Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Monthly Favourites 

April 2016

April was a very quick month for me but I managed to amass a few beauty favourites along the way.  I managed to depart from my Jo Malone only perfume collection, I rekindled my love affair for Chanel make-up and resurfaced an old skincare classic. 

Liz Earle - Cleanse & Polish, Hot Cloth Cleanser 

An oldie, but a goodie.  I switch my skincare often because I suffer badly from breakouts.  I don't know why I bother, I always revert back to trusty Liz Earle.  I started reusing Liz Earle last month and I've noticed a massive improvement in my skin tone and texture.  The formulation is rich and creamy and is very sensitive on the skin.  It quickly removes make up (even the most stubborn mascara) and leaves my skin feeling very clean.  It is very soothing and while it doesn't always heal my breakouts, it doesn't aggravate my skin in anyway which many a cleanser does.  The smell of the cleanser isn't overpowering, which I hate in a cleanser. Oh and did I mention it is multi-award winning?  It's reasonably priced too.  I usually buy through QVC where there are always very good deals.  You will usually be around £14 for 100ml.  

Chanel - Le Blanc De Chanel, Multi-Use Illuminating Base 
Chanel - Les Beiges, Healthy Glow Foundation

I've included these as a duo because I've not used one without the other.  Essentially, I love them as a combo.  The Multi-Use Illuminating Base is everything you would expect from a primer.  I feel it does even my skin tone, gives my complexion a dewy glow and has great staying power. I don't ever look in the mirror after a day of wearing a full face of make-up and think "wow, my face looks oily" when I am wearing this. What more could you want? Of course, a foundation to go with it.  The foundation creates a natural healthy glow without compromising on coverage, which has always been the let down factor with Chanel foundations for me.  I would put Les Beiges as a buildable medium cover.  I wouldn't say it's matt but I wouldn't say it's overly dewy either, it is somewhere in-between.  My all time favourite foundation is "Estee Lauder Double Wear" but I think Les Beiges has overtaken it to become my new prized favourite.  It's on the higher end of the market but I would say it's worth it.  The foundation retails for £36 and the Multi-Use Illuminating Base for £33.   

Rosie for Autograph, Eau de Perfum

Now, I admit it, I am the ultimate perfume snob and I didn't want to like an M&S fragrance but I do.  The most prominent ingredient is Rose Flower Extract, the fragrance is therefore very floral and very fresh.  It wearable both for day and night, albeit there is a specific Rosie night (Nuit) fragrance.  I don't know if I'm ready to leave my Jo Malone love affair behind but this is a cheaper alternative to keep my love affair afloat meantime.  It is a bargain too, only £14 for 30ml. 


Rosie for Autograph, Starstruck Contour

I've never really boarded the contour bandwagon, until now that is.  This contour stick is the only method of contour I have found that is foolproof.  It is surprisingly easy to apply.  You can apply it directly from the twist up stick.  I apply it under my cheek bones, down the side of my nose, along my jaw line and above the temples on my forehead.  It is extremely blendable and it doesn't leave me looking like I've painted combat camouflage stripes on my face (which has been the unfortunate consequence of other contouring methods for me).  The shade looks scarily dark if you are fair toned like me but the blendable-ness of the formation actually leaves a subtle contour on the face.  It is also reasonably priced, at £15 from M&S.     

Overall, my April favourites have been a good mix of beauty.  I'd love to hear any suggestions of products you have been loving during the month of April.  Please feel free to leave a comment below.  

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

You're Engaged; What's Next? 

While the engagement is exciting, it can be entirely daunting.  The first question almost anyone will ask is "when's the wedding?" and this will start before your new fiancé has even had a chance to get up from being down on one knee.  That in itself can send you in to panic to try and plan your big day as quick as possible.  From speaking to married couples, try not to do this.  Enjoy the engagement and enjoy the celebrations.  It only happens once and the engagement in itself is a pretty big deal.   

I recently attended a wedding fair and a bride-to-be was standing next to me at a stall enquiring about a cake supplier.  She was trying to plan a wedding in three months, THREE MONTHS.  Even the cake supplier could not believe the craziness of how quickly she was in a rush to walk down the aisle and needless to say the cake supplier was unavailable.  Of course, if there is a reason why you need your marriage to be legalised quickly and it's more of a merited reason than you simply cannot wait for your big day, then yes, that is more than justified.  Turning into bridezilla however and demanding your big day with unrealistic timeframes will take the enjoyment out the whole wedding process.  It also rings alarm bells that there will be some regret down the line from jumping into decisions too soon.  The moral of the story? Make sure you have the day you want.  Don't rush it because you're beside yourself with excitement, you'll more than likely make decision that you will look back on and regret.  And of course, it is important to enjoy the whole process - even the planning!   

