Designer Bag Dupes

I've noticed over the past couple of years I'm being drawn much more to handbags. Now prior to this time I was more a lover of shoes and well obviously clothes, I just kept to the usual sorts of black bags in rotation, size depending on how much I needed to carry for the occasion.

At this point in time I have indeed splurged on 4 designer handbags and a couple of other luxury accessories. I wear these a lot thankfully as those items aren't exactly cheap! Now I'm not opposed to designer dupes, over the years I've owned a few things, even designing my own Chanel inspired bag with bag company Baia. For the time that satisfied my aspirations for the real thing, and then last year I saved up and bought my first Chanel which was very surreal to say the least! 

A few days ago I bought a beautiful bag which has major Gucci vibes, instantly falling in love with it's rich almost metallic finish from the fabric, it's contrasting statement florals and chevron quilting finished off with gold hardware and chain strap. Such a steal for £59.99 here! Keep checking back as this keeps going in and out of stock like crazy! And lets take a moment for all those Gucci inspired loafers, I seem to be loving Gucci a lot huh!

Now on to these beauties I stumbled across today! On the left are the inspired pieces and the right are the designer originals.

These are all are beautifully inspired bags for very affordable prices! I think my favourite out of these 6 is the last one, inspired by the Chloe Nile. I actually prefer the dupe more, it's sweet little metal plaque detail wins it for me. Which one is your favourite? Have you bagged yourself a designer dupe before?

If you like these sorts of posts please let me know below and I'll do more for sure!

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Wardrobe essentials for a city break

When going away I always plan ahead for what I'll wear each day. Making sure everything is tried on prior, checking it works as an outfit, so I'll feel confident and put together at all times. This will prevent from unnecessary overpacking (and leave space for shopping and souvenirs on your return home). With this time saved you'll have more time to explore and have fun!
Don't leave out your travel outfit, you can still look chic whilst remaining comfy on the go. For this outfit I've kept it simple, contrasting smart against casual with comfy joggers alongside smarter items. High waisted bottoms and a tucked in shirt gives the illusion of height and flatters the form. Hair is also kept simple, swept up in a quick ponytail with front pieces kept down to frame the face. Glasses are sophisticated yet fun with the tortoise shell finish. And finally simple accessories in the same tone tie everything together, it looks effortless yet well considered.

For the day wearing a simple camisole paired with a skirt or shorts is ideal for exploring around the city. Bring along a jacket just incase the weather changes, also optional bags and footwear depending on your activities. Flat shoes are a practical option especially when exploring. Finish off your outfit with sunglasses to protect your eyes and remain stylish at the same time by matching your jewellery to it's hardware tone.

For the evening a dress is usually a safe bet, they are so easily dressed up or down with different makeup, hair, shoes, even bags to suit the right occasion. Glasses with a slight cat eye shape add a stunning feminine and sophisticated look, pair this with a classic red lip and you have the perfect look for a romantic meal for two in one of the city’s famous restaurants. You don’t have to end the night there, why not sip a cocktail or two in a local bar reminiscing on all the best bits of the trip.

Fancy winning a trip to Barcelona? Well the lovely people at Specsavers are running a competition here! Check out some of their style content over on their blog here too.

This post is sponsored by Specsavers.

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The thought of going out, in public, barefaced has always scared me.

I think it may sound ridiculous, but it is indeed the truth. At the age of 27 (I know I look young, even with makeup on..) I've only been out a handful of times in public like that, majority of those were for a facial and I wore the largest sunglasses I had, even if it wasn't sunny, to help hide my face.

I know I look/feel better with makeup on, oh the power of makeup. It's not necessarily covering up, it's utilising products and techniques to show off our best features. With it we can choose how to present ourselves to the world, I find makeup therefor empowering. We don't wear it for men, oh how they think we do at times. 

I love looking back at older photos of myself, teenage Leanne using foundation set with powder, no blush, no highlight or contour, I didn't even fill in those sparse brows. Sometimes a sweep of eyeshadow, the beginnings of my signature cat-eye flick, but in kohl pencil, not quite my current standard of liquid liner flicks. Then coat of mascara to finish things off, but only on the top which would end up flaking on to my face throughout the day anyway. So many teenagers now skip this awkward phrase and achieve "instagram brows" thanks to the rise of YouTube makeup tutorials. My Mum has even upped her brow game, those thin drawn on arches are now beautifully sculpted faded gradients using several brow products.

