New Years Eve Makeup

Real Techniques stippling, buffing & blush brushes | Mac studio fix concealer | Mac Diva lipstick | Mac Romp eye shadow | Maybelline false lash mascara | MUA Heaven & Earth pallet | Soap & Glory super cat eye liner | *Sleek sparkle pallet | Benefit Brow Zings | Eco tools eye makeup brushes | *Magnifibers brush on false lashes | YSL Touch Eclat foundation | Mac studio fix powder  

Wow I can't believe how fast this year has flown by! With it being the biggest party night of the year and everyone getting glommed up I thought I would share with you the make up look I'm probably going for tonight.

I'm off to my friends house for the night looking forward to lots of food, drink and laughter.

What ever your doing and who ever your spending it with stay safe and have lots f fun.

Music Monday ~ Elle Varner

You may not have heard much about Elle Varner in 2012 but I have a feeling 2013 will be her year. Her debut album Perfectly Imperfect was released this year to critical acclaim.

Her breakout track "only want to give it to you" featuring J Cole was a great feel good summer tune. I can imagine it being played at barbecue's and late night summer parties, with lots of cool looking peeps sipping on rum & coke.

It seems that Elle Varner was destined for music, as both her parents were accomplished musicians, singers and song writers. Her vocals remind me of Alicia Keys. Her soulful voice has an easy quality to it. I could listen to her all day.

I'm really feeling Elle Varner and hoping that 2013 will be an amazing year for her.

December Instalife

snow | DIY clutch | healthy breakfast 

cosy night in | hot stone spa treatment | me with Cleo Sol

red midi skirt I made | business cards | OOTD for the #bbloggers christmas event

cocktails | tea light with sweet messages | the girls from work 

relaxing with a glass of white & my iPad | christmas shopping | festive nails

making christmas food | the table all set | presents under the tree

with mummy dearest | washing down christmas dinner | lunch - having a break from christmas food

necklace I got from my mum for christmas | green & gold nails | new camera

his & hers christmas gifts | starbucks at home | lush bath bomb | 

his & her's shoes | inspirational note | hobo style OOTD

She Said Beauty Beauty ~ December

1. Jamela 24k Gold Under Eye Mask | 2. Miners Eyeshadow Trio | 3. Atopalm Intensive Moisturising Cream | 4. Technic Nail Varnish | 5. Amie Spring Clean Cooling Clay Mask | 6. Dr Durve Skin Boosting Cream & Anti Ageing Eye Cream | 7. Jing Whole Leaf Teabags 

I was so excited on Monday as my first ever beauty box arrived. I haven't tried anything from it yet but I couldn't resist sharing a few pics with you. The product I'm most excited to try is the Jamela 24k gold under eye mask. I have to admit I was hooked when I saw the 24k gold thing. I'm also looking forward to giving the eye shadow and nail varnish a try. 

Have you used any of the the products in this moths beauty box? If you have let me know what you think. 

Style Crush ~ Jourdan Dunn

Partnered with David Gandy Jourdan Dunn at the Olympic closing ceremony wearing a Stephen Jones feather headdress & Jonathan Saunders dress

It's been such a long time since I've done a style crush post, I thought it was about time I did another one. This time I'm paying homage to super model and mother Jourdan Dunn. 

Spotted while shopping in Primark at the tender age of 16 by Storm Model agency (the same one that scooped Kate Moss). Dunn was launched into super model stardom. She is the first black model since Naomi Campbell to walk for the fashion house Prada. She also featured in Italian Vogue's iconic black model issue. Dunn has graced pretty much every fashion magazine and walked for countless designers. She also won The British Fashion Council's model of the year accolade in 2008. Jourdan was seen recently strutting her stuff with fellow super models at the Olympic closing ceremony, something she credits as being a highlight of her career.

If I could describe Jourdan Dunn's style in a few words it would be effortless, sleek, relaxed, glamour.
I love that her off duty (i.e. not on the catwalk or in front of the lens), personal style is actually relatable you could imagine a regular girl (not of supermodel status) rocking her looks.

What do you think of Jourdun Dunn is she one of your style crushes?


Music Monday ~ Emeli Sande River

It's been a dream year for Emeli Sande she performed at the Olympic ceremony, became a Brit and MOBO award winner and her debut album Our Version Of Events has topped the charts. She's also worked with some amazing artists including Professor Green, Labrinth and Alicia Keys.

Emeli has become one of my favourite artists I could listen to her soulful, melodic voice all day. In an age where women in music seems to be more about grabbing headlines, how little clothing your wearing and how fast you can shake your booty. Emeli Sande is a refreshing change, she is all about the voice, great lyrics and musical content.

