Achievements and Resolutions 2016/17

So here it is, a brand new fresh year to start again. New ideas, new focus but also a good time to reflect on all the fantastic achievements from the last year. I always take a day between Christmas and New Year to do this. I usually head out of the house (most likely to my local Starbucks) grab myself a mocha and write two lists. I start by writing all of my achievements for the year, using social media and my blog I start at January and work my way through the year, noting key highlights and achievements along the way.

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This is such a feel good exercise and truly makes you focus on all the positive aspects from the year, opposed to the negative which is often what we tend to do without really meaning to.

The next list I create is my resolutions list. It’s worth noting that both of these lists that I write are kept in my notebook that I carry everywhere with me. It helps me keep track that I am actually on course to achieving my goals for the year. I look back at my resolutions twice in the year. The first is at 6 months – usually when I am on holiday in the Summer. I look at what I have achieved so far and make notes on how I can keep on track to achieve the others going forward. I then look at it again in December when it comes to making a new list to find those resolutions I can carry over into the new year and to produce new ideas for future resolutions.

My Highlights and Achievements of 2016

Passing my driving test – It took a couple of attempts but I’m finally out on the road! Hooray!

Getting a new car – My dream first car, a Ford Fiesta, 5 door in red.

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Moving into a new job – I now am in a brand new college, meeting new people and getting involved in new challenges (which involves learning about a whole new range of careers!)

Visiting beautiful Lake Garda in Italy – On my wish list for a few years now and I finally was able to go and visit this beautiful lake.

Started Hula Hooping – Through attending HulaFit classes.

My Resolutions for 2017

These are a few of my top resolutions for 2017! Hopefully they give you some ideas for your New Year’s resolutions too!

To find a new hobby – I am such a creative person and I think this is something that has truly been lacking in my life. I’m setting out to find a new creative hobby and hopefully I’ll post some of my makes up on this blog!

To go on more day trips – I have made a list of days out in the UK and plan to visit at least one per month.

To walk more – I have set myself the challenge of completing one long walk a month and entering myself into a walking challenge. I am due to have another foot operation so we’ll see how we get on with this one! In some ways in may aid my recovery!

To read more – I have set myself a target of 2 books a month minimum.\

To have a Sunday night movie – I find this is the best way to help me relax for the week ahead. I’m planning to make a record of all the movies I watch throughout the year.

To be more creative – I feel so much better when I have spent a few hours being creative. I would like to draw at least once image per month and also create one collage a month. I’ll be posting these on my Instagram too to prove it!

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What are your new year resolutions? I’d love to hear what you have planned for 2017!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

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#SendMeAway with IceLolly.com – My Dream Destination for 2016

In 2016, this Olympic year, my dream destination would have to be Rio de Janeiro in Brazil! This city has everything a perfect holiday destination has to offer; sun, sea, beautiful beaches along with some truly magnificent cultural sites to visit. Not only that but there are some truly amazing photo opportunities to be taken, with vibrant, colourful scenery, beautiful views and fabulous people! It would be the perfect place to visit in Summer 2016.

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Check out my top 5 things to do whilst visiting Rio de Janeiro below and let me know if you have any more hidden gems!

Visit Christ the Redeemer and Sugarloaf Mountain. Christ the Redeemer, an icon of Rio, stands tall above the city and is best seen either from a helicopter or by making the climb up to it. It was completed in 1931 and is 30 metres in height (not including the base) and was beautifully designed in an art deco style by French sculptor, Paul Landowski. Another fantastic site to behold is Sugarloaf Mountain. Sugarloaf Mountain, stands tall opposite the Christ the Redeemer statue and is rated to be one of the top sites to see on a trip to Rio and with it’s fantastic views it’s easy to see why! Located on a peninsula out in the Atlantic Ocean it is widely known for its cable cars as a way to reach the top for the most spectacular 360 degree views over the city of Rio de Janeiro.

