Ark Tunic Dress

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This dress arrived in the post a few weeks ago but I have been waiting for a decent morning (ie not fog/mist/rain/darkness) so I could take outfit photos outside and I was finally blessed with a dry and fairly sunny start to the day today!

I honestly didn't think I would like this dress as much as I do! I don't own any other tunic-style dresses and wasn't sure if they would suit my body shape but having worn this I can now say I really like the style. I played around with footwear as you can see and proved to myself how versatile this dress is - worn with boots and a chunky scarf for the day and heels and other accessories for the evening. I would also consider wearing this with higher heels and bare legs if I was going out for drinks one night, as the length of the dress paired with heels would really elongate anybody's legs!

I definitely want to try some more tunic dresses, especially ones from Ark as they have so many nice ones on the website. One of the nine Ark stores is in Leeds which is a very good thing for me, however I do need to be strict with myself as I am supposed to be saving and I know I could easily buy up the whole store!

Do you like this Ark tunic dress? Which shoes would you wear it with?

Find me on BloglovinTwitter, Tumblr and Instagram @itsneecola, or email nicnaknoko2@gmail.com
Arbonne Independent Consultant, ID: 441117872
For Arbonne business or product enquiries, email nicola.sharp13@hotmail.co.uk


Introducing Arbonne...

When I first started my blog almost 3 years ago, I would never have imagined that it could lead to me having my own business. However, that is exactly what has happened! The past 4 months have been a whirlwind what with leaving college, finishing my A-levels, a summer full of sun and making crazy memories and beginning to build my own business.

So how did it all start?
I was contacted back in May by Natalie, an Arbonne Independent Consultant, who asked if I would be interested in trying some products (something which, as a blogger, I could not turn down!). We met up, she gave me some samples and explained a bit about Arbonne. What really impressed me initially was the fact that Arbonne products are botanically based, contain no nasty chemicals and are all vegan-approved. I have always been interested in skincare and cosmetics and while I didn’t know a lot about chemicals and ingredients, have always been conscious of what I was putting in and on my body, so these products really appealed to me. I tried some skincare, primer and foundation and was not disappointed. I have tried many different samples of products during my time as a beauty blogger and I could instantly tell that these were in a different league.

So what happened next?
Natalie invited me to an Arbonne opportunity presentation and I immediately understood the business model and how it makes perfect sense for 21st century lifestyles and challenges. So, I became an Independent Arbonne Consultant myself and am now thoroughly enjoying making my business grow. As well as fantastic skincare, hair-care and cosmetics there is also a nutritional range, a baby-care range and an anti-ageing range, so definitely something for everyone.

So what's so special about the products?
As I mentioned before, Arbonne products contain no nasties and are vegan-approved, but equally importantly have visible results. My own skin has showed a marked improvement since using the Arbonne FC5 face wash and moisturiser for oily/combination skin and I am also taking the immunity drink as an aid to combating the immuno-suppressant effects of my Crohn’s medication; the little girl I babysit for is enjoying a huge improvement in her skin since using the nappy cream on her eczema; my Mum and sister are loving the shampoo and even my Dad has remarked on how good he’s finding the shaving gel!

..and the company?
Arbonne products are sold through network marketing, which is basically word-of-mouth recommendations, and therefore no money goes into wholesalers, retailers, advertising etc. This makes the fact that Arbonne has been mentioned in publications such as Vogue even more impressive. In June 2010, Vogue magazine wroteDespite 30 years in the skincare game, Arbonne is still flying relatively low under the radar in the UK. However, with an award-winning range of wonder products and an army of loyal followers across the globe (including a few Vogue magazine staffers), one has to ask: how long before the secret gets out?”

So what is network marketing?
While direct-selling is the most widely-recognised alternative to traditional retail, for me, network marketing is the business model that better suits our modern lifestyle. Arbonne clients purchase online at their convenience and have their products delivered straight to their door. This means that I can build a business anywhere across the country or even the globe.

So how will this affect itsneecola?
While I have no intention of pushing either the products or the business on people, I’m happy to share the secret I’ve discovered and if you would like to try some samples, order anything or learn any more about Arbonne, please get in touch. Equally, if this isn’t for you but you feel it might appeal to someone you know, feel free to pass on my contact details.
I will always be interested in new beauty releases and other products on the market, however from now on I will be a bit more careful about precisely what ingredients they contain, especially after watching a recent episode of Watchdog during which they discussed the chemical Methylisothiazolinone  (MI).

