Wednesday, 31 December 2014

2014: Year in Review

In true fashion, I've left the writing and posting of this post until the absolute last possible moment. 2014 has been a year very full of ....stuff. Good stuff, bad stuff, family stuff, job stuff, life stuff. It seems to have all been saved up for this year, and then all thrown down in a huge deluge all in one go. It's been mostly fun, I think, and it's largely left me with a sense of wanting to continue. Build on the things I've done this year and make them better, grow them further and enjoy becoming more of the person I want to be.

A collection of the most used words on the internet in 2014 - beautiful, IMO. I especially love 'hashtag' and 'photobomb'

Favourite Beauty Products

I'm going to do a list, because I could literally talk about all of these products forever, and you've almost definitely heard me wax lyrical about almost all of them in the past, so I think it's best to limit myself a little:

  • Max Factor 3-in-1 Facefinity Foundation - It's less than £15, it smooths out my skin beautifully, and they have a colour in my skin tone. Honestly, if they stop making this I think I'll just cry. I just love it. 
  • Soap and Glory Thick and Fast Mascara - I love that this is slightly over the top and gives an exaggerated look without clumping or leaving too much of a residue on lashes. It's a great everyday and special occasion one for me, and it's been on my eyes more than any other mascara this year for sure. 
  • Elf Studio Eyebrow Kit - This is SO CHEAP and SO GOOD and I still find it difficult to believe that both of these things are true at once. A definite handbag staple. 
  • Macademia Hair Flawless Shampoo and Conditioner - This is a late entry since I only tried it in December of this year, but it is really awesome. It's a bit strange to use as it doesn't lather or foam, but it leaves hair so clean and silky smooth after washing. 
  • Sleek i-Divine Garden of Eden Eyes Palette - Another late entry, I received this limited edition palette as a Christmas gift from my good friend Catie, and it is such good quality, and full of beautiful shades - I'd really recommend it. A full review of this is coming in the new year, so keep an eye out!
  • Max Factor Lipfinity - This is by no means a new product, but it's become clear to me this year how much I use it. It just stays put, no matter what, and the 'my lips but better shade' I've discovered in the shade 'Mellow Rose' is just perfect. 

Favourite Music

I've been on a complete classic rock kick this year, in all honesty. My top five albums on spotify are a disaster of Foreigner, Warrant and Bon Jovi - I am an embarrassment in terms of modern music. Fall Out Boy's album 'Centuries' released in September deserves a mention though, as does Slow Club's 'Complete Surrender'.

I've also rediscovered my love of loud, exciting and dancey music somewhat, with Avicii, Ke$ha, Marina and The Diamonds, Beyonce and Mindless Self Indulgence popping up a lot throughout my year, especially when I just want to relax and dance and be happy. I found that my enjoyment of more reflective and slightly different artists crept up more than it has in the past. Amanda Palmer, in particular, Phillip Phillips, Fun., Imagine Dragons and Bastille all feature heavily in my playlists these days, and I've really enjoyed widening my taste a bit. Historically I've always been a bit wary of what I perceive to be 'indie' music, and i'm slowly realising that it's daft to just dismiss a whole genre based on preconceived notions.

Favourite Films

Seriously up there for me was Guardians of the Galaxy - I absolutely ADORED more or less everything about it. Also The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies, which was a complete end of an era and made me cry a lot. Other faves this year have included: Maleficent, 22 Jump Street, X-Men: Days of Future Past, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part I and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot of films due out in 2015 - it's going to be a great year for cinema I think!

Favourite Moments

2014 for me has been a year of family, friends, achievement, stress and reflection. That said, some of my best moments of the past year have included....

Celebrating my nana's 60th Birthday back in May, with my entire family at a hotel on the north east coast.

Meeting the international students I taught for three months - I miss you both Mariko and Miyaka!
Bit of a bittersweet one - saying goodbye to my best friend Jenny (left) on a night out before she left for a year abroad in Australia. I miss her loads but still talk to her, and she's back soon in 2015! Yay!

University end of year ball - we all got thoroughly scrubbed up and dressed up and looked amazing ;)

Spending another - and my last! - gorgeous spring/summer by the beach in Whitby and Scarborough. 

