Author: renaissanceideal

Balenciaga, Balenciaga, Balenciaga

What does 2 Chainz and Molly Goddard have in common? An appreciation for all things Balenciaga. From music to fashion there is a deep respect and admiration for one of the most influential and important designers of the century, “the designer’s designer”, Cristobal Balenciaga.

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I recently went to the “Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion” exhibition at Victoria & Albert Museum, showcasing over hundred couture pieces created by the mastermind himself. The exhibition also displayed his influence on fashion, from his protégées to contemporary fashion designers.

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Cristobal Balenciaga was born in Getaria, Gipuzoka (a Basque province) in Spain on January 21 1985. His mother was a seamstress and he learned the trade by spending time with her whilst she worked. He became a tailor apprentice at the age of 12 and was sent to Madrid by his patron where he started his formal training as a tailor. Balenciaga is celebrated as one of the very few designers who who not only designed but used his hands to cut and sew. Referred to as “the master of us all” by Christian Dior, and the ‘King of Fashion’ his talent is treasured still today. His skills gave me an edge over other designers, making him popular with the ‘it crowd’ of his time. He was famous for his structural designs and reshaping the women’s silhouette in the 50s (to the point many dresses in the 50s were dilutions of his designs).

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Balenciaga built his career first in Spain, by opening a boutique in Madrid and then the fashionable seaside resort of San Sebastian. His designs were favoured by the Spanish elite, from the royal family to the Spanish aristocracy. After the Spanish civil war, Balenciaga decided to move his business to Paris, the fashion capital of the world. In August 1937 he put on his first runway show at his Avenue George Atelier, showing a collection heavily influenced by the Spanish Renaissance. Balenciaga incorporated influences from the Catholic church and from periods in European history to his designs.

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The exhibition was split into two sections, one looks at his garments and the second section which is separated by stairs shows the impact he has had on contemporary fashion designers.

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One thing I have noticed about Balenciaga’s work was how timeless his pieces are. You could totally have rocked his clothes made from the 40s, 50s, 60s and wear it today (even in 50 years it will still be wearable). The way he was able to capture all elements of femininity, elegance, grace and at the same time he was experimental and innovative.

This has gone on to influence many designers which is displayed in the second phase of the exhibition.

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I would definitely recommend everyone to go and see the exhibition. It completely blew my mind how every garment Balenciaga created had an extensive thought process. His artistry is flawless and my admiration for him has grown even more after going to the exhibition. If you only look at his protégées, who were under his wing, he deservedly owns the title of ‘Master of Couture’ (and no one yet has beat him in my opinion). Oscar de la Renta, Andre Courreges, Emaunel Ungaro and Hubert De Givenchy-were all his protégées- went on to build successful couture houses this therefore highlighting the greatness of Cristobal Balenciaga.

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For more information, please see the V&A Website here: Balenciaga: Shaping Fashion at the V&A

Enjoy some more pictures that I took of the exhibition below:

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Stay blessed

x

Ladies get into formation- The power of friendship #raeturns24

 

In between getting my girls into formation (by know you know that I am a fan of the Knowles family) and eating my Singapore noodles with sweet and sour pork at Grand Imperial London, it was reaffirmed that my friends are the ish.

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I like to observe  people (I like to think it as one of my gifts lol), so I often sit back in silence and study people’s behaviour. If you catch me being quiet (when I am around my friends which is never ever), I am taking notes in my head. What I noticed on this day was my friends at the table were getting along with each other so well as if they had known each other for years. Some of them it was their first time meeting each other and some first time seeing each other in a year (from my birthday lunch last year). It just goes to show what an amazing bunch of girls I have, they come from different walks in life and different stages in my life.

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(23 Birthday Pics taken with iPhone and Samsung)

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I am very appreciative of my girlfriends, some pictured and some not. They have helped me through the good and the bad. My highlight of my birthday was seeing this and realising this, for this I am thankful.

I was stressed out during the time of planning my birthday activities, yes waterworks came and went. Plans sprung up and then they failed I was all ready to give up, “It is only 24, I cannot be bothered” but then my friends forced me to do something. It makes me think when it comes to wedding planning what will I do, if small small 24 birthday planning I am doing Amazon river tears . I guess that’s when the wedding planner steps in eyy.

