Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Outfit: Underwear as Outerwear Part I.

Lace Body: C/O Marks & Spencer* | Skirt: C/O Karma Clothing* | Shoes: C/O Tribeca Shoes* | Jacket: Miss Selfridge | Necklace: C/O Punky Pins* | Belt: ASOS

With sightings on the catwalks and celebrities such as Ellie Goulding and Rihanna catching on to it, it seems that lingerie is making a new name for itself as outerwear instead of underwear. Last week, Marks & Spencer popped me over the challenge of styling a piece of their lingerie for everyday wear in three different ways- oo-er, challenge accepted! Not quite ready for the commitment of leaving the house looking like I forgot to put a shirt on under my jacket, I opted for the safer option of a lace body which, teamed with a pencil/midi skirt and a jacket to cover up, I think is wearable and adds a subtle sexiness to a smart outfit (although, save it for evening occasions rather than the office- I don't think your boss would appreciate anybody turning up to work dressed like this!). I will be styling up this number in a couple of other posts in the near future so watch this space! :)

Are you brave enough to wear underwear as outerwear?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Review: Gelicious Hybrid Gel Nail Colour.

Gelicious "Little Prince George" Starter Pack: AU$129.00 (approx £69.66)*

I'm a little late to jump on the wagon but I have always been intrigued by the idea of gel nails. Nail polish that doesn't take hours to dry and that lasts for weeks without chipping? Yes please, us girls have things to do! It can be a little costly to go out to a salon and get your nails done every few weeks though, so when Gelicious contacted me asking if I would like to try one of their at-home kits, I jumped at the chance!

Gelicious are an Australia-based retailer of hybrid gel nail polishes, and most recently they have developed three new limited edition shades inspired by the arrival of our little Prince George of Cambridge. Each shade with it's own catchy little name, the collection consists of 'Hot Mama Cambridge', a metallic raspberry which is as radiant as Kate Middleton herself; my personal favourite, 'Breath of Fresh Heir', a pale, frosted pink which is perfectly subtle for any expecting mother-to-be; and finally the one I received to try out, 'Little Prince George', which is a baby blue shade containing little white flecks- inspired by the blue polka dot dress worn by Kate as she left the hospital.

The Gelicious Starter Set comes with your nail polish shade of choice, an ultra glaze topcoat and a UV LED 3.5W Mani/Pedi lamp which is used to cure the polishes. Application is quick and simple- You just apply the coloured polish in thin layers until opaque, curing each layer under the UV lamp for one minute and then finishing off with the ultra glaze topcoat which should be cured for two minutes, leaving you with the glossiest nails. Wipe over your nails with nail polish remover to get rid of the sticky film, rinse your hands and you're good to do the washing, eat, do your makeup, do backflips... all without having to worry about smudging! Perfect.

Gelicious also claims that their polishes are supposed to last on your nails for up to ten days, which unfortunately is where this pretty colour let me down. I'm no expert so I'm not sure whether it was a flaw in my application or not (if you have any idea how to prevent this, let me know!), but I found my polish peeling away from my nails in the bath after just a few days of wear.

Gelicious ship their products speedily worldwide and they have a huge range of stunning colours and finishes available to choose from which can be viewed here, prices starting from AU$29 (approx £15) with each 15ml bottle lasting for 30-40 applications.

Have you ever had a gel nail manicure? What do you think?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: PR sample. All opinions expressed are still 100% honest and my own.
Thursday, 20 February 2014

Wishlist: Pastel Pink.

[Image source: 1 2 3 4 5]

I have never really considered myself to be particularly girly and pink was never a colour that appealed to me very much, but after the Debenhams' SS14 Lookbook popped in to my email inbox and I fell for the looks by Red Herring (pictured above- that long line jacket, though!), I have gone a little loopy for the pastel pink trend. Naturally, I went on to spend a little too much time browsing online and filling up my theoretical shopping basket, only to be brought back down in despair by the fact that I am actually not a millionaire. So, instead, I thought I would compile together a very pink wishlist of some of my favourite finds so that you can lust over them, too. I'm just thoughtful like that!

