Wednesday, 21 May 2014

New Age Fun with a Vintage Feel: Mary Kay's 'Hello Sunshine' Collection

Oh how I adore Summer make-up. The variety of colours open to us this season is endless,  and vary magnificently from trend to trend.
I absolutely love it when a brand takes a current fashion trend and uses it as inspiration for a make-up collection, and Mary Kay Cosmetics have done just that.
Honing in on the vintage mania that has taken over the fashion industry for a good few years now,  Mary Kay’s Limited Edition ‘Hello Sunshine’ collection is new age fun with a vintage feel. Oh, and how kitsch is the packaging? 

When I first opened these and saw the colours, I really wasn’t sure what to think, but the moment I swept my finger across them I couldn’t wait to try them out. They really are springy, and lay slap bang in between a powder and a cream eyeshadow. They’re incredibly lightweight and smooth to use, and require hardly any blending whatsoever. The colour is quite translucent, with a slight shimmer, so that the colours on the skin are subtle, but obviously the colour is buildable. I like to put the browner shades just under the bottom lash line, and either the blue or the yellow on my eyelid, all the way up to the brow, and team it with a thin line of eyeliner for a 60s Summer look.

These are the answer to my red lip prayers. Being olive skinned, yet not very tanned, I find it quite hard to find a classic red lip colour that doesn’t completely wash me out, but the colour palette of this entire collection is quite warm so it suits me perfectly. These lipsticks are incredibly smooth and moisturising, and have a matte finish with a slight shimmer that lasts for ages. Carefree Coral is a pinky red  whilst Retro Rose is on the browner side.

For a classic vintage red without the matte finish, this product is perfect. A bit of sheen with some colour adds volume to your lips, so for a juicy, voluptuous look, without the grease of your average lip gloss, I highly recommend this product. My only gripe would be that you need more than one application to build up a decent amount of colour, but once you’ve achieved that, it lasts for quite some time. 

Mary Kay were also kin enough to send me samples of their Lash Love Mascara, True Dimensions Lipstick in Citrus Flirt and Facial Highlighting Pen in Shade 3, all of which are featured in all of these pictures, except the lipstick, which is only in the above picture. 

Steph x x x


Monday, 19 May 2014

Outfit of the Day Featuring Miss Selfridge, Topshop and New Look


I may dress every now and then like I'm more comfortable in a dark cave, but I really am a Summer person. 
For months I've been yearning for an opportunity to start creating my Summer wardrobe, and what a better opportunity than now. The items in this Outfit of the Day I've had for a while now, but they seldom get an opportunity to be seen, what with rain and clouds determined to be centre of attention. 

If you read my March Haul, you would have already seen these luminous yellow shorts from Miss Selfridge (which they've now sold out of, but there are some similar ones in peach here, or some shape flattering skorts in a very similar yellow here). These shorts are perfect for elongating the legs and emphasing your waist. 
I don't have much colour in my wardrobe, but when I do I like it to be something very eye-catching and dramatic. Something as simple as a boldly coloured pair of shorts bring a real essence of Summer to an otherwise all black outfit. 

Because I wanted the shorts to be the focal point of my outfit, I teamed it with a very simple loose black cami top from Topshop. These are essential. They're timeless, and can be worn with anything from jeans and skirts to dresses that have a deeper neckline than one might wish. If you're going on holiday and are trying to put together a capsule wardrobe, stock up on these. 

The kimono is one of my recent bargain buys from TKMaxx, for only £25. It's so delicate and airy that it's perfect for sunny days. If you're self-conscious about your arms or back its a gorgeous cover-up that doesn't leave you sweltering in the mid-day sun, and it's brilliant to just throw over a bikini whilst you're on the beach or at a festival. Kimono's are a definite must-have item for this Summer, so if you're looking for a bit of a bargain definitely check out TKMaxx before heading anywhere else. 

The bowler hat is from H&M, and although it's not really that appropriate for this weather, it goes perfectly with this outfit. Also I'm really prone to sunstroke and look silly in most Summer hats, so it was either this or an old beret. 

The chain necklace is from New Look, and is another way of breaking up the black of the top, kimono and hat with another source of colour. 

