Thursday, October 31, 2013

Fancy Dress: Cat Make-Up Tutorial!

I've just come across a makeup tutorial that my friend, Lauren did recently in association with Halo Wipes. I thought I'd post the link and an image in case any of you lovely ladies were as stuck as I am for Halloween fancy dress ideas.


This post originated at

Happy Halloween!

This picture was actually taken at the end of August (during the bank holiday weekend), when I was on a night out and took a fancy dress outfit as I wasn't entirely sure if I was going to dress up for the 'Fucked Up Fairytale' Ball at Rave on in Leeds. I was going to go as a Fairytale witch, but with a twist.

Anyway, I decided against it - as it's actually a size or 2 too big... but whilst drunk in Manchester (hence the one stocking on and one tied around my neck) the night before, I put it on to see if my mates noticed I'd changed (well, not changed, but put it on over my actual dress) - they found it hilarious, but I clearly looked like an idiot, in a witches outfit like that, in August - on well, fun and games haha.

Are you out tonight? Will you be dressing up, if so what as?

This post originated at

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Wordless (ish) Wednesday - Fun at Vogue Fashion's Night Out @ Selfridges, Manchester 2013!

Started with a couple of drinks.

Chanel manicures, large crowds, shoes and soap stars.
More cosmopolitan cocktails.
Sweet treat stands, although I didn't make use of these as I forgot.
It's only Henry Holland... what a nice guy!
Eliza Doolittle playing music at MAC.
Oh go on then, one more of Mr Holland.
I had such a brilliant night, did a lot of celeb spotting, made a little use of the free bar, and generally just had a brilliant time there. Please come back to Manchester soon, Vogue.

This post originated at

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

5 Skincare Mistakes You Probably Don't Know You're Making.

Most people take their skin for granted until something goes wrong. A spot appears, so you buy some cream to clear it up; you notice some lines, so you buy anti-wrinkle products. But you could be causing skin problems without even realising it.

The two biggest mistakes

We’ve all heard the warnings about covering up and using a high SPF cream in the sunshine, but did you know that you should apply sun cream every day? Even during winter, when you’re in the daylight, some ultraviolet rays can penetrate the cloud cover and damage your skin. Smoking is the next biggest cause of skin problems and is terrible for your health, not just your skin. Smoking restricts your circulation, reducing your skin's suppleness and leading to premature ageing. Quitting is the best option.

Sleep well and exercise

Lack of sleep can take its toll on your looks in general and leave you with lacklustre skin. As you sleep, your skin cells are refreshed because of a state called ‘parasympathetic mode’ in which the systems that are not part of your core receive more energy than usual. If you don’t get enough sleep, your skin cells will not be renewed as quickly as they should. As well as benefiting your heart, lungs and muscles, exercise is important for your skin. When you exercise, your circulation improves and that’s great for your skin, so get those trainers out of the cupboard and head for the park.

Skincare products

If you chop and change products frequently, they won't have a chance to work and your skin will suffer because of it. Give products at least three months to effect any changes, unless you notice sensitivity to them. The age of products is important, too. Are you still using make-up or toiletries that you’ve had for years? There’s a good chance that they have outlived their usefulness and they could be harbouring bacteria. One product you shouldn't be without is exfoliating cream. Exfoliating cream benefits come from removing dead skin cells, allowing the unhampered growth of new cells. It should be a part of your routine, but not every time you wash, as that would be too harsh on your skin.


Some people like to take a long, hot shower as part of their beauty routine, to wash away all dirt and also to open their pores. However, this causes the loss of oils that are beneficial to the skin. Shower in warm water, for a shorter time, to avoid drying out your skin. Your skin also needs to be properly hydrated from the inside to enable its circulation to work properly. Drinking plenty of water will make sure that your cells can function properly. There is no set amount of fluid to aim for, as needs vary, but experts recommend that you don’t allow yourself to become thirsty.


It’s unlikely that you are an expert in skin conditions, yet you’ve probably been guilty of self-diagnosis at some point. If you notice a blemish or rash that doesn’t go away within a week, ask at your local pharmacy or see your GP for a professional diagnosis rather than trying all sorts of self-prescribed remedies that may make things worse.

