Outfit of the Day - Valentines and Ballrooms

On Valentines weekend me and Edd whizzed up to Blackpool to perform at the beautiful ballroom underneath Blackpool Tower, the show wasn't until the next day but we travelled up north a day early to do tech runs, and  spend a lovely night in Blackpool together before the show, celebrating Valentines day itself in our hotel, drinking wine, laughing, and ignoring the soppy valentines couples everywhere.

The venue was beautiful, and absolutely huge too but it was great to get to perform there. 
It had a lot of space to perform in, as we were on the ballroom floor due to the band taking over the stage!

Here's a cheeky Selfie I took while backstage at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom too, great mirrors backstage, plus it looks like I was matching my Iconemesis Fifi case on purpose!!
I packed a new and romantic (well, in my mind anyway) outfit, with this beautiful black lace skirt and mouse eared hat from River Island, and the sequinned top, chosen by Edd, and shoes from Zara.

 I then whizzed off for my own show, The Martini Lounge in Liverpool, and due to my capsule wardrobe I was in fact wearing the same outfit....separate cities so it's okay!
St Georges Hall is also a very beautiful venue that I have loved this concert room for years and years, and plan to marry there.
Edd returned back to London so I had some time to see family and friends for a while and take a much needed London break!

 Thanks to InaGlo for taking these photos while at the venue, her photography is amazing, and I love working with Glo on location, or in studio but we do spend an awful lot of the time gossiping!
 I'm so lucky to have so many wonderful talented friends.

Now it's time to tell you all a little story! At the end of my shows, I always have a curtain call where the performers come out one by one and take a bow, luckily this time I had decided to throw on a dress rather than run back onstage wearing only a G-String, Pasties, and Heels! 
As I'm always announced last I knew I would have time to throw it on, and take to the stage to do my final bow with plenty of time. On I went waving and smiling at the audience.
 Strangely the audience started to scream, and someone grabbed my by the arm.

I turned around and Edd had appeared onstage, I thought he was doing a show in another city and wasn't expecting to see him so I was pretty surprised.
He took my hand and went onto bended knee while the audience's cheering and screaming rose to an almost deafening level.

The performers, who are also good friends of mine, were all in tears and my dad and friend Becky had also taken onto the stage with phones at the ready.
I said yes, of course I said yes, he is the love of my life!

As we embraced and he put the ring on my finger the screams and cheers continued, Edd scooped me up and ran us offstage while the audience went wild.
My family were in on the planning, as were a few of my friends. It's also lovely as it's the venue we wanted to marry in, we come full circle from the engagement to the big day.
Thanks to those at the Hall for helping them to sneak in this surprise!
So now we have a lot of planning to get through, and had so many many lovely messages and were surrounded by so many good friends and family, and luckily Glo was still there to capture these moments!
For those wondering, this dress is from Coast, and the shoes are Vivienne Westwood.
I'd also had a hair cut the day before this show, and yes I miss my lovely long locks.

So now expect plenty of Wedding updates, blog posts, and more till the Big Day!

Zara Top - £12.99 in sale
River Island Hat - £3.00 in Sale
River Island Skirt - £39.99 
Lime Crime Lipstick - $20.00
Zara Shoes - £29.99 in Sale

Conditioner Reviews - Loreal, Soap and Glory, and Coconut

As someone who puts their hair through the worst on a regular basis, dye, heated styling, backcombing, and leaving visits to the hairdressers for long intervals, I rely on conditioners to see me through.
I've tried many different kinds of specialist ones, ones for Red hair, volumising, repairing, etc etc and my hair still seems flat, split, and my roots will always need redoing anyway.
So I began a quest to see if any new remedies out there would be my hair saviour.

I'd read that across the pond the latest hair miracle was Sulphate Free haircare, as sulphates may actually strip your hair colouring and should be avoided if you dye. The first company that have released this new wonder treatment in the UK is sadly Loreal.
Loreal is widely disliked due to their testing standards, and also for telling women they are only worth something when their products are smeared on them (does it seem like that to anyone else?!)

I begrudgingly bought them as I wanted to test this theory, but I still disagree with their practices and they should really get into the modern day.
Also I found not only are they an awful company, but this product doesn't even work.
The first time I used it I thought maybe I hadn't washed the conditioner out properly as my hair felt that horrible filmy greasiness when you've left a little behind, I wasn't impressed but thought I'd try it again and make sure to wash it out thoroughly.
When it came to it I was stood under the shower head for quite a while as when I ran my hand over my wet hair it still felt like there was a film on it and it didn't seem to ever wash out.
Pros: It smells quite nice, it was on offer
Cons: Greasy film affect, didn't make much difference to hair, it's made by Loreal.

