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Hannah Martin did my make-up.

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Hannah Martin is one of the most respected bridal specialists in the British beauty industry.  I love her intensely pretty make-up style, warmth and good humour.  The first time we met, I was so excited I flew through the door of the Charlotte Street Hotel, face-planting into the wooden floor, ripping my tights and grazing my knees (leather pencil skirts are the enemy), before wiggling inelegantly through to the restaurant to meet her with burning cheeks and look of complete childish embarrassment. Many people in our industry would be mortified by such an entrance but we laughed so hard, I knew a friendship had begun.

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20 things I learnt in 2016.

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2016… It was like that scene in Jackass The Movie, where Steve O gets strapped inside a portaloo (or porta potty for my American readers), attached to two bungee cords, before shooting up into the air.  This horribly confined environment filling up with faeces, going all over the place. It was mad, nonsensical and utterly masochistic.  The sort of horror you don’t like, but can’t help watching, can’t stop watching. Much like a pussy-grabbing celebrity businessman becoming the next president of America, 52% of voting Brits making the politically disenfranchised choice to leave the EU, lots of well-loved creative people dying and ISIS doing more terrible things.  Shit.  Flew.  Everywhere.  Thankfully, the messy portaloo has landed on the ground and a fresh, unsoiled year is upon us.  Many of us are still alive and will most likely be ok.  With a sense of grit and camaraderie, we must crack on.

In my own little world, not too removed from the wider world, shit primarily centred around my family, friends, health, career, hobbies, interests and lovers (same for you huh?).  I learnt an awful lot of stuff and have to write it all down so I don’t forget.  This is becoming an annual post – read about 2015 here. In a nutshell: I got really unwell in April, recovered by the end of summer and re-prioritised. I developed a positive relationship with my body after watching it get better, and therefore liked my curves after 26 years, now feeding them regular servings of broccoli and Joe Wicks’ protein pancakes.  I danced a lot and set myself free from many invisible pressures.  This cleared room for more positive forces, inspiring growth, happiness and overall enjoyment of my life this past year.  There must be a crystal pendant I could wear to represent my developments as a deep and pensive human being, but alas I’m yet to find one.  Here is a definitive, but not complete list, of 20 things I learnt in 2016:

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Products that actually get rid of spots.

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I am prone to the odd hormonal break out, and it it has taken me several years to find products that ACTUALLY work to get rid of unsightly blemishes. This is the sort of post I wish I had read before spending a fortune on so much skincare. Having super clear skin is a combination of luck, lifestyle, hormones, happiness AND skincare. I have written all about my holistic 360 approach to skin. I recommend you read this post if you are suffering with your skin. 

For a more “yeah just tell me what to put on my face” approach, keep reading… these blessings are made by the beauty skincare gods. I guarantee that if you have spots to try any one of them, you will most likely be delighted by the results.

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YSL Volume Effect Faux Cils Mascara – #drama in a gold tube.

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Mascaras don’t come much more full-on than this one.  Two coats will have your lashes blacker than Donald Trump’s soul, and longer than the list of people he offends.

I am late to the party with this highly coveted, top seller for YSL.  Nic and Sam from Pixiwoo raved about this to me, so I decided to grab one… and see if it lived up to all the hype.  My previous mascara loves are all tubing formulas, simply because I am really fussy about ZERO smudging.  No panda eyes in the morning for me please. Some mascaras let you think you have removed your eye makeup, only to leave you with black smudgy peepers the next morning, à la Jack Sparrow.  This is genuinely one of my biggest concerns, and I am thrilled to tell you that YSL Effect Faux Cils Mascara does NOT budge or leave panda eyes. Hurrah!

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NYX Butter Gloss: a 6 month obsession, still going strong.

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Shades from right to left in order of most-loved: Eclair, Vanilla Cream Pie, Merengue.

I’ve been meaning to tell you about my love affair with this product for MONTHS. When I run out of people to tell IRL, this is usually the tipping point where a product love becomes a blog post. My flatmate is now also a convert and my mother is perusing the NYX counters like a mad woman with a secret tip off. This brilliant product from NYX has really changed the way I look at “affordable” beauty products…

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I convinced my friend to get her hair done by one of London’s most highly acclaimed colourists, Despina Sianou… Just so I could watch, and write about it.

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Before and after. Toni would describe her natural colour is “mousey”, I would say she is a golden brown. As a child she was blonde. Toni has fair skin with yellow/neutral undertones and flecked greeny-grey eyes.

Colour technician, Despina Sianou was thrust into my consciousness by blogger Lydia Elise Millen… it was a YouTube video about her hair journey that got me interested in Despina’s magic. As top colourist in her own right (before any blogger hysteria), Despina cancelled all her bookings the day a sobbing Lydia walked into the salon; Lydia’s hair had been destroyed by henna box dye, after henna box dye, and a bad bleach job after that. 9 hours later, Lydia left the salon with her natural hair colour restored and condition dramatically improved. It takes some serious expertise to do this; few hairdressers will touch a frazzled head of hair. So, after stalking Despina on Instagram, I wanted to do nothing more than spend an afternoon watching her work. I have some very odd, meditative interests, and Instagram stalking balayaged hair is one of them (TBF some people like train spotting, so whatevs). The application, colour mix, hair knowledge, the finish… it’s a science, an art and form of beauty therapy combined into one highly skilled process.

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The writing fear.

I’m so sorry for being a bad writer. I get ‘the fear’ you see… fear that the fizzy ideas in my head, that take the form of hundreds of notes in my phone, and inky scribbles in my moleskin notebooks, are not good enough. I have some wonderful posts on this blog, If I do say so myself – pieces of writing I am really proud of: a favourite being Note to future dating self. I worry that the next piece of writing will not come so easily, or read so emotively.

As I write, I learn more about who I am. The art of writing down my thoughts, calcifies them, ascertains and rounds up the heartfelt, the angry, the stories, the beauty product loves, and the completely silly. These ideas stare back at me, stark words on a glaring screen – ordered and clear, articulating the furore of information firing through my prefrontal cortex, and firing through my soul.

Creativity is a very intangible thing; more often than not, I work in fits and bursts of excitement and sentences that form so fluidly like a sploshing choppy river, racing through my mind, and out of my fingers onto the keyboard. Other times, I have hot, effervescing ideas shut down by frozen, still, fear. I worry these ideas will not materialise as I hoped, not be well written enough, interesting enough and without the time to shape and edit these faceless ideas… my fear grows.

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My experience of Glandular Fever and Hepatitis.

 

Glandular Fever is a truly horrid virus. It crept up on me one day, as silently as a warship sliding onto dark water. I’ve watched my attempt at explaining how I felt in the video below, but I’m not sure it quite does justice.

Currently, I am sat in my favourite Parsons Green coffee haunt, Hally’s – I write a lot in here, whilst slurping on matcha lattes. I’ve had a week of feeling good, telling everyone how amazing I feel, and that I’m totes better, that’s IT, no more Glandular Fucking Fever. Then, last night I had to go to bed at 9pm with a scratchy throat. I woke up 12 hours later feeling like my deep sleep never happened, utterly drained, sore and sensitive. Inside myself, I am just the same person, with the same unrelenting sense of humour and complete disregard for rules or being told off. My body doesn’t feel the same though; it feels like it belongs to an 85-year-old woman – soft and aching, scared to exercise, unable to dance, do cartwheels or jump around. In another life, the one before Glandular Fever, I went to boot camp circuit classes, learnt Beyoncé dance routines, and loved that fantastic feeling after smashing a hard gym session. I can’t do any of that right now, and it’s really getting me down. After breakfast today, I had a lie down, a shower, a lie down, lots of supplements, lunch, a lie down and some deep motivational thoughts have propelled me to started writing at 3.30pm.

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Jessie’s wedding makeup.

 

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This was such a beautiful wedding. The dress, the flowers, and blue velvet dog collars. My bride Jessie is a total natural beauty who wears little else but mascara on a day-to-day basis, and she wanted to look completely flawless but not overly made up on her big day – this is my most common brief. I take pride is doing exactly what the bride wants, aiming to create a look more beautiful than she had envisaged. Our shared love of Sensai 38 Degrees Volumizing Mascara and dogs, was a telling sign we were on the same page, and after a very successful trial, the big day was a huge makeup success with wide smiles all round.

Photography by Charlotte Bromley-Davenport 

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As a bridal artist, it is a big pleasure to participate in someone’s big day, and make it sparkle. When you look beautiful, you feel confident, this is what makes bridal makeup so special to me. It’s not just the actual makeup, but the emotional moment I have when a bride catches her reflection in the mirror and beams at me with elation, as if to say “YES! This is it!”. I feel a bit teary sometimes! No bride is truly ready to walk down the aisle until she feels gorgeous, and that’s my job. I absolutely love it.

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The mother of the bride above, was apprehensive about having her makeup done. After a very specific brief to be natural, no foundation and focus on the eyes with a little liner and mascara. I created this look using By Terry light expert corrector, Sensai under-eye concealer, Laura Mercier neutral eyeshadows, NARS kholiner, Kevyn Aucoin black eyeshaow pushed into the lash line, several coats of Eyeko Bespoke Mascara, Delilah blush, Kevyn Aucoin Candlelight powder, Sunday Riley Translucent Powder and a mixture of Lipstick Queen and Stila lipstick. I am thrilled to say she was very happy with the final look!

