Saturday, 31 October 2015

BUSINESS CARDS WITH STRESSFREEPRINT //


At some of my very first events, I was amazed at how organised and prepared other bloggers were when it came to exchanging blog URL's and adding each other on social media. Instead of swapping phones and spelling out Twitter handles (as I had to do, awkwardly) I was passed various business cards by others. These told me everything I could ever need to know about how to get in touch with them.

At that point, I didn't think my blog was worthy enough of such a thing but as the year has gone by and I've been lucky enough to have some amazing opportunities, I changed my mind. It's great to have something to be proud of and whether you're working in a large business or self employed, it's always nice to pretend you have an air of sophistication.

Business cards are a quick, uber professional way of saying 'I'd like you to get in touch' and it makes communication on all parts that much easier. StressFreePrint were generous enough to print 500 business cards for the relaunch of The Dress Diaries and I absolutely love them.


I think a lot of designers will agree, the more time you spend making money from your craft the less time you have to use it for yourself. Eventually though, following the minimalist but colourful style of my relaunch, I sent across my designs.

On the other hand, StressFreePrint offer a full design service in case you don't know how you'd like your business card to look or you don't have any design tools yourself - or you just don't have the time! Just send across your details, colour schemes and logos and they'll do the rest.


I absolutely HATE all white business cards (sorry if you're a corporate type) therefore I went for a vibrant full colour print on the front. I love the mixture of turquoise and pink, I think it's much friendlier than my old header and it's eye catching in your purse.

The only methods of contact I use for my blog are through email, Instagram or Twitter so this is all I needed alongside the web address on the back. I've kept this simple and clear, so it's easy for people to find the details they need. It's super weird seeing my name on a business card, never mind one that I designed from scratch!

One of the best things about using StressFreePrint is that they actually send you a physical proof. If this is your first time ordering business cards, I'd highly recommend you ask for the printed proof as it allows you to see the colours as they will actually look, not just a web colour version! As soon as I received it - really quickly I might add - I simply hit the final button on the website and it was off to be printed.



Working in a design company, I know how difficult it can be to get a printed product exactly as you wanted it and StressFreePrint have been wonderful. The communication was great and I'm really pleased with the results.

Have a look at their range of products and services here.

leanne

x


This post features products sent to me for review purposes. I'm really pleased with the outcome and opinions are all my own.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

DAY OF THE DEAD // HALLOWEEN MAKEUP

THIS. IS. HALLOWEEN. this.is.halloween...


I love this time of year, not only because we have the opportunity to whip out the chunkiest of cardigans but because for one night in the year, I can go out with a face like this and not be judged.

Fancy dress breaks all the ice between people and in general, means everyone (i.e. me) is in drunken, high spirits. This year I haven't got a particular costume I want to wear but plenty of eyeliner and lipstick I can put to good use.


Wilko is perfect for halloween treats if you're throwing a party and usually have a creepy aisle full of fancy dress, makeup and sweets galore. I picked up a set of these cute halloween themed cups and some white face paint.

Everything else I'm using on my face is already in my makeup bag which makes this look super cost-saving and easy to take on and off if any mistakes are made - have makeup wipes to hand just in case!


For the base, I first applied the No7 Stay Perfect foundation in Ivory for a smooth canvas. Then I mixed the white face paint with water and applied a super thin layer. With this paint being so inexpensive, the product isn't the greatest and tends to dry a little bit patchy. Make sure you work in thin layers and build it up, depending on how pale you want to look!

I then used the Sleek contour palette bronzer to add some colour. For the full effect of a Day of the Dead makeup look, it can be done in full, white and bright face paint. As I will only be rocking this look once (as far as I know) I don't want to invest in loads of face paint. I'm going for a much easier look so adding some rough contouring makes the finished look a pretty, girly version.

Now for the fun bit... and the part that requires a much steadier hand than mine!


First, using a set of cheap, 17 smoky eyeshadows I blended huge circles around my eyes. It's relatively easy to keep an even circle around the top of the eye, using the brow shape and inner eye as a border. Underneath the eye, try to keep as even as you can.

I used my Collection liquid eyeliner for all the details as it's much easier to use than a pencil or a gel and is likely to last longer. There are loads of sugar skull and day of the dead halloween makeup looks over on Pinterest, if you need inspiration. I've pinned some for you to see here.

