Christmas in Pictures

I hope you've all had a wonderful festive break! The last few days have been full of relaxing, over indulging and, also a bit of a surreal blur! 

I thought I'd share a few snaps I've captured on my phone from the last week or so. I've loved having some time to relax and spend time with loved ones and now, I can't wait for 2015!

This was possibly the best Christmas ever as on Boxing Day, something very exciting happened. 

Scroll down to the last photo, and you'll see!
That's right, I'm engaged!

4 days in, and it still feels very surreal saying it! 

But, as my fiancé (eeek!) and mother pointed out - I can't be finding it that weird, as I've already managed to purchase a pair of shoes I plan to wear on the big day!

The Net-a-Porter sale gets my Christmas money every year. 

I will of course be sharing my journey in planning the wedding on here. If you have any tips, that would be fab as although I'm an events organiser by day, planning my own wedding is quite overwhelming.

I can see myself being knee deep in ribbon and crepe paper soon enough!

Sadie by Sophia Webster

Sadie by Sophia Webster by What Laura did Next
I don't usually head to the sales, but when an email popped into my inbox a few weeks back, inviting me to the Sophia Webster sample sale, how could I resist? 

Introducing, Sadie. They just had to come home with me and, I've been skipping round the house in them ever since. 
Sadie by Sophia Webster by What Laura did Next

Christmas Eve


Before I shut down the computer and finish the last bit of prep for the big day, I thought I'd wish you all a very Merry Christmas- and thank you x100000 for hanging out with me and reading this little corner of the internet. I'll be back in a few days with a couple of posts before the New Year, and then 2015 is going to be full of exciting things that I can't wait to share with you. 
I'll be spending this evening with my favourites (below!) and then recharging my batteries over the next few days - in between eating lots of food and hanging out with my favourite people. 

Have a lovely Christmas everyone - see you on the other side!
Laura xoxo

Shut off, Shut down

Shut off, Shut down by What Laura did Next
Hands up, who constantly checks their phone throughout the day?
I am so guilty of this, and even find myself holding on to my phone when I'm not even using it. After reading an article in the press recently I was not surprised to hear that the average smart phone user checks their phone 221 times A DAY.

That's a lot of times!

As much as personal gadgets have become a necessity, there needs to be a balance. This is behind how Endsleigh's Shut off, Shut down after 9pm initiative came about.

Endsleigh got in touch to challenge me to switch off all my gadgets (phone, laptop, iPad) for one week only, after 9pm every evening. Ashamedly, I have to admit that I was hesitant to take up the challenge! I'm well known to my family and friends at not being able to switch off. 

I decided to do it and set about thinking about what I would do to keep myself amused. I enlisted my boyfriend to 'help' me (he took away my laptop and phone every night), and I purchased a few books and DVD's to get me through the week.

The first evening was quite easy - I almost found it to be a novelty! I spent most of my week preparing for Christmas - writing cards to people, wrapping presents and, decorating the tree. 

I also found myself taking a book to bed, having long baths and one night my boyfriend turned off all his gadgets and we had a movie night which was lovely as although we spend a lot of time together, one (or both) of us usually get distracted by our phones. 
There was a lot of pampering which, was much needed. After a couple of days, I didn't really think about my phone or opening up my laptop to check on the new in section of ASOS or work on a blog post.

It wasn't until day five that I broke! I felt bad that I didn't see it through to the end but working everyday in front of a computer, and then coming home and blogging has also made me realise that I need to take regular breaks and spend some time away from screens. I love reading so, I'll definitely be swapping my phone and laptop for a book a couple of times a week.

Have you tried switching off your gadgets at night? I highly recommend it.

Favourite Lipsticks

I've always been envious of people that can wear a statement lip day in and day out. I'm not sure if it's because I'm wearing braces, and want to pop a bit of colour on my lips now that I have a bit of a pout, but I've found myself gravitating towards the lipsticks whenever I'm near a beauty counter. 

Below are my favourite ones I've been wearing over the last few months. They vary from your 'drugstore' to ones that are a little more expensive. 

From the left:
Favourite Lipsticks by What Laura did Next

Soda Pop, Sephora
Technically, this is a lip balm but I had to include this as it's been in my handbag so many times since I picked this up in Paris back in the Summer. It's a creamy formula and, it smells absolutely amazing! It's easy to reapply and, it keeps my lips so moisturised.

110 Lasting Finish Lipstick by Kate Moss, Rimmel
I've had this one in my makeup collection for a while now and, it is a great lipstick to have. It has a matte finish to it and, the colour is so intense. It's also long lasting and doesn't fade.

Salon Rouge, MAC
If you're a regular reader of this blog, the you would've seen my post on this lipstick already. It's limited edition, which in my eyes makes it even more special. I've worn this ALOT recently and, I'm half tempted to purchase another one to prevent me having a tantrum once I run out! It's matte which for me is a total win (loving matte lipsticks at the moment).

