Hand made soap - A challenge with Amba Hotels

I think that other than food I spend most of my money on cosmetics. It can be a right pain and I tend to spend more money than necessary because I am against animal testing and it always tends to be more expensive. I also have horrendously sensitive skin so there are a couple of 'hero' products that others swear by but I can't use because my skin clearly doesn't agree with the chemicals involved.

For a mothers day fun event (sadly not with my mum), I was invited by Amba Hotels* to make my own soap and bathbombs - from the beginning this would have been a day full of hilarity and (from my half) epic fail. I was proven right on both counts.



Whenever you plonk a bunch of bloggers into a room together, it's bound to be interesting. Let's face it, none of us shut up but there are still some things that we keep to ourselves (well, off the internet) but meeting eachother is a way to find out our darkest/most embarassing secrets. Apparently a phobia of pregnant women is actually a thing and people started to realise just how obsessed with British comedy Charlie, Distracted and I are when we found out the Fawlty Towers Dining Experience was in the next room. I did shout 'BASIL' a couple of times and asked for 'A gin and orange, a lemon squash and a scotch and water please!'



Once we had all settled down again, the rest of the fun could begin. And it was more difficult than you would think even though it was a piece of cake IN THEORY.




Through a simple combination of liquid soap, vodka (yes, vodka), food colouring and essential oils we started off making a solid bar, I went for vanilla and strawberry and was very proud that I got it right.

JUST LOOK!



Next up was a jelly soap. I buy quite a lot of this from Lush and have been using it for years. I was surprised to see just how easy it was was to make and if I made it in bulk then I could probably save a fortune. My first attempt was a bit foamy but I was very happy when it set and I had my own little jelly.





The bath bombs... they're an entirely different story. I'm pretty sure most of the people in the room also failed at this. I thought I had succeeded once mine was taken out of the mould and decided to make another one... but then it started to sink and became a lime green pancake. OH WELL!






All in all, this was so much fun and I think I'll have to try it all again at home so a massive thank you to the Amba Hotel for inviting me.

Have you ever made your own soap?


*I was invited to attend this event for free but all views are my own

Men's Fashion: Gary let me dress him!

So last month I decided to give my boyfriend the challenge of dressing me for a week and it seemed to go down pretty well so we decided to turn the tables and I had a go at being Gok.

I have to admit, I thought this would be easy, however dressing boys is a lot harder than you think. Boys don't seem to have nearly as much variety in their wardrobe as girls do, well for my boyfriend anyway, and it's pretty difficult to find something that looks different for each day. This is possibly why Gary tends to just live in t-shirts and jeans.

However! Where there's a will there's a way and I'm hoping I managed to pull it off and have one (even slightly) different look for every day.

Day one

Vintage leather jacket
Aww, he's trying to do a blogger pose!

The inspiration for this outfit was the one and only Dean Winchester. I absolutely love this jacket (it was once his dad's) and I'm a complete sucker for a checked shirt, they're totally a wardrobe essential for men and women.

Day two


He he. #FunnyAwkwardFace

Gary has this annoying habit of forgetting that other shoes exist. He will usually where the same pair of shoes every day and will then wonder why they fall apart. Just look at these converse stylie things, they're PRISTINE and he's had them the whole time we've been together!

He still had work to go to this day so I went for a kinda smart, kinda casual look and he's actually started to go for it more often.

Day three


topshop men's blazer
Getting used to it now!
I love this outfit, I know it's simple but I really enjoyed getting him in Ted Baker and convincing him to buy new shoes. It's not exactly a NEW outfit, as he bought the shoes and jacket for our LFW escapades (on my recommendations obviously) and I bought the bag for him for Christmas. It's strange to see him wearing actual shoes rather than trainers but I still feel pretty proud.

Day four

Bow Ties are Cool
Bow ties are cool
This was actually the final day because morning were difficult. I had threatened to put him in a bow tie from the very beginning and there was no way I was going to go back on my word! I actually think he looks rather dashing but maybe that's me being biased.

So, who did a better job? Me or Gary?






The Voices movie review

I'm not entirely sure what happened... I'm still trying to work it out.

When I was invited to a screening of The Voices earlier this week I intentionally decided to not do any research, I didn't even want to watch the trailer purely because I wanted to be surprised.

