Wednesday 19 October 2016

What to Expect From a Vintage Kilo Sale

vintage kilo sale judys
I absolutely love a vintage fair, or picking up cool pieces in an independent retro shop. Because I'm also the kind of dickhead that refuses to eat in Nandos or Wagamamas, goes to independent cinemas and listens to vinyl. JUDGE ME BITCHES.

That's not to say I don't love me a bit of H&M or have a never ending ASOS wishlist. I just enjoy the experience of vintage shopping more - it's exhilarating because you never know what you're going to find and the stuff you DO find is usually a bit different. I've taken a few friends with me to Lou Lou's vintage fair whenever it comes round to Cardiff and they've found some real gems.

I took Martin along to the Kilo Sale when it hit Cardiff last weekend because I've always missed it whenever it's come around. Damn Sunday retail working. This time, though, I was prepared. I was ready. I got some absolutely amazing pieces and, unbelievably, so did Martin! It might not be something you would think to go to yourself, but I promise you won't regret giving it a go. They're always in different cities (here is their calendar) so I thought I'd give you a run down of what to expect so you feel more comfortable visiting when it's local to you.

1. It's kind of organised.

I expected to see piles of crap strewn everywhere and a general chaotic free for all. There was a LOT of stuff on offer but all on rails in an easy to browse kind of layout. Like a mega weird shop. Nothing on the floor or flying through the air so pretty much more organised than your standard Primark. There are some big skip-type bins full of stuff if you want less order, but that's about it for chaos.

2. It's polite and (relatively) calm.

Along with the aforementioned piles of crap, I pictured a bunch of bearded hipsters fighting over the bomber jackets like animals. However everyone was really nice, a little excuse me here and there and squeezing past to get to stuff and everyone was happy. I wasn't shoved once and someone even complimented me on my choice of cardigan!

3. Expect to be left with the dregs after 12pm

Early bird entry starts at 11am (and is slightly more expensive) and normal entry is at 12pm. We got there around 11.30 and the queue to pay was already mega long and I couldn't help eyeballing everyones picks turning a lil' bit green with envy. A lot of the best stuff had clearly been snapped up. If you're someone who can make something awesome out of nothing you'll be fine whatever time you go, but I'm not blessed with that talent (or literally any other talent can I get a hell yea??) and I wish I'd gotten there 30 minutes earlier.

4. There are also individual priced items

This stuff tends to be the more "generic" and in demand vintage clothes - think Levis, plaid shirts, fur coats and big old jumpers. That's not a dig at all, it's some of my favourite stuff. This was actually the busiest, most hectic bit where it felt a bit squabbly sometimes and you couldn't even get near to some of the rails. I also think some of this stuff was a bit overpriced, considering I managed to get a thick woollen cardigan, a jacket and a t shirt for Martin for around £18, but the top Martin picked up in the individually priced section was £15...

5. You can weigh before you buy

You know when you fill a bag of pic n mix and weigh it and it turns out you've got £6 of pink & blue bottles and that's waaayy too much but you can't put it back? That doesn't happen here. There's a little weighing station so you can check how much you have and if it's too much you can take stuff out - no judgement.

Bonus Tip: Make a shopping list

If you have a little idea of what you want before you get there, it's easier to spot the gems. I knew I wanted something knitted and hopefully a jacket. Martin knew he wanted an NFL jersey. We managed to get everything we wanted and a few extras. It stopped us wandering around lost and confused and gave us purpose.

FYI, I decided not to include any pictures of the sale because I wanted it to be some kind of surprise when you walk in. Not because I'm super lazy. I was so pleasantly surprised and excited when I walked in and saw the absolute goldmine of vintage in front of me, and WHY OH WHY would I take that pleasure away from you? I hope this has inspired some of you to check out your next one. 

Have you been to a kilo sale before? Have you had much luck in finding the hidden gems amongst the rails?


Monday 17 October 2016

How I Grew My Stagnant Twitter Following

how to gain twitter followers twitter chats
In the first 6-9 months of blogging my twitter following exploded (on a relatively small scale compared to others, BUT STILL) and I was so pleased. I was hitting all my goals and targets and it was fabulous!