So how can we buy products?
If you would like to try samples of any products before buying, please send me an email!
There are three ways to get involved with Arbonne...
  • As a client – enjoy products at the Standard Retail Price
  • As a preferred client – £15 joining fee, enjoy at least 20% discount off the Standard Retail Price on all products
  • As an independent consultant – £54 joining fee, starter kit, enjoy at least 35% discount off the Standard Retail Price on all products, unlimited income potential, Mercedes-Benz programme, personal growth
Visit arbonneinternational.co.uk, click on 'Join Arbonne', select the level at which you would like to join and enter my ID 441117872 in Step 3. You can join Arbonne using my ID no matter where you are in the country! If you would like to become a consultant, do get in touch so that I can give you all the support you need to build your business.

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How to become a Client/Preferred Client/Independent Consultant

I hope this post has made sense. I can't wait to start sharing more Arbonne products with you on itsneecola and am excited to see where this business takes me! I would love your feedback so please get in touch.

Find me on BloglovinTwitter, Tumblr and Instagram @itsneecola, or email nicnaknoko2@gmail.com
Arbonne Independent Consultant, ID: 441117872
For Arbonne business or product enquiries, email nicola.sharp13@hotmail.co.uk



On Saturday I went to another bloggers meetup (I think this was my 4th) organised by Hayley (TeaPartyBeauty) who did an amazing job! We all but took over Patisserie Valerie for drinks, free cake (so so so good) and chatter for a couple of hours which was a lovely way to get to know some of the other attendees better. I was too busy chatting and drooling over my chocolate cake to take photos of everyone, but there are a lot of photo-laden posts about the meetup floating about so go have a look!

I live about a 20 minute bus journey from the centre of Leeds so meetups held in the city centre are a winner for me! I met Siobhan (@Si0bhanEmma) and Katie (@CurledFantasies) beforehand and walked to the venue together. When we arrived, we found Hayley bringing in the last of the goodybags (of which there were loads). She had put so much work in to the day and I hope she managed to relax and enjoy it as much as the rest of us did.

After spending a couple of hours eating cake, chatting and being handed giveaway prizes (I won an amazing hair spray, clay and body butter!) we went to do a bit of shopping. I had to leave for work (boo) but by that time most of the group had lost each other anyway as there were so many of us! 

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Yummy chocolatey spongey goodness

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This is a rather short post due to the lack of photos, but I just want to say a massive thank you to Hayley for organising such a lovely afternoon and for putting together the amazing goodybags!

Let me know if you have a look at the posts put together by anyone else who attended the meetup!

Find me on BloglovinTwitter, Tumblr and Instagram @itsneecola, or email nicnaknoko2@gmail.com
Arbonne Independent Consultant, ID: 441117872
For Arbonne business or product enquiries, email nicola.sharp13@hotmail.co.uk



After what felt like years of planning, Sunday 4th of August finally arrived and Georgina and I made our way to Leeds city centre. Georgina and I were in Leeds for the Leeds Bloggers Meetup that we had organised (I say we, but Georgina deserves all the credit, she did amazingly well getting everything sorted!).

Photo from Siobhan 

After forming a rather large circle outside Topshop (that attracted a lot of funny looks from passers-by) we marched on mass to Friends of Ham (or, as Michelle likes to call it, House of Pigs) and took over half of the seating area downstairs. I then gave a short presentation about some products from Arbonne, a company that I am now growing my own business with (I think I will do a post explaining more soon, contact details at the end of this post!), and gave the girls some samples of primer, foundation and skincare of their choice to take away to try.

We then had a visit from Rebecca from ARK, an amazing clothing brand. She told us about the history of the brand and excited us all about what they have to offer, so much so that some of us visited the store later in the afternoon and I will be going back over the next couple of days to make a few cheeky purchases! Before we left we were each given an amazing goodybag that Georgina had put together for us all and also entered a prize draw from which I picked out a gorgeous gold hand chain from Accessorize in return for £1.50 which went towards Yorkshire Air Ambulance, a worthy cause.

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Arbonne skincare

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The contents of my goodybag

We then went over to Debenhams where the rest of the girls got matched up to some foundation and then we decided to spend the next hour and a half mooching round the shops. We split up into two groups and I went with a few of the other girls up to ARK and tried on a couple of bits...so tempting!

