Damart – Dressing The Grown Up Version Of Me {AD-GIFTED}

I’m 5ft 2 and a size 8, so I’m not a big person, but I’m not dainty by any stretch of the imagination.  In fact, I’ve been referred to as an ‘elephant’ more than once because of how heavy-footed I am.  I stomp about and I don’t even know I’m doing it.  When I run up the stairs to go to bed it’s like a herd of wildebeest stampeding through and when I go to visit my Dad he’s forever reminding me that people live downstairs and they’re probably worried I’m going to fall through their ceiling at any minute.
I do try and be quiet, I try and walk quietly, but it’s impossible.
As a result of my non-daintiness, it’s not very often that I feel ladylike.  I can make-up my face, do my hair and don a dress and high heels, but alas, elegance evades me.
However, sometimes, just sometimes, I put on an outfit that makes me want to swooooooosh around and glide across a dancefloor like a refined woman.  The most recent item to make me feel like this was a dress I wore on my recent holiday to Morocco.  I put it on and I felt like a million dollars.
From online retailer Damart, it’s quite a simple dress – maxi length and empire line with a crossover at the front, a gathered waist and little details on the straps which pull them in and shape them really nicely.  The material itself is a soft, stretchy jersey material and somehow manages to be heavy enough to feel good quality, whilst being light enough to flutter in the breeze – as per the photo below!
Look at it flutter!
However, as simple as it may be, I love it and since I put the photo on my blog, Twitter, Instagram, I’ve received SO many compliments on it – it seems I’m not the only person to love it!
It’s also currently reduced to £14 on the Damart website, down from £35!  Bargain!
As well as this dress, I also received a shirt from them.  It’s a size too big, but I like the oversized look of it.  It’s made of a linen-type material which feels great quality; it doesn’t feel like it’s going to lose its shape after a few washes and it’s really nice and warm, so will be perfect for days in the office now the autumn is making itself known.
As I’ve told you before, K’s camera skills aren’t the best, but he attempted to take some photos of me wearing the shirt yesterday evening – I don’t think he’s done too badly!
Shirt – Damart*
Vest Top – Matalan
Wet Look Leggings – Primark
Belt – Matalan
Shoes – Everything 5 Pounds
Necklace – Lady Muck*
Bracelet – Elisha Francis*
The shirt actually buttons all the way up, but I liked the look of it with the two sides folded over at the top, so I could wear a vest top for a pop of colour and a statement necklace.
I think this shirt is easily transferable to different styles – like this for work or for a pub visit, with jeans for something a little more casual, and I think I’d even be tempted to wear it over the top of a bikini with a pair of flip flops to wander down to the beach on holiday!
I couldn’t find this shirt on their website, so I can’t tell you how much it costs, but I definitely recommend you take a peek at the HUGE selection of products – they have womenswear, menswear, footwear and homewares – so I’m sure you’ll find something you love!
As with any time I ask K to take photos for me, there were, of course out-takes, so I thought I’d share those with you too…
I had to include these two pictures, although not very flattering of me (I didn’t know they were being taken), because I think they really show the shirt off nicely!
And here’s… erm… the best of the rest?

 

He needs to sharpen up those skills!  Practice makes perfect, as they say!
As always, if you decide to treat yourself to anything, let me know so I can live my shopping dreams through you!
LilliesandLove xx
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Gandy’s Flip Flops {AD-GIFTED}

As I’ve mentioned numerous times, I’m off on my jolly holidays next month and I CANNOT wait!  Work has been so busy in the last few months, I definitely feel like I need a break.

 

I was thrilled to come home and find a little package waiting for me the other day from the people at Gandy’s Flip Flops.

 

f you haven’t heard of Gandy’s Flip Flops before, they’re an amazing brand with an incredible story, albeit a heartbreaking start…

 

Tragically left orphaned by the Tsunami that struck on Boxing Day 2004, two brothers decided they wanted to turn their horrendous, negative experience into a positive and to channel their energy and experience into helping others.

 

Having travelled for numerous years, whether alone or as a family, they had always been closely involved with helping children in developing countries, and decided they wanted to give something back.

