Bloggers Love London Fashion Week

This week, Bloggers Love hosted a fashion week event based on the cattiest, glitziest TV show that I know…xoxo.

As was fitting of a Gossip Girl themed event, there were people everywhere who looked like they’d stepped off the pages of a catalogue, dressed in the most entirely glorious outfits. And as anyone who has taken a look at Twitter afterwards will know, there was enough scandal, gossip and backbiting to satisfy Georgina Sparks.

Let’s rewind a little. For the night, I decided to step out of my ordinary girl shoes, and try walking a mile in the skyscraper heels of the Upper East Side’s least likeable princess, Blair Waldorf.

Dress, tights and socks, all from Forever 21.

Dress, tights and socks, all from Forever 21.

Details.

Details.

Practising my resting bitchface.

Practising my resting bitchface.

Headband and cynical smirk firmly in place, I headed to Hoxton to check out the wares on offer. Upon stepping into the art gallery, the first problem with the event was hard to ignore…it was so full that it was actually hard to move around. The ladies and I decided to leave the brands until it quietened down a little, and got in the queue for the very much in demand fashion illustrator, Willa Gebbie. In fact, she was so in demand that we spent the vast majority of our evening in that queue. But getting to the front was well worth the wait. Not only did it turn out that she was from Prestwick (crappy West Coast Scottish towns represent!), she was utterly awesome, and produced a likeness of me that is probably the coolest I’ll ever look.

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11007982_1419502598349148_1963952462_nPictures lovingly cradled in hand, we just had time for a whistlestop tour of the brands who hadn’t packed up yet.

DSCF0786 DSCF0787There has been a lot of talk about the event, so let’s set a few things straight.

I didn’t pay for a ticket to the dinner, but I can understand why people who did were angry at shelling out £28 for what eventually amounted to pizza. But some of the vitriol being hurled at Bloggers Love on Twitter has been pretty upsetting. Sure, make complaints when they’re justified, but I’ve seen people claiming that they got food poisoning…from pizza.

The venue was way too small. There isn’t any avoiding that. There were over 200 bloggers crammed into a tiny art gallery, all trying to speak to about ten brands. But I still had a lovely night. I got to meet some amazing bloggers, including Abi from Abi Street, who was so completely aces that I’m genuinely sad she lives in Cardiff. I got my portrait drawn by a fashion illustrator, which I can now totally show off to everyone and pretend that I’m awesome. And thanks to the theme of the party, I got to step well outside my comfort zone, beauty wise. See, for a part-time beauty blogger, I tend to rely on the looks that I know work for me. But the Upper East Side doesn’t exactly comply to the just-rolled-out-of-bed beauty look, so I had to try something new. And I liked what I found. I found out that I actually really like bright pink, shiny lips. I found out that maybe my headband shouldn’t be relegated to the bathroom cabinet unless I’m washing my face. And I found out that knee socks are awesome. Wait, actually, I already knew that one.

So maybe the evening wasn’t the event that a lot of us planned for. But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t have fun.

XOXO. Fiona.

Brighton Rocks

For Valentines Day, the boy and I ran away to the seaside.

old ship hotel brighton

We spent two lovely days wandering along the beach, eating and drinking our weight in junk and snuggling down in the gloriously beautiful Old Ship hotel.

Our room in the hotel was plush and stunningly decorated. A silver seagulled focus wall and a golden spyglass in the corner gave the room an undoubtedly seaside feel, without becoming chintsy or losing it’s luxury feel.

old ship hotel brighton

Check that out. We settled in, tested the cushions for comfiness and then headed across the road to the beach. It was one of those scaldingly cold and bright days, with the wind biting through our coats and throwing white foam against the shiny pebbles of the beach. Having grown up on the freezing rocks of Troon beach, I seldom feel more at home than staring at a windswept, steely sea, bundled up in my winter layers, eating an inappropriate ice cream.

the ship hotel brighton

We wandered along the beach, past stores selling brightly painted driftwood, buckets of seashells and newspaper cones filled with mussels, across to the infamous pier. We treaded those creaky wooden boards, Mr I’m-Definitely-Not-Scared-Of-Heights occasionally clutching at me when the sea below became visible between them. The pier was gaudy and wonderful, covered with the same coin operated amusements, kooky old fortune tellers and rickety fairground rides that have kept its charm alive for over 100 years. We grabbed some candy floss and threw ourselves wilfully into the resulting sugar coma.

old ship hotel brighton old ship hotel brighton old ship hotel brighton

Thoroughly wind battered, we headed for a safe, warm haven: the pub. With my Valentines evening resting on a tightly fought rugby match, I fell into the welcoming arms of Prosecco before falling, with relief, into the celebratory arms of the boy. Still buzzing with sugar and bubbles, we went back to the hotel, laden with pizza and stuck on Back to the Future, because we’re glamorous like that.

