Tuesday, 31 August 2010

FOTD: Illamasqua's Ravish

This post is dedicated to my Illamasqua blusher called Ravish.

A delicious and creamy raspberry red that works fabulously on my skin and really emphasises my cheeks. As its a cream blusher, I can blend it out for a soft day time look and I love the fact I can layer it on at other time for something my striking.

Even though I was going nowhere, off course I had to do up my face to honour Ravish! So enjoy.

Face: Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse Cocoa, MAC Mineralised Skin Finish in Deep Dark

Eyes: Inner corner - MAC D'Bohemia, Socket -  Coppering - all nicely blended with good old basic brown Embark in the crease and highlighted underneath brow bone with a touch of Dazzlelight. Finished off with a slick of basic black liquid eyeliner by Rimmel.

Cheeks:  Off course, Illamasqua's Ravish (which has shot straight to number one in my Blush Crush List) blended really well as the only place I was going was to the front room!

Lips: Face Atelier Lip Glaze in Peach

Hope you like!

Monday, 30 August 2010

NOTD: Dolce & Gabbana Shocking

This is was one of my recent purchases when I had a mad 20 minutes dash around Selfridges last week.

Its a beautiful fuchsia pink that I only had to look at, to know that I needed to have it. To me it says fun times, I can see myself strutting on the Copacabana with this on or even partying at a Mardi gras and this colour will be right at home.

But seeing as I'm not at any of those places, but it is Notting Hill carnival weekend, I thought it would be apt to put it on, and dance around to the steel band in my head, as I won't be stepping foot anywhere near the W11 postcode area.

Ahem, on to the polish!

As usual it comes in the beautiful rectangular bottle, with the gold embossed top which you have to take of to reveal the screw cap wand. Personally I'm not a fan of this screw cap, I don't feel I have something I can grab on to and I feel like I'll be spilling polish all over the place using it. I'm a traditional girl and I like big fat caps like OPI or China Glaze that I can grip. But I find just by concentrating and balancing a bit more, I can apply the polish with no problem.

Dolce & Gabbana say the polish gives full and rich coverage, but I think its a little too thick for my liking, but its not streaky and gives good coverage on the first coat. The second coat seals the deal and you have full, glossy coverage over the entire nail.

Overall, its a pretty colour and feels very luxe. So I will wear it again despite the mentioned downsides. I love colours that pop against my skin, so I'll be keeping 'Shocking' close by, even in winter when I just want a flash of colour to perk up my day.

This image is slightly darker and is a truer representation of the polish. In daylight, the colour appears an even deeper, richer pink, with a touch more red. 
You like?

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week Two

Again we had a supply teacher this week, our main one seems to have gone AWOL. Lets hope she finds her way back next week.

It was a slow start with a continuation of more theory work and the whole class wouldn't stop asking 'when do we get to try out the machines?' electrical facial and body machines that is. Although I'm eager to try them out, I'm less than enthusiastic about someone trying them out on me! But I guess, I will have to get over that and give someone else a chance to practice and learn too!

On Monday afternoon, we had a little demo from the supply teacher with all the electrical machines and some of them looked positively scary. The Direct High Frequency using glass tubes (called mushrooms) looked only capable of inflicting pain rather than deep cleansing skin. But I know its a brilliant system, so there was no need to be scared! We also had a demo on the faradic machine which tones muscles using small electrical currents and I tried it on the fleshy part of my thumb and it was quite funny to watch my hand jump involuntarily from the shocks, which by the way are not painful, in case you were wondering.

On Tuesday morning, we went through theory on the nervous system. It so easy to get confused with all the motor inserts, motor receptors, neutrons and what not, so its safe to say that I have a lot more swotting up to do than I initially thought, but this studying lark is one nut I WILL crack.

I had to leave mid morning to attend the Look Good, Feel Better session, so I didn't get to partake in the first practical session of the course, where the girls actually did facials, using the Direct High Frequency machines.
A Direct High Frequency Machine

From what I heard, it was a 'shocking situation' (pun intended)! and I cannot wait to try it out!

More tales next week, amigos.

Friday, 27 August 2010

Friday Favourites

Its that time of the week again where the ladies of Bella Queen headquarters get together and decide which beauty product or item gets the Friday Favourites vote. This week there were tense discussions which involved quite a few phone calls in the name of research and we ended up with the vote going to....drum roll please! The muslin cloth!
If you're in the know about beauty, then you would know what a muslin cloth is, but of the ladies we spoke to
at least 80% didn't know what a muslin cloth was, didn't use one or thought it was something for babies.

