Manchester. A city in the north of England (well, the South for lil old North East me!) that every British person seems to know and love and surprisingly, I'd never visited the city properly until last week. I'd visited in passing for an event a few years ago and fly from the airport nearly every time I go away but I'd never had the chance to explore, to really get to know the city or for myself how wonderful I'd heard it was. Last week, I finally visited the city with Selfridges, visited the amazing store in the famous Exchange Square and had a fantastic couple of days in the notoriously beautiful city.

We started off our trip by visiting the Selfridges store in Manchester's Exchange Square and having lunch in their San Carlo Gran Cafe, an Italian-style cafe located in the Beauty Hall on the lower ground floor. After being stuck in horrendous traffic on the motorway, we were so ready for some delicious food and being the true millennial that I am, I had to order avocado and poached egg on toast from the brunch menu. It was delicious and teamed with a "hangover cure" smoothie (which I ordered despite not having a hangover, the little rebel that I am) and followed by a sorbet and ice cream berry sundae, it made for the perfect pre-shopping fuel that we needed. 

After spending some time in the cafe, we explored the huge Selfridges store in Exchange Square and it was absolute bliss for anyone who loves beauty, fashion and shopping. They have their own personal shoppers who you can book to help you find your perfect outfit or piece in their luxurious lounge, they have a Topshop and a Missguided (!!) section as well as dreamy Alexander McQueen, Whistles and so many more well loved names. I spent most of my time lusting over the beautiful bags and let me tell you I am desperate to get back down there and spend some dough on a classic designer bag. 

At 4pm, we headed down to the beauty department where I was booked in for my make-up with NARS, a brand I'm already a huge fan of. The amazing Stephanie gave me the absolutely stunning look that you see above, guiding me through exactly what she was doing so I could recreate the look myself at home, creating a face chart at the end with all of the products used and encouraging me to step outside of my beauty comfort zone and go for colour on my eyes (*faints in shock*). I was over the moon with my make-up and may or may not have taken approximately 140 selfies in the hotel room afterwards and I wouldn't hesitate to head back to both Selfirdges and NARS for my make-up or products for any occasion. The beauty department in Selfridges is fantastic too, with other brands such as MAC, Dior, Chanel and so many other well-loved luxury make-up and beauty brands. It is a blogger's paradise for sure and I could have wandered around for the entire night! 











After we'd shopped, ate and had a right nice afternoon in Selfridges, we headed back to our hotel to really see what kind of stay we were in for after quickly dropping our bags in when we arrived and oh my days I knew straight away that we'd just found my new favourite hotel. King Street Townhouse is located in the very heart of Manchester, just a short walk away from the Selfridges store, and I just didn't want to leave. We received the warmest of welcomes from the staff who were incredible throughout our entire stay and our room was beautiful, with a huge bed, a bath by the window (have you ever had a bath watching the sunset over the city? It's just as amazing as it sounds) and one of the best views I have ever seen. 
We had dinner in the hotel's restaurant, the King Street Tavern, on the evening and it was beautiful. It felt so uptown and luxurious whilst also managing to have a really lovely atmosphere too and the service continued to be incredible. I had a few "small plates" of seafood which were amazing and Karl went for the steak and peppercorn sauce. I sneakily dipped a chip into the peppercorn sauce and oh lordy it was amazing and was one of those things that you could instantly tell was homemade. The breakfast and afternoon tea didn't disappoint either, with the veggie breakfast starting me off for the day. Obviously, anyone who knows me will know that afternoon tea is my thang and I'm obsessed with tiny sandwiches and cakes and I loved the afternoon tea here, particularly the scones and the raspberry macarons. YUM





However, my favourite part of King Street Townhouse was on the 7th floor: the spa and the famous rooftop pool. I'm not sure that I even need to say anything about it as the photos speak for themselves. We headed up at 8am in the morning for a swim before breakfast and it was incredible. The water was warm and with that view I think I could have easily just floated there all day in the infinity pool that looked over the city. The pool also had jets that you could turn on to turn it into a hydrotherapy pool and the steam room was just a few steps away too. I had a massage booked in and my therapist Olga came up to the pool and took me to one of the therapy rooms, where I had a full body massage that Olga tailored to me. She focused on my upper back where I get very knotted and I felt amazing afterwards. 

