Shop My Wardrobe
Recently I decided to downside my makeup bag, normally the size of my head, to something a little more respectable in size. I'm a little obsessed with polka dots of sorts at the moment and the new Zoella "Fairest of them All" makeup bag really caught my eye and inspired the huge downsize. Since then I've found it so much easier and faster to get ready each morning and I thought it was the perfect excuse for a blog post! So here are my favourite bits and bobs that I've been happily applying each morning!
First up we have my hero base products, the Dr Jart Water Fuse BB Cream, and YSL Touche Eclat foundation (shade 40), I always reach for the Dr Jart first, and then the YSL if I'm in need of extra coverage/glow/general flawless-ness. It's been four years and I'm still reaching for this one regularly, it really is the best foundation ever. Then for any dark circles I use the YSL Touche Eclat Neutraliser in the salmon/peach shade to correct any grey areas, followed by either the Nars Soft Matte Complete Concealer (shade: Creme Brulee) or the YSL Touche Eclat depending on how much coverage I need, the former is definitely more of a high coverage concealer and I only reach for this one if my under eyes are a real mess or my complexion is looking particularly blotchy. Since blogging full time and wearing a full face of makeup on a more regular basis, I've really noticed just how much my skin has taken the hit. So i'm trying to keep my base as light as I can where possible, keeping it light handed and sparing on those rare "good skin days" in hopes that there will be more of them in the future!
For blush I've been using an old favourite that I discovered during my Makeup Decluttering Video, it's Esteé Lauders Pure Colour Blush in Sensuous Rose, I've had this for a while and I'm hoping it's still around because it really is the perfect natural blush colour. At the time of photographing this post, I was a bit all over the place when it came to bronzing, and had been using a bit of everything, from the Tanya Burr Cosmetics Peachy Glow Palette to the Tom Ford Summer Compact, but I've finally settled on the Hourglass Illume Sheer Trio once again, and it's left me wondering why I ever stopped using it. It's a cream bronzer, blush and highlight in a palette and it truly is my perfect palette. It's not for every skin tone unfortunately, but I'm hoping they bring out a wider range of palettes in future so everyone can have get in on the action! For eyes, things are pretty much same old, same old. I LOVE the Guerlain Liquid Liner, it's the best if you love a really wet liner with a slightly satin finish. It's long lasting but comes off like a dream at the end of the day, I think I'm on my fourth now...
I've also been loving the Tarte Lights Camera Lashes Mascara for those liquid liner days, it's defining and volumising with a little extra length too! If I'm going for a more minimal look then I simply reach for the Esteé Lauder Little Black Primer, this is a really under rated product and I actually get a lot of use out of it. Whether it's for a minimal eye look to add a tint to the lashes, or popping on a little something waterproof before the gym, or making any mascara waterproof or smudge proof when applied over the top for that matter, it's a good little multi tasker! As for lips... I always have a handful in my makeup bag, and this month I've been wearing Tanya Burr Cosmetics Martha Moo liquid lipstick almost daily, with either the L'Oreal Colour Riche Matte Lipstick in Blush in a Rush, or Hype over the top. I just found out about these lipsticks a few weeks ago and I'm totally converted, I even picked up a third called Pink-a-Porter the other day!
If you're wondering what any of the above look like on then I would highly recommend taking a look at the video below as I've used a fair few of them in there! There are also a lot of other favourites featured which I've been dying to talk about so it's definitely worth a watch!
SHOP THE POST
Towards the end of 2016 I'd been wanting to start the process of stripping back my skincare routine and have a more relaxed approach to my beauty regimen and I feel like the guys at Deciem heard me. The Ordinary launched last year and though it took me a little while to get around to picking out and trying a few things (trust me there's quite the selection), I'm so glad I did. I've been trying out a few products from The Ordinary for a few months now, and it's really changed how I approach my skin everyday. The brand has a simple, stripped back approach in terms of style, application and it's contents, and that's exactly the ethos I'd been looking for. The one thing I would say is knowing what you are looking for can be tricky and those with little knowledge of skincare ingredients will need to read up, which The Ordinary have actually made super easy with a regimen guide which shows application and when to apply and even gives a couple of example routines. I would highly recommend checking out their website as there is a fair amount of information there that could be helpful if the range looks a little daunting on the get go.
