Thursday, 24 November 2011

A few of my favourite scents...

I don't wear one specific perfume, but I do have a few favourites..

My first is my signature scent that I wore on my wedding day. It is a Bath and Body Works Fragrance and the scent is "Vanilla Noir". Sadly it has been discontinued and I used the last of the fragrance on my big day. I searched high and low in America for another bottle but to no avail. Whenever I wore this I always felt so glamorous and beautiful, which is something a good scent should have the power to do for you.

"Vanilla Noir" has the scent of Madagascan vanilla into aperfume made of dark vanilla beans, black plum, bergamot and dark, seductive musk. Top notes include black plum, exotic dark berries and bergamot  and then blossoms with gardenia, carnation, vanilla-orchid and tuberose and it's base notes incorporate vanilla beans, toffee, cinnamon sticks and sandalwood.

I am forever searching for a scent like this one to replace it, so please if anyone knows of something like it I would be eternally grateful

My next is J'adore L'eau. I tried this version of the original J'adore as I loved the original but when I smelt this I thought it was just beautiful. It combines the original and traditional Neroli/Bergamot Cologne and adds Magnolia. When I wear it, it makes me feel very fresh, awake and beautiful. The bottle is so classic and looks beautiful on your dressing table. A classic with  a twist that you need to try.
My final fragrance is a lust after scent. I sadly do not own it, but it is definately on my wish list. It is a scent by Le Labo, available exclusively in Liberty's. It is described as 'a modern alternative to old-fashioned traditional floral signatures'. It features musk, sandalwood and vanilla. I love it as it starts with a subtle citrus note, with neroli and a touch of orange blossom. You then experience the beautiful and delicate Jasmine scent and it finishes with Amber, musk and Sandalwood base notes. Note to everyone! I LOVE THIS. Unfortunately Le Labo is more on the pricey side, £132 to be precise. So I may have to wait for this special treat for a special occasion... or when I can treat myself ;)

In tomorrows post I will discuss the men's fragrances that I adore.....

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Beauty Inspirations

I thought I would share with you some of my favourite red carpet looks and beauty inspirations.

One of my favourites is Glee's Dianna Agron. No matter what she does on the red carpet she always looks flawless. In fact these two looks were inspiration for my wedding make-up. She manages to look made-up, yet natural and always completely flawless.

The dress she wore to the Golden Globes this year is absolutely beautiful. Her muted and natural tones used on her skin and lips works with the dress beautifully and give her the complexion of an English Rose. Her eyes just have that hint of drama with a liquid line. Just stunning.

This beautiful soft smoky eye to the right is an example of how to look young, fresh and modern without over-doing it. The colours are perfect on her skintone and the hint of pink on her lips complements it beautifully. The hair is simple and it just works.

Another star who always gets it right and isn't afraid to try different looks is January Jones. I absolutely love January in Mad Men and she brings some of that vintage style to her red carpet make-up. The look on the left is classic rock star mixed with old school glamour. She pulls off the heavy smoky eye perfectly by keeping the rest of the make-up nude and simple. The slicked back hair with the side quiff completes this look and keeps it simple.

This look from the Golden Globes this year is vintage but she doesn't make it look old fashioned by using a deeply tinted long lasting lipgloss rather than a matte lipstick. (Rouge Allure Extrait De Gloss in Exces). Her skin is porcelain and eyes so simple with beautiful, long defined lashes.
Finally we come to Emma Stone, a relative newcomer to the red carpet. She changes her hair colour and her look each time. Here with the blonde hair she is wearing a fantastic winged liner, which works perfectly with her fringe... I particularly love the fringe on her, especially as this is the fringe I currently have. As she is so heavy on the eyes she has kept her skin is glowing and fresh and her lips matte. I absolutely LOVE this whole look.
As a red head she isn't afraid to wear a bold lip colour, this plum-berry red looks amazing on her skintone and she just looks flawless and so glamorous. Her hair makes her looks like an old school movie star, but using the hint of pink highlight on her brow bone makes the look just that bit more modern and edgy.

