Outfit: Luella & Chanel Pretty in Pink

563588_646210228752366_679418915_nToday I’m Wearing: Luella dress from TK Maxx, Luella t-shirt, vintage Chanel fantasy tweed jacket, Michael Perry Cherry shoes from Spartoo Luxury, vintage faux snakeskin bag, John Greed ‘Midnight Orchid’ necklace*.

Is it just me or are these so many Social Media options these days! I have been fully immersed in Instagram since getting my iPhone (and super grateful for its share to Twitter & Facebook function), but I keep getting told off by those of you who shun all forms of Social Media. So I decided I would keep on sharing just my very favourite Instagram snaps on the blog to try and make it fair to those of you without Instagram / those who see the same snap on all my channels! It is hard to please everyone I know, but I do try. Big thanks for all the lovely feedback on my Inspirations series, I hope to make it regular.

This pretty pink outfit is what I wore to see the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Sleeping Beauty last week at the Lowry. A lovely treat from my gorgeous friends┬á Z & A who spoil me and Mother of Pearl far too much. It was the first night off we had both taken in a long time so it was nice to get dressed up and get swept away for the night. I adore the ballet, the dancing, the costumes, the incredible orchestra, everything about it. It has been many years since I donned a tutu and leotard (must dig out those photos for you) but I did feel a little princess-like in this poufy Luella dress.

You might remember the agonising I did over it when I first found it in TK Maxx reduced from ┬ú600 to around ┬ú200. I didn’t wear pink, certainly didn’t do girly and really couldn’t afford to buy a dress I might never wear. But it had pockets and I love pockets. It also made a rather satisfying swishy sound when I walked. I made myself put it back on the rail and that was that. I went home and thought about it. Thought about it a bit more. Went back for it and alas it was gone.

A few weeks later, I was back in the store and there it was, magically it appeared on the sale rail. I figured that was fate and took it home with me. Some how I now find myself with the exact same dress in orange and  a skirt version of this dress too. Obsessively addictive personality, me? I paired it with other fanciful things and off I went, a fairytale night in a fairytale outfit.

Old BookCase Shoe Storage Display

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I am still midway with the renovations and awaiting a few more shelves for my walk-in – yep I do have more shoes than I thought. In my bedroom I decided to swap my old chest of draws for a taller styles so was left with a space. I debated having another Billy bookcase but didn’t want to make the room cramped. Instead I decided to evict all the books from this bookcase we had in the hall and bring it in to my bedroom. Since it has glass doors I thought it would be great to display more more ornate shoes whilst keeping them safe from dust. The bookcase was inherited from my Granddad, it still has his cigarette┬á burn on the top. I remember as a child my mum telling him off as he would often leave his cigarette balanced on the top whilst he went off doing things. It doesn’t really match the otherwise white room but I really quite like how it looks, or perhaps that’s just because I like the bookcase, either way I’m happy with it. I am still putting off re-varnishing the wood floors, it wasn’t a fun job the first time I did it.

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The ‘before’ shot

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Cigarette burn and a cup mark

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I also picked up these fun storage boxes from Dunelm, I use my Lush hatboxes to hide away bits and bobs but had filled them up so these will be great for hiding messy make-up and toiletries. I know it will be worth it in the end, but I’d just like to be able to find a pair of socks without having to rummage through ten bin bags first! Hopefully by next week it should be finished, just one last trip to Ikea.

Is there a cost to being beautiful?

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The unloved pile including – Dior,Chanel, YSL, The Body Shop, Benefit, Topshop, Clinique, Butter, Cargo, Illamasqua, Bobbi Brown

I hold my hands up and admit I am a total beauty junkie. I can’t resist a shiny new nail polish or the perfect lipstick to update my look each season and also as a little treat. Even designer make-up products don’t come with the eye watering price tag as a pair of shoes from the same brand so I never feel guilty about it and I never really see it as a big purchase. You can buy a lipstick and┬áyou hardly notice the money going out. In fact I always protest I hardly have any make up, in truth I should really say I hardly use any make up. It wasn’t until clearing out my dresser this week, when I emptied out all my make up stash onto my bed and saw it all there in one huge pile that I realised how much I really had, and how much it must have all cost! Granted the majority of things are in current use, I tend to use things up before I buy new but I do like to have a good selection. What I did find annoying was the pile of unloved products, ones I’ve bought and been disappointed with or simply didn’t suit me. The slippery and smudgy YSL lipstick, the crumbly Bobbi Brown eye shadow, the gritty Dior lip gloss, the pore settling Illamasqua highlighter…┬á it all adds up to a fair amount. I’ve since learnt that one of my favourite brands Bobbi Brown will actually exchange unsuitable products, putting them even higher up on my hits list but I don’t know any other brand that does that. So even though I know all these products won’t get used, because they were so expensive I can’t bring myself to throw them away.

