Wednesday, 22 February 2012

New Arrival: My Mulberry Alexa

I am wildly excited to announce that I have just placed an order for my long lusted after dream accessory, the Mulberry Alexa in mini patent leopard!

Swoon!! This bag has been my dream for ages, and I began diligently saving my pennies up a while ago.

Due to having a few other massive expenses to save for (like a wedding!) it took a bit longer than I wanted, but I'm finally there and giddy with excitement.

I've always been a 'bag lady' over shoes, every time. And this one I fell instantly in love with. I'm just a regularly Joanna in a regular paid job, so it's not something I can splash out on without thinking twice.

I knew I had to be absolutely sure that it was 'the one', and I wanted a bag that would be versatile for work or for casual times. I spent hours reverently gazing at the Mulberry website, debating the pros and cons of various models and dreaming whenever work was especially shitty!

So I'm doing a little dance of joy as my baby is on its way to me now! So excited for it to get here!!

Only now I feel like I need a new purse to go in it....

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Loving Her Style: Lana Del Rey

Make no bones about it, I absolutely LOVE Lana Del Rey.

Her haunting, smoky voice that sounds so right for now, her tumbling, copper locks and especially her smoking hot style, which she herself describes as "gangster Nancy Sinantra". Genius!

I know there has been somewhat of a Lana backlash recently, which all seems to centre around 1) she has a stage name and 2) she may have had lip fillers.

With the stage name- so what? Celebrity goddesses have used them from time immemorial, to great effect. Norma Jean Baker, anyone? And if she, or anyone at her record company feels that Lana comes across better than Lizzy, then I don't see why that's a problem. You're not always the finished product right away.

And as for the fillers, that's no one's business but her own. And really, there can't be many women left in the entertainment industry who haven't had something or other done.

I think the backlash is more to do with the media hyping her up as the next big thing, which always seems to irritate some people.

However, she really floats my boat.! I love her retro look.

And just in- some very exciting news! Mulberry have announced their new bag the 'Del Rey' in honour of the girl herself! Love it! Now if only I could afford one myself...

To celebrate, I have posted some pictures that show the best of Lana's style so far.

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Today's Baking Project

I've finally gotten round to making a start on one of my most neglected New Year's Resolutions.... Which was originally to bake a different cake every weekend.

Well, that particular goal has absolutely fallen by the wayside...what can I say except life really gets in the way!

But I did manage to make one today, my first baking project of the year!

Chocolate mousse cake with vanilla chantilly cream and strawberries!


Sunday, 12 February 2012

Power Six Lips: Electro Brights

As is becoming obvious, I'm really getting into bright and bold lips lately. Somehow it feels relevant and modern- a way of being bright and stand-out that isn't too over the top.

Everything I'm lusting after beauty-wise at the moment seems to be a bright lipstick! So heres a quick run down f my current favourites:

Top to bottom:

17 Supreme Shine Lipstick in 'Kissable'
Barry M Lip Paint in '129'
Mac Lipstick Frost in 'Costa Chic'
Barry M Lip Paint in '147'
17 Lasting Fix Lip Colour in 'Pink Power'
17 Lasting Fix Lip Colour in 'Hot Chili'

Can you recommend any punchy, bright lip colours?

My 'Morningface' Picture

We all have one, and generally it's not the most pleasant of sights.

How we are first thing in the morning, when we wake up, is how we are at our most vulnerable. It's not the polished front we choose to present to the world. Oh no. It's a whole other dimension of bed hair and pillow creases.

It's not always pretty, but it's true and unadulterated, and that's actually quite rare in today's photoshopped world. It seems like quite a brave thing to do as well, when there is so much societal pressure and so many million dollar industries geared towards making us feel somehow worth less if we don't invest significant amounts of time and money improving on our natural state.

And even as someone who loves make-up, I respect a movement that is brave enough to celebrate the truth.

So we have and, a website where real women can upload 'confessional' images of them first thing in the morning in all their sleep-rumpled glory.

I love that this is becoming a phenomenon, with news outlets catching on and challenging their reporters to post their own morning face shots. A part of me almost feels like it should be recommended viewing for all the little girls who are growing up in a world where unrealistic images of women are hailed as the norm.

And to put my money where my mouth is, I took my very own morning face picture!

Not going to lie, the results aren't pretty and it's hardly something I'd want as my profile picture, but it's the truth, and is that really so bad?

I see someone with pretty cavernous dark circles ( I had a pretty bad sleep the night before, which doesn't help but they are always there!). Someone whose skin looks like it could use a little help as well! I see my bushy, un-straightened hair looking a little like an overused toilet brush.

But you know what? It's kind of sweet. It's not the hard, perfectly made-up game face I put on before I go to work, but it's probably closer to how I was as a child. I'm certainly not intending to ditch the make up anytime soon, but it's made me feel as if it's not the end of the world to be seen without it, either.

After all, is the plain truth about ourselves really so bad?

