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Is Your Skin Picture Perfect?

My gorgeous friends Sukanya and Scotsman Andrew got married yesterday (wedding celebration number one).  As a bridesmaid, I was less than pleased to note that my skin was less than picture perfect for the all day event.

Appalled and puzzled I questioned why I had not achieved my glowing status.  Had I not eaten enough fruit and vegetables?  Have I left myself a little bit dehydrated?  Or was it the downgrade from Clarins to the modest Garnier moisturiser?  A grave mistake maybe and yet I am not entirely convinced that this is the problem.  It may be a little bit harsh but I am sending the Garnier pot straight to the bin all the same.

Beauty junkies I think I’ve got it.  As I pulled out all the brushes that I used to transform the bridesmaids yesterday, I prepared them for the weekly clean. 

I may complain that I’ve failed to get the look for less with Garnier, but you know what, I’ve been so busy that I think I’ve forgotten to clean my makeup brushes recently.  Some makeup artists may tell you to clean your brushes as often as you use them, whilst other experts say weekly.  Either way, I may have been using dirty brushes on pristine skin. 

I am horrified but I may have allowed bacteria and oils from my skin to build up on my brushes.  I’ll never know but ladies, if you’ve got a bit of down time this weekend, then don’t forget to clean your brushes.

How to clean your brushes

There are various products out there today, including spray type makeup cleaners.  I tend to use shampoo, facial cleansers or sometimes even a mild hand wash to clean my brushes.

I apply the cleanser or shampoo directly onto the bristles, and then lather up soapy foam before rinsing thoroughly with water.  Some of my brushes have wooden handles, so I lay them flat on a towel or on my kitchen bench to dry.  If you are in a hurry, I have used a blow dryer to speed up this process.

Cleaning your brushes regularly may also help maintain your skin.  If you are doing all the right things with nutrition and hydration, then don’t forget your weekly clean for your brushes.  Your skin will certainly thank you for it.

On that note, I think I'll go for a clay mask tonight.  How do you clean your brushes?

A 1950s House Wife Training – The Secret To A Successful Marriage?

My friend is getting married next weekend!  Saturday was her hen’s party.  To get her prepped for the long years of matrimony, we treated her to an afternoon on ‘A 1950s housewife training’.  

The workshop was led by a tutor who started the afternoon with ‘how to walk’ like a lady.  We even practised this with books on our heads and then proceeded to learn ‘how to enter’, ‘sit like a lady’ and then ‘how to exit a room elegantly’.

The whole experience was crazy but so much fun.  We then learnt the art to keeping our husbands happy.  Always take a 15 minute nap in the day to recover from all the house work and take time to revive and look attractive with freshly applied make-up before your husband returns home.

Is this the secret to long lasting happiness as husband and wife?  A 1950s housewife would say, ‘remember that your problems are insignificant in comparison to your husband’s’.  Pour him a drink as soon as he arrives home, take off his shoes, offer him a foot rub and then listen to all his problems attentively.  Never complain to him about your own problems.‘ 

Have dinner ready promptly and ensure that the children are scrubbed clean from head to toe and swiftly tucked in bed after family dinner.  How very Audrey Hepburn, or not!

If you are feeling outraged, don’t worry.  Thank god it’s 2012!  But just in case, you may want to check out my make-up looks below.

Chocolate French Eyes

I am certainly no make-up artist and have no intention of changing profession, but I do know that my girlfriends always ask me to beautify them before a night out.  It certainly gives me pleasure to glam them up and to see their confident smiles after their transformations.

I believe that it's healthy and important to focus on your favourite parts of your body. This is vital when you have just embarked on a journey towards a healthier or slimmer you.  Results are not expected to materialise overnight.  There’s still the current you who rightfully needs your tender loving care! 

By focusing the attention towards the best parts of your body, you are likely to be confident whilst radiating happiness from within.

