Picture Source: Unsplash
For those who love the holiday season, the art and science of shopping for gifts for their loved ones is a treat and a pleasure. For others, however, the trouble of finding that perfect present might be more of a burden. You want to discover something unique, purposeful, something that the person for whom it is intended will love and genuinely use. Alas, the sheer volume of choices can be overwhelming, so you find yourself stuck with the typical selection of Christmas sweaters, a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day, and a bottle of her favorite wine for Mother’s Day – a safe, albeit mundane choice.
Why not leave your gift-giving comfort zone and choose something that is in line with your mum’s values? If your mother loves a gift that will make a difference and bring more than material, but spiritual value into their life, you can aim for such a present for this year. Here are a few worthy options to keep in mind for the motherly figure in your household!
The Socks That Keep On Giving
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Did you know that socks are the least donated item to the homeless, hence one of the most items needed across the US and wider? It turns out that you don’t have to stick to traditional design if you want to make this particular purchase. You can go for brands such as Mitscoots that make and sell gorgeous socks and other gear, and then donate items in the same value to those who need them most.
Plus, they go above and beyond to aid the community by hiring the transitioning homeless people. Alternatively, Conscious Step has other versatile contributions such as using their profits to provide treatment for HIV-positive expectant mothers, schoolbooks through Room to Read, and meals for starving children.
Add Some Sparkle With Ethical Makeup
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Axiology makes natural organic lipstick that still pops, so the aesthetics of their products loses no luster to their ethical measures. Other brands offer an equally stunning range of beauty items, so take your pick and impress the mom in your home!
Haircare With A Green Twist
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For example, organic and natural hair wax by Zenz uses only certified organic ingredients that cause zero harm to the environment, and that will provide ample goodness for your mom’s locks without causing any damage. The founder herself had trouble with allergies caused by the chemicals in typical hair products, inspiring her to create a label that will help women style their hair in a natural way. With ingredients such as aloe vera, essential oils, and beeswax, your mom’s hair and scalp will love the treatment.
A Handmade Purse
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If your mom is a great supporter of recycling and upcycling, then you can give her a long-lasting gift this Mother’s Day that is made with those precise principles in mind. Crossbody purses by Dagne Dover are as beautiful as their ethical efforts, while Cult Gaia uses natural materials such as wood in their bag-making processes.
You can also easily find brands that don’t use fur or support any other form of animal cruelty, while their creations are still lovely and up to par with the latest trends. It’s yet another wonderful way to express your appreciation of her style preferences, while you also treat her to something she likely wouldn’t buy on her own, and you can always easily check so as not to get the same one she already owns.
Responsible Apparel Brands
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Levi’s Water<Less Collection uses over 90% less water to make their jeans, making this a true leap forward in the industry. You can also look for other factors such as using organic cotton, recycled materials, and no harmful chemicals.
Get ahead of Autumn/Winter with these looks from the High Street.
Set free you inner-animal with this High neck skater style animal print pleated dress, paired with the ever so sexy, thigh high black pointed heeled boots. Perfect for the office.
All available @ www.newlook.com
Love, this queen of the street look, with its effortless thrown together pieces, working fabulously together. The Burgundy Maxi slip dress paired with a white roll-neck top and the fab vintage feel, faux fur collar heritage checked coat.
All Available @ www.primark.com
My favorite, the Romantic Boho Wanderer, with a touch of 60’s/70’s cool. The Pink frilled top giving the touch of romance and the A-line embroidered denim skirt bringing the “bohemian wanderer” with the buckled patent leather boot stepping you right into that 70/60’s Cool.
All available @ www.riverisland.com
Subtly sexy, tease your date in this mesh ruffle metallic polka dot top with its cold shoulder detail and A-line gold sequins mini skirt for an added touch of sparkle.
All Available at www.missselfridge.com
From her critically acclaimed portrayal of Holly Golightly in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' to her controversial role in 'My Fair Lady,' Hepburn's on-screen style has always mesmerised and delighted audiences and fashion lovers alike as her slender, athletic frame carried even the most tricky trends with ease and elegance.
