Sunday, 31 August 2014

Pink Lemonade Party

On the 2nd of September my sister will be turning 21, so I decided to plan her a really pretty party. We had to do it a few days earlier so that some of our family and her friends could come down. 
I was inspired by my sisters Pinterest board she had created which was all about parties and I tried to incorporate as many of these photos into one party without her knowing. Some of the main inspiring images are below.
In the end I went for a pink lemonade theme, so lots of pink, yellow and pretty cute things. 
The decorations were mostly from from Party Delights and Amazon but a few were also from IKEA and local stores. 
I'd made a whole load of bunting for her 18th birthday which we reused along side some bunting that said 'Time to drink champagne and dance on the table' across our back doors. 
I put together a little ice cream station where you could pick your choice of toppings in cute little tubs and we had cocktails in milk bottles which had our names on little stick-on chalk boards. 

 I attempted cake pops for the first time which actually went quite well, not perfectly but better than expected. The cupcakes were made by The Cupcake Fairy and the cake was made by Marie Green who are from the Worcestershire area if you want them to make anything for your own party. We did also have savoury food which was pretty much all from M&S in their made to order service.
Overall, it was a great success and my sister was very happy, as well as the guests. What's great about most the decorations is that we can use them again! They'll probably be used for my own 21st! 
I'll be popping some of these images on my Pinterest if you want to pin them for some inspiration.


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

How To: Pretty Little Rose Nails

Even though summer is almost over I still think this nail art design can work in any season, all you have to do is switch around some of the shades. Maybe you could make it more autumnal by using more red or orange shades or make it more summery by going a bit brighter. 
What is great about this nail art design is that it doesn't have to look perfect! It's almost a watercolour effect so it's a lot easier to do than you may think. 

Click image to enlarge 
Step One | Start off with a nude coloured polish all over. I'm using shade Instyle Nude by Nails Inc.
Step Two | Using a small brush and a few light pretty colours, apply rough circles randomly. I'm using Yellow by Barry M and Rose Libertine by Rimmel London.
Click image to enlarge 
Step Three | With a small brush create 'C' shapes randomly on the rough circles to create a rose looking shape with slightly darker shades than before. I'm using Haute in the Heat by Essie and Mango by Barry M.
Step Four | Create little leaves around the flowers with a small brush. I'm using Spring Green by Barry M.
Click image to enlarge 
Step Five | Using a dotting tool fill in any little gaps with some other shades to make little flowers. I'm using Lilacism by Essie and a random white polish I have.
Step Six | Apply a top coat to seal in the design so it will last much longer. I'm using the Ciaté Speed Coat.

I love doing a bit of nail art and I hope you liked this tutorial. If you'd like to see more nail tutorials, please leave any ideas you would like to see in the comments below.

Saturday, 23 August 2014

Steal the Style: Speckled Clutch Bag

I was casually browsing through ASOS (as you do before payday...) and came across these two clutch bags that looked almost identical but had completely different price tags! I felt like I had tell you that you can get some things so similar to designer for a fraction of the price. There are of course going to be some positives and negatives to both so that's why I thought I'd compare them for you.
I would like to keep doing posts like this if I spot anymore product matches, so please let me know if you'd like to see more of these! 

I do have a rather sweet spot for Lulu Guinness, everything's just so cute and quirky without being garish. Until I had looked closely at this bag did I realise that the black speckles were actually little lip shapes which is a lovely touch. 
The bag is made from 100% leather and the lining is 100% cotton so the material quality is pretty high, however for the price I would've expected a silk or something more luxurious to be used for the lining. It has a textured matte finish which I think works with the design really well, the leather material probably helps make this texture.
I love the little lip shape cut out in the corner where the chain goes through, again it's a very Lulu Guinness touch. The chain is only long enough to go around your wrist so you can't convert it into a shoulder bag unless you attach your own longer chain to it, which is doable but I guess it is meant to be a clutch not a shoulder bag. 
The size is quite large at W36cm H16cm so you can get plenty in there if you need to, even your iPad or tablet could fit inside along with your essentials which makes it perfect for on the go! 

I do reckon that Monki have spotted the Lulu Guinness bag and have made their own version, but I could be wrong. It's just so similar I would be surprised if they hadn't.
The speckles are just speckles, not a specific shape but that's probably down to them not having an iconic shape like Lulu does but it still looks just as effective from a distance.
It's 65% cotton and 35% polyester so it's not totally synthetic but it's not quite the same as leather. If you're against bags being made from animal skin then this would be perfect for you if you still want the style. They have managed to give it a matte texture to it as well which makes it look more pricey.
I like the fact that you can remove the chain if you want it to be just a clutch, unfortunetly you don't get that option with the Lulu Guinness bag.
This bag is slightly smaller at W23cm H16cm so you wouldn't be able to fit your favourite magazine in their but there's two separate compartments so one could become your beauty section and the other your money and others bits.