End of an era - graduating from University amongst my friends back in July.
Starting out Autumn in a new city, with a new job and a new house.
Adopting our gorgeous kitten Arya! I can't really imagine life without her now, pain as she is. 

Here's hoping you all had a brilliant Christmas and have a wonderful New Year. Broke Student Fashion will be back with a bang next year, so I'll see you all in 2015!! xxx

Monday, 22 December 2014

Holiday Sparkle and Shine with Avon

Hello all! This post is a little later than I anticipated, but it's been a very busy few days. This past weekend my partner and I traveled up to Newcastle upon Tyne to spend some time with both of our families before Christmas. Since we're both working full time and have to be back at work between Christmas and New Year, we're spending our first Christmas ever with just the two of us at home (plus a few friends and well-wishers here and there, of course!). It was really nice to spend time with family, swap some early presents and enjoy a few days away from work and stress. We even managed to fit in seeing The Hobbit, which was brilliant!

I received some lovely early make-up presents from my partner's mam, so I thought I would put together a look worthy of this oh-so shiny and sparkly time of year. All of the products I used were from Avon, except my foundation, one of the eye-shadows and my mascara (which are, slightly predictably, from Max Factor. Don't you know me at all by now??).

Sparkly jumper from Primark / Earrings from New Look

I don't own a lot of products from Avon and I think they can be a little hit and miss, but I absolutely loved the ones I used here! Easily my favourite was the Ideal Luminous Blush, which I found lovely to apply and gave a really soft, gentle colour. I don't wear blush a lot as it can easily be overpowering on my pale skin, but this one is definitely going into my everyday makeup bag. Another star was the Supershock Double Ended Eyeshadow Pencil, in Chocolate Melt & Cream Dream. I used the light side to highlight my inner eye corner and brow bone and the darker side to blend into my crease, before topping it all off with a dusting of Max Factor Wild Shadow Pot in special edition colour Gold Amazon. I got this eyeshadow in the Max Factor 'All That Glitters' free gift deal that's been on at Boots for a while now, and it was so worth it. It's a really luxurious formula that manages to be sparkly without having a lot of fall out or being too in your face - fantastic to wear, and it went really nicely with the Avon cream shadows. 

 A girl can dream...

One of the products I am still in two minds about though. The Glimmersticks Eyeliner, as you can see, gives a really dark, true black colour that is creamy and difficult to budge once on. I found it difficult to apply though, as the stick itself is quite thick and soft and tends to drag a little when trying to get a straight line. It took me a few tries to really get the hang of, and I still think I would never try to wear it if I was in a hurry (which unfortunately for me is most of the time!). Still, it's a lovely dark black and great for a special occasion look.

I also quite like my hair for this look, which was quite an accident! My sister wanted to try out her hot rollers on my already wavy hair, and I ended up with quite a wild blow out, which calmed down a little after a few hours into what you see above.

Cutest kitties! My mam's new kitten Lilly on the left, and my boyfriend's grumpy old man cat Oreo on the right. I got lots of cat cuddles this weekend. 

Overall, I think I'm definitely going to be looking around for a few more good Avon products in 2015. They're very reasonably priced, and although their quality does vary, when they're good they are very good, so that'll do for me. 

Hope you all had a lovely weekend! How do you like the look above? Do you like Avon products, or are they not for you? Let me know below! 

- Natalie XOXO

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Review: Hotel Chocolat Ti Jardin Body Butter (+ Surprises and... Shakespeare?)

Who knew Hotel Chocolat did beauty products? Certainly not me! Turns out, this amazing chocolate brand has a whole range of body and skin products, from lip balms to body butters to candles and scrubs. This little beauty was a lovely surprise for me, therefore, and I wad very excited to give it a try.

I was lucky enough to win a giveaway hosted by AimeeBelle of some fantastic goodies, including Nanshy makeup brushes, Crabtree & Evelyn hand cream, Bee Good Lip Balm, Halo Makeup remover pads, and a whole load of other things, all cruelty-free and all smelling amazing. It was a great surprise to receive in the post today and I'm looking forward to trying them all out, but for now I just had to talk about this.

