‘Feature Friday’ In which we learn the benefits of make-up…

It’s Friday, the weekend is upon us… Today’s post is all about you and how you can highlight your own natural beauty!

Two gorgeous friends of mine, Sarah (face of my fashion label) and her sister Lauren, volunteered to be the faces of this weeks ‘Feature Friday.’ They both love and rave about Benefit make-up which is why today we will be focusing on Benefit products, but of course feel free to play around with whichever brands you like.


Obviously we girls wear make-up to enhance what Mother Nature may or may not have blessed us with, but on top of that make-up should be fun! Something to play around and experiment with and to give us a much needed confidence boost. Believe it or not though, applying make-up can be a daunting prospect for some. It can take practice… Liquid Eyeliner anyone? False Eyelashes? (My personal nightmare!) Sometimes it’s hard to know what suits or what’s in trend. As such it can be difficult to perfect the look you’re after be it for a big night out or just for the every working day. When we heard that Benefit offered a free 30 minute make-up lesson, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to pay them a visit. Who better to learn from than the experts?

Listed below is a guide to the products you’ll need if you want to recreate the looks showcased by Sarah and Lauren.

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Always remember that less is more. Its far easier to add to your look than it is to take product away. Anyone that’s had a mishap with eyeliner will know what I’m talking about!

Sarah’s Look

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Before…                                                                                     After…

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If you want to achieve this look then you’ll need the following…

Get the base right… In order for make-up to look good, the skin needs to be prepped accordingly!

Start with a good cleanser. Foamingly Clean Facial Wash removes all traces of old makeup and impurities and is suitable for every skin type priced at £17.50. Follow with toner, Moisture Prep Toning Lotion £23.50. Naturally it does what it says on the bottle but this magic product also shifts any leftover impurities (dead skin cells to me and you) leaving you with more radiant skin. The last skincare step and one of the most important is to moisturise! Make-up just doesn’t sit right on the skin without this final step. Triple Performing Facial Emulsion SPF 15 £21.50 is an oil-free lotion and should be applied every morning after cleansing and toning.

Use an eye brightening cream to reduce the appearance of dark circles. It’s Potent! Eye Cream  £25.50. (Apply delicately under the eyes.)

Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow! £26.50 is an oil-free brightening liquid foundation that will give you good coverage whilst retaining a luminous glow. (If you prefer a more matte look then you can add a face powder at this stage.)

For a rosy natural looking glow, apply Dallas blusher £23.50 to the apples of your cheek. It can also be dusted across the forehead near your hairline, down the nose and across the chin. Just don’t forget after sweeping the brush across the blush powder, to tap the excess off first. You can always add more later.

Watt’s Up! is a highlighter that gives your look an added extra. Apply to cheeks and brow bones and blend for a luminous glowing complexion. £24.50

Sarah’s eye look was created with the Smokin’ Eyes (eye and brow kit) £28.50. Use the lighter shade across the whole lid and up towards the brow bone. Blend the darker colour at the outer edge of the eye and up into the crease. The more dark shadow you apply, the smokier the look will be. Have a play around with this!

Any eyeliner can be used but we prefer a good liquid or gel based type. They’re Real! Push Up Liner £18.50 doesn’t smudge and is easy-ish to apply. Practice makes perfect but once you’ve got the knack you’ll never look back.

Finish with a good black mascara. They’re Real! Mascara £19.50 does all it promises on the packaging! Lengthens, curls, volumises, lifts and separates lashes!

If you’re blessed with strong brows like Sarah, you won’t need anything for them except to keep them groomed. For all us mere mortals I absolutely love Brow Zings £24.50 which literally comes with everything you need including minature tweezers!

For lips you can use lipgloss or lipstick, whichever you prefer. Just remember the eye is the main attraction in this look so downplay the lips slightly. When in doubt the rule tends to be this… Dramatic eyes goes hand in hand with low key lips. Natural eyes allows for a more dramatic lip look such as bright red lippy! Think Taylor Swift!

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To create the second look (below) you will initially need the same skincare products and eye brightening cream as listed previously.

Lauren’s Look

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To minimise the appearance of pores and fine lines, apply The POREfessional £24.50 before foundation.

