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24.11.16

My Top Black Friday Fashion Picks


So it's finally here and are you already sick of hearing about it? For some reason Black Friday has totally become a thing here in the UK and whether you're into it or not, you have to agree there are some pretty decent offers out there this year. I wasn't planning to post anything except the odd code here and there on my twitter but whilst scouring the web, I came across some pretty fabulous pieces and thought why not do a roundup. So check below for some of the best discount codes on the web and a few of my top picks too - happy shopping!


20% off EVERYTHING with code GOGOGO - I'll defo be checking out my faaaav brands Whistles, Reiss, Monki & Weekday. They also do Office which is great for ankle boots and heels.

My Top Picks




Up to 50% off selected picks - and these are pretty good.

My Top Picks




Up to 50% off selected lines.

My Top Picks



Other discount codes and offers


50% off Selected Items




Up to 50% off whole site, no code needed.


25% off with code GRAZIA25. Jaeger has some amazing knitwear (unfortunately the photography is awful) so take advantage while you can!


30% off EVERYTHING with code CYBER - time to invest in that dream leather jacket babes!


Up to 20% off selected lines with code SELFCCE. My major pick for here would be Byredo - any excuse to get my hands on some and 20% off doesn't get much better!


30% off with code BFRW30 excludes items tagged as Permanent, Essentials, SS17 or Fine Jewellery.


Up to 60% off entire site - time to get cosy for Christmas, I bought my rug from West Elm last year in the sale and I absolutely love it - always worth a look at sale time.


Three offers with a spend threshold -

£5 off when you spend £50 with code BLACK5
£15 off when you spend £100 with code BLACK15
£30 off when you spend £150 with code BLACK30

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The £5 Serum You Absolutely Need This Winter



I know right, a miracle serum for £5?! I didn't believe it either.

So to give a bit of background, The Ordinary is a brand I started to hear a bit of buzz around a couple of months ago after reading this article on The Independent. I then discovered Caroline Hirons had quizzed the owner on her blog and that was it, I HAD to see what the brand was all about.

Stocked on niche beauty website Deciem, prevailers of the next big buzz in the industry, the range started off consisting of 10 serums and has now grown to 21, all targeted at specific skin concerns. Everything from hydration, to ageing to redness is covered in this range, you may just need a little help to decipher which one is best for you (because off the top of their head, who actually knows what Lactic Acid is best for?!) and prices range from £4 - £15.

I decided to go for the Hylauronic Acid 2% + B5 priced at £5.90 as with the change of season, despite my oilness, I can get very dehydrated. I've been using it for about a month and a half now and having mentioned it in a recent beauty haul I've had a few enquiries as to how I've been getting on. 

And I'm pleased to say, I love it. It's a really light consistency that works great as a day serum as it doesn't interfere with makeup application on rushed weekday mornings. Unlike some other serums I've tried it's not sticky and once applied I don't feel like I've even got anything on my skin, there's no flakey residue and it works really well under moisturiser. Being someone that likes a little splurge on skincare it's great to find a really affordable but effective product that not only works but look at that packaging!!! So with that in mind it does beg the question, is my more expensive skincare really worth it? Perhaps if The Ordinary launch an entire skincare range we could have a debate on our hands but for now, I'm not quite ready to give up my Cult Beauty & SpaceNK splurges!

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13.11.16

Don't Work So Hard Building a Blog that you Forget to Build a Life.



This is a post I've been wanting to write for a while.

I don't need to point out how the blogging/influencer world has EXPLODED over the last few years into something so huge that girls who once put together outfits in their bedrooms, are now on par with some of the biggest celebrities. It's an incredible industry and one that you can't help but want to be a part of and why wouldn't you want to be? Influencers pretty much make their own schedule, have access to anything their heart desires fashion/beauty/home wise not to mention jetsetting what seems to be every other month.

But for those of us whose platforms haven't quite exploded, we can often get that nagging feeling of, what's the point? It's almost like if your blog hasn't become your career, why bother?

