Giveaway: The National Wedding Show with bareMinerals

Listen up ladies, I have a little giveaway for you today.

The lovely team at bareMinerals have partnered with The National Wedding Show again this year and, they are offering a pair of tickets for their show in either London or Birmingham. They're also including a makeunder for you and a friend at your local bareMinerals counter so you can get shade-matched and check out the best products they have on offer.

Would you like to attend the biggest wedding show in the UK? If like me, you're engaged and in the throes of planning your wedding or, you have a friend or family member that is getting wed, then here is your chance – all you have to do is tweet me saying hello and whether you’d like tickets to the Birmingham, Manchester or London show!
a Rafflecopter giveaway
The serious stuff - Terms & Conditions:
This prize entitles the winner to 2 x free tickets to the National Wedding Show in London or Birmingham along with a complimentary bareMinerals ‘makeunder’ for 2 at a local counter’.

These tickets are complimentary for one free standard entry only to the National Wedding Show London, Manchester or Birmingham 2015. They cannot be exchanged for another event or time. The tickets have no cash or resale value and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

This giveaway ends on Friday 13th February 2015. The prizes were gifted by bareMinerals.

Lights of Soho presents God's Own Junkyard.

One of the things I want to do more of in 2015, is explore London.

I know it well already - I've studied, interned and worked up there over the last 10 years. 

However, there is so many things to do, see and eat up there that I feel like I'm missing out. 

I live less than an hour away (when the trains are actually working) and, some of my favourite people live there. So, there really is no excuse to spend some of my free time up there.

Recently, I went to see my little brother to catch up over lunch and lots of hot chocolate. 

I decided to drag him along to an exhibition I've been longing to see. 

and, it didn't disappoint.
The late Chris Bracey, who sadly passed away towards the end of last year, was the man behind the neon signs of the Soho sex shops. His 40-year career included some of his work featuring in films such as Bladerunner and Batman. 

After his death in November, Lights of Soho opened up a pop-up gallery, taking his work back to its roots and celebrating his career.   
There's something for everyone - from tongue-in-cheek to romantic and funny pieces, it really was a great sight to see. 

Sadly, this exhibition ended last weekend. But, if you ever fancy seeing his work (without visiting Soho's sex shops), jump on a train out to Walthamstow, where God's Own Junkyard, the neon treasure trove of a warehouse is based all year round. It's the biggest collection of neon signage outside of 'merica.

I've already put it on my list to visit this year. 

Virtual Domination Palette by Nars

NARS Virtual Domination Palette by What Laura did Next
My current favourite thing in my make up drawer has to be this beauty.

I mean, look at the packaging for starters! After visiting about five Space NK stores across London and in Brighton I managed to track it down, purchasing the last one in the Soho branch.

Nars is my new beauty obsession - I have my eyes on so many of their products, including their Sheer Glow Foundation which, is proving very difficult to track down in my shade. 

If anyone sees it in the shade Mont Blanc, hollar at me please!

Want to take a sneaky peek inside?

Oh, go on then...
NARS Virtual Domination Palette by What Laura did Next
This palette contains three blushes, one highlighter and a bronzer. I've heard that their previous blush palettes have contained more blushes but, this one has a full size Laguna bronzer which, I'm massively excited about trying as everyone seems to rave about it. 

I'm known for taking pretty much my whole make up drawer with me when I go away so, this will be a perfect piece to travel with as it has everything I need.
NARS Virtual Domination Palette by What Laura did Next
At £45 it is quite expensive for a palette BUT, when you consider a full size bronzer will set you back £27 and their full size blushes cost £22.50 a pop (The ones in the palette are almost full size, with each shade having only 0.01oz less product than the individuals) then you are getting a good deal.

Sadly, this palette was limited edition and, I think will be very hard to come by now. However, I have it on good authority that they are bringing out new palettes very soon and the packaging of them is a little different but still just as gorgeous! 

My make up drawer is increasingly becoming bigger. If there's anything you think I should try out, then please tweet/email/comment as I'm always up for recommendations! 

