Thursday, 24 February 2011

Beauty Favourites

Today I’ve decided to tentatively dip my toes into the world of beauty blogging.

Despite my beauty regime being longer and more complicated than the entire Matrix trilogy as well as subscribing to a whole host of beauty blogs, writing about it myself is something that I never really started. So for my first post I thought I’d let you into my secret treasure trove of beauty products I use.

To be fair I’ve probably sampled enough hair, beauty and skin products to keep the entire industry afloat, and am a sucker for outlandish claims and miracle products so I thought I let you into which are my favourites.
(From left to right)

Umberto Gianni Grunge Glamour Tousled Salt Spray

After some serious hair sinning I’m now in a phase of being as kind as possible to my poor mistreated hair. So the first thing I stopped doing was using any heat on it. I’m usually not in a rush to do my hair as quick as possible so have plenty of time to let my naturally wavy hair air dry. This stuff is great as it makes my waves a lot more defined and a bit more in control to give that “beachy” hair effect (I think it’s because of the salt...) which is what we like to avoid the “lions mane” look. It promises “From cool festival hair to rock chick grunge glamour, this gives the perfect lived in texture and come-to-bed hair” and to a reasonable extent that’s what it delivers (although in all fairness I don’t think my hair’s going to get anyone into bed...) And it makes my hair smell nice all day too!

K-Pak Deep-Penetrating Reconstructor

This one I brought from my hairdresser after she coaxed me into it. No way would I usually spend £15 on one product, but she’d just pointed out what bad condition my hair was in and told me this would sort it. It’s a bit like an intensive conditioner apart from it doesn’t condition, it “rebuilds and improves the structure of the hair” so you need to use a conditioner afterwards. Anyway I’ve been using it once a week for about 6 months now and it has made my hair a lot healthier (no more comments from hairdressers about how dead it is) and there’s no more evidence of all damage that was done as a result of the blonde that was in it a couple of years ago. Plus it smells like bananas, so anyone who’s ruined their hair by over dying I’d give this a go!

Umberto Gianni Backcomb in a Bottle

I do like big hair on occasion, and this definitely delivers it without having to go through the torture of back combing (or even worse, over back combing!) your hair. Fair enough you’re not going to get an instant beehive, just a bit of subtle volume in an instant, saving you the hours spent teasing the life out of your hair to wake up to a birds nest the next morning! If I want my hair to be as big as possible I’ll use it alongside some other volumizing products for a bit of extra oomph.

Herbal Essences Beautiful Ends Split End Protection Cream

Another product to prevent damage! This one promises to be “your secret weapon against split ends, and your bodyguard against breakage.” Too cut a long story short, I tried to grow my hair but it was so damaged hairdressers would lob an inch off each time I went, resulting in hair which just wouldn’t grow. Now I only cut it at the first sign of split ends and when I use this stuff it prevents them meaning I can go longer without a trim, and thus have had progress in the length department!

Benefit Some Kind-A Gorgeous Foundation Faker

I’ve recently become fed up with heavy foundations and powders as I just don’t see the point for going to work or to the shops so I switched to a much lighter and not so heavy one and this is just that. It really is barely there and is translucent, so it just evens you out a bit instead of creating a complete mask like other foundations do. I just put a bit of this on and maybe some powder and I’m done! Not good if you have particularly dry skin or lots of blemishes you want to hide, but if you want a more subtle foundation, this is for you!

Urban Decay Eye Shadow Primer Potion.

I got this as part of the urban Decay naked palette and I really like it! You just put a tiny bit on your lids before you do your eye shadow and it keeps it in place all day and prevents it from creasing. Great if you want a full day’s wear from your eye shadow and don’t want to have to blend out creases during the day. I know everyone’s already sold on this product and it’s featured on every beauty blog since in the beginning of time, but it really is rather good!

L’oreal Studeo Secrets Smoothing Resurfacing Primer

This stuff is great for putting on just before your foundation. As well as making your skin super soft and reducing the appearance of your pores, it also makes a great base to put your foundation on top of which makes it last a bit longer before turning you into a shiny mess. The only con is that it’s about £12 and the pot is tiny, so if you’re using it every day on all of your face it’s going to run out quite quickly. But it does take a lot less than you’d think to cover your whole face so you learn to be sparing and I think it’s worth the price as it makes you skin feel really good, I use this every day I wear make up now.

