Sunday, 5 June 2011

in and out

Inspired by 5andra's brilliant "in and out" posts, these tags seem like an easy and concise way of letting people know my current obsessions and dislikes, without having to make long, rambling posts about each one, and followers not having to read long, ramblings posts about each one.


Hair scarves: I find it hard to get along with hats and hair decorations, but I'm going to try my best to make it work with one of these. Effortless beach glam! Topshop are currently selling some lovely ones.

Crop tops: Again, another thing I like the idea of, but may not work so well realistically speaking. I just love the idea of wandering around on holiday with a cut-off tee and a pair of denim short-shorts. Better make that return to the gym!

Covent Garden, London: The past couple of weeks I was working as an intern right next-door to the Covent Garden area. It's an amazing place for vintage shopping and eating out, and has made me fall back in love with London town.

Fake tan: Until recently, I had lived my 21 years with the tango fear. But then the other week I decided to take the plunge, and was very pleased with the results. I'm not one to dismiss my fair skin, and come winter, I know I'll be back to embracing my outer Snow White - it's just nice to have a glow when summer's on our doorstep. For now, the future's bright - the future's (hopefully not too) orange!


Bikini shopping: Inevitable mood-killer. Putting it off for as long as possible.

Naughty food cravings: With under a month 'til holiday time, the countdown has begun. Out go the Domino's urges, and in go crippling days following Legs, Bums & Tums classes.

Sunday, 29 May 2011

my top beauty buys

1. Estée Lauder Double Wear This is what I call "good skin in a bottle". Whether my complexion is misbehaving akin to that of a 15 year old boy, or I need a long-wearing base that can survive the wildest of nights out, this foundation promises a flawless face without fail. Screw-top annoyances aside, it has been a faithful servant to me for nearly four years now, and I always find myself going back to it following my attempts at "branching out". What’s more, it’s great no matter your skin concern - my best friend and I both swear by this, despite having skin types at either end of the spectrum.

2. Benefit High Beam I've had this for a while now, but have only been reaching for it as of late to bring a bit of luminosity to my base. As I have combination-oily skin, I have to stay clear of dewy foundations. By using this as an illuminator by mixing it with my foundation, I can achieve a grease-proof healthy glow just in time for summer's arrival.

3. MAC Vanilla pigment Now it must be said, I have a love/hate relationship with these pigments. A frosted white hue, it proves absolutely divine as a highlighter, but beware - this stuff can make some serious mess! On many ocassions I've found myself having to clear up my desk/floor/self after spilling it, and it will insist on going everywhere. Saying that, I can live with these kerfuffles as not many products could live up to how beautiful and multi-purpose this is when it decides to play nice.

4. Benefit Hoola At first glance, its muddy colour may strike fear in pale pandoras like me (not to mention the price tag). But when used with a light touch, Hoola is great matte bronzer to take the edge off of any creamy complexions.

5. Rimmel Sun Shimmer Instant Tan If you're looking for a quick bronze fix, this wash-off tan is a must-have standby product for the nights when you want to put your legs on show. The tan is available in four shades, depending on whether you want to go light or medium, matte or shimmer. I've not used this on other parts of my body, but my friends have and report a similar success rate.

6. MAC Patisserie Being fair-skinned, I find it very difficult to find the right natural lipstick for daywear that doesn't completely wash me out. Patisserie has a lovely pinky-nude tone to it, which flatters my naturally pigmented lips. Not only this, its Lustre finish gives a nice sheerness, so you can expect to avoid that buttery, greasy coating you tend to find with some of the Cremesheen/Amplified Creme lippies.

7. MAC Patina If I had to choose one eyeshadow to wear for the rest of eternity, this would be it. Patina is a taupe brown with golden shimmer (it's actually much cooler than the image above suggests). As I find that warm-toned browns tend to look too harsh on my skintone, this is perfect - not just for me, but for most people. It's definitely one of MAC's universal shades, similarly to Satin Taupe (another favourite of mine), which will look good on pretty much anyone. It certainly won't be leaving my palette anytime soon!

8. Colorsport 30 Day Mascara If you have a pathetic excuse for eyebrows like me, you'll be devastated you hadn't tried this product sooner. I always thought eyebrow tinting wouldn't do much for my fine and sparse hairs, and while I'll never be Brooke Shields, the difference is obvious after I use this kit. At £8.99, you certainly get your money's worth as you're sure to get a lot more out of it than the 16 applications the packet promises. The result? Noticeably improved arches. Voila!