Finally, the shoes. They are from River Islands A/W collection, but if you wear them without socks and with shorts or a skirt, they're just as good for Summer, however they have a more updated version with an open toe that you can find here. You should know by now that I love my big black chunky shoes, and I never like to look too girly, so these are my way of adding a bit of a grungy edge to this outfit, but some delicate gladiator sandals or some nice block heels would work really well too. 

I'm really interested to hear how your Summer wardrobes are coming along, and if you've found any bargain buys on the way, and also what you're doing to make the most of this gorgeous weather. 

Steph x x x


Thursday, 15 May 2014

Get a Fresh Faced Look with Clinique

Ever since doing the Cheek Pop review, I've become a massive fan of Clinique products, and couldn't wait for the opportunity to do another one. Clinique were kind enough to send me three samples for a fresh faced 'awake' look which I was so excited to try out.

 Natural make-up looks are perfect for Summer. No one wants a cake face in boiling hot weather. There's nothing worse than your make-up slipping half-way down your face. 

Now I have quite an extensive make-up routine, so when I realised I had to create a fresh-faced natural look with just these three products, I wasn't sure if it would work. 

The first of the products was the SuperPrimer which colour corrects dullness in deeper skins. It actually took me a while to get used to this, because it's texture is very different to other primers that I've used. It's nowhere near as wet, and dries instantly once upon the skin, whereas others leave a dewy, moisturised feel.  It's also tan in colour, which surprised me. But the more I used it, the more I realised that both the texture and colour work to benefit your skin and the finished look. The dryness creates the perfect matte base for you to apply foundation too, so that it doesn't cling to any particular area, whilst the tan colour helps to gently even out your skin tone, whilst adding just a slight bit of colour to your face.

I have quite dry skin, and when my skin was at its worst, I found this primer a little too dry, but to fix this I used a thick moisturiser, left it to dry thoroughly, and then applied the primer. Problem Solved.

Next is the Airbrush Concealer. I fell in love with this instantly. So easy to use, and with the primer it creates brilliant coverage with no need for added foundation. It's so light on the skin, and reflects light, which hides any dark areas (this baby is absolute magic for dark circles under the eyes). It also works as a highlighter, particularly in the corner of the eye and just below the eyebrow.  I now take this absolutely everywhere with me. It's perfect for when you want a quick touch up, without having to heave out the foundations and brushes etc.
My only complaint would be that you can't see how much you've used, so you can't see when it's running out, and considering how much I love it, that's something I'm going to need to know.

With your skin sorted, the last thing to focus on is your eyes. No matter how fresh your face looks, if your eyes look tired it will ruin the whole look. This is where this bad boy steps in. Clinique's High Impact Mascara adds length and volume to an extent where it opens up your eyes, creating a wide-eyed effect, whilst at the same time separating them to make your lashes look as natural as possible. Nobody likes a clumpy mascara. 

So here's the complete look:

All in all, I am so happy with these products. It's actually changed my make-up routine completely, because in testing these product I've become so used to a light layer of make-up that I don't want to go back. The days are getting hotter, and we're all going to be looking for an answer to our melting make-up problems. I think Clinique have it! 

Steph x x x


Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Outfit of the Day with Missguided and

Black Beanie Hat: Primark £2
Black Floral Sunglasses : Primark £3
Silver Daisy Necklace: Balagan Jewellery (not yet on sale) 

If like me you love to channel a bit of grunge in your outfit, then a tartan dress is a staple. This one from Missguided uses navy instead of black which I think makes it a bit more suitable for Summer, and the thin flowing material helps to create quite a feminine silhouette, which counteracts the harshness of the black accessories. 

Talking of which, Primark have an incredible range of ABSOLUTELY BONKERS sunglasses, in fact there are some which I think are stepping outside the definition of what sunglasses are. I saw some that were literally the word 'LOVE' made to sit on your face, with your eyes peeping through the O and the lower half of the E. I didn't want anything too crazy, so I thought these were somewhere in the middle. They're chunky and make a statement whilst remaining flexible enough to work with a variety of outfits. 

Don't even get me started on the shoes. They are my babies. Being 5'2, they're the only pair of shoes that get me even close to average height. They're surprisingly comfortable and easy to walk in, and if you are short like me, they're amazing for making your legs look like they go on forever. I'm a sucker for a mega chunky black shoe, and these help me turn something girly into something with a bit of an edge. 

