Black Caviar

I usually try not to do too many fashion related blogger challenges as I worry readers will think they're just "filler" posts but when I was approached by Fashion Vouchers to create a Christmas outfit for under £100, I thought it was the perfect opportunity to inspire people this festive period. £100 is not a lot of money in the fashion world with shoes on the high street being an easy £70. Under £100 outfit posts are a great way to find inspiration and a great way to look after your pennies too.

My retailer of choice was AX Paris who are most commonly seen supplying New Look. I decided to shop directly on their website and with the help of Fashion Vouchers, was able to create a look compiled of five items for just under £70, way below the £100 budget.

My look was inspired by the cover of Vogue's latest 2012 December edition, not the British cover but in fact the Australian cover. The world famous horse, Black Caviar was photographed with Australian model, Julia Nobis standing in an Alexander McQueen gown. I decided to base my look around this cover and one of 2012's biggest trends; caviar. The pieces I've chosen mimic the texture of the delicacy itself; so I chose pieces with rich embellishments and glossy surfaces. The jewellery I chose, mimic the tins the caviar is usually produced in.



Total - £68.38

The prices above were the result of two codes used, the first was WELCOME20 which was supplied by Fashion Vouchers on their handy website and the second was VIP40 which offers a 40% discount on selected items and can be found on the website itself. Not one item remained at full price at the check out. Not only this but the pieces selected are classics that can be worn time and time again.

Check out the Xmas Party Outfit Blogger Challenge held by Fashion Vouchers to be in with a chance of winning £100 to spend and don't forget to browse their site for a bargain beautiful Christmas party outfit or even a New Year's Eve party frock.

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Christmas Giveaway 2012 (Plus Booby Prize!)



To celebrate Christmas, I'm holding a special four-prize giveaway for you guys, one of which is a booby prize! These prizes would make great stocking fillers, Christmas presents or extra Christmas treats for yourselves. The Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit Travel Care Kit comes with camomile and elderflower body wash, shower creme and hand/nail cream, and you can pop them all in the sweetest little Jemima Puddle-Duck travel bag which would also make for a decent size make-up bag too. It is also completely allergen free. The Mini Fondue Kit comes with a small pot, a metal stand, a tea light, two metal forks and a 32-page book filled with recipes and serving suggestions. The Pink Velvotan Tanning Mitt is a re-usable (stick it in the wash) tanning mitt that gives a flawless streak-free tan and leaves you with stain-free hands. The booby prize is not pictured above and will remain a mystery until the winner receives it in the post!

1st Place Prize 
Beatrix Potter Peter Rabbit Travel Care Kit

2nd Place Prize
Mini Fondue Kit

3rd Place Prize
Pink Velvotan Tanning Mitt

Booby Prize
?????



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Choosing The Right Watch




I'd been dying for a Michael Kors watch ever since I first laid eyes on them last year. His glamorous yet timeless watches have quickly become a cult favourite over the past year, amongst fashion followers and the trend hungry. Luckily, my mum saw how much I desired one and agreed to buy me one as my Christmas present this year but little did I know, I'd be getting it early. We were in Manchester to visit a specialist doctor (for my poor excuse for a pair of lungs) but beforehand, we decided to meander through Selfridges in the Arndale Centre.

Visit Different Stockists
I took my mum to the Michael Kors counter in Selfridges so I could work out which watch I'd like. I'd been twice previously (once in the Trafford Centre and once in the Arndale Centre) and ended up with two business cards filled with different watch serial codes (I guess it just goes to show that all his watches are desirable). Michael Kors watches aren't cheap so I think it's important to do your research first, before making the investment. Even though I wasn't paying for this watch myself, I wanted to make sure of my decision. I didn't want my mum paying for a watch I wasn't 100% sure on. The best advice I could give is to visit as many different Michael Kors stockists as possible so you can try on and see as many different styles as possible, then get the assistant to write down the serial codes of the watches you like.

Review Online
It's worth it to review your selection of serial codes online, to remind yourself of what the watches look like. It's even worth it to check what people are saying about theirs, on review sites and blogs. However, you should never decide on which watch to buy, purely based on internet research, as what you see on screen definitely isn't the same in real life.

Colour, Style, Purpose and Fit
First decide what colour to go for, most people choose the Gold, Rose Gold or Silver. Michael Kors also do watches in a traditional leather strap, ceramic/silicone, tortoiseshell and a luscious chocolate brown. One thing to remember is to choose a watch you'll love in 5 years time after trends have come and gone.

Decide what style you're looking for (for reference, I will be using serial codes from the gold watch range); If you like classic designs, I would suggest the MK5055. If you like your watches to be encrusted in rhinestones for ultimate glamour, then the MK5720 might be for you. I'm quite a classic girl myself which lead me to choose the MK5055 initially, however - just as I was filling in the form for the watch, I changed my mind and chose the MK5556. It has a classic and traditional face with Roman numerals but the watch strap and bezel were blindingly shiny which gave a glamorous element to it. I found the MK5055, although beautifully traditional, didn't portray my personality accurately enough.

