All I want for Christmas is…

I know there are a few of these posts around at the moment, but it’s Christmas and I’m constantly being asked by those around me what I’d like for the big day. So for anyone asking, here’s some of my top choices!

asos cat watchAsos cat ears watch £25

asos kors dupe

Asos Michael Kors dupe £22

new look necklace

Gold tassle necklace New Look £6.99

elephant coin necklace

Elephant coin necklace Asos £12

nail art brushes

Nail art brush kit from Topshop £10

evoke mio radio

Pure Evoke Mio DAB digital radio in Seagrass

remington

Remington AC9096 silk hairdryer approx £30 from Boots

phone case

Marimekko Unikko iPhone 4 case £34

tess gerritsen body double tess gerritsen vanish

Tess Gerritsen novels – part of the Rizzoli & Isles series

nail rock nail wraps

Nail Rock red and gold metallic moon nail wraps approx £6

normal_you-look-lovely-today-canvas-pouch

You look lovely today canvas pouch £18

flake away

Soap & Glory Flake Away body exfoliator £7.50

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This Works Deep Sleep Heavenly candle £25 and the rest of the Deep Sleep range 

mulberry primrose

Mulberry Primrose – well a girl can try!

So that’s what I’ll be having my fingers crossed for in just over a weeks time, what are you hoping to find under your Christmas tree?

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Jo Elvin – Women at One Lunch Series

It’s not very often that invites like ‘who wants to come and see Glamour editor Jo Elvin speak at a women’s lunch event?’ pop into my inbox, so when this one got circulated by one of the girls at work I immediately jumped at the chance to attend.

‘Women at One’ is a lunch series which enables the women of Guernsey to get together to socialise and network over some lunch, whilst also listening to the inspiring stores of guest speakers from around the UK including magazine editors, CEOs and founders of women’s Leadership Academies.

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All photos from Women at One Facebook page

The November lunch was particularly popular as it was hosted by long-running editor of Glamour Magazine, Jo Elvin. Now whilst I am not an avid Glamour reader, I thought this would still be a fantastic chance to hear first hand how someone like Jo got to where she is today and what pearls of wisdom she had to bestow upon the rest of us (I also wanted to hear if she had any embarrassing celeb stories, which she definitely did!).

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Australian-born Elvin started her magazine career doing work experience at girls magazine Dolly, where was offered a full time job before moving to the slightly older Cleo. As well as working in magazines Elvin also had a brief stint as an Aussie cliche (her words, not mine!) when she worked as a publicist on Neighbours, and no, not during the Jason and Kylie years. She then took the huge decision to move to the UK with dreams of making it big in the UK magazine industry.

Dolly-Mag-June-July-2010-coverBeyoncé appears on the cover of Australia's Cleo magazine

As careers go, Elvin’s has been one of working incredibly hard, always using her initiative and putting everything into every job she’s undertaken, including taking the several knock backs she encountered on arriving in the UK. In fact she recalled a story of sitting in a greasy spoon in Notting Hill back in the early nineties and thinking it was maybe time to cut her losses and go back to Australia and even seeing a Quantas plane flying overhead – surely an even bigger sign?! It was at this low point that she was offered a job at Sugar magazine, and has since gone from strength to strength having been editor of women’s magazine Glamour, which she describes as being ‘glossy with grit‘, for over a decade.

jlaw coverAttributing her success to her Aussie determination and never wanting to give up, some of the highlights of her career include drinking a Vodka and tonic with Tony Blair on board a private plane and being papped with Terri Hatcher in the Hollywood Hills. But the life of a magazine isn’t all glitz and glamour as Jo also recalled a time at an awards ceremony when she was drafted in to hold up a certain female celebs dress whilst she went to the loo as it was so tight she couldn’t do it herself!

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So what’s her advice for a successful career? Firstly she advocates internships, but more to demonstrate the hard work you’re willing to put in, and if you’re looking to get into fashion that doesn’t mean only interning at fashion magazines. All experience counts, and in fact one of the current Glamour staff had never worked on a fashion magazine when she applied and was working on a car magazine, but the fact that she has immersed herself so fully into the world of cars really impressed Jo who decided to give her a chance, which she says absolutely paid off.

My personal favourite piece of advice Jo gave was straight to the point – ‘say yes and then figure it out later.’

Unfortunately we had a meeting to get back to at work so were unable to stay for questions after lunch which was pretty disappointing as I had wanted to find out Jo’s opinions on bloggers and whether they’re having a positive or negative effect on the magazine industry. But we did have just enough time to scoff the amazing cheesecake that came for dessert, although I’m pretty sure I shouldn’t have eaten the whole thing so quickly as I felt super sick on the drive back to the office!

