Friday, 25 April 2008

Just for you

Don't you hate it when you just have nothing to wear, when everything you try on either doesn't fit, isn't right for the occasion or isn't 'you'- well now look no further! One of my best kept and favourite secrets is now yours.

Take a look at Style Shake

You design the dress, they make it and in 10 working days, a brand new dress designed exclusively by and for you arrives!

Theres a whole range of fabrics from wardrobe staples like cotton to linen (a summer essential) to silk and metallic silk in a range of colours from the ever classic black, forest green, electric blue, orchid and poppy red. Once you've chosen your fabric, next up is the fun part- designing the dress. You can chose the upper body (empire, yoke, hips, waist to name a few), neckline (the newly added off the shoulder and off the shoulder gathered is so now it hurts!), sleeves, waist, lower part of the dress, as well as add trimmings and detailing like pleats and embellishment.

My newest creation is this Bottega Veneta inspired dress with bandeau neckline with stone embellishment, a fitted box pleat detailed waist with a full flared knee length skirt, all in a very wearable, very understated black cotton- all for £99! What more could I want?

And to make it even better they even do tops!

Perfectly pale

For anyone with pale skin and freckles will know finding make up that works with your skin tone and doesn't make you look like a clown or dead is hard. Well no more as the long awaited Dainty Doll range by Nicola Roberts (of girls aloud fame) has been released. This make up range created in association with Jelly Pong Pong is made exclusively for pale skinned women. The range contains foundations, concealers, eyeshadows, blushes and lip glosses. (also the packaging is adorable and I'm in love with the 'nicola doll' on the packaging- just adorable! I'd love to see this printed onto cards or notepads- it reminds me of my much loved Topshop Christmas Card selection by Julie Verhoeven )

My personal favourites are the concealer (which covers imperfections and dark circles due to its thicker consistency), foundation (the silky mousse texture goes on like a dream and has a smooth matte finish) and the eyeshadow in Honey Bronze is perfect for an '08 summer smokey eye update and looks gorgeous against pale skin. The ultra fine eye shadows are long lasting with a smooth flake free finish and each comes with a gold suede textured base to prevent smudges.

The range is available from ASOS and you can read the press release for further details here:

SPF make up

Well after a few brief days of sun, its disappeared again but I'm assured summer is on its way and that means time to dig out or buy new sun protection. The hardest thing is how to protect yourself from the sun without compromising on style and your usual routine, so being the kind woman I am, I've found the top picks for sun protection to keep you looking your best this summer

No7 50+ Anti- Ageing Anti Dark Spot Facial Sun Protection- so I know I've posted about it before but this is my Holy Grail product (being very pale with freckles, high SPF is a must for me) and its important to wear a high SPF during summer, especially as no one wants to end up resembling a prune at 40 or worse, developing skin cancer. This cream is perfect to use on the face, neck decolletage and back of the hands and can be worn alone for dewy skin or topped with a powder for a matte make up base.

MAC Prep & Prime SPF 50 is a sun protecting primer which is a fast absorbing oil free lotion with specially formulated oil absorbing powder to help prevent oil breakthrough, helps create the perfect base for make up and is a great starting point for the rest of your face.

MAC Studio Fix Fluid SPF 15 is the liquid version of Macs all time classic studio fix foundation. This foundation is a medium buildable coverage product with a natural matte finish. Its also oil free and long wearing and comes in a whopping 27 shades so theres a shade for everyone!

MAC Studio Finish SPF 35 concealer is a lightweight, creamy, discreetly opaque concealer, which provides a smooth, long-wearing invisible coverage for all skin blemishes. It's water-resistant, fragrance-free and non-blemishgenic and can cover spots, blemishes, dark circles, moles, tattoos and birth marks. This is an amazing product and comes in a range of 15 shades- a must for anyone wanting sun protection and great make up.

