What Striving to be More Tolerant has Taught Me

One of my new year’s resolutions last year was to fix something that had started bothering me about myself.

I’ve never been a particularly tolerant person, and I used to justify it as me just standing up for myself. But over the last few years I had started to feel petty, bitter and nasty. It was making me feel unhappy about myself, and I realised I was becoming a not very nice person.

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I would see friends, calm and collected, non-judgemental and supportive and wonder how I could be like that. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a beast. I’m supportive but I could see a side of me I didn’t like. I would jump to assumptions about people, gossip and scoff at things I didn’t understand or were different from me. I wouldn’t listen and I wouldn’t learn.

So I made a conscious effort to change my behaviour. Instead of immediately jumping to an assumption about someone, I thought about things from their side. Before I scoffed at a trait or behaviour, I found out a little bit more about it.

It’s made me feel calmer and happier about myself. Don’t get me wrong, there’s still a way to go, and I could never claim to be a saint. I have times where I snap back to old behaviours, when I’m tired or stressed or caught up in the moment. But those will change with time, I hope.

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I hate it when someone belittles me for something I’m passionate about, or tries to make a scene about something they don’t understand (even if they think they do) so why would I do the same? And when someone does behave like that towards me, I can now sit and reason it with myself, deal with the bad feelings it’s given me and move on. I don’t retaliate, or have that burning feeling that I have to defend myself for too long. And afterwards I can remind myself I’m a good person, and getting better every day.

It all boils down to the golden rule, do as you would be done by.

I’m pleased I took a step back and thought about what I didn’t like about myself and made a change. I hope I stay on this journey as long as it takes to become a better me!

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My Mini Fashionista!

A few weeks back, when the Summer had decided to make a last ditch attempt at actual sunshine and warmth, my Niece Niamh expressed a wish to show me some of the outfits she’d recently bought.

A budding Influence and Fashionista, she was excited when I told her I’d love to create a look-book type post, based on the items she’d picked, since they were very on-fashion.

With a keen eye for trends, I’m sure this isn’t the only time she’ll be featuring on this blog – and as you will see, she’s a natural in front of the camera!

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Cold-shoulder top from Primark, necklace from Claire’s Accessories.

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Her favourite necklace, from Claire’s Accessories. Niamh loves unicorns and wears this necklace every day when she can.

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Shorts from Asda, Top from Primark. Niamh loves the look of the cold-shoulder tops that are in the shops at the moment. Along with the addition of embroidery, another of this year’s hot trends, this top is perfect!

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Then for evening, parties, general social events (these kids have better social lives than me!) she’d picked this dress at Primark. It’s got mesh detailing at the top with beautiful lace at the top. So pretty and feminine!

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A girl after my own heart, these headphones (also Primark) are covered with turquoise rhinestones and had me totally mesmerised whilst they glistened in the sun! I’m such a magpie!

As you can see, my Niece has an eye for fashion and style. In a few years I’m going to be taking tips from her! Thanks for modelling for me Niamh!

Playing Tourist with London Duck Tours

If you’re a regular reader of mine you’ll know I’m a big fan of London, and visit whenever I can – especially in Summer. So when I was asked whether I wanted to play tourist and go on a London Duck Tour, the answer was a resounding YES!

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I’d heard of Duck Tours before but wasn’t really sure what they were, having just seen the big yellow boat-like vehicles cruising through the streets of London. I was definitely intrigued. Me and hubby arrived at the Southbank on the day of our tour, and basked in the gorgeous sunshine until our transport arrived.

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The DUKW vehicles (affectionately referred to as Ducks and painted an appropriate yellow) are so-called thus: D = First year of production code “D” is for 1942, U = Body style “U” utility truck (amphibious), K = Front wheel drive, W = Two rear driving wheels (tandem axle). These vehicles were used to carry supplies and were most suited for this due to being able to go on both land and water. Fitted with a lovely roof, they are very accommodating on both grey and gloriously sunny days.

