1 Dec: Ciate Mini Mani Month – Snow Globe

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It’s my favourite time of year again! Time for Ciate’s Mini Mani Month – 24 days of beautiful nails, and a whirlwind ride through all the colours of the rainbow!

1 Dec opening

First up is Snow Globe, a pretty top coat that’s full of flecks of iridescent silver foil. I couldn’t decide which colour would look best underneath, so I tried a different colour on every nail!

1 Dec Colours

On left:
Ciate: Mistress
Zoya: Gemma
Ciate: Dangerous Affair
Ciate: Power Dressing
Ciate: Vintage

On right
OPI: Keeping Suzi at Bay
Ciate: Cupcake Queen
Ciate: Cookies and Creme
OPI: French Quarter for your Thoughts
Ciate: Headliner

Which one’s your favourite?! (Many of these are from last year’s calendar – it’s so handy to have all these colours around for times when you want to try a new look or a mani you’ve seen online!)

1 Dec

I’m very pleased to start the month out with a beautiful new Christmassy top coat – I love top coats and I always wish I had more to play with!

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Burberry Body Gold Collection AW 2013: Trench Kiss No. 216

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You guys know I’m a bit of a Burberry girl at the moment, so when I saw the new festive collection (complete with gold packaging) as part of Burberry’s new beauty range for Christmas, I pounced right away! I bought Trench Kiss (which is available as a lip mist all year round) and Soft Gold as a nail varnish. I’m saving the nail varnish post for tomorrow, but first, here’s the lovely packaging it comes with!

Burberry packaging

Love the postcard and the beautiful little gold card attached to the bag! I’m overflowing with Burberry bags at the moment, because the lip mist and nail varnish came in separate ones. Who’s complaining? Not me!

Anyway, Trench Kiss is a very neutral, nude colour, with a gentle, moisturizing finish that’s very sheer. It’s £22.50 and available from the site here in a regular silver edition, and here in festive gold. I am so impressed with the finish on Burberry’s lip covers and lip mists. They slide on like a dream, and feel gorgeous on your lips.

Burberry lips montage

Check out the rest of the Burberry beauty Christmas range here, and come back tomorrow for my nail varnish post! (And check out my post on other A/W 2013 Burberry nail polish here!)

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Ciate Mini Mani Month 2013 Sneak Preview

Mini Mani Month 2013 sneek peek sideMini Mani Month 2013 sneek peek backMini Mani Month 2013 frontMini Mani Month 2013 front sneak peek wholeDec 24 SerendipityDec 24 Serendipity back
Dec 24 peekDec 23 peekDec 23 LocketDec 23 Locket backDec 22 peekDec 22 Christmas Tree Caviar
Dec 22 Christmas Tree Caviar backDec 21 peekDec 21 ConfettiDec 21 Confetti backDec 20 peekDec 20 Ivory Queen
Dec 20 Ivory Queen backDec 19 UnderwearDec 19 Underwear backDec 18 peekDec 18 Amazing GracieDec 18 Amazing Gracie back

I’ve noticed a lot of traffic coming my way from people searching for Ciate’s Mini Mani Month. So, here is a sneak peek of every single bottle inside the advent calendar, for those of you (like me!) who just can’t wait until December! Just click above to be taken to my Flickr photostream.

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Nailed it! Dotty manicure with Nails Inc Porchester Square and Ciate Minis

When I saw this pin on Pinterest a while ago, I knew I had to make my own version! Creating using dotting tools, this simple manicure doesn’t take too much skill to create, but it certainly makes an impact. So, I ordered some tools from eBay, and got to work…

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Thanks to Ciate’s Mini Mani Month, I had plenty of colours to choose from, so I decided to layer my Porchester Square mini from Nails Inc (which I got in my first GlossyBox back in November) with dots from Dangerous Affair, Power Dressing and Cookies and Cream.

First of all, I painted my nails with Porchester Square (really good formula, only needed one coat!) and then, when it dried, I dipped the largest dotting tool into my first colour, and just blobbed circles of varnish on the nail. A tip for this is to not use too much, as you end up with a raised bump of paint which takes forever to dry, and looks a bit weird. Dab on one colour, then allow to dry before placing the second – the paints will mix otherwise. And, it looks really cool if you can overlap some too!

Dotty nails

Here’s the finished product! I thought this was fun – and the colours really worked well together too, but of course, you can use any scheme you like for a special event. I’ll definitely be doing this again.

Anyone else tried the dotty manicure?

