Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Three ways to wear a Leather Jacket!

One of the most essential items of clothing that I think everyone should have in their wardrobes is the legendary 'Leather Jacket'!  Why you might ask?  Well for the plain and simple reason of it not only being chic and trendy. but also the fact that it is incredibly versatile and manages to compliment any outfit you create every single time, without fail!  I asked for a new leather jacket for my Birthday, as my last one (which had been in my wardrobe for 7 years) finally was needing an update!  I opted for the 'Petite Quilted Faux-Leather Biker Jacket' from Topshop, which was a reasonable price of £48.  I really liked this style, because it was collarless, but yet still had the lapels at the front of it, which I adore and always go for when choosing a leather jacket.  I just couldn't wait to wear this item and I wanted to share with you all, my top three favourite ways to wear a leather Jacket.  

Jacket - Topshop // Dress - Primark // Bag - Zara // Boots - New Look 

1.  Here I wanted to focus the eyes onto the gorgeous monochrome dress that I picked up from Primark.  I synched in my waist by using an elasticated belt and then I wanted to match that accessory by teaming it up with my new black Zara chain bag.  I feel that the moment you add the leather jacket to the dress, it instantly gives it more character and the outfit goes from plain to eye catching!  This outift is not just stylish, but is also incredibly comfortable to wear too and for me, when I wear my clothes... comfort has to be the main priority!  

Jacket - Topshop // Jumper - New Look // Skirt - Primark // Bag - H&M // Boots - New Look

2.  This outfit has been one of my favourite ones to wear, as it combines my two current loved at the moment, which are striped jumpers and denim buttoned mini skirts.  Over the past couple of months, I have become obsessed with stripes and I think that I must have around 9 tops/jumpers in my wardrobe already and yet I'm still adding to the collection!  This outfit looks so fashion forward and effortless as it consists of mixing different fabrics together that are all the shade of black and then contrasting it with the crisp white patterned jumper.  It breaks up the outfit and makes it more striking!  

Jacket - Topshop // Shirt - H&M // Jeans - Topshop (Joni) // Biker Wellie Boots - Jigsaw

3.  This outfit just screams rock chic doesn't it?  I like to sometimes wear more edgy looks, especially mixing textures of materials and prints, so this style for me is super cool and really easy to copy.
Here I wanted to show off the Leather Jacket, in terms of the zip detailing, by matching it with my Biker Wellie Boots from Jigsaw.  To give the look a bit of colour and contrast, I styled my leopard print shirt underneath my jacket and it simply softened the outfit and made it less androgynous and more feminine.

I hope that these looks have given you some inspiration for your wardrobes and that you too are enjoying wearing your leather jackets!

M x

Thursday, 24 March 2016

Hawthorn & Rose Question Time!

Last week I had the great pleasure of meeting up with Elaine, the creator and owner of 'Hawthorn & Rose', where I interviewed her on some topics.  If any of you do not know this company then check out my latest blog post, where I go through all of their beauty products that they offer.  So I hope you all enjoy reading this and please leave comments!

Melanie:  Hi Elaine!

Elaine:  Hi there Melanie!

Melanie:  Thank you so much for inviting me down to the County Living Fair to see your wonderful collection!

Elaine:  That's quite alright.  Thank you so much for coming down!

Melanie:  So, let's get right down to it.  What made you decide to embark on creating your company 'Hawthorn & Rose'?

Elaine:  Well Melanie, I come from a very beautiful area in the west of Ireland.  It's on the shores of a beautiful lake called Lough Carra, at the foot of the Partry Mountains, so there's a lot of heritage in the area.  And I really wanted to move back up to that kind of craft heritage. We have a farm, so it's a real agricultural area and I always loved the idea of being at home on the farm and having a craft business of my own.  The name 'Hawthorn & Rose' came about when I was out walking one Spring evening with my Dad on the lake and I could smell the wild mint growing along the lake and the blossoms were just coming out on the Hawthorn trees.  I had to think of a way to incorporate this into my company name and so I came up with 'Hawthorn & Rose!'

Melanie:  You place a special emphasis on your products being 100% natural and therefore not containing any 'Palm Oil', what is your passion behind this?

Elaine:  I chose not to use Palm Oil in my products, after finding out about how much of an impact the production has on the environment and as with anything if you use it, you're putting stress on the environment.  Unfortunately Palm Oil is so widely used in production and what you'll find is that food producers will put Vegetable Oil on their packaging and they won't specify what it actually is. Sadly Palm oil is one of the cheapest oils that you can purchase and for that reason you can see why manufacturers are replacing the maybe better quality oils with Palm oil.  I just think that it's such a shame to do that and so that's why I refuse to use it myself!

