Working with Look Again & Showcasing Their New A/W Collections

Hi guys! I hope you're all well and had a lovely weekend. Today I want to share some exciting news with you all as I've partnered up with online retailer Look Again and over the next few months I'll be showcasing some of my favourite looks from their new A/W collections here on my blog and social media. It's always really exciting when I get the opportunity to work alongside a brand I really love so I'm super excited to get going and show you all some of my fave pieces.

If you've not heard of Look Again before (I'll be honest, I hadn't until they contacted me) then you're missing out as they're a fabulous online retailer who sell almost everything you could think of - womenswear, menswear, electronics, fragrance, makeup, gifts, etc, etc - the list could go on. They're also home to a whole range of amazing brands including  Oli, beautiful LASCANA lingerie, Melrose, John Devin and Laura Scott, all of which are exclusive to the Look Again website. They also stock some more well known brands including Lipsy, Agent Provocateur and Converse just to name a few. Seriously, you'll be stuck for choice when you have a browse and with over 200 styles being added every week, there's always something new to add to your basket. I'd class it as a website that's a 'one stop shop' as they stock everything from lingerie to dresses, sports wear, footwear and accessories so no matter what it is you're looking for, you're likely to find it on Look Again. 

They recently had their press day in London that showcased the new collections from their exclusive brands AJC and Melrose so I wanted to share a few images of the pieces so you can get a feel for the brand and a look at what's to come over the Autumn/Winter season before I start styling them up in some outfit posts. Both brands are really affordable and as you can see from the images, there's some really cute bits and bobs. I can't wait to get my hands on some of them and put some outfits together to share with you all. I especially love the khaki bomber jacket and all the loose fit/casual pieces from the AJC collection - they're very fitting with my style. They're the sort of pieces that you can throw on and be comfortable in and also look stylish at the same time so I can see myself getting loads of wear out of them and the colour palette is spot on for the A/W season with a mix of khaki, mustard and burgundy tones.

The Melrose collection is a lot more glam than AJC - think bodycon dresses, embellishment and lace detailing - perfect for those of you who like to get a bit more glam on a day to day basis and of course, great for evenings out and special occasions. I have to be honest, the AJC collection is definitely more me but there's still a few pieces I'm loving from Melrose and can't wait to style up. I love the more smart pieces which I think would be perfect for those occasions when I have an important meeting and want to look well presented. Also great for you business women and people who have to attend lots of meetings in their day to day jobs. My fave piece are these leather trousers as I've always wanted to style a pair of them - they look so chic paired with a simple court shoe and a blouse tucked in.

So there we have a brief overview of the latest Look Again collections and my exciting news that I'm partnering with them for the next few months so expect to see a lot more of them here on my blog!

Kylie Lip Kits & Glosses - Worth The Hype?

Kylie Jenner and her super full lips have become quite the talking point in the media over the past couple of years so it came as no surprise when she announced she was releasing her own range of lip products. I mean, she'd be stupid not to right? If you've got a pair of the worlds most famous pouts, it's only right they have their own products, no? Now I realise her lips have been 'enhanced' and wearing her lip products aren't going to make my lips look like hers but despite knowing this, I still had to give them a try and see what all the fuss is about as it seems the world has gone mad for them with each new launch selling out in a matter of minutes.

The reason this review is so late is because it took me SO long to actually get my hands on them. I tried ordering them as soon as they launched and numerous times after that only to get a 'sold out' message staring back at me.  However, after a few more weeks of trying, my order finally went through, yay! I received them a couple of weeks ago now so I thought I'd share my thoughts with you guys and am going to split this post into five categories - the ordering and delivery process, the packaging, the quality of the product itself, the value for money and the most important question - are they worth the hype?! Keep reading to find out what I think.

As I mentioned earlier, it took me a long time to actually order the products as overtime I tried, they'd sell out. I guess this can only be a good sign as it means they're in high demand and people are excited about them. However, when you're sat ready and waiting with your card the minute they launch and still can't buy any, it does get quite irritating. Apparently things have calmed down a bit now and people have been finding it much easier to place orders over the past couple of weeks. There's even been certain shades still available to buy a couple of days after the launch which is pretty surprising - maybe the whole world has bought a lip kit by now?! Hehe! 