Why I think friends are important?

1. Support– Your friends will be your biggest cheerleaders, support your ideas and dreams. Encourage and motivate you to be the best you can be.

2. Laughter is good for the soul- Who else are you going to be catching jokes with uncontrollably, often at the most silliest of things?

3. Growth– Your friends will help you point out your faults, offer constructive criticism, keep it real with you when no one else will, tell you what you are doing right.

Have a read here where I talk about more about the power of friendship

Enjoy the rest of the birthday mixtape:

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P.S Thank you to my girls who went through the impromptu birthday photoshoot with me. I have always wanted a formation picture and thought this would be the perfect opportunity. Looking forward to year of 25 and #Raeand…19 #Meetthe….19 where we will capture even more friendship memories 🙂

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Stay Blessed

x

24 – 7 things I learnt at 23

So it is my birthday. Yes, I am 24 (woop woop!) and I have decided to share seven things I have learnt this past year as well sharing an outfit post.

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1) Stepping outside the comfort zone

The year of 23 forced me to be uncomfortable, in other words I had to step outside of my comfort zone. I usually stick to what I know for example the same old meal at Nandos-half chicken and two sides of peri peri chips with perinaise and if I am feeling cheeky a wrap instead of half chicken. As I am sure with you all, you have your routine and patterns that you stick to and find it hard to go against what you are familiar with. We find it hard because it is natural to want to have a sense of security and certainty in life. Coming out of your comfort zone opens you up to risks and the possibility of stress, so we just crawl back to the box that we feel comfortable in to avoid the fear of the unknown.  I decided in the year of 23 things have to change…Rae try something new. For some things it meant going in a whole new direction, for some changing my strategy and doing things I would not usually do. For example all of my friends know how I have a slight technology struggle (a good family friend was shocked to see me with a Samsung Galaxy S7 edge and joked that I need the good old Nokia brick phone ), so I decided to learn ways of using new technologies. Who knows I may even join snapchat in the year of 24? This is very unlikely but who knows. I even recently decided to get some colour in my hair. This is the first time ever that I have gone out of my hair comfort zone-colour 1b-and I love it. I do stray to colour 33, for the braids but only braids.  I even want to try a short dark blonde pixie cut!

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Why go out of your comfort zone?

  • Pushes you to achieve your goals-being uncomfortable forces you to step out and be brave
  • Growth– the challenges and the risks that comes with getting out of your comfort zone will stretch you and push you forward

2) I am the bomb.com

May your highlight shine bright, contour be strong and believe in your slay sis.

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Sometimes life’s difficulties makes it hard for you to believe in your accomplishments and what you have achieved. I will not lie, I am extremely tough on myself and find it hard at times to appreciate my journey. However, someone once told me that ‘there are people who love to be in your position’. I screamed ‘Me, ME, MEEEEEE’… ‘Why would anyone want to be in my position?’ Then people will remind you of what you have done, ‘You have done x, y and z’. I have learnt in the year of 23 not to wait to hear someone tell me that I am the bomb.com. Yes, I still moan and probably will for a while. It is still a learning process for me. Just last week I was having a conversation with my best friend and she told me off for it. So I took out time to write out a list of things that I am most proud of and what I love about me. One thing that struck me is that the journey I am on has made me the individual I am and the person I will continue to be and for this I appreciate it all. You cannot be the bomb.com without overcoming hurdles and challenges. Do not hate the grind, own it and appreciate it. So with this in mind, like Beyonce said ‘I see it, I want it…I dream it, I work hard, I grind till I own it…I slay, hey, I slay’.

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3) Fellowship

I am part of a fellowship where we meet once a month and discuss the word of God. What I love about our fellowship is that it easy to be open and transparent. A member of our fellowship group sent me a voicenote prayer and I was so moved by it. Fellowship is more than just a catch up over doughnuts and talking on occasion about Jesus. What I have learnt in the year of 23, is that the purpose of fellowship are one to share things together and second be there for one another spiritually and physically.

Follow Ladies who Fellowship in the City on Twitter: @LWFITC , on Instagram: @ladieswhofellowship , on Facebook: ladieswhofellowship  and website ladieswhofellowship.com/

4) Life is too short

As cliché as it sounds, it is true-life is too short. Enjoy life, buy those shoes that you have been eyeing for a while.

