Thursday 29 January 2015

Aashni + Co Wedding Show Feat. Manish Malhotra + More!

Although I'm aware of the soaring Indian fashion scene in London, I've tended to neglect it because in all honesty, I don't know much about the industry at all! I definitely think I've been missing out as the Aashni + Co Wedding Show blew my mind with so many beautiful outfits and talented designers.

Aashni + Co sells high-end Indian pieces from couture to ready-to-wear. If you are looking for exquisite Indian pieces from the top designers, I'd definitely go on their website or even pop down to their Notting Hill store as they do carry a large range and I can guarantee you will find something extremely special.

The show was held at The Dorchester Ballroom which is insanely gorgeous. Everything was decorated beautifully and when you walked through the doors, it felt like a grand occasion to say the least.

Here I am, looking terrible as ever. No seriously I don't like this at all but hey it was the only picture of me at the event so I had to use it. I was planning on wearing a different dress which would have fitted the occasion 10x better but there was a slight wardrobe malfunction before I left my house. The woes of fashion...

I had to pull out something last minute so I went with a gold lace playsuit, tights and tan wedged boots.

As you can see the details were incredible. Everything just seemed like a piece of art to be entranced by. Probably because these flawless pieces were works of art.

Although I couldn't personally meet him, I did manage to take a snap of Manish Malhotra who is a world-renowned designer and a top favourite with celebrities and Bollywood stars. From the work I saw at the show, I can see why!

Look at the sheer vibrancy of these colours! Everything seemed to come alive and each uniquely refined garment had a life of its own. Nothing was just sitting on a rail. 

The show wouldn't be complete without hair and makeup, right? I came across these stunning beauties having their hair and makeup done as they sat wearing heavily embroidered pieces full of gold embellishments. I thought the beauty side of things was done amazingly. The ladies didn't look too heavily caked or too contoured. They literally glowed effortlessly and oozed of glamour and confidence. Props to Aamir Naveed Hair and Ambreen Makeup!

Oh, and the cakes! The extravagant, towering, mouth-watering cakes! To be honest this whole show has got me really excited about the Indian bridal sphere. Everything is over the top and God damn it, I love it!

Wednesday 21 January 2015

St. Kitts Herbery Mist Perfume: A Refreshingly New Discovery

Some of you may know that I am absolutely obsessed with accumulating new fragrances. I love to experiment with new scents and when I smell something I adore, it's hard for me not to have it in my collection. 

After collecting for a long, long time I was so upset when my collection went missing during the move to my new place. It's really sad when you lose things, especially a whole collection but life does go on and I've been gradually trying to build it back up. Actually, it might be a blessing in disguise considering I have only repurchased a couple of the old fragrances purely because I've had SO much fun discovering new scents out there. 

I found out about St. Kitts Herbery through the Bloggers Love Hub and their range really drew me in because their products looked very simply packaged and I got the impression that they put in a lot of effort with their products performing and smelling nicely, rather than being gimmicky like a lot of other fragrance companies out there. 

I chose the 'Mist' scent because it sounded so original and unlike anything I own or usually go for. It came beautifully packaged in a subtle black box with the name embossed in silver. I actually really like the black packaging, it's classy and simple. 

Same goes for the bottle itself, it's square and has a neat label on it. I've seen a lot of over-the-top bottles out there which can be nice to have for displays but in all honesty, I think these types of bottles are more convenient to store, especially in my bathroom cabinet which has limited space. 

On to the scent, 'Mist' is very fresh and clean. It contains notes of lemon, green herbs and eucalyptus, with lingering fragrances of rose, neroli, amber and cedar wood. I usually go for quite sweet, feminine fragrances and I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed wearing this. It's easy to wear and gorgeous for the daytime as it's not too strong at all. In fact, it gives off just the right amount of scent... hence the name 'mist' maybe? It's very effortless! 

This is definitely one for those of you who tend to steer away from the overly floral fragrances and look for more of the neutral scents.

