Tuesday, April 30, 2013

My Handbag Wish List!

So the good weather has arrived -touch wood- which means I've finally got my Summer arm candy out of her Aspinal dust bag! When it comes to handbags, I am always practical and quite tame with what I buy. I prefer to invest in something timeless and versatile than be brave and splash out on a controversial piece. However, that said, Summer is the time to be bold with all things beauty and fashion and there are so many gorgeous statement bags out there at the moment, that I thought I would share some of my 'I wants' for the season!

1. The Day Bag: This is at the top of my wish-list. 'Tazzler' by Ted Baker, caught my eye a little while ago now, primarily for the gorgeous combination of reptile and powder blue. I also like the side panels which somewhat echo the unique wing-like shape from CĂ©line. The size of the bag, for me, has tonnes of appeal and is quite innovative, as we see the classic tote shrunk into mini! I also love the interior lining, as with all Ted Baker bags. The 'Exotic tassel mini tote' is available on their website for £179, in four fabulous colours.

2. The Weekender: The monochrome 'Aztec Buckle Holdall' from Topshop is the perfect Summer weekender. Aztec is all over the shops this season and I think is particularly striking here in black and white. The bag is structured, unlike some cheaper holdalls and well secured with an over-the-top buckle. It is available online and in store for a reasonable £38.

3. The Shopper: For all that Summer shopping, I love the 'Beige Leather Beaded Pannel Tote Bag' from River Island. The bag is available for £100 which I think is a little pricey. That said, I absolutely love the contrast of texture between the immaculate beading and smooth leather. Also, the array of colour within the detailing means it ticks the box for versatility!

4. The Evening Bag: I couldn't resist including this gold beauty from Jimmy Choo! The 'Chandra', chain-emebllished, metallic brushed-leather clutch is the ultimate evening bag for Summer. The colouring is perfect to accompany a chic maxi and a tan and I love the chain and crystal detail - the epitome of glamour! This irresistible bag is available for £750.

5. The Summer Clutch: You can always rely on Accessorize for that girly Summer accessory. This hard-case embellished clutch is a beautiful addition to any wardrobe! The intricate, neon beading is so pretty and has the capacity to spice up any holiday outfit. Definitely near the top of my list for Season purchases, the 'Amazing Poppy Beaded Clutch' can be bought at Accessorize for £45.

6. The Beach Bag: Summer is the time to go bright and this vibrant 'Ella Tote' by Tory Burch is perfect to strut down to the beach with! The canvas beauty also comes in nautical colouring, however I think the contrast between the monochrome stripe and brilliant yellow background is truly stunning! The tote is available on SHOPBOP for $250.

Whilst exploring Net-a-Porter, I also found these crazy clutches from French designer, Olympia Le-Tan. The collection reinvents the classical novel by transforming much-loved literature into exquisite accessories. I would like to think this justifies as revision for my upcoming exams!? They are available here.


Monday, April 29, 2013


Ted Baker is a little piece of heaven for me. So there is no way I will miss the chance to enter their S|S 2013 Blogging Competition, or an excuse to pour over their collection dreaming up outfit ideas!

As per the stipulations, I have chosen three gorgeous pieces from the website and have ended up creating something of a 'French Riviera' look. The centre piece of the outfit is the tailored 'Miami print short', which epitomises city chic. I think the refreshing, powder blue is gorgeous for Spring and the bright colours of the image design connote Summer entirely. To pair with the shorts, I have chosen a very simple but sophisticated V-neck cropped length top. I think this compliments the shorts perfectly by continuing the fresh, clean cut appearance of the look. This is just one of the things that I love about Ted Baker - the consistent high quality that is seen omnipresent throughout their collections.

To accessorise, I have chosen the 'Burnam' bowler in a screaming pink, which is a bag made to impress! The bright colour compliments the pink hues that exist in the shorts, therefore allowing the pieces to coalesce as one outfit. I am a huge fan of the amount of neon that is circulating the catwalk at the moment and by adding this brave pop of colour and texture, a strong sense of fun and energy is injected to the look.

TYSHELL - Miami print short available online here

BURNHAM - Quilted Enamel Bowler available online here.
ALITA - V neck cropped length top available online here.