Vintage Bookclub – Audrey: The 60s

If Marilyn Monroe was an icon of the ’50s, then the ’60s belonged to Audrey Hepburn. In all honesty, it’s only recently that I’ve truly come to appreciate Marilyn in all her busty bombshell glory – when I was a kid, for me, it was all about Audrey. Her doe-eyes, inscrutable expression, and that scene from Breakfast at Tiffany’s… I was in love with Audrey long before I’d ever seen her act in a movie – and I’m sure I’m not the only one who knows her primarily from her photographs rather than from her performances. My earliest memory was being enchanted by her character in My Fair Lady – probably the greatest ‘make over’ movie of all time, and certainly one that could be appreciated by a little, tubby, bespectacled kid from a council estate.

Audrey The 60s coverAudrey: The 60s is an ode to Ms Hepburn as a model, muse, actress, mother, friend and co-worker – a treasure trove of unique images and quotes, many of which are seen here for the first time since their original publication. From stunning close-up shots, to candid snaps on set, every image captures a different side of Audrey’s quirky spirit, ethereal beauty, sweet nature – and yes, her insecurities, too.
Audrey The 60s spread 2The quotes come from an impressive array of sources: movies, press reviews, friends, directors, photographers, fashion designers and more, including Sophia Loren, Walter Matthau, Cecil Beaton, Elizabeth Taylor, Hubert De Givenchy and her son, Sean Hepburn Ferrer. They paint a picture of a woman who was humble, modest, stylish, dutiful, sweet and down to earth – a perfectionist who believed her great fame came from unbelievable luck rather than anything else, and a woman who loved to laugh and enjoyed the company of others. Throughout the volume, her colleagues speak highly of her hard work and talent, while photographers and fashion designers gush about her style, grace and beauty. Audrey’s own quotes range from fluffy motivational snippets, to some dark, revealing confessions, which speak of a lack of self confidence, occasional insecurities, and an art for self-depreciation. It’s clear to see why she was so easy to love – and it’s hard to get through the book without feeling your heart swell, just a little, for this highly complex and fascinating individual.
Audrey The 60s spread 4All of this, and I haven’t even touched on those gorgeous pictorial spreads – photo after photo, they prove, one after the other, that Audrey’s appeal is timeless – her style still relevant today, and her grace apparent even in the most casual of settings. Contained within these pages are photos from Breakfast at Tiffany’s, The Children’s Hour, Charade, Paris When It Sizzles, My Fair Lady, How To Steal A Million, Two For The Road, and Wait Until Dark – plus, there’s another section simply titled ‘fashion’, which is fairly self-explanatory! These movies are diverse enough to show a wide range of costumes and settings, from dramatic thrillers in which Audrey’s simple clothes still mark her as a fashion icon, to the extravagant stylings of My Fair Lady, and the Mod style from Two for the Road. In fact, it was the shots from this movie in particular that fascinated me the most, as this characteristically ’60s’ style seemed somehow like a very drastic departure from her usual dress.
Audrey The 60s spread 5Of course, as I love to write about food as much as fashion, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to mention the two rather contradictory comments in the book about Audrey’s eating habits. Photographer Steven Meisel remembers her tucking into a peanut butter and jam sandwich during a break from a photoshoot, while Rex Harrison states that she was “in the habit of eating only raw vegetables” on the set of My Fair Lady. Make of that what you will…

Audrey The 60s spread 3

Surprisingly insightful, continuously charming, and of course, utterly beautiful, Audrey: The 60s is one of my favourite coffee table books, and a goldmine for anyone interested in ’60s fashion and the eternal, effortless style of Audrey Hepburn. Even if you’re not a ’60s girl, I have no doubt you’ll feel like one after a flick through this!

Audrey: The 60s, by David Wills and Stephen Schmidt, is available now for $40 from It Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. Visit http://www.audreythe60s.com for more information.

All images in this post are taken from Audrey: The 60s. A complimentary copy was provided to me for the purposes of this review.

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Launch of The Powderpuff Girls On Tour

You probably know I’m a massive fan of The Powderpuff Girls – I’ve hair my hair done by them on many occasions in the past, whether it was at the salon on Columbia Road, or at a pop-up shop during an event!

Well, whilst The Powder Room on Columbia Road has closed its doors, The Powderpuff Girls will be bringing the beauty on tour to a venue near you. The pop-ups will be packed full of exciting new packages for all your girly celebrations, plus all your old favourites too! The Powder Room will also be making appearances at Paper Dress every Saturday – and The Powderpuff Girls were kind enough to invite me to their launch on 26 January for a complimentary pamper. How could I say no?!

