My Christmas gift ideas 2021 for him is here. In all honestly, Mr AMR chose a lot of this but I think that’s probably a good thing. I tend to find oddities such as “coasters that cost £71” and he finds coffee machines that look like a Makita drill… Remember to pass this guide on to anyone who might need some gift-buying inspiration!
top left DIESEL LIVING WITH SELETTI ‘Culture Skulture’ – Bison Skull. For those who want the ultimate mountain ranch aesthetic but aren’t keen on having an actual dead head on their wall. Just add cedar cladding and an open fire… Buy for £281 from Amara*.
Top middle TOM FORD – Floral Print Boxers. Excellent prints, just don’t let the dog chew them… Buy for £90 from Selfridges & Co*.
Far right MONKEY – 47 Schwarzwald Dry Gin. If you’re going to gift booze then make it special. I have it on good authority that this is a nice one and I find it very aesthetically pleasing. Buy for £35.40 from Amazon.
Bottom middle NATIVE UNION – Heritage Airpod Pro Case – Forest Green. Jazz up the Airpod case. Not sure whether this will make Airpods any less easy to lose – someone should make a GPS tracker for airpods! Buy for £40 from Amara*.
Bottom left JONATHAN ADLER – Full Dose Coaster – Set of 4. Yes this was one of my brilliant suggestions. Cue eye roll from Mr AMR, but lots of people are house proud and want cool stuff and like to set out coasters when they have visitors and… Buy for £71 from Amara*.
POLS POTTEN – Plate with Gun. When is a plate not a plate? When there’s no room for any food? I don’t know. Obviously this is art, darling. Buy for £100*.
JONATHAN ADLER – Rocket Vodka Decanter. I’m sure I’ve included these decanters from Jonathan Adler before – I think they’re a lot of fun. More ornament than decanter, because you wouldn’t want to drop this, but it would look excellent on a retro bar cart. Buy for £163 from Amara*.
FRED PERRY – M12 Twin-Tipped Shirt. I’m very into forest green at the moment, it’s a very smart kind of colour. And you can’t go wrong with a bit of Fred Perry – old school classics at reasonable prices. Price reduced from £85.00 to £59.50 from Liberty*.
CASA BUGATTI – Diva Coffee Machine – Orange. Go big or go home – you can’t get bolder than this Bugatti coffee machine. If you were ever looking for a centrepiece for the kitchen… Buy for £799 from Amara*.
Featured above, gifts for men who are ‘foodies’:
top left KAMADO JOE – Portable Charcoal Grill, Blaze Red. ’tis a good one. Great for camping enthusiasts, beach-BBQ-lovers and those who like to do a bit of al fresco cooking at home. It’s small and convenient enough to make it the sort of gadget that will get loads of use. Buy for £336.99 from Amazon.
Top middle MAKITA – Cordless Coffee Maker. Ah, the coffee maker disguised as a Makita drill. And it’s cordless – one for the camper who thinks he has everything. Buy for £56.95 from Amazon.
Far right STANLEY 1L Stainless Steel Thermos Flask. Can a flask look more rugged? Asking for a friend. Buy for £36.14 from Amazon.
Bottom middle PERFECTLY SALTED PORK CRACKLING 300g. This stocking filler is pretty self-explanatory and I have nothing to add. Don’t crack a molar. Buy for £14.99 from Selfridges & Co.
Bottom left PSYCHO JUICE 70% – Ghost Pepper Hot Chilli Sauce. Now hot sauces are things I can get on board with: I love them! You can find some with brilliant names and labels but I liked Psycho Juice for its 90s slasher horror movie undertones. Buy for £7.45 from Amazon.
Featured above, gifts for men who are tech-lovers:
top left PHILIPS SONICARE – Advanced Whitening Toothbrush – Gum Pressure Sensor & Bluetooth. Sleek looks, amazing performance. It’s not the most glamorous sort of gift, but there’s a luxurious touch to this toothbrush. Buy for £89.99 from Amazon.
Top middle APPLE AIRPODS PRO – with MagSafe charging case (2021). I’ve waxed lyrical about these in the women’s gift guide: the noise cancelling element is just outstanding, especially if you’re trying to work from home and block out unwanted bustle. Buy for £189 from Amazon.
Far right DJI POCKET 2 CREATOR COMBO – 3 Axis Handheld Gimbal Stabilizer with 4K Camera. A tech pick from Mr AMR, this is one for enthusiastic film makers who’d like to produce smooth, professional content. Buy for £469 from Amazon.
