Monday, 2 December 2013
just because it's a little arctic outside, doesn't mean i want to be walking around feeling all sandpaper-y. sure, the cold (and in turn, central heating) can really wear down your body's natural reserves of moisture, but that's where mother nature needs a little helping hand. i always like my skin to be so soft that i slide out of bed in the morning, or struggle to put on tights, but come around november and it's a little harder to maintain other-worldly softness. i've narrowed it down to a two-pronged approach: oil and moisturiser. i tend to use a body oil post-shower while my skin's the most receptive, then moisturise in the morning before i get dressed. i've tried a LOT of oils - they're one trend that won't quit - and i think darphin's nourishing satin oil is my fave. i've had this bottle since the beginning of this year, and despite a lot of use, it's still going strong. a little goes a long way with oils, and this keeps my skin supple and really, really smooth. i can't quite describe the smell - the oil is red ginger and jasmine - but it's perfect if you don't want anything too floral and heady. as i'm moisturising in the morning, i had to hunt around for a while to find something really not greasy at all. enter clarins moisture rich body lotion* - the holy grail of body lotions if you will. the right consistency (ie, thick but still workable), the right smell (ever so slightly peachy) and by heck, the right results. this transforms my skin from dull to super-soft, nourished and springy. it's what i imagine fluffy clouds and little kittens feel like. i do still give myself a good ol' scrub a few times a week in the shower - i like a chunky salt scrub or an exfoliating glove on dry skin - to keep my skin soft, but these two products have made one heck of a difference.
Wednesday, 27 November 2013
it's always good to have an unexpected party trick up your sleeve. i think there are a few things about me you might not be able to guess from first blush, such as: a) my hands are usually super-calloused from lifting weights, b) i'm something of an excel wizard and c) i have a deep, unironic love for radio four. however, the coolest thing about me is that i can now - sort of - make shoes. that's right - amateur cobbling now lodges proudly on my CV between "conversational french" and "likes pilates". a few weeks ago, i was contacted by the lovely amanda from i can make shoes, an east london based studio that offers short courses in the art of cobbling. i was bowled over; i had no idea regular people could make shoes (in my head, elves make a large percentage of earth's population), let alone make them on short courses. amanda invited to come by and try their "one day pump package', where you spent the best part of the day with amanda and her team, design a pair of shoes, make and then LEAVE with them. amanda's studio is tucked away in a sleepier corner of dalston, and is all lovely bright light and crammed with every bit of shoe making paraphernalia imaginable. i learnt that the yellow moulds you make shoes on are called lasts, and that you can in fact put memory foam in soles to make the shoes more comfortable. i chose a snakeskin effect leather and got to work on these beauties. amanda is so lovely; patient even though i was pretty cack-handed at everything, and full of tips and tricks for getting a really even finish. plus, we never stopped talking, and i was there for a long ol' time. i was so nervous at first, but amanda went through each step with me carefully until i felt confident enough to try things on my own. and the sense of pride i had at the end, holding these shoes that i'd MADE is indescribable. plus, they are genuinely really comfy and i wear them all the time! you can make pumps in one day, or heels in three days, or even do longer courses to learn more about cobbling. if you're crafty, or need a good gift for someone who's a little adventurous in hobbycraft, i seriously recommend you consider a course with amanda.
Thursday, 21 November 2013
i like to think i'm resourceful. before i invested in a tripod, i was pretty handy with a stack of books and boxes. no time to wash all my hair? just the roots will do. plus, you can TOTALLY make scrambled eggs in the microwave. so when vouchercodes.co.uk challenged me to style one party dress into three looks, i was totally game. apparently, most young ladies splash out over £100 per party season on their looks. totally unnecessary! i picked up this number in topshop for just over £30, and i've managed to wrangle a bunch of different looks out of it. it's my favourite colour ever, and i loved the asymmetric hem and textured print - plus, the fabric's actually pretty warm. for my "office" type look, i chucked on an old cropped jumper and flats, which is a little more demure, then amped up the volume with a leather jacket and killer ankle boots from coach for a day-to-night pub kind of look. and finally, the dress in it's full glory; in spindly, studded stilettos from kurt geiger i've had re-tipped countless times because i wear them constantly. i think i like the dress and ankle boots together (especially in winter) but there's something so glam about stilettos. which look is your fave? how much do you tend to spend on party dressing?
vouchercodes gave me a styling budget for the dress.
Sunday, 17 November 2013
the most frequently asked question i get after "do i really need an eye cream?" is "do i really need make up brushes?". chances are, aside from a lone powder brush for blusher rattling around in your mum's dressing table drawers, you probably learnt to apply make up with your hands as tools, and then developed your own intricate finger painting techniques to get the finished face. at least, that's how it went for me. my make up artist friends constantly had brush belts lying around, and my flatmate pavneet has more brushes than most artists probably do, but for a long time, i resisted. i'm not one for eyeshadow on even a semi-regular basis, and i often forgo blush in favour of lipstick straight from the tube. but, part of me was longing for a more natural, photo-ready finish, and i kept hearing more and more bloggers and editors praise a number of brands. in the end, i decided to try real techniques* - their core collection has been so celebrated, i thought it was worth a shot. i got the set a little over a month ago now, and i honestly don't understand how i was putting on make up before. i still put my chanel vitalumiere aqua on with my fingers - i've yet to find a foundation brush that doesn't hoover up product - but then i go back and buff it in with the buffing brush, which is undoubtedly my fave.
Wednesday, 13 November 2013
let me tell you a story. when i was about seven, my mum bought my sister the nicest snow white nightie ever. i loved it. i wanted one. i asked my mum if she could get one for me too - and then came the news. she'd bought it from tk maxx - meaning there was one, and only one in the store. my disappointment soon turned to intrigue when i got to rummage the rails myself - a total treasure trove of clothes, bags, shoes and even beauty awaited me. they've just opened a new store in covent garden, where i picked up these pieces after a good hunt around. if you've never been to tk maxx before, i can definitely give you a few tips; go with an open mind and an open morning or afternoon, because half the fun is in the search. get organised and grab a trolley and try on as many things as possible - i was convinced this coat would drown me until i tried it on, and polka dots aren't my usual modus operandi, but i like this cute combo. also, deliveries come every day and there's essentially no stock room, so while things arrive fast, they go fast too. strike while the iron's hot, or miss out. they had a great mix of brands from the everyday affordable to the seriously lust-worthy in the gold label section, so there's something for every occasion. what i like about tk maxx is it takes me out of my comfort zone - things i'd usually pass by i'm encouraged to try on, and usually love the results. you can follow the new store buzz with #newtkmaxx or following the guys at @TKMaxx_UK. what do you think of my 50's inspired look? personally, i'm living in this coat...