A Wedding Guest Outfit with a Twist

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A summer wedding, you say? If you’re expecting prim and proper, pretty shades of pink and peach and lilac, then I’m afraid you’re hitting up the wrong blog, ladies.

When we were invited to a wedding reception in Edinburgh in June, I had a vision in my head for months of wearing a gorgeous, cerise-pink satin dress that’s been hanging in my wardrobe before Christmas, looking like a very bright and shiny Quality Street wrapper. But when it got closer to the time and I realised *everyone* would be wearing shades of pink and purple, I decided to think a bit outside the box and channel the ultimate style icon for a wedding guest outfit with a twist.

My inspiration? Kate Moss at her legendary 30th birthday party, strutting out of a club in a shimmering star-printed black maxi dress, complete with wild, tumbling curls and a Bowie-esque gold star painted over her right eye. My weapon of choice was this gorgeous maxi from ASOS (similar here), with its glittering stars and sweeping sleeves – black might not be everyone’s choice for a wedding but when a dress is this fabulous, it should be!

I felt amazing in this dress! I think we all need something like this in our wardrobe arsenal;  slide up the zip and feel like a superstar, there’s nothing more transformative sometimes. I paired it with my very favourite silver and gold t-bar heels from Topshop (similar here), the most comfortable pair of heels in the world, and with a well-loved (read: slightly battered) pleather laser-cut envelope clutch (similar here). As a finishing touch, I added my new favourite hair accessory, a Grecian gold-leaf headband and piles of dainty gold necklaces and bracelets, for the glamorous-boho look I was envisaging.

I loved this look in its entirety and am already searching for the next occasion when I can recreate it – who says you can’t wear black to a wedding?!

My Most-Used Makeup Brushes

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THE BRUSH OFF

By most beauty blogger standards, I have a fairly small makeup brush collection, but to me that just means I’ve found my favourite selection of tools and have a strict edit that I know I can use everyday for great results. Here’s my favourite few…

I have a new-found love for the Real Techniques Buffing Brush. After a couple of years of using the Expert Face Brush, I toyed with this one and loved the results so much more. The Expert Face Brush is great for dense coverage, but the Buffing Brush gives a light, glowy finish to whatever base product you’re using. I find it so quick to blend out foundation with this brush and it always leaves a soft, natural result.

Also from Real Techniques, I adore the Stippling Brush. I use this to apply cream blush for the most natural flush of colour; it’s so easy to blend product and super quick too. I’d always preferred using my fingers for cream blushes until I used this brush – it gives a result like no other! Their Powder Brush is perfect for dusting on a light layer of translucent powder to set my makeup too.

My ELF Bronzing Brush is one of those that I’d forgotten about for so, so long, until I picked it up for trying out a new powder highlighter with. Cue a soft-focus, shimmering glow, perfectly blended out and diffused. The bristles on this brush are super soft and light, meaning blending is so quick, light and easy, and doesn’t affect the base underneath. It picks up product nicely and makes light work of application. For the price, this is crazily good!

I got the Bellapierre Kabuki Brush in a beauty box last year, and I was super impressed with the quality. It’s a completely cruelty-free brush and the bristles are incredibly soft and gentle. I use this with my highlighter palette, to sweep a light dusting of shimmer all over my face for a subtly glowing effect.  It’s much pricer than my other options here but really worth it if you’re looking for a great all-rounder.

I’ve been super impressed with the brushes that I recently picked up from the H&M Beauty line in their Oxford Circus store. Desperate to try out a new brow wand (my ELF Brow Wand has seen better days!) I picked up the Brow & Lash Brush (styled like Bobbi Brown’s brushes, so lush) and have been so impressed with the quality. I use a brow wand every day, even no makeup days, to tame my brows and attempt to look mildly groomed, and it keeps any applied product looking natural. I also picked up the Large Shading Brush and I am so in love with this – it makes applying eyeshadow a breeze! Super soft bristles, a great domed shape and packed full to make blending out a dream. Total bargain too.

What are your most-used brushes? Are there any I should be trying?

Nip + Fab Bee Sting Skincare

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NIP + FAB FIX CREAM | FIX EYE

Queen bee

It’s been a good few years since Nip + Fab launched their lauded Bee Sting skincare range, and it’s always been something I’ve been keen to try. When I spied both the Bee Sting Fix Cream Deluxe and the Bee Sting Fix Eye in my local TK Maxx (where else?) I knew it was finally time to test these products out for myself, and so far, I’m pretty impressed!