Other than them selling out so quickly, when I did actually manage to get to the checkout without them selling out, the process was really quick and simple. I added the items I wanted to my basket and then waited a couple of minutes for the order to go through. When the order has been confirmed I received an email with details or my order, an order number and a link which enabled me to track the status of my order.

So far, so good. That's until I received a Royal Mail 'Fee to Pay' card and has to pay a £27.99 customs fee before the items would be delivered - fabulous. I could have bought another two lip kits for that price. Very annoying but I paid it and scheduled a day for delivery. However, Royal Mail decided to not deliver the parcel which resulted in me complaining and emailing them back and forth numerous times before it finally got delivered. I know that's nothing to do with Kyle Cosmetics and their service but it definitely wasn't the most straight forward delivery I've ever had. I think it took about 5 weeks for me to receive it from ordering.

The items arrived in a plain black box (apparently it used to have Kylie Cosmetics on the box but they had to change this as parcels were being opened and items stolen) and inside they were well wrapped with bubble wrap and in pristine condition. There was note in the box written by Kylie which thanked me from my order which I thought was a nice though. Obviously she didn't write every note individually but it still added a nice little personal touch.

The packaging of the products themselves is lovely too - the lip kits have Kylie's lips on them with the colour of the product dripping off them and come in a rectangular box with two sides in it - one for the lip pencil and one for the lipstick. The glosses are fairly similar but are obviously in individual size boxes rather than the large rectangular ones as they're a single product - they also don't have the lip image on them but they do still have that same dripping effect on one end of the box in the corresponding shades. I really love the packaging - I think it's chic, quirky and cool!!

I've read and heard really mixed reviews about the lip kits so I was curious to see how I'd get on with them. Some people say they're really drying to the point they couldn't wear them whilst others have said they're the best thing since sliced bread. In my opinion, I'd have to agree with the latter bunch of people as I LOVE them. I ordered four of the lip kits in the shades Dolce K, 22, Posie K and Koko K. I also wanted to get Candy K but it was unfortunately sold out so I'll be ordering that one along with some of Kylie's new gloss shades and a couple of the metals at a later date. Yep, I can see this being a new addiction. I also ordered two of the glosses in the shades Like and Literally.

I'm not going to do in depth about the shades as I'm sure you all know what they look like by now and if you don't, you only have to take one look at the Kylie Cosmetics Instagram to see them in all their glory. However, what I will say is that all of the shades I got are really wearable and there isn't one that I won't wear. My personal favourite from the four lip kits I ordered would have to be 22 as it's the most perfect muted orange toned red. I know most people's favourites are the more neutral shades and whilst they're beautiful, I've always been more of a bold lip girl so 22 is right up my street and it's like no other red shade I've worn before. In terms of the glosses, I love both of the shades I ordered as they're neutrals and perfect for every day wear.

What I love most about the lip kits quality wise is how long lasting they are. Trust me when I say these things do not budge. I wore 22 on a recent night out and it stayed on virtually all night, even with lots of drinking and eating. I also find them really comfortable to wear which surprised me as I was expecting them to be really drying after some of the negative reviews I've read. I haven't found them to be drying at all which is a big bonus for me! Another thing I have to mention is how pigmented they are - I only need one swipe to get the desired colour and they're totally opaque. The lip liners are nice and creamy too and I like that you get a perfect match for the lipstick as it makes all the difference and really does create a flawless looking lip. The glosses are also super pigmented which is quite unusual for a gloss and because they have such a shiny high gloss finish, they're perfect to wear over the matte liquid lipsticks or on their own to create a really full looking pout. The last couple of things I have to mention is that the applicators are really nice - the lip kits have a doe foot applicator and the glosses have a cute little brush. They also smell absolutely amazing!!

The lip kits are priced at $29.00 (£22.16) and the glosses are $15.00 (£11.46) which in all honesty, I think is pretty reasonable. Considering the Kardashian/Jenner clan are one of the most famous families in the world, she probably could have got away with charging more for her products and people would have still bought them so it's nice to see that she's made them a reasonable price and accessible to everyone. I have heard reports that the lip kits have the same formula or are at least very similar to the  Colorpop liquid lipsticks which are cheaper in price but I haven't tried those personally so couldn't comment on any similarities or differences in the quality and value for money.

