The Glamorous (ish) Life of an MUA!

Being an Makeup artist (MUA) is one of 3 things. You are either sat around killing time, busy busy can’t stop superhero stylist or spending the money you haven’t made yet from the client you haven’t even met yet!

Its Saturday. 6am alarm, I’m out of the house by 6:45 and with the bridal party by 7:45.

Before noon I will have done one big bouncy blow-dry and makeup for mum of the bride, one intricate updo and makeup for the bride and for the maid of honour, makeup with a half up half down on what can only be described as a fabulous lion’s mane!

I will be offered a bacon butty but will resist its deliciousness to avoid ‘butty fingers’! No stopping, sitting or breaks beyond a sip of coffee and small glass of water. The thing about a wedding morning is it is great fun but as the MUA you simply don’t stop.

I finish working on my wedding party at 11:50am and exit stage left straight away so the ladies can set off to the ceremony. Hmmmm, what to do now? I have another client this afternoon at 3:30 for a special occasion hair and makeup. Should I drive for an hour to get home and leave and hour later and then drive for an hour again? Think of the environment!

Three and half hours to kill, hmmmm what to do, what to do? I know, I’ll grab a spot of lunch! There is a Zizzi’s not far from my next client, I feel a discount voucher coming on!

It is now 1:15pm, for an hour and a quarter I have been sat in my car, in traffic, because it took an hour and a quarter to drive the 8 miles from Epsom to Esher! I have traffic knee now. I’m also a little sweaty due to the lack of climate control in my 11-year-old Ford Focus. I could murder a Porcini Tortellini!

Finally fed and over an hour to kill… This sofa seat they gave me is really comfy, I could totally lie down and have a nap. Would that be socially unacceptable?

Could I have a pudding? I’ve already put weight back on that I lost before our family holiday in February. And we are out for dinner with friends tonight. Nope, no pudding.

The shops on the high street look lovely, yeah that’s a credit card disaster waiting to happen!

I could write up my accounts and expenses for the month. Seems evil for a Saturday afternoon.

I could just drive around in the sunshine; I haven’t had much of a chance to wear my fabulous new Michael Kors Sunglasses I bought on holiday yet! Hmmmm, traffic, the environment, might end up sweaty again, already paid for the car park, waste of petrol. Yep definitely not going for a drive.

2:10pm. That’s it, I’m going window shopping! And by window shopping I’m going to show my other half exactly why I said making me the second card holder on his AMEX was a silly idea!

My life as an MUA: Glamorous? Sometimes. Tedious? Sometimes. Fabulous? Always!

November Birchbox (Better late than Never!)

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Ummmmm. Yep. Even by my ‘standards’- 5 minutes late for everything – this is really late. Here it is, my November Birchbox product review!

Yes, I know it’s already December but only just!

Also, I’m basically working six day weeks until Christmas Day so the December box review will involve falling into some sort of fabulous mess under the Christmas tree, dribbling into a mince pie and babbling about updos and winged eyeliner! Note to self, quit second job!

Anyhoo, November Birchbox product reviews! FYI check out my 1st Birchbox blog if you don’t know what a Birchbox is.

Wet Brush Midi

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https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/wet-brush-midi-wet-brush

Hopefully by now you know who my lobster in life is, my business manager/ roomie/ bestie, Amy. Now the lobster has the most fabulous head of hair, all the way down to her shoulder blades. Is it thick you ask? Is it heck! The lobster still holds the record for the most hair pins in any updo I’ve ever done and many people have given her a good run for her money. 2 hair ties and 84 hair pins went into that messy side bun and said messy side bun came off the waltzer completely intact, I thank you! *breathes on fingernails and polishes on shirt*

So, having this amazing head of hair does cause the lobster a few problems. She has to go to bed with her hair up, otherwise she looks like cousin IT by the morning and as for drying and straightening, well that takes what feels like an eternity, slight exaggeration but you get the drift. So bearing all this in mind I gave the Wet Brush Midi straight to the lobster. She proclaimed it to be ‘Brilliant!’ and ‘Better than a tangle teaser!’ Nuff said.

