Monday, 30 March 2015

Are You Ready To Take Off For Bristol Fashion Week?

Bristol Fashion Week
Last Thursday I made my way over to Bristol's Fashion Week SS15 show at the Mall Cribbs Causeway to see what's hot and not this season. Excited after last years Bristol Fashion Week AW 14, I couldn't wait to return to the fashion theatre and was hungry for more on-trend styles. This time, my blogger pal Charlotte joined me for the show. This is a picture heavy post, so please sit back and enjoy Bristol Fashion Week :)

I picked up Charlotte from the station shortly after 11 am and we were running a bit late. So we made our way over to the mall ASAP and there were already long queues outside the fashion theatre when we arrived. In the foyer, we picked up some drinks and found some great seats by the runway, which worked out well in the end. Like last year, celebrity stylist Mark Heyes presented the show, but this time alongside Made In Chelsea starlet Lucy Watson.

Bristol Fashion Week Fashion Theatre
Lucy Watson and Mark Heynes at Bristol Fashion Week

Though I missed Andrew Barton a tiny bit, Mark and Lucy made a charming duo, cracked jokes and flirted with the audience. This is why I love Bristol Fashion Week so much. The atmosphere is always relaxed, people really enjoy being on stage and transfer this to the audience. The entire team is so professional and I'd like to thank everyone involved for organising and running such a joyful event. It's such a delight to listen to Mark (would love to go shopping with him one day) and he runs the presentation always so smooth.

This time I particularly loved the flight theme that was centred around the show. The main idea was to take off for spring and escape dreary winter. Whoever came up with that, it was a genius (marketing) idea and the potential was used so diversely, for example, the foyer was referred to as 'the cockpit', or the voucher booklet functioned as a 'passport' and the shows in between were destinations. Loved it.

Bristol Fashion Week Spring collection
Bristol Fashion Week Runway show
Bristol Fashion Week spring summer collection
Bristol Fashion Week runway shows

The 1h show showcased ten individual scenes, in this case, flight destinations to present the latest SS15 must-haves. Bristol Fashion Week kicked off with Denim (M&S) and Mono (John Lewis) trends, followed by rather practical outdoor fashion from Timberland and Florals by Dorothy Perkins.

Timberland show at Bristol Fashion Week
Bristol Fashion Week Timberland
Dorothy Perkins at Bristol Fashion Week

As Miranda Priestly would say florals and pastels for spring are always a bit boring and uninspiring. That's why I found it interesting that the show featured some bright colours. Spring is all about regaining energies and strength, happiness and joy and this is best expressed through bold shades. John Lewis absolutely nailed it with their escape into the colourful and bright La Dolce Vita world.

John Lewis fashion show
John Lewis for Bristol Fashion Week
Bristol Fashion Week show John Lewis
Bright colours at Bristol Fashion Week
Monochrome Look at Bristol Fashion Week
River Island at Bristol Fashion Week
Bristol Fashion Week end credit

Oh and here's what I wore to the show. My Stradivarius leather jacket, which hasn't left me since I've bought it, teamed up with a New Look boho shirt, black Forever 21 shorts and a stunning Peacock feather necklace from an independent jewellery maker.

My ootd for Bristol Fashion Week
Stradivarius Leather Jacket

Oh and speaking of upcoming fashion trends, I say that loafers and plimsolls have a big revival this SS15. The shoe shape is a bit old fashioned but there are great ones out there with refreshing prints and materials that give the loafer a modern twist. With the plimsolls, you see a lot of hologram prints lately, which I personally don't really like (it looks plastic and artificial to me). I prefer handmade leather loafers with pony hair elements or with nude and coral colours. Jones Bootmaker and Clarks have some pretty styles, too with bows or tassels.

I'm also on the hunt for (not sure if I'm using the right term here) for Manolos. Not the luxury brand ones, but flat court shoes with a tapered front, open sides and a strap around your ankle. I've seen some in Primark (but you know, it's Primark), so I keep looking and will show them here on the blog once I found the perfect pair.

Big or small, it doesn't matter but have you ever been to a fashion show? What are your key trends and must-haves for SS15? I'm looking forward to your comments, please say hello and leave me your blog links.