Bottom middle TELESCOPIC LADDER. I said we needed a clever ladder in this guide. Something spacesaving that looked futuristic. Mr AMR was doubtful but then look: telescopic action and good looks. Buy for £78.99 from Amazon.
Bottom left LEDLENSER – Professional LED Torch, Black. Take it from a torch obsessive (Mr AMR, not me!): this is a nifty little number. Compact but with incredible range (apparently, I had started snoozing by this point) Lenser is a solid brand for, er, torches. Buy for £51.02 from Amazon.
MUCK BOOTS – Unisex Adults Derwent II Rain Boot. These boots mean business. Mr AMR has three different pairs and he is picky as you like when it comes to wellies. They keep your feet slightly warmer than other brands when it’s chilly and they’re incredibly durable. Oh and comfy! With bouncy soles and a good lining. Buy for £109.99 from Amazon.
Featured above, gifts for the home:
left KLEVERING Purfect Orange Mirror. I had no idea what this was when I looked back at the photo! A mirror. It’s a mirror. I think I chose it because the colour matched the coffee machine. Well, at least I’m honest… Buy for £28 from Liberty*.
Right PRICKLDN Stetsonia Coryne £10 for plant (pot sold separately). Prick is a great plant shop in London with a massive selection of cacti, some hilariously phallic. I almost think it’s the rule that you have to buy one that looks like a spiky penis when you’re shopping at a shop called Prick, but maybe that’s just me. Buy from Prickldn.
LIBERTY Thorpe Tana Lawn Cotton Pyjama Set. I know you’re thinking that this has crept in from the women’s guide but you’d be wrong. The cut is different. And I will not apologise for my Liberty print obsession… Price reduced from £225.00 to £180.00*.
ASSOULINE French Riviera Book. My “books and chocolate” guide will be out soon. Mostly smaller (far less expensive!) picks in that, but if you wanted to splash out on something more special for a posh coffee table then Assouline is your brand. Buy for £150 from Amara*.
Featured above, gifts for men who love their tools:
left TOOENJOY Car Door Step – Easy Access to Car Roof. This is genius! Take a look at the link to see how it works, but it will honestly intrigue and delight anyone who loves faffing with gadgets. It’s an instant step so that you can reach up high onto the car roof, maybe to pack a roof box or secure a surf board. It’s a practical person’s joy. Buy for £45.99 from Amazon.
Right GERBER DIME Mini Multi Tool – Black. Toolkit in your pocket, anyone? Buy for £39 from Amazon.
BOND – Photographed by Terry O’Neill – The Definitive Collection Hardcover. Again, book post coming soon but this is a cool (and relatively inexpensive) buy for Bond-lovers and photography fans. Buy for £35.45 from Amazon.
Christmas Gift Ideas For Her is here. Wow, that’s a mouthful of a sentence! I hope that the following bits and pieces spark your imagination
Top left GUCCI Bloom Nettare Di Fiori For Her – Eau de Parfum 100ml. Is this not just the coolest bottle? Instagram heaven. Buy for £114.00 from Feel Unique*.
Top middle PRINTWORKS ‘Snoozing’ Eye Mask. I feel as though this has popped up in a Movie recently, this sleep mask – if it hasn’t then it should. It’s very stylish and a change from the usual silky ones with your star sign on or ones monogrammed in a curly font. Buy for £32 from Amara*.
Top right PEARL LOWE – The Ava Gown. Well this is all sorts of glamorous and sexy – it’s almost too good to keep it for indoors. And a nice, substantial fabric that will actually keep you warm. No flimsy silk robes on this page! It’s winter for crying out loud! Buy for £395 from Pearl Lowe.
Bottom right CANOPY PLANTS – Cherry Aglaonema plant with ceramic pot. Chosen, admittedly, because it looks good with the other products in the guide, but canopy plants have loads of options and they are all potted and ready to go. Waiting for people like me to kill them. Buy for £38.00 from Selfridges & Co*.
Bottom middle ANGLEPOISE 90 Mini, Anodised brushed Aluminium finish, Berry Red. The classic – you can’t beat an anglepoise for timeless style. You can spend upwards of £500 for a desk lamp that’s a true design classic but this one is a small slice of cool for a palatable price. Buy for £87.20 from Amazon.
