Friday, 30 September 2016

Taylor Blake Shoes Giveaway (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

I've always thought the above as profoundly true. Whether the 'right shoe' to you is a pair of trainers or skyscrapper heels, as long you feel damn good in them, you can do anything, right? 
Whenever I don a pair of sassy shoes, I always feel like i've got my shizz together, like life's that little bit better when I'm walking along and I have great shoes to look down on.
Thankfully Taylor Blake provide comfort and prettiness.

Today I am so happy to be joining forces with #Girlboss's and down right lovely ladies Taylor Blake to giveaway a pair of their gorgeous ballet pumps to one reader.

I absolutely love my pair, they are just the perfect shoe for casual-chic everyday wear. 
Taylor Blake are giving one reader the chance to win a pair of the Trinket shoes worth £90.00! (which I've seen, they are totally gorgeous and ideal for autumn, with some grey skinny jeans they would be perfect)
But if you can't wait to win or you fancy say the Gold Lora like me, or the Tokara (love them in cherry red so so much!!!) 

Then good news is RTH readers can take 10% off your order with the code RACH10
This is valid until the end of October too, so help yourself to some discount, new shoes or maybe a Christmas gift for a special lady!

It's friday, it's the end of the month.. That is surely deserving of a treat to oneself, no?

Plus there is nothing nicer than buying from small independent girl boss brands. Be sure to head over and have a look at their gorgeous shoes and say hi to them on Instagram or Facebook!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

T's& C's

* The giveaway is for one pair of Love Taylor Blake shoes in the style 'TRINKET'
*No cash alternative
*Sizes available are ladies UK 4-7
*Winner's entries will be verified so please make sure you perform the entries correctly.
*Winner will be contacted within 48 hours of the end date. A response must be made within 48 hours
*Your details will be forwarded and the prize will be sent directly from LTB.
*Open worldwide

Also don't forget to check out my facebook page  for my favourite look of last weeks linkup.. it could be you! I shall be choosing and posting a favourite every week, and I would love to feature every one.


Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Getting Rid Of My Make-up Collection & New Vegan Beauty Replacements

A couple of weekends ago I took on the mammoth task of sorting through my vast beauty collection which spanned across 3 large drawers in one room and a few more drawers in another. I had TONS of the stuff. Lipstick upon lipstick, many similar shades, mascaras and magic potions that promised the world but didn't ever actually deliver. 
It was well overdue a big sort out; but the reason was two-fold.

1. Eating a Vegan lifestyle means I don't eat any animal products or derivatives. Therefore why would I put them on to my body either? After a lot of research it appeared that SO many big companies (l'oreal, Revlon, Maybelline to name a few) still test on animals and have animal derivatives in their products. It was time I had to say bye-bye to lots of what I owned.

2. When endeavouring on the road of a more minimal lifestyle, my Capsule Wardrobe being my catalyst, it was only natural that this stemmed on to other parts of my life. I was certainly not minimal when it came to my ridiculously large make-up collection, which, if I'm honest, I only ever used a mere 10% of it.

So one Sunday afternoon I pulled out all my stash and went through each piece, placing anything not-used/non vegan in to a big black bag to donate to family and friends (my step daughter had a field day)
It was shocking how much I got rid of.
But now, all I have is one small makeup bag with my everyday makeup in.
It feels liberating!

There are currently a few holes in my make-up armoury, I'm in need of a couple more things and then I'll be pretty much set.
But I thought I'd share some of the pieces I've bought and enjoyed of late.

1. Coconut Micellar Water by Sonoma Naturals
I picked this micellar water up to replace my well used Garnier Micellar water. I can not find this brand anywhere on line, but I found it (alongside some other great vegan/natural products) in TK Maxx for £7.99. It works a treat. It gets off every scrap of makeup (even my Wunderbrow.. which I'll talk about in a mo) and leaves my sking feeling clean, taut(in a good way) and fresh. I use it morning and night, and if i can find it again i will be definitely repurchasing. Completely vegan and free of all the parabens and general nasties, this is a great product.