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All in all though this was a great event, Jo was incredibly warm and funny and although I’m sure she’s a totally formidable woman in the office her career stories and advice helped many of us around the table to understand the most important areas to focus on to really impress the people around you to drive your career forward.

Thanks to Jo and the organisers of Women at One for such a great afternoon out with the girls!

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Starting Off: Mascara

It’s that time of the week again, it’s Tuesday, it’s 6pm, which can only mean it’s the Starting Off Project!

Week 6 = mascara!

Quite possibly one of my favourite items of make up which I always feel a bit naked without, mascara gives your eyes more definition. Worn on either your top or top and bottom lashes one of the main things to look out for with mascara is that it can ‘clump’ and give you ‘spidery lashes’ which is when your lashes end up getting stuck together because you’ve put too much mascara on them. You can avoid this firstly by removing any excess mascara by scraping the brush against the top of the tube, and then gradually building up your mascara in thin layers (normally around 3) by applying it in a zigzag motion by moving your hand from side to side. This will cover the lashes more evenly and also separate them as you go.

There are loads of claims on the market for different mascaras but most are all about volumising or lengthening your eyelashes using a multitude of different shapes and sizes of wands. Expensive products like ModelCo Fibre LashXtend even attach tiny fibres to your lashes as you apply your mascara, and claims to give ‘brilliant extension and high definition impact’.

My top tip for thickening lashes without blowing your budget is by using talcum powder. Yup you read that correctly, the humble bathroom staple, talcum powder. Just gently put a layer of talcum powder on your lashes before you apply your mascara and the powder will have the same effect as the ModelCo product for a fraction of the price!

My final piece of advice is an oldie, but a goodie. NEVER pump air into your mascara tube by pushing the wand/brush in and out in order to get more product on it, as it will dry out the mascara which will lead to clumps. Before you initially take the brush out, I recommend twisting it around inside the tube and then removing it. If you need more product then gently repeat this process.

My faves

I have used a number of mascaras over the years both from high street brands and more high end designers, and my current favourites are Scandaleyes from Rimmel, Lancome‘s vibrating mascara and They’re Real by Benefit.

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mascara2

rimmel brush

Scandaleyes by Rimmel is a great everyday mascara, especially given it’s cheap price. I bought this on offer in Boots with some other Rimmel items so it’s always worth checking in Boots or Superdrug if they have any good deals on. The brush on this one is quite thick and gives good coverage, but it can easily clump so be careful how much you apply.

benefit brush

They’re Real from Benefit is quickly becoming one of the most rated mascaras currently on the market, and personally I can see why. It’s not cheap at around £20, but at the moment if you buy online direct from Benefit here you get a full size mascara and an additional deluxe mini version for the same price. The brush has quite short fibres and the orb shape at the end of it enables you to get right into the corners of your lashes. Again I would recommend around 3 coats for the best coverage, being careful it doesn’t clump.

lancome brushFinally this Oscillation Vibrating Infinite Power Mascara from Lancome is not only the mascara in my collection with the longest name but it’s also the most expensive, retailing at around £30. It has a small battery in the lid which makes the brush vibrant as the mascara’s applied, and personally I do think this makes a difference to the end result which is virtually clump free with great length. Given the price I only really use this on nights out, so if you’re looking for a special occassion product I would recommend this one but for something more for everyday Rimmel or Maybelline have some great mascaras for less than half the price.

So that’s it for another week, as always I’d love to read everyone elses posts so feel free to leave your links below.

What are your favourite mascaras? Have you used any of my favourite mascaras, what did you think of them?

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To catch up on all of my Starting Off Project posts see intro/skin care/concealer/blusher

Starting Off: Blusher

I can’t believe it’s already week five of the SO Project and this week we’re talking blusher! I haven’t been around on the blog much lately as I haven’t been very well over the past few weeks but am back now and am ready to get stuck in!

So if you’ve been following #theSOproject you’ll know the past weeks have covered skincare, concealer, foundation and bronzer. As I don’t use much bronzer or know much about foundation I thought I’d sit back and read all the great words of wisdom from the many other great bloggers taking part in this awesome series. If you want to read my previous posts you can find them here – skincare/concealer

Ok, so on to blusher. There are a number of different types, powder, cream and mousse are the main ones that I’ve used previously, although I tend to stick mainly to powders.