Overall the city itself is wonderful and I know I will definitely be back - two days just wasn't enough to experience all of the restaurants, bars and culture Manchester has to offer and as it's only a couple of hours away from where I live I really have no excuse! 

Big thanks to Selfridges and King Street Townhouse for such an amazing trip and introducing me to Manchester!

Have you ever been to Manchester? What's your favourite UK city?

Amy x

THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH SELFRIDGES AND KING STREET TOWNHOUSE AND THE TRIP AND EXPERIENCES WERE PROVIDED BY THEM. ALL WORDS AND OPINIONS REMAIN MY OWN. 


Out of everything, my hair is something I'm guilty of neglecting. Don't get me wrong, I love a good hair mask every now and then but beyond that? I'm really bad at remembering to look after my hair on a regular basis. After being told by hairdressers and stylists a number of times that I need to start looking after my locks (and noticing myself how fricking rubbish the ends were looking), I decided to try and get into some sort of routine and discovering some products that I could really stick to. I have quite "normal" hair that's more on the thin side, wavy but knotty, hair that gets a bit flat and well, really bloody boring if I don't do anything with it. Yup, I use dry shampoo on my fringe regularly (as any one who has ever had a fringe will know is essential) and can do my hair in the odd cool plait but it really needed some va va voom, a little bit of oomph and really, some god damn TLC. So, which products have I been using? There are four main ones that have given my average hair a new lease of life and they are rightttt here in this post.

So the first one is a product that I've had hiding in my drawer for literally months that I've only used a few times and totally forgot about. It's the Marula Oil and it's something that I would never have probably picked up myself if I hadn't got it in a goodie bag from an event at London Fashion Week (I think?! Or it may have been a beauty box, I seriously cannot remember!) as I'm definitely someone who shies away from anything with the word "oil" in the name but after starting to love face oil after taking the plunge last year, I decided to finally give this a  real try.  The oil smells absolutely amazing and although I do only use it once a week or even less, it's really helped the ends of my hair feel more replenished, given it a lot more shine and has just made it feel incredible. The beauty of oil like this is that although it's quite pricey, you only need the teeniest tiniest few drops on damp hair so it'll last for a longggg time.



The next two products I've been using are from the same brand and that brand is Colour Wow, a brand that admittedly, I'd never heard of until a few weeks ago when they invited me to try some of their products but I've come to realise that they're actually a well-loved brand across the board and I can completely understand why after trying them out over the last three or four weeks. First of all, I absolutely adore their packaging. It's simple yet modern and totally on trend and their whole vibe as a brand is right up my street. I've been trying out their Coconut Cocktail Bionic Tonic and this is exactly what my hair needed. I mentioned that I was in need of some hair TLC and the cocktail is the perfect product for that as it's made to give a new "layer" to coloured and dry hair like mine. I colour my hair a lot as it fades so quick and grows pretty fast too and obviously it gets very tired, very quickly. My hair feels stronger, softer and is in so much better condition since I started using this, using it every other hair wash, sometimes even more if my hair is really needing some luuurve. I aso wash my hair quite a lot as with it being fine, it can get oily very quickly so that can also strip away some of it's life which is why I love the Bionic Tonic so much. 

I'm also guilty of letting my hair fall flat throughout the day as I simply neglect things like hairspray or any kind of putty etc. I always associate hairspray with that old crispy feeling you used to get years and years ago after coating your hair in several gallons of the stuff but of course, times have changed and hair styling has drastically evolved since those days and the Colour Wow Style On Steroids Finishing Spray proves just how much. It's the perfect way to finish off my curls and stop them dropping even in my fine hair, without coating my hair, making it sticky or crispy. After all, no one wants crispy hair do they? It's great and has been a godsend for keeping up appearances with my rock chick trademark 'do. 

Finally we have the product we all know and love - dry shampoo. This particular one is from COLAB and is their original dry shampoo and it is basically my fringe's best mate. It doesn't leave any white residue or powder on my roots, it has a lovely little scent to it and the quality of the product is brilliant for the drugstore price. I'll admit that I normally sway towards Batiste for my dry shampoo but I have been reaching for COLAB more and more over the summer of 2017.

Which products are you favourite for haircare?

