I got the 411 last night from Nails Inc. pros who told me that the formula is much more sparkly due to cut particles in it, which creates faceted fragments, and creates dazzle like precious stones.
You have to wear it over a base colour. Nails Inc. suggests, Black Taxi (black) or other darker shades for a more dramatic effect. I've worn Royal Arcade (sapphire)(right in picture) on top of a new trend bright blue shade: Baker Street(left in picture).
I say if you plan on clubbing, partying, or going somewhere special wear this ultimate accessory. Who wants to just wear one ring with a few carats, when you can get MEGA WATTS on all 10?
Nail Jewellery from Nails Inc. is available now at all Nails Inc. Nationwide or on their website at:
Continuing the celebrations of launching the first ever Lola & Grace store (Swarovski) shoppers will be able to pick up exclusive keys in-store from April 13-15th to unlock doors in a newly built world of Lola & Grace. The installation is in the shape of an ampersand, and located on the 1st floor. Use your key to unlock the doors to discover a sweet shop, secret disco, a cinema and photo booth! There are tons of prizes that can be won by unlocking each door.
What's behind this secret door? Movies? Even mini bags of popcorn to enjoy the shows are given! Sweet! Enjoy the show....
Tons of prizes to be won:
Take your key after to the store and try to UNLOCK the jewellery box filled with other fabulous experiences to win, chosen by fashion bloggers fifi lapin & Holly Chavez
ULTIMATE "UNLOCK LONDON" prize is a private party for you and up to 50 friends with canapes, cocktails, and the best music from DJS Yasmin & Orlando Boom at a secret London Location!
More to come to win, and to discover all throughout April: join the Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/lolaandgrace
Want to get a fresh or new perspective on your skin for Spring? You’re in luck ladies…join Re’Vive in their annual Renewal Workshop! It’s free, and some great advice on how to get fabulous and fresh!
Join Senior Vice-President Hylton Lea for an EXCLUSIVE Personal Consultation followed by a decadent Mini Facial from Revive’s skincare specialist.
Every customer who purchases two of the recommended skincare products will receive a luxury goody bag which includes a deluxe of the NEW Moisturizing Renewal Cream Supreme and other great products.
April 19- 10am-2pm at Liberty of London call: 0207 734 1234 ext: 2074
April 19- 3pm-7pm at Harrods call: 0207 730 1234
April 20- 10am-onwards at SpaceNK Hans Crescent call: 0207 581 25 18
From April 4th, Bare Escentuals will launch the READY Collection- A collection of solid mineral make-up in easy to carry compact cases. Created through a unique cold-pressed method, it contains sea nutritive mineral complex, anti-oxidants, and anti-aging ingredients for smoother softer skin.
READY Eye shadows 2.0 at £19/4.0 at £29- Coming in duos or quads, these eye shadows contain cold pressed borange oil, caffeine and cucumber. Super bonus about them is that they can help reduce puffiness, are long-wearing, and non-drying. Contains no preservatives, talc, fragrance or other nasty chemicals.
READY Touch up Veilsat £22- Gives that flawless look. Touch up throughout the day, and wear this powder that feels like a cream. Cold-pressed grape seed oil gives nourishment, while it also has a broad spectrum SPF15 to have you fully-covered! How’s that for coverage?
Brow Guru, Shavata, has teamed up with Fashion Targets Breast Cancer, the flagship fashion campaign of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, to raise money to fight breast cancer. A set of tweezers and compact mirrors will go on sale May 1st, 2012. You can pre-order online:www.shavata.co.uk from April 1st, 2012. Each product sold will see 30% donated to Fashion Targets Breast Cancer.
Did you know that:
1 in 8 women will be diagnosed at some point in their lives
48,000 women and 300 men are diagnosed every year
And 1000 women die each month from the disease
Fashion Targets Breast Cancer helps to change some of these staggering figures by enabling early detection, ensuring precise diagnosis, and providing better treatments. So far, FTBC has raised £12 million Breakthrough Breast Cancer life-saving work.
This little budgie is my wee friend Budde (yes, pronounced 'Budda').You can see that Budde takes great pride in beauty (sometimes he can be a bit narcistic) as he's giving tips to his green birdie toy here.
At the moment, Budde and all his feathered friends are HOT as prints everywhere on the highstreet. So if you're looking for something in print, make sure it's got wings!
Now if you don't fancy wearing birdie prints, but would still like to follow the trend, next up, is a feathers statement necklace DIY Project...
You will need:
Needle & Thread
1 metre of feather trimming
1 metre of wide silk ribbon
1 metre of narrow silk ribbon/ 1.5-2cm in width
Some barley or small dry beans or seeds
Over the years of being in the skincare business I have found that special treatment products like facial masks are not popular with everyone. Many women openly admit that they do not do facial masks at home because they do not have the time, or that they feel that their time is being wasted, while waiting for the mask to dry. They also whine that the process of taking it off is lengthy. Others prefer for somebody else to do it in a facial, but then it is hard to justify the costs of regular facials.
Consider doing a weekly facial mask to be equivalent to taking vitamins, or perhaps going for a jog or going to the gym. We do the other things because we want to feed our bodies or flush out toxins. So, why not with our skin?
I personally think that doing this ritual is no different to that or to shaving your legs. My response to women that tell me that they do not have time is: Rubbish! This is because masks can be put on first thing in the morning, while we make lunches or breakfast, or put the kettle on. They can be taken off after 10-15 min, either in the shower, or after we brush our teeth. If one doesn’t want to do it in the morning, they can do it in the evenings, while watching their favourite tv show, and take it off during a commercial break. There is no excuse. Oh yes, and to the men or partners that tease us in our households, well, beware, there are tribes of us out there waiting to make you our next human sacrifice.
Masks can make such a difference not only to the face, but also to the eyes with eye masks, and the hair with hair masks. They can make us more vibrant,
refreshed, and lifted, and so this spring, I encourage all of you to celebrate yourselves in discovering masks and joining in on the Mask-er-aid!