For decades muslin cloths have been used for babies because they are soft and kind to skin. So makes sense that they would be a good product for an adults skin. We certainly thought so! They help keep your skin soft and healthy during the cleansing process and while they don't replace your usual exfoliating product, they will help give you skin a boost and deep clean by removing grime from pores and sloughing away dead skin cells from the surface of skin.

Also the circular massage motion you use with them, stimulates the blood capillaries to supply your skin with more oxygen and nutrients. It's a sure way to ensure your skin is polished and glowing.

So to get the most out of your cleanser and up the ante of your cleansing routine, throw in a muslin cloth for good measure. Just don't forget to throw it in the washing machine after every couple of uses to keep it at its best.

Thursday, 26 August 2010

MAC Oil Control Lotion: Erase and Reverse

According to MAC, Oil Control Lotion is the ultimate no shine base for oil control and helps to bond make up to the skin so you need fewer touch ups. It's one of my favourites and one that I always take out with me on make up jobs. Many use it as described like a primer, but not me.

After attending a seminar by top make up artist Alexandra Byrne and and seeing how she used it, I adopted the same method and now I too call it the Erase and Reverse Lotion. Quite simply its a make up eraser and you can use it to clean the skin during make up application and clean up any fallout or excess product, especially eye shadow or mascara on the skin without smudging it all over the face.   

To use, I just pump a little unto the back of my hand and with a cotton bud wipe away any mishaps. It's a light weight formula and it picks up fall out product very easily, without drying the skin, allowing you to continue your make up application without any drama. Also because its oil free and dries to a matte finish, it doesn't leave an oily residue for you to work against. Mega brownie points there! 

It's also great for when you need to change looks very quickly e.g change your day time eyeshadow to something more glam for night time.  Again, using face wipes may seem quick, but they tend to smear product on the skin, leaving you with a bigger clean up job. Oil Control Lotion will erase anything you don't want on your face in a clean sweep, allowing you to carry on at a quicker pace.

As you can see, its not a runny liquid, its thicker and creamier and just sits on the surface of your hand, allowing you to use it at your own pace. At just under £20 and available for MAC stores and online, its one of those products that you won't always think about but great for your kit and will always come in handy.

Would love to hear your thoughts. Have you tried Oil Control Lotion? or what do you use to clean up make up mishaps?

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

My experience with Look Good, Feel Better -the beauty industry's charity

About four weeks ago, I read Le Salon de Beaute's post about volunteering she does for the Look Good, Feel Better charity which involves beauty therapists or make up artists volunteering their time to provide a make up workshop for women suffering from cancer. I was really inspired by her post, so I got in contact with the charity to offer some of my time to their excellent cause.

The charity were very quick in responding to my email and promptly it was arranged that I would go along to the nearest participating hospital to observe a workshop. I was a little nervous and I didn't know what to expect as I'd never really been around poorly people, so I wasn't sure how I'd react or cope. I toyed with the idea of sitting at the back of the room to silently watch the proceedings, however, within five minutes of arriving, seeing the room all set up and the other volunteers I got stuck in and it was my most rewarding day in a long time.

I have to say it really was an enjoyable experience and I thoroughly had a good time.  There were 14 ladies in the two hour workshop and they were all excited to be there and all willing to poke a bit of fun at themselves and have a go at applying make up.

The volunteers are on hand to help guide the ladies in applying a full face of make up from cleansing right through to lipstick. It was such a joy to see these ladies arrive with no make up and then leave happy, more confident and uplifted with a full face of make up and lots of tips on how best to do their make up to achieve the look that they want.

The ladies get a 'Confidence Kit' containing products donated by various product houses. A typical kit would have cleansing products, foundations, powders, eye products including eye cream and lip products. There are a lot of amazed faces when you say the kits are theirs to keep. Plus as a make up artist or beauty fanatic, its a lot of fun going through all the bags and seeing what products are in them. I was really amazed by the generosity of the product houses as they donated premium products and not any bottom of the barrel stuff.

Once they've checked their products, the volunteers take them through a step by step programme on applying the make up. Most of the ladies are concerned with how to emphasise their eyebrows or lashes, which is very important as they may be having chemotherapy and suffering from hair loss.  Some want to improve the colour of their skin and mask any redness or sallowness. The looks on their faces are priceless, when they realise they can still look feminine and all done up, regardless of their treatment.

I really enjoyed going round and giving the ladies tips on how to apply different products and doing mini applications so each lady knows what works best for them. As a make up artist helping people enhance what they already have has always given me great satisfaction and I felt I really put my skills to good use.

