When your H&M online order delivers...

I don't think I've had a single successful online order from H&M - my experiences in the past involved long waits for items I ended up sending straight back by return post, only to wait even longer for the refund. In fact, I know I'm not alone in having waited so long for orders to come out that I'd completely forgotten what was in them when they arrived...(hope my husband doesn't read this)

So when I saw these sandals on Sue's and Michelle's blogs, I first went to 2 local stores to see if I could find them.

Timeless Fashion from LUX FIX

Every now and again, I get the opportunity to work with a great brand I've never heard of before and I am reminded why I enjoy blogging so much. It's not just the opportunity to pick an item to showcase, it's knowing that you're going to enjoy sharing this brand and website with readers.

LUX FIX ticks all the boxes with me. It's an online boutique filled with a bunch of independent brands, predominately from the UK. I love a well curated site of different brands as it cuts down on searching and best of all, you get to discover less well known labels.

Before deciding to work with LUX FIX, I had a good look through the site which includes some brands I knew of and have featured before on this blog like Almost Famous, Ness and Seven Boot Lane but mostly lots of brands I'd never heard of before like Yull, Eden Row and Laid Back London.

In the end, I chose a piece from a brand that I have heard lots about but have no experience of - Hope - a British label created by Nayna McIntosh that celebrates women whatever their size or shape. The range is full of easy-to-wear pieces with the emphasis on cut and shape and it appealed to me as they had lots of great quality basics with a twist...just like this top I selected...


My Effortless Brows!

It's only in recent years that I've become a bit brow obsessed. I've always had them waxed regularly but I never really used a product on them or had them 'shaped as such' - any products I did try were disappointing and involved too much faff and the thought of having them shaped made me get 'scary HD brow' fear.

That was before Lynne got hold of me at Effortless Beauty in Moira. I've been a regular there for a couple of years now for nails and make up but then a few months ago Lynne asked me if she could transform my brows.

My immediate reaction was not positive...but Lynne told me she would keep it subtle, not scary and most importantly, easy to replicate at home using a new product she has sourced herself. As I trust her so much,  I decided to let her loose on me. 

On my first appointment Lynne explained that it would take three appointments for me to achieve perfect brows....the first two appointments would be about encouraging a good shape through strategic threading of the brows. By my third visit, it would be all about the maintenance.
But throughout the process, her fabulous Effortless Brow powder & brush would allow me to recreate amazing brows every single day. Lynne showed me how to use from the first appointment, emphasising the importance of using on the upper side of the brow, rather that the underside.
It did exactly what I was told it would do. It allowed me to fill in the gaps in brow growth initially but on an ongoing basis, it gives the brows a temporary tint and fullness that I can build up for nights out/occasions.
I should say now although I call it a powder, it's more like something in-between a wax and a powder so it doesn't blow off the brush. I think that's what makes it work so well - it's that perfect balance between the two textures.

As I mentioned above, I've used other products in the past - another brow powder, a wax product and also a brush style product, similar to a mascara brush and I found the powder ineffective and hard to apply, wax didn't last that long and was also difficult to apply and the brush on product was easier to apply but I never liked the sticky texture that had a tendency to clump and leave you with uneven brows.

Anyway, take it from me, this Effortless Brow stuff is magic - even after 6 weeks when my brows were faded and growing out of shape, this powder, used with the angled brush could make them look freshly tinted and nicely shaped in an instant. And it doesn't fade or rub off during the day at all.
I took these two photos on the same morning - the first one is without make-up and the second one is after I've applied the brow powder. Pretty impressive eh?
The great news is that for anyone who's too far away from Moira to have Lynne work her threading magic, you can get this part of the Effortless Brow experience posted out to you - full details on this link to Lynne's site. The powder comes in a range of colours and with the brush, is just £25. And it will last forever as you use so little of it each time. If you're unsure what colour to order, just drop Lynne an email with a photo and she can help you with that. Mine is the dark brown.

Of course, alongside using the product, it's important to have a 6 weekly tidy up and tint to encourage a nice shape to grow naturally...this will help to correct gaps and unevenness caused by home plucking. We've all done it....

