Friday, March 29, 2013

inside the new social media/blogger concept store "& other stories" by h&m

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through the keyhole of & Other Stories, Regent St

today's listening 29th march: haim, don't save me

When I heard on the grapevine that H&M had opened a store that was inspired by the way women shop using social media and the rising influence of fashion bloggers I just had to go and check it out for myself. I know there's been a fair bit of blogger hype about this but i've only seen product focused stuff, and I think it's still too early to chat about how good or bad their products are as it's still so new, and I want to give stuff a proper go before I go tell you to check it out, so instead I thought i'd take a whole bunch of snaps of the only store n the UK so far, on Regent St in London, so you could get an idea for this new and pretty innovative style concept. It's been billed as the luxury H&M sister, but to me it still felt very affordable, especially compared to H&M's big sister COS.

It's very very cleanly laid out. It's definitely catering to this "hip" concept vibe, with only having a handful of each size of clothing down on the shop floor, and they're all spaced out on clean white rails and wall fixtures, kind of like a showroom. I did Visual Merchandising for The GAP for about four years, so when I go into stores I always notice these kind of things from too many early mornings of dressing mannequins and late nights of building walls! First thing that struck me was the use of unusual fixtures, from clinical style trolleys to store products to the mixture of clean white tables and bright wooden fixtures, the whole store feels light, airy and a bit industrial. I'd liken it to that of American Apparel.

All the clothes pieces have been "styled" and by that I mean that they are easily shopped by full outfit. So for example they'd have a dress hanging on the rack, and next to it laid out neatly was a suggested bag match and accessory with a photograph of this all on a real woman. Making shopping for the super savvy (and busy!) woman really easy. I loved all the fashion inspiration around the store mostly, all the fresh from the catwalk pics and the fashion week style makeup looks. They also had little tips dotted about next to the makeup stand - so cute!

I was literally taken aback by the amount of makeup products they had on sale for such a new store (having only opened in it's native country Sweden this week just gone, and this London store launched on the 7th March) it was certainly an extensive range. They were stocking other brands as well as their own (like Eyeko, Dr Bronner, theBalm, This Works etc) and their own stuff ranged from blushers, powders, bb creams, eye shadows and lipsticks to a full range of nail varnishes, and then makeup remover, cleansers, toners, moisturisers...and then brushes... basically, the whole lot! I feel this needs a proper big explore all by itself..

Overall, there weren't enough clothes in & Other Stories to get me super excited - the dress shown above was the only thing I actually decided I needed - however, the shopping experience was both pleasant, chilled and a really nice new way to shop style. It felt like shopping for a style experience, rather than shopping for convenience, and what with all the inspiration around me it really was like having all my favourite blogs there while I shop. & Other Stories is a great start to this new idea of concept from H&M, which I can see proving popular with those in the style know and those who love blogs, but i'm curious to delve further and see how well their makeup products and clothes perform. Shop online at

Have you heard of & Other Stories before? Do you think it's something you'd enjoy shopping in or is it not really for you? What do you think of the idea of shopping influenced by blogging and social media? What makeup bits would you like to see me try? I dunno where to start!

Love, Zozo

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Disclaimer: I was not invited to & Other Stories nor is this a sponsored post, I went for a lil browse and ended up getting a bit snap happy! 
Thursday, March 28, 2013

e.l.f tone correcting powder in cool

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eyes lips face (e.l.f) complexion perfection powder
(note, product renamed since purchased. my packaging says complexion perfection, but now called tone correcting powder, this is shade "cool")

today's listening 28th march: ellie goulding, lights (bassnectar remix)

So I picked this little e.l.f powder up last year on a bit of a whim, actually if i'm honest I don't remember why. I have been clearing out my stash of makeup over the last month and I found this a couple of weeks ago and it was completely untouched so I just *had* to stick my paws in it and give it a go, what with it looking this pretty I thought it must look pretty on my face! It's really annoying me because i've seen some proper high end highlighters just like this lately and I can't think what brand it is... it's someone like YSL or Givenchy. Either way, this is a truly fantastic dupe.

e.l.f are a budget buy, but that doesn't mean their quality isn't any good. I find them a bit hit and miss, if i'm honest. Some things i've bought have been amazing (like this) and others a bit rubbish, so you do get what you pay for and if you're a bit make up savvy (teehee, Fee!) you'll know to head for some of their more foolproof products - generally i'd head for eyeshadow products and blushers/bronzers/highlighters - to really get the most bang for your buck.