I had a sneaky peek at some of the feedback form and one comment that stuck in my mind was - 'they exceeded all my expectations.' Look Good, Feel Better are always looking for volunteers to help run the workshops or products/tools donations and its a positive experience for everyone. If you have a couple of hours to spare and you want to get involved, contact them: Look Good, Feel Better

Perfume: Past & Present

To celebrate the perfume industry the 4th floor of Harrods (Knightsbridge) plays host to a new exhibition entitled The Perfume Diaries. Curated by Roja Dove, in collaboration with Givaudan, it runs from 2nd September to 2nd October 2010. Special previews are this week.

Key historical players in the perfume industry will be opening up their archives and participating in the event which is being billed as 'a true celebration of the frangance industry.' The most significant scents from the 1800's to the contemporary will be on show and there will be interactive elements that allow visitors to use their senses of touch, smell and see to explore the common and rare ingredients of perfumery.

Not only that, according to the press release there will be talks from the who's who of the perfume industry namely Erwin Creed, Linda Pilkington from Ormonde's Jayne and Silvia Denz from Lalique.

If you're a lover of perfume, this exhibition is a must!

This post was collated from info on www.mimifroufrou.com/scentedsalamander

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

NOTD: Model's Own Red n Black

Five minutes hanging around in front of Boots Oxford Circus, led to today's NOTD.  I got bored while waiting for a friend, so decided to entertain myself at the Model's Own counter.

This shade intrigued me just for the name. I was stood there going, is it red? or is it black? I concluded that it wasn't black, but just a deep deep blackened red. Anyway, I had to hurry up and make the purchase as the security guard was giving me funny looks because I was mouthing off to myself in my one woman nail polish debate.

So here it is!
Outdoor shot with flash
Outdoor shot without flash
Indoors with flash

I love the colour! Gets me ready for autumn/winter and with the way the weather is going, I am more than ready. The first coat was a little streaky, but if you load the brush a little bit more than usual, you get good coverage on the first coat. The polish is gel like, which I like. I hate when polish is really thin on the nail. Having said that, I had three layers of OPI Nail Envy underneath! It's quick drying and you're good to go with the usual two coats, followed by top coat.

So, I've concluded that Red n Black is a red with a lot of black in it. I'd say its a really burnt aubergine colour. Its very similar to one of my other favourites Leighton Denny's Vamp with a tiny touch more black.

Monday, 23 August 2010

September 2010: Beautiful & Stylish

With only a week and a bit to go till September, we at Bella Queen headquarters thought it was quite apt to share this website with you.

NatMag, publishers of Company and Cosmo and Harpers Bazaar have teamed up with some of our best loved brands to bring us fashion and beauty specials for every SINGLE day in September 2010. Now that's spoiling the fashion fanatic AND the beauty bunny in you from 1st of September right through to 30th September!

All you have to do is go to the above site and register your details to be in the know about stylish events like vintage shopping fairs and fashion showcases. You'll also be able to land yourself exclusive prizes from brands like Elimis, Simple, Dermalogica, Crabtree & Evelyn amongst others in the mega giveaways.

Not to mention, there's also a chance to win £500 to spend at the Ebay Outlet Store.

So, what are you waiting for? Get to registering (it takes two minutes) and setting reminders. We have!

Saturday, 21 August 2010

Beauty College Chronicles: Week One (the continuation)

Again, I was running late on Tuesday, a whole ten minutes late....fact is, I now know I need to get an even earlier train to make it through rush hour, get changed and arrive in class for 9am. But I did get time to stop and take in the views, as below:

This view makes my heart race!
Lessons actually started today and we had to have a supply lecturer as ours was off at a funeral. It was really a re-cap day from Level 2 to make sure we all had the same knowledge, seeing as not everyone had previously attended LCBT.

In preparation for the electrical facials unit, we went over the functions of the skin and how to set up a treatment room for facials. I was amazed the amount of people who didn't know that water should always be placed on the bottom shelf of the trolley when using electrical equipment. Water on the top of trolley with electricals below is a complete recipe for disaster. Would you like a quick shock with your faradic madam? No, I didn't think so!

Lunch was a welcome relief and a group of us popped into Pocini's on Poland Street. If you're ever in Soho, pop in there for lunch.  Freshly made to order sandwiches, salads, jacket potatoes and salads. It was a haunt last year and will be again this year.

After lunch, we had to attend a completely pointless lecture on Carbon Footprints delivered by Westminster Council. Yawn, yawn, yawn! That set the tone for the afternoon and we went straight into more theory work recapping on health and safety laws. Boring, but very important and we had to design health and saftey posters covering the main laws and also design a client consultation card. At least you now know that if you have a treatment with me, you'll be safe and leave healthy!

