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Saturday, 31 March 2012

What I Wore: Motel Spring 2012

This is what I wore to London for the Motel event on Thursday. You'll have to excuse my awful squints and general expressions - it was a very sunny day and no matter where I placed my camera, the sun got in my eyes! (What I do for fashion eh?!) I love this dress and I love stripes so I thought it was a safe option to wear. Commuting from the North, I wanted something relatively warm for the journey but at the same time still Spring appropriate. Instead of my usual trademark red lippy, I wore my favourite pink shade - named 'Smashing Pink' by Rimmel. I had a few people at the event ask me who's was it so hopefully it looked good with my dress! I had a lovely time at the Motel event, I'm not going to go into it too much as I'll be posting all about it on Monday so come back for that then! After the event, I met up with a friend who has recently moved to London so it was nice to have a catch up. I then got an early train back oop North to Derbyshire which was lovely. I'm such a nerd when it comes to trains, I always look forward to travelling the Manchester-London route and I got to travel first class both ways which was extra good, especially for free internet ha! 

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Manchester Fashion Week: My IL2L entry

Manchester has always held a place in my heart. Now before you accuse me of being cheesy, I'll explain why...

My first fashion memory of the city was when I was about six. I'd become obsessed with all things Disney and the Disney store at St Ann's Square was my absolutely favourite place to visit when my parents took me downtown. And then I saw it. It was pink, it was sparkly and it had enough layers to rival a dream wedding cake. It was the Sleeping Beauty inspired dress. I say inspired because, lets face it, it was hardly 'the actual dress', but I was six and for me, it was pretty much the real deal.

Fast forward fourteen years and although my fashion tastes have thankfully changed, my love for the city hasn't. Living in a village in Derbyshire about 40 minutes away, 'Manch' as my friends and I coin it, is my playground. I get to trade fields and birds for street style, endless shops, bars and restaurants and the vibe of Market Street that is unbeatable. Not forgetting Piccadilly Gardens, which in the Summer is transformed into a sun-worshipper's paradise. Walking down Market Street to me is like a miniature catwalk, taking in the city's diverse fashion and style. The recent addition of the Beetham tower is another step in the right direction in positioning Manchester as a city to rival that of London. 

Whilst I love London, Manchester feels like home. No underground to battle through but instead free city centre buses and the tram system which is ever expanding. I tend to avoid public transport in the city and instead walk - as that's the best way to take everything in. 

From the quirky Affleck's Palace to the endless shops in the Arndale, and with the infamous Trafford Centre located on the edge of the city, there's fashion for everyone. And this April sees Manchester finally host Fashion Week. Come April 9th - designers, celebrities and keen enthusiasts across the country will gather to celebrate all things fashion in Manchester. Sponsored principally by Missguided and including names such as Ted Baker, Mulberry, All Saints and Flannels, it's set to be a fantastic week. 

In X Factor style, here's the bit where I try and convince you why I should be in with the chance of blogging alongside IL2L at MFW. As well as having a love for the brand, Manchester and fashion in general - I love to write. If that wasn't evident from the 400 words I've just typed then hopefully my blog is. I'm currently in my final year at university studying Journalism with Communications and these three years, along with my blog, have only increased my love of the written word. Yet, re-wind five years and I hadn't realised that I could hopefully turn this into a career. It was in fact my art teacher who picked up on my ease and passion in writing and now I couldn't imagine doing anything else. As a blogger, although I don't take the most amazing photos, I feel I am passionate in my writing. I'm no model and my photo locations are literally as bland as a white wall but hopefully my love for the city, for fashion, for blogging and writing about all of these will give me the chance to blog with IL2L for fashion week. 

Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Wednesday Want: To go to Manchester Fashion Week

As someone who lives 'oop North', having something on the scale of Fashion Week coming to Manchester is a pretty big deal. I unfortunately didn't get my entry in on time to become an official Manchester Fashion Week blogger so I'm still trying to grab the opportunity to be involved in the event! Tomorrow I'll be posting my entry in IL2L's competition to blog alongside them so fingers crossed I'll be in with a chance. But if that doesn't work out, hopefully I'll still be able to get hold of a few tickets because it's not often that fashion gets such a prominence up North so I want to be a part of that! 

