Saturday, 30 August 2014

OOTD: Cobalt and Pearls

Today's post is a little OOTD that I wore to a 30th birthday party a few weeks ago.  

Crop top and skirt: Nicole for Misguided (now on sale!), Pearl 'halo': Zara
I used the Babyliss conical wand to create lots of curls and added a little pearl headpiece that I absolutely adore. It's a little Grecian, a little bling and really unusual.
I know that the crop top trend has been done to infinity, but as long as the sun is shining I will be wearing it to show off the last remnants of my honeymoon tan, which is fading fast.

 I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend! xxx

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Elizabeth Arden - Flawless Future

As a woman in her mid (approaching late… sob) twenties I have always felt that choosing the correct skincare was a little bit of a minefield. I still have many of the skin issues I had in my teens with the odd break out and large pores, but I have also started to see the first signs of ageing creeping in. Even though we are bombarded with the message that you should begin using anti-ageing products in your 20s and 30s many creams are targeted towards the older generations so it is difficult to know which products to select as those aimed at the 40s market may be too rich for younger skin.

This is why I was particularly excited to try the new Elizabeth Arden Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide! It is aimed at those in the tricky age bracket showing the first signs of ageing and aims to combat a whole host of skin concerns. Much of the research has been concentrated on stress, and with many of us living highly paced, busy lives in urban environments that create multiple stresses this is definitely something I am very interested in.

The range has been developed from research that proves that stress decreases the skin's barrier function, antioxidant levels and cell turnover which can lead to blotchy tone, redness, dullness and fine lines. The formula's blend of ingredients replenishes the skin with ceramides that are lost through ageing and stress: telosense, a protective protein complex technology that minimises the appearance of lines and wrinkles; and licorice extract to soothe irritated skin.

The line features Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Caplet Serum (£48), Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Moisture Cream SPF 30 (£40), and Flawless Future Powered by Ceramide Eye Gel (£25).

I have been testing all three products for a few weeks and though it is still a little too early to tell if my fine lines have been banished I have really enjoyed using them. They have definitely left my tired skin looking a little more plump and reenergised. The Ceramide Eye Gel is super light and absorbs into the skin in seconds. It is perfect for use both morning and night as it doesn’t create any creasing in the under eye area. 
The Ceramide Caplet Serum makes a beautiful addition to my bathroom cabinet. The beads burst when the pump is pressed to release fresh serum with each application. The texture is delicate and smooth leaving the skin primed and ready for the next step in your routine. I usually use one or two pumps and this is plenty as using more makes the shimmer in the serum more visible. I know that some people really hate shimmer so this is definitely something to keep in mind with this product!

The Ceramide Moisture cream has SPF 30, so I tend to use it during the day. It has a lovely, light texture providing hydration and making my skin feel soft, while being weightless enough to sink in quickly and working as a good base for makeup. My sensitive, combination skin is both oily and dehydrated and this cream seems to be working well to balance and soothe while treating the copious effects that stress has on my skin every day.
Have you sampled Elizabeth's Arden Flawless Future Skincare? What are your thoughts on the products?

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Our Wedding Video

Our wedding on the 5th of July now seems a million light-years away, but watching this little trailer brings back so many happy memories! I just wanted to share it with you all and I do hope you enjoy it!

We are still waiting for our official photographs (I'm counting down the seconds) so my series of detailed wedding posts about suppliers, venues etc. is a little delayed. I am sure they will be worth the wait though! In the meantime if any of you have any questions please do get in touch! xxx

Friday, 22 August 2014

OOTD: Rehearsal Dinner

Today's post is a little outfit of the day from my rehearsal dinner. I had about 15 mins to get ready after our church rehearsal so I quickly tonged my hair with the Babyliss conical wand and refreshed my makeup using the Urban Decay Naked palette and a slick of The Body Shop gloss over MAC's Costa Chic lipstick.
I picked up this bright mint gradient/ dip dye maxi dress in the Ted Baker sale and think it works perfectly with my tan by James Harknett.
 The secret is out... I have a twin!
Apologies for the deer in headlights expression... but I was unashamedly nervous/ exhausted/ excited/ apprehensive/ happy!

