flat lay fashion casual style

So this is a little outfit I packed for my time at Bluestone Wales this week, but alas, never actually had the pleasure to wear. With the misleading blue skies and clear bright days, came a distinct chill in the breezy air, which meant I was forced to wear my Clarks boots and favourite Joules coat the entire time... Things could have been worse I guess.

With hopes of lazing around on the beach in Tenby, I thought I could go bare legged and fancy free with the aid of this glorious Spotty skirt from Dickins & Jones teamed with a classic pair of Converse trainers. These Converse are even fleece lined, so even more perfect for sunny days as you can go without stinky socks making your feet all hot and uncomfortable. I do find Converse a little hit and miss sizing wise sometimes, and I would say the fleece line ones are a particularly snug fit, so would perhaps size up by half a size next time. Because let's face it, everyone is bound to purchase at least two pairs of Converse in each style within their lifetime. 

I picked this stripy jumper up from H&M a few weeks ago and it was only about £7.99! The material is so super soft and so comfortable to wear. I'm not sure if it's really right or really wrong to mix spots with stripes, but I kinda like it. There's something about clashing your outfit which makes you feel like a fashion rebel, but in a really discrete and slightly un-trendy way.

Of course, with hopes of a beach walk and sunshine I packed my favourite Raybans and even a bloody new flask which I was hoping to sneak some ice and gin inside (with a splash of lemonade too). I thought the Vineebago flask would be a step up from the Ted Baker hip flask I featured here, as let's face it you can fit way more booze in. But it was never meant to be, as all of these things (apart from my sunglasses for the 5 hour drive each way!) stayed in my bag until I got home and unpacked. Boooo!

So please come soon Summer, so I can wear some nice floaty clothes, fancy footwear and drink lashings of gin in the open air again. I miss you.

I'll be doing a full blog post about my trip to Bluestone in a few days, so keep a look out if you're interested in what I got up to on my little blogging holiday away! 
I suppose it's quite dramatic to say that there are things I *couldn't* live without as I'm quite sure that if times were really that hard, I could possibly live without erm.... Coffee or something. But we live in an age where everything is dramatic and LIFE IS A SHOW and the general public is your AUDIENCE., daahhhhlingggg. There is a difference between life essentials and every day 'essentials' I guess. One part of living alone is that you don't get to spend as much as you'd like on your every day essentials, as generally around 85% of my monthly wage is already accounted for with bills such as: electric, council tax, internet, phone, car, petrol, FOOD.... The list almost seems never ending and at times this can be really depressing if I dwell on it too much.

5 things I couldnt live without

One thing that really gets me is when people say ''Well, you'd have more money if you didn't buy so much make up''

WELL, the reason I buy small, affordable things such as make up, is because if I didn't I'd be literally working to survive and not earning money to live. Does this make sense?

Basically, if every last penny I earned went on things I had no choice in paying, things I had to spend on to keep a roof over my head and not starve, what kind of life would that be? 

We live in modern Britain, and as a sassy late 20 something women, I feel like if I'm going to spend 40 hours of my week out my flat to work, I'm going to damn well enjoy something now and again to make it all worthwhile. So yes, I will spend £10 a time in Poundland on lipbalm I don't need and I will treat myself to Almond milk instead water in my morning Protein shake (mainly just so I can feel a bit healthier pretending these protein shakes are benefiting my life in some way). Hell, I'll even go large at KFC if I feel like it! What can I say? Sometimes, just sometimes, I'm a rebel who cannot be tamed.

5 Things I Couldn't Live Without

My Car: Living in the back end of Stoke on Trent, the bus services are shockingly poor around these parts. I had to learn to drive to get a job, because the bus only ran up until 4pm to the part of the City that I used to live! I do live in a more accessible location now, but work 20 odd miles away in Cheshire. If I was to go to work on public transport it would take a whopping 2 hours 45 minutes compared with the 50 minute drive I currently do! 

My Flat: I'm the worst at living with people. I can't stand the noise of other people. This is why it's just me and the cat. If I still lived with my friends I would have probably fallen out with them a million times over by now! My flat is not only great for my sanity, but brilliant to keep friends who now understand that I'm slightly unhinged. I'm a cat in human form really, and love my alone time, relaxing in the evening just... Doing nothing really. Ahhh, bliss.

