How to be Fabulous Each Morning (in 15 Minutes)

A Girl, A Style _ How to be Fabulous

I don’t know about you, but during the week, I never have the luxury of being able to take my time getting ready. If I want more than half an hour to get ready, then I have to either forgo sleep or get to the office late (and frankly, I’d rather lie in bed for those blissful ten minutes after my alarm goes off than spend time styling my hair). Needless to say, I’m by now an expert in getting out that door as quickly as possible, without turning into a frazzled, grumpy mess.

The secret to leaving the house feeling your best? Leave ten minutes to do your makeup (more if you can spare it) and always do a few things that feel leisurely and fun, no matter how rushed you are (for me that’s taking a few minutes to put on a soundtrack to listen to while I’m getting ready, make a quick + healthy breakfast to have while I’m doing my makeup, and always remembering my lipstick, perfume and jewels: those finishing touches that make me feel ‘done’).

Here’s how I do it when I’ve got 15 minutes flat:

One minute: Turn on music that makes me want to have a dance party in the bathroom (hello, Motown!). Brew coffee/put fruit in the blender. Jump in the shower (Jo Malone shower gel starts the morning off right), brush teeth + sing badly.

Four minutes: Quick face routine + slather on body moisturiser (+ sunscreen if it’s summer). Get coffee/juice, giggle at my boyfriend’s silly jokes.

Six minutes: Dry shampoo (Batiste is the best bargain in my beauty arsenal) + quickly run a GHD or tongs through the front and ends of my hair. Twist hair into a bun while it’s still warm to set while I’m getting ready.

Eight minutes: When I’m short on time, I focus on perfecting my complexion and adding a pop of colour. I start with BB cream all over + long-wear foundation and concealer where I need it.

Ten minutes: Add a glow (I like Nars illuminator around the cheek/browbones, down the bridge of the nose and on the cupid’s bow), lightly buff bronzer into the cheekbones/temples/jawline) then a pop of peachy blush on the cheeks.

Eleven minutes: Add a flick of liquid liner (I’ve tried them all, and this Stila marker version is absolutely the best; foolproof and SO fast), fill in brows and a wash of pearly/bronze shadow if you have a moment.

Twelve minutes: Spritz on perfume (this Jo Malone version is my current favourite), undo hair (shake out waves or pin back into a loose undo), and get dressed in something that makes you feel fantastic.

Fourteen minutes: Add a dash of sparkle (if in doubt, add a statement necklace or a pair of fabulous earrings). Do a twirl + turn off Motown soundtrack.

Fifteen minutes: Grab handbag, do a quick outfit check, smile and go!

In transit: Add a coat of mascara and a pop of bright lipstick on the bus/train/at the lights if you ran out of time at home (ie. these are the only two acceptable steps to do in public; never your whole makeup routine). Write your ‘to do’ list for the day (be sure to include something just for you/that makes you smile). Spend the morning being pulled-together + fabulous!

A Girl, A Style _ How to be Fabulous 2
Pictured (L-R): Nars ‘Turkish Delight’ lipgloss // Anthropologie monogrammed mug (from Nicolette) //  BaubleBar earrings c/- (similar style available at Shopbop) // Nars ’413 BLKR’ illuminator c/- // Nars ‘New Attitude’ blush.

Do you have any tips for getting-fabulous-quick each morning?

Love, Miss B xx

P.S. By popular request, I’m bringing back Beauty Wednesday each fortnight. Do you have any requests for future beauty posts? Let me know in the comments below or via Twitter / Instagram!

Beauty Wednesday: Date Night Beauty

Whether you should find yourself single, in a relationship or just taking a look at the menu, there should always be room for the kind of dates that give you butterflies in your stomach and make you want to put on the most wonderful dress in your wardrobe. Even though I’ve been with the Clever Boyfriend for over seven years (!), every Friday evening we completely clear our schedules, get dressed up and have a weekly date night.

When you’re dabbling in a little flirtation, you want to look your best (of course); as though you’ve gone to a little effort (it’s only polite, after all), but like you didn’t really have to try very hard (because you’re just naturally that pretty and radiant). Here’s how to master date night pretty via a few of my favourite beauty tricks:

1. Perfect: Keep skin fresh and clean. I like a BB cream (I’m currently obsessed with Estee Lauder’s excellent version) or a tinted moisturiser with concealer just where it’s needed. Avoid heavy foundation (you don’t want to look like you’re wearing a mask) and too far from your own skin tone.

