Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Nook & Cranny blogger reception

Above: The Blogger reception © Abby Brennan

Above: The COS stall © Nook & Cranny

The adorably amazing launch to the Celebration of style, hosted by Nook & Cranny last Thursday, saw about 60 bloggers invited to their events space where they put on an exhibition of fashion, textiles and surface art including installation, photography and garments.

The wonderful Nook & Cranny crew also had a stall in the Rum Warehouse on Friday where their in-house illustrator Rheannon Ormond was live drawing guests as an “artistic alternative” to the selfie! You can check these out by searching #COSselfie – so cool!

Then on Saturday Nook & Cranny hosted a clothes swap at their independent store in the heart of Liverpool’s art quarter. It was called the ‘Bold Street Fashion Exchange’ with the tag line ‘Swap til you Drop’.  Entry was £2 on the door for people to come along with their pre-loved items and update/makeover their wardrobe with a thrifty exchange.

Stephanie Whalley, the Marketing Officer of Nook and Cranny, said: “Thrifty, vintage and retro are a big deal on the Liverpool fashion scene so we wanted to bring this to light in what was otherwise a high-end event. Cricket and Matalan were the big names behind the event and we really wanted to pioneer individuality and the alternatives to fast fashion. “

She added: “The blogger event and clothes swap were a great success. People really got into the spirit of things and we got people coming specifically for the event but also attracted the interest of a lot of shoppers who were simply wandering around the store. We didn’t necessarily plan to hold another clothes swap event but following the success of the weekend, we are now going to be holding another one on January 10th.”

To find out more about Nook & Cranny visit them HERE


Celebration of Style

Top (left - right) Rebecca Ferguson and Amanda Harrington. Below models on the Cricket catwalk. © Brian Mansy, Mansy Photography

The three day extravaganza shone the spotlight on Liverpool this weekend as the city celebrated local fashion, beauty, art, photography and architecture.

The events launched on Thursday evening where guests could meet organisers, partners and brush shoulders with celebrities such as Abbey Clancy and Matthew Williamson.

Friday was a day of pop-up fashion stands at Stanley dock with plenty to buy and try. As well as the stalls high profile industry experts were there to do fashion panel talks.

The event that really stole the show however was the Cricket Fashion Night Out on Friday evening. The night included a showcase of designer collections from the likes of Victoria Beckham, Stella McCartney and YSL as well as live musical performances from Dom Chung and Kelli Leigh.
Held at the Cunard building on Water Street, local fashionistas as well as big names such as Made in Chelsea star Rosie Fortescue and Arcadia heiress Chloe Green could be spotted in the front row of the catwalk event.
This was followed by an aftershow party at Palm Sugar where celebrities such as Jenny Frost and Rebecca Ferguson were seen dancing the night away.
Justine Mills and Denise Harris, organisers of the Celebration of Style, both praised the city as an inspiration for the event and were proud to have helped place it securely on the fashion map.
Justine Mills, Cricket owner, said: “In fashion I've been lucky enough to go to some amazing events and met some amazing people, and I've said to them 'why don't you come to Liverpool?'. When they do they can't believe the buildings and the nightlife and everything we have to offer. I thought if they were so impressed then what we needed was a way to get more people coming here and feeling that way." 
Denise Harris, of SK Events, which organises the Liverpool Food and Drink Festival, added: "What struck us both was that we've been to these fabulous events all over the country and all over the world, but felt that nothing like that happens in Liverpool.”

 Special thanks to Brian Mansy for the amazing photography. Check out more of his work HERE

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Belissimo Lips

Oh my god I'm in love! Glitter..for your lips....like actual glitter....could you ever imagine anything so perfect!? Well no need to imagine any longer, it's here! 

On Saturday I went Christmas shopping to the Trafford Centre and was having a mooch around Topshop when I noticed a few members of staff had the most amazing sparkly lips. After stalking one poor girl around the shop to find the source of the glitter I came across a cute little pop up make up stall in the centre of the store.

There the Belissimo girls were selling their latest product 'Belissimo Lips' which is a type of glitter that can be applied to your lips using a water based adhesive. The lovely founder of Belissimo, Anita (or Missy Belissimo), was more than happy to do my lips up in shade 'Rose' (shown in the first picture) and I simply fell head over heels - I just had to get some!

After much serious consideration and discussion (involving half the staff in the store) I settled on getting shades Rose (top left), Purple (top right) and Crimson (bottom right). The wonderful Missy Belissimo also threw in a new shade which wont be released until this weekend called Moonstone (shown bottom left).

The glitter lips are SO easy to apply, all you have to do is roll on the adhesive glue with a cotton bud then roll on your glitter using the same technique. The glitter only sticks to the glue and simply brushes off anywhere else. The glitter is meant to stay on for up to twelve hours and you can still eat and drink whilst wearing it as long as you avoid greasy foods and hot drinks (so handy if you're on a diet as well!)

