Friday, 25 May 2012

Back in action!

As you all know, I've been out of action for a while due to the launch of my brand new publication, COLLABORATION magazine. Now that the issues have arrived on my doorstep, which is all very exciting, I've actually had a lot of spare time so am pleased that I can transfer that time into my blog again! It actually features an interview I did with the wonderful Kim from sweet monday!

I popped into Harrods a couple of weeks ago and fell victim under the hands of the (very nice) lady on the Benefit counter. Earlier on that day I accidentally dropped my Benefit Brow Zing palette down the toilet! Typical me. So I proceeded to Harrods and ended up leaving minus £82. Wow. The wonderful saleswoman suggested me a few products and sat me down in that oh so glamorous chair, and once she'd applied them I really couldn't refuse. I've never been a massive Benefit fan, sure, the packaging is amazing but most products I'd tried weren't too stand out for me. This has all changed.

Starting with 'they're Real!' mascara, I've always had trouble with the length of my eyelashes. They're stubby and straight and never point in the direction that I want them to. As soon as I tried this mascara, I ACTUALLY fell in love. Check my before and after pictures below:

 Although my lashes still look a bit messy, going in all sorts of directions, as you can see in the before picture they're pretty much non existent. I do actually have eyelashes, but I have naturally light hair! Look at the lengthening on those bad boys! So overall, very impressed with this gem.

they're Real! mascara by Benefit
Harrods £18.50

Another product I was recommended and have completely fallen head over heels for is the Benefit 'high brow' pencil. OH MY GOD. I have a massive addiction to highlighter, it's SO important in any woman's daily make up routine as it can completely transform the shape of your face when used alongside a darker, contour colour. I don't know why I hadn't tried this earlier, but now I have it, I can't imagine not using it.

'high brow' pencil by Benefit
Harrods £14.00

Find below a picture of me on my 21st birthday (the blonde on the right), using the pencil underneath my eyebrow on the brow bone, and along my nose to help with contouring. It's really subtle but actually works wonders! Highly recommended:

So, what does little Vi think? She's been snoozing these summer days away indoors (I'm not mean, she's staying indoors as pugs + heat = bad news!) on her favourite sheepskin rug...

She agrees that my lashes look super beautiful with 'they're Real!' and urges you to go and buy it before it sells out (again!) She's pretty sad that she can't use it on her own lashes and whiskers, but if she could, she believes that she would look incred.

What do you all think?

Much love,

M & V -x

Friday, 6 April 2012

Interview with Chen Man - Love & Water M.A.C Collection

I've been super quiet lately, so massive apologies. But before you get too angry at me, it's all for a good cause! As part of my final major project for university I've been creating my own magazine, ALL from scratch, alllll by myself (cue Bridget Jones moment...). I was lucky enough to get an interview with Chen Man, a hugely successful Chinese fashion photographer who has recently collaborated with M.A.C Cosmetics to produce a wonderful beauty collection - which is available now. I don't want to give away too much, so here it is!


It’s not often that we hear of young, talented creatives skyrocketing into success so early on into their careers, and that’s what sets Chen Man apart from the rest in her division. While studying Photography as Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing, Chen Man had already contributed cover images to Shanghai-based fashion magazine Vision two years ahead of her graduation; from that point, she was destined for great things. It all seems to have started very quickly for the young, Chinese fashion photographer. She broke boundaries with her sequences of cover images for Chinese avant-garde magazine, ‘Vision’; China had never seen anything similar to this before. Her covers were heavily artistic, and she played upon the use of 3D image rendering to create glossy, innovative and experimental photography, an idea that had not been widely used at this time, especially in her native China. She set tongues wagging and transformed the Chinese way of perceiving life, beauty and culture through photography, and before long her work was of great popular demand. She had soon racked up a resume to be more than proud of, shooting editorials for the likes of Chinese Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and ELLE as well as campaigns for Nike and Adidas. This is how Chen Man has become one of China’s most celebrated names in the industry.

