Archive | Beauty RSS feed for this section

“Henna art in high demand” Jen of ‘Jen’s Henna’

16 Mar

The kind of crafts I love, are ones that are both inexpensive and bring people together – two things that epitomise the ancient art of henna tattooing.

hand henna, henna tattooing,

Once used in ancient Egypt and India to adorn brides with elaborate floral patterns and motifs, it’s now more widely used amongst men and women at times of celebration.

The sciencey bit: Henna leaves alone won’t stain the skin. It’s only once the leaves have been sifted in to a powder, treated with a mild acid and worked in to a paste that it can form an almost instant stain upon contact with skin – growing darker the longer it is left.

I spoke to a talented young lady who’s busy sharing her passion for henna tattoing in both London and Cambridge! Jen of ‘Jen’s Henna‘ told me about how she got started, and  increasing interest and demand for henna at kids parties, hen do’s and for brides to be.

1. Tell us about how you got in to the art of henna?

I’ve been interested in henna since I was young – I remember once occasion when I was on a beach on holiday and saw someone doing amazing designs, I thought, I’ve got to learn to do that! I’ve always loved drawing patterns and so henna feels like quite a natural interest. I got hold of a henna kit when I was 17 and started practicing on myself and on friends. I’m completely self-taught, and so it was only after graduating from University and wondering what to do next that I started doing henna for money.

interview picture me

2. What’s your proudest henna project to date?

It’s hard to pinpoint a particular project but some the work I’m most proud of has come from when customers have brought their own ideas and asked me to translate them into henna art. I feel most confident doing my own designs, but some of my best work comes from being challenged to create something completely new.

interview picture 2

3. What inspires your work?

My work is inspired by henna designs from all around the world. Different countries and areas of the world have their own styles and I try to learn from all of these.  I particularly like the floral and paisley designs of India and Pakistan, as well as the straight and symmetrical patterns of Morocco and North Africa. Continue reading

Pinterest post inspired business newspaper nails

15 Jun

I saw these handsome looking nails a while ago on image and idea sharing site; ‘Pinterest‘. 

The process is very simple, and consists of a solid base coat of nail varnish – preferably a nude or similarly timid colour. This is in order for the newsprint to reach its full impact. I used a middle eastern paper that my dad had bought back from Dubai only a few weeks ago.

To ensure the newsprint imprints on to your nail beds you should cut out small squares or circles (depending on your nail shape) of paper and place them on your alcohol soaked nails, I used a tenacious Jamaican rum called ‘Wray & Nephew‘, or if you have vodka that should suffice. Leave the small scrap of newsprint on your nail bed until it has completely dried up. Peel off the paper and apply a top coat of clear nail varnish to secure the deal.

In my personal experience, it’s a really fiddly procedure and if you have  little or no patience then this is probably not the project for you.

An alternative to this, is to soak in the summer festival vibes and create a ‘groovy’ swirl design on your nails. You can watch a tutorial of this amazing nail trend here.

SJP: Ugly-Pretty Fashion Bastion

26 Jan

Just a few snaps to inspire the ladies or indeed gents, I’m not a great lover of the ‘Carrie Bradshaw‘ (played by actress Sarah Jessica-Parker) character of Sex & the City, in fact I often say she resembles a foot. I tend to lean towards the obstacles that face a certain blonde bombshell ‘Samantha Jones‘. However I must confess, whilst I read Stephen Fry’s autobiography in the daytime, my intellectual self is cast aside when my trashy read appears before bedtime ‘The Carrie Diaries‘. Written by the same author of ‘Sex & the City’, where Candace Bushnell crafts the history of one of fashions most influenctial fictional characters of our time.

She made it acceptable to showcase the bra as part of a party dress and took risks; which is essentially what all stylish women aim to do. She had fleeting love affairs and made mistakes; but most importantly she looked fabulous.

I will shortly be crafting a pearl headband for Springtime, but with a twist (inspired by the likes of Miss Carrie Bradshaw.) So here’s to you Patricia Field the brains behind the styling of this inspiring character, and also behind many fabulous fashion filled flicks (Devil wears Prada, Ugly Betty and Confessions of a Shopaholic.) Back in ’08 Ms. Field even collaborated with big boy British chain M&S, and boasts her own fabulous fashion line back in NYC.

A selection of my favourite Carrie fashion moments:

This came from one from the earlier seasons (there were 6 in total) and was my inspiration for the well-worn shaggy ‘French chignon’  of 2010/2011.

