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I carried a watermelon.... literally



I'm not into kitsch accessories. I think I have quite classic style- good jeans, shirts and leather bags. However, New Look's accessories game has been so strong lately. New Look is somewhere I seem to go through phases with. I could go six months without buying a thing then I want to buy everything! I recently spotted lots of fun accessories appearing in different stores of fruit, particularly of watermelons. I love the colour combo of red and green together and purchased the Watermelon clutch, £12.99 and Watermelon scarf, £7.99  from New Look. I've worn these items with an all white outfit and all black outfit. They just add a little something extra and fun to an outfit. Definite must-buys for the summer season!

#AMAZINGYOU with Bravissimo



Clara set by Panache 
Ignite Set by Freya
I didn't always have big boobs. Until I was 18, I was quite flat chested. My little B cups were fine and never bothered me. Then I started to take the pill (you see where this is going) and hello DDs overnight. It was quite a change and I still forget sometimes. I have a naturally very curvy figure and my chest plays a large part in that. Something I feel very passionately about is wearing the correct size bra. Not only will it make you feel better, but it can have a slimming effect and show off your figure.

I visited the Bravissimo/Pepperberry store in Belfast for the first time yesterday. I had passed the store many times as it's facing Castlecourt's main entrance on Royal Avenue. The store sells the sister brand Pepperberry downstairs. This is a clothing brand for curvy ladies. I noticed many beautiful dresses and tops that would be great if you are like me and have a smaller waist but are busty. Upstairs is where all the lingerie is located. Not only do they stock their own brand but stock Freya (my personal favourite), Fantasie, Panache, Cleo and Lepel. They also have lots of swimwear and sleepwear. The store aims to cater for ladies over a D cup from a 28 back and up. I went in wearing a D cup bra but on a refit with the lovely Fiona, I found I had been wearing the wrong size for quite some time.

The fitting rooms are lovely- they are big and spacious, with room to leave your mum/boyfriend/best mate outside in the pleasant waiting area. The fitting rooms themselves have great light and a silk robe is provided for your comfort. I know that many girls of my age feel really uncomforable about having a bra fitted but Fiona talked me through every step. She has over 30 years experience in the business. She has a lovely nature and put me at ease. Bravissimo don't measure using tapes but rather, what suits your body. For instance, the two beautiful sets that I went home with (one by Panache and one by Freya) are two different back sizes. The shape and fabric of a bra can mean different sizes suit better. I don't know why it's such a habit but it generally seems that women don't try bras on before they buy! I love both of the sets that Bravissimo kindly gifted me. The Panache Clara set is a great everyday set- it's comfy but still sexy. The Freya Ignite set again is comfortable (particularly the matching knickers!) but more fun and summery. Most bras seem to retail in and around the £30 mark but they are an investment. I feel like they not only make me feel slimmer but improve my posture. As someone with a bad back, I didn't realise how much harm I was doing myself by wearing the wrong bra. 

I would highly recommend Bravissimo for a refit. The range is fantastic and the staff are lovely. I also absolutely love their new Amazing You campaign that is encouraging women to embrace their uniqueness and promote confidence. Join in the conversation using the hashtag #AmazingYou on social media. 

Thank you Bravissimo Belfast for the great experience. 

Bloomfield's Secret Sale: 02



Bloomfield Shopping Centre's Secret Sale is tonight and 02 are offering discount on contracts, 10% off on all iPads, Tablets and Smart Watches. I love my iPad Mini as it makes my life so much easier on the go. I also own a MacBook and iPhone but for blogging on the go, watch YouTube videos on the train and reading on an aeroplane, an iPad mini is perfect. They also weight next to nothing! 

02 Bloomfield asked me to tell you my favourite apps on my iPad mini so here they are below:

YouTube
I am a YouTube addict. I love watching hauls and daily vlogs- my favourites being the Saccone Joly's that I watch everyday (they have adorable children!) and my recent favourite is luxury YouTuber, Jerusha Couture. She has a handbag collection that I dream of and she goes on really cute shopping trips with her very sweet mum that she likes to vlog- she makes Australia move higher on my 'to visit' list with every view! 