One word - YES!!

Have you tried the Kylie Cosmetics products? I'm excited to see what's next - I'd love her to bring out a whole line of makeup, not just lip products!

Maybelline GO RIO! Makeup Range

I love when a new beauty launch lands at my door and I was particularly excited by these new 'GO RIO' products from Maybelline so I thought it was only right I shared them with you guys. I think I was initially drawn to them because of their super bright and fun packaging. I mean look at it - how Summery and pretty?! I have to admit, these products did arrive quite some time ago now and I feel like I should have probably reviewed them quite some time ago but for me, I much prefer to give new products a thorough try before reviewing them here on my blog so I do apologise if this is old news now - haha!

There's four products in the range including three existing products that have been spiced up with the new Rio packaging and a new lip launch exclusive to this collection. The existing products include the Colossal volume mascara, the Master Sculpt face powder and the Eraser Eye Concealer (which I wasn't sent but I have featured this product on my blog lots of times as it's one of my faves) whilst the new addition is the Vivid Matte liquid lipsticks. 

I've tried Maybelline mascaras before and have always been really impressed so I had high hopes for the Colossal mascara. I do like it but it doesn't compare to my Benefit Roller Lash or Too Faced Batter Than Sex mascaras in terms of adding volume and length. I used to think paying out on a high end mascara was a total waste of money but I can really see the difference when I use a cheaper one.

So, slight negative about the mascara to one side - you'll be pleased to hear the other two products are amazing! I love anything that promises to 'sculpt' my complexion (great cheekbones aren't something I was naturally blessed with) and I've been really impressed with the Master Sculpt which is a contour and highlighting product. I've been using the contour shade mainly as I don't find the highlight pigmented enough for my person tastes but the contour powder is great as it's a really neutral shade with no orange tones so it's perfect for creating that natural shadow look.

Finally we have the Vivid Matte liquid lipsticks and these would definitely have to be my favourite from the selection of products I was sent. I'm obsessed with lipsticks in general as I'm sure you already know and these ones have everything I look for in a lip product - pigmentation, comfortable to wear and decent staying power. The three shades I was kindly sent are right up my street too -  there's 'Nude Flush' which is a perfect everyday Pinky nude shade, Electric Pink which is a really vibrant fuchsia (this will look amazing on holiday with a tan) and finally we have 'Rebel Red' which is the most perfect Hollywood glam true red shade. I can't really say much more about these other than they're amazing and I'd really recommend trying them out for yourself.

Overall I really like these new products from Maybelline, even if the mascara was a little bit of a disappointment. You can get them here and they're all priced at a very reasonable £6.99 each. What a bargain!!

Do you like the look of these products?!

Style - Monochrome City Chic

I was in London last weekend for British Summertime Festival (which was great by the way - who knew Kendrick Lamar had such an array of catchy tunes!) and the following day, my boyfriend and I decided to make the most of being in the capital and decided a shopping spree and lunch date was in order. We were staying at the London Edition hotel which is right next to Oxford Circus so as you can imagine, there was a whole host of fabulous shops on our doorstep!

While we were roaming the streets around Oxford Road, we came across these super pretty and very blogger-esque marble steps so obviously I had to stop and get some snaps of my outfit. Much to my boyfriends dismay - who else’s boyfriend hates being a photographer on days out?! Haha! I thought I’d share what I wore for the day with you guys as I really loved the outfit and it was so comfortable to wear for a day shopping too.

When it comes to day to day fashion, I’m not one for wearing a lot of bright colours. Don’t get me wrong, I love the odd statement pieces here and there with a bold print or a vivid colour but more often than not, the colours I’m drawn to are black, white, grey or neutrals. I love neutral colour palettes for a number of reasons but particularly because they look classy, chic and can be accessorised with virtually any other colour! 

I decided to go for a monochrome look for my day shopping as I recently got this bardot striped blouse from Miss Pap and it's quickly become one of my favourite tops to wear on a day to day basis as it looks great with jeans or tucked into a skirt. I decided to pair it with my new white denim skirt as the weather was fairly nice and I hate walking around in tight jeans when it's warm - yuck! One of my favourite items of clothing to wear are high waisted skirts so as soon as I saw this one on Missguided's website, I just had to have it. I love that it will go with so many different tops - it will definitely be one of my most worn Summer items.