The key to finding the right mask is to ask the questions: Do I need it? Or do I have (blank)? Some Anti-Ageing Masks help with noticeable wrinkles and expression lines, while other help with firming or plumping of the skin. Another tip is to look at the key ingredients and how it actually helps or work. I’ve done some research on your behalf, and will introduce some new masks that will help with wrinkles, expression lines, plumping, and firming, and one that can possibly lift a few years off your driver’s license.
Thalgo: Hyaluronic Mask; £32, 50ml, Available atwww.thalgo.com or phone a customer service line to order on: +44(0) 207 512 0872
Thalgo is a Professional Polynesian brand and a leader in marine beauty. Within their HYALURONIC range is the Hyaluronic Mask that works to instantly re-plump the face and fill in marked wrinkles. Hyaluronic Acid is the key active ingredient in this product, as it is essentially what smoothes out and fills in the lines or wrinkles. Hyaluronic Acid is a special protein that exists in all living organisms. Within the human body it in the fluid of our joints and is abundant in our skin. As we age or grow older, our bodies produce less of it, and that is why it is now a key component in many different brands or products in Anti-Ageing skincare. You might also want to know that it is a powerful and excellent at plumping and hydrating, because the Hyaluronic Acid molecule works by holding its own weight in water by a thousand times.
This is a great mask to do either once a week, or just before you go out for an evening or to an event. You have to apply it generously onto the skin for 20 min and then wash it off with warm water. It does tingle a little bit, as that should be the indication that it is working. I find for what it can do, this product is extremely good in value, and would recommend it to anyone who is looking for anti-ageing mask where they can see a significant difference.
Nubo: White Diamond Ice Glow Mask; £100, 50ml, Available at Harrods, Fenwicks, Bond St., andwww.nubo.com
Nubo is one of my most recent favourite brands in skincare because their products do not contain parabens, SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, which basically what makes products bubble), irritating petro-chemicals, and synthetic colours or fragrances. Their products are cellular, which means that it works deep into the skin beyond the surface.
The White Diamond Mask is cutting-edge because it restores and rebalances while kick-starting the detoxification process. This mask is good for re-energizing, plumping, evening tone of the skin, reducing puffiness and expression lines, and best of all restores facial volume. The mask was inspired by the traditional Russian “Banya” or sauna, where the treatment captures the essence of the extreme change of temperatures. The key ingredients that you benefit from in this mask are:
But don’t just take my word for it….See what Melissa Odabash has to say about it:
Top Tip when using this product: Steam the skin with a hot flannel or face towel to allow the pores to fully open. Apply a thin layer to the forehead, while a generous layer to the face. Leave the mask on for 15 min and relax. Remove with warm flannel or face towel with warm water. Use this mask twice a week.
Gazelli: Triple Youth, Ultra Nourishing Saviour Mask; £25, 75ml, Available at Urban Retreat:www.urbanretreat.co.uk
Gazelli uses this little poem on the lip of the boxes to describe the feeling this mask gives:
“Her cheeks so beautiful and bright, Had stole the moon’s refulgent light “- Ghazel by Nizami XII c.
Last month I went for a facial at Urban Retreat with Gazelli. This is the mask they had used in the treatment. It leaves the skin feeling deeply hydrated, and radiant. Best of all, you feel that the skin is nourished or fed, without it being greasy or sticky.
The key ingredients in this are:
I would recommend this mask to anyone who has had a lack of nutrients inside out, and feels tired. It really goes to create a radiant glow to the skin, and the smell takes you away to a warm summer day in a fruit orchard in Azerbaijan.
Top Tip when using this product: Mix a bit of drop of the Triple Youth Face Serum into a 50p coin size of the mask. Apply all over the face avoiding eye area, and then leave on to go to bed. You will awake to the most amazing glowing skin! Wash in the morning with warm water and pat dry. Recommended to use once a week.
Eye masks are essential for most people because we wear our peepers out all the time in from of computers. The no.1 reason you should use an eye mask and try to keep the eye area looking youthful as possible is because the eye area is where skin ages first.
Now, there is an old home remedy of eye mask made with cucumbers. You just pop two slices of cucumbers on. Cucumbers are great if you have puffiness, or want to relieve tierd eyes. You can also do the same with two tea bags.
To see the difference, and get rid of the lines, and make that area look youthful and refreshed, I do recommend that you use a proper eye mask. For any fine lines around the area, all is needed is one key word: hydration. Fine lines are not wrinkles. These lines appear because the skin is dry, and if you hydrate the area it will disappear.
Bliss Spa: Triple Oxygen Eye Instant Energizing Eye Masks; £35.80, pack of 4 pairs, Available atwww.blissworld.co.uk , Selfridges, Harvey Nichols, and Bliss Spa at 60 Sloane Avenue
One pair of eye masks that you can see and feel that difference is Bliss Spa’s: Triple Oxygen Eye Instant Energizing Eye Masks. To keep the ingredients fresh, there’s a smart packaging of two pods. Simply push the pod with the liquid until it pops and leaks into the pod with the eyes masks. Peel away the packaging, and apply underneath the eyes. The result is like you’ve slept your 10 Snow White Hours!
There are masks on the market that do a two in one, so instead of getting a separate exfoliator, and for you lazier moos out there, I recommend masks that exfoliate. Exfoliation, or the sloughing of dead skin, is important before a mask, because it helps to reveal fresh skin, or new cells. This is where ‘glow’ or ‘brightness’ of the skin comes from doing a mask. Think of it as sweeping or vacumming before you mop a floor, would you get the same cleaning result if you just mopped?
The first non-abbrasive exfoliator or one without bits in it I had used years ago, was one from YSL. Any French brand will refer to exfoilators as gommage. Since then, there have been many appearing on the market. One in particular that stands out is Dr. Sebagh’s Deep Exfoliating Mask.