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5) Take time out

This is one thing that I really wanted to implement in the year of 23, to take time out for myself. Whether its reading a new book, or trying out a new restaurant it is really important to take time away from your routine.

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6) Resilience

The definitions of resilience:

1) ‘the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness’

2) ‘the ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity’

Not today, Satan, not today!

One of the lessons I learnt in the year from 23, is to never let a setback to hold you for too long.

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7) God is everything

I knew this before, but he has proven it even more in the year of 23.

What I was wearing:

You all know by now, I love all things M&S-some things are really cute and not everything there is ‘granny’. You can transform a dress, or a shirt for example by the way you style it (this is a blog post for another day).

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Here are the details:

Dress: Marks and Spencer

Leather Jacket-Marks and Spencer

Corset Belt: Vintage (Have a read of a post where I was talking about corsets)

Shoes- Marks and Spencer

Earrings: Topshop

Bag: Marks and Spencer

Hair: Pride and Prestige Hair

Stay Blessed

x

The year of corset

One of the biggest trends for A/W 2016-17 was the corset trend. The corset in the 1800s was originally worn to reduce the waist, to enhance bust and hips and to make a fashionable silhouette. It has a history of 350 years before the 1800s and it has been attributed to Catherine de’ Medici, the wife of King Henry of France. The corset has undergone many changes since then and has evolved to a garment whereby it may mimic the traditional look but does not change the shape of the body. The corset in the 1800s was associated with femininity and now its back for aesthetic and style purposes.

It is now being worn in different ways, over baggy dresses and t-shirts, coats or full on corset dresses. No longer do you have suck in, worry about your organs crushing, its now a nice addition to your jumper or shirt.

Sere how I have worn the corset trend:

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The corset is an oldie from Zara, a couple of seasons ago.

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The corset was at the centre of Miuccia Prada’s Autumn 2016 show, the designer pretty much layered the corset over everything, from wool coats to jacquard dresses.

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Celebrities who have been crushing over the return of the corset include Kim Kardashian West, Gigi Hadid, Hailey Baldwin, Rihanna, Kylie and Kendall Jenner.

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Rihanna

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Kylie Jenner

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Kendall Jenner

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I apologise about my shoes not being tied, *sighs*.

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Outfit details:

Corset-Zara

Culottes- Marks and Spencer

Shoes- Kurt Geiger

Bag-Marks and Spencer

Choker- Topshop

 

Images: Me, me, me (renaissanceideal.com), www.vogue.co.uk , www.glamourmagazine.co.uk and www.elleuk.com

Stay Blessed x

All Shades Of Red

 

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An almost monochromatic look-I was battling on whether I should wear red trousers and I thought it would be way too much. Way too much! So I decided on a pair of flirty culottes I brought in the ASOS sale during the Christmas holidays.

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Do you have items of clothing that you just avoid? Bootcut jeans? Leggings? Jumpsuits? Mine, until recently was culottes. I felt that culottes did not suit my petite frame but I have found a couple that I love.

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Every now and then, I switch it up from my trusted studs. I should wear big earrings more often but I just have this fear that it will get caught onto something and my ears will fall off. Don’t ask me how this fear began, I do not have the answer.

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Here are more pictures of the outfit below:

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Outfit Details:

Polo neck- Marks & Spencer

Culottes- ASOS

Boots- Kurt Geiger

Bag-Chanel

Earrings-Topshop

 

  Stay Blessed! x

Smokey Roses

 

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Embroidery has made its comeback and is one of the biggest trends of Autumn 2016-17. Designers have added embroidery designs over shirts, jeans, dresses, tops, shoes and even handbags. Embroidery can be seen throughout Gucci’s Autumn collection, with Alessandro Michele as creative director Gucci has once again become fashion’s ‘it’ label. From Gucci’s coveted denim jackets to its embroidered and appliquéd Dionysus handbags, the Italian luxury house has grown to new strengths with the high street following in its foot steps.

Embroidery can be seen on the high street from pinstriped shirts as seen here with my outfit to bomber jackets and boyfriend jeans.

