Tuesday, 28 February 2012

River Island, how I love you.

After university today I headed into town to spend a chunk of my River Island vouchers from the Company Casting Call. Admittedly I got a little over excited as I gathered pieces to try on, however my little bubble of retail contentment was burst when my phone started ringing in the changing room.

I'd been anticipating a call from Company letting me know whether or not I'd made it into the magazine, and when it was an unknown number calling I kind of froze up. However upon answering, I was over the moon to find out that I was one of the final eight! Next week I'm going back up the London for a photo shoot for the beauty section of their May issue. After the fun I had at the shoot last Friday I can't wait for another! 

I'm so glad I decided to enter the casting call, although when I first entered I never could have anticipated this! There were so many gorgeous entries (according to whispers overheard at the last shoot, between 8000-9000) and to have got down to the final, let alone to be featuring in the magazine(!), is the most surreal feeling.

This weekend I'll be back in Cornwall shooting some looks, but after that it's roll on next Wednesday!

Monday, 27 February 2012

A very photographic update.

I've been meaning to share these behind the scenes photos with you since I first posted my very muddy photo shoot with Daisy Rain, but I just haven't found the moment to get them all polished up. Daisy and I have been told how similar we look since she joined my secondary school in the year below, and whilst we personally don't see a huge resemblance, others have told us otherwise. It probably didn't help back then that we both had long reddish hair... Either way, you be the judge!

I have fallen for London, and I have fallen hard. The weekend just gone was so lovely, not just because of the Casting Call, but because it was so nice having a weekend alone with Grant in such a fantastic place. I figured it was only fitting that I shared a few of my photos with you.

On Saturday morning we had brunch at Creme de la Crepe in Covent Garden (see above photos), and it was so good! I had a 'Milkybar Kid' crepe (white chocolate and fresh strawberries - heaven!) and a melon and strawberry smoothie. It was the perfect place to just chill out for half an hour before we started our day's adventures. Not to mention it's great value for money...

Whilst in Covent Garden, it seemed rude not to visit Ladurée. Their macarons are my vice. I know that they really are quite expensive for what they are, but as soon as I've taken a peek in the window I really can't help myself. I bought a box of eight; two rose, two vanilla, two salted caramel, and two pistachio and marshmallow. An indulgent little treat for myself and another Ladurée bag for the collection!

A few days earlier, we had found out that one of our friends from college was also in London with her new boyfriend for a gig. We hadn't seen her since August last year, so it seemed like a great opportunity to meet up. They'd been planning to visit the Natural History Museum, and since we'd also been considering a visit it became our meeting place of choice. It's such an amazing building, and after splurging on my macarons the free entry was definitely appreciated.

We took a wonder around the exhibitions, stopping every now and again to peer into glass cases full of gemstones. One of my favourite things about this place really is the architecture. The interior is just stunning.

Friday, 24 February 2012

A lovely day with Company magazine and River Island.

Today was my photoshoot with Company magazine and River Island! Grant and I have been staying in my dad's flat since last night, so we were already in London this morning. I woke up bright and early and got ready whilst Grant made us breakfast (pancakes, bacon and scrambled - it's probably a good thing that I don't usually model!).

I arrived at the London Bridge venue at quarter to ten following a fairly uneventful journey (after I initially left some paperwork at the flat - oops). I was introduced to the other finalists and told to help myself to a selection of breakfast foods and tea/coffee. Since I'd already eaten I opted for a plain glass of water and grabbed one of the issues of Company scattered across the table. After a while we were taken outside to shoot a street style 'before' photo. I was so glad I'd opted for my new full length net skirt!

Eventually I was taken upstairs to meet the styling team. Everyone was so friendly and easy to talk to. I was styled in a pair of black and white vertical striped leggings, a tropical print cropped shirt, and some orange flatforms. It wasn't something that I would usually wear, but at the same time I was glad to be styled in something a bit quirky. It was definitely strange having my midriff out! I trusted the stylists though when they said it looked good. My hair was tonged and piled up in rollers before I had my make up done by a team from Bare Minerals. I was give a lovely green wash over my eye, which was new for me, but it looked really nice and fresh. I then had a manicure and pedicure; coral on my fingernails, ink blue on my toes. Back upstairs all of the finishing touches were applied. My hair was unraveled, and looking very big indeed was styled with a studded tribal headband. My make up was touched up, I was given a selection of chunky rings, and my arms and feet were moisturised and given a light dusting of foundation. I was feeling very polished, and it was my turn in front of the camera(!!).