This little thing is a right gem. I absolutely adore it. I'm not really a big fan of pressed powder because 1. they're normally too dark for me and I always end up ruining my face by caking it in powder and then looking like an oompa loompa :( 2. they're just a bit too thick for my liking. This gives a light dusting, but due to the fact it's made up of four tone evening and correcting colours it works wonders on my pale faced skin. The blues and greens in it help reduce redness, and the yellow and pink evens skintone. I mean, you could definitely use each of the powder blocks on their own, but personally I think it's definitely best used all swirled around on your brush and then applied to the face to set foundation.

It's quite a hard product to show you how it works properly because it's quite translucent and really for me a great finishing powder to even out my skintone, but I did apply it quite liberally in the snap above in the hope it'd show you how well it does evening out my skintone!

e.l.f. tone correcting powder in cool (I have an old one, hence the different name on the box) retails at the amazing bargain price of £3.50 and it comes in Cool, Warm and Shimmer. For the price, e.l.f have created such a gem here, don't overlook it - if you hate pressed powder you'll love this.
Do you rate e.l.f for a budget buy? What do you think of this product? Is this something you might try in the future or is it something you're not into? I can't live without mine now, just goes to show, expensive isn't always better!

Love, Zozo

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Disclaimer: e.l.f product bought by me, but is about a year old hence the new name change. 
Thursday, March 28, 2013

lush emotional brilliance in fantasy, glamorous and sophisticated

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lush does "emotional brilliance"
eyeliner in fantasy, lipstick in glamorous, eyeshadow in sophisticated

today's listening 28th march: ace of base, all that she wants (happy nation)

It's (un)official. The 90s are back baby! Okay so, I don't actually know if 90's is in, but what with all this neon and scrunchie action going on in the fashion world and all this Big Reunion shiz going on the tellybox i've decided to bring 90s back to the beauty world, even if it's only in my own little bubble. I decided to get experimenting and I thought this combo from LUSH was perfect for the job. LUSH does this thing called Emotional Brilliance, which is actually a really lovely experience. Last year when I was living in Wimbledon I popped into arguably the best LUSH store in the UK in Wimbledon (I know, they're all rad, but this one is my local yeah) and I had the full Emotional Brilliance experience, which was so much fun! They show you a little wheel full of colours and you have to close your eyes, then open them and pick the first three colours that come into your mind. This is meant to show you how you feel, and all the colours have names that go with them.

After the event LUSH sent me over the bits that I had been matched to and they were the cream eyeshadow in Sophisticated, eyeliner in Fantasy and lipstick in Glamorous. They're all cream products, so they all come in the same little pots as each other. They do have slightly different applicators though, depending on whether you pick a lipstick/eyeshadow (doe foot) or eyeliner (liner brush).

I created my awesome 90s look by popping Sophisticated all over my eye lid and right up to my brow as a highlight before popping eyeshadow on the top. This holds really well as a base, I find it doesn't slip as a base, but it does crease when worn alone (but again, I have oily eyelids.) I wanted to use Fantasy here, but I didn't wanna go for the full on eyeliner look so I did my normal black eyeliner and then put Fantasy under the eye. It always surprises me when I put this on how insanely pigmented it is for a glitter eyeliner. Maybe because i've only ever used cheap glitter eyeliners... but this one is just so twinkly sparkly gold!

Finally I used Glamorous on the lips, which is a little matte but still quite satin finish. It's such a bright bubblegum pink and basically set the whole look off. I then pinned my hair into a top side pony (wish I had a scrunchie!) blasted Ace of Base and sat down to play a game of Dreamphone. Okay so I don't own Dreamphone anymore, but I wish I did...