Beauty Protector – Protect & Detangle

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https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/beauty-protector-protect-detangle

This product claims to be an all-in-one post shampoo jobbie. It protects from heat, adds shine, detangles and conditions. So along with The Wet Brush Midi I gave this one to the lobster. “If it can work on her hair…” etc. etc. According to the lobster it smelt lovely and refreshing, worked amazingly with the Wet Brush and after an eternity of drying and straightening, again I’m slightly exaggerating for dramatic effect, her hair looked luscious and shiny. Winner!

OCC Lip Tar

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https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/obsessive-compulsive-cosmetics-lip-tar-primer

Unlike other lip primers I’ve tried that felt drying this one feels lovely on my lips, that’ll be the vitamin E and peppermint oil I bet! You need very, very little. Literally a tiny dot. It almost gave the effect of a clear gloss but not quite so made up, if that makes any sense at all? Teamed with a nude lip liner this is my new favourite day-to-day look (only because the Arrow lip balm is out of stock and I can’t stop crying about that!) However, as a lip primer itself it was somewhat of a let-down. Under a super stay lipstick I actually found the lipstick wore off faster than usual. Ok, I thought, I’ll try with a normal lipstick. Nope, didn’t last longer than normal. Third time lucky with a lip crayon? Nope. I like the product but didn’t find it performed as advertised. As a day-to-day moisturising lip product it is nice but then again so is Carmex which gives a similar effect at a fifth of the price, so I won’t be buying this one again.

Nuxe Crème Prodigieuse

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https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/nuxe-creme-prodigieuse-normal-combination-skin

I am in love with this brand! I hadn’t heard of it until Birchbox started sending it to me. I’ve had several items by Nuxe and loved every single one but this Cream tops the lot and will definitely be going in my kit! It is the most amazing skin prep for makeup I have ever discovered. Once I’ve fallen out of my pit (bed), fed the kids (cats) and downed a coffee (coffee), I’m normally in a rush and a quick skin prep/ makeup/ out the door is on the cards. Micellar water, eye cream and now Crème Prodigieuse is all I need! My skin looks smooth and bright, the cream absorbs super quick and leaves no greasy residue. Putting makeup on straight away is so easy, rather than having to potter for 10 minutes letting the cream sink in. My makeup then appears flawless without additional primer. Love love love!

Marcelle BB cream Golden Glow Illuminator

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https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/marcelle-bb-cream-golden-glow-illuminator

And finally this month we have The Marcelle BB Cream! Now I’m not normally a lover of BB cream. I prefer more coverage and have never found anything like my YSL touché Eclat foundation, see my blog on that one for its sheer brilliance. I did give this a go by itself and honestly felt it was too Bronze, it has a lovely gold tone to it and doesn’t appear orange as bronzing products so often can, but I just felt it was a bit much. In the middle of summer or post-holiday it would probably be perfect. Having said that a drop of this mixed with foundation gives a fabulous base with a healthy glow. That as a base, mascara and a swipe of blush equals 5-minute makeup in a rush? Brillopad!

Bobbi Brown Art Stick

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Ahhh Bobbi! Bobbi you beautiful brilliant genius you! We must all bow down and give thanks for the Goddess of makeup that is Bobbi Brown!

Nearly a year ago during a stroll through my happy place (aka the makeup counters at House of Fraser) I stopped to grab a blusher I was low on at the Bobbi counter. I ended up having a jolly good chat with the counter girls (so unlike me!). They had literally, that morning, just got in the latest Bobbi newbie, The Art Stick, and were showing me the range. I was in heaven! Creamy velvety feel Matte lip crayons in gorgeous shades. With an 8-hour wear and non-drying formula thanks to the lovely shea butter it contains, this lip liner and lipstick in one seemed to be the perfect combo. Available in 14 shades which can be applied as a sheer wash or built up for full drama you even get a sharpener with every one! Brilliant!

