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Our Trip to Paris | Part 1

10 December 2017

Back in October myself and my boyfriend Karl, went on our first holiday together. Destination: Paris. I have been to Paris before, but only as a child and therefore my memories consist of repeated trips on the Dumbo ride at Disneyland and being refused entry to Notre Dame as my sister (also only a child at the time) was wearing shorts. As for Karl, he has been to Germany and The Netherlands but that's about it in terms of holidays abroad.

Why Paris?

Originally we had planned to visit Barcelona due to the warmer weather but after several factors including terrorist attacks and political unrest in Catalonia, it just didn't feel like the right time. With our week booked off work fast approaching and still nothing booked, we began to ask our families and friends for suggestions, this lead us to Paris.

Where We Stayed

After a bit of research we decided that while Paris would't be the budget holiday we'd first planned, it was somewhere we both really wanted to go and were therefore willing to spend a bit extra so that everything was perfect. The hotel we stayed in was Hotel Pastel Paris and as the name suggests the rooms are beautifully decorated in pastel colours. Our room had pastel blue walls with millennial pink accents while the double bed was adorned in mix and match scatter cushions.

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As with most Parisian hotels, the room was small but the space was utilised with an open wardrobe and small dressing table/desk, making it the perfect space for a couple staying for anything just under a week. To save money on the flight we just took hand luggage, and while we had to pack cleverly the suitcases were much easier to store in the room than one or two large suitcases.

Hotel, Pastel, Paris, Wardrobe, Open, Decor, Layout

I believe that the hotel may have not long changed hands and undergone a massive refurbishment throughout, as it does not have many reviews on trip advisor. As you can see though when looking at the reviews they are largely positive and personally we had a lovely stay at the hotel. The staff at the hotel were all very friendly, with the receptionist even providing a recommendation for a restaurant nearby on our first night and offering to arrange our transfer back to the airport on our last day. The hotel also operates a policy where they look after your key when you leave the hotel which was quite handy and stopped us worrying about loosing the key while we were out and about.

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Hotel Pastel is just a mere 10 minutes from the Arc De Triomphe and the Champs-Élysées and just a 15/20 minute walk to the Eiffel Tower, making it perfect for sightseeing or if you are anxious about using the metro. On the downside we did find this area quite expensive for eating out compared to other areas of Paris, with most restaurants charging €25+ for your main evening meal. That being said, there are some more affordable gems including Italian restaurant Sgabetti that was just over 5 minutes away from the hotel.

What if I’m on a budget?

Paris can be expensive but if you do your research you can save yourself money here and there. Including transfers to the airport and back, our flights and hotel cost us about £450 each (though we did end up getting some cash back on that by using TopCashBack). We then gave ourselves just under €100 spending money per each full day (including any treats we wanted to buy ourselves) but I’d say I spent about €50 a day on food, drink and transport. We saved money by buying pastries for breakfast from boulangeries, looking around for cheaper places to eat in the evening and then buying extra drinks from supermarkets (a can of diet coke in a café costs about €5 compared to €1 from a supermarket).

Stay tuned for part 2 of my trip to Paris to find out about what sights are worth visiting, plus more ways to save money.

Eleanor xx

4 Things To Try As We Transition Into AW17

17 September 2017
Transitioning your wardrobe can be a nightmare. You wake up in the morning and it's freezing so you put on a jumper then by lunchtime the sun is blazing and you're overheating. Don't even get me started on the constant "Do I really need a jacket?" dilemma. But don't worry because I've got some simple and easy things you can try to get you through to the winter months...

Frills, Cold Shoulder, top, river, island, floral, pink, blue, styled, leather, jacket, fashion, uk, blogger, hughstreet, birmingham

Leather Jacket
A leather jacket is not only one of my autumn/winter staples but a timeless classic. It being a jacket and not a coat means that it will keep you warm as it starts to get cold but t it can easily be draped over your shoulders if it gets a bit warm. Leather is also (sort of) water resistant meaning that if you get caught in an autumn shower you won't immediately get soaked. So if you haven't got one in your wardrobe already now is the perfect time to invest.