This is one of my favourite outfits for S|S 2013. For me, it simultaneously represents the freshness that arrives with Spring and the explosion of bright colour we see in Summer. I would like to think I would wear it strolling around Cannes, with a big floppy hat!

Details of the Ted Baker S|S 2013 Blogger competition are available here


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Summer Ball Outfit Ideas

Just yesterday, the theme for our Summer Ball was announced and after endless intrigue, St. Aidan's can now begin to prepare for an 'Alice in Wonderland' evening. Over the Easter break, I was lucky enough to see 'Alice's Adventures in Wonderland' at the Royal Opera House in Covent Garden. This magical ballet has only recently arrived on stage and seems to manifest my love of theatre and dance in one performance! However, it was the exorbitant costumes and intricate attention to detail throughout the show wardrobe that captured my eye the most. The pointe shoes worn by the hookah smoking Caterpillar, illustrate the sheer indulgence of the costumes perfectly. Each shoe is fitted, then dyed an exact shade of royal blue before being hand-encrusted with 365 individual crystals:

Caterpillar pointe shoes as worn in The Royal Ballet's 'Alice's Adventure's in Wonderland'

As you can see, they are a thing of real beauty and I am so excited to translate the extravaganza of colour and costume I saw on stage into an outfit for our long-awaited Summer Ball! But for the time being, I have enjoyed dreaming up four outfit ideas, based on a handful of the well-loved characters in Charles Dodgson's novel.

'Alice': Dress at Virgos Lounge £92 Shoes at Nine West £95, Bracelet at Swarovski £99; Clutch at Next £30.
'The Queen of Hearts': Dress at Whistles £265; Monochrome Clutch at Karen Millen £35; Shoes at Schuh £70.

The 'Alice' look I have created is swarve and sophisticated. Inspired by the extravagant pointe shoes above, I have chosen a dress which has some 'sparkle'. I absolutely love the collection at Virgos Lounge and have recently gone a bit overboard in their 'flash sale'!! The highly embellished detailing which features throughout their range, is here applied to the capped sleeves of the dress and the overstated clutch and delicate bracelet continue this 'dazzle' throughout the whole look. I think this beautiful outfit does Dodgson's protagonist proud!

Next is the villain of the piece, but my own favourite. For 'The Queen of Hearts', I couldn't resist this striking orange maxi. The lace dress is listed on the Whistles website as 'the ultimate event buy', which I think is certainly true to say. In order to rein in the energy of this look, I have teemed the bold tangerine colour with monochrome accessories.

'The White Rabbit': Dress at Anthropologie £228; Clutch at Zara £69.99; Shoes at New Look £19.99.
'The Mad Hatter': Dress at Anthropologie £238; Shoes at Kurt Geiger £160; Pearl Bracelet at House of Fraser £25; Clutch at Ted Baker £99

For 'The White Rabbit' and 'The Mad Hatter', I have chosen two short dresses which I think reflect on the effervescence of their characters. Both dresses are from Anthropolgie, which I first discovered in New York a few years ago. It now continues to remain one of my favourite shops and I could spend hours and hours in the store on Regent Street! I absolutely love the Slim-Glint White Dress as a canvas for 'The White Rabbit' look. The sheen of the lace is so effeminate and would look gorgeous in the Summer sun! I chose to pop some colour into the outfit with duck-egg heels and a leather clutch from Zara. With an outfit like this, I would not want to be late for any important date!

The image of 'The Mad Hatter' conjures up all sorts of wild outfit ideas. However, I have chosen to base the look around a beautiful, vivid green dress. I think the delicate silk and lace materials makes the bold colour appear somewhat more subtle to the eye, so to make it all the more 'mad', I have paired it with bright fuchsia accessories. I don't usually wear a lot of pink, however I have fallen in love with these gorgeous silk court shoes from Kurt Geiger! Finally, I think a pearl bracelet finishes off the look really well, without adding any more colour. 

So there they are ... my take on four of the characters from 'Alice in Wonderland' for the upcoming Summer Ball - I can't wait!!