For a more accessible and cheaper option, try Avon ANEW Beauty Age Transforming Concealer SPF 15- just because its summer, doesn't mean we wan to go completely bare faced and show the world our dark circles, so Avon have cleverly created this liquid concealer that not only disguises imperfections but helps reduce line and wrinkles and protects the skin from sun damage. It comes in a handy pen applicator although is only available in 2 shades- natural fair and natural medium- so any olive or dark skinned lovelies out there, sadly this product isn't for you!

Saying with Avon ANEW, their Beauty Age Transforming Foundation SPF 15, instantly helps smooth fine lines and wrinkles and helps protect the skin from sun exposure and further damage. Its available in 6 shades and as with all Avon products, if your not completely satisfied with your purchase, they'll exchange your item or refund the full price if you choose to return it within 90 days of delivery.

And for a powder, try Cliniques Almost Powder make up SPF 15, available in 10 shades.

For sun protection for your lips (hugely important given they don't produce oils and are vulnerable to the sun), try Carmex lip moisturiser with SPF 15. This cult lip balm now comes with added sun protection and has an immediate cooling effects on lips. If coloured lips are your thing, try Cliniques Moisture Sheer Lipstick SPF 15 or No7 Moisture Drench lipstick available in 24 shades and with SPF 15.

See now theres no excuse for not using sun protection and looking gorgeous!

Its that time of year

Its that time of year when perfect, gorgeous skin comes into focus and there aren't many woman who have perfect skin- most of us need to actively work at it (and can't rely on an army of experts and re-touchers to make us look gorgeous!)

So heres my ultimate guide to gorgeous, clear skin:

Step 1- Dermalogica Anti Bac Skin wash- this is an essential for anyone with oily, skin prone skin. It contains Triclosan to help inhibit bacteria on the skin's surface and Salicylic Acid dissolves dead skin debris to leave skin looking and feeling clear.

Step 2- Clearsil Deep Cleansing Toner- this toner helps clear and prevent breakouts, whilst tightening pores. It also works really well with the Dermalogica cleanser.

Step 3- Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Protective Recovery Complex Serum- applied morning and night on clean skin, this serum can help enhance the skins natural ability to repair UV and environmental damage. It also leaves the skin glowly and radiant!

Step 4- No7 protect and repair SPF 50+ anti ageing anti dark spot facial sun protection- this 5 star rated ultra sun protection has a patented complex to help skin prevent age spots, uneven pigmentation and ageing caused by sun exposure. The cream is moisturising, yet not greasy and the perfect base for make up. It also doesn't smell very much, nor goes streaky or chalky white on contact. Alternatively try Siana Anti Wrinkle Day Cream- this reknown day cream for £1.89 from Aldi has out performed well known creams such as cult classic Creme de la mer and Olay in product tests and Aldis sell a whopping 20,000 jars a week. This day cream contains bioflavone and co-enzyme Q10 as well as vitamin C and E and spf 4. Its light yet moisturising texture sinks into the skin and leaves skin dewy and glowy- a cult classic!

Step 5- Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair Eye Recovery Complex- this lightweight serum-gel not only helps repair past damage but also prevent further damage to the delicate eye area. The gel also helps banish puffiness, dark circles and lines and wrinkles. I use this morning and eye and swear by it- its by far the best eye cream I've tried (a close second is Caudalie eye and lip contour cream)

Step 6- For a night cream, you can't beat Siana's Skin Kind nightcream from Aldi- this sister product to the re known day cream, it just as good and contains all the skin loving ingredients of the day cream with added vitamins and retinol complex to help skin regenerate while you sleep. Plus at a bargain £1.89, it leaves you free to splurge on other things!

Extra- and for those days when spots just appear without warning, try Clearsils Rapid Action Treatment Cream- this cream not only fights spots but reduces redness and used twice a day can clear up spots in 2-3 days.

And just because you can't forget the rest of you, my ultimate body lotion is Vaseline Intensive Rescue Moisture Locking Body Lotion- this hypoallergenic, fragrance free lotion moisturises the driest of skins and leaves skin feel soft and moisturised for over 24 hours. I use it every morning and my skin is still soft and gorgeous the next morning- my definite holy grail body lotion!

