OOTD | Floppy and Floral

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Beach Day

Today we travelled down to the South of England for our annual family beach holiday in Swanage. Given the 5am wake up and long journey, I wanted clothes that would be equally comfy for the journey and then beach/summer appropriate. I chose this baggy t-shirt from Republic which is so old the store in fact no longer exists, however it was perfect for spending the day relaxing whilst also protecting my pale pale shoulders from the sun. My jeans are from River Island (who do perfect leg lengths for shorter girls) and are wonderfully summery but with a subtle enough print that they go nicely with most things. Accessories wise the only things I have on are cheap and cheerful sunglasses from Dorothy Perkins and everyday stud earrings. Whilst many bloggers are moving towards more autumnal pieces, I'm definitely still definitely trying to hold onto the Summer!

Sunglasses: Dorothy Perkins similar on sale for £3 here
Top: Republic
Jeans: River Island

What's been your Summer holiday read?
Lara xo

Ballet Shoes

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Handmade Cards

Wow it's been a long time since I've just sat down and drew. I used to love sketching and being creative but after 2 years of GCSE Art and a year of AS Art it ended up being more of a burden. However, as I was saying goodbye to my dance teachers today in preparation for leaving for uni, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to make something a little more special and personal. I was so pleased with how this turned out; I started with some crumpled brown paper from a package, did a rough pencil sketch then added detail using water colour pencils. I then stuck the design to a folded piece of plain white card and added a border with biro. I love how the texture and colour of the brown paper make the whole thing look a little more rustic.

Interestingly, whilst I was doing this, I remembered I'd done a very similar drawing when I was in year 10, so around the age 14. I've always thought ballet shoes were beautiful to draw. At the time I thought that this was one of my most amazing pieces of work ever and I was so proud of it, but now, looking back, I realise just how much I've improved.

One day, I'd love to set up a little online store selling cards that are a little different from what you'd find in a card shop, so let me know if you'd be interested in this. 
Here's to drawing just for fun again in the future!
Lara xo

Feel Unique Sale Picks

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Real Techniques, Stila, theBalm, bareMinerals . . .

I love Feel Unique because of the range of brands they stock, from drugstore to high end. They also offer free worldwide shipping on all orders over £10 and that definitely is never hard to spend! Therefore when I get an email announcing there's now a sale on, temptation goes into overload and I spend the rest of the day trawling through what's on offer. Here's some of my favourites:

There's a surprising amount of Real Techniques products in the sale, from sets to individual brushes. I currently own the core collection set (reduced from £20.99 to £16.79) so I'm now after the eye starter set (again £20.99 reduced to £16.79). Let's be honest, you can never have too many makeup brushes, especially when the more you have, the less often you have to wash them!

I've seen this floating about a lot lately, both on blogs and in YouTube videos, and now it's £12.80 instead of £16 it's definitely very tempting. It can be used either on the eyes, cheeks, or all over if you really want a glow and from what I've seen gives a very subtle yet pretty finish. 

This is a fairly new release from bareMinerals claiming to prime, brighten, smooth and sun protect as well as adding colour. The tones are all very neutral so would be perfect for a super quick every day makeup or for travel since you wouldn't have to faff around with brushes. It's currently £12.75 for certain shades instead of £17.

Saving the best till last, this limited edition product really is adorable and I've been wanting it ever since I laid eyes on its beautiful packaging. Aside from this, it also looks a very practical product containing 3 complimentary shades without taking up unnecessary space so again would be ideal for travelling. They have 2 other variations available, both of which are cooler toned but only 2 of the three options are reduced to £13.50 from £18.

What products are you lusting over at the moment?
Lara xo

A-Level Results Day 2014

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Going Through Clearing

Sometimes things don't go quite as expected. Up until the day before results, I was all set to have a gap year and wasn't really worried about my grades at all as I knew I had no university place lined up. Then I read an article on my school website's newsroom and just like that I changed my mind. Now I've never been a decisive person but I continued to spend the day reading about the clearing process and decided it didn't sound too painful an experience. Boy was I wrong.