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Jessie’s final bridal look. We used Chanel base products, Kevyn Aucoin for subtle contouring (can you see it?), Sensai, Eyeko brows, Delilah and NARS.

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YouTube makeup tutorials that have changed my life.

Watching someone else do their makeup is one of the most oddly relaxing things for me to do. I return to these YouTube tutorial gems to help me get ready, time and time again. I’ve always been good at applying makeup, but the enjoyment and inspiration I get from following these videos, is enough to deserve its own blog post.

In no particular order, here are my favourite makeup tutorials on YouTube.

Minus the lashes… Emam here shows my most go-to makeup look. I bloody love a winged liner! She demonstrates how fresh and pretty this look can be when done with attention to detail:

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THE BEST brows I’ve EVER had.

I am going to let you into a little secret, or two little secrets – one is Eyeko Brow Boost and the other is Eyeko Brow Gel. After using these two amazing products, my brows have honestly never looked so good.

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With Brow Boost, this is a little, never ending glass tube of tiny brow fibres – you literally brush it on in feathery strokes, with the velvety-tipped wand. I am thrilled to discover something completely new and dare I say it, revolutionary! When you have “done” brows, to my discerning, trained eye, they are either a bit too pencilled in and require a lot of combing through with a spoolie to soften any hard lines. Pot of gel pomade? Too blocky and they bounce the light in a harsh way due to wax and intense pigment. If they are neither liney, nor blocky, then the classic eye shadow applied with a slanted brush is just as fiddly and can so easily look false. I’m not about obviously done brows. Strong? Yes. Fake? No. I’m a tough one to please!

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Posh people fighting on the tube and swarms of Krill.

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Tensions were running high in Parsons Green this morning. The tube station platform was packed deep in Celine handbags, Russel & Bromley Shoes, a steadily rising mumble of politely clipped moans, with lots of busy thumbs on Whatsapp, sharing the news with colleagues in central London, that the Upminster trains were running a delayed service. Finally the train doors whooshed open to a reveal a dense carriage of commuters. I propelled myself forward into the mass of tangled bodies. My headphones have gone missing this week, so instead of listening to The Beibs, I have been observing people, and as a result, have become a lot more aware of my surroundings. It’s been quite nice, I highly recommend a week without headphones.

My first general observation is how West London people are very well put together, albeit in a rather samey, boring and predictable kind of way. East London people are much the same – you can identify a Dalston resident by their grubby-chic style. I could close my eyes and describe to you the uniform of apparel, draped over every Hugo and Tamara trotting past the Sloane Pony in Parsons Green: on the men, cable knit jumpers over stiff-collard shirts, brogues and quilted jackets. On the women, THAT Reiss wool coat, a Pom Pom Poodle hat pulled over fluffy, if a bit crispy looking hair and ruddily applied bronzer, you know, from a cracked Bobbi Brown compact that lives at the bottom of an oversized, overpriced handbag.

My second observation is how RUDE some people are, to the point of complete and utter obnoxiousness. Thankfully, obnoxious people never offend me, as long as they smell pleasant and don’t touch me. It’s the constantly nice, slightly drippy people you need to watch out for; you will never truly know what they are thinking. There people are most often the ones who do crazy things when drunk. You totes know what I mean.

This morning became quite the hilarious occasion as one uppity, flustered woman decided to shout at a poor man (he probably wasn’t poor) who was helplessly wedged in-between someones armpit and a green pole.

“OH MOVE DOWN WILL YOU!!” she bellowed.

The steamed-up carriage of raised arms and squashed shoulders was sleepy, until this moment. There was quite clearly no room to move anywhere. The subject of her outburst responded in the most unexpected way:

“Shut up you complete moron!”

His floppy quiff bouncing on each syllable. Smiles broke across the faces of every man and woman in the steamy carriage. A sparing explosion between one Hooray Henry, and a frazzled middle-aged woman, who probably had issues with her nanny that week… was about to kick off. In Parsons Green people are FAR too civilised for this kind of thing to get ugly, so with exchanged glances and pulled out earphones… the entire carriage tuned in.

“Excuse, me! What did you just call me?!”

“I said you are fucking a moron! There is obviously no fucking room to move down!!”

At this point, an older floppy-haired man, who was clearly a lot more zen about the situation, merrily exclaimed:

“It’s just the morning people!!”

Chuckles from the entire carriage. Eye contact was made between people, on a tube train, in London.

Whilst observing this drama, I lost my balance, possibly because I can barely reach the Distract Line rails, and consequently face-planted into a tall man’s shoulder, my lipstick leaving a perfect kiss print in pastel pink (MAC Cream Cup), on his black wool coat. I blushed and realised the man behind me had spotted this, we shared a cheeky smile. The lucky man with my lipstick print was intensely watching a David Attenborough documentary on his iPad, all about the Blue Whale, eating a swarm of Krill. The Blue Whale who was so full, he almost came to a standstill while digesting many thousands of Krill. I felt like one of those Krill, and the near stationary District Line tube train carriage was the Blue Whale, at Earls Court.

After eventually leaving the Blue Whale, I arrived at work in a lifted mood, entertained by my journey. It reminded me that little moments of such unexpected entertainment, only happen when you lose your headphones and observe your surroundings… Shouty posh twats, lipstick stains and swarms of Krill.

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My most loved piece of jewellery.

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This is a very long-overdue post about my favourite piece of bling… The Monica Vinader Mini Marie pendant in rose gold was something I had lusted after for aaages, and since laying my hands on it, I have worn this necklace constantly for nearly a year. Cost per wear people. Jewellery always wins!

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Chanel Les Beiges Healthy Glow Foundation, get on my face.

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Chanel foundations have always performed beautifully on my skin. I ploughed through more bottles of the sadly discontinued Prolumiere foundation, than I could afford as a student, and then rebounded, only to fall madly, deeply in love with Vitalumier Aqua. The Les Beiges Healthy Glow Fluid is an essential base I always carry in my kit and use for brides – Mary Greenwell’s sterling recommendation, after personally posting one to me. I have MAD love for Chanel bases, they are truly wonderful. You can imagine how excited I have been about this highly anticipated launch!

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Stila colour balm lipstick in Gabrielle – get on my lips.

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Stila is one of those beauty brands that often falls off my radar, for long periods of time. Every now and then I discover something new and make a mental note to try more of their products! Their Convertible Colour in Petunia was my first ever blusher, received at the age of 13. Naturally, I applied enough to grout an entire bathroom.

 

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The lash game-changer… Eyeko Bespoke Mascara.

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Sit down with a cup of tea, because I have quite a magical mascara tale to tell…

Beauty intelligence sources will tell you that the future is about bespoke, personalised products. I’ve read the Mintel reports. I know my shit. Us Emma Stevie readers – the beauty junkie customers, are becoming more discerning, more educated and know exactly what we like. It is no surprise then, that uber cool eye makeup brand, Eyeko, have absolutely nailed a new, more personalised service called Bespoke Mascara. This breakthrough in makeup is completely game-changing. Rather than amble around beauty counters looking for mascaras you might like… this service allows you to take control and decide on the wand and formula. It really blows all the other mascara competition out the water.

SO, like a kid in a candy shop, I went to Harvey Nics in Knightsbridge to experience Bespoke Mascara for myself. I was somewhat apprehensive that my mascara taste might be too specific. I have never struggled to know (or explain) what I want. This was going to go one of two ways…

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Oprah – there are no mistakes.

“Stop the crazy chatter in your head that tells you all the time that you are not good enough.”

“Your being here is such a miraculous thing… your real job is to honour that, and the sooner you figure that out – ‘oh wow, I’m one of the lucky ones, I got to be here’. So how do you continue to prepare yourself? To live at the highest, truest, expression of yourself.

 

 

 

 

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The roundup: my favourite makeup products of 2015.

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Not a day goes by where I don’t thank the makeup gods for bringing these gifts of beauty into my life. The following products I use almost every single day, hand-picked out of hundreds of makeup products in my kit. This is my makeup my hall of fame, if you will, and all of it is unapologetically luxury.  My rationale being that I only have one face, and wear it every day, so slathering it in such expensive, gorgeous products makes me happy and feel a wonderful sense of put-together-ness.

 

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20 things I learnt in 2015.

 

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the beginning of last year!

