Sizing Up The Samples

     I always bang on about how important, helpful and brilliant small (often free) product samples can be in your life. With thousands of products out there selling you a new face, body or whatever else, it's just plain essential to not only explore, but trial products that you may want to buy or have been recommended. I've been recommended so many beauty products, by countless amounts of people who have used them and loved the results they got, so naturally they'd rave about it. However, unless you know for absolute certain that these products will work for you, then there's a danger you'd waste your money (and if it's a beauty product, quite a lot of your money) on a product that's useless to you. 

Fashion Feature Friday #5 | London Fashion Week

  I am determined to share all of my favourite looks from every Fashion Week this season, regardless of how long it takes me, because I just love going through them all. London is very close to my heart given that it is my place of birth, so it's great to show you the Fashion that was showcased straight from home. There are endless amounts of new designers coming out with fantastic new ideas, and ones more familiar to us taking our breaths away as usual. We may not be in the 'frow' but I like to think one day it could be possible for any one of us. But in the mean time we can take inspiration from the innovative designs displayed this year. So here are my favourite collections from London Fashion Week 2014 for Spring 2015;

When In France | Additions to the Skincare Cabinet

    If you were to ask me where the best place is to buy beauty products, I would always say France, without a doubt. So far I've not found one product that I was looking for that I couldn't locate and we all know how hard France is to navigate! France is filled with countless Sephora stores, but on top of that their French pharmacy brands are super special. So todays post is all about what you need to stock up on if ever you make a trip to France, the most beautiful country in the world in my opinion, but also the best place to be for anyone with even the slightest beauty obsession.

   The two most prominent brands I've loved from France are La Roche - Posay and Nuxe. After using Nuxe's Reve De Miel lip balm I was blown away and fully understood the hype immediately. It contains Honey, Grapefruit essence and Shea Butter as well as countless other vital ingredients. They're spot with their formula and have been for the last 20 years. As for La Roche - Posay, I don't think I stop raving about this brand at all; the Effaclar range is simply excellent and works so well with my skin, and the coveted toner Serozinc is just as brilliant as everyone says. The one downside though is that it's not available in the UK, so a trip to France has just become even more necessary.

Hydrating Toners | What are they?

When you've just got to grips with the concept of a 'Toner', the idea that there's more than one type can be quite annoying and rather confusing. But believe me there's no need for the confusion; once you know what's what, then you'll be just fine. As you may know skincare is super important to me, so I made it my mission to know what I'm putting on my face and why. Also admittedly, I hate missing out on products especially in the skincare department, so my immediate response to there being more than one type of toner was 'where can I get one, now!' 

Fashion Feature Friday #4 | New York Fashion Week 2.0

      Welcome to the second edition of my New York Fashion week series where I'm going to show you my remaining four days of favourites. I was absolutely blown away by the first four days, but then completely mind blown by days 5-8. There was definitely more to see later on in the week; I suspect they left the best until last. Either way I was so impressed by the work showcased here and I'm so sad it's all over and done with already. Luckily, I'll be going through my favourite London Fashion Week collections next week, so we get to relive those great moments again too. 

Lets get started with days 5-8 of NYFW;

Tommy Hilfiger (Day 5, September 8th)

My Love of Vogue | Sober Obsessions

       For today's post I thought I'd go back to the basics and talk about my love of Vogue. Now, for a magazine that's been going since 1892, published in over 20 countries, it's become one of those legendary icons of the fashion industry along with other legends like Coco Channel and Louis Vuitton. It's tempting to love it just because of it's history and it's infamous links with some of the worlds most influential figures in fashion, but there's more than just it's history to love it for. 

      Vogue sees fashion as it should be seen; an art form to be celebrated and adored. That includes photography, modelling, make-up artistry and styling as well as the obvious clothing designs. It treats you like you know you're stuff (even if you don't) and holds it's readers in such a high regard from the word go. I know this may sound crazy, but ever since I started buying Vogue way back in 06' I haven't gotten rid of a single issue. Not one. And I'm a frequent buyer. I'm young and I'll be the first one to say that I don't know a lot about Vogue's history, or the history of fashion for that matter, but I did feel a hell of a lot more informed once I started reading it, and I don't regret developing this slight obsession.

      Below I have deconstructed the latest issue of Vogue (Cara Delevingne happens to be rocking the September cover) and shown you some (there are many more) of the best parts to feast your eyes on. For those of you who are like me and read almost every issue (unless we're somehow hospitalised), then you'll know what's to come, but for Vogue newbies, welcome to my heaven.

