Wednesday, 21 June 2017

Style | Anita & Green Jumpsuit


I've temporarily tossed my jeans to one side - it's just far too hot for denim right now. Instead I've been wearing a lot of jumpsuits, mostly made from light materials to keep me cool when the temperature is high.

Jumpsuit - Anita & Green* | Backpack - Fjallraven via Urban Outfitters | Shoes - Vans | Watch - Nixon*

One of my go-to's is this khaki Anita & Green jumpsuit. My speciality lately is taking dressy items and making them wearable for every day so I paired the jumpsuit with a pair of Vans Old Skool sneakers (which you'll have noticed I've been wearing a lot lately) and a Fjallraven Kanken backpack.



*samples - read my disclaimer here.

What have you been wearing lately?

Lesley x

Saturday, 17 June 2017

Review | NYX Away We Glow Liquid Highlighters


I've been hooked on any (and all) illuminating products lately and some of my favourites are from the NYX Away We Glow Liquid Highlighter Collection.


(left to right above) Liquid Prism, Moon Glow, State of Flux, Golden Hour, Crystal Glare, Daytime Halo, Moonbeam, Gold Rush and Rose Quartz (£8/6.8ml)*  

Released earlier this year, the collection contains 9 shades in total with something to suit a range of skin tones. Each highlighter comes in a transparent plastic tube with a sponge-tipped applicator. They're a little reminiscent of the travel-sized BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector (mentioned here) and as it's one of my favourite highlighters I was interested to see how these measure up. The tubes are a good size, small enough that they're easy to travel with but with enough product to last a decent amount of time. I swatched them below so you can get an idea of how pigmented these are though admittedly this photo doesn't do them justice - I'm not sure why I seem to always struggle with photographing highlighters! 


I tend to use highlighters on a daily basis (even on some days when I'm not actually wearing any other makeup) and these see a lot of use. I tend to dab the product directly onto the skin where needed or onto the back of my hands and then apply with my fingertips. Blending is easy with a few taps or I'll use a damp makeup sponge. They can be sheered out or built up pretty effortlessly so you have the option of a subtle or more intense glow. 

My favourite shades to use are Crystal Glare (white champagne pearl), Daytime Halo (true champagne pearl) and Moonbeam (soft pink pearl) which all give a natural-looking highlight and would work beautifully across a few different skintones. Daytime Halo and Moonbeam are the closest in tone to the BECCA Opal Spotlight Shimmering Skin Perfector but neither match it exactly so these aren't exactly dupes. They do match up in terms of quality and pigmentation however.

I also love to also use the shades Gold Rush (bronzed gold pearl) and Rose Quartz (rose gold pearl) which have a more metallic feel and are so gorgeous worn alone or over a light base for a subtle pop of colour. I reach for the other shades - Liquid Prism (white opal iridescence), Moon Glow (white pearl), State of Flux (lavender pearl) and Golden Hour (true gold pear) less often. Liquid Prism and Moon Glow have a more holographic look to them so these would be ideal if you like to be more daring with your highlight or for festival-inspired makeup looks. 

Overall I love this collection and have already grabbed another of the Crystal Glare shade in preparation for when it runs out! You can get it from in-store or online at Boots and ASOS

*samples - read my disclaimer here.


Do you use highlighters?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Thoughts on one year natural


Last month marked one year of me being fully natural. In the past I've put together 'hair updates' to mark any differences or goals reached but what I've noticed is my hair hasn't dramatically changed in the past year. What has changed though is me - how I feel about myself and my attitude - and having natural hair has been a huge part of that.


The change I've seen in myself as you'd expect didn't happen overnight. When I initially chopped off the last of my chemically treated hair back in May 2016 my feelings about my natural hair were mixed. I'd never been totally satisfied with my hair throughout my life and as I've always adored curls on others I thought I'd love my natural hair. In reality I felt ugly initially and I worried whether people would accept the natural me.

With big hair you instantly stick out and being an introvert has always made me want to blend in. My instinct was to hide my hair - which I've done as both relaxed and natural. I'd take select photos of my hair to post online mostly as I felt it was a safe space occupied by fellow curlistas where I could be my natural self. In person however I mostly tucked away my bushy curls from friends, family and my boyfriend by always wearing it up in a neat bun.

