What’s In My Handbag?

Work Phone: Apple iPhone 5c | Personal Phone: Apple iPhone 5s | iPhone 5s Case: Cavendish Cases of Bath
Earphones: Happy Plugs | Eye Roll-on: Simple | Velvet Matte Lip Pencil: NARS | Pen: WC(ダブルシー)

Remember how I said one of my resolutions for 2015 was to minimise my wardrobe? Well I’ve been doing pretty well, and recently I continued that winning streak by downsizing my handbag. Just last year I couldn’t go anywhere without a bag big enough fit a small dog in – no I’m serious – so this is a big step for me. So a bag of this size is just the incentive I need. Of course this has also meant putting less items in my bag, meaning I have to stick to the essentials. It’s been a tough transition, but a good one.

Goodbye DSLR, Hello iPhone 6?

Sometimes I think us bloggers hide behind our DSLRs and photoshop. We forget that having the latest fancy camera doesn’t always equal good photos…or a good time. As much as I love documenting my life through photos, I do find that at some blogger events it can all get a bit much. Elbows flailing around as we each try to get the best macro shot of that single piece of sushi. Trying to stay as still as possible because the lighting is terrible and your aperture is so low it’s about to give Flo Rida a run for his money. It’s tiring to say the least. So when Three Mobile invited me to celebrate their Feel At Home Tariff at a foodie event with a difference, I was equal parts nervous and excited.

On Wednesday evening I was asked to turn up at Tramontana Brindisa Shoreditch with no DSLR. No compact camera. Nothing. So I did as I was told and made my way to the venue. When I arrived I was greeted by our lovely hostesses and a special package at my place setting. It turned out that each of us had identical boxes, and inside was the iPhone 6. By a fluke I actually ended up as the only person at the table with the iPhone 6 plus, but I wasn’t about to complain. Three explained to us that they wanted us to experience the evening through the new iPhone. They had already kindly downloaded us the bloggers survival kit: Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Dropbox. The reason we had been asked to leave our cameras behind was because the new iPhone 6 comes with an 8MP iSight camera with Focus Pixels (the 6 plus also has optical image stabilisation), and is perfect for carrying with you on the go. I was a little worried without my trusty Nikon by my side as the lighting was pretty poor, and I’d only ever used my iPhone 5s for Instagram shots. Still, with a little bit of composition, and some heavy editing on VSCOcam, I managed to come out with photos such as this. In fact all of the photos in this post were taken on the iPhone 6 Plus.

Was I won over? Honestly I’d be lying if I said I was going to up and leave my Nikon for a sexier hand-held alternative, but I’m not lying when I say that I was impressed. Not having to mess around with my DSLR made for a nice change, and I can definitely see that the iPhone 6 would be great for those times where you are caught out without your camera. The quality of the photos was noticeably different to my 5s and the screen was much clearer. I had a lot of fun playing with the slow-mo and timelapse functions too. In fact I had so much fun that I have begun plotting to off my current phone so I have an excuse to buy a new one. Now where’s the nearest Three store?

Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s Tokyo Kawaii Guidebook App

I don’t often deviate from European fashion and beauty, but you will see me post the occasional Japanese fashion/beauty article on here. So when I heard that Kyary Pamyu Pamyu (a Japanese street style model come pop idol) was releasing an iPhone app for her English and French fans I knew I had to write something about it. Not only because it combines four of my favourite things; Tokyo, shopping, travel and food.

Moshi Moshi Tokyo is Kyary’s guide to her favourite spots in Tokyo. The app allows you to explore Tokyo through her eyes, visiting clothing boutiques, cafes and more. Kyary has become a worldwide hit – her London tour was a sell-out with devoted fans turning up in hoards. It’s because of this success that the release of this app makes so much sense. It’s also a great way for the Japanese government to garner interest and promote tourism. Tokyo is an amazing city but it can be slightly overwhelming at times, especially if you’ve never visited before. This app will be a great way for fashionable young things to check out some of Tokyo’s hot spots.

