Monday 29 June 2015

When Paid Promotion Goes Wrong...

If you're an Instagram junkie like me, you'll now be used to scrolling through your feed & spotting the usual celeb suspects sporting their new protein powders, waist trainers, cheap dresses in their name... the list goes on.

Yes, it can be seriously annoying but I can sort of understand it when it comes to reality stars or people who work on & off. Sometimes you just need a bit more income coming in or hell, maybe they're just greedy. Aside from the low-list celebs, there are definitely some of the bigger names in the celeb world who I've noticed are doing a terrible job at promotions...

As a blogger, I know my fair share about sponsorships, promotions, collaborations etc. but even for those who don't blog or work in PR, sometimes it's pretty damn obvious when someone is just pushing a product in your face that they don't use.

Lilly Ghalichi: Razor Gate

Here's a screenshot from Lilly Ghalichi who has absolutely blown up all over the internet. I feel bad for discussing her because I've had so many good things to say in the past & I actually remember when she wasn't so huge & acknowledged my blog post about her. Now that she's become an absolute living doll, I've noticed that some of her promotions are really off...

Basically she's promoting these cheap 99 cent razors & telling us how great they've been for her skin sensitivity. Okay, let me compose myself. She's a gorgeous Persian woman & I have an Indian background... basically if you're from the exotic side of the world, chances are you're going to be hairier than most. Just being real! There is no way in the hell that this woman is shaving. It's absolutely laughable. If you read the comments, people are outraged that she would try and convince us that she actually still shaves & uses these cheap-o razors. 

Pic via @Lillyghalichi on IG
(Sidenote: I love that she's having a full-on photo shoot with heels in the shower... girllllll). 

Lilly has openly discussed her experiences with laser hair removal in the past & this PR promotion is a huge, huge blunder. She is losing credibility left right & centre. I'm happy for her success and as I used to read her blog years ago, I really admire her for wanting to show the world that it's possible to have brains & beauty. Having huge hair & fake tan does not erase someone's law degree. I just hope that her PR team can do a better job of choosing their collaborations because if she pulls something else like this again, it's not going to be pretty. 

Kylie Jenner: Old & Wrinkly

This is fairly old news now but it came to mind when thinking about this topic. When Kylie was first spotted promoting Nip + Fab I was honestly bamboozled. All I could think about was 'wow, that figure must be reaching 6 digits'.

The girl is 17 years old.

Photo via
I'll admit I don't want to go in on her too harshly because in some ways I actually feel sorry for her. Let's be honest, she most likely had little say and was probably just told that some new brand wants to work with her & she would get a ton of money. Also, you have to sometimes think of the strange circumstances that she has had to grow up with. Aside from the Bruce-Caitlyn change, she also has to live with the pressures of comparing to her sisters who have made their fame through looks.

I wouldn't be surprised if she actually does use the stuff. It seems more & more evident that she is following in Kim's steps with her aesthetic.

The media is brutal and for someone younger than me to have to face that, I'm sure it's difficult... hence her self-esteem issues about her lips. Everyone has struggles & I think we should stop being so quick to attack her (even I'm guilty of it) and realise that being rich doesn't mean people aren't going through their internal struggles. Sorry for going off topic! I just felt the need to voice that message :)

Marnie Simpson: Lol.

Some of you are probably like... who? She's a reality TV star on Geordie Shore (yes, I watch it please leave me alone). I just thought I'd add this for comic effect. She's always promoting something or the other & this pic just kinda screamed 'right, I'm tired as shit... gonna hold up these hair pills & then I'm done, PR ain't paying me enough to write why I like 'em or 'nowt like that!'

Pic via @marniesimpson on IG

Wednesday 24 June 2015

Wonder App: Swiping Just Got More Fun!

For the last couple of months I've had the joy of helping to write some content for a new app to take the market by storm: Wonder

It's basically like Tinder, only instead of swiping right for hotties & left for serial-killer lookalikes, this app brings you the latest fun things happening in and around your city. So if payday is approaching & you want to find a new spot to splash your cash or you've got that mate that just always insists, 'I don't mind anywhere... no, no, you choose' (annoying right), then you can just swipe around for a bit until you find somewhere that takes your fancy.

