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22 June 2012

Outfits Of The Week & Packing | Paris Music Tour 2012!

Bonjour Bloggers! I'm off to Paris Sunday the 24th of June till Friday the 29th of June with my school's music department. I play viola and I'm part of the many great music ensembles at my school including: The Double Bass Trio, Ukulele Group, Choir, Fiddlers, Rock Group and Big Band- just to name a few. We get everyone (around 90 students and 10 teachers) in the music department together every second summer to tour a city for the best part of a week. Two years ago, we were off to the Rhineland in Germany, now it's time for my favourite city in the world, Paris!

So, for this post, I'm going to take you through our plans for the week as well as my planned outfits. These are roughly what I hope to wear in my head but of course, depending on the weather, the outfits could change slightly. I hope this gives you an idea of outfits you could possibly wear if you're on a trip this summer!

Day One: Travelling by Coach to the Ferry Port (Hull) and overnight stay on the ferry to Rotterdam.

Since we'll be lounging around on the coach for the best part of the day, I decided to just throw on something I'd be comfortable in:
  • Light Blue Skinny Jeans - H&M
  • Blue Striped Dress-Shirt - Primark
  • Red Cropped Cardigan - Dorothy Perkins
  • Brown Pumps - H&M
Day Two: Arrival at Rotterdam, coach to first concert at Jardin De Luxembourg, arrival at hostel in Paris.

My school asked us to wear our concert dress for the full day as there are no changing facilities available at our first venue:
  • Black Tights
  • Black Pumps - New Look (My Mum's)
  • Black School Poloshirt
  • Black Skirt - Miss Selfridge
Day Three: Full day in Disneyland Paris.

I wanted to be comfy in Disneyland as I will most definitely be running round the park like a little girl! The most amazing part of the day; the string group I'm involved in and my school's Big Band auditioned to play in Disneyland and our application was accepted!! So we will be playing at a bandstand in the Disney complex on that day too, so I'll need to take my school concert dress in my rucksack:
  • Flower Pattern Playsuit - Generation 915, New Look
  • Brown Gladiator Sandals - ASDA
Day Four: Visit to Montparnasse Tower, Eiffel Tower, Shopping, Concert in Parc George Brassens and evening ceilidh.

Since I'll be in the touristy areas of Paris during the day, of course you have to look presentable, it's Paris! This is my favourite outfit, I'm a sucker for a collared top and high-waisted shorts. Later in the day I will have to change into my school concert dress:

I'm not entirely sure what dress I'll wear for the ceilidh in the evening. I actually purchased the black and white tshirt dress for the Germany Music tour in 2010 but I've never ever worn it *cringes*. The blue and red ruffled, bird patterned dress is my little sister's but looks incredibly cute paired with tights and heels. I'll just see what I prefer on the night:
Day Five: Departing from Paris en route home to the UK. Visit to Chocolate World in Brugges. Overnight ferry from Rotterdam to Hull.

For the journey home, again, I like to be comfy. So here I'll just wear the oldest sleeveless dress I own and a pair of comfy leggings:
  • Green Patterned Sleeveless Dress - Primark
  • Black Leggings - Primark
  • Brown Gladiator Sandals - ASDA
Day Six: Arrive at Hull and coach journey back home.

For the final outfit, comfort is my main priority. From experience, coaches do get really stuffy so I'm just throwing on a crop top and a pair of old jeans:
  • Purple Crop Top - New Look
  • Blue Skinny Jeans - H&M
  • Brown Pumps - H&M
Because the weather forecast isn't always accurate, I have packed extra outfits just in case the weather is unexpected when I'm in Paris.

  • Blue Patterned Playsuit - Primark
  • Red High-Waisted Shorts - Internacionale
  • Black and White Patterned Dress - H&M
  • Black and White Striped Top - H&M
  • Blue Ruffled T-shirt - Primark
  • Green Skinny Jeans - Primark
  • White Converse
Also, I purchased a bag for my trips out in Paris. I was given a chat from my Mum about my poor choice, apparently pick-pockets are very common in Paris- everywhere in the world actually. After hours of arguing and protesting a bum bag is socially not acceptable to be seen wearing, I purchased this gorgeous rucksack from Primark.

The rucksack has a drawstring under the main flap which will ensure all my belongings are reasonably safe whilst out and about. For only £9, I think this is a fashionable number to carry my things around in when roaming the streets of the most romantic city in the world!

Apologies if some of the clothing items are from older ranges. However, as always, I will try and link all the items that are still available in the shops to where they can be purchased online.

