Sunday, 26 July 2015

Blog Closing!

Hi guys! I'm sure you will have all noticed that I've not been updating very often on here lately. Well, that's because I have decided to close down Broke Student Fashion and begin a new lifestyle-focused blog over at Strange and Wonderful Being. 

There's a lot of reasons for this, but mainly I just feel as if I've somewhat outgrown this blog and it's content focus. I didn't feel that it was fair to my current readers to entirely change everything about it, so if any of you are interested in following me over to my new lifestyle focused blog I would really appreciate it. I'm also starting up an online Zine, more details of which will be shared over on my new platform as well as my regular social media. 

I'm so grateful to everybody who's read this blog and followed me along the years, and I hope many of you will continue to stick along as I grow and develop my content :) 

- Goodbye! XOX

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Favourite Spring Makeup Trends

So far this week I have been outdoors without a coat on twice. I baked a quiche and ate it with salad, and swapped my Tuesday evening wine for some ridiculously lovely elderberry cider concoction. I'm sorry guys but I'm calling it - it's officially springtime in the UK now. And that means I'm going to have to be dragged kicking and screaming away from the make-up counters, because damn are there some absolutely lovely trends arising for this coming season, and I want to try each and every one of them out if I can. These are some of my favourites....

BIG Eyeliner

From Prada to Marchesca to Saint Laurent, cat eyes sticking around, and not just the fussy, flicky, 'need ten hours and to superglue my elbow to the table to achieve' sort of ones. These are thick, chunky, heavy handed, the type that sort of look like you could do left-handed with a marker pen and still wake up the next morning looking flawless even with it smudged halfway down your cheeks. They're my sort of eyeliner for sure and I am sticking with them. Interesting to see a fair amount of lower lid eyeliner too, which I've always loved, but rarely see as often nowadays. 

Bright Eyes

Not just graphic, it seems, but actually glowing, there's so many beautiful shades of eyeliner and eye shadow on these catwalks it's amazing. I'm sort of loving the iridescent white combined with glowing skin and pink lips for an ethreal kind of look, and I dare you to show me a person who doesn't look fabulous in electric blue eyeliner. I think some of these looks would be great replicated using eye shadows such as the Maybelline 24 hour colour tattoo, or Sleek's i-Divine Ultra Mattes palette, which is around for less than a tenner. 

Bare Lips

I am a big lipstick lover, but let's be real - Spring time at my work is when the ice cream van starts to visit, the air con fights valiantly against my best hydrating lipsticks, and more often than not my carefully applied 7am mouth ends up looking like a patchy, smudged nightmare by lunchtime. These slap on lipbalm and go looks are kind of refreshing for a change, and i'm definitely going to be forgoing my beloved nudes and pinks a few times to give this a try. My favourite non-glossy, non-tinted lip balms for a look like this are Carmex (£2.69 in Boots, and very often found in Poundland), Nivea Essential Care (£1.65 in Boots) and my favourite, my good old Burts Bees - Less than a fiver for the little tin, it lasts absolutely forever and you can actually feel it working. 

Brows On Parade

Where anything at all has been done to brows, it seems, they've just been neatened a bit and made darker, with most left just completely natural and messy looking. Cara Delevingne and the like have really made a massive impact here, and as someone who over-plucked a lot as a teenager, I couldn't be more thankful. I draw my naturally light brows on most days, but i'm glad that their natural thickness and all-round vigor is being appreciated as well. 

...And one i'm not so keen on

I'm sorry Vera Wang, but the only people pulling off lilac and plum eyeshadow under their eyes are actual supermodels. The rest of us don't tend to need much help in looking like we haven't slept properly in days - we can manage that on our own!

