The Pay Day Edit #1

The Pay Day Edit by Laura Lewis

With pay day happening tomorrow, I thought I'd dedicate this weeks edit to the items that have caught my eye over the last couple of weeks. I'm saving for my wedding but, there's no harm in a little window shopping, right?

I'm head over heels in love with the ASOS dress - I want to wear something a little different on my hen, and this definitely is! Fingers crossed it comes back in stock before August. The small bucket bag from Whistles has my name all over it. I have a huge love for small bags at the moment, and this one would be perfect for a few occasions that I have coming up.

The Celine-esque Sandals








Who doesn't love a bit of Celine? (No, not the singer, the designer) Each season I watch the chic looks strut their stuff down the runway at Paris Fashion Week and, everytime I'm in Selfridges I gaze at the bags thinking that I will make a purchase one day.

When I stumbled across these Topshop twist front sandals a few weeks ago, I couldn't help but notice that they have a celine-esque look to them, and they've just gone into their sale for £20!! It would've been rude not to pick them up (and practically run to the till with them). The fact that they're made from a soft leather, are the perfect height without me resembling Bambi on ice AND they go with everything makes them a clear winner in the perfect transitional heel. 

They come in three colourways, and I'm finding it hard to resist the urge to buy them all. You can find the other colours here and here - get clicking!

My current makeup bag

My current makeup bag contents by Laura Lewis

With Summer (hopefully) around the corner, it’s time for me to change up my day-to-day makeup bag, so I thought I’d share what’s going in. 

So here’s what my current makeup bag situation looks like...

I like to try and go as bare-faced as I can (without scaring people) during the summer, but when I need that bit of coverage I tend to reach for the bareMinerals Complexion Rescue which is great for a bit of coverage, and is cooling on the skin. If I want a bit more coverage, I go for the Charlotte Tilbury Light Wonder which works well on dry skin and gives you a nice dewey glow.

Primer wise, I can't enough of the Marc Jacobs Invisible Under(cover) Perfecting Coconut Face Primer. I'm so happy we can now get this over here, as I was starting to worry about stocking up on this. I find this to be the perfect primer for those horrid humid days we've been having, as it keeps your skin hydrated when you have a layer of foundation over the top. 
My current makeup bag contents by Laura Lewis
Not much changes when it comes to my concealer – I know I rave about the brand a lot, but the stretch concealer by Glossier has gone straight to the top of my favourite concealers. It’s lightweight but covers up your breakouts really well, and it doesn’t cake or stick to those pesky spots either. 

I seem to always have two mascaras on the go – it depends on what look I’m trying to achieve. My Givenchy Noir Couture Volume Mascara gives more of a defined look, and my Isehan Kiss Me Heroine Long and Curl Mascara gives them more of a natural look, but lifts them better than any other mascara I’ve tried, and there’s been a helluva lot of them over my mascara-wearing years. Brows, that’s easy – I use Charlotte Tilbury Brow Lift, and Glossier Boy Brow. Sometimes I just use the latter.

Lips wise I tend to keep it natural over the summer, and most days I use Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector in 7. It’s hydrating, and smells delicious with a lovely tint. If I want something bolder, I’ll reach for one of my Kat Von D Liquid Lipsticks, or my new The Estee Edit Barest Lip Colour ‘In The Buff’

Finally, for the cheeks I've been turning to my new favourite - Too Faced Love Flush in Love Hangover. I picked this up in Sephora, and I absolutely love it. Plus, the case looks like a Polly Pocket (If you're as old as I am, you'll know what I'm talking about) which is an added bonus and totally why I bought it in the first place.

There you have it. Look out for the next current makeup bag contents post in a couple of months, as it will be an extra special one *inserts all the bride emoji's here*



The Summer Sandal Edit

The Summer Sandal Edit by Laura Lewis

As I'm typing this up, it's safe to say that June did not get the memo about Summer! It's not exactly the best weather for Summer Sandals, but if you're going to sunnier lands anytime soon then take a peek and see if any tickle your fancy.

