Product love

L-R: Clinitas Soothe Dry Eye Relief Drops, Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser, Nails Inc Elizabeth Street, Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash

L-R: Clinitas Soothe Dry Eye Relief Drops, Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser, Nails Inc Elizabeth Street, Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash

Here are four products that have been making me very happy recently:

Clinitas Soothe Dry Eye Relief Drops
Zoe Foster was the reason I started looking for individual-use eyedrops. She made a very good point that you never tend to use up the regular droppers before the one-month-after-opening use by date so they always end up being a bit of a waste. (I know not everyone pays too much attention to use by dates but for something that’s going in my eyes I’m happy to take the manufacturers recommendation).

I love these ones because they are gentle and make my eyes feel lovely and fresh. I found them in Boots but can’t find them on the website, try Chemist Direct in the link above instead.

Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser
I got a couple of samples of this and after around two weeks of using it I am really impressed. I’ve been whipping my skincare into shape recently so it could be a combination of a few things, but using this in the mornings leaves my skin smooth and glowing. My make-up also goes on nicely and I’m using less as a result. The smell is a bit odd – kind of herby and yeasty – but I like it! Also, it says it is wash-off and that you don’t need to use a muslin cloth to remove it but I have been – for me my skin just feels cleaner that way.

I’ve only tried the original cleanser once (another sample) and, while I liked it, it didn’t wow me enough to buy it. I’m using Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish in the evenings at the moment, which I’ve used on and off for years, and combined with the Eve Lom Morning Time Cleanser I’m feeling happier with my skin than I have for a while.

Nails Inc Elizabeth Street
Wearing three coats of this (so that it is completely opaque) on my fingers and toes has been pleasing me a great deal recently. It’s a pretty pale pink that I like to think makes my nails look like little shells. (Oh shut up, it makes me happy ok?) I think Nails Inc use it as part of a French manicure but I like it best on it’s own and as a solid colour.

Ren Moroccan Rose Otto Body Wash
I got this as part of a little travel set that I think included the body oil and moisturiser too. This cleanser has come with me on a few weekend trips away recently and I love it. The smell is so good. So good. I love rose fragrances anyway but this one is especially delicious and it’s nice to have a little bit of luxury when you’re away from home.

Wedding make-up (when you’re a guest)

Image via imabeautygeek.com

This post is coming a little later than I planned but I’m sure so many people still have weddings to go to this year – I know I am four down with two more to go!

Similarly to bridal make-up, when you’re a guest at a wedding you want to choose products with longevity. You might not be suffering from nervous sweats like the bride but you’re still potentially spending the day in the sun, and you’ll definitely be eating and drinking.

Most likely, this also isn’t a time to go for something that is a big departure from what you usually wear. You want to enjoy the day feeling confident and relaxed and not worry that your Nicki Minaj eyelashes have come unstuck or that you have just left a two-tone lipstick mark on the mother of the bride’s cheek.

That said, there’s nothing stopping you from upping the ante a little – it’s a special occasion after all!

If you usually go for muted tones on your eyes, you could try a pop of copper which flatters all eye colours. Mac’s Woodwinked is perfect. Blend it in all over the eyelid and into the socket – the sheeny texture magically stays bright over the lid while defining the socket so there’s no need to add something darker.

For base, try adding a little moisturiser to your foundation of choice to avoid looking too cakey in the sun. Use concealer to cover any imperfections. If you’re in the market for a new base I love YSL Le Teint Touche Eclat and Garnier BB Miracle Skin Perfector Oil Free.

For lips you want to choose something that isn’t going to need touching up every five minutes. You could either go for a natural nude-y gloss (I wear Barry M Lip Gloss in 11 Coral almost every day) or there are lots of lipstick/balm/gloss/stain formulations around at the moment that are very easy to wear. Try YSL Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain Lip in number 15 or Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Rendevous – both shades look fantastic with Woodwinked.

Here are a few make-up tutorials that I think work really well for a wedding guest look:

Tanya Burr’s Victoria’s Secret model make-up tutorial: Miranda Kerr (I appreciate a Victoria’s Secret model look might be a surprising choice but the make-up is so pretty and actually totally appropriate!)