All things considered, I feel like this year's looks seem more pushy, more graphic than your typical spring pastels and bare faced freshness, and I really like it. It's strking a balance between au naturel simplicity and high-impact, low effort colour splashes, which feels decidedly modern and refreshing. I'm looking forward to giving some of it a go, especially some graphic eye looks in bright colours, and prying away my lipsticks and lipglosses for a few days. Hope you're all doing well and enjoying this little burst of warm weather while it lasts, and I'll see you all soon.

- Natalie XOX

Friday, 3 April 2015

April Goals

Spring time! Easter time! Bank holiday weekend! Marginally less rain outside! What's not to love about April? It got to TWELVE degrees outside yesterday, like seriously. That's an event in the north. March was a great month for me overall, except health-wise, which is why I haven't been around as much. Still, i'm plodding on, and hoping to start thriving rather than just surviving sooner rather than later with some new tablets and a couple of upcoming hospital appointments. I had a great time on my spa weekend, did some good deeds for Lent, planted some lovely things in the garden, and tried my best to keep in touch with friends and family far and wide, although I could have done a little better in that probably. This month? I'm storming ahead. 

  • TREAT - I'm going on a trip to London this month! I'll be watching Les Miserables at the west end, meeting up with a friend and doing some touristy type things. I want to eat great food and enjoy being with friends and family in a really cool city that I hardly ever get to visit. So excited.
  • CRAFT - I've been seeeriously neglecting my crafting lately, but I'm aiming to get back into it soon. I want a knitted patchwork blanket by next winter if it kills me, and I've got an overflowing basket upstairs of clothes that need sewing or mending in one way or another. It's as good a way to spend a lazy evening as any, and since I can do most of it while watching Netflix I've got no excuse really. 
  • FAMILY - I'm visiting my family not once but twice this month, just because, and they're hopefully coming down to see me as well. Easter in my home was always a time for new clothes, chocolate, and a whole weekend spent with loved ones, and i'm glad to be able to keep that up this year. 
  • SAVE - This is a less fun one, but a necessary one. I've been lucky enough to receive a small raise at work and a bonus lately and I'm so grateful for it, but i'm trying to put as much as I can away for when we might need it most. Supporting yourself is hard but it gets so much harder when you get down to nothing and realise you've nowhere else to turn, so i'm trying my best to build a solid foundation. 
I've got high hopes for April, readers, so it better not let me down. Me and my kitten are spending today cuddling and tidying up, before I meet up with my partner later for a bit of shopping and a walk around town. Hope you're all having great days and great months so far, and best wishes for the next four weeks!

- Natalie XOX

Sunday, 22 March 2015

What I Wore: Spa Weekend in County Durham

Hey all! So recently I had a gorgeous mini weekend away with my boyfriend at The Manor House Hotel in County Durham. I love Durham so much, i've been quite a lot of times having grown up so close in Newcastle upon Tyne, and it's such a pretty place. It was a fairly good weekend, very windy, but we managed to do a lot of shopping and have some nice walks around the village where we were actually staying, about an hour out of the city.

This was the first time i've ever been to a spa - I know, right? Well I can confirm it's certainly not going to be the last time, because I have obviously been missing out. Although just small, the hotel has a pool, gym, sauna, steam room and Jacuzzi, as well as offering a range of treatments. Our room was nice, just across from the main building in the courtyard - the hotel itself is amazingly interesting, as it is drenched in history. The main bit of the building used to belong to Henry VIII as one of his northern hunting lodges! It's been lovingly preserved throughout whilst still having all of the modern conveniences, and has a really lovely welcoming atmosphere. There was a wedding fair on the weekend that we stayed and I couldn't help but think that it would be a really, really special place to get married.

