Tuesday, 31 January 2012

JC-I Don't Think So!

I'm sorry I've not been blogging much lately...I've been feeling really out of sorts. Anyhoo, I've been wanting to let rip about some shoe things that have been bugging me. Jeffrey Campbell, the fantabulous "affordable" shoe brand...that is, unless you live in the UK. Let me explain, Office have just received shipment of a fantastic new collection of JC. First thing that p'd me off; seeing my black suede Nightwalks cheaper than what I paid (even with free shipping from Solestruck) (grrr, I think £30+ is an excessive customs charge ParcelForce). The original Nightwalk aren't exactly 'new' now and at the time nobody in the UK had them and I figured wouldn't ever be getting them, so I had no choice but to order from America. I had no idea Office would be stocking them in 2012. Next thing, their Lita's are £120. They retail for just under $160 in the US which converted is around £100. It's annoying because I don't think a shoe costing £120 is 'affordable' which is a word often used to describe JC and although £20 is cheaper than a customs charge as I've experienced, it's still a lot extra to be asking for each shoe.
Case in point, Harvey Nichols who are very reasonably priced for their little selection of JC's. They charge £95 for their plain Lita's, which I think is excellent and at the same time ridiculous to see the exact same pair elsewhere for an extra £25. It's tough though, because you don't know which retailers will get which styles/colours and may have to buy the more expensive one because that's your only option. This leads onto my next point; Office have several 'exclusives' in this new line including the white crochet Lita and black Rockaway. By 'exclusive', I would expect them to be available elsewhere around the world, but within the UK, Office would be the only place to find this particular colourway. Wrong! Both styles can be found on the Harvey Nicks website for £100 each, when they are £120 and £135 respectively from Office. Exclusive my bum! This is particularly annoying, not only that they are sold elsewhere cheaper, but that this retailer is tricking the customer into thinking this is the only place you can get your hands on these. Don't be fooled, still look around-yes, I realise it takes time, as I've done it myself for their "exclusive" Cat Lita's! Haven't found them anywhere else btw.
It's not just Office though. Zalando have also got new stock including silver glitter, brown leather and butterfly Lita's at £164.95 each. What?! They retail for exactly the same price as 'regular' Lita's, why are they priced higher here? Even more ludicrous, the brown distressed leather sells for £120 on the same website! Are plain leather really worth an extra £45? Have they pushed their prices up due to the popularity of the brand? Zalando do offer free shipping on all orders (they'd need to at that price) and Office are currently providing free shipping with all JC's.
I think it's great to see Jeffrey Campbell being recognised in the UK, but I'm not fond of these prices as it makes it very difficult to buy multiple pairs and I grudge paying more than the brand recommended retail price. I would like to see somewhere like ASOS stocking JC because I reckon they would perhaps be more fair with their pricing. My advice is to still shop around, check this is definitely the best price you can get and look into buying from eBay and/or overseas. It doesn't always pay off, in the case of the Nightwalks, but it's still worth researching.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Shoe Spotting

I was watching the National Television Awards last night, because I had nothing to do and it's always good for a laugh watching all the try-hards in their minging outfits, pouting and posing! The X-Factor lot won an award and the first thing I noticed, as they clomped (loudly) up the stage steps (seriously Tulisa shouldn't wear heels, because that girl has noooo grace walking in them), was Jesy from Little Mix in Jeffrey Campbell spike Lita's!! Good on the stylist for managing to snag them considering they sold out in 2 days on these shores!
Not only that, Jesy also popped into the Irregular Choice store recently and purchased the Bun In The Oven boots. One to watch in the shoe department methinks!
I also saw Lorraine Kelly teamed her tartan dress (well it was Burns Night) with some Vivienne Westwood/Anglomania & Melissa Skyscraper courts.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Lipstick Challenge