 

  1. Happiness is the best beauty product of all.
  2. Nine times out of ten, you are not having a full on nervous breakdown, you just need a cup of tea and a hug. You’d be amazed how easily you can confuse the two. Invest in some good tea and find some good huggers.
  3. To quote master life coach, neurolinguistic programmer and clinical hypnotherapist Jacqueline Hurst, former heroin addict, anorexic and now champion at living a mindful life – “Without the right mindset or the right thoughts, you won’t change how you look or feel. Thoughts generate feelings, feelings generate actions and actions generate your outcome – for instance, negative thoughts always create negative feelings. When people become conscious and aware, and choose to have good thoughts, life really does change.” Jacqueline taught herself how to heal, and build an amazing life after addiction. She is one of the most wonderful people I have had the pleasure of going for coffee with.
  4. There is literally nothing wrong with carbohydrates.
  5. When in doubt, I have started advising myself as I would advise a friend who I dearly love. One of Jacqueline’s top tips.
  6. A combination of exercise, aromatherapy, friends and writing it down can fix almost any dilemma.
  7. The older I get, the softer I get, emotionally.
  8. The older I get, the harder I get, mentally.
  9. The older I get, the more I appreciate my family and want to spend time with them.
  10. The more time I spend living in London, the more I realise it is not the centre of the world; I appreciate other places in the UK a lot more for being squashed underneath someone’s armpit on the tube, daily.
  11. Unless you have dependants (this is aimed at young peeps like me), you don’t owe it to anyone to live a certain way. Do more of what makes you happy.
  12. Cellulite is cute, I appreciate cellulite. I don’t let ANYONE tell me that the dimples on on the backs of my legs are not cute.
  13. Instagram, and social media in general for that matter is not a reflection of real life. It is a heavily edited highlights reel of pictures. Do not take any of it seriously.
  14. The people who make you feel most like yourself should be kept close and treated very well.
  15. The people who make you feel anxious or sad, need to be ditched. 
  16. Very few people have it all figured out.
  17. We are all so different – each of of us have completely different ways of thinking, motivations, beliefs and requirements to live a happy, fulfilled life.
  18. Love is often best expressed by just showing up.
  19. Sleeping with my phone far as away from my bed as possible, with my outfit laid out for the following morning, are the single two most effective things I can do to maximise my energy levels and productivity the next day.
  20. Mindfulness, mindfulness, mindfulness.
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Lydia’s wedding makeup.

 

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Lydia works in PR representing some very glamorous women indeed, so I was thrilled that she booked me as her wedding makeup artist. We opted for a brown and mauve very defined, yet soft eye, with lots of little individual lashes, and completely flawless skin. Laura Mercier, Kevyn Aucoin, Hourglass and Makeup Forever products were used mainly on Lydia, and Chanel on Ewa, Lydia’s mum.

Props to James, one of the most incognito and talented wedding photographers I have worked with thus far! The photos were so beautiful I have struggled to edit this down to a small selection. You can check out James Revitt here: Flawless Photography

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Before and after:

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Note to future dating self.

There are lessons in life and moments of undignified clarity that require me to stop what I am doing and write, spilling out hot tears into words, fervently typing across a screen, in hope that the glaring black and white letters force me to learn, the calcified lesson of self-worth. And, in doing so, never, ever, feel like this again.

I write this sat cross legged on my bed with a damp messy bun, my favourite tortoiseshell glasses perched on my face, after pulling on fleecy yellow jogging bottoms over recently diminishing hips. Once canary bright, these hideous things are now a dull mustard colour with frayed edges, acquired seven years ago as a fresher at uni. I love them. On my top half I am hunched inside in a men’s Charles Thyrwhitt cashmere blend navy jumper, it once belonged to my best friend’s little brother, Tom, affectionately known as Turkey to his friends. I was given this almost a decade ago, after vomiting all over my own clothing, aged 15. So soft and snugly warm, I have worn it to bed, for nine winters since. I look awful in navy, truly vampire and sickly. I look awful in general right now. This outfit will never see daylight, just lamp light. It smells of Aromatherapy Associates Deep Relax with a hint of (much cheaper) lavender essential oil. When my bed and I smell of these oils, it’s because I am in the midst of a sad and highly anxious episode, trying to settle myself, usually having just swallowed a handful of Kalms tablets, also known as “crack” to fellow anxiety sufferers.

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The rave review – Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation.

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 RANT

I feel a pang of guilt at posting this; as a devotee of NARS Sheer Glow for 4 years now, I dabbled with other foundations, and returned straight back to NARS. This blog post here… this is no dabble. I have used my Armani Luminous Silk foundation for a month, uninterrupted as Sheer Glow sits, unloved in a drawer. My guilt is meshed with a flutter of excitement for a new era in my makeup journey.  Only a true beauty junkie will understand this feeling of elation, having found “the one”.

 

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Tampon Tax. Errm no.

 

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Enough already.

 

As an intelligent, chatty and opinionated woman, I feel a great responsibility to exhaustively and cathartically get this blog post OUT of my system, and onto the internet, so that I can carry on living my life.

 

I graduated from my law degree three years ago now, and have clung onto some bits of knowledge, mainly so nobody can shaft me, it comes in handy sometimes. Alas, it would seem that I am still being shafted…

 

The luxury or essential status of a product for tax purposes was highlighted by no legal debacle better than the McVities case. In this case it was deemed that because Jaffa Cakes go hard when they are stale, they are indeed cakes, not biscuits, and therefore, wait for it… essential – so exempt from consumer tax. I read this case many times and still do not understand why cake is essential. However, I do know that when I’m on my period, I CANNOT PUT A FUCKING FAIRY CAKE IN MY KNICKERS to deal with the painful and messy situation. INSTEAD, I have to employ the use of a LUXURY sanitary towel or tampon. It is quite absurd. To be fair, plugging oneself with cotton to avoid spraying bloody uterine lining everywhere is a luxurious experience. Just like going on a monthly spa break.

 

So, a room dominated by men, vote against removing the consumer luxury tax on period products *slow claps*. These MP’s clearly love cake more than they do women. This makes me all kinds of sad, because in 2015, the wonderful machinery of a woman’s body is still met with grumblings of disapproval. Legislative disapproval.  

 

I refer you all to Dominique Christina’s period poem. Watch it, you might fall in love with her and start clapping. If you don’t, get off my blog. 

 

 

 

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My face would probably just fall off without the following skincare products…

 

From right to left - Nude Clarifying Cleansing Oil, La Roche Posay Effaclare Toner, Nude Progenius Oil, Emma Hardie Protect and Prime SPF30, Nude Rescue Oil

From right to left – Nude Clarifying Cleansing Oil, La Roche Posay Effaclar Toner, Nude Progenius Oil, Emma Hardie Protect and Prime SPF30, Nude Rescue Oil.

 

I wrote about my holistic approach to having good skin here… this post harps on about the importance of being happy, rested, eating good food etc. These are some overlooked and often neglected home truths when it comes to the quest for beautiful skin. Beauty industry PR’s will tell you that you need all these expensive products to look good, but I know plenty of people (men especially), who barely use skincare and have THE most beautiful skin. 

 

Sadly I am not so blessed. My face is dry, taught and feels uncomfortable if I step out the shower and delay to apply some oil or moisturiser. The silver lining to having this skin type is invisible pores and few spots. Hurrah! Skincare forms the backbone to my beauty routine, and meditative preparation for the day. Some people can’t start the day without a coffee, I can’t start the day without a vigorous oily cleanse and hot flannel. I love the feeling of silky soft, even-toned skin. I don’t stop at my face, no no, I scrub my body within an inch of it’s life, laser the shit out of my hair (for a very candid and entertaining account of lady garden laser hair removal read here). I then slather myself in body creams and potions that smell positively edible – not like pizza lol… think almond and coconut. I might have just typed myself into doing a body skincare post. Nice one Em. 

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Date makeup – what men like.

Oh god. This is a topic I have strong views on, as a makeup Nazi. I have an opinion and I’m NOT afraid to express it.

“When women wear makeup, they’re basically lying to us”

Why should I be blamed for a man stupid enough to think I have gold sparkly eye lids!? To completely avoid this situation, simply steer clear of any unnatural glittery products. He will be none the wiser that your eyelashes are not actually black or your skin isn’t actually perfect.

 

Wear what you like, do what makes you happy but there are some major fails and elements of makeup that most men do not understand let alone approve of. While some of you might shout at me and explain that makeup and general beautification is not done for the approval of men… looking your best for a date kind of is. If he’s a nice guy, it shouldn’t matter and needn’t feel like a compromise. 

 

There is not one specific look that makes all women breathtakingly beautiful, nor are there very specific products that help achieve this. My personal and professional beautifying arsenal, hundreds of hours applying, practising,  working with clients and observing absolute makeup artist legends at work, has given me some pearls of makeup wisdom, that I’m willing to share with you lucky people…

 

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Holiday adventures in Sardinia.

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Right now I am sat in Hally’s, my favourite Parsons Green haunt, with a big coffee. To look at me, you would see deceptive remains of my holiday glow. This glow is disguising a horrid sickly virus causing my limbs to ache, and head want to explode with pressure. For the last three days I’ve been sleeping 16 hours at a time, waking up only to send whatsapps to my friends and lovely team at work. *gets out a violin*. Just less than a month ago, things could not be any more different. In order to get over my holiday blues and take my mind off feeling like poop, I have decided to tell you all about my Sardinian holiday adventures, paused by feverant bouts of nose-blowing and coffee slurping.

 

One of my best friends Aimee is my holiday buddy and general partner in crime. Last year we went on an incredible holiday to Barbados. This year we fancied somewhere closer to home, with gorgeous beaches, warm sea and enough culture to explore by car. No clubbing and very little drinking… we are 25 going on 45 really. #oldladiesontour

 

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Tom Ford Golden Mink tutorial with Wayne Goss.

