What Fashion Blogging Has Taught Me About Dressing Myself

I’ve always loved fashion. Not the ‘hot of the catwalk’ or ‘must imitate my favourite celebrities’ sense, but in a sense that’s all about expressing who I am through the clothes that I wear. Whether it’s keeping it casual with jeans and a tee, or vamping it up with heels and a boob-enhancing dress, or somewhere in-between when I know a classically cut dress will always do be right, what I adorn my body with is a huge part of who I am. I love to shop and always have, but as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to invest in classic pieces or quality garments that will last longer than a season, as well as opting for more flattering cuts rather than just what’s hot in the shops right now. Fashion blogging was always the last thing on my mind, but when presented with the opportunity to document some of my favourite outfits (notably when Kirsty from Fashion For Lunch just told me she was going to start taking my photo!) it was hard to say no… Over the last few months I’ve thoroughly enjoyed sharing some of my looks, but the process has definitely taught me a things about outfit creation that I never realised before.

WHAT LOOKS GOOD IN THE MIRROR DOESN’T ALWAYS TRANSLATE

Have you ever gotten ready of a morning, looked in the mirror feeling fabulous, and then caught a glimpse of yourself in a shop window and wondered what on earth you were thinking? Yeah, imagine that but instead of a shop window it’s 500 photographs. An outfit that I think is super cute at home doesn’t always look good in the real world, and the issue is more times than not that there’s not enough going on. Denim is a firm favourite of mine, but without some bold accessories and a statement coat it can start to channel ‘mum and the school gates’ (nothing wrong with that – it’s just that I was going for ‘hot lady that can still totally rock Topshop’!) Rather than choosing one item I want to wear and throwing on the rest, I’m starting to visualise a whole look instead. Check me!
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The Marc Jacobs Splashes are Back!

Marc Jacobs Splashes Review 2017

Yes ladies and gentlemen, the soft and ever coveted, light fragrances that are Marc Jacobs Splashes are back once again, and I for one couldn’t be more excited.

Marc Jacobs Splashes Review 2017

Hear me out: I live in Scotland, a place not exactly renowned for its tropical climate and as such, I do associate wet weather with the Spring months – we don’t have the term April showers floating around for no good reason but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Yes dear readers, I enjoy the rain, especially when the showers are light and leave the air smelling fresh with an earthy combination of wet soil and surrounding greenery. It’s a sensation and scent explosion that I find difficult to mimic, well that was until I tested out the Marc Jacobs Splashes for myself. Four, beautifully created scents that evoke the newness of the season in numerous aspects, and offer new yet non-fussy insights into refreshingly (they aren’t called Splashes for no reason), clean ready-to-wear fragrances.

Marc Jacobs Splashes Review 2017

The Marc Jacob Splashes are technically Eau de Toilettes but are intended to be worn fairly generously – think of them as a mature, incarnation of a body mist – spray on generously and enjoy the uplifting, refreshing tonic. As all four options are delicate, you don’t run the risk of ever overdoing it (or suffocating all that is near to you), yet they have the prolonged wear time, that so many of us crave. I deem these to be casual fragrance options: a wardrobe of four softened splashes of notes, that are effortlessly cool and ready for the day – be that work, play or brunch.

What I personally enjoy about the Marc Jacobs Splashes is that each fusion, captures a different aspect of Spring: Cotton – like freshly washed, air dried linen with notes of jasmine, cotton flower, musk and bergamot. For a non- fruity yet bright, sensory choice we have Cucumber – which of course contains a strong presence of cucumber combined with Freesia and musk. The fruity creation of this collection is Pear: bright, bold and not at all tart with hints of Pear, gin and woody accords. Last but not least we have the aquatic yet light, scent of Rain: with freshly cut grass and tropical rain accords, whatever they might be.

Marc Jacobs Splashes Review 2017
This is an old photo from last year, of my first two bottles – they are in storage and I’m not currently able to get to them so please excuse the sudden and dramatic photo quality change.

The wonderful aspect of this small curation of scents is that they are truly adaptable: each can be worn alone, layered with other options within the collection (Cotton and Rain particularly fuse well together) or combined with your current favourite fragrance. Although perhaps not to everyone’s taste (then again what is), I would say that the four Marc Jacobs Splashes are entirely universal (the bottles have been so well designed in this aspect) and are as at home on a female as they are male; Rain in particular has a fairly masculine presence and does happen to be my personal favourite.

At the moment, I can not say with absolute certainty if the Marc Jacobs Splashes are limited edition or are gearing towards a permanent position but they are currently available online in various locations which may suggest the latter?