The lipstick is my all time favourite, Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in 477 Black Cherry. This is my favourite all year round although it's featured much more in the Autumn as it's a beautiful, dark berry colour.


As you can see, my artwork isn't the neatest but no one should be THIS close to your face on a night out unless they're you're partner or you're on the pull. If it's the latter, then it doesn't matter because they'll probably have a face full of blood and/or smudged makeup too.

Using the lipstick and eyeliner, I've added a few simple lines and dots from various different Pinterest images I liked. The stitched or skeletal lips are a really easy way to create a simple but creepy Halloween look, regardless if you want to design the rest of your face!



Finally, this flower headband is from eBay for a mere £4 and is a really easy way to finish the look. It also helps to keep your hair out of the way whilst working on your face paint, win win!

With backcombed hair and dry shampoo, you're ready to party as a sugar skull into the early hours.

Are you dressing up for Halloween?

leanne

x

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

MEN'S AUTUMN FASHION SNAPSHOT //

I am always so jealous of men's fashion, particularly around Autumn and Winter. There's no jumper in any female department of a store that quite resembles the coziness of a men's jumper. It's a fact.

This post is focused on some of the key pieces for men this A/W which I would be more than happy to wear myself. Shopping for the seasons can be expensive, so a few wardrobe staples from Primark are always super useful. These are cheap enough to add to your wardrobe this month and then give to charity in Spring, if you're a follower of the ever-changing trends.

Alongside some permanent wardrobe accessories, it's really easy to chop and change according to this season and create some great Autumnal outfits.




My absolute favourite look is the jumper of dreams (burgundy, aran number above) which you can find in most men and women's retail stores right now. Paired with a flannel, dogtooth shirt it's a pretty smart outfit. Think posh boy meets geography teacher, that's the kind of look that's all the rage apparently.

The well-known tweed jacket is another fashion choice that resembles your Grandad's wardrobe but is unusually 'hip'. I'm not a massive fan of the shoulder patch thing but in general, the jacket is a simple addition to make any outfit a bit smarter. I mean, look at that button detailing!


This dark blue shirt was a recent find in the back of David's wardrobe which apparently no longer fits him (always read the washing instructions, kids.) I've kindly adopted it into my life and it's probably going to be my favourite item of clothing this season.

Any thick, cotton shirt is a winner for any gender. He'd wear it with some black jeans and brogues, I'll most likely be wearing it thrown over a bralet on a night out.

Another unisex piece that's huge this season is the roll neck/turtle neck jumper (can someone explain the difference please?) I bought a black one last Winter and I've turned to it every time the weather hasn't been on the warm side. David invested in his first ever grey roll neck last week (rebel) and he's sold on them too. The only issue now is having to avoid wearing them at the same time and looking like an actual pair of knobheads turtles.



Finally, two accessories to go with everything this Autumn: a statement watch and a tartan scarf.

This is actually MY scarf which I'm donating out of the kindness of my own heart - and because I'm  about to buy a brand new, beautiful replacement from ASOS. Most men I know prefer a fashionable, skinny scarf and this one is from a couple of years ago, before the blanket scarf reared it's head this time round..

The watch is a newbie that I've recently featured here thanks to Daniel Wellington sending it to myself and David and it's not been off his wrist since. It's absolutely ideal for either gender but unfortunately, I've not been able to steal it back yet.

The promotional code is still active, meaning you can grab yourself 15% any watch using the code: thedressdiaries at the checkout.


Men's fashion is a different topic for me but I'm actually really enjoying delving through someone else's wardrobe, particularly when it's this season's clothes!

What A/W trends are your favourites this year?

leanne

x


Saturday, 24 October 2015

THE BODY SHOP // CHRISTMAS FROSTED PLUM


I've definitely found this year's #1 Christmas scent - Frosted Plum.

The Body Shop have created some wonderful ranges and in 2014, the frosted cranberry body butter became my favourite for a long time. This year, I was kindly sent a 'Tin of Delights' featuring some of the frosted plum products that are available in The Body Shop this season.



First and foremost, can we address the beautiful packaging? The tin is a perfect gift for Christmas and I'd definitely be happy giving this unwrapped and as is. Also, I'm already doubling this one up as a cake tin!

