Thursday, 31 December 2015

My 2015

Where do I begin? 2015 has been a roller coaster of emotions for me. I actually quite hate that expression, but in this case, it is the one needed.
The year started with lots of highs but is now ending unfortunately on a heartbreaking low.

As some of my regular readers may know, my mum was diagnosed with secondary breast cancer in 2013 and I blogged about her treatment and how Revitalash helped her to keep her lashes during chemotherapy. We started the new year in January with great news that her cancer, which was un-curable but treatable, was stable still.

We were so positive for the year ahead and I was able to delve back into work, with her needing little practical support from me. I had the opportunity to work with some very talented people on some incredible shoots and work at London Fashion Week for another year which I loved.
I have travelled more than ever this year too, holidaying in Sharm El Sheikh, Paris and Cyprus with my boyfriend. Being our first full year together I think we did pretty well! These trips have left me with wonderful memories and have definitely been my highlights. Although when I was on my quad bike in the middle of the Egyptian desert, and somehow managed to crash into the only tree out there, I may not have agreed!

Unfortunately the months of July, August and September hold a bunch of much darker memories. My beautiful mummy had a regular CT scan which showed that her hormone tablet had stopped working and that the cancer was starting to spread again.
More chemotherapy was planned but sadly it kept having to be pushed back, as my mum kept becoming very anaemic so it wouldn't have been safe to fill her with deadly chemicals.
Each week there would be a hospital visit, still with the hope to getting her fit enough to continue treatment. But her blood counts were dropping fast even after many transfusions and then her platelets too. She even developed pneumonia which didn't help and she gradually got weaker and weaker.

On September 29th my worst nightmare came true and I lost my best friend.
Since then my life has been a blur of dumbness, anger and sadness.
I have lots of support from my family and friends, and I am trying desperately hard to work through each day and keep going. I know that my mum wanted me to be happy and get on with my life. She was my biggest fan and I want to do her proud. But it doesn't make it any easier.

I am writing this post today, in no way asking for sympathy, but to reflect and almost to help me get my thoughts out. It helps to talk, and type even.
I also have found that reading about other people's experiences with grief, and finding people who are currently in my situation is a big help. Knowing that you are not alone is so important.
So if anyone can take any comfort from myself, it would be worth it.

One thing that I have learnt this year is that life is short. Far too short. My lovely mum was only 56, but I wouldn't swap her for the world. In 2016 I want to:

 * Live life to the fullest, as much as I can.
 * Appreciate the small things everyday that make me smile
 * Nurture the relationships in my life. These are the most important things.
 * Help to raise awareness of breast cancer
 * Raise money for the incredible district nurses and hospices that do such an invaluable job
 * Make my mum proud and keep her alive everyday through myself
 * Start a business
 * Travel lots
 * Stop worrying about what others think

I hope that you all had a wonderful year and Christmas. If you are making any resolutions please make sure that you all appreciate your families more, take the time to visit and speak regularly throughout 2016. You never know when the option will be taken away.

For my mummy: I love and miss you so so much, but I will carry you with me throughout 2016 and every year after.

Lots of love, Jessica x

My mum and I back in happier times in early 2013


Wednesday, 16 December 2015

A Trip to The New Charlotte Tilbury Boutique

Since seeing the stunning photographs of Charlotte Tilbury's new boutique store in Covent Garden all over social media, I have been dying to pop in. So when my boyfriend mentioned that he would be heading into the West End to meet up with one of his friends, it was the perfect excuse (not that I really need one, but I like to justify!).

Last Friday we got the train into central London and as we stepped through the barriers of Covent Garden tube, there it was. Smack bang in front of me in all its glory.
I have to be honest with you all though, it wasn't everything that I had hoped. I only stayed upstairs to look at the products, as I didn't have an appointment, so I can only give my opinion on this area.
However, I left feeling a little deflated.

Before I go any further I will say that I adore Charlotte Tilbury and her makeup. As you will have read on my blog already, I am in love with her products and use them all the time on myself and also my clients. They are stunning and there is no denying that. So this opinion of mine is no reflection on her range.

I think maybe one of the main factors that I didn't enjoy was how busy it was in there. The upstairs isn't a huge area and it was jam packed full of women all waiting to be served and testing out colours on their hands. This in itself isn't an issue, of course it has only recently opened, and like me, everyone is excited to pop in. But there was an unfriendly vibe from the artists working in there. A guy who looked like a security guard by the door, was having to tell the artists when and who to help, even though they weren't all busy. None of them looked particularly happy either....perhaps they were overwhelmed by the amount of clients!

There was an area where two makeup artists were applying products to customers, right by the till, so everyone was struggling to pay, and their sections were very messy. Again, as an artist myself I know how messy things can get, but it just didn't seem to be getting tidied and was a shame in the glamorous surroundings.

