Monday, 23 February 2015

How to save money on your make up - what you really need in your cosmetics bag

If you're anything like I used to be, you have a make up bag that is full of products, 25% of which you use, the other 75% reaching the expiry date barely being touched. Lipsticks too dark or bright, mascaras that failed on their promises to create longer and fuller lashes, foundations that are too thick, too runny or don't blend with your skin tone...

How many products do you actually NEED in your make up bag?

I have 13 in total...including brushes! From left to right as pictured:

1. Napoleon Perdis primer (it really does make your foundation/powder last longer reducing the need to reapply)
2. Body Shop pressed powder. I am not into foundation or BB creams (they cause me breakouts)
3. Clinique redness solutions targeted corrector. This is the best concealer I have found for my skin type.
4. 2 eye make up brushes - one to apply shadow, the other is thin and angled to blend eye liner.
5. Witchery eye shadow palette. In my best neutrals (2 shades of grey or 2 shades of taupe for inner and outer eye)
6. Maybelline unstoppable eyeliner in onyx
7. Maxfactor kohl pencil in white (for inner corner of eyes)
8. Clarins mascara in intense brown (brown mascara actually looks better on more people than black)
9. Body Shop lip and cheek stain (one of my absolute essentials because of its versatility and staying power)
10. Burt's Beeswax lip balm with vitamin E and peppermint - the only lip balm I have found that prevents and cures chapped lips properly
11. Mac lipstick in my exact natural lip colour for everyday (you should always have one of these even if you are not into lipstick as it enhances your lip and face colouring naturally)
12. Revlon lipstick in snow peach. This is my bright (but suits my cooler colouring) lipstick which I wear when I present or feeling a bit bolder!

13 things. That covers all of my day and night needs.

If you are a big make up wearer, the only things I would add to this list are foundation and eyebrow definer. And if you like bright lipsticks, a lip liner to stop the colour from bleeding into your skin. You really do not need to spend 100's or 1000's of dollars on make up that just sits in your drawer.

Don't get sucked into the trends you see in the lipstick does not suit every skin colouring, nor does bronzer, nor coloured mascara, nor candy coloured eye shadows...

Set aside a good few hours to shop for make up (yes it takes this long to get it right) and ONLY buy what suits your natural colouring and personality. If you can, take someone with you whose opinion you trust and only listen to the sales assistant if you really believe what they are telling you is right.

Foundations should blend invisibly into your jaw line, eye shadows should be in your best neutral colours, mascara wands should be easy to use and shouldn't clump (long and thin for fine lashes, rounder for thicker lashes) - it should all feel comfortable and light to wear.

Monday, 9 February 2015

My top 8 shopping tips shared...

Hi. Today I want to share my top shopping tips with you. If you struggle with going shopping, following these rules should help you make wiser purchases from now on.

1. Go through your entire wardrobe and identify any gaps that you have. Also make a note if you have purchased too many of one type of garment to avoid you buying more!

2. Do some research beforehand. Look at your wardrobe to see where most of your well fitting and favourite clothes come from. A lot of stores stock consistent fits/cuts so if a store works for you, make sure you go there first. Also look online at stores to see if there are any styles you like and go to these - this will reduce the time you spend looking around and of feeling overwhelmed.

3. Go armed with a few style words that reflect what you want your new clothes to say about you e.g. relaxed, refined, sophisticated, approachable, etc. Run everything you pick up by all of these words and if they don't match, don't buy.

4. You can only buy what is currently in stock. If you can't find exactly what you are looking for, don't despair or buy the next best thing. Fashion changes frequently, stores get new stock in all the time. Be patient and it will surface sooner rather than later.

5. Know which colours suit you (and any that you are missing) before you go and stick to them. If a garment doesn't make you glow in the store, it's never going to make you look or feel good.

6. If you're undecided about a piece, WALK AWAY. If you're still thinking about it half an hour later go back and try it again or buy it. If it doesn't cross your mind again or you manage to find something better in the meantime, it's clearly not right.