The set includes a full size body butter, shower gel, shimmer mist and lip balm.


The lip balm rivals Mac's 'Heroine' in colour in the tin but is actually a great, clear balm. It's a really nice alternative to your regular pot of vaseline and although I'm yet to understand why you'd want a lip balm to smell nice, I'm certainly not complaining. It's definitely a permanent fixture in my handbag now.


Of course, everyone loves the body butter, don't they? My Summer scent became the virgin mojito (which I wrote about here) and I'm more than happy to swap this for the season with a frosted plum version.

The shower gel and body butter are just as great as the similar products from The Body Shop, long lasting, great value and makes your bathroom (and your body) smell like a fruity dessert.

Everything just smells SO DAMN GOOD.


This is quite a different product than any I'd normally buy for myself. Although it may look like something from the Disney store as part of a child's 'Tangled' beauty set, it's actually really lovely.

Although the scent is gorgeous, it's not a spray I can use daily because of the sparkle. That much glitter isn't ideal for the office! However, it's great for a night out spritz with a shimmer, just make sure you shake the bottle thoroughly otherwise your neck ends up a shiny, hot mess.



Without a doubt will be ordering a couple of these sets as Christmas gifts for my friends, the entire package is beautiful and the scent is an absolute winner.


leanne

x


This review includes products I was sent for review purposes, opinions are all my own.
I'm not obliged to write positive reviews but this happens to be bloody lovely.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

BEDROOM DECOR //


This post could also be entitled 'bedroom of dreams' but I feel that's quite a bold statement to make. Although, I do absolutely love it. Having a bedroom that feels cosy is quite an achievement as I've moved so many times in the past couple of years; it's been difficult to feel at home anywhere because I've not been in one place long enough.

However, myself and David have now moved into our first, beautiful flat together so I had a H&M and Homesense splurge to make everything feel much cosier.


These cushions are all from BHS. The grey ones were actually on sale for £6 each and they're SO huge and pouffy, they make such a difference when it comes to a Sunday morning lie-in.

The statement blue cushion is from their current season at £12 and has a really pretty, floral design on velvet. I wanted the blue/teal to make a statement as we have white walls, so I've tried keeping it to a minimum complemented by greys and whites.



Homesense is such a great place to find some unique photo frames (right) and they come in every colour imaginable. Although they can be quite pricey, if you have a select colour scheme or want to find a decorative item to match, this store is definitely the place to go.

We chose a few for our lounge gallery wall (which won't actually be up till next year) as well as a couple to match our bedroom. The teal is a distressed style which goes nicely with the colours of other pieces in this post and it's a nice contrast to the crispness of white walls and bedding.


This was an online steal from quite a while ago but as it still fits in my theme - it's white so naturally, it fits with most - I thought I'd include it. Jewellery stands are available in all kinds of colours, shapes and sizes on eBay so have a look for a quirky item.

Of course, I've dug out a few turquoise pieces for display purposes. It's only necessary.


The white, linen bedding.

Call me a basic bitch generic but this is the best purchase I've made this year. Shout out to H&M Home for being the only place that I could find for a reasonably priced, linen, double duvet set. This should have been £79.99 but with a wonderful introductory offer of 20% off your first item when you sign up, it only cost £59.99. This is still by far the most expensive bedding I've ever purchased but I would definitely recommend it!

It also comes in a variety of colours if white isn't your cup of tea (or you're likely to spill one on it).

N.B. It took H&M over a fortnight to send it out to me due to disorganisation and forgetting to tell me they'd frozen my order. You can't order to a business address (where I am most of the time) so they put a stop on my purchase but didn't inform me. Shoddy service initially BUT the customer service on the phone when sorting this issue was great. And the products are very good now I finally have them.

As the duvet set was on the expensive side, the bedsheet and extra pillow cases are from Primark. They have a brilliant (and super cheap) range of bedding which makes changing colour scheme in the in the future really affordable.


This rug is another H&M Home purchase in the same dark teal colour. I love the geometric cross tribal style print, it makes it a huge feature particularly as we're stuck with dreary, beige carpets for the time being. At £14.99 I'm really pleased with the difference it makes and it's now even featured on their style page. Just call me a trendsetter.