I'll be doing a sundance all week hoping for the weather to turn in time for the weekend. Feel free to join in! 


Anxiety


Right. Time to get all personal again. This time it's about me, and something that I've been struggling with for a long time. 

At first glance, I maintain a pretty good facade of looking like a woman who has her sh*t together. But beneath my Charlotte Tilbury foundation and stripey tops lies an anxious mess of a lady who hasn’t slept properly since I was a teenager. Most nights are the same: I lie awake staring at the ceiling as my thoughts race and I struggle to calm my breathing, and if I don’t have anything that's making me panic, I find myself searching for something and getting myself into such a tizz. 

Mental health can still be deemed a bit of a taboo subject to talk about, and up until fairly recently I couldn't talk about my experience with anxiety to anybody. Now, I'll talk to anyone that will listen which is how this post has come about. 

Don't get me wrong, the subject is definitely talked about more openly than it was back in the day. It's something that people recognise can affect anyone no matter their age, sex and race. One of my favourite characters on TV is Hannah Horvath in Girls, and when I first started watching it I could definitely see a little bit of me in her behaviour – massive high fives to Lena Dunham for writing such powerful, emotive scenes for her character Hannah, and not glamourising it in any way. 

Before I go any further, I just want to point out that I am no expert in this. All of the content in this post has been written off the back of my own experience with anxiety, so if I give any advice, it’s from what has helped me.

As anyone out there who has suffered from anxiety will know, the condition can often feel like there’s no escape - simply telling yourself (or other people telling you) not to think negative thoughts or to "focus on the positive" won't work. Our bodies response can be increased heart and breathing rates, tense muscles, a diverted blood flow from our abdominal organs to our brains, and often nausea and a very upset stomach as our body goes into full alert. I’ll put my hand up and say – when it’s all of the above, my anxiety can triple.

Here comes the science bit
  • Anxiety is a spectrum disorder that includes panic disorders, generalised anxiety disorder (GAD), post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), phobias, and OCD. These have unique symptoms, but many commonalities. Anxiety is also one of the UK’s most common mental conditions. 
  • At the last comprehensive survey of mental health issues in England and Wales, over 20 per cent of adults were suffering from some kind of anxiety disorder. 
  • Women are almost twice as likely as men to be diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, and mental health experts say that they’re also more likely to open up about it.
Image via the ever so amazing, Gemma Correll

How can you help
We’ve all felt anxious at some point in our lives. It’s a natural, human response to stress. If you have a friend or loved one that’s struggling with anxiety, it can be difficult to fully get how they’re feeling. One of my closest friends who I have to say has been an absolute gem when I’m at my worst described it as “turning up to a very important exam and being completely unprepared for it”

Try and remember a time when you’ve felt anxious – this can help you understand how your friend is feeling. BUT don’t assume that you 100% get exactly how they feel – it’s different for everyone. There’s no one-size-fits-all category for this. I’ve found that talking to a friend or family member about how I’m feeling, with them fully listening and not judging really helps.

What helps me
Stretching - I'm no yogi, but I do find that if I'm feeling extremely anxious, or even having a panic attack staying still is no good. So I will relax my muscles as much as I can and if I'm in a place where I can stretch out (as in home or my office) I will.

As well as stretching, I also find that doing something can really help - honestly, it could be cleaning my bedroom, going for a slow walk to the beach (my happy place) or calling someone close to me. I also find that turning my focus on to something helps - whether it's an upcoming holiday, or a book I'm excited about reading this process can be really useful.

One thing I seem to turn to a lot is an app on my phone (hello 21st Century technology) called 'relaxing' it's basically various sounds that you can listen to. I find that listen to the sound of rain can really calm me down, and I often use it to help me fall asleep at night.

If I'm travelling, and I start feeling anxious, I have a few podcasts I listen to. These are a really good distraction as you have to concentrate on what is being said. My absolute fav is Emma Gannon's Ctrl, alt, delete podcast. If you haven't already, give her a listen here. On a recent train journey at 6am in the morning, I had a horrid bout of anxiety, and I have to say it really helped listening to her.

