UK Beauty & Fashion Blog

DUO // AW13 Collection // Beautifully Tailored Design

Until this past week I'd always struggled to find shoes and boots that truly fitted my feet. I have extremely small and narrow feet which made shoe shopping as a child incredibly hard but even now as an adult I still can't wear half the shoes that sit on the shelves longing for me to take them home. In the UK you don't often see 'adult' shoe brands offering a UK2, even UK3's are hard to find at times, guess which size I am? I vary between both, with the narrow foot and chickeny calves to complete. Duo however have filled the gaping hole in the market with their tailored fit shoes and boots available from UK2 to UK10, in 3 widths and a whopping 21 calf fittings. With three very glamorous stores in the United Kingdom - London, Bath and Glasgow all with fitting rooms to find your perfect fit you'll want to come home with the entire store. If you aren't within reach DUO provide highly detailed tips, tricks and videos on how to find your own shoe fitting at home with huge sale and outlet sections to pick up some incredible deals - It's exciting to hear the shoes are actually dispatched here in Somerset!!
a picture of DUO Ramone Ankle Boots and Topshop Leigh Jeans
a picture of duo shoes logo
All of Duo's classic designs have been given makeovers for the up coming Autumn Winter 2013 with relaxed vibes running all the way through, peacock tones, luxe leathers and snakeskin&studs to give them some edge. In the end I settled on the biker inspired Ramone with it's practical day to day block heel, silver buckle strap and almond toe. It was such a hard decision with knee high studded leather boots, accompanying flat studded ankle boots and peacock-esq turquoise blue ankle boots.
a picture of duo shoe box
a picture of a DUO shoe box
The Ramone takes Duo's standard ankle, which cuts my leg at the right point, lengthening rather than shortening like a lot of ankle boots usually do. As you can tell out of the black leather and grey suede I settled on the grey suede for a more casual day to day look, though maybe not the most practical when it comes to typical rainy Britain since it's just started pouring down..again. Suede ankle boots can easily be dressed up for an evening out which you'll see in some OOTD's soon - a small white, fluffy ball keeps nudging my tripod when I attempt them.
a picture of DUO ramone ankle boots
a picture of DUO Ankle Boots
a close up of DUO ramones heel
I'm really impressed with Duo's shoe fitting, the sizes are spot on with my at home measuring. A UK2 has held my foot in place thanks to the narrow fitting Duo offer. There's plenty of heel padding providing comfort no matter the distance and length of time I'll have them on - as much as I can in this case. On the inner of the boot, hidden beneath a tag of suede sits an elasticated section to the ankle with an adjustable buckle that for once I don't have on the smallest hole, nor did I need to make an extra. The attention to detail Duo pay really justifies the price, there's not a bit of material out of place, the zips are firm, chunky and embossed boldly. All stitching is superb with a beautiful hard wearing heel and fake wooden block heel to finish off my most loved shoe of all time. At £120 I can safely say they're worth the price tag purely on fit alone, my feet haven't been this happy & the confidence a correctly fitted shoe gives!
a close up of DUO ramone ankle boots
a picture of DUO Ramones sole
a picture of DUO Ramone ankle boots aw13
Who else is familiar with DUO? I'm so grateful to be introduced to the brand after struggling for...well forever? I no longer have the *worry* of falling over, blisters and slipping out of my shoes. With such high quality these boots will last me just as long but it won't stop me from buying more, I'm browsing the site, sale and outlet as you read this. Lucy xx 
Disclaimer: press sample, for review consideration only, no payment received. see disclaimer page for more.

