Monday, 15 September 2014

Personal: Why I Write.

 I don't normally like incorporating tags in to my blog but after seeing this one floating around the blogosphere and eventually being tagged by the lovely Sarah (Saloca in Wonderland), I thought I would give it a go. It's a little bit different than your usual tag post and I actually find it quite interesting to get to know the creative process behind people's blogs.


What am I working on?
Right now, I am working on bringing my blog back down to its roots a little bit. I mentioned in a blog post last month that I originally started my blog just for me, as a way of writing down my inner thoughts. This is why I am trying to intertwine some more personal lifestyle posts between my outfit posts and product reviews; my blog is an extension of me, my interests and my personality and I really want this to show.

I am also preparing to take the big leap to YouTube. It has been a long time coming and I have finally mustered up the courage to ramble at my camera in a few failed attempts at filming a video over the past couple of weeks. Unfortunately, this is due to a few technical difficulties, but as soon as these are sorted you will be able to watch me (and my awful accent) in all my awkward glory. Watch this space!

  How does my writing differ from others in my genre?
I think that most bloggers eventually find their niche, whether it be outfit posts, recipes, beauty reviews, DIY tutorials or a combination of a few things. However, I am a dabbler, an experimenter, and I have many passions in life ranging from fashion, to music, to healthy living, to travel, so the spectrum of topics I cover is wide because, as mentioned above, my blog is an extension of myself and I don't want to miss anything out. I hope that this way, everybody will find something that they are interested in reading when they click through my posts.

Why do I write?
I have always loved writing. When I was little I used to spend entire days penning short stories and pretend magazine articles, and I absolutely loved the creative writing parts of my English classes at school. I also think that it is because of this that I find writing to be the easiest way for me to express myself. Whether it be a quote I've read somewhere, a song or letter I've written or even a text message or email, I have always found it easier to speak my mind by text instead of voice. So naturally, when I discovered there was a way to share my thoughts, loves, hates and ideas with people through the medium of writing, I really took to it.

How does my writing process work?
In all honesty, I don't have any kind of organised routine when it comes to blogging. I have tried an endless amount of times to find something that works for me but I much prefer to blog about whatever I want, when I want to. Whenever I have tried to schedule blog posts in advance, I either get too eager to publish it or I re-read it after a few days and I hate it, so I find that it is better for me to spend a good few hours perfecting a blog post that I feel inspired to write at the time and publishing it straight away. Lately, however, I have found it very beneficial to always have a notebook to hand to keep track of what PR samples I have received and what events I have lined up so that I can plan the rest of my content between posts of a higher priority.

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Now, I never know who to tag in these kinds of posts so I am not going to, but if you have done this tag then please link me to it as I have loved reading them! 

Why do you write?

Frances x
Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Food: #Tweet4aTable

*Thank you to Pingkan Melbourne for taking over my camera today ;)

The Co-operative Food are currently making their way up and down the country promoting their Summer range through a Twitter-led campaign which allows people to tweet at the dedicated Twitter account with a reason why they deserve to win a table for a chance for them and up to three friends to enjoy a free drink, starter and main course at The Co-operative Food's pop-up restaurant. Hearing that the campaign was making its way to Liverpool, and not being one to turn down a catch-up with good friends over a bite to eat, I made my way over to Paradise Place in Liverpool One this afternoon, where the bright, "co-operative food green" mobile restaurant has settled for the next couple of days.

As we were greeted and seated, it was explained to us that everything that we were about to eat was The Co-operative's own produce, from the drinks, to the ingredients in the main course and even the condiments! We were handed our menus and left for a moment to ponder over the rather naughty-looking choices whilst taking a few selfies with the props they had left for us on our table (don't I just look absolutely thrilled at the thought of free food in the photo above haha).

I opted for the 'Holey Moley', a soft brioche bun filled to the brim with The Co-operative Food's "ready to cook" smokey barbecue pulled pork, gruyere cheese and American coleslaw, with a side order of spring onion cheese fries. Teamed with a squirt of mustard and ketchup, this flavour bomb definitely hit the spot. If that wasn't enough, we were also given a bowl of my ultimate weakness to keep us going whilst we waited for our main dishes to be served; nachos complete with melted cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Om nom nom.

After we had finished eating, in true restaurant style, we were brought a tip tray with a few slips of paper clipped on top. Don't worry guys, this meal is definitely for free; instead of a bill, The Co-operative Food have given us a £2-off coupon to spend at our local store, plus they jot down how much it costs to make the delicious meal you just consumed. To replicate my pulled-pork pile up and cheesy fries it would set me back a whopping grand total of... £4.47. Who said you had to spend a lot on good food? This one could be a dinner party winner.

If you are in Liverpool tomorrow or Friday (September 11 & 12), follow @Tweet4aTable and mention them in a tweet stating why you deserve to dine in their pop-up restaurant (don't forget to use the hashtag #Tweet4aTable too!) for a chance to win a table for you and up to three friends. Manchester and Newcastle, you guys keep your eyes peeled too, as the #Tweet4aTable mobile will be hitting your cities real soon!

And here, I leave you with the #Tweet4aTable menu to feast your eyes upon ;)


Have you tweeted for a table?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: I was invited along to experience the restaurant as a #tweet4atable VIP guest. All opinions are still 100% honest and my own.




Tuesday, 9 September 2014

Outfit: Hybrid.

