29 April 2016

Fibre & Hide Giveaway! Win a handmade bag worth £90!

It's high time we had a giveaway right?  It's been a while, and this time I've got a real treat for you.

As you know I love helping out emerging local brands, so when Fibre & Hide reached out to me I couldn't say no.  However rather than do a review, I thought we should do a giveaway and pass the excitement on to you guys!

Fibre & Hide are based in Leeds and specialise in handmade textile and leather accessories.  I'll leave it to them to describe what tells them apart from the rest:

Fibre and Hide is a UK based design studio, established by award winning textile designer Geri Copsey. Each accessory is personally designed by Geri. Her love of colour and pattern shines through her work, with the inspiration behind each collection coming from geometric forms found within architectural structures.
Once the accessories have been designed, the fabrics are woven by Geri in her Yorkshire-based studio. They are then made up by hand before being beautifully wrapped in a handmade Fibre and Hide gift box, ready to be shipped out.
As a brand, we pride ourselves in quality, sourcing all the leathers used in our accessories from the finest Italian tanneries. All the yarns used to weave the fabrics are dyed in the UK and spun from natural fibres, giving a more sustainable and economical product.

Needless to say we've got something really special for you guys.
L-R Cullingworth, Hawksworth, Leyburn, Reeth

If you win you will get to pick a medium clutch in any of the styles above from the Spring/ Summer range above, the choice is yours!

To enter, simply follow the Rafflecopter below.  There are 3 mandatory entries, complete those to access more ways to enter!  Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


27 April 2016

In A World of My Own: OOTD

Do you have a website that you just know you can't check? You know, because there will be something on there you fall in instant love with and you probably can't afford?  For me that website is Hot Topic!  You might have remembered my love of this American site from my wishlist last year, or maybe from my Boba Fett dress.  No?  What about the Ariel dress? or was it the t-shirt?, the Alice Jumper?  The Fault In Our Stars t-shirt? that one cool goth dress I bought?  What about that super cute Minnie Mouse dress...You get the idea, I really like their stuff, especially the Disney items!  I first discovered them as a 13 year old wannabe skater/emo kid on a family trip to Florida, back then it was the goth stuff that drew me in, these days it's mainly the unique Disney items!

So on Boxing Day I made the fatal mistake of looking to see if there were offers on.  Sure enough there was and as usual I wanted way more than I could afford.  So after lots of feeling sorry for myself, I finally settled on getting just one dress.  This amazing Alice in Wonderland Silhouette Corset dress (unfortunately no longer available).  It was $69.50 dollars but with 25% off, 50% off international shipping and the import tax if cost me in the region of £80.  A lot yes, but it was a treat and very unique.

I wore this for the first time recently to Dans Le Noir's 10th birthday celebration.  You might know Dans Le Noir as the restaurant in the dark.  It's a restaurant in complete darkness, where you don't know what you will be served, and all the waiters are blind.  I went about 5 years ago and it was one of the greatest experiences - I'd love to do it again.  For their 10th anniversary they have something new, every Friday they will now be hosting a silent disco with a twist, the staff on hand will be signing and you are encouraged to only communicate using sign language.  I was a little reserved at first, it felt so new and I was worried I'd look a little silly, however I soon got into the swing of things.  The staff were great at loosening you up to have a conversation using sign language and I had fun at the bar ordering from the menu (we had a booklet of actions).  If nothing else I can now sign 'surprise champagne cocktail', so that's something!  I thought this was a great way of bringing Dan's La Noir's mission of experiencing disability in a new forum.
I wanted to wear something that was casual and fun, but also appropriate for a night out, so I thought it was the perfect time to crack out this dress for its first outing!  The dress itself has a corset style top, although it contains no boneing, with hook and eye detail on the front, lace ties at the back and keyhole detailing.  I love the scalloped detailing on the neckline that brings an extra something feminine to the look.  The skirt part is where this dress becomes really special!  It consists of four layers; a lining, tulle, a printed silhouette layer and a sheer printed top layer, giving the skirt some real volume and depth.
I topped these off with what are without a doubt the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, these Clarks shoes, kindly sent to me from Brantano.  I have a tendency to stick to cheap Primark shoes, which inevitably means I never wear heels because they are so uncomfortable and slow me down, which really bugs me!  These cost more than I would usually pay for shoes, but boy are they worth it.  I haven't worn Clarks shoes since I was at primary school, but I will definitely hunt them out now!  The cushioned insides and chunky heel means they are comfortable, and I can keep my usual walking pace!  I have been reaching for these over my flats on a few nights out, which is basically unheard of.  I think I'm learning that one pair of quality shoes are better than 5 pairs of cheap shoes that I never reach for.  These have some cute scalloped detail and suede finish which means they feel quite luxurious but also go with everything.

