Zoe is a Forbes '30 under 30' finance pro, style writer, presenter and panellist, working for a fashion startup and trying to live that best life in the most IRL way possible.
Zoe is a Forbes '30 under 30' finance pro, style writer, presenter and panellist, working for a fashion startup and trying to live that best life in the most IRL way possible.
It’s official! With temperatures falling into single digits, winter is here. Although I’m sad to see the end of Autumn, there is one reason for me to be please. It’s a reason that’s been hanging in my wardrobe for a few months now. Yes friends – it’s time to wear my new coat!
I bought this navy wool and leather trenchcoat from The Kooples when on my summer holidays in France. The fact that The Kooples is french, coupled with a dip in foreign exchange meant that I saved almost 20% on the British retail price.
It still cost me £400 – which is basically the most I’ve ever spent on a coat butI’d just spent the week reading ‘The Life-Changing Magic Of Tidying’ by Marie Kondo and her mantra of only keeping and buying things that ‘inspire joy’ just… inspired the purchase?
In addition to inspiring joy, I figured that
1) It’s a timeless, classic shape
2) I don’t have any trenchcoats
3) I’d earned a bit of money reporting from London Fashion Week and I figured it may as well go back into the industry
4) It was 20% cheaper than buying it in the UK
All of the key points that led me to justifying that I would buy this as an investment (and then probably eat beans for the rest of the month). Will it pay off? Let’s find out if I’m wearing it in a couple years time..
As an accountant, you know I’m all about value so my wardrobe is definitely not all designer labels. Today’s outfit sees me mix this high-end investment coat with some $19 Levi’s that I bought on sale in New York and a £15 Cluse watch that I bought second-hand from Depop.
The Kooples Coat: Trench-Style Wool Broadcloth Coat with Leather Details £495
M&S Suede Footglove Ankle Boots £59: The heel is the perfect height, they are comfortable enough to wear all day. They come in Khaki too.
Meli Melo Utility Bag approx £200 – now discontinued but more details and pics here.
Levi’s 501 CT jeans – £16 – Found these in the clearance section I’m going to be creating some more rips in my jeans myself soon. Should I do a DIY rip your jeans vid maybe?!
Cluse Imitation Watch £15 – second hand found on Depop (my fave)
If you’re messy and a bit of a hoarder, I recommended reading the Marie Kondo book. I certainly approach buying things a bit differently now!
Previously, I’d always be about a bargain – but sometimes spending to save means you still spend. I now spend if I need to spend, and they end up being things that I really enjoy using and enjoy looking after now. Definitely recommend the book.
When did you first start learning about money? Chances are it was the first time that you lost a tooth and put it under your pillow, in exchange for a shiny 50p (back when they used to be huge). That 50p would then probably go on a bag of 1p sweets and a couple of Freddos which, unfortunately, are probably about 50p each these days!
I certainly didn’t learn much about money in school though and it was mainly thanks to my parents efforts that I picked my first current account. I remember that particular account included a sponsorship of a rare breed of monkey. You received colouring pencils and a certificate through the post – and that was me hooked on personal finance since then.
Fast forward many years later, Im working in Finance and still very much hooked on personal finance and moneysaving. Still a fan of cute monkeys. I’m an expert on getting the best deal for myself – switching bank accounts for the highest savings rates, finding the best credit card to reward spending, I’ve even changed my current account a few times (see Money Monday: You & Your Current Account 4eva?, where I discuss the longest relationship I’ve ever been in – with my current account)
I’m fortunate enough to have used my love of numbers to have saved a decent amount and secured myself a place on the London property ladder. However I understand that not alllllll of us are of the mathematical persuasion and not all of us are interested in personal finance – not even one bit right?
I also credit a huge part of my passion to my parents that managed to make ‘going to the bank’ a fun weekend treat for their kid. Though in this day and age, it’s all going online – goodbye to the days of banks like these!
This is why I’m a huge supporter of getting personal finance fully embedded into the National Curriculum. Yes it HAS been on there since 2014 but only as part of Citizenship. Remember Citizenship?! I was in school when that was introduced and I don’t know whether attitudes have changed now, but it was definitely the one (of the many) classes that no one took seriously.
