Friday, 21 November 2014

Are we out of the woods yet?

Hi guys, I hope you're well! Today I have a really exciting post to share, as yesterday was my graduation day and I can finally call myself an official graduate! I had such an amazing day: my ceremony was in the morning, then we went for late lunch and a walk, then finally catching a train home where we were joined by my brothers and spent the evening chatting over a few bottles of bubbly. It was such a lovely day and I'm so excited to share my pictures with you!

Necklace -Miss Selfridge
Dress -Topshop
Boots - New Look

I'd really struggled to find a graduation dress that suited what I was looking for: at the moment I'm preferring a more structured, fitted silhouette: by no means anything bodycon but something that skims rather than sticks out like the flowing skater shapes I favoured throughout university. I had a false start with a dress that I'd had to wait a long time for which then didn't fit me nicely, then had no luck trawling the shops on my lunch breaks. In a last-minute panic I found this dress on the Topshop website and ordered it on a next-day delivery, but I was pleasantly surprised with how it fit. With a crop-top style shape over an A-line skirt it looks a bit like a co-ord. The only downside is that I hadn't realised it had cutouts on the side, which I didn't think would be ceremony-friendly (I needn't have worried given some people's outfit choices haha) but I made do with layering a lace cami underneath, and the cutouts will look pretty into Christmas party season. Mostly I wanted to go for something fairly simple and classic as I knew these photos will always be ones I look back upon!

The ceremony itself was nerve wracking as I didn't want to trip up on stage, but - hooray - I didn't, and suddenly just like that I'd graduated and it was time for photos, cheesy grins all round! Graduation was such a strange process, and I couldn't stop giggling at the sight of myself looking a bit like Severus Snape in those robes, but hey - it's all part of the process...

A lovely part of graduating, a part that you don't really think about or expect, is that you do sometimes also get presents! Here are a few things that I received upon my graduation, including these beautiful roses from my brother and his girlfriend...

Stackable Rings - Bloody Mary Metal

Personally it is important to me that my jewellery has meaning. Every day I wear almost a full set of rings: some were my mums from when she was young, another from my 18th birthday. However, one ring I wore daily on my index finger didn't really have any sentimental value and so I bought myself a graduation present that meant something to me, that I will wear every single day. These stackable rings have a very personal meaning to me: 'per ardua' is the traditional McIntyre clan motto (my surname) and means 'through adversity,' whilst 'ad astra' means 'to the stars'. These are very meaningful to me, reminding me to face adversity, take the knocks and get through the darker times with the intention and drive to every day work towards being happy, successful and the best I can be.

Daisy Ring - Trollbeads

This graduation present was a hugely welcome surprise: as you might gather from my blog title, I'm very fond of daisies, and this Trollbeads ring is one I have admired from afar for years. Trollbeads' attention to detail is flawless, I love the wavy daisy stem, which fits around the finger, and the delicate romance of the small gap in the petals. When my parents produced this for my graduation present I was just blown away, and it will remind me every day of all the hard work I put into the past three years, and what that is worth. It is so easy to become disheartened just after finishing a degree and going back to the same job title you've always had, I know a lot of graduates (particularly from creative industries) will feel the same having had to do the same. However, receiving something I've always wanted and never thought I'd have as a reward for graduating helps give a sense of validation to all that hard work. It's not all about getting a job to validate all that hard work and gained skill, it wasn't all for nothing, and I know I have to be patient as it would take a lot of luck for everything to fit into place straight away.

My boyfriend later presented me with some lovely floral presents too: a gorgeous bunch of blooms and a beautiful flower necklace. I like that he always surprises me with gifts, nipping into my favourite jewellers and consulting them. He always chooses something I love, but I can never predict what it will be, which makes it all the more exciting.

Emma also created an amazing illustration of the three of us (well, our alter egos) as a graduation present for us. How amazing is this?!

Overall I had an amazing graduation day. I'm so grateful to my friends, family and course mates who have supported me along the way. I'm so proud of everyone on my course, who are a talented and hard working bunch who deserve every success that comes their way. The student chapter of my life has finally, officially closed and I couldn't be happier to start afresh. Who knows what the future will hold?

Monday, 17 November 2014

My guiding light...

