Thursday, 31 July 2014

My Favourite Mascaras

I’ve tried and tested so many different mascaras from low to high-end over the past few years with some being absolute disasters, not worth the price tag or have actually been great. 
After all those many mascaras I can finally tell you all about my top 3, they vary in prices but all do have a similar style. As I have quite long lashes I look for volume and definition in my mascaras instead of lengthening qualities. 

Currently my favourite of all is the Bobbi Brown Smoky Eyes Mascara, normally I’m not too fussed about high-end mascaras as often I can find a much cheaper alternative but this one is amazing. It has this lovely soft matte black kohl finish and gives my lashes a really nice amount of volume without getting clumpy or spidery. I already have quite long lashes so I don’t look for that in mascaras, this one just adds a touch of length without drying up and crumbling off the ends. The bristles on the wand are so soft so it doesn’t tug or pull, the application feels almost luxurious. The packaging is hardly exciting but I guess you could say it’s quite classy? They must spend most the money on the contents of the product over the packaging.

My next best is the Benefit Bad Gal Lash Mascara. I had heard so much praise about this product from friends and fellow bloggers that I felt like I had to try it for myself. Once I had tried it I saw why everyone was raving about it, my lashes were super volumised with no clumps. The bristles are similar to the Bobbi Brown mascara, they are nice and soft, however it is quite a chunky wand so it can be a little difficult getting into the nooks and crannies. The packaging is classy and the big bright pink ‘Lash’ in a pretty font across the tube adds a pop of colour. I’ve written a separate blog post all about this mascara here if you want to see some before and afters as well as more detail.

I rarely wear waterproof mascara as I find the other two stay put so well anyway, but if I am going to be getting particularly sweaty or wet then the Maybelline The Colossal Volum’ Express Waterproof Mascara is my must have. It gives great volume, doesn’t get clumpy and will stay put through thick and thin! The bristles are more plastic than the other two but as the formula is more of a liquid it doesn’t tug. The packaging is pretty standard, I do love the shiny blue accents though, that’s partly because I just love that shade of blue in anything!

What's your favourite mascara or are one of these 3 your favourite?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Top Tips & Advice for Starting University

It’s coming to that time of year now where some of you will be finding out if you’ve got into university. I’ve just finished my first year so I still have it all fresh in my mind how I felt when starting university and what helped me get through it!
As every one has different feelings about starting university I actually asked my flat mates how they felt and what advice they would give so I can give you the best advice possible. Some people are much more confident about leaving home and making new friends whilst others find that terrifying!
I’ve put together our top tips & advice for starting university, we hope you’ll find this helpful and if you have any other questions feel free to ask in the comments or tweet me and I'll be happy to help.

Get Involved
At university there are so many opportunities to try out new sports or skills as well as continue with the ones you already love. Joining a sports club or society is a great way to make friends and take your mind off work and being away from home. Definitely go around your universities freshers fair to see what yours has to offer.

Give it time
Like I said earlier some people find leaving home really hard, I remember shortly after freshers week it all suddenly hit me even though I am normally a pretty independent person. It’s inevitable that you’ll feel somewhat upset leaving your friends and family behind at home but just give it time and you will make some amazing new friends and you’ll learn that living away from home really isn’t that bad. I’ve had times where I’ve cried on one of their shoulders and they’ve done the same back, yet we had only known each other for a few months!
Skype, Facetime or just a phone call home or to your friends every so often is good to do.

Watch your money
For most people this will be the first time you really have to watch your money. It’s so important to budget for food, drink, going out, materials for your course and more. 
Don't buy every book on your reading list! I bought a few of them and then read the rest at the library, and this has probably saved me at least £100. You would think that now we’re paying £9000 a year they would be included but unfortunately not.
With these ridiculous fees we’re already quite in debt so you don’t want to get even further into it. What I did to find out my budget was I divided my loan up by how many weeks there were in that term and then that would give me a guide on the absolute maximum I’m able to spend a week. Just for security I tried to be about £10 under that budget. My food shop cost at tops about £25 a week and I make most my food from scratch if that’ll help give you a guide if you’re going to be self-catered. 
You may have to say goodbye to some luxuries or just not be able to have them as often but you can sometimes find cheaper alternatives or use student discount, which will become your best friend!

Don't feel pressured
There is a lot of peer pressure especially when it comes to drinking; those who do this aren’t worth being your friends. You should never feel pressured into doing something you don’t want to. Don’t think that you won’t make friends if you don’t do it, of course you will, there are plenty of other ways.

Avoid reputations
Reputations spread like wild fire at university so avoid getting one! Whether the reputation is about being lazy on your course in teamwork projects or sleeping around, people will quickly find out about it and won’t want to work or be with you.

Balance work and play
Whilst at university you want to make the most of your freedom by going out, chilling with your new friends and exploring the city but you need to remember the real reason why you’re there is to learn and complete a course. Keep a schedule of when your deadlines and when your lectures/seminars are so you then know when you’re most free to have fun.