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My life in lipstick!  Bobbi Brown, Chanel, Tom Ford, YSL

On the other hand there are all the products I absolutely love! Above you can see my rather predictable choice in lipsticks, the majority Chanel for their incredible colours, 2x Bobbi Brown which are my everyday essentials, 2x YSL my summer brights, 2x Tom Ford for special occasions. I don’t know what I would do without my red lippie!

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Empties! Much loved products from past and present

Before lipsticks I was a gloss girl through and through, this Clinique Cherry Spritzer was my absolute favourite and must be about ten years old, the Dior pretty pink and Chanel shimmery bronze also much loved all nearly empty but still hoarded. The Benefit Rush Hour, Chanel concealer, The Body Shop lip line fixer (please restock this) and Hemp lip balm are all empties that I really loved – why keep them empty tubes I ‘ve no idea!

I’ve now managed to bin the empties and those which are well past sell by date, apart from the few mistake buys I have to say that yes beauty comes with a cost, but a girls make up bag is about far more than buying beauty. Its that extra bit of confidence a dab of concealer can bring, that pop of colour a bright lippy gives an outfit, those carefully manicured nails polish off your look, sexily flicked eye liner, super fun nail art. There are many things that money can’t buy, but a little cheerful make up treat is always worth every penny to me!

Are you a make up hoarder?

Mini-Snaps: Prints & Patterns

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1. Vivienne Westwood dresses and belts; 2. Rupert Sanderson shoes; 3. Stella McCartney blouse; 4. Vivienne Westwood Men’s jacket; 4. Little Chanel outfit; 6. vintage Chanel Fantasy tweed jacket.

These are actually from the week before the builders came, noway I was getting pastel pink Chanel out with the house covered in dust. First up are a selection of dresses I had picked out, nice summery ones which I rarely get the chance to wear. With the house being a building site I though it would be best to choose a few outfits and keep them somewhere easy to get so as not to risk things getting ruined. On the first day of the renovations we forgot to pull up the rugs in my bedroom and lounge and they are totally destroyed, lesson learned – cover everything imaginable as plaster dust is a sneaky thing. Ah yes the beautiful Rupert Sanderson Lintie shoes, as you can probably see they are far too big for me, I got sent the wrong size by mistake and they didn’t have my correct size so sadly they had to go back. Boo, hoo. I have asked for the super sexy Jean pumps to be sent as a replacement lets hope they fit.

This is a close up of the print on a Stella McCartney blouse I found at TK Maxx earlier in the year, it is beautiful and lists all the old ship routes. Educational and fashionable. The second print close up is the Vivienne Westwood Tea Garden print, they have used the print from SS13 women’s Gold Label for pre-collection Men’s in this stunning bomber jacket.┬á Quite fancy it myself.

Finally a partial outfit shot, got my Chanel on. This vintage jacket is one of my most treasured possessions. From the 80s but you will still find similar in the store today. Also a little peep at my new flats. One thing I always treat myself to are Chanel flats, I’ve tried other brands but nothing compares to the sheer quality, comfort and longevity of Chanel. They are expensive but last for years, well worth the investment. Will show you more of these soon, I went for something a bit different to my usual ballerina.

Hope you are all enjoying this sunshine.

Review: Chanel Coloured Mascara + Video

One of the most talked about beauty products this summer are the coloured mascaras by Chanel. For the L’Ete Papillon Summer 2013 collection the Inimitable Waterproof mascara was recreated in four shocking colours:

Blue Note – vibrant blue, Zest – pollen yellow, Lime Light – mint green, Aqua Blue – shimmering pale blue

As a total Chanel beauty junkie I couldn’t resist going to try them out.