With a title of The Voices and the fact that Anna Kendrick (who I LOVE) was in it, I stupidly assumed it would be some variety of romantic comedy with singing. I was very very wrong. It's more like a black comedy with a hell of a lot of blood and a quite frightening Ryan Reynolds.

The Vocies Movie Poster
To be honest, I should have been able to tell by the poster
I haven't seen Ryan Reynolds in a role where he wasn't playing the pretty boy in a romantic comedy so I was shocked and disturbed to see him play some one who, to be honest, was a complete and utter psycho. It didn't seem quite real and the fact he could talk to his pets made it all the more wrong and difficult to comprehend. However, mixing that with the kind of naive innocent elements he brought to the role, I didn't know whether I was scared of him or felt sorry for him.

When it came to the comedy side of things, most of it came from the cat Mr Whiskers and his terrible Scottish accent (voiced by Mr Reynolds). His ultra-sadistic wit is definitely my kind of comedy and my delightful boyfriend thinks the only way to describe him is as a C U Next Tuesday. Yeah, I see that.

Gemma Arterton's character Fiona annoyed the living hell out of me and it's not the best role for the wonderful Miss Kendrick but over all I thought it was pretty good. I loved this whole, often invisible, line between reality and Jerry's (Ryan Reynolds) own illusions. This is possibly why I got so confused... Is Mr Whiskers real?? Who the Hell even knows?! Did he feed his pets the bodies of his victims? Why is everything so shiny all the time?

Visually it was stunning, I just felt like it lacked something but it's not like I'd never watch it again. Check out the trailer and , if you're prepared to be confused and disturbed, it's out this Friday (20th March)


SpecsPost: Trying out new glasses

New glasses have seemed but a dream for a long time now. I have needed glasses since I was about 4 and as a result I have become a bit of a snob and always fall for brand names and beautiful yet expensive frames that are way out of my price range (sorry Tiffany).

Annoyingly I have needed a new pair of glasses for about a year as I have a new prescription and my current pair give me headaches. I never thought I'd be able to save money and still get nice glasses if I ordered them online.

A friend of mine referred me to SpecsPost a while ago and when I saw the prices I thought I might as well give them ago - no need to make my eyes suffer any longer. There's no excuse.

As a person with a tiny head it's always a struggle to find frames that fit me. Pain in the backside really as a lot of the time I have to put up with them being too wide or have to resort to the kids section which is a tad embarrassing when you're 26 (buying kids clothes however is an entirely different scenario). SpecsPost have a petite range though which is a whole new revelation to me.

specs post order glasses online


I got to try three pairs at home for free so chose a range of sizes and shapes just to see what suits me best, all them very different to these beautiful Lu Lu Guinness ones I have had for about 4 years now.

Lu Lu Guinness glasses
My current Lu Lu Guinness specs. I'll probably just get new lenses in these anyway
 When I was younger and was going through that kind of 'alternative' stage, rectangle thick frame glasses were very 'in' and I used to wear them all the time so I thought I'd give them another go but trying out different colours. As I'm still a little bit odd I went for pink as I have never had brightly coloured glasses before.

I like the shape but I'm not particularly sure about the colour...

Specspost rectangle glasses online
#Awkwardface
A friend of mine says 'The bigger the frames, the better' and ridiculously huge glasses, or 'Hipster Glasses' if you prefer, have never been on my agenda. But why not? They're worth a try!

I have some people with equally tiny faces get away with them... but they don't really work on me I'm afraid. (Also holding down the glasses because the dummy pair were a bit wonky. This isn't a random attempt at a pose!)
Specs Post big frame glasses
Oh Jesus. #ReallyAwkwardFace
I'm not really sure how to describe these glasses but they're definitely my favourite out of the lot and have had a much better response from my boyfriend than the other two.

You can't really tell from the picture, thanks to the poor light in my bedroom, but they're a really deep shade of purple and I love the random detail on the corner of the frames so I think I'll be sending these off for a new prescription!
I love how my face looks EXACTLY the same in most of these pictures...
Ordering glasses online is clearly a lot easier than I thought it would be and considering you can get some nice frames for a really good price including prescription, I'll definitely be taking a look for more new ones to make sure I always have a choice.

What do you think? Have I made the right choice? 




