29 July 2015

Bonmarché AW15 Collection

A few weeks back I was kindly invited to preview Bonmarché's new A/W collection.  I had previously associated Bonmarché with older women and I wouldn't exactly consider them to be on trend, however with their new collection you can see how they are injecting youth into the brand, adapting current and upcoming trends in a way that is flattering for women of all ages.

When I arrived I was greeted with delicious canapés and drinks while I chatted to the other bloggers.  There was also a beauty stand so you could get your make-up on nails done before the main event.  Soon the first catwalk was ready to start and we seated ourselves with a round of champagne, three bloggers had been chosen to model the collections Bee of Queen Beady, Kristina of Mode Of Style and Jennie of Life Styled by Jennie.

Boho Pastels Collection

The casual collection for this season is based on soft pastels with a boho relaxed touch with a nod towards the 70s.  One of the key pieces is the re-emergence of the parker, Bomnarche's own version is a bargain.

Tribal Graphics Collection

This collection really drives home their 'buy now, wear now' attitude for this season, this is where you can really see a bit of glamour sneak in but in a way that is so easy to wear.  This collection is all about bright prints and intense colours.  This Black Duster Wrap coat was a huge hit at the event, it's my personal favourite from the whole day.  This red dress worn by Bee is also a great twist on a classic style, and the detail is incredibly flattering.  

Ornamental Glamour

Oriental style large floral prints mean these pieces are great for the late summer, early autumn.  This dress is great value and looks fabulous.

Ann Harvey 

This is Bonmarche's collection for sizes 16-32, modelled by Kellie of Big Fashionista.  The collection includes maxi dresses, plum colours and tribal prints.

Overall I had a fantastic day, and got to hand out with some fantastic people once more.  What do you think of the collection?

27 July 2015

Only Ever Yours Review: #Sassybooks Book Club

eves are designed, not made.
The School trains them to be pretty
The School trains them to be good.
The School trains them to Always be Willing.
All their lives, the eves have been waiting. Now, they are ready for the outside world.
companion . . . concubine . . . or chastity
Only the best will be chosen.
And only the Men decide

I was reluctant to read this when I saw it was the choice for this months Sassy Books.  If there's one thing I am done with reading it is young adult dystopian.  After the success of The Hunger Games years ago it was everywhere and eventually they became too similar and I got bored.  Also, I know you should never judge a book by its cover but I think this one is particularly bad, it looks really cheap and dull to me, it reminds me of the covers for the Uglies series that I also dislike.  I almost skipped this month entirely but I remembered that the whole reason for joining a book club was to read books I normally wouldn't, so I sucked it up.

And just like last month I am glad I went ahead, this book is really enjoyable.  It is one of the first books in a long time that was a genuine easy read, but that doesn't mean it was dumbed down.  The novel itself is pretty dark, much darker than I expected.  It means not everything was wrapped up to make things happier for the reader, which kept me on my toes and most importantly set it aside from other books in this genre.  For once I didn't predict where it was going.

This book is based in a school which has more in common with a prison, here they teach women from the age of four to fit into one of three categories, all for the pleasure of men.  Companions, essentially modern day wives, concubines and chastities.  The clues are in the names really.  Women are genetically designed to be 'perfect' for men and other things like menstruation are stopped by pills until they are deemed necessary.  One of the first things I noticed when reading this is that all the women's names aren't capitalised, just going further to show how unimportant they are in this society.

I think that real difference between this title and others in this genre is how easily it relates to modern life without being too obvious.  The difference here is in it's subtleties.  Sure the idea that women can be used as sex objects are an obvious reflection on our own society, but importantly the emotions that the eves feel are very real in our current world.  They are thoughts and feelings that I had growing up, especially when a teenager or in any new situation when outward appearances seem vital.  For all this book seems extreme, it is grounded in something very real.

One word of warning, as a person who has dealt and everyday deals with an eating disorder, this deals with some topics and thoughts that could be triggering.  Have you read this?  What did you think?  Don't forget you can follow my reads on Goodreads and instagram.

24 July 2015

The City Girls Leeds: The Event

If you were around on twitter or Instagram a couple of weeks ago you will no doubt have seen the hashtag #TheCityGirls floating around.  It was so popular in even trended on twitter!  That was all because of the fantastic  event Holly-Lucy and Lorna had put on in Leeds city centre.

