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My University Placement Year: A Year In Industry

19 July 2018
Aside from qualifications, one of the most important things when it comes to getting a job is experience. In a world where degrees are more common and the job market is more competitive than ever I knew I had to maximise my employability, that's why I chose to do a year in industry as part of my degree. 

I made this decision 4 years ago when I was studying for my A Levels and looking at which universities to apply for. I had already decided that I wanted to do a marketing degree after studying A Level business and having done some work experience in the marketing department of an insurance company. But not all universities and courses offer placement years, so finding one that offered a marketing degree and a placement year, in a suitable location with the right entry criteria for me was a challenge. After a bit of research I had a couple of options, one of those being my chosen university: Aston. 

Aston University is relatively small (about 14,000 students where as the University of Birmingham has double that) university located in the centre of Birmingham. At Aston, around 70% of students undertake placement years and they have been offering placements for over 50 years. When comparing my placement experience to students from other universities, Aston's experience really shows in the level of support they provide to students finding a placement year. Aside from them offering a placement for marketing, the course was also well ranked in league tables and Birmingham was the right distance from home for me. Weirdly enough my dad studied for his degree at Aston and my sister was also based in Birmingham at the time, so it felt a little like fate. 

Three (nearly four) years later here I am, having completed my placement year, ready to share my experience with you. 

University, Uni, placement, year, in, industry, experience, work, degree, 4 years, aston university, birmingham, leicester, dunelm, job

Finding a Placement 

I'm going to be honest with you, finding a placement isn't easy. Along side studying and exams you've got the stress of writing a CV and cover letters to apply for jobs that you have no idea if you could do or not. While I'd had previous jobs in retail and had written a CV before applying for a placement can be very different. Many employers have a similar application process for graduate schemes as they do for placements, this can often involve numerous stages of online tests, assessment centres as well as phone and face to face interviews. Typically, the larger the organisation (or the larger the scheme), the more rigorous the application process is as the competition is fiercer.  

When applying for your placement my biggest tip would to be start applying as soon as possible. Get your CV ready straight away and look at the deadline dates for applications, so you don't miss any opportunities. Each company will start recruiting at different times so don't worry if you can't find a placement straight away as more opportunities may come up. But the sooner you find the right placement for you, the less you need to worry about it and you can shift your focus back to your studies. I started applying quite early and ended up applying for 4 or 5 jobs before finding my placement, but most people end up applying to a lot more before securing a placement. 

So where did I spend my year in industry? The answer to that is homewares retailer, Dunelm. I first saw the position at Dunelm advertised through my university's careers website, the role was for a marketing assistant based at their Store Support Centre in Leicester. Reading through the job description it seemed to fit what I was looking for perfectly, not only that but it was in an industry I was genuinely interested in and a city I was familiar with (my boyfriend's family live in Leicester). The thought of working at Dunelm excited me, so I applied. A few weeks later I found out I had got through to the next stage and had a phone interview, before getting through to the final stage the assessment centre. This was the first assessment centre I had been to so I had no idea what to expect, but we had a few group activities that looked at a few key skills including  organisation, attention to detail and presenting skills. I also had to prepare a presentation for the interview that I had to present to various members of the marketing department. The assessment centre lasted till about 3 o' clock and by about 6 o' clock I'd had the call saying I got the job. The process was well organised and pretty smooth in comparison to some other larger companies.
Kirstie, Allsopp, Home, Stark, Uk, Charity, Ambassador, Charities, Dunelm, Snow, Flake, Appeal

On the Job

Originally the plan was for me to spend a couple of months within each area of the marketing department but this later changed due the needs of the business and also my line manager wanting me to see a project from start to finish. I'm quite glad this happened as I didn't want to start settling into a role for it then to change plus I still got to work with all of the areas within marketing that I was interested in. That was the great thing about Dunelm, they were so supportive in helping me make the most out of my experience whether that was through training or through spending time within different areas of the business. 

