#LetsTalkAboutIt: Living With An Imperfect Smile & Considering Cosmetic Dentistry


"The first thing I notice about a person is their smile and manicure. If either of these are looking less than perfect, I question their reliability." This is a direct quote from someone I once worked with. Needless to say, at the time it felt very personal having suffered some very apparent dentistry issues from the age of 21. I felt anxious and uncomfortable - and it certainly wasn’t the first time. When I turned 21 I was at university in London and having the time of my life. Then out of the blue, as these things tend to happen, I had an accident that changed everything; it resulted in knocking out some of my front teeth and damaging others. It was the end of the sociable and chatty journalism student I once was and instead a dark period of time in my life began. It was a time when I would avoid all social interaction and spend my days covering my mouth, calculating whether or not I could eat certain things.



Shades Of Beauty: Superdrug Commit To Tackling 'Product Inequality' On The High Street (But Is It Enough?)

In a society that's saturated with every skin colour imaginable, it's hard to comprehend that in 2016 we're still discussing appropriate representation within the beauty industry. As a pale-skinned 'English Rose' I can't imagine not being able to walk into a store and just pick up a foundation, concealer or powder that works with my complexion tone - but that's still the issue for many women of colour across the UK. Not only are they underrepresented in parliament, soap operas and the police force, but they're being partially ignored by many of the major beauty brands who've yet to wise up to the huge value this passionate-about-makeup and ever increasing part of the population has to offer. When it comes to shopping for high street beauty it's clear that there isn’t the plethora of product choice for women with darker skin tones, or Afro hair. Many foundation shades offer a spectrum only from red head to 'slightly tanned after a week in Marbella', forgetting to create products that our Asian or Black friends can enjoy too. The majority of hair care brands focus on mild frizz and a touch of hydration, rather than understanding the more intense treatments women with thicker European and Afro hair may require. Although there are specialists shops and some amazing online destinations, isn't it about time the high street made changes too? Why should a huge proportion of women be forced into department stores to spend twice as much as their Caucasian friends, just to find a product that matches their skin tone?



Summer Afternoon: The Jo Malone x Marthe Armitage Home Collection Is Just The Sweetest Thing

I believe that a huge part of my job is to be a storyteller; to use words in order to describe passion, evoke emotion and encourage action. Whether you're a wordsmith or a painter, a photographer or a designer, we all use the skills at our disposal to tell a story that transports the reader or viewer to somewhere else entirely. This summer Jo Malone (the ultimate in fragrance storytelling) have created a partnership that is akin to the best kind of stories. Marthe Armitage is an artist and wallpaper designer who's been living and working in London for over 60 years; she draws, cuts lino, mixes paint and prints using a vintage press entirely by hand, creating timeless designs that instantly transport you back to a simpler time when playing on the lawn was the only thing you had to do that day. Having attended the Chelsea School Of Art in the early 1950's, Marthe spent many decades perfecting her art and honing her skills - only to fully reach notoriety in her 70's. Now 87, her unique designs and hand crafted art has been used within films and displayed at some of the most prestigious galleries, showing that we can all achieve our dreams no matter how long it takes us.



Salon Colour Just Got Interesting: L'Oreal Paris Launch 'French Girl Hair' Brunette Bar

Effortless, undone, understated luxury and radiant shine. The definition of the ultimate French girl hair is polished, sophisticated and totally laid back - even when it's brunette. There's something about how Parisienne women do their hair that makes it so much better than a British version of brown, but until now it's been impossible to put your finger on. Having been practically every shade under the sun over the last decade, finally I've settled on embracing more of my natural tones rather than continually having to battle with a box of red dye. I'm not a hair snob and never have been, being as happy with an at-home colour as I am with an in-salon treatment (because realistically, when you've got brown hair there's really not a huge amount of difference.) Box colours are evolving and becoming even more professional looking, which over the years has left a lot of us wondering why we should be investing in regular salon appointments; blondes are much more likely to see the benefit of a professional technique than us brunettes, but thanks to a new concept launched by L'Oreal that's all about to change.



Don't Flip Out, But Palmer's Have Launched A Tropical Scented FlipBalm Trio

As a lip balm addict I've had my eyes on these for a while - ever since I saw them pop up on an American Instagram account. (Why do they always get everything first over there?!) Palmer's first forray into lip care is a little bit exciting, channeling their inner EOS to create something pleasing on the eye and pleasing on the lips; the circular nature of the FlipBalm pack is aesthetically satisfying and also a joy to hold, while the flip-top nature of the balm makes it a little bit more fun than I care to admit. You lift the edge of the pack and the product spins around to be revealed in all its glory, before flipping it back away until you need another lip hit in three minutes time. Although I was initially a bit worried about how strong the packaging would be and whether these would get trashed as soon as I chucked one in my bag, the pack has two little ridges that click the lid into place and protect the balm inside. I'm not sure how long this will stay strong for after you've flipped it a bazillion times, but from my initial testing phase it's safe to say you won't end up with a tropical scented set of keys.



