Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Guest post: What's in your make-up bag?

My final guest blogger is the lovely Gemma. Gemma blogs at not one, but two different (but equally as great) websites: Fat Frocks and Where are my knees? In her guest post today, Gemma reveals the contents of her make-up bag for my readers:

I’m always curious what people have in their makeup bags. I’m pretty curious about what people are carrying around in general (I love those ‘what’s in my bag’ blog posts) but I really want to know what make up they use. I always want to know what products other ladies can’t live without. Is there an amazing mascara that you rave about to your friends? What about a concealer that makes those pesky blemishes disappear? True girlfriends don’t hold out on information like that. So, from my makeup bag to yours, here are my top three products I wouldn’t last a day without.

I’m a big fan of liquid liners: no pencil gives the same intense line that doesn’t smudge. Trouble is, it takes quite a bit of patience and skill to apply them. Thankfully Lancôme’s Artliner is idiot proof and anyone can instantly get that 50s flick. I love the sponge applicator which isn’t too long so you get a lot of control. I also love that Artliner is very black. I hate buying black eyeliner only to find it is a wishy washy grey colour once applied. The lady at the Lancôme counter told me that Marilyn Monroe wore Artliner which means I feel at least rather glamorous when I wear it. 

My next must have product is Yves Saint Laurent Perfect Touch Foundation which has a built in brush. The foundation gives great coverage and you get flawless application. I'm always rushing around getting ready for work in the morning and sometimes end up applying my make up on the train, the built in brush means I don't get into work with orange hands or patchy areas. You get a nice smooth and even application which I haven't had with any other foundations. How did I manage before I found this product?!

My third and final essential item is the Midnight Cowboy shade of Urban Decay lipstick.
I’m a sucker for fancy packaging and this lipstick doesn’t disappoint in that department but it’s also a great go-to lipstick for women who don’t usually wear lipstick. Midnight Cowboy is a great subtle and understated shade with a hint of sparkle and a little nude colour. It’s also super moisturizing and filled with vitamins and works well as a stand-alone shade or layered over other colours.

Have you ever tried any of these products? What are you make up bag essentials?

LouLou says: Thanks Gemma. Am loving the sound of everything you've mentioned so will definitely be making a few purchases (not like me I know!)

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Guest Post: Walk away, Walk away, Walk away

Today's guest blogger is Steve, who I first met when I attended 'Cardiff Read', an informal book club that I joined a few months ago. On his blog where he shares his musings and photographs, Steve describes himself as a "proud father, loving husband, digital geek and rugby nut". When he's not doing the above, then he's out running and drawing pictures with GPS.Here Steve gives us his view on women and style:

My name’s Steve Dimmick. I’m 36 years old and I'm not a fashion addict. However, in LouLou’s absence I am providing a guest post that’s going to stand out like a year-old, washed-out Primark vest amidst all the Gucci and Chanel here. 

I thought it would be worthwhile for you dedicated followers of fashion and of course LouLouMuses to get a viewpoint from someone who’s not so much gawping at what’s coming down the runway this season, as wondering where the airport is.

You see I just don’t get fashion.  Especially, women’s fashion.

I write this sat in a bay-window, looking out on Cardiff’s fashion-conscious populace, who in turn are cringing on seeing me: I’m wearing a tired old tee-shirt and a pair of shorts that have palm-tree prints on them.  They were the first pair I grabbed this morning and are remnants of a long-passed, surf themed, stag-do.

So, whilst I look like the kids dressed me, my wife always looks great in “this season’s hottest styles”. Apparently. 

Do not take fashion advice from this man. You have been warned.

My wife has an amazing set of pins; seriously stunning. So, 6 months ago why did she buy a pair of, what I believe are called, hareem trousers?  They were a satiny cross between jogging bottoms, zip jeans and MC Hammer's pyjamas and did absolutely nothing for her.  (Disclaimer: I did, of course, tell her she looked great in them; I’m not an idiot!) But, in all honesty, they just levelled the playing field; hidden within this billowing pair of Trojan Horse trousers might have been something that would make Elle MacPherson purr with delight on Britain's Next Top Model or a brace of wrinkly, old, elephant legs.

