Monday, August 22, 2016

My First Chanel | The Chanel Cambon Pouchette

Chanel Cambon Pouchette

Today I’m revisiting my handbag collection series to share with you my first purchase from Chanel, the quilted Chanel Cambon Pouchette. I’d like to tell you that angels sung when I made this purchase of what is a rather lovely bag and my first Chanel at thay but it was a little bit disappointing. Until its purchase sometime in the early 2000’s I had of course lusted after the classic Chanel bags which at the time (and more so now for that matter!) were out of my price range.

During a shopping trip to Harrods I spotted this cute little bag for the 'bargain price' of £550, well that seemed achievable. And whilst I look back now, and the reason for my regret was why I didn't just think let's save a little bit more money and buy the bag I really wanted. Clarly the impatient gal I am got the better for me and buying 'any Chanel' seemed like a great idea and I can’t deny that the bag has treated me well. I had this in my possession at a time when I was out all night partying and I wouldn't treat it particularly kindly.

In fact it actually ended up with the zip pull breaking and the lining all torn in the inside which was actually a blessing as I lost it one night in my local nightspot. When I called the next morning to enquire whether it had been handed in they confirmed it had but my camera had been taken. Note the camera was decidedly cheaper than the bag. Obviously this was not a time when everyone had a designer label hanging off their arm whether it was Michael Kors or YSL so it would seem that whoever stumbled across the discarded bag was ignorant to the beauty of Chanel and even if they were decided that this was clearly a fake and not worth their time.

Chanel Bag £550

As bag for nights out this bag was very handy. It was the more 'sophisticated' version of my Louis Vuitton Accessories Pouch and being black would 'go with anything'. It's a fair size that would hold my camera, the larger mobile phones of it's time, sufficient cigarettes to take me through a night out and some make up for touch ups.  

As life changed and different bags and my occasions for a night out differed I cannot tell you the last time I used this bag which is a shame. Today I prefer a crossbody bag for nights out or perhaps a clutch and there's something about the strap which isn't long enough to sit too comfortable under the arm, in fact the bag will literally sit in my armpit and it's feel quite bulky. For whatever reason I don't find myself reaching for it very often although as I type this post I think I need to change that, especially as it's not a style that Chanel make any longer and you'll only be able to find a preloved one now if it's something you wanted.

I mentioned earlier in this post how I didn't treat the bag too kindly and as I've watched the recent YouTube videos of peoples handbag collections and how well they treat their bags I decided to show my Chanel Cambon Pouchette some love. I took myself to the Bond Street Chanel Store and sought out having it repaired. 

Chanel Cambon Pouchette

That is the beauty of spending an obscene amount of money on a bag that repairs will be done, and often free of charge. The lining in my bag was replaced, not with the exact same bright pink lining but a different one which makes this bag 'an original' of sorts. They replaced the broken zipper and it is 'good as new'. Another pro for making an expense purchase is that this bag has lasted without a spot of damage other than what I mentioned and now it's had it's make up it is really as good as new.

If there is any lesson to be learned if there is a bag you desire, save up for it. The price of designer handbags is rapidly rising so I'd argue the longer you put off buying the bag you want the more expensive it'll become. I am lucky enough to own two additional Chanel bags, the Classic I so lusted after which I will share with you in another post but I can tell you it was purchased for not much more than the Chanel Wallet on a Chain I brought earlier this year. If I were looking into it's purchase now I really don't think I would be able to justify it's purchase.

Are you a Chanel handbag fan?

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Friday, August 19, 2016


It's Summer when Elm Hill lido opens, having stood empty for years. For Natalie Steele - a wife, mother, teacher - it offers freedom from the tightly controlled routines of work and family. Especially when it leads her to Lara Channing, a charismatic former actress with a lavish bohemian lifestyle, who seems all too happy to invite Natalie into her elite circle.

Soon Natalie is spending long days at the pool, socialising with new friends and basking in a popularity she didn't know she'd been missing. Real lift, and the person she used to be, beings to feel very far away.

But is such a change in fortunes too good to be true? Why are dark memories of a summer long ago now threatening to surface? And, without realising, could Natalie have been swept dangerously out of her depth?

Typically I read your average length book during my week long commute. If I really love the book it’ll be a matter of days as I not only reach for the book on the train but dip in and out at home or binge the last few chapters as I seek to know how the story will end. The Swimming Pool byLouise Candlish took me two weeks to read which will tell you very simply it was not for me.