Adventures with Harry // #3

Harry finally met the postman this week!! I've been dreading this since he arrived home, everyone I know tells how their dog hates the postman. I guess we're quite lucky to have the porch area completely shut off to him so he misses the letters and packages arrive...until this week. Chilling in the garden I hear someone calling from the gate...Mr Postman. Harry decided it's worth getting up from his sunbathing and instead of excessive barking, biting and post snatching little H sits down, barks and licks the guy. In fact he was a little mopey when he had to return to his round.
a picture of 11 week old Westie
a picture of a westie playing football
He's choosing to go into his crate for nap time, he still loves cars and trips to he pet shop. We took him to our local store - not a patch on Pets at Home but he STILL managed to meet so many people that day. Two in store fussed over him before coming home and totting up another impressive 13. He also met his 'girlfriend' again, she lives four houses away...this time she didn't seem too pleased to see Harry all over her family. We also made a den for him, he loves to sleep around or in the flower pots even when it's sunny. It's such a job to get him out of the gaps that we ended up using his favourite cushion to block the sun...he was in there for a good couple of hours.
a picture of an 11 week old Westie
a picture of a westie at 11 weeks
Although he hasn't had a trip to the vets this week, which will be this coming Wednesday, he had to have his second set of the worming prevention. It's fair to say the stuff definetely is awful. He'll be sleepy most of he day, not at all as snugglsome and thursday night even threw up - once. He still manages to cause as much trouble in his mad hour. I slept downstairs with him after his poorly spell since it was so late into the night, thankfully he wasn't poorly again. There is one thing....reading online along with the synptoms others day and the vet...dogs don't tend to like this medicine...Harry loves the syringe and loved licking any spillage. Maybe it's the strawberry of human penciline? I always ended up with banana.
a picture of a westie with Kong
a picture of a westie with a Kong
Coming to write this weeks post I can see little man is actually learning not to be so naughty but he's still been full of it! He started the week off by making my Dad's hand bleed...simply because he was in the flower pot trying to eat the rose. He tried his best to win my Dad round, he did but he learnt his lesson. I can hear a lot of 'Harry..NO..Harry NO' going on downstairs right now...I'm having my hour lie in at 7am.. He's also ran off with his favourite wooden drawer knob...no other compares. It took a lot of chasing and a peanut butter filled kong to get it off him. We've used the odd dot of vic on feet and he'll turn his little nose up and walk away...till he realised ankles were free of it. Buttons are now his new liking and blouses with the added tie knot detailing, along with sitting in front of the now fixed garden, garage door when someones in there. Oh and how could I forget his attempt at playing football, man he goes CRAZY. That's all for this week, I'm dying to get him walking a week this wednesday! This puppy is raring to go each and every carry round. Lucy

How I Store // Lush Collection

I've held off posting the very requested 'Lush Collection' for quite some time. If I'd posted my 'collection' even a few months ago you'd all be carting me off to the nearest rehab. It was never a collection I intended on creating, it was purely down to my passion for the company, products and ethics along with my shopping addiction and gifted every occasion possible. Over the past few months I've made myself cut  down on shopping trips....in fact I haven't shopped there since the Easter and Mother's Day collection launched, even then most of it wasn't for myself. The aim to cut down was so I could end up displaying my Lush bath bombs, melts and bubble bars on something pretty. Lush bath products do keep well, though bombs usually become speckled - I still have some Christmas'12 and Valentines'12 goodies that look fine and fizz as fresh do thanks to keeping them out of the steamy bathroom.
a picture of lush storage and lush collection
a picture of bath bombs and bubble bars
a picture of cinders bath bomb  lush
My birthday feels so long ago, July 15th where my neighbour popped in as she does every birthday to drop off my various gifts. As you will all know I love to bake, all my presents were themed around this...where instead of displaying cupcakes I shall be joining the cake stand crew for Lush storage. A cake stand has been something I've debated from the beginning of my Lush stash but you can never find the right one...or at least worth the price tag. We were all surprised to see that my new pretty is actually from Wilko's.
a picture of think pink bath bomb
a picture of the comforter bubble bar
The two tier heart cake stand fitted together in no time, I adore how it's a heart shape rather than the usual circular cream wire stands you see. It slots right in next to the few books I have lined up to be read and holds every single bath bomb, bubble bar and melt I own..minus wands of course. The gaps aren't too wide so if you don't have a passion for Lush like I do, you could easily store nail polishes there too. It's no longer available online but in store you'll see them, every town has at least one store. How do you store your Lush? 

