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VIP for the day

One of the A-list events in the calendar for me now is Stylist Live.  It is an annual three day event that brings to life everything sassy, affluent female commuters, in London and other major UK cities love about the free, weekly magazine – Stylist.

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Stylist being distributed at Southwark tube station

On my way to Olympia for the event in November, I was admiring a ladies skirt on the tube and then realised I might look a bit odd starring at her so struck up a conversation.  Turns out she was off to Stylist Live too and the fabulous skirt she was wearing had been designed and made by her.  Check out more of her great designs by following her on Instagram @luxefromclare

I always like to make an effort for these sort of events to at least try and look like a stylish, sophisticated woman so I wore black leggings from Oasis with a Kookai blouse and New Look biker jacket, paired with my suede stilettos with tassels on from New Look and Oasis cross-body bag.

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This year my best fashionista friend and I opted for the VIP tickets and I am so glad we did.  While last year was good, this year was on another level.

On arrival we were filtered into a special queue and within the VIP lounge, there was plenty of space to relax and a separate cloakroom from the other ticket holders which saved the long queue at the end of the day.  Your ticket included a free go on the vending machine of dreams which despatched a pack of Candy Kittens gourmet sweets and if you were lucky some great prizes ranging from Warehouse vouchers to a holiday.

Included in the VIP ticket are unlimited snacks, lunch and soft drinks.  We had the macaroni cheese which was to die for and a Bol salad so we felt a bit more healthy!  A glass of prosecco and a gin are extra freebies alongside the complimentary Gordons premium pink gin all ticket holders receive, and most importantly a we received a goody bag worth £150.

The goody bag more than paid for the VIP entrance cost and included some full size products as well as a number of sample sizes.  My favourites include a travel tangle Teezer, NARS lipstick, Jack Wills socks and some clear telephone cord hairbands.

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As if all of this wasn’t enough, a treatment in the beauty rooms was also included with our ticket.  There was a choice with a choice of either Shiseido, bareMinerals, NARS, Laura Mercier or Buxom.  My friend chose the Shiseido which was a cleanse and moisturise session that she enjoyed and I treated myself to a NARS Fashion Week Supermodel Eye.  I have to say, it was quite a transformation but despite them writing down all the products they used and where to put them, I doubt I would be able to flawlessly recreate it.  Afterwards you had access to a dressing up box and a short catwalk so they could create a GIF and email it to you.

More than 250 boutique pop-ups were at the event, providing a range of free beauty treatments, hair styling and shopping opportunities.  I was a little disappointed at the length of the queues for some of the hair styling but the range goods for sale was fantastic, encompassing well known brands such as Spectrum, BaByliss, Fresh and Pixi with emerging newer brands such as Yull shoes and Mean Mail.  My favourite pop-up was Kikki K, the Swedish design stationery brand which a friend at work got me into a few years back.  Its founder, Kristina Karlsson was at Stylist, signing copies of her new book, ‘Your Dream Life Starts Here’.  I was star struck getting to meet her and I hope by reading her book, I am inspired to get on the road to living my dream life.

Talking of inspiration, there were plenty of inspirational talks throughout the weekend and one I found particularly useful was from the Physiologist DR Nerina Ramlakhan who gave practical advice on how we can all get a better nights sleep.

The catwalk show is always one of the best parts of the day for me and being VIPs, we got reserved front row seating to watch the best of the autumn/winter 2018 trends.  Leopard print has made a big come back along with trends of bold, earth tones and cowgirl.  I particularly like the fact that all the clothes are high street and you are given a sheet detailing each look, so it is easier to go and shop for the looks you like the best.

By the end of the day, my friend and I were both shattered but it had been such an enjoyable day.  We will definitely be returning next year and I urge all you fashionistas to read Stylist magazine and look out for tickets going on sale for 2019 Stylist Live event.  To watch a short highlights video of this year’s event (very excited as it’s the first video I have made and edited) check out my Instagram @blahnikgirl

Tale as old as time…

How many times have you looked in the mirror and thought, if only I were slimmer, younger, prettier?  We all do it, more so as we are living in a society where the likes of Instagram have made everything about appearance, not to mention the fact that cosmetic manufacturers, diet guru’s and cosmetic surgeons make a living off the back of our insecurities.  It is not until you get into your thirties though, that you begin to accept yourself and realise “Beauty is found within.”  This may sound strange coming from someone who adores clothes, shoes and make up but at the end of the day, it doesn’t matter how you dress someone up, their character and heart is what makes them beautiful, or not, as the case may be.  Disney has encapsulated this thinking in Beauty and the Beast, whether you are talking of the 1991 Disney animation or the 2017 live action picture, staring Emma Watson with a fabulous enhanced soundtrack.