What do you think of my choices and who are your beauty inspirations?

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Natural Day to Night look.

Kim very kindly posed before make-up, something I know many women find very daunting particularly when you know its going to be posted on the internet. Luckily Kim has a great even complexion to start with.

 After moisturising her skin with Caudalie's Quenching Sorbet moisturiser. I then used Benefit's The POREfessional. This came as part of a Bridal gift set I bought in Sephora on honeymoon and hadn't really had the chance to try it on someone else yet.

Next I used Inika's Mineral Foundation in Shade 'Cream'. I love this foundation as it glides on so easily and evens out the skin in an instant. It is full of anti-oxidants and vitamins so it really looks after the skin as well. I used Pixi's Eye Bright Kit in Shade 2 to conceal under and around the eyes as well as any other areas that needed some extra coverage. I then dusted Cover Girl Tru Blend Powder in Translucent Fair to give an even finish.

I wanted to create a flawless base with bright wide awake eyes and a healthy glow. To create the glow I started with Pixi Cheek Gel in Natural and then used Sephora Collection Bronzer in Los Cabos. To add another dimension to the blusher, I used a hint of theBalm's 'Frat Boy'.

On Kim's eyes I started with an Eye Primer by BareMinerals 'Prime Time'. I then used two shades from the Pixi Wake-Up Kit. I started with a shimmery nude shadow blended all over the eye-lid and went over the top with a peach shade to create more depth. Along the lash line I blended a slightly darker grey to give a hint of eyeliner and used a hint of this underneath the eye too. I used 'Lash Hugger' mascara by Tarte Cosmetics

I combed through Kim's eyebrows with an eyebrow brush and filled them in slightly using an angled eyeliner brush and a taupe eyeshadow. I finished this natural look with a hint of Lancome's Juicy Tube in 'Spring Fling'.

To take this look from day to a more dramatic evening look, I blended a bronze tone from the same palette into the crease and down to the lash line. On the lash line I blended a charcoal gray to increase the definition. I used Topshop's Liquid Liner in 'Rook' to draw a very precise line along the lashes.

 Finally I added a highlight colour to the inner corner of the eye and under the brow bone before finishing with a dab of Benefit's High Beam into the inner corner to increase the highlight.

To complete the whole look, I added Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine in  'Bonheur' or 'No.61' to her lips and a second coat of Mascara to add more definition.

Monday, 14 November 2011

Carmine- Beauty's Best in a Box Part 2

So I told you last week about my Carmine Beauty Box I ordered. Well it arrived last week. Unfortunately I haven't been able to post about it before as I was busy preparing for the Make-Up Party that took place at the weekend. I have now had the chance to test everything and I must say how impressed I am.

 When the box arrives, you open up the outer packaging to reveal this beautiful sleek little black box. It gets even better when you open it up and inside it reveals a beautifully wrapped package, complete with a card with the information about the products enclosed.

So in October's box I received; Balance Me: Super Moisturising Hand Cream, Daniel Sadler Eye Delight in Ice, Trind Nail Repair Natural, The Balm Frat Boy All in one Shadow/Blusher and Caudalie Quenching Sorbet

The first product I tried was the Balance Me Hand Cream. I have previously tried the Balance Me Rose Otto Body Wash and a Balance Me Rose Otto Lip Salves and loved them both so I was excited to try this. This is an amazingly rich hand cream that melts into the skin. It also smells fantastic with essence of Patchouli. It also contains Yarrow and Sweet Almond Oil along with Shea Butter. My hands are very dry a lot of the time (again a side effect of hypothyroidism... along with the change in weather at the moment) but this hand cream leaves them feeling hydrated and smooth, it doesnt feel too sticky on the skin either. Carmine send a 30ml sample size of the product, but considering the full size is only 100 mls you get a lot for your £10 you spend on the entire box of products.