I downloaded the French version to get a taste of the app before the English release. My French is terrible but surprisingly I still managed to understand everything. I loved the interactive features and thought the photography and design was incredibly cute and fun. The small magazine-style section highlights 9 clothing stores, featuring some of my personal favourites, including Nadia, Avantgarde and Tokyo Bopper. Ultimately though the interactive map is the most helpful as it highlights a large number of restaurants, stores etc. making it much easier to find your desired location. Unfortunately the promise of “Kyary’s favourite spots in Tokyo” actually translates to chosen spots in Harajuku. However this is the area that made her famous, making it slightly more understandable. It may seem limited but there are still tons of places to visit and it’s nice to see Harajuku is still getting some love, after a decline in popularity in recent years.

The app is currently available to download on iTunes, however the app only offers a download for the French version right now (to coincide with Japan Expo 2014). The English version will be released on July 18th, in time for Hyper Japan in London (and J-Pop Summit Festival 2014 in San Francisco). The first 500 people to download the guide (via the app) will also receive a voucher for a free badge that they can collect at Kyary Pamyu Pamyu’s booth at Hyper Japan/J-Pop Summit.

Download Moshi Moshi Tokyo.

Source: 1

Workshop: Take Better Instagram Photos, with Jess Macdonald & Cath Kidston!

On Sunday, I headed to the 180 Piccadilly Flagship Cath Kidston store with AlexSarah. You’d probably expect me to go on and say how we were doing some casual window shopping, right? Wrong! We were there to learn how to take better Instagram photos at a special workshop. May saw three new free workshops (in collaboration with Indytute) pop up at the 180 Piccadilly store: ‘Vintage plate upcycling’, ‘My Cool Shed: how to make small spaces beautiful, with Jane Field’ and ‘Master Instagram in an instant, with Jess Macdonald’. I am a self-confessed Instagram addict! I was incredibly eager to take part and learn some new skills, so it only made sense that we were the first ones to arrive at the workshop!
Jess is a key player on Instagram, with over 32K followers on her @missundergound account. 
She also co-founded Instagrammers London and IGers UK – this lady knows her stuff! I eagerly took notes on my phone during the workshop and threw my hand up every time Jess asked a question – yes, I am THAT person! I’m sure my enthusiasm was charming…at least that’s what I like to tell myself. Anyway, I was taking notes to share them with all of you on here, so no judging, ok? Read below to find out Jess’s tips on how to take better Instagram photos and gain more followers, and to also see my ‘challenge photos’ from the workshop.

How to Take Better Instagram Photos 

No Instagram Filters! That probably sounds a bit insane when you’re talking about Instagram, but it’s true. The Instagram filters can flatten your images and take away the colour and impact from the original photo. Instead you should…
Use Apps! Jess recommended Vsco (my personal favourite) & Snapseed as two of the best. She also said that you should feel free to use the filters on Vsco because they are made to enhance your photo. Just make sure that you don’t go filter crazy, and try to always use one or two of the same filters.
The 3 Ss: Sunsets, Silhouettes & Symmetry: They can make your photos pop and look amazing! 
The Rule of Thirds: This is a simple photography tip that most people may already know. It’s my go-to rule! It’s a bit much to write in note form though, so read all about it here
Borders: Either use ’em, or lose ’em! Yep, either stick with the Instagram square, or only use borders (of the same size). I have been guilty of mixing both, but will avoid that from now on.
Selfies: It can be a bit awkward trying to take your own photo, which means that you don’t always get a great image. Instead ask someone else to take your photo. 
Take someone else’s photo: If you see someone interesting or someone with amazing style, ask them if you can take their photo. Don’t be scared! Just make sure you get their permission!
Hastags: Use them, but keep them relevant e.g. No #London if your photo wasn’t taken in London. Also remember not to use generic terms such as #nice #pretty etc.
Invest in a portable battery: So you won’t have to worry about running out of battery whilst you’re being the pro-photographer that you are!
Make relationships and reply to your comments: It’s all well and good liking someone’s photos but you won’t make relationships with users based on just that. If you like a photo or have something to say about it, leave a comment and let them know. At the same time, if someone comments on your photos, reply or say thank you. 
Jess’s Recommended Instagram Users

