27 May 2015

Bright Lights, Bohemian Nights

As the evenings rid themselves of bitter nippy chills, now's the time to get the party poppers cracking, ensure the wine bottles aren't lacking and to get your happy host hands clapping round some beautifully whimsical outdoor get-togethers! 

For those of you still nursing weeping wounds of F.O.M.O at missing the Coachella vibes of desert shakes, we've gathered together a treasure box of photo collage inspiration all sparkling with gorgeous, creative and magical ideas! Unique with embellishing details of enchantment get yourself acquainted with draped handfuls of tulle, saris, blankets all wrapped around magical lanterns, low lights and flickering candles to really get you into the free n'easy mood. Let nature take you to the elements and enchant your friends with a perfectly memorable outdoor dining experience complete with a sprinkling dash of bohemia cool in a bewitching moon party slumber.

Just remember to keep it romantically easy with an eclectic mix of style and colour...think mismatched decor settings, an abundance of wild florals, slouchy cushions, feathers and hazy hanging lights to nail that colourfully unforced, carefree look. Now's the time to channel your inner hippie chic...

Why not chuck in a few cheeky hookahs to really get the chilled vibes flowing...after all, everyone knows the party don't start until someone cracks out the wine & scandalous tomfoolery!

[Also available to read at Couture Stories]
[Photo source inspiration: Pinterest, homespunaround.blogspot.co.uk, popsugar.com] 


25 May 2015

The Path To Endurance: An Underrated Trait

Life can often end up resembling an old rickety treadmill that's seen better days than your beloved grammy has! Whilst some of these challenging inconveniences can be dealt with a hearty dose of rationality, self-respect and inner strength, pulling these ingredients our of our toolbox of life is easier said than done. 

As life rides the wave of uncertainty, change and unjust high and lows, we can often end up feeling like we're strapped in tight on a roller coaster of immeasurable and impossible demands that leave our bodies weak, our resilience and willpower quivering weak and that the only option left is to hit the quit button. This is where mental endurance becomes the shining glory in times of such struggle. Endurance appears to be a character trait that is often underrated and brushed under the welcome matt but is one that holds in its very title the strength to overcome passivity and centre our focus and self-discipline to persevere and climb the mountains we face, no matter how high they appear and the ability to keep us on our path of goals. 

We all have a degree of inner strength in each and every one of us but it is ultimately how we utilise this virtue that manifests its power to challenge the struggles of daily life enabling us to keep powering through. Mental endurance, much like an athlete may work through a training schedule to build his physical stamina, is nurtured and strengthened through repeated practise, patience and exercise to challenge our minds and improve focus. 

With a hat of common sense firmly fastened to your head, challenge yourself to break free from your safe routines and try different things at different times, places and different people. Yes it may feel like you're standing stark naked with your nunga-nungas swaying free n'easy in the nippy winds for all to see but as soon as you do it once and keep repeating the change, showing off your lady lumps will suddenly become something truly liberating as opposed to something to fear or to shy away from. Practise and repetition makes a world of difference to your mental perceptions and developing actions in a different way to how you'd automatically respond regenerates our inner resilience and determination to change and mental success. 

Above all take care of yourself in the change process and don't beat yourself up by expecting too much or too little of yourself in a pre-figured amount of time. Everyone adjusts and grows at different rates so whether you run the rat-race of life as either the hare or tortoise is entirely in your control- just ensure that what you do is 100% right for you. Building endurance is a tricky task and can often feel like a relentless feat to no avail but if you keep your focus on one thing at a time, building upon the time you spend pursuing it you'll suddenly find yourself managing the holders that crop up with a stronger heart and more resilient head. 

Endurance is certainly an overlooked virtue in a world of cut-throat, social media generated self-centreism but is one that will drive you further than most in the highway of life challenges. So keep your noble head up, your nimble heart open and shine your patience to better days ahead. 

[Also available to read at Couture Stories]
[Photo Source Inspiration: Pinterest] 

20 May 2015

Destination Lift-Off: The Places You Need To Visit This Summer

It's hurtling towards the end of May which means it's zooming towards the end-of-exams for all you graduates out there (or the beginning for those unlucky sods) which ultimately means it's nearly time for the sweet sweet taste of Summer freedom drenched in the succulent pimms soaked air!

Once the sleepy dormant sun decides to pull up her socks and pull her weight in showing her face to the World and the beer gardens begin to fill up with gaggles of giggling cacklers sipping on icy froth-filled beverages, alight your daydreams of wanderlust travel and breezy summer sunshine with my top destinations to set your sights on this summer! 

Whilst the clouds rinse themselves of their remaining showers and breezy chills, get your fingers dancing across your keyboard, your summer plans thriving in excitement and your bank card groaning under a weighty-but-unforgetable travel adventure...