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Nude Accessories 
While 'all black everything' is a staple look for me, it's nice to soften an outfit with some lighter accessories. For example I love how this quilted Marc B Bag* and these studded Primark flats contrast with the dark florals and the tough leather jacket, telling the world that I'm not quite ready to let go of summer.

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Burgundy Smokey Eye
When it comes to eye makeup I look that sexy effortless look that you get with a simple smokey eye. Mix it up a bit by using a deep burgundy red all over the eye then smudging either a dark brown liner or shadow into the lash line before finishing up with lashings of black mascara. Just remember to use a clean blending brush to soften the edges and then a beauty blender to wipe away any fallout.

Combining Trends
I fell in love with this top as soon as I saw it and instantly knew it was the perfect aw17 piece. Combining some key SS17 trends (including ruffles and cold shoulder tops) with dark, yet still pretty, winter florals; makes this top the ultimate transition piece this season.

What I'm Wearing | Zara Leather Jacket (Similar), River Island Top, Marc B Knightsbridge Bag*, Asos Jeans, Primark Shoes (Similar)

Eleanor xx

Like, Realizing Stuff

9 September 2017
Ah, that famous Kylie Jenner quote that reinforced her status as a millennial icon. While we may use it ironically, perhaps Kylie Jenner was onto something when she talked about the year of 'like, realizing stuff'. Yes I may be a year and a half too late, but starting my placement year has marked a change in my life that has resulted in me realising a lot about what I want to do with my life.

missy empire, slogan, t-shirt, blazer, check, high street, cheap, fashion, asos, kylie, jenner, uk, blogger, ootd,

high top, converse, black, white, check, blazer, mom, jeans, t-shirt, tee, slogan, cheap, fashion, uk, blogger

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What I'm Wearing | ASOS Jeans, Missy Empire T-Shirt, New Look Blazer, Converse, ASOS Bag (Similar)

Starting a full time office job has forced me to grow up a bit. I now work 9-5 Monday-Friday, drive a car and pay bills. Gone are the days when I'd roll out of bed, attend a couple lectures, then go home and watching crappy day time television in between revision. It is this change in routine that has made me realise what I really want in life. Yeah I still want to have fun, but I also want to get a mortgage and own my own home. I'm excited at the prospect of one day shopping for tiles or furniture (this probably isn't helped by working for a large homewares retailer)! 

I'm also finding that as my ambitions change so has my personal style. While I still love an ironic slogan t-shirt, I'd have never worn a blazer in the past for the fear of seeming too formal. Instead of always buying fast fashion pieces, I find myself buying more and more classic or investment pieces (which I've written about here).

Maybe this is what growing up feels like.

Eleanor xx

The London Girl

13 August 2017
As part of my new job we often find ourselves taking business trips to London, and it was on one of these trips that I learnt about the London girl. Now not to stereotype or generalise anyone but one thing that I noticed about the women I encountered was that they were unlike anyone I had ever met before. 

London girls are a different breed, they're gorgeous and effortless yet insanely driven and confident. They know what they want and they know how to get it. Their passion is infectious and inspiring, and those that hate only do so out of jealousy. While she may have been born in a small country village, the cut throat city life has made her a force to be reckoned with and the ultimate millennial women. 

Living on her diet of black coffee and vegan salads, she is healthy but her penchant cocktails means she's never boring. Of course her life isn't always as perfect as it seems but she never lets it show in her daily Instagram picture that she sends out to her adoring followers. And while it may be wrong to idolise something that isn't real and she may have had a bit of luck along the way, you cannot deny how impressive her hard work and passion is. Despite the long nights and countless rejections, her eyes still light up when she talks about what she does.

Whether she be wearing Manolo Blahniks or Gucci loafers her style never falters as she travels round the city from photo shoot to coffee shop to meeting to the office while the rest of us try to balance comfort and style, being careful not to wear anything too nice in case it is ruined in the rush hour tube crush. But it is not just her style to be admired but her spirit.