By having a good look at your habits and recognising your mistakes, you can make your skincare routine into something much more beneficial. Your skin has a big job to do; by treating it properly, you’re making sure it does the best job it can.

News piece*

This post originated at

Monday, October 28, 2013

Buckley Poppy Designs for Remembrance Day!

My favourite Buckley Poppy Products.
The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month... the moment hostilities ended in World War 1, and what we now know to be Armistice day, Remembrance day, or Poppy day. Whatever you call it, it's a significant day that every one of us should acknowledge.

The poppy has long been the emblem of Remembrance day, and I can still remember my days back in primary school where we'd all wear our paper poppies both to school, and special remembrance services alike.

Nowadays, whilst the paper poppies are still going strong, and are still the first choice for the majority of people; there's also the option to get a fancier option (sported by many celebrities), such as the ones I'm showing you in this post. Now these options don't always get a good reception with some people, who think that the simple paper poppy is a perfectly good option (which it is, I would never say it's not good enough), and that it is disrespectful to make such an occasion into a fashion thing. But honestly, I quite like the sparkly poppies that are widely available, and in my opinion, any money and awareness being raised for the cause is allll good with me.
I make no secret of being a magpie who loves a bit of bling, which is why I really do love these sparkly/glossy Buckley created poppy designs; and I totally don't see it as being disrespectful either... especially if it gets people to wear poppies/donate to the cause who normally wouldn't bother. My favourite absolutely HAS to be the 'Large Poppy Brooch' and also the keyring too... bling-a-ling.

All items will be available from either QVC, The Poppy Shop, Or Buckley London.

What do you think of these? Do you prefer the paper version, or are you also partial to a bit of sparkle?

This post originated at

Friday, October 25, 2013

Flash Photography & Your Foundation!

These are old images of myself, that, due to technical and life issues I never got around to posting within this article that I planned a year ago... it's weird to think that I don't actually look like that any longer.

There are a plethora of foundations on the market to choose from these days, all of which with their own skin perfecting properties. Whether you need pore perfecting, redness reducing or something completely different, there will be a foundation to suit your needs. I, myself have a plethora of foundations just in my own makeup collection, because, depending on how my skin is on any given day, I may need to tackle a different 'issue'!

Most foundations these days seem to come with SPF already built in, which is great for those who wear foundation during the day and want to skip the whole SPF application step (let's face it, anything time saving is usually preferable when you lead a busy life, like most of us do)! However, it's not so good when it comes to the evenings, where you may be being photographed with flash enabled on a camera. You see SPF has the tendency to react with the flash, and make you look like Casper the ghost in the finished image.

Take for instance the foundation I'm wearing in the above images. It is actually one of my favourites, Lancome's Teint Miracle; but with the SPF AND light reflecting particles (that without the flash photography actually makes my skin look brilliantly radiant), I have no chance of avoiding that ghostly hue when being photographed with direct flash whilst wearing it.

The images above were taken on the same night, in the same room, with the same lighting, makeup and camera (phone) with the only difference being that the first was taken without flash, and the second, with flash. There's a huge difference, as you can see.

So, when choosing a foundation for the day, you really need to be thinking about what your day/evening will entail. If you think there's a chance of you being photographed in the evening, here are some ways to avoid the casper 'white face' effect:

  • Choose a foundation without SPF in it.
  • Choose a foundation without light reflecting particles.
  • Use a matte bronzer/tinted setting powder over the top of your foundation - this will add colour to your skin, plus the matte finish should help with the flash reflecting off those pesky reflective particles.
  • If you have a DSLR camera, use an external flash where you can deflect the flash off another surface, rather than your face, or use a flash diffuser.
  • If you have a normal camera or no external flash for your DSLR, use one-ply of tissue (just one layer, not one sheet) over the actual flash, this will act as a makeshift diffuser.

There's not a fool proof way of knowing how much any given foundation will react with the flash of a camera, I've had some foundations with SPF in them that haven't photographed as badly, I'm not sure if that's due to the foundation itself, or the conditions where the photographs were taken... but on the whole, I'd recommend trying to avoid any products with SPF in for evening wear, just in case.

