Cyran is the founder and editor-in-chief of Corporate Style Story. She loves good pyjamas, good food and good company.
Cyran is the founder and editor-in-chief of Corporate Style Story. She loves good pyjamas, good food and good company.
There are coffee table books dedicated to curating your perfect coffee table. t
The stuff on your coffee table says a lot about you and your coffee table books are a huge part of that. I see them more as decorative pieces that lets guests to your home learn about what kind of person you are with a quick glance at the titles.
Coffee table books are as decorative as they are practical and make great gifts. Ideally, coffee table books should be hardback, with large titles, great photography and be stacked from big to small and piled 3 – 5 books high.
Rules for curating the best coffee table books, guys:
I have been shopping Black Friday since before it arrived in the UK back in 2009 and has been going since the 1940s in the US. Amazon introduced us to Black Friday deals back in 2010 and since then the UK market has been gathering momentum offering us deals on so many things that it’s hard to resist.
I have been shopping Black Friday since one of my best friends, who runs The Candy Company, told me that she was flying to New York for the weekend to shop Black Friday sales. I soon copied her by flying the following year myself and the rest is history.
However, in an age where consumerism is considered to be getting somewhat out of hand (have you watched the Stacey Dooley documentary?!) and the more responsible among us is society making a real push for sustainability in both fashion and retail and food industries, I have compiled a list of things that you should AVOID buying on Black Friday, so that:
New style furniture is typically released in January and February as people redo their homes in the New Year with renewed enthusiasm (we all have bucketloads of enthusiasm in January, right?!). So it’s advisable to wait until then. Typically in the UK, Boxing Day sales were the time to buy furniture as furniture shops were the only stores open (remember that?!) However, you will still be buying old stock even if you buy on Boxing Day.
If you want to shop new trends and new pieces and hopefully keep that furniture for longer, then you’re advised to wait until January and February when new style are released and you can be one of the first with it for a great price.
Suggested buys on Black Friday with great deals, home furnishings:
I mean. Fitness Equipment on Black Friday. Whilst of course there are more enticing things to spend your money on during Black Friday, I can totally see the appeal. Not wanting to subscribe to the cliche that is ‘getting fit in January’, you may be encouraged to get a head start or even buy something as a gift for Christmas, but again, January is the time to buy fitness equipment for obvious reasons. Sales of workout gear and fitness equipment and fitness DVDs increases exponentially, you’ll only need to look out for advertising and online content immediately after Christmas to get the idea.
The best deals are to be had in January for fitness equipment, unless of course you’re buying it as a Christmas gift for the health conscious person in your life!
This goes without saying. I know plenty of people who buy Christmas decorations after Christmas because they go on massive sale. It’s the best time to buy decorations of course. So it’s best to wait until then. However, if you need Christmas decorations then you can find some good deals on Black Friday, the deals just won’t be as good as after Christmas.
Yes you will get good deals, but the best time to wait for children’s toys is the first couple of weeks in December. Also remember that toy retailers deliberately do not release enough stock of popular toys in the run up to Christmas so that they create a shortage and delay some of their sales for January. So if you’re after a cult-toy this Christmas then go for it on Black Friday.
If you’d rather not have a disappointed child instead of saving money, then throw caution to the wind and just buy it now. But if you’re after the best deal, do wait if you can. Also children will get so many things, that you can include a note from Santa to say that the toy its on its way and get it in January.
Some people probably can’t believe I’m saying this as a fashion blogger, but I would suggest you avoid buying Winter clothes on Black Friday. Yes, there are great deals to be had on clothes, and if you are going to shop the Black Friday sales I’d suggest that you buy Christmas outfits and sparkly party outfits and things you’ve wanted for a while that are on sale on Black Friday.
If you’re just looking for something that takes your eye, then you’re advised to wait until January when the real sales start on clothes. Retailers will get their new clothing collections in in February (yes, Spring/Summer ’19 will start in February. Ugh!) so they will be getting rid of everything Autumn/Winter in January. So wait if you can. But get good deals on party dresses and investment pieces for your wardrobe on Black Friday.
