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OOTN: Pretending to be Sophisticated

Wednesday, 28 June 2017
outfit of the night, outfit of the day, formal outfit, formal trousers, high waist trousers, bodysuits, how to style, sophisticated style

outfit of the night, outfit of the day, formal outfit, formal trousers, high waist trousers, bodysuits, how to style, sophisticated style

outfit of the night, outfit of the day, formal outfit, formal trousers, high waist trousers, bodysuits, how to style, sophisticated style

outfit of the night, outfit of the day, formal outfit, formal trousers, high waist trousers, bodysuits, how to style, sophisticated style

outfit of the night, outfit of the day, formal outfit, formal trousers, high waist trousers, bodysuits, how to style, sophisticated style

Bodysuit - Primark (old)
Jacket - Primark
Trousers - Asos (old)
Shoes - New Look

I actually posted this outfit (with a terrible phone camera photo) onto Twitter back when I wore it, but I absolutely loved it so I thought I'd take camera photos before heading out to share with you at some point on the blog. Today is that day! I threw this look together not fully knowing what I was going to wear when I took my mum out for her birthday meal at Miller & Carter, the steakhouse chain that recently opened up in the city centre. Heels wasn't an overly practical choice because I knew with Jack being away that we would be getting the bus there and hopefully a taxi back, and we'd maybe even go to another bar later in the night (which is what we did), but these shoes are actually the black version of the ones I wore to the wedding with J last year, and they're from the New Look comfort range. Whilst I put gel insoles into my pink ones, it turns out that I don't really need them. The thing that gets uncomfortable about these shoes is the pointed shape which tends to squish my toes together - it's a shame as they are otherwise not too bad to wear. The balls of my feet did start to ache a bit at the end of the night so I do see a benefit in gel insoles, but still, they're not too shabby and I don't feel the need to rush out and spend £10-£12 on insoles. 

I don't actually get enough wear out of these trousers, the high waist berry ones I bought from ASOS in January. In all honesty they could do with having the hem taken up a little (even though they've already been taken up once), as they're still longer than my black pair, but these are a not bad length to be wearing with heels, and for this reason I prefer them as a dressier piece than wearing them casual, which is something I often do with the black pair I own. For my top I opted for a bodysuit I've actually never worn. I picked it up in the sale quite a few months ago, but it looks fab on. I love a low neck as I think they are really flattering on me, but despite having had my mum sew up the neck a little already, I still wore a short bandeau top underneath - more so my outfit was a little more appropriate for a meal with my mother. I wouldn't have minded going without if I was going out with Jack. 

I didn't do much for accessories, I just wore some rings (all from New Look's Sterling Silver range bar the plain silver band underneath the large grey stone ring which was part of an Accessorize set, and the thumb ring which is from my mum) and a pair of plain, circular earrings (which I forgot to photograph), and I tossed my black faux leather jacket on over the top to toughen up the outfit and give it a bit of edge. I think this would look mega grown-up with a boyfriend jacket on top, I really don't get enough wear out of mine and it's outfits like this that I think it was made for! I can't remember why I didn't wear the boyf jacket, I think I just forgot about it. I tend to forget in general as it's too long to hang up in my wardrobe or cupboard, so it lives in the hall cupboard.

If anyone is wondering about my nails, I'm wearing Maybelline Superstay 7 Day Gel Nail Polish in Midnight Red with Barry M Molten Metals in Holographic Lights. As for my make-up, I used the BH Cosmetics Foil Eyes Palette, Jeffree Star Velour Liquid Lipstick in Androgyny and Kat Von D's Metal Crush eyeshadow in Thunderstruck for my highlight. 

I do love to dress up and pretend I'm a bit more sophisticated than I probably really am, but I don't have the chance all that often. What do you think of my outfit choice?

Doodling: My Equipment

Saturday, 24 June 2017
what I use for drawing copic ciao markers uni pin fineline sharpie permanent markers daler and rowney watercolour paper pads winsor and newton tattoo flash tattoo doodles

Although I've been drawing long before I began to write (aged 8 when I first wrote a story for English that kicked off my I'M A BORN WRITER thing), I don't really consider myself an artist. I'm a creative type, and I'm a writer, but the idea of attaching 'artist' to my name absolutely terrifies me. Whilst I know art is subjective, I also know I'm not good enough IMO to be an artist. I'd love to do a bit of digital drawing now and then - or at least be able to colour and print my hand drawn designs, but I don't have the software most people use and it's not really on my list of priorities. Nonetheless, I absolutely love to draw, work in my journals and get really messy with acrylic paints. Drawing my doodles - I call them this so people don't take them too seriously - and working in my art journals are some of my best creative releases, as I find it therapeutic and as it doesn't require too much thinking, I can distract myself focusing on the music I'm listening to than worry about whatever is going on in my life.

This equipment isn't for my art journals or anything, but strictly for my doodles. I tend to draw a lot of cutesy, tattoo-flash inspired bits and pieces as I've pictured above! So, while I'm not an artist or expert by any means, I thought I'd share with you the stuff I like to use for drawing. 

