Online sale shopping made delightfully easy

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This has been the ultimate year of thrift in my life. Six months of relentless saving and bank balance checking and cutting back has not exactly been the best news for my wardrobe. Clothes were the top of the list on things that had to go from monthly spending which was obviously sad times, but thank the garment gods for black skinny jeans. I love those dark clingy things more than anything and they have been my best friends during these adulting times.

Anyway, it’s been a bit hot for black skinny jeans lately and I am taking off with my family for two weeks of immense heat very soon, so I decided it was acceptable to buy some clothes that won’t make me look like a sad beetroot after walking 10 steps in the sun. I discovered Love The Sales at the start of the year after seeing someone talk about getting jeans from there on Twitter and had a little nosey. It’s  pretty much your best friend if you want to shop on a budget. It basically lists all sale items from a whole load of stores including TopShop, Misguided, Boohoo, Mango, French Connection, Roxy, ASOS, New Look… and take a look at their Phase Eight sale for wedding guest style dresses especially. I don’t have the time or the patience to list them all, but you name it, you’ll most likely find it.

Oh and it’s not just clothes- it’s all manner of beauty, electronics, homeware and stuff for kids.

It bypasses all the other stuff you’d buy if you were rolling in it, and leaves you with a realistic page of shopping options and is completely up to date. You can do all your usual price filtering, item type, brand etc and I love it quite a lot. It’s seriously worth checking out for bargain hunting. Once you’ve found what you want, it transfers you to the retail site to buy it. If you need swimwear right now, get involved. It does high end and high street priced sale items, so whatever the hell you need or just feel the urge to own, you’re covered.

Dress- Mango- via Love The Sales

Glasses and sunglasses from Firmoo


Anyone who’s got bad eyesight will be well aware of the perils of buying glasses. Oh and the cost. I remember getting a new prescription at 19 and needing new glasses and basically grovelling with my parents to help me pay because my student loan couldn’t stretch to the £90 it cost just to thin the lenses.

I’ve only bought new glasses once in the last 6 years, which for someone with eyes as bad as me is either impressive or really quite bad. I love trying them on and actually like wearing them, I just don’t like how much all the extras mount up to and also the part where I go in after and get told my ‘odd shaped head’ means they’ll need serious adjusting.

I’ve never considered buying glasses online because I couldn’t imagine getting them without trying them on. I still feel like this is a weird thing to do, but a couple of few ago I got the chance to try some specs from Firmoo, an online fashion glasses and sunglasses site, and I’ve worn glasses over contacts more than I have in years since.

They offered me a pair from a massive range of either prescription frames or sunglasses. They have glasses for basically every face shape and style and importantly lots of info on size and width of frame, for those of us are sitting in front of screens a lot and need good coverage. They also sent a handy how-to guide for measuring your pupillary distance (the distance between your pupils) so you can do it at home. The whole thing made me miss my uni job as an optical assistant where I basically told people if they could pull off bright blue glasses and sat in the dark monitoring field tests.

Anyway, long story short, I picked a pair of glasses that Harry Potter would be proud of and that make me look a bit like a scientist, and I love them. The ordering process took about ten minutes, and the delivery was amazing. I got tracking updates for every leg of the journey including when they had boarded the plane and when they got off. Considering they flew across the world from China to get to me they arrived at my door in just shy of 3 days, with a free map case and cleaner.



Seriously impressive service and seriously nice glasses. They were bigger than anticipated but after I repeatedly asked if I looked stupid at home I’ve grown to be a huge fan. The glasses are strong, light and the lenses stay smear free for ages, which for me is a huge bonus.

Considering how against online buying I was, I would definitely do it again. The lens quality is better than store bought glasses and Firmoo charge half the price. I’m 100% investing in their prescription sunglasses, which I’ve always needed but never wanted to pay out for.

Oh and if you want sunglasses for summer, take a look. I want about 10 pairs of the wayfarers and cat eye range.

* Items given for review are written about honestly and all opinions are my own

5 April favourites 

  
1) Waffles at Village East, Bermondsey 

I went here on my birthday for brunch with my family and considered getting a burger for about seven seconds, then obviously ordered these instead. If you have a sweet tooth and you’re into brunch, you need to experience them. The coffee was absolutely delicious too. 

  
2) Map floors

I saw a map floor a few weeks ago in a shop and then stumbled upon this in a pub in Waterloo during Friday night drinks. Just going to turn my house into one giant map probably.

