Friday, 30 March 2012

Weekend Hot Mix - Rik Parkinson

Well Friday is finally here and rounding off an amazing sunny week, I have a mix to share with you from the lovely Rik Parkinson.

Rik is one of the Pioneer Pro-DJ's and is fortunate enough to have been over in Miami for the annual Winter Music Conference showcasing some of what will be this summers hottest tunes.

This is Rik's set live from La Tour pool party. Fingers crossed the sun continues as this one will sound even better...



Friday, 23 March 2012

Illasmasqua Human Fundamentalism Master Class

Last night I attended a master class at the recently opened Illamasqua store in Leeds to showcase the new Human Fundamentalism range.

The stand alone store only opened in December and it was great to have the opportunity not only see the range launched earlier this month but also to get a tutorial on how to put the products to use.

The philosophy of the Human Fundamentalism range is about defying conformity, breaking the mould and individuality. When you look at the bold colours below you can really start to see the possibilities for people to express themselves quite creatively!

The lovely Illasmasqua trainer Ross and key make up artist Leena were on hand for two hours to create two different looks using the collection. Ross was going for a theatrical look using the new bright colour range that really showed off the high quality pigmentation, whilst Leena demonstrated a more technical look with a far more wearable result.

What really came across during the master class was the versatility of Illamasqua products with the ability to blend and layer as well as use lipsticks, blushers and eyeshadows outside of their conventional areas of the face. Ross's look in particular pushed the boundaries as you can see below.

Ross's creative theatrical look

Leena was working on a more wearable look with an objective to teach some technique and used her favourite product from the range, the Fundamental palette containing Liquid Metal in Molten Pewter, a gorgeous matt Cream Pigment in Mint Green, and Powder Eyeshadows in a bold yellow called Hype and a rich violet called Inception.

I particularly like the face contouring using the Skin Base Foundation in shade 1 as a highlighter and the limited edition Au which contains tiny flecks of metallic shimmer as the darker shade to shape the face. 

The other product that was a firm favourite in the class was the Precision Ink in Scribe - a white liquid liner that Illamasqua is calling the "anti-liner". As you can see from the look below this really makes the eye stand out and breaks from the convention of using black. If like me, you cannot bear to break away from the black liner, this is a great product to use as well as black to make the eye pop, and can also be mixed with the pigmented eyeshadows to create a coloured liner.

The new range features two bold lipsticks - Box (red) and Apocolips (teal). As Leena explained, these are direct opposites on the colour wheel so actually work well together, and when combined like on the model below actually create a gorgeous purple shade - making these great colours for a MUA's kit.

In addition they also taught tricks to create a clean flick when applying eye make up, techniques to apply false lashes and which brushes they recommend and were completely open to any questions. It really was an great way to learn from the pros!

Leena's more wearable look

Ever thought that certain colours are only suited to certain skin tones / eye colours / hair colours? Well the Human Fundamentalism range really challenges this mentalilty. The staff had totally bought into this and certainly encouraged us to have a play and not be afraid to try something different.

I wasn't brave enough to try the Apocolips teal lipstick, as being someone that generally only wears gloss even the matte classic red lipstick in Box was a bold enough step for me. I did like the red but will definitely take some getting used to!

I ended up purchasing a few products based on some staples from Leena's look and the contouring technical wisdom she'd shared.

Skin Base in shade 02

Precision Ink in Scribe

Powder Eyeshadow in Vernau

I bought the Skin Base in shade 2 to use as a highlighter, whilst the Vernau eyeshadow is a yellow ochre shade perfect for contouring and filling in brows. I also got the blusher brush number 2 and the Precision Ink in Scribe.

I agree this is a somewhat tame selection bearing in mind the colours on offer but am somewhat boring and still learning when it comes to my make up. I tried out a gorgeous red eyeshadow called Daemon and the Liquid Metal cream eyeshadow in Enrapture. This was definitely a look I would like to try out again, if only my bank balance had stretched further I would have bought these too...