Saying that, I did some research into the current syllabus and it’s definitely moved on to something a little bit more practical.
Year 7-9 students can learn about…. the functions and uses of money, the importance and practice of budgeting, and managing risk.
I’m not sure what risk exactly that they’re going to be discussing but definitely the importance of budgeting sounds really useful. When do you ever get to learn to budget? I think the first time I thought about budgeting was when I was off to University and I downloaded a budget template from UCAS..
Moving onto Year 10 and 11, the time when we start to get part-time jobs. Students can learn about “income and expenditure, credit and debt, insurance, savings and pensions, financial products and services, and how public money is raised and spent”
Pensions and insurance? Now THAT is a great idea. If only those teenagers realise how lucky they are (god, I really sound like my parents here!) Seriously though, I can reel you off a huge list of people I know – some of whom are almost 30, who don’t have a clue about pensions, mortgages or even foreign exchange rates. They’d genuinely kill for a spot in 2nd period Citizenship.
Lack of knowledge is not a personal fault in any way – my non-finance friends are equally talented in other areas that I am terrible at – but it does highlight a huge knowledge gap around personal finance and the options available to us.
It’s no wonder that people get themselves into tricky financial situations, succumbing to the tempting call of payday lenders and store credit cards. Many people still think that a credit card is a dangerous thing that they’re not ready for.
A Money Monday series like mine can only go so far into telling you about the joys of a well-managed reward credit card, when some people don’t even know the difference between a credit and debit. We should definitely be teaching money management from an earlier age.
The good news is that I think there is definitely a growing interest in learning about it. With younger people becoming priced out of the property market and with an uncertain economic future (cheers Brexit!), the focus on personal finance and saving is definitely less of a geeky secret than it used to be.
But when is the right time to learn? Is school the place to do it? And what are the key things that teenagers (or younger?) should be learning about? Is it something you would want someone else to teach your kids about?
The Money Advice Service (MAS) has recommended a range of policies to the government, ranging from a scheme to help parents talk to their kids about money all the way through to preparing young adults for the transition to independent living at 17 or 18. Can I get an amen?!
I think that more education is never a bad thing. Especially when it’s more of a practical, ‘real-life’kind of education – I’m all for it. Now, if only someone had warned me against the perils of a Sample Sale, I definitely might have had a lot more money in the bank now..
Now that you’ve left school – what are the personal finance issues you still think you have to learn?
Common questions I get from my friends involve ‘how does a pension work’ and ‘what does my tax code mean?”
New Makeup alert! Sleek Makeup have launched a new collection and of course I’ve got my hands on it to review for you. Even better, you get to win some of it too. Keep reading, dear readers.
The Sleek Rockstars collection launched in store the other week and it is definitely something you’ll lust after. I attended the launch event and I’ve got the lustful lowdown for you all.
Consisting of an eyeshadow palette, a strobing souffle and a lipstick, it comes in two colourways. Diamond in the Rough, available online at Boots and Hidden Gems, available online at Superdrug.
Both are metallic and gorgeous but I’d say one is more day/neutral and the other more festive and glamorous. Which one will you pick? Both? Why not.
First up, the Diamond In The Rough collection – a beautiful rose gold themed collection. It’s perfect for everyday wear and will look particularly beautiful on warmer or paler skintones. Everyone loves rose-gold, it’s a trend that is just not going away and now it’s filtered through from fashion and jewellery through to homewear and beauty. I can’t get enough of it.
The Strobing Souffle £6.99 is a pink-champagne toned mousse. I was most interested in this, because I love a cream-based complexion product for winter skin.
It’s quite glittery though. It’s not party-glitter levels but it’s also not for those who want a subtle highlight. It can be blended out to a fairy-dust finish or patted on for more of a coloured finish.
The Scandalous Lipstick £5.49 is a particular standout – one I’m keeping for myself. It’s a new colour in the fantastic Sleek Lip VIP range (see my review). It’s a true blue-toned red shade and the lipstick is cut to look like a gemstone. Truly stunning.
The eyeshadow shades of the i-lust Eyeshadow Palette £7.99 are very shimmery but still natural – ideal for daytime or for people who don’t wear much makeup. It’s a bit too subtle for my own taste but the colours are beautiful and would look great on fairer skin.