A Beautiful Mess
This is one of my favourite photo editing apps. It gives collages, filters and cute doodles all in one app meaning you don't need a million different apps for doing different things. I love making my Instagram pictures look really cute but I also love making collages of my friends and I to keep for the future.

iBooks
I never thought I would like reading books on a tablet but I love my iPad for reading on. It's so light and it means I don't have to get up to turn off the light at night time! It's great as you can be reading numerous books at once and don't have to carry them all around. At the minute I am reading a book called Love Languages by Gary Chapman. I highly recommend it if you want to improve your relationships- it has changed the way I view people so much. 

Pinterest
I didn't want to get Pinterest as I knew I would get addicted. However, all of my uni friends had it and I had to jump on the bandwagon. It's a fantastic research tool and I love pinning black and white portrait photos of celebs and old Hollywood glam makeup looks. Follow me on pinterest.com/gemmalebond.

Here are the full discounts available this evening from 6-9pm in Bloomfield Shopping Centre. Hope to see you there!


*Sponsored Post

Bloomfield's Secret Sale: Claire's Accessories











In celebration of Bloomfield Shopping Centre's Secret Sale this Thursday (28th May), I am posting every day about a different retailer in the centre. Today is the turn of Claire's Accessories. On Thursday night they are offering 15% off all lines in store so it's a great excuse to stock up on your favourite items. 

For some reason, I think Claire's Accessories is seen as a bit juvenile but it is somewhere I would always head to for hair accessories- from basic things like kirby grips to fancy head wear for a wedding, it's an Aladdin's cave. It is obviously very appealing to younger girls as many of the ranges are targeted towards the pre-teen market but I went around the Bloomfield store and photographed some of my favourite items. I loved the little beauty blender type sponges- they were small so would be perfect for under the eye area for blending concealer. They also had a huge range of Eyelure lashes. These all retail for £5-£6 per pair so the 15% off is welcomed! I love the 116 Eyelure lashes and have worn them for years- they give length and volume whilst still being natural. They also had some scent nail polishes that fascinated me! For many years, I wore Claire's Accessories stick on nails. They are great for a special occasion if your own nails aren't looking too great! 

As for jewellery and hair accessories, I felt there was a lot of stuff that was inspired by the upcoming festival season. Turquoise tones, big earrings and flower headbands all featured. I felt there was a lot of inspiration from Kylie Jenner who I know is really on trend with her style. 

I also noticed lots of accessories holders- these are great if you are like me and have a tangle of statement necklaces. Note to self- must invest!

All in all, Claire's Accessories is a shop not to rule out. The hidden gems are worth the visit!

*Sponsored Post

Bloomfield's Secret Sale: Vision Express








Top: Julien MacDonald, Prada. Bottom: Joules, Ray Ban

As part of Bloomfield's Secret Sale this Thursday (28th May), Vision Express are offering 20% off everything in store. I am terribly short sighted and don't wear my glasses enough! I went into the store to try out some of their latest frames and some of their gorgeous sunglasses. Sunglasses are my one addiction- I must own about 10 pairs! Vision Express are well known for their wide range of designer frames offering everything from Prada to Ted Baker. 

I really fell in love with the black Julien MacDonald frames. They have a gold snake detail on the side. They are so classy and a great everyday pair of glasses. I definitely think I am going to invest in these as I have found it challenging to find a pair of black frames that I love with my face shape. I also really loved the tortoise shell Prada pair. Featuring the classic Prada two tone green and navy arms, these again are very classy but a bit more fun if you love to mix things up with your glasses. They also would look great as sunglasses. A new range into the Vision Express stores is Joules. I like Joules preppy style clothing and their eyewear is simple and cool. I loved the large sunglasses I tried on and the range is very affordable. Lastly, I gravitated towards some classic Ray-Bay aviator sunglasses. I have owned many pairs of Ray-Bans in my time. They are cool and last really well. 

