A blog for fashion, beauty, hair, cosmetics and lifestyle

31 May 2011

Is it bold to go bald?

This is a post for my male readers. I know you're in the minority on this blog! Going bald carries a lot of stigma for guys, and although it's "socially acceptable" than men go bald, I'm sure it's just as horrifying for men as it is for a woman to discover that they are losing their hair. Yet somehow, people find it ok to laugh at or poke fun of male baldness.

I'm hoping this post will help all guys out there who are losing their hair and maybe feel embarrassed or concerned yet don't want to tell anyone. It's nothing to be ashamed of, and after a short survey on Twitter of other bloggers, all except one respondant were very positive towards males with no hair with their only advice being "shave it all off!"

Here's the gallery to make any blading guys feel better. These guys are seriously cool and in many cases also quite hot!

Jason Statham

Bruce Willis

Bruce Willis

Patrick Stewart

Vin Diesel

So you see balding can be cool, just stick to having it cut short and you'll look great. So Bog Off Heat magazine's Circle of Shame, highlighting balding actors and making them (and normal men) feel bad about nature!

Also remember that covering it up isn't always the best idea. Here's my rogue's gallery...

Hey Jude! We all know and will still love you!


Terry Wogan, your wig is terrible. Bin it!


Apparently when Gordon Ramsay's face swelled up like this earlier in the year it was due to a hair plug transplant!


Either if you want to try and keep your remaining hair or you want to shave it off, just remember guys - although your mates might rib you down the pub about it, ask any girl or your partner and they are being honest when they say they love you the way you are.


27 May 2011

FBFF - Hair Care

It's Fashion Beauty Friend Friday again! This week the questions are about Hair Care

1. How often do you get your hair cut?

I try to get my hair cut every 6 weeks just to keep it from splitting but currently that's not possible so I'm going about 3 months! I'm dreading the roots in a few weeks!

2. Do you go to the same stylist each time, try someone new, go to the cheap hair cutting chains or live it up in a salon?

I ALWAYS go to the same hairdresser - Tahnee's Hair Studio in Weymouth and get my hair done by Tahnee. I've been going there since forever and she's just amazing. She does mine, my mum's and my nan's hair!

3. Do you color your hair? How often? What’s your natural color?

I have top meche done every other visit just to have some blonde highlights put through.

4. The one thing you always do to keep your hair looking great is:

I ALWAYS condition it properly. Once a week I'll use Aussie 3 minute miracle but leave it on all night with my hair wrapped in a towel and I've just started using the Aussie Lusciously Long spray in conditioner. I also love volumising products and mousse to keep my hair big and bushy! My boyfriend calls it my "lion mane"

5. What hair trend do you love and wish you could rock?

I'd really love to do bright coloured hair! I really want pale pink curly hair like Lady Gaga on the Bad Romance video!

Style-wise I'm lucky that I'm very creative with my hair so I can achieve a lot of looks. I've been doing a style diary recently where I never wear the same hairstyle in 10 days! Here's my results so far.


Tell me about your hair!

26 May 2011

Why do we like designer products?

How superbrands create our designer desires


Exactly what messages are my jeans giving off?

It was a question I was forced to consider while filming Secrets of the Superbrands: Fashion, a documentary which uncovers some of the secrets of the biggest names in fashion.

I've never bought a designer garment in my life - value for money's always been more important to me than a logo - and I'd always wondered how it was that a handful of clothing mega-brands had people flocking to them.

How is it that expensive handbags get some women so hot under the collar? How has Diesel built a £1bn business selling brand new jeans which already look worn out? And how has Nike managed to get into the heads of kids of only seven, who already want that tick on their clothes?

But back to my jeans. Style anthropologist Ted Polhemus told me that jeans communicate authenticity.

And nothing says "I'm one of the people" or "I've really lived" like a pair of worn jeans.

But when I visited a factory in Chennai, southern India, and saw rows of people sandpapering, grinding and tearing pristine jeans to make them look as if they'd spent years hanging off a hard working mechanic or cowboy, I realised that in the fashion business, if you can fake that authenticity you're on to a winner.