So I wanted to do this post more as an ode to why we all started blogging in the first place, because we love it. These days I think most people want their blogs to take off purely due to the business/moneymaking side and I can't blame them. I flash back to my twenties, living with flatmates I didn't always want to live with, in a flat full of mould, bringing home slightly more than minimum wage only to be skint three days later once rent, bills and travel had come out to then be faced with the ever dreaded feeling of, 'if I buy that one jumper from Topshop as well as food I'll be in that horrendous circle of going over the overdraft AGAIN this month'. Oh it's no picnic being young and finding your way in the world, so when you see 24 year olds who seem to have it all, the drive to make your blog a success can quickly overshadow the drive to make your blog something you enjoy, regardless of the outcome. Every post is an opportunity to 'go viral' and when it doesn't, you're filled with envy of those who do and questioning is it all worth it?

Fast forward to me at 32 and I've waded through those years of thinking am I ever going to be able to afford ANYTHING and am at that comfortable spot which your 30s is made for. Your time for you, you've got an established career, despite any stop and starts you've had along the way, you truly know who you are and are comfortable with that and despite the fact you still may not quite be able to manage your money as well as you'd like (as girls in fashion, when will we ever?!) you definitely have a better idea of what you need verses what you want, and can make much better decisions because of that.

So for those of you wondering whether you'll ever get things worked out, the answer is YES. That's not to say I'm completely sorted at 32, there's still a lot I want to achieve and I wonder if anyone ever really does figure it all out. But the point is, I love being involved in this industry and doing my online stuff just as much as when I started, when I had no idea the scope of success that could be reached and I think if you're blog is your side project, it's important not to rely on it to solve all your problems if it just took off. It's important to focus on all aspects of your life, especially the 'real' ones. Real meaning experiences, friends, family, everything offline, it's important to get that balance and not get so caught up in making your blog work or creating content that could make it work that moments pass you by. There'll always be people who take off and for the life of you, you can't see why and then there's the ones who take off and you can completely see why, but that's the nature of this industry, there is no rhyme or reason, so if you start to get bogged down with why her, why not me then STOP. Get off social media, stop feeling bad about missing that blogpost and reassess. This industry is not the key to happiness if you can't find happiness within yourself and the less seriously you take it, like with anything, the happier you'll be. You have the power to create a life that you love and blogging can be a part of it, but it doesn't have to be all it, you are always in control of your future and it's important to have faith that situations can change at anytime and situations WILL change, believe me. Focus on creating memories with your loved ones, stop spending money to keep up with the status quo of the industry and support influencers who make you feel good, because at the end of the day, all you can do is your best, and if that doesn't make you viral, does it really matter?

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2.11.16

My Viviscal Experience: One Month Update



If you watched this recent vlog you'll know that I am currently undertaking a three month trial using the Viviscal hair growth range

Being a qualified hairdresser, I'm always keen to try out new things and hair growth supplements are something I've never used, but am always getting asked about. So when Vivscal approached me I was keen to get involved,  not only for myself, but more importantly so I could pass on my experience to anyone who is intrigued by this area of haircare.

It's now been one month since I started the 'regimen' I suppose we'll call it, and I wanted to give you a little update on how I've been finding it. I must point out I don't have huge issues with hair growth, nor do I have particularly fine hair so if you have anything that seems particularly alarming to you, I would always say to seek medical advice. I do however have very weak, damaged hair which is prone to breakage and am always looking for ways to make my hair look and feel thicker and fuller. 

So I've been using the complete range from Viviscal, including their daily supplements every time I have washed and styled my hair over the last month, and I must say, I have definitely noticed a difference in my hair. It was about two weeks in I noticed a distinct difference in the length of my hair, I also feel like the very fragile ends of my hair look and feel a lot stronger and seem less vulnerable when I'm brushing out and styling my hair, I see a lot less breakage than I used to and this is a fantastic result already for me. The Shampoo and Conditioner smell great and the smell lingers in your hair which I love. I don't find them too rich or heavy but my hair does feel nourished and smooth after using them. I also really love the Elixir as unlike an oil, it's not heavy and works really well with my other styling products, I've also noticed my hair is a lot less prone to frizz especially when drying and overall looks and feels a lot healthier. I've been taking the daily supplements which is something I've not done before and feel like they could also be helping my nails as they also seem stronger than they have been for a while, so fingers crossed, with continued use perhaps I'll be able to sustain slightly longer nails without them breaking or splitting at the slightest push!