Hope you enjoyed a slight mooch around my new, bedroom of wonders and I'll be posting about all 'new home' related decor in the future.

leanne

x

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

DANIEL WELLINGTON WATCHES //


It's Christmas in a couple of months time (I know, I know, where has the Summer gone?) and as I'm away for the majority of December, it's time to start thinking Christmas presents.

As David started a new job in Leeds this year, he mentioned recently he could do with a watch. Unlike me, he doesn't work in front of a computer or with a phone in hand counting the seconds till 5pm so this makes perfect sense. It also makes for a sentimental, 'you'll think of me whenever you look at the time' sort of gift. That's obviously what I'm going for.

Through the power of social media I came across some reviews of Daniel Wellington watches and they are stunning. My favourite thing about the styles is that they're all so simple and elegant, no pretentious detailing but makes the statement: classic.


I knew a smart, simple watch like this would be perfect for a present and Daniel Wellington super kindly sent me a watch from their collection, in exchange for mine (and David's) thoughts on it.

It arrived in the most wonderful leather packaging which was certainly gift-worthy itself, never mind opening it to see the watch inside. Even with the huge, beautiful selection of watches online it didn't take me long to pick 'the one'.

The Classic St. Mawes 40mm, with brown leather strap and silver case (he hates gold.)


The face is a mere 6mm thick which makes it an extremely lightweight, elegant accessory, so much so that I'll definitely be trying this out myself when I can prise it off of it's new owner. David's reaction was exactly as I imagined it would be, he loved it and has already had a number of comments from colleagues and friends about it.
His ego is now ridiculous, so thanks for that DW.

The statement brown strap and white face means he can wear it with anything.

The whole intention behind the Daniel Wellington brand is to create something that could be described as 'preppy'. Although it's an American term we could associate with Clueless, the trend has been long standing in the UK too. This season it's encompassing tweed jackets and aran jumpers (both of which David owns, go figure) and this is the perfect accessory to match.





Daniel Wellington are offering an early Christmas present to ALL of my readers in the form of a discount code. You can get 15% off any purchase before November 15th, using the promo code:
thedressdiaries

If you're looking for christmas present ideas, whether it be for male or female - or you might just want to treat yourself - check out the ranges on their website here.

leanne

x



This review features products sent to me for review purposes, all opinions are my own and I'm super happy to genuinely recommend this product. It's ace.

Friday, 16 October 2015

GETTING BACK INTO FITNESS //

So I'm generally quite an active person...
...if running to work when late and drunk dancing till 3am counts.

I'm joking but there is always room for improvement and it all starts here. Sometimes it's difficult to motivate yourself to exercise but there are so many ways to keep fit, it really doesn't need to be.

 Here's a few things I'm trying to help make fitness more of a priority in my life and it might help you towards your goals, too.


Get out of your comfort zone

As I mentioned in my fitness post last year (read it here) I'm still participating in aerial hoop classes and absolutely loving it. The amount my strength has improved since writing about it last is huge and I'm now confident enough to balance on my shoulders, hang by my ankles and generally put my life into the hold of a lyra. Make a change to your fitness routine and go for something really different. You might find you love it.

Become a fitness instructor

This year, I also ticked one off my bucket list and signed on to a fitness course which (fingers crossed) will mean next year I'll be able to teach my own exercise to music classes. Dance has always been a huge feature in my life up until recent years and it will be great to regain it. I'll be writing more about my journey with Fitness Industry Education in 2016.

Explore the community

I have an upcoming collaboration with Leeds Girls Can to take a step into my local area and find out what fitness classes are on offer. It's so easy nowadays to keep fit and you definitely don't need to do it alone. Keep up with my activities on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag - #ThisGirlCan. Keep an eye on Bloglovin for my collab post, too. To find some activities in your area, visit the website.

Track your progress

I got a FitBit earlier this year and use it as often as I can (when I remember to take it with me...) which is a great way to achieve daily step goals. Recently, some of my relatives also purchased one and it's suddenly become hugely competitive! You can use the FitBit app to challenge each other and strive to be the fittest person in your friends list, which is a huge motivation. Try a fitness device to help track how well you're doing when it comes to exercise.

