Because a girl's gotta get her sunshine somehow...

It's inevitable that when I'm not wearing make up someone will pass comment on how 'pale' or 'sleepy' I'm looking. Unfortunately I'm not the kind of girl that has naturally sun kissed, glowing skin- but more the look of 'Hey! Have you been up watching Netflix all night' (to which indeed, the answer is probably yes). Either way, that's why products like these were invented- the give pasty Purvis over here a little life! So after trying and testing endless bronzers and non-intimidating contour kits (that prove that even a heavy handed pale gal like me can do it)- I thought I'd pop them all in one place to share!

So, first things first- the bronzers! As well as my ongoing love for Guerlain's Terracotta (which I wax lyrical about)- I've also recently started turning to one of YSL's new beautiful bronzing stones, which is a slightly lighter version (and perfect for if you're doing a darker lip too). The Tom Ford Terra bronzer has been in my collection for well over a year now, and is my total staple when it comes to adding a perfect matte colour to an otherwise flat base...

Saying that, if you are after something loose, I also love the Inika Mineral Bronzer which you can mix in with moisturiser for a slight tint too (plus it's vegan and 100% natural which is great)! Finally if all of the above sound a bit intimidating, the NudeStix bronzing stick is totally failsafe and means you can pretty much draw on your contour before blending out (meaning there's very little room for error, huzzah!




Finally, let's talk palettes! There's three varied sets that I can't get enough of when it comes to the ol' bronze and contour. The first is this Smashbox number. This was the first palette I ever picked up to contour with (when the very word was just a twinkle in Kim Kardashian's eye)- and since then it's been my go-to for all things shading. It's incredibly pigmented (much like my other much-loved C. Tilbs option)- but is super easily blended and gives incredible definition for anyone new, or more familiar to contouring. In terms of eye make up- when I'm feeling something a little more defined and smokey to match, I've been loving Ms. Burr's new eye palette in Birthday Suit which is the perfect mix of more pigmented mattes and sparkly shades too.



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(Top: ASOS, Jeans: & Other Stories, Shoes: French Connection, Bag: Anya Hindmarch C/O FarFetch)

Photos by Joe Galvin

First things first; if you can read this post without getting that Stereophonics song in your head I salute you. But today we're not here to talk about Kelly Jones and co, but instead statement bags, embracing colour and fooling yourself into thinking you're shooting somewhere as exotic in Mexico (when really you're not much further than a ten minute walk from London Bridge)- but hey! It's July. If I want to embrace rainbow stripes, statement silver and sandals then so be it (just don't watch me tactfully avoid puddles)...

But anyway! The bag! The bag! When it comes to designer items, contrary to many; I like to look for statement pieces. Undeniably they do have to stand the test of time- but pieces with personality, character and something a little bit special about them are the ones I seek out. Although I want to ensure I get wear out of things, I do think you can strike a balance between 'trend pieces' and pieces which will last. Take this bag for example; it's playful, a little novelty- but fills the gap of perfect 'day-to-day' bag- which will also be amazing for evenings and adding a little somethin' somethin' to more simple outfits too. After spotting it on FarFetch (and having been searching for a LSB- little silver bag) for a while, I was smitten and set. Plus, if I want anyone to be wishing me a nice day- it's my bag, right? RIGHT? Paired with one of my favourite Bardot tops (anything with this much colour ultimately adds a little sunshine) and some pale denim (which is the perfect seasonal-denim update)- I felt suitably summery; even if the temperature had a mind of it’s own...




Thank you to FarFetch for working with me on this post


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Until last week I'd only ever paid a fleeting student visit to Birmingham, so to me the city was relatively undiscovered. After being invited up to celebrate the launch of the new AC Hotel in the city centre, I was excited to have a little look around and explore, and pop together a list of little gems to stop by! Although I know there's far more to see (I'm always impressed by Sophie and Jack's foodie suggestions)- I thought I'd add in some for the time being, and some additions we didn't have time to swing by to too!

Staying: AC Hotel

Situated cosily next to the trendy and polished Mailbox, the AC Hotel Birmingham hits the jackpot when it comes to location in the city. Reminding me a little of the London Edition (but on a mini scale with it's wood walls and cool-minimal feel), the hotel boasts rooms for hugely reasonable rates without losing the boutique feel. With dressing gowns, a mini bar fuelled with chocolate and the dreamiest T.V (in case you're after some Sky Atlantic) their moto is 'everything you need and nothing you don't'- and if like me you need granola for breakfast, a comfy bed and the perfect location you'll be pretty bloomin' chuffed (P.S they've also got a sparkly new Manchester location too)!