The jury is out on this one. The reason why experts advise avoiding Jewellery on Black Friday is that typically deals on jewellery deals have usually be reserved for Valentines Day (of course) and Mothers Day (yessssssssss!). However, more and more jewellery brands are giving us Black Friday discounts, so I don’t think you necessarily need to avoid spending on jewellery on Black Friday if there isn’t a more appropriate gift for someone, or yourself of course!
The best deals to be had on beauty is on gift boxes. Hands down. Usually Black Friday deals exclude gift sets. That being said if you can find Black Friday deals that allow you to spend on beauty then you’re good to spend. Another great deal is if you can find a ‘gift card with purchase’ deal which means you can buy gifts on Black Friday and treat yourself in the January Sales. Stick to gift sets and you’re golden.
I personally think that anytime past mid-November is holiday season. I know some stores have had Christmas decorations up since July (no names, Selfridges naughty!) and if you’re in the fashion or press industry then you will know that “Christms in July” is a real thing but for those among us who didn’t have to explain the Christmas tree to a child in the middle of Summer and doesn’t work in fashion, I think mid-November is the time when you have to start getting yourself into gear for the holidays.
So this is my list of all the beauty advent calendars that I have come across and that are available to buy now, I will add others as they are made available. One thing I will say is that they sell out very quickly so have to be quick. They’re usually such great value that you really can get such great products quite economically, plus when the children are all eating chocolate before 9am with theirs, you have a gorgeous new product to add to your bathroom shelfie.
I’ve also noticed that this year there are more “12 day countdown” advent calendars which look amazing. They are cheaper than the usual 25 day beauty advent calendars and still allow you to get involved in the festivities, so take a look at those too.
On the pricing, some of the calendars included are in excess of £300 (we’re looking a you Diptique and Fortnums) whilst there are others that are £45, and some of the 12 days calendars are around £25 so take a look and see what works for you and your budget.
Some tips for choosing your beauty advent calendar:
Also check out the ASOS 12 Day Countdown Calendar (£25.00)
The 2018 Amazon Beauty Advent Calendar contains a mix of 24 products from some of our most-loved beauty brands such as Elemis, Pai, Percy and Reid and Real techniques. Includes lots of full-sized products as well! One our favourites.
You can only get your hands on M&S’s advent calendar when you spend £35 or more on clothing, home or beauty in store. This was my advent calendar of choice last year, fantastic value for money, same goes for this year, check your stores availability online.
This is the first year of MAC’s beauty advent calendar, so we’re very excited. From perfect skin prep to dressed-up lips and statement smoky eyes, get ready to indulge in our treasure trove of shiny pretty things.
A 12-day calendar of full sized hand wrapped products, uncover a selection of classic products and new beauty must-haves, ranging from skincare and bodycare to makeup. Brands include Molton Brown, Elemis and Illamasqua.
At the more expensive end of the beauty advent calendars out there this year, but the Huda Beauty, NARS and Acqua di Parma goodies inside Harrods‘ beauty box are worth £680.
A limited edition collection of NYX products that include the soft matte lip cream and butter gloss, as well as eyeshadows, highlighters, powders and blush. Available at Boots and Inside you’ll find fan-fave formulas in 24 new shades, a limited edition collection of NYX products that include the soft matte lip cream and butter gloss, as well as velvety eyeshadows, highlighters, powders and blush, available at ASOS and Boots.
Sleek Make-up, Can’t Wait Another Day Advent Calendar, £35.00
This one is worth it including full sized products from favourite Sleek Make-up, great value at £35.
Decleor reminds me of leisurely spa days pure pampering, this calendar has been going for some time and each year the calendar is filled with customer favourites all of which are under 100ml so they’re perfect for travelling with.
