% off so I would check out their stores if the temperatures are dropping where you are too! £32 £15


What I Actually Bought in the January Sales


Well it's a quite ironic titling this post as January sales when all of this shopping was done before the month even began! I've enjoyed seeing the posts from bloggers with their sale favourites but thought it would be useful to show what I actually ordered with my own money. Isn't the early payday such a killer - hello 6 week month!

I haven't even visited any shops as I just haven't had chance due to not taking any work holiday, so all of this was purchased online and in a somewhat frugal way. I tried to only look for things I had on my wishlist already or clothes I could wear over and over again for work, rather than spending hours scrolling through the sales for purchases I was never planning on buying in the first place! The rule 'if you didn't buy it full price, you don't need it now' was definitely in my mind.

River Island - I had a River Island spree because I recently found I actually fit into their tailored trousers in a certain size. It is SO hard and long to go trouser shopping!  I’ve ordered about ten pairs of ASOS black trousers at a time in the past and none of them would fit properly. These sale items are all for work though as I would not wear proper trousers and blouses in my chosen wardrobe, and never did when I worked in fashion. I have said a few times that I struggle with my office dress code because I found it hard at first to find my style within the 'rules', but have now defined the objectives as 1) items you can mix and match, and 2) items that do not need slips underneath or jackets to shield from the chilly office air-con. I am tempted by a Topshop suit as my first ever suit, but I’m not ready to part with the cash just yet and I missed the ones that went into the sale. (NB: just as I typed that, I had another check and for the Topshop navy suit below, there were size 8s available in the jacket and trousers! I’m not sure they will fit but I’ve ordered them to store so can easily return if not. I’m otherwise great as keeping receipts and new things in the bags as I constantly return things. It’s a common error to buy something and hang it in your wardrobe, before realising a few months down the line that you just didn’t have chance to wear it!)

Lavish Alice - Funnily enough I forgot I purchased these Lavish Alice culottes until now! Lucia has blogged about how much she has loved her pair this year and had so much wear out of them, which definitely appealed to me as I tend to look for work clothes that I can wear over and over without the quality fading. They will add a much needed style injection compared with your average black trousers, and I’m hoping they aren’t too cropped so I can wear normal ankle boots with them and not have too much leg showing. I am tempted by the navy pair but the black will be slightly more wearable, so I’ll see how they fit. I have a feeling culottes are one of those trends that surface one year but aren’t truly adopted until the next. I found an airy black pair a few months ago for £5 in a Dorothy Perkins sale and wore a floral pair from Boohoo all summer!

Kurt Geiger - I’ve also absolutely loved my lace up Choies heels this year and even considered buying another pair! Why hasn’t the high street came out with an amazing lace up pair? eBay and cheapie international sites are awash with them! I spotted these Miss KG pairs earlier in the year and snapped up some sizes in the sale, the chosen site being Debenhams as I had a £30 voucher I got from Buyapower earlier in the year to use up, and the actual Kurt Geiger website couldn’t deliver for around two weeks. They have arrived and are beautiful quality. I'm SO tempted by the snake skin!

Debenhams - I was watching Lily Pebbles' December favourites and usually my thinking is ‘Why buy a shower gel for £12 when I could buy 12 at £1 and last an entire year!', however I was so enabled by her description of the Rituals Hammam Body Mud! I suffer from blocked sinuses around once a month and it will take weeks before clearing momentarily at a random time, and I don’t want to take constant medicine. Any products that make my shower steam do even more wonders for my painful head are very attractive to me! I had £10 of points on my Debenhams beauty card so I did get this set for just £7. They had another set at a higher price, but I especially wanted the mud Lily picked out. I’ve loved her Vlogmas videos! It’s so relaxing to watch someone else’s life, like a mini soap opera with a lot more taste. 

I’ll let you know how these fair! I’m considering posting some of my work outfits but might cart all of my things to my mom’s house one weekend and photograph lots in one go. Maybe I’ll make it into a video!