Everyone loves Soap & Glory, and I'm no different. Huge bonus, they are cruelty free! Take that Loreal, but they are a now very established and well loved brand. Every woman I know who's bathroom I have been in has had Soap & Glory products.
When I posted that I bought this conditioner I was asked my opinion on it, and I'm glad to say it's a pretty good one! My hair smelt lovely, it felt soft, and it rinsed out easily. I bought a small travel bottle as I quite like that you can get smaller sized bottles of Soap & Glory products to test out before committing to a larger sized product, they know just how fickle I can be.
As it was a small bottle I'm not sure I'll have enough for a second try, as my hair is quite long and this conditioner soaked in very quickly.
Pros: Great smell, great company, great product, my hair felt so silky and soft.
Cons: I used it up very quickly, and now I have to go back to Boots.

Now I'm well aware that this is a cooking product, a damn expensive one too at £8.00 a jar, but many people have told me and I have read all about the wonders of using coconut butter or oil for various things. It's a healthier cooking oil, a spoonful in a smoothie is great for your immune system, it can be used as a make up remover, cleanser, moisturizer, to get rid of spots and scars, coldsores, stretch marks, many more things but it was the dandruff removing element plus the hair conditioning elements that lead to me raiding the cupboard when my other half (the ever mentioned Edd) started to get a bit of a "flake on" and I suggested he tried it.
I popped some into a bowl and microwaved for 30 seconds so it was more of an oil, and massaged it into his scalp. He very much appreciated a soothing head massage and as there was plenty left I covered his hair too.
About 15 minutes later he rinsed it out, and his hair was suddenly really soft. In fact, it has been soft ever since so I decided to try it out for myself.
It felt rather odd rubbing this butter to melt it in my hands then run it through my hair, I wasn't sure exactly how much to put on and the feeling of making my hair greasy and oily was an odd one!
I kept it on for about 20 or so minutes, then washed it out using a regular tres semme shampoo.
It seemed strange to condition then shampoo and I did consider putting a tiny bit on but decided that wouldn't be fair as reviews go so I went with it and hoped for the best.
My hair dried quickly and easily, and was very very fluffy! It smelt great, it was shiny, it was very very soft but oddest of all? My hair for the first time ever looked thick, full, and luscious. The colour, which is dyed, looked great and Edd claimed it's the best he's ever seen it after washing.
I think we are both now converts but maybe only once a week to keep it nice and full, and avoid over greasing and getting the opposite affect.
It may seem weird, but it's really worth a go.

Introducing Etsys hottest new shop, Meraki Handmade Jewellery

Instagram seems to be the secret alley of a small village you sometimes stumble across, the one with the charming old bookstore, the quirky vintage shop full of fur with faces and beautiful brooches, the artsy shop that has hidden treasures, sometimes the upmarket but hidden lingerie store that will take your breath away with luxury corsets.
I'm forever finding up and coming independent boutiques, companies, or sole trading businesses with hard working and lovely people at the helm.
One such business is a one woman company, called Meraki Handmade, whose photos of delicate whispers of gold adorning mannequin necks caught my eye.
Usually I stear towards large plastic statement pieces that probably scream "I'm not ready to grow up just yet" more than fashionista effortless took three hours style, but these chic lines and shapes of barely there but eye catching jewellery scream with fashionable city girl who has her finger on the pulse, because she set those trends anyway.

I just had to have this necklace, as with the changes going on in my life lately it seemed to be very fitting and made me smile secretly to myself, and when a deal popped up on my instagram with a discount code I finally had my excuse to buy..."It was on special offer, dear!"
Selling mainly on etsy, you can see her designs on her Instagram under Merakihandmade, and also the occasional special offer, exclusive pieces or giveaways.

After ordering I ended up talking via email to Joanna who was really pleasant, lovely and easy to talk to, more like emails to a friend than the usual cold emails from companies, or standard template emails. She even tagged photo's on Instagram with my order and updated me with when it was sent.
I wish all customer service was this way, I'm so used to standing awkwardly while the till girls in Topshop carry on gossiping and not knowing when they are talking to me yet queuing eye rolls when I hold up my credit card at what I hope is the right point.