I did not want to wash my face after this look was completed. To the frustration of some viewers, I find it difficult to not talk to Wayne while he is doing the makeup. As the products come near my face, I am saying one of the following:

 

“erm, can I have that?”

“is that for me?”

“It’s contaminated now, I must keep that brush.”

 

 

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Jim Jefferies – Guns are not protection.

If you haven’t read my blog before, this “thoughts” category is intended to be a Kanye-style outlet, where I can ramble ’till my poorly edited heart’s content, then click “post”, sharing my thoughts with the internet. It’s really quite amazing I still have a job. LOL.

 

LOTS of things rile me, but few things as much as Americans who staunchly defend their stoopid constitutional right to own and buy guns. Tossers. This comedian Jim Jefferies sums it up beautifully, hilariously and very poignantly:

 

 

 

 

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“You had bad skin and now you have great skin, what did you do?”

Here is a contouring makeup tutorial I filmed with the lovely Wayne Goss a couple of weeks ago. My big takeaway as a makeup artist, watching this back is how REALLY GOOD brushes with an even-pressured, light hand make for the most seamless contouring.

 

This is not a makeup look I would usually do on myself, as I prefer to keep my base really sheer. That said, I think you will agree the end result is incredibly flawless yet natural looking, tactile skin. Great job Wayne!

 

A word on modelling in x4 HD… with a completely naked face… in front of Wayne’s 2 million plus subscribers… I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again –  it is bloody scary. I have received the loveliest compliments from many lovely people. Thanking everyone of them for being so kind. My cheeks have been burning with embarrassment and bewilderment at these comments. I have also received lots of versions of the same question, along the lines of:

 

“You had bad skin and now you have great skin, what did you do?”

 

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The cute review: Lipstick Queen Belle Époque lip balms.

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EOS are not the only brand to have nailed cute lip balm packaging. Lipstick Queen has just launched these adorable tinted lip balms in Belle Nude, Belle Pink and Belle Wine.

 

Cutness overload aside, the formula is the bees’ knees – a lovely Shea Butter base with Omegas 3, 6 and 9, rice lipids, algae extract and good ol’ vitamin E. I love tinted lip balms they are my preferred lip product for summer. My absolute favourite is Dr Paw Paw Tinted Peach Pink Balm, for the colour and softening results. These Belle Époque lip balms are a close runner up.

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The rave review: NARS NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette.

NARS NARSissist Matte/Shimmer Eyeshadow Palette

 

 

GOOD products are easy to spot in my makeup collection, for being the most used, most loved and most frequently found in my handbag (so my flatmate doesn’t steal them). This NARRSISST eye palette is no exception. I have not stopped using this baby since the day it landed in my lap. If you are in the market for an eyeshadow palette, read on…

 

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Why British men have it tough.

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As someone with a liberal head and very traditional heart, I worry where the seemingly redundant idea of old school, chivalrous masculinity is going. I appreciate it. Few things are sexier than old fashioned manners like opening the car door and walking to the other side, paying bills, pulling out chairs. Traditional gentlemanliness is hot. It is usually indicative of someone who has been raised well. I make a mental note when I see a man doing these things, sadly it happens less and less these days. As much as this saddens me, I worry far more about gender inequality affecting my 18 year old brother. Men in the UK today have it really tough…

 

Feminist – funny word isn’t it? The “femin” part, linguistically referring to female or feminine, and “ist” meaning one that is. This word excludes men entirely. It’s easy to see why, at face value, some men disassociate themselves with this word.


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Life update #2: London is not the centre of the universe.

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I’ve harped on quite a lot about weight loss in my last post. Let’s move on… London life. Since moving to London over 2 years ago, I thought it was EVERYTHING, the only place I would want to live and spend most of my time. Interestingly, and maybe predictably, the older I get, the more I salivate over gorgeous places like Bath, Sussex and the Cotswolds, where I often go to see my friends who are living the dream. It occurred to me, during a recent weekend in Bath, that everything you need is there; the best coffee shop in the UK, a Space NK, Opium bar, and seriously beautiful architecture. It wins bonus points for being one of the least likely places ISIS will be attacking any time soon and I swear it is a tad warmer than London. What more could you want? Oh yeah, a job… I don’t want to work in a coffee shop. *sigh*.

 

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Life update #1: Dear Melie, I am less fat:

 

I’ve not really done one of these in a while, a chatty life blog post that is. I thought I should start a mini-series of life updates. Today is a headachy, PMS day where I can’t focus on work, and feel like writing. My best friend Amelia is involved in an altercation with some wallpaper in her kitchen, so her responses to my chatty/badgering Whatsapps are sporadic to say the least (I have more than one friend, honest)… SO darling Mil, this one is for you, and also for the cathartic joy of writing things down, thus feeling my chaotic life is in order because I have narrated it to you through the medium of my often neglected baby aka emmasteive.com.  I hope for anyone who knows me, this reads funny, and I hope for anyone who doesn’t know me, that you don’t think I am a total nutter. Caveat: this will be largely unedited and written as these thoughts come into my head, fresh and organic yo. Here goes…

 

Excuse the mess. Our cleaner has been unwell. #firstworldproblems.

Excuse the mess. Our cleaner has been unwell. #firstworldproblems.

 

Firstly and in no order of life updates importance, but something I am thrilled with – I HAVE LOST 10 POUNDS! Now before anyone who doesn’t weigh themselves retorts that 10lbs is really not that much and they can sweat that out in one afternoon playing rounders, as I have recently been told by a large man at work, go fill a bag with 10 tins of baked beans and PICK UP THAT MOTHER FUCKER. It’s a big ol’ weight. My aim is to lose a stone to a stone and a half, or 21 lbs to my American readers, before mincing off on holiday to Sardinia in a few weeks. There will be an awful lot of frolicking around in a bikini, lying on boats, jumping off boats, exploring sleepy little towns, and finding gorgeous deserted beaches. I am really looking forward to soaking up all the Sardinian beachy beauty with salty hair and flip flop tan lines. Aimee and I have hired a convertible car to wizz around in, I expect we will return it full of sand and Italian men. Can you tell how much I love the whole club 18 – 30 thing? *vomits*.

 

 

SO, I am indeed less fat, and excited about my holiday. Next life update coming tomorrow. This series of posts could be called Emma’s Ephemera – brief and only relevant for a short while. I hope you enjoy!

 

 

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7 golden tips: How to do your makeup on the train LIKE A BOSS.

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This blog post isn’t just about doing your makeup on the train. It is so much more than that. It’s about respect for your limited time in the mornings (limited time in life?!) streamlined efficiency worthy of a high-five from Bear Grylls, building core strength, finding calm and focus on a packed rickety District Line tube carriage. This is the ultimate exercise in not giving a shit about what people around you think, a life goal in itself – which can be honed through quick application of your face on a moving train surrounded by 187,693 sleepy strangers.

 

I have become a more well-rounded and efficient human for doing my makeup on the tube. If a woman can curl her eyelashes on the tube… she can do anything. This is why I have put this skill on my CV.

 

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For time saving, calm boosting, beautifying, motherfcking efficiency… see my 7 top tips for doing your makeup on the train LIKE A BOSS:

 

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Celebrating the plus-size woman… some thoughts.

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Apologies for those who don’t follow me on instagram, it looks like I have dropped off the side of the earth. I’m having one of those mental busy exciting social kind of summers, working and playing in equal measure.

 

After recently reading about Tess Holiday’s signing to MiLK Model Management, and her career exploding in rambunctious style, I have started to notice the rise of the (UK) size 14+ model. This has filled my mind with all sorts of conflicting thoughts. Firstly, let’s call a spade a spade, one of my fortes in life… by “plus size” I am referring to the obvious – fat.

 

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My bucket list.

There is a note in my phone, of stuff I have to do (before dying – obviously), so I thought, why not make it into a blog post? Maybe the universe will read it and make these things happen.

 

Life wooshes by so quickly, and I feel passionate about people doing the things they WANT to do, over what they feel they SHOULD do. Memorable and amazing experiences are everything, so this is my growing bucket list, in no specific order:

 

  1. Swim with pigs in the Bahamas
  2. Road trip across America
  3. Create my own beauty brand
  4. Take over the world with said beauty brand
  5. Become a published writer
  6. Sail around the Croatian Islands
  7. Go Husky sledding
  8. Do a sky dive
  9. Get married
  10. Visit Israel
  11. Sleep under a starry sky somewhere in the mountains (cheesy much!?)
  12. Have some kids, three would be great
  13. Get back into painting, create some art (my flatmate has reserved a big, expectant naked wall)
  14. Snorkel with a Whale Shark
  15. Visit the following places in Italy: The Amalfi Coast, Portofino, The Vatican, Venice, Rome, Sorrento, Lake Como, Sardinia.
  16. Go to the Super Bowl
  17. Learn to ski
  18. Ride a horse through the sea
  19. Swim with Dolphins (cheesy but necessary)
  20. Visit the Grand Canyon
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The Review: Ameliorate skin smoothing body lotion.