Pleasure centre

 But what are you trying to say when you fork out £2,000 for a Louis Vuitton handbag?

Alex Riley and schoolchildren hold brand signs

Neuroscientist Professor Gemma Calvert of Neurosense tried to find the answer.

She analysed the brain of a designer-fashion fan in an MRI scanner, showing her pictures of £15 handbags from Primark and Asda, then pictures of expensive designer handbags from the likes of Gucci and Christian Dior.

The cheap bags didn't register but the expensive ones lit up our guinea pig's "pleasure centre", an area associated with reward, craving and addiction.

The results confirmed Neurosense's own research. We are fundamentally excited by high-value objects.

Buying and wearing expensive luxury brands signals to others that we're genetically fit, because we've accumulated so many resources that we can afford to waste a few thousand on something as frivolous as a handbag.

But what if you crave it but can't afford it? The desire for these bags is so strong that a company in Manchester is now actually renting them out to women for £100 a month. And there's a waiting list.

Coolest boots

 Of course, sportswear is much more affordable, but that doesn't explain how sports superbrands have become among the biggest fashion brands of all.

Although in Nike's case, an annual marketing spend of over £1.8bn might just be a factor.
Indian factory Many big-name brands are manufactured in developing economies

We spoke to 10-year-olds who'd never heard of Chanel, Diesel or even Levi's. But when it came to Nike and Adidas, they not only knew exactly who they were, but they also had views on which football boots were the coolest, and which footballing megastars were wearing them.

Endorsement obviously pays. But for a sporting brand to get really big it needs to transcend sport and cross over into mainstream fashion.

Gary Aspden's job is to make sure that Adidas is worn by the right kind of "credible" stars in entertainment.

He told me the reason why so many of today's so-called "grime" artists are hooked on the brand is that Gary spotted them when they were still playing small clubs and gave them free stuff.

Now they're having hit records, they're promoting Adidas as a credible brand to a new generation of kids.

Check mate

But just as having the right people wearing your brand is great for your brand image, if the wrong sort latch on to it you're in trouble.
BBC reporter Alex Riley After a relaunch, Burberry is now seen as cool again

Like most successful luxury brands, Burberry cashed in on its kudos by selling more affordable products, like umbrellas, ties, scarves and wallets.

But their signature check became so popular, and so faked, that its cachet was severely diluted.

It's hard to maintain an image of refined British luxury when you see football hooligans on TV fighting the police in Burberry baseball caps.

After a relaunch Burberry is now cool again, but it's a salutary lesson for a super brand.

So what messages are my trousers giving off?

Well, after they'd been given the full grinding, whiskering, tearing and crinkling treatment in the factory in India, I think they were saying that I looked just a little bit ridiculous.

Secrets of the Superbrands is on BBC Three at 2100 BST on Tuesday, 24 May.


Will you be watching this? I think I will, it sounds interesting! I'm not sure that I want a Mulberry handbag because it's designer, but because it's beautiful and I could never find something like that on the highstreet...

23 May 2011

Aussie Lusciously Light Bootcamp!

On Saturday I wondered my way up to London for the Aussie Lusciously Light Bootcamp day to do some fun exercises, yoga and meet other lovely bloggers. I had a lovely day, although they made us work hard!


To start off, we all met in a cafe and had a chat. It was so strange to talk to people you kind of knew through blogging and twitter but had never actually met! We then went into the gym and met our instructor, Amanda from Gymanda. She's absolutely amazing and very inspiring which was very helpful for people like me who don't "do" exercise. Then they put us through our paces doing circits! We had to do a hoola hoola, then lift weights, then run and do star jumps, kick a punchbag and do backwards press ups!! Then we also had to do stomach exercises and throw a weighted ball. It was tough!  

I'm the one in black short shorts and black trainers on the side facing us, 5th from the right.


Me Hoola-Hooping!


Throwing the weighted ball!


The team doing weights!


Making us do press-ups!