That aside, I wanted to show you what I'd been using and my thoughts as I think this is a brand you'll be seeing me mention a lot more in the future! Now, it all started off with the Hyaluronic Acid 2% + B5 which I thought would be a pretty safe starter as my skin can often be dehydrated and I've used seemingly similar products in the past. I use this after cleansing/toning and before any heavier/thicker products like oils or creams. I don't go too product heavy over top of this, mainly just applying a moisturiser quickly after to allow it to work most effectively with the hyaluronic acid. It's pretty similar to Hydraluron - that old blogger fave - in concept, so I treat it as such. I generally use this morning and night unless I'm using something else (generally only switch my routine on the odd night - AM stays the same), and tend to keep it to serum and moisturiser. Nice and simple.
A more recent purchase from them which has quickly become a huge love of mine is the Salicylic Acid 2% Solution. It's an exfoliating acid which is often used to fight blemishes. You may remember I'm a big fan of toners that use Salicylic Acid, and I do use these on occasion, however in my experience I've found that persistent, regular use can be a bit too much for my skin, so I do tend to use this at the first signs of blemishes and during my transformation in to spot-zilla, but not when my skin is completely clear. So far this has been working wonders for me and I've actually found my recent breakouts haven't scarred so much. *BREAKS IN TO CELEBRATORY DANCE* One little reminder is that as with any exfoliant, you're going to want to go in hard on the SPF after using this for at least a week - even if it's cloudy. I wear it every day that I leave the house so it's second nature to me, but for those that don't it's worth keeping that in mind. Same goes for the next product...
Then we have the Lactic Acid 10% + HA 2%, this is one that I'm currently using in very small amounts a couple of times a week (PM) alongside the Hyaluronic Acid as I'm still building up my skins tolerance levels to it. Even just using a small amount leaves my skin feeling so soft and smooth the next morning so I'm excited to continue using this long term and see how it works with my skin.
Then we have "Buffet" which is described as a "multi technology peptide serum", and if I'm honest this is the one I'm still a little unsure of so far. I question weather my skin is still a little too young for this as it's build to target signs of ageing, amongst other concerns. I haven't given this one too much of a road test as my skin recently broke out and I'm waiting for it to chill before I introduce it in to the rotation on a longer term basis. But I have friends who love and swear by this and it seems to be a popular choice in the range if you want something that does a little bit of everything.
All in all, my experience with the brand so far has been really positive. The product quality and performance for the price range has really impressed me. With so many acids in the range (which require SPF for at least a week after use) the one thing I do feel is missing from the selection is a kick ass SPF (correct me if I'm wrong but I can't see a dedicated SPF anywhere). It would be great if they could be a one stop shop for all skincare needs but I'm excited to try more and I think The Ordinary also works as a great stepping stone in to other Deciem brands. They're also Vegan and Cruelty Free as they don't retail in China AND they retail on ASOS, so if you have your VIP membership you can get a few bits and bobs from them delivered to you the next day (worth doing if everything you want is on ASOS, otherwise delivery from their website can take a few more days).
TLDR: Effective, affordable, vegan and cruelty free - reasons why this brand is worth a look in a nut shell. Now we know where I stand, I'd love to know your thoughts? Are you interested? Or does it all seem a little bit too science-y for your tastes?
Last year, June 2016 to be precise, was a huge turning point in my life. After living with on and off anxiety for the majority of my life, things started to change and become less manageable. Everyone feels "anxious" at points throughout their life, that's normal, but feeling anxious and having anxiety are two different things. I'd have 'feelings of anxiety' before tests and interviews but I'd also have the occasional panic attack here and there brought on by absolutely sod all (being alone in an airport or whilst watching TV), though I didn't always understand them as such and without knowing it, I developed coping methods to avoid them. But over the first six months of 2016 things started to change. Running my own business singlehandedly, whilst keeping up with my personal life and trying to be everything I thought everyone needed from me had really taken it's toll. Rushing from place to place, working until midnight, hopping on and off planes and trains. I spent a lot of time feeling guilty for not devoting enough time to the wonderful friends and family around me, and beating myself up for it. But I didn't and wouldn't stop for anyone, I kept pushing and pushing myself to do the most I could, until I couldn't anymore. I've never really talked about what happened in Paris, and why I changed so much last year, but I finally feel like I'm ready to let you in on what has been a huge part of my over the past 9 months.
In a little hotel room in Paris on June 21st, my mind finally stopped me moving. Think being on the cusp of passing out; dizziness, nausea, unable to hear much, unable to speak very much. All I could hear and feel was my heartbeat and I struggled to catch my breath. It almost felt like drowning without the water (and yes I do know what drowning feels like) I felt like something was really wrong - something I now know to be a sense of impending doom - but having never felt this type of physical response to anxiety as it normally presented itself far differently, it's no surprise I didn't recognise it. After 8 hours, at 4am, things finally started to ease. I made it home the next day, but I didn't leave the experience behind. For a good two months after I struggled to cope with day to day activities - feeling breathless and dizzy when leaving the house, a new fear of feeling lightheaded when working out, a crushing tension on my temples when in meetings or events. I felt overwhelmed by the tiniest day to day tasks, even just speaking to friends and family. Being away from my house made me feel extremely worried and I also started binge eating as eating and drinking (and I don't mean "drinking", I just mean consumption of any kind of liquid) was one of the few times the anxiety subsided (your body naturally focuses on those things instead of everything else you'd got going on - makes sense).