2. Glow: For a little extra glow, I use a subtle tan such as Institut Esthederm Self-Tanning Face Cream (applied the day before so there is no telltale smell) which means you need less makeup, and an illuminator blended invisibly around the cheekbones, brow bone, down the bridge of the nose and on the cupid’s bow (to highlight the lips). Avoid anything glittery; you want to look naturally radiant. Benefit’s High Beam or Moon Beam of Clarins Instant Light Skin Perfector give the best natural glow.

3. Colour: Add a pop of colour to your cheeks and lips for a pretty flush. Avoid obvious bronzer or lipstick and stick to tinted lipbalms (bright lipstick can seem scary to the gents) and a pink, peachy or rosy blush or cheekstain (as a guide, a shade close to the colour you naturally blush will always be flattering).

4. Eyes: Make sure your eyes are worthy of longing gazes and emphasise your lashes. Apply a wash of neautral shadow in a pale champagne or taupe to subtly draw attention to the eyes (I like Mac paint pot in Bare Study followed by shadow in Koi for contouring the socket line). Follow with a flirty flick of liquid liner (Stila’s Stay All Day felt tip marker is the easiest to apply and will literally last all night) and a coat of lengthening mascara and finish by grooming your brows to frame the face (I like Suqqu’s brow palette or Benefit’s waxy brow pencil for filling in any gaps).

5. Finish. Finish with a mist of setting face spray to keep everything flawless and budge proof (you don’t want a smudge of makeup all over his collar when you kiss goodnight, after all). I love Jurlique Rosewater Mist (which makes your face smell like rose petals) or Urban Decay’s All Nighter setting spray. Paint your nails a pretty nude colour for sweet hand holding. Squirt a favourite perfume (Marc Jacobs Daisy is always a man-pleaser) wherever you want to be kissed.

Just add a gorgeous outfit and a flirty smile and you’re ready to hit the town on the arm of your dashing date.And because I treasure you all, I’ve pulled together a date night beauty kit filled with all my favourites (pictured above) thanks to the nice people at eHarmony for one of you to win. The prize (worth £135) contains: Marc Jacobs Daisy perfume (to smell gorgeous), Benefit Bad Gal mascara (for fluttery lashes), Mac blush in a pretty petal pink (for a flirty flush), Essie pastel pink polish in Muchi Muchi (for the prettiest hand-holding manicure), Benefit Moon Beam highlighter (for a radiant glow) and Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector (for kissable lips).

To win, leave me a comment telling me why you want to win (and if you have any special dating or beauty tips I should know about). For bonus brownie points, follow A Girl, A Style on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram (@agirlastyle) or Bloglovin‘ (make sure you let me know which of these you’ve done in your comments).

Fine print: I’ll select the winner on September 10th, so please be sure to include your email address so that I can contact you to post your prize. Entry is open to UK residents.

Do you still make time for date night? I’d love to hear your favourite flirty beauty tips!

Love, Miss B xx

* Edit: This competition is now closed. Congratulations to Becky on winning!


Beauty Wednesday: The Sugared Almond Manicure

 I don’t know why, but much like brooches and expensive shoes and scented candles, I collect nail polish like an crazy woman. So given I own enough pastel polishes to wear a different colour each day of the week, obviously the only thing for it was to embrace my crazy woman tendencies and put them all on at once.

This is the easiest manicure there is, and it earns bonus points in my book for making me feeling like a kid in art class (in a good way). Here’s how to do it:

1) Choose your pastel rainbow. Although all the colours should contrast, you want them to be of the same whiteness/brightness (mine are all milky, sugared almond tones) so that one doesn’t stand out more than the others. You can use anywhere from 3 to 10 colours (I used 5 with the same order repeated on each hand). 2) Prep your nails. Buff, smooth and file nails so that they are all short and neat. Apply a base coat so the colours go on smoothly.