Believe it or not Vogue never used to feature models or actors, or people for that matter, on the cover until the late 1930's. Back in the day (and I mean way back) there was a painting or drawing of an elegant woman in a chic then contemporary outfit, instead of a model in a designer label like Balmain. Vogue has grown up throughout the centuries to what it is now and what you read and see on every page is a piece of history modernised before your very eyes. 

Fashion Feature Friday #3 | New York Fashion Week


        New York Fashion week has finally arrived! It feels like so long since we last experienced this highly buzzed about event, and as expected, the world has been waiting in anticipation for this moment. Watching runway shows is one of my many passions; I thoroughly enjoy seeing my favourite models and designers on the runway, but also discovering new ones. It doesn't get any better than that. 

        So for the FFF  #3 I thought it would be great to show you guys what my favourite collections for Spring 2015 have been and what surprises I've found so far from the big names and big designers at this seasons New York Fashion week. Today you'll see my favourite looks from days 1-4 of the runway shows and then next week, I'll be showing you the remaining four days of my favourites, so stay tuned! To show you why I loved these collections so much, I've included my favourite pieces from each one; some will have more, some will have less, depending on how much I loved that particular collection.

So without further ado here are my favourite collections from days 1-4; 

Coach (Day 1, September 4th)

This collection by Coast was a very pleasant surprise for me, because not only have I not heard of them before, but their collection is so unique to anything I've ever seen. It was definitely a stand out collection. I loved the animal themed jumpers and the relaxed, yet extremely chic aesthetic Coast applied throughout the collection for Spring 2015.

To see the rest of Coach's collection click here.
To shop Coast, click here.

The Body Shop Haul

I absolutely love the Body Shop (you may be able to tell), so I had a wander around and couldn't resist all the wonderful smells and colours, not to mention the 3 for 2 offer on make-up and skincare products. If there was one shop I would recommend for some of the best skincare, make-up and body care at amazing prices it would be this shop. As you can see I bought quite a few things from the five or six different ranges they have on offer. 

If you've never shopped at the Body Shop, then here's how the different skincare ranges work; the vitamin E range (light pink) which I especially love, is meant for all skin types; the Tea Tree range (green) is suited to oily, blemish prone skin which my skin can be from time to time; the seaweed range (light blue) is for combination/oily; and the Camomile range is again for all skin types and people who especially love the smell of Camomile, of which I am one of them. These are the ranges I usually purchase, but they also have a Vitamin C range which is for all skin types as a booster when your skin needs a pick-me-up, and the Aloe range is for sensitive skin that needs calming products. I have not tried anything from these ranges yet, but I hope to try them soon. 

Lets get started!

The Beauty Department | Make-up inspirations


        One of my very first posts on A So Called Beauty Blog was one where I talked, in detail, about the beauty bloggers and you tubers who inspired me to start blogging and love all things beauty so very much. Well, today is another inspiration share on the women whom I idolise for their abilities in the make-up and beauty department, that sport looks that I only dream of being able to recreate. One day I hope to be able to style myself like these beautiful women, and wear make-up in such a chic, effortless way, but in the mean time I'm just going to look on in envy and awe. 

Fashion Feature Friday #2 | My favourite clothing stores

  Todays FFF is quite special for me, as I finally get to share with you my favourite clothing and fashion outlets that I always buy from and love. Admittedly I don't have the greatest fashion sense in the world; whilst I love the idea of going out in the latest trends, I could easily go out wearing some loose rags of a dull colour just because I feel like it. So since I'm clearly quite lazy, I often rely on clothing outlets to do the trend spotting for me and make me feel good in what I'm wearing. These six fashion outlets are so dear to my heart and are by far my favourites, not only because I love their clothing, but I just feel like they know me, and what I like. I'm sure you feel the same about your favourite shops too. As you can imagine, I wouldn't hesitate to spend a lot of money on their clothes, given the opportunity to (not that I haven't already, even though I really can't afford it). So basically, in an ideal world, I would have a three story wardrobe filled to the brim with clothes and accessories from these six places.

Did you think I could do a post like this without mentioning VS? As well as being my all time favourite lingerie shop, Victoria's secret's clothing ranges have wowed me non stop. I assure you, lingerie is not the only thing they do well, their casual clothes, workout clothes and cute matching sets are any girls dream.