My final observation was that certain parts of the shop, to me, are already starting to look a touch worn. I adore the art deco style of Charlotte's packaging and how her boutique is like stepping back in time, I am a big fan of the 1920's myself. However, the mirrored panelling that surrounds the island makeup counter in the centre of the shop, which open as cupboards to house the stock, was looking quite smeared and not in the best condition.
I might be sounding harsh here, but having worked in salons where I was taught that the attention to detail and customer experience was vital, I found it hard to not notice these things.

The downstairs of the boutique where the makeup appointments happen could be just as beautiful as the photographs show, and I sure hope it is.
Congratulations to Charlotte Tilbury though, as judging by how fast she is growing and how busy the boutique was, business is doing well. Makeup appointments are also getting booked extremely fast, especially with her lead artists.
I just hope that when the initial excitement calms down, the shop continues to stay in the great condition that was first created and that everyone can experience that VIP treatment that Charlotte wants.

Of course I did purchase a few items...had to be done!

Light Wonder Youth-Boosting Perfect Skin Foundation in 2 Fair and Amazing Grace Matte Revolution lipstick


Sunday, 13 December 2015

Beauty: My Current Skincare Routine

During the past few weeks the weather in England has been, not surprisingly, extremely indecisive. Switching between central heating and then freezing cold winds all day, can cause havoc on our skin and my skin has definitely been affected. My face has been feeling much drier than usual, so I decided it was time to re-visit my skincare routine. 
As I have mentioned in previous posts, even though I preach the importance of skincare to my makeup clients, I do have the tendency to be naughty myself and use the trusty Simple wipes far too often. The guilt is real, but the struggle is also real when I am half asleep and just want to get into my warm bed!

So I raided the bathroom cabinet and re-discovered a lot of my favourite products to give my skin a moisture boost.

Instead of using my lazy makeup wipes, I have been cleansing my face with the Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, which is very gentle and doesn't strip my skin at all. Then I use the lovely Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish with my muslin cloth, to make sure that all of my makeup has been removed, and to soothe my skin. This is such a classic product now but it is a great one and also has a beautiful light scent.

Once I have thoroughly cleansed I have been applying the BioEffect EGF Serum. This is a well-blogged product, but it definitely works and leaves my skin feeling super hydrated and glowing in the morning. It only contains 8 ingredients and can be applied all over the face and neck, including around the eyes, so this is the only product needed. It absorbs easily and gives my skin a well needed boost overnight.

These are my chosen moisturisers for the day, which I apply before my makeup. I featured these in my October Favourites last month, and they have still been top of my list. SBC Collagen I find to be a lighter moisturiser, if I feel like I don't need to go too heavy. It smells super fresh and leaves a slight glow to my cheeks. Clinique Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief is one of my personal favourites. Similar to the SBC it is a gel, so it soaks into the skin beautifully and leaves it feeling so so soft and smooth.

After completing this ritual of products for a while now, my skin has changed massively and is no longer dry. I have even found myself using less foundation too, as it is brighter and has a more-even tone. So benefits all round!

Let me know if you have any hero products for the winter months...

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Beauty: A Sprinkle in Pink by Essie

'A sprinkle in pink'. These few words appeal to me very much. I am a fan of anything pink and also have a magpie eye, so I can spot a sparkle miles off and generally want it for my own!
So naturally, I had to pick up this Essie polish set when I saw it in Boots. I am already an Essie fan, and know that their formulations are great, and these two are no different.

The set consists of 'Fiji' which is a super pretty pale pink, and then 'A Cut Above' is the beautiful multi-dimension top coat. The brush included made painting really easy, covering the whole nail almost in one stroke, and I love how the tip is rounded which mimics the shape of the nail bed. Anything that makes painting easier is a thumbs up from me...especially if it can help make my right hand look better, my left hand does not co-operate often!

The glitter pieces in the top coat are a lovely metallic darker pink, and I really like how there is a variety of sizes, so they catch the light in different ways.
This polish has been on my nails for around 10 days now and it is still looking good, with hardly any chips, so I am happy with the longevity too.

After receiving a few compliments on my nails over the past week, I think this may become my December and Christmas look. I think is is perfect for the upcoming party season and would look stunning on a night out. Also it would be a really cute present for any beauty lovers.


Tuesday, 1 December 2015

Lifestyle: The No Bra Challenge

How many of you feel the pure bliss when you get home from work and take off your bra? I know there are lots of you that are with me on this one! It is a ritual, along with pulling on those cosy leggings, tying the hair into a topknot and taking off the days jewellery. Am I right girls? It is one of the best feelings!

Now without going into detail, I am not exactly huge up top, but some days there is nothing more uncomfortable than a piece of wire crushing your ribs and straps digging into your shoulders. I am certainly not at the bra-burning level of hatred just yet, however each morning now when I am choosing my outfit, I trial to see whether I can get away with not wearing the dreaded bra.
I can officially report to you girls that it is revolutionary. There have been so many dresses, which tend to be fitted at the top, which I can be free in. It isn't noticeable and has made me very excited.
The best thing about Winter to me is now the baggy jumper, which I am living in. You can totally get away without it!

So I challenge you all, don't just assume every day it is needed, try it without first and have a comfortable day at work. You are!
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