I have shizzle-loads of lipsticks. Ok, I have shizzle loads of make-up in general and shoes and bags and dresses etc etc. However I'm trying so hard to clean and tidy just now. It's killing me though because in my head I'm all for getting stuck in, my body isn't quite in agreement and time is always an issue. There just aren't enough hours in the day or at least time I can dedicate to tidying without feeling guilty that I have tonnes of other things to be doing. I'm fed up of living in a mess though, so am trying to do a little bit at a time.  Anyway, I'm clearing out my makeup, you may recall it started with the foundation drawer (easy enough), now I've moved onto one of my lipstick drawers (let's just say there are multiple and literally hundreds of lippies in there). I'm still working on it, but I came to the conclusion I reach for the same lipsticks over and over and ignore others-I need to start using them up and using a variety.  I'm therefore going to start my own 'use up my lipstick' challenge and wear one lipstick for an entire week. There aren't any rules as such, it's just my own personal mission, but for instance yesterday I wore this with an ELF plumping gloss in Wink Pink, today I had Clinique Air Kiss over the top, some days I may just wear it alone. I'm not necessarily going to write a post on it each time-I think I'll do it in my sidebar and update the image every week (I don't have time to do it now).  You're welcome to join in too if you wish, either on your blog or by commenting here and we can all spur each other on.  I'm not saying I'll ever finish even one of the lipsticks and certainly not in a week, but I'm going to try and at least make an impression on my huge stash.  So this week I'm wearing Clarins Illusion in 202 which is an ashy white-ish, pearly shade in a frost finish.  

Sunday, 22 January 2012

More Topshop Shoes

I've been super busy with eBay this weekend, but have now given up to watch Dancing On Ice and Desperate Housewives! I just have time to show you yet more Topshop shoe purchases-what's my obsessions with Toppers shoes just now?
This first glitter pair (Gosford) were in my basket before Christmas and I decided I couldn't afford them as well as the others I bought. However when I saw them again in my size, I snapped them up. They are quite a classic mary-jane style with the strap and block heel, they do have a really low vamp though (I'm not totally sold on lots of toe cleavage), so I'll probably wear them with tights. I've already been out with the hairspray to hold the glitter in place as it was dropping everywhere as soon as I unboxed them!
The other pair (Slink) I saw instore in Dundee months and months ago (I think it was summer) and they were sitting in the 'last few, get them now' type stand (actually they were the only pair) and I really, really wanted them. I can't remember if I didn't have money at the time or if they weren't my size, but I didn't get them. They had that thing going on where had I seen them solely online I could've resisted them, but in person they just looked stunning and such good quality. Anyhow, again they were in the sale (half price) and I was pretty excited to get the opportunity to buy them again. I try to avoid wearing red as it clashes with whatever colour my hair is, but I'm becoming a little more relaxed in my thinking and these are more a subtle wine-shade anyway. They are super pretty, super super pretty.