1. Primark Pastel Pink Coat £32.00
The pastel pink boyfriend coat is definitely the statement piece of the season, but despite seeing them left, right and centre, I have had trouble finding one that is the perfect length and the perfect shade of pink. That is until I came across this one. Primark, of all places! At £32 it is a steal and has definitely taken the top spot on my wish list.

Ahh what girl hasn't dreamed of having the infamous Alexander Wang Rocco bag in her collection? Well, browsing on Morgan Clare a few days ago I may have stumbled across a new love, in the shape of the Lia Messenger bag. Pastel pink leather and rose gold studs- What more could you want (except maybe a lower price tag)?!

It's pink, it's cropped and it's sparkly, therefore I love it. This little number would look fab paired with a faux leather skater skirt or the matching pencil skirt.

If pink isn't really your thing, who says you can't use accessories to subtly incorporate it in to an outfit? Just imagine you're like Audrey Hepburn, channeling Breakfast at Tiffany's in an elegant black ensemble. And then add this necklace. Yes, I thought so, too.

Now, this number may have sneakily found it's way in to my wardrobe already, and it's wonderful, trust me. I'll prove it in an outfit post soon, I promise!

Are you loving the pastel pink trend this season? What is your favourite piece from my wishlist?
Frances x

*Collaborative post.
Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Outfit: Today Was A Fairytale.

Dress: C/O Chi Chi* | Hat: H&M | Hummingbird Ring: C/O Jana Reinhardt* | Bow Ring: Forever 21 

Chi Chi have only gone and done it again. The Penelope dress is the fourth dress of theirs in my collection and I have fallen for it just as much as I did the others. Lace applique, back button detailing and a flowy, chiffon maxi skirt with a cheeky side slit and there's not much more left for me to desire in a dress. A princess dress only deserves fairytale-like photos so I ventured down to a nearby park with my bestest, by far one of the prettiest places where I live (there aren't many) and dodged the rain and muddy puddles to capture this beauty in all it's glory. Feel free to marvel at my friend's amazing photography skills- It was hard to narrow these photos down!

I also need to take a moment to talk about how beautiful this ring from Jana Reinhardt is- I love how dainty it is and it hasn't left my finger since it first popped through my letterbox. It has since become a habit of mine to sit looking through Jana Reinhardt's collections and lusting over their unique and delicate pieces. I dare you to go and take a peek at their engagement rings and bespoke jewellery- They are truly something else! Will somebody just marry me, please?!

Frances x

DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.
Monday, 17 February 2014

Outfit: Rude Boy.

Vest: Fenchurch C/O BANK* | Trainers: Converse via Schuh | Socks: Primark | Hat: C/O Fashion Union* | Necklace: Forever 21 | Wrist cuff: C/O Fashion Union* | Anchor Bracelet: C/O tinyWishes* | Rings: Primark

When I styled together this outfit it only felt right that I took advantage of the graffiti'd walls around the corner from where I live as a backdrop to complete that urban feel. I really like how the photos came out- Well done, Warrington. I do love a bit of sports luxe and street style at the moment- Half the time I don't think I'm cool enough to pull it off, but if it means that I can parade around in tracksuit bottoms or a sports jersey then that's great by me, I mean, a basketball vest with matching red lipstick and knee-high socks is as close to Michael Jordan as I am going to get, isn't it (yeah, exactly...)? Fenchurch have recently launched a women's range at BANK and they have got urban style down to a tee- I'm currently lusting over these leopard print leggings- Think I could pull them off?

What do you think of urban fashion?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Outfit: Seems I've Done Nothing Lately But Pull Petals Off Of Daisies.

Blouse: Glamorous C/O BANK* | Shorts: Topshop | Socks: Topshop | Shoes: New Look | Floral Headband: Primark | Hummingbird Ring: C/O Jana Reinhardt* | Flower Ring: C/O Little Trinkets*

It's February and she's already dusting off the floral everythings- What can I say, I'm excited for the Summer! Loose-fitting, boyfriend-style blouses seem to be hitting the stores big time this season, and I can see many of them hitting my wardrobe, also! This floral number from BANK is the most recent addition to my collection and I love the flashes of yellow, blue, purple and pink that brighten up the monochrome pattern without it being too in-your-face. I can see myself getting a lot of wear out of this one over the next few months, especially during festival season (I'm already tapping in to that, aren't I?) - Eeee, hurry up, sunshine!