I always love a good Disney movie and the recent remakes have made me nostalgic for those times when I believed fairy tales came true.  I therefore couldn’t contain my excitement when I heard that The Kensington Hotel was hosting a Beauty and the Beast themed afternoon tea.  My excitement was short-lived however when I discovered that every date had been fully booked.  Luckily for me though, they released further dates due to the popularity, so after almost a year’s wait, I finally got to go.

Upon arrival, we were ushered to our table, past a rose in the bell jar and each table had been dressed with a red rose and biscuits decorated with marzipan to look like Belle’s dress.  Champagne was brought to us, along with tea and coffee.

The amount and variety of food at this tea was fantastic and they had gone to great lengths to theme as much of it as possible.  The tea began with warm savouries which included bite size venison pie, beef ragu and saffron arancini and cheese souffle, served on a plate garnished with rose petals.  We then moved onto sandwiches, which the staff were happy to replenish.  Instead of scones, there were sweet brioche baguettes to fit in with the scene in the movie, where Belle goes to purchase baguettes from Marie.

The sweet tier of the cake stand, always my favourite, was where the theme really came to life and included, white chocolate mousse served in chip, vanilla and gold jelly complete with rose petal, and cream to garnish it, served in Mrs Potts, a snowball macaron and a chocolate clock tart.

What made the whole tea all the more Instagram worthy were the Cogsworth and Lumiere props they brought to the table.  The only thing that let them down here was the fact that they didn’t have enough of the props to go round and therefore they took them to use for another table before the end of the tea.

I chose my outfit for the day to fit in with the enchanted rose element of the movie and wore a black midi dress with rose print from Miss Selfridge and completed the outfit with pink suede shoes from Oasis and a pink cross body bag.  I accessorised with a beauty and the beast necklace from the Disney Store by Danielle Nicole.  My hair was loosely based on a Belle hairstyle, that I found instructions for on YouTube.  My perfume was a Beauty and the Beast one from Marks and Spencer.

Beauty boxes and subscriptions to them are currently very popular with Glossybox and Birchbox being two of the most famous.  While I love the idea of getting a box full of beauty surprises each month, I am not keen on being tied into a subscription and also there will inevitably be products you don’t use.  However last year when the new film was released, I couldn’t resist this one off, subscription free, Beauty and the Beast themed box from Latest in Beauty.  The box included Burt’s Bees lipstick, Caudalie moisturising sorbet, a gold compact mirror, Gold Lust dry Shampoo, Soigne nail polish, Gatineau exfoliator and L’Occitane rose hand and nail cream.

There is nothing wrong with making an effort with your appearance and enjoying beauty products but always keep in mind that true beauty lies within.  In a world where celebrities are idolised and body image is always a hotly debated topic, shouldn’t every young girl be reminded that beauty isn’t only skin deep?  Let’s hope we all realise that and appreciate what we have ‘before the last petal falls’.

 

 

 

Beauty and the bubbles

Early March means only one thing – time for the annual Glamour Beauty Festival, held at Saatchi Gallery, London!  What could be better than spending the day with a girlfriend, getting pampered and drinking fizz?!

 

I like to get glammed up for the festival and the day prior, I had eyelash extensions applied for the first time.  I was really pleased with the result but sadly they didn’t last long.  I did my hair in a sixties style pony tail with the help of an accessory bought from Pretty Kitty Fashion.  I wore a Biba sweatshirt with a black mini skirt from H&M and a red trench coat from M&S.  The classic trench is seeing a revival this season, freshened up with pops of colour and statement details.  I accessorised with a black cross body bag from Oasis and black patent shoes from Faith at Debenhams.  Those of you who are around my age will remember Faith stores, everyone had their shoes from there at one stage and the obligatory orange drawstring carrier bag with Rin,Tin,Tin on it.  I always had heels that were more than twice that permitted by the school rules!