How To: Wear Orange Lipstick

I have been on the search for a vibrant lipstick to add to my collection for some time now. My naturally highly pigmented lip colour means that the majority of my lipsticks are very neutral, without showcasing the 'foundation' lip or 'I don't have any lips at all' look. My favourite is undoubtably Mac's lipstick in 'Shy Girl', which has pride of place in my handbag and will always give me a high quality and even finish.

Jessica Alba at the Golden Globes 2013
The neutral lip seems to be my comfort zone, so I am always reluctant to spend big monies on a bright colour, which I will only sometimes muster up the courage to wear on a night out. However, after seeing the gorgeous orange pigment on Jessica Alba's smackers at the Golden Globes earlier this year, I've decided to be bold and go bold for Spring.

The advantage of an orange hue is that it goes well with many different skin tones. However, it is true that warm skin and blonde hair will tend to suit a true orange lip, whereas more medium skin tones will favour coral or a deeper, reddish-orange. Nonetheless, orange is a colour I'd much sooner expect to find in a fruit bowl than my make-up bag, so picking up all sorts of tangerine shades in boots this morning was something of a novelty.

1. Revlon ColourBurst Lip Butter in 'Tutti Frutti' £5.99
This hydrating formula claims to boost lip moisture by up to 156%. Indeed, the colour glides on really smoothly and left my lips feeling very soft. Also, the mango and coconut butter it contains means that the smell is gorgeously tropical! However, I found the finish very shiny, whereas I tend to favour lipstick with a slightly more matte result. That said, the hue is lovely and really suits my skin tone.

2. No. 7 Crayon in 'Tickle' £9
I wasn't aware that No 7 had introduced Lip Crayons to their collection, so I was so pleased to come across this earlier today! The colour is so easy to apply in this form and has a twist function to extend the product as and when you need. My lips felt smooth and moisturised after application, however, in the case of this particular shade, the pigment isn't as strong as I'd like it to be. I have found this before when using No. 7 lipstick and the moisturising, lightweight formula seems to prevent the colour from lasting. Nevertheless, I love the fabulous range of colours in these Lip Crayons and the subtle shimmer that they carry.

3. Bourjois Rouge Edition Lipstick in 'Orange Pop Up' £7.99
The Bourjois Rouge Edition was my least preferred of the lipsticks I tried. Unfortunately, the very highly saturated colour felt heavy on my lips and gave them a slightly 'frosty' appearance. Also, the colouring is more of a rich coral, which isn't too great with my skin tone.

4. Maybelline Colour Sensational Vivid Lipstick in 'Electric Orange' £7.19
Overall, this is my favourite. As you can see, the bright, zesty colour is not dissimilar to Revlon's 'Tutti Frutti' which seems to really suit me. It has a healthy sheen to it, without being shiny and leaves my lips feeling smooth and hydrated. Also, this lipstick is more matte than the others I have tried, which I tend to favour with any lip-look.

As you can see, when I have been wearing the lip colour, I have kept the rest of my make-up very natural in order to showcase the punchy orange pigment. I love it!


Saturday, April 27, 2013

S|S Nails for 2013

When it comes to nails, I am something of a perfectionist! After bad experiences following fakes and acrylics, I now enjoy painting my nails myself and occasionally indulging in a Shellac or Gel manicure. But ultimately, I love to keep my nails well conditioned and after a long, cold winter lacking in Vit-D, I have been on the search for natural beauty products to maintain my nail health.  

Unless I am removing gel nail varnish, I always try to use an acetone-free remover, particularly in the winter, as acetone will thin your nails and can lead to damage. But in the endeavour to maintain nail and cuticle health, I believe I have found the ultimate beauty product from B Skincare. Recently, I have really started to appreciate the variety of health benefits that render from bees, as a result of introducing purified bee venom into my skincare regime with the Manuka Doctor range. However, for nails, the secret seems to be beeswax, which has the most amazing moisturising ability. My favourite product from the B Skincare range, is the ‘Beeswax cuticle & nail balm’. As well as beeswax, this miracle ointment contains vitamin rich carrot oil, shea and cocoa butter, to increase circulation and improve the quality of the nails. Since Christmas time, I have used just a small amount of this balm overnight and have noticed an amazing difference in the quality of my nails. From the overuse of varnish, they frequently broke and had become brittle. However, now they are much stronger and my cuticles are also softer and more manageable. I cannot recommend this product more strongly, if your nails are in need of some TLC before Summer, at £4 a pot, you cannot go wrong with this product! The Lavender hand and foot cream is also worth the buy and smells absolutely gorgeous! Both products are available online at B Skincare.