If you're looking for something chic, contemporary and bang on trend, then TopShop is exactly where you need to be. Their clothing is made to be loved, styled and admired. You'll feel so comfortable and fashionable when wearing any piece from their iconic collections. But what's even more exciting is that not only has Kate Moss done 2 collections with TopShop, but now Cara Delevingne has also created an amazing line of clothing with them too. I'm in, are you?

To me Mango is the affordable designer fashion brand that every girl wishes she could just have everything from. Although they show at some fashion weeks, I see them as the Chanel of the high-street; their clothing is smart, trendy yet affordable and always has an air of exclusivity to it. When you see someone wearing their clothing you immediately know it's Mango, and thats why it's a brand you'll love forever.

Asos comes in at a close second on my favourites list and is my go-to fashion savy site for a quick wardrobe upgrade. They know what's trending, they know what girls and guys will love and they always provide the best clothing you can get. Asos clothes are super cool and so versatile, but I especially love the fact that they also sell a ton of stuff from other brands to help you find exactly what you're looking for. Everything you need is all in one place; Asos is your eternally loyal and stylish best friend. 

 Shop Zara

If you can make it around an entire Zara store without drooling a little, I salute you. Perhaps the most designer-like brand I know, Zara is profoundly unique and should have their own slot at every fashion week. They do vintage, they do grunge, they do smart, casual, chic, anything. But they do it the Zara way. If only I could describe what that means, it's just classic Zara. Enough said.

 Shop Urban Outiftters

Lastly, by far my favourite shop of the bunch is Urban Outfitters. I hardly think I'm the only one who has fallen in love with this place, it's just so mesmerising around every corner you turn. There's always a unique twist to their stores, no one shop is the same. Urban Outfitters reminds me of a chic London studio apartment with vintage wood floors and art deco written all over it. They too have something for everyone, but they really love vintage at UA, you'll notice that straight away. Sometimes I feel like I'm in a vintage store buying one of a kind items. On the whole though, I'm definitely a huge fan of all of their ranges and can't wait to see more this Autumn.

P.S. Urban Outfitters also have an awesome blog which you check out here, they cover a wide range of beauty, fashion, culture and cool things they'd like their readers to see.

There's something magical about all these stores that makes me tingle inside with happiness and I've thoroughly enjoyed sharing them with you. Contact me in 10 years and see how I'm doing with that three story wardrobe I have planned, you might be surprised.

Feel free to comment down below about your favourite fashion outlets and what you thought of mine.

*I don't own the rights to any of the images shown above.

New and Noteworthy | Clinique Smart Custom Serum

    Serums are a crucial part of my skincare routine that I always seem to get wrong. I buy one product that's useless, another that's too strong or damages my skin, and then eventually I end up either using a cheap alternative or nothing at all. It's fair to say that I'm still on the look out for my perfect serum, that does it's job for my skin and works well along side my other products. As you know, I'm a big fan of using product samples before paying huge amounts of money for the high end skincare brands, and recently I've found one sample that has been very shocking.

    Clinique's new custom serum 'Smart', which has just come out, caught my attention immediately and I knew I had to try it. I completed a skin personality profiler on Clinique's site and they sent me a small sachet of this new serum with some very promising words. They say that their new serum 'understands your skin's past and targets it's unique concerns- as needed, where needed.' That sounds rather impressive to me, and a tad unbelievable, but having squeezed out every last drop of it three nights in a row (yes, I savoured every last drop), I can declare it's mind-blowing.

     It's as if the serum knows what your skin needs and can repair anything your having issues with. I had a spot on my chin and it was gone after the first night. It's not  especially a spot serum, it's an everything serum! It's improved my uneven skin tone, firmed my skin and reduced any fine lines. I can see why they stress that it's 'a serum that can change your skin's future' and is beneficial for 'all ages, all ethnicities'. This is a ground breaking product, that has been five years in the making, which shows they have been very thorough and careful to make this serum the best possible solution for any skin concerns we may have.

   This serum will definitely appear on my September lust list, there is no doubt that I need more of this stuff now! It's not cheap at £48.00 for 30ml, but from what I've experienced a little goes a long way. I highly recommend an investment in this serum, your skin won't feel as pure, smooth or luxurious without Clinique's new formula. 

   If you'd like to take the plunge and buy it now, you'll find it here. For free delivery just enter the code SMARTWOMAN before purchase. Let me know how it goes. Comment below if you already have this with what you think of it, and any additional comments about todays post. 

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