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Envy Dual Fix 12 Hair Treatment Review

As the warmer months (it’s deceptive to refer to it as Summer in freezing London at the moment) have progressed I have noticed the condition of my hair deteriorate. Prior to my wedding I tried to keep it healthy by reducing heat styling and the frequency with which I was colouring it. I have to say that since then I haven’t really gone back to my hair destroying ways, and other than a little rough blow dry and the odd tong I have mostly left it to its own devices. Sadly, this hasn’t helped as my hair has become really dry and even more unruly and I have noticed a lot more split ends than usual!

Prior to taking the scissors to it in a more drastic approach I thought I would try out the Envy Dual Fix 12 treatment that promises to improve the condition of your hair and help blow dry and styling results. It delivers a high impact paraben-free blend of hydrolysed silk proteins and keratin amino acids with 12 incredible benefits for smoother, glossier hair that’s easier to manage. It aims to target damaged areas and attract moisture to give you instant and long lasting results.
This treatment can be used in two ways. I went for the intensive option which involves application of the mousse from roots to ends onto dry unwashed hair. I then rough dried my hair with a hairdryer. Following this I rinsed, shampooed (twice) and conditioned as normal. Alternatively for regular use you can shampoo your hair, rinse, apply the foam generously to wet hair, leave for 1 minute, rinse and condition as normal.
The foam texture makes the treatment very easy to apply as it doesn’t drip or leave your hair soaking wet. I did find this took a little bit of time for my long hair and I felt like I was using a lot of product, but as usual foams tend to be a little deceptive in that afterwards a quick shake of the bottle revealed plenty of product left.
Overall, I am really pleased with the results of this treatment. Unlike many oil based deep conditioning treatments I have used in the past the Envy DualFix 12 hasn’t left my hair feeling lank and heavy and instead it feels bouncy and light with a little more gloss and life. The split ends are obviously still present, but as the overall texture of my hair has improved they are definitely less noticeable and my hair feels and looks much less brittle. I usually blow dry just the front section and while my hair had not been participating very well in this with frizz and flyaways all around this morning’s efforts were rewarded with groomed and shiny locks. Success!
I wouldn’t say this treatment is too intensive and being light I could see it working really well on thinner hair that can be prone to product build up. I sometimes prefer a richer deep conditioning mask as my hair is pretty dry, but I liked the fact that this one was so easy to use and didn’t require endless shampooing to remove product. I plan to continue to use it regularly alongside my normal shampoo and conditioner and look forward to seeing how the condition of my hair improves with further applications!

Have you ever tried Envy Dual Fix 12 Treatment? What did you think of it? Do you have any hair treatments you love and could recommend?

Thursday, 14 August 2014

My wedding makeup!

Among all the tutorials, forums and posts on the internet wedding makeup has to be the most requested and hotly debated! I have done a few bridal themed looks in the past, but planning your own makeup can be quite the challenge. I opted for a defined, but classic look not too different from my every day (but a lot more neat and product heavy) as I wanted to look like myself, but the best version of myself... I personally don't think your wedding day is the right time to try anything new or risky and I despair a little when I see brides who never wear makeup suddenly decide to try that dark smokey eye they had always admired in magazines. Not to say they don't look beautiful, but you don't ever want to look back at photos and think that you don't look like yourself.
The most important things to consider are the weather (opt for long lasting, oil free products in the hotter months), your location and wedding style. If you are going for a boho Summer wedding a red lip and lashings of eyeshadow may not look quite right, but may be perfect for a Winter Wonderland theme!

Our wedding was quite a traditional, classic summer wedding with lots of flowers and a neutral palette of blush pinks, ivories and a hint of silver. I therefore went for a classic look with clean skin, defined eyes, rosy lips and cheeks. However, not taking my own advice with regards to preparation in the hurricane of wedding planning it was a week before the big day when I realised I hadn’t even planned my makeup! I had booked an MUA for my bridal party, but hadn’t planned what to do for myself… Luckily being a hoarder I managed to shop my stash and only had a few essentials to pick up. I did a quick (half face) trial the weekend before the wedding and just hoped that my nerves would be steady enough to execute liquid eyeliner on the day!

