Monday, 31 October 2011

SIMPLY BE Opens Its First Stores

This autumn has seen the exciting opening of the first Simply Be stores in the UK and I was lucky enough to be invited along to their launch.  The stores at Liverpool and Bury are set to take the plus size fashion world by storm.  They hit their competitors head on and quite frankly, blow them out of the water.  Both opened by Lisa Riley and Katy Cavanagh, the launches were nights to remember and the stores really are what every curvy girl has dreamed of.

Simply Be opening stores is possibly the best thing to have ever happened to the plus size fashion industry in the UK.  Their stores are exciting, glamorous and laugh in the face of every other plus size fashion retailer or clothing line.  Walking up to a Simply Be store doesn't scream fat fashion, or single the store out as a plus size shop which is something that I love.  Too often I see plus size clothing stores that look frumpy, plain and dated and I find that shopping in them has an air of embarrassment about them... you know, the looking around in case there is anyone you know before going in.  Its like the shame of admitting you're too big to shop in mainstream fashion stores.  Not with Simply Be though.  I honestly think that there will be smaller girls who will be envious of those who can shop in the Simply Be stores, yes they are that beautiful.
Opening stores in the UK has been a long time coming for Simply Be and whilst I really wish that they had opened them sooner, now has definitely been the right time.  Plus size women all over the UK are dressing more and more fashionably and are savvy when they are shopping.  They know how much the high street currently lets them down and they know what is available to them online.  With this in mind, I'm sure every plus size woman is over joyed at the Simply Be store openings as they have listened to the people who matter- their customers, and created stores that make shopping an enjoyable experience.  I also love that you can use your Simply Be account in store to buy your items too, making shopping even easier!

Characteristically, the stores are spacious, well laid out and the clothing trends and styles are grouped together and flow really well throughout the store.  Every item in the shop is just as important as the other.  From the clothes, to the shoes and accessories, every item has its place and everything in the store, down to the last detail has been chosen with the fashionable plus size shopper in mind.  My favourite collection in the stores is the Laurens Way collection which showcases pieces designed by Lauren from The Only Way Is Essex *love*.  Clothing tags aside, you wouldn't know that this was a plus size clothing store.  The level of fashionable clothing is so high and the clothes in the store wouldn't look a miss in a mainstream sized store.  I love the way that the jeans are laid out, all with names and in their own boxes, reminiscent of stores like Top Shop.
Many curvy girls would love to wear the fashionable clothes that Simply Be sell but they are often stuck in a fashion rut or worried about trying different styles.  Simply Be have in store style consultants to help you choose the perfect outfit and perhaps try something fabulous that you wouldn't have thought of trying before.  When I visited both the Liverpool and Bury stores, all of the staff there were so knowledgeable and went out of their way to help me.  Their customer service really is second to none.  My favourite part of the store has to be the changing rooms.  They're so spacious, glamorous and have a chic and expensive feel to them.  The mirrors allow you to see yourself from every angle so you can buy in confidence knowing that the outfit you've tried on in the shop will look equally as good at home.  They have this cool mirror too that takes four photos of you that can then be printed out, emailed, facebooked or tweeted.  Every inch of the store makes choosing the perfect outfit easy.  Simply Be have got shopping with confidence down to a T.
The store launches were fantastic, it was great to be asked to attend.  I got to meet Lisa Riley and Katy Cavanagh who plays Julie on Corrie, they were so lovely and had such positive things to say about both of the stores.  Lisa Riley was really excited about the Bury store opening in particular as it is in her home town.  It was also lovely to catch up with fellow fashion bloggers Lauren, Steph, Naomi and Rosie.
The stores are located in Liverpool (Unit 73 Liverpool One, 21 South John Street, L1 8BU) and Bury (Units F18 and F19 The Rock, 7 South Street, Bury, BL9 0JS) and Simply Be have lots of plans to open more stores across the UK over the next few years.  My favourite store is the Bury one simply because its bigger.  I would definitely travel down to these stores again from Newcastle where I live, in fact ill be going to the Bury store next Sunday when I visit Manchester to see Britney Spears *excited face*
Thanks so much for inviting me Simply Be and congratulations on your new stores!

Wednesday, 26 October 2011

KLORANE Dry Shampoo

Klorane Dry Shampoo with Oat Milk
... Even Daisy May loves it!






My favourite thing about this dry shampoo is the way that it cleans hair and soaks up excess oil effectively WITHOUT leaving a residue, coating or powder behind and i think that's something pretty unique as most dry shampoos leave at least something behind.  The Klorane dry shampoo smells beautiful, very natural, and leaves my hair volumised.  I use this on second and third day hair but also when I've just washed my hair as a preventative measure as, even if I've just washed my hair, my fringe and roots start to get greasy throughout the day.  Klorane dry shampoo works perfectly without drying out my hair and making my scalp feel like chalk!  Its fantastic!

