stylefile: denim shirts

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

I am not a fashionista. Fact. I'm someone who plays it safe with my outfit choices and I'm sure I've been tagged on Facebook wearing the same outfit umpteen times! But I thought I'd go out of my comfort zone for once and try and style some outfits with one piece of clothing that can be worn day or night.

Today, I focused on denim shirts. Now, I'm well aware that is it Autumn and you're in the midst of storing all your Summer clothes away. But whose to say the great British weather won't throw us a curveball?

DAYTIME
ASOS pendant necklace

I'm pretty sure my middle name is 'casual' and this outfit is everything that I love. With a plain t-shirt and black jeggings, the denim shirt is great to throw on. With Autumn rearing its beautiful head around the corner, I love these black boots and the bag to finish everything off. Great for running errands around town or just to meet up with friends. Simplistic at its best.

NIGHT-TIME

I had to be a bit creative with a night time outfit with this denim shirt so I kept everything mainly black as to prevent clashing too many materials! First off, how beautiful is that dress? With the denim shirt, it'll be great for a casual dinner date or a fancy trip to the theatre. The ankle boots are actually really comfy (yes, I tried them on in the store but sadly walked away without them!) because they have a very slight platform so you can go for a romantic walk in the park without grimacing in pain! Along with the clutch and the hair bow, I'd even start to think I was Zooey Deschanel! 

What do you think of the outfits I've styled? Can you think of any other way to style this denim shirt for a day or night-time look?

Vanessa

x

recipe: maple syrup cake

Sunday, 23 September 2012



Woah, I haven't done a recipe post is ages! I miss them as much as I'm sure you miss them too! 

My brother got back from his North America/Canada trip a few weeks ago and whilst in Canada, I asked him to pick me up a bottle of liquid gold aka maple syrup! I struggled this week to think of what to bake; chocolate cake, pie, cupcakes...?! Then I had an epiphany. Maple syrup cake. 

Sandwiched with a creamy vanilla buttercream filling, it has that perfect sticky maple syrup taste that lingers in the back of your mouth whilst you enjoy the beautiful sponge texture. Are you salivating already? It may look plain but don't let appearances fool you!

As with most of my bakes, I bake without a recipe to hand so I'm going to try my best to give you accurate measurements but it will become apparent that I've had to improvise a little!

Recipe
200g butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
200g self raising flour
2tbsp milk
A big glug of maple syrup

1. Cream the butter until light then add the sugar and cream again until light and fluffy. 
2. Whisk the eggs with the vanilla extract and mix with the butter mixture alternatively with the flour. 
3. Add the milk and maple syrup and mix until combined. If the mixture starts to curdle, add a tablespoon of flour as required.
4. Divide the mixture amongst cake tins or baking cases. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees celsius for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
5. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.
6. Once completely cool, sandwich them together with your favourite buttercream!

Although I would have loved to cover the entire cake with buttercream and do some piping work on it, it really doesn't call for it as it'll be too overly sweet. I cannot put into words how amazingly tasty this cake is. Along with a mug of hot chocolate, you can almost see the log fire burning and it's finally Autumn!

Next thing...maple syrup pancakes and bacon!

Bon app├ętit!

Vanessa

x

weekly wishlist #4: a university essentials edition

Friday, 21 September 2012



My city is slowly starting to fill up with new Freshers and returning students so that only means one thing...a new semester! Alas, I am no longer a student (although I wish I was!) but I thought it would be a great idea if I compiled a wishlist of things that I would love to get to get ready for university!

I have always been a backpack girl. I don't think I've ever gone to school or university without a backpack. I love the look of these canvas bags because they're so casual although I don't think they'll last very long in typical Scottish weather! I live in trainers (I'm partial to Converse mainly!) because they're so easy to style and throw on when I'm in a rush. They are especially comfy when you're having to sit in a lecture theatre for ages! Keeping in the comfort theme, in my opinion, you cannot survive university without depending on a hoody or two. Great for cold library study sessions or running from building to building!

