Tuesday 28 April 2015

Vogue Festival 2015: Bobbi Brown & Kate Upton

For the 3rd year in a row, I had the privilege of attending Vogue Festival: London's chicest event, aside from London Fashion Week!

Admittedly, I really wanted to go to several of the talks as the line-up was absolutely insane this year but that would cost me racks on racks on racks... I decided on the Bobbi Brown and Kate Upton talk this time round and I'm so glad I went. The event was such an amazing experience and it has become one of my favourite things to look forward to each year as it never fails to impress me.

Here I am posing in front of the Vogue covers... If you haven't noticed, my hair is significantly shorter and I am in such a mood because of it, I need that longer length back ASAP. All my long-haired girls know the struggle is real when the hairdresser cuts off those undesired inches :( 

Textured Blouse: New Look
Trousers: New Look
Statement Necklace: Primark
Watch: River Island
Handbag: Carvela for Kurt Geiger 
 Oh, and then this bubbly dude from Harrods popped along and we got a snap together. Bless him!

PC: Miriam Pinto
The talk itself was amazing. As soon as Kate Upton graced the stage with her perfect, air-brushed looking legs and swishy blonde hair, you could hear gasps from the audience all round. 'She's so tall!', 'O.m.g. she's so pretty!', were pretty much the main reactions. Literally, it was like Professor Utonium from The Powerpuff Girls added sugar, spice and everything nice with this one. Stunning, stunning, stunning!

She was sweet as ever when answering her questions, often appearing a little bit shy dare I say! I definitely could relate to Bobbi Brown, who made comments about the importance of being yourself in such a tough industry and the oh-so saturated digital age which has made us oblivious to everything around us. Bobbi is definitely a family girl with a big heart. She revealed all her mistakes and talked to us in a very maternal way, offering tips and guidance to succeed.

As you can see, the contrast is REAL in this pic! Aside from the height difference, Kate is wearing a glam, typically feminine outfit, sitting in a graceful position, whilst Bobbi has her slip-ons on the couch, glasses on and hair laid back sleek and simple. Amazing.

After the talk ended, I got the chance to explore the event space which was packed with treats. Although I didn't fancy queuing up for everything, I did manage to get some makeup done by a Bobbi Brown makeup artist who showed me a couple of tricks on applying bronzer and blusher!

Me and another fellow blogger, Miriam from www.BashfulSmiles.com.
One of the coolest treats was definitely having my Vogue t-shirt customised by Margot Bowman, who designed the most chic, Vogued-out elephant I have ever seen! Luckily, I was the last one she customised for and I was amazed at how a simple white tee became a work of art in no time. It really made the day extra special :)

Monday 20 April 2015

RefME: The Miracle Tool for Students

I know you're probably thinking... wait isn't this a fashion and beauty blog? Answer: yes. 

However, as you probably all know, I'm a current university student studying English with Film Studies and I know that a lot of my readers are likely to be students too. So why not shift the focus for a second so I can bring you some information on a fantastic tool I have been using to get through my work?

If you're at uni, chances are you're probably in the middle of a quarter-life-crisis right now, trying to get through the mass amounts of essays and revision. Like me, you're probably wondering what the point of your life is whilst staring at the Word document on your screen (if that's not the case, well aren't you damn lucky...)

Point is we are all get incredibly stressed out about work at one point or another and if you study a degree which tends to involve lots of essays, you'll know the absolute head-throbbing pain that is referencing. It really is a killer. All this time I've spent ages creating the references myself, following a style guide, spending hours just making sure all the commas and full stops are in the right places. 

All until RefME came along... 

I was actually first told about the tool by a uni friend and I thought it sounded great but I wasn't sure how comprehensive it really was until I tried it for myself. First, I tried out the web tool where you can pick your specific style guide whether it be MLA, MRHA, whatever you want. Next, you simply search for the text you want to reference, pick the right one and all of a sudden, it manifests the reference for you in footnote AND bibliography style.