I would 100% try out more of St. Kitts Herbery products as I was so impressed with this fragrance. I loved reading the background behind the brand seeing as it started from very humble beginnings in Cornwall and gradually built up to become a larger brand stocking skincare, perfume, herbed chocolate and lots of other treats. I think it makes a big difference to your experience when you learn more about the background of a company, especially one that is local to the UK because you appreciate the product that much more :)

You can shop their fragrances here and follow them on Twitter to get the latest updates too!

Saturday 17 January 2015

January 2015: Beauty Products I Dislike

I've been meaning to do a 'dislikes' post for a long time now, purely because I feel like I've been going on and on about what I 'absolutely love' and I haven't shared any insight on what I actually haven't loved so much.

Being a blogger is about honest opinions and giving the readers accurate information. I hope this will be a useful post for some of you. I'm sure there will be disagreements and shocks at some of the products here but hey, everyone has a different experience with everything and this is just mine...

(Also as a side-note, I've used these products last year so they aren't technically just Jan dislikes).

Okay, let's get started!

(From top left, clockwise):
Soap & Glory Sit Tight 4-D Firming + Smoothing Serum
Dove Summer Glow + Soft Shimmer Nourishing Lotion
Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturising Gel
Collection Colour Pro Intense Lip Lacquer: Rebel 01
H&M Lip Stick: Purple Rain
Revlon Photoready Concealer: Light Medium 003
Rimmel Velvet Matte: Velvet Touch 013
Morrisons Vitamin E 3-in-1 Facial Wipes 

You may have already seen me share my views on the Dove Summer Glow on Instagram but I had to include this here too. I absolutely adore the original version of this, it gives you a nice subtle tan and it does gradually build up as you apply day by day. However, I accidentally picked up the shimmer version in Boots and it just doesn't do anything for me. I don't like the shimmer, I think it's too much and not exactly 'subtle' so I would urge you to try the original instead.
Next is something I picked up a while ago whilst at Boots. I usually only shop Collection makeup for the infamous Lasting Perfection concealer but I decided to pick this up too. I really hated this, I can't lie. The colour is insanely beautiful and very, very intense and pigmented as promised but the smell is horrid and the consistency is extremely sticky and hard to apply. I would only get this if you're willing to spend a good ten minutes trying to get the product all over the lip as it sticks so badly.
Next is the H&M Lipstick. Now, I've never really tried much H&M makeup in the past but I picked this up as I headed to the till. The colour is a subtly shimmery mauve which is gorgeous for the winter months but I have to say, I wasn't too impressed with the staying power as you do have to keep reapplying. I won't dismiss this too much as I would probably still wear it and for the price, it's not too bad.
As far as I could see, the Photoready concealer was a huge cult product with everyone. People seemed to LOVE this so much. I think the product itself is pretty good and it blends into the skin really nicely but I do prefer liquid concealers over anything like this. Plus the name implies that it gives heavy coverage but I would say it gives medium. Again, not a disastrous product by any means but just not for me. 

The next dislike is quite funny because I'm sure a lot of you are thinking, 'what the hell do you expect buying Morrison's wipes?' Let me clear things up, I usually always always always use Johnson's or Simple wipes on my face but I picked these up as I was moving house and didn't have any makeup remover on me, thinking that they wouldn't be so bad. Wrong. They dry out extremely fast and I felt that they were harsh on the skin. Didn't remove much makeup, took a lot of scrubbing to get my eye makeup off especially. Do yourself a favour and stick to beauty companies, not supermarkets! 

Okay, I will admit that I can't call this product a complete 'dislike' yet because I haven't used it enough but that's literally because I'm so lazy. I've pretty much fallen in love with everything from Soap & Glory, from their makeup to skincare, it's all amazing and does the job really well. Now this MAY do the job well but for me, I found that staring in the mirror for ten minutes trying to massage this into my thighs was just a pain and I didn't feel much going on. Apparently this is meant to feel tingly and warm to show that the caffeine is absorbing but I barely felt a thing after applying a lot of product. I would still give this a proper go to fully give you my thoughts but it's an overhyped product in my opinion.