Overall I have been really impressed with the range and enjoyed using it as my haircare routine.  I'll be updating you again at the end of my trial but happy to answer any quezzies you guys may have about the range - just get at me on social nets or leave a comment!


This post has been very kindly sponsored by Viviscal however all opinions are 100% MINE ya'dig!



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6.9.16

Thoughts: Changes to the Youtube T&Cs


So last week something pretty significant happened concerning the Youtube world, an update to the current T&Cs which resulted in a (pretty overly dramatic if you ask me) #youtubeisoverparty hashtag floating around.

Since then I've seen a slew of opinion popping up across social media and what this could mean for content creators. I purposefully didn't express any opinion on this on my Twitter page because, A) I don't do that anymore - more on this in next weeks post - and B) because I wanted to sit back, let the info stew for a second and then make my decision on my stance. The most important thing to me on social media at the moment is managing my reaction, one thing that seems to be compromising social media right now is everyone's knee jerk reaction to just think and tweet, to me it rarely results in positive interactions and with things like this, it's really important to think about facts and information that is bigger than you and how things are going to only affect you. Of course as a content creator, any update can be a risk, but I just wanted to throw in my 2 cents and provide perhaps a slightly more balanced and hopefully helpful view on why changes like these are pretty necessary for a platform as vast and diverse as Youtube.


And before we get into it I think it's really important to suggest that we look at these changes not so much as censorship, as many have suggested, but more as responsibility. If we do this it becomes much clearer to see the necessity for it.

For those of you that aren't aware, YouTube updated its T&Cs to the reflect the following:





At first look yes I agree, looking at the profanity section can suggest that any sort of personality may be lost and the preference to harmless, 24 year olds talking like 12 year old content is what will prevail. But like the instagram algorithm before this, we'll never really know how easy this will be to enforce/keep track of/how sensitive it will be, until it really gets going.

So let's unpack this a little bit...


Most people's worry is that when it comes to subjects like mental health and social issues their voices won't be able to be heard anymore, and as much as initially this seems like a very negative thing to be happening, upon stepping back and understanding Youtube and its position in the media, I can completely understand why this measure needs to be taken.

The thing about YouTube, is as much as it can move things forward in terms of mental health awareness and understanding social issues, we need to remember this is a public platform, anyone can say anything; negative or positive, and it's important that a platform as large as YouTube takes responsibility for this. With the nature of the internet, enforcements can't be made, for example TV has the watershed, but when it comes to the internet, anyone can access anything at anytime, and whilst each content creator may feel they are being responsible about the views and content they put out, unfortunately YouTube isn't just about you and your channel, it's about millions of channels. Like Tumblr there's a dark side to this platform. When talking about mental health specifically, most content creators will get amped off the fact that they'll get a stream of comments reading something like, 'omg this helped me so much' and 'thanks for having the courage to do this', and so on and so forth.

And yes I think it's important that issues are spoken about to show normality and the fact no-one is alone in how they can feel but creators need to understand that yes, whilst they may help give clarity and context to a viewers situation, 'helping them get through life' is a broad term, and in fact it's not the creator that will ultimately help them, it's the real people around them that will help them. It's easy to get carried away assuming everyone is friends but creators use this to their advantage, when subscribers are being kind and stroking their ego their the best of friends, their biggest support system and people they couldn't live without, but if those bad comments start rolling in it quickly turns from can't live without you, to you don't really know me, the creator always holds the key to this accessibility they have created and can open and close this access as and when they need to. Much like celebrities before them, creators aren't going to be here forever and subscribers, like me after the Take That breakup, will eventually understand it's only themselves that can ensure future happiness, not a stranger speaking at you from their bedroom. Although I'm not disagreeing with the fact that this can help to spur on acceptance of individual situations and therefore promote progression in terms of survival, I would just argue that there is an aspect of this that is self indulgent and narcissistic. Being someone that has suffered from compromised mental health, as I mention it IS important to bring these issues up and to normalise the feelings in terms of how often they occur and how many people they affect, but I do think it can be a tricky area in terms of being able to establish what's appropriate on a platform like Youtube.