  
3) Tesco gym leggings 

If you would never think of looking in Tesco for your gym clothes, well, you should. Dressing like the sky makes me happy and they were a total bargain at £9 in the sale. Their gym leggings are all pretty tasty right now. 

  
4) Brixton Village Market

My boyfriend had a photoshoot here and I tagged along to look around and the market has changed so much. It’s full of cool and quirky little breakfast places and weird and wonderful clothes and food shops. There’s also an amazing beer garden if you walk out of the back and go right with live music and cocktails every weekend. 

  
5) Glasses from Firmoo

I got these last week and having never even considered getting my glasses online, I’m so impressed. The frames are amazing value and the process and delivery was so fast. They also came in a free leather map case with cleaners. Highly recommend. Their sunglasses range is also pretty amazing. I’ve got my eye on these babies for my summer stint in Cyprus. 

  
*sometimes items get sent to me, but all opinions and feedback are honest. 

5 places to shop and do good at the same time

 Pact coffee– If you love coffee and endeavour to make it yourself rather than buying a cup every morning, you could do a lot worse than ordering from Pact. Their coffee is, and I’ve drank it many times so I can confirm, absolutely delicious. The good part is, the company deals direct with farmers worldwide, which cuts out the middle man and allows them to pay more to those growing the beans- which is in fact 25% more than fair trade. 

Sniffy Wiffy moisturiser– This quirky company are one of my favourites. They may be quite small but they are mighty. The moisturiser- including body and hand cream for men and women, comes with labels which illustrate exactly how to check yourself for lumps and signs of cancer.  A portion of the profits go to two charities- Cancer Research UK and Balls Brothers.

H&M conscious‘Looking good should do good too’ is the strap line for H&M’s conscious campaign. The idea is that they will work to make their fashion sustainable, which we should all be on board with. They don’t have factories mass producing their clothes, which is hugely positive for a highstreet chain store.

Unique Beauty– This company don’t do sustainability by halves, so much so that they get all their power for production from windmills. Yep, windmills. I mean, 10/10 for effort. They also include unusual but sustainable ingredients in their products, listed on their site. They also package everything simply but beautifully so it’ll look nice on your dressing table. I saw the products when in Denmark last year and they currently don’t have shops anywhere else, but you can buy online.

SCT Charity shops– If you’re in East London and you’re a charity shop fiend, look out for Spitalfields Crypt Trust shops, who put their money into local addiction recovery and homelessness, including providing services like drop-ins which offer a place for those recovering from addiction to seek advice and support. They also use the shops to fund therapy sessions for the people they work with. They’ve been providing a service to the local community for 50 years now.

Photoshoots for bloggers

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Bloggers have better photos these days than glossy magazines and online shopping sites. I was recently browsing inthefrow.com at work with a colleague while we were discussing a presentation on blogging and he thought I was showing him a designer shop. Having better cameras, editing skills and posing locked down is pretty much part and parcel of having a blog now. Outfit posts have enormously taken off because the combination of fashion inspiration, trend alerts and having a nose into what others are wearing is a winner, no doubt about that.

I’ve become quite obsessed by photography lately- taking photos, rather than being in them, and it’s turned into an actual hobby, which is good because I don’t think staring at an iphone or sampling gin mixers can really count as hobbies.

I’ve been trailing around after my boyfriend on photoshoots on and off for the past few months to learn more (I’m mostly in it for the VERY cute babies he gets to photograph) and I’ve arranged several blogger shoots which have been really fun. Massive thanks to Sasha and Bonita who feature in this post from past shoots. Blog photography is serious business so it’s been quite nice to see photos he’s taken (and I’ve had a go at) being used in posts and popping up all over social media.

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Photography is such a useful skill to have in the digital age. Before I laid my hands on an DSLR camera I thought it was all in the eye- if a shot frames up nicely you just take it and you’ll have a lovely photo. IF ONLY. There’s so much to learn when it comes to making the most of cameras, and then on top of that there’s the editing and all the technical terms. Histograms, ISO, shading, bouncing the flash etc etc.

If you have recently got a flashy DSLR, there’s a few tips on what to focus on first here.

The shots below are all from blog shoots, all around London. If you’re interested in having some photos done (for a blog or anything else), drop me a line- laurenrellis010@gmail.com or you know, tweet me or whatever. The more the merrier (glossier). Bloggers in London- get in touch for outfit shoots!