As usual I am bad as accessories, but I finished this off with my favourite cat necklace I picked up at London Edge last year and this butterfly hair clip I picked up at the V&A, that flutters with the wind and felt like a whimsical accompaniment to this dress.

Are you an Alice lover?

19 April 2016

#FlavoursOfLisbon event with Monarch Airlines

Raise your hand if you want to do more European travelling!  Yeah me too, it's crazy that with Europe literally on our doorstep I have visited so little of it.  Last year I made a conscious effort to start exploring with a trip to Barcelona , however this year with two American trips coming up and one day off left, it's unlikely I'll get the chance (not that I'm complaining!).  Next year I am hoping to get lots of city breaks in and really start getting Europe under my belt.  Lisbon has been on my radar for a while, and now it's even easier to get to with Monarch Airlines' new flight paths, taking you there direct from Manchester, Birmingham and London.  To celebrate their latest route, Monarch invited myself and some fab bloggers to create some flavours of Lisbon.
Now, I was a little nervous about this event, if you know me then you will be aware that I can't cook.  More accurately, all my years of not wanting to cook have now left me with no cooking skills, somewhat embarrassing at age 27.  Luckily, everyone was really friendly and our chef was super skilled.  We got split into two groups to make competing dishes, which eased my stress about doing the whole dish alone!  

The first thing we made was our main course of Portuguese Pork and Clam Stew (recipe here if you want to have a try).  I was amazed when I saw the result, it was very fresh, tasty and took me out of my comfort zone just enough.  The recipe was surprisingly easy to follow, especially with our expert guidance and I learnt some really useful tips about food prep, and trust me I need as many of those as possible.

We also made Portuguese Custard Tarts, which were my favourite (no surprise as I have a sweet tooth)!  The texture was lovely and they were just sweet enough, I might have had two...  I'm going to make these again, they were surprisingly simple.  Here is the recipe if you want to give them a try yourself.

Have you ever been to Lisbon?  What would you recommend?

14 April 2016

Skinbreeze brightening serum: Review

My quest for better skin continues, this time with a product that I've not heard of before: Skinbreeze.  They specialise in skin rejuvenation systems, so I was pretty confident they would know what they were talking about when it came to skincare.  When they contacted me to see if I wanted to check out their products I decided to check out their brightening serum, with my on going desire for clear, even skin, I thought this might help!

Now my skin has been worse than normal since moving to London, I'm not sure why but it's super dry!  So I was definitely in need of some help.  Here's what they claim the serum does on their website:

Brightening Serum lightens and brightens skin tone and helps to reduce the formation of unwanted pigmentation and brown spots.
combines alpha arbutin, Melanostatine®5 and TyrostatTM together with a human growth factor peptide that blocks melanin synthesis to reduce the formation of unwanted pigmentation. 
The first thing that struck me when I opened this was the unique design.  Basically it's designed to look like a needle.  I can see why they choose this design, but for me needles have more negative connotations than positive so this seems like an odd choice.  Though the spring-loaded plunger style design is a cool novelty, and is a really effective way of getting the product noticed.  

As for the effects of Skinbreeze, to be honest I haven't noticed any until recently.  I forgot to apply it every now and then, but I've been using it daily for the most part for the last 3-4 weeks and it was only in the last couple of days that I started to notice that my skin had evened out slightly.  As I said my skin has totally changed recently which makes it a bit harder to test.  I do like the way it soaks in fast and I'm going to keep using it and see what happens over the next few weeks.

What is your favourite skincare?


6 April 2016

Moments: March 2015

I've read...

An Utterly Exacerbated History of Modern Britain by John O'Farrel- Not the shortest title in the world but an amazing book.  It did such a good job of making history interesting, understandable and funny - not an easy feat!  I feel like I know so much more now.  I recommend this to anyone who wants an accessible introduction to modern British history.

Figment- This is a graphic novel based on my favourite Disney World character, Figment, so there was no way that I wasn't going to enjoy this.  The artwork is done by Marvel and it's stunning and the story is cute too.  Bring on October when I get to see this guy at Walt Disney World.

Sourcery by Terry Pratchett- I'm on book six of the Discworld series and I'm so glad I didn't give up on it because these books just keep getting better.  I love Rincewind and luggage!