Moving on to nail varnish, 2014 was a huge year for nail varnish experimentation. From mattes to chromes and leather effect, everybody was going for something new. I picked up this from Rimmel because the name drew me in and I thought 'ooooooh, I want velvety nails!' This looks insanely gorgeous after applying about 2-3 coats, don't get me wrong. I just expected it to stay a lot longer. It lasted for maybe 3 days without chipping and then I started to see chip after chip after chip. Only use this if you want a velvet matte finish for an occasion but if you're looking for something to get through the week, this isn't it.

This is a HIGHLY unexpected addition to my 'dislikes' because I have used the Clinique 3-step for such a long time. There's nothing blatantly wrong with the products at all, they do work for my skin but I just found such a better alternative for me and that is the Yours Truly Organics range, which I reviewed here. I think some of the Clinique products are too overpriced for the performance they bring but I still have some things from them which I swear by, including their foundations which control my oil and keep my skin looking flawless day to day.

Wednesday 14 January 2015

The Higher The Heel, The Better You Feel: Online Avenue Stiletto Boots

'Tis the season of boots, and hot ones at that. 

I had so much fun styling these knee-high stiletto boots from Online Avenue ( As you zip them up, you just start to ooze this bad bitch aura all of a sudden (not that I was ever a basic). 

The length is just so DAMN sexy. Over-the-knee is always flattering and I found that these tight-fit boots made my legs look a lot slimmer and the cut-off point comes just above the knee which I found to be a plus point.

I've missed high boots so much... I've been obsessed with ankle boots for months now so to try out some knee-highs again, let me just say that I am now back in love people. 

How cute is the box! LOVE it! 
At first I was sceptical about whether I would actually be able to walk in them at all but the platform really helps to keep your balance. The heels are pretty high but because they're boots, they're bearable to strut around in, plus the length does give you a lot of support.

The patent black is gorgeous and classic, making the boots so versatile as you can style them with a plain white shirt and jeans or you can glam it up and team them with a shift dress for a night out. When I wore them, I just went into rebellious chic mode and put on my 'I don't care' jumper from Nikki Lipstick. I will warn you, once you have these bad boys on, you won't stop staring at them. 'Ahhh, so glossy!'

As it's quite cold out, I definitely think that high-heeled boots are the way to go. Peep-toes = freezing. I love that you can just wear these with pretty much anything and be good to go. They just make you so much sexier, I don't know how else to put it!

Go check out the brand as Online Avenue is super affordable and they stock the latest trends so you can treat yourself without feeling guilty!

Sunday 11 January 2015

A Blogger's Perspective: 2014 Taught Me...

(A late) Happy New Year to everyone! I can't believe we have reached 2015, where does the time go? I am thankful to all of you who have supported me and my journey, it is much appreciated and I always remember those who push me to achieve my goals. I hope you all have an amazing year and achieve great things, as you deserve!

I decided to spontaneously take a break from my coursework and write up this post with a few things that 2014 taught me, in relation to blogging and life in general. I definitely feel like my blog should be a platform for me to really express my thoughts with you guys. I don't want it to be all about makeup reviews and clothes, although I do love that element. I have a clear direction in my mind in regards to where I want to take my blog this year and rest assured, I will be writing up more personal experiences. Personally, this is very therapeutic for me and from the feedback I've received, it appears that most of you do prefer the more personal, down-to-Earth posts. As with all comments and criticism, I take all of it on board and I strive to grow as much as possible so thank you for your critique and please do continue to share your thoughts as they are what matters most. 

Now, on with the post!

The Path to Success is Paved with Failure

Everyone knows that following goals is by no means easy but I think 2014 taught me how dedicated you have to be to stay on the path at all.

It's really easy to get distracted, get caught up with the wrong people and focus on the wrong things. It's also very easy to somehow forget what your initial targets were. When I make progress, I often skip the thought process that acknowledges how far I've come and I go straight onto the next mission, 'Okay, I still have X, Y & Z to complete', I think. If you don't process your own achievements, you won't ever feel happy with what you have achieved and your output will reflect your unhappiness.

I'm very self-critical, always hard on my self, always thinking about what I could have done better. I think the past year has really allowed me to let this sink in and realise that I am on a journey with everything and it's not logical for me to achieve all my goals right this second.