Paper Dress

Paper Dress is an amazing vintage clothes and accessories shop that also has a bar to serve cocktails, cakes and coffee (the ultimate three Cs), so this is an amazing venue to visit, even if you’re not getting your hair or make-up done!

Paper Dress board 1

The Powderpuff Girls have a pretty little section at the back of the shop, stocked with all the goodies you’ll ever need for your transformation into a retro beauty queen.

Powderpuff Girls 1

Flicking through their gorgeous look book for Speedy Hair, I plumped for victory rolls (again!) but this time decided to go for a rolled fringe!

Hair

Even though it’s my own hair, I have to admit, it looks amazing – and I can say that with complete modesty, as I had nothing to do with it other than to grow it out of my head! One day I’ll be able to style my hair like this, but until then I’ll leave it in the hands of the professionals…

Back of hair detail

Speedy Hair costs £25, In A Jiffy Make-up costs £20, and you can get a package deal for both for £40 (very reasonable – and they do such an amazing job; I’ve had them do my hair and make-up for my hen party and a very important work event too). The fact that the back of my head is shaped like a heart leads me nicely on to mentioning that appointments are available for pampering sessions for a weekend Valentine’s date on Saturday 16th February. You can also celebrate London Fashion Week with The Powderpuff Girls at The Hoxton, too!

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After getting my hair done, I popped on over to see the new painting of Kate Middleton at The National Portrait Gallery (my opinion: I’m obviously not an art connoisseur), which gave me the perfect chance to take some snaps of my hair in Trafalgar Square!

Top of hair Side hair in Trafalgar Square 3

Side hair in Trafalgar Square 2

(In case you didn’t see my post earlier in the week, I’m wearing the Gretel Coat from Collectif. Sunglasses from eBay, and my earrings are from my nan!)

When I got home, I realised that my hairstyle was actually pretty similar to Rachael’s from Blade Runner, so I decided to break out the navy jacket and shoulder pads and do my best ‘I’ve just discovered I’m a replicant’ expression (sorry, spoiler!).

Rachael Blade Runner

It’s actually really hard to have an existential crisis in front of the camera and not look like a bit of an emo, so I decided to bring out my cat, Saffy, to lighten the mood. A juxtapositioning of the sadness of a robotic lifeform yearning after the simple pleasure that an animal enjoys merely by being alive? Or just a self-portrait of woman and cat?

Gemma and Saffy

Or is she a… (wait for it…) REPLICAT?

Badum tssssh.

Visit The Powderpuff Girls online at www.thepowderpuffgirls.com. You can call them to book on 0844 879 4928, or email shop@thepowderpuffgirls.com!

GlossyBox UK January 2013: Round-up

GlossyBox UK Jan '13

It’s that time again, time for another GlossyBox review! The boxes were dispatched yesterday, so I was really surprised to get mine through already – I usually end up getting mine last!
GlossyBox UK Jan '13

Not surprisingly, the theme for this month is ‘Detox’, and my box contains some great products to help me do just that!

GlossyBox UK Jan '13

There are two face masks, a 3-in-1 cleanser which you can also use as an exfoliant and mask, a lip balm, face tonic, and a neat little eye mask too!

GlossyBox UK Jan '13

Click on the pic above to be taken to Flickr, where you can view this image in a larger size if you want to read the text!

So, here are the details about what was included:

Premae Skincare: Balance Rescue Face Tonique. Full size is 50ml (£27.50). The size included here was 30ml. This is for mattifying and rejuvenating congested skin, so a perfect match for me. The antiseptic lemongrass and sandalwood oil is supposed to close pores without leaching natural oils. www.premaeskincare.com

Monu: Renu Flash Relax Mask. 100ml (£32). The size here is 30ml. This is a ‘detox’ mask with Ginseng, magnesium, and vitamins C and B5, to reduce fine lines and promote natural radiance. It’s paraben free, too. www.monushop.co.uk.

Jason: Lips Bee Healthier. 4.6g is £1.99 – included in the pack. A therapeutic blend of beeswax, vitamin E, green tea extract, organic aloe vera gel, shea butter and almond oil to moisturise and condition lips in the harsh winter months. This is actually a lovely product that I’ve tested already – you can never have too many lip balms, in my opinion! www.jasonnaturalcare.co.uk.

