Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Track of the Week - Shur-I-kan

Now those of you who know me will know that the monthly podcasts from Shur-I-kan are a firm favourite in my car as he's always bang on the money with some of the finest new deep house out there.

This week is no exception with his latest remix out on Loco Records, The Rusty Piano by Karol XVII and MB Valence. The Polish duo are responsible for the absolutely corker of a record - Snatches (my personal favourite is the Soul Minority Remix - which you can listen to here)

Featured on his January 2012 podcast and released this week (26th February), Shur-I-Kan's remix is deep, full of groove and with a name like that obviously has an awesome piano hook...

Have a listen, I'd love to know what you think of this one?


Sunday, 26 February 2012

Giorgio Armani Beauty

I love a good freebie as much as the next blogger and was delighted when I picked up last week's copy of Grazia magazine to find they had teamed up with Giorgio Armani Beauty to offer readers a chance to get their hands on a tailor made make up set from the brand.

All I had to do was book my consultation at one of the selected GA counters (Harvey Nichols in Leeds in my case) in advance and take along the voucher in the magazine.
The promotion was to showcase four of Giorgio Armani's best selling products  
  • Luminous Silk Foundation
  • Fluid Sheer shimmering face colour
  • Blushing Fabric second skin blush
  • Eyes to Kill Excess Mascara
All of the products would be available in sample sizes in my colours to take home after the consultation. 

I was happy with my make up on the evening, I went straight out after and didn't manage to get any decent (sober) pictures - amateur mistake I know!

I loved the foundation (£34 - shade 4.5 for my fair skin) - thought it provided great coverage and left me with a lovely dewy finish. The MUA had created a substantial base first though with the Armani Regenessence Youth Regenerator serum, the Light Master Make Up Primer and covered my uneven red areas of my skin with High Precision Retouch. I absolutely loved this concealer and the MUA taught me a great trick to line my lips with the concealer as I don't have a very defined lip line and this worked really well.

The blusher (£29)is highly pigmented so I only needed a small amount but you could build up the colour to suit, and the highlighter (£34) was nice but too shimmery for my taste. Personally I think Benefit High Beam would work as a cheaper substitute. As both these products are extremely concentrated you only need a very small amount, so despite the high price tag I think these would work out good value for money in the long run. 

The Luminous Silk is a similar price to the Chanel foundation I currently use so would definitely consider getting this next time once I've tried out the sample without all the other Armani products.

Will share a look with you when I try these products out myself at home! 

Have you tried the Armani Beauty range?


Friday, 24 February 2012

Fairtrade Fortnight

Fairtrade Fortnight 2012 runs from 27 February - 11 March where the Fairtrade Foundation will be calling for support.

This can be as simple as switching your choice of coffee to trying a new product or getting involved by joining the facebook group or a local campaign.

To mark the occasion and give you some inspiration, I thought I'd post a fairtrade special.

Wherever you see the Fairtrade Foundation logo it marks an independent consumer guarantee that the farmers producing the Fairtrade ingredients in a beauty product are getting a better deal – receiving a fair and stable, minimum price and Fairtrade premium, receiving pre-financing where requested and benefiting from longer-term, more direct trading relationships.

Fairtrade Beauty Brands
Beauty products are not made up of 100% fairtrade ingredients - only the natural ingredients contained in beauty products may be certified fairtrade. The key ones are brazil nut oil, shea butter, cocoa butter and sugar.

While the number of fairtrade products out there do lag considerably behind the rest of the market, there are still some gems to be had. Here's a few of my favourites...

Neals Yard Remedies Sensual Jasmine Shower Gel
Enriched with Fairtrade honey, Fairtrade rooibos and essential oils of jasmine and ylang ylang this shower gel smells absolutely gorgeous. The Iconic blue NYR packaging is also made from recycled materials.

Boots Extracts Brazil Nut Body Scrub
Boots stocks a number of Fairtrade products including a range of body washes and scrubs under the Extracts brand. My favourite is the rich Extracts Brazil Nut Body Scrub which contains natural scrub to exfoliate along with Fairtrade and organic brazil nut oil that leaves skin smooth.
Body Shop Brazil Nut Body Butter
Follow up the shower gel and exfoliator with this gorgeous body butter from The Body Shop containing Fairtrade brazil nut oil, shea butter and and cocoa butter giving it the ultra creamy texture and super moisturising finish!