One of the worst parts of that time in my life was how isolated I felt, with only a few people in my life that I could really talk to. Anxiety is a funny thing in that, most people who have never experienced it are very sceptical. At first this made me feel so angry that others could be judgmental or dismissive, but I've learnt to accept and feel comfortable with the fact that no everyone can understand it, we're all built differently after all. And not all anxiety is the same - this is a huge factor in the discussions I hear involving anxiety - lot's of people are told they can't be experiencing it because their symptoms aren't the same as another's. Last summer my anxiety presented itself in new ways every single day. Some days it would be my breathing and heart rate, some days my blood vessels in my nose would swell so I suddenly couldn't breathe. On days when I didn't feel those symptoms, I suffered with depression and some days I juggled both. I felt scared to tell family members, who see me day to day as a strong, confident human being, and over this time I felt like I was just living in that girls shell. Filming videos became harder and harder as I didn't feel like me (and the whole breathlessness thing made filming for an hour a 3 hour ordeal), and writing on here basically stopped as I felt like I was hiding something. I wasn't in a positive place and I knew everyone would feel it. I wish I'd had the strength then to say "no" if people asked me if I was okay, but I put so much pressure on myself to make sure I didn't make others around me feel uncomfortable.
By September things started to turn around, I started seeing a Therapist in August and having weekly sessions made such a difference. It's not a quick fix, and I still speak to my therapist weekly. In that time I've learnt to cope with anxiety when it starts to brew, I've also been working on changing the thought processes that were feeding it, and I've learnt to better manage my life so that I don't feel overwhelmed the second I wake up in the morning (or at any point in the day). By October I was finally ready to get back on a plane again (a successful hour long flight each way to Barcelona!) and in February I completed two long haul flights with ZERO anxiety. I actually enjoyed them. There were tears after purely from the fact that I was so proud of myself and how far I'd come. And last month, I returned to Paris, something I had been so hesitant to do, in case the mere being there triggered previous behaviours. I was so nervous, but it was a wonderful trip, and I'm so 1) proud of myself and 2) grateful to everyone who helped me over the past 9 months.
I'm not saying things are perfect now, there are things I'm still working on and I still have days where it all flares up - when I'm sick, tired, stressed or over worked. But I've learnt to accept it as part of my life and calmly work on it instead of being hell bent on beating myself up for feeling this way. My aim of this post isn't to romanticise anxiety, it's a serious mental health disorder that affects everyone differently and it shouldn't be dismissed. I knew early on I needed professional help, it gave me a space to get the help I needed but also to speak free of judgement, to voice my feelings and have them be respected and taken seriously. It's not a miracle worker, you don't just sit and talk and magically it goes away, therapy takes work and commitment, and for me it was so worthwhile. But my point of writing this post isn't to encourage everyone to do this (you can encourage someone all you like but it's not going to be effective if they're not doing it because they want to), I'm writing this because every time I've read that someone has had a similar experience I feel like I'm not alone. I also felt comforted by the stories of people around me who have been there, and are living happily (mostly) anxiety free lives. I wanted to know that it could get better.
And that's the thing, it does. It gets better.
You are not alone, and it gets better.
Yellow seems to be my go to colour at the moment, I'm wearing it, I'm shopping it and I'm seeing it everywhere. It feels rather appropriate that Beauty and the Beast was released during the same season that yellow is everywhere, and for me I get to channel Belle in a nice, easy everyday way. Not only is it a great colour to wear with subtle nude or monochrome pieces, it also works beautifully with a little colour blocking. The easiest way being a pop of red surrounded by true blue denim - the most casual and effortless way to rock colour block.
The shirt in question is from Topshop - as is the majority of this outfit. I was dress head to (almost) toe by the brand for their London Fashion Week show in February. Most of you reading will know that moments like that are just a complete and utter dream come true, it's a brand I'm incredibly passionate about and I'm super grateful that they work with me on such a regular basis. As for shoes, my new Aquazurra babies were the obvious choice for a pop of red with a little added texture (and height) for good measure. All polished off with my classic black essentials - my Celine Tilda sunglasses and Balenciaga City bag.
