Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Molton Brown, Soap & Glory & An Update

So here I am apologising...AGAIN.  Once more I have been a little more absent from the world of blogging than I would like to be.  To be perfectly honest, I don't think that will change for the next couple of weeks. I have been so busy with the business, getting organised for another wedding show in February and agonising over moving house.  So I will try my best to keep blogging during this time...I promise!

Today I just wanted to mention a few things and give a bit of an update on what's happening with me.  Firstly, I had to share my growing obsession with good quality scented candles.  Let's face it, all women like scented candles because they lend a sense of luxury and romantic ambience to a room.  There are some divine scents out there but this week I have been obsessively sniffing the Molton Brown Myrrh Muske & Cypress Medio Candela.  It's gorgeously musky and woody and it gives the room a real sense of warmth and cosiness.  I know quite a few people who would baulk at the thought of spending so much on a candle but the more expensive candles have a higher quality of wax and tend to burn more evenly instead of just burning a well in the middle of the candle wax.  I also prefer the more authentic scents that the expensive candles emote...there's nothing worse than plasticky synthetic smelling candles.  I like to buy these candles as a treat to myself and drop massive hints to everyone that they're always a lovely gift to receive!

I know everyone in the blogosphere is well aware that Soap & Glory now have a make up line but I have only just looked into the range.  I have heard mixed reviews about the products so I was intrigued about what the range had to offer.  The first product I want to talk about is Glow All Out - a luminising radiance face powder.

"Use it to lift up your cheekbones or dust lightly all over for a 'moonlit' look. Featuring LIGHTSCRAMBLE™ lumisphere pigment pearls, an ultra-fine creamy powder shimmer finish and extended wear silicone technology."

I know a lot of people aren't keen on the Benefit-esque cardboard packaging but it really doesn't bother me.  I do like the whimsical product names and fun vintage-inspired packaging for this brand.

The powder itself is a light pink with shimmer that is definitely more of a sheen than shimmer.  It translates onto the face as a slightly pearlescent radiance...pretty.  The texture of the powder is pretty smooth and it's easy to blend into skin without too much work.  I personally wouldn't use this as an all over face powder as I prefer the soft matte look with sheen confined to the heights of my cheekbones.

For £11, this highlighter does a good job of lifting the cheekbones whilst looking subtle and pretty.  It's a nice Spring product for when you want that fresh look to your skin.  Does it compare to my beloved Dior Amber Diamond Shimmer Powder? Well, no, but relative to it's pricetag, it does what it says on the tin and when you're on a budget, you can't say fairer than that!

Supercat Carbon Black Extreme Eyeliner Pen is priced at £6 features "unique INKJET™ colour release & Gloss–Fix™ finish to give a rich and intense colour. The foolproof marker tip creates two looks - Fine point for a natural look or thick edge adds a dramatic flash! Uses long lasting, long wear pigments plus a high percentage of carbon black for intense colour release".

I am a huge fan of the felt-tip style liquid eye liner because they are simple to use, create a clean crisp finish and usually have good lasting power.  The precise nib on this eye liner pen gives you the versatility of creating a thin or more substantial line, depending on what look you're going for.  I was impressed with the intensity of the black liner and didn't have to apply it over and over to get the effect I wanted.  I did find find that it began to fade on the inner corners of my eyes by the end of the day but I would always take an eyeliner pen around with me in my make up bag anyway for touch-ups.  For £6, this liquid eye liner does a great job and given that I rock the cat-eye liner look almost every day, it's nice to have a cheaper option to pick up when I'm short on cash.  Another great liquid eye liner is the Loreal Super Liner for £6.49.

Now you know I am always looking into new ways of covering up my dark eye circles a.k.a. the bain of my life! Trick and Treatment Under Eye Dark Circle Concealer is priced at £9 and is described as a "long-wear, light-reflecting, under-eye concealer/brightener formulated with HALOXYLTM dark-circle -lightening peptides. (So you simultaneously hide and treat.) Trick & Treatment features a special yellow pigment mix to neutralize dark purple under eye circles, includes soft-focusing spheres to instantly minimize the fine lines, and is formulated with clinically tested levels of HALOXYLTM to help mobilize sluggish, dark under-skin pigment (so it slowly attacks the root of dark circles while instigating a quick ‘cover up’".