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
Carolin
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Thursday, 26 March 2015

10 Things Why The UK Is Awesome

10 Lifestyle Reasons Why The UK Is Awesome

1. Nowhere in this world will you spent so much money on clothes, DVDs and other random but beautiful stylish things than in the UK. That Primark/ASOS haul, cinema trips and eating outs are legendary.

2. A trip down to your local Cineworld will end up in a triple feature. Spent the day successfully.

3. Festivals are actually fun. The music you usually don't listen to sounds amazing live performed, girls wear flowers and dress up nicely, the general vibe is friendly to make that festival an unforgettable memory. You feel invincible and have the summer of your lifetime, which is a welcoming change to the German heavy metal/goth and alternative rock noise that you've avoided for years.

4. Brits are very stylish, tasteful and dress well. You won't see any weird fringes, multicoloured hair or bling bling nose piercings. People are actually interested in fashion and won't give you looks when you 'come out' as a fashionista.

5. FREE Public Wifi EVERYWHERE is no longer a luxury, but a reality. You can finally access ANY internet website, watch any TV show and listen to Youtube videos without being restricted by GEMA.

6. 'How are you?' 'Hope you're well!' 'Speak to you soon lovely'. People are so nice and interested in you which is refreshing to 'Where did you get that internship from?' 'Let's go containering and boofing' 'Sorry nerd, you can't sit with us'.

7. The moment you bite into your cheddar cheese and ham sandwich, followed by a clotted cream and strawberry jam scone. PRICELESS.

8. Nothing feels more pleasant to me than to wake up to the sound of the English language. British accents are to die for - yes, even the strong Black Country accent.

9. Life in the UK gets never boring. There are so many possibilities and opportunities around, you'll be sorted easily. No matter how much life might bring you down, it will all work out fine for you in the end somehow, just keep going.

10. There's no place like London. Enough said.

Are you dreaming of a life in the UK, too? Are you an expat and love living abroad? Which things am I missing that make the UK a great place to live in? Do you have a country you romanticise?

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
Carolin

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Monday, 23 March 2015

Funny, Moving, Sensational. Philomena Is The DVD Tip Of The Month


The movie Philomena is one of the shining lights of the film year 2013 which brings us the gripping, heart-touching search of a mother who lost her son in the 1950s. She has kept her past a secret ever since and lived with a burden of a lifetime. The award-winning British drama, directed by Stephen Frears, is based on the true story ‘The Lost Child of Philomena Lee’, a biography written by BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith.

The movie centres on Philomena Lee (Dame Judi Dench) who has held a burden all of her life. As a teenager in the mid-50s, pregnant Philomena lived at a convent in Roscrea, Ireland. The nuns allowed her to keep the child but she was later forced to sign away her parental rights to the Catholic Church. Three years on, Philomena’s son is adopted by an American couple and taken away, leaving no trace behind.

Ever since, Philomena never stopped thinking of her son and attempted to find him, but failed. By this time, she has a 35-year-old daughter, who introduces her to ex BBC journalist Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan). Once again, hope springs in Philomena to finally reunite with her son and find out what has happened to him all those years ago.

The intense drama cleverly combines the revelation of Ireland’s scandalous baby export business with the story of a mother’s desperate lifelong search for her son. This complex, yet gripping movie is simply and effortlessly told. Despite its light narrative, the film never loses its depth, revealing multiple layers of complexity, dimensional character designs and a right balance of charming and serious scenes.

I find the movie poster highly misleading, suggesting a feel-good movie when it is in fact much more than that. In a delicate voice, the movie approaches and deals with atonement, doubt, grief, forgiveness and hope on diverse levels which touches hearts and at the same time, finds the right tone to criticise the Catholic Church. Philomena presents sexuality and injustice gracefully which is the main construct building up to this powerful tragedy which stays with the viewer long term and reminds that there are still thousands of cases unsolved.

8/10

Have you seen Philomena or heard about the  Irish baby export scandal? I'd love to read your thought in the comment section below and will reply to everyone.