Jess recommended 3 inspirational Instagram users:
After Jess had given us some tips and tricks, we were asked to take part in a special photo challenge. We were told to take one Lifestyle photo (think table top, birds eye view), a photo of the Cath Kidston window, and a Selfie/Portrait.
My entries for each challenge category.
So what do you think? Did I do the themes justice? I was very happy with them. I had so much fun messing around and taking photos with Alex, Sarah, Jaz and Rubo. We played with beach balls, hopped inside the displays and basically treated the store like a big playground. All with the consent of the lovely Cath Kidston staff, of course! A big thank you to Jaz for hosting the event, and Jess for her insight, and for inspiring me to take my photography to the next level!
You can find me on Instagram: @bloomzy

5 Lifestyle Instagrams You Should Be Following

Yes, the ‘Instagram 5 Series‘ series is back, and better than ever! I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite Instagram accounts where you can find some lovely lifestyle inspiration.

Who? @parkncube
Why? I thought I’d start off with a well known little lady by the name of Shini Park – author of the blog Park & Cube. Luckily for us she also posts daily photos on Instagram, and if you’re like me, then her photos are probably why you fell in love with her blog in the first place. She documents her travels, and general day-to-day life in the form of some beautifully composed photos that could easily have come out of Vogue or Harper’s Bazaar.

Why? I only recently started following Hannah on Instagram, but it was love at first sight when I saw her photos. They’re clean, crisp and beyond classy, which is probably down to her design/textile background. I don’t think there is one photo of hers that has popped up on my timeline that I haven’t liked. It also helps that she’s a very sweet lady.

Why? Michiko Yamawaki is a Japanese stylist who I recently came upon as she styled a shoot for a Japanese model I also follow. I loved her photos as she made normal everyday things (like putting your shoes on, yes you did hear me correctly) look good. Her images are colourful and enticing yet still simplistic. 

Why? I love Yishyene, she’s such a bubbly and fun little lady. Her instagram is basically everything inside her colourful head (no hair colour pun intended) spewed out in the form of a photo. Sometimes simple and monochrome can be nice, but I also love an injection of colour, and that’s exactly what her photos bring.

Why? Van Anh is a fellow blogger with a love for food…need I say more? Ok you got me, it’s not the only reason I love her Instagram. This lovely lady knows how to use a camera and it comes across in her photos because each one looks as though she has put so much thought into the composition of it. I may enjoy her food photos but I love seeing anything she posts.
I often post lifestyle photos of my own, and you can follow me @bloomzy
Source: Please see individual Instagram accounts listed above.

Photo Diary: Birthday Celebrations

As some of you may have noticed it was my birthday this week.
I know people say that your birthday gets less exciting the older you get, but I dislike that saying.
So I always end up using my birthday as an excuse to fill the whole week with things I love to do.
This week I went out to several different restaurants for meals, with the fiancé, and my friends.
The fiancé and I went for an amazing French dinner at La Sacre Coeur in Angel, Islington.
The food was traditionally French and very authentic, as well as being incredibly delicious.
My birthday is also the date of our anniversary (which makes it a lot easier to remember).
The next day I visited the Saatchi Gallery with Hanni, which I’ve been meaning to do for ages.
We had a lovely lunch on Kings road, which involved pasta and cake…although not altogether.
The following day a bunch of us went for food at Far Rockaway and then for drinks at The Book Club.
I received some amazing birthday presents of course, from some wonderful people, which I’m so grateful for.
Yes that is one of the new Tatty Devine horse brooches, a dino-sir card and a brand new iPhone 5S.
I’ve been uploading photos of them every now and again, because I’m just so giddy over everything.
Going out also means an excuse to dress up, so I’ve been uploading my outfits over the last few days too.
You can follow me on Instagram: @bloomzy

What’s In My Handbag?

What’s Inside My Handbag? Bag from: Oasap*
I’ve always been a big fan of big bags, but recently I decided to downsize what I carry around with me, hoping that if I cleared out my bag I could clear out my mind also. I like the inside of my handbag to be as cute as the outside, but I like organisation too, so I try to keep everything tidy.
Inside my bag you’ll find:
Kurt Geiger purse,
Kurt Geiger oyster card holder,
Whistles make-up bag,
Swoop pouch
 Of course I couldn’t live without my iPhone either, or my Frends headphones – music helps keep me sane.
Everything I need for my day-to-day life.