Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Calling All Fellow Self Tan Addicts

I just wanted to do a quick post about a great website I found today called TheTantalist.com.  It's a website that was started by James Read, an A-List self tanning expert who works as an international spray tan artist for St Tropez, working with the likes of Lady GaGa, Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and Rosie Huntington-Whitely.  He is big news in the world of self tanning so the guy knows what he's talking about!
James Read has a salon called 'Agua' at the Sanderson hotel in London and he has been known to shave off 10lbs just by his skillful use of a spray tan applicator! If only we all had him on stand-by, we'd be sorted!

The website is dedicated to sharing info about self tanning...from the best products to use, to trends and tricks, to interviews with top makeup artists like Laura Mercier on how to best enhance your tan with makeup.  The beauty blogging community is so saturated with info about self tanning products that you may already know alot of the techniques and tricks but it's always good to get someone else's take on it, especially when they are a pro likes James Read!

There's even a section called 'Tantone' where it provides a guide on which on-trend nail varnish colours will suit your skintone.  Something which I never considered before but it makes sense when you think about it!
One of the best tips I ever picked up was that it's best to use gradual tanner on your hands and feet when you are self tanning with darker products like St Tropez or Xen Tan.  This gives the most natural colour and doesn't leave any dark patches on your wrists and knuckles.

You can never have too much knowledge when it comes to self tan because it can make the difference between looking patchy and un-natural and looking fabulous.

Do you have any self tanning tips you want to share?

A Few Products I Have Been Loving Lately

Lately I have very much been shying away from wearing black khol or liquid liner during the day as I feel like it's a bit too much at the moment.  I prefer to keep it to dramatic night-time looks.  I really do go through phases of liking different things and at the moment my favourite daytime makeup is finished off with brown, bronze, smokey grey or navy blue eyeliner.  My favourite eyeliners have always been those of a gel consistency and these Clinique Brush-On Cream Liners are hitting the spot.  Getting a liner with the right consistency is very tough because it has to be fluid enough to go on smoothly but viscose enough to adhere to the eyelid, not smudge and have decent staying power.  Using the Clinique cream liners was a bit difficult at first because I was so accustomed to using the MAC Fluidlines which as we all know start to dry up a little bit over the months. 
The Clinique cream liners are alot softer in texture so you need to perfect the application.
Once you have that down, you're flying to be honest.  The Black one is probably the truest, 'blackest' liner I own and it really makes a great impact when you are doing intense, night time looks.  The Smoke Grey shade is a browny grey, almost like a taupe colour.  It's the perfect understated daytime liner to add a bit of definition without looking too made up.  I always think it's really flattering when other girls feel the need to ASK if you're wearing makeup!  I always reply with "I wish I looked like this with no makeup on!".  They come with small application brushes but I didn't think much of these as the fibres were quite splayed out so they were too fiddly to use in the end and didn't give the precise line I was looking for.  I would stick to using the MAC or Bobbi Brown fine eyeliner brushes as you get alot more control using them.  These cream liners have good staying power and didn't smudge on me at all (please note that I only wear eyeliner on my top lashline - I never wear it on my waterline or lower lashline).  The Smoke Grey shade is really unique and lately, it has become my go-to liner every day.  Have you tried these? What's your opinion on them?
I have been on the search for a good powder to bring around with me in my bag and so far, this Clinique Stay-Matte Sheer Pressed Powder is my fave.  It's super compact and slim packaging is perfect for slipping into your mini makeup bag.  I don't know about you guys, but I don't go anywhere without powder, lipstick and lip gloss.  This neutral shade is perfect for my skintone, it blends in seamlessly and leaves a really nice, natural finish.  I can't stand powders that are visible on the skin and look cakey.  After applying this powder in the morning over my foundation, it lasts a good 6-7 hours before I have to touch it up.  My skin is combination and I get shiny on my T-Zone so it's perfect for keeping my skin from looking sweaty or greasy.  I must say that I'm not overly keen on the green marbled effecton the packaging but I can forgive that since the product inside is great.  Apparently this is the most popular powder that Clinique make and I can see why. 
As you guys know, my wedding makeup artist, Suzanne, used the Korres Pomegranate Lip Butter as a gloss on me and it gave me the perfect touch of juicy colour.  I wasn't convinced the shade would suit me as it's brighter than what I normally wear but the shade is surprisingly wearable!  I LOOOOOVE these Korres Lip Butters, I also have the Guava and Jasmine ones for a more natural lip.  The guava one is perfect to apply over any lipstick to pale it out slightly and give your lips a gorgeous sheen.  The Jasmine one is a perfect every day natural pink shade for that 'my lips but better' effect.  They leave my lips so soft and smooth and I adore the scent of all of them.  They last for ages even when you use them every day so in my opinion, they are definitely worth the money.
I really like using chunky eye crayons to get a smudged, laid back effect and this Jemma Kidd Iridescent Eye Silk Crayon in Tigers Eye is gorgeous! It has slight shimmer in it so it gives a really glamorous look to your eyes.  The shade is a perfect chocolate brown with bronzey gold reflects that catch the light beautifully.  It's super smooth to apply and doesn't drag on the delicate skin on your eyelids.  Don't expect to get a precision application with this product, it's definitely meant for slapping on and smudging in.  I love working it into my lashline and blending it with a cotton bud to get a really pretty un-done look.
This Jemma Kidd Ultimate Lip Care Protect & Shimmer in Rose is a really natural, glossy product that is definitely more in the lip balm category than the lipstick one.  It's for those days when you want to look polished but in the most natural way.  I love the pretty pink packaging and the shade Rose is a really lovely natural pink that would be perfect over something like MAC Hue.  The best thing about these kind of products is that they are caring for your lips as well as making your lips look luscious. 
I love the smokey eye look but because my eyes are deep set, I have to be really careful about the colours I use so as not to make my eyes look too heavy or tired.  I generally avoid pure black and go for Grey, Brown, Dark Purple and Bronze.  This Givenchy Le Prisme eyeshadow palette in Midnight Look is perfect for creating a softer navy smokey eye.  The shades of blue in this palette are absolutely beautiful and have the prettiest sheen to them.  The eyeshadows themselves have great pigmentation and are really smooth with no gritty glitter pieces.  The palette has a bottom drawer that slides out to reveal three applicators but these aren't ideal for applying the shadows but they would be ok for touching up the makeup when you're on the go.  I always feel that you have to be cautious with blue eyeshadow because if you get the wrong shade, it can look tacky.  However, the shades in this palette are spot on because they are slightly metallic and verging on being silvery blues.