This Old Thing by Dawn O'Porter- This book was linked to a series that was on TV a couple of years ago so I wasn't expecting much, bit it's actually really good.  A great overview on vintage styling through the decades, basic vintage upkeep and much more.  Dawn has a great personable way of writing which really makes this book; her passion for clothes really comes through.

I've visited...

The Lake District- Harry's niece had her Christening this month so I visited his family home, and met a lot of his family I hadn't previously.  I got cheap first class train tickets for the journey north too, total score!

The Ice Bar again- Remember my trip to the Ice Bar when I first moved to London?  Well I went back with a couple of visiting friends, it was just as much fun the second time around.

Madam Tussauds Wax Works- Much more touristy than I would normally go for, but with good friends it was a lot of fun!  The new Star Wars area is a great photo opportunity if you don't mind battling the crowds.

Bath- Well sort of, Harry's Nan lives nearby and I drove through the night to get there for the morning of his 30th Birthday.  Leaving a festival at 2am for a 4-hour drive in the pouring rain seemed like a good idea at the time...  We got there safe through and it was really nice spending the time there with his family.  Hopefully, next time I visit we can see more of the area.

I've seen...

Cleansed at The National Theatre- As a Sarah Kane fan I was excited about this, but left feeling disappointed.  Despite the violence and shock value, I actually found myself becoming bored.  Also, the design of this particular stage is appalling!  I had to stand up and move if I wanted to see more than 1/4 of the stage, and this was the case for most of the audience not on ground level.

A Drag Queen photography exhibition- Which I have since forgotten the name of unfortunately.  The images were fascinating though, it's truly an art form.

Boris Johnson- Yes that's right.  I saw him giving his final public speech as London Mayor at The Old Vic. I don't agree with all his politics but he is an amazing public speaker, and genuinely funny.

England Football team play at Wembley Stadium- This is a big one ticked off the bucket list!

I've played...

Ping Pong at Bounce- Bounce is a bar full of ping pong tables that you hire out by the hour, I went for a work social and it was so much fun!  I was awful but luckily no one was taking it too seriously.

Magic Kingdoms- This Disney parks game is finally out and I am addicted to it of course, are you playing?  Let me know so I'm not the only one.

With balloons-
Yes you read that right! At a Yelp event I had a go at balloon modelling.  I was so, so bad I couldn't even tie the knots in them! I'm glad I had a go though, and I learnt a few things.

I've been...

Featured on North East Nerd- Fiona very sweetly featured my Honest OOTD post in her monthly round-up.

Finding new unique shops- One of my favourite things to do is take a random street in London and see what's around, there's some real gems!  Hopefully I can do more of this as it gets warmer.

Painting- At the Paint Jam event held by Yelp I painted for the first time since I was a kid, I wasn't very good but I really enjoyed it!

Booking a holiday to NYC- I got Harry a holiday for us both for his 30th Birthday, it's the first time for both of us so I'm so excited but it's not til November, so we have a while to wait.

Buying tickets to No man's Land- Not until September so it's another one I have a while to wait for, but I'm sure it will be worth it to see Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in action.

Getting a major role for Pride 2016- I passed the interview so I can now tell you I am going to be volunteering as Parade Section Supervisor this year.  It's a huge step up from what I usually do and I'm looking forward to getting started in the next couple of weeks.

Using the Drinki app- Seriously this app is amazing (they're not sponsoring me or anything, I'd always say if they were, it's just actually amazing).  Basically you go onto the app, find a bar that lists a free drink on any given day, show them the app at that bar, check in on Facebook, and you get a free cocktail. It's as simple as that!  If you sign up with my code K7U5 you can get tokens to unlock more free drinks (again everyone has access to this, not just me).

Getting angry at stupid products- really make it stop!

Hitting 600 Bloglovin Followers- I'm so happy to have hit this milestone!

Sharing one of my favourite Disney and vintage inspired shops- Such a great, unique place to shop!

I've eaten...

Way too much Pret- Seriously I need to stop forgetting lunch...

DF Mexico- I had a bad experience here in February so they offered myself and my sister a return meal.  Unfortunately, although the service was better, the food wasn't.

Sunday Roast at The Ship Tavern- Click the link for my full review, the venue is absolutely beautiful.

BBQ at Duke's Brew and Que- On my gosh so much delicious food!  We got the sharing platter which I would definitely recommend if you don't know what to choose, but come hungry.