Brighton Rock, Topshop
Obviously, I just had to purchase this when it came out! It is creamy, pigmented, long lasting and goes on effortlessly. What more could you want in a lipstick?

Ruby Woo, MAC
Another MAC lipstick but, they are my favourite. This is an absolute classic and must have for anyone that loves a red lip!

Two Ton Tomato Chubby Stick, Clinique
I wouldn't actually call this a lipstick but, I do wear it on a regular basis. It's more of a lip balm but with a sheer colour -  I use it when my lips are feeling dry but, I want a little colour.

I'm always open to recommendations for new lipsticks to try out, so please Tweet, Email or comment!

Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Christmas Gift Set

After my little post on the best beauty gift sets around for Christmas (you can read it here), I decided to treat myself to one. 

And not just any one. This is probably the best value one on the high street.
Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Christmas Gift Set by What Laura did Next
The Cheeky Sweet Spot Box O' Blushes by Benefit, includes six powder blushes and a cream highlighter in a very cute, festive tin. Inside the tin, you will find all of Benefit's cult blushes, including;

Hoola is a bronzer that several of my friends swear by. It's easy to apply and blends well on the skin. Plus, it wears well and doesn't fade throughout the day.  

Dandelion is a little sheer to the other blushes in the tin. It's a blush that you can build on, and has a subtle gold shimmer to it - perfect for those warm Summer days. You can also use it all over your face as a brightening finishing powder.

Bella Bamba is a slightly dark pink with a gold shimmer. Perfect for the Winter months and, lasts all day. 

Sugarbomb is made up of 4 shimmering shades of peach, soft plum, pink and rose powders. Swish together and sweep on cheeks for a natural look.

CORALista is a light peach with warm, orange undertones and a frosted, gold finish. This shade is great for all skin tones and blends really easily. 

Rockateur is a soft, rosy plum with warm undertones and a soft, satiny finish. This shade suits all skin tones and has great lasting power. 

Watt’s Up! is a cream-to-powder highlighter that is long-lasting, and gives a luminous sheen wherever it’s applied. The glow is strong enough that it is visible, but it isn't metallic.
Bearing in mind a single blush from Benefit usually retails at £23.50, this is definitely perfect if you want to try out several of their other blushes without spending a fortune. 
Benefit Cheeky Sweet Spot Christmas Gift Set by What Laura did Next
Plus, the packaging is super cute and, is a bargain for under £30.

This set has already proved popular, by selling out everywhere online! So, run to your local Debenhams now and treat yourself. It would also make a great gift for any beauty obsessed girl you may know. 

I'm keeping mine as an early Christmas present! 

Miss Selfridge Parka

Miss Selfridge Parka by What Laura did Next
Now Winter seems to be well on its way, I thought it best that I start thinking practically. Yeah, yeah I know what you're thinking - practical is 'boring' but, who said it has to be?
I decided that my coat for this season needed to be warm AND waterproof. So, I started my hunt for a 'practical' coat that had some sort of 'glamour' to it.

This Miss Selfridge Parka was my absolute favourite from the many I tried on. It's warm AND waterproof plus, the hood is so furry I totally feel like Ygritte from Game of Thrones.
Yes, I may be a bit of a GOT geek. But, if it brings me anywhere nearer Kit Harrington, then I'll wear my parka all year. 

But let's keep that between you and me. 
Miss Selfridge Parka by What Laura did Next

Jumper & Skirt: Zara

H&M Bomber Jacket

H&M Bomber Jacket by What Laura did Next
I'm always going to be slightly obsessed with monochrome, and my wardrobe seems to be full of it this season! This crepe bomber jacket from H&M is perfect for layering and (dare I say it) will still be in my wardrobe for SS15!
H&M Bomber Jacket by What Laura did Next
H&M Bomber Jacket by What Laura did Next

Jacket: H&M (sold out)
Jeans: Topshop (Jamie)
Boots: Carvela Kurt Geiger*
Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs

Leather Look Skirt

Zara Leather Look Skirt  by What Laura did Next
I think I may have said this a lot on here, but I love Autumn/Winter fashion. I find pieces a lot easier to wear and, I feel a lot more comfortable all wrapped up. Don't get me wrong, I love the warm weather! But, one of my favourite ways of styling pieces in the colder weather, is mixing different textures together - there's something about teaming a leather look skirt with a fine-knit jumper that feels like a perfect match. 
Zara Leather Look Skirt  by What Laura did Next
Zara Leather Look Skirt  by What Laura did Next

Top: Topshop
Skirt: Zara
Bag: Kurt Geiger London
Boots: Carvela Kurt Geiger*
Sunglasses: KG Kurt Geiger*

MAC Holiday Collection

MAC Holiday Collection by What Laura did Next
I've been doing a little research for my Christmas gift guide (up very soon) and, there are a lot of Christmas beauty collections around this year. However, I think I've found my favourite.