Next up is the Daniel Sadler Eye Delight. You actually get one of two colours 'Peach' or 'Ice'. I received Ice which is a silvery white shimmer dust. I am usually not too much of a fan of these loose shimmer powders but this is actually quite nice. It is fairly compact and is a great highlight colour and will be great to use as a highlight for cheeks and brow bone as well as using it on the eyes.

The Nail repair Lacquer by Trind is a work in progress. I have been using it for a few days now to see if it will strengthen my nails. All I can say is that it goes on very easily and looks like a really natural glossy nail varnish. According to the Trind website the formula that Trind uses matches the protein molecules in your nails so it strengthens your nails but keeps them supple.

I love Caudalie products having tried a Radiance Revealing Face Mask and Grape Water spray. Both felt lovely on my skin so I was very intrigued to try a moisturiser of theirs. This is an extremely gentle yet hydrating moisturiser and my skin is left very soft but it doesn't leave a residue. This is part of the Vino Source range which is formulated for dry and sensitive skin. All of Caudalie's products contain their patented grape-seed polyphenols, powerful anti-oxidants and soothing Grape water. If you've never tried this French skincare brand before I can't recommend it enough.

Finally the blusher from TheBalm. Frat Boy is a peachy pink blusher with a hint of sparkle. It brightens the skin instantly and blends really well. The packaging lovely as well, it comes in a cardboard box with it's own mirror. The only downside to it is the price. Obviously I got it as part of the package but individually it is price at £16.00 which I feel is a little steep for a blusher. TheBalm in my opinion is aiming itself into the Benefit beauty market so on the whole £16.00 isn't a bad price.

All in all the Carmine Box is a fantastically well priced box with a wide range of luxury products, with a couple of full size products thrown in (the eyeshadow, blusherand nail treatment) and I cannot wait for November's box to arrive.

Sunday, 13 November 2011

Cocktails and a little Make-Up party

So last night I hosted my first make-up party, this was designed as an introduction to in home parties, I am hoping to run for people. I invited a few friends around to be my test subjects, offering the chance of a free mini make-over, homemade food and a few cocktails thrown in for good measure. I hosted this at my house, because as it was the first time I was running something like this I wanted to ensure that I had everything to hand. Now I have worked at large scale events before and also hosted hen parties and birthday parties in store at Pixi, where I previously had worked, but obviously at these events I had help, and everything was to hand.

 I set up a make-up station in my lounge. This is maybe a third of my entire collection. I chose the most versatile and multi-use products to have out. Some of the brands I used last night included Pixi Beauty, Pop Beauty, Urban Decay, Too Faced, Hissy Fit, Inika, Nars, No.7 and Smashbox.

 I also laid on food for my guests and used recipes from two of my favourite cook books to create a small feast- Lorraine Pascale's Baking Made Easy and Sally Bee's The Secret Ingredient. On the menu was a Tomato Tarte Tatin, Herby Leaf Salad, Homemade Salt and Pepper Breadsticks, Italian style courgettes, homemade spicy houmous, homemade onion dip, feta, olives and grilled prosciutto along with some sweet potato and potato wedges.
I also hired my wonderful friend Sam from Artcardia to create some amazing cupcake's inspired  by beauty and products and she came up with these wonderful cakes. Chocolate cupcakes with a layer of chocolate in the centre. Topped with amazing pink and lilac frosting and homemade chocolates in the shapes of make-up palettes, lips and lipsticks. Of course there had to be some edible glitter sprinkled on them as well! My brief to Sam was very vague and she came up with these creations! A fantastic addition to any party you might have!

Sam at Artcardia also made all my wedding favours and stationary for the wedding, you can view those pictures here

 To start the evening, I served everyone a Bellini, the recipe for this particular one was provided by The Blind Tiger. An amazing place... more on that another time. I used edible glitter round the edge of the glass for an extra bit of glamour.