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I was reading an article on a fashion and lifestyle website that was giving tips on how to wear clothing with embroidery, it said that whenever you wear an embroidered piece the rest of the outfit has to be simple. I disagree! You know me I am a playful conservative (talking about clothing here…not politics). I always like to make my looks interesting, whether its playing with different textures or styles. Here I matched it to a skirt with frills-the weather was dull enough my outfit can’t be boring too!

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I adore Solange and her style, her hair looks for her album ‘A seat at the table’ was beautiful. Her album cover reminded me of the 90s when as kids we would put so many clips in our hair and we thought it was so cool. Well, I did anyway. My brother hates me reviving my 90s obsession with hair clips, but hey ho I like it. Plus its so useful, if you you have unwanted flyaway hair and you cannot be bothered with hairspray or gel.

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And I know you are probably tired of seeing these heels of mine, I wear them all the time-spring, summer, autumn and winter. Rain or Sun-I have them on. They go with everything and I love them.

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Outfit details:

Pinstriped Shirt with Embroidery Details- Marks & Spencer (Limited Collection)

Frilled Skirt-ASOS

Bag- Marks & Spencer

Shoes-Marks & Spencer

Hair clips- H&M

Stay Blessed x

Tug of hair

Weaves, wigs, microbraids, box braids, cornrows, natural, permed I have had it all…yet to try crochet and twists but one thing remains DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR!

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So this week, I had a ‘DON’T TOUCH MY HAIR’ moment and I must say it is the worse one yet.

Tug of hair-The story

“I like your hair”, I reply with a thank you. The person then tugs my hair without my permission. when did a thank you give permission to tug hair? I thought a thank you was something your parents taught from an early age to say when someone complimented you or gave you a gift. My thank you is not a word of consent to touch my hair. I thought the tugging of hair would be a one off and the person will back off after, so I decided to not a make a biggie about it. WRONG! WRONG! WRONG-Rae you were so wrong!

‘The person’ as I have decided to call him/her, then proceeds to ask me whether my hair is real (how I was keeping my anger by now I do not know, Jesus saves, he really does), I say no. You think the tugging is over, the person TUGS AGAIN and says “It is so cool” in reference to my hair not being real. In retrospect, I should have told the person the hair on my head is real, (human hair) but then that will probably confuse the person further. Then again, the person when asking whether the hair was ‘real’ was probably asking whether it is my own hair *shrugs shoulders*.

Is Tug of hair a game?

Please, please, please do let me know whether there is game called ‘Tug of hair’ as the person TUGGED my hair again and said ‘This is so fun Rachel’. Is your hair alright? I did not know tugging hair was a source of entertainment or enjoyment. By this time, I was fuming, mad and all forms of angry. The person I believe actually did think tug of hair was a game, as he/she tried again. I moved, like this was a game of dodge the tugging of hair. I was so fed up, so I asked ‘Let me tug your hair too’, to my surprise the person said yeah go ahead. I knew this was not going to end, that the person had time on their hands to play ‘Tug of hair’, me on the other hand I did not. So I said, bye and thank goodness the person knew she/he was dismissed.

The arrogance of some to think it is okay to touch others’ hair, baffles me. I am not an animal for you to pet my hair. I am not an art piece for you to stand over me and peer into my hair (I do not know what you are looking for anyway, my weave tracks never show). Say your compliments and move along. I understand that weave may fascinate you, but all types of women wear weave, whether its called ‘hair extensions’ or ‘weave-on’ its extra hair attached to your own hair . So why the games, person?

Let’s talk

It is so strange to me because I would never dream of tugging, touching, petting another person’s hair unless the person has asked me too (which usually would be a girlfriend of mine) I know sometimes its ignorance and lack of awareness of others cultures, that people do silly things but at least let us talk. I am very open to discuss my hair, what I do, how I wear some styles for beauty purposes and others for my hair to grow. Girl, we can discuss where you can get cheaper argan oil, instead of the £40 you spend. Let’s share hair secrets and save coins at the same time. Or even, do your research? Google, like everybody else when they do not know the answer to something.

Hair, whether its ‘real’ or not is part of the body. Hair comes from the roots of the head, the head is part of the body. Everyone should respect that each individual has control of their body. So what does this mean? You should not be touching anyone’s bodies including hair without permission or consent. Please don’t touch my hair, or tug my hair for that matter!

