The Art of Layering

It feels like ages since I last purposely wore a monochrome outfit. It would appear I have un-intentionally embraced the world of colour and that’s no bad thing. Still, it felt kind of good to get back in to my old faithful mode of black and white dressing- somehow this slip dress has missed out on being packed away with the rest of my Summer clothes so rather than languishing unloved in my wardrobe I thought I’d make it earn it’s keep.

Dress: Archive by Alexa at M&S (first collection) | Jumper: TTYA x Long Tall Sally | Boots: Office

Some people appear to be born with an inbuilt ability to put together the perfect layered outfit and make it look effortless. I am not one of them. As much as I love the look of slip dresses worn over high neck knits on other people on me I just felt a bit…awkward and bulky. Probably I need to pick up a couple of lighter weight roll necks, this could be the problem but it’s not just this layered outfit that I feel ungainly in, I just appear to lack that innate ability to bundle myself up against the cold and still look chic. Perhaps I’ll stick to my current uniform of oversized dresses and chunky boots as you can’t go too far wrong with that, I’m sure there must be a secret to the art of layering though (although you’d think by the age of almost 30 I’d have it worked out!)

I can’t believe we’re almost done with January, it’s going to be another one of those years that just speeds by isn’t it? I reckon we all deserve a pat on the back for getting through the month- it’ll be Spring before we know it!

Does anyone else feel my layering pain? If you had any tips and pointers I’d be very grateful for them…


Brand Lust- AllSaints*

In my mind the high-street exists in three distinct levels: affordable (Primark, New Look, H&M, Monki and the like), places to shop when I have some money saved (Topshop, Zara, Oasis, ASOS, Urban Outfitters) and then the “in my dreams” shops (Cos, AllSaints, Kurt Geiger, Reiss, Whistles etc). I can count on one hand the number of items I own from the latter category- in fact it’s just one, a pair of shoes from Kurt Geiger. The others are left strictly for wish list only…they aren’t quite designer but at the same time they aren’t affordable for someone like me unless I wanted to go wild and run up a heck of a lot of debt on a credit card which isn’t my style.

The one brand that gives me the most “I wish I was rich” feels has to be AllSaints. It’s a shop I both love and hate to browse in. I love it because the minimal designs and beautifully cut pieces appeal to me immensely but hate it because I know that whatever I find will remain just out of my budget reach (well, far out of it actually even with a cheeky discount code which you can find here

I’m forever coveting other blogger’s outfits that feature AllSaints items, particularly their signature leather jackets which is what first drew me to the brand in the first place. With time on my hands as my sick leave continues and a strange desire to torture myself one morning by having a good old browse I thought I would share my current wish list- honestly, when I’m back earning money I’m going to have a dedicated “quality over quantity” savings fund and start building myself a capsule wardrobe of beautiful, minimal basics that will last and last.

Knitwear is definitely an area in which I want to invest as I do spend the vast majority of winter in some variation of chunky knit jumpers or cardigans. What I really like about this AllSaints piece (and you can’t see it in the picture come to think of it) is that it has cut out elbow details which add slight edge on an otherwise plain piece. No wish list of mine would be complete without a pair of ankle boots on it and despite wearing flats 90% of the time I was instantly drawn to this heeled biker boot. They cost almost £200 but are a timeless design that I could see lasting for many, many seasons and could be worn with everything from jeans to dresses. Which takes me swiftly on to this dress- I love AllSaints dresses and how they drape so elegantly. This “oil black” coloured one could be worn quite easily for work and play and it would also take you from season to season with endless layering potential.
I don’t have any particular reason for including this khaki green jacket on my wish list. It was just “I love it purely for how it looks” and that’s that! The trousers however would be the perfect addition to my work wardrobe for when I am in the office. I much prefer culotte style trousers to full length ones, they just feel more me…how great would they look with those ankle boots above? And of course the leather jacket- I could probably write an entire wish list post dedicated to AllSaint’s leather jackets as there isn’t one I don’t like. But I picked this one over them all, and at £328 it is never going to be mine but I will continue to dream.
Please tell me I’m not the only one who categorises shops like this? If someone gave you £1000 and one hour to spend it where would you be heading?


My (latest) vaping experience with e-cigarette direct & giveaway

I always feel like this kind of blog post is a bit taboo- you don’t see smoking, or vaping mentioned all that much within the blogging community but I’m pretty sure I’m not the only smoker out there, or the only person seeking an alternative.

I’ve been a smoker since I was 17, that’s almost 13 years now and to be honest I haven’t enjoyed it for probably the last 5 years. Add to that the ever-rising cost of cigarettes, the fact I’m not getting any younger and of course all of the health dangers that come with smoking I’ve been mulling over the idea of quitting for a while now.