It always takes a while for a package to arrive from America, but still everyday I hoped and when it finally did come, right before Valentines Day, it was worth the wait.
Opening the Package revealed a lovely and personally written thank you note, which mentioned things we had previously talked about, so made it even more personal.
 Joanna also has lovely handwriting so I was a little jealous what with my chicken scratchings!

The necklace was boxed and tucked inside a small brown bag embellished with a printed bow, and tied with an actual ribbon in hot pink. Inside the matching brown box with another cute little message stamped on top held the necklace my heart had so desired. 
Every layer and item made getting to the necklace a little more exciting.

I chose this limited edition Eve necklace, as I thought it to be quite sweet and romantic but in an unorthodox way, I don't usually do things the usual way so it screamed perfect to me.
There is such a large choice available and I love the fact that they are individually handmade rather than mass produced items that are being churned out to meet demands.
There is at least four or five more necklaces from this current range that I want, and may also ask if some of the cute pearl bracelets can be made in super tiny wrist size as I'm actually a little sad I can't wear bracelets!

The range also includes tiny triangles that you can customize with as many letters and triangles as you want in different metals, the resulting affect looks like tiny neck bunting and have a brilliantly quirky yet elegant affect. I may get one with a H for me and an E for Edd but with an ampersand in the middle so it doesn't just say "HE"! After this necklace I think they are my favourite.

Photo by InaGlo
I'm very glad I found this company and connected with Joanna, even if this is my only order (and we all totally know it won't be) I am really happy with not only the item, but the service, attention to detail and the fact that receiving this necklace filled me with the joy that every special little purchase should bring.

BAFTAs - Tip or Fire the Stylist?

Its well and truly awards season. With the Grammys out of the way, and the Oscars to look forward to, the middle is a truly British affair with Hollywood stars feeling the full force joy of a British storm.
Quite glad to have been far far away from London and the influx of paparazzi, screaming tourists, and the occasional hungover sore loser celebrity crawling over the floor of a Starbucks looking for a triple shot espresso come Monday morning. 
While we can never afford the outfits adorning the bodies of those strutting the red carpets, in fact one may have cost more than my whole wardrobe, we can dissect their choices, or should that be the stylists choices, while we play Tip or Fire the Stylist - BAFTA edition!

First up is this dreamy green number worn by Lupita Nyong and designed by Christian Dior. The striking shade compliments her skin tone beautifully, and the simple gold accessories are both subtle and eye catching. This stylist deserves more green for this green.

Power couple who work solely on bone structure alone, Jolie and Pitt (Jopitt?! Polie!?) must have been so embarrassed when the other turned up in the same outfit, how embarrassing when two people are wearing the same thing, but your own partner?! Oh god, the worst. 
Angelina goes for Yves Saint Laurent while Brad opts for Valentino. 
Maybe just get their stylists to swap numbers before next time....?

I actually fell in love with this dress a little, simply because when Amy Adams took to the stage to present an award, I saw the full back zipper that zips from the floor upwards and immediately it hit me. 
"It's a fancy gown, but you can totally go pee when wearing it!" Why don't more over the top gowns come with this as an option!?! 
I was surprised to learn it was designed by Victoria Beckham, but I guess she has worn a lot of stupidly restrictive "strap that colostomy bag to your thigh" awards dresses. 

Cate-constant-smug face-Blanchett steps out in a number by Alexander McQueen, and I see that the Vagina Highlighting fashion started by Beyoncé at the Grammys has continued on with this clear but not see through framing of where the ovaries sit, I kinda wish it had the lines and names on the diagram. I think her stylist either was having a cheeky joke, or thought it was an area worth highlighting for us all to finally notice. We all have that one asset we like to show off, for me it's my legs, for some it's their boobs, but I guess ovaries can be one too..?

I would give my left testicle for this dress, they only ever get in the way anyway.
 This green column worn by Michelle Rodriguez has amazing details added in leather. But sadly the necklace ruins the neckline, and the hair should be up to show off the best past of this outfit, the details. Keep stylist, have words with hairdresser, and remember even if the necklace was free, it doesn't mean you have to wear it. 

You know when you wear a sequinned number, and loads of things get wrapped up in the sequins? Stray hairs, fluff, fringing if you're wearing the two, and seemingly here, dust bunnies? Soggy empty loo roll cardboard? I would love to take some scissors to those greige flower details, and it would make only a mild improvement. Get rid of your stylist Juliet Stevenson, and shame on you, designer Jaquez Azagury. 

