Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Veleza App Review

I discovered the Veleza app whilst scrolling through Instagram when lovingly admiring the #beauty hashtag content that social media has to offer. I cannot tell you how pleased I am to have found it.
Veleza is a free mobile app that provides the space for a community of beauty lovers to come together and exchange beauty tips and advice with fellow beauty fanatics, bloggers, beauticians, make up artists and skincare professionals from around the world. Think Instagram… just purely beauty-based.

I know right… AMAZING.
In a digital world full of paid-for reviews, beauty products can be a minefield; what happens when your current foundation (that you spent years finding) has been discontinued, or if you want to try a new face cream but are scared of a major breakout?
Veleza answers your prayers – all the users provide independent, unbiased and transparent reviews of products, so you get honesty about the coverage of a foundation, or the longwear of a lippy. The app initially asks you a set of questions about your beauty regime and skin type so it can factor this into the suggestions of who to follow, making the integration into the app quick and simple so you can just jump right into the beauty world.
What’s more is that when sharing your beauty experience, the app will tag your post with the products, so that everyone in the Veleza community can discover the product and see the ingredients. For anyone who is worried about finding products specific to intolerances or lifestyle choices, such as vegan friendly, cruelty free, paraben free, fragrance free or organic products, there is a specific filter to direct you to these individual selections.
Veleza also has the most comprehensive beauty product database to date, as well as displaying the best local deals for your most favourite products, including price comparisons from such retailers as Sephora, Amazon, eChemist or FeelUnique - fabulous for saving more money (to spend at a later date on more cosmetics...)
With its awareness of the issues within the beauty world, Veleza is a real gamechanger for me. The embracing community willing to exchange personal recommendations and discuss their fears and issues is genuine and encapsulates the power of sharing in a safe environment where they won't be judged – it feels more like a group of friends having a beauty sesh and sleepover rather than isolated strangers from around the world.
Give it a couple of years and this will be huge: Veleza app is definitely one to watch.
To become an active and engaged member of the Veleza beauty community, download the app here.

Monday, 27 June 2016

3 Ways to Wear It

The typical temperamental British weather always makes it difficult to choose an outfit to wear, but this rich red, straw-tie detail hat (from a Winter Wonderland fashion stall - can you believe it?!) is perfect for summer or winter - come rain or shine.

Whenever I wear it, it reminds me of Anita from 101 Dalmatians - it oozes class and is very versatile while being a great statement piece, as I don't often wear hats!

See below for the three outfits I created all centered around the hat, that all total under £50 - frugal and fashionable!

Lunch Date

This outfit's lightweight polo neck is an ivy green which closely matches the colour of the patterned trousers. The diamond print contains dark reds and pinks which harmoniously combines the colour scheme. To make it a more casual affair, you can roll up the trousers to get the ballet shoes tied higher up the leg.
Hat - Winter Wonderland stall £15, Polo neck - H&M £9.99, Trousers - H&M £9.99, Shoes - Primark £8, Necklace - Dorothy Perkins £2.99 (sale)


This is a Saturday-lunch-turned-late-night-session kind of outfit; you want to be prepared to go out dancing after your civilised lunch, once the third bottle of Prosecco has been uncorked. Pairing some skyscaper glittery boots with a textured grey dress keeps the colour palette simple, whilst the reds and bronzes in the necklace bring out the hat's deep red colour, tying the outfit together.
Hat - Winter Wonderland stall £15, Dress - Primark £14.99, Shoes - New Look, £9.99 (sale), Necklace - Free (gift from fashion internship)

Work - Smart Casual

This is probably my favourite outfit out of the three, and the one I wear most often to the office - think Fashion Friday, that you can also wear after work to that drinks do. The bardot top is so on point at the moment, and is lightweight, plus the crochet detailing on the sleeves and hem is adorable. Pair this with dogtooth deep purple culottes and the neckscarf, and you are slaying it. The hat picks out the purples and reds from the culottes and the neckscarf, making this outfit simultaneously super flirty yet totally chic.
Hat - Winter Wonderland stall £15, Bardot top - Spanish Market £5Shoes - Forever 21 £25, Neckscarf - Body Shop £3 (gift wrap option)

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

'Me Before You' Premiere

Thank goodness the event organisers decided to provide everyone with a pack of tissues before the screening because trust me, you’re going to need them.