Dr. Sebagh: Deep Exfoilating Mask; £59, 50ml. Available at Liberty of London and John Lewis onlinewww.johnlewis.com
I find this mask a good one to use for the super lazy because it will do all the work for you. It is not for those who don’t like a tingle though, as it is super tingly. It contains three kinds of natural acids: Azelaic, glycolic and lactic. Azelaic acid comes from wheat or barley, and thus, is a great oil absorber. Glycolic comes from fruit, mainly citrus, and lactic acid comes from milk. All these are known in skincare terminology as AHA’s, or alpha-hydroxy acids. AHA’s have been used for centuries to rejuvenate the skin, and do so by removing or buffing away the surface dead layers of skin cells.
GlamGlow’s Mud Mask: £49.99, 50ml; Available at Feel Unique.com:http://www.feelunique.com/p/GlamGlow-Mud-Mask-50ml?gclid=CJfvpPzejK8CFQ1lfAodgBwa-A
If you like a proper scrub, and like mud-masks then you will like Glamglow’s Mud Mask. Originally developed for Hollywood’s entertainment, music, fashion and award industries, it gives the skin an incredible camera-ready glow. The three main ingredients in this product are: Volcanic Rock, French Sea Clay, and Green Tea Leaf pieces.
I have to say that the volcanic rock pieces were a bit rougher than I usually like on my face. However, having said that, it’s superior for getting rid of blackheads. Speaking of which did you know that blackheads do not exist in the way you think it does? A blackhead is actually oxidized sebum or oil in the pores, and when light reflects from the skin it makes it look black. So they next time you see blackheads don’t’ squeeze. There is nothing inside. It’s better to use a mud mask to absorb and clear out the oils.
Glamglow’s mud mask certainly gave me a radiant glow. Apparently it also works to activate moisturizing collagen synthesis of the skin, while absorbing impurities without removing the natural oils of the skin. There are no artificial colours or fragrances in this product.
If you think it has rock-star appeal, check out what Tommy Lee had to say about it:
“ I am in Love with it! It feels so cleansing and gives you a refreshing glow at the end”-Tommy Lee, Rockstar
So now we’re done with the face, let’s turn our heads here to masks for hair. Not often do most think of fussing with masks for their tresses, but I believe that this is a crucial step. Afterall, I am assuming that we have all been told at one point or other that the first thing people see is our face/head/hair. Surely, that is why most girlies would cry if they had a bad hair cut or perm job, and that the hairdresser is on most of our iphones’ speed dial.
I suffer with a beast, which sometimes gets the best of the beauty in me. The beast is thick, coarse, and hard to care for. Failing to style most of the time, I tie it back into plaits, or pony-tails, and hope that one day it will behave. The only master of my wonderful pet is my hairdresser Martynas, who I only see once a quarter of the year, and he doesn’t even, live in this country!
Upon going to the salon the last time, I complained about beast, and Martynas suggested that I get into using hair masks. During London Fashion Week, at Toni & Guy’s Blow Dry Bar, KayLeigh had mentioned a new range of Age-Defying Therapy products which included a Recovery Mask.
Label.m is an extensive range of ‘edge-driven’ prescriptive hair care products developed by Toni & Guy International Artistic Team, led by Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck (Global Creative Director). The new Therapy Age-Defying range counters: Coarseness, Thinness, Dryness and Weakness.
We all know that hair is essentially non-living so how does it age?
Apparently, although the hair is not living, the cuticle from where it is made up, of Keratin fibers, lives and wears away as we age. The Therapy range helps to repair the gaps which form inside the strands. The science behind the product is a global patent-pending Rejuven-8 Complex. Its’ key ingredients such as White Caviar which helps to boost immediately at a cellular level; French Lupine Lipo-Peptites, that accent the hairs’ radiance and illumination; Danish Hyaluronic Acid, the most elite grade available of Hyaluronic Acid, which helps deliver hydration below the surface; and 5 and 6 Glycolic Acid from Turbinado and Palm Sugars, which promote deep penetration of hydration and strengthening benefits. This range is Sulphate-free.
Percy & Reed London: Totally TLC Hydrating Mask, £20, 175ml. Available at stockist on their site:http://www.percyandreed.com/product/4-totally-tlc-hydrating-mask
I recommend Percy and Reed London’s Totally TLC Hydrating Mask to anyone who is looking to restore vitality in their locks. The consistency is not so much a cream, but almost gel like. Super ingredients such as coconut oil, mango oil, marshmallow extract and aloe vera gel help to restore the moisture, and give the hair a fresh bounce back. I personally do not like the smell of this product, as I find it strong. However, having said that it has become one of my favourite products to use because of the result it gives. There are no silicones in this product, and comes with a cute bonnet to help temperatures rise and gets the product working. It is because of the creation of higher temperatures that helps to intensify the conditioning process in this product straight to the cuticles.
So there you have it, masks are not here to hide behind, but bring us to optimal beauty glory! I’m not quite finished yet, read the next piece about some unusual beauty masks that you can wear out….
Not your typical beauty mask, Face-Lace, by Phyllis Cohen, is the new ultimate accessory if you want to make a statement. Face-Lace was first seen and made its debut at the Corrie Neilson show at London Fashion week last month.
For those of you who don’t know Phyllis Cohen, she is not your typical make-up artist. Instead, she prefers to be called a “Face-Fanatic”, as she has had no formal training in make-up. With a BA and MA in Fine Art from the Art Centre, in Pasadena, California, and Goldsmith’s College in London, Cohen has been drawing and painting faces for over 35 years. From music elite: Janet Jackson, Billy Idol, David Bowie and Alice Cooper to beauties, such as, Yasmin le Bon and Erin O’Connor.
Phyllis tells me that the seed for face-lace has been cultivating since the 1980s when she worked for a brand of cosmetics called “Miners Cosmetics”. At the time she was doing monthly looks based on horoscope signs and was painting and creating designs on faces. Although a success and getting letters expressing how much her looks were loved, the only frustration was that people could not attain the skills to copy the make-up looks. Over the next decade Phyllis made appliqués for fashion shows such as Zara Rhodes, and it was then that she started experimenting and making stencils with vinyls. Just two years ago, it occurred to Phyllis that perhaps the vinyls could be worn alone on the face, as decorative designs. She was glad to have finally achieved a product that could please enthusiasts that was so quick and easy to use.