First the first 6 months of my time as a Marketing Assistant at Dunelm I worked with the Local Marketing Manager on new stores and refits, as well as supporting struggling stores. This involved planning and implementing campaigns to support these stores through driving footfall. This was a great role to start off with as it gave me a really great overview of marketing as I got to do a little bit of everything from brand to PR to social. Part of this role also included working on in store TV and radio. It was doing this that I got the opportunity to head down to the ITV studios in London and film with Holly Willoughby. This was so exciting and it felt incredible to be able to say that this was my job. 

During the second half of my placement I carried on assisting local but took on more responsibility from the PR and Social team. The main part of this included creating and scheduling the reactive content (mainly Twitter and Instagram Stories) as well as managing the Dorma Facebook page. During this time I also worked on the Dunelm and Kiddicare blogs as well as helping out with charity. This was amazing, as yet again, I got to gain more in depth knowledge and experience within various different areas and also some incredible opportunities such as helping at Press Shows and meeting Home-Start UK ambassador Kirstie Allsopp.

Holly, Willoughby, Placement, Filming, Experience, Work, ITV, Dunelm,

I honestly couldn't have wished for a better year, better colleagues or a better company to work for during my placement year. I feel like I had gained valuable experience in the work place that will set me up well when I have graduated and it has also made me excited to finish uni and start work. While getting a placement is tough, it is definitely an option worth considering as part of your degree. 

Are you considering a placement year? Feel free to comment below with any questions or drop me an email if you need any advice!

Eleanor xx

Flat Lay Tips to Perfect Your Instagram Account

10 July 2018
flat, lay, flatlay, instagram, image, account, social, media, photography, tips, grow, followers

*This post is sponsored by Panasonic

With the Instagram algorithm constantly changing, the struggle to grow your following is tougher than ever (read more about my love/hate relationship with Instagram here). As Facebook (and consequently Instagram) try to give their users more of what they love, their focus has shifted to the quality of content users offer to their following. Add into this the obvious fact that the stronger your content is the more likely people will follow and like your pictures, you have a strategy for success. But improving your Instagram images isn’t as easy as it sounds, so let’s take this one step at a time – starting with flat lays. To put it simply, flat lays are images taken of a collection of objects from above. Not only have they become one of the most popular types of Instagram image but they are also some of the most popular images on my account. So keep reading for my favourite flat lay tips…

The best tools for the job

Ever heard the saying ‘a bad workman blames his tools’ well when it comes to photography sometimes bad tools are to blame. You could be the best photographer in the world but if your image is grainy or pixelated it can ruined. Look for a digital camera with a high megapixel and the ability to change exposure and shutter speed. The Panasonic Mirrorless 12-60mm Lens Camera is a great option if you have the budget, as it has 30k optical zoom, 4K photo and video all in a compact design making it perfect for a variety of uses not just taking flat lays. 

Background focus

While the background is not the main focus of your flat lay, it is the foundation of your photo. I always opt for a light, white surface as this is non offensive and won't distract from the focus of the image. Don’t worry if you don’t have a white floor or table for your flat lays, simply lay a towel or white bed sheets on a flat surface and you have your background. This also allows you to move your white material around your house to find the best lighting. 

flatlay, flat, lay, instagram, food, beauty, blogger, monochrome, red, colour,

Lighten up

As with all photography, lighting is the most crucial part of creating the perfect flat lay. I use natural lighting in all of my photography as I find it gives the best results without the need for lots of editing. But for natural lighting to work you need to consider a couple of things:
  • Time of the day - as the light changes throughout the day it will have different impacts on your image. At midday the sun is at its brightest and this may lead to your image being overexposed. Sunset (or the magic hour) can create beautiful soft lighting in images but can often have an orange tint resulting in the need to alter white balance. During the evening (or on a dark cloudy day) there is no light meaning you won’t be able to see your image. 
  • Positioning – it could be lovely and light outside but if you’re in a dark room you won’t benefit from it. Position yourself close to a window to maximise your lighting.
  • Shadows – Depending on your positioning and the time of the day you can sometimes get quite harsh shadows in your images, especially if the light is coming from behind your objects. To avoid this try repositioning yourself or use a white piece of card to reflect the light onto the shadows. 