I had high hopes for this ‘gripping’ tale wanting a return to darker tale but quite frankly I was utterly bored, disappointed and I’m baffled at what I have missed. Whenever I do not enjoy a book I turn to the more positive book reviews to try and see if it’s simply me that is missing something but I am at a loss.

The opening prologue sets a scene of sorts that you know something has gone amiss and have a slight intrigue wondering who was ‘it’ but after that it just felt like a never ending and boring attempt at dropping hints and attempting to create tension. In fact I like many of the other negative reviewers I’ve found skim read a lot of this book. As I’ve said it took me twice as long to read this as any other book as I just didn’t have enough interest to want to pick up and turn the page instead of refreshing my Twitter feed for the hundredth time.

Without providing spoilers the book does have an interesting attempt at showing how even adults can be swept along with wanting to be friends with the ‘cool kids’ and how even as an adult you have moments of madness in which you let your usual moral standards slip.

I didn’t find any of the characters particularly likeable and rather two dimensional if I’m honest. They were to me the generic versions of their type and in fact the ‘dark sides’ people refer to and lead to chills felt rather tame to me. I couldn’t relate in anyway or have any investment in what was happening, I could understand to a point but it felt so obvious how the story was told that it was as if I’d heard it all before.

The one saving grace for me and was almost worth reading in its entirety was there was a nugget of the story which had another breadcrumb dropped on the last few pages which had an eyebrow raised and provided something to go ‘aha so…’ and allow for my own conclusions.

Do let me know if you’ve read The Swimming Pool and what you made of the story. 

*this post contains affiliate links

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Thursday, August 18, 2016

A Rose Gold Beauty Haul

Rose Gold Beauty

As bloggers we’re well versed in the justification for our spending being ‘but it’s for the blog’ although I learnt long ago that I had neither the means or ability to keep up with every new beauty release. That said every so often one or two products slip through this invisible net especially when paired with the other excuse that ‘the blogger made me do it’ and today’s post is showcasing those.

It’s only fair to start with the product that started my small spending spree, Monsoon Rose Gold Perfume* which ironically as my asterix tells you was a gifted product. My parents are kind enough to take delivery of my press samples (my dad doesn’t quite understand and believes I have some sort of online shopping addiction) and even nicer is that my mum will drop them off throughout the week so I can admire then when I arrive home from work. Monsoon Rose Gold Perfume was one of those products she had delivered for me and it’s rather beautiful packaging, a white and rose gold box sat atop my desk waiting for its photo shoot at the weekend whilst I enjoyed a spritz here and there.

Monsoon Rose Gold

I had always considered myself a perfume snob in so much as my favourite perfumes are often from the well-known brands such as Chanel but having tried the 007 Fragrance for Women I knew that was no longer justifiable so I was keen to sample Monsoons offering as well as giving them a pat on the back for playing on the trend for rose gold.

The fragrance is more floral than what I would usually lean towards but light enough that I have enjoyed wearing it. I find it’s more suited to day and reminds me of Liz Earle No 20 Botanical Essence. It’s combination of top notes such as rose, tuberose, neroli and cyclamen combined with the base notes of Eastern woods, vanilla, mosses, musk and balsamic amber create a feminine fragrance which belongs in the modern world. In fact I took into work with me yesterday to share with a friend who immediately commented positively and said she too isn’t a lover of floral scents but finds this one to be appealing.

Moving on it is often the case with products I receive throughout the week I will spend my time musing about how I will feature these on Florence and Mary. Will it be an individual review? Do I have any other products that will compliment and create a feature and on it goes. On a trip to Superdrug which I will explain my reasons for later I stumbled across the newly installed Make Up Revolution stand. Top tip for London dwellers, if you want to look at beauty products without dirty stands and testers hit branches in the City area as they tend to be better kept than West End branches. My eyes were immediately drawn to the Vivid Baked Highlighter in Rose Gold Lights. Did I need it? Of course not and having just purchased the Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Palette it was hardly necessary but then I thought oh what about a ‘Rose Gold Beauty Haul’… for the blog.. featuring this and the aforementioned perfume. Job done and the highlighter was mine. And I’m oh so glad I parted with that mere £3 because I’m a lot in love with this product.