Bottom left BEAUTY PIE – Luxury Silk Hair Scrunchie, pack of six. I can’t be without my silk scrunchies now; yes they send me back to the nineties a little, but they are smooth and snag-free and the easiest way of securing my default twist-into-a-bun hairstyle. Buy for £35 (BECOME A MEMBER AND PAY £16.76) from Beauty Pie.
CHARBONNEL Et WALKER – Pink Champagne Truffles. I know that these divide people; Mr AMR thinks that they taste of soap. Other versions are available but I’m always drawn to the pretty box, year after year. Buy for £15 from Amazon.
SIMPLEHUMAN – Sensor Mirror Compact, Rose Gold Stainless Steel. The best makeup mirrors come from Simple Human – their wall- and desk-mounted ones are pricier but once you have one you’ll never look back. Because you’ll always be looking in the mirror, ha! This is a portable compact and no less handy – brilliant for hotel stays where the lighting is dire and for doing your makeup in the back of a cab. Buy for £89.95 from Amazon.
Top left LIBERTY Bubble Candle. So many candles, most of them in glass containers: I love this sculptural bubble candle for its simplicity and sense of fun. Buy for £13.60 from Liberty.
Top middle ASSOULINE Ibiza Bohemia Book. The coolest coffee table books in town – warning: flick through this and you will have the uncontrollable urge to travel. Buy for £70 from Amara*.
Top right JUICY COUTURE Gillian scoop-neck stretch-velour bralette. We did the tracksuits (come on, we all did, didn’t we?) and now there’s the bralette. Nostalgic, yes – but more importantly, comfy. Buy for £30.00 from Selfridges & Co.
Bottom right OH FLUFFITA SLIDE UGGs in pink. Another nostalgia-propelled choice: we did the boots (oh, how we did the boots) and now we will do the slides. If we want to look like something that’s crawled in from an all-night bender down Sesame Street. Buy for £100 from UGG*.
Bottom middle NATIVE UNION Drop Wireless Charger Pad – Rose. The practical present, but infinitely useful for bedside charging and it’s the best-looking charger pad around. No more searching for the cable that’s dropped down the back of the drawers. Buy for £40 from Amara.
Bottom left LIGNE BLANCHE Andy Warhol Scented Candle – Campbell’s Soup. Candles don’t get cooler than this. It’s a mini work of art and once you’ve finished burning the candle you can store your makeup brushes in the pot. Buy for £45 from Amara.
MULBERRY – Small Darley in Quilted Light Salmon. The classic shoulder bag with gold hardware and enough room for wallet, phone and keys. Oh so luxurious and beautifully made, it’s utterly timeless and the perfect special gift. Buy for £695.
ADIDAS – PRIMEBLUE TRACK TOP. I’m really into my Adidas again, perhaps inspired by Squid Game but maybe because I have been trying to up my leisurewear game and stop looking like someone who has been living in the woods with only cats for company. I like this soft pink version for lazy days and for when I start running, which will be never. Buy for £35.
Top left LIBERTY Twist and Twine Tana Lawn Cotton Short Pyjama Set. Liberty print again, I’m not going to apologise. It just makes excellent giftlist fodder because it feels inordinately special and looks the absolute business. I can’t get enough! Buy for £225.00.
Top middle SWAN Retro Pump Espresso Coffee Machine, Green. I don’t drink coffee but have been researching coffee machines for my holiday cottage business venture. (Don’t even ask how that’s going.) I thought that this one was very pleasing and not outrageously expensive if you didn’t want to go OTT. Buy for £79 from Amazon.
Top right NEWGATE – Charlie Bell Echo Alarm. You have to be a certain type of person to want to be awakened by two clanging metal cymbals going off right next to your head, but if you’re that person then this is your clock. Buy for £25 from Amazon.
Bottom right SELETTI Toiletpaper Mirror – Sea Girl. I love these Seletti mirrors – they do a few different versions and they are all like small pieces of art. Brilliant for spicing up the downstairs loo. Buy for £260 from Amara*.
Bottom middle DORA LARSEN – Dolly stretch-tulle underwired bra. When sexy lingerie gets colourful. I’ve never seen such a fun lingerie brand and there are plenty of different cuts and versions depending on whether you prefer soft bras or more structured items. Buy for £52 from Net-a-porter.
THE BRITISH LIBRARY: A Book of Nonsense Journal. If ever a book was up my street. Buy for £10.95 from Liberty*.