*SpecsPost have been kind enough to send me my favourite pair for free but all views in this post are my own

House of Fraser shoes: My wish list

I have a bit of a problem with shoes. I don't know how many pairs I own and when I throw old pairs away I end up buying more to replace them. However, other than my obscene Irregular Choice and Ted Baker obsession, a lot of my shoes tend to be little cheap things from high street stores that never really last for that long. I need to start investing in shoes that are a little more expensive but won't end up looking like crap by the end of the year.

irregular choice shoes, Vivienne Westwood shoes, Ted Baker shoes
My shoe collection... This is only the beginning. THERE ARE MORE!


This doesn't mean I have to spend hundreds of pounds though, there are plenty of places where even just spending £10 extra will get you something of a much higher quality.

At House of Fraser, there is such a  huge collection of so many styles and brands that I could happily spend hours scrolling through their website. After a mini lunch time session of virtual window shopping I've managed to find a bunch of pairs that would totally 'complete' my shoe collection...

Boots

Boots are one of the things that I don't have nearly enough of. In fact, there what I'm more guilty of when it comes to choosing price over quality. I bought a pair for less than £20 in December and I already need to replace them.

Boots are so versatile and can be worn throughout the seasons (obviously depending on the style). Ankle boots are by far my favourite and I love wearing them with dresses and skirts as they make more of a statement and can even tone down a more formal look. I have been after a heavier 'more heavy duty looking' pair to contrast with the many floral dresses I own so I can still wear them in the winter with tights. These Head over Heels Parody boots pretty much cover all basis, plus they're only £30 so they're still not breaking the bank.

House of Fraser Boots
Head over Heels Parody. Image Source: House of Fraser website

Sandals

Aah, sandals. I don't have nearly enough of them, both the flat and heeled varieties. In fact, I have had the same pair of sandals for six years! My main problem with sandals is that I hate my feet and hate the idea of having them on display. After a lot of trial and error in many a shoe shop I believe gladiator style sandals will be best for me. 

These Head over Heels Corfu Caged sandals would definitely work as they'll cover my feet more and they come in black too. They're also currently in the sale for £31 and if my last pair of sandals cost £10 and lasted for six years, I don't think that's too bad!

House of Fraser Sandals
Head over Heels Corfu. Image Source: House of Fraser website

And as for the heeled variety? Pretty sure I need these Office Siren Platforms in my life.

House of Fraser shoes
Office Siren Platforms. Image Source: House of Fraser website

Brogues

I'm convinced brogues are a trend that will never die. I have a couple of pairs and was heartbroken when my Melissa ones broke a few months ago. I refuse to throw them away though because I am convinced they can be saved!

I pretty much live in brogues these days so I'm always looking for a chance to grow my collection. They're so comfortable and they go with anything!

Floral dress with brogues, New Look brogues, New Look shoes
See! Floral dress with brogues.
One of the bonuses of House of Fraser is they stock a bunch of my favourite brands and I spotted these Gent Block Heeled brogues from Office. They're affordable, will go with pretty much everything I own and come in two colours. #Win

House of Fraser shoes
Office Gent Block Heel. Image Source: House of Fraser website

And to replae my old Melissa pair, these flats from Dune are exactly the same colour and look extremely comfortable.

Dune Brogues
Dune Leslee Brogues. Image source: House of Fraser website

Court shoes

Heels and court shoes are where my shoe obsession escalates out of control. I even own sitting down shoes (shoes so high you can only walk in them for a limited amount of time) and over the past year nude heels have become a bit of a weakness.

I found these Miss KG Carrie nude, snake skin-esque which make them a bit more of a statement rather than your basic nude shoe. At £49 in their sale, they also fit into my 'lovely quality shoes on a budget' theme too!

House of Fraser shoes, Kurt Geiger
Miss KG Carrie heeled courts. Image source: House of Fraser website


These Carvela heels are also a bit of a statement pair because of the detailing and they're in the sale. Who could honestly say no to a pair of Carvela shoes for £69? A mad woman, I tell you!

House of Fraser Carvela Shoes
Carvela Gallery High Heels. Image Source: House of Fraser website

But at the same time I saw these blue Ted Baker heels and I can already hear my bank account crying.

