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Preview: Diary of a Fashion Mister


Updated: 2018-03-06T05:43:18.056-08:00




ABC..BB Creams, CC Creams - you'd be forgiven for thinking that the beauty industry has gone alphabet crazy and that your favourite cosmetics counter has turned into a scene from Sesame Street. So what exactly are these products? Are they functional? Do they work? Do we need them, or is this simply need creation marketing on a grand scale, another strategy to get the humble consumer to flex the plastic and boost those profit margins?Hugely popular in the Asian market, BB Creams (Beauty Balms) are essentially a souped-up tinted moisturiser. Like that hot guy/girl you always seem to "accidentally" text when tipsy, they are your cosmetic friend with benefits, combining skin care with an SPF and skin-perfecting pigments. Providing a medium level of coverage, my only problem with these is that at present, they are only really available in fair to medium shades at best, meaning that anyone with a deeper skin tone is left in the shade. No-one wants to be the person refused entry to the club. So not cool. Off the back of these we now have CC Creams (Colour Correcting Creams), as seen above on Hollywood actress (and cult of Tom Cruise escapee) Katie Holmes in the Bobbi Brown campaign.Bobbi says,"We created CC Cream for any woman who wants more even-toned, healthy-looking skin. Our formula colour corrects, illuminates and protects in one easy step. It's lightweight and blends seamlessly into skin so you instantly look fresher and healthier. Wear it under foundation every day or just when you need it. It's CC perfection."One of the new breed of high tech cosmeceuticals, she adds "This colour corrector plus treatment hybrid takes a three step approach to evening out skin tone over time and works to prevent future signs of dark spots."Available in three shades:Pale Nude, a lavender pink tone ideal for pale skin tones.Warm Nude, a natural peach tone ideal for medium skin tones.Golden Nude, a warm golden tone ideal for deep skin tones.I received a sample of the Warm Nude and have been testing it for the last week. To be honest, I was sceptical as to whether this would be a help or hindrance in my daily makeup regime. I always prep my skin with serum, an oil and moisturiser and follow with a primer before applying my base and concealer.I used the CC Cream instead of primer and though not exactly earth-moving, I did notice a pleasingly subtle difference. The product has a gorgeous creme-mousse like texture and creates the same slip on my skin that a primer would, extending the wear of my base and ensuring product doesn't settle into any fine lines. Subtly pigmented with peach tones, it perked up my sallow complexion and was especially brilliant when smoothed over eye lids and under the eyes, counteracting discolouration in these areas, meaning I could get away with applying less concealer. I definitely looked perkier which is always a bonus in my book. If Clarins Beauty Flash Balm and Urban Decay Primer Potion had a love child (via a brief dalliance with sunscreen), it would be Bobbi Brown CC Cream, with the stellar qualities of both cult items fused in one product. You can even layer the product over make-up for a subtle highlight on the brow bone, cheek bones and cupid's bow. Win. I recently wore the product when I hooked up with a friend before a meeting in Soho. As we were walking along he said "Do you realise how many guys have checked you out?" To be honest, I was too engrossed in the conversation to notice but I'll say this much - CC is staying.It is too early to tell whether there have been any tangible changes in the clarity of my skin but I do love the cooling feel of this product on application and the fact that it has an SPF of 35 is a welcome bonus. Forget "pram face", I've attended enough beauty seminars, lunches and launches over the years to know that UVA and UVB damage is the quickest route to a "prune face". It doesn't matter whether the sun is shining, these harmful rays are present even on cloudy days and will break down the collagen and elastin in your skin, resulting in lines, wrinkles, sagging, age spots and p[...]

High and Dry


High and Dry..Dolly Parton was once quoted as saying, "The higher the hair, the closer to god". It is a motto close to my heart. Perhaps a little TOO close. You see, my penchant for daily blow drying (I have a quiff to maintain) and dalliances with peroxide mean that recently, I've been waking up looking less like Mad Men's Don Draper and more like Don King.The DreamThe RealityThankfully, Trevor Sorbie came to the rescue (not literally but one can dream), thanks to the launch of his Frizz Free range. The business of frizz is a serious one (well maybe not as important as global warming - but all things are relative) and can be caused by humidity, rain, pollution and (ahem) over-styling. The range promises to lock in moisture and "keep bad hair days at bay". I managed to get my mitts on the Shampoo (pictured above) and Smoothing Spray.The Shampoo contains Cocamide DEA, the surfactant properties of which cleanse the hair, removing oils, environmental grime and product build up, leaving hair fresh and clean. It also imparts shine and bounce. I love that the products feature styling tips, in this case "Blow dry your hair as soon as you have washed it, the quicker it goes from wet to dry the easier it is to control the frizz."I followed said advice and low and behold, my hair was heaps smoother. In fact, my straight-talking friend Chris even complimented me at dinner, saying my hair looked "great" and "less bushy" and wanted to know if I'd had a hair cut since we last caught up over breakfast. Unfortunately, this was followed by something along the lines of "well we did meet pretty early so maybe you didn't have as much time". Can you believe the cheek of it? As if I'd ever leave the house without immaculately styled hair and a perfectly applied face. Naturally, I raised a heavily-botoxed brow. Ok, I'm joking on the botox front (nature has been kind) but if looks could kill, there would have been medics on site faster than you could say "frenemy".The Smoothing Spray has also helped my hair make the transition from "bush" to "swoosh". I spray it onto damp hair and blow dry with a small round bristle brush, using the narrow nozzle on my hairdryer to smooth the hair cuticle for a super-smooth and glossy finish.It contains Hydrogenated Castor Oil, rich in Vitamin E, minerals and proteins. It is also known to boost hair growth and for its antibacterial and anti-fungicidal properties.It also contains Wheat Proteins, rich in unsaturated fatty acids, to help strengthen damaged hair, whilst making it shinier and easier to manage.Products:Frizz Free Shampoo - £5.29Frizz Free Smoothing Spray - £[...]

I Want Candy


I Want Candy..If there was an indication of the colour direction for this season, Christopher Bailey for Burberry Prorsum Womenswear Spring/Summer 2014 was it. An exquisitely executed collection in a melange of saccharine sugared almond pastel hues. The fabulously feminine draping and constant re-invention of the brand's signature trench evident in previous seasons were ever present. However, it was the interesting play on diaphanous, sheer textures married with clean lines and opulent jewelled embellishments that added the seriously covetable air of girly-freshness that will have these pieces flying off the racks and onto the backs of women of all ages.FYI, if you need tips on how to rock fruit sorbet-chic, look no further than Paula Patton. Pictured above wearing Lorena Sarbu earlier this month at the Independent Spirit Awards, her short lemon shift dress featuring a delicate lace overlay and scalloped hem was sheer perfection. The nude courts, fresh dewy skin and subtle rosy hues on her cheeks and lips kept the overall tone subtle and sophisticated. Quite possibly "revenge" dressing at its best. "Robin Thicke who?" the world chimes in unison..Sugared AlmondsIf dressing like a snow cone isn't your idea of a good time, an easy way to tap into the pastel trend is with sugared almond coloured nails.I often do my mother's nails on a Sunday as she goes to the cancer hospice on Mondays. Last Sunday, I thought I'd perk her up with some Easter-appropriate candy nails.I raided my nail varnish stash (I have two boxes) and grabbed the colours pictured above.Left to Right:Chanel Nouvelle Vague, Topshop Play For Keeps, Topshop Daydream, Topshop Parma Violet, Topshop Zealous, Superdrug 2 In 1 Top Coat & Nail HardenerYou can achieve this look with any nail colours, using the brands of your choice. I like Barry M, Illamasqua, OPI, Butter London, Jessica and Dolce & Gabbana.I primed her nails by filing and buffing them, pushed back her cuticles, then prepped the nails by wiping them with acetone-free nail varnish remover (this helps the varnish grip better). I did one coat of the top coat / hardener as a base coat, then followed by painting each nail with two sheer coats of colour (one individual colour per nail). I finished with another layer of top coat. It's Thursday and her nails still haven't chipped. To refresh the shine and extend the length of your candy-mani, I suggest applying another layer of top coat as and when needed.Stockists:Topshop[...]