Majorca Is More Than Magaluf: Exploring The North On An Adults-Only Getaway

Located in the Mediterranean and known for its beach resorts, impressive mountains and sheltered coves, Majorca (or Mallorca) is one of the four Balearic Islands located to the east of mainline Spain. One of the most popular destinations for British tourists for the best part of a century, in recent times the name has become undeniably associated with the town of Magaluf and the embarrassing escapades that occur along their bar-rich strips. Although you may have to share a flight with a group of teenage boys traveling to their first forray into parent-free vacationing, if you can look past that initial stumble then the island has so much to offer anyone wanting a relaxing and rejuvinating week in the sun. You may have seen my Instagram snaps of my recent trip to the north of the island, but suffice to say Cala Sant Vicenç has so much more to offer than drunken Brits abroad. Less than an hour's drive from the airport, these idyllic locations offer up beautiful beaches and incredible views that couldn't be further from the perception that Majorca often generates.


NEW Ciate Pretty Stixs: Hydrating Shine, Rich Pigment & Kissable Lips

Pretty in name, pretty by nature. If a product captures my imagination and creates a sense of intrigue before I've even opened the pack, I know I'm onto something special. Although we all want makeup items that deliver and offer value for money, I'm not ashamed to admit that the majority of us also want something that looks pretty and provides a real moment of joy when applied. Thanks to their lipstick mark printed packaging and spectrum of beautiful colours, these new moisturising lip-balms-come-sticks from Ciate do just that! Ciate may have started off as a nail paint brand, but over the last year or so they're increasingly known for their makeup products that are definitely injecting a little fun back into the market. I've tried many pieces from their portfolio over the last twelve months and the lip category is undoubtedly their strongest, offering comfortable and long-lasting innovative textures paired with seriously strong pigment. This latest launch is timed perfectly for the warmer months, when we don't want to compromise on look but a full-on lipstick can sometimes be too much. Although they're not revolutionary, they are pretty - and sometimes that's what matters.



Our Love Story


Love is an incredibly subjective thing. You can love your mum, your sister, your best friend and your dog without reserve, but until you experience a love that develops with someone you want and need to spend your life with, it's hard to really understand what it is in the truest sense of the word. For me love is about accepting someone unconditionally; it's about feeling almost physical pain at the thought of not being with them, and about knowing they're the only person that can truly put a smile on your face at the end of a hard day. When you find that one special person that completes you, you wonder what you ever did without them; that's what I have with Josh. You may have seen some of my Instagram posts over the last week or so, which have teased a collaboration that I'm really excited to share with you. Savvy+Sand creative jewelers are inspired by real stories of love to create beautiful handcrafted engagement rings (explore them here); they asked me to share my love story with you in order to bring that inspiration to life. (You can also read Paula and Jen's love stories, both of which will rouse a smile!) A few weeks ago Josh and I spent the afternoon down by the River Thames, in front of the iconic London Eye, where a Savvy+Sand photographer captured these beautiful shots. This location plays a significant part in our relationship, as it's where we spent our first 'proper' date to celebrate Josh's 21st birthday; it was where we made memories and realised this was something built to last. But what of the rest of our story? I hope you're sitting comfortably...



A New Way To Apply Your Makeup? Yes, You Really Do Need Three Different Sponges...

For years I bypassed the sponges hung amidst other makeup tools in Superdrug, thinking them a messy and outdated form of application. I never quite got to grips with what a piece of cheap sponge could offer that a finger or brush couldn't - but with the rise of the 'blenders' and a YouTube generation to explain how to use them, sponges have evolved from a cheap and cheerful tool into a crafted and genuinely useful addition. Over the last year I've become a little bit obsessed with blending sponges, reaching for them more and more to help perfect my base and apply creamy formulas for a super smooth finish. The iconic Beauty Blender may be a firm favourite of the blogging community, but there are more and more brands popping up to steal their thunder while offering a more targeted solution; one of those is Barely Cosmetics. Their three piece beauty sponge collection offers up a slightly different and more integrated way of applying makeup, together taking you right through from your foundation to the final step of contouring with ease. If you've ever wondered why you may need more than one sponge, here's the reason these three little tools are shaking things up and will undoubtedly become a staple in your regime if you give them a go.