2. M&S Natures ingredients Peach & Almond Body Spray
Did you know that a lot if the M&S Nature's Ingredients range is vegetarian & Vegan and Cruelty free? I didn't until recently. I was researching Vegan Deodorants (results soon on that!) and good ol' M&S came up.  I bought this as they had a buy on get one half price, making this literally a pound or so. The scent is Peach & Almond. I've never really been one for peachy smells, deeming them a little ,ahem, old for me (I think i'm thinking of my Nana there) but i have to say, the almond really keeps the peach in tow, and makes it less old lady, more refreshing and light.

3. Wunderbrow
Oh this stuff is a God send for an eyebrow challenged person like myself. I've blogged about it before, but I'm mentioning it here because its a. Vegan b. Cruelty Free and c. freakin' amazing. This stuff sticks for days and creates a softer more natural brow then a sold brow-pencil does. I'm on my second stick of it and i shall be buying another without a doubt. It is tricky to get off (hence its great staying power) But Micellar water on a cotton pad and a bit of a light scrub does the trick. Oil based removers also work well.

4. Elf Concealer & Highlighter
In need of some eye baggage coverage I turned to ELF cosmetics. This is a concealer one end and the white cream is a subtle highlighter. The concealer is ok.. not amazing, but ok. The coverage is enough, but I do find it fades through the day (or my greying eye area seeps through the more tired I get). The white highlight cream is pretty and subtle. I place it along the eye socket/higher cheekbone, and lightly dab it in. It has a nice light reflecting element which makes the area look glowy.

5. Organic Surge Eye gel
Love this product for cooling puffy eyes. It really helps in the morning, when i've just gotten up and I'm feeling all sleepy and bleary eyed. The gel acts as a coolant and soothes my sleepy peppers perfectly

6.B. Cosmetics Blush
B. are a Brand my Uk retailer Superdrug. All their range is delightfully cruelty free and vegan. I bought this peachy blush as it seemed an all rounder. Great for day to day wear as it has a subtle colour pay off that makes it natural an easy to wear.

7. Barry M Eyeliner
Having been using the same eye-liner for about 4 years it was a tricky one to replace. So i've been road testing this Barry M eyeliner, and although the application is a little different (the brush/tip is firm rather than flowing) It still produces an inky dark black which is good enough. Longevity with this eye liner is pretty decent and lasts the day, with just my inner eye smudging away, but this is fairly common for me. I've used this every day i've worn makeup of late and the more i use it the more I like it.

8.Green People Mascara
This is a vegetarian mascara (it has bees wax included) and the only mascara i have right now, which is a major step away from how i used to be.. mascaras were my guilty pleasure.. I think I counted up 10 different types when I packed them all up. This Green People mascara is a fantastic product. It lifts, lengthens and seperates without leaving your eyelashes looking sparse or like spider-legs. One of the only mascara's i've worn and had compliments from.

9. Barry M Matte Lip (in shade 3 Dress Rehearsal)
Obsessed with this lip colour for everyday wear. Its the perfect 'your-lips-but-better' shade for me, and goes with pretty much everything. I love how it's also a slight nod to that matt lip/90's shade throw back that's everywhere right now. Its not as brown as that 'in' shade, but it works well for me and that's what's important with lipstick. it doesn't last overly well, and needs reapplying after food and drink, but that's fairly common practice for me and doesn't make me not want to wear it. The fade down when wearing it is fairly even and because of its natural pinky tone, it doesn't look patchy when it does fade.

So these are my current cruelty free/vegan favourites.

Do you have any great recommendations? I'm on the look out for a new mascara, a finishing powder and would quite like a more rose blush!


Friday, 23 September 2016

Do you Have a Defined Style? ( & #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

When collating and working with a capsule wardrobe it really makes you take a long hard look at your own personal style.
The easiest way to make a capsule work for you is to have a clear cut style that works across all of your pieces, therefore making it easier to remix and create new outfits and to also wear them.
I have to say this may be one of the things I strugle with most.

For a long time I have been searching for my defined style and if i indeed actually had one.

If you look back through my archives of 5 and a bit years you will see my style has changed tremendously over this time (and lucky me i have documented proof too, ha! Oh lord... all those coloured tights, It was like a  rainbow threw up on me!)

When you look at some of the highest followed Instagram accounts, they have a uniform, a defined style, each photographic square flows perfectly continuously in to the next.

I think i still struggle with this.