Then we had lunch and I got to chat to some lovely bloggers. It was so strange meeting the people I chat to on twitter and blogs in real life!

Me with Clare from Big Beauty Blog and Lauren from A Lauren To Herself. We're "glowing" following the gym session!

Lily from LilyLipstick, Phoebe from Peluxe, Sherin from HiFashion and Tabitha from ScaredToast


Looking great with a gob full of salad!


Then we did some yoga!

To be honest I was pretty scared of doing the yoga, I've done a lot of yoga since I had my spine fused but I can't do many of the moves properly - which is why yoga is my sport (you don't have to do everything perfectly!) but I was still scared the photos the Aussie girls were taking would show me being rubbish at yoga!

The Reebok sports club we did it in was the poshest gym I've ever been to, with tanning machines, posh lockers, showers, towels, a bar... it was amazing. We even had our own changing area and got to use Aussie products in the showers!

What I wore

I was sent some sports kit by Finisterre - a brand I've not heard of before but am very impressed by!

I had:

I've got the Lalita Vest in Desert Rose £30, and the Lalita Shorts in Black £25 which were designed for yoga! I wore the shorts throughout the first section when we were working really hard but had to change out of them for the yoga because the hall got really cold! I wore the top on the journey but when we got there we were asked to change into the Aussie tshirts so didn't get to wear it exercising. My review though - these are great pieces! The top has a support sheft which I LOVE - it's rare to get that in sports tops in my experience. Also it's longer length so looks great over leggings if you like to do sports in those. I really like this top, so pleased I got it. I got a 8-10 which is perfect for me. I had more trouble with the shorts though... these shorts have a very wide elastic waist and layer up very well with the top. However they are very short if worn at the waist as intended and I'm far too shy to wear them that high so I wore them on my hips, meaning that I had to keep pulling them down because they kept riding up to their intended resting place = not a good look! However the elastic is very strong so they won't fall down and also the width of it means no huge "out-in-out" that you may get on your waist when wearing leggings so no muffin tops!

Here's how this set is supposed to be worn...

You can see how high the shorts are and how long the top is so no worries of flashing bum cleavage when doing yoga, but also the shorts are very short and I'm too self-conscious to wear them like that so I had mine lower as you can see from this photo I stole from Clare (I'm the legs behind the bottle!)

Overall however I was impressed with this gym kit and it definitely beats my pineapple stuff from TK Maxx!

Overall I had a fantastic day, met some amazing people who were just as lovely in real life as on twitter and also got some exericse (I'm still in pain, 3 days later!!) x

Hair Diary 2 - 5 days, 5 more styles!

I was so excited that people liked my hair diary last week - a challenge where I do a different hairstyle each day so I did another one!

Day 1 - sideways poney

This hairstyle is really easy - backcomb the crown and then scoop it into a low side poneytail. Lovely :-)

Day 2 - staightened

I very rarely straighten my hair because I don't like how flat it goes but I fancied a change today!

Day 3 - Faux Bob

Another easy hairstyle which gets a lot of attention! Backcomb the roots and gather into a loose poneytail at the nape of your neck but don't tie. The twist it and roll it under and then pin. As you can see I haven't done it that well because there's a gap but it's good enough to get some shocked reactions! The general Twitter opinion was that a bob ages me so I'm not getting one cut!

Day 4 - Unusual...

I saw this hairstyle on the film "How to Lose Friends and Alienate People" and thought I'd try it although I obviously got longer hair than Kirsten Dunst!


Day 5 - traditional french pleat

For the Aussie event, I chose a low french pleat to keep it out my way but not be annoying for lying down at yoga! Here's me with  Phoebe from Peluxe, Sherin from HiFashion and Tabitha from ScaredToast and Lily from LilyLipstick.

So what do you think of my 2nd hair diary. 10 days and still no repeats! Not sure if I can keep it going though!