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A visit to Rio isn’t complete without a trip to Copacabana Beach. This beautiful beach, up to 4km long, is one of the many beaches located around the coastline of Rio de Janeiro. The beaches play host to a mix of activity, from beach soccer matches to games of volleyball, through to sun worshippers and swimmers.

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Carnival in Rio is like no other. One of the most famous festivals in the world, the carnival is full of the most vibrant, colourful costumes from the revellers and floats from Samba schools located in Rio. The carnival took place between February 6th and 10th in 2016 and will be taking place between 24th February and 1st March in 2017 if you want to experience it for yourself!

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Brazilian food is a mixture of Portuguese, African and Amazon influenced delicacies, however something you will definitely come across is barbecued meat – and a lot of it! Want to try some Brazilian barbecue before heading there? Why not visit the fabulous Rodizio Preto (so yummy I’m off there for my birthday meal next month!) One of the few foods that you will find wherever you visit in Brazil is Feijoada, a delicious stew of black beans, sausages and pork which is truly a labour of love taking up to 24 hours to cook. It’s definitely worth it though!

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Rio is home to the 2016 Olympics. Last held in London back in 2012 (has it really been 4 years?!), Rio will play host to this fantastic sporting event with everything from swimming and diving through to athletics and cycling. A trip to Barra Olympic Park is essential on a visit to Rio, located to the south of the city. The Olympics will be taking place August 5th to August 21st 2016.

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Make sure you take a trip to icelolly.com to get some inspiration for your next holiday in 2016!

I nominate the following three fabulous bloggers to share their dream destinations as part of the icelolly.com competition #sendmeaway!

  1. Twisted Beauty Blog
  2. Crunch Corner
  3. Cait’s Cozy Corner

Let me know in the comments where your dream destination would be for 2016!

Becky at Pretty & Petit

New Year, New You – Try Something New in 2016

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 
My final post in January comes from Charlotte Corner, a lifestyle blogger at www.crunchcorner.co.uk who is sharing her ideas for trying something new in 2016. Let us know if you have tried something new in 2016 by sharing in the comments!

The start of any New Year is always far too chaotic: back to work, everyone’s feeling the need to set New Year resolutions (most of them often fade come March), and you have to pull yourself out of that cosy Christmas slumber where it was acceptable to have a glass of mulled wine and a mince pie every night.

One of my favourite things about the start of a new year is the fact you’re just motivated and willing to make an effort with everyone and everything. One promise I made to myself a few years back was to always try something new and be the happiest I can be. So if that’s something you’re wanting to promise yourself too, here’s my super easy five top tips anyone can stick to.

Venture out somewhere local – You might be surprised what lovely little spots you will find close to home. Here in Leeds, there are tonnes of things to do and places to see, but try and dig a little deeper and see what unusual activities may lurk below the surface. Some of my latest blog posts have featured nearby walks such as Ripley Castle Gardens which was absolutely stunning, with so much to take in; we also had the cutest of cats follow us around until the very end when tea and scones were calling my name!

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Surprise your friends – After all, they’re the ones that put up with you regardless how awful your mood may be, they will make you laugh when you’re feeling down, and listen to your rants about pretty pointless irritations and still take them seriously. Therefore my friends, just take them out, wine and dine them for no reason other than they’re bloody brilliant, and show your lovelies just how much they mean to you. Food is good for the soul and friendship; but what nourishes the soul more is knowing you’ve made someone else happy. Cheesy I know, but it’s so true!

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Redecorate a room – whether that’s a complete makeover, jazzing up your layout or treating yourself to some new accessories to glam up your décor; shifting a room around can be so refreshing. We’ve recently moved home and kitted our bedroom out in white, meaning our old pine pictures frames had to undergo a little makeover.

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Bring the outside in – Everyone needs a little nature in their home, whether it’s plants, pine cones, dried berries or herbs growing for your cooking. For me, this makes a house homely and checking in on the tiny seeds you planted which is now growing is so exciting. Lavender is also a scrumptious plant to pick, bundle together and place in a room- it smells divine.