I'm loving Klorane at the moment. They're a very natural and gentle brand that is loved by celebrities. I loved finding out that Britney Spears uses this dry shampoo *such a fan*. Check out my Klorane eye makeup remover giveaway here.

At £7.50 for 150ml its a little pricey compared to other dry shampoos on the market, but if it works and works well, then the price doesn't matter so much to me.  Its available from John Lewis and selected stores online.

What Klorane products have you tried? Are you a fan of dry shampoo?


Wednesday, 19 October 2011

GIVEAWAY and RAVE: Klorane Eye Makeup Remover

When I’m going out for the night or to somewhere special, I love spending time creating a glamorous make up look that lasts the whole night long.  I love looking polished... at least at the beginning of the night before I enjoy a cocktail or two and start dancing.  My eyes are always the focus of my face and this is reflected in the makeup I use and the looks I create.  I feel as though I need to make a feature of them, otherwise they seem to blend in with my face and none of my other features stand out in any positive way.
I use a lot of products which are designed for longevity so removing my eye makeup can be a bit of a pain, especially when using MAC pigments.  My skincare routine usually involves removing the bulk of my eye makeup with a makeup or baby wipe and then using Decleor Cleansing Milk on a cotton pad.  Whilst this works to remove my eye makeup, it is time consuming, not always pain free with excessive rubbing and often doesn’t completely remove my makeup- you know what I mean girls... the black eyeliner stained skin!  I’ve finally decided that it’s time to bring out the big guys- eye makeup remover, and I’ve found a fantastic one.
Presenting... Klorane Soothing Eye Makeup Remover with Cornflower Extract
“Enriched with soothing and decongesting cornflower extract, this lotion removes makeup effortlessly.  Very gentle and with a pH identical to that of tears, it ensures perfect tolerance and does not sting the eyes”
This product effortlessly removes all of the makeup I wear on my eyes like concealer, primer, eye shadow, liquid and pencil eyeliner, glitter, mascara, brow pencil, MAC pigments and lash glue; you name it, Klorane removes it quickly, easily and without any painful rubbing.  My favourite thing about this product is that it isn’t oily.  I’m really not a fan of eye makeup removers that are half oil where you have to shake the bottle to mix the solution- eurgh they feel awful.  This one isn’t like that at all.  The liquid is light, non sticky and not greasy at all.  It has a slightly blue tinge to it and It has quite a clinical scent and I can’t quite put my finger on what it smells like but it’s definitely something I’m familiar with-  I think its TCP, it smells quite antiseptic-y anyway and very clean, gentle and pure.  When using eye makeup remover like this, it’s best to soak a cotton wool pad and wipe from the inner corner of the eyelid out over and from the root of the eyelashes to the tip.
Klorane make lots of eye and hair care products, I’m currently using their fantastic dry shampoo (review coming soon!).  All Klorane products are very affordable for the quality and are available to buy from John Lewis and selected stockists online.
Giveaway
I’m giving away a Klorane eye makeup remover lotion just like mine as well as some Klorane eye makeup remover wipes too.
To be in with a chance of winning you must:
Please leave me a comment below with your email address and the details of any additional entries you have made.  Don’t forget to let me know your name on the Facebook account that you have used to ‘like’ the Klorane Facebook page as it may differ to your Google Friend Connect profile.
The competition closes at midnight on Monday 31st October and the winner will be chosen at random.
Good Luck!

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

WhatLauraWore: 40 Hour Day?

Hi Everyone

Its been a manic few weeks but I'm back with lots of reviews and outfit posts for you all.  I'm writing some in advance and scheduling them- how organised of me!  I've been so busy lately with store openings, friends birthdays, work and my own birthday but I am determined to get back into the swing of things.  I have officially cleansed my Virgin Media box of the months and months of Corrie, Emmerdale and Eastenders episodes and I am going to start watching it afresh when Ive actually got time to sit and watch TV!

Tonight though, I thought id show you a recent outfit worn for a meal out.  In all fairness, the photos I took are awful, I look pasty white and washed out... not a good look but the dress is something a little different to what I would usually wear so I wanted to show you all anyway :)
WhatLauraWore
Black and White Tie Die Maxi Dress from Yours Clothing
Flower earrings from New Look
Beaded necklace from Primark
Bracelets from a selection at Primark, Matalan and Pandora
Bangle by Red Herring at Debenhams
Pink blush flower sandals from Primark
Silver glitter clutch from Next

I have lots of reviews coming up for you all and I've had quite a few requests for hair tutorials which I promise ill get round to doing in time for the party season.  Its difficult at times as the hair tutorials you guys want are from hairstyles I wear on nights out... and of course, I'm always running late on nights out and dont have time to take photos as im doing my hair but alas, I promise ill get round to it :D  I always take an absolute age to get ready for nights out, although on Monday I was going out for my friends 18th and was early for the first time ever... only to find out that my friends had told me that the taxi would be arriving half an hour earlier than it was actually booked for because they thought id be late!  Needless to say, I was sat waiting for them tut tut haha.

