Monday, 18 August 2014

Jewellery: Souksy London


Featured on my blog a few times in the past under the name Chic La Chic, one of my favourite online jewellery boutiques has gone through a more sleek and sophisticated rebranding and when I got an email in my inbox I barely recognised them! Back as Souksy London, I am loving the new, vibrant looking website which so well reflects the chic and unique pieces that they stock. I am so glad to see that they have retained the tribal inspired vibe that I adore, as seen in this cool, tasseled necklace that I picked out (and haven't stopped wearing since; it looks fab styled with a plain black or white blouse), whilst also introducing more typical designs with an edgy twist like these gorgeous cross earrings that have been completed with wire knotting (I am also lusting over these gorgeous numbers). 

Whilst Souksy has a higher price point than I would normally be happy spending on a piece of jewellery, I cannot fault their pieces for their intricate, one-of-a-kind designs that you wouldn't find on the high street and the bright and weighty materials which definitely don't feel look or feel cheap. Souksy is definitely a retailer to consider if you are looking for something a little special and very statement; every one of their pieces is sure to turn heads and add a finishing touch to your outfit.

Have you checked out Souksy?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: PR samples. All opinions expressed are 100% honest and my own.
Friday, 15 August 2014

I love Liverpool.

Photo credit: Shane Murray
Outfit: Blazer and Shorts: Lavish Alice via BANK* | Blouse: Glamorous | Shoes: C/O BANK

About four years ago, Liverpool was, to me, just another city that was famous for their distinctive accent, good stew, football and The Beatles. In fact, it was only my dad's enthusiasm for the fact that Brian May was the Chancellor of Liverpool John Moores University that induced me to select that University for my chosen place of study for the next three years. So perhaps it's my dad's life-long obsession with Queen that is to blame for my infatuation with this city. But I'm glad it happened.

It is a common misconception for readers of my blog that I was born and bred in Liverpool, and it is only when I meet people at events for the first time that I am asked why I don't have a strong accent. I actually reside in a town called Warrington, slap-bang in the middle of Liverpool and Manchester- which means, yes, I am a woolyback, a scanc (an unfortunate combination of the words Scouser and Manc, FYI, not a skank)... But I consider myself a Scouser at heart as I have since developed a deep adoration for the city and a desire to move back there as soon as possible.
So, when BANK Fashion contacted me asking if I'd like to represent Liverpool and talk about some of my favourite things about the city for their upcoming campaign, I was honoured to take the opportunity. I perfected my eyebrows, put on my best BANK outfit and dragged my best friend in to the city to capture the essence of the place I now like to call my second home.

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Whilst I can't say a lot of positive things about my time at University, I can't fault Liverpool for being a fabulous student city. With three main universities situated in the heart of Liverpool, the city is buzzing with people between the ages of 18-25 and it has a nightlife to live up to all the expectations. I have many a memory of covering myself in body paint for themed student nights, taking advantage of queue jumps and discounted shots, losing my voice to the classic dance tracks circa 2010/2011 and ending my night sharing under-baked chicken dippers and chips with my flat mates. I mean... study hard, kids.

Something about Liverpool that I have come to respect a lot more now that I have grown up a little is the effortless beauty of the city. Whilst it has been a long while since I visited any of the museums and galleries there and I am by no means any expert on the history of the city (although I've heard many stories from my grandad), I can appreciate the contrast between the elegant Victorian buildings and the more modern architecture. Something that I really admire about Liverpool is it seems to do the whole "major city" thing without being overstated, and maintaining the culture seems to be of more importance than staying up-to-date. Did you know that Liverpool has more public sculptures than any other place in the UK besides the City of Westminster? No matter what street you turn down, there is a piece of art to look at, often with a story behind it.

What most people venture in to Liverpool City Centre for on a day-to-day basis is the shopping. With Liverpool's open-air shopping district, Liverpool ONE, housing over 160 high street stores, there isn't a shortage of places for you to blow your wages or student loan. However, if this isn't enough for you, Metquarter caters for your high-end and designer needs, St. Johns Shopping Centre is great for shopping on a budget and Bold Street is perfect for thrifting and quirky, independent boutiques. A great thing about shopping in Liverpool is that all these places are within a ten minute walk from one another.

Finally, I have to give a mention to the people of Liverpool. There isn't a single Liverpudlian who I have met who hasn't been able to make me belly-laugh out of pure wit. Not only are they natural comedians with an impressively unique accent and vocabulary, but contrary to the typical stereotypes, they are also some of the nicest people.

So, that is why I love Liverpool in a nutshell (It is impossible to write about everything in detail, this blog post was getting painfully long!). I find that Liverpool is such an underrated city and I am always surprised at the amount of people who say they have never visited, so I hope that this blog post has sparked an interest in getting to know it a little more. Below, I will leave you some of my personal recommendations for things to do and see if you ever visit. There is still so much for me to experience in the city so if you have any recommendations that I haven't mentioned, please feel free to leave them in the comments!