The day ended with Miss. Scary popping in to give us a dressing down as four of us (including me!) were late for class in the morning. Really starting to think she's not a softie!

So thats week one at college, more tales next week!

Beauty College Chronicles: Week One

Surely, I won't ever lose this hot pink glitter pencil case?
Monday started with a frantic dash around the house trying to find something to wear. All my good intentions of getting my clothes and stationery ready on the Sunday night drowned when a friend came over with a bottle of wine, so not the perfect start to my first day at college.

Trying to find the perfect outfit took way longer than I imagined and I ended up having to run to the station. Only to see the train chugging away from the platform, while I was still gasping for breath on the bridge. Great start!

Home for next nine months

I was running about ten minutes late when I arrived at Oxford Circus so I didn't even get the chance to admire the view of Liberty's from Argyll Street. I had to rush past my favourite store without paying homage or lusting after products in the beauty hall window. Meh!

Lucky for me, the group was still in the waiting area when I arrived, so I just slotted myself in the back pretending I'd been there all the while and sized up the group. There's sixteen of us, all mixed aged groups and I'm glad to confirm I'm not the oldest in the class. It's a nice mix of students, everyone there seems to want to be there, which means there will be no slackers (hopefully). When I did Level 2, most of the girls had thought beauty was the easy option, until A & P slapped them about and they started dropping like flies!

The first day was all about paperwork and being spoken at, A LOT. My brain was frazzled with information overload and we did the usual lets get to know each other stuff: find three things out about your partner and a very funny balloon game. We had to make a chair out of balloons and someone has to sit on them without popping them. My team won, what did you expect? :-)

Team volunteer trying hard not to pop a balloon
We went through the syllabus and I'm happy to say that this year dermabrasion has been included in the course. I always wanted to learn that, so I am very pleased. (Volunteers, make an orderly queue please!) And if you finish the course, you get a diploma issued by City & Guilds, not just a certificate. The standards have been up'd so the prestige of the course has gone up. That's very good news as it increases one's employability at the end of the course. The main modules are:

Electrical face & body treatments
Electrical Epilation treatments
Body Massage
Stone Therapies
Events & Promotions

Just before lunch, the Head of Level 3 Beauty came and did a talk that was supposed to put the fear of God into us. Basically, don't be late or I'll have ya!, don't be absent (ever) or I'll skin ya!, don't breathe or I'll kill ya!  I'm sure you can see where this is going. She's going to be a pleasure to know but I think she's a softie, underneath the hard exterior.

At the end of the day, room was buzzing with the arrival of our kits and uniforms.  Not quite sure why we were so excited over white polyester tunics and grey trousers with black plimsolls that pinch. The kit was ginormous and heavy. All the creams, lotions and potions that will make me a fantastic therapist were in there, but before we get excited, its not high grade products by any means. There's just enough quality in them to give us an idea of what to expect when you get into the big and beautiful industry.

Can you spot the transparent bag, we're expected to carry all out stuff in?
So that's it, day one over and I was left carrying the ginormous kit home on the underground during rush hour, with a large order of head ache to boot!


LCBT : London College of Beauty Therapy
A & P : Anatomy and Physiology

Friday, 20 August 2010

Friday Favourites

A Friday Favourite that should be a staple in every make up bag!

The eyes are said to be the windows to the soul. What better way to frame and open up the eyes than to curl the lashes? Shu Uemura eyelash curlers are a tried and tested favourite of many a make up wearer.

Tip: Curl lashes before applying mascara or you risk damaging them. For added umph to your curl, blast the clamp with a hot hairdryer for a few seconds before curling.

Do you use eyelash curlers? What's your favourite one?

Thursday, 19 August 2010

A Spotty Situation: Organic Pharmacy to the rescue

If you follow me on Twitter (if you don't, you should: @BeautyMaze) you'll know that I had a bit of a 'situation' the other day. 'Situation' meaning that I had a spot, right on my lip line. This spot had been brewing for a while, so I had let it be, but things came to a head (literally) on Monday when I massaged the area a little bit and that encouraged the spot to become more pronounced and make itself a nuisance on my face.

Tuesday morning, I attempted to extract it, but it was so sore and painful I had to stop half way through. Bad idea! Within a few hours, it swelled up to monster proportions and I was forced to address the 'situation'. I had heard about Organic Pharmacy's spot treatment before and as the Oxford Circus store is on my way home, I popped in to pick it up. Its actually called Blemish Gel.

