Gift Guides: The personal touch with Martha Jackson jewellery

I love to give gifts with a personal touch, especially when there are custom options available. My best friend has an unusual first name and I remember when we first knew each other it was near impossible to get anything with her name on off the shelf so it’s always a pleasure to get her something personalised, and the novelty never seems to wear off for her.

I was recently given the opportunity to create a custom necklace from Martha Jackson, a new to me website which sells a whole host of engraved gifts for him and for her. I knew straight away that I wanted to make something for my best friend and after careful consideration I picked out the vintage heart locket.

Necklace c/o Martha Jackson

As you can see from the photos the attention to detail on this locket is just stunning. The engraving sits neatly on the back of the locket and is some of the clearest jewellery engraving I’ve seen.When creating your jewellery there are several further customisation options available- from a choice of fonts through to the length of the chain and whether you want to add an additional charm, or gold or silver letter. You can also include a free gift message with your item.

The service from Martha Jackson was incredibly swift, they offer a standard delivery time of 2-4 days and my necklace arrived within 48 hours of placing the order. Standard delivery is free on all orders but there are express and nominated day options available for an additional cost as well as international shipping.

The locket came packaged in a neat, branded white box ready for gifting and was safe and securely packaged.

The vintage heart locket costs £37, although if you want a longer chain or additional charms/letters then this does increase. For the quality and craftsmanship involved in the item I think this represents really good value, and my best friend, who’s name by now you’ve probably gathered is Trudi is absolutely delighted with her new necklace.

I’ll definitely be returning to Martha Jackson in the run up to Christmas both for creating gifts for my nearest and dearest as well as compiling my own wish list. I’ve got my eye on a rather stunning spinning ring and shall be dropping some serious hints as the big day nears.

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Tricks and Treats with Essence

My favourite budget makeup brand, Essence have been at it again and dropped a whole host of fun products just in time for Halloween. It was my intention when these samples arrived to create a full on Halloween look but work and life took over and I’m afraid all I have for you is some swatches and lipstick experimentation. I’ve probably saved you all from a true fright anyway, whilst I can get by with everyday makeup skills I’m not exactly experienced in anything more special…anyway, whatever your plans are on Tuesday, here are some last minute must haves to complete your look.
I was so excited by all of the eye products in this package especially the brand new moonlight eyes cream in the shade gilded. This is a super light mousse type eyeshadow in the most awesome metallic copper shade. The colour is really buildable making it perfect for both work and play- I don’t have a price for this yet but I can guarantee it’ll be excellent value.

Another brand new product was the metal shock eyeshadow in supernova. Another awesome metallic finish, this time in a cream format. This is fantastic for a party smokey eye and will be well used and loved in the run up to Christmas.

The two eyeliners in the package are perfect for creating fun and funky Halloween looks. The metal art lip and eye liner in rock chick is a gorgeous metallic liner that is perfect for jazzing up any eye look or creating more dramatic designs all over the face. The super last black eyeliner has a thicker brush than I’d usually use but I still rate it, as per all long lasting essence products this really lives up to the hype and I highly recommend this to all liquid liner fiends.

Being a true lipstick fiend I was obviously excited by the products in this package. The metallic blue metal shock lipstick and metal shock lip paint are both absolutely perfect for Halloween in these spooky shades. Excuse the dodgy application in these pictures- I was in a rush and didn’t prep my lips before hand…whilst these might not be colours I’d sport on a daily basis, and my Halloween plans involve a sofa, a boyfriend and a kitten I’ll probably pop some on just for the fun of it- if nothing else I can leave a cheeky metallic smooch on Bob’s cheek!

For a more subtle look I love the sheer and shine lipstick which is so sheer I couldn’t get a good photo of it on my lips. I have a huge collection of this essence range now and love them for every day subtle lips or for toning down a heavy eye makeup look.

Lastly we have the holo rainbow nail polish which I couldn’t swatch as I currently have a gel manicure for once. This is seriously stunning though, even in the bottle and I can’t wait to try it out! This is the shade holo love, but there are four more in the range which I will definitely be buying, I’m sure.
If you’re looking for some last minute Halloween makeup, or fancy some on trend and affordable updates for the new season then definitely head to your local Wilko store or to their website where you’ll find all of these products and more for under a fiver per piece.
Anyone got any exciting Halloween plans?