But the best bit about all of this is that a naturally shaped brow that works with your skin tone and hair colour, makes you look more youthful. I'm quite grey under my hair dye so as a consequence, my brows are lighter too (though I like to think they're more blonde than grey......!!). I definitely think having your hair colour done and not also tackling your brows can almost undo the youthful effect of a great hair colour. And finding a person who knows about brows and a product that allows you to create the same effect at home....well it's the perfect combination.

Before I finish, this is not a sponsored post - I am a regular customer of Lynne's and have been for a few years, paying for all my treatments. I was however gifted the brow product on the understanding that I'd try it out for Lynne as it had just arrived after months of her sourcing and rejecting different types. I wasn't obliged to blog about it at all -  I wanted to as it's a great opportunity to support a local business and an inspiring entrepreneur and mum....and here she is photo bombing me and the girls while I have my brows there's some scary brows ;)

Effortless Beauty is located in Moira Mews just off the main street in Moira Village, about 20 minutes from Belfast off the M1. You can find more information on the website here and on Lynne's Facebook page on this link. Thanks for supporting the brands that support this blog!


A hen party...with a senior moment

I know - a hen party at my age :) and it was a young friend too, not a niece or anything!! That's the great thing about choir - you end up with such an amazing diversity of friends and Hilary gets married in July (outfit sorted...can't wait to blog about it!) so last weekend, a group of choir friends headed up to Magherafelt to celebrate with her.

What to wear? Well...I'm a jeans kinda girl when it comes to nights out so I went on the hunt for a great top - one that would show off the tan that appeared (but has since faded!) without much effort on my part - thanks to lots of running and time with the kids in the garden.

My skin was behaving also - the sun really helped clear it up so I was brave and bought this top in River Island - taking advantage of the 25% off with Grazia - made it only £16.
Top - River Island
Nude Sandals - Faith (past season - similar here & here)
It's a great colour for me and I love how it dressed up the jeans but was flowy enough to keep me cool. But then I went to look it up on the RI website and here comes the senior moment...I never realised it's a cold shoulder top - not a strappy cami!!!!
I'm such a div - this is actually how it should have been worn....I'm gutted not to have realised as I think it's way nicer as a cold shoulder top. But I guess it also works the other way and it was a really hot night so I was glad of being able to bare as much arm as possible.

In terms of sizing, I got the 10 and re the bra situation, I just tucked straps into my heavily engineered Boux Avenue 2 sizes bigger bra - it could hold up a small country without my modest bust is wee buns for it (literally.... :) )
Top - River Island
Shoes - River Island (about 10 years old!)

Oh and shoes...well, had a dilemma there as I planned to wear my black blazer and clutch so I really wanted to wear the black peep-toes. But thought the nude sandals looked better...but I don't have a nude clutch. Cue last minute panic...went with the black and then as it turned out, it was too hot for a jacket anyway!



Tan Cross Body Bag Perfection

I've been looking for the perfect tan cross body bag for a couple of years now. I wanted something similar to my black Boden one - specifically with a flap over top, which allows you to expand the bag if necessary. I also wanted a particular colour to match my Clarks and Palmaira sandals as they are the ones I wear most at this time of year.

So when I saw this beauty from House of Fraser, it had to be mine. It ticked all the boxes in butter-soft leather with gorgeous suede detail - all for less than £100 - not much less than £100 but still, it was my birthday....
Tan Cross Body Bag - Mint Velvet via House of Fraser
I've used it almost constantly for the last two weeks and can confirm that it has filled the tan bag void for more searching required!

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen it a few times already. I'm just re-sharing those pictures on here for those of you haven't seen it yet...
Khaki Shirt/Jacket - Urban Outfitters
Jeans - Kings of Indigo (via TK Maxx, past season) 
Sandals - Clarks
Handbag - House of Fraser
Shorts - TU at Sainsburys (past season)
Off The Shoulder Top - H&M
Handbag - as before

Oh and I've not forgotten about my other wardrobe senior moment that I promised on my last post. It's coming next along with what I wore on a recent hen night...



A lot of top for £15......

Took a trip to Next today as I saw these sandals in a magazine...
and wanted to see them in the flesh....
Mink Gladiator Sandals - Next £28
They do look as good in real life but the fit wasn't great for me....loose around the ankle and the front seemed to gape a bit. Of course, now I'm home and looking again at the picture in the magazine, I realise that I didn't tie them properly....DUH....blaming the heat. I'll head back down to try them out again tomorrow. Anyone else have senior moments like this? I seem to be on a roll with them. Another one coming up in my next blog post.