Do you know of any foundations that photograph well? Or, do you have a foundation that gives you a particularly ghostly face when faced with the flash of a camera? Let me know. x

This post originated at

Thursday, October 24, 2013

My Essential Pre-Holiday Beauty Preparation!

I love holidays; I love everything about them (minus the packing and remembering of important things like passports etc, the paying for the holiday, and mostly the coming home); but I definitely love the excitement of looking forward to it, starting the holiday early at the airport - and yes I do mean boozing at wherever they'll put up with us in the departure lounge, boarding the plane, arriving (love it when that heat hits you as you step off the plane), and then of course the holiday itself.

However, before I go on holiday, there are definitely beauty chores that need tending to so that my holiday is as chore free as possible. I mean who wants to be shaving daily, or doing nail polish etc. when there's fun to be had?! Not me, that’s for sure! That's why I'm letting you know about my absolute essentials when it comes to my own holiday beauty preparation.
Hair Appointments:

The first chore to be tackled was my hair, because, other than the roots needing to be done, I wanted my hair colour as fresh and as vibrant as possible for the whole holiday; and with the potential for excessive fading due to the sun and swimming pool action, this was even more important for me. I stuck with the same colour combination I've been having recently, as I felt that a change (not in overall colour, just the tips) could mean that the colour build up that I had achieved so far with the orange-y tips could all be undone, thus there would be even more risk of fading.

I recommend having your hair colour done a few days before you fly if you're going for something slightly new/different, that way you have time to make alterations, should it not be to your liking. Otherwise, get it done as close to your departure time as possible for longevity.
Manicures and Pedicures:

Before gel nail polish existed, I would just go for a bog standard manicure before my holiday, in the hope that my nails would look nice for as long as possible; but then end up having to re-do or top up my nails myself throughout the holiday, since normal polish is extremely prone to fading and chipping very quickly, more so when in a holiday environment.

Nowadays, we have gel polish... thank god, and it has been an absolute godsend because it absolutely 100% lasts for my entire holiday (well unless I'm going on an extended break of more than 3 weeks - I wish!) without chipping, or fading. I had gel polish on both my finger and toe nails, which lasted for the entire holiday, and then some. In fact, the only reason it had to come off was due to regrowth. Although I actually have a post coming up soon about how to extend your gel polish a little longer, if only down to regrowth starting to show. I got my nails done the day before I went on holiday, which worked well for me as they lasted perfectly.

For your reference, I had my nails done at Blink Brow Bar at Selfridges in Manchester; and the colours I believe I had were Artistic Colour Gloss in shades Sexy (the coral-y pink shade on all but 'feature' ring finger), Sultry (the orange shade on my feature finger) and Halo (the sparkly top coat on my thumb and ring fingers)!
Hair Removal:

Well I've already written an article on hair removal recently, so I won't go into it in too much detail as you can read that here! However, when I go on holiday, I absolutely need to feel like I am hair free for the entire time. I mean nobody wants to be in a bikini with hairs that have escaped, or grown back poking out, do they (ew)?!

So, I tend to schedule in a bikini (Hollywood) and thigh wax as standard and then epilate the rest of my body (underarms and lower legs) as I can just about take the epilation pain there but then I keep on top of the fuzz with the epilator, if and when I need to whilst over there - which is rare, but I take it with me anyway! Now that I am doing some at home laser hair removal, I'm hoping that this will be a redundant step for future holidays though.

I also make sure my eyebrows are freshly threaded, as nobody likes a messy brow. ;-)
This isn't an eyelash perm image, it's an old image from a very old Max Factor False Lash Effect post.

I think this is another holiday essential if you want your eyelashes to look great whilst by the pool/on the beach during the day, but don't want to be putting makeup on for whatever reason. I personally don't wear makeup at all throughout the day whilst on holiday, unless going to a day time event/club - so having my eyelashes 'done' just makes me feel better about that.

I was actually due to have my eyelashes either permed or extended at Blink Brow Bar on the day that I left the country. However due to a mishap beyond my control, I was unable to make it there that day. I will be having these done on another occasion, so expect a separate review post on this soon.