It does look a little scary in the pan but do not be afraid because Rose Gold Lights is a beauty. I have a post on my highlighter collection coming up soon and it’s still an area I’m learning about and find myself leaning more towards blushers with a satin finish or a little shimmer for my cheeks. This fits the bill perfectly and is ideal for wearing to work and not blinding anyone with highlight in my meetings. So taken am I with this product I’ve text all my friends immediately and shared the love as I did on Instagram yesterday. Whilst this is not a dupe for Rose Spritz in the Jaclyn Hill Champagne Pop Palette if it is a shade you’ve been lusting over and want something more affordable I would recommend you check this out.

I alluded earlier in my post that there was a reason for my jaunt to Superdrug and that I was already armed with the excuse ‘the blogger made me do it’ and that blogger was Lydia Elise Millen. I along with many saw her Snapchat on how she was creating a ‘false lash effect’ with two mascaras; L’Oreal Volume Million Lashes So Couture Mascara and L’Oreal Paris False Lash Sculpt Mascara. which you can see on my Instagram today. I wanted to investigate for myself knowing I was already a fan of the L’Oreal Superstar Mascara and its ‘false lash effect’. I can confirm that this mascara duo is a good one although I feel like I need to put in a little more practice but as someone who lacks the time or inclination for false eye lash application this is a worthy alternative. On first use I really appreciate how long my lashes appeared and using the Lash Sculpt meant you could see ‘individual’ lashes rather than a more clumped appearance that others would give.

L'Oreal Make Up Gold Obsession

Of course the photo tells you that I didn’t stop at L’Oreal mascara and in fact took advantage of the 2 for 3 offer in Superdrug on L’Oreal Make up and came home with a rather lovely new red lipstick. Once again did I need another red lipstick? Of course not but something drew me away from the L’Oreal Sexy Balms I originally had in mind to the Gold Obsession Collection.

I had no prior knowledge about this collection and I cannot find much online since, aside from a sneak peek from Really Ree nor any links to Rouge Gold the shade I chose. Ree mentioned this was a collection launching in the US this month and it appears one or two products have snuck their way into UK stores and I’m pretty happy to have discovered them. There was a gorgeous purple shade which I have my eye on for the Autumn season but from what I can see of the nude and pink shades I would love to try them out too.

I don’t believe I’ve had much experience of L’Oreal lipsticks before but I want to change that after this experience. Rouge Gold is a traditional bright red with a shot of gold shimmer running through that makes lips glisten rather than glitter. It’s something I would look at on paper and think it’s not for me but it translates so well. It’s perfect for the Summer but will translate so nicely to cooler months and I can’t wait to rock this at Christmas parties. I also tend to ignore any thought towards longevity on the lips because as a smoker I expect my lipstick to disappear quickly and require regular application but I’ve found myself impressed on this occasion. I managed to arrive at work after my morning cigarette and commuter coffee with the lipstick still intact which is almost unheard of.

And that brings my small, but successful rose gold haul to a close. What do you think of my purchases.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Quiz Clothing in Menorca

Quiz Blue Maxi Dress Size 16

Quiz Clothing was not a brand I had shopped with before. Their online presence not as dominant in the blogosphere as say BooHoo and when I'd pass the branch during my frequent trips to Westfield I wrote it off as being one of those shops girls somewhat younger than myself purchase from. In fact my most overriding 'memory' of Quiz Clothing was my friends and I being fascinated that they had a branch in The Dubai Mall. That is until recently when they got in touch and asked if I'd like to review something from their new Occasion Wear line.

Whilst I am always interested in trying something new I was a little apprehensive. I am not a fashion blogger, although keen to explore the opportunity but more importantly I was concerned my curvy figure can make picking the right clothing size problematic. And then of course would I like the clothing based on my previous misconceptions?

Whilst there were some fabulous looking evening dresses available I did not have any such occasion on the horizon but my trip to Menorca was looming so I chose the Aqua Flower Print Chiffon Maxi Dress* which I thought would be perfect for my trip.

I ordered in a size 16 which is my 'typical' size and it was a perfect fit and I was pleasantly surprised when I tried it on at how the dress felt in quality and appearance. I thought to myself how appropriate it would be for my holiday when I'd be indulging in food and drink and it's loose fit meant that I'd have some 'breathing room' for any extra holiday pounds I gained.

For travel it was ideal, the chiffon fabric did not crease and I was able to simply roll and pop into my suitcase safe in the knowledge there would be no need for an iron on arrival. Even better was the evening I put this on as we headed to the town of Binibeca my friends asked if the dress was Ted Baker. At £29.99 (although you can grab this at the sale price of £14.99) it was as far removed from the price of Ted Baker but I was quite pleased to note that on appearance it gave the impression it was.