Lush Fairtrade Foot Lotion
Peppermint and spearmint stimulate the circulation, bring blood to the surface of the skin and help cool and soothe tired feet. The foot lotion also contains arnica - a natural homeopathic remedy to help with bruising and swelling and the Fairtrade cocoa butter and almond oil helps soften the skin and prevent cracks.

Its great to see that you can pretty much get cleansed, toned and moisturised from head to toe these days with a whole host of yummy products that are Fairtrade. I'd love to see more from the industry to innovate within this category particularly to develop a fairtrade make up proposition.

If in doubt of how you can get involved, watch the short video below from Fairtrade Fortnight 2011

For a more comprehensive list of Fairtrade certified beauty brands visit the Fairtrade Foundation website


Thursday, 23 February 2012

Operation Nails SOS

I'd love to be able to share some Nail of the Day posts but the recent extreme cold has left me with really bad nail condition. Unless I'm taking extra care every day, I suffer with flaking nails and my thumb nails have a tendency to split very far down (see the second picture)

I realise these photos are nearly as offensive as that fungal nail advert that used to be on TV, so if you're of a delicate disposition I would look away now...

To support me in my quest for perfect nails I am going to use the following product regime:

Duri Rejuvacote Nail Strengthener
After mentioning my nail issues the other week, a colleague at work recommended this product. The marketing spiel states when used as a basecoat to start and then 3-4 times a week over your polish, this product aims to build up the layers of your nail. Duri Rejuvacote claims that when used correctly and consistently, it has an impressive success rate of 99%, and has such a large and loyal following including celebrity fans include Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jessica Simpson, Kate Beckinsale, Cheryl Cole and Rachel Stevens.

Elemis Frangipani Monoi Body Oil
I've had this product in my beauty collection for a while now and never seemed to get round to using it. However, following the recent launch of Elemis' new Pro-Collagen Hand and Nail Cream, they have released the Anti-Aging Perfect Hands Kit that includes this product. At the Elemis counter they advised me that as well as being great for the face or hair, the Frangipani Monoi oil is perfect to be used as a nail and cuticle oil so I have decided to incorporate it into my nail rescue regime.

Aveeno Hand Cream
I'm quite fussy about hand cream but this one claims "to moisturise for 24 hours, forming a protective glove and last through hand washing". It is also fragrance and paraben free so thought I'd give this one a try.

I will apply a new layer of the Duri Rejuvacote daily for 7 days over the existing layer, use the Elemis Frangipani Monoi oil twice daily (morning and evening) and use the Aveeno hand cream in the morning after I have showered and applied the oil. 

I'll come back in a week and let you know how I'm getting on...


Track of the Week - Wild Belle

Moving away from my usual first choice of house music, I'm going for something a bit different this week.

Introducing the debut single from Wild Belle - American brother and sister duo, Natalie and Elliot Bergman. The band have already been making a name for themselves Stateside and this reggae sounding hit titled Keep You is released in the UK today.

There's something about this track that I think shouts of Mark Ronson production from his Version days. I'm loving the haunting guitar reverb and funky horns section...

Can't find any details of plans for UK tour dates but you can keep up to date with the latest on their facebook page or on twitter @wildbellemusic

Do you like this one from Wild Belle?


Tuesday, 21 February 2012

SS 2012 Trends: Sports Luxe

Following on from my post on Colour Blocking I wanted to share my other favourite easy-to wear trend for Spring/Summer 2012.

As the nation is gripped in Olympic fever (well still fuming I didn't get any tickets), fashion has gone Sports Luxe crazy.

Helmut Lang
Victoria Beckham

In non-designer speak that doesn't refer to functional sports wear but does give a nod to cuts such as racer backs, cut out sections (maybe not til I've got rid of the Christmas podge), go faster stripes and panelling as well as loose fitting trousers. The key difference is these designs are all created in luxury (looking) materials like silk, cashmere and neoprene.