It’s late February when we speak, and it’s safe to say that Chen has recently hit a career peak. She has recently shot a quartet of covers for i-D magazine to celebrate the diversity of Chinese beauty, and of course the Chinese New Year, The Year of the Dragon. But she doesn’t stop there, it has recently been announced that Chen is launching a collaborative beauty collection with M.A.C Cosmetics, titled ‘Love and Water’ to be released in spring. The collection consists of just about everything a woman may need in her make up bag, from eye shadows, pigments, lipsticks and glosses to mascara and nail lacquers, the collection is centered around hues of cotton candy pinks and bold cobalt blues. “My favourite product from the collection has to be the mineralized eye shadow. The color and shape of the eye shadow looks like a yin-yang imprint, similar to that seen in Taoism, I feel this is something which has life to it.” Chen speaks of the M.A.C make up collection, “It’s inspired by and named after love and water; it comes from ancient Chinese’ ideology - harmony between man and nature. Love is conscious but invisible; water is material and tangible; and these are two main elements of the origin of life. Pink represents love and the West; blue represents water and the East.” Chen has an unparalleled take on life and the earth; it’s amazingly refreshing to hear someone speak so highly of the World that we all live on. As so many in the creative industries are rushing to make decisions on not so important issues, Chen Man is highly spiritual, and all about taking care of the environment and striving to make the world a better place. Speaking to Chen is much comparable to a breath of fresh air, selfless and intelligent in her answers, she brings you right back down to earth again. Noting “life itself“ as her main inspiration for all of her work, she also speaks of other influences close to her heart, “I love traditional Chinese philosophy and culture; my works are based on Chinese culture, adapted by Western techniques. They offer a visual combination of contemporary international aesthetics and local cultural sensibilities, achieved with “software” from the ancient Chinese culture, “hardware” from modern Western culture.” This is a subject that has no doubt heavily influenced her M.A.C project. When asked about her thoughts on collaborations as a whole, specifically those that she feels may not have worked so well, Chen coyly answers, “I love the feeling of collaborations and I’m not a difficult person, Chinese women are like water. Usually there is no ‘bad’ collaboration. We have already been spoiled by modern technology, so I don’t really like anything that’s not eco-friendly.

So what’s next for Chen? As her past career highlights are already incredibly astonishing, we can only hope that there will be much more ahead. Ecstatic from her current career highs, Chen takes a moment and sighs, “I want to work with more elderly, listen to their stories, and work with more Chinese medicine masters, Taoist and Buddhist masters.” She carries on to say, “I want to work on traditional Chinese culture, the part that’s useful to world’s environmental protection, for balance between our heart and the outside world, using vision from the spoiled material civilization, to achieve visual exposition of the modern languages.” With her footprint firmly marked on the industry, it seems the only way is up for Chen Man. With some admirable fashion moments already under her belt, Chen’s spirits are high for future collaborations. As she’s conquered the beauty scene by working alongside her most admired make up brand, Chen explains that she would enjoy a turn in collaborating with a fashion designer next, but who with? “I don’t have a real preference. Everyone in fashion is a respected master, from the tailor shop masters around the street corner to the masters at fashion weeks. But masters can fail, just as ordinary people can make success.”

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Lusting over Tom Ford Beauty

A late night venture to Harrods on Thursday evening ended in huge disappointment. Nothing to do with the store of course, more to do with price tags of products in said store! My fellow journalist friend Rebecca came along to meet me after work, as she was in search of the perfect 'pretty' pink lipstick. She also left in a bout of defeat after no luck. But while scouring every beauty counter Harrods had to offer for Rebecca, I managed to come across these two lip products at Tom Ford which sent me into a slight state of delirium. I've always admired the Tom Ford beauty ad campaigns, in particular this one above and the campaign below for fragrance Violet Blonde. I'm not sure if it's the beauty of Lara Stone, the cheerful colour way or the ever so handsome male model, but all of Tom Ford's ad campaigns shriek opulence.

This weekend's lust worthy products just happen to be featured in the ad campaign at the top, I'm not sure if this is the reason why I seem to be lusting over them so much, but I've been in search of a more 'grown up' lip colour that isn't a luminous pink or candy lilac. These two products are the perfect mix of scarlet and magenta. Using the 'Cherry Lush' lipstick as a base would be perfect as a day to day lip coat, and to jazz it up in the evening or for an extreme day time look you could add the lip gloss 'Lost Cherry' for an extra shine.