Are you a fan of smokey eyes or do you prefer to keep it more toned down? What products do you rate for creating a dramatic eye?

Friday, 27 August 2010

A/W Beauty Trends and a Clothes Haul

No Mascara
Ask any of your mates what they would take with them to a desert island and they will always mention the trusty tube of mascara.  Personally, I look like a pig without mascara because my eyelashes are blonde, not to mention my eyes look tiny without the essential definition of a flick of the magic wand.  The no mascara look has been all over the catwalks for the likes of Christopher Kane in favour of eyeliner or dark eyeshadow to define the eye area. 
I forgot to tell you guys about a story from the Borneo leg of the honeymoon...me and Chris decided to take a jet-ski out on the water.  It was the first time we had ever been on one so I was a bit nervous and also, I have a fear of the open sea so I definitely didn't want to fall in.  Everything was going really well until we got REALLY far from the shore, Chris made a sudden turn and I wasn't expecting it...I went head first into the water.  I kind of panicked a little bit just through the shock of it.  I got over it, don't worry.  BUT the thing I was shocked at was that I was wearing Lancome Hypnose Precious Cells Mascara which ISN'T waterproof but it completely survived me being dipped into the water! It didn't run even a little bit...now that's what you call staying power!

I won't be shunning my mascara any time soon, but are you brave enough to go without?
Matte Skin With A Luminous Finish
Everyone has their preference on the finish of their foundation and powder and in my mind, the finish I favour changes with the seasons.  In winter I like to go for a soft matte finish with a subtle luminosity underneath but for summer, I tend to use a more radiant/dewy finish foundation for a fresher look.  The trend for autumn/winter is a silky matte finish to the skin so something like YSL Teint Resist would be perfect.  I will definitely be breaking mine out when we're nearing the winter months.  What finish do you prefer?