So Thursday morning, 8 am, I grabbed my envelope and was straight in the car ringing the clearing hotline, knowing I had the necessary grades. I was early ringing, so didn't have to wait in a phone queue and quickly got told I had done enough and would be put through to the relevant department. It was then as I was again recalling my grades I heard in the background they were now having to ask for higher requirements due to demand and I was told sorry we can't have you. Yes I cried, yes I broke down rather spectacularly. I glumly returned into the school hall snivelling and already dreading seemingly inevitable retakes.

3 hours later, both my head of sixth from and head teacher himself had tried to get past the general admissions hotline and into the department to explain my theatre studies grade shouldn't be an influence when I wanted to do maths but neither succeeded. They suggested I try different universities, but for me, it was never about the course and it was the place I had fallen in love with. By 11:30, I headed home, still snivelling and very much resigned that I was going to have to go ahead with my gap year after all although with resits which was far from the original plan.

In a kind of desperate attempt, when I got home, I emailed the department directly, trying to explain my situation or at least searching for advice for application the following year since now my grades wouldn't be enough. We left for a celebratory (ish) lunch and during this I received a reply asking for my number so he could call me personally. It definitely proved rather difficult trying to eat whilst nervously expecting a call. 

I had no idea what he was going to say, so when he apologised for my earlier ordeal and asked if I still wanted a place, all I could reply with was 'really?!?'. Not necessarily the most professional response but at least he got an idea of my enthusiasm. Now I am all set to start at the University of Surrey on a 4 year Financial Mathematics course and I absolutely can't wait! Even the prospect of buying my own bowls is exciting me at the moment so expect homeware hauls galore on here leading up to September.

Whilst at the time it was an emotionally exhausting day, it just shows that trying to stay calm and use a bit of initiative really does go a long way and it's definitely going to be a tale that I come back to read! 

Did any of you just get results? Or do you have any results day experiences to share?
Lara xo

Summer Fashion Inspiration

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Little Miss Bradshaw

All photos from www.littlemissbradshaw.com

I love finding places that offer something a little more unique than standard high street retailers, therefore when I found Little Miss Bradshaw on Instagram, straightaway I went to the website to see what was available. In the 'About Us' section of the site she describes how she always hunted for clothes to represent a unique personality or could never quite find perfect statement pieces, so that was what she setup her online boutique with the intention of fulfilling, and I really think she's done just that. There's such a wide and great selection of pieces which all have a little added interest to them and are different then what you'd find in the typical stores without being overly outrageous. Her are some of my favourite items which are definitely tempting me at the moment!

All Dressed in White ($63 = £37.47)
I surprisingly don't actually own a maxi dress; I find they can look overdone and over complicated, plus I'd had to take the length up a fair bit anyway. However, this is so pretty and elegant making it perfect for a variety of occasions and the crotchet detailing gives it a real summer vibe.

Rio Grande Crop Top ($49.99 = £29.75)
Although the Aztec print is quite common and on trend at the moment, I think the shape of this crop top and the positioning of the pattern makes it look more unique. The colouring also makes it very versatile when trying to pair with a bottom half.

A Daisy Girl ($49.99 = £29.75)
Obviously the print is just adorable on these shorts and completely ideal for summer, but what I like most is that they look so much comfier than what you'd find on the high street; they're not quite as tight and therefore a bit more flattering if you're not blessed with modelesque pins.

A White Affair ($62.00 = £36.88) and Bold and Beautiful Dress ($68.99 = £41.05)
I think the white dress has such an interesting hemline yet the pattern is subtle enough to still make it quite understated. Similarly the red dress may be bold but it's design makes it casual enough for everyday wear. It would be perfect either as a beach cover up or a Summer daytime date.