Monday, 26 March 2012

Review: Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses in 'Carry on Cherry'

Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses in 'Carry on Cherry'* - £6.99

As most of you know, my lips are what I accentuate. My trademark red lipstick is rarely not painted on my pout, so when the opportunity arose for me to test the new Rimmel Lasting Finish 1000 Kisses Lip Tint, I jumped at the chance. I'm always on the look out for new lip products to try, and drive me away from my redder than red rut (which shamefully I do love). I also am a big fan or Rimmel and regularly use their products - my favourite hot pink lipstick is made by them and I wouldn't be without my jet black eyeliner - £2.99, yes please! 

When I received the product, I was a little apprehensive as I'm used to my thick bold lipsticks and I've never used a lip tint before (yes, I'm a little behind the times!). Luckily, Rimmel's Lip Tint comes with very helpful instructions of what order to do what in!

You first apply the marker pen end (which admittedly did remind me of my school days) onto fresh lips and intensify the colour by the more you apply. This was very easy to do and I think is what makes this product so personal depending on the person who uses it. Some people are not particularly keen on a bold lip so they would only need to apply one or two covers. Whereas others (like me), are a fan of 'the bolder - the better', which can also be achieved by applying four or more coats.  

Once this application is dry, which takes seconds - obviously the quicker the less coats you apply, you seal the colour with the moisturising balm. I think this is a fantastic addition to the product as with the Summer months creeping up on us, it's that time of the year when our lips are exposed to the sun and heat. They need protection and by giving them this extra bit of moisture will keep them in tip top condition whilst having a pretty colour to show them off! 

Here is the lip tint first applied without the balm - perfecting my pout!

A close up of the finish after the moisturising balm had been added. 

A photo of the lip tint four hours later, having eaten and drinking. 

As far as longevity goes, it probably needs a top up after a meal but held surprisingly well when drinking. I'm impressed with the intensity of the colour and the non-smudging aspect of the tint as a big problem I face with lipsticks is for them to spread so easily so this definitely solved that. I usually re-apply my lipstick after a meal anyway so this wouldn't bother me as the benefits of wearing it far outweigh having to re-apply during the day.

The shade I tested is called 'Carry on Cherry' which I feel definitely lived up to its description. I have to say I've been completely won over by this colour as it's a deep, rich shade which suits me down to a tee as I like darker lipsticks than light girly pink ones. 

Regarding the packaging, it's lovely and lightweight and particularly make-up bag friendly. The lids on either end are very sturdy and shouldn't open up in your bag which is always a plus! 

Priced at £6.99, I think it's definitely worth its price tag and with Boots currently running a 3 for 2 across 1,000s of cosmetics, haircare, accessories and more - you can stock up on a few shades or give one as a gift to a friend or family member! 

What do you think of lip tints? 

Sunday, 25 March 2012

Weekly Round Up

1. I'm back at university for my last couple of weeks before Easter break. I've still so much work to do but I'm looking forward to a break from classes and living in a 'city' as I am a country girl at heart with fields, peace and how everyone knows each other in the village. Plus, I can't wait to get back to playing my piano as I hate how I'm probably not as good as I used to be! I'll also be able to get back to outside outfit photos at home as I don't do that here at university. I'm still needing as many responses to my dissertation survey so if you could spare 30 seconds, it would be much appreciated:

2. We got given our graduation dates last week which has stressed me out even more as I'm terrified of failing for some reason. My mum's been trying to get organised, asking me how I order my gown and to start looking at restaurants to make reservations but right now, I've too much work on my plate to even think of an end in sight! I also can't believe how quick these three years have gone. I've completely changed as a person and I have learnt so much regarding life. 

3. With graduation four months away, I need to try and get some job applications and internships sorted. Ideally I want to work/intern in fashion/journalism/social media/PR so I'm constantly on the look out for openings. If anyone knows of any good job websites to use, please let me know! 

4. I feel really 'out of the loop' regarding current trends. It took me over a month to finally give in and download Temple Run and I'm still not one of those people bragging about how good Pinterest is or Draw Something. Who knows, maybe once the hype dies down, I might actually try them! One thing I don't mind jumping on the bandwagon to is Hunger Games. I've unfortunately not had the chance to read the books, but the film looks and from the reviews I've currently read, sounds amazing. The trailer looked pretty incredible at the cinema so within the next week I plan on seeing it. 

5. I'm in London next Thursday for an event so will hopefully see some of my lovely London friends then, as I don't get to spend too much time with them living up North! I'm thinking of heading down early and having a cheeky browse around the shops. One of my Northern friends has recently moved down there and is kindly letting me stay so it'll be nice to see how he is finding the North-South transition. 

