Friday, 27 February 2015

Entrepreneurial Thinking: My blogging office

I began blogging in 2012 but I never fully invested myself into it until later on in 2013, back then I didn’t have a clue what I was doing or what I should be using.  I worked solely off an old computer I got for university back in 2005, and just to paint the ultimate picture of how that looked, this piece of technology in particular took a good ten minutes to even start up.

 
When I first began I simply had this desktop computer and my sister’s old laptop, which quite possibly weighed as much as a pile of encyclopaedias! Lugging that around may have given me strong shoulders but practically speaking, it was ridiculous. It was something that caused more and more problems as my website began to grow. With numerous press days, meeting clients and having to work away from my home, I really began to struggle to keep up.  I subsequently had to start leaving the laptop at home, but this meant I couldn’t write on the go, making everything so much harder and mentally draining. I definitely prefer to write on the train home after an event, everything is fresh in my mind; I can edit videos and images straight away without the dreaded feeling of having to do it the next day.

Read more about my blogging story at Intel IQ

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Secrets of the Social Curator: Blogging Fashion Week



Even as a young girl I remember seeing photos of all the beautiful people at London Fashion Week, dressed from head to toe in the hottest designers, seasonal must-haves and the most eye catching ensembles.  Back then I could only dream of being invited to see those clothes in the flesh, but for this latest London Fashion Week instalment, it is actually my 7th time attending since I began my blogging journey. 


London Fashion Week is the perfect opportunity to seek fashion inspiration from a diverse spectrum of designers, it allows us to discover the latest offerings from the well-knowns but also the ones to watch.  Over the years, London Fashion Week has become more and more of a creative playground for  the fashion gurus of the world wide web; especially the bloggers, the instagrammers, and of course the tweeters.

To read about my full London Fashion Week experience please visit Intel IQ

Thursday, 12 February 2015

February Fitness Fashion

Move over January with your 'new year, new me' stuff... we're now onto February where all those who have made those positive alterations and tweaks in their lives are beginning to either love it, or wonder why they agreed to it! Fear not, I'm here to deliver some words of wisdom and more importantly some fitness fashion inspiration.

Sometimes I'll go for a run by scraping my hair up, throwing on an old tshirt, black shorts and my muddy trainers. Chances are I'll have no make up on and won't be running with a phone or some kind of music device, this is what I like to call organic fitness Annie... the kind that goes off on the spur of the moment without having time to indulge in the 'what shall I train in' thought process.

On the flipside I'd be lying if I said I didn't like to take pride in my appearance, even whilst I'm training (apart from when organic fitness Annie appears) I will make an effort in the clothes I train in.  I don't start throwing on make up as I don't get the point if I'm essentially going to be sweating? However I don't take it off but I don't really wear a lot anyway.  I love jazzy leggings (you may have spied on my instagram) and anything bright and fun is my best friend in activewear.  I find by looking colourful and having fun with what I train in (as long as it's good to workout in) can't be any harm and makes me feel good.

To keep those of you reading this feeling fitness inspired in February I've selected a few items I've spotted.  I've even converted one of my 'I'll never wear leggings to workout in' friends to a legging loving lady... in bright colours and jazzy prints!

THE GYM BUNNY 

Gym bunny February 2015
1. Matalan Metallic Sports Bag 2. Mango Running Impact Bra 3.Nike Basic Water Bottle 4.New Look No More Excuses Vest 5. H&M Sports Tights 6. New Look Grey Hooded Slouch Gym Sweater 7. Reebok Women's Cardio Ultra

Instead of being super dooper bright with this look I've stuck to dark colours with a pop of yellow in the footwear.  I love some kind of print on leggings and these from H&M are awesome and I'd highly recommend the sportswear in H&M for price and comfort.  Isn't the metallic Matalan gym bag a-m-a-z-i-n-g?!