Nic of Pixiwoo’s own wedding day make-up tutorial (Although a bridal look, works perfectly for a guest too).

Wedding/special occasion look by Lisa Eldridge (I’ve said before how totally, incredibly wonderful I think Lisa is – this is another beautiful look from her).

Beauty And The Bride: Wedding make-up

Eva Mendes - one of my wedding make-up inspiration photos

Eva Mendes – one of my wedding make-up inspiration photos

Whether you plan to do your own make-up or choose to have a make-up artist on the day, the most helpful thing you can do is collect lots of images of make-up looks you like. Look at them all together and pick out the themes. Have you chosen all natural styles? Maybe you’ve selected images where the skin is golden and glowing, or perhaps 60s inspired eyeliner flicks and a classic red lip? Whatever it is that you love, this will provide great inspiration for your bridal make-up.

Remember that your wedding day isn’t the time to try out a bold new look. When you walk down the aisle you want your groom to go weak at the knees at the sight of the girl he fell in love with – surprise should not be an emotion he is feeling at this point! This is the time to use your make-up to look like the best version on you.

With this in mind, along with your inspiration images, you should be thinking along the lines of enhancing what nature gave you. So, natural-looking skin (regardless of the coverage you prefer from your foundation it should always look natural), prettily defined eyes with fluttery lashes, a fresh blush of colour over cheeks, a touch of highlighter over cheekbones (and maybe also swept over forehead, down the centre of your nose and on your cupids bow – but be careful not to over-do it otherwise you risk looking more sweaty than glowy), and a lip colour that is one or two shades away from your natural colour (this will be the most flattering and won’t make your groom afraid to kiss you for fear of a) messing it up or b) donning it himself).

If you are doing your own make-up book yourself in for a consultation with brands who excel at natural make-up looks, like Bobbi Brown or Laura Mercier. Chat to the make-up artist and gather as many tips as you can. Important things are how to give your make-up staying power (primer and really taking time to work products into the skin) and flattering colours for your skin tone.

These are the products I used and loved on my wedding day:

Fluid master primer – Giorgio Armani

Luminous silk foundation – Giorgio Armani

Creamy concealer kit – Bobbi Brown (LOVE this)

Sheer Bronzer  – Giorgio Armani

Pot Rouge in Blushed Rose – Bobbi Brown (as a base for powder blusher – makes it last 10 times longer)

Blush in Nectar – Bobbi Brown

Sheer Finish Loose Powder in Soft Sand – Bobbi Brown

Eyeshadow in Brule – Mac

Pigment pot in Gold Mode – Mac (to highlight inner corners of eyes) (argh – discontinued! Try Melon instead)

Eyeshadow in Stone – Bobbi Brown

Eyeshadow in Mink – Bobbi Brown (for eyebrows) (Also discontinued, try Expresso or Mahogany)

Glam Eyes Liquid Liner in Black Glamour – Rimmel (the best I’ve tried and a bargain)

Lip Pencil in No. 22 – Make Up Forever (Try Mac Lip Liner in Spice too)

Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle – Chanel

All my brushes from Make Up Forever, Mac and Bobbi Brown.

If you are getting married, or just want some personalised make-up and beauty advice, leave a comment and I will get in touch!

Wish List March 2013

Wishlist2

Things I’m bringing forward from my last wish list post:

Dior Amber Diamond highlighter

Suquu Eyebrow Liquid Pen

Nars bronzer in Laguna

Nars Velvet Matt Lip Pencil

Everything else from last time I either bought (greedy!) or discovered that I didn’t like (Diane Von Furstenberg Diane Eau de Parfum was one of these, bit sad about that).

Things that have made it onto my latest list are:
(I should say here that this list is almost entirely thanks to this and this from Sali Hughes)

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse
I love multi-tasking products and this one can be used wherever you’d like a bit of sheen. Perfect for summery evenings and holidays.

Fake Bake Faux Glo Instant Tan
I’ve only tried fake tan once or twice and have always found it a bit of a faff. I use Sally Hansen Airbrush Legs much more often so I’m looking forward to trying this.

Dermalogica Sola Defence Booster SPF 30
I mentioned this in the last Beauty And The Bride post. It sounds like a genius way to give any skincare or make-up product a high sun protection factor.