Lots of people have fake tan applied before they jet off on their jollies, but I find this to be a total waste of time, since as soon as you hit the pool, the chlorine actually strips the tan straight off. If you're planning on staying poolside, this may not be such an issue, but I definitely like taking dips to cool down, at the very least. I do take a few short sunbed sessions to prepare my skin for the sun before I go, not necessarily the healthiest option, but I do find it helps to prevent overcooking my skin the moment I get there.

Weight loss - I always try to diet and tone up before a holiday. The fact that people will be seeing me in not much more than 'glorified underwear' through the day is a large factor in this. Obviously this is a personal thing, you may not need to lose any (lucky thing) but if you do, timing with this will depend on how much you need or want to lose.

Exfoliation is a key treatment to do both before and throughout your holiday if you're planning on tanning. The more you exfoliate, the better your tan will be, and the longer it will last. Dead, dry skin is not a good look at any time though. I tend to use a nice body scrub AND a scrubby mitt or sponge to slough away any dead cells.

So there you have it, my holiday preparation essentials. I would normally have posted this earlier in the year, however I obviously still had a lot going on then with my personal life (and then technical issues), so it's a case of better late than never and this will hopefully help those of you jetting off for some winter sun. You lucky things.

What holiday preparation do you do?

This post originated at

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Wordless (ish) Wednesday!

I am ill, I barely have a voice and I'm coughing like it's going out of fashion. My brain is a fuzzy mess, but I hope to get a post or 2 up soon and I definitely hope to be fixed enough to go out on Friday and Saturday - my weekend absolutely cannot suffer for this.

Anybody else caught the dreaded lurgy? x

This post originated at

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

The Chore That is: Hair Removal - Saying Farewell to The Fuzz!

Me, preparing for my waxing at the Fake Bake Boutique in Manchester.
I’ve always said that men have it easy. No periods, no child birth, no hair and makeup tasks to deal with (for most men anyway, and as much as I love hair & beauty in their entirety, they can be a bit of a chore at times with how long it takes to get ready), and… no having to religiously remove hair from almost all of their body!! The fact that those few reasons are just the main few ‘perks’ of being a bloke that came to the top of my head prove my point as I’m sure there’s plenty more to boot.

Anyway, how you remove your body hair is a personal choice to each and every one of us, but one thing that remains the same, it’s never, ever enjoyable. It is a chore, there’s no getting away from this fact, AND there is always, always a down side to each hair removal technique. I should know, I've tried most methods in a bid to say a final farewell to the fuzz.

Let’s look at the main contenders, and my view on each one:

Shaving: Well this is a quick fix, cheap, and easily done if in a rush… if the errr need to shave arises unexpectedly, you know what I am talking about girls. Sounds great, but it doesn’t last. The fact that it lasts basically no time at all, the stubble that comes shortly after (sometimes the same day, depending on how unfortunate your hair growth is for you), potential shaving cuts (ouch) and shaving rash definitely put me off using this as my regular hair removal routine – unless as part of a laser hair removal course, which I’ll move onto near the end of this post.

Hair removal creams: Yuck, I hate these. They have never really worked on my hair, so are probably only good for fine/fair hair and not much of it. They’re messy, smelly and again don’t work for long – I also find them time consuming, since you’re supposed to leave the cream on to dissolve the hair which is an arduous task, since you can’t do much else other than wait. This is even worse if you're treating a more delicate, or hidden area that may require you to hold your arms high in the air/above your head, or worse... hold your legs open for the entire time - lovely. The 'rough' stubble isn’t quite as much of an issue as shaving, since the hair isn’t cut off as bluntly, but you will still get a rapid regrowth that you will feel, since the follicle is left intact.