Each of LUSH's makeup pieces here cost £14.50 each and are vegan friendly as well as following LUSH's general ethos of being handmade and made from natural ingredients. If you're after pigment and quality over quantity, LUSH's makeup is for you. For me, the eyeliners are the stand out must-have product.
Do you rate LUSH's emotional brilliance makeup range? Do you think you'd pick up any of these pieces to have a little play with? And hey, am I right or am I right... NINETIES IS BACK! Brb while I practice my S Club moves..

Love, Zozo

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Disclaimer: All three pieces provided for me free for consideration from LUSH PR. My love of Ace of Base? All mine. LIFE IS A FLOWER. 
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

cos i fell in love with the girl at the rock show

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| jacket: river island | shirt: sailor jerry | shorts: h&m | socks: topshop | creepers: primark |
| necklace: river island | glasses: fancy dress store, camden |

I've been wearing these shorts all the time lately, they are just so so comfy and they seem to work with most things in my wardrobe. I got them probably about two years ago from H&M now, but i'm sure you could find something similar on eBay or in a market or something. I really like this whole leathery look and it's one that I seem to find myself wearing quite a lot. The jacket belongs to Lily and is from River Island, I have one myself but I started studding all round the collar and then I ran out of studs, so am still unable to wear it out! I'm hoping I can finish studding it by the time the weather sorts its act out and gets warmer!

I got this Sailor Jerry tee back when my ex boyfriend and I DJed a private party together for Sailor Jerry at the Barfly in Camden. It was awesome, they were obviously only serving Sailor J and the atmosphere was great. I think if I remember rightly we ended up staying there until about 2am on a weeknight and it was a great party! I saw the bar staff wearing these sweet tees and I begged one of them to give me one. She ran out the back and found a spare which she sneakily shoved in my bag. Love those guys at the Barfly! I forgot I had it until recently when I began packing up all my clothes for my move back to London this weekend and thought - ah man I love that tee!

Long socks are a necessity in this weather, I like to wear my Topshop ones over my tights. Hope it gets warmer soon, i'm so sick and tired of being freeeezing! It's meant to be Spring, sort it out! I've been listening to a lot of Blink 182 at the moment and I absolutely love the lyrics to The Rock Show. The silly romantic in me likes to daydream that i'll find a nice cute guy at the rock show...

What do you think of todays outfit? Do you like to wear faux leather like I do? I really fancy a nice glass of Sailor Jerry and Diet Coke now, dang.

Love, Zozo

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Disclaimer: Sailor Jerry tee given to me for free by the worlds best barstaff, everything else bought by me and River Island jacket bought by Lily. 
Wednesday, March 27, 2013

american apparel l'esprit and lush lacquer snow globe

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american apparel nail varnish in l'esprit
lush lacquer nail varnish in snow globe

today's listening 27th march: bastille, bad blood (bad blood)

So i'm with Lily and I simply couldn't resist rummaging through her nail stash to fix my chipped nails. She's got some right gems, and I was quickly drawn to this pretty powdery lilac by American Apparel, called L'esprit. It's this proper dusky powdery white lilac that is really thick and applies well in two coats. It's got a nice long brush that makes applying nice and easy. I do really rate American Apparel nail varnishes on the whole although I do think they are rather pricey. I just like the packaging and the way they all sit nice and unformed and are easy to look through your stash at the colours of!

I quite liked the look of it on it's own but when I spied this cutesy little pot of glittery wonder I basically had to be restrained from slapping it all over my body. It's this indie polish that Lily got from an Etsy store called Lush Lacquer which you can shop here and it's all different shapes and sizes of multicoloured glitter in yellow, red, pink and blue. I think it's one of those polishes that'll pretty much go over everything and it reminds me of a party popper! It's called Snow Globe.

I really like the finished look, whenever I end up seeing Lily I always leave with what Lily calls Princess Nails and I think these are definitely worthy of a place in the Princess Nails hall of fame! You can always rely on an indie polish for uniqueness, and American Apparel while pricey, do hold a dear place in my heart for colour and quality.

What do you think of the American Apparel nail range? Do you like the little Lush Lacquer polish? What do you think of this kind of combo together? What do you think of Bastille? I'm hooked on this title track from their latest album Bad Blood.