What Summer trends are you looking forward to?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

Jewellery: tinyWishes Wish Bracelets

Not one to lie, I can't deny that I often succumb to the charm of cutesy little gimmicks, including bracelets that claim to make your wishes come true (if only it was that easy, eh?). tinyWishes definitely captured this side of me and sent me over a couple of their wish bracelets which consist of a piece of waxed Irish linen holding a single tiny (well..) wish charm, packaged with a sentiment card telling whoever the bracelet is for to make a wish. Whilst I cannot vouch for the magical powers of these bracelets, I can say that they look cute, the string holds out quite well despite being thin (but your wish isn't supposed to come true until the yarn breaks, so maybe that isn't what you want after all) and I do think that these bracelets would make a cute and meaningful gift for both guys and girls. tinyWishes make bracelets with an array of charms to choose from, as well as hand-knotted friendship bracelets, lace Bello bracelets (which I have and they'll look fab layered up on your wrist for Summer!) and wishes in a bottle.
If you would like to see what else tinyWishes have to offer, you can visit their store here.

Are you a sucker for sentimental little gimmicks?
Frances x

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

Monday, 10 February 2014

Review: Caseable Custom iPad Mini Case.

Everybody knows about my thing for iPhone cases; whether it be bunny ears, studs or cat-print, I'm sure to have the best-dressed phone. So when I got my iPad Mini, of course I was on the lookout for the perfect case to protect my new baby, and with perfect timing, Caseable walked in to my life (and my email inbox). Asked if I wanted to review one of their tablet cases, I was faced with the tough decision of having to choose between one of their pre-made designs or uploading my own custom print. Even though the inner Breaking Bad fanatic in me wanted to go for this Heisenberg design, I opted for something unique and uploaded some artwork that was painted for me by the wonderful Jonathan Silence (read my blog post on his work here).

Fast forward a couple of weeks, my iPad Mini case arrived and I am delighted with it. I am always wary about ordering custom designs as I worry that the printing quality isn't going to be great, but my images came out as sharp as they could be and the colours are amazing! One thing I would be careful about, however, is resizing and lining up your image as accurately as possible on the design page on the Caseable website, as I was left with a white strip at the bottom of my case where my design wasn't printed on it.

Caseable cases are handcrafted with a rigid structure and cushioned neoprene padding that is durable and protects your iPad well. Elastic straps fit snugly around the corners of your iPad to ensure that it doesn't slip out and the interior is made of a soft microsuede with a pocket to hold documents.
The cases are hand-crafted with care and are made and shipped all the way from the US within14 days of making your order. Can't complain at that!

Caseable makes cases to cater for a wide variety of electronic devices including iPhones, Samsung smartphones, laptops and Kindles. Admittedly, they're not the cheapest cases on the market but I can't fault them on quality, plus you get free shipping if you spend over £30! That, and Caseable have been ever so kind as to give me a discount code offering you £5 off any order! If you would like to take advantage and treat yourself your phone/laptop/tablet to a new case, head over to Caseable to check out what they have to offer and enter 'francescassandra' at the checkout :)

What do you think of my Caseable case?
Frances x

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

Thursday, 6 February 2014

Outfit: #DaretoBare

Skort: C/O BANK* | Jumper: C/O AX Paris* | Blouse: Primark | Socks: Topshop | Shoes: Glamorous | Collar Tips: Republic

It's safe to say that I have officially lost my mind. And the feeling in my legs. Actually, I blame the ladies over at Sunkissed and BANK because they dared me to get my legs out for this blog post as part of their #DaretoBare campaign. Equipped with a goodie bag* containing all the essentials for flawlessly golden legs, I braved the cold weather in my little tartan skort from BANK... All in the name of bronzed pins!
If you're feeling brave, bare legs don't just have to be saved for the Summer, get ahead of the weather and head over to Sunkissed, pick up some of their tanning mousse (fantastic stuff, I'm a fake tan noob and I made it out streak-free with a subtle glow!) and show off those assets- Just make sure you wrap up up top!

Make sure you join in the conversation and tweet a picture of your best leg-baring outfits to Sunkissed with the hashtags #PerfectPins and #DaretoBare!