H&M have once again gone designer and teamed up with Frida Gustavsson to create a Sports Luxe range. Here's a sneak preview...

Frida Gustavsson for H&M Summer 2012

I'm loving this simple top that I bought from Warehouse with the mesh shoulder detail available in black or grey (might show this in an OOTD soon)
Mesh Panelled Top - Warehouse £30

My absolute favourite high street take on this look is from Asos for £32 and is also available in blue and yellow. I may have to buy this one - love the back!

ASOS Body Con Dress with Zip Front - £32

This is a great take on the Stella McCartney dresses worn by Kate Moss and Yasmin Le Bon at her Winter Eveningwear show at London Fashion Week.

Kate Moss and Yasmin Le Bon wear Stella McCartney at London Fashion Week

Here are my other picks from the high street:

Bright Blue Cut Out Mesh Dress - River Island £20

Paprika Body Con Panelled Dress with Contrast Shoulders - Asos £23 in Sale

Paprika Cut Out Body Con Dress with Neon Strap - Asos £14.50 - SALE BARGAIN!

If bodycon isn't your thing then this could be a better choice - I love the colour combo of grey with neon piping.

Piped Detail Silk T-Shirt Dress - Warehouse £65

Would love to know if you'll be wearing Sports Luxe this season?


Friday, 17 February 2012

Weekend Hot Mix

In honour of my Gig of the Month tonight (check post out here), this weekend's hot mix is going to be a deep house special.

This is my absolute favourite mix from 2011 - it got played more times than I care to admit on a two and a half week road trip in Croatia last year so for me it brings back great memories of summer.

Introducing the lovely Jonny Wren and his June 2011 Vibes Mix. Jonny is a resident at T-Pot in London and regularly plays at Below in Birmingham.

I love Jonny's style as he has a talent for keeping a groove running throughout a mix whether it be deep or techy - I challenge you to listen without nodding your head/tapping your feet!

There are so many great tracks on this 1 hr 40 minute mix and I'm not giving anything away before you've had a chance to listen - if you like it, feel free to hit the download button...

Would love to know what you think?

Last Weekend's Hot Mix


Wednesday, 15 February 2012


Fashion has gone pastel mad for spring 2012 with pretty pinks and blues and daffodil yellow amongst the soft shades on our shelves. These colours are super girly and will be great once these minus temperatures bugger off and we say goodbye to winter.

I'm coveting one colour in particular - Mint

It works with my fair colouring but I think this would be great for any skin tone.

As usual here's my pick of the high street... My absolute favourite is the Lipsy top - definitely my star buy that I'll be purchasing on pay day!

1. Warehouse Lace Stripe Jumper - £40 (the picture from their website unfortunately does not do this justice)
2. Topshop Scooter Sporty Platform Sandal - £78
3. OPI Pirates of the Caribbean Mermaid's Tears - £11
4. Topshop Quilt Leather Corner Purse - £16
5. Lipsy Bow Detail Shell Top - £32
6. Make Up Academy Eye Dust Green Shade 3 - £1 (Bargain!)
7. Miss Selfridge Mint Wrap Waist Pintuck Dress - £32
8. Topshop Vibrant Mint Ballet Pumps - £16

Will you be rocking the pastel trend this Spring?


Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Gig of the Month - Franck Roger

You can't imagine my excitement earlier to find out that one of my favourite producers would be playing in Leeds this weekend. French DJ, producer and founder of Real Tone Records, Franck Roger will be doing his thing down at Wire in Leeds for a night called In:Vision.

Franck Roger is responsible for my personal favourite tune to come out of last year - Life is Too Short.

I've ben looking to see this guy live for a while and excited to get the opportunity in my home town in such an intimate venue. Tickets are an absolute steal at £7.

Event is Friday 17th February, doors open 11pm-5am.
Venue: Wire, 2-8 Call Lane, Leeds LS1 6DN.

Gig review to follow. If you like this sound, check out this week's new Hot Mix back on my blog on Friday...


Track of the Week - Real Nice & Cubiq

This week's track isn't brand new by any means but isn't necessarily something that everyone might have heard.