To test her new idea, Phyllis showed face-lace to a stylist friend, and asked if there was a fashion designer who might be interested to collaborate. Hence, she found Corrie Neilson and debut Face-lace at this year’s London Fashion Week.
“I was thrilled to be collaborating with her as her designs were so stunning. The structure of them was amazing and she was combining fabrics in such a fascinating way, around her studio were dozens and dozens of historical references to 18 century tartans We had a show hair and makeup trial, and decided to try tartan lace, we met back up again and played around with placement and decided to use it like a half veil, which I thought looked very elegant.” – Phyllis Cohen
Face-Lace is incredibly easy to use. The designs come with a hypoallergenic adhesive backing, and all you do is peel them off of the backing sheet, using the tabs, apply where you want, remove tabs and press remainder down. They are re-useable on a clean face or one with light make-up. To remove, all you have to do is gently, and carefully, not to rip the design, peel or remove as you would with false eyelashes. Lay them back flat on the paper in the box.
I am super excited to try Face-lace as soon as it is available for sale. I’ll be trying it out for wedding, and special events this summer. I find that it makes a statement no false eyelash or fascinator could.
From March 31, they will be online for sale at www.face-lace.com Price ranges from £13.95-£19.95.
We’ve all been there: to the make-up events of the beauty halls in department stores or for their events when their make-up artists come as a special feature or guest. The usual outcome ladies, is that we end up buying the lot of make-up, bringing it home, and wonder how we’re going to use all these products. Worst is that nine times out of ten, we feel at lost with how to re-create the original look the artist did when we went for the make-over in the first place.
Well, let me let you in on an incredible secret: Jemma Kidd Masterclass at home. Re-nowned, international make-up artist, Jemma Kidd founded her academy: Jemma Kidd Make-up School in 2003. The school offered pro-classes to those in pursuit of a make-up career, and non-pro classes for anyone wanting to learn make-up skills. As the pro-classes became increasingly popular, Jemma decided to launch a mobile teaching service in 2011: Masterclass at Home. I will tell you all the details you need to know about the masterclasses at home in a moment, but first let me tell you why I highly recommend this school to everyone and anyone.
I went along to an early evening session at the school this month with some other bloggers. When the event started we were asked to remove our make-up and sit at some desks. Yes, they were like desks you sat at in school! Jemma started to introduce to us how she came to build the school, and classes, and left us with our teacher for the evening: Korbin. Korbin is also Jemma’s international make-up artist. He started us on some simple foundations of make-up like natural hair versus synthetic hair on brushes:
Korbin: Why would you use a natural brush versus a synthetic brush? And vice-versa?
Class A+ Answer: Natural hairs or fibres make it easier to pick up powders. This is because natural hairs have scales which can hold powder to the brush until applied to the face. Synthetic fibres are great for cream based products such as concealers or lipsticks because they are able to provide a heavier coverage.
Korbin then moved us onto colour theory 101:
Korbin: Take for example primary colours: Red, blue and yellow. If you take one colour away, let’s say red, and then blend blue and yellow, which makes green, we know that the opposite of red is green. Green is the colour that will correct red, so if one has red on their face then they would want to use some green pigments to help conceal or correct it.
Class A+ Answer: Take Blue. Blend Yellow and Red= Orange. Opposite colour to correct blue is orange.
And so with the basics out of the way, Korbin led us to applying the theory to the face, literally! We started applying Mannequin Skin which is like a primer but enriched with vitmin A, C, E, and an illuminating highlighter. This was followed by a tinted moisturizer. I have to admit that I failed this bit of the make-up lesson a bit, as I was warned not to rub it too hard, making it look like it was all going on and off at the same time. I suppose being a skincare girl for the most part of my career I never took great attention or detail to how I was applying my make-up. In fact, even though I owned every brush there is, it dawned on me that I knew little about application, or perhaps had some rather out-dated techniques taught to me by my mother and my auntie.
The third product we applied was a Mannequin Skin Illuminating Concealer. This is a great product because on one side there’s a concealer, but on the other side an illuminator. We were taught that we should gently tap the concealer in underneath the eyes area, onto the eye lids, and around the nose or chin as needed. With the illuminator we should apply and tap a bit just under the arch of the brows, and to the side or corners of the eyes, and let me tell you, what a difference this makes. It really opens up your eyes, or should I say, this technique for me was a real eye-opener!
After our make-up lesson, Jemma came up on stage to continue the evening by walking us through the new JK make-up line, and more nifty-updates. This spring, the new JK line will be available on www.asos.com and www.jemmakidd.com
The products in this collection are:
Mannequin Skin Complexion Enhancer £14- An ultra-light base . Can be used on bare skin or underneath foundation as a primer/base.
Mannequin Skin Perfection Kit £13- A quad of colour correctors to correct redness, darkness, even out the skintone and accentuate features
Now here’s something you should know….
With every product purchased from Jemma Kidd a donation of £1.25 will be made to provide a family of five with much needed sight-saving treatment in Ethiopia. Jemma was explaining to us that for years she wanted to do a project to help others. On a trip to Ethiopia, Jemma was inspired to help those who suffered from diseases which causes blindness. In partnership with ORBIS Jemma created the VISIONfund to help prevent and eliminate conditions like trachoma-the most common cause of infectious blindness.
So as you can see the non-pro make-up lessons are great because they provide great basic insight to make-up application that made sense. The masterclasses at home are available at £20 per head, with a minimum booking of six people. Classes include: Perfecting Skin and Mastering Natural Make-up, Becoming Yummy Mummy, Night-Time Glamour and masterclass at Work. Most interesting is the course for teens called ‘Beauty Foundations’.