With her petite, beautiful looks and chic sense of style, Hepburn differed from her other female contemporaries like the curvy Marilyn Monroe and Sophia Loren, yet offered women another approach to stylish dressing. Her black Capri pants, short pixie fringe and cats-eyes sunglasses, established that a new icon was born in she shape of Audrey Hepburn.
Throughout her career, Hepburn remained firm friends with respected fashion designer, Hubert de Givenchy who designed some of her most iconic gowns, most notably the gorgeous dress she wore while collecting her best actress Oscar for 'Roman Holiday' in 1953. Her little black dress she wore in 'Breakfast at Tiffany's' has remained a style staple for women's wardrobes and an instant option for party dressing, while the graceful hats Hepburn wore in the famous Cecil Beaton photographs have been images associated with high fashionable glamour and beauty.
Throughout her later years, Hepburn stepped back from the Hollywood spotlight and dedicated her time and effort to charity work as a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, as she helped children in impoverished areas. Nevertheless, her impeccable sense of style and vast movie history has been an everlasting vision of the 60's and no doubt will continue on into the near future. Happy birthday to a fashion icon, a wonderful lady and a talent which we will never forget: Audrey Hepburn.
Written by Hannah Last
Honestly. We do.
Available in all Boots stores, these light, fresh body sprays easily replace heavy perfume fragrances during the summer heat. I'm personally not a fan of overbearing scents during these months but I also feel incomplete without a pleasant whiff of something!
They come in a small plastic bottle with a spritzer spray nozzle, making a great travel companion with no breakages of beautiful bottles. My favourite fragrances include Vanilla, Mango and Papaya and I am currently making my way through the Apple and Lime which smells mouth-wateringly fruity and natural, perfect for this time of year.
It leaves the skin feeling hydrated and revitalised and keeps you uplifted throughout your day unlike the aerosol sprays which simply irritate the skin. It leaves no sticky marks unlike many body sprays I have tried in the past and did I mention the price? At an amazing £2 it is definitely affordable.
To complement the body spray, the shower gels are also a good buy. I was bought the wild strawberry body scrub and it smells so lush and as a scrub it works well. Jumping out of the shower I feel rejuvenated and my skin has become a lot smoother. However, like the spray, the smell is only truly noticeable for an hour, maybe two at most which is disappointing but it is very simply solved by casually spritzing yourself from time to time.
One hundred percent recommendable for all ages within the family.
written by Savannah Liu
Fashion is a love which never fails to leave me and it proved to remain high up in my life agenda again after I attended 'Renaissance'. And, if it wasn't good enough to be entertained by a number of emerging designers and their wonderful garments, it was even more a treat to hear a diverse range of fresh musicians perform new music.
Nottingham had more talent than an evening's worth of "Britain's got talent" auditions that night and I was so happy that I had to write you a blow by blow account of the whole night! So here comes the typing and the photos all over again. Retold, in these beautiful photographs taken by Mikey San.
First and foremost opening the show was the lovely and local Josh Kemp. Josh played us to two acoustic numbers, one "a love song in his own modest words" apparently, which I enjoyed as he sung it beautifully to me!
Josh is definitely one to watch and has been touring constantly, playing no less than two hundred and fifty venues last year so we heard. His soulful voice, lifting melodies, bone structure and that determination will serve him well and I do hope to hear more from him in the near future although I'm not sure he knows my phone number yet!
The fashion parade then commenced in a spectacular of colour and celebration thanks to talented new-comer Callecia J brown. Very much a fan of the Edwardian era, the forties, fifties and all fabrics wonderful and bright, Callecia combined all these influences to make, in my opinion a modern remake of 'My fair lady' and the result was stunning. I loved this collection with its ruffles, tailoring and bright African inspired geometric prints and so would the Edwardians if they'd have been so lucky to have worn her designs!