Thank you for allowing me to vent!

Out with the Old, In With the New

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Cameron out, Theresa in.

The new Prime Minister has named her first cabinet: Phillip Hammond as chancellor, Amber Rudd as Home Secretary and the surprise of the day, Boris Johnson as the new Foreign Secretary.  Aside from Boris (this is debatable), there are no heavyweights in the new cabinet. No Osborne, No Nicky Morgan, and bye bye to Michael Gove who is rumoured to have clashed with May. Interestingly, Theresa has chosen to depart from the usual cabinet appointment method where the Prime Minister would include the heavyweights in his or her government. The reason behind this is that Prime Minister will have the full support of the party and it will unify the government. By not appointing the big beasts in her cabinet, Theresa May is making a statement that her appointments are different to the usual ‘keep your friends close and your enemies closer’ in politics. Instead she will have the heavyweights as backbenchers, whether this will be something for her worry to about…we shall see. Most importantly Theresa May has placed Brexit backing MPs in positions that will be key to Brexit negotiations (as previously mentioned Boris as foreign secretary, David Davis as the Brexit minister and Liam Fox as International Trade Secretary). She also gave her former rival, Andrea Leadsom (who backed Brexit), the Environment Secretary job.

Compare it to Cameron’s Cabinet

The remainers vs brexiters, Theresa chose to include more of the brexiters in her cabinet to reflect the outcome of the referendum.

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While many are celebrating Theresa May being the second female prime minister, some are criticising that it is still not good enough-it is an improvement of one.

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The number of black and minoritiy ethnic MPs in the cabinet, like women it is an improvement of one and not reflective of the population in this country. Priti Patel, joins Sajid Javid in the Cabinet.

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The old vs the young. Cameron’s cabinet commpared to Theresa May’s was younger with 13 out of 22 cabinet ministers in their 40s.

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Many have criticised Cameron’s government for being elitist this includes Nadine Dorries Conservative MP for Mid-Bedfordshire. She described Cameron and George Osborne as “two arrogant posh boys” with “no passion to want to understand the lives of others”. It looks like Theresa May wants to move away from that.

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So who is in?-the newbies, the people who got a promotion and the unlucky who got demoted.

Boris Johnson- BREXITER

The former London Mayor was considered as the frontrunner to takeover Cameron, only until Michael Gove backstabbed him and run for the Conservative Leadership. Educated at Eton and Oxford, Boris worked as a journalist before coming into politics and has written for the Times, the Spectator and the Telegraph. As much as Boris is a popular figure, he is also a controversial one. He was forced to apologise for his comments in 2002, referring to Africans as “piccaninnies” and “watermelon smiles” . He has also been scrutinised for insulting Turkey’s president, commenting on Obama’s ancestry and more. America, Australia, France, Germany, Russia, Turkey, Sweden…the list goes on and on but in short, the world thinks we have lost it in him being the Foreign Secretary when he has offended so many leaders, diplomats and countries.

A map of countries he has offended:

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Phillip Hammond-REMAINER

The former foreign secretary is seen as the ultimate safe hands in government and someone Theresa May will be able to rely on. Mr Hammond has been a MP since 1997, joined the cabinet as Transport Secretary, then he became the Defence Secretary and he is now the Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Amber Rudd-REMAINER

One of the Tories’ rising stars, Amber Rudd won a marginal seat from Labour back in 2010. After being on the backbenches, she was promoted by George Osborne serving as his Parliamentary Secretary and was appointed as the Energy Secretary in 2015 and is now the Home Secretary. Unlike many in her party, Amber Rudd is committed to tackling climate change and her appointment was respected by environment groups.