In the U.K you can find the Marc Jacobs Splashes via Superdrug £38/100ml – link

In the U.S you can find the Marc Jacobs Splashes via Sephora $62/100ml – link

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I Spent £100 on Candles I’ll Never Burn

Le Labo Candles New York Review

I know, I know you think I’m an idiot and to be fair you aren’t far off but in this instance, it is not a moment of idiocy to blame, rather it all comes down to me being a nostalgic fool. As a little ‘un (well little-r, I never quite grew over the 5ft mark) whenever I went on holiday, I’d send home a postcard and bring home a suitcase of mementos for my scrapbook. I’ve long since given up on scrapbooking but still enjoy nothing more than a forever token reminder, of my time spent in a new place; unfortunately for me this has now morphed into pricey Le Labo candle habit.

Le Labo Candles New York Review

A Le Labo candle may seem like an odd choice to commemorate any event, let alone a short trip abroad but let me explain my reasoning: first of all, you don’t need me to tell you that the complex yet divine fragrances of the Le Labo house are forever appealing – special occasion or not – but did you know that Le Labo offer custom labels? No me neither, well until July of last year that is. Essentially any Le Labo cologne or candle, can be decorated with a small and perhaps meaningful message of your own; I choose to go with the address I stayed at both times I stayed in NYC in 2016. Two different locations, two luxurious scents and two very contrasting set of memories, each of which come alive when I open the box containing said candle. Yes I know life is for living and if you pay £50 for a luxury candle, you should damn well light it and enjoy it; one day I will, perhaps when I have a place of my own to decorate.

Le Labo Candles New York Review
Le Labo Candles New York Review

At the moment I have Le Labo Cedre 11 which is a smoky but sweet woody scent – if Le Labo could perhaps consider launching this as a cologne, I’d wear nothing else for the rest of my life. My other addition is Le Labo Cologne 17 which is a crisp, clean and almost aquatic scent that does have a certain masculine quality. I’ll be the first to admit that Le Labo is not cheap and as such I don’t recommend purchasing blindly – that and denying yourself the entire Le Labo experience should be considered sinful.

Le Labo Candles New York Review

As someone fairly new to the Le Labo world of fragrance there are a few additions yet to be added to my shelf. When I go back to NYC I plan on purchasing Le Labo Tubereuse as it I exclusive to the city – there are 8 other location based exclusive scents across the world that I slowly but surely plan on collecting, one by one.

Some people collect stamps, I collect beautifully scented jars and bottles – that maybe, just maybe one day I’ll finally give into temptation and burn. Maybe.

In the U.K you can find Le Labo online via Liberty – link
In the U.S you can find Le Labo online via Barneys – link
and for worldwide shipping Net-a-Porter – link

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The £3 Hair Mask That Stopped My Hair From Breaking Off

L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque Review

Nope not a click bait title but rather a true (hair) tail of woe and negligence.

Nearly a year ago I had one of the worst hair experiences of my life, to this day I’m not entirely sure what went wrong other than neglect on the salons part; they used a really high volume of bleach, left it on too long and really didn’t care that they snapped off around 30% of my hair in the process. Cool. I’m still utterly wary of hairdressers; for the record I know so many are talented beyond belief, and truly take care of their client from start to finish but, every now and then something like this happens and on the most part it will – and did – leave anyone’s faith in hair salons a little shaken.

L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque Review

I’m the past I wasn’t that precious about my hair (its long, thick and can typically take a “beating”) but washing it, for the first time after that fateful day and having masses of it snap off in my hands, I will never take me tresses for granted. However it is not all bad, two life-slash-hair lessons have since come into play…every cloud and all that.

1, Please speak up: if you ever feel uncomfortable in the salon chair be it with what is happening and/or if you feel physical pain please, please for the love of god tell someone. It will save you heartbreak and most likely your hair – remember you are paying for the treatment, therefore you are welcome to voice your thoughts and feelings.

2, You can not beat a word of mouth recommendation from someone you know and trust; online reviews can be manipulated (not that any reputable salon would as much as consider doing this, nor is this something I have personally encountered but worth noting all the same). Just because one salon and/or hairdresser has their own techniques and ways which might not necessarily for you or your needs.

L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque Review
L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque Review

If you do find yourself in a similar state of disarray – although not comforting in the midst of the chaos – do remind yourself that hair does grow and there are some great and often affordable deep conditioners out there that can help to repair the damage, none more highly recommended nor reached for by my chubby paw, than L’Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque.

I’ll level with you, my local 24-hour supermarket is skimpy on haircare and this was the only masque type product they sold on that fateful night my snapped off hair began to clog the shower drain – fate, a mere confidence or sheer luck, however you see it my hair has never need happier post-bleach trauma.