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Justin Bieber: Never Say Never Review

I was lucky enough to go to a press screening of Justin Bieber: Never Say Never last night. (Friends in high places ;)) How much you like this film is dependent on how much you already like Bieber. I suspect that if you served up any sort of Bieber related content, put it on a cinema screen and let his fans at it they’d love it. But what’s more surprising about this film is that it’s watchable by anyone.


The 3D element is a clever way to make a documentary work on a big screen and increases the amount of visual interest there is in the film. As Bieber reaches out and grabs the air ahead of him, or as the rows of girls frantically wave their hands in the audience, there’s at least something to keep those accompanying younger guest's attention.

The documentary follows Bieber on an 86 date tour, as his voice threatens to give up and the excitement builds for a show in Madison Square Garden, which is presented as being the holy grail of having ‘made it.’ Interspersed with tributes from the team surrounding him, his friends and family the clich├ęd messages most commonly attached to children’s films of hope, faith, and belief in yourself are plied on thick and fast. But coming from Bieber, and set alongside his story from talented musician at a tender eight years old, to badgering Usher for the chance to sing to him, to his meteoric fame of now, the message seems to have a lot more credibility.

A light hearted, self mocking tone is present throughout. We see Bieber promising his voice coach that he hasn’t been shouting, immediately followed by footage of his shouting and screaming with his friends. Even a montage of his fans declaring their undying love for him is edited in such a way that you laugh instead of feeling awkward at the exact lengths these girls will go to to get close to him. You almost expect one to say “One time Justin Bieber punched me in the face. It was awesome.” a la Mean Girls to go along with the theme of self parody.


The one problem I have is the exact extent to which we’re seeing the real 16 year old boy. He does indeed come across as normal. His “team” are clearly doing a good job of keeping him grounded, it’s unquestionable that he is extremely grateful for each of his fans and for the privileged position he is in. He’s cheeky, likes the attention of girls and is as vulgar as any other boy his age as he eats a donut found left in the bin. But what there is little of is Bieber in his own words. At no point does he talk genuinely to the camera or speak completely naturally, and how many of the words coming from his mouth have been put there by publicists? As he gives some money to a violinist playing in his home town where he used to bust and tells her to always follow her dreams, it’s hard not to wonder who might have instructed him to do that.

Whilst the film does have elements which makes it read more like a promotional film than a documentary, that’s not to say it isn’t at heart very watchable and even, dare I say it, enjoyable. It goes without saying Bieber fans will leave even more in love with the Bieber brand than when they entered, and those who despise him undoubtedly will find many a reason to continue doing so during the 90 minutes. But the real test is those who are indifferent to his work, and I suspect they’ll find it difficult not to come out a Bieber convert and having seen a fascinating insight into the way in which a star is born in the 21st century.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

The Look for Less: Miu Miu Glitter Leather Loafer Pumps

I've been eying up heeled loafers for ages. Admitedly, they sound ghastly. I've always associated loafers with Clarks, in a drab brown colour made out of plasticy feeling imitation leather. But how things have changed, since they were featured on the Prada Fall RTW 2010 catwalk they've seemed so much more stylish. Perfect for work with a high yet not over the top chunky heel they can be styled in so many ways.

You could try the Granny Chic look as they were worn on the Prada catwalk, with thick woolen tights and twin set, or you could update the look for Spring, try a midi skirt and a sheer blouse, or be brave with thigh high socks and a billowing shorter length dress.

My personal favourite pair has to be the Mui Mui Glitter Leather Loafer Pumps. They were on netaporter for £370 and bring some glitz to the occassion with a sparkly upper. Unfortunatey now they're sold out and a couple of seasons old.

On the high street however is an excellent dupe. Miss Selfridge's Blackberry Brogue heel. Chunky heel, gorgeous colour and even better price at just £50! You'd better be quick though as it's an Oxford Street exclusive and sizes are disappearing fast!