Blonde Ambition


Blonde Ambition..Drastically changing your hair colour can signal many things, a new start, recent trauma or perhaps some sort of crisis. I opted to go from brunette to blonde a month ago because for me, it signalled a rebirth of sorts. I had a deeply traumatic year last year. I was coming to terms with my beloved mother's terminal cancer diagnosis (something I'm still struggling with) and suffered terrible health problems of my own that resulted in me being attached to several machines due to total renal failure, nearly having my legs amputated and being hospitalised for two months. My recovery is on-going but in a nut shell, I was out of action for close to a year. I suffered deep depression, I couldn't work, I couldn't write. It was a very dark time.They do say that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger - and as trite as those words can sound, this has certainly been my personal experience. I emerged from the trials and tribulations of the last year, stronger, wiser, more resilient, more focused and with greater empathy and compassion for the world around me. It's not that I was a cold-hearted fashion bitch before, more that nearly losing everything, my life included, gave me a renewed sense of perspective on pretty much everything. I was forced to audit my life and question what I needed, what I wanted, what was staying - and what had to go. To celebrate my life MOT and phoenix-like rebirth from the ashes of the previous year, I decided I wanted to bleach my hair. Significantly. I literally woke up one morning and decided that I wanted to hit the (peroxide) bottle in a BIG way and look like Rutger Hauer in Blade Runner. I'm not the kind of person who does anything by halves. It's always "go hard or go home". No subtle highlights, balayage or ombre for me. I wanted 80's-style white blonde hair. I set about scouring the internet for reference images, with Rutger as my starting point. These are some of the cool cats who made it onto my inspiration board:Rutger HauerMadonnaRobynBilly IdolLuke WorrallWith a visual idea of what I wanted to achieve saved on my desktop, I set about researching the practicalities (i.e. trawling You Tube for hair bleaching tutorials). I discovered a rather fine Miss Kendra Beasley. I'm mixed race (Ethiopian mother, Scottish Father) and this chick had a similar skin tone, hair length and texture. She explained the process really well, touching on everything from the products needed to the developing time and aftercare etc.I've copied her video below: allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="420">Armed with a shopping list, I headed to my local Sally Hair & Beauty to purchase these essentials:Brush For TintingCore Tint Bowl BlackSalon Services Peroxide Creme 9% 30VolL'Oreal Quick Blue High Performance Powder LightenerWella Color Fresh Silver - Violet 0.6Silverising ShampooI've experimented with my hair numerous times throughout the wilder phases of my late teens through to my early 20's. I've had a hot pink stripe, I've had beach-chic mahogany highlights (courtesy of Paul Edmonds in Knightsbridge - probably my best professional dye job to date). But no hair colour odyssey is complete without a few disasters. Mine was when I had a badger-style mohican (shaved black sides and a longer ivory blonde section down the middle). Apart from looking like I had road kill on my head, like all novices, I had thought it a good idea to get my hair cut then tackle the bleaching by myself. I bleached the central section several times, hadn't bothered doing my research and hadn't taken care to deeply condition it. One day, as I was blow-drying my mohawk, a large section at the front broke off in my hand. Even my adorable hairdresser couldn't salvage the situation, so I had to shave it all off and start again. Needless to say, this time around, I knew I had to be careful unless I wanted to end up "doing a Britney" again.With my road kill faux pas ever present in my m[...]

A Walk on the Wilde Side


A Walk on the Wilde Side..Is it just me or is pregnancy really working for Olivia Wilde? Positively glowing at the 86th annual Academy Awards, she proved, along with fellow actress Kerry Washington that a baby bump was the most coveted accessory on the red carpet. Wearing a black Valentino Pre-Fall 2014 halter neck gown, complimented by a tousled chignon and simple statement jewellery, she looked like a modern day Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.A REVLON Global Brand Ambassador, even Wilde's 60's-inspired makeup was reminiscent of Hepburn's, down to the glowing skin, sculpted brows, kitten flick eyeliner and peach-hued nude lip. Vintage Hollywood glamour never dates, like the old adage states "if it ain't broke, don't fix it". Celebrity Makeup Artist, Melanie Inglessis created a classic French look for Wilde with a sharp cat eye and dewy skin."We wanted the look to be simple and classic, says Inglessis, "I created a very precise eye that makes a statement but still works well with her fresh skin and light peach lips."Inglessis used the following products for Olivia's red carpet look:Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting PrimerRevlon PhotoReady Makeup in NudeRevlon PhotoReady Skinlights Illuminator in Bare LightRevlon ColorStay Shadow Links in Taupe (NEW March 2014)Revlon PhotoReady Kajal Eyeliner in Cleopatra- This product wasn't actually listed by Revlon but if you look closely at the photo of Olivia, you'll see that there is some subtle highlighting happening underneath her feline flick, where a subtle white line has been drawn to create a beautiful graphic effect. I suggest using the black end of this double-ended eyeliner to tight-line the upper lash line, gently filling in between the lashes to add depth. Use the white end to draw a fine line underneath the outer edge of the feline flick.Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner in Blackest BlackRevlon Lash Potion Mascara- Olivia looks like she might be wearing falsies. I suggest curling lashes and either applying a set of flared false lashes or applying individual false lashes at the outer edges to enhance the feline shape, finishing with a coat or two of mascara to finish the look. Eyelure and MAC offer a great selection.Revlon Brow Fantasy (NEW March 2014)Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in ComplexRevlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink CognitoRevlon suggests Revlon Nail Enamel in Pink Nude to complete the lookProducts:Revlon PhotoReady Perfecting Primer - £11.99Revlon PhotoReady Makeup in Nude - £12.99Revlon PhotoReady Skinlights Illuminator in Bare Light - £11.99Revlon ColorStay Shadow Links in Taupe (NEW March 2014) - £2.99Revlon PhotoReady Kajal Eyeliner in Cleopatra - £5.99Revlon ColorStay Liquid Liner in Blackest Black - £6.99Revlon Lash Potion Mascara - £9.99Revlon Brow Fantasy (NEW March 2014) - £6.99Revlon ColorBurst Matte Balm in Complex - £7.99Revlon Super Lustrous Lipstick in Pink Cognito - £7.49Revlon Nail Enamel in Pink Nude - £[...]

The Braidy Bunch


The Braidy Bunch..Another beauty bulletin to get your hair in a twist with excitement. Ballet-inspired braids were all the rage at the NYFW Honor Autumn/Winter 14/15 show, with James Pecis for creating the look using PHYTO and T3 Tools.We've got the lowdown on how to re-create next season's sleek, neat, tied-up hair and beautiful braids for an on trend classic plait with a modern twist:Sashay, Shante!1. Blow dry hair straight using PHYTODEFRISANT Straightening Balm.2. Apply PHYTO Professional Intense Volume Mousse throughout hair to create texture.3. Part hair in the centre to create two ponytails and secure.4. Apply PHYTO 9 Nourishing Day Cream on each ponytail, through to the ends of the hair.5. Secure pieces of ribbon (try the haberdashery section at John Lewis or V V Rouleaux) around each ponytail and braid the hair with four strands - two strands of hair, two strands of ribbon - to create a sailor rope braid.6. Take the two braids and twist them together, tying them with the ribbon to create a bow.Finish with PHYTO Professional Workable Holding Spray.Products:PHYTODEFRISANT Straightening Balm - £14.50PHYTO Professional Intense Volume Mousse - £12.50PHYTO 9 Nourishing Day Cream - £14.50PHYTO Professional Workable Holding Spray - £15Stockists:www.lookfantastic.comwww.johnlewis.comwww.feelunique.com[...]