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All products in this post were sent to me for blog consideration, all thoughts and dodgy makeup skills are my own.

4 Essential Secrets Of Running Any Business On A Budget*

If you’ve been watching The Apprentice and fancy yourself as an entrepreneur then you might want to start a business. Hell, you might have already started a business or are in the process of doing so. Either way, you’ll eventually come across a rather large hurdle called money. Money is a very important part of business- you need to make it, and you need to avoid spending lots of it. Unfortunately it’s hard to start a company without spending a lot of money. As a result many small business owners find they’re overspending during the startup process which gets their business off to a bad start.

It might be hard to start a company without spending lots but it’s not impossible to run one on a budget, all it takes is a few tips and tricks to help you manage your money and look for different ways around what’s considered the normal thing to do. This is exactly what I’ll help you with today as I have some trade secrets that will help you run any business on the tightest of budgets.

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Space Out Payments
As the owner of a business you will be faced with many things that you need to purchase. Most of these things are essential startup costs to get your company off the ground. The mistake most people make is they pay for everything all in one go without considering any other options. This means a huge lump sum leaves your account and you have fewer resources to call upon for other things.

Alternatively, talk to suppliers and see if they have any finance options available. You’ll be surprised at how many actually allow you to space out your payments over time instead of paying all in one go. This happens in many different industries, regardless of your business. If you see RobSinclairFinance.com.au for more info you’ll be presented with a prime example of how businesses can rent to buy. Start off paying rental payments for your supplies, then eventually you’ll pay off the whole costs and own them. You could also just rent supplies too, this spaces out payments and doesn’t take out too much money all at once. By doing this you can budget your business better and won’t spend all your money at once.

Remote Working
If you want to run a business on a budget you should make a list of different expenses you might have. Near the top of that list will be office expenses- You need somewhere to work and this costs money to rent/buy, not to mention the regular maintenance costs and purchasing of supplies.

Well, you can greatly reduce these expenses by working remotely. You and all of your employees can work from home and collaborate using the internet. It’s incredibly easy to do these days and you can visit zapier.com for more information on doing just that. It’s an idea that works perfectly for all office-based businesses looking to tighten their budget, and it’s also a good idea for retail companies that might consider paying for a store. Start your company online and run it from home instead.

Hold Back On Employee Benefits
Normally businesses are encouraged to have a good employee benefits scheme. This entices the top talent to work for you and keeps your staff happy as they feel cared for. However, when starting a business it’s probably best you leave all this good stuff until you’re properly up and running. Wait until you’ve seen significant success and growth then you can start rewarding the employees that helped to get you there with better benefits.

Why shouldn’t you offer the best benefits right from the start? Isn’t it obvious? It will cost a heck of a lot of money, which you can easily avoid spending. Think about it- you’re starting off as a small company with no reputation or anything. It’s unlikely people will be looking at your benefits package if they apply to work for you. More often than not they’re just looking for a job to help them pay their way through life. Fancy benefits aren’t expected from you just yet but they will be when you get bigger and more successful. For now hold back on them and save some extra money.

Leave Out The Flashy Extras
Budgeting is all about figuring out what’s essential to your cause and what’s just a bit of extra razzmatazz. I’ve already given you some advice on how you can buy your essential expenses on a budget but this piece of advice will help you save even more money.

All you have to do is leave out all the flashy extras you might consider buying. For me, the best example of this is a business phone or computer. Some people have a phone/computer for work and a phone/computer for personal use. They do this to keep contacts and work separate from regular contacts and general personal files. It does make sense but these two things alone can cost over a thousand pounds. Leave it out, use your own stuff instead. My great idea is to buy a hard drive for all your work files if you want to keep them separate. Check out expertreviews.co.uk for a list of the best ones money can buy right now. As for your phone- you can simply rename contacts with (WORK) next to them, so you know if someone is contacting you for work or not. Also, invest in a voicemail service so you can screen calls and take messages too.

Right, on that note you’ve now read all the tips I’ve got for running any business on a budget. It doesn’t matter what industry you work in, all these tips are applicable to you. Believe me you’ll find it much easier to stay in a financially stable position while running your company. You don’t spend too much money in the early stages, meaning your company doesn’t start out in terrible debt. Even if you have the tightest budget ever, there are still ways to start your business and work your way to the top.