Fruit Tea Bags I Never Drink: It's not just me who has a collection of 100 different flavours and types of tea I never drink is it? It's like every time I go to the supermarket I see some new and exciting flavour and buy it, only to get home, drink one cup and decide it was meh. It's like some kind of weird Groundhog Day but with an increasingly bland cup of warm beverage each time.

Lip Balms: If there's one thing I'll never be short on it's lip balms. For some reason I can't help but buy them. Sticks, rubs, jars and squeezy tubes. I've no preference. Whenever I look in my bag I find at least 5 of the buggers. I think it's some kind of subliminal addiction.

Bags and Shoes: I never really saw myself as the cliché female who loved bags and shoes and had a massive collection of both - but I am. With shoes, I really didn't realise how many I actually had! It's not like I even buy bargain shoes either. To justify their purchase I always rationalise them as being 'essential' as I convinced myself at some point that I found buying comfortable shoes impossible so had  to buy any which felt comfortable in the shop...?! With bags, I've still yet to find the perfect bag for all occasions. Y'know? I have many bags for many separate occasions, but when will I find the one that I won't need to alternate with others on a daily basis?

So as you can see - my list is rather shallow.

British Gas asked people around the country their essentials too, just to get y'all thinking about the things you can and can't live without. The results were, in places, equally as shallow to mine. But as I mentioned at the start, there are obvious things we can't live without - water, oxygen and food anyone?!

With a name like 'Death Row Dive and Diner' it's easy to see how such an eatery could attract quite a backlash from the general public. Death row is certainly not a subject to be glamorised. Although this appears to be a completely different company to the pop up Death Row Dinner restaurant in London, which was forced to close due to the public's dismay, it obviously still has the same kind of vibe - the clue is in the name.

This eerie themed 1950's restaurant has a selection of burgers and folk cuisine on the menu from the deep South of America, inspired by the last meals of Death Row inmates apparently. (Although I very much doubt any of them had a burger with a chuppa chup lolly stuck in it, but the general vibe is there anyway). But the other way to see the tongue in cheek branding is that the meals are so good, they could be your last meal and you could die happy.

Although many people are disgusted/outraged/perplexed by the theme of the restaurant, we are in the age where everything needs to be further in to the realm of bad taste to gain attention. I mean, how many burger places can you think of in your favourite city? And when a new one pops up what makes you go there to try it? Is it the menu full of same ol' same ol' burgers and ribs, or is it the branding, the ethos, the hype around the place?  With so many eateries now battling for your buck, they all feel that they have to do the next big thing to get you through the door. From hipster joints who are using the art of being vulgar, swearing to get attention on Twitter, to twee little vintage places; attention seeking at it's finest, using burgers as currency.

death row dive and diner liverpool review

So let's get back to the burgers and I'll go on about morals at the end.

As you can see, I am a human who succumb to the art of intrigue and went to eat at Death Row Dive and Diner this weekend when I was in Liverpool. We did try and get a table on the Saturday night, but it was fully booked without the slightest chance of us getting to dine there that evening, so we had to wait until Sunday. It seems we were not the only ones who were intrigued after all. 

The menu was simple enough to follow without feeling intimidated with choice, as you can often be when visiting a new restaurant for the first time. With a selection of burgers, ribs and takes on comfort classics to choose from, all with the odd David Lynch (in the form of the Eraserhead burger) and other pop culture references for good measure. The burger I chose was called the 'Huevos Rancheros Bastardos' and no, I couldn't say it either. 

Unbeknownst to me at the time, huevos rancheros is actually a rather snazzy looking mexican breakfast dish, which explains the fact it had a deep fried egg  on top of it. I think it could of done with a little less time in the fryer though, as I wanted a nice big of yolk to ooze out when I bit in to it. But it didn't. But the lack of ooze didn't detract from the deliciousness of the overall burger, which also contained pastrami, cheese and hot sauce.

This burger pissed all over that Five Guys crap.

It was juicy, meaty, delicious and held together by a lollipop.

Presentation wise? Well, take a look at the picture. The dishes are all served in large foil trays, which I thought would also come in handy for making some extra large cupcakes. Although it's a bit hipster to not have your food on a plate these days, I thought the novelty of the foil tray added to the over all 'experience' of Death Row Diner, as it was consistent with the theme. Not to mention it saves a tonne of money on Fairy Liquid when they can throw the eating vessels away after use.