If you're looking for ways to incorporate this happy little colour in to your wardrobe, but aren't too keen on a bright yellow shirt or dress, a yellow bag is always a great idea. It can work beautifully with so many different pieces in your wardrobe, whether it's a little blue summer or evening dress, a pink playsuit or that all black jumpsuit you love. I fine it generally works really well with different prints and textures too, as it's not a shade we generally fill out wardrobes with too much. I'm currently lusting after one yellow bag in particular... We'll see :) If you really are wanting to dive in to wearing some yellow pieces, but aren't sure it's quite your colour, a warm sunset yellow can be a great alternative as it's a little more forgiving with most skin tones and hair colourings.
THE YELLOW EDIT
If there's one way to do Paris Fashion Week, it's with magical company, and this week with Dior was nothing but pure magic. You may have heard me mention a little trip to the wonderful city of Paris in my last post, and I still can't quite believe it happened. I've lost count of the amount of times my career has swept me off to Paris and I'll never take that for granted. I woke early on Friday morning at the Plaza Athénée and, after marvelling at the breathtaking view from my balcony, I ate breakfast with Victoria and snapped and vlogged away as we giggled and gossiped over french toast and tea.
By 9:30 we were wrapped up and zipped through the Parisian streets to the stunning Musée Rodin where the Dior Show takes place and where the Backstage area was also tucked away. I've seen many a backstage area and it was without a doubt the most beautiful backstage setting you could imagine. With large soft ceiling lamps, large mirrors and rows and rows of neatly placed Dior makeup. It was not only the prettiest but the most calm and relaxed space I've seen in the past 8 seasons of fashion week. We chatted to Peter Phillips about the look, a wonderfully Parisian, natural fresh look with a hint of day after the night before. Using a light, fresh foundation as the base (the Dior Forever Cushion Foundation is perfect if you're looking to recreate this) with a hint of smudged liner along the upper lashes, concentrated in the centre to widen the eyes and blended out to give that residual liner look. Brows were only lightly tended to, with a brush through here and there to neaten, whilst the Dior Addict Lip Glow was lightly applied to the lips.
But the pièce de résistance here is in the mascara, as Dior unveiled their new Dior Show Pump n' Volume Mascara. With it's incredible length and volume, it also carries an innovative new design with it's squeezable tube, designed to warm up the product and add more product to the wand. It's super jet black with a long lasting no flake formula that can be layered and layered. Dramatic lash lovers will fall head over heels for this one as one coat gives extreme length and two will add serious volume to rival that of your favourite falsies. This was applied to the models and combed through with a brush, whilst residue was taken on to a brush and smudged across the roots of the top and bottom lash lines. The look paired perfectly with the blue tone running through the fall 2017 show, Maria Grazia Chiuri has been incorporating key symbols from the brand in to newer pieces and the midnight blue tone of the show brings to mind to a well documented quote from Christian Dior:
"Among all the colours, navy blue is the only one which can ever compete with black."
The Pump n' Volume Mascara will be out early May, across all Dior counters, and if you're interested in seeing it in action, there is a video on the whole trip coming to my YouTube channel this week. But until next time...
Au revoir! x
My work with TRESemmé on their #WorkIt campaign in the earlier half of this month ended up taking me to New York City to experience NYFW with them and get a feel for their hair looks backstage and in their NYFW pop up. Experiences like this really do blow my mind and I loved the experience. I stepped up to my fear of heights and got one of my all time favourite instagram images at the top of the Empire State Building, visited the Glossier showroom and sat front row at Jenny Packham - how could I forget that one? Most amazingly of all, I was anxiety free for both plane journeys, whilst that might not mean a lot to some people, for me this is a huge deal and I came away from the entire trip beaming with pride and feeling so happy that my CBT sessions over the past six months really have started to pay off. Not only do I feel proud, I feel stronger for it, and I know I can overcome what ever life throws at me if I put my mind to it.
A couple of days after setting my feet back on UK soil, my suitcase was packed again, this time for London Fashion Week. I stayed at the Sanderson Hotel (one I would highly recommended and will most likely stay there for over Fashion Week in future), sat front row at Topshop and worked with them on a live stream of the show via my insta stories, I also attended the Muberry and Temperly shows, both of which I adore and it felt like a total dream to see three of my all time favourite shows all in the space of a few hours. I also worked with the Esteé Edit, a brand I LOVE and will be doing a post on soon because I've discovered a few incredible new products from them. It all ended on Tuesday night at the Naked Heart Foundation Fund Fair, which is a jaw dropping-ly gorgeous event for a great cause. It's something I always feel very grateful to have the opportunity to attend as it really is completely magical.