Cosy Topshop Knit

Topshop Cosy Knit by What Laura did Next
When the weather is as nippy as it has been, wrapping yourself up in a cosy jumper is the perfect way to keep warm. I'm a massive knitwear fan - I have more jumpers than dresses - fact and, this Topshop jumper is my new favourite.
Topshop Cosy Knit by What Laura did Next
Topshop Cosy Knit by What Laura did Next
Topshop Cosy Knit by What Laura did Next
Knit: Topshop (sold out, similar here)
Jeans: Topshop
Boots: Carvela Kurt Geiger (Similar here)
Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs 

Everyday Makeup

Like quite a few of you out there, I love to have a play around with my make up. But, I do have a look that I wear everyday, which is very simple and quick to do - mainly so I can spend some more minutes under the duvet!

About twice a year, I change up my everyday products. Mainly because I've either run out of a product I was using, or I've been introduced to something that has then made it's way in to my daily routine. 

As I've mentioned before, I rarely wear make up and, over the Christmas period I found myself not wearing any at all! However, as I'm now back in the swing of things (otherwise known as back to hanging out in public and not in my PJ's on the sofa watching films) I'm back to wearing makeup again.

Pro-Radiance Illuminating Flash Balm, Elemis
This flash Balm is in my make up bag all year round. I wear it on its own, for a healthy glow, or underneath my make up. It helps to brighten my skin and keeps it feeling soft and glowy.

Select Cover-Up in NW10, MAC
I've used this concealer for so many years now. It's great for hiding any breakouts and dark circles.

Touche Eclat, YSL
Another product I've used for years and, will probably use for years to come. I love products that actually do what they say they do, and this is one of them. 

Instant Radiance Highlighter, No7
I use this stick everyday! It gives me a little glow-boost on the cheek and brow bones. 

Blusher in Douceur, NARS
This is such an easy shade to wear - a light brown tinged pink that is matte and overall neutral in colour. 

Babydoll Volume Effect Faux Cils Mascara, YSL
I've been using 'Babydoll' by YSL since it came out and, I love it. It doesn't clump and, is smudge proof although, it can be a bit of a pain to get off!

Lip Balm, Eos
I recently mentioned this in my lip balm post, and I haven't stopped using it since my friend bought it back from New York. It smells amazing and, tastes good awell!

Honey perfume, Marc by Marc Jacobs
This is Summer in a bottle so, whilst we have this horrid weather, I tend to spray this on and hope that the warmer months are just around the corner. 

It's only in the last 9 months that I have started using makeup brushes. Massive shocker but now, I don't look back to those dark days of applying make up with my fingers (sometimes it's better than a brush but not all the time) Real Techniques are my favourite to use and, I always purchase them when Boots have an offer on them! 

I've recently purchased Pretty Honest, by Sali Hughes which, seems to be creating an even bigger make up obsession! Thankfully, I have a few gift vouchers from Christmas that I can use. Any recommendations, please comment below, Tweet or drop me an email.

Kurt Geiger SS15 Campaign

I've already posted about their SS15 press day here but, I had to share the campaign for the new Kurt Geiger SS15 collection.

And it's a biggun'

Lara Stone is fronting the Kurt Geiger SS15 campaign, and I couldn't be more excited! After what seems like a very long time, she's back as the modern Kurt Geiger woman. Shot in London by photographer Erik Torstensson, the campaign is stunning.

‘My inspiration took the tropics to London. Everything but the Dress is an express
escape with a serious dose of femininity’
- Creative Director, Rebecca Farrar-Hockley

Have a look at the images and video below.
Kurt Geiger SS15 Ad Campaign
Kurt Geiger SS15 Ad Campaign
video

My wish list from their new collection seems to grow each week. The collection has already started to land in stores and online, so come pay day I know where I'll be heading first!

Kurt Geiger Spring Summer 15 shoes and accessories including Kurt Geiger London, KG Kurt Geiger, Carvela and Miss KG will launch in stores and online at KURTGEIGER.COM in January 2015.