#EchoFallsCSL

If there ever was a shopping mecca that makes you want to dash around with a trolley, grabbing every glitter-coated deal around, it's Clothes Show Live! The show is right here in Birmingham so it was only a matter of using my train pass to visit the NEC, and I was excited to be invited by Echo Falls wine. Definitely a brand I know well! Pass me the Zinfandel.

As I took the trains to the venue, it was very obvious the influx of chatty, bright eyed girls along the journey were all hitting the same place. Soon I was part of the mass of crowds walking towards the registration area where I flashed my print out and soon picked up a press badge in a small room crammed with journalists and photographers crowding around plug sockets.

My task was to hit the Echo Falls Wine Bar, which was a perfect pit stop after a day of browsing/fighting through the stands. As it was situated at the far end of the exhibition space, which was the size of a few football pitches, it was the freshest, most chic space in the venue. The bar had a unique offering of live fashion panels throughout the day featuring WIWT founder Poppy Disney, fashion icon Caryn Franklin, stylist Karl Willet and MTV's Becca Dudley. I had a lovely chat with Poppy D. as I started using her WIWT app a year ago and we spoke about the rise of the site and where I work now in the chocolate industry! I was racking my brain as to how I recognised Becca and then it clicked that she presents the hourly MTV news, which I usually catch every day between my favourite, trashy background TV and happen to think the fellow male presenter Bluey is a serious hottie. Yes I did like potentially all of his Instagram photos one day, and yes I'm not afraid to admit it!

We listened to a panel about breaking into the fashion industry which I was keen to hear as I broke into it myself through internships and blogging, and soon it was time to hit the stalls. The best thing about Clothes Show Live is that brands offer one-off multi-discounts that you wouldn't get anywhere else, usually in goody bag form. I snapped up the Models Own set below at an amazing discount - I couldn't resist! I browsed with lovely blogger Maria of Frills and Spills who funnily enough I met with this exact time last year in Bristol where our team won a fashion quiz! We started our journey through the crowds with fellow bloggers Caroline of Burkatron, a beautiful blog I will definitely subscribe to and a gorgeous gal, and fashion blog queen Lucy of Lulu Trixabelle, a vision of colour and major fabulousness. We were soon separated by the deals and gaggles of girls so Maria and I embarked on a browse of all the stands hunting for unmissable deals.

Maria and I were definitely more impressed by the beauty than the clothes, and also spotted many a celebrity. From Lauren Goodger manning her own Lauren's Way stand to a huge queue of screaming girls waiting to meet Peter Andre and a few poor covers strummed on a guitar by Andy Jordan of MIC fame.

We soaked up the atmosphere and gathered our goody bags for a quick snack stop and then headed back to the Echo Falls bar to link up with the girls again. Lucy and I then headed off to the catwalk fashion show, which was an unexpected highlight of the day. The show is on throughout the day so you can visit on an assigned time during your shopping, and as we had our handy press passes, we got to jog into the arena with the photographers and find a seat on the very front row! I have been to Clothes Show Live once in the past and the show was a set of dancers in high street clobber, but this event had a performance fromcheeky Kingsland Road, appearances from Mark and Jessica Wright, and a range of catwalk stomping, flamboyant dance troupes and some very muscly dancers, all interacting with video shows and pumping music. Each time the models came down the steps and ran off into the crowd, Lucy and I were looking out for our favourite male models, most often topless!

It's definitely satisfying to go home with huge, colourful bags holding your purchases and apart from some magazines with a few freebies such as coffee and loo roll (?!), my purchase was this Models Own set, all for £10! You could pick out three polishes of your choice, which included glitters, neon and velvet polishes, and also you received a set of liners, two makeup items, a mirror, lip balm, shadow applicators, a nail file & buffer, and the Clothes Show Live official polish; a blue gloss with circular silver sequins. A very good deal I feel! Thank you to Echo Falls for having me!