You can see from the pics that it obviously has yellow tones which are always good for hiding those purple tones under the eyes.  The texture of this concealer is creamy but light enough not to feel heavy on the delicate skin under your eyes.  I tried using this product on it's own but I actually felt it worked better when used OVER my Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light to Medium Bisque.  With those two products combined, my undereye area looked flawless! I was so happy to have fresh, bright eyes.  When used in conjunction with the BB Corrector, I found it didn't settle into fine lines around the eyes and it didn't budge all day.  Sometimes products just work better when you mix them up with other things you know will work on you!


Well, as of today, our flat/apartment has officially been sold and we couldn't be happier! There's a lot of waiting around for things to be confirmed and signed and thankfully that has all been processed with no problems.  We have found our dream house in the country (but strangely enough, it's also close to the city...very unique).  The property we are looking at is a converted mill that was built in 1850.  It has loads of land, loads of character and it's right on a riverbank with beautiful views.

Fingers crossed we get this place and if we do, I will let you all know as well as show you some pics of the interior.  It needs a lot of work but me and Chris are definitely up to the challenge!

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Nature vs. Science

As a bonafide cosmetics junkie, I own hoard a plethora of products and there is a clear division within that stash of organic versus chemical.  It has to be one of the major issues that divides the beauty world.  Are you addicted to scientifically sourced wonder creams or do you prefer to go eco with plant-based formulas? Well, I would love to say that I have a distinct loyalty to just one of them but the truth is that I struggle on a weekly basis to make up my mind which team I want to be on.

Let's take a look at some of my favourite not-so-natural brands:

Estee Lauder
Bobbi Brown

And the brands I love that fly the flag for natural ingredients:

Liz Earle

Obviously natural remedies and solutions to beauty related problems have been used since records began.  However the whole organic trend has peaked in the noughties (ughhh...I hate that term) and shows no sign of dying down any time soon.  There is a valid reason for this.  We like to feel that the products we put on our skin are as natural and pure as they possibly can be.  Surely slapping on truck-loads of sulphates, mineral oils and other parabens can't be the secret to flawless beauty?   Why suffocate your skin in simulated ingredients? 

Well the answer to this has to be that scientifically based products often give swifter results and initially appear to make a considerable difference.  I have often been wowed by silicon based hair products that, in the short term, make my hair look amazingly shiny and feel silky soft.  However, if you consistently use a product containing silicon, it actually has a negative effect on your hair.  It can build up and make your tresses dull, lank and lifeless.  So 9 times out of 10, these types of products give short term fixes to a problem that is probably related to diet and lifestyle.  Will I stop using them?...probably not.  Sometimes I'm a quick-fix kinda gal!

Now I would love to renounce all the nasty chemical-based products that fill my cupboards BUT I love my vibrant lipsticks, my shampoos that foam to a gorgeously lush lather and wonder creams and masks that clearly refine my pores and leave my skin feeling better than ever.

That said, some of the most effective products I own are clearly members of team natural.  I adore my Korres Lip Butters, Origins is by far my favourite skincare brand and has been for the last year.  I also swear by Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleanser which I have used for around 5 or 6 years now.  There IS something to be said for holding out for results that are garnered by nature.  The fact that a girl was shocked when I told her I was 29 last weekend made my day month! On asking how old she though I was, she said "Well, I assumed you were about 21 or 22! I never realised you were THAT old".  Hmmm, now I have written that down, I'm so sure I can take that as a compliment! ha ha.

The products that require those nasty chemicals to make them incredible are bright lipsticks, fake tan and foundation.  I am yet to find an organic version of each product that works as well as my favourite non-organic ones.  It's clear to me that sometimes you need chemicals to give products that extra oomph in colour or super staying power. Until I discover amazing natural alternatives to these beauty wonders, I will have to keep slathering on the chemicals.

But tell me, when you consider your whole make-up and skincare collections, which team holds more HG products for you...Natural ones or Synthetic ones? 
Do you ever feel like you should be investigating more natural ways to look your best?

Friday, 20 January 2012

Do It Yourself

Ever since I found this blog, I have felt inspired to try some, if not all of their DIY tutorials.  I felt like I just HAD to share this blog with you because there are so many cool things on it! I love getting creative and making things so it's right up my street!

My first attempt at one of their tutorials was this braided beaded bracelet:

I got all the supplies I needed from Ebay for next to nothing:

It took me around 15 minutes to make it and I'm looking forward to trying it out with the hot pink and purple waxed linen cord I got.  I like the stacked bracelet look so I want to pile them up in summer!  The fact that they look quite delicate really appeals to me as well.

There's something really satisfying about making your own jewellery because it can be truly bespoke.  You can add whatever you like to the bracelet to customise it.  My next project will  be the wrap bracelet variation on this design...