A fresh new fashion line for Swarovski has recently landed at Stratford Westfield’s. Lola & Grace is a fun and incredibly affordable line for 18-25 year olds that will add a bit of sparkle to your everyday. The name of the brand gives way to two different personalities: Lola, who is sassy, rock n’roll, fun and flirty; and Grace, who is pretty, lady-like, feminine, and soft in her approach. The line is also about these two personalities, being friends, and sharing their different styles with each other, and thus, the range is also about interchanging styles in young women.
I went along to the launch of the first store of this brand at Westfields on the morning of March 8th. It was a sunny mild day, and coincided with Marni Mania at H&M. I was more excited on that morning to go to the Lola & Grace event, because the first 50 customers, who brought old jewellery to recycle in exchange, would get a £50 gift voucher to spend on the store’s collections. Arriving at 9:30, I was about 20th in line, and it took another 20 min before another 20 people stood behind me. When the doors finally opened at 10am, the tiny store was flooded with girls, dropping their old necklaces, brooches, and bracelets into a bowl before choosing the jewellery that would suit them and getting style advice from the staff.
As the customers chose and chatted away, some like moi, mulled on styles while nibbling on a Lola mini red velvet cupcake. Perhaps because I had already surpassed the age for this range, I found some of the pieces didn’t suit me, as I wanted to go for more simplistic statement pieces, rather than sparkly ones. Near the door I found some enamel bracelets that were key on trend for the season. They came in a variety of colours, either with or without designs and more than reasonable in price. The twin set was £13.90, while the heart printed one was £11.90.
Another piece that had a bit of statement sparkle was this crystal ring in coral. The assistant manager gave me the advice that the ring suited my skin tone without it being too flashy or sparkly. This piece was a bit pricier but worth its weight as it is a double banded ring with gold, and silver at £31.90.
My verdict is that there is something there for everybody. There are also some pretty candy drop styles, and multi-strands with chains and pearls. I’ve decided that although probably my personality has matured into a Grace, there was still a Lola somewhere deep inside of me.
And these are some of the sets that could add a bit of pretty, but brighten up any outfit whether you go clubbing or a wedding party for the day: (Set from £29.90)
All month, the store will continue to celebrate it’s opening at Westfield’s with an interactive screen where two friends can play together to try to win prizes from the store. Look out for their events, and styles of jewellery at: www.lolaandgrace.com
You can also join them on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/sharer/sharer.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lolaandgrace.com%2Fblog%2F
We’ve all heard the taunts from the opposite sex about how much make-up we are wearing. We have put up with all the jokes that we have to cement our faces on before we go out; and most of us would probably admit that we would not go out without a full face on.
Perhaps the number one reason for this is that most of us are insecure about some feature of our face, or lack the skills to highlight out best features. I remember years ago my homeroom teacher in high school, Mr. Morris, used to say to us as we collected our annual school photos: “If you’re unhappy about the photos or think that you look ugly, blame your parents, not the photographer”. So if we cannot change our natural features, unless, we go to extremes of plastic surgery, what can we do?
I do not know any woman who has not gone to some beauty counter to do a make-over, but who has done a make-under? A few weeks ago I went for a make-under at the Bare Escentuals boutique in Covent Garden. Only Bare-Escentuals offers this service of showing you a step-by-step application of how to use the products to reveal or enhance the best features on your face. I found it a breath of fresh air in terms of the make-up scene. (By the way, if you thought the brand was Bare Minerals it’s not, Bare Minerals is a line within the brand.)
When I first sat in the chair, I was hesitant of the thought of using powders to do my whole face. I was dubious to how a bit of powder could give me coverage, if any at all, although the prospect of wearing little make-up never bothered me.(Those who know me, will now laugh, because they all know that I can never tear myself away from La Prairie’s Caviar Foundation.) This is because having been in skincare for most of my career, while I was in the business, it was important to wear a natural look.
As we progressed into the make-under, I was impressed at how the little amounts used could give the full-coverage it did. The whole process was all to do with little amounts, swirling and tapping the brush, and blending it in. Apparently, as it is a mineral based make-up it works with the natural oils of the skin to hold on. At the end of the make-under my complexion was flawless. I have to admit, it was a real eye-opener, and true to the old adage in beauty: Less is more. Check out how you can book your free make-under at Bare Escentuals and all the neat starter kits they do at: www.bareminerals.co.uk
We have all at one point or another spoken about desert island products. Probably the reason we would say it deserved that title was because how we much we love it. I’m a bit more rational when it comes to this conversation because I believe for a product to deserve this title it also has to be practical. Can you really use it on a desert island, if you were truly stranded? To a less extreme, let’s say you had limited access to let’s say water, like at a festival, could you use it?
I was rather impressed with Premae Skincare’s Radiance Boost Cleansing Oil when I put it to the test. When it first landed on my desk, I have to admit that I was dubious. Over the years, I have used numerous cleansing oils, from the original formula of Shu Uemura, to less known names from South East Asia. All these cleansing oils require the use of water, where the oil is applied to a dry face (with or without make-up) and massaged in before removing with warm water. The main idea of these oils is that it removes all make-up, including eye make-up, as a one-step cleanser that turns into a milky texture when the water is used.
Premae’s Radiance Boost Cleansing Oil requires no water in its use. Instead, the oil is applied on with a cotton wool pad, and then removed with toner on a cotton wool pad. The result is beyond any expectations. It removes all heavy eye make-up like mascara, and liner, and the heaviest foundation leaving no residue. I want to emphasize that word “no” because it truly does not leave make-up or oily residue to the face. I used a damp cloth and went over the face again, and there was not a trace of make-up or oil on the skin. With this triumph I think it has to be the best cleansing oil I have used in history. I can think of many situations where it would save the day, like at weddings, for quick refreshing of make-ups, festivals, where water is limited, travelling on airplanes, where perhaps one would like to clean off the 3am make-up and look fresh off the plane.
