27 October 2014

Instax Mini 8 Review

This is something else that I've been meaning to blog about for a while and never seem to get around to it.
I actually got this last Christmas, its the Instax Mini 8 and I have been in love with it ever since I got my hands on it.

Growing up I had a Polaroid camera and just thought it was the best thing ever but the one I had was one of the models that they stopped making film for so when I heard about the instax I knew I had to have it in my life.

So I thought I would do a little review of it for you....

Appearance - Its so pretty.  I choose pink because well... I just love pink but you can also buy this in yellow, blue, white and black.  It has such a lovely texture it just feels like a plastic toy camera really which makes it sturdy and super easy to hold too. 

Is it easy to work? - Yes, so easy.  That's why I wanted to get an instax as I just think there is something so refreshing about using a camera where you don't have to worry if you are in the right lighting or if the setting works best for the photo, you literally just point and shoot, just like the Polaroid and Lomo cameras too.  This 8 version does come with a dial to adjust the brightness to make your picture less dark but there is no hassle to it.  When you turn on the camera you wait a second and the little light around the lens automatically tells you what light setting you should use and you just turn the lens to whichever one it tells you and your good to go.  Oh and it has a flash too which helps.

How do the pictures look? - They look imperfect, which makes me so happy.  I love digital cameras, I mean who doesn't and I couldn't make this blog without them but I just love how the instax pictures turn out.  They are just exactly as you'd want them to look.  The quality of the actual pictures themselves are amazing but I love how sometimes they might be a little blotchy or squinty or fuzzy.  That's the reason why I bought the camera and I think that's what most people love about it too.

What about the film? - Well that's my only bugbear with Polaroids and instax is the film is so expensive.  The film I've been using is £10 for 10 pictures, which I know doesn't sound like that much but when your used to taking like 20 shots of the one thing on a digital camera you do have to think a little more about what you want to take pictures of so you can use them wisely.  The only good thing is normally there are some good deals on film coming up to Christmas so I would keep an eye out for that.

Verdict - Overall I think this is such an amazing buy, its so fun to use and the pictures are amazing and really do make people smile.  There is something so lovely about taking a picture and then the anticipation of waiting to see it develop in front of your eyes.  I think its a great thing to have for parties or events that your going too as well, as its such a lovely way to capture special moments in a really cool way.  I think this would make the perfect Christmas present for someone or just a little treat for yourself!

I can not remember what online shop I got mine from last year but I've had a google around and I see that Jessops are selling my exact camera the cheapest HERE for £59.

Are you a fan of instax? Is it on your Christmas list this year?

23 October 2014

SKIN Week Day #3

Say hello to the awesome Bryony Blake.  Make-up artist extraordinaire.  She has worked with too many celebrities to name, is This Morning's resident Make-Up expert and is part of the talented team that makes the X Factor and Strictly Come Dancing gang look so damn good.  I wanted to speak to someone who could share their beauty knowledge (and secrets) with us and would help us get a better idea of how make-up and skincare can work together to create flawless looking skin.  I am a massive fan of Bryony's work and if you want to see some more of her tips and tricks then give her twitter a follow HERE.  Let me know what you think of the interview and enjoy the third part of SKIN week....