Now let's look at the main reason a lot of creators could be worried about this. These changes only affect MONITISED content, so freedom of speech and content creation isn't actually being booted off of Youtube, but if you do earn a living from it, you may need to tone it down. So let's think about this as a whole. For those that have been lucky enough to pursue social media as a career, this was always going be a risk, like with any job, the rug can be pulled from underneath you at anytime and being such a new way of earning a living, it's essential that creators are realistic in terms of this industry. It's new, it's fast and no-one knows how long it'll be around for so when it comes to planning for the future, like with any freelancer, it's always essential to have some kind of backup plan and to especially save and invest any surplus fortune you make. Having the luxury to be able to save anything is quite a rarity these days so for those that have access to a few thousand a month to put it bluntly, why the f**k haven't you been saving?

I do worry about people like Blair White and a few other 'outspoken' creators that I have respect for as I think they have really valid points. But as this does only really affect those who monitise their content, maybe it's time to go back and assess why you originally started this...as a hobby? 

All in all I'm just urging everyone to chill out, stop being so self involved and look at the world around you. Both Twitter and Facebook have some form of 'censorship' and yet I can still access racist, violent and offensive content at the click of a button. This is the same with Youtube, everything from Pro Anorexia advice, homophobic and racist hate rants to animals being horrifically mistreated exist on this platform, and with 2016 having been as shocking as it has been both culturally and socially, I think it's time people started exercising some responsibility and practising a little more positivity. 

So all in all, if you're losing your s**t because you might not be able to say f**k anymore, just sit back and think about the actual issues surrounding this, and hopefully, you'll understand, it really doesn't have to be such a big deal.
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1.9.16

Currently Loving | Iconic London




Iconic London is a brand I've seen floating around the blogosphere for the last few months. As a product junkie, you don't need to ask me twice if I want to try something out so when they approached me to work on this post and my latest video, I jumped at the chance.

Iconic London Conceal & Contour Brush Set: Having seen rave reviews about the Artis Brushes recently, I was keen to get my hands on one. Seeing the price though, nah I'malright, so when I saw that Iconic did their own versions, I just HAD to see what the fuss was about. Now I was a bonafide RT Miracle Complexion sponge convert; I didn't think ANYTHING could beat the beauty sponge for base application, until now.

When first using these brushes it can be hard to figure out the best way to work with them, do I buff, do I swipe? But after a couple of goes you'll get used to what works for you. I'm a fan of the buff on account of my open pores and uneven texture. Like I say I really thought base application didn't get better than the sponge but upon using these, something looked dramatically different about my coverage. Somehow my skin looked clearer, much more radiant and pretty much airbrushed to perfection. If you've seen these brushes and are somewhat intrigued, I highly recommend you give these a go.

Iconic London Cream Contour Kit: Now I haven't tried the infamous Anastasia Cream Contour Kit so I can't really compare BUT these cream formulas are heaven to work with. They blend beautifully and really added to the radiance of my skin. The shades are the perfect mix of cool and warm, so neutral toned, and for the quality, a really reasonable price. Once again it's a big thumbs up from me!

Iconic London Strobing Stick Shine: The clue's in the title with this one, if you're after the ultimate strobe, this is your guy. As I have oily skin I like to place this underneath my foundation to get a subtle but striking natural glow. Being a cream stick formula these can sometimes be difficult to work with but I found with the warmth of my fingers, this blended out with no problem. No surprise here it's another huge recommendation from me!

Have you been keen to try out Iconic London? If so, have I got a treat for you?! Get 10% off your first order with code MARY10 - go on treat yourself babes!

Watch my first impressions video on my youtube channel.

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21.8.16

Escape

I've been feeling a bit uninspired this week so I wanted to sit down and do something I haven't really done since my uni days, but something I know that when I'm feeling lost can start to help me get back on track, and that is make a moodboard.

I got back from Las Vegas last week and despite feeling super positive just before I left and ridiculously positive and inspired whilst I was there; coming back I feel like I've lost a bit of my mojo and am just feeling meh, the perfect word to describe those feelings which are indescribable, not happy, not sad, just meh. 

For the last few weeks I've been experiencing some shifts in relationships in my life which has left me feeling introspective, self doubting and quite upset if I'm honest, so I started thinking about the idea of escaping. Whilst in Las Vegas I loved how my hotel room became my own temporary home, the relief I felt as I climbed into the giant bed and the luxury of spending time pampering myself in the hugely decadent bathroom; the way we adapt to our surroundings and can become attached to something so unfamiliar is an idea I really like to indulge in. 

