Fashion Panic

New Year...New Me? A Ramble From Me.

Hi guys. So; it's been a while. After a few weeks off from the wonderful world of blogging, I've decided to get back on it! Christmas was a pretty hectic time. I had a very busy time at work, lots of brand collabs and to top it all off, my best friend of 24 years got married! I unintentionally took time away from the blog (and even Instagram - I know WTF) for a week or so, and you know what; it felt good!

To not have to worry about taking outfit pictures or taking pictures in general was pretty nice. I didn't have to worry about the time of day it was (winter lighting issues are a bloggers nightmare), if I'd worn the same shirt last week, or if my picture had been taken at the wrong angle. It actually made me reevaluate a lot of things. Funnily enough, despite enjoying the break, it made me realise how much I loved having the blogging community to share not just my outfits, but life in general. 

I do earn a reasonable income from blogging, but with working full time too, I was beginning to wonder if I could manage both and still have a work/life balance. Having had this bloody awful chest infection for the past month or so, I kept thinking "Can I do this?", "Can I do it all?". It was just before New Year that I started to plan my goals for 2017. I'm not a massive resolution maker, but I'm all for planning ahead thinking of dreams and aspirations that I would love to reach and achieve in the year ahead. 

I realised that my life revolves around fashion. Even before blogging or working in fashion, it's just been everything. Not in a shallow way; but in an exciting and creative way. There's nothing better than creating looks and experimenting with different trends and styles and getting instant feedback from people who also love fashion. My blog let's me experience things I never dreamt I could experience. I've met the best people, and continue to meet people every day, whether at events, through work or just online and it really does make me happy. 

That being said (well done if you're still reading this ramble!) I have decided to really throw myself into blogging and I will post more on here I promise! I started this blog to get a job in the fashion industry, which I (unbelievably) achieved, so now it's time to enjoy! I've started a new look on my IG. More of a mood board feel. Gone are the themes or the monochrome and even planned pics. I'm going to share my life through my outfits. I'm not going to worry about likes or followers. I'm lucky enough to work with brands and earn money from it, and although I will always push myself; as a blogger I will be less hard on myself. I will try to enjoy every moment and stop comparing myself. 

So I suppose it will be a new me, and I know it will be hard to stop analysing every single thing I do on social media, I am 28 years old, so it's time to start believing in myself and my abilities and stop worrying about EVERYTHING. Now I'm feeling better (finally) I will start my detox and get exercising again and generally get healthier, which always help my anxiety. Women are powerful creatures, I see that every day, and I am proud to be one - here's to 2017!

Coat - Mango (similar here) // Jeans: Asos // Shoes: Asos // Bag: Radley

A Margaret Dabbs Christmas

  For those who follow my blog, you may have seen my post back in August, where I visited the then, brand new Margaret Dabbs' salon in the beautiful Aldery Edge, Cheshire. It was an incredible experience and I was well and truly pampered with an incredible medical pedicure (exclusive to Margaret Dabbs' salons) and an equally amazing manicure. My hands and feet haven't been the same since! So when they asked if I'd like to receive some exciting Christmas goodies, how could I say no!

Christmas definitely came early for me, and as you can see, all of the stocking fillers arrived in the most festive packaging you could imagine; absolutely perfect for a last minute gift! In the parcel, I received; 3 glossy nail varnishes cleverly disguised as mini Christmas trees that can actually hang on your own tree (ahhhmazing!), some hydrating foot lotion and cuticle cream, both inside golden crackers, and finally, some of their famous 'fabulous hands' in a beautiful little decorative gift box. 

I'm a massive fan of all of the Margaret Dabbs products, and I'm lucky enough to have been given some samples when I visited the salon, so I can give you first hand reviews for all of their unique and hard working products. I wear the nail varnishes often, and not only do they have a glossy finishes and beautiful colours, but they also contain vitamin E and rose extract to help nourish your nails whilst you wear them. For me, these would be the perfect little gift under the tree, and for just £14 you are getting 2 products in 1!

I use the fabulous feet, which came in a large cracker, every single week. I actually met Margaret herself earlier in the year, and she said this was one of her favourite products. It's incredible nourishing and I find it helps maintain my super soft feet (since the incredible medical pedicure!). Finally, my absolute must have for anyone with natural nails, is the nourishing cuticle cream. I swear by this, it works and my nails have never looked better! To get any of these as a gift would be a total joy, so I recommend you get yourself over to their website and find some last minute buys! With prices starting at just £14, there really is something for everyone!