Love, Zozo

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Disclaimer: Lily got the American Apparel polish as a sample free for her consideration and she bought the Lush Lacquer polish. I stole them both, natch. I might even steal them for reals if she doesn't notice this blog post.. hmmm... 
Tuesday, March 26, 2013

snog, marry, avoid is stripping us all of our freedom of expression

snog, marry, avoid on bbc three
is it damaging to our young generation? i certainly think so.

I used to like watching Snog, Marry, Avoid. When it first started it seemed in quite nice jest and was quite soft and not too harsh, basically telling some girls who wore a lot of makeup or not very much clothing that they looked just as beautiful without. It had a lovely sincere message, that our vision of "natural" beauty is always somewhat skewed by media, mass celebrity iconography and pornography. Women who are wearing little to nothing grace covers of magazines, fly high on billboards, and women with insane layers of photoshopped beauty cover our entire world and make us all feel, well, terrible. Who could blame the youth of today for wanting to cake on the makeup and rip their jeans into tiny shorts when all around them was a vision of beauty they could never achieve - because it is unobtainable, it is unrealistic and it is fake.

So along came this little computer thing called POD on this BBC Three show called Snog Marry Avoid and it told these young girls by showing them in a "make-under" that they too could feel beautiful without needing to cover themselves in "fakery." I watched a few seasons of it, it was easy watching. We're all guilty of being a little TV gawpy at times, and I did often find myself gawping at these girls going out wearing basically belts as skirts and bras skimpier than that of the "raunchy" section of Ann Summers - pretty much never intended for public eye - all because they wanted male attention and to feel beautiful. I'd watch this show and enjoy POD giving them a little make-under and it was always a lovely happy ending wherein they'd either cry and decide they loved the natural look, or they'd stand up for who they felt they were and they learned within themselves that their own true style and skin was the one they felt most beautiful in.

I hadn't watched it for years when my sister had it on in the room next to me last night and the voice-over caught my attention almost immediately because it seemed to have completely changed tone. Rather than guiding these girls and boys to a realization that they simply didn't need all the layers of makeup, it seemed to be open mouthed, pointed fingers actually laughing at subcultures. The one challenged in last nights episode was about "Emos." They had the presenter running around Birmingham asking people to describe "emos" wherein they actually showed footage of people saying that "emos" were "usually all in black" "covered in weird piercings" "listening to awful music." BBC Three here somewhat provocatively playing with the idea that should one be an emo, one is automatically weird and someone we should all point and laugh at.

The humiliation didn't stop here though. They then had the (godawful, i might add) presenter, dressed quite normally and plain to begin with, "transformed" into an emo so she could go and find "one of them" to blend in with. She was given a completely stereotyped version of an emo outfit and hair and sent out on the street to find kids that dressed in such way. She was incredibly patronizing and childish, saying things like "oh look how miserable I am" and "god yeah i hate life yeah." When she eventually found some emos, they told her they were happy, she was talking about a ridiculous stereotype and most importantly, they loved being the way they looked. Thus rendering whatever point BBC Three was trying to make about this "elusive" subculture, completely pointless.

I really have a right gripe with the change of direction in this show. It then went on to completely mock a girl dressed as a cyber punk (to quote POD: "hide all that silly pink hair!") for not looking normal and needing to "tone down" her dress. The presenter at the end even told her that her pink hair was "weird" and awful compared to the make-under that POD had given her. I took immediate offense to that, and was actually shocked to hear someone say that on TV. When you begin to shun and point fingers at subcultures like that you are no better than a bully in the street. What started as an innocent way of the show telling girls to tone down their fake tan and wear less eyelashes has actually turned into a mocking of the freak show, an attempt to strip individual girls of their desired state in an attempt to create the ideal woman, the idea of unobtainable perfection. The show has almost gone full circle on itself, instead of promoting natural beauty it does no more to the confidence of young girls than these airbrushed ads we see anyway - telling us that our imperfections and chosen styles aren't "perfect" or "natural."

