Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Skinted & Minted: Graduation Edition

Earlier in the week I sent out a plea into the world of twitter (you can follow me here) as to what kind of things people wore for graduation and the response was..shit all. So in light of this I will write my own guide.

Of course, like me, I'm sure more often than not your eyes are bigger than wallet and whilst you'd look ravishing in that £400 dress it would take you about 6 months to save so you graciously let it slip through your fingers. Fear not. I have compiled a list of beautiful dresses that will please both trust fund princesses and overdraft goddesses. Skinted & Minted: its all making sense now isn't it?

First, for those of you who are blessed with a healthy bank account there's these two beauties from Whistles.
Leanora Burn Out Dress - Whistles - £195

I'm a big fan of a midi dress, it creates an allusion of sophistication for an old lout like me and I think the lemon might add an element of colour to those hideous (and expensive!) gowns you have to rent. Picture yourself in this with a glass of prosecco on your university lawn hand on that hip like you're gracing the cover of Harper's Bazaar. Very chic.

This one is a bit more edgy and certainly not for the faint hearted but I adore the print and there's nothing that says "hire me" like a standout-from-the-crowd dress. Again, it's from Whistles and a bargain (okay I lied) at £130.But who knows, get a 2:1 and your parents might be guilt-tripped into buying it for you.

Pampus Print Dakota Dress - Whistles - £130

This is what I imagine a fashion or architecture student might glide across the ceremony hall in whilst the rest of us sit drooling into the laps of our second hand eBay purchases. The print says you don't take yourself too seriously and you'd probably rather be in Ibiza but the length and tailoring screams "I'm a classy bitch with a fab degree".

If you're ever so slightly more financially challenged but not completely devoid of cash, Zara is a good alternative to somewhere like Whistles.
Crossover buckle dress - Zara - £39.99

The draping on this is gorgeous and I genuinely believe cerulean is a colour which looks good on pretty much any skintone. This is definitely nicer on the bank balance and still looks high end although it is made from 100% viscose so whilst you might think dancing around bonfires in your bare feet whilst you sacrifice your student life and general happiness is a good idea in this ensemble it is definitely NOT.

Another from Zara and another print which I'm not normally into but, come on, look at this beautiful piece of fabric.
Printed Dress - Zara - £45.99

If, like me, you're an incomparable attention seeker, then this is the dress that will make you stand out amongst the other 1000 or so students graduating alongside you. Hey, you might have no career prospects and a looming student debt but you've slayed all the other debt riddled graduates around you and, right now, you need this win. Besides, the monochrome print will go amazingly well with your black gown and it's the perfect mixture between casual and smart.

And for those of you who are just totally skinted (i feel ya gurl) I've got something for you too. Boohoo is our old faithful...
Bodycon Midi Dress - Boohoo - £8

At £8 you can't really go wrong, this will look smart and, let's call it what it is, your bum is going to look amazing in it - midi dresses have a way of doing that. If you are less of a retiring wallflower you can add statement jewellery or a bold belt to jazz it up a bit but this dress will see you through many other occasions after your graduation so it's a good bet.

Another great alternative is this little number from New Look.
Sleveless Tunic Dress - New Look - £12.99

In this dress you can re-imagine your university years as a string of peace protests and discos and the like. Plus, 70s fashion is, yet again, 'in' at the moment. I know, Vogue told me. The sense of nostalgia this dress creates will compliment yours as you remember that first cup of tea you had with your best friend, your first bout of tearful homesickness or that time you turned up to lectures hungover and nearly passed out at your desk.

Whatever you wear; enjoy the day! Say thank you to your tutors, say goodbye to people you never want to see again and make plans with those you do. Graduating with a degree is an amazing feat and you deserve to look amazing doing it!

Lots of love,

Thursday, 4 June 2015

This Much I Know...University

At the ripe old age of 21, I am often mistaken for a 16 year old though I am told I will appreciate this more in 20 years or so. Regardless, I clearly have a lot to learn though I can hopefully shed a bit of light on some situations that I have had the pleasure of enduring. So I have decided to inundate you with this golden wisdom, my lovely friends, in a (hopefully) useful and amusing series 'This Much I Know'.

Graduating university and not being in secure full time employment means I have a lot of time on my hands and, during this time, between shifts and endless LinkedIn stalking, I have been contemplating what exactly I have learnt from my three years at University and here is what I have come up with:

1. Your halls will most likely be horrendous, I mean really prison style lodgings, but always remember it is less than a year you have to spend in that intolerable dump, and the money you save by staying in cheaper accommodation can be spent on frivolous purchases from the reduced sections from your local supermarkets.

2. On that note, take advantage of these reduced sections. In my last couple of weeks I would head to the local Tesco Express around 8ish and come home with my dinner (usually amounting to about 50p) as well as reduced scones or cream cakes to score points with my flatmates after avoiding my share of the washing up for two weeks. So learn to cut back and budget because although that massive overdraft may be drawing you to the nearest H&M, you will regret it in a few years when you are at the bottom of the pit with no ladder but a fabulous breton jumper.