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Anyhoo, time ticked on and life got in the way, as usual. Several times whilst walking through my happy place I considered stopping at the Bobbi counter and treating myself but just couldn’t seem to justify another new lippie. Bearing in mind I have a strict rule that I would never put a product on a client that I haven’t tried on myself I knew at some point I would have to invest in an Art Stick. Especially as I was fairly certain it would be perfect for a lot of my brides!

Slight side-line and shameless self-promotion coming up. All my brides get their lipstick bought for them! It’s simply part of the package I offer, which also includes a trial and no I don’t charge extra! Sometimes I can mix several colours when creating the perfect lip colour for a bride (my makeup kit case is already massive/heavy. If I carried every lipstick the toy shops stocked I’d break my back!). So imagine I mix 3 lipsticks to get the exact colour and texture for my bride, then she has to go to a sea of makeup counters and try and replicate it. Somewhat daunting no? Even for regular makeup users! Seeing as it’s my job to know about these things surely the least I can do is go and get the perfect lip product for my bride and make her life a little easier? Well that’s exactly what I do! The lipstick is part of my Big Day touch up kit that all my brides receive. The kit also contains some translucent powder and a kabuki brush, a travel hairspray and spare hair pins as well as a pack of mints and a pack of tissues, all in a reusable makeup bag.

Anyhoo, Bobbi’s Art Sticks. On a recent girl’s weekend away in Edinburgh the lobster and I found ourselves, whilst shopping on George Street, staring straight at a Bobbi store. Well quite frankly it would have been rude of me not to pop in! I had a wander and a look around and decided I would buy a new lippie for that evening as we were gonna hit the town (and I had a new lip primer in my Birchbox to test). A lovely sales assistant (whose name I’ve forgotten, sorry) asked if I needed any help. After and during a jolly good chat, shocking, I purchased my very own Bobbi Art Stick in Cassis. A gorgeous deep plumy red with blue undertones.

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It really did live up to expectations, it felt so lovely on my lips, not at all dry as matte products so often can and despite taking the sharpener out with me I needn’t have bothered. I reapplied after dinner and then again out of sheer vanity but it wasn’t totally necessary and I didn’t need to sharpener it once. It was so easy to apply with its creamy formula and pencil shape. Just as I suspected, I flipping love it!

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Me and the girls out on the town in Edinburgh! I’m on the right wearing my Art Stick, the lobster is on the left and Carter and Kinloch in the middle.

http://www.bobbibrown.co.uk/art-sticks

RRP £21

 

Why I Love the Kardashians

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Love them or loathe them you can’t deny that the Kardashian/Jenner clan have spearheaded several of the fashion and beauty trends over the last decade or so. Contouring (even though MUAs have known about it and been using it for donkeys) is credited to Kim Kardashian as becoming a mainstream makeup technique. FYI I’m so over contouring but more about that another day! The Kardashian/Jenners are a family who are always incredibly, if not always sensibly, dressed bunch with no hair out of place and makeup always perfect (Their army of MUAs and stylists should be congratulated). Kylie Jenner is now leading a revolution in the makeup industry with her products. She began with her converted lip kits and has now launched eyeshadow palettes, all of which have been incredibly well received by the industry. Kendall Jenner has truly become, through nothing but hard work, a supermodel, having walked for both Chanel (aka The Gods) and Victoria Secrets! She admits that her family have been the thing that got in her way and has suffered bullying backstage from other models because of her famous family, on the assumption that they put her where she is! In fact, when she initially was told she would be walking in the Victoria Secret show she banned her entire family from coming! Khloe Kardashian is a style and makeup guru having written books about wellbeing and totally transformed her body and mind set through determination and hard work. And quite frankly I’m not even sure where to start with the whirlwind that is Caitlyn Jenner! Keeping up with the Kardashians has been running for 10 years and is in its 13th season. It is unaltered guilty pleasure TV and the Lobster and I love it!