We hopped onto our Duck, Titania (all the Ducks are names after female characters from Shakespeare plays) and got comfy in our seats. Our tour guide Mark quickly gave us a brief of the journey ahead and then we were off!

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The tour started in Waterloo, then Westminster;

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Parliament Street, Whitehall, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square, Pall Mall, Piccadilly;

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Grosvenor Place and Buckingham Palace, MI5 and Lambeth Bridge before splashing down into the Thames next to MI6.

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We then travelled by water past the Tate Gallery, underneath Lambert Bridge and then turned around beside the Houses Of Parliament before heading back to dry land. Back on solid ground, we passed through the Vauxhall area and then back towards Waterloo.

Considering I’m a regular visitor to London, it was great learning so much about places I’ve seen many times, as well as noticing things I’ve never seen before and travelling through parts of the city I’ve never seen. I even learned that the Thames isn’t as dirty as I’d once thought, and its only the colour it is due to the constant churning of clay and soil on its bed. Who knew?! (Well, obviously Mark, our guide knew….)

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I loved the tour. Our guide was informative, funny and really knew his stuff. I honestly felt like I was on holiday, and the time we spent on the water was so relaxing!

I’m so pleased I got the opportunity to take this tour. I’ve seen that London Duck Tours also do themed tours including James Bond and D-Day. I might have to look those up! I visit London so frequently it’s so easy to forget about the landscape and history surrounding you in such a fast-paced environment. I LOVED playing tourist!

I was given the opportunity to take this tour for free by London Duck Tours, but at under £30 per adult ticket I’d say it’s worth every penny, for such a unique way to see and learn about London. You can find out more about their tours, and buy tickets and vouchers here, at their website London Duck Tours

Have you ever been on one of these tours, or even one of their themed tours? I’d love to know what you thought. Leave me a comment below, and tell me about it!

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I was given two tickets to the London Duck Tours for free, in return for my honest review of the experience. All views are my own and totally unbiased. If you like the look of the tours, go try one and see for yourself!

This Week I Have Been Mostly….

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This past couple of weeks has been filled with glorious sunshine and warm weather (for the most part!) It meant I’ve been able to get stuff done and generally feel more productive just because they weather has put me in such a good mood!

A couple of weeks ago I met up with a couple of friends, one of which I hadn’t seen in a LONG time and we sat in the pub garden and enjoyed the sunshine on what was, at that point, one of the hottest days of the year. The sun shone, the cider flowed and the bunting flapped in the breeze. It was bliss.

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Last weekend was Glastonbury festival, and I watch it every year. It holds a special place in my heart, being the place I met my husband and every year I watch and wish I was there. This year was no exception, and I really enjoyed what I saw on the TV, my highlights being Radiohead, Chic and The Foo Fighters – all of whom I’ve seen live before and all of whom never fail to impress.

In true honour of Glastonbury and Somerset, I had to have a few ciders during my watching time, and I picked this little beauty up from the supermarket just to try it.

 

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In true Role Models style, I like the idea of Jack Daniels more than I actually like the taste of it, so I was intrigued by the idea of Whiskey Cider. I have to say, I was very impressed. The whiskey takes the acidic edge of the cider, and the cider takes the burning from the whiskey away so they compliment each other beautifully. I need to pick up some more!

Last week wasn’t so warm, and we had some rain too, but it was a nice break in the humidity and a chance for me to get some decent sleep – which I didn’t really achieve, for one reason or another.

We were gifted some beautiful flowers are work, which helped to brighten the office even when it looked grey outside.

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Thankfully, this weekend the weather has picked up a little more, which was fortuitous because I had plans in London which wouldn’t have been all that great had it been rainy and grey. I’ll share more about what I was up to in a later post, but I will say (and I’ve said it many times before) that there’s nothing like London in the Summer sunshine. If you haven’t visited in the summer before, you really must add it to your travel bucket list.