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Practice yoga – As bizarre as it sounds, I have never attended a yoga class until last year. I was invited to a blogger session focused all around the Ashtanga and learnt fantastic positions to help find your inner peace, release tensions and just feel more relaxed as a whole. Whether you join a class, or check out some online tutorials, learn and practice yoga!

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New Year, New You – Make Money through Matched Betting

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 

For the purposes of this blog post I decided to try out one of the free trial beginner options. If I was being brutally honest, I didn’t get my hopes up and I expected my outgoings to be much more than my profit. I’m not keen on betting or gambling and have always avoided it as I can’t afford to get intro trouble with it! I ‘erm’d and ah’d’ over it for quite a while however felt that for the purposes of this blog post I wanted to give you my personal experience of Matched Betting and I could only do this by following through with the process. I tried the initial beginners option and to my utmost surprise it worked, meaning I got my money back and made just over £11 in profit too!

I personally, wouldn’t put everything into this being your full time job (although some have made it that so it is a possibility) If you’re looking to save for those new pair of shoes or a holiday, then it’s a great little money making opportunity. My main piece of advice is to make sure you read the instructions before doing anything and then follow them as you are completing the process. It may look tricky and a bit daunting at first but I assure you it does get easier and the more you read the instructions, the more it makes sense. This will also ensure you get the profit and you don’t make any losses! Also make sure you have the funds available to do it. You have to deposit money in to cover liability so always make sure you have those funds available and don’t get yourself into trouble because of it. I have shared one user experience sent to me from Chammy (Visit her blog by clicking here) who has had some amazing success below. Has Matched Betting been successful for you? Let me know your experiences in the comments!

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Chammy’s Experience:

When I first heard the term “Matched Betting” I did my best to avoid everything about it. I thought it wouldn’t interest me as I’d never placed a bet in my life and the closest I got to gambling was a few games of bingo when I was younger and a lottery ticket now and again. I didn’t have a clue about odds and what they actually meant or that you could bet on anything other than whether a football match would win/lose/draw. I was completely clueless and just the term “betting” was enough for me to assume that it wouldn’t be for me. Well, that was until I actually took the time to look into it and chat to others who were doing it – I then established that is wasn’t what I thought it would be and little did I know that it would make a huge difference to my life.

If you’ve never heard of matched betting or have and like me, made the assumption that you’d just be sat there hoping the horse you bet on placed so you actually won some money, then please take a few moments to actually read up about it. Matched betting isn’t gambling in the sense of placing a bet with the chance of losing the money you used. You place a bet with a bookmaker and then place another bet with what is called and exchange, this second bet is AGAINST the result of the first bet.

Eg.

Bet 1: Manchester Utd WIN

Bet 2 (aka the lay bet): Manchester Utd DON’T WIN

This means that the bets cancel each other out so you technically don’t win or lose. The profit is then made by the free sign up bet the bookies will offer you, so you repeat the process and end up with profit.

It is a LEGAL, RISK-FREE and TAX-FREE way of earning some serious cash and all you need is £60 to get you started, you won’t need more than that. If you can afford to have a larger starting pot then it would be to your advantage but you do not need to add any more of your own money once you start.

You take that £60 and head to a site called Profit Accumulator – this site is the place to be and offer a free trial so you can have a go before taking that leap. Profit Accumulator will hold your hand every step of the way with information, step-by-step guides, videos and a forum (Platinum) which covers everything you need to know. You will be given the first two offers to have a go at, again you are told and shown exactly what you need to do, and you will walk away with up to £45 in profit.