Of course, once I was there and hadn't bought the sandals, I had to have a look around to see what else I could buy. I think (hope) Next is getting back on track again after a few wobbly seasons. There's still a fair amount of their range that is just too colourful and fussy for me but their footwear is the real highlight right now starting with these double strap flats that come in a few colour ways. Really comfy and so easy to slip on and off.
Metallic Two Band Sandals - £20
Also loved these strappy black ones..
Black Block Heel Strap Sandals - £30
And these silver cross over mules....
Metallic Sporty Flatform Mules - £22
I came across these fab boho tops - well priced and perfect for holidays over denim shorts:
Ruffle Top - £14 (available in 3 colours online!)
This Self-Portrait lace inspired piece also caught my eye.
White Lace Frill Top - £22
and this dress in a fabulous shade of orange:
Coral A-Line (??) Dress - £34
sadly, it's been made from an unforgiving jersey material but they style and colour is right up my street. You'd have to wear a full spanx slip under it I reckon but it's not expensive so that's the trade off. I've a wedding in July and if I'd not already bought a dress for it, I'd have tried this on.

Finishing with a top I did actually try on.
Stripe Cami Layer Top - £15 
Loved this on the hanger as it's right up my street with the racer-style straps. I've also just ordered a pair of navy sandals (which I'll share when they arrive!) so I had them in mind while trying on.
Perhaps this is how I'll integrate some yellow into my wardrobe *finally*. The only thing I didn't like was the open back - don't ask me why but when I see open back tops like this, I immediately think 'frump' idea where that came from but I've probably just seen a few too many tops like this in Per Una....
However, I'm overlooking it as I think it's a great top for just £15....fully lined, floaty and flattering and with a great colour combination that will hopefully lift me out of my sea of neutrality for a day or two :)
Finishing with an outfit or two from the past week, starting with another outing for my Onjenu maxi dress from last summer.
Maxi Dress - Onjenu (SS15)
Flat Black Lace up Sandals - Topshop (SS15) - similar here & here
Vest - M&S

The off-the-shoulder tops are on heavy rotation. Worn with jeans on a cooler day:
Jeans - Kings of Indigo via TK Maxx
Sandals & Necklace - as before

Finishing with today's simple ensemble. Layered vests from M&S which are on buy one, get one half price at the moment!
Jeans - Piezak via Sarah Jane Boutique
I need to give the necklace a wee mention because it was a birthday gift from the guys at Anna Lou of London and it's a personalised necklace that spells my name using Chinese symbols. Just gorgeous! They can make them in any language to order, in silver, rose gold and gold. Perfect present for someone who's difficult to buy for.

Back soon with my senior moment from the weekend!



A Fab H&M Top...for a specific problem

We're all loving the sunshine in Ireland at the moment  - apologies if you're reading from somewhere less warm right now but equally do let us bask in this briefest of can be sure we'll be whinging about the rain in a month or so.

I have a specific problem with good weather though....and it's one I'm sure (I hope) I'm not alone in - problem skin on the lower décolletage and back. It's something I've lived with for years. I still gaze enviously at friends who pull off their tops and bare their backs in summer-time. Who wear stunning backless dresses and v-necked tops. Even those who can throw on a strappy vest - just like that! It's not that my skin is troublesome all the time but it's not reliable enough that I could ever buy something like that and trust I'll be ok on the day I want to wear it.

But of course, it's not that big an issue for me 90% of the time because living in this part of the world, there's a fair chance I'll not have to bare my skin anyway thanks to the weather. However, on occasion, my skin flares up at the same time that the weather warms up and I find myself longing to wear something lovely and summery.

I'm guessing this time round it's not just hormonal - I have had two skin break-outs in recent months (on my décolletage only) after using Cocoa Brown mousse tan. I find CB amazing on my legs and use it weekly but the two times I've put it on my arms and swept it up over my shoulders and chest, have resulted in break-outs.

So over the past week, vests, v-necks, scoop necks and straps were all out - really frustrating! On a quick trip into town on Monday, I popped into H&M to see if they would have anything summery, that would cover where I needed covered, without breaking the bank, and I came across this off-the-shoulder top:
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