Trendspotting: Tartan Treats

My favourite fashion trends are often inspired by nostalgia. After all, fashion constantly repeats itself and all trends will do the rounds more than once eventually (except for you octopus pants – you can stay firmly in 1999). This winter one of the biggest trends set to storm the high street is one that reminds me of various times in my life, being a little girl, my hideous infatuation with the emo/scene kid trend and laughing at pictures of my rents from the 80’s.

Tartan and DocMarts, trendsetter

Tartan is back in a big way and the high street currently looks like the inside of (queen of tartan) Vivienne Westwood’s mind. When I was little many of my cutest outfits, if I do say so myself, involved adorable tartan dresses and skirts and so tartan instantly makes me feel comforted and at home. Tartan isn’t just for the little’uns though and this winter will see many girls working a bit of tartan for serious grown up glamour.

It’s been a while since I’ve been shopping (somehow managing to tear myself away from the shopping centre that is FIVE MINUTES from my new house) and so naturally my online virtual baskets are full to burst and a lot of those items are tartan goodies and here are some of my favourites!

First up is this gorgeous Check Borg Collar Coat from high street Miss Selfridge. This coat reminds me of something my mum would wrap me up in when I was little to protect me from the (disgustingly brutal) Pennine chill. Not that I actively seek to look like a 5 year old in my day to day life but momma does still worry about me getting chilly and I'd happily wear this little number to keep me warm. Don't put it on before you go outside though, otherwise you won't 'feel the benefit'.

In my current job I'm allowed to dress pretty casually (oh the perks of media) but some days I want to look like I mean business* and in this Check Contrast Dress from G21 I could be smart and on trend which may seem easy to do but seriously, have you seen some of the lady-suits in the shops these days?-shudder-

* Me at work: click here

As much as I loved a wee bit of the ol' check I also wasn't too up for looking like a Bay City Rollers (like 1D but for the seventies) fangirl. Unfortunately tartan trousers are one area where you can stray into this territory. However these beauties from River Island come in a striking electric blue and make a nod to another of Autumn's trends meaning they're more fashion vixen that fashion victim.

There's no justifiable reason for my love for these trainers other than I love hi-tops and I love tartan. It's a simple as that. I'd wear these with leggings and a big old vintage sweater for the ultimate weekend off-duty look.

Now I'm usually against being a slave to a trend and wearing it EVERYWHERE but there's something so cute about this Tartan Bra. Yes, they don't do it in my size. Yes, it's pretty impractical and could only be worn under dark clothing but I still want it. Can someone purchase it so I can live vicariously through them? Or would it be weird to ask to look at your bras?....

Last but not least is probably the most nostaligc/retro item on the list. This adorable Tartan Pinafore looks exactly like something you'd pop a toddler in and they'd promptly ruin by crushing rusks all down the front of it. As a 21 year old I'm more like to be pouring mojitos down the front of it dresses up with heels and a crop top for a night out. Or wearily spilling my morning coffee on it as I rush off to work in this and a blazer.

What do you think of the tartan trend? Do you love it or loathe it? Which high street shop is your go-to for tartan items? Is there another Autumn trend that you can't get enough of? As eve let me know! And PLEASE tell me I'm not the only one who was dresses in such embarassing outfits?!

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BearaBeara: Great Handbags for a Good Cause.

If blogging has done one thing for me, it has increased my awareness of some of the unethical practices in the fashion and beauty world and turned me into a far more educated and conscious consumer. Although I am by no means a 100% ethical consumer, I’m a primark girl at heart and won’t kid myself that Topshop’s ridiculous prices don’t mean their clothes are made outside of sweatshops, I am continually on the hunt for great products which will also leave me with a clear conscience.

Pictures of Elle May and Adam from the BearaBeara website.

One such company is BearaBeara* who are makers of the most incredible handbags and satchels all individually handcrafted in Bolivia. They aim not only to ensure that Fashionistas get their hands on unique, well made and on trend bags, they are also helping people in Bolivia fight unemployment. The bags are made by highly skilled Bolivian crafstmen and women who, were it not for BearaBeara, would probably be facing a lifetime of poverty in this 3rd world nation. The bags are then distibuted in the UK through the website AND a newly secured residency in Topshop’s Oxford Circus store.