I also highly recommend this product because Premae Skincare is the world’s first allergen free skincare brand. It ingredients are 100% vegan friendly, and candida-friendly, meaning that it is free from sugars and fruit oils that can cause skin irritations. Other allergens it is free from are milk, eggs, peanuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish. It is also free from SLS, Sulphates, alcohol, lanolin, beeswax, parabens, ureas, MEA/DEA/TEA and any synthetic colours or fragrances as well as polymers and quats.
With the Radiance Boost Cleansing oil, its key ingredients are Clary Sage Oil, which acts as an antiseptic, as well as have calming effects. It contains a vast range of vitamin B1,B2,B3,B5 &B6 which really helps the skin to be healthy, as well as vitamins A and E. Linoleic acid, known for its anti-inflammotory, acne reductive, and moisture rententive properties also help the immune and encourages cell regeneration. (Linoleic acid, is an essential fatty acid found in our skin). So with that huge mouthful out of the way, how’s that for desert island product?
Premae Skincare is 100% British, and made in the UK. Radiance Boost Cleansing Oil is available for £24, 100ml online at: www.premaeskincare.com
Now here’s an underground fashion secret: Chung-Rowe at the Spitafields market. I first came across this unique designer about a year ago while strolling after a Sunday lunch. The designs are unusual and unique and you may find one piece of cloth in a variety of styles depending on her mood.
Sitting with Jackie Chung-Rowe, on a sunny afternoon, in a Covent Garden pub sipping green tea, she tells me that she would rather be known as a fashion designer who has created designs to inspire others rather than making it a global household name. With these fashion standards you can already tell that Jackie is not into Mc-clothing on the high street. With slight hesitation she admits to me that she has never stepped into a Primark. She was relieved to find out that I am not a fan of Primani, or what the girls in Edinburgh used to call, Glasgow’s Prada.
With excitement Jackie tells me of a line that she has been working on, that made its debut at the recent LFW: Hokum Hokum. The line will be made available to both men and women, and is described to be easy to wear + edgy + hand finishing= sounds good to me! While her Chung-Rowe collection sells at the Spitafields Market on Saturday and Sundays for between £30-50 a piece, the Hokum Hokum collection will be pricer, between £100s and only available by order only. What I especially like about Jackie as a designer is that the pieces she makes are hand-finished, and anyone can make the pieces their own. She also makes bespoke pieces and is now setting up a new studio in East London.
For more information on Hokum Hokum visit her Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Hokum-hokum/195534257127429?sk=photos
One definite trend this summer will be the friendship bracelet. I have seen many from those on ASOS to those in a market stall in Spitafields Market. My problem with them is that they are not so upmarket, and you risk looking either like a) a hippy or b) you have not outgrown the summer camp phase since 14 when wearing a friendship bracelet was actually cool. Well, that was until I found these ones at Monica Vinader.
Monica Vinader is an award-winning Spanish jewellery designer who has studio in Norfolk, UK. The inspiration for her pieces comes from countries all over the world, in their nature, colour, adventure and culture. The Fiji and Rio bracelets come in Sterling Silver and 18 ct rose or yellow gold vermeil. All the colour threads are hand plaited. Each colour and stone has its own meaning.
A few examples in the stones:
Orange Sapphire= Joy
White Topaz= Creativity
And a few example of colours of the threads:
Navy = Courage
Another good thing about these is not only the choice in colour or stones, but also the choice in gold or silver. They range starting from £85-£145, and are available at their boutique on South Molton Street, Harrods, Liberty and Selfridges.
For those who would like to make ooos and ahhs in an entrance look no further than La Mu`ete boutique on the back of Carnaby Street. Tucked away at No.37 Marshall Street, La Mu`ete, offers designer brands hand-picked in Paris. The quality and the cutting of the clothing guarantees to give you what the French call: Je ne sais quoi.
I personally, would describe the pieces to be fashion forward while still being reasonable or affordable. If you’re looking for something unique to wear to a party, event, or chic chic for work this is the place to go.
On a mid-morning, I went to meet Alex, the owner of Lamu`ete, to style up some looks to inspire for spring and summer. Alex showed me loads of pieces on the key trend of sorbet colours. Outstanding is this Elisabetta Franchi dress with crystals, a tier layer effect and unfinished threads. I can think of many places where this dress might appear, including the horse races, a wedding or an annual event to name a few. You can see that the piece reminds you of designers such as Louis Vuitton, and Dior, but at a snip of the price at £450.
Next up, casual lunch or weekend chic, I styled a pair of silk navy trousers and yellow silk t-shirt ensemble. The details of the gold dots on the pockets of the shirt make this piece feminine while still being simple and understated. The trousers are matching with the dots, and create a modern and relaxed style. I suggest to wear with heels to dress it up, or a pair of ballerinas if you’re going casual lunching!
Another example of the detailing which makes these simple pieces supreme to wear from day to night is this Koshka Mashka dress (£250; 164 Silver Necklace-£35). This piece reminds me very much of Luella, and perfect to wear to day time function. Also great with a jacket to the office!
My verdict is that you can’t go wrong with this boutique. Alex will definitely not style you wrong for any event, and the chances someone else wearing the same dress is second-to-none, as she does not get in many of the same pieces.
If you’re not in London, some of La Mu`ete’s pieces are also available on www.shoparazzi.com
Visions of children and just about everyone biting the ears off a chocolate Easter bunny or cracking open an Easter egg comes to mind with Easter just around the corner. I’ve tried hard to resist the windows and counters of just about every chocolate shop in London, have you? As I was planning to write this feature on probably the number one sweet treat of all time, a peculiar thought came to me: Who makes the best Easter chocolate? And if there was someone who made the best, what makes it so?
I decided that perhaps the answers to my questions were matters down to tastes, shapes, and price. With quality chocolate going for £13-£15 a kilo, and with recent austerity, the £1 Cadbury Easter eggs now available in pound shops are probably good enough for many to satisfy their sweet tooth. However, in my case, I admit that I am a snob when it comes to chocolate. If you consider the richness of chocolate, it is not something that can be eaten in mass quantity, and therefore, why eat cheap chocolate? Chocolate should be eaten and enjoyed like good wine, champagnes, and coveted like high-end fashion couture. Furthermore, cheaper end chocolates mix all sorts of other fats into their coco-butter, hence leaving after tastes. If the coco-butter is organic and pure, the taste should be clean. So, as far as I’m concerned, my Easter bunny has to be artisan, and I absolutely refuse to bite into a dirty £1 chocolate bunny!