The film adaptation of Me Before You is simply a work of art; to be honest, with a such a heart-wrenching plot provided by Jojo Moyes, it would be difficult not to produce something beautiful. With Emilia Clarke nailing the role of Lou Clark, and Sam Claflin playing Will down to a tee, the casting for this film was absolutely perfect. The screenplay itself was gorgeous and understated with a very British vibe the whole way through. By using the dull colours of her hometown to reflect Lou’s initially mediocre life, we are shown the direct contrast with her bubbly personality and illuminate her endless positivity. May I also just say how endearing Will’s grumpiness was – played spectacularly with appropriate subtlety and volume when necessary, Claflin enabled me to see passed his wheelchair prop. I felt his pain and saw his motivations; blatantly the sign of a very talented actor and I have no doubt that he’s only going to go from success to success.

Whilst the film deviated somewhat from the book’s original plot, evidently Jojo Moyes still supported the venture, as she had nothing but golden praise for the film’s director, Thea Sharrocke. All three women appeared (Emilia, Jojo and Thea) prior to the screening to give a brief speech, where Thea sweetly referred to the other two as 'the stripes of her bumblebee tights' (book/film in-joke for those of you unfamiliar with this reference!).

This is a truly touching piece of cinema that resonated with me and left me feeling uplifted thanks to Lou’s lovable quirkiness, along with a deep sense of appreciation for life. Cliché or not, the film’s message was stark and awakening: never take life for granted whilst you still have it and make the most of your time here. Travel the world and fall in love, because we never know when the things dearest to us will be taken away. #LiveBoldly

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Interview with Jeffrey Marsh

Host, author, and youth advocate Jeffrey Marsh has more than a quarter BILLION views across social media. As the creator of the global trends #DontSayThatsSoGay and #NoTimeToHateMyself, Jeffrey has earned spots on top Viner lists by both BuzzFeed and Vine with their positive, inclusive messages. 

Before you read this interview, prepare yourself for tears. God knows how many times I cried whilst transcribing this, typing it, and re-reading it, purely because of how beautiful a person Jeffrey is, and that their message to the masses is crucial; there is nothing wrong with you.

Although I have had to edit this down (a LOT - we got to talking and couldn't stop!) their beautiful, empowering message still resonates throughout the interview. Don't underestimate Jeffrey; they are a force to be reckoned with in the cyber world, and their positive messages of self-worth and perfection can work wonders, even if you are in the darkest of places.

As Roald Dahl once said, "“If you have good thoughts they will shine out of your face like sunbeams and you will always look lovely."