Thursday, 24 April 2008

Purses at the ready!

If you haven't been to your local Matalan store, then now is the time! The newly added Et Vous range has arrived and my oh my is it good! The prices are fantastic for clothing that wouldn't look out of place at designers stores (and are much cheaper than Topshop and you get far superior quality!). My favourites and the things I bought:

- the brown wide leg turn up sailor pants- these delicious chocolate brown wide leg pants have sailor style button pockets and fit like a dream- all for £18! I wore them the evening I bought them and got so many compliments- I plan to wear them this summer with an orange tank top, flat brown gladiator sandals and a smile!
- the black sateen pleat front trousers- these again fit really well, are very long (anyone who usually needs longer length will be able to fit in them- mine need to be altered they're that long!) and the pleat front detailing creates a gorgeous wide leg yet flattering style- £22 and is the classic wardrobe essential
- the taupe ruffle neck tank- this taupe sleeveless tank is fantastic and has origami style pleated neck with ruffles around the front and back of the top and buttons up with 3 button detailing at the back- it goes from an average top to a high end piece and is comfy and stylish
- midnight blue satin pleated top- this midnight blue satin top has an elasticated hem and pleated neckline to create a voluminous shape- the colour is divine and looks amazing with jeans and the fit is just spot on. Its also available in sunshine yellow which is the perfect summer top
- black v neck tank with pleated neckline- this throw on black tank is gorgeous, the V neck shows off a great cleavage and the pleated detailing adds interest- this one looks great dressed up and down but i'll be wearing mine with full skirts and flat sandals!

These are just a few of the fantastic buys I got (all for a measy £77) but other mentions go to the navy blue gold button shift dress (so on trend it hurts), fuchsia pink ruffle blouse and denim sailor pants- if you can get to a matalan near you, i urge you to go and see if the Et Vous range is there- you won't be disappointed!

Monday, 14 April 2008

Dress of the month

This has to be my dress of the month- this La Petite Salope jersey asymmetric bubble hem dress with corsage is divine and not only that but it has a built in corset to give you an incredible hourglass shape. It even comes in two colours- nude and black, so you'll have one to wear for every occasion!

Pretty- its the name of the game!

Pretty-is what I for one want to be, whether its wearing 'pretty' make up or a pretty dress- just soft feminine pretty dresses, the kind you waft into a room in on a cloud of chiffon, organza, tulle or cotton, leaving women in your wake glaring enviously and a rather unflattering shade of green.

Erin Fetherson is the go to lady for pretty clothing- the New York by way of Paris designer likes elegant whimisical dresses and likes to wear silk cotton dresses by day and night with the highest of platforms by Miu Miu (this girl has taste! look at her with her white blonde hair, milky skin and gorgeous figure- not only does her dress suit her to a T but check out those shoes!) and began by designing couture, after studying as Parsons School of Design in Paris, then honing her craft under MIL who worked in the ateliers of YSL and Lanvin and switched to ready to wear in 2005.

Her current spring/summer 08 collection is full of gorgeous dresses in neutral pastels, greys and light silvers, while her fall 08 collection is a gorgeous mix of black, velvets, florals and plums- what more could a girl want? (Selma Blair would look delicious in the grey grecian ruffle edged dress)

Thursday, 10 April 2008


Well after putting on weight, I actually found I needed a bra (theres a first for everything) and so found myself walking into the first shop I saw that sold underwear (you can tell im not picky!) which happened to be La Senza, which is harbouring what could be the best bra (IMO). I'm talking about the ITEC which for those of you haven't heard is La Senzas microfibre one piece bra designed to not only look invisble under clothing but is also seam, stitch and label free.