As the months went by blogging and working with brands which celebrate individuality and diversity (particularly freelancing with ASOS) encouraged me to wear my hair out more in person. I've found my boyfriend, close friends and family to be nothing but supportive about my natural hair too which made me wonder what I was so worried about. Complete strangers also regularly stop me in the street and on public transport to compliment me on my curls. I'm still stunned every time it happens. I never, ever expected that sort of reaction and I realised most of my anxieties and insecurities were in my head.

The takeaway? I view my negative feelings about my hair as an expansion of how I'd felt about myself for years. I've always been my worst critic and it was truly stifling. I knew I couldn't continue that way and I needed to accept myself as I was (frizz and all). I've stopped pursuing perfection - it's not attainable anyway and my flaws don't need fixing - and this belief has helped me feel more comfortable in my own skin however I choose to wear my hair.


It feels bizarre saying it but the Coco Chanel quote "A woman who cuts her hair is about to change her life" has never rung truer for me than it has in the past year. Cutting off the last of my relaxed hair has led to me gaining so much more than a new a hairstyle. It forced me to accept and love things I previously didn't like about myself. It's given me a new lease of life.


I hope you all know what beautiful women (or men) you are already but just in case you feel like I once did know that you are enough as you are. 


Lesley x

Monday, 29 May 2017

Glowwbox | May 2017


This month Glowwbox have teamed up with Design Essentials for a limited edition box including several products from the Coconut & Monoi collection. I've featured Glowwbox a number of times on my blog before but for any new readers, Glowwbox is a monthly beauty box subscription service (£15 + P&P)* aimed at women with darker skintones.


Inside the May edition I received the Coconut Milk Nourishing Shampoo (£7.95/225g), Coconut Milk Leave-In Nourisher (£8.95/266ml), Deep Moisture Milk Créme (£9.50/118ml), Curl Defining Gelée (£9.50/340g) - all full size - and 2 sample packets of the Deep Moisture Milk Soufflé (full size £9.50/340g). In the Glowwbox magazine included with every box it mentions 6 products inside the box so there may also be a sample of the Curl Enhancing Dual Hydration Milk (full size £9.50/266ml).

As the temperature heats up our hair can get drier so this month's box aims to quench our thirsty strands. Each product is stated to be loaded with moisture, containing ingredients like Coconut Oil, Monoi Oil and active botanicals to keep dryness at bay. I've only had the box for a few days so I've definitely not had enough time to fully review these products. So far I've only tried the Coconut Milk Nourishing Shampoo, Coconut Milk Leave-In Nourisher and Curl Defining Gelée once. The shampoo is sulfate-free and cleansed my hair without leaving it dry. The Leave-In gave my hair a moisture-boost without weighing it down and the Gelée defined my hair well but I found it didn't mix well when used with other brands/products I have already. As I'm still experimenting with these products I'll review them fully at a later stage.


You do get quite a lot of products for the subscription price so if this is something you're interested in you can grab this box until the end of May from Glowwbox 


*sample - read my disclaimer here.

Have you tried a beauty box subscription?

Lesley x

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Style | Lace & Beads


Topshop has stolen all of my coins of late. I'm on Oxford Street a lot and the Topshop store there is absolutely huge with so many brands that I'm always wandering in to buy a last-minute outfit. I've had a few formal events lately where my usual ultra-casual attire doesn't quite cut it so I've grabbed a few dressier pieces.

The latest addition is this cami top with pep hem from London-based brand Lace & Beads. The label's speciality is embellished pieces, tulle dresses and floral embroidery - ideal for special occasions. When I need to be dressed up this top works well with a black midi skirt and heels but I purposely picked it to mix with the rest of my wardrobe when I don't need to be so formal. I wore it casually here with Topshop Mom jeans - my favourite cut of denim currently - and some crisp new Vans.


Top - Lace & Beads (via Topshop in store) | Jeans - Topshop | Shoes - Vans (Schuh exclusives)


Photography - Mike Burchardt | @burchardtlens



What have you been wearing? 