Have you visited Liverpool? What do you love about the city?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.

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Shopping
Liverpool ONE | Bold Street | Metquarter | Cavern Walks | St. Johns Shopping Centre

Food/Drink
Liverpool ONE (for restaurant chains) | Nolita Cantina: Bold Street | Moose Coffee: Dale Street | House: Bold Street | LEAF: Bold Street | Cuthbert's Bakehouse: Mount Pleasant | Mooboo Bubble Tea: Liverpool ONE |  Almost Famous: Parr Street | Alma De Cuba: Seel Street | Concert Square | Etsu Japanese Restaurant: The Strand | Amalia Italian: Campbell Square

Landmarks/ Famous places
Radio City Tower | Liverpool Cathedral | Liverpool Metropolitan Cathedral | Royal Liver Building | Albert Dock | Echo Arena | Liverpool Big Wheel | Chinese Arch/China Town

Public Art
John Lennon: Mathew Street | Billy Fury: Pier Head | A Case History: Hope Street | Eleanor Rigby: Stanley Street | Queen Victoria: St George's Hall | Bessie Braddock & Ken Dodd: Liverpool Lime Street Station | St. Johns Gardens | Superlambanana 'Eight for 08': The Strand | Yellow Superlambanana: Tithebarn Street

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

What's In My Bag?


It has been a long while since I last wrote a "What's In My Bag" post, and since I recently got a new bag I thought it was about time for an update. I got this rather androgynous-looking bag by Mango from House of Fraser*, and whilst it is supposed to be a weekend bag, I thought it was a little on the small side for this purpose but perfect for housing all my every day essentials. It was only as I was preparing this blog post that I realised that men are quite right when they shake their heads at us and say we're like Mary Poppins whilst shoving their keys and their wallet in to their pockets. But when they need a tissue, or a pen, or somewhere to put that bottle of coke that they bought and can't be bothered carrying, who is there to provide? Us!

I haven't photographed all the items that I carry in my bag but I will mention everything that comes with me on a typical day out. Firstly are the things that I never leave the house without; my phone, my keys and my purse/coin purse (you can buy the pug coin purse here!), which houses my I.D., my bank card, my rail card, a handful of my business cards and my money. I also never leave without my Futurocks powerbank- this little box, girls, is a blogger or social media addict's best friend- It will provide your phone with a 200%-300% charge and has saved me from many a boring train journey! A 3 metre iPhone cable and a pair of earphones are also a must.

I usually carry a notebook and pen with me (if only to trick people in to thinking I'm really organised... I'm not.) and when I attend blog-related events or places that I know will have wifi, I like to pop my iPad Mini in my bag as an alternative for social media coverage.

I don't normally carry a lot of beauty items with me, but if I know that I am going somewhere where people will be taking photographs, I'll bring my mascara and my lipstick -if I'm wearing one- for touch-ups (a girl's gotta look good, right?). However I will always have my compact mirror, a lip balm, my Tangle Teezer, a couple of hair ties, a hand sanitizer and a pair of sunglasses (I own about eight pairs of sunglasses and the British weather is unpredictable, so why the heck not?!)

So, that is everything that I currently carry in my bag, except the small heap of train tickets and receipts that seem to compile in the bottom each month! Let me know what your handbag essentials are, and if your fella asks if he can borrow your compact mirror and a tissue because he has popped a spot and it's bleeding everywhere, say no ;)

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: Starred items are PR samples.
Monday, 11 August 2014

Chi Chi August Giveaway!

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It feels like forever since I last held a giveaway (January to be precise!) on my blog, so when one of my favourite brands, Chi Chi, contacted me with the opportunity to offer my readers the chance of winning one of their beautiful dresses (up to the value of £60), of course I jumped at the chance!

I find it hard to tame my ever-growing collection of Chi Chi dresses as they specialise in a huge range of gorgeous cocktail, prom and evening dresses that will make any girl feel like a princess, so make sure you enter below to be in with a chance of winning!

Rules
-This giveaway is open to the UK only, sorry international followers! :(
-Use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. There are plenty of options for extra entries!
- The giveaway will run for five days, and will end at 11:59PM GMT on Saturday, August 16, 2014
-The winner will be picked at random and contacted via email and/or Twitter and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is picked.



Good luck ladies! Take a look on the website and let me know which dress you'd pick! :)

Frances x
Sunday, 10 August 2014

Review: Jewel Candle


Now, it's no secret that I love having a nicely scented candle burning away in my bedroom, and I'm not one to say no to pretty jewellery either. Watching Elle (AllThatGlitters21) on YouTube a few years ago I came across her video about a company called Diamond Candle, which sells candles with a piece of jewellery hidden inside from the value of $10 to $5,000 (?!). I was so intrigued by the concept but just as disappointed when I found out that the company was US only, and alas, I forgot all about it until a couple of weeks ago when the UK-based Jewel Candle rekindled my excitement and offered to send me one of their handmade candles to review.