Light As Air Powders To Create A Luminous Complexion: Givenchy Prisme Visage

I've always been a fan of compact powder. Before I really understood the benefit of a decent concealer and foundation, a powder puff was a fundamental part of my makeup bag; I can remember dusting a little over my complexion before heading off to school and feeling like an absolute boss. Even now I feel a little naked without a light covering of something over my base - not only because it helps keep everything in place, but because it helps to create a more universal tone and flawless texture on which to build my bronzer and blush. Although you can pick up a pan of powder for a few pounds, as I age I've definitely noticed that some of my most loved favourites have started to sit in fine lines and look a little heavy on my skin. I'm always looking for better performing alternatives and more finely milled formulas, and (unfortunately for my wallet) usually they're to be found at the higher end of the price spectrum. If you're already a fan of the Givenchy Prisme Visage powders then you'll be pleased to know that this September they're being re-launched with an even finer texture and lighter feel - but if you've not experienced them before, it's time to familiarise yourself with these beautiful compacts.



Hair Removal Made Simple, Effective & Long-Lasting: Philips Lumea Prestige

(Plus WIN 1 of 3 Devices Worth £500 To Put To The Test Yourself At Home!) 
Some beauty products provide a moment of escapism to be treasured and anticipated; others leave us with a feeling of dread as they involve necessary evils that we'd rather delay as long as possible. It may be that you hate washing your hair, painting your nails, buffing your feet or plucking your brows, but the most universal of the detested processes undoubtedly involves hair removal. According to a recent survey* conducted by Philips, women spend almost nine days on various beauty regimes every single year - all of which tally up to a staggering £2469.00 each. Approximately 20% of that expenditure is spent on hair removal (whether that’s at home or in salon,) which takes up fifteen hours per year; however, 15% of 35-44 year old women spent a day and a half of their year removing hair from their bodies! A little ridiculous when you think of what else you could be doing during that precious time. Unsurprisingly the biggest frustration associated with body hair removal is the constant maintenance required and the fast regrowth rate; it seems as soon as we’ve shaved, waxed, plucked or creamed away a layer of fuzz another one appears straight after. Interestingly, although women claim convenience and effectiveness of hair removal products outweigh price, 77% are still using wet razors as their primary hair removal method. Despite its long lasting results, giving women month after month of hair free skin, IPL remains the best kept secret in hair removal with only 4% of women currently using it. Philips' newest Lumea Prestige IPL device offers up to eight weeks of beautifully smooth, hair free skin - and we want YOU to put it to the test!



Embrace Your Inner Child With Pucker Pops Lip Balms From Claire's

I may be approaching my mid-thirties with greater speed than I would anticipate, there's still something rather irresistible about a novelty lipbalm. I've been coveting and collecting them for as long as I remember, happily slipping a product into my bag that wouldn't be out of place in an eight year old's backpack, because they offer a momentary relapse back into childhood. Makeup and beauty can be so serious sometimes, with expansive science baffling even the most knowledgeable of minds, so occasionally it's nice to pick something up purely because of its adorable packaging and the fact it makes you smile. This is how I feel about these cute, kitsch and smile-worthy Pucker Pops lip balms that I found in Claire's Accessories.



All That Shimmers: Champagne Coloured Highlighters You'll Love For Summer

Applying a shimmering powder or cream to the top of cheekbones helps create a touch of radiance; we naturally associate radiance with youth and well-being, so a delicate sprinkle can really make an overwhelming difference to your look. Applying it as the final product (over your base and powder) will ensure it catches the light and blends in with the rest of your makeup, while maximising its ability to catch the light; I like to sweep a little on the tops of my cheeks from the inner corner and out towards the tops of my ears, as well as down the bridge of the nose. A delicate dusting is all you need (if you overdo it you could end up looking like a glitter ball, so use the 'build-up' technique to ensure it's not OTT,) giving you a sexy glamorous glow. As we move into summer I like to change up the tone of my highlighter from a colder pearl shade into a warmer champagne colour, which works so much better with a dusting of bronzer and a sunkissed glow. I've found four great options, for every budget, which will definitely help you to look healthy and radiant all summer long.