Lesley x

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Style | Monki Dungaree Dress


Denim pieces account for most of my wardrobe but finding ones that actually fit properly, especially dungarees, has always been a bit of a challenge. In the past most brands of dungarees I've tried have been too baggy or fit awkwardly around the waist. I finally found this dungaree dress from cool Scandi fashion brand Monki last month and it fits perfectly.

Dungaree Dress - Monki | Shirt - ASOS (old) | Sneakers* - Reebok | Bracelet* - Fiyah | Ring* - Magpie On The Run



As well as the fit, I love the bleach wash and rose gold button detailing. This lighter hue is definitely perfect for the warmer months and wore it with a loosely tucked in striped shirt from ASOS (an old favourite) and a pair of Reebok Freestyle Hi from the Face Stockholm collection*.


Accessories-wise I always tend to keep things pretty minimal so only wore a couple of pieces here. I love anything with a classic, simple design and this sterling silver Link Bracelet* I received recently from Fiyah really fits the bill. If you're interested, the brand has also supplied a discount of 10% off orders when you use code 'FRESH'. The ring is an old favourite from Magpie on the Run, I'm pretty much always wearing it!



Photography - Mike Burchardt | @burchardtlens


*samples - read my disclaimer here.


What have you been wearing? 

Lesley x

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Style | Topshop Fluted Blouse


Blouses are almost entirely absent from my wardrobe currently. I've been too accustomed to buying tees but I really love exaggerated and floaty sleeves so I couldn't resist this peachy number from Topshop. It's a beaut and I find it hard not to swish around (like an absolute idiot) in this.


It comes in a few other colours including black (which I usually gravitate towards) but I thought I'd try a different colour for once and I really love it. You may see me in more colour soon as a result...maybe. 

It's so easy to dress up or down, like most of what I buy, but I've mostly been wearing this top casually. I have a habit of finding something I like and buying it in every colour - hence the addition of another a-line denim skirt here but I've also been wearing this blouse tucked into shredded mom jeans.

Blouse - Topshop | Skirt & Ring - ASOS | Belt - H&M | Choker - Regal Rose | Watch - Shore Projects*


Photography - Mike Burchardt | @burchardtlens


*sample - read my disclaimer here.


What have you loved wearing lately? 

Lesley x

Wednesday, 3 May 2017

How I get defined curls


I'll be honest my hair isn't always defined. Some days it's a big ball of frizz and I've learned to love it either way. That said, I do have my method down for when I want definition and here's a few things which work best for me...


Wet hair 
My hair lacks definition if it's dry (like most curls) and for best results I'll apply any and all leave-ins whilst in the shower. I've tried applying on dry or damp hair but I always end up having to re-wet sections to really see definition. My hair is low porosity too so the water gives my hair moisture and the heat from the shower actually allows it to penetrate instead of just rolling right off. Product then also has a chance to absorb and as my hair is wet I don't have to use a lot.

Leave-ins 
My hair doesn't stay curly on in it's own and is naturally frizz-prone so I'll always rely on leave-ins. I tend to start with a leave-in conditioner like KeraCare Natural Textures Leave-In Conditioner (£5.75/240ml) or Shea Moisture Raw Shea Butter Extra-Moisture Detangler (£10.99/236ml). Both are pretty similar in terms of results so I usually rely on one or the other and once applied that's when I go in with a defining product. Not all defining products are made equal so if you've found one you absolutely love stick with it. I've found these types of products can be hit and miss - many giving me crunchy or limp strands with the definition only lasting a day. As a result for months I rejected these types of products altogether and just used a moisturiser but I have settled on a few favourites. I love Bumble and Bumble Bb Curl Defining Creme (£23.50/250ml) most as it doesn't weigh down my hair. It's pricey but as I apply wet I don't use a huge amount and I can usually get away with just rewetting my hair the next day to reactivate the product if needed. Shea Moisture Coconut & Hibiscus Curling Gel Soufflé (£10.99/340ml) is another favourite as the definition lasts but this can make the hair a little sticky if you use too much.

Scrunching, smoothing and finger coiling 
I'm really lazy with my hair so most days I simply apply the product and smooth or scrunch into the hair. I very rarely use combs or brushes so I tend to work in the product or rake through with my fingers. I see the best results when working in really small sections so I'll start at the back and slowly work my way up. When I've got more time (and patience) I'll coil tiny sections around my finger to make my hair more spring-y.