Snapshots of the Week(s)

Right, it's time! Face mask - check. Internet TV - check. Munchies - check. Finally a night off, woop! Not that I work at night, but my brain does work at night and I live with a million people, so there's not many chances to relaaax in peace and quiet. I've had some holiday from work this week so I've been home to Birmingham again, but I fully booked up my time so haven't stopped! I haven't been snapping photos for blog posts very much but I have been logging things with my Blackberry camera so here are a few buys, outfits and outings, including what I came home for - a Katy Perry concert!!! I have to be up at the crack of dawn tomorrow to go on a Zombie Walk back in Bristol.... how do I get talked into these things?!

So starting from two weekends ago when I came home for a friend's birthday, it was of course tan o'clock! I am a rubbish tanner and it all may seem OK in a dark club, but I am streaks galore the next day. My sister just came home too and had a quick outfit change that desired a tan, and she was quite alarmed when she started putting on this DARK lotion! On my pale skin it makes me a nice warm colour though.

This is a sort of 'Nails of the Week' post as I had these flouro green nails for a while! I was fed up of about 4 months of coral so I went for the craziest colour and sort of hated it but sort of loved it.

My Mom gets my sister and I very random little presents sometimes as we both live away now and she found these tweezers that look like me! Seriously, haha!

I live by quite a cheap and cheerful highstreet so I raided the shops and found these mini drawers in Poundland which can house my every-day makeup, and stocked up on cheapie lashes. I forgot to add a disclaimer to my last post on how I store my makeup as I do know I have loooooads of it! However, watching loads of beauty videos showing people with huge collections made me loose touch a bit, even though most of those people are actually makeup artists and if I went near anyone else's face, it would be a disaster!

I have a slight Forever 21 addiction (see below) as they make amazing tops as far as I'm concerned! I got this Disney top with Minnie Mouse bows on a few months ago from the London Oxford Street store and it is sooo cute.

And from cute to erm, glam? Haha my green nails really were a sight! Here I am about to go out for my friend's birthday, wearing double lashes and the Motel Elsa Dress, which is my current 'wear to every occasion with every group of friends until it is all over Facebook' dress as I love it x a million! But I am of course biased :)

Last Friday at work we were discussing top secret and confidential Christmas plans (ooo it's only round the corner!!) and I ended up wearing 3 different types of animal, so to speak. I got a fur coat off eBay that was in River Island last year, and wore a huge River Island Dalmatian print sweatshirt with velvet leggings and New Look leopard print loafers. Usually I dress a lot smarter for work but there are very few of us in our office on Fridays so I take it down a notch.

Also in that animal photo was my GlossyBox under my arm! I can't really review mine as I always share it with everyone in the office, and I don't review things here exactly, but sometimes I just feel like I need to top up my makeup collection, you know? I do sometimes feel mine has space to grow (LOL).

I came home on Tuesday night after work so I could spend Wednesday preparing for Kaaaty Perryyy ahhh! I went to the nail salon as I had desperately outgrown gels by then and couldn't decide on bright coral (again) or neon yellow/green.

I had a little peek in New Look and spotted these gorgeous heels in the blue that I am obsessed with at the moment, I am very tempted!!

Also did a little shop of the cheapie stores and got my favourite hairspray and tan at discount prices and some blood for this zombie walk. Not sure I'll be walking the streets saying 'bbbrrraaaiiinnssss' but I intend to at least have good makeup!

 

First though, omgeee Katy Perryyyyy!!! I went with my FAB uni friends Ellie and Natalie and wowowow it was SO GOOD! The whole thing was a story with your expected crazy sets and antics and it was amazing! Standing in an arena is great as there was loads of room and we could basically stand where ever we wanted! I didn't actually take my camera as I knew I'd spend lots of time taking photos rather than watching but I'll try and nick some of my friend's for you!

 

Haha Natalie got us all blue wigs!! We wore ours for a few comedy photos and during one song but they were quite wild and made us look mental haha! There were loads of great Katy Perry costumes at the gig though. I really want to see The Saturdays and Rihanna now!

Today I shopped round the Bullring and got a few payday purchases! However I'm curbing it now as it's all Christmas present shopping from here on!