Conversely, there’s the experience I went through at Reading Festival a few weeks back.  It seems that whilst disguising your curves was all the rage last winter, this summer you should unleash your wares on the unsuspecting public.  That’s right, after my younger brother bought me a weekend ticket for Reading as a belated birthday – not something I really wanted, oh no, but he really needed a partner in grime, so it was what I got – I pitched up expecting to see a variety of cagoules, waterproof trousers and wellies.  Whilst the latter were in full effect, the leg wear de rigueur was cut off denim shorts.

For those of you, like me, not in the know, the Reading Festival crowd is predominantly made up of kids who have just got their GCSE results and are unaware of the effect alcohol has on your body.   This meant there were hundreds of teenage girls stumbling around in cut off Levi's and wellingtons.  As a virile father of two, I’ll admit that on day one when, out of the corner of my eye, I caught a glance of a bum-cheek poking out of said cut-offs, I’d turn to appreciate the whole view. Only to swiftly realise I could be the subject’s father and subsequently hold my head in shame.  This happened a few times, before I managed to adjust my mind to the tricks being played on it.  Subsequently though, on seeing a group of said buttocks on show (collective noun suggestions for buttocks welcomed...) I began to realise that such is the female of the species’ dedication to fashion that it wasn't just the pert, lithe creatures that had deigned to wear these shorts, but also their peer-pressured curvier and, let's be frank, lumpier mates.  God loves a trier, but deary me, even religion isn't an excuse for the crimes mine eyes were subjected to.

In short, and in conclusion, whilst I haven’t the foggiest about fashion, I think that in the vast majority of circumstances, many wannabe lady fashionistas could do with a dose of common sense.

You’ve all tried stuff on and looked in a shop mirror and said, “You know what? This really suits me”. However, much more often I’d wager, your mind's saying (you never speak the bad stuff out loud), “Hmmm, I'm not really sure this is me after all”.  But you still purchase anyway.  Wear it once; nobody says anything good or bad, you realise they were being polite and it gets banished to a hanger in the recesses of your wardrobe(s)...

So, next time you’re teetering, quite literally, on the edge of buying a new pair of snake-skin, 7 inch heels, to go with tweed trousers or somesuch, have a good, honest word with yourself and ask what you’d say to your (ideally similarly shaped) mate if they were wearing it.  If it’s a polite nothing, walk away, walk away, walk away.

LouLou says: Thanks Steve for your take on women's style. I knew you had a fashion critic inside you just dying to get out!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Guest Post: NOTD - Peridot Peacock

Guest blogging today is the lovely Cherry Sue, a beauty blogger from Dublin who I 'met' on Twitter . Her blog is called, 'CherrySue, Doin' the Do'. One of her specialities is her fantastic nail art, and she has written a brilliant post aboout how to create a really striking nail look. Over to you Cherry Sue:

I've been loving the new Chanel polishes, both Graphite and Peridot from the A/W range. Stuck by the green and navy duochrome in Peridot and the below snapshot, I decided on some Peacock Inspired nail art.
I like to keep things simple when it comes to my nail art ventures and to use a design that will happily adorn an accent nail while the rest boast just the base colour. I find that helps when a) you're short on time and b) you need a simple look that's office appropriate but also unique. 

This design can be made using any brand of polish so long as the colours are Gold, Teal and Navy. 

Start with 2 coats of Peridot.

Dab on several large teal spots, freehand is fine. 

Using a simple bobby pin, place navy dots inside the teal dabs.

Using the other side of the pin, place smaller teal dots inside the navy. 

