Zara lace skirt and chambray shirt

Deciding what to wear to a blogger meet up can be decidedly tricky, especially when you factor in a long journey and the temperamental weather. At this time of year it’s pretty safe to say that whatever you wear, at some point in the day you’re going to be too hot/cold, so choosing an outfit to wear to the 3040 Blogger Meet in London last week had me somewhat bewildered. The prospect of walking into a room filled with fabulous bloggers, whose style I’ve admired from afar over the years added just a little pressure to the whole outfit selection process! Of course, as soon as I arrived any trepidation quickly disappeared when I was greeted warmly by the event’s host and organiser, Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb. Knowing that I’d be on my feet for most of the day, comfortable footwear was a must, so that narrowed down my options considerably. Although these Pied a Terre boots have a heel they are comfortable enough to wear all day, and a little extra height does wonders for my confidence. Wearing an outfit that I feel good in is important to me when I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone, so after emptying my wardrobe and trying on about ten different outfits I eventually decided on a Zara lace skirt and chambray shirt.

Wearing an outfit that I feel good in is important to me when I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone…

The skirt is quite old (I first wore it on the blog three years ago) so it’s been tried and tested for comfort! The shirt was a recent purchase from Galeries Lafayette on my trip to Paris in April, where I treated myself to a little shopping spree the day after the marathon…blisters and aching muscles will never curb my urge to shop! I’ve got a couple of denim shirts but I’d been on the lookout for something lighter and thinner, and this was a bargain at about €20 from the Zara basics range. I like how the slightly casual shirt offsets the dressy black lace skirt, making it appropriate for daytime. It turned out to be a few degrees warmer in London than it was in the North West, meaning that by the time I arrived at the Imperial I was a little hot under the collar…in fact I was starting to think I was having my first hot flush! I’m obsessed with statement necklaces and this shirt was crying out for one, so it was time for the lovely Kate Benjamin feather necklace to make its debut. As well as breaking up the top half of the outfit and preventing a “blocky” look, it also conceals the slight button gaping…Zara’s clothes aren’t really cut for busty ladies! Judging by how many compliments I received on the necklace I’d say it was a hit!

Zara lace skirt chambray skirt feather necklace

yellow leather Bright Bag

ara chambray shirt and black lace skirt

Kate Benjamin feather necklace

Zara chambray shirt and lace skirt

Skirt and shirt: Zara. bag: Bright Bags, boots: Pied a Terre, necklace: Kate Benjamin (bought on eBay)

 

If you love statement necklaces as much as I do have a look at my Pinterest board!

Have a great weekend!

 

Linking up with: Color and Grace#iwillwearwhatilikeTurning Heads TuesdayMix It MondaysShoe and TellTop of the WorldHello MondayStyle SessionsThe Pleated PoppyFab FavouritesThrow Back Thursday FashionFresh Fashion ForumFabulous FridayWeekend WearA Lovely Little WardrobeStyle Swap TuesdaysFun Fashion FridayForage FashionFashion FridayRachel The HatFlashback Fashion FridaysStyle Me WednesdayTrend SpinThursday Fashion FilesStyle Diary by OsyVisible MondayHello MondayLet It Shine.

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Hope presentation by founder Nayna McIntosh

Last week I had the most wonderful day in London at the 3040 Blogger Meet, organised by Catherine Summers of Not Dressed As Lamb. The event, which was sponsored by Hope Fashion, was held at The Imperial in Chelsea, a really cool bar/restaurant on the King’s Road. I was so disappointed that I couldn’t go to the Blognix Retreat earlier in the year (I was blasting my eardrums at a Cult concert!) so I was determined not to miss the 3040 Blogger Meet. Living in the North West, heading to the capital is quite a big deal for me but thanks to Catherine’s excellent organisational skills, emailing us directions and all the necessary information, I managed not to get lost!

As soon as I walked into the Imperial I knew I was in excellent company – so many smart and stylish ladies!

I’d been mulling over what to wear for about a week but only decided the night before after turning the spare bedroom into a bomb site with clothes, shoes and jewellery everywhere. In the end it was the footwear that steered me to choose my outfit (more on that in my next post) because I needed to be comfortable, but I also wanted to wear a heel. Even though I wear flats much more than I used to  (thanks to a recurring back problem) I can’t give up heels entirely because they give me a confidence boost, and walking into a room full of people you haven’t met before can be a little daunting.  I’ve been to a few blogger meets before so I wasn’t overly nervous – getting to know people online beforehand really helps – and when I arrived I was more excited than apprehensive. As soon as I walked into the Imperial I knew I was in excellent company – so many smart and stylish ladies! I picked up a goody bag, bought some raffle tickets and then started chatting over a glass of prosecco and canapés.