On the side I chose the Coconut Curry Fries. Which did not disappoint either. Although the portion was pretty small, it made up for it in taste. The curry itself was quite similar to traditional chip shop curry, but with a thinner consistency and a sweeter taste. I liked how the fries were seasoned to just the right level and the fries to sauce ratio was spot on. It was pretty refreshing to have something other than the usual chilli cheese fries or sweet potato fries to choose from.

For dessert I ended up having something I've yearned for over many years - DEEP. FRIED. OREOS.

I saw these once at Camden market and never got the chance to try them, but the wait is over and I have now experienced a deep fried biscuit. 

Was it as good as I hoped? 

It was better.

Served with cream, ice cream and a few strawberries for health, the deep fried oreos were sweet, chewy, delicious, and guhhhh. I could eat these every day. If only it was still the 90's where it was acceptable to have a chip pan on the gas hob at home. I'd be all over this shit on a daily basis.

The service in Death Row Dive and Dinner was second to non. Our waiter was friendly, the food was served quickly and I've absolutely no complaints about the service or restaurant at all. The decor, even though it was based on a rather grotesque theme was all inkeeping with the atmosphere they were going for. The designers knew what they were doing, as does the owner. There's no names of inmates anywhere, there's no direct reference to the crimes they committed and the menu/literature doesn't say anything about the prisoners.

The place hasn't been opened to attract My Little Pony fans, it's been opened for shock value and to appeal to a certain clientèle. Not everyone is going to like it, but the ones that do will not be disappointed.

The owner's humour probably won't be to everyone's taste either when you consider quotes like this one from Drink In Liverpool:

“Did we consider this idea might make many feel uncomfortable ? Yeah, we definitely did. Didn’t think that was a problem though. Maybe we’re just trying to shock. Maybe we’re just ploughing that old shock sells furrow. Maybe we’re just in it for the dough. How are you going to know ? Come pay us a visit. See what you make of our efforts. Give a diner a break. You win. We win. Everyone wins. Except the chickens.” 

I'm not going to lie. He seems like my kind of guy.

With such a macabre theme, I imagine this would completely divide people about going. I know some would flat out refuse, find it offensive, take to Twitter to express their outrage. But for some, the curiosity that comes with such dark references draws them to the door and makes them want to experience what the establishment may hold inside. It's a less extreme logic of not being able to look away from a car crash; you don't want to watch, you don't want to see people hurt or anything horrible, but you can't look away. You watch horror films to scare you, you go to these new fangled 'experience' venues like The Escape Room with themes such as 'slaughter house', because as humans, some of us want to do things that scare us. Intrigue always gets the better of these types of people. 

Before it turns in to a battle of morality when it comes to visiting a place like Death Row Dive and Diner, I think it's worth evaluating other things people enjoy which are 'morally' wrong. For example: Horror movies based on real life events, where people have died and suffered. Is taking enjoyment in watching these any different than having a burger? It's a question I'll ask but one for people personally to answer. Everyone has a different sense of what is offensive and crude, everyone will be offended on different levels. It's basically what being a person with a brain is all about. 

At the end of the day, it's a tongue in cheek themed restaurant with frigging good burgers.

You know what completely wound me up the other week? That edited line up poster from Leeds/Reading Festival where someone had pretty much pre-empted they were going to target the event for some kind of feminist rant. Whilst I'm a big believer in feminism and that women in the music industry need to be supported (emphasise on SUPPORTED there), I found it completely... well, sad and infuriating that someone had decided before the line up was even announced  to edit the image, taking out all the bands with male artists in and leaving only a small number of bands with females in. 

How do I know they'd decided to do this before the line up was released? Well, I guessed. Because that image was up being circulated on Twitter within 10 minutes of it being released. Either they had Bernard's Watch, or the whole thing was planned. Maybe it was a competitor festival, maybe it was just someone with too much time on their hands who needed an internet drama for the day - who really knows?

It annoys me because there's no need to target the specific festival for this kind of online 'campaign' - look at any festival line up. You'll see the same pattern, that female bands are not in the majority on the bill. I'm not going to go in to the whole debate about feminism/bands/line ups/the industry; but what I will say is that I'm female... I've had my fair chance to be in a band... I even had a guitar, which I could barely play. Could I have been in a band? Yes. Did I decided not to because I found it boring as hell? YES. I don't blame anyone else for me not being in a band. I don't blame anyone else that there aren't more females in bands. But you don't listen to music because of who's playing it. You listen to it because of what they are playing. Well, most people I know do anyway.