9. MAC 266 To give my brows a further helping hand, I rely on the 266 to fill them in. I only recently purchased this brush after watching the Pixiwoo ladies use it in video after video. The angled edge is perfect for brow work, and its bristles are just the right texture - stiffer than the disappointing Sigma E65 copy (formerly the SS266), but not too dense and rigid as I've found with the Bobbi Brown Eye Brow Brush.

A word of warning Having learnt from my own mistakes, I would advise you to exercise caution when looking at images of products online (including those above, incidentally) as they can be incredibly deceptive of the true shade. Your best bet is to take a look at swatches on sites like Temptalia, Specktra or Makeupalley. Better yet, get yourself to a beauty counter and see for yourself.

What are your top beauty buys? There are still a lot of HG products I've yet to find, so I'd love to hear your recommendations!

Monday, 11 April 2011

interview: gwyneth moore of cardiff fashion

With Cardiff having pushed its way into the top three busiest city shopping centres in the UK, fashion blogger and editor Gwyneth Moore tells Carys Cross why the spotlight is rightly on the city as an up-and-coming style capital.

In a world where British fashion has become synonymous with London, a blind eye is often turned to the style stakes of its neighbours. Eager to give Cardiff a voice, digital and social media PR director Gwyneth Moore founded her blog, Cardiff Fashion, at the beginning of last year as a platform to showcase emerging Welsh talent.

“I hadn't really seen any local blogs covering fashion, even though there are loads of UK wide and international ones,” she says. “Cardiff is a brilliant city and the recent developments have given the capital a great boost in confidence.”

After studying fashion in Sydney, Gwyneth later moved back to her hometown of Porthcawl, where she now works from home. Since the blog was set-up just over a year ago, she says she’s been overwhelmed by the positive response the blog has received.

“I get loads of emails from people who love the blog and we have followers from all over the world. Cardiff has a growing fashion scene and due to the web, it’s becoming easier for smaller designers to get exposure on a global scale.”

Alongside this, Gwyneth, 43, balances two jobs with two children, and so encourages contributions from her students at the University of Glamorgan, where she lectures in Fashion Design. Speaking about the talent she has witnessed as a lecturer, she hopes that graduates will play a part in producing a scene that can attract more attention and give rise to the first ever Cardiff Fashion Week.

This may be a not-so-distant reality, with the capital’s growing interest owing itself to its warm and friendly nature and advancing facilities, she claims. Bigger-name high street stores like All Saints and Urban Outfitters have opened branches in the past year, resulting in edgier brands and more variety available within arm’s reach, placing Cardiff higher on the list of shopping destinations.

In spite of this, Gwyneth raises her concerns that the increase in commercial competition has left the future of smaller boutiques in doubt, with Lunacy Boutique, previously located in the High Street Arcade, being forced to close earlier this year.

“The development around John Lewis and St David’s 2 has had a positive impact on the city overall, but some of the old arcades are suffering as a result. It would be good to see both sides supported by the public.”

To ensure Cardiff retains the diverse and charming character it’s celebrated for, Gwyneth urges the community to buy from local boutiques when they can.

“If we all at least take a look and support them as much as we can, then hopefully we can support more original designers and keep the smaller boutiques open. Keeping the old and the new makes for an interesting city and a more vibrant fashion scene.”

image via guardian cardiff

Sunday, 27 March 2011

topshop nail varnish

While having a rummage in Topshop the other week, I came across their nail polish range, and was particularly struck by the shades. For those like me who like colours on the dirty side, you won't be disappointed, and it's nice to find these tones so accessibly. At £5 a pop, it isn't the cheapest range you can find on the high street (and without the 3 for 2 offers that you're used to with brands like Barry M), but they do come in sets of three and four nail polishes in selected shades, and in very cute packaging, which, let's face it, always helps.

I limited myself to a bottle of Spotted Pig, a dusty plum colour, and Airplane, a pillarbox blue

The website claims that the polishes are "fast drying, extra long wear with lasting glossy finish and perfect coverage". Surprisingly, I completely agree. Brilliant for on-the-go application, the first coat particularly dries incredibly quickly, and the formulation's staying-power easily beats that of my other nail polishes, namely Barry M and Rimmel. I've already got my eyes on World End, Moving Ends, Hunting and Play For Keeps to see me through to the Summer. Not that I needed yet another excuse to venture into Topshop...

