Archive | May, 2013

Beauty Review: Hair

29 May

The mane attraction.

There are three fundamental  elements to your look: 1. Make-up, 2. Clothes and 3. Hair. Style is all about successfully balancing these three elements.

1. We have to take each item of make-up step-by-step. The world of make-up and beauty is extremely complex so each product type will have their own blog post.

2. Fashion is ever-changing so clothing  is also extremely complicated. We’ll take each component within the fashion arena and un-pick it by looking at style choices for specific cases (occasions, body types, age, seasons), a review of fashion brands, and a selection of the best stylish pieces around.

3. However, hair is relatively simple. So we’ll aim to conquer this element in just one post therefore, by the end of this reading you’ll know all of the secrets to achieving the perfect mane.

Shampoo

Shampoo is used for the removal of oils, dirt, skin particles, dandruff, environmental pollutants and other contaminant particles that gradually build up in hair. It’s the first and most crucial part of your hair-care routine so make sure you get it right.

You should aim to wash your hair every other day. The longer, thicker, curlier, and more processed your hair, the longer it can go between washes. Do not wash it every day as this wills strip the hair of its natural oils. Because of this lack of oils, your scalp will respond by oil over-production, meaning that you then really do have to wash it every day.

You don’t need loads either. A quarter-size blob of shampoo is usually enough to for a good hair wash. When shampooing  hair never use hot water, always luke warm. Hot water can strip the protective oils that act as a natural conditioner, and your hair’s natural shine can disappear.

Consumer Reports tested products on 1,700 hair samples and found that pricy shampoos were no better than cheaper ones. So, what should you buy? Choose shampoos and conditioners designed for your hair type. I have thick, dry, long, dark, dandruff prone hair. My favorite shampoos that I’ve tried are:

1. Leo Bancroft – Gentle Care. Sulphate free shampoos don’t contain chemicals which damage your hair and therefore they don’t lather up as much as the shampoos which are brimming with harsh formulas but they do a much better job of providing you with clean, soft and healthy hair. You can grab this bottle for £5.00 and it’s just as good as the expensive ones.

2.  Neutrogena – T/Gel. Dandruff is a minor skin disorder in the scalp.  T/Gel is the best one I have found which treats and relieves itchy, flaky scalps while being gentle and pleasant to use, leaving hair shiny,manageable, clean and beautiful. Prices start from £4.89. Do not use head and shoulders. Ever. It’s so abrasive and harsh that it completely strips your hair from colour, nutrition and essential oils.

3. Lush – Rehab. Lush products are completely natural, hand-made using fresh and organic ingredients using no gimmicks in their packaging or marketing. Just simply, pure good-stuff using only vegetarian ingredients and telling you exactly when and where they were made. We’re always told chemicals are bad for our body, so we steer clear from smarties and head for the lettuce, it shouldn’t be different for our hair. Move away from the long words of L’oreal and head to Rehab from £5.10.

For those in-between days use dry shampoos (an essential) that contain cornstarch and/or silica to absorb sweat and oil. Apply to the under layers of your hair, your hairline, and the roots. Massage it in like you would a normal shampoo, then brush through, and voilà! Washed hair without washing. It can also be used to volumise your bouffant and there’s no damaging side-effects, so go on, spray away!

Conditioner

The use of shampoo opens the hair cuticle. What the conditioner does is close it over again so it stays hydrated and nourished; it coats strands with separate ingredients to support, nourish and protect. It’s best to go for the same brand as you used for shampooing, so if there’s a BOGOF offer go for a shampoo and a matching conditioner every time. I always condition my hair without fail, if you’ve got time to shampoo, you’ve got time to condition, your hair with thank you for it.

Look for conditioners with protein. They sink into the hair shaft and repair split ends. The fix only lasts until the next shampoo, so you’ll need to use them regularly.

Don’t go too heavy with conditioners they will leave hair limp. Just apply a 50p sized amount from the ears to the ends. I normally work it through the ends of my hair, comb, and leave it in for about 2 minutes while I see to my other bath duties (shaving legs, scrubbing toes, that sort of thing, zzzzzzzz)

Leave-in conditioner is also a must-have for me. My  favorite ones:

1. Aussie – Miracle Hair Insurance.  At £4.49 this spray is one of the best around. Australian Jojoba Seed Oil is a key ingredient in this vitamin-enriched leave-in conditioner that strengthens and detangles the hair. Just spray through damp hair before blow drying and your hair will feel beautiful for longer. There’s no sticky residue, hair feels light, and manageable.

2. Vitapointe. I found this little gem while I was waiting for my prescription in Boots. I always think if a product has stood the test of time it must work. I’ve not heard of Vitapointe, there’s no adverts or viral marketing campaigns, and they’re clearly not bothered on making it stand out on the shelves to grab new buyers. For me, that intrigues me even more, they must just rely on knowing that their product works, they don’t need any fancy graphics. At £2.09 I gave it a go and I’m pleased I did, my theory was right. It works like a dream. Most leave-in conditioners have to be applied when wet/damp but this is used for dry hair. Work a pea-sized amount of the cream into dry hair and you get beautiful, revitalised and weightless hair within seconds.

3.  Bed Head – Ego Boost Split End Mender. This is a light-weight watery serum that is non-sticky and makes your hair soft and tangle-free. I’ve had this product for months and use it pretty much every day as it can be used on either wet or dry hair. You only need a little pea-sized amount, so you really get a lot for your money at £10.50. Apply on the ends to keep split-ends at bay and to maintain a healthy and strong mane. It’s not greasy at all and is able to mange frizz while improving condition on a long-term basis.