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Fashionable Gifts For The Stylish Man In Your Life*

It’s a common cliché that women like to look good but men can be just as bad. The amount of time some guys spend in front of the mirror is downright shocking- women even have to tell men on dating apps they aren’t willing to hang around. Maybe it’s the pot calling the kettle black, but a girl’s gotta get her drink on at some point.

To be honest, women secretly love the fact that their men take care of their appearance. Looks aren’t everything, yet it’s nice to go out in public with a person who doesn’t look like they’ve gone through a hedge backwards. What is it with the big beards nowadays boys?

Yep, a trendy guy is a sexy guy – fact. So it makes sense to play on his ego and keep him on point. When it comes to men you never know when they will change up and go back to being casual. Plus Christmas is coming up and you need gift ideas!

Don’t worry because this post has got you covered. Here are awesome fashionable gifts for the stylish man in your life.

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A Pair Of Trainers

Formal is good, in fact it’s terrific when he dons a suit and a fitted shirt, but a guy has got to breathe from time to time. Casual will always be his main look, as is the case with most guys. Still, the times when he does dress up are extra exciting! Seen as he is going to be smart/cas, the best option is to buy a new pair of trainers. For one thing sneaks are getting dead trendy nowadays- gone are the old Nikes which look like moon boots and in are the sleek, suave replacements. Plus, men tend to wear their footwear to death. From boots to trainers the material can be hanging off before they head to JD for a new pair. As the mature one in the relationship it’s best to be on the ball and top up his sneaker collection. Then, people may think he knows what he’s doing.

A Trendy Bag

Sadly the days of briefcases are no more. Today an average businessman wonders the streets with his hands in his pockets. It’s a sad sight and one you don’t want your man to replicate. To be honest, a briefcase is an amazing gift for a guy who works in an office. Firstly it’s as practical as it is stylish. Secondly, fashions are coming back with every passing day. Soon he may be the “guy” who brought back briefcases. However he may also feel like the guy at work who looks like Will from the Inbetweeners. In this case a trendy duffel bag goes a long way. Focus on the material because the fabric makes the bag handsome. Leather, for example, is back with a bang.

Stylish Headphones

Before we get into it do you know the difference between headphones and earphones? Of course, it’s kinda self-explanatory yet guys get real serious about headsets. Earphones are out and headphones are in. It’s something to do with being a hipster. Anyway, a modern man won’t go out in public unless he has the right pair of phones on his head. Sounds like a simple purchase but it’s a delicate balance between style and quality. Beats took over the market a few years ago but people are starting to switch to better alternatives. As a rule, you can’t go wrong with Bose electronics. High quality is their main concern but they come in a variety of styles and colours. Not to burst your bubble, however but good headphones tend to cost upwards of £75. Anything less and the quality will distort.

Non-Gaudy Accessories

Most men don’t buy jewellery which looks gaudy on purpose. Even worse they think it seems fresh and elegant! The problem with guys and accessories is their lack of experience. Not to make it a gender thing, but women wear jewellery every day. The boys have only started catching up in the last couple of years so lack the experience. Still, you can’t go out and buy the pieces which you love. He has a specific style and your role as a personal shopper is to find the items which hit the brief. Plenty of men love chains yet end up looking like B. A. Baracus which is not cool. They don’t know that men’s gold chains designed by Frost NYC mix a focal point with style. However you do which is why a little black contact book is essential. Men tend to go with the first thing they see whereas women browse.

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A Razor Kit

There’s a good chance the man of your dreams has a beard. Maybe not the one which makes him look like a captain on the high seas, but stubble nonetheless. Because no woman wants a yeti for a fella, a razor kit is essential. It’s no secret that guys are lazy and will let their growth get out of hand. From a career perspective it is a bad move because it comes across as unprofessional. A sharp blade, maybe even a cutthroat will keep their beard hair to a minimum. What if you like a bit of a beard? Good question. In this scenario forget about a razor and opt for a trimmer. With a variety of settings, a Remington is an easy way to maintain the perfect amount of growth. As an extra, get him an instruction manual. Trimming is easy but shaping and moulding are a lot harder to master.

