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.

An Update

Hi guys!

My last post was almost a month ago now and this has possibly been one of the busiest months of my life, so huge apologies for not keeping up with my posting as much as I should have been. Here is just a few things I have done since the last time I posted:

  • Graduated from University
  • Moved away from the town I went to University in (sobs)
  • Moved to a brand new city with my partner in our own little house (yay!)
  • Been on countless job and graduate scheme interviews and assessment days
  • Been thrown headfirst into adult life and responsibilities (Council tax? Joint bank accounts?? P60 forms?? Meeting new people who are not students???)
  • Celebrated no less than five of my close family member's birthdays, mostly over Skype
  • Joined two book clubs, a community choir and a gardening club in a desperate attempt to meet some people since I know nobody in my new area and it's a little nerve-racking
So you can probably appreciate why I've been a bit snowed under! However things are finally starting to settle down now, so I will be coming back to this blog asap. I have been sewing and knitting in my spare time lately, and keeping an eye out for the soon to emerge autumn/winter collections from a lot of shops and designers, so I will be posting about that as soon as I get my life together a bit!

I hope you're all well and are making the most of the gorgeous weather we've been so lucky to have lately, and congratulations if you have also recently graduated and/or finished school or college.