Sunday, 30 August 2015

Sony Xperia Z3 Compact

    It's been approximately four and a half years since I upgraded my phone. Having been on a sim-only contract, I was rather reluctant to pay any more than £10 a month to call and text people; however, since starting my blog, it's safe to say that I'm using social media far more than I'm utilising 'old-school' communication.

   For years, I had a very old and really quite battered Windows Phone which had an awful app market, and therefore I tended to use my Kindle to interact with my social media accounts. Now, this poses a slight problem when you're about to go on a night out, and you realise that you won't be able to post the obligatory selfie every hour or so until your Instagram feed becomes a very blurry piece of contemporary art, because your Kindle is too big to fit in your tiny 'what's-the-point' clutch. So, I decided that it was time to take the pressure off my dear Kindle, and buy myself a decent phone.

   There are many options, but I was looking for two things: a decent app market and a great camera. A few phones caught my eye - the Samsung Galaxy S6 and the Note 4 (both 16 megapixels) and the LG G4 (13 megapixels) - however, it was the Sony Xperia Z3 (20 megapixels) that really stood out for me, being the only phone whose camera sensor was higher in megapixels than my DSLR.
   Tariff prices drove me towards the Z3 Compact, as both phones are the same, but the Compact is just the right size to fit in my abnormally tiny hands. The Compact has a screen size of 4.6" whilst its larger sister sits at 5.2", but both include a 20MP camera - so no compromising on hardware. If you need a comparison, it's a pretty similar size to the iPhone 5S, but the screen itself is larger because there is no physical 'home' button on the handset.

   The Compact is super easy to get used to (I'm just thankful I'm back to Android) and can be personalised to the heart's content. After an hour of exploring all the apps and widgets (as is obligatory when one gets a new toy), my phone was fully customised and ready to go.
   Just as I had imagined, the camera is perfect - although, anything is an upgrade from the 5MP camera on my previous phone. I'm able to post on Instagram with crisp and detailed shots, which can be edited using a number of great editing apps from the market (my current favourite is VSCOcam). I can also manually adjust ISO, white balance and play around with depth of field (although I'm yet to discover whether I can adjust the f-stop), record 4K video (ideal for YouTube), and shoot unnecessary but quirky panoramic shots.

   As if this wasn't enough, the Compact is also water resistant in fresh water, in depths of up to 1.5m for 30 minutes. Although it's unlikely that I'll be taking many shots underwater, it's nice to know that I can still shoot if I get caught in the rain, or if I'm at a waterpark.
    So far, the only fault I've found is that the phone heats up quite quickly when downloading and installing updates. This is a tad alarming, and there doesn't seem to be any way to counteract it, but I suggest leaving it on a cool flat surface to let it do its job. Software installations are pretty quick, so it's doubtful that you'll be waiting for it to cool down for long.

   Overall, I'm super happy with this handset - it suits all my needs, has all the apps I need, takes amazing photos and videos, and looks really sleek and minimalist. Just a note - this is NOT a sponsored post; I bought this phone with my own money after very careful consideration and research. If anyone can recommend some good flip/wallet cases - that would be amazing!

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Stationery Wishlist 27.08.15

1. Marble Print A4ish Notebook, Urban Outfitters at Ohh Deer - £6
2. Pug A5 Notebook, Fenella Smith at John Lewis - £8.50
3. Wildlife A5 Notebook, Paperchase - £10
4. Spiral Flip Notebook, Quill London - £9
5. Black & White Stripe Notebook, Kate Spade at Liberty - £12.95
6. Rendezvous A5 Notebook, Tesco - £2.50
7. Personalised Recycled Dreams Notebook, Not on the High Street - £12.75
8. 2016 Pocket Diary, Harrods, £12.95

   Who doesn't love stationery? From the pretty to the downright witty, a good piece of stationery can brighten your day, and take your desk situation from standard to actually a little bit awesome. Above are the diaries and notebooks I've been lusting after (Paperchase is my dream shop, but I've managed to limit myself to just one, otherwise this whole post might have ended up looking a tad sponsored).

   On a more frightening note: 2016 diaries have just started arriving in shops. Where has this year gone?! After discussing the matter with my best friend, we've deduced that time has simply sped up without anyone knowing any better, and we'll all end up 50 years old in what seemed like 10 years... actually, it's an awful thought. Let's not talk about it.