The finished result

LouLou says: Great post. I love the colours in this design and will definitely be trying this out once I'm back from my holiday.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

Guest Post: It's a Boy/Girl Thing

Today's guest blogger is Stephanie who blogs over at 'The Rasberry Branch' Stephanie's blog (in her own words) is about "the adventures and discoveries of a girl called Stephanie with a penchant for fashion, pretty things and the colour turquoise." I really enjoy reading Stephanie's blog as she has introduced me to some smaller brands that I hadn't previously heard of, and I'm interested to see how she goes with her new '101 Goals in 1001 days' challenge. Here is Stephanie's take on the androgyny trend for this season:

Take a look at Helmut Newtons photograph of Yves Saint Laurent 'Le Smoking': a female, slicked back hair, a cigarette casually in hand. An androgynous figure on a Parisian street. The trousers high waisted. The leg, wide. The shirt underneath however, loose and tied with a bow. For me this image epitomises one of the biggest trends for this coming autumn/winter.. Androgyny.

Leaving behind the hazy summer days, strolls along the seafront and flowing floral prints, the A/W runways offered up an armour against the cold weather, bringing with it a turn to more structured fabrics, shapes and cuts. Leading the pack with these changes was the boy/girl trend.

From Celine to Chanel. Dolce and Gabbana to Yves Saint Laurent and flying the flag for the United Kingdom, Stella McCartney.

Year on year it seems McCartneys love for a woman in a mans clothing has grown, cumulating in an amazing androgynous show at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year. The show presented a large selection of chiffon blouses and dresses in wintery colours of navys and blacks (see also Chanel A/W collection for this colour pallette). Balloon sleevs billowing out in contrast to the tightly fitted skirts and the tapered trousers they had been teamed with.

Boyish tuxedos ruled the catwalk at Dolce and Gabbana, while always topping the favourites list for showcasing masculinity in fashion, Chanel presented us with ensembles if baggy trousers against cropped jackets and big boots and where the catwalk has led, the highstreet has followed, filling the rails with fabulous should padded jackets and cigarette pants.

Taking the masculine look further, the 'female dandy' takes a turn on the runway. This look compliments the androgynous style without losing any of the femininity. Think classic male clothing, tailored to a femaled shape. Frock coats, waistcoats and any manner of blouse, from pussybow to high collared.

There's no denying that this seasons style is all about the empowerment of women, no matter which deacde you frame it in. From 1940s practical post war tailoring to the power drenched females of the 1980s.

My favourite androgynous staple, the bow tie. So, what are you waiting for? Be inspired.

Stephanie. x

LouLou says: Thanks Stephanie. More fashion inspiration as usual! I really like this look, and I am very tempted to try this out this season.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Guest Post : Being Subtle About Your Style

You'll remember last week that my friend Sarah styled a few outfits for me on Polyvore. Today's guest blogger is her other/better half (I'll leave them to decide which!) Tzevai. Tzevai has his own blog, "Dodgy Knees and Dirty Balls" where him and his friends rant and rave (his words, not mine!) about everything they love and hate in the world of sport. Here Tzevai gives us his take on male style:

From the birth of the metrosexual male (remember David Beckham's sarong?) to the rise of the hipster, the male grooming business is now booming and I swear there are more exquisitely preened men around than women.

When I tell my friends that I pay £25 to have my hair cut most of them stare at me in disbelief, choke on their brew or laugh their heads off – yet in 2011 I'm probably no longer in the minority. I've been in the salon having my haircut and my hairdresser (yes I have the same one all the time) has had to cut another guy's hair first because he was 'very particular' about how it was done so no-one else could do it. He even had to style it himself afterwards.

Now I like to look half decent when I go to work so I make a bit of effort with my hair, but some guys just take it to the extreme. If I had a penny for everytime I saw a guy walking past a window or mirror in a shop and stopping Johnny Bravo-esque to check themselves out I'd be retired by now.  I can just imagine them pouting 'Blue Steel' and saying 'Hey! I think I'm getting jealous...of myself!'

Don't get me wrong, I don't have a problem with guys looking after themselves - I'm as appreciative of a good looking guy as I am of a beautiful woman - but some of these posers are starting to give us men a bad rep.

There's a fine line between confident swagger and arrogant posturing. Take Ryan Reynolds for example – good looking guy with a bit of swagger but he manages to stay likeable and charming (in the public eye at least). Now take a look at all the 'men' from those horrible 'reality' shows like Made In Chelsea and The Only Way Is Essex – delusional idiots who live in a bubble of self-obsession.

