Instagram Fakery...

If any of you happen to follow my Instagram Account you may have noticed an increase in selfies the past few days, firstly I shall apologise for the amount of selfies posted, and secondly because I was actually doing somewhat of a social experiment on you all....!
With celebrities galore on Instagram, plus instacelebs who seem to have the perfect skin, life, surroundings etc, and also the full time bloggers who seem to share with you their lives but such perfect lives they are, and without a blemish in sight.
Can anyone look so flawlessly perfect, even with the front camera?!
Just like models on the pages of pretty much every magazine, advertisement, online store etc, photoshopping has had a key element to hiding those unsightly pores, any wrinkle of laughter line, and even in some cases, waist slimming and butt enhancing...!
I tried it out myself to see what the big fuss was about, and also to post some up to see if it made a difference, or if anyone actually noticed how flawless my skin had suddenly become overnight.

I used the FaceTune app for these photos, seemingly the most popular app for quick and easy anyone could do it photo editing.
On the app it gives you an option to see the photo before and after any edits you may have done to that point, the difference however is actually quite shocking when you can see them flitter between flawless poreless to swamp monster from the deep.
It's quick and easy to wipe away any pores, hide spots, melt away any bags and wrinkles and as it's pretty much idiot proof, it's quite hard to make a mess of making yourself look less a....well....mess.

These shots were taken at 3AM after a night of drinking and partying for a friends birthday, most of my make up had been danced off due to the various cheesy hits being played, and also I looked a bit poop cos I kinda always look a bit that way...!
Me and Edd are now too old to have 0 wrinkles, bags or smile lines, but we can recapture our youths by simply just wiping them away.

Usually I wouldn't really post a selfie like this, I wasn't feeling massively confident or dressed up but  I wondered the response to the edited photograph for what I would consider myself as a pretty boring shot.
It to this point (8 hours later) has 23 likes, not loads but more than the usual boring selfie would, the thing that surprised me tho was comments asking what foundation I use which made me wonder when I saw other peoples flawless looking skin on posts, and wondered what they use to get such a flawless look with a front camera, how many may have actually been edited and no magical foundation can really cause your skin to look this great up close.
Another comment via twitter was asking if they could have my face, as I looked beautiful (aw shucks) but yes I would also like my face to actually look this good.
The reality is on the left, laughter lines, pores, less than perfect make up and the occasional mole or blemish.

The ultimate test, I took a terrible front camera photo from an awful angle, doing something I rarely do which is fully smile in photo's because I hate my teeth and crooked smile.
You can see that as well as making the skin look flawless, I was also able to whiten the showing teeth, cover the faded red lipstick, and even slim down my face so I look less hamster cheeked.
The original photo is so bad it's one I'd usually delete straight away, and then feel pretty crap about myself for a while for being so bad at this selfie thing, and also just for looking as bad as I do.
The second shot however is almost postable (if you're into that sort of thing) but I'm not really able to look past how fake it is.
I can now see from using this app that so many people are secretly doing this, everyone has pores and lines, it's just part of being a person and there isn't really a way around it.
We've all known about photoshopping for celebrities and models for a long time, it's just become part of the everyday for us, so much so that tabloids and magazines that run so called 'body shaming' articles are very popular, there we can laugh at how those celebrities really do look like real people with their cellulite and pores, hahaha how disgusting of them.
Now that everyone feels the need to adjust their real looks before posting a photo they took of their own face to share with their friends, in case anyone had the misconception that we were also indeed a human.

Just in case he felt left out I have also helped Jake to look his most flawless self while asleep on the sofa, we can't have that messy haired look, instead he now looks like a doggy supermodel with his flawless fur.
Photoshop, not just for humans.