ELIZABETH SCARLETT – Jungle Leaf Travel Pouch. I’ve bought loads of Elizabeth Scarlett toiletries bags as gifts, they are so pretty. Just add a small bag of bath salts* inside if you want to give the gift some literal weight. Buy for £20 from Amara*.
BERGS POTTER – Copenhagen Glazed Plant Pot and Saucer. When plant pots go posh. I have two of these in different colours and they are supremely photogenic. Not that that’s the main requirement for a plant pot, but it helps… Buy for £65 from Amara.
Top left BODEN Cashmere Chunky Bed Socks. Always a treat and the Boden socks are amazing quality. I still have some from five years ago (the only ones the dog hasn’t chewed) and they’re surviving admirably. Think of them as slippers rather than socks, otherwise the cost is almost too hard to swallow. Buy for £50*.
Top middle LIBERTY Elderberry Large Weekly Diary 2022. Nothing can replace the feeling of writing actual lists with an actual pen – the annual diary-purchasing event is not dead, I tell you. Buy for £30*.
Right BURLEIGH Blue Calico Medium Tankard Jug 1pt. For those with a penchant for cottagecore, I give you Burleigh pottery. Their calico tankards are up there with my favourite household items. Buy for £37.00 .
Bottom middle APPLE AirPods Pro with MagSafe charging case (2021). It took me a while to get on board with these, as I like silence and don’t really listen to music when I’m on my own, but man are they helpful for blocking out unwanted noise! I use mine to edit video when I’m on the train to London and I now take most of my calls through them rather than holding the phone to my ear, which now seems so 1998. Buy for £189 from Amazon.
Bottom left DEXAM Wooden Magnetic Toast Tongs, Beech Wood. I know; what a weird thing to include in a gift guide. But if you haven’t yet experienced the joy of the toaster tong then you will thank me: it took me thirty-eight years not to burn my fingers every morning and for the past three I’ve been living in a state of domestic bliss. Buy for £5.97 from Amazon.
VIVARAISE – Fara Cushion – 45x45cm – Amber. Cushions with frills, tassels and trims are all the rage (and I’m on board with this trend – never dismiss the power of added interest and texture!) but many of the high-end versions are over a hundred pounds. This is a cheaper route to interiors nirvana and the quality is great. Buy for £31 from Amara*.
DERWENT II Muck Boots. I know they don’t look showstoppingly gorgeous but believe me when I tell you that Muck Boots are unrivalled in terms of comfort, durability and general practicality. They’re like the Nike Airs of the welly world – and come up true to size, in my experience. Buy for £68 from Amazon*.
SOHO HOUSE – Eat, Drink, Nap: Bringing the House Home – hardcover. Buy for 20.99 from Amazon. I’m going to be back shortly with my “books and chocolate” post so if you’re after easy, relatively cheap presents that will look stunning and seem incredibly thoughtful then hold your horses!
I hope that these Christmas Gift Ideas for Her has given you some useful ideas – let me know in the comments if you’ve had any good gifting brainwaves this year!
The eye palette from Chanel’s Holiday 2021 collection has already sold out online so I’m not going to beat around the bush: if you want a special edition Rouge Allure No5 lipstick* or the amazing paper-pulp-packaged No5 perfume* then you’ll have to be quick about it.
You might still find a palette in stores if you hunt far and wide but – sadly – I doubt it. It’s a real collector’s gem with it’s embossed powders and special edition No5 casing. I feel like such a cow even writing about it because what’s the point when nobody can get one?
The line-up of Rouge Allure reds is less of a cruel tease: all shades still in stock at Boots here*. Emblematique is my favourite, very festive and bright, but there’s a red for just about everyone who wants one with the slightly orange-hued Rouge Brulant and the deep, wintery Legendaire. The lipstick has the usual – ultra-sleek – click-and-pull Rouge Allure casing (I wrote about my love of this particular packaging here) and the top has a 5 on it rather than the Chanel logo. The outer cardboard box is also tweaked so that it looks a little like a tiny Chanel No5 package.
And so on to what I personally think is the loveliest Tweak de Chanel for the holiday collection; No5 perfume (or eau de toilette) beautifully encased in not only a special edition outer box but a paper-pulp inner that hugs the glass bottle like a classy, minimalist sarcophagus.