Left - Floral Blouse from Primark, Statement Necklace from New Look, Jeans from New Look 

Center - Top from H&M, Khaki stretch jeans from River Island 

Right - Dress from New Look, Tights from Primark, Ballet Pumps from Brantano Shoes

As well as exploring Durham, we took a nice long walk around the area, and had dinner in the hotel restaurant which was just amazing. In the spa itself we both enjoyed a swim and a steam both days we were there, and I opted to have a facial. This was really strange but really nice - i've not really experienced someone else washing my face for me in quite a few years! The girl was lovely though, and chatted away to me while she exfoliated, smoothed and massaged my face, giving me skincare advice and asking questions about my blog. The products she used were almost exclusively Kaeso ones, which wasn't a brand I'd come across before, but they smelled and felt lovely. A quick google tells me that they use all natural ingredients and that all products are free from Parabens, Sulphates, Propylene Glycol and Mineral Oil, which can only be a good thing really. My skin felt thoroughly calmed and soothed for a good two days afterwards, and I think it'd be a really nice thing to have done before a special occasion, or even just as a general pick me up on a bad week.

I hope you're all having a lovely Sunday and i'm sorry this post is later than expected! I'm well aware i've been a bit absent this month, between health issues, work and visiting friends I've hardly had a minute free, but i'll be back this week now. Enjoy your weekends and may you have a great week ahead! Almost April already, can you believe it?!

- Natalie XOX

Friday, 6 March 2015

Coming Up Rosy - Max Factor Spring '15

Hey all! It is so nice here today, coinciding perfectly with the beginning of my few days off work, so i'm making the absolute most of it. I've been working in the garden a little bit, planting some bits and pieces and starting off some seeds indoors, and took a trip into town with John earlier to have a walk around and pick up mother's day presents for our mams. I needed some new foundation and the Max Factor counter surprised me with a lovely little free gift! I love when these come out, they're such good value for money and always really seasonal. This 'Coming Up Rosy' box is spring themed and free when you spend £15 at any Max Factor counter, and contains:

  • Colour Elixer Lipstick in Star Dust Pink 
  • Glossfinity Nail Varnish in Pink'ed
  • 24 False Lash Effect Mascara in Black
  • £2 / €3.50 off any Facefinity or Skin Luminizer All Day Primer or Foundation
The selection is a very pink one, perfect for early Spring and was put together by Caroline Barnes, a make-up artist whose comments and tips are included in the box in a little booklet. I'm interested to try out the mascara, as i'm a fan of the standard False Lash Effect -  I wonder if this is any noticeably longer-lasting. 

The Pink'ed nail varnish is a lovely colour, sort of nude undertones but with a hint of orange brightness. I'm not sure how it'll look with my skin tone, as I think it'll look better with a tan, but i'm going to give it a try and if not it'll be passed onto my sister, more that likely. I also bought this lovely little mini varnish in Cactus Green, which caught my eye as I don't actually have any green varnishes! These little minis are really handy as they last ages and are great to chuck into makeup bags and try out new colours. 

This lipstick is super difficult to photograph! It's a much milder and lighter pink in real life than it looks here, and has an almost frosted sort of finish, which i've always been a bit scared of with my pale skin. I actually sort of love it though?? It's bright and light without being too in your face, and as always with Colour Elixer, the application is a dream, smooth and creamy and plain lovely. This is going into my makeup bag for sure. 

I am wearing: Max Factor Facefinity 3 in 1 Foundation, Avon Ideal Luminous Blush, Max Factor Wild Shadow Pot in Gold Amazon, Boots Collection Pressed Powder in 18 Ivory, Max Factor 24 False Lash Effect Mascara and Soap and Glory, and apparently, a whole lot of hair. I seriously need a haircut!

You can pick up this free gift at any Boots Max Factor counter whilst stocks last, so make sure you get them while they're still around! 

- Natalie XOX

(This was a free gift associated with a purchase I made with my own money - all opinions are my own)

Monday, 2 March 2015

March Goals

March is supposed to bring with it the first beginnings of Spring, so I was terribly disappointed today when I wore a nice new floral dress to work and immediately got snowed on when I stepped out of the house. Ah, Britain. What would we do without your ever changeable weather. Anyhoo, another month has gone by and it's been a fun one if i'm honest. My sister came down to visit for a weekend, I won my first independent deal at work, I did a legit blog photo-shoot and everything - it's been pretty good, overall. I reorganised and tidied the house a little, although I didn't get a chance to make the window seat i've been planning - hopefully get that done soon. I've been making an effort to take at least one bubble bath a week which has been much appreciated, as well as drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. My skin is thanking me greatly for both. So what else am I going to do this month? Well...