In additon to the brands I tried on, they also do Oakley sunglasses, Michael Kors frames and sunglasses, Gucci sunglasses and more. If you are in the market for new sunnies for an upcoming holiday or need new specs, make sure to head to Bloomfield's Secret Sale on Thursday for an exclusive 20% discount.

*Sponsored Post

Bloomfield's Secret Sale: Exhibit Clothing















I am working with Bloomfield Shopping Centre this week to promote their Secret Sale this Thursday evening from 6-9pm. Selected retailers are offering great discounts for one evening only including Exhibit who are offering 20% off selected lines.

I popped into Exhibit Bloomfield to have a look at some of their latest styles. I felt there was a lot of 90s and festival inspired items- fringing, playsuit and kimonos. I also loved their range of jackets that would be perfect from office to after work drinks. I also loved all of the sleeveless jackets on offer. These are a huge trend now and they had them in a array of colours. These were all great quality and I've seen similar for 3 times the price as Exhibits seemed to range from £20-£25. 

Something Exhibit also offered that I would not think of was a lot of casual wear. I loved the "Nothing to Wear" sweater and the grey yoga style top. If you are a gym goer, these would be perfect to look chic whilst working out. The bretons and classic shirts on offer would also be a welcome addition to any wardrobe.

Let me think what you think of items I've picked below or by tweeting me @GemmaLEBond.

*Sponsored Post

Transforming clothing with The Zip Yard



There is nothing more annoying than a beautiful item of clothing that doesn't suit you or fit correctly. At 5ft10 and a size 14, I spend a lot of time altering items I own to suit my body shape. I have long, thinner legs, big hips and a smaller waist. Often items can make me look like a giant rectangle as often I have to size up for length. So to say I love alterations is an understatement. A company I have used over the years has been The Zip Yard. They have numerous locations across the UK and these are all locally franchised, meaning that you are supporting a local business. All their alternations are done in a professional manner and the new look stores make The Zip Yard more appealing than ever.

I was delighted when The Zip Yard contacted me and my blogging bestie, Avril from School Gate Style to take part in a style challenge with them. We both had to select two items that needed some alteration. Our alternations were done by The Zip Yard Bangor and were both completed with a manner of days. Below are my two transformations. Many thanks to the beautiful Jude from Jude Malone Creative for her photography skills! 





The vintage blazer
I had picked up this 1970s blazer at a Frock Around the Clock vintage fair years ago. I loved it as it was a really unique piece but it has hung in my wardrobe since I bought it. I think I paid £30 for it as it's in mint condition. When I got it home, I realised it looked a bit "costume-y" and not something I would wear regularly. So with the help of The Zip Yard, we transformed this into a modern piece in a waistcoat shape that is really popular at the moment. I feel like this is fun, easy to wear and looks much more flattering in comparison to the before picture. The remaining fabric was also made into a belt that looks fabulous around a plain dress or shirt. 




The tunic dress


I bought this item many years ago in M&S sale for £10. I wore it as a dress a lot when I was teaching but the fabric makes the dress look clingy and the silk arms also make for some seriously sweaty situations! I thought it would make a great summer top so The Zip Yard transformed it by chopping off the arms, taking some length off the front and slicing the sides to allow the fabric to move more. I feel like I will now wear this item much more. In this picture I have thrown it over a jumpsuit but it will look fab with denim or white jeans, tucked into a pencil skirt or over shorts in the summer. It feels much more like an easy to wear holiday piece now. 



Thank you to The Zip Yard for my clothing transformations- I love them!

