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Wednesday, 22 February 2017
Pictured Stockport Market, Photo credit: Sam Holden

There is definitely something in turning 25 this year that has made me realise that I want to buy clothing that will last. For the past 8 or so years I have been a Primark
fiend, and more recently an ASOS A-Lister, but this year I have felt the need to invest my money a little more wisely. 

Don't get me wrong, I think you can get some great on-trend bargains from the likes of the above which I am sure I will still buy, but I have reached a stage where I don't want to be wearing most of my clothes only once. I want my clothes to last me through the season and not having to throw something away. 

As a student I have a limited budget to spend on clothes, so making sure I know how much I'm spending each month is the first place I have started with this. Having a set budget helps me to better consolidate what I have.

I have decided that I want to buy a few new and good quality classic items, as pictured above I have a Zara trench which is incredibly good quality. In fact, my dry cleaner asked me how much I paid for it - he was so impressed! I also bought the faux leather pencil skirt from Karen Millen in the sale, they currently have the same skirt in a slightly different shade of brown full price at £100, I paid £60 which I think is a steal!

Some of my favourite retailers include Karen Millen, Whistles and Reiss, so I will be definitely checking them out and adding a few pieces to my wardrobe in the coming months. There is definitely something rewarding about buying something that you have saved for, or that you will look after because of the quality and price tag.

I don't think I will be completely ditching my trusty favourites such as ASOS and Topshop,  especially when looking for on trend items however, I have decided that building a capsule wardrobe is a lot better investment than lots of cheaper, low-quality pieces. I think the real key here is shopping with a good 'eye', so establishing where you can get the quality you are looking for i.e. your favourite outerwear retailer - e.g. Cos or Jaeger and buying a coat that will last you.


Calculating cost per wear is another great tip I got from a personal stylist at John Lewis, so if you are paying around the £200 mark for a coat, try and estimate the amount of times you will wear it, if it's over 20 times (so four times a week for just over a month) then that's £1 per wear! It really does make a lot more sense than trying to squeeze extra wear out of something that is getting holes in it from Primark...

Consolidate your fashion decision making and how you search and shop for fashion, by thinking about which channel you use first. Do you look on your favourite retailer apps, browsing online first to get an idea of pricing and what's available? Or do you hit the shops straight away? By using the internet to shop around, even websites like eBay can really save you money. Additionally, by stopping yourself from impulse buying you can also really consider if you need that piece. 

Finally, get a personal stylist appointment. Retailer's such as John Lewis, Topshop, Selfridges and House of Fraser all offer these by appointment for free. So it's an incredibly good way to have someone with a trained eye consider what would look good on you. A good stylist should take into consideration what you like to wear and also offer you a few new pieces that might inspire you. Colour and body shape analysis are also a must. 

I hope this article inspires you to invest more wisely, if you aren't already. Let me know what investment pieces you own or are saving for :)


Friday, 27 January 2017

Photo credit: Sam Holden 
Dress - Topshop
Gilet - Oasis
Lipstick - Very Victoria - Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution
Bracelet - Not on the High

Starting a blog was something that I wanted to do for about 2 years before I actually set this blog up. It was definitely a lack of confidence, the fear of putting myself out into the public eye and sharing my thoughts openly. It has been such a great journey from starting it, and despite having a busy life whilst studying my Ph.D. I don't regret adding a blog post to my to-do list. The internet is fascinating to me and the fact that we have the ability to express our opinions, set up groups, events, start petitions and just discuss what we are passionate about, shows what a massive effect the 'social web' as it is known, has on our lives.

As part of the computer generation, using the internet for the above reasons is second nature to me, but I also feel there is a great place for blogging in the lives of those who aren't as adept. I have a lot of friends and family who I actively encourage to channel their passions online through an Etsy store, blog or Youtube channel. Indeed, blogging and vlogging (Youtube videos) is even becoming a big thing with the male generation which I think is a necessary extension of the proliferation of beauty and fashion blogs amongst women. 

So here stands the obvious question; why start a blog? Here's some of my reasons which are more specifically related to fashion, but I think anyone with a passion whether it's travel, baking, sewing, art, photography have ideal reasons to start a blog.


