Fashion

British Style Collective, Liverpool

The British Style Collective arrived in Liverpool last weekend for a three-day fashion and beauty extravaganza. 

After spending more than 30 years based at Birmingham's NEC under the name The Clothes Show, the event has been rebranded and moved to its new northern home for a city-wide takeover. Huge names from the world of fashion and beauty, including celebrities, designers, models and bloggers, all took part. 

The event kicked off on Friday with a fashion catwalk at Liverpool's ECHO Arena. Renowned British designers including Philip Armstrong, Sorapol and Edeline Lee, and Lisbon based designer David Ferreira all showcased their collections.

Shows took place across the weekend at the beautiful St George’s Hall which hosted exclusive Q&A sessions and insider interviews, allowing the audience to delve a little deeper into the glamorous world of fashion. 

Caryn Franklin MBE interviewed singer and presenter Kimberley Walsh

Made in Chelsea’s Jamie Laing spoke about his brand Candy Kittens and his pal Alex Mytton also appeared, fresh off a flight from Ibiza. 

British designer Henry Holland spoke about his brand, House of Holland. 

Singer Mollie King spoke with Caryn Franklin MBE

Glamour magazine’s editor Jo Elvin joined with Lisa Snowdon and Jules Von Hep.

Celebrity stylist Sabina Emrit joined a panel including Towie's Lydia Bright and Glamour beauty director Alessandra Steinherr to discuss dressing for confidence. 

Another Made in Chelsea favourite appeared, Lucy Watson. 

With all of those interviews, it’s no wonder host Antonia O’Brien took a little nap in between talks. 

There was opportunity to mingle with the speakers after each session, both Mollie and Alessandra Steinherr were absolutely gogeous. 

The event also had a significant blogger presence, with Megan Ellaby of Pages By Megan, Olivia Purvis of What Olivia Did, Sarah Ashcroft of That Pommie Girl, Helen Canning of Coco Mama Style and Alex Light of What Alex Wears.

Designer Wayne Hemingway hosted the Fine Tuned event at the Albert Dock, a collection of independent designers, street food vendors, vintage traders and performers.

Perhaps my favourite talk was with Brit designer Gary James McQueen, nephew of the late great Alexander McQueen. He spoke about how he intends to continue his family’s legacy with the launch of his new collection of made-to-order hand printed silk scarves. It was a real treat for him to debut his collection in Liverpool and a nicer guy you could not wish to meet. 

It was fantastic to see our beautiful city hosting such a glamorous event and I’m thrilled to hear it’s coming back next year!

Harvey Nichols, Knightsbridge

Often dubbed the younger, more fashionable cousin of Harrods, Harvey Nichols has become a playground for beauty connoisseurs. 

The ground floor of the Knightsbridge store reopened last summer following a ten month refurbishment. It is now home to ‘The Beauty Lounge’, a concept space offering express blow dries, makeovers, brows, lashes and manicures.

It has been designed for busy people in need of quick treatments between meetings. For those with a bit more time on their hands, Harvey Nichols also offers a unique Beauty Concierge service. A team of beauty experts help you select exactly what you’re looking for from the vast number of products on offer. 

It is the ultimate luxurious environment to be pampered and preened. There are 130 of the best beauty and 50 of the top fragrance brands all under one roof. 

The designers created an open, fluid space to allow as much natural light as possible. A mixture of luxurious materials such as marble, bronze and rose gold are set against glossy whites and greys.

It’s a step away from the usual loud, noisy beauty halls in so many department stores. The sophisticated and elegant space takes you away from the hustle and bustle of Knightsbridge into a peaceful beauty retreat.

My friend and I were invited along to have our makeup done before having afternoon tea at The Berkeley. The Concierge team emailed us in advance, asking what kind of looks we were hoping to achieve and the brands we tend to use. It was decided that the Nars beauty team were best suited for the task. 

I met with Noor, who set about working on my request for a slightly smokey eye with a nude lip. I emphasised that it had to look very natural, as I didn’t want to look too made up for afternoon tea. It also had to take me through to the evening when we were going out for cocktails. 

She selected the correct products for my skin type and explained the purpose of each product. I’ve never been one for using primers but Noor explained that this would ensure my makeup lasted all night. 

She also introduced me to the infamous Nars Orgasm Blush (a cult product amongst beauty addicts.)

Noor did such a great job with my makeup I had to stop myself from purchasing all the products to take home with me. Justifying some spending with the fact that I’d earn loyalty points on my Harvey Nichols app, I walked away with the following:

Smooth & Protect Primer SPF50 30ml £27.00 & Night Series Eyeliner £19.00

I’m pleased with all the items I bought and have used them every day since. Noor created the perfect look for our afternoon tea and it took us well into our night of fancy cocktails….

*Cocktail Saturdays was a guest of Harvey Nichols. 

Charlotte Tilbury Skincare Review

In March I met celebrity makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury. You can read more here. I left our meeting with lots of goodies to try but wanted to spend some time using each of the products before I reviewed them. 