Waxing: This was my choice of hair removal for many years, visiting a salon religiously every 4 weeks to have my body hair ripped from the follicles. I was always happy with the smooth finish that waxing left me with, and the fact that it lasted a good few weeks before I felt like I was getting some regrowth. What I wasn’t happy with was ingrown hairs, the cost of going somewhere decent to get a Brazilian or a Hollywood and the having to leave it until there was enough regrowth to be removed for the smoothness to return. Let’s face it ladies, it’s not ideal to *have* to let your hair grow, when you want to be ‘match fit’ 100% of the time, is it?! It’s also incredibly painful, especially in sensitive areas (armpits and bikini area being the worst culprits). That being said, I did have a couple of waxing appointments (at the Fake Bake Boutique in Selfridges, Manchester) just before my holiday and just after for the immediate and long lasting 'effect' that I required, both of which I was over the moon with (no ingrown hairs etc).

Epilating: In-between waxes, I would often find myself epilating should the need to be fuzz free arise. And, I actually maintained my hair free status for quite some time using epilation. This was actually a godsend, as; with decent epilators you can remove hair as short as a grain of sand, which means you have the benefit of removing the hair from the follicle (and the longevity with the result), with no need to actually grow the hair to a length that you’re not entirely comfortable with.

The downsides to epilation is that I find it a lot more painful than waxing, as you’re ripping less hairs out in one go which is slightly more tortuous – to put it mildly, it’s not something you could do from scratch in sensitive areas (unless you’re a sadist and actually enjoy pain), and it can take a bit of time to get a good result, depending on how good your epilators is. Plus there’s a slightly larger outlay to start with when buying a decent epilator (I recommend the higher end Braun models), which I do think is worthwhile, as they do make the job easier and less painful (ish), but will pay for themselves over time!

Laser hair removal: Now this is a slightly newer kid on the block, and whilst has been done in salons and clinics for a good few years, the at home alternatives have only been around a very short time indeed. It’s not a quick fix either; treatment can take 6 months or more to be successful; however it is the longest lasting hair removal method to date. The laser attacks the hair follicle and effectively destroys it/puts it to ‘sleep’, this method is usually called ‘permanent hair removal’ but actually does require some maintenance to keep all follicles on your body asleep/dead. This upkeep is made easier (and cheaper) by the use of ‘at home’ machines such as the Philips Lumea Precision Plus, Tria, HoMedics me Pro and suchlike (although the outlay on these machines are in the hundreds, but compared to the thousands for salon treatments over large areas do offer value for money).

To prepare for laser hair removal you need to shave the area 24 hours before treatment, and then use the laser on the skin/have it used on you by a therapist (depending on whether you're having it done in clinic or at home). The sensation of laser hair removal isn't entirely painless, but depending on your pain threshold/tolerance shouldn't be too uncomfortable. I liken it to being pinged by a hot elastic band - it's totally bearable for me, anyway.  Over the course of treatments, you'll notice your hair regrowth lessening and getting finer, and patches of hair free areas increasing. This is totally satisfying to see, as you can see the treatment is doing what it's meant to. The finished effect of this is smooth skin, usually without even having little dots where the follicle is/was.

The downsides, as touched on are the cost, the length of time it takes for the treatment to work, the having to shave areas being treated (which means no longevity in hair removal until the treatment has run its course) and for some, the pain. However, all that being said, I do think it's totally worth doing in the long run.

Other methods of hair removal include Electrolysis, sugaring, no!no! Hair PRO and 'sanding hair off' with mitts such as the Silky Mitt but I haven't had as much experience (or any at all in some cases) with these, so I have left them off and focused on the main players. Nor have I spoken about threading, as on larger areas, I don’t think it would work so well and would be faaaar too time consuming.

I think, if push came to shove, and I had to choose my favourite method, I would choose to laser those follicles into submission, over the rest - purely for the longevity, even though it does take longer to get our final smooth result. However I think epilation (as maintenance after waxing) would be my second choice because it's a happy medium between the rest.

How do you prefer to de-fuzz? Do you find it a chore, do you have any tips that you might like to share?

This post originated at

Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Just a quick snap whilst at the hairdressers this afternoon.
I need a serious clothes shop. I have lost weight, I have no warm clothes that fit me. This time last year I was roughly a 16 (at best) to 18 dress size. I am now a 12, possibly entering a 10 as some of my size 12 stuff is now getting a bit loose - yet I'm still not happy with my body, I need to tone up grrr.

I went out today in hot pants and the warmest, smallest sized top I could find. I was cold, even though it was still fairly mild weather in  Manchester. Brbrrrrrrrr! 

