Wednesday, 3 January 2018

Updating My Signature Scent with John Lewis

One of my few vices in life has to be perfume.  Not only do I love to smell great but I love to feel great too and putting on a gorgeous smelling perfume certainly gives me that inner boost.

If I've said it once, I've said it a thousand times that scent is a really powerful thought provoker for me, as it is with a lot of people.  I say powerful because I can smell a particular perfume and feel instantly transported back to notable times gone by that I've worn that particular perfume.  I've even been out and caught a particular scent be it from a perfume, air freshener, clothing, or just the scent of somewhere in general and been reminded of my nana who sadly passed away many years ago.  The effect is comforting, if a little surprising to begin with.

The easiest way for me to associate a particular smell with a particular time in my life is through perfume.  For example, a very old fragrance called Very Valentino reminds me of travelling to America to sing with my school when I was in my teens as that's the scent I bought at the airport on the way out there and wore throughout the whole trip and Amore Amore by Cacharel also reminds me of being in school when I was 14 to 16 and my friend Cherelle used to wear it.  I loved the perfume that much I asked for it for my birthday or Christmas and wore it everyday! Alien by Thierry Mugler is the scent that I wore throughout my college days and one that is still one of my all time favourites to this day.  I've often heard people say that you school days are the best of your life but I hated mine and would never go back however my college days from 16 to 18 were very much a part of my life that I look back on so fondly.  YSL Elle is another significant fragrance to me as it reminds me of my first date with my first love and Jo Malone's Blue Agava and Cacao layered with Pomegranate Noir will always remind me of a special time in my life.

These are all scents that I've worn time and time again at particular points in my life and their frequency of use and my love for them made them my signature scent at the time.

Generally speaking, I love oriental and musky fragrances; ones that are sexy, distinctive and strong.  I'm not usually a fan of scents that smell overpoweringly of rose and orange blossom or are too floral, fresh or citrus.  The deeper and more complex the scent, the better for me.

For the last couple of years, my signature scent has been Coco Mademoiselle by Chanel.  Surprisingly, while it is a very popular fragrance across the world, I personally don't know many people who wear it so it always stands out when I have it on.

I've forever loved the elegance, class and femininity that Coco Mademoiselle excudes; its a scent that is often complimented on by both other women and men.

What I love about Coco Mademoiselle is how long lasting the scent is and the range of complimentary products available with the same fragrance.  I'm a huge advocate of layering fragrance so this is always a big selling point for me.  I have the body cream, body oil and hair mist from the range, as well as the perfume, and they're all really highly scented which is great because if I ever run out of the perfume I can wear the body products alone and have a similar effect until I'm able to repurchase the fragrance.

The Chanel Coco Mademoiselle range smells luxurious and expensive and that luxury extends right through to the packaging which looks beautiful on my dresser.  Wearing it gives me a confidence boost; I feel as though I walk taller and glow from the inside out when I wear it which is why I always tend to select it for special occasions.

However with the start of the New Year approaching, the perfume experts at John Lewis asked if they could hand select a new fragrance for me to try and perhaps it could become my new signature scent.

I very much love my Chanel Coco Mademoiselle but given the expertise and vast array of perfumes for women at John Lewis, I had a sneaky suspicion that they'd be up to the challenge!

The fragrance that the perfume experts at John Lewis picked out for me is Prada La Femme; a match made in heaven.

Prada La Femme couldn't be more perfect for me.  It has this incredibly elegant air to it; beautifully feminine and oozing class from the fragrance to the bottle.   With top notes of frangipani, a heart of tuberose, ylang ylang, spice and beeswax and a base of vetiver and vanilla, this perfume is smooth, creamy, seductive and really unusual.  La Femme is unlike any other scent I've tried and I've never smelt it on any of my other friends either.

The fragrance is alluring, sultry and warming on the skin but most importantly, it is long lasting and smells incredible from the first spritz to the dry down and beyond.

With all fragrances, I tend to apply them on my inner wrists, down the sides of my neck, across my collarbone and just above my belly button which is how I currently apply Prada La Femme.

