Friday, 27 December 2013

How to blow dry your hair in five minutes!


Don't you just freakin' love when something you see on Pinterest actually works and is super easy? Well hold on to your hats, I've discovered how to blow dry your hair with beautiful curls and waves in just five minutes flat.

I'd seen a cheats guide to a glossy, bouncy blow dry on Pinterest months ago, but finally got round to trying it myself. I have very thick, long hair and often find that doing a proper blow dry with a round brush can take forever and absolutely kills my arms, but I love adding volume and waves to my very straight hair. Quelle dilemma. Here's my step-by-step guide to doing a bouncy blow dry in five minutes.


  1. Tip your head upside down and rough blow dry your hair until 90% dry
  2. Separate your hair into two bunches 
  3. Tightly twist one section of hair away from your face
  4. Continue twisting until the entire length is tight from tips to the nape of your neck
  5. Blow dry the section while continuing to twist until hair is dry
  6. Release the section,but leave twisted
  7. Repeat with the other section of hair and allow both sections to cool completely
  8. Gently loosen the twists with your finger and spray with hairspray
There you go, a gorgeous blow dry in five minutes and none of the arm ache. Next time I'm going to try this with a sea salt spray to get extra volume and waves.

Have you tried the cheat blow dry?

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By Carina Sullivan

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Shop the best Christmas Sales: Merry Christmas to you!


It looks like we don't have to wait until January for the January Sales this year, so many stores are giving us amazing discounts before Christmas this year. And if you're as tempted as me, despite the warning/threats from our families about buying things for ourselves before Christmas, the huge discounts have tempted me. So I've rounded up some of my favourite online sales.

But remember the golden sale rules so you don't end up with last seasons rejects:

  1. Try working out what you'd like before looking through the sales.If you want a midi dress to wear to a special occasion, then narrow your search to that item.
  2. The sales will always have fragmented sizes available, so before you start shopping filter by your size to avoid the disappointment of seeing your dream boots which are only available in size 4. 
  3. Don't buy something just because it has a huge discount, just because it's cheap doesn't mean you'll wear it.
  4. Make sure whatever you buy fits with your style and current wardrobe.
  5. Don't buy something to 'slim into'.
  6. Look for items you had your eye on before the sale started.
  7. Sales are great for presents, so think ahead and get presents for friends and family.
  8. Go for quality over quantity. Even if it's four times the price of another jumper, you'll wear the cashmere cardigan lots more than the sheer maxi dress with built in pants.
  9. If you love it, get it there and then, or it will go to another happy shopper.

Happy shopping!


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By Carina Sullivan

Monday, 2 December 2013

Style Stalking: Elizabeth Banks


If you're like me, you probably think of Elizabeth Banks as the sharp tongued and hilarious Avery Jessup in 30 Rock ("I've never quit anything in my life. I'm still in Girl Scouts. I have 9,000 badges"), but it's The Hunger Games: Catching Fire promotional tour that has reignited my love of Elizabeth Banks.

I've never really taken note of Elizabeth's red carpet style before so maybe it's a new stylist, or maybe it's just her fearless and varied red carpet styles from The Hunger Games promo tour, but I'm loving her latest looks. Each city's premier was just so different to the last I couldn't wait to see what she'd wear to the next.

My stand-out favourite was definitely the stunning yellow Jason Wu dress (above) which she wore to the London premier. Teamed with a sleek pony tail and minimal jewellery, Elizabeth even stole the show from my other style crush and The Hunger Games star, Jennifer Lawrence.

She also had more than a touch of Kate Moss when she went all 60s hair and smoky eyed wearing a gold and glittering Elie Saab gown in Berlin. Again, totally changing her style and look from the other red carpet styles. I love a girl who takes a fashion risk and doesn't stick to a red carpet formula!





What's your favourite Elizabeth Banks red carpet look?

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By Carina Sullivan

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Wednesday Wishlist: The Party Dress

http://www.asos.com/French-Connection/French-Connection-Glitter-Whisper-Dress-with-Bow-Back/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=3450634&cid=8857&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=204&sort=-1&clr=Black

Who doesn't love shopping for a party dress? It probably goes back to that velvet party dress you had when you were five that you weren't allowed to wear until the day of the party, despite the days spent begging your mum and promising not to spill anything on it/climb trees in/ride your bike in. We never won that argument with mum, but the illusive party dress still has the power to excite and make you feel amazing.