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From top: Aqua Blue on nude lashes, Zest over black mascara, Blue Note over black mascara, all worn with Stylo eyeliner in True Blue

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 Blue Note on naked lower lashes with Blue Bay Stylo Eyeshadow

I didn’t try the Lime Light but did try the other three. First up is Aqua Blue worn on upper and lower lashes, whilst the colour looks very pretty here as I am looking up head on it made me look like I had no eye lashes against the blue liner. I think it would look better with a contrasting liner and shadow.

Zest has been the most talked about colour, yellow mascara does sound shocking, however at Chanel they suggested using the colours on the tips o the lashes as a highlight over black mascara rather than full cover. I do like the yellow highlight but it was hard to see until you caught the light, far more subtle than I expected.

Blue Note was my favourite by far and the only mascara I actually purchase. Over black mascara it gives a deep, almost indigo flash. Alone it is a vivid sky blue, I have been wearing it just on my lower lashes which really opens up the eyes.

All in all I think the coloured mascaras are a fun product for summer, giving a fresh and colourful look. I would recommend going down to your local Chanel counter and giving them a try.

What do you think, love or loath?

What the MET Gala 2013 Can Teach Us

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┬áCommenting on trussed up celebs isn’t usually my game but I really couldn’t resist with this years MET Gala having a Punk theme. Having a theme for any event doesn’t usually bode well and the stars out last night fell victim trying to live up to it. Unless you are at a fancy dress party don’t change your style for anyone! Let’s have a look eh…

Starting with Dame Viv and date Lily Cole, if anyone had the right to turn up in pins and rips it was Viv but of course she has been there done that. Instead she chose a sumptuous taffeta dress and cape from AW12, voluminous with a dropped waist. Pinned to her breast was a photo of Wiki-leaks’ Bradley Manning. In a sea of tits and legs it was ironically the most punk look of them all.

Lily wore a Westwood gown of course, the design the same as the iconic Olympic dress however the corset of the MET dress crafted from Amazonian wild rubber, a natural material.When I first saw this dress I wasn’t aware of it’s construction, stating on Facebook how I wished it had been made of rubber! The reason this came to mind being the colour of the dress, recalling the colour of the original rubber and latex punk clothing sold at SEX. The photo I found about just shows up the contrast of the corset and skirts.

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Both Vivienne and Lily wore Clomper shoes which I was immensely impressed with,Vivienne wore a runway version with ribbon ties and intricate embroidery. Had to LOL at the lady in blue carrying her heels down the staircase, not our Viv she can ride her bike in these baby’s.

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Christina Ricci was the only other star to wear Westwood (god knows why, not a bondage suit in sight), her McAndrew tartan gown was incredible, but I think she styled it a little off kilter. I didn’t hate her look but I think she should have worn cobweb or pvc stockings to give it a little edge.

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I think by the far the biggest mistake of the evening befell those choosing evening gloves, both Beyonce and Kim are stunning women but their Givenchy gowns swamped them.

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Katy Perry and Linda Evangelista (Marchesa) look like the went on a journey with Bill and Ted, falling out of the wrong century! I do actually like Katy’s crown and Dolce & Gabbana frock but think the shoes make it frumpy.

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Even when the gowns were that bad, so many of the girls looked like trussed up turkey, overly tanned, hair slick wit gel or stiff with spray. Many translated punk as 80s eye make up, more suited to Halloween.Julianna Moore’s quiff was just ridiculous.┬á Brit chic Cara Delevingne showed how to get it right with soft locks to balance out a smudged, smokey eye. Wanting to stand out from the crowd Jessica Biel donned a fake nose ring and Nichole Richie sported frosted hair – more Rocky Horror Show ladies.

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Ok so I can’t leave out Madonna in her Givenchy outfit, yes it is pure Punk in a costumey sense,but if I’d seen someone wearing this on any other occasion I would have given serious hearts to it. The gilt pyramid studs, the tartan, the pop or fuchsia pink heels, even the damn wig. Gah I love it, I shouldn’t but I do and I don’t know why!

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That’s not to say nodding to Punk fashion without looking like a pastiche is impossible, Miley Cyrus (Marc Jacobs), Cary Mulligan (Balenciaga), Alexa Chung (Erdem), Sienna Miller (Burberry) and Donatella Versace (Versace) all looked sleek and chic. I kind of wish Miley had slashed it across the bust, a la Courtney Love in THAT Dior dress. In fact, why they hell wasn’t Love there!!

