Monday, 30 January 2017

Inside Vogue: A Review and my tribute to Alexandra Shulman...

Image taken from 2736.jpg (I do not own this image. Credit: Getty)

Hello lovelies,

Last week saw news break that after twenty-five years, Alexandra Shulman is to step down as Editor-In-Chief of British Vogue.  After reading 'Inside Vogue: A Diary of my 100th year', I was planning on writing a simple review about how much I loved the book, but on hearing the news I was glad I hadn't already posted it.  Now, with a heavy heart, I can take the time to write Alexandra the tribute she truly deserves.

 Inside Vogue

Vogue has been a part of my life for so many years.  I'm an avid collector and I realised that in my Vogue-reading lifetime (I'm 31), Ms Shulman has been my constant (I wasn't so stylish that I was reading the magazine when I was four, although that would've been a great story!).  The editor is the person you take for granted; unless you work in journalism or publishing, it doesn't really enter your head that it takes one incredibly strong, decisive and forward-thinking person to make a magazine like Vogue sell and tick.  Alexandra Shulman was that person, and I'm so thankful to her for making the magazine great, for it's fashion and its hard-hitting and well thought our journalism in equal measure.  Not only did she boost massively boost sales of the magazine during her tenure, she was also the brainchild behind the super successful Vogue Festival; that's not to be sniffed at.

After watching  'Absolutely Fashion: Inside British Vogue' documenting the magazine's centenary year and the opening of the absolutely brilliant 'Vogue 100' exhibition, I was keen to read Alexandra's book on the same subject.  I was interested to read her take on the year, away from the cameras, and I'd definitely recommend the book to all Vogue lovers, or for those that simply admire Ms Shulman's work.  She is brutally honest; but what could've been a career ending year for her had it all gone wrong, proved to be her most successful.  Reading her memoir, you can feel the stress pouring out of the pages; the difficulty of keeping the Centenary issue cover a secret, organising the Vogue 100 dinner seating plan whilst juggling speakers for the festival, having to deal with last minute cancellations and additions, organising the exhibition, alongside dealing with her fear of flying and dealing with the day-to-day workings of the magazine!  It would be enough to tip any person over the edge, and yet Alexandra pulled it all off seamlessly.  She constantly credits her amazing team, but it takes a very strong and organised leader to pull something like that off; hats off to her!  What I loved most about the book too, was how much she seemed to crave a simpler life.  Whilst many women would claim a job at Vogue as their dream, hers is to tend to her garden and spend more time enjoying art and time with her family; her honesty is humbling and her wit endearing.  I enjoyed it all.

The elusive centenary cover

I know she has said publicly that she isn't a fan of bloggers, but Alexandra if you ever read this (not that I think you ever will!) I just want you to know that you were one of my inspirations when I started mine, so for that I thank you.  I'll never have the opportunity to work for Vogue, but when I write about fashion and my love for it, know that every word comes from a girl who spent many years pouring over its pages; thank you for being my fashion education. 

Until next time,

Kay x

Tuesday, 24 January 2017

Drops of Light and Youth, The Bodyshop @ The Bridges, Sunderland...

Hello you lovely people!

Hope you're all well and that your 2017 is awesome so far!

I promised to blog more this far I've lacked a little in the posting department, but I'm trying!!  

Today's post is a little different to my normal subject matter; I'm talking about skincare.  I was kindly invited along to The Bodyshop this weekend to sample two of their recently launched products, but I didn't expect to come away with a whole new skincare regime...mind blown!!

So what was I sampling I hear you cry?  Quite possibly two of the most amazing products ever, Drops of Light: Pure Resurfacing Liquid Peel and Drops of Youth: Youth Liquid Peel.  The difference?  Each product offers different benefits for your skin.  The outcome; be gone horrible winter dry-skin!  Perfect remedies for my battered winter running face, I couldn't wait to try them.  Before I say anymore, I just want to point out how amazing and friendly the staff at Sunderland's Bodyshop store are, and how knowledgeable and helpful the lovely Leanne was, who was dealing with my dry, wintry, old lady hands!

First up is the Drops of Light Peel...

Okay, before we did anything, Leanne checked the moisture levels of my skin by doing a test with their resident moisture machine on the back of my hand.  I knew the results wouldn't be great.  I'm often out battling the elements with my dog, or running miles in icy winds, so winter is never kind to my skin.

As you can see from the reference chart, before any treatment from the products, I should have been looking at anything over 40% for normal levels of moisture in my skin.  My left hand was a shocking poor, dehydrated lefty!!  

Fear not left hand, it was Drops of Light to the rescue!  This peel contains red algae harvested from the North Atlantic, perfectly rich in Vitamin C and known for it's skin brightening qualities.  And I have to say, my skin was visibly brighter in seconds!!  Leanne put a tiny dollop (probably just over one pump's worth) of the peel onto my hand and rubbed it in.  Within seconds, you could see the flakes of dry skin and impurities rolling away from my hand (ew...I know!) leaving my skin fresher and glowing.  She rinsed off the gel and dried, and then rubbed some Vitamin E moisture cream into my hand and when we redid the moisture test, I nearly fell off my chair...