The concept of Jewel Candle is very similar to Diamond Candle, each candle has hidden inside a pair of earrings or a ring valued between £10-£250, that can only be revealed once the wax has burned down. Jewel Candles are available in a whole range of scents including rose, watermelon (yum!) and passion fruit. I selected the Sweet Cupcake scent as I am a sucker for vanilla-based fragrances and I can gladly report that the fragrance payoff is amazing; when I light this candle, it is a matter of minutes before my room is filled with the (slightly sickly) scent of freshly baked cupcakes. The Jewel Candle website states that your jewellery will be exposed within 10-15 hours of burn time, and it was around 11 hours before I saw the glimmer of heat-resistant foil peeking out from the melted wax. I rescued the package with a pair of tweezers and unwrapped it to find the sparkler pictured above hidden inside.

Admittedly, when I first received my candle I was skeptical about the quality of the jewellery and half expected it to be tacky and not at all to my taste, so I was quite pleasantly surprised when I saw how pretty and well-polished my ring was. Jewel Candle guarantees that all their jewellery is made from 925 sterling silver and you can take your piece to your local jewelers to determine its exact value. Unfortunately, if you opt for a candle containing a ring, you won't know if your ring will fit you until you retrieve it from the wax, however Jewel Candle rings range from a K to a Q and can be re-sized by your jeweler if required.

I absolutely love the concept of these candles and I think they would make a fabulous gift for birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. At £24.95 for a ring candle (the earring candles are a bit cheaper at £16.95 as they are a little smaller), they seem a little pricey, but considering each candle burns for between 130-150 hours PLUS you get a special surprise inside, I think they are well worth it.

If you do fancy treating yourself or a loved one to a Jewel Candle, the lovely Jewel Candle team have provided me with a discount code that will give you 20% off your order. Just enter 'frances20' at the checkout to take advantage... Hurry though, the code expires on September 31, 2014! If you would like to see more of what Jewel Candle has to offer, you can visit their website here and their Facebook page here.

Have you tried a Jewel Candle? Did you find out the value of your jewellery?

Frances x

*DISCLOSURE: PR sample. All opinions stated are 100% honest and my own.
Saturday, 9 August 2014

What I'm Currently Loving: Music

So, I originally didn't have a blog post planned for today but I have been lay in bed watching music videos for the past couple of hours (I know, I am the epitome of wild, I know how to spend my Saturday nights) and I got the urge to write something, so this is a bit of a spontaneous one.

Something that I haven't spoken about much on my blog is music, which is strange as it has been one of the loves of my life since the age of twelve or thirteen, when I watched School of Rock for the first time. I begged my dad to buy me a bass guitar (I was far too hipster at this age to go for something mainstream like the guitar) and I decided I was going to be a rock star one day. Whilst I am still working on that dream ( ;) ), I have taught myself how to play the bass and the guitar (I would learn every instrument if I could; I would LOVE to be able to play the piano and the cajon), sang in the shower (and whilst tidying my room, and whilst stuck in traffic in the car, etc, etc, there may even be cringey clips of me singing floating around on the internet, but we'll save that for another day) a lot and developed an undying passion for attending concerts and festivals. 

Not a day goes by where I don't listen to music, and one of my favourite things to do is scour the "browse" and "discover" tabs on Spotify for new, budding artists, the current most popular songs and the golden oldies that I had forgotten about. I am an open-minded person when it comes to music; there isn't a genre that I don't like and I don't have a favourite either. It is all down to opinion, of course, but I define a "good" song by the way it makes me feel, whether it's an upbeat melody that makes me want to move, a lyric that I relate to so much I could have written it myself, or the passion in the artist's voice that makes the hairs on my arms stand up. I have so much respect for artists who write their own material/ play their own instruments and I love analysing the meaning of songs.

So, since I am currently having a music video marathon, I thought I would leave you with a few (just a few, I could go on for days!) of my current favourite songs, artists and music videos at the moment, which I will no doubt have ruined for myself by this time next week from listening to them on repeat.

George Ezra- Budapest


Magic!- Rude



Michael Jackson- Slave To The Rhythm

Sia- Chandelier


Nico & Vinz- Am I Wrong

Kodaline- High Hopes

Kodaline- Love Like This


Thao with The Get Down Stay Down- When We Swam

Jagwar Ma- Uncertainty

I hope you love these songs as much as I do, and maybe you have discovered something new?
What are your favourite songs at the moment? I'd love to know!

Frances x