Treatment 

Once a week treatments or hair masks are also perfect for bringing your locks back to life and to make your hair feel soft, look shiny, and be healthy. Treatments can come in a variety of types (sprays, creams, serums..), to be used in a variety of ways (before shampoo, after shampoo, on dry hair, overnight..) Make sure you read and follow the instructions to the T. I always aim to have one pamper day a week, when I can have a nice soak in the bath, and get all my beauty bits done without any hassle. Home alone for the night? Get into your jammies, put a hair mask onto your hair, eat ice-cream, watch a Rom-Com, and enjoy!** Ahh no annoying, stinking boys, fabulous!

My favorite treatments are:

1. Umberto Giannini – Beauty Secrets Moisture Mask, £5.61. This is easy to use and lasts for ages. Scoop a handful out and apply all through the hair. This intensive, rich treatment deeply nourishes and strengthens hair, transforming it from feeling dry and flimsy to feather-light, strong and silky soft. You’ll notice the difference after just one use and your dry/damaged hair will be a thing of the past. Hello luscious locks.

https://i0.wp.com/images-its.chemistdirect.co.uk/LOreal-Hair-Expertise-EverStrong-Nourishing-Intense-Mask-186365.jpg 2. L’Oreal Hair Expertise  – EverStrong Nourishing Intense Mask, £6.99. This is a new range by L’Oreal using gentle ingredients specially designed for different hair needs. The EverStrong range is for fragile and brittle hair, enriched with botanical rosemary and juniper oils.  The mask is free from harsh sulfates and works to strengthen hair, helping it become more resistant to breakage. The smell is absolutely gorgeous and improves hair condition almost instantly.

3.Ojon – Damage Reverse Restorative Hair Treatment Plus, from £16.00. Yeah, okay so this is a lot more expensive than the other two but oh my, it’s heavenly! This has been reformulated with a new lighter scent and fortified with Rouge Oleifera, as well as nature’s golden elixir, Ojon oil. After just one use, it restores vibrant health to even the most deeply damaged hair. It also helps increase hair’s strength against breakage, so hair is soft, silky, and manageable with loads of volume and shine without being greasy or heavy. You’re getting a special product here so forget about the price tag.

You can also go for homemade options such as:

1. Coconut Oil – Apply a handful of coconut oil to your hair, concentrating on the tips. With your fingertips (never your nails) massage the scalp for about five minutes; this will stimulate the blood vessels there making the production of its natural oil more effective. gather and clip hair at the crown, and leave oil on for 20 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.

2. Gelatin – Dissolve a packet of gelatin  in a cup of hot water. Massage the gel-like liquid through hair and leave in for about 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly with warm water. Alternatively, stir 1 tablespoon of gelatin powder into 1/2 cup of cool water until mixed. Add 1/2 cup warm/hot water, 1 teaspoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 teaspoon of honey to create a thicker mixture. Pour into hair and massage through hair and scalp. Leave on for at least 5 minutes and rinse with hot water. Shampoo as normal.

3.Eggs – Packed with vitamins A, E and D that nourish hair, while the fatty acids add moisture and improve condition. Whip up a couple of eggs along with their yolks with two tablespoons of water and massage them into your dry tresses. Wrap some cling film round your hair, leave it on for 15 minutes and rinse out with cool water. Be careful your shower water isn’t hot so that you end up cooking some scrambled egg in you hair. That’s not the aim here.

Other remedies that I recommend include VO5 Moisture Soak Hot Oil Treatment as well as the increasingly popular Argon/Maroocon oil.  This is a rich emollient that adds moisture to your hair, with hydrating vitamins A and E. Simply apply it after you shower and before you blow-dry (the oil doubles as a heat protectant). It leaves hair glossy and silky to touch. You can also get these in treatment forms such as Lee Stafford’s Argan Oil Deep Nourishing Treatment.

Serums are also great to tame hair – Frizz Ease by John Freda, £6.29, is one of the best ones going.  You can also get this as a treatment form too – John Frieda Frizz – Ease Overnight Serum, £6.99, is easy to use and allows you to wake up frizz-free. Miracle.

frizz
I am also currently using Umberto Giannini Frizzi 3 Day Frizz Free Hair, £5.99. This also helps to tame hair away from frizz, especially on those warm summer evenings when your hair refuses to enjoy the sunshine but instead protest against the humidity by flinging up hair stands like you have thousands of little antennas implanted on your head. This little beauty acts like an invisible shower cap to repel moisture and humidity.

 

Styling

olsen

So, it’s a fact. Women do not wake up looking like Rachel from Friends (massive hair envy). Even Jennifer Aniston doesn’t wake up looking like Rachel from Friends, it takes a f*cking long time to look good. You can have the cleanest, most nourished, healthiest hair going, but if you don’t bother styling it then essentially, it means nothing. You’ve put all that effort into preparation, now the finishing, yet fundamental, step is just in the styling. It isn’t as hard as many think, you don’t have to be Nicky Clarke to get your hair ready for the day ahead, you just need a few good tools and you’re set.

Straighteners – The easiest way to style your hair is to straighten it. Section your hair by working from the under-layers first. Clip the top half of your hair and divide the bottom half into segments that are 1-2 inches wide and only about 1/2 inch thick and straighten bit by bit. Then repeat the process with the upper layer of your hair. The best straighteners by far are GHD’s – a great investment, and an essential. Whatever you do don’t use an actual iron!***Also, remember to clean your straighteners when cool, and never, ever use on wet hair!