Celine, I know how much you loved the 'chocolate french eyes' as I call it, so here's how I created the look for you.

1. ERA Satin, by MAC
2. Ombres Sur Mesure, the dark brown shadow only by Yves Saint Laurent
3. Busy Signal (a dark chocolate shimmery paste) by Benefit

Use a primer or your foundation as a base to ensure that your make-up lasts.  Apply ERA all over eye lid by packing the colour (do not swipe).  Go only as high as your crease line.  This is a pale dusky pink with tiny gold and shimmer flecks through it.  It’s a really pretty colour.  To add intensity to your look, using a fluffy brush, apply the chocolate powder shadow by YSL to the outer third of your eye lid and blend for a smoky effect.  I love this colour as it also has tiny gold flecks through it.  Next line your bottom lower lash line and then line your entire eyes with brown or black kohl.  Finally line your eyes (both upper and lower lash lines) with ‘busy signal’ by getting as close to your lash line as possible.  I also like to apply a touch of gold or white to the inner corners of the eye.  Lashings of mascara and then you are done. 

Purple Eyes

As I plough through my weight-loss & healthy eating program, I like to reward myself every month for my efforts. Instead of rewarding my hard work with boozy nights out or expensive dinners, I like to take the attention completely away from food.   

This is especially important if you are an emotional eater.  I am first to admit that I’m likely to grab my girlfriends for cocktails after a tough day or to tuck into Movenpick’s delicious double chocolate ice cream when I am emotionally devastated!

Not a fabulous plan, as all this does is to make me feel worse.  I would have added hundreds of unnecessary calories.  With the clock ticking warningly and important wedding dates only weeks away, I really need to curb back temptations to digress and replace old ‘bad habits’ with new delights.

One of my favourite things are eye shadows.  I simply love MAC eye shadow palettes, but then again, who doesn’t?  I often reward myself with a new colour each month (yes I do have a modestly large collection of make-up) but then again, don't you?  The best part, this is definitely a fantastic day out with the girls - shopping for make-up!  Or shopping, full stop.

As a purple lover, it’s no surprise that I love this particular look.

Purple Eyes

After applying foundation as a primer, I cover the entire lid with Beautiful Iris by MAC (the purply lilac shade in the middle - refer to photo above).  I then apply black or Smut (left in the photo above), also by MAC to the outer corner of the eye lid (about the outer third).  Blend.  Lastly apply Granite Block by Estee Lauder over Smut, to darken the lids for a night out.  Apply a touch of white shimmer to the inner corner of your eyes for that wide-eyed look!  Line your eyes with black eye liner and you can also apply Smut and Beautiful Iris to the lower eye area to balance the look.  Finish with multiple coatings of mascara. 

I love purple so if you have different ways of wearing purple eye shadow then please do share!   

How do you reward yourself?

I love spending time with Fatty (our family cat) but sadly he lives in New Zealand!  I enjoy playing around with my camera too.  I certainly am not anywhere near passing kindergarten level of photography school, but I absolutely love whipping out the SLR during holidays.  In NZ I decided to practise on my cat.  I should have zoomed more in on the subject, don't you think?

Various studies actually suggest that spending time with your pet can reduce your overall blood pressure levels.  One study in Epidemiology proposed that owning a pet can improve your risk of cardiovascular disease.  However, after controlling for all confounding factors, there was no difference in blood pressure between pet owners and non-owners.

In contrast, a study in Clinical and Experimental Pharmacology and Physiology sounded promising.  It revealed that dog owners in particular were more likely to receive health benefits.  It really is not surprising that dog owners were less likely to be sedentary and enjoyed lower blood pressure, cholesterol, triglyceride profile and improved response to stress in a laboratory setting.

So to all you pet lovers and owners out there, cuddle up with your pet and reap the benefits of potential improved heart health!

If you have any thoughts on this, then please drop me a line below.  I love and look forward to your comments and certainly take the time to read all of your comments.