Amy x

THIS POST CONTAINS PR SAMPLES. ALL WORDS AND OPINIONS REMAIN MY OWN. 



Unless (a) you've been living under a rock or (b) you're completely new to Salt and Chic (if you are then hello hello hello) then you may have noticed that I've recently moved house and have been living by myself for the last 7 months. I mean, I've only mentioned it on Twitter about ten thousand times a day or so. I moved from a new build into quite an old house and it has completely different vibes to the house I moved out of. The atmosphere in my home is different, the decor and everything is just completely new and I've been adding my personality into my little home and I'm unbelievably happy with how it looks (if you're fancying a nosy at some of my rooms you can check out my Bedroom Sneak Peek and my Living Room Sneak Peek). 

When you move into a new house, it can be kind of hard to make it feel like home. It's new, it's foreign and although you live there and it's all your clothes, your furniture and your belongings, is it really home? It definitely doesn't feel like it at first so I've been really enjoying making this house my own, especially because it's so old, so lived in and has so much personality of its own. It's truly become a reflection of me and my own traits, interests and vibes and that's mainly due to my wall art, my little home touches and my prints, some from my old house, some new additions from a relatively new but very famous and well-loved brand. 



Last week, I got a delivery from Pinterest and blogger favs Desenio, a company founded in 2010 that offers the most beautiful Scandinavian wall art that I've seen. Their website is absolutely jam-packed with original, simple and trendy posters, frames and clips and honestly, I spent a full afternoon trying to choose which pieces to order because there was just so many that I wanted to add into my home. They have geographical photos on posters, quotes, drawings, fashion pictures and a huge variety of other designs and prints, to the extent that there really is something for every home and the best thing? They're actually really bloody affordable. I've spent the last year since I moved out searching Etsy and eBay for the perfect prints yet Desenio had the exact styles of wall art I didn't even realise I was looking for. 



I chose a variety of prints for each room. For my kitchen, which is quite "country" style and very traditional, I chose a vintage herbal tea print that compliments my kitchen perfectly. It had to be tea themed because anyone who knows a thing about me will know I'm rarely seen without a cuppa nearby and the vintage poster style sits with my clock, the flowers on my table and my very old-fashioned kitchen worktops and cupboards without looking out of place. I chose a couple of quotes for around my house and the rest were all very plant or flower themed which is definitely "me" and that's what I loved about choosing my prints on Desenio; it makes it easy to add personality and pieces of yourself onto even the most blank canvas. 

When the prints arrived, I was genuinely over the moon with the quality of them. They came rolled up safely in a little box and are on thick, expensive-feeling paper that definitely gives the impression that you've spent more than you have. I also ordered all of the frames you see above with the prints and I'm ridiculously happy with them as I've had trouble finding a lot of frames I love over the last year or so. My favourite one has got to be the wooden frame on the "Breathe" quote picture - if that's not a Pinterestable print I don't know what the hell is. 

I've got quite a lot of photos, prints, frames, mirrors and a whole lotta other bits on my walls and I think they just bring rooms together, transforming them from a generic showroom to a real home with a cosy atmosphere and a hell of a lot of personality; it's my house for sure. 

You can get 25% off posters (excluding the handpicked category) at Desenio with the code saltandchic25 between 1st and 3rd August so get ordering if there's something that catches your eye! 

What do you do to add personality into your home? Have you ever shopped at Desenio?

Amy x

THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH DESENIO AND CONTAINS PR SAMPLES. ALL WORDS AND VIEWS REMAIN MY OWN. 

I'll be the first to admit that I'm a sucker for the colour black. No matter how many black dresses, jumpers or jeans I own, I'm constantly drawn to buying even more and I know I'm definitely not alone in this. For me, black is just an easy colour to go to; it's easy, it can be casual, smart or dressy and a lot of the time it just feels right. However, if there's one thing I'm constantly drawn to, it's black dresses. I wouldn't even like to hazard a guess at how many different styles of black dresses I own (it may or may not be in double figures for sure...) but my one "essential" has got to be the little strappy LBD. 

The most recent addition to my ever-growing collection of LBDs is this lil beauty from Nicce. They sent over this essentials dress and challenged me to style it in three completely different ways to show you guys just how versatile these numbers are and since I am literally the queen of wearing, re-wearing and re-re-wearing (is that a thing?!) every piece in my wardrobe, this was the challenge made for me. 