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My favourite blogs

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I use blogs to research everything these days. Mortgages, travel, make up, face wash, bedding, shoes, exercise, food- you name it, I read it. I never used to actually read blogs at all apart from the odd one if I saw it on Facebook, but when I changed jobs last year and had a week off I did some serious blog reading, and I have done ever since. I trawl through Twitter most evenings before bed looking for something to read, and these are my most visited:

The blog I’ve been reading for longest is Hannah Gale, number one because her nostalgia lists are top notch and always make me chuckle and number two because she let me sleep in her bed A LOT at uni and we once learned to rap every word of Eminem and Rihanna- Love the way you lie. Of course.

Sophie Cliff’s blog is another firm favourite. It reminds me of reading a life diary parallel to my own life and I like it a lot. The travel posts are really, really good and there’s always stuff about good food and drink that makes me want to up sticks and move to Leeds.

For general lols and all the gorgeous photos, sharp wit and bluntly honest opinions I read Nettle and Blackberry by Imii.

Queen Beady is the second blog I ever read and now I read all the fashion posts and all the stuff about life, homeware, working, aspirations and the lovely looking north!

Lily Pebbles, because she tries all make up that exists so I don’t have to.

While I’m Young and Skinny is my favourite travel blog and Danielle has the kind of life I’d love right now- she’s living in Dubai and is sun-drenched and having what looks like a right time of it. There’s loads of good travel posts about Asia and I LOVE her New York stuff.

If I wasn’t saving all my moneys I would be out buying everything Robyn wears and posts about on Phases on Robyn. Like, ALL of it.

I’m always looking for news reads so leave me so links for my Sunday bed blog situation that I’m really excited about.

14 things to do, eat or treat yo’self to this Valentines

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I’ve never been a big V day person and I definitely will not be found on Sunday rolling around in rose petals eating heart shaped things and wearing pink underwear. My boyfriend genuinely sent me an iPhone calendar invite for a meal on Sunday. That’s where my life is at. Romance is not dead, and on Sunday I intend to eat my bodyweight in Turkish food and then nurse a food baby on the sofa.

Through the years though, it’s given me some great nights out, hilarious ironic cinema trips (all the single ladies) and most importantly- damn good food. Even if you aren’t going to be rolling through town on a whirlwind of romantic drinks, candlelit dinners and cocktails with your significant other, here’s 14 V day bits to do, eat or treat yo’self to:

1) Breakfast for dinner at the Breakfast Club. Nothing says true love like a stack of pancakes as big as your head.

2) Cocktails at the Shoreditch Grind.  The apple of my eye martini is well worth a purchase.

3) THIS JUMPER– My boyfriend is so handsome looking all invisible and shit

4) All of the chocolatey goodness and tips to make someone VERY happy from Thorntons.

5) Anti-Valentines nights out. Because sober Monday mornings are overrated.

6) Battersea Cats and Dogs home- feline lonely? Hang out with cats, get some complimentary bubbly and find the little kitty of your dreams.

7) Flight Club, Shoreditch. For anyone who wants to forget about love and throw sharp things. This is place is ridiculously fun.

8) Bottomless brunches in London. This will make someone love you if they don’t already, or just please mates enormously.

9) Proper tasty– I’ve just discovered these food geniuses and basically want to stay in forever and make every single recipe. You do not need to go out to eat well.

10) Bloody Valentines Cabin at The York and Albany. Twisted, anti-love fun. No romance, just a blood-spattered room and food to die for.

11) This ASOS heart sweater, just because.

12) Documentary day indoors with your one true love- bed.

13) Rock N Rose red rose flower crown because you should be able to wear flowers on Valentines day. Or just buy and save for festival season, obvs.

14) The Hotel Chocolat Hearts and Truffles box. Aside from their Gin Puddles, the truffles are the BEST sweet treats they do.

7 times the internet has been good this week

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I’ve been too busy to write anything this week which has meant falling behind on NaNoWriMo and other stuff like hair brushing and sleep. I have though, come across a few quite amazing things on the internet while sitting slumped on the tube or laying in bed putting off actually turning out the light. Prepare to be hungry and get some wanderlust.

1) PANCAKES.

The greatest of all Food. Buzzfeed have rounded up the best in London, so I’ll just need a week or two off work to really concentrate on eating them all.

2) ASOS- Christmas made me do it

I never actually buy anything from this edit but I still love it every year. ASOS do a good Christmas party edit and this year there is a LOT of sparkles.