20 May 2011

Lauren's Blog Loving with Helen from Just Nice Things

Today we have the beautiful

 Helen from Just Nice Things


Hello! Please introduce yourself and your blog

I’m Helen and my blog is Just Nice Things.  I run the blog with my co-blogger Sheenie and we cover anything and everything in the beauty world. My personal “thing” is nail varnish so the blog is heavily weighted in that direction but we like to think that there’s something for everyone.

When did you start blogging and why?

We started in February 2009 so have been going for well over two years now. I came up with the idea of the blog because I was buying a lot of OPI nail varnish at the time. I went over to a friend’s house with my latest haul, and she just looked at me as if to say “why have you purchased six bottles of nail varnish that all look the same?” They didn’t look the same to me, and at that point I realised that I might be developing a bit of an obsession.

I then started reading other blogs on the internet, discovering people like Scrangie and Vampy Varnish and rapidly realised that there were no UK nail bloggers at all and that there was a gap in the market. I wasn’t sure if I had the confidence to go it alone, so asked Sheenie to join me. She is a qualified make-up artist so I hoped that she could bring another dimension to the blog. At the time, we had never even met – we were “friends” who had “met” on Facebook in an Apprentice themed group and got chatting and realised we had an awful lot in common. So not only do we now run a blog together, we are also brilliant friends. Isn’t the internet great sometimes?

What is your favourite feature on your blog/what posts are you most proud of?

There are a couple of blog posts that I’ve worked on that I am extremely proud of, each of them took well  over a month to complete but I think it was worth it.

The first is my Quick Drying Topcoat Comparison post. There are so many on the market at the moment and I realised that I was falling out of love with Seche Vite so wanted to test some competitors’ offerings to see what else was good. This involved wearing a polish for three days, taking before and after photos and deciding which one was the best. A few people complained that their favourite topcoat wasn’t included here so I do have a sequel in the works...

The second is the result of a hare-brained moment on Twitter where I decided I wanted to do an EOTD with every Nars eyeshadow I owned. This resulted in a mega-post with 28 EOTDs (I’m a Nars fanatic, what can I say). See for yourself here

Describe your style

My  make-up style is quite straightforward. I like big smokey or dramatic eyes and nude lips. As in really nude, not faux-nude with any of that concealer lip nonsense. It’s mainly due to laziness I think, plus I am a little bit scared of lipstick.

As far as clothes go, my style leans more towards rock chick (although I HATE that phrase...but I can’t think of a better way to describe it). I wear a lot of black with the occasional splash of bright colour.

What’s your favourite item of clothing

Probably my McQueen scarf at the moment. I like the iconic skull print and the fact that I can more or less just chuck this on with any outfit. I bought this from Net A Porter a day or so after McQueen died, unsure if they were going to make any more, and thinking that I wanted to own a piece of British fashion history. The temptation to take it out of the box and wear it was just too strong, but that’s ok as I now wear it all the time. Let’s not talk about the time that I managed to spill cheesy coleslaw all down it...

What is your favourite highstreet shop and who is your favourite designer

All Saints (although I hear they may have just gone into receivership, sob) and TK Maxx. I don’t mind having a good old rummage in TK Maxx and I like the fact that some of the stuff you find in there can be quite unique. I’m not a fan of identikit Topshop girls all strutting down the street wearing the same thing – it’s important to have a bit of individuality.

I don’t really have a favourite designer. I would have said Galliano, but that’s not the most PC thing to say since he had his little breakdown, is it?

Apart from blogging, what do you do?

I work in a high pressured sales job and commute a long way each day, so that takes up a lot of time. Other than that, I seem to be a bit addicted to Twitter (I love the banter) and can be found at @HelenNiceThings . I’m an avid reader and love to watch films. A large proportion of my day is also spent playing with my nail varnishes. Sad but true.

What is your dream?

To win the lottery, pack in my job, and go on a coast to coast tour of America. I love America and want to see more of it – I’ve only been to the tourist hotspots of Florida and New York and I’m desperate to go back and have a big old explore.

Tell me a secret?

I’m scared of dogs. Doesn’t matter how big or small the dog, it will scare the hell out of me.

I'm scared of dogs too!! Thank you for letting me interview you.