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Review: Maybelline Dream Nude Airfoam

I have not had a good week at all. Work has been beyond horrid (I won't get into it but I actually burst into tears at my desk on Friday!) and I'm getting really sick of feeling like I'm trying my level best and still getting nowhere.

I'm just feeling so flat at the moment, the only thing that could possibly cheer me up was another random make up purchase.

So I ended up caving in and trying the new launch from Maybelline. I heard word of this product late last year and at first, I couldn't wait for it to launch.

Then, I tried a tester when it finally landed in stores and I just... Didn't like it. I thought it was really liquidy and it didn't seem to give any real coverage. Plus, I was really annoyed because the shop had testers, but no product to actually buy. Is that weird or what?!? What is the point of having a tester if people can't actually buy any? But I thought I'd had a lucky escape in the end as I wasn't impressed by trialling it and I also read a few reviews where people said the coverage was really bad and they hated it.

However, I can safely say there must have been some kind of an issue with the first tester I tried, because seeing it again today, curiousity got the better of me and I tested some again.

I want to like it, because I love Dream Matte Mousse, but that can sometimes be too drying. And like it I did this time. It seemed to give far superior coverage to the tester I tried before- still light but much more pigmented and gave a really nice, smooth finish.

Although the foam texture takes some getting used to, and is very liquid when you start rubbing it in, I did like the light, glowing finish it gave my skin.

With it on, skin feels really smooth. It doesn't need any powder on top and it gives a demi-matte finish, which is less dense than the mousse.

So I've gone from being desperate to try it, to being initially unimpressed, to actually quite liking it.

I think it may well be more suited to the summer time, but although the finish is average to nice, if you want an easily blendable, lightweight base, it's a good one to have in your bag of tricks.


Sunday, 5 February 2012

DIY Beauty: Lip Exfoliator

I believe there's a lot of good stuff for beauty remedies sitting in your kitchen cupboards right now.

There's so much potential in home made beauty fixes that have been sworn by for generations- and sometimes they even work better than the shop-bought equivalent.

In recent years, we seem to have woken up to the power of these forgotten fixes, so to celebrate that
I thought I would start spreading the word about some of my favourite homemade treats.

First up, a lip exfoliant! My lips have been getting so dried out and flaky in recent months with all the cold weather, and nothing ruins a bright, statement lip more than poor condition of the skin. Instead of rushing out to buy a lip exfoliant, you can make the following gentle home remedy:

You will need:

Granulated sugar
Olive oil

Mix together a teaspoon of granulated sugar with half a teaspoon of honey and a drop or so of olive oil- just enough to make a paste.

Smear over your lips and work in circular motions to remove the rough skin gently.

Wash off the residue and pat over your newly baby soft lips with a rich moisturiser, such as Molton Brown Moisture Lock 24hr Replenisher.

And there you have it, beautifully soft lips ready for some colour!

I'll be back with more home made remedies shortly! Xx

Loving Her Style: Zooey Deschanel

Lately, the style of Zooey Deschanel has been catching my eye a lot, and I'm beginning to really like it. In fact, I think she might even be slowly becoming one of my style icons.

Blame it on a longing for spring. Her style is a little louder than my usual cup of tea, a little more quirky and jokey, whereas I prefer classic and well tailored, a little bit beatnik, a little bit rock (see icons below). Perhaps it's a longer for lighter times, but her brand of tongue in cheek, almost twee, cutesy innocence is really appealing to me at the moment. So, what am I especially loving about her?

1) Bows - Zooey has a lot of outfits with a bow around the waist, bow details on her shoes and bags, or even in her hair - it's a really sweet, girly look. I have a big thing for bows as well!
2) Ruffles - Normally, I prefer fitted styles, but there is an inner 8 year old in me that loves ruffles and poofs of fabric...and Zooey does this really well.
3) Bright colour palette - no-one could accuse Zooey of being shy of colour, she regularly wears bright yellows, reds and aquas, and she really pulls it off with her lovely peaches and cream skin. She's bold and eyecatching, but seems to have mastered the trick of not going too over the top, and using one or two bold pieces to lift her whole look.
4) The Fringe. Okay, I have fringe envy. I absolutely love a full fringe like Zooey sports, I think it looks really chic and young-spirited at the same time. I have attempted- and failed- many times to have a fringe like this, but I have a really short forehead and it just looks weird on me. Still, I am in serious envy of Zooey's pretty dark chocolate tresses.
5) Her makeup - Yep, I'm all about the cat eyes, and Zooey's pretty eyes lend themselves so well to a flick of 60's style eyeliner. I also love her bright lips - she wears a really pretty shade of pink in 'New Girl' that is so divine, and she often wears colours that really pop with her skin tone.
6) Peter pan collars and little shorts - it's almost a childish way of dressing, but Zooey makes it look fresh and modern and somehow manages to give it a subversive sex appeal without ever looking like she's trying too hard. Love it!
These are just some of my favourite Zooey outfits:


Snow Day!!!

We've been suffering the sub-zero temperatures for a few days here now, but we finally have the snow to go with it!! I don't mind it being so cold when the streets outside look so beautiful and crisp. Of course, it will be a different story when I'm battling through it to work tomorrow, but at least today we could go out and enjoy it.