I always go crazy when buying stationery. Notebooks, pens, ringbinders and ruled paper! I'm pretty sure I've managed to keep WHSmith running for an entire year with my stationery buying habit! I've always lusted after a Moleskine notebook, there is always something grown up about owning such a classic notebook. Last but not least, is an umbrella. 'An umbrella'? I hear you say. Yes, especially if like me you had to depend on public transportation for a long time! You can thank me later!

If you're going off to university, whether as a Fresher or a returning student, I wish you all the best luck for the year!

What are your university essentials?

Vanessa

x

boys like girls who wear glasses

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


If you're a long time follower of my blog, you will have remember way back when I was trying to pick out a new pair of frames. Being a graduate and basically unemployed, I held off. But now I'm in full time employment, I decided to pick out a new pair of frames as I will be working with computers most of the day.

I've basically been wearing glasses since I was 17 years young and although I don't have a big prescription, I use them mainly for looking at computer screens, reading and driving at night. I've often been told that I suit a wide variety of frames because of my face structure (whut?) so you would think picking out a new pair would be easy. No. That's where I hit obstacles. I just can't decide!

I knew I wanted big frames fairly similar to the traditional RayBans but I find that the bigger they are, the heavier they are (and I carry enough weight as it is!). As soon as I tried these ones on, they were perfect!

Money well spent.

Vanessa

x

Review: Origins Checks and Balances Face Wash

Monday, 17 September 2012



It's no secret that I am a skincare junkie. Ever since I started blogging, I feel more on the ball about what kind of skincare products are out there. MammaOrchid had used this face wash ages ago before she settled on her beloved Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish so I decided to give this a go.

The whole concept of this face wash is to essentially 'balance out' your skin. It facilitates both dry and oily areas of your face without cancelling any one of them out. I have been using this for over a month and I'm kind of undecided on it. It might just be me but after I wash this off, it leaves a dry and kind of 'sticky' feeling on my skin. Being a bit concerned, I hot footed it to MammaOrchid and she said it was normal. I toned and moisturised afterwards and my face was silky smooth (strange huh?).

I do really enjoy using this face wash and my skin is actually at its greatest. The only gripe I have is the feeling prior to toning and moisturising. Am I using it wrong?

I'm all about Origins products right now and I'm really impressed with the variety of products they offer for differing skin types. This face wash retails at £17.00 for 150ml which I have a feeling will last you a while as only a small amount is needed to create some nice froth!

Have you used this before? What's your favourite Origins product?

Vanessa

x

what's in my bag? an evening edition

Saturday, 15 September 2012


During the day, I'm definitely one of those girls who takes everything and their kitchen sink with them in their bags. In the evening time however, I'm the opposite of that extreme. I really think I carry too little. I love doing little variations of the 'what's in my bag' posts so here is my evening bag edition!

I'm a cross body bag type girl. Some like clutch bags, some like shoulder bags but this is my style. Keeps both hands free for drinks :)

Phone
Whoever doesn't carry their phone with them when going out is actually crazy! Especially if you're going out clubbing or whatever, you need to prepare for any eventuality. My phone is so huge I'm surprised it's not the only thing in there!

Camera
To capture those special moments! I used to be the group photographer when going out but I've slowly stopped taking so many pictures. Other people have started taking more pictures and the majority of them hardly end up on my Facebook anyway (I always have the option of untagging them because I wouldn't want my work to find out what a state I could get into!) and I can always ask my friends for a copy of a picture if I think it's photo frame worthy!

Lip Product
I rarely if ever touch up my lippy when I'm out. But I like to have that option.

Purse/Wallet/Money
I carry my money in this little Vera Bradley pouch I got when I studied in America. So great to keep everything in one place. My IDs go in here too. If I'm planning on getting a taxi home that night, I keep the money for that in a separate pouch inside the bag and if I'm getting a night bus then I make sure I have enough change for that. Easy as!