Each of my guests told me what they wanted and I set to work. My focus was to create beautiful flawless looking complexions and using colour to bring out their best features.
Face: No 7 Calming Colour Corrector, Pixi Natural Finish Foundation No.2, Sephora Smoothing and Highlighting Concealer Shade 2, Pixi Flawless Finishing Powder, The Balm 'Frat Boy' Blusher
Eyes: BareMinerals 'Prime Time', Urban Decay Eyeshadows in Polyester Bride, Grifter and Urban Decay Stardust Shadow in Retrograde, Pixi Endless Silky Eye Pen 'Black Tulip', Maybelline Lash Stiletto.
Lips: Juicy Tube Smoothie 'Spring Fling' and a touch of nude/pink lip liner.
 Face: Pixi Flawless Vitamin Veil 'Tanned', Pixi Eye Bright Kit No.3, Sephora Collection Bronzer in Bora Bora, Pop Beauty Rose Belle Blusher
Eyes: Urban Decay Eye Primer 'Sin', Urban Decay Eyeshadows in Grifter and Oil Slick, Nars Eyeliner 'Black Moon', Rimmel Day to Night Mascara
Lips: Pixi Lumi Lux Lips Palette

Face: Hissyfit Foundation in 'Nude' blended with a touch of Benefit High Beam, Sephora Smoothing and Highlighting Concealer Shade 2, Pixi Flawless Finishing Powder, Sephora Collection Bronzer in Los Cabos, The Balm 'Frat Boy' Blusher, Benefit High Beam Highlighter.
Eyes: Too Faced Romantic Eye Palette, Urban Decay Eyeshadows in Sin and Chopper, Maybelline Lash Stiletto Mascara
Lips: Pixi Lip Booster 'Theena'

Face: Cosmetics A La Carte Primer and Glow- Nude, Pixi Illuminate Tint and Conceal 'Nude Glow', Sephora Collection Bronzer in Los Cabos, Pixi Lumi Lux Bronzer, Benefit High Beam.
Eyes: Pixi Fairy Light Solo 'Nude Nouveaux', Urban Decay Eyeshadow in Maui Wowie, Pixi Smokey Eye Primer (used as eyeliner), Rimmel Day to Night Mascara
Lips: Juicy Tube Smoothie 'Spring Fling'

I am offering party services as of now onwards, if you have a dinner, party or an event where you just want to feel extra special I will come to your home and provide make-overs, lashes can be included with this as well. (Cocktails and food not provided!!)

Sunday, 6 November 2011

Carmine- Beauty in a Box.

So looking for some new beauty inspiration I have just signed up to Carmine. There are few of these websites around and I have been doing my research and I chose Carmine over others because I liked the choice of brands they offered.  Caudalie, The Balm, and Balance Me being some of the October brands on offer. Once this box arrives I will definately update you all on whats inside and what the products are like.

More to come later today...

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Scent blending in Palm Springs

"Happiness is the perfume of the heart, the harmony of the heart which sings" - Romain Rolland

Whilst in Palm Springs this year I came across a shop which was my own personal heaven. Sinfulicious is a Bath, Body and Scent store where you can customise all your own products with a personalised scent. The first things you do when you go is blend a fragrance. You can choose from over 200 different scents ranging from Chanel No. 5, Tuberose, Key Lime Pie to Vera Wang Princess or Patchouli. The staff run through different combinations of these scents until you find your ideal frangrance
If the idea of going through these 200 plus essential oils and fragramces overwhelms you, you can simply tell them what you normally wear along with some of your favourite smells and they will blend it together for you.

Once this is done you then can choose from the following items to create your own personalised scent. Scrubs
Lotions, Perfumes, Body Wash's Shampoo, Conditioners, Foaming Milk Bath, Shaving Gel, Hydrating Body Mist, SPF 50, 40% Shea Butter, Bath, Body and Massage Oils.

I'm not telling you exactly went in to my personal scent- that's my secret! However I will tell you what I ended up getting for myself. Due to weight restrictions on our suitcases coming home, I had to choose carefully. In the end I went for a roll on fragrance and a body oil in a matching scent. Roll on scents are ideal for travelling and easy to keep in your hand bag. The body oil is so moisturising and smells amazing. The best time to put it on is after you have had a shower.