I paired the dress with a chunky necklace in a peachy orange shade that complimented my Michael Kors pouch (my holiday essential!). I did try to investigate a belt to draw in my waist a little and in hindsight I wish I'd looked into a rope style as I think that would've worked although I was keen not to have too much going on.

In summary my first experience of Quiz Clothing has been positive. I often find that being a size 16 and have lumps and bumps to conceal that I need to spend a little more on my clothes to ensure thicker fabrics cover my sins but it has been proved this is not the case. In fact so taken am I with this dress I'm already eyeing up the Navy and Red option currently available. I think it's time to step into that Quiz branch at Westfield.

Have you shopped with Quiz before?

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Bed Head by TIGI Volume Range Review

I'm surprised it's taken me so long to share with you my thoughts on the new Bed Head by TIGI volume range as it's one I'm loving. In fact I'm pretty sure the reason it's been omitted from my favourites is because I love each product from the range and it was waiting on this very post especially as all my friends have been told how they must get these products so it's only fair I share them with you.

My introduction to the range started when I was invited down to a hairdressers in Soho where I met with one of their stylists who talked me through the range and showed the products in action on my own hair. I must admit I can be a little skeptical about these types of events where a skilled stylist plumps and preens, I walk out looking fabulous but with no possibility of recreating the style myself. In this instance my skepticism was unfounded as I found the stylist talked me through what she was applying, how, why and gave me tips and tricks I could try at home on a relatable level.

As with any new hair range we start with the TIGI Bed Head Fully Loaded Massive Volume Shampoo* and Conditioner* which smell amazing. If you're a fan of sweet scents you'll love lathering this up in the shower. TIGI Bed Head Fully Loaded Massive Volume Shampoo says it will eliminate impurities and product build up which I do find apparent. Since bleaching my hair I've been reluctant to reach for my Bumble & Bumble Sunday Shampoo since Zoe mentioned it can be stripping on dyed hair but I'm not finding my hair is typical weighed down or heavy as it would be usually.

Apparently you should see instant 'va-va-voom' which I don't think is the case when I leave my hair to air dry (which I'm doing a lot at the moment) but when I blast it with the hairdryer it certainly gives me more volume than I would expect. Likewise the TIGI Bed Head Fully Loaded Massive Volume Conditioner says will plump and thicken which I agree with more than the shampoo's claims. I do find it's jelly texture can weigh my hair down if I'm having a 'bad hair day' but that's more to do with my hairs quirks than the product.

Moving on to the styling products which are my favourite. The one I use most frequently is TIGI Bed Head Big Head Volume Boosting Foam* and I reach for it on a near daily basis. I use mousses or foams a lot more these days than I did having overcome my fear of scrunch drying resulting in crispy curls and the TIGI Bed Head Big Head Volume Boosting Foam is perfect for daily use whether you're blasting with the hairdryer with head upside down or being more intricate with your styling.

A small amount of the foam is run through hair and any residue on my hands tackles the roots to avoid them becoming greasy. The Volume Boosting Foam is lightweight but gives the desired volume and oomph to my hair. It is not sticky or heavy on the hair and I can simply apply this and go and even throughout the day a quick ruffle at the roots picks things back up

A tip from my stylist at the event was so common sense I was embarrassed it hadn't occurred to me before is to blow dry hair at the root, pushing the hair onto the other side of where it will hang to create volume. It's so simple and really works and is a trick I'm using constantly which in conjunction with the styling products looks like I've been teasing my hair for hours.

Finally is TIGI Bed Head Full Of It Volume Finishing Spray* which should come with a warning 'extreme volume'. This product is not forgiving and is most definitely the product that stands up to the 'va-va-voom' claims. They say 'without greasy residue or stiffness' and that it will 'deliver firm hold that remains flexible' which is mostly true. I find this to be quite sticky on my hands, I like to spray on them and then run through my hair, but it doesn't translate to stickiness on the hair.

One thing to be mindful of is as I've alluded to is that this product really does work so be careful. I sprayed some in my hair, tipped it over and blasted with my hairdryer and I resembled Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary. This certainly gives you volume and hold although it's flexible. It will take some figuring out how you like to use this product and what works best for you and your hairstyle but once you do you'll love it as much as I.

If you're craving volume in your hair I can't recommend these products enough.

*this post contains press samples and affiliate links

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