I saw these F21 sweatshirts on a few American Tumblrs but I'm so glad they came over here, OF COURSE I got the Little Mermaid one! They also had Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin and Cinderella there.

Oh Lordy, here are my nails for this week! Like I said, I couldn't decide which colours to go for so I went for both! Very Katy Perry in the Last Friday Night video I thought! I was also talked into getting a tacky flower gem on my ring finger, I have problems saying no!

After Katy Perry, we went to an infamous Birmingham club called Snobs and I just discovered this in my bag that I stole off the wall, haha I'm sure you Midland people will have a chuckle! Snobs is the least calm place. EVER.

And so we come to tonight, where I was chatting to my sister while she got ready to go out and she showed me her new MAC lipstick collection addition- Ruby Woo (on the right). It's really funny how every MAC lipstick she has is an insane colour! (Impassioned/Morange/Cyber/Ruby Woo) I suppose if you are spending that much, it might as well be worth it! I should remember that thought :)


A bad life day!

Today was one of those days! I got blue pen on my white Wildfox tshirt as soon as I got to work and it was another hot, sticky day with fine drizzle so my hair frizzed right up! I felt too gross for even the gym but went into town to get my eyebrows done as I've been meaning to for ages, but I don't know any cheap-but-cheerful salons in central Bristol! I'll look online next time but the only last minute place open was a brow bar in House of Fraser, which consisted of a slooow threading so it was a major painfest and a sales pitch on random eye brow products, and when I got to the till it cost £17!!! Considering it was around £4 where I usually went in Manchester or Birmingham, I nearly cried when I handed over my debit card!

However I popped into Topshop to have a look for the rabbit print skirt (with no joy - should I order it?!) and a denim skirt that I've been eyeing for a few weeks. When I asked if it might have sold out as I couldn't see it, the changing room SA was like 'I don't know, I haven't worked here for long' with no other suggestion and another SA said 'If it was here it should be out' without looking with me, so I was a bit disheartened! And then there was no one on the ground floor at all to help with the shoes I bought (OMG will show you tomorrow!!!). But I'm in a weird shopping mood at the moment where I want to buy new things with the aim of wearing them all autumn but I don't know quite what! I don't want to just copy trends so I have a super fashionable wardrobe as where's your own personality? And I'm wary of buying anything too new in case I don't end up wearing/liking it, but I don't want to buy things similar to anything I already have! 

I just took the first steps and ruthlessly ejected all the summery things from my wardrobe. I made sections of tops, jumpers, skirts, leggings, jeans/trousers and maxi skirts, and will soon pick out a few items that could be key, lots of things that will go with them, and find any gaps where I could buy an on trend item! I'm awaiting an ASOS discount code to pop up as there's loads I'd love to order on there, and I have a Motel wishlist as long as my arm as we have the clothing samples for future seasons at the HQ that won't come out for at least a month so it is very painful to see them every day! P.S. If you haven't liked us on Facebook, I'd really appreciate it if you took a second to do so please as I'm the one writing the statuses :):)


It's Sunday, Sunday!

Forget Friday, it's all about the weekend! I love my  job but that makes weekends even better as I can recharge and get everything sorted for the next week ahead. The difference between being a 'professional' and a student is that you have to live for the weekend and treat yourself, otherwise what are you working for? Like being a student is a mixture of studying and partying with rare cash injections and you are a student 100% of the time, but working only takes up 9-5 every weekday and then your options are open. It's a bit weird!

I hold the importance of treating yourself very highly as I'm not one to scrimp and only shop in sales and get water at the restaurant instead of a drink. Those things would probably be more beneficial for my bank balance but you have to keep yourself happy! I think I've finally settled into the house here and Bristol and work, as the house is a bit more homely now, even if it is still very male! I just cleaned the bathroom though and it made me quite suicidal, I don't think it has been cleaned properly in actual years!!