Next up is the Hidden Gems collection. Now, I’m not one to use coloured eyeshadow but LOOK at the iLust Eyeshadow Palette £7.49. This is genuinely the first palette I’ve seen that would make me consider otherwise. Just look at the texture of those luxe looking shadows!
I’m a bit over the whole matte eyeshadow thing, particularly as we come into the festive season. These are perfect for a Christmas party or boozy festive dinner.
The Smokey Quartz Strobing Souffle £6.99 that comes with this one is more gold-toned and definitely less sparkly. I prefer it to the other souffle, but it’s a teeny bit too dark for me to use as a highlighter.
I actually use this Strobing Souffle as the inbetween layer between a contour and a lighter, powder highlighter. It provides that lovely sheen-effect instead.
The Superstar lipstick £5.49 isn’t as purple as it looks – it’s your classic berry red, Mac Rebel shade, which I have about a million of. The diamond cut pattern though is really great, I love it.
I thought long and hard, and I really don’t need another two eyeshadow palettes – or another berry red lipstick. So here you go guys, a chance to win both the Diamonds In the Rough and Hidden Gems eyeshadow palette, plus the Superstar lipstick as well.
All you have to do is regram, retweet or share one of my giveaway social media posts and you’re in with a chance of winning! Ends Nov 13.
Fright night is here! Although I’m a big fan of fancy dress, I’m getting a bit bored of the usual blood and gore of Halloween makeup. For once, I just want to look NICE, y’know? Like somewhere in between a Mean Girls playboy bunny, and Lindsey Lohan’s Bride of Frankenstein.
So I came up with a red-eyed look which is dramatic but still very different from my everyday going out look. The good news is that it’s EASY PEASY. All you need is a lipstick and a fluffy brush to blend.
Check out the video for the full how-to and let me know what you think!
Stuff I used
Makeup Obsession Blush Pan in B106 Fancy
Sleek True Color Lipstick in Cherry
Maybelline Brow Satin EyeBrow Pencil in Dark Brown
Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics Lip Tar in Black Metal Dahlia – I actually picked this up in New York but the original Black Dahlia is here
If you buy anything from any of the links above, I get commission – so click away guys!
What is my favourite thing about blogging? Well, other than somehow justifying my ridiculous collection of makeup, one of the things I love about blogging is getting to find out about new product launches before they hit the store. Even better, when I get to TRY the products before they’re available on sale.
One of those times is today, the launch of the new Armani Beauty Lip Magnets – the new liquid lipsticks from Giorgio Armani. The team were kind enough to send over a selection of magnets for me to play with and I couldn’t wait to tell you about them!
The Lip Magnets were inspired by the Armani Fusion foundation (which is an insanely lightweight liquid foundation) and the Armani Lip Maestro (which are velvet finish lipsticks)
The result is the Lip Magnet, a magically fine and weightless liquid lipstick with an intense colour concentration, velvet matte finish and flawless long-lasting wear. HIYA GUYS.
Liquid lipsticks are certainly having their hey day, and I’m a big fan of Colourpop and OCC Lip Tars. However, they can be quite thick and drying on the lips, if not properly primed beforehand.
What I like about the Lip Magnets is that they are like water on my lips – genuinely the lightest liquid lipstick I’ve ever tried. In fact, they feel more like a lipstain. They definitely have a stain effect, but also probably about 4 hours of solid matte wear too.
Good news, they don’t dry out my lips (which regular readers will know are ALWAYS dry and crispy).
Bad news, they don’t give my lips any extra volume in the way that the thicker liquid lipsticks give my lips more of a “padded” look. Also, whilst there are 18 shades available – there are none of the super artificial looking colours that I personally love. It’s all very elegant – which I guess isn’t a bad thing.
Here comes the science part!
How does this all happen? Well Armani Beauty created an innovative formula which is basically ‘water in oil’. The inverted emulsion water (whatever that is) evaporates once the lipstick has been applied. This then allows the oils and colour pigments to fuse together for high impact colour that is FOUR times thinner than your average liquid lip colour.