Sadly there seem to be more and more of the latter appearing with their low cut v-neck t-shirts showing off their tantastic orangeness and pouting with their 'guns' flexed. Not cool guys, not cool. You can make an effort with your appearance and keep yourself looking stylish but you don't have to let everyone know about it. Let them notice themselves, they've got eyes, they can see.

We all want to feel good when we're out and about and we've got as much right as women to spend some time making ourselves look good in the morning. Just don't overdo it. Understatement is always a winner and nobody wants to be a loser do they? Gentlemen – take note. Be a winner.
LouLou says: Thanks Tzevai. Great post and spot on. And of course thanks for the opportunity to Google photos of Ryan Reynolds. Honestly, the things I do for my blog!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Guest Post: Styling For Miss Lou

As some of you might know, I am part of the 'Cardiff Blogs' team and I was really keen for some of the lovely ladies and gents who are also involved to write a guest post for me. First up is the lovely Sarah. Her blog, 'Falling Forward' is a brilliant mix of books, fashion, food and everything else between!:

Whilst Lou is off sunning herself in Italy (insert collective groan, we all want a summer holiday, right?) I thought I'd style her a few outfits. We know how much she loves her fashion, and Polyvore is a great way of finding new pieces and creating new looks. I've been playing around recently, and have come up with these three looks for Lou:

1. A Date At The Flicks
Everyone loves going to the cinema, and just because you're going to be in the dark for an hour and a half doesn't mean you can't dress up to be seen before and after the film.

Cinema Love

Cinema Love by sarahmia

2. Hot, Hot, Hot
Obviously as Lou is probably currently on a beach (sigh) I thought a beach look would be a good one to do. Sexy, flirtly, slightly fifties with a bit of rock to bring it into our century.

Sun Worshipper

Sun Worshipper
3. Breakfast At Tiffanys
I don't think Lou would have let me get away without styling her in some designer gear so I've popped her in a pair of Valerie shoes by Vivienne Westwood and a beautiful feathery, sparkly dress. Now we just need to find her a red carpet to strut her stuff, right.
A Night of Sparkle

A Night of Sparkle

You can click through on any of the looks to find out where to buy each item, just don't blame me if your wallet starts to cry, okay?

LouLou says: Thanks Sarah. Love these looks. You can consider yourself appointed my unofficial stylist!

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Guest Post: Beards - The Ultimate Fashion Accessory

In the name of equality, I've lined up a couple of male bloggers to write guest posts while I'm away. First man to step up to the plate? David Melkevik, a scriptwriter who describes himself as a "black-belt nerd" and blogs about all things film-related here. As David always seems to have a quirky take on everything, I thought it would be interesting to get him to write a post for me. So here it is!:

I love beards. Be it the full, the chinstrap, the Donegal, the Garibaldi, the Van Dyke or the soul patch – I love them all in their furry glory. The reason why I adore facial hair so much is that it is the only weapon in a man’s fashion arsenal that can radically change their look. This explains why a criminal goes on the run they disguise themselves with a fake-beard rather than getting a new Hugo Boss suit.

If teen movies have taught me anything (In fact they’ve taught me everything – my entire knowledge of the world pretty much comes from John Hughes) is that all a female nerd has to do is ditch the ponytail, slap in some contact lenses, choose lip gloss over nasal spray, ditch their corduroy dungarees for a little black dress and voilà they’re Natalie Portman.

In contrast no male nerd can drastically altar their appearance by simply removing their glasses. Except Clark Kent. But if the nerd was to hide their chin under some fuzz – it’s goodbye geek and hello badass!

Exhibit A - Ewan McGregor

Stamp Collector

Frickin' Jedi Knight!

That’s the cool thing about beards. They’re not just a comment on your style but your personality. You want to get the literary genius look? The full beard has got it sorted.

How about douche-bag? No probs.

Crazy-person? Bushy is best.

Wizard?  Hey Presto! Long and thin - just like a magic wand.