Bold Brows
No so long ago it was the 'no brows' look that took over the catwalks, but now it's prominent brows that are in trend.  I must admit that I would NEVER blank out my brows under any circumstances because a) I would look ridiculous and b) my style isn't avande-gard enough to get away with it.  Common sense should always prevail over trends, it's always best to stick what suits you.  Brows are essential in framing your face and creating a good structure to your eye area.  Sometimes it's fun to play around with the shape of your brows, either making them more bold and natural or arched and dramatic.  If you aren't confident with drawing in your brows freehand, you can always use these Shavata Celebrity Eyebrow Stencil Kits:
So do you prefer thin manicured brows or 'bushy' natural ones?

Paired Down Nudes
From nude coloured nail polishes on the Dior catwalks to nude paired down makeup at Balmain, the makeup trend seems to be edging more and more towards naturally flattering shades of cream, beige and brown.  It's all about enhancing your natural beauty as opposed to changing it.  I have seen a plethora of nude nail varnishes from the likes of OPI and Chanel gracing many a blog lately but my favourite is still Hopelessly In Love by OPI. 
It's a perfect peachy based nude colour that looks slick, chic and very 'groomed' without looking like you're trying too hard.  Love it!  As for nude makeup, I have also been caught up in the lust fest that surrounds the new Urban Decay Naked eyeshadow palette...drool! 
It could just be THE perfect travelling companion! Hats off to Urban Decay for creating possibly the most usable eye palette on the market at the moment.

Contouring
Sculpting yourself a new set of cheekbones is terribly addictive and the slimming effect it has on your face is just plain fab! I always contour my cheekbones but I never bother with my jawline, temples/forehead or nose.  The look on the catwalks at the moment is full on strong contouring which looks amazing for a photoshoot but in real life, us girls have to be a bit more subtle with our fakery!  Go over the top with your contouring powder and you could begin to look false.  If you aren't too familiar with contouring but would like to give it a go, here's a great simple guide which highlights the areas you need to concentrate on:
My contour powder of choice is Sleeks Contour Kit (which also contains a highlighting powder) and I use an angled brush to lightly work it into the hollows of my cheeks:
 If you have a matte bronzer in your collection, then obviously this works a treat as well.  Something like Benefit Hoola or Dior Matte Sunshine would be perfect.

I just wanted to quickly share a clothes haul with you...there won't be any narrative, I will let the clothes speak for themselves:

                                                       Gladiator Sandles from Next:
Nude Patent Courts from Next: 
Aquamarine and gold cuff from Debenhams:
Pale Turqouise Silk Dress from Coast:
Statement Necklace from Coast:
Waterfall detail Black Blazer from Warehouse:
Pale Grey Cotton Vest with Chiffon Overlay from Warehouse:
 There were loads of sales on so I DEFINITELY took advantage!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Anna Wintour: Scary Lady or Fabulously Fierce?

She has been the British-born editor-in-chief of US Vogue since 1988, she has her own trademark hairstyle and she strikes fear into every intern she comes across.  Everyone knows that 'The Devil Wears Prada' was based on a former employee's experiences with her in the office and given that her nickname is "Nuclear Wintour", you know she isn't going to be all flowers and candyfloss.  She intimidates men and women alike due to her ice-queen exterior so I was really interested to watch the recent documentary on the More4 channel, 'The September Issue' to really get an insight into what she is like day-to-day.  Saying that, I know she has the power to manipulate which scenes are used in the documentary and she definitely has access to a powerhouse legal team if she feels the need to sue for deffamation of character.  So we all have to take documentaries like this with a pinch of salt I think.

Here's the trailer for the programme:


Putting that aside, the documentary, which centres around all the work that goes into the biggest and most important Vogue issue of the year, was a must see for me.  I'm always fascinated by the amount of hard work that goes into every facet of a magazine, every page is carefully crafted, designed and styled, like a piece of fine art.  Let's face it, Vogue is a good example of modern iconic art in all it's disposable glory (although I know alot of people keep every issue!).

Anna Wintour has been criticised in the past for wearing fur and also for promoting 'elitist' views on beauty in the magazine by insisting already slender celebs, destined for the cover, lose more weight until they reach a size that is acceptable to her.  She also tends to choose what the celebs will wear on the cover, even celebs/figures as influential as Oprah Winfrey and Hilary Clinton!
She always wears Wayfarer shades and for a long time, I just assumed this was to intimidate people further, to promote the 'ice queen' image and to make her expressions harder to read (I personally don't like it when you can't see someone's eyes when you meet them).  However, I found out that these are prescription sunglasses for her deteriorating vision, a hereditory condition.  It seemed curious to me that someone who comes across as so strong and indestructable could be hiding their self-labelled 'weakness' behind a pair of shades, a kind of armour to protect her from the world.  Is she scared that we might actually get to see a human side to her? Something vulnerable or some smidgen of emotion that might make her seem more like the rest of us?