I'm taking it in a deep house direction (my favourite) and supporting local new music with this absolute corker on Leeds label Love Not Money Records. 

Had Enough is the debut release from Real Nice and Cubiq and is only the second release from the label out in December last year. The duo are both classically trained producers so the finished product is near musical perfection - at least to my ears! Great piano hook as well as the vocal from Richard Sonsom.

If you prefer a different sound, check out this link to their Soundcloud page where you can find nu-disco and techno remixes. If you like it, its available to buy on Beatport.

Would love to know what you think of this one?


Monday, 13 February 2012

I Heart Her Hair

I've just seen this photo on Twitter of Lisa Snowdon on her way to the Elle Style Awards styled by Zoe Irwin and if it was possible to swoon at hair there would be major swooning over these locks...

I've been trying to grow my hair for the last 9 months and I've finally managed to grow out my fringe when guess what is now the key trend for 2012...? Yes you're right, fringes. *rolleyes*

This photo has restored my faith to continue with the boring job of growing out those short front layers!

Take a look at some more hair I love on my Pinterest board

Review coming soon of a product that's helping me stave off the 8 weekly hair cuts that little bit longer...

Whose hair do you heart?


Grammys Red Carpet 2012

The 54th Annual Grammy Awards was held in LA last night - here's my pick of the best and worst from the red carpet.

Best Dressed
Woman of the moment Adele picked up 6 awards in total. Despite the recent negative comments from Karl Lagerfeld about her size, she looked stunning in this black sequined Armani Gown. I particularly loved her make up and new blond hair with a take on old Hollywood glamour.

Next up is Kelly Osbourne wearing Tony Ford. Kelly got mixed reviews for her blue Zac Posen dress last month at the Golden Globes but I think she looks fab in this off the shoulder dress - very flattering and shows off her shape in all the right places.

Paris Hilton looked stunning and unusually elegant in this white Basil Soda fitted gown with gold embellishment and belt.

Some articles I've seen today have put Jessie J in the worst dressed category but I thought she looked great in this metallic Julien Macdonald gown - I think it captures her individual style and personality whilst is still fitting for the red carpet.

To round off the best dressed it can be none other than Rihanna in this Giorgio Armani black dress. The plunging neck line and thigh skimming slit ensured she looked smoking hot (as usual!). The back of this dress is stunning too!

Glamour tweeted today that Rihanna's new hair do is her best yet. I completely disagree and think this really lets the dress down... I think it looks too 80's and frazzled... the roots are awful and I can't help but think of Tina Turner! (rant over!)

Worst Dressed

This was the first photo I saw of newly single Katy Perry and I have to say I was disappointed by the blue lace gown by Elie Saab. I actually thought it made her look a bit frumpy - something I never thought I'd say about Katy! Fortunately this was one of three dresses she wore to this year's Grammys and I think she should have stuck with the gorgeous gold Gucci number she was snapped in later during the evening.

The last three celebrities have qualified for my newest category called Sack the Stylist. Take a look why...

Now I know Fergie isn't renowned for her great style but felt she deserved a spot on the worst dressed list for this neon orange lace couture dress by Jean-Paul Gaultier. Proof that designer doesn't always mean stylish in my book.

You'd think David and Kathy Guetta would be able to afford a decent stylist given how much they usually charge to get into their nights - F*ck Me I'm Famous at Pacha in Ibiza charges 70 Euro a ticket! What is that black astronaut inspired jumpsuit she's wearing?

Words can't even describe Nicki Minaj's outfit with Pope accessory... random, tasteless, feel free to add more!

Who are your favourites and worst dressed? What do you think to Rihanna's new look?


Photos sourced from TwinCities

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Weekend Hot Mix

This is definitely one for the ladies! Something to listen to while you get ready or to get the party started before you head out...

This mix is a dedication to Speedqueen (the greatest club in Leeds) by one of my favourite DJ's, Tintin... (ok maybe I'm slightly biased as he's my fella).

Get your dance shoes on and enjoy!

Feel free to click the download button below if you want to listen again :)

Friday, 10 February 2012

Outfit of the Day

My first ever outfit of the day post so please excuse the dodgy posing... still don't think I've got the hang of it yet!