7. When you are deciding whether to buy something, imagine a little voice in your head (in my case it's my mother's!) asking you the following questions:
Do you really need it?
Do you really LOVE it?
Does it make you look and feel good?
Can you afford it?
If no is the answer to one or more, leave the piece on the shelf and move on.

8. If you hate shopping or find it overwhelming, take someone along with you to help. It needs to be someone whose opinion you trust and/or has a style that is similar to what you want to achieve. (Note their body shape and proportions as well though as clothes that suit one body shape don't always compliment another.) Sharing the experience will also make it more fun.

Saturday, 17 January 2015

Maternity clothes and what to pack in your hospital bag


As I am about to go into hospital to have my third child, my thoughts go to the subject of what to pack...learning from what I took with my previous two births - what I didn't use and what I needed more of...

Here's my guide:

  • If you are planning on breastfeeding, take disposable breast pads for your bras (though your milk doesn't come in for a few days you could still leak and these pads save on embarrassing wet patches and lots of changes of clothes). I've tried and tested many many different maternity bras. A couple of particularly good non wired bra brands which look nice and are supportive are Royce Lingerie (UK) and Chloe and Lola (Aus). You may need to have them in different band and cup sizes as your breasts change before during and after birth/breastfeeding. This is where sleep bras or crop tops can work well as they accommodate variations in size.
  • In addition to daytime bras, get some separate sleep bras or singlets with in-built breast support - the support won't be as good but remember they are mainly for sleeping. One of the best brands is in the US and called Motherhood.

Either choose nighties with buttons/poppers down the centre or on the shoulder seams or separates with the same features to make breastfeeding easier. My preference is the latter. Some good brands around at the moment are again Chloe and Lola, Peter Alexander maternity and Motherhood singlets.

Day wear

  • Choose simple separates over dresses because regular changes of clothes are likely with feeding and nappy changing.
  • If it is your first baby you will be more likely to buy breastfeeding specific tops but I found these costly, short term, frumpy and unflattering. Instead select looser tops with zips, buttons, poppers, etc. which are just as convenient and wearable afterwards. You can buy a belly band in the third trimester to wear with your looser tops. My outfit preference is a long skirt which is comfortable in all seasons and covers the body up in a flattering way if you are feeling post baby body conscious, singlets which are easy to layer and feed by lowering the straps and cardigans, again good for layering and accommodating hospital air conditioning or post birth hot flushes!
  • If you do want to go for breastfeeding specific clothing, Jeanswest and New Look (UK) have practical, affordable and fun designs and Ripe Maternity (Aus) currently do some good tops with side poppers which are different.
  • Lightweight scarves are a great alternative to breastfeeding covers - saves you money, there are endless designs and colours to choose from and they can be worn afterwards. You can feed your baby discreetly underneath by tying a knot at the top around your neck and allowing the full width to wrap around you and the baby - they are also breathable and safe for the baby to be under.
  • Look for items in your existing wardrobe that will accommodate your growing body e.g. kaftans, tunics and harem pants.

Mix and match
  • I packed 3 long skirts, 6 singlets, 4 cardigans and 2 scarves which are easily mixed and matched and colourful to make me feel a little less 'mumsy.' From these 13 items I can make 40+ different outfit combinations.
  • Skirts - I chose one light colour, one dark and one print which will work with all colour tops
  • Singlets and cardigans - I chose my best colours (and bright) according to my personalised colour swatch
Here are a few outfit examples:

If you are working or need clothing for a special occasion
  • There are times when it's worth spending a little more for maternity clothes. would be my go to as they often have sales on.
  • Scarves are good for hiding a baby bump if you want to
  • Short statement necklaces are stylish and draw the eye up to your face

I hope you found these tips useful. If you have any further questions feel free to comment on this blog or contact me via email or Facebook