It took a while for me to ease into it, but eventually I began to relax and I had so much fun! Afterwards I had such an adrenaline rush, I would love to do it again. I was briefly mic'd up and had a quick interview regarding the day, the shoot, and what it would mean if I were to get into the magazine (sooo much!). I'll find out next week whether I've made it through....

After a bit of lunch and some time to breath, I changed out of my outfit and it was time to head out. I said my goodbyes, was given a goodie bag (and what a goodie bag, details below!) and went to meet up with Grant and go spend a few of my River Island vouchers! After a quick chat and stroll around Covent Garden, we went to the River Island on Oxford Street and I bought a few bits and pieces, but I still have £90 left to spend.

Here's a run down of my goodie bag!

- £150 River Island vouchers
- bareMinerals Get Started 8-Piece Collection
- St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mouse 
- Paul Mitchell Instant Moisture Daily Shampoo
- Paul Mitchell Instant Moisture Daily Treatment
- Eau Thermale Avène Skin Recovery Cream
- Sure Aloe Vera Sensitive Roll-On
- Blistex Lip Brilliance Blushing
- A KitKat Chunky Orange (this did not last long...)
- A MadeByI charm

So many goodies to play with!

Tomorrow Grant and I are going to have a wander around Harrods, then meet up with an old friend from Cornwall (who also happens to be in London this weekend) and do the Natural History Museum with them. It should be good!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Take off your shoes and share a secret.

"When I'm talking to you I smile to hide the unerring desire to take
a shovel to your head until your skull pops."

"I have no intention of paying my outstanding library fees. Ever."

"I plan on getting cosmetic surgery after uni, I don't care how much
debt I will get in through it."

"I suffer from a series of mental health issues, but I'm scared to
tell anybody incase they think I'm lying."

About a month ago I mentioned a creative project I am currently running with two other girls from my writer's workshop. Basically, we are collecting secrets, from the trivial to the profound, in the hope of displaying them all as part of a creative installation (it involves twine and wooden pegs - stay tuned). We're hoping to pull it all together next Thursday, which gives us this final week to collect our last bunch of secrets.

So, in short, if you have any secrets then please don't hesitate to share. It's completely anonymous, and after some of the more colourful submissions we've had it will take a lot to shock us! Whether it's a fairly mundane confession or something more dark and brooding, we want to hear it!

We get so excited every time we get new secrets coming in, so each and every contribution is hugely appreciated!

Teacups, socks and a new shirt.

First off, here is my new cushion from BHS. I am so in love with it. As soon as Grant and I move into our flat it's going to take pride of place on the sofa. The chances are this will be the first of many impulse buys before we move. I'm so excited to make our first home together!

I've been doing a little shopping in preparation for London this weekend. I've decided to wear this skirt with these shoes, but I felt like I needed a new shirt to go with it.

Here are the results of the shopping trip I took yesterday....

I bought these earrings in River Island. I don't usually go for things with crosses, however I thought these were really delicate and tasteful. It also helps that the trailing chains look amazing on! 

I picked up a pair of socks in TopShop to go with the lace up heels I'll be wearing. The blue matches this coat which (considering the recent weather) I will most likely be wearing over the top. I don't generally go too matchy-matchy, but I think matching socks and coat is a bit more understated and could look really sweet. The dark blue also works quite nicely with the paler shade of the shirt I decided on after getting lost in numerous shop changing rooms...

I bought the shirt from River Island (fittingly enough, seeing as I'll be styled in their clothes on Friday!). It's fairly simple, but with the dramatic skirt I'm hoping it will look nice. Unfortunately the skirt is in London at the moment waiting for me, so I can't try on the whole outfit until Thursday evening. Fingers crossed it looks good!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Snow drops and fairy rings.

Dress - Primark
Braided Belt - Primark
Cardigan - Urban Outfitters
Boater Hat - Next
Suede Wedges - New Look

It's starting to feel a lot like Spring! Unfortunately today marks the end of my study week, so it's back to Bath tonight. I felt I should make the most of my parent's lovely garden before returning to the city, and what better to wear when frolicking around in fairy rings than a pretty mini-dress, slouchy cardigan and retro boater? Perhaps the wedges were a push, I did start to sink a little!

Saturday, 18 February 2012

A midsummer night's dream.

Blouse - New Look
Skirt - Dahlia Boutique
Suede Wedges - New Look
Headband - Poppy Daisy

I'm still fawning over this skirt, it makes me feel like a fairy. I've had this blouse for two years, I bought it in the New Look sale for about £4 but it's an awkward length. It works nicely when tucked into high waisted skirts and shorts. The headband is actually three Poppy Daisy headbands wound together; individually they were a bit lacking but now it looks far fuller and I love the combination of colours.