I recall having a conversation with a representative from Arcadia, the company that houses Topshop, Miss Selfridge, Dorothy Perkins etc, and one of their first questions to me was do you have a blog? I think now more than ever, the fashion world is ferociously competitive, and one way you can express your individually, thought, experiences and knowledge through a blog. If you are looking for a career in the fashion industry, a blog can set you up with so much unique knowledge in itself. My blog has boosted my CV, giving me something I can show to demonstrate my style and creativity. Additionally, you show you have your finger on the pulse, a benefit which goes without saying in a competitive job market. Jobs in fashion and beauty now often require candidates to have a blog, so that's all the more reason to start one. 

Learning something new

You immediately learn the basics about a website. One of my favourite modules at University was Fashion e-Commerce, where I learnt these buzzwords such as SEO and Google Analytics, but it wasn't until I started my blog that I could really see the benefit of such things and their use in marketing. Okay, it doesn't have to be complicated, but even things like how your blog is laid out takes great commitment to learn something new, how to add a graphic, widget or edit your name are all invaluable to learning about the web. gives you a breakdown of your views on each post, you can also pinpoint which device people have used, where the majority of your viewers are from and when you reached the most hits. This is all really interesting to learning how to ace the art of blogging, to target your audience and create the most engagement. If you find you are really passionate about the engine behind your blog/website, you might want to consider learning how to code to understanding how basic HTML coding works. Believe me, it isn't as geeky as it could then create your own bespoke blog design. 

Create your own 'brand'

A good starting point is to pin-point your favourite bloggers, consider why you like them, what is it about their page/style/colour scheme/use of social media/tone of voice/advice they give and then hone in on what you feel you could emulate or achieve through your blog. A great place to find inspiration is through BlogLovin' a site that any blogger can sign up to and use on their blog to gain exposure across their industry. Thinking of a blog as your own 'branding' can really inspire you to think about how you want to portray yourself across your blog. If you are familiar with blogging, you will know that blogs don't often exist in isolation, so you may want to open new twitter, Instagram and snapchat pages specifally for your blog. 

Once you know what you want your image to be, you can start looking for a template design to use as your basic background and logo. If you have photoshop or InDesign skills then even better. I subscribed to a student membership of Adobe Creative Cloud, which includes Photoshop. Luckily I gained skills in how to use these programs at University, but there are plenty of Youtube tutorials, investing in design and editing software will never be a waste. 

Discover new apps 

There are some excellent non-professional apps out there if you don't want to pay for photoshop, including VSCO. One of my favourite apps I use for Instagram is UNUM, which allows you to see how your Instagram photos look together, to check the colour scheme. If you wondered how the professionals make their pages look so beautifully curated...this is how. Long gone are the days of unmatching sporadic images, unfortunately, consumers of aesthetic apps such as Pinterest and Instagram want to see the appealing side of everything. This can be quite draining, but it will ensure you gain a loyal following if you deliver content regularly and on time. 

Truly understand engagement

Followers are ever-more-fickle, and with social media channels changing their algorithms to the posts that are most popular, rather than time-based, means that the arena for blogging has become more competitive. The golden word is engagement, so not just scrolling through your feed but actually liking a post, commenting and sharing. All these things drive social media engagement, both for your channels and for others. Without commenting and sharing you won't stand a chance growing your own page.

After making my first few posts I've really learnt a lot, and I don't proclaim to have millions of hits or the best blog out there, I just hope my advice could help something, who like me a few years ago, was afraid to take the leap :)


Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Photo credit: Samuel Holden
During what is dubbed the most depressing month of the year, when we all are feeling the pinch, experiencing the brunt of the seasonal blues and attempting to keep resolutions...never has watching the bank balance been more crucial.

I'm as much as any, an advocate of looking good for less, in fact I pride myself on shopping on a student budget, but I don't like to compromise on style.

This post outlines my favourite winter pieces which have carried me through this winter season.

1. Velvet Satchel with Ring Detail

This style of handbag has stormed the high street since Chloe unveiled their Faye Satchel (£1500) in 2015. Ring detailing is definitely here to stay remaining a firm favourite and having been a big style detail across accessories and shoes through AW16.

I grabbed mine in the New Years sale at M&S...Unfortuntely this one is now sold out but you can get similar here for under £30.

