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Over the last few months, I've been observing the growing 'Normcore' trend cropping up in cities such as New York and Paris. Characterized as 'unpretentious, average looking clothing' (basically 'i'm not trying to look like a hipster' hipster), the Normcore trend has been interpreted as a reaction to fashion over-stimulation resulting from the ever changing fashion trends.
The style incorporates things such as 'mom' jeans, neutral colours, old school trainers/chunky shoes and jumpers worn with skirts or chinos. Very basic, very random, no fuss; that's pretty much me wrapped up in a nutshell, so I thought I'd do my plus size take on the trend! What do we think?
Primark Polka Dot Jumper | Past Season (Alternative Here)
ASOS Curve Midi Skirt | Past Season (Alternative Here)
New Look Floral Necklace | (Here)
Satchel | eBay
Simply Be Platform Shoes | (Here)
NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Cruella | Space.NK
Sunday, 14 September 2014
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This month makes it exactly four years since I graduated University and blimey doesn't the time go fast?! My little brother will be starting University tomorrow (coincidentally just round the corner from mine; he'll be attending Roehampton) and it takes me way back to when I was applying for Uni places and tentatively waiting for those all important acceptance letters. Nerve wracking!
I often think back to my time spent at uni and although I never really appreciated it then; they were probably some of the best times of my life; living in my own house, the independence, Oceana /McClusky's student nights, maintenance grants - it was a good life for those three years and I've informed my brother that all of these are yet to come for him.
Now for a lot of us, Uni is the time where we try and figure out what we want to do for the rest of our lives and and try to make active steps towards achieving said goal; however this isn't the case for all of us. Case in point; I studied law as my degree, and to be honest I think only chose law as it was the only A level studied I thoroughly enjoyed at College. That and tactical coercion by my parents, who if you're from a "Traditional.African.Family", will know that they always try and steer you in the direction of something academic, such as law, accounting, medicine, business studies etc. Now, the expectations of uni (and graduating) would typically be the following; go to uni, do your three years studying preferred subject/work experience, graduate with flying colours, get a good job in your chosen field, rent a flat/house, get a car, happy days.
But alas. Life doesn't always work out how you'd want it to and the reality sometimes can be very different. In my circumstance despite not wanting to follow a career in law, I completed my three years and graduated accordingly. The next year was one of the worst years' ever; I found it incredibly hard to find a job and was unemployed for about 11 months, doing random temping and internship jobs here and there. Because all I had ever known was Law throughout college and Uni, I had absolutely no idea what I wanted to do with my life. I didn't really know what I enjoyed, I certainly did not want to do a Masters' because £££, I was in a very low place for a while.
I then managed to get a temping job at a hospital, where I was to work for the next couple of years (until this May actually) and even though it was a great place to work, because I was getting paid every week it was incredibly hard to save up as I had so many necessary outgoings. Cut forward a couple months and now I have started a permanent job as a medical secretary for a laboratory up in Central London and even though I'm really liking it, I still get disapproving stares from extended family and notes of "hmph! she wasted her law degree/what is she doing with her life?".
I won't lie; it's hard when you feel like the only one in your class/school who's being held back. You only have to log into Facebook to see your former classmates' in great jobs, renting their own apartments and building their families while you're still living at home and living wage to wage. Especially if you're in your mid twenties like me.
Sometimes it is frustrating when you don't know what you want to do and don't have a structured plan. As much as I would like to move out and have the car and the great paying job and all that comes with it - I am thankful that I actually have a job, a place to live and that I have this blog that allows me to meet amazing people! I've learned having high expectations and rushing can lead to disappointment and that setting smaller, more attainable goals is key.
So for all those that have recently graduated and are utterly confused about what to do next, try not to panic or fret too much; now is the time when you should try and do as much work experience as possible to garnish up your CV, and save, save, save! You aren't alone and at the end of the day, everybody is on their own unique journey.