I was up to 61.8%...take that winter!!!!

So how about Drops of Youth...?

So my equally dry righty was about to get the Drops of Youth treatment.  Promising 'fresh, smoother and more luminous youthful looking skin', this peel (applied in the same way) contains three plant cells, edelweiss from the Italian Alps and sea holly and criste marine from the Brittany Coast, which remove impurities to leave skin feeling cleansed from the day's pollution.  Continued use is said to make skin look more youthful and luminous, which is never a bad thing, is it?  After undergoing the same treatment, this time my righty was up to 56.1%, slightly less than the lefty, but still a phenomenal improvement!!

Wowsers! My skin felt amazing too!  I was offered a full size product to take away with me and initially plumped for Drops of Light, but as there was low stock in store, I took a Drops of Youth instead and I'm so glad that I did.  The Drops of Light started to sting my skin a little which Leanne pointed out could be a result of the Vitamin C, as it can be quite strong on more sensitive skin types; but this can be expected from any skin product which is why I would always recommend trying stuff out for yourself.  At The Bodyshop, the staff are super helpful and will gladly assist you in choosing the right products for your skin-so don't hesitate to ask.  I'm so glad I did, as Leanne also pointed me in the direction of their Hemp Hard-Working Hand Protector for the sore and broken, weather-beaten skin between my fingers.  I left with a full-size tube on offer for £6 instead of the usual £12-it's absolutely amazing and by far the best hand cream that I've ever owned!!

So what's this I hear about a skincare regime...?

Okay, I'm notoriously bad at looking after my skin.  My skincare regime is usually soap and water followed by some cleansing water to remove the makeup.  I rarely (like probably about ten times a year) moisturise and I ALWAYS use the excuse of not having enough time.  However, let me introduce you to my new skincare regime...

Yep and I already had these products at home (minus the Hemp as discussed!).  Just as I was about to leave, I got chatting to another helpful assistant (whose name I didn't catch but she was lovely!) who asked about my skincare regime.  I always think it's massively daunting when I go to a makeup counter to talk about skincare and they recommend about 3654725 different products to put on my face, but at The Bodyshop there's none of that.  She recommended that I wash my face and cleanse (maybe with a face wash though rather than a bar of soap!!!) as I have been, then just apply my Vitamin E eye cream, followed by slathering on lots of my Vitamin E moisture cream; she said my skin was beautiful, just dry.  She even recommended that I put everything next to the shower, so I just do it without thinking, ha!  Well, I've been a good girl and I've stuck to it; my skin is glowing and with the addition of the skin peel twice a week, I'm safe in the knowledge that I'm getting rid of all of those nasties that get caught up on my face throughout the day too!  I couldn't have asked for a better preview!

Thanks to the staff at The Bodyshop, The Bridges, Sunderland for having me along to try out your new products (and for pointing me in the direction of other amazing ones too!).  Thanks also to Sam at The Bridges for inviting me to this event.  I was given a full size Drops of Youth Liquid Peel (worth £15) in exchange for this review, but all opinions are my own; I love the product and will definitely be re-purchasing!

Thanks for reading,



Monday, 2 January 2017

Some fashionable Christmas gifts (and happy new year!)...

Hello lovelies!

Happy new year and all the best for 2017!  It's been a great Christmas break, where I've been giving my blog a lot of thought-and I promise to bring you more posts and more fashion more often in 2017.  I don't really do New Year's resolutions, but my promise to myself is to use this space more as a creative outlet as it's what I love to do, so I'm hoping I'll have more to share with you this coming year! Thank you so much for being part of my journey so far!

I thought I'd start 2017 with a summary post of the fashionable bits and pieces I got for Christmas (and my birthday...which is also Christmas Day!).  I was overwhelmed at the gifts, cards and well wishes I received this year and I have to say, for someone who is thirty-one years young, I was well and truly spoilt rotten!!  So thank you to everyone that was kind enough to make my birthmas that little bit more special!  I'm concentrating purely on my fashion gifts here, but everything I got was amazing!

Beauty and perfume...

I don't know about you, but usually come Christmas time I am on the absolute dregs of my perfume collection.  Like literally down to the last drops.  After trying to be savvy on the run up to Christmas, I've been swimming in 'Rosie' from M & S (which I do love by the way!), but my heart belongs to 'My Burberry'...ahhhh I could bathe in it (it would be a really expensive bath!!!).  Lucky for me I got two bottles of the amazing scent for Christmas, a smaller 30 ml bottle in the Eau de Parfum from my lovely sister-in-laws (which I'm saving for best-thanks ladies!) and a larger 50ml in the Eau de Toilette from my lovely Mama L, which I'm wearing every day.  If you haven't tried this perfume yet-I urge you to go and sniff; and if you know me, you'll smell me before you see me ;).

NB-you can also get My Burberry: Black, inspired by the black trench coat, but I'm not a fan-it's a bit spicier than the original, but worth a sniff if you like that sort of scent.