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
Carolin
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Thursday, 19 March 2015

Writing Is Forever

Sheaffer Sagaris writing instrument

When was the last time you’ve received a handwritten letter or wrote one yourself? Call me old fashioned but I’m still very excited when I receive a handwritten letter instead of an email. A beautiful handwriting to me is art and a far more personal and thoughtful way of communicating with each other.

Did you know that handwriting is a mirror of our personality and can reflect over 5,000 individual character traits? My handwriting, for example, is centred which reflects my logical way of thinking and practical nature. The average size of my writing reveals I’m a well-adjusted and adaptable person, though my romantic style also says I’m sensitive and often seek a compromise over conflict.

Handwriting analysis is so diverse have you’ve ever tried it? The way our handwriting looks, if neat or sloppy, is affected by our writing tool. I once bought an expensive pen and was told by the retailer that there are ‘pens’, the countless ones we all have at home lying around, and then there are ‘writing instruments’, which can take our writing to the next level.

Sheaffer Sagaris review
Sheaffer Sagaris rollerball pen

Writing instruments are of course expensive but of high quality and exceptionally manufactured. The word instrument implies the creative and arty purpose a quality pen was designed for. As I’ve said earlier, a neat and characteristic handwriting is fine art after all.

With National Stationery Week approaching (27th April - 3rd May), I received an extraordinary writing instrument by Sheaffer*. This metallic brown rollerball pen is from their Sagaris collection, a series of luxury pens also available as a fountain pen or roller point.

The exquisite design features a glossy lacquer finish with chrome plate trim with the brand’s name delicately engraved on the tapered cap. The instrument’s gripping section allows optimal comfort and control which makes writing effortless and easy.

National stationery week Sheaffer Sagaris
Sheaffer Sagaris review
Sheaffer Sagaris writing tool
Sheaffer Sagaris tool parts

The black ink dries within seconds and allows a natural flow which makes your handwriting look elegant and graceful. It is manufactured so well, with the screw cap fitting precisely. Even when you insert the refill, every part pieces back together perfectly. This instrument is a timeless companion which makes any writing a special occasion.

Sheaffer Sagaris case
Sheaffer Sagaris writing is forever

Sheaffer writing instruments come with a luxurious gift box for safe storage. The case also includes the ink refill and a three-year warranty certificate.

The Sheaffer Sagaris writing instrument is available at around £40.

When was the last time you’ve written a letter? Do you prefer fountain pens over biros? Do you think handwriting will die out? What are the key characteristics of your handwriting? I'd love to see, so please feel free to leave me a picture/comment in the comment section below or send me a picture via my social media. I'm looking forward to hearing from you.

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
Carolin

*PR sample, opinions and words are my own. This post is part of National Stationery Week 2015.
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Monday, 16 March 2015

A Romantic Spring OOTD

Romantic spring outfit
It's getting warmer each day and every evening it stays a few minutes lighter which is a clear sign spring is just around the corner. I'm happy that I can slowly but surely send my winter coat into hibernation and prepare to get my leather jackets and dresses out. Time for me to experiment with a few styles to get a romantic spring outfit sorted.

Spring is about the awakening of nature meaning plants come out, people enjoy the sun and regain their energies. It feels like life returns to its strengths but is still very fragile and delicate. In order to make a look that works just like spring, powerful but delicate, I've decided to mix a few styles with different colours to create a romantic look. Read here, why my outfit despite the wild mixture works.

Leather jackets in spring
Romantic spring fashion post

I'm wearing a leather jacket (strong, powerful) over a white lace/chiffon Primark dress (delicate, innocent) to present spring. I got this brown leather jacket from Stradivarius before winter and didn't have had the chance yet to wear it out. It is so soft and has a dark navy blue lining which looks super chic and edgy at the same time. You may wonder why I didn't choose a black leather jacket for the outfit. I feel black would have been too static and harsh in contrast to the romantic Primark dress. The brown tone of the jacket provides a soft contrast but will still make any outfit look cool and effortless. In colour theory, brown is a so-called 'blocker' shade which consists of a broad spectre of all colours, so it will, therefore, work with any colour harmoniously.

