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Archive for the ‘Lifestyle’ Category

“Blink” Music: Drake ‘Hotline Bling’

Monday, September 21st, 2015

Not much intro required for this guy. This is Drake and Hotline Bling. A pretty new release but already masterfully covered by Disclosure and Sam Smith for Radio 1’s Live Lounge. Sadly we can’t track down Drake’s official video for this track yet, but when one drops I feel sure it will be spectacular!

Just turn up the volume, have a little chair dance and forget about the grey skies and rain pouring down. For more great music, just look here.

“Blink” Music: Rudimental ‘I Will For Love’ feat. Will Heard

Monday, September 14th, 2015

This is no ordinary #MusicMonday post. ‘I Will for Love’ from Rudimental is musically brilliant (as they always are!), but the band also using it to help spread awareness and support for a very important and very current topic. On the band’s own Facebook page Rudimental say of this track-

“‘I Will For Love’ ft Will Heard is about family, love and the lengths people go to for each other.”

 

Not only is this lyrically very moving, they have translated the heartfelt sentiment of the song in to a video features some of the challenges and hardships experienced during a migrant’s journey.  The band, I believe after creating this video, were so moved by the current refugee crisis that they have dedicated this song to support Amnesty International’s #RefugeesWelcome campaign. Just take a look here to see how you can help too:  http://amnesty.org.uk/refugees

This track is available now to download, and excitingly Rudimental also have a brand new album slated to drop at the beginning of October. For more great music posts, just click here.

“Blink” Music: Foals ‘What Went Down’

Monday, September 7th, 2015

Better than a double espresso on a Monday morning let me tell you. This is the newest release from Foals, ‘What Went Down’. The video for this hectic and emotionally driven track gives you a little insight into the energy and passion you would witness at a Foals gig. These guys are relentless. One of the best bands I have ever witnessed live.

So here is ‘What Went Down’ from their new album of the same name. Brace yourself.

If you love this, then check out our previous #MusicMonday post from Foals too.

“Blink” Music: Disclosure ‘Omen’ feat Sam Smith

Monday, August 24th, 2015

What is there to say that you don’t already know about the brilliant Disclosure and the wonderful Sam Smith? So let’s cut straight to the music and this new track called ‘Omen’ which brings these two back together again.

Just click here for more great music posts.

“Blink” Music: Lion Babe ‘Impossible’

Monday, August 17th, 2015

Yeah it’s the second time Lion Babe has been our #MusicMonday pick. You can read all about this duo here on our previous post. I am a self confessed Lion Babe obsessive. I bloomin’ love the Lion Babe EP and it’s on constant repeat at Blink Towers.

If you pop in anytime soon do watch out if ‘Impossible’ is playing as there may well be general whirling and twirling with handfuls of glitter being flung willy-nilly. Consider yourself warned…

For more great Music posts, take a look here.

“Blink” Music: Rhodes & Birdy ‘Let It All Go’

Monday, August 10th, 2015

A very mellow, post Wilderness pick for this #MusicMonday. We first fell for Birdy with her cover of Skinny Love. How wonderful to have some truly stunning original music from her too. This track, ‘Let It All Go’ sees her teamed up with fellow British musician, Rhodes– another youthful yet brilliantly accomplished musical talent. The combo deal of these two delivers a really mature, elegant and moving sound.

For more great new music posts, just click here.

“Blink” Travels: Flying- travel in style

Friday, July 31st, 2015

Since the beginning of the year I seem to have been on a pretty regular round of packing and unpacking suitcases, double checking I have my passport and triple checking all of my flight details. It’s been a wonderful time of travelling for clients, on research trips, on mini adventures and to spend time with far flung family. The next trip is all about spending 2 weeks doing as little as possible as I head away for my Summer hols. To make sure I have the speediest journey from home to sun lounger (with cocktail in hand), I have decided to opt for a hand luggage only flight.

With a bit of careful planning this doesn’t mean you have to scrimp on any of your luxuries or outfit changes, although to be honest I plan to pretty much be living in my bikini. A big tip from me is to choose tried and tested favourites from your Summer wardrobe, work with a pretty tight colour palette and then add in some bold accessories to help you make a small selection seem like a full Kim K’s closet of choices.

First you have to get your travel outfit right. I like to choose something that will get some wear through my hols too. I pretty much always choose jeans. Stretch Jamies from Topshop are a fav and really comfortable even for long haul.  This time I’ll be wearing those jeans with a kinda Chloe inspired swingy top from H&M. That way I start to get my holiday vibe going, and it also saves it from getting creased in my carry-on! My go-to handbag is this small but beautifully detailed fringed clutch from Oasis. It’s big enough for my wallet and all important documents but small enough to make sure I can see everything in it at a glance (I’m a bit of a checker).