I’ll admit, I’m that person that often offers up weird and wonderful software and apps to colleagues and friends that I’ve heard of if they’re asking. As far as I’m concerned, more often than not there will be technology that can help us manage day-to-day life better if we just know what’s out there and try it.
As I work in the technology industry, I really enjoy checking out new software to see how I can improve what I’m doing, be more organised or more creative, so here is a list of the apps I can’t live without and those which I use on pretty much a daily basis. Some you’ll have heard of an others you may not have. Enjoy!
P.S. I haven’t included social media apps, because that’s just a given!
As the saying goes, “an elephant never forgets” and Evernote is top of the list of 7 apps that I can’t live without. Think of this app as your external brain. I’m a huge list-making fan so I really like how customisable the list-making functionality is in this app, although it’s not solely used for making lists.
You can copy and paste parts of websites to go alongside your text, add photos, squiggle in a list or project – anything you want to make your notes come to life for you.
I have the Evernote app on my phone, I use the web version on my Mac and I have the Evernote shortcut on my bookmark bar and they are all synced which I love. I use Evernote throughout the day, its the default app I use to take notes on anything, I love how customisable it is without being our complicated. My external brain indeed.
I started binge-listening to audio content about 5 years ago now, which rather unsurprisingly corresponds with when Poppy was born. Like most mothers, being a new mum means that:
i. its like you don’t have any spare hands available to hold a book and to hold your baby and,
ii. plus, as a new mum who has the time to sit down and read?!
But being a new mum didn’t mean that I stopped reading, I have been avid reader my entire life and since having Poppy, it just meant that I needed to find a different way to consume books. Audible is it.
Nowadays, I usually read about 20 books a year and the majority of them are non-fiction – you can take a look at my top 10 books here: Books I Love.
Audible is my favourite way of consuming books that otherwise you wouldn’t have time to read. I listen whilst on the tube, driving, cooking dinner, tidying up and when exercising. Audible works with Alexa too so you can play through the Echo devices too – which is GREAT – “Alexa, play my book on Audible”, and it will pick up where you left off on your phone, I love it.
Audiobooks are a brilliant way to use otherwise ‘dead’ time and everyone from Tim Ferris to Holly Willoughby use Audible. If you’ve haven’t tried it yet, you can choose a book of your choice for free, below and the membership options start from £7.99 per month. I get the 2 books per month plan (which is £14.99) and you can roll over any unused credits.
Who really likes having a purse full of receipts?? I definitely do not. It doesn’t help that I can’t ever find the receipt I need because there are usually so many to keep track of, and if you don’t have a system you’re bound to lose them if they’re just scrunched up at the bottom of your bag.
Expensify means that I can take a photo of the receipt and store it in the app so that I can attach it to an email and send it to whomever needs a copy of it – the finance department, my accountant, or even HMRC (hopefully not!). You can also create reports and the Expensify app also has other expense management tools. The basic plan is free and does exactly what I need it to and I’m confident that my documents are all stored in it safely, but to be on the safe side, I download the PDF each month with the information and send it to my accountant. Its clearly another app I can’t live without.
Spritzlet is a speed reading app that helps you to ‘spritz’ the internet. This is how I read long-form blog posts, usually think pieces without many photos – Sprizlet really will change how you consume information online, especially is you read a lot of blogs or long-form content on the screen.
Download Spritzlet to your bookmarks bar and when you go to an article or a piece of content you want to read, click the Spritzlet app. The Spritz widget will pop up with the full text and you can read it however fast you choose, between 250 – 1000wpm. The red letter is intended to help your brain to actually ‘comprehend’ what its reading instead of just consuming individual words. I’m not sure of the science, but it works.
Time recording. Possibly the bane of most lawyers’ lives or anyone else that works on a time-basis for that matter. I haven’t had to record my time for a long time, and in all honesty recording time was one of the many reasons I moved away from working in private practice so early on in my career. However, now as a freelancer I think its good-practice to understand where the bulk of my time is spent and to record my time for my clients’ peace of mind.