Hi dolls, I hope you're well and enjoying the season as the weather turns cold and the Christmas decorations appear in the streets. Whilst I love Christmas, it's too early for the Coca Cola advert, but I never get tired of all the pretty lights. I often wish they stayed on all year round, just because it makes those late November and December nights so much more atmospheric and beautiful. There's always a time and a place for fairy lights in my heart, and that's why when Blaze On offered me one of their stunning designs to review I didn't hesitate for a minute. Look at how beautiful they are... 

Tropical Bloom LED 30 Lights in White - Blaze On*

The lights come beautifully wrapped in Blaze On's signature orange colouring. They came with a cute little tea light and a few spare fabric flowers popped in for extra decoration. Gorgeous packaging is always a bonus: it makes opening a package feel so much more special, and that real care has been put into wrapping the order.

Blaze On are an ethically focused British fairy light and candle company. Blaze On's LED lights are specifically tuned to mimic the warm, cosy tones of traditional fairy lights. They give up to 100,000 hours (or ten years) of light without having to change bulbs, and all of the lights come with a one year guarantee. LED can use up to 90% less energy than traditional bulb equivalents which is good news for the electricity bill, too.

I opted for the tropical flower fairy lights in white (the bulbs themselves are a warm white) however there is a huge variety of colours, styles and lengths available on site. Most strings of lights come on a 20 lamp LED string, but I opted for a 30 lamp LED string as I had the intention of using them to light my room - after all, extra length means extra light! However, I'm currently in the process of moving rooms and my current reside looks like an episode of DIY SOS so, for now, I've photographed them around the hallway mirror where they are doing a fabulous job of lighting our hall. Hopefully when my room is finished I can share a tour of my room and show them in situ. Until then, here they are as part of a fun little still life, photos courtesy of my dad who was having great fun playing with the lights...

Fairy lights have the capacity to make almost any space look Pinterest-worthy and these have completely transformed my room. I'll certainly be returning to the Blaze On website when I get my own place as there are far too many perfect designs. Will you be checking out their website? Are you a fan of fairy lights?

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Darling, I'm a nightmare dressed like a daydream.

On Saturday I went on the best kind of shopping trip: the girlie, no-holds-barred, don't-need-anything-just-want-to-buy-things, pawing all the products in Lush kind of shopping trip. This outfit was the result of my excitement to wear the items I'd bought, so I threw them on together and I actually like the way they look. Here's what I bought...

Sweater - New Look
Skirt - New Look
Boots - Topshop

Choker - Regal Rose
I did wonder whether a choker would work with a cowl neckline but I've missed wearing this beauty! The cowl sweater reminds me a lot of the early noughties, but I've been wanting one for a while now as they do look cosy, yet not as restricting as a polo neck. Originally I wanted a cream or black cowl neck jumper (which I couldn't seem to find) but this mint colour does look lovely with the Vortex choker (and it does tap into the winter pastels trend - that combined with my lilac Rhodesian bag and I'm sorted!)

New Look are currently selling a really nice selection of brushed check mini skirts, but the wrap design of this one caught my eye in particular. I like the brushed effect, it's so cosy and wintery! I'm already picturing this with band T-shirts and all black errthang.

I bought these boots in the Topshop sale a month or so ago: I've always loved boot designs with a chain disappearing under the heel, and since I needed a new pair of flat black winter boots I took the plunge with these beauties. So far they have served me well, long may it continue! Find this outfit on Lookbook here...

Get this look for $66+ on Lookastic: Black Studded Leather Ankle Boots, Light Blue Cowl-neck Sweater, and Black and White Check Mini Skirt

What are your thoughts on cowl necklines - cosy or way too old school?

Sunday, 9 November 2014

Red lips and rosy cheeks...

Hi dolls, and welcome to my October favourites post! Truthfully, Halloween aside there wasn't a whole lot of awesomeness going on for me last month, but I did make a few purchases that made me feel a little more human. This favourites post is a makeup special: enjoy!

Estee Lauder Double Wear Foundation - Shell
So, after years of using the same foundation I've finally taken the plunge and tried something different! I must say, for me this foundation lives up to all the hype I've heard about it. It's beautifully long wearing, feels lovely on the skin, and I only need to use a small amount to get the desired amount of coverage for everyday, though it is buildable for evenings and occasions when you want more of a doll-like effect. The only drawback is that after a good few hours of wear I've noticed it can sink into pores a little, so I've changed my primer to Benefit's Porefessional which keeps that mostly at bay - other than that I'm really pleased with this foundation which is undoubtedly still an improvement on my previous, though beloved, Max Factor foundation.