Melanie:  Where did you obtain your initial inspiration for this concept of product?

Elaine:  Well I suppose it really came from when I was thinking about how I would really like to be self sufficient.  At home we have a vegetable garden and a farm so  obviously we know where all of our crops come from.  I thought about what things my Grandmother might have made or even my Great Grandmother in fact.  They would have probably made their very own soaps, because at that point it wasn't so easy to maybe buy things  of that sort.  It was a craft that people did at home and when you think about it soap is one of the most basic necessities, because it is one of the best forms of hygiene just washing your hands with soap.  So I thought well if I could make my own soap it will be so self sufficient!!

Melanie:  So then what made you  want to branch out from making soaps and go into creating the scrubs and the body butters?

Elaine:  That's a good question!  Well the reason I did that is because once I was making my soaps, I started to realise a variety of ingredients that were out there... You can potentially use the forms of seeds, nuts and plants.  I realised the ingredients that are in the soaps are good enough in their own right and so for that reason I decided to make the body butters which are the raw ingredients that I make with my soaps.  So they sit quite nicely together and complement one another!

Melanie:  How did you come up with your concept of design and packaging for your products, which I personally feel are not only beautiful to look at, but ultra feminine too?

Elaine:  With regards to the logo, I wanted to keep it really soft and maybe hand painted in that kind of style.  So again just keeping with the craft element as everything is handmade.  The packaging again it comes from that craft almost cottage feel.  I wanted to keep it quite simple as I didn't want to take anything away from the products, because the products on their own, say so much!  The colours and the patterings are very vibrant so it would have been a real shame to have covered them up!

Melanie:  What was the inspiration behind your soap patterns, especially the marbled multicoloured one?

Elaine:  So this comes from ink marbling, you know from your papers and you would have noticed it in a lot of books, so it's something that's quite an old craft.  So I looked through some ink marbling and I got inspiration from that to help me design my soaps!

Melanie:  If you could choose, what would be your favourite product from your collection and why?

Elaine: That's a really tough question!  I do feel quite passionate about the Shea Butter range.  Shea butter contains a lot of Vitamin D which is renowned to have a collagen boosting effect.  So if I really had to recommend any product, out of the whole range, it would have to be the Shea Butter range.  I love the Shea butter soaps and I love using the Shea butter body scrub and body butter.  It's really nourishing for the skin!  So that would be my one thing that I couldn't do without!

Melanie:  Well thank you so much for that Elaine, it was truly wonderful to be able to chat to you in depth about your company and I'm sure my viewers at home too will be very interested in what your company has to offer!

M x

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Camel and Black!

Coat - Jigsaw // Shirt - Zara // Jeans - Topshop (Joni) // Handbag - A La Maison // Shoes - Primark

This week has been incredibly stressful, what with Perry and I desperately trying to find a property to buy, as well as sorting out various preparations for the wedding (which is just three months away)!  So with that said, I've been wearing more sophisticated outfits and looking a little more grown up (especially as I have a baby face and do not always get taken seriously)!

I love this ensemble!  Camel and black are my two 'go to' colours for style and elegance!  I wanted to feel comfortable, so I opted for my classic 'Joni' jeans from Topshop and my trusty snake print shirt from Zara.  This 'Cocoon Coat' from Jigsaw is ideal for giving a chic finish to any outfit!  Lastly, I donned my favourite stilettos from Primark, which have rose gold detailing on the heels.  This look screams out smart casual and I just love how effortless it seems, thanks to the over-sized coat.  All I want now is for something exciting to come out of it all... I guess now all we can do is play the waiting game!

Catch up with you all soon!

M x

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

W7 In the buff!

For a couple of years now, I have admired and lusted after some infamous and almost legendary makeup products.   They have always gone into my very own 'mental wish list' and yes you've guessed it, been totally forgotten or ignored!  Until last week, when my favourite eyeshadow company 'Naked' popped into my mind.  I have wanted one of their nude eyeshadow palettes for a very long time now and was seriously contemplating purchasing one for the naughty price of £38.50!  But then I discovered a fantastic dupe from W7 and it is called 'In The Buff'.

I love how the case looks!  It's so chic with the metallic pink running through the it and yet it is also incredibly useful with the case being much like a tin, to store things.  And in this instance it is storing the gorgeous nude shadows.  I also think that W7 have very cleverly created a dupe product that replicates the infamous 'Naked' nude eyeshadow palette perfectly!

The pigment of each shadow is very strong and so therefore the colours and looks that you create last for several hours, which is always a bonus!  They definitely have true staying power!