So as I live in town, I pop to the centre a couple of times a week just to have a look round the shops and get any bits and bobs I need. I've also just joined a gym, which added up to a fortune with the trainers and membership fees that I had to get, even while making do with clothes I have for gym clothes! I seem to have things I have to visit home to Birmingham for all the time but if I'm here on a weekend, I like to spend a little day in town shopping around. I didn't have my camera but I had my phone so here are a few glimpses.

The best H&M seems to be the one outside the main shopping mall and there's loads of good things in there at the moment. I'm cautious of buying anything new right now as I need to plan what sort of trend I want to buy into this autumn and what I already own, but I've settled into a work/weekend style that I can predict. I got this little heart cropped tee as I know on the weekends I always wear jeggings, a cute tshirt and lots of jewellery!

I also popped into Poundland as I was walking through town as I wanted a new container and saw this cute cat box, perfect for a sandwich! Sadly it doesn't even shut properly so I'll have to save it for things stationed at home only. I also got some tissues, some gems I'll use for nails, and a flask where you can store the central tube in the freezer and it keeps your drink cool then for the rest of the day! I haven't actually done anything crazy to my nails in a while - weird! I guess that working in an office now which the potential of visits from big bosses means I don't want to have ridiculous nails. I love crazy nails but 3D nails are quite far into the extreme stages of nail art and can be quite shocking to some people!

The shopping centre in Bristol is called Cabot Circus and it's LOVELY but a bit like a maze! All the entrances are on ground level but they slope to all different levels when you reach the end of the row of shops, so you don't quite know which floor leads back to which entrance! I usually start at Urban Outfitters, though everything is tribal inspired in there right now and super expensive as usual. They have the Seche Vite topcoat there but it's £10 so I haven't picked that up! I saw this lovely swing coat though in navy with green piping, which I would seriously consider if I didn't have three perfectly good coats.

 

I popped into River Island, which has loads of great stuff in and makes me really miss working there! Every time I get something I feel like saying 'I used to work here!' with a big grin but there would be no point to that and the Sales Adviser would be like 'Errr OK!?'. I am literally LIVING in maxi dresses and skirts for work, and wear them about four days out of the five. They are so effortless and always fit well because they barely require any fit at all, and you don't need to worry about perfectly shaved/tanned legs last minute when you're getting ready in the morning! Slim maxis suit me best as I am more pear shaped, so a flared/empire maxi makes me look bottom heavy in an unflattering way, so I got this black maxi with slits up the side for only £20. The slits are just to below the knee and they give the skirt a unique column shape and make it a bit more special than a plain black skirt.

 

I found my way to another exit that has Topshop on the corner and had a browse, but I hardly ever buy clothes from there. Sadly 90% of the things I buy just never look as good as they did on the hanger once I've washed them, and so I can't justify the prices. However, the Leigh jeans in the burgundy colour on the left did catch my eye as I was looking for berry coloured jeggings a few weeks ago. I've decided to just stick to maxi skirts for the next few months but I thought coloured jeans would be fine for work and the Leigh jeans are a good half-jeans-half-jeggings hybrid. I had a pair last year but should have got a smaller size as they definitely get stretched after a few wears. Hmm I think these will haunt me for a few weeks until I at least try them on!

 

Also they still have a jewellery sale with loads left and everything was £1.50!!! I got loads of jewellery and will save it for future birthdays and Christmas presents. I got more than in this picture but I have them in mind for people who may see this post! I also got Head Over Heels cream blush as my Neon Rose one is almost running out, although I've literally has it for more than a year and use it every single day. They're so great! I stipple it on and put another powder blush over the top depending on which colour I fancy that day. Your blush will last from morning until night! I think I'm going to keep the earrings and the ring with the pink pearl at the centre.

 

I was toying with the idea of getting a blazer now I have a daily job but I don't think I need to look so smart and I haven't worn a blazer in years. They're the kind of wardrobe staple that you think would be handy but I think I can survive without one. This nude/beige one in Topshop was £65!!! Lovely though. This coat with a furry collar and cuffs was also looovely but I have my Miss Selfridge coat with a furry collar and cuffs. I definitely recommend those features in a coat, they make a world of difference! So comfy and cute.