Don't expect you'll love everything on your course
You will probably find that you won’t enjoy every aspect of your course but that doesn’t mean the course isn’t right for you. You will find out where your strengths and weaknesses are, it’s pretty impossible to be amazing at it all! Sometimes you end up enjoying the things you hated at the start. All courses have to cover so much and you may not even have to do some of it again in the future.

Avoid comparing your work to others
This is more aimed towards those on creative courses, but it does also relate to those on academic courses. For the first time you’ll be working along your future competitors and of course you want to be the best you can. With creative courses you will see other peoples work as you go along and it’s a natural thing to compare your own work to theirs but try and stay true to yourself as that’s the only way you’ll learn and also just remember that you may have strengths that are their weaknesses.

Keep an eye on your health
Freshers’ flu is very common and not exactly pleasant, but being careful of your health doesn’t stop there. Illness spreads so quickly in halls as you’re living with a lot more people than at home so make sure you're registered with a local surgery just incase! 
If you’re self-catered a lot of people forget to eat their fruit, veggies and other important vitamins. I have a multi-vitamin every morning just to make sure I definitely get them! 
Drinking a lot of alcohol isn’t great for you and we all know it, so try and drink plenty of water in the day and before bed or even have an alcohol free week every so often to cleanse your body.
Join the gym or a sport club to keep your self active, the facilities are usually great and the memberships are often much more affordable than commercial gyms.

I really hope some of these have helped you and congratulations on getting into uni, I wish you all the best! If you're at university or have been and have some more advice, feel free to leave it below! 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Trend: Schiaparelli Pink

On the hight street this summer bright pink is one of the must have colours in your wardrobe, wether it be an accessory or an item of clothing. It can easily been worn with a mix of white and black to make it really pop or with greys and creams to cool it down a bit. You could be extra daring and mix it up with bright orange which is also in this summer.

Not only is it a fashion trend but all over Pinterest I've seen it in beauty and homeware. People have been adding this colour to their homes and offices either as an accent with upholstery and decor whilst others with entire pieces of furniture or even painting their walls the colour.
If you haven't quite got that much money to spend then why not follow the trend in the beauty world and just get a bright pink lipstick or nail polish to finish your look, I'd recommend MAC Candy Yum-Yum for the lipstick and Essie Bottle Service for the polish, they're both the perfect match for this trend.

I'm loving this pink on white so I've created an outfit featuring this trend in a classy evening style. This look could easily be altered to be more suitable for the day by changing the Lulu Guinness bag to a Cambridge Satchel and the heels to flats. I've been head over heels for the Lulu Guinness neon pink perspex lip clutch bag, I've even posted about it before. One day I will have one!

Bright Pink Trend

I've seen some rumours that this trend is going to stay for next summer too, so maybe a purchase of a few of these items will be worth while.
What are your views on this trend and how are you wearing, styling or featuring it in your life?

Monday, 14 July 2014

My Top 10 Festival Beauty Essentials

It’s that time of year again, music festival season! Every summer, a killer combo of awesome music and fashion hits the fields around the country. Whether you’ll be attending V fest, Reading & Leeds, 2000 trees or others, the beauty trends pretty much work at all types of music festivals.
For a start you don’t want to be bringing tonnes of products, so I’ve rounded up the top 10 must have beauty products from my own experiences at festivals and the current trends.

For your base makeup a BB cream with SPF is the best way to go, the Rimmel BB Cream 9-In-1 Skin Perfecting Super Makeup £6.99; primes, moisturises, minimizes pores, conceals, covers, smoothes, mattifies, brightens, and helps protect your skin with SPF 25 which is so important if you’re out in the sunshine all day.
A cheek and lip tint is a great multi-purpose product and long-lasting, the Benefit Lip and Cheek Tints £24.50 come in a variety of shades, smell amazing and stay on all day.

For eyes waterproof mascara is a must as there’s a high chance you’ll get sweaty in those big crowds and the last thing you want is to look like a panda, the Maybelline Colossal Mascara - Volum' Express Black Waterproof £7.19, won’t let this happen and it creates great volume without the clumps.
The brow trend is still going strong so keep brows bold and shaped up with the GOSH Long Lasting Brow Pen £6.49 as it’s so easy to use, looks natural and is long-lasting.A big festival trend this summer is bright colours, use a bright coloured eyeliner on your upper or lower lash line instead of black to really make your eyes pop, the Bourjois Contour Clubbing Eyeliners £4.99, are great as they come in lots of fun colours and are also waterproof. If you really want to go all out UV paint or glitter eyeliner is the way to go, you’ll glow and sparkle in all the flashing lights and can create lots of fun shapes and styles especially with the Urban Decay Heavy Metal Glitter Liners, £11.50.

Rights given by Umberto Giannini for photos
Often at festivals it’s difficult to give your hair a proper wash so a dry shampoo is a definite must have, the Umberto Giannini Glam Hair Morning After Dry Shampoo £6.00 is clear meaning it leaves no grey marks whilst creating volume and absorbing excess oils.
A major festival hair trend is tousled waves, which can be easily achieved using a salt spray, the Umberto Giannini Glam Hair Grunge Glamour Tousled Salt Spray £6.00 is perfect as you can use it on wet or dry hair and it creates lovely waves with so much texture. Don’t forget to bring some hairbands and grips as these can help create endless amounts of different styles from braids to up-dos.