The other thing I was desperately low on before Christmas was makeup.  My favourite foundation is Star by Dior (in Porcelain, shade 12 because I'm one shade away from a ghost!) which I stocked up on a week before Christmas; but was over the moon when my lovely nieces bought me this mascara and eyeshadow palette set.  Dior mascara is my favourite; its the only one I've ever had that I find really opens out my eyes.  The little cute palette is perfect for travelling and comes in bronze shades that I love-it'll definitely be coming with me on my London trip in January.

Fashion illustration...

I love fashion illustration!  It's my favourite thing ever (and something which regular readers will have read about on my blog before!).  I've had a couple of classes, and am in no way claiming to be amazing at it, but it's something I really, really enjoy and I hope to incorporate it more in my blog during 2017.  Because of this, I got some amazing fashion illustration gifts this year, starting with this... amazing technique book which my friend June bought me.  It's just what I've been looking for, and compares mediums as well as teaching some amazing techniques!

I also got a great sketchbook from my friend Jen for my birthday with pre-printed outlines of figures to apply illustration to, which also came with some amazing drawing hints and tips.  I paint freehand usually in a larger sketchbook, so I'm going to save this one for some watercolour pencil work.  Thanks lady!

My dad bought me a table top easel too, perfect for storing all of my art bits and pieces and good at protecting the table from unruly Indian ink (or should I say an unruly Kayleigh!!).  The easel actually came from Lidl UK at the bargain price of £20-if you're into drawing I'd say check out your local Lidl before they all go-so worth the money.  I managed to try it out over the break...

My latest go at fashion illustration-Dior girl in Indian ink on my new easel.

For the love of designer...

Now for the really good bit!  I'm very lucky that my Mister is always very kind at Christmastime, as I try to be to him with my present giving.  We don't really buy each other a lot through the year, just for the special occasions and I always do really well.  Last year for my 30th, I was overwhelmed (I think I cried!) when he gave me a MacBook for my birthday so that I could blog outside of the office (we share our Mac computer in the office, but really it belongs to him!), it was so nice to have something purely for my passion and a year on I still love it so much.  Because of that, I never dreamed that I'd receive the gifts from him that I got this year-I was gobsmacked; the perfect gifts for a fashion enthusiast like me!  So here goes...

Barbour jacket...

This is the present that I know he wanted me to have, but that I'd never have asked for.  I absolutely love it though! He got a Barbour jacket a while ago (actually I think he now has 3!!) and always looked at them for me when were out shopping, so I was totally blown away when I opened this beauty.  I love Barbour and the fact that they are local, made a stones throw away from where I live, so it's nice to own such a beauty (and the map of South Shields on the lining is my favourite part!).

Levi's denim jacket...

I have been lusting after this Levi's PSG jacket FOREVER!!  It was £85 when I saw it, he picked it up for £35 from the outlet...happy days!  I can't wait to wear it in the summer with my red Archive by Alexa dress and some trainers.  Everyone should own a denim jacket...I'm in love with mine!

UGG boots...

I have Uggs, but these are boot boots, rather than the normal Ugg boot shape.  They are amazing-but they're also a pain in the behind to actually get onto your feet!  The strap makes it impossible as it doesn't detach, and if you read online reviews, loads of the boots have been returned.  I was a sweaty mess trying to wear mine on Christmas Day-until I found the solution...A SHOE HORN!!! They now slide on with ease every time!! Because of the hardship of getting them on, they're in the sale now-but if you like them, just invest in a shoe horn and I swear you'll be good to go!  They're so comfortable!

Ted Baker ballerina pumps...

Just read the quote-Ted Baker you are so right!!  These little beauties are really for work.  The gold hardware detail really sets them apart from any other shoes I have, luscious!  Boy did good!!

My first little bite of Versace...

The first of two very thoughtful gifts, my Mister picked this up from Secret Sales and said he chose it because all of the images on it reminded him of the things that I like...aww!  I didn't even know these scarves existed, but I love it!  Expect it to feature in an outfit post very soon!

The Thomas Burberry bear...

Okay, this little handbag buddy was my favourite present of all.  I love Burberry, and every time I visit Fenwick in Newcastle or Burberry in London, I always look at these bears.  My Mister always laughed them off as a waste of money, so I never expected to have one as a present in a million years...but guess what?  He's a keeper! ;)

Attached to a story of how when he was buying it, he nearly walked away with a free Burberry handbag from a very confused sales assistant who thought it came with the bear (I WISH!!), this little man that I've named Bertie, complete with his gorgeous trench will be travelling everywhere with me, and doesn't he look cute hanging from my Louis?  (I got Louis with birthday money and savings from my 30th-it pays to work hard and save kids!).  These little babies can be bought from any Burberry store and online and, I can confirm, will make any girlfriend very happy!

Thanks so much to all of the people that made my birthday and Christmas super special this year!  Thanks for stopping by and reading...I'd love to hear what lovely things you got for Christmas, so feel free to drop me a message in the comments :)

Until next time,

Kay xx
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