Cherry Lush £36 at Harrods

Lost Cherry £32 at Harrods

The online picture's do the colour no justice, so I suggest you go and take a look at your nearest Tom Ford Beauty counter, all of their lip, face and eye colours are really unique which makes the price tag a bit more bearable. And the packaging is really luxurious. As I'm saving for my Paris trip next week I sadly declined these two products (it was HARD), but if I find a Tom Ford Beauty counter in Paris I may just make the plunge, as I'm sure being in Paris will make every purchase feel guilt free!

Much love,

Friday, 2 March 2012

If you a fly gal, get your nails done....

This week my sister and I decided to have a little pamper session at our local 'Beauty and Wellness' salon 'So Me' on Clapham High Street. My sister opted for a Microdermabrasion facial and eyebrow threading, while I decided on a full set of gel nails. The optometrist vs student budget is clearly evident.

The nail technician was really lovely, a cute little Polish woman who liked telling me about all her stories from home, which makes a change from the lower budget nail salons that I usually visit, where the technician can't even string and English sentence together, it's always a slightly awkward experience.

What I really loved about this specific nail technician was her preciseness and her perfectionist attitude to my nails. Understandably, this was the first time I had used the salon and perhaps she was out to impress, but even so this certainly worked for me.

Whilst scanning over their MASSIVE nail polish collection, I was faced with the question of 'What colour?' I slightly panicked at this stage, but I finally made the plunge and I'm pretty happy with the final result.

I picked OPI Black Onyx as a base colour and then OPI Rainbow Connection on one finger on each hand. See results below:

Very pleased with the outcome! Also, as my sister has adopted a crazy obsession with nail polishes over the last week, I sneaked a bit of her Rimmel Pro Matte Top Coat over the Onyx Black...definitely prefer this look to the shiny-ness of the above. Yum.

All in all I was really impressed with So Me. I paid £24 for a full set of gel nails, which for London in a proper salon is a spectacularly good price (unless we're talking Peckham or Lewisham £10 full set acrylic salons!) So Me actually charge £30 for a full set but as I went in the daytime on a week day I got a 20% discount. Bargain!

Much love,

PS: Signed up to Glossybox this month after hearing loads about their limited edition collaboration with Harrods this month, so can't wait for it to arrive! Expect new postz on that!

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Dark Romance at Gucci for AW12

As Milan Fashion Week came to a close this week, we're now all waiting in anticipation for the last of the fashion month's events, Paris Fashion Week. Paris has always been my favourite host of fashion week, but Milan always comes a close second in terms of which brands are showing each season.
Autumn/Winter has always been my preferred season, especially in terms of what I prefer to wear, as in the past I have struggled to strike up the confidence to prance around in playful colours and loud prints. Although, I am learning, and have recently copped a pair of leggings from the Topshop x Mary Katrantzou collection. I figured if I struggle with prints and colour, there's no better designer to start with than good old Mary K, right?

Gucci, being one of the many iconic Italian brands that showed at Milan this season definitely didn't disappoint. They're not usually one of my ultimate favourites but something was definitely striking with this collection. Following on from the Spring trends this year, we've seen a LOT of colour being carried through to the Fall trends. But not here at Gucci. I secretly breathed a sigh of relief and the inner baby goth in me was absolutely thrilled. Deep, black, detailed fabrics combined with emerald greens and amethyst purples, for me, this is what epitomises the Autumn/Winter months in terms of clothing.

Not only did the collection give me great delight, I also fell absolutely head over heels with the beauty look at Gucci for this season (after all, this is a beauty blog!) Dubbed 'dark romance' by legendary and personal favourite fashion make up artist Pat McGrath, the beauty look consisted of bleached, blocked out brows complimented by a black cherry lip and nude eyes with a delicate lick of mascara. And did I mention that lengthy tousled hair? WOW. If that's all real, I'm eternally jealous. Although relatively simple, the collaboration between this and the new collection was absolutely enchanting.

Much love,

Monday, 27 February 2012

Les Violets Hypnotiques

As an avid Christian Dior beauty fan I can't help but crave the new season lines as soon as they're announced. And these new nail polishes are no exception, I'm instantly hooked!

When I received this press release on Friday, I was more than over joyed. Dior have lived up to all my expectations, and as my nails are looking pretty dire at the moment this news probably couldn't have come at a better time.

