Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Reinvention starts at home

Sometimes all you need is a good hero piece to transform an outfit. One quirky little detail can lift a whole look. The thing is with me is I like to wear all my hero pieces at once. Wardrobe staples that make me feel like I'm dressing up (in the very best way) are my favourite things to wear. While each work well on their own for giving an outfit character and dimension, together thy almost have a larger than life effect. As the boy said "You look like a cartoon character."
Objective achieved then right?

Shirt - Tatty Bon Vintage
Culottes - Topshop Boutique
Shoes - Topshop 

The patterned shirt, the exaggerated silhouette, the pom pom shoes - every since one of these things sounds like it doesn't fit together, or hell, work at all, but are some of my most loved clothes. We have this horrible habit of trying to keep the things we love "nice" and for special occasions but instead I love the idea of dressing up everyday. Style allows us to reinvent ourselves every day so I can go from channeling an early 90's grunge queen to a classic minimalist gal about town.  Our style is as mufti-faceted as we are and sometimes we can get stuck in a style rut. The best way to solve this? Dig through your wardrobe, discover it, and play. You've got no idea what you might find.

Blogging from a Toshiba Satellite Click Mini - Designed for travelling, out and about, or just being used at home. The Satellite Click Mini offers everything needed for work and play.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Bride x Tested: Best of the Bunch - Navigating Bouquets

You don't really need a bouquet, and quite often, when it comes to budget, after guest numbers, flowers are the first to go. Which is a shame. You don't need a bouquet, but it's certainly nice to have one. I'm a very visual person and I think "flowers" and all those that share it's decorative hat really breathe life in to an image bringing a brightness and freshness. They add a real sense of occasion. Unless you're the kind of person who buys flowers for yourself every day (in which case, can I come live with you?) they mark a feeling of specialness. A treat. And too bloody right you want to feel special on your wedding day, so here are the best of the flowers and all their pals for that short walk down the aisle.

Fresh Flowers: I can (and will) do a post on finding your perfect florist in an entirely different post but let me just say I am 100% team real flowers. Yes you can get silk flowers but it doesn't quite capture the magic of a big poofty bouquet. They smell amazing, can add lots of texture and shape, and importantly, stop you fiddling with your hands when you're nervous.  I wouldn't trust anyone but Floral Menagerie to do my flowers as she works so closely with you to find out something that fits your wedding style. The only real downside with fresh flowers is that they can be expensive, so tal to your florist and do your research. Go with what's in season, the more of the same kind the better (those beautiful bunches of wild flowers do not come cheap!) and maybe forgo the hanging wall of peonies. Or not. A hanging wall of peonies would be beautiful and a real centrepiece for the wedding. Basically - learn to prioritise.

Paper Flowers: If the mere thought of flowers makes your eyes swell shut and your purse strings clench, maybe paper flowers are for you. You have access to colours that, simply put - just do not exsist in nature and you can really play with different shapes. This is great if you want something dramatic, minimalist and cool or full on colour. It's flexible and one of the least traditional options. Go for a full blown bouquet or one giant flower. They last forever and are certainly one for making a statement. If you don't have the megabudget for the hanging flower wall, a geometric paper back drop may be just the key. Scissorkick design are my local origami merchants and a perfect soloution for the craft challenged.

Brooch Bouquet: Please, for all that is good in this world, do not toss this guy. Brooch bouquets have become more and more popular because they last forever and provide a cheap alternative to real fresh flowers. It's great to add a little bit of sparkle and glamor to a look but the real appeal to me is the heritage you can add to it. A family brooch can become part o your bouquet and it's a lovely way to keep someone close who can't be there on the day. Maybe not the easiest to craft but results vary from full blown brooch circlets, to crystal accents. The above it a little guy from Honey Pop's wedding (who's wedding will be in the September issue of Rock n Roll Bride, that's her skull face on the cover so pre-order it now) and made by Tatty Bon. Super cut and a lovely keepsake.

Alternates: Whatever you damn well want. Barbie dolls, ice cream sandwiches, a puppy pal, a magical girl transformation wand. Your wedding is a big old pool of your love so splash around in it and have some fun!

Is there anything you would like to see on Bride X Tested? Finding the perfect underwear? Navigating the big bad world of catering, or finding an alternative wedding dress within budget? Give us a tweet or insta and I'll try answer all your wedding worries (and squee along with all the fun things you have planned!)  I'm total bride mode so would love to hear from you all!

Blogging from a Toshiba Satellite Click Mini - Designed for travelling, out and about, or just being used at home. The Satellite Click Mini offers everything needed for work and play.