2. Faux Fur

I have always loved faux fur, it's incredibly classy, can be worn with almost anything, and immediately makes you feel incredibly glamourous. I love to wrap up in this gilet, whether I am walking the dog or out for drinks, it's a perfect piece for any occasion, £55 from Oasis. Available in powder pink (I am purchasing this) black or burgundy as pictured.

3. Berry Lips

Bold, berry coloured lips are such a key winter trend. Perfect for elevating more simple outfits, or transitioning from day to night. Wear it with confidence!
For fairer tones: opt for a more purple colour
For warmer toned skin: keep it warm with more cherry reds

I'm wearing Cherry Skies - NYX
Other favourites:

3. Ruffles & Frills

Ruffles are a firm favourite for SS17, as seen on catwalks of the likes of Alexander McQueen, Loewe and Gucci and now in Zara, Primark and Topshop. Invest now in some key statement frills and ruffle pieces to ensure a great investment for the coming season. Big, bold, frilled knitwear is definitely the way I'm headed to stay on trend, warm and cosy! 

4. Knee high suede boots

 A blogger essential! If you can't afford the iconic Stuart Weitzman boots for £800, get yourself a high-street version. Don't forget to check the sales too, there are often some great finds on Office or ASOS.

What is your favourite staple?


Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The key to a good capsule wardrobe is something of an art. You have to be very selective about what you buy. Searching for alternatives are essential, and be prepared to pay a little more for quality so it will see you through the winter. I've picked some of my current favourites that haven't broken the bank, and are interchangeable with last year's winter wardrobe. 

You can't go wrong with a pair of leather (or pleather in my case) for the winter. They are perfect paired with a crisp white shirt for the working week or dressed up with a black velvet body and a pair of heels for a night out. The thing I love about these is that they are at a flattering ankle-biter length, which means they can be paired with a flat loafer, mule or add a heel and they still look incredibly classy. Whether you can afford leather or not, they evoke city-chic and ooze sexiness whilst not being too OTT. 

I have a few bobble hats in my collection now, but since going blonder in the late summer, I spied this sandy coloured knit and fell in love. I adore the fluffy bobble and like the way it compliments a blonder hair tone. It has a more relaxed fit than the Burgundy and Charcoal hats I have from last year, so it's great dressed up or down for that matter. You can't go wrong with a bobble hat!

Trousers - ASOS £32
Blouse - Zara £25.99
Candle - John Lewis £9
Bobble Hat - Zara £9.99
NYX Liquid Suede - Cherry Skies - £6.50

This Zara blouse encapsulates two AW16 trends, dusty pink and ruffles. The smock across the front and ruffled neck gives a Victoriana feel, which some people may find ageing, but personally I like experimenting with different looks from different eras, and I like to style my hair and makeup accordingly. This blouse is incredibly classy, elegant and high fashion. I like to wear it paired with a head of soft, tousled curls and a natural lip. Dainty touches such as the burgundy ribbon juxtapose the sexier, leather-look trousers above. 

I love this corduroy dress, in fact I love wearing corduroy. I think the feel of it reminds me of something I owned as a child! This pinafore is perfect for an autumnal evening, worn with thick tights, stood by a bonfire sipping mulled wine, with a dark mysterious lip colour...It's figuring hugging silhouette is flattering when worn under a large trench or camel coat. I enjoy wearing it with a black or grey polo neck underneck for extra warmth. Sometimes I even throw on my wellies and Barbour after a long day and go for a dog walk in it!

Nyx lip products are becoming a cult nowadays, and I know I am relatively late to the bandwagon. However, they still deserve a mention. Stumbling across Nyx in Selfridges I knew they must be worth a swatch...I was on the hunt for a dark, berry toned lip product as it's that time of the year to update my lip colour collection. I came across this deep cherry colour, which completely caught my eye, even after swatching the majority of the reds in the collection. It applies beuatifully and has a long lasting finish, there are only a few downsides 1. being that it dries to abotu 80% and leaves some tackiness. 2. it fades to a bluey-pink tone, more hot pink than deep red, so just be wary if you don't reapply. Other than that, this is a fabulous low-end affordable product which is bound to see me through the winter. 