Moon Child is a shop on Big Cartel that sells an awesome range of witchy and spiritual jewellery, from chokers and ohm pendants to charm and gemstone rings. This is a jewellery trend that's becoming huge, so this is definitely a brand to watch. 

Steph x x x


Thursday, 8 May 2014

Kiss Me Deadly's Runway and Cabaret Extravaganza

Just last Friday, I was invited to attend Kiss Me Deadly’s Runway and Cabaret Extravaganza at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill.

Now if you’ve never heard of Kiss Me Deadly before, they are a lingerie gem. Based in London, they are an independent retro lingerie brand that takes their inspiration from 40s and 50s fashion.
I’ve loved this brand for a long time now. Their lingerie epitomises the typical 1940s film noir femme fatale, channelling strength, confidence, beauty and seduction. Sultry collections of lace and silk bras, suspender belts, girdles and stockings mimic the styles of classic 40s temptresses Rita Hayworth and Betty Grable, showing us that being naughty can be more fun than being nice.

So you can imagine my excitement when I got invited to the event, and it was such a fantastic evening. The night was dedicated to showcasing Kiss Me Deadly’s current and upcoming collections, but with a twist. This was no ordinary fashion show. Instead of using professional models, KissMe Deadly gave the stage to some of their most dedicated fans in a show choreographed by Irreverant Dance, a LGBTW-friendly, body-positive dance studio.

That wasn’t it though. In-between the amazing runways from the Kiss Me Deadly fans (aka Deadlies) were performances from Tempest Rose and her burlesque beauties from Madame JoJo’s House of Burlesque. All were dressed in Kiss Me Deadly lingerie, Prong Jewellery, Kezia Argue Headpieces and Face Lace (these are incredible. The name is pretty self explanatory, but the designs are so stunning.) From typical burlesque acts seductively undressing behind giant feather fans, to LoLo Brow’s burlesque parody of Nigella Lawson, the entire night was jam packed with sexy, seductive, tongue-and-cheek humour. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and am so grateful to the Kiss Me Deadly team for giving me the opportunity to attend. 


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Luscious Locks with Leonor Greyl

I think I speak for every girl when I say I spend an awful amount of time trying to find the ultimate hair care products. We all put our hair through an awful lot, whether it's blow-drying, straightening, dyeing/bleaching, exposure to the sun or even sea water. 

For those of you who have been reading my previous posts, you'll know that I have recently bleached the ends of my hair to create a fiery ombre look. I'm absolutely in love with it, but the amount of TLC my hair now needs has increase massively. 

There's no way of bleaching your hair without doing it damage, so the sooner you can restore your hair with the moisture and nutrients it needs, the better. 

These samples from Leonor Greyl came at the best possible time, when other products I'd tried weren't making my hair any healthier, and my ends were starting to look a bit like hay. 

Hair products are one of my favourites to review, mainly because when I discover a product that works for me, I feel like I've found hidden treasure, and I am extremely happy to say that this was the case with Leonor Greyl. 

I informed them that my hair was thick, dyed and damaged, and in response they sent me Eclat Naturel; a styling cream for dry hair (top right in reference to picture above), Shampooing Reviviscence; a deep repairing shampoo for coloured, dehydrated, damaged and brittle hair (top left), and Huile de Leonor Greyl;  a pre-shampoo treatment (bottom). 

I'm going to talk about the shampoo first because as far as I'm concerned, it's pure magic. This shampoo uses amaranth extracts which is rich in vitamins B &C to moisturize and condition, and Sea Lavender which is full of amino acids to hydrate and also prevent static electricity, so this is perfect if you're prone to frizz like me. 

I'm going to get a bit sciencey now - this shampoo works to repair your hair's lipid barrier. Basically, lipids are fats that coat your hair with an emulsion to keep it hydrated and in optimum condition. The outer surface of the hair is naturally replenished of lipids as well as keratin, which forms to create a barrier. All this contributes to the hair's elasticity. This barrier can begin to degrade as a result of common grooming practices. These are of course the bare basics of lipids and the barrier, but I feel part of finding your perfect hair treatment is to understand what it actually does. So...this shampoo basically restores the integrity of the surface of the hair. 