Curling tongs – You can also use GHD’s as curling tongs by clamping a small segment of hair right at the root, twisting the iron, and then pulling it down the length of the hair. Alternatively, invest in a curling tong if you aim to create this look regularly. The size of the curling tong barrel will determine how much curl or volume you want. The smaller the barrel, the tighter the curl, while larger barrels will give you more wave or volume. You want to choose a size according to length of your hair and the desired result.

When you style your hair with the above always properly prep your hair by making sure you use a heat protection spray. In order to prevent hair damage and breaking, it is crucial to apply some sort of heat protecting hair care product like a spray, serum, mousse or cream before subjecting your strands to high temperatures. There are loads available to choose from and (I think) they pretty much all work in the same way.

Rollers – To get a looser curl and to achieve big Hollywood hair, all you need is old school hair rollers. Their easier to use than curling tongs, and you get a longer lasting curl with more volume and less damage. If you’re using hot rollers, you should take them down after they are completely cooled. Velcro rollers should be first hit with the heat of a blow dryer then let to cool – usually about 15 minutes. Wet set should be taken down when the hair is completely dry. I normally wash hair and pop some rollers in before bed and then I wake up looking like Sofia Vergara**** without any effort required.

Ponytails and Buns – For glamorous up-dos create a sleek pony tail by flipping your head over, spritzing hairspray onto your comb and gather hair up by brushing through from your hairline to the base of the ponytail ensuring there’s no lumps or bumps, and secure with a hair band. Use a hair doughnut or a sock to create a gorgeous vintage looking bun and pin into place by using hair grips/bobby pins to secure. However, don’t secure up-dos too tight as this causes breakage and damages the roots.

Head bands, fascinators, clips, brooches, tikkas, Alice bands, claw grips, etc… There are endless amounts of hair accessory options to keep your style perfectly in place and offer a great and easy way to add some glamour to your hair with an extra little touch of detail, and complement your overall look.

Tips

Some other advice for hair heaven:

* Get hair cut every 6-8 weeks

* Don’t just protect against heat styling products, protect against the heat from the sun too. Sun exposure can dry out hair, especially if it’s colour-treated. Use a light hair spray with SPF protection, or wear a hat when the sun is strongest.

* Avoid chlorine damage by rinsing your hair before and after swimming. If your hair is already saturated with water, it won’t absorb as much from the chemical-laden pool. Use a pH-balancing hair product to further protect your hair.

* Want to highlight your hair? In the summer, drizzle some lemon juice on your hair.

* After you’ve washed your hair, rinse with cold water. This helps to seal the cuticle, making it harder for moisture to enter the hair follicle, which can cause frizz.

* Make sure your hair is completely dry before bed. If you blow dry, use a heat protection spray and make sure it is already 80% dry before blow drying. Never go for the hottest temperate on your hair dryer (mid is good), use it no closer than 30 cm, dry your hair in a downwards motion to avoid frizz, and blitz with cold air to finish.

* Bloat dry, not roughly towel dry. Drying your hair roughly with a towel will damage the structure of each individual hair, producing frizz and breakage over time. Leave your hair loose after you shower and dry it in sections, holding the towel on both sides and pulling down vertically but gently.

* Too much brushing will snap off hairs. To keep from losing any more hair than normal, use a brush with ball-tipped bristles. And never brush wet hair, use a comb instead.

* Do you know how to use bobby pins correctly? Make sure the grooved side of the bobby pin is facing down, against the skin. The ribbing is designed to grip hair and lock it in place, and you will capture more hair with the pin in that position.

*And, for the love of Christ, don’t do this to your hair, there’s just no need:

Or this:

Or this:

And definitely not this:

** Yes this is a massive gender stereotype but if you don’t like doing this then sorry, but frankly we just can’t be friends

*** Indeed I have done this. Me and my sister used to wake up at 6am to iron each others hair before school. And yes, I did end up singeing half her hair off and severely burning her neck. Not advisable!

**** Not strictly true.

~x~

Crafts: Homemade Rings

21 May

Wrapped around your little finger.

Making rings is incredibly easy and quick! It’s also pretty darn fun, not to mention cheap. So, I decided to delve into my craft box and show you a popular DIY of mine for my very first craft post.

Firstly, decide what centrepiece takes your fancy.

I found this gorgeous vintage brooch on eBay and I just had to have it. Beatrix Potter was always  a childhood favourite of mine so this unique Jemima Puddle-duck piece definitely had my name on.

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I also saw this teeny-tiny Coco Chanel perfume bottle sold as supplies for dolls house miniatures and I knew it would look just fabulous on my fingers.

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Then just grab some rings blanks, and a strong craft glue.

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All you have to do now is simply dab the glue onto the ring and hold the centrepiece into place until secure and leave to dry.

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Then that is it, you’re all done. You are now the owner, and creator, of two gorgeous new rings within a matter of minutes. Cute and original. What do you think?

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This is such a quick project and they make great novelty gifts (if you can bear to part with them!) If you want to source some other fun miniatures yourselves try checking out dolls house supplies as there are so many options and they are the perfect dimensions for rings! You can literally make anything into a ring; brooches, buttons, coins, sweets, you name it. You see something you like, stick a ring on it, and show it off to the world. We all know the famous ‘saying’*, “If you like it, then you should have put a ring on it”.

I hope you try them. Tweet me your pictures if you do, I’d love to see them! ♥

*Yes, a Beyoncé lyric is a saying. That girl speaks so much sense.

~x~

Fashion Review: Tesco

21 May

Every Little Helps.