With fashion, food & drink, exhibitions, concerts & much more, this app has a large variety to meet all your wants and needs. Right now, the main locations are London & NYC but keep an eye out for new cities that are coming. Oh, and I should mention that the app is aimed at towards the 20s demographic so you won't find anything bog-standard or boring. Phew.

So let's take a look at how it all works...

Above is a screenshot from the app where I came across Michael Kors (I know some of you will be yay-ing & some ew-ing). So what you'll get is a lovely pic that sums up the brand making it easy for you to see what you'll get in the shop, a price range, an info button, a share feature & of course an option to swipe right to save it into your wonders. 

I love this app for fashion places because I've found so many places I haven't even heard of before & it gives you that inspiration to go out & explore instead of hitting up the same places over and over again... Even if you've lived in London forever like me, you'll be surprised at the amount of cool things to do from the posh Bankside spots to the hipster pop-ups in Shoreditch. 

Plus there's a big selection for different price ranges. So it doesn't matter what your budget is, you can find anything from thrift stores to swanky high-end designer boutiques and there's lots of free places to visit too like exhibitions, festivals, landmarks, meaning that you'll never have to be stuck at home even when you've got to save up the pennies. 

As you can see, you've also got a detailed but brief description of the place so you can quickly see what the place is all about without going through hefty paragraphs as you would on a regular 'About Me' page for instance. 

You've also got a convenient 'visit website' button which will take you on it directly. The app is really good for doing everything on it at once instead of having to exit, get Google up, find the place & get the info that way. When I'm bored at home or need to kill time on a bus for instance, I like to get this app up & save a few wonders that I like the look of so I have a selection there ready. It's so convenient because the next time you're in charge of finding the club to go to or the restaurant to eat etc., it won't take you as long to decide.

Above is an example of what your saved wonders will look like. You don't have to worry about them going anywhere, they'll remain there for you to browse through as & when you wish. 

So if you're a fashionista, a foodie, a raver or a professional exhibition-viewer, you're bound to find some good picks on this app. Even speaking as a casual user of it, I find that it's super easy to use, quick to load up & features regular updates of new places. 

Let me know what you guys think & be sure to download the app here. It's free! 

Saturday 13 June 2015

A UK Exclusive Interview with Sulakshana Monga

The Park Grand Hotel sets the stage for my interview with the legendary Indian designer, Sulakshana Monga. She's won several prestigious awards and continually produces elegant designs that transcend seasonal trends and phases. 

A big name in the fashion world, I was super excited to have the chance to sit down with her one-on-one thanks to Canvas International. I was eager to find out more about her collection & what she had to say about working in an extremely competitive industry. So sit back & relax with a cuppa (or champagne, why not) & gain an exclusive insight into her world...

First of all, I have to congratulate you on the success of your UK trunk show and the boutique in Birmingham... how do you think the overall reception has been here?

Everything has been very positive so far... the people in the UK are ready to wear experimental styles and it's been an amazing experience for me. People appreciate fashion here and they enjoy something different from the usual. When people enter the boutique we've found that one of the first things customers generally say is 'wow, this is different!'

Recently, we've seen that Western women really want to embrace Indian clothing. Years back, there didn't seem to be any in-between for women going to a party. You either had to wear a cocktail dress or a sari/salwaar... Do you think you'll continue to make modern hybrid piece that cross over the two cultures?

I think we'll make more in-between pieces with a global appeal. With our clothes, you can take the same look from an Indian wedding to a red-carpet event, that's the unique selling point. We try and cater to a diverse audience so that any woman can feel comfortable wearing the outfits. For instance, we have sari-dresses which retain the unique draping of a sari but have a modern touch and ease of wear, as though its a gown.

Do you think you tend to follow seasonal trends or do you keep to the classic & elegant looks?