Now onto the more exciting part: colour! Until recently, I have always used Leighton Denny’s nail polish range and have built up quite a collection! At £11.00 a colour, it’s quite pricey for my tender student budget, although luckily I have learnt to snap them up quickly at discount price in TKMaxx! Perhaps my favourite and most versatile little bottle, is simply ‘One For All’, which is intended as a multi-purpose base coat, top coat, or even just a clear gloss. The lacquer is enriched with Vits A and E - an added bonus to help strengthen the Keratin in our nails and keep them looking healthy! Therefore, whenever I use ‘One For All’ I feel like my nails are receiving some benefit and I will certainly be using it frequently over the Summer to maintain their health.

Here are some of my other faves which I have bought with me to showcase at Uni over the Summer Term:

From left to right: 'Supermauva'; 'Your Planet Or Mine?'; 'One For All'; 'Best Seller'; 'Viva La Diva'; 'Plush Pink'.

For S|S 2013, Leighton Denny has released a brand new Rivera Collection, which has an absolutely gorgeous range of colours for when the weather gets warmer! My favourite is undoubtedly, ‘Yes We Cannes’, perhaps for the name as well as the colour - (I’ve always wanted to go to Cannes!) The lovely pastel colour is ideal for Spring days, while the more sophisticated and seductive ‘I’m So Soiree’ is perfect for those upcoming Summer nights!

'I'm So Soiree'                                    'Yes We Cannes'

The Leighton Denny Riviera Collection and much more, is available to purchase online here.

I would also highly recommend Leighton’s Crystal Nail file set. At £28, this is somewhat of an investment buy, but after using it I have never looked back! The glass files are so effective at shaping your nails and also are void of the harshness you can find with some cheap files.

On the other hand, since recently finding their range stocked in good-old Boots, I have become somewhat obsessed with Essie. I have been searching for the perfect nude nail varnish for a while now and was delighted to discover it in Essie’s range in the form of ‘Tea and Crumpets’ – delicious. The varnish has a subtle sheen to it which I would usually steer away from, but actually it makes my nails look lovely and bright.

     Essie: ‘Tea and Crumpets'

 My Favourites from left to right: 'Tea and Crumpets'; 'Mint Candy Apple'; 'Licorice'.

With Essie, the lacquer is a little thicker than Leighton Denny and the wide, flat brush makes the polish so easy to apply and achieve an even coverage. I use my ‘One For All’ varnish from Leighton Denny as a base and top coat when using the Essie colours and in my own experience, the nail colour lasts considerably longer than other brands. With the slightly more affordable price of  £7.99 a bottle and the endless range of colours, Essie is without a doubt my favourite quality nail varnish for S|S 2013. Go out and treat yourself!


New Neon Accessories from Next

My good friends will know that I love a statement necklace. On a morning when I've not got bags of time to get ready, I will put on my jeans and a white tee and turn an easy-going look into something fun, with a splash of colour. When I was having my hair done this week at Durham's TONI&GUY, I spotted a 'real gem' whilst burying myself in huge pile of mags. It was Next's 'Lime Teardrop Necklace' which seemed to jump off the page at me and as soon as my hair was dry, off I went round the corner to find it. 

But when in store, I was faced with a much larger variety of bright and beautiful jewellery than I had expected! After plenty of deliberation, I walked away a very happy bunny with the 'Pink Multi Chain Necklace'. For my blog shoot, I put together a vintage, cream cropped blouse and Zara blazer, with a pair of bright peach skinnys and my necklace, to combine simple neutrals with neon accents. This is a really simple look but so effective and contemporary. Above all, the electrifying colours seem to infuse fun into any outfit and for this reason, I am loving this flashy bold trend. 

Hello Spring, Hello Colour. 

From left to right: Pink Multi Chain Necklace £14; Neon Stud Earrings £5; Lime Teardrop Necklace £12; Neon Short Necklace £12.

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