Lifestyle

Winter Outfit Inspiration – Casual Sock Boots

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Just before Christmas I had an email from JD Williams asking if I wanted to collaborate on a post and I was SO excited. Initially I was thinking of writing about party shoes (glittery heels included) and putting together some outfit inspo for you guys but then I stumbled onto the ankle boots section and completely forgot all about that. I’m a little bit obsessed when it comes to boots, in fact I already have way too many but there’s just something about a classic boot that’s so versatile, so they always seem like a good investment. These boots are from the Violeta range by Mango and are a casual nod to the sock boot trend that is very much hanging around. Just way more comfy than the stiletto kind! I love how chic they are too and really pull together this everyday outfit with very minimal effort.

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“I think this outfit is very reflective of that too. This is everyday me, not too dressy. It’s just comfort paired with great accessories.”

Just before the new year I felt like I was loosing my creative juice a little bit and I’ve also been struggling to find time (as always) to create new content for this blog. Sometimes getting caught up in comparing yourself to other people can really kill your vibe too but I’m finally learning to zone that out and remember why I started Style Rarebit in the first place. Because I love blogging!

I think this outfit is very reflective of that. This is everyday me, not too dressy. Just comfort paired with great accessories which is pretty much my go to philosophy when it comes to getting dressed. I think we would all agree that the number one goal is to look totally polished without having to make much effort at all. This look is essentially jeans and a jumper but tying a satin ribbon around my waist and dressing it up with a blazer is the perfect way to cheat looking like you’ve made loads of effort. I think that’s why the boots work so well too, being structured they are the perfect day boot if you want to look put together. They also look super expensive and the unusual heel (that metallic is everything!) means they add extra interest if you’re wearing plain clothes. They’re also on sale right now so even more of an incentive to pick them up… I love them with my mom jeans too as they’re tight on the ankle they sit really well underneath and give the illusion that my legs are slimmer.

If you take nothing else from this post just get to investing in some good boots this season that will totally dress up a zero effort look. Maybe even two pairs?

Shop boots here

Photographs by Sarah Barnes

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3 Easy Christmas Party Outfits

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Today I’m pairing up with Jack Wills to bring you some super cute Christmas party looks that are really wearable and extra glitzy. I love putting together outfits for the festive season and although I thought Jack Wills was just for pyjamas their range this year is really impressive. There are so many gorgeous cocktail dresses, evening bags and warm coats that would work for any holiday occasion.

If you’re looking for presents they have some really lovely accessories and pyjamas which are great too. If you’re struggling it’s worth checking out their online gift cards as well which ping into your bestie’s inbox so they can pick their own perfect gift. For now though let’s get on to the outfits…

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Jacket £69.95, Sequin Top £41, Velvet Mini £59.95, Bag £24.46, Earrings £9.95   

I think this one is perfect for a work Christmas party. The cute skirt and sequin top look really festive but it’s comfy and classy at the same time. I love this bag too, you could fit so much in this and a cross body is ideal if you feel like a dance. These are definitely pieces you would wear again and again with various different outfits, especially the mini and velvet jacket! Pair this with some black tights and heels and you’re good to go.

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Pink Coat £148, Dress £62, Bag £27.96, Necklace £12.95   

I LOVE this coat! It’s so perfect and the most gorgeous colour. This look is great for a family party or even for Christmas day. The dress is really flattering and will nip in your waist, giving you the classic hour glass silhouette and I love the spotty sleeves. Very 50s! Pair this with the gorgeous velvet bag and long necklace to complete the look and add some texture too.

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Earrings £9.95, Jumpsuit £90, Belt £27.95, Bag £29.95   

This last look is the most dressy and perfect for getting catch up drinks with your friends. I always pair a jumpsuit with a belt because I think it really draws in the waist and accentuates your shape. This clutch bag is perfect for a night out too as it has the little wrist strap so you don’t have to worry about holding onto your bag all night.

I hope you like these looks! Let me know in the comments what you’re wearing to your Christmas party too?!!