Friday, 19 June 2015

Betty (and Bee) on the Barge

Last week, my bff was invited by The Leith Agency to talk about Forever Yours Betty and personal branding. It's one of those companies we've both idoloised since before we knew what PR and marketing was (they're the guys who head all of the Irn Bru campaigns) so obviously she was thrilled to do it, and I was just as much thrilled to attend. It was our blogs that started everything for us. Our friendship, our business, and to hear from someone I admire so much professionally (and personally, duh) about how she's built he band was invigorating.

Dress -Great Plains
Bomber - Debemhams
Necklace - M&S
Shoes - Zara

Betty spoke about everything including finding your voice, Betty's journey (remember when she was a Swollock?) and how blogging is changing. There was some great debate after it, including is it harder to brand a person or a company and the ethics in gifting and transparency with readers. And then we got to get drunk on a boat which is also a bonus. I couldn't be prouder of my main girl and really hope she takes her talk to an open forum soon. She inspires me every day to be a better blogger and think if anyone is to give you a lesson in self-branding its her.  If you haven't checked out our blog already, get that sorted, stat.

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Grey Hair Don't Care

Granny hair. It's the tumblr trend that just won't go away, and quite frankly, I'm ready to jump that bandwagon. I've been playing with cooler shades for the last few years and have been itching for some silver locks since before I could remember (home dying had done a number on my hair, but you results may vary) so I tasked BLOW with turning me in to a God.Damn.Moon.Princess.

Bomber - Debenhams
Top & Shorts - Primark
Hair - BLOW 

For whatever reason my blue wasn't budging so we went in with all guns blazing.  Fal brought out her secret weapon, Olaplex, which isn't readily available in the U.K. It's what Kim K used to go blonde and acts as a protective barrier for big dye jobs. It costs a little extra but it's worth it for the protection it gets you and it created an unbelievable lift. This was shortly follow with a conditioning treatment, a special dye mix and some toner and bobs your uncle. I've been coveting frosty white hair, especially in the run up to the wedding so as so chuffed we managed to get it in one! It's already bringing in a lot of comparisons to Daenery's who pretty much has some of the best hair in fiction, so I'm totally ready to roll with it. Maintenance is a totally different ball park but you know what guys? I'm ready to commit.


Monday, 15 June 2015

Bride x Tested: Budgeting at the Beginning

Is there anything sexier than budget sheets? If there is I can't think of it. Your wedding budget is your front line, your foundations on what everything else to do with your wedding is built on. If you're working on a shoe string or have the cash to splash, your budget will streamline your decision making. Option paralysis can be a total bummer when planning, so before you make any decisions, find out how much you can afford and then prioritize from there.

A wedding can be done for under £200 (grab your best suit and head to the registry office) but you can build create a wedding around everything, it just takes a little imagination and some killer organisation. I'll be covering scrimping, saving or blow outs in more detail from flowers, decorating, catering and photography but more than anything, you need to arm yourself with the basics.

What You'll Need

A wedding planner (duh)  - Honestly I think this guy is more of a way to keep track of everything. I'm a total hoarder who likes to keep everything so a wedding planner is great if you're like me and like something tangible. From checklist to little pockets to store your inspiration, it's a handy little guide that can help form the frameworks of the wedding. No wedding needs everything and anything so if you go for one of these you may find yourself skipping huge chunks out, but if you want an idea of some of the costs that come up, this guy is a total babe.

Some killer inspiration (Rock n Roll bride, obvis) - I think every bride to be should be subscribing to Rock N Roll Bride. We've all got our favourite blogs and magazines and hell, even pinterest. From body positivity to DIYS and real weddings, truly this is the playground of the voyeur. Curtain twitching fingers at the ready.

A notebook  -Keep this in your bag. Use it for scratching down ideas, making notes when you're out shopping or hell, just for keeping track of what's going on. I love using mine doodles or ideas that friends share. It's tough to keep track of everything so I like having a dedicated little inspiration book I can always have to hand.  

And a really good budget managing website, I use The Knot.  - The Knot is very much a resource for more traditional brides (considering it's sister websites are The Nest and The Bump) but their budget calculator is indispensable. Enter your budget and it will automatically break it down in to different categories. You can automatically update it and it's a wonderful tool for at a glance budget review.  If the numbers scare you, this pretty much holds your hand  through the process.

It's super easy to become blindsided with wedding planning, and while it's super fun, also make sure you take time to enjoy yourself away from the whole process. Fancy baths, candles, catching up with friends without the big W - whatever it takes for you to decompress. Budgeting is only the beginning but it will be the best thing for preparing for the road ahead.