Hopefully I'll have a new look for you tomorrow - my last before the Company Casting Call photoshoot on Friday!

A very muddy shoot with Daisy Rain.

On Thursday I had the pleasure of shooting up-and-coming singer Miss Daisy Rain. Getting to the location ended up being easier said than done. We both traipsed through Hampstead exchanging texts, but due to my unfamiliarity with the area we couldn't find a place to meet. Eventually we ended up meeting up at Kenwood House - it must have been fate since the grounds ended up making a wonderful backdrop.

We styled the shoot with a soft, Tim Burton-esque vision in mind. We're both thrilled with the final photos; there's definitely a sense of fairytale charm. I was very impressed with how she held up against the cold with no tights or outerwear, from the look on her face it could have been a warm autumn afternoon!

There ended up being an uninvited guest on the shoot - mud, and lots of it. Daisy was a trooper and carried on regardless, however we did get through a few face wipes cleaning up splashes and smears.

Overall it was so much fun, and definitely worth battling the mud and lugging heavy bags around Hampstead Heath. A great way to end my time in London and a wonderful overall experience. I wish Daisy all the best for her future career and can't wait to see what's in store for her!

Friday, 17 February 2012

My new health and beauty kick.

Generally speaking, I am not particularly vigilant with my beauty regime. I'll use a face wipe and little moisturiser in the evenings and every now and again I'll treat myself to a good dose of body butter, but nothing more sophisticated than that. With my Company Casting Call photoshoot a week today, I've decided to up the ante. I've just finished digging out some of my hoarded beauty treats and stocking up on some new ones. Here goes...

Along Came Betty Big Scrub Mitt - I just bought this from Tesco. I've never been good at exfoliating, but I'm taking a new vow of commitment. My legs are definitely showing signs of winter neglect and a weeks worth of regular exfoliation should definitely do them some good. Plus I was a sucker for the retro packaging!

Along Came Betty Hey! Sugar Sugar Body Scrub - Another one from today's Tesco shop. This smells absolutely gorgeous, and along with the exfoliating mitt it should have my legs in tip-top super-soft condition! I love the packaging and I can't wait to have a long pampering bath and get scrubbing. It's full of beeswax and lovely nourishing oils.

Lush Snow Fairy Shower Gel - I've had this since Christmas (a stocking filler from Grant!) and it's one of my favourite products. It has a wonderful candyfloss scent and a subtle shimmer. After using it I can smell it on my skin and hair all day, and it makes my skin feel lovely. I generally save it for special occasions, but this week I will definitely up my usage.

E45 Endless Moisture Body Lotion - One of my sensible products. E45 is such a fail-safe, trustworthy brand.  It feels lovely and I'll be using it liberally until the day of the shoot - hopefully it will have my skin glowing!

The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter - I love The Body Shop's body butters. I have about three, but this one is the most intensely moisturising. I'll be treating my skin to it after all that exfoliating, the wonderful coconut scent is a bonus.

Lush Rehab Shampoo - I treat my hair to this aptly-named shampoo when it's looking a bit lackluster, and with all of the dying I put my hair through (and lack of professional trims) this product is a lifesaver. It makes my hair feels really nourished and clean without weighing it down. I'd recommend this product to anyone who feels like their hair deserves a little TLC every now and again.

Herbal Essences Tousle Me Softly Intensive Mask - I've yet to try this product, but it looks promising. I've used Herbal Essences masks before and always been pleased with the result, so hopefully this one will live up to it's predecessors. Sometimes I love the way my hair dries naturally, so hopefully the 'tousling' effect will help me minimise the amount of heat I have to use on my hair in the coming week, whilst also keep my hair soft and nourished.

John Frieda Frizz-Ease Extra Strength Formula Serum - I swear by serums, and I recently switched from Aussie to this product. It stops the tips of my hair drying out and is my best weapon in the eternal struggle against split ends. It also minimises fly aways and makes my hair look generally softer and glossier when I leave it to fall in natural waves.

Effervescent Vitamin C Tablets - This one really goes without saying. My immune system is pitiful and needs all the help it can get. Being stuck in lecture halls full of infected students doesn't help my chances when it comes to pesky coughs and colds, so these things give me a bit of a helping hand.

Multivitamins + Iron - Since I was tiny I've teetered on the fence of being anemic. The doctor said that as it is I just suffer from iron deficiency, however no matter how much red meat and dark leafy greens my mum piled on my plate, we just couldn't get rid of my dark circles and anemic symptoms. Multivitamins with added iron just make me feel a bit livelier and give my 'general wellbeing' a kick.