Tails of the City


Tails of the City..Trend Alert! We've got some hair news courtesy of our friends at PHYTO. International session stylist to the stars Orlando Pita (the man behind the ethnic-inspired braids Madonna sported in her 90's Human Nature music video), created this pony-tastic do for Derek Lam's NYFW AW14/15 show using the PHYTO range and we've got professional tips on how to re-create the look. If this doesn't get your tails in a spin, we're not sure what will."Taking inspiration from multi-cultural urban tribal chic comes this low ponytail with texture"Here's how to create this classic chic look:1. Distribute PHYTOVOLUME ACTIF Volumizing Spray throughout the hair to give texture and volume.2. Blow dry and then from the ear down, create big loose waves with a large barrel tong.3. Create a perfect middle parting using a comb.4. Apply PHYTO Professional Glossing CreamAnd PHYTO Professional Strong Sculpting Gel for hold and shine, and then scrape back into a low ponytail.5. Secure with elastic.6. Tease ponytail with teasing brush to create texture and additional volume, then smooth top layer with a brush to create a smooth, polished look.7. Finish with PHYTOLAQUE SOIE Hair Spray.ProductsPHYTOVOLUME Actif Volumizing Spray - £15.50PHYTO Professional Glossing Cream - £12.50PHYTO Professional Strong Sculpting Gel - £12.50PHYTOLAQUE SOIE Hair Spray - £12.50Stockistswww.lookfantastic.comwww.johnlewis.comwww.feelunique.com[...]

Chequered Love


Chequered Love..Forget Jared Leto, this chequered Bowling Bag (shown above in Brown with Purple Leather Trim) from Hawes & Curtis is the only arm candy you'll need to tap into the bright accessories trend beloved by A-list celebrities for spring / summer 2014. With an RRP of £99, it is available in thirteen colour ways and crafted in the finest printed canvas with a selection of eye-popping leather trims. The bag features luxurious metal hardware bearing the Hawes & Curtis crest.Myfanwy Morgan, head of buying at Hawes & Curtis, said women were loving the new trend for stand-out hues with yellow a particular favourite. “While our wardrobes may be packed with simple and understated pieces, it seems we are really enjoying letting loose with the accessories on our arm. I think our bowling bags with that splash of cheeky colour are proving popular because they are fun and an antidote to the grey and wet winter we have had but yet they are still practical and easy to match with any outfit.” Hawes & Curtis was established in 1913 by Ralph Hawes and Freddie Curtis, with the intention of creating high quality, exclusive clothing for gentlemen. From its infancy, Hawes & Curtis has been acclaimed by royalty and aristocracy alike; most famously by the Duke of Windsor and Earl Mountbatten. Earlier this year  it announced a multi-million-pound franchise deal which will create Hawes & Curtis stores in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Dubai over the next five years. The deal with Korath Holding represents a $5million investment, with the first store in the World Trade Center Mall in Abu Dhabi at the end of this year. Further plans include replicating the franchise model in Indonesia and the Far East, as well as the launch of a flagship store in the United States.Hawes & Curtis has teamed up with Diary of a Fashion Mister to offer you the chance of winning one of these Bowling Bags in the colour way of your choice. With thirteen colour options available, ranging from classic chic to fashion-forward, you really are spoilt for choice.Beige Canvas with Yellow Leather TrimBeige Canvas with Pink Leather TrimBeige with Navy and Red Leather TrimBrown with Fuchsia Leather TrimBlack with Yellow Leather TrimBlack with Fuchsia Leather TrimTo win, all you have to do is follow Hawes & Curtis via the link below: this blog and leave your answer to this question in the comments section below."Who founded Hawes & Curtis?"A winner will be selected at random. The competition closes at midnight on Wednesday 12th March 2014. The Editor's decision is[...]

When Life Gives You Lemons


When Life Gives You Lemons..Ever the optimist, I'm a firm believer that when life gives you lemons, you make lemonade (or pancakes given that Shrove Tuesday is upon us). If the prospect of carbs fills you with calorific dread, fear not, you can still be "mellow yellow" thanks to the ever-so-zesty folk at Lush, purveyors of ethical, cruelty-free, fresh handmade cosmetics (that also happen to smell rather heavenly if I don't mind saying so myself).Here's a trio of products that are guaranteed to make you heart "zing":London has been a wee bit nippy of late and I find myself turning to the creme de la creme of creams to keep peeling cuticles at bay. As a make-up artist, it's of supreme importance that my hands and fingernails look immaculate (after all, what client wants grubby mitts touching their beautiful visage?)By the same token, months of cold weather and central heating blazing indoors wreaks havoc on feet and elbows too. If fluctuations in temperature have left you with extremities drier than the Sahara, it's time to slather on Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter, a veritable oasis of hydration. This multi-purpose moisturiser is so rich it could give Bill Gates a run for his money. With a fresh and invigorating citrus aroma, lemon oil is renowned for its skin-softening properties, traditionally used in the treatment of corns and callouses. A luxurious blend of Flaxseed, Castor Oil, Palm Kernel Oil, Soya Oil and Organic Avocado combine to envelop skin in a silky cocoon of moisture. For a super-luxurious overnight treatment, thoroughly exfoliate hands and feet, rinse, towel dry then massage hands and feet with a generous layer before applying cotton gloves and socks. By morning you'll have skin as velvety-smooth as a Georgia Peach.If you consider yourself a bit of a Modern Dandy or aspire to embody the hippy chic of Kate Hudson's character Penny Lane in Almost Famous, why not try Bohemian Soap? A deceptively simple yet potent blend of uplifting lemon oil combined with the humectant properties of glycerin. This palm-free soap offers gentle cleansing and is guaranteed to lift your spirits quicker than a session of Bikram Yoga in Primrose Hill. A must have for Bright Young Things everywhere, you just know the Bloomsbury Set would have approved.Valentine's Day may be all but a distant memory but that doesn't excuse neglecting your pout. Maintain tantalisingly soft lips by gently exfoliating with Mint Julips Lip Scrub. The peppermint oil will get your lips tingling faster than a quick snog behind the bike shed while the sugar crystals gently exfoliate flaky skin. Jojoba and Tagetes Oil condition without leaving a greasy residue with the sweet scent of Limonene and Vanilla ensuring you'll be ready to pucker up should Cupid's arrow strike. Who needs Mistletoe?ProductsLemony Flutter Cuticle Butter - £6.50 for 50gBohemian Soap - £3.10 for 100gMint Julips Lip Scrub - £5.50 for 25gStockists01202 668 545 /[...]