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Keratosis Pilaris – is the medical term for red bumpy skin usually on the upper arms. I have always had mildly bumpy upper arms. It’s not something I’ve really worried about it, let’s face it, there are far greater things to worry about… like not being fat and lasering my lady garden. Nonetheless, having buttery soft, evenly toned smooth skin is a beauty goal, and one I discovered is completely achievable…

 

About a month ago the head buyer at work gave me this moisturiser and said “it’s had loads of great press”, thrusting the tube into my hand. I thought… yeah whatevs, so have loads of shit products. THEN I actually tried it, noncommittally rubbing in this strange smelling cream into my upper ARM (note singular), I got my guinea pig flatmate to do the same. Then we forgot all about it – that is until showering the next day, I saw my test arm vs the control arm: these arms could have belonged to two different people. Seriously.  It took less than 48 hours to see such a stark difference in skin texture and redness. I wish I took a before and after photo, but didn’t so you’re just gonna have to take my unsponsored, honest product junkie word for it. Rarely has a skincare product delivered such instantaneous and remarkable results.


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Blogger’s block.

My life is spinning, drinks flowing, music carrying me through each day on the cusp of another exciting thing place adventure opportunity person. Words are one of my art forms. A form of expression. I want to splash them across this blog, painting a vivid picture that is rich, detailed… a lush, vibrant oil. Brush strokes quick and colourful, funny and open.

 

Malleable and momentary, I love having an expressive outlet through words, like I love paints, lipstick, working each day with designers and writers. All of this is happening at once and under my feet the rattle and hum of London takes me from bar to barre. I ache, I laugh and I am in love with life right now. Forgive me for my late slipping on the frequency of blog posts. They will come.

 

 

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You know you are getting old when…

This blog post should be read whilst listening to a mash-up of Britney Spears – I’m Not A Girl Not Yet a Woman, with Beyonce – Grown Woman. The former representative of my late teens/ early twenties, and the latter is now.

 

I’m not gonna lie, my mid twenties honestly feel very much like being a student; still characterised by terrible behaviour, being hungover on a… Monday, “so done!!” with the week by Wednesday, and laugh-crying at the absurd shit that flashes up on my phone, but often now in very “serious” meetings… lets blame the creators of Snapchat and Whatsapp for that. Now at 25, this mischief is no longer marred by the feelings of uncertainty and self-doubt it once did… it is calcified by a terrifying sense of pity for anyone who, for example, pushes in front of me in a Monica Vinader sample sale queue. May their GOD help them.

 

So funnily enough I was thinking the other day about how much I’ve grown up over the past couple of years. Here is my definitive list of  – You know you are getting old when you…

 

  • Cook stews, curries, lasagna’s etc and then place even sized portions into freezer bags and freeze.
  • Freak out when you have made something amazing and don’t have any freezer bags left.
  • Stumble into your flat from a spontaneous night out, absolutely shitfaced and TAKE OUT food from the freezer so it can DEFROST and become your dinner the following evening. Terrifying isn’t it.
  • Pack another pair of party feet gel pads and strip of plasters into your bag, because you will not be followed around the dance floor by a bouncer ordering you to put your heels back on. That only happens to inexperienced 18 year olds who want to get another Tetanus jab.
  • Find art and interior design shops as exciting as you used to find Topshop. I can’t remember the last time I went into Topshop.
  • Then spend all of your disposable income for the month on gorgeous pieces of furniture.
  • No longer care what other people think. Genuinely. Not what they think about your clothing choices or penchant for creative porn-star inspired makeup on a Monday morning, because you woke up far too early. Don’t care.
  • Can spot a douchebag from a hundred paces away. No matter how devilishly handsome or charming he is. You can smell the Chlamydia when he pays for the drink YOU ordered for yourself and your girls.
  • Have a chilli plant in your kitchen and point at it proudly, with a smug grin when feeding someone a homemade spicy dish.
  • Don’t count calories, instead you question whether or not your lunch will provide enough sustainable energy for 2 gym classes and 3 meetings with people you hate at work today? If the answer is no, get the giant Itsu Postu because the regular sized Potsu just won’t cut it.
  • Don’t count calories, instead you think, will this make me feel bloated?
  • Increasingly, with age, the answer to above question is yes.
  • Realise that with each passing year, the only person who cares about your general appearance, dress sense and weight… is you. None of your friends or family care per se, they are just merely but genuinely concerned for your health and happiness. Making 5lbs neither here nor there.
  • Significantly reduce the time and preparation spent getting ready for a date. Years of dating men has taught you that they only know the difference between some effort and no effort. Therefore perfectly winged eyeliner goes COMPLETELY unappreciated, but can take up to 20 minutes. Don’t do it; you will never get that time back.
  • Are unable to name 90% of the top 40 music chart.
  • Have the capital and justification for spending a considerable sum on a pair of shoes, jeans or other wardrobe staple, where previously you just thought – FUCK that’s expensive, but now, you assess the COST PER WEAR and only buy “investment pieces”. Think DVF dresses, Stuart Weitzman heels… clever woman you.
  • Consider all of life’s expenses in relation to your council tax bill.
  • Feel elation for your bright yet unassuming girlfriends who are now the first generation of women to land awesome jobs and pay, trumping some of the signet ring wearing, self-entitled, ego-inflated males at uni who thought they were hitting the big time by virtue of having a penis and being arrogant.
  • Freak out when you realise that 2012 was not last month, it was three years ago.

Hope some of these made you LOL. x

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Review/RAVE about the Dr Jackson’s Number 2 Moisturiser.

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“Dr Jackson’s is a niche cosmeceutical company created from 21 years of pharmacognosy research, utilising the best from nature.

 

Learning from traditional healers, Dr Jackson’s uses techniques which mimic the way that the natural ingredients used are extracted at source, and rigorously tests them to ensure purity as well as ascertain they are at a concentration high enough to be effective.”

The man behind this fabulous brand is a cool doctor – think East London, who has lived with indigenous communities in remote areas of the world to learn all about their uses for plants. I love the research and sustainable ethics of Dr Jackson’s, so was VERY eager to get my hands on a Number 2 Moisturiser after slathering a tiny sample pot all over my face and being bowled over with the results. It goes without saying that I am a tough judge with skincare, but knew this one was a keeper when my skin was buttery soft and even toned immediately after first use. This stuff not only delivered deep hydration, but it smells like a sweet mango ice cream. I couldn’t be more addicted, and sadly ploughed through this 30ml pot in just a couple of weeks. Woe is a love for expensive skincare.

 

This moisturiser is rich and emollient in texture with ingredients Baobab, Mango seed extract and Frankincense oil. Imagine that smell people. I’m really into skincare that smells good, but hate synthetic fragrances, so this is perfect. Dr Jackson’s claims this is healing, repairing and great for reducing blemishes – something few moisturisers will claim to do. I have been really impressed how soft, clear and deeply hydrated my skin has felt since using this day and night. It is supposedly a night cream, but if you have dry skin, I use it as a regular moisturiser.

 

10/10 Dr Jackson’s. Now I need a bigger pot!

 

 

T

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How not to be fat.

This is not a Katie Hopkins kind of post. I promise you. This comes from a place of tried and tested experience, honesty and self-love. I should also point out now that these things work for ME, and I stress the importance of finding and running with whatever works for YOU.

 

I lost 2 stone after leaving uni and have consistently kept the weight off ever since. Mincing around in my size 10 jeans still makes me grin like a moron. I am happy, active and comfortable in my own skin but now I have firmly decided to start losing another stone… basically so I can look awesome in anything I want to wear this summer – i.e. little shorts. As a girl with curves, I have always known I would have to lose a serious amount of weight to look skinny, so am safe in the knowledge that losing a stone is fine. Besides, I will wobble less in the gym and my Trampoline Rebounding instructor will probably appreciate that.

 

Here are my 10 pillars to long lasting and successful weight loss aka not being fat (that have worked for me):

 

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PVC for the win… bold, yet wearable.

I don’t know where my pang for PVC came from, but like any fashion itch, it had to be scratched.

 

Alexander McQueen, Catwoman, Kim K, all push the PVC envelope and I had been curious about trying it for a while. This stunning pencil skirt works with my curves and it speaks sass, fun and naughtiness without looking too eccentric. I feared it might. Wipe clean as well! – an added benefit of wearing this squeaky material that I had not fully appreciated, until spilling a glass of wine into my lap. No problem. Can you believe this is from Asos? The shoes are from Office (sadly sold out) and on several occasions they have been mistaken for Miu Miu’s at work. Finally, the cropped jumper is another steal by Oh My Love with an irresistible fury texture in cool, bright lilac.

 
When styling PVC I found that contrasting textures work best, offsetting fierce with soft. A natural makeup is important too. Second to this is avoiding any fussy pattern that could compete for attention with the figure-hugging shine of PVC. Keep it simple with clean lines and above all else, make sure it fits you like a glove.

 

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THAT green velvet dress.

Ever since I discovered the long sleeved American Apparel bodycon mini dress, I have been getting myself into trouble. The lyra-to-cotton ratio clings perfectly to my curves and despite being washed hundreds of times, my collection of these babies has stayed in excellent condition. My friends know that I live in them and have almost every colour! Paired with boots and a chunky-knit cardigan in the winter. Leather jacket, heels and earrings for a night out. You can wear these dresses so casually and dress them up just as easily. Simple, sexy, understated.

 

Then… I discovered these dresses were available in heavenly stretchy velvet – check them out here. I have not stopped stroking my velvety arms ever since.