I hate my dark circles, the redness around my eyes and nose. Uneven skin tone especially on my cheeks, mouth and chin. My lips naturally don't hold a lot of colour, especially if I'm cold they're prone to going grey/blue. I've battled with my skin as many of you may know. But recently it's been behaving, the past 3 months I've rarely broken out, meaning old marks have had their time to fade and I'm the clearest I've been since when those skin treatments a couple of years ago. Now I've not gone back to those or anything, I had thought about of doing them during the summer as my skin had been getting me down. The only thing I've changed is my morning moisturiser, still using the Liz Earle Superskin at night, but mornings I now use Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream. Nothing else has changed, so all I can account for this is that! If you wanted to see my skincare routine it features in this video. Even in person people have remarked about how smooth my skin is looking. In general my skin is much softer, smoother and clearer.

Perhaps this is the reason I've recently started venturing out a little bit more in public completely bare faced, even wearing my glasses, so if I did get any odd looks, oh I'd see with my new eagle eyed vision. But the thing is, no one even glances my way, even with my odd colour hair. I love it, I feel invisible. I worry when speaking to people, they'll be looking around my face and analysing me, I study their faces as we speak and nothing. They don't appear to be judging me, no grimacing, just normal eye contact. This all started from days I wanted to pop into the city, but couldn't be bothered to sit down and put on my makeup, why waste my pricy makeup for a couple of hours in public. If I bumped into people I knew, first thing I did was apologised for how I looked, this was met with only compliments.

I worried people may recognised me from being online and think, ew she looks awful in real life. I expressed my concern to my parents, but dad agreed and said for my reputation I should always go out and look presentable... Perhaps some of my insecurities are from my him. When I lived at home I hardly wore makeup unless I was leaving the house, filming or taking pics. When I then wore makeup, did my hair, dressed up he'd comment "You scrub up nicely." So I've got used to being told I look better with makeup on.

But being with Paul is different. I use to apologise for him being seen with me without makeup on, worrying that if his friends saw they'd judge him/me. He assures me I look totally fine, that I look naturally pretty without makeup, he can see my expressions better and that I look sweet. He likes me either way. In short makeupless is pretty, makeup is sexy in his eyes, no negatives there. On a recent date night, I was to meet him after work, we'd go for food and then to the movies. I was running late, the day had flown by and I had no time to put on any makeup. I almost canceled, genuinely anxious about going to dinner with no makeup on, so many people sat around us for long periods of time, not just fleeting moments in passing. I'm so glad I didn't cancel, we have a lovely time and if anything the experience gave me more self confidence. No one battered an eye lid, no one cared, why would they, they don't know me. I think it's part of my social anxiety, I just think the worst in my head in a lot of social situations.

So with my first self-portraiture shoot in my new home studio I wanted to write about my recent revelation. I don't need to wear makeup every time I leave the house, I do love makeup, but I don't need to waste it for a couple of hours out in public.

I find it fascinating the difference your hair and makeup can make to societies behaviour towards you. I'm invisible with no makeup on and my hair extensionless which I'm getting used to and enjoy that feeling of anonymity. Then seeing the contrast when wearing makeup, feeling incredibly uncomfortable from the male gaze, not saying all men are like that, but times when you're stared at the whole way walking down the street or victim of unwanted rude comments. In those moments I wish I was barefaced, and that's awful to wish I wasn't doing something I enjoy. Same with hair, the difference from my natural length to wearing extensions seems to invite unwanted attention too. A public service announcement, we don't dress, wear makeup, do anything for men, we do it because WE like how it looks.

Now I don't usually share how I look without makeup on my Instagram, (I have shared my skin journey on here & YouTube before) but as I'm feeling more comfortable in my skin I want to. To help share a positive message, to help others feel comfortable in their own skin too. We often share our highlights, us looking at our best. But there's days we all sit at home, dirty hair scrapped up, no makeup on, but we don't see this online. We just need to remember we are all the same and no one looks "perfect all the time".

I hope people can relate to this post, I'd love to read your experiences and thoughts below in the comments. Also I've been daily vlogging on my second channel, yep #vlogmas is happening! I'd really love for you to check out too if you're interested :) I'm also wanted to blog more, so please stick around <3

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Wear those killer heels..

Don't know about you, but I love the whole process of getting ready for a night out. From deciding what clothes to wear, which bag to take out, playing around with my hair/makeup and then finding the perfect heels to complete the whole look. Sometimes I do go out in flat shoes, I guess it depends on who I'm going out with or the venue we're going out to. But there are most definitely times I want to strut my stuff, I don't know, there's just a different way you walk when you're in heels isn't there.