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We spent the majority of our day by the Southbank, however we ventured off to Covent Garden and Soho, and had a lovely vegan lunch in Veggie Pret (the vegan brownies are the things dreams are made of!) followed by a stroll through China Town before we headed home.

I keep alluding to things on my twitter account, that I don’t want to jinx by telling everyone (fyi. not pregnant) and I’m hoping to be able to share things with you soon. I’ve put a lot of things on hold for the time being, but soon I’ll be back to my blogging/vlogging social media self (I hope!).

In the mean time, I hope you’re enjoying this gorgeous weather! Stay tuned for my upcoming post, on my trip to London. It’s a quacker! *wink wink*

Mid Month Beauty Favourites!

I haven’t posted a beauty favourites in a few months, mainly because I haven’t had anything new to write about, but I thought I’d just let you know about a few items I’ve been loving. These items are all perfect for bringing you from the Spring through to the Summer.

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I’ve mentioned this product before, but I’m so glad the weather has picked up so I can use it again:

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This is the Makeup Revolution Radiance Palette. It contains what I would consider to be two bronzers and one highlighter, though you can use them how you like. What I love about this palette is that when I use it I get such a natural tanned look. It’s not heavy or dirty looking, and doesn’t glitter. I use the far right pan mostly as I have never gotten the hang of highlight! I can only use this bronzer when it’s really warm and sunny because it really makes me glow, but I am still in love with this a year on from buying it. And for £8 you can’t go wrong!

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These two body creams were amongst a few I picked up from Bath and Body Works when I was in the US last October. I saved these for the warmer months, and I’m really enjoying using them. Tahiti Island Dream is a fresh summery and fairly heady scent that reminds me of tropical islands (not that I’ve ever been to one!) It’s summer in a tube. Beautiful Day is fresh and also summery with a little fruityness to it. So lovely.

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This fragrance mist from The Body Shop, I understand has just been discontinued amongst the rest of the range featuring this scent. I picked it up because it really compliments their Pinita Colada range (which I have seen back in stores for Summer – whoop!) It’s a fresh, light and slightly tropical scent with floral notes, but not too floral. I’m glad I still have just under half the bottle left. I’ve been enjoying wearing this on warmer days.

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I picked up this ColourPop Ultra Glossy in my last order, and hadn’t dared wear it until the weather picked up. In the tube it’s an intimidating neon orange, but on the lips it’s a subtle orange gloss. I’ve been really loving wearing this, as I prefer juicy lips in the summer, over matte or satin. I love how this wears down to a nice peachy tone and leaves my lips hydrated (almost waxy, but in a nice way and not sticky). I have this in my handbag at all times for those times when my lips need a hit of subtle colour.

And lastly, off the subject of beauty:

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I’ve been really enjoying having the chance to show off the lovely bralettes I to cover up during the Winter. This black jersey tunic has a huge hole in the back, so every time I wear it I get to pick my prettiest bralettes and show them off!

So those are some things I’ve been enjoying using now the weather has picked up. Do you have any products you love to reach for as the summer creeps in?

London, Manchester and Carrying On

Just under two weeks ago I had a couple of days off work booked, because I was supposed to be seeing Ariana Grande at the O2. As you might know I’m a huge Ariana Grande fan and it was going to be the highlight of my summer.

I don’t need to tell you why the concert was cancelled, and I don’t want to go deep into my feelings about it here. We had a hotel booked (the Intercontinental O2, which is right next to the O2) and we’d paid already so we decided to go and have a couple of days in London in the sunshine despite the attack.

I’m really pleased we did. London in the sunshine is beautiful. Our room overlooked the O2 and we could see the people walking over the top of it – we were that close!

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We had a lovely time wandering around. We never really have the chance to just mill about, since we’re usually in London for a particular reason. Stands selling fresh fruit, juices and waffles pop up this time of year, and they look and smell so inviting.

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We ate dinner at The Diner, and I had this yummy corned beef hash.