 

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The only three lip balms that matter.

I consider this a very dynamic lip balm curation, edited into just three fantastic products. You need to look no further. Think sheen, matte and a pop of colour. Girly, sweet smelling, delicious and feminine. Simple unassuming tin packaging, heavy frosted glass and glinting metal lid. You will meet your lip balm soul mate with at least one of them. I swing between all three, most days.

 

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The limited edition super-sized Eve Lom Cleanser has arrived.

Like a Kitchen Aid or Vitamix, an air of distinction surrounds my 450ml Eve Lom cleanser which sits regally on the bathroom shelf. It may look cray extravagant, but I can honestly say it is THE most economical product in my bathroom. Think cost-per-cleanse people… Yes, that is a thing. Available exclusively online at Space NK.

 

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James Bay love.

I am in love. James Bay is one of those musicians who oozes depth and soul, far beyond his 24 years. He has these razor sharp cheekbones that can slice a bad melody in half, a wide brimmed Panama hat and the lived-in style of an old rock star on the run… most likely from a tidal wave of music fans and women melting into puddles of hysteria.

 

That’s before you hear his voice and appreciate all of his stunning soul-folk-rock songs. The mother and I have tickets to see him in April and we are so excited, I. Just. Can’t Even. James Bay’s first album is due to be released in a few days and he is already experiencing a rumble of excitement and raving press. Shepherds Bush Empire sold out immediately, for two nights. I have failed to get tickets to his headline show at Somerset House this summer, so instead thought I would write a blog post on here for  you to see my new favourite artist. I have already posted about Mr Bay twice… but this song is so beautiful, it would be rude not to share.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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If George Lucas did hair straighteners, he would have created the T3 SinglePass X…

Firstly, appearances… these hair straighteners look positively intergalactic; white with silver lines and lights that twinkle in modish succession. I feel like Princess Padme* styling my hair with these bad boys and am very impressed with what they deliver.

 

*Rather than the obvious choice of Princess Leia – her style actually does not require the SPX.

 

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The hottest new makeup brand – Delilah Cosmetics.

Think pretty, think instantly loveable, think pewter and rose gold packaging with magnetic closure and heavy, quality gorgeousness. The formulas are spot on and very very wearable with a quintesentially British colour palette of very flattering neutral shades. If you are looking for acid green eyeshadow or Rihanna blue lipstick, then Deliliah might not be the one for you, but for everyone else it is amazeballs… and I don’t use that technical term lightly.

 

Blusher at the top in Opera, bronzer in Light Medium, Lipgloss in Ghost, Eyeshadow in Mahogany, Eyeliner in Black, Blusher in Lullaby, Lipstick in Blink

Blusher at the top in Opera, bronzer in Light Medium, Lipgloss in Ghost, Eyeshadow in Mahogany, Eyeliner in Black, Blusher in Lullaby, Lipstick in Blink

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The Space NK Colour Matcher aka Magical lipstick tech.

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Kisses! Can you spot mine? Hint – it’s the big pink one in the middle.

 

This clever little tool brings the in-store Space NK consultation experience and expertly selected product prescriptions, to the beautiful Space NK website. In real terms, this means you can watch Netflix, drink tea and browse your PERFECT lipsticks, without even leaving the house, or getting dressed! What more could a girl want?!

 

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Where the hell have I been?!

It is truly amazing and heart-warming to know I have frequently returning visitors from all over the world, sometimes in the thousands each day. I see you in Manila AND Burkina Faso! Hello!! So… I should really let y’all know what I’ve been up to whilst not posting on here… the intention being that you don’t forget about my blog and we carry on being internet friends. I’m a bit of an over-sharer too.

 

A few weeks ago I moved flat! I am now residing in the cute South West London neighborhood of Parsons Green, in a beautiful old mansion block. Think high ceilings, French blinds, roll top bath etc… Smug?? Me? Noooo way. I live with a delightful girlfriend who is a smart, kick-ass lawyer (which will inevitably come in handy as I’m always getting into trouble! – joking… ish) and a gym-honed, fitness nut. We are a match made in girly flatmate heaven, Nutribullet and everything. I’m her skincare dealer, she’s my fitspiration. It is SUCH a relief to no longer live with Xbox playing, grunting, stinky stinky boys. *BIG SIGH*.

 

Moving from SW1 to SW6 has required a tiny bit of adjusting as rather sadly, I can no longer walk to work, Uber taxis are actually NOT eight quid back from Soho, the Queen does not live a few mins up the road, and the Royal Mews Cavalry no longer wake me up every Saturday morning by trotting past my bedroom window en masse.*Sobs*. All of these things I made a point to really appreciate. However, I CAN skip to the Fulham Wine Rooms, Duke on the Green and Durrell Arms, also known collectively as some of the best pubs in London, usually full of Hooray Henry’s in red trousers with tripple-barrelled names, so no change there… but it is really lovely. Did I mention that I no longer live with stinky boys? I’m happy now.

 

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NARS Narsissist Blush, Contour and Lip Palette – the review.

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This palette is the perfect must-have for NARS newbies and makeup lovers. Available at Space NK, it is £35 – a very good price for so many colours!

 

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The blush colours are in Enrapture, a dusky/brown rose shade, Enthralled, a slightly pinkier shimmery version of Enrapure, and my personal favourite – Roman Holiday, the ultimate Nicki Minaj rude pink – this looks amazing on anyone with blue eyes.

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My perfect nude lip.

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Finding your perfect nude lip is like finding you perfect foundation, signature scent or “hello there!” bra. It is a life essential. If the following lip products were to be discontinued, you would have to prize them from my cold, dead hands. I always carry one of these on my person, at all times…even when wearing a classic red lipstick, a colour that looks beautiful with my skin tone, still, it makes me anxious, as I often change my mind half way through the day because I worry that my face looks too shouty… strange anxiety for a beauty nut, I know.

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Hitchhiking by James McCann.

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“No one does that anymore”
“Oh, you should stand over there, you’ll get picked up quicker”
“I did 60,000 kilometers around Europe when I was young. I almost had that road fever and then I had to stop.”

 

The most remarkable experience I had Hitching across France this August was how much people wanted to share with me. I already have experience of being a person that people share with, as a private English teacher I find that I am often cast as a counselor discussing peoples day to day grievances. The difference between that experience and conversations on the road is that people came to me as if to confess their past lives as Hitchers. Every ride I got told me some personal story of sticking out their thumb in the hope of getting where they needed to go. Even people who couldn’t give me a ride would stop and tell me about their experience and give me their personal tips on how best to find a lift. The truth of course is that is that there is no tried and tested method bar a smiling face!

 

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Lasering your lady garden 101 – an update, 5 sessions in.

NOBODY TOLD ME THE LASER GETS STRONGER EACH SESSION. I am recovering from quite a surprisingly painful laser session, where my watering eyes, red inflamed skin and shrieks of agony and disbelief were “normal for this laser intensity”. WTF. On several occasions I almost knee-butted my poor aesthetician in the face. I have written about lasering my lady garden, for your enjoyment here, all of it correct and I still stand by what I said, about the first few sessions, that is. What concerns me now is if you only read that post, you are not really getting the full story…

 

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The millennial girl’s guide to championing your twenties.

Trying to distil the pain of prolonged “young-person” existence and its many challenges is no easy feat. I have relatively little experience at 24 years young, but, with the wisdom I have gleaned over the past couple of years, I am going to tell you how to champion your twenties anyway.

 

Look after your skin, never have unprotected sex and carry a spare tampon on your person at all times. My personal preference is with sanitary towels but they have a tendency to fly out of my bag and shoot across a table when unpacking at the start of a serious meeting, or when fishing for my purse as I pretend to want to pay on a date. Then my face turns a beetroot shade of kill-me-now red. I’m still 15 really, no idea why I feel woman enough to write this.


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The brush with a 12,000 person waiting list…

Brands that can generate a twelve thousand person waiting list tend to have huge PR budget and work with some of the top marketing minds in retail … this could be for a Hermes bag, the Urban Decay Naked 4 Palette or a New Frozen doll. But instead, twelve thousand people signed up to receive a humble yet beautiful makeup brush created by a YouTube star. Aside from my brush review which will get into full swing a little further below, this story is a heartwarming reminder of the democratization of the internet through social media, and how one talented person’s work can trump big corporations.

 

Wayne Goss is one of the biggest beauty YouTuber’s out there. He is  first and foremost a makeup artist, beauty expert and knows a thing or two about skincare. Wayne also happens to be a lovely friend who regularly makes use of my blotchy, histamine-ravaged face to model in his makeup tutorials (click here to see what I mean lol). Whenever I visit Wayne, I try to steal his makeup  he generously gives me makeup and BRUSHES. ALL OF HIS BRUSHES. I die.

 

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I’m trying to fight the fat anxiety that overcomes me at Christmas.

There was a point in my childhood where I would have been more excited, so excited that I memorably bounced up and down on a sofa… and broke the sofa. This was followed by a stern telling off before I desperately became worried on this Christmas eve, aged 6 years old, that I was too fat. Why else would the sofa have broken? Shortly after finding myself under heavy worry about my body, one afternoon I sat on the back seat of a taxi staring down at my little legs in stripy leggings, wondering why my thighs squished out wider when i sat down. I didn’t like them.