   Let's instead talk about this marble diary (1) - yes, marble! I've finally found one, after months spent debating whether I should just customise my own. And I don't whose anyone who isn't partial to a pug print; this (2) delightful little notebook shall sit perfectly between marble and the stripes of this (3) Kate Spade monochrome masterpiece. In fact, I'll just have them all.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Lipsticks: 5 Perfect Reds


   I love my velvet lipsticks, and this is no exception. Bourjois' Velvet formula is so smooth it's almost sensual, and doesn't dry up the lips. It creates a thick, opaque layer in just one application, with a texture as matte as a chalkboard.

   This particular colour is a rich scarlet.


   I know what you're thinking - that's a lot of 'DIOR's - and I think they named it thrice because it's so damn good. I've been wearing this very vampy colour for around three years now, mostly during autumn and winter, and it's perfect with minimal eye makeup and a medium coverage foundation.

   This is a smooth, semi-matte lipstick that really needs to be applied over a liner to neaten out the edges of the lips and give the colour some extra opacity.


   Revlon's Colorburst Matte Balms were a hit with bloggers all across the UK when they first came out, and I'm sure that they've retained their status of 'beauty bag staple' ever since. These are super smooth (like a balm, hence the name), with super rich colour and high opacity.

   'Striking' is a beautiful orange-red that stays put and doesn't dry the lips.


   This lipstick, emblazoned with the Max Factor 'X' on its side, boasts a slick, shiny formula with medium opacity. The colour is slightly darker and just smidge more blue-toned than the Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm in Striking, but they're very similar in tone.


   MAC's most popular shade, 'Ruby Woo', is by far my favourite red. It's a blue-toned colour with extra vampy potential, and a matte texture to rival any other competitor. I wear this with a liner of the same colour to make an extra-neat lip, or a liner of a darker, more burgundy colour, for a subtle ombre look.


Thursday, 20 August 2015

For Reasons Wretched and Divine


   To a lot of people, the city is the place to be: full of hustle and bustle, something new around every corner, exciting events happening every day. In the city, you can walk half a mile and end up somewhere completely different to where you began. It's a beautiful place, full of mystery, glamour, late nights and lots of people.

   However, the countryside will always be my home. Take a five mile walk in the countryside and you'll still see the same things you saw where you began: endless fields of corn, lazing cows and sheep, long rows of plump, juicy blackberries and the occasional seemingly empty barn. Like the city, it's a beautiful place, but in a very different way: full of nature, long and leisurely days, air hanging thick and drowsy, without another soul in sight.

   I'm certain that, at some point in my life, I'll find myself drifting towards the capital like a very relenting moth to a very large, hot flame. But I know that, ultimately, I'll end up right back here again, walking the same roads I've always walked. 

   I'm happy here; there's a persistent sense of nostalgia that overwhelms me when I see a sunset over a field of sleeping cattle, or a road that rolls on for miles through rich farmland, with only tiny villages and hamlets dotted along the way. The countryside is my little slice of heaven, my cornucopia of love and happiness, memories and daydreams, and I'm so lucky to have lived here.

   If you like this outfit, you can get the same co-ords from Luxemme here. Use my exclusive discount code - ARTSTYLELOVE - to get 10% off!

*Gifted for review

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Weekday Wishlist 18.08.15

1. Lyocell Playsuit by H&M - £29.99
2. Bra by Genuine People - £10.91
3. Handbag by Threefloor - £265
4. Trousers by Monki - £20
5. Tortola Sunglasses by Seafolly - £57.57
6. Skirt by ChloĆ© - £700
7. Watch by Skagen - £145
8. Shoes by Topshop - £85
9. Top by A.P.C - £90
10. Shorts by Mango - £34.99
11. Shoes by ASOS - £18
12. Bangle by Mulberry - £195


Saturday, 15 August 2015

Maybe I Pulled the Panic Chord


   Did anybody notice that the days are getting shorter? Just when you thought summer was around the corner, it wafts past and slips out of reach and the unwitting populace of Britain becomes enveloped in auburn leaves and Pumpkin Spiced Lattes. 