Air drying or diffusing
My hair and blowdryers don't seem to get a long so I prefer to airdry which means on wash days I tend to run around with wet mop of curls and a microfibre towel draped over my shoulders. Not ideal I know, so if airdrying isn't an option I'll reach for my blowdryer and use with a diffuser. Diffusers gently dry curls without disturbing the pattern too much and using these on cool or low heat will limit damage.

Pineapple(ing)
Piling all my hair into a loose ponytail on top of my head (like a pineapple) is the only thing I do to help my curls last past the first day. I try to make sure my hair has dried fully first (otherwise my hair can look a little like a mushroom when I untie it the next day) and I'll use a Invisibobble (£4.75) or similar as these don't leave a noticeable dent in the hair. Sometimes I'll use a satin scarf but mostly I sleep on a satin pillowcase to stop my hair drying out. The next day my hair usually just needs a little shake and it's as good as the day before and I can usually do this for a couple of days before needing to start the process again.


Photography - Mike Burchardt | @burchardtlens


Lesley x

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Style | Borrowing from the boys


I have a habit of buying men's shirts and jackets lately. It stems from a few years of pinching my boyfriend's clothes, much to his annoyance. I just love the simplicity of menswear and a boxy cosy fit. I spied this men's yellow denim jacket recently on ASOS and the colour made me 'add to basket' real quick. I bought it in a small and it's still pretty huge as the fit is oversized but I'm in love with it and it definitely ticks the comfortable box!


I know us Brits always go on about the weather constantly but you can't blame us really. It's actually been warm enough in London to brave bare legs again which has gotten me so excited for Summer. I love how uncomplicated style can be in the warmer months (as the city gets so humid and you can't wear more than a few pieces without overheating). I paired the jacket with a crop top and black denim skirt here as I still wanted to still keep the look feminine and Vans because they seem to go with everything!

Jacket & Skirt - ASOS | Top - New Look | Shoes - Vans

Photography - Mike Burchardt | @burchardtlens


What have you been wearing?  

Lesley x

Saturday, 8 April 2017

Beauty | ASOS x Deciem


Self-dubbed the 'abnormal beauty company', Deciem is an umbrella of beauty brands including Hylamide, The Chemistry Brand, The Ordinary and NIOD all of which are making waves in the industry currently. With the brand's head office based in Toronto, Canada, the products are mostly available online from a few retailers including ASOS. They also opened their first UK store recently in Spitalfields Market, London and another is set to open in Covent Garden soon. To celebrate the sale of new Deciem products on ASOS, a few ASOSers and beauty influencers were invited to the Deciem flagship store on Thursday evening. It's the first time I've visited the store and it has an apothecary feel to it with a modern and minimal aesthetic, definitely my kind of settings!


At the event, co-founder Nicola Kilner focused on Deciem's newest brand The Ordinary, which is only about 6 months old. The key selling point of The Ordinary products are that they use effective ingredients and technologies but they're sold at a very affordable price point - you can pick up most of the products for less than £10 each. The brand calls it "Clinical formulations with integrity" and it's not hard to see why this brand has struck a chord with skincare enthusiasts across the globe.

I've had quite a few of The Ordinary products amongst my skincare arsenal since the end of last year but it took me a while to work out which products were best for my skin. The brand's website is extremely helpful however, giving suggestions on how to slot these products into your skincare routine based on your needs. It also goes into detail on which products work well together (and which don't) as well as what order to use them in to reap the most benefits. 

At the event Nicola ran through the most popular products from The Ordinary sold on ASOS which were Niacinamide (£5/30ml)*, Hylauronic Acid (£5.90/30ml)*, Advanced Retinoid (£8/30ml) and Cold-Pressed Rose Hip Seed Oil (£9/30ml)*. I have all of them and will post a review at a later date of these when I've got more of a feel for how they're working for me. Nicola explained the benefits of each - the Niacinamide is great with helping with blemishes and congestion (nighttime use only), Hylauronic acid is key for hydration and Retinoid and Rose Hip Seed Oil both help with signs of ageing.