Will you be rocking the Human Fundamentalism range?


Weekend Hot Mix - Karizma

The weekend is finally here and that means the wait for my Hot Mix is finally over! Didn't manage to post last Friday as I was in transit between London and Leeds but I've got a gem of a mix this week that I can't wait to share with you...

For those of you that didn't manage to attend the Afro Coalition 1st Birthday or wouldn't have the first clue what all the fuss is about, here is Karizma's set live from the evening.

Lets get soulful!

Would love to know if you like this one!?


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Track of the Week - Santigold

I've not chosen a dance track this week as I've been loving the sounds of Santigold on her new record.

She has been compared to MIA (she toured with her on her debut album) and you may know her for L.E.S. Artistes and Lights Out - two of my favourite tracks off her first album Santogold from 2008.

If you're as confused as I am whether it should be Santo or Santi, she was actually forced to change her artist name to Santigold in 2009 after legal action from a jewellery company with the same name!

Disparate Youth is catchy as hell and if this is anything to go by I have high hopes for the rest of the album Master of My Make Believe out on 25th April.

So what do you think of Santigold's latest track?


Monday, 19 March 2012

Elemis Power Booster Facial

I wanted to share with you another absolute staple in my regular skin care regime - the Elemis Power Booster Facial.

I started having these 3 years ago after a friend bought me a voucher for my birthday. Since then I have been going to Harvey Nichols either in Knightsbridge where I saw the wonderful Suzanne and following her recent leave to have a baby I've been seeing Harriet at the Leeds store.

I'm not saying that this is the perfect answer for everybody, but the Elemis products have really worked for my skin and as a result I've firmly bought into using the both the products and the facials as an integral part of my skin care regime.

Prior to the actual treatment, the Elemis consultant will conduct a complexion analysis using the SkinLab machine that takes a detailed image of one side of your face. You are then provided with a report that shows spots, UV spots and sun damage, wrinkles, texture, pores and porphyrins (bacteria) on the skin. I have this done every few months so you see the improvement in your skin over time. In addition to the report, you also get a skin and lifestyle programme print out that recommends products for both morning and evening that are tailored to your skin type.

Elemis Complexion Analysis Report

Elemis offer a number of different facials:
  • Pro-Collagen Quartz Lift - anti-wrinkle facial using massage techniques to help lift and firm the skin
  • Tri-Enzyme Resurfacing - Resurfacing facial to improve skin smoothness and leave complexion radiant
  • Modern Skin Facial - Designed for skin challenged by modern living - purifying treatment to remove toxins, regenerate skin cells and rebalance sebum levels
  • City Survival - Deep cleansing treatment to rebalance impurities and nourish the skin
  • Skin Radiance - Moisture boosting treatment
  • Only for Men - Cleanse, firm and hydrate the skin whilst removing the appearance of wrinkles

I tend to go for the Modern Skin Facial as this leaves my face beautifully moisturised, dewy and plumped up as well as feeling really clean and fresh. I try and book in every 4-6 weeks to keep my skin looking good - any longer than this and I do start to notice more imperfections and my skin develops a element of dullness.

The gorgeous treatment rooms in Harvey Nichols have a massage chair that you can have on for the duration of the facial and my absolute favourite part is the hot stone neck and shoulder massage that you get whilst the face mask is working! You truly feel pampered when you leave.

Treatment room Intelligent Massage chair

Harvey Nichols Leeds Elemis Spa Pod Treatment Room

Harvey Nichols offer a 3 for 2 deal on the treatments which works out at £30 for a facial, hot stone massage and full body chair massage. Now that is definitely value for money if you ask me! The Power Booster facial lasts around 40 minutes but you can pay extra for the full hour treatment.

Along with Harvey Nichols you can also get the facials in selected Debenhams and John Lewis but not sure if they offer the 3 for 2 deal. You can see full store list here.

I do use a lot of the Elemis products on a daily basis so will cover off my skin care routine in another post if you'd be interested in reading about that as well?