A Smart Coat

Guys have a thing with coats and jackets. For some reason they want to dress like an 18-year-old university student. Yes, a puffer jacket is stylish and warm but it looks a bit immature. Men, as in real men, don’t wear anything which is young or hipster and your guy should follow suit. To start with shop around for coats which are warm and practical. Now that autumn is here and winter on the way a jacket shouldn’t be flimsy. Once the material is on point start thinking about the style. A long, fitted coat is always a fantastic choice because it’s elegant and chic. Plus, it’s flexible. Walk through Soho in London and all the businessmen will have a stylish coat with suit trousers. Going back to the fabric, why not opt for tweed or wool? Both have an air of sophistication and are as toasty as it gets. If it’s good enough for sheep in the winter…

Chinos

Workwear has and is evolving. As a woman you know how difficult a balance it is to be comfortable and professional. Well, men go through the same thing too. Their plight isn’t as harsh seen as they don’t have to wear five-inch heels. Still your man wants to dress to impress without cutting off the air supply to his vital organs. Thankfully this is where a pair of chinos takes centre stage. Because they are fitted they look and feel like suit trousers. However, chinos are less rigid and have more give. So, when he’s sat at his desk he won’t have to worry about the circulation to his family jewels. From a style perspective navy blue and beige chinos go with pretty much any shirt and blazer. There is no reason to worry about boots either.

A Multifaceted Wallet

A wallet says a lot about a man. A guy with notes and paper sticking out either means he’s got too much money or he can’t be bothered going to the bank. A man with a small wallet relies on a card or has just come back from travelling. Smaller ones fit more snugly into tight short pockets you see. The point is people will see his wallet and make a judgement. So, it has to look the part, whether it’s a classic leather ensemble or a suede number. As a rule, the sharper, the better. But, don’t forget your man is a modern guy with modern needs. And, his wallet is the perfect appliance to keep him topped up and on the go. Yes, it can be an appliance if you get the right one. Take one with a built-in battery charger. As soon as his iPhone starts to die, he can plug it into his new age wallet. Then, he’ll never be able to say he missed your call because he had zero battery.

Sunglasses

Summer has sashayed off into the horizon, but sunglasses haven’t followed suit. The sun may not be as powerful in the fall; nonetheless there are the odd blasts of rays. Sometimes autumn in the UK is brighter than summer in Britain! Walking around wearing wood sunglasses won’t result in positive feedback when the mercury drops. However, driving with a pair of sunglasses is acceptable. In fact, it’s downright stylish in 2017. As long as he doesn’t wear them outside of the car, he’ll smash it out the park. On the even brighter side, the right ones may make him think a winter holiday is in order.

Your man may be stylish, but he’s about to get a lesson in fashion!

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New from 100 Hail Marys

Back in April I introduced East London based brand 100 Hail Marys and touted them as one to watch.

Just over six months after their original launch the brand are back with a new drop of products, with the same creativity and ethos of their first collection. I love seeing a new brand flourish and that’s exactly what 100 Hail Marys has done, below I’m sharing some of my favourite items from the new range (which is kind of my own personal wish list as well!)

The whole collection is fun and vibrant and it’s clear to see how Scandinavian street style has influenced the designs. The Vintage selection is a new range and features hand painted camouflage jackets and dresses for serious style with attitude.

For anyone who hasn’t read my original post, a brief bio of the brand (as told on their website):

“100 Hail Marys is a London-based lifestyle brand inspired by urban youth culture and street style. Founder Christian Gould has worked in the creative industry in London and Stockholm for 20 years and combines his passions from stencilling to screen printing and typography to tattoos to create our launch collection of apparel and art.

We individually screen print each piece by hand in our East London studio and we only use environmentally friendly inks. Our art pieces are limited editions of 100 which Christian creates using stencils and spray paint.”

The Letgo sweatshirt is featuring very highly on my current clothing wish list, as is the tongue-in-cheek “I did yoga once” tee.

It’s so nice to be able to follow up on a brand after covering their launch and to find them flourishing. I’m pretty certain you’ll be seeing a lot more of 100 Hail Marys in the future, both on the blog and on the streets.

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