I wanted to place all twelve of the colours onto my skin in the form of a swatch and see what tones and shades they would make with my skin tone.  I understand that in this picture, the lighter colours which are used mainly for highlighting the top of the eyelid/brow bone area might not be as prominent, but I assure you that once they are applied to the eye, they begin to work their magic! Here are the colours from left to right:-  Buff, Camel, Sand, Dust, Chocolate, Topaz, Earth, Storm, Silk, Wave, Thunder, Onyx.

Overall I am thoroughly impressed with my W7 palette and I find that the colours are not only totally gorgeous and blend really well together, but they also are incredibly soft when applied to the eyelid.  I can already tell that I am going to get so much use out of this palette and at a total of just £5 this really is a total bargain!

M x

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Hawthorn & Rose!

Today I wanted to share with you all, my lovely friend Elaine's new and fantastic company 'Hawthorn & Rose' and how proud I am of her!  I can imagine how stressful and scary it might have been, with starting up a company of her own, but all of the hard work that she has clearly put into the brand, has definitely paid off!  'Hawthorn & Rose', a company based in the West of Ireland, specialise in producing a range of Body Butters and Palm Oil free Soaps.  But what I love the most about this brand, is the fact that all of their products are 100% natural and therefore are free from any artificial chemicals or preservatives.  By not using Palm Oil in their products, they are saving the rainforests from deforestation, and are therefore being kind and gentle to the environment!

"Our philosophy here at Hawthorn & Rose, is to create skin nourishing, ethically sourced products, using all natural ingredients."   
(Elaine - Owner, Designer and Maker of Hawthorn & Rose).

I received the cutest little box of samples in the post and instantly fell in love with the packaging. (You all know how much I love looking at packaging!)  It consisted of a brown card box, with a very rustic/vintage green and white ribbon tied around it.  The products all fitted into the box so perfectly and I couldn't get over how neat and pretty it all looked.  The Hawthorn & Rose logo is so pink and feminine and I just couldn't wait to open it all up and unwrap the gorgeousness!

I still cannot believe that this soap is real.... It just looks so beautiful doesn't it?  All of the Soaps are handmade and come in a variety of different colours and patterns.  Each Soap contains a touch of real Tussah Silk, which gives your skin such a nourishing and smooth feeling.  I think that this soap has got to be my favourite one that they have produced because the pattern is just mesmerising!

I received four sachets of handmade Coconut Milk Soak,  Each sachet is made up from Sodium Cocoate and Saff flower petals.  There are two ways to use these packets:- If you want to have a nourishing foot spa, then simply use one sachet.  However, if you want to have a soothing and relaxing bath then use two sachets to a ready warm bath and enjoy.

There was also this handmade Cocoa Butter Body Balm, that was also included in my pack.  I had never tried Body Balm before, as I usually go for Body Butters and Lotions, so I was interested to see how this was going to be.  It consists of Sodium Cocoate, Sodium Cocoabutterate and Sodium Sweetalmondate.  Once you've had your bath and you are dry, simply smooth this onto your skin and you will notice how moisturised it becomes and that your skin feels nourished and rejuvenated!

Also, in the box was a small pot of Shea Butter Hand Scrub, which smelt incredible!  It's made up of mainly, Sheabutter, Peppermint, Lemon and Patchouli.  To use this product, all you have to do is to simply massage into dry hands for approximately 60 seconds and then rinse with water and pat dry. There you will discover the smoothest and softest of hands!  Voila!  No more rough skin!

I simply adore how this body mousse has been piped into the little pot to make the shape of a flower... so pretty!  The main ingredients in this product are:- Sodium Mangobutterate, Sweetalmondate and Sodium Castorate.  Once you have had your bath and are dry, simply rub onto your skin and your body will feel silky smooth and will smell wonderful!

Overall, I absolutely love all of these products and have noticed such a difference in how smooth and nourished my skin now feels.  I thoroughly recommend that you all go and check out their website www.hawthornrose.com because their products are not only kind to your body, but are also kind to the environment!  On Wednesday 16th March (this Wednesday), I will be attending the 'Country Living Show' in Islington, and there I will meet Elaine at her Hawthorn & Rose stall, where I will be having the great pleasure in chatting to her about Hawthorn & Rose and her upcoming products.  So stay tuned!

M x

Monday, 7 March 2016

My Fair Vintage!

Last week I went to the cutest, most vintage Cafe with my Mum for a classic Afternoon Tea.  I must say, I am one of the biggest, (yet smallest in height) fans of Afternoon Tea and yet I don't even like tea!  (I know, I know... You must be thinking, "how on earth can you not like tea?" or "how can you fully appreciate afternoon tea if you can't actually drink tea?"  Well my answer for all of you is... HOT CHOCOLATE!!!