As much as I hate to admit it, I’m not quite ready for cold turkey. Smoking has always been related to my mental health and a coping mechanism when anxiety gets too much. I’ve tried patches and gums in the past but it’s the hand to mouth action that I missed and the inhalation so vaping has always held some kind of appeal. I’ve given it a go once or twice in the past but didn’t get much from it if I’m honest- however with the idea of stopping the cigarettes firmer in my mind than ever it was timely when e-cigarette direct offered to set me up with the kit so I could try again.

For the device itself I picked out the Halo Tank Kit* based on the reviews (and the aesthetic I’ll admit). The kit itself represents excellent value, currently on offer at £17.59 but only £21.99 full price. That’s just one week’s worth of cigarettes for me so already you can see the money saving potential as this will last a heck of a lot longer!

I went a bit crazy ordering all kinds of flavoured liquids, again from the Halo Brand*. At £3.99 the liquids are cheaper than a ten pack of cigarettes and again last an awful lot longer- I’m two weeks in and still on my first bottle. I like the fact you can pick from a whole range of flavours, the novelty appeals to me but even the regular tobacco flavoured ones are a lot more palatable than an actual cigarette.

It has been a slow process but this is the longest I have stuck with vaping and whilst I’m not completely off of cigarettes yet I am getting there. This would be a good time to add that I AM NOT ADVOCATING VAPING AS HEALTHY, or indeed any better for you than smoking as I know there is still a lot of research in to the effects going on. From a financial point of view it has already had clear benefits and I’ve found that I’m actually reaching for both cigarettes and the vape kit less and less which is hopefully a sign that I am heading in the right direction to stopping full stop.

Until I’m ready to stop completely though I will be giving my custom to e-cigarette direct. The speed of service was the most notable part of the experience- I placed my order on the Wednesday and had it with me on the Thursday!

For anyone else thinking about giving vaping a go I always have a giveaway running to win yourself £100 worth of kit! Just follow the simple instructions below! Giveaway runs from 26/1/17 until 17/2/17, UK only.

Win an e-cigarette kit worth £100 #17


All products were sent to me by the brand for blog consideration but I was under no obligation to post.

Nail SOS with Essence

My nails aren’t one of my strongest features. I’ve always envied anyone that can grow their nails or who have nails that hold their shape once filed. Mine seem to last less than a day after a manicure and break once they get to a certain length. They also are generally dry and ridged and if I had it my way I’d have a constant shellac manicure to cover them up!

My high-street hero makeup brand Essence have launched a range of products to care for and repair your natural nails- from hardeners and strengtheners to nourishing cuticle oils…and nothing costs more than £2!

They kindly sent over a selection of the products for me to try out and I had high hopes having yet to be failed by any Essence product…could they live up to the hype once more?
The first product I tried was the SOS Nail Detox* (£2) which is a water based polished/base coat infused with algae extract and vitamin B5. It actually has quite an aquatic scent to it and with regular use I can definitely see and feel an improvement in the hydration of my nails. It also gives natural nails a lovely glossy shine when worn as a clear polish so I’m planning on stocking up.

The second product was one of the colour & care strengthening nail polishes* in the shade “I care for you” which is a gorgeous pastel pink. These polishes come in 5 pretty shades (£2 each) and are enriched with natural ingredients to do good whilst looking good.

My nails are feeling so much stronger from using these products and at these prices I really do recommend hot footing it down to your local Wilko if you’re in need of a bit of a nail detox after the festive season. I’m also really liking the 4 in 1 nail file* (£2) which is perfect for essential maintenance on the go.

Have you tried any of these products? Or do you have any nail care top tips to share? Leave them in the comments below…


Dress of the month with boohoo

I’m always up for a challenge so when one of my favourite online brands boohoo got in touch asking if I would like to take part in their “Dress of the Month” campaign I didn’t waste much time in saying yes! The idea is quite simple, boohoo send out one of their dresses to a few selection bloggers with the idea that we all style it in our own way. All I knew before the dress arrived was that it was going to be grey- the rest was a complete surprise and one I eagerly anticipated.

Dress c/o boohoo (get it here) | Boots: Miista | Backpack: River Island (alternative)

With this kind of challenge it generally has one of two outcomes- you either love the product you’re sent to style and it becomes one of your staples OR you wear it for the blog post then it never sees the light of day again. Thankfully this dress falls in to the first category and I’ve been getting a lot of wear from this since it arrived. The dress itself is an absolute bargain at £12 and also comes in blush and black. I did opt for a size up from my usual and I am glad I did as it’s a little tight across the shoulders so if you do decide to purchase perhaps bear that in mind!

I had several ideas on how to style the dress- a sports luxe vibe with trainers and a bomber jacket, something girly with pastels galore or a toughened up look with killer boots and a statement bag. In the end the toughened up look won, I’ve been favouring that style a lot lately and really I just wanted an excuse to get this kick-ass Miista boots out in to the light of day again as I love them so much and they don’t get nearly enough wear (and yes, they still remain one of my best ever bargains at £6.50!).

So there we have it. My take on boohoo’s dress of the month. How would you have styled it?