Sunday, 23 March 2014

Review: Lepel Lingerie at Mio Destino.

C/O Mio Destino

I like underwear. In fact, I probably get more enjoyment out of shopping for a nice matching set than I do shopping for clothes. After all, I do believe it is the most important part of an outfit- All great looks start off with a great foundation, and the perfect underwear set should leave you feeling comfortable, confident and feminine no matter what you are wearing on top. So when Mio Destino asked me if I would like to review a set from one of their brands, Lepel, I jumped at the chance.

One thing that is guaranteed when you buy lingerie online, is that it arrives in the loveliest packaging (if it doesn't, you're shopping in the wrong place). I undid my ribbon-tied Mio Destino box and carefully unfolded the tissue paper to find Lepel's renowned Fiore Plunge Bra (this particular style is now over ten years old so I had high hopes for it!) and matching briefs in a lovely emerald green shade.

I cannot lie, it is a beautiful set- the intricate leaf and petal detailing is feminine-yet-sophisticated and the satin ribbon lace-up detailing along the sides of both pieces adds a subtle but special touch. The plunge bra is ideal for wearing with lower-cut t-shirts and it features removable padding if you require a little extra cleavage. Most importantly, I found that the set fits me like a dream. The bra fits snugly to my chest without the under wiring digging in to my skin and the straps lay flat across my back and shoulders. I tend to lean towards short-briefs as my preference so these were perfect and they fit true-to-size, but Lepel also offers a thong in the same design.

The Lepel Fiore collection comes in a range of colours including black, silver and burgundy, and is available in sizes 30B to 38G. The matching briefs range from a size 8 to 18. Lepel lingerie can be purchased from Mio Destino, and by entering the code FRANCESCASSANDRA at the checkout, you can save 20% on all orders at Mio Destino (code will expire at the end of March 2014).

Have you tried Lepel lingerie?

Frances x

*PR Sample
Friday, 21 March 2014

Outfit: Pink And Glitter.

Top: C/O Lashes of London* | Dress/Skirt: C/O Choies* | Boots: Boohoo | Hat: H&M

Spring/Summer is usually where we ditch the sequins that are reserved for festive parties in favour of candy shades and lighter materials, but my new favourites, Lashes of London have given us the best of both worlds with this pastel pink sequined crop top which they actually surprised me with (you little gems, you!) after I spent far too long pondering over whether to go for this or another gorgeous dress off their website (which will also be appearing on the blog very soon!). My initial thoughts were that this number would look fab with my black disco pants, which it does, but I decided to pair it with this caged skirt from Choies for the Northwest Bloggers Event at the beginning of the month and with my holographic boots (which, as pretty as they look, are unfortunately winging their way back to Boohoo has the holographic finish started peeling off after just three wears :( boo!) it turned out to be a combination loved by everybody!

Are you still loving sequins this season?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

Thursday, 20 March 2014

Event: FABB Liverpool.

After attending the amazing FABB Manchester event last Summer, I had been much anticipating Ray and Tor's return to the North West with high hopes that Liverpool would be their chosen city. It was safe to say I was quick to get my name on the list when they announced that they were indeed planning big things for the Merseyside bloggers, and that the stunning PanAm was their venue.

On Saturday I met up with some of my gorgeous blogging friends, Hannah, Zee and Suz and we headed on over to the Albert Dock for a quick lunch and met Carrie Anne and Roxanne before venturing over to PanAm. We were greeted by Ray and given our wristbands before being unleashed in to a room full of beauty/fashion brands, camera-clad bloggers and of course, what we all really go to these events for- cupcakes (is that just me?).

We were spoilt rotten as usual by the brands in attendance, including ESPA, Health Point LTD, Crystal Clear and my all-time favourites, Lush Spa Liverpool and Ark Clothing (who, after seeing their Hearts & Bows collection on the rails on Saturday, I have now compiled a wishlist longer than my arm for!), as well as a number of other brands who contributed to the generous goodie bags (Popchips and Benefit, I love you)! A huge thank you to Tor and Ray for planning yet another great event and I hope there is another one in the North West very soon! :)

Have you been to a FABB event?

Frances x
Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Review: GHD IV Hair Straighteners.