Jumper - Kingston University
Ultra High Waist Jeans - ASOS Curve
Vans Slip ons - Office
Saturday, 13 September 2014
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As promised, I bring to you my review on the Lancome Teint Idole Ultra 24H foundation. As much I love my MAC Matchmaster foundation, I felt the need to splash out and try something new. I had actually put a bit aside to purchase the YSL Fusion Foundation, but after seeing that the collection did not cater to those with darker skin, I decided to opt for the more WOC-friendly Lancome.
The Teint Idole Ultra advertises as a 'full coverage, comfortable, blendable texture that leaves the complexion perfectly smooth and velvety matte with no powdery effect for 24 hours'. It also promises to be oil-free, fragrance-free and transfer-free. After using it for about 3 weeks, I think I can safely give my thoughts on this.
Lancome is a readily available brand that can be found in nearly department stores and online retailers in the UK. The foundation retails at £28.50, which is around the same price range for most mid-high range foundations. The packaging is cute; it comes within a frosted glass bottle with a pump that doesn't dispense that much product in one full pump.
FINISH AND COVERAGE
The finish is matte and the coverage is pretty full. I was looking for a matte finish as I find that I tend to get a bit oily towards the end of the day when wearing other foundations. I would say that the coverage is a bit too full for me to be honest. If you're a fan of all out full coverage, this would be ideal for you. It gives a pretty full, flawless finish so would be perfect for nights out and events, but I wouldn't wear this as an everyday foundation.
This stuff is THICK. I find it pretty hard to spread over my face and at some points, I've had to add in a bit of water/moisturiser to smooth it out. One full pump only yields out a blob that is smaller than a pea, however any more of that is far too much for me.
The foundation has an excellent range of shades; 28 (in the US), and 16 over here in the UK. The challenge however, is finding a shade that suits you as there are so many shades available. I bought the colour 14 (Brownie), which turned out to be too dark for me (note to self: try the foundation on in natural lighting first!). I should have gone a shade lighter - for the moment, I've been mixing the foundation with a lighter one.
For my daily foundation routine, this is a bit too much for me. It's not a "bad" product as it IS advertised as full coverage with a velvet finish. If those are qualities that you are looking for in a foundation, then this would be perfect for you. I would venture a guess that dry skinned ladies (such a myself) should look elsewhere since the finish is so matte and could easily make the complexion seem duller than normal. The thick consistency and and transferring annoy me the most, especially since Lancome promises a blendable and transfer free product.
Lancome Teint Idole Ultra Foundation available at Feel Unique.
Have you tried this foundation?
What foundation are you currently using?
Friday, 12 September 2014
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Hey guys! How do you fancy 15% off your favourite Balance Me products?
Balance Me are teaming up with Marie Claire magazine and Debenhams to host 4 exclusive in-store readers' evenings this September and October!
In addition to receiving the discount on the evening (and a goodie bag worth over £75), you can also enter a free prize draw to win a £150 hamper, as well as get some expert tips from the Marie Claire team (Oxford St store only).
Sounds good? Well the times and dates are below:
- 30th Sept - Oxford Street
- 2nd October - Cardiff
- 8th October - Chester
- 9th October - Leeds
Each event starts from 6-8pm and the tickets (which are limited, so hurry!) are limited and can be purchased here,
Sunday, 7 September 2014
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Today was definitely a no makeup/hair in a bun type of day; I went out earlier into town to run some errands and to look for a black + sized duster coat (but to no avail). While out, I did receive a few compliments over my 'boots', which in actual fact were these awesome Catwalk Collection by Simply Be heels and a pair of socks. These are seriously the most comfortable shoes I've ever worn, I mean, I could run for the bus in them! If that's not comfort, I don't know what is. They also come in a size EEE fit as well which is handy.
I also paired it with the t-shirt dress which is also from Simply Be, which I think is sold out as I can't seem to find it anywhere online!
Shoes: Simply Be
Dress - Simply Be
Saturday, 6 September 2014
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OK so let me just give you guys the straight and skinny if some of you don't already know. Basically, I re-relaxed my hair. I sure did.