This is how to wear silver, this silver tux with red detail, perfectly accented by the red detail in the shoes  is stunningly flattering, while being completely covered up, which is the right choice given recent weather here. 
This is Ruth Wilson (yeah, I don't know either) wearing Antonio Beradi.
This stylist deserves to look as smug as Cate Blanchett always does. 

There were more worse outfits this year than good, so here's my collection of the worst outfits before the best and worst final looks, all with their own one liner, oh I mean description....

Grecian maternity chic, now in bland.

This looks like the duvet cover I threw out last week, Gillian Anderson's been at my bins.

Not everyone can pull off 60's last minute maternity wedding dress, and I'm yet to see it done. 
Get to Gretna green before your waters break.

How to look really really awkward in two easy steps. 1. Wear this 2. Be obviously uncomfortable.

I don't think I even need to say anything here. 

And now back to it....!

Clashing colours with the carpet like a rebel! Naomi Harris wearing a plunging neck hot pink number designed by Gucci, showing off all her best assets in a revealingly dignified way. Of course you always accessorise hot pink with black accessories, but sometimes going by numbers is the best bet.
Well done stylist, clichĂ©d statement about being tickled pink. 

What the what? lily Allen steps out in a number by Vivienne Westwood who really faltered here when it came to clashing colours, the dress clashes with the dress, the clutch is a completely different shade of red, and the hair piece makes her look like an extra from Fraggle Rock. 
Sometimes I dress like this too, when the post as knocks and I run to the door wrapped in only a bed sheet. "Is that a Westwood?" He asks, I lie "yes" glad he thinks I'm dressed by noon....

Special mentions have to go to Emma Thompson, as she seems the only guest smart enough to have worn one of those things we refer to as a coat... I wouldn't be surprised if she got there via the tube, she seems down to earth enough that I would easily believe there's an oyster card in this coat pocket.

Also because she went for daft pout while posing with model Laura Bailey, props Thompson, props.

Now there's only the Oscars to go, but first I have to give my thanks to those for helping make this post possible.
 I'd like to thank my eight fingers, they make a great team. The partnership of My Two Thumbs, the TV for being on the right channel at the right time, my iPad for taking the brunt of my prodding and poking..... and most of all my brain for putting together words in sentences I hope made sense...
*Pause for Applause*

What's inside my handbag?

We are by nature rather nosy creatures. We must open boxes, find out if anything is inside the cupboards at Ikea, and poke our noses into whatever we think we can possibly get away with.
So bearing all of this in mind, I now invite you to a very personal peek, a peek inside my handbag!

I tend to use the same bags, my Blue Dune handbag if I don't have to carry around a huge amount of things but still have my iPad, notebook, something to read and the usual essentials which easily fit inside.
But as I'm sometimes on the go for a long time, I'll need a lot of stuff which my Brown Zara bag is perfect for as I'll usually carry around quite a lot.

And so here are my cannot live without carry almost at all times essentials -

Everyone asks why my handbag is so big, I carry around so much stuff on a daily basis as I'm always running around, working on shows, having meetings, traveling, or working on this blog!
 I couldn't live without my iPad and iPhone, I'm pretty much always on them when at home as there's so much to update constantly, but also finding new companies, planning new things, reading interesting articles, or even comic books. They can do nearly everything, here you can see it's open on an app I recently discovered and now completely love called Pocket which you can download onto your web browser and download the app to your iPad, or tablet.
Whichever article or website of interest you find but don't have time to read, you can mark it to read later using the Pocket button and it'll download onto your iPad or tablet, you can even read those articles while the tablet isn't connected to the internet.
I've saved so much onto there that it is going to take me a long time to read through them all!
I also take my Instax everywhere just in case, and always carry spare film. With all the film options available I couldn't resist this Pandora film, with quirky doodles around the frames.

 I'm not as organised as I would like to be, I constantly have to check my ipad diary to see where I'm meant to be and if I've forgotten anything, but this paper diary from Laduree was just a must. It has lovely tips, recipes, and beautiful illustrations, and also spaces for your daily info, addresses, even your online log ins and passwords in case you ever forget!
I also carry a lined notebook for noting out ideas for new blogposts, list making, and whatever else needs to be scrawled down, which I bought from Paperchase, the blue notebook is plain papered so I can doodle to my hearts content, and the cover design is great inspiration for that! It's by Rob Ryan and seems to be available in many stores online.
I always carry a paperback with me wherever I go and whatever I do, because you never know when you'll get a stolen moment to read. Currently I'm reading through the works of David Sedaris and I recommend his work highly.