Saturday, 24 March 2012

An Evening with Fiona McIntosh

Photo C/O Sarah from Sequin This

Founder of Grazia, former editor of ELLE and Company magazine and now a consultant creative director for luxury e-tailer My Wardrobe - is there anything Fiona McIntosh can't do?! 

Before Fiona shared her pearls of wisdom with the eager crowd, sipping wine on the second floor of designer store Harvey Nichols in Manchester, she modestly admitted to being shocked at the turnout. "I'm quite amazed by how many people have turned up! I was thinking there would probably be about four!" she laughed. 

But she shouldn't be surprised, after all, thanks to her and EMAP's brainstorming, the magazine industry is a better and more advanced place. Before Grazia, there was no other magazine like it. Sure you had your "monster monthlies"  as Fiona dubs them but waiting four weeks for your latest fashion gossip or style hit seemed to be falling behind in the reader's want for immediacy and speed. And that's what Fiona admitted was the driving force behind bringing Grazia to the UK by questioning: 'Is there a way of presenting this material faster?' Thankfully the answer was yes and in February 2005, Grazia was born. 

One of the magazine's biggest successes is its link with fashion retailers which at first Fiona admitted, they "underestimated." 

"We were more interested particularly in the news features and being able to present that much more quickly" and thought fashion "would be quite a nice thing to have on the side."

"But what we noticed and what we felt particularly with fashion was if you could match the pace at which the retailers are putting out their collections, which was getting faster and faster - if you could have a magazine that matched: 'this is in the shop now, get it before it goes - if you have Grazia'...we felt was going to be an attractive thing" Fiona recalled. And an attractive thing it was, with retailers getting back to Grazia commenting how customers had come in specifically searching for an item they'd seen featured in the magazine. 

Grazia was the perfect mix of fun and fashion teamed with hard hitting news features including the London street riots which sat side by side of the news of a new shade of J Brand jeans. Fiona revealed how the Monday morning conference of asking one another "'What are we talking about this week?'" or "'What is interesting us?'" filtered what went into the magazine. She labelled the contrast "news and shoes" which she pinpointed as the common Grazia thread, no matter which country the magazine was published. 

Fiona admitted feeling a sense of exhilaration editing a fast, weekly fashion magazine after paving a career editing publications such as the Evening Standard's magazine, the Daily Mirror, Company magazine and ELLE magazine. Having moved over from Australia aged 22 because of the ease of work, Fiona has most certainly made her mark in the Journalism industry in the UK but remarked how she didn't have much interest in fashion before launching Grazia. "It sounds a bit ridiculous actually" she commented. 

"I didn't have any fashion background but I think it's about knowing what your generation and women hopefully want, and it's packaging that information in the best possible way."

While Fiona has dabbled her hand in other publication titles, she today remains close to the Grazia brand as a consultant for Mondadori, the Italian publishers for Grazia. Now in 20 countries worldwide, she remarked on the "different cultural nuances" she has experienced. "French Grazia is perhaps the 'chic-est' and most fashion-obsessed of all the Grazias" whilst Australisn Grazia is more focused on "body issues, diet, health and looking good." Russian Grazia on the other hand rejects all things "grim", instead pleading for a cocktail of Botox and bling. 

Her other job today lies in fashion retail, something new to Fiona's ever-expanding portfolio. She was approached by online retailer My Wardrobe last year to work on the re-branding of their website. Wanting to big up their profile and make it clear who exactly their audience were, Fiona spent time working with the team re-branding the site and making it represent its new mission - "everyday luxury" through consistent imagery and words. "What we started with was the photography. Everyday luxury suggested it's the kind of things that you wear everyday. It's not something you keep in plastic at the back of your wardrobe" which suited their working women demographic of 24-45. They did this with the increasingly popular street style photography which had the advantage of being cheap and easy to do, only needing a London location, a model and an in-house photographer. 

In keeping the brand British, My Wardrobe and Fiona ensured that any Americanisms were banned from being used. Her current experience at My Wardrobe has been what Fiona coined an "eye-opener." 

"Looking at the resources they had, which were quite tight" was in stark contrast to "the spoilt world of magazines, where you don't get away with a fashion shoot for under £50,000."

Working "with this really young, enthusiastic team who did things on a shoe-string, but did them really well makes you realise - you don't have to spend a fortune to get some really good photography" she argued. 

