Sunday, 30 March 2014

#MakeoverTheWorld: cruelty free beauty for super sensitive skin

Now, let's get something straight here: I'm no beauty blogger.

I don't have the knowledge to write with any authority whatsoever on cosmetic products and, frankly, I'm not interested enough in them to care.

I am interested in animal welfare though and Makeover The World - a fantastic campaign that my ridiculously talented colleagues at the RSPCA have been working on - has made me pay a bit more attention to the products I'm using.

The aim of the campaign is to end the testing of cosmetics and their ingredients on animals worldwide (extending the ban that was introduced in the EU in 2009). I have to be honest, before I started work at the RSPCA I thought cosmetics testing on animals was dead, full stop. And I think a lot of other people think that too. Sadly not. Around 27,000 animals still suffer in the name of our beauty every year. In some countries - China, I'm looking at you - it's actually illegal to sell cosmetics that haven't been tested on animals. Which is all kinds of unnecessary and cruel.

I don't want to use products from companies that test on animals. I don't want to add to their suffering.

I have a problem though - my horrible, prone-to-bad-eczema skin. I'll spare you the itchy, scabby details but I am so allergic to so many things. It's taken me more than 10 years to find a foundation I'm not allergic to (MAC, not cruelty free). There's only one moisturiser I can use on the most badly affected part of my body, my hands (Aveeno, owned by Johnson and Johnson, not cruelty free). If I so much as think about using a (cruelty free) Lush product my skin starts to peel from my body. It sucks, basically.

That said, I still want to do my bit. It's taken some hunting but I've found some cruelty free products that I'm not allergic too - and some that don't go on my skin. They're all purse friendly too as they're from high street favourites Superdrug and M&S, both of whom have cheap, cruelty free own brand ranges.

Here are my favourites:

M&S Limited Collection quick dry nail polish in mauve

Apologies for the terrible finish on this mani - I applied it at night and fell asleep before the topcoat was dry! Anyway, this is a lovely, bright, summery purple. The polish is quite thin so you can build up layers to make it as opaque as you like. It's really hard wearing too - mine lasted a week before the first chip appeared. And it cost the grand sum of £3.50. I also bought it in aqua marine, a lovely dark turqiosy-green which I haven't really tried yet but looks lovely in the bottle.

Superdrug B. First base coat

I'm a recent but passionate convert to Superdrug's premium own brand, B. This base coat is fab - long wearing, nice consistency, easy to apply. I use it as a top coat too (see, told you I'm not a beauty blogger) and it gives a lovely high gloss finish, assuming you can stay awake long enough for it to dry. It's a steal at £4.99.

M&S Limited Collection Holly Sharpe blusher brush

I hate buying makeup brushes and really resent spending money on them. M&S ones are great though and this one is considerably more fun - and orange - than the average. The angled bristles are great for applying blusher evenly and are lovely and soft. It'll set you back £5.

Superdrug Tea Tree spot stick

I've always had a tea tree spot stick in my skin care inventory and this one is lovely. At £2.99 it's also one of the cheapest. It comes with a little foam applicator stick and is a nice consistency (ie not too sticky). It doesn't smell as horrifically strong as some brands either.


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Weekend Wishlist

Just the one piece on my wishlist this weekend, but boy is it a beaut...

Oscar De La Renta Embroidered tulle and silk-faille gown

Isn't this spectacular? I'm obsessed with this gown. It's princess, it's punk, it's YELLOW. Not yellow, YELLOW. I love the combination of YELLOW and black; when it's done right it's just show stopping (admittedly when it's not done right it looks like a bee). The pinned at the waist tulle creates a gorgeous shape and some extra drama. Stunning

Unsurprisingly it's currently sold out, but should you have occasion to need a YELLOW ball gown at some point in the future - and I like to think everyone will, one day - and are as in love with this one as I am it'll set you back £9,360 from Net-a-Porter.


Saturday, 15 March 2014

Weekend Wishlist

Spring has finally sprung in West Sussex and I'm lusting after bright colours and summery cuts.

This is the first time I've created an outfit for my Wishlist and I think it's a corker...

Preen by Thornton Bregazzi Issy printed stretch-crepe dress

I love how clean and fresh this dress looks. The funky geometric print is so fun. It's a perfect desk-to-dinner dress as well and I love fashion that's hard working.

Want it? It's £725 from my beloved Net-a-Porter.

Roland Mouret leather and suede pumps

Bright pink and white is one of my favourite colour combinations - it stops the pink looking too Barbie and the white looking too boring. Loving the gold detail on the heel too.

Another for the Net-a-Porter wishlist, these babies are £495.

Victoria Beckham textured leather mini satchel

Another amazing VB pink bag. Love the slightly contrasting coloured strap and the silver hardware. Adjustable straps always score bonus points from me too. 

Get ye to NaP again, this one's £825.

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Weekend Wishlist

This week I'm all about fun and quirky pieces.

Charlotte Olympia Flashback brass and textured leather clutch

Just so cute. It's the tiny details as well as the overall glorious kitchness of this piece that I love - the Swarovski crystal flash, the 'smile!' inscription over the lense, the little heart shaped view finder. Adorbs.

Want it? It's from Net-a-Porter and £1395.

Anya Hindmarch Crisp Packet gold-tone clutch

Oh god I love this. Quirky as it may be, it still feels more like a piece of art than a bag. It also somehow manages to be understated, which shouldn't be possible for what is essentially a gold crisp packet.

It's sold out basically everywhere, but you can theoretically get it a NaP for £995.

Markus Lupfer Meow printed cotton-jersey sweatshirt

Markus Lupfer always does amazing, fun knitwear and this, well, this is a jumper covered in cats. What more do you need to know?

Get it at NaP for £170.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Oscars: Best Dressed

I'm not going to lie, I'm a bit disappointed with the Oscars red carpet fashion. I mean it wasn't a car crash like the Grammys or the Brits, but it was all just a bit safe.

Don't get me wrong, basically everyone looked really pretty. There wasn't anyone who got it really wrong, but there weren't many people who got it breathtakingly right either. Even Lupita Nyong'o wasn't doing it for me - her ice blue Prada gown was lovely and she looked beautiful, but it wasn't an 'ohmigod wow' moment for me like her other awards season gowns were. (I was super chuffed to see her walk away with her Oscar though, so deserved.)

Anyway, my favourites...

Kate Hudson in Atelier Versace

This was the one serious wow moment for me. I love the cape detail and the shoulder pads - it's 80s but good 80s. The perfect plunge neck, lovely draping around the waist and impeccable styling lift this look above everyone else.

Sandra Bullock in Alexander McQueen

I think I've mentioned my love of navy blue before on this blog and this look is a great example of why I love it. This is old Hollywood glamour at it's very best. A relatively simple but luxe gown, perfectly cut and expertly styled. Lovely stuff.


Amy Adams in Gucci Première

Another fantastic navy look. I love the simplicity here - no fuss, just a perfectly cut gown on a beautiful woman. The minimal detailing on the bust proves that less is very often more when it comes to draping too.


Cate Blanchett in Armani Privé

Blanchett and Armani Privé is the sort of celeb-designer red carpet pairing that makes J-Law and Dior Couture even more depressing (though I thought last night's offering was one of the more successful examples of that relationship). I love the delicate embellishment and the just-the-right-amount sheerness of this gown. Stunning jewels too.


Naomi Watts in Calvin Klein Collection

A masterclass in subtle embellishment. A beautiful, elegant gown expertly styled. I adore the clutch too.


All images here.