While geographically I am miles away from being a London girl, I hope that one day I will possess the confidence and power that makes these women so successful, for now though I will keep on being influenced by their versatile, smart/casual style.

What I'm Wearing |M&S Coat, New Look Jumper, Topshop Dungarees, Office Boots and Coach Bag

Eleanor xx

How Blogging Has Changed The Way I Shop

19 June 2017
While I have always enjoyed the process of physically going into town to look around the shops, the busier I have become the more I find myself shopping online. So after months of locking myself inside to revise, when my exams had finally finished I decided to take a well earned trip into town to look around the shops but as I walked around the shops I just felt so.... uninspired. Despite not having looked around my usual high street shops in months nothing had really changed. While there was new stock the styles were safe, nothing jumped out to me as new and exciting, while the displays all blurred into one. It then occurred to me that while the shops had not changed perhaps I had.

OOTD, Style, Styling, Fashion, Blogger, UK, Instagram, Missy, Empire, Topshop, High, Street,

The truth is that Blogs, Youtube, Instagram and Pinterest bring clothes to life for me. They give me ideas of how I could style a piece or how it may fit into my wardrobe. They act as a personalised filter, shifting through the clutter and showing me the best items a brand has to offer while also introducing me to new brands that I would have never even considered buying from before. Take for example this top from Missy Empire. I saw Holly from the blog Statement Undertones style a striped bardot ruffle top from Quiz but unfortunately it sold out before I had the chance to buy it. But then I saw a similar top on Missy Empire, a brand that I discovered through Instagram, which I instantly bought along with a couple of other social media inspired purchases.

Seeing how clothes fit, how they are styled and what they look like on different body shapes is just something you don't get in stores. Yes there are a couple of mannequins but 99% of the time they are unrealistically thin and clothed in questionable outfits that do not fit my personal style. 

What I'm Wearing |Missy Empire Bardot Top, Topshop Jeans, Converse, Ray Ban Sunglasses, Topshop Backpack, H&M Earrings, Pull & Bear Belt

Online shopping opens up a wealth of new options that are not only competitively priced in comparison to the high street but often cheaper. But all this being said the high street still holds a special place in my heart. I still love going shopping, I just think the high street need to up their game and by that I don't just mean improving their website. We need a reason to put down own phones and computers and head out to the shops, otherwise they face being left behind.

Eleanor xx 

Where To Start Investing In Luxury Fashion

14 June 2017
While many of us have always dreamt of a luxury wardrobe the size of Carrie Bradshaw's, with every 'it girl' and blogger flaunting their Chloé bags and Gucci belts left, right and centre, many of us can't help but crave a slice of that luxury life. But what these Instagram pictures fail to mention is that, like Rome, these designer collections were not built in one day. These cultivated wardrobes often involved years of hard work, saving and careful planning, but they all had to start somewhere. So when every penny counts, how do you make the correct decision when it comes to investing in luxury fashion? 

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Start Small
It's not often that someone starts off their designer collection with a Chanel handbag so when first dipping your toes into the luxury market you may want to start small. Not only do small items like accessories cost less and therefore pose less risk, you are also more likely to get more cost per wear from an accessory than a dress. For example you can wear the same sunglasses hundreds of times without anyone batting an eyelid but if you wore the same dress a hundred times you face being called out Lizzie McGuire style for being an outfit repeater. 

Small leather goods (or SLG's as they are more commonly known) are items such as purses and card holders. Not only are they practical but they are also a more affordable way of accessing the top end of the luxury market. While I may not be able to afford a YSL handbag, I can afford a YSL card holder allowing me to taste what it's like to own something from Saint Laurent.

Take Your Time
When you are spending a lot of money it is important to take your time when making your decision. Give yourself a couple of months to decide if possible and then use this time to figure out how your new piece would fit into your wardrobe. Try to plan at least 20 different outfits that you could wear the item with before considering making the ultimate commitment of purchase.