Blusher is used on the apples of your cheeks and give you a more ‘rosey’ complexion. There are many different shades from pretty pinks to more apricots or pinky red shades which you can use during different times of year depending on your skin type and colour. Personally I find cream or mousse blushers are normally better in the summer months when powders can be a little more ‘cakey’ and in the winter when my skin is drier the cream blushers can again end up looking a bit ‘cakey’. But that’s my personal experience and others may find it works better for them the other way around.

The fun part about blusher is of course all in the excellent face pulling that takes places when applying it! If you suck your cheeks right in this allows you to see your cheek bones and the apples of your cheeks which you can then sweep blusher onto using either a brush or your fingers depending on which type of blusher you use.

My fave products

blusher cu

For me, I only have two blushers that are my go to, one is a cream blusher by Une and the other is Sugarbomb by Benefit.

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As you can see from the incredibly well-worn box and the huge hole in the product, Sugarbomb is my go-to blusher for day-to-day wear. As it has four different shades in one it means you can work a number of shades together to get the right colour for your skin, or you can just use one of the four. I am a huge fan of Benefit blushers having previously used Dandelion and Throb, but at around £20 each they are definitely not cheap although I always try to get mine with birthday/christmas gift vouchers or in Duty Free. Despite their hefty price tag, personally I think that they are worth it, especially as they last ages.

une cu

My second blusher, which is more of my ‘holiday’ blusher is from Une. What I love about this blusher is not only the incredibly useful mirrored compact it comes it, but the ability to really build the colour. So although when you initially put it on it seems quite sheer you can gradually add more product until you’re happy with the coverage.

Being able to gradually build product is very important with blushers so I would advise having a tissue on standby to get rid of any excess before application as the last thing you want is to go full throttle and end up looking like a rag doll with two big round red marks on your cheeks (Lil Kim I’m looking at you!!)

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lil kim

Seriously BAD times Lil Kim!! 

So that’s all for another week my lovelies! Hope this has been useful, I’d love to know what products you’re rating, so leave me a little comment below!

Until next time…

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Starting Off: Concealer

Week 2 and the Starting Off project is in full swing with Twitter exploding last Tuesday at 6pm as all of the great posts about skin care went live. So far I’ve really loved seeing such a wide take on the theme of skin care, but I’m also a little concerned as I’ve already made two purchases following reading recommended products and it’s only week 2!

So this week it’s onto concealer. For me concealer is not just about covering pesky spots but also about dark circles or under eye bags when you’ve had a heavy night or maybe just haven’t slept very well the night before. So lets look at what I use and how I use them:

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My trusty kit to hide all my sins! 

Firstly I should probably say that for any teens just starting out I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using some of the products at first as they are a little on the pricey side. Although the Benefit sets like the ‘Confessions of a Concealaholic‘ one I use are a great way to test out products before buying individual items.

Retailing for £28.50, and billed by Benefit as being a ‘concealing and brightening kit’, it contains 6 different products; 2 different shades of concealer, two eye brightening products, a primer and eye ‘camouflage’ and of all these products I currently use four of them, so for cost per item I think these sets are pretty good value.

benefit concealer

Inside Benefit’s Confessions of a Concealaholic

I like the fact that the kit has two shades of concealer (outside of the kit known as Boing!) which can be used separately or mixed together depending on where on my face I’m using them as my skin isn’t the same shade all over.  I always use the brush to apply concealer directly onto any spots and then use my fingers to blend in the colour so it’s evened out with my skin tone.

The products I don’t use within this kit are the ‘Erase Paste‘ and ‘Eye Bright‘ (the pink one in the above pic), mainly because I don’t feel it necessary to use Eye Bright which is for making the area around your eyes a little brighter and perkier, whilst Erase Paste is very good if you have quite chronic bags or darkness under your eyes but for me it was just a little too heavy.

Finally the last product I use everyday without fail from this kit, and in fact I have since bought separately, is Lemon Aid (the yellow one in the pic), which for everyday dark circles or eye bags is a great product for brightening beneath your eyes as the yellow balances out the purple tones you get under your eyes in the morning. I just use my fingers to apply a little of this, obviously apply as much as you feel is needed to cover any darker areas, and just dab it onto the skin. Make sure you don’t rub it in vigorously as the skin under your eyes is very delicate.

ysl and benefitThe dark circle dream team – Lemon Aid by Benefit and Touche Eclat from YSL

My partner in crime with Lemon Aid has got to be cult classic Touche Eclat from YSL, which is a highlighter pen that comes in three shades (1,2 & 3 which are generally speaking light, medium and dark), I use shade 1 and as this retails at about £20 for each pen I tend to always buy them in duty free or from eBay from reputable beauty sellers, and also look out for bulk buying two/three pens together to get a good deal too. This cult product basically makes light reflect off where it’s been applied to the skin so it’s great for under eyes. One big word of warning though is do NOT use this as a concealer, if you use it on spots it will highlight them more so don’t think just because it looks like a concealer that it is one!