The first date with light installation artist ‘Alexandr Petrofsky’ played by the infamous ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. Plus I’m a sucker for a flapper dress, and beading.

This was trully the ‘icing-on-the-cake’, the dress from the final (tearful) episode, where Carrie wears a  great many layers of tulle under this seafoam green Parisienne dress. Even to this day, I can’t ever go too long without a little French influence in my crafts.

‘The last supper’ with the girls before she departs for Paris, I’m pleased Patricia Fields brought about a British invasion with this frosted white Zandra Rhodes coat and structured trapeze Jill Stuart dress, which took around two years to filter down in to high street stores (plus it was only right that she wore Manolo‘s for her last night in New York.)

Things that make me happy

5 Jan

One small aspect of life that never fails to make me happy is when I come across a product with a particularly individual name. Whether it’s a nail varnish, or a new style of furniture at Ikea –  products carry personality and it makes me grin when the product name is something personal or is so cute I want to buy it for the name alone.

Here are a few recent favourites:

  • A colour I can’t seem to get enough of recently is cranberry, I’ve bought a dress, nail varnish and lipstick in the

    Red red wine pic:Iheartcosmetics

    same colour and now I’ve found a fruity models own nail paint called Red red wine, I hope after the UB40 classic. Love it!

  • I’m making it a point in 2011 to grow some potted plants instead of buying so many flowers with limited life spans. How delighted was I when Ikea presented me with ‘Schlumbergera. It’s actually a Brazilian cactus – but I’m glad that Ikea bought it to my attention.

    Silent passageway pic:Modcloth

  • A website that I’m known to spend hours gushing over is modcloth I recently found a little number called ‘Silent passageway‘ – it makes me think you’d need to wear it in the heat of the night in New York City attending a 1920’s theme soiree.
  • Etsy truly never gets old – and their online craft, vintage and art community is only getting bigger. One product range that caught my eye was Amongst Lovely Things; I loved  ‘swirling vines‘, and ‘Marvelous garden, personalised mug and saucer sets with banners and sparrows. Adorable!

    Marvelous garden pic:Laramie

swirling vines Pic:Laramie

Christmas & New Year sparkle

15 Dec

Jinny rainbow

Ok, so I’m a bit of a fashion and beauty magpie. Usually I would have gone about my usual sweep stake of a couple of floors in Topshop (Oxford street), but a pop-up glitter station named Jinny Rainbow manned by a fabulous Japanese woman breaks my focus.

“Would you like to see how it works” she asks (after a bombardment of questions from myself.) She does a freehand squiggle and spot on my wrist, then sprinkles liberal mounds of what I imagine fairy dust to look like – in three different shades of brown (Copper, Gold & Chocolate.) Then with a fan brush swipes away the excess glitter.

“Stays on for a week – look I did this one yesterday.” [In-tact]

Topshop stand

It’s been a massive hit with celebs – pretty young things like Lily Allen and Pixie Lott have been fans of the crystal jewels you can apply to the face or body.

Here’s Lily sporting some of the glitters back in 2009:

Freehand it, stencil it, – it’s a fabulous little Christmas staple or Summer festival splurge for boho magpie’s like myself, but for New Years it’s a must – Wild but pretty.

You can purchase the crystals and glitters on their website here.

Twisted Autumn poetess hair

18 Nov

The cold is starting to bite. So here’s an easy way to continue to look creative with minial effort.

Hair twists & heather

Inspiration:It’s also a D.I.Y. triumph that requires no money at all. Inspired by the dreams and whimsical landscapes of young Belgian born photographer ‘Charlotte Boeyden‘, the key themes for this style are – femininity, poetesses, fairies and la vie boheme. Pre-raphaelite paintings are always a good reference when looking to achieve a unique bohemian edge. (Sadly Sienna Miller’s stylist did not invent this look.)

Project:Grab the hair above your right ear and begin to twist and gather in the middle, following it all the way to back of your head pin this to keep it secure for a minute. Copy this on the left side, then grab both the twisted sections and tie in a slouchy bun (high bun for high impact, low bun for a relaxed poetess look.) Pin down the edges of the bun so it appears as though you’ve gone to more effort.

TOPTIP:Tease out baby curls at the nape of your neck, and in front of your ears. This way you’ll have more texture and achieve the bohemian vibe better.