Catherine Not Dressed As Lamb Emma Style Splash

I was given a very warm welcome by Catherine, who I was so happy to meet finally, having followed her blog and admired her style for so long. When it was time for lunch we took our places at the tables, had a peep in our goody bags and exchanged business cards. There was a choice of two meals but I opted for the vegetarian dish of spiced aubergine. Although I’m not a vegetarian (I eat fish so strictly speaking I’m a pescatarian) I enjoy eating vegetarian and vegan meals. The aubergine was delicious, and very healthy too!

3040 blogger meetup Imperial

3040 blogger meet Catherine Summers

After lunch Catherine gave a talk entitled “How to Win at Blogging” which was full of useful tips and very motivating. The subjects of giving, receiving and exposing prompted a few titters but it turned out it was blog-related…nothing smutty! Our goody bags included a lovely notepad and pen to make notes; the pen has a touch screen stylus on the end which is very useful – my husband keeps trying to pinch it!

3040 blogger meet Melissa Jane Yvonne

Melissa and Yvonne

3040 blogger meet lunch

 

3040 blogger meet Hope fashion display

After Catherine’s talk we were treated to a presentation by Nayna McIntosh, founder of Hope – a fashion brand aimed at women over 40. Nayna has a wealth of experience in the industry having been part of the management team that launched George at Asda, and later on the founding team for Per Una at M&S. Nayna spoke with such knowledge and passion about creating good quality garments for the over 40 market, which are both stylish and comfortable. In her own words “I have empathy with this woman because I am this woman”. The clothes are designed to look great on women of all shapes and sizes. Instead of using conventional sizing the majority of Hope pieces use just three sizes: freesize, dual slim and dual curvy. Trousers are available in four sizes: super slim, slim, curvy and super curvy. After Nayna’s talk we were all given a beautiful merino cashmere poncho – I was so taken aback at this incredibly kind and generous gift. We had time to browse the SS16 range before the raffle was drawn, and guess what? I only went and won the cashmere poncho! I rarely win anything so I was completely chuffed to win such an amazing prize!

3040 blogger meetup May 2016

BeataNikki and Lisa

Suzi Alternative Ageing

I just love Suzi’s style!

Hope blogger free giftOur ponchos were gift wrapped with a lovely hand-written note attached…such a thoughtful gesture.

Hope fashion ponchos

wraparound bracelet

Also included in our goody bags was a wraparound bracelet, kindly donated by Lizzy of Lizzy O (and blogger at What Lizzy Loves). There were other fabulous gifts including a Laura Geller lip liner (which I absolutely love!), body spray, macarons, a Burt’s Bees lip balm, a sample of Verso serum and a copy of Blogosphere magazine (how did I not know this existed until now?). The day passed so quickly (a little too quickly as I missed my train and ended up getting home after 11pm!) but judging by how successful it was I’m sure we’ll be doing it all again before too long! A massive thanks to Catherine for organising it and making us feel so relaxed and welcome. I can’t wait until the next one!

 

*You can see the list of bloggers who attended here.

Linking up with: Brilliant Blog PostsColor and Grace.

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Skinova Acropass Ageless Lifter Eyezone Care

When it comes to signs of ageing, the delicate skin under the eyes is often the first area to succumb. Although genetics and facial movements contribute to the appearance of wrinkles, bags and dark circles, lifestyle plays a major part: lack of sleep, sun damage, poor diet, smoking and staring at a screen for hours on end all accelerate the ageing process. I’m guilty of frequently rubbing my eyes and fiddling with my contact lenses, so I’m acutely aware of how sensitive the under-eye skin is. When I was invited to review the Acropass Ageless Lifter Eyezone Care patches (RRP £48*) I was only too happy to give it a go.

As we get older the body’s ability to replenish hyaluronic acid diminishes, but restoring levels of it is difficult because the molecules are too large to penetrate the epidermis.

Hyaluronic acid is a natural component of the skin and is involved in tissue repair and hydration, acting like a sponge to retain moisture up to 100 times its volume. As we get older the body’s ability to replenish hyaluronic acid diminishes, but restoring levels of it is difficult because the molecules are too large to penetrate the epidermis. Using a new technology called TransDermal Nano patch (TDN) – a patented process of microstructures – the patches deliver hyaluronic acid into the Epidermis without irritation or discomfort.  They contain perfectly shaped pointed microstructures (around one quarter the thickness of a human hair) that act as miniature needles which penetrate the epidermis and gradually dissolve, delivering hyaluronic acid to the target area. Each patch contains 100% of the highest quality French hyaluronic acid and Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF) to moisturise, lift and rejuvenate the skin. Skinova cosmeceuticals are the first to bring this revolutionary technology to the UK.

After the first application I noticed a marked difference: the treated area looked smoother and plumper.