10% off? Don't mind if I do!
This body butter comes in a squeezy tube, which I always find a bit weird for 'butter' type creams - you have to squeeze so hard, especially if it's a bit cold! But still, it comes out lovely and creamy and smooth A sneaky bit of googling tells me that 'Ti Jardin' is the name of an area within Hotel Chocolat's main cocoa plantation just outside of Saint Lucia in France.

This body butter doesn't smell at all like chocolate, as I was expecting! Instead it hits you with a beautiful citrus-type smell, which is deep and long-lasting. I can really smell the neroli oil in it, which I adore and don't find it too often in my products strangely enough. I need more neroli in my life. I'm really impressed with this cream, and I think it's definitely going to find it's way into my desk drawer at work for hand,arm and face moisturizing during the day.

Now I know you're wondering what on earth Shakespeare has to do with this post. Well, the answer is not that much, but I'm home sick from work today. Boosting up with vitamins with an innocent smoothie (yes the kids ones - don't judge me), I noticed a rather funny little thing on the back of the pack that made me smile:

It reminded me so much of all the time I spend trying to convince my tutoring students that Shakespeare wasn't as inaccessible as they all first imagined. All teenagers are naturally dubious of Shakespeare I think, dismissing his works as 'hard' or 'boring', and I get it, y'know? It's not for everyone and I can appreciate that, but what you might not know fully is linguistically, how much of an impact Shakespeare had on the English speaking world. It's incredible how many of the words and phrases we use today can be traced back to their first uses in Shakespeare's own plays (whether they were all actually written by him or not is a whole other issue mind!) and that is so rare, to be able to place an exact date and time period on a word, that it still sort of blows my little nerdy mind. Good old Will took theatre to the English-speaking lower classes and made it beautiful, whilst still stuffing it chock full of filthy jokes and some of the most complicated stories you've ever seen hand-in-hand with some of the silliest. So to celebrate this, I've included some links to some cool Shakespearean stuff on the internet right now:
Hope you're all having a great day! If you enjoyed this post or want to comment on any of the things I've talked about in it, drop me a comment below, or tweet me! See you all soon. 
Shut the door, there comes no swaggerers here, yo

- Natalie XOXO

Sunday, 7 December 2014

December Goals

December has really crept up on me. Work has been so busy lately, and so many things have happened that need all of my attention all of the time. Christmas seems to be starting earlier and earlier every year, and it's been quite nice experiencing the start of the holidays in a new city, with new people and new things to see. 

My November goals were somewhat achieved I think. I started my gallery wall, made time for myself, leaned on some people for support, read some books and definitely started getting into the Christmas spirit. With that in mind, here are my goals for the month ahead - 

  • EXPERIENCE - I love trying new things. This month so far already I've hosted my first couch-surfer, learned how to jive at 3am in a rock and roll bar with a manager from work, and tried my hand at making mulled wine. I'm going to try and say yes to as many things as possible this month, push my boundaries and hopefully, have some more amazing new experiences.
  • PAMPER - There's lots of social events this time of year, so I'm making it a goal of mine to take care of how I look a bit more than usual this month. That means getting a haircut, re-dying my hair, holding off on the nail-biting for a while, and paying special attention to my skincare routine. 
  • INDULGE - What is Christmas time without excessive amounts of chocolate, bad TV, expensive bath products, and lazy days curled up in a duvet enjoying all of the above? I'm not going to feel guilty for letting go a little this month and letting the comfort of the holidays surround me once in a while. 
  • GIVE - The thing I love most about Christmas is giving to others. I love making people happy and this year I can thankfully afford to spoil the people I love a bit. Aside from that though, I'm also sending a lot of Christmas cards out to people, so I can hopefully make a lot of people smile. I'd also like to try and volunteer a bit, i'm going to look into that. 
  • LOVE - I am loved and I love a lot of people, and I'm not always the best at expressing it. Like most people, I am moody and annoying and grumpy at times, and I'm going to do my best to be positive this month. Because why not, after all? Things could always be worse ;)
Are you getting into the Christmas spirit already, or is it not your kind of thing? What are your hopes and goals for the month ahead? Let me know below! 

- Natalie XOX

Friday, 21 November 2014

The Pillow Fort Magazine Article

Hey guys! Just a quick post to say I hope you enjoyed my last video, and I'm going to be uploading another one this Sunday, so you can look forward to that.