GHD Periwinkle IV Styler: £110*

Since the age of around thirteen when I got my first pair of hair straighteners, I have trialled a fair few brands including Remington, Philips and Vidal Sassoon, but I had never taken the dive in to the highly raved about world of GHD. Admittedly, it's the rather hefty price tag that has scared me off for all these years- My Remington straighteners were half the price of a pair of GHDs and they still did their job well. However, I finally decided it was about time I bit the bullet when I fell in love with the new limited edition pastel collection that GHD have recently brought out. After facing the tough decision between lavender, jade and periwinkle blue, I finally settled on the blue pair, and my, how beautiful they are.

Now, I don't know what it is about GHDs that makes them so special, but these have quickly become my favourites. Maybe I'm just judging by appearance because of my current obsession with everything pastel, as I don't feel that they straighten my hair any better or worse than my other hair straighteners- but just look at them, they're so sleek and super comfortable and lightweight to hold as well. Hitting a maximum temperature of 200 degrees and sporting a round barrel for creating curls and flicks, these are definitely good contender for anybody looking for a new pair of straighteners. Oh, and they feature a 2.7m long power cable and swivel cord, two things that you don't appreciate until you know what it's like to have to bend over backwards to straighten you hair as your plug socket isn't close enough to your mirror.

If you are on the market for a new pair of hair straighteners, you can find GHD straighteners here at Argos, amongst other brands if GHDs still aren't your thing.

What is your favourite brand of hair straightener?
Frances x

*In collaboration with Argos.
Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Outfit: Heart Shaped Sunglasses.

Body: C/O Marks and Spencer* | Skirt: C/O Glamorous* | Jacket: H&M via eBay | Sandals: C/O Glamorous* | Heart Necklace, Name Necklace and Heart Sunglasses: C/O Punky Pins* | iPhone Case: C/O Caseable*

Here is the second installation of my underwear-as-outerwear posts with Marks & Spencer (see how I styled it last time here), and this time I thought I would throw my current obsession with everything pastel in the mix with my new pale blue skater skirt and chunky white sandals from Glamorous, both of which entered my shopping basket the second I got the news that I am off on holiday to Singapore next month! The holiday shopping has begun, you guys- I. Am. Excited. Of course, I can't help but wear everything before it even enters my suitcase.

My heart-shaped sunglasses from Punky Pins arrived with perfect timing also, and when I spotted them on the website I thought it would be silly not to pair them with the matching necklace. Am I right? Punky Pins has recently made it's way to the top of my list of websites for eyeing up cute pieces of jewellery; they make a huge array of personalized name pieces which I am a sucker for- The Twitter addict in me is currently lusting over this hashtag piece. Punky Pins have also been so generous as to offer a 10% discount code to my readers, so don't forget to use the code FRANCES10 if you decide to make a purchase!

And whilst we're talking about cute accessories, can we just talk about my newest phone case from Caseable? Mark Ashkenazi is one of their newest designers; I am in love with all his retro-style artwork and I just couldn't resist this piece.

I hope you like my outfit! Is anybody else off on holiday this year?
Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

Friday, 7 March 2014

Event: #TopSecretCoffee

It's only in the past year that I have become a coffee drinker. Hot chocolates and teas were always more my thing, but since I have gotten older (and bouts of insomnia have become a regular occurrence for me), I tend to reach for the Americanos in the mornings (although I am still partial to a good mocha). Still, coffee has always been coffee to me and I never blinked an eyelid with regards to the difference between my Costa Coffee and Nescafe Original.

Top Secret Coffee are a popular high street coffee brand who have gone undercover to offer the public a sample of their coffee to see if they can guess where it is from simply by tasting it. They organised a bloggers event to teach us more about the different varieties of coffee and to demonstrate the art of cupping. We were greeted at the rather rustic and picturesque Great John Street Hotel by the lovely Caroline from iProspect and introduced to Neil and Fiona from Top Secret Coffee and their resident coffee expert, Will. Will took us through the detailed process of cupping and soon we were loudly slurping different coffees from our soup spoons and talking about the different aromas and tastes that we were picking up from each one. It was quite astonishing to notice the difference in strength and taste between each type of coffee bean. After this, we were offered a cup of coffee of our preference and I had what was probably the smoothest latte I have ever tasted in my life.