I left my glitter on for about nine hours then went to wipe it off with a make up wipe and it refused to budge! After scrubbing with some face wash I eventually managed to remove it - at least I know I can trust it not to budge on a night out!

I think the Belissimo Lips are such a beautiful alternative to lipstick and perfect for the festive season! I can't wait to wear mine to Christmas parties and on News Years Eve! I even plan on wearing the Rose colour casually as it's not too vibrant and attention grabbing for every day wear. The other three, however, are reserved for special nights out!

The sets are £13 for one which includes a pot of adhesive, three cotton wool applicators and a pot of glitter. However you can also buy three glitters for £30 which still includes your adhesive and applicators. My set is shown below!

For any hardcore glitter lovers like me, or anyone wanting to try something different to wow at the Christmas party, I seriously recommend checking Belissimo out! You can take a look at their website by clicking HERE where they sell a whole wide range of cool stuff as well as their glitter lips. Alternatively you can check out their products on Instagram @missybelissimo or on Twitter @belissimouk.

Comment and let me know if you've ever used Belissimo Lips or a similar product and what your favourite Belissimo Lips colour is! - Alice x


Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Adventure Awaits

Autumn/Winter stock has arrived in Primark stores across the UK and I am loving it! Anyone who is a regular reader knows I love a bargain so naturally I love Primark! I mean come on where else can you get a gazillion hair bobbles, a tonne of jewellery, and three new outfits for under £100!? 

The AW14/15 collection at the high street store is stunning and their campaign 'Adventure Awaits' is truly beautiful. I love the earthy pastel tones mixed with bright pop colours and the textures include everything from chunky knits to faux fur - everything you need to see out this season with style.

I'm particularly in love with the thigh high suede boots in grey, shown in the third picture, and the tri-colour faux fur jacket, shown in the fifth picture. I think they'd look amazing either styled down with black jeans and top for a day out christmas shopping, or dressed up with and LBD for a festive night out.

Stephen Springham, Senior Retail Analyst, Planet Retail, spoke about Primark's sales in the upcoming seasons, he said: “Weather woes are unlikely to have a major bearing on Primark’s trading figures when it reports its full-year trading figures today. While the Indian summer in September and October has already prompted peers such as Next, Supergroup and N Brown to warn on profits, Primark is likely to post annual sales and profit growth approaching 20%. 
The calendar is slightly in its favour (the FY reporting period runs only until mid-September) and current trading may well be softer, but the fact remains that Primark is a retailing powerhouse - especially in the UK, but increasingly internationally too.
“Primark basically succeeds not just by being cheap but also by being very fashionable. The fact that the product may lack durability is neither here nor there - its shoppers are after something fast and disposable. It’s all about volume, volume and volume and there’s little place for e-commerce in this model. But it means that the stores must be compelling (which Primark stores are) and have rapid stock-turn (which Primark does). 
The Primark model doesn’t necessarily need e-commerce - it relies on stores having mass destination appeal and shoppers not knowing what they are going to buy before they go in. But they will never, ever leave empty handed. And will be back again very soon to do the same again. Customers enjoying shopping, retail as a leisure pursuit - old guard, but highly effective nonetheless.

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

The Liverpool dating scene - what to wear this season in association with match.com

Last month I was approached by match.com Liverpool with the challenge of finding outfits to wear for various dates in the city. Instead of finding a whole load of separate outfits (not ideal for a gal on a budget!) I found nine wardrobe essentials that you can use for an interchangeable, stylish look while dating this season.

The floral dress (centre) can be worn with the River Island heels (top centre) for a night out in one of the amazing clubs or cocktail bars in Liverpool. The Albert Dock is a stunning setting for a first date and there's a huge variety of venues to choose from, my recommendation for a student on a budget is Revolution, which sells a great range of cocktails at really reasonable prices. Team the dress with the Public Desire heels (bottom right), and the New Look Blazer (far right), for a more chilled out, but still 'dressy' look.

If you're feeling very artsy and educated you could go on a date to one of Liverpool's many spectacular museums and art galleries. My personal favourites are The World Museum and The Walker Art Gallery, both of which are situated just minutes away from Lime Street Station. The print on the Unique, by Topshop, tailored trousers (bottom left) will have you looking better than the displays in the Walker. Wear the trousers with a white cami top and a black blazer for a sophisticated look, you can add the pearl choker and gold cuff for a more glamorous touch. Both flats and heels will work with this look, taking your day time date outfit through to the night!

You can mix and match any of these high street buys to create a date outfit suitable for every situation from casual drinks, to a visit to one of Liverpool's many restaurants for some posh nosh!
Check out the match.com guide to dating in Liverpool for inspiration on venues to wear your fab new wardrobe! Have fun!