To finish the look, I wore my trusty Carvela lace up heels which I got last Summer and have worn almost non-stop since I bought them. They're seriously comfortable! I also wore my trusty Rayban aviator sunglasses and my new little ASOS choker necklace ! Finally, I took my trusty Zara city office bag out for the day which is my favourite bag to take when I travel anywhere as it fits loads in and has a compartment for my laptop too!!

Are you a fan of the monochrome look?!

Full Time Blogging and Working From Home - The Pros & Cons

Being A Full Time Blogger, Working From Home, Pros and Cons

Back in October, I took the plunge into the world of full time blogging and whilst it's the dream job in some senses, it does come with its downfalls too - just like any job does. With more and more bloggers turning their hobby into a career, I thought it'd be nice to share my experiences so far and any advice I have for those of you thinking about taking the plunge into blogging as a career.

For me personally, the decision came after being unhappy at two jobs and feeling like I had no time to do what I really loved to do which is writing my blog, planning my social media content and getting creative with my photography. I'm not going to lie, it's something I had to think long and hard about as leaving a secure full time job is a big risk to take - especially when you have rent and bills to pay every month. However, after feeling miserable for a couple of months, I decided my happiness should come first so I made the decision to hand my notice in and I haven't looked back since.

Below I've outlined what I feel are the pros and cons of working for myself and being a full time blogger! Everyone has different experiences and thoughts on this so these are just mine. Hopefully you can relate to a few of them if you're a full time blogger yourself or it will help you out in making a decision if it's something you're considering doing.


Having more time to do what I love
As mentioned above, when I was working full time, I was really struggling to dedicate time to my blog. Don't get me wrong, I managed, but it was hard. Most of my evenings and weekends would be spent blogging which meant I'd miss out on quality time to spend with my boyfriend, family and friends. Now I'm doing this full time, I can plan my days and work around social events or date nights with my boyfriend and not have to worry that I haven't wrote a post or taken any imagery for my social media accounts.

Being my own boss
I'm definitely an independent person who likes to do things at my own pace so this would have to be one of my favourite things about working for myself. The fact I don't have anyone to answer to other than myself is such a great feeling and helps keep my stress and anxiety at bay. In previous jobs I've been shot down or punished for having an opinion or thinking outside the box which seems ridiculous but some employers don't like people who are willing to voice their opinion and treat their employees like robots rather than human beings with feelings. Perhaps I've just had bad experiences but it's so refreshing to not have that kind of negativity in my life anymore and to be able to do things when and how I want.

Working in my PJ's with no makeup on
Oh this is just the best! Being able to get out of bed, make myself breakfast and sit on the sofa in my PJ's with no makeup on is amazing! For example, I'm currently typing this in my bright Pink checked pyjamas with a cappuccino and Loose Women on the TV - much better than being stuck in an office I say! This does have its downside too which I'll talk about in the 'cons' section of this post but for the most part, I love being able to work in the comfort of my own home. 

Flexible working hours
Another great thing about working for myself is that the hours I work are completely flexible as I'm the one who calls the shots. So that means if I want to treat myself to a lie in, I can. If I want to pop out for lunch with a friend, I can. Or if I want to book a last minute holiday, I can do it without worrying about booking the time off work. It's a great feeling as it means I can do so much more with my time - for example, since going full time, it's been so much easier for me to attend blogger events as they're often mid-week and when I was working full time, I just couldn't get the time off. However, just because my hours are flexible it doesn't mean I don't put the hours in - I can often still be on my laptop at 10pm at night writing blog posts and I'm constantly glued to my phone updating social media. Bloggers aren't lying when they say it's a seven day week job!

More opportunities
I have to mention this as after all, when we go full time as bloggers, we have to be earning enough money to survive each month. Before going full time, I'd do the odd bit of paid work here and there but due to time restraints, there was a lot of opportunities I missed out on and a lot of sponsored work I had to turn down as I just couldn't physically fit it all in. However, now I'm blogging full time, I'm open to working on more collaborations and have more time to attend meetings, discuss work over phone calls and attend events - all of which open up more opportunities.