At the end of the day its important to remove all your makeup so facial wipes are great to bring along, they’re easy to pack and do the job without the need for loads more products. I recommend Simple Kind To Skin Cleansing Wipes £3.20, as they are gentle on the skin and can even remove waterproof makeup.

Have fun, be creative, stay safe and tweet me your looks or your must have festival products @alexandraahowe

I originally wrote this post for Platform magazine at


Saturday, 12 July 2014

Makeup For Fashion Course at Central Saint Martins

This week I attended a short course in Makeup for Fashion for a week at University of Arts London, Central Saint Martins. I've been wanting to do a makeup course for years to get a chance to learn new techniques, use new products and tools and just to become more experienced with makeup. 
As I'm studying Fashion Communication at university we do quite a few photo-shoots so gaining these new skills in makeup will really help me make the most of these shoots without having to pay someone else to do it whilst building up my own portfolio of skills.
Kristina Vidic ran the course for us, she is a highly experienced makeup artist, working for some of the top designers out there and as a tutor at the university. You can look at some of her work here. She was an amazing tutor, I could ask as many questions as needed and she would give really helpful tips, tricks and advice. 

Day 1
In the morning we learnt about the different skin types and how to care for them, as well as what can sometimes cause imperfections. As we were focusing on base makeup we looked at the different types of foundations, concealers, correctors, contouring and highlighting powders. 
After lunch Kristina gave us a tutorial on how to apply the best possible base and then it was our turn to try it out. Before now I had only ever done makeup on western skin and it was great to try out doing the base makeup on Asian skin as it's totally different! I forgot to take a before photo but here's the after photo of my first attempt at base makeup on Asian skin.

Day 2
On day 2 we focused on natural makeup and brows. Kristina was working on a Chanel Haute Couture show so we had a friend of hers take over for the day. She started with a tutorial showing us tips and tricks to create the best natural look and then we had to create the same look on each other. I learnt methods which I had never tried before which I may write a separate post about in the future. Due to time we didn't get round to actually doing brows on each other but she did show us how to do them and  how to find the perfect brow shape.

Day 3
Kristina was back from her show and we got to be a bit more creative today. We started off with just basic eyeliner and then moved onto doing interesting shapes, cut creases and wings. It was interesting to see how different styles of eyeliner works and doesn't work on different eye shapes.
We then moved onto creating the perfect lip, we were challenged by only being allowed to use red. It is surprisingly difficult to get each side equal on the lips, I found it more difficult than the eyeliner!

Day 4
In the morning we had the chance to go down to MAC and receive 35% off for being on the course so we could build up our kits, how could you so no to that much money off?! I bought a few items, for just £50 I got a full size Face & Body foundation, an eyeliner, a blusher and an angled brush!
In the afternoon it was all about smoky eyes and colours. Kristina created this very fun look below when showing us the techniques. I had so much fun using bright colours as a contour, so much more fun to play with than just a basic contour colour.

Day 5
On our final day we got to do any look that we desired, I went for a look that was a bit of a challenge for me. I was inspired by this image I found on Pinterest below, I adapted it to fit my model as no face or eye shape is the same and also my models hair colour was much darker.
After we completed our look we had a professional photographer take photos of the look so we can add it to our portfolios. At the moment I am waiting for that photo to be sent to me so for now I just have some photos I took on my own camera.

I made some new friends, learnt so many new skills and techniques and had an amazing time. Thank you to Kristina for being an amazing tutor. I am now a qualified beginner makeup artist!
I would recommend this course to anyone who want to learn the basics of makeup or brush up on the skills they already have. They also do an advanced course in September where you get to be even more creative which I hope to do in the next few years.


Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Benefit Cosmetics Gabbi's Head, London

I'm currently in the middle of a studying a short course in London at Central Saint Martins but normally London is a bit of a journey from home. I had heard about Benefit Cosmetics, Gabbi's Head in Covent Garden and I just had to go whilst it's still around and I'm actually in London.
With 2 other girls on my course we decided after our course yesterday afternoon we'd go to it for a drink and just to see how cute the place was, fair to say it was very pretty and pink. 
It was tucked away in Covent Garden upstairs in a normal pub, when we went upstairs we were surrounded by cute pink furniture. There was so much attention to detail, even all the coasters had cute quotes on them. You could get a makeover or your eyebrows done for just £5 and also 10% off their products but because we were already all made up from our course we decided not to but were very tempted.
Instead we treated ourselves to a cocktail, they were so scrumptious, all themed to be pink and came in pretty jugs and martini glasses.

The whole point of this place is to come and watch the FIFA World Cup but we didn't stay late enough for the next match, nor did we really want to stay to watch it as it's not our cup of tea! The whole concept was adorable though, making a more feminine pub for those who do want to watch the football instead of the classic rowdy pub, there was even a football table you could play with.
It's such a shame that it's not staying, I would visit every time I go to London.
If you're around or able to visit London before the end of the week, then go before it's gone!

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