A Dainty Ruffle Crop Top ($46.00 = £27.36)
This is definitely dainty as the name says and a staple kind of piece that will go with anything. Unlike lots of other similar crop tops, whilst it is flowy at the front it's tight and elasticated at the back giving it a bit more shape. It avoids the issue I sometimes find that when a crop top's generally baggy it can hang off me unflatteringly.

There were so many other items I could've picked out so be sure to have a good browse of the website as I think there's something for everyone. 

Follow Little Miss Bradshaw on Instagram here.
Follow me on Instagram here.

Which of these pieces is your favourite?
Lara xo

Free Samples

Monday, 11 August 2014

My Favourite Freebie Sites

Who doesn't love free stuff? Especially when there's minimal effort involved. And beauty samples are especially handy to have both for smaller travel options or to avoid spending money on a product you turn out not to like. There are lots of websites out there offering links to freebies, however my favourite and the ones I regularly check are Free Samples UK and Magic Freebies UK

Both websites are very similar both in design and links they have available, I just prefer to check both as sometimes an offer will only be advertised on one. Products aren't just limited to beauty either, for example I've received free mini recipe books before. However, my favourite freebies are perfume sample vials which are great for handbags or if you're particular bout scents like me and foundation/BB cream testers so you get a better idea of the shade. Both also advertise competitions where either one considerably larger prize can be won or when there's a limited number of full-size products. I check the sites as well to find out what magazine freebies are available that month.

Now by no means is there a regular stream of great free sample offers and it tends to go in waves as to when companies are pushing new products, but both sites are updated daily or can be browsed by category. I've personally signed up to receive an email each day letting me know what's available and then just pick and choose as I want. 

For very little time and effort I definitely think it's worth checking these sites as why miss out on the opportunity to sample something free. It also keeps at bay the desire to try new products without causing any damage to your savings!

Have you used these or any other freebie sites before?
Lara xo

Lush Bath Time

Saturday, 9 August 2014

Melting Marshmallow Moment

I like to savour my Lush products for as long as I can resist, therefore I've settled for sniffing this bath melt every time I've walked past its bag recently. However, after a couple of nights out and very much a lazy pyjama day today I decided what better way than to continue the theme and have a lazy, relaxing pamper evening. 

I'm quite particular with Lush scents as lots of them I find to be very overpowering or a bit too natural and earthy scented, but this has the girliest, sweetest smell which got even better when dissolved and just made me feel like a princess tonight. Disappointingly, the bath didn't turn quite as pink as I expected and the colour didn't particularly linger but still the water felt oh so soft and it made the mundane bath experience all the more luxurious.

Pictured above are some of my other pamper evening essentially including the beauty community loved Sugar Crush Body Scrub,  Garnier's Summer Body and the Refined Finish facial exfoliator from Benefit. I always use gradual tan as opposed to instant tan because I find even 'a light sun kissed look' adds plenty of colour to my skin and it removes the worry of it becoming patchy in a few days and having to scrub it all off. It's also a plus that there isn't that give away strong biscuity smell and I actually find the scent of Garnier's Summer Body quite pleasant. Benefit's Refined Facial Polish is another bath time necessity for me as it's perfect to use after the steam has opened up and unblocked your pores a little. I find this product leaves the most radiant finish and whilst being quite pricey is definitely cost effective as I only need to use it once a week. Finally peeking out the end there you can see the moisturiser and eye cream from Simple's Age Resisting range which I did a full review on  here

What's your favourite lush product and what are some of your bath time essentials?
Lara xo

Simple Age Resisting Skincare | Review

Thursday, 7 August 2014

Day Cream,  Eye Cream & Cleansing Wipes

When it comes to skincare products, I don't really have any kind of loyalty, so when I picked these products up in Boots a couple of months ago, it would have simply been because they were on offer. Now being 18 I'm not really at the age yet where I have to greatly worry about ageing skin however I would say I can be quite animated expression wise so do have fine lines beginning to form both on the forehead and under my eyes. Either way, this range from Simple claims to fight premature ageing and there can be no harm in starting that too soon!

Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Day Cream (£6.99 for 50ml at Boots here)
When I first used this, I was actually surprised it was marketed specifically as a day cream as it is quite thick and rich in texture, reminding me more of a night cream. There is an actual night cream available in the range however I personally use this for both morning and evening. Being thick,rich and creamy it does take a little time to absorb and certainly isn't for those lazy mornings where you try and shove on moisturiser before your face is fully dry as then it really does just sit on the surface. However, I was recently told when having a facial that my skin has become quite dry so I feel the thicker texture of this really has been helping. In terms of age resisting properties I would say it does leave a youthful glowy finish which I feel is still visible after applying a face of makeup and fine lines on my forehead I have noticed to be reduced. But aside from this my favourite thing really is the packaging. Maybe I've just never tried expensive enough skincare but I love that this comes with a pump applicator rather than having to mess around squeezing product out of a tube and it inevitably being hard to control the amount you get. This dispenses the perfect amount and at 50ml it's a decent sized product which I feel will last a long time.

Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Eye Cream (£6.99 for 15ml at Boots here)
I've never really consistently used an eye cream apart from when it's come in a set of skincare products so I don't really have much to compare this too. Despite claiming to be age resisting and containing 6 loving nutrients to revitalise and regenerate, I have noticed no difference regarding fine under eye lines. The area, however, is considerably more hydrated and I find concealer applies much smoother (but is still prone to considerable creasing later in the day if untouched). Unlike the Simple Eye makeup remover which I had such trouble with intense stinging if it came anywhere near my eyes, I've had no problems with this at all. I would say this is better than not regularly using an eye cream, as I was formerly doing, but I think there will be considerably better ones out there.

Simple Regeneration Age Resisting Cleansing Wipes (£3.99 for 25 wipes at Boots here)
As a general rule, I try to avoid using face wipes, only using them when I'm sleeping over somewhere and removing with a wipe is a better alternative than not at all or if I'm wearing heavy makeup to remove most of it before doing a full cleanse. I like that these don't dry up quickly once removed from the packaging, allowing enough time and having enough product on to clean your entire face with one wipe (I use one side for eyes and then go over the entire face with the second side). It makes me feel slighter better when I use them knowing they contain age resisiting benefits however I definitely don't use them regularly enough to know if this is true. Overall a good standard face wipe that does it's job.

As far as basics go, I think the range is good; none are particularly stand out products with miraculous results but I guess I'll see in 10, 20, 30, years time whether or not the age resisting was successful. 

These products, along with the other lines from Simple skincare are currently all on 3 for 2 at Boots.

Do you have any skincare staples or have you tried any of these?
Lara xo 

Gym Motivation

Monday, 4 August 2014


 The other day I signed up to become a member at my local gym, thinking if I'm paying in advance I'll definitely go because I don't want to be wasting the money. I've was never into sport and absolutely despised P.E and games lessons at school especially hockey - it was often cold, wet and I lived in fear that when I inevitably fell over the astro turf would just tear my skin to shreds. However, I've always loved dancing so classes such as Zumba I definitely plan on taking advantage of. I've also done yoga before so want to continue that as I find it great for relaxation and think its so beneficial to just take some time to focus on your breathing for a while and (attempt to) clear your mind.
In terms of the actual gym bit, the running, the cycling, the resistance machines, admittedly it's not something I'm looking forward to but as I'm taking a gap year I really want to give it a go an accept it as a personal challenge, setting small goals and hopefully achieving them. What I particularly like about my gym is the walls are covered with motivational quotes such as the ones pictured. I think they're great to keep in mind both for working out and for just general life. My favourite is 'It's not about being the best, it's about being better than you were yesterday' as it's definitely something I often forget.
What are some of your favourite motivational quotes?
Lara xo

Iconemesis iPhone Cases

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Indiegogo Campaign

Whilst browsing the internet today, following the path of links and just generally having an explore, I came across this campaign led by the brand Iconemesis on Indiegogo. My first thought: those are the cutest and uniquest cases ever, I want one. My second thought: oh wait, I don't have an iPhone . . .

