Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Spring colour inspired makeup looks: Purple

Purple is one of those colours that produces some really exciting makeup looks but, with blue eyes, it can look a bit bruised. I usually look for blue toned purples to combat that, as pink toned purples tend to look like I've been scrapping! When it comes to vibrant colours, I typically turn to MAC and Urban Decay, especially the Vice 1 and 2 palettes. However, like the green based make up look that I posted last week, I prefer to talk about colours and textures rather than specific brands. 

With a look like this, I do my eye makeup first, clean up the fall out and then do the rest of my face. Using a flat brush, I applied a light vibrant violet to the lid of the eye. There was a glittery shimmer to this shadow. Then, using the other side of the brush, I applied a violet satin, blue glitter shadow to the middle of the lid, blending it to the lash line. Although this had some pink undertones, the blue seems to cancel out the 'I've walked into a door' look. 

In the crease, I used a a deep purple with glittery black undertones. To blend both colours into the crease, I used the light violet colour that I used on the lid, adding a dark matt blue to the outer corner.  In the lower water line, I applied a silvery purple eye pencil and used black eyeliner and mascara. I have recently been given an aubergine colour eyeliner, which would work with this. 

Urban Decay Vice 2 palette

Friday, 24 April 2015

Spring colour inspired makeup looks: Green

Don't be afraid of using colour. If it all goes wrong and you end up looking a bit like a great aunt, either own it and pretend that was the look you were going for or blend it with more workable colours. However, I don't think that you can go far wrong with greens. They suit all different eye colours and depending upon the shade you pick, green suits the majority of skin tones too. I will let you know some of the brands that I used but quite frankly, this is more about experimenting with what you already have and trying out new combinations.

Using a flat brush, I patted a yellow/gold shade from the inner corner of my eye to the middle of my eye. From the middle to the opposite end, I applied a bright, light shimmery green.

Using a round shadow brush, I applied an emerald green colour to the crease and using the same light shimmery green, blended it out. Then, in the crease, I applied more of the emerald green colour for definition. I then applied eye liner (by Dr Hauschka, which is natural and all but quite frankly goes everywhere and the application brush is difficult to control) and then a coat of mascara. 

For green colours, Inglot are superb. The picture below gives you an idea of the wide range of shades they have that you can combine to create your own palette using their Freedom System. I also have a gorgeous quad from Givenchy, and MAC and Urban Decay do some great shades. For a cheaper option, Sleek's Garden of Eden Palette is pretty flinking flanking good. However, I'm not a big fan of makeup suggestions where you are encouraged to buy this palette or that specific brand. I would rather suggest colour tones and ideas that can be applied to any make up brand.

Inglot eye shadows - left to right, shades: 58, 477, 17, 24, 16

Sleek – Garden of Eden palette

Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Personalised Hoola bronzers by Benefit

For a while now, several beauty bloggers have been flaunting their very own personalised versions of Benefit's cult classic Hoola bronzer, much to the envy of fellow Hoola fans. Well the good news is now you can get your hands on one too! Benefit are finally selling personalised bronzers on their website, complete with engraved box and brush, for a limited time only.

Sounds like an ideal present for a fellow make-up lover to me! Benefit are even giving some away on Twitter so head over to @BenefitUK to find out more.

Personalised Hoola, £28.50, www.benefitcosmetics.co.uk

Monday, 20 April 2015

Happy Birthday Kay!

Today my beautiful best friend and YBBF partner in crime turns 30! We celebrated the big event at the weekend with cocktails at the Savoy followed by dinner at Brown's in Covent Garden. It was a fantastic evening filled with all her favourite things; good food and drink, friends and family, and plenty of comedy. (Yes, Kay and I did squish into the Savoy's revolving doors together yet again – in fact we went round for a second lap! I blame the cocktails...)

The birthday girl, looking beautiful as always, successfully worked her way through three delicious courses. She even had an amazing Ruby's cake waiting for her back at the hotel. (On a separate food note, Brown's house salad with pineapple dressing is delicious, vegetarian and dairy-free! However lesson learned, a side of chips is probably wise if you're going to consume it with pints of Peroni.)

After dinner, those of us still standing (or without far to travel) went to the W Hotel Bar, where we found plenty of amusement in the fact that the guy at the next table looked like Vin Diesel.... It was a fun evening with fantastic company and a lovely way to celebrate a very special lady's birthday.

Dinner at Brown's
A champagne welcome from the Charing Cross Hotel and makeup talk in the ladies' room.... obviously.

Welcome to the dirty thirties Kay Louise! Hope you have a wonderful day xxx

Friday, 17 April 2015

A YBBF catch up and some of my spring favourites....

Never too early for a cocktail....
Last week Kay and I got together for a catch up/blog meeting, but most importantly some food and a bit of shopping. We started out with lunch at The Big Easy, a BBQ place in Covent Garden that I knew Kay would love as it has a distinctly American vibe. Personally, I love anywhere that I can get a veggie burger, fries, cupcake and a margarita for £10....

