Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Ballet



Like the majority of the female population, I took dance lessons as a child. I carried on doing ballet during my late teens but eventually had to stop due to University commitments. Although I've never had the grace or drive to dance professionally, I still love anything related to ballet - I even have a board on Pinterest dedicated to it. It's amazing how something that looks so fluent and effortless actually takes many years of grueling work and motivation. I'm sure anyone who has danced - or watched Black Swan - will know what I'm talking about!  



I'm hoping to take up ballet again sometime in the near future. Not only is it enjoyable, it's great exercise and fab for your overall flexibility and strength. Even gentle movement at the barre is perfect for toning your body, especially your legs and bum! Many people believe that you have to be very young to start ballet, and while it's true that you should ideally start classes as a child if you want to dance professionally, there's no rules against perusing it for fun and fitness at any age. It really is a beautiful art and always generates lots of interest! 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Clarins Instant Smoothing Self Tan



While I fake tan my body on a regular basis, I usually leave my face alone due to fear of breaking out. However, I'd heard wonderful things about the Clarins Instant Smoothing Self Tan so I decided to give it a go. It's supposedly inspired by the brand's award-winning Instant Smooth Perfecting Touch primer, the only difference being this provides you with a touch of colour. The product claims to fill in fine lines, smooth pores and perfect your complexion, all the while giving your skin a healthy, sun-kissed glow. Needless to say I was excited to put it to the test!

The tan is a smooth, creamy consistency which is easy to apply and distribute across the skin, while the guide colour ensures a natural, streak-free colour. A lot of reviews I read stated that the product has a very distinctive marzipan scent, but I don't find it too strong. Your finger tips will smell of fake-tan if you forget to wash your hands post-application, but thankfully you can't detect any fragrance on the face!

I've been using the tan on and off for about two weeks and my thoughts are mixed. While I think it gives my face a lovely colour, I really don't like the way it sits under my makeup. A few people have stated that it feels greasy on the skin, but I actually find it quite drying. The day after I purchased this I popped some on over my moisturizer and waited 10 minutes or so before applying my foundation. I checked my face in the mirror throughout the day to find my makeup looked a bit flaky and grubby - my skin appeared as if it had been over-powdered and I felt like I had tons of product on. When my makeup sat perfectly on top of my regular primer the following day, I knew my flaky complexion had been down to Clarins.

On the plus side I have been enjoying having a nice bronzed face. My skin looks like I've enjoyed two weeks in the Bahamas rather than spending my mornings slapping fake tan on. My acne scars appear much less prominent and my face finally matches my neck, meaning I can go out without makeup and not look completely weird. Most importantly, I've not broken out! Hurray.

While I do think this a nice product and I will enjoy using it up, I can't help but feel a bit disappointed. I know that it's not technically advertised as a primer so I don't want to be too picky, but I feel it hasn't really lived up to my expectations. It does make my face look beautifully bronzed and I will continue to use it as a self tanner, but as a primer I'm not a fan. I think £19 is a lot of money to pay for a product that doesn't really blow me away, so I don't think I'd repurchase.

Have you ever tried the Clarins Instant Smoothing Self Tan? What did you think? 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Lately #1





It's been a while since I last posted! Life's been a bit hectic recently - I've been working more hours than usual so I haven't had time to blog as often as I'd have liked. However I've been gathering inspiration and have lots of ideas for upcoming posts so I should be more active from now on, just need to get myself organized! :) In the meantime, here's what I've been up to this past fortnight (apart from working!)