Tesco-Logo-Colour

It may seem somewhat inappropriate and ludicrous to even mention a supermarket which sells food when writing a blog all about fashion, you know ‘cause everyone in fashion survives on Diet Coke, celery and cocaine*. However, it’s okay because we’re steering clear from the horse infused burgers and heading straight to the clothing aisle.

F&F, formerly known as Florence and Fred, the clothing line by Tesco has recently hired Victoria’s Secret model Amy Hixson, and Tom Ford model Jon K to front their Spring/Summer ’13 collection.

It comes as F&F are promoting their restyled brand marking a new era for the label with its ‘most dynamic and stylish line yet’, competing not just with other supermarket clothing lines, but with the big dogs of the fashion world.

With head-to-toe looks from day to evening wear, the range aims to change perceptions of budget fashions with a real focus on quality, fabrics and real fashion kudos at affordable price-points. They offer affordable yet gorgeous clothes supplying you with 5* looks for your summer holiday. Influenced by the latest catwalk trends with a high-street price tag, access to luxury clothing has never been so easy. ‘The driving factor when designing the collections has been to not compromise on quality for budget,’ said a spokesperson. Yes, Tesco may be a long way off headlining London Fashion Week and being the prominent star of the red carpet but their marketing campaigns along with the actual fashion items themselves are making people stop and take notice of the domineering supermarket as a serious fashion contender.

F&F is a £1 billion a year business. To put that into perspective, Tesco’s total UK turnover last year was £48 billion. But while food sales are slowing, clothes are increasing – 9 per cent last year, and we can see why.

Ombre chiffon cover up £10 plus bikini top £8 and bottoms £5   Floral jersey maxi dress £20

Shirt and Shorts £12 each  Music saved my life T Shirt

Tesco also held a star-studded fashion show for their Autumn/Winter ’13 collection last week. Taking place in the courtyard of the very grand, very neoclassical Somerset House, overlooking the Thames, on the same hallowed ground where London Fashion Week’s shows are based. They clearly mean business.With their stylish, sophisticated and cutting-edge looks, they are slowly transforming themselves from a bargain brand to high fashion.

F&F say of their collection: ‘The season that lies ahead symbolises bravery and a carefree attitude. We see the F&F woman come full circle from ladylike chic to rebel with a cause; a smart, independent, modern woman with a desire to challenge the ordinary and tear up the rule book.’ Yes Tesco, you’ve hit the nail right on the head! Fashion for women is all about empowerment, confidence and diversity. Amen to that.

I have previously bought many items from Tesco. My £7 shoes are constantly shocking people when they find out their birthright,  “Wow, I thought they were Prada or something”. I maybe wouldn’t go that far, but they are f*cking beautiful. And if these little beauties were produced when they weren’t that serious about fashion, then I bloomin’ well can’t wait to look through the rails of their new collection while  my boyfriend collects some cauliflower, Weetabix and stawberry jam.**

As stated in ‘Fashion Basics’ it’s not where your clothes come from that matter, it’s how you wear them that makes all the difference.

I could literally live in Tesco. They have everything you would ever need in one store. And it’s not just necessity buys, they offer genuinely luxury items. They know what customers like and they offer it by the bucket load, for a cheaper price, and with undeniable attention to detail. You really can’t complain. I lived in Holland for a year and, yes of course I missed my family, but I never thought I’d miss a supermarket on par with my little dog, Dougie. When I saw the red and blue sign of Tesco, that’s when I knew I was home.

Now, I’m going off track. So I’ll leave you with this simple message: Visit Tesco.

Tangerine, palazzo pants and oversize bag  palazzo

Red hot model Jon K modelled their SS13 collection and now walks for AW13. He has won countless awards  Bomber

 * Not strictly true.

** We clearly have much more of a substantial diet than those fashion models…

~x~

Beauty Review: Feet

20 May

Happy Feet.

Your poor feet. They’ve supported you through the good times, walking around the endless stores while you get your fashion fix, the bad times, when you storm off in a bad mood stomping around the house, the hard times, as you attempt the 5k run around the local field, and the drunk times, when you’ve stupidly decided to cram your hooves into ridiculously high heels.

You need to take care of your little tootsies as they are an essential part of almost everything you do. And now that the summer is knocking on the door, you need to make them ship-shape before you can even think about putting your snazzy new flip-flops on for the world to see.

Our feet take lots of punishment, and it shows. The rough, calloused skin on the heels needs regular moisturising or it may become dry and cracked. The moist skin between the toes is prone to athlete’s foot. Even the skin on the tops of the feet is vulnerable; it can get sunburned if not protected from ultraviolet radiation.

So, for perfect summer feet:

  • First and foremost. Hygiene.

Pretty simple, wash and soak your feet with a bristle brush in warm soapy water regularly (every day). This will soften the skin and combat the bacteria which causes foot odour. In the summer when feet often get dirty, wash them more frequently. This not only dislodges dirt and grime but when you come home after a long day at work and sink your feet into a shallow bowl of water, it makes you feel instantly refreshed. On a really hot day, submerge your feet into ice-cold water for 15 minutes and you’ll cool down within seconds, soothing inflammation and preventing swelling and discomfort.