Once I hit 2,000 followers though it slowed sooooo much. All pace was lost. This is probably partly because I had my dissertation and final year exams so was not as active as usual. But almost definitely more than I should have been... Woops.

I decided to start a little experiment to see how much, if at all I could grow my twitter following in a month. And I was veerrry happy with the results! I gained 518 followers in four weeks which compared to what I was gaining in my previous slump was amazing for me.

I also saw an increase in page views and Bloglovin followers which was a nice surprise addition. The best part is I now speak to soooo many more people on twitter and have "met" some real new favourite people who I know will become my good friends. I didn't change anything else - I tweeted the same amount and I promoted my blog posts through the same amount of scheduled tweets. 

So here it is. The ground breaking tactic...

Daily twitter chats

Yep. It's that simple.

Well, almost daily. I didn't take part in chats on Saturdays and sometimes I got distracted and missed the beginning or end of chats. If I had plans I missed a few but generally I took part in a chat every day. I used this calendar but it is actually missing the #GRLPOWR chats which are on Tuesday 9pm, Thursday 8pm and Sunday 9pm.

The first week of chats I gained 117 new followers, and that was the easiest week of growth. Probably because it had been soooo long since taking part in chats AND I had never taken part in a #GRLPOWR chat (my new fave). The second week was a bit slower because I missed loads of chats (woops). The third and fourth weeks I gained 174 and 142 followers. The third week I was trying to hit a milestone so got a couple of looovely shoutouts from my beautiful followers which meant by follower count shot up more than it might otherwise have done.

It's important to make sure you speak to people other than those you regularly chat to. They're already your buddies, we're trying to make NEW friends. That's why it got harder towards the end of the month because it felt like I wasn't seeing anybody knew to talk to. Which is stupid because there undoubtedly was.

This hopefully goes without saying but you HAVE TO follow people too. This isn't a follow4follow and unfollowing everyone who doesn't follow you back or not following people if they don't follow you first thing. We're not 12. But follow people you're enjoying talking to and hopefully other people will be doing the same. 

But basically, to summarise: daily twitter chats is bloody hard but it works. Realistically, someone with an active social life just can't do chats every day. Especially because most of the chats are during the time I would usually have dinner. However, it definitely inspired me to join in with chats more often. I've picked a handful of favourites (#thegirlgang #grlpowr thursday chat and #lbloggers) that I'm going to try and take part in as often as I can.

If your following is lagging or a bit stagnant and you're finding it hard to grow, I 100% recommend joining in some twitter chats. Even if you don't gain a billion followers, at the very least you'll have an interesting conversation and may make one or two friends!


Friday 14 October 2016

OOTD: Pleather & Plaid

Shirt - Vintage Fair (Similar) / Skirt - Similar / Brogues - Primark / T-shirt - Primark 

Autumn is such an easy season to look good - the seasonal trends are always inspirational, and who doesn't look cute in a bobble hat? If you're not a trend follower, though, there are CLASSIC pieces that always work in autumn:

1. Plaid shirts                                      
2. Skater skirts with tights or socks

BOOM.  Put them together and you have an outfit. Not only that, you have an easy outfit that actually looks like you tried to look nice... You know, put a bit of effort into your fashion (when actually it's the easiest outfit to wear ever).  You look like a pulled-together badass who knows what she's doing in life. No one needs to know you had a Pot Noodle for breakfast...

I love oversized plaid shirts tied around the waist. It adds an extra *something* to an otherwise boring "skirt and top" combo. Worn with a band or novelty tee (a department that Primark has been absolutely killing it in recently, FYI) it's an absolutely perfect pairing. And t-shirts never go out of fashion so don't feel guilty about buying every hilarious or ironic slogan tee you see...

I wore this outfit for a casual drink for a friend's birthday because the leather skirt just makes it that little bit dressier. I think rather than a skater skirt, a leather wrap skirt or high wasted mini skirt would look soooo good, too. I kind of love leather everything (assuming you know that when I say leather I mean cheap, fake AF "pleather"). Especially with the 80s style on the runways recently and leather is unashamedly 80s in my eyes. Maybe more bold and "wet look" than this exceptionally toned down tribute to the trend, but still.