Styling Jennifer Metcalfe in The Manchester Arndale's Top Party Picks

Earlier this year, I was given a very exciting opportunity to go behind the scenes of the Manchester Arndale’s SS16 video and photo shoot. Being a Manchester girl, and having grown up shopping at the centre, I couldn’t have been more excited, and it turned out to be a fantastic day! Fast forward to this week, and I’ve had another incredible opportunity working with Manchester Arndale Centre, this time it was all about the up coming party season! 

The centre is the focus point of shopping in the city. Whether you fancy a bargain at TK Max or splashing out on a designer bag at Radley, you’ll always find what you need. I can go shopping with my mum, husband and even my little brother and we would all get kitted out in the latest fashion, and technology and then finish off with food at the fab choice of restaurants. 

Coming up to the festive period can be stressful. Presents to buy, people to see and more importantly clothes to buy for the ultimate party look. There’s something about going in and trying on, that will always appeal to me over online shopping. Apart from being a self confessed shopaholic, and loving the purchase in my hand, it’s also a chance to see what clothes look like in ‘real life’. No matter how good the photography, you can’t compare to feeling the fabric close up and seeing the colour in day light. So for me, the only option for a party outfit is to brace the crowds and get in there!

To highlight some of the best party looks available in the centre this season, I was asked if I would pick out some outfits for the beautiful Jennifer Metcalfe. Obviously, I jumped at the chance (and being a complete Hollyoaks addict made it even more amazing!). I, along with another blogger, the gorgeous Irena, got to pick from 4 of the Manchester Arndale’s stores. We each got a high end and high street shop, I had New Look and House of CB.

It wasn’t difficult to choose when you have such a beautiful model to dress. I wanted to add a bit of my style to Jen’s look, so for my first choice, I picked a stunning dark green, velvet jumpsuit from New Look. Velvet is literally everywhere this season, so I knew I wanted to incorporate it somewhere. The sumptuous emerald one piece, jumped out straight away. As soon as Jen tried it on, I knew I had picked the right thing. She looked outstanding! The jumpsuit hugged her curves in all the right places, and the tie belt synched in her tiny waist. I chose to finish the look with simple black heels and a sequin gold bag for a bit of glam! Jen loved the jumpsuit too, so much that New Look kindly gifted it to her, so I’m on the look out for when she wears it!

The next look was the high end choice from House of CB. A favourite of the Kardashian’s, I’m not going to lie, it’s not really my cup of tea. However, I can appreciate the stunning dresses and know that if I could somehow pull it off, I’d be styling that barley there sequin mini! Again, with Jen as the model, it was much easier to choose. I wanted something classy yet on trend and not too skin baring (granny alert!). I chose a beautiful green (must have a thing for it this season) bandage dress which I knew would accentuate Jen’s beautiful figure. Yet again, she looked like a Hollywood superstar! The dress fit like a glove, and was just the right length. We took some shots in outside in the centre, which even thought Jen didn’t enjoy too much, she was such a star and embraced the challenge!

Although I didn’t get to see Irena, as she had styled Jen earlier in the day, I did get to see her looks. Loved them, especially the Next outfit. 

I had such a fantastic day meeting Jennifer and the rest of the Manchester Arndale Team. I felt honoured that I had been chosen to help style up the best looks this season. Whilst I was there I actually bought my party look from Topshop, I just cannot go there without shopping!

Thanks to all involved, can’t wait to work with the team again! 

Win Your Best Night Out With Little Black Dress

The leaves have fallen, the nights are drawing in and the Christmas songs are starting to be heard up and down the high street (arghhhh!) - yes, the festive season is well and truly upon us! What better reason to call your friends, dust of those sequins and get prepared to have your best night out yet! Parties and Christmas go together like...Dolce and Gabbana, and I have teamed up with Little Black Dress to give you the chance to win the party of a life time with three of your best friends, including lots of goodies and a night in one of the best cities in the world (bar Manchester) LONDON!!! 