 

This year’s festival was sponsored by Philips.  Unfortunately I felt it wasn’t quite as good as last year due to the amount of people it now attracts.  Most queues for treatments were quite lengthy which meant that with a morning only ticket, what you could do was limited.  I might have to consider an all day ticket next year.

We started with hair.  My friend queued up at the OGX braid bar but was less than impressed with the finished halo or crown braid which she thought made her resemble Friar Tuck!  I enjoyed watching how to do a dutch braid while I waited, which is when it looks as though the plait sits on the top and is achieved by doing a similar method to the french plait, except that when you take a piece of hair you add it under, rather than over.  Other treatments included having your hair straightened with GHDs as straight hair is back in this season or having a temporary colour put in with Schwarzkopf Live colour spray.

Next we moved on to the nail zone where we enjoyed a manicure with Orly.  This is not a brand I had previously heard of but one I now highly recommend.  Nail varnish rarely lasts five minutes on me before it chips but this lasted almost a week!  There are 36 shades to choose from and I went with rose gold.

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Also on this level there was an option to have a collagen density test.  While this appealed, the queue was too long and I realised I might not get the answer I wanted.  Who wants to know that their skin is ageing faster than they should be?  That was bound to be the result, given they were demonstrating Pure Gold Collagen, a 30 day programme of drinks to plump your skin and improve hydration.  I didn’t fancy a taster of the drink but my friend’s face when she tried it said it all!

All that queuing had caused us to work up a thirst, so we headed to the champagne bar.  This was surprisingly reasonably priced and they would hold on to the bottle to save you carrying it and you could just go back for top ups.

Something a bit different this year was an Alcatel instagram zone where you could perfect your instagram photography skills with various products and props.

I was desperate to have my eyeliner done by Kat von D; either graphic liner or a feline flick but having queued for an hour and being about five from the from the front, I had to abandon it as it was time for our booked talk in the Glamour theatre with Wendy Rowe.  Other more well known speakers were Katie Piper, Trinny Woodall and Pixie Lott, however they were either in the afternoon session or fully booked.

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Wendy Rowe is a renowned make up artist who has worked with the likes of Cara Delevigne.  She has worked with Burberry on their runway shows for over 15 years and is artistic consultant for their cosmetic range.

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The best part of the day in my opinion and what makes the tickets great value for money is the goodie bag, containing products worth over £180.  This year’s bag was a trendy rose gold and some of the best freebies inside included a Fresh rose face mask, Kat von D tattoo liner and of course the Glamour Beauty Book SS18!  Since Glamour went online only this year, twice a year a beauty book is released in print to coincide with the two fashion seasons.  I keep being told in my professional life that digital is the future but I take issue with this.  I still don’t think you can beat the joy of leafing through a glossy mag, particularly when you might not have internet access, on a plane for example.

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The festival is a fantastic way of trialling new products as well as a fab girls day out – I highly recommend it.  See you next year!

Stylist Live

As a London commuter, every morning I leave the station to be greeted by a barrage of people handing out leaflets, magazines, newspapers and free samples as well as the odd one collecting for charity,  Sometimes it is an impossible task to walk at any pace due to this, lost tourists and people who cannot be parted for a second from their phone screens and thus get slower and slower.

Having said all this, by chance a few years back I did pick up the weekly free copy of Stylist magazine and was instantly hooked.  I now actively look out for it each Wednesday and feel rather cheated if I miss out on it.

The magazine launched in October 2009 and is now the leading UK weekly fashion and lifestyle magazine. It’s target audience is women aged 20-40, who commute, and it is distributed in major UK cities as well as some major French cities (since April 2013).

In November, a friend and I attended the Stylist Live event which was held at Olympia London for the first time.  This was the third of these festivals but the first in a new location and the first one I had ever been to.

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For the day I wore a floral dress from Topshop with a pink shearling jacket from Zara, boots from Miss Selfridge and a tan bag from Accessorise.  Now black tights wouldn’t have worked so I searched high and low to find some adult cream tights and finally managed to track some down.  Unfortunately they were huge and I ended up looking much like Nora Batty for most of the day!  Since, my friend has advised me to buy M&S age 13-14 ones and they are much better – great life hack Nina!

I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from the day, but I certainly wasn’t disappointed.  There were all manner of stalls to indulge the shopaholic in you.  Among these were my favourite Swedish fashion brand – Kikki K, Lucy Love This, the Benefit Brow bar, Solely Original and Stella&Dot.

