Wednesday, 19 December 2012

The Tricky Ones

Every Christmas, there are a handful of people I struggle to buy for. Think I've finally cracked it now, hope they can help you too!

The high-end fashion lover (and very best friend)

HelmutNewton Sumo book, £99.99 TASCHEN 

The tricky teenage boy

I've bought this Topman gift for my little brother - such good value. £20


Foodie Dads will love this Gino D'Acampo pizza set, £18.50 


Practical Granddads will be grateful for the 10-in-1 pocket tool, £6

Mums, Sisters, friends, Aunties and Grans (the pretty, easy and lovely fallback gift)

Any girl will love Heathcote & Ivory’s Vintage Rose Indulge Me set £10.00 

One to have up your sleeve (and then try to hang on to for yourself)

Simply gorgeous. Gok Wan Unwind and Relax Bathing Collection, £20.00

Need more help? Boots UK has launched new personalised video gift tags and a (free) Boots Christmas app to inspire people to give thoughtful gifts to their loved ones that will help them feel good in 2013.  Download it here:  

Tuesday, 18 December 2012

Luxury VS Budget Part 2

Feeling inspired from my success with the Nars Orgasm-replacements (I’m aware of the irony), I decided to see what else I could find to replace the more expensive items in my make-up bag.

Instead of Chanel Automatic Liquid Eyeliner, £25.00,
Try W7 Paint the Line Eyeliner, £4.95 or Boots 17 Semi Permanent Liquid Eyeliner - Tattoo Me, £4.99

Both of these eyeliners are worthy adversaries to a product which is ludicrously expensive for what it actually is and does. As I wear black liquid eyeliner every day of my life, I used to think that paying more meant better quality, but both of these budget liners stay on longer than the Chanel one. I have especially greasy lids too (lovely, I know) so you can trust me when I say that both the W7 and the Boots 17 versions stayed on all day and didn’t transfer. Good deep blacks too.

Instead of YSL Dessin Du Regard Long-Lasting Eye Pencil, £19.00
Frontcover Black Kohl Pencil with Smudger, £8   

I’ve thought for a while now that paying full whack for a simple kohl pencil is a bit pointless and switched to a Rimmel one a few years ago. Pay a few more pounds, and you really can tell the difference. This rich, highly pigmented Frontcover kohl liner is the perfect way to get that Kate Moss rock-chick look in seconds. The smudger comes in really handy too.

Instead of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, £25.00,
Try Elizabeth’s Daughter the Soothing and Glossing Balm, £8.00

Less sticky that the Elizabeth Arden version, but just as nourishing. I use this balm to condition my lips and any dry skin. It contains Apricot Butter and Rose Hip Seed Oil. Gorgeous.

Instead of a Dolce and Gabbana Monica lipstick, £24.50 Harrods, try A.K.A lipsticks, £7.50

And the things I’d never scrimp on?

Skincare (Murad is my favourite at the moment), Perfume (currently using Narciso Rodriguez Her and lusting after Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir) and foundation (always Mac Matchmaster).

Monday, 17 December 2012

Fantasy Shopper - Dream a Little Fashion Dream

 When funds are tight, a little bit of fantasy goes a long way. This new social shopping and personal styling website, Fantasy Shopper ( allows you to shop, style and share your ultimate fantasy wardrobe.

You basically create your own style portfolio using your favourite items available in hundreds of real stores in London and New York. Have a browse and start building your dream outfit. Visualisation is a powerful tool, girls, maybe in time these pieces could make an appearance in your real wardrobe! You can shop from it too, should the mood take you.

Once you complete your outfit, you can share and inspire others, earn Style Status upgrades and enter Style Events for a chance to win real world prizes.

This is a great one for feeding your imagination and I think budding stylists and fashion fans would really enjoy it.  

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Polo of the Future by Lacoste

To celebrate its 80th anniversary, LACOSTE paid tribute to the visionary spirit of its founder René Lacoste by taking his most legendary invention, the L.12.12 polo shirt, into the future.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Luxury VS Budget; the Battle of the Dupes

For a while now, I had been obsessed with the idea of buying Nars Orgasm blusher. This cult product has been on everyone’s lips for a while now, and I had serious make-up FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I baulked, however, at the idea of paying £21.00 for a blusher which surely cannot cost very much to produce.
It didn't seem right that people wealthier than I are boasting glowing, healthy-looking cheeks while my poor, grey, pallid ones faded into the background. And so my quest began.

Here are my favourite Nars Orgasm ‘dupes’, tried and tested for you, dear reader.

Instead of Nars Orgasm blusher,
Try Smooch Blusher in Kookie Crumble or Peachy, £8.50

I'm wearing Peachy in this pic

As soon as I saw the cute box and smart inner packaging I knew I was onto a winner with Smooch. The closest match to Nars Orgasm is the slightly sparkly Kookie Crumble shade, which went on beautifully and left my cheeks gently flushed and glowing. If you prefer something a bit pinker, the Peachy duo is the blusher for you. I was surprised at how much I liked this one, and the day I wore it, a few people said I looked ‘younger’ and ‘pretty’ – result! 