Anyway, thats enough from me for one evening. I hope you're all well.  Stay beautiful <3

Monday, 3 October 2011

WhatLauraWore: Birthday Cocktails

Evening All

Last Monday was my 23rd birthday (I know, lets get the anti ageing products out!) and on Saturday I went for a night out in Durham to celebrate with the girls.  It was a pretty wild night filled with many cocktails.  In all honesty, I drank far too much than I usually do on a night out so yesterday I was nursing a very sore head!  Were too bottles of champagne really necessary?  Possibly not.  I had a fantastic night and I was so pleased I wore flats as my dance moves would give Michael Flatley a run for his money.

Tonight, I thought id show you the outfit that I wore.  I picked up the dress at the Simply Be VIP store opening that I attended in Liverpool recently.  It is not a style that I would usually go for and to be honest, at £70, its not a price I would usually opt to pay either.  That's whats so good about Simply Be opening stores.  I got to try on a long sleeved dress which I would never have ordered online, in a colour I wouldn't have ordered as I didn't think that I would suit the style or colour and I got to try a range of sizes.  I tried on four different sizes of this dress until I bought the one I wanted as it was a large fit.  Realistically, I would never have been able to afford to pull out £280 to buy four of the dresses online to then send three back.  I cant tell you how happy I am with the dress, I absolutely love it and it made me feel gorgeous from the inside out- it was so worth the money I paid for it.

WhatLauraWore:
Cornelli Tunic Dress by Frock & Frill at Simply Be
Black ankle length leggings from Evans
Pink Blush flower sandals from Primark
Black and gold bag from J by Jasper Conran at Debenhams
White gold and diamond rings
Black chandellier earrings from Next
Heart necklace from Next
Nail Polish is 3 coats of Pastel Pink by Models Own with two coats of Barry M Pink Iridescent

What outfit makes you feel beautiful? Have any of you been to the Simply Be store in Liverpool yet?  Do you prefer online shopping or going to a shopping centre?

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Batiste XXL Volume

Want big beautiful hair thats full of volume?


Batiste XXL Volume

I swear by Batiste, its the holy grail of hair care for me- the original is great at banishing oily roots and because of the rubbing action that you use when applying the dry shampoo, it creates natural looking, volumised hair that feels pretty clean. This month I've been trying out Batiste's big and bouncy XXL Volume dry shampoo and I have some mixed thoughts on it.  As a product to create volume then it is absolutely BRILLIANT but as a dry shampoo, im not so sure.

Application is the same as all Batiste dry shampoos.  Here's some before and after photos of my hair before going to work a few days ago.  A more volumised look can be achieved for the evening simply by spraying more product and massaging more at the roots.

Batiste XXL Volume does a great job of creating instant volume, without the need for any backcombing which is great for your hair as it doesnt cause any damage, plus its very long lasting.  I found that when I didnt touch my hair, the volume in my hair seemed to drop half way through the day but a bit of scrunching and massaging of my hair at the roots boosts the volume back up- which is great for me as I always play with my hair and therefore the volume tends to last all day for me.  Another product which creates volume without backcombing is Backcomb in a Bottle by Umberto Giannini, which ive been using since it came out last year.  It is fantastic at creating volume but I find that it drops quite quickly and cant be resurected, unlike the Batiste, and the texture is quite wet to begin with which I find is unhelpful and for that, I much prefer the Batiste.  That said, I dont love the texture of the Batiste dry shampoo in the slightest, I just think that it is better for creating lasting volume.  The XXL Volume leaves a strange sticky coating on my hair which doesnt make it feel clean so whilst I think this product is fantastic for creating volume, I dont like it as a dry shampoo as it makes my hair feel dirtier and i need to wash it out after a days use.  It does get rid of oily roots though like a dry shampoo should so I wouldnt completely disregard it as a dry shampoo either.  I'd say, give it a go and let me know what you all think, its down to personal preference at the end of the day.  For me, I love to use this on nights out, particularly if im wearing my hair down and want loads of volume or for if im putting a bump in my hair.

XXL Volume features eyecatching, pretty packaging as with all Batiste products and at around £2.99-4.99 a can from shops like Superdrug and Bodycare, its pretty good value for money too as I dont think that this is a product you would use everyday so it would last a while.  One of the original or scented Batiste dry shampoos would be much more suitable for everyday use, for me at least.  I keep this for evenings when I need to create loads of volume in my hair, or for second day hair that needs to look even more big and glam than the normal batiste makes it.

What are your thoughts on the XXL Volume by Batiste?