Nars Blush in Orgasm
A pretty, suits-all blush that has earned iconic status.

Jo Malone Candles
I need to make a trip to a shop and find out which I like but I really want to own one of these. I want to be that woman.

Chanel Compact Mirror
A little bit of luxury for my handbag. I use my compact mirror daily and the way Sali talks about this one makes me believe I need a luxe version.

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser
I had the oil-free version years ago and I’ve heard so much about it recently that I want to try it again. The thing that appeals to me the most is that it has slightly more coverage than your average tinted moisturiser but still has that barely there quality that you expect from this type of product.

Smashbox Photo Finish Primer
Every make-up artist I speak to, regardless of the brand they work for, says this is the best.

Rubis Tweezers
I’ve had my Tweezerman tweezers for years but these sound too good to pass up. If you’ve read my eyebrow story then you’ll know that I’m a sucker for anything that promises to make my brows better.

By Terry Touche Veloutee
I’m interested to try this, apparently you can use it as a concealer and a highlighter (which isn’t true of the YSL version).

Diptyque fragrances
I’m on a quest to find a perfume I love (I’m finding this quite hard – I don’t seem to like any of the classics or the ones by the big fashion houses). I already know I love the Philosykos Eau De Parfum and I want to try L’Ombre dans l’eau too.

Beauty And The Bride: Skincare for the face part 2

Advanced Night Repair: A desert island product.Image from www.facegoop.com

Advanced Night Repair: A desert island product.
Image from facegoop.com

There is a lot of hype around serums, and for good reason, they often work a lot harder than a moisturiser and the good ones genuinely make a difference to the appearance of your skin.

My favourites are:

Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair
I know it’s not a new recommendation but this product really is so good at perfecting the skin. Its anti-aging and smoothing qualities are well documented, but what you don’t often hear is that it’s also fantastic for keeping breakouts at bay. I want to say that’s down to the Hyaluronic Acid, but I actually have no idea which ingredient I should be giving credit to… I’m just happy it does such an excellent job.

Pai Rosehip Bioregenerate Oil
I adore this. It feels pure, nourishing and organic but with the benefits of the sophisticated technology Pai uses to create it’s skincare products. Pai’s rosehip oil is super concentrated, with high levels of the powerful anti-aging vitamin A.

Alpha-H Liquid Gold
More of a treatment than a serum, but I use it about once or twice a week instead of one of the two above. Liquid Gold contains glycolic acid, which evens out skin tone, smooths wrinkles and controls breakouts. They describe it as a ‘resurfacing lotion’, which does sound a bit intense, but I have fairly sensitive skin and feel little more than a tingle when I apply it. I always do the intense treatment, which just means that I don’t apply moisturiser afterwards. A couple of notes on this one: don’t use this at the same time as an exfoliating product and if you have very dry skin, this might not be the product for you.

I’ve tried lots of moisturisers, but for day time I always come back to Olay Essentials Complete Normal to Oily Day Fluid SPF15. I’ve used this since I was a teenager and while so many others will make me breakout in spots, when I use this my skin stays clear and balanced. I love that it has a light SPF, which is perfect for a bit of protection during winter months. (During summer I wear an additional SPF product – I like Clinique’s Super City Block SPF 40, and this year I also want to try Dermalogica Solar Defense Booster SPF 30 on Sali Hughes’ recommendation).

My favourite night cream is Clinique Super Rescue Antioxidant Night Moisturiser. As the name suggests, it’s packed full of antioxidants and makes me feel like I’m undoing some of the damage city life does to my skin.

When my skin is clear, once a week or twice I also use Bio Oil as my night time moisturiser. It’s so healing and when I wake up I feel like the lines around my mouth are plumped out a little.

Beauty And The Bride: Skincare for the face

Bioderma Crealine: My hero (Image from amodelrecommends.com)

Bioderma Crealine: My hero (Image from amodelrecommends.com)

Next, skincare products for the face. I know I did say I’d talk about self-tanning and hair removal but I’m really not a huge expert in either so I don’t feel that I can write a whole post on them.

I will say that I have used and loved St Tropez Self Tan Bronzing Mousse and for hair removal I swear by my epilator for relatively easy, long-lasting smoothness. I have the Braun Silk Epil Wet and Dry Epilator.