It gets lonely
As much as I love working from home, one of the downsides would definitely have to be loneliness. I'm quite lucky in the respect I freelance for a fashion brand twice a week which means I get to go to their offices and actually interact with people which is something I do miss on the days I'm on my own all day. Don't get me wrong, sometimes being on my own is a great thing as it means I have less distractions but I am a very sociable person who likes to be around other people so it can get a bit lonely. When it gets to around 3/4pm, I'm so ready for my boyfriend to get home from work! 

There's more pressure
This is definitely something I've noticed since going full time and it would have to be the worst thing about it for me. I feel like doing blogging as a full time job brings a lot of expectations - I feel like everything needs to be ten times better now than it did when it was a hobby alongside my full time job. I feel like my imagery needs to be better, I need to post more often, I need to be on Twitter 24/7, I need to attend every event I'm invited to, I need to be doing something interesting ALL THE TIME etc, etc, etc - the list goes on guys. I know these are mostly just pressures I put onto myself but I do think people expect more from you when you're blogging full time. I'll be honest, I'm never going to be the blogger who posts every single day or tweets the link to my new post ten times a day - I've never done it before and don't intent to do it now, even if it would help my blog to grow or come across as more 'professional' to my readers and brands. I think a lot of people presume you should be on the ball constantly if it's your full time job but for me, I need those days where I'm not so active to plan my content, shoot imagery, catch up on emails or even just to relax and have a bit of time to myself away from the internet. That might not be the smartest move but that's how I like to work - it stops everything from getting too much as it's very easy to become too consumed by blogging. I guess everyone is different and I should remember that and not let the pressure get to me too much.

Money isn't guaranteed
I had to include this as I think every full time blogger has the same worries when it comes to money. Now don't get me wrong, I wouldn't have made the decision to go full time as a blogger if I didn't think I could make a decent living from it as I need money to pay my bills at the end of the day. However, unlike your typical 9-5 job, money isn't guaranteed and I don't get a set amount of money paid into my bank each month. Some months are better than others, some weeks pass by and no opportunities come along and other weeks, my inbox is overflowing with exciting opportunities. I can sometimes be waiting months and months for an invoice to be paid which can make managing my monthly finances pretty difficult and it's definitely hard to feel financially secure when you're a full time blogger as you just never know what's around the corner. However, the plus side to that would be that it keeps me on my toes and encourages me to work hard too so it's not all bad. 

Fears for the future
Much like the point above, I often have fears that blogging won't be around for much longer and that something new will come along that means bloggers aren't needed anymore. At the moment, bloggers earn a living from brand collaborations but what if brands don't want to work with bloggers anymore? What if a new and improved form of advertising their products to thousands of people comes along? What if people get bored of my content and don't want to read my blog or follow my social media anymore? I know it's a lot of 'what if's' but when you're doing this as a job, it's a big worry. Let's face it, blogging isn't a conventional job like being a doctor, teacher or lawyer is - those kind of jobs will always but around but will blogging? I mean I know I can always go back to full time employment if I want to but it would be nice to have a feeling of security about what the future holds career wise. 

It requires serious motivation
As much as working for myself is brilliant in so many respects, it also requires serious motivation. When you don't have anybody to answer to, it's very easy to have thoughts like 'oh, that can wait', 'I'll just watch one more episode of that TV show on Netflix' or 'I'll just have a quick nap' (yep, naps become more regular too - guilty!). Now I'm not saying this happens all the time as I wouldn't be writing this post now if that was the case but sometimes, working for yourself does make it easier to slack than it would be if you were in an office environment as lets face it, there's always going to be more distractions in the comfort of your own home. It probably doesn't help I don't currently have a proper office to work in so I often find myself sat on the sofa which isn't the most productive place to work after all. However, I'm moving into my very first house soon (more on the in another post as I'm super excited) and already have plans to turn one of the spare bedrooms into a pretty and productive work space which I'm hoping will make me feel way more motivated to get things done more efficiently.

So there we have it - my pros and cons of full time blogging and working from home! I hope this post has been useful for some of you and I'd love to hear your thoughts on the points I've made. Do you agree with any of them or is there anything else you'd add if you also blog full time or work from home?!
© Couture Girl

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