When asked about his motivations and hopes regarding the brand, founder Jake Bullough said “The idea of encouraging employment within a relatively poor country has always been a huge motivational factor for me. My hope is that everyone who purchases a 'Beara Beara' bag will appreciate the skill, determination, respect and love that went into making each individual one.” Just a glance at the site will tell you that Jakes hopes have been fulfilled. The bags are absolutely stunning and each one is evidently made not only with skill but with care, love and a real gratitude for the opportunity these craftspeople have been given.

It is rare for me to find a website on which I love every single product but BearaBeara is definitely one of them! All of their bags are beautifully made, super stylish AND come with the ‘warm and fuzzy feeling’ of knowing your purchase is doing something good. I could seriously buy everything on this site and I have already spotted potential Christmas presents for my backpack-loving boyfriend , satchel-obsessed mother and my dad who is in desperate need of a new briefcase (my brother will just have to make do with the latest copy of FIFA). Although the bags are by no means cheap it is important to remember that from just £38 you can have a gorgeous bag that's been spotted on some of fashion's biggest names whilst also helping to make a real difference to people's lives.

My personal favourite (for anyone wanting to purchase me a Christmas gift) is the beautiful Anita handbag. I've been after a smaller sized satchel for a while and this handbag with it's eye-catching handwoven cloth design makes it a unique piece for adding a little something to everyday outfits - my fear of the plain would be cured with this little number. I also love the Emilia doctors bag - I've been after a doctor's bag for a long time but every one I've seen has been 'not quite right'. I almost squealed when I saw this one as it's like the BearaBeara designers have reached inside my brain and designed a bag just for me. Basically IT IS PERFECT AND I NEED IT -stomps feet-.

If you haven't had a look yet then browse BearaBeara here and be sure to check out their Gallery - the photography on the site is amazing! Local to London? Then you can go browse the collection in Topshop Oxford Circus (hello weekend shopping plans!) and other stockists. If the quality and style of the bags isn't enough to convince you to purchase then I urge you to read their story and learn a little more about the amazing people behind this great site! Fashion that feels good? Sign me up.

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Rituals Skin and Body Care on Achica

Now as I continually mention on the blog I do love to save a bit of money wherever possible (a true northerner) but sometimes I find it hard to save money on certain items. Since I began blogging I've also found my expenditure on certain items has gone up as I have discovered new products to experiment with and been exposed to more higher end brands.

One way I do like to try and save money is by signing up to discount websites and one of my favourites is Achica-their main stock is focussed on homeware and interior products but they also have fashion, travel, kids and pet products too. Today whilst browsing their site looking for something for work I noticed they now also did beauty promotions and their current one is with one of my favourite brands rituals


The products are on at up to a 3rd of the standard price and there's also loads of Bath and Body products to get hold of too!. This is such a great offer and a chance to stock up on some great quality skincare. I'm totally coveting the Eye make up remover for getting rid of my stubborn mascara and eyeliner, the brightening facial exoliator for improving my skin tone and texture and the ultra calming facial toner for calming the redness I suffer from!

The rich restoring night cream and vitality and energy mask will also help to keep my skin looking plumped and youthful, battling those horrid fine lines I'm beginning to find! Finally, I'm a sucker for lip products and anything with she butter and SPF is a winner by me, making this lip treat a key weapon in my quest for soft lips!.

If you haven't checked out Achica I truly recommend you do and if you're interested in this offer then be quick as there's only 1 day left! They offer such great value for money and with a vast variety of offers that constantly change and repeat you're sure to find something truly unique! If you click here to join you'll also get a lovely £10 voucher to start you off with-who can say no to that.

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The Skincare Tag

I've seen this tag floating around on a number of blogs and as I often find my blog over run with skincarep osts I thought this would make a nicelittle summary of some of my thoughts on skincare treatment and products. Feel free to complete this tag yourself, I love hearing other people's tips and leave your links below! Also if you're wanting a great skincare guide for all skintypes from actual, real-life bloggers then check out Sophia of Tatooed Tealady's amazing Skincare Project

Describe your skincare routine in less than 5 words
Cleanse Tone Treat Moisturise

What's your skin type?
Oily/blemish prone but also suscpetible to dehydration if I use anything too drying. I'm also starting to suspect it's a little bit sensitive too. A nightmare basically.