They have loads of DIY posts spanning across jewellery, clothes, shoes and home-ware.

Here are some of my favourites:

Thursday, 19 January 2012

I've Got That Spring Time Feeling!

I know, I know, I have been a bad blogger! I feel like I'm not as connected to the blogging world as I used to be because I'm continuously trying to balance my time between work and play.  This inevitably means I spend almost all my waking hours in front of a laptop and that can't be healthy! However, I am really trying to make sure I update my blog as much as I can because, well, it's important to me.  I never want to just let it fall by the wayside (speak to me when I'm 40 and I may say different!).

I have had a huge number of client enquiry emails to get through following the wedding show at the weekend which is great for my business but conversely bad for my blog.  So I thought I would ease myself back into things by talking about a couple of products that have made me feel Spring-like today!

The first Spring-inducing product is the new blush from Nars featured in their Spring Collection.  The name pretty much encapsulates my feelings towards it.  'Gaiety' is a bright, cool-toned candy pink.  Be not afraid of it's vivid appearance because once on the skin, it translates as a fresh, healthy glow (that's coming from someone who normally favours blushes in the peach/coral family).

My relationship with Nars blush products has been chequered in the past because I am not a fan of the cult Orgasm blush that everyone and his dog seems to like (except me).  It's a strange creature that leaves glittery  debris on my cheeks and this I do not like.  However this Gaiety blush goes on almost like a matte blush with minuscule shimmer particles (which are invisible to the naked eye) work behind the scenes to ensure your cheeks don't look powdery or flat.  I personally don't like that look.  

I simply tapped my blush brush twice into the pan and dusted in circular motions towards the height of my cheekbones (I find this avoids the doll-like appearance of blush circles on the apples of your cheeks).

And as you can see from my pic below, the blush creates a really soft, delicate flush of pink on your cheeks that looks natural and healthy.

There's nothing like a good bit of Spring collection make up to freshen up all the darker hues we see over the Winter months.  It's a breath of fresh air!

Another product that instantly brightened my mood today was this lippy from Topshop called Brighton Rock.  I have to say that I think these TopShop lipsticks are fantastic value considering their quality and longevity on the lips.  I adore the Ooh La La shade I got a few months ago too and it's made it's way into my top five bright lipsticks.

For only £8.00, you get a creamy, highly pigmented smooth formula that paints your lips a vivid hot pink hue.  And it's lasts too.  It has a satin-matte finish so no weird pearlised  finish or shimmer.  As with all bright lipsticks, it's always a good idea to prepare the canvas before you slap your warpaint on.  By this, I mean exfoliating your lips.  You can either slap on some vaseline and gently rub your lips with an old toothbrush OR if you have a muslin cloth then you can wet that and rub gently in circular motions to remove any dead skin from your lips.

This will work two-fold:

It smooths the lips to give the lipstick the smoothest canvas to adhere to.
It plumps up the lips to make the most of what you have.

I'm a sucker for a pink lipstick and this one is a beaute! It's moisturising and really sticks around.  This particular pink hue has a brightening effect on my complexion and I love any product that can have that freshening effect.  Just what you want for Spring!

So what products have made you feel all Spring-like this week? Any recommendations?


Oh and just one more thing.  As you know, we put our apartment on the market on Friday afternoon and had 4 viewings at the weekend.  We went to closing yesterday with sealed bids and sold it! We didn't expect it to happen so quickly but we feel so lucky that it was swift and hassle free.  So we now have 9 weeks to move out and find a house! Wish us luck!

I will keep you all updated on our search for a house!

Monday, 16 January 2012

YWE Wedding Show 2012

The reason behind my absence in the blogging world is because I had been preparing for a wedding show which was a two-day affair. We started building our stand on Friday at 2pm and by 6pm, it was almost finished apart from some finishing touches.  We had a 7:30am start on Saturday and after 9 hours of standing in high heels with no rest, lets just say my feet didn't thank me for that.  As promised, here are some pics...

No, we aren't starting a new trend...we had to wear hi-vis jackets for health and safety apparently! Doesn't look like mum is taking this very seriously...you just can't get the staff nowadays!

Myself and my mum/business partner posing in front of our finished stand!

We went for a 'bringing the outdoors inside' kind of theme as the beautiful wallpaper has iridescent bare trees on it that caught the light in a really nice way.  We also had three big white trees so it created a 3D effect.

We used white muslin to hide the metal frame of the stand and then used voile fabric for side curtains with simple hydrangea tie backs.