They custom blend products for men too and my husband even got his own personalised cologne. (He had to find something to do whilst I was choosing products!)

There are so many products I wish I could have bought to bring home. They do an amazing mineral body scrub and a fantastic shea butter body moisturiser. Sadly at the moment they do not ship abroad (believe me I asked!). They have three stores at present in California so if you are ever in San Diego, Newport Beach or my all time holiday destination Palm Springs you need to go in here!!

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Dans ma sac de maquillage il y a...

So I previously posted about the skin and hair care I use. Now it's on to the main event- the make-up I use. I am a product junkie. My husband will testify to this. In fact most of my friends who have seen my house will testify to this. I have products in every room in the house, I collect everything from foundations to nail varnishes to primers, eyeliners and everything inbetween. Of course a lot goes into my kit, but I just cant resist trying a lot out on myself. Here are my top products I highly recommend.


I have tried so many over the years and working for different companies meant I would try all of theirs and for years I had used one product. However it was time for a change this year and I have spent the best part of this year trying different products.

I was introduced to Chanel's Vitalumiere by my wonderful friend and make-up artist for my wedding this year Amanda Bell ( I decided to treat myself to this at airport before we went on honeymoon. I ended up picking up Vitalumiere Aqua in Shade B10, which is great for fair skins. The Vitalumiere Aqua is also a lighter weight product than the original. I believe in letting my skin breathe and cannot stand cakey, thick or heavy foundations for everyday use. This blends beautifully and leaves my complexion even but still natural. It contains SPF15, so perfect for every day use.

Before I went on honeymoon I was on the hunt for a high SPF tinted moisturiser. We went to California in the peak of summer and spent a lot of our time driving through the desert areas on our way to Las Vegas and in Palm Springs as well as the heat from LA itself. I discovered this Australian brand of tinted moisturiser/foundation by a brand called "HissyFit". It has an SPF50, and is incredibly lightweight and easy to blend. It's coverage is so that you can build it up to use as a concealer as well as an all over base. It protected my skin so well in the intense heat, I cant imagine using anything else when I need the extra sun protection. I use two shades blended together to create my perfect shade- "Nude" and "Light". If you are really pale I recommend going for Nude or Alabaster.

Concealer and Highlighters

In San Francisco, I wandered in to a large branch of Sephora in Union Square, leaving my new husband to browse shops nearby. I was accosted by a Dior national make-up artist. Normally I would run a mile from anyone grabbing me in a busy store for a "make-over". However I was jet-lagged and San Francisco was rather cold (considering we had only packed for a lovely hot Californian summer) so I decided to take a seat and let them work their magic so to speak. The foundation and bronzer were okay but didn't wow me. However she used the Dior Backstage SkinFlash: Radiance Booster Pen to brighten up under my eye area (which was needed!). It lifts the colour and reflects the light from under the eyes and is a great eye brightening tool. It is as good as it's more famous counterpart YSL Touche Eclat and both are a similar price.


Now for a budget buy. I first got this an 'emergency' in Las Vegas. Nothing I was using could keep the shine away in the intense heat. So as a last ditch attempt I went into a CVS Pharmacy near our hotel... (the fabulous Rumor), and I found Cover Girl's Trublend Minerals Pressed Powder. It was $9.50 and so I figured if it wasn't any good, it wasn't wasting my money. Imagine my surprise when it turned out to be a fantastic product. I use my powder brush rather than the pad provided as I prefer the finish. It leaves the skin matte with a slight dewy finish where you want it. I loved it so much when my parents went out to New York in September I asked for two more to keep me stocked up for a while. I use shade "Translucent Fair"

For everyday use I use Pixi Beauty's Sheer Cheek Gel. This is an oil free aloe vera and water based cheek and lip stain. It glides on easily and creates a natural flush on your cheeks. Great for every day use. I currently use "Flushed" however if you are a little scared of colour on your cheeks I would go for "Natural". Pixi has it's own boutique in Carnaby Street or it's website Pixi Beauty


Chanel Ecriture De Chanel: Automatic Liquid Eyeliner in Anthracite. A metallic grey liquid liner. Looks fantastic day or night and so easy to use! No more needs to be said.

