How to create the perfect bun

All content by Steph Hodgkinson

Create this sophisticated up ‘do whether you’re hitting the town or simply wanting to try something different. Follow Polka Dots & Potions’ step-by-step guide to creating the perfect bun…

For this you will need:

  1. Hair doughnut
  2. Lots of hair grips
  3. Hair elastics

Step 1


  • Gather your hair into a ponytail – position this as high or low as you would like the bun to go.

Step 2SAM_2925

  • Next, slide the ponytail through the hair doughnut.

Step 3


  • Fan all the hair outwards around the doughnut to cover it up.

Step 4SAM_2923

  • Your hair will now be gathered around the doughnut and look like this.

Step 5


  • Secure the doughnut in place with 2 hair elastics.

Step 6


  • Finally, secure loose strands of hair in place around the bun with hair grips. Voilà, you’ve created a bun!

Read more from Steph here


“I Spent Thousands on an Addiction to Legal Highs”

Clockwork Orange – a blend of ‘herbal incense‘ Photo credit: Wales Online

by Bridget Owen

* = Name has been changed for anonymity

In February this year, Emma*,19, and her friends began to experiment with ‘legal highs‘. She had no idea how dangerous and addictive they were until she’d been using them everyday for a number of months, and found herself unable to stop.

“We’d heard about legal highs from a friend, and wanted to see what it was all about. I’ve always been weary of drugs and what I’m putting into my body, but what possible harm could a legal drug do!?”

Legal highs come in a number of forms, and are sold cheaply across the country.

Emma* was using a herbal blend of ‘synthetic cannabinoids’ which is supposed to mimic the effects of Class B drug – Cannabis, the most widely used illegal drug in the UK.

This blend, usually referred to as ‘herbal incense’ is legal only because it is not yet fully known what the drug consists of. It is advertised that the high gives you a ‘buzz’ for just under an hour.

Certain forms were banned from sale in February from ‘head shops’ but manufacturers changed the blends and re-manufactured the drug under a different name to re-distribute it. Some of those that were banned in February are called ‘Black Mamba’, and ‘Mexxy’.

The long term effects of ‘herbal incense ‘ have not yet been established, but there have been many cases of legal highs going wrong in recent news. Just two weeks ago three teenagers were rushed to hospital in Wales, after falling ill from taking a blend of herbal incense. They were reported to be vomiting blood.

The legal high is attractive to young people with it's packaging

The legal high is attractive to young people with it’s bright packaging

“I didn’t research the drug before I used it. I acquired it easily, and the man in the shop told me everything I thought I needed to know. He sold it like it was a cupcake or something, passing it off so gently. Little did I know this was the beginning of an awful experience.”

Emma* and her friends used the drug for an evening, but none of her friends were that interested by it and saw it as a waste- they didn’t like the drugs effects. They stopped using the drug, they had work to do, and full time jobs. However, Emma* had enjoyed the feeling the drug gave her.

As a first year University student, she didn’t really see that she had much to do, and carried on using, usually smoking it all day, everyday. She found that the more she smoked it, the more she got used to it, and needed to use more each time. She was soon spending £150 per week and going through more every day.

“My tolerance levels changed so quickly, I couldn’t get the feeling I wanted without using more. I used various blends of the drug when they became available. There were three head shops where I lived, all within a mile of each other. So there was a constant, easy supply.”

It wasn’t until she went home for a weekend in March that she really withdrew from the drug.

“I had one last hit the morning before I got on the train to go home. By 5pm I had the chills, I was sweating and no appetite, like I was getting ill. I passed it off to my parents as the flu, and when I returned to my student flat I continued to use the drug. I had no idea that my body had been suffering from withdrawal.”

As a couple more months passed, Emma* began to lose sight of everything. Her personal relationships began to fail, and she couldn’t get up and go anywhere without using the drug first. Her life completely revolved around this fix.