Nicola also briefly touched on the brand's latest product addition Colours, a 42-strong collection of mineral-based foundations priced at less than £6 each. I sampled a few shades at the event and the foundation applies so smoothly. Nicola explained that the way the pigments are suspended in the formula means that they can't stick to each other so they don't gather in fine lines giving a 'flawless' look. I didn't have the product on long enough to really test this out but I'm intrigued to see if there's a product that doesn't crease under my eyes or in my smile lines so I'm eagerly awaiting the launch of these foundations later this month. 


You can get Deciem products in-store, online or on ASOS.

*sample - read my disclaimer here.


Have you heard of or tried anything from Deciem? 

Lesley x

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Review | Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse


Skincare has definitely been more a priority for me recently and one of the most important things in my routine is cleansing. One of the cleansers I've been relying on for the past couple of months is the newly launched Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse (£24/2x50ml). It's a 2-in-1 product with cleansers to both remove makeup and sunscreen and prep the skin for your nightly skincare.


I've only really become familiar with Pixi products since last year but the brand launched over 10 years ago in London. Creator of the brand Petra Strand has a wealth of experience as a makeup artist and product developer and her mission with Pixi products is to bring out the natural beauty in all women.

In creating the Double Cleanse Pixi partnered with Caroline Hirons, a globally qualified advanced aesthetician who's one of the first beauty bloggers I started following several years ago. She's also a massive champion of 'double cleansing' (using more than one product to clean your skin). Caroline is so straight talking and knowledgeable in her field that she's main reason I grabbed this product.



As you can guess there's two parts to this product - side 1 and side 2 and it's intended for use in the evenings. The Solid Cleansing Oil in side 1 does most of the dirty work to remove makeup and sunscreen and it's formulated with natural oils including Macadamia, Evening Primrose and Avocado. To use I scoop out about a pea-sized amount (you really don't need a lot) and massage onto dry skin. After a few seconds of working the product into the skin my makeup feels like it's melting off my face and it's at this point I remove everything with warm water (or you can use a moist facecloth if you'd prefer).

After the first step my face usually feels pretty clean but I've always gone in a second time with the same or another product to ensure all traces of my makeup are gone. Caroline recommends cleansing the skin with different types of products depending on what needs to be removed from the skin. The Cleansing Cream in side 2 is richer and feels like applying a moisturiser. It's described by Pixi as a luxe cleansing cream and it's intended to prep the skin for the next steps in your nightly skincare. It's so buttery, I just rub in and once it's rinsed off my skin feels so soft.


Together the two parts work well and I have loved using this product nightly for the past couple of months. I've tried a few cleansing oils before to remove makeup and some have made me breakout with regular use, I suspect as they had coconut oil in which this doesn't so I'm assuming that's why so far I've had no trouble with this. The only thing I don't like about this product is the packaging. It's quite bulky given that there's only 50ml of each cleanser and I prefer to have a pump rather than scoop out of a tub but it's not a deal-breaker. Neither of the sides drip despite the design of the tub - I've actually knocked it upside down by accident and the product barely budged so you can travel with this if needed. I now have about a third left in each side and I'm planning to grab another Double Cleanse when this runs out.

Have you tried anything by Pixi?

Lesley x

Monday, 20 March 2017

Style | Back in Black


Just as I was starting to retire my Winter clothes to the back of my wardrobe the sunny weather quickly faded back to grey and windy this weekend. As much as I'm itching for some more sun I do love having an excuse to throw on this faux fur aviator jacket from Topshop. I bought this jacket at the beginning of January and it has got me through so many cold London days. The lining makes it so warm and cosy I've only really needed to wear a t-shirt underneath recently.

Jacket - Topshop | Top & Joggers - ASOS | Shoes - Converse | Choker - Regal Rose

I've been trying to experiment with colour but I always gravitate back to black, hence the almost all black affair here. I can't help it, it's my comfort zone. Speaking of comfort, I'm pretty much always in slouchy, oversized fits now too. I've been wearing these ASOS White denim joggers almost constantly since I got them so I think I'm going to have to grab another pair. As usual the styling is simple and I teamed them here with a cropped polo and converse that have seen better days.