The shop assistants (Eric and Sophia) were lovely and didn't recoil in horror at my 'situation'. Instead they attended to my needs, gave some friendly advice and really perked me up. I wish I had them on the train home with me to ward off the peculiar and pitiful stares I was getting.

Anyway, I digress. Once home, I set about tackling the 'situation'. After a painful cleansing routine, I did some extraction, which got rid of the white head (bleurgh!) and then applied the spot treatment after toning.

According to Organic Pharmacy, the gel is a highly active concentration of antiseptic herbs and essential oils which reduce spots super fast without irritation. I wholeheartedly agree. It worked a treat and within a few hours, it had dried up the spot. I could actually feel it working with all the tingling sensations that were happening. It was like magic.

This tiny 10ml tube that delivers major results from first use contains aloe which repairs and reduces redness; lavender, tea tree and manuka for their antiseptic properties; propolis, marigold and echinacea to soothe and repair the skin. There is also cedarwood present as it helps to balance out oily skin. The cream also packs punches with vitamins C and E as antioxidants. Its a bit watery, but if you give the tube a good shake before use that evens out the consistency.

Because its only a small tube, you can also pop it into your handbag and use during the day. The instructions say you can use it 2 - 3 times per day, therefore getting rid of the spot quicker.

Granted this is not an everyday use cream as its very rare that I get a spot, but from now on, instead of just riding out a spotty situation, I will be turning to my new found powerful friend, that can make things happen i.e. dissipate a spot faster than I can say extraction!

I know you would have loved visuals of my 'situation' but for me to be able to show face in public, I decided against it. You're just going to have to take my word for it!

Cost £15 and available from The Organic Pharmacy - in store and online.

The Great Lipstick Divide

This article was published in the London Evening Standard on Wednesday 18th August 2010.

Thought,  it would make a good introduction to up and coming lipstick trends for autumn.

What lippie camp you fall into?

Here at Bella Queen headquarters, we're definitely all about sexy siren red lips.

Keep a lookout for the autumn/winter 2010 trend report!

But for now: Lip Switch: tips on top lipstick shades | Health & Beauty

Wednesday, 18 August 2010

The Pink Party in aid of Against Breast Cancer

Splash of Pink Fashion Show & Couture Tea Party

(images from Against Breast Cancer website)

On 25th September 2010 the beauty and fashion world will collide (as they often do) for a fashion show and couture tea party in aid of Against Breast Cancer.

Hosted at the beautiful home of Dwina and Robin Gibbs, there will be a live catwalk with fashion from the likes of Erdem, Preen, Diane Von Furstenberg, Paul Costello and many others. International make up artist Atrracta Courtney will be creating stunning faces and celebrity hairstylist Lee Stafford will be styling the hair.

Following the show, guest can enjoy champagne on the picturesque lawn, indulge in a decadent English Tea Party and take part in the charity raffle and auction to win some stunning and bespoke prizes. The finale will be a live musical performance by Robin Gibb.

Simon Cowell is the patron of this charity and he will be lending his support on the night along with countless other celebrities. This promises to be a very stylish occasion, with high end fashion, music and beauty.
The tickets are priced at £200 and which may be a little steep, but its a VERY worthy cause and you're guaranteed a good time. However, there are still many other ways to get involved and make a donation, so check out their website: http://www.againstbreastcancer.org.uk/get-involved/

Some Statistics (from the Against Breast Cancer website):
  • Over 45,000 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed each year
  • Breast cancer is the single most cause of death in women between ages 35 and 54
  • 1 in 9 women will develop the disease in their life time
  • 13,000 people die each year as a result of breast cancer

Forays in the eye area: Origins GinZing Refreshing Eye Crea

Lately I've wanted to up my beauty regime and introduce a few new products from the age prevention department. In particular, eye cream. Even though, I don't think I need it (just yet), prevention is better than cure, as they say.

I had a few samples of Origin's new GinZing Refreshing Eye Cream lying around, so I thought that was the best place to start. Origins say this eye cream will improve micro circulation and perk up your eyes and the combination of stimulating caffeine, ginseng, Magnolia extract and natural optic brighteners will rapidly wake up, restore, refresh and bring radiance to tired eyes. I started using the cream a few weeks ago and to be honest I wasn't expecting much as I didn't feel I had lines that needed addressing or sagging, drooping skin that needed tightening.

It's a light mousse like cream with an off whitish/pinkish colour. There is a slight spicy smell to it which reminds me of fresh ginger.  It felt very smooth to apply but there was a noticeable film of product around my eyes, but it wasn't dry or flaky, just that I could see there was something there.