I swapped out my usual tights, which I would probably be more likely to wear for a "day-time casual" look, for the knee high socks. I love wearing knee high socks in the day, too - It's easy to make them feel more dressed down by wearing them over tights. You'd probably be surprised how often you finding yourself reaching for them. These socks have a fleece lining too which is what I can only imagine the fur of a magical unicorn bunny would feel like. Swooooon.

But my faaavourite part of this outfit (aside from my main man Johnny Cash emblazoned across my chest) are the leather style brogue shoes. To me, they are timeless and can be incorporated into almost any trend or look. I love the little studding detail in place of the laces - it makes it less fancy, formal shoe and more grungey and casual. They were only FIVE POUND in Primark. You can't even buy a Starbucks and a piece of cake for a fiver.  Go go go!!


Wednesday 12 October 2016

5 Ways All Bloggers Are Danish (Trust Me)

...You heard right. Didn't you know you were Danish?

little book of hygge bloggers

If you've read The Little Book of Hygge it'll be no surprise that you're secretly part Danish. Every new page I read confirmed how very Danish I am. I truly love the concept of Hygge and I didn't realise how much I actually incorporate "Hygge" into my life. Mainly because I didn't know it existed.

I know I'm not the only one.

1. Candles

This extends to YouTubers too, if you don't have a candle flickering in the background of your video are you even a YouTuber? The second summer is out the window bloggers are rushing to their various spice scented Yankee candles. Candles, in Denmark, are very "Hygglig" - instant hygge, in fact. Most Danes light MORE THAN FIVE candles, at least 4-6 days a week. Is that not the dream?!

2. Copper Accessories

Maybe a slightly tenuous link but as it turns out, Danish people are a fan of copper homeware. Who'd have thought? Google the Kahler vase **heart eye emoji** and tell me that isn't your dream vase? If you try to tell me that, you're lying. Well 16,000 Danes tries to buy it online and queued outside the shop. For a copper striped vase. SIDE NOTE: completely buying into hype and getting obsessed with/impulse buying products is also a blogger thing...

3. Hot Drinks (AKA PSL)

Ok hot drinks are SO hygge. The most hygge in fact, even more hygge than candles. I actually despise coffee with all the passion I possess BUT it's okay, I can still be Danish because tea and hot chocolate count too. I couldn't even begin to count the number of bloggers with "coffee lover" or "avid tea drinker" in their bios and lets not even begin to address the basic bitch obsession with Starbucks and pumpkin spice this and that. You are sooo Danish.

4. Fashion

In case you didn't know, Denmark is pretty cold. So they love a good old, chunky jumper and are into scarves and AW fashion in a big way. The blogger community actively wishing away summer and putting on their bobble hats and jumpers on September 1st whatever the weather is proof that you were all born to be Danish. Don't forget the fact that the Danes looove all black everything which is a definite preference of many a blogger.

If the previous offerings didn't convince you, this definitely will. DANES LOVE AUTUMN. Well, Danes love Hygge (like, a lot) and they voted autumn the most Hygge season. Being inside when it's cold and stormy out is very hygge. Jumpers and cosy socks, warm colours and fireplaces... All things autumnal are hygge. And bloggers bloody love autumn.

Do you sense a conspiracy?


Monday 10 October 2016

Home Buyers Diaries #1: Grown Up Decisions


How can I be a grown up when I'm sitting at my kitchen table at 9.49am wearing a giant, fluffy teddy bear onesie? Knowing that I will probably spend a large proportion of the day watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix eating badly cut bagels?

Why am I making such grown up decisions? Why is no one helping me? (I'm looking at you Martin).

I had a 10 year plan when I was a teenager, and even as late as during uni. There's nothing wrong with plans, in fact I actively encourage 10 year plans!! However saying you want your dream job at 21, to be living in your own beautiful home around the same time, be married at 22/23 and have your first baby BY 25... When you're 15 is possibly the most hilarious thing I've ever heard. WHERE AM I GETTING ALL THIS DAMN MONEY??