I've been looking to ASOS for my party wear needs and have found some corkers. So whether you want to 'wow' at the office Christmas party, you're one of 'those' who dresses up on Christmas day while everyone else is in a dressing gown, or you, like me, have about eight different parties throughout December and really need to start thinking about sequins, sparkle and glitz.

The French Connection number above, complete with a large, sparkly bow, is every little girls fantasy party dress, so I couldn't resist adding it to the wishlist. It may be pricey at £180 but it's bloody brilliant! And never be afraid of colour with a Christmas party frock. I love this kimono dress in brilliant blue, and the shape will be really flattering if you've overindulged on Christmas sandwiches. In November (just me?).

http://www.asos.com/ASOS/ASOS-Kimono-Drape-Dress-With-Tie-Waist/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=3469197&cid=8857&sh=0&pge=1&pgesize=204&sort=-1&clr=Cobalt 

I really dig a Christmas party dress with sleeves. Not only is it practical to add the extra layer, but there's something so chic about a party dress with delicate sleeves. Whether you go sheer, like this Karen Millen baroque stunner, or for a solid fabric, an intricate sleeved dress is perfect for the Christmas party.

http://www.asos.com/Karen-Millen/Karen-Millen-Mesh-Dress-with-Floral-Embroidery/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=3622820&cid=8799&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=36&sort=-1&clr=Black%2fmulti

Dresses not your bag? Then a jumpsuit has your name all over it! Long or short, a stylish jumpsuit or playsuit will look awesome on the dance floor and is practical if you have to leg it from the office pervert. Win win.

http://www.asos.com/ASOS/ASOS-Jumpsuit-in-Check-Velvet/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=3193325&cid=16275&sh=0&pge=0&pgesize=204&sort=-1&clr=Multi

Have I got you in the mood to shop party dresses? Check more out here.

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By Carina Sullivan

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Harper’s Bazaar Woman Of The Year Awards 2013 - Best Dressed


Beside the winners and the beautiful dresses on the red carpet at the Harper’s Bazaar Woman Of The Year Awards 2013, everyone was talking about the lovely mother and son photo shoot going on with Victoria and Brooklyn Beckham.

Even Victoria Beckham, the master of the composed red carpet performance, couldn't hold back the sheer pride and happiness of being escorted down the red carpet by her dashing teenage son, Brooklyn. Looking like the sixth member of One Direction, cute as a button Brooklyn complemented Mummy's chic black look. I was especially digging Victoria's sleek, swept hair style. Very Sandra Bullock Oscars 2010.


I also loved The Saturdays' Mollie King in this dogtooth Gucci number. With barely there make up and uncomplicated hair, she shunned her usual cutesy style for a very 'fashion' option. I like it and think she may be The Saturdays version of Nicola Roberts.
 

Not only did Rita Ora win 'Musician of the Year' at the awards, but she also looked incredible in a simple yet effective lace fishtail dress with newly dyed silvery platinum hair. The matte berry lip is also so on trend it hurts.

Who was your best dressed at Harper’s Bazaar Woman Of The Year Awards?

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By Carina Sullivan

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Don't Sweat It: How to Wear Luxe Sweatshirts for A/W13

I can't tell you how happy I am that sweatshirts are big news for autumn/winter, thanks mainly to the insanely popular Givenchy Bambi print sweatshirt. They're so comfy, warm and so easy to throw on, but how do you give them a luxe twist without spending £750 (what the what?!) on the Givenchy number? I've picked some of my favourite sweat pieces that I'm coveting from ASOS this season.


So as you'll see from this styling from ASOS, the key to making sweats looks luxe is to keep the colours neutral, keep it sleek and balance the look with a a contrast fabric skirt. A flash of skin and killer heels doesn't hurt either when trying to move from 'sports' to 'sports luxe'.

These sweatshirts manage to look so effortlessly good as they all have luxe design elements, from contrast panels and embellishment to oversized proportions and interesting textures. So whether you want a sweatshirt with a statement motif (hello Bambi) or a minimalist crisp sweat (like the Whistles number below), you definitely need to upgrade your slob-at-home sweats for A/W13 and up the style stakes.



How do you wear your sweats?

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By Carina Sullivan

Monday, 14 October 2013

Style Stalking: My Favourite Plus Size Bloggers


I'm not the biggest fan of the term 'plus size' (it always seems patronising) but I am a fan of the amazing plus size bloggers out there at the moment. Having worked for the UK's leading plus size retailer, Evans, for the last two years, I've come across some fan-bloody-tastic bloggers from around the world who are great because they show that style has absolutely nothing to do with your size.

