Lauren Loves Blog

A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

15 May 2019

Tips for preparing for an engagement photo shoot

Most wedding photography packages these days come with a complimentary engagement photo shoot, or prep shoot for the big day. It's to help us to meet our photographers and learn to feel comfortable in front of the camera. We had ours at Hengistbury Head with Emma and Ian from Big Bouquet Photography, a Dorset-based photographers, 4 weeks before the big day. We agreed to walk there together, sit on our blankets and discuss the plans for the wedding and then have photos during the lovely golden light at sunset. It was fun to make it a different type of date night! 

Firstly, we thought about where we wanted our photos. For us, the Mudeford beach huts are something really special for Sam's family and we love walking the dog there so it was a clear winner for us

Being me, my first thought was "what do I wear?" Emma suggested something which makes  us feel comfortable and good about ourselves, it doesn't have to be too smart but it's nice to not be wearing trainers or a hoodie. I was really stuck so I went on Pinterest (obviously) and got the idea for a gingham dress. I found this one on Lindy Bop. Sam wore his favourite jeans and a checked shirt from ASOS which makes him feel comfortable. We didn't really think about it, but we were lucky that our outfits went together. 

It looks like a gorgeous day, but it was super cold that evening! I would recommend wrapping up warm for between the shots! Also think about bringing something special you'd like in your photos - I brought my temperature blanket to sit on. We considered bringing Teddy dog but we thought it wouldn't be a good walk for him or planning time for us!

I used the shoot as an opportunity to practice my wedding makeup because I'm doing my own on the wedding day. It was a great chance to see if I was wearing too much/not enough and how it photographs. I went a little heavier than I normally do and wore big false lashes but I think it came out ok and I've learnt what to change or add for the wedding? I also learnt that I need lots of hairspray in my fringe if we're having photos outdoors!

Initially we were pretty stilted and nervous. It's a really alien thing having your photo taken like you're being snapped by the paparazzi! We were helped to feel calmer by Emma and Ian chatting to us and giving posing suggestions or telling us where to put our hands when we were being awkward! What I loved was they didn't mind us chatting and being normal with each other with some direction for how or where to stand. Despite us chatting away and laughing constantly, Emma got some lovely photos and I feel like they capture how we are when we hang out alone.

We did some posing, some walking and talking and some sitting all around the lovely beach huts on Mudeford Spit. My other tip is wear comfortable shoes in case you are walking a long way or you decide to scramble onto some rocks!

My other tip would be experiment with poses! We don't normally do cheesy poses or PDAs but agreed to give it a go. It gave us some sweet photos which I can embarrass Sam with!

Finally we enjoyed a lovely walk back with the sunset. We got the photos the next day and now we're really looking forward to our wedding day!


24 Apr 2019

Making a flower crown with Crafts and Giggles #BournemouthBloggers

Last weekend, I was lucky enough to be invited to Crafts and Giggles in Poole with Bournemouth Bloggers to learn how to make our own flower crowns.

It was a challenging process - definitely a good one for hen dos if you are sober and don't have any kids! It requires a lot of concentration, but with guidance like we had from Katie it's definitely manageable to make something lovely.

We started with a selection of lovely faux flowers. I chose a creamy colour scheme and greenery because it's my hen do at the weekend and I wanted to make something I could potentially wear on the weekend! 

We then had to wrap a piece of wire around our heads to measure it. It was floristry wire and had brown fabric wrapped around. We had to leave a little on either end to wrap the crown up. 

We then chose our flowers and popped them into groups or 2 or 3 and wrapped together with fine floristry wire and placed them around the crown shape.

Maria from Mrs Enchanting World concentrating hard

When we had them all positioned as we wanted them, we had to use the wire to tie them to the headband. this was again quite hard on the fingers! We then used a sticky green florist tape to wrap neatly around the band, pulling in the wire and ends of the flowers as we went so you couldn't see anything 

Look at us! Fab crowns! Top row Emma from Emma's Favourite Things, Maria from Mrs Enchanting World, me, Magda from My Life in Bournemouth
Bottom row: Emma from Even Angels Fall, Ali from Ali's Upside Down World and Ciara from Tea Time with Ciara

The session was really fun! Plus we got lots of cookies and cups of tea while we did it. I found it a really fun way of passing the morning, with chat, treats and crafts. It was also great to come away with something which I made myself and was really proud of! It would be a great hen do thing to do, or something to do with groups.


14 Mar 2019

Sponsored: doggy day trip diary to the Isle of Wight + voucher code

Last weekend, we were lucky enough to be taken to the Isle of Wight by Wightlink with our little doggy Teddy. We had a brilliant day trip exploring the west side of the island, finding great dog walks and a lovely dog friendly cafe. 

We travelled from Lymington in the New Forest to Yarmouth on the Isle of Wight

We were in the queue for the ferry and let on really quickly. Ted seemed to enjoy the journey and looking out the window despite being a really anxious dog. He loved looking out the windows. 