My top tip for any special occasion makeup where you will be photographed is to go for a base that has little or no SPF and a powder that doesn’t have too much titanium dioxide, zinc oxide, silica or mineral sunscreens. These are the culprits of the intense white glare that you get with flash photography! For longevity you may also want to consider oil free products that verge on the matte or velvet rather than dewy or glowy finishes.
(Quick selfie after I finished my makeup - with flash)

I primed my skin with Clarins Beauty Flash Balm and used Giorgio Armani’s Luminous Silk Foundation which gave a lovely finish without being too heavy. Summer weddings are definitely the most difficult to prepare for in terms of skin as you want to have flawless makeup that will last through the heat well into the night without looking too heavily made up, especially in the day and in bright sunlight. I therefore chose an oil free foundation with buildable coverage and used layers of powder to ensure longevity rather than piling on too heavy a foundation.
For concealer I used various textures on different areas of my face. Under the eyes I used my favourite L’ancome Effacernes mixed with Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer. I find that the L’ancome concealer is pigmented, but light enough in texture to be used under the eyes without too much creasing. It also has a peachy tint that helps to counteract dark circles (and having been woken at 5am on my wedding day mine were awful). The Sensual Skin Enhancer is a much heavier, waxier texture that I used sparingly on top (mainly because it is a much lighter shade) to add some highlight to the under eye area. On the rest of the face I used MAC’s Studio Finish Concealer (from the PRO Conceal and correct Palette) which has great coverage and staying power.
(No flash)
To set I used Clarins Mineral Loose Powder pressed into the skin with an old fashioned powder puff. Getting married in July with oily skin I would definitely recommend copious amounts of powder!
For a little contour I used MAC’s Sculpt and Shape duo. I would say this is an absolute must not only for photographs, but also because on your wedding day you are wearing one solid block of white or ivory so your face needs a little dimension to overcome some of the reflection. This duo is great as it contains minimal shimmer so the highlight will not create glare when using flash. I used MAC's Dame as my blush for a cool toned pink flush.
For my eyebrows I used MAC’s brow shader and set them with an old mascara wand sprayed with a little hair spray.
Contrary to the order of this post I actually did my eyes first (except for the mascara) to ensure there was no eyeshadow fallout. I primed with my longstanding favourite Urban Decay Primer Potion in Eden and used Urban Decay Sin shadow all over the lid. I then used a MAC 219 pencil brush and MAC Quarry shadow to define the crease and a MAC 217 brush with Wedge to blend it out. I then dipped in and out various soft brown and muted grey tones to ensure the crease was well defined and blended. I used Urban Decay strange (from the NAKED 3 palette) as my highlight with a tiny bit of MAC Phloof! at the highest point of the Arch. I then finished off the eyes with MAC’s blacktrack fluidline and L’ancome Hypnose Doll Eyes Waterproof mascara (on the lower lashes).
 (Close up from my mini trial)
Given my natural eyelashes are absolutely tiny, and I definitely wanted a more dramatic lash look on my wedding day, instead of risking false lashes that could start curling off in the corners (like they did in our engagement shoot) I had eyelash extensions. These were done by the wonderful  and super talented Asma at her Boudoir Lashes Parlour in Shoreditch (my previous review of her eyelash extensions can be found here with detailed photos). Unfortunately as I was still working all the way up to my wedding day I had to have my lashes done a week before so they were not at their best, but they still looked so much better and more natural than falsies. I was also happy knowing that I didn’t have to worry about them in the heat and through any tears!

For the lips I used my trusty MAC cremesheen lipstick in Crème cup, which is a very natural blue toned pink.
To ensure longevity I touched up my t-zone just before leaving with MAC’s Mineralize Skinfinish Natural and sprayed Urban Decay’s All Nighter Setting Spray. The wedding was at 2pm and given I had to finish my makeup by about 11.30am (so I could do last minute prep and have enough time for hair) I was impressed that it lasted well over 12 hours of rain, sun, smiling, crying and dancing. I touched up with powder twice throughout the day to take away shine, but other than that it was pretty much worry free!
I hope this helps if you are planning your wedding day makeup. I would say a trial is the most important thing - get your makeup done in the morning and see how it lasts throughout the day and night and make sure to take some flash photos in the meantime! Please do let me know if you have any questions. 