*This post is sponsored by Jack Wills / Spot Digital 

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How to style a Beret

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“Championing small, creative businesses has always been really important to me”

In fact I’ve got a whole series of blog posts interviewing designers from my favourite fashion start-ups including Swag and Tassel and Xandra Jane. I think anyone who is creative and following their passion knows how important support is in keeping their art alive. As much as we would love to endlessly create, the reality is that we also need to pay our bills and put some food on the table. Before I get too deep though today’s post features a gorgeous beret from a new fashion start up right here in Wales. Andrea’s Closet only launched 3 months ago but they already have a RTW and bridal collection which they successfully showcased at Cardiff Fashion Week last month. Their gorgeous fascinators are the perfect wedding accessory but my favourite pieces are the knitted head bands and winter friendly berets. I think often hats are something you only think about when you have a special occasion or when it’s super cold but they’re such a good thing to invest in. This beret is timeless, it’s interesting but also really wearable and it’s something I’ll bring out year after year.

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fashion-blogger-cardiff-beretHere are some quick styling ideas to get you inspired to pick up a Beret…

1. Wear it back on your head and tilted to one side for a super casual look.

2. Wear it perfectly straight and back on your head if you want to channel classic Parisian chic.

3. Pair it with some sunglasses like the one in this post to instantly bring a beret up to date.

4. Pick one up in a contrasting or bright colour to add some interest to a boring outfit.

5. If you’re super edgy pop it straight on your head and puff out the shape for a very extra, runway inspired look.

6. Make sure you get one in the right size! If it’s too big you might still be able to work with it but too small and your head will be bulging out the sides. Not cool!

Once the new Andrea’s Closet website is live I will pop it here but until then please check out their social media pages to see their newest collection.

twitter // facebook // instagram

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Trying out Kenra Haircare

kendra-haircare-review-style-rarebit It’s been just over a year that I had my big bleach disaster and lost a lot of my hair in an attempt to go grey. Even though this killed my confidence for the longest time, its actually forced me to get a lot more clued up on haircare. About a month after this disaster I also started working with Salon Success who send hair products out to bloggers to review on their blogs. It seemed like the best coincidence in the world and some of the products I’ve reviewed this year have seriously improved the condition and manageability of my hair. I owe them a lot!

This is 100% true of Kenra too and I’ve honestly found some holy grail products for me in their range. I thought that for today’s post I would work through each one and explain why I like them and how they’re fitting into my routine. I’m by no means a professional! But hopefully I can clue you up on some products that will work for you.kendra-haircare-review-style-rarebit kendra-haircare-review-style-rarebit The Kenra Moisturising Shampoo and Kenra Moisturising Conditioner are not like any other I’ve tried that are specific to dry hair. At first I thought it was strange that they weren’t as thick or oily as other shampoos and conditioners for dry hair which if i’m being honest made me a little bit sceptical. Once my hair was dry though it looked glossy and healthy and had way more volume. Rather than just weighing it down, the products had left my hair moisturised but also clean and light which I absolutely love. They are a holy grail product for thin hair for sure!

kendra-haircare-review-style-rarebit One of my favourite products is the Kenra Silkening Mist, a fine spray that adds instant hair advert worthy shine while making your locks smoother and more manageable too. I love using this after curling my hair as an end step to make it look really glossy and it also helps to disguise my frazzled ends (YASS).

The Kenra Volume Spray 25 is their most hyped product and has won the Stylist Choice Award for Best Hairspray 11 times in a row. It’s the perfect combination of giving a really strong hold to your hairstyle while also looking natural and allowing movement. Gone are the days of crunchy hairspray gurl!

The product I’ve used the least is the Kenra Root Lifting Spray even though that’s what I need the most. This is just a personal thing but I’m a little bit lost when it comes to using a moose. I’m not sure if I’m applying it right but when I worked this into my roots it did give me a lot of lift. It also dries in the same way a hairspray does to hold that lift all day and it kind of smells like watermelons too!

kendra-haircare-review-style-rarebit My most used of all these products has been the Kenra Blow-Dry Spray  mainly because it’s easy to use and it protects against heat up to 220°C which is perfect when I want to style my hair. It reduces blow-drying time too (amazing!), tames frizz and softens your hair making it easier to work with. It’s also very lightweight which makes it perfect for thin hair like mine as it doesn’t feel heavy or tacky like some other heat protectors I’ve tried.