Success is also in the eyes of the beholder. If I achieve x amount of views on a post, I may be over the moon but someone who relies on an Adsense cheque every month will probably throw something at a wall if they only got as many as I did. It just goes to show that one person's failure is another person's success. Everybody should focus on their own individual goals and journeys. Learn from others by all means but do not attempt to compare everything. It will drive you insane, trust me.

Breaking the Internship Cycle 

For those who don't know, I have been interning for a long, long time. I've had various placements and roles within the industry and out of it from a young age. I would highly recommend that people try and obtain some experience in the fields that they are interested in because I guarantee you without a doubt that you will find out some things you don't like about the industry/role. It's very easy to see jobs played out on TV screens or look at job descriptions but you really have to get a feel for the atmosphere too. You need to know the potential things that you won't like, in my opinion.

I believe that internships are valuable and for me personally, they have taught me SO many practical skills. Howwwwwwever, at some point you need to say 'okay, no more'. At the end of last year, I really reached a breaking point as I took on way too much. For a long time I tried to push myself to do it all but then I realised... why am I doing all of this? Is it not better to commit my time to one? So that's exactly what I did and I'm so glad to be a Fashion Assistant for Eldimaa Fashion now, where I feel like my time is being valued and I am learning a lot as I go. So I can officially say that I am done with the consecutive internships, this will be my last for sure!

Wait 'Til I Get My Money Right 

On the topic of internships and jobs, I just remembered something I really wanted to include in this post... 2014 taught me that people love to try and squeeze out your energy and work for free. Perhaps it is my age that makes people think they can rinse me out for this and that but it's just not going to happen. For certain things (without dropping specifics), companies should pay up. 

Even outside of blogging, in many fields, especially those where you are in charge of your finances, never sell yourself short. Value your time and ideas. Weigh unpaid opportunities up and figure out if they are really benefiting your or them. 

YouTube phenomenon, Zoella with her bestselling novel 'Girl Online'. 
This goes for internships too, I have heard of preposterous roles in the industry that basically make slaves out of young people for no payment in return. It isn't right at all and you have the right to quit or say 'no'. That's not to say that you shouldn't accept tough roles because I believe you need to work your ass off to understand what it's like. I know I have, but I have rejected internships and other requests in the past because they're not worth my time at all.

'Oh, I'm a Blogger Too!'

Okay, so this is pretty harsh because I believe that everyone has the right to follow their dreams but... f* it. 2014 taught me that there's too many damn people who want to be bloggers! I'll admit that I started my blog because I got inspired by the one and only BryanBoy and at first, I had no idea what I was even doing but I will tell you this, whatever I write, I write because I want to and I'm okay with the fact that I'm not getting millions of views but I do try and build consistency with my content, which is key.

Some of these girls just think they can start something up overnight or make a YouTube channel and regurgitate the style of top vloggers. It's just not going to happen, sweetheart. Stick to what you know and love. If you don't have a passion for something, don't do it. Oh, and when you realise it's not all about money, please don't cry about how hard it is. Delete your accounts and make it easier for the rest of us. Kthanksbye. 

If Your Circle's Close, Make it Closer

This is pretty personal but I thought I'd include it anyway. I thought I was being picky enough with my friends but in 2014, I realised that I simply wasn't picky enough! I started to pick up on a lot of negative energy around certain people and I also felt like I was being paraded around a lot. There wasn't any depth to these bonds with people. I just felt... empty, drained. 

Friends should be loyal to you and always have your back, but at the same time be able to tell you when you're in the wrong. I'm a firm believer that instincts will guide you in the right direction so I just decided that I would take action with a lot of people and reevaluate the necessity of our friendships. In doing this, I realised that I wasn't wrong in being different to others. I take a long time to warm up to people and I will continue to take my time with those who I am unsure about because I've seen too many fake people care about popularity instead of the value of a person they are around. 

One of my pet peeves is seeing people desperate to try and mend things with those who are toxic. I've done this repeatedly in the past and I have learnt from it, so do the same! Not everyone meshes well together, just accept it! It's like cheating in a relationship. What is making you stay with someone? You can leave a friendship and a relationship in the same way and you will live on, trust me. 