European Capitals 

Think: Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Rome, Bruges, Zermatt

Europe never loses its natural ability to enchant and capacity to mesmerise its' globetrotters through its unique and magical history and culture. Boasting an abundance of mesmerising architecture, gourmet cuisine, fashion, art and monumental urban spaces, these cities whisper their stories through the corners of their scenery and opulent antiquity. Get Lost, Live, Learn, Explore & Escape. 

Thai Islands 

Think: Koh Tao, Ko Samui, Ko Racha, Ko Phi Phi

The Islands of Thailand seem to be etched upon almost every wanderlust dreamer's travel bucket list and with such a plethora of diversity, fauna & balmy beaches, this beautiful country remains to be an exquisite destination for pure indulgence, escapism and 100% hedonism. Go thai for total relaxation, exploration, recreation & spiritual restoration.

Croatian Islands

Think: Hvar, Dubrovnik, Vis, Murter, Mljet

It's a well known fact that Croatia boasts some of the most memorable festivals across Europe that'll have you chilled out, maxin', relaxin', keeping it cool and swaying to the beat of the heat in one glorious concoction of beach-bar frolics and enchanting rippling waters of nature. With a sweeping multitude of dramatic, blissfully unspoilt islands to choose from, Croatia is a country that offers just about anything for a variety of personalities all seeking pure contentment. 

Palawan, Philippines

An unspoilt Island province of the Philippines, Palawan is a sliver of dreamland escapism with its rippling tropical aquamarine waters, secluded coves of nature and soft sandy beaches of pure beauty. 
Hailed as one of the most untouched and natural wonders of the world, Palawan is an idyllic island of undersea adventure, breathtaking scenery and one of the top worldwide destinations for nothing more than unforgettable relaxation and exotic secrets. 

Greek Islands 

Think: Kefalonia, Santorini, Naxos, Rhodes, Crete

Distinctively beautiful, Greece as a country offers the covetable antidote to life's desires every single time through its vast variety of stunning islands and ever-present silhouettes of atmospheric culture and wanderlust magic. Whether it's off-beat authenticity, sleepy untouched beauty, bustling vibes of experience or peaceful trails of escapism, Greece offers an abundance of Islands all teeming with endless possibilities, adventure and world-class inspiration of captivating antiquity.  

West Coast USA 

Think: Seattle, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco

Massive would be a description of understatement to sum up the United States but venturing to the West Coast of this land of opportunities an exciting adventure would be nothing short of a trip of a lifetime. Boasting some of the greatest cities in the World all thriving with sun, sea, culture and amazing memories, the west coast basks in eternal fun, laid-back vibes, unforgettable sites and and offers no better way to see what lies beyond the world of your limited vision. 

Kauai, Hawaii

Relaxing, pristine, covered in tropical beauty, lush greenery and warm saltwater, this mid-Pacific Island tantalises the senses from every angle through its dramatic beauty and golden sands of dreams.  As one of the least-commercially developed Hawaiian Islands, Kauai is the garden island of charm, mystery and unconquered adventure. One of the geographically diverse spots in the World, this tiny Hawaiian island offers endless enchantment for all ages and people and remains to be a destination like no other. 

[Also available to read at Couture Stories]
[Photo Source Inspiration: Pinterest, timeout.com, telegraph.co.uk, tripadvisor]

18 May 2015

The Rosie Effect: Girl Of The Moment

A thoroughly British actress, model & beauty bombshell who has walked for the fashion likes of Valentino, Luis Vuitton and Marchesa to name a few, angelically spread her Victoria's Secret feathers and busted out some badass action moves in Cinematic blockbusters. Oh and that doesn't even begin to cover her delicate and dainty lingerie collection in collaboration with Autograph for the ever-fashion forward M&S.

Take a peak at the beauty & style file of the Devon belle-come leading lady of the It girl world...

[Also available to read at Couture Stories]
[Photo Source Inspiration: Pinterest, thezoereport.com, vogue.co.uk]

13 May 2015

Frizz Off: The 10 Commandments of Curly Hair Care

Sick of looking like a limp, parched, dried out end of the bog brush? It's not exactly the hankered look of the summer season and not a look guaranteed to keep your man doe-eyed and waggy-tailed by your seductive allure. 

Don't fret! I've rummaged together my best hair care secrets and scrapbooked together a curly girl hair guide of commandments saintly enough to make the angels sing! 

Get your lifeless locks springing back into season with my favourite top tips and get ready to whip your hair back n'forth Willow Smith style...All hail curl power!