How did you get into motivational speaking?
I started by experimenting; I tried singing, dancing, telling jokes, along with motivational quotes. It was when the motivational side of my Vines began to really take off that I realised I was on to something. I think people needed that reminder that there is nothing wrong with you, and until that moment I didn’t realise quite how much people needed to hear that.
How do you think your Vines can help people?
I have not yet spoken to anyone who has not been told at some point that there is something wrong with them. I think people find them powerful because they see the metaphor: I was always told there was something wrong with me because I am queer but people extrapolate my defiance against that message to understand that perhaps there is nothing wrong with them either. It is a difficult message to convey but gradually through my presence on social media and constant reminders, they can understand they are beautiful for who they are.
How have you learned to tackle diversity?
I think it is a mixture of small, gradual steps, coupled with occasional leaps of understanding. I knew I was queer in kindergarten and I was very aware that people had a problem with it. It took me years and years to discover that it wasn’t my fault that I was queer, and a few more years to discover that people were trying their best to come to terms with my identity, even though they still had a problem with it. It makes me feel hopeful that they are trying, but equally sad that they have it instilled in them to begin with. Communication is a crucial tool to tackle diversity; by talking about gender identity and body image issues we can collectively move forward.
How do you think pronouns can affect people and their identity?
I learned a long time ago that the term ‘he’ doesn’t describe me as a human. I am willing to have the discussion about pronouns with people which is important to me, but I will host it in a loving, kind environment (by the way I have chosen ‘they/them’). What I disagree with is making others feel bad and policing them, or feeling bitter and getting upset that other people are unsure of how to refer to me. Regardless of where they may be coming from, I want it to be coming from a kind place. Ultimately everyone is different, and it is a delicate topic but often people are not trying to be deliberately offensive or malicious, they are trying to understand which I think is a huge development.  
When did you first feel you were making a difference to peoples’ lives?
When I started getting messages through Vine about people considering committing suicide. I still do, almost every day, and the messages state that they have decided to live because of my presence on social media. Those messages are the most fulfilling, wonderful, beautiful and touching interactions that I have. When I was younger I felt suicidal at times so I understand the importance of feeling like you belong and that there is a place for you.
What are your views on Caitlyn Jenner?
I think it has helped to give accessibility to this issue, as Caitlyn's is a very public story and has highlighted trans issues and gender issues by the fact that she isn’t perfect. That in itself is very powerful. Having such a complicated and unexpected human presented to us shows that Caitlyn is a tapestry of lots of different expressions, which ultimately, is what we all are.
How would you help someone with low self-esteem?
There is nothing but good news for this question. This is a lifelong process; there is no one tip that will flip the switch and turn off your insecurities, but your relationship with your self-esteem is going to constantly change throughout your life. There is also plenty of information available to you; for myself, it was spiritual practice, whereby I became a Buddhist. Everyone can do it, just start the process with something tiny and start today.
How did you discover Buddhism?
I was in an eastern-philosophy spiritual bookstore in Philadelphia when I came across a book called There Is Nothing Wrong With You by Cheri Huber. I had 2 instant reactions. Firstly, was ‘that’s not true’ and secondly was that in my heart, I felt it resonate with me. Cheri is the guide at a monastery in California and once I read the book, I went on a retreat there and still occasionally visit now. Currently on my bookshelf is another one of her books, When You’re Falling, Dive that enables the reader to participate with blank pages and drawings that reiterates what Buddhism gives to me, which is total, full-on acceptance and love.
Lastly, tell me about your new book?
It’s called How To Be You that focuses on acceptance. The whole book grew out of the messages I received on social media and my editor and I realised that they had certain themes, which we broke down into about 10 categories, including perfection, bullying and connection to self. There are 3 different ways the book talks about how to be you: direct advice on how to love yourself, memoirs from my life and a workbook, where you can answer questions, work on projects, draw and remove pages, so we get to produce the book together. As much as I have started the book, the reader will make it into a creative journey with me.

Jeffrey's book comes out on August 2nd 2016, but you can pre-order it now at http://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/536846/how-to-be-you-by-jeffrey-marsh/9780143110125/

About the author:
In 2015, Jeffrey was named official red carpet correspondent for both MTV/Logo and GLSEN and as a featured writer for The Huffington Post and Medium. Jeffrey is a precepted facilitator in the Soto Zen tradition of Buddhism, as well as a host, actor, singer, songwriter, dancer, and comedian.

To  understand more about gender-neutral pronouns, click here for Washington Post's article.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Lust of a Glamourpuss

I know usually my style is thrift fashion and shopping on a budget, but every girl can dream, and I simply had to take this opportunity to share this divine shoot with you all - can we just applaud Hello!Fashion and Jodie Nellist (the stylist) for bringing such plush clothes & curious detail to our attention. Credit cards away girls, this is some serious spending.

Take a minute to appreciate the sultry gorgeousness of this pure luxury - this is fashion at it's peak.
With the graphic prints, gold buttoned suits, immaculate blouses and statement swimwear, dressing up is the new dressing down.

Featuring the likes of Carolina Herrera, Jimmy Choo, Bulgari, Balmain at Harvey Nichols, Lecoanet Hemant and Maocci, this shoot illustrates the sheer levels of sass that the designer labels can create. Although the High Street can attempt to replicate these (which thank god they do, otherwise the likes of me and zillions others would be forced to live in bin-bags) unfortunately sometimes there is simply no substitute for expense, lavishness and a keen eye for style. 

Head to www.hellofashion.com to watch a video of the fashion shoot!

Trousers, £695, Etro Top, £125, The Fold Scarf (worn as belt) £250, Bally Shoes, £420, 
Chelsea Paris Earrings, £34.90, Lola and Grace Ring, £175, Jennifer Fisher Sunglasses, £125, Wildfox

 Jacket, £550, Trousers, £450, both Lecoanet Hemant Blouse, £148, Me+Em Shoes, £420, Chelsea Paris Ring, £55, Melinda Maria Earrings, £240, Dinny Hall Bag, £675, Jimmy Choo

Kimono, £635, Carolina Herrera Shoes, £645, Jimmy Choo Earrings, £10,700, Bulgari Ring, £175, Jennifer Fisher Sunglasses, £190, Karen Walker

Photographs - James Lucas
Model - Nara at Premier
Hair - Heath Massi at Frank Agency using Beauty Works
Make-up - Irena Rogers using Giorgio Armani Skincare and Beauty

Thursday, 28 April 2016

Rest your roots - 5 products for £5!