Topshop Full Skirt

When I started What Laura did Next, it was initially a fashion blog. Over the last year or so the content has become a little more varied. That's not going to change but, I will be featuring more outfits and fashion related posts on here. 
Monochrome by What Laura did Next
Starting with this one. 
Monochrome by What Laura did Next
I love monochrome outfits and, this Topshop skirt is so much fun to wear (It's definitely going to make an appearance at LFW in February). It's very structured so I decided to keep it quite simple, and paired it with a cropped top from Zara, my Topshop leather jacket and my wonderful Sophia Webster heels.
Monochrome by What Laura did Next

Aren't they a beaut? They deserved a picture all on their own. 

Skirt: Topshop
Top: Zara
Jacket: Topshop

Kurt Geiger SS15

Castaway to sundown at the beach, somewhere over the rainbow…
‘There’s no place like Hawaii’ 

- Creative Director, Rebecca Farrar-Hockley

What can be better than beautiful shoes, cocktails and men in grass skirts?

I can hear the silence whilst you struggle to find an answer.

That's exactly what I had in store when Kurt Geiger invited me to check out their SS15 collection. On a cold and wet evening back in November, Hawaii came to Notting Hill.

Kurt Geiger's SS15 collection soon made me forget about the cold weather outside. Or maybe that was the effect of the couple of Pina Coladas (served in Coconuts may I add!) I sipped on whilst looking at the gorgeous shoes that will be gracing our feet for the new season. 

Kurt Geiger London
The B Series is still going strong - watch out for 'Britton' who is showing off their hippie side in floral lace painted mesh, whilst 'Bond' is going tribal with glitter-finished toes - a shoe fit for Queen B. For me, it was love at first sight with the 'Isabella' sandals (third photo), so I'll be snapping these up as soon as they arrive. Sharkie is back for SS15 (below) and is still one of my favourite styles - it's coming in this gorgeous orange colour and nude - did someone say potential wedding shoe?

KG Kurt Geiger
The return of the chunky platform is back, with 70's inspired styles in a range of textures, including snakeskin and suede. The flatform is also back - with a chunky cork sole and, animal print pool slides take designs from tribal to sport. These tribal print mules were one of my favourites from this collection and flats are huge - with lace ballet pumps to bedazzled espidrilles. There's something for everyone in this collection.

Miss KG
Hello, Summer! I cannot wait until Miss KG SS15 collection starts hitting stores. This is the fun little shoe sister of Kurt Geiger. Expect lots of print and colour, these shoes are to have fun in and really play around with - perfect for everyone.

Carvela Kurt Geiger
This collection is all about chic pool slides, slip-ons in gorgeous prints and heels that are just dying to be taking out for a cocktail or two. I have my eyes on so many styles from this collection, I may have to book a holiday when making a sneaky shoe purchase.
Accessories
Kurt Geiger are going big on accessories for SS15. Eveything but The Dress is bringing back swimwear, with a collection of bikinis and one-pieces fit for the pool day and night.
Saffiano leather bags come in white, coral, yellow, grey and tan crafted in classic shapes with statement hardware and contrast piping. One bag I have my eyes on, and will be coming home with me, is the new jet-set pocketed tote. Small enough for everyday and big enough to become a new travelling companion.

All these shoes and accessories have me all excited for Summer....and craving a Pina Colada!

Luckily for you, the new SS15 collection has already started landing in stores and online.

Shoes range from £22.00 to £295.00, with accessories starting from £20.00.

Go on, you know you want to. Click here or pop in to your local store for a little peek. 

Toffee Vodka

January can be a bit of a slow month. It always feels like pay day is a million years away, and after the Christmas and New Year celebrations, looking at your bank account will only make you cry.

This little recipe will ensure you're feeling chipper in no time. 

Plus, it costs under £12 to make and will last for a good few weeks. It's great for presents - you can decant it in to smaller bottles and give to friends, colleagues and family.

That's if you're still feeling generous after Christmas. I won't tell anyone if you keep it for personal consumption!

You may have seen me mention it in my Christmas cocktails post back in December (if you missed it, click here) when I used it in my Espresso and Toffee Martini. 