The patches are really easy to apply – you just peel off the backing (being careful not to touch the microstructure) and pop them on the under-eye area. It’s a bit like applying a plaster, only not as sticky! The first time I used the patches I put them a little too close to my eye and had to reposition them slightly but after that I got it right straight away. The microstructures are fully absorbed after two hours and can be used at any time of the day, but wearing them overnight is probably the most convenient. The patches leave a faint outline when you first remove them, which disappears after about ten minutes. After the first application I noticed a marked difference: the treated area looked smoother and plumper. I’ve noticed further improvements after subsequent uses – recommended use is twice a week for four weeks, then once a week for maintenance. Each patch delivers the equivalent of what an entire 30ml jar of hyaluronic acid would normally deliver to the skin, and clinical studies have shown that after one month of use the effects can be seen for an additional four weeks.

Acropass Ageless Lifter Eyezone Care

Skinova Acropass Ageless Lifter patches

Acropass Ageless Lifter Eyezone Care instructions

Acropass Ageless Lifter hyaluronic eye patches

This was my first experience of using under-eye patches so I really had no idea what to expect, but I would certainly try them again. While the recommended four-week course of treatment will give a more long-lasting result, a one-off use would be great for a pick-me-up before a special event. If you’d like to try the Acropass Ageless Lifter Hyaluronic patches for yourself you can enter my giveaway to win a box of four pairs!  A winner will be picked at random on June 6th. Best of luck!

 

Gleam giveaway

 

*I was gifted a pack containing four pairs of patches (RRP £48).

 

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Firmoo glasses review

I had been desperately in need of some new prescription glasses for a couple of years but I’d been putting off buying some because they are so expensive, especially when you need ultra thin lenses. When Firmoo contacted me offering a free pair in exchange for a review I wondered how that would work out for someone like me who is very short-sighted, as well as not being able to physically try them on. Just a couple of days after that I got a reminder that my sight test was due, so I booked a free one at my local Tesco Extra and got a print out of my prescription. Anyone can have a free eye test at Tesco Opticians without obligation to buy glasses (you can book online) whereas you can expect to pay up to £25 at most opticians unless you qualify for a free NHS test.

When it came to selecting a pair it was actually quite easy as you can upload a photo of yourself and it shows you what they’d look like!

Adding the prescription to your Firmoo account is very straight forward, the only extra information I needed to add was the PD (Pupillary Distance) which is the distance between your pupils in millimetres. This is very easy to do yourself with a tape measure looking in the mirror.  When it came to selecting a pair it was actually quite easy as you can upload a photo of yourself and it shows you what they’d look like!

Firmoo glasses virtual try on

You can add several styles to a favourites list, which is very handy as there are a lot of frames to choose from! I narrowed my selection down to two styles and finally chose these red/brown frames with a slight 50’s touch. As my prescription is so high (-6.5 in my left eye and -7 in my right) standard lenses would be thicker than the frames so I paid extra to upgrade to ultra thin lenses, and also to add anti-reflection and UV coatings. The total cost, including postage was £28 (the frames would have been an additional $19 without the offer) which I think is incredible value. Even without any discount or offers they’d have only cost £40…can you imagine how much something similar would have cost from a high street optician? I’d guess at three or four times that amount.

They fit absolutely fine, no need for any adjustments, and most importantly I can see clearer than I’ve been able to for years!

To my surprise they only took about a week to arrive and when I tried them on I loved them straight away. The colour is more brown than the red in the photo but I don’t mind that at all. They fit absolutely fine, no need for any adjustments, and most importantly I can see clearer than I’ve been able to for years! My new glasses came in a lovely map print case and there was a double-ended mini screwdriver on a key ring to make adjustments!

Firmoo glasses and case

Contact lenses are still essential for me, particularly for exercising, but since receiving the new glasses I’m wearing my contacts less than I used to which has to be a good thing for the health of my eyes. I suffer from frequent bouts of eye irritation, which I’m sure is caused by prolonged contact lens wear.  At every contact lens check I’m told I should reduce the amount of time I wear my contacts for but my old glasses were scratched and very heavy and uncomfortable. These new ones are very light and the nose pads are part of the frame (like sunglasses) rather than those little silicon pads screwed onto the frame you usually find on prescription glasses. Now I have no reservations about wearing glasses throughout the day, in fact I’m planning to buy another pair, and maybe a pair of sports glasses too. If you’re planning on buying a new pair of spectacles but are worried about the dent to your bank balance you should check out Firmoo. The website has lots of information and advice about how to select your frames and lenses, as well as photos and videos from customers.