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The next morning we grabbed breakfast at Le Pain Quotidien and sat outside on Covent Garden markets – it was already too hot to sit in the sunshine, but we had a lovely warm breeze from our table.

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I won’t lie, the police presence was both reassuring and scary. I have an issue with guns, they make me nervous just by seeing them. I know they’re in capable hands in this circumstance but they can still be used in error. Besides that it was a lovely couple of days and a nice way to spend it in lieu of the events.

As I type this, the afternoon after the London Bridge attack, my heart is heavy once more. The Ariana Grande concert for Manchester is this evening, and I don’t suppose my eyes will stay dry. The whole situation is frightening and frustrating. No one knows how to behave in these kinds of situations and people are sensitive for varying reasons. Arguments are being caused because of people’s differing opinons in situations like this and no one knows what to do. No one feels in control. All we can do is do the right thing and continue to live our lives.

I’m glad we decided to keep our reservation in London and continue our day. London is beautiful in the sunshine, everyone was happy and it was lovely to see so many people enjoying themselves.

When In Rome

If you follow me on Twitter or Instagram (hi guys!) you’ll know I recently took a 5 day trip to Rome.

It was the first time I’d been to Italy and I was really excited to see what it was all about. I struggle with travel anxiety and especially in places where I don’t speak the language, but G Man had already been and had been fine so I was pretty chilled about this trip.

I’m used to long haul flights so the 2.5 hr flight seemed like a breeze. I was able to listen to the second and third Childish Gambino albums in full from take off to landing perfectly!

We grabbed a shuttle bus with a very friendly driver to our hotel and checked. The River Palace hotel is situated just off the Piazza del Popolo so was in a great location for walking to all the places we wanted to visit.

We arrived pretty late in the day so headed straight out to grab some dinner. We found a lovely little place and sat inside because it was a tad chilly. I had a great bowl of spaghetti with tomato and basil sauce. I wasn’t majorly hungry and the serving was a perfect size. I hadn’t expected this, but it seems in Italy you eat a starter, 1st course of pasta, 2nd course which is your main course and then desert. I couldn’t work out how everyone wasn’t the size of a house!

Back at the hotel we slept badly and we had decided the room as way too small (you couldn’t actually fit into the shower and my knees butted against the sink when I sat on the loo) so we upgrade and moved our belongings into our new room. The second room was much better, we even got an extra pillow each!

I was very impressed with the breakfast in this hotel, which comes as part of your room. There were pastries, pancakes, fruit, cereal, meats and cheeses, bread and hot food (scrambled eggs, potatoes, sausage and bacon) and coffee with juices. All of this was buffet style so you could have however much you wanted, and the dining rooms were never too busy.

Over our stay we visited the Pantheon, The Vatican and saw the Sistine Chapel, the Colosseum, Trevi Fountain, the Spanish Steps, Piazza Navona and of course the Piazza del Popolo, amongst other things we passed by. We also ate in some amazing places, one of which was recommended to me on twitter, Di Qua.

We actually ate here twice and I really liked the modern feel of the restaurant mixed with the traditional cuisine.

The other thing I hadn’t expected from the food was that the only things you can eat are pasta and pizza – like every restaurant had the same menu. So it then boiled down to quality, price and ambience. I think we chose pretty wisely!

We also wanted to hunt out a good gelato place, and after searching on Pinterest I saw Giolitti recommended a couple of times. When we arrived we joined a line of people to pay – you pay for the size of gelato you want, and pick up a ticket. You then take your ticket to the gelato counter, where it’s every man for himself (think Brooklyn meat deli) – I noticed whilst we were waiting that they had milk-free options and when we requested these our server was awesome. We specified that we wanted milk free and chose our flavours, and he immediately put down the cone in his hand and said we wanted a cup (I assume the cone had risk of dairy) and then went out the back for a brand new paddle which he scooped my gelato with. I really appreciated how he took my intolerance seriously without being told – much better than here in the UK. We then went outside to eat! I chose Melon and Wild Cherry flavours and they were both out of this world. As we ate the line outside for ice cream snaked out of the door. I think we chose a perfect time to go in!