Lastly the Kenra Revive Oil is amazing for smoothing over your strands and making them look shiner and feel softer. I love using this on the ends of my hair, especially in the morning as it keeps my hair from looking less dry throughout the day. I’ve also barely used any so far, so I feel like this would last you forever as one pump goes a really long way. The only weird thing about this one, is that it smells like mens cologne, which isn’t a bad thing and it’s not overwhelming but I was surprised at how different the scent was from the other products.

I’ve linked everything in this post but if you need any more info or want to ask some more questions leave them in the comments and I’ll get back to you asap. I’ve really loved using this range and I feel its made a big difference to my hair and has definitely helped me through the awkward growing out a bad haircut/dye stage.

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Designing my perfect phone case with Case Station UK

case-station-uk I use my iPhone for absolutely everything, it’s a lifeline for me. It wakes me up in the morning, it tells me what my plans are for the day and for the most part it runs this blog too. As I rely on it so much I usually go for a case that is a.bulletproof and b.really ugly. I didn’t think pretty phone cases would ever be heavy duty enough to withstand the amount of times I drop my phone in a day. This is why I have been so impressed by this Case Station UK one so far and will probably buy from these guys from now on. If only I had found out years ago that the holy grail of pretty and durable cases does in fact exist…

case-station-ukCase Station UK got in touch with me about trying one of their cases and I was really excited to design my perfect one. It’s a really easy site to use, you just select the model of your phone, the style of case you want and the finish, either matt or shiny. Keeping in mind I need something to protect mine from drops I chose their TOUGH Extra durability case for my iPhone 7plus which has an inner TPU liner for extra protection. You can then add your own image or choose from their images, stamps and designs to create whatever look you want. I fell in love with this print by the artist Meghann Rader  but I was toying between this and something with my initials on for ages. I really like the colours in this print though and the unpolished brush strokes, its so pretty!

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When it arrived I was really impressed by the quality, its absolutely beautiful. It feels way stronger and more substantial than any other case I’ve had before. It doesn’t feel really bulky or annoying either, some phone cases seem to add inches to your phone but this is definitely not one of them. It looks and feels so expensive too, especially in comparison to my old one, the finish is really beautiful and it fits my phone perfectly.

You also get a Nano Pro Liquid Glass Protection set with your case which coats your phone and protects it from bacteria, scratches and dirt. I was so impressed with this and the entire service from Case Station. Everything from the product, to the packaging and the customer service is perfect. I couldn’t recommend treating yourself to one more!

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This case was sent to me for free but all opinions are my own.

Design your own Case Station UK Case here

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Officially Obsessed with Pro Nails

Since starting Style Rarebit I’ve discovered a lot of new brands that have really upped my beauty game. Going to events for product launches and companies that I haven’t heard of before is so exciting and satisfying when you come across something good. Especially when it’s a beauty product that solves a lot of problems. Like flaky nail problems for example.

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ProNails is one of the biggest nail brands in Europe and has recently developed a new way of applying Gel Polish called SoPolish Care, Protect & Peel. They invited me and my fellow welsh bloggers to try it out and learn more about the brand. If you didn’t see it on my Instagram story it’s basically a concept that was inspired by a Compeed blister plaster which works by putting a film over your nails before the application. The idea is that when you peel off the Gel, your nail will have been protected underneath. They also apply their Vital Nail Serum under the film so that your nail will be shinier and healthier after removing it than before the treatment. I decided to go for the super 70s shade above, which clashed really badly with the dress I was wearing in number 88 I’ve Got Your Back. I thought it was really pretty with my skin tone but still nice and bright for summer. The finished effect was really smooth and shiny like a normal gel and didn’t feel heavy or tough on my nails at all. They didn’t last me as long as I wanted them to but with my job I knew that would happen. However some of my fellow bloggers are still posting pictures of theirs now 2 weeks later and they look perfection.  stylerarebit.com

stylerarebit.comI thought I would post some pictures of the normal nail polishes that I received in my goody bag too so you can see what the ‘at home’ quality is like. I’ve been really obsessed with the polishes above and they are making a big difference to the condition of my nails. I use the Active Hardener (purple) to prime which is a great base and the Gloss it Up topcoat over the colour which stops chipping. I’ve noticed that my polish last a few days longer using these two than normal which is really impressive for me.