Many people feel she is a style icon and often emulate her image...
Don't get me wrong, I respect any woman who can command the world of fashion on a global scale and have the world's most famous and brilliant designers and photographers on her beckon call.  Can you be in such a prestigious role without being stubborn, emotionally distant and extremely blunt and rude at times? Maybe not.  I also know that she has probably sacrificed alot in her personal life to be in that job...missing time with her children, neglecting romantic relationships, etc.  But I know one thing...I definitely wouldn't want to work in the same office as her.  I think I'm far too much of a sensitive soul and she would have me crying into my morning coffee before the mail had even been passed round.

But what I want to know is...what do you think of Anna Wintour?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Update

I just wanted to give you guys an update on what has been floating my boat recently... 

1) No Faking It - Since being on honeymoon I have somehow acquired a great tan, even though I didn't actually do any sunbathing and miraculously managed not to get burnt this time! I love the fact that I don't have to faff around with self tan and I can just enjoy being a darker hue of my self.  There's something about having a tan that makes me feel more confident, my makeup looks better and more even and I feel more glamourous whe I get dressed up for a night out.  I wore SPF40 every day all over my face and body while I was on honeymoon so I'm glad that I managed to get a tan the safe way.  Clinique Super City Block was a god send over the whole holiday because it's brilliant for protecting your face from the sun without blocking your pores and causing spots. Love it!
2) Silver and Taupe Eyeshadows - I don't know about you but as soon as I saw Kylie's video for All The Lovers, I instantly adored the pale silver and taupe combination on her eyes.  It went perfectly with the soft peach blushed cheeks and apricot lips!  I have tried it out a couple of times already with the eyeshadows pictured which are Korres White e/s and L'Oreal's Astral Taupe e/s.  The effect is just plain gorgeous and by adding some black liquid eyeliner to the upper eye lid, it just completes everything and emphasises the eyes in such a beautiful way.  It's a strange combination that I may not have thought of myself but try it out for yourselves!
3) Cetaphil - I finally discovered these wonder products for myself whilst I was in Hong Kong.  Me and Chris were strolling past a drugstore in the city centre and I spotted a pack of Cetaphil cleanser and moisturising cream.  I've heard about them alot in the past but its not always easy to get hold of them in the UK.  I snapped up a pack containing a huge soap-free cleanser bottle and a small moisturising cream tester for very dry skin.  The reason I was adamant I was going to try them is because the skin on my chin and upper lip had become quite dry due to all the sun exposure and I really needed some products that were gentle and would restore the moisture back into my face.  Within 24 hours of using these two products, the dry skin was gone! I LOVE these two products and if you have dry skin then check them out because they are amazing.  I've heard the cleanser is great for all skin types as well.
4) Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment - I said before I went away that I would be trying out this product as a way of protecting my hair from the sun.  You all saw the pics of my hair from a couple of years ago when it got frazzled on holiday.  Well this product single-handedly saved my hair on the honeymoon.  The temperatures soared to 40oC on some days and we spent most of the day walking around.  I applied a small amount of this treatment to my damp hair every morning and dried it as normal.  It acts as a natural sun screen and left my hair soft, smooth, super shiny and really hydrated.  My hair is in great condition at the moment and I put it all down to the daily use of this oil treatment.  It worked like a dream!
5) Mistresses - I have always loved this programme and when I saw they were doing another series, I was so excited! I think the acting and storylines are fantastic and it always leaves me on the edge of my seat.  I think it's great when a tv programme can really grip you and make you care about all the characters.  If you haven't seen the new series, you can watch all the episodes on BBC i Player here.  I would highly recommend it!  Don't watch it expecting it to be Sex & The City because it's definitely in a different place.  It deals less with fashion and frivolity and more with relationship dynamics.


6) Is it just me or does this video make you wanna round up all your friends and do a 'skip-off'???!

What is floating your boat the moment?