Leader of the Pack


Leader of the Pack..Mud packs, face masks, whatever you want to call them, they're an essential part of my beauty / grooming regimen (we're talking at least once a week folks, more if I have events to attend or I'm being photographed). I have oily skin, the positive benefit being that oilier skins tend to look more youthful as they age, due to their increased moisture levels (more sebum if you want to go all scientific). I'm fastidious about caring for my skin, it's one of the many pearls of wisdom my mother instilled in me from a young age (aren't mothers fabulous?) This, combined with favourable genes, is probably why people often tell me they think I'm in my early 20's (I'm 32).The negative aspects of an oily skin type is that they are more prone to shine (mirror face anyone?) and breakouts (I know, the mere mention of the word fills me with dread).Thankfully, there are a host of clay-based (or charcoal in the case of Origins) face masks available to minimise our pores, regulate excess sebum and keep those dreaded blemishes at bay.I've compiled a selection of my personal favourites below, at a selection of different price points. There is something here for everybody. In the shot at the top of the post, I'm wearing the Anthony Logistics Deep Cleansing Clay Mask. Note the fabulous monogrammed terry cloth bath robe embroidered with my initials "IB", a cherished Press gift. The shot above was taken after I'd used the mask (hence the dodgy barnet). I'm not wearing any make-up and I love the way it makes my skin glow. I've since hit the (peroxide) bottle, more of which in a subsequent post (and yes, blondes really do have more fun).The Anthony Logistics Deep Cleansing Clay Mask has been part of my grooming kit since 2007. I love that the brand supports testicular cancer charities (beautiful and benevolent). I often switch to this deliciously-scented mask in colder weather as I find it hydrates as much as it deep cleanses. It contains a botanical blend of softening Apricot Kernel Oil, toning Calendula together with vitamins A, C and E (antioxidants are a must to protect against environmental aggressors and  free radical damage). At just £9.00 this little miracle-worker doesn't break the bank and is fantastic value for money. My only grievance is that the red clay is rather messy but if you rinse it off in the shower, this tends to minimise any issues.Anyone that knows me knows that I'm obsessed with REN. When you're inundated with products it's easy to be a beauty slut and switch brands as often as you change your shoes. However, REN (meaning "Clean" in Swedish) is one brand I've remained loyal to. I've been using the range religiously for close to a decade.  The range is devoid of "skin nasties" such as parabens and SLS and the brand's ethics are in keeping with my "Neo-Hippy" principles. I'm especially keen on their serums, masks, moisturisers and body treatments, namely because a) in my experience they work and b) on the whole, they tend to smell absolutely heavenly, putting the "treat" into "treatment". The REN Clarimatte Invisible Pores Detox Mask (try saying that in a hurry) pretty much delivers on its name. Minerals from French Clay draw out impurities and excess sebum, Proteins from Tropical Spirulina encourage cell renewal, while Essential Fatty Acids soften. It always leaves my complexion glowing, minimises the appearance of my pores (especially on my nose) and leaves my skin super-soft to the touch (always a bonus). I find the texture of this mask dryer than others and it doesn't spread as easily over the face, yet somehow it still works wonders. The only downside to this product is the scent (a tad on the clinical side for me) but it delivers on every other front so it definitely gets a "hero" rather than a "zero". At £18 I think it offers superb va[...]

Let Them Eat Cake


Let Them Eat Cake..Baking makes me go all misty eyed with nostalgia, remembering my childhood in the 80's, watching Cheryl Baker's "Eggs N' Baker" on a Sunday morning and subsequently badgering my mother to assist me in recreating whatever magic I had witnessed on screen in our large and pristine Poggenpohl kitchen. The kitchen was without doubt the heart of our home in coastal Northumberland. It was the source of not only frequent culinary activity but also of blissful family meals and many an impromptu social gathering (the wine flowed more freely than at a Dionysus festival and I will forever have images of my mother dancing to whatever 80's music was blaring from the Bang & Olufsen stereo in her stilettos, mohair jumper dresses and leggings etched into my memory. Well it was the 80's).I was the type of child that always wanted to lick the bowl (especially if mum was making her chocolate fudge cake, to this day an enduring favourite). I recall baking Stottie cakes (as much a Geordie institution as Gazza and brown ale) at school in Jesmond and chocolate muffins at boarding school in Pitlochry, Scotland. Extra curricular cooking classes were always a "must" for me. For one, I got to eat more, which in my mind was always a good thing.Given my own happy memories of baking, it really warmed my heart when I found out that my friend Ashley Van Baalen recently made the brave decision to quit a successful and much-sought-after career in Beauty PR to launch Mini's Bakery in Ascot, her own entrepreneurial venture. It seems that Marie Antoinette wasn't the only fashionista that wanted to "let them eat cake". Ashley Van Baalen, founder and CEO of Mini's BakeryEdible Makeup Bags and AccessoriesCustom-designed biscuits for Chantelle Lingerie (as endorsed by Lisa Haynes, Fashion & Beauty Editor for the Press Association)A Valentine's CupcakePink Raspberry MacaroonsEngagement Party CupcakesA lovely boss ordered these lemon cupcakes to thank her team for all their hard workSpring CupcakesLace Heart BiscuitsCinnamon-Raisin Danish SwirlsCheese, Broccoli, Tomato and Onion Mini Puff Pastry BitesAshley sweetly agreed to take time out of her hectic baking schedule to answer some interview questions: DOAFM: Ashley, I first met you when you were working at boutique PR agency Store PR. From there you went on to work with one of my favourite "Eco-Beauty" PR agencies, Pure PR. What inspired you to take the leap from working in PR to launching your own venture, Mini's Bakery?AVB: My decision to leave PR after 8 years came after I realised that I was at my most happiest when pottering about in the kitchen baking with Saturday Kitchen on in the background, or kneading dough while singing along to George Michael on my iPod. I thought, “if these are my most happiest and content moments, why can’t I do it all the time.” So I signed up to a number of decorating and baking classes to refine my skills and started creating cakes and designs for friends, product launches and events, for which I was being paid for. Unfortunately it isn’t easy to work full-time commuting into London and start up a baking business so, with the support of my family, I was able to leave PR and focus 100% on Mini’s Bakery. DOAFM: British consumers seem to have become baking mad over the last few years with TV shows such as Paul Hollywood's "The Great British Bake Off", Eric Lanlard's "Baking Mad" and well, all things Nigella. Why do you think baking seems to have made such a huge resurgence in popularity?AVB: I think that baking has become popular (again) because it is something that the whole family can enjoy together. Whether you are making cakes for a friends birthday or teaching children to crack and beat eggs, everyone can be involved and enjoy the outcome of a couple of hours in[...]

Wild One


Real Wild Child.. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="420">As promised, I thought I'd give you guys a little insight into my favourite look of the moment. It's the outfit I wore to do make-up for my client in Kensington Palace Gardens last Saturday. It would be fair to say that my fashion personality could quite probably be described as schizophrenic. I can go from rude boy, to rocker, to chic urban sophisticate and back again in the space of a day but surely this is the joy of getting dressed. Clothes and accessories are more to me than mere adornments. They reflect the many facets of my personality given how I feel at any time, on any given day, or depending on the occasion.I've always loved Rock and alternative icons. You could say it's the rebel in me, my inner wild child breaking free.Nothing speaks of sex, drugs and rock n' roll more than the iconic black leather jacket. My personal favourites are a biker one I picked up for the princely sum of £18 from a guy in Portobello Market, a stunning double breasted, buttery soft number from Carolyn Massey (a gift from my former life as a fashion editor) and my latest love affair, a vintage Harley Davidson cropped affair I tracked down from a vintage specialist in Crystal Palace, South London called Bambino. I decided I wanted to reward myself with a present so I scoured the internet looking for vintage leather specialists and found a blog piece about this place. I read that Kate Moss had worn a vintage Lewis leather jacket from the emporium for a Vogue editorial and I was sold. I was a bit gutted when I got there because nearly everything on the racks was size medium to large and I'm smaller than male fashion sample size with my 36" chest. The only piece that fitted me is the one I'm wearing in the photos. It is cropped in style, which wasn't originally what I wanted - but I had to concede that it was love at first wear. Plus, I was going to be damned if I was going to trek all the way to this place and not come back with the goods. I asked the owner how much it was, adopted my best "fashion bitch" air of cool "froideur" and haggled him down to a price that was quite honestly a bargain to end all bargains given the supreme quality. And thus a love affair began.The key to rocking a look successfully is partly down to knowing what suits you and running with it and partly down to attitude. To quote Harper's Bazaar's Laura Brown "you gotta drive it like you stole it". I think what makes this look cool is the mix of influences, textures and the layering. The chunky grey knitted beanie I stole from my mother. It has a hole in the back and I keep meaning to darn it before it gets out of control but I think it gives it a "lived in" hobo vibe. The vintage Harley Davidson black leather motorcycle jacket with zip details and rivets is from Bambino. It has some mud on the sleeves but I haven't bothered cleaning it because like Courtney Love, leather jackets kind of make more sense when they're battered. Underneath I wear a plain long sleeved black jersey top from GAP with an oversized black t-shirt layered on top. The t-shirt was a gift from a relative from back home in Ethiopia (my mother's side of the family - my father is Scottish) and features a massive silver foil print Ethiopian Orthodox / Coptic cross emblazoned across the chest. Religious iconography and beautiful woven cottons are as much a part of Ethiopian / Eritrean style and cultural heritage as tartan is to the Scots. I think it's cool to plunder your own culture (or cultures in my case) for visual references.This is one of my favourite bags from London design duo Chris and Tibor. It is called the Clerkenwell Large Black Prarie Leather Tote. I have had it for years[...]