Evil-twin? Goatee is the only choice.

Every six months I dabble with the beard. And every six months I remember why I shaved it off last time – it’s an eruption of ginger Brillo on my face. Yet the key to a sweet-looking beard is perseverance – why do you think Santa Claus only shows up once-a-year? Because it takes him 365 days to cultivate such awesome facial fuzz!

Therefore for a man to succeed with the beard it will take time and as a consequence sacrifices need to be made such as never eating soup again. Yet the toughest decision a bearded man will ever have is when their wife makes the demand “It’s either me or the beard”.

Choose the beard – because as my final piece of evidence proves once your wife sees what she’s missing she’ll come running back.

Exhibit B - Chuck Norris

Uzis optional but beard essential

LouLou says: Thanks David for your perspective on what constitutes the ultimate fashion accessory. I think we need to discuss this further!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Guest Post: Shoes and Chanel

One of the things that I love about Twitter is that you get to meet people with similar interests that you otherwise might never meet in real life. One prime example of this is how I met today's guest blogger, Penny from Auckland, New Zealand. We had mutual Twitter friends, Donna Ida and Sam_Bottega, and before we knew it group tweets about our mutual love for all thing fashion were flying back and forth! Twitter is forever bringing up random connections, and it turns out that Penny is actually half-Welsh and has fond memories of visiting one of my favourite stores in Cardiff (Howell's), when she visited family here as a child.

Penny kindly agreed to write a post about two of our mutual passions: shoes and Chanel. I love this post, and not just because it's about two of my favourite things! For me, clothes aren't always just items of clothing, but can be tied up closely with my memories of people and places. So without further ado, here's the lovely Penny:

I love shoes  - that’s obvious I guess, and  I come by it honestly – for many years  at the beginning of every season my mother and I would go together to  “Dadleys” the best shoe shop in New Zealand in the 1980’s, to see the latest ranges from  those magic labels : Maud Frizon, Sergio Rossi, Pancaldi, Robert Clergerie, Charles Jourdan, and most magic of all, Tokio Kumagai.  We’d each buy two pairs, which would be carefully stacked with the other boxes in our wardrobes to await the appropriate weather when we’d be able to show them off.  

Tokio Kumagai

In the mid-eighties when I started making regular visits to the UK, I followed the Kings Road to Old Church Street and the magical suite of rooms that is Manolo Blahnik. I remember my first pair were gold flats that I wore and wore until they literally fell apart. At the same time I got my first pair of CHANEL ballet flats and I've had at least two pairs "on active  service" ever since.

We all look better in high heels, they make our legs look longer and make us walk more elegantly, but the truth for me is that I just can't move fast enough in anything except those Chanel ballet flats, even my Converse are not as comfortable! I don't drive so I walk to the station every day and my office is a space big enough for 170 of us - now I know there are people who can do all that backwards and in high heels (with platforms!), but not me. I'd never get through the day.

I've bought a few pairs of Manolo's over the years; my favourites are these black and white "sneaker" mules.

They are clearly still in excellent health because I can't wear them for more than half an hour at a time. My vintage Manolo collection is also growing thanks to Ebay and Trade Me.

Everytime I cross the threshold of a Chanel boutique I head for the shoes, lovingly picking up the latest models which are almost always heels, and then placing them carefully back on the shelf. Then I go to the classic ballet flat range where I select two pairs in a Size 38 - no need to try them on.

I am passionate about all things Chanel and the affair started with those ballet flats!


LouLou says: Thanks for writing this envy-inducing post Penny. I just wish we were the same size feet so that I could try some of the fantastic shoes in your closet!

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Guest post: The Perfect Collection

Today's guest blogger is one of my fellow 'Cardiff Blogs' team members, the lovely Liz. Everyone I know who knows Liz always comments on her sense of style (in a very good way!), so she seemed the perfect choice to write a post for my blog while I am away. Although I am slightly disappointed that she didn't respond to my challenge to work her future husband a.k.a Prince Harry, into the post. The cocktails are on you Liz!:

Have you ever found a clothing range that you just absolutely love?  No, more than love. Adore?  A range that seems to encompass your very style, where every item of clothing is:
a) exactly what you’re looking for
b) beautiful
c) practical (by practical I mean you can justify it’s purchase
d) practically perfectly fitting in every way. 