The main point of the event was of course, the coffee, but I must admit that it was very nearly overshadowed by the Afternoon Tea that was brought out for us by the hotel to enjoy with our beverages. A selection of finger sandwiches, a scotch egg and a mini chicken and leek pie, along with a three-tier stand of cakes, macaroons and scones and we were in blogger heaven (it's a well known fact that us bloggers like our cake). Whilst we grazed away we were asked to complete a questionnaire and to guess where we thought our coffees were from. I honestly had no clue, except I was certain that it wasn't Costa or Starbucks as I am a seasoned drinker of their hot drinks. In the end I took a random guess at McDonalds as I have heard that they make a good coffee. Was I right? After I had demolished a few too many sandwiches and slices of cake (I have eyes bigger than my stomach, I swear), we were gifted a bag of the secret coffee along with a coffee filter set so that we could enjoy it at home, but we were told that we would have to wait a little longer in suspense to hear who the brand was.

This morning I woke up to an email with the big reveal...

Greggs! It would never have crossed my mind to think of Greggs, but let me tell you, they do make a good cup of coffee. A huge thank you to them, the Great John Street Hotel and iProspect for putting on this event!

Have you tried Greggs coffee?

Frances x

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Outfit: Pink; It's The Colour of Passion.

Jumpsuit: C/O Wal G* | Clutch Bag: Marla London | Sunglasses: C/O Firmoo* | Necklace: C/O Punky Pins*| Watch: Tommy Hilfiger C/O Shadestation* | Earrings: Primark

Being a shorter girl, I tend to stay away from jumpsuits and maxi skirts as they usually end up trailing along the floor. Likewise, pink has never been a colour that has appealed to me much. So, why I felt that I needed to own this jumpsuit when I first saw it I do not know- I'm calling it fate. In fact, the pastel pink anything trend is currently taking over my wardrobe, but that's a whole lot of other blog posts.

I'm also in the process of straightening and curling the life out of my hair (I usually stay away from heat) as I'm getting it cut and highlighted next week anyway, so I might as well, right? Does anybody else think with this logic? I'm thinking of bringing a fringe back in to my life- it's been almost three years since I grew it out... What do you think?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

Event: #NWBLPool (Northwest Bloggers)

I've been a little absent on here for the past week and that's for a couple of reasons, most of which are irrelevant to my blog so I won't bore you with those little details, however the main reason is because I was running around helping to sort Liverpool's first ever blogger networking event! Ever since I started being invited to events over a year ago I have hopped on many trains to Manchester, Preston and even Sheffield, but I had always wondered when Liverpool was going to be given it's chance to shine. So when the word on the street popped up that the lovely Hannah (Words by Hannah Rosalie) was organizing an event in the city and needed a host to help her out, I jumped at the chance. Over a month passed of us brainstorming ideas, sending a dozen emails a day and tweeting exciting sneak previews of the goodie bag treats to each other, and March 2nd had suddenly crept up on us.

When you have played a part in the organization of an event, that horrible sensation always comes about you as you wonder about all the things that could go wrong, but we were put at ease by the amount of hype that was floating about on Twitter the night before, and my biggest worry became what the hell I was going to wear.

Hannah couldn't have sorted out a more fitting venue for Liverpool's debut blogger networking event; the stunning Hard Days Night Hotel, inspired by Liverpool's finest, The Beatles. When I arrived, most of the setting up had already been done by Hannah and her family, and all that was left to do was add the last few products to the goodie bags and then relax with a drink whilst resisting to dig in to the Krispy Kremes as we waited for people to arrive. Needless to say that whilst everybody was being shy about taking the first donut, I did the honours and made sure I had first dibs on that Chocolate Dreamcake.

Overall, we couldn't have asked for our first event to have gone more smoothly. All the lovely bloggers on our guestlist turned up and got straight in to buying themselves a drink from the bar, having their photos taken on our makeshift silly photobooth and chatting with the brands who had very nicely agreed to come along and showcase their products, including the lovely ladies from LUSH Liverpool, St Moriz and Teardrop Designs. Everybody who bought a raffle ticket was lucky enough to win one of our fabulous prizes provided by the likes of Caseable, Babyliss, SensatioNail and Clarisonic and the cupcakes made by Carrie-Anne (Beauties Unlocked) were a hit, amongst the other treats on our refreshments table, provided by Popchips and Jelly Belly

A big thank you needs to be extended to the dozens of brands who contributed to the event in some way (a huge thanks to the brands who were in touch with myself personally; Caseable, Q, Original Attire and Stylfile) and of course to Hannah, whose brainchild this was! There are already big plans in the works for a second event, so watch this space (and keep your eye on the Northwest Bloggers website and Twitter)!

Here are a handful of the lovely bloggers I had the honour of meeting or catching up with on Sunday, so make sure you check them out! 

Me and the gorgeous Hannah :) x

Frances x