Another thing I noticed whilst we were there was that people ask for their gelato in a cone, use a spoon to eat it with and then throw the cone away…. Very confusing.

We did a huge amount of walking on this trip – we hit 23k in one day alone. I’m so glad I took my Sketchers and Tevas. I also sunburned by face quite badly on one of the days…. I’m such a sunshine novice!

I took loads of photos on this trip, so here’s a selection of some of my favourites!

It was an awesome trip and although I was tired by the end, I’m very glad I visited. I’d like to see other parts of Italy now, as I now don’t have the anxiety of the language barrier. If you can recommend other parts of Italy, then please go ahead in the comments. Where should I go next?

November Favourites

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It’s almost the most wonderful time of the year, which means everything gets sparkly, festive and full of yummy foods.

But before then, we need to round-up November, which has been cold and rainy for the most part and some people have even had snow.

My favourites this month have mostly been of the non-beauty variety. I haven’t really tried anything new other than one or two bits, but I’ve still been enjoying things from last month (including my amazing Charlotte Tilbury lipstick!) But I’ve definitely got some great things to show you nonetheless.

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Firstly let’s talk about some books I’ve been loving this month.

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A Year Between Friends (the sequel to A Year Of Mornings) is a fabulous book full of photographs, craft projects, recipes and letters between the two authors. Mav and Steph are two friends who met via Flickr and live 3191 miles apart in their respective Portlands. The original book, simply photographs, is one of my all time favourite security blanket books. Their photography never fails to inspire me, and this second book didn’t disappoint.

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Second on my book pile this month is Through a Glass Darkly by Jostein Gaarder. I may have mentioned this book in past blogs, because I read it at Christmas-time every year. It’s about a young girl who is critically ill and her conversations with an angel. It’s a wonderfully philosophical book, beautifully written and though it’s not the most joyful of books it’s still fantastically Christmassy. I missed reading it last year as I just didn’t give myself enough time to get through it, but it’s short and sweet and always makes me feel.

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I’ve been finding some real gems in TK Maxx this month, and had to mention this American Starbucks Peppermint Hot Cocoa I picked up. It’s dairy free which works well for me, and tastes lovely mixed with soy milk. I love how the cap of this can is like a paint can/golden syrup can and you have to open it with the flat of a spoon. They have lots of other flavours but some of those contained milk so I went with this one. It’s not too rich, and give you a yummy dry chocolate flavour with side notes of candy cane. Yummy!

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TK Maxx also have a good range of Nip+Fab products depending on when you shop, and I picked up this Viper Venom frown fix. I actually bought it for the deep lines that are forming on my under eyes. I do have very sensitive under eyes, but thought I’d give this a crack. I use it twice a week, or so, after cleansing but before moisturiser. It sometimes stings a little, which is why I don’t use it more than a few times a week, but I do notice the lines have plumped out enough to make a difference. I don’t know if I’ll buy it again but it was under a tenner so I’m glad I gave it a go!

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To banish the winter chills I’ve been enjoying wearing my double-sided blanket scarf that I bought last year from River Island. It’s thin enough that you can wrap it as a scarf and it’s not overly bulky, but thick enough that you can wear it as an actual blanket and it’s so cosy! Plus it’s tartan and dog-tooth and I love both of those prints!

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As a massive Gilmore Girls fan I was ecstatic to find out they were filming 4 feature-length additions to the series, and last week they appeared on Netflix. I’ve seen all 4 episodes now and they certainly didn’t disappoint. Such an emotional roller-coaster. I really hope they make more!!

Lastly, but most definitely not least is this bad-boy:

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G-Man surprised me with a Liberty advent calendar, which he had pre-ordered for click and collect on release day! He’s an amazing husband – I didn’t even know Liberty did click and collect!

