Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Teddy Coat

Coats; a girl can never have too many. To me, they are the ultimate winter necessity, and the more styles, colours and fabric, the better! I may be slightly biased, as it's well known that I have a slight coat addiction. But how could I not!? They cover your entire outfit, you could be wearing pyjamas and nobody would ever know. They finish your look, showcase your style and most importantly; keep you warm.

Today, I'm showing you my season favourite, the teddy coat. I bought it from Miss Guided during their student 20% off offer, so it was only £32, which for the quality and style is an absolute bargain. I get so many compliments when I wear it, plus it's super cosy and practical.

I wore my teddy, with my all time fave, my beloved culottes. I've not really worn them in a while, mainly due to this awful cold weather we're having up here in Manchester, but also because they tend not to look that amazing with my big winter coats. I think they look fab (if I do say so myself) with my teddy coat, I think it's predominately they length of the coat; it's that perfect cover-hips-thighs-bum length. 

I finished the look with my Catwalk Killa bag and the boots you'll find on my feet most days; my RI sock boots. 

How do you feel about wearing culottes in the winter months? 

Coat: Miss Guided // Culottes: New Look // Boots: River Island // Bag: Catwalk Killa

Friday, 22 January 2016

The Bomber Jacket

I have to be honest; it took a while for me to come round to the bomber jacket. I can't put my finger on just what I was so against, I think I had visions of Top Gun and aviators (ironically, I now think this sounds incred...) Anyway, I just wasn't jumping on the bomber bandwagon. That all changed when I started to see the beautiful satin versions. They just seemed a lot more glam than their dull khaki counterparts. There are a lot of different styles and colours on various websites and on the high street, but I fell in love with the colour of this Pretty Little Thing version.

I feel like the jacket did all the talking, so I dressed it down with my cropped flared Zara jeans and some trainers; simple yet effective. The colour is just out of this world. The pictures don't do it justice, neither does my 'rust' description. It's more like wearing a giant sparkly jewel (descriptive writing skills on fire here, I know!). It's just such an easy way to be dressed down and comfortable, with just a little 'on trend' nod. I plan to wear it right through to Spring, over dresses and with my beloved culottes.

Bomber: Pretty Little Thing // Jeans: Zara  // Bag: Zara

Thursday, 21 January 2016

The New 'IT' Bag - The Backpack

Ever since Burberry debuted their monogrammed backpack at the AW16 show, everyone has been raving about the stylish new companion. I have to admit that I was over the moon when I saw that the good old faithful bag was back on top. I may sound like a granny, but I like practicality. The backpack is a girl's best friend when it comes to organisation, space and comfortability.

I have a few trips planned this year and I want to be able to sight see without the pain of heavy, 'in the way' bags. I want to be able to throw my camera, water, endless bags of make up/dry shampoo and the kitchen sink into one beautiful creation. Yes, I'm aware I sound slightly over the top, but they're just SO good! I've put together my top 6 backpacks out there on the high street, I hope you can find some inspiration!

Ok, so not that I'm biased, having worked with Radley before, but just look at it! It's beautiful, perfectly formed and the perfect size. I can just see myself walking around at my very first LFW next month wearing this babe. It's number one on my wish list as it's a total 'forever' bag, real leather, something that will last a lifetime. I'm definitely saving up for this one!

I love the structure to this bag. It's got a 'grown up' feel about it, super sleek and modern. It's such a great price too. It would look great with the minimalist trend, and such a great price too!

Another Asos one, but they have such a great selection at the moment! This is a bit more casual, but just as classy. I love the patent leather effect on the front, giving it a bit of detail. It's also drawstring, so super easy to throw every in! 

Ok, I may have repeated myself with the choices, but I couldn't not include this absolute babe! If you don't already know, Radley teamed up with the amazing Jonathan Saunders, and this is the result. Heaven in a bag. It's a work of art, and great if you like to stand out. I love the use of monochrome, and the shape is just perfect!

I love the metallic gold of this Accessorize beauty. It's more of a traditional shaped backpack, but perfectly formed. It has great pockets and sections, perfect for travelling, or sightseeing. Metallic accessories are going to be big this season, so it's definitely the one if you want to stay bang on trend!

I promise I don't work for Radley! I just went on for a mooch and was overwhelmed with amazing backpacks, I just had to share! So this is one of my faves, but it's in the sale, so I'm not sure how long it will be around. Again, perfect size, looks incredible and it's perfect for my travels!

Monday, 18 January 2016

Faux Fur

Happy Monday! Although today is supposed to be 'blue Monday' which is basically a nice way of saying, 'a crappy Monday in January'. Mine hasn't been that bad other than the weather which is ridiculously cold. I thought it would be the perfect day to upload a recent faux fur post I shot last week. It wasn't actually that cold when I threw this together, hence my happy smiley face. I couldn't have stepped out without a balaclava today (come on someone, make them a trend!).