On to your amazing face (SO much more exciting). I’ve always been a big believer in a simple skincare routine but I have to admit that several new steps have snuck their way in over the last couple of years.

When I was planning my own wedding I went to a few beauty master classes at Dermalogica’s Kensington store (sadly no longer open – they’ve moved to Liberty) and, as was their plan I’m sure, I bought several of the products they used. The ones that I still use now are Precleanse and Daily Microfoliant.

Precleanse might sound like a total farce but, truly, it’s so important. Even if you don’t have Precleanse (or something similar), if you have been wearing make-up/been in the city all day/rolling in the mud then I would recommend that you use your cleaner twice. Think of it this way – the first cleanse removes the make-up and grime and the second actually gets to work on your skin, doing whatever your specific cleanser is designed to do – whether it’s moisturising, clarifying or balancing (etc). Precleanse can also be used on eyes, which I really rate in a cleanser.

Daily Microfoliant is a fantastic non-physical exfoliator (it doesn’t have scratchy bits in it). They recommend using it twice a day but I think once at night is absolutely fine – particularly because it’s not cheap at £40. When I use this regularly my skin is smooth and glowy, and blemishes are kept at bay. I love it. Something similar is Amore Pacific Treatment Enzyme Peel, which was recommended to me by the lovely Mitra of psbty (if you live in the US you HAVE to try this out – it’s an amazing personalised beauty shopping service). The Enzyme Peel is not available in the UK but I got my hands on a bottle when I was in New York and I have to say it’s incredible. It’s not dissimilar to Daily Microfoliant in that it’s a powder that you mix with water to create a water-y paste, and the results are also lovely smooth, glowy skin which looks like you’re fresh from a facial. At around $60 it’s about the same price as DM but I think totally worth it. I interchange between these depending how I feel!

For cleansers I adore Alpha H Balancing Cleanser, which I bought after reading Ruth Crilly’s post about it on A Model Recommends. It’s  a very simple creamy cleanser and you can use it on eyes too which, as I’ve said, I like. My skin always seems clearer when I’m using this. Something that I started using recently and also like is La Roche-Posay Toleriane Dermo-Cleanser. This is super gentle so really good if you have sensitive skin and has all that thermo water stuff in it which always makes me feel like I’m doing something extra special and healthy for my skin.

Finally on cleansing (as I write this I’ve realised I need to separate out skincare in to cleansers and exfoliators, serums and moisturisers and finally masks and treatments) the make-up artist’s favourite Bioderma Crealine H2O is a cult product for a reason. It is so good I get nervous when I’m half way through a bottle. The fact that it’s not that easily available in the UK adds to this! I’ve bought a bottle on ebay before and my husband kindly bought me a couple of bottles when he was in France. It’s now going to be stocked in the amazing BeautyMART, (very excited about this new beauty haven – might have to be a whole other post!) which is based in Harvey Nichols, hooray for London folk! I use this for a lazy day when I just want to get everything off quickly, but mainly I use it to take off my eye make-up (it makes light work of even the toughest of waterproof  mascara).

As for the order to use them in, this first bit of your routine goes like this:

Step 1. Remove eye make-up

Step 2. Precleanse (or first go with your cleanser)

Step 3. Cleanse

Step 4. Exfoliate

The next post will be on which delicious serums and moisturisers to slather onto that beautiful clean skin of yours.

Beauty And The Bride: Skincare for the body

Image via mycrazy-beautifulife.tumblr.com

Image via mycrazy-beautifulife.tumblr.com

I’ve done a bit of a lazy girl’s guide to getting into shape through exercise and diet, now on to the fun part – products!
These are the things I think it’s worth introducing into your routine up to six months (or more if you have longer) before your wedding day:

A firming, toning and cellulite busting gel or cream
I haven’t actually used many of these, mainly because I don’t find them moisturising enough, so the times I have bought them, I always end up reaching for the moisturiser instead. However, when you persevere and use the techniques they recommend (basically pummel those lumps and bumps away) I do think they help. I have tried and liked Elemis Body Sculpting Firming System (Duo). It’s pricey so I have also used L’Oreal Body Expertise Sculpt Up which I really recommend.