Benefit Re-Launch Their Entire Brow Range: 36 Silver & Sparkling New Look Products Hit Stores This June

With 1800 BrowBar beauty lounges in 49 countries, there's no denying that Benefit is the world's leading brow authority. The brand that is the epitome of brow styling started helping customers to solve brow dilemmas when it opened its first store in 1976; forty years later and they're celebrating that heritage with a whole new look and fab new products to ensure their brow offering continues to be head and shoulders above the rest. Now with over thirty individual products to choose from (which include shade ranges to suit every hair colour,) there's undoubtedly a helping hand whatever your individual need. Three years in the making, this collection was developed with the aim of producing high performing formulas, custom designed applicators and mistake proof shades - allowing the user to become a brow expert in their own right. The silver swanky packaging looks beautiful, albeit not exactly the most practical to store away, and the new generation of formulas make this a collection to definitely get on board with. I tested out all of the new products to see how they held up, and I've already got some firm favourites...



Make Your Life A Little Easier This Holiday Season: Top Ten Stress-Saving Beauty Products To Pack

Are you one of those people that plans their holiday wardrobe weeks ahead of departure? Or do you panic at the airport because you've forgotten all the most important things in your hand luggage? According to CollectPlus, 10% of us admit to buying a whole new wardrobe ahead of the holiday season, while 85% of holidaymakers plan their holiday wardrobe in advance. While you're planning what dresses to wear to the bar, and what shoes are suitable for the beach, it's also worth considering which beauty products you want to pack to ensure your body is looking just as hot as your outfit. For me, packing beauty essentials is just as important as picking out the perfect swimsuit; the key to feeling fabulous, enhancing a golden glow and ensuring your skin is looked after effectively is to pack a portfolio of heroes that will see you through a relaxing week in the sun and beyond. I've teamed up with CollectPlus to bring you an edit of ten stress saving beauty must-haves, in celebration of their new Wanderlust Wardrobe. This handy little tool helps you to pick the perfect outfits and accessories, dependent upon where you're planning to jet off to this summer, so you don't have to worry about researching potential looks for hours on end. Select from a number of destinations and the tool will provide you with some hot and seasonally appropriate items to make up your own Wanderlust Wardrobe; you can click, buy and have them delivered to you at a CollectPlus store with absolutely no hassle involved! But back to beauty... Here are the beauty products I think every woman should be packing before jetting away, all of which will make your life easier when you get there.



Bobbi Brown Instant Confidence Stick: The Line Smoother That Can Be Used Under Or Over Makeup

When Bobbi Brown was in London late last year I had the pleasure of spending an hour or so with her over breakfast. Her vivacious aura and infectious positive attitude make her one of the most delightful women in beauty, while her passion for makeup and helping women to feel great drives her forward to create products we both want and need. During our brief meeting she hinted at a product that would help to disguise fine lines and perfect the skin - and six months later it seems that the Instant Confidence Stick is just that. Although imperfections and little wrinkles are nothing to be ashamed about, many of us desire to keep them at bay as long as possible; although skincare can help over a longer period of time, sometimes a quick fix is just as welcome. This little stick may not look much, but it's actually penned as a 'magic eraser for wrinkles' that helps to instantly blur fine lines and imperfections, while simultaneously helping to control shine. Confidence is a very personal thing, but this universal product helps to give women the fearlessness to go about their day without worrying their complexion is letting them down. And that's something I'm on board with.



Currently Obsessed With: Five Products I Can't Get Enough Of Right Now

There may always be something new launching into the beauty world, but a lot of the time it just seems like another face cream or lipgloss. For me to get excited there has to be something really unique and worthy of an investment, as I want you guys to get excited about it too. Occasionally new products land on my desk and they end up on my dressing table without me thinking much of them, only for a few weeks later for me to realise I'm actually a little bit obsessed with their understated nature and fabulous results. That's when you know you're onto a good thing: when they integrate seamlessly and offer what you need, without being all singing and all dancing. So here are the five products I'm currently obsessed with and am reaching for pretty much every day...



Scrub Love: Delicious & Effective All-Over Body Scrub Solutions I Adore

Scrubbing away the day offers more than just a body benefit; it offers an emotional one too. There's something refreshing and reaffirming about buffing away dead and dry skin, revealing the radiant and glowing layers beneath. The very action of lifting away what's weighing us down and starting anew can leave us feeling uplifted, but it can also help the body to look and feel its best. Consistent exfoliation can not only ensure our skin is healthy looking and refreshed, but it also helps to prevent clogged pores, acne, ingrown hairs, scarring, blemishes and all kinds of infections. Exfoliation can also increase the effectiveness of the other steps in your skincare routine, unblocking pores and ensuring moisturisers can penetrate and get to work. But did you know you can exfoliate much more than just your face and body? A new generation of scrubs are providing top-to-toe buffing that will leave not only your arms and legs looking en point, but our complexion, hair and lips too. I've outlined some of my current favourite exfoliators below and hope you take a little inspiration to find some unique scrubbing textures that will help you feel squeaky clean.