Then for your base, use Big Easy foundation £27.50 which will even out skintone, conceal any imperfections and control shine! Perfect for those whose skin is slightly less so.

Rockateur cheek powder £23.50 is a gorgeous rose gold colour. Apply to your cheeks and cheekbones and follow with Watts’s Up highlighter.

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Big Beautiful Eyes £25.50 is an eye palette made up of alabaster pinks, cocoa shimmer and rich chocolate brown. It comes with a handy guide on how to create different looks. Again use the lighter colour over the whole lid and apply the darker shadow more densely at the outer edge. Remember to blend! They’re Real! Push Up Liner was used for added impact and They’re Real! Mascara was applied to upper and lower lashes.

Girl Meets Pearl £24.50 is a soft golden pink colour that gives skin a dewy, luminous appearance. Pat lightly over makeup. High Beam £19.50 is another fantastic complexion enhancer which gives skin a soft, radiant glow and should be ‘dotted’ and blended onto cheek and browbones.

Brow Zings eyebrow kit was used to define brows.

Lastly, Sugarbomb Ultra Plush lip gloss £14.50 is a shimmering pink nude gloss that perfectly finishes off this glam look!

All products listed can be found at: http://www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk/product/main/makeup

Now for competition time… As promised I will be giving away to one lucky winner this Benefit ROCKitude! Lip and cheek kit worth £25.50.

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benetint 4ml
highbeam 4ml
rockateur 3g
ultra plush 6.5ml
To win all you have to do is create your own ‘Christmas Party Make-up Look’ and submit your photos before midnight New Years Eve.
Myself, Lauren and Sarah will then pick the winner who will appear on a ‘Feature Friday’ blog early 2015.
Please email entries to jamachin07@aol.com
Good Luck! Hope you all have a fabulous weekend.

me meSarah 'Face of the Future.'benefit 9

Justine, Sarah and Lauren xoxo

‘In which I talk Fashion…’

It was just as I was getting up this morning that out of the corner of my eye I spotted my worst nightmare. It was big, and it was ugly, taunting me as it ran across my bedroom wall. Ok so I’m being a drama queen. I know I know, but I really have a spider phobia. Even typing the S word makes me shudder! But it was for this reason that I ended up balancing, (in half dressed state) precariously on a chair (WITH wheels- stupid I know) trying to suck the little bugger into oblivion with the vacuum cleaner.
It was at this precise moment that the suction chose to fail me. Which brings me to the point of today’s blog post. The saying is true. You get what you pay for!
Most of us girls love our clothes. But in a world where fashion is uber fast paced, with exciting trends and a new different wardrobe every month, (let alone every season) it can get costly. It’s true in this current economic climate, money is tight. And seeing as a girl still needs her little pick me ups, popping down to the cheapest place on the high street to grab a few bargains isn’t uncommon. (I do it all the time too!) But then in the same breath, we then can’t complain when the ‘said bargains’ start to wear a little thin on the ground or if the hems come unravelling after just a couple of washes.
Instead perhaps, invest in classic timeless pieces that sure may cost a little more money in the short term, but will last for the long haul. Cheap doesn’t necessarily go hand in hand with quality.
Take the LBD. (For those who have been hiding under a rock their whole lives, this stands for little black dress.) An absolute essential for every girl’s wardrobe. This is a timeless piece and although over the generations there have been many takes on it, if you find a classic style then you can’t go far wrong. Old Hollywood greats such as Grace Kelly and Audrey Hepburn wore them. (See pics below.)

grace lbdaudrey lbdCelebrities at the Cosmopolitan Fash Fest

Likewise today’s generation wear them just as well. Take Millie Mackintosh for instance. (Cover photo and above.) Not only does she wear her black prom dress with elegant sophistication, but she designed the thing in the first place too! She obviously knows that a classic LBD will be a sure fire winner and a must buy for not just this season, but all the seasons to come.
I am an avid eco-friendly and fair trade supporter where fashion is concerned. But I am aware that it’s not always possible to wear fashion with the two linked in. There are few and far between shops that make fair trade or eco-friendly clothes available. But let it be known that even if you just invest in one staple piece instead of buying lots of cheaper items, you’ll be making a positive impact on the planet too! So before you buy your next party frock, think about this… What might be trendy and low cost now, might very well be outdated, out worn and on a landfill this time next year. Instead save yourself some money in the long term and invest in something that you’ll be able to pull out of the closet for years to come.
The Spider inevitably came to its untimely end. But your clothes don’t have to.

Seeing as today is the day of rest… I hope you all have a relaxed day.

J xoxo

P.s Here are the links for those that want to check out the black prom dress or any of Millie’s collection.



Follow Millie on Twitter @millsmackintosh and her label @millieMclothing

prom dress mill

Images featured are from these sites…

Millie in prom dress – http://www.millie-mackintosh.com/index.php/dresses/11.html

Millie Mackintosh at FashionFest- http://www.sugarscape.com/main-topics/fashion-beauty/1066592/best-dressed-cosmopolitans-fash-fest-lucy-watson-vs-stephanie-pra

Grace Kelly – http://www.pinterest.com/kitterson/prom-dresses/

Audrey Hepburn with Humphrey Bogart and William Holden – http://articles.philly.com/2011-10-26/entertainment/30324392_1_prom-dresses-black-dress-fashion-facts

‘On why writing can be cathartic…’

Saturday and the first day of my weekend. But just because I’ve not been on the day job that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working… As they say, there’s no rest for the wicked. However, I do have to apologise for the delay in posting this. It has been a somewhat slightly crazy day. Nevertheless here is today’s blog entry.
They say everyone has a novel inside of them. Some untold story just waiting for the perfect moment to burst out of you. I suppose I can relate with that now.
Whether you choose to pursue that moment when it strikes and put pen to paper is up to you. Someone, (and for the life of me I can’t remember who) once told me that writing can be cathartic. At the time I don’t think I even knew what the word meant if I’m honest. I’m pretty certain I can remember going to look it up in my dictionary. The day the meaning really resonated with me was one long after my breakdown. For years I’d been writing what I like to call ‘fluff.’ I wasn’t sure if it was any good but at the time I had enjoyed it. It made the people laugh who I had shown it to and so I carried on. But it’s safe to say that after being in a dark place, I couldn’t bring myself to write anything that was remotely light hearted or funny anymore. Instead I decided one day to open up my heart and pour onto paper every thought, every emotion, every relevant memory to what I was feeling at the time.
It turns out that this would become the novel that would so consume and take over my life. I am in fact still currently working on it. I’ve finally found my voice. (For someone who was so hell bent on sticking to her rom-coms, I’ve sure surprised myself.)
I hear other authors talking about finding their niche, their style, their voice. It never occurred to me that in all my years of ‘playing’ at writing, I hadn’t actually found my own yet. I’ve felt more of a buzz, and definitely more of an emotional connection to this current story than any other I’ve ever written. Not only am I thoroughly enjoying writing it but I also don’t want it to end. Inevitably it will have to. I do plan to bite the bullet on this one and pluck up the courage to send it to some literary agents. (Watch this space!)
Why I wonder, has it taken me so long to get to this point? I can’t be sure of that but what I am sure of is that this is MY story. The one that has been burning inside of me for so long just waiting to be told. And you know what else? It has been a cathartic process. A form of therapy in itself. I’ve certainly come a long way since starting it.
Ask many successful authors, (Marian Keyes or Matt Haig for instance) and I’m sure they’ll agree with this… ‘Writing CAN make a difference to people.’ It can literally change lives. If not always the reader, then maybe the one who at the time of writing it, was at his or her wits end.
So try it. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a few words strung together barely forming a sentence. Or if it ever sees the light of day. Just go with what’s in your own heart. Because that’s where you’ll find your story. Don’t try to be anyone else and above all don’t try to write like anyone else. Just be true to yourself and the words will surely flow. You never know it might be a life changing event for you. And if you sit down to give it a go and you get nothing? Then perhaps it’s just not your time yet. But wait. Your time will come…

Hope you’ve all had a fabulous day.

J xoxo

P.s Photo today is one I took whilst on my first visit to London a few years back.