(I just want to point out that the Chanel press office will absolutely love me for using the word sarcophagus in relation to Chanel No5 – you can’t pay for that kind of on-brand coverage.)
Seriously, though, look! I photographed the packaging against the light and as I slowly opened the paper casing the sun shone through the bottle and it was like unveiling some sort of precious gift from the ancient Gods. I half expected angels to start singing.
If you’re a No5 fan then you won’t want to miss this edition – equally, if you know someone special who wears this as their signature scent, it would make a very lovely gift. The label on the bottle is different too, embossed with Gabrielle Chanel’s lucky number.
Which is 5, in case you hadn’t guessed.
If you’re after ideas for Christmas presents then stay tuned for the Christmas Gift Guides – they’re coming very shortly! I know there’s been a bit of a hiatus on those (a two year hiatus, in fact) but I’ve rounded up some juicy morsels for those who are racking their brains and about to resort to buying people gift vouchers. Stay strong, I’m about to make life easier…
I ordered a load of lingerie from the brand Skims* because a) I had seen some rave reviews and b) my friend Rach, who is my personal style and trends barometer, had made an order and been really pleased with the quality of the items.
You can now find Skims at Harrods*, Net-a-Porter* and Selfridges here* – I’m not sure whether it’s the entire range, but there are 600 items so safe to say you’ll probably find what you’re looking for! It’s easier to navigate the Skims website and then cross-check to see whether it’s at Selfridges, but prices seem to be slightly higher on Selfridges than on Skims.
Here’s what I ordered and a little Skims review on each item:
Skims Sculpting Bralette (I had Cocoa in size S/M), £32, online here*: I thought that this gave a really good shape. The fabric was soft and stretchy but not too sheer and it was so comfy, you could easily sleep in it. If you want a top that’s slightly more than a crop top (this has straps with adjusters, for example, and a rubbery band underneath to stop it from riding up) then this gives a more flattering shape than most.
Skims Mesh Plunge Bra (I wore size 32DD in shade Jasper and it felt true to size) £52 at Skims here*: I ordered this to see whether the bras with cup sizing were reasonably true to size and I’m pleased to tell you that this felt pretty much spot on. I loved the seamfree cups and the fabric felt silky and luxurious – the cup shape was also really flattering and gave a lovely shape, for those who don’t like padding or t-shirt-bra-style bras with more structure.
Skims Fits Everybody Crossover Bralette (I had size S and the M and M was probably better) £35 at Skims here*: this was soft and ever so comfy, but I think that the sculpting bralette and the plunge version (below) is a far better buy. This felt quite flimsy considering the price with not much in the way of clever lifting or sculpting. Perhaps it’s better with smaller cup sizes, too – I didn’t feel too supported with this bralette.
Skims Stretch Rib Scoop Bralette (I wore S/M in shade Desert) £39 at Skims here*: I liked this for a bit of casual crop-top sporty action, but it did seem to come up slightly smaller than the rest of the bras and bralettes. I found the matching briefs to be really quite unflattering, but perhaps I needed a medium rather than small size!
Skims Cotton Plunge Bralette (I wore size S in Sedona) £39 at Skims here*: this was my favourite top from the entire order. I couldn’t believe how much plunging it did! I honestly did a double take because usually triangle bras without underwire, like this one, do absolutely nothing for shape. If you were wearing something low and you wanted to have a bit of oomph but still feel very comfy then you’d struggle to do better than this. The matching briefs looked like the underpants of an eighty year old man from the 1950s but let’s gloss over that bit…
Skims Review: Ordering Experience
I found the site easy to navigate and I loved the general appearance and branding. The sizes and shades of all lingerie items were brilliantly varied and inclusive compared to most lingerie and leisurewear brands, but lots of colourways were out of stock when I was browsing which became slightly frustrating.
The order arrived within around five working days, which was great, but it was really expensive to return what I didn’t want. I think I paid £22 for postage with Royal Mail – you can also use Skims’ prepaid courier but I think that was a few pounds more.
Skims Review: Overall Quality
All of the items I ordered felt beautiful and were well made. The Everybody range was made from a very fine, soft fabric – like 100 denier tights – and I was almost scared to handle it in case a nail snagged the fabric! I had the briefs from this range as well as the bralettes and they were comfy and flattering, you can find those online at Skims here*.
