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Jeans and a Nice Top

16 February 2018
No bad ever came out of someone being too prepared and that is the approach I am taking for SS18. So while it might be raining outside and sometimes snowing on occasion, nothing is going to stop me preparing for spring even if it is over a month away.

To me, spring is the season for 'jeans and a nice top'. Of course, a classic combo for anytime of the year, the english weather during springtime makes 'jeans and a nice top' perfectly suited to this season. Often too cold for a skirt but too warm for a coat, the thickness of denim will keep you warm while you can finally show off all of those pretty blouses that have been hiding underneath jumpers and coats throughout winter. But just because your wearing what is effectively jeans and a nice top, it doesn't mean your outfit has to be boring. Keep reading to see what I'll be wearing this season...

There is nothing more striking than an all white outfit. Simple and pure yet ever so daring (and no I don't mean because of how easily white stains)! That combined with pretty lace just screams spring to me enter the Coast Itzel top*Designed in a pretty floral lace with a high neck and tie back detail, the Izel Lace Top is perfect for both a day out shopping or a romantic meal out. Playing with smart/casual vibes, I've paired it with raw hem denim culottes (a comfortable alternative to skinny jeans) and these simple natural heels from Office.

What I'm Wearing | Coast Jemima Spot Mesh Top*, Asos Jeans, Ice Watch, Coach Bag, Office Boots

For a slightly more classic option I've gone with the Jemima Spot Mesh top* paired with simple black jeans. Black and white spots were quite big last summer and I can only see them being even bigger this year having featured on the catwalks of Carolina Herrera and Rodarte. The simple mesh overlay and cutaway shoulders make this delicate top ever so flattering and one I can see myself wearing quite often this coming season.

What will you be wearing this spring?

Eleanor xx

*Disclaimer - This is not a sponsored post but Coast did kindly send me this dress. As always, all opinions are my own and I would never talk about a product to my readers that I would not buy myself. For more information please see my full disclaimer.

Fail-Safe Event Dressing

11 February 2018
When you spend most of your time at work and uni, knowing how to dress for those special occasions can be a challenge. Last year I was invited to my first ever wedding and I had no clue what to wear. I knew white was a no go but what colour was acceptable? How do you find the right balance between sophisticated and saucy? Where do you find the perfect outfit? But after a lot of shopping, searching Pinterest and one successful wedding, I have the answer to fail-safe event dressing. So whether you're going to your first wedding or are having a day at the races here are a few tips to help you out...

Choosing the right fabric is so important to an occasion dress. You are likely to have your photo taken so make sure the dress isn't see through. Ask a friend to take a flash photo of you before you go out to make sure you're not caught out. Opt for classic fabrics and patterns like lace and silk rather than sequins or lycra. You don't want to steal the show from the guest of honour by looking like a walking disco ball.

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Less is more

If you're worried about how to dress and you don't have a friend to compare outfits with, then play it safe. Bold dresses are beautiful but you will stand way more in a canary yellow Beyoncé style dress than in a simple dress in a classic colour. Not what you want if you've got the dress code wrong. A classic pale pink or peach will never go out of style and will work for a wide variety of events.

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Quality over Quantity

I love a bargain as much as the next girl but now is not the time to be stingy. While you may get 5 dresses from Boohoo for the same price as one dress from an affordable luxury retailer, you will really notice the difference in quality. A dress from a higher quality retailer will be more structured, properly lined and most importantly not see through! This is very important when you will be having your photo taken a lot. Coast is always my go-to high street retailer when it comes to occasion wear, especially for weddings or proms. So while their dresses are a bit more expensive, they are worth the investment and the right dress will see you through a wide range of events.

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Top or Bottom

There's nothing worse than turning up to a family event in a short skirt and your grandma or weird uncle say 'Is that a belt or a skirt?'. While I'm all for wearing whatever the hell you want, sometimes, being more conservative can save you a lot of grief.  It may also be more appropriate, for example at a Church wedding. So finding that balance and showing the right amount of skin is important. I try to stick to the rule that you either show more of your top half or more of your bottom half. So if I'm wearing a short dress, I'll make sure it doesn't show a lot of cleavage and/or is long sleeved. This off the shoulder dress gets the balance just right. Showing a bit of shoulder and décolletage but it's longer in length, finishing just below the knees.

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Footloose and Fancy Free

The one thing that holds me back from having a good time is uncomfortable shoes. Unless you are going to be sat down all day, you need shoes that you can walk in and don't cause too much pain. While this pair from Office are high, the ankle strap makes them quite easy to walk in compared to a court shoe.

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What are your tips for event dressing?

Eleanor xx

*Disclaimer - This is not a sponsored post but Coast did kindly send me this dress. As always, all opinions are my own and I would never talk about a product to my readers that I would not buy myself. For more information please see my full disclaimer.

