Thursday, 12 January 2017

Top Five: January Party Dresses

I know, I know, why am I talking about party dresses? It’s January and everyone is broke/detoxing/giving up alcohol. Payday seems to be forever away and all everyone wants to do is hibernate until February. Well, everyone apart from January babies. It was my birthday last week and I speak from experience when I say that January is the most depressing month to be born, for the above reasons. No one is ever in the mood to celebrate, do you turn a year older but without the sparkles and glitter. What a raw deal!

When I turned 30, I changed my celebrations to a few months later to celebrate my half birthday and it was a revelation. Everyone was happy, tanned, the weather was good and everyone was happy. This year though, I’m going to champion January celebrations and making sure the year gets off to a good start – whether there’s a birthday to celebrate or not. Everyone needs a good excuse to get dressed up in a gorgeous cocktail dresses  to start the year off right. Here are my top five party dresses under £35.

  1. Black embroidered shirt dress - £25
    A classic shirt dress is the perfect piece to take you from the office to dinner in January, it’s not too dressed up but easy to accessorise up. I love the embroidered detail on the back. I’d wear this with opaques, chic court shoes, a choker and a bold cherry lip, this season’s biggest makeup trend.
  2. Navy bodycon mini dress - £25 Navy is one of my favourite colours, especially in the evening. Black is timeless but everyone wears black, I also find navy more flattering. This figure hugging dress will accentuate your figure and I love the delicate strap detailing.
  3. Velvet bodycon dress - £25 Velvet was one of my favourite trends for AW16, it just feels so sumptuous and luxe. That’s why I couldn’t resist adding this little velvet number to my edit. The champagne colour would look equally good with opaques or bare legs when the weather starts to warm up in spring.
  4. Off the shoulder denim embroidered dress - £30 Off the shoulder is a key trend for SS17, seen across the catwalks from New York to Paris. This dress would look great with some over the knee boots for a statement look or red courts, playing up the red embroidery.
  5. Black dress with lattice crochet detail - £35 I couldn’t do a dress edit without at least one LBD. As much as I love navy, you can’t go wrong with a classic LBD. I love the crochet detailing on this dress, I’d style it with 1920s style Hollywood waves for a bombshell look.
In collaboration with Claire McPhillimy

Monday, 9 January 2017

Golden Globes Best Dressed 2017

I love the Golden Globes. Kicking off awards season as we approach mid-January, aka the time we need beauty and sparkles the most. Overall, I was fairly underwhelmed by the red carpet looks this season. While the likes of Emma Stone and Sienna Miller did look great, I feel like many played it safe on the red carpet and didn’t really want to wow. There were, of course, some breath-taking looks too. Here are my favourite looks from last night’s glittering awards.

Priyanka Chopra in Ralph Lauren
For me, Priyanka won the red carpet. Hands down. Best dressed by a mile. I may be slightly biased as I love seeing Indian actresses slaying in Hollywood…representation is important. But her incredible Ralph Lauren gown is a stunner, featuring 1,600 hours of hand embroidery with gold sequins and glass beads. I love that it was styled with a simple blowdry and dark berry lip.

Blake Lively in Versace
We all know that Blake can wear the hell out of a dress. She’s always a welcome sight on the red carpet as she always brings her A-game, this stunning Versace dress is exhibit A. The black velvet and ornate gold detailing with the plunging neckline make the think of old Hollywood glamour. Perfectly styled with minimal make-up and her hair swept off her face, one of my favourite looks.

Natalie Portman in Prada
Natalie is also someone who always brings their A-game to the red carpet – even when heavily pregnant! Swathed in canary yellow in a beautiful ‘60s gown, she is the epitome of elegance and is totally rocking the pregnancy glow.

Emily Ratajkowski in Reem Acra
Also opting for yellow, Emily stunned on the red carpet. I feel her style is getting slightly edgier and I’m here for it. This dress was the perfect choice for the bombshell, with dramatic slits and super plunging neckline. I’m also a big fan of the deconstructed faux bob.

Ruth Negga in Louis Vuitton
The overwhelming trend at the Globes was sugary pink or pretty sherbet. Ruth’s futuristic metallic shimmer of a dress was the perfect antidote to the overly sweet red carpet dresses. I love that she stayed true to her aesthetic and picked a simple look which made a big impact.

Lily Collins in Zuhair Murad Couture
Speaking of sweet dresses, Lily’s dreamy dusky pink tulle gown could easily have looked too saccharine but it was well accessorised with a sweeping updo and a slightly gothic matte berry lip giving it a much needed edge. Definitely one of the best looks of the night.

Brie Larson in Rodarte
Red on the red carpet is always tricky to pull off but Brie looks incredible in this Rodarte gown. The dress is simple but really accentuated her tiny waist and d├ęcolletage with criss-cross detailing and a sprinkling of stones. The burgundy lip and sleek waves finish this look off perfectly.