YOGI BEAR

Yoga Look February 2015
1. Forever 21 Om Mat 2.Reebok Yoga Bag 3. Sweaty Betty Om Yoga Vest 4. Next Floral Leggings 5. H&M Seamless Yoga Jacket 6.HPE Formula 40 Yoga Bra 7. Nike Studio Wraps

I shared my love of these floral fitness leggings the other day via social media, so I just had to add them into my collection for this month.  The Sweaty Betty vest is my must-have for all yogis out there and great basic zip up top from H&M for the cool down and meditation section. 

RUNNER BEAN

Running in February 2015
1.F&F Active Burnout Tshirt 2.F&F Active Mixed Print Leggings 3.Laura Jane Ella Bra 4.Nike Running Headband 5.George at Asda Three Pack Running Socks 6. Fat Face Activ88 Running Jacket 7 New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Trainers

Running at this time of year you need to be seen, therefore wearing bright items is a must.  I've selected a few items from the high street such as the F&F leggings (which have a zip pocket for keys) but gone for well made trainers from New Balance.

SPIN RAVER

Indoor cycling February 2015
1.Reebok Knit Kaleido Track Jacket 2.Giro Whynd Bike Shoes 3. Nike Signal Tee 4.New Look Abstract Print Leggings 5.Lorna Jane Tarika Bra 6. Reebok Fitness Gloves 7 Nike Yellow Water Bottle

I LOVE indoor cycling... the one I do we nicknamed Spin Rave as it's in the dark and with crazy nightclub lights going off!  I go twice a week and I can't fault it.  I'd usually be telling you to wear padded shorts if you were cycling on any other occasion but indoor cycling you don't really need to.  I'm in legging lust with these sports tights from New Look and I've added in fitness gloves because sometimes my hands hurt from holding on, these gloves will double up if you decided to do weights in the gym.  I've also added some cycling specific shoes, most gym bikes just have toe covers but some will allow you to use clip in shoes too.



FISH IN WATER
Swim swim February 2015



1.Oliver Bonas Odd To The Gym Bag 2.Laura Jane Lime Green Bra 3.USA PRO Gym Essence Ladies Trainers 4. F&F Burnout Ombre Stipe Longsleeved Top 5. New Look Grey Contrast Joggers 6.Zoggs Swimming Goggles 7 Speedo Medalist Swimsuit

With this swimming look I've made it practical, this is what you would wear to and from the gym (don't forget your undies or towel).  After a long training session you just want comfort, plus word of warning don't even both wearing skinny jeans or anything lycra on your legs... post swim you'll be battling to get them on.  Oliver Bonas bag technically says I'm off to the gym but I think it's a perfect size for your towel and shampoo. 


There are my February fitness picks, hopefully you'll get some inspiration to keep pushing on with your fitness goals and having fun with what you wear whilst doing it.


Tuesday, 10 February 2015

Cath Kidston SS15 Press Day

a breath of fresh air press





I love everything Cath Kidston does, but I've often wondered how can such a brand expand? The ultimate quest to engage new shoppers but keeping their old devoted fans interested. 

I went along to the Cath Kidston SS15 press day and as it was my first press event with them I was really looking forward to what was up and coming.  On arrival there was a sea of yellow and blue wellies with a bike kitted out in prints of the same colour.  Yellow and blue were clearly the focal colours of choice for Cath Kidston in SS15! I felt like I was about to go skipping in a meadow...


press day cath
sheep cath kidston

The whole concept to this collection was 'A Breath of Fresh Air', which is encouraging the idea about being outdoors. As Cath herself has a Cotswold home, she is in the heart of the countryside so it's obvious where her inspiration has come from for Spring/Summer.  

I'm a dog walking, bike riding, jumping in puddles kind of person so this collection is suited to me and my character down to the ground. Think of long green grass fields, fluffy white clouds dancing on the blue sky, making daisy chains and visiting the local farm... you're probably about half way to what it's all about.

bike fashion
clouds ss15

The main print (as you can see from above) is of course the cloud print. It is the main introduction for the season and I'm loving it!  Anything to remind us of blue skies and the postivity a beautiful day causes, in my eyes gets a big thumbs up!