The cafe is called 'My Fair Vintage', and the moment you walk in, you can really understand why.  The whole cafe is decorated with one off pieces of furniture that each bring character and authenticity to the place.  Each table is dressed with a white broderie anglaise table cloth and a fresh bunch of flowers from the local florist round the corner.  It just looked so elegant and feminine!

The teacups and saucers were all completely unique and not one of them matched with another.  It was so interesting to see and it made this cafe really stand out and have some character!

Once I ordered my Hot Chocolate, I was so curious to find out what it would look and taste like, as so many places make it in various ways and serve it differently.  Oh but once it arrived on my table, I was over the moon... literally!  It not only was served in a tall glass mug, but the attention to detail was incredible.  I was given whipped cream on top as a luxury, and then to make it even more delicious, it was finished off with tiny marshmallows and hundreds and thousands (which are tiny multi coloured sugar decorations).  The whole thing looked and tasted breathtaking and was almost too good to drink... almost!

No 'Afternoon Tea' for me is complete, without homemade scones, the dangerously naughty but extremely delicious clotted cream and the beloved strawberry jam.  These three components make up the heart and soul of the British tea time industry and I was very impressed with this one that I tasted in particular.  I opted for the fruit scone, instead of my usual plain option, because I wanted to be a bit more adventurous.  My scone had been baked that very morning and so was incredibly fresh and scrumptious.  What I loved the most about this dish, were the two adorable little miniature teacups that contained the strawberry jam and clotted cream.  I thought that this was a very innovative way to merchandise the condiments and after I finished eating, all I wanted to do was to take them home with me... don't worry I resisted and instead researched online to see if I too could find something similar for my house!

Mum and I decided to be super greedy and let our bellies take the lead, by ordering a slice of homemade Victoria Sponge cake to share.  Now I have tasted a lot of Victoria sponge cakes in my time, but this one shone out of all of them.  It was crunchy on top and the sponge was so moist and moreish, that I could have easily had another slice!  Let me just quickly point out, how pretty is the little leaf plate that it was on?

How cool is this?  The same quaint little cafe, also seems to hold a cute little tuck sweet shop!  You could say, "How sweet is that?"  There are over thirty different kinds of sweets that they sell, and yet again it really blends into the whole vintage theme that they heavily highlight in this cafe.  It was very difficult for me to stay away from those sweets... especially as I have such a sweet tooth!

Overall, I had such an amazing time and catch up with my Mum.  It's always so nice to have a proper chat and giggle with her, especially as with my busy work schedule, it becomes difficult to do so.  I also think that this cafe is so beautiful and one of a kind... I cannot wait to go back there again!  The service was wonderful, the decor was stunning and the food was so delicious!  It was a real treat to go there and if any of you are in the Caterham area... pop in and take a seat!

M x

Thursday, 3 March 2016

Lush :: Honeybee!

This week I have had such a busy work schedule and my feet have felt like they are about to fall off!  I desperately needed a nice relaxing 'top to toe' evening bath to ensure that I was ready for what the next few days would hold.

I received a few bath bombs for my birthday and although I used most of them up within the first week, there was one in particular that I wanted to save till last, because it was very new to me as I had never seen it in the shops.  But most of all, it reminded me of Spring time and so I wanted to save it for March!

It was of course the 'Honeybee' bath bomb from LUSH and I just loved the appearance of it, when I took it out of the bag.  It consisted of a vibrant yellow colour and then had a light grey pattern with flecks of blue running through it.  It was a simplistic design, but that was what I loved the most about it, because it looked striking in a natural way!

The main ingredients in this bath bomb are:-
*Honey - Very moisturising for the skin and acts as an antiseptic as well. 
*Rhassoul Mud - Clay that is mined near Morocco's Atlas Mountains.  It helps to not only cleanse the skin but also softens it too.  
*Aloe Vera gel - Is best for soothing your skin.
*Wild orange oil - Helps to refreshen you and keep you uplifted. 

When I popped it into my bath, I watched with amazement as I saw my dull looking bath, turn into a stunning array of lemon yellow.  It was as if the water had turned into honey itself!  It was so refreshing to look at and I couldn't wait to get in!

Overall, I am thoroughly impressed with this bath bomb.  It had a sweet but slightly musky smell to it that was so refreshing.  (It made a nice change to the incredibly sweet smelling ones that I usually tend to go for)!  It left my skin silky smooth and nourished and I will definitely be replenishing this for my Bathroom LUSH collection very soon!

M x
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