I’ve split the reviews into skincare and makeup. Skincare first…

Charlotte’s Magic Cream (£70.00) - For over 20 years Charlotte mixed her own age-defying potion for supermodels and celebrities. It became known in the industry as “Charlotte’s Magic Cream”. It’s a secret mix of anti-age ingredients which are now packaged in a gorgeous vintage style pot for us ordinary folk to buy. The cream itself is very moisturising but settles into the skin without leaving any greasiness, giving a light dewy finish. Would I buy this product? Yes. It really suits my skin which is very sensitive and my makeup sits really nicely on top of it. I’ve received lots of compliments recently about my makeup but I actually think it’s largely down to this product. Although it is on the pricey side, I think it is worth the investment. I’ve been using it now for about two months and am still only half way through the pot. It gives my dehydrated skin a real glow and is the perfect base for my foundation. It also contains SPF which is important in a day-cream!

Magic Night Rescue Cream (£100.00) - This is a really rich luxurious night cream, it feeds your skin overnight with a mix of 8 ingredients, including Winter Daphne Stem Cell Extract and Time-Released Retinol. Would I buy this product? Probably not. It did leave my skin lovely and moisturised but I found it a bit too heavy to put on just before bed (most of it ended up on my pillow which, at £100.00 a pop, is a bit of a waste). I probably should have applied it earlier in the evening to allow it plenty of time to settle in before going to bed but, realistically, I’m not disciplined enough to take my makeup off when I first get home from work. I‘ve still got most of the pot left which I’m going to keep using as a moisturising treatment for whenever my skin feels dry. When I met Charlotte she applied the cream to one of my hands and there was a clear difference when compared to my other hand, so I can definitely attest that it works but, for me, I’d rather use the Magic day cream as a moisturiser. 

Magic Eye Rescue (£40.00) - This claims to reduce the appearance of eye bags and dark circles, smooth crow’s feet, minimise fine lines and re-energise the delicate under eye area. It’s a rich moisturiser which is really refreshing when patted onto the skin. Would I buy this product? Yes. You only have to apply a tiny amount, a little goes a long way so the price doesn’t concern me. I’ve noticed a difference in my under-eye concealer when using this product underneath first. My concealer no longer dries out and creases after a few hours of wear. 

* The above three products can be purchased together as the Magic Skin Trilogy for £195.00

Multi-Miracle Glow (£45.00) - This product comes in a huge pot. It can be used in several ways, either as a cleanser, a mask or a balm. It’s like a gel but is very light on the skin and absorbs nicely. I use it mostly as a cleanser to remove my makeup at the end of each day and it leaves my skin lovely and soft. It has Sea Buckthorn Seed Oil and Cranberry Seed Oil which are anti-oxidant pure oils to moisturise the skin. It also had extracts of frangipani flower to soothe and purify dirt and makeup. Vitamins A, C and E also feature to smooth wrinkles. Basically a wonder product! Would I buy this product? Yes. It’s a gorgeous product to have on display in my bathroom with its rose gold lid and a real treat to use at the end of each day and for the size of the pot I think it’s good value.

Goddess Skin Clay Mask (£45.00) - This mask is based on an ancient Mediterranean beauty recipe, which combines nutrient-rich Spanish clay with Sweet Almond Oil. Would I buy this product? Yes. Unlike other clay masks this one does not dry out and harden. I use it a couple of times a week and my skin looks much brighter afterwards. 

Lip Magic (£25.00) - A soothing lip balm to moisturise and plump the lips. Unlike other balms I’ve used, this works well with lipstick applied on top as it isn’t too greasy. I have actually been using this for daytime with a Charlotte Tilbury lip-pencil and they work really nicely together. Would I buy this product? Probably not. Shortly before I got this I purchased a Chanel lip balm which comes in bullet form, like a lipstick. I prefer this rather than having to put my finger in the pot, which is more hygienic. I’d definitely buy it again if it came in bullet form though as I really like the texture although I think £25.00 is a bit steep for a lip balm.  

Supermodel Body (£45.00) When I met Charlotte she called thisGisele in a tube”. It is a shimmery product to sculpt your limbs. It has a roll on metal applicator which makes it really easy to highlight down the centre of legs and arms. Would I buy this product? I used this when I was in Portugal recently and it was an ideal product to have on holiday to apply in the evenings and the scent wasn’t unpleasant like a lot of tanning products. I’d definitely buy to use on holiday again but probably wouldn’t buy it for every day use. 

Take It All Off Eye Make Up Remover (£24.00) - An oil-rich cleanser, enriched with soothing organic cornflower water and regenerating Veronica Extract. Two pumps onto a cotton pad removes makeup while also caring for and replenishing the eyes. Would I buy this product? Yes. It removes makeup quickly if you apply it to a warm damp cotton pad and hold it against your eyes for 10 seconds. Makeup comes off with one swipe so no rubbing the delicate eye area. I also like the pump action which makes it really easy to use. 

The Charlotte Tilbury makeup review will follow soon…..

Cocktail Saturdays was a guest of Charlotte Tilbury and was gifted the above products to review.