#1. "No-Poo" is your calling
The twist of this commandment is to give anything containing sulphates, heat and silicone the almighty boot in order to nail your killer curl potential! Many shampoos and hair products designed to maximise your bounce power are loaded with hidden harsh nasties that just revel in stripping your hair of its natural healthy oils, leaving behind one frizzy, damaged, parched poodle with no hair sweeping potential. To keep your curls nourished and manageable, try washing your hair with conditioner instead...not only does it get the job done by ensuring your scalp is squeaky clean, it leaves your locks hydrated, manageable and ready to flourish. 
The naughty nasties to look out for include: sodium laureth sulfate, ammonium lauryl sulfate, sodium lauryl sulfate etc.....basically anything that looks scientifically fancy and hard to enunciate!

#2. Embrace the T-shirt, bin the towel
Instead of grabbing your freshly plumped Egyptian cotton brushed towel from Marks & Spencer's finest and going to town with it, pluck a t-shirt from your man's drawer and dry your hair with it instead to greatly reduce frizz, hair breakage and ultimately set the fundamental base for working your curls. As t-shirts aren't as absorbent as towel fibres, you may need to squeeze out some excess water clinging to your locks, keeping in mind not to twist your hair strands. 

#3. Starting down under is always sweeter
When conditioning in the shower and brushing through your locks with a wide-tooth comb, always start from the bottom and work your way up towards your roots. This will ensure that most of the moisture will hit and coat the end tips of your hair which are naturally more dry than your roots. By doing this, you'll buy yourself an extra 1-2 days of powder-fresh hair swish before the grease gremlins infester the nest. 

#4. Ditch the brush to detangle
To fight the pesky knots that come as a obligatory side dish to curly hair, chuck the brush and go old-school by unearthing your dad's much-loved hair comb. Brush bristles can damage the delicate hairs of your curls, destroying their groove and leaving you a frightful version of frankenstein first thing in the morning as opposed to a latino-looking goddess. If you can't get your hands on a wide-tooth comb or gentle detangling contraption from Boots, then a good ole' finger-combing session gets the job done just as well without all the faff!

#5. Diffuse away the frizz
Most hairdryers available on the hair care market come with an array of contraptions that slot on to your blowing machine. Before you hurl them to the back of your wardrobe like the 3 previous hairdryer purchases you've made, pluck out the spiky bowl attachment and use it when drying your curls. Drape your hair into the dish and as the air drys your hair, it will distribute the heat across your curls, holding them in place and helping to maintain their twirl as opposed to blowing around like you're bloomin' caught in a wind tunnel. 

#6. When visiting the chair, always demand a dry cut
Without being Miss obvious, dry curly hair and sopping wet curly hair are completely different states which can affect the way that your curls fold together. As your hair drys, some curls will coil tighter and closer together compared to when they are holding onto moisture and will drop looser. Instead of opting for a wet cut where the natural fall of your curls is hard to predict, plump for a dry cut as what you see is what you get and you'll get a more accurate cut that maximises the bounce of your coils. 

#7. Turn down the heat
The best way to care for curly hair is to allow it to naturally air-dry with the elements, minimising as much damage as possible. Unfortunately, a working girl's morning routine doesn't always allow for marching around with a dripping head of wet dreads so keep your hair dyer on the lower heat settings when diffusing to keep heat damage to a minimum. Excessive exposure to heat can alter the proteins found in curly hair which can make your hair fall limp over time. The moral of the story is to embrace what'cha mama gave you and keep the styling products for your girl's night on the town!

#8. Sleep like a princess
I absolutely give you permission to act that a pampered bitch with this commandment! Switch your usual cotton pillowcase for a slippery luxurious silk one and not only will you feel fabulously decadent but your curls will sing your praises! Instead of getting caught on cotton fibres as you toss about in your sleepy slumbers, your locks will glide across the silk case, cutting out the friction that can tug at your hair fibres and cause damaging hair breakage. 

#9. It's all in the application
You know how you lock yourself in your bathroom for roughly 30 minutes meticulously applying your St.Moritz fake tan like your searching for diamonds in order to achieve that enviable brazen glow to waltz into the office with? Adopt the same passion when you apply your styling products girl! Keep it simple but focused as you don't want to end up with copious globs of sticky serum in your roots, making you resemble your mandatory friday night chip bag whilst your ends fly loosy-goosy in frizzy ecstasy! Take your time to ensure that you apply your products thinly, evenly and with a light scrunching action to ensure a mop of ringlet roses to watch blossom into beauty.

#10. Strut it like you're hot
If you follow the curly girl hair guide commandments and look out for your sprightly ringlets then you won't need confirmation from me that you'll be sporting a fabulous 'do. Don't be shy and coy, whip your head up, shake your luscious locks like ya just don't care and shimmy your curly girl sass down the pavements loud, proud and bouncy fresh!

You go, curl!

[Also available to read at Couture Stories]
[Photo source Inspiration: Pinterest, allure.com]

11 May 2015

Oh La-La: Harnessing The Fashion Cold Shoulder

Amongst the seventies bohemian sweep taking over our wardrobes sits a bubbling flashback to fluid gypsy fabrics unravelling to showcase our delicate d├ęcolletages. Summer sees us swinging back to the 80s baby where gleaming a cheeky glimpse of shoulder action was the neckline of fashion dreams. 