Overall they are visually so incredibly similar its up to you which one you want to get, there is a huge price gap so it depends on what your budget is. If you have the money and want a bit more character then go ahead with the Lulu Guinness but if you just want something stylish for less then go for the Monki bag, from a distance people may even think its the Lulu one!

You can purchase both these bags from ASOS and there's currently a discount code so don't forget to type in ASOSGLAMOUR for 20% off at the checkout.

I hope you enjoyed this post and let me know if you want to see more like this. 

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Classic Blueberry Muffin Recipe

In the past few years I have grown a love for blueberry muffins, especially after my trip to New York earlier this year where we had muffins for breakfast everyday! However, I had never actually made any myself until lately yet I love to bake all kinds of yummy things. They aren't actually the same measurement as your classic cupcakes as they're slightly more stodgy and because the blueberries give off a lot of moisture so I thought I'd put together this little recipe for you to also enjoy!
This recipe creates lovely moist and fluffy muffins that don't feel so naughty to treat yourself to.

Ingredients for 12 muffins
2 eggs
250g self raising flour
120ml milk
100g caster sugar
150g butter
punnet of blueberries

Now time to put it all together:

Step one | I used a hand electric mixer but you can easily use a spoon or whisk, you just need a little more elbow grease. Mix the butter and caster sugar together until smooth. Add the eggs until the mixture is light and fluffy. Gradually mix in the flour and milk until fully combined and then with a spoon fold in the blueberries. 

Step two | Pop some muffin cases into a muffin tray and spoon in the mixture over half way up. Place in a preheated oven at 180°C for approximately 25 minutes.

Step three |  Take the muffins out the oven and leave in the tins until fully cool so they stay in nice shape. If you want them a little sweeter, add a thin layer of sugar glaze or icing sugar on top.

If you make any I'd love to see, just tag me either on Instagram or Twitter with @Alexandraahowe

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Print Vs. Digital

So many of you probably heard the news about Company magazine no longer creating print magazines and instead going fully digital from October this year. This is one of the first major magazines to do this change and I don't think it'll be long until others join on the band wagon.
Earlier this year at university we actually had a discussion about digital taking over print and I think it's a big and very current debate, so I wanted to create this post so us fellow bloggers can express our opinions on the matter.

I personally prefer print and beg for it not to disappear, every month I purchase at least one magazine, sometimes I even end up with about 5! I like having something in the palm of my hands that I can flick through, cut out and scribble on, it's all part of the novelty of a magazine. They also become almost like a decoration in my room, I keep them all in pretty filing stands and you can see all the pictures popping through. 

I've noticed that some magazines give you the option to also purchase it on your tablet or phone which I think is a good idea, in the fact that you can purchase the magazine whenever you want as long as you have access to internet. 
I have Stylist magazine on my phone, this is mainly because where I live I don't really get access to Stylist as they are often handed out in the city but I still want to be able to read it every week. It is really handy as it means I don't have to fold up or roll up the magazine in my bag and I can get access to it every week at no cost.

The problem with downloading magazines is that you can't do much with them once you've read them and you can't really store many as your phone or tablet storage fills up fast.
I don't own a tablet, I just have my phone so the screen is much smaller which limits the creativity of the design or they just shrink it down to the point that you can barely see the detail anymore and in fashion the detail is so important! 
There would be no such thing as freebies or samples with online magazines, unless they supply you with a voucher to get it free. For many beauty brands it's a huge marketing technique in having samples and testers in magazines as it can reach their target market much more directly, that would be no more in digital! Yes they can still advertise, but the majority of people like to try before they buy. 

There are many other things I could say that are positives and negatives about them but I don't want this post to drag on into a full on essay! I would just like to say good luck to Company Magazine in their step into digital publications, I will miss your lovely matte paper.

Now it's your turn to get involved, comment below what your opinions are on this debate, it would be very interesting to hear.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Review: Bobbi Brown Tinted Moisturising Balm

In the summer I don't tend to wear as much foundation, I just don't feel the need for as much coverage and when it's hot I hate the feeling of my foundation just melting off. I also want to have some sort of SPF on my skin as I'm naturally very pale which means I can burn pretty easily but something without that suncream smell. This then led me to try out tinted moisturisers as most of these had these qualities, they aren't as high coverage as foundation, they're moisturising and often have SPF.
Over the past few years I've tried out a few drugstore tinted moisturisers but my problem with them was that they never had a shade pale enough, I'd always end up looking like some oompa loompa!