Avoid Trend Pieces 
While that Chloé bag with the massive circular handle is hot right now, will you love it just as much next season when the next 'it bag' has come along? Try to avoid trend pieces as they not only lose their value quicker than classic bags, but it is also more likely that you will go off your purchase when the trends change. When building your collection start off by investing in classic styles (items that are part of the permanent collection) and colours (such as nude, tan or black).

Investigate Re-Sale Value
Even if you don't plan on selling your goods on, it is always good to know that your purchase will hold its value, just in case you change your mind. So do a bit of research on sites like Vestiaire Collective to see how well your purchase will hold it's value, because even though you love it know there may come a time when you want/need to sell it.

So there you have my main tips on what to consider when purchasing luxury goods, don't worry though if you know what you want to buy but need some tips on how to save for it as I have a couple of different budgeting posts that you may find handy. For example save money by never paying full price for anything ever again or take a look at my budgeting beginners post, where I explain how I monitor my spending to make the most out of my finances. With hard work and some careful decision making you will be one step closer to a wardrobe that would make even Barbie jealous.

Eleanor xx

Is The Ordinary Just Plain Ordinary?

20 May 2017
If I had to pick the most popular beauty brand of 2017 so far it would without a doubt be The Ordinary. With a waiting list of 25,000 people for their latest product, what is so special about a brand that claims to be so ordinary? Well I tried their High Adherence Silicone Primer to find out.

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I first heard about The Ordinary's High Adherence Silicone Primer when Wayne Goss mentioned it in a video. I love Wayne and his videos so when he was raving about these primers that were under £6, I had to try them! I'd also heard other bloggers mention The Ordinary's skincare which intrigued me but seeing as I was out of a primer I decided to try that first. 

As previously mentioned The Ordinary currently sell two primers with one being aimed at oily skin (The High Adherence Silicone Primer) and the other for dry skin (The High Spreadability Fluid Primer). I would describe my skin as combination leaving me to choose between the two, but seeing as my pores appear quite visible at times and with my skin getting oiler as the weather warms up I decided upon the High Adherence Silicone Primer costing me only £4 from ASOS.

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The High Adherence Silicone Primer is described as a "matte, hydrating and blurring primer, for make-up that looks higher in definition and lasts for longer. It can also be used alone as a non-greasy hydrator that reduces the looks of pores and imperfections". Unlike other brands, there are no wild claims saying that it will make me look 10 years younger or like a photoshopped version of myself, and this is key to the Ordinary as a brand. While their names may sound like the product has come straight out of the lab and it takes a bit of research to understand what some of the products do, they cut back on excessive branding to offer low cost simple products. 

Yet despite their understated claims my expectations were still high, admittedly this is not the brands fault and merely a side effect of the excessive hype surrounding their products, but unfortunately this led to my disappointment. In terms of living up to it's claims I'd say it did minimise the appearance of my pores but not noticeably, as for the appearance of my makeup I'd say it wasn't really improved, if anything my makeup looked a bit patchy around slightly drier and acne prone areas of my face. Therefore if like myself you have combination skin I would recommend only applying the primer to the very oiliest areas of your face or alternatively opting for their other primer. 

If you have incredibly oily skin and struggle to get makeup to stay in place then this primer will probably work well for you but if you have even the slightest bit of dryness this product probably isn't the one for you. 
It is important to remember that just as the name of the brand suggests, this is a simple product with simple claims and will not revolutionise your makeup routine. At the end of the day, it is a silicone based primer and not all that different to other silicone based products such as the Nivea Men's After Shave Balm. I think this is definitely something I will bear in mind when trying more products from The Ordinary in the future.

Have you tried any products from The Ordinary? What should I try next?