However if you're a regular reader of WhatLauraLoves then you may know that I'm a big fan of fragrance layering to make the scent last even longer and really become synonymous with me.  I even posted my guide to fragrance layering back in 2014 on my blog.

The key to layering up your scent is to use coordinating and complimentary products in the same scent as your perfume.  When wearing Chanel Coco Mademoiselle, I tend to just spritz it on my neck and inner wrists as I have the other products to layer with it; I apply the body oil on my legs, the cream on my arms and décolleté and the hair mist over my locks before a night out or special occasion.

What I love about Prada La Femme is that they too have plenty of coordinating products that I'm able to purchase to wear with the perfume and layer the fragrance.  There's currently a Shower Gel, a light weight Body Lotion and a thicker Body Cream to use afterwards.  While the scent itself is long lasting, I'll definitely be investing in the body cream to add a deeper layer of fragrance to my skin to make it last even longer... perfect for a busy Girl Boss like me!

A fragrance as distinctive as this has all the potential of a signature scent; I love it and would highly recommend you to check it out.

Prada La Femme is available in a 35ml, 50ml and 100ml bottle from John Lewis who also have a gift scent of this fragrance thats available here.


What is your signature scent?  Have you tried Prada La Femme?

*Many thanks to John Lewis for collaborating with me on this post.

Sunday, 31 December 2017

7 Years of WhatLauraLoves

Back in August, my blog turned 7.

Life was pretty hectic back then so I’ve only really had the chance to truly acknowledge and reflect on such a big milestone now.

I say milestone because in terms of blogging, a relatively new industry, 7 years is a long time.

While I never knew for certain that my blog would become quite such a big part of my life, from the very beginning I knew blogging would take off in the online world and that branding my space on the internet would be important.

WhatLauraLoves was born and has grown into what it is today; a space for me to share my thoughts, style, tips and experiences.  I was just a girl when I started out sharing reviews as my hobby but now I’m a woman who has turned writing about her passion for being the best version of herself into her career, inspiring others to do the same and I couldn’t be prouder of the fact.

This year has been a battle for many reasons but my career has gone from strength to strength as I’ve worked hard on campaigns with big companies and collaborated with brands I’ve only ever dreamed of working with in the past.

Most significantly, I became an ambassador for plus size fashion brand, Yours Clothing, after winning a spot on their Be The Blogger competition.  I cannot begin to describe how much that meant to me as discovering their stores was where my love of dressing my body and shape really began. I talk a lot about this story in this post.  I have some AMAZING things coming up with Yours Clothing in 2018 so watch this space... especially for #TakeThePledge launching on 4th January!

2017 has also been the year that I became a digital ambassador for The Princes Trust; an honour which I hold with such high regard. The Princes Trust work to help disadvantaged children and young adults get the best start in life through building their self esteem, abilities and career prospects.  I’m going to be working more closely with them in 2018, focusing on the North East area which I’m really passionate about.

People often say that bloggers are really lucky to do the job that they do but in a lot of cases, luck doesn't really come into it; a hell of a lot of hard work and determination does.  In this social media savvy world, it’s hard to stand out and not get caught up in the hype and comparison between one another.

Jealousy can be rife from products and content to collaborations and opportunities and it’s hard to rise above it at times. I felt as though my ship was sinking a couple of years ago and it took a strong and clear mind to pull me out of it.

I discovered that the key to true happiness in my career and life was to not focus on what everyone else was doing but to keep my own vessel ship shape.

In my 7th year of blogging, I learnt even more about the company I keep and the importance of letting the right people in and letting go of the wrong ones. Making sure that those who are in your boat are rowing with you and not drilling holes when you’re not looking is paramount and I feel as though I have the most perfect people around me right now.  Most notably, Mark Dawson who has encouraged and supported my vision for my blog and YouTube channel and has worked with me to bring our ideas to life, Sarah who is the most positive, organised go getter I could ask for in a right hand woman and Rosie and Charlee who have believed in me, supported me and left me to my own creative devices. THANK YOU.