One thing I was super impressed with was the bike accessories (new for SS15) which included printed saddles.  They also have reflective bikewear to make you functional and of course fashionable whilst on two wheels, as a cyclist myself this is a huge plus point to the entire collection.

Billie dog print

You know me, I love dogs so I was clearly going to be drawn to these little cheeky chappies.  Word on the grapevine is there might be something spaniel related coming soon...but for now there are plenty of Billie (Cath's terrier) dotted about once again for SS15.

Dog print fashion

There is always going to be the classic prints and designs, but I'm pleased to say they've been mildly adapted in fitting with the collection theme.  Picnics in the park with the quirky champagne flutes and lunchboxes are a SS15 must. 


In all honesty I tend to shop at Cath Kidston for home bits or simply the accessories, however there were some items that I just had to snap.  I especially loved the super colourful necklace in the photograph below, perfect for festival season and teamed with the cute skater style denim dress.... Glastonbury here we come!


As collections go it did inspire me for SS15, and as I say I'm a very outdoors person so even though I loved the collection I loved the feeling it gave me.  To embrace our British countryside and take in the scenery whilst wearing out jazzy printed wellington boots and finding the perfect picnic spot... what's not to love?! Bring on the warmer weather!

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Shinola Detroit comes to London

I do love a brand that manages to create a big enough buzz to swim across to our lands and set up camp. I'm all about getting inspiration for my clothes and style from other countries, especially when it comes to timeless classics.  

Word on the street is that Detroit based company, Shinola has landed here in London. A company that once upon a time was actually a shoe polish brand but has bounced back after opening it's first store in 2013, and instead of helping shine our shoes it is supplying an assortment of beautiful leather goods but with particular emphasis on their watches.

Shinola Lust List





Timeless America with Shinola



Watches
Handcrafted watches are (in my personal opinion) one of my favourite things Shinola do.  All made within their Detroit watch factory by specialist craftspeople.  The straps and designs are quite similar but small tweaks set them apart from each other, but quality sets them so much further apart from anywhere else.   

Bikes
I've selected a few items from their current collection I think you'll agree are fabulous.  Obviously when I first explored their website I was immediately drawn to their range of classic inspired bikes.  They have all the features you'd want from two wheels of vintage inspiration, with beautiful leather saddles and off tone paint work... can you tell I'm a fan?! The bikes that Shinola offer are pieced together precisely by expert custom bike builders.

Sports
I've been an American Football fan since I was a little girl, but it finally seems to becoming more and more popular here in the UK, especially after the twitter frenzy I noticed with the Superbowl.  We've thrown an American football around before but they weren't one of the leather ones, just by looking at the one I've put on my top picks board above, that leather looks so perfect and soft you just hug it!

There is also a lot of sports apparel in the form of classic adaptations of baseball jackets, but also the timeless sweaters, but theses aren't your bog standard cheap cotton jobs, these beam with quality of a much higher standard.

Bags and stationary
On one hand I like bright 'out there' exaggerated designs and colours, but on the flipside something chic will always win me over with a well made leather classic designed bag. They have leather rucksacks (like the one above) but then dainty small crossover leather handcrafted bags and purses.

Especially when I'm at London Fashion Week or on the go I will carry a note book with me, Shinola also have a range of covered notepads.

Pets and gifts
Have I told you?  I'm planning on getting a puppy after I get married in July!  So anything dog related I seem to be drawn to.  I want a classic dog collar and Shinola offer a nice selection of leather collars for pets. 

They also have items such as simple chunky candles which make perfect gifts! When I saw they supplied these I realised this is a brand that reaches out with simplicity but sophistication, this was because they don't have gimmicky coloured candles they are plain and perfect on their own.