As of March 5th Dior release this new seductive nail trio named 'Les Violets Hypnotiques'. All three hues are glossy and ideally colourful, but I can't help thinking that these would be suited more towards the Autumn/Winter season? Perhaps it's the aesthetic of the ad campaign.

Either way, I have absolutely fallen for these shades already, in particular 'Shadow 783' which captures the perfect balance of metallic and glitter.

Obviously Violet the pug gave a huge paws up to this collection, whilst the line's title 'Les Violets Hypnotiques' incorporates her name, she can't wait to get a splash of mum's Shadow 783 on her puppy claws!
Time for a nail re vamp for dog and owner, I can feel another blog post coming on...

Les Violets Hypnotiques will be available from Harrods on March 5th at £17.50 each.

Much love,

An apology in the form of a beauty review! Do you forgive me?

First of all, I can't apologise enough for the hiatus! I've been 3 months without posting, and in those 3 months I have been inundated with university work. I feel like my head may explode. Aaah, third year. I know, as a blogger, this is not a good enough excuse! So my sincerest apologies for any of you out there who feel a little disappointed in me. I'm disappointed in myself! I've been meaning to post this review for a long while now, but keep finding my self distracted by the many things life has been throwing at me recently. So anyway, enough about me. Since last posting, Violet the pug had a minor operation over the festive period, so most of my time has been spent running around after her, fulfilling her every need. Just the way she likes it. There were a few complications (she started rejecting her stitches) so recovery took a little longer than expected. She is completely back on top form now, which is another reason I now have time to do a little bit of extra blogging!

A wonderful PR company that I had the pleasure of interning for in the past sent me over a gorgeous package full of beauty goodies from their clients Boux Avenue and Burt's Bees to review for my blog once they heard that I had started my own. What lovely ladies! So first of all, thank you Fluorescent!

As the winter weather finally set in a few weeks ago, I've found my self using double the amount of moisturiser that I normally do. Those bitter winds have taken their toll on my face, resulting in dry and un happy skin, not good. The first place that always seems to take most of the battering is my lips. I'm definitely a lipstick kind of girl, and after the minus degree wind chills had their way with my lips, it's safe to say that lipstick is no longer an option until I can sort this crisis out! Vaseline is always a safe bet, but I'm not really a fan of the super glossy effect it can give to my lips. So in comes product number one that I've absolutely fallen in love with over recent months, it's Burt's Bees tinted lip balm. Not only does it give a smooth, velvet like texture to tired lips, they also come in great shimmery shades and don't have the wet look effect. They're somewhere in between lip tint and lipstick which, if you ask me, is the perfect combination. These balms are also made from 100% natural ingredients, and also have that amazing fragrance from the beeswax that's used to create them.

I have two shades of Burt's Bees tinted lip balm, one in 'Rose' and the other 'Hibiscus'. Another thing I absolutely love about these little lip balms is the packaging. Bundled up in cute little cardboard tubes, these are absolute treasures. I slightly prefer the 'Hibiscus' shade, only as it's a little more subtle than 'Rose' and I'm desperate not to draw attention to the peeling skin and scaly surface of my damaged lips! Not only are these balms in lovely neutral shades, they have a really nice golden shimmery finish to them, seen in the swatch below ('Hibiscus' above and 'Rose' below.)

I've also been religiously applying the Burt's Bees naturally nourishing Milk & Honey body lotion after showering. Not only is the fragrance a mixture between coconut (even though it only contains a tiny amount of coconut oil it really shines through!) and a milky, creamy aroma, it also does exactly what it says on the tin. A 24 hour moisturisation product indeed! I mainly use it after showering, just before bed. Instead of the whole 'lavender before bed' remedy, I strongly suggest you try this, as it has me sleeping like a baby with uber soft skin all over!

Want to know what Violet's verdict is on her favourite product?

It's Burt's Bees tinted lip balm in 'Rose'! Not only is this product named after her Chihuahua best friend, Violet also suffered from dry skin on her little nose when the cold weather was thrust upon us, so a quick swipe of Burt's Bees lip balm kept her little snout shiny and moisturised! She liked the taste, too...

Much love,