A smoothing body oil that will even out your skin tone and fade scars and stretch marks
I swear by Bio Oil, I’ve used it for years and totally think it’s worth the hefty price tag. It’s on offer on Boots.com right now so with that it works out as about the price of your average body cream – great news!

An alternative is pure coconut oil, which you can buy in most health food shops and supermarkets. You can also use this as a hair mask.

Something specifically for your bust and décolletage
It’s worth treating this area with as much love as you do your face. The skin is very similar but prone to neglect sadly! For me, it’s often the area that I’m most likely to burn in the sun too so I try to be extra careful with the SPF nowadays.

In terms of looking after your chest daily, I like Nip+Fab Bust Fix Plumping Treatment  and Palmer’s Cocoa Butter Formula Bust Cream.  Both are lovely, the Palmer’s feels more moisturising, whereas Nip+Fab’s is a gel, so it just depends what you prefer. Also the Palmer’s has that very strong chocolate-y scent so this might also sway you either way.

An exfoliator
Whether you prefer a scrub (I don’t) or a body puff (I do) just make sure that when you get in the bath or shower you are giving your skin a bit of a polish and getting rid of those dead skin cells.

The same goes for your feet too, give them a buff everyday and it’ll be much less work than if you leave them for weeks (months) and only pay them any attention when summer, or your wedding, comes round.

This isn’t necessarily exhaustive but I would say start using these four products some months before your wedding day and you will feel glow-y and lovely when the big day arrives. There is actually a lot more I could say on the matter (fake tan and hair removal to name just two) but I think that’s going to have to be another post!

Beauty And The Bride: Beautiful eating

Image from prevention.com

Image from prevention.com

I’m no nutritionist but I do think I’ve got a good idea of healthy food choices and particularly those that lead to happy hair, skin and nails.

Alongside the exercise, if you make sure you are choosing the right foods you will really notice the difference.

I’m not going to write out a diet plan because I don’t have the expertise required for that but I will talk about some tips on what works for me when I’m having a bit of a health kick.

Firstly, if you work in an environment where colleagues have the habit of buying sweets, chocolate and cake, you’ve got to summon gargantuan amounts of will power and start saying no. Before you know it this can amount to hundreds (thousands) of extra calories a day. And the refined sugar is not doing your skin any favours at all.

Aside from avoiding the things you know are bad for you, generally start having meals that are low in fat and high in protein, with a little bit of carbohydrate on the side (I don’t think cutting carbs out altogether is helpful, I end up craving buttery toast).

Things that your hair, skin and nails love are avocados, nuts, fish, kale, plenty of water, oats, coconut oil, colourful vegetables, blueberries and seeds. All these foods are packed with the vitamins and antioxidants you need for glossy hair, clear skin and strong nails. Try to work them into your meals in a way that you find appealing – then you’re going to be more likely to stick to it. Just google recipes with these keywords.

Ideally, get your vitamins from the food you eat, but a supplement to this will work wonders too. I swear by Berrocca -when I’ve been having one regularly I notice the difference in my nails the most; they’re stronger, the tips are whiter and they peel and break less often. I don’t tend to have one a day because I heard that this can put a strain on your liver (and it gets expensive), four a week seems about right.

Drink plenty of water. This is not new advice but the reason you constantly hear this is because it’s so necessary to stay hydrated. It’s also such an easy thing to do so there’s really no reason not to. Also try to only drink alcohol twice a week at the most, cutting this down with get rid of lots of empty calories and your body will show its gratitude with happier skin and more energy.

Along with the exercise, a healthy but achievable diet (sometimes you should allow yourself that slice of cake – it’s really good for the soul) should be a lifestyle thing, not only in the run up to your wedding day or big event.

Next is skincare and the products I love and think make a difference.

Beauty And The Bride: Time to tone up the jiggle

photo (6) copy 3

I’m one of those people who gets really enthusiastic about getting fit for about two months and then misses one session, completely loses momentum and heads for the nearest baguette.

I’ve just started Fit February (I avoided Dry January) and, while having the bite-sized goal of doing regular exercise for four weeks really helps with motivation, this time I want to try to keep it up and make it a lifestyle thing.