3. Living with 4 boys does not make you Jess from New Girl. I learnt this the hard way. Your days will not be filled with shenanigans and hilarious episodes of the Douchbag Jar, but instead, a lot of crates of beer, smelly rooms and little to no chance of tearing the boys away from FIFA so you can watch Escape to the Country with a family pack of chocolate bourbons. Having said this, I enjoyed this year immensely, our house was beautiful and I got on really well with the people I lived with whilst we were in that house. That's the main point I think: you may be best friends with them at university but it doesn't mean you can live with them - some people will drive you up the wall so choose wisely.

4. You're not a weirdo for staying in/doing work/generally being a hermit. "First year doesn't count so why bother", "You never come out" etc. etc. Well I can tell you, the work ethic I developed in first year stayed with me throughout my three years and lacking the desire to spend every night in a drunken heap on the floor of the stickiest nightclub you can find does not make you a bad student. This is YOUR experience and YOU decide what 'student life' is for you, because it differs and choosing work over play every so often so that you get that grade you desperately want does not make you a loser.

5. Having said this, set some boundaries between work and rest so you are not driving yourself to exhaustion, A lot of people I know would, like me, work 9-5 in the library during revision and hand-in periods and then spend the evening at home relaxing. The mistakes I made in the first and second year were that I would often work all day and then bring the work home and thus my bedroom/living room/general accommodation was associated with work and stress and I was a bit overwhelmed by it all. Believe me, after a long day in the library your student house, however grotty it may be, will look like Buckingham Palace and you will appreciate it a hell of a lot more.
Not taking my own advice and working from home...

6. You probably won't know what you want to do by the time you come to graduating. I know I don't, but I said YES to work placement and volunteering opportunities and through trial and error, I am slowly coming to conclusions about what it is I want to do. It's okay if you don't have a 5 year plan, I read recently that people are likely to change their career path 3 times in their lifetime so don't worry if you don't have it all figured out yet - it's your 20's and they're meant for making mistakes and figuring things out.

I hope this has enlightened those of you who are hoping to start university in September as timid freshers, you will be fine, make sure to call your family once in a while and yes, third year is as stressful as they say but the finish line will be completely worth it!

Good Luck & Good Day,


Monday, 1 June 2015


First of all, may I apologise for a year of abscence. I should know better, really, as I know how frustrated I get when there's a mid-season hiatus on New Girl and I lose all sense of time and space. The reason for my absence is a lovely little horror film called 'Final Year at University' - oh that's real life? Okay.

Anyway, I am finished with university. Finito. In memoriam. (Gavin and Stacey fans please stand up). So I'm all yours (well, those of you who are left). I'm still figuring out what I want this blog to be so bear with me for the next couple of weeks when I'll be trying out some regular features. Overall, I'm just happy to be writing again in a colloquial, chatty sense as opposed to extensive analysis and critical terminologies that have been my frenemies for the past year.

So, catch me up. What did I miss? Who finally dumped that shitty boyfriend or finally got around to reading that classic you said you'd read or who else finished their degree/masters/alevels?

Fill me in and we'll go from there...

Review | Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar Express Manicure

As much as a pamper evening can satisfy me no end sometimes it's nice to sit back and let someone else do the job, I'm not talking bribing your sisters to pluck your eyebrows for you I mean actually parting with some money *tear rolls down left cheek* in return for a lovely treat.

Recently my sister came to stay for the week so we decided to use some of my left over birthday money to treat ourselves to an express manicure at the Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar in Liverpool. Now can I just say walking into the Beauty Bazaar is an almost surreal experience albeit one that smells decidedly like Jo Malone. Beauty counter girls are intimidating, let's be honest, their hair is perfectly blow dried and their make-up is flawless but fear not, they are humans too and normally delightful ones at that.

The nailsinc champagne nail bar is located on the second floor of the bazaar (this word reminds me of Aladdin too much, just me?) as well as a mini hair salon and the Wow bar so your dad/brother/boyfriend can escape while you enjoy yourself.

Anyway, onto the manicure. We were greeted by two friendly technicians who directed us to a nailsinc stand from which we could pick any nail varnish we liked for our manicure.

I went for a gel polish for a more glossy finish in the colour Mayfair Lane (all of nailsinc polishes are named after roads in London, cute!) which is a beautiful muted baby pink, very classy and understated just like me (ahem).

We were offered a complimentary glass of champagne which pleased me greatly as it's one of my favourite drinks and something, as a student, I'm rarely treated to.

The nail technician took to shaping, buffing, filing my nails and all that good stuff before applying a base coat. After a couple of coats of Mayfair Lane she also popped on a top coat for extra long lasting power and some cuticle oil which I thought was a lovely touch. After this we were encourage to spend as long as possible waiting for our nails to dry which is a refreshing change to being ushered out as soon as the brush leaves your pinky and smudging your manicure on the way. My nails are still pretty intact after a week as you can see below which is a bonus.

It was a lovely pick me up for a Monday morning and was £18 which I didn't think was too bad considering the champagne, I would recommend it to anyone wanting a little treat for themselves and a friend it was certainly a good start to the week for me!

I'd love to try more of the treatments at the Beauty Bazaar if there's any you can recommend or have tried?

Lots of love from Me x