Burgers at The Rainforest Cafe- The food is overpriced, but let's face it you're here for the environment more than the food.  The US restaurants are definitely better than the London counterpart, which could do with an update.

Yo Sushi for the Babymetal Album Launch- Babymetal have some damn catchy songs so I was really happy when Milly asked me to be her plus one.  I'm not a big fish person so I had been put off Yo Sushi before, but oh my god I was so wrong, their new menu is so good and I didn't try one thing I didn't like! I'll definitely be back soon.

I've hung out with...

Louisa at the Every Hotel event- They were really good at preparing Louisa a last minute vegan meal.  Kudos to them.

Harry's Family- For both his birthday, and the family christening.  It was really nice, and I got to meet a lot of his family that I hadn't previously.

Old Work Friends- Two of my old work friends came down to London to visit me which was really sweet of them, we did lots of touristy stuff which was fun!

The Mean Girls- It was my friend Jay's birthday so we hit Soho with a Mean Girls theme.

My Yorkshire goth buddies at the last ever Resistanz festival- So, so sad to see this go, I was there for the first and last festival.  It's been an amazing six years and I'm going to be at a loss for what to do with my Easter weekends now!


1 April 2016

Shopping Spotlight: Sparkle Bunny Shop

OK, confession time.  First of all, I took these pictures way back in September and meant to blog about them before I went to Disneyland in October (along with my actual blogs about Disneyland - they haven't made it here yet either!).  Secondly, if these images seem a little 'off' it's because I took these pictures on the bonnet of my car (before I had my camera class I might add) seemingly without checking my car was clean first... It seemed like a good idea at the time!  Anyway, enough with the excuses - on with the shopping!

A few months before I was heading to Disneyland Paris, I happened to stumble upon an Instagram shop called Sparkle Bunny.  I soon became captivated and knew I had to place an order.  The shop combines a few of my favourite things, Disney, vintage, and unique hand-made items (all at crazily cheap prices).  It's a shop that I think everyone needs to know about, so here's what I picked up in my little haul.  
First up let's go with the vintage inspired side.  These pair of barrettes cost just $6 a pair and you can choose almost every colour you can imagine.  They are a decent size too and come on a really sturdy crocodile clip.  I wore these in my Hollywood Party post and they're real show stoppers, I think I'll be stocking up on a few different colours in the future.
Next, I chose these broaches.  I don't know what you call this shape so I'd stick with a boomerang for lack of a better description.  Again, you can choose any colour she has available; I chose plain white as I thought it would go with most things, and she threw in this blue one with the star burst design free of charge, which I've actually found I wear more.  I love how attention-grabbing the stars are, it really pulls together that 50's atomic feel.  I can't find exactly how much I paid for these but I know they weren't much at all.  They are much bigger than expected too, about the size of my palm.
Now onto the Disney stuff!  I originally placed this order because I wanted to wear these items when I went to Disneyland (which I did) so the first thing onto my list had to be this oh so cute, and oh so iconic, Disney Mickey bar pin.  Again, it's bigger than it looks and is about the size of my palm (actually come to think of it, all of these are around that size) and cost a grand total of $5!  Amazingly well priced for a handmade item, just look at the detail.  You can't really see from this image but from the side, it looks exactly like the real thing, with a white 'ice cream' layer in the middle.  If you want to go the non-traditional route, this is also available in a variety of different colours, but personally you just can't beat the classic look!  Oh and there's Minnie versions too!
Judging by the popularity of these on Instagram, this next item is a best seller.  I was heading over to Disneyland just in time for Halloween, so this was a must.  Not only is it a piece of glittery, eye-catching perfection in itself, but it also glows in the dark!  I've also seen her make these in black and green (think right out of the poison in the film) which also looks great and in a variety of different sizes.  This pin was another that somehow was just $5.
Last of all: the haunted mansion sign.  Another icon, and once more perfectly done with the weathered detail.  I just love it and it was only $6!

I was her first UK order I am proud to say, and I doubt I will be her last.  From what I have seen she is also really flexible and can make her designs into other things such as cardigan clips, and earrings etc.  The only thing I wish is that she had an Etsy shop rather than just through Instagram, that way you could see all her designs in one place rather than hunting through snaps and asking for prices.  I honestly think she would be so successful if she did, I recently found her personal Instagram and discovered even more amazing designs on there!  Personally, I've got my eye on the pastel Disney D's and tiki mask broaches.  What are your favourites?  You can find her Instagram here.

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