But let's get back to the purpose of this blog post.

Female Acts at Leeds Fest

I'm not saying females shouldn't be in bands. I'm not saying there shouldn't be more bands on the line up. I'm saying LET'S CELEBRATE THE WOMEN WHO HAVE ROCKED THE FESTIVAL and those who will continue to rock the industry from within. It's not just about women who play on the stage at festivals - what about all the women behind the scenes? Booking bands, doing PR, setting up the camp sites, arranging the riders.... I could go on. Festivals are so much bigger than who is on the stage. But why are people so focussed on looking on the negative side of the lack of females in the line up? Why not celebrate the fact that there are some strong, sassy ladies in there in the first place, and why not look at line ups gone by and share a little love for the girls who did it better than a guy ever could?

We won't talk about that time L7 threw a used tampon in the crowd though... Not in this blog post anyway.

Haim at Leeds Fest

I was so lucky to see Haim at Leeds Fest in 2013.  Admittedly, before I saw them I was a bit 'uhhh, what's the fuss all about?' but I have honestly, never seen a trip of girls who were so. damn. cool. in real life before. It was ridiculous. Each one of them was confident, stylish, and their stage presence was just awesome. The 'bass face' was out in full form from Este, and Baby Haim and Danielle were effortless in their on stage swag. As soon as the set was over I became a die hard fan. I just want to be them. For a day. C'mon. 

Paramore at Reading and Leeds Fest

When I saw Paramore headline the main stage at Leeds I was just in awe the entire time. They're kind of my guilty pleasure. I knew every word to every single song they played and I've no idea how. I just couldn't believe that at the age of 27, Hayley Williams had thousands of people in the crowd eating out of her hands. They were hung up on every last note, got in to every song, and everywhere you turned people were dancing and singing along. Imagine being her at that moment when the first chords of Misery Business started to play? JUST IMAGINE. Compared to the stage she looked so tiny, but she must have felt a kind of power only Beyonce must feel when she's finally ready for that jelly.

Be Your Own Pet, back in the day 

Oh gahhhdddd. Jemina Pearl. The girl who made me yearn for a leopard print skirt ever since I saw the Adventure video back in 2006, which was the year I saw them at Leeds Fest too. Actually, I'm pretty sure 2006 was the best line up year at Leeds, ever. Say what you will about lack of girls in bands, but there's something pretty great about being a female front woman in a band made up of men. You're basically the focal point of all the attention and they're your support act. Sorry lads.

So let's stop hating on the lack of females in the music industry and celebrate the ones who are. There are some amazing female vocalists and bands out there, just because they're not playing a festival means nothing. The reason they're not on certain line ups could be a variety of reasons: exclusivity to other festivals, fee's, availability, genre?! Let's not forget the women in the background, the ones behind the scenes making shit happen in our quest to be outraged at anything we can be over on Twitter.

Agree? Great!

Don't agree? That's fine. If every one agreed on everything the world would be a boring place.

But don't poo-poo something for the sake of it. Don't be negative for a reaction. Don't hate, appreciate.
Every day make up featuring pur minerals make up on hello terri lowe blog.

Every Day Make Up Featuring Pur Minerals

I find it incredibly hard to take pictures of myself without coming across increasingly unhinged. There's something about trying to capture your make up looking good, that gives you a certain psychotic glint in your eye, one which is inexplicable, yet most beauty bloggers can often be seen echoing it. You know what I'm on about. But in a new found pledge to myself to show more of my FACE on my blog, here's a bit of an 'every day' make up look for y'all to have a look at today - that's what the real bloggers call this kind of thing, isn't it?