This is the second City Girls event, the first one was held in Sheffield.  I'd heard nothing but good things about the event from those who went along and I am happy to say I wasn't disappointed.

I do love a good cocktail, and Leeds definitely isn't lacking for places to grab one.  Unlike Sheffield, fancy cocktail bar's are in abundance (sorry Sheffield, your cheap vodka and sticky floors still holds my heart) and this event was held at one such hight class place, The Liquourist.

Despite it being really close to the station this bar felt almost hidden away down a quiet side street, with gorgeous decor and full of light.  I headed straight for the bar on arrival to get a cocktail despite it only being midday, a meet up is a good a reason as any to celebrate!  I decided to get away from my usual sugar and vodka combos and went with a fruity rum based number.  It looked great and tasted even better after I'd chatted to all the bloggers I am now fortunate enough to know, we headed upstairs to out exclusive area.

Holly-Lucy and Lorna introduced themselves and The City Girls format once we were all upstiars.  They did a great job and their passion really showed.  They introduced then introduced Suzie of Leeds Women's Aid who the charity raffle was benefiting.  Suzie is a fantastic speaker who gave an amazing speech on the importance of this charity for women and the community.  As someone who has been in an emotionally abusive relationship, and knows more than one person who has been in a physically abusive one, this moved me greatly.  I was almost in tears, it's good to know that as well as a social event, we are helping such a worthy cause.

Then we were left to explore the brands.  Unlike your average blog meet, the brands here had stands that you could explore a your own pace, meaning you weren't fighting for photography space and could spend lots of time with the brands that excited you the most.  As well as this there were tables full of gifts all around the room for us to take home.  All this was in addition to the official goodie bag!  For this post I will focus on the brands that attended the event, and will show the gifts and goodiebag in a post later this week.  So here are the companies I met on the day:

The Body Shop

I have been a fan of The Body Shop ever since I was a child, when I used to sneak into my sisters room to smell her collection of animal shaped soaps (anyone remember those?).  These days, it's their skincare that really impresses me.  They had brought the Neutriganics collection but the thing that excited me the most is their new perfume.  It is based around Italian Figs and is so light and refreshing it will definitely be on my future shopping list, I also got a sample of their cult product, Drops of Youth which I am looking forward to trying out.

Manuka Doctor

I first came across Manuka Doctor at my first ever blog event, when we were given samples of their bee venom face masks.  Unfortunately, they did nothing for me.  However this time around we were given a new product to try, a bee venom lip enhancer.

Kendelle clothing

A brand I hadn't heard of before, they have a selection of real on-trend pieces that seem great for summer.  They kindly gave all the bloggers in attendance 20% off their range.

Benefit Cosmetics

Oh Benefit, how I do love you!  I have been a big fan of Benefit for years, so I was super excited to find them at the event.  I was actually wearing the They're Real eyeliner on the day, so I was happy to see they had an MUA on hand giving us a chance to check out their new colour range for ourselves.  I went for a purple eyeliner with a blue mascara.  I was skeptical, especially with the mascara, as every time I had tried a coloured mascara them in the past the colours couldn't be seen.  However this provided my eyes with a real pop!  We were also given sample of their Licence To Blot, which is perfect for popping in my handbag.  I have already got it put aside for Florida next year.

Nails by Ivy

Stupidly even though I was really looking forward to it, I didn't put myself forward for getting my nails done.  Just as I was getting better at putting myself forward for things, I allowed myself to miss out.  I did see her work on other bloggers though and it looked amazing, especially the designs she had created just for the event.

After this it was time for the raffle draw, the prizes were incredible, everything from Lightwater Valley tickets, to a MooGoo hamper, to an underwear and swimwear set of your choice from Panache and so much more.  I won the very last prize, a gift from Benefit that was a mystery as it hadn't arrived in time for the event.  When it arrived it was so much more than I had expected.  Want to know what it was?  Well you'll just have to check out my second blog post onTthe City Girls goodiebag to find out!  How tease-erifick is that!


20 July 2015

My 6 Top Tips for Tidying a Messy Room

Ok, it's time for some honesty here.  Are you ready?  I am a blogger  who struggles to keep my room tidy....