  • ESCAPE - I am going on my first ever spa day this month! I can't wait, it's a real treat for me and I'm hoping to go on many more in the future. I'm going to have a massage, have a swim, go for a three course meal and spend a night in a luxurious hotel. SO excited. Anyone have any tips on what to do there to make the most of it? 
  • KEEP IN TOUCH - I have friends and family all across the country - and the world for that matter - and soooometimes with my hectic schedule it's easy to get busy and slip out of touch for a week or so, e. With the internet making communication so easy, I've really got no excuse, so this month i'm going to make an extra special effort to skype, facebook, whatsapp, write letters and do whatever else it takes to keep up to date with everyone.
  • SHARE - As some of you may know, it is currently Lent, and this year rather than give something up for 40 days, i'm doing a 40 days of good deeds challenge which is really fun. Every day I get an email with a little challenge to complete, like compliment someone I don't know, or buy someone a drink at the coffee shop when i'm ordering. I'm going to try and share positivity with everyone as much as possible this month - because why not??
  • GROW - This was my word of the year, and i'm still sticking to it! Growth in all senses of the word, including literal by clearing out the front and back gardens one weekend this month in order to sow some new seeds ready for Spring to hopefully appear soon. I love me some begonias. 
So there it is, another month's worth of resolutions. Have you got anything nice planned this March, or anything you want to share? I'd love for these posts to become a place where we all share our plans and hopes for the month ahead, so feel free to let me know in the comments!

Have a great day, blog readers, and I'll see you all soon.

- Natalie XOX

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

New Look SS15 Collection

I confess - the bus stop I wait at every morning is stationed right outside a massive New Look store, and their changing window displays have been my main morning entertainment for the last few weeks. Today I thought I would share with you my picks of the new arrivals, and talk a little about the trends I have my own eye on this Spring. 


Whatever you want to call them, tunics, smocks, pinafores, these loose fitting minidresses are everywhere at the moment and New Look has an especially nice collection. These are so easy to throw on with a jacket, tights and ankle boots, and I always feel very 60's in them, especially paired with flicky eyeliner and fluffy hair. 

Monochrome Silhouettes 

Question - if a blazer has no collar or sleeves, is it still a blazer? Apparently so, and it's not even the most unique silhouette I saw in the new collection. Lots of cut out shapes and unexpectedly high necklines paired with slashed skirts, asymetric hems and geometric shapes, it's all quite edgy and 'fashiony' and I kind of love it to be honest. 

Unexpected Tailoring

 Now I say unexpected because blazers, skirts, pants, you expected those things to have neat and clean lines and lovely pressed seams. T-shirts and jeans and loose cotton dresses though, tend to be a bit rougher around the edges and rightly so, but more and more this season i'm seeing t-shirts finished off with gorgeously clean bias binding, neat half-sleeves and smooth cap sleeves and it's just so satisfying and tidy. 

Blocky Platforms

Hell. Yes. The 'flatform' may be often berated as an ugly shoe, but as an unusually small person with bad legs, they are my favourite type of shoe to wear when I need to pretend to be taller, and wedge heels platforms are equally amazing in my book. How good would those pink nude ones look with some white shorts and a sleeveless top? God, warm weather needs to hurry itself up and arrive already. 

Hope you enjoyed this and I'll see you all again soon! 

- Natalie XOX

Sunday, 22 February 2015

February Favourites

With the days slowly but surely getting longer, the snow easing off and the post-Christmas malaise finally easing up, i'm definitely starting to feel the end of winter approaching. It's almost the end of February now but I am loving a lot of things this month and I just had to share some with you lovely lot. Without further ado, here are some of things I am enjoying currently!