Young and Beautiful


Young and Beautiful..On Monday 20th January something rather fortuitous happened. I received an e-mail from a high profile beauty industry insider saying "would it be possible to book a makeup session with you on the coming Saturday at 7pm? You are the best makeup artist I know and I always admire your work". So far so normal, I am a make-up artist after all.As flattered as I was by the kind words and booking request, the only spanner in the works was that I hadn't worked in about a year. Last year I endured some serious health issues that nearly killed me. I was hospitalised for two months, three weeks of which were spent in intensive care. I was attached to several machines as I had suffered organ failure following major surgery on my legs. I was unable to walk and at one point it looked like I either wasn't going to pull through or that I'd have to have my legs amputated. So far so gruesome. So needless to say, I was somewhat nervous at the prospect of wielding my magic make-up brushes, given that I'd been in recovery up until December 2013.Despite a serious case of jitters, I felt like this was the Universe's way of telling me to scrape myself off the floor and once again utilise the creativity that I've been blessed with. So I e-mailed the client back and said I'd be delighted to do the job. It turns out her daughter was attending a special birthday party and the make-up booking was for her. So I liased with her and discussed what sort of look she wanted. She said she wanted something "relatively sophisticated and not too out there" which was music to my ears as chic, glamourous beauty is most definitely one of my fortes.So on Friday 24th January, I grabbed my make-up brushes (well some of them..I'm quite possibly the Imelda Marcos of make-up) and set about shampooing and conditioning them with my Aveda Shampure set (the most heavenly shampoo and conditioner) that infuses hair with one of Aveda's original aromas - a calming mix of 25 pure plant and flower essences. You just know Gwyneth Paltrow would approve. And besides, look after your tools and they'll look after you! I layed out my brushes flat on a towel to air dry overnight then edited and repacked my make-up kit to include everything I'd possibly need for my client the next evening. All my homework completed, I popped on Baz Luhrmann's The Great Gatsby and lost myself in Prada, Tiffany and F Scott Fitzgerald before indulging in some much-needed beauty sleep.On Saturday 25th, I couldn't get Lana Del Rey's Young and Beautiful out of my head. She wrote the haunting track for Daisy Buchanan's character in the film and I spent most of Saturday listening to her album of the same name online.  allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="236" src="//" width="420"> I'm very much inspired by films and music and I've no doubt a little Gatsby magic went with me to the job. The weather was vile, I can't abide the incessant drizzle in London, least of all when I have a make-up case to wield around town. So I went "back to black" and channelled my inner rocker, donning a layered black leather, denim and cotton jersey ensemble (very Rick Owens I thought and super practical for surviving the urban deluge). More of the look in a subsequent post.So I headed to the client's house in Kensington Palace Gardens (aka billionaire's row). I've only been on the road twice before, once to the wedding of glamourous author and family friend Kathleen Tessaro at The Orangery (her tome Elegance was a New York Times best-seller). The only other time was for an event at the steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal's house (the only time I have ever seen a Monet Water Lilie painting in a domestic setting). I got to High Street Ken an hour earl[...]

The Lady Varnishes


The Lady Varnishes..Nail art has been trending for sometime. Pat McGrath, Creative Director of Dolce&Gabanna The Make-Up was promoting the "Fashion French" back in 2008 (and let's face it, when it comes to beauty, what Pat says goes in the world of maquillage). Now, everywhere you look, from Barry M, Revlon, Rimmel and Max Factor on the high street to Essie, OPI, Ciate, Chanel, Illamasqua, Dolce&Gabbana and YSL, self expression through the accessorising of one's nails is de rigeur.Minx captured the market for foil nails and wraps, launching a huge ongoing trend. Ghetto chic has slowly filtered into mainstream fashion with Wah! Nails outposts cropping up throughout the UK. It seems that if you haven't had your nails did at Wah!, or your barnet dip dyed at Bleach, then you clearly hit the "snooze" button on your fashion alarm.Nail Artist du jour Sophy Robson came onto my radar via Illamasqua's nail tutorials (trust Alex Box to be ahead of the curve, she also brought Mike Pocock to my attention). Marian Newman was Sophy's predecessor as the "It Manicurist".Leighton Denny was the first big editorial manicurist that I was aware of. I had the pleasure of meeting him a couple of times at QVC and he is such a lovely chap, a wealth of friendly advice and so down to earth. I told him I loved Dita Von Teese's nails and he said that she's his client and that he still does her nails when she's in town. He often does a crescent moon manicure for her, which inspired the one I created for my mother on Sunday, though I opted for a nude pink base and a raspberry pink tip rather than the crescent design.I had prepped mum's nails the day before. I soaked her hands in a bowl of comfortably hot water laced with Neom Organics bath oil. I exfoliated her hands with a mixture of brown sugar and almond oil then gently towel dried them. I filed her nails then massaged Leighton Denny manicure oil into her nails, hands and arms. I wrapped the tip of an orange stick with cotton wool soaked in almond oil and gently pushed back mum's cuticles. I finished with a generous layer of Creme De La Mer hand cream. I used a tissue to remove any excess moisture from her nails then applied one coat of Illamasqua base coat.The next day I applied two coats of Dolce&Gabbana Intense Nail Lacquer in Petal (a nude ballet slipper pink) as a base colour. Once it had dried, I applied the Shocking shade (a vibrant raspberry pink) as a Fashion French tip. I finished with the NARS Top Coat to seal the design and add a glossy finish. I have to say I love the Dolce varnishes, they have some gorgeous colours and a very high end glassy finish.I was really pleased with the result, I'm definitely going to experiment with different designs and colour combinations (beware all female friends and family members).Dolce&Gabbana Intense Nail Lacquer in Petal - £18Dolce&Gabbana Intense Nail Lacquer in Shocking - £[...]

The Darker The Berry


The Darker The Berry..I'm so glad my cover shoot with Portia Freeman was published today in the September issue of aMUSE Magazine. It was such a juicy project to get stuck into and I've been dying to post about the experience. Junior Fashion Editor Fran Mullin killed it with the styling. My favourite outfits of the day were the Marni sequinned look (oddly reminiscent of Daryl Hannah in Blade Runner), the Theysken's Theory printed chiffon gown (very Wallis Simpson), the Gucci jacquard ensemble with cape and boots (riding crop, mask and pistol optional) and the very-dapper Paul Smith suit (I want the tonal patent loafers).  We had a great team with photographer Daniel Nadel, super-stylist Fran Mullin, celeb crimper Nadia from Foster London and yours truly doing make-up.Our muse was top Brit model Portia Freeman, or as her Twitter page states "Mother. Wifey. Model." Wife of Kooks bassist Peter Denton, Portia has been shot by Testino, Meisel and Rankin, is the face and body of Charlotte Olympia shoes and has graced the catwalk for Chanel and Dolce&Gabbana.Given her awesome fashion/rock pedigree, I wasn't sure what to expect. But no sooner had I Tweeted about shooting with her, then my make-up artist friend Kim Kiefer messaged me to say Portia was a lovely, gorgeous girl. That pretty much sums it up. I can't really say much more, other than that she is very down to earth, self deprecating and professional.She has the most beautiful, lithe Bambi-like limbs, porcelain skin and huge expressive piercing blue eyes. She also has the cutest lap dog I've ever seen (handbag size).Conversation veered from the joys of mobile beauticians to the health properties of coconut water (she guzzled the stuff and having seen her luminous skin, I may have to follow suit), good manners, Meisel, germs and her forthcoming reunion with Pete and their son at a festival in Portugal.When you are afforded the opportunity to work with a model of Portia's calibre, you can see why only a select few earn the "Super" prefix. With every ensemble came a different character, facial expressions and body language. In the Theysken's Theory green printed chiffon gown she was channelling the icy poise of Wallis Simpson, while in the Marni jumbo floral paillettes she could have been plucked from the set of Blade Runner. The most laughs of the day went to Portia for her Dickensian mockney street urchin character, which she spontaneously assumed when wearing the androgynous Paul Smith suit. When she started slouching with her hands in her pockets, leering and shouting "alright darlin', can I get ur digits" It reminded me of Damon Albarn singing the Blur hit Girls and Boys (but in a totally good LMFAO way).Portia loved the lip and nail colours I selected for her, see all the products I used to create her chic gothic look below.Junior Fashion Editor Fran Mullin's mood boards for the shoot were a-ma-zing:Fran's make-up inspiration focused on a plummy eye and nude lip and a nude eye and plum lip. I fused the two together for the shoot. They say enhance the eyes or lips but never both - but rules were made to be broken.Marni jumbo floral paillettes "Totes Amaze"The LookSkin PrepNuBo Velvet Cleansing CreamCaudalie Beauty ElixirLiz Earle Instant Boost Skin TonicChanel HydraserumNuBo Eye FocusNuBo Instant Lip PerfectionNuBo VoileBaseChanel Perfection Lumiere BeigeBecca Shimmering Skin Perfector PearlLaura Mercier Secret Camouflage No.2Shiseido Natural Finish Concealer No.1Laura Mercier Secret Brightening PowderDaniel Sandler Invisible Veil Loose PowderHighlight / ContourNARS Multiple LuxorNARS Bronzer LagunaEyesNARS Eyebrow PencilDG Golds Eye Quad (white gold under arch of brow, inne[...]