COPIC CIAO MARKERS

I'm pretty much obsessed with these. Whilst they aren't cheap, I adore using them as they're rather easy to get the hang of. They make blending and shading so effortless, and it only took me a few tries with the pens to really get used to them - they are a little bit like watercolour felt tip pens, although probably not quite so flexible in terms of applying, erasing and mixing colours. I don't own a whole lot of them so far, which makes me quite limited in what colours I have available to use, but they are fab. They're double-ended with a harsh, square angled tip on one end, and a brush tip on the other. I almost solely use the brush tip. At the moment I own a lot of primary and secondary shades - yellows, oranges, greens, blues and reds - but I'm slowly branching out into the pastel spectrum of these colours. It'd be a dream to own a big selection of pastel colours, but I haven't been drawing much recently so I haven't felt the need to make buying more shades a priority. It's generally quite easy to find out what shades go together, too, as they are all in their own colour families, and it's more often than not the number after (for a darker shade) or before (for a lighter shade) that you need. If you're really stuck, make sure to check out some swatches on Google like here and here to figure out what you're after and what the colour families look like.

You can get these from loads of different retailers, and as I tend to know specifically what shades I want, I always buy them individually rather than in sets. I usually buy from Cult Pens or Tiger Pens - it just depends who is selling them cheaper at the time!

DALER AND ROWNEY WATERCOLOUR PAPER PADS

There are paper pads out there designed for Copics, but the best pads I've found by far are the Daler and Rowney Watercolour line. I use the postcard sized pads the most, as I find they're just the perfect size for my drawings - I love how small and compact they are so it's easy to fit a design onto the page that'll take up the whole thing with no awkward gaps! I also sometimes use the A4 size, but not very often. For A5 I use the Winsor and Newton Artists' Watercolour Paper pad. The texture is a bit rougher so sometimes the colour of my Copic might not be as strong and I have to go over it a bit more to get it to its true colour, but I'm used to working with this paper now and I don't really mind. I tend to get my Daler & Rowney pads from Hobbycraft, but they're also available at WH Smith, which is where I also purchase my A5 pads.

STAEDTLER NORIS ECO HB PENCILS

Seems silly, but I thought I'd mention the pencils I always use because I do enjoy them and just don't really use anything else. They're sturdy pencils that are easy to shapren, and they also don't leave too harsh a line which means I can easily rub out any old pencil marks from my drawing to make it look neater. As I mentioned above, I don't know what my eraser is anymore which is super annoying. I remembering buying it from Hobbycraft, but I can't seem to find it on the website! 

UNI PIN FINELINE PEN, BLACK, 0.8

I've been using these pens ever since I started drawing my doodles, and I absolutely love them. They don't bleed or mix with my Copics, and the fine nib (I use 0.8) means that I can draw all the little tiny details onto my illustration without being clumsy about it. I often do have to draw several lines for the main outline of my drawings, so that it looks a bit thicker than the detailing, so ideally I'd like to pick up a new, slightly thicker fineliner, but I'm happy with this one for now, and as I have quite a few, I'll wait until I've used them up. I also find that this pen hasn't faded with time yet, even for drawings that are 2+ years old. 

SHARPIE PERMANENT MARKERS

I know a lot of people seem to enjoy using Sharpies, but I find them quite hard to get behind. Jack bought me the big massive set from WH Smith for Christmas 2015 as I really wanted to use them, but I have to admit I've barely touched them. The metallic Sharpies, on the other hand, I can totally get behind. I love them for dot work and backgrounds, as well as just adding detail to my images. The fineline Sharpies are also pretty good, but I find they can bleed when used with Copics, so it's best to wait for your Copics to be totally 100% dry - I'd probably actually give it a day before going in with the fineliners, just to be totally sure!

Any doodlers out there - what do you guys like to use to draw and colour?

Say Goodbye to Sweat Rash

Wednesday, 21 June 2017
sweat rash fix get rid of sweat rash combat sweat rash Australian Bodycare Skin Wash review lotion

I dunno about you guys, but in the last year or so I've started to have some trouble with them pesky sweat rashes. It's nothing too major, often a bit of redness and a small spot or too. Definitely a bit unsightly, but nothing too unmanageable. It's odd because this is never an issue I've had whilst sweating my butt off at the gym, but something I tend to get in real heat, whether it's when I'm abroad in a 40 degree heatwave, or when I'm in work (where the air con is turned off bcos we are just night shift gremlins, why wouldn't we want to sweat our butts off after 2 mins of starting out shift?). It got pretty bad before Christmas because it seemed that I came away from work most days with a sweat rash under my bust (the only place I actually get it), probably a combination of the heat and working five days a week slaving away on one of the heaviest departments at work. 