Vichy: Normaderm 3in1 cleanser. 125ml is £11. The size here was 50ml. This multi-purpose product contains glycolic and salicylic acids and 25% clay in order to cleanse problem skin – another one that seems to be custom added for me! You can either use this as a cleanser like normal, or you can leave on your size for 5 minutes before washing off. www.boots.co.uk/vichy

Sanctuary Spa: Active Reverse Thermal Transformation Mask. Full size is £27.50 for 50ml of ‘step 1’ and 75ml of ‘step 2’. The product included here is a sample sachet size for one application. Firstly, you smooth the peptide transformation serum over your cleansed face and neck. Then, you add the thermal rose clay mask layer, allow to heat up, then leave to cool naturally for around 15 minutes before removing with warm water. I remember using heated clay masks before as a kid, so I wonder whether this will be any different! www.sanctuary.com.
GlossyBox UK Jan '13
Head on over to www.glossybox.co.uk to find out more about these products, and the monthly samples box scheme!

GlossyBox December 2012: Round-up

This Saturday, I got home to find my GlossyBox waiting for me by my patio doors – and what a box it was!
December 2012 UK GlossyBox

Inside was a great range of products, and the cosmetics were all in colours I definitely would have picked for myself.

December 2012 UK GlossyBox

December 2012 UK GlossyBox

For example, a full-sized bottle of Seche nail varnish in Portobello! I can’t wait to try this shade out (although, I’ll have to, because I’m still deep in my Ciate Mini Mani Month…). I knew Seche produced a renowned top coat that beauty bloggers love, but I didn’t know they didn’t have a colour range – until now. I expect big things, so stay posted for a review!

December 2012 UK GlossyBox

There was also a lovely red, full sized lippy from Sleek in Stiletto – very festive.

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Matches my red reindeer jumper perfectly!

December 2012 UK GlossyBox

This pretty pink blusher was a ‘bonus’ item, produced for GlossyBox by Kryolan – a professional make-up company. The shade is called Glossy Rosewood – I’m a massive pink blusher addict, so I can’t wait to try this one out properly.

December 2012 UK GlossyBox

There was also a body cream from Rituals, a company I’ve not looked into much, but I know people rave about. Not tried this properly yet, but it smells amazing.

I also got a sample of Lemon by Mary Greenwell, which seems to have mixed reviews – some people reckon it smells like detergent, but I think it’ll come into its own in spring. It does smell very lemony, which isn’t a bad thing, but maybe it’s a bit too ‘fresh’ to be appreciated in winter…

December 2012 UK GlossyBox

Finally, some samples of the uber expensive face cream Argentum, which is so pricey I have no idea how I would even bring myself to purchase it, even if it did work miracles. Like the Wei Black Soy face mask from last month, I almost feel too scared to use it. I already lust after clothes I can’t afford, never mind skin care…

December 2012 UK GlossyBox
December 2012 UK GlossyBox

I’ve got to go to my husband’s work Christmas party on Friday, so maybe I’ll break it out then and see what it can do! Anyone else tried this yet?

You can get your GlossyBox here, at http://www.glossybox.co.uk!

Victory Rolls by The Powderpuff Girls!

On Saturday 1 December, I got my hair and make up done by the lovely Claire from The Powderpuff Girls! The company had a stall at Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, so I popped along to get all dolled up!

Getting ready 3

I had already decided I wanted victory rolls, because it’s a look I’ve never been able to do on myself, and I wanted to pick up some tips at the same time as seeing what it would look like! As you can see from this picture, my hair is ridiculously long, so I’m definitely planning on having it cut soon to make styling easier!

Getting ready 7

I guess the main tip I came away with was – don’t be afraid to backcomb to insane proportions! The hair you can see in the picture above hasn’t been sprayed at all, it’s just standing up all by itself!

(As a side note, don’t you LOVE the Powderpuff Girls’ uniform?!)

Getting ready 6

Another thing I’d been doing wrong with victory rolls is trying to curl my hair from the ends down – Claire started from the middle and wound backwards from there, and it definitely made it easier to do!

I also got my makeup done with the classic red lip and cat-eye flick.

Getting ready 5 Getting ready 1 Getting ready 10 Getting ready 11

The whole thing was a very reasonable £30, and I even got to take a free powderpuff home with me too! This is the third time I’ve had my hair and make up done by The Powderpuff Girls, and each time I’ve been really pleased with the look and the style’s holding power. They use Paul and Joe products along with some other brands you can see on the site, and it really makes a different to how long they last. I’m definitely thinking of investing in some Paul and Joe foundation – Claire wrote down all of the products she used on me, which was awesome!

Come back later in the week for more about the fair, my outfit, and the real reason we were in London… to see Viva Forever!