However those that deserve a special thank you are those who have supported me, read my blog, shared, liked and commented over the last seven years.  I certainly wouldn’t have had the opportunities I’ve had if it hadn’t been for all of you reading, commenting and supporting me.  I thank you all from the bottom of my heart.

Laura xxx
*Images taken by India Jackson

Thursday, 28 December 2017

Feeling Comfortable & Confident Wearing The Lady Voluptuous Black Lyra Dress

Lady Voluptuous Black Lyra Dress Yours Clothing UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

When it comes to party outfits, I'm all about feeling comfortable, confident and ultimately, my best self.  My new dress from Yours Clothing makes me feel just that.

I'd let the Lady Voluptuous Lyra Dress pass me by too many times online.  Sure it looked beautiful on the model but I just didn't see what was so special about the dress that I'd heard so many people rave so frequently about.  Then I ordered it, tried it on and fell in love.

This is certainly a dress that looks far better on than it does on the hanger.  It hangs beautifully and has this gorgeous elegance to it that isn't found too frequently with shorter dresses.

The v neckline is subtly sexy and a gorgeous shape that I really appreciate on my figure.  The long sleeves don't feel as though they're there to hide the arms; they're soft, slinky and are actually a really pretty addition to the dress and one that's certainly welcome on these cold winter nights!

Lady V have crafted this dress from an incredibly soft jersey fabric that stretches and glides over the skin.  It has a seamed waist and ties at the back to pull you in and help to enhance that beautifully feminine shape that this dress gives the figure.

Lady Voluptuous Black Lyra Dress Yours Clothing UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

For a dress that I'd overlooked for so long, I've certainly got a lot of wear out of it over the festive season and I'm sure there'll be countless opportunities for me to wear it heading into 2018 too.  A staple Little Black Dress will never go out of fashion and that's why I choose to invest in such pieces but particular cuts and shapes of garments are really important too.  The Lady Voluptuous Lyra Dress is completely timeless and can be enjoyed in several other colours and patterns too.

I don't have the budget to spend a fortune on an outfit that I'll only wear once and so I like to choose pieces that I can wear time and time again, styling them up in different ways with the many accessories and shoes I've collected over the years.

Black is complimented by so much of my wardrobe, especially these incredibly glittery platform heels from Primark that are surprisingly easy to walk in and my trusty Ted Baker clutch bag that I bought from House Of Fraser MANY moons ago!

I'm all about investing in key pieces like this clutch and combining them with cheaper items like the heels.  If I'm ever to choose between the two, I'll always invest in a bag; I can look after my things better when they're not on the floor after all!

I like to mix and match my outfits with the jewellery in my collection too which is far downsized compared to years gone by.  I rarely buy fast fashion jewellery now so when I do, it tends to just be one piece that I can pair with my more expensive, higher quality items such as the River Island earrings that I've paired with my sparkly gold Swarovski bracelet.

The Lady Voluptuous Black Lyra Dress from Yours Clothing on UK Plus Size Blogger WhatLauraLoves

No matter the outfit, the important thing is that you feel comfortable and confident in it.  If you're not genuinely smiling, that'll show through even the most glamorous of looks!

With New Years Eve fast approaching, if you love the look of this dress, you still have time to order one from Yours Clothing; they're available in some stores too!

What items do you feel comfortable and confident in?

Friday, 22 December 2017

Where To Celebrate NYE Around The World

Champagne Glasses New Years Eve
Image Source

With 2017 about to come to an end, now is the time to plan where you will be ringing in the New Year. Travelling abroad for the festivities is a cool ideal if you have the budget and there are lots of options.

Here are three places for you to consider...
One of the world’s most iconic New Year’s Eve celebrations takes place in New York every year in Times Square. For over a century now, at 11:59 PM a glittery ball begins its descent as the countdown to the New Year begins.
The mood here is festive with the party starting well before midnight. Musical acts are booked to perform as more than a million people gather here. A wishing wall is also found here where guests can record their resolutions for the New Year.