Now you've literally gone from searching hours on end, endlessly going back and forth from style guide to Word, to actually being able to hit copy and paste. 

What's more, they have a handy app too which syncs all your information from the web tool so you can go anywhere and use RefME without a care in the world. 

I found the app really simple to use as it had the same format as the web tool. I loved the fact that I could scan codes from the back of books too, making my life so much easier. 

As you can see below, RefME puts all my references in one neat list so I can scroll through and make notes if needed. Here, I've just got all my references in one but to make life easier, you can just create separate projects for each essay you have to do. Once you're finished with all the references, you can click 'export' and it will form a bibliography for you then and there. What an absolute time-saver! 

Overall, I'm so happy to have gotten introduced to RefMe as it's definitely made the essay-writing process a lot easier and this is something all busy students will appreciate I'm sure!

Generally, I was able to find all the books/videos/journal articles that I needed with minor exceptions so this is definitely an extensive tool to use. Mostly, the reference format came out exactly the way I would like it to be but even if I had to change or delete one or two things, it still saved me a hell of a lot of time as you can imagine.

Don't take my word for it though, head over to RefME's site or download the app now and try it for yourself! Thank me later xo

Wednesday 8 April 2015

Bloggers Love Fashion Week Event: Magnitone & Exuviance Reviews!

Hey everyone! I'm back to share my #BLFW experience with you all! 

This must be my 4th or 5th Bloggers Love event now and I will admit I was definitely impressed this time round too. The journey there did take a hell of a long time in an uber so I ended up arriving a lot later than expected :( Nevertheless, the evening was still great as I am always excited to get introduced to new brands so I can give you guys the lowdown on what's just hype and what's really worth your money. 

This time round #BLFW was held at 4th Floor Studios in East London. One thing I can say is that it was 100% less crammed than last time which made the experience a lot better. As I walked in, I could see the room filled with eager bloggers making their way round the brands and off I went to explore...

If you haven't already, please do check out my Linzi Shoes review as there is where you can see my full OOTD for this event. What do you guys think of it? If I'm being honest, the cropped faux fur jacket was sitting in my wardrobe with the tags on just calling out to me. I am really bad with buying and forgetting about things so I am making an active effort to just go ahead and wear all these babies. 

I had the pleasure of being introduced to the brand, Masquerade Girl. If you're into glitz and glam, bandage dresses, embellished pieces, this is honestly the place to go! Even the tracksuits are bejewelled so you'll never be caught dead having a rough day. If you have a hangover and you need to pop out, just throw it on with some sunglasses. Anyone would think you're Sam Faiers ;) 

Right, on to the reviews!

Magnitone: A Skincare Miracle 

I tend to think of myself as being up-to-date with beauty but how can I really say this when I don't own a Magnitone? Long gone are days of just splashing on some cleanser, people want to take care of their skin properly but without spending a fortune on facials and treatments. At first, I was a bit scared of using any kind of cleansing brush because I do have fairly sensitive skin and the last thing I want is to agitate it and have more redness or breakouts.

Luckily I was pleasantly surprised with the results of my Limited Edition Lucid Magnitone by Pixie Lott as it honestly feels very gentle and non-abrasive on the skin. The key is not to scrub your face, this isn't microdermabrasion! This is simply a tool to improve the overall performance of your everyday cleanser and I can confirm that this definitely does!

Now for a horrible no make-up selfie of me... I'd appreciate moving past this pic as fast as possible. Kthanksbye.

As you can see, the box even comes with a cute hot pink headband to keep your back when cleansing. So chic! 

Everything you need is in the box, including a handy travel charger. Magnitone does sell other brush heads including a sensitive one, so anybody can use this no matter what skin type you have. 