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The safest option was to flip the V’s to the dress code theme, Rooney Mara (Givenchy), Anna Wintour (Chanel) and Gwen Stefani (Margiela) all stuck to their tried and tested styles and looked fantastic.

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Last but not least, Sarah Jessica Parker who stole the show, from faux-hawk Philip Treacy hat, Giles gown and thigh high Louboutin boot this was not a look for the feint hearted. What might have looked like over kill on anyone else, frankly looked freakin’ fabulous. She’s SJP and she can wear whatever she damn well pleases.

One thing I always wondered about the red carpet, is how celebs get their hair looking so perfect. Apparently they all wear temporary hair extensions! No wonder I could never get my thin locks to look as good. AmericanDreamExtensions.Com are UK specialists in hair extensions I’ve actually got some and have been trying them out, will show you how to in a post soon.

A Week in Small Snapshots

Another crazy, crazy week! Kicking off with the STYLEetc magazine launch party for our Spring issue, the off to London for work and a little bit of play. I admit I am probably becoming an iPhone bore but I really am so impressed with the quality of the camera on it, saves me lugging around the DSLR. I also joined the cult of Instagram (@superelevated) what can I say, its fun! Another app which came to my rescue when the Tube was closed this weekend is Hailo – lets you hail a cab with the touch of a button – absolute life saver! Google Maps and the MX data Tube Map made my life so much easier too. I’ve not really checked out many fashion app’s yet, mostly practical ones but let me know any app recommendations. Here are some visual snippets of what I have been up too and wearing last week. Mostly flat shoes due to all the running around and comfy shorts and tartans for layering. With the odd bit of glam, throwing on a heel. Ive been managing to get the packing down to just two pairs of shoes, a flat and a heel which is impressive for me! Visited the Museum of London who have some fantastic costume displays including this Westwood and McClaren Witches ensemble. I dropped by Selfridges and got to see Cath Kidston promoting her new book. Finishing the week with the Vivienne Westwood sample sale, woop!

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Beauty: Winter Make-Up Bag Updates

I do love discovering new make-up products, even more so in winter when I like to slap it on like there is no tomorrow. So what have I been buying as we get well┬á into the festive season? The first thing I bought was this YSL Rouge Volupte lipstick in ’17’. I actually got this in September but totally forgot about it as I was given the Bobbi Brown ‘Old Hollywood’ red a few days later which is perfect. The YSL colour is just as lovely but a tiny bit more orange, whilst still being blue toned. The fabulously decadent chunky gold tube also appealed to my magpie eye. This is one I need to keep out and actually get around to wearing. The other lipstick I bought is Chanel’s new Rogue Allure Velvet in L’Impatiente a rich matt plum colour. The Chanel matt lipsticks are surprisingly moisturising for a matt and very easy to wear unlike some brands I have tried (*side-eyes Mac*). This lippie along with the nail varnish Malice appear in the Chanel Christmas 2012 campaign. Malice is a glimmering blood red with hits of plum. I have been wearing it with the OPI real gold top-coat which looks stunning.

After becoming obsessed with Bobbi Brown in the summer I’ve been back a few times, coming away with something new each visit. The first thing I went back for was a mascara but I want to talk about the mascaras in depth so will come back to that in a separate post. One of the products I really can’t get enough of are the Long-wear cream eye shadows. They are amazing, they don’t budge one bit and come in the most fabulous colours. The first one I tried was a nude colour called ‘Shore’ which I wore over the summer with the limited edition Sparkle eye shadow ‘Bone’. They gave a pretty nude look with a hint of silver sparkle. For winter I wanted something still on the nude side but a little more dramatic. I picked up the cream shadow in Cement which is a slightly beige-grey colour and the Sparkle eye shadow in Taupe. Together they give a mushroomy colour with a hint of golden shimmer.

One eye shadow I couldn’t resist was the Metallic long-wear cream shadow in Starry Night, it is jam packed with gorgeous blue and purple shimmer! You can wear it as a subtle wash or build up the colour for an intense smoky eye. One tip I can give with the Metallic is to apply it alone over an eye shadow base, I use Urban Decay Primer Potion. Use a brush and let each coat dry before applying another for a smooth finish. I found applying over too wet a base – over eye cream or trying to build up too fast resulted in an uneven, clumpy finish.

There you have it my new season must haves. Do you have a favorite make up product this season? Got you eye on anything with a sparkle?