I then began researching artisan chocolatiers in London and decided to feature my favourite three of all time: Rococo Chocolates, Cocomaya Chocolates, and Jeff De Bruges. Jeff De Bruges may not be considered to be artisan, but worth considering, as they are the only one in the UK on the high-end Belgium chocolate front.
My Easter chocolate journey began with anticipation as I sat inside the Rococo on Motcombe Street, Belgravia, on a warm February afternoon waiting for Chantal Coady. Chantal is the owner and mastermind behind the famous artisan chocolates Rococo. I felt like one of the children in Charlie and the chocolate factor waiting anxiously for the gates to open, and wanting to run in and bite or lick something immediately. Chantal began telling me about Easter at Rococo and the eggs this year done in collaboration with Donna Wilson. Donna Wilson is known for her quirky designs and pottery. The Donna Wilson Rococo Easter eggs would best be described as drawings girls and boys did at Sunday school for the Easter holidays, plus a sense of retro. My favourite out of the collection is the cheeky, Food Chain Easter Egg, where like a Russian doll, ganache chocolates are encased in an egg with a carrot, encased in an egg with a bunny, encased in an egg with a fox. Easter at Rococo appeals of course, to children, but more importantly, the child within the adult, says Chantal.
Another great Easter egg treat that might tickle you with laughter, and send your senses to soar is Rococo’s Salt and Pepper Egg- where one egg is sea salt flavoured and the other egg is black pepper flavoured. Among other highlights are the dirty bunnies (yes, the drawings look like our dear old bunny friends we had in pre-school), quail eggs, seagull eggs, and the workaholic hens, sitting on a big pile of chocolate eggs. The craftsmanship behind the chocolate is delicate as all the eggs are hand-painted.
Rococo chocolate comes from Grenada, and is fairly traded and ethical. The taste is organic, and clean or pure. It is much more than fair-trade though, as Rococo makes sure the islanders who grew and harvested the chocolate fully enjoy it fully processed and share the financial and social benefits accruing to the producers.
In fact, Rococo owns their own piece of land to grow their own chocolate that they call: Grococo.(This is a 50/50% joint venture alongside the Grenada Chocolate Company.) Even more impressive is that Grococo is one of the founding farms that make up The Granada Organic Cocoa Farmers Cooperative. All of their organic products now include their Grococo beans, and soon there will be the very first Grand Cru Grococo bar. Chantal tells me that these particular chocolate bars are extra special, as the beans will be Grococo, and all the processing of this chocolate will be done on the ship. The bars will be limited and will soon make its debut in the Rococo shops.
Some of the flavour combinations of Rococo chocolates are unusual and you will not find these combinations anywhere else. One of Chantal’s favourite is the basil and lime bar. The notes of the basil come slowly as lime gently follows. Chantal describes her creativeness with chocolate like that of a parfumeur. She uses her nose, and then visualizes what will or will not work.
Another confectionary that is not chocolate but is a must try are Rococo’s poppy seed marshmallows. They’ve got a pillow soft texture, but as you chew and bite into them they also have this popping sensation and crunch which make them a delight. Another bonus to these is that the gelatine used in them is fish gelatine making them friendly for those who may have religious eating restrictions.
There are some new exciting developments at Rococo too. First, in Mid-March they will open their first shop as part of the Grovenor Hotel and Estates, in Chester. And two, Chantal is writing a new recipe book with some unusual tips and creative ideas. I’m looking forward to reading it and finding out how I can make crunchy chocolate soil. The final teaser is that in the summer, ice cream becomes part of her range and there will be some unique flavours that you can only eat for as long as the weather is warm. I encourage everyone to visit a Rococo shop this Easter to find a treat that may tickle you pink. Rococo is also available online at:www.rococochocolates.com
For those who don’t know Cocomaya, it is an artisan bakery, and fine chocolatier on 12 Connaught Street in London. Cocomaya is renowed for their excellent quality and creativity and was formed by former head of concept of Liberty of London, Joel, and fashion and accessories consultant Walid al Dimirji. Their secret weapon in the chocolate department comes in the form of their chocolatier, Alex.
I met Alex a few weeks ago in the early afternoon to have a chat about Easter at Cocomaya’s. He greeted me with robust enthusiasm, and invited me straight away to his chocolate playground, that was his kitchen to get a sneak peek.
Alex has an incredible passion for chocolate and best describes himself and Cocomaya as a creative who meets magic to create insatiable desire. As I bite into a piece of lemon curd chocolate in the tasting session, he starts to describe what is currently happening in my mouth: “the tartness of the lemon doesn’t come immediately, and is softened by the dimensions of the curd and ganache”. The appeal of Cocomaya chocolates comes in what Alex calls the complete journey. First, the chocolate has to be aesthetically beautiful, and tempt one to eat them. This is encapsulated in the shapes, the colours, and the box. Secondly, as the coco-butter of the chocolate melts away, the flavours and notes should lead each other and you one by one.
I would personally describe Cocomaya’s chocolate as the siren of all chocolates, as it does tempt you indeed. Their signatures come in the shapes of medallions and sparkles. They are also the only chocolatier that make chocolate McQueen-like skulls. All their chocolate comes from France. This surely explains how it managed to seduce me so smoothly!