I adore it when I find a few pieces that are match really well, I know I will get lots of wear out of them whilst staying right on trend, so I hope this inspires your own autumnal purchases. 


Tuesday, 11 October 2016
Amidst such a busy time of the academic year, I have found, winding down ever more important this semester. I find it difficult to switch off from work, even when lying in bed! This post also falls a day after Mental Health Awareness day, so I felt it was a fitting opportunity to write. I've compiled a list of my favourite ways I use to wind down, which you may have used too. 

Photo credit: Sam Holden
1. Take a bath

There is nothing more soothing than taking a bath at the end of a long day. The task of literally cleansing the day away is a really great way to ensuring your body and mind are in the right place to winding down. I often find that I need to focus on something rather than lie there worrying about all the things I should've done, so for me I find an inspirational Ted Talks and get my daily dose of heartwarming motivation. 

2. Meditate

You could also listen to a meditation YouTube video. These are excellent for completely switching off. Mindfulness is proven to relax and de-stress you, allowing you to appreciate your body, senses and thoughts in the moment. One of my favourite channels for this is The Honest Guys. Once I have my noise cancelling head-phones in, I'm away. 

3. Have a black-out hour

I have to put my hands up and say this is something that I struggle with, my closest family and friends know that I am surgically attached to my iphone! If you think you can do even just one hour, aim to switch off all devices, including the TV. Read a book, take a walk, draw, colour, anything that doesn't involve the horrible emission of blue light, that we are attached to. Also on another great positive, this reduces the effect of wrinkles in your neck (from looking down at the screen!)

4. Exercise

Even a gentle walk can get your endorphins going which make you feel naturally happier and more positive. If a full blown work-out is for you, I love following it with a long jacuzzi, sauna and steam. It really relaxes my muscles and prevents any build-up of lactic acid after running.

If you can do even one of these a day, you will notice the benefits. The trick is to not putting the pressure on yourself to make big changes, small steps can go a long way in making you feel a lot happier. 

Sophie x


Thursday, 22 September 2016
The beauty market is full of so many products; new launches, classics, top end to budget...there is just so much to choose from. It is indeed a very saturated place and it can be very confusing when you want to create a natural look but get good value for money. I admit to being a fairly cautious person when it comes to new products as I do have my favourites, and I know how valuable a good blogger review can be. I do understand that paying a little more for your makeup can really be worth it, not just in usability but the finish can be a lot more effective and professional than budget products. 

 So I thought I would write a simple list of six of my 'desert island' cult products, the ones that I cannot live without, that I use day in day out, that take me from work to evening date, which acheive that beautiful model off duty look, which I love the most. 

This is an absolute winner for me, the consistency is perfect for acheiving a dewy look whilst not getting too shiny. It is best used with a primer to ensure that you get an even coverage. I apply it using the real techniques buffing brush (linked to a starter kit) which allows you to really work the product into your skin to get it looking flawless...'my skin but better'. As with most YSL makeup, you can tell by the texture that it is packed with all the best skin products -tightening, moisturising and brightening to compliment the lovely even coverage. It has a light to medium coverage which is buildable, and the available shades are the perfect balance between adding colour to your skin whilst not being yellowy. 

If you are thinking of buying this product, I'd recommend getting a consultation to match with your skin colour. I find with YSL foundations they just sink into the skin, so this can be a matter of seconds. It's an essential step to getting that perfected look, and it really does help to make you look polished. There's nothing worse than a bright orange tide line! 

A classic, award winning product, I see this as the touche de teint's best friend, they just work perfectly together. Best used after foundation application on the dark circles around the eyes, down the edges of the mouth, above the eyebrows, on the cheek and brow bones. This has light reflecting particles which instantly gives you that look of having had a great night's sleep! You can really notice this in photographs, it feels as though you are using a professional product. It's a clear winner for me, because as soon as I run out, I know I have to buy another. Nothing compares to touche eclat, and I couldn't recommend it more. 

I'd recommend getting one shade lighter than your foundation, as this gives the illusion of youth, health and energy! 

This bronzer is a cult classic again, it's perfect for contouring and bronzing all year round as it is completely matte. It is a good mix of ashy and warm, which is why it is so versatile. There is only one shade of hoola but it works perfectly even when I am at my most fair. It's incredibly pigmented, it can last me around 8 months!