Firmoo glasses Etre Cecile red sweater

Firmoo glasses Etre Cecile Presque Parisienne sweater

Firmoo glasses arm

I’m really happy with the whole experience of buying my new glasses online from Firmoo. The process of selecting frames and ordering was very easy, delivery was quick (I received a text telling me when they were being delivered) and I love the style and colour – the “try it on” feature was really accurate! Firmoo often have Buy One Get One Free offers and shipping is free for US customers when you spend over $39, or $55 for other countries.

Have you ever bought eye glasses online? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments!

 

*I was gifted the frames in exchange for the review and paid for the lenses, coatings and postage myself. All opinions are completely honest, I wouldn’t recommend a product or service unless I genuinely loved it.

Linking up with: Turning Heads Tuesday#iwillwearwhatilikeFresh Fashion ForumStyle SessionsBrilliant Blog PostsColor and GraceThe Pleated Poppy, Flashback Fashion Fridays, Fun Fashion FridayTop of the WorldForage Fashion, Rachel The HatVisible MondayStyle Swap TuesdaysConfident TwosdayTrend SpinGaray TreasuresStyle Me WednesdayTrendy WednesdayStyle Diary by OsyWeekend Wear.

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Printemps Galeries Lafayette

My trip to Paris last month was my fifth visit to the world’s most beautiful city, and yet until then I hadn’t been to the shopping extravaganza that is Galeries Lafayette…what I’d been missing! Unlike previous trips when we’d only been in Paris for a few days, this time we stayed for a whole week so we had more time to explore and visit new places. Emerging from Saint-Lazare metro station, I didn’t really know where I was going, but finding myself outside Printemps (another luxury department store) I knew I was in the right area! It may come as a surprise when I tell you, but the main reason for going to Galeries Lafayette was actually to buy toys for my daughter. She’d been extremely patient travelling across Paris on a very hot day to catch a glimpse of me at various points during the marathon so as a treat I promised her a new My Little Pony toy. Of course, I had to check out all the fabulous clothes and accessories on display too, but as lovely as they are the magnificent stained glass dome outshines them all. The building itself is so beautiful, you can’t help but look up to admire the ornate architecture. I thought I’d died and gone to retail heaven!

The first floor is dedicated to top luxury labels… but you can also find high street labels such as Zara and Topshop so you don’t have to take out a mortgage to shop there!

There are three buildings: one for homeware and food, one for menswear, and the main building where you’ll find beauty, accessories, jewellery, shoes, womenswear and children’s clothes and toys. The first floor is dedicated to top luxury labels alongside up-and-coming brands in two special “laboratories”, but you can also find high street labels such as Zara and Topshop so you don’t have to take out a mortgage to shop there! It really is the most amazing shopping experience, even if you don’t buy anything it’s worth going just to look around. Despite its grandeur you’ll find plenty of people in casual dress, although I did enjoy watching the French ladies all dressed up wandering in with their dogs!

Here are a few interesting facts about Galeries Lafayette:

  • The store is spread across three buildings covering 65,000 square metres.
  • It’s the second most popular visitor attraction in Paris after the Eiffel Tower.
  • The store carries more than 2,500 brands across womenswear, menswear, beauty and homeware.
  • There are more than 20 restaurants and cafes, a Decleor spa, three hair salons and two Chanel treatment booths.
  • There’s a whole floor just for shoes!
  • You can download a geolocation app to help you plan your shopping trip.

Galeries Lafayette Paris dome

Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette dome

Galeries Lafayette Zara jacket Gap jeans

Galeries Lafayette Topshop Zara jacket Gap jeans

Galeries Lafayette beauty counters

Galeries Lafayette store display Zara jacket Gap jeans

All that shopping worked up an appetite so we headed over to the Jardin du Luxembourg in the afternoon, stopping off to buy bread and cheese for a picnic. We also took a couple of outfit photos which gave me the opportunity of wearing my new hat…well you didn’t think I’d go to Galeries Lafayette and come out empty handed did you?

Jardin du Luxembourg Paris

Zara hat and jacket Gap jeans Jardin du Luxembourg

Jardin du Luxembourg Paris

Zara hat and navy jacket Jardin du Luxembourg Paris

Hat and jacket: Zara, jumper: Arabella and Addison, jeans: Gap, trainers: Nike.

 

I’ve got a couple more posts about my trip to Paris scheduled over the next week so stay tuned!

Linking up with: Turning Heads Tuesday#iwillwearwhatilikeShoe and TellVisible MondayMix It MondaysA Lovely Little WardrobeHello MondayLet It ShineFresh Fashion ForumThrow Back Thursday FashionStyle SessionsBrilliant Blog PostsColor and GraceThe Pleated PoppyFlashback Fashion Fridays, Fun Fashion FridayTop of the World, Fabulous Friday, Fab FavouritesForage Fashion, Rachel The Hat.

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