I wanted to share with you my personal favourite Emeli Sande track River. There's something about the song that reminds me of gospel music. Emeli describes River as being about the strong silent type of person.

Here's Emeli Sande performing River live hope you enjoy it

Bare Face Challenge

I've said it so many times before but I really do have a thing for makeup and beauty. I get a real thrill when it comes to trying out a new product. My morning routine of getting ready and putting on a full face of makeup (or war paint as my husbands calls it) helps to set me up for the day. I feel so much more confident and ready to face the world with my face on.

I've seen lots of bloggers do the "why I wear makeup" tag recently and it got me thinking about my own motivations. It genuinely boils down to the fact that I like the stuff and feel more confident when wearing it. However this gave me a slight chilling feeling, am I being too superficial? (rich I know coming from a fashion & beauty blogger) And is it positive for my confidence to be linked to how much slap I have on?

With these questions buzzing in my mind I thought it would be a good idea to go a whole week (by week I mean 5 days) with no makeup on. As soon I decided on the challenge I had a horrible nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach. I've only been to work without makeup, on a few very rare occasions. When it's happened I've been asked if I'm unwell, when I've replied no I'm feeling fine. They've responded with oh but you look so pale and you have bags under your eye's. Charming I know! As you can imagine with these comments ringing in my ears I was feeling a little apprehensive. Strangely this motivated me, I didn't like the thought of being controlled by makeup or it getting the better of me. So here we go.......

Day 1: Monday today, the day I was dreading how was I meant to go to work without any makeup? Thankfully no meetings were planned so I didn't have to face anyone new. I'm a little disappointed to say I caved right at the beginning and wore concealer, in my defence the dark circles under my eyes really are that bad.

Day 2: So it's Tuesday and I didn't feel as self conscious when I left the house, but I am missing my liquid eye liner. I had to wear some Vaseline today the cold weather has made my lips chapped and sore. I've decided this is OK as it's more medicine than makeup.

Day 3: Wednesday already cant believe how quickly the week has gone. I Decided to switch to Carmex as I needed something a bit stronger, chapped lips is not a good look. I have to say it's a lot quicker and simpler to get ready in the morning without having to fuss about with various products

Day 4: Thursday today, I'm dying to wear some lipstick, bold bright red lipstick to be precise. Why do we always want what we can't have? Anyway I'm still sticking to the concealer and Carmex look. There was a really awkward moment when my manager asked me if I was sick or tired? When I responded no I'm fine she mentioned I had bags and dark circles under my eyes.  Oh another embracing moment came when one of the girls I work with told me I looked weird, her friend then piped up "she's not wearing any makeup that's why". I really shouldn't take it so personally but I did cringe. Come to think of it today really hasn't been the best of days.

Day 5: Friday and the final day of my challenge, I have mixed emotions about this. Relief as I can now return to my beloved beauty products, disappointment that my bare faced week hasn't had more of an impact.  I've got into the swing of the no makeup thing, and starting to think of making it a more permanent fixture. I reckon I could do one or two no/minimal makeup days a week very once in a while.

Now that my bare faced week is over I'm wondering why I was feeling so anxious at the start. It really wasn't so hard in the end, to let go of the foundation and mascara for a more simplified approach. In terms of confidence I honestly cant say It's massively changed me. That said I freely admit that I was probably wearing too much makeup and could do without half of it. Will I though? I doubt it, like I said at the beginning I've got a thing for beauty and makeup and I genuinely enjoy it so why deprive myself of something I like. 

Anyone else like me before the challenge, and not sure if you could go 5 days without makeup?

DIY Inspiration ~ Velvet

Velvet is a bit like Marmite you either love it or hate it. Personally I love how indulgent and luxurious the fabric feels. Recently I've been thinking I would like to work with it, as I've never really made anything from velvet before. I thought I would share with you a few of my favourite designer velvet pieces. 

Five Favourites ~ Haberdashery

I've really got my DIY mojo back and have been drawn to the haberdashery section of fabric stores recently. I couldn't resist picking up a few bits, I also had a rummage through my own supplies and found a few things that I'd completely forgotten about.

These ornate buttons were too good to resist

After a little rummaging I found these sequins & beads love the idea of adding them to a bag or casual top

These chunky beads would make a great accessory

Velvet ribbon is so luxurious 

These gold beads are so festive, think I may jazz up my stocking with them   

Hug My Hair

*these products were gifted to me to review

Hug My Hair - Vintage

Hug My Hair - Because Olive You

First of all can I say I love the name "Hug My Hair" it's  appropriate, these products are so yummy, you really do feel like you are lavishing your hair with love.