So you’ve had a go at the free trial, what now? You could take that £45 and run but I recommend you take £22.99 of that profit and invest it into your first monthly subscription to Profit Accumulator (or £150 annual if you fancy saving some money). The Platinum subscription opens up all the other beginner offers which will see you comfortably build your balance, after those offers comes the more advanced offers which will see bigger profits; all of this while still receiving information and training to help you along the way. But don’t the sign up offers dry up? While you will eventually run out of sign-up offers, Profit Accumulator will take all the hard work out of finding offers for you (known as reloads) which will ensure that you always have something to do – this is on top of personal emails and/or texts you will receive offering you bonuses and freebies.

Profit Accumulator ensures that you will get the most out of matched betting and the offers that are available, maximising your profit and minimising the amount of time you will have to spend placing the offers. If that doesn’t convince you then head over to The Money Shed where there is a dedicated forum thread to matched betting and you will see its members bringing in anything up to £2000 a month with an average of £500-£1000 being made, certainly nothing to ignore.

Even after 4 months doing this, I still don’t understand odds, I’ll never fully get my head around all the jargon and technical side of things but luckily I don’t have to – this way of earning is perfect for even the most novice of bet-makers, just like me, while giving plenty of challenging stuff for those who are more experienced; such as casino and slot offers (some come with a small risk but aren’t necessary to earn).

So far I’ve personally managed to book and pay for a holiday for this year (first one in over 5 years), Christmas was a breeze without having to dip into the household income and I already have plans to upgrade to a new car, redecorate the house and rip out the garden – all paid for by my matched betting funds. This way of earning has seriously changed my life for the better, I was looking at years of saving every extra penny to accomplish all of these plans – with the holiday being the last on the list. Now I’m looking at all the necessary plans being done this year so I can then concentrate on planning more of the fun stuff – next Christmas, another holiday, university fund for my son etc.

Don’t just take my word for it though, have a read through The Money Shed forum, give the free trial on Profit Accumulator a go or do some more research – just don’t ignore this fantastic opportunity, you might end up kicking yourself.

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New Year, New You – New Year, New Mindset!

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 

Today is the turn of Amy from Under the Surface who will be discussing New Year Resolutions, how to decide what they should be and how to have a happy and healthy 2016!

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I’m here to talk to everyone about New Year Resolutions. Resolutions are goals that people set themselves to complete in the course of a year and they are usually set on the 1st January. A lot of people set themselves relatively healthy and vague goals such as ‘this year I will be healthier’ or ‘this year I will get fit’. Those goals sound great and I want, with this post, to ensure that everyone is setting themselves achievable and healthy goals that will benefit your life in some way.

Firstly, when thinking about New Year Resolutions try to think of what is currently negatively impacting your life and set a goal to change that before adding in another aspect of your life. For example, if you are turning up late to work repeatedly or spending too much money then set yourself goals to fix those aspects of your life before incorporating healthy food and workouts as well  which are unlikely to help what is already negatively happening on a daily basis.

Please note that eating healthy, working out and all the other goals you may have set yourself are great and should be worked towards also. However, to feel the true benefits of a new year then focus on ridding yourself of the negative in your life and that alone will make you feel better. It may not be 100% where you want to be but it is a step in the right direction and after achieving these goals then you can incorporate eating less chocolate, going for more walks or anything else you may fancy.

The 1st of January has gone by so if you are setting yourself resolutions then it is likely you have done so by now. Take this time to look back on those resolutions and ensure they are achievable and that they truly will make you happy. If not, ask yourself what is truly making you unhappy and focus on changing that instead. You don’t have to set yourself a hundred goals or resolutions if you don’t want to. Just one achievable goal will have a tremendous impact.

Tweet me your goals at @Hadh0peAmyBlogs and let me know how your goals will change your life for the better!

Amy is an 18-year-old lifestyle blogger from Scotland, UK. She enjoys writing about various topics that she is passionate about including mental health. Other topics include book reviews, product reviews, personal posts and opinionated posts.

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You can read her blog over at: https://hadh0peamy.wordpress.com/ or give her a tweet @Hadh0peAmyBlogs

New Year, New You – How to Gain Instagram Followers That Stick Around!