*Cathartic. Providing psychological relief through the open expression of strong emotions; causing catharsis: eg. Crying is a cathartic release. ( Oxford Dictionaries) http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/cathartic

‘Feature Friday’ – In which I reveal one of life’s hidden gems…

So every Friday from now and for the foreseeable future, I will be taking the heat away from me, (thank goodness) to bring you something a little bit different. This is going to be known as my ‘Feature Friday’ page.

Feature Friday is going to be all about YOU. Well, not necessarily you per se, but you as in any of you that has something to say or something you want to share.

This week I shall be shining the spotlight on my beautiful friend Gemma and showcasing the fabulous talent that has become ‘Gem’s Creations.’

gem purple scarfgemma wearing scarfgem scarf orange

For as long as I can remember now, Gemma has always been a dreamer. Self confessed, she dreams BIG no matter how unrealistic things may seem! This is one of the things that I truly loved about Gemma from day one. Perhaps this is even what initially drew us to one another when we first met and then inevitably became affirmed life-long friends.

Needless to say, I am fiercely proud of how far this little lady has come! By day, Gemma works with young people, making a difference to the lives of others. (Whether she’s aware of this or not!) By night the flamboyant, creative side in her awakens. This is when, sat in the living room of her home, the magic takes place.

Choosing scarves wasn’t a hard choice. Initially just a Christmas project, Gemma started making homemade gifts for family and friends with her reasoning behind them being that they would simply put a smile on the faces of those that she loved. What started off as something small soon took off. Blood, sweat and tears went into the meticulous planning and care needed to create these individual, spectacular stand out pieces that you just wouldn’t find anywhere else. They became so popular that after several requests, Gemma decided to brave it and start up a facebook page to represent what we now know as ‘Gem’s Creations.’

Refreshingly down to earth, Gemma admits that she herself is still learning. I tell her this is pretty hard to believe looking at what she produces! But what’s even more loveable about this girl is why she does this and what she gets from it. ‘More than anything I get a sense of pride. I love the end result, knowing that I created it and that someone wants to buy it.’

If you fancy having a go at making scarves yourself or even setting up your own little franchise, Gemma says that lots of practice makes perfect. She herself spent hours honing her craft. One tip is to try to source good quality materials as obviously you want something hard wearing but also excellent value for money. (YouTube videos help along the way too!)

And for those of you who like Gemma, are also avid dreamers, her life motto is this… ‘Just go for it! Yes it’s scary putting yourself and your creations out there, but do it! The support I have received has been amazing.’

Asked about future ventures, Jewellery is in the pipeline and of course she would love to one day expand ‘Gem’s Creations.’ With skills like this…Who knows what will be on the cards next!

If you like what you see, (and let’s face it, who wouldn’t? They’re beautiful!) You can check out Gemma’s page yourself by following the link below. Just drop her a message. If you’re after something a little bit different or custom made, then just ask. Gemma would love to hear from you. Oh and on a plus, she delivers too! No need to venture out into the hoards of harassed shoppers at the weekend!


Have a fabulous Friday all!

J xoxo


gem scarf greyGem's Creations

‘I write therefore I read…’

Thursday. ‘I write therefore I read… And vice versa!’
A huge part of reading for me has always been my love of the escapism factor. Starting from the grand old age of seven, I was always clamouring after new books. Enid Blyton fast became my staple ‘go-to’ author throughout my childhood. Even now I can recollect saving up my pocket money, twenty pence on a Wednesday and Saturday each week, until I had saved enough go to my local shop and buy ‘The Enchanted Wood!’ (My very first ‘proper’ book as I liked to think at the time.)
My friend Marie hit the nail on the head yesterday when she said that there’s something from reading that brings a sense of comfort. And I completely agree. Because no matter how hard life gets, (And boy it can get tough as I think we all know…) there’s something about sitting down and curling up with a brand spanking new novel that lets your brain switch off from all the rubbish that is going on in life! This is thus what I call the escapism factor!
As a writer, apart from having a burning desire to tell a story… I honestly feel that one of the most important aspects of our job is to create something that allows a person to be able to switch off if even only for a few hours, a therapeutic outlet if you like. Let’s face it… If you wanted a lecture you’d go sit in a lecture hall.
Yes it’s true, I do like to inspire people, and yes I would also love to put my stamp on the world, maybe make a difference and create some award winning, life affirming novel… But more importantly than all that, if I can manage to produce something that causes even just one of you to smile, (and of course make you feel good…) then it’ll be a job well done!
As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve been working on my novel for some time now. It honestly seems to have taken on a life of it’s own. When the time comes… I hope that it provides you with your own escapism and that it captures your heart. Just like it has my own when writing it.
Hope you all have a good day.
My recommended read of this week is ‘The One Plus One’ by JoJo Moyes.
J xoxo
*Thankyou for all the lovely feedback and support after yesterday’s post. It means the world. If you haven’t yet… Come chat to me on Twitter @justcaptivates or email jamachin07@aol.com.

