29 August 2013

Beauty | Charlotte Tilbury Makeup: First Look

Charlotte Tilbury's debut makeup collection is the most hotly anticipated makeup launch of the year and ahead of the official launch on Monday, Charlotte launched a capsule collection at a pop-up shop in Selfridges today with two stands devoted entirely to eye makeup. 

I skipped off to Selfridges on my lunch break and quickly navigated my way to the beauty hall, a journey I'm pretty certain I could make in my sleep, and it didn't take long to spot the Charlotte Tilbury stand. Hoards of people stood at the stands, swatching palettes and eyeliners, spinning the beauty-wheel of looks and taking tips from yes, you guessed it, the woman herself.

Before I even get on to the products I want to talk about Charlotte: as a makeup artist she has inspired me for many years but after meeting her today and seeing her in action I am over-awed. Unlike other 'celebrity' makeup launches, Charlotte's face didn't feature on any of the promotional images, her name may have been up in lights but the focus was on her work: her newly launched beauty line and the stunning images that have launched it. Completely down-to-earth, Charlotte wasted no time in helping customer search for their must-have products, imparting tips and techniques on how best to use her products and who better to offer advice? Despite having numerous sales associates, she wasn't reluctant to get stuck in with the people browsing and buying her products and for that, I give her serious kudos.

Moving on to the makeup, when I looked at the promotional images online the one that jumped out to me first was The Uptown Girl but when I got to the counter, my eyes were drawn to The Golden Goddess palette.

Charlotte Tilbury 'The Golden Goddess' Eyeshadow Palette - £38 (5.2g)

The first thing I noticed, apart from the gorgeous range of colours, from neutrals like mine to stunning vibrant greens and purples (Charlotte is famous for the way she's mastered the use of colour - amongst other things!) was that the palettes have a Tom Ford feel with three standard colours that you can use to create a smokey eye and one gorgeous fine glitter to press over the top for the wow factor. 

When designing the collection Charlotte not only called on her years of experience when considering colours, textures, ingredients and formulas but also when it came to application. Makeup can be scary, especially colour and Charlotte has taken away that element by creating products that are easy to use. The quads are colour coded in stages (clockwise from top left):

1. Prime
2. Enhance
3. Smoke
4, Pop

The packaging is a sleek terracotta colour and is plastic but sturdy. The quad opens with ease yet still feels secure. Often eyeshadow quads can be so difficult to open that when you do open it you end up scraping half a shadow away with a nail or so easy that they open on their own causing damage to the shadows and a mess in your makeup bag!

Rock 'n' Kohl 'Bedroom Black' Iconic Liquid Eye Pencil - £19 (1.2g)

Charlotte is famed for her feline flick eye look, not only does she wear it herself but it's popular with the  iconic Kate Moss and if it's good enough for one of the most famous faces of a generation... With that in mind I was super excited to get my hands on Charlotte's Feline Flick eyeliner however I spotted this next to it. A liquid eye pencil - the softest, blackest, easy to smudge and perfectly gliding eyeliner kohl I have ever used.

The picture above shows one swipe, one!! Let that sink in a moment... The eyeliner is slated to last for 14 hours without transfer and whilst I haven't had time to put that claim to the test, I can believe that it is a very long wearing product.

The softness of the pencil means it's easy to smudge out to create the perfect 'bedroom' eyes look as well as working as a great base for shadows, intensifying the colours you place over the top for a show-stopping smokey eye.

The Charlotte Tilbury makeup collection launches in full in Selfridges, and online at both Net-a-Porter and Charlotte's website on Monday and it's sure to be a sell out. I for one can't wait to pick up the Uptown Girl palette and a few of the lipsticks!

Have you seen the promotional images? Which look are you lusting after?

Vicky x


24 August 2013

Review: Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturiser

Moisturising is essential in taking good care of your skin but it's also a complete chore for me: time consuming and completely boring. As a result of this I've found myself falling into a habit of moisturising with cream fake tans (bad!) or using an intense moisturiser once a week and hoping for the best...

That was until the Vaseline Spray & Go moisturiser came into my life. It happened purely by chance - before I went to Milan I nipped into boots for a sandwich (oak smoked ham and philadelphia cheese if you're interested) and left with this snazzy little moisturiser instead.

If you haven't heard of the Vaseline Spray & Go Body Moisturiser then firstly, where have you been?! Vaseline have cottoned on to the fact that moisturising is both boring and time consuming and invented a spray on moisturiser than sinks into the skin in seconds without being sticky or greasy.

Another thing I dislike about traditional moisturiser is the time it takes to sink into the skin, especially after a morning shower, I don't want to have to wait ages before I can get dressed, especially if I'm wearing tights - have you ever tried to put tights on within an hour of moisturising? I don't recommend it!