  • My boyfriend and I have been counting down the weeks until we go on our first holiday together. We're off to Disney Land Paris at the beginning of September and I can't wait! I completely fell in love with Paris when I visited last year, so we're spending one day in the city centre and the rest of the week in Disney. I'm not really a big fan of beach holidays (probably because I don't tan haha) but I love city trips and mini-breaks so I'm really looking forward to it. I've even set a picture of the Eiffel tower as my iPhone lock screen so that whenever I check the time I get excited :) 
  • Last week my Mom and I spent the afternoon enjoying a cream tea at a local garden centre. It was sooo delicious. I know I mentioned a few posts back that I was going to try and return to my healthier lifestyle, but to be honest I've been really enjoying just relaxing and eating what I want since I've been home, haha. I'll probably regret this in a few weeks! I also couldn't resist trying a Fentimans drink while I was there as I've been seeing them all over my Instagram feed recently. Unfortunately the taste of my Victorian lemonade didn't live up to it's pretty packaging - it was gross! I kept the bottle though of course. 
  • My boyfriend and I recently got Netflix and I have to say it's one of the best decisions I've made! I'm addicted. I've been spending the majority of my evenings re-watching Desperate Housewives (I swear that programme never gets old), The IT Crowd and Gavin and Stacey. I was pleased to find a handful of my favourite Disney films on there aswell. Does anyone have a show they'd like to recommend? I'd love something new to get my teeth into. 
  • I ordered this jumpsuit from LOVE a few days ago. How gorgeous is it?! I can't wait to team it with gladiator sandals and chunky bangles. I seem to have developed a serious obsession with jumpsuits lately - they're all I want to wear! 
  • Finally, I've been loving Lush's Strawberry Shaving Soap ever since I purchased it on a whim last week. It smells incredible and has made shaving my legs much less of a chore! I'll be sure to post a full review of it sometime soon. It's a godsend for dry skin. 

What have you been up to recently? 

Thursday, 26 June 2014

How to Ace a Fashion Retail Interview



I've worked in and out of retail since I was 16 (7 whole years, yikes!) so I've had my fair share of interviews. All of the stores I've worked in - apart from one - have been style related, so I thought I'd put together a post detailing my tips on how to do well in a fashion retail interview. Not all of mine were successful, but over the years I feel I've gained a lot of retail experience and a good insight into what makes you appear valuable to a potential employer. 

Brands I've been interviewed by include H&M, Office shoes, USC, Bank, Republic and Miss Selfridge (The Disney Store was my non-fashion related job for anyone wondering!) 

Although it's not always possible, my first tip would be to apply somewhere you would shop yourself. Not only will this make the interview process easier, it will also make the job itself more enjoyable. Applying somewhere you visit on a regular basis means you will probably already be aware of the store's stock, overall style, prices, return policies and how the staff look and behave - knowledge that may prove useful in an interview. Also the perks that come with working somewhere you like to shop are a bonus - hello discount/uniform allowance!

Research: Make sure you know a bit about the brand before you go to the interview.Have a little look on their website the night before and familiarize yourself with the brand's history, along with any new lines and/or their best selling stock. You will probably be asked who you think the brand's main competitors are, so it's a good idea to look into this, too. 

What to wear: Obviously how you dress for a fashion retail interview is important. By working in a store you are representing the brand, so the manager will want someone who is stylish and up to date with current trends. It's worth adapting your outfit to the store's overall tone - what kind of clothes do they sell? For example, Miss Selfridge is very girly and pretty, White Stuff is quite boho and outdoorsy while Zara feature a lot of monochrome and sharp tailoring. Mirroring the style of the brand will show that you're aware of what trends they sell and who they appeal to. 

For high-street stores such as Topshop and Zara, I would say smart casual is suitable. I generally try and avoid jeans, anything scruffy like chipped nail varnish, overly high heels, heavy make-up and clothes that show too much skin. Lastly, although it might seem like a good idea, don't go to the interview dressed head-to-toe in the store's stock. You don't want to look too keen! 

The interview: The actual interview process will vary depending on which shop you've applied for. Some may hold group interviews while others will have an individual one-on-one. Although group interviews sound less daunting, I actually prefer individual interviews as you have more chance to really sell yourself and showcase your skills. Be prepared to take part in a practical task - some stores asked me to pick out an outfit for a particular scenario or event (meeting a boyfriends parents for the first time or going to a festival), while others gave me a lanyard and told me to go out on shop floor so they could evaluate how comfortable I looked and how I interacted with customers. You may also be given a pile of items and told to pick one and sell it to the interviewer, or even asked to attend a trial shift. Trial shifts are very often unpaid so you'll have to decide whether or not you're willing to work for free. 

As for the actual interview questions, I find they're very similar whichever shop you apply for. Although it's a fashion related role and there are likely to be questions about your personal style and current trends, your job will be to sell so most of the interview will be based around customer service. You may be given an imaginary scenario and asked how you'd handle it, or be required to give an example of a time you've coped under pressure. Keep in mind that some questions may throw you a little off guard - I was once asked what the most exciting thing I'd done in the past month was and I had no idea what to say (sitting in bed stuffing my face with Pringles and watching Kardashian reruns is exciting, yes?) 