Miscellaneous
Hair bobbles, kirky grips and house keys.

So that's everything. Pretty simplistic right? I don't like carry my worldly possessions out with me because you never know what could happen to your stuff!

What do you usually carry in your evening bag?

Vanessa

x

Make-Up Starter Kit

Thursday, 13 September 2012


When I was starting out in make-up, I was overwhelmed by the sheer amount and variation of make-up available so I was always scared to spend my money only to experiment with one thing and hating it. I'm so glad that I discovered the YouTube and blogging community because I would have never been able to find my own way around! For those just starting out in make-up or not really knowing where to start, I've compiled a little list of things you might want to consider or look out for when purchasing your first products!

Foundation
This would really be starting point numero uno! The drugstores do really good foundations that are sometimes even better than higher end brands. Revlon or Rimmel do great foundations at great prices. For me, a BB cream is great if you're scared of having to colour match yourself. Garnier, 17, Maybelline etc, are all jumping on the BB cream bandwagon so you're sure to find something you like!

Powder
Now, this isn't actually an essential but if you have oily areas on your face then this is great for controlling that. My favourite is 17's pressed powder or Rimmel Stay Matte is a great alternative.

Concealer
Let's face it, we all get those days where we just want to stay under the duvet and avoid facing the outside world but concealer is the next best thing! The ever raved about Collection 2000 (now just called Collection?) concealer is great and inexpensive. Well worth it!

Blush
I love that English Rose look that a blush gives you. ELF do great blushes as well as Sleek so you have wide selection out there.

Mascara
Even if you have the tiniest lashes ever, mascara is a must have in anyone's make-up bag. It makes such a big difference to someone's eyes. We all know it but my favourite right now is 17's Peep Show!

Cream Eyeshadow
One swipe of a cream eyeshadow over your eyelids and you're good to go. I try not to faff around with too many colours i.e. lid colour, crease colour, darken up and highlighting too often, as to be honest, I'd rather stay in bed an extra 10 minutes! Maybelline has brought out a great (albiet, limited) range of cream eyeshadows that are so pigmented and purse friendly.

Eyeliner
I think eyeliner was one of the first make-up items I ever bought. So simple to use and can create a multitude of illusions for your eyes! Black tends to be the default shade!

Lipstick/Lipgloss
I don't wear lipstick too often but everyone needs an everyday nude that goes with everything! I'd throughly recommend 17's Beehive. It's glossy, great shade and inexpensive!

What items I consider a make-up starter kit to contain could be entirely different to what you think but I think this is a perfecting foundation to anyone looking to start!

What was in your make-up starter kit when you were starting out?

Vanessa

x

Weekly Wishlist #3: Autumn Edition

Tuesday, 11 September 2012


It definitely doesn't feel like it recently with the glorious sunshine we've been having but when it reaches September, I always look forward to the colder months because it means wrapping up in layers and being all cuddly and warm. I haven't done a weekly wishlist in a while (oops!) but these new Autumn trends are so inviting that an Autumn Wishlist was begging to be made!

Some of the items I've picked have been featured at some point or another on the blog and yes, they're still on my mind! The coast tassel wrap was featured in my House of Fraser Blogger Challenge and I've been loving the 'burgundy' colour trend this season. It's so muted and wearable! I've been hunting down a pair of black western style boots and when I saw these ALDO ones in London, I was a bit disappointed I couldn't get the suede ones in black. Defeated, I continued on my search but now looking back...I really like the tan coloured ones. That's what I get for being so closed-minded sometimes eh?

I've had my current blue trenchcoat from H&M for at least a year and a half now and it's been through quite a lot! I'm on the lookout for a new one and I've been loving the plaid/tweed trend. Will be so nice to wear for the 'ooh, I don't know if it's cold enough to wear a full on thick jacket' weather. We all experience that at least once!