Overall I'd say they were a brand to hit the UK that oozed quality in their products, as these aren't items that will damage or break easily. The time and energy gone into each piece is reflected by how such a small company has grown, so much so they're now here in the UK in London!

Make sure you check out what Shinola are all about, and if you're in London near Carnaby’s Newburgh Quarter make sure you pop in to see this all American brand.


*This is a sponsored post*

Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Breakfast Week #AnniesBreakfastClub

 Breakfast week ideas blog

Good morning all!  Right, so if you haven't already noticed I've been doing a series of how-to and ideas videos in honour of it being Breakfast Week.

I'm not working with the campaign directly, I just felt that wil my passion for a good breakfast I'd jump on the bandwagon and show you what I eat in the morning... with the hope it gives some inspiration. 

We're only on Wednesday so you still have time to join in, you actually have a good choice of things to make and try out.  I'll be running this until Saturday. 

The whole idea is to encourage people to branch out at breakfast, especially those who skip it.  I will admit I did skip breakie and as a result would eat badly the rest of the day due to being hungry.  I also used to have a piece of toast and that's it... not exactly helping my body kickstart the day! 

So far I've created the following:


There are more exciting treats to come including some local produce ones!

If you want to find out more about Breakfast Week in general then head over to their main website.  Alternatively give them a tweet @ShakeUpYourWakeUp and if you do decide to make anything I've created, or have any questions tweet me @missanniebean with hashtag #AnniesBreakfastClub 

Happy Breakfast!

Friday, 23 January 2015

My Fashion Resolutions

So we're well into 2015, I'm following my fitness regime, eating well, training hard and generally looking after myself a lot more. I'd obviously posted some of my personal resolutions but I was recently asked about my fashion resolutions.

I guess like many things we can become stagnant in what we wear, I tend to chose items I would do normally and don't really step out of my comfort zone.  I'm not saying we need to suddenly ditch our classic blue jeans for a pair of neon leggings with glitter... okay bad example but you get the idea, I just think it's good to challenge our wardrobes so I've decided to set myself some fashion resolutions!

I totally feel I need to get back on the fashion band wagon and embrace trends more like I used to.


White Jeans

I actually just typed that.  Yep, white jeans.  Never in a million years would I have the nerve to wear them but being honest because my legs are slimming down from so much cycling, I'm hoping to get to a point to feel confident enough to wear them!
white outfit
TOP ITEM: Parisian White Ripped Knee Jeans - £24.99

Brogues

I'm always a little fearful of brogues because I sometimes think they can create a look that's too masculine for me.  However I think if I simple style better I can create as better balance.  Instead of simple brown or black ones I would love some bold ones in either white or metallic for a really 'stare at my feet' look!

Heels

I'm lazy with footwear, I always have been.  This is something I was working on last year that I want to encourage more, and that's by wearing more heels.  I'm only 5ft4 and I do look better with a bit of height but I just don't really wear heels due to the fear of 1. falling over, 2. looking like an idiot whilst falling over, 3. not being able to walk and 4. develop some sort of heel shuffle/waddle because I can't walk. 

hot heels
TOP ITEM:  Red Double Strap Chunky Heels - £24.99

New colours

Another thing I started to do last year but want to develop, is exploring my colour palettes.  I know rusty colours are coming in and that's a tone I wouldn't usually chose, but maybe the new Annie of 2015 might! Having a rusty colours pleated skirt with a striped top tucked in could be just what my wardrobe needs.

Tartan leggings
TOP ITEM Yellow Print Grid Shopper - £17.99

Fun Fitness

I love fun leggings (you may have seen on my Instagram) so this year I'm going to be bigger and bolder with them! They make me feel motivated to workout because they're so good! So far I'm sticking to this!

fitness
TOP ITEM  Blue Abstract Leggings - £17.99


There you have my fashion resolutions! What do you think?  I think they're realistic! Have you got any? A lot of these items are from New Look as they're reasonably priced... always a good plan when you're making a fashionable leap!