Tuesday, 20 December 2011


What I love most about my job is the variety. Last week I was in a massive studio, filming Great Britain's team of gymnasts and this week I'm selling T-Shirts. A new label called Maison Twenty has launched, showcasing the work of twenty emerging artists. I was honoured to be asked to design three t-shirts for them. http://www.maisontwenty.com/

My Lip T-Shirts were inspired by a recent beauty story I shot. Shooting green, yellow and black lips is slightly more challenging than regular red or pink, so it was a professional make-up shop that provided the goods.

Screenface is a shop known by many make-up artists but probably not visited by regular shoppers.  However, it is well worth a visit, even if you're not a professional. http://www.screenface.co.uk/ It sells a fabulous brand called Embryolisse (previously only available in France). Their face moisturiser is a cult product backstage at shows, as is the body moisturiser. http://www.screenface.co.uk/beauty/cleansers-toners/embryolisse-lait-cr-me-concentre.htm

Fardel, is another great brand they sell. My favourite products are the amazing iridescent loose powders, great for dusting on cheekbones. If you like the Bobbi Brown shimmer bricks then you'll love these powders. http://www.screenface.co.uk/face-body-paint/glitter-shimmer/fardel-loose-iridescent-powder-5g.htm

Screenface have two shops; one in Covent Garden and another in Westbourne Grove but you can also order online.

Saturday, 19 November 2011


I always find as winter approaches people start wearing more make-up. That summer glow has long gone and with Christmas celebrations beginning, black kohl eyeliner and red lipstick are in high demand.
The cold winter temperatures cause havoc to our lips.  Previously, luscious red summer smiles become chapped, bluey/purple pouts. A red lipstick is a good way to to create a chic evening look whilst disguising your freezing lips. However, if like me you prefer something more subtle, a tinted lip balm is a good alternative. It will add a good amount of colour whilst moisturising.

These tinted lip butters are my favourite. I have the full range and love using them on my cheeks as well. A perfect little stocking filler http://www.zuneta.com/shop-by-brand/korres/lip-butter.html/
My favourite is Quince.

Quince, Pomegranate, Mango, Guava

Friday, 14 October 2011

Liz Earle Sheer Skin

I'm not easily impressed when it comes to foundations and tinted moisturisers. Many of them I find too heavy, chalky or odd shades. I always recommend Mac face and Body http://www.maccosmetics.co.uk/product/shaded/158/393/templatesproductsproductslandingtmpl/templatesproductscategorytmpl/templatesproductsmptmpl/Face-And-Body-Foundation/index.tmpl
Chanel Vitalumiere http://www.boots.com/en/CHANEL-VITALUMIERE-Satin-Smoothing-Fluid-Makeup-SPF-15_6543/
and Armani http://www.giorgioarmanibeauty.co.uk/_en/_gb/catalogue/MAKE_UP/product.aspx?prdcode=AP10101&tpcode=MAKE_UP_FACE_FOUNDATION for foundation and until recently the only tinted moisturisers I recommended were Laura Mercier and Becca. However, now Liz Earle (one of my favourite brands) has created a Sheer skin tint which I absolutely love. It contains the right amount of coverage for a natural finish and gives a glowing boost to the skin. There are presently only three shades but I'm sure they'll add to the collection eventually. Reasonably priced at £21 and also with a mineral UV protection I suggest you try one out...... http://uk.lizearle.com/make-up/sheer-skin-tint-spf15.html

Sunday, 2 October 2011

London, Paris, Milan.....and Morocco!

I am currently relaxing in a five star hotel in sunny Paris after a manic two weeks of work. Shows in London and Milan, a 5am eurostar to Paris and two long days shooting the beautiful Lara Stone (supermodel and wife of David Walliams) has taken it's toll. I am tired but not complaining. It's been really fun and today I have time to relax in my white bath robe, chat to my make up pal and roomie and play with my new I pad!! As far as jobs go this is pretty good!
There have been countless make up discoveries along the way. Illuminating sticks from Madina (an amazing shop in Milan http://www.madina.it/ ); wonderful waxy lip pencils from Make up Store (a great make up haven on carnaby street); macs new matt mixing medium (allowing you to create your own cheek and eye creams); but above all else, the wondrous healing qualities of a well known classic, Sudocrem has to get a mention.
Roomie has had allergies over the past week and bumps have developed under her skin. To my horror she had been sleeping with Sudocrem lathered all over her chin. Amazingly the little bumps have started to disappear and she has seen a big improvement in her skin.
During shows and shoots it's not just make up tips I collect; working with amazing hair stylists you pick up a few hair secrets too. The Just Cavalli show was sponsored by Moroccan Oil  ( http://www.moroccanoil.com/ ) and a few of us were lucky enough to walk off with the collection of serums, sprays, and oil. Not having time to blow dry my hair at the moment, the de frizz spray has been a life saver and the oil is amazing for adding shine to dry or dull hair.
Off to a show trial later today at 5pm so better get moving....a trip to Sephora, a stroll along the Seine and a cafe noir awaits me.
Sunrise from Eurostar at 6am