In the photo below I’m wearing the Pro Nails Polish no.58 Rouge Amour with the two polishes above to prime and finish. I’m not the best at painting nails but you can see how shiny they are and how bold the colour is. I can’t wait for a salon to open in Cardiff soon though so I can get the gels done again!

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See more ProNails products and find a salon here

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Charlotte Tilbury Instant Dry Magical Sheet Mask Review

CHARLOTTE-TILBURY-INSTANT-DRY-MAGICAL-SHEET-MASK-REVIEW-style-rarebit Last week I had the facial to end all facials at Charlotte Tilbury in John Lewis and part of my treatment included the new Instant Dry Magical Sheet Mask that everyone has been raving about. As a self proclaimed connoisseur of the sheet mask, I have to say that it’s a bit weird to use one that’s dry. I’m not aware of any other sheet mask on the market that isn’t dripping in serum so it’s amazing that this achieves anything, considering there’s no liquid product.

It promises the results of a facial in 15 minutes and to brighten, lift, hydrate and reduce lines (yasss). The mask is described as a “bio-mimetic revolutionary system that gives a prolonged release of the ingredients”. Apparently the serum in wet sheet masks will evaporate off your skin after 45 minutes so by being dry it prolongs the effects for up to 8 hours. It also doesn’t harbour bacteria so you can use it up to 3 times, which is good news considering it costs £18! The sheet is quite thick too, far thicker than other ones I’ve tried and you can feel a dry residue on the side that you place on your face. The best thing is that it fits really well and the hooks around your ears help to keep it taught across your face so you get the most of the mask. Certainly worth look like Hannibal Lecter for!

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The Results    

It really does give you a moisturised, fresh and plumped finish. The fine lines on my forehead disappeared which was so exciting and overall I looked more dewy and well rested. It’s strange because while it’s on it doesn’t feel like it’s doing anything. With the other mask I use, like the Garnier Moisture Bomb, the coolness of the sheet makes it feel like it’s actively working but this one is nothing like that and yet delivers even better results. It gives a glow rather than a heavily moisturised finish and I felt my skin was better prepped to apply makeup than if it was saturated in product . Even while I’m writing this I put the mask on 2 hours ago to take a picture and my skin still looks amazing. I think this is a perfect product for a special occasion or for when you need to really perk up your skin.

Shop it here

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NIOD Flavanone Mud Mask Review

stylerarebit.comA few weeks ago now I met up with Laura, the PR for Deciem, to chat about the brand which has got every blogger, skincare fanatic and magazine talking. Deciem is also known as The Abnormal Beauty Company and for good reason. They have stripped back on unnecessary packaging, ingredients and false claims to bring us the best in scientific research that REALLY works. Under the umbrella of Deciem are their handful of different brands including The Ordinary (which I have a review of coming soon), NIOD, Fountain and many more. It brings about the change that so many of us have been looking for, moving away from the hype and concentrating on back to basics, affordable skincare that we can trust.

Today I’m reviewing the NIOD Flavanone Mud Mask, which I chose to try because it’s very purifying and effective on spot prone skin. NIOD, which stands for Non Invasive Options in Dermal Science is the most advanced of the Deciem brands. It’s also a good way to describe the look and smell of the Flavanone Mask, it very much feels like a Science project.

cardiff beauty blogger niod flavanone mud maskThe mask is said to have three phases, the Purifying Phase, Protective Phase and Responsive Phase. Combined they decongest the skin without throwing off the balance meaning it gives purifying results that last. It is a mud mask but the consistensy is lighter and more watered down. You only need to apply a small layer to get great results but it’s worth noting that it does sting your skin. This is mentioned in the directions but it feels counterintuitive leaving something on that isn’t so comfortable. However the results are worth the 10 minutes of discomfort. It deeply cleanses your skin and leaves it looking matte but not feeling dry. It also helps to take down the redness of any spots or pigmentation leaving them less angry.