We drove down to Brook beach to walk Ted. It was right on the south coast and about a 15-20 minute drive from Yarmouth. It was a wild, windy but sunny day and we had a good explore. It is apparently a great place for fossils so we did some fossil hunting. The cliffs to the side of the sand were amazing colours of blue, turquoise and purple and you could see the white cliffs in the background. 

We found a beautiful, cold waterfall halfway down the beach which Sam started throwing Teddy's ball into, to make him go in the water! 

We then found a big section of rockpools and had a good look in loads of them for little fishies and crabs. We found some anemones and seagulls but that was all. I also didn't find any fossils sadly. 

After a good walk, we were pretty tired and hungry so we went to The Piano Cafe in Freshwater. It was a dog friendly cafe so Teddy could sit in with us while we had a lovely lunch. I had a fish finger sandwich 

And Sam had the Piano burger which was also really lovely. (He won the best choice competition)

We also ordered a fried halloumi salad on the side - yum!

Afterwards we had coffee and puddings. I had one of these melty looking millionaire's shortbreads which was delicious. 

We were then ready for going home in the late afternoon. Teddy was tired out and slept the whole journey home so I can recommend the IOW if you have a hyperactive dog who never stops. 

If you'd like to go to the Isle of Wight with your pup with 30% off, go to and use the code LAUREN which is active until 31st March so get booking!

1 Mar 2019

Picking my Wedding Dress

I got engaged in March 2018 and booked the venue almost straight away for June 2019 (so soon!). I was advised to start shopping for my wedding dress as soon as possible. I have a few friends who chose their dress from Anya Bridal Couture in Wickham, Hampshire - they said it's a huge barn full of every dress you could imagine, and as you could imagine that grabbed my attention. I had previously looked in two small boutiques, but found their range was too limited so I was excited to be able to have a lot of choice. 

I booked in to see the team in late June 2018 and went on a boiling hot Saturday morning with my lovely Mum. I was met by lovely Jayne who looked after me throughout the process. I had no idea what kind of dress I wanted, so I went in with an open mind. Jayne gave me a basket full of pegs to pop on the dresses I liked, and away I went, clip clip clip! After I was done, I sat down with a cuppa and Mum and I had an excited gossip while we waited for Jayne to grab all the dresses and bring them through into my private changing area. This was basically a whole room with a curtained off changing area, and then an area for standing in front of a mirror on a pouffe with sofas all around for guests. 

This was just the no lace ballgown range! 

I was taken into the changing room, and Jayne handed me the first dress, all unbuttoned and ready to go. The lovely thing about the dresses they stock is they are so beautifully made you don't need a bra so you can really see the effect of a strapless or backless dress without having to pack the perfect bra! I was zipped in and walked through the curtains to stand on the little pouffe. All the dresses are very long so this was necessary. Jayne then clipped the dress to make it my size so I could see what the real one would look like. I'd have a little twirl around, stare at the mirror and say yes or no. If it was a yes or maybe, Jayne grabbed a bunch of accessories like veils and belts to help me see how it would look on the day. 

I was given all the time I wanted to be indecisive, try on every veil and accessory in the shop and the best thing was I was allowed to take photos of me in the dresses! I discovered that lots of shops didn't allow this, which made no sense to me. It's such a big decision of course I wanted to trawl through photos to see how I looked from all the angles! 

In the end, I chose my dress - the one - from Anya Bridal. Obviously I'm not going to share it on this post though. All I can say is it's stunning. I absolutely adore it! Strangely, it's the total opposite of what I thought I'd want when I first started shopping, so I'm pleased I tried on lots of styles. It's classic and very "me".

Once I had chosen my dress, I got measured so Jayne could order the right size. It turns out wedding dress sizes are very odd - I was a size 4 bust and 10 waist and hips! (normally I'm just a plain old 8). Despite taking a long time to order, they don't come in custom sizes so we had to pick one. I ordered a size 10 because I was advised to go with the bigger size as it was easier to have parts taken in to fit me. My dress was then ordered and Mum paid half to order, and the other half on collection. 

Fast forward to January 2019 and I received a call saying that my dress had been delivered. It felt like a lifetime to wait, and I was so anxious that it wouldn't fit me, or that it wouldn't suit me. Thank goodness Mum took lots of photos of me in the sample dress so I could repeatedly check that I still loved it! I was again shown into a private changing area where my lovely dress was waiting for me, like an old friend! I was helped into the dress and got to try on lots of accessories again to help me pick how I was going to accessorise on the day. I ended up choosing a belt and veil at Anya which was ordered in for me (they take about 2 weeks so less of a rush to order). 

I now have my dress home. Well, it's at Mum's house because I know if I had it at mine I would be wearing it every day and I'd get foundation on it or something! We've got the seamstress booked for later this month to have it altered to fit like a glove and I can't wait! Of course I'll share photos (@laurenlovesblog on Instagram) and a blog post when I get married so you can see what I picked.