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Vintage tins

Having completely rejected my blog for the past month, I'm now back from holidays and returning to work. After my first meeting up in town this morning, I made a trip to my favourite shopping haunt, Libertys.
I love wondering around this haven of sweet smelling aromas and amazing beauty products, always finding something new and exciting to add to my kit.
I'm not one for being enticed by the packaging of a product, always valuing quality above all else. However, today, some vintage tins and whimsically illustrated jars caught my attention straight away. Andrea Garland is an Aromatherapist who has decided to package her handmade natural balms in little pill boxes, old compacts and rustic tins. Totally natural and organic, the balm can be refilled once it's been used up, allowing you to keep hold of your pretty packet and at the same time be friendly to the environment. Whilst the packaging is really lovely, the products themselves are great too. I love to use natural balms and her Rosy facial balm felt delightful on my skin. With an array of different vintage packets, not a single one the same, they make for a perfect unique beauty gift.


Thursday, 21 July 2011

Paris trip

Last week in a studio on the outskirts of Paris, a treasure trove of amazing couture gowns were being unwrapped and carefully handled by men in white gloves. Jewellery, within the region of a million pounds, was locked in suitcases with personal bodyguards at their side and small little me was unpacking copious amounts of make-up, in preparation for an amazing shoot with some particularly beautiful models (not sure I can say who!!)

Haute Couture is an exclusive market with less than 300 people worldwide purchasing these amazing creations. The expense is insane, with dresses costing in the region of £50,000 and above. At these prices you would think the fashion houses would be raking it in, but apparently not. The commercial success of a fashion house is now based around the sales of accessorise and perfumes. Haute Couture is a platform for the designers to express themselves artistically. Flamboyant creations and masterpiece designs, that (let’s face it) are often unwearable, are used as a marketing tool to create headlines.
Some say Haute Couture is slowly dying, so I was so excited to take part in a shoot that really was a one-off. Despite the late night (or should I say early morning) finishes and a lot of waiting around for everything to be perfected, it was a pleasure to be part of such a creative team. It was a theatrical experience watching the amazing hair stylist at work with his seven assistants. Hair extensions of all different colours were piled high on the heads of the models and formed creations that resembled something you might see in the window of Patisserie Valerie. The make-up was less crazy with beautiful skin and perfectly arched eyebrows being one of the briefs.

Brows are a feature most often forgotten about when people do their own make-up. Whenever I bring out a brow pencil in front of friends, their initial reaction is always one of fear, but after a little tweak with the right tools they're always pleasantly surprised. Your brows frame your face, so it's essential to have them well groomed and not over plucked. You can use a shadow or pencils to fill in any gaps and lengthen, but it's really important to get the right shade - I find a lot of them are too red.
I think the Clinique Brow Pen in Soft Brown and Soft Blonde are the best out there colour wise. They're not hard pencils so give a more subtle finish. They won’t be right for everyone but I tend to use them a lot on various different models.
I also really like lingering and stud brow pens by Mac. http://www.maccosmetics.co.uk/product/shaded/149/263/Eye-Brows/index.tmpl
If you prefer a shadow then sometimes you can find an eye shadow out there that will be a perfect match to your brows. I really like to use Laura Mercier brow shadows and Mac also do good ones.  http://www.spacenk.co.uk/product/makeup/eyebrows/200002012+brow+definer.do
I always finish with a brow gel to keep them in place. A clear one is best but I also really like Indian Chocolate brow gel by blink http://www.blinkbrowbar.com/products-page/eyebrows/eyebrow-grooming-gel/

As soon as the pictures from the Couture story get published I will post them on my blog. Can’t wait to see them.....