Gold tone cut out cuff bracelet, River Island - £10
Teagan strappy front woven cami, Boohoo - £15
   Artichoke print tailored trousers by, Unique at Topshop - £170
Black pony skin block heel platform sandals, River Island - £70
Blue floral print high neck bodycon dress, New Look - £11.24
Perforated leather clutch, Topshop - £40
Cream stone textured collar, Topshop - £8.50
Kelis black cleated sole patform heels, Public Desire - £29.99
Black collarless blazer, New Look - £24.99


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

The good, the bad and the mid-mid life crisis

It's 5am and I'm typing this post up in a note on my iPad. The sun is shining and the birds are singing and for the first time in a long time I feel peaceful. Today's post probably won't be a very cheery one or a groundbreaking journalistic piece but it will be personal and from the very bottom of my heart. I would be lying if I said that this has been a good year for me. I haven't posted anything about my personal life in quite some time for the simple reason that it's been far too painful and I'd like to summarise quickly why that is. I don't want anyone to think for a second that this is my big sob story or a way of getting people to feel sorry for me, it's simply something I want to get off my chest and as promised my blog will always be about fashion, beauty and perhaps most importantly life. 

On the first of August last year I went to stay with a friend in Liverpool for a routine mad night out round town! As you would expect I got very drunk and had a ball. The next morning I woke up to a disgustingly loud phone ringing. It took me a good few moments, in my hungover state, to realise it was in fact my phone! My amazing friend of 16 years, Annie, was calling which I thought was odd for two reasons; 1-neither of us are phone people and 2-it was 5am! I answered and she told me that my best friend Joseph had been in a car accident, as far as we knew it was nothing serious and he would be okay but to hurry home just in case.

So I gathered all my stuff together, attempted to shower off the hangover (it didn't work) and set off to get a big greasy breakfast. I text my mum to tell her what had happened and she already knew with Joes mum being her best friend (lovingly known as Auntie Julie), she reassured me everything was looking alright. So far we knew the accident was serious and that Joe's girlfriend was in the car with him. We suspected broken legs and arms, maybe even some ribs, Joe was always injuring himself - seriously the boy once broke his arm falling off his skateboard because he thought he saw a kit Kat on the floor!

(me and Joe on holiday as children) 

 The earliest train I managed to get was the 10:20am from Liverpool to Barrow and as I settled into my seat I phoned my mum to ask if she'd heard anything else and I can remember all she said was: "yes" we were quiet for a long time then she said: "he didn't make it" all I could do was laugh, Joe was always a joker and always hurting himself but he was indestructible in my eyes, it all had to be an elaborate joke, but I could hear my mum and family crying in the background and I knew he'd gone. I had to hang up the phone to go throw up in the train toilet.

The friend who had stood by me through thick and thin from the age of four, the boy who had I had shared holidays with, who taught me how to rollerblade and then patched me up when I fell, the one who bought me my prom corsage was gone? It didn't make sense. How cruel that someone so kind had been taken away from the world, from his family? What an injustice the world had served! Like how dare this happen? How could he be gone!? All the terrible people in the world and you took him away!

I don't remember much more of that day, just going to see my friend Katie and going and getting very drunk with all of ours and Joe's friends. That day changed me forever, I lost a lot of faith in the world that day. 

(Katie, Joe and I in happier times, our prom)

When I went back to university in September I struggled to find joy in anything. I don't know if it was because I felt guilty because I was meant to be having fun while my friend was gone or because I was scared of how quickly he'd been taken from me or some other reason but I just couldn't make myself happy. I struggled through days at uni and as they days turned into months I still couldn't bring myself to go back home, I didn't want to get on a train because they reminded me of that day and I couldn't bare to see the devastation that his death had brought on my family. I felt a million worlds away from my friends and I didn't want to talk to anyone because in a way I felt selfish, why should we talk about my issues when we should be talking about how brilliant he was.

This stint finally came to an end just before Christmas I got off the train at Barrow and just collapsed into my mums arms and I cried like a baby. It was the first time since his funeral that I'd truly cried about it and in all honesty it helped! I calmed down and went back to being silent about the subject pretty soon after but I could already feel a slight weight lifting. The real help came in the form of another friend over Christmas, I've known Joshua for about six or seven years and over Christmas I discovered I could talk freely to him about all my worries without him passing any judgement. He was always there when I needed him without fail. With his encouragement I began to truly enjoy myself again and when I returned to uni in January he encouraged me to seek counselling.

(Another one of our many holidays together)

I've had counselling once a week since I went back to uni in Liverpool and I'm currently looking for a new one in Barrow since I'm home for the summer. Talking to someone really helped me to accept what had happened to my friend and look back at memories of him with happiness instead of devastation. It also helped me to deal with so many insecurities and stresses of every day life. In February I began loosing chunks if hair and getting really bad skin due to stress and dealt with self harm, they were some of my darker days, but after many stress counselling sessions that soon cleared up.