The others…

Many thought that Jeremy Hunt would not survive May’s reshuffle, however he lives to fight another day. Jeremy Hunt is to continue with his controversial reforms of the NHS and there may be more industrial action if he plans to go ahead and impose contracts on doctors. His next challenge is taking on the consultants. As for Liam Fox, this is a political revival for the Brexiter, from backbench to one of the most important positions that can be held currently as International Trade Secretary. He will be responsible for negotiating trade deals beyond Europe, an argument that the Brexit Camp said was a benefit of being outside the EU. Michael Fallon, remains as Defence Secretary and is one of the few that kept his job. Justine Greening has been promoted to Education Secretary (was International Development Secretary) and will be replacing Nicky Morgan. A bit of history made by May’s reshuffle, Liz Truss is the first female Justice Secretary and will be replacing Michael Gove. Chris Grayling, one of May’s biggest supporters is the new Transport Secretary and was previously the Leaders of the House of Commons and justice secretary. Greg Clark previously the communities secretary has now taken over the defunct Business, Industry and Skills (it is now Business, Energy and Industrial energy, Theresa May has merged the energy and business departments together). Patrick McLoughlin previously the transport secretary and is now the Conservative party chairman and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster. Alan Cairns and David Mundell remain unchanged. The newbies are Karen Bradley, James Brokenshire, Damian Green, Andrea Leadsom and Priti Patel. Sajid David, is one of the few left associated with Old Downing Street, he has moved down from Business Secretary to Communities and Local Government.

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So who is out?-Those who were shown the door, those who “resigned” and those who did not want the job no more

It has been called one of the most ruthless reshuffles in recent times with nine sackings and resignations. Theresa May sacked a number of Cameron’s closest allies which includes George Osborne, the former Chancellor and axed Michael Gove, Oliver Letwin, Nicky Morgan and John Whittingdale. Stephen Crabb resigned from his role as Work and Pensions Secretary “in the best interests of my family” and Theresa Villiers the former Northern Ireland Secretary resigned.

Theresa May’s government

Theresa May’s cabinet has had a change of direction and its a big one. From sacking big names, to surprising us all of with Boris as the Foreign Secretary (Osborne was not a surprise) and abolishing the Energy and Climate Change department. Then merging energy with business and having veteran right-wingers Liam Fox and David Davis in Brexit related roles. One thing is for sure, Theresa wants us all to know that the Cameron era is in the past. She wanted us to know that she had a clear out, she has moved in and she has thrown out what she does not want or need. May’s appointments highlights that she is determined in repairing the damage caused by the referendum. Theresa’s cabinet gives us a hint of the government she wishes to lead: Tory unity, “Brexit means Brexit”, climate change sceptics and that Tories do go to state schools.

Images:  www.bbc.co.uk  www.independent.co.uk

Look over your shoulder

There is nothing to be alarmed or frightened about I am talking about one of the season’s hottest trends, the off-the-shoulder silhouette. It brings attention to the shoulders without showing too much off.  Its flirty, its cute yet grown up, its sexy but not attention grabbing.

What I love about off- the- shoulder trend, is that depending on the style it hides the food belly. And it is so versatile you can dress it up, you can dress it down-there is no limits on how to style it.

Here is how I have styled it:

Outfit 1

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I adore these glass-heeled sandals, I think they are my most worn shoes.

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Lets get it right. The off-the-shoulder didn’t just pop up in 2016, it made an appearance in Summer 2015. In fact the off-the-shoulder trend has been on and off since the 1800s, Brigitte Bardot made it famous in the 60s and I love how fashion’s it girl, Olivia Palermo’s voluminous ruffled off-the-shoulder-tops.

Outfit 2

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My mum made this off-the-shoulder top for me.

Look over your shoulder 1

Look over your shoulder 3

These pictures were all taken with the Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge (I did not have the canon out with me), the camera on this phone is super-duper I tell you.

Outfit details

Outfit 1

Top-H&M

Skirt-Marks & Spencer

Choker-Topshop

Shoes-Marks & Spencer

Outfit 2

Top-Made my mum

Skirt-Look above

Choker-Topshop

Earrings-Topshop

Shoes-Kurt Geiger

Bag-Kurt Geiger

Stay Blessed x

Current Fave- Si

IMG_6782 (2)

I have decided every now and then, I will update you all with my current faves. You can see my first one here.

I have received so many compliments when I have worn Si. The perfume is intense yet has a soft and feminine feel to it. It is not overbearing or overpowering and I love the combination of the cyphre, light musky wood and cassis nectar scents. It has a rich smell and I count it as one of my favourite perfumes.

I got the 30ml as I wanted to try it out before committing to the 50ml or 100ml. When the bottle finishes, I am definitely getting the 100ml.

Stay Blessed

x