I know shocking right?  I can hear your gasps from here!  It's a confession that is never admitted in the bloging world.  Just beyone that perfect instagram shot there might lurke a pile of clothes on the floor, I might have dusted that shelf just because I'm taking pictures on it, and I don't always unpack my clothes as soon as I get home because I can't always be bothered.

The people who know me right now wil be laughing because they know it's true.  At university I had a bt of a reputation for it, it was a running joke between one of my friends.  I would appologise for my room being a mess and he'd say "what mess?" and claim not to noticed as he stepped around my piles of crap.  

The issue now is that I have moved out of my own home to being back at my parents.  So I  have a house worth of stuff squashed into a bedroom which hasn't been updated since I was a teengaer, when I thought that black and purple was a great colour scheme in a room that gets no light.

Recently I have been having a huge Spring clean, along with buying lots of little bits for when I eventually move out again, and getting rid of a lot of the stuff I no longer need.  This has left me eager to try and keep on top of things once and for all.  So when Time4Sleep got in touch the timing couldn't really have been any better.  They are currently running a competition to find the UK's Messiest Bedroom  and for once I was determined not to be able to enter.  So here are my top tips on how I have been using to try and keep my room spick and span!

Not used/wore it in the last year?  Get rid!

This one is hard for me because I am a natural horder, but it is incredibilly effective.  Make up I've not worn since I was 16 doesn't really need to be kept hold of does it?  And even if the baggy jeans look does come back I'm never going to loose the weight to fit into those jeans from uni.  Time to get brutal!  Donate it to charity, sell it on ebay, chuck it in the bin, whatever it takes, just get it out of the house.

Doesn't sell on eBay the first time?  Donate it

This is linked into the last tip.  The problem with eBay is that its so vast sometimes items just don't sell, especially clothes.  If it dosn't sell the first time around, give it to charity.  Otherwise, it will be sat in your room forever while you convince yourself that it's worth just one more try.

Do an area of your bedroom a day

This is a trick I use because I struggle to stay focused for a long time, especially if I've got other things to be doing.  Splitting my room up into sections and tackling it with a deep clean and organise one area at a time can make the task less daunting.

Dance while you dust.

Let's face it, unless you are Monica from Friends, chances are you find housework pretty dull.  I find having music blaring and singing along as I go makes things go quicker, and means I can tidy for longer before getting distracted.  Netflix however has the oposite effect!

Line your drawers (Ooo Err)

Buying drawer organisers can be a god send.  They can organise everything from underwear to jewelry and keeps everything neat and easy to store away.  On a similar note, the bloggers choice of clear plastic makeup drawers are amazing at keeping your stash neat, while still being able to see what you've got to work with.

Buy a hat stand for a surprising amount of storage

I've ordred one myself this week with this in mind.  Sure you can store hat's but if you get one with many hooks and an umberella stand, you can add jackets, handbags and other items too.  I'm planning on attatching some hair scarves and then adding my hair accesories to them so I can see what I have to help me accessorise beter rather then having everything hidden away.

Are you a cleaning queen?  If so I would love to know your tips, I need them!  If not, don't worry, you can always send in your own submission to the UK's messiest Bedroom comp!
I was asked to share my tidying tips in exchange for shopping vouchers

18 July 2015

The 'Vanessa' Wiggle dress by Lindy Bop

'I love wiggle dresses, they just will never suit me'.  
Here is a statement you will have heard me utter over the years with complete conviction.  Wiggle dresses were something for other people, those with flat stomachs and perfectly round rears.  Every time I tried one I was left disappointed at best and upset at worst.  Then one day, when looking for an outfit for an event, I just thought why not give it another try.  This Vanessa wiggle dress by Lindy Bop I'd seen around a lot and everyone I'd seen wear it looked great in it so I went to the changing room, held my breath, and put it on.

I'm so glad I did, this dress has changed my life.  Well, my fashion life anyway, the material is stretchy so it's super comfortable.  It came wth a black belt but I couldn't find it when I took these photos so I swapped it out for a white one from one of my Hell Bunny dresses.  Luckily both seem to work.  I think the mixture of this and the black gathered material around the bust help this style be more flattering for my body type.  I am a definite pear shape, with legs wider than my hips.  These details draw the eye up and away from my lumps and bumps.  Red polka-dots are a classic combination so you can't really go wrong, however Lindy Bop have now brought this dress out in tons of different colours if it's not for you.