After using Magnitone, my skin felt unclogged and 10x more refreshed than before. It makes a hell of a difference and I would highly recommend investing in one if you are thinking of improving your skincare routine. The best part about it is that you can use this with all your normal products, so no need to go and splash out on new cleansers and moisturisers!

Exuviance: No More Oily Skin! 

The next products I want to talk about are from Exuviance, who kindly gifted me with a Purifying Cleansing Gel and Purifying Clay Masque. I loved meeting with this brand, they were incredibly friendly and really listened to the condition of my skin and my past experiences with products.

As we both laughed about, Charlotte Tilbury has made everyone face mask crazy! Rightly so though, I don't know how I went about life without regular use of one. Masks are a great excuse to pamper yourself at any time of the week. What I absolutely loved about this one was that it was hassle-free and went on my skin smoothly. Not only that, it dried quickly too so you don't actually have to leave it on long at all.

Enriched with multiple vitamins and refined clay, your skin is going to love you for treating it with this. I found that my skin was significantly less oily after using the masque so I am very excited to continue using it, as well as the cleansing gel.

Thursday 2 April 2015

Anxiety: My Journey & Advice

Disclaimer: This is by no means a post designed to give clinical advice on how to deal with anxiety, please seek professional guidance if you are a sufferer. I am also highly aware that this is unlike any other content that I have done but hopefully this will resonate with some of you and make others aware of the type of feelings anxiety evokes. It's fairly long without images so I apologise if it's too long-worded but here goes... 

My Story.

‘This party is just too much anxiety for me.’

If you’ve ever watched an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, which I’ll admit is a huge guilty pleasure of mine, you’ll probably have heard Kim, Khloe or Kourtney mention anxiety.

It’s a word thrown around a lot on the show in a very blazé way. Anything from mismatched clothing to stains on fur rugs will give them ‘major anxiety’. Oh, the woes.

So what happens when we distinguish that sense of anxiety from clinical anxiety?

Unfortunately I think there’s a widespread misconception that anxiety is unserious and reversible. Whilst this may be true in some cases, I think there needs to be more awareness about the dangers and troubles anxiety brings. I’m talking about real anxiety here. Anxiety which takes away lives and transforms ordinary, loving people into unrecognisable individuals.

Hopefully by sharing my story as a blogger, it will provide comfort to some of you as I want to explain why I started suffering from it, how it suddenly affected my life and how I have managed to overcome it….

I’ll start by saying that I am generally a very reserved girl. I only open up to people who are close to me and I have always been quite to myself and possibly even a bit of an isolationist at times.

The first unexpected pan of anxiety happened around a university exam period. Now, I’ve taken the online quizzes like the psychology nerd I am and I am in fact, a perfectionist, ladies and gentleman. As always, I do get nervous before exams but I’m pretty sure this is a universal feeling. What I actually went through was completely different…

Just before my exam time, I had an accumulation of problematic life events including personal issues with close friends and issues at home, where I felt unhappy and discontent with life. I had cut out people who I considered major, major parts of my life. Even those who I had supported for numerous years. It is fair to say this period of my life was very difficult as it was, being that I was trying to conquer all these issues and still concentrate on revision.

‘Block it out, don’t let it affect your grades’. This is literally what my mind would tell me over and over again.

I pushed myself to the extreme. I realised that I had uncharacteristically not put in enough effort with my revision and I tried desperately to transform myself into a robot without feelings in order to push away the life issues and work hard to get the grades I wanted. I had always excelled academically and life issues simply weren’t a good enough excuse for me.

It all got too much for me.

I couldn’t stop the thoughts that I was going to fail, that I didn’t have enough support, that everything in my life was breaking apart, that I wouldn’t achieve the best like I once did, that I wouldn’t actually appear as though I had everything in control. The latter point sums me up to a tee.

All these thoughts prevented me from sleeping. I tried so hard to push myself to sleep but the thoughts wouldn’t go away. I tossed and turned and every half hour I would look at the clock and it would be nearer and nearer to exam time. It worried me more because I knew lack of sleep results in lower academic performance. I was breaking down. I cried as I watched the sun come up and I got out of bed, with 0 minutes of sleep, waiting to sit the exam.