Systane Lubricant Eye Drops - With all of my allergies (dust, cats, hayfever, the outside world, life in general...) my eyes sometimes get a bit dry and bloodshot. My mum's optician recommended these to her after she had eye surgery, and now she's passed the secret on to me. They are very refreshing and keep my eyes looking bright when the world is against them.

There we go. I'm out of breath just thinking about it... But I will battle on. I know people who spend far more time on their beauty regime every day than I will be for this one week. Maybe I'll pick up some good habits, but then again maybe not. The truth is that I can normally think of better more trivial things to spend my money on!

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

A wonderful day, our last day in London.

Blouse - New Look
Skirt - Dahlia Boutique
Lace Up Heels - New Look
Floral Headband - Poppy Daisy

I'll be posting this look on LB soon, it's for the Valentines Day contest so I'm just waiting for confirmation from my partner. This is the skirt I bought yesterday, isn't it lovely? It feels so wonderful to wear and the fabric is great quality.

Today has been pretty remarkable. Whilst buying two new Poppy Daisy headbands in Covent Garden, I received a phone call from Company magazine saying that I've been selected as a finalist in their 2012 Casting Call! Next Friday I'll be coming back to London with twelve other finalists for a photoshoot with River Island, then eight of us will go on to model for the reader issue in May! I am over the moon. Company is my favourite magazine and it's going to be wonderful to meet the team behind the pages. Plus I get some free clothes - who am I to pass that up?

We had tea in Ladurée to celebrate, which was a dream come true. I enjoyed a few cups of caramel tea and a gorgeous dessert. It was like a large macaron filled with raspberries - almost too pretty to eat (but only almost!).

The afternoon was spent wondering around the Tower of London getting excited about the photoshoot next week. I'm so happy I had my mum and sister there to squeal with.

Tomorrow is my photoshoot with Miss Daisy Rain. I've got my petticoat skirt and new daisy headband all packed up and ready for her to wear... I should have the photos with you by Friday evening.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

1000 LB fans + day two in London.

Last night I hit 1000 fans on Lookbook, and upon discovering my four-digit fan count this morning I felt more than a little bit giddy. It's a landmark I didn't think I'd reach, and I appreciate every single person who has become a fan! My next aim to is get 100 followers on this blog, slowly but steadily...

Today has been better than yesterday, primarily because I feel somewhat better. I'm still coughing, but don't feel nearly as bad. We had sushi for lunch at Oxford Circus; my family have never been to a sushi bar before and they loved it. We took my younger brother and sister to Hamley's which went down very well, then we did a bit of shopping. I got a gorgeous new skirt from Dahlia boutique which I'll be sharing soon enough!

Covent Garden for brunch tomorrow...

Monday, 13 February 2012

Day one in London.

Blouse - New Look
Velvet Dress - TopShop
Scarf - River Island
Necklace - TopShop
Shoes - New Look
Coat - TopShop

Despite the smile in my photos, today I have felt sick as a dog. I've had a cough for a while, but last night it escalated to an almost unbearable level. My head hurts, I've been feeling nauseous and generally under the weather.

We went to the O2 for lunch seeing as it's fairly close to the flat, then went to Tower Bridge. We wondered around The Tower of London and beside the river, however the weather wasn't on our side and I wasn't feeling any better. We're back at the flat now and hoping that tomorrow will be a little more productive.

Hopefully we'll go out for dinner later; a cup of tea or three and I should be in good working form.

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Everything glitters in the emerald city.

Shirt - TopShop
Shorts - New Look
Necklace - TopShop
Glitter Heels - DIY

I customised these heels back in December but I've yet to find an outfit I liked them with enough to share with you. But, finally, here they are! Paired with my new emerald green shirt (£10 in the TopShop sale) in all their sparkly glory. It's not often that I undertake truly DIY projects, but this one was so much fun. A lot of PVA glue, a lot of green glitter, and in all honesty, a LOT of mess.

I have officially arrived in London. Hopefully I'll be shooting some looks in between our city antics, but either way there will be a lot of photos! Prepare for the onslaught...

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Ice cream nostalgia.

Pussybow Blouse - TopShop
Petticoat Skirt - American Apparel
Floral Headband - Poppy Daisy
Tights - New Look
Suede Wedges - New Look

I have something a bit different for you coming up soon; a mini photo shoot I did with my sister this afternoon. I'm still processing the photos, however I'm sure they'll be up in a couple of hours. We're both really pleased with how they've turned out and I can't wait to share them with you!

Thursday, 9 February 2012

The simple pleasures of tea.