So, as the post is entitled, you're engaged; what's next?  

Enjoy Your Engagement.  It goes without saying, it is a time for celebration.  I had great joy in letting friends and family know about our engagement and you know what, a month or so on and I don't feel I've entirely exhausted the excuse to celebrate.  Keep banging that "we're just engaged" drum for as long as you can!   

Set a budget.  We are only in the infancy of planning our day but it is already apparent at how important it is to set a budget.  It can be so easy to get carried away in the excitement of it all.  The main factor in deciding our budget was the date of the wedding.  We went for a date that is over two years away and the reason being is that we will have more time to save for the day we really want, rather than having to make a lot of comprises.  So, I guess coupled with setting a budget, a wedding date is within the budget umbrella.  Even if the date is a rough estimate, it'll let you plan a timescale for saving.   

Research venues.  I researched local venues until I was blue in the face.  It was a case of process of elimination to focus on a few venues that we wanted to visit.  I firstly looked at a variety of venues; hotels, country estates, castles and local landmarks.  I managed to select a few from each type of category and narrowed my selection down further by deciding on what suited our style more.  It turns out we were more a hotel and country estate kind of couple because we liked the packages they offer, we wanted somewhere that isn't overly formal and a place where you are still provided with pretty backdrops for your photographs.  Several were also eliminated because of price and if some were out with our budget, I didn't look into it any further.  By process of elimination I was left with a few venues to enquire about visiting with my fiancé.  There are of course more hurdles to jump over before you actually visit the venue.  Sigh.   

Decide on an approximate guest list.  This doesn't have to be set in stone but you will need to make sure you have a rough idea of numbers to provide to your prospective venue.  This might eliminate your choices even further as the venues you have selected may not cater of the number of guest you are thinking of having. We opted to have a small wedding, for two main factors; we want the day to be very personal and again, budget.  

Visit & Book your venue. It is so exciting looking at your chosen venues and it is rewarding to turn your research into action.  You will know the venue for you as soon as you step in through the door.  I'll say no more.  It is likely your venue will hold your chosen date as a provisional booking for 14 days and it might be an idea at this point to research and ask about availability for photographers and bands.  Similarly to venues, photographers and bands tend to get booked up quite far in advance.  

Choose your bridal party. Another exciting thing to do is letting your nearest and dearest know they will play a special part in your big day.  We've gone for a mid-sized bridal party; 3 bridesmaids, 3 flower girls, 2 groomsmen and 3 pageboys.  I've still to "pop the question" to my side of the bridal party and that is currently work in process.  I'm currently looking at various ideas and again, I want to make this special for all involved.  It can be easy to be pressured into making a specific person part of your bridal party but remember it is your day; you'll know who you want and the numbers needed better than anyone else.  

I suppose the main theme in "what's next" after the engagement is to continue to enjoy it all and look at the big picture to essentially where and when the wedding will be.  This will let you start to formulate a picture in your head of what your wedding will be like and have some stability that while you are enjoying your engagement things aren't becoming static.  In terms of recording your planning ideas etc; I haven't bought a hardcopy journal yet but I plan to do so to compile receipts.  I have however downloaded the WedHappy app, which has been great for setting reminders, alerting me of tasks to-do and setting up a budget planner!  I also have a spreadsheet with wedding numbers and the sorts but lets not talk about that... 

If you are in the stages of planning your wedding, please leave a comment below.  I would love to hear from you.  

Monday, March 28, 2016

Our Engagement - Edinburgh, 23 February 2016

Our Engagement in Edinburgh

23 February 2016

This photo is really quite special to me.  I remember taking it going over the Forth Rail Bridge and I remember thinking it was such a nice day.  Little did I know at that point just how nice a day it was going to be.  We made our way to Edinburgh, a city which we both love and unbeknown to me it was the day that my now fiancé would ask me to marry him.  It was the best day and I haven't stopped smiling since.  Without going into intimate details or publishing an overly soppy post, I thought I would explain the day in photographs.  