Every time i've ever defined my style it as inevitably changed again.
Since hitting 30 I can say i have seen a definite change and somewhat of a consistency in style, but i do still like a bit of variation... Perhaps I'm just a bit fickle. Or maybe a change is as good as a rest?

Right now I swing between "preppy" (stripe tops, oxford shirts, stan smiths and trench coats) and "boho" (flares, floaty tops and a bit of floral).


My capsule is working for me right now, and i don't appear to have a problem with having a slightly bi-polar sense of style. Or maybe I'm just not quite ready to quit one or the other right now.
But I do wonder if I will ever truly have a defined, definite style.

Do you?
Do you have a defined style?
 As for this outfit, well I really wanted some of this pretty blush pink colour in my capsule. It's everywhere right now, and I am smitten with it. Its a great almost-neutral as it goes well with lots of colours (:think grey, dark jeans, black and even burgundy or forest green/khaki!). I also loved its interesting little twists on a plain sweater. The split flared sleeves, the split to the sides and the rib knit, that makes it thin but cosy. I think this could also make a great layering piece too!

I had wanted to pair this with some grey jeans, but having tried 5 pairs these past few weeks and NONE of them being at all right, I returned each pair and have continued my search. Previously I would have settled for a sub-par pair just to have them in my wardrobe, but i have learnt my lesson as I would previously have worn them once and consigned them to the ebay/charity pile.
The capsule has brought patience and pickiness (in a good way), I now longer settle for pieces that are just ok, or will do. I want each piece to be fantastic and exactly what I need. that way I know I will be happy to wear it time upon time.
So the trusty flares came out and did the trick just nicely.
I added in my new favourite accessory: The cord tie choker..
I actually love this little thing, although I do wonder if I can pull it off?
My 13 year old step daughter keeps borrowing it, which does make me wonder if i should relent and give it to her, lol!

Outfit details
River Island Flared jeans (2 years old) But these are the best on the market
H&M sweater
Bag is old but This one is divine!

I just wanted to mention.. I am starting to use the Rachel The Hat Facebook Page more and would love you to come "like" it.
Be sure to comment on something so I can come over and "like" your page too so we can be
FB buddies!

Every Friday  I shall be posting on my Facebook page my favourite look of one link-up lady form Passion 4 Fashion,
 So be sure to follow to see if you're featured!


Thursday, 22 September 2016

Introducing #GR8BOOKCHAT.. All invited!!

I've mentioned this a few dozen times before, but I love to read. I have loved reading from an early age, having watched my mum read everything the Library held, I guess that passed on to me.

One of the joys of reading a great book is discussing it with others who have also read it and sharing in those feelings you had for the book. There's nothing quite like discussing that book that got you so badly, you stayed up until 3am just to finish it.
Then talking about it makes you relive reading it all over again... Well with the good ones anyway.
Of course there are sometimes bad ones, thought provoking and educational to make things interesting.

So with that, myself and Gill of Bookish reader (who runs her own fantastic Book review Blog. She's my go-to lady for book recommendations) want to share our love of reading with you all and have created #GR8BookChat
We want to read and connect and discuss with you!

So if you love to read please join us!

The third Tuesday of every month  at 8pm we shall we taking to Twitter with the hashtag #GR8BookChat (which stands for Gill & Rachel at 8 Book Chat.. but also looks soooper old school cheesey 'cos y'know.. we're Gr8 ;) for one hour to discuss the chosen book.

This month's choice of book:

The Widdow

The Widow is a psychological thriller, which will have you turning the page and speed reading just to get to the bottom of the horrendous crime that has been committed.
I am currently just over half way through and I can barely put it down.

Its available on kindle and paperback.

Our first chat is on Tuesday October 18th which gives you just less than a month (which i assure you, you won't need with this page turner!) to read the book and gather your thoughts.
Join us at 8pm on twitter, search the hashtag and you will see the questions we shall post to get the conversation going. All you need to do is write your reply and add the hashtag in so we can keep the conversation going!
We're aiming for about 5 questions, but the conversation will hopefully just run between us all and be a great share and chat!

Each month we shall post a poll where you, dear readers, will vote for the books which we can then all go on to read and discuss.
We will be covering all sorts of genres and are eager for suggestions and recommendations from you, so if this wasn't your bag, don't worry.. we will be reading lots of different things, Plus it's always good to give something new a read don't you think?