Three years ago, I stopped relaxing (chemically straightening) my hair and went all the way Au Naturale which was all fine and dandy to begin with, however it came to a point where for 3 years, I only wore braids as I couldn't handle my wildly thick and increasingly tangled hair; natural afro hair and be INCREDIBLY high maintenance, and Steph just ain't about that high maintenance life, get me?
Freshly straightened, looking like YASSSSSS!
So anyhoo, long story short, I am loving my relaxed hair and am taking all the lessons that I have learned about my curly hair/different products to incorporate a whole new hair regimen, as chemically processed hair needs to be looked after extremely well. So without further ado, here are some of the faves that I use!
TRESemme Ceramic Paddle Brush
Call me weird, but I've always loved the sound of a paddle brush going through hair. Just me? ....Oh.
Anyhoo, paddle brushes have always been a staple product in my stash. Paddle brushes are great for de-tangling and smoothing down hair; the ionic pins on this brush help to smooth frizzy hair and adds a bit of shine. I love it!
Sesa Coconut Oil
Now look, I know there are huge debates about what kind of coconut oil to use and blah blah refined, blah blah unrefined etc, but to be honest; it doesn't make an ounce of difference to me personally, because coconut oil is coconut oil regardless of how it is processed; it still does, and has been doing the same job it's always done, which is moisturise and hydrate my hair. I do particularly love this brand however; apart from being very cheap (which is always a plus), it has a lovely light smell, it doesn't take 6000 years to liquify and absorbs into my scalp effortlessly. I also use the oil to seal in moisture at the ends of my hair.
Shea Moisture Restorative Conditioner & Deep Treatment Masque
I did a pretty in-depth review last year on these wonderful products, so feel free to check it out if you can! I will quickly say that since using the conditioner/masque, I haven't looked back. Although created with natural/afro hair in mind, I still use them as they inject as much moisture into my hair as possible, which is crucial for chemically processed hair. The conditioner and masque can be used on all textures of hair as long as your hair type is dry/damaged.
Old Wives' Tail Melado Organic Hair Growth Oil Treatment*
If you have relaxed hair, hot oil treatments are your FRIENDS. Trust me. Hot oil treatments keeps the hair strong and very soft by penetrating deep into the hair follicle and restoring/moisturising the hair back to health. I typically apply the oil (hot or cold) and leave it to marinate for about an hour before I rinse it out and wash/condition my hair. I will be doing a more in depth review of this at a later date though.
Jamaican Black Castor Oil
...Or more specifically, Sunny Isle Black Castor Oil. This my friends, is one of the secrets to my hair growth success. It's long been known that castor oil is one of the keys towards long, healthy hair. I've been using castor oil for about 4 years and it's been great. A great oil to use especially if you tend to put your hair in braids/weaves. Because the oil is so thick, I mix mine with water and spray on my scalp twice a week.
ORS Olive Oil Heat Protection Hair Serum
ORS (previously known as Organic Root Stimulator) has always been good to my hair; I love their products and this serum is no different. To state the obvious, heat protection is imperative, regardless of hair texture and type. I'm not really one to use heat that often as I air dry my hair and use twisting rods to curl, however if I do find that I need to give my locks the once over with a straightener, I run a small squirt of serum through my hair and it gets the job done.
L'Oreal Elvive Extraordinary Oil
Sometimes, when I've finished air drying my hair, I will quickly blow dry it (on a low heat setting) for about 5 minutes. During this time, I sometimes use this oil as it makes your hair look so SHINY. It smells gorgeous too; however you only need a tiny amount (literally smaller than a 5p coin), as it's a dry oil and disperses everywhere.
Vatika Egg Protein Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
LOOOOOOOOOOOVE THIS. Protein treatments are so important, as it restores the stripped hair with keratin and makes it strong and resilient. I use this mask every 10 days to 2 weeks and i'll either use it alone, or add an egg yolk for something a bit more in depth. I leave the mask on from anywhere between 20 minutes to overnight then rinse. My hair seems to like this specific brand a lot for some reason.
Completely forgot to add my shampoo, but for reference I use TRESemme Naturals shampoo which contains no sulfates or parabens.
Do you of you use anything in this list? If you have chemically processed hair, what products do you use?