You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato


You Say Tomato, I Say Tomato..When I think about it, there's no doubt that my mother was my beauty and style hero growing up. As a child I used to sit transfixed, as she sat or stood by a mirror, masterfully applying her make-up, wearing something typically uber-glamourous. Whether in my birth place of Oman, or in my latter home in rural Newcastle, she always seemed like an exotic peacock amongst pigeons.Having been in her prime in the heady late 70's Disco era, her style was colourful, exotic and decadent. Her various beauty regimes were an integral part of her life. She was a yummy mummy before the phrase had even been coined. I dread to say it, but I recall at school in Scotland, boys in my boarding house marvelling at the cherished picture of my mother I kept adoringly by my bed. To me she was just "mummy" but to them she was "yummy". Mum has been undergoing chemotherapy since she was diagnosed with small cell carcinoma in the lungs last year. She has a lot of tumours so the last year or so have been difficult to say the least. Worse still, my mother was battling breast cancer a decade ago, and survived, only to be cursed a second time.The first time around I remember mum being really weak and sleeping a lot. I had to shave her head when her hair started to fall out (something I repeated the second time). She lost her eye lashes and then became very puffy due to all the steroids. The radiation treatment left her with a black mark so large and prominent over her breast area that it looked like she had been attacked by a hot iron. The scar from the lumpectomy a constant reminder of her fierce battle with "The Big C".After her recent bout of chemotherapy, mum started to develop other side effects relating to her treatment. Insomnia (at one point she was so stressed and in so much pain that she couldn't sleep for a week). Her eye sight has been severely impaired, she relies on glasses to see things she would have had no trouble registering ten years ago. Worst of all is the chronic pain and neurological issues such as impaired reflexes and sensation in her hands and fingers. She also experiences acute muscle cramps and shakes involuntarily.To say that she has suffered would be an understatement. But true to her supermum form, she has barely complained throughout the whole ordeal, choosing instead to mostly suffer with dignity, in silence.At times I can find it hard to be with my mother. We love each other fiercely, she is a tiger mother and I her tiger cub. We are both stubborn to a fault, independent in spirit and fiery (me in spirit, her in temper lol). Being close to her, sometimes when she is angry and frustrated, I feel like I have been on the receiving end of the brunt of it, which in truth has been really difficult. I know inside that it's not really her when she is like that, it's the illness and what it has done to her.Being such an immense, life or death prospect, it has altered our relationship somewhat. I have drifted away a little, partly because I'm 30 and partly because it's a difficult situation. I don't want to smother her or patronise her. One of her biggest frustrations has been her inability to do menial tasks. The impaired sensation in her hands and fingers and involuntary shakes make a simple task like making a cup of tea a danger. Fiercely independent in nature, to rely on others has been something she has had to get used to.Beauty is not only my vocation and one of my core passions, it has also been a way for me to re-connect with my mother and indulge her. Giving her a manicure and pedicure the other day, it dawned on me that when we are children, our parents look after us, and w[...]

The Tiger


The Tiger.."TIGER, tiger, burning brightIn the forests of the night,What immortal hand or eye Could frame thy fearful symmetry?"William BlakeNeither immortal hand, nor eye could frame the fearful symmetry of Storm Models New Face Penelope Simpson, showcasing the luxurious and exotic Animal Instincts collection from Fred & Ginger Lingerie.Having shot the bridal collection, I rallied the troops, photographer James Burton, model Penelope and hair stylist Joel Benjamin for lunch. I had personally prepared packed lunches for Penelope, home made cheddar cheese sandwiches on wholemeal bread with fresh fruit and bio yoghurt. Refreshments came with straws (yes I'm that detail obsessed, I wanted to protect her lipstick).James and I had set out with the intention of providing as safe and comfortable environment on set as was humanly possible, so I had brought Falke cashmere socks to keep Penelope's tootsies nice and cosy, while James had packed a robe for her to don between shots.Add the NuBo facial she got, two manicures, two make up looks, two hair changes and body massages, I'd say team Burton proved that chivalry isn't dead.Here are the arresting Animal Instincts images, simply click on them to enlarge:Lingerie: Fred & Ginger Lingeriewww.fredandginger.comHosiery: Falkewww.harrods.comShoes: Gil Carvalhowww.gilcarvalho.comModel: Penelope Simpson @ Storm Model Managementwww.stormmodels.comMake Up & Styling: Ian Joel + Retouch: James Burtonwww.jamesburtonphotography.comCopyright: James Burton[...]

White Mischief


White Mischief..My photographer chum James Burton and I were delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with our favourite lingerie brand, Fred & Ginger Lingerie, on this gorgeous shoot.With the aid of the delightful Chelsea at the New Faces division of Storm Models, James and I held a casting at Storm HQ. Having met a succession of exquisite creatures (some of whom we made a mental note of for future projects), we mutually agreed on Penelope. James and I bumped into Penelope on the Kings Road after the casting. I tapped her on the shoulder and said "you're booked". She looked at me wide eyed with genuine excitement and gave James and I a huge hug. It was like being embraced by a giant. Now I know what it feels like to be Tom Cruise.As sweet as a 19 year old girl could possibly be and wrapped up in the body of Jessica Rabbit, Penelope was the closest thing to Aphrodite I'm sure I'll ever see in real life. I have a feeling she has the makings of an Agent Provocateur star or Victoria's Secret Angel.Blessed with a fabulously grand abode in North London to shoot in, we pulled two sumptuous collections from our friends at Fred & Ginger Lingerie, one Bridal and another entitled Animal Instincts, and set to work with our hair guru pal Joel Benjamin to shoot two separate lingerie stories.Below are the Bridal images. Simply click on the shots to enlarge:Lingerie: Fred & Ginger Lingeriewww.fredandginger.comHosiery: Falkewww.harrods.comShoes: Gil Carvalhowww.gilcarvalho.comModel: Penelope Simpson @ Storm Model Managementwww.stormmodels.comMake Up & Styling: Ian Joel + Retouch: James Burtonwww.jamesburtonphotography.comCopyright: James Burton[...]