To use, you hold roughly ten centimetres away from the skin and spray before rubbing the moisturiser into the skin in circular motions. The spray is continuous so application couldn't be quicker or easier. I found it a massive help when I was in Milan. Not only did it cut down the time it took me to get ready but it also weighed less in my case which is always a bonus!

Whilst I still use a rich moisturiser once a week, particularly when I'm fake tanning, I've found that I do moisturise a lot more now that it's so quick and easy.

Spray & Go is currently available in Essential Moisture (the one I have), Cocoa Radiant and Aloe Fresh and they're priced at £4.99 for 190ml which is reasonable. 

Have you tried Vaseline Spray & Go? What do you think - has it replaced traditional moisturiser for you?

Vicky x


22 August 2013

London MUSE Glamour and Editorial Makeup Masterclass with Chris Dennis

As you will know, I trained as a makeup artist at London MUSE in January 2011 and one of the things I love most about MUSE is the variety of courses they offer, from four week intensive training courses in hair and makeup to half-day masterclasses.

On Sunday I set off for the beautiful makeup studios at Illamasqua Beak Street to attend a Glamour and Editorial makeup masterclass held by Chris Dennis, makeup artist to Pamela Anderson amongst others. I'm a huge fan of the glamour makeup look and it's a world apart from my own bridal and beauty style so I couldn't wait to see how Chris worked and the techniques he employed.

The course ran from 12-5pm and was held in the makeup school at Illamasqua. I've never actually been inside the training area at Beak Street but it's absolutely beautiful with large mirrors, adjustable studio lighting and ample work space which makeup artists will know is a luxury we are rarely afforded! 

Chris used the beautiful Joanna as a model and settled on a classic glamour look, keen to point out that there was no particular look he always uses on Pamela but even getting a peek into the kit he uses on her was insightful.

One of the points Chris was keen to stress was that glamour and editorial makeup isn't designed to be subtle to the human eye, it's designed to work with the lights and the camera to create a beautiful image.   

The look itself is carefully constructed and takes a lot into account - for example suiting your makeup to your audience. Chris mentioned the changes he makes when catering to a predominately male or female audience and it covered things as subtle as not using any blusher to remove the girl-next-door element for a lads mag, or keeping eyeshadow softer and less winged out for a classic magazine spread.

Chris debuted the new Illasmaqua lashes from the Sacred Heart collection and they pack a serious punch. They're full, fluttery and downright fabulous. Yes they're huge and possibly a little heavy but they have the wow factor and I'll definitely be picking them up myself!

Throughout the demo Chris spoke about working on set and various other industry aspects which is always helpful - continuing to learn and develop is key and the people around you are instrumental in that process.

After the demo we had a quick lunch and came back for the practical part of the day where we were very kindly given the freedom to completely experiment with colours, techniques and products. Unfortunately I was feeling less than fresh after getting to bed at 5am that morning after watching Darren Barker win the world middleweight title so I spent much of my time faffing over blending one eye rather than utilising my time successfully. 

I teamed up with the lovely Maria, a fellow MUSE graduate and just the nicest girl. Not only did she have my patchy fake tan to contend with but also my inability to sit still in a swivel chair - I really am the worst person to work on! Despite that, I absolutely love the look she created for me.

I loved the green smokey eye and the nude lip. I'm actually a huge fan of this sort of look for a night out and I'll definitely be recreating it in the near future!

And here's one I didn't filter....

In addition to numerous tips, I also left with a shopping list as long thanks to Chris and a visit to Charles Fox amongst other places is definitely on the cards! 

I just want to say a huge thank you to Nicci and London MUSE for hosting such a fabulous masterclass, Chris for sharing his time and knowledge with us and Illamasqua for providing us with such a beautiful setting and the use of their gorgeous products!! 

Make sure you check out the London MUSE website and follow them on Twitter for all the latest goings up and course updates.

Vicky x


20 August 2013

Bake of the Week: Slutty Brownies

I love my brownies so adding anything that makes them even better (from creme eggs to rolos) will always be a winner with me. When I first saw this recipe on Rose's blog, I knew I had to try it one day so a few weeks ago, I rolled up my sleeves, got the packet mix out and whipped up some delightfully easy slutty brownies.

You will need
  • A large square baking tray
  • Chocolate chip cookie mix 
  • Brownie mix (I made my own but I'll post the recipe a different dat)
  • Two packets of Oreos. 

1. Grease and line your baking tray - keep the baking paper high to help remove the brownies from the tray.

2. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.

3. Follow the instructions on your cookie mix and cover the bottom of the baking tray. Ensure an even spread and no gaps.

4. Press your Oreos into the cookie dough.

5. Whip up your brownie mix using the instructions on the box and pour into the baking tray, covering your Oreo and cookie mix.

6. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes.

7. Remove and devour - they're best when they're warm and slightly gooey.

Quick, easy and delicious - they're a great naughty snack for a movie night.

If you make these I'd love to see how they turn out.

Vicky x


11 August 2013

TAG: The One and Only

I spotted this tag on Kat's blog last week and simply couldn't resist giving it a try- I've tagged a few people at the end but I'd love to see your answers if you also give it a go :) 

Image source: Google 

 The Question: If you could only have one ______ what would it be? And, in a few words, why?

Primer - Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, without a doubt one of my favourite primers for myself and to use on clients.

Base Product - Nars Sheer Glow truly is my Holy Grail foundation. No matter how many others I try, test and love I always come back to this one. Everything from the formula to the finish is perfect for me and it's always my first choice.

Concealer - Vichy Dermablend Foundation. Okay so it isn't a concealer per se but I use it as one and I wouldn't be without it.

Powder - Chanel Loose Powder - as much as I love my pressed powders, nothing beats the finish of the Chanel loose powders.

Blush (cream or powder) - Cream: MAC Ladyblush, the most beautiful and natural cream blush and an old favourite. Powder: Illamasqua Ambition, it's a neutral shade with shimmer that works so well with my skin tone.

Bronzer - Nars Laguna. I can wear this bronzer with or without fake tan and it gives a natural sunkissed finish to my skin. Light and build able, the slight shimmer adds a healthy glow.

Highlighter - Illamasqua Furore pigment, dusted over cheekbones it creates a beautiful highlight. 

Make-Up Brush (single) - MAC 150 - a powder brush I use for blusher, I honestly wouldn't know what to do without it.

Eyebrow Product - MUFE Aqua Brow, I have a review coming soon but quite simply this is a miracle in a tube.

Eye shadow (single) - MAC Deep Truth, a gorgeous navy blue for the perfect smokey eye.

Eyeliner - Illamasqua Precision Gel eyeliner, it has been a revelation!! 

Mascara - Illamasqua Masquara. It is the blackest, wetest, easiest to apply and layer mascara I have ever used.

Lipstick, Lip Gloss or Lip Stain - Gloss - Chanel Rouge Allure Extrait De Gloss 56 (Imaginaire). I've repurchased this a few times now and it's always my go-to lip product. Lipstick - Illamasqua Corrupt is my favourite ever lipstick.

Lip Liner - MAC Beet. It's so versatile and I love it on it's own or with any number of lipsticks. 

Lip Balm - Nivea SOS, it does exactly what it claims to do.

Nail Polish - OPI Lincoln Park After Dark is rarely off my nails in winter, God knows how many bottles I've had and used!

I tag...

Jessie-Ann @ All Things Beautiful

Vicky x

7 August 2013

Review: Natural Balance Foods Nakd Celebration Box*

A few weeks ago Natural Balance Foods very kindly offered to send me some healthy snack bars to try out. As you may know, I'm trying to be more healthy - I've even bought a pair of trainers so I have very good intentions - so I happily accepted their offer and a few days later the Nakd Celebration Box*landed on my desk at work, full to the brim with Nakd bars and raisins!

I settled on the Celebration Box because I'm pretty new to the snack bar scene and didn't want to commit myself to one flavour that I may not like, instead I thought it was best to have a variety of different bars to help me find my favourite.

The Celebration Box is also designed for busy people craving a healthy snack who often find they simply don't have the time to snack healthily - this is definitely me! I'm a notorious snacker and can be found nibbling away at food for large parts of the day, much like a rabbit just with smaller ears and less carrots, but the problem is I often find I'm too busy to make those snacks healthy ones. I could take a 20 minute walk to the health food shop to pick up a snack bar or I could prepare something before work that morning but I found what I would do is pop to the shop two doors down and stock up on milky buttons or have an extra 15 minutes sleep!

Having the Celebration Box stowed away in my filing cabinet has definitely kept me away from the shop and the milky buttons and I still get extra sleep!

My favourite item from the box are the flavour infused raisins in Cherry. Not only are they one of your five a day they're incredibly moorish and surprisingly filling. I quite like raisins anyway but find they can be quite boring but the raisins in the Celebration Box are all flavour infused which gives them a real  kick - especially the lime ones!

The snack bars proved particularly popular both with myself and my very lucky colleagues who sampled a bar each as well. The main thing that puts me off healthy food, apart from the extra time, is that I find it so bland and usually the most unfortunate of textures so I was pleasantly surprised to discover the snack bars were not only incredibly tasty but they also didn't have that stodgy-yet-soggy texture I've found some other snack bars to have.

