Events, Fashion, Lifestyle, Style Guide

What To Wear To The Races

April 8, 2015

This Saturday is one of the biggest horse races on the calendar. The Grand National 2015 takes place at Aintree, but the day before also sees ladies day where all manner of outfits will be on show for the day. At Aintree there is no official dress code like Royal Ascot, so you definitely have a lot of ladies peacocking in colourful, loud and sometimes crazy outfits. The dress code says dress smart with hats being optional but often worn, no fancy dress and no sports wear. Aintree has also said they will ban photos of badly dressed women. With that in mind and my bets placed, here’s how to look less ‘My Big Fat Gypsy Grand National’ and more ‘My Grand National’, own it ladies.

My Big Fat Gypsy Grand National

There are four key elements to your ladies day outfit, the dress, the bag, the shoes and of course the hat. Here are my top style picks and tips to help you choose!

The Dress

The dress is your key item for the outfit. Either go for something plain and jazz it up with accessories or go bold and printed. I recommend a knee-length or just above the knee dress, anything longer could just get soggy in the mud and leaving you looking more like a dragged through the fences Cinderella. Currently the weather is looking good for Friday, but you can never be sure, so go for something a little more covered up as it’s still early Spring.

Click the arrows to view the gallery

The Shoes

Shoes can make or break a dress. Make sure they match well, if going for a plainer dress, go for a funky shoe like these feather heeled sandals from Little Mistress or bright coloured heels from Sophia Webster. Otherwise keep them simple and choose a sandal or a peep toe. You are going to be in these heels all day, so make sure they are sensible in that you can actually walk in them! Oh and pack plenty plasters. Get your feet race ready with the Scholl Express Pedi, I can’t express how awesome this is for your feet, especially in summer.

Click the arrows to view the gallery

The Bag

You need a bag that matches your outfit, isn’t too big to carry and of course fits everything in. Essentials ladies – make-up, camera, phone, purse, plasters, spare pair of flats….it’s a hard job. These clutch bags are key, they are big enough to fold everything in and still leave you feeling stylish.

Click the arrows to view the gallery

The Hat

It’s up to you whether you go for a hat. There are two options, full on hat or a fascinator which is my preferred option. It’s hard work to find a hat that matches, so if struggling then a fascinator can be the way to go and is also a bit cheaper. I love the red-spotted M&S version for £35. When choosing a hat, take a good friend with you for advice, this hat needs to frame your face and suit your face shape, not be falling half-way down your head or looking like a Lady Gaga special. Also check out the weather for wind, as you don’t want to be running half way down the racecourse, that’s for the horses to do.

Click the arrows to view the gallery

Beauty, Hair

Duck & Dry

April 7, 2015

If you missed it, last week was my birthday! And well I decided to take a lovely day off from the blog, well kind of – as much as I could anyway. I started off the morning with a visit to the McQueen Savage Beauty exhibition, which was fantastic to see a lot of his work I hadn’t seen before, however unfortunately no photos to be had as the V&A staff are very, very strict. Afterwards Danny and I headed to the Bluebird in Chelsea for lunch (head to Instagram if you fancy a peek at what we ate), which was nicely located across the road from Duck & Dry, Chelsea’s and London’s latest blow-dry bar. They had invited me down to try out one of their hair experiences and so I figured my birthday was the perfect excuse and day to have nice hair. So after lunch, I hopped across the road into Duck & Dry.

Duck & Dry Chelsea Blow Dry Bar

Inside it was brightly lit with long windows and low lighting and it had a really fresh feel with all the pastel colours and friendly sofa seats. Oh and did I mention a bar? This was much bigger than any blow-dry bar I’ve been to previous and loved the open plan space of it all. You can see everything going on in the blow dry bar and I just generally felt pretty comfortable straight away.

Duck & Dry Blow Dry Bar

Duck & Dry was founded by Yulia Rorstrom who was frustrated at the lack of everyday hair solutions in London, so started her own blow-dry bar. The name I was told came after lots of brainstorming and the idea of ducking in for a dry. This idea is carried on throughout the blow-dry bar, with the nibbles of food being listed as ‘hungry ducks’.