I hope you all enjoy your week, summer has officially begun for me, but I have some exciting blog posts prepared for when I'm back home. If you have any requests, please comment below. :)

18 June 2012

My Everyday Eye Make-up Routine

I try to keep my eye make-up relatively simple everyday since I'm not a huge fan of lugging around dozens of make-up products inside my bag to touch up every hour of the day. My most distinct school pet peeve involves girls clogging the bathroom mirrors at break and lunchtime re-applying the layers of make-up already built up on their faces. There is nothing worse than talking to someone who has mountains of thick, cakey mascara and eyes rimmed with black eyeliner, so heavy you can hardly make out their eyes..(well, almost).

So, here are the eye products I use on a daily basis!

Products from left to right:
  • Firstly, I define my eyebrows with the brown eyeliner by lightly stroking the pencil along my eyebrows. I only tend to do this when I pin my fringe back since my eyebrows are mostly hidden when my fringe is down.
  • I then line my upper last line with the black kohl eyeliner. Depending on the occasion, I sometimes line my lower lash line and smudge it in with my finger to give a more intense eye look, but for school, lining only the upper lash line gives a brighter eye effect. Especially when I'm a zombie at 8.30 in the morning.
  • Next, I curl my eyelashes with my Shu Uemura eyelash curler. I heat the tool briefly with a hair dryer to make my curl last longer. My eyelashes are naturally pin straight so doing this allows them to stay curly all day without budging. Curling my eyelashes does tend to smudge the liner on my upper lash line, but it makes the look seem even more effortless and messy.
  • Taking my Maybelline Falsies Mascara I brush through my upper lashes. The mascara is very black and really does make them appear false as the product claims to achieve. If you are curling your eyelashes I recommend using a waterproof mascara so the curl doesn't droop during the day.
  • Lastly, I brush through my lower lashes with my Natural Collection Water Guard Mascara. I'm not terribly fussed on what mascara I use on my lower lashes, so I tend to grab the cheapest mascara I can find to do the job.
And here's the finished look!

What does your daily eye make-up routine consist of?

12 June 2012

Tutorial | Effortless, Heatless Waves!

In my experience, people with curly hair always complain about their hair not staying straight and find it hard to maintain their curls whilst people with straight hair always complain about their hair not staying curly and the lack of volume and variation they have going on with their locks. It's a never-ending battle, however, I'm on the straight-haired side. My hair is naturally poker-pin straight, no matter how much I scrunch it after the shower, apply masses of curl-holding, volumising products, I still get the flat-ironed effect (if I'm lucky, a slight tousled wave). However, after re-searching online I've discovered a way to get voluminous, flowing, beachy waves without the frazzling properties of a curling iron which actually last all day with a bit of hairspray. Result!

So first of all, I washed my hair with Aussie's Aussome Volume Shampoo and Conditioner to make sure my hair received it's maximum body potential. I then spritzed in some of Aussie's Luscious Long Leave-in Conditioner Spray to moisturise the ends of my hair. Applying Mousse is optional, however I always find mousse gives a horrible residue in my hair and leaves it feeling heavier than usual. My chosen mousse would be VO5's Extra Body Styling Mousse. This tutorial works best with damp hair so I let my hair air dry for an hour or so to make sure my hair wasn't dripping wet for when I went to bed (so, excuse the penguin pyjamas in the following photos!).

 Depending on the desired effect, sections of hair can be taken as little as 1 inch sections, but I decided to make my sections a little thicker. Also, if your hair is thick, I would recommend splitting your hair in half at the crown to ensure you cover the whole of your head; it won't be as difficult to grab sections of hair that way. Here I'm simply twisting and twiddling a section of my hair around my finger to achieve the above.

Next, I took the section of hair and pinned it to the top of my head with kirby grips. When you pull the curl to the top of your head, it will ravel round into this twisted effect which gives the soft, tousled wave we are aiming for. This was my first attempt at trying the technique, but I found the second time, pinning the pieces to the very top of my head as well as adding a few more kirby grips down the curl prevented them falling out whilst I slept and was a lot more comfortable to sleep on top of.

And here is the finished result in the morning! I deliberately didn't brush my hair after I showered because I love the messy, effortless waves this technique gave my hair. With a little squirt of hairspray, I was ready to go out for the day. This hairstyle is also perfect second day as I pulled my hair up into a high ponytail which was full of voluminous waves.