 

Whilst at a festival, one of their friends awoke and said he had “a mouth like Gandy’s flip flop” and the spark was ignited in their brains!  The brothers decided to start their own company selling flip flops (as they had worn them much of their lives whilst travelling) and that a percentage of the profits would be used to build orphanages in under-priviledged countries, in their parents honour.  And thus, Orphans for Orphans was born.

 

They intend to open their first orphanage in 2014 – the 10th anniversary of the Tsunami that took their parents away from them and changed their lives forever – but in the meantime, they have donated money to buy school equipment for 100 children in Goa and supplied them with a teacher for a year!

 

So, what about the brand itself?  Well, Gandy’s supply flip flops for men, women and children, with the child sizes available in a choice of 13 different colours and costing £16.00.

 

For men and women, you can choose from either a selection of colour block (£19.99) or various print designs (£22.00) – I have to say, I have a bit of a soft spot for the animal print ones!

The flip flops I received were plain black, but to be honest, that’s perfect for me as it means they will go with pretty much anything I wear and can be used in several outfits!

 

 

The quality of the flip flops is great too – the base of them is soft and offers cushioning to your feet and the strap is the perfect balance between rigid and flexible.  It doesn’t feel like you’d finish the day in pain, nor that they’d break after a week’s constant use on holiday.

 

 

 

I know some people may be reading this and thinking that £20 is a lot to pay for a pair of flip flops, but having looked at some High Street retailers, I’ve found they’re charging anything from £10-30 for their flip flops and all of that money is going directly in their pockets.  When buying a pair of Gandy’s, you’re not breaking the bank and you also get the added feel-good-feeling of knowing that a portion of the money you’ve spent is going to aid those people in the world less fortunate than ourselves, and giving children a chance of having a better future

 

The brothers story is inspiring and humbling, and I can’t help but be amazed by what these two men have achieved.  From something truly awful they have developed something wonderful that will change the lives of so many children.  I can’t help but feel that their parents would have been incredibly proud of them.

 

LilliesandLove xx
 * PR Sample *
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Dr Renaud UK BB Cream {AD-GIFTED}

Back in March I told you about my visit to the Dr Renaud UK event, held at the gorgeous Kettner’s champagne bar in London.

At the event, they very kindly gave me a few samples of some Dr Renaud UK products to take away and try out.  Whereas with beauty products like make-up, they can be reviewed quite quickly (try them out, see what they’re like, write about it), I wanted to make sure that I reviewed these skincare products properly and so I said I would update you in 4-weeks.

 

As you can tell, it’s more than 4-weeks later, so why am I only just getting round to writing this post?  Well, to be honest – and this is going to sound crazy – the results of this were so good and I felt such a positive impact that I thought it must be a coincidence and decided to test it for longer to see what happened!  I basically thought it was too good to be true!
However, I can now tell you that having used the Dr Renaud UK Wrinkle Cream and Anti-Tiredness Eye Care almost every night since March, my skin has taken on a new life.
I was very lucky as a teenager in that I didn’t have particularly bad skin.  I had the odd break-out but I was by no means a ‘spotty teenager’ and people were always telling me what lovely skin I had.  To be honest, I’ve probably always taken it for granted up until I started taking an interest in beauty products, as I didn’t realise how much trouble some other people experience.
*** TMI WARNING ***
The only time I really suffer with bad skin is in the few days leading up to my “Ladies Days” (you know what I mean)  In fact, I’ve never had to mark on a calendar when my due date is, as I’ve always been able to tell when it’s going to happen by the condition of my skin and when I have a spot or two appear.  Its like clockwork!
The really telling point for me with these products was that I was happily minding my own business and BAM!  Mother Nature visited.  I was confused, wondering what had gone wrong, but when I checked the calendar she was right on time, as she should have been.  But my skin hadn’t broken out.  I hadn’t had a single spot.  Therefore I had not a clue that she was about to visit.
That in itself, I would say, is pretty substantial proof as to how much better my skin is now.
*** TMI SECTION OVER ***

Now remember, I’m no beauty expert, I’m just a normal girl, so I can only tell you what I feel and what I see.