I bought the faux fur in the River Island sale for just a tenner. I absolutely LOVE the colour (I'm thinking Elsa from Frozen...) and thought it would be great to pair with my grey dressing gown coat. 

I love my coat, more than one would think you can love a coat. It's beyond versatile! It could be worn on it's on and still look incredible! It's from Vero Moda, but I think they sold out a few weeks ago. I've linked a similar one below, and to be honest, it's more the style that I'm in love with. It covers everything; fat days, bad outfits, PJ's...It's basically a girl's best friend. Need I say more??

I did happen to put pants on for this particular look, in the form of my asos sale cropped flares, and finished the look with my River Island dream boots (sorry that they're in EVERY post recently...I just love them!).

Sorry for the brief post, I've got lots of work going on at the moment, I will go into that more at a later date! Hope you've enjoyed my little injection of colour, even though it was a blink and you miss it one!

Scarf: River Island (in store, similar here) // Coat: Vero Moda (similar here) // Boots: River Island


Monday, 11 January 2016

My Lux Boutique

2016 started with a collaboration with a fabulous new website. My Lux Boutique is a website dedicated to showcasing the most luxurious, beautiful and individual pieces of jewellery and accessories. Founded by Sophie, who splits her time between London, the South of France and Switzerland (so glam!) she was inspired to start selling the items she'd picked up on her travels. Most of the pieces are from new or less well known designers than you would find on your usual accessories website. This enables Sophie to have a unique Aladdin's cave of trinkets and jewels, ultimately giving the customer a personalised and exclusive shopping experience.

Sophie sent me the stunning Equilibrium ring by Neola as a gift from her boutique; it was definitely love at first sight! I don't wear a lot of jewellery, but when I do, it's always rings that I turn to, to jazz up my look. 

It came beautifully wrapped up in two dust bags, making you immediately feel the quality and time that goes into the presentation of the order. The 18ct gold vermeil exuded the luxury that Sophie has ensured goes in to every hand selected piece. I felt so lucky that Sophie had chosen something that matched my style, she definitely has a talent for styling, as well as buying and merchandising! I've already worn it twice, and I've had so many compliments about it; the main one being how they hadn't seen anything like it.

The website itself is stylish, modern and currently has a January sale (go go go !). It's super easy to find anything you are looking for and also showcases each individual designer. Learning more about the designer and what inspires them is fascinating and something most people won't think of when buying their accessories. It's so refreshing to have the background story, making it more special when choosing your jewellery or accessories. 

Sophie has exquisite taste, my personal favourite are the bags. They are all so beautiful, on trend but also individual and not what you'd find in Topshop! I've chosen my top 8 pieces from the website. I could literally name 100 things, but I'd be here all day!

The best part of the website has to be the versatility of Sophie's selection. There are some super glamorous, minimalistic pieces perfect for evenings out, mixed with boho beach style bits and pieces that are great for a day at the beach. Whatever the occasion, My Lux Boutique will definitely have something for you, and with the knowledge and information behind each piece, you will be able to choose something that not only looks great, but has a meaning and history.

Collaboration with Nobody's Child

This is the second part of my collaboration with Nobody's Child. For my second piece, I wanted to choose something that I would get a lot of wear out of. I sound like my mum, I know, but I'm at a point in my fashion life, where I appreciate quality, not quantity! Quality is certainly what I got when these flares arrived! As I mentioned in my previous collab post, I was given a voucher so I could have the entire customer experience, rather than just being sent things like a blogger. They arrived beautifully wrapped and even came with a little bracelet (so cute!). 

The first thing I noticed was the material. It's super thick and has a gorgeous feel, and they are only £20! Such a bargain. Now I must add a disclaimer here. I was asked to be honest, so honest I will be. Definitely size up! I ordered a size 10 and couldn't do them up. I thought I was just being a fatty, but I got my size 8 friend to try them, and she could only just do them up and they were tight! So yes, size up, but totally worth it!

I knew exactly how I wanted to style these bad boys. I wanted to escape the seventies flare trend that I featured last year and embrace a modern twist. I went for my H&M jumper dress, which I just ruched up a bit and a pair of heels. As they are black, I know I can wear them with practically anything. I have already worn them with a jumper tucked in, and with a whit shirt and trainers. They are so versatile and I'm in love.

I loved collaborating with such a cool brand. Like I've said, they were different from the get go. It was such a great experience, and I wanted to thank Ryan for the opportunity.