I'm really disappointed and offended that a show that is broadcast on a channel designed to promote and inspire young people is becoming an advocate for stripping individuality. Teenage years are the most important years of our lives for self discovery and confidence. The only good thing I took from the show was that the pink haired cyber punk stood up for herself. She switched her look straight back at the end of the show and in response to keeping her weird pink hair, she said "i want to experiment while I still feel I can." And that there, is the most important lesson learned. Society can tell us all how we should look, but we can all tell them exactly how we feel as individuals we can and will look. Snog Marry Avoid no longer instills confidence in young girls, but rather strips them of their style and their passion. For once i'd like to see a show on BBC Three actually fronted by an "emo" or a "cyber punk." Someone like me and the other beautiful alternative girls I see on a daily basis. The sooner we can instill into young girls and boys that freedom of expression is far more powerful than any rule book can be, the sooner we can remind them that beauty exists only in the eye of the beholder, and that makeup is our paints to our canvas. You wouldn't visit an art gallery where all the paintings looked the same, so why should our world? I'm sorry BBC Three, but you've lost me on this one, and I'm not going to sit back and let you tell me i'm "weird" and not beautiful.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

stila stay all day waterproof liquid eyeliner in turquoise

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stila stay all day waterproof eyeliner in turquoise
launching may

today's listening 26th march: crystal castles, sad eyes. (iii)

How could I not possibly coo everywhere when I saw this? IT'S TURQUOISE. Yippeee. It's this proper pretty shade of pastel turquoise and the bullet of the liner is really nice and defined. It's part of the brand new Stila Festival Of Colour range which is due to land just in time for festival season, in May. It's one of Stila's Stay All Day Waterproof Eyeliners and it's the first one of the range that i've actually tried, so a great introduction to the liners!

Now I found it super easy to apply and get a really defined eye, it glided on easily and once i'd given the pen a really really good shake to mix it up it came out nice and thickly. I found it dried quite easily. When worn alone, it does slide a little  bit. I found it imprinting on the top of my eyelids (but I do have this problem with most eyeliners) and it did that weird thing I don't know if any of you get where it kind of makes your eyelids stick together and makes blinking feel a bit weird and awkward. This for me isn't an eyeliner I can wear alone. I popped it on like that to show you the real colour and texture of it on me but if you have particularly stubborn oily eyelids like me i'd recommend setting it with an eyeshadow or powder. Luckily Stila also have one of their Smudge Stick Waterproof Eyeliners coming out in exactly the same shade so if i'm honest i'd say if you want to carry this look off really strong you probably need both (unless you have a similiar eyeshadow.)

That does make this little combo a bit more pricey, at £13 each you're looking at £26 to get the full turquoise eyeliner look, unless you know this eyeliner would work on your skin type (cos not everyone's got oily lids like me!). There are some really cute alternate ways to wear this eyeliner without wearing it all over though, why not try it under the waterline of the bottom lash for a little statement? Or even in the corner of the eyes, as a little flick. You could even do a black line and then wear this around it too. No doubt i'll be experimenting with this in the future - I might even try a little Electra Heart on my cheek in this colour! Stila have got the festival vibes absolutely nailed, but it's a trickier look to try for oilier eyelids like mine. 
What do you think of this turquoise eyeliner by Stila? Do you like the whole festival vibes for makeup? What do you think of the way i've worn it a bit a la Nicki Minaj?

ps: i'm starting a little feature to each of my blog posts to make them a little more interactive and a little more me, i'll be sharing a track every single day that reflects the music I personally am listening to. hit play on the spotify button and give it a go! you might find something new (:

Love, Zozo

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Disclaimer:  Stila's Eyeliner was provided for me free for consideration by Stila. I went to their event and as I walked in, Manic Street Preachers were playing on the screen. Just fyi, this is the easiest way to make me SUPER happy at an event. MANICS!
Monday, March 25, 2013

#rocking4teenagecancer rizzle kicks & labrinth at the royal albert hall with the body shop

march 24th - royal albert hall
rizzle kicks and labrinth for the teenage cancer trust
sponsored by the body shop

So last night I headed down to the Royal Albert Hall for what was to be arguably the most energetic and fun of the Teenage Cancer Trust series, a gig that featured Rizzle Kicks and Labrinth. The whole thing is curated by Brit pop god himself Noel Gallagher and the primary sponsor for the whole event is The Body Shop. It's been taking place at the Royal Albert Hall for the last few nights and has seen the likes of Damon Albarn, Graham Coxon, Noel Fielding, Paul Weller, Russell Brand, Ryan Adams and Kasabian (just to name a few!) gracing the stage all in the aid of Teenage Cancer Trust, which is a fantastic charity aimed at helping the lives of young teenagers who have had their world torn apart by the news of cancer. 