It's been a horrific year for me and my loved ones but it's also taught me no matter how bleak everything might look there is always someone there to help you through, you're never alone and sometimes just talking to someone is all it takes to change your life. I can now happily say Joshua is my boyfriend who I love, I feel like I can be close to my family again and I can talk freely to all of my friends now.

(One of the few 'nice' photos of us together at prom)

My friend Joseph Andrews was killed in a collision between his car and a lorry in the early hours of August 2nd 2013, his girlfriend fortunately survived and she is thankfully still very close to the family. We all lost someone we loved dearly that day but I know we'll meet him again someday.

I'd like to say a special thank you to the NWAA, who rescued Joe from his car crash and managed to give him enough time to say goodbye to his dad, but sadly were unable to save him. The NWAA is charity led and your donations could help to save even more lives and give people like Joe more of a fighting chance.

Like I said at the start of this post it's not a sob story or for attention, I just wanted to raise awareness and finally fill you all in on exactly what has happened over this last year. Hopefully it will have raised some awareness and perhaps help to make a bit of money for Joe's charity.

It's now 6am of June 18 2014 and I'm awaiting my second year university results, I'm extremely nervous about them and I feel a bit sick if I'm honest! I'm not sure why I chose to write all this now, perhaps because this is the first time in a year I've been worried about something normal people my age worry about and I felt a bit braver, I don't know.

(The prom corsages)

The final thing I'd like to say is; Joe, it's been nearly year and it still feels like I'm going to bump into you in town, or get a text telling me about one of your crazy adventures, I miss our times together so, so much. I know you'd want us all to be happy, it's hard, but we're all trying for you and even though you had to leave it early, this party isn't over yet.

"Happiness can be found in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light." - Dumbledore always knows best.

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

TBT: The Clueless Wishlist

Tartan co-ords are one of the biggest things in fashion at the moment and are set to be even bigger throughout SS14. Gone are the grungy winter prints, replaced by pretty pastel tartans, checks and gingham. I can’t wait to get my hands on all the beautiful prints!
Although it seems a relatively new trend to us someone was rocking it almost twenty years before us.....Cher! No not that Cher! The one and only Cher Horowitz from the 1995 movie Clueless! For those of you who don’t know Clueless is an adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel ‘Emma’ and is one of the best chic flicks of all time!
The very quick explanation is, it’s about Cher, a popular girl who spends her days playing matchmaker, helping friends with fashion choices, advising the new girl at school on a makeover, and looking for a boyfriend. However I took it as my fashion bible when I was a little girl and am ecstatic that the Clueless style is back!
Boohoo Lucy pastel check crop top - £12
Boohoo Connie Peach Pastel Tartan Midi Skirt - £10
Primark Princess Coat - £35
River Island White T Bar Heels - £45
Hermes Clear Satchel Bag – Price on request
Topshop Sky Blue Lace Trim Ankle Socks - £3.50

For my first Clueless inspired look i've gone for lots of pinks and pastels to fit with the SS14 pastel vibe but I've also thrown in a tailored jacket and some cute and cosy socks - just because your wardrobe is summery, doesn't mean the great British weather will be! I adore the tartan co-ord set from Boohoo, it looks fab together an could be worn just as easily as separate pieces.
I like the idea of the River Island T Bars with the cute little frilly socks from Topshop underneath - time to make socks and sandals work girls! The Hermes bag I picked as it reminded me of the 90's Bubble Bag and satchel trends as well as the more recent trend of the see through clutch.
Primark Blue Fluffy Crop Jumper - £14
Primark Holographic Clutch – £14
Topshop Mint Textured Swing Coat - £89
Windsor Smith ‘Runt’ heels - £96.10 (approx)
New Look Gingham Tube Skirt - £9.99
Topshop White Lace Ornate Tights - £10

I think out of the two, this is my favourite look. It's very Cher with a modern edgier twist. I have completely fallen in love with the Runt heels from Windsor Smith (and pretty much every other pair they sell) but I'm going to have to do some major saving to afford a pair! I've already invested in the crop jumper from Primark and the New Look gingham skirt, I'll do an OOTD post including those very soon! 
Again I added the gorgeous swing coat and lace tights, both from Topshop, just to prepare for the lack of actual summery weather during summer in the UK, but I think they'd work well with the outfit regardless. The holographic Primark clutch is another piece I'll soon have to invest in, the holographic material is another big 90's trend that's wormed it's way back onto catwalks over the last year, yay!
I hope you enjoyed my 'how to' Clueless looks, let me know what you think in the comment box below! Also for anyone who hasn't already, I seriously recommend checking this film out, it really is the ultimate chick flick!

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