I liked the plunge bralette and the sculpting bralette most. I thought that the various briefs that went with the tops were a bit hit and miss, though the mesh briefs that matched the mesh plunge bra were quite sexy*: https://bit.ly/30JtVpv
Have you ordered from Skims? What did you think? If you liked the idea of the soft bras and bralettes then there’s a brand available more easily in the UK called Boody; I ordered some soft bamboo tops a few weeks ago and I love them. You can find those online here* – it’s £16.95 for the shape tops I have.
If you’re in search of a strapless bra then make sure you take a look at my Strapless Bra Try-On with mini reviews on each of the versions I tried.
I have a new eye makeup tutorial for you with some top tips for creating a foolproof smokey eye. This tutorial is in collaboration with Boots who are running a campaign called “Eyes on the Prize”, encouraging people to try bold new eye looks for the party season. With winter festivities almost upon us it’s time to brush up on our party makeup skills – I know that mine are a little rusty from having not gone to any parties, ever, for the past almost-two-years – and find the eye makeup looks that will suit us and perform perfectly time after time.
Smokey eye makeup tutorials are one of the most-searched beauty things on the whole of the internet and for very good reason: the opportunity for a smokey eye to go horribly wrong lies quietly in wait at every step of the way. Too much shadow underneath the bottom lashline and you look like Alice Cooper, not enough blending out and your liner makes your eyes look like tired and tiny. Blend out too enthusiastically and your smokey eye ends up halfway to your temples, go too heavy with the rest of your makeup and you risk looking as though you’re about to appear in a pantomime.
It’s a beauty minefield and I have to admit that I have searched for smokey eye tutorials on Youtube more than I have ever searched for any singular other thing. (Apart from “big cats in boxes”.) I also know that if anything in my makeup routine is going to malfunction it’ll be the smokey eye step.
Over the past year or so, though, I have been trying to hone my smokey eye skills. Interestingly, this has not involved going “bigger and bolder” with my shadows and liner, or playing with jazzy colours, it has been more a process of evaluation and recalibration. I have been studying past photos and videos where I’ve been really pleased with my smokey eye makeup and trying to work out what it is about certain processes that seem to guarantee a successful smoke.
I’ve taken my conclusions and learnings and applied them to a brand new makeup tutorial – the written version is below and the video is on Instagram here. It’s a very uncomplicated smoked-out eye that’s quick to do but requires a bit of thought and patience, because it’s the building-up of the shadow and liner that creates the softer lines and the slightly elongated shape that lifts the corners of the eyes and stops everything from looking a bit sad and…jaded.
(Fake it until you make it, eh? Haha.)
(To be clear I’m not sad, but definitely feeling jaded this year.)
Here are my top tips for foolproof smokey eye makeup; I have been sticking to these rules and I have to say that I’ve been having a much higher success rate with my eye makeup. You can find a full step-by-step on Instagram here and all of the products shown, including brushes, are available at boots.com.
Always apply a wash of base eyeshadow colour to the lid. I often used to skip this stage, wondering why on earth it would be important to apply a shadow that was almost identical in tone to your own eyelid skin, but there’s method to the madness.
The eye shadow creates a different surface to bare skin – it’s less oily, it’s smoother and it means that other (darker) shadows applied on top seem to blend more easily and with a far superior finish. It’s a really worthwhile step.
Here I’ve applied Deep Chic from the NARS Voyageur “Suede” palette (at Boots here*), which is one of my all time favourite eyeshadow palettes. I can find a use for every one of the six shades and a couple of them (namely Soleil and Jumeirah) can be used alone, blended over the whole lid, for an instantly glamorous look. In around fifteen seconds. It’s also happens to be really petite which makes it much more portable than the majority of palettes and the shadows themselves are densely pigmented and long-wearing.
Use a chunky buffing brush to blend out your darker shadow – it feels clumsy but it saves time and leaves a seamless finish!
Here I’ve placed my darker shadow shade – I’ve used the deepest shade in the palette, Graffiti – in a sort of V shape, going along the outer half of the top lashline and then into the crease. I’ve then used Real Techniques’ excellent Deluxe Crease brush (300, here*) to blend out.
The “darker shade” step is where it can all go a bit wrong. And the placement of the darker shade is also a little dependant on your eye shape, just to add some more trouble to the mix. I like to elongate my eyes slightly and so I tend to pull the shadow upwards and outwards towards the tail end of my eyebrow. A good trick is to follow the curve of your lower lashline – take a look at my Instagram video to see how I create a very small “wing” or “flick” to lift my eyes.