I can't begin to imagine how it must feel to be so young and feel so vulnerable, to be just finding your feet in life and who you are, making that journey through puberty and learning all about impending adulthood and a life on your own two feet - only to be devastatingly told you have cancer and not only may you not even make it to adulthood you're all of a sudden faced with the very sudden reality that you have to grow up very quickly, to deal with this news. Teenage Cancer Trust is totally committed to helping the lives of these young teens in any way possible, by supporting them every little step on their way. Sometimes the news is bad, and these young teens are taken away from the world before they even have a chance to impact on it, but fortunately for us all, with the help of Teenage Cancer Trust the number of teens who fall victim to cancer falls every single year. Teenage Cancer Trust need your help so they can give these teens the expert care and massive support that they need going through the most frightening time of their life.

Noel Gallagher and the huge and amazing team at the Teenage Cancer Trust put so much into this series of events and it was an honour to be invited down to join in the fun last night. Not only are there gigs each night, a troupe of Teenage Cancer Trust patients from each ward all over the UK are visited by the artists themselves who sit down with the teens and help them write their struggles into songs. I heard that Primal Scream stayed for hours with the teens, and really helped them express their no doubt confused and emotional feelings into music that they then performed later that day. All the teens are then brought to the gig and thoroughly made a fuss out of - The Body Shop bring their Makeup Artists to the gigs to give them makeovers and make them feel like VIPs. Amazing.

Last nights show definitely had the youngest crowd of the week. Energetic Brighton boys Rizzle Kicks wowed us all with their trumpets and we all got down with our Mamas and did the hump! (Except our mamas weren't there, so Sheena from the Body Shop and I got down and did the hump in their honour!) I had the privilege of meeting the boys after the show and they were stoked to have been able to play the Teenage Cancer Trust show. I even nabbed a pic with Harley! Labrinth was incredible, and far more of a talented musician than I'd previously penned him as (which I later felt very bad for.) Rocking the guitar incredibly well and playing a variety of songs featuring samples fine tuned to perfection and then performed vibrantly, he blew the place up with Earthquake when it hit.

I'm so thrilled an amazing brand like The Body Shop get involved with things like this. Although it's not directly related, it is still in a huge way. As teens, we all want to feel and look our best as we grow into young men and women and The Body Shop have always done this in an affordable and easy way that teens can relate to. By getting involved with the Teenage Cancer Trust, they help these amazing teens be more courageable and even if they have ended up losing their hair with their fight with cancer, The Body Shop make them feel as beautiful as they ever were. On the nights of all the gigs, The Body Shop are matching all donations text in to the number this week, and if you want to donate you can today, by texting TOGETHER to 70500 you'll give £3 that will be matched by The Body Shop. 100% of your £3 goes to Teenage Cancer Trust.

I had a truly amazing night last night and I commend all the major brands especially The Body Shop and also NME for being the main sponsors and supporters of such a wonderful charity doing great things for teens. As a girl not much older than a teen myself, and knowing that the readers of my blog are the same age as some of these courageous cancer fighters it hits home. Remember that it's not just about this series of gigs, you can get involved with Teenage Cancer Trust all the time, all year round and look out for things they are doing all over the country as well as donating what you can. Noel Gallagher and the team at Teenage Cancer Trust should be so proud of a wonderful bunch of events, and major props to The Body Shop for getting involved and matching donations.

Love, Zozo

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Disclaimer: My ticket to see Rizzle Kicks and Labrinth was given to me for free by The Body Shop. I did text TOGETHER to 70500, and you should too. It's about the same as your Starbucks coffee.