Taschka pony hair shoes

My shoes are handmade leather ballerinas from Taschka with Pony hair elements on top. As I reported last year Pony hair shoes are still hot this year plus Taschka makes stylish loafers which will be the next big thing in fashion this year. The leopard pattern picks up the print of my light Sandwich scarf.

Statement necklace
Statement necklace

Jewellery-wise I'm wearing a clear statement necklace to underline the romantic touch of my Primark dress. The clear elements make the look sophisticated and apply a touch of class to it. Here again, is the contrast of spring. The statement (strong) that works harmoniously with the delicate lace of the dress. And not to forget my pretty Sandwich scarf which I got at the Gemini Press Day in Stratford!

Scarf by Gemini Fashion

I had this white Primark dress for a while and it is a wonderful summer dress which you can easily wear in spring. Whether with a statement necklace or with a belt, this dress will give you the ultimate romantic style in an instant and it is so versatile as a base for gorgeous outfits.

Romantic Primark dress
Spring Fashion Post

Here’s What I’m Wearing:


Shoes: Taschka Onyx/Cheetah (sold out, £125)
Dress: Primark (summer season 2012/2013, £10)
Leather Jacket: Stradivarius (current season 2014/2015, £90)
Necklace: Rara De Barr* (current season 2014, £20)
Scarf: Sandwich via Gemini Clothing* (current season 2014/2015, £20)

Hope you’ve enjoyed the outfit. Let me know what you think. Which element is your favourite part of the outfit? How would you style it? How does your ultimate spring outfit look like?

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
Carolin

*PR Sample
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Monday, 9 March 2015

I'd Never Blog About...

Taboo blog posts

Not so long ago, my blogging friend Hollie published 'My Blog Is At A Crossroads', a post in which she said, she would like to start working with brands and write reviews to mix up her blog which is currently focused on fantasy football and life inspired posts. In her piece, she asked for some guidance and advice on how to give her blog a new direction.

Her post made me think, as I share a similar position, but I’m facing the opposite of the problem: I feel I should write up more life inspired posts than product reviews and brand collaborations to give my blog more personality and a twist.

It’s not that I haven’t tried to post opinion pieces or life experience before, but let’s put it this way, these articles weren't picked up so well and as a result, I thought I should stick with reviews, collaborations and general blogging topics.

Hollie's post really made me think and so I sat down one afternoon, done some brainstorming and collected ideas for topics I could write about and share with the entire world. To get some inspiration I read other blogs, too. After hours of reading about 'What I Got For Christmas', some messed up breakfast cereals in a bowl and rants I came to the conclusion that there are a few topics which I find very personal and too intense to ever share them ever on my blog. These include:

1. Personal Crisis, e.g. loss of job, relationship/family issues - It's good to open up and talk about problems, but I find the internet the wrong place to do so.

2. Breakfast Posts - When you google 'quality content for blogs' and your first hit is the mushy breakfast post from a 13-year-old blogger.

3. Rants -  I follow a blogger who does this all the time. A rant about the job, a rant about clients, a rant about other bloggers, a rant about anything in this world. The general tone of all the posts is very aggressive, negative, pessimistic and extremely depressing. It is ok to moan about things now and again, but so much negativity makes me actually feel uncomfortable and I find it very unprofessional.

4. Job Hunting Advice - I find it depressing enough to write and deal with applications, so I honestly don't want to talk about them in my leisure time and waste even more energy on them than I have to.

5. Opinions on other bloggers or political debates e.g. Zoella debate, the housing crisis in the UK - Again, some topics are a bit sensitive and people can have extreme opinions and views which can lose control so quickly and end up in shit storms, rants and tears.

6. Personal Health - Again a very sensitive topic in my opinion which I wouldn't feature on my blog. It is too extreme and intense and I'm not the person to share my medical conditions with the entire world.

Most of these topics I associate with negativity which I don't want to write about on my blog. Sadness, pressure and provocation are around me all day so I need a distraction and my blog reminds me of the good and happy things in life. I believe that certain topics do not belong on social media nor have to be shared and discussed on a blog, but this is my personal view. Some topics are just very, very personal which is intense and create an awkward situation even when I share them with friends. As much as I love blogging and like to take you with me to events and tell you what my fav beauty product is, I think there needs to be a line somewhere. Not every little thing about my life needs to be exposed and shared on the internet, don't you think?