Remember if you want to be interviewed, just email me lauren@laurenlovesblog.com

19 May 2011

Highstreet Clothing Sizes - What's Going On?

In the changing rooms of Topshop, I was stuck in a pair of skinny jeans... Terrified that I'd have to rip them to get them off, I jumped up and down and realised sadly that in Topshop, I am a size 12 on my bum.

This may not sound shocking, but considering that in Marks & Spencer, New Look and several other shops I am in fact a size 8, I'm starting to wonder what's going on with sizing.

For a while now many of us have noticed that clothing sizes are getting stranger... Once we were all a certain size, no matter where we went but recently many of us fluctuate between 3 sizes depending on what shop we go to! These figures are shocking, and others have picked up on this. In fact a study by the Daily Mail shows how much sizes fluctuate 

  Interestingly, the standard British sizing guide which is the legal size for all clothes gives these statistics... showing that all the above shops are changing the sizes

Last night I asked on Twitter if others noticed this, and I had an overwhelming number of responses agreeing, stating that it made online shopping a nightmare (having to order 3 sizes!) and also makes changing room experiences stressful. @lizabelly also had the theory that sizes target their demographic. Topshop has smaller size 10s than other shops because the audience are younger.

It's not only vanity however which is affected, The Telegraph who wrote a fantastic article on this some time ago commented that mislabelling clothes is indeed dangerous, as obesity is becoming a bigger issue (no puns intended), by not knowing our true size and allowing us to feel slimmer than we are, it may hide some from the truth that they are unhealthily overweight and calls it "vanity sizing". Further more, with the average size of women being larger than those in the 1950s, it also poses a problem to those who sell vintage clothes. Although I may be a size 8 in most shops, I'm a size 12 in vintage clothing! Indeed, Marilyn Monroe may have been a famous size 16, but by todays standards she'd be a size 12!

That isn't my point though. Basically I'm just annoyed that shopping for clothes is becoming harder as sizes vary so greatly. I'm bored of having to buy 2 identical dresses on ASOS in a 8 and 10, to then have to send the one that doesn't fit back. It's putting me off shopping online completely for certain items - especially jeans!

What do you think? Are you also annoyed by strange sizes?


16 May 2011

Hair Diary - 5 days, 5 styles

2 weeks ago my colleague commented "your hair is different every day, you should take pictures" which gave me an idea... a hair diary! I don't know if my halo braid tutorial gave you a hint, but I love doing my hair and doing different things with it so here's my diary of a working week in hair...

Also, I've put a quick "how to" for each style, just follow this big hair tutorial to get a good base for these hair styles.

Day 1: Messy bun

How to: Pull hair up into a high, messy ponytail and secure with an elastic band. Then take inch thick sections and backcomb them fully until you have a bushy ponytail. Then curl it all around the base of the elastic band loosely and pin it in. I like to leave some sections a bit loose and falling down.


Day 2: Down Day

I don't straighten my hair so this is just it rough dried and scrunched. Yes I know it's a mess but I like the volume and texture.

Day 3: Fancy French Plait

I got this idea from a hairstyle I saw Leona Lewis wearing at an award ceremony

However I wanted it a bit neater for work. I left my fringe out but you can also put it in. What you do is part your hair as normal, then start french plaiting above one ear and around the back of your head. As you get to the back of the other ear, stop french pleating and take it down into a normal plait or a fishtail one as seen on Leona. Sometimes I also roll the tail of the plait up as a side bun.

Day 4: Posh Pony-tail

This is a great way to make your day off hair a bit more interesting. I scoop up hair into a ponytail and then take a small section and wrap it around the hairband to cover it. Then use a small grip to pin the end underneath the band.

Day 5: The Kate wedding do'

This is an easy one! Take the top section of hair which has been thoroughly back-combed and using a couple of grips, twist slightly and pin into the scalp and add a pretty flower. This was inspired by Kate's hair at the wedding but with a bit more volume.

So there we go, 5 days in my hair. Do you want to see this again next week?

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