I really liked the effect of the cream roses wound around the post, it gave the stand a more romantic feel.

We made our own chair sashes with some cream fabric we got from Ebay, some white chiffon rose trim and crystal trim.  We finished them off with an artificial cream rose.  It's funny because we put them together quickly on Saturday morning and that happened to be one of the things that got the most attention over the weekend! People kept asking where they could buy them!

Our centrepiece was a collaboration between ourselves and our florist.  We wanted something simple but dramatic and also something that was practical too.  A lot of wedding centrepieces are too big and you can't see the person across the table from you.  The florist used real orchids and rose petals to decorate the twigs.

The laser-cut stationery we used was from a company we often work with called Intricate Creations.  We loved the birdcage design and it fitted in well with our outdoors theme. 

I saw this idea in an interior design magazine and I loved it so much, I decided to recreate it for our stand.  We just used vintage style wine glasses from Laura Ashley and put artificial roses under them, with a small pillar candle on top.

We just bought a plain wooden rattan heart decoration, painted it white and then attached glitzy brooches to it.  It sparkled in the light and looked so pretty!

I just adore this stationery!

One of my very favourite parts of the stand was the small ombre cakes that sat on candlesticks which we got from Ebay...

The papery thin icing looked so delicate and our cake maker took the trouble to hand paint the edges with pink colouring.  I think they look so cute! They would be amazing for the top table at a wedding and could be given away as gifts to the mothers or even to children.

Our florist made up a gorgeously simple hand-tied bouquet with cream roses, orchids and some beaded wire.

The pretty little laser-cut favour boxes we had were filled with flower biscuits dusted with iridescence...so cute!

I had a fabulous weekend at the show and met so many lovely people...potential clients and fellow suppliers.  We ran out of all our brochures and have so many enquiries for consultations.  We have also been asked to do the window dressing for a bridal boutique for their revamped store.  So exciting!

Monday, 9 January 2012


I just wanted to do a quick blog post to give you an update on what's happening with me at the moment and also to explain why I have been so crap at blogging lately!

If you follow me on Twitter, you will already know that we just got the property pictures taken for our flat/apartment to go on the market next week.  We hope it will sell quickly as all the properties on our road seem to get snapped up within 2 weeks.  We still haven't found a house we like yet but hopefully there will be more on offer once we head out of January.  I will keep you all updated on this and you will of course get the whole moving house journey and changing rooms-style makeover pics!

We had to have a massive clear up of all our stuff because you have to make the place almost clinical and neutral for the property pictures. The problem for me is that I have had to put a lot of my things into storage, namely my make up collection, clothes and a lot of my other beauty products.  Therefore, it's kind of hard for me to blog at the moment because a lot of the stuff I was going to blog about had to be packed away! Hopefully this won't be the case for too much longer but I hope you can bear with me, while I get everything sorted out.

Now the thing that has taken up the majority of my time is this.  Massive news this week is that my Wedding Planning business, Perfection By Design, will be showing at a big wedding show this weekend.  It has come around really quickly but after months of work, we have everything in place and I can't wait for it to all come together.  I will post some pics after this weekend so you can check out how we got on! If you live in the Aberdeen area and are attending then feel free to drop by our stand and say hi!

You can like my business Facebook page here if you so wish! All the 'likes' help the traffic through my website and Google ratings.

And finally an update on the legend that is...Wolverine.  He is entering the twilight years of his life.  He is 2 years and 8 months old and hamsters only live 2-3 years.  His fur has started to thin and he sleeps a lot more than he used to, but he still seems to have the energy of a young thing because he still runs around his cage every night and generally causes havoc! As long as he is healthy, I'm happy and I think he has had a really good quality of life.  We could never get another hamster because he has just been such a little sweetheart, he can't be replaced.

And the last bit of update news for this post is that I am feeling rather happy with myself today after losing 3lbs in 10 days.  I put on 4lbs over Christmas after overindulging in every possible way, leading to me feeling generally bloated, yucky and self-conscious about my body.  My clothes felt that bit tighter than normal and I found myself having to hold my stomach in all the time!  

On the 2nd of January I started a healthy and balanced eating plan full of wholegrain food, fruit and veg and I continued to go to the gym 4-5 times a week.  I cut out chocolate, crisps, soft drinks and alcohol (I am having a dry January!).  I always try to lose weight in a healthy and sustainable way and I hope to lose another 7lbs doing this.  However, everyone knows that elusive last 7lbs are the hardest to shift! I am going to persevere with my healthy eating plan and work out sessions and will let you guys know when I hit my goal weight!