You will need:
Vodka - 70cl is enough. If you want to go bigger, you can. Totally up to you. 
Werther's Originals x 2 bags
An airtight container/jar - I've used a Kilner jar which you can pick up pretty easy (and cheaply) in supermarkets and homeware stores.
Toffee Vodka by What Laura did Next
First up, unwrap ALL the sweets. If you have an extra pair of hands, get them involved as it can get quite boring!
Toffee Vodka by What Laura did Next
Toffee Vodka by What Laura did Next
Place them all in a jar,  until you're left with a lovely pile of them.

Pour the whole bottle of Vodka into the jar....

....and seal the lid tight.

You then want to give it a little shake, to get the sweets interacting with the Vodka.
Toffee Vodka by What Laura did Next
Toffee Vodka by What Laura did Next
Leave it somewhere cold (Kitchen) for a couple of days, giving it a shake every time you walk past it, and then, once all the sweets have dissolved, it's good to go.

You can drink it on it's own, over some ice or, use it in a cocktail (it worked wonders in the Espresso Martini). 

I also mixed it with a little milk, popped a couple of ice cubes in and it was delicious.
Remember folks, drink responsibly. This Vodka could fuel a rocket so you don't want too much

Cheers!

The Statement Coat

The Statement Coat by What Laura did Net
The power of a statement coat is strong. As soon as I saw this ASOS coat, it had to be in my wardrobe. The shape is classic, simple and yet the colour makes it - taking a pair of very straightforward, everyday jeans, or flared trousers in this instance to a whole new level. 
The Statement Coat by What Laura did Net
Apparently, wide-legged trousers are a trend we will all be dabbling in this season. If you're a regular reader, you'll know I tend not to buy into too many trends, only buying one or two trend-led pieces each season to keep my personal style and wardrobe fresh. This is where these ASOS flared trousers come in. 
The Statement Coat by What Laura did Net

Add a couple of extra details - some sunglasses and a classic handbag and this outfit is done. I'm sure this coat is going to get quite a few outings over the next couple of months. 

Coat: ASOS
Trousers: ASOS
Shoes: Kurt Geiger London (old)
Sunglasses: Marc by Marc Jacobs (old)


The Beauty Product(s) I can't live without....

Lip Balm Lovin by What Laura did Next
Ok, raise your hand if you carry more than one lip balm round in the bottom of your bag?

(My hand is so high up in the air right now) 

If I took a look in my handbag I would probably find two, maybe three balms in there. But, I have a reason behind this; one balm is not good enough for my lips. I'm hoping you're nodding your head in agreement as you read this, and not thinking to yourself that I've gone a bit mad because I don't really have a lip balm that I can call on any time of day.

Let me take you through the ones I carry round, and why.

First up, is my Lucas Paw Paw Ointment. I cannot shout from the rooftops loud enough about this product. It's similar to the Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream and, I have at least 4 tubes in different bags and on my dressing table, so I'm never without one. It's very thick, so you only need a little bit as it goes a long way. I tend to use this when my lips are very very dry and at night as part of my bedtime routine so my lips feel lovely and nourished in the morning. Whilst I get a family member to pick this up for me when she visits Australia, I did find a similar version in Boots the other week. Check it out here

Next up is my new favourite from across the pond which my lovely friend picked up for me on a recent trip to NYC. The Eos Organic Lip Balm is packed with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, soothing shea butter and jojoba oil to provide lasting moisture and very smooth lip - it's one of those balms that tastes as good as it smells, and comes in so many flavours. You can pick them up online here, or pop into Selfridges, Urban Outfitters or a large Topshop where you'll find them hanging out in the beauty dept.  

Another one I use is the Kiehl's Lip Balm #1. This is quite similar to the Lucas Paw Paw ointment. It's not got the nicest taste (I have it under good authority there are a couple of flavoured ones out there), but I always have it handy in my make up bag as I love using it as a lip primer in the Winter before applying my lipstick. It absorbs fast and, is perfect for really cold weather - my friend takes it with her when she goes skiing. 