Sadly, not everyone could make it to TGI Fridays for the meal at the end of the day due to other commitments etc but those who did stay for the meal were in for a treat! I've been so in love with food recently, I never used to be a foodie but I think I would have to class myself as one now! (Just look at my instagram profile..) I shared a starter of mozzarella sticks with Georgina and then we both ordered Chicken Alfredo (along with Naomi!) which was a gorgeous pasta dish. Of course, being the piggy that I am, I had to have pudding. If you haven't had at least one spoonful of TGI's Cookie Dough Cheesecake past your lips then you are missing out big time. Amazing.

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Woo woo!

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Yummy pasta

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Even yummier Cookie Dough Cheesecake

Thank you to everyone who came to the meetup, it was so lovely to meet you all! Georgina and I will definitely be organising another #LeedsBloggerMeet before 2013 is over (Georgina, I automatically include you, you have no say in the matter) so watch this space if you would like to come along!

Find me on BloglovinTwitter, Tumblr and Instagram @itsneecola, or email nicnaknoko2@gmail.com
Arbonne Independent Consultant, ID: 441117872
For Arbonne business or product enquiries, email nicola.sharp13@hotmail.co.uk


Zante 2013!

On the 7th July I flew out to Zante with 8 other girls for what would turn out to be one of the best weeks of my life! Well, I say we flew out on the 7th. Half an hour into our flight we landed in Gatwick so the plane people could check out a problem with the aircraft. Many hours and swearwords later, we were checked in to the Hilton for the night (the 4 hours left of it) and were told to be back at Gatwick Airport ready to fly at 11am. I eventually shook off my grumpy mood, enjoyed the second flight and landed in the baking hot Zante on the evening of the 8th. After dumping our bags and meeting our reps, we explored the pool area before getting ready and heading out for the first of six mad nights out on the strip!

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All smiles at Manchester Airport before departure!

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The photo we were taking in the photo above...grumpy faces at around 2am at Gatwick

Boy it was a hot week. Baking hot. I went for a henna tattoo and the man said to me "Do you think it is nice and hot or too f***ing boiling?!" I thought the heat was gorgeous (I love the heat) but some of the girls definitely thought it was too hot! I spent the days eating (the idea of achieving a zante-body went out the window as soon as I arrived, holiday mode for me = food!), walking, sunbathing and of course swimming in the pool and the beautiful sea. We also went on a pedalo for an hour one afternoon, during which we swam in the deep and chased after turtles!

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Pedalo times!

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Calamari is my fave.

The evenings were spent on the strip - a long road that held tourist shops during the day which gave way to bars and clubs at night. Monday was the Cherry Bay beach party, Tuesday we saw Vernon Kay DJing, Wednesday was Zoofari, Thursday was a random night of unorganised fun, Friday was the Paint Party (best night of my life) and Saturday the Frat Party (both with a free bar...lethal!). Most nights also consisted of a few rounds of laughing gas and hilarious photos being taken, followed by fake KFC for me while we all escorted each other back to the hotel in the early hours.

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I attempted to wear my hair down this night, but it was too hot. I don't know how the other girls did it!

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Shots, shots, shots!

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Laughing gas. Most amazing minute of my life.

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I wore these lashes all week! Larvely pout.

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No clue where this was taken or why there is a stop sign behind us...happy chappies!

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This was my face every night - SMILE!

We went for a few meals out (I ate a lot of calamari and moussaka) but before our meal on the last night, Moira and I went to get our tattoos that we had booked a few days before. Yep, real tattoos. In Zante. No we weren't drunk, and no I do not regret it one bit - I love it! I got a little turtle on my foot and it is very special to me.

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Before the paint party, love this gyal

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All 9 of us before the paint party...nice clean tops...

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And after.

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Me on the last night getting all excited about my turtle before saying goodbye to the sea...

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Sunkissed, tired, hungover but happy!

If any of you are thinking of going on a group holiday to Zante or one of the other party islands, here are a few tips...
...wait until you have had a few nights out in a big city before booking a party holiday (the nightlife is pretty mental, you do need to have your wits about you even if you are getting hammered!)
...go with a bigger group than just 2 or 3 (unless you are the bestest of friends and are prepared to do a lot of compromising!) so that you can split off or spend time with other people if anyone is getting on your nerves
...take plenty of money (both pound sterling and the foreign currency), both cash and on a card unless you know how secure your hotel is (I took half on a card, half cash but if I went back to the same hotel I would take all cash because I now know how secure it is)
...take flat shoes and clothes that you don't mind getting ruined (especially if you are planning on going to a paint party!)
...discuss beforehand what events (if any) you want to sign up to (and pay for!) if you are going on a holiday that offers events as your reps probably won't give you much time/space to discuss this when you arrive!
...take lots of sunscreen, start with a high factor then work down - or do as I did and stick with factor 30 all week. If you don't end up tanning naturally, you can always fake it, it is better than getting burnt.
...drink lots of water and eat plenty. Please.
...stay safe, listen to the advice you are given by your reps but most importantly HAVE FUN! You only live once and you (or your parents, lucky thing!) have paid for this holiday so you might as well enjoy it. Don't stress, try new things and make lots of memories! 