My last go-to for concealing spots is a product I’ve been using for a long time, and comes from French brand Guinot, and it’s a matifying concealer which again I apply in the same way as Benefit’s Boing! I like this product because it’s more ‘liquid’ then the Benefit ones which means if you have a particularly troublesome spot that requires more extensive coverage this product can be built up until you’re happy that the spot is well hidden. I get this online from various websites and although it costs about £15-£20 for a 15ml bottle a little goes a long way, so cost per use for me is minimal.

guinot concealer

So that’s it from me for this week, those are my favourite products to cover up any blemishes and dark patches that we’d rather not show the world!

I hope you found this helpful, and if you’re also taking part in #theSOproject feel free to say hello below I’d love to hear what experiences you’ve had with any of these products or which products you use below.

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Starting Off: Skin care

The first week of the Starting Off project and it’s all things skin care!

Now, before I start I should probably make a little disclaimer that when it comes to skin care I am pretty lax and definitely tend to go for speed over substance. My skin type is oily/combination and I have a particularly oily t-zone so most of my skin care routine revolves around getting rid of pesky shine. For this post I have chosen my current favourites:

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My current skincare routine – the cheats way to cleanse, tone and moisturise! 

As I use most of these products in the morning, I thought it would be best to run through my morning routine. The first thing I do is use my Neutrogena face scrub in the shower to get rid of any dead skins cells, this scrub is my favourite as it smells really fresh and is also gentle enough to be used everyday. I find it best to use a wet flannel to get this off which also helps to remove any last skin cells hanging around! Don’t forget the rest of your body in all this exfoliating malarky either, but make sure you always use a separate product for your body and face as the ones for your body will be harsher and are likely to irritate the delicate skin on your face.

face scrub

Depending on how dry my skin feels each morning I’ll either then use Garnier Moisture Match for oily/combination skin followed by Mac’s oil control lotion, or I’ll just use the oil control lotion by itself. I’ll be doing a more in depth review of this lotion in a few weeks, but I find both are good ways to keep shine away. It’s important not to use too much of each product as a little goes a long way, especially when it comes to moisturisers as using too much can actually make your skin way more oily.

moisturiser mac oil control

The last product I use in the morning before starting my make up is Boots No. 7 Colour Calming primer. Given the summer and being somewhat prone to sunburn (especially on my nose!) this product is always on hand to calm my red skin. It’s also a great product if you do any exercise at lunch time and like me come back looking like a bright red tomato! To balance and calm the redness in your skin, the product itself is actually green, but as long as you massage it in properly it won’t actually look green on your face. I can’t stress enough the importance of rubbing this product in properly though, because although it won’t look green it will dry white if it hasn’t properly soaked into your skin!

colour primer primer on handFinally, at the end of the day it’s important to always clean your face and remove all of your make up. As I mentioned earlier I’m rubbish at keeping up with a proper routine so for me face wipes are my go to. Normally I’m a sucker for a supermarket offer, and at the moment I’m using Waitrose 4 in 1 cleansing wipes which have a gorgeous smell and seem to do a good job of getting all of my make up off.

So that’s it folks, that’s how I attempt to keep my skin looking in tip top condition. I hope this has helped some of you, if you have any questions feel free to drop me a comment below!

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The Starting Off Project – An Intro

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So for anyone who hasn’t heard of it, over the next 10 weeks I’m going to be taking part in The Starting Off Project along with over 120 other lovely bloggers!

The project is the brainchild or Steph from Stephs Inside Voice and is for women or teens just starting out on their make up journey, so will be giving hints, tips and general advice on what products you use and how you apply them. Each week will focus on a different beauty staple and all posts will go up on a Tuesday at 6pm, so be sure to keep your eyes peeled!

Starting tomorrow, the first week is all things skin care related. The following 9 nine weeks are:

•    WEEK 2: concealer

•    WEEK 3: foundation

•    WEEK 4: bronzer

•    WEEK 5: blusher

•    WEEK 6: mascara

•    WEEK 7: eyeliner

•    WEEK 8: eyeshadow

•    WEEK 9: lip gloss/stick

•    WEEK 10: makeup tools

I’ll be getting involved with every week, except week 4 about bronzer as I don’t use it so can’t offer any pearls of wisdom there!

If you’re also taking part in the SO Project I’d love to hear from you, so leave a comment below or follow all things SO on the hashtag #theSOproject

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