My Amsterdam style





Last week, I posted about the fabulous clothes in Warehouse that are perfect for city breaks and upcoming holidays. Warehouse were kind enough to let me pick some items to wear on my little break to Amsterdam. I knew the weather would be much the same as home- warmish with a chance of rain! Layers were essential so I opted for a peasant style shirt, £35 that seemed very traditionally Dutch with the pattern on it. This has sleeves to the elbow which is great for the weather and I loved the tie up detail on the chest. I layered The Duster Coat, £60 on top. This was the perfect "throw on" number and it kept me warm but not over-heated. I would highly recommend a duster jacket for this time of year- I know I'm going to get so much wear out of mine. Dark colours are also great for a city break- often you are on the go all day so any marks or spills won't be noticeable. I also wore the Girlfriend jeans, £40. I find it hard to find jeans to fit my big hips and long legs but these are perfect! They are so comfortable and I know they will look great with heels/sandals for night time. Finally, I opted to wear the Sporty Gladiator, £38 with my outfit. These are the MOST COMFORTABLE sandals ever. If you have narrow feet and small ankles, you need to invest. I walked the length of Amsterdam in these with no blisters or sore feet. I could not encourage you to buy these more if you are going on holiday- plus they look super chic with most outfits.

Thank you Warehouse for my outfit. Make sure to check out all of their new season drops at www.warehouse.co.uk

24 Hours in Amsterdam with KLM






















I had never been to Amsterdam before so when KLM offered me the chance to visit and try out their new Belfast City to Schiphol route, I was over-joyed. The flight times are great, the plane is lovely and the journey only takes 70 minutes. We flew business class which was a real treat- the seats are much larger and a full meal and drinks are served. It's as fast as a trip to London and it offers a cultural scene that I've never really felt before.

I am lucky that I've visited lots of lovely places in my life but I felt a different vibe in Amsterdam. It's a really easy going, no stress holiday destination. Although I was only there for a day, the city is compact enough that a long weekend would be perfect to see all of the sights. We stayed at the Citizen M Hotel at Schiphol airport. The train station in the airport meant it was only a train away into the city centre. The hotel was really cool- the rooms are small but feature a king-size bed and iPad operated media and lights. The room doesn't have a separate bathroom but instead has a little pod for the toilet and shower. It does feel a bit strange at first but you get used to it. It's great for people travelling alone but I imagine if you are with a friend, it might be a bit odd! However, by myself it was great fun and the huge bed was very comfortable and much needed after lots of running about. This would be a particularly great hotel if you were stopping over in Schipol for a flight further afield. The five minute walk to the airport made it much easier to get up the next day!

On our short trip we visited the Van Gogh Museum and went on a canal tour. The Van Gogh museum was very cool. The building is really modern and we used a multimedia tour (a bit like an iPod) to work around the paintings at our leisure. We had a short time here but you could really spend all day looking around. I loved getting to see The Sunflowers in real life (much bigger than imagined!) but I feel in love with the painting Almond Blossom. It looked so modern and like something that was almost digitally printed. Following the tour of the museum, we walked the short distance to go on a canal tour. This really was the best way to see Amsterdam. The hour and half tour explained all of the history of the city, passing famous landmarks including the Anne Frank house, Nemo Museum and numerous concert halls. This was really enjoyable and I loved standing out at the back deck of the boat to take pictures.

In the evening we dined in Brassie Harkema, close to Dam Square. This was enjoyable and a lovely building to sit in- spacious and airy. At night, we all explored Amsterdam. Sadly it was too late to shop but I did spy some gorgeous boutiques and brands that aren't often seen here in Northern Ireland. There were also many cheese shops that kept me laughing- the Dutch do really love their food! We ended the night with a Nutella waffle- waffles and crepes are served almost on every street which is great if you have a sweet tooth like me!

On my way back through Schipol, I stopped off at my favourite Victoria's Secret to pick up some bits and pieces. There were lots of great stores in the airport including H&M and Mexx. I could have spent hours buying stuff!

Overall, it was a lovely trip and the new Belfast City to Schipol route offers not only the opportunity for a great city break but the opportunity to travel further afield when used as a connection point.

Thank you so much KLM for a lovely trip.

KLM offers a daily flight  from George Best Belfast City Airport to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport and more than 200 worldwide destinations. Return fares in economy start from £79 including all taxes and fees. For more information and to book, visit www.klm.com