1.  What are the best skincare tips that you have picked up in your career so far?
I think the most important thing in my job is to make sure the person you’re looking after on a regular basis really looks after their skin. And if they don't, try to give them a really simple routine. For example, taking their make-up off at night, cleansing and using a good moisturiser every day.
2.  What are your favourite moisturisers and cleansers that you’ve found really work for yourself and your clients?
I tend to change my moisturisers a lot but also adapt to whomever I'm working with.  I always have Bioderma in my kit which is a brilliant makeup remover and toner so I use that on everyone before I apply moisturisers, it's also for sensitive skin so it great on every type of skin.  My favourite Moisturisers at the moment are La Roche Posy, which are a great brand as they have such a huge range,  Also  Avene anti- redness cream and daily cream is amazing and very hydrating.  For men, I like to use Weleda which have a great Men's range. I try to stay clear of anything too oily if it's for TV, as shine can be hard to control on camera.  Personally, I always like to try products before I use them on my clients so I know how they work on the skin... But my Grandmother always swore by Nivea cream and her skin was the best I had ever seen! So I always carry that in my wash bag.
3.  Sometimes even using the best skincare in the world can’t stop annoying breakouts or other skin problems.  What are your top tips for covering up any unwanted spots and blemishes when they appear?
The most important thing to do if you are prone to blemishes is try not to over compensate by over cleansing and exfoliating your skin, as this can make it worse.  I think using a really good concealer is vital! Try to get one which matches your skin tone too, a palette is best as it has a variety of skin tones and allows you to mix the best match and get the best coverage.   There are lots of concealer palettes available in shops now that range in price. My personal favourites are Laura Mercier secret camouflage concealer or Sleek do a really good one.. Add a little powder over the top to set it.
4.  What is your verdict on primers, do you think they can really improve your skin and help your make-up look better at the same time?
If I'm really honest I don't really use a primer myself. I do occasionally use one when I work but it's not a necessity.  I know other makeup artists love them but for me I don't really see a huge difference.  I have, however, been using Rimmel's Stay Matte primer, which is actually very nice and very reasonably priced.  Maybe I should put a primer to the test on myself and see if there's a huge difference.
5.  What’s your advice for getting a flawless make-up look?  Do you have any tips on achieving that beautiful glowy/dewy look?
Using the right moisturiser for your skin type makes a huge difference.  Then, of course, a good foundation that is suitable for your skin tone and skin type.  You can buy lots of highlighters and luminators to add glow to your skin but it really is down to getting your skin looking its best before you apply your make up.  If you are going to use a highlighter or luminator make sure you use it on places you want highlighted rather than all over the face. You want your skin to look as natural as possible even if you don't have the best skin.
6.   Do you think there is any truth in the whole ‘letting your skin breathe and having a day off from make-up’ or do you think that if your make up is good enough quality then it shouldn’t matter or affect your skin?
I do think it’s important to sometimes let your skin breath.  At the end of the day it's down to confidence a lot of the time.  Most people feel their most confident  when they're on holiday and in the sunshine. That's when people tend to wear  less makeup.  When it comes to letting your skin breath I personally think if you can always manage to take your makeup off properly before you go to bed, that will really help to allow your skin to breath.
7.  What are your views on things like Botox, fillers and lip injections?  You must have seen your fair share of the good and the bad?
I have seen my fair share of Botox, fillers and lip injections. It seems to be more unusual these days if people haven't had something done. I think when it comes to all these things it's about personal choice and what makes you feel good about yourself.  Being in the public eye and seeing yourself in magazines and papers all the time isn't easy so I think people do become more self conscious of how they look.  I can totally understand why they would want to do this but it is very important to do proper research and get the right advice.  Sadly there are lots of people who didn't do this and have to live with the results.
8.  What inspired you to become a make-up artist and how did you get started?
My mum was an actress and TV presenter so being behind the scenes was always so exciting for me as a child.  I used to love (and still do) watching her put her make-up on.  When I was a little girl she gave me her old theatre makeup box which I just loved.  I always drew as a child and had a vivid imagination so combining my favourite things, people, art and makeup just seemed so natural to me.  I went to a very creative school which encouraged me to do what I loved.  I always knew I wanted to do make-up so I was very focused on that when choosing universities. I was thrilled when I got into London College of Fashion to study Theatrical and Media makeup for the performing arts. I spent five years after university assisting people and working on a makeup counter to get as much makeup experience as possible. My big break was when I got asked to assist Jackie Tyson on the 2nd series of X Factor. And I guess the rest is history.
9.   You’ve worked on so many amazing TV shows and with so many celebrities.  Do you have a stand out moment in your career so far that you have enjoyed the most?
The stand out moments of my career tend to be the moments I share with the celebrity I'm working with.  Flying on a private jet with Tulisa for her first time was such a special moment.  Making up Collabro the winners of BGT 2014 for a special appearance on the West End stage at the end of Les Miserable.  Sharing the delight and sense of achievement is very special.  On a personal note, getting to hold our shared Special Craft BAFTA for Strictly Come Dancing was a pretty brilliant day!
10.  And finally if you could pass on one beauty secret to all my readers what would it be?
Try to enhance your best features. Be experimental with new things, you wouldn't wear the same clothes every day so why wear the same makeup colours all the time. Look into different trends and styles and adapt them to suit you.   Make-up should be fun, so enjoy yourself!

21 October 2014

SKIN Week Day #2


 As part of my skin week I really wanted to introduce you to some brands that were a bit different and all natural. 
If you've been reading my blog for a while you'll know that I have the most super sensitive skin and take reactions to lot's of different creams and make-up.  So it's super important for me to watch what I use on my skin and to make sure I try and keep it as hydrated and protected from the things that irritate it as much as possible.