Make sure to dry them thoroughly, especially in-between your toes, and only put your feet inside shoes or socks when dry. You can use body powders or foot powders to keep the sweat away from the feet. With 250,000 sweat glands in your feet, it is no surprise that they sweat more than other parts of the body. It is estimated that the sweat glands on feet can produce up to a half pint of fluid a day in hot conditions. Nice. Apply a light dusting of foot powder to prevent sweating, as well as using a foot deodorant or an antiperspirant spray usually used for underarms. Sweat not only causes stinky toots, but when your sweaty trotters rub against your shoes, blisters will appear.  Make sure to wear fresh socks or stockings daily, even if you’re a student and spending your student loan on laundry isn’t high on the agenda. If you do get a blister then never de-roof it. Keeping some blister pads (Compeed or other hydrocolloid plasters) in your handbag is a great idea as blisters can strike even the best prepared feet and make walking miserable. To treat them, pierce the edge of the blister with a sterilised needle, gently expel the fluid and press it down to self-heal. Put a blister pad or plaster over the top to seal it in.

  • Smoothness.

Hard skin forms due to overloading and pressure areas. If you have hard skin on your feet, gently remove it with a pumice stone, foot file or Ped Egg on damp heels and calluses and it will ensure that your feet look utterly gorgeous in your new sling-backs.

Foot files gently remove the thickened skin and leave it feeling soft and smooth, while moisturising foot scrubs made from botanicals such as crushed fruit stones, sugar or chemical exfoliates also help remove dead skin.

Keeping the heel area scrubbed and moisturised is a great and easy way to keep potentially painful heel cracks at bay. If you do develop heel fissures, get them treated professionally as deep cracks can become infected and be very painful.

  • Hydration.

After you scrub, and only where your feet are completely dry, apply a rich moisturising foot cream or balm containing shea butter or cocoa butter all over your feet paying particular attention to your heels whilst avoiding in-between the toes. Look for balms or heel creams containing salicylic acid, urea, petrolatum, an emollient, or a humectant such as lactic acid, which draws moisture into the skin and softens tough calluses. For an intense moisture mask, slap on some of the cream and put a pair of 100% cotton socks on before bed, you’ll wake up and the first step you take will lead you to believe you’ve stepped onto cloud 9. A great way of making feet feel good while helping to prevent the build-up of hard skin and infections.

  • Suncare.

Don’t forget to protect the skin on the tops of your feet. It’s easy to forget about them little blighters all the way down there but they need protection too! A sunscreen with an SPF of at least 15 should be applied to the feet when you’re at the beach or wearing open sandals. Sun-burnt feet are NOT enjoybable, for anyone.

  • Nails.

Priority attention with all feet should be the toenails. If shabby and unkempt they are unsightly. Keep them trimmed regularly as overly long toenails are prone to getting caught on things and fungus can build up under the nail, infecting the nail itself.

The leading cause of hangnails and ingrown toenails is clumsy nail trimming. Use toenail clippers to keep them short and file down rough edges. File nails into a shape that mirrors the curve of your nail base. After trimming, dab nails with tea tree oil, a natural anti-fungal, to help keep them healthy and clean.

To moisturise your toenails, try using a cuticle cream, petroleum jelly or vitamin E oil. Put it over the entire nail, including the cuticle, and gently rub it in.

You’re not fully holiday ready without a good summer polish on your toe nails. I like red hues on my toes but the list is endless with colour choice and design details. A good nail varnish will vamp up your toes to look glamorous and cared-for.

  • Comfort and support.

Insoles – If you stand for long hours, you may end the day with sore feet. Insoles can help make shoes more comfortable. Look for insoles that have a plastic shell at the bottom, which makes them strong enough to provide real support.

Also, look out for shoes and sandals with built-in insoles that absorb perspiration as sweaty feet can slip and slide within shoes which as I said, is a recipe for painful blisters.

Shoes – Winter is good for your feet as they’re either strapped into boots or slippers and sit there quite content ‘snug as a bug in a rug’ but when the summer hits, you need to reconsider your shoe options. Wearing flip-flops or completely flat ballet pumps may be essential to get some air to your feet in the summer months but these are often the cause of serious foot problems. These types of shoe are so unsupportive that you can be left in real pain. Conversely, squeezing your feet into high shoes also causes serious damage. Not only do you increase your chances of a sprained ankle but crushed feet can completely change the mechanics of your foot causing bunions and hammertoes. Your tendons can also become unnaturally stretched, which means that it will really hurt to wear flats. It’s best to go for a small kitten heel for day-time, and a sensible wedge for night, as they provide better arch support. There are some great, stylish choices now available so don’t think you’ll look frumpy or mumsy. You’ll look better in them rather than hobbling round looking like you’ve sh*t yourself. For hot, tired feet that have the potential to spoil a lovely summer’s day outing, remember to wear a shoe a half-size bigger than normal as feet swell during the hotter months and need the extra space.

Bunion protector –  Because I’ve made some bad shoe choices, I am developing bunions on both of my feet. I have therefore bought a pair of bunion protectors which attempts to re-align the bones and rid of your bunions. Put them on over night, every night and you should slowly see a difference.

  • Decoration


Foot chains, anklets and toe rings are making a come-back in the fashion arena. Accessorize your trotters will some cool designs, from simple to flamboyant, there are loads of options to make you feet feel elegant and regal. I bought this one for my jolly – newlook

***

And there we have it, gorgeous, healthy feet that are now, finally, ready to bare in the sunshine!

~x~

Beauty Review: Anti-ageing creams

16 May

22 soon to be 72

Now, you may think it absurd, a youthful, fresh-faced, 22-year-old is blogging about anti-ageing creams. Absurd it is not.

The term ‘anti-ageing’ doesn’t mean when you’re 72 you slap some potion on and you’ll miraculously look 22, it means when you’re 22 you slap it on in the hope that when you’re 72 you look 22*. It’s a precautionary process not a turning-back-time-process. The phrase “prevention is better than cure” is relevant here more than ever.