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Lucy Loves this makes lovely prints based around different areas in London and I purchased my Mum the Putney one.

Solely Original allows you not only to design your own shoes online, but also ensure they are a bespoke size to fit your foot and they are a fraction of the price you might expect for something that is so customised.  I had my foot measured so it can be kept on file for future indulgence!

A walk around the stalls called for some light refreshment.  Now this was my only slight disappointment of the day, in that the only alcohol on offer was gin which I am not a big fan of.  I did give the fruity, pink special a try as it was included in the price of the ticket and whilst I wasn’t a great lover, it was surprisingly refreshing and the bar and stand were fab.

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Also included in the cost of the ticket was a manicure at the perfect 10 nail bar.  I felt suitably pampered and chose a natural pinky Essie shade so as to not highlight the shortness of my nails.

It was then time for a bite to eat and I tried The Cheese Wheel, which is freshly rolled pasta, dunked into a wheel of cheese.  This first came to the UK in March this year at Kerb in Camden Market and has really taken off.  It was delicious and very filling.

The highlight of the day has to have been the fashion show.  It was unfortunate that we were quite near the back but what I loved about it was it was all available on the high street and you were given a sheet, telling you where each item on each look was from.  Shearling jackets featured quite heavily as did sparkle and stars.

More than just a day of leisure, my friend made the first step to a new career and signed up as a Stella & Dot rep.  Launched to empower women to be their own boss, the reps sell accessories online and face to face at parties.  The key is the flexibility which the company offers.  I couldn’t resist this gorgeous clutch with the mantra every woman should aspire to, ‘I am strong’ printed inside.

Finally, we had the opportunity to mock up a cover of Stylist, featuring our good selves.

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It was a fantastic day and I would highly recommend it to any fashion lover.  2018’s dates are yet to be confirmed, but it is looking likely to be 9-11 November at Olympia.  Book early to avoid disappointment!  I fancy a VIP ticket next year which includes a lounge,  a bar and access to certain exclusive talks.  See you there!

Glamour Beauty Festival

My friend and I attended the second annual Glamour Beauty Festival at the beginning of March, which was held at Saatchi Gallery London.

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I have been a dedicated subscriber to Glamour magazine for many years and when I saw this advertised I just knew this was a perfect girls day out. In case I needed further persuasion, this years festival was being sponsored by Fiat 500 and there would be an opportunity for a mock up Glamour cover shoot with the new Fiat 500 Riva. That’s it I was sold!

I got my very own Fiat 500 last October, from my old boss who had owned it from new and I have now become quite a fan of the cute iconic car which celebrates its diamond anniversary of production this year.

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For the festival I wore a grey t-shirt dress with cute black tie up ribbon at the back from New Look, a denim floral jacket also from New Look and some black suede slouch boots from House of Fraser. I accessorised my hair with a Orelia cute star clip from Asos and the piece de la resistance of the outfit was a monogrammed clutch from Oasis.

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First stop on arrival was of course the Fiat 500 pool party. They had a classic Fiat 500 on display and of course the new Fiat Riva. The make up artists covered us in sparkle in keeping with the fact it was the diamond jubilee year and we then got to pose in the Riva whilst a photographer snapped away. The photo was then inserted onto a Glamour mock cover and emailed to us.

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Next stop had to be to collect our goodie bags. I have to say this goody bag was something else with an estimated value of over £100, making the £45 ticket to the festival more than worth it!  I have since used many of the products and particularly recommend the Garnier Micellar water, Garnier moisture bomb UV mist, Estee Edit pink peony overnight water pack and the Nars blush in Orgasm.

 

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There were so many stands and so little time to try everything, given many of the stands had queues but we managed to fit in quite a bit.

The Garnier Ultimate Blends stand was excellent and I had some honey restore hand cream tested on me.  I have incredibly dry hands and couldn’t believe the difference this cream instantly made.  My friend persuaded the lady to give me a free tube too which was fantastic.

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Next we visited the Eylure stand to have false eyelashes applied.  I had opulent ones applied.

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My favourite one was the last stand we went to which was Fresh.  The brand was founded in 1991 by Lev Glazman and Alina Roytberg who opened a store in Boston curating upscale natural beauty products from around the world.  In 1993 they launched the iconic oval soap and the brand has grown since then with them celebrating their 25th anniversary last year.  I must confess that I hadn’t heard of them before but anything that uses natural ingredients always  gets my endorsement.  There are 2 stores in London and Harrods also stocks their products.