If you have any questions, feel free to leave a comment or come find myself or gill on twitter.


Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Autumn Essentials

I love autumn. 
Yep I am that clichéd blogger (don't we all just seem to love autumn/fall? Yay team bloggers!). 
But I honestly do, I love layers, knitwear, chunky boots, cold clear mornings and watching the countryside change colour, dark nights with mugs of hot drinks and cosy rich stews.

So without coming across all Maria and the Von Trap children, these are a few of my favourite things.. 
The Autumn Edition

1. Beautiful thick cosy socks. 
As soon as the warmer spring months roll around I pretty much go without socks, so for about 6 months of the year, I am indeed sock-less. So when the colder months come, there is nothing lovelier than donning a pair of thick knit, cosy, soft socks.
I recently added these BEAUTIFUL Free People socks on to my Shopbop order that I was placing, and I can not for my toes to bask in their snuggliness. They are honestly, the nicest socks I think I've ever purchased.

I actually use candles all year round.. But my absolute favourite scents come back on the scene in autumn. The berries, the cinnamon and the spiced apple are my idea of scented heaven (like this cheap and cheerful one). I have them all over the house so the scent permeates throughout. There's just something so satisfying, so relaxing about a dark room with candles flickering, it's one of my favourite ways to un-wind.

3. Lip scrubs. 
Because I am out walking quite a bit, I inevitably end up with chapped lips through autumn and winter due to cold temperatures and whipping winds. One of the only things that assists me with this is a great lip scrub. I've been using the Blissworld   Fabulips Sugar Lip scrub and it is heavenly. It exfoliates without being abrasive and allows lipstick application to go on smoothly, which with the deep berry tones that come with autumn, its essential to get it right.
Which leads me nicely on to..

4. Lipbalms.
Something I couldn't be without all year round, but i always make sure I have extra at hand during the colder months. I'm currently using the Pacifica Vegan tinted lipbalm  for that hint of colour as well as conditioning. 

5. Tea
I am an avid coffee drinker, either with soya milk or black.. I love it. But I can't drink it past 6pm or I'm wired and laying awake till stupid  o'clock and sleep just won't come. So I am trying some new tea's.. My friend recently recommended these Twinnings Cherry Bakewell flavour green teas, so these i shall try.

6. Foundation
Through summer I use a tinted moisturiser, but come winter my skin always needs that little bit of extra help and I inevitably up the coverage. I've recently picked up this Barry M Matt foundation and I really like it. It has just a small price tag of £5.99 but the coverage is great and the colour suits my skin perfectly. It sinks in to the skin really well and blends with a beauty blender wonderfully. For such a cheap foundation I really can't fault it!

7. Hand Cream
I'm acutely aware that I am getting proper old lady hands. I'm so clumsy and always cooking and doing dishes and so my hands take a bit of a beating. I'm forcing myself to make a new habit this season and start moisturising regularly. Sounds silly, but I think it would really help these well worn fingers out if i gave a little bit back to them. I'm using a lot of the Marks & Spencers own ranges as they are cruelty free and often vegan/vegetarian!

8. Burgundy Nails
Oh yes.. Berry, burgundy, wine... these are all the colours I want on my nails right now and for the foreseeable. I steer clear of them during Summer months and then thoroughly look forward to wearing them again. I'm looking at the Barry M in Chilli as my first of the season

What are your Autumn essentials.. pres tell, is there anything i should add on this season?


Tuesday, 20 September 2016

Foodie: Carrot & Red lentil with a side of Roasted Asparagus Dippers

If there is one lunch i make more than any other its probably this: Carrot and red lentil soup.
It's easy, its filling, you can batch make it for the week or freeze it and above all, it's really tasty.
I've experimented with this over the past year and in all honesty it comes out slightly different each time, mostly because i do the measurements by eye, but i think it also makes a difference as to how sweet your carrots are. Different batches, slight difference, but all round yummy just the same.
My reasoning for the asparagus dippers was simple. Being wheat intolerant means no bread for dipping, which sucked. 
Yes there are many wheat free breads now on the market but I don't eat bread a great deal anyway so there's often not any in the house. 
But sometimes having a little dipper of some persuasion is satisfying. 
Cue the lovely roasted asparagus. 
So i've bigged it up enough, time for you to see just how easy this is.

what you will need:
For the soup
1kg of fresh carrots
250grams of dried red split lentils
1 white onion
1 litre of just vegetable stock or hot water, depending on your preference.
A small sprig of chives
Salt & Pepper
A handful of asparagus with the woody ends removed
Olive Oil

For the Soup
* Peel and chop your carrots in to rounds, place in a large saucepan 
* Peel and chop your onion in to small pieces and place in your saucepan
*Pour in your dried red lentils
*Add in your stock/hot water
*Bring to the boil then turn down to a simmer for about half an hour or until your carrots are soft.