Well, I’ve found it.  And my bank account hates me for it.

I discovered the Closet range at Dorothy Perkins (which stocks the range both online and in store). More recently I found it stocked on Fashion Union too. It's almost as if someone has come along and said, "What would Liz like?", and then proceeded to create every single flattering style of dress that I could ever imagine (you know, that thing you do where you create the perfect outfit in your head...or is that just me?)

Unfortunately (for my cash flow), there is nothing I don't like in this collection. Fortunately for you, however, I won't go into detail about every single item currently available, but I have highlighted a few that I particularly love, just to tempt you....

Blue Tab Gathered Dress, £40

This classic dress is a slightly updated version of one I own, which incidentally was the very first purchase I made from the Closet collection.  It’s simple, classic, a beautiful colour and it’s ideal for pretty much every occasion (I know this from my own extensive research). I’ve worn it to work, on a date, to a picnic, on a girls' night out and pretty much everything else in between. How you dress it for each occasion is up to you.  If you’re looking for an all rounder, you’ve found it.

My perfect cocktail dress a la ‘Sex and the City’.  Flattering in all the right places (for me anyway) and a great length to rock those heels and hit the dance floor.  The pleated skirt really makes this dress stand out; I don’t think it would have the same impact if it was anything other.  It comes with a cute waist clinching gold belt and the colour is gorgeous and although slightly summery, could take you into Autumn quite nicely.  Fabulous.

This is very much on my ‘want’ list.  Or to put it correctly, ‘want right now’.  A beautiful colour ready for the Autumn months, and once again, a perfect dress for work occasions, dates or if you just want to look distinctly glamourous on a Saturday shopping trip (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) Feminine and cut just above the knee, I think this is a style to suit most shapes.  One of those magic dresses which effortlessly enhances existing curves, yet somehow gives the appearance of that hourglass shape to those looking for a boost.  It is also very Mad Men-esque, which is, shall we say, in vogue right now.

This is a fun, flirty little dress, available in blue, white and burgundy as well as some patterned print versions too.  The grey and yellow contrast has to be my favourite though.  When Autumn/Winter rolls in, I like nothing more than to wear bright colours; no head to toe in black for me just because the sun has stopped shining! 

The length is a little shorter than I would usually go for, which limits its use, however, teamed with black tights, or knitted tights when the temperatures starts to drop, it can be made wearable for work.  A perfect example of a dress that is striking enough to wear alone, yet simple enough to accessorise to your heart’s content.

I know what you’re thinking.  How have you not discovered this collection before?  Ladies, you’re welcome.

LouLou says: Thanks Liz. Some lovely choices there which I think will be making their way into my closet very soon!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Guest Post: The "No Makeup Makeup" Look

I was really pleased when I discovered that the lovely Emily a.k.a 'Shopgirl' over at Sugar and Spice was a Cardiff-based blogger. While I love a great style blog wherever it is based, it's nice to see someone local blogging, and I like it when they reference local events and place. So without further ado, here is Emily's great post on achieving the much sought after "no makeup makeup" look:

When the boy commented recently that there was not much difference between my made up face and my no make-up face, I took it as a complement and to mean that I had nailed the "no make-up" make-up look.

For work, I don’t like to go too over the top with my make-up. I like to look professional and together but not as if I am about to hit the town.

Boots No 7’s new Lash Adapt mascara is the perfect starting point for this look as it allows you to add more coats to your lashes if you are planning to go straight from the office to the bar but one coat is enough for the "no make-up" make-up look we are trying to achieve here.

I like a good base for my make-up but nothing too heavy – mainly because I hate the way it feels when anyone cakes the foundation on me. So I start by liberally applying Olay’s Radiant Glow moisturiser. I leave it to absorb into my face while I dry my hair and then I apply a little Instant Radiance Concealer under my eyes and Tinted Moisturiser over the rest of my face. It creates a lovely even tone with just enough of a dewy glow.