Do you include facials as a regular part of your skin care routine?


Wednesday, 14 March 2012

March Gig of the Month

Its been a tough call this month with so many great bookings but I've nearly settled on my gig of the month for March (yes I know its the 14th already!)

For those of you lucky enough not to work tomorrow or hardcore enough to rock up to work after three hours sleep, I'm going to suggest Flux at the Beaverworks in Leeds. I've still not made it down to one of these nights yet but I'm always tempted as they showcase some brilliant DJ and production talent and not always the most obvious names. Previous line ups include Bulgarian producer Kink and tonight features Vincenzo and Roberto Rodriguez and all for under a tenner.

If that's not enough to persuade you than have a listen to my the track that introduced me to Roberto Rodriguez:

Not heard this for ages and it still sounds bloody brilliant!

For the rest of us that like a solid 8 hours on a school night then its definitely something for the weekend. Afro Coalition are celebrating their 1st birthday down at the Wardrobe in Leeds with an impressive line up of house music veterans Karizma and Atjazz and JD73 live. With talent like this in the same room, trust me this one is going to be special! Prior to the gig, there is also an opportunity to meet Karizma and check out the artwork to his latest album as he is hosting a masterclass and Q&A session, however this is invite only so you will need to purchase a ticket in advance.

On a completely unrelated note to the usual beauty and music topics, but another love of mine nonetheless, I have to mention here another event I'm massively excited about. On Monday 19th March, my favourite tequila bar Neon Cactus (Call Lane, Leeds) is hosting London's Godfather of Burgers, Meat Liquor for one night only. You can't book tables but they will be serving from 5pm so get down there and queue - you'll find me waiting patiently at the bar with a Tommy's Margarita or two. What was I saying about not going out on a week night?

You can find Facebook details for all of the events at the following links:


Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Track of the Week - B-Traits feat. Elisabeth Troy

Some of you may find this cheesy as hell and given that its getting loads of Radio 1 airtime I am a bit slow off the mark... But with the sun shining and the car window open I've fallen hook line and sinker for this one.

You're forgiven for thinking you've been transported back to the early 90's as this track reeks of an old school rave with such a massive piano breakdown.

With another nod to the 90's, Fever is bringing girl power back with avengence - the track is by B-Traits a female DJ from Canada signed to Shy FX's label Digital Soundboy and features vocals from Elisabeth Troy, a garage vocal veteran who was working with the likes of MJ Cole back in the days when I still played with Sylvanian Families and my A La Carte Kitchen.

Apologies for the intro over the top of the video - its the only full length version I could find online before its release on 25th March.

Hope you enjoy the track!


Monday, 12 March 2012

Bring on the Blonde

Aside from an excessive desire to hibernate and eat carbs, another unfortunate side effect of winter for us natural (ahem) blondes is that without the lightening properties of the sun, my hair tends to lose its golden tones and grow through loads darker. Every year it seems I am fighting off the mousey brown...

This year was no exception and earlier this month I was forced to take serious action as it was genuinely starting to get me down!



Now I'm quite lucky that I've got a mum whose a bit of a dab hand with a highlighting cap and a bottle of bleach so it does save me an absolute fortune in hairdressing bills. Plus the professionals have always said she's done a good job!

However, given the state I'd let the colour get into, it took two rounds to actually get me to the desired colour. The first go just about covered the roots, but I wanted much more of a lift so donned the cap a second time.

And of course you're dying (no pun intended) to see the finished result with the colour...

Obviously bleach does have a tendency to dry out my hair so I try to avoid using too much on the ends, but to minimise any damage I always book myself in for a cut within a week of colouring. Plus it was starting to look a bit Worzel Gummidge.