Friday, 6 January 2017

My Blogger New Year's Resolutions

I have to hold my hands up; I’m not one for New Year’s resolutions. The concept of declaring ‘new year, new me’ on a set date and trying to overhaul your entire life in one go on a day dictated by a calendar just seems a little silly.  As far as I’m concerned, every day is a good day to make a positive change. In the last year I have adopted some great new habits without the aid of a specific calendar date. Nothing major, just little things like having a green smoothie for breakfast everyday, meditating as much as possible and never using make up remover wipes. Just small, easy tweaks slowly introduced across the year to make me healthier and happier.

That being said, there is something about having a fresh start. A new year feels like a fresh page. It’s inevitable to reflect on the passing of a year and think about what went well and what you can learn from, as I did in my previous post on New Year’s Eve. As well as learning about self-care and the art of letting go, I also rediscovered my love of blogging. I’ve been candid about my struggle with blogging as it’s evolved over the years and how disingenuous it’s become. From outlandish demands and inflated figures to navigating the politics of blogger cliques, the industry has changed a lot in the eight years since I set up Fashion Daydreams.

This year, I stripped away any niggles and doubts, instead choosing to start writing again for me, after all that’s how I started. Rather than being a slave to PRs and an overflowing inbox, I started writing about things I love and that resonate with me. Instead of going to 5 events a night and laughing about being on the champagne and canape diet, I only went to ones which piqued my interest. And more crucially, instead of pressuring myself to write a new post every day, I aimed to write twice a week. Blogging now feels brand new and I’m creating content I’m proud of and I’m so motivated to keep improving and getting better. Not for anyone or due to fierce competition, for myself.

And although I’m not a fan of resolutions, I couldn’t help but think of a few resolutions or goals I want to achieve with my blog. I’m proud of what I achieved in 2016 and can’t wait to achieve more. I wanted to share some of my blogging resolutions and I’ve asked some of the bloggers that inspire me what they want to achieve in 2017, I can’t resist getting a sneak peek into what my faves have in store for this year. Here are our blogger’s new year’s resolutions:

Play to your strengths
One of the lessons I’ve learnt this year is to focus on my strengths. Blogging has become such a diverse industry, with engaged communities across every sector from music and fitness to food and of course fashion. I love the idea of vlogging about beauty, particularly as a women of colour but it’s just not my forte. I get super nervous talking in public and don’t feel qualified to give beauty or make up advice; I can’t do a smoky eye to save my life! I do, however, know fashion. I’ve worked in the industry for 8 years and currently have a great job working with luxury brands so this really is my strength and what I should focus on. That’s not to say beauty, travel and lifestyle won’t sneak onto Fashion Daydreams though..!

More outfit posts
This is something I have wanted to do for a long, long time. Fashion Daydreams started life as a creative outlet for my outfits – back when it was acceptable to post pictures taken in your bedroom with your head cut off. Thankfully things have moved on a lot since then! The best part of being a blogger is being able to share your personal view and taste and this is something I’d love to do more of. I’ve been scoping out photographers for the last couple of months, so watch this space!

More personal posts
This is such a great resolution, the reason bloggers are thriving is because we have a unique voice and perspective. This is something that my favourite menswear blogger, Jaime of Boy Meets Fashion, wants to share more this year, stating “My new year's resolution is to start producing some personal posts.  It's something I have been wanting to do for quite some time because I love connecting with people to discuss experiences, and have always been fascinated by the human psychology. There is perhaps nothing more human than to write about this beautiful existence we call life! “

Travel moreSharing travel adventures goes hand-in-hand with more personal posts. I travel fairly frequently and love sharing my journey and travel tips with everyone. Travel, especially to developing countries is a real passion of mine and I get so much engagement on the blog and social when I’m travelling. This is something Kirsty from the fab Fashion for Lunch blog wants to do more of this year, “it would be great to travel a little more in 2017, in 2016 I was at home a lot as I was busy renovating my house, so I'm hoping to get out a little more this year! My readers always love my travel posts as I tend to find the colourful corners of my locations and the slightly more off-the-beaten track shops and cafes.”

Stop comparing yourself to others
I think it’s human nature to compare yourself to others, especially in blogging. It can be really distracting and stop you from focusing on your own unique voice and perspective. Kirsty also wants to stop comparing herself to others this year, “I know it's terrible, but I am always comparing myself to others and feeling not good enough as a result! Which is just silly as we all have different strengths and weaknesses, but I'm quite hard on myself and it's very easy to not feel good enough! So that's something I'm really going to be working on!”

Don’t be afraid to create
For many bloggers, blogging started as a creative outlet. I think it’s important to remember this and keep pushing the creative envelope. This is something that the brilliant Ashanti from Adorn Girl knows all too well, “2017 is really about mixing it up creatively. My 2017 resolution is to blog less. I ideally want to take on more photography commissions, and the blog will be used as the space to experiment and showcase my product photography.”