Friday, 20 January 2012

Review-Yves Saint Laurent: Forever Youth Liberator

Yves Saint Laurent have given their skincare line a shake-up this week, with the introduction of a new range called Forever Youth Liberator.  I would say the focus with YSL is usually on their fragrances and cosmetics, so it will be interesting to see a shift with this collection.  Inspired by Glycobiology (and 100 years of research into it), it's their first patented skincare which combines three glycans to help increase youthful activity in skin cells.  Glycans are found naturally in the skin but with age decrease, therefore slowing down the youth process.  To put it simply this skincare basically speeds up the regeneration of skin cells, plumping the skin and smoothing wrinkles etc for "forever youth"!  Now I was lucky enough to be picked for the YSL testing panel (something I enjoyed immensely) and started using the serum (the star product of the new line) last year.  Yes, before the shops even got any-how exciting!  I threw myself into the role, using the serum religiously for the 4 week trial and have been completely honest (as always) with my findings.
So here is a little background on my skin before the review.  I'll be 32 in a few months and my main skin concerns are adult acne (developed at the age of 25, but mostly under control for now) and ageing, although I credit being in the early stages of ageing on a good skincare routine since my teens. I have very fine lines around my eyes and on my forehead, otherwise my skin is normal. However I'm keen to step my anti-ageing  routine up a notch as prevention is better than cure and all that!  I don't always use a serum as part of my skincare routine (as I can't use too many different products at once); but have used both Lancome Genefique and No7 in the past year.
I started using Forever Youth Liberator 4 weeks ago, morning and night. Firstly I loved the packaging, the dropper distributes the perfect amount of product and the bottle reflects the luxury of the brand whilst remaining practical and easy to use.  I liked that the bottle had this ombre effect in pink, silver and black-it's different to other brands in terms of colour and style and would look pretty on any dressing table!  The scent is soft, subtle, inoffensive and in no way overpowering. That came as a pleasant surprise to me because YSL can be known for being very fragrant whether it's eye makeup remover or lipgloss!  The serum itself felt lightweight, non-sticky and was easily absorbed into the skin, providing a good base for moisturiser or makeup.  I noted that it didn't have that slippy, silicone-ish feel that some other serums have.  After using the serum for a week-I was happy to report that it hadn't caused any breakouts. As I said, I do have to be very careful with the products I put on my skin, but this serum has not caused me any trouble. I started to notice my skin felt firmer after application and looked a little more radiant in general. I didn't notice any change to my wrinkles.
Two weeks into the routine and my skin was definitely brighter, more radiant and the skintone seemed more even. On some days I even felt the fine lines around my eyes didn't seem so prominent.   My skin has remained firmer throughout the month and I definitely notice a little radiance. I can't say it's erased my wrinkles but on some days I have thought they weren't quite as noticeable (especially around the eyes). I'm most pleased that it didn't cause breakouts and if anything my skin seemed more clear over the month. It's been no bother at all to add this serum into my routine as it works so well with the products I already use and sinks into the skin quickly. While I can't say it has radically changed my appearance that others would notice, I've been happy with the firmer and more glowy complexion and for that reason I'd consider using it again.
The serum comes in a 30ml bottle, priced £60 which obviously reflects the technology (and 7 Nobel prizes), plus the serum contains a higher concentration of glycans than the other products.  My bottle was half that size and just lasted the 4 weeks, so you're looking at buying a new one every 2 months.  Six bottles a year...that's £360.  Pricey but cheaper than a face-lift if it works for you!  There's also moisturisers, cleanser and eye cream, prices start at £35.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

The Shoe Girl Diaries 2011

A lot of bloggers have been doing round-ups of their blogging year and I have to admit, I haven't had time for that. However, I was browsing old posts on The Shoe Girl Diaries and felt it was worth doing, even if we are getting towards the end of January.  So for the past couple of days, I've been gathering together old pics and trying to remember all that happened in 2011 (pretty uneventful year for me).  I've highlighted my favourite outfits, hairstyles and obviously shoes of the year. I felt like The Shoe Girl Diaries really came into it's own last year and I'm enjoying posting there a little more than here, which is a first! The blog is constantly evolving, which is great-remember the days of the challenge to wear a different pair every day (with no repetitions) and when each post consisted solely of a shoe-image? It can be more than a little challenging finding time to manage posts on both blogs every day, but as long as I enjoy writing on both, I'll continue ; )