I recently wrote an article for The Pillow Magazine and I figured some of you might like to check it out. This bi-monthly magazine is an online publication written by and for young people living with chronic, long-term illnesses. It's amazingly positive and upbeat (and has some great recipes in it!) and I'm so pleased that I get to be a part of it.

Some of you might not know that I suffer from a couple of illnesses - I'm fairly open about it, but if it doesn't come up, it doesn't come up. I'm more or less okay as long as I take a lot of tablets to keep things under control, but it's nice to be a part of a community that is so friendly and inspiring when I'm having a particularly bad day, or being able to cheer people up when they're having their own down moments. The article I contributed this month is called 'Illness and The Working Girl' and it discusses the issues that can arise when communicating with employers regarding long-term illnesses and the adaptations that can be made to make like easier all around.

You can check out the issue here if you fancy it! 

The Pillow Fort Magazine Issue 5

Thanks for reading and I'll see you all again on Sunday ;)

- Natalie XOXO

Monday, 17 November 2014

Video: November Favourites

I finally made a new video! See below. I apologise that it's like, 6 months or so later than planned. I have no good excuse. 

- Natalie XOXO

Friday, 7 November 2014

New Look Winter Collection 2014 - Top Picks

Hey all! It's been a while since I did a post that was 100% fashion focused, sorry about that. I was in the always trusty New Look the other day and they have some great new stuff in for Autumn/Winter. It's probably not all new really, but hey, I don't get out much! Working 9-5 has it's major downsides in terms of quality shopping time, and every weekend I've had off lately has been devoted to getting on top of writing, family time and exploring some cool local places. Anyway, I digress. This is just a collection of some pieces that I'm looking forward to getting my hands on:

Black Bardot Neck 1/2 Sleeve Top - £12.99
I am ALL about the Bardot Neck top. I quite like my shoulders and neck, so I'm thrilled that this top has such a nice flattering cut whilst still being work appropriate, especially with a bright coloured vest top underneath with wide straps.

Tenki Burgundy Bird Print Tunic Dress - £28.00
 This is so cute! It comes in red and blue, and I really like the delicate print. Also, in case you can't tell I'm rather into the whole 3/4 sleeve thing. They're just really nice, and great for days when it's kind of chilly but not cold enough indoors for a full sleeve.

Black I'm So Fancy Top - £7.99
I should really preface this by saying I am not a fan of Iggy Azalea, or her somewhat problematic opinions and lyrics, but damn if this song isn't the catchiest thing I've ever heard. Even just seeing this top got it stuck in my head again, so I think this is a great investment for me. Yep. I don't even care.

Black Jacquard Aztec Print Mini Skirt - £19.99
This is a very strangely named skirt, but I really like it anyway. Patterned, tailored mini skirts are so easy to wear, just thrown on with a blouse and some tights and it looks so put together. This is such a cute pattern as well, with the royal blue really making it pop. 

Black On Wednesdays We Wear Pink Top - £9.99
I don't know what I like more about this - the mean girls reference, or the fact that I would mostly only ever be wearing it on casual fridays or the weekend. Either way, I need it and I need it like yesterday, in a completely non-ironic way. 

Silver Diamante Caged Heels - £27.99
These are so perfect and I am torn between being super annoyed that they weren't around three months ago when I wanted small silver heels for my graduation ceremony. Still, I have completely got my eye on these for the Christmas party. What do you mean, do I have a dress yet? Of course I don't. It's perfectly normal to have shoes chosen out before the rest of an outfit, right?

Do you have any items that you've got your eye on lately, from New Look or otherwise? What has everybody been up to this week so far? Let me know below!

- Natalie XOXO

Monday, 3 November 2014

November Goals

Okay, hands up - who still can't quite believe that we're officially in November already? This year has gone by so fast, and July is already seeming like a far off memory. Hell, October is too at this rate. 