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The mask bar allowed you to test out some of their face masks  although I had them tested on the back of my hand rather than ruin the makeup I had already had done.  I also tested the sugar lip polish which was amazing – my lips had never felt so smooth afterwards.  Fresh first used sugar in a body exfoliant in 1998 and it ignited an industry wide trend of using sugar in beauty products.  The festival goodie bag included a Fresh soy facial cleanser and we also got some free samples of the masks from the stand along with a tinted lip treatment.

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I was totally sold on these products and went on to order online after the festival the rose deep hydration face cream and the sugar lip polish.  When they were delivered the products were presented in a lovely box tied with a ribbon and the box was lined with pretty vintage print tissue.  You also received some free sample sachets and a small jar of vitamin nectar vibrancy boosting facemask.

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Tickets to the festival are sold as morning or afternoon sessions.  We purchased just the morning but some people had purchased both and that would be my only criticism of the day that those who had paid for both sessions had to leave the gallery for an hour at lunch time.

We finished our visit with prosecco from the bar there.  It was a wonderful girly day of pampering that I highly recommend to any beauty product fan.

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A High brow Saturday

In June my friend and I visited the Good Ship Benefit, the new facelift given to HS Hispaniola until 31st August 2016; a permanently docked boat on the River Thames close to Embankment tube station, with a lovely view of the London Eye whilst relaxing on the Hoola decks.

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As we stepped on the boat we were directed to the brow lounge. The room is an explosion of pink and the ultimate girly boudoir; the back of the sofas even have a makeup clad eye on them. The pillars and carpet were black glitter and there were also novelty bunny chairs. The bar was in the style of a beauty box.

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We made ourselves comfortable and our illusionary afternoon tea was served along with a glass of fizz. Now I guess I should have guessed from the name of the tea that this would be no conventional afternoon tea, but I didn’t and I must say that this was one afternoon tea which didn’t meet my expectations. Things started well for my sweet tooth when what looked like sandwiches were actually cakes. The problem was that this also worked the other way round with items that looked like cakes being savoury.  This to me was just plain weird – your eyes are telling you sweet whilst your tongue is shouting savoury!

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Following the tea I was looking forward to having my brows shaped; this being the year of the brow and Benefit having long lead the way with brows, opening their first Brow Bar in 2003 at Macy’s in San Francisco. I was only then told that we should have booked an appointment and that there were none left today due to a hen party.  This was in no way clear on the website so I made my feelings known and a kind assistant called Alison agreed to do them in the end as long as I wasn’t expecting a full make over.  What a difference well defined brows make to your face! She used BROWVO! conditioning eyebrow primer which enhances the thickness and fullness of the brow, which I need given previous over plucking, as well as extending the wear of other brow products.  She then used precisely, my brow eyebrow pencil in shade 02 to define the brows.

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Look at the difference – one brow before and one after!

I always associate the Benefit brand with 1950’s glamour and so for the occasion I wore a turquoise polka dot circle skirt with a petticoat underneath both from Rocket in Rochester and a plain white vest top from Oasis.  I matched this with some old silver sandals from Faith which resemble ballroom dancing shoes.  I accessorised with a long heart necklace from Queen Bee in Canterbury and a stunning mint clutch shaped like a book from Aldo.

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We were given a tour of the boat which also has a restaurant called Lashitude, decorated in black and orange in homage to Benefit mascara; The Pinkton Parlour – a beautiful pink cocktail bar and the Porefessional vault – an accolade to their wonderful pore disguising product.  Disappointingly though we were not able to see the vault as it was booked for a private party.  There is of course also a shop where you can indulge in purchasing all of their great products.

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It was a shame we couldn’t see the ship in its entirity and it also rained which meant cocktails on the decks was not possible.  I did feel a little disappointed with the day especially being that I have been a fan of Benefit make up for some years.

Benefit cosmetics were founded in 1976 by twin sisters in San Francisco.  They began with a beauty boutique specialising in products to solve beauty dilemmas and then went on to expand into department stores.  Benefit went international in 1997 and now sells at 2000 counters in 30 countries.