The Holiday collection by MAC is full of beauty must haves for the festive season and as we all know, it is the season to sparkle. MAC have produced the perfect collection for this.

Now, as much as I would love to purchase the whole collection, I simply can't. However, I did come out of their store with a couple of goodies. So I thought I would share as I think the two pieces I picked are going to be part of my make up collection for a lot longer than Christmas!
MAC Holiday Collection by What Laura did Next
Heirloom Mix Lipstick in Salon Rouge
This lipstick was top of my list after seeing it on Vivianna's blog. Salon Rouge is a limited edition matte finish lipstick, encased within limited edition black casing with flecks of silver sparkles running through it. Being such a magpie the glittery casing pretty much sold it to me straight away but, the colour is a total beaut as well.

Now, I'm no lipstick expert but, I can find matte lipsticks to be drying. This one claims to be matte, however it has a slight creamy texture. I always apply a lip balm or lip primer before wearing a coloured lip and, this goes on really well without having to layer.

It's described as a berry red, and I would say that is just what it is. After wearing Mac's Ruby Woo a lot over the Summer, I've been looking for a darker red lipstick for Winter and this one ticks all the boxes.

I'm keeping everything crossed they make this part of their lipstick collection permanently!
MAC Holiday Collection by What Laura did Next
Heirloom Mix Mineralize Blush in Sweet Sentiment
I wasn't really looking for a blusher, but this colour had me as soon as I laid eyes on it. There are two blushes in the collection, and this one is definitely the brightest. However, it doesn't show up as bright when applying it to your cheeks.
The colour is described as a 'rosy pink' The colour is one you can build up as it does go on quite light when you apply it for the first time. It's also really easy to blend which, is one of the biggest selling points for me when it comes to blush. 

Have you got any Christmas/Holiday beauty must haves?

Available at selected MAC stores and online

Autumn Winter Basics

Autumn Winter Basics by What Laura did Next
At the start of each season, I like to stock up on my some wardrobe basics. This changes with the weather, and the pieces above are a few of my staples that I know I will rely on over the Autumn Winter season. 

From the top:
(f)Leather skirt, Zara
This skirt is perfect for all year round. I've been looking for the perfect faux leather skirt for a while now, and this one fits the bill. I love pairing different textured pieces together, so I'll be teaming this with a lot of chunky knits and blouses. 

Fine Knit Jumper, Topshop
This ticked all the boxes when I went hunting for the perfect jumper. I have a slight obsession with chunky knits, so I wanted something a little...less chunky! This is great for layering and, even though it is a fine knit jumper, it's still really warm. The fit is lovely too - loose enough to fit a top underneath or to wear alone, and not look like it's too big for me. It also comes in more colours. 

Vest top, Topshop
I have this style in various other colours - it's so soft and such a lovely fit. They also wash really well and keep their shape which, I think is quite rare for Topshop basics! These stay in my wardrobe all year round as they are great for the warmer months as well. 

HEATTECH T Shirt, Uniqlo
Now, my mother has been going on about this collection from Uniqlo for the last couple of years and, I can see why! 'Thermals' is probably one of the least attractive words when you think of clothing but, this is clever. It may look like any other t shirt (here comes the science bit) but, the collection is made out of a cutting-edge fabric which takes body heat and stores it within air pockets deep within the fibres to keep you warm.

What are your must have pieces that you consider to be wardrobe staples or basics?

H&M Jumper

H&M Jumper by What Laura did Next
Layering in this weather is something I love to do. My over the knee boots have hardly left my feet since the weather turned and, neither has this oversized jumper. I have a little love affair with oversized jumpers at the moment...something I think won't be going away anytime soon.
H&M Jumper by What Laura did Next
H&M Jumper by What Laura did Next
H&M Jumper by What Laura did Next
Jumper: H&M
Boots: Carvela Kurt Geiger*
Jeans: Topshop

Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics Palette

Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics Palette by What Laura did Next
When I was at the Debenhams Winter Beauty press day a few weeks ago (read all about it here) I was introduced to the Naked 2 Basics Palette by Urban Decay. I'd heard about their palettes before on various beauty blogs I read - there seems to be a lot of love for them in the beauty blogging world! 

After having a little play with it at the press day, I decided that I needed it in my make up collection. 
The palette itself includes six neutrals, including five never-before-seen shades. These shadows are neutral enough for anyone. One of the shades, Skimp turns out to be an ideal highlighter.