Join a gym

And finally, we moved to a new flat this year and there just so happens to be a gym opening around the corner at the end of this month. Myself and David have both signed up (thanks to my nagging) and I'm really exciting to get back into some sort of gym routine. It'll really help with my hoop course AND my studying, so it's win, win, win.

essentials - USA Pro trainers // Puma gym set from SportsDirect // VOSS Water
What motivates you most when trying to stay fit?

leanne

x

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

BOOK REVIEW // ZEROES


Zeroes
Scott Westerfield, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti

I really enjoy a good superpower and coming of age story and Zeroes is exactly this.


As I mentioned in my latest Book-It List post, Zeroes was recently sent to my bookshelf and I've been really looking forward to reading it. The characters are all young adults with superpowers, basically. The Misfits style plot meant I was hooked from the very introduction of the first character, Scam.

The powers have such thought behind them and I found myself relating to each character, despite never having had a superpower in my life (unfortunately). Anon's in particular is definitely a clever idea and one that pulls at the heartstrings. The strong female presence of Crash makes her my next favourite, with all the willpower and patience I could never have!

Although it revolves around the gang of 'Zeroes' and how they are so different to the rest of society, it also shows how having such power isn't always the best thing. Some situations in life can't be helped with a superpower, even if you do have the ability to manipulate other people's emotions and attention towards you.

I read the remaining half of the book pretty much in one fell swoop because I couldn't put it down.
The ending is as fantastical as a story about superpowers should be. If you're a fan of Misfits, Heroes or X Men, this could be right up your street.

Without a doubt, one of the most enjoyable books I've read this year.

With apt nicknames and a ton of spiralling events, it's a fantastic fantasy adventure and I will definitely be recommending this over on Goodreads too (befriend me!)

Buy your copy here on Amazon.


leanne

x

Friday, 9 October 2015

HILLARY'S CRAFTERNOON //

 

As many of you will already know, Joe's Bloggers arrange regular blog events and meet-ups around the country. I've been wanting to attend one of their events for a while and finally, when a craft afternoon in my hometown was announced, I signed up right away.

We were welcomed to The Riverside in Leeds city centre on a beautifully sunny day with teas and coffees, for a crafty afternoon with Joe Blogs and The Crafty Hen. It was all in association with Hillary's Blinds and their new 'Jewel: The Edit' range which you can browse here.

After a few introductions and meeting some lovely bloggers for the first time, we set to making our very own jewellery box.


We were given a selection of pretty fabrics to choose from and with the end of Summer recently passed, I tried to cling to the season by choosing some sunshine yellow pieces. As you'll see from the pictures, I became pretty attached to the pattern and featured it in absolutely EVERYTHING.



As much as I enjoy crafts I've just never been great at it. I can see in my mind exactly the wonderful masterpiece I'd like to create and then in reality, it never quite gets there. I imagine it's pretty similar to the way the bakers in GBBO envisage their creations then end up with a plate full of mushy eclairs.

Armed with scissors, fabric and a mass of double-sided sticky tape we started by covering the box lid with our chosen fabric. From there, we tackled hot glue guns to decorate the box using buttons and ribbons.


The roll inserts were probably the most difficult, due to my lack of ability to interpret instructions and control fabric. Despite this, I ended up with a lovely, handmade box!



After another tea break, we had a second challenge: Suffolk Puffs.

If you're anything like me, you're probably think what the stuff is a Suffolk Puff? Well, I don't know how they're actually related to the county of Suffolk but they're gathered pieces of material that fold over on themselves, to create a pretty, ruffled circle. The above examples are previous masterpieces by The Crafty Hen and what I tried to aspire to. Safe to say, I was quite a way off.



These were a simple running stitch in fabric which my mum would have been proud of. Then you fold them inside themselves and I managed to confuse myself spectacularly. After some (very much appreciated) assistance I managed to create three tiny puffs (with a lot of excess thread) and turned it into a lovely clip. I continued my yellow ribbon theme, of course.





Huge thanks to Joes Bloggers and Hillary's for arranging the event and a massive thank you to he wonderful ladies from The Crafty Hen for their enthusiasm and much needed help throughout the craft activities!

They do some fabulous craft sessions for special occasions so check out the website here.

leanne

x