Flares: Nobody's Child // Jumper: H&M (similar) Bag: Zara


Friday, 8 January 2016

My Journey With Mental Health

After an overwhelming response to just one sentence about mental health in my TMI post, I decided I would dedicate a whole blog post to my journey with the bastard that is anxiety. I've never written anything personal on here, mainly because I didn't think anyone would want to read it. However, I've learnt SO much in the past year, most importantly that blogs can be more than just a place to find out what to wear, where to eat or what make up to buy. They are also a fantastic platform to share your own views, struggles and life experiences. This may be a long one so bear with me...

Many people see the 'perfect' side of life via Instagram and blogs, which is absolute crap. I think this can be an incredibly dangerous way of thinking. NONE of us are perfect or have perfect lives. Even bloggers who are lucky enough to do this as a full time occupation, travel the world and get given endless supplies of designer handbags. They have bad days, family problems and bad outfits just like the rest of us.

 Blogging has changed my life. I wanted to tell you exactly what I mean when I say this. I mean it has literally changed the way I live. Not many people know, but I have battled with mental health, specifically anxiety and panic attacks, for over 15 years. I started my blog because of my anxiety, and I have recovered because of my blog (adding Panic to my blog name of course!)

In a nutshell, I developed anxiety when I was 13 after having 'post viral syndrome' and had to be off school for 7 months. I felt sick and tired constantly, not only did I have to go into a school where everyone was asking why I had been off, I also, at the age of 13 had to deal with feeling ill the majority of the time. I hated lessons where it was quiet, or exams, as I felt claustrophobic when I felt sick, so was happier in busy, loud lessons. Despite having great friends, I still had the odd teenage tosser being less than sympathetic about things (and asking if I'd been off because I'd had a baby FFS). I didn't understand anxiety and none of my teachers did either. I was put with the naughty, disruptive kids when having exams, or catch up lessons; making things worse. I couldn't do anything 'normal' children do. I hated being away from my mum, I couldn't stay over night anywhere and I couldn't even try drinking or smoking in case it made me feel worse.

I made it through my GCSE's and somehow did well. I started at college and managed through, I even had a part time job. Things were getting easier. When I was 20 I met my husband on holiday with my family. This was a turning point in my life. 6 months later I had moved to Turkey, whilst continuing my teaching degree. I still had anxiety, despite having to fly on my own several times (don't ask me how, I couldn't do it now!).

Everything changed when my husband and I moved back to the UK when I was 22. I hadn't been used to living in our society. For 9 months I had lived in an idyllic setting by the beach, with part time work and where people focused on being happy and healthy, not on materialistic possessions. I struggled. I started a job at a local school and lasted 4 months due to having panic attacks up to 5 times a day. I suffered with IBS, and was underweight, not out of choice, but because I couldn't keep food in me.

So it was January 2012 I was 23 had no job and I couldn't cope. I have somehow managed to avoid depression. I credit that to my family and friends always keeping me positive and not letting me slip down, but I was very close and I can totally understand how easy it is for anxiety and depression to go hand in hand. I'd always kept busy, having a little craft business online. I'd also tried Stella and Dot which is like Avon but jewellery. Anything that I didn't have to go out of the house for and didn't have pressure from anyone. I'd had CBT and counselling, but nothing could help. I felt I was going to be stuck like this forever.

Skip to 2013 where I finally saw a specialist (privately as most of you who suffer with anxiety will know the NHS is not the best with mental health!) for an ongoing hormone problem, which my CBT therapist thought may be causing some of the panic. The Doctor said that hormone problems and anxiety, especially in young women, are incredibly intertwined. She told me to come off the pill and have some vitamin B6 (obvs, don't take anything without speaking to you GP). Two months later and I hadn't had one panic attack. It was literally over night. I had not expected anything, I never did when it came to anxiety, but my mindset had changed completely. My heart no longer raced 24/7, I didn't feel sick and I wasn't always on the loo. I felt like me again. 

I continued to recover that year. That's when I decided to focus on my passion, not just what my anxiety could cope with. I had always loved fashion. I'd studied textiles at A level and had a place to study Fashion at Salford Uni, but at the time I didn't think I would be able to cope in the fashion industry with anxiety (remember this was back in 2007 so no bloggers!).

I started my blog in June 2014, having only followed my first blogger the month before. I just knew I wanted to be like her and write about my clothes. I thought it would possibly make me look narcissistic and vain, but the bloggers I followed weren't like that, so I hoped I wouldn't come across like that either. My hubby took pictures of me on my Samsung Galaxy Mobile, and I started on I got Instagram in August that year, only discovering hash tags in November (haha I know!). I started, and quickly left a job at Next during that time. I applied for a part time 10 hour contract, in my second week they made me full time, which I couldn't cope with. Workplace understanding is a whole other topic. Next as a company was great. They had short shifts, and you could swap shifts with colleagues. However, the store where I was placed, didn't have great management. That's the issue really. The company I worked for had the foundations to create a great place of work for people with mental health problems, but if this isn't carried out by the staff, then it can't happen. I think training would be really helpful, as people just don't get it!