Let me know what you think of this tutorial and share any tips on how to achieve waves without battling with heat tools.

Say bye-bye to flat, straight tresses!

10 June 2012

Review | Organix Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner

Hello Blogworld!

This is my first blog and first review, so I hope you enjoy and are excited as I am to get started in the blogging business.
Just as a quick heads up; all my reviews will be based on products I have bought with my own money unless stated otherwise. My opinions are not influenced in any way shape or form!

After a phase of organic-free haircare products, I decided to give the Renewing Moroccan Argan Oil Shampoo and Conditioner by Organix a try as they were on offer at Boots for two for £8.

What Both Products Claim To Do:
"It's the perfect indulgence for soft, seductive, silky perfection!"
"This exotic, precious blend of Moroccan Argan oil moisturises, revives and helps create softness and strength while helping protect your hair from harmful styling heat and UV damage as it gives you smooth, sexy tresses."
"The rare formula as a centuries-old history of providing natural Vitamin E and antioxidants while helping to seal in shine, and create lush softness."
The products are sulphate free, paraben free and have been labelled "Environmental, Earth-friendly packaging."

The packaging is pretty neat, a little difficult to handle in the shower, as I ended up dropping it on my toes a few times *ouchie*. This is hardly a major issue as the bottle contains 385ml of shampoo, so is likely to be a handful to use! I love the baby blue packaging with the sandy-brown detailing, though.

Texture Of The Shampoo:
It dollops out into a messy yellow consistency but you're enriched with a fulfilling scent, so it doesn't put me off. The dispenser is very sturdy as it dispenses the correct amount required for a good, thorough cleansing wash. The mini-conditioner is a great compact size too- ideal for travelling.

This shampoo scores 10/10 for scent! Honestly, while typing this review I can't help squeezing the bottle next to me for another whiff. After smelling a considerable number of times, I've come to the conclusion that the shampoo smells like a mixture of strawberries, blueberries and grapes combined. Mmm...

Shampoo and Conditioner Use:
When I initially spread the shampoo on my hair and began scrubbing the product didn't seem to lather as much as my previous shampoos. Maybe due to the fact it has no sulphates and certain chemicals, but these are beyond my technical knowledge of chemicals in haircare products. Adding a little bit of water and shampooing twice (as I normally do anyway to make sure my hair is thoroughly washed) the shampoo seemed to fully cleanse my hair. It gave my hair a squeaky feel when fully rinsed out, which I personally don't like in a shampoo. This is the only main con of the product. The conditioner itself I found reasonably thick. Not much product was needed to cover the ends of my hair. After rinsing, it seemed to do the same as all conditioners. My hair did not feel that much creamier or softer. This product didn't wow me completely at this stage.

Another con about this shampoo and conditioner duo is that it seemed to tangle up my hair, alot. Which is very unfortunate as my initial views were great on these products. It felt like my hair was matted and clunged together. As I try not to brush my hair too often, especially when it's wet, I couldn't hold myself back any longer whilst waiting for my hair to air dry. My hair was a complete clumped frizz ball. As the product claims to prevent breakage, I think it also caused me to break my hair further by running a brush through my knotted locks! On the other hand, the product claims to add shine to your hair, which I think was proved successful as the photo of my hair half-dried proves below.

These products were on offer for two for £8 at Boots. I bought the Moroccan Argan Oil and Cherry Blossom Ginseng Shampoo. I can do another review on the Cherry Blossom Ginseng Shampoo if you would all like; claiming to volumize your hair. I think the price for the tiny 88.7ml conditioner was around £1.99.

Overall Verdict:
After trying to go all organic with my hair products, this was my first attempt at the Organix Range and the Organic Market. The shampoo itself satisfied me completely after I had battle with the thousands of tangles in my hair, it gave me a slight bounce to my hair and gave it that extra healthy shine without looking oily. I believe this is a basic all-round shampoo. It proved nothing special, im my opinion. The conditioner was satisfactory. I have yet to see an improvement in strength in my hair. During the transition between Spring and Summer, my hair tends to fall out like crazy but I am on a slow route to healthy, split-end free hair! Would I re-purchase these products? No. I am on a mission to find my ideal Organic product and unfortunately this has not left me with high hopes. In the mean time, I will keep searching for my holy-grail shampoo and conditioner combo and I'll be sure to let you all know.

I rate these products 5/10. Surely there is another way to accomplish beautiful, healthy locks?

Have you tried organic products before? What are your views on them?

Copyright @ Alix Staines.