29
Aug
2015

Review: Urban Decay Smoky Palette

Categories:

There’s always a buzz around the latest and greatest new launches from Urban Decay and the Naked Smoky Palette (£38) is no exception. The latest in the cult line of eyeshadow palettes includes a dozen sultry, smoky neutrals, including nine never-before-seen shades and three exclusives from past palettes. The shades range from warm bronzes, dimensional grays, rich browns, gorgeous taupes and deep black. There’s everything from mattes to satins to shades with sparkle. This palette has got you covered from day to evening.

urban1 urban2

As expected, Urban Decay pulled it out of the bag with the sleek packaging and the high quality dual ended makeup brush that’s included within the palette.  You also get an easy to follow guide on how to create various different looks which is always handy for the beginner or just if you fancy trying something outside of your comfort zone.

urban3

The shade range can be described as follows:

High - champagne shimmer with micro-glitter
Dirtysweet - medium bronze
Radar - metallic taupe with iridescent micro-glitter
Armor - metallic silver-taupe with tonal sparkle
Slanted - light metallic gray
Dagger - medium charcoal with micro-shimmer.
Black Market - jet black satin
Smolder - deep plum-taupe
Password – cool taupe matte
Whiskey - rich brown matte
Combust - soft pink-taupe
Thirteen - light beige satin

urban7

In my opinion, the pigmentation lives up to what you would expect of an Urban Decay palette and even the matte shades are easy to blend.  Always prep your lid with a good eyeshadow primer and the colours will last for hours on end. I really like the variation of colours in this palette and although you guys know I’m not one to wear a really dramatic smoky eye, I do like to dabble with a little sultry smoke for an evening look.  My eyes just can’t carry off the heavily lined, kardashian-esque smokey eyes – it tends to make mine look small and tired. I’m a big believer in sticking to what suits you!

I created both a day time look with this palette and also a slightly more smoky look for the evening just to demonstrate the versatility of Naked Smoky.

urban5

For the above daytime look I used Thirteen on the brow bone, Dirtysweet all over the lid with High as a highlight on the inner corners.  I then used Radar in the crease to add a little depth and dimension, taking it under the eye on the lower outer third of the lash line. I then used a little black liquid eyeliner on the top lash line and softened it with a little Whiskey using a small angled brush. I used a couple of coats of YSL Faux Cils Mascara on the top lashes and a tiny amount to define the lower lash line. I think it creates a lovely groomed makeup look with a little sheen to the lid. I used Bobbi Brown Sheer Lip Colour in Sunset Pink for the lips.

urban4

For the evening look, I used Thirteen on the brow bone again, then Dirty Sweet mixed with Slanted all over the lid. I used High as the inner corner highlight as well as a little just under the brow. I then applied Dagger in the crease and outer corner and dragged that under the lower lash line. I then used Smoulder to deepen the crease shade and add even more depth. I lined the top lash line with Charlotte Tilbury Rock n Kohl eyeliner in Bedroom Black, smudging with a small angled brush and then softened it a little more with Black Market. I added a couple of coats of YSL Faux Cils mascara on the top and bottom lashes. This gives a lovely subtle smoky eye without making you look overdone or tired.  Perfect for anyone with deep set eyes like myself! I topped off the look with Charlotte Tilbury Lip Cheat in Pillowtalk and Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Native.

So the question you all really want to know the answer to is…would it be worth buying this palette if I own all of the other Naked palettes already? I’d say if you don’t own Naked 2 then definitely pick this one up.  Naked 2 has some more smoky shades in there and you could get by with just that but if you’re a smoky eye junkie and that tends to be your go-to look then pick this little beauty up. It’ll be your new best friend!