Surprisingly there was no sensation at first (need to give it time to sink into the dermis layer of skin). Within 20 minutes, my eye area felt it had been constricted and it felt tighter and lifted too. It almost felt like my eyes were being held/pulled opened by the cream and it tingled a bit too. It sounds forced, but it isn't uncomfortable, just a strange feeling for me.

I applied my make up as normal and my eye lids felt very smooth, plumped and hydrated. Once outside and cool air hit my face my eyes felt very fresh. A bit like when you have a menthol chewing gum and you get that cool, fresh feeling in your mouth, but this time on your eyes. I felt like my eyes had woken up.

I got to work and even without my usual caffeine fix to get me bouncing around, my colleagues mentioned that I looked bright and alert. I feel this cream does live up to Origins claim of improving vibrancy and radiance around the eyes. I've been using it now for over three weeks and I feel my eye area is much tighter and feels like its had a refreshing lift.

At £20 and available from beauty halls that have an Origins counter, it's definitely an eye cream worthy of consideration. This is my first foray into eye creams, so no doubt I will be trying others, but for now I am quite happy and comfortable using this one.

So over to you, do you use eye cream? Which one do you use or have you tried the Origins GinZeng Refreshing Eye Cream before?

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

NOTD: Oranges 'n' Diamonds

This image came around much earlier in the summer, larking around in the garden with my friend Ann.

I did the nails and make up and just wanted to create something that would stand out against the forest green of my back garden. I also took the picture and got some new respect for photographers that day....its not always easy to transform what's in your head to what you get when you press the shutter.

(click on the image to enlarge)

The bottom smile line was created by applying lots of Swarovski crystal tightly packed together and the nail polish is OPI's A Good Mandarin is Hard to find.

This was a totally fun day, so hope you like!

Monday, 16 August 2010

FOTD: For the love of Nars!

Absolutely could not resist picking up Nars's Daphne the other day in Selfridges. It exactly my type of colour, colourful!

Been on the bathroom shelf for a little while and since I was having an impromptu night out, decided to christen it, once and for all.


Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in Cocoa
MAC Mineralised Skin Finish in Deep Dark
Blusher: MAC Fever


MAC Amber Lights e/s in inner 1/3
Nars Daphne e/s on outer corner and crease
MAC loose pigment in Champagne as highlighter under brows
Rimmel Kohl Eye Pencil in black
Dior Show Black Out Mascara


Face Atelier Gloss in Peach

So, what do you think?

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Beauty College Chronicles

Some of you may already know that Monday 16th August is a big day for me. If you didn't, well now you know. It's a very big day, marked with a big fat red cross on my calender. It's the day I go back to beauty college to finish off my final beauty qualification, Beauty Therapy Level 3. Yikes!

I got my Level 2 certificate a little while back and whilst I didn't find it hard, it was a long hard slog, but I persevered in learning where the occipital bone was and what the patella did and so on and so forth because I was determined to be a beauty therapist after being stuck in an investment bank for what felt like forever. After all of that, I'm going back for more. I'm obviously weak for self induced punishment!

Anyway, I've heard that level 3 is not only tedious but it is HARD and CHALLENGING. Parts of it are medical degree level anatomy and physiology, so no sniggering about beauty therapists being air heads please! If I want to partake in full body massages I am going to have to know about ALL the muscles, arteries and knobbly bits of the body. In a funny way, I'm looking forward to all this though. My thirst for beauty knowledge is insatiable and nothing is going to put me off. Not even the thought of a trainee sticking needles in my leg for electrolysis practice!

So for the next nine months, every Monday and Tuesday, I'll be donning my white and grey uniform WITH mandatory white ballet pumps - provided by the college, so we all know they won't be pretty - and taking myself to beauty college to in central London. I thought it would be quite fun to record the experience, so once a week I'll be updating you on my progress: what lessons we're doing, how the practical sessions went, did anything hurt, coursework, my lack of sleep, you name it, I'll be telling it.

No doubt I'll also be looking for volunteers when my practicals start, so I'll be calling on you guys to help me if you can. I promise to be nice and have special treats for each and every volunteer!

That said, all I need to do now is get myself some brand new stationery, practice my best studious look and look forward to another adventure. Wish me luck!

PS - the best thing about college is that its right next door to my favourite store, Liberty's! Hurrah. 

Friday, 13 August 2010

Friday Favourites

In the course of my job, I speak to a lot of women who:

a. Don't own a nail file or
b. Own a file but its an emery board or even worse a metal nail file.

In my crusade to enlighten the masses about basic nail care, this weeks Friday Favourites is the Leighton Denny Crystal File. Mr Denny himself describes them as the Rolls Royce of nail files, but I go one better and call them the Maybach of files.