Photo credit: Shane Murray
Dress: C/O Hybrid* | Coat: Primark (old) | Shoes: New Look (old) | Rings: Rare London

I find that when dressing up for special occasions or more formal affairs, it can be easy to blend in to the crowd (pencil skirt, check; cute blazer, check; court shoes, check, etc, etc.). That's where Hybrid comes to the rescue! Their huge range of evening and cocktail dresses make special use of bright hues, colour blocking and fun lace overlays to combine a touch of zest with sophistication to make the ultimate formal attire; perfect for date night, race day, weddings or even in the office.
Hot pink definitely isn't a colour that I find myself leaning towards often but I decided to tone it down a little with my trusty black coat and take the plunge with this number (the Hybrid Hannah bodycon dress), as I loved the look of the sexy satin panels that add a subtle uniqueness to a simple, classy dress. 
Who said that smart has to be boring?!

Have you heard of Hybrid before?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.



Monday, 8 September 2014

Outfit: 1949, I found you.

 Photo credit: Shane Murray
Blouse: Primark | Skirt: Ark | Shoes: C/O F&F*

Put those legs away girls, because midi is the new mini, and modest is the new sexy this season. I wore this ensemble when I went out for drinks with a friend over the weekend I ended up loving it so much I wanted to share. I have always had a fascination with 1940/50s style- from the full, circular skirts, to the pinup girl makeup, to the wavy Hollywood hair; girls from this era were on point. So naturally, when I saw that full midi skirts and culottes were making a comeback for AW14 (don't be surprised if you see them on my blog a lot over the next few months), I was excited to put a 'teenies' twist on it. I picked up this blouse for a tenner in Primark, and after a hearty debate over whether to return it (I didn't need it- story of our lives, right?), I decided to give it a go teamed with my black circle skirt and gold ankle strapped shoes, and it turns out it was a match made in heaven. Funny how that happens, eh?

Are you loving the below-the-knee trend?

Frances x

*Starred items are PR samples.

Friday, 5 September 2014

Review: Andrew Collinge Hairdressing Salon, Liverpool.




First things first, ladies, I am sorry for the single, bad quality iPad photograph on this blog post. I left my house yesterday knowing completely that I was on blogger duty, and it was only when I was half way to the train station that I realised that I had forgotten my camera! I wish I had some sort of excuse, but I don't. Let's just call it a blip and forget it ever happened, okay?

Anyway, yesterday I was invited along to the Andrew Collinge salon based on Castle Street in Liverpool to receive a hair cut and blow dry* from their very own Alison Roberts, who is a finalist for Best North Western Hairdresser in the British Hairdressing Awards which are taking place this November. This, teamed with the many great reviews I had heard about the Andrew Collinge salons left me with high hopes that I would be leaving the salon feeling ready for a L'Oreal advert, and I wasn't disappointed by my experience.

Being that I usually pay around £15 for an apprentice hairdresser to look after my tresses, it was a nice change to be in the hands of somebody who really, really knew what they were doing. Alison was absolutely lovely, made friendly conversation with me throughout the appointment and she didn't point out every single split end I had (I've found that a lot of hairdressers don't hold back!). 

After Alison had assessed my hair, she sent me off to get my hair washed, where I had the most amazing smelling shampoo and conditioning treatment ever (I wish I had asked what products were used; if you work at Andrew Collinge, please holler at me!), whilst simultaneously being treated to a head massage. I could definitely get used to this kind of treatment. ;)

I had agreed with Alison that I wanted my long fringe cut back in, lots of layers and a curly blow-dry to finish it off. Also, Ireallywantedtokeepmylengththesame. She explained to me exactly what she was doing as she was doing it and kept making sure that I was happy with how it looked. And when she trimmed my hair, it was actually a trim, instead of me losing at least 25% of my length. Alison, you are a woman after my own heart.

I am so happy with the result, and a day later my hair still feels and smells amazing, although I know it is never going to look quite as good as it did when I left the salon yesterday (hairdressers are magicians, I swear). And from the experience I've learned that, even though it isn't always affordable, I think it is definitely worth investing in a haircut from a more experienced hairdresser every now and again, especially if you're going for a drastic change.
If you are local to Liverpool, I would definitely recommend checking out what Andrew Collinge has to offer (you can see their treatments and price list here) and booking in with Alison. Maybe I'm just biased, but I think she deserves to win that award ;)

Thank you, Alison, and good luck at the British Hairdressing Awards! :)

Have you visited an Andrew Collinge salon?

Frances x

* I was kindly treated to my hair appointment free of charge in exchange for a honest review. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.



Monday, 1 September 2014

Birkenstock.


It may be the first of September, meaning that Summer is well and truly on its way out, but my toes are still making the most of the last of the Summer air. Ugly seems to be the new black this year as Birkenstocks have well and truly taken the fashion world by storm. A shoe like marmite, I admit that at first I wasn't sold; they were just too reminiscent of the kind of footwear associated with dads and socks on holiday, but after seeing the likes of the Olsen twins, Alexa Chung and many of you stylish bloggers out there making these sandals look somewhat cute, I decided to give it a go myself. Enter the Birkenstock Arizonas.

I was surprised at how easy they are to style, adding a rugged and androgynous finish to boyfriend jeans, floral shorts, summer dresses and even tailored suit pants; the possibilities are endless with these dark horses of the shoe world. Not to mention how friggin' comfy they are. Seriously guys, the well-thought-out, contoured footbed makes it feel as though you are having a foot massage with every step you take. They may not the prettiest shoes in the neighbourhood, but they get tens across the board for comfort and practicality, that's for sure!

If you are a narrow-footed girl like me, I would recommend sizing down as these sandals do have the potential of making even the most dainty of feet look like they belong to a clown, even when the adjustable uppers are tightened to the last hole. 
When it's time to retire these shoes in favour for boots and my trusty Nike Blazers, I think my Birkenstocks will still find themselves being my around-the-house companions, and the quality of them means that they will definitely be making an appearance next Summer for sure, and maybe even the Summer after that!

Are you a fan of Birkenstocks?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: PR sample. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.