Now whilst my mum would make a great colourist, there's no way I'd let her near my barnet with the scissors. Not since 1997 when I asked her for a Rachel from Friends and it all ended in tears and a trip to a real hairdresser ;)

When I went for my cut at Vidal Sassoon in Leeds they offered me a deal on a treatment and I jumped at the chance. I had a treatment from the Kérastase Fusio-Dose range, which contains highly concentrated doses of active Kérastase technologies which can customised by your hair stylist to target 2 problems at once. I had the Kérastase System Fibronic which is designed to give shine and luminosity for freshly coloured hair and the Kérastase Intense colour protection booster with ionium and polyphenols.

This was a great moisture boost my hair - it feels healthy and amazingly soft to say I've put it through the bleach trauma!

I've only had the ends trimmed and a lot of the weight taken out of the top so it doesn't look that different to the photos above but next time I have a decent hair day I'll share a pic of with it cut too.

Hope you like it!


Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Track of the Week - Lucas Rezende and Jnazz

While browsing Soundcloud this week I stumbled across what appears to be a little gem of a label for the house music lover.

London based Purple Sun Records seems to have a relatively small following in the world of digital media but based on the releases that have come out in the last month alone I think the label deserves some attention.

I was hard pushed to choose which track I liked best, having a lot of love for Gabriel Slick's - On Some Funky Shit, but in the end settled for this house sensation called Soul Aquanauts which was out on the label on 22nd January.

This is soulful track has a great groove and is reminiscent of something Miguel Migs or Jay J might have put together - high praise indeed.

Hope you enjoy this one...

Lucas Rezende and Jnazz - Soul Aquanauts


Friday, 2 March 2012

Weekend Hot Mix

The weekend has finally landed and what better way to celebrate than with a bit of disco.

From the legend that is Greg Wilson, I've selected an Essential Mix he did back in 2009 for BBC Radio 1...

You lucky people have got 2 hours of quality music yet again, and with 43 different tracks on the mix - there's got to be something you like in there.

My personal favourite is the first one by The Originals - Down to Love Town, out on Motown Records in 1976.

As usual this one is available for free download - just hit the button below.

Would love to know if you like this one?


Thursday, 1 March 2012

Operation Nails SOS - Week 1 Update

A full week has passed since I began an attempt to rescue the condition of my nails and as promised here is an update. You can see how bad they were a week ago in my initial Operation Nail SOS post.

Just to recap the products and routine I have been using:
  • Duri Rejuvacote - apply a new layer over the existing layer daily for 7 days
  • Elemis Frangipani Monoi oil - rub into cuticles twice daily (morning and evening) 
  • Aveeno hand cream - use in the morning after I have showered and applied the oil

I have managed to stick to this apart from not using the oil twice a day everyday but just once. I've actually found the whole routine quite therapeutic in a silly kind of way - just by taking 5 minutes to stop and do it has been relaxing rather than doing everything at 100 miles per hour like normal.

During the last two days, the layers of nail varnish began to crack and peel, and despite relayering each day by the end of the week it was definitely ready to come off as you can see from the pictures below - not a great look. Interestingly where it was cracking is usually where my nails may have split (particularly the thumb nails) so maybe the varnish was providing a protective layer.

Left Hand before I removed 7 days varnish application

Once I took the varnish off I noticed that I did still have some poor condition - a few tips were peeling, and yesterday I did manage to partially break one nail. I think maybe my expectations were quite high if I thought I was going to get perfection in a week, however, given the state of my hands last week there has been a good improvement.

Left Hand nail condition starting to improve

Right Hand nail condition - middle nail broke yesterday, thumb nail still weak from breakage last week

The directions on the Rejuvacote state that after a week/as your nails improve you can cut down applications to every other day or couple of days. At the moment its difficult to say whether I would have had the same results with any clear varnish, but as this product is recommended for use to improve nail condition particularly after removal of acrylics and gets great reviews I think I would like to continue using it. I don't want to run before I can walk so I am going to restart my routine and use everyday for another week so I can really make a fair assessment as to whether this varnish has improved my nail condition. I will also make sure I use the nail oil twice as day as originally planned.

Lets hope for more significant results next week!