Keeping it simple with a couple of great recent purchases from Next. I got this charcoal/black short sleeved round neck jumper with light grey bird print. I love how cute it is!

I'm wearing my blue Miss Selfridge skinny jeans (my favourite place for skinnies on the high street) and my staple kitten heel suede boots from Office.

I also picked up this gorgeous necklace made up of tiny butterflies. Desperately in need of an accessories haul so this was a great find in the sale for £2.50!

What do you think? Have you found any bargains in the sale?


Thursday, 9 February 2012

Diesel Loverdose

I've been happy with my current day perfume (Hugo Boss Orange) for a while but was looking for a new fragrance to wear on an evening - I prefer something light in the day but want a heavier, warm, longer lasting scent for nights out.

The last evening perfume I was wearing was Calvin Klein Euphoria which my boyfriend always liked. He likes a combination of sweet and musky perfumes, as opposed to light/floral. (That's meant to be a positive description but not sure I've explained it brilliantly as I'm not used to describing perfume!)

According to their website it has "woody oriental" tones which I think sums it up better. I always found Euphoria quite intense and perhaps a bit heady and very strong when first applied so I wanted to try something new.

 I'm now using Loverdose by Diesel which I absolutely adore. The Diesel website describes "The base notes feature the spellbinding warmth of vanilla infusion mingling with ambrox. Creamy liquorice liqueur mixes with woody scents".

Loverdose Ad Campaign
Now I'd never heard of ambrox before so did a little research and ended up being back in a chemisty lesson. Are you ready for the science bit? I don't want to lose you if not so this blog explains it in detail if you fancy reading more... Perfume Shrine Blog

Loverdose Bottle
Essentially this perfume has just the right amount of sweetness and warm musky woody tones (see what I did there?) and its definitely a firm favourite at the moment. Not only do I love the fragrance but the bottle is amazing too - its cut to look like a diamond from a beautiful pink/purple glass.

Diesel Loverdose 50ml RRP is £47.50 but obviously you can find it cheaper if you shop around online.

I'd love to know which perfume you are using?


Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Elle Style Awards 2012 - NEXT Red Carpet Challenge

One of the most prestigious events in the fashion calendar takes place next Monday, with Next proudly sponsoring this year's Elle Style Awards in London.

To celebrate the build up, Next has set a challenge to recreate a favourite look from last year's red carpet using only pieces from their current collection, with two lucky winners receiving tickets for the awards and afterparty.

Not one to turn down a challenge or the opportunity for a party I had to give this a go!

Corinne Bailey Rae @ Elle Style Awards 2011

I love Corinne's look - this its young, fun and easy to wear with a silk print dress teamed with a black blazer. I could definitely see myself wearing this outfit! Here's how I would recreate the look with Next clothing:

Total Red Carpet Look - £168

 For more classic, red carpet skimming glamour I would go for Thandie Newton's gorgeous blue dress with flower print. Check out the amazing plunge neckline and thigh high slit. See below for how I would recreate this look from Next's current collection: 

Thandie Newton at Elle Style Awards 2011
 Thandie kept the outfit very simple with no accessories other than the gold clutch bag however I would definitely add the bracelet and drop earrings to complete the look. The earrings really pull together the dress and the bag with the gold and pink tones.

Total Red Carpet Look - £145

I would love to know which outfit you prefer?


Track of the Week - 14th Music

London producer and singer duo Tom Barber and Tracey Duodo make up 14th Music and I'm predicting big things for them this year.

Take Me There is the follow up to Hide Yourself, their debut 4 track EP released in November 2011. With a distinctly modern garage sound, the two step beat on this track is complemented perfectly by Tracey's soulful vocals. I think it works well as something I could chill out to as well as dance to.