Not one to be sway by advertising and mumbo jumbo, I thought I'd try it on and as usual put it back for not fitting right/be uncomfy/looking horrid under clothes/all of the above but 4 purchases later I'm a convert and believe me the hype is worth it!

I ended up purchasing the padded plunge ITEC bra in both black and white which has concealed underwiring and smooth moulded cups with incorporated foam padding to boost cleavage and little scallop detailing and am over the moon with them- not only do they fit perfectly, they boost the bust (which for any other A cups out there is a big deal!), are invisible under clothing (only through the thiniest of my white tank tops can you see the white bra) and are comfortable from the get go. The straps are also thin enough to not be seen when wearing camis and spaghetti strap clothing and it gives a good, even shape through clothing. Not only that but La Senza had an offer which meant £10 off the total price of both bras. I also got the ITEC in lurex pink and silver (both were half price in store), which are just as good, although I don't find the fit as good, although I suspect its due to the fact it doesn't have the little scallop edging so doesnt fit as close to the breast and give an even 'join' when boosting the bust but theyre still fantastic and I cant complain for the price I paid!!!

(sadly i look like neither of these women when wearing my bra, so therefore I add the disclaimer 'wearing this bra does not make you look like theyre sickenly attrative models')
Overall, I would recommend these bras to anyone wanting to boost their assets, while getting a smooth, invisbile look under clothing without compromising on style or comfort. A word of wording to the larger busted lady, the straps are thin so if you do need more support, a different bra might be better. The US La Senza has expanded this range so fingers crossed they'll bring it over to us as they're created the ITEC bras without underwiring and in printed versions and less 'basic' versions such as various colours, embroidered and lace versions. The range also features matching bottoms in a variety of styles that are all seam free for no VPL- perfect!


I have a gulity pleasure to admit- french boudoir chic- if its french and bedroom related I'm 99% sure I'll love it, want it, need it and quite possibly obsess over it- yesterday was such a day when I was faced with an Orange Tree french style dressing table complete with mirror AND matching mirror 3 panel bedroom screen all in white with ornate style curves and gold 'aged' detailing- it was simply divine and i had to be pressed away from them! Today I'm still thinking about them and decided to look online and lo and behold I found some corkers:

From Benardout Interiors (http://http// are these simply stunning beauties:

I'm imagining this first one with my assortment of glass perfumes bottles (the sort your meant to decant perfume into and use the glass topper to seductively apply your perfume to your wrists, nape of neck, bosom etc- mine are empty!) on top and a gorgeous little stool so i can sit and apply my make up in style- simply divine!

If dressing tables arent your thing, how about this 2 drawer french desk, topped off with this heavy carved mirror set into the wall above? The desk is so gorgeous I'm almost temped to ditch gthe laptop and bring back pen and paper!

These french chests are divine- the curved legs of the one of the left are a gorgeous design feature to an otherwise fairly plain shape and the heavy carved detailing on the right is just breathtaking.

And just because you cant confine french chic purely to the bedroom, this grape carved console would look fabolous in a large hall way or lounge (now I just need the new house to fit them in!)
The Lavendar Barn ( is full of chic french pieces including this gorgeous Chateau Louis Phillipe What Not (I'd put this is a bathroom to keep all my bits and pieces on- all decanted and put into gorgeous glass bottles and silver pots) and stunning dressing table- a huge must for me.

This Chateau lemi dune sideboard is a show stopper and is sure to be the focal point of any room, while this radiator cover will add a touch of french chic to any room without dominating it.

And finally this heavy carved armorie is divine and big enough to fit even the most generous stash of clothes (it may even fit mine!)

Saturday, 15 March 2008

New In!

After being rudely awoken by an early morning phone call and without anything to do for a few hours I decided to hit the net and look at pretty things and as always Topshop was on my port of call (I don't often buy from there but every now and again they have some great pieces- just ignore the tween stuff!)