I wanted to write this to give people hope. Yes, mine turned out to be a hormonal imbalance, but there are literally hundreds of thousands of young people out there with random, awful mental health problems. I still suffer. I hate flying, I hate illness, I'm still not 100% comfortable when I stay away from home (which at the moment is my parents house!). But I'm now happy, doing what I love and I'd say 80% 'normal' (hate that word, but you know what I mean).

Everyone has problems, everyone cries, everyone feels alone. But if you have anxiety, depression or any other of the shitty conditions, then please know that there is support. Mind have been great, as have Anxiety UK. They're all on twitter and IG, so you can contact them easily. Finally, just remember; social media is the life people want you to see, not what they live. I hope this has made it more clear to you, that I'm not just about clothes, shoes and vogue, and maybe it could even help someone. Either way, you can always leave a comment on email me.

Lots of love,

Lauren XO

New Season Shoes On The Highstreet

One of my new year's resolutions, was to write more inspo pieces on my blog. I LOVE reading these types of posts, but I some how don't get round to writing them very often. I think it's because I write for magazines, and most of my articles are 'what to wear now' type posts and I feel like I've already written it all before. But, as of now, I have not written any SS16 shoe posts! I'm only going to feature my top 3, as I know it's still winter, and I there will be lots of new options nearer Spring. I've also stuck with affordable, high street options, as that's what I can afford and everybody loves a bargain!

Ballet Pumps With Heels
If you are a keen blogger follower, you will have noticed the biggest style queens rocking these babes. The original Celine versions are out of most people's price range, but lucky for us, high street brands have started to produce some fab dupes. Here are my top 3 so far...


White Ankle Boots

Yup, white ankle boots. I did clock this trend back in September during fashion week, but you never know which trend will catch on with our beloved high street. It's only January so I predict lots more will be available in the coming weeks!

Topshop - £125

Slip Ons

My favourite trend so far has to be the slip on shoe. Gucci's fur lined loafers were a massive hit last season, this year it's still the backless shoe, just think more understated and minimal. They are SO comfortable as you don't have to worry about them rubbing on your heel. I bought some in the Forever 21 sale last year as I knew they would be big this season. Can't wait to bring them out! For some reason I could only find some right now, in the asos sale, which is definitely not a complaint!

I have loads more to go through, but they get a bit summery, which is even to early for me who is supposed to be a season ahead! I hope you've enjoyed this little 'inspo' post, I hope it has, well, give you some inspo! I will hopefully get around to doing a few more, maybe once a month.

Have a great weekend!
Lauren XO


Tuesday, 5 January 2016

My Christmas Eve Outfit

So my friends that see me in real life will read this and think I'm totally lying. I saw them at the pub on Christmas Eve wearing the complete opposite of this outfit; a woolly jumper, jeans and wellies! However, we had a little family gathering in the afternoon and I thought I would jazz it up a bit in my new Asos sale trousers. Now on my Instagram post, I said I would be writing all about unflattering trousers, I was slightly misleading; I didn't mean trousers plural...I meant THIS PAIR! 

I found them the day before Christmas Eve on the Asos sale. I didn't need any more trousers, but the cut and D-ring detail had me at 'hello'. As I'm on Asos Premier (obvs) I got them the next day. I had already indulged in pre-Christmas food, so I wanted to wear something comfortable, it's also my New Years resolution to wear things straight away and not to save them for 'later' (later never happens!). Now the thing the I would describe as 'unflattering' is the gathered, paper bag style top part bit (so well described...). They don't give a great shape, but having looked bag on Asos, they aren't that flattering on the size 8 model, so I think it's just they style.

I gradually grew to like the style, although I did add heels to ensure I didn't look too short and stumpy! If 2015 taught me anything, it was to embrace the unflattering! I mean baggy, androgynous shapes and Birkenstocks would not have been at the top of my wish list a few years ago, now I can't wait to rock them in SS16! As you can see I did decide to post this look, mainly as I'm in love with my cute Radley clutch (I'll have to do a post on the 3 ways you can wear this as it's incred!). I teamed it with another oversized white jumper and my lace up, Tesco heels!

I'm loving neutrals right now, (exciting I know) so the khaki was a bit of a change and is a top colur for SS16. I hope this has inspired you to try some unflattering trousers of your own!

Happy New Year!

Lauren x

Trousers: Asos // Jumper: Zara // Shoes: F&F (similar) // Bag: Radley 
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