3) Emma Watson

I read this on Time on my way home the other day. It’s just a snippet of Emma Watson saying she hated her hair in the first Harry Potter film and reminding everyone why she’s so amazing.

4) 43 reasons you’ll fall in love with Bali 

This was on The Sunday Chapter, which is one of my absolute favourite websites. She does travel stuff so beautifully and this is no exception.

5) 10 things you should know about the gender pay gap 

Simple, important and well explained. Good old Guardian.

6) Danny Boy Jnr Exposure blog

So I’m biased on this one but my boyfriend started a photography blog and it’s beautiful.

7) 101 Christmas baking recipes 

Er, YES. Christmas is excellent. Baking is excellent.

IT’S NEARLY FRIDAY.

Outfit: The £1 jacket and the last days of autumn

I have an aspiring photographer for a boyfriend and an amazing £1 jacket I got from a vintage clothes stand at a Sunday market. So this happened.

Sunday was the perfect crisp, sunny autumnal day (once the fog subsided) and as there probably aren’t many left before we all start freezing and getting icicles on our noses whenever we leave the house, it seemed rude not to stroll through the pretty back streets of Fulham.

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I got this (mildly ridiculous) jacket from a Sunday morning half carboot/half farmers market a while back and it was so worth getting up for. If you have anything like a carboot or clothing sale near you, try and drag yourself out of bed on a Sunday and go thrifting. They may start early but the bargains are seriously impressive. Who WOULDN’T need a velour floral bomber jacket? I also got two silver plated photo frames for £3 and a burger the size of torso. I need to go to more of these things. Time Out have a list of the best ones in London, so knock yourselves out. Go wild.

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Sunday was also one of the fast fading days where the weather allowed feet to be shoved into shoes with no tights or socks and not cause toes to turn blue. I stumbled upon these slightly aggressive looking flats in Debenhams (I know, there actually are things to buy in Debenhams) and turns out they are outrageously comfortable and go with pretty much everything. Perfect office shoes that won’t fall apart in the rain.

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I also want to just shove it down everyone’s throats again that if you live in or around London, you should definitely dedicate a day one weekend soon to come to Fulham and go for brunch and a wonder. It’s SO pretty and my Sunday morning stropll made me really sad to think about leaving soon.

The other point to this post (aside from in your face velour, boot sales and red trees) is to ask any bloggers in London who want some free snaps taken with professional equipment over the next few weeks to give me a shout.

Exploring London and dressing cosy: Autumn in the city

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My boyfriend bought this book recently called London’s Hidden Walks, and it was made for Autumn. We’ve been on two so far. One for me to have a not so successful DSLR photography lesson, and one with friends. On Saturday we did a Docklands walk, somewhere I’ve never really explored, and it’s SO pretty around there. Even more so with loads of lovely autumn colours and fallen leaves.

While Autumn is delightful and everyone’s losing their shit over pumpkin spiced lattes, it’s gone and got a bit nippy (that thing that seasons do). Walking round the Docklands was chilly business, as are early morning walks to work (with a blistering hot tropical bit in the middle on the tube) so it’s officially time to bring out the big, cosy staples.

I’ve recently started a new love affair with Uniqlo and when I got an email showcasing their new legging trousers I was in there within a week adopting some into my life. I’ve never been too much of a legging/jegging person because of all the clinging and lack of room to eat loads and get bloated, but these are my new staple. I wear them everywhere. To work, to bars, on long London walks, around the house. They’re a delight and if you need some cosy but not too casual threads to cover your legs, I couldn’t recommend more. They’re also a very good price at £14.90. Very good indeed.

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On the subject of leggings, American Apparel do some top notch black ones (arguably the best, if you’ve ever owned a pair) perfect for the autumn/winter but they come with a fairly hefty price tag. You can snap them up on eBay though like my lovely friend Kay did below (I had massive leg envy when I saw hers) and they’re quite frequently sold on there, so get searching.

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Wearing dark colours only when it’s colder is too depressing and I have about four really brightly coloured bags along the lines of this one on my shopping list (check out New Look and Zara, they have some beauties):

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If you find yourself in or near London with a spare afternoon, you should go to the Docklands. You don’t need the book necessarily, just get off the tube at Tower Hill, follow signs for St Katherine’s Dock and keep wandering. We also did a lot of ‘omg imaging living here’ at all the amazing flats and riverside apartments. There’s loads of history around these parts too, if you’re into that.

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