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

 

Products that go Pow!

I’m tired. Scratch that – I’m knackered and I look it. I’m time poor since becoming a new mum and I needed a new makeup routine that would make me look a million pounds when I felt more like 5p!

Here are a few of my holy grail products which I wouldn’t be without now.

Bourjois 123 Perfect Foundation. I actually went to trial their Healthy Mix Foundation which a lot of pro makeup artists carry in their kit but I got side tracked by this little bottle. It claims that it corrects and conceals all blemishes and last 16 hours. 2 months later and I’m really happy with this foundation. It has a light to medium coverage and leaves your skin looking matt so no need for powder unless you are really oily. It evens out my skin and even goes part way to covering the blackest dark circles you’ll ever see. As for the 16 hr claim well I can only vouch for 15 hrs as I’m usually in bed by the 16th hour!

Amazing Cosmetics, Amazing Concealer, from M&S. In a word – its AMAZING! It comes in about 12 shades so you stand a pretty good chance of getting one that works for you. And it covers everything. No more colour correcting before applying concealer, I just whack on a teeny tiny amount with a small brush and hey presto I suddenly look like I’ve had a good 12 hrs rest. If you suffer with dark circles you need this product in your life.

YSL Baby Doll Mascara. I’ve always believed that you don’t need to spend lots on mascara as there are some brilliant high street brands about. But this has been my one indulgence, after getting a free sample. No clumping. Just full, long lashes.

Dr PawPaw Multipurpose Soothing Balm. This little tube of wonder balm can be used on pretty much anything and anywhere. Here’s just a few of the uses I have for it but I bet there are loads of others. Lip balm, emergency moisturiser, smoothing eyebrow hairs, softening cuticles, softening dry skin on hands, heels and elbows, smoothing dry flyaway hair or split ends, healing cuts and grazes.

These are just a few of my favourites, I’d love to hear about yours.

xx

 

 

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

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 weddings dress part one…

This is already hilarious for me. Much as I love clothes I have never dreamt of my dream wedding dress. You read that correctly. I have dreamt of Mulberry handbags and mid heeled court shoes, of wardrobes with magnificent sliding doors and clothes all neatly organise inside. I have dreamt of holidays in Ibiza, the ultimate red lipstick and of the perfect brew and the accompanying wheat free biscuit. But I have never dreamt of my dream wedding dress.

I’m a stylist and image consultant and love clothes, but this wedding dress malarkey is a whole new, terrifying, other worldly ball game for me. Here are some wedding dress shaped facts about The Wardrobe Angel:

  • I have never tried on a wedding dress before. NEVER. NEVER EVER.
  • I fell out with maxi dresses last year and have never worn a floor length gown so I don’t know if I’ll like that wedding dress material swishing around me.
  • I think I have wedding dress blindness – I bought a bridal magazine and after a few pages of flipping through I couldn’t tell the difference between one dress and the next.
  • I’m scared of the weight of the dress; I’m hardly a body builder and carrying around all that tulle and lace for a whole day seems out of my bodily reach.

We’ve set the date, booked the church and the venue and now there is this HUGE gaping hole in the organisation of our wedding – my missing dress. And time is ticking. I get married in under 9 months. I rang the very wonderful Natalie Willingham to book her as my make-up artist on the day and she gave me some very sound advice,

“You’ve never tried on a wedding dress before and they are a different breed of clothing altogether so when you enter the shop take off your stylist hat and be guided by the shop assistants.”

Except here we are – the first day of wedding dress shopping is tomorrow. I don’t know what pants to wear, I am plucked, waxed and shaved within an inch of my life and I have NO IDEA what to try on first. I don’t know what I like. I can feel a huge panic rise in my chest and it does not subside. My Mum is clearly loving this and I am trying my very best to go through the motions but I NO IDEA what I am doing.

And I am TERRIFIED.

For more updates on The Wardrobe Angel finding her wedding dress follow her blog:

http://thewardrobeangel.blogspot.co.uk/

Website:

www.wardrobeangel.co.uk

Twitter:

https://twitter.com/wardrobe_angel

I’m getting married but I don’t wear makeup – help!

Does this sound like you?

You’re an au natural kind of girl. Your makeup bag probably contains about 4 or 5 items, which have lingered in the bottom of your bag for a good few years, and only get an outing every time you know you’ve really got to make an effort.

Having a bridal makeup trial scares the bejeezus out of you. You’re worried that you’ll look or feel caked in foundation, look too old, too orange, like you’re wearing a mask, or not like you. And the thought of finding a suitable makeup artist fills you with dread.