However when I need something with more staying power. Nothing can beat Pixi's Gel Liner - I like Shade 2: Sapphire. It's an inky blue liner that is truly waterproof. I've washed my face with water (when slightly... inebriated) and it didn't budge- everything else on my face did...just not the liner. You will need an oil based cleanser to remove it- Either that or lightly rub some vaseline onto the liner (use a cotton bud) and that should loosen it enough to remove it.


I have tried a fair few over my time and I use all kinds, all brands and all prices of mascara. Each have their own pro's and con's. However there are two which I have in my my-up bag which I love

The first is once again from Pixi is their Lash Booster Mascara. This is utterly waterproof, lengthens lashes and doesnt crumble over your face as the day wears on. I wore this swimming in Center Parcs so it has been well and truly tested. It is my only mascara I use on brides as it's the only one I trust not to run what so ever. It also contains Vitamin E in the formualation so it really nourishes your lashes. Again you will need an oil based cleanser to remove this mascara, if you don't have this then rub a tiny amount of vaseline into your lashes using your finger tips and this will loosen it. Make-Up Wipes WILL NOT WORK. So don't try- you'll just make your eyes sore!

The second mascara is a relatively new one I have tried, Glam'Eyes Day 2 Night Mascara- Really quite ridiculous name, but actually a very nice product. It has two brushes, as the name says- one for day and one for night. The daytime brush is the best, it separates the lashes out and really lengthens them, and even reaches those hard to reach inner lashes. The night time brush adds a lot of volume to your lashes, so when you are wearing quite an intense evening look it really makes your lashes stand out. It again doesnt crumble when wearing it, so is an ideal product when wearing it for a long period of time! This particular product is not waterproof so don't risk it if you're going to a wedding ;) (or feeling particularly tearful that day!)


Finally a couple of lip products I love!

The ultimate lipgloss Pixi Lip Booster. I have yet to find anything that surpasses the finish this gives. It is ultra glossy, non-sticky and smells lovely too. It's also not half bad for your lips! Over time it improves the fullness of your lips, restoring collagen. It also contains real strawberry extract, which is why it smells so lovely. The ultimate shade is Leanen. Goes with any skintone, glossy, translucent with a hint of pink. Beautiful!

Lipstick is something I myself have only recently started wearing on a more regular basis and I have my ultimate shade in Chanel's Rouge Coco Shine lipsticks. I wear shade 'Bonheur' a sheer pinky-berry red that is so hydrating and lightweight! It doesn't last on the lips very long so it is something that I have to re-apply.

When I want something long-lasting, I straight away turn to Pixi's Lip Blush. Since this product was released there have been many copycats and now every brand does this felt tip sort of lip stain. This is one is the best. My favourite shade is "Happiness". It is a deep raspberry red and instantly makes you feel more glamorous wearing it!. It draws onto your lips like a felt tip. You must make sure your lips are completely dry and grease free- no lip balm before you apply! Otherwise you ruin the nib and it will be useless. I apply once all over my lips and let it dry (just a few seconds). I then reapply all over to ensure ultra long staying power! This will last through eating and drinking (and kissing) and should last on your lips up to eight hours. Once completely dry, apply any gloss or lip balm you like, or you can leave it matte.

Finally an amazing versatile product that keeps my lips from cracking in winter- Elizabeth Arden's Eight Hour Lip Protectant. Vitamin E keeps lips hydrated and soft and I so far have managed to avoid cracked lips for winter!

Please feel free to ask me for any recommendations, or if you have any questions about products and make-up techniques and I will be happy to answer them on my next update!