Less isn’t always more

Some of my favourite flat lays have to be the ones crammed full of products and objects but they still somehow manage to look beautiful rather than a mess. To make this work, vary the size of the objects you are arranging and fill bare gaps with ribbons, petals or confetti. Also layer textures and objects such as magazines and patterned fabrics to break up your white background. 

Colour co-ordinate 

A huge part of Instagram is how your profile looks with all of your images sitting together. Most people try to make this look more co-ordinating by having a ‘theme’. The easiest way I do this is through adding little accents of colour into my images to ensure they all co-ordinate. For example in the above images I have added hints of red through the strawberries on the pancakes and the rose petals. By keeping the rest of the image black and white and then adding this pop of colour means that they sit together nicely on my Instagram page. I have also done the same with the below images by adding a pop of pink. I will consistently use one colour in at least 6 of my images before gradually transitioning to a new colour if I want to change the look of my feed.  

Practice makes perfect

Flat lays may look easy but sometimes it can be hard to get them to look ‘right’. Take your time, moving different objects and adding bits or taking away items that don’t quite look right. With a bit of trial and error you will finally find the perfect arrangement to take your photo. 

instagram, photography, tips, dslr, iPhone, flatlay, flat, lay, gram, beauty, blogger, pink, pretty, minimalist

What are your tips for the perfect Instagram flat lay?

Eleanor xx

A Lazy Girl's Guide to Skincare

30 March 2018
I have a confession. When it comes to skincare, I am lazy.

While others are really into skincare it's always been a bit of a chore to me. I put my makeup on in the morning, go about my day as normal but by bedtime I really just can't be bothered anymore. Cleansing, toning, exfoliating. It's all just too much after a long day, so my skincare routine needs to be quick, simple and easy. 

In a situation like this many would turn to makeup wipes, as I have done in the past. But while makeup wipes are quick and easy, you end up paying the price when your skin looks like sh*t. It actually wasn't until I stopped using makeup wipes that I realised the tole they were taking on my skin and that perhaps, there were more ways in which I could improve my skin by changing up my routine.

For a bit of context, I have problematic combination skin. Having suffered with acne since becoming a teenager, I have tried almost every spot product out on the market (as well as prescribed treatments like Roacutane) and come to the conclusion that I will always have spots. That being said the routine I'm about to share with you is the best combination of products I have found (so far) to reduce the appearance of my acne.

lazy, affordable, skincare, routine, girl, blogger, skin, beauty, acne, combination, type, cheap, liz earle, cleanser, the ordinary, aldi

Step 1 
Step 1 is always the longest step but crucially the most important; makeup removal. Where as in the past I would use makeup wipes (shameful I know) I now use a hot cloth cleanser. My favourite hot cloth cleanser has to be Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish but at £15 a tube it's not cheap! Recently Aldi released their own hot cloth cleanser to rival Liz Earle's and for £3.99 (for double the amount of product) I thought it was worth a try! The Lacura Hot Cloth Cleanser comes with 200ml of product and 1 muslin cloth and claims to be suitable for all skin types. While I cannot say how it performs on other skin types, it works really well for me! It removes my makeup with ease (just as well as Cleanse and Polish), has a slight soft scent and leaves my skin feeling soft and smooth. I simply just rinse my face with some warm water, massage the cleanser into my skin and then wipe it off with the warm, damp muslin cloth - easy.

Step 2
The next step is very quick and easy, as I just spritz my face with the Glo Skin Beauty Balancing Mist*. Designed to balance the oily and dry areas of combination skin, the Balancing Mist also works hard to optimise the effectiveness of your skincare routine by preparing your skin to evenly absorb the products applied after. It leaves my skin feeling fresh and I honestly notice a difference in the appearance of my skin the next morning when I use this product as part of my routine.

Step 3
Next I will use The Ordinary's Niacinamide 10% + Zinc 1%. This is the only product in my routine targeted toward 'acne prone' skin and I don't use this every night. Instead I will use it when my skin is really bad or if I want my skin to look really great the next day. All I'll say is that it's affordable and works (if used sparingly), but if you want more information on this product read my in-depth review.