Disclaimer these pictures were taken after a pizza the night before and cupcakes at the City Girls event.  I did almost not take the photo's on this day as I was having one of those days when I felt huge, but I thought if I only take pictures on days when I feel skinny it wouldn't be very honest.  So lots more honest photo's to come!

Accessorising is one thing I am never normally good at, but this 40's inspired Darling Necklace* goes so perfectly with this outfit, it's to die for.  I don't own much formal jewellery and I think this really adds an element of glamour.  It is so reflective, when I first tried it on I ran to the bathroom (because it has the brightest lights in the house) and just spun in circles so I could see it sparkle.  It definitely looks like it costs more than its £38 price tag, very old school Hollywood.  It's from the forties inspired range at Glitzy Secrets where they have a whole range of jewellery based on different decades.  I'm so impressed with this necklace that I've got my eye on a few other pieces, some of their art deco designs really are stunning and quite unusual.

This hair flower I was given at the London Edge event back in February when I had my hair styled.  I wasn't told the brand but I love how the colour clashes with me hair.  You might spot that I'm actually using a pin curl clip as I couldn't find my hair grips anywhere.  Seriously where do they go!

So what do you think of my wiggle dress revelation?  My confidence still isn't great but this honestly feels like a big deal.  I might have just gone and bought a couple more from the Lindy Bop website already...

Bonus Dog pic just because... :)
*PR sample, all comments honest and my own.

16 July 2015

Paul Mitchell's Ultimate Big Night Out

Last week I was kindly invited along to Paul Mitchell's Ultimate Big Night Out event in Leeds.  I hadn't been to one of their events before but I've always heard they were really good so I was pretty excited.  It was held in a beautiful sweet in the Quebecs Hotel hotel, I got there early so had plenty of time to chart to the other bloggers before the fun really begin.

Now unfortunately the stylists they had hired couldn't make it at the last minute, but we were invited to play with their products new and old and explore the not yet released Ultimate Colour Repair collection.

That was not all, James from New CID Cosmetics cosmetics had come along to show us their range.  I knew nothing of this brand before beside their famous light up lip glosses so I really did learn a lot.  I never normally volunteer for anything at these events but for once I was brave and when James asked for a volunteer to demonstrate on, I out myself forward.

Let me tell you I am so glad I did, James went through the whole process while explaining the importance of certain products and skincare and giving plenty of tips along the way.  He was able to answer everyone's questions easily, adapted everything for my skin type and seemed genuinely interested in everyone and their own makeup and skin care routines.  He also put me completely at ease which can be hard when sitting in front of a room full of people watching you.  When he was done and I saw my final makeup look, I was ready for hiring him full time!  My makeup has never looked this good!  I have the i-perfection foundation and i-glow in coral crush on my wishlist right now.

Sarah was on hand to talk us through the new hair care range.  It consists of a shampoo, conditioner and triple rescue spray, all with the aim of protecting coloured hair and making it last longer.  As someone who regularly dies here hair and has made the mistake of damaging their hair in the past wth over colouring, this is a necessity.  Here is their claim 
Quinoa Color Repair complex harnesses the high protein content of quinoa to lock in hair color and repair strands from within. Sugar cane and lemon peel extracts add glossy shine and manageability, while powerful antioxidants help prevent damage.
Unlike other colour ranges this has some incredible claims, 88% less breakage, 9 weeks vibrant colour, 59% and 86% less thermal damage.  in trials.  You can't really argue with those statistics.  It's also sulphate free which is a definite plus for me as I try to keep all my hair care as natural as possible.  

Even though they had no stylists on hand Sarah offered to style my hair as she'd heard me complaining about my complete inability to curl my hair.  She protested that she wasnt a profesional so might not do a good job but I think she was great!  I absolutly love my hair like this, I just wish I could to it every day.  You might recognise this photo from the Paul Mitchel Instagram.

With my hair and makeup done I felt so glam, I wish I was heading on a big night out instead of just the train home.  But you can't have everything.

 When I did get home I went with this goodie bag in hand, complete with the new Ultimate colour set (out next month), limited edition rose gold hairbrush and New I-D lipgloss ( that has the cutest mirror inside) 

Have you tried Paul Mitchell before?  Personally I am a big lover of their Stay Strong hairspray and tease comb.  Sarah thinks my hair is a spitting image for the model on the box what do you reckon?
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