It might be because my October was just so full of stuff. I started a new job, had to deal with some health issues, and spent quite a bit of time helping a friend through a crisis, which involved her coming to stay for a few weeks. My partner also started a new job, and I'm honestly starting to feel like the last time I really sat down and relaxed was somewhere around mid-August. So with that in mind, I've got some goals for this month that I'd really like to try and achieve: 

  • RELAX - I need time to recharge. Sitting at home on the sofa with a fluffy blanket, a kitten and a cuppa is probably one of life's greatest pleasures in my opinion, so i'm damn well going to make more time for this. 
  • CREATE - I've been seriously neglecting at least three different craft projects since about June. Whoops? This month I'm going to pick up my knitting again for my patchwork blanket project, and hopefully complete my framing and decorating for the gallery wall i'm hoping to put up in our living room. 
  • COMMUNICATE - I am terrible at reaching out to people. I need to learn when to ask for help, when to say no, and when to just sit down and let somebody know that I need something from them. 
  • PREPARE - You know what November means. It's almost Christmas! I'm going to be buying and making decorations, planning Christmas baking, eyeing up advent calendars and Christmas markets, and just generally getting into the spirit of things. 
  • READ - This is a bit more specific - I'm currently re-reading the ASOIAF series, and I'd really like to finish the book I'm currently on before December. I also want to start reading Les Miserables, as I bought it over a month ago and just haven't got around to it yet!

Has November crept up on you too? What are your hopes and goals for the month ahead? I'm thinking of making these monthly goal posts a regular thing, so if you liked it or think it could be better, please let me know below!

- Natalie XOXO

Monday, 27 October 2014

That Festive Feeling?

It may not even be Halloween time yet, but already my city has started bringing out the town centre Christmas lights, departments stores are breaking out the seasonal gift catalogues, and restaurants are relentlessly emailing about booking Christmas parties and work dinners. It's true - it's not even winter yet, but it's already beginning to look a lot like Christmas around these parts.

What's this? What's this? [Photo Credit]
I used to be up there with the best of them, complaining about how Christmas shouldn't start until December 1st, and how the magic is ruined by starting so early, and how consumerism was ruining everything, but for some reason, I'm struggling to care this year. Maybe it's the joy of monthly payslips and a large family forcing me to spread out the cost of my present buying over a good few months, or maybe it's the excitement of spending Christmas with just my partner and the kitten in our own house for the first time, or maybe it's just that my Christmas obsessed boyfriend has finally gotten to me. Don't tell him that though, he'll never shut up about it.

I'm enjoying the orange glow, mild weather and dry spells of Autumn, but I bought my very first Christmas present of the yesterday. I'm baking with pumpkin and cinnamon at the weekends, but also eyeing up the tree decorations in Clas Olson and wondering how quickly the cat would break them (answer: extremely, and with much joy on her little face). I have no shame in eyeing up the 3-for-2 deals in Boots whenever I walk past, and I've had a secret gift list Pintrest board in the works for weeks now. I think i've officially succumbed, and it is glorious.

It probably won't still feel like Christmas for me properly until the decorations are up and everybody else is getting in the mood too, but for now I'm just going to sit back and enjoy the ride over the next couple of months. After all - there's only 8 more Mondays til Christmas ;) So I for one am going to go some, drink my peppermint hot chocolate and watch The Nightmare Before Christmas without feeling guilty.

What do you think of shops and towns getting into the Christmas spirit early? Embrace it or hate it? When are you starting your Christmas shopping? Let me know below!

- Natalie XOX

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Early Autumn Daze

Seasons change, memories fade

Daydreams fall like golden leaves

- Nitin Sawhney, October Daze

Beautiful evergreen trees in the park I go through on my commute, and giant hot chocolates on cold dark evenings. What more could a girl want in October really?

Hello all! It's been a while since I posted again, hasn't it? It's been such a hectic few weeks. I've finally started properly in my new job, and i'm really enjoying it so far. Everyone is so lovely and helpful, and although there's a lot to learn, I think I'm really going to be able to settle down and have a great experience there. One of my best friends (Leigh-Anne, whose blog you can check out here) moved to Lanzarote last week to live there for 6 months, which is so weird! I'm very jealous but she's having a great time, and she really deserves it. My boyfriend has been working nights a lot lately; since he works in music he's often not home til 2-3am, which can be a bit lonely, but I've got the kitten to give me cuddles now at least :)

I've been enjoying the cooler weather quite a lot! The summer clothes are almost entirely put away now, confined to under-the-bed and the basement until the sun decides to show up next year again. I thrive in woolly tights, scarves, cardigans and boots, so i'm in my element right now. I wish it would stay this way until spring! I hate snow and extreme winter weather, not least because I have to rely on public transport, which inevitably gives up at the first tiny snowfall of a year. 