I eat at Yo! Sushi at least once a week, I love it!! I still have my student discount hehehe. If you get the refillable Miso soup for about £2, you don't need a drink, and if you only get two dishes, it comes to around a fiver only! I am getting a bit bored of the vegetarian dishes as I've had them all now so there's no fun in trying something new, but they are still so tasty. I love the Vegetable Gyoza and anything with seaweed. Yo! Sushi is also a great place to eat alone as the belt is so entertaining to watch and you're involved with everything rather than sitting at a table alone. Sitting at a table for one in Nando's is a bit boring!

 

I went into Superdrug to check out the Sleek Pout Paints, which I LOVED. I really wanted the peach and coral but they were a fiver each, and even on 3for2, I couldn't really justify that as I have ten thousand peach and coral lip products. I popped along to Boots to check out their deals and the Got2B range is half price so I snapped but a 2 Sexy hairspray for only £2. I have been through at least ten cans of this, it's amazing and smells like raspberries! My old housemate Sophia (who is now teaching English in Colombia, I miss her so much but am so proud :') yay) introduced me to it as she knew Katie Price uses it, and now my Mom and sister use it too!

I've also not been having great hair days recently and it is totally because I refused to buy a new bottle of serum until my Kerastase Ultimate Elixir has ran out, but that is taking an eternity!!! So I just bit the bullet and got my ALL TIME favourite John Frieda Extra Strong Formula Serum, which I've also had a million times and even used to buy it in Sweden where it was £12!! It wasn't even on offer in Superdrug or Boots but I just had to get it, it has been too long!

  

Then I went to Wilkinsons on the way home and got a few plates and kitchen bits as I think nice crockery will encourage me to cook at home more! I got this cute storage box reduced to £1 and am going to use it to put my daily makeup in. I store my makeup in little draws from WHSmith but the stuff I use everyday ends up strewn across my table constantly. This should keep it all tidy but quick to locate. 

I also got a hand blender as my new favourite things are food and healthy living blogs! I think it's because I fantasise about having my own kitchen where I can make and store whatever I want as right now I share with eight others and eat out a lot. I was inspired by Laura of Keeping Healthy Getting Stylish who makes the most glorious looking smoothies!!! Her dessert ice creams look especially amazing. I'm going to try her recommendation of a banana, peach and spinach smoothie first!

I also love Sweet Potato Sarah, who is the reason I am actually able to blog tonight and am not banging my head against the wall as she gave me internet!! Well due to housemates moving in and out of my house all the time, an internet changeover means we haven't had it for a few days and probably won't for a few more, but Sarah answered a desperate tweet of mine when I was about to spend £££ on BT Openzone saying you can get it for free if you have BT Broadband. Well my Mom does so I can use her log in, yay!! Thank you Sarah! And thank you BT, I'm sorry I complained so much about your rubbish home broadband! I can't upload YouTube things but I can blog so Sarah I am so grateful. Please, as a thank you, go over and check out her blog as I love her recipes and food diaries but also love her life updates. Fingers crossed this post will publish OK! Have a great start to the week everyone xx

P.S. I thought I'd mention this as some people may relate but I have been on the contraceptive pill Microgynon for a while and think I have pinpointed it as a source of all my worries! Nothing major but in the past few months I've felt really emotional and up and down all the time, and would cry at anything and wouldn't be able to stop! I know I've had loads of changes and stressful times recently but I just didn't have the positive attitude I normally do and couldn't make a decision and was quite anxious. I don't know if it is placebo thinking but I'm pretty sure I've felt better and much more upbeat, sociable and relaxed since I've stopped taking it for only about a week. Has anyone experienced anything similar? I've heard of these things before as it's just the bog standard pill they give to most people.


