Monday, 31 March 2014

Recreate The Empire Awards with SEVENTEEN

Last night's Empire Awards were a star studded affair with a host of celebs polished to red carpet perfection. But why do they get to have all the fun? For this post I have teamed up with SEVENTEEN's fabulous MUA Vanesa Guallar (who actually did my makeup for a magazine shoot last year) to show you how you can recreate our favourite looks at home, and at a fraction of the price using SEVENTEEN cosmetics. Scroll down to see how you can also win a special SEVENTEEN goodie bag!

Sarah Harding

Get ready to glow!
The look: Striving for that healthy summer glow but still wanting to dazzle? Double up with Sarah Harding’s fresh-faced look and dark framed eyes. The perfect look for your spring/summer parties!

Vanesa says: With this look, it’s best to work on the eyes first so you can clean the under eye area of any black, leaving your skin clean and ready to apply foundation. SEVENTEEN Stay Time Foundation is brilliant to give skin an even look, with a great lasting finish. To enhance your look apply SEVENTEEN Cheek Stamps in Star-Struck to your cheeks and forehead. For the eyes, apply SEVENTEEN Kohl Eye Pencil in Black along the bottom of the eye line, then apply a soft eye shadow on the top of your eyelid, (try SEVENTEEN Solo Eye Shadow in Ivory Coast) and finish by applying two coats of Backlash Mascara in Black. For the lips opt for a nude shade such as SEVENTEEN Stay Pout Lipstick in Going Steady for a natural look.

Sophie Turner

Red alert!
The look: Ever dared to wear red? Be bold and take control with Sophie Turner’s sensuous red lips! Paired up with soft eyes, this claret lip trend will give you the confidence to wow friends on a night out and you’ll be sure to pick up the compliments!

Vanesa says: Begin by applying a thin layer of SEVENTEEN On the Spot Foundation to cover any blemishes. Then use a soft brown pencil to draw a thin line on top of your eye line, and softly brush some pink eye shadow on the top eyelid. SEVENTEEN Solo Eye Shadow in Statuesque would work perfectly. Finish the eyes with a generous coat of SEVENTEEN Super Lash mascara. For the lips, choose a bright red lipstick such as SEVENTEEN Mirror Shine Lipstick in Roasted Red and apply it with a lip brush for precision and staying power. Finish the look by powdering the area with SEVENTEEN Miracle Matte Loose Powder.

Annabelle Wallis

Sophisticated glamour! 

Vanesa says: Apply SEVENTEEN Photo Flawless Foundation to achieve a flawless professional finish that lasts for up to 24 hours. Then to achieve a sun-kissed glow, sweep SEVENTEEN Instant Glow Bronzing Rocks all over the face. To create definition and a nice glow to the cheek bones and top of the eyelid, apply a small amount of SEVENTEEN Skin Wow Primer and blend.

For the eyes, use the SEVENTEEN Neptune Trio to create a smoky eye look. Using the medium colour and sweeping across the center area of the lid and apply the darker shade towards the lash line. Apply the lighter gold shade into the inner corner of your eye and below the eyebrow to lift the eye. Then apply a thin layer of SEVENTEEN High Drama Liquid Eyeliner to the top lid and finish with two coats of SEVENTEEN Blow Out Mascara in Blackest Black. Finish this look by applying SEVENTEEN Berry Crush Lip Stain in Bombshell.

I hope you like our top picks of the night! If you want to try these looks out for yourself please leave a comment below letting us know which is your favourite and you could WIN a SEVENTEEN goodie bag to help you recreate that red carpet glam!

*Products provided by SEVENTEEN*

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Your Skin... and Sugar

Following on from my last post on nutrition I just wanted to share a little bit more information with regards to sugar. Yes, we have all heard how it's bad for us, but why and (given this is a beauty blog) how can it affect your skin?

The Good

We all know it tastes pretty spectacular. I have a huge sweet tooth and pretty much nothing can come close to giving me that happy, warm, fuzzy feeling other than a belly full of ice cream. I never met a dessert I didn't like... well maybe apart from liquorice!

The Bad

With that being said, there’s not a single one of us who doesn’t know that sugar, especially in excess, is bad for us. It’s terrible for our teeth, destroys our mood, makes us gain weight and severely alters our overall blood chemistry. We have to admit that sugar simply ruins our health. However, we (myself very much included) continue to indulge our sugar obsession, despite the detrimental consequences. We can all agree life is too short not to enjoy our favourite dessert, right?

The Ugly

Not only can sugar lead to weight gain it can also make us look older! In fact, excess sugar in our bodies is now being revealed as one of the most damaging elements to our appearance. As it turns out these sweet little sugar molecules are leading a double life. After they pass over our taste buds and give us that amazing sugar buzz they change their personalities and go on a seek-and-destroy mission. In a process called glycation excess sugar in our blood stream binds to proteins in our bodies. Once bonding happens, that particular protein becomes glycated, which means it loses its shape, hardens and fails to function correctly while excreting exotoxins that affect surrounding proteins. After the glycation process has run its course, the protein is referred to as an Advanced Glycation End Product, or A.G.E. for short (a rather appropriate acronym).