So I decided to investigate some natural brands that I had never tried before so that I could test them out and give you my verdict on them.  I love hearing about new brands and I hope that you all do too, it's always good to hear what else is out there that might help your skin.

Over the past year I have seen so many people changing over to all natural skincare brands and I think it's a natural progression as we all are starting to realise a little bit more about all the bad chemicals that they put in certain lotions and potions and we are all thinking that maybe it just might make a bit more sense to use brands that don't do that.

So first up, I want to introduce you to Sophyto (Pronounced So-Fi-Toe) this brand was actually launched in 2008 so in terms of being new, well it really isn't but it's new to me so that counts right? haha!
It has such an interesting concept behind it.  Launched by its founder Karen Sinclair Drake who is a skin expert, she decided that unlike other natural brands that just clean and hydrate the top layer of skin, she wanted to make her line of products be able to do more.  So she used the principles of medicine and all her research to create skincare that not only hydrates and moisturizes skin but also has the ability to directly affect the root of the problem with your skin, whether that be dryness, blemishes, wrinkles or open pores and change the balance of your skin so your body naturally fixes the problem and restores it to how it should be, all pretty cool huh?

All the products are 100% gluten free and use an average of 95% certified organic ingredients and are perfect for any type of skin including acne prone and sensitive skin types too.

Sophyto were kind enough to let me choose some products to show you and test out and here are the ones I picked...

1.  Multi-Tasking Creamy Cleanser - The first thing that you will notice is the smell, I love natural skincare brands but normally they all have pretty yucky smells right? Well that's what I was expecting with this but it was actually quite crazy how this didn't smell of anything seriously, it's the first skincare product that I have ever used that has no type of fragrance and I suppose it just showed how natural this is.  The only slight whiff you will get is a sort of dull honey-type smell but its barely detectable so that was a massive bonus for me.  This was so beyond soft on my skin it takes off every single piece of make-up even heavy eye-make up and waterproof mascara.  It doesn't leave your skin tight at all, it actually leaves your skin feeling like its already been moisturized.  Just a really lovely product.  You can buy it HERE for £19

2.  Replenishing Night Cream - Again same thing has to be said for the smell as above, just nothing there other than a slight buttery honey subtle smell.  I've never used a specific night cream before.  I always just use my same moisturiser in the day and night which personally I rather as I think my skin doesn't cope well with using too many different products in a day.  But after using this I understand why some people do change it up for night as this was so super creamy and rich and just felt really luxurious to use for going to bed.  It left my skin with a really silky texture and in the morning my skin looked really plump and smooth which is never a bad thing, huh? You can buy it HERE for £29

3.  Tocotrienol Skin Concentrate - This was the product from the brand that I had heard most about and I get why people call it a wonder product.  It goes on after your cleanser to moisturise.  It looks like an oil and you just pat on a few drops all over your face.  It helps take away scarring and marks on your face and hydrates it to make it look younger too.  It is also really good for sun damaged skin and for after you've been travelling maybe on planes or trains as skin always gets so dehydrated so them.  This was a really lovely product to use.  I actually think this would be perfect if you'd been out in the sun all day and if you put some of this on when you came in I think it would really cool and calm your skin down.  Such a lovely feeling product on your skin too.  You can buy it HERE for £35

I can't recommend these products enough especially the Cleanser and Concentrate I think they are going to be my go-to's for a little while, my skin just felt so soft after using them.

If you have problem skin or are looking to just try something a little bit more natural to what you've been using then I would definitely give this a shot, if it's good enough for those Hollywood celebrities then it's good enough for us, right?

As a special treat for SKIN week, Sophyto have kindly offered all of you a discount on anything that you purchase from them.  It can be anything from their website and they also offer free worldwide shipping too!

Use the code Sophyto to get 10% off your order.

I hope you've liked hearing about this awesome brand, let me know if your a fan and if you've got your eye on any of their products!

20 October 2014


Without further ado, here is the interview with Anne-Marie Gillet who is the non-Surgical Director at Transform.  Read more about the interview in my introduction to SKIN Week post HERE.  Let me know what you think....


1.  I have a very beginner’s level of knowledge on everything plastic surgery related whether it’s invasive or not so I wanted to pick your brains about a few things.  Something like Botox, who is it suitable for and how do we make sure that we don’t end up with the ‘frozen face’ look?