If you're not familiar with some of these bloggers listed below, I urge you to check out their blogs. Some are fashion focused, others are more lifestyle, all are awesome. These women not only show us great fashion and style, but promote body confidence and support their readers with each post. They are well written, have stunning outfit posts and they make trends, they don't follow them. Here are some of my favourites, but there are many, many more!




Tanesha is obviously drop dead gorgeous, but also can put together an outfit like a stylist. She knows how to dress for her shape and also adds a twist to her classic style while promoting positive body image.



There's cool and then there's Nadia. This girls breaks all the (idiotic) rules of dressing if your plus size, and she does it with such a strong personal style and inspirational approach that it's impossible not to get addicted to her blog (and Instagram).



Stephanie Zwicky is the creator of the French plus size blog, Le Blog de Big Beauty, and I love her chic ensembles. She always mixes in luxe details, has amazing shoes and that girl can *wear* a coat.



Australian blogger Ashley gives great face and shows her twist on current trends. She's not afraid of wet look leather, bodycon dresses and stylish/sexy finishes. Always has great accessories too!



Gabi is one stylish lady. So stylish she's even launched her own swimwear collection (that sold out within a day!) and had all girls wishing they could wear own her cosmic print bikini. With pretty party dresses mixed with tough leather and snapback hats, you will love Gabi's style.



Georgina is not only a vampish, pin-up, hourglass, but she also works damn hard to educate and guide her readers. From thorough bra reviews and testing shapewear to showing the power of a well placed belt, Georgina will have you wanting to put on a wiggle dress, adding a red lip and victory roll-ing it up.

Other must-read sites if you're interested in plus size fashion:
Do you have a favourite plus size/curvy/fuller figure blogger?

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By Carina Sullivan

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Wednesday Wishlist: Pink Coats from John Lewis


If you buy one thing this season, then make it a pink coat. From cocoon shapes to fit and flare, in dusty rose to bold fuchsia, there's no wrong pink coat this season. John Lewis has absolutely loads of beautiful pink coats from brands like Boutique by Jaeger, French Connection and Hobbs and these are my favourite silhouettes and shades.

 


Will you be wearing pink this winter?

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By Carina Sullivan

Monday, 23 September 2013

Best Dressed at the 2013 Emmys


Looking through my choices for best dressed at the 2013 Emmy awards, it would appear I've got a penchant for column dresses, sharp tailoring and awesome hair at the moment. And as always, I definitely have a thing for Zooey Deschanel, Tina Fey and Rose Byrne, who all looked incredible on the red carpet.

Lady Mary looked regal in Prada, but my favourite part of the dress was the elegant back and huge bow, working with a power bob hair style that Anna Wintour would be proud to call her own.

I can't actually pick a red carpet favourite as I absolutely loved Rose Byrne incredibly sophisticated Calvin Klein crop top ensemble (has anyone ever pulled off "sophisticated" and "crop top" in the same outfit?) and that powder pink colour is so on trend it hurts. But then Zooey Deschanel was rockin' my world in a kind-of-relieved-it-wasn't-princessy J. Mendel dress in icy blue/grey. Because, you know, it takes a lot of work to make Zooey's eyes really stand out, so she kind of has to wear blue.

J. Mendel was also spotted on Kate Mara, who just looks cool. You know she looks cool, she knows she looks cool, everyone just be cool (*squeals* look at her hair! And her dress has pockets!!). But can we just take a moment to say how FIT Tina Fey looks. Sofia Vergara eat your heart out, there's a new amazing waist to hip ratio in town.





Who was your best dressed at the 2013 Emmys?

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By Carina Sullivan

Thursday, 19 September 2013

London Fashion Week SS14 Round Up: I Want Candy!


I may have had to sit out this London Fashion Week as I was working, but I've been keeping a keen eye on Instagram (how good was Grazia's live coverage via Instagram!) and watching the LFW shows unfold hour by hour over the last few days and seen one big trend time and time again. It looks like the candy coloured, ladylike chic, lace and sheer layers trend that we saw all over the SS13 and AW13 catwalks is here to stay for SS14. So invest wisely in your autumn wardrobe and see those candy colours look fresh until spring!