 

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squishy thighs.

 

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If I lost ALL my makeup, what would I run out to immediately buy?

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God forbid, someone broke into my flat and stole ALL my makeup – because let’s face it, losing my makeup bag would be sad, but I have backups of almost everything in it. Anyway, back to the horror story: I am looted of all eyeshadow palettes, drawers of lipsticks, mascaras, blushers and eye liners… What do I go out and buy?

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James McCann: On Ferguson and privilege.

 

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As an English teacher in Bogotá I work with a lot of Americans, which, in light of recent events re: Ferguson in the United States has made for some tense conversations and mixed emotions. Today I commented to an American colleague, in a state of frustration at the escalating chaos, that I would not wish to return to an America in the state it is now. He defended by saying that, whilst the state of affairs at present will make one flinch the media and wider community is addressing the issue and that in itself was evidence of a sea change and improvement. He also pointed out the diversity in the attitudes and communities within the states and that many places, like Missouri are more prone to racial tension. The situation in the US is nothing if not complex and no reasonable person I know would deny that these events are not so much new tragedies rather that light has been shed upon them and now they are being critically debated with thanks to the large scale protest in Ferguson and around the US.

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My comprehensive skincare routine.

 

This may look like a lot of products, but I don’t use all of these at once, promise…

 

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Morning routine:

 

AM: Most mornings I start with an Eve Lom cleanse: Upon waking, it is time for a good facial massage. Avoid this step for long enough and you will start to resemble a droopy-faced blood hound. I then get rid of my sleepy balmy face with a hot flannel, pressed into the skin and removed in swiping, upward motions. You can read an entire post on why this cleanser is the best, of the best – here. If am running late, I use the Darphin Intral Cleansing Milk, lovely but not as effective.

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My friend James McCann (McKanye).

Rather sadly, I do not have a monopoly on the best content, not even in my own blog! So, I am sure one of my good friends James wouldn’t mind me sharing a few of his great posts on topics I feel strongly about, and are thus most appropriately shared on here for you all to read. You can check out his piece on feminism – A note to the feminist man, here. You can check out his fantastical blog here.

 

This is darling James -somewhere on a mountain in Colombia.

This is darling James -somewhere on a mountain in Colombia.

 

A little about James – we lived together in our first and second year of university, he looks like the love child of James Bay and Dave Grohl, and has been sporting a “man bun” long before they became trendy in east London.  James is a very free-thinking and uninhibited soul who unlike many of our friends has decided to forego the chains of a city career, in exchange for adventure. Never without a retro camera on his person, James is currently living in Colombia, improving his Spanish.

 

At Glastonbury last year.

At Glastonbury last year.

 

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Photography by Guilleme, my Spanish man crush

Photography by Guillem, our shared man crush

 

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Diptyque Do Son – My new favourite fragrance.

I cannot stop sniffing my wrists… I feel like Marilyn wearing her Chanel Number 5 perfume, except for the fact I am in pyjamas whilst cosseted under my duvet for a solitary day of blog writing. It just smells SO good.

 

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Scent is such a pleasure and an important part of my beauty routine, so I am incredibly picky when it comes to what fragrance I wear.  Some background: my other favourtie fragrances include Elizabeth and James Nirvana White (on my second bottle) and Diptyque Eau Rose (soon to purchase my third 100ml bottle – Merry Christmas to me!).

 

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James Bay performing for Burberry Prorsum Womenswear S/S15 Show.

You might have seen my other post on James Bay, he is one of the most incredible soul/rock artists in the UK at the moment. I am just OBSESSED with him. I won’t harp on because I’m not an expert on music, but he is simply divine and I was thrilled to see Burberry agree with me on this one. My favourite songs of his are Stealing Cars, Let It Go, Scars and Clocks Go Forward. Spine-tinglingly  beautiful.

 

The S/S15 show had some of the expected gaudy prints and fugly Birkenstocks. Complaints aside, I am really excited about floaty chiffon skirts with several splits, sheer feminine silk and plunging necklines making an appearance this coming spring and summer.

 

Grab a cup of tea and Enjoy!

 

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On the definition and creation of sacred spaces, a note for the feminist man by James McCann

 

Whilst watching a man with his lover I noticed his hand firmly wedged into his crotch. Not in an erotic way, he was kissing his partner, but it was some expression of comfort. It is a common sight among men. One that has provoked discussion about the contrasts between men and women who are said to behave differently. As my daydream-filled-train-journey continued my mind was filled with the vision and impossibility of a woman doing the same.

 

The negative space of a woman’s sexual organs and even the space between her legs appeared as a sacred space. A vacuum into which it seemed impossible to to place another object without violating the sanctity of the place. The absurdity of this vision struck me, as a person who is well aware of the basic functions of the female organ, why would I create such a fantastical narrative around the biology of a woman. I was reminded of one of those many discussions about boys holding onto their penises and the words of a female friend, “for a girl, there is nothing there.”

 

Nothing is a silly thing to be contained within  a person,but my own daydreams lead me to create a space within women that was beyond understanding. This falsehood come from a long history of creating ‘sacred spaces’ around misunderstood, abused and manipulated subjects.

 

As I dreamt of a woman’s sacred voids inside and outside of her body she was first turned into a god and then into an object to be controlled and “worshiped.” There must be laws and regulations; conventions and codes of conduct to respect. But who does such a “space” belong to? Could it possibly be left in charge of the body that carries it. Surely not.

 

As long as we continue to create these fallacies and to encourage them through laws against abortion, through “the gap between her thighs” culture, we are debasing women and depriving them of their self determination and of their personhood. When a person becomes sacred and untouchable they are then exposed to another form of abuse. They no longer fit within the confines of our definition of humanity and cannot be protected. Women in countries where abortion is illegal are forced to have illegal abortions. All women are victims of sexualisation if they succeed in conforming to expectations or not and as they have become objects through their sacred status they are abused.

 

It is evident from my own little daydream that these issues are culturally endemic. They are ideas that we carry as a culture and that makes them harder to call out and destroy. So remember, Feminist Man, your theory might be on point but that doesn’t mean you have overcome the cultural education that we all have to fight against.

 

 

You can read more by James McCann (or McKanye as I know him) here: http://gorrangorra.tumblr.com/

 

 

 

 

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#givepresence stop being so busy.

Since moving to London a year and half ago, one of the things that struck me is how everyone just seems so busy. I’m not talking about the pace at which people walk around or the daily grind of the city, but the people in my life, always plugged into so many devices and completely booked up for the next few weeks and complaining of how crazy busy their hectic week is, and how rushed off their feet they are. Busy becomes the anthem to our lives (in London especially), not enough time, too much to do. All these things we choose to do, so why complain?

 

There is a lot to be said about the digital enclave we vicariously live in, where everything we see and hear is edited and second-hand. Living in the present, being present, sharing presence and enjoying the here and now is something I have kept at the front of my mind for several months now. Notwithstanding medical diagnosis, living in the past can be very depressing and living in the future causes anxiety… calm and happy is enjoying what we experience right now.

 

As far as I know, life is a series of experiences, relationships and feelings, the rest is as tangible as it is lifeless. One of my friends and former house-mates from university died very recently, aged 25 years old. It made me reflect a lot about these things. Now, my face crinkles up when I hear someone start a “busy” rant…

 

This #givepresence campaign video by luluemon has smashed the nail on the head – I resonate with it so much, and hope you watch . Please slow down for five minutes, breathe and think about who might be sat near to you or the ground your feet are on…

 

 

 

 

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The Rolls Royce of cleansers: Eve Lom… why is it so amazing?

This was initially supposed to be a skincare routine post, but I ended up ranting and raving about the Eve Lom cleanser, so much so that I figured it deserved its own exclusive piece – about why it is so good and why I cannot live without it.

 

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Cute red mac.

I have posted on the classic trench, and this one is a bit more fun for you mac maestros and trench trendies… This caught my eye for the strong red colour and cute cropped length.

 

For all bookings & Info - E: info@RichardPascoe.co.uk - T: +44 7956 368 680

 

The beauty of short macs is their transeasonal utility; perfect for a mild day and can be layered over chunky knitwear. Thanks to the classic design of this mac, I will be able to wear it for a few years! Available to buy here. Styled with my favourite Massimo Dutti knee-high suede boots – Pippa Middleton bought them AFTER I did, true story. Sadly the boots are no longer available but Asos have a wonderful selection of similar styles.

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The importance of Instagram girl crushes.

Collating makeup, body, hair (note the important use of a comma there), lifestyle and fashion inspiration from women on Instagram who I find dizzyingly attractive, is what my girl crushes are all about.

 

Comparison need not be a thief of joy, especially since we all know that magical interventions are made in photoshop. Acceptance is sometimes key. Even Beyonce’s OWN instagram shots are liposuctioned – in a reassuringly obvious (and worryingly sad) way:

 

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I digress, this sends out a bad message about Beyonce’s personal body hang-ups, i.e not actually having a thigh-gap. Thank you Beyonce, standing for strong women and all that. You have been scribbled off my list of girl crushes.

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Trench me.