Botox is fast becoming a cult beauty treatment for some and here at Transform, we are increasingly seeing more and more enquiries from younger patients. 

Botox works best on women who are in their early to mid 30s, women who can see the first signs of ageing such as fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes and forehead.

Younger women are using Botox as a preventative, i.e. to stop the lines from forming in the first place. This can actually make someone look older than they actually are – it can give a taut, tight and sculptured look. Botox is also a temporary procedure and patients are expected to have regular treatments every 4/5 months. An over reliance on this type of treatment from a young age is not advisable.

My advice would be to have Botox in your 30s and if you do, have a minimal amount of product injected and leave plenty of time in between treatments. This way, you have a nice subtle effect without looking over done. Remember, less is more.

Also, ensure that your practitioner is skilled and experienced in these types of treatments and make sure that you are receiving a premium anti-wrinkle product.



2.   There has been so much written about things like Botox and fillers in the media, some people think that we don’t have enough research into how the ingredients in these things may affect us in the future, what is your opinion on that?

We only use Botox (registered trademark), which is manufactured by Allergan, the world’s leading supplier. The product they produce has been through thorough clinical trials that are ongoing. Botox in itself is a safe product – the danger lies in who is injecting you and are they actually using Botox and not some other cheaper inferior product.

As a patient, you are well within your rights to know what product is being used and also to request to see the vial before any treatment commences.

The same applies to dermal fillers – you should do your homework on the reputable manufacturers and ensure you only receive premium products. There’s a lot of onus on the patient in terms of research before committing to a treatment.

There is a massive amount of research being undertaken on injectable treatments as their popularity in recent years, has soared. We only work with reputable organisations which are steeped in clinical and medical trials.



3.   Have you found that in recent years younger people are turning to things like Botox and lip injections because it’s more common to see younger people in the media who seem to be very public about getting these treatments?

Absolutely – and this is a worrying trend. Young men and women should have no need for these types of treatments at such a young age. These treatments aren’t cheap and it concerns me that we may have a generation of young women who are obsessed with their looks and reliant on treatments that they may find difficult to keep up with.

It seems to be fashionable to have injectable treatments when you’re young – you only have to watch the Kardashians and TOWIE to see this.

Botox and dermal facial fillers are best suited to women in their 30s. This is where we see the best results.

Lip fillers are different, in that they can help patients who have very little volume in their lips. This type of treatment is very popular with young women and we’ve seen a spike in enquiries in recent years.

With this treatment, again, less is more; patients should aim for a subtle natural effect not a result where the first thing you notice is someone’s lips. In my opinion, this is not a good look.



4.   Are there certain celebrities that are more popular than others that people ask to look like when they come in for a consultation, like wanting their skin to look as flawless as someone or their nose to be as straight as someone else?

Lots of patients do bring in pictures to articulate the look they are after – common ones include, Angelina Jolie for her lips, Kate Middleton for her nose, Kelly Brook for her breasts and Kim Kardashian for her bum.

Pictures of celebs aren’t very helpful – the surgeon or practitioner will not be able to make you look like a celeb, they have to work with what you already have. Everyone’s face and features are unique and they all have to work in sync with each other. We have to manage patient’s expectations and this is carefully done in the initial consultations with a patient.



5.   At Transform you have a focus on both surgical and non-surgical procedures.  Do you find that people who start off with non-surgical treatments end up opting for a full blown surgical treatment further down the line?

Non-surgical patients tend to have regular appointments for their treatments. They are open to trying out new non-surgical procedures.

Some do go on to have a surgical procedure, but the vast majority of surgical patients we treat, only ever have one procedure on a part of their body that has always bothered them.



6.   Can you tell us a little bit about the skin treatments you do at Transform like peels and Microdermabrasion and how they can help our skin?

Facial peels are great for most patients of all ages – there is a peel out there for everyone! A great treatment for keeping your skin in tiptop condition, we recommend a course of peels a year, followed by a couple of top up ones.

Microderms are also a well-recommended treatment especially for anyone who has blemished, dull, tired looking skin.

Most beauty creams and at home treatments, don’t actually penetrate the surface of the skin, so any results you see are temporary and superficial. Peels penetrate the dermis and microderms take away a thin layer of skin to encourage and stimulate collagen growth, this is great for healthy glowing skin.