Majorette Blusher - Benefit Cosmetics
I know there was a lot of blogger hype about this product a while ago, but I'd never really been a huge lover of high end blushers so it never occurred to me to try this particular product. Until this month I've always used blusher sporadically anyway - I'll go for months using only a contour, only flirting with colour on my cheeks for a few days a month until I forget, or get bored of it again. I happened to pass by a Benefit counter after a long day at work, where I was poring over Majorette as I hadn't seen it before, when the assistant offered to put some on me to see what it would look like. I was genuinely astonished at the difference - I looked alive, for one thing - and I liked the way that it applied well over foundation and powder that had been applied a good ten hours ago. For me, the way it applies nicely over makeup and the texture/pigment do set this aside from your standard, high street blusher: it's nicely pigmented and lasts well, but it blends nicely too which is vitally important. I didn't buy this blusher as soon as I tried it, as much of an impact as it made - I thought about it for a good while before I took the plunge as it costs over £23. Some weeks later, having had a rubbish day, I made an impulse, pick-me-up purchase and I'm glad I did as I've used it every day since. It works nicely on it's own or to add staying power to a powder blusher, and I think it's going to last me absolutely forever as you only need a tiny bit.

The Body Shop Shimmer Waves - 02 Blush
This is a product I've always wanted just because it looked pretty, but the shimmer scared me as it's not something I'm particularly fond of in any makeup let alone worn slap bang in the middle of my cheeks. However, after seeing Selina's posts about this product on her blog and Instagram (and after my aforementioned experience at the Benefit counter having showed me how vast a difference blusher made to my complexion - I bought this before I bought Majorette) I thought I would give it a try, thinking a bit of shimmer might just brighten up my face a bit - anything to distract from the anaemic/sleepless/run down kind of vibe. As it turned out, this blusher is far less scary than it looks: any shimmer is really quite subtle and the coverage is gorgeously buildable. The highlight shade is particularly lovely, this cosmetic gives you an understated glow without being too obvious - it's a lovely product and I wish I'd tried it sooner as I'm sure it would have stopped my blush phobia in it's tracks.

Rockitude Kit - Benefit Cosmetics
I just love these Benefit kits as you get so much for the price of one full-size product (and as most of these items take forever to use up, for me it's absolutely worth it.) In my current job my uniform is essentially trainers, jeans and a T-shirt, and anything other than simple makeup looks a bit weird. For this reason I'm currently opting for a more natural lip with my signature winged liner. Under those harsh lights, though, my pale complexion needs some extra life, and bare lips make me look dead, so this kit has really come to my rescue as it's super low-maintenance but gives me back some much-needed colour. Benetint has always been a firm favourite of mine - I use it on my lips where it gives a nice long-lasting colour stain, you can layer it up for subtle or more dramatic colour. It's thin, water-like consistency means the lip colour doesn't get visibly ruined when you eat or drink, the way a textured lip product does. Any gloss is great too as it doesn't really leave a residue so reapplying is easy. Meanwhile, the Rockateur blush gives a perfect flush without being too harsh or bright, and the High Beam adds a dewy highlight for a more visible glow.

Rimmel Apocalips Lip Lacquer in Celestial
For a neutral everyday makeup I've always used the Apocalips shade Aurora, which is like Celestial (pictured) only slightly darker, and slightly redder. I always found I could just about get away with it as a neutral shade and it's my most commonly used lip product. But sometimes I still find it looks too dark so I picked up Celestial on a shopping trip yesterday: the shades are almost hard to tell apart - a good thing because I love Aurora so much I don't want to stray too far away from that comfort zone - but Celestial is lighter and slightly more pink-toned. The Apocalips products are great because they give you an opaque colour with a gloss, and I know I'll be using this a lot when I want to wear a lip colour rather than stain/gloss, but nothing too statement or heavy.

And that concludes my October favourites! These products have all contributed to me feeling (and looking) more human lately - if nothing else is going right at least my makeup is! Have you tried any of these products? What were your October favourites?