“I would wake up in the night, sweating, if I hadn’t used for a few hours. I was restless and angry if I wasn’t able to use. If I was halfway through my stash I would have already planned when I would go out to get more. I couldn’t think about anything else. When my boyfriend came home at night he would just find me in a barely concious state. I would fall asleep constantly, sometimes halfway through the day, and didn’t have any pride in my appearance any more- something I had previously found really important.”

Although Emma* knew she had changed, she still didn’t see her addiction as a real problem or didn’t want to. She continued to spend money on the high. The closest people to her knew, and had mentioned it, but she would always deny her addiction, and began to try and hide it.

“I knew deep down I had a problem. The turning point was when I found myself shaking, stood outside a ‘head shop’ waiting for it to open on a Sunday afternoon.

“I’d run out, was having a stressful day, and the shop owner was an hour late. I felt nervous thinking he wasn’t going to show up at all. I couldn’t manage without.

“There were other people waiting for it to open too. I found myself chatting to them about it opening, going onto talking about our habits. They also used this herbal high, but they were the kind of people I would never usually associate with.

“When the shop finally opened I was the first in, and buying the most. I casually handed over £50 and rushed home to smoke it. This would usually mean the end of worrying and panic for the day, but I just felt disgusted in myself. Hanging around outside a shop with other drug users waiting for it to open was the last straw. Especially as I was so jittery and panicky at the thought of not being able to get any more.”

Research into the drug also helped change Emma’s* mind about using.

“As soon as I looked for people in a similar situation, I found them, posting from across the world posting about their troubles with addiction to herbal blends. A little on-line community welcomed people to share their stories and I felt able to talk about my experience.

“I felt so much happier knowing I wasn’t alone. They also gave really good advice about how I should go about slow withdrawal from the drug to make it easier to stop. Some of those in the community stated that some of the blends had made them hallucinate and feel sick.”

After reading up about addiction, she began to plan how she would come off the drug which was all down to careful planning. Emma* decided she didn’t want to involve anyone else in her struggle.

“Even though people wanted to help, I felt ashamed of the person I’d become, and became determined to fight this addiction myself. I didn’t tell anyone I was dealing with the problem, I wanted to keep things as normal as possible to keep my mind off it.”

“I was advised to slow my intake of the drug down, instead of cutting it out completely. I wanted to go to a GP but I still felt unable to talk to someone about it. I began to cut my amounts down over three days. It wasn’t easy. I cracked and went to buy some as soon as I’d run out, making the withdrawal process begin all over again.”

“It was so frustrating having to fight a constant battle with myself.”

“The first three days of my final withdrawal were the worst. The chills started immediately I couldn’t control my temperature. I’d be sat shivering one second and sweating the next. I had no appetite at all. I would try and force myself to eat but I would just feel sick. I couldn’t sleep, and when I did sleep I would wake up soaked in sweat.”

Emma* has now been drug free for three weeks, and is beginning to feel and look better in herself. Coming out of an anxious depression she is feeling much more positive about the future.

“I still have the most random uncontrollable mood swings, coming off and staying off has been the most difficult thing I’ve done so far. It’s about knowing you have a problem and wanting to stop, and I was my own worst enemy.

“Knowing I’ve beaten the addiction makes me really happy, it proves I can do anything I can put my mind to.

“It won’t change the fact that I’ve spent thousands of pounds on the drug, I’m in a heap of debt, and I have nothing but bad memories to show for it, but I have defeated this problem, I have learnt from it, and I have a healthy bright future ahead of me.

“People needs to be wary about ‘legal highs’. Just because it’s legal, it doesn’t mean that it’s safe.”

Although Emma* has chosen to keep her identity anonymous, she is happy to answer any questions you may have about legal highs and addiction. Please send any questions to

David Hilton-Turner, Chesterfield, was recently effected by the legal high Clockwork Orange when his son Matthew was rushed to hospital from taking it. His son has since recovered but the ordeal has spurred David into a fight against these highs being sold legally in the UK.

David has begun his campaign by speaking to Look North, Toby Perkins, MP for Chesterfield, and his sons story featured on the front page of the Derbyshire times last week.

Read Matthew’s story Here

David: “I feel like this matter needs to be pursued and needs the utmost attention and I am not prepared to let this matter dwindle into thin air.”