We have to definitely follow the trends and we can't avoid them because if you want to stay in fashion, you have to stay young at heart. We still want to look classy but we try to live in-between classic and fun. There are some really playful unique pieces in each collection that the younger customers love to go for so we don't want to leave any demographic out, there will always be something no matter what the age.

So we've seen a lot of Bollywood actresses support your collections, with the likes of Deepika Padukone & Ileana D'Cruz for instance. What do you look for when working with these stars?

Everything depends on their bodies. For instance, when I worked with Ileana she has a heavy hip line so we have to give her something beautiful which can work with her body and with Deepika, she has a lovely tall height and a very long torso so she looks great in most choices. With every star we have to pay special attention their body types as each is going to be different but I love working with them as they understand fashion very well.

I was reading about your background including where you grew up and how you have managed to get to where you are now. I think it's amazing how you've managed to create such a huge legacy and develop your brand to this level after starting so small. Do you have any advice for young people like me who want to get into the fashion industry?

If you have a passion for fashion and you can justify the hard work, the hours & the patience needed, go for it. If you want to join the field just to earn money, then don't bother. You have to love the industry from your heart. If you're not authentic then people will never believe you. You can't always focus on money as it will come, just later on in the game. You have to achieve so many goals first to see the end results but if that's all your focused on, it won't work out.

Further Info:

Follow Soltee by Sulakshana Monga on Facebook
Follow Soltee by Sulakshana Monga on Instagram

Boutique Details:

Unit 2, 90-94 Soho Road,
B21, 9DP
T: +44 121 554 7543

Tuesday 9 June 2015

Una Brennan: Super Facialist Salicylic Acid Clay Mask Review

Hope you all had a gorgeous basic-bitch free weekend! 
This is totally impromptu but it's currently 00:15 and I just used a new clay mask that I bought with some of my Boots Advantage Card points. I was really looking for something that resembled what spas or beauticians would use as the last facial I got consisted of a very rich algae mask which I loved the feeling of. 
I was browsing the Boots site to try and find the perfect mask and after coming across this, I was like... 'okay, wow'. What drew me in was the included salicylic acid, who wouldn't want to combat breakouts at the same time as doing their pampering sess? It also contains Dead Sea Mud rich in magnesium, calcium, potassium and iron for the perfect detox facial at home. In addition, the Avocado oil rich in Vitamins A, D and E with Acacia Honey further helps skin rebalance itself to reveal a clearer, refreshed-looking complexion. -- £9.99
I've been ill in bed for the last few days. We all know what that means... clogged pores and dull skintones. Bleurgh. This product really saved the day... 
What I love about it is that you actually feel the product working as your skin becomes super tight, meaning that all those clarifying goodies inside are active. I've tried a couple other masks which are great but you don't feel like much is really happening on the skin which can be quite disappointing.
After you leave it on for a good 5 minutes (I left mine for close to 10 to really get rid of all the bad stuff after being ill), you can immediately feel that skin come back to life. I noticed more glow on the skin's surface and redness was significantly reduced. If you want to see immediate results, I'd go for this 100% because in terms of complexion and brightness, you will be pleased.

Yes, Manita... take another mask selfie again D:
As for the acne benefits, I'm going to wait and see if I see a difference in the next couple of days but I definitely feel that the redness around my breakouts has gone and things all round look a lot less... gross. 
Oh, and lastly... the size you get is absolutely amazing. For £9.99 you get 125ml worth of product which I love because it means I can be fairly generous with my applications as I like to see all that clay properly. It also means your product will last you longer and at a tenner, you can afford to replace it more easily than say Laura Mercier (RIP bank accounts). 
I would definitely give this a go if you have oily skin or are prone to breakouts, it's simply amazing and I am confident this will now become my new staple mask. I'm also keen to try out more goodies from Una Brennan as I've seen such good customer reviews about her Super Facialist range so I will definitely keep you posted but let me know if you've tried anything from the range, I'd love to hear more about it! :)