This is where the ugly part comes in. Most people are aware that the main protein in human skin is collagen, the proteins of which are very long lasting with a natural half-life of approximately 15 years. Sadly they are not immune to the effects of glycation, becoming misshapen, hardened, brittle and excreting exotoxins. It is therefore not difficult to see the link between visible signs of ageing in the skin – wrinkles, fine lines, discoloration, sagging, uneven skin tones, stress, loss of elasticity, etc. - to the process of glycation.

Glycation becomes more evident in your appearance when sugar molecules attack the surface proteins on the fine capillaries of your skin. This process causes your capillaries to leak, causing what we recognize as spider veins. The same process can happen in the under-eye area, which we recognize as dark circles.

The most demoralizing aspect of glycation is the fact that once a protein has become glycated, or is now considered an A.G.E., the damage is permanent. Glycation is an additive effect and probably begins as soon as we’re born, affecting us throughout our lifetime.

As research advances I am sure that soon we will have a whole new category of anti-glycation treatments. However, until that is the case I am going to try to make a concerted effort to reduce my sugar intake. The easiest way for me to do this is to concentrate on whole foods. There are so many added sugars in prepared foods, even those that are savoury, but as long as you know what you are eating you can at least control your consumption at some level. Honestly I would be far too scared to add up the number if I was living on cereals, energy drinks and ready meals (which I did during uni)! There are so many easy recipes on the internet for those of us striving for a healthier life. One of my favourites is
Madeleine Shaw, who advocates a low sugar lifestyle, without giving up all treats.

Maybe I can have my cake and eat it too after all?

What are your thoughts on sugar? Did you know that it could affect your outward appearance, as well as your internal health and weight? Do you have any tips or advice to share on cutting down?

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Invisalign - Back on Track

After the few months of delay that I last wrote about I am very pleased to be able to update you all on my Invisalign journey with much more positive news. I am now back on track with a new set of trays without any new attachments!

After wearing the same tray for over 2 months it had pretty much disintegrated and my teeth started to slowly move back to their original position. Luckily, when the new trays came they still fitted so I was very relieved! Even though my teeth had moved back a little they still remained ‘maleable’ in the bone so after about 2 days of discomfort with the new trays I think the previous movement had been reversed, which is great news. :)

I have been keeping close contact with my dentist and going for regular check ups every 2 -4 weeks to make sure the movement is on target as my front two teeth are yet to move into alignment as hoped. Of course as the sets of trays are made through the Clincheck process the computer can only predict how your teeth will move and make the trays to guide the movement. For some reason my teeth haven’t quite moved in the way expected. I have been told that this may be because they are small so more of the tooth is in the bone, which means there is less leverage with the exposed tooth that is being moved by the trays. To try and help with this my dentist has made some small bumps in the back of the tray (using forceps) behind some of the teeth that are targeted for the most movement. This makes the tray a little tighter in these areas and so puts more pressure on the tooth, hopefully encouraging it to move as planned. I am glad that this has been done as it makes sure the treatment is targeted to my progress and should hopefully keep my teeth closer to the movement model generated on the computer.

My dentist has also been really helpful in trying to speed up the process so I have only had to wear some of the trays for 10 days rather than the usual 14. I find that in the last days of the tray there is no movement (absolutely no feeling of pressure) so I do not think this will lessen the results. All it is doing is cutting a little short the rest phases between the movements, but since I had a break in the middle of my treatment and am keen to see results and progress I am very happy to be speeding up the process in any way I can, while still being safe and effective.

I have another appointment tonight to get my next set of trays. I do hope that the adjustments have also made some difference. Keeping fingers crossed!

Are any of you thinking of Invisalign? Do you have any queries or concerns? If you have had/are having this treatment I would also love to hear your thoughts and opinions!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

A New Outlook - Health and Nutrition

I would like to begin by saying that I do not claim to be an expert when it comes to nutrition and all that I have learnt has been through the internet, books and my own personal experience. However, as I love reading articles about differing opinions on various health issues I thought that perhaps some of you may find it interesting to read my thoughts!

So many people have told me that the point at which they started taking their health seriously was either when they had a health scare, or had children and realised that they needed to take better care of themselves to be around for longer. I reached this point about a year and a half ago, and to be completely honest it was probably more to do with vanity than anything else. As you all know I love my cosmetics and fashion and while I spent probably far too much time trying to perfect the outside I wasn’t being very healthy on the inside. I have never been clinically overweight or underweight and have always eaten fairly sensibly, but with an office job, a blog and many other sedentary commitments I wasn’t doing any exercise and indulging a little more than I should. I felt constantly tired and weak. In order to keep myself going I would be propping myself up with sugary coffees in the mornings and sugary snacks in the afternoons. My weight would creep up about a stone over the Winter and I would spend the spring dieting and dabbling in some physical activity to get it back to normal for Summer.  Since I am tall other than my clothes fitting better there wouldn’t be a lot of noticeable difference. Though my weight fluctuates I have remained roughly the same size since I left school.
(Photo taken this weekend)

Now this may not be a very dramatic transformation story as I haven’t lost 10 stone or become an Olympic athlete, but the past year has taught me so much. I haven’t lost more weight than I usually do for the Summer (7kg), but I have done it in a completely different way and have kept my Summer body for the last 9 months. I have really looked at how my body reacts to different foods and exercises and I can honestly say I feel so much more comfortable in my own skin and am looking forward to seeing where this new path will lead me. I still have a long way to go and am nowhere near my ideal, but I'm trying to see every day as a new opportunity to make good decisions. Of course preparing for my wedding has played a huge part in getting the mentality right for a lifestyle change, but this is something that I wish I had really taken seriously sooner!