First up, the branding and packaging of the products just draws you in – that vivid yellow and purple combination is stingingly bright but just looks so cool on your dressing table, they stand out a mile amongst the generic whites and peaches of my usual products. I usually find that when something is packaged well, I expect it to perform well – so both products had a lot to live up to.

The main ingredient in both products is bee venom, to help lift and firm up skin. This supposed ‘wonder ingredient’ has quite a buzz about it (pardon the pun!) and I’ve been waiting to see its miraculous effects for myself. Alongside wheat proteins and other acids, the Bee Sting range is designed to act as a ‘second skin shield’, actively protecting skin from environmental damage, filling in lines and plumping skin for a fuller, fresher look.

Both products are designed to be used day and night, but so far, I’ve only really used these as part of my pre-bedtime routine. Mostly because I still have a stash of daytime skincare, but also because I’m worried how long it takes to sink in before applying makeup, and I just don’t have time to spare in the morning.

The Fix Cream Deluxe is a seriously thick, rich cream that feels luxurious and almost heavy on the skin. A little goes a long, long way though and for the first few minutes, you can really feel the product on your face as it takes a little while to settle for me. When it’s absorbed, skin feels really plump and soft, and I can see where the ‘shield’ aspect comes from, as it almost feels like a primer over the surface – it definitely doesn’t sink in completely. I’ve found that very quick and gentle application works best otherwise you get a bit of product ‘balling up’ on the skin but overall, once applied skin looks and feels great, making a smooth and almost a sticky base for makeup – perfect for those of us who like our foundation to last all day!

The Fix Eye cream is another seriously dense and heavy product. I’m used to much thinner, lighter, more liquid eye creams, but there’s really nothing fluid about this. It’s a small tub of almost solid golden cream, that takes a bit of work to soften up pre-application. A really tiny dot is all that’s needed as this is seriously rich, but make sure to warm it up between your fingers before tapping it under and around the eyes – its solid texture means it’s easy to drag the delicate skin around the eye area if you’re not careful. So again, it’s a tale of slightly tricky application – there’s definitely a knack to it – but once applied, my under-eye area looks smooth and hydrated, and any fine dehydration lines are filled in and pretty much invisible. It feels super luxurious to apply this before bed but I’d be worried about applying concealer etc. straight over the top of this in the morning.

All in all, I’d say I’m very impressed with the results of the Bee Sting skincare routine. They are both anti-ageing products, which I’m probably too young for to give an accurate overview of their effects, but what I have seen in terms of filling in lines and plumping up the skin is very impressive. Application is tricky and takes a bit of practice to ensure you’re getting it just right, which can be irritating when you just want to get ready in a hurry, but the soft and smooth results are impressive enough for me to overlook that. If you’re looking for a luxurious skincare routine – and you’ve got some time to spare in the morning – the Bee Sting products might just be for you!

Have you tried any Nip + Fab products?

Interior Inspiration: Sixties Style

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ROCKING CHAIR | TABLE | MIRROR | SOAP DISPENSER |
SIDEBOARD | RUG | ARMCHAIR

If there’s one decade I love more than any, it’s the 1960s. The fashion, the beauty, the music, the style – and this isn’t just limited to our wardrobes. Sixties style, mixed with a chic Scandinavian flavour, is exactly how I want our home to look, and there’s some incredible pieces available just now to help us all achieve that chic retro flavour.

Pared-back tones of white and grey, mixed with darker woods, metallics and pops of colour are the key ingredients to get that vintage look. Furniture-wise, statement chairs are a great way to inject a key hit of style into the room, without compromising on comfort or making huge changes to your existing pieces. I love the Eames-style rocking chair and definitely have my eye on this for our living room, piled with a fluffy rug for a perfect reading nook – or this bright buttery yellow style is perfect for adding a pop of colour, in a great vintage shape.

Choose tables and storage with quirky details, like hairpin legs or splayed legs, like this side table and sideboard. Simple shapes and plain colours are key but you can still buy clever; a sleek sideboard looks fuss-free and streamlined, but you can cram it full of bits and pieces to keep the rest of your room looking tidy and minimal too.