While Fiona's career progress may appear a dream come true, she too started how most journalists do these days, as an intern which she described as an "invaluable experience." She condemned the exploitation of interns but also admitted how they need to appreciate "that they are lucky to get in the door" and to use the opportunity "to shine."

"It's the ones who are willing to do anything, obviously within reason. They're not too grand to fetch and carry, they're not too grand to photocopy, they ask if there's anything else they can do, they work really hard and they've very pleasant to be around. And obviously they're good at what they do."

The future of internships is currently under questioning in government which Fiona commented "would be a terrible shame" if it were to be scrapped as "companies will not be able to afford to give graduates a chance."

When asked to recall the best business advice she'd ever been given, Fiona's answer was immediate: "Use your own instincts."

"It's very easy to get distracted, especially when things aren't going well and to panic and think that somebody else knows better than you do" she continued. 

The proof is in the pudding when Fiona took that exact advice by launching Grazia over five years ago which she described as her career highlight: "it almost killed me, but it was the most exhilarating time too."  

Thanks to Fiona McIntosh, the Fashion Network and Harvey Nichols Manchester for putting on the event and to get tickets for future Fashion Network events, click here

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

Wednesday Want: Marc B Lottie Bag

Marc B Lottie Bag-£55.00

If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen me banging on about this Marc B bag. I love big bags and with Australia four months away, I want a sizeable carry on bag to throw everything for the flight into. I spotted this bag in Manchester Arndale's Topshop about a month ago whilst shopping with a friend but left it as I was trying to be good with my spending. I also assumed that it would be stocked on the Topshop website which sadly it wasn't. Topshop said they'd look into stock/stores etc. which I'm waiting to hear about. When I went back into the same Manchester store last Friday it was gone! Cue massive regrets about not getting it when I initially saw it! A helpful staff member at Topshop did recall seeing it in the store somewhere but couldn't locate it. She told me it was the last in stock but the bag was one of the best sellers and couldn't see why they wouldn't re-stock it. She told me to try one of the London stores which I'm hoping to do before the end of the month is up. If anyone sees this bag in store - please let me know! Tweet me, leave a comment or email me - whatever! 

Motel Rocks Sample Sale

It only seems like yesterday that Motel were holding a sample sale but luckily it's one of those 'hasn't time flown?!' moments that you don't mind! With dresses from as little as £5 and a fashion mixture of samples, exclusives, vintage and current stock - it would be rude not to, right?

Unfortunately I can't attend as I have classes but I hope (/will be very jealous of) lots of you get some amazing bargains! Ah, but wait, I've not told you where it is... Rather than writing you a long list of street names and numbers, I've included a very handy map that Motel have made. The event runs from Thursday 22nd March - Friday 23rd March at 10am-7pm each day. Happy shopping!

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Weekly Round Up

Photo taken from Sarah's Instagram

1. First off, this post is two days late oops! The reason for this is partly because I'm back at my parents and have been out of the house pretty much all the time I've been here. Also, I've not been myself recently - my parents noticed it as I didn't want to blog, tweet or anything else I usually enjoy doing. I do and I don't know why, it's really a mixture of everything I'm dealing with but I'm going to try and get out of that rut this week and get back into enjoying my blog as I do enjoy it! 

2. I came back to my parent's house on Friday after nipping to Manchester to pick up a mother's day gift. I was hoping that Topshop would have the Marc B Lottie bag I really want but they'd sold out as it's their best seller. Which goes to show that my dad's right - if you see something you want - get it there and then. They've told me to try a London store which I'm going to do next Thursday when I'm down. Fingers crossed! If anyone does see it in a London store, please let me know!

3. Saturday my sister and I drove to Liverpool for St. Patrick's weekend with Heather, Rob and her friends. Some of them started drinking at 9am/11am and lasted longer out than we did and we only went out at 4pm. I don't know how they stayed awake for nearly 24 hours but I was worn out after 8! I did enjoy watching the England Vs. Ireland rugby match in the pub though as the atmosphere was electric. I'm not a big rugby fan at all, but I do enjoy getting involved in sports matches. We went to a few bars and pubs before calling an early night at 12:30am (which wasn't really early when you consider how long we'd been drinking for!). I also got to see my lovely new friends David and Tom which was an added bonus to the weekend!