28
Aug
2015

Linton & Mac Press Launch

Categories:

From the moment I received an invitation to the press launch of Linton & Mac, I knew it would be something unique and special. The elegant invite, the simple but striking logo and whispers of clean modern decor with the personal touch.  Linton & Mac is the brainchild of professional stylist Jennifer Linton and principal stylist and L’Oreal colour specialist, Joanna MacDonald. From the moment you step through the door of the salon, you feel as if you’ve been transported to an edgy, cool London hair salon.

linton5

The first thing that struck me was the genius way Jennifer and Joanna have used the space.  As you enter the reception, you’re met with a glass partition wall which allows you to see the whole salon, giving everything an open, airy feel.  Then you are met by the smiling faces of their team.  There is a tendency for such salons to adopt a pretentious, too-cool attitude which can be intimidating – the very last thing you want to experience when you’re in the mood for a relaxing hair appointment.  However, there’s an instant warmth from the team at Linton & Mac, who all came across as down to earth and approachable as well as very knowledgeable in their areas of expertise.

image4

The decor in this salon is like a Pinterest pinner’s dream with copper accents, iconic prints, clean minimalist hair stations, quirky ornaments, and neon signage. Jennifer and Joanna came up with the look for the salon all derived from their personal style, which makes this enterprise all the more impressive. They’ve managed to create a space that is extremely well laid out, very current in terms of style but it’s littered with personal creative touches that give an insight into how much love has gone into this business.  You can feel the passion for what they do throughout the salon. You can also tell that every member of staff is excited to be there and at the thought of working there every day going forward.  The attention to detail is exquisite. I can’t congratulate them enough for what they have achieved because it’s something Aberdeen has been lacking for a very long time.

linton1

The salon stocks the very exclusive Windle & Moodie, a product line designed by renowned hairdressers Paul Windle and Neil Moodie and is an extension to their acclaimed, award-winning salon in Covent Garden. It was a genius move on the girl’s part to secure a brand such as this, primarily because it’s so exclusive and also because it feeds into the ethos and feel of the whole salon; fashion forward and innovative. I was lucky enough to be chosen on the evening of the press launch to have my hair styled by Levi, the salon’s in-house colourist. One of the salon’s features is a blow dry ‘bar’ where they offer express styling with refreshments – a fun play on the term ‘bar’. You can sip on a gin & tonic or prosecco as you have your hair styled, choosing from a booklet of the latest chic styles that are on trend.  That’s not to say you can’t ask for something out with the selection of options, these act more as a point of inspiration and also to encourage clients to try something new and use the expertise of their stylist to choose something which will suit their hair type and lifestyle.

linton2

I was really impressed with the Windle & Moodie styling tools used at Linton & Mac as they seem to adopt the same innovative concepts as the styling line.  In particular, Levi used a wide barrel tong on my hair with a rotating barrel that did all the work for you, by pulling the ends of your hair through to avoid that kink you can sometimes get.  It seemed so quick and easy to use and it didn’t have to be held in place for very long to create a curl which avoids your hair from being exposed to too much heat. I absolutely love the idea of a blow-dry bar because it’s not something you ever see in Aberdeen salons and it once again echoes the higher end London salons.

linton3

linton4

The salon also has a beautician’s area where you can get your nails done and also have a makeover by in-salon make up artist Abigail Westwood. Because the salon has a fashion forward and edgy feel, you can be sure that you’ll receive the most up to date techniques and looks in every aspect.

I must admit that I assumed that the price list of services would have a premium attached, given the ultra cool surroundings but I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that it’s all VERY reasonable.  You only pay £25 for an express blow-dry/styling session and the colouring price list is the same as what I pay now.  I am sold on this place and everything that it stands for and I will definitely be scheduling in an appointment next time I need my hair done.

The official opening date for Linton & Mac is 1st September. They are situated at 18 Netherkirkgate, right next to Boozy Cow (a fantastic place to grab a tasty burger and fries!) so I would definitely recommend you book yourself an appointment on 01224 641664 and check out this delightful place for yourself!