See? It really is a perfect palette!
This palette is a dream. The shades are great for someone that hasn't really dabbled in eyeshadow before, or likes to keep their make up quite simple. It is also small in size, so will fit in a handbag. 
Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics Palette by What Laura did Next
The shades:
Skimp (pale nude satin)
Stark (nude-pink matte)
Frisk (warm grey matte)
Cover (muted red-brown matte)
Primal (muted brown matte)
Undone (deep, smoky, brown matte)

Available at Debenhams and online here

NOLA Night in

NOLA Night in by What Laura did Next
When the lovely team at Nola got in touch asking if they could send me gorgeous box of treats to share with friends, it couldn't have come at a more perfect time.

A few days later a box arrived looking absolutely beautiful tied up with a bow and decked out in stripes - it was ready for my girls night in before I was! Nola had gone to town and spoilt us rotten with their big bottles of Vodka Spritz drink in Watermelon & Strawberry and Raspberry and Elderflower and, a few cans of the drink as well. They'd also thrown in some delicious treats from Propercorn and (my favourite), The Meringue Girls, plus a scented candle and Amazon voucher for me to purchase some music to listen to. 

I practically skipped over to the lovely Kimi's house on a Friday night and settled in with our goodies. We hadn't seen each other for ages so, a catch up was well overdue!
If you haven't heard of Nola before then, don't worry! I'm going to fill you in.
NOLA Night in by What Laura did Next
NOLA Night in by What Laura did Next
Nola is a fruity and refreshing Vodka Spritz drink - think of it as an alternative to wine. It's low in calories and, pretty damn tasty in my opinion! 
Plus, we managed to drink it all between two of us and, I didn't wake up the next day feeling rotten.

Which, is a miracle in my opinion!
Thanks to Nola for supplying me and my friend Kimi the ingredients for a perfect girls night in!

Nola is available in Supermarkets - find it with the pre-mix alcoholic drinks! 

Topshop Brighton

Topshop Brighton by What Laura did Next
I've lived in Brighton all my life and, have always said we need a big Topshop

I'm not sure I've been so excited in a long time....

After a lot of rumours, Brighton *finally* has a new Topshop (and it's big).

I was invited along to check it out after opening hours and have a look at their Personal Shopping service. 

I popped along with the lovely Rosie and Fiona to have a little peek, and decided that I will definitely be popping back in soon and making an appointment - it was so lovely and calm and the team were very attentive and helpful. Rosie had an appointment arranged prior with one of the personal shoppers so we met her in there and had a catch up before sneaking off with a glass of champagne for a skip around the store.
Topshop Brighton by What Laura did Next
Topshop Brighton by What Laura did Next
Topshop Brighton by What Laura did Next
One of my favourite pairings is Champagne and shoes.
Topshop Brighton by What Laura did Next
They're a perfect match.

I spent some time walking around in this coat and seriously beautiful knee-highs, before begrudgingly taking them off and putting them back.
Topshop Brighton by What Laura did Next
Topshop Brighton by What Laura did Next
They're both on my wish list for now but, I will be back for them both soon enough.

My new season wardrobe need these.
Topshop Brighton by What Laura did Next
I think I speak for all the women in Brighton when I say, thanks Topshop for finally bringing 22,000 sq. of clothes, shoes and accessories to us.

Bonfire Night Recipe idea: Steak Sandwiches

Steak Sandwiches by What Laura did Next
I was recently thinking about what I'd serve up if I was hosting a Fireworks night party. Aside from the usual hot dogs, I would definitely consider this recipe as it's just as easy to do. 

A couple of weekends ago, the boys went and watched the football. After coming home a little cold, and hungry I decided to whip them up something quick and easy that I new they'd devour in minutes.

Anyone that likes meat will love this.

You will need:
1 red onion, sliced thinly
Steaks. The cut is up to you. I used Sandwich steaks from Waitrose (2 per sandwich)
Gem lettuce
wholegrain mustard
large know of butter
Dark brown sugar
Fresh bread

Start by taking the steaks out of the fridge at least an hour before you're cooking them. This brings them up to room temperature.

Heat up a frying pan and add the brown sugar and butter. Heat until the butter and sugar are melted, then add your onions. Mixing them in to the sugar and butter.
Steak Sandwiches by What Laura did Next
Steak Sandwiches by What Laura did Next
If they start catching, add a little water and then cover, leaving them for around 20-25 minutes.

Season your steaks and heat up a griddle pan until it's searing hot. Cook them for 3 minutes on each side then leave to rest on a plate for 2 minutes.
Steak Sandwiches by What Laura did Next
Whilst the steaks are resting, cut up your bread in to chunks and slice down the middle so you get a roll. Place in the griddle pan and allow to warm through in the meat juices whilst you cut your steak in to slices.
Steak Sandwiches by What Laura did Next
Smear some Wholegrain Mustard on to the bread and then place your slices of steak and lettuce leaves. 

Open a bottle of wine and get your mouth round this beast of a sandwich!
Steak Sandwiches by What Laura did Next
Safe to say, I gained some good girlfriend points for feeding two hungry men.