When you’re getting ready for your wedding day I think it’s a good idea to take the same approach. There can’t be much worse than looking at your wedding photos and wishing you still felt as happy and confident with yourself as you did then. Why not keep it up and continue feeling super through to your first anniversary and beyond?

For me, working my exercise into my daily life is the only way to make sure I stick to it. I know that if I take my P.E kit to work planning to go to the gym afterwards there’s about a 99% chance it’ll stay under my desk unused for weeks. But if I take the same kit and change into it straight after work and then run (at least part of the way) home, I’m much more likely to do it because it’s a means to an end. Also, it’s often actually more pleasant than crushing into a packed train at rush hour, which is extra incentive.

The other thing that really works for me is exercise DVDs. This might conjure up images of cheesy 80s leotards but please let me tell you why you must try these.

Firstly, you don’t have to go anywhere. I always think that half the battle is making yourself get to the gym/park/swimming pool. With a DVD you just need clear a bit of space in your living room.

The second great thing is that no one can see you. I really don’t like anyone witnessing my bum jiggle/face turn bright red/my sweaty hair slap me in the face while I pound away like a baby elephant on a treadmill. Exercising at home means you can do all of this in private. Also, you don’t need any snazzy kit, just an exercise bra and your trainers (both of which are SO important, don’t even think about leaping around without either of these).

To see results you need to be doing about 30 minutes of exercise three times a week. If you have less time before w-day then I would up this to four or five times a week. Keeping it to 30 minutes makes it that much more achievable, it seems like a short period of time but if you work hard for that half an hour you will notice it.

These are the DVDs I have used and recommend:

Davina  – she’s a favourite because she is just so normal. I’m sure plenty of people will have other opinions but for me Davina is lovely and funny and her DVDs are created for us regular folk, are easy to follow and really work.

I have Davina Fit which has five sessions that are 30 minutes each. I like this one because the five sessions keep it varied. I also have Davina Power of Three and Davina My Three 30 Minute Workouts.

Other than Davina I have the Pussycat Dolls Workout DVD which is SO fun. You get fit while learning to dance like a bit of a ho, it’s hilarious. The girls in it have insane bodies, which is also nice and depressing. Only joking, of course I mean motivating!

Finally I have Mr Motivator BLT Workout. I really hope I’m not totally putting everyone off with my choices of DVD… I actually got this one for Christmas from my sister. Like PCD, it’s also pretty funny – set in Jamaica, Mr M seems to have pulled a few housewives off the beach to join him in his workouts. Aside from the comedy of Mr Motivators cries of ‘Get dimples in your bum’ (the muscle, not cellulite kind) it also really works. Because each workout is seven minutes I tend to push myself to do just one more and end up doing most of the hour long video in one session.

Keep doing three to four 30 minute sessions a week that get you out of breath and I promise that within just a few weeks you will be feeling fitter and healthier. Couple this with a healthy diet and you will be feeling brilliant. More to come on diet next.

Beauty And The Bride

photo (6) copy 2

We all want to look like the absolute best version of ourselves on our wedding day; I feel I can be so bold as to assume that this is a given for pretty much every lady out there.

Over the next six weeks I’m going to write a series of posts that will help you on the road to sheeny, shiny bridal perfection. Whether you just want to tone up or need tips for beautiful, glowing make-up, I’m going to cover it all here.

Before my own wedding I did something like this and genuinely felt lovely on the day. And I think that’s the main thing – feeling happy and confident so that when you put your dress on and leave to go and marry the man of your dreams you can forget about all the primping and just have an amazing day. Worrying about bingo wings just shouldn’t feature in your day.

You can pick this up whether you have six months or six days until you walk down the aisle – some of the benefits will be instant. My plan is that it’s easy to fit in around your job and all the planning you have to do too.

The fitness side of it is not intense – I don’t pretend to have an in-depth knowledge of any sports – my (fairly basic) take on it is to eat less, move more. But if you do take up the (easy) exercise you will definitely notice the difference.

Something I do know about is hair, skin and nails, and this will form a big part of the series. From the vitamins that will help you shine, to clever tricks with a make-up brush, you will feel lovely by the time I’m finished with you!

It’s worth saying here that of course all you don’t need to be getting married for this series to be relevant. If you have any big occasion where you want to feel your most beautiful self, you’ve come to the right place.