I've heard such great things about MAC's Face and Body foundation. I'm all about going after the natural look so I think this will be great for me when I'm cooped up at the office! It seems like a good investment as the bottle size is quite large but only a small amount is needed (always thinking thrifty!) The worse thing is that I don't live near a MAC counter so I'm a bit wary about ordering online without knowing which shade is best for me. Next time I'm in Glasgow, I'll know where I'm going first! Lastly, I've been after a cream blush for a while and NARS always do a great colour range. Penny Lane looks like such a great Autumn/Winter shade. I'm slowly veering away from bright glittery blushes and gravitating towards more muted and 'Winter Rose' shades. That's what I get for growing up!

I've had such a great time surfing the net and picking out these items but treading on dangerous ground now that there is so many great things coming out now!

What are your 'must have' Autumn pieces?

Vanessa

x

Review: Make Up Forever HD Foundation

Sunday, 9 September 2012

I decided to do this review before making a decision as to whether I was going to throw this out. I'm sure the reasons for my decision will become more apparent as I write this review.




I bought this foundation after hearing so many great things about it on blogs and YouTube videos. This was technically my very first high-end foundation as well as my first liquid foundation purchase so you can tell I already had quite expensive taste! I was lucky enough to come across this when I stumbled upon a Sephora when I was visiting my friend's city in Spain.

I managed to match my skin (albeit, all wrong) to Shade 125 and I really loved using it when I got back to Scotland. The coverage is really good. It has that fine line between being too heavy coverage and not enough coverage and has a buildable formula so that you can control how much you want to apply. It possesses the amazing ability to not be too heavy on your face but you're still aware of it being there. From there, for me, it all goes downhill.

I'm quite stingy when it comes to using up make-up because I spent so much money on it, I was worried I was going to run out. I rationed it to the point where I just stopped using it. Probably not a great idea as I can truthfully say that I bought this back in the Summer of 2010 (I can hear you all say 'ewwwwww' in the background!) As a HD foundation, I thought that it would look amazing in photographs but I experienced severe 'ghost-face' on a recent night out where I risked using it again. A lovely reader suggested mixing in with a darker foundation but I realised that I don't have a darker foundation to mix it in with (fail). 

I'm on the absolute verge of throwing it out! I truly believe that this is unsalvageable! In saying that, I would definitely re-purchase it again if I come across it but I would love to speak to a sales assistant about it first before parting with my hard earned cash!

What do you think about this foundation? Am I going about it in the wrong way?

Vanessa

x

Life Updates #1

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Source
I feel like I haven't done one of these 'rambley' posts in a long time so I thought it would be nice to kind of update all you lovely readers of what is going on in my life. To be honest, I like to think of this blog to be a little public diary of mine so this post will fit in quite nicely!

I started my new job this week and the first 4 weeks is just intensive training. I've really been enjoying it as I'm learning new things, meeting new people and just generally having such a great time. The one thing I'm hating is the commute to work. It's all the way across town and early morning starts just don't sit too well with me as I was too used to the student lifestyle! Lots of coffee later I manage JUST to survive. Bear in mind...this is only week one! I was really nervous to begin with as I wasn't sure if the job was for me, but I'm slowly starting to come round to the idea!

Other than that I've been trying to keep on top of blogging, emails and sleep! Oh and I'm also so happy to reach 73 followers on GFC! Hello to all of you lovely readers *waves ecstatically* I was always scared to join the blogging community because I had been a long time lurker before plunging in at the deep end and everyone already seemed to have their little groups. But I've been so lucky to have welcomed into the blogging community the way that I have. For that, you all deserve a mahoosive hug!

Anyway! I hope you haven't been bored to tears reading all this and I also hope to get some blog posts scheduled this weekend for next week as I think I underestimated how little time I had this week. I will be more organised next week! Scouts honour! 