Perhaps the party capital of Spain, Barcelona features street parties all over the city to end the year. At the far end of Barceloneta Beach, fireworks are launched to ring in the New Year. The Casino Barcelona is another possible venue that many visitors enjoy as they ring out the old and usher in the new. People all around the world are gambling online, this is ensuring that land-based casinos are also gathering in popularity. There are special party packages available here, as well as their usual array of popular casino games including poker. Visitors staying into the first week of the year can also partake in the 3 Kings Parade.

This sunny South American city is well known for the festivities of Carnival. However, Rio also knows how to celebrate the New Year. Many different celebrations occur at the iconic Copacabana Beach. They include dancers clad in special costumes, music and other attractions. Fireworks are also fired at midnight from a flotilla of boats.

As you make plans to see in the New Year, you could consider one of these international travel destinations for a memorable experience. I'd love to go to Rio one year as I love hot locations and from what I've seen online, the atmosphere in Rio is electric.
Jason Cooks New Years Eve Comedy Club at The Customs House in South Shields

However just as memorable is staying at home and this year, I'm not travelling too far at all.
The Customs House in South Shields will be host to Jason Cook's New Years Eve Comedy Club and I for one, couldn't be more excited.
Jason Cooks Comedy Club at The Customs House in South Shields

If you've been following my updates for a while now then you'll know that I've been to many of the comedy events that Jason puts together. Details of who is headlining and featuring are always kept under wraps until the eleventh hour but one things for sure, you're always guaranteed a great night. This is the best comedy club in the North East and its always a sell out.
Jason Cook pulls together world class comedians from household names like Chris Ramsey and Sarah Millican to up and coming comedians like Carl Hutchinson and future talent needing a platform to harness their talent.
It's a friendly atmosphere at The Customs House, heckling is off the cards as JCCC is all about supporting the acts, especially when they're trying out new material. Its an honour to be able to get a sneak peek at what some of the big names will be performing on far larger stages and on TV in the future.

Jason Cooks Comedy Club at The Customs House in South Shields

This will be my first NYE comedy club and I'm excited to see what it has to hold. I'm not one for going out clubbing for NYE; I've been there, done it and the anticlimax was unreal. I know that with The Customs House, I'm guaranteed a great night that wont break the bank; affordable tickets, loads of laughs and variety on stage, reasonable drinks prices and stellar service from the box office throughout.
Jason Cook's Comedy Club is recommended for those aged 16+ and tickets are priced at a reasonable £25. Buy yours online here, from the box office in person or by calling 0191 454 1234. Tickets are still available but the closer you get to the date, they sell like hot cakes so be quick!

Where will you be spending New Years Eve this year?

Friday, 15 December 2017

Happy Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children

Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children Yours Clothing The Alnwick Garden WhatLauraLoves

Happy Christmas Jumper Day to you all!

I love Christmas Jumper Day because it brings so much cheer and perks up what can be a very cold and wet December day.  Mostly, I love it because of the sentiment behind the day; raising money for Save The Children.

Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children Yours Clothing The Alnwick Garden WhatLauraLoves

This year, my Christmas jumper is from Yours Clothing who have a fantastic range of plus size Christmas jumpers with many still in stock (check out this cute penguin design) if you'd like to pick one up to wear for drinks with friends over the festive season or for on Christmas Day itself.

I love the girly reindeer on mine; I mean check out those lashes, its perfect for me!

Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children Yours Clothing The Alnwick Garden WhatLauraLoves

Whatever the design of your Christmas jumper, make sure you're donating to Save The Children if you can.  Helping children in poverty to have a healthier , safer start in life and to have the chance of an education is so important.

You can find out more about how they save children's lives and build better futures here.

Christmas Jumper Day with Save The Children Yours Clothing The Alnwick Garden WhatLauraLoves

Have you gone into work today wearing your Christmas Jumper or perhaps your little ones are off to nursery in theirs?  I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

*Photographs by Mark Dawson taken at The Alnwick Garden
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