January: 2010 saw the winter that crippled the entire country. January is usually the time we get a lot of snow in Scotland, but we'd had more than our fair share in the months before. I had basically been housebound for months (there had been no posts since November and very few then), so it was nice to be able to get out again.
I wish I could remember which nail polish this is, because it's gorgeous. I had a quick look for it the other day, but couldn't find anything. Can you believe my hair was still bright pink this time last year? Seems like a lifetime ago now.
February: I mostly wore boots and shoe-boots. Towards the end of the month it got a little warmer and I could finally swap the scarf and gloves for sunglasses. My hair was still bright pink but then lilac, then pale pink, both of which were pretty but washed out almost immediately. It's strange to see it straight here as it's been curly ever since.
March: Blogger had layout issues with extra spaces all over the show. It annoyed me immensely until I converted to Google Chrome and got it to work perfectly (a ploy by Blogger I'm sure), not that I care, so long as it works. I seemed to permanently wear headscarves or hats, because my hair colour was such a mess (in preparation for the 'big change' next month). I managed to find the perfect pairing for my Primark (Prada inspired) beach dress with these Kandee Bubbly Gum platforms, which I was very excited about considering I'd been on 'the beach dress diet' in order to fit into the dress.
April: I broke out a more spring-like wardrobe. Wore lots of maxi-dresses and even (gasp) a jumpsuit! I played around with frilled socks and shoes and was (and still am) completely in awe of my Bertie 'Superstar' strappy wedges each time I wear them. Judging from the pics it was quite a good month. I also wore my Kandee Diamonds outdoors for the very first time!
I decided to go mega bold with a new hair colour, it was like an epiphany and the result was fantabulous. It was supposed to be turquoise with pink ends, but where the two colours met it unexpectedly turned purple. It was the best surprise in the world, I loved it. Like the shoes and outfits, it was a good month for hair and makeup. It seemed to be the 'month of the cool lip colours'! For anyone that wonders (I remember a few of you asking at the time), the deep glossy taupe is Dior Lipliner Pencil '883 Magenta Brown' (a deep plum), MAC 'Our Pick' lipstick (satin, dark taupe brown) and MAC Dazzleglass 'Comet Blue' (sparkling blue) on top!
May: My birthday month! The day itself was the worst b'day I've ever had, it was very stressful. My parents were supposed to be back from their holidays and flights were cancelled due to...now was it the ash cloud or strong winds? A bit of both if I recall. They couldn't get back-were led from pillar to post all day long and I was constantly trying to keep them updated with info, as they were me, so the entire 2 days were filled with non-stop texting. So much so that my sis and I had a very rushed birthday lunch in town. My Auntie also chose my birthday as the day to announce that her husband was dying (more quickly than we'd expected) and they'd been in the hospital along the road the entire week...which made me feel extremely guilty, but then again I'm not a mind reader and she's also very twisted, so the less said about that the better! The final straw came when my sister and I couldn't find candles for my cake...SADness! I did however debut my Bordello Teeze 20 that I'd searched for years for, on my birthday. I also wore a lovely girly outfit (Red Herring floral prom dress and Topshop Unique metallic heels) for a pre-birthday lunch with my mate. Sadly I had to sell these (and a million more) Kandee 'Glace Cherry' peep toes as they were just too tight for me....they are quite possibly the most gorgeous shoes ever!
I was in love with bright green nail polish, if I remember correctly-Topshop 'Green Room'. I seemed to live in sunglasses and it was quite a good month for jewellery. My hair desperately needed re-coloured but my Mummy wasn't there to help, however I managed to do it myself (very well, I might add) minus the bleaching and it was good enough to tide me over for another few weeks.
June: We had some boiling hot days and I can't stand the heat. My hair grew quite long. I had a backlog of posts to catch up on, then my computer broke (see July), so I struggled to blog on my sisters laptop and lost my backdrop for photos to a pile of new shoes! It wasn't a good month, I liked this one outfit though. Whether it was from May or June I'm not sure!
July: Or was it June or maybe even May? Remember my computer broke and we hassled the computer shop for weeks and months and they kept giving us excuses? They destroyed my hard-drive for 'security reasons', even although that wasn't the problem-so I lost everything (for nothing). They were clueless as to what the issue was and we vowed never to use them again. Karma kicked their butt and they shut down last year (haha), then re-opened under a new name (whether it is the same people I don't know). There were therefore very few posts and I had no idea when these pics were taken...my hair was very pretty in this one though ; )