For Easter, Cocomaya has limited edition hampers from Africa that are brought in through fair-trade. They of course, will also have eggs that will be hand-painted and have unusual colour splashes to add some va-va-room to your Easter. Be sure to also try their passion fruit marshmallows. Although also made with fish gelatine like Rococo’s, theirs has a slight silky, smooth finish, and when the passion fruit hits your palette I can only describe it like when a triangle is hit within a symphony: Ding! There is an exciting new collection that Alex is cooking up as we speak, but I’ve promised to keep it hush, hush, until its debut. (I will keep you all posted on this.) Until then, visit Cocomaya at one of their three locations in London or online at:www.cocomaya.co.uk
Although Jeff de Bruges shops are on every corner in France, the Jeff de Bruges on South Molton Street is the only one in London, and in the United Kingdom. I came across it by accident a couple of years ago, as I noticed their ice cream cart in the middle of the summer heat.
Jeff de Bruges chocolate is classified as Belgium which means that only 100% pure cocoa butter is used and this makes the chocolate extra smooth and pleasant to the palate. Their chocolate comes from the Ivory Coast, and they work with the QPP (Quality Partner Program) which means that the cocoa growers out there are enjoying a better quality of life through clean water, education and medical care.
On the day of my visit, I was greeted by Assistant Manager, Anna who gave me a grand tour of the shop. For Easter, Jeff de Bruges has introduced 32 new recipes into their collection. From my tasting session, my favourite has to be the praline piggies in both dark and milk chocolate. The dark: praline and puffed rice and The milk: praline and bits of nougat. My only concern was that I could potentially turn into one of these little porkers at the rate of how much I loved them, and how many I could eat at one given time!
Their mini eggs are sensational as well, as there are so many choices beyond chocolate. In chocolate there are the pralines in foil which have flavours from salted caramel and almonds, to coconut chips and biscuits. There are also the chocolate mini eggs in the candy shells with soft praline, just dark soft chocolate and crispy pralines with no candy shells. Fruit jelly eggs in sugared shells has to be the highlight of mini eggs here as no one else seems to make them.
The Easter collection are available in ballotin boxes, mugs, cute wooden crates, zebra striped gift boxes, wooden trays, and baskets, from small to the super duper massive. Of course, they do the traditional Easter eggs which you can write a name on and they do all sorts of wonderful shapes from hens, to sheep, pigs, cows, and of course many varieties of the Easter bunny. One of the sweetest shapes I noticed in the window display was of the baby ducks.
Specialty flavours not to be missed, and part of their on-going collection all year around is first, their famous cornets. The cornets are shaped like a cone, and the soft gianduja chocolate are crispy and nutty making this one of their famous signatures. Cornets come in three varieties: gianduja and dark chocolate, hazelnut and almond gianduja, and crispy gianduja. I suggest the crispy, and it has that little cookie or biscuit crunch to it. The second single chocolate not to be missed is the Maison de Jeff in dark. It is a praline with almonds, cinnamon, and coriander. The cinnamon hits you and is gently caressed by a fragrant coriander. It truly is one of the most sensational and unusual flavours of chocolate I have ever tasted.
Jeff de Bruges also does marshmallows as part of their children collection. These marshmallow teddy bears are dipped in milk or white chocolate. The texture of their marshmallows is quite rather different than those of Rococo and Cocomaya. These marshmallows were slightly firmer and creamier. Nonetheless a real delight, I mean, what child wouldn’t want to receive a tub of those for a treat? Even cheekier is their mini chocolate burgers that come in their own tiny burger box!
There will soon be a debut of a special spring collection of chocolates to be introduced into their range. I of course, will keep you all posted about this, and in the summer a new range of ice cream flavours. There is always something that suits everybody at Jeff de Bruges because it is such an accessible and fun entity when it comes to chocolate. If you’re looking for simple, creative and quality, in terms of chocolate then this is the place to come. I especially like going there because their staff are exceptional with service and are fun and chatty. Jeff de Bruges is on 13 South Molton Street, Mayfair and are available online at:www.jbchocolates.co.uk
So my collection of Easter treats will include Rococo’s Basil & Lime chocolate, perhaps a dirty Easter bunng, and a bag of their poppy seed marshmallows, followed by Cocomaya’s lemon curd chocs, and finally, another box of those praline piggies from Jeff de Bruges. How about you?
If you like Tapas, or a little nibble with your cocktails, then I suggest one of my favourite bars in Covent Garden: Pix. Inspired by the Pinxto bars of Barcelona and San Sebastian, you can choose a wide variety of little eats. You collect the pix or the sticks, and they count them as big or little on your tab. Big pix are £2.75, and little pix are £1.95.
The cocktails are incredible, and they can make you anything you want. I suggest a hop down to Pix this Easter weekend with a couple of girlfriends. I promise you will not be disappointed. My best description of this venue is that it’s a bit Sex and the City, without it being snobby or overpriced.
Pix also has another location on 16 Bateman Street, W1D 3AH, or look them up at:www.pix-bar.com
Don’t know what to eat at lunch? In the Soho area? Well let me let you in on a little secret: Food Secret. I stumbled upon Food Secret one afternoon in Soho, and was in a rush to eat lunch before I had to meet my friend back at the Oxford Circus Station. Time was of the essence that day and I was indecisive to what was available in that area. I did not want to eat Pret again, nor did I want the unhealthy option of a McDonalds. It was then that I turned a corner off Carnaby Street into Broadwick Street, that I found this venue.
I was greeted in the friendliest manner, by the owner, Sergio, who introduced me to three fridges of wraps, sandwiches, soups and noodles, and salads all divided into three groups: Meat, Fish, and Veg. There was also an additional option of making and choosing your own at a salad bar. I took to the last option straight away, and the staff helped me build a noodle soup with prawns, chicken, spinach, and rice noodles. What blew me away about the food was that the soup was super hot, not kind of luke-warm like the other lunch venues. Secondly when I was handed the bill, I was also handed another piece of paper with these nutri-bars on it to tell me the nutritional value of the meal I chose.
You will find some real super-food here that will give you super energy for the rest of the day. It’s definitely a refreshing option, and the prices are reasonable and not overpriced. Food Secret is on 59 Broadwick Street in Soho and open Mon-Fri 8am-5pm. For more information, or a sneak peak at their menu go to:www.foodsecret.com
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