In the morning, we made a beeline for the hotel’s breakfast room. I always judge hotel’s by their breakfasts, so I was particularly excited for this. We were met in the bright and gorgeous restaurant by a seriously friendly lady called Gillian. Gillian, if you’re ever reading this, thanks for giving us such an excellent start to the day. We were given a pretty table overlooking the hotel’s wonderful view of the seaside. The breakfast was great, the usual slap up full english, with decent pastries, fruit salads, cereals and hot drinks. Once we had filled up, we headed back out into the sunshine and nosied around the Brighton lanes. All too soon, it was time for the pub again and more rugby. This game didn’t go quite so well. So we ordered some more drinks.

old ship hotel brighton

We had dinner booked in the hotel’s restaurant on the Sunday evening, and man, does that restaurant scrub up nicely. The bright morning room was made warm and intimate with candelight, and the garish lights of the pier, made beautiful by distance and mist, twinkled in the inky sea.

old ship hotel brighton

Service was quick and friendly, and the food was delicious. After dinner, and a considerable amount of wine, we retired back to the bedroom. And watched the Godfather. Because, again, glamour.

I had an absolutely incredible weekend. Sometimes, all you need is to get away from everything and do nothing with your favourite person for a while. If you’re looking for a gorgeous seaside escape, I’d say they don’t come much more beautiful than this.

Get Your Henna On With Lush Henna Hair Dye

I’ve been trying really hard to take better care of my hair, ever since it started casually falling out about a year ago. I’ve successfully wrenched myself away from a lifelong heat styling habit and embraced my mad curls, but on further consideration, I decided that dying my hair magenta every month probably isn’t doing it much good either.

Yes, the cat’s out of the bag, I AM NOT A NATURAL REDHEAD.

But I am far too invested in my sexy redheadedness to give it up. This was quite the dilemma. Then, one day, as I was stalking Holly Cassell (one of my favourite bloggers, whose blog you should definitely check out here), I noticed her saying that her badass auburn curls were courtesy of Lush’s Cacoa Rouge henna. Most intriguing indeed. So I did a bit of online research and bought myself a bar.

I was a little intimidated, given the tales of mess and mayhem that I read in the reviews, but the idea of finding a way to get my lovely red colour while actually conditioning and protecting my hair was too good not to take the chance.

Here’s what I started with:

how to lush henna hair dye

If you want to give this a go, you’ll need:

A bar of Lush Henna
A pair of rubber gloves (or three)
A buttload of newspaper
A tub of Vaseline, or Lush Ultrabalm if the nice saleslady gives you some of that
A roll of clingfilm
A kettle, or alternative means of boiling water
A few hours to kill
A t-shirt you don’t mind ruining

Here’s Fiona, modelling the 2008 German language competition winner look. So sexy.

how to lush henna hair dye

I also had a grater, because I read that it’s easier to melt the henna if it’s been grated, but my hand got tired after about two minutes, so I just chucked the whole thing in and it worked fine. So good at being a beauty blogger.

You want the henna to go on your head as hot as possible, so get every thing ready beforehand. The henna is nowhere near as messy as the internet would lead you to believe, but it’s still a pretty good idea to cover your bathroom floor in newspaper, as well as any surfaces you’ll be putting the henna on. The henna is also quite thick, so you’ll want to section your hair off to let it get right into the roots. Smear your vaseline around your hairline and on your ears to act as a buffer between the dye and your skin. Unless you want orange ears. You do you.

how to lush henna hair dye

This is my stegosaurus look.

First, you need to chop up your henna. I have pretty long, thick hair, and three squares of the bar did me perfectly. Cut out the desired number of squares, chop the squares into small sections and put in a bowl. Pour over boiling water, and mix until the henna is completely melted.

how to lush henna hair dye how to lush henna hair dye

It’s cool if you’re jealous of my green kettle. It’s pretty sweet. The consistency of your henna should be like thin yoghurt, so keep adding water until you get that sort of consistency. I used a fork to mix mine, which was pretty good at breaking up any little lumps.

Is that a good enough tip to be a life hack? Probably not.

Put on your rubber gloves and get the henna on your head as quickly as possible. Focus on your roots first, just like you would do with normal hair dye, then pull it through your lengths with your fingers. Henna is a bit of a strange texture, but it does go through your hair easily enough. Accept your new life as a mudperson.

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Henna colour takes best to hair when it’s hot, so once you’ve got all your hair covered, pile it up on top of your head and wrap it tight in clingfilm. I also added a hat, for extra warmth and fashionableness. There are no photographs of this stage.

You’ll need to leave the henna on for between one and three hours, depending on how much hair you have and how bright you want your colour. I left mine on for the full three hours. This is an obvious downside when compared with normal hair dye, but to be honest, I just took it as an excuse for a massive pamper session. Light some candles, stick on a facemask, paint your nails, watch Legally Blonde, whatever you fancy.

Then, just wash it out! The gritty texture of the henna makes it a little tough to get out, but two good shampoos got mine out easily enough. I then conditioned my hair, which got rid of any remaining chunks.

This was my final result, and I’m absolutely delighted.

how to lush henna hair dye

When I did my research, I found a lot of scaremongering on the internet, so I’d like to lay some of that to rest.

Sure, henna is messy. But in my experience, it wasn’t any messier than normal hair dye. I covered up my surfaces with newspaper and any splatters cleaned up easily with a warm, wet cloth.