Burberry's entire collection was candy coloured and embellished with layers upon layers of structured sheers, creating a dreamy display of ladylike, sweet wrapper encased model army. The pastel shades of pink, blue and yellow were the key colours and made my mind up that I *need* a pink crombie coat this winter.


Someone who always mixes the pretty with the kickass is Christopher Kane and I loved his shiny and sheer collection, with a gorgeous mix of candy colours and metallics. These parma violet hues, statement sweatshirts and fluffy foiling was very addictive, like a beautiful sweet wrapper. Just how much do I want the 'PETAL' jumper and prim skirt combo?!

Peter Pilotto's origami folds, optical illusion layered prints and paper doll A-line shapes looked best in the pastel hues, again with the lilac accents. The fresh blue shade is gorgeous and screams summer, and looks fantastic teamed with a tangerine lip.

This is my favourite trend from the shows, but what was your favourite trend from London Fashion Week SS14?

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By Carina Sullivan

Images: Style.com and Burberry

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

The Best of New York Fashion Week SS14: Victoria Beckham, Jason Wu and Rag & Bone

New York Fashion Week SS14 is well under way and I've been loving so many of the shows from the tents. The main trend I'm seeing (and being drawn to) is definitely 90s glam grunge. I'm imagining Gwen Stefani and Courtney Love rocking many of these styles BITD (back in the day, I may have invented this acronym) and can imagine the Olsens and willowy it girls wearing it today.


Victoria Beckham's collection was, dare I say it and join the already buckling bandwagon, my favourite from NYFW. The peekaboo pleats and geometric details were to die for and the pop of pink within a monochromatic base made me very happy. Mathematician meets tennis pro meets Scandinavian cool.


Jason Wu's understated shapes, diluted hues and light layers is just too cool for school. I love, love, love the feathery grey palette and the oversized and drapey mac - oh so chic. Tailoring mixed with barely there slip dresses gives this collection a grown up grunge feel.


How low will you go? Well Rag & Bone have gone even lower than that. Who doesn't want an exaggerated v-neck cricket jumper in an icy blue? The collection was a mix between statement knitwear, tailored 7/8th length trousers and sheer, dreamy dresses. See what I mean about Courtney Love - you can see her in that dress!

What's been your favourite New York Fashion Week SS14 show?

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By Carina Sullivan

Images: Style.com

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

What I See Project


What do you see when you look in the mirror? And how did you interpret that question? If you follow me on twitter or instagram you may have seen that a few weeks I took part in the 'What I See' project, bringing together women from all over the world and all walks of life and asking them 'What do you see when you look in the mirror?'.

The What I See Project is the brainchild of the successful entrepreneur Edwina Dunn, who pioneered worldwide loyalty programmes like Tesco’s Clubcard. Her innate understanding of people led her to found this not-for-profit Project.
Even as a powerful role model in her own right, Edwina didn't feel that she was being heard as much as men in the boardroom. This experience shaped her professionally and personally, so she established The What I See Project to celebrate the inspiring women from everyday life whose stories would otherwise go unacknowledged.
Since launching in February of this year the project has already seen over 500 contributions from more than 350 women across eleven different countries. This community continues to grow everyday.

Over the next 5 weeks the What I See Project will show over 100 unique videos from different women as part of an the campaign. Ten documentaries will also be released, each focused on a woman who has become a success in their particular profession.



I am 1 of the 100 women who have been filmed or sent in a film sharing our answer to the question, and on the day of filming it was a distinctly varied group of women, from writers, editors and bloggers from fashion, science, business, politics, art and sport. As this question is so emotive and personal, I had a rough idea what I wanted to say, but didn't have it fully planned out. The main thing that inspires and shapes who I am and what I see are the inspiring, amazing women in my life. From family to life-long friends, these women have shown me how to be the best version of me. My mum, Jackie, is extremely important to me and is always my main sounding board for all aspects of my life. She's also always encouraged me to value and respect myself, and that being beautiful, thin or rich will not make you happy, being kind, surrounding yourself with good people and being true to yourself will.

Click this link to watch my video as I try and answer this thought provoking question - whatiseeproject.com//story/what-do-you-see-when-you-look-in-the-mirror566

If this has inspired you to share your experience of what you see, then head to www.whatiseeproject.com and upload your own message to add your voice to the project.