A tad sidenote but I just wanted to take a moment to thank the photographer who took these photos - Mike Burchardt aka @burchardtlens. Style posts have always been few and far between on this blog mostly as I usually take a lot of my photos myself indoors where I don't have much space. It's that or have to pester my poor boyfriend to tear himself away from work or studying to take a few shots. I've always felt really awkward in front of the camera too and hated taking pictures in public (ironically) but in the last year my confidence has soared and I'm definitely excited to work with more photographers in the future.  


What have you been wearing lately?

Lesley x

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Style | Jaded London Mesh T-Shirt Dress



The grey and cold has finally started to ease off slightly lately which means I've been ditching the extra layers and showing (a little) more skin than usual. I've always been obsessed with mesh pieces and I've somehow managed to accumulate quite a collection. My favourite at the moment has to be this mesh shirt dress with embroidered detailing from Jaded London. It's technically an ASOS Tall exclusive but I've found this fits my 5'6" frame perfectly and sits above my knees.


You all know by now that I like to keep styling pretty simple so I wore the dress over an old slip from Miss Selfridge and paired with a denim jacket and Puma Suede Hearts. The Jaded London dress also works really well worn over a bralet and shorts so I think this will be one of my go-to pieces as the temperature (hopefully) heats up.

Mesh Dress - Jaded London via ASOS | Black Slip Dress - Miss Selfridge | Denim Jacket - ASOS | Shoes - Puma* | Necklace - Rock N Rose 


*sample - read my disclaimer here.

What have you been wearing lately?

Lesley x

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Skincare | Frank Body


I've always been a bit obsessed with body scrubs so it was only a matter of time before I got my hands on Frank (Frank Body products that is). Famed for their coffee scrubs, the Aussie brand has taken Instagram by storm and 'babes' across the globe (myself included) are hooked on the so called 'Frank effect'.

I grabbed the Original Coffee Scrub (which I've now finished), Coconut Coffee Scrub, Body Cream and the Lip Scrub and Balm duo at the end of December. My skin was looking pretty lacklustre at the time, partly from a neglected bodycare routine and the cold weather just made my skin so dry. Since I've noticed continued use of these products together has helped my skin feel the softest it's been for a long time.


My favourite product of the bunch is the Coconut Coffee Scrub (£13.95/200g) which contains only a few (all natural) ingredients including brown sugar, Grapeseed oil, Vitamin E, Jojoba beads, sea salt, coconut flakes and, of course, coffee. The ingredients are stated to help with a number of skin-concerns including stretch marks, psoriasis, cellulite, eczema and acne. Huge claims right? I apply the scrub on damp skin in the shower and scrub well before allowing to sit for a couple of minutes and rinsing. It's messy so I tend to do this on days I have time to spare but the results are so worth it. The oils in the product keep moisture locked into my skin and I've noticed scarring and dark patches on my legs are gradually lifting though old stretch marks on my inner thighs seem the same. I'm not crazy about the packaging as I find awkward to scoop the product out of, but there's always the option to transfer the scrub to a pot. The scent does linger on your skin too which some will love or hate. I don't find the Coconut Scrub too overpowering but with the Original Coffee Scrub I used a little shower gel afterwards to dull the scent before exiting the shower.


The Lip Scrub and Lip Balm Duo (£12.95) are also solid favourites and they smell so delicious. The balm contains natural ingredients including Coconut, Safflower and Olive Oil and Lanolin which absorbs and keeps in moisture. I reach for the balm daily but only need to dab a little on to keep my lips soft and hydrated. I tend to use the Lip Scrub weekly and it contains raw sugar, beeswax, Macadamia Oil, Coffee and Coffee Seed Oil. Again I only need a little product to smooth and buff away flaky patches. Together these are perfect.

The Body Cream (£17.95/200ml) like the other products contains natural ingredients and literally has the scent of cake icing. It smells beautifully sugary and I get so hungry (for cake) when I've applied it. This cream is so thick and rich I find it takes time to really settle into the skin. I usually have to dot small amounts onto my body and work it in well. Of the products here it's the only I don't think I'd repurchase as it just takes too long to apply and I find I'm reaching the other creams I have first.

Overall I'm in love with most of the Frank Body products I've tried and the Body Balm and newly released Glow Mask are now on my wishlist.

Have you tried Frank Body or Coffee-based products?

Lesley x