Photo today is one that I took at Morecambe Bay on New Years Eve 2012.

‘Midweek Madness’

So yesterday I gave you a little inkling that I’d had a breakdown February 2013. In actual fact today is the day in which I admit that I have a Mental Disorder which is what ultimately contributed to this. Yes it’s true. And yes I can almost sense some of you recoiling in horror as you learn the truth. But you know why you’re reacting like that? Because there’s a stigma attached to the term ‘Mental Health.’ I bet there’s even a stigma attached to the word stigma too! But there really shouldn’t be. Many famous faces fight tirelessly to campaign for Mental Health these days. Author of ‘The Humans’ Matt Haig and singer Demi Lovato to name just a couple. Just Google the term and you’ll see how many people across the world have been affected by it. Needless to say, I am not afraid to tell people now. Don’t get me wrong. I was before. And it is by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever done opening up to people. Even writing this is a little difficult. Knowing that in a short while, people that looked at me in one light yesterday, will now this morning see me completely differently. The truth is, it’s probably easier telling complete strangers than it is those who are closest to me. However, I do have my reasons for wanting to be this honest. Firstly, because I am tired of hiding that side of me. It felt like I had some sordid secret that I ought to be ashamed about. And secondly, because if even one person gets something positive from this, then it was definitely worthwhile. Sometimes I guess speaking out is the only way to make a difference.
For those that are unaware, there are in fact many forms of Mental Disorders. These range from anxiety, depression, obsessive compulsive disorder, bipolar right up to schizophrenia. There are also many sufferers out there who are living a tortured life in silence. But they really needn’t be. There is the support out there if you seek it. I’m one of the lucky ones that after years of struggling, eventually hit rock bottom but came back fighting (with a little help of course.)
Sometimes it takes just one person to stand up for something they believe in and then with any luck, the domino effect will kick in…
Mental Health Awareness week runs from 6th-17th October
And World Mental Health Day is 10th October

On a last note… I’m not entirely sure where the quote below originated from or who originally said it. There are many arguments and answers on the net. Feel free to post comments if anyone knows the definitive answer. Either way I’ve always loved the sentiment behind it.
‘Thought for the day… Never judge a man until you’ve walked a mile in his shoes.’

Hope you all have a fab Wednesday.
J xoxo

‘Tuesday’s child is full of grace…’

Tuesday… In which I once more wear my heart on my sleeve and try gracefully to accept that bad choices aren’t always necessarily mistakes…
So it would seem like i’ve set myself a precedent. Writing a blog entry a day. What on earth have I let myself in for and more to the point what will I write about? Watch this space… Only time will tell.
I once said that my biggest mistake was falling for a man who caused me to build 10 ft walls of steel around my heart. I now take that back. Why? Because partly it was my own stupid fault anyway, I should have seen it coming. In hindsight it was by all means a train wreck waiting to happen. But secondly, how can something be a mistake if in the end you learn so much from it?
How we met was truly one of the biggest clichés known to man. Best man. Maid of honour. And for this reason perhaps that’s why the romantic in me wanted to make it work. Trust me when I say that it was NEVER going to work.
It wasn’t necessarily this particular life event (Or the catastrophic fallout that came after) that ultimately caused my breakdown early 2013. But I can honestly say now looking back, it was what finally tipped me over the edge when in that February my world inevitably came unravelling around me.
But and this is a big but! If there’s one thing I have learned from all of this, it’s that regardless, you should ALWAYS take chances. If you have a dream, go for it. And if you love someone then go ahead and tell them. Sure they might not reciprocate it, or it might go horribly wrong. But life is way too short to sit on your behind or keep your mouth shut. Who knows? It might turn out to be the greatest love of your life. Then again it might not. Either way you’ll learn some kind of valuable life lesson from it I can assure you.
If I could change a single moment looking back I don’t think I would. Because every experience in life, whether good or bad, teaches us something and helps to shape the person that we will inevitably become. ‘He’ certainly helped shape the person I am sat here writing this today. And whether he knows it or not he was one of the biggest influences on my life to date. When all is said and done, surely that’s got to count for something?
On another note… Today I can finally introduce the gorgeous Sarah (See pic) who is to be the face of our future fashion empire. Later this week she’ll also be testing some makeup products for us!