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Now I completely understand the school of thought that says why should we pay attention to a family of vacuous, self-obsessed, egotistical trash who reap what they sow and are ‘famous for being famous’. They have chosen to live in the public eye and have invited the press into their lives therefore they have no right to complain about the paparazzi intrusion they receive. Well for me there are 2 points there. Firstly, I can’t help but feel that a lot of the negativity received by the Kardashians can be put down to sheer bloody ignorance and assumption (for my mind the 2 most unattractive characteristics in the human race). These days’ people are very quick to judge others and feel that to be their right. They will criticise and condemn often without having bothered to take the time to learn about what they are putting down. In this day and age there really is no excuse for not knowing what you’re talking about! Google it for goodness sake! Secondly just because a person has chosen to do a job or live a life that puts them in the public eye that doesn’t give anyone the right to chase them in cars, take their picture when they don’t wish, hang around their property and hurl abuse, sometimes physically as well. Need I mention Princess Diana?

So here’s the thing. The Kardashian/Jenners, believe it or not have worked incredibly hard to get where they are. They also work tirelessly for charities, the had a family clear out and yard sale giving all the proceeds to charity! Caitlyn Jenner has done so much since her transition to raise awareness for the LBGT community. Kim started as a stylist many years ago for the likes of Brandy and Lindsay Lohan before progressing to where she is today. The 3 sisters, Kourtney, Khloe and Kim started their boutique DASH in 2006. They now have stores in New York, Miami and LA and they are all still involved in everything that goes into their stores. Kris Jenner (The clan elder and christened by her children their Momager) has managed all her children’s careers from the start. They all have apps that they are constantly working with as well as multiple blogs and of course their constant social media presence!

For me though the bottom line is this, the Kardashian/Jenners are good people! They are hardworking, family oriented, kind and generous Christian folk. They never ignore fans. When one is having any problems they drop everything to be there for each other. They rushed to be at Lamar Odom’s beside in Las Vegas when he nearly died, despite the fact that he and Khloe were mid divorce and he had been unfaithful to her. In my business I work on the ethos that there is literally nothing I won’t do for my brides, I will bend over backwards and be their Bridal Fairy godmother. Because sometimes in life it simply isn’t about you, it is about doing and being there for others and the Kardashian/Jenners display this beautifully. Yes, they may be a bunch of drama queens and put a lot of focus on their appearance but there is so much more to them. Aren’t we all concerned about our appearance? Don’t we all have a diva strop or family tiff from time to time? Everyone, after all, is merely human!

Perhaps the world needs more people who are giving and caring? Perhaps if more people thought of their friends and family before themselves some of the worlds wrongs could be healed or even righted? As far as I’m concerned I’d take a family like the Kardashian/Jenners every time over a family like the Bushes, the Clintons or the Trumps. Added bonus to this lot? They look so much better!

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October Birchbox!

It’s taken a little longer than planned to get this blog done, life got in the way! Note to self, must manage time better! Or get a clone?

Either way one of the blogs you can regularly expect from me will be a monthly Birchbox review. For those of you who aren’t sure what a Birchbox is it’s a monthly beauty box that I subscribe to, these monthly boxes are huge now and I’ve seen so many varieties. Things for crazy cat lovers just like me, beauty supplies like my Birchbox, man stuff to keep them smelling slightly better than normal (boys are so smelly right?) and I’ve even seen one called Pink Parcel for ‘that time of the month’!

