Abi (Newburgh Priory)

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3 steps to great lashes

The last full weekend before Santa arrives is almost here, so for those of you who are wanting to kill it in the style stakes here’s my quick guide to getting your lash on in 3 easy steps.

You’ve created your gorgeous party face (including mascara) and just need some lashes to complete the look.

Check the fit

Place the false lash over your own lashes to determine length. Trim any excess from the outer corner of the lash before moving onto the next step.

Get sticky

Using a Q Tip apply a tiny amount of glue (Duo glue is my favourite) along the lash line of the falsies.  Make sure you have enough glue on the ends to prevent peeling. Wait 30 seconds for the glue to go tacky. This is key, if your glue is too wet your lash will slip n slide.

Put them on

Using either your fingers or some tweezers, place the false lash over your own lashes.  I find it easier to start at the outer corner and then wiggle them around until you get the right position at the inner corner.

Ta da!  Lashes that you can flutter until your hearts content.

Thank You!

This Saturday is my last bride of 2015 and what a year it has been.  I’m not going to brag about the number of weddings I’ve worked or the number of brides and bridesmaids I’ve styled, even the  number of lessons I’ve delivered.  However, I am going to say how grateful I am for the last year, which has been my best year yet.

More so, I’m truly thankful that I have met some really wonderful women through my business.  Women who I have supported during their transition from Miss to Mrs, but who have also very generously supported me during a turbulent personal period.

I’m looking forward to 2016 and meeting the gorgeous brides who have chosen to be styled by me ready for the day that they marry the love of their life.  But more than that I’m looking forward to strengthening the friendships I have already made and those I’m yet to make.

Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year that’s filled with love and sparkle!

Natalie x

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New skin, new me – The skincare concierge service

Hey makeup lovers! A few weeks ago I had a new experience – a skincare concierge service.  Intrigued by the concept I was excited about trying it out. Here’s what happened..

The day of my appointment arrived and Chloe the lovely lady from Skin Oracle came with a number of big bags – exciting!  In my lounge she set up a portable light machine and after removing my makeup took photos of my face.  I would happily share the photos with you however, I’m pretty certain they would scare small children!

Chloe explained what each photo meant and pointed out issues with my skin.  What I learnt was that regardless of how many hours sleep I got each night, only drinking sufficient water would help reduce the dark circles under my eyes.  It was a lovely surprise to learn that my skin was actually in pretty good shape for my age.  Also, I don’t have as much sun damage as I imagined I may have after spending a number of years abroad as a child and not being that particular about wearing an SPF every day in the UK.

Once I’d recovered from looking like a horror story in those photos, Chloe explained what treatment she would recommend.  I was in for a treat – I needed a facial peel as more traditional methods of exfoliation (scrubs) were too harsh for my skin which was causing some of my problems.

Out to her car she popped and came back with a rather comfy portable bed, which she set up in my lounge.  It would have been a relaxing treatment however, Buster my dog had other ideas and spent much of the following 20 minutes jumping up and barking! All kudos to Chloe though she wasn’t put off by hi and even thought it was funny!

If you’ve never had a peel before it feels like you’ve got a face full of nettle stings.  The product isn’t on long – only 2 minutes in this case and then a further minute while it was neutralised.  Then a really comforting moisturiser was applied.

Since then my skin has felt and looked amazing but more of that in a minute!

Chloe gave me a number of pointers before she left and said she would send a few samples in the post for me to try.

Its been two weeks since the treatment and I’ve had a week of using the samples – a prescription blended moisturiser and cleaner specific to my skins needs and a tube of Heliocare SPF.  As the moisturiser had vitamin A in it I was advised by Chloe that I should wear an SPF hence the tube of Heliocare. I’m still delighted at how my skins looks and feels.  After 1 mini treatment my skin is clear, smooth and soft.  Makeup goes on better and stays on longer.  I’ve found using the SPF easy and not the chore I expected as the Heliocare helps leave your skin soft and doesn’t have that usual sunblock kind of smell.

So what did I think of the whole concierge service?  I loved it!  What a treat having someone come to your home to provide a service usually found in a skin care clinic.  Chloe was really knowledgeable and friendly.  And then to have prescription blended skincare tailored specifically for the needs of my skin – amazing!  This experience completely changed my perception of skin care clinics.

My advice would be if you are getting married or just want to take better care of your skin then give it a whirl, you’ve got nothing to loose and great skin to gain!

 

Game Changing Mascara

I have been searching for years, literally years, for a mascara that doesn’t smudge onto my skin each time I wear it.  My bottom lashes aren’t the problem, oh no, the mascara still manages to give me panda eyes from my top lashes!! I mean come on!  Seriously, whose lashes do that!?!  Mine apparently.

Anyway, I’ve tried everything from drug store to luxury brands, researched new formulas, tried different techniques, you name it I’ve tried it.  Even waterproof versions aren’t foolproof on these peepers.

So my last mascara Babydoll by YSL which had done a pretty good job at convincing me it could be the one when it suddenly went dry, crumbly and yep you guessed it gave me big black eyes. Sigh!

With renewed vigour I googled the life out of mascara formulations, recommendations from celebrity makeup artists, pretty much anyone and everyone.  I appeared to find the holy grail of mascaras for ladies like myself, then to my horror learned you could only buy it in USA unless I wanted to paid double luxury prices for a cheap drug store product.

Feeling a bit dismayed I headed into town for a much needed trip makeup shopping to replenish some key items for my kit. I swung by Space NK and while there I relayed my tale of woe to the assistant who was grabbing all of my purchases.  Without hesitation she asked if I’d tried Kevyn Aucoin’s mascaras.