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Festival Feeling

This year I am venturing to my first ever festival. They have never appealed to me, personally always opting for a spa break in place of camping and communal cleaning! However, with one last summer before the big three zero, my checklist is in need of some attention. I have chosen well I am told; a small festival in a beautiful setting and not too far from home if I chose to escape.
I will be kitting myself out with some beauty essentials. A festival survival kit which will include quick fixes to feeling fresher.
1. Baby Wipes - There is no point in spending lots of money on face wipes, baby wipes are just as good and half the price. My favourite are Simple baby moisturising wipes with soothing chamomile. http://www.boots.com/en/Simple-Baby-Moisturising-Wipes-4x-80Packs_1103616/?CAWELAID=506423809&cm_mmc=Shopping%20Engines-_-Google%20Base-_---_-Simple%20Baby%20Moisturising%20Wipes%20%204x%2080Packs
2. Caudalie Beauty Elixir - Inspired by the "elixir of youth" used by Queen Isabelle of Hungry, a spritz of this refreshing aroma and I instantaneously feel revived.
3. Sun cream - I always invest in a good sunscreen for my face with a high factor. Sun damage is the main cause of premature ageing. Beware when face creams say they are anti ageing. Don't be fooled into thinking there is some amazing new chemical ingredient which will get rid of those wrinkles, sometimes it is simply a sunscreen. I love Origins A perfect world SPF 35 - I know this is high but I can vouch after three days in the sun I got a great tan without burning.
4. Batiste Dry Shampoo - This is an age old favourite with many hair stylists and is an essential for boosting some life into dirty, age old hair http://www.pharmacy2u.co.uk/batiste.html?affiliateid=81866680101062&gclid=CJu4rM6P7KkCFQJO4Qod1hwGYQ
5. Clarins beauty flash balm - I have probably already mentioned this on my blog. It is my all time favourite and a life saver for tired and dull looking skin.
6. Blue - There is a blue theme at this festival so my favourite blue nail polish may need to make an appearance http://www.justbeautifully.co.uk/essie-nails-mesmerize-blue-nail-varnish-polish-679.php

I have a week to prepare before the festival and I'm sure two nights without my Egyptian cotton sheets can be done. It can't be worse than my cow milking experience last weekend!!! But that's a whole other story!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Top Tips for Tanning

These are obvious steps to applying fake tan, but each step must be done to perfection to ensure a streak free glow.
1. Exfoliate - Use a body buffing brush or glove and an exfoliator with granules to scrub away the dead skin cells.
2. Make sure your skin is well moisturised, but also that the moisture has been fully absorbed by the skin before you apply your tan. Don't use oils as they sit on the skin for too long.
3. The reason you get streaks is either due to lack of exfoliation, or that you have not applied enough tanning product. My favourite is St tropez bronzing mousse.I pump out about four or five pumps for just one calf. http://www.feelunique.com/p/St-Tropez-Self-Tan-Bronzing-Mousse-120ml 
4. If you are using a tanning product on your face, a spray works best as it avoids streaks and finger marks. For darker skin I love ModelCo spray tan. I use it to top up my tan at the end of the summer.
 5. On shoots when models need to be instantly tanned I like to use Laura Mercier bronzing gel for the face with thier cult bronzer Laguna. http://www.spacenk.co.uk/product/shop+by+brand/laura+mercier/200006960+body+bronzing+makeup.
For the body Rimmels sun shimmer is also great for an instant glow.
6. Be careful not to over do it!!!! ( a very commom mistake!!!) On the face it's best to have a flawless application of foundation with a touch of bronzer; unless of course you're auditioning for the next series of The only way is Essex!!!!

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Becca and Blush

 Becca (one of my favourite brands of make-up) has some amazing new products. The Halcyon collection, an assortment of subtle coral pink and bronzing products are a must in your make-up bag for the summer.
 I prefer to use cream blushers to powder blushers. Powder on the skin is ageing and can sometimes look chalky and unnatural. However, there are always exceptions, and Becca’s mineral blushers are it.  Flowerchild, a pinky blush with golden highlights is my new favourite. http://www.beccacosmetics.com/uk/store/complexion/blushes/mineral-blush/
 A tip for applying powder blusher is to make sure that your foundation is not too wet, make sure it has dried propely; apply a light dusting of powder or bronzer and then apply the blush. A matt surface will ensure the blusher blends well and doesn't look patchy. If you are using cream blushers the reverse is true. Don’t apply on powdered skin and make sure you have a well moisturised surface. I always use my finger to blend.
If you prefer to use creams and are looking for a long wearing blusher then I suggest Becca’s amazing waterproof beach tints; a cult product that I always use on Brides. Try grapefruit for a punchy coral or the fig for a muted natural pink. http://www.beccacosmetics.com/uk/store/complexion/blushes/beach-tint/

 Another little tip for blusher - Lipstick on the cheeks can work wonders. Sheer lipsticks are really great - Try peace by No17 http://www.boots.com/en/17-Mirror-Shine-On-Lipstick_1055081/ 
If you're looking for beauty on a budget then No.17 is a good option. They have some great nail polishs for summer - a fabulous grey and bright pink and the sheer lipsticks are another treat worth purchasing.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011