It's been another tough week at work, so the snow coming along and waking up my inner child was just what I needed. Darling Husband is a big kid too when it snows, so we went out to make snow angels and have some snowball fights, before coming home to a gorgeous homecooked risotto and a nice glass of Italian red to warm us up!

Hope you've been enjoying the snowy weekend!! xx

Saturday, 4 February 2012

My Desert Island Beauty Products

I got thinking today about ‘desert island’ products (blame the current sub-zero snap in the UK, but I'm dreaming of warmer climes), and what I really couldn't live without from the vast arsenal of products that it takes to get me out of the door in the morning.

Narrowing it down is surprisingly tough! I change my moods and my favourites so often, a product has to be really special to make it into my hall of fame. And yet there are a few products I think I should have shares in, because I always go on to other people about how special they are!

So here are my top five desert island products:

-Tangle Teezer compact styler - This tool has done more to transform my locks than any shampoo, deep conditioner or styling product I've tried (and there have been many!). My hair is highlighted and over-straightened, so it can be dry and prone to breakage. So my haircare routine is all about adding moisture and repairing - and this brush is the perfect tool. The specially-cut teeth ensure you can use it to comb through your hair when damp without any breakage, and as someone who sheds a lot of hair, there is noticeably less when I'm using my Tangle Teezer. Plus, it's great for backcombing without shredding those strands, and really makes your hair shiny.

I love it so much, when I lost my original one, after two days of trying and failing to get on with my Denman brush, I went straight out to buy a new one. If you haven't tried it, it's in a whole other league of styling products - and the single best thing you can go for damaged hair. So go get one!

- Benefit Browzings kit - My make-up bag is never without this product, even when pretty much everything else changes. My brows are sparse and my face never looks quite right without infilling them. Pencils and other products look too fake and 'drawn-on' (never a good look), but this soft pigmented wax and powder combination give a gorgeous, soft but long-lasting finish. I can't believe I didn't fill in my brows for years - its the single most defining thing you can do you your face. I now have a horror of not being able to do my brows, but this kit is so handy and compact, it can travel everywhere. The little brushes - one angled, one for blending- and the mini tweezers that come with it are pretty rubbish, but useful if you're on the go- otherwise apply with the proper hard-angled brush and watch perfect brows materialise!

-Garnier Miracle Skin Perfector BB Cream - I was desperate to try a BB Cream back when they were still an Asian product only heard of on these shores by posts from beauty bloggers, so as soon as Mac and Garnier were the first brands to launch them over here, I rushed straight out and got one. I've never looked back. It's not a replacement for foundation in my case (my skin needs a little more coverage), but it is perfect as a quick fix, for first thing in the morning or lazy weekends when I'm popping to the shops or the gym. I also used it exclusively during my honeymoon in Thailand, when I knew normal foundation would be too heavy and slide off in the humid conditions - on it's own during the day, and with mineral powder at night. It gives a lovely, luminized, naturally clear-skinned look while also hydrating and caring for the skin really well. I'm intrigued to read that some people use it as a primer and want to know more about that, as I've never tried using it that way. It's become a dresser drawer essential that I wouldn't want to be without!

-Maybelline Volum’Express One by One mascara - I do bang on about this mascara at times, but nothing currently available in the drugstores can beat it, to me. I am obsessed with volume and multiplying my lashes, as it makes such a difference to how I look and feel. I've tried long term lash extensions and didn't get on with them, so I need a mascara for everyday that does what this one does. It gives gorgeous, volumizsed separation that looks like naturally perfect lashes, and doesn't flake away halfway through the day. I so nearly didn't try it. I'd bought the regular Volum-Express (in the yellow tube) and written it off as the worst mascara I'd ever bought - it was the only one I'd ever thrown in the bin after a few uses. But the risk to try the One By One version paid off and I'm officially obsessed with it. I can always be tempted by a flashy new product - and I'll admit the new Telescopic mascara from L'Oreal (finally, a mascara advertised WITHOUT fake lashes - that alone is intriguing me to try it) is looking good, but Maybelline will always have my heart with this one when it comes to make my lashes fluttersome.

-Garnier Body Intensive 7 Day Moisturiser (Calming Honey) - Again, I know this must be a desert island product because I panic if I run out. I even went out searching the shops of Edinburgh on my hen weekend to find some, because I was so annoyed I'd left it at home! This lotion really does what it claims to do (a rare thing in the beauty world) and really does leave my skin supernaturally silky for days after application. I'm not sure about seven days, purely because I have never been that long without using it, but based on two- three days between use, I agree. I sometimes alternate it with Johnson's Holiday Skin if I need a bit of a glow, but I always come running back. In fact, if they launched a version with a bit of self-tanner in, I'd never buy anything but! I love the silky feeling and warm honey scent far more than pricier cream, so this little green bottle will always have a place on my bathroom shelf and I recommend anyone to try some.

What are the desert island products you can't live without?
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