DRESS IT UP

I think the most obvious way to style a LBD is this way. The classic going out look. And why the hell not? It's sleek, it's classy, it suits anyone's style...ultimately, it's a going out failsafe. So although I'm one of those weirdos who overdresses for casual occasions and underdresses for formal ones, for this outfit I think I actually managed to get it spot on for a night out! Teamed with dainty jewellery and some killer nude heels, the strappy, bodycon style of the dress makes for a babe'ing look for any occasion worth dressing up for. 




CASUAL DAY WEAR

LBD's like this are made for layering and that's what makes them so fabulously versatile. In a total contrast to the above outfit, this one is perfect for a day out shopping, a trip to the cinema, even a day just lounging about if you so wish. The dress is insanely comfortable by the way which is always a plus because as we are all well aware, comfort and fashion don't often come hand in hand. A white tee, some beloved and well-worn Converse and an oversized, customised denim jacket later and the entire dress is transformed into a totally new look, giving off casual grungy vibes instead of the classy, formal ones of before.

The white tee is from Zara and although it only cost about a fiver, it's been one of my favourite buys of the summer, again because it's just so bloody versatile. I constantly wear it underneath different jackets or dresses and it's become such an essential for me that I went back out and got the black one too. A boring buy? Yes. But worth it? Hell yes.




ULTIMATE LAID-BACK CHIC

Finally we've got the ultra relaxed, super laid-back side of the LBD, layered with a high neck slouchy jumper and slip-on leopard print shoes. This is probably my favourite look out of them all to be honest and definitely fits my personality the most but I do think it's the style that people are least likely to go for when they think of the LBD. It's easy to wear every day, comfortable and still cute as f, contrasting the traditional views of the little black dress that come to mind naturally. 

The Nicce Essentials Dress comes in at just £28 so it is an absolute bargain! I'm an investor when it comes to clothes and I'm certainly not one of those gals who buys something to only wear it once or twice. I still have things in my wardrobe that I've had for literally years and although I'm not into following trends down to the letter, even those of you that are can wear a piece like a black dress over and over again. 

FEATURED ITEMS:





*Oversized Denim Jacket (similar) 


Do you have different ways to style the same item? How would you style the LBD?

Amy x

THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH NICCE. ALL WORDS AND OPINIONS REMAIN MY OWN. 


If you saw my Festival Lookbook earlier this week, you'll know that last weekend I was lucky enough to be sent to Latitude Festival by the amazing Animal and not including the fact that I was kitted out in the best festival gear by the brand, I had literally a bloody fantastic weekend. I'll admit that Latitude wasn't really a festival I'd looked into much with it being at the total opposite side of the country to me but when I saw that line up I knew that it was going to be worth the six hour drive and oh boy I was 100% right.

We arrived on the Thursday evening and trekked from the car to the campsite and got to pitching our tent in the first spot we saw. That was one of my favourite things about the festival - how laid-back the camping was. The tents weren't crushed on top of each other like most other festivals, there was absolutely loads of space and although it was certainly a packed festival, you didn't feel like you were sharing every single scrap of your personal space with your tent neighbours. Vango were kind enough to kit us out with our camping gear, including our home for the weekend - our tent. The Vango tents like this are designed to be put up easily with only two poles and a few pegs and although Jess and I are no experts (and may or may not have asked the people next to us for help basically as soon as we set our bags down), the little tent did us well and kept the heat in amazingly. In fact, were ridiculously snug every single night and barely even noticed when it was crazy wind and rain on the first night.









THE FESTIVAL

If I had to use one word to sum up Latitude it would be magical. Think fairy lights strung through the trees, floating dancers, water displays and chandeliers. There was a section called The Faraway Forest with intriguing little stands, speeches and talks, hidden bars and so much more, an area called Solas which is where there were huge light displays strung through the trees, chandeliers hanging down, log benches and an amazing relaxed atmosphere. Next to the camping area there was a Village, packed with hair braiding stalls, trinket shops, glitter stands and some kooky yet amazing little stalls. There were quite a lot of charity stalls dotted around which I thought was great, including an Oxfam shop, a breast cancer charity booth and War Child, plus an actual supermarket which sold any supplies you may have forgotten to include in your bag. 