I find that cream blusher blends easily, giving a natural flush.
For my eyes, I line with a brown liner – keeping black for night-time. I’ve just tried out Boots No 7’s Autumn Collection double ended liner which has an ivory pencil at one end to highlight the inside corner of the eye too and naturally open it up a little.

For my day-time look, I swear by No 7’s Stay Perfect eye shadow in Mink . It goes with everything and if you plan to go from the office to the bar you can use it as a base for blending other coloured shadows into.

Finally, I like to finish off with a little lick of lipstick. The best natural colour I have found – which also looks great when balancing out a heavy smoky eye at night-time – is the Moisture Drench lipstick in Rumour .
And yes, before you ask, I am a massive No 7 fan. I stray occasionally but am always brought back – mainly because of the £5 vouchers Boots are always offering – and the quality of the product!

What is your day time make-up look?

Lou Lou says: Thank you Emily. I love a beauty bargain and will definitely be trying out some of these products. Purely in the name of blog research of course!

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

La vita e bella

If you follow me on Twitter then you might have seen me mention the fact that I'm going to Italy for two weeks.

This is my first visit to the land of vino, Gucci and gelato and I can't wait. I've always wanted to go there. And yes I am using this post as an excuse to post some images of Gucci's gorgeous jewel coloured collection for Autumn/Winter 11!

Image from letmeseeyourwears.com

We'll be staying with my boyfriend's family near Portofino and have also got trips to Milan and Venice booked. I'll tell you all about it (and probably the 'one or two' purchases I 'might' make) when I get back. While I'm away I'm going to leave my blog in the capable hands of some of my favourite bloggers and tweeters. Enjoy! x

P.S. If you've been to Genoa, Milan, Portofino or Venice I would love to hear your reccomendations for places to visit.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Burberry Body

On the first of September, Burberry launched their latest fragrance, 'Body'. As opposed to solely relying on the 'traditional' route of glossy advertisements in magazines, Burberry have really upped their game with the latest campaign. Last month they launched an innovative sampling campaign via Facebook. If you 'liked' the Burberry Facebook page (and an extra 500,000 people did in the space if a week!) and entered your details, Burberry offered you a sample of the new perfume. They even posted a video of the company's Chief Creative Officer, Christopher Bailey inviting Facebook fans to sample the fragrance. And apparently 250,000 people worldwide took him up on the offer.

Now I don't know about you, but in the past I've requested a sample of a perfume only to be sent a cheap looking postcard with a small tab of the perfume on the back. In my opinion, samples like that are hardly worth the effort, on the company's part or mine, and so now I never bother to complete my details when offers like that pop up.

However, Burberry's sample could not have been more different. Not only was it a 4.5ml sample, but it also came in really nice packaging with a 'thank you' note from Burberry.

Burberry often reference the company's heritage in their product packaging, e.g. incorporating the check design they are famous for in some way. I think this has been done with varying degrees of success in the past. However with Burberry 'Body' the reference is really subtle, with a check design on the gold top of the bottle, which is encased in glass.

The perfume has top notes of absinthe, peach and freesia with floral heart notes of rose absolute and iris enriched with sandalwood. The base notes are cashmeran, vanilla, amber and musk. I haven't had an opportunity to wear this fragrance properly yet, but just from smelling the scent on my wrist I really like it. I will let you know my thoughts once I've worn the fragrance a bit more.

In addition to the Facebook campaign, Christopher Bailey also directed a video of the campaign's face (or should that be body?), Rosie Huntington Whiteley which was debuted on YouTube. If only looking like her was as easy as donning a trench coat and spraying myself in this scent.

To me it makes perfect sense for brands to be communicating with their consumers via social media. More and more people are engaging with brands on Twitter and Facebook and so if a brand is using those channels then they are more likely to connect with consumers than with just a host of advertisements in a magazine.

Did you get one of these samples? If yes, what did you think?


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