Thursday, 24 March 2011

in memory of elizabeth taylor

In May of last year, Elizabeth Taylor posted on her Twitter in commemoration of Lena Horne, expressing her grief that "one of the most beautiful women in the world passed away today. Her dignity and grace and talent shall be remembered forever." It's now that we can all say the same about her. Not only will she be remembered for her extraordinary beauty, remarkable talent and resilient strength, her memory will continue to live on through the millions of people she's helped in her dedication to HIV and AIDS charities, raising over $100 million in her thirty years of activism for the causes. A true example of beauty, both inside and out.

"I've been through it all, baby, I'm mother courage."

images via vanity fair

Saturday, 19 March 2011

mary-kate and ashley olsen: US vogue, april 2011

Ever since the days of Two of a Kind, the Olsen twins have been an image of inspiration, and being tiny myself, I often take a lot of fashion influence from them as we have very similar petite frames. Anytime they feature exclusively in an interview, I get a tinge of excitement, as it's rare that the public get an insight into their usually low-key and concealed lifestyles. The feature on them in US Vogue's April issue is no disappointment, featuring quotes from friend and muse Lauren Hutton, and a particularly charming anecdote told by Carey Mulligan. The photographs show a softer, different side to the twins that we don't often see, and I particularly love how they agreed to rewind ten years in their matchy-matchy stilts-in-pyjamas shot.

images via dauphine at the fashion spot

Sunday, 27 February 2011

sweet charity

A couple of weeks ago, an '80s themed social prompted me to take to the streets of Cardiff in a charity shop-fuelled hunt. After finding a shirt that was both era-appropriate and wearable, I was reminded of the gems that you can discover, while also helping very worthy causes. What's more, Oxfam provide a brilliant online shopping service where I managed to snag a couple of bargains which from the comfort of my very own bed. Say goodbye to the price tags and guilt that confronts you at the paydesk at Topshop!

Sporting this with high-waisted black harem pants, massive earrings and a hair flip-over, it's safe to say I was definitely channelling more Patsy Stone than thrift-chic. Once out of my time-trapped bubble, I think the blouse would look amazing paired with a high-waisted black skirt on a night out, as the blouse falls quite short. I am in love with the zebra-inspired graphic print, and even my housemate has asked to borrow it!

Having already worn this top as daywear and nightwear, I can safely say it's becoming a staple in my wardrobe. For my friend's 21st last week, I tucked it into a black skirt along with black tights which worked well for a more casual night on the tiles. In the daytime, it works amazingly well as a loose-fitting slubby top, over either leggings or skinny jeans.

As winter is finally creeping away from us, I am eagerly awaiting the warmer weather to unleash this cute blouse. Teamed with skinny jeans, I think this would make an adorable springtime look for the day.

What are you waiting for? Ditch the high street and get thrift shopping. Your new spring wardrobe will be that extra special knowing the money spent has helped someone somewhere.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

Kirsten Dunst for Band of Outsiders

The lookbook Band of Outsiders' Spring collection, Boy, featuring the charming Kirsten Dunst, tugs at my heartstrings. I love the nostalgic aesthetic, and I'm a sucker for anything within a polaroid frame. Spring is coming!

images via band of outsiders

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

"By placing a title on my head...which is plus-size, and then the picture that these people have created in their mind about what plus-size actually is... at this point in my life, I would actually have to have another eating disorder to live up to that expectation."

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

mulberry pre-fall 2011

With florals and pastels permeating stores at the moment, I have come to realise how much more exciting A/W trends are for me. Combine that with the fact that I am still well and truly hibernating in last season's wardrobe due to Britain still being well-and-truly stuck in ice-age mode, I welcome Mulberry's first-ever Pre-Fall 2011 collection with open arms. Creative director Emma Hill took inspiration by none other than the good old English countryside, staying true to Mulberry's rural roots by incorporating earthy, Autumnal tones into chunky knits and A-line skirts, while still managing to retain a sense of British cool with classic blacks and navys juxtaposed against fresh metallics. Some of my favourite looks...

images via and vogue