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I read a few reviews before trying it out and a lot of them were saying to use it everyday for the first week and then once a week after that as a top up. I found that everyday was a bit too much for my sensitive skin but using it every few days definitely helped to keep my spots at bay. It’s also worth noting that this has a shelf life of 6 months so you need to be using it often to get through the pot. I’m thinking of taking it down to my chest (as I get a few spots there too) to make the most of the product within that time. I would definitely repurchase this mask again and NIOD is a brand that I really want to explore more.

The Flavanone Mask is £29 and available here.

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When am I going to make it?

I’ve decided that I want to start talking a little more frankly and openly about my life on Style Rarebit and express some of the ‘real’ things I’m thinking about right now. This particular vein of worry started about a week ago when I met a couple who are friends with my boyfriend. They were so lovely, they had recently got engaged, lived in a beautiful house and had two children. They were also two years younger than me. I think you can see where this is going. I am 25 and I cannot even get myself out of bed on time, let alone raise a family and afford a house. There are people my age who have their whole life together and honestly I haven’t a single plan past this Saturday. I am still eating tea at the family table, still getting told off for leaving cups in my room and still have not got my career together. Damn.

My boyfriend is becoming a police officer this summer and watching him get through every exam, interview and stage of the process has been so amazing. Don’t for a second misconstrue this as me not being unbelievably proud of him but it also makes me shit myself that little bit more. Everyone around me seems to be finding what they love to do and making it happen. Whether that’s in their career, or starting a family or just creatively making their passions happen everyday. Turning 25, as ridiculous as it sounds, was really daunting and thought provoking for me. I am a quarter of a century old and the fact of the matter is I still have absolutely no idea about what, or where or who I want to be in life.

I am currently working as a stylist/visual merchandiser and it’s honestly one of the most fun jobs I’ve ever had and with some of the most talented women I have ever met. I get to be creative every single day and am free to experiment as much as I like which has been amazing. That being said I’m a graduate in the lowest level job, there’s no progression and for all the hard team work we’re putting in it’s a minimum wage pay check at the end of the month. On this salary I am no further to buying a house than I am being able to stretch my money to reach 31 days. It’s not that I’m being negative but after all the internships, free photoshoots and blogging time I have put in, it’s a little frustrating to be getting nowhere in return.

This may be a bit ranty but my anxiety is at 100 wondering if I’ll ever have my own home. I would love to have a career I can be proud of, or just something to tell people I went to school with, when I bump into them at Tesco so I sound like I’m doing something good with my life. I’m not sure what my next step should be or what avenue is best at this point but I know for sure I am not the only one that feels like this. I guess that’s why I really wanted to write this post, outfits and hair stylers aside this is my online voice after all. Maybe by talking about this someone will comment with an idea or spark my interest in a new career and vice versa. I’m never going to give up but if I can speed up the process all the better for it.

Here’s to 25

Here I am, finally recovered from my neck fiasco and feeling super pumped to blog. I have so much to show you, it really is amazing how much internet shopping you can get done on your sick bed. I’ve also just turned 25 and so I’ve got lots of beautiful presents and party stories to share too.

Equally it has rained so much in Cardiff this week it hasn’t been the weather for celebrating. I know it rains all the time here but it really, really rained… a lot. Therefore my outfits this week have been pretty casual and layered up and that’s kind of my everyday vibe at the moment. I really like wearing a hoodie underneath a smart jacket and heels, I like that it gives things a street wear feel and takes it away from looking too dressy. A hood also keeps my hair dry and my eyeliner smudge free, winner.

 

COAT : ZARA // HOODIE & VEST : PRIMARK // TEE : H&M

JEANS :  MARKS & SPENCER // BELT :  MARKS & SPENCER

BAG :  MARKS & SPENCER // BOOTS : JUST FAB

PHOTOGRAPHY : SARAH BARNES