Take the same shadows – base and darker – beneath the lower lashline, building them up in the same way you did the lids. I start with the base using my fluffy brush and then take a smudge brush (Real Techniques again*!) for the darker shadow.
Blending this shadow in means that eyeliner doesn’t look so hard or stark – I find that it really hazes out the lines and is so much more flattering than eyeliner alone. I used a Bare Minerals Mineralist eyeliner (in Graphite and then Copper, I only used both because I can’t see without my glasses and thought the Graphite was black – tip: wear your glasses to read labels!) inside my waterline.
Buy Bare Minerals Mineralist eye liner
It helps to keep your eyes open as much as possible when you’re looking in the mirror to do your eye makeup, rather than closing the one you’re working on. When it comes to creating shadow, your eye looks totally different when the lid is open and that’s how it’s going to be the majority of the time when you’re in your makeup so I find that things turn out better if I try to look at the mirror levelly when I’m blending and adjusting.
I’ve used a great mascara here, to finish off the eyes – Urban Decay’s Perversion (at boots.com here*).
I don’t usually like these large brushes but this one creates really good volume and I love that it’s buildable. You can even go back in ten, twenty minutes later and layer on another coat. It doesn’t go crispy or hard like a lot of mascaras so when you want to add that extra boost it just slips on nicely!
Keep the brows understated for a fresher overall look. I never want my brows to fight with the smokey eye (ding ding, in the red corner!) and so I tend to do minimal grooming.
In this look I’ve forgone any sort of actual brow product and simply sprayed my Benefit brow brush with some Elnett hairspray to comb upwards and fix the hairs in place.
(There are also loads of amazing brow shapers – gels, brow pencils and so on – that will do the above and add volume or colour to the brows. One of my most-used is Benefit’s Gimme Brow, which is here* at Boots.)
You can see that the rest of the makeup is really pretty minimal too. Once you’ve done the building and blending on the eyes (maximum of ten minutes, including mascara, even though it sounds like it would take longer) the skin takes minutes and the lips are just a quick graze-and-pat of a my-lips-but-better shade of lipstick.
I used Dior Forever Skin Glow in shade 2N followed by Fenty bronzer in Private Island and a touch of Benefit’s Galifornia blush.
I lined my lips with a shade very close to my natural one (this is a NYX pencil in Nude Pink) and then grazed my lips lightly with the side of my Bare Minerals lipstick in Grace. No opaque lip colour here, just graze and pat for a “my lips but better” sort of look.
And ta-dah, it’s done. I reckon the eyes, with all of the blending and building up, take me around ten minutes and all of the rest another five. There are faster ways to a smokey eye (crayons that you scribble on and then blend) but I like the depth that this one has to it, it’s slightly more sultry.
Just add very low-cut spangly bodysuit (which raises all kinds of questions about the wisdom of subjecting yourself to gusset fastenings and a garment which basically cuts you in half from the bottom up) and big, textured hair (I tonged mine and sprayed it with the aforementioned L’Oreal Elnett!) and you’re ready to party.
I ordered a load of Adidas jogging bottoms and shorts because I suddenly had the urge to wear something other than massively oversized maternity trousers when I’m working from home. When I’m going to be sitting at my desk for hours, I invariably want something incredibly comfortable – loose around the waistband and ideally fleece-lined, sort of like the trouser equivalent of a dressing gown – and so I’ve often gravitated towards things I wore in my pregnancies.
I can’t say it’s the best look. Some of the maternity trousers even have holes in them. But they all tend to fit quite closely on the legs whilst giving the sense of blessed freedom around the torso and so it’s hard to give them up. I also have a pair of yoga harem-style pants, even though I’ve never actually done yoga, and they have a huge wide legs at the top and a flap of fabric that inexplicably hangs across one side, as though trying to conceal an item that I’ve attempted to smuggle between my legs. A fire hydrant perhaps, or a medium-sized cat. They are pretty comfy, I have to say, but could I nip to the shops in them? No I could not.
If I’m working at my desk I need to feel completely at ease, with no restrictions to my physical person, but I also need to know that at a moment’s notice I can be ready to greet someone I’m not married to (the postman, my next door neighbour, the list continues) (in fact the list is almost infinite, because I’m not married to absolutely everyone on the planet apart from Mr AMR) and/or hop in the car and fetch something from the supermarket.