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Honeymoon Pics Part 3: Hong Kong

This was the part of the honeymoon I had been looking forward to the most and we had a fantastic start when a lovely lady on the reception desk at the Shangri-La Hong Kong, upgraded our room and sent champagne and chocolates up on our first night!I knew I would have to be quick in getting a chocolate since Chris consumed around 4 all at once! Don't worry though, I got my fair share!
On our first day we decided to go to Ocean Park as we heard it was alot better than Disneyland in HK.  It has a Giant Panda, Red Panda and Gater sanctuary.  Above was the view of the other side of the park as we took a cable car across the hills.  I was slightly nervous of how up we were since the cable car was a bit rickety!
I could have spent hours watching the Giant Pandas, they were soooo cute and cuddly looking! The red pandas were unbelievably adorable as well, kind of like big red racoons.  I tried to get some good photos but it was really difficult to catch the Red Pandas since they are very fast! We went on lots of rides at the park and luckily we both love rollercoasters so we were in our element!
I persuaded Chris to get a souvenir from Ocean Park...a cute panda teddy that we named Xiong (pronounced Shawn) which means 'bear' in Chinese.  As soon as our friends saw it they wanted one too!ha ha.  Here's a pic of Xiong helping Chris to navigate around the park...
This is the amazing view of the harbour from our hotel room at night...it really was breath taking when we saw that view on our first night.  There's a laser show at 8pm every night too so that's always cool to see!
We also went to the Bird Garden were people take along their pet birds in ornate cages and hang them from trees...it's apparently a very old tradition.  Although all the guide books said this was a must see, we were quite saddened when we arrived and realised that there were alot of tropical birds for sale as well.  The big parrots were kept 10 in a cage and I was almost in tears looking at them.  No one had mentioned to us that there was such cruelty there.  We were disgusted to be quite honest and left.  I decided not to post pictures of this as I felt it was too upsetting.
We went up Peak Tower and this was the brilliant view of Hong Kong island from the top...
Here's us looking very windswept (notice the red blotchy mosquito bitten legs on me!)...
Chris often amuses himself by making faces at me! There were endless escalators to get to the top of Peak Tower...thank god we didn't have to climb steps!
We headed over to Lan Kwai Fong, a nightlife area with loads of pubs, bars and nightclubs.  We, of course, had to have a drink in an Irish pub! It was pretty quiet as we were there at 6pm...we thought we would start early!
The Phillipino staff, namely Avonne and Ryan, in the Irish pub were so lovely and friendly to us.  They really made us feel so welcome and chatted to us about the local area and where we should go.  It's meeting genuine people like that which can really make your holiday.
On our last day, we decided to go and see the Po Lin Monastry and Giant Buddha.  You have to get a cable car up to it and the views were just unbelievable...
As you can see, we were VERY high up but the cable car was really sturdy this time so I could forget my nerves and just enjoy the ride.  The cable car had a glass floor so you could look down and see everything as you passed over it.
There's nothing quite like seeing the Giant Buddha on the hill as you come over the last hill, it's pretty spectacular...
I thought the architecture at the monastry was really beautiful against the backdrop of the lush mountains...
There were 268 steps to reach the Buddha at the top...
It really felt like a very spiritual place and we both felt like this was our favourite day of the whole honeymoon.  There were 6 statues surrounding the Buddha called the offering of the 6 devas...
This was the view once you get to the top...we didn't know that Hong Kong was surrounded by over 200 islands...
This place was truly unforgettable...
There was also a 'Wisdom Path' that you can follow and apparently people walk this to reach enlightenment.  Once you reach the end of the path, you come across these wooden pillars arranged in a figure of 8 to represent infinity...
I was speechless at this point, you just have to stop and take it all in.
Once we walked back down, we went to see a presentation about Buddhism and where it all started.  Then the Shaolin Monks show that was on.  These guys are pretty damn impressive!
Overall, we felt that the Po Lin monastry has become quite a commercial area for tourists however nothing can take away from the amazing feeling you get from walking up to the Giant Buddha and the Wisdom Path.  You feel like you are connecting with nature because you are surrounded by mountains and lush greenery, I can see why this is a place of worship and a place of peace.
So that now concludes all our honeymoon highlights!  I hope you guys enjoyed seeing what we got up to and hopefully it will help those of you who were thinking of visiting that part of the world.  If you want any advice or tips, please just ask me!