160, The Mailbox, Wharfside St, Birmingham, West Midlands B1 1RL

Eating: Original Patty Men

Joe and I had heard a lot of promising things about this place. After scouting it down with less than an hour before our train home, we arrived just as the shutters lifted and within 10 minutes were happily gobbling down one tasty burger. With what Joe described as the 'perfect ketchup to mayo ratio' this chunky fries and dreamy burger combination was one we're glad we didn't miss. On top of that, they also had desserts. Sadly we didn't get time, but next time it's top of my list.

9 Shaw's Passage, Birmingham B5 5JG

Faculty/Sixteen Kitchen:

If you're after a central spot for a super healthy lunch and some seriously delicious cakes (I'd say the same about the coffee as I've heard a lot of good things) then Faculty and Sixteen Kitchen Bakery next door are the places to go. Decked with exposed wooden benches, airy light and a friendly atmosphere; they're the perfect spots to kill some time during lunch or with your laptop (as well as munching your way through some tasty menu's too).

Piccadilly Arcade, Birmingham, West Midlands B2 4HD

Peel and Stone:

It's normally unintentionally my personal mission to discover the best spots for cakes in each city I visit, and after hearing endless good things about the bakery Peel and Stone I was so excited to pop by. It's not a sit-in kind of place, but if you fancy grabbing some of their delicious fresh sandwiches for a take-away picnic, or even trying their marshmallow and chocolate cookie (unreal) I definitely recommend swinging by.

West B3, 32 Water St, Birmingham

Shopping: Liquor Store

Although most people will solely say the Bullring when Birmingham shopping is mentioned (which, is undeniably great for spending the £££), there are several charming arcades in the city which boast some true gems too- with Liquor Store being just one of them. With shelves of denim, perfect bretons and Scandi-style- it's the perfect shop for all the basics (and candles, and, ahem, stationary) too. With a mens boutique opposite (which has an amazing selection too)- they're both worth taking note of.

30 Great Western Arcade, Birmingham

Doing: Everyman

I know you don't really go to a new city to go to the cinema- but having the gorgeous Everymanhttp://www.everymancinema.com/venues/mailbox-birmingham/whats-on/ on our doorstep next to the hotel- it was the perfect post-dinner option after a busy day on our feet. With a restaurant and a selection of great films on show, it's the perfect way to unwind in the city if drinks aren't your thang (and you can pretty much roll home afterwards too)!

Everyman Mailbox 116 The Mailbox, Birmingham B1 1RF

Ikon Gallery:

If you're in to your contemporary or modern art, I highly recommend a visit to Birmingham's IKON gallery. Tucked alongside the canal; this neo-gothic style building is home to some seriously fascinating works of art, and with a pretty excellent gift shop and cafe to boot (take a look at the deco and thank me later)- it gets three big ticks from me!

1 Oozells St, Birmingham B1 2HS

And if you have time...

Yorks Bakery (for tea and cake), Quarter Horse (for dreamy coffee), Buffalo and Rye (burgers and meat), The Custard Factory, Museum Of The Jewellery Quarter, The People Shop (a little out of town but gorgeous) and Eight Foot Grocer (for independent groceries)

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(Jacket: ASOS, Top: Marks and Spencer, Trousers: ASOS, Shoes: Old Zara (but similar here), Sunglasses: Stella McCartney, Bag: Mansur Gavriel)

Sometimes you see something online and it's a heart-over-head kind of matter. You know it's probably a little out there, should be made for wearing in the bedroom (if all my pyjamas were as pretty as this and not covered in cereal stains then HELLZ YEH) and definitely won't blend in on the 8:30 Waterloo and City Line ride- but hey, it's my bend 'n' snap outfit that I've successfully worn to two meetings and have a birthday party in- meaning it's been 100% worth the money...


On top of that, it's something I can gladly say is versatile ('Pink, floral AND silk? Ok cute')- but trust me. Paired with a white tee and trainers the trousers become a slightly 'cooler' culotte, and the jacket with jeans definitely adds a little bit of (affordable) Gucci to even the laziest of looks- and for a girl who likes extra time in her (real) pyjamas, that's no bad thing for me.



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MEET OLIVIA

MEET OLIVIA

Hello, you! I'm Olivia, or Liv- a 22 year old girl living in London, spending most of her time blog writing, photo taking, social media updating and occasionally cake baking.

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