I have good hair - Long and thick, and capable of looking great after a trip to my hair dresser (even if I say so myself!!). Over the years I've not paid too much attention to it. No dyes, highlights or products and until recently, any shampoo and conditioner have been satisfactory. However, now I am approaching 30, it's all beginning to change. My hair is no longer in ship shape condition: split ends are becoming a regular nuisance;  the odd bit of dandruff is making an occurrence and there is a general unruliness that only a trip to the salon can sort. This year I have invested in countless products that claim to leave hair voluminous, glossy, sleek and bouncy; but only a few have made the cut.
Ojon is the hair treatment range developed by Denis Simioni, thanks to his discovery of the Tawira people; a tribe known as the 'people of beautiful hair'. It uses naturally derived ingredients from the remote forests of Central America to help restore your hairs natural beauty.
I've been spritzing the revitalizing mist before my blow dry and finishing with the amazing glossing mist. It has made all the difference. I use a lot of oils on my face and often find them more effective than moisturiser, so it is no surprise to find that the special ingredient in Ojon is in fact a natural oil. The velvety-smooth, golden elixir is obtained from the nut of the native Ojon tree and is hand-extracted according to ancient, eco-friendly traditions. In one year, a single Ojon tree yields less than 8000 nuts, just enough to produce 3 cups of this precious natural ingredient. The purity of this precious oil is what creates its natural affinity for hair.
On Thursday Ojon launches 5 brand new ranges and I can’t wait to get my hands on the Damage reverse restorative hair treatment. You can purchase Ojon online at Harrods or John Lewis http://www.johnlewis.com/Ojon_c2_ae/0/0/Brand.aspx

Monday, 6 June 2011

Too Many Bracelets

This beautiful collection of friendship bracelets has been designed and produced exclusively in aid of Too Many Women, an incredible campaign that aims to raised £1,000,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer.
These trinkets are the perfect summer accessory and are this weeks Elle Magazine buy of the week.
Purchase them online at www.toomanybracelets.com

Monday, 30 May 2011

Dior Mitzah Leopard Print Palette

Tomorrow the Dior Mitzah Palette goes on sale exclusively at Selfridges. I will be hoping to purchase two; one to use and one purely as a decorative addition to my dressing table. I am a lover of leopard print so this palette is a real treat!! It is named after Diors muse, hat designer and socialite Mitzah Bricard, who herself, was often adorned in her favourite feline print. The palette combines three sophisticated shades of ivory, light brown and dark brown, so there are a multiple of looks you can create. Also included in this collection is two new shades of polish, Camel and Ebony. I have a feeling they will be a sell out so catch them quick!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Body Buffing

Begin the Summer by preparing your skin with two of my all time favourite products.
I take so much care with the skin on my face and rarely pay the same attention to my body, so when Summer approaches I'm in desperate need of some pick me ups.
I swear by Ren Exfoliating Body Balm and Ren Rose Moroccan Oil.... I use a body brush with the balm, it's the prefect preparation for a fake tan application.
Also, a must have moisturiser for the Summer is Origins - A Perfect World Body Lotion with White tea and Mimosa - I LOVE IT!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Max Factor Blog

I am a HUGE fan of Max Factor False lash effect mascara... great for volume and length and most importantly, clump free.
Last week I was interviewed by Max Factor. Take a look at their blog for some expert tips.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Pussy Willow Couture Show

Alina wears Armani silk lipstick in no. 13

Yesterday I was creating the make-up look for the Pussy Willow Show. All the models had different coloured lips and a random swish of white paint over the eye with really dark heavily coated lashes. Bright lips are really on trend for this Spring/Summer and there is an array of amazing colours out there. My favourites yesterday were the Armani silk in No 4 and No 13 http://www.giorgioarmanibeauty.co.uk/_en/_gb/catalogue/MAKE_UP/product.aspx?prdcode=AP12003&tpcode=MAKE_UP_LIPNAIL_LIPSTICK
I wanted to create a look that was sophisticated and polished but also reflected the boldness and confidence of Amanda's designs.
Pussy Willow is a lovely and relaxed boutique on Bermonsdey Street and well worth a visit. Amanda Thompson, the brains behind the brand, designs beautiful and sophisticated clothes that are classic but also bold and perfectly tailored to flatter your figure. With wedding season coming up I am definitely going to invest in a few pieces. http://www.pwillow.com/