 L-R:  Before and After

Although you can’t really see it in the pictures above due to taking them on my phone, to me, my skin seems brighter, ‘springier’ and looks healthier.  A few times I’ve caught sight of myself in the mirror and I’ve thought it’s looked like my skin has been glowing (no, not sweating, definitely glowing in a positive way!)

As well as these products, I was also given a Hydrating Cosmekit which is basically a little facial pack – I used it the other week and it was brilliant!

You start off with exfoliating, then you massage (they show you how to do it in the right way) and then you put the foaming mask on (which you mix up yourself using a sachet provided and water).

 

You leave it for around 10-minutes to work it’s magic before removing it with the spatula provided (I had my pack on while I was making my sandwiches for the next day at work – multi-tasking at it’s best!)

(I have never looked more sexy)

It felt great on my skin, smelt amazing (raspberry scented) and left my skin feeling really fresh, clean and revitalised.  The only downside to it for me was that each Cosmekit only has one use in it, because I would love to use this product every week!

 

Another noticeable thing for me, and a key point that shows how much of a difference these products have made to my skin, is that I’ve been able to stop using foundation and have replaced it with BB cream for everyday wear.
Because of my milk-white paler-than-pale skin, I’ve never been able to use BB creams before because I haven’t felt confident with the coverage they’ve given me; any mark or minor difference in skin tone has been visible, so I’ve always opted for foundation to hide it all away.  Dr Renaud UK’s BB cream is infused with the goodness of apples and acts on the following to help your skin look its best:
Even Skin Tone
Hydration
Radiance
Plumping
Smooth Skin
Mattifying
Daily Protection

 

I have to be totally honest here and say that I haven’t used the BB cream an awful lot.  There’s nothing wrong with the product at all, it’s just that there is another brand of BB cream that I adore and have continued to use as my go-to.  However, it must be noted that I wouldn’t have been able to use BB cream at all if it hadn’t have been for the Dr Renaud UK products improving my skin.
What I will say about BB cream is that it can sometimes be hard for someone as pale as me to find shades that blend in easily with my skin tone, but the Dr Renaud UK one (in shade ‘Natural’) did that perfectly, and, as the other products I’ve sampled have been so great, I don’t doubt for a second that their BB cream would perform just as well.
Overall, I have to say that now I’ve had a chance to trial these products thoroughly and over an extended period of time, I’m definitely a fan of Dr Renaud UK and will continue to use it once the samples I was provided have run out.  My skin has improved immensely and there’s a noticeable difference.
LilliesandLove xx
*PR Sample*

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My Visit to the Dr Renaud UK Event{AD-GIFTED}

I touched very briefly on this in an earlier blog post, but the week before last I was very lucky to get the opportunity to go to a Dr Renaud UK event.  I opted to wear my Hi-Tops of Happiness as I knew I’d be doing a fair bit of walking and wanted to see how comfortable they were.

Skincare is a particular interest of mine as I creep ever closer to the big 3-0 and I’ve started realising that I really need to step up my daily routines in order to keep wrinkles at bay and, like every other woman on the planet, attempt to beat the aging process.  So, the invitation to pop along to this event and find out some more about the brand was too good to turn down.

Along with fellow blogger Nicki, I travelled to Soho in London to champagne Kettner’s where the event was being hosted.  As neither of us are particularly skilled when it comes to exploring new areas, we were pleased that the venue was very easy to find and within just a few minutes walk of Leicester Square tube station.

 

As soon as we walked through the door, we were greeted by the lovely girls from Dr Renaud UK and CCDPR (who helped organise the event) and both handed a glass of champagne each.  (A definite way to win me over, I do love a glass of champers!)

 

After our introductions we were taken to one side and shown the products we were there to look at.  As mentioned in previous posts, I have a nut allergy so I really struggle to find skincare products that are suitable for me, as a lot of them have nut extracts in them as they’re so good for you (not so much for me though).  For me, to find a skincare brand that bases it’s science on natural products and doesn’t contain nuts is like all my Christmases come at once, so the Dr Renaud UK brand sounded brilliant for me.