The New 'It' Skirt

5 February 2018
Every once in a while the fashion blogger community will have an 'it' piece. This is never intentional but somehow every blogger ends up with one key item that you will see everywhere that season. Back in the day (oh god I sound so old) it was the Jeffrey Campbell Lita boots, more recently it was the New Look Striped Jumper (now only available in maternity online) or that sold out Topshop checked dress. Sometimes you can spot them other times you spot them when it's too late and the item is sold out.

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What I'm Wearing | New Look Polo Neck, ASOS Skirt, M&S Coat, Primark Beret, Ray Ban SunglassesMissoma Necklace, Office Boots, Coach Bag

I ordered this skirt at the beginning of January and have been obsessed ever since I first spotted it on ASOS. Check patterns continue to big a huge trend, one that I can only see getting bigger as we move into spring, and this skirt ticks all of the boxes. It's vintage school girl vibe makes it super cute and the colour threads of cream, red and black make it super wearable. Teamed with a beret and a simple polo neck, the skirt really shines as the 'It' piece that it is.

Unfortunately I am not the only one who spotted this skirts potential and like all good 'It' pieces it has sold out. Luckily ASOS also have another very similar skirt that is equally as gorgeous but if you want it you'll have to be quick as sizes 4,6 and 10 have already gone. In fact most websites I looked on for alternatives had sold out of their checked skirts. The only one I could still find in stock in all sizes was this Zara beauty

So the moral of this story is. If you love it, buy it. Because you never know what the next sell out 'It' piece will be.

Eleanor xx

People Pleaser

20 January 2018
It's always a little bit nerve wracking when I order clothes online and wear them for the first time in front of my boyfriend. Karl doesn't really get fashion so anytime I wear something even slightly different he's not really keen, so it's safe to say that there are a few items in my wardrobe that repel him. I mean of course there are items in his wardrobe that I wish he wouldn't wear but our opinions of each others clothing never stop us from wearing what we want. But what I'm trying to say is that it's always interesting to see what he thinks of my purchases as Karl has some pretty interesting ways of describing what I'm wearing. Take for example my 'Anne Boleyn/Victorian' blouse

What I'm Wearing | Mango Jumper, Asos Jeans, M&S Coat, Missoma Necklace, Ray Ban Sunglasses, Primark Beret, Office Boots, Coach Bag 

So when I purchased this jumper from Mango via ASOS I was half expecting some sort of comment on how it looks like 'someone's Russian Grandma had knitted it' or that it looks like 'I bought it from a charity shop' but to my surprise he actually liked it! What shocked me even more, was that when I put on my new Primark beret, he liked that as well! The only slightly negative comment was that he was upset that I hadn't bought a Raspberry Beret, but I even if my local Primark had stocked them, I couldn't have put up with him singing Raspberry Beret by Prince every time I wore it.

I think the moral of this story is don't be a people pleaser. We all have our own likes and dislikes, so it's time to accept (if you haven't already) that not everyone is going to like everything you do and you probably aren't going to like everything they do. You can't let worrying about what other people might think stop you from doing what you want. If I'd have done that, I wouldn't have bought this jumper that everyone I know (including Karl) seems to really like.

So go on. Live a little. And do what you want.

Eleanor xx

A Very Unordinary Review | The Ordinary Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%

13 January 2018
If you're a regular reader of my blog you will remember that in may of last year I wrote a post reviewing The Ordinary's High Adherence Silicone Primer and it's safe to say I was a little bit disappointed. But after hearing so many good things about the brand I decided to give it another go and picked up the Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1% which is also known as the High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula (not very I catchy I know), on a recent trip to London.

The High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula 'is indicated to reduce the appearance of skin blemishes and congestion. A high 10% concentration of this vitamin is supported in the formula by zinc salt of pyrrolidone carboxylic acid to balance visible aspects of sebum activity.' In short the solution is designed to reduce the appearance of blemishes and pores while also balancing the skins oil levels. Interestingly, The Ordinary specifically state that this is NOT a treatment for acne, and that it will not get rid of spots completely. For persistent acne-related conditions, they recommend the use of Benzoyl Peroxide and/or Retinoid Acid.

It's not often I can say this, but this is one of the first products targeted at blemished skin that actually lives up to it's claims. From the first day I tried this I instantly noticed a visible difference in the appearance of my skin. I used it before I went to bed and when I woke up in the morning the redness in my skin and around my acne was almost gone. My skin looked more even in terms of texture and pigmentation, and the pores around my nose significantly smaller. The difference was honestly incredible and applying my makeup  was much smoother.