So, anti-ageing creams should be used when young rather than when old. Right? Right.

Now, the confession. I don’t use anti-aging products. And here is for why…

In short, they don’t work. “The sad truth is that creams that claim to be anti-aging are not much more effective than standard moisturising lotions.”

Don’t think that the use of  ‘scientific-type’ words mean that there is evidence to prove things work, most anti-ageing creams are promoted by the ‘science’ which has created it, it’s just a ploy, most of the words aren’t even real words.

Buying these expensive, good-for-nothing lotions, potions, and even pills, aren’t going to make you look young, nor is it going to prevent you from looking old when you are old. The only thing these bottles of made-up sciencey sh*t are good for is feeding into the bank accounts of the CEO’s. You know them headlines “10 anti-aging creams that REALLY work”? – lies, all lies, trust me. The anti-ageing industry is absolutely colossal, yet 60 year olds everywhere are still looking  60. The only real way of looking younger, I think, is plastic surgery but that still makes a woman of 60 who hopes to look 30, look about 55, and you tend to regard her as an object of pity rather than an object of desire. Jordan/Katie price, 34. She’s managed to have so much anti-ageing surgery that she has somehow managed to make herself look 55, bloated, and essentially, the very opposite of desirable. Not the best look.

Once women start seeing wrinkles and crow’s feet, the desperation to look like they were born yesterday often makes them act like it, too. I don’t understand why wrinkles are deemed the enemy. However, it’s not for me to start a mass protest in order to change social thought, so I’ll just go for the easy life and roll with it.

Therefore, rather than reaching for the magical potions which do not perform any form of magic what-so-ever, go for these options instead:

1a. Sun block/sun cream/sun lotion/sun screen (whatever you want to call it). It’ll protect against both UVA and UVB rays (the skin-ageing ones). The simplest, best way to keep your skin healthy. Sun cream is your best friend. Yes, you may not be in the running for the most tanned, wotsit-hue skin, and you may get laughed at as you compare arm colour. But really, who f*cking cares? Your friends may sit there gleaming with their seemingly ‘glowing’ skin, poking fun at your milk bottle legs, but you can laugh right in their wrinkly orange faces when you’re 50 and you look a heck of a lot better. Wear sun cream, look better, have a life, and then fake it up with instant or developing stuff**. You literally win on every level. You’ll look good at 22 using fake shizz, and you’ll look good at 72 because of said decision. Suckers. Ninety-five percent of wrinkles are due to sun exposure so, sun cream really is the only anti-aging cream that works, go for that every time.

1b. On the same theme, wear sun glasses, your eyes will thank you for it, crow’s feet will not land anywhere near your eyes when your shades are near.

2a. Moisturise daily. It’s all about hydration. Applying an effective moisturiser is a critical step in keeping skin smooth and hydrated to help reduce wrinkling skin. Available as creams, lotions, gels and oils, they offer an important barrier that helps skin retain water offering a whole host of benefits for your dewy skin. From dry to oily – everyone should be moisturising everyday and there are products out there to suit everyone, no matter what your skin type is.

2b. Similarly, eye cream/serum is essential– the delicate area round the eye needs particular attention, devotion and care. Because the skin around the eye is so thin, it needs a specific, intense moisturiser. Eye creams or serums de-puff tired eyes, banish dark circles, and as eyes are one of the first victims of ageing, it’ll help prevent you looking older than your years. Eye care is crucial.

3a. Eat well – lots of fruit, vegetables, anti-oxidants, and no fatty foods.

3b. Drink well – water (remember – hydration, hydration, hydration) and no alcohol.

3c. Give up cigs – It drains all of your skin of its nutrients and sucks the life out of your face so, please, no smoking.

3d. Sleep lots, relax and, don’t stress – you know all them lifestyle pointers I said about helping rid of acne? Yeh, they all apply here too.

4. And if all that is way too hard, then just pray you’ve got good genes – it’s all about picking your parents wisely.

* the key word here being ‘hope’

** there are some amazing ones out there. Look out for my beauty review of the best fake tans around. I’ll also be reviewing the best sun creams, moisturisers and eye creams too, busy ol’ girl

~x~

Fashion: Men’s Suits

9 May

 Suits to suit.

Freddie street

Finding the right suit can be exhausting. We’re all different shapes and sizes, surely we should embrace that and accentuate what we have? It may be the easy option to all cram into the same suit style and sample sizes, but trust me, it’s not the style option. Regardless of your height, weight, shape, and individuality, there are style secrets out there to make any suit look perfect for you and your body. You don’t have to go on a cabbage diet, or pump heavy weights at the gym to look good, you can look your best just by making smart clothing choices.

Whatever your size, there’s a way of styling that plays to your strengths. Most brands don’t seem to cater for difference, and most men are not the classic ‘regular’ shape catered to on the high street for the mass market, making it a real challenge to find clothes that actually fit properly. However, identifying your body type and knowing what types of suits you should be going for and which styles to avoid are the first steps to suit success and the key to honing your personal style. You can even buy off the rail and then tailor it to your body by way of personalisation.

When shopping for suits, always keep in mind the fit and feel. I know many people who buy ridiculously expensive top-of-the-budget clothes and think that because it’s got a designer label it will secure them success in the style war. Just because something is expensive or designer doesn’t mean it will undoubtedly fit like a dream. If it isn’t right for your body and it doesn’t fit well, you won’t look good, regardless of the hefty price tag. If you find a cheap suit that manages to accentuate your assets and disguise all the things you want to hide, you will look like a million dollars, even without the million dollar price tag. Conversely, if you’re buying a suit just because it’s cheap, don’t buy it. A suit is an investment, you need to love it, if you love wearing it, you’ll exude confidence, which just happens to be the foundations for any successful business man.