I met Dalilah founder of Hug My Hair through an event I was doing at work. She came along with her hand made, natural hair care products and of course I was intrigued.

Hug My Hair was born when Dalilah embarked on a natural hair journey, transitioning from Chemically relaxed hair to au natural. She found that despite using many products on the market claiming to lengthen, thicken and generally make your hair better, her hair was breaking and sparse around the edges. That's when she decided to plough her time and energy into coming up with a natural alternative to chemical ridden products. After much research into natural products and various hair types (check out the hair types info on her site here and figure out what hair type you are) Hug My Hair was born.

My hair is chemically relaxed and recently I've been wearing hair extensions. For the last few weeks I've been road testing Because Olive you and Vintage, on both my hair extensions and the top part of my hair that has been left out from the extensions.

Because Olive You is designed to retain moisture in your hair. The extra virgin olive oil penetrates hair and is packed with antioxidants that protect cells against damage from free radicals. I've been using this one in the evening before I go to sleep. I found when I woke in the morning my hair was moisturised, silky and soft with out feeling overly greasy.

I decided to test out Vintage on wet hair although it can be used on dry also. After shampooing and conditioning my hair I applied a small amount of Vintage to my tresses and combed through with a wide tooth comb. I really liked the whipped Shea Butter texture of vintage and it was great for de-tangling the knots.

I'd never actually gone down the route of all natural products before, so this was a first for me. I also thought the price point was pretty good with Because Olive You retailing at £10 and Vintage at £12. The tubs aren't massive but you don't need to use loads on your hair so it should last for some time.

Well done Dalilah and team Hug My Hair you have me fully converted.

If you'd like to find out more about Hug my Hair you can do so here, there also on twitter @HugMyHair

Camouflage Clutch

I mentioned a few weeks ago (here) that I got inspired to make a camouflage clutch bag. I finally got round to making it. It's actually really straight forward to make but for some reason, I got myself all confused and in a muddle. Thank you to Lana from oh sew fashion (check out her blog for handy pattern cutting and sewing tips) for helping me with one. The leather studded section is actually an old hand bag I chopped up. I'm meant to be going out on friday night think I may give it a proper debut then.

I have to say a big thank you to the lovely Sonia P from work, who gave me the camouflage fabric. I had been looking for one for a while but couldn't find anything that I thought was just right. I mentioned it to Sonia, and the next day she came into work baring gifts. Thank you Sonia for your generosity, I really appreciate it!

Now I've got the hang of making clutch bags, I think I may try a sequin clutch next - perfect for the party season!


Herringbone Mini Skirt made by myself | Jumper £29.99 H&M | Boots Primark

I found this fabric on ebay and had no idea what I would do with it but knew I had to have it. In the end I though I'd try it out as a little mini skirt. This was super easy to whip up it only took me an hour or so, from cutting the fabric to sewing it on the machine.

I gave it its debut on the weekend. I went Christmas shopping with the Mr to Westfield. We had a really nice day, It was exciting choosing presents for our family and friends hoping we got things they would like.

While at Westfield I couldn't resist browsing in the Mac store - its the beauty blogger in me! I was quite impressed though, I managed to spend a day shopping in Westfield and only buy one thing for myself, talk about self control.

So how's everyone's Christmas shopping coming along?

Christmas Gift Guide ~ For Him

For me the best part of Christmas is the mutual giving. However I find it tricky to figure out what to buy the men in my life.

I've just about managed to get them covered, but it was no easy task. I thought I would put together a gift guide for the "him" or "him's" in our lives.


November Instalife

At a family wedding with Lee | Posing with my mum & sister before we watched Bond | At the School of Grazia blogger masterclass

New makeup & beauty products | My Firmoo glasses | Photo booth fun from the wedding

Sunny drive into work | Treats from my colleague | Oxford street Christmas lights

Purple tights | My cat fancy dress costume | New Look necklace 

Planning what country to visit next | broken lippy | Getting my blog schedule organised  

Christmas Gift Guide

I think it's fair to say the festive season is well and truly upon us. I'm into Christmas in a big way and love everything about it; putting up the tree, spending time with my family, catching up with old friends, the food and drink and general festivities of the season.

I love to give presents but I have to admit the process of shopping for gifts can get a little tedious - actually more like stressful. I have spent many a Christmas eve frantically hitting the shops, laden with bags wearing a heavy coat and sweating buckets every time I entered a store (thanks to the heavy coat) from the cold out doors.

So before I venture outside into the madness of Christmas shoppers, I've done a little research and thought I would share a few of my picks with you all.


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Thought I would get ahead of myself this year, so I'm hitting Westfield today hoping to blitz the gift shopping for my loved ones - wish me luck!