Always happy to help! xxx

Thursday, 7 August 2014

My Favourite Summer Products

With Summer in full swing I thought I would put together a little round up of my favourite products! Many of these were tested in sunnier climes on honeymoon, but the majority have come back to dreary London with me to continue their hard work.
The most essential part of any holiday for me has always been SPF. I burn in seconds (no exaggeration necessary) so I need a product that works hard to keep my skin protected, while being easy and pleasant to apply, and lasting a good proportion of the day. The absolute stand out sun block this Summer has been the PizBuin Ultra Light Dry Touch Silky Fluid. As the name suggests it’s a lovely consistency and is an absolute breeze to use. I’m very fussy when it comes to the texture of sun creams... I hate sprays as inevitably they leave a patch unprotected, sun milks are too liquid and have no staying power and thick creams tend to give you that white/ blue greasy glow and block your pores. The Piz Buin feels like a light moisturising cream and sinks into the skin quickly with no stickiness (ie. no sand permanently stuck to your bottom). My husband used the SPF 15 (he of pure English descent, but surprisingly Mediterranean skin), while I went for the SPF30. Both of us stayed well protected in the intense Sri Lankan and Maldivian sun through hiking excursions, safaris, snorkelling trips and lazy pool dips alike!

For my face I always wear SPF 50 on holiday as you really can’t have too much protection and there is no doubt that prevention is much more effective than any anti-ageing treatment! My freckles are an immediate giveaway of any sun exposure so I am always very careful. Being diligent is made much easier when you enjoy using your products and I absolutely adore the Rituals 50 Sun Protection Face Cream (£18.50). It feels like a rich face moisturiser, but it absorbs into the skin well and doesn’t feel too heavy in the heat. I also love the fact that it has additional skin benefits such as natural anti-oxidant complex based on Organic White Tea, natural Vitamin E and Ginkgo Biloba. It lasts all day (I usually set it with a little face powder or MAC's Mineralize Skinfinish Natural) and keeps my skin hydrated and protected without causing breakouts.
For night time skincare I am totally obsessed with the NUDE ProGenius treatment oil. I was so afraid of oils for years as I thought they would be too heavy and cause congestion, but this oil is light and absorbs quickly without leaving a greasy feeling behind. I apply this oil alone after cleansing my face and have definitely felt the benefits of the super hydrating and caring formula. Whether I need to moisturise, heal or improve skin texture the mix of omega 3, 6, 7 and 9 delivers a precisely balanced diet of vital skin nutrients making my skin look and feel great.
As an everyday moisturiser I have slowly been working through a bottle of the sublime NEOM Body Lotion (I purchased mine in TK Maxx, but they have new and improved scents on their website for £20). I love the whole NEOM organic range, but these body lotions are perfect for use in the morning straight after the shower as they smell wonderful and sink into the skin quickly so you can dress promptly (and not feel greasy on the tube).
As a more intense moisturiser, especially after a long day in the sun I loved using the NUXE Refreshing After-Sun Lotion (£15). This cream has a rich sorbet texture and feels incredibly soothing as it contains no menthol or alcohol. With its blend of Sunflower Oil and Coconut Derivatives it provides deep hydration and restores the balance of the skin while leaving it with a beautiful sheen and scent. This lotion is also enriched with Carob Seed Powder that aims to even out, enhance and prolong your tan… and for me every little helps!
For a Summer Fragrance I have been loving the NUXE le parfum Prodigieux (£35). I have used the oil for many years (in my hair and on my skin) so the scent really brings back happy memories of holidays and sunshine! I have a bottle on my desk at work and so many people have commented on how beautiful the scent is – rich, but not heavy or overpowering and in my view perfect for Summer!

There are so many more beautiful products I could write lyrical about, but for now these are my top picks of the Summer!
What have been your favourite beauty products lately? I would love to hear some of your thoughts on anything featured and as always your recommendations for a beauty junkie like me to try.. not that I need all that much encouragement!

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Our Wedding!

After over a year and a half of meticulous planning, organisation and anticipation on the 5th of July I married my greatest love and best friend. We had the most beautiful day surrounded by our family and friends and my only regret is that it passed by all too quickly! It was absolutely the happiest, most special day of our lives and I am so excited to share it with you all.

We are still waiting for our official photographs (and I am dying of anticipation), but in the meantime I thought I would share a few sneak peeks that our photographers have sent us!
Arriving at the church was such a blur!

Planning a wedding is honestly one of the most overwhelming and demanding, yet enjoyable and fulfilling challenges I have ever had! I really want to share as much as I can with you all in the hope that it may help in some small way if you are planning your own wedding or helping a friend. I feel I have learned a great deal through the process and if I can make anyone else's planning just that little bit easier by recommending an amazing supplier or just providing some inspiration, tips or advice then the hours of wedmin would be made even more valuable!

I will be doing a series of detailed posts about our venues, suppliers, plus all the little extras so please do let me know if you have any particular interests or queries? Even if you are not planning a wedding I do hope you enjoy the photos!
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