I have no idea what’s inside and am avoiding all spoilers because it’s my understanding that the contents has been widely reported – so I’m hoping I don’t accidentally find out.

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Inside the magnetic folding doors are 25 beautiful Liberty printed drawers, that remind me of William Morris print. I cannot wait for December 1st when I can begin opening the drawers and I have a feeling I won’t want to get rid of the calendar when it’s all opened. Maybe I can reuse it next year!

December promises to bring festive fun and cheer. Lots of friends and family and obviously Christmas. I have a few festive YouTube videos up my sleeve too! December is also bringing the arrival of my new MacBook (hopefully!) at which point I will be editing my long promised Disney World footage  – so keep an eye out for that!

I hope you’ve all had a fabulous November! Don’t forget to subscribe to this blog if you’ve liked this post, and want to be notified each time I publish. You can also follow me on twitter @Shutterbug_Blog and on YouTube at Musings of a So-Called Shutterbug’s YouTube channel!

This Week I Have Been Mostly

this week i have been mostlyLast weekend I had the pleasure of taking family photos for my good friend Caroline, with her husband Chris and their baby Leo. It was a lovely afternoon and the weather held off for us, meaning we were able to utilise their lovely garden and the natural light of the sun, which had decided to grace us with its presence.

13We got some lovely photos, and having sent them over, Caz and Chris seem to like them too! So I’m very pleased 🙂

On Wednesday I headed over to Amy’s house for a Bridesmaid dress trying on session. Sarah’s getting married next year and the dress samples had arrived to we piled into Amy’s house, ate fajitas and tried the dresses on. It was good fun to try the different styles on and get our first bridesmaid fix!

Yesterday I turned 32 and we had a nice relaxed day. We headed to Bicester Village for a browse and I got some amazing presents from friends and family. I have some awesome new things to take to Ibiza in 3 weeks and one of my friends even gave me some Euro to take. I’m a very lucky girl!

I also let myself go a little, diet-wise, so this week I’m going to begin training again. Now that my injured hip seems to have recovered, and my tattoo has mostly healed I have no excuses!

Shutterbug Wears Lexie

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I’ve spoken about Lexie in the past when I told you all about the time I visited their pop up shop at Boxpark. Well, during that visit I spotted a lovely long sleeve sweat top in one of the promo photos. I was told by Lexie’s founder Lily, that it would be available soon and to keep an eye out.

At that time I bought one of their t-shirts and I have to say it’s absolutely one of my favourite work out tops. Not only is it comfortable and soft, it looks great on. It accentuates all the curves you’d want it to, and I love the sexy black mesh panel at the back. I love to wear my neon orange sports bra with it because the contrast works really well.

Lily contacted me a while back and let me know production hadn’t begun on the long sleeved top I wanted but she offered to let me get my eager little hands on the sample I’d seen in the promo shot on my original visit.

I jumped at the chance and soon it had arrived. The top is mostly a similar black mesh to the tee I bought but a little thicker, so a little more robust. There is a waffle t-shirt panel across the front with Lexie’s great triangle logo embroidered and then another panel of the same fabric down the inside of the arm.

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Now that the weather is getting a little autumnal this is going to be my perfect work out top. It’s ideal with just a sports bra underneath when I’m doing a weights session, and it’s great layered on top of a sports vest when going between classes at the gym. I’m in love!

A huge thank you has to go to Lily at Lexie for giving this huge Lexie fan the opportunity to get her mitts on something she’d been lusting over for a while! I feel special when I wear it knowing that, for the time being at least, I’m the only one that owns this amazing bit of workout kit.

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If you hadn’t heard of Lexie before, I recommend you head over to their website and check out their current collection. They’ve been featured in loads of articles over the last few months, and Kimberley Wyatt even wore their wonderful leggings in a recent shoot.

Aren’t they amazing? I can’t wait to see their next collection!