This sequin mini skirt is very Elle MacPherson (goddess of minis and flat sandals- she wears them even in Winter!) and would look fantastic with bronzed skin, flat sandals (something simply) and a basic white t-shirt

Because I adore all things ruffley, this dress is pure indulgence for me- its red, ruffly and just looks like fun to wear! It would look amazing with thick black tights and mary janes and a black trench coat

Speaking of coats, I love this waterfall frill front belted coat- the mustard colour is very on trend and adds interest to an otherwise neutral outfit, the full skirt is just adorable especially with dress and mary janes or t bar shoes for a retro vibe. the puff sleeves are gorgeous and the frill front makes it look very designer (but alot cheaper!)

And finally are these light grey t bar heels- the light grey colour is a fantastic year round shade and the ruffle front detailing is gorgeous and will add interest to any outfit (they'd look fabulous with a black tea dress and tights- let the shoes do the talking!)

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Natural face friendly make up

Inspired by an OUSA F&B forum post, I decided to find some natural, non artifically preserved make up ranges (specifically eye make up) for anyone who suffers with allergies or just wants natural beauty products. I was surprised at the variety of products on offer and thought I'd share my favourites

Up first are products by Jane Iredale ( She has a wide range of products products are based on micronized minerals and are made without fillers and binders (such as talc and mineral oil) and without chemical dyes or preservatives, so its safe and even beneficial to your skin. There are a huge range of eye products available including pressed eyeshadows, eye gloss, eye primer, eye liners and mascaras.

My favourites are the PurePressed eyeshadows which resist creasing and blend beautifically- my favourite is the pecan/chocolate trio and I'd use the darker colour on the outer of the eye, mid shade on the middle of the lid and lightest on the inner corner of the lid for a gorgeous multi colour co-ordinated look. I also adore the eye gloss in green and grey silk for an alternative to the classic smokey eye, which gives a pearlescent finish and is made without synthetic dyes, fillers and chemical preservatives, making the formula safe and non-irritating to the eyes. Natural ingredients such as nourishing macadamia nut oil keeps lids hydrated throughout the day. My final pick is the cream to powder eye liner in plum plus- this is the perfect colour palette to add an '08 twist to the classic black eyeliner/smokey eyed look and will look fantastic against black lashes!

As every woman knows a good base is all important for good skin and Jane Iredale has this covered. My top favourites are the Absence base with SPF 15 to not only protect the skin from sun damage but also controls oil, shine and can help minimise the look of pores! But my ultimate product has to be the Liquid Minerals which are light-diffusing, soft-focus minerals encapsulated with ingredients that can replenish the cellular layers of the epidermis. Liquid Minerals can make the skin look more youthful, diminish the appearance of lines and wrinkles, minimize pores, even out skin tone and adheres so well there is minimal transference. Its also available in 18 shades to suit all skin tones

I also adore their concealers. The Circe/Delete under eye concealer is fantastic for not only concealing under eye circles but also treats the under eye area with Vitamin K, A, C, D and E, as well as jojoba and avocado oil. And the Active Light concealer illuminates the skin, camouflaging signs of fatigue and dark circles and contains Vitamin K, buckwheat wax, cucumber and white tea extract to help reduce puffiness, lighten dark circles, tighten the skin and boost its immunity.

So Organic ( is also fantastic for natural, face friendly products. I love the Sante eye shadows duo in Verde (72) which is BDIH certified and are natural pressed powders, rich in certified organic jojoba and chamomile extract, olive and essential oils that nourish and feed your skin. The Sante eyeshadow pencils are also fantastic with a creamy texture with natural waxes and certified organic jojoba and chamomile extract. My favourite is Olive to compliment the Verde eyeshadow or Pearl run along the lash lines tightly to open the eyes.

Eyeliners are make up bag staples and the Sante and Logona pencils are both BDIH certified and kind to the eye. The Logona pencils are even safe enough to use on both the inside and outside of the eyelid. My favourites are Spice and Schwarz.