So in this video I try on the new Adidas joggers and shorts that arrived (very promptly!) in my postbox the other week. There were some clear favourites and also one surprise mystery garment that I made fun of yet everyone on Instagram loved. Needless to say, I ended up keeping that particular garment and adding a matching tracksuit top to my subsequent order the following week, because I am so easily enabled…
I’ve linked to the products below the video for those who want to cut to the chase and not watch me prancing about like a fool.
AD info: no paid or sponsored content. Bought items myself apart from Hush coat, which I HAVE also actually bought in a smaller size FYI because I think the 10 might be too big. Affiliate links are marked *.
ADIDAS ESSENTIALS FRENCH TERRY 3-STRIPES JOGGERS – buy for £35 from Adidas *
ADIDAS PRIMEBLUE SST TRACKSUIT BOTTOMS – buy for £43 from Adidas*
ADIDAS MARATHON 20 SHORTS – buy for £22 from Adidas*
ADIDAS RUN IT SHORTS – buy for £22 from Adidas*
HUSH Leighton Teddy Coat – buy for £179 from Hush*
Watch my Trying on: M&S CLOTHES video.
I’m back with this month’s favourite things, including (spoiler alert) the best book I’ve read this year, a rather festive jumper and an eyeshadow palette that costs less than a tenner but will last a lifetime. Read on, my friends, read on – the video is at the bottom of the page, for those who wish to hear my dulcet tones. And see the festive jumper in real life.
Hush jumper, online here*
My first favourite is the newest: this jumper was delivered about an hour before I filmed the video and it was instant love. I like that it’s a looser knit than most Christmassy jumpers – it doesn’t feel too chunky or restrictive beneath coats. Which is a big issue for me when it comes to chunky jumpers; they’re designed to keep you warm but then you basically have to wear them as an outer layer because if you try to put a coat over the top you can’t move your arms.
Aveeno Spray, at Boots here*
Talking of moving your arms, this Aveeno After-Shower Mist cuts out a hell of a lot of unnecessary action when it comes to post-shower body lotion application. You just lazily spray at yourself and then, if you can summon up the energy, pat in the residue. And this is powerful stuff, this mist – it almost leaves a gloss to the skin, it’s so moisturising. No flimsy old watery scented spray here, it’s as good as a cream but, er, not in a cream. It’s also only £4.99 at Boots*!
Soho Home Greyson Lamps, online here
I procrastinated too much over these lamps and then they sold out and I kicked myself. Then I found them on Liberty (who now stock selected items from Soho Home, as do Amara) and that is where my happy tale ends. I have to say, the maximum bulb wattage allowed in the lamps is quite dismal, so I have to read my bedtime stories half-hanging off the side of my mattress in order to illuminate the page, but apart from the fact that the most basic functionality of the lamp is questionable, they were an excellent purchase. Next month: a chocolate fireguard.
Bliss and Sorrow by Meg Mason – online here*
This is one of the best books I’ve read this year and I’ve read some absolute corkers. Shuggie Bain, A Little Life, Queenie, Exciting Times; I haven’t been voracious with my reading but nearly everything I’ve read has been startlingly good and so to say that Bliss and Sorrow is one of the best is no small compliment. It’s a mighty feat of a novel. I think because it’s just so enjoyable. It’s the sort of book you want to tell everyone about when you’re only two chapters in; there’s a laugh out loud moment on nearly every page and a sort of upbeat, sing-song tempo to the narrative despite the dark, upsetting undertones.
It’s dense with humorous sorrow. Is there such a thing as humorous sorrow? There is in this book. It’s sad event after sad, destructive event, but it’s so excruciatingly witty that you can’t stop reading. And that’s what I like – books that call me to bed and make me read by the – quite frankly pathetic – light of my new lamps.
Revolution Pro Eyeshadow Palette, online here*
This gorgeous eyeshadow palette is nine pounds. Nine pounds! Dense pigment, soft, easy-to-blend texture and the most startling array of shades. Each one, to me, looks like the surface of a planet. It’s just beautiful. The casing isn’t anything to write home about and there’s no mirror in the lid but…it’s nine pounds. Find of the month.
OK, here I am rambling away and careering through the house with my camera at weird angles – enjoy:
The post 5 FASHION, BEAUTY & HOME FAVOURITES | OCTOBER 2021 appeared first on Ruth Crilly.