 Left: Dress charity shop, Blazer H&M, Tights Primark, Shoes Primark, Necklace Amazon. Right: Denim shirt vintage

My hair is a little shorter and more layered now, and a tad darker. I'm going to go darker again this weekend, more of a chocolate brown than my typical summer auburn colour. It's a bit of a challenge dressing for work in this weather I must admit, as my new workplace is more 'dressy' and professional than my old one. Thank god for casual Fridays, I say! I'm definitely investing a good pair of black ankle boots come payday, some lovely tweed skirts and very much coveting a lot of gorgeous jumpers I've seen around lately. The autumn high street collections are 100% on point this year. 

Autumn Daze - Fashion from New Look and H&M - View on Polyvore

I'm going to be uploading a post soon about a little trip I took to York soon, so keep an eye out for that! For now though, I'm going to leave you with a music recommendation that I think fits these quickly darkening days perfectly. Click here to listen to 'Chemicals and Circumstance' on spotify, a short album written, played, recorded and sung by a very talented man called Rich Adams, who I used to work alongside during University. It's poetic, calming and just perfect for these chilly evenings. 

Stay warm people. If you have any comments about the content of this post, enjoyed the Polyvore set, or just want to share your October activities too, please, let me know below! 

- Natalie XOX

Friday, 26 September 2014

Life with Arya

If you follow me on instagram or twitter, you'll probably have seen lately that my partner and I have adopted a kitten! Her name is Arya and she's 9 weeks old, and her interests include chasing conkers around the kitchen floor, licking people's noses when they're not expecting it, and climbing the curtains. She definitely gives her adventurous Game of Thrones namesake a run for her money with the amount of exploring and mischief she gets up to. I'm in love. 

Oh right, and her ears are enormous. Honestly, it was a toss up between 'Arya' or 'Dumbo' ;)
One thing I've learned since getting her though, is as much as I love having her around, she really makes a difference to my daily routine. Here are just some of the differences I've noticed...

BA (‘Before Arya’)

Waking Up – Being awoken nice and gently by the alarm on my phone, checking my emails in bed, before getting up, putting my slippers on and heading into the bathroom.
Waking Up – Being licked on the eye by a hungry kitten who has decided I’ve slept long enough and it’s now feeding time, as well as deciding that my slippers are the most fun toy ever.  
Getting Washed – Closing the bathroom door, running the sink taps and choosing a product or two to use in order to wake up fully and get clean for the day ahead.
Getting Washed – closing the bathroom door for three seconds before the kitten wants to know why she’s not allowed in, then letting her in just so she can fall into the sink and get wet, then cry about being wet.
Putting on Clothes – Selecting appropriate clothes for the work or leisure day, not taking any notice of what sort of fastenings or dangly bits they have.
Putting on Clothes – Trying to convince the kitten that zips, laces, buttons, jangly earrings and feathers are not toys, no matter how much they might sound and look like them.
Getting home from work – Checking emails, watching some TV, making dinner, maybe chilling out with a movie and some snacks.
Getting home from work - Greeted by the most excited, loving ball of fluff ever, 100% ready to cuddle massively and play after spending most of the day with John and/or sleeping.
Shopping – Looking for essentials for the house, shopping around for little bits and pieces that I want or John wants, occasionally indulging in something nice for myself.
Shopping – ‘Oh wouldn’t she love that toy?’ ‘We have to get this scratching post’ ‘Don’t you think she needs a new collar? It’d look so pretty’ ‘Maybe she needs teething toys?’

She's a pain sometimes, but she's our pain, and I'm so excited we have her. We are both such cat people, and it's nice to have one around the house again after several years with no pets. She's really helped us feel like our new house is more of a home.

- Natalie XOX

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

Choosing Stylish Glasses: A Practical Guide

It's coming around to that time again. I seem to be getting more headaches than usual, my vision is getting blurry around the edges, and my messed up depth perception has me walking into the sofa every single morning when I wake up for work. Yep, I think it's time for me to get my ass down to the opticians and start thinking about getting some new glasses.