L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque Review
L'Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque Review

The great things (yes plural) about the L’Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque is that it is cheap (never more than £5 but forever on offer somewhere), readily available and it works. Man does it work. This is not your everyday conditioner, it is thick, intense, of salon standard and really should only be used on dry and/or damaged hair to prevent normal or fine hair from becoming overwhelmed and weighed down – bleach woes aside this would also work a treat on hair that has perhaps seen a little too much sun?

As with most L’Oréal hair products this does smell great but as I said the real magic of this product is that it works. The intense nature of L’Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque, instantly smooths, hydrates and instantly nourishes the hair making it feel at least ten times better to the touch and imparting a gentle sheen to the hair that is not damaged in my case. It also helps to easily de-tangle and eradicate frizz in one quick application, with continued use, I have noticed that it is slowly butt surely nursing my hair back to good health: it contains cicamide (a restoring complex that penetrates the hair and fills it with micro fibres to build stronger hair) and pro-keratin (strengthens weakened hair.

If ever there is a hope for damaged beyond repair hair it is this masque.Stash one in your bathroom cupboard and you’ll be forever grateful that you did.
Find L’Oreal Elvive Full Restore 5 Cica-Masque via Boots £3/300ml – link

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My Teen Beauty Essential Has Had A Modern Makeover: Oil-Blotters Are Making A Comeback

Most of my teenage years were spent attempting to tackle a shiny nose. I may have skipped over the major breakouts and greasy roots, but my one area of concern was an incredibly oily t-zone that never seemed to let out. As I was yet to discover the power of a great primer, my ultimate backpack essential was undoubtedly a pack of blotting papers that could quickly and effectively absorb any excess moisture. Rather embarrassingly, I can vividly recall being fascinated with seeing how much oil could be lifted away and monitoring the residue left on the paper surface; gross, but incredibly practical when your hormones are going into overdrive. Although now I’ve got that oily t-zone mostly under control, my complexion still needs a freshen up in the afternoon when oil starts to mix with makeup and cause a touch of slippage: nothing is worse than your makeup caking or separating on a warm summer’s day. Embracing the power of a primer and layering cosmetics effectively will get you so far, but for many of us there’s always the issue of a little excess lubrication around the nose and chin that we’d rather see the back of.

This summer makeup is definitely going retro, with many brands launching their own modern version of the classic oil-management technique that was blotting papers. For years I can remember struggling to track down a pack at all, but in 2017 there are plenty of innovations on offer to help rid you of an oily t-zone and keep your makeup in check.

THE SIMPLE ONE: Beauty Blender Blotterazzi (£16.00)
For a brand that have made their name from a uniquely shaped sponge, Beauty Blender actually have diversified rather successfully into new areas of beauty – including this ‘Blotterazzi’ that simply blots away any excess shine and ‘re-blends’ makeup to ensure it looks fresh. Made from the same material as the original blender, this comes packaged in a convenient mirror compact and includes two sponges that can be washed and re-used as many times as you like. Although it won’t remove huge amounts of excess oil, it’s great for a faff-free touch-up that’s effective and discrete.

THE CLASSIC ONE: Clarins Pore Perfecting, Matifying Kit (£33.00)
Like a grown up version of those 90’s blotting paper packs, this dual-action kit from Clarins includes oil-blotting papers to mattify skin and remove excess sebum, alongside a translucent powder to provide a soft matte finish. Together they ensure makeup is left looking and feeling refreshed, allowing you to get on with your day and not worry about any slippage. I adore the luxe feel of the compact, which is also incredibly discrete and can be re-filled once you use up the product inside (re-fills are cheaper.) Definitely one for those of us that loved oil-blotters the first time around.

THE CLEVER ONE: Murad MattEffect Blotting Perfector (£32.00)
A rather unusual wet formula, this liquid-to-powder compact contains ‘soft-focus mattifying spheres’ to absorb oil and minimise appearance of pores and imperfections, whilst marshmallow powder provides ‘touchable softness’ – which is a posh way of saying your skin feels smooth again. Proven to keep pore appearance minimised for up to eight hours and absorb excess oil immediately, you need only a little of this to touch up makeup and leave your look refreshed. Although it’s not as practical for on-the-go, it’s a great tool to have in your desk drawer for when you need to perk up your makeup.

Can you remember blotting papers from the first time around? Would you be tempted to re-embrace the trend, or give it a go if you’ve not tried it before?

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Features PR samples unless otherwise stated. To read my full disclaimer, click here.

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