The one pitfall of hoola is the packaging, despite coming with the perfect mini brush for contouring, the packaging is cardboard which tends to get a bit dog-eared in my makeup bag after a while. It also catches all the excess product and ends up looking a little dirty. However this doesn't detract from how great an all rounder this is. 

I had been previously lusting over the Anastasia Beverly Hills highlighting palettes, but as they are very often sold out I managed to hunt down this dupe from Sleek in superdrug. It is an absolute steal at only £12 but also gives a very professional highlight. I tend to sweep my brush across the bottom two shades, saving the top pink creme product for my brow and cheek bones. This with the YSL touche eclat are the perfect combination. The Solstice palette is so ridiculously pigmented for a high-street product, I couldn't recommend it more for those who want that pro look on a budget. 

Having stuck religiously to a MAC oldie, I recently had a brow consultation at Benefit where I was introduced to Precisely My Brow....and Oh my, was I converted. Benefit has recently invested heavily in revamping their brow range and it has trumped my expectations. It has everything I want in a brow product, a spoolie and a gentle twist pencil which has a powdery, blendable consistency. It makes getting that strong brow so acheivable and easy. I have to admit I was afraid of getting that stenciled on look, but I think this is counterbalanced by the range of colours this pencil is available in, you will most definintely get a very good match. I think there's around 15 colours. The packaging is beautiful in a sort of potion style silver wand, I really enjoy using it and with the lids on either end it's perfect for chucking in your handbag for touch-ups throughout the day. So those of you who want to embrace the brow, definitely pick up one of these. 

I know lots of bloggers use this as it is the perfect nude. There's not a lot to say about it other than that, if you need a go-to shade then this is perfect. I tend to stick to nudes or a bold red, but this is such a sophisticated colour it looks little more grown up. Any OPI product speaks for itself as being the industry leader, so the benefit of paying a little more is knowing that it won't go claggy, sticky or streaky. Definitely worth the money in my opinion. 

So there's my favourite beauty cult classics. I've written a lot more than I anticipated...! I clearly love beauty a lot!
Sophie x


Sunday, 18 September 2016
During this time of year, I find myself preparing for the new season. It's something about reliving that cathartic feeling of getting a pair of shiny new shoes for the new school term, a new uniform and the anticipation of making new friends and starting new lessons. 

Photo credit: Sam Holden
Now as an adult, I see September as the perfect opportunity for starting a-fresh. Instead of being gloomy and penniless like we all are in January, it's the tail end of summer...We still have warm, hazy days contrasted with aggressive thundery showers, whilst the fallen leaves line the kerbs and conkers are starting to grow. There are so many things I love about summer, but there's something refreshing about knowing the seasons are transitioning, that lingering hope for sunny days reduces and that autumn is coming and all the delights that it brings. 

One of these delights for me, is getting a few key pieces to update my wardrobe. This autumn I know I'm going to be living in blush pink. It's so elegant yet an understated version of the candy pinks we saw throughout the summer season . This duster coat is an absolute find from Primark, and it looks so expensive, that's the beauty of a great Primark bargain.

Another key piece is embroidered denim. These jeans were from Zara and I managed to snap up the last 8 in store, and I am so happy with them. They also encapsulate two key trends in one, embroidered and cropped denim. They are great for keeping an item bang on trend, and it's also completely easy to DIY. Whether it's jeans, a denim bag, or jacket, embroidered denim is definitely here to stay this season. Paired with a basic tee, or a smarter silky cami, this outfit is perfect for going from office to the bar. Pair with mules or loafers for an even more on trend, Gucci inspired look. 

Another great way to embrace the new season is to update your stationery. I love Paperchase! Grab a shiny new diary, matching notebook and pens and trust me you will be organised. There is nothing more motivating to me than beautiful stationery (sad, I know). Your diary should be your best friend, and more than just a place for scheduling meetings and classes, it should be a somewhere that you can record what you did, where you went and keep memories, even if it's making sure you leave time for 5 minutes of 'me time' and relaxation. 

So there's my thoughts on why I love September, and why we should embrace the new season. 

What I wore:
Coat - Primark Duster coat (available in-store size 8)

All photos shot on Canon SX280 HS

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