Click Through To Read:

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Guest Blogger: Perfect Wedding Guest Outfits

 Hey guys! Last week I was contacted by Ann Harris, who blogs at BeautyMakeupOnline, who asked if I was interested in her writing a guest post for me. I, of course, said yes, and today she has written a little for us on some tips for choosing the best outfit when attending a wedding, something that can often be difficult to get exactly right. I apologise for my recent absence, I recently got a new job and have been quite busy lately, but I will hopefully be around quite a bit more from now!

-Natalie XOXO

Perfect Wedding Guest Outfits

The great thing about going to a wedding as a guest is not having the direct responsibility for anything. Being a wedding invitee can be compared to being a grandchild - you can do almost whatever you want! And you know still that people around you will take care that you are having a good time during the reception.

However relaxed the participation in a wedding can be, it is still important that you dress up nicely, even if you do not practice that in your everyday life. It is true that you do not have to wear a tuxedo and overshadow the groom, but some degree of an elegant outfit is necessary. It is not because of you, but by wearing nice clothes, you express your respect for the people who have invited you. That is why you should go and look for the most appropriate outfit for their special day.

Photo Credit:

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Late Summer Office Fashion

Despite the ever worsening weather and the cooling winds that have been circling the north of England over the past couple of weeks, I am refusing to admit that it is no longer summer. It is still August, and therefore it is only late summer until at least mid September in my eyes. Regardless though, I have had to admit lately that stepping outdoors requires a good degree of forward planning, a bag large enough for an umbrella and preferably some amount of psychic power in order to see just how the rest of the day's weather is going to turn out. Failing that though, I've put together some inspiration boards to help with putting together outfits for work in this strange stuck-in-the-middle-of-seasons time of year. Hope you enjoy! 

1. If you work in a more conservative or formal environment, I would say now is absolutely the prime time to embrace the long-sleeved blouse and/or sweater vest. It's dorky masculine chic with enough style and variety to inject your own personality into it whilst still being prepared for the inevitable lunch house downpour later on. Alternatively, a top such as this gorgeous white Stella McCartney V neck shows that a thick, substantial fabric need not look bulky or awkward with the right tailoring and colour choice.

2. Maybe your workplace is a little less straight-laced, so if you feel that you can go to work with a little extra colour and wider choice of styles, now is the time to claw back the remnants of summer with bright colours and fun prints. Sleeveless blouses look great under blazers or cardigans for chillier days, and a chiffon long-length shirt is comfortable and smart. I adore the ice-cream print blouse - it's quirky and fun, and will remind everyone who sees it of their long afternoons by the grey but charming English seaside. 

3. Trousers really are a very sensible choice when you're not sure if it's going to rain or shine, and I'm just a sucker for a printed cigarette pant such as the examples above from Topshop. The close tailored fit and cropped style is super stylish and up-to-date, and the eye-catching prints allow you to create a truly individual look with a bit of clout to it. I'm also really into high-waisted pants lately, they're so smart and figure flattering, and in neutral colours such as the ones above they really can be dressed up for down with a huge range of tops and shoes. 

4. I love wearing dresses to work with thick woolen tights and maybe a light jacket on top, and I think the two shirt dresses above are a great example of how a really simple garment needn't be boring. Their monochrome palettes keep things simple so the graphic prints don't overwhelm everything else, and the nipped in waists show off the remainder of those summer workout routines we've all been sticking too religiously, right? Right? Nah, me neither. I also think shift dresses are so easy to dress up or down, with a suit jacket and heels, or a cardi and flats depending on the look you're going for. I've also included in this set what I think are my two footwear staples of the moment - a sturdy, sensible pair of mary-jane type heels, and a strong pair of lace-up ankle boots. Between them I feel covered for pretty much all scenarios on my morning commute, and don't feel quite so sad about putting my summer ballet pumps back in the cupboard. 

How do you feel about adapting your wardrobe for the ever-changing late summer weather? Maybe you're lucky enough to live somewhere where it's still nice and warm? What's your favourite item from the collections above? Let me know below! 

As always, these collections can be viewed, liked and shopped on my polyvore, so check that out if you're interested. 