So, for the BASE ON MY FACE LONDON *duhduhduhdu dud ud uduhhh* I've been sticking to the Rimmel Lasting Finish 25hour Foundation, because why only wear your make up for 24 hours when you can stick it to the man and get 25 hours worth! YEAH! It's a good foundation in my opinion; full coverage, long lasting, and easy to apply leaving a slightly dewy finish. For a fiver, it's worth a try if you're on the look out for a new high street foundation to have a go of. I've successfully covered the dark circles around my eyes with the help of the soft focus setting on my camera and the Pur Minerals Liquid Ink Concealer. I'm a sucker for concealers lately and have been trying any I can get my hands on, from the Nudestix Concealer Pencil to my all time favourite Bourjois Healthy Mix Concealer, This Pur Minerals Concealer is up there on the top 5 list at the moment, and I love the way it kind of melts in to your skin. It's one of those effortless products you can just use anywhere, on the go.

Every day make up featuring pur minerals make up on hello terri lowe blog.

Coming soon to Beauty Expert, the Pur Minerals range is all equally as impressive. When I first saw the shades of the Soul Mattes eye shadow palette, I did think they'd all be too pink and not very versatile. But as you can see from the pictures, the shades really aren't that pink at all! And they blend like a dream. I'm not usually one for matte eyeshadows and I've been opting for gold shades a lot recently, but I've switched this up on a daily basis for these. Even the brush inside is great! Not to mention the actual box too. I mean, have you ever seen an eyeshadow box concertina out in such a way before? I haven't. But maybe I've just led a sheltered life.

For the lips I've simply used my new favourite Essence Lip Stick which I mentioned in this post. It's such an easy to wear shade and you don't have to worry about smudging it on your face or getting it on your teeth either. The eyeliner is also the Essence Liquid Ink liner from the aforementioned post. It's got to be the best eyeliner I've used. It slicks on with no hassle and stays put all day.

I did also get to try the Pur Minerals Liquid Veil spray foundation, but unfortunately the shade was too dark for my pasty face, so I can't really give a proper review of it. However, I have donated it to my mum and she's going to give it a go. It's interesting to see a foundation in a spray can! I had some great ideas about being Banksy of my own FACE when I first opened it too *sigh*
Agent Provocateur Fatale

For someone who can be quite fussy about perfumes, I don't half own a lot of them. When I say fussy, it's not that my nose is generally fussy, it's that sometimes perfumes can just give me a headache if they have certain scents in them. I'm not sure what in particular it is, but any which has a similar scent to Ralph Lauren 'Ralph' perfume generally triggers it. Even though I really do love the smell of it!

Perfumes which I tend to go for are quite fruity and fresh. If it has an underlying scent of cucumber and melons I'm sold. I also really like vanilla scents like The Body Shop Vanilla Brulee perfume and Korres Lychee, Freesia and Vanilla EDT - two of my favourite scents to wear, ever.

I was recently sent (or should I say SCENT, or maybe not) the rather sultry looking Agent Provocateur Fatale gift set from Fragrance Direct and at first I was concerned it might of had that weird 'old lady' smell from the 80's about it. Do you know what I mean? Like Dior Poison, or Channel No5. It's hard to explain what I mean, but something about those scents really reminds me of my Nan. Don't get me wrong, my glamour nanna is quite savvy when it comes to trends, but I remember her perfumes from being a kid and I guess as a kid they smell even more potent to the unrefined nostril.

Alas, when I cracked out the Agent Provocateur Fatale perfume it was instant love. It's a surprisingly fruity, light scent yet mature at the same time. As usual, explaining how something smells in the written word in very hard, but here's how the Agent Provocateur website describes it:

''The outrageously bold and enticing top note is a striking blend of spicy Pink Pepper from Madagascar, juxtaposed with succulent Mango and exotic Blackcurrant for an indescribably mysterious opening sensation that scintillates the senses. The voluptuous floral heart seduces with uber-feminine, heavenly Gardenia, edged with elegant, woody, violet-scented Orris Absolute, and sweet yet dark and sophisticated, smoky touches of Indonesian Patchouli. An addictive base of sultry, sensual Skin Musk, creamy Vanilla Orchid, irresistible Chocolate Gourmand and leathery Spanish Labdanum deliver long-lasting power, depth and aphrodisiac qualities to complete the seduction.''

Now, I wouldn't say it was a particularly seductive smell, which is quite good as the last thing you want when walking through town is to have the LYNX EFFECT on all the men who will catch a whiff. But it is a very nice perfume, it's perfect for every day way and a night out. Although it doesn't seem to be the longest lasting on me, maybe that just means my natural scent is seductive enough already? Oooh la la.

Agent Provocateur Fatale