An unexpected benefit of using Toggl is that, funnily enough it makes me more productive. I’m aware of the clock and what I do and don’t want to charge my clients for. I want to spend my time doing valuable work and toggle makes me more aware of that.
Toggl has free and paid-for options, I currently use the free version which works well enough for me and it’s definitely one of the apps I can’t live without.
Now when I tell you that an app has got me out of more situations than I care to remember, it’s Waze. I hate traffic, can’t stand traffic and would rather drive around the ‘back-doubles’ than sit in traffic.
Was works by tracking other drivers’ journeys once they’re logged into the app and presents to you a journey planner that takes into consideration what is happening on the road, including how fast other road users are travelling and therefore detecting traffic, if there has been an accident etc – its fabulous. Users can also report what is happening on the roads, such as car accidents, road works, even police sightings and speed cameras. It’s the Facebook of sat-nav! Super easy to use too and you can store home, work and favourite journeys.
Last but by no means least, love it or hate it the last app on this list has got to be Uber. Uber is available across Europe and of course the US. It has got me to the airport on time when other transfers have let me down. Uber has got me across the City when there are no black cabs to be found and its pouring down with rain or my shoes are killing me (come on we’ve all been there, right?!) and Uber has got me safely home after a rather late night out on the town with friends.
It even helped us on the school run when the car had a flat tyre one morning. Poppy now considers Uber a normal method of transport – “I think that’s our Uber Mama”, *points to random Prius in the road*. She does make me laugh.
Knowing how much your journey is going to cost you before you get in your cab is a bonus, as is sharing your ETA and location with someone you know if you’re travelling on your own. I haven’t used the ‘Uber Pool’ feature and I’m not sure if I would.
Find out how to share your location in an Uber here.
It’s not without its issues sometimes, but in terms of contingency planning and for ease of not needing to travel with cash or even a card – Uber is perfect, it’s definitely an app I can’t live without. Even if you prefer getting a black cab, public transport, for contingency purposes Uber is a must-have app on your phone. It also helps that I can use it in most countries when I travel too, oh and lots of Uber drivers use Waze – win:win.
Before I started CorporateStyleStory.com I had some variation of this conversation with myself a number of times…
There are so many fashion bloggers out there, who wants to see another one? If I can even call myself a fashion blogger….
Why am I going so niche, who really cares about what they wear to work?
Ok, say there are a handful of people that do care about work wear, they are probably already following the super established work wear bloggers, why would they follow me?
I’m not a writer, my blog posts will be awful.
Ok… so imagine a handful of people read my blog, what if they don’t like what I have to say?
Do I really want to put pictures of myself on the INTERNET?!
I don’t know how to ‘do’ social media…
I have a demanding job, a young child and a husband, do I have time to blog?
Ok…. let’s say I put some photos out there, I manage to find some people who care about what they wear to work, they decide to follow me and read the blog; I enjoy writing and I’m happy with my style; I create content people may actually like….after all of that – blogging is really hard work, will I just throw the towel in after a while? Which probably means that I shouldn’t even start….
1. You need GOOD photos (that neither me nor Hubs knew how to take).
2. Presuming your fashion blog features you (as opposed to other people), you’ll need to put those photos online – ON THE INTERNET. FOR ALL TO SEE. (Scaryyyyy.)
3. People may or may not like those photos and yet THOSE PHOTOS WILL DETERMINE YOUR BLOGS’ SUCCESS. (Even scarier.)
So anyway, with all of these scary, self-imposed obstacles, I have managed to build and start my blog, grow my readership to tens of thousands of people, gain a social media following of about 20k, work with some great brands, meet amazing people and also be a Finalist in the Brilliance in Blogging Awards by Britmums twice in two years. I have continued to work full time and spend quality time with my family.
So if that wasn’t enough, here are the 5 reasons why I blog: