Look Good, Brush Better

We’ve long been fans of Look Good Feel Better‘s amazing work in offering essential hair and beauty advice and workshops for women undergoing cancer treatment. A confidence boost to those who need it most, the charity’s work really makes a tangible impact. And we also absolutely love Look Good Feel Better’s beautiful quality makeup brushes and tools – they’re excellent quality and they definitely do the job, all while giving us an extra way to give back too. So obviously we were delighted to hear about the launch of the charity’s latest launch: the Anti-Bacterial Brush Set.

LOOK GOOD FEEL BETTER Anti-Bacterial Brush Set

The set’s four brushes have been made with antimicrobial technology designed to keep them clean and hygienic – so they’re ideal for use on the go – whether that’s travelling, the gym or perhaps summer festivals. The synthetic bristles are super soft too – and the brushes are every bit as effective as the Look Good Feel Better’s original, best-selling beauty tools. The brushes are also completely cruelty-free and suitable for sensitive skin.

The Round Foundation Brush is perfect for a flawless base, dispensing product evenly and smoothly, while the large Multi-Tasking Brush is fantastic for powder, blusher and bronzer. The kit also includes an Eye Shading Brush and Lip Brush which we’d recommend whether you’re a beauty pro or simply buying your first set of makeup brushes. It’s the first time we’ve come across antibacterial brushes, and we’re wondering why more brands don’t offer something so clever and effective. Brushes that look good, work well – and help make women in need feel better? Buying these brushes and effortlessly donating to charity just makes sense.

Look Good Feel Better’s Anti-Bacterial Brush Set is available from Marks & Spencer, Look Fantastic and Beauty Expert. For more information on Look Good Feel Better, see the charity’s website

Celebrate More

Happiness and success aren’t the key to life. No, no – it’s all about celebration. Sure, birthdays and anniversaries are lovely, but we all need to celebrate a whole lot more – and more of the time. Work, friendships, relationships and motivation – all areas of life where you definitely need a little more celebration. You need to be saying ‘hoorah’ much more. Really.

celebration

You don’t celebrate enough. I’m not talking about just having fun for the sake of having fun. Plenty of scientific research shows that celebrating is the key to a better life. We need more high-fives, more parties, more chocolate consumption, and a lot more saying, “Wow, that’s great!” Sound too simple and cheery? Wrong. Here’s why… Read more: Barking Up The Wrong Tree.

The Foodie Fix

Are you sitting comfortably? Because we’re about to present you with some earth-shattering, life-changing news. Ready? We’ve discovered a new kind of chocolate which is actually good for you. OK, we may be exaggerating ever so slightly, but it’s 100% natural, organic and completely free from refined sugars. And Raw Halo chocolate is absolutely delicious too. Creamy, rich, sweet and indulgent – it’s hard to believe that chocolate that tastes so good can be quite so saintly. There’s no skimping on flavour here either; the 14 Raw Halo varieties include dark chocolate with sweet orange or sour cherry and almonds, and mylk with salted caramel or crispies. It’s enough to satisfy even the sweetest tooth.

raw halo

We’re not the only fans of the artisan raw chocolate either – Raw Halo was awarded a Great Taste Award in 2015, so the experts are impressed with its gastronomic prowess too. Raw Halo’s founder Meg Haggar explains: “Although there were a few raw chocolate brands on the market, they didn’t have the taste and texture I craved. I wanted to really push raw chocolate to a new level in terms of taste, quality and clean eating.”

raw halo chocolate

“We stone grind our chocolate to give the smoothest of textures, and use a blend of premium organic Peruvian raw cacao and organic coconut sugar as well as cashew butter, lucuma powder and pure vanilla for our ‘Pure Mylk’ varieties for a delicious caramel taste. I hope Raw Halo proves that you don’t need to sacrifice life’s little luxuries to eat clean!” Research shows that raw cacao is packed with vitamins and essential minerals, and rich in antioxidants, with associated benefits including boosting energy and mood, improving heart health and longevity and even helping memory and immunity. We’ll take some of that.

raw halo raw chocolate

Chocolate that’s 100% compatible with clean eating and totally improves your health? Now there’s a wellbeing kick we can definitely get on board with.

For more information and to find stockists, see the Raw Halo website.

Boost Your Productivity

Ah we love a good TED Talk. And we’d dearly like to be more productive – working smarter, getting more done. So this feature on TED Talks to help you become more productive is right up our street. Getting some fresh air, taking time off, banning bad meetings and learning how to fail – these nine talks will help boost your productivity pronto!

Want to reach ultimate productivity? Some of the world’s greatest thought leaders will teach you how. Read more: Business Insider.

The Outfit

This week I had a ‘shopping day’. I genuinely don’t think this is something I have done, maybe ever. And I appreciate that while scores of people do this activity regularly – some every weekend – many hate the prospect of enduring flashing flesh in changing rooms or simply don’t care about clothes to spend their precious spare time battling with people, stuffy stores and not being able to find the car for hours. I do have a theory that every one does care to a certain degree, especially if they say they don’t, because everyone selects in some way what they put on each day, but that’s a whole different topic in itself – one for another time.

shopping day

As a Costume Designer I spend my working life in shops, shopping for other people, so a trip to a city centre in my spare time doesn’t appeal to me, and this is why I don’t ‘go shopping’. However, I do make impulse purchases – never tried on – as I shop for characters, whatever I am designing. And what has transpired is that I am the proud owner of three double wardrobes of clothes, and a chest of drawers (you know, for the folded stuff). And absolutely no coherent outfit to be seen.

capsule wardrobe

This traditional-style shopping day came about as I am not currently working on a project, and was in search of some new jeans so had an afternoon to spare on this hellish mission; the paradox of the luxury of a day off and the worst task imaginable to undertake during it. I also wanted a cashmere sweater and some boots for an upcoming trip to New York, practical ones with a sole suitable for the snow and ice, as my last winter trip to NYC was a permanent ice rink of embarrassment in several highly impractical footwear choices, And these are a sensible footwear choice, unlike the Gucci loafers which I really would rather purchase.

gucci loafers

I did find some great fitting jeans in APC – much to my delight as it was the first place I tried – although their “no washing for six months” policy is beyond my capability of rational thought. Essentially I spend my life dealing with other people’s dirty clothes after I have shopped for them so I am now literally obsessed with washing. Also, jeans get ‘knees’, and six months of ‘knees’ are some crazy jeans. Maybe APC people don’t sit down or walk anywhere for six months? It was after the jeans that I realised my list for the day basically involved buying An Outfit. I finally needed to heed all of the well-intentioned magazine advice and buy An Outfit. Revelation One, aged 35.

capsule wardrobe for women

Proposing that this should consist of neutral pieces that stood the at least vague possibility of working with at least a few of the other random purchases to create A Wardrobe quickly became Revelation Two. I sensibly changed into the newly purchased jeans as this would be the key to An Outfit working. Alternatively, you could take the piece which you want to get an outfit to go with with you, thus no one thinks you are crazy –  in fact, they are jealous of your cleverness and foresight.

crazy fashion

I have always been a firm believer in unpatterned, simple clothes in classic colours, and there is absolutely no reason ever to buy a t-shirt in a colour with any kind of print on it. These are life rules that you would think would translate into ‘Woman Capable of Dressing In Chic Classy Way’, but it’s just not that simple. I have some great tees and vests already at home, so they weren’t a requirement at least.

WHITE TSHIRT STYLE

When it comes to tees, I recommend Petit Bateau if you like a tight fit as the longer line tucks-in well, even into low rise jeans to avoid any plumber’s bottom issues. H&M men’s department also has lovely soft crew necks (unlike the thick jersey usually used in women’s tees) so they tuck well into waistbands also as they are cut longer for guys but not tight at the bottom. I often find women’s tees so tight at the hem they become incredibly uncomfortable sitting on the part you don’t want it to and it’s impossible for them to create an insouciant pull so it sits over your waistband, you know, should you so wish to do so.

uniqlo cashmere sweaters

I was after a black cashmere crew neck sweater and I found one of these straight away in Uniqlo of course. And there were lots of great neutrals, ecru, grey marl, navy and black – it came in bright colours too but as I am An Outfit buying I also didn’t want to be too trend led. At £70 that’s some very reasonable cashmere, which washes well if care is taken. The cut is not cropped, but not so long that it does the dreaded muffin top hug, with a small vent on each side giving it extra movement where we have hips so it really is an impressive sweater, especially for the price.

chanel style tweed jackets

Isabel Marant Etoile (which I historically prefer to the main collection anyway) has some great pieces for long term staple outfit dressing. I found an unlined double breasted tight-fitting jacket with great shoulders and a neat classic line for £260, a jacket perfect for travelling as it can be worn with jeans for perfect smart casual. It works as a light jacket for spring through autumn and a great layer for winter, mostly as the cashmere sweater looks perfect underneath. And this jacket works really well dressed up for the evening too, so it feels like a smart, sensible purchase.

timberland slim boots women

The boots took much longer to find, but I found some really great slim black Timberlands with a solid rubber sole, waterproof and sturdy. They are not as heavy as many practical boots, or traditional Timberlands for that matter, and being a slim style they are not too bulky for my 5’2 frame either. They also sit in a great place up the leg to work a turn up on any trouser, and should give me a bit of London rock whatever the weather in NYC. My Mama just bought a pair for a trip to Krakow too, so shed that For Rappers Only impression and take a look.

travelling light

Once I returned home, I realised the enormous success of this trip as I packed, I do believe I managed to create one of those staple wardrobes of which publications so often speak, the ubiquitous An Outfit. I included in my suitcase in addition to my new haul a pair of Stan Smiths, an oversized slouchy sweater, a cashmere vest, some knitted wide leg black pants and a pair of heels along with an old oversized tailored overcoat styled up with a brooch and everything goes with everything. I am a changed woman.

capsule closet

The challenge now is when I get back, parting with all the pieces I like but have nothing to wear them with, but for the next week I shall revel in the wonders of An Outfit, in fact even, The Staple Wardrobe. Fashion editors, it’s has taken you 35 years, but finally you have got through and I have listened, and I profess you are all correct; it really does take the stress out of dressing. Hopefully when I crack this officially full time {=(i.e. in ‘real life’ when I get home) I could even treat myself to a very on-trend whatever-the-colour-next-season-is sweater… You never know!

RIH Drinks

Nothing says spring quite like the sour-sweet zing of rhubarb; it’s an elegant, irresistible flavour quite unlike any other. Sure, rhubarb is delicious in desserts and cakes, but once you’ve tried it in a Rhubarb Spritz, you’ll realise that it’s the most exquisite addition to pretty much any cocktail. And paired with a spritz of Maison Mumm’s finest Rosé Champagne? Cocktails don’t get much better than this, really. A Rhubarb Spritz is also oh-so-easy to make – no complex mixology skills or outlandish ingredients, we promise.

rhubarb spritz mumm

Champagne cocktails may be a little bit of a treat but life is short – so a Rhubarb Spritz is actually exactly what you should be sipping of a Tuesday evening. Or a Thursday. Or Friday. You get the picture. Mumm’s Rosé Champagne is a pale coral pink colour, with subtle hints of red fruit flavours and a multitude of fine bubbles – a fragrant Champagne which works beautifully in cocktails. We also LOVE that Maison Mumm’s motto is: “Only the best” – an epithet we definitely agree with. So cheers, here’s to a cocktail or two to really celebrate spring!

rhubarb spritz cocktail
60 ml rhubarb syrup (we use this recipe)
Mumm Rosé Champagne
Mint
Lemon
Ice

Place a good handful of mint in a cocktail shaker and muddle with a rolling pin to release the flavour. Add ice cubes, rhubarb syrup and a squeeze of lemon and shake well. Strain and pour into two Champagne flutes, before topping up with chilled Mumm Rosé Champagne. Garnish with a few mint leaves or a fine slice of lemon peel. Warning: these cocktails are very, very moreish – the above recipe should serve two, but you may want to make more once you’ve tried your first Rhubarb Spritz!

mumm rose cocktails

For more information on Mumm and Mumm’s Rosé Champagne, see the website.

Beating Procrastination

Need to get something done? Finding ‘just starting’ your task impossible? Consummate procrastinator? Here’s how to understand – and beat – procrastination and get things done. Hello productivity!

beating procrastination

Sitting down to start a task that requires significant mental energy can often feel like the hardest part of the endeavor. But getting started is about understanding and overcoming the obstacles—be they mental, emotional, or physical—that hold us back from diving right in. Read more: Help Scout.

OMGYES!

So, let’s talk edging, hinting and rhythm. Confused? If you’ve heard of OMGYES, then this will all make perfect sense. If you haven’t… Well, it’s time to get up close and very personal with OMGYES: a frank, educational and definitely NSFW app dedicated to female pleasure and how to have incredible orgasms. Blushing? You really shouldn’t be. But you probably are; let’s face it, women’s sexual pleasure – much less masturbation – just isn’t something most of us discuss very often. It’s time to change all that.

omgyes

Over 2,000 women aged 18-95 (yes, really) participated in the large-scale research that informed the creation of OMGYES. The interactive app features real women explaining and demonstrating the specific techniques that make them orgasm. It’s that simple. And yes, there are videos of real women, actually demonstrating their favourite techniques. The videos don’t look like a fashion ad from Vogue and they definitely doesn’t look like porn either – it’s real women just like you showing you what works for them.

omgyes app

And once you’ve watched the videos? Via interactive tutorials, the app invites you to use your mobile’s touchscreen to practice the movements on a virtual vagina, correcting you with real-time feedback until you get them right. OMGYES suggests that “You kind of have to see it to believe it,” and we’d definitely agree. At the moment, there are 50 videos for your viewing (ahem) pleasure, with OMGYES costing a one-off fee of £19. Use it solo. Use it with your significant other. Now Emma Watson’s revealed she’s an OMGYES fan, it can’t be long before more of us start actually talking about female pleasure – and not in hushed voices either… Share this feature with a friend and break the cycle of silence.

You can download OMGYES online here for £19; there are also sample videos and tutorials so that you can ‘try before you buy’ too.

How To Say No

Do you ever feel like you need to stop saying “yes” to everything? Maybe you’re just a little tired, overwhelmed or stressed out? Don’t get us wrong, it’s GREAT to be a Yes person, but there’s also strength, power – and assertion – in knowing when to say no. After all, saying no frees you up to say yes when it matters most. So how should you been saying “no”? Here’s eight ways to master the skill, and own that “NO”. 

saying no

Sometimes you just need to say “no” to people. Maybe it’s a friend asking for a favour, and you can’t commit. Maybe it’s your boss asking if you have time for another project, and you don’t. Whatever the scenario, here are a few polite ways to turn someone down. Read more: LinkedIn.

Investing In Yourself

Four simple steps that will have a huge impact on your life. Not a lot to ask really. Do you want to “finish school, get a job and then spend 60 or 70 years falling with style?” That’s what most of us do. Jon Westenberg’s four steps might just change your life. You can thank us later…

How To Invest In Yourself

This isn’t a bullshit, head in the clouds, you can do it if you just *believe* post. There’s plenty of those out there. I’m not going to write another one. This post is about how to actually, practically invest in yourself in a way that is going to pay real dividends. A framework for getting places, accomplishing things and living in a way that will make you happy. Read more: Medium.