I felt sick when I reached the exam hall. I looked a mess, I was nervous, I couldn’t focus on my notes, I thought I was going to collapse. I had no idea what the protocol was if you couldn’t physically do an exam and I was so close to turning away from the entrance of the exam area but something pushed me inside and forced me to sit that exam. To this day, I don’t know how I did it other than the power of a higher force.

When I went home, I booked a GP appointment straight away. I knew I had to tackle this before the next exam.

The GP confirmed that I was suffering from some form of anxiety and gave me propranolol to take as a temporary measure. I don’t know what I would have done if I didn’t get that advice because I thankfully managed to sleep and complete my following exams a lot, lot, lot better.  The thoughts calmed down.

After the exam period, I came off the propranolol. Everything got a lot better. Life started looking up. I was less worried in general. I thought everything was fine. I even secured a new job that I was really excited about. I didn’t even think about anxiety anymore, I didn’t want to look back at all at that dark period of my life.

It was a sunny afternoon and I had just finished a practically perfect day at my workplace. I was honestly in such a good mood because I felt really happy with the performance I gave. I walked out the building and made my way to the bus stop to go home… that’s when I was attacked.

Before I knew it, a man approached me and started shouting at me and hurling abusive words at me for no apparent reason. I thought it was a sick joke until he continued and continued. It wouldn’t stop. I struggled with what to do but my instinct guided me to turn around from him and walk towards the building again to protect myself. As I reached the door, I felt him grab my neck. It was at that moment that I was confident I was about to die. I just went blank. I didn’t know what to feel. I awaited death. I didn’t know why this person was attacking me or who they were but I was certain they were going to do major harm.

He pushed me downwards and I almost hit the floor but I felt a release. He had… left. I was saved. I rushed in the building and called the police to take it from there.

All I can say is that it was the worst experience of my life but I luckily got through it and instinct really did save me that day. I felt like someone was guiding me, telling me where to walk and what to do. If I hadn’t have turned around, I think it would have been worse considering the road ahead was isolated and nobody would have heard or seen anything, giving him more time to do as he pleases.

Being physically attacked really plays with your head. I started thinking ‘why me?’. I didn’t know the person. I didn’t get in their way, say anything to them, look at them or anger them in any way. Perhaps they had mental problems. Perhaps they just didn’t like the look of me. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps. My mind started doing the same thing as it entered an all too familiar cyclical trap of thoughts.

Same thing. GP. Propranolol.

It was anxiety again.

I hated going out for a while. I tried to stay home. I looked at everyone twice. I felt like I was going to be attacked again. I was easily scared. I felt like a victim.

It’s very easy to let anxiety take control over your life but once you realise that you can take the lead, things do get easier. For me, it was certain events which triggered my anxiety so it was sporadic but it varies for everyone. Regardless of the type, the best thing to do is to speak to someone, whether it be your family, friends or colleagues. Anyone who you feel you can trust.

The next step I would advise is to look into your options, speak to a GP or a medical professional as they really know what they’re talking about and once you explain your specific situation, they can give you tailored advice and medication if necessary.

The longer you leave it, the worse it will get. Don’t be afraid. You are not alone and never ever feel like you are because there is a whole support system out there waiting to help you along the way.

Time heals everything too. If you keep busy and focus on things that make you happy in life such as relationships, jobs, hobbies, education, exercise etc. you can partially heal yourself and before you know it things will improve.

Now? I feel better than ever. I look back and feel grateful that I managed to overcome my struggles. I have taken full control of my life and I absolutely love being a Fashion & Beauty Blogger as I get to meet so many wonderful people all the time and my platform allows me to share my thoughts all the time. Do what you love. Do what makes you happy. Never forget that it gets easier once you take control.