To join the fight against legal highs David has created a Facebook group -“UK against legal highs” which he encourages people with their own stories of legal highs to share and support the cause.

If you’re confused about drugs, or worried about someone else, you can also Talk to Frank. FRANK has confidential drugs information and advice is available 24-hours-a-day.

Drugs information from the NHS

  • To find out more about specific drugs, including mephedrone (meow meow), BZP, GBL and naphyrone, go to the A-Z of Drugs on the FRANK website.
  • For confidential advice about all aspects of drugs and drugs use, call the FRANK helpline on 0800 77 66 00.


Although these drugs are marketed as legal substances, this doesn’t mean that they are safe or approved for people to use. It just means that they’ve not been declared illegal to use and possess. They are still normally considered illegal to sell under medicines legislation.

Some drugs marketed as legal highs actually contain some ingredients that are illegal to possess.

The risks

Legal highs can carry serious health risks. The chemicals they contain have in most cases never been used in drugs for human consumption before, so haven’t been tested to show that they are safe. Users can never be certain what they are taking and what the effects might be.

Other risks:

  • You increase the risk to yourself if you combine alcohol with any legal or illegal substance that causes a high, including the risk of death.
  • Reduced inhibitions, drowsiness, excited or paranoid states, coma, seizures and death.
  • Because legal highs are often new and, in many cases, the actual chemical ingredients in a branded product can be changed without you knowing, the risks are unpredictable.
  • It is likely that a drug sold as a ‘legal high’ may contain one or more substances that are actually illegal to possess.

When to seek medical help

Most problems with short-term use of legal highs will settle after you stop taking them. However, the negative effects of some legal highs can take a few days to wear off completely, just like the comedown from stimulants such as cocaine and amphetamines.

If you think you are having a serious negative reaction soon after taking a legal high or you experience problems that do not settle with a little time out, fluids and fresh air, get medical help straight away by going to the accident and emergency department of your nearest hospital.

Credit: NHS

More from Bridget

Your Guide To Holiday Hair

Relaxing on remote beach

      Picture: thomas cook holiday

By Kim Perry

The unfamiliar blazing heat and humidity in the air often causes chaos with your hair.  After just a few days in the holiday sun you can be left with hair that feels completely dried out, frizzy and frazzled.

Professional hair stylist Hayley Brice at ‘The Cutting Shop’ in the West Midlands has the solutions to all your problems, sharing her secrets on how to keep your hair looking perfect this summer.


“Even if it’s the very ends.” Says Hayley, “Split ends are usually the easy targets for sun damage, so it’s always best to get rid of them before you go.”

We suggest – Book your appointment the week before, this way your hair will be freshly cut and has enough time to ‘settle’.


“Even though its not always appropriate, covering your hair will protect it from sun damage.” says Hayley.

We suggest – Get yourself a straw hat, perfect for holiday heat and they look great!


… and we don’t mean wet. “Leave in conditioners are a must for hair thats exposed to a lot of sun, you need to keep as much moisture in your hair as possible.”

We suggest – Use it before you go so your hair is already in the best condition.


“Plaiting your hair leaves it from going astray, and its ideal for when your in the pool.”

We suggest – The side plait and fishtail are key styles this summer, and keep the heat off your back.


According to Hayley, It’s not just the sun that can dry out your hair. “Salt from sea water and chlorine from pools are just as bad as drying out hair, just quickly rinse it out to give your hair that little bit extra protection.”

We suggest – A quick rinse under those beach showers will save you running back to your room.

Our top hair picks for your suitcase…


Aussie Miracle Hair Insurance, leave in conditioner, £4.49, Superdrug.

Perfect for locking in that moisture!


Fudge Urban Sea Salt Spray, £6.99, Superdrug.

This spray is ideal for turning damp hair to perfect beach waves.


L’Oreal Anti Frizz Serum, £5.99, Superdrug.

A must have for hair thats prone to frizzing in the humidity.