** Note**
Don't season at this point. Adding salt to dried lentils before they are cooked hardens them making for a not so pleasant soupy experience.

*Once cooked, remove from the heat. With a hand blender (I just use this cheap and cheerful one from Tesco and it works great) blend until everything has combined and is smooth. 
*Season with rock salt and freshly black pepper and blend again.
*Chop your chives and either stir through or add to garnish.

For the Asparagus Dippers
I usually start this in the last 10 minutes of my soup cooking.
*Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees Celsius.
* Pour a glug of olive oil evenly across a baking tray and season with salt pepper  some garlic powder is also nice if you have it) and return to the oven for 5 minutes
* Once your oil is heated up bring your tray out and add your asparagus on to the hot tray. This will allow them to crisp up some what and making excellent dippers.. Season the asparagus and return to the oven for 10 minutes.

Dish up & Serve!

It's that easy! I've broken it in to a few steps, but really it's just chop everything, throw it in a big pan add your stock and leave to cook! 
This makes the perfect autumn lunch. It's super heathy and vegan.
Plus all my kids love it, which as any parent knows, getting veggies in to your children is always deserving of an air fist pump!

Do try it, and let me know what you think!

Happy Cooking!


Friday, 16 September 2016

Weekend Style Essentials: The Perfect Shirt & Trench (& #Passion4Fashion Linkup)

Happy almost weekend Friends!
Having worked for many years in retail and now not, I can't tell you how much I appreciate weekends. Those 2 days to be free from the school run/ pack lunches/ errands and general must do things. Don't get me wrong it isn't chore free, i am an adult and a mum full time so its never completely restful, but it is nice to go at a somewhat slower pace.
The other thing i love about weekends is dressing in comfy casual clothes. 
I have a couple of Autumn weekend essentials that I love to wear. Thye are effortless but make me feel and hopefully look, pulled together, when really not much effort was taken. Thats the best look wouldn't you agree? Effortless yet still together.

My First Essential:

Instant outfit maker. 
A trench coat just makes you look  and feel like a boss without even trying hard. 
They really are the perfect light weight for this time of year and go with pretty much any outfit: Over a dress, skirt and blouse, knitwear or jeans and a shirt, you're instantly sorted.
Its a winner all round , all year round for me, but particularity great for Autumnal weekends.
Mine is thanks to Ocean Credit Cards who asked me to pick out a piece for Autumn.. I Instantly knew a trench was just the thing and that I will get a tremendous amount of wear from it.

If you're looking for the perfect Trench I am currently loving this one by BB Dakota(7th row)

My Second Essential is:

A shirt that makes you feel Fantastic (with a capital F).
Yep.. This shirt is just slouchy, yet chic all at the same time. 
Gant aim to be the ultimate shirt maker so you expect a good shirt right? Well they do not disappoint. Having practised the art of fine shirt making  I think it's fair to say they've mastered it.
This is the ex-boyfirend polka dot and I just love, love, love it. It's slouchy but not sloppy, it sits beautifully close without being restrictive and has the right amount of oversized to still look good without looking like you're actually wearing your ex boyfriends shirt. What I mean is that it doesn't add inches on a women's frame, which I think you'll agree is something no lady wants. I find with some oversized garments they add pounds where there shouldn't be. 
This has just that perfect cut that we all crave.

I've written about my love for shirts many a time, but this one is now up there as a favourite. I like the idea of layering a white tshirt underneath and leaving it draped open with some boyfriend jeans. Or with some faux leather trousers and black boots.. Yep its shirt love!

My bonus essential?

Your very own furry baby.. Yep, couldn't be without this one. 

Jeans: Topshop
Loafers: Thanks to Lotus Shoes

What are you Weekend Style Essentials?

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