3) Paint in a graduated rainbow so the most similar colours are beside each other. Because pastels tend to be quite streaky and opaque, paint between 2 or 3 coats of each colour so that they look even and flawless. The key to pulling off girlish trends is to ensure everything looks perfect, so finish with a clear topcoat and clean up any edges with a polish correction pen. (L-R: Orly Lemonade, Essie Fiji, Nails Inc. Cambridge, Nails Inc. Oxford, Essie Mint Candy Apple)

Et voila! The perfect sugared almond nails. Best paired with bicycle rides, picnics and a big scoop of strawberry ice cream in the sunshine.

What is your favourite nail polish colour at the moment?

Love, Miss B xx


Beauty: How to Get Your Makeup Bag in Order

In keeping with my annual January quest for organisation, it seems only appropriate to dedicate the first Beauty Wednesday post of the year to sorting out your makeup bag and beauty routine. Whilst I’ll be following my own advice on a few of these points (I’m guilty of not wearing SPF all the time and buying an obscene amount of nailpolish and pink lipstick), all are, I hope, helpful pieces of advice that we can all benefit from being reminded of from time to time.

1. Declutter your beauty supplies. Go through your makeup bag, your vanity cupboard, your handbag and wherever else you stash all your beauty products. Gather everything up in one place and sort through the entire lot (this is quite the task for me!). Automatically bin anything that is expired, looks or smells funny, or is past it’s prime (as a general guideline, this is three months for mascara, 6 months for most other gel/liquid/cream cosmetic, 1 year for most hair/body/skincare products and 1-2 years for any dry/powder products). Also toss anything that is unflattering, that you never wear (and are realistically unlikely to), or that you don’t really like. Your skin is precious, so why bother putting something on it that is unflattering or unhygenic? With whatever is left over, make sure everything is clean (wash your makeup bag and counter surfaces, wipe lipsticks with alcohol wipes, remove buildup from product bottles, etc.) and organised so you know where to find it.

2. Get your tools in order. Once you’ve sorted through everything, what is missing? Everyone should have a great set of makeup brushes & tools (I love MAC for all of these – not cheap, but they will last you years and years if you look after them) and take care of them as the first step to flawless makeup. To ensure they last (and stay hygenic), wash them once a week with warm water and a brush cleanser or baby shampoo and store them upright in a glass where you can see them (rather than shoving them in a makeup bag where they will just breed bacteria).

3. Find what is missing. Do you have 20 lipglosses but still haven’t found a foundation that disappears into your skin and stays put? Then it’s time to fill in the gaps. Hunt down some good-quality basics where you need them (if you need help, go to your favourite makeup counter and have them suggest a few to try) so that you have a complete beauty kit you are happy with. And about those 20 lipglosses? Stop buying that which you have multiples of until you’ve used up what you already have (for me, this is pale pink nail polish and countless lipsticks in almost identical shades which I seem to stockpile irrationally).

4. Master your perfect look. Perfect one makeup look that looks gorgeous on you and which you can fall back on each day (if you’ve been doing the same one for years or still don’t have the hang of one that works, go to a makeup counter to get help finding a look that is perfect for you).

5. Experiment and have fun. Once you’ve mastered your basic look, one day every week shake your routine up by trying something completely fun and unexpected to avoid getting in a rut. Always a cat eye and nude lip girl? Wear a neon pink lipstick on Friday. Always wearing red lipstick? Try a soft pink lip and bright cheeks instead.

6. Overcome your beauty sins. These are the big things we know we shouldn’t do, but do anyway out of habit. Always cleanse and moisturise properly at night (because you should only fall into bed with your makeup on once in a blue moon), stop attacking spots (because squeezing a pimple adds a whole week to the time it takes to heal), ensure you’re wearing enough SPF coverage if you’re spending any time outside (because premature ageing and sun damage is not pretty).

7. Add one thing. Every year, your beauty and skincare routines should evolve with you. If you have the exact same skincare/beauty routine you did 5 years ago, it might be worth considering a tweak here and there. In your 20s? Use a good eye cream and an anti-oxidant serum. In your 30s? Add in a nourishing face oil. In short, let your beauty regime age gracefully with you.

Which beauty resolutions will you be making this year?

Love, Miss B xx