In a video quite a while ago I remember Essie from was talking about this tinted moisturiser by Bobbi Brown that she currently loved. She also has pale skin so I thought there must be a shade for me and she was also rather convincing! It wasn't long after that I had this product in my hands. 
The Bobbi Brown Extra SPF 25 Tinted Moisturizing Balm claims to be 'A lightweight foundation alternative for dry, dehydrated skin, this formula is ultra-rich, and blends easily, giving skin a dewy look with light coverage.' I had already scraped out £36 so I was begging for it to do what it says on the tin. I got it in the shade Extra light tint as I was a little tanned for summer, I really mean a little. If I were to get this for the middle of winter then I'd probably go for their even paler shade Alabaster. 

Now onto the actual review! I have found this product so nourishing and creamy without being heavy on my skin, its kept away my dryness just like it said it would.
The shade was just right, as long as you apply it evenly you don't get any sort of orange tone. If you forget to blend a bit it does tend to stand out a little more orange but it's normally easy enough to spot and sort it out. This winter I reckon I'll get the shade lighter as it would be too dark for me then.
The coverage is all I wanted, just something light and dewy so I don't look so dull and tired. I really love the dewy finish it gives, however I do tend to put a little bit of powder just on my T-Zone as this can get a little oily and make it look too dewy in these areas.
One thing it doesn't mention on the description is its smell. It has this lovely almost minty fresh smell that really helps wake me up in the morning. When I say minty fresh, I don't mean minty toothpaste but more on the lines of tea tree and aloe vera.
The packaging is simplistic and classy, it also seems to keep the cream at a nice cool temperature from it being made of glass. It's also great if you accidentally scoop too much product out as you can easily pop some back in which you can't do with products that come in tubes. Not super hygienic I know, but I always make sure my hands are clean when using products like this and I only use it on myself so I don't mind doing this.
90% of the time I apply this product with my hands but sometimes I use my Sigma F80 Flat Kabuki to just smooth out the edges or to full apply it, it just helps to get it right into those nooks and crannies.
Above you can see the before and after when I use this product, I like the fact my freckles are still visible as a lot of foundation masks it.
I'd really recommend this product to anyone with dry skin and just wants something with a nice light and dewy coverage. For me it's a staple and something I reckon I'll keep repurchasing until the unlikely event of something better coming into the market.

Monday, 4 August 2014

My New Hair & Experience at Umberto Giannini Birmingham

On Saturday I had my hair done at Umberto Giannini in Birmingham for the first time, I’ve never been to a fancy hairdressers, I’ve always gone to my local one so I was very excited to change things up a bit.
I’m one of those people who love going to the hairdressers; I enjoy the whole experience, as long as my hair looks good at the end! As I was in love with my hair after this experience at UG I just had to tell you all about it.

Rights given by Umberto Giannini for photos
This UG salon I went to was in Selfridges in the Bullring, that alone made me feel all sophisticated. Prior to the actual cut and colour, I went in a few weeks before to get a skin test and a consultation to make sure I’m not allergic to their dyes and so that they know what kind of style I wanted in advance. I’d recommend taking some photos of what you want so that they can really visualise it instead of them just having to almost guess from a description. I used Pinterest for this as there’s so much hair inspiration on it and it’s so easy to access the images once they’re pinned to a board of yours. I was there for about 15 minutes discussing what I wanted and they were so good at giving advice on how we could achieve it and what they would personally recommend.

Rights given by Umberto Giannini for photos
When I arrived for my cut and colour my hair was so ready for it! As I had recently moved it into a middle parting my layers were all over the place and my ends were so dead!
For the colour I had balayage, which is basically really random highlights to give a lovely sun kissed look. I quite like my natural colour so I didn’t want to completely change it but this just added a bit more texture and brightness to it.
Then after about an hour waiting for that to process we went over to wash my hair. I went to sit down at the sinks and the chair tilted back and lifted your legs up a bit so you were practically lying down whilst having your head massaged and washed, I was so close to falling asleep I was that relaxed!
For the cut I wanted my layers to be sorted out and a bit of the length off, as the ends were so dry they just had to go. He then blow-dried my hair with lots of volumising products in and then curled it in random directions to make it look really textured.

I loved the finished result, throughout the whole appointment he was making sure I was happy with what was going on with my hair and I had lots of confidence in him getting it right. My hair looked so bouncy and healthy, my layers were sorted out and all the dead ends were gone! The colour was perfect, it added texture and brightness to my hair colour without looking streaky or unnatural.
I would love to go again, I don’t think I’ve ever stepped out a salon and loved my hair so much, don’t get me wrong I have loved the finished result at my local hairdressers too but just not as much as this.
Thank you to Dee and the team at Umberto Giannini, I hope to see you again soon!

Before and After

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