I've learned a few things from this experiment, that many many people are already using the app, from celebrities, to bloggers who will share their lives with you but not their pore size, to just your regular seemingly flawless friends.
I have also learned that as much as I wanted to be the anti-photoshopping blogger, I don't edit my skin etc for outfit posts etc, I liked the look of my flawless skin in these photos, they did give me a little boost although I was aware of it being all fake, and yes I may be terrible for saying this tho I'm not sure if I will yet or not, but I may continue to use it on the occasional selfie....
Please don't judge me, would you ever do it too??

My Little Dream Box...

I'm a bit of a francophile, which these My Little Box's feed rather well every month when they come through the door.
Parisian packages all the way from France, they are the essence of cool chic in a petite package that is jam packed full of the cutest accessories, the most charming little curios and only the best in beauty products.

This months instalment is the My Little Dream Box, with the emphasis on dreaming big and aspiring for your goals, including the link to their sister website where you can write yourself a letter that will be emailed to you in a years time.
I worry for me that may just be depressing...!
The items inside are adorable and makes me glad to still have a subscription with them, some of the boxes have been a bit miss lately, but this one is a huge hit.

I think this is my favourite item in this months box, a changeable stamp with plenty of french phrases, clouds (but they'll be black?!) and more, plus of course a black ink pad.
This will come in very handy when I'm writing all my wedding thank you notes, I just hope they can read french....!

This white cloud claimed to have a surprise inside, of course I ripped that open soon as I could to find this Delphine Pariente medallion inside.
Delphine specialises in simple gold charms, with most designs starting about €65 for a gold plated charm necklace.
For some reason I don't think these ones are gold plated, but they are still very sweet none the less, and I'll be wearing this today.
Bonne ├ętoile is french for Lucky Star, hence the teeny adorable little star on the charm.

The beauty bags that come inside these boxes are always full of surprises, with a fair amount of French make up and beauty brands you may have not heard of, and also their own beauty range My Little Beauty throwing in many surprises.
This is again a well filled mix of treats in one cotton bag.

Lou Lesage is a french actress and singer, who may well become your new style icon if you google her!
Loved By is a company that makes products inspired by and alongside performers, models, and bloggers who add their names to their own personalised products.
This is such a beautiful deep red lip gloss, it gives that 'made out for an hour' look on the lips, slightly raw but is quite a sexy way.
This shall be making it's way into my regular rotation, and I will cry when it runs out and I can't buy anymore.

I couldn't figure out what this was at first, as all the instructions and writing was in only French, but it turns out to be a hair mask, something I think my hair desperately needs!
It's full of shea butter and refined walnut oils to give the hair strength and shine from root to tip.
I'll be giving my quite damaged hair a go with this and report back in my next blog how I find it, and as you know you can expect a very honest review.

A rather tropical looking surprise hidden in this months box, a solid perfume by Le Soft Perfume a company based in of course Paris.
These perfumes are also sold in Selfridges which has the full range of their perfumes.
Alcohol and paraben free, these perfumes are made up of plant extracts and are quite moisturising and calming too.
This particle scent includes pink peppercorn, bergamot, jasmine and violet to create a playful floral scent with a bit of a pop.
To buy these cost £20 each, so make the box an absolute bargain on this alone.

I think you'll agree that this is a lovely and jam packed full box, costing only £11.00 per box, but with £3.95 postage too, each box says it's worth over £65 in its contents so its a pretty sweet deal.
I can't imagine not getting this box anymore, it's just completely adorable and cheers up my day every time it arrives.

Swinging Sixties in Liverpool...

I love it when something coordinates perfectly, so when shopping while wearing this coat one day in Camden I came across these shoes in Office on sale, of course I had to get them!
Matching outfits have become somewhat a thing of the past until the last year or so when co-ordinated outfits came back into fashion.
I love matching them as I feel like the outfit is so much more put together, plus what are the chances of finding a pair of sensible flats that match your coat?!

The coat is a Motel swing coat that I picked up a few years back, I love the 60's swing style of it, especially as it's a style thats not often seen.
It's lightweight so great for this time of year when it's warmer but not completely free of chills and wind gusts.
It was quite windy when we shot these, as my fringe gives away somewhat!