I also love the Sante lip gloss pens in colours to suit everyone (and perfect for everyday wear) and Trend Sensitive Lipsticks in 14 colours enriched with jojoba oil and almond and its BDIH certified.

And finally because no outfit is complete without a coat of nail polish Sante have nail polishes available in 23 colours (sadly no black!) and are Phthalate, Formaldehyde, Toulene, colour lakes and preservative free.

And just because I adore red lips, I've fallen for this Green People Company natural lipstick in red shimmer with organic coconut cupuacu and jojoba oil and a cool menthol flavour.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008


Now my love of Boden is no secret- not only did they produce my gorgeous leopard print ballet pumps but also my favourite floral coat, skirt AND dress as featured in my floral post and the latest catalogue has no shortage of divine pieces to tantalise and tickle your fashion taste buds. Now I wholeheartedly urge everyone to get the catalogue/go online and browse the whole collection for yourselves, but I thought I'd give you alittle taster of what on my current wish list!

This semi fitted belted coat in Sulphur is just stunning and the perfect finishing touch to any outfits (especially those neutral palettes!) Its 100% coated PU cotton with contast print lining and is also available in canvas and denim blue and makes damp british weather a pleasure!
This retro style boyleg swimsuit is divine- the polka dot print adds even more retro glamour, while the black just screams pin up. It features removable pads (to boost the bust which I definitely need!!), adjustable halter ties (halterneck to boost the bust and show off good shoulders and decolletage), a gentle scoop back and longer leg length leg shaping- the ultimate in classic, flattering swimsuits! There are also halterneck polka dot bikini tops with matching pants, a selection of ruffle detailied swimwear and a range of contract coloured pieces including bikini tops, tankinis, bikini pants and shorts.

This fitted jersey dress with bust pleating and full inverted pleat below the bust is gorgeous and the red palm leaf print is a fantastic spring/summer piece (follow their lead and pair with red suede peep toes for a fantastic outfit). Its also available in printed blue shell and neutrals of black and brown so theres something to suit everyone! For a classic timeless look, try the black version coupled with Boden's cerise jewelled peep toe slingbacks (shown above, also available in cocoa and jade and this quote from the website says it all 'I believe they call this a statement shoe- the statement being, ‘my God I have good taste in footwear, and am fully prepared to use it’) or the Thistle cork wedges below. Sadly the man doesnt come free with your order.

These cork wedges in suede with leather lining have fully padded soles for extra comfort and the Thistle shade is fantastic with blacks to add colour to your winter wardrobe and gorgeous with spring and summer fashions. They are also available in black and cocoa to compliment your whole wardrobe and a perfect new season investment. (They're also available in sizes 3-9)
Back to coats and this contrast trim coat is pure loveliness- its semi fitted and contrasting collar, front plackets, pockets, cuffs and hem details to add extra interest to an otherwise classic style. The Mole and turquoise combo is right on the money for me (I'm imagining a black full skirt dress just peeking out beneath it with patent ballet pumps), while the ivory and cocoa is the height of sophsication and the black with white detailing is a pure classic.

This ruffle cotton dress with fitted bust and full skirt is the essential timeless classic and is fully lined for modesty. It features pintuck and ruffle detailing and comes in a range of colours from summery coral and aqua to wardrobe staples of white and mole. (sadly again man and ice cream sold seperately!)

This star burst printed top with marbled beading neckline and pleated detailing is a gorgeous summer piece and would look as good now over a long sleeve black tee as it would against bare skin in the summer sun (spf and sun permitting!)

And just because you can never have too many wardrobe staple skirts, theres this button through chino skirt in a gentle a line style available in canvas, dark olive (both perfect to channel this summers safari trend without going OTT) and dark and vintage denim (a perfect alternative to jeans!). Just add a simple t-shirt (boden have a fantastic selection),shoes of your choice and a slouchy bag and off you go!

Now this is just a small selection of the stunning Boden catalogue so instead of taking my word for it, why not pop along yourself and have a gander (and tell them petticoat pirates sent you!)