So after these miraculous results I continued to the use the solution. I'd apply 3 drops in the morning before my moisturiser and 3 drops in the evening after cleansing my skin, and kept doing this for a week. My skin looked great but the more I used the product the less it started to work; my skin had become immune to the product. 
Unfortunately this is not the first time this has happened. I often find that when I use a product it's great at first but after time stops working and it is so frustrating. As a result the only thing you can do to get it working again is to stop using it regularly and save it for a special occasion.

This product is great if you have something coming up where you want your skin to look amazing but if you want it look amazing everyday this probably isn't the right product. But for £5 the High-Strength Vitamin and Mineral Blemish Formula is definitely worth a try.

What product from The Ordinary should I try next?

Eleanor xx

Our Trip to Paris | Part 2

17 December 2017
The Itinerary 

We arrived in Paris on the Monday night and flew back on Saturday morning meaning that we had 4 full days and 5 nights away. While we could've probably covered the city in 3 days we wanted a relaxing break and that extra day made sure we didn't have to rush.

On our first day we planned to go to Disneyland Paris, and while it may not be at the top of everyone's Paris to do list, it was something we really wanted to do. To save time on the day we pre booked our tickets on the official Disneyland Paris website, as it was off peak we could book the 'mini' tickets meaning it was £38 each for the main park, which isn't bad considering tickets at peak times are £61 each (adult). To get to the park we took the RER train from Charles de Gaulle – Étoile (the metro station at the top of the Champs-Élysées by the Arc De Triomphe) to Marne-La-Vallée (the station near the park) and it was surprisingly easy. A single ticket on the RER is just over €7 but make sure you have plenty of change unless you want pay by card or queue up at the ticket office. So after grabbing some cheap pastries from a boulangerie (we did this for breakfast most mornings) we hoped on the train and ate our breakfast during the 45 minute journey, arriving just in time for when the park opens at 10am.

The rest of the day was honestly just magical. We went on the all the bigger rides (yes, Disneyland does have big rides for adults) including Hyperspace Mountain and Thunder Mountain while Karl was kept entertained with all the new Star Wars attractions and I relived my childhood watching the end of day parade. 

It’s hard to describe but the atmosphere of Disneyland is just incredible, I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many happy people in one place. I can happily say that I was living my best life. So while Disneyland may not be for everyone, I’m slightly ashamed to say that it was both our favorite day of the holiday.

On our second day, we walked to the Eiffel Tower in the morning and then took the metro to Notre Dame in the afternoon. You can go up the Eiffel Tower and the tower in Notre Dame but we decided to just do one and go right to the top of the Eiffel Tower and then just walk round Notre Dame. The views from the Eiffel Tower were incredible and it is definitely worth paying extra to go right to the top even if the lifts are a bit rickety. As for Notre Dame, while it was nice to say we’d been, it wasn’t my favorite attraction. That being said, it’s free, beautiful inside and doesn’t take long to look around, so if you have the time you might as well squeeze in a visit.

The next day we visited The Louvre and the surrounding area including Le Palais Royal. Having done GCSE art, this was quite high on my to do list so we gave ourselves plenty of time to enjoy The Louvre and all it has to offer. As we’re both within the 18-25 age bracket and are residents of the EU (well for now) we both got into the Louvre for free by just showing our passports in place of tickets, so make sure to check out the Louvre’s official website as you may be valid for free admission. 

The Louvre itself is massive and took us quite a while to walk around all of the different areas, so make sure you wear comfortable shoes and allow yourself plenty of time if you want to look around it all. My favorite part of the museum is the Paintings, Prints and Drawings section where you will find the world famous Mona Lisa, but the museum does also have a lot of beautiful sculptures if paintings aren’t your thing. After the Louvre we then walked around the gardens nearby and then also over to Le Palais Royal for those all-important tourists snaps.

While we had reserved our last day for shopping by the Arc De Triomphe and Champs Elysée we made a quick trip in the morning to the PSG ground so that Karl could visit the stadium and have a look round the club shop. For those of you who have football obsessed partners, the club shop is lovely. It's also worth visiting if they want a shirt as the PSG store on the Champs Elysée charged quite a bit more and there were restrictions on buying more than one shirt. In return he patiently waited for me while I browsed Sephora. My top tip for shopping would be to think about the exchange rate, as while we were there the rate was so poor that it was actually cheaper to buy the majority of things at home. 

We honestly had such a lovely time in Paris, and for a last minute holiday we ended up being quite organised (apart from nearly missing our airport transfer back - oops!). I would love to go back again but not for quite a few years as there are so many other places I haven't visited and I feel like I have seen the majority of what Paris has to offer.

To read about our hotel and my money saving tips check out part 1.

Have you been to Paris or are you planning a trip? I'd love to hear in the comments below!

Eleanor xx

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.

Hotel, Pastel, Paris, Review, Room, Decor, Arc De Triomphe, 3 Star, Good, Nice

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