I hadn’t so I was all ears.  The curling
mascara is formulated to shrink to the lash making it smudge proof, not crumbly basically everything thats been the bane of my mascara wearing life.  Also when you remove it it is a bit stretchy so takes a little more care to get it all off.

Well I’m in love with this mascara its bloody brilliant!  My lashes look healthy, long, with volume, not loads granted but enough for me.  But best of all it doesn’t move!  No smudges even in the heat or rain.  So super confident am I in the awesomeness of this mascara that my next challenge is to try it in the shower!  Wish me luck x

 

Wedding dress shopping – a whole new world for The Wardrobe Angel (Part Four)

My brilliantly funny friend Steph is The Wardrobe Angel.  She has a thriving fashion business and has even been on TV.  But this year she has stepped into unknown territory.  She has become a bride to be and now has the task of going wedding dress shopping.  I asked Steph to write a couple of blog articles for me about how she felt etc not just because she was in an unusual position for herself but also because this was an experience that every bride to be shared.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy this funny and insightful start to Steph’s wedding dress search.

Shopping for my wedding dress (Part Four)

People have now begun to ask me:

“as a stylist are you feeling the pressure of finding a dress?”

The simple answer is no. Fashion and style are intensely personal experiences which can be influenced and shaped by the media, magazines and peers but I believe each one of us has an innate sense of style which, when displayed in all its awesomeness, is congruent with who we are, where we are going, and shows what we do.

The dress has to fit certain, non-negotiable, categories:

  1. It has to fit.
  2. It can’t show my cleavage. I’m getting married in a church.
  3. I have to be able to walk, sit, stand and eat in it. I’m not paying for a fancy meal only to be able to manage a few mouthfuls. I intend to chow down come Wedding Day.
  4. I have to be able to wear it again. Just kidding. Although I might bring it out at fancy dress time, or just wear it when I am cleaning…you, know…to pep up my day. Like Monica and the gals from Friends back in the day….

But aside from that, it’s my decision what I wear. It’s my style.

  I have NO IDEA about wedding dress trends, no idea AT ALL and I don’t want to know.

 I don’t want an “on-trend” wedding dress simply because everyone else has that one. I want a dress which fits (see point number 1 above and whilst you are there you may want to re-read the other points as well), which I feel awesome in, which when I put it on, I’ll know

YES, this is the dress I’m going to marry Rich in.

 

 

Wedding dress shopping – a whole new world for The Wardrobe Angel (Part Three)

My brilliantly funny friend Steph is The Wardrobe Angel.  She has a thriving fashion business and has even been on TV.  But this year she has stepped into unknown territory.  She has become a bride to be and now has the task of going wedding dress shopping.  I asked Steph to write a couple of blog articles for me about how she felt etc not just because she was in an unusual position for herself but also because this was an experience that every bride to be shared.  I’m sure you’ll enjoy this funny and insightful start to Steph’s wedding dress search.

Shopping for my wedding dress (Part Three)

So I went online this week to try and cure my wedding dress blindness and put together a coherent wedding Pinterest board to send to my wedding florist, Cate Wood who owns Flowers at 180I had had a tweet from Oxfam who directed me to their second-hand wedding dress site after hearing about my wedding dress dilemmas. Initially, when we got engaged, I adamantly told people I would find my wedding dress in a charity shop and buy some designer shoes to go with it which I would wear again…and again…and again. Sustainable shopping is one of the pillars of The Wardrobe Angel and half my wardrobe is from charity shops so it just felt right to go down this route.

Then something happened:

My Mum very, very kindly offered to buy my wedding dress.

She remembered shopping for her wedding dress with my Nana as a pivotal moment in their relationship. I’m only going to do this (get married) once: so this kind of enduring, wonderfully special memory, this mother/daughter experience of wedding dress shopping was something I realised I wanted too. As Rich and I planned the guest list and the congratulation cards rolled in late last year, I realised that I had just been going through wedding planning motions, I forgot (or didn’t quite realise) how many other people were supporting us and loving us during this frankly awesome time. (And I wasn’t about to start dragging my Mum round every Oxfam in the area – she would not have been into that at all!) So I put down my ideas of a thrifted dress and dove head first (albeit terrified) into the wedding dress experience.

Even though I’m committed to trying dresses on in person, feeling the garments, seeing how they looked on me rather than on a picture on a model online, I did find an immensely awesome, minimal stylish label called Houghton based in New York. I spent a good hour browsing the bridal collection wistfully imagining the slim fitting dresses pulling like an elastic band on my 28F chest, dragging miles of fabric behind me as I’m at least a whole person shorter than the models. This was my wake-up call – yes the Houghton dresses are awesome and wonderfully aspirational but they aren’t me. Not on my wedding day. They look perfect for weddings in castles, sleek registry offices, cool swanky London bars and on boat trips down the Thames. But a church wedding in Halifax followed by Fish and Chips? Pull the other one.

This is another big realisation I’ve had in wedding land – I’ve got to be realistic. I’m 5’3″ and my weight is 7 1/2 stone. Too much fabric and I’ll be like Alice slipping down the rabbit hole; blink and you’ll miss me. Our wedding location isn’t high profile, it isn’t fantastically glam, but it’s our home. And I want a dress which fits our bill, not the bill certain dresses give license for.

So onwards…. I’ve had so many positive messages from people…

Just keep an open mind.”

“Focus on hair and make-up so all the focus isn’t on the dress.”

And a lovely message on my blog from a lady who works in a wedding dress shop:

“Everyone is uncomfortable the first time they try bridal dresses on and why wouldn’t you be?! You probably have never done it before and hopefully never will again!”

Thanks for all your messages and for reading… it’s fun writing these blogs!

PS – here’s s bridal horror story if ever I saw one – click the link … Brides ordering online receive dresses which can barely be called dresses, and certainly aren’t a patch on what they thought they were ordering.