Natalie XOX

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Review: Urban Decay Naked Skin Foundation in 0.5

Although I am the first in line to shout about budget and cheap makeup, one item I don't think I can ever skimp on is my foundation. For somebody who had never even worn the stuff until the age of 19, I rely on a good base to the rest of my makeup on a daily basis, to smooth out any imperfections and in my experience, I've only ever been happy with at least mid-range brands. It would be really nice to find a HG foundation for less than a tenner, but something tells me that I'm just not going to find that.

Wearing UD Naked Skin Foundation and trying to colour coordinate my earrings to my eyes. Not sure it's working very well, but hell, I try.

I'm always curious to try out some of the higher ends of the foundation market. I have tried NARS Sheer Coverage in the past and was disappointed with the heavy feeling it left, and was left disenchanted by Mac Studio Tech when it dried out my skin and flaked off in a very unattractive manner. However I did very much love what I tried of Chanel's Les Beiges range, and am keen to try out more from the top end of the scale.

So, I figured I would give Urban Decay's Naked Skin Foundation a try. I have talked in the past about how hard I find it to pick the right foundation for my skin tone, so the girl at the Urban Decay counter very kindly gave me a sample to take home to make sure it matched well before investing in anything. Naked Skin retails in Debenhams for £27 per bottle, which is a really nice glass pump bottle and matches the rest of the Naked range nicely.

Trying to look classy for my job interview earlier this week. Dress is from New Look, bangle from charity shop

Personally, I don't think it's for me. The consistency was very runny, possibly the most liquid I've ever come across, and it was difficult to work with. It did feel lightweight and gave good buildable medium/full coverage when applied with a stipple brush, but took rather a long time to set and settle. This is not a grab and go kind of makeup, it requires some time and patience to apply, and that doesn't really fit in with my lifestyle. I found the finish nice and smooth, but a little too matte for my liking, which I think looked a bit flat until perked up with a bit of highlighter. Admittedly it suited my look for my job interview, but for everyday use I don't think it's really my style.

Overall the Naked Skin Foundation is a perfectly good foundation that just doesn't suit my lifestyle or personal style preferences, but I would recommend it if you're looking for something that fits the above description.

- Natalie XOX

Monday, 4 August 2014

What I Wore: Graduation 2014 & Why I'll Never Regret University

Me and one of my besties Hayleigh, who was the first person I ever spoke to at University! We lived together in first year and have been good friends ever since. 

Yep, the day finally arrived... last month on the 18th July 2014 I finished University and after three long years, graduated! 

I wonder if I need to change my blog title now. I considered it, but in all honesty, I still feel like a student even though I haven't been for a good few months now for all intents and purposes. I still want to learn, I still keep up with the academic journals in my field, and I have every intention of going back to University in a few years time to get further qualifications and join the academic community full time. You never stop learning really!

But anyhow, onto Graduation day itself. It was a really nice day thankfully, and it was lovely to see everybody looking so nice and smart. I wore a blue, black and white shift dress from Dorothy Perkins, with black heels and my birthday jewellery from my boyfriend. We were an afternoon ceremony, so we went to get photos and official things done in the morning and then out for dinner with our families in the evening. 

Click for larger - and yes, I did make my boyfriend wear a tie that matched the colours of my dress. I think he looked amazing!

I kept my makeup simple, going for a neutral look and curled my hair with rags and large barreled tongs to give it a beachy waves kind of look. I saw some amazing dresses and looks, and I love how people interpreted the black tie/business dress code in so many various ways, from summery dresses to party dresses to more traditional work wear. 

With two of my favourite girls: Leigh-Anne, of Leigh-Anne Peach Photography and Faith, of WithLoveFromOpal
I spotted an awful lot of beautiful dresses and suits from a lot of high street shops, which have been especially great this year. I was spoilt for choice shopping for mine, and shops such as Next, New Look and Debenhams were particularly great in providing a selection of pretty yet classy dresses for a formal occasion such as this.

With mine and John's families. We're both the first in our families to go to University, so it was a completely new experience for everybody involved!

I'm going to miss everybody so much - I loved being a student. It wasn't really about the academic side in the end, although I did love that too. I gained so much self-confidence and had so many new and exciting experiences, as well as finding a job that I really enjoyed and excelled at alongside my studies. Even if I end up in a completely unrelated job, or one which doesn't require a degree to do, I will never regret my time spent at the University of Hull.