So, to understand your body, learn how to dress to flatter your shape, and avoid any body-type fashion faux-pas, we are here to help.

  • If there’s a little more of you to love (The larger lad):

Carrying a bit of extra holiday pounds? Avoid horizontal stripes, it’ll only accentuate your belly. Vertical stripes draw the eye downward, elongating your silhouette and visually slimming it. Pinstripe suits are the perfect dress-up clothes for you, especially paired with a crisp black dress shirt underneath. Also avoid double-vented jackets as this cut will draw attention to your posterior. Go with single-vented jackets or jackets without any vents to camouflage a wider rear. Meanwhile, many mistakenly believe that tight clothing will smother imperfections and flatten out pudgy shapes, whilst some others fool themselves in thinking they’re a SMALL, but in reality they could do with an XL. Tight clothing will only draw attention to your flabby bits. In a similar vein, other plus-size men believe baggy clothing will hideaway bulging bellies, but overly large clothes will only make you look bigger. So, buy clothes that fit. A belt will nip in your waistline and make it appear slimmer. Just be sure not to make it so tight that you have a belly overhang or muffin top effect. You should also be avoiding turtle necks, bold/busy prints, and contrasting colours. Stick with dark hues from top to bottom, and opt for V-necks, long sleeves, and sweaters for a sleeker silhouette.

  • Peter-Crouch-esque? (The tall and skinny man):

Opposite to the above, you want to create the illusion of broadness and bulk. So, choose horizontal stripes to create width and dismiss anything of the vertical dimension. The same colour from head to toe will make you appear even thinner so chose contrasting, different colours and get experimenting with the colour palette, graphic prints, and bold designs. Saying that, lighter colours will make you appear slightly larger, so choose whites, creams, light blues, light greys, and pastels to visually bulk you up a bit. You shouldn’t wear skin tight shirts or skinny jeans as they will just accentuate your thin frame, you need to choose something more fitted instead and learn to layer up to fake a bit more mass. In terms of shoe, avoid round-toed, and opt for square or pointy to balance out your frame.

  • Vertically challenged? (The short one):

The small guy needs some help to make him appear a big longer. Firstly, opt for square-toed shoes. Long shoes or big bulky boots will just draw attention to your short legs; go for a minimalist shoe that elongates your body. You should also go for shoes with a substantial heel such as dress boots to give yourself added height. Meanwhile, avoid big prints as these will overwhelm your smaller body. Large ties should also be banned from your wardrobe as they too will overwhelm your frame, stick to small ties to make everything seem proportionate. Another thing that will drown you is a long suit jacket which will just call attention to your height (or lack thereof). Shirts with vertical stripes are suitable because they have a lengthening effect. Lastly, shorter men should wear the smallest rise in their trousers as this will visually elongate your legs and avoid making your crotch and bottom area look baggy and empty.

Summary:

You should seek to create a sense of visual balance by exaggerating weak features, highlighting assets, and hiding flaws. There is not one look that will make all men look equally as stylish. Fashion is personal, knowing what works for you is key to achieving success in the style stakes. Don’t jump on the fashion ad bandwagon, if acid-wash jeans look horrendous on your rugby-player thighs – steer clear. Period. Find a trusted tailor and make him your new best friend. They’ll be able to ensure any and all clothes are optimally flattering for your body type.

We’re fully aware that not every man will fit nicely into the categories, fat, thin or short. Rest assured, we’ll be offering more advice for the other body types, as well as which suits are appropriate for differing ages and certain occasions, all to come very soon!

~x~

Fashion and Beauty: Essentials

2 May

 The Bare Necessities.

10 Fashion and Beauty must-haves:

The crucial items every woman should own

* Good underwear

Just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t invest in some decent under-garments. You can purchase a gorgeous bodycon Gucci dress but without a good set of holsters you won’t get those turning heads you’re after. A bra needs to be fitted, seems obvious but 80% of women don’t wear the right size bra, if you’re not wearing the correctly fitted bra, there’s no point in wearing one at all. A cup size too big and your bangers will fall south, but a cup size too small and you’ll end up with the double boob effect – not a good look – we want two boobs, not four. Back size is also key, too small and it won’t feel comfortable, the straps digging in is aggravating, you can be a size zero, but back fat will get you. A back size too big, and your bazookas will be flying around everywhere. Your two precious gems are fragile little (or large) creatures, you need to support and take care of them! If you’re bigger on top, look for under-wire with modest cups, a wide band, and wide straps. If you’re smaller, avoid under-wire, since they can be uncomfortable, look for padded or push up designs. Bra sizes vary from shop to shop, so ignore the size on the tag and go for what fits you and your body. Have fun with your underwear, plain white and plain black are important ones to have in your wardrobe, but even though they may be the optimum of practicality, who wants sensibleness when you can have style and fashion on top of that? Lacy, colourful, and beautifully designed underwear makes you feel confident and sexy, it’s a great way to be experimental with fashion and release that inner Pussycat Doll. Knickers. Now these really do have to fit, too small and BAM! Instant muffin top, too big and SHAZAAM! Your pink, lacy, see-through thong just got granny-fied. Spanx are also a great little invention, it’ll hide a multitude of sins and suck in all of your lumpy and bumpy bits, no need to wear them daily, good lord no, just on those events when you need that extra little extra oomph so you can enjoy your night without worry that you’ll be caught on camera with your gut out. Good underwear is the foundations of a good wardrobe.