(photo source:

Read more stories from Kim here

Lisa Hempstock; home-grown designer fashion label ‘Sister,’ charity fashion shows and online global market

by Railah Iqbal

Sister boutique on Ecclesshall road in Sheffield

Sister boutique on Ecclesshall Road in Sheffield

Lisa Hempstock- owner of 'Sister'

Lisa Hempstock- owner of ‘Sister’

Lisa Hempstock started as a teen business woman specialising in lingerie and is now a leading fashion entrepreneur for designer clothes with an upcoming charity fashion show.
Lisa owns boutiques; ‘Sister’ for ladies designer fashion in Sheffield and Chesterfield and she has built a worldwide customer network through her online retail business.
The inspiration for Lisa to own a business spurred from her father’s business. Lisa explained; “I’ve always had a passion to be self-employed and my father had a business in machine and engineering which was seen as a man’s world, so I was not allowed to join it.”
Lisa first took to the fashion industry when she decided to set up a brand and build a career rather than undertaking job roles in other people’s companies. Lisa said; “Whilst I worked for others, I put in a lot of hours and always gave 200%. So one day I thought why don’t I put all this effort into something for myself and I have always had a passion for fashion.”
Her first trademark in the fashion world was through a lingerie store; ‘Caress’ in Sheffield’s city centre in the 1980s. She sold creative underwear to “fill the gap in the market because M&S started had taken ‘knickerbocker’ concept but it was nothing as creative as people wanted.”
‘Caress’ developed into ‘Sister’ when Lisa decided to specifically target professional clientele. Lisa said; “I cater for those who understand good quality clothing.”

Model showing Lisa's latest collection

Model showing Lisa’s latest collection

However just before the first store opening Lisa fell severely ill and ended up in hospital. With the help of her family the store saw its re-launch and is now a popular brand across South Yorkshire.
Lisa explains that a successful fashion business should be customer orientated; “we will wrap a £25 tunic in the same nice tissue paper as a £200 dress, because good customer experiences are important to a healthy business.”Locations of fashion businesses are important in its success and Lisa is hoping to branch out her business in southern areas.
Lisa added; “ I would love to have a shop further down south because I feel there are more opportunities for new businesses there.”
Further Lisa’s recent uptake on the e-business industry through ‘Sister Online’ was a successful move. She explained; “It had a positive effect and it has reached people globally as well as brought people into the store. I should have done it time ago.”

Lisa's fashion leaflet

Lisa’s fashion leaflet

Lisa also established that fashion shows advertising her products are a key marketing device. Her most recent one, held in-store at Sister on Ecclesshall Road, modelled Lisa’s collections and customers were able to purchase items at the end of each show. Lisa said; “I wanted to do a fashion show in-store so people can come in, have a glass of wine, enjoy the show and then are drawn to buying our clothes.”
This show is a taster of the big event happening in Chesterfield on Thursday 16th May and all of the proceedings from this, Lisa is donating to the Ash-Gate charity. If you are interested in attending the event, check out Sister’s page for further information.

Check out Lisa’s fashion show exclusively here:

Photography and video by Railah

Read more stories from Railah

Blue Lip Feel: on being in the studio, touring and their love for 70s fashion

By Lucy Howell

Press Shot

Press Shot

Polkadots & Potions caught up with Sheffield quartet Blue Lip Feel who are singer-guitarist Oliver Tooze, guitarist Conor Houston, bassist Will Adams and drummer Sam Bywater.

So you’ve been in the studio. How did that go?

It’s been great, you know there’s something special awaiting you on your last Mix of the studio session and we know were working harder all the time and the new material is our favourite work to date.

Who’s involved? 

Blue lip Feel, Alan Smyth (2fly) and our good friend Stevie Keys.

When can we expect an album? 

Not for a long time. There are certain steps this band has yet taken to lay the gauntlet as such and we would have to be extremely excited about tracks to record an album, in a year and a half would be about right, so expect it then I guess.

Take me through your song writing process…

It’s constantly changing, it’s sometimes all of us sat down trying to collectively add instruments and adding vocal from pre-written lyrics. Or like the most of the time, we just start singing a fresh melody.