 I don't always carry my make up bag if I can avoid it, preferring to put my day's lipstick in the front pocket with my keys and oyster card, but when I do I take this cute little bag. You can see the contents of my make up bag in this previous post.
The other bag contains little essentials that usually rattle loosely in the bottom of your handbag, Lip balm, cough sweets, paracetamol, and the like live in this bunny bag from Ollie & Nic so it can easily be found. They release these bags with different patterns on every season, currently it's poodles. 
I've also slipped my other Iconemesis phone cases into there as I'm away from home for over a week and I'll expect I'll be changing phone cases to match outfits!

I'm away for a while performing and organising shows for a week, but I went away with my boyfriend and planned to sneak these on before we get to our hotel as he'll notice if I put them on in the morning.
I don't tend to carry around expensive designer lingerie in my handbag! This is a previous season set called Mercy by Agent Provocatuer.

Of course there's the ever present essentials, Passport, Oyster Card, Purse which is also Ollie & Nic.
As I'm British, an Umbrella, as I'm optimistic, Sunglasses from Quay Australia available on Asos, as I travel a lot I invested in a proper padded sleep mask which has padding around the eyes rather than over them so your eyes don't get squished or your make up ruined.
I also carry an emergency purse with hairclips and hair ties in just in case of hair emergencies!

 And of course since it took all the photo's it wasn't in any other shot, but my Fujifilm Camera which I use for all the photo's on this blog! It's a very over worked little camera and it travels with me almost everywhere!

So now when you see me carrying my giant handbag, you'll understand exactly why it's just so damn big! Just call me Mary Poppins!

Iconemesis - Brand Review and Giveaway

With the help of Instagram I have recently stumbled across a new exciting range of independent companies that I am excited to share and also to buy copious amounts from.
One such company was Iconemesis who have such a large and interesting range of phone covers, but also currently have a sale! The two combined meant I went a little crazy as the choice was so vast I couldn't decide on just one.
I've also had some amusing chats with them via Twitter about not only their cases, but bathtime pizza, and bathing in beer vats so this also gives them another big thumbs up from me, five thumbs up..!

Iconemesis launched in 2011 and is a British based company, primarily producing phone case ranges working alongside British artists, illustrators, and designers to bring a range of quirky and unique while still being fashionable and covetable, and of course, affordable.
Some of their current collections include work with well known artists such as Gemma Correll of pugs not drugs fame, and my new favourite and favourite of the fashion world, Fifi Lapin.
If you want a phone case that sets you apart from the rest, supports artists, and is also high quality then look no further.

And so onto the cases! I went for a range (yes, a range, and I still want more) of the iPhone 4s cases by Fifi Lapin which are priced at only £15 each, throw in free shipping and I was there! There's also cases for iPhone 5 and 5S for those who have upgraded.

Cherry hat?! Cupcake body?! Rabbit...?! I couldn't resist this pastel dream of a case, and if you can't either you can buy it HERE! 

 This was first into my basket, a darling array of bunny ladies in various outfits and accessories, it had to be one of the options! You can select this one yourself HERE!

This looks like the perfect little bunny fashionista, and when I put the cases up for a vote (I really couldn't choose) this one came out on top. It's the first one to slip itself onto my phone, so well done all of you, you made the right choice! 
A few other people bought cases based on my voting post, and I'll make it easier for you to get this one HERE! 

Inside the case
Button Holes on the side of the Case
What they look like on, black iPhone left, white iPhone right
 As well as receiving these phone cases (which I did pay for, this is not a sponsored post)  Iconemesis were kind enough to send an extra iPhone 4 case so I could have a lovely give away.
Yes, you can win this case!

All you need to do is the following -
  • Follow this blog with blogger or Bloglovin!
  • Share this blogpost on facebook or twitter!
That's it! The best reason, picked by me and probably Edd will be selected by next Friday and the winner will be contacted and named on next weekends blogpost.

 If you are not based in the UK, don't fear!! There is also a USA branch who can shop with and contact on their separate Twitter account.
Good luck to those who enter, and to those who went straight to the shop, enjoy your new cases.
I may have to go back for more....

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