Want to see more from another contributor? Then check out Lulu Le Vay's video on www.lululevay.com

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By Carina Sullivan

Monday, 19 August 2013

Leading Ladies M&S Autumn/Winter Campaign

http://www.marksandspencer.com/

This isn't just any autumn/winter ad campaign, this is an M&S autumn/winter ad campaign shot by Annie Leibovitz staring some of the most inspiring women of today. Marks and Spencer's 'Leading Ladies' campaign is a fantastic mix of amazing women from the world of sport, art, business and fashion.

Legendary flame-haired grande dame of Vogue, Grace Coddington poses alongside celebrated artist Tracey Emin and the inspirational model and TV presenter Katie Piper in quintessential British surroundings. The stylish and chic collection from M&S is shown in a refreshing way, championing and recognising not only model good looks, but achievements and ability. This diverse mix of age, size, shape, style and race is not only refreshing, it's a great example (and challenge) to set to other British retailers.

http://www.marksandspencer.com/


How would you like to see retailers change how and what they use to advertise?

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By Carina Sullivan

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Wednesday Wishlist: Tartan Dress from ASOS


This is probably due to the fact I watched Clueless at the weekend, but I am obsessed with all things tartan at the moment - tartan dresses, tartan trousers, tartan jackets - and this number from 'Glamorous' at ASOS is all kinds of awesome. With 90s grunge and ladylike dressing the trends I'm coveting for autumn/winter, this dress miraculously works for both.

If you want to give this look a ladylike twist, try adding low heeled pointy court shoes and a fluffy, textured cardigan and do your best impression of a Mad Men secretary. Or if you want to go all 90s grunge and listen to your Alanis CD then try adding black platform boots or DMs and toughen it up with a battered, oversized leather biker.

The best bit about this wardrobe musthave? It's only £17.50 in the ASOS 20% of new season offer. Yippie!

How would you wear tartan?

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By Carina Sullivan

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Whitney Port Venus & Olay Summer Shorts Fashion Challenge


You know I'm a Gilette Venus devotee, so when they contacted me and asked if I'd like to take part in the Whitney Port Venus & Olay summer shorts fashion challenge I, of course, said yes. It also gave me the chance to see how many synonyms I could find for legs, my favourite being 'stems'.

As you may have seen, it's been announced recently that Whitney Port (star of The Hills, fashion designer and owner of endless pins) is the Venus & Olay goddess ambassador! She reveals: ‘I have always been a Venus fan, so when I heard about the new Venus & Olay razor I couldn’t wait to try it. The combination of Olay’s moisturising ingredients with Venus’s five-blade technology leaves my skin soft and glowing, making my legs the prefect accessory to any summer outfit.’

And to celebrate this perfect pins partnership, I was asked to customise a pair of denim shorts - perfect for summer festivals fashion, of which Whitney would judge the winning pair (shorts, not legs!). So I got a golden box full of trinkets and treats to add a bronzed summer glow to my shorts. I went for a starburst flower effect on a back pocket, a ghetto fabulous gold chain that went for front to back and pearl beads sewn to the front pockets.


Here's how I did it:

First, I positioned the flowers on the back pocket until I was happy with the layout, then I applied fabric glue to the back of the flowers. A small blob in the centre was enough and stopped the glue splodging out at the edges.

Top tips - place something on the underside of the fabric so you don't accidentally have any glue seep through and glue your shorts shut and always let the glue go slightly tacky first so it sticks well.



Then I got to work on the pearl beads on the front pockets. I used gold thread that was in the kit, in-keeping with the golden glow theme, and got to work sewing on the tiny beads. This little touch will give any denim item a special look, and you could try sewing almost anything on to customise high street jeans and give it a personal style touch.

Top tips - to save time and effort, double up your beads as you sew by putting 2 beads on each stitch and never make your thread too long as it'll also end in tangles (and tears).


How would you customise denim shorts?

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By Carina Sullivan

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

September Issue: The Best Covers of 2013


It's officially time to start thinking autumn/winter when the September issues descend on us. And there are some great magazine covers and fashion spreads to kick of the tricky transitional period between summer and autumn.

Whether it's Blake Lively's dreamy pastel coat on the cover of LUCKY (FYI pastel coats are huge news this A/W, so invest in a baby blue or cotton candy pink coat) or Katy Perry wearing a part prim part fashion-forward monochrome check playsuit for Elle (again, another key trend for A/W - anything monochrome and anything check goes!). And what list of September covers would be complete without Miss Cara Delevingne?! She is looking as quirky and simply stunning as ever on the cover of Vogue Japan.



What's your favourite September Issue magazine cover of 2013?

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By Carina Sullivan