Which song are you most excited by/proud of and why?

Man I Am, it felt like a progression with our music ability and our maturity,

You’re on tour with Tribes at them moment, how’s it going?

It’s unreal, they have been amazing to us guys. Such great talented guys and they’re just giving us a break we need. We met some amazing folk on the tour and gained so many new fans. These gigs have been amazing for us.

What kind of music influences you?

Music that has that spark that makes you want to sing, play and write music yourself.

We love artists, singers and players from all genres. Mainly guitar music but we are open to everything.

Where’s your favourite place to play and why?

The Leadmill is always amazing. There’s a certain spirit when taking to its stage. It’s our hometown favourite.

The reception you get in London seems to get better each time you play there. Would you ever consider moving there?

Yeah we’re currently considering it now.

Who would you most like to tour with and why?

Phoenix. Because they would be such a good band to watch side of the stage every night, and they’re humour in interviews looks similar to ours.

What’s your dream festival line-up? (Dead or alive)

An answer that could be time consuming…

Were thinking, The Doors, The Beatles, Bob Dylan, The Strokes, The Rolling Stones, Phoenix, Neil Young, Led Zeppelin, Otis Redding, Amy Winehouse, Nirvana, Hot Hot Heat, Thin Lizzy, Laura Marling, Melody Gardot, Kings of Leon, Jimi Hendrix, Arcade Fire, The White Stripes, The velvet Underground, Van Morrison, Ray Davies,

What music are you listening to at the moment, any new bands?

Transfer are the best new band we discovered, they are also on the tribes tour they are incredible.


How would you describe your fashion sense?

The Early 70’s

Do you still work at Freshman’s Vintage Store in Sheffield? 

Yeah it’s great, All freshman’s shoppers are just great people to work around.

Do you cherry pick the new stock for yourself?

I certainly do.

What’s your favourite item of clothing?

A handmade South American waistcoat.

What’s the worst thing you or your band mates have ever worn?

Jeans with no crotch.

Where do you shop?

Probably in your old man’s wardrobe.

You’ve got a young Caleb (KOL) style hairdo- was he your inspiration?

Not for the hair do, but a young Caleb was a cool cat.

Who’s your style icon if you had to pick one?

Its difficult to say most probably Marc Bolan,

Second would either be, Jim Morrison, Keith Richards or Bob Dylan

You can catch Blue Lip Feel at Mosborough Music Festival on Sunday 23rd June. Get your tickets here.

In the mean time, listen to their latest track from the band’s official SoundCloud page :

Click here to read more from Lucy

It’s been a cruel summer for Mermaid Killer

by Leigh Morley

Punk rock entrepreneur and proud vegan Felicity Jayn Heath seems to have it all at just 24. Not content with being a very famous blogger, this Australian babe has to have her own hugely successful clothing line to boot. Polka Dots & Potions grill Felicity on what it’s like to have it all, her unique vegan clothing line, and where the name Mermaid Killer actually came from…


Since flying home to Australia from the glitzy Los Angeles, Felicity had come to the realisation that an acting career wasn’t what she wanted. When arriving down under, she was no longer under any restraints from the acting industry, and so began dying her hair eccentric colours again, dressing however she wanted, and so stumbled into the world of fashion.

Felicity’s vision stemmed from a mixture of the early 90’s riot grrrl movement, Disney cartoon characters and early noughties punk and ‘emo’ music. The name Mermaid Killer was born, and so was the name for her famous micro blog, ‘Punk Rock Mermaid’.


Mermaid Killer’s Facebook page has since gained over 4,000 likes and Felicity’s clothing line has exploded into the fashion world. Felicity’s forward thinking attitude and friendly, respectful approach to designing her line has created something completely unique and refreshing.

“I want people to feel like they can wear anything when in Mermaid Killer,” Felicity explains. “I hate this idea of “I love it but I could never pull it off”. Uhm, yes you can. You can do whatever you want and it should make you feel amazing and empowered!”

Felicity talks about her line passionately on her blog, as well as her choice to become a vegan and incorporating that into her Mermaid Killer line.