Adventures with Harry // #2

Since last weeks Harry post went down so well I'll be carrying on the posts for now at least, it's a nice way for me to look back at how much he's changing each and every week. We're now going into our third week of having him at home and the forth since we met him....It feels like a life time. He's well and truly settled into his new home, creating so much puppy mayhem for all of us, you think you've done all the puppy proofing....Then he finds the most awkward spot to get into. As I write this I've my Dad in the garden fixing the door leading into the garage because someones chewed a large amount off...
We're still not walking Harry on his lead yet, since he's only just had his second inoculation last Wednesday. At the moment he's loving the car journeys and visits to the vets. We arrive and the receptionists really do go crazy over my little man, everyone sat down is awing at him...minus the cats but Harry couldn't care less about cats at the moment. A week this Wednesday and we'll be hitting the vets again for a Kennel Cough vaccination...up his poor little nose. His inoculations require to have it separately, we're lucky our vet managed to order one in other wise we'd have to drive 40 minutes each way to go to the breeders vets.
It's been really annoying when walking, you see these busy body old ladies talking about you, before they're giving smart arse comments of how he should be on the floor walking...he's quite clearly a young puppy. Despite this we've met amazing dog owners, especially Westie owners. At one point we had five West Highland Terriers on one side of our gate and Harry on the other. He's now met the young West a few houses up, whom seemed to get a little too excited over meeting Harry!! They'll be lovers soon I'm sure. He's still not so fond of Jack Russell's but Billy our friends JR comes to see him at the gate every day. If a fellow Westie walks by without stopping Harry will grumble to himself, he even knows when Billy will be trotting by to sit and wait...just like he'll do when someone's home waiting for the rest of us to come home. He's certainly found his voice this week whether it be barking at the washing machine, bin bag or door mat...or just snoring in his sleep.
Training him doesn't seem *too* hard right now, Harry seems to be acing the toilet training until the rain comes and he loses his territory. Discipline wise he's coming down from being 'top dog' of his litter and food wise he's loving the most expensive food...it's worth every penny to see his fur condition improve even more. Buying a puppy Kong has been the best toy purchase along with his free Kong dumbbell from the Vets. We'll be picking up more Kong 'investments' to see us and our furniture through the next year.
This past weekend went so smoothly puppy wise, until we had a 'surprise' visit from one side of the family to 'see the puppy'. I'm still sure it was a case of a cup of tea while Lucy babysits. Poor Harry even had his foot stamped on thanks to my Uncle...making me even less of a fan of him than usual. Harry and ourselves were starving when they left, since they'd already had their day and dinner out. P.S it's okay, they don't know of my blog ;) The recyclers have given him the name Rottweiler since he sits at the gate...barks before his one inch legs shake while they carry our boxes back up for us.
Lastly on top of not having any flowers left in the garden because someone enjoys to regularly run and belly flop the pots, with one for sleeping...he managed to climb onto the foot high wall to then sit under the garden hedge/bush while torrential rain came down. We all got soaked trying to get the white puppy in for his dinner. The Topshop jeans are still a delicacy...as are slipper boots, shoe laces, polka dot socks and kitchen roll....There's only been one running off with a pair of pants. We'll be back with more excessive rambles next week, after he's had more vaccines! The next two weeks couldn't come any sooner, this little West needs his walks and these posts will get a whole lot more interesting. Lucy & Harry x

Nspa // Beauty Rituals // Bathing Rituals

As familiar to NSpa as I am, I'm still yet to truly branch out into their vast affordable range of products. I've always stuck to their shower gels and bath syrups when the miniature gift sets pop up. Recently they kindly sent over a bloggers selection consisting of some of their most loved products in travel size, all wrapped up inside an NSpa toiletry bag. 

First up we have the NSpa Beauty Rituals routine, created by the experts of Niravana spa this four step routine isn't limited to four singular products, there's various alternatives for each and every step. To start off my latest skincare routine we have their Melting Cleansing Gel. Just like the tube states this thick luxurious gel transforms into the creamiest of cleansing milks, removing all traces of makeup and daily impurities. I apply to a dry face before working in circular motions, followed by wetting my hands with warm water to emulsify into a cleansing milk before I THEN use my trusty Washi face cloth. To follow on from step one, we then have the Hot Cloth Cleanser. This is the one product that never seems to be stocked in my local Asda. Having tried most of the disappointing hot cloth cleansers in drugstores I couldn't wait. I'm over the moon to report this hot cloth cleanser is honestly the best I've ever tried. Drugstore hot cloth cleansers seem to like to sit on my skin without benefiting me in any way. Again using a Washi cloth once I've massaged a generous amount around my face I polish off, rinsing my cloth every now and again. You wouldn't need to use this product both morning and night due to how effective step one is but paired together they really do work their spa-esq magic. Containing cocoa butter and Neroli oil as above this rich white cream is most suited to dry, though there's no oily residue for those that do suffer with excess oil. Neroli oil is a godsends regarding skincare reaping with benefits for; stretch marks, scarring (pesky blemishes), rejuvenating skin and cell growth - you really do have your own at home NSpa. The last product - Illuminating Beauty Serum really makes all the difference as do most serums. I've enjoyed adding them into my routines this past summer, but it's this particular one that really stands out. Containing a golden shimmer in it's thicker than your average serum you stray away from looking like a disco ball and instead greeted by the healthiest illuminous glow we all could do after lacking sleep. Whether you use it before your moisturising or over your makeup it'd be great to carry in your handbag for on the go touch ups at £7 for 50ml.
I've followed this particular three step routine for my showers for just over a week now, carrying my little blue bag of NSpa goodness in with me. First we start off with their Moisturising Shower and Body Wash, a pale pink/orange creamy wash that lathers up extremely well on a shower poof. All three products carry the same, clean and the given 'spa' fragrance. I did have visions of them being too floral since containing jasmine but I've been proved wrong, I can't get enough of them, nor can Harry - he seems to lick me more than my regular S&G combinations. I follow through with Step 2, this body polish surprised me too. I expected a sticky formula, but instead a smooth, luxurious gel full with exfoliating particles that gently exfoliate my dry skin and small bumps on the tops of my arms with daily use before creating a rich lather. Out of the two I'll repurchase the full size body polish, since I've always got plenty of shower gels waiting around to be used. To finish my little NSpa routine I'll apply a generous amount of body lotion morning and night, moisturising is the bane of my life especially in winter but I've enjoyed using this simply because of how light it is to massage in, thick white creams aren't for me. I'm far too impatient.
If you haven't ventured into NSpa's world of many pampering products I'd highly recommend popping a few into the trolley while you do your weekly food shop, most of the time they're on offer. The beauty rituals really have blown me away and I can't wait to fill up a  basket with my next stash to try, fingers crossed they'll have some stock waiting. If you've tried any of the products I'd love to know your thoughts.
Disclaimer: press sample, for review consideration only, no payment received. see disclaimer page for more.