August: I was a little more adventurous with my photo-taking, snapping away in Topshop, Primark, outdoors, on the bus and in coffee shops! I wore my Lady Dragon skull shoes a lot and was beside myself waiting for ASOS to get in the tapestry Ablaze wedges (which I bought immediately). Heels and platforms went sky-high with these bright yellow New Look wedges designed by London College of Fashion. I also made my first TSGD video, to prove I really do wear, what I say I do each day! New midi-length dresses meant I got my legs out a lot (well it was summer) and I fell in love with this coral lace dress-actually it was possibly my favourite look of the year. I had a massive clear-out selling lots of shoes (well really that happened a lot last year). It also saw the start of a lot of changes to the blog layout. I began using effects on my images and uploaded them via Photobucket so they appeared larger on the blog without the need to click to enlarge. I was finally content with the set-up, it felt more uniform and had better flow.
I got a new shorter bubble hair cut, which meant saying goodbye to the pink ends. It was hard at first, as the pink will always be "me", but the turquoise and purple together has definitely grown on me.
September: Saw my very first themed month. I had been growing a little tired of the same old thing and felt I needed another challenge and what better brand to shake things up than Irregular Choice? The largest part of my collection is IC, so a month wearing their fabulous shoes was fun to say the least. It definitely got me excited about blogging again and only enticed me to add to my ever-growing collection (naughty, naughty). I also featured you, my readers, wearing your IC's too, another first. I'm seriously considering another theme (very soon) or maybe going for Irregular Choice again as you and I loved it! I found the perfect partner for my Wing Invadors with this floral New Look dress and loved (another New Look dress) with my Prada stockings and wine Whitney's.
If I could have bottled my hair this month, I would've. It was pretty much perfect every day-I was completely in love with it. The colour was much more vibrant and it just sat beautifully day in, day out. Shame it didn't last! I had a shopping spree in Claire's where I got some pretty items including this fox brooch, glasses and a horse pendant.
it was also the start of my fascination with nail art
October: Was the month my camera broke (and I still haven't found a replacement). Images were taken with my phone or my sisters camera where possible. It was challenging but I found I could take 'outfit' shots in the mirror with my phone (my old camera either was too dark or flashed back), so you eventually got to see a little more of me! It had turned colder, I was into tights and boots and my nails seemed to feature some sort of nail art throughout the entire month. It was also my nephew's christening and as his Godmother I needed the perfect 'wow' outfit! I'd finally started to notice the weight I'd lost in the year and was ecstatic to find I could fit into the Pearl Lowe 'Peggy' lace prom dress. The perfect heels to match were Corso Como by Kurt Geiger Fashionistas, they took a lot of practise to walk in but were worth it.  Speaking of 'breaking in' shoes, I tried to wear my So-Yeon Sarah/Irregular Choice pair, that I'd spent an obscene amount on in July, but never worn because I found them uncomfortable.  Their current status is better, but I still need to try and wear them around the house more.
It was quite a good month for hair and makeup. I had days when I achieved the perfect eyeliner flicks (love days like that), see 2nd image below and I seemed to get very adventurous with hair scarves wearing them in all sort of guises. Was this the month I made the tutorial on how to do the turban roll?
November: I got my very first pair of Jeffrey Campbell (Lita's), after lusting after them for how long? I settled with a colourway I wasn't super excited about but got them for a decent enough price-turns out the black patent was the best buy ever because I can wear them with anything and love their shiny-ness. I will never part with these! The perfect partner for my Bertie wedges were these Myleene Klass leopard nail wraps-is there anything that wouldn't look right with these shoes?
November was a good hair and makeup month judging from the photos, even if it didn't particularly feel like that at the time. Even when my hair needed re-coloured it seemed to sit nicely and I just seemed very happy and comfortable in the pics.
December: I was pretty excited that it was December and we didn't have any white stuff on the ground, especially after the bad winter the year before. So I got to wear a lot of heels. I thought fleece lined tights were the bees knees and tights in general were my staple along with Pearl Lowe dresses (em, actually that's every month of the year). I finally bought Longer Lashes boots by Irregular Choice (for a bargain price) and my Jeffrey Campbell collection went from one to three with the addition of some heel-less Night Walks and floral Lita's this month. I found the perfect Christmas shoes which have the ability to cheer you up just by looking at them and stroking them!
Towards the end of the month, I added a super big purple stripe to the front of my hair and re-did the purple ends as I'd pretty much been purely turquoise after a haircut. It rejuvenated my zest for both of the colours after feeling a little tired of my hair. I was getting a lot of wear out of my new Primark hats.
So that's it, a mammoth post!  Hopefully you've enjoyed looking back over the year and remembering old looks if you usually follow the blog.   If you haven't visited TSGD before, then you're very welcome to browse and comment : )