Our Instagram Culture Is Making Us All Feel Inadequate: Reality Vs Filtered Reality

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so it's no surprise that image sharing platform Instagram is ranked as the most important social network for the majority of internet savvy users. Instagram now has over 300 million active users, who share on average 70 million photos a day; in the six years since its launch we’ve shared over four times more photos than there are human beings on earth. It's easy to consume, fun to curate, universal in language and it's not going anywhere soon. Although the platform started as a fun place to share pictures and tell stories, in the last twelve months its moved towards being an incredibly curated, filtered and edited view of life as we strive to publish content we *think* followers want to see. Gone are the quick snaps in the pub, the selfies in front of the mirror and the shoes we spot in Topshop; in their place are Vogue-worthy images, carefully edited holiday pictures from exotic locations, an awash of white backgrounds and selfies that are starting to look less like a real person every day. I adore Instagram and I'm as guilty as the next person of using flatlays, marble backgrounds and well-lit images of products, but I'm also aware of the fact that my account has to be a true reflection of real life. I'm happy to share pictures of my boyfriend and pets, provide a snapshot into my weekend or showcase some of my purchases, but I've noticed that too many accounts are increasingly concerned about everything fitting into a 'theme' or providing a view of their life that just isn't realistic. Like many others, I'm becoming increasingly disengaged with a lot of influencers because their images (although beautiful) are no longer relatable.



Summer Loving: Six Skincare Treats To Make Being Out In The Sun Safe & Easy

We may be getting better at integrating facial SPF into our daily routines, but spritzing sunscreen onto our bodies is definitely something that gets saved for the short sunny period right in the middle of the year. Whether you're jetting off somewhere fab, choosing a staycation or just praying that you can pop down the park and catch some rays, you'll need products that will help you stay safe. Protecting your skin doesn't have to be troublesome, time consuming, sticky or complicated, thanks to a huge array of innovative products that are landing on the shelves of our local Boots. From buildable sunscreens, tinted protection, facial mists and oil based after suns, there’s definitely something to excite you this summer. I’ve chosen six of my favourites to share with you, and will definitely be packing these up with me when I jet off on holiday - if I don't use them up before then!



All Of These Makeup Products Cost Less Than A Fiver: New 'PS Pro' From Primark Is Surprisingly Good For The Price

A decade ago the cost of makeup was really reflected in the quality of the product you'd receive. As time passes, however, the gap between high end and budget brands becomes ever closer; the packaging may be slicker and the story more complete, but often the performance of the goop inside is hard to differentiate. It's never been more on-trend to save a few pounds and discover a budget alternative that delivers, and there's no doubt that Primark started that change in mindset when they became a visible presence on every high street. You may have turned to them for an impulse shoe purchase, a cheeky homeware update or even a little jewellery indulgence, but until now their beauty offering has been somewhat poor. I remember picking up dodgy looking lipsticks and false lashes that were so stiff you could barely close your eyes, but their latest collection sees the quality vastly improve and compete with some of our other favourite budget beauty brands. I've tried and tested everything you see below, so here's a brief overview of what's worth picking up with a new pair of tights this weekend... And what's worth leaving on the shelf with that dodgy fluorescent dress.


Looking #BetterThanEver With L'Oreal Paris NEW Revitalift Filler Renew

Looking good and feeling great isn't just about holding back the clock and avoiding the onset of those inevitable wrinkles; it's about plumper, smoother, hydrated skin that makes you feel better than ever. As we age our skin starts to lose that fullness that we associate with youthful looks, but with a great portfolio of products it's possible to give it a little boost and focus on creating a healthy glow. One of the key magic ingredients to achieving a plump and full complexion is hyaluronic acid; it can be found naturally in most every cell in the body, but it's found in the greatest concentrations (about 50% of the body's total quantity) in the skin tissue. Hyaluronic acid acts as a 'space filler' by binding to water, therefore keeping the skin wrinkle-free and plump. Young skin is smooth and elastic as it contains large amounts of hyaluronic acid that helps keep the skin stay healthy; it provides continuous moisture by binding up to 1000 times its weight in water, but with age the ability of the skin to produce this vital substance decreases. That's why it's perceived to be one of the 'wonder ingredients' of anti-ageing skincare, as products that contain it can essentially attract more moisture into the skin to help lubricate it and perform in the way it once did. So hyaluronic acid is important right?

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