My rashes always cleared up pretty quickly, and spots just need a little bit tea tree oil to disappear, but I was always wondering if there was anything I could do to prevent it. Enter my mother and her skincare expertise, and I was introduced to the Australian Bodycare Skin Wash, and matching lotion. Although it's got a fairly heft price tag attached to it, you get a good amount of product for your money, with the wash coming in at around £25.99 for a 500ml bottle that'll last you months. The product is said to be a gentle antiseptic wash with 2% tea tree oil, making it deal for those nasty upcoming spots and rashes, and making you feel extra squeaky clean in those awkward sweaty areas, although for me, I use this the most under the bust because that's really the only area where I get the sweat rash and sweat spot problems.

The product is also said to be pH balanced, meaning it's non drying, and helps to combat acne, so this is also an ideal product for those of you with anything like chest or back acne. I'm not saying it's a cure, and as I don't suffer thse myself, I can't attest to the effects, but it sounds like it could be worth a shot. The Skin Wash is also suitable for use everywhere on the body, and works for every skin type. This big bottle boasts a lot of important stuff, now that I see it all written down, and seems like a do-all wonder product. I can't say I enjoy washing myself in the scent of tea tree oil, and if this bothers you too, perhaps to lotion up with your favourite Soap and Glory body butter after. 

However, it may be worth trying out the lotion as well. I prefer to use the Skin Wash and lotion together, applying the lotion under my bust after I've dried off from the shower. It certainly seeems to help prevent any nasty surprises at the end of my shift, and I think this is going to benefit me a lot over the next few summer months. The lotion absorbs quickly and feels quite lightweight, making it ideal as you don't have to wait long for it to sink in. The scent of the body wash and lotion don't last very long, so don't worry that you'll smell of tea tree oil all day!

You can purchase the 500ml bottle here at Feel Unique for £25.99, however there is also a 250ml size, and a 1 litre size available across different websites.

Do you have any solutions or preventative measures for sweat rash? Help your fellow bloggers out by letting us know below!

The Pleated Midi Skirt: Summer Styling

Saturday, 17 June 2017





Top: Forever 21  • Skirt, shoes, belt: Primark

First off, please excuse the slightly blurred images in my full-length photos. These were the first OOTD photos I ever took on my Sony A5000, other than the mirror ones, so whilst they looked fine on the image viewer, obviously it's better to check on the laptop first! I sharpened them a bit to make them look a bit better. Regardless, I loved the photos so I didn't really want to retake them, but I'll keep an eye out for this in future photos.

In recent months, midi skirts have taken the world by storm. Don't get me wrong, they've been popular since my teens, but ever since the tail end of 2016, I've been seeing them everywhere. In particular, I've been seeing pleated, satiny kinds, like I'm wearing in the photos above, and for this reason I thought I'd pop on with a little outfit inspired by warmer, summer weather of one of the ways you can style a pleated midi.

These are by far one of the comfiest and breeziest pieces of clothing to wear during the summer, and the thing I love about the pleating is that it hides any food babies or general muffin tops from view, but cinching in the waist allows you to still maintain a defined figure. For the last few years I've been a fan of defining my waist, but the issue I have is that many slim fitting midis can end up emphasising my muffin top, as opposed to helping disguise it, so the pleats are perfect for this. Most midis are too long on me, sitting nearer ankle length than below-knee, which is where I like them to sit. I think this feels most comfortable and flattering on me as I'm a teeny 5'1, with big thighs, chest and bum. I'm not often one to elongate my body, instead I just prefer to define my shape. I need to roll the waistband of my satiny Primark midis (I have one in khaki too) over about 4-5 times to get it to sit at the right length on me, but as you can imagine, this often leaves me with a bumpy, silly looking waist. To cancel this out, I always opt to wear a belt with my midis, even if they are elasticated at the waist and therefore fit well. As I wear them quite high up, I have to add a whole in them with a knife to get that perfect, snug fit.

So, for this outfit I chose my silver midi as it's the one that sees the least light of day. It's such a perfect summer colour, but since summer is so limited in Scotland I know I need to come up with ways to try and wear it a bit more even in the colder months. I often team midis with either a crop top and Converse, or an oversized tee and ankle boots, sometimes with a leather jacket for some added edge (like this OOTD), but I wanted to style it a little bit differently. I opted for my baggy, oversized Blondie tank top that I recently bought from Forever 21 - I've wanted a nice Blondie top for aaaages, and this one was so perfect that I couldn't resist! -, not only do I think the loose fit will keep you cool (you can wear a vest under if you prefer, but I decided not to wear one) and the mesh panelling adds some interesting detail as well as being another factor to help with the summer heat.

Since the tank top already has citrus tones in it, I chose my mustard belt instead of plain ol' black to slip around my waist and accentuate it, and then I went for my snake print lace-up flats for a girly look, although I admit that I'd probably just chuck on some Converse normally because they are so comfortable and effortless. Personally I think this makes a really nice outfit for a day hanging out having a picnic with your SO, but it can easily be dressed up with heels or dressed down with a casual jacket if it's looking too feminine for you.

Do you like the pleated midi skirt trend? How do you style yours?