In terms of accessories, I love pops of prints and colour, and splashes of metallics too. A gold round mirror is simple and striking, while a classic polka dot print is updated in the form of dalmation spots – a super cute way to add interest to any room. Throw down a rug to add colour and spark to your living room or hallway too; this bright patterned yellow one looks great and has that vintage vibe with a modern edge.

How would you give your home a 60s style?

 

Monthly Favourites: July

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MY FAVOURITE THINGS

SKINCARE

So this month I have been lucky enough to trial the new PURE Spa skincare collection, and I have been absolutely loving it. The full routine has left me with bright, clear and seriously smooth skin, and I have been thoroughly enjoying having a full spa experience at home. Check out my glowing(!) review here.

MAKEUP

With the weather being as hot and humid as it has been, I’ve had no choice but to keep my makeup look pretty low-key most days. A light layer of CC cream, a dusting of powder and a slick of mascara have been the most I’ve dared to brave the humid Tube with, but I’ve fallen back in love with the L’Oreal Exclusive Pinks lipstick in Blake’s Pink to amp up my every day look. This is a bright, blue-toned rose pink that’s perfect for freshening up your look, plus the formula is super moisturising and stays put. The perfect summer shade!

NEW PURCHASE

So this month was my birthday (25, eek!) and with my birthday money, I decided to get myself a little treat. I had my heart set on a pair of Adidas Stan Smith trainers, and then the day before my birthday, I spied that they had released them in a rose gold shade. Sold! They are just too cool.

ITEM OF CLOTHING

This month, I found the most perfect summer dress, and it has swiftly become my new favourite item! This striped cotton summer dress is such a pretty shade, and the shape is incredibly flattering. Plus, I adore the oversized ruffle collar – so French, so cute!

SHOP

In the same vein, La Redoute has definitely been my favourite shopping discovery this month. I’d written it off as a store for yummy mummies and their offspring, but after seeing a few cool pieces on other blogs, I decided to take a look online, and landed right in the middle of the sale. I found the gorgeous striped summer dress I mentioned, plus a chic gingham shirt and the perfect relaxed Breton top. I adore French style and I think I might have found the best place to source it!

TV SHOW

So I love guilty-pleasure TV, and last week saw the return of a perennial favourite, Don’t Tell The Bride. It’s back on Sky 1 and so far, I am loving it!

MUSIC

I have absolutely rinsed my Spotify Sunday Morning playlist this month; it’s perfect for lazy, hot afternoons and relaxed weekend mornings. I might be biased, but I highly recommend it!

FOOD & DRINK

So my birthday was basically an extravaganza of food and drink from start to finish, so there’s a lot of ground to cover here… From a champagne breakfast, to afternoon tea at Sketch (more on that below), to dinner and drinks at the Hawksmoor and the London Cocktail Club, I definitely had an indulgent day and got to enjoy all of my favourite treats!

TREAT

So yes, my big birthday treat was a surprise afternoon tea at Sketch, somewhere I’ve been longing to go for a couple of years. I, like most of us, was enchanted by the pink and copper glamour of the famed Gallery room and longed to try it out for myself, so it was a fabulous surprise when we arrived on the restaurant’s doorstep on my birthday. We went for the classic afternoon tea in the plush pink velvet surroundings of the Gallery, and it was perfection from start to finish. Delicious sandwiches, sumptuous scones and the most indulgent selection of cakes and desserts, plus an endless supply of tea and the most attentive service I have ever experienced. I enjoyed every second (even my bathroom break – those loos are something else!) and didn’t want to leave; a sure-fire sign of the ultimate treat in my eyes!

PURE Spa Skincare

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We all love that spa experience; luxurious products with sensual scents that leave you feeling relaxed and rejuvenated, when even just a sniff of the oils can transport you back to a candlelit room with not a care in the world. But as not all of us can afford a spa weekend every month (wouldn’t that be the dream?), the next best thing is getting a spa skincare routine of your own to relax with at home, as often as you like!

I was lucky enough to be sent PURE Spa‘s entire new skincare collection to try out for myself; if you haven’t heard of PURE Spa, they’re a boutique chain of spas based in Scotland, renowned for their excellent quality and gorgeous locations – so of course I was delighted to try out their collection at home!