Duck & Dry Menu

Duck & Dry Chelsea

Duck & Dry Updo Menu

The hair menu has several styles, laid back sleek locks to glamorous waves and updos. I am always a bit in between and the stylist listened to what I wanted exactly without having to just get one of the styles off the book. As we were going for dinner later, I went for lots of volume and wavy glam locks. My hair was washed and dried within about 45 minutes I’d say. But there is no rush here at all, you don’t feel like you’re just another number being shelved out.

Duck & Dry The LDN Diaries

Finally I was done and hair ready for the evening. Danny took me to Bob Bob Ricard which I have been eager to go to ever since I saw the desserts, they are simply amazing. I however took the night off and so didn’t blog the dinner, but there is always next time, and there will definitely be a next time, this restaurant was just too amazing. You can find Duck & Dry on the Kings Road in Chelsea and hopefully at more locations across London very soon.

What do you think of the hair and my make-up for the evening? I think the hair makes it let’s be honest! I’ve listed below the products I used for this look. For more looks you can watch my tutorials on YouTube.

Paula Holmes

Beauty, Beauty Reviews, Face, Skincare

Casmara Balancing Algae Peel-Off Mask

April 6, 2015

I had seen these face masks pop up in Boots one day and wondered if they were any good. I have always quite fancied mixing up a face mask myself and I just love a peel-off mask. Don’t you think it’s just complete satisfaction? I had never heard of the brand, so was a bit mystified whether to try it out or not. So very unlike me, without reading any reviews I delved in!

The Casmara peel-off masks have a few different ones in the range, there are four different lines to cover four different skin conditions. There is the Rejuvenating with revitalising gold, Purifying with refreshing Oxygen (not sure how!?), Balancing with calming properties and Hydra with anti-ageing and firming benefits. I decided to try out the Balancing and Antioxidant rich mask. This one has a calming effect on the skin which is obtained from seaweed extract, Goji berries and Quinoa seeds. My skin is very sensitive so I thought this would be a nice treat.

Casmara Face Mask

Inside the pot which is £9.99, you get a balancing cream in a tiny tube which is for pre application of the mask. Two sachets to mix up, a spatula and also you can use the lid as the mixing pot. So you have everything you need.

Casmara Balancing Face Mask

I carefully read through the instructions, which to be honest are in every language possible and a bit all over the place, but you get there in the end. I applied the balancing cream to my face, after this there was still plenty left in the tube. I wasn’t sure how many face masks this made but it implied just one so I went full in. I mixed sachet one which was a dusty red powder with sachet two a gel and mix fastly together until the mask was formed.

Casmara Facial Mask Review

You have to apply it quickly to the face, so I applied it in motions across starting from my forehead down. I was left with an awful lot of extra product, which would definitely have done another mask, but I’m not sure you can really fold up the gel packet and just keep it. I think this was be great if maybe was two of you and you and a friend can both use it together as otherwise there is just so much wastage.

Casmara Balancing Face Mask

Once the mask was on, it looked rather bizarre! I was debating whether to post this, but here you go, my mask in all it’s very baked bean looking glory!!!

Casmara Balancing Face Mask

It hardened in about 15 minutes and peeled off very easily in one easy swoop. I loved the feeling and my skin felt soft straight away afterwards. Overall I found it a bit of a faff to put together, expensive for just one use when there was so much product left over and I never really saw that much of a result afterwards. Yes my skin felt soft but nothing another mask or moisturiser couldn’t do.

Casmara peel-off masks are available at Boots.

Beauty, Face, Skincare, Videos

Cleansing Brushes Review

April 5, 2015

Another Sunday equals another video, I am now uploading every Sunday woohoo! Finally I have a YouTube schedule, so do make sure to subscribe for all the latest videos. You can do so by clicking here. On YouTube you will find me doing make-up tutorials including my latest Ibiza look, GRWM – Get Ready With Me videos, for those not in the know. Check out me getting ready for a Habitat & Birchbox blogger dinner and also shopping hauls, my latest is the Forever 21. Plus lots more in between!

I am still pretty new to YouTube so I am still learning along the way, but I am finding it fun and I hope you enjoy watching! If there is anything you would like to see do let me know.