As always… Have a fabulous day!sarah

J xoxo

‘Just Another Manic Monday’

Although some would criticise or frown upon me for wearing my heart on my sleeve so vehemently, as time goes on, (and this blog hopefully) you will see that I do categorically do so. I’m not ashamed or afraid of this, I am who I am and I’ve found over the years that not only is being upfront and honest a little more refreshing, but that speaking from the heart is the quickest sure-fire way to get people to connect with one another. The same goes for my novel. Although a work of fiction, I have drawn on real life aspects and experiences… If a reader can’t connect emotionally to the characters then they won’t connect at all with the story. (#Writers Tip Number 1. for you there!) More about my novel to come in a future blog…
You will note (Those of you who look at the miniscule details such as the times of these things) that I write at all hours. I have been known to carry a notepad around in my handbag as well as all the other rubbish that gets crammed in there. Post it notes with frantically scribbled notes also feature regularly, stuffed in my purse between store cards I never use and receipts I have no need to keep. I am by all means a hoarder.

Anyway. It’s a Monday morning. And although most people hate rolling out of bed, getting up and going into work doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I’m blessed to work with some very lovely people and as they say, this is half the battle in having a job you enjoy. We do have a tendency to laugh. A lot!

You may spot that I start sentences with words such as ‘And’ or ‘But.’ I do. Not grammatically correct or very good English I know, but this isn’t ever going to be a Nobel Winning Prize blog and I have my unique style of writing that I tend to stick to. However for my sister’s sake, I will refrain from using abbreviations such as lol on here. Hope this pleases you Janine. Lol. (Oops.)
Also, I don’t draft or edit these particular things, I write as I go. So any mistakes or waffling that may take place both now and in the future… Apologies, mistakes are all my own!

Those of you who love your fashion and beauty… Watch this space. I’m off to buy a new phone! Will be able to take photos once more and will be uploading lots of pics and tips for you this week…

Have a fabulous day.

J xoxo

‘Blog Beginnings’

I always wanted to be named something pretty and ‘normal’ like Emma or Sarah rather than what I actually got landed with. (No offence mum and dad.) Instead I was given the ‘not so normal’ name Justine. But then seeing as i’m as far removed from normal as you can get… I’ve now learned to love it a little.

Yes it’s true I do have a tendency to be a drama queen and over exaggerate but without that little personality trait I would probably be boring.

By day I live an average mundane nine to five working life… trying to keep my imagination in check. Prone to daydreaming at work and thinking up writing plots when I should be making patients appointments and whatnot… Ask any of my friends and they will tell you that writing is what makes me… ME! Being creative and generally planning or creating things is what makes me tick.

Undoubtedly a hopeless romantic, I shamelessly believe in love and happy ever afters. Seeing as that hasn’t happened to me yet… and seeing as the cynics out there would have me believe that it NEVER happens like that… I, for now anyway, will cling to the fact that being blessed with a love of prose… will instead get to live life vicariously through the lives (and love lives of course) of my lovely characters. I believe a healthy dose of escapism is good for the soul, or at the very least it might put a smile on your face for an hour or so.

Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I have an unhealthy love and obsession with Twitter, Christmas, Books and Fashion. If i’m not writing, you will most likely find me with my nose in a good novel, tweeting incessantly, sewing Christmas stockings or creating my forthcoming fashion line.

So this is me… Welcome to my crazy world. Hope you all have had a fabulous weekend

J xoxo

Welcome to my crazy world of fun, frolics and fascination xoxo