As a special treat, I went to the Nails Inc Champagne Nail Bar @ Harvey Nichols.  I had been meaning to go for some time and thought this to be the perfect excuse to finally take the plunge.   Kensington High Street was my polish of choice and I am wearing it in the photograph below.  I went for the basic manicure (£22) and I got to keep the polish for an extra £7 as a keep sake.  A nice treat but would I go again? Probably not.     

I am now in the midst of wedding planning, and of course there will be wedding planning related posts! 

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Weekend in Paris

Paris is a city of many memories for me.  It is where I undertook postgraduate study and it is where I had my first professional occupation as a Teaching Fellow in Law.  I loved my time living in Paris -  I’ve made many friends there and it’s a place I always feel is a home-from-home.  For that reason, I have always maintained I would keep close connections with Paris and therefore made a vow to myself to return every year.  There is just something about Paris.  I recently went for a weekend visit, it mainly concerned shopping and here are my highlights. 

Paris, it is very pretty.  The architecture is something to behold and that alone is a highlight of any visit.  I always forget how stunning it is.  Literally every building you walk past you want to take a photo of.  The cream tones of the buildings mixed with the green floral foliage, which is ever apparent around Paris, makes for a dreamy combination.  The quirky shutters on the Parisian windows and bicycles strolling deliver a quaint (and very French) touch.   The metro signs are always a lovely quirky feature and they differ throughout the city.  My favourite is the one pictured below of Bastille Metro, it is just so different.  Don’t get me wrong, Paris still has that city feel, with the buzzing of mopeds and hustle of people but it’s not completely in your face.  One thing I would say on the back of the buzzing of mopeds - if you ever drive in Paris, I will automatically put you on my brave list.  It can get pretty crazy. 

One place I love in Paris is Ladurée on the Champs-Elysees.  Just being in there makes me happy.  During this visit I went for my staple, a chocolat chaud (hot chocolate) and cholocat macaron.  For me that combination is always a winner.  The velvet texture of the hot chocolate is something to behold and the taste is just divine; it oozes luxury.  The macarons are, of course, world famous and they quite rightly deserve their global recognition.  The interior of Ladurée fits with the atmosphere within, complete sophistication.  It has that Parisian feel.  The service can be at times patchy (so probably not the best place to go if you are in a rush) but the beauty of the building, the interior and the finesse of the food does it justice alone.

The Champs-Elysees and the surrounding areas are a great shopping hot spot after a Laudaree pit stop.  But make sure not to just stop at the Champs-Elysees, the side streets and Avenue de Montaigne hold the real beauties.  My just-off-the-Champs-Elysees favourites?  Dior and Chanel, even if you don’t intend to buy anything, the shops décor and displays are alone worth seeing.

Photos taken from Avenue de Montaigne and the Champs-Elysees. 

Another place I love is Galeries Lafayette.  I could get lost in there and come out days later, still with a smile beamed across my face.  You have Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Longchamp, Dior, Tiffany & Co, Celineoh heck, every designer worth a mention under one roof.  Again, the architecture of the building is divine and there is a nice eatery on the top floor.  The eatery is not overly fancy and great for stress free eating whilst in a shopping frenzy.  At the moment you can get a novelty key chain for free when you spend over 55€ in Galeries Lafayette.  You will find the voucher at the back of certain tourist leaflets scattered around Paris.  A nice touch for a memorable shopping experience. 

And if you are in a crazy shopping mood, I would suggest Val d’Euorpe at Marne-la-Vallée.  Val d’Europe, a shopping centre and the adjoining outlet village, La Vallée Village, is located just a stone throw away from Disneyland Paris.  My personal highlights are Ralph Lauren, Longchamp, Michael Korrs and Tommy Hilfiger.  You get great gelato there too!  Within the Val d’Europe shopping centre there are 140 shops, with your usual classics like Sephora, Zara etc.  But, a surprising shop for me within the mall was KIKO Milano Cosmetics.  A relatively unknown brand in the UK, but great quality and extremely affordable.  It’s a new favourite of mine.

Val d'Europe - La Vallee Village

My last highlight? The hotel gardens at Les Jardin du Marais.  They are simply beautiful and incredibly relaxing. I had the pleasure of kicking back with a Rosé wine on both nights with my Mum.  For the record, the Rosé was just as good as the gardens. 

Photos taken from Les Jardin du Marais

Leave a comment below if you have been to any of the above places or if you have enjoyed any other parts of Paris.  

Follow me on twitter here
Email me from this link or whenbeautymetblogging@gmail.com