Step 4
While this is the last step in my routine, I must admit that I don't always moisturise in the evenings. After being on Roacutane I learn that moisturising my skin too much can cause my breakouts, so unless my skin is feeling really dry I will only apply moisturiser to my face before I apply my makeup in the morning. I like to use Oilatum as it's fragrance free and is the best thing I've found for getting rid of dry skin. I am quite prone to getting eczema on my hands and occasionally on my face as well as dry patches around my nose, so Oilatum is a lifesaver when my eczema is playing up. It's also affordable and you get a lot of product for your money, so I don't mind using it for other dry patches or eczema on my body. 

Sometimes I will do all of these 4 steps other times I will just do one or two. It really depends on how much time I have and how I want my skin to look and feel. This routine is also affordable which is a must for me. I hate having to spend money on skincare as I don't find it fun in the some way I like spending money on makeup. It's also quick, which when your are pressed for time or get really tired in the evenings (like myself) is important.

What are your favourite skincare products? I'd love to hear your recommendations 

Eleanor xx

A Day In The Life Of The Girl: The Highcross Leicester

11 March 2018
Ever since moving to Leicester eight and a half months ago I have got to know the city pretty well. While I had visited the city a few times before, you never fully know a place until you live there. Leicester is a nice medium sized city in the East Midlands known for it's links to King Richard III, Kasabian and the underdog Leicester City Football Club. As well as good links to Nottingham and Birmingham it has plenty to offer itself, including the city's main shopping centre: The Highcross. With over 120 shops the Highcross is well known for it's shopping but thanks to the lovely guys at the Highcross* I spent the day learning what else the shopping centre has to offer.

&Beauty, John Lewis, Leicester, Review, Nails, Treatment

First on the itinerary was a cake and a coffee at 'The Place to Eat' in John Lewis. Shopping can be surprisingly tiring so I often find myself looking for somewhere to go for a refreshing drink and a delicious cake. While Leicester has lots of great independent coffee shops, they are a bit further out of the centre so the convenience of a café in John Lewis makes 'The Place to Eat' an instant winner. Not only is it convenient but the cakes are delicious! I had a cookies and cream cheesecake that was to die for while Karl had a classic chocolate cake, delicious!

The Place to Eat, Cafe, John Lewis, Leicester, The Highcross

Next we headed on down to the beauty department where John Lewis have opened their brand new &Beauty Nail and Brow Bar. The beauty bar that opened in the store just a few weeks ago offers everything you could imagine for your nails and brows from a classic manicure to LVL Lash Enhancement all at really competitive prices. While I was at &Beauty I had a gel manicure and my eyebrows threaded and I was so impressed with the service I received. 

I was a bit worried at first that the treatments wouldn't be very relaxing as the &Beauty Bar is quite visible in store so other customers can see you having the treatments done but it was so relaxing you soon forget where you are. The girls created a luxury spa like atmosphere through the use of Pink Boutique products such as their Cuticle Oil, Crystal Sanitiser and Massage Oils. Not only do the products smell gorgeous but they are all non toxic, organic, vegan and cruelty free! So unlike other nail salons the girls do not wear face masks and you have peace of mind knowing that the products are good for your nails and skin.

John Lewis, OPI, Gel, Manicure, Leicester, The Highcross, Blogger, East Midlands, Salon, &beauty

The OPI Gel colour took 45 minutes and I had my cuticles trimmed, nails shaped and buffed as well as 4 coats of colour to make sure my nails were ultra shiny and opaque. They are so confident at &Beauty that your gel manicure will last two weeks that if they chip before then you can go back and they will fix them free of charge! 

John Lewis, Eyebrow, Threading, treatments, &beauty, leicester, review

I also had my eyebrows threaded while I was there which was very quick and only took 15 minutes! I had never had my eyebrows threaded before so was a bit nervous as I like my eyebrows to look quite thick but they did such a good job at defining my brows without making them look thin. Firstly she removed my makeup around my eyebrows before threading and then trimming them. While it did make my eyes water quite a bit it wasn't too painful and definitely something I would get done again! 