24
Aug
2015

The Body Coach 90 Day SSS Plan: Week 3

Week 3 was a good week on the plan for me because I was able to really focus on nutrition and also really putting everything into my workouts. This was the week when people started to comment on the fact that I looked slimmer and healthier and I felt it too. Also, when you start to enjoy your workouts more, you find yourself perusing sportswear and picking things that you never thought you’d ever wear, such as crop gym tops and form fitting shorts. I’m definitely still a long way away from where I want to be with regards to my torso but I feel much more comfortable in my skin now.

bodycoachweek3

The biggest change I’ve noticed is in my legs and my stomach. My legs are becoming extremely toned and my inner thighs have considerably slimmed down. But the biggest difference is in my stomach – that’s my real problem area, especially after having a baby. My jeans fit much better and I don’t feel like I have to suck my stomach in all the time. I didn’t even have a flat stomach before I had Conor so if I could achieve that, it would be a massive thing for me. I had a gorgeous ‘cheat’ meal of a flatbread pizza in week 3 and I managed to enjoy it without feeling one ounce of guilt. I went straight back to the plan afterwards and had a protein packed dinner. The idea of having two protein rich meals a day and one with complex carbs after a workout has been quite the revelation to me and I think that’s what is really making the difference. I’ve hardly touched bread since I began the plan and I think that could have been a culprit in preventing me from making progress in the past.

bodycoachweek31

The only thing I really struggle with are the rest days. I know they’re vital in allowing your body to recuperate but I always find myself itching to work out. I never thought I’d say that! I can’t believe it’s only a week until I’ll be submitting my 4 week results.  I haven’t really been thinking too much about the end of the 90 Days because it really is a lifestyle change so there is no finish line. I’m really enjoying the healthy food and especially those lean turkey burgers…they are really satisfying! I have felt myself getting a cold over the past couple of days so I have to be careful about working out. Having an auto-immune disorder (Psoriasis) leaves my immune system vulnerable whilst my body repairs itself after workouts. I have been trying my best to make sure I take all my vitamin supplements though to keep my body strong and healthy.

bodycoachweek32

I’m already 3 days into Week 4 and its filled with social events so it’s going to take a lot of planning and a lot of will power to stay on track. But knowing I have to submit my progress pictures on Thursday this week is enough incentive for me!

19
Aug
2015

Review: Too Faced Born This Way Foundation

Categories:

Too Faced was never really a brand I was too interested in previously but over the past year or so they’ve really stepped up their game in terms of product formulations, packaging and marketing. Their new releases have been increasingly interesting as the months has gone by and the addition of little luxe packaging details, embossed blush pans and a plethora of bronzing powder combinations has only heightened my interest.

My foundation requirements change both depending on season and occasion. For example, I wear lightweight bases in the day time in summer but I would switch to a medium coverage foundation for a special occasion or on a harsh winters day. So the launch of the much-talked about Too Faced Born This Way Foundation (£29) didn’t escape my attention.

toofaced1

I feel very lucky to have been sent a sample to review and I currently wear the Light Beige shade.  It’s an oil-free, medium to full coverage foundation that comes in glass packaging with a plastic pump – something that most consumers expect nowadays to avoid mess, product wastage and also to maintain hygiene. It comes in nice embossed packaging which gives the product a luxe feel right off the bat. I think they’re definitely looking to compete with the likes of Estee Lauder Double Wear and Dior Forever.

“Born This Way is an oil-free foundation that masterfully diffuses the line between makeup and skin. For coverage so undetectable, you can’t see the makeup and you can’t see imperfections—all that’s left is naturally radiant skin that looks like you were Born This Way. This revolutionary foundation is infused with a potent combination of Coconut Water to naturally replenish moisture levels; nature’s resilient Alpine Rose to brighten the skin’s appearance and promote elasticity and Hyaluronic Acid for a smoother, more youthful appearance.”

TOOFACED2

I think they got the packaging spot on with this one. The formulation doesn’t feel too heavy but obviously being a medium to full coverage foundation, similar to double wear, it takes a little work to blend flawlessly.  But this aspect isn’t something that would put me off using it. I found it applied best using just the fingertips and warmth of your hands. Also, it’s worth mentioning that a little goes a long way.  Once applied, my skin looked flawless and I only needed to apply a little colour corrector under my eyes, despite having two or three red blemishes. It covered them completely. It didn’t look obvious on my skin either and created a smooth canvas without settling into pores or fine lines (note – I don’t have large pores on my face so if you do, I’d recommend trying this product out at a Too Faced counter in Debenhams before you buy).