London Fashion Weekend

Last week saw the return of London Fashion Weekend to the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea. Hot on the heels of London Fashion Week, the exclusive event was a four day spectacle, allowing us mere mortals access to the world of fashion. 

Thanks to the growing influence of the Internet and social media, the industry has opened itself up to allow the public the opportunity to have an authentic fashion-insider experience. Ticket-holders can attend catwalk shows, talks from fashion experts as well as shop from designer collections. There were over 150 brands selling items at insider prices. There was also the opportunity to experience beauty treatments from both Maybelline and Toni & Guy.

Tickets were available in Bronze (£20), Silver (£40), Gold (£60), Luxe (£130) and Luxe Premium (£145), each offering different experiences. We bought Silver tickets which allowed us front row access to a Designer Catwalk show. Each day a different designer gave an exclusive preview of their SS16 collection. When we visited on Saturday, Temperley London featured. 

The clothes were beautiful, all bohemian and feminine with heavy embroidery. Some of the models wore handmade sandals and wide-brimmed Panama hats which gave a Havana feel to the collection.

My favourite looks were a Black and Ivory Lettie Tuva waistcoat and trousers and a £10,000 showstopper, a long mirror ball ruffle dress.

The gorgeous George Lamb presented the show, we met him afterwards and he was utterly charming. After the catwalk event we went to a talk with model and presenter, Daisy Lowe. 

The Talks on offer during the four day event were fantastic. Charlotte Dellal, the designer behind Charlotte Olympia, spoke about her brand. Fashion designer and stylist William Baker spoke about music and fashion. Sunday’s talk was by respected photographer, Rankin, famed for snapping everyone from the Queen to Kate Moss. 

We listened to Daisy discussing growing up in the modelling industry. She gave a frank and honest insight into the campaigns she has featured in and the prominent photographers she has worked with. It was a great talk and she was really lovely when we met her afterwards. During her talk she hinted that she has some exciting projects in the pipeline. When we spoke I asked her if she would consider launching her own range of vintage clothing like her mum, Pearl Lowe. Although she didn’t confirm or deny she looked quite coy so keep an eye out…

The event ran from 25th – 28th February but it is due to return to the Saatchi Gallery again in September 2016. You can sign up at www.londonfashionweekend.co.uk/newsletter to be notified of when tickets go on sale.

If you do attend in September, make sure that you take the opportunity to dress up in your most stylish attire, most of the visitors at the event looked like they had just stepped off the catwalk!

In the meantime, here's a glimpse of what to expect...

Show Dry

Last weekend I travelled to Newcastle to meet up with my girlfriends from University. Since we all live so far apart we only manage to meet up occasionally which means, when we do, we tend to indulge ourselves with pampering, gossiping and cocktails!

We met in the Metro Centre where two of my friends had booked in with MAC to have their make-up done. I decided to pop over to Show Dry to have a wash and blow ready for our Saturday night out. 

Show Dry is a new chain of bars offering luxury blow dries. It’s founder, Tamara Ecclestone, was influenced to open a chain of blow dry bars following her frequent trips to America where they are common place. The idea is that you pop in for a quick 30 minute hair fix mid-shopping trip or in advance of a night out, speed is key! 

The interiors are stunning, all rose gold and black. There is a no clutter rule with some of the larger Show Dry bars having iPads for customers to browse magazines rather than having hardcopies taking up space. 

When I arrived I was greeted by head stylist Marie who, as well as being lovely, had noticeably glossy, bouncy hair. I opted for the Signature Blow Dry, which at £25 promised to be “dramatic, volumised and eternally glamorous”. It began with a shampoo and condition in a sink tucked away from the view. Marie told me that there are plans to launch a shampoo and conditioner but for now the brand’s focus is on repairing and volumising styling products.

The full range of Show Beauty products were on display and are beautifully designed, in silver, rose gold and black bottles to match the interior. They would look great on show in a bathroom. 

I then had some Thermal Protect spray and Pure Treatment Oil put on my hair in preparation for the heat before Marie began to blow dry in six sections. Usually my hair wouldn’t take to any form of oil since it’s so fine. However only a tiny amount was used on the ends which added such a shine and left it feeling like silk. So good I purchased the oil to take home with me. 


Source: Show Dry


Marie also used a volume spray before she began drying. The products all smell gorgeous, without the usual chemical smell. There is a hair fragrance included in the range which consists of rose water with hints of coconut milk, caramel, almond butter and Madagascan vanilla. Good enough to eat. It’s no surprise that the inspiration behind the scent is Crème Brulee, Tamara’s favourite dessert.

I’ve had a blow dry before which left my hair frazzled from the heat but this didn’t, I put this down to the high quality products used. They aren’t cheap but the proof is in the pudding (ahem!). I left with my hair in better condition than when I arrived. Since I was going out that night and my poker straight hair usually doesn’t hold curls very well, I asked Marie to also add in some extra curls with straighteners. I left with the bounciest hair which lasted all night. 

There are currently 12 bars nationwide but the brand is expanding rapidly, I’m hoping Show Dry opens in Liverpool soon.

Appointments can be booked via the Show Dry app or online at www.showdry.com