 

Now, I’m no scientist so I won’t go into the finer details here (but you can visit the Dr Renaud UK website if you want to find out more) but I will tell you that these particular products all focus on the positives that their natural ingredients offer:

Raspberries – good for hydration
Apples – good for smoothing (therefore anti-aging)
Apricots – good for perfecting and making the skin more radiant

I’m a big advocate for nature being better for us than chemicals, so I found the whole concept really interesting.  Plus, the scent of these is amazing – so fresh and fruity and it lasted for hours after I got home, I kept sniffing my hand on the train back to Essex!

After being shown the products, we spent some time talking with their Scientific Director who explained the technical side of things, and then we were taken aside to have a treatment.

As we were both wearing make-up, we decided to have the treatment on our hands and I honestly can’t tell you what a difference it made to my skin – I looked like I had one old haggered hand and one young and glowing hand haha!

We were given samples of products to try at home and I’m really looking forward to seeing what difference they make to my skin, which is naturally quite dry.  (The one that looks like a cocktail shaker is the one they did on my hand – their raspberry hydrating programme).  The samples also included their 7-in-1 apricot BB cream which I’m very interested to use instead of my usual foundation.

I’m going to use these products for a month or so before I come back and update you as I want to give them a fair shot, but I will let you know how I get on!

LilliesandLove xx
* PR Sample *
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The Wonderful Hi-Tops Of Happiness from Barratts {AD-GIFTED}

I’ve always been pretty unsure about who I am when it comes to fashion.  I never knew what to wear and even just popping down the pub was a huge panic for me as I wasn’t sure what I should be wearing – dress up? dress down? skirt? jeans?

 

I would look at other people and be madly jealous of how effortlessly great they looked, but I just didn’t seem to have the ability to do it myself.
However, whether it’s a case of growing older or because I spend more time reading blogs these days, somehow I feel that I have found my fashion identity.  I don’t fit into any particular group, you wouldn’t look at me and say I’d modelled my look on anyone in particular; I’m just me.  I wear what I like and I’m comfortable in it.
One thing I’ve always had a bit of a soft spot for, but was never sure if I was ‘cool enough’ to wear, are Hi-Tops.  I love them but didn’t think that they would suit me so never bought them, and now I’m in a position where I’m comfortable to wear whatever I want, I’m on a spending ban, so they were something I had to add to my “When I’m Out Of Debt” list.
Then, I received a message from the lovely people at Barratts asking me if I would like a pair of their Hi-Tops.  I won’t lie, I did a little scream when I read that email.
Would I like a pair of Hi-Tops?
Would I?
Hmm…
YES.
So, I pulled myself together and replied saying that yes, I would very much like a pair of Hi-Tops and they instructed me to take a look at the Hi-Tops page of their website and pick the ones I wanted.  Sounded simple enough, but it took me a fair while to narrow down the choice.

 

 

 

These are just a few of the styles available, so I’m sure you can seem what a difficult task it was for me to pick just one pair!  However, I did manage to decide in the end, and it’s the pair that caught my eye first of all.

 

These babies:

 

 

 

As you can probably tell from looking at them, these Hi-Tops have a wedge heel in them, which is fab for someone like me who is a little on the short side.  It now means that I can have added height without having to wear heels and looking too dressy – perfect!

 

 

 

 

To be honest, since I’ve got these shoes, I’ve worn them A LOT.  I’ve done a fair bit of walking in these (to town and back and also around London for an afternoon) and they’re really comfortable which I’m pleased with, as I wasn’t sure how they would fare.  The fact they look brilliant too is another definite bonus – I’ve had so many compliments on them and a few of my friends have even gone on to the Barratts website and bought some for themselves!

 

Barratts currently have a sale on, so prices of their Hi-Tops start at just £5 at the moment!  Yes, you read that correctly, FIVE POUNDS!  Their most expensive pair are £76.  You can also use the discount code ‘FASHION’ at the checkout for an additional 20% off – which means you could pick up a pair of Hi-Tops for just £4!  Crazy!

 

So, if Hi-Tops are your kind of thing, or you want to give them a whirl, I definitely recommend trying out the Barratts range – there’s plenty of different styles, and with a sale AND a discount code available to use together, it’s too good an opportunity to pass up!

LilliesandLove xx
* PR Sample *
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