Rimmel London Lasting Finish Kate Moss 01

Y'know some days, you really just need a good strong red lipstick to pick you up and shove you through the rest of the day. I've really been into this one lately, It's quite a deep, true red with a glossy finish. Lasting Finish is always pretty high quality but I'm really impressed with this limited edition classic. Pretty good staying power, although not the best I've ever seen. Also this might sound weird, but it smells really nice! I appreciate the little touches like that. 

Soap and Glory Whipped Clean Shower Butter

I feel like I never stop extolling the virtues of Soap and Glory on here but there's a good reason for that! This shower butter is really weird to use in all honesty, it sort of feels like you're trying to use moisturiser in the shower for a few moments before it lathers properly. That probably has something to do with the fact it's over 25% oils and butters, which leaves skin super soft and smelling amazing, quite a lot like vanilla and macadamia. YUM. 

The Word of Ice & Fire: The Untold History of Westeros and The Game of Thrones

I am so excited for Game of Thrones returning next month! I've read all of the books and love the show a lot - it feels like it's been ages waiting for it to come back on now. To calm my cravings until then, I treated myself to this companion book that goes super in depth about the history of the world behind it and I am enjoying it so much. It's massively detailed and the illustrations in it are gorgeous.

I do not exaggerate when I say that I live 1 minutes walk from an Asian cash and carry foodstore. It is a DANGEROUS THING to be so close to so many tasty snacks. My favourites at the moment are these strawberry pocky which taste just like strawberry milkshake and are very moreish, and Unif chilled green tea. I'm still on a low-caffeine diet for the foreseeable future, so it's great to have a nice alternative that I can just pick up and go, and that is really refreshing as well. 

Hope you're all having a great week - I've got a long weekend off work  and i'm making the most of it burying myself in Netflix, blankets and tea, so may you all have equally great chill-out time when you need it most. 

- Natalie XOX

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

What I Wore: Nightmare in Pink

I got home from work tonight in a bit of a flurry. My bus was stuck in traffic because of an accident, I forgot my phone at home all day and my umbrella broke. However tired I was though, I was entirely digging my outfit today, so the long and short of it was me bursting into the kitchen and yelling 'JOHN PLEASE COME AND TAKE PHOTOS OF ME PLEEEEEASE.' He was just slightly confused, but very obliging, and so very kindly took these pictures whilst simultaneously playing with the cat, cooking dinner and filling the dishwasher. He is a wonder man.

Dress - Boohoo, Jumper - Primark, Tights - Primark, Boots - Primark

 I like this dress a lot and I love wearing it to work, because it's both smart and comfy which is all I really want in life to be honest. Being so pale, I've never really been much for pink things as I tend to think they either wash me out or bring out the pinky red undertones in my skin, but I've been branching out lately. Plus the collar is just great - who doesn't love a good collar? Also, according to BooHoo, this colour is apparently 'nude' - I do not agree, but hey ho. This jumper was £3 in Primark and if you can't see, it's sparkly! It washes really nicely and is soft, so I think it's kind of awesome really.

Eyeliner - Rimmel, Lips - Rimmel & Soap and Glory, Blush - Avon
Makeup wise, I had to go pink, obviously. Two types of pink lipstick, in fact! Underneath, Rimmel Moisture Renew 130 Oxford St, Fuchsia, and on top Soap & Glory Sexy Mother Pucker Lip Lacquer in Charm Offensive. I really enjoy the colour and high gloss of the lip lacquer but I find it wears off pretty quickly, especially when eating and drinking, so having a longer-lasting lipstick underneath allows me to keep some colour between applications. 

Have some outtakes, while you're at it. Arya can't help but be involved when there's a camera around. She's 100% a poser. 

Hope you're all having a wonderful day whatever you're doing! 

- Natalie XOX