The Big Easy, Covent Garden
We then moved on to a bit of shopping and a discussion about how much we love spring, warmer weather and the generally cheerier colours that start emerging in fashion and beauty this time of year. (Kay was on the hunt for a very specific pair of hot pink heels to wear for her birthday, which sadly we couldn't find… she assures me that she has since found a beautiful alternative!) So as spring has officially arrived in London, I thought I’d share a couple of things that I have been loving this month… 

Orange nails
I don’t wear a lot of orange clothing but I do love an orange accessory; a bright handbag, coral lipstick, and in this case…. tangerine orange nails! Oh yeah. As we have been focussing on healthier choices this year, here are a few of my favourites by OPI, a brand on the 'less-chemically' end of the nail polish spectrum. You might just be able to make out my orange nails in the picture at the top although it is slightly fuzzy! We'll blame that on the dim lighting and not Kay's photography skills.....

From left to right: Juice Bar Hopping, Toucan Do It If You Try, Where Did Suzi's Man-go?

Makeup collaborations
I do love a good makeup collaboration and this spring there are several exciting ones emerging. Charlotte Tilbury’s Norman Parkinson packaging is fantastic! I am a tad bias as he is one of my favourite fashion photographers, but if you are a sucker for great packaging then you might want to check this one out. Charlotte’s eponymous collection has received glowing reviews across the board so it is most definitely not a case of style over substance. The only downside,we’ll have to wait until July for this one. Below is the best selling Filmstar Bronze & Glow Palette featuring Parkinson's iconic shot of Jerry Hall.

Yesterday saw the release of the latest in a long line of exciting MAC collaborations, this time with none other than milliner-extraordinaire Philip Treacy. He has drawn inspiration from his own work to create a collection that ‘enhance the face’s most evocative features’ – sounds good to me!

Booja Booja ice cream
Last but not least I had to include my latest food discovery. I’ve been meaning to try Booja Booja ice cream for a while and it just sort of ended up in my basket on a recent trip to Holland & Barrett. My review? Amazing! I got the Hunky Punky Chocolate flavour and it is really rich and so delicious. Best of all it only contains four ingredients; water, agave syrup, cashew nuts and cocoa powder. It might be a little on the pricey side but it is so worth it for a product that tastes better than most dairy ice creams I’ve had in the past but that is infinitely better for your health.

I think that’s all for now. Hope you are having a wonderful month so far and the sun is shining where you are!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Sugar Free Chocolates on the High Street.

The thing with going sugar-free, gluten-free or dairy-free, is that if you're out and about and haven't packed your own snacks, buying convenient food is a little tricky. Don't get me wrong, most places, even smaller stores are getting so much better about providing alternative snacks, but finding something can take time – especially if you don't just want a piece of fruit and would prefer to indulge! However, knowing where to buy things from, makes it all a bit easier so, with that in mind, I went searching for yummy options.

Hotel Chocolat
A Diabetic Gift Box for £25, which includes: Gianduja Bombes, Supermilk Puddles, dark chocolate Brazil Nuts, Cocoa & Peppermint Infusions and two Rabot 1745 bars (whatever they might be!)

The Sleekster Even Less Sugar Collection for £22, which includes: Hazelnut & Ginger Crunches, Pistachio Pralines, Gianduja Bombes, Orange Pralines, Milk Chocolate Batons, Milk CanapĂ©s, Dark Chocolate Batons, Dizzy Pralines and Chilli Pralines.

The H Box Less Sweet Selection for £12, which includes: Hazelnut & Ginger Crunch, Pistachio Praline, Gianduja Bombe, Orange Praline,  Milk Chocolate Baton, Milk CanapĂ©, Dark Chocolate Baton, Dizzy Praline and Chilli Praline.

Thorntons are great for gluten free chocolate. Nearly every regular bar and special occasion chocolates are gluten free. My mum is really allergic to wheat and certain types of gluten and is always fine with Thortons chocolate. Just double check the ingredients before you buy. 
Chocolate bars start at £2.25

Conscious Chocolate
This chocolate is organic, raw chocolate that is naturally sweetened with agave nectar and is dairy and gluten free. It is vegan approved and most importantly, it tastes so yummy. When I tried it, I thought it would be pretty bland but it is seriously good. So good in fact, I often eat the entire bar in one go. Yes, I am a hog. 
There are various flavours but my favourites are Plain Jane (which is the plain chocolate), Essential Orange (orange flavoured chocolate) and Goji and Coconut (which is great for baking and using with coconut flour based treats).
They are sold at health food shops but personally, I would order them from the website and chuck one in your bag before you leave the house. 
Chocolate bars start at £3.


Holland and Barrett
What's great about this chain is that they have stores in almost every town, so buying snacks that are suitable for allergies or preferences is fairly easy. They sell sugar free sweets, dairy free chocolates, gluten free biscuits, vegan ice cream and a load of savoury snacks. 

Tesco, Asda and Sainsbury's are doing a great range of 'free-from' items but what is even better is that Tesco Express is stocking some of those items, so grabbing something that won't send you into a sugar coma or give you the world's worst stomach ache is easier than ever.  

Friday, 10 April 2015

Happy springtime!

Spring is one of our favourite seasons. The warmer weather is a big draw but the return of bright colours, fewer layers, sandals, happier skin, fresh air and cute fluffy critters certainly help too. 

Embracing our spring-ness, we will be doing a range of posts from spring makeup looks to cruelty free brands (it is the month of rabbits after all) and Easter chocolate yumminess from brands that won't give you a sugar low, having created their own sugar free or reduced sugar lines (Thortons and Hotel Chocolat are both on the list. Hurrah!) 

April and the Easter holidays means that Jen and I will be having fun days out and later in the month, a birthday celebration. 

Happy springtime friends!