After using this shampoo, my hair was softer, shinier, and more manageable than I thought it was possible for bleached hair to be. The only negative I could find, if I was pushed to find one, would be that the floral smell of the shampoo is very strong, but that's only straight from the bottle. It's nowhere near as strong once your hair is dry, and  I am biased, as I'm not a big fan of floral scents. But if any of you out there are struggling with your dry or damaged hair, the shampoo alone I cannot recommend enough. 

The Huile de Leonor Greyl is a de-tangling, softening and protective pre-shampoo treatment for length and ends. Packed full of botanical oils, this product helps to protects your hair from the damaging effects of the sun, seawater, and chlorinated pool water, so this is a holiday must-have. 
I was very confused at first when attempting to use this product as to how I was supposed to get the waxy product out of the glass bottle, but the more I pondered, the warmer the bottle got in my hands, and the wax slowly started to melt into an oil. 

Confusion over, first time round I left the oil on for the recommended ten minutes, washed off and followed it with the shampoo. I think my hair was too dry at this point for ten minutes to be enough, because I didn't notice much difference, but second time round I left it on over night. I woke up with mega crispy hair, but once I washed it off, I think I may have made a noise similar to that on the Herbal Essences advert. The combination of this and the shampoo is perfect. It's literally as if they glued my split ends back together. 

The phrase less is more really applies to this product. Full of shea butter, jojoba oil and vitamins, this also protects your hair from the sun, as well as nourishing and reconditioning your dry hair. It's the kind of product you carry around in your bag for whenever you need a moisture top up; like hand cream for the hair. 

My first try of this resulted in mega greasy ends. In my desperation to rid myself of dry ends went in quite heavy handed. This is a treatment where just like shine serums, an amount the size of a pea, run through the ends of your hair with the tips of your fingers is enough. Any more and you will end up with thick greasy strands, and that's a look no one can pull off. 

So, for a brand I'd never tried or heard of before, I was more than pleasantly surprised. I am now a huge fan of Leonor Greyl, and I guarantee, within one try of their shampoo, you will be too. 

Steph x x x 


Thursday, 1 May 2014

Skulls and Daisies with the Balagan Group 2013/14 Collection

So the lovely people at the Balagan Group were kind enough to send me a selection of pieces from their 2013/14 collection. 
One thing I love about the Balagan group is that all of their jewellery is hand made. It's so refreshing to hear about a brand like this, in among a sea of products made by machines or made abroad. 
If that wasn't enough, the Balagan group's philosophy is 'Jewellery for self-expression.' 
I couldn't agree more. 
With statement jewellery being the trend of the season right now, more than ever we're looking at how necklaces, rings, bracelets, earrings and even head pieces can express our own unique identity, whether it's your mood, your passions or your style. 

Balagan means 'chaos', and even though there's such a huge selection of jewellery to choose from in this collection, there was no chaos involved in choosing the pieces that I thought would help express me and my style. 

As you can see, the collection varies dramatically from one piece to the next. 
My ultimate favorite is the Silver Holly Leaf necklace from the Blowing in the Wind collection. The leaf pendant itself is gorgeous, but I also love the delicate silver chain with tiny rings placed along it. 

I've also had many complements on the interlocking ring, just because it's so different. Usually I like to wear a lot of rings on one hand, but I think this ring looks perfect by itself. 

The skull pieces I chose because I thought they were incredible cute, with just enough grungy essence to suit my own personal style. The earrings are tiny, but look really good mixed with a selection of other earrings on the ear where I have multiple piercings, and the droop earrings are perfect for a night out, adding just a touch of glamour. They're the kind of earrings that annoyingly leave people starring for ages at your ear as they try and figure out what they are. 

With daisies being SO on trend at the moment,  I felt like I had no choice but to request the earrings and necklace. They're so delicate and simple, but add a little bit of kitsch to an outfit.You can also never go wrong with floral earrings really. 

Lastly, but certainly not least are the Opal earrings. I chose these simple because of the colour. Pastels and brights are massively on trend at the moment, and I couldn't help but feel that these were the best of both worlds. I adore how the colours change in the light, and considering I have a very monochrome based wardrobe (a habit I'm trying very hard to break) these are a perfect addition of colour. 

At the moment, the Balagan group is just a wholesale jewellery supplier, BUT as we speak they are in the process of setting up an online retail store called the Karma Cafe, so as of yet, these products aren't available for purchase, but watch this space. 

Let me know what you think of the products, and if you've come across any amazing jewellery brands lately. 
Steph x x x