First, you'll never know who reads your blog, there are so many weirdos and spammers out there. Secondly, I don't want potential employers/PR/brands/clients see my negative view of the world, health conditions or other life juggles that are on my mind as it is so easy to judge me on those. Especially for a potential job interview, this would be so awkward, as more than 35% of employers Google job candidates before the interview!

And to be honest, I can't blame them. How would I feel seeing a colleague's drunken night out pictures scattered all over the web? How would I feel if I read a colleague's blog post about how she got physically abused by her ex-partner followed by imprisonment and a court trial? Certainly, very awkward and not necessarily career-enhancing. So for me, I've decided to keep my drama where it belongs - to myself. 

Lastly, I hope I haven't offended anyone with my directness. If you like to share any of the above and you open up to the world than that's fine by me and I will respect and tolerate your views. I admire people for their confidence and courage to share some of their emotional and intense stories, I've just decided for myself and for the purpose of my blog, that this isn't for me.

Let me know what you think about sensitive topics and how you would deal with them. Are there any topics you would never talk about on your blog? Is there a story you would love to shout out about? I'm looking forward to your comments!

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
Carolin

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Thursday, 5 March 2015

The X-Over Bag. A Clever Alternative To Rucksacks And Handbags

X Over Bag

On my last visit to Berlin, a new bag caught my attention. The X-Over bag*, which is best described as a blend of a functional rucksack and a stylish handbag, is the latest fashion accessory made in Germany. As a passionate bag hoarder myself, I had to research the brand and find out more about these clever hybrids.

X-Over: The Idea


Rucksacks made their big fashion revival last year and 2015 won't be an exception. I've never been a massive fan of rucksacks, to be honest with you, but the X-Over bag has changed my view. Designed and made by a small South Germany-based company, the X-Over bag provides a stylish update of the rucksack in combination with a comfortable wearing system that adapts to your needs.

The idea for the triangular-shaped bag was born in 1996 and soon became a must-have in the In line skating scene. Now, after several updates, this is a bag designed for everyday use, which is functional, practical yet stylish and fashionable. Each bag comes in different sizes. Medium, for example, is designed for people 'on the move' so you can use it outdoors for hiking, cycling or trips but at the same time it is a great shopping companion or to take into work.

X-Over: The Design And Concept


X Over Bag


Key features of the X-Over bag are the diagonal opening and a complex, yet simple wearing system, which allows carrying your bag the way you want to. It adapts easily to your needs. The casual, easy and functional options provide comfort and stability and perfect weight distribution. One thing that I really don't like about rucksacks is loose ends which usually hang around in your way. This can't happen with this bag because every part of the system is used efficiently and effectively so there aren't any straps left over. In the case of wear and tear, X-Over offers additional replacement parts to buy via their website.

How to use the X Over bag

X-Over: The Collection


The product line features ten different collections which are individually named after trendy locations. Amsterdam, for example, has a young design, whereas Hawaii features flower prints and the model Frankfurt has a classy cut. There's also a category with en vogue and stylish prints for fashionistas.

The brand currently works on building a network and presence so at the moment there's only their website but social media will follow soon. Prices start from £35 for an S size bag and £55 for an M size bag. The X-Over is available via their online shop or the German Amazon.

What do you think of the X-Over bag? Would you get one and how would you style it?

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
Carolin

*Images provided by X-Over. PR sample
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Monday, 2 March 2015

The 5 Props Every Blogger Should Have To Boost Their Photography

Blogger Photography props

Photos are vital to our blog posts, as they break up our texts which make reading more pleasant and let's face it, we're visual creatures. If a picture can't draw us into the post within a couple of seconds, it is unlikely we read the post or come back to a blog. As the weather is still very miserable, most of us are forced to shoot their pictures indoors. I thought it is time to share some advice on how to improve your photography when you have to shoot on your desk or somewhere else in your home.