Back To Black - Behind The Make Up


Back To BlackBehind The Make Up..The Skin..Great make-up starts with great skin, which is why NuBo's cosmeceutical grade products are a permanent fixture in my professional kit. Loved by celebrities including Kylie and Pixie Lott. I've used their products on pop star / style icon Sunday Girl aka Jade Williams and presenter / model Zara Martin. It's also a firm favourite of Lisa, the gorgeous model pictured above. I recommend clicking on her photo to see the shoot make up close up. I had used NuBo products on her at a previous shoot (including their miraculous White Diamond Ice Glow Mask), leading her to post me a message on Facebook asking if I'd be using the "amazing skin care" again for this shoot.To prep her skin for Back To Black, I first cleansed with the Cell Dynamic Velvet Cleansing Cream. I always take a few minutes to really massage this rich, creamy, rose-scented cleanser into the neck and face, removing with disposable facial sponges and warm water to gently exfoliate. Containing a tri-peptide, wheat germ and coconut oils, it leaves skin peachy smooth and plumped.I spritzed her skin with Shu Uemura Lavender Depsea Water to tone and refresh, then pressed NuBo Cell Dynamic The Essence over her neck and face with my palms. This serum works at a cellular level, encouraging healthy and efficient cell function, converting toxins into water, offering essential hydration. It also creates an instant lifting and firming effect. I tapped NuBo Cell Dynamic Eye Focus around the orbital bone, this eye cream not only tackles the causes of ageing, it also lifts, reduces puffiness and diminishes dark circles - ideal for frazzled models, celebrities and anyone who wants to cheat 8 hours sleep (that would be most of us then).Next I massaged NuBo White Diamond Radiance Cream into Lisa's neck and face. This product is so silky on the skin, a little goes a very long way. Containing pro-vitamin C, "micronized" diamonds and propionic acid, there is nothing quite like it for instant dewy, luminous skin. It's my go-to cream for shoots, red carpets, special occasions and bridal clients. On Lisa's lips, I applied a slick of NuBo Instant Lip Perfection SPF15, a silky hydrating balm containing collagen boosters and natural capsicum for a "bee-stung" pout. Lastly, I soaked two cotton pads in Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic and lay them over Lisa's eyes as a 5 minute mini treatment. Containing extracts of aloe vera, cucumber, calendula and chamomile, as well as vitamin E and pro-vitamin B5, Liz Earle herself taught me this trick for instantly refreshing weary and puffy eyes.NuBoCell Dynamic Velvet Cleansing Cream - £28Cell Dynamic The Essence - £200Cell Dynamic Eye Focus - £180White Diamond Radiance Cream - £80Instant Lip Perfection SPF15 - £38Shu UemuraDepsea Water (Lavender) - £16.50Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic - £12.50The Base..To achieve Lisa's luminous golden glow, I first primed her skin with NuBo Voile in Shade 5 Tan, smoothing over the neck and face.For her base, I went a a couple of shades darker than her natural fair complexion. In Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser Oil Free her natural match would be Nude, but for the shoot I used Fawn. I mixed it with a little Benefit Hollywood Glo (discontinued), a pearly pink liquid highlighter. A great alternative would be BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in Opal. After mixing together on the back of my hand, I buffed it into her skin with a synthetic foundation brush, starting in the central panel of her face, blending outwards, making sure I covered her neck, ears and decolletage. Using a synthet[...]

Back To Black


Back To Black..When my pal and co-collaborator (or should that be co-conspirator), the immensely talented photographer and post-production genius, James Burton called me up to do a high end lingerie shoot, it was only natural that Fred & Ginger London was the first luxury lingerie brand to spring to mind.Launched in 2007 by Victoria Holt, I had been sent their first look book when I was style and grooming editor at GT Magazine. Though I couldn't make their launch event, my brain carefully filed the brand away for future projects.Victoria held the position of senior designer at Jenny Packham for five years (a vintage-inspired and ultra-glamorous red carpet staple), which explains her affection for the finest silk, satin, Chantilly lace and Swarovski crystal trims in her own lingerie collections for Fred & Ginger.Oddly enough my friend the couture milliner Louis Mariette has designed hats for a Jenny Packham show, styled by our mutual friend, the London/Milan-based international stylist Michael Dye. It's a small world.It was such a pleasure working with the Fred & Ginger Black Label lingerie on this shoot. The pieces feel absolutely exquisite to the touch, so incredibly soft, yet robustly and intelligently engineered. They say the devil is in the detail and the brand wins hands down on this front. Our gorgeous model, Lisa @ MOT, was absolutely mad about the pieces she wore. She wanted to know how much they were and where she could purchase them, which is testament to their allure. The female studio manager was also under the spell of the Fred & Ginger London Black Label lingerie, lured to the styling table, like a sailor drawn to his peril by the siren's call.I'm enamoured of the fact that the collections are manufactured in the UK, which is brilliant for boosting not only domestic employment but also the global presence of a new luxury British lingerie brand.The French have always been synonymous with the most sumptuous, sensual lingerie, but with the rise of Fred & Ginger London, the people at Kiki de Montparnasse are going to have to watch their backs (and their profit and loss accounts). Top and below are the final shoot images, peruse the shots at your leisure, dream of the lingerie, or Lisa, or both - and simply click on the shots to admire them in all their glory.Black Label Balconette Bra - £110Black Label Satin Boy Shorts - £65Black Label Suspender Belt - £70www.fredandginger.comPhotographer - James Burtonwww.jamesburtonphotography.comModel - Lisa at MOTwww.motmodel.comHair - Cinta Millerwww.cinta-london.comMake-Up & Styling - Ian Brown[...]

Go On Now Glow


Go On Now Glow..There comes a time when we all need a boost. Having grown so much chest hair that I could have been mistaken for Burt Reynolds circa 1979 (all be it a rather inferior and pallid version) I decided to have a grooming intervention.I had been sent the Nair Exfoliating Hair Removal Cream some time ago and decided to give it a whirl. Being mixed race (Ethiopian / Eritrean / Scottish), I have relatively coarse body hair. The instructions suggested applying the cream to the desired areas and tugging at the hairs after 5 mins to gauge whether removal time was imminent. It isn't recommended to leave the product on for more than 10 mins. If like me, your hair is thick, you'd be better off allowing for the full 10 mins before grabbing a towel / wash cloth and gently rubbing the product (and your unwanted body hair) away. As with all hair removal products, the scent is rather foul - but it does what it says on the tin and leaves skin super smooth. I even discovered I still have abs, not bad considering I haven't hit the gym since December (FYI I'm tensing my stomach really hard in the pic above - we all have our insecurities). I'm also wearing my M&S pyjama bottoms but alas I haven't tapped into the SS12 pyjama chic catwalk trend, I simply wanted something loose-fitting that wouldn't leave me streakier than a rash of bacon.Having exfoliated my body religiously (with a Body Shop exfoliating mitt and regular shower gel), I allowed my body to dry fully and only applied moisturiser to my elbows, hands, knees and feet, in preparation of hitting the bottle hard (the fake tan bottle). I'm pro faking it, well, in the tanning sense at least, so I turned to TanTruth Rapid Tan to achieve that "I just got back from a lovely holiday" tan, the kind that develops overnight and lasts up to seven glorious days. There are so many positive factors RE faking a tan as opposed to baking thyself to the extreme and potentially damaging your skin and health permanently. No age spots, no break down of your skin's natural collagen and no skin cancer. This product has a gloriously fresh scent and miracle of miracles, it doesn't have that rancid generic fake tan chemical aroma. Furthermore, if you follow the steps above, then apply the product judiciously with the mitt provided, you can pretty much guarantee a deep, Barbados-esque glow, devoid of streaks or the dreaded "Tango Effect" (who wants to look like Snooki??). My favourite tan guru James Read recommends exfoliating every three days so that the tan wears off naturally. Once you're back to normal, simply repeat the process to get your glow on.I have to say I'm super pleased with the result, so much so that Sade's Smooth Operator has started playing in my head. LOL.Nair Exfoliating Hair Removal Cream RRP: £4.99 - £5.90 depending on retailer.Available from all major supermarkets and high street Rapid Tan 200ml - £ you're a tan enthusiast, check out tan guru James Read's Tantalist blog. He's the UK's leading authority on tanning and counts the likes of Victoria's Secret Angel Rosie Huntington-Whitely amongst his celebrity[...]