As part of my ‘New Year, New You’ series this month I’m asking bloggers to share their plans, tips and resolutions for 2016! 

Today is the turn of the lovely Louisa Rogers, who has a vibrant and beautiful blog accompanied by a fabulous and equally stunning Instagram feed. She shares her tips on how to use Instagram, how to gain followers and most importantly how to keep them. Make sure you take a read of her blog by clicking here.

Contrary to popular belief, Instagram is not an easy business. Amongst the meme pages, the self-obsessed 12 year olds and the Russian spambots lie real people who are interested and passionate about your content. The only problem you have to get around, is finding them, and keeping them interested. I used to notice that my follower count was volatile and I would lose 5 people overnight for no apparent reason, now I only ever notice the odd person unfollowing and I can put that down to one thing only…

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My Instagram pre-overhaul… as you can see there was no over-riding aesthetic style, and the whole thing looked messy and a bit crap!

I used Instagram (@louisagrogers, if you’re curious) for a long time without taking any notice of aesthetics: I guess you could say that I used it for its’ intended purpose, as a real-time photo-sharing app with an emphasis on the social! However as I became more serious about my blog, I realised that if I was going to gain a decent number of followers on Instagram like my influences @Helibells and @LisaMcconniffe (amongst many others!) I was going to start making sacrifices.

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My Instagram pre-overhaul… Once you realise how important the cohesive feed of images is to followers, not just individual photos, it’s a lot easier to use Instagram more wisely and make your whole feed look awesome and appealing.

I stopped posting random, funny moments with friends and only posting from my camera roll. I started considering using the same filters for every post to keep things quite coherent (Ps. I use Clarendon, that’s mine now, no touching) and making sure any images I post fit my colourful, slightly vintage, slightly funny aesthetic.

I do make the odd exception for a hilarious meme because they are uber-shareable, people always tag there friends in them, thereby increasing your visibility and I think humour and fashion should be placed together more often!

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My Instagram post overhaul… My new approach is still as quirky and varies, but I make sure to use similar colours and filters throughout to keep things relevant. I can thank this change of attitude for all my new followers!

I now wholly understand why many bloggers have separate blog and personal Instagram profiles , as the ultra-curated content of influencers who have over 10,000 followers is often very glossy and impersonal, almost business-like, and I understand them wanting to retain Instagram for those fleeting, semi drunk moments with friends that we all used it for back in 2012.

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My Instagram post overhaul… I even feel happier looking at my feed when it’s nicely composed!

Curating your Instagram may be upsetting at first, and I still sometimes hate how disciplined I’ve become, especially when I upload a photo that I think will fit and it suddenly throws off the entire photo-feed with the wrong colours or composition, but it does pay off. I had about 300 followers on Instagram for the first year and a half that I used it. Since changing to a more carefully considered use of the app, and hashtagging mercilessly in my comments (yes, I’m that girl – but it works) I have garnered over 600. This number is by no means impressive or putting money in my bank account, but I think it does prove that anyone is capable of gaining followers and therefore exposure by making a very simple choice.

So what will you do? Do you want to keep Instagram as a platform as light-hearted and spontaneous as Snapchat? Or are you looking to boost awareness of your blog and personal brand by stepping up your #instagame? Let us know in the comments section below!

Happy New Year from Pretty & Petit

It’s 2016!

A brand new day, a brand new month and a brand new year. We made it through the fabulous fireworks, spending time with family and friends, parties and plenty of prosecco!

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So now is the hard part – making New Year resolutions. So the traditional way to do this is literally to think of the standard go to the gym more, eat more healthily and trying to save money up. I’ve kind of given up on these more traditional resolutions and opted for something slightly different. Every year I give myself a series of goals to achieve over the year, checking up on these at key points of the year. Mostly in periods when I have the time to stop and reflect and think about where I am in achieving my goals!

This year one of my resolutions is to give my fabulous readers new ideas, tips and things that literally make you think ‘Wow! I’ve never thought of that before!’