Useful Resources
If you're struggling with anxiety remember you're not alone. Or you may be supporting someone who is struggling, so I've put together a list of sites that may be useful:
Anxiety UK
NHS Choices
Mind
The Mental Health Foundation

Finally, I just want to say - if there's anyone out there struggling, please talk to someone. You'll find it helps. Heck, you can even drop me an email and talk to me about how you feel and I promise, I'll come back to you!

My Wardobe

Shopping for clothes by Laura Lewis
I had a huge wardrobe clear out a couple of months ago (all clothes will go on sale here soon), and whilst doing so I realised how much my personal style has changed over the last few years (and how it seems I don't like colourful clothes, but do have a thing for patterns) I’m not one of those people that would blame that on getting older* but I know what I like, what suits me and what looks pretty darn awful.

I’ve found the areas that I personally like to spend that bit more and where I’m totally happy to save. I used to spend a fair amount of my wages on what I call ‘disposable clothes’  (trend-led pieces) that I’d see online, purchase and wear only once before donating it to charity or putting it away thinking “I’m sure I’ll wear it next year” and then not.

Today I thought I’d share where I buy my pieces from, and the shops I like to buy them in.
Shopping for clothes by Laura Lewis

BASICS
I wear basic items from my wardrobe most days, so I like to spend more on these items as I wear them all year round. I find that they’re so versatile and are easy to style with more trend-led pieces, and can take me through the whole day and night. This season, I’ve purchased pieces that have a little bit of extra detail - for example a fluted sleeve to change it up a bit. 

Where I buy: COS

Shopping for clothes by Laura Lewis
Shopping for clothes by Laura Lewis

SHOES
I refuse to buy cheap footwear – unless it’s a pair of flip flops for the beach. My mum taught me from a very young age that a good pair of shoes is a great investment, and how shoes made out of plastic can be bad for your feet. 

Where I buy: Kurt Geiger, Topshop and Office


COATS & JACKETS
I have the same opinion on these as I do when buying shoes! Again, my Mum taught me that a Winter coat is a good investment – living in the UK we seem to wear this item of clothing for much longer than other countries, so spending that little bit more is worth it and can last you years.

Where I buy: Zara, Topshop and Whistles

Shopping for clothes by Laura Lewis

JEANS
Rewind about 5 years ago, and you would rarely see me in a pair of jeans. Nowadays, I live in them pretty much every day opting for a 'Boyfriend' fit over a skinny fit. Although these are a real staple piece, I don't spend over £50 on them as I think the high street have a fairly good selection and I know what shops to go to for the ones that fit. 

Where I buy: Topshop and ASOS


TREND PIECES
When this blog first started out it was 100% fashion, and I would dip in to trends each season a lot. Now it's very rare that I buy into a trend - it's not that I have a problem with them, it's more that it's expensive to keep up with them! If I do find a trend that I like, I'll always go to the shops on the high street / online that I know will have cheaper price points mainly so that I can save money for other pieces that I'll wear all year round instead of just for a few months** 

Where I buy: H&M, ZARA & Warehouse


DRESSES & SKIRTS
These are a rarity in my wardrobe - I don't have more than 8! I tend to wear them for work events and special occasions more than day to day, so I will spend that bit more on them. It's strange as I used to wear dresses and skirt a helluva lot but, I don't find them that comfortable now. 

Where I buy: Whistles, COS, Warehouse and ASOS


*Wear what the F you like and want to wear, whatever age you are
**or for a new Sophie Hulme bag (shhhh, don't tell the other half)


The Sale Edit


It’s that time of year again - although it seems to be a little earlier than the norm, but some shops have already started their summer sales.

I'm not a massive fan of the sales if I'm honest. It's probably because I can't bear the sight of a mess when the shops on the high street, but I thought I’d give you a selection from the brands that have started their sales over the past week. 

Let’s hope payday comes around quickly this month!