4. Mother's day didn't really go to plan - we were late setting off from Liverpool (it took us nearly two hours to get home which is double the amount it should take) so we had to cancel our walk which I was gutted about as it just seemed like a normal Sunday after that as if I'm home, we usually go for a meal out on a Sunday. After the meal we went to lay some flowers and a card on my nanna's grave. It's the first mother's day without her and it literally hurts so much that she's not here. I tweeted about it the other day but I really do not believe the theory that time heals pain as it still hurts just as much as the day she died. Whoever made that saying up is crazy!

5. Last night I went to the Fashion Network's An Evening with Fiona McIntosh at Harvey Nichols in Manchester with Sarah. It was a great event in which I learnt a lot from Grazia's founding editor. I recorded the event on my Dictaphone so I'll be blogging a thorough article about that by the end of the week! It was nice to go to an event that wasn't held in London for a change. I had been invited to a London event on the same night but chose to attend the Manchester one instead as it would have been nearly a 5 hour round trip to London and that's not including the actual event, whereas the Manchester one took me 40 minutes to commute to which I much preferred! 

Monday, 19 March 2012

What I Bought: Print Crop Top

Print crop top - Primark

Another day, another crop top. I'm getting more and more into print and I think paired with the pretty lace tones down the pattern a little. I picked this up mainly because it was in the sale down to £2 and it would have been rude not to! Plus, it'll be perfect for summer months and summer tans! 

Friday, 16 March 2012

What I Bought: Primark Playsuit

Primark - £7

I was at first quite reluctant to buy this playsuit as not only do I need to stop buying new clothes, but my housemate has this exact piece too. I bought it anyway as I'm no longer in high school where childish rants that you were 'copying' someone else were prevalent. Anyone remember those times? It was ridiculous! What were the people who were saying them thinking? What, did you think the brand just made one playsuit, just for you? Erm, no... Life's too short. Wear what you want, when you want. Obviously, I'm not going to wear it out at the same time as that would be very high school, I'll probably wear it out during the day to lunch or something - or maybe Mother's day on Sunday (don't forget guys!). 

I really like the colour detail and the pattern as I'm trying to slowly build up a more colourful palette in my wardrobe (baby steps). I'm also a big fan of playsuits as once you whack one of these on - you're outfit is sorted. What eventually sold this playsuit to me was that it was reduced in the sale to £7 and I managed to dig out the last size 8. Fate? Maybe. 

Thursday, 15 March 2012

What I Bought: River Island Eiffel Tower Earrings

When I think of jewellery, River Island is not a shop that immediately comes to mind - well not for me anyway. Which was why I was particularly shocked and pleasantly surprised when I spotted this cute pair in the Manchester Arndale store. Having been to Paris twice, the city holds a place in my heart so these earrings are a perfect reminder of all the fun memories I have there. And what made me even more inclined to purchase them? The price. £2. And that's not even the sale price! Every person who has seen them has commented on how good value that is, so much so that River Island will now be on jewellery shop list! 

Wednesday, 14 March 2012

My Picks for St. Paddy's

1. Mint Green Shift Dress - Dorothy Perkins: £15.00, 2. Miso Core Bandeau Dress - Republic: £20.00, 3. Green Chelsea Girl Circle Crochet Dress - River Island: £25.00, 4. Dress - H&M: £14.99, 5. Ginetta Bodycon Dress in Jade and Black Lace - Motel Rocks: £42.00, 6. Amanda Sleeveless Playsuit in Green - Motel Rocks: £48.00, 7. Leona Ladder Back Dress in Black and Green New Check - Motel Rocks: £38.00, 8. TFNC Bandeau Sweetheart Sequin Dress - ASOS: £50.00

While in Britain, green is considered unlucky, there's one night a year you can dust that superstition aside and go green. Yes, it's that time of year again where we embrace all things Irish, which for the men will probably mean a few pints of Guinness and for the ladies means locating the perfect LGD (little green dress). 

So here's my picks for St. Paddy's. How will you guys be celebrating? 

Wednesday Want: Gameboy Iphone Case

Ebay - Various prices

It's not too long since I did my last 'Wednesday Want Iphone' post, but hey, I guess I get bored! On my many trips to London, I spotted dozens of people sporting this vintage IPhone case. Back in the day, I was a big Gameboy fan (that's my inner nerd coming out) - I had the lime green one and the Rugrats game was my all-time favourite. I took it everywhere with me so this old-school case is a nostalgic reminder for me. Whilst it's not green, I quite fancy getting it for my Iphone, especially as it's rare that I find 3gs cases since my phone is an old model now. So I better snap it up quick!

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