Take Me There is released on February 13th 2012. Catch them early at the following gigs in the coming weeks:
  • Feb 9th - Jazz Cafe, London
  • Feb 13th - I Love Life, London
  • Feb 16th - Buffalo Bar, Cardiff
  • Feb 18th - The Little Room, Sunderland
  • Feb 25th - Harley, Sheffield
  • Mar 2nd - KOKO, London
  • Mar 3rd - Southampton Unit, Southampton
  • Mar 15th - Cavern, Exeter

Visit 14th Music website at http://www.14thMusic.com
Twitter: @14thSays

Would love to know what you think of 14th Music?


Monday, 6 February 2012

NYR Wild Rose Beauty Balm

So here I go with my first beauty review of one of my can't-live-without products...

As a girl who has taken skincare seriously throughout my 20's I have tried and tested many cleansers with favourites including the Elemis Pro-Radiance Cream Cleanser and the famous Eve Lom Cleanser.

Despite my initial reservations about oil based cleansers (I don't want a greasy face!) I have come to realise that the science behind these cleansers actually works for me. They help dissolve any makeup and grime on my face and I love the results as they draw the impurities from the skin helping clear any breakouts more quickly.

I used to be a massive fan of Eve Lom Cleanser until I discovered an alternative from Neals Yard Remedies - Wild Rose Beauty Balm.

NYR Wild Rose Beauty Balm
 Neals Yard prides itself on the premise that beauty should be "less synthetic and more natural" which is why all their products are all organic and their business is carbon neutral. This means major guilt free shopping whenever I need to restock my washbag!

The balm contains exceptionally high levels of wild rosehip oil – a potent antioxidant proven to help repair, firm and smooth the skin. This is combined with geranium, starflower, hemp and rosemary seed oil, to help decongest and enrich the skin, restoring its natural radiance. This combination gives it an incredible heady relaxing smell a bit like aromatherapy or massage oils (my boyfriend absolutely loves the smell!)

Directions for Use
  • I usually take an amount about the size of tip of my little finger - this is enough for the whole face
  • Massage balm into the face
  • Wet muslin cloth with warm water (Muslin cloth made from organic cotton is included every time you buy!)
  • Gently buff the balm off in circular motions
  • Pat face dry
Finger tip sized amount should cover the whole face

If I've got heavy eye make up on (smoky eye/black gel eyeliner) I usually need to finish eyes off with eye make up remover.

Even once I have washed the balm off with the muslin cloth and used a toner, my skin still feels like it has taken on some of the oil resulting in an extremely well moisturised quite luxurious finish - great before bed!

As well as a good cleanser, my top tip is to use Wild Rose Beauty Balm as an intensive moisturiser - perfect on tough dry spots like elbows. To me this is product has the potential to be the best all rounder since Elizabeth Arden 8-hour cream...

Wild Rose Beauty Balm retails at £35.25 for 50ml which I think is incredible value given that a pot usually lasts me 3-6 months.

You can buy the product at the link below or in any NYR store:
NYR Wild Rose Beauty Balm

I would love to know what is your favourite cleanser?


Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Contact Me

I'm always happy to be contacted whether its about new products, a new song or a gig/club night that's happening soon.

If you are a PR company, artist or music producer and would like to contact me regarding products, tracks, mixes or gigs to review or include in my blog, please do so at beautyplusbeats@gmail.com
Even though I do receive PR samples, my reviews are always 100% honest and any posts written including products sent for free would be disclosed.



SS 2012 Trends: Colour Blocking

As the new season collections start to appear in the shops one of the main trends that has survived from last season that I'm loving is Colour Blocking. The basic principle is to combine contrasting and often clashing colours to create a bright and confident look.

Gucci Resort Collection 2012

On the Spring/Summer catwalk shows, Gucci and Christian Siriano amongst others created the look with mainly separates which could easily be put together with the bright denim skinnies, t-shirts and blazers that are in abundance on the high street. Tip here is to stick with neutral footwear.
 I've opted for a more neutral take on the trend whilst its still cold and wintery with this black and nude dress from George at Asda for the bargain price of £16. Love the cap sleeve and the flattering contouring.

Don't just limit yourself to clothes, this trend runs right through to shoes and bags. Here are some of my other favourite picks from the high street:

Rare Colour Block Shift Dress (Asos £36)

Colour Block Linen Dress (Next £30)
Tullis Pump (Aldo £55)

Hope you enjoy!