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The classic mac or trench is my ultimate autumn/winter fashion staple. This is Zara’s answer to the classic mac, and for £99 it certainly gives Burberry a run for their money. The length elegantly falls just at the knee and the material is a sheeny tough fabric that feels incredibly luxe. A really high-quality trench coat is perfect for any occasion and in this neutral warm stone colour, it goes with just about anything in my wardrobe. Smart enough to wear to work and casual enough to run around in during the weekends. Trench perfection. Click to see more.

 

 

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J.Lo & David Gandy porn.

SO, bit of an odd post here but I have just found two of my favourite humans to oggle at… in the same music video. It would be rude not to share this with you.

 

Enter Jennifer Lopez: my absolute woman crush – who looks as good, if not better than she did fifteen years ago. This woman is NOW IN HER FORTIES. Lets just appreciate that for a moment. She doesn’t appear to have had any obvious work done and is the epitome of a woman whose relationships with men have never defined her perceived success, instead her career, energy and self-care/self-love have. This is why I love her, a woman after my own heart.

 

Enter David Gandy: who I have nothing to say about other than WOW. This man can reduce any woman into a dribbling, incoherent mess.

 

 

 

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Discovery: Lush products.

My beauty product stash is very luxe (unapologetically so), and I rarely stray to “drugstore” products. There is generally a reason why something you would smear all over your face or body costs £1.79.

 

A step up from drugstore is Lush – a store I used to love going into as a child, to snif everything. Once upon a memorable bath time, I acquired a bath bomb that covered me in so many bits of twigs, glitter and general annoying specs of mess that wouldn’t leave the sides of the bath, or my scalp. My mother was not impressed at the state of the bath, so never again was I allowed a bath bomb. Twigs and glitter or no twigs and glitter.

 

It has taken me about 15 years to properly explore Lush’s offering again. I popped into my local on the Kings’ Road last weekend and bought a rebellious selection of bath products and an Ultrabland cleanser (because Caroline Hirons recommended it).

 

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Why do I even have a blog?

For as long as I can remember, I have been quite restless without a creative outlet… be that writing or makeuping or painting or just doodling. Now I have this beautifully designed place to share my own editorial bits and pieces of content about beauty and fashion, embellished with some thoughtful stuff and inspiring videos. It is really satisfying. Since launching about a month ago, I have been casting out my content to the internet universe and waiting to see what happens…

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Iggy Azalea makeup tutorial by meeeee.

This tutorial was something that came about with 15 minutes to spare before having to catch a train. Thank you Wayne for letting me take over your channel for one video! More like this coming up!

 

I don’t know much about Iggy, but her winged, feline liner is a look I wear most days, the fuchsia lip is really gorgeous, so I was inspired by this strong yet simple makeup. Filming in HD in front of almost 2 million subscribers is still terrifying for me – because my face is NAKED and said nakedness is the reason why I sped through the foundation (sorry if it’s a bit too speedy). Must. Cover. Up. Face. Quickkk.

 

All the lovely comments have really made me smile, so thank you for the kind words YouTube peeps. This was so much fun and I am considering my own channel with makeup tutorials galore!

 

 

 

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Leather pencil skirt chic.

This nude pencil skirt is one of my favourite pieces at the moment. It is leather *slaps wrist* lined with a silky material and clings to my shape beautifully. The black body is American Apparel, and the shoes are from Kurt Geiger. A very simple outfit I have really enjoyed wearing to work! Click to view more here.

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All photography subject to copyright – by Richard Pacsoe http://www.richardpascoe.co.uk/

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Work-friendly makeup tutorial with Wayne Goss.

In my line of work, it is perfectly acceptable to wear creative and bold makeup first thing on a Monday morning (no, I do not work in Spearmint Rhino). Every now and then you need to tone things down and remind people what you actually look like so they do not recoil in horror on a day you haven’t managed to put a scrap of makeup on. Ironically, these are the days I feel the prettiest – despite not looking my best.

 

If a natural makeup look is for you then you will love this tutorial. The video was so much fun to film! I loved the simplicity and how Wayne embraced my fair skin.  I have said it before and I will say it again, sitting in front of an HD camera, bare-faced is one of the most terrifying things a girl can do – especially when the person filming has almost 2 million subscribers. Eeeek. More on the way from Wayne!

 

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The Fear at 24

It seems like yesterday that I graduated from uni. There has recently been much ado in the press about how female fertility plummets at the crippled old age of 34. Now at just 24, this means I biologically have 10 years to conquer my career an entire beauty market the world successfully get on the property ladder in London and no I don’t thrive south of the river meet an amazing man get hitched start having some babies and keep all those plates spinning without setbacks breakups miscarriages guzumpings. Stop to breathe. Just 10 years. It brings me out in a rash just thinking about it all, helped by the fact I am VERY impatient. This inner turmoil of panic I feel every day is not to be mistaken with a fear of getting older – I don’t mind the idea of being more sophisticated, wiser and no longer living with idiot flatmates… What I really fear is unfulfilled potential. I fear this more than anything else in the world.

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Flawless perfected in 3 products (and one tool).

This is where makeup turns into magic. The following products work for me to create the illusion of perfect flawless skin that is completely naked.

 

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Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation

When I applied Chantecaille Future Skin foundation for the first time, I was sat at the dining table at home, natural light flooding in. My mom (hi mom!) gasped when she saw the result this foundation gave: “That’s the best foundation you have ever worn!”. Later, I caught her rifling through my makeup bag to test it herself. This foundation is a gel formula, it isn’t matte, and it isn’t glowy, it just looks like an amazing version of your own skin. My shade is nude and it has  very flattering apricot undertone. The best method of application is with hands or with a damp beauty blender. My only gripe with this product is the packaging in a glass pot. Sort it out Chantecaille! The foundation wears beautifully all day and although it makes my skin look completely perfect, it can fool people into thinking I am naked-faced. Mwhahaha.

NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer

When I started this blog I decided against harping on about cult products we all know are amazing (like the beauty blender). Forgive me if you are new to beauty, but if you don’t know about this concealer then you must be living under a rock. I use the shade Vanilla under my eyes to brighten and create dimension. It is wonderful. End of.

Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer

This stuff COVERS TATTOOS. The tiny pot of thick tacky multi-tasking concealer/foundation can be blended so easily and does not look dry or cakey. I get quite slap dash with it and still look flawless. Literally blob onto any areas of redness or blemishes and sheer out with a damp beauty blender or fingers. I am shade number 7. This concealer is the best investment as it can be used as a foundation, and will never run out as so little product is needed! Nothing covers like it and I’ve never used a concealer that is so easy to use.

 

the final result after using these 3 products with a beauty blender, no setting powder, natural light, no flash

the final result after using these 3 products with a beauty blender, no setting powder, natural light, no flash

 

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Breakfast date with Mary Greenwell aka the GODMOTHER of makeup.

Mary Greenwell is one of the most respected makeup artists in the global fashion and beauty industry. Known for her flawless application (done almost entirely with her hands!), warmth, humour and eccentricity. Mary’s artistry occupies a space in the upper echelons of makeup talent alongside Laura Mercier, Pat McGrath, Kevyn Aucoin and Bobbi Brown. Working with names including Princess Diana, Mario Testino, Cate Blanchett, Giselle Bundchen, Kate Moss and even the odd Kardashian! Mary’s career spans from the birth of the original supermodels, to plenty of Vogue covers and royalty. Both Lisa Eldridge and Charlotte Tilbury were trained by Mary – her legacy and influence is completely unrivalled.

 

So my meeting Mary is comparable to an art student meeting Vincent Van Gough, or an Apple store worker meeting Steve Jobs!

 

 

Mary Greenwell and Emma

 

It would seem this blog starts with quite a bang! I don’t know how am going to get better content! *panic-stricken face* – I might give up now!

 

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If you have periods this might make you stand up and clap…

If like me, you feel that society has wrongly decided menstruation is an awkward taboo… then watch this woman and prepare to laugh, clap and share with everyone you know. Because that’s exactly what I did. Enter Dominique Christina – ultimate disturber of the peace and Grand Slam winning, breathtaking poet.

 

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Victoria’s Secret makeup tutorial with Wayne Goss.

This incredibly sexy look is inspired by the bronzed style of makeup worn by the Victoria’s Secret Angels. Most of the products used were by Charlotte Tilbury, which is highly appropriate for this tutorial since Charlotte has been head of makeup at many a Victoria’s Secret catwalk show.

 

Wayne did a really beautiful job and the pièce de résistance products used were Mac eye liner pencil in Coffee, Chanel Illusion D’ombre eyeshadow in New Moon and Charlotte Tilbury eyeshadow quad in Golden Goddess. All about the eyes! Love love love.

 

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Summer bronze makeup tutorial with Wayne Goss.

I have had the pleasure of working with my friend Wayne Goss on some of his YouTube tutorials. And by “working” I mean sitting in a chair and being beautified by an incredibly talented makeup artist. It was the best! However, I can’t lie… It was a very scary experience being naked-faced in front of 1.7 million subscribers. Wayne is one of the warmest, sweetest people I know in the beauty industry and he has a fabulously dark sense of humour. More videos with Wayne on the way!

 

The Chanel Illusion D’ombre eyeshadow is my favourite product from this look.