And even before going out, I love the build up of excitement up to the night. Deciding whether to buy a new dress, top or heels, asking everyone what they'll be wearing too. There's something so nice to treating yourself to a new pair of heels, I tend to splurge more on shoes than clothes even though I already have far too many, but it cannot be helped and nights out are the perfect time to wear them!

Above Tops. Left / Right

So you're ready, your makeup is "on fleek" as they say. Your new heels are on and you want your feet to last in them the longest they can. I used to bring flats in my bag, but sometimes I want a cute little bag and now as I carry a portable battery I don't have as much space. So book that taxi, plan your night so you aren't walking too much. Taxi to the bar, even taxi to the next club if you have to. 
This was what Next's new shoe collection launch event was all about. I got picked up in style, a private car with my name even on it! The venue wasn't actually far, 11 minute walk according to Google Maps, but that's calculated for flat shoes I'm sure! So I was very thankful for the ride there as I had hours ahead of me looking at pretty shoes, drinking cocktails and mingling with other bloggers, a hard night right, aha!
What I wore:
Top / JeansShoes / Bag

So tell me all about the new collection I hear you cry! Well, Next have stepped up their game with this collection, very fashion-forward, can really see catwalk trends in the mix. I photographed a few of my faves above, but there really are so many more amazing ones. I think it's great how they've considered different styles, from metallic loafers, faux pony hair pumps, strappy stilettos, chunky velvet heels and even 90's style patent stomper boots, really something for everyone! Tempted by the ones I've shown? See the rest here!

It wasn't only shoes they had on display, there was also beauty, jewellery and handbags. My beautiful embroidered bag, from Next obviously, was the centre of one display. I was told by the girls at Next they were asked so much if it was from them, and also it keeps selling out so if you want it, be sure to grab it quick! See all their amazing bags here!

I mingled through the night with not only people I knew, but also others I'd not met before. Cocktails were flowing, I was in good company with plenty of canap├ęs being offered through out the night, so I was having a grand old time!

At the end of the night I taxied home, naturally, totally embracing the #ProjectTaxi theme of the night. I dare you to do the same. Go out in your chicest of shoes, dance away the night, taxi home and take off your heels, sit with the girls or text them all about how good the night was!

What's your night out footwear of choice?

Photos are a mix of mine & also by Oscar May.
This post was kindly sponsored by Next.

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Summer outfits + WIN a trip to Ibiza pool party!

Even in Summer I've been known to wear all black, but I think I can be let off with my choice of items. The shirt is light weight and verging on sheer, layered over a statement bralet and chain harness to toughen up the look. The shorts are short without being too bootay, they are playful with the tassels which make you want to dance around and make them swoosh! This look is great for the day with the option to dress up with heels for evening drinks.

I can't get over this playsuit, the added length in the back makes it feel more sophisticated and the cut is so flattering. A cinched in waist with fabric that flows over your hips, it accentuates the figure in all the right places. Again perfect for day to night, it can be worn as a beach cover up, shopping in the city or again dressed up with heels for the evening.

In the summer you obviously need swimwear, this would look great on holiday worn with denim cut off shorts. Perhaps not the most practical to actually sunbathe in, this of the tan lines! The cups and briefs are lined though so no embarrassing moments when cold or in water.

A go to for summer, for me anyway, are crop tops with shorts, if it's crochet then even better! And tassels, yes please! If the shorts are a little on the cheeky side simply tie a shirt around your waist, this is great for later to actually wear if it gets cooler in the evening. Such a comfortable everyday look, loving trainers so much this summer too, I think I need a black pair next!

So on to the good bit! Fancy winning a trip to Ibiza? Free in July? Perfect! Want to come party with myself, Helen Anderson, Hobbie Stuart and Gracie Francesca at the Pina Colada Pool Party? Of course right, then simply post your best Summer looks on Instagram to win, plus loads of Missguided goodies too.
Tag your pics @maliburumuk @missguided #becausesummer to enter.
Ts&Cs are now live and hosted here.

I'm partnering up with Malibu this whole summer, you may have seen they challenged Helen and myself to a day of fun at Thorpe Park, keep at eye out to see what we all get up to next!

Let's also take a moment for these pictures Paul took for me, I've trained him up and I'm thrilled with how quickly he's taken to it! He's never used a camera before, is yet to learn exposure but has picked up composition so well don't you think!

This post was kindly sponsored by Malibu.

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