Baker Days // Letterbox Cake

Last weekend I had a tasty surprise come hurtling through the letterbox at 8am with an almighty bang - cheers Pat. All was forgiven when I came downstairs to see the mail box contained CAKE!?! 'You can't get a better wake up than this.' Letterboxes are Baker Days latest addition to their various sweet treats with over 400 designs and the ability to customise your cake entirely. When you first think of cake being sent in the mail you'll automatically assume it'll come damaged...we all know what Royal Mail are like, mark fragile and they'll shake it a million more times. The cake sits perfectly on a cardboard cake board with a plastic wrap/pocket around it before being placed in a cute tin. They then post your cake in a perfectly sized posting box..it's not moving anywhere even inside the tin. Along with the embossed tinned cake Baker Days place a small package of candles, balloons and party blower. Each letterbox serves 2-4 perfectly.
I'm not normally one for the 'Keep Calm' phrases, I usually roll my eyes every time I see item after item plastered. But after a week from hell for all of us the phrase and cake couldn't have been more perfect. 'Keep Calm the best is yet to come'. There's no point in moaning about the past week when the next will be far better - which was true. Of course there's ridiculous amounts of designs that you can customise with text and your own photo's before choosing your flavour of cake. I received chocolate, we all couldn't get over how delicious and moist the cake stayed through being sent to me, I didn't have many chocolate chips, which I've only just found out were.. Icing was spot on, I'm someone who peels it off but I loved it, not too thick or sickly. The dyes didn't run through transport or in and out of the fridge. If chocolate cake doesn't take your fancy there's; Madeira, Gluten and Wheat free or fruit!
I think letterbox cakes are a great idea, with family all over the country this would be a great little extra to send whatever the occasion. It's impressive how Baker Days are catering for everyone with a gluten free option and slimmer options to come in the near future. At £14.99 with the ability to reach anywhere in the UK with a delicious tin of customised cake it doesn't get much better. For someone who tends to bake and fatten everyone else up, rather than eating the goods....I ate most of this cake! Lucy xx
Disclaimer: press sample, for review consideration only, no payment received. see disclaimer page for more.

Adventures with Harry // #1

If you guys missed my introductory blog post you'll be wondering who this handsome chap is!? I'm Harry, Lucy and her families West Highland Terrier. I moved in Monday. Lucy arrived with humans I hadn't yet met, they seemed alright. A weird looking chap I hadn't met gave me a good belly rub, they checked out my Mum and Dad, one of the other 'dogs' started whimpering like a sea lion. Lucy carried me as they said their Cheerios's. I had the pleasure of sitting on Lucy's lap in the 'luxury' car, I heard them mention I'm to use the C2 to hit the V.E.T. shame...I only chewed the cup holders a few times. There'll be plenty of snapshots, Lucy always has her camera.
Whilst on our way home a pesky lorry driver decided to be a *woof*. Lucy wasn't pleased, she 'waved' at him....fiesty thing. We arrived at 'Pets at Home'....I liked it here, I had more snuggles with Lucy, shopped and they paid!? I was also made a fuss of, everyone loves a bit of Harry. I'm now the proud pup of a tag, matching collar, lead and matching harness and lead. You have to match up to impress the ladies, I hear there's a dishy West down the road - I'm still yet to meet.
As you can tell I'm having a woof of a time with them all, though there's a few things bothering me....everyone I meet hasn't met a puppy Westie before and JR Terriers keep popping up at my gate informing me 'we'll be friends' soon. They're everywhere....even at the vets I met Lana. See you next week I'm off for a snooze on Lucy...
© Lucyy Writes

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