And there you have it. There it is in black and white, the things I would like to focus on for the next year. I’d love to hear what your resolutions are for 2017 in the comments!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Top Five: Selfridges Sale Steals

Does anyone else find that they develop a slightly obsession to sale shopping at this time of the year? I get a weird pleasure out of finding beautiful pieces at ridiculously reasonable prices. Selfridges is one of my favourite places to go sale shopping, in the past I’ve managed to snap up a bright pink backless mohair dress by Sibling for £40, the original retail price was over £400! Although it’s bright pink, it was a real investment purchase due to the cut and the luxe mohair and I still wear it 4 years. That’s the mark of a true sale steal; a timeless piece you’ll keep in your wardrobe for years to come.

The best bargains are always found in store, but it’s so much more convenient to shop online so I’ve rounded up my favourite investment buys from Selfridges just for you:

  1. Reiss Xeni velvet dress – was £150, now £75
    While velvet was a huge trend for AW16, I think it’s a pretty staple fabric so you’ll be able to wear it for years to come. This dress has a gorgeous midnight blue hue – my favourite colour – and a very simple, flattering cut. The simple lines of the dress are accentuated with the asymmetric neckline, a tiny detail which has a big impact on how this dress looks.
  2. Jimmy Choo Daphne platforms – was £620, now £375
    I’ve got a confession, I love Jimmy Choo shoes. I ‘accidentally’ bought myself two pairs while I was supposed to be Christmas shopping last month, whoops! I love these platforms, which have a sturdy block heel, secure ankle strap and intricate whipstitch detailing. A stunning, classic shoe.
  3. MAC Nutcracker sweet matte lipstick – was £17, now £11.50
    This may be a controversial statement but I think MAC’s limited edition collections have the best shades. I have a roster of staple lipsticks (Twig, Russian Red and Diva, since you asked), but the limited collections are SO covetable and usually sell out super quickly. I love the classic ‘So good for you’ red from the Nutcracker Sweet collection.
  4. Valentino ruffle neck jumper – was £1,000, now £295 
    This jumper is an absolute steal! And a gorgeous piece to add to your wardrobe. A pretty, timeless, neutral shade which is spiced up with a subtle ruffle, cable motif and metallic thread to keep it cute, this jumper would look great layered over a dress or simply worn with jeans and court shoes.
  5. MAC Nutcracker Sweet essential brush kit – was £45, now £31.50 
    From the same collection as the gorgeous ‘So good for you’ lipstick above, I also spied this pretty brush kit on sale. It includes the face blender brush, blending brush and small angle brush in a bold pouch. May your contour be perfectly blended throughout 2017!

Saturday, 31 December 2016

Happy New Year!

It’s been a long old slog but we are finally here, it’s New Year’s Eve and time to say goodbye to 2016. I think we can all agree that this year has been pretty horrible but while many people are keen to write off the whole year as a rotten one, I think it’s important to look for the positives. It’s not black and white, there is no such thing as a ‘good’ or ‘bad’ year. Your year will be as good or bad as you choose to remember it.

Over the Christmas break, I’ve naturally been reflecting on 2016. As we approach 2017, I wanted to mull over the ups, the downs and everything that has happened. There’s universal agreement that 2016 has had some very low lows, I think it’s important to consolidate the low points in order to learn from them and move forward in a positive way - everything is a learning experience. And of course it’s equally important to focus on the highs, celebrate the good times and give thanks for all of the good things in your life. Everything that happens is either a blessing or a lesson.

One of the biggest lessons I’ve learnt this year is the importance of self-care – which I touched on in my post for self-care tips in the New Year. I learned the hard way that it’s not selfish to put yourself first, it’s actually essential. How can you give to others if you’re running on empty – which is what I was doing for months til I reached breaking point. I had no choice but to stop and objectively weigh up everything in my life to see whether it was helping me or hindering me.

It was liberating but also quite frightening spending time assessing whether situations or people were adding to my life or draining me. If it was the latter, it had to go. Sometimes in life you end up in circumstances or with people who just exhaust you rather than energise and help you. There’s a poet I adore called Warsan Shire, she sums this up so eloquently: “But sometimes your light attracts moths and your warmth attracts parasites. Protect your space and energy”.

I spent much of the year shedding – people, places, situations, homes, clothes, possessions. Things that no longer serve me, inspire me or help me to grow. But instead of losing anything of value in my life, I created room for more. I realised that I didn’t need to hold onto any of it, I was discarding dead weight and making room for new shoots to grow. The first half of the year was pretty tough, but I’d do it all again because I’ve come out of 2016 much stronger and happier than ever with great people in my life and a bright path in front of me. The year wasn’t all bad, I learned to let go and curate a life I love. A grateful heart is a happy heart.

I hope you have all had time to reflect on the year and consolidate the ups and downs. We’re all a lot more fortunate than we realise and hopefully when you look back on 2016, you’ll have happy memories and lessons that you’ve taken away. I hope your 2017 is full of happiness and love and that you see in the new year with a smile.

Thank you so much for your continued support of Fashion Daydreams and my writing, it means so much to me that you read my blog. I have so many exciting projects and more personal posts in the pipeline so keep your eyes peeled!

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