Eleanor xx

The Practicalities Of Fashion

4 May 2017
Why is it that all of the trends I like and want to wear are always so unpractical? Whether it be the flared sleeves that make the simplest of everyday tasks impossible or backless and strappy tops that make it impossible to wear a bra but going braless is impractical in itself especially if you often find yourself running for the bus *guilty*

But the fact that women's fashion is notoriously uncomfortable and impractical is nothing new, if you look back through the history of fashion you will notice that there are no jogging bottoms or comfortable clothes in sight. Instead we women have been putting ourselves through the pain of fashion in the form of corsets and dresses so big that you need help fitting through a door frame since the 1800's. 

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Bodysuit, Backless, Tie Back, Trousers, Pencil, Slim leg, New Look, Boohoo, Eleanor, The Lipstick, Girl, Her, Wardrobe

What I'm Wearing | Boohoo Bodysuit, New Look Trousers (Similar), Adidas Stan Smith Trainers (Similar)

But comfort and practicality isn't what fashion is about otherwise we'd all go round wearing leggings and waterproof coats. Fashion is a form of art, a way of showing the world the person you are and the person you want to be. When I wear a backless bodysuit I feel sexy without showing too much skin or when I wear a bell sleeve off bardot top I feel fun and flirty. So while I may have difficulty knowing which bra to wear or doing up the poppers of a bodysuit, when I'm in my clothes I feel good and that's what really matters.

Eleanor xx

Have Courage And Be Kind

25 April 2017
Now if you follow even just one blogger on Twitter I'm sure you will have heard about all of the drama within the community recently. With some announcing that they were going to 'out' those, or those who they suspected, had been using bots and buying followers to grow their accounts, Twitter turned into a virtual version of Mean Girls with Social Blade as their virtual burn book. Now I'm not going to go into the rights and wrongs of all of this drama (for my personal opinion on fake Instagram followings you can read this post that I wrote a few weeks back) but people got hurt. I saw new sides to girls that I thought were all sweetness and light. Friends were exposed as frenemies.

With challenges like this facing us, I still like to believe that there is still some heart left within the community and that the support and kindness that I first felt when I started blogging, never in fact left. But more importantly I want to do everything I can to make sure it stays.

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Tea, Dress, Spring, Trends, Frills, Black, White, Polka Dot, Girl, OOTD, Pinterest, Tumblr, Hat, Boots, New Look, Boohoo, Office, Shoes, Coach

It's a pretty well known fact that we brits are awful when it comes to taking and receiving compliments. We've nailed queuing, apologising and small talk about the weather but there is something about compliments that just gets us all in a fluster. It is this awkwardness around receiving compliments that I think also holds us back from giving them, not to mention we want to avoid coming across too keen. 

But the funny thing is, if I ever receive a compliment, I don't often think that the person giving the compliment is weird or a bit keen. In fact when someone goes out of their way to compliment me, especially in relation to my blog, it means so much more to me than I could ever describe. 

UK, Style, Fashion, Blogger, English, Birmingham, Brindley Place, Locations, Photography, Styling, Girl, The Lipstick, Her Wardrobe

Fashion, Beauty, Lifestyle, Blogger, Social Media, Instagram, Instafamous, Boohoo, Dress, UK,

What I'm Wearing | New Look Hat, Boohoo Dress, Coach Bag, Office Boots

Sometimes finding the motivation to blog can be hard and occasionally I find myself questioning why I do it. But every time I find myself questioning why I continue blogging, someone comes along and gives me that boost that I need. For example only a few weeks ago I was invited to a job interview and despite declining to attend, the recruiter for the company still messaged me saying that they thought my blog was excellent and they wished me all the best. Or even less than a week ago when a fellow blogger regrammed one of my Instagram posts saying that I inspired her and many others also commented similarly lovely things. 

These things and other acts of kindness I have received over the years may seem like small gestures but they mean the world to me. They make me feel proud, inspired and honestly a bit emotional in so many different ways. They remind me of the powerful impact that a simple act of kindness can have upon a person. So if I can make someone feel like that by giving them a compliment or by providing support, kindness and friendship, then I will strive to do so in anyway that I can. It may feel awkward at first but hopefully the more kindness we spread the more it will become a natural part of our generations culture.

Eleanor xx