The festival was also very clean, especially compared to other festivals I've been to. There were recycling bins everywhere which almost everyone made the effort to use meaning that rubbish strewn around, even around the tents, was absolutely minimal. The toilets weren't too bad either (well, they weren't bad as far as festival toilets go) and compared to some of the horrific things I've seen in festival toilets in the past, they were practically luxury. They were cleaned constantly and emptied every single morning and I think I only went in one that had no loo roll. Bravo Latitude!

Finally, the atmosphere was just incredible. It was just full of people having a great time with little or no trouble at all and it was jam-packed full of families with children and elderly groups too which I think is great - there was something for every single age range and it was 100% the nicest festival I've been to so far.









FOOD AND DRINK

As Latitude is a huge festival, there was a huge choice of food and drinks and to be honest, they weren't badly priced for the size of the portions, averaging at about £8 per person, per meal. We camped quite close to an amazing breakfast truck (hello bean and cheese toasties every morning), ate mac 'n' cheese, pizza, Chinese food and of course, the mothership of all food, cheesy chips and gravy, very aptly called "Northern fries" at Latitude. There was every type of food you could think of from crepes to donuts to Thai food to sandwiches...we were totally spoilt for choice. The best thing about Latitude's food choices though was the availability of veggie and vegan food. There was so much choice, especially compared to the usually very limited meat-free options at festivals but there were stalls that specifically sold veggie and vegan food with most stalls offering alternatives. There was even a huge oat milk stand giving out free samples, encouraging people to give up milk! 

As for drinks, well it was fricking great. There were proper cocktail bars that served amazing gin and tonics, vodka cocktails and more, a Carlsberg tent, a prosecco stand, a wine stand...there was everything for everyone. You also paid £2 extra for your first drink for a plastic cup which you exchanged for a new one every time you bought a new drink to reduce waste and at the end, if you handed back your cup you got £2 back which I thought was a great way to be kinder to the environment. 






THE LINE-UP

Now, for the real reason we give up all of our luxuries for the weekend and live in a field for the weekend - the music. The line-up for Latitude 2017 was incredible with one of my all time favourite bands playing - the 1975. I've wanted to see them live for a very, very long time and I was literally bursting with excitement thinking about seeing them and they did not disappoint (can confirm Matt Healy is just as attractive in real life). I had the best night of my life singing along to some of my favourite songs - isn't there something just completely soul-soothing when you're just lost in the live music and totally enjoy yourself? On the Saturday night, we saw Mumford and Sons. Now, I am a fan of some of their songs but I wouldn't say I was crazy about them but oh my god they were literally incredible live. The atmosphere, the vocals, the special guests, the music...it was just amazing. We also a few other bands and artists including Goldfrapp and the Corals so music-wise, it was insanely good. 

Latitude also played host to some fricking amazing comedians and we spent quite a lot of time in the comedy tent. We saw Chris Ramsey, Joel Dermott, Sean Walsh and a few up and coming comedians who were great too and that was what I loved about this festival - it wasn't just about the headliners and the bug music. There were so many smaller stages celebrating lesser known artists as well as the comedy tents, a cabaret tent, a speakeasy and poetry so you weren't just confined to the huge stages. 

After the music was over on a night, the party really started. The Comedy Tent became a full blown "guilty pleasures" tent and I have never had so much fun dancing around to cheesy noughties songs in my entire life. I may or may not have also drunkenly requested a dubstep DJ in another tent to play Africa by Toto, to which he started almost crying laughing but hey, it was worth a shot right?! 

All in all, Latitude festival has undoubtedly been my favourite festival so far and it's going to take a lot to top. I would whole heartedly recommend it for anyone if you're considering a festival next year, whether it's your first festival, your hundredth or if you want to take your kids. It's truly a great festival that is worth the travel if you're from up north.

A huge thanks to the guys over at Animal for making this possible and kitting me out with my festival wardrobe! You can check out their Festival Season clothing on their website for your own festival style - they also have a huge sale on at the minute too so get cracking and get over there! 

Amy x

THIS POST IS IN COLLABORATION WITH ANIMAL. ALL WORDS AND VIEWS REMAIN MY OWN. 
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