Happily fulfilling another English stereotype, I have discovered a new found appreciation for tea since visiting the Tea House Emporium in Bath. I visited the underground tea shop with two friends from university last week after failing to find the fashion museum before closing time, and after one sip of their strawberry and cream tea I was smitten.

I have always been fussy when it comes to tea. I can't stand strong builder's brew, and if I must have regular tea I will drink it very weak with a generous splash of milk. My favourites until now were earl grey (with lemon, naturally) or fruit teas sweetened with a teaspoon of honey.

Thanks to the Tea House Emporium, I have discovered a new realm of tea. After my first encounter in their cosy little tea shop, I bought a bag of their strawberry and cream tea leaves (see photo above, left) and my very own infuser (bottom, left). Brewing my own tea is so satisfying and it tastes so much better than regular tea bags. The strawberry and cream tea is lovely and delicate, with slices of strawberry, pieces of white chocolate and little camomile flowers that open up whilst brewing. At first I didn't think that flavoured tea could work this way, but it's my new obsession and tastes delicious with milk and sugar. The bag cost me around £2.50 and will no doubt last me a while - great taste and great value!

I revisited today and bought another bag for my family, I'm going to try and convert them to the way of leaves and infusers! This time I chose earl grey (my mum's favourite) with blue cornflowers, if you look at the photo (below, right) you can see the little flecks of blue. Hopefully they'll open up upon brewing, I can't wait to try.

So yes, I am now a tea convert. No more tea bags for me, from here on out it's leaves and infusers! Now if you don't mind, I'm fancying another cuppa after writing this...

Monday, 6 February 2012

Pigtails, a waistcoat, and walking the goats.

The waistcoat and shirt in this look are stolen from my dad's wardrobe. He's had this waistcoat since I was tiny and has worn it every Christmas since I can remember. It's gone full circle now, and we joke that he should wear it when he plays at the pub on folk nights.

A quick change was in order when it was proposed that we took the goats for a quick walk down on the beach. We have three goats; Bugsy, Malone and Tallulah. Tallulah is too nervous to walk, but Bugsy and Malone are great on a lead. They get so excited and love exploring the rocks on the beach. They pretty much pulled us up the hill, but we were still knackered by the time we got back. Now I'm happily recovering with a cup of tea!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

My jolly sailor bold.

Velvet Body - Sparkle & Fade
Midi Skirt - Lucca Boutique
Bird Pendant - H&M
Braided Belt - Primark
Bow Pumps - London Rebel

The colours in this look were screaming for a beach backdrop, so that's what they got. Because of the icy weather conditions on the roads at the moment we're stuck in Cornwall for an extra night, so you can expect another look in the next 24 hours or so! This beach is one of the locations where we'll be doing our engagement shoot in April, I can't wait to see what a professional photographer will be able to do with it.

I'm still looking for secrets for my university project, so please share your confessions anonymously on our Formspring, no matter how trivial or profound!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Rainy days and butterfly cakes.

We were hoping for snow, and we got rain. After yesterday's clear blue sky the constant downpour has been a little disappointing, especially since we were planning to shoot on the beach today. However my more pressing concern is not being able to get back to university tomorrow evening...

All concerns aside, today's look is quite frothy and playful. My sister and I have spent the early hours of the afternoon baking old school butterfly cakes, so it's definitely been a day that calls for soft fabrics and romantic shapes! The blouse is from New Look, the dress is from H&M, the headband is from Poppy Daisy and the shoes are by London Rebel.

In fitting fashion, here is my recipe for rainy day butterfly cakes...


For the cakes -

200g of self raising flower
200g of caster sugar
200g of butter/margarine
4 medium/large eggs
2 tsp of vanilla extract
1 tsp of baking powder

For the filling -

200ml of whipping cream
3 tbsp of icing sugar


Grease two muffin trays and preheat the oven to 180oC.

Sieve the dry ingredients and throw everything into a mixer - mix on a high speed until light and fluffy. When it looks pale and light, let it continue to mix for an extra minute or two for good measure.

Divide the mixture equally between the muffin trays.

Bake for 15-20 minutes until firm and golden - allow to cool.

Whip the cream to spooning consistency and gradually sieve in the icing sugar.

Cut shallow cones out of the top of the cakes. Spoon the whipped filling into the hole. Cut the cone into two halves and arrange on top to form the 'wings'.

We also made mini Victoria sponges by using a shallower cake tin and sandwiching the layers together with strawberry jam. The whipped filling is a great alternative to butter cream; it's far lighter, fresher, and compliments the fluffy sponge beautifully. These cakes are so easy but so satisfying!