And then we have Paris. I have three days at home before I pack up my things and head off to Paris for something totally magical. I've been invited by one of my favourite brands, and rest assured I'll have my vlogging camera surgically attached to my hand once again! It also won't be my last trip to the gorgeous city this month either...
And there you have it, February in a nut shell. Of course, jet lag from earlier in the month has finally hit me now I'm no longer all "go go go" so I'm looking forward to taking the next few days to regroup and re-evaluate. But I'm feeling so incredibly blessed and grateful for every opportunity this month, I am literally beaming. With taking just a little step back to reflect and look forward, I can already feel my creative brain starting to whirl again as I plan my content for this month. I really do feel like my content is finally coming together right now and this will be the year I create some really fun new videos. So without further ado, I'm going to turn the La La Land soundtrack off, wrap this up, and get on with that.
Until next time... x
The Valentines Gift Edit.
Valentines Day, love it or hate it, it’s coming. Each year my feelings towards it ebbs and flows, some years it feels like we could all really do without another hallmark holiday, I mean, if you love someone you let them know everyday right? But other years I’m all for it. Yes we should all show our loved ones how special they are all the time, but sometimes it’s nice to have a day dedicated to spending that little bit of extra time with them. I think right now with the state of the world (because who actually enjoys reading their twitter news feed anymore?) a lot more of us are seizing any opportunity to spread a little love. And I’m all for that.
So whilst the 14th February isn’t all about the gifts (I currently have our living room covered in red heart balloons and roses, with a lovely evening planned upon my return from New York - it can be more about the experience than the act of just giving) I thought I’d put together a few ideas for gifts, just in case you’re thinking of purchasing last minute something for a friend or partner.
To start off, you can't go wrong with a gift from Lush. They have such a huge range of products to suit a lot of preferences and they don't break the bank too much. Their Lover Lamp bath bomb is one that I'm obsessed with at the moment - seriously, my six piece collection is quickly dwindling and I'll be all out before the month is up - it's not too over powering and is a subtle but luxurious addition to your bath. Then we have the Diptique Rosamundi candle, which lured me in by it's packaging alone, but the Rose scent it carries is utterly gorgeous. If you're looking for a little makeup with a wonderfully romantic feel, Dior have just launched their new shades of the Dior Addict Lip Glow - a line of lip balms with beautifully moisturising finish, a delicious vanilla scent and shades that range from rosy pinks and peach to more deep pink/berry shades.
For my other half I can't go wrong with picking up a fresh tub of his favourite moisturiser and adding a new fragrance to his collection. The new Jo Malone, Mehr and Tonka is one of those perfectly uni sex fragrance that you could buy for your partner and always end up stealing for yourself. It's a win-win gift either way.
When it comes to clothing, this area is a little tricky to navigate. I always go for a super soft sweater from the Reiss Mens section as my gift of choice, but you could also opt for a timeless jacket from Allsaints (budget permitting but Topman have some amazing alternatives too). In the past Vans and a new watch have also never gone unloved.
For me, gifts that I've always loved are timeless or have a little more of an everyday luxury feel. Slogan Sweaters from Whistles are always a winner, whilst my Alex Monroe Bumble Bee and Monica Vinader Rings and Bracelets are so loved too. For something a little less everyday but still so special, the Dior Tribal earrings are a beautiful piece if you want something that feels really indulgent - a modern twist on the classic pearl earring, they can be worn day and night but also styled with different jewellery. I got mind over Christmas and fell head over heels for them. But of course, if you're looking for something incredible, or you just fancy treating yourself come payday, a gorgeous pair of heels, whether from ASOS or Aquazurra, are always a good idea.
If your giftee isn't a huge fashion or beauty hoarder, don't worry. Stores like Oliver Bonas have the most gift-able stock on planet earth right now. Their little pink pillows are perfect for someone who likes their interiors to look cozy (with a little fuzzy added in), whilst their crystal book ends are a gorgeous gift for someone who has too many books or is always on the hunt for a unique coffee table ornament. If you want to approach this kind of gift from a more holistic angle, O.B also have a huge selection of books you could wrap up too! They also have a tonne of tiny trinkets, their little cat dish for example is practical, whilst still remaining utterly adorable, and don't even get me started on their Valentines Day cards. If you take anything from this post, it's the recommendation of buying your card from there. They have so many designs from brilliantly funny to super cute and heart felt and I actually ended up purchasing a couple of options depending on my mood come next Tuesday. My personal favourite being one that reads "don't go bacon ma heart" with a little frying pan filled with bacon. Genius.