So here’s the thing about a Birchbox, it is easily the best £12.95 a month I spend on beauty shopping. Why you ask? Because every month my Birchbox arrives at my door with 6 items that are tailored to my profile. My skin type, my hair type and my beauty needs. Every month I get at least 1 full size item and even the samples are a good size normally. Because of my specific profile I get at least 1 Makeup product a month and I have often had application tools such as makeup brushes! The brilliance is that to buy everything they send would be a lot more than the £12.95 a month I pay by direct debit (other options are available and I can cancel anytime) Bearing in mind every month I get at least one full size item! Plus I am constantly discovering new beauty products and brands. They have exclusives and everything can be bought on their website where you can also earn Birchbox points. Very often I get an email half way through the month asking me to choose an option for the following month, e.g. did I want a mini highlighter palette or cheek and lip stain? Would I like my mini beauty blender to be purple (obvs) or pink? There are other similar monthly beauty box options on the market, I’ve heard good things about Glossybox. I went with Birchbox for one reason, I had been debating a monthly beauty box for a while and they sent me a sign up offer so I jumped at it, now I’m hooked! I would recommend them to anyone but as I’m a helpful girl I will review my Birchbox every month, right here! And if you do want to sign up for one, or even treat someone, here’s the link! https://www.birchbox.co.uk/

So let’s get to it!

Here’s my October box. Every month is a different design, this month it was the elements and mine was Earth as I’m a Capricorn. Plus the boxes are so handy for organising ‘that draw’ we all have stuffed full of beauty supplies. Well they were on offer! It saves money right?

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Batiste Dry Shampoo with Root Boost

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/batiste-stylist-oomph-my-locks-xxl-volume-spray

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Lets face it, dry shampoo is the single best item ever to enter the beauty world, give that man/woman a noble prize! I’m quite fussy about dry shampoo, I hate when they leave residue or a white powder on your hair, in fact the best one I’ve ever found is a Boots own, but this one wasn’t bad. The addition of root boost is brilliant for people like me with silky hair that goes very flat and loses volume once slept on. This would be great for adding texture before an updo! FYI Birchbox accidently sent this item two months in a row, they sent an apology email and 500 extra Birchbox points to say sorry!

Rituals The Right of Sakura Magic Touch Body Cream

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/rituals-the-ritual-of-sakura-magic-touch-body-cream

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I like this cream, it has a rich thick texture, yet still absorbs quickly, and the scent was lovely and soft with floral notes. My skin was really silky afterwards and stayed moisturised for ages.

Eyebrow brush

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Fairly self explanatory. Not the sturdiest I’ve ever used but always handy! Interestingly I can’t find a link on the Birchbox site for this one. Hmmmmm last minute box top up? Either way still handy!

Number 4 Fluoro5 Elixer Restore & Repair Oil

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/number-4-lumiere-dhiver-fluoro5-elixer-restore-repair-oil

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Unfortunately this is no good for my hair type, however it is perfect for my Lobster! (FYI my Lobster is my roomie/bestie/business partner Amy! I literally cant do anything without her, seriously, not exaggerating! And if you don’t understand ‘my Lobster’ go and watch series 2 of Friends, NOW!) Anyhow, Amy has obscenely long thick hair and this oil has given her hair a lovely shine and healthy glow without weighing it down. be advised, use liberally!

Doux Me Pure Spring Mist

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/doux-me-pure-spring-mist

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I love a spring water spray, it’s my go to toner for lazy skin care! Amazing on a hot summers day and even works as a makeup prep/set/refresh spray! My normal one is Eau Thermal Avene and honestly I didn’t notice a difference, except the price tag. This one is twice the price so I definitely wont be switching, however I’m keeping it for a handy holiday beach bag spritz. Every cloud!

and lastly…..

LOC One & Done Shadow Stick Full Size Birchbox Exclusive!

https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/loc-one-and-done-shadow-stick

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LOC (Love of Colour) is a Birchbox exclusive brand and in the past I’ve had a fabulous lippie from them. As you can see this eye-shadow stick is a lovely gold colour with an excellent payoff! The creamy texture blended well and as much as I prefer powder eye-shadows I did love the result from this. It did crease after a few hours but that’s often the case with cream eye-shadow I find and why I prefer powders. Having said that I would be tempted to buy it again as the result was lovely and the creasing wasn’t anywhere near as bad as others I’ve used. I would however recommend investing in the LOC sharpener if you are going to use this, or their other products, regularly. A normal sharpener just doesn’t quite cut it with these! https://www.birchbox.co.uk/shop/loc-sharpener

 

Literally the most fabulous foundation in the world!