However, I have a problem, other than a lack of money from too much partying of course, ha. I made the mistake of buying new clothes earlier in the year, now with most of them being way too big for me. So do I just buy a couple of warmer pieces and hold off buying too much until I'm at a more stable dress size but then have to wear the same things a lot, or do I just go for it and to hell with the consequences?

Decisions decisions. What would you do? ;-) x

This post originated at

Friday, October 4, 2013

Me, Ibiza, Photo's. :-)

General messing around at the airport and on the plane, plus the first sunset viewed from the first hotel.
So, as you know, I've been on holiday, and these are just a few of my pictures from my time on The White Isle (Ibiza). Apologies for the picture quality, I've had to download some of my own images from Facebook due to a mess up with my SD card that was in my camera. There's been fun, frolics, friends and many other F words, but it has been amazing, I loved every single second.
First few days, drinking, meals, morning afters.
By far my favourite events on the island were the boat parties, namely Driftwood and the Island of Trance boat party, also Captured festival and the subsequent after party was a definite highlight too. Top quality trance being played, unlike in the larger 'super clubs' with the superstar dj's and a good crowd to boot, what's not to like?! I'll be writing about these events separately though, so do keep your eyes out for that one!
Boat parties and general shenanigans on the boats - you need to check these out if you visit Ibiza. Also a few images of me being caught 'in the moment' without even knowing I was being snapped, ha.
Obviously there was a lot of alcohol involved in my time out there, so messing around and making a total idiot of ourselves was high on the agenda, hence many of the silly, not so flattering images included in this post! However, I am all about the fun, and not censoring images that were taken in the many moments of fun, that aren't quite so pretty is a consequence - sorry about that, lol.
L-R: First 2 are top of Ushuai Tower for Sasha, Pool Shot (no make-up eek), Bora Bora Beach before Sasha @ Ushuaia and me being an idiot at Captured Festival.
Finally some of the many group shots, we never did manage to get all of us together at one point for what would have been an epic image, but that's the problem with having fun... scheduling anything other than that is a total no go.
Good times.
Meals, messing about with eyeliner/crisps and aftersun in our hotel room whilst drunk, the U shaped potato skin to make U.V, Superclubs (Privilege), Festivals (Captured) and Sunsets (at Mambo).
Below are 4 shots in the curry house on our last night all together, it's the closest we got to a group shot, it took 4 attempts and we still didn't manage it, but here's the attempts of capturing as many of us as possible in one shot, ha.
Hope you've enjoyed seeing a few of my snaps, sorry if I've bored you to death, I'm still overly excited about how much I loved being out there with most of my besties. I almost didn't come back, ha.

This post originated at

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Lola Rose Boutique 'Lily-Anne' Blue Sandstone Ring!

I love a bit of bling, sparkle, glitter... whatever. You all know this, I make no bones about it. So when I saw this ring, I absolutely had to have it. It's from the Lola Rose Boutique, a brand that seems to work a lot with the blue sandstone that this ring is largely made from - obviously other than the silver on the band itself.

This particular ring doesn't appear to be available any longer, but I wanted to show it to you anyway as I adore the blue sandstone in it, how it sparkles from the inside and how stunning it looked when it catches the light. In fact, whilst wearing the ring this weekend, I got a lot of compliments about it and how sparkly it is, what's not to love about that?!

The photographs do not do it justice, I couldn't catch the sparkle, so I did a bit of a video - my apologies, it's not the greatest video I've ever made, I was rather tipsy at the time.

Blue sandstone I believe is also called sunstone and goldstone, and also comes in an orange-y/gold colour too and a lot of jewellery made from it is to be found online, so even though this particular ring doesn't appear to be available (except maybe on eBay), I can guarantee that you will find something made in this, if you're also prone to magpie tendencies like me.

What do you think of it, is it something you'd wear? I'm actually going to to look for some matching jewellery for future nights out - not necessarily to be worn at the same time, just more statement, sparkly pieces.

Sorry for the phone quality images and video, they were all taken on a whim in a club when the ring caught my eye in the light, ha. x

This post originated at
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