Here are some other examples of questions I've been asked in a fashion retail interview: 

Why do you want to work for (company name)? Who is your style icon and why? If you had 6 months to do whatever you like, money no object, what would you do? Can you give me an example of something you've done that you're proud of? Why do you think you're right for the job? How would you go about delivering great customer service? 

Don't be afraid to sell yourself. Do you own a personal style blog? Are you often asked for style advice off friends or family? Can you speak a foreign language? Are you first aid trained? Have you studied/are you studying fashion at college or university? Anything you think may be a valuable skill, don't hesitate to mention it. 

Keep an eye on your body language. Make eye contact, smile lots and don't fold your arms. Be friendly. Remember that the main part of your job will be interacting with people on a daily basis, so the interviewer will want to see that you're confident and have a good energy. Although all retail stores want enthusiastic sales advisers, I've found American companies in particular are really big on being super smiley and bubbly. Staff will often be required to approach customers rather than waiting for them to approach you, so keep that in mind if you're applying for somewhere like Hollister. 

Lastly, although it's a job interview, try not to be too formal. Relax, be chatty with the interviewer and try to retain a positive energy. Remember to stay polite and professional though - don't swear (obviously), don't interrupt and avoid badmouthing a previous job or employer! 

Other things to remember: 

  • Don't get too disheartened if you don't think you did very well. You might have performed better than you think! I felt I was really clumsy in my interview for Miss Selfridge, stumbling over my words and such, but they called me the next day and offered me the job
  • At the same time, try not to pin all your hopes on one interview and continue to look for work even when you're waiting for a call. In some cases there may have been a stronger or more experienced candidate for the role and that's fine. Don't take it personally or let it knock your confidence 
  • Most stores will ask if you have any holidays booked in the near future, especially if you're applying for a Christmas/summer temp job. The majority of employers I've worked for don't allow any time off during November and December, so it may prove a bit of a problem if you have a trip planned. Just something to keep in mind
  • Stating the obvious but don't lie on your CV or in your interview! 
  • Finally, don't be late!

I think that's everything covered! Hopefully you found this post interesting or helpful in some way. In a nutshell, my golden rules are to smile, be friendly and try not to let your nerves get the better of you. If anyone has any further questions don't hesitate to drop me an email, I'd be happy to help you out. Best of luck! 

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Tanning: Current favourites



Anyone who knows me will be aware that I'm a huge lover of fake tan. It's the one product I can't live without. Although I've learnt to embrace my pale skin during the colder months, when summer comes I can't resist looking nice and golden. I normally use a mousse formula (St. Moriz Instant Self Tanning Mousse is my favourite) but recently I've changed my routine slightly. Here are the products I've been loving these past few weeks: 

Garnier Summer Body Moisturising Lotion. I've been using this product on and off for several years, and I always forget how good it is. I'm often put off by the fact it has no colour guide, which makes it a bit tricky to apply (especially around the wrists and ankles!) However, when it's done right it adds the perfect, natural glow to my skin. I usually apply it just before bed and then jump in the shower the following morning to wash off any excess colour. It smells delicious (like apricots) and it doesn't stain my bed sheets. Also, due to the fact it's a moisturiser, it leaves my skin feeling beautifully soft. I usually pick up the 'deep' colour as I like a really dark tan, but it's also available in a lighter shade too if your prefer a more subtle look. 

St. Moriz Wash Off Instant Shimmer Tan. I'm a big fan of St. Moriz, so when the brand offered to send me a sample of their new Wash Off Tan I couldn't wait to try it out. I was worried the shimmer would look a bit glitter ball-esque, but fortunately its nice and subtle and adds just the right amount of glow to the skin. I use this on top of my Garnier Lotion to create an even deeper colour - it blends beautifully and doesn't leave any streaks. However, due to it being wash off, if you do make a mistake you can simply rinse it away and start again. St. Moriz also do a matte tan for those of you who aren't a fan of shimmer - although I think the subtle sparkle is perfect for a summer night out. 

The best part about these products is that they're both around the £5 mark, which means you can achieve beautifully tanned skin even if you're on a budget. Neither of them have the tell-tale tanning stench, nor do they leave great dirty streaks on my skin. Two brilliant products I'd happily purchase again and again.

Do you have a fake tan routine? What are your favourite products?