How Fame Met Fortune


How Fame Met Fortune..I'm currently dying over LA-based comedienne Fortune Feimster. Unashamedly Rubenesque, and an open and happy lesbian (go Fortune!), it's marvellous that such a talented and merrily self-deprecating woman is getting prime time exposure on a hit comedy show like Chelsea Lately. Having already gained a cult following with her hilarious stand up shows, she has created two comedic characters that are of special note; Darlene Witherspoon, a deliciously grotesque Hooters waitress with some "special" talents (see the video below for details of her full repertpoire), who boasts of often being asked if she is related to A-List actress Reese (love it): width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">Lastly we have Katina the Pole Dance Instructor "y'all know how Katina roll. What!"Not only did she help her man Snoop Dog to write the lyrics to "Drop It Like It's Hot", she's also something of a rising fashion star, just check out that "Von Douche" bag: width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">[...]

Some Like It Haute


Some Like It Haute..Back in September, I was booked to do a shoot for the fabulous Yoanna Hanchard, Founder and Director of High Fashion Society, a cult online fashion portal and multi-tiered virtual club that sells (and sources) a treasure trove of pre-loved designer clothing and accessories, in addition to offering a variety of styling services.The theme was "vintage glamour with a twist", with an emphasis on "moody eyes" and "perfect lips".I'll do a separate post with my memories of the shoot, behind-the-scenes pics and info on the make-up I used to create the two key looks.For now, here are the pics, I hope you like (just click on them to view the image full size).The Aquascutum check skirt and yellow quilted Chanel 2.55 purse have been sold..Louboutin's sell like hot cakes on the website..This paisley print silk maxi dress from Etro is so Florence Welch (it is available to purchase together with the blue Galliano shoes)..This vintage Chanel silk scarf and black quilted clutch are currently available..This black Hermes Birkin bag is no longer available..This black Celine alligator clutch is still available, together with the blue/black Herve Leger bandage dress..This Temperley London gown is still available..This red boucle tweed jacket from Chanel is still available..Photographer - Kelly MitchellAssistant Photographer - DougModel - Georgie Hobday @ Profile Model ManagementStylist - Yoanna HanchardAssistant Stylist - Zara HovelsasHair - Joel BenjaminMake-Up - Sebastian BrownThe team shot at Hotel Verta, Battersea, Londonwww.hotelverta.comJoin High Fashion Society to gain access to a highly covetable array of the finest designer[...]

Absolutely Fabulous


Absolutely Fabulous..I have to admit, I'm one of those people who is terrible at remembering names, but it's rare that I forget a face. So it was with some surprise, that when reading a press release about a splendid new tome entitled Fashion Fabulous London 2012, that I instantly recognised the "sartorial uniqueness" of milliner Tracy Rose. I often used to see Tracy (pictured above), a tabloid picture editor's dream, adorned with one of her own, larger-than-life, attention-grabbing creations on the London Fashion Week circuit. All I can say, is that this lady makes Donatella Versace look understated. But, and this is a BIG but, what I, and indeed most people love about London's fashion scene, is that it's a bit bonkers. Tracy, and indeed anybody else, could quite as easily look at my style of dress on any given day and like, or dislike what they see. One of the privileges of living in this uniquely tolerant, omni-cultural and fashion-forward city, is that to an extent, you can wear what you like without most people batting an eye lid. I may not like Tracy's outfits, but I do see how much Press coverage she has accrued over the years at horse racing events, and boy is she a smart cookie. It's a brave woman who has obscenely-long acrylic nail extensions painted to match the various colours in her outfit. Talons so long they'd give Freddy Krueger size envy. To be fair, what fun would the races be without all the champagne-sipping, people-watching and outfit scoring?? Lady Gaga, Rihanna, Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj have all adopted ultra-zany ensembles as part and parcel of their cartoonish Pop personae, and they're sitting front row at the couture shows while I type alone in my bedroom. Clearly, someone is having the last laugh, and FYI, it's not me.Hats off to Tracy, and her husband / co-writer and journalist Russell Rose (pictured above), for their new tome, Fashion Fabulous London 2012 is an accomplished and comprehensive guide to London style. Encompassing everything from the best of the city's markets, quirky independent urban retailers, and high street chains, to the heady glamour of Bond Street's boutiques, the book even advises on the most modish cafes and restaurants. Addresses, telephone numbers and website addresses are all provided. The couple devised a list of their Top 200 destinations, with an additional key serving as an indicator of "wow factor", choice, service and price.As a fellow fashion insider, I was keen to see whether some of the less obvious shopping destinations I frequent had been documented. Indeed they had been, Aquascutum, Aspinal of London, B Store, Beyond The Valley, Dover Street Market, Harrods, Harry's of London, Jaeger, Kokon to Zai, Liberty, Maison Martin Margiela, River Island, Selfridges, Stephen Webster, Topman, Turnbull & Asser, Unconditional and Zara were all present, not to mention markets such as Brick Lane, Spitalfields, Portobello, Greenwich, East Street and Camden. Even some of my favourite dining spots and watering holes made it into print, with classic haunts such as The Ivy, Claridges, Nobu and the Wolseley all receiving a well-deserved name check.An Amanda Wakely catwalk shot from the back cover.A Jil Sander boutique shot from the back cover.Fashion Fabulous London 2012 is priced at £12.99, available at Waterstone's, Harrods, Selfridges, Oliver Bonas and all major bookstores.[...]

Swagger Jagger


Swagger Jagger..Sir Mick Jagger, The Rolling Bones front man (Rolling Stones) and uber icon of music and style has inspired one of my favourite tracks right now."Moves Like Jagger" is a definite departure for Maroon 5, with the band's front man Adam Levine admitting the new sound was a commercial risk (but given the amount of air play the song's getting, it's fair to assume the risk paid off).A genre-defying blend of funk, R&B, pop, rock and dance, the track's music video concept and direction was left in the more than capable hands of Jonas Akerlund.Akerlund's previous music video credits include the Prodigy's "Smack My Bitch Up" and Madonna's "Ray of Light", making him the go-to man for cutting edge and progressive visual imagery.The track features a Ruben-esque Christina Aguilera, who brings her mega-lung, little-lady-big-sound to the mix. The video itself is a riot to watch, with various Jagger imitators taking to a large stage to strut, prance and rock-out in various 70's style outfits. Levine channels Jagger in a pair of hip-hugging uber skinny black trousers (bare chested naturally), while Aguilera's styling seems to reference Rolling Stones babes Bianca Jagger and Anita Pallenberg in a Biba-esque / Ossie Clark ensemble accessorised with a wide rimmed floppy black felt hat. It's worth mentioning that the majority of the extras look like they escaped from a) Woodstock, b) a 70's Fleetwood Mac concert or c) Cameron Crowe's Almost Famous (one of my all time favourite films). The styling in the latter is superb, with Kate Hudson the epitome of bohemian chic in a series of diaphanous chiffon outfits, punctuated with shag-tastic fur trimmed Afghan coats (Yeah Baby Yeah).Adam and the artist formerly known as X-Tina doin' their thangNow, a look at Jagger and friends over the decades:Marianne Faithful and Mick circa the 60'sMick and Bianca circa the 70'sAnita Pallenberg and Keith Richards circa the 70'sAndy Warhol and Mick circa the 70'sA Warhol print of Mick circa the 70'sMick and Jerry Hall circa the late 70's / early 80'sMick flanked by Keith Richards (who seems to be spoofing his signature posturing and pout)The iconic Rolling Stones Hot Lips logoThe Rolling Stones Hot Lips logo immortalised in this equally iconic piece of bijoux from uber-jeweller Solange Azagury Partridge (sigh). width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">The making of Maroon 5's Moves Like Jagger (featuring Christina Aguilera), directed by Jonas Akerlund width="420" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="">The official music video of Maroon 5's Move Like Jagger (featuring Christina Aguilera), directed by Jonas Akerlund[...]