Flashing some flesh is the perfect style answer in taking you from beach-babe envy to bar-hopping beauty oozing whimsical seduction, chic demure & an enviable silhouette to suit all the wonderful shapes we come in. 

Lady-like, elegant in an uncompromising way & a shortcut to nailing understated glamour this beckoning St.Tropez season so take a look at some naughty clavicle-bearing inspiration, shrug off your sleeves and smoulder with a touch of shoulder...

[Also available to read at Couture Stories]
[Photo Source Inspiration: Pinterest, justthedesign.com, Telegraph.com, Somethingnavy.com, fashion-agony.com, vanessabali.com]

06 May 2015

Yo' Mama, Yo' Hero, Yo' Best Friend

It suddenly hits you a bit like a wet fish out of water. An unintentional realisation that your mum is in fact not just the strong woman who nurtured you, fed you, fought hard to make you realise your dreams and provided a role model of un-relentless love and encouragement but she is without shame or doubt, your very best friend. My mum has made me in some way or another, everything I am today and for that I am more than thankful. 

She just understands everything - she gets it- without needing words, an exchange of looks or direction. An unbroken bond that I pander to with a grateful heart, humble hands and a good dose of blonde sarcasm. 

Everyone musters giggles when they tell you that you'll simply wake up one day cracking open a pair of rebellious adolescent eyes that replace the looks of adoration with flying daggers of unadulterated hate towards your mum and dad. That day does come- trust me - where you stifle the groans of agony and misguided anger at your two-tone hair disasters and oh-so-troublesome boy woes which are entirely 100% due to the entire loathsome existence of your parents. It's an awkward phase I'll assure you and definitely takes a couple of rough n'tumble blowouts before the sea suddenly grounds itself. Yet suddenly from the rocky waters blossoms a new found respect and admiration for that special little lady who wiped your butt when you thought toilet time was party time all the time!

You no longer want to flee your cage of "future plan" chats and mandatory Sunday sit-down dinners but take a glowing pleasure and delight in being able to exchange non-judgemental natters consumed in unconditional trust, countless cups of tea and true authentic friendship. Your mum becomes your favourite confidant where the loving bond that bubbles and simmers throughout is one of magical, wonderful rarity. Through all your rocky relationships and failed romances, the special love between a mother and her child stands strong and proud, glowing in humble and timeless security. 

Here's why I think yo' mama will always be your #1 girl amongst the perils of life...

#1. She's the first one you call when shit hits the roof & your boss tuts in audacitity at your cheek to dare wear a last season's Zara jacket.

#2. She's the first one you call when you hear the fabulous news that your daily interning slog no longer requires you picking up Carmela's non-fat skinny caramel decaf latte every hour, on the hour or scooping out the cat litter of charming Mr.Banks her Egyptian minx but wait for it...you actually get to step inside the fashion closet to colour organise the hangers...#winning!

#3. She's the only one you can survive a shopping trip with without needing to resort to your little book of excuses. The added flashing of plastic that doesn't involve your bank account manager is also a delightful bonus.

#4. She's the only one who'll be totally honest with you. If you look like utter crap then girl, you'll know it. 

#5. She'll put you in your place when you've got your temper boots on & acting like a bloody brat. 

#6. She'll be the first to invite round the only two men ever allowed to step foot in the house when you're feeling like the remnants of Mr Bank's kitty box...Ben & Jerry's. It's yo mama who can always put the fierce back into your sassy pants. 

#7. Whilst you franticly try to conjure up another winning outfit to flounce into work and avoid the judgemental eyes of your boss, you know your mum won't batt an eyelid that when you stay the weekend your baggy bum dinosaur onesie comes as a 2 for 1 package deal of your company. 

#8. Her inherent beauty and grace inspires you daily to try and be the best you can be and to radiate the positivity that she projects to all that's around her.

#9. She'll drop everything like it's hot and come running to your side when you feel even a whiff of a sniffle or suffering from an almighty killer headache that has absolutely nothing to do with the cold that's circling around and more from the 5 tequila shots you knocked back in last nights' shenanigans. 

#10. She can 100% see through your perfected poker face. Every. Single. Bloody. Time.

#11. She'll be the one standing there beside you clutching your hand when it feels like everyone else has walked away. 

So give your old lady a little break, she's not always that incessant woman who calls you all the time. She's your harshest critic, your greatest side-line supporter, most loyal constant and the only person whose heart you know sounds like on the inside.

So yes I am throwing it out there, this is a shameless shout out to my lovely mother who like my arms has never once left my side and is truthfully the best part of me... I love you mum. 

[Also available to read at Couture Stories]
[Photo Source Inspiration: Pinterest]
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