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So throughout January I’ll be bringing you something new! With the help of some fabulous bloggers we will be bringing you a whole series of ‘New Year, New You’ posts. Whether you’re looking to change up your skincare regime, get more followers on your Instagram profile or are unsure of where to go on your holidays this year, we will be bringing you a whole range of ideas and tips for making 2016 your most fabulous year yet! If you have any ideas that you’d like us to explore, or would like to write your own guest post get in touch with me on Twitter via @prettyandpetit

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Images are not my own and have been used from Pinterest.

Memories of 2015

2015 has been a year of some fabulous memories..

Small Businesses of 2015

I have featured some fabulous small businesses over 2015!

Achievements of 2015

  • Organisation of the 10th Anniversary Awards for the Fashion Retail Academy
  • Completing Race for Life
  • View from the Shard
  • Winning a competition for a trip to Dubai and shopping vouchers for Dancewear Central through blog writing
  • Passed my theory test
  • My first tattoo

Travels of 2015

  • France – Nice, Aix-En-Provence, Aix-Les-Bains, Paris, Tour De France, Versailles and Disneyland
  • Mykonos
  • Bristol (Twice!)
  • Southampton
  • Kent

Events of 2015

  • Cinderella Exhibition
  • The Ideal Home Show
  • London Bike Show
  • My friend’s beautiful wedding at Kent Life
  • London Fashion Weekend
  • Wonderful blogger events, product launches, chocolate making workshop, Big Bloggers Conference, Beautycon, Xmas Party, Food Festival
  • West End Live
  • Wireless
  • Pure London
  • The Cycle Show, Birmingham
  • Design Your Future and Skills London (FRA)
  • Beauty Blogger Awards 2015 & Olympia Beauty
  • Louis Vuitton Series 3 Exhibition
  • BFI London Film Festival – The Program
  • My friend’s beautiful wedding in Whitstable
  • Made London
  • Clothes Show
  • Winter Wonderland

Films of 2015

  • Furious 7
  • Fifty Shades of Grey
  • The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
  • Pitch Perfect 2
  • Spy
  • Spectre
  • Star Wars

Style of 2015

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What are your fave memories of 2015? I’d love to hear them!

Wishing you all a most fabulous and wonderful 2016 and will leave you with some memories of last years fireworks from London.

Becky at Pretty & Petit

Get The Look For Less!

Today I am looking at how to get a fabulous outfit for Spring 2016 for under £100!

Taking inspiration from Danish brand, Designers Remix from Charlotte Eskildsen, off the shoulder looks are going to be a key trend for Spring 2016, providing a feminine, laid back look to any outfit. Charlotte uses beautiful, plain designs with gorgeous ruffles and frills to add a subtle extra to the outfit.  The off the shoulder leather dress from the ready to wear collection shown below is an excellent example of this perfect combination.

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Using this inspiration of the off the shoulder look I focused the outfit around a cute berry coloured dress from Boohoo.com. I love plain, simple dresses from Boohoo as they’re so versatile and so easy to accessorise for different occasions. They are always made of quality fabric and seem to last for ages. This dress was an absolute bargain at £15.

As this outfit is for Spring 2016 I thought I would pop a black hat at £13.99 from ASOS with this outfit to add some chic and to shade my eyes from the sun which is still quite low at this time of the year. Some cute ankle boots only £39.99 from New Look give a great look for Spring walks in the country, or strolling round Spitalfields market on the weekend.

To add a bit of glitz and glam to the outfit I included some gorgeous earrings only £5.99 from New Look and a studded bag, £22.99, enabling this outfit to go from daytime to evening, for a date to the cinema or dinner with friends.

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This post has been submitted into the Get The Look Competition in association with Travelex. Every vote counts so make sure you pop over to the website by clicking here to view all the entries – including this one! Voting closes on 4th November 2015.

Becky at Pretty & Petit