Also, a lot of people recommended having a friend help you out. This kind of made me panic. But to be honest, I definitely didn’t need another pair of hands. Again, it was the same process as normal hair dye, up until the clingfilm. But if you fancy getting yourself a sexy assistant, please do.

I’d seen a lot of comments from people saying that the texture of the henna made it difficult to spread, or difficult to get out. This is partly true, but I really didn’t find it all that hard. I normally shampoo my hair twice anyway, so it just took a little extra scrubbing.

The smell is quite strong, so if you’re sensitive to smells, you might want to check that out before you buy. It smells a lot like turkish delight, but I could hardly smell it once I had the clingfilm on.

I am seriously impressed with this henna hair dye. It left my hair feeling soft and so, so shiny. It also cost £6 for the bar and I only used half of it, so the value for money is great in comparison to most box dyes. And I’m finding that the fade is so much better and more natural. That photo up there was taken two weeks after I originally dyed it, and I think it still looks amazing. I’m a definite convert.

 

United Arab Excellent

So, my laptop having the world’s biggest meltdown has meant that I haven’t blogged in a while. Which meant that I never got to tell you about my super awesome post-Australia stopover in Dubai. It has now been over a month since this actually happened, which means that the acceptable bragging time has probably now passed.

BUT I DON’T CARE. The two days we spent in Dubai were probably the most entirely instagrammable days I’ve ever had, so you’ll all just have to deal with it.

We arrived at the luxurious Kempinski hotel, located on the palm of Dubai, in the early hours of the morning, following an eleven hour flight from Perth, so I didn’t really appreciate how beautiful it was, beyond the exquisite comfyness of a bed after an entire night on a plane. So my jaw pretty much dropped when I woke up the next morning to this:

DSCF0446Now, I know there are plenty of travel bloggers out there who probably stay in rooms like this all the time, but you guys, I have never stayed in a hotel room like this in my life. It made my Gleneagles room look like a Travelodge. I totally played it cool by screaming, doing three circuits and then sitting in every single chair to ascertain exactly which one made me look most like Princess Grace of Monaco.

Once we had all shaken off our jetlag a little, we headed down to check out the hotel’s private beach. Obviously.

kempinski dubai beachWe were each given a towel, allowed to choose a sun lounger, and then had a member of hotel staff drag it around until optimal sun exposure/city view/water proximity had been reached. I’ve never been waited on like that before, so I felt consistently awful asking the staff to do things, but they were so lovely about it and made me feel really at ease.

I’d love to say that we went and explored the city, or took advantage of the hotel’s watersport programme, but I just lay on that lounger all day, reading the Time Traveller’s Wife and trying not to get my ginger, freckly self burnt.

We headed back up to our absolute palace of a room and I had a long, hot bath, because when you don’t have a bath in your flat, every opportunity has to be seized. Even if it is 35 degrees outside. Once we were all feeling a bit fresher, we headed down for dinner, which was served in one of the hotel’s private beach cabanas. Again, obviously.

kempinski dubai beach cabana restaurantI don’t think I’ve ever eaten in such a beautiful place. The colourful lights of the city, reflected in the still water made a stunning contrast to the warm, dim lighting of the cabanas. After the food, we headed a little further down the beach to warm up by the flickering light of a fire pit.

kempinski dubaiIf I could have, I’d have sat there all night drinking cocktails and watching the stars come out, but between the beanbags, the crackling of the wood, the heat from the fire, and of course, the unmanageable jetlag, my eyelids soon started to feel pretty heavy. We headed back to the room, stopping to admire how gorgeous the hotel grounds looked by night.

kempinski dubai

Can we just talk about how cute this photo is for a sec?

kempinski dubaiBut the jetlag did have its advantages. It meant that come 5:30am, I was awake and ready for one of the most spectacular sights I’ve ever seen. I feel like there’s been a lot of “best I’ve ever seen” in this blog post, but that’s just Dubai. It doesn’t do things by halves. Me, mum and Sophie pulled on our clothes and headed down to the beach to watch the sun rise over the city.

I’ll never do this justice, so I’m gonna go ahead and let the photos do the talking here.

DSCF0509 DSCF0538 DSCF0540Once the sun was high in the sky and the temperature started to climb, we went back up to the room for room service breakfast on the balcony. This was also the first time I ever got room service, and it’s totally awesome. The guy brought it on a big silver tray and everything.

DSCF0548Look at that breakfast. I ate so much pineapple that I actually started to worry about burning my tongue. Amazing. Another couple of hours lying by the pool and on the beach and it was time to head back to the airport, all too soon.

The hotel was genuinely incredible. If you’re looking for somewhere to totally relax, I’d definitely recommend checking it out. We were there for a full day and a half, and never felt like we had to leave the hotel. And there were loads of things that we didn’t even try! We didn’t get massages on the beach, or hit the spa, or go swimming in the pool, or smoke shisha pipes in the big squishy armchairs by the fountain…if you’re looking for somewhere to make you feel like a total princess, this is the place.