Your hair is weak, brittle and in need of some long-awaited TLC but payday is no closer than you are to being ‘Becky with the good hair’.

So how can you transform your dull, lacklustre locks to achieve strengthened, sumptuous and sleek tresses? (Especially when the likes of argan oil is so frickin’ expensive – 125ml of Moroccanoil Treatment is £31.50!)
Well my soon-to-be silky-haired friends, thanks to my nosiness which is nigh on impossible to curtail, I went into a Poundworld for some standard homeware bits and bobs, and emerged with an abundance of haircare products.

Say what you will, turn your nose up if you feel so compelled, but when I saw the sheer amount of argan oil products they supplied – all at the advertised price of a measly £1 – I knew I was onto something. Of the argan oil products, I only got the oil itself and heat protector spray suffused with oil, but there were about 8 other products all made with the pioneering heavenly oil-infused haircare tool  – if I used more than 2 oil-based products at once in my grease-prone hair, I’d look like a dripping buffoon, slimy and sopping.

My hair tends to have exceptionally dry ends, and it becomes greasy quite quickly, so for that reason I only use argan oil on the tips. On wet hair combed with a wide-toothed comb (helped by the divine-smelling Schwartzkopf Detangling Spray), I add a couple of drops of argan oil to my hands and rub my palms together to get an even coating. Then I bring all of my hair over both shoulders and run my fingers through it like a makeshift comb, focusing on the ends and applying the oil no higher than ear-height. If I have any excess oil left on my fingers, I massage it into my elbows, as it helps moisturise them and keep them soft and supple.

My top 5 Poundworld products that produced amazing results, for minimal money:

  1. Argan Oil Hair Treatment
  2. Schwartzkopf Detangling Spray (Strawberry scent)
  3. Macadamia Oil Extract Hair Mask
  4. Alberto Balsam Superfruits Shampoo & Conditioner (Mango and Passion Fruit)
  5. Argan Oil Heat Defense Leave In Spray

To get more tips on growing your hair, click here

Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Chelsea Bridge Massage*

Thank you Chelsea Bridge Clinic for inviting me down for a full body massage; it was sheer bliss. I met with my therapist Bianca (a stunning green-eye beauty) who got me to fill in the standard forms about the problem areas on my body (eg. back pain, joint pain) and then I was lead through the quaint clinic to a treatment room. Although offered, I declined the temporary underwear which were horrific... some sort of  confused grandmother mullet pants - Bridget Jones in the front, and tooth floss in the back. Having said this, I am yet to find a spa that offers sexy temporary underwear - a girl can dream.
The massage began and as soon as her lotion-lathered fingers touched my skin, I turned to putty in her hands... I was so relaxed, all I could do was grunt my muffled replies to "is this pressure okay for you?" and "how is the room temperature for you?"
Although I am normally a back and scalp kind of girl, it was when she began working out the knots in my calves and giving my tootsies individual massages of their own, that I thought I would melt into the bed with pleasure. She went to town on my chest and neck, gently alleviating the stresses I'd evidently been holding there by the various clicks and crunches, and then she began a snake charmer-esque wiggle movement with my arms and fingers that, although at first I found peculiar, ended with my shoulders feeling looser and freer than they have in years.
Finally was her personalised advice for my lower back problems that often stiffen me up and result in looking like the Hunchback of Notre Dame - she showed me a variety of exercises that enabled my back to loosen and release the taut muscular issues that were posture-related. She helped me with these to get maximum effect whereby I laid flat whilst she twisted me, stretching my lower back and initiating a resounding clunk, which I'm sure echoed down the hallways, reverberating for minutes afterwards!
It was a great massage with new techniques I haven't experienced before, made all the more memorable by the assistance and advice given to help me in everyday life to ease my aching lower back. 
Kudos for maximising this clinic's potential through the alliance with Très Spa - I will definitely be returning.