In short, what works for me may not work for everyone, but I would really encourage you to take some time and re evaluate how you see yourself and your health. First up on my list was diet!

I loved food! I love to eat, I love desserts, I love to go out and try different restaurants… and I do drink. After seeing so many of my friends suffering with eating disorders at school I am very conscious of having a healthy relationship with food and would never deprive myself or restrict myself as I just don’t think it’s right. If I feel hungry then my body is telling me something and I try to give it what it needs. My problem was I was eating the wrong things out of boredom, or emotionally, and rarely because I was physically hungry.

I am not a fan of diets at all, but (and this is a big but) over the past few years I have taken several allergy tests that have all come back with the same results. I am intolerant to gluten, wheat (among a bunch of different grains), dairy and eggs. My digestion has not been very good for years, especially after lunch as I always felt really awful and bloated at my desk (sitting makes it worse), but I ignored it and almost thought it was normal. After trying to eat clean with minimal processed foods for the best part of a year I noticed that grains and dairy would make my digestion a lot worse. So I decided to seriously commit to a diet for the first time in my life!

Paleo, apparently the ‘hottest diet for 2013’, sounded crazy when I first heard about it (eat like a caveman?), but when I did my research I was almost disappointed to see that it made sense! (This is a great website that really helped me understand the basics: The paleo diet basically cut out all the things I was allergic or intolerant to (bye bye grains, dairy) so I could use Paleo recipes without having to make complicated amendments. I have only lost 1-2kg following paleo principles, but for me this isn't about losing weight. I can’t begin to tell you how much better I feel on a daily basis when eating paleo with no bloating and no cramps after meals. I still love bread, cupcakes, brownies, baked goods , cheese etc., but I have them in moderation and try to follow the 80/20 rule. Rather than sticking rigidly to paleo doctrines I have worked out which foods work for me (and most importantly which make me feel horrible) and have adapted the diet to suit my body and my lifestyle. For example, paleo does not include legumes, but I have no problem with peanuts so peanut butter is firmly on my list of treats!

Having established what works for me I can choose when I want to indulge (and then make time for the consequences), rather than hoping for the best or being caught out squirming in pain at a client lunch (this has unfortunately happened before). The realisation really hit me when I was stuck in the deliberation room on jury duty and the only food available to us was a cheese sandwich, an egg mayo sandwich and a (very mayonnaise heavy) BLT. I was so ravenous I had the BLT and less than half an hour later was struck down with crippling stomach pains, bloating and the whole works! I hadn’t felt like that for weeks and I was shocked to realise I had let myself struggle with this on a daily basis for years purely due to ignorance and laziness!

The other thing I have learned is not to be afraid of fat! Fats have been made the enemy in the media for far too long, but fat alone will not make you fat. (This article is really interesting:  The real enemy that has been hiding in our food (and mine very much so since I looove my desserts and sweeties) is added sugar and unpronounceable additives with zero nutritional value! What do they do when they take out all that fat? They replace it with sugar, salt and additive cocktails. Artificial compounds that your body has absolutely no need for! I always think that the preservatives pumped into food to make it last longer are probably also ensuring that the cellulite in my thighs stays there for longer too, though this is purely my conjecture…

Did you know that many cancer patients are recommended to go on a no sugar (ketogenic) diet and that some actually get better just by doing this? I used to be so obsessive with cutting down my fat intake, but all I was doing was replacing fat that gives you nutrients and satiety by simple carbs and sugars that give you a short energy boost and then leave you feeling tired and hungry. (Of course there are natural sources of sugar, such as fructose in fruit, which I eat a lot of, but I have really tried to decrease my intake of added sugars). This article even made the BBC recently and is worth a look ( I use low fat yoghurt as an example: after eating one I would follow with another (and sometimes a third) because I never felt full or satisfied. Since cutting out dairy and limiting processed foods I eat COYO instead – it has a much higher (healthy) fat content and I sometimes struggle to finish one small tub. I could never imagine eating three!
Ultimately the paleo theory works because when you are eating whole foods full of nutrients that ensure you are getting all the building blocks your body needs you don’t end up over eating, or having cravings for all the junk food that would give you a short energy boost, but ultimately leave your body with a bunch of toxins to try to flush out. This is not to say I wouldn’t eat the odd chocolate cake as a treat, but there is a difference between eating to nourish your body and eating to reward yourself for a tough week. The 80/20 rule helps me do both!

I would love to hear what your thoughts are on my ramble and whether you would be interested in more health, diet and exercise posts? It’s something that I am learning so much about and I would love to share my journey with you! xxx
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