I teamed it with my trusty 'when not at work and carrying 10,000 things' handbag, a birthday gift of a Lulu Guinness handbag, complete with a lipstick charm, that matches well with everything due to it's lovely cream colour.
It also matched very nicely with the cream colour of the ice cream vans parked up near the docks of Liverpool.
It's still not warm enough to go without tights just yet, but I'm kinda just glad to no longer be in thermal leggings every day to try and keep warm.

A piece of scenery that also matches my coat shoes combo...!
You can see with the close up just how much the shoes match, the pom poms aren't quite as pom-pomey as they once were, but enough to make jake (the puppy) follow my feet about when wearing them at home.
Office always have great sales on, and these cost only £20 but are quite well made and very comfy too.

Under the coat I was rocking my big christmas gift this christmas just gone, my Coco Fennell French Maid dress that I had been drooling over for a while, and this did not go unnoticed by Edd who bought it for me.
It costs £65, and is still available in their online store alongside many other amazing dresses that I also want due to their 60's and 70's vibe.
Available in sizes 6-14, I'm always happy when a company does dresses in teeny sizes, as I do often have trouble finding clothes to fit properly, but it is a shame there isn't options for over size 14.

Any 60's outfit must be complimented with a's the rules!
I love a good beehive, the bigger the hair the closer to heaven, but I prefer a messy beehive over a perfectly structured one as it looks more modern.
Also when it comes to make up I prefer a winged liner, varying in thickness but always with a flick at the end.

I'm hoping it will keep getting warmer so I can do more outfit posts, as I know there hasn't been many of late, but I'm also still saving for the wedding meaning I'm not buying much in the way of clothes recently, I wouldn't want to bore with the same items constantly!
It also means I can ditch the tights and layers, I really can't wait!

Primark's P.S Love Your Nails Range

Recently I popped to my local primark, during half term like I had some manner of death wish, looking for some interesting bits for the home after being drawn in by flamingo and pineapple cushions in the window.
The homeware was sadly somewhat lacking this trip, but I did stumble over the newly laid out and seemingly newly added to collection of beauty products.
I needed some new nail care bits, at with a range that costs around £1.00 per item, my stocking up went slightly overboard and I spent the ridiculous sum of £11.80....whoops!

I started with the basics, things we nail growers always need but never seem to have/ have lost/ the dogs chewed them up etc. 
Does anyone else's pets have a thing for nail buffers?
For only £1.00 each you can get all the basics, and usually in packs of at least two as wells they'll last you a bit longer. They also seem to be pretty good quality too, glass nail files are my preferred file as they aren't quite as harsh as emery boards.
The buffers are so easy to use and left my nails super shiny that I was pretty impressed, they are a definite on my repurchase list.

The photo doesn't actually do justice to the shine of my nails after I used the buffer, the files also worked beautifully being thin enough to use well, I have had some glass files in the past that were a little too thick that makes it hard to manipulate around the nail and get a good shape with.
The orange sticks come in a pack of 20, quite a lot really, and work as well as you expect them to.
There's no pointed ends of them tho which is a shame as they are the ideal price for those who want to use them for nail art.

I couldn't resist this cute little bottle, it looks absolutely adorable and as a bonus it's also a scented nail polish, this particular shade is Poppy and does have quite a nice floral scent so saves from that nasty strong nail polish smell.
Again it was only £1.00, as were the top coat and nail corrector pen, the fast dry spray was only 80p!
It went on fairly well, and does have quite a lovely scent which stayed on the nails for the rest of that day and into the next day.
The shade is a little more orange than I prefer, but there was a few different colours to choose from in the scented nail polish range, including some cute pastel colours.