Friday 7 October 2016

12 Reasons To Be Happy

Every noticed how negative the world is? I'm sure you have. There is a lot of shit going on in the world and our day to day lives are so stressful BUT never fear, my little friends. There is SO much to be happy about.

 1. Cupcakes exist - Literally little pretty cakes that you eat in one sitting. That is a thing.
2. It's perfectly acceptable, and even encouraged, to have a little animal live in your house and be your best friend.
3. You probably can't die from drinking too much tea.
4. Have you ever seen an alpaca before?
5. The whole Gilmore Girls series is on Netflix.
6. Shops sell glitters and sparkles and coloured things to put on your face.
7. Nearly 130 million books have been written which means the possibility of books to read in your lifetime is almost endless.
8.  There is a shop dedicated to stuff to put in your bath to make it colourful and smell good.
9. You can literally fly across the world to visit anywhere you want.
10. Teeny weeny fires that smell nice can be lit inside your house.
11. People carve faces into vegetables once a year and no one questions it.
12. A unicorn is a sparkly horse with wings and a horn.



Wednesday 5 October 2016

My Fitness Routine: Push, Pull, Legs.

legs push pull weights fitness workout girls

The other day I tweeted about how much I was loving my current fitness routine and how absolutely fabulous I was feeling. Looooads of you said you'd be interested in reading my current routine SO Y'ALL BETTER READ THIS.

Disclaimer - I'm NOT a personal trainer, I'm not a body builder, I'm not even particularly fit at the moment but this is a good way to work out. It's working for me and was recommended to me by my sister who recently lost FOUR STONE and now looks insane (and is insane, for that matter).

I currently do a 3 day split training plan - Push, Pull & Legs. That basically means I isolate different muscle groups on each day so, for example, I work out my legs on one day than more than I would if I did a whole body/more general work out every day.  Some people do more specific splits so whereas I work back and biceps on one day they may have a whole day dedicated just to their back. Which might be a bit too much for me.

Leg day is self explanatory, I think. It works the whole lower body, I focus on my glutes, hamstring and quads. Push day focuses on muscles that are used for "pushing" such as the triceps, shoulders and chest. Pull day works the muscles used for "pulling" exercises such as back and biceps (my weakest muscle group by far).

This may sound kind of scary and intense but I just think it gives focus to a fitness routine. You know exactly what you're doing every time you step in the gym and because you're doing the same exercises it's easier to feel your progress. Also, because you're not doing the same workout twice or even three times in a row, it's easier to feel motivated because it's different every day!

If you haven't heard of these exercises before, don't worry. To me they just seem like stupid names designed to scare people off doing them... They're all relatively short exercises with three or four sets of 10 or 12 reps. Each individual exercise takes me around 5 minutes. It's okay to take big rests in between sets or even within if you're struggling. Exercise isn't meant to be horrible and make you feel shit about yourself. 

Push Day Workout:
  • Tricep Push Down (3 x 12)
  • Face Pulls (3 x 10)
  • Arnold Press (3 x 10)
  • Incline Dumbbell Bench Press (3 x 10)
  • Tricep Kick Back (3 x 12)
  • Front Raises Superset (3 x 10)
  • Lateral Raises (3 x 10)
Pull Day Workout: 
  • Cable Bar Curls (3 x 12)
  • Cable Bent Over Row (4 x 10)
  • Hammer Curls (3 x 10)
  • One Arm Dumbbell Row (3 x 10)
  •  Lat Pull Down (4 x 10)
Leg Workout:
  • Quad Extension (4 x 10)
  • Prone Hamstring Curls (3 x 10)
  • Kettle Bell Squat (3 x 12 alternating 3 x 6 with a heavier weight)
  • Walking Lunges (3 x 10)
  • Straight Leg Dead Lift (3 x 10) 
I try to add a bit of cardio on to the beginning of push and pull days and I also tag on a bit of core/ab exercises at the end of a session if I'm not feeling too pooped! Don't forget, too - rest days are just as important as the workouts!!