Things I learnt: 
- Start by following local wedding dress shops on Instagram to see what they all have in, and what their styles are like. @anyabridalcoutureuk is full of lots of lovely inspiration and real wedding photos.
- Dresses take about 6 months to arrive after you have ordered them. Make sure you go with plenty of time
- The dresses in the shop are all sample sizes so you're unlikely to try on the size you want. This means you need to have a little imagination. They'll do their best to make it look fitted from each angle, but the sizes can be way off.
- Take someone who is totally honest and don't take too many people. For me, only my Mum can say something critical without me taking it the wrong way but that's just me! I also didn't want to bring friends because I really believe that too many opinions are confusing. 
- Try on one of every style of dress. You may be surprised about what suits you. Once you know what silhouette you like, you can try on all the ones in that style to find "the one".
- It's ok if you don't cry, and it's ok if you do cry! Crying does not mean it's the one. My Mum cried at the first dress I tried on, yet when I tried on the one I chose, we both agreed it was the best dress and she didn't cry! I never cried at all because I'm a stone cold, heartless chic! 
- Take photos! 
- Don't feel you have to say yes to the dress on the day - there was no pressure from Jayne or the team to buy anything.
- Once you've chosen your dress, don't carry on looking at dresses. Your dress is perfect and you picked it for a reason. Dress doubt is horrible. 


13 Jan 2019

My red lipstick collection

I own a lot of red lipsticks! As part of my wedding makeup prep I've been looking through my collection of red lipsticks to work out which suit me best, and which are kiss proof (Sam would refuse to kiss me at the alter if I was wearing transferring lippie!). I've cataloged all my red lippies in this post with swatches reviews so be prepared for a long post. 

Here are all my lipsticks, which I have ordered from most orange toned, through most pink toned, and then to most blue toned

These swatches are makeup free so be prepared for not so great skin. I follow lots of bloggers who have perfect foundation for all their swatches but I'm far too lazy for that. Each time I thoroughly removed the last lippie it took off all the makeup around my mouth. I'm not wasting my expensive foundation for one photo! Sorry guys. These photos are "warts and all" to show you how they apply without lip liner, how thick they are and if they are drying. No photoshop here. 

Maybelline 24 hour ink Heroine

This coral-red liquid lippie is very bright. Its full name is Maybelline 24 hour Matte Ink in Heroine and it is long-lasting. I could go a whole night out and this is still on. It's also totally kiss-proof, there is no transfer onto Sam when I wear this lipstick. 

NYX  Soft Matte Lip Cream Morocco 

This soft creme lippie is another bright coral. It doesn't give great coverage so needs a few swipes. It's also not transfer-proof and comes off. It's not one of the liquid lippies that seems to dry. 

Maybelline x Gigi Hadid Austyn 

This lovely lipstickwas one of my go-tos this summer. It's a flattering coral with enough pink in to balance out the orange tones to make it a suits-everyone shade. It's very bright. It's a normal lipstick so isn't kiss proof. 

Marks and Spencer Autograph Attraction

This liquid lipstick is a lovely pinky red. It again needs a few swipes or some lip liner to make it an even colour but it's very moisturising and comfortable to wear. It transfers off and I often find it on my chin!


MAC Red is a classic red lipstick. It's a creamy formula so doesn't give the matte look but does wear really nicely, and isn't drying. Again it's a normal lipstick so does come off. 

MAC Fashion Legacy 

Fashion Legacy is another of my summer go-to lippies. It's a matte cream formula and is a proper fire-engine red. It lasts really well, and only transfers a little bit

MAC Ruby Woo

We're getting into blue toned reds here. Ruby Woo is the famous colour that Taylor Swift apparently wears. Very flattering, I've yet to meet someone who doesn't suit this lovely colour. It's a traditional lipstick so comes off everywhere when you kiss!

Maybelline 24 hour superstay Red Alert

I get lots of comments on this lipstick when I'm out for dinner - this red never comes off! It's one of the double ended ones with a lip colour on one wand, and a balm on the other. Even the colour without the balm is really hard to scrub off and is definitely kiss proof. It's another very flattering red. This is shown without the balm

Smashbox Always On Matte liquid lipstick Bawse 

This lippie is really interesting to apply - it's a lipgloss applicator but it seems to contain normal lipstick (although slightly mushier). It's a lovely deep red which works well in the winter but does transfer off

Rimmel Provocalips Kiss me you Fool

I bought this liquid lippie (again another double ended one) when I had bruised lips from fillers because their nude shades cover bruises perfectly. I'm less impressed with the red - although it lasts well and doesn't transfer, it does crack so when you smile it's lined. Again shown without the balm

Maybelline Superstay 24 hour ink Dancer

Writing this post has helped me work out how I feel about this lippie - it's been my favourite over the winter and I love the shade of red, how it doesn't transfer and it lasts forever, but I've never felt it's quite suited me. I think the undertones are great for cooler skintones, but if you're pinky like me it's not quite right. 

Maybelline 24 hour superstay Cherry Pie

Finally this lipstick is another one of the stay-on forever double ended ones. It's a deep bluey red and never comes off unless you use eye makeup remover! Shown without the balm

What is your favourite red lipstick? Any recommendations for ones that don't come off?

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