What's your favourite skincare product?
This is so hard and changes ALL the time BUT I'd probably have to be a typical blogger and say Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish OR Nip + Fab's clean fix gel (pictured above and a life saver for uneven skin tones)

Top blemish zapper
Without a doubt La Roche Posay's Effaclar A.I , don't believe the hype about Effaclar Duo. This is it's much better, lesser known sibling.

Face wipes yay or nay?
NAY NAY NAY. Unless it's an emergency/you're using them as a pre-cleanse to something that will actually y'know, cleanse your skin. Generally though I'm with skincare goddess Caroline Hirons on this one wipes are only acceptable on for 'fannies, festivals and flights'.

Toner yay or nay?
It took me a while to come round to it but yes yes yes. f you're thinking 'my skin's just not changing' try a toner for your skin type/concern and see what happens. 99.9% of the time you'll be positively thrilled, I promise. Oh and use 2 of them.

High end skincare or high end make up?
As I have mentioned before on my blog my dad is a big fan of comparing high end and drugstore skin care and saying they're essentially the same thing so I do think it is possible to get great skincare on a budget. However there are some high end products I swear by and, having tried the cheaper alternatives, am willing to pay for. When it comes to make up I do tend to buy more budget-end stuff purely because I buy it a lot more often than I buy skincare. But when it comes to foundation and powder I'd say these products should be treated like an extension of your skincare routine and thus if you need to pay out for better formulas and ingredients it's a must do!

What's the most unusual skincare product you've tried?
I'm still finding REN's Gylcolactic mask really bizarre to use. I mean it just looks, smells and feels like marmalade. But it works and that's what is important.

You're in a French pharmacy and can only pick one item - what is it?
La Roche Posay Effaclar A.I because it is much cheaper over there!

Tell us your top skincare tip
You can use all the products you like but you MUST treat from the inside first. Quit the cigs, protect it in the sun and drink more water. Please. Also if you're unhappy with your skin you have every right to see a doctor about it. It is your biggest organ after all and any responsible doctor should not call you vain or stupid or say you're overreacting. Investigating my skin led me to discover I had a fertility issue that I had no idea about so it's worth it!

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Brand Spotlight: Stradivarius.

As you may have gathered from my last few posts-I'VE BEEN ON HOLIDAY. I spent 2 weeks on the beautiful Island of Cyprus with my family in a villa just outside of Paphos, which is on the West Coast. My family are big fans of Cyprus and this was the 4th time we've been, although we did go to the other side of the Island this time which was a welcome change! Whilst there we sampled the divine Cypriot cuisine and my parents had their very first proper Meze, despite us having been to about every Greek Island EVER they've not had one before. Safe to say me and my brother practically had to roll them home after they packed away an impressive 14 courses.

We also did a little bit of shopping,it may be odd to some but shopping is an activity we engage in as a family a lot and when my mum heard a new mall had opened in the city of Larnaca she just had to check it out. I really enjoy shopping abroad as it gives me the opportunity to browse shops we don't have in the UK and one of my all time favourites is Stradivarius, a European women's clothing brand who are yet to hit the UK (a plea to anyone at head office-PLEASE come to the UK.)


Stradivarius is a bit like a love child of my high street favourites Zara (who are owned by the same company) and Topshop but with prices more similar to H&M or Primark. Dresses go from between £10-30, tops from £3-20 and a beautiful pair of heels can be picked up here for as little as £29.95! Stradivarius appeals to me because it's collections range from really young and edgy stuff to more sophisticated clothing for the older 'young adults'-perfect for a 21 year old who is a little too old for some high street stuff but not quite ready to start browsing M&S just yet! The younger clothing reminds me of a classier and less garish version of H&M's Divided range and it's definitely reminiscent of Zara's TRF Collection. Meanwhile the slightly more chic stuff screams Mango and Topshop but at considerably cheaper prices.

All in all for someone like me who suffers from distinct wardrobe split-personality and who is yet to decide if I'm a skinny-jeans and t-shirt or dresses and heels sort of girl Stradivarius provides it all and at super affordable prices. The quality is above average and far surpasses that of Topshop (will they ever address this issue?!. Also, unlike a great deal of shops on the British high street the sizing is far more accurate! Basically, it'd a dream high street store and all this talk of it is making me want to head straight to my nearest shop and buy one of everything-a trip to Paris anyone?

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