Have you been on a girls holiday? Ever been to Zante? Who's coming with me next year?!

Don't forget you can also find me on BloglovinTwitter, Tumblr and instagram @itsneecola, or email nicnaknoko2@gmail.com



I'm back! Been MIA for so long (again, I know, I know) but I'm back! I've missed the blogging community but I've had a lot going on in my personal life over the past couple of months so blogging has had to take a back seat. But #VintSetFest was the perfect opportunity for me to get back on the blogging bandwagon!

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The event was held in the Custard Factory in Birmingham and was set out like a mini indoor festival, with wall art, picnic benches and hay bales adding to the festival feel. We were welcomed with a drink and run through of what the plan was for the evening, including a bloggers style challenge, a Q+A session and live music.

Georgina and I had a lovely evening browsing the stalls, eating food from the BBQ and candy bar and making our own bracelets. I made a few cheeky purchases from Love Without Measure, a women's online clothing boutique who had a stall at the event. I'd never come across Love Without Measure before but I am so glad they were there as it meant I could pick up a few gorgeous items for discounted prices. I bought a top, ring and bracelet for around £15! Very happy Nicola over here.

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The Q+A session was really interesting and the live performance from New Killer Shoes was great! AND we left with an amazing goodybag each - yay! All in all #VintSetFest was a huge success. Hopefully there will be a #VintSetFest 2014 and I will see you all there! Thanks so much to The Vintage Set and Tiger Bam for organising the event.

Click here to read Georgina's blog post about #VintSetFest!

Don't forget you can also find me on BloglovinTwitter, Tumblr and instagram @itsneecola, or email nicnaknoko2@gmail.com


#NottsBBMeet haul

If you've already read my post about the #NottsBBMeet on Saturday then you will already be anticipating this post! I posted a wishlist last week of things that I was hoping to pick up on Saturday and I managed to get quite a few things on the list as well as two amazing goodybags that I wanted to show you all. It is safe to say that I don't need to go shopping for cosmetics until the end of uni. Bearing in mind that I haven't started yet. And I'm having a gap year first.

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Top row L-R: MAC lip pencil Lasting Sensation, MAC Coral Bliss lipstick, Barry M Textured Nail Polish Kingsland Road, Barry M Gelly High Shine Greenberry, Barry M Gelly High Shine Pomegranate, Models own Make-up Blending Sponges, 
Bottom row L-R: Sleek blush by 3 Lace, Revlon lip butter Pink Lemonade, Collection Cream Puff Cotton Candy, Rimmel Soft Kohl Kajal Eye Liner Pencil Pure White, Rimmel Fix and Perfect Primer 002, Rimmel Wake Me Up Concealer Classic Beige, Rimmel Wake Me Up Foundation True Ivory,

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MAC lip pencil Lasting Sensation, MAC Coral Bliss lipstick, 

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MAC lip pencil Lasting Sensation

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MAC Coral Bliss lipstick

In MAC I tried on a few lipsticks but knew I would end up going for Coral Bliss, then the lady who served me asked if I wanted to try a lipliner with it. Obviously she was trying to get me to buy more products, which I usually avoid, but I know I will be wearing a lot of coral lip colours this spring and summer so thought a coral lipliner would be a good investment. The lipstick looked so much better with the lipliner under, the colour was a lot truer to the bullet and it lasted all afternoon!

I picked up the sleek palette in Superdrug then waited til the end of the day when we got to the shopping centre with the big Boots store in, then I went make-up crazy! The shade ranges available weren't brilliant for all the products but I am pleased with what I came away with.

If you follow me on instagram or read yesterday's post you will have already seen the photo I uploaded of the amazing contents of my goodybag! But I will put them here too...

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There is no way I will be able to go through everything that I received because there was so much stuff! But I will hopefully get some reviews up in the future. The brands involved were so flipping generous, there were so many full-sized products as well as samples! I was gobsmacked. Just need to find a place to store it all now...

Don't forget you can also find me on BloglovinTwitter, Tumblr and instagram @itsneecola, or email nicnaknoko2@gmail.com
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