   Not that I'm complaining - Autumn's my favourite time of year - however, it's just so sad when the days start to get shorter and we end up leaving the house in darkness and arriving home in darkness, savoring the weekend daylight as if we were moths creeping out from our shady hovels, flitting towards a streetlamp. 

   But it's not all doom and gloom. Nothing beats the between-season blues like a good transitional piece, and this shirt from GANT is definitely one to get excited about. From the brand's Pre-Fall 2015 collection, this star-spangled shirt is a subtle nod towards Americana - the kind of Americana you'd see in a Lana Del Rey music video circa Born To Die.

   Cleverly deceptive, you think this shirt is made of denim; however, it's actually made from a more breathable cotton fabric, keeping you cool when it's hot and vice versa. The indigo blue hue of the material pairs well with my faux suede New Look skirt, but can also be worn with jeans for a double-denim look, or neatened up with some chinos for the full-on preppy look that GANT is known for.

   What would you wear this shirt with?

*Gifted for review

Thursday, 13 August 2015

July 2015 Fashion Haul: Missguided, New Look, etc.

   It's time for another haul!

   My student days are coming to an end and, sadly, I'll no longer be able to take advantage of student discounts (*secretly plans to take a masters degree just for the discounts*), so I'm starting to tighten up the purse strings a little. July was really my last month of splurging, and so I purchased a hefty amount of beauty products, most of which you can see in my July beauty haul here, and a little bit of summer clothing.

   I love summer; it's a beautiful time of year for everyone - there's so much to do, from gigs to BBQs to rooftop parties, and everyone seems to magically cheer up a little bit. However, summer fashion's a little awkward for me: I'm not too confident about bearing my legs, my hair gets stuck to my skin when I wear backless tops, and short skirts aren't really me. I'm an avid Autumnal dresser, and looking at the fashion forecast for AW15, as well as the collections already hitting stores, it's set to be a great season. Roll on September!

   If you were interested in the handful of items I bought during the (not so great, weatherwise) month of July, check out the video below!


Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Aqua Blush Giveaway

   Two weeks ago, I reviewed Bourjois' Aqua Blush (you can watch the video here) - a creamy and easy-to-use brush which has fast become my Product of the Year.

   I use it every day, and it has easily replaced the powder and cream blushes that once reigned supreme in my makeup bag. In fact, it's so damn good that I'm going to give one away to a subscriber, just so that they can enjoy the product too!

   Just enter using the Rafflecopter app below, and you could be in with a chance of receiving an Aqua Blush in a colour of your choice (subject to stock availability) - my favourite is CocoriCorail, but feel free to pick the shade you feel is right for your skin tone!

   The winner will also receive a goody bag filled with beauty and lifestyle treats!

   Good luck x


Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Are you with me?



Sunday, 9 August 2015

Peanut Butter Mug Cake

   I've been challenged by the team at Nectar to create a super yummy peanut butter mug cake! This is a quick, easy, indulgent snack - great for days when you don't have the energy to make a real cake (which, for me, is most days). If you're feeling inspired, get creative and send me a link to your own mug cake recipes!

You'll need:
4 tbsp all purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
4 tsp granulated sugar
4 or 5 tbsp fat-free milk
3 tbsp peanut butter

1. Mix all ingredients together in a microwave-safe mug until you have a smooth and thick batter.

2. Place the mug in a microwave for around 1 minute. The batter should have turned into a soft and spongy solid. Then, enjoy!

Watch my recipe video here


Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

July Beauty Haul: Bourjois, Temple Spa & More!

   July was a month of trying new products and brands. I discovered two high-end brands with completely different aesthetics: Skinceuticals - a clinical skincare brand with products used and recommended by dermatologists, plastic surgeons. pharmacies and medical spas - and Temple Spa - a luxury spa brand with indulgent products boasting all-natural ingredients.

   I also tried out a few new products by popular drugstore brands, Bourjois and L'Oreal. The former's Healthy Mix Foundation and Aqua Blush proved to be makeup bag favourites, but L'Oreal's Crayon Concealer wasn't my cup of tea! Find out more in the video below:


- Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation, £9.99

- Bourjois Aqua Blush, £8.99

- L'Oreal Crayon Concealer, £5.99 

- Temple Spa In The Beginning, £28

- Temple Spa Toning Essence, £16

- Skinceuticals AOX Lip Complex*, £35

* Gifted for review
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