The first collection to appear on Mermaid Killer was the Thrash, Riot & Resist range, a nod of appreciation to punk rock music everywhere and has even been worn by famous musicians such as Jenna McDougall, lead singer of pop-punk band, Tonight Alive.

Following this hugely successful collection, Felicity worked extremely hard and released yet another fabulous range, Animalia: Adopted, which featured adorable crew neck t shirts and jumpers with kittens and puppies made into skulls. Adding to the release of this fabulous new collection, 10% of all profits went to the Animal Welfare League.


The latest range is titled Cruel Summer, something Felicity explained she worked incredibly hard on. All of the designs and clothing were made for a large variety of people, coming in men’s, women’s, plus sizes and gender neutral cuts, something Felicity takes a lot of pride on.

Not only is there equality for buyers of Mermaid Killer, but for the people creating the garments, too. Felicity proudly admits that her company is vegan, ethical and good quality, something that definitely helps her stand out from other designers.


“Mermaid Killer garments are sourced locally in Sydney through small businesses. I do this to ensure ethical practices and decent pay rates are kept considering I run a vegan clothing company,” Felicity explains. “Considering Sydney is one of the most expensive places to live, it is also one of the most expensive cities in the world to rent real estate. This is reflected in what I pay to get my garments made, which is fine. I also do my best to get high quality garments and high quality printing. The prints are digitally printed and stretch and retract with the movement of the garment, rather than splitting.”

There’s no denying that this punk rock babe has landed on her feet. She’s created something unique and special, she’s done it independently and it’s safe to say, she’s kicking major ass in the fashion world.

Find more posts by Leigh Morley here

This week we’re wearing…Aztec

Me wearing my new aztec outfit - Dress, £15,; Tights, £3, New Look

Me wearing my new aztec outfit – Dress, £15,; Tights, £3, New Look

Ladder back detail on dress (£15)

Ladder back detail on dress (£15)

Words by Steph Hodgkinson

Up and down the high street there’s one trend that’s everywhere at the moment: aztec. The bright and bold print is quickly becoming this summer’s hottest trend and a staple for every girl’s wardrobe.

Whether it’s monochrome or multi-coloured, there’s something eye-catching for everyone this season. New Look are particularly nailing the look with their extensive collection of crop tops, bandeaus, midi and maxi dresses and shorts. Boohoo have also followed suit with their ‘Aztec Invasion’ collection.

Sally Crosby, who works for Topshop, says the look is back in: “It’s definitely on-trend to wear aztec this season, and it’s one of this summer’s staples along with midi and maxi dresses.”

Ashley Tisdale in a sequinned aztec dress

Ashley Tisdale in a sequinned aztec dress. Image courtesy of

Dress down the look for daytime with an aztec top and stonewashed jeans, or glam it up with wedges and a colourful midi dress – the perfect alternative to a maxi for petite girls.

Celebrities from Ashley Tisdale to Megan Fox have been spotted rocking the trend recently. So what are you waiting for? Here’s our pick of the best aztec pieces from the high street…

Megan Fox rocking an aztec dress. Image courtesy of

New Look

Red & blue aztec midi, £16.99

Red & blue aztec midi, £16.99

Monochrome stripe sleeveless aztec midi dress, £14.99

Pink and black sleeveless crop top, £9.99

Cameo Rose multicoloured crop top, £7.99

Cameo Rose multicoloured crop top, £7.99

Pink and purple zig zag maxi tube skirt, £16.99

Pink and purple zig zag maxi tube skirt, £16.99






Amie embroidered denim hotpants, £20

Amie embroidered denim hotpants, £20

Frankie strip aztec crop racer shirt, £15

Frankie stripe aztec crop racer shirt, £15

Izzy tie front playsuit, £18

Izzy tie front playsuit, £18

Astrella aztec monochrome leggings, £8

Astrella aztec monochrome leggings, £8

Ezra light aztec leggings, £8

Ezra light aztec leggings, £8

All images above courtesy of New Look or Boohoo

Read more from Steph here