Iconemesis is a British brand that works with independent artists and illustrators to create artistic looking designs. They do currently only offer cases compatible with the iPhone 5 and 5s through Indiegogo but  iPhone 4 and 4s cases can be found on their website and there are apparently plans to expand this range in the future and As well as looking beautiful, they also claim to be functional ensuring protectionfor your phone from everyday clumsiness.

Indiegogo is a site where anyone can start a campaign with the intention of funding an idea. People can donate money either via card or Paypal and in return receive a 'perk'. Iconemesis are looking to raise money for materials, company expansion and marketing with its featured perk being donate $20 (£11.89) and receive a choice of case from 15 designs (see them all here) with free delivery worldwide. However, any amount of money can be donated so there's no pressure if you're on a budget.

I really appreciate individual looking artwork like this and always think its interesting to be able to follow and support companies who are just starting out but may be huge in the future. Believe me, if i had an iPhone I would definitely want one of these on it. My favourite are the rabbit designs, especially the one in the cupcake. Which would you pick?
Lara xo

Tech . . . No

Saturday, 2 August 2014

Modern Malfunctions

This is the current state do my laptop. And before you think 'oh she's a bit clumsy breaking the screen like that' - no. This majestical green and black waterfall is actually inside my screen, there is no exterior damage, my laptop is literally self destructing from the inside out. Admittedly he is the ripe old age of 6 and remains my personal pride and joy simply because he was the first major purchase with my own savings, however severely impairing the visual was not enough; 2 seconds without the power lead in results in automatic shut down and in terms of speed even a snail would now beat him in a race.

This is my phone. The obvious flaw being it's a Blackberry and they've never been known for their longevity. Despite their being no visible signs of damage when it insists on regularly turning its mobile network off and even when connected fails to tell me when I receive a text/email/etc unless I manually check, I question whether it should even still be labelled 'a phone'. I may be slightly regretting getting into a 2 year contract with this now as it means I'm stuck with it a least another few months.

Basically technology wise, it's all a but of a mess at the moment and with my 'temporary' job being way more temporary than expected (awkward given my excitement at getting it) I think it's going to be a while before I manage to replace them both. 

The saviour in this is my iPad which I'm now so so thankful I received for my 18th. I think this just goes to show and has made me realise the importance electronic devices now hold in most of our lives - I'm undecided whether this is a good or bad thing . . . 
Lara xo

'Seaweed' Summer Nail Art

Friday, 1 August 2014


Oh dear. I may have recently been gnawing at my nails again leaving me with bitten stubs of varying lengths. Here goes attempt number 2 at painting them nicely so hopefully it's easier to resist the odd nibble. 

Last week I purchased 3 Barry M Gelly Nail Paints (£3.99 and currently buy 1 get 2nd half price at Boots) in Lychee, Blueberry and Sugar Apple so I also used this as an opportunity to try them all out. I used Lychee as the base colour and was so impressed that despite its nude shade it was entirely opaque after 2 coats and maybe even could have got away with just 1! Ontop of this, I used a stripper brush dipped into Blueberry, Sugar Apple and a Christmas glitter Essie polish to make a 'whoosh' shape from the tip towards the nail bed. The end result: something that kind of resembles glamorous seaweed. 

This was super easy to do as I didn't apply much precision and although it would work better on longer nails in terms of being able to vary the shapes more, I still think it's effective on my stumps. I also think it turned out looking very Summer appropriate and would be ideal if you have a beach holiday planned.
Lara xo

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