Yes, Little Black Dress are offering one of you lucky people a chance to win a night out worth £3000! This will include a super swanky hotel in the capital, lots of goodies from their range of beautiful dresses, £100 vouchers for some gorgeous accessories, and VIP pampering for not just you, but three of your besties! Get your hair done, cocktails drank and your fave LBD on and make sure you turn heads for a night to remember! On the night you'll get your hair styled at the fantastic Neville Hair and Beauty, you then swan off to a 3 course meal at Drake and Morgan (including wine, yay!). After you've wined and dined, you will be treated to cocktails at an exclusive, members only club! What a night out, I need to enter this myself!

To celebrate the exclusive competition, I was lucky enough to be able to choose my very own party dress from the Little Black Dress website. What better time of year to style up a new LBD?! I'm not going to lie, it took me forever to pick one, they just have so much choice, especially with the new collab with Alisha Dixon (ahhh-may-zing!). I eventually went with my beautiful "Clara" flapper inspired shift dress. With some gorgeous embroidery and subtle, yet stylish sequin detail (it's on sale right now, so go go go!) it was my perfect match. The dress itself screamed quality as soon as it arrived! It's heavy due to the embellishment which not only makes it hang like a dream, but it also looks so much more expensive than the price! The sheer sleeves are brought to life with the dazzling sequins, which is such a lovely touch. 

The fit is divine; it skims over everything and is roomy enough for the copious amounts of food that I will consume whilst wearing it over Christmas! The sequin fringing on the hem gives it that "wow" factor, and as you can see from the pics, I very much enjoyed swizzing around in it and I cannot wait to wear it to a few nights out this festive season!

For your chance to win this dress (or many many other choices) plus a luxury night out for you and three friends all you have to do is take a selfie saying why an LBD is so important to you and hashtag #MyLBDStory (you can also tag Little Black Dress @teamlbd) Good luck!!! 

(find out all the details here)

Lunch at the Garden

Last Saturday, I spent a wonderful afternoon in the beautiful village of Hale, sampling the scrumptious new menu at The Garden. The Garden specialises in fresh, organic, and seasonal produce and has a fabulous selection with something for everyone. Being gluten free, I really struggle to find anywhere up North, (especially outside the city centre) to get some good wheat free options that don't taste like cardboard. Luckily for me, The Garden has a wonderful menu with a wide range of gluten free goodies, including some incredible pancakes which I will tell you more about later. It also has great variations of healthy vegan options, which again, can be a real struggle to find up here.

I took my lovely hubby along with me, as I'm on a very boring medical exclusion diet right now, and I knew that Mus would devour anything and everything. He's Turkish, so grew up with a Mediterranean diet and would happily choose a salad over a pizza (I know!?) so I knew he would really appreciate the all of the different flavour combinations that I wouldn't be able to enjoy. Hale itself is beautiful, and only a 30 minute drive from where we live. The Garden looks truly inviting with fairy lights and neutral colour schemes, but as soon as you walk through the door, your senses go wild! So many flavours and colours and hustle and bustle. It was full when we arrived (always a good sign) and I loved having a little nosey at what people had ordered. 

We started off with drinks, I had a delicious soya hot chocolate and Mus had tea. You can get everything you could think of as the drinks menu is a dream. We found out a little bit more behind the origins of The Garden. It's run by two friends, and has proved so popular, that their juices and a selection of their food is now available exclusively at Selfridges in the Trafford Centre. They have a great holistic aspect behind their menu, and their ethos is definitely to nourish your body but enjoy food too. With this is mind, Mus chose the Gentle Lentil salad bowl and he enjoyed it so much he actually says it's THE nicest salad he's ever had! Which if you knew him, would know that that really is a massive compliment. He has salad every day, sometimes twice a day, and would never say anything is better than his mum's cooking, so believe me, it's good! 

Me being me, I obviously chose the macha pancakes. I chose the cacao spread and banana, but you can also have fresh fruit and cashew cream. They were incredible! As mentioned earlier, I really struggle eating out, and finding an enjoyable gluten free option. The pancakes are full of goodness and have just natural ingredients, so it was practically one of my five a day...I couldn't finish them all as you get a huge plate, but I will definitely prepare myself for next time!

The cafe itself has a warm and friendly atmosphere. It's clearly very popular with the locals, but I know a few people who have travelled from the other side of Manchester just to try it, as the recommendations are nothing but 5 *! It was a lovely afternoon and the food was scrumptious. I'm actually taking my vegan friend nearer Christmas, so keep an eye out for more #foodporn pictures over on my instagram!

Thank you to the lovely Grace and everyone at The garden, Hale. I can't wait to visit again!

You can view the full menu here
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