Topcoat is a must, tho I wasn't sure I could really count too highly on a topcoat that costs only £1...!
The top coat has a lot of shine to it, the polish itself was somewhat matte so this gave it a nice shiny finish and made it somewhat less 'cheap' looking.
The nail corrector pen is a life saver, I've never been one to 'colour in the lines' and get a lot of smudges that can be really annoying.
The nail corrector costs £1.00 and comes with three replacement nibs too, which is great as I've bought more expensive ones in the past that become saturated with a colour of polish that it just spreads a thin layer of the colour onto the skin.

While there I spotted a reduced item that had me double taking.
Cuticle temporary tattoos! Recently a bit of a hot trend but not too easy to find, the triangle ones looked cute enough to make me willing to shed another pound of cash, tho the heart ones don't really add anything in my opinion. Kinda boring...!
As well as the tattoos for under the nails, theres also extras for an accent nail, but I think that may look a bit odd if you had them on every nail.

They look a bit overly shiny which is a shame, if they worked better they'd look slightly more realistic, well as realistic as bright gold fake tattoos could look!
They were a little tricky to line up, but do have a guide on the back to try and line it up better.
I can see why they were on sale tho as they just came off pretty much straight away.

24 hours later..
So they didn't hold up too good, to be fair I do have my hands in and out of water all day in work but still they were flaking off just on the way to work in big flakey chunks.
They would be ideal for a night out if you want sweet smelling nails complimented with the fake tattoos, but I wouldn't bother for every day polishes.
I bought some false nails too, maybe I'll be lazy and stick with them for a while without worry for chips, just the odd lost nail!
In conclusion the tools are brilliant, do their job and don't cost the earth but the polishes and tattoos aren't durable tho I did enjoy the smell from the scented polish while it lasted.

Rex Liverpool Box Store...

It's harder and harder these days to set up and successfully run an independent business, with it's many many over heads, huge cost and massive risk factor it's no surprise that most small businesses run solely online, taking the personal element out of shopping.
Even online it's pretty much a full time job, using social media to get your brand out there, networking as much as humanely possible, plus sorting out orders and making or ordering all those bits and pieces you need, that it can all become somewhat overwhelming.
Enter the middle man, good guy business men who are encouraging, supporting, and giving space to those creative types to get their wares out there offline and on the high street of Liverpool.
Rex Liverpool is Liverpools first concept and box store, offering an opportunity for these sole traders to sell their items on a commission base in an actual store, a 500 square foot store in the heart of Liverpools city centre.
Working hard to bring stores back to the accessible high street and providing an outlet for people to set up and buy from small businesses, ranging from vintage wear, to whole foods, art, gifts, and everything in between.

The home to many well known local brands such as Cards for Scousers, Little Red Vintage, Enola Rose, and Pawabella but also housing up and coming businesses such as Madame Medusa Beauty, a recent entry into the store and only two months old, but with an amazing future ahead.
The most wonderful thing I noticed when there is that the store is manned by Rex's own staff, which shows how much they understand the setting up of small business owners that are building their brands while still working in full time jobs, something some of these stall owners do.
It's been six months since Rex came to be, setting up shop in the basement of Rapid Hardware Store, formerly John lewis' and George Henry Lee's, but it's already becoming the place to be with a current count 70 different stalls working out of there right now.
As well as housing local innovators, they have opened up the store to some of Liverpools local students, offering them a space to get involved and decorate the space, making it one of the most interesting bright and colourful spaces to exist in the city.

Cards for Scousers
Even if you're a small business, you can rent anything from a single shelf to a couple of square feet in the store (space permitting!) and this leads to a store full of everything you could possibly imagine and many things you may not have but will still want once you clap your eyes onto it.
Rex won the award for the Best Startup Business at the Merseyside Independent Business Awards and it's easy to see why, helping out so very very many start up businesses in the past six months alone, in such a way others have not been able or willing to.