Well fear not, in the next few minutes I’m hopefully going to take care of your fears, put your mind at rest and turn what feels like a scary experience into something positive. So here’s how to survive choosing a wedding makeup artist and having a bridal makeup trial.

The first thing you need to do is breathe, grab a cuppa and do some research. Ask friends who have recently married for a recommendation – that’s if you liked how they looked on their wedding day!

If that’s not possible then you need to start looking at websites for makeup artists in your area. Each artist, whilst being able to create almost any look you want, will have a signature style. Spend some time looking through these websites and I mean really look, to get a feel for this. Check out the real brides and not just the styled inspirational shoots. If you want to see more photos of the bride, so you can see how well the makeup lasted throughout the day or night, then pop over to the photographers website too, they will have a lot more images than the half dozen on the makeup artists website.

Ok you have your shortlist of artists whose style most reflects how you want to look on your big day. Again, breathe and pick up the phone. Give the people on your list a call, this helps you suss out their personality under the guise of checking their availability. You may even want to mention your nerves to understand how they empathise and help put your mind at ease.

Ok so the first big hurdle is over. You’ve found and booked a makeup artist and have scheduled your bridal trial. But you aren’t looking forward to the experience as much as you’d hoped.

At your trial explain your reservations and nerves to your makeup artist. I understand that for some ladies a bridal trial is a daunting thing and quite intrusive so always have a good old chinwag with you before I even pick up a brush to gain a better understanding of your needs, expectations and to share with you what I’m going to do. This helps you understand what products I’m using, how many and why and takes away some of the fear. At the trial you will get an idea of how the products are going to feel on your skin and how they can help create a polished version of your usual self. Also, if you’ve never worn false lashes before, it’s a chance to give them a try before your big day.

Having a bridal trial should be an exciting experience as you get to see how you will finally look on your special day. During my trials, I guide you through the process, explaining, reassuring and answering any questions along the way and with a bit of luck having some fun.

Most importantly, I prepare you for what you are about to see in the mirror. Now don’t start to panic. Remember you don’t normally wear makeup, so you will look different to how you look everyday. Hopefully, you’ll see flawless skin, defined eyes and luscious lips. Once you’ve had time to take in your new look, I’ll help you communicate how you feel about the beautiful version of yourself that you can see in the mirror.

Basically, relax, have fun, be honest and trust your makeup artist.

Want to find out how to get the most from your bridal trial? Then check my post here.

Natalie xx

Brilliant Bridal Trials

Getting married is a hugely exciting time in the life of any lady and your bridal trial should be a fun and joyous occasion. Want to make sure that your bridal trial goes brilliantly? Then read on..

Timing is everything. Too early and you may change your mind, too late and you may not be 100% certain of your choices. I recommend scheduling your trial 6-12 weeks before your wedding day. By this point you should have a good idea of what styling you would like and have all of the accessories to complement this. Where possible schedule your trial before your dress fitting so you can see how the whole look works together.

Choosing a hair and makeup style is a very personal thing and needs to incorporate aspects of your personality so that your groom recognises you at the end of the aisle. There are so many images out there, I could get lost in Pinterest for hours, and sometimes it can all feel a bit overwhelming. In that case ask me what I think. I have a lot of experience working with different brides and I keep an eye on the catwalk to ensure I keep up to date with current trends, which can then be incorporated into stunning bridal looks.

Bring images of hair and makeup styles you like and those that you don’t along with a photo of your dress to your trial. It is so much easier to communicate to me what you like and don’t like if you are able to show me a photo, as your version of natural will be different to that of another bride.

I usually suggest that you wear a white or light coloured top to your trial.  The combination of light and the white will provide the most accurate example of how your makeup and hair will look on the day. If you don’t have a white top then a white towel or pillowcase will work just as well.

Lighting is really important, so I prefer to schedule my trials during day light hours to ensure that I get the best from our appointment. Lighting at home or in hotels can cast shadows, and yellow tones, which can change the look and colour of your makeup.

Bring any accessories with you to your trial as these can also affect the look of your hair and makeup. Strong accessories may need fuller lashes or stronger colours to emphasise your look. Still haven’t decided? Then bring a couple of options with you so you can see which works best.

And finally, be honest and open to ideas. Before I start any trial appointment, I spend time building a relationship with you. I ask lots of questions to learn more about you, your usual hair and makeup style, your wedding plans etc. This helps us get to know each other better, after all having your makeup done can be quite intrusive and requires a lot of trust between artist and bride.

Hopefully, this short guide will help you understand what to expect at your trial to ensure it goes brilliantly.  But if you still have any concerns then don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Happy wedding trials everyone! x