My Summer holiday travelling outfit: Topshop jamie jeans, H&M top and Oasis clutch bag. Blink `London fashion blog, travelling in style, summer holiday

My Summer holiday travelling outfit: Topshop Jamie jeans, H&M top and Oasis clutch bag.

If the airline is getting sniffy about one bag only per passenger I know that I can easily stuff this weeny handbag inside my carry-on suitcase. Actually as an aside, I would always suggest you quadruple check what number and size of bags your airline allows so you don’t get caught out. I found this table from Purple Parking really helpful as a good reference for that very thing.

My Summer'15 favourite sandals, fashion blog, Blink London, wedge sandals

My Summer’15 favourite sandals

Next is the shoes. I am in love with these nutty metallic gold wedge numbers. Perhaps you saw my video of them on Instagram? Well, wearing them not only makes my outfit more fabulous, it also frees up a ton of space in my suitcase. You see, not just a pretty face!

My 'carry on' beauty must haves!

My ‘carry on’ beauty must haves!

And talking of a pretty face, when working just with carry-on luggage and the volume restrictions you have to be extra smart. I use my Heidi Klein pouch as the clear bag required for liquids, and then when I’m away it reverts to its intended purpose as being a wet bikini bag. Having this pre-packed means no fuss for the security check. Any of my holiday favourites that come in small enough bottles get to come with, and then once you’re through security you can stock up on anything bigger in duty free.

I always fly makeup free with a generous slathering of moisturiser. Once safely in the air, I give my skin a freshen up with a Simple Micellar cleansing wipe and then pop on some Rodial Dragon’s Blood face mask (it doesn’t show so nobody need know!). You’re about to inflict lots of sunshine, seawater and aircon on your skin so my number one piece of advice is to ensure you’re maxed out on moisturisation from start to finish of your trip. I them swoosh on a bit of bronzer, mascara and a dash of lippy just before landing (no need to frighten the locals).

So there you have it, my plan to a happy and stylish holiday, even when travelling light. Roll on my departure date! For more of our posts about our travels, take a look here.

“Blink” Music: SG Lewis ‘No Less’ feat Louis Mattrs

Monday, July 27th, 2015

Our choice for today’s #MusicMonday isn’t going to help boost your energy levels this grey and drizzly Monday. Sorry! SG Lewis delivers an ultra smooth, super laid back, Monday-angst-eliminating feel with ‘No Less’. So laid back it’s pretty much horizontal.

So who is this SG Lewis chap? Well he’s actually 20 years Liverpudlian, Sam Lewis. He’s been producing music for less than a year, but already his moochy, soulful sound is grabbing the attention of music industry movers and shakers. He’s also on the roster for this year’s Bestival.

On this track, ‘No Less’ he’s accompanied by Brighton born and bred, singer and songwriter, Louis Mattrs who adds a heartbreakingly honest vocal to this delicious track. You can check out more of his work on his EP called ‘Beachy Head’.

For more great music posts, just have a looky here.

“Blink” Stylish Steals: Pimp my Ikea, the Bekvam step stool

Tuesday, July 21st, 2015

If you follow us on Instagram, you will already have seen a few  of our initial steps in kicking off the big Blink Towers kitchen redesign and refit. Well, it’s all happening and I wanted to share with you our first complete project. I’ll kick off with a disclaimer statement that we have not been sponsored by any of the brands featured. We have chosen every single thing because of several reasons: 1) we love it 2) it fits in with our shoestring budget 3) it works really, really well.

You’ll see more of the full kitchen as we progress, which will include us making our own concrete worktop (argh!) but firstly lets focus on a smaller, less challenging, but still key element to the overall look. You may know that I absolutely love Pinterest (already inspiring our bright yellow front door!), and when I started researching the kind of overall look and detailing I wanted to incorporate into the kitchen project I found so many great ideas on this super site (you’ll find them all on various of our Pinterest boards if you’d like to see more). One of which was this super cool pink step stool, originally shared on Cecilies Lykke ‘Made’ blog. As it happens I do actually need a step stool in the new kitchen as I have made the most of all the wall space and some if the units are set pretty high.

the inspiration, found on Pinterest and originally from Cecilies Lykke blog, Ikea step stool upgraded, Bekvam, neon pink

the inspiration, found on Pinterest and originally from Cecilies Lykke ‘Made’ blog

When tootling around Ikea looking for kitchen inspiration I spotted the very same stool, called Bekvam, kicking off my first DIY spray painting adventure. I bought the unpainted birch version- although if you don’t fancy any DIY, there are some pre-painted versions too. Ikea do have their own range of paints called Behandla that they recommend you use on their products, but none gave me that neon pink hit that I was searching for.