If you want more frequent updates (or you just miss me too much!), you can follow me on Twitter (@ParisianOrchid)! There is much banter to be had over there ^_^ 

How are you all? What have you been up to?

Over & Out!

Vanessa

x

My Body Shop Favourites

Wednesday, 5 September 2012


I don't often shop at The Body Shop. It's definitely nothing to do with the products because I think they are fantastic and I just love going about the shop and smelling all the perfumes and body butters! But there are some things that I know The Body Shop does best and these are my favourites!

The first thing is actually a recent purchase of mine and it's the Coconut Oil Hair Shine. Anything coconut scented and I'm on it like a car bonnet and this is certainly no exception! It's like a hard wax and it melts onto your fingertips, then I apply it onto my hair after I've straightened it and it gives a really nice shine. It helps control the frizz as well and gives the most decadence smell ever! This little tin (I say little but it's 50g!) will probably last you ages so it's definitely worth investing if you're looking to get out of a rut with your hair routine.

Lastly, are The Body Shop body butters. I personally think that the body butters are what they do best. They're so luxurious and moisturising and you're always sure to find a great deal on them (especially during the sales periods!) My favourite are the 'Duo' ones. One side is a regular body butter for normal skin e.g. arms and legs. The other side is a more thicker cream that is used on more drier areas e.g. elbows and knees. Oh and I can't talk about body butters and not mention the scents! I could spend all day writing about it but you'd be here forever! For the Duo ones, Sweet Pea is my favourite. Smells so fresh without it being too over-bearing, which I'm sure a lot of people find it is but I love it. Everyone is different at the end of the day!

The Coconut Oil Hair Shine is RRP £5 and the Duo Body Butters are RRP £12.50 but I usually wait until they are on offer!

What are your Body Shop favourites?

Vanessa

x

FOTD: Sparkle & Fade

Monday, 3 September 2012


I'm on a roll with these 'Face of the Day' posts huh?

I went for some lunch on Sunday because my friend was flying back down to London on Monday so it was great to have a girly catch up and gossip! I'm starting to get a niggling feeling that my make-up is very 'samey'. My collection isn't very vast as I try and use up as much as I can before purchasing more. I'm very good like that!

MAC's Naked Lunch and Satin Taupe is my favourite eyeshadow combinations ever! And I've so almost hit pan on Satin Taupe, a few more uses I think and I should see the silver pan! 

What your favourite eyeshadow combination?

Vanessa

x

FOTN: Own The Night

Saturday, 1 September 2012


The lighting isn't so great when I took the first picture as it was taken under my spotlights but we shall hopefully deal with it! 

If you follow me on Twitter (@ParisianOrchid), you will know that I went out for a few drinks on the town, which I hadn't done so in quite a while. I'm quite a social hermit and prefer to spend my time indoors in my pyjamas surfing the net, watching the tele-box and just hanging out with my family. So when my friend came back home from London for the weekend, we decided to have a few drinks and a little boogie in the city centre.

I hadn't used my Make Up Forever HD Foundation in a while, and I'm actually thinking about throwing it out as it hasn't been used for ages. But I thought I would give it one last go and see how it comes out. In all honesty, I think I will dispose of it. It's far too old and whilst taking photos that night, I looked terribly pale! Boo! I actually really like this foundation but there is something about it that just doesn't stick well with me. If you would like me to review this for you before I throw it out, then let me know!

I went for a subtle smokey eye with a subtle lip and used my UD Naked palette to create this. The eyeshadows I used were: Sin (all over the lid), Toasted (as a crease colour) and Hustle (to darken up and smoke out the eye). It is quite difficult for me to create any form of a nice eyeshadow look because both of my eyelids differ significantly but I tried my very best!

I had a great night catching up with friends and dancing along to cheesy music (Cha-Cha Slide and Cotton Eye Joe anyone?)

What's your go-to make up look for nights out?

Vanessa

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