So whether your escape is somewhere near the water, surrounding yourself with plants, exploring a new city or on the sofa with a book, I introduce to you my first moodboard: Escape.







Where do you like to escape to?
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29.7.16

5 Reasons You Should Visit the Dominican Republic


Now I meant to post this weeks ago, but as is so often the case with me, time once again ran away with me and I didn't get round to sorting this before my most recent trip to Ibiza.

And it's coming back from the White Isle that has made me want to post this even more. Now don't get me wrong, having visited Ibiza a few times before, it's a stunning island with some pretty fab ways of spending your time, however, this holiday really made me evaluate travel and seeing the value in traveling further a field and making the most of any holiday time, especially if you work the traditional full time hours and travel opportunities (and holiday days) are few and far between.

Having grown up in the UK, the few times I have travelled have always been to Europe, and when it comes to a typical sun filled, beach holiday one of the Spanish or Greek islands was usually on the agenda. And yes, these are beautiful islands, but when you're pretty much sunbathing all day and having dinner and a few (too many) drinks in the evening, you could really be anywhere, most of these islands are very similar therefore most of your holidays will be pretty similar, whichever one you visit. So saying that, I wanted to do a post surrounding the importance of travel and specifically, traveling outside of your comfort zone. A nine hour flight to the Caribbean is something I never really thought I would undertake, but here we are, well over a month later and we made it out the other side.

I never travelled much in my 20's and being that I am in more of a position to do it than ever before, it's something that is really important to me. But travel is expensive, and being that I'm not in the position to flit off here and there whenever I feel like it, when it comes to picking a destination I no longer 'just want some sun'. I want culture, I want to see a different way of life and most importantly, I want a completely different experience; something out of my ordinary everyday life and something that will broaden my mind and open my eyes to the endless possibility the world has to offer. After all, our planet is so vast, why waste time visiting the same places?

So incase my travel vlogs and travel diary haven't convinced you, here's 5 reasons you MUST make time to visit the Dominican Republic...like right now.

1. The Weather
I mean that one is obvious right? I know I said sun isn't the most important thing anymore but it's definitely a requirement.

2. The Culture
Call me ignorant but I didn't realise the DR was a Spanish speaking island. For some reason I've always felt particularly drawn to Spanish and Latino culture; maybe it was growing up idolising Christina Aguilera, Jennifer Lopez and Lorena from California Dreams, maybe it's just 'coz all the hot gurls in hip hop videos were always Brazilian. Whatever it was, I love everything about it; the music, the dancing, the language; so that coupled with a bit of Caribbean spice creates the most fantastic cultural experience. The Dominican people are so diverse in how they look due to Native Indian, Spanish and African settlers that they even have a saying, 'no two Dominicans look the same'. And in light of how depressing the world can be sometimes in terms of social progression, visiting an island where the people are so friendly, so proud of their heritage and so enthusiastic to open their landscape up to tourists is a really positive and comforting experience.

3. The Beautiful Boys
...like srsly, just google image search Dominican men and thank me later.

4. The Landscape
We went out on safari tour on one of the days and it was so incredible to see the country as opposed to just our resort. I never expected the island to be so diverse in terms of landscape, the lush green countryside looks just like the UK on one of our rare good weather days and the stunning beaches are postcard perfection.

5. The Food
Like any Caribbean country the food is obvs gona bang! From the fresh mango, coconut and watermelon to the perfectly spiced meat, this is a diet I can defo get on board with...is it possible to grow a coconut tree in my communal gardens?

Have I convinced you yet? I have a huge list of places on my 'to travel' list now, but let me know any recommendations, I want to go EVERYWHERE!
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3.7.16

Desperately Seeking Summer


When you love the picture so much you have to ignore the fact you didn't hide the remote!




I took these photos a couple of weeks ago and have only just got round to sorting this post. 

Since coming back from holiday I have been obsessed with bardot tops, I cannot get enough. Unfortunately due to the hideous weather in the UK I have little opportunity to wear them. Thank god I go away again in two weeks ey?! I also this bag from Zara, I bought it to use on holiday but it's perfect for weekends too when meeting friends or having a little shopping trip.

Will summer ever get started in the UK? If not where can I move to ?!

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