* Dry shampoo 

Freshly washed hair feels gorgeous, you can’t help feel like you’re the star of a L’Oreal advert as you sit and stare at yourself swishing your hair around in the wind*. However, washing your hair is also a chore, it takes up a good chunk of your night and sometimes, simply, you cannot be f*cked. Then the morning comes, and you regret your lazy decision while you brush your post-bed tangles out of your wet-look, wet-feel, grease ridden hair. This is when dry shampoo is your super- hero. A few little sprays and you’ve gone from Danny Zuko to Jennifer Aniston, without any of the effort. Dry shampoo used to be around in the 60’s, I’m baffled as to why it disappeared for so long, this bottle is staying around to see me through right to the coffin let me tell you that.

*Razor

‘Why should women be forced by society and institualised to be made to look a certain way?’ I hear you sisters. I admire your protest, your bravery, and everything you stand for, I really do, but frankly,  under-arm spiders – it’s just not for me. Don’t get me wrong, winter times and lonely nights, I’m free as a bee, but when Summer arrives and the boyfriend visits, it’s definitely time for the chop. There are a range of options to get your smooth legs: wax, sugar, epilator, removal creams, and so on, but a razor is an essential item to have in your beauty box. It’s a quick, pain-free fix to getting that silky feel in a second. Your boyfriend surprises you on a cold Christmas eve – lovely thought, but hairy legs. Run to the bathroom quickly and you’ll come out smooth as a baby’s bum.

* She Laq

Benefit cosmetics are a god-send. This is one of the treasures which I cannot live without. If i didn’t have this beauty I  would simply point-blank refuse to put eye shadow on. You brush the magic little potion onto your eye-lids, leave to dry, and then apply your eye shadow. And that’s it, you are set for the day knowing at no point will your eye shadow run, fade, crease or disappear. It’ll be with you til the bitter end of the night. Sadly, this magical product has been discontinued, there are other ones out there which do the same job, and Benefit have replaced it with a new product, but until my bottle runs dry, I’m not surrendering to change.

* Good pair of dark denim skinny jeans

jeans

A staple item for every and any woman. A dark pair of skinny jeans are perfect for any season or occasion. You can team them up with a pair or trainers and a hoody and you won’t be out of place from the other mums walking their toddlers in the afternoon sun but they are equally a brilliant option to glam up with some heels and a posh top for a Christmas night out. You literally cannot go wrong with a pair of good jeans. From 5 years old – 50 years young, from size 0 – size 30, all will look fabulous in a pair of denims. Invest wisely, they’ll be your best, and most trusted friend.


* Vaseline

5vaseline

A little pot of petroleum jelly will get you a long, long way. Vaseline will give you supple skin all year round, helping out with any scars as well as dry or irritated skin to give you moisture and protection. Lips love it. Dab a bit of this on and chapped lips will be a distant memory. You can add a little lip liner to make a nice lip gloss, you can run through your hair to use as a gentle serum to tame stray-aways, and you can rub on your eyelashes before bed to help promote growth in lash length.

* Instant fake tan

The girls asked you on an impromptu night out?  You want to attend but the surprise and unexpectation means you haven’t made the effort you would normally? It’s okay, make sure you have some instant tan (the Rimmel one is my fave), squirt a tad onto your mit, rub into your skin and Voila! Milk bottle legs have vanished, post-holiday-esque pins are ready to be shown to the world.  You no longer have to sun bathe for hours on end to get some sort of ‘glow’, go shopping, get cooking, continue sleeping, you’ll get a better glow in a bottle.

* Pair of black high-heels

Skirts, shorts, dresses, jeans, trousers. Interviews, work, Church, afternoon shopping, heavy nights out on the town, pleasant evenings in at your friends. Black high heels are inoffensive and stylish. They literally work with anything, for any occasion. Get a good set of high heels and you’re guaranteed to always have the perfect accessory to complement any outfit you choose.

* Concealer

If you only have one item in your cosmetic case, make it be a concealer. It hides away those dark circles, any spots or blemishes, and highlights your face to look bright and beaming – even on a Monday morning – when you feel anything but. You can literally look transformed with a quick  swipe from a concealer pen. If someone turns up at your door stop just as you’ve settle down for an afternoon nap because your 18 month old has FINALLY stopped crying since 11am the previous day, you’ll feel like shit, you’ll look like death, quickly get that concealer, draw it all over those give-away areas and yeah, you’ll still feel shit, but you won’t look it.

* GHDs

ghdEvery day I wake up looking like Diana Ross in her prime. On holiday, my hair turns into some sort of birds nest. If I step out from the car and walk to the office front door (which is approximately 6 yards away) and it happens to be mildly windy**, my hair will be as big as Afromans. GHDs really do provide you with good hair days. Gone are the days when straighteners take an hour to warm up, an hour to make any effect to your hair, and after an hour, you’re back to looking like a member of The Supremes. GHDs – heat up in 20 seconds, glide through your hair with ease, and leave it looking gorgeous all day long. You don’t have to limit yourself to straight hair either, GHD’s are great curl creators and you can adopt a variety of hair styles with just this one instrument. You’re options are no longer Afroman or Wednesday Adams, you can actually go for mid-spectrum. If I didn’t own a pair of GHDs, people will assume I lived on the streets and they’ll be throwing money at me. Although, if I saw myself pre-GHD-purchase I’d probably donate some funds to contribute to some decent hair apparatus too. Go buy one, you won’t regret it.

~x~

*the wind being your hair dryer

**actual wind