These crystal files are made from toughened glass and lead crystals which is what gives them this cloudy look. But never mind that, with these files you can see saw away your nails to dust and they actually work to seal the edges of your nail. So no more microscopic snags and tears that can hook on to clothes and hair. There's also no abrasive feeling to them so no more gritting your teeth when filing.

And with a lifetime guarantee on the surface of file, you'll have a file for life. Its available in two sizes, including a cute little handbag version, complete with protective case.

A world class file worthy of this weeks Friday Favourites title.

Prices from £12 - £15. Available from http://www.leightondenny.com/  

Thursday, 12 August 2010

The Grey Nail Collection from Inglot Cosmetics

Today is definitely a grey day in London town....not a slither of blue sky around, so we've spent all day at Bella Queen headquarters talking about (and getting excited) about autumn and what it will bring for our nails.

So its quite fortunate, that whilst indulging in a favourite past time of net surfing we came across the Grey Nail Collection from Inglot Cosmetics. We're very into matching nails to weather it seems.

This eight piece collection hosts some delicious looking greys and a few other colours that really cool weather to us. There are three grey tones and one of them is a dense, cool and creamy charcoal, with the other two lighter ones having some kind of shimmer to them. There's a burnt aubergine shade and a mystical maroon red brown, which will not look out of place holding one of this autumn's array of clutch bags (Kay has a clutch fetish!).

The other three shades are all luscious variations of green. There is a blackened teal and a dark moss green, which are oh so chic! The collection closes of with muddy green with undertones of gold. It really is a beautiful colour.

Inglot describes their polishes as having a durable, high gloss finish with medium drying time. We'll be giving them a thorough test drive so we'll let you know if they are as described.

In the mean time we think this is a brilliant autumn/winter nail collection from Inglot and there is a shade to suit all skin tones. We can't wait to try them out!

Lunchtime Shenanigans! 24 Carat Pink Nails

I had an hour spare and so did my lovely model Lucy.

I used Leighton Denny's Plush Pink and Golden Girl for the tips!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Be a top model for the day!

So. not content with gracing our screens over the summer, Britain's Next Top Model crew will be catwalking  into town for a whole weekend with a show at London's Excel Centre from 22nd October to 24th October 2010.

The show promises a live catwalk with the girls from the current series of BNTM,  hair and beauty workshops where you can learn some new tricks from the pro's like Jemma Kidd, Errol Douglas and Karine Jackson to name a few and style icon sessions so you can learn to dress like a top model. Once you've finished all of that you can head for your very own photo shoot or sashay down the open catwalk.

For the shopaholic in you, you can indulge with special purchases from MaxC and Urban Outfitters, amongst many others.

If that tires you out, therapists from the London College of Beauty Therapy (I trained there!) will be available in a dedicated powder room to preen you back to perfection with mani's, pedi's, threading and facials.

Its gets better, with luxury spa brand Elemis rolling in their dedicated SpaBus for even more pampering. Finish off with a glass of bubbly in the purpose built champagne bar!

Now, that's living life life a top model!

For more information and to book tickets visit: www.bntmlive.com

Let's get to know each other.....

The lovely ModestyBrown tagged me a few days ago to answer the questions below. Seemed like quite a fun thing to do, so while I've answered mine, I've also dreamt up 8 more questions for other bloggers to answer.

Rules of Engagement: I'll answer the 8 questions I've been asked, then I'll ask 8 of my own at the end and tag a few bloggers to answer them. They can then repeat the whole thing on their blog.

1. If you were a perfume, what scent would you be?

This is a hard one because some days I like to be all chic and classic like Chanel No 5. And some days a bit more mysterious so I'd have to say Sonia Rykiel's Belle En Rykiel.

2. Can you speak any foreign languages?

I speak a bit of French.

3. What was your most embarrassing moment ever?

Year 9 school musical concert. We were doing a dance routine and the stage literally opened up and I feel inside. One of the joints holding 2 pieces of the stage loosened and the created a gap, where I promptly fell in.

4. You can only have one lipstick for the rest of your days, what would you choose?

So not a lipstick person.....eyeshadows? then we're talking. I'll take Carmex though.

5. Who is your favourite Author?

Authur Golden who wrote Memoirs of a Geisha. Each time I pick it up, I'm transported to 1940's Japan.

6. What item of make up couldn't you live without?

Blusher. Without MAC Fever my day outside the house cannot start

7. Cats or Dogs?

Goldfish? Not an animal person.