My latest video is all about cleansing brushes. I have been trying out these three, they are sort of one for each budget, including the Silk’n Dual Cleanser, Braun 2 in 1 Epilator and Cleansing Brush and also the much talked about Foreo Luna. If you fancy finding out a bit more about each then do watch on in the video below!

Events, Lifestyle

A Day At Ascot Races

April 4, 2015

Last Sunday Danny and I were invited down to Ascot by Appletiser, to enjoy a day at the races and also dabble in the art of mocktails with a mocktail making class to celebrate the fact that Appletiser are now the official soft drink of Ascot races. It was a very wet Sunday for the Prince’s Countryside Fund Raceday, but there was plenty of activities going on at Ascot for this family day. Not only were Prince Charles and Camilla there but also Ant & Dec had joined in the fun, that included the lamb grand national, yes this was sheep jumping over fences!

Appletiser

We started off the day with a mocktail class with Appletiser and Katherine Larsen who is the 2014 UK Sommelier of the Year. In our pairs we each had our own table, decked out so beautifully with Spring flowers, apple place settings with names (this would be such a nice idea for a party) and everything we would need for the class, including the three Appletiser flavours and some fruit to start us off with the pairing of the drinks with food. During the class we learnt the best pairings for food for the Apple flavour Appletiser, the Apple & Pomegranate and also the Apple & Blackcurrant. It was interesting to learn about what paired well with each flavour and also learn a bit more about seasonal fruits.

Appletiser mocktail class

Apple Place Name Table

Appletiser mocktail class

Cocktail Kit

Fruit Bowl

For the Apple flavour it is floral and fruity and is best paired with foods like pork, to counteract the saltiness with the sweetness, also try it with black pudding and something like nuts. Pomegranate is more rich in flavour, its woody, earthy, sweet and a little musty. This then in turn works best with food like pheasant and duck, chicken curry dishes and salads with feta cheese as ii provides freshness to these heavy flavours. Lastly the blackcurrant is fruity, herby and has musky flavouring. This works well with sweet desserts like cheesecake, yoghurt and sorbet.

Pairing Appletiser

Fruit

We also put together our own mocktail, using the Apple & Pomegranate, mint, maple syrup and lime. It was a really refreshing mix, although I maybe would have used the blackcurrant just as a personal preference as I’m not such a big fan of pomegranate.

Mocktail Appletiser

Mocktail with Appletiser

After our mocktail class, we headed to the Appletiser box to watch the racing, where were treated to plenty of drinks and a buffet lunch. There is such a good view from the box that it would be amazing to come back in Summer, when the weather would be better.

Appletiser box at Ascot

Roast Beef

View from Ascot race box

I also headed down to the parade ring to take a look at some of the horses, my tip – look for the one that is smiling, I swear!

Ascot parade ring

Ascot racecourse parade ring

Danny and I placed our bets on a few horses and hoped for the best. After losing the first few, there wasn’t much hope, but we then managed to pick two of the winning horses in the end. Although I won’t be quitting the day job just yet.

Ascot race gif

Events, Lifestyle

The Moët Academy

April 3, 2015

Moët and Chandon this April will be bringing their expertise from the much-loved Champagne house to London, as they introduce the Moët Academy. The academy will be taking place at the OXO Tower on the Southbank and will take guests on a multi sensory journey from grape to glass, as they are immersed into a re-creation of the iconic vignes and caves before enjoying an in-depth tasting session led by Susie Barrie MW and Peter Richards MW. Peter and Susie are highly respected wine personalities within the wine trade and run their own wine school in Winchester as well as appearing regularly on BBC1’s Saturday Kitchen.

Moet Academy

The Academy will invite participants to walk through rows of wines and to touch some grapes alongside original chalk from the vineyards. They will learn more about the region, it’s vine yards and the three distinctive Champagne groups: Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Meunier. Guest will then be able to discover how Champagne is made, how base wines are turned into Champagne and how long it takes from vine to glass. As you discover and of course sip some champagne you will be able to enjoy the beautiful views from the OXO Tower onto the river and London.

Moet Academy at OXO Tower

If you fancy brushing up on your Champagne knowledge then the Moët Academy will run from Monday 13th April to Friday 24th April 2015. Tickets for a 90-minute session at the Moët Academy are £40 and are available from  www.moetacademy.co.uk.