I really like the no-fuss approach to the Nakd bars, the focus is on the product and its simplistic goodness. The ingredients breakdown is a great way of seeing what you're eating, I find food products now to be over-labelled - all I really want to know is what's in it, is it good for me and when does it go off - is that too much to ask for? Apparently not!

The snacks in this box are all 100% natural with no added sugar or syrup, on top of that they're gluten free, suitable for vegans AND many also count as one of your five a day and for even the least health conscious amongst us, this really is a super simple and tasty way of ensuring you have your five a day.

The Celebration Box contains 18 snacks with bars like Banana Bread, Cashew Cookie and my favourite Cocoa Orange - that's enough for one snack every day for more than two weeks! (Disclaimer: mine did not last two weeks - in the interests of providing a thorough and fair review I selflessly ate as many as possible to give you an informed opinion...).

Perfect for grabbing breakfast on the go, a snack at your desk or a pick-me-up after the gym, I've definitely been converted to healthy snack bars!

The Nakd Celebration Box is available now from Natural Balance Foods and retails for £13.00. 

Have you tried the Nakd Bars? Which ones are your favourites?

Vicky x

* PR Sample


6 August 2013

Ready, Steady, Cook: Stuffed Chicken Breast with Salad and Garlic Corn

One of the things I miss most about working flexible hours is that it's so much harder to find time to cook meals from scratch now. By the time I get home from work at 7:30, the last thing I want to do is start cooking a proper meal hence my ridiculous over-reliance on takeaways and ready meals.

With that in mind, when I am at home of a weekend or on rare days off, I love to cook and try something new. Last weekend I decided to make chicken breast, stuffed with a herb mascarpone and wrapped in prosciutto and served with garlic corn, beetroot salad and homemade wedges.

As I've been a bad blogger of late, I forgot to take pictures of the corn and wedges but I'll still explain how I cooked them.

Serves: 2 (or as many people as you need it to!)
Preparation: 10-15 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes

You will need
  • A non-stick frying pan
  • A roasting tray
  • A baking tray
  • Tin foil
For the chicken
  • Two skinless chicken breasts or fillets
  • Three tablespoons mascarpone cheese
  • Two cloves garlic: one crushed, one finely chopped
  • One and a half tablespoons mixed herbs (I used fresh basil, thyme and rosemary) 
  • Six slices prosciutto 
  • Half a lemon
  • Three tablespoons olive oil
For the corn
  • Two half corn on the cob
  • Lurpak garlic butter (you can make your own - I didn't have time)
For the wedges
  • Two potatoes, sliced into wedges
  • Coleman's potato wedge mix (again, you can make your own, I didn't for time purposes)
For the salad
  • Lettuce
  • Cucumber
  • Red onion
  • Tomato
  • Radish
  • Beetroot
  • Spring onions
With the salad - you really can include whatever you prefer, I'm quite fussy with salad - I don't like leaves (lettuce!) but I love crunchy things like cucumber.


1. Pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees.

2. Place your mascarpone, chopped herbs and garlic into a bowl and mix well until combined. You could use garlic and herb Philadelphia as an alternative if you're pushed for time.

3. If you're leaving the skin on your chicken, gently left it back and spread the garlic and herb cream between the skin and the meat. If, like me you're using a fillet or taking the skin off, spread a layer onto the top of the chicken.

4. Taking a slice of prosciutto, wrap tightly around the chicken breast. I found three pieces covered the chicken fully.

5. Heat up a non-stick frying pan and add a glug of olive oil, place your chicken into the pan and quickly brown on both sides.

6. Pour a little extra olive oil into a roasting tray and season with garlic and herbs, place your browned chicken into the roasting dish, place into the oven and cook for 15-20 minutes.

7. Whilst your chicken is cook, take your mini corn and slather in garlic butter. Wrap in cling film, place onto a baking tray and pop it into the oven with the chicken for 10-15 minutes. Make sure you check on your corn and turn if need be. This is also a great prep stage if you're having a barbecue and having corn.

8. Peel your potatoes, cut into wedges and wash thoroughly. Drain, coat in wedge topping and cook as instructed on the packet. This is definitely the lazy option but if you're making your own, cover in your own herb mix, place onto a baking tray and cook until crispy.

9.Whilst everything is cooking, chop your salad. Make sure you wash everything thoroughly and use fresh produce, this is even more important in summer with the temperatures so high, your salad will wilt and turn bad quicker than usual.

10. Remove your chicken, corn and wedges from the oven, assemble on plates or in bowls and enjoy!

A super simple recipe, perfect for a quick last minute meal and impressive enough if you have unexpected guests.

Considering I have an irrational phobia of raw meat, I'm very impressed that I managed to actually wrap my chicken!

If you try this, I'd love to know what you think and how you get on :)

Vicky x
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