Live by the Benefesto; ‘We believe in WHISTLING WHILE YOU WORK IT…and faking it ‘til you make it.We believe in FAST & FABULOUS BEAUTY solutions…and that glamour is GRABBING LIFE BY THE GIGGLES and not letting go. We believe if at first you don’t succeed, APPLY MORE LIPSTICK…that SEXY gets you everywhere…and if you can’t be good, BE GORGEOUS.’

Until next time…..

Walking a different Street

The onset of December found my emotions in turmoil as I had somewhat of a midlife crisis. The phrase ‘midlife crisis’ was the brainchild of Elliott Jaques and states it is ‘referring to a critical phase in human development during the forties to early sixties, based on the character of change points, or periods of transition’.

My so called crisis might be occurring in my early thirties but it certainly was during a period of transition. Perhaps it’s a late quarter life crisis. Suddenly I am questioning all my past choices, pondering my future options and wondering if I am missing out on things. I think half the problem is I want it all and unless you are a millionaire, it’s just not possible to have it all. The snag is that by taking one road in life, the others are left untrodden; you will never know what would have happened if you had taken one of the other roads – every action has a reaction. Life is short, often too short and death eventually comes to us all; David Bowie being a case in point. What matters though is that we enjoy the time we have and experience as many things as possible. We can hope that we leave a lasting impression on the world which there is no doubt Bowie did. I would like my writing to be my legacy and hence I have toyed with the idea of writing full time.

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Flowers for Bowie outside Zizzi’s in Beckenham which used to be the Three Tuns pub where he played

My husband and I have just bought our first home together see previous blog and despite me paying towards the last one; this one feels like it is both of ours as we chose it together and my name is officially on the mortgage, so I feel like I now have responsibilities. The baby question is asked constantly as is the case as soon as you get married but as I wrote previously I flit between two camps on this decision.  Marriage is something I have always wanted but I sometimes wonder if I focused too much on this when I was younger, rather than embracing dating, the single life and my ambitions more.

The lead up to Christmas was fairly busy. At the beginning of December I got one of my Christmas presents early which was a trip to the Coronation Street set. As sad as it may be, I have been watching Corrie for about the last 20 years and it’s one of the few programmes I never miss. Coronation Street first aired on 9th December 1960 and is the world’s longest running soap opera still in production. The set moved location from central Manchester, Quay Street to Media City in Trafford in December 2013 and following the move, the Coronation Street Tour was set up at the old site. The tour was originally due to close October 2014 but was extended until 31st December 2015 so this was my last chance to go. Despite the abysmal weather it was lovely to walk the famous cobbles and see some of the interior sets and costumes. The wardrobe department buys items in shops it believes the character would typical shop.  In a month the make up department gets through 6 eyeshadows and eyeliners, 15 bases, 4 blushers and 10 lipsticks!  We got to have a photo behind the bar at the Rovers and being the rebellious one of the tour group, I had to ring the bell for last orders!

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Sometimes my life feels a bit like a soap opera, in that I feel what I do will be watched and judged by others. I guess the modern social media culture has only enhanced our knowledge of other peoples lives and to some extent is the only way I get to unleash my writing on the world.

We combined this trip North with seeing my oldest friend from school who had her baby at the end of October. My outfit for this occasion was a denim pinafore dress with a white pussy bow blouse underneath, both from Oasis and some snakeskin black ankle boots from New Look. The pinafore was a big trend for autumn 2015 and the trend looks set to continue into early 16 with a 60’s revival going on. The key to the look is layering and on Boxing Day, I wore it again with another season must have, the polo neck.

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Early December I was suffering some kind of chest infection so finally got to meet my best friend’s baby boy on 16th Dec when he was almost a month old. All these babies coming on to the scene this year within my friendship group have probably been one of the catalysts for this early mid-life crisis. I realised that the dynamics of our group had drastically changed. No longer are we the care free twenty somethings, who’s biggest worry was what bar to go to on a Saturday night; we all have responsibilities now and are perhaps what you might term as ‘fully grown up’.

The week before Christmas I went to see my favourite band, Stereophonics at the O2. I have lost count how many times I have seen them and usually they don’t disappoint, however as much as I still enjoyed this gig – it wasn’t as good as all their previous ones. I looked around the arena and everyone looked to be in their 30’s or 40’s and there was even a pensioner there. This was the other catalyst for the mid-life crisis. I suddenly realised these people were my age and how long I had been supporting the Stereophonics. Kelly, the lead singer even brought on his two daughters which finally shattered my hopes of ever going out with him (joke!).