I love the formula. I don’t think it gives the 8 hours of wear advertised (because a girl’s gotta eat right?) – but it’s definitely a solid 4 hours through morning coffee and breakfast before it wears off to a stain finish.
They get more intense as they dry and the doe foot applicator really allows you to pile it on for different intensities of colour. My favourite colour is 601 Attitude, a dark mauve colour – I’m super into purples right now.
Would I buy more myself? Depends on the colours available. If your everyday or favourite colour is in the range, I would recommend buying one – however for me, there are none of the violet/brown/nude colours that I wear daily. The colour range is much more classic – reds, pinks and the occasional orange.
Growing up in the 90s, it will come as no surprise to you that I was (and am still) a huge Spice Girls fan. Who was my favourite Spice? Posh of course. It’s been amazing to watch Victoria Beckham go from plastic WAG fantastic to eternally-chic fashion designer and general style inspiration (via that song that she did with Dane Bowers – what a gem) And….. although I’m a lot older now, I’m still partial to a bit of merchandise.
Enter the new Victoria Beckham for Estee Lauder collaboration. When I saw the preview of the collection a month or so back, I just knew I had to get my mitts on it. Not only is Estée Lauder one of my favourite go-to brands, the products looked amazing AND they filled a few of the very rare gaps in my beauty collection.
VB herself said “I love to make women feel like the best version of themselves. I believe I have created some of the key pieces that you really need in your makeup kit” – and she wasn’t wrong.
I went a bit mad, bought some from Selfridges, bought some direct from Estee Lauder – my credit card company even called me to check my card hadn’t been stolen! The prices are slightly higher than your average Estee Lauder and I understand most of you have better self control than me – soooo I’ve done the hard spending work for you.
Here’s my pick of the must-haves from the VB X Estee Lauder range.
First up on the “I LOVE” list, is the Modern Mercury highlighter. This was actually an older highlighter from the Estee archives which was one of Victoria’s faves before it got discontinued. So naturally, she brought it back as part of her collaboration.
I can see why – it’s a beautiful rose gold highlighter which is the perfect mix of blush/highlighter. Also – it’s rose gold tone and i’m obsessed with all things rose gold still. I very rarely wear blush these days – I normally wear highlighter and contour but this Modern Mercury highlighter gives the tiniest hint of a flush of colour. Applied high on the cheekbones, it’s a blush and highlighter in one sweep and gives that healthy “outdoor” glow.
The compact is stunning – quilted black with gold, it feels satisfying and heavy in my hand. Although I feel like you could probably find a similar highlighter out there but I felt like it was worth paying more for this (an eye-watering £48 to be exact), for the quality and luxe finish.
My other recommendation from the range is the much-hyped Morning Aura Illuminating cream. Part moisturiser, part illuminating primer – it’s basically a face cream that gives you that beautiful transparent sheen on your skin.
Frankly, it’s a ridiculous price. But hey, I’d just been paid and a super-hyped 9AM release puts you in that excitable sample sale mode which just makes it so much easier to press BUY.
A word of caution – I don’t use it all over my face, mainly just on the cheeks. Oily skin like mine has the tendency to look more sweaty rather than sheeny. However, on the cheeks, it’s an absolute dream. It gives the perfect no-makeup, no highlighter, glowing look that I ‘m trying to achieve this winter. Now if only the rest of my skin would cooperate…. (I’m actually in the middle of a huge skin experiment to perfect my skin, more news on that once I find results!)
I also bought the Victoria Beckham lipstick in Brazilian Nude. It’s a great warm nude colour but nothing special to me. The case looks great but it’s not as high quality as the highlighter compact and I prefer the Estee Lauder Colour Envy formula instead.
Overall – there are some really great, albeit expensive and much-hyped products. But they’re the kind of products that bring you joy every time you use them. The kind of products that you keep the box for. If you’re a makeup addict, you will KNOW what I’m talking about.
So basically, I’m pleased to have bought them, and would recommend them to anyone – BUT if you’re more practical rather than er… emotional, then you can probably get a similar result with cheaper products.
So there you go – my top picks – all still available at Estee Lauder, Selfridges or Harrods. I thought they would have all sold out by now but it looks like they’re still around. So take a breath and treat yourself? (just a bit more restrained than me perhaps!)