Have your legs made a cheeky appearance this Winter?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Review: Q: The Fine Fragrance Body Spray.

Q: Balance The Fine Fragrance Body Spray: £2.29*

Anybody who knows me will know that I like perfume. A lot. My collection currently consists of ten bottles and I have a wishlist of others that I'd like to add... if anything, they look pretty on my dressing table, right? And nobody can say that I don't smell nice.
However, there is one down side to smelling pretty all the time. It's expensive. On a day-to-day basis it pains me to steal a few squirts of my £45 bottle of Illamasqua Freak, especially when I am only nipping in to town for an hour. Or maybe you have just finished in the gym and your typical Dove deodorant just isn't cutting it. This is where Q: comes to the rescue.

Carrying out extensive research and discovering that a lot of men and women feel limited with regards to choice of deodorant once they outgrow the "kiddie" body sprays (Impulse, Charlie, you served me well in high school but it's time to move on), Q: set out to create something more grown-up and sophisticated, and they definitely delivered.

I was sent two of these body sprays to try out, Q: Balance and Q: Awe. "A floral harmony of Iris and Mimosa", Balance is supposed to be a romantic, soft and sensuous fragrance that mimicks the scent of Bvlgari perfume. Whilst I can't vouch for the likeness as I have never owned a perfume by Bvlgari, I can comment on Awe's similarity to Dolce & Gabbana's Light Blue. Sharing the same notes of jasmine and rose, Awe has an uncanny resemblance to it's more luxury counterpart. One thing is different for sure, however- the price.

These babies can be picked up in Boots and Sainsbury's for £2.29 (although they're currently on offer in Boots for £1.14!). Affordable, yet definitely more luxurious than your typical body spray, I am a convert to these fragrances- Not only are they great for freshening up throughout the day, they work well layered up with their similar perfumes to create a more intense fragrance that last all day. And boys, these are for you too as Q: have also created three body sprays for men called Invigorate, Courage and Renew (which I was also sent to trial and I would have photographed if some guy hadn't ran off with them), which are compatible with Boss, CK Euphoria and Hugo respectively.

What do you think of the idea of "body sprays for grown ups?"
Have you tried Q: body sprays?
Frances x

DISCLOSURE: PR samples. All opinions expressed are still 100% honest and my own.

Monday, 3 February 2014

Jewellery & Accessories @ Chic La Chic.

Top to Bottom
Rose Gold Triangle Drop Collar Torc: £30.00*

As somebody who hates taking forever to get ready, if there's one thing I love to do when it comes to fashion it's throw on something really plain and simple and then make it look like I've put in all the effort by adding a few pieces of statement jewellery. Chic La Chic have provided me with some of my favourite pieces, including this three-row snake chain necklace of which the weave of nicely weighted gold and metallic black chains makes it easy to team with other pieces of jewellery as it softens the blow of mixing metals. Many of Chic La Chic's pieces are tribal-inspired, and consist largely of torcs, triangles and arrowheads which definitely add a unique touch to any outfit. More recently, Chic La Chic have introduced handbags to their range and although this quilted bag with shiny gold hardware has become my staple bag for carrying around all my essentials over the past month (it's holding up really well, too, might I add!), I am definitely lusting over this leather and suede number.

Are you a fan of statement jewellery? Have you checked out Chic La Chic?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: PR samples. My opinions are still 100% honest and my own.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Outfit: When You Sing, The Stars Fill Up My Eyes.

Dress: C/O Poppy Lux* | Heels: C/O*| Jacket: Daisy Street | Ring: C/O The Accessory Stand*

Will somebody get me on the next plane to the Bahamas please, because the British weather is driving me insane. When it's not monsooning outside we seem to be battling against gale force winds, and I'm craving a bit of warm weather. It is also not ideal for taking outfit photos, and these were the golden few amongst dozens of pictures of me sweeping my hair out of my face, squinting, or holding my dress down. That said, goosebumps and a windswept mane aside I do give props to the wind for helping me to show off this gorgeous cosmic-print dress from Poppy Lux in all its floaty chiffon glory. Well done, wind. 

Who's coming to the Bahamas with me then?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.