It's important to take into account the purpose of the watch. Of course, we all use watches to tell the time, but if you're using it during work days, you may want to reconsider purchasing something that may be classed as "too dressy for work". The MK5556 is traditional enough to wear to work yet not flamboyant enough to warrant a formal request from perspective bosses to remove it.

The general rule with fit depends on which watch you choose and your own personal preferences. Some people buy watches to wear more as a bracelet, others like a watch to remain firmly in place. If you're the latter, remember to make sure the watch is tight enough not to move around your wrist yet loose enough to not restrict blood flow. It's also important to remember that during Summer, your body/skin swells with the heat so you need to make sure you have enough space around your wrist to allow for this to happen. In terms of appearance, one assistant told me that the rule of thumb was that the face of a watch must not be larger than your wrist. I have pretty tiny wrists so I made the sensible option of choosing one of the mid-sized watches.

Purchase
Once you've made your decision, you can decide how you will purchase your watch, either online on in store. If you purchase online, you may be entitled to money off. Currently on The Watch Shop website, you can get 30% off. However, online retailers are not usually responsible for what happens to their stock in transit so if the watch is stolen or damaged, they may not replace it. I didn't want to take the gamble so my watch was purchased in store.

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The reason why I haven't covered 'price' in this guide is because the majority of Michael Kors watches tend to be in the same price bracket. Smaller watches are often only £20 cheaper. Usually when someone buys a Michael Kors watch, it's as an investment rather than costume jewellery so whichever watch you choose, you know you'll be investing a lot of money into it. When it comes to luxury brand jewellery, you literally get what you pay for - which is why it's not possible to find cheap Michael Kors or Tiffany & Co unless they're knock-offs, in which case - they are not Michael Kors or Tiffany & Co at all.

I hope this guide was helpful, if you decide to invest in a Michael Kors watch or any luxury brand jewellery - let me know what you've chosen and why you chose it. I'd love to know :)

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Muse 'The 2nd Law' Tour in Manchester



I was lucky enough to see Muse on Thursday for the fourth time, and again - they did not disappoint. I've seen them before in the M.E.N Arena in 2006 and both times, I was lucky enough to be able to stand by the barrier. The tickets were £55 each this year and worth every penny. I would pay that again in a heartbeat. I've never once been disappointed and this was no exception. They've been labelled 'Best Live Band' countless times, and I can totally see why. The atmosphere of it all is beyond captivating and definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience. The 2nd Law tour kicked off in France, seeing Manchester as their 10th date with Joy Formidable as their support act (of whom I'd have enjoyed if the bassist wasn't so troubled). The thing that really made the gig for me, was when Matt decided to walk down the barrier, I was inches away from the man himself. 


I really admire this band, I've been a fan for a long time and have seen them evolve, develop new sounds and mature as people. Their ability to create such philosophical, political and controversial music is so great, that I can't and have not been able to compare them to any other band. I remember in an interview with Lego, I was asked whom my favourite band was and why. I said that my favourite band was Muse because they don't just make music about love, but about aliens, conspiracy theories, politics, religion...











Muse will never cease to be my favourite band, for as long as I can imagine. Their most recent album The 2nd Law really stood the test of time when it introduced subtle dubstep (one of my least favourite music genres) but of course, they pulled it off effortlessly, especially in Follow Me. For me, the best tracks on the album have to be Follow Me, Big Freeze and Isolated System. The utero-heartbeat that can be heard in the intro of Follow Me is actually of his son's, Bingham's who was born last year and was recorded on his iPhone just days before Kate gave birth. And the song 'Madness' was written by Matt and was inspired by a fight with Kate. 

I'm also happy to be able to cross off 'Go to at least one gig' from my 2012 to-do list. If you've had the opportunity and pleasure of enjoying the musical talents of Muse, live - share your experience below. I'd love to hear your story!

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Halloween 2012



Unfortunately for us in the UK, Halloween is not as big as it is in the USA. We tend to lean towards the alcohol side of things rather than the trick/treat side. My usual go-to costume for anything fancy dress (including Halloween) is a cat. I probably spent more time in my cat costume during University than I did in normal attire. Needless to say, this year - I ditched the feline outfit in favour of a skeleton costume that I made from an old dress. I sewed up a skeleton bodysuit and ordered a pair of cheap skeleton-pattern tights. I was initially going to wear the bodysuit bare like I do with my cat costume but my tights had that dreaded line across the top which made the whole ensemble quite distasteful, so I paired it with some black sequin shorts. I also painted my nails an eyeball pattern and was splattered with fake blood, thanks to my friend! I hope you all had a wonderful Halloween :)

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