Literally the most fabulous foundation in the world!

So anyone who knows me, has enjoyed my services or worked with me will tell you that I am religious about what products I use! One of the many things I love about hair and makeup is that there are no rights or wrongs, as long as the end result is fabulous who cares how you got there! If you don’t like it, wipe it off and start again! I would never put a product on someone that I haven’t tried myself and I am by no means a makeup snob. I love a Barry M lip liner and a cheaper alternative eyeshadow (loving my recent body shop buys but more about that another day) will easily last all day as long as you follow 1 of my makeup beliefs, that as long as you have a good quality base everything else will fall into place!

So bearing that in mind there is 1 foundation that I absolutely swear by. Yes, it’s amazing with a primer and setting spray but I have honestly worn it hundreds of times without either and the results are amazing and will last for over the 12 hours that they state. You may need a powder touch up once or maybe twice, depending on your skin, but other than that you can leave home with your lippy and don’t need to worry about anything else makeup wise!

So what is this fabulously amazing game changing foundation I hear you ask? It is Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touché Eclat!

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We all know the iconic Touché Eclat gold highlighter pen, if you don’t for goodness sake people, and this foundation version gives the most gorgeous dewy complexion with natural results. I can have very problematic skin at certain points of the month and most of the time I am able to cover blemishes with this foundation and no other concealers needed! 1 pump will do my entire face and jaw line (on a good skin day) and a little does go a very long way. I tend to buy myself a bottle 2/3 times a year and at an RRP of £30.50 Le Teint Touch Eclat is by no mean the most expensive foundation on the market and is really quite good value for money considering the quality and results you consistently get.

1 pump of Le Teint to show the texture and amount needed!

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So please don’t recoil in horror but I took some before and after pics the other day whilst ‘putting on my fabulous!’. First of my skin prepped and ready for makeup, second once foundation had been applied and then finally the finished result once all other makeup had been applied. I can tell you it was a very bad skin point of the month with a lot of breakouts on my jaw line and I used 1 and a half pumps that particular day.

Bare skin, cleaned and moisturised but no makeup at all!

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Full face or Le Teint Touché Eclat Foundation, colour BR20 in case you are wondering. No additional concealer applied at this stage and no primer used! Sorry its slightly out of focus!

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The finished result! My day to day go to look, defined but natural. I added under eye concealer (Obvs) a touch of bronzer to warm the skin, blush for a healthy glow and defined my eyes with brow gel, liquid liner and mascara. This normal routine takes me 10-15 minutes, depending on how much I’m faffing or how late I’m running!

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If you don’t believe me go to your nearest YSL counter and ask for a sample/test but I promise you no one who has ever taken this recommendation from me has ever looked back and I’ve even managed to convert several other MUAs (Makeup Artists, you will get used to that term as I blog more) to Le Teint Touché Eclat.

I have a confession. I recently received a freebie sample of another high end foundation which was pretty good. So off I popped to the toy shop, aka Boots, and spent a whopping £45 on this new foundation. It’s not horrible but the coverage wasn’t as good and the texture was heavier, it simple doesn’t come close to Le Teint. I’m halfway down the bottle and this week bought a bottle of Le Teint, I simply can’t live without it!

Woop woop! I’m blogging!

Well I’ve finally got around to it! I’m blogging! I’m planning to blog about all kinds of fabulousness!

So stay posted for tutorials, vlogs (yep I’m even gonna attempt some of that!) info about wedding fayre, real brides, proms, product reviews and basically all that is fabulous!

See you all soon! Once I’ve figure this out a bit more!

'Its every womans right to look and feel amazing on her big day!'