8. What’s the most disgusting thing you’ve ever eaten?

Massive wedding in Nigeria a few years back and we ordered Suya (a type of extremely spicey chopped beef steak which I love). It wasn't from our usual place and I maintain it was some type of rat we were fed, other disagree! lol!

Questions for the following bloggers:

Beauty Passionista



Ateh Jewel Beauty Insider

1. What is your favourite season and why?

2. Ice cream: Vanilla or Chocolate?

3. What is your most treasured item?

4. Which celebrities hair would you like?

5. When is the last time you had a pedicure?

6. What is your favourite cocktail?

7. Describe yourself in 3 words.

8. What is your favourite foundation and why?

If you're reading this and would like to answer the questions as well, please go ahead and do so in the comments box. I'd love to know a bit about you too!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Ta-Da! Silky Smooth Shaving Gel

Being a therapist, the preferred method of de-fuzzing is always going to be waxing or permanent hair removal if you can afford it. But there are times when you can't always make your six weekly waxist appointment or that impromptu holiday comes up and you've got barely enough time to pack, let alone get your legs waxed!

For these occasions this is where Ta-Da! garners a spot in the bathroom cabinet. Unlike traditional shaving mousses which foam up, Ta-Da is 150ml of non foaming gel. It doesn't come in a pressurised container, but in a recyclable white tube, so you can use and then do your bit for the environment when you're done.The lack of foam is a good thing, you can see where you put your razor and avoid unsightly nicks!

This non sticky opaque white gel is loaded with tea tree and aloe vera oil and is perfume and paraben free. Your pores go through enough trouble when shaving so the aloe vera will soothe and tea tree will refresh the skin. Its a non drying formula, so will also hydrate your skin.

While I will always choose more longer lasting methods of hair removal, Ta-Da! is the 'go to' in an emergency...like the need to wear an above the knee summer dress!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Review: Edward Bess Ultra Luminous Eyeshadow

After hearing so much about Edward Bess products from other bloggers, I decided to take the plunge and purchase one product to try out. I really wanted to try a lipstick, but wary of buying lipsticks online especially if I’ve not seen them in person, so I decided to buy an eyeshadow instead.
I was also wary of buying Edward Bess because I’d heard and read so much about how it’s a very neutral range, albeit a luxury and sophisticated range. Having black skin, I tend to favour brands that have a bit more colour in their range as I really like eyeshadow that stands out against my skin. If I am absolutely honest, in my head, I had come to the conclusion that it would work best on Caucasian skin. Clearly, I had some reservations about how much the range and I would get on. But throwing caution to the wind, I figured if it doesn’t work for me, I’ll add it to my professional make up kit that I use for clients.

I ordered from http://www.zuneta.com/ and I was very pleased about how easy the process was. I did sign up for their Clinic which recommends colours for you, but for some reason I didn’t chose anything they recommended. I decided to go for one of the Ultra Luminous Eyeshadow’s called Escape. Escape is described as a rich golden bronze so I thought that would work best against my skin tone.

Impressively it arrived the very next day (another brownie point for Zuneta). The packaging screamed understated luxury. The eyeshadow looked appealing, smooth and soft, but I did think, it looked just like brown rather than golden bronze. I was expecting a bit more warmth and golden undertones.

When I swatched it on my forearm, I have to admit that I didn’t think much of it and started getting despondent. As you can see from the pictures, it virtually blended in with my skin. Definitely not the pop of colour I was after!

Keeping an open mind, I decided to use it for my eyeshadow of the day. Then it really spoke to me and I understood what the fuss was about. It’s so finely milled; it was a dream to apply. It felt very soft and was buttery smooth on the eyelids.

It gave my eyes a sophisticated sheen of colour, slightly tinged with golden undertones and it really caught and reflected the light well. According to the boyfriend it made my eyes sparkle and gave me a really clean mature look. In his words ‘you look very well put together’. The more pictures we took, the more I loved it.

I then decided to put it to the test, by taking pictures outside to see how it looked in normal daylight. I was not disappointed. It softly highlighted my eyes, which I loved. Made it look like I’d made an effort without going overboard.

After wearing it, out and about for over five hours in hot and sweaty central London, I took some more pictures when I got home to see how well it fared. As you can see, it did very well and had staying power, even without wearing an eye primer. The colour was still vibrant and had not melted into my skin.

Granted, Edward Bess is not a colourful collection (they never claimed it was), but it’s a brilliant collection to use for soft highlighting and definition, even on black skin as shown. I felt the eyeshadow was excellent quality and felt like silk on my skin. My fears about the collection have been put to bed and I’m certainly looking forward to trying out more products in the collection. Go Edward!
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