The PURE Spa skincare collection comprises five products: a cleansing oil, a facial spritz, two facial oils and an eye oil – everything you need for a luxurious and effective skincare routine.

The PURE Clean & Glow Cleansing Oil is my new favourite way to remove makeup; it’s a super-gentle oil packed with vitamin E, Omega vitamins and neroli to deeply cleanse and nourish the skin. I pre-cleanse as usual with micellar water and then use this oil on damp skin to properly clean away any remaining makeup or grime, before removing with the PURE Face Cloth, which gently exfoliates as it cleans. It melts away makeup so quickly, including my waterproof mascara, and leaves the skin with that gorgeous spa scent; super relaxing! I’ve also heard that it works amazingly as a men’s shaving oil – but I certainly won’t be sharing this with Lewis!!

Post-cleanse, I’ve been loving using the Refresh & Revive Face Spritz to cool and hydrate my skin – it’s been a saviour in this disgustingly hot and humid weather these last few weeks! Blended with peppermint, aloe vera and lavender it’s perfect for refreshing and cooling down; I also use it to set my makeup in the morning. It will definitely be joining me on my trip to Barcelona next month too; the size is perfect for hand luggage and there’s no way I’m heading anywhere hot without this joining me!

I absolutely love a facial oil; there’s nothing more luxurious and I find that they just work so much better at hydrating and soothing my skin. I was sent both the Regulate & Clear and the Hydrate & Renew facial oils and have been thoroughly enjoying both of them. The Hydrate & Renew has been the one I’ve been reaching for most of the time; it smells absolutely glorious and has been the ultimate treat before bed. It’s a rich oil packed with rose, geranium, orange, macadamia, calendula and evening primrose, plus vitamins and antioxidants, and has been great at soothing my skin and leaving it feeling calm and nourished before I go to sleep. It’s definitely too heavy to use as a day oil for me, but pre-bedtime, it’s so luxurious!

I use the Regulate & Clear oil on the weeks where my skin’s a bit congested and not looking its best, and this oil has been impressive too. Created with ylang ylang, orange and lavender, this one is more of a dry oil so absorbs quicker – perfect for not aggravating angry skin. It works to balance the oils in the skin, plus contains active ingredients to heal blemishes and reduce scarring; the ideal toolkit for an out-of-control complexion.

With both oils, I’ve found that I wake with a lovely glowing complexion that I just don’t get from traditional moisturisers; oils are the way forward!

Finally, I finish my new skincare routine with a drop of the Regenerate & Boost Eye Serum. I’ve never used an eye oil before, usually preferring to stick with lightweight creams in the day and a heavier balm overnight, but this has introduced me to a new world! This oil is particularly potent but doesn’t seem to lie heavily on the skin, so it’s perfect for nourishing the delicate skin around the eyes. It’s made with heavy-duty argan oil (my favourite) and anti-ageing ingredients including retinyl, perfect for plumping up the skin and soothing any fine lines.

I’ve been using the PURE Spa skincare collection for the last two-three weeks and I’ve been loving using it so far; my skin looks bright, clear and smooth and feels super-nourished and hydrated too. With all of the gorgeous aromatic oils, every use feels like a trip to the spa!

The PURE Spa skincare collection is available here. Have you tried anything from PURE Spa?

Dressing Up For Summer; Pretty In Pink

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DRESS *| BAG | SHOES (similar here)

When it comes to summer occasionwear, there’s usually only one style I have in mind. Nothing feels more glamorous than a floaty, boho maxi dress in a pretty print! Perfect to pair with sparkly sandals or all-out heels, a grown-up maxi is an easy way to glide from daytime to evening whatever the occasion!

With this in mind, when JD Williams got in touch and ask if I’d like to choose a dress from their SS16 collection, I knew a pretty maxi dress would be the top of my list! There were so many designs to choose from, but in the end I went for this gorgeous blush pink floral style. I love the floaty caped sleeves and the cut-out details; it’s the perfect mix of laidback boho chic and grown-up glamour!

I paired the dress with some pink sparkly shoes and my favourite pink day-to-night bag for a pretty pastel look; pink is great suits-all shade and teamed with pared-back makeup and hair, it’s a great way to look chic without feeling overdone – perfect boho glamour!