Friday, 11 March 2011

Fashion week finish

So I'm back from Paris after three days of working with make-up artist Hannah Murray. I've been her first assistant this season, so it's been a busy few weeks, but also a lot of fun.
During the shows there's a lot of running around backstage. When the models line up for the beginning of the show, finishing touches are applied and a dusting of powder is always at hand for any shiny skin or to matt down greasy skin.
I am not generally a fan of powder, as it can make your make-up look heavy and unnatural. However, it is an important piece of make-up and essential for any unwanted shine. The right powder and brush makes a big difference to the finish.
Most people only need to powder down the t-zone (unless you have particularly greasy skin) and often people make the mistake of using a big brush with too much product. I love Ruby and Millie brushes. http://www.boots.com/en/Ruby-Millie/
 They have a great small blusher brush which is perfect for powdering. It’s small enough to get the powder in the grooves around the nose and under the chin, but also good for dusting the forehead and under the eyes (if needs be).
I prefer to use loose translucent powders. My favourites are:
Make-up Forever HD powder - It's not available in the UK, but if you're visting a Sephora soon pop in and stock up. http://www.sephora.com/browse/product.jhtml?id=P210400&categoryId=S10810&shouldPaginate=true
Mac Prep and Prime is a great alternative to this http://www.maccosmetics.co.uk/product/spp.tmpl?CATEGORY_ID=CAT27293&PRODUCT_ID=PROD93850  and Laura Mercier mineral powder is another one I can highly recommend.

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Mac Mixing Medium

As some of you know, one of my favourite foundations is Face and Body by Mac. It's a cult product and it's popularity is due to a special formulation that leaves the skin looking fresh and radiant. This special formula can now be purchased in the form of Mac's face and body mixing medium. The translucent liquid can be mixed in with your foundation (whatever brand you use) and provides a beautiful dewy finish. It also works wonders on its own by refreshing your make-up without adding more coverage. It's been a saviour backstage this week at the shows; with girls getting ready almost four hours before they set foot on the catwalk, a last minute application of this makes them look newly made up!
It is only available at the Mac Pro store - somewhere definitely worth a visit.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

The Best of Black

Recent shoot with Photographer Craig Fordham and Stylist Tamsin Vaughan

For this shoot I created a classic winged smokey eye. It's a versatile look and there are many ways to create it, but essentially you need the darkest of kohl liners and the blackest of black shadows or creams. Getting the right products is important, strong pigments are essential to avoid patchy blending and long lasting products that don't smudge are another must.   
Once you have the essentials you can always play around with adding different colours. A great tip is to smudge some Vaseline in with your kohl liner or even some clear lip gloss.

This is a gel eyeliner that is ebony black and great to line around the lashes. For a really dark smokey eye take it up to the socket line, smudge it in with a brush and blend with a bit of shadow. As it's a gel you don't have residue falling below creating panda eyes.
The Bobbi Brown gel eyeliners are also great and have a good array of colours.
Estee Lauder double wear stay in place eyeliner in onyx
This is perfect for the inside of the lash line as it's waterproof so is longer lasting. I also love the midnight blue.
Estee Lauder Zero smudge Liquid Eyeliner
A great liquid liner for the classic 50's flick, it's a glossy dark black and has a good pointed applicator. For extra precision apply liquid liner with a small liner brush.
A matt eyeshadow with a deep black pigment. To avoid lots of residue below your eyes make sure you tap your brush to get rid of any excess.
For a more lived in smokey eye use a cream shadow and blend it in with the kohl eyeliners below.
Lancome black kohl http://www.boots.com/en/Lancome-Crayon-Khol-Eye-Pencil-Liner_5675/ This is a soft pencil but great to line around the eye and smudge in with a brush. Also good for inside the eye.
Again this is a soft pencil so needs to be blended in with a brush or some creamy shadows.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

New Year, New skin

What better way to start the New Year than brushing away all those dead skin cells.
As we get older skin renewal slows down, so exfoliating twice a week is a good way to ensure your skin stays looking youthful. It’s also essential for long lasting make-up. There are two different types of product to help with this.

1.      Chemical exfoliants which contain alph hydroxy acids (natural occurring acids) such as lactic acid, salicylic acid and retinol work by dissolving the dead skin cells and are a good way to reduce fine lines, unblock pores and reveal new fresher skin. My favourite is Ren glycolic peel.
However, on occasion these peels can cause slight irritation so if you have sensitive skin you can always try the second option of exfoliation.
2.      Physical exfoliants use ingredients that you gently massage on the skin to brush away the old surface.

I always rinse off these treatments with a muslin cloth and some warm water and then spritz my face with my favourite Caudalie Beauty Elixir http://www.spacenk.co.uk/product/shop+by+brand/caudalie/beauty+elixir+100ml.do
Load your skin with your favourite moisturiser and you should feel the difference immediately.