Do you have a lip balm, or beauty product you can't live without? I hope you like this post. I'll be doing more beauty related posts this year as, you all seem to like them! Let me know if there's anything you would like me to feature - just tweet or drop me an email.

New Year

Hello, Bonjour, Hola and G'day 2015.

Firstly, where are all the hoverboards at? 

Four days in to the New Year and, I'm already excited for what this year is going to bring. Friends having babies and weddings are the most common thing for me this year. One highlight will be turning 30 in July which seems crazy but it's something I'm embracing with open arms, as at the end of the day age is nothing but a number, I can't do anything about it and, I can still achieve whatever I set out to do.

Babies, weddings (as well as planning my own) and my 30th. Eeeek, looks like 2015 is the year I'm a proper grown up!

Thinking ahead to 2015, was quite exciting when I started writing this post at the end of December. Which brings me to this. 

I thought I'd set myself some goals this year, and share them with you. Hopefully you'll keep an eye on here to make sure I'm doing them!

TRAVEL - and I don't mean skipping up to London every week or so! I've barely travelled over the last few years, and I'm desperate for a beach holiday. I've already booked a little trip to Paris in February and, I'll be heading back there for a very exciting trip in June. But, I'd really like to plant my bum on a sun lounger somewhere hot, with a cocktail in one hand and a book in the other and get a nice tan. 

PHOTOGRAPHY - I'm lucky to have a very good camera but, do I know how to use it properly? Course not! I'm going to spend a little time reading up on what it can *actually* do and, putting it to good use. One of my ideas for new content this year is to regularly post photos on here of things I capture whilst out and about. 

SMILE - oooo, that sounds quite 'emo' doesn't it?! But, one thing you may have noticed is that I rarely smile when I'm in front of the camera. This is mainly because I've always been quite self-conscious of my teeth but, now I've been wearing braces (read all about them here) and, they are due to come off very soon, I'm going to be baring my teeth a lot more on WLDN!

BLOG - This year, I'm going to attempt to do a lot more blogging. It's going to be a little tricky as I will be working full time but, I'm going to give it a go. I already have a few new content ideas up my sleeve and, they will be introduced gradually. Plus, I'm hoping to have a little redesign on here to keep things a little fresh, and I plan on teaching myself a bit of HTML with the help of the Internet (it still amazes me what you can actually learn from it!) and, Brighton CodeBar.

SAVE - Now I have a wedding to plan (one week in, and it still feels surreal!) I need to save more. It's always been quite tricky for me to save, as I've been freelancing for the last few years and, you never know when you're next job/pay cheque is going to appear. However, I'm now going in to steady, full time employment and will be able to save a little each month. 

SPENDING TIME - away from a computer screen. Sometimes, the pressure of writing a couple of blog posts, or catching up on emails can be quite hard. After taking part in the shut off, shut down challenge, I realised that it's nothing to get stressed about and taking an evening away from my MacBook does you the world of good, and puts a little spring in your step when you go back the next evening. I plan on spending a couple of evenings a week away from my MacBook screen. I've got a big pile of books that I'm dying to read, and spend some time catching up on TV series that I've not got round to watching yet.

LOVED ONES - I try and spend a lot of time with my family and friends. But, sometimes it can be a tad tricky as we're all dotted about across the UK and the world! I plan on seeing as many as possible this year, and facetiming the ones that live in different countries a little more. 

COOKING - Yep, I'm getting back in the kitchen this year! I completely lost my cooking/baking mojo when my braces were installed. But, I'll be spending more time in my kitchen this year and sharing some of the recipes on WLDN. 

NEW EXPERIENCES - After my surprise trip with Courvoisier in September, I plan on seizing the day, and saying 'yes' a little more to any opportunities that may arise. I'm also hoping to do a few things this year that I've never done before - from going somewhere I've never visited, to taking up a few new hobbies, this year is going to be about trying new things. Let me know if you can think of anything I should try out. Obviously, I will share them on here with you. 

By the looks of it, 2015 is going to be a busy one.

I best get cracking!