Friday, 12 June 2015

Rough Hands: On Finding the Best Hand Creams

 Hand cream was never really something I used till the last year but I've never looked back. It's like body lotion, once you get in to the routine, you wonder why you weren't always doing it. Hands are exposed to everything and anything, so why are they such an often neglected part of our beauty routine? Hand cream is like manna from heaven and other than all the protective and restorative properties, it's a little lifesaver in your handbag that keeps your skin from drying out and helps looks after your nails. That's right. If you're looking to kickstart your nail growth, you should 100% have one of  these bad boys in you bag. I've rounded up 5 of my favourites.

Molton Brown Coco & Sandlewood Replenishing Hand Cream
Pure luxury in a bottle, Molton Brown's Coco & Sandlewood Hand Cream is extremley rich and decedant.  While it doesn't absorb the quickest, it's one of my favourite scents. It's super creamy and a little really goes a long way.  If you have paticularly dry skin, this one is great for nourishing your skin but is light enough for repeat application.

Soap & Glory: Hand Food
A high street classic Soap & Glory products are a staple of my bathroom cabinet. It feels light to go on and has a sweet, delicate fragrance.  It leaves your hands feeling super soft, and is super good value for money as it lasts forever. It takes a little longer to dry in that I'd prefer, but ideal when I need an extra moisture kick.

Elizabeth Arden: Eight Hour Cream
If you don't have Eight Hour Cream in your beauty kit, get that sorted ASAP. This guy is not suitable for everyday use but is perfect for applying before bed. It's super rich, you only need a spot of it, and this multi-purpose cult beauty product is a must have product for any beauty lover worth their salt.

Crabtree & Evelyn: Pomegranate, argan and grapeseed
This fruity little number is actually my favourite. Non sticky, quick absorbtion and leaves my hands feeling super soft. The dinky little bottle size means it fits in most of my handbags so is perfect for taking to the office or on a night out. It's intensley moisturising but I find it is light enough for everyday use.

Gordon Castle: The Flower Garden 
Gordon Castle's latest floral garden collection features one of the best everyday hand creams out there. No artificial fragrance, colours or any other nasties as well as being against animal testing, this locally produced hand cream ticks a lot of boxes for careful beauty buyers. If you have sensitive skin and still want to be able to use a cream without causing irritation, this little guys for you.

Since using hand cream my skin feels better and my nails are my nails are stronger than ever. It can be easy to dismiss hand care as an unnecessary luxury, however once you start, you'll wonder how you ever survived without in the first place.

Monday, 8 June 2015

Bride x Tested Every good girl needs an origin story

When I first got engaged, and after the blissed out screaming and popping of champagne, I suddenly realised I need to plan a wedding. Well, in truth, I didn't need to. But I wanted to. As long as it's Paul at the end of the aisle, all the other details are superfluous. I knew I was building a marriage, but I wanted a wedding. Working in events and PR pretty much made me feel like I was going to have it down. I'm great with budgets, I'm decisive and I can crisis manage like no other. In short, I was in no way prepared for wedding planning.

I've been engaged for 6 months, and I get married this November and it still seems like there is 100 different things I need to do.  From centre-pieces to finding the right underwear, to family politics, I've been navigating the waters as an aspirational DIY-er, with an army of kick ass women (you can call them my Bees-maids) with the finesse of a one-legged seagull.  In all honesty, I'm generally shooting in the dark and hoping for the best. Luckily, from working in events and fashion I've also managed to amass a team of super amazing experts and creatives who have helped me when my brain has wanted to all but fall out my skull and help re-align my focus. So here I am. Building from the ground up and sharing all the bridal knowledge I learn along the way.  I'll be covering the big, small and the itty bitty bits inbetween on how to have a kick ass wedding on a budget.

At the end of the day though, you're marrying your best friend, everything else, well that's just optional.

Images: Braw Brides
Jewellery: Bonnie Bling

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Raining cats and dogs: Chouchou Summer Sample Sale

You know those heat waves they keep talking about? Not going to happen. We're having a Scottish Summer which means the 80derniers are out, layering is a must and there is a moderate to high chance of rain. Luckily, while it's raining cats and dogs, Chouchou have a special 5 day sample sale to make sure you stay dry even if the weather won't.

Dress - H&M
Top - Primark
Harness - Pretty Vexed
Hood - Chouchou
Shoes - Faith

With up to 50% off their signature styles including the Alexa, Kittyhood and Lucy cape it's never been a better time to invest in Chouchou. June may not seem like the time to invest in your faux furs, tartans and shearlings but when you're expecting highs of 8, there is nothing better to keep you warm that a cheeky bit of Chouchou.  The best part? They'll alo be dropping two new kitty hood designs over the sample sale. So set your alarms kittens! Chouchou's Summer sale goes live from 12 tomorrow, and remember, if you're not fast, you're last!

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