Christmas was a family affair and spending time with my nieces and nephews again makes me question if and when I want to have children myself. My present to myself was a pair of New Look black suede, fringed heels which I wore Christmas day and Boxing Day, as well as to a gathering at one of the new neighbour’s. These sorts of treats would of course become a distant memory if I were to have children or become a full time struggling writer.

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One of my nieces we treated to a fashion design tool as when I was clearing out, I found designs I had done with my fashion wheel. Unfortunately they don’t sell the fashion wheel anymore and I have to say that this is a time where the new toy is not an improvement. Instead of rubbing over the plates to get an outline and then colouring it in, you now have to trace the outline which requires much more patience.

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A sign of the times was the same niece telling me that when she grows up she wants to win X Factor and her brother wants to be a You Tuber. I must be old as she then had to go on and explain to me what a You Tuber was. What happened to ambitions like being a nurse or a vet? I question whether I made the most of the opportunities I had when I was younger. I never saw myself as working as a PA as I do and whilst I did at one point fancy being a vet; my most enduring ambition was to be an air hostess. Despite once getting through the interview for British Midland, it never quite fitted in financially or relationship wise.

There’s no point ruminating over the past, it cannot be changed but the future can and that brings me on to New Year’s Eve. New Year is a chance to start afresh on a new road and reach out for what is truly important to you.

This year for the first time in ages I was invited to 3 parties! Like buses they all come at once. We went to a friend in Bromley’s house party which was enjoyable despite only knowing the hosts. I wore a gold sparkle dress from Oasis with leggings and some gorgeous suede red sandals I got in Marks and Spencer especially for the occasion.

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After a quiz which my team won, they got out the game of 2015 – ‘Pie Face’. For anyone who has missed this phenomenon, you essentially put your face down on a rest and have to twist according to the number you get on the spinner. Eventually a hand is released which throws cream in your face!

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There was no way I was going to have a go after the time I had spent on my makeup! It’s not often I really make an effort now but for this party I went all out. Here are the products I used to achieve my look.

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Benefit Boi-ing concealer, SJP NYC Perfume, Magnifibres, Max Factor lipgloss, Max Factor Skin Luminizer foundation, No7 Pop and Glow, No7 Dramatic lift mascara, Benefit That Gal primer, OPI couture de minnie mouse nailvarnish in ministyle, Bibbidi Bobbidi blueberry lip shimmer, GHD straightners, Model Co eyeliner pencil, Max Factor creme puff and Urban Decay Naked 2 palette

After we toasted in 2016 at midnight we set off Sky Lanterns or Chinese lanterns as they are often referred to. The idea is to make a wish before you let the kind of mini hot air balloon fly away. They are not illegal in Britain but have been banned in many other countries despite them having been used for centuries. This is because there is a danger when they come down that they might cause fires or harm animals. Ours never took off which I don’t know what that says about our wish for the New Year.

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So the time has come once again for resolutions. Inevitably we all make them and then promptly break them by February. I saw an interesting post on Facebook with a lady sipping a cocktail on a weight machine that said ‘I said I’d give up alcohol and go to the gym; I made it to the gym!’ One thing I am determined to do is lose weight. I’m not going to do a Bridget Jones and let on to you how much I weigh, along with an analysis of each day’s calories, but suffice to say I am heavier than ever and wearing the biggest size clothes I ever have. I need to lose around 3.5 stones and I am really serious about it this time. No more fad diets, I am just slowly going to reduce my intake of food (not alcohol – that would be an empty promise!) and try and get back into walking regularly. I love my fashion and it just doesn’t look right on me anymore. My thirties should be a time of being comfortable in my body before old age sets in and I really am not comfortable at this weight. Yes you can be confident at any weight but I am not and the time has come to really take action.

I suppose I am seeking excitement and change – perhaps like Madonna I need to reinvent myself every decade. Further hinting at the diagnosis of a mid-life crisis I am considering on one end of the scale a change of hairstyle to the other end of the scale with a tattoo and in between somewhere comes the idea of another piercing. We will just have to see what the year brings; you never know, I may even learn to be content; I wouldn’t hold your breath though!

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