To make pictures stand out and interesting, you can use a variety of props. Here are my top 5:

1. A White Board


Most of us are attracted to clear photography that's been shot with enough light which you can capture through a lot of white. White is plain, neutral and perfect to reflect light to create that effortless and airy effect that makes pictures so harmonious to our eyes. To achieve these neat pictures, bloggers use all kinds of 'tools' such as lightboxes, some even paint their floors white or they have IKEA drawers or have their own little photography studio at home. All of these 'tools' are cost-intensive but don't worry, there are affordable alternatives.


White IKEA Board

Since I've sold my IKEA Malm drawers my dad (who never throws anything away) has given me a white solid cardboard to use for my shoots. This one is easy to carry around and to put away in my flat. I also have a spare white bookcase level which I can use to build a set when I'm shooting. If you haven't got any of these by hand then you can also use freshly ironed bedsheets or white table clothes.

Where to get it? Bedsheets and table clothes from your mum or at your nearest home department store. White cardboard, like the one I have, you can get easily from furniture and DIY stores (e.g. Homebase, B&Q).

Costs: around £10-£20.

2. External Lighting


Warm, pleasant lights make us feel comfy and you can achieve this spark in your pictures with external lighting. My source for lighting are these branch lights* from LEDHutHut which are not only great to look at as a normal interior accessory, but they bring a cosy and homey atmosphere to my pictures. They also serve as an additional light source in case your chosen shooting spot doesn't have enough natural light, so there's a positive side effect to it, too. The possibilities with a lighting source are manifold and worth having a play around as it creates fantastic effects.

Branch Lights LEDHut

Where to get it? LEDHut has a great collection of indoor lights for all year round purposes. You can also use small LED lights, lamps or candles.

Costs: The branch lights come around £12, candles from £5 onwards.

3. Flowers (Natural Or Plastic)


Girls love flowers and the most effective way to pimp your pictures are to include them alongside your product. Your pictures will look fresh, girly and natural which is appealing to our eyes and capture our attention. It doesn't matter if you're using plastic or real ones, the effect will always give your pictures a professional look.

The Library of Fragrance Sunshine and Rain

Where to get it? Plastic flowers are available at IKEA or at any decent home department store. Real ones are available from the supermarket, flower shops or, if you have the chance, from your own garden.

Costs: £1-£10.

4. Magazines, Wall Paper, Fabrics Or Scarfs


As nice as a white background is, it gets boring after a while. To give my photos a twist, I like using different backgrounds. Fashion magazines work well, so does wallpaper, fabrics or scarfs. As long as the surface is smooth you'll be fine. Cole&Son are my favourite wallpaper brand, but I haven't got £100 to spend on a single role. Luckily most retailers give out free samples. Just ask and you can play around with the most amazing backgrounds.

Magazines, Scarfs and Wallpaper for photography

Where to get it? WHSmith for magazines. Most wallpaper and fabric retailers give out free samples or charge a small fee. For scarfs, I'm sure you already have one in your wardrobe, but in case you don't, Primark and Accessorize are good places to start to achieve exquisite results for your visuals.

Costs: Free - £15.

5. Post Related Items


A visual can speak more than 1000 words and I've seen pictures, that have lost sight of their purpose and didn't relate to the post at all. If you include props that are related to your post, this will apply an extra boost to your visuals and underline what they are going to say. For example, if you're reviewing a foundation or eye shadow, why not include some makeup brushes? If it's a fashion post why not add accessories like necklaces, earrings or bangles? This further emphasises the purpose of your picture, but be careful to not overload your composition and distract from your focus.

Beauty related blog post

Where to get it? Have a look in your makeup bag and jewellery box.

Costs: Depends on what you have already :)

I'm not a professional photographer and I'm not a master in editing either, but these changes helped me a lot during the last year to improve my visuals. It is equally important to play around with different props to show diversity in your pictures and find out what works best for them. I hope you found these tips helpful and if you have one to add let me know in the comment section.

What are your favourite props to use to boost your photography? Which ones from my list do you use already? Looking forward to your tips. Also, if you're interested in more photo props for blogging, you can check out my follow up post with the link provided.

Thanks so much for reading and till next time,
Carolin

*PR sample
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