House of Fraser Ted Baker shoes
Ted Baker Monirra. Image Source: House of Fraser website


Me right now:


You can see the full House of Fraser show range here and they have a bunch load of bags here too.

What's on your wish list at the moment? Let me know in the comments!



*This was a sponsored post but all views are my own

London Fashion Week 2015: What I wore

Image Source: Google Images
Aah, London Fashion Week. An opportunity to dress to the nines on a day when you wouldn't normally get out of your pyjamas with the benefit that no one will judge you for it.

Whether or not some people agree or not, fashion plays an important role in this world, as explained so perfectly The Devil Wears Prada. London is one of the fashion capitals of the world (if not THE capital) and London Fashion Week is pretty much the highlight of a yearly calendar, both A/W and S/S. As well as the big names that we can all dream of owning, it's an opportunity to show off the rising talent on the fashion scene and how Britain really has an influence over such a world wide culture and obsession.

Obviously, I had a mild panic over what to wear. OK, mild panic is a complete UNDERstatement. I was completely overwhelmed and even had heart palpitations at one point. I spent the majority of Friday emailing my boyfriend in pretty much all capital letters about how I had nothing to wear, how I hate my wardrobe and how I thought people would judge me if I turned up wearing Primark (snob).

But then I remembered I got a Ted Baker voucher for Christmas... Thanks Mum!

I own a lot of Ted Baker and I think it's clear that I'm a bit of a fan. However, these all pretty much fit into the 'accessories' category and other than a t-shirt I have nothing to wear and show off. London Fashion Week was finally an opportunity to spend my voucher and treat myself to something that I will pretty much wear all the time.

After some intense research and calling multiple Ted Baker stores to get hold of the Bluoise dress that's in their sale I had no joy and made a quick dash home to get the voucher and go to the Regent Street store, which is pretty much the mother ship, and ended up in the fitting room with pretty much everything I wanted.

Various snapchats to Charlie, Distracted from the fitting room, opinions of the boyfriend and Ted Baker sales staff I went home with the beautiful Viviann dress that even received an audible gasp from someone else in the fitting room when I stepped out to show it to Gary.


Ted Baker Dress


I think this may also be the loudest dress in the shop!

Due to the boldest pattern known to man there was a lot of debate in store and at home over what I should wear it with and the decision was made to keep it simple with a biker jacket, huge Mary-Jane platforms and my Ted Baker clutch.

Ted Baker Dress

I think the dress is a good mix between absolutely mental while still conservative and 'classy' as it's quite modest in the cut. My choice of accessories helps to tone it down a little so it can even be worn for a casual night out so I'll be wearing it again for the second time in a week when I go to the theatre. I'm pretty much in love with it!


How would you wear a bold print? Let me know in the comments!


What I wore: I let my boyfriend dress me

I have been feeling very uninspired by my wardrobe recently. I have pretty much become this:



I'm sure you've all been there too.

In an attempt to resist the urge to buy more things I thought it would be fun to give my boyfriend full reign over what I wear to work for a week (as I pretty much spend weekends in my pyjamas).

On the first day he pretty much just went for something that I would generally wear anyway but as the week went on it completely changed.

Day 1

Tartan Dress
Scarf doesn't really go with the dress... 
Doctor Who Lunchbox
Awkward smile and all the colours
Other then the scarf that really doesn't go with the dress or the coat, this is actually an outfit I wear on a regular basis. Not really all that adventurous. I did however remind him that it's pretty cold and may need a cardigan to help me with the constant battle with the office air conditioning!

Day 2

I'm blue da be dee da ba dai
Not sure about the coat...
Now this outfit I really wasn't sure about purely because it felt like there was a blue overload. However I got a lot of compliments around the office, even from people I didn't know so I guess that means he did good! However, heels two days in a row was a killer!

I haven't worn this skirt in a long time so it was nice to rediscover it and not leave it at the bottom of a draw until it's completely forgotten!

Day 3



This was my most comfortable outfit because we were going to see the Kaiser Chiefs straight after work. Although I wear a lot of these pieces, I would never combine them. Especially an over sized t-shirt with a checked shirt. Apparently I can pull it off though.

Gary also said that my accessory for this outfit was my copy of 'The Half Blood Prince' and didn't even end up taking a bag!

Day 4

vintage dog tooth skirt



Red Cape

The night before I had decided to go for monochrome striped nails which Gary used as his inspiration and I had a new business pitch so had to look reasonably smart.