For more information on prices and &Beauty click here

GBK, Leicester, Burger, Highcross, Restaurant, Review

We then headed to GBK for a late lunch. Myself and Karl are both big fans of Gourmet Burger Kitchen having been quite a few times before. No matter which GBK I go to I always know I'm going to get great food and service, and GBK in the Highcross was no exception. Both of us had a classic GBK Cheese & Bacon Beef Burger with Skinny Fries and they were delicious. If you have never had GBK's skinny fries before you seriously need to try them because they are amazing.

GBK, Leicester

Not only is GBK delicious but each restaurant has such cute retro decor, featuring scrabble wall art, industrial furniture and beautiful lights. They also have a loyalty app so if (like myself) you go to GBK quite often you can earn rewards and get special deals!

Have you visited the Highcross before?

Eleanor xx

* While this is not a sponsored post the Highcross did pay for all of my food and beauty treatments. This in no way affects my opinions and all opinions are my own. For more information please see my full disclaimer.

Why Instagram Is Getting Me Down

25 February 2018
Ah Instagram. It's like the ex that no matter how many times they hurt you, you keep finding yourself running back into their arms. Once madly in love and a little bit obsessed, your relationship has changed (thanks to that pesky algorithm) and has become incredibly hard work. 

Social media was never designed to be hard work. It was designed as an online platform to meet new people, make friends and share the things you love with like minded people not for competition and advertising. It is so frustrating when you post a photo to your followers (real people who have basically said 'Yes I want to see their photos!') and Instagram will only show that post to half of your following. It's equally frustrating when I see paid for ads from accounts I already follow because why should they have to pay to appear in my feed?

instagram, vero, social media, apps, bloggers, review, algorithm, advertising, growing, following, followers, ideal of sweden, marble, phone, case

But it's not just the algorithm that's getting me down, it's the way I constantly compare myself to others. By that I don't mean your typical 'omg she is so much prettier/skinnier/etc than me' I mean that I compare my account to others. I'll see someone doing an AD for a brand and click on their profile to see how many followers they have. If they have less or about the same as myself, I'll start wondering why they were picked over me. Or I'll see accounts I love growing their following and hitting big milestones, and while I'm happy for them, I'll feel down because my account isn't growing as quickly. It's toxic and I hate that this is the person I've become.

I work hard using every spare minute I have at the weekend to take photos for my Instagram, I try to post everyday and also engage with other people, yet nothing seems to work. As soon as my followers go up they fall straight back down, my engagement is still a lot lower than it was before the algorithm change and in all honesty I don't have enough money to pay to advertise my posts. I could cheat and buy more followers but we all know my opinion on that.

The other day one of the girls from work mentioned that she'd heard of this new social app called Vero that is apparently like Instagram but without ads and algorithm, we were all intrigued but wary that it may never take off. Then just the next day I was watching Vix Meldrew's Instagram stories and she mentioned this app again saying that is had already crashed because so many people were downloading it. After looking at reviews of the app on the App Store I realised that I wasn't ready to move on to someone new. These apps are all the same. They lure you in with their promises but as soon as they gain a bit of confidence they ruin your relationship through advertising and money making schemes. So despite how much I hate Instagram it's better the devil you know. Maybe one day they will realise the errors of their ways and we can relive 'the good old days'. But for now I'll keep trying to make things work, until eventually something better comes along.

Eleanor xx

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.

How To Dress For A Formal Event

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.

Coast, tanya, lace, shift, dress, off the shoulder, pink, event, classic, dressing, tips, wedding, style

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.

Coast, tanya, lace, shift, dress, off the shoulder, pink, event, classic, dressing, tips, wedding, style, how to

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.

races, Ascot, aintree, Coast, tanya, lace, shift, dress, off the shoulder, pink, event, classic, dressing, tips, style

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.

Coast, tanya, lace, shift, dress, off the shoulder, pink, event, classic, dressing, tips, wedding, style, special, occasion

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.

Coast, tanya, lace, shift, dress, off the shoulder, pink, event, classic, dressing, tips, wedding, style

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.

Asos, check, skirt, tartan, pattern, ootd, blogger, uk, fashion, black, polo, neck, jumper, beret, styling

Leicester, Fashion, blogger, uk, england, east, midlands, fblogger,ootd

lipstick, girl, wardrobe, ootd, styling, fashion, skirt, new, asos, spring,

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