30 Day Clothing and Accessories Challenge Day 24 (and haul!)

    24. Your favourite pair of shoes

It's my birthday on the weekend and I'd love a new pair of shoes but there's not that many chunky heeled options out there! My favourites shoes are hands down the Forever21 Mary Janes which I got on eBay US, and the F21 UK site has been taunting me with the black floral version for months. Sadly they seemed to have never arrived so the option is to hunt maybe the plain black pair on eBay US or search for some new heels, as these are looking a bit worn now. Do you find that you see a fab pair of shoes but they always have a bad heel? I just don't buy stilettos because I'm worried I'll slip on cobbles or spilled drinks. I was quizzing Fritha on Bordello shoes at the Brum Blogger Meet so I might have a look into the alternative shops in Birmingham to see if there are any I can try on.

If you're a long time reader, did you think my favourites would be the Miu Miu Tea Cup shoes that I got reduced to £100 in about 2009? That post is so old, I can't even find it to link to it! I got them at the Manchester Flannels outlet in the Northern Quarter but I don't wear them enough to be favourites! These might have been good graduation shoes but I didn't want to wear heels and they are fine perched below my mantle piece (that also displays all nail polishes!). It annoys me that the gold curls are plastic and one broke off the first time I wore them, but the Miu Miu shop sent them to Italy to be fixed. Then they snapped again! There's just no way you're not going to knock the back on something so I'd only wear them to somewhere I'd be sitting at. If I'd paid £400 for these, I'd expect maybe metal curls?

I bought lots of makeup and hair bits on Thursday and did record a video haul, but I have a red hair video to put up before that if I can get my Mom to email it to me. Today I had a really lovely day wandering around town as I wanted to go to Poundland or Wilkinsons to get some house things. I'll have to go back to get the mini ironing board from Wilkinsons but I got 12 hair rollers, a Disney Princess bowl and a cute lunch box from Poundland. I also went by the better H&M in town with the Trend and Divided ranges and picked up the floral maxi dress that's been haunting me in the sale for ages! I picture it with a flouro coral lip and either no jewellery at all and just really long hair, or loads of tangled bracelets and big feather earrings. I got MORE feather H&M earrings too and two pairs of flats for every day work. I also picked up a little waist belt from New Look with a gold rose clasp as I only have plaited belts that I have to tie because they're too long, and some jegging from Miss Selfridge. The ones I have worn constantly this year are still super tight but quite worn-in now. They don't seem to have that style and they were only £22, so I got some that I hope are similar. I really want some coloured jeans and tried on a dark green and burgundy pair, but they didn't fit at all!

I almost forgot, I also went to the cinema by myself! I had lunch/dinner at YO!sushi as, if you fill up on the limitless miso soup and only get a few dishes + 25% student club discount (hehe), it's really reasonable. It was still the afternoon and it was one of those lovely relaxed Sundays, and the cinema is right by the Cabot Circus restaurants, so I just thought, 'Ah wouldn't a nice movie be great right now?', so I went! I very nearly saw Harry Potter alone but the lovely Leah invited me to go with her, but after discussing solo cinema with Fritha and Lil, I was confident enough to buy a single ticket (whilst also using my feminine charms to get a student ticket, even though I very much am not!), get some popcorn, and walk in alone. Horrible Bosses was starting in 5 minutes so it was perfect, and it was lovely and relaxing to just enjoy a movie. FYI, if you liked The Hangover, you'd like Horrible Bosses. It's that kind of 'average men go on a crazy adventure' type of film, and Jennifer Aniston is fabulous. 

I have no idea what I want to wear in the Autumn so I'm not making any big clothing purchases yet. September Elle landed through my (huge) letter box this week so I'll have a flick through that now. I know all the tribal stuff it going to be a transition trend as I got a thick black knitted poncho in the Topshop sale, which sounds random but it's lovely and I thought it would be great thrown over things! I'll have to show you. I also have lots of other treasured coats but I'll need to be buying up some thicker maxi skirts and trousers/jeggings, and I really want a felt floppy hat. I tried on two today in H&M and New Look (both were identical but H&M's was cheaper), and loved them but I'm not sure I'd wear a hat. However that's just because it's so hot right now; I might snap the H&M one up tomorrow in case I regret it later!