Sales starting this week:
J Crew
GAP
Net-a-Porter
Selfridges
Browns
COS
& Other Stories
Zara
Warehouse
Whistles
Office
Topshop

Currently Lovin'

Currently Lovin' by Laura Lewis
I thought I'd share what I've been loving over the past couple of months. There's a little beauty, fashion and a few other bits all rolled into one blog post.

Fashion
These Topshop sandals are a pair that I've been whipping out whenever the sun makes an appearance. Comfy, versatile and under £50.

I can't get enough of Whistles at the moment, and when they have their discount days I always treat myself to one or two pieces. This jumper is perfect for the weird weather we're currently having - a total transitional wardrobe piece.

One trend that I never thought I'd see myself rockin' is this Topshop pyjama shirt. I found it in their nightwear section whilst having a late night online browse, and fell in love with the print straight away. It's perfect for wearing with a pair of boyfriend jeans during the day, or try dressing it up with a leather mini skirt at night.

Beauty
The day that Glossier starts shipping to the UK, will be the day that all my beauty dreams come true! I seriously can't get enough of their Boy Brow product, to the point where I'm actually too scared to use it in case I run out. If you've tried it, and you know of a dupe I can get here in the UK, please holla. The rest of the Phase 2 kit is also worth shouting about. See my thoughts on it all here.

Another beauty product I can't get enough of is the Barest Lip Colour from The Estee Edit by Estee Lauder. I have the shade 'In the Buff' along with the matching lip pencil, and it's such a great colour. It goes on fairly sheer, but you can build it to create a fuller look.

Books
I love a good read, and I've read a couple of books over the last few weeks that I've really enjoyed. One being Beautiful Broken Things By Sara Barnard. The story is about teenage female friendships, and it was one of those books that had me engrossed from the start.  

Blooms
It's that time of year that get's me all excited - peony season! For about the next six weeks, I'll be decorating the house with my favourite blooms. Watch out on Instagram, as I'm sure they'll be popping up on my feed several times as well!

Kurt Geiger AW16

Kurt Geiger AW16 by Laura Lewis
I couldn't not share a sneak peek of my favourite styles from Kurt Geiger's AW16 collection. 

Aside from the strong 80's theme, there's a lot of different textures across all the collections, with a big focus on the heels - think rose gold, marble and embellished. 

Bags are getting chicer each season, with a couple of new styles added to the gang and some gorgeous colours throughout.

My absolute favourite piece has to be the ankle boots above....they *will* be mine! 
Kurt Geiger AW16 by Laura Lewis
Kurt Geiger AW16 by Laura Lewis
Kurt Geiger AW16 by Laura Lewis
Kurt Geiger AW16 by Laura Lewis
Kurt Geiger AW16 by Laura Lewis
Kurt Geiger AW16 by Laura Lewis

Check out the latest collections online and instores now. 

P.S - Pick up this week's Grazia Magazine for 25% off Kurt Geiger's current collections

The Stripe Top Edit

L-R: Boden // Cos // Zara // Warehouse // Whistles // J Crew

Hi my name is Laura and I have striped top problem. 

The problem being, I have a pretty hefty collection of this item of clothing. My loved ones know me for wearing a striped top fairly often, and my work colleagues have recently started noticing how many striped tops I wear to work.

I'm more than happy to admit that I have a love (note, I say love, not obsession) for the striped top. They're a classic, easy to wear, extremely versatile and everyone looks good wearing one. 

So, with this in mind I thought I'd dedicate this weeks edit to the striped top. All under £50 as well which is an added bonus.


The Swimwear Edit

The Swimwear Edit by Laura Lewis

Ok, so when I was working on this edit it was a lovely warm, sunny day. Fast forward a few days and it's most definitely not swimwear weather out there!

I'm in desperate need of a holiday, but Summer is pretty busy already with my wedding, hen and other various occasions so I'm holding out for the honeymoon (whenever and wherever that will be). I'm pretty lucky to live right by the beach so, I'm hoping to be purchasing one of the above to wear for when Summer comes back. I don't know if it's me getting older, or more conscious of my body shape but I'm really leaning more towards swimsuits over bikinis - there's a great selection out there on the high street and online.