You could also try new brand A.K.A’s rather marvelous blushers in Frosty Flower or Innocent Blush, £7.00

I'm wearing Innocent Blush here

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Caryn Franklin and All Walks Beyond the Catwalk - Clothes Show Live 2012

The Clothes Show was first aired in 1986. This means that I have technically been watching Caryn Franklin since the tender age of one. I was very excited to spot her on the Style Studio stage, talking about her ‘All Walks Beyond the Catwalk’ initiative. All Walks Beyond the Catwalk was launched to empower ordinary women and promote positive and realistic body image. In her seminar, Caryn spoke about the recent collaboration with M&S and also about how photographer Rankin and a host of designers (Antonio Berardi, Stella McCartney and Vivian Westwood, to name a few) have been championing the cause. I definitely agree that “The promotion of one body type is unhealthy and unkind” and that “There’s more to beauty than just the one ideal”.

It was interesting to learn that it only takes seventeen separate complaints to the ASA (Advertising Standards Authority) for companies to be investigated. If seventeen people complained, for example, that a model used in an advertising campaign looked unhealthy, then the ASA could investigate and ask the company in question to show their ‘digital trail’. This really made me think – one letter or email has more power to change things than you’d imagine.

If, like me, you tire of seeing the same gaunt Caucasian faces decorating the pages of fashion magazines and billboards, then make sure you visit this website to find out more:

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Contemporary Materials –Artists, Designers, Makers

Don’t miss the ‘Contemporary Materials’ show in Old Street. It’s featuring work by some amazing artists, designers and makers. I have it on good authority that some of the pieces will be very affordable and it all looks quite gorgeous; perfect for an arty Christmas present! I’m particularly excited about seeing work by Michael Cribbs, Teresa Georgallis, Adam Ross, Julia Skliarova and Sarah Wiberley (all pictured below).
The private view of the exhibition is Thursday 13th December (this Thursday) 6pm – 9pm and it's on until Saturday 22nd December.

45 Coronet Street
N1 6HD

10am-6pm daily

Michael Cribbs

Adam Ross

Teresa Georgallis

Julia Skliarova

Sarah Wiberley

The Elemis SpaBus at the Clothes Show Live 2012

A stroke of genius, this. The clever people from Elemis spa (you can find their pods in the lounges at Heathrow Airport) parked a pimped out double-decker bus at the Clothes Show Live in the NEC and offered fast luxury in the shape of 15 minute appointments for just £10. I had the Stress-Away Shoulder to Scalp (it felt like floating on an undulating cloud) and emerged a new, very relaxed woman. I’m going to find out how much those magic massage chairs cost and then dedicate my life’s work to affording one.

Monday, 10 December 2012

Effortless Extensions at the Clothes Show Live 2012

When I read the words “Get long beautiful hair in seconds”, I stopped in my tracks and eagerly tried on some Effortless Extensions. The results were impressive. I have used clip-in extensions before but they sometimes look a bit bulky and unnatural. They also tend to break my hair at the root. These ones just slip over your head on a sort of elastic – brilliant. They’re not made from human hair, which I actually prefer after hearing terrible, unethical tales about girls being forced into having their heads shaved. My head is the only place I’d ever consider going synthetic. You can wash these and apply heat to them as you would with real hair.

Visit and enter the promo code ‘clothesshow2012’ to get 25% off throughout December 2012. 

Sunday, 9 December 2012

The Clothes Show Live 2012

Clothes Show Live launches with Daisy Lowe and Henry Holland on Friday 7th – Tuesday 11thDecember

I last when to the Clothes Show as a fledgling fashionista, I bumbled around the stands with teenaged eyes and dodgy bootcut jeans. I can hardly believe that this is the Clothes Show’s 24th year! At 27, I made my return and even dragged my Mum along for the ride.  

There were lots more clothing stalls than I remembered; if you like fashion then this really is the place for you. Some of the clothes were quite ‘young’, and I did feel that in some cases quality was compromised in favour of quantity. This may just be because my tastes have evolved a bit over the years! Lots of great high street brands were represented (I spotted New Look and Oasis amongst them) and there were even some celebrity guests; stylist Grace Woodward and Peter Andre to name a couple. Mum and I nearly got crushed by the hundreds of girls clamouring to spot Peter. On the Clothes Show Susuki Fashion Theatre, I spotted Henry Holland, my friend Jade (who won Britain and Ireland’s Next Top Model) and the ever-gorgeous BB.

The show itself was fantastic; as energetic and exciting as I remembered from my first visit, all those years ago. There was a sort of ‘Devil Wears Prada’ theme, with a bobbed model representing Anna Wintour. We had great seats, right in front of the stage – the perfect place to see all those hunky models and lovely clothes close up.

Later in the day, I caught up with Clothes Show veteran and Head of Educational Content, Caryn Franklin to ask her the secret of the show’s continued success. ‘Everybody loves a bit of a festival, and this was the first festival in a way. We always understood the power of fashion and music and bringing the community together.’

Caryn explained that they were unprepared for the first Clothes Show Live – it had been promoted on the television program and they hadn’t expected such a large turn-out at Olympia. ‘Horrified’ at the hoards of people queuing up, they learned their lesson and promptly moved on to the NEC the following year!

What does the Clothes Show mean today?
‘It still offers people that chance to immerse themselves, for a day in the potential of fashion. It’s also the biggest shopping mall in the world!’

Peter Andre gets mobbed

Jelly Pong Pong

The So Bar

Lee Stafford represents

Interested in colourful hair!

Mum checks out the Steamcream stand

A fashion show on the Diet Coke catwalk

Me and Mum get excited about the show!

Grace Woodward and Henry Holland host the show

BB was my favourite male model

LOVED this dress!

The face of Clothes Show Live 2012 - Daisy Lowe

Mum gets some Beautiful Brows

New Look's comp

My friend Laura presents with Caryn Franklin on the Style Studio stage