The Soap Shop

I visited the store myself on Monday to take some photo's and find out a little more about Rex, I must have been there for about an hour and a half just taking photos, ending up with about 116 pictures of so many amazing and interesting things, I have condensed it down so much to not over saturate this blog with photos but there was just so much I wanted to show that it proved quite hard to cut out all those shots of all those lovely stores and stalls.
While there I met Matt Bell, one of the owners of Rex Liverpool and Revolver Retail, a company that helps put small businesses in touch with landlords for pop up stores or short term retail spaces which makes a lot of sense as to why they are now providing so much space for so many people venturing that idea out into a dedicated space.

Madame Medusa Beauty
When I sat down with Matt I quickly realised how much passion he holds for this concept store, mostly on how it can help local entrepreneurs to thrive and grow, and also the achievements of the store to give space to local students producing a space that is ever changing and ever growing.
While I was photographing two of the stall holders came in to restock their spaces, they all spoke to each other like old friends, it is plain to see that Matt and his fellow owners treat their stall holders with respect and friendship, nourishing a solid working relationship.

African Dream
Enola Rose
Every corner of the store has yet another venture to peruse, some familiar names such as my friend Enola Rose, an amazing milliner with fans such as Paloma Faith wearing her innovative and fresh designs.
Enola's main seller is her 40's style headscarves and oversized bows, currently in stock at Rex.
These are such statement pieces, and from seeing her past designs including barbie head fascinators, giant red lips, and so much more I'm quite excited to see the upcoming ranges available here on the high street.

Faith Babbington Sculpture
There isn't really an abundance of space for independent artists to display their works, with independent seemingly a bad word in the council of Liverpool's eyes, leading to the closure of such amazing ventures as Mello Mello which provided a space for so many local performers, talent, and even workshops.
I was excited to see such a large area of the store dedicated to local art works, one area currently displaying a range of hanging and standing sculptures by Faith Babbington.
This has been arranged with Rex via Dot-Art, a Liverpool based art gallery who works with local artists providing art consultancy, exhibition planning, and an online place for artists to sell their works.
There are an abundance of prints also available for sale, to give your house that pop of colour and culture to make your friends think you are well cultured-and-that.

Koala Parlour
I was surprised to see a whole foods seller based in the store, with so many tempting products available I can only hope the range will grow, fingers crossed to include some vegan products that are not currently available in my home town of Liverpool.
I will be going back to stock up on some fresh pepper and mustard seeds to add an exciting touch to my cooking over the next few months.
It really goes to show that you really can get pretty much anything you need in one place, it's become somewhat of a one stop shop for anyone with a penchant for vintage, one off pieces, antiques, art and so so so much more.

Jacksons Fashion
The one dress that sticks in my mind from the whole trip is this personalised Instagram dress from Jacksons Fashions, shown here in two different dress types.
Send over your favourite snaps and memories and Jacksons Fashion will turn them into a wearable photo album, definitely an eye catching piece that will get people talking and lusting after one of their very own.
Just hope they don't try to double tap you...!

If the sheer amount of stalls and things to see in the store get a little overwhelming at any point, you can take a little break and grab some tea and cake, made by local baker Say it with Flours, in the Rex Cafe Tea-Rex.
There's also Lucky Charms in pots to bring out your inner child hunting for the marshmallows and ignoring those crunchy healthy(ier) cereal bits.
As well as the tea and cake, the cafe hosts a variety of events and workshops with a recent event based around Ronald Dahl, so it's worth keeping an eye on the Tea-Rex twitter account for any upcoming events.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit to Rex, I have a lot now added to my wish list and will be back again to see if there's more to add to that list.
I'm also happy that there is now a space I can find all those unique gifts and cards to give for birthdays and over christmas that also supports small and independent companies making my pocket happier and my karma points grow.
If you find yourself in Liverpool get yourself to the basement of Rapid for this exciting, vibrant, colourful and growing space, but I'll warn you'll find it hard to leave without buying something!
I did.
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