bornthisway

I really liked the texture and finish of this foundation and I like the fact that they’ve combined skincare benefits within the formulation.  This is a real mark of a higher end foundation – one that multi-tasks as you wear it. It made my skin appear quite glowy and not flat like some medium to full foundations can. I’d say it’s more suited to normal to dry skin types as oilier skin types may experience a bit too much shine. I set mine with powder and that gave a nice finish all day. It deals with redness really well and it doesn’t hide the natural texture of your skin which lives up to the idea of ‘Born This Way’ – a foundation that perfects but still looks natural. I have to congratulate Too Faced for creating a foundation that really does stand up to the likes of Estee Lauder Double Wear and if anything it verges on looking more natural than the cult product.

*PR Sample

18
Aug
2015

The Body Coach 90 Day SSS Plan: Week 2

I was a little nervous about week 2 of cycle 1 because I knew I would be in Ireland and I figured it was going to be a lot more difficult to plan out meals and snacks, not to mention having the motivation to do my HIIT workouts.  I decided I’d take a pro-active approach and try my utmost to stay on track. So right from the outset, I put a plan into place. I asked my mother in law if she could pick up a few food items for me such as loads of eggs, bananas, sweet potato, brown rice etc to make sure I had all the building blocks of staying on plan. I didn’t want to be any trouble so I told her I’d just make my own meals to save her the hassle of doing something different for me. It does take extra effort and time to stick to the plan when you’re on holiday but it felt good and I know it will be more than worth it.

plan1

The first hurdle was dealing with the airport situation. We have to drive to Edinburgh airport and fly from there so by the time we get there (usually about two hours) it’s dinner time and it’s all too easy to pick up something unhealthy as a quick fix.  I always crave comfort food when I’m travelling and tired. However, this time I made up some chicken stirfry and brown rice, popped it in a tupperware box and ate it at the airport before we went through security. I did get some funny looks but I am past caring about people having opinions on me eating out of plastic tubs! I also brought some fruit and unsalted nuts as snacks and a big bottle of water. This just ensured that I always had something healthy to hand if I got peckish and I could stay hydrated. I also packed some protein powder for the week so I could make pancakes and smoothies and popped some BCCA powder for my workouts. It’s all just down to thinking ahead and organising yourself.

I had a think about our schedule for the week and planned in HIIT workouts at convenient times. I switched it up between high knees, burpees and jumping jacks. I also made an effort to be active and go for long walks, one day especially we walked all over Cobh up numerous steep hills and endless steps! I definitely felt that in my legs the day after. Every little helps. We had a night out on the Saturday so I stuck to vodka, soda and lime and had a bit of BBQ food as a cheat meal. I kept both other main meals that day to just protein and veg/fruit to minimise the damage! I generally have been avoiding alcohol altogether whilst on this plan though. That was the only time I’ve had alcohol since I started. It’s supposed to prevent your body from burning fat for up to 2 days after so it’s not a good idea to indulge too much.

plan2

I also had a little cheat meal the next day but stuck to the same principle of protein/veg meals beforehand. I had soup, a steak and a little bit of dessert at the restaurant and I must say that it felt great to treat myself. I did do a killer HIIT session just before so I could maximise the fat burning process though. We got home last Wednesday at about 3pm and got straight back into the home routine of walking the dogs. It was the last thing I felt like doing because I was tired from travelling and I knew carrying Conor on my back after a week off it would be a bit of a shock to the system. But I figured I may as well just throw myself back into things. I did feel better after being cooped up on a plane and in a car all day.

I couldn’t resist the temptation to weigh myself when I got home, mainly to see if my stats had changed. I was delighted to see that I had lost 2lb and my fat percentage was down. But I kind of already knew I’d made progress because my clothes were getting more roomy. So it seems my efforts were all worth it! That strengthened my resolve to stick to the plan 100% for the start of a new week (which begins on a Thursday for me confusingly!). I’m currently in my third week and will be updating you with how I’ve been getting along on Friday.