7.   I am a 24 year old girl, I feel like I have fairly good skin bar a few normal breakouts here and there and I currently don’t feel worried about my pores or wrinkles but I do want to keep my youthful appearance for as long as possible.  What would your (hypothetical) advice be to me, is there an age where you would advise someone to start having preventative treatments or is there anything that you recommend starting just now?

The first thing I would recommend to anyone of any age is to wear a high factor sunscreen every day – even in winter. This is a great preventative measure every one can make.

Invest in a good skincare routine – remember to take off your make up every night and to moisturise at least twice a day.

Peels are great at keeping skin in good condition – invest in a course of 6 every year and complement with a microderm session say once every 3 months.

As always – don’t sit barefaced in the sun and drink plenty of water. Avoid smoking and drinking; as this will dry out your skin and leave it feeling dehydrated. Also, it is worth watching your diet and including as much fruit and veg as possible.

To have great looking skin is much more than indulging in products and treatments – it starts from within and if you start as you mean to go on, you can possibly avoid injectable treatments until your 40s!



8.   A lot of people (including myself) get conned into buying the newest skincare as it claims to do all these wondrous things to your skin, brighten it, get rid of its wrinkles etc. What is your opinion on skincare, do you think you can get any genuine difference in appearance using skincare alone?

I think lotions, potions and creams are good to keep the skin hydrated – however, they don’t penetrate the dermis and the effect they have is only superficial. Non-surgical treatments do penetrate the skin’s surface and have a longer lasting and effective result.  Some people have good skin and always will – this is usually down to having a good lifestyle and genes. Most are not so fortunate and may need a little help along the way.  We pick up tremendous feedback and reviews regarding the Obaji skincare system – suitable for all skin types, great for evening out skin tone, texture, getting rid of blemishes etc. This requires a certain level of commitment from the patient in terms of the 6+ products that are used up to twice a day for 12 weeks. However, if you can invest the time and money, this is a well-recommended skincare system.



9.   For anyone who is considering a surgical or non-surgical treatment what is your advice to them?

Research and lots of it! Make sure you go and have consults with a few providers to ensure you choose the right practitioner or surgeon.

Non-surgical treatments should always be undertaken in a clinical environment with someone who has a clinical background.

Do as much prep as you can – make sure they are skilled, experienced and qualified. Also, ask to see before and after pictures or testimonials from past patients. Take your time and don’t be rushed into making any quick decisions. The best thing is to get a referral from a friend – a word of mouth recommendation can be worth its weight in gold!


Transform is one of the leading clinics for surgical and non-surgical procedures to find out more have a wee peek at their website HERE

Introduction to SKIN Week

Welcome to my first ever SKIN week!
I wanted to dedicate a whole week to the beautiful skin on our faces.  I wanted to talk to experts and hear from the people in the know and work out the facts from the myths.  We all know how important caring and looking after our skin is but sometimes it's pretty hard to know if your doing the right thing or using the right product.  I wanted to help get all our skin worries sorted so that we can all feel a little more confident whether its getting your skin troubles sorted and going barefaced or just achieving that perfect canvas so your make-up looks flawless.  I hope that after this week you'll have found some new products you love and will have some answers for all your skin dilemmas.
First up I wanted to speak to someone on a topic I know very little about but I am massively intrigued by, which is non-surgical and surgical procedures also known as plastic surgery to me and you.  I wanted to focus on the non-surgical side though as that is what I'm super interested in learning more about.  I don't think there is an area of beauty that divides people more.  I have always taken the stance of each to their own.  I think if you have something your don't like and it would make you feel better if you fixed it, then fix it.  The only thing that always worried me was how safe these treatments were and how young some people are when they start getting them so I wanted to speak to someone really well respected and who knows their stuff so step forward the awesome Anne-Marie Gillet who is the non-Surgical Director at Transform.  She kindly took time out to answer all my questions and I have to be honest she really changed my mind about a lot of things.  I always felt that even though I would never judge others for having anything done, I always thought that it would never be something that I would do as I found it quite a scary prospect getting things injected into my face but speaking to Anne-Marie has really opened my eyes and I feel like I have learned so much more about the topic that if the time came waaaayyy in the future that I ever felt that my lips needed a wee bit more life in them or that those stubborn lines needed softened then I think that I would be quite up for having a go...maybe haha!

The interview is in the next post as it's quite long and I thought it was easier to separate the posts into two!
So have a read of the interview and let me know what you think, has it changed your mind about anything? As always leave a comment or give me a tweet to tell me thoughts... 
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