Ikea's Bekvam step stool

Ikea’s Bekvam step stool

So I went back to Pinterest to see if I could find some good ideas on products and how best to use them. This is how I found this great instructional blog post from In My Own Style. Love those chairs! She recommended Valspar spray paint so I tracked some down at my local DIY superstore and got to work…

Sanding prep- a mask if you're being very sensible, thick gloves, a sanding block, fine grain sandpaper.

Sanding prep- a mask if you’re being very sensible, thick gloves, a sanding block, fine grain sandpaper.

Stage 1, although the step stool was plain wood I still gave it a quick sanding over just to be sure the surface was best prepared to take the paint well. I did this before constructing the stool for ease. Follow the grain of the wood to create a smooth surface. You just need to give it a quick but thorough going over.

Construction! Ikea, Bekvam step stool

Construction!

Step 2, put this little baby together. My biggest tip here is read the instructions from start to finish before you begin. That way you will avoid all of the stupid back to front mistakes that I made! When all the pieces are in place then give all the screws a final tighten. When you have your step stool all made you must remove all dust etc from the sanding process. Spray paint isn’t like normal paint in that it is a very fine layer, therefore all rough patches or splinters will still be seen and felt. The better the job you do at this stage in having a smooth, clean surface, the better your overall finish will be.

The Valspar primer basecoat

The Valspar primer basecoat

As this is going to be stepped on repeatedly I wanted to ensure I gave my paint job the best chance of survival possible, so I started with a few light coats the Valspar primer. Again, pop on your mask as this is pretty toxic, and spray only in a really well ventilated space. I set up my ‘spray booth’ outside, knocked together using some cardboard boxes that the kitchen units came in, plus newspaper around and about just to be double sure I was keeping things contained and tidy. Once the primer was dry I double checked that the surface was smooth and flat, sanding a little more in spots and ensuring all was super clean before getting the pink spray paint out.

Going neon pink in the spray booth, Ikea, Valspar, colourful DIY project

Going neon pink in the spray booth

Wow, the pink colour is as bright and bold as I had hoped! I built it up with lots of thin layers applied in opposite directions, constantly moving around the stool and ensuring every angle was covered. As this stage the paint is pretty easy to just wash away if you do get spray paint somewhere you don’t want it…

The final finish with Valspar's clear sealer

The final finish with Valspar’s clear sealer

After 24 hours of drying time I then applied the final protective coat that also gave my step stool a really great sheeny look. The clear coat seems to pretty much be a spray varnish. I gave the whole surface several thin layers but went back over the actual steps several more times to ensure these are as durable as possible. This thing makes me so happy! Not just because of it’s super sunny colour, but also at the satisfaction that I did it myself- and it was an absolute bargain!

The finished neon pink painted Ikea Bekvam step stool

The finished neon pink painted Ikea Bekvam step stool

As the kitchen itself is still very much in progress, I can’t show you the step stool actually in situ, but here it is with some of the products it will soon be living alongside. Most of the kitchen will be black and white, like these Target Tiles patterned floor tiles, so the blue Plumen pendant lights (currently on sale!) and this stool really do add some much needed accents of colour. Watch out for more kitchen refurb news as the project continues.

For more of our diverse and inspired Stylish Steals, look here. For more lifestyle posts, look here.

 

“Blink” Music: Rudimental ‘Never Let You Go’, feat. Foy Vance

Monday, July 13th, 2015

Oh Rudimental, you’ve had us waiting too long! With the new album, ‘We the Generation‘ scheduled to drop in September, Rudimental are back on the road and making the festival circuit rounds. Thank goodness for that because these guys truly bring it live.

Following hard on the heels of our chosen track they’ve also dropped the official video for the beautiful ‘Rumour Mill‘, also from the new album. Although we love that track too, we’re focussing on ‘Never Let You Go‘ as it reminds us why we fell for Rudimental in the first place. These guys can deliver huge, arena-shaking, awe-inspiring tracks as well as more intimate, soulful and subtle songs. This time round we’re going with the monumental. We hope that you all approve.

‘Never Let You Go’ features vocals from Foy Vance who’s roots blend Northern Ireland and Southern America. If you like his sound then look out for his newest album, ‘Joy of Nothing’ which drops later this year.