I got this skirt in a vintage shop a couple of years ago and have probably only worn it three times because I don't really have many things it goes with it and I think the last time I wore a time was back in secondary school when it was mandatory but I think the two combined work really well.

Worried I looked a little too grey, Gary treated me to a splash of colour with my vintage cape and Nightmare Before Christmas lunchbox as my bag. I think this is my favourite outfit of the week and received the most comments from my colleagues.

Day 5 

peplum top New Look

Doctor Who Jewellery

And then we reached the last day. After the previous Monochrome day it was nice to be given a load of colour.

The top is, again, something I rarely where and when I do it's usually with a skirt for a night out and never for a day in the office. It works really nicely with my burgundy trousers which I never thought would happen. Maybe he does have some taste!

My accessory with this was my 50th Anniversary Doctor Who necklace, chosen intentionally because he wanted 'to make it look like the TARDIS was flying through space'.

Overall I'm very impressed with his efforts and will definitely be asking for his advice more often rather than just dismissing basically every item of clothing I have!

How do you think he did? Let me know in the comments!


UPDATE: Due to the popularity of this post I have decided to make this a tag just to see what happens, whether you let your partner/sibling/flatmate or child dress you even just for a day or two. Up to you! If you do it though please send me links :-)

I tag:

Aymie from AymieLouise

Mark from That Gent Mark

Jemma from Dorkface

Charlie from Charlie, Distracted

What I wore: I could totally go to Hogwarts

Yes people, I am in Gryffindor.

I wore this outfit to the Jack the Ripper Walk and loved it. I was a tad annoyed that I wasn't able to get a photo. Luckily, I had a day taking photos with Charlie, Distracted so I get to show it off!

Yes I know the hat and scarf don't really go together but let's face it, who wouldn't wear a cape with a bowler hat? Plus, any day where you wear a Harry Potter scarf is always a good day.

What the hell am I doing with my arms?

I got the cape from Wish and was a bit annoyed when it arrived because not only was it bigger than it claimed (as you can see from the picture above) but also I had to make my own button holes, something that I never expected I'd have to do no matter how cheap the garment. I do love it though and it's surprisingly warm.



And here is my favourite Etsy purchase to date, originally bought for the Nightmare Before Christmas sing-a-long at the Prince Charles Cinema but it didn't arrive in time. I pretty much wear it all the time even if it's not Halloween or Christmas and it even became a good talking point when I interviewed for my job!

So... whaddya think?

What would you wear with a cape? 

The new Laura Oakes launch with Debenhams



Other than books and shoes, there's nothing that excites me more than homeware. It's a little bit strange but I have Pinterest boards full of interior design ideas that I could never afford to do and I have frequently considered buying Good Housekeeping... and there's nothing wrong with that.

The Laura Oakes collection at Debenhams is pretty much everything I love; bright florals and even a jungle vibe for some pieces. Perfect as I live in a rented flat and can't really decorate so they'd go perfectly with a neutral home.

Just look at all the colours
The range consisted of soft furnishings, lamps and a whole plethora of other accessories, there wasn't a single thing I didn't like and for some of the pieces I was thinking of how I would use them and where I would put them.

The dish below for example would brighten up my dresser and would be the perfect thing to put all my watches proudly on display.



 And the mirror and candles below would make my bog standard Ikea furniture (that you see in pretty much every rented home) more of a pampering paradise. And it's beautiful.



Obviously, I have admired many homeware ranges but I found this collection pretty unique, the tiniest details have gone into the pieces and the cushions look more like a water colour work of art. I probably wouldn't want anyone to sit on it.



POP UP ART! My favourite thing!
I spent forever tyring to get a picture of this chair! 

 At the event itself, it was a perfect opportunity to finally meet some of the bloggers I follow and talk to on a regular basis. There were cocktails flowing that were created specifically for the launch, a treasure hunt and an opportunity to create your own Laura Oakes-esque scrap books. I missed out on this last bit though!

Both cocktails were delicious
If you're like me and are dreaming of owning at least one Laura Oakes piece, keep an eye on the Debenhams website.

What do you think of the collection? Let me know in the comments!



*I was invited to attend this event but all opinions are my own and completely unbiased.