Monday 3 October 2016

Models Own Nail Polish Collection

I never used to be much of a painted nail kind of girl. I'd paint them now and  again and only repaint once they'd disgustingly chip off to nothing. Ew.

Then a year ago I started working at Models Own which at the time was aaall about the nail varnish (they actually do loads of pretty good make up now). Over the next nine months I became obsessed with nail varnish and built up quite a substantial collection. From gels to glitters I've got a bit of everything.

Everyone loves a little peek into collections, and I'll give a lil' review of the different collections so hopefully it'll be somewhat helpful if you want to pick up a few bottles.

HyperGels - This is their main collection and I have a hefty few! I'm annoyed at myself for losing some of my favourites while I was recently in Edinburgh, especially White Light (which is the BEST white nail varnish I have ever owned). Generally the gels are pretty good, not as nonchip as they claim them to be but they are a beautiful finish and last longer than other polishes. 

models own hypergel collectionmodels own hypergel collection
Bottom Row L-R: Summer Solstice, Loganberry, HyperGel Topcoat, Robin Red
Top Row L-R: Midsummer Mauve, Cashmere Rose, Heather
Favourites: Loganberry (a beautiful deep pink for EVERY time of year) and Midsummer Mauve (the perfect light, mauvey nude)

Glitters - For whatever reason, some evil people don't like glitter. I don't care if it's hard to take off it is sooo worth it to be a glittery unicorn princess. The GlitterGels are basically glitter within the HyperGel formula so are glossy and easy to remove. The other glitters (Pink Fizz & Northern Lights) are your standard chunky glitters and have the most incredible reflects.

models own glitter collection

 L-R: Crystal Pink, Starburst, Pink Fizz, Indian Ocean and Northern Lights 
Favourites: ALL OF THEM. Especially Crystal Pink (perfect topcoat for any pink toned colour), Starburst (glam & lush for winter or a night out), Northern Lights  (insane & gorgeous, enough said).

Diamond Luxe - I think these may have been discontinued which is sooo stupid because they are undoubtedly the best formula, one of the best affordable polishes full stop! They contain diamond dust and have a muted sparkle. I have some full size and minis and have somehow lost my absolute favourites which will really suck if I can't replace them.

models own diamond luxe collection
Bottom Row L-R: Carat Coral, Trillion Taupe, Pear Purple, Oval Plum, Emerald Green.
Favourites: Carat Coral (perfect sparkly reddish coral), Marquise Maroon (not pictured: a stunning deep red).

Chrome - One of the most popular collections and easy to see why. I haven't seen any other formulas quite like this one. I love the finish and they dry in 30 seconds which is AMAZING for last minute painting. They chip like a mofo, though. There are some really cool colours and they can give really different "vibes".

models own chrome collection
L-R: Silver, Rose (Rose Gold), Red, Mauve (purple), Copper, Grey, Olive
Favourites: Rose (rose gold shade that suits everyone and looks different on all skin tones), Grey (an edgy colour - purple toned grey)

Others - there are lots of "miscellaneous" polishes from other smaller collections so I blobbed all of those together. These contain some of my favourites but, obviously, I've lost a billion others. The eggshell collection is adorable - the purple is my favourite but I've misplaced it. I love the blue too! The matte topcoat is the best I've used by a mile, it leaves nails velvety smooth and completely matte. The icing collection is my all time favourite, the colours are slightly muted and pastel but still vivid which sounds weird but it is stunning on the nails. The polish for tans collection is full of bright and amazing colours like neon orange and green. No special formula or finish but just lovely colours.

models own miscellaneous collection
L-R: Lilac Icing, Grace Green, Duck, Mint Icing, Matte Topcoat, Beach Hut, Nude Icing, Nude Beige
Favourites: Anything from the icing collection, (particularly Lilac and Mint), Grace Green (incredible khaki shade but been discontinued), Nude Beige (pretty, subtle browny toned nude)

I'll update this if I find the mysterious missing 10 polishes (or buy the whole new nude hypergel collection). It's always nice going through a collection and reminding yourself of what exists. I always forget about the "miscellaneous" shades.
 What are your favourite collections? 

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