Saturday, 30 August 2014

Week 35 manicure challenge

Classic shiny red.

Learning the art of hand lettering

A new obsession of mine is hand lettering. I have been inspired since joining the online Filofax community and seeing posts of beautifully decorated planner pages with gorgeous styles of writing. Particular inspirations of mine on Instagram are kikkiknetter and craftyniftydoer. They post photos of their planner pages and the writing on them looks amazing. I can only dream of being half as good as them one day. 

Instagram @craftyniftydoer

For other hopefull beginners out there I thought I'd share the first part of my journey with you. I started off with the best free teaching resource - Youtube. It seems like the starting point for me needed to be learning how to write cursively. At school I was taught how to write "joined-up", but over the years my hand-writing has evolved into a semi-joined-up scrawl. I watched a few videos showing how to do the alphabet cursively, and although each had a slightly different slant on doing things, they all had similarities. By watching a variety of these videos, notepad and pen in hand and practising along with them, I started to get the feel of cursive handwriting. My absolute favourite channel for practising is Loops and Tails which has a minute long video on each letter (upper and lower case). On their website, they also have free printable worksheets and exercise drills you can work through.

Tip: I can't remember where I saw this, but someone said if you want to make your writing look more like you've used a calligraphy pen, thicken up the downward strokes. I have been working on this technique and I quite like it. 

I also stumbled across a video on accenting, which talks you through different ways to frame, boarder and accent your hand-writing. I copied all of these out into my notepad too. I find it really handy to have a record of everything I see in my notepad so I can look back on it and use it. Saves trying to hunt down the specific videos. 

This is pretty much where I am up to right now. I keep practising my crusive lettering, the more I do it, I hope the more smooth it will look. At the moment I am having to think about it and therefore write it slowly which means it can look quite shaky. Once I have mastered this, I will start looking at other fonts and different styles of writing to learn.

I'm writing out people's names, phrases, random words that come into my head, anyting to practise really. A little untidy, but something I worked on today...

Part of my problem above with the untidyness is probably the black pen I used. It is a Uniball signo gelstick 0.7 that I had laying around at home. It's quite nice to write with, but not so good for thickening the letters as the nib is not precise enough.

One day, maybe my planner will look like a work of art. I can dream.

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Magazine freebie watch

I saw In Style magazine in WH Smith today, which comes with free L'Occitane shampoo and conditioner. They are the travel size, but still an absolute bargain for the total price of £2.50. I am now kicking myself for not picking up a copy and some freebies. Back to the shops I go tomorrow. 

Bargain gel nail polish

Just picked up these "Gel Perfect" 5 minute manicure polishes from Poundworld! Bargain or what?!

I got orchid and purple luxe. Watch this space to find out if they are any good or not. The packaging says no UV lamp needed and that it sets rock solid in 5 minutes. We shall see...

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Week 34 manicure challenge

After spending a good couple of hours on Sunday soaking off the acrylics, I finally have a new mani.

Bright pink, with white and glitter accent nails. The shine on the pink is thanks to my Seche Vite.

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Week 33 manicure challenge

I nearly missed this week, but OCD wouldn't let me. In truth, my holiday acrylic manicure is still going strong, all-be-it slightly grown out. So for one week only I am showing you my pedi instead. 

So I have bright pink with a black pattern stamped on my big toe.

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Back to work look book

Back to work for me shortly, after a lovely (almost) six week break. Being a teacher, I sometimes struggle with shopping as a lot of things on the high street are not necessarily school-appropriate. I have to make sure that dresses and skirts aren't too short, and that tops aren't see through or flashing too much flesh. I also have the challenge of finding some comfortable black heels that look stylish but aren't so high that I end up in angony by morning break.

I thought I'd share with you my recent finds...

Miss Selfridge
Mini check pencil skirt
Black lace insert crop top

New Look
Black textured pencil skirt
White gem embellished crop top

River Island
Purple swing dress

Florence & Fred at Tesco
Patent gold trim penny loafers

Black asymmetric buckle shoe boots

Although I have a couple of crop tops, when worn with a high waisted skirt, no flesh is flashing!

The Next shoes are proabably (not probably Emma, they are!) way too high, but I'll keep the Florence & Fred loafers under my desk for a little shoe change when walking around. 

All items were available to buy at time of writing. 20/08/2014

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Holiday outfits

This time last week I was sunning myself in 5* Egyptian luxury. Right now I can hear the bass from V festival a couple of miles away and it's almost raining. *sigh*

Nevertheless, we had a lovely holiday and feel very refreshed. I thought I'd share some of my evening outfits with you. Unfortnuately, I didn't manange to photograph them all.

Top: Cameo Rose @ New Look, Shorts: River Island, Pumps: Primark

Dress: Missguided

Dress: Parisian @ New Look, Shoes: Crystal customised New Look courts

I also wore these coral shorts from Missguided with a white crop top, but didn't get a piccy

I wore an outfit almost identical to this, with this River Island aztec skirt from ASOS and a black crop top from New Look

The end of the holiday is bitter sweet. It is so good to go home and see Alfie, but I still wish I was in the 40 degree sun relaxing by the pool. Fingers crossed for some more sun here in Essex over the next few days, although the weather people don't seem very hopeful.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Week 32 manicure challenge

This week I have acrylic nail extensions for my holiday. Nice and low maintenance .

Monday, 4 August 2014

Week 31 manicure challenge

White and silver - stands out great with a tan. After I did think I should have tried white and gold, next time maybe.

Sunday, 3 August 2014

Holiday prep

A couple of weeks ago, my boyfriend and I booked a long awaited late deal holiday. We had discussed it for months, just not committed to it. So finally, we found a 5*, all inclusive to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt. The hotel we've booked is currently ranked 20/200 odd on trip advisor, so can't be bad (fingers crossed!).

Now, those who know me will know that organisation is the key. I'm a worrier by nature. I will worry about every possible realistic and unrealistic situation. I've already had a dream that we missed our flight. So to keep the worrying at bay as best I could, preparation had to start immediately.

Sentido Reef Oasis Senses Resort Sharm El Sheikh Egypt
Our hotel

Bikini body
First up; getting in shape. I will be honest with you, I am a size 8 or sometimes 10 depending on the shop or the day. BUT I do have cellulite on my thighs and bum. This is probably to do with my love of all things sweet; cake, chocolate, cake, chocolate cake, etc. This has always bothered me, but I am even more aware that it's about to be on show to everyone poolside. 

I have been doing two things to tackle this. Firstly, I have been doing Jilian Michael's 30 day shred DVD every other day, building up to every day the week of the trip. I have also been using the My Fitness Pal app to keep track of what I'm eating. It has been quite a learning curve for me as I have discovered that although I often keep within my calorie limit, I tend to eat more "fat" than my recommended daily allowance, and often not enough protein. So I've been trying to cut down on fatty foods and increase my protein intake opting for boiled or poached eggs at lunchtime and chicken for dinner. To be brutally honest, it has been hard and I've pretty much been hungry for a week. But today I noticed that my stomach looks more toned, and yesterday I could have sworn my shirts were looser. I will keep working on this until I leave, and I hope to pick it back up again on my return as I know I do need to eat more healthily.

Part of this also involves me getting my nails done. I can't be doing with nail varnish on holiday. I will book an appointment for the day before we leave for either some french tip falsies or gel nails, depending on how good my nails are at the time.

I've also booked a hair appointment for a trim and a blow dry the day before we leave. I'm loving my long hair, but its been about three months since I last got it cut, so most of my layers have grown out. I'm hoping that having a little trim will help make it more managable. Also, my hairdresser does a beautiful blow dry, so my hair will be looking it's best as we travel out there.

I've have searched the highstreet twice and the retail park once, with little luck, so I moved over to online shopping. A bit of ASOS, Missguided and New Look did the trick. I'm taking dresses, shorts, skirts and nice tops for the evening.

I also bought some of the holiday essentials - suncream, after sun, insect repellant, waterproof mascara.

Today I've had a marathon dress up afternoon. I tried on lots of different outfits for evening wear with different shoes and bags and have narrowed down what I want to take. I say narrowed down, but to be honest, it's probably not that narrow.

Tomorrow I need to make a list of what I want to take and start the serious packing. This also means a trip up to the loft for my travel adaptors.

Next week, I'll show you some holiday outfits.

She Said Beauty