Negative = Positive 

2014 was definitely one of my tougher years. I went through a lot of hard times and I had to struggle a lot. There were times where I really, really, really wanted to just curl up into a ball of depression and hide away somewhere, away from the world and its turbulent nature.

Me at one of my happier times! 
I sympathise with anyone going through genuine struggles, I really do. In some cases, it's not possible to do this at all due to the nature of the person's emotions, however I think that our minds are seriously, seriously powerful. Sometimes when I feel like I'm about to hit a phase of negativity, I project my heightened state of emotions onto a task. It might be a blog post, but usually I don't write if I'm not in a decent mood because I'm afraid of dipping in quality. I might just go out for a walk somewhere, try on some new makeup, write my feelings down. It differs for everyone. 

Just try to find your peace because I have reached states where I have said things I really regret and can't take back, all because I let my thoughts get the better of me. When they run on and on, they get worse and worse. Escape them and realise that you can overcome a lot in life if you try to put yourself in control of your energy. 

Saturday 10 January 2015

Yours Truly Organics: Why I Abandoned Clinique's 3-Step

If you have been following my blogging journey so far, you will probably have heard me mention my continual use of Clinique's 3-Step system.  For about a year I have religiously been using their products because I always knew the brand catered for sensitive skin like mine. Although the products have worked for me, I have now become enlightened (*cue angels singing*) as I have found a range 10x better for me and my skin type...

I first encountered Yours Truly Organics at the Bloggers Love Hub and I spoke about their amazing Face Balm in my haul review here. No joke, I have been using the face balm every single day as you can tell by the picture. It has worked wonders for my skin and every time I watch beauty blogger videos talking about this primer and that primer, I just think... nah. I'm quite lazy about using lots of products everyday so to have a balm which works well as a makeup base and a moisturiser makes my life a LOT easier. It's rich in texture, you don't need to apply much and it really helps to keep your face matte throughout the day.

After my success with the face balm, the brand kindly allowed me to try the rest of the products so I could see whether the full regime would work for me. Everything comes boxed prettily and the packaging is simple, yet effective. 

On each box and product, there is some information about the ingredients and how the product works for your skin. I love reading the back of them as I apply to remind myself about the natural ingredients that are going to be absorbed. Daisy extract, argan oil, oats... as you read the bottles, you begin to feel comfortable and reassured about what you're using. I'm really noticing that natural and organic products work best 99% of the time. Why would something with an ingredients list full of unknown substances and chemicals with impossibly long names work better than a product sourced from plants? This is why I have chosen to steer away from Clinique. It's not that their products are bad in any way, it's just that Yours Truly Organics works a lot better and I see more visible difference in the texture of my skin. Maybe it's because I have kept a set routine for such a long time that I have forgotten about the possibility that there could be products that work so much better for around the same price point! 

So I have been using the products for a while now and I am finding that they suit my skin very well. I have fairly sensitive, oily skin and using all the products together has really improved my appearance. I use the Gel Cleanser every time I'm in the shower, it leaves your skin feeling nice and fresh but I love following up with the Balancing Toner, enriched with witch hazel, which we all know does wonders for impurities and breakouts. After I've toned my skin, I honestly feel so refreshed. I think it's after you see all the dirt that comes off on that little cotton pad. It's scary to think how crap our skin accumulates without us knowing! I've already mentioned the face balm and its incredibleness so I won't go into that, and as for the serum... oh my God. 

I've never been into serums, I just haven't felt the need to really use any. I've always thought they were more for anti-aging but the Repair Serum is a fab product to have when you really need that extra boost before the face balm. You only have to use a pea size for replenished and brightened skin. Every time I use the serum, I look in the mirror and see that my skin is more glowy. That's probably what I love most about this line... you actually see the difference straight away. 

I can't recommend this line enough! I am going to use all the Yours Truly Organics products as part of my regular routine now because I finally feel like I have found products that suit my skin's sensitivity and combat its problems too.