Continuing with the Edwardian theme, young designer Joey Storer made me very proud when I watched his elegant Edwardian inspired feminine clothes glide down the catwalk alongside recent creations made this year during his first year at Nottingham Trent University studying knitwear and design. I was drawn to Joey's bold use of colour, print and contoured design when I first saw his collection at West Nottinghamshire College fashion show last year. To see his progression into knitwear since was a real treat. Bold block colour and a real flair for shape and styling were evident for all to see on his first ever public catwalk and I predict that we will be seeing a lot more from Joey in the near future!
Giving the models a rest and arresting our ears with his fine blend of soulful lyrics, rhyme and his memorable 'let's get funky' dancehall style track then was the unforgettable P.Nology. Admitting soon into his act that he was the one who chatted up Kelly Rowland live on the 'X –factor' last year, we all found it hard to see why he didn't win over her heart fully with his cheeky humour and charisma. Recently touring with Dappy and with a European tour to many clubbing destinations ahead of him, I think we will be seeing a lot more of this man and I certainly couldn't get that tune out of my head that night or, the next day for that matter.
Returning to fashion from yesteryear, emerging designer Helena Ocansey then took us on an alternative history trip to the French revolution through the eyes of Marianne Antoinette. In Helena's words, her clothes portrayed "a celebration of life during the French revolution". Instead of portraying Marianne's fear of persecution when her popularity fell with the French public, bright prints designed by Helena adorning beautifully boned and corseted garments sang out a celebration of life in colour! Indeed, a very talented designer, re-writing history right before our eyes.
Taking inspiration from London night life and tailoring beautifully fitting clothing, newcomer, Dean Dufurn exhibited his 'Butterfly' entitled collection. Celebrating feminine curves and contours, Dean exhibited a wonderful collection of tailored with clever ruffled embellishment and detailing.
As if things couldn't get any better for me, I then got to see the acclaimed Zeeno Dee Designs, Winner of Fashions Finest Top designer of 2013. Showcasing, clever detailing such as pleats, geometric patterns and futuristic contours, Zeeno took my breath away with her attention to detail. I particularly liked the geometric fashioned, Grecian –come- modernistic galactic number. So trident and beautiful like model Lily Hannah Appleton-Goldstraw wearing it. And then there was the white dress. Oh how I wish I had that dress in my wardrobe and the Grecian escape to warrant its wear or maybe a red carpet award ceremony.
Finally, one lady who looked and sounded every inch red carpet worth was Ava Rose. A regular backstage volunteer at Fashions finest and clearly a very talented singer undiscovered until now, Ava took our breath away with her soulful tones, raw with emotion and experience of a performer twice her age. A real beauty, singing in a unique style which could stand equally against the likes of Nina Simone.
And if that wasn't good enough, I also won a prize on the raffle!! A NYX make up goody bag which I will eagerly await its delivery from Victoria Davies, makeup artist to the models in the show, our own blogger at Fashions finest and my face saviour!
Prizes a-side, the show did have a serious intent and the raffle was undertaken to raise money for YCR Young citizens of Rwanda, a charity set up Jemrose Walker from Nottingham to help the child and teen survivors of the genocide which happened twenty years ago. Orphaned and Left with no parents, finances, education or prospects, these young people had nothing until Jemrose left her life in Nottinghamshire and moved to Rwanda. There she rented a 'safe house' to accommodate young people and continues to raise money to provide education, guidance, food and housing for this group of vulnerable young people. Speaking to her sister Shearon that evening, I was truly moved to hear of her sister's determination to help the young people succeed in life and achieve things we all take for granted such as having an education and being able to eat every day. I couldn't think of a more worthy cause to donate money.
All in all, a highly entertaining evening for a worthy cause. Definitely worth leaving the sofa for, and the best way to see spring in.
Photos by Mikey San. Mikey San/twitter@whoismikey
See the full gallery of photos here
You can use various products to do this technique, I recommend using a pencil eyeliner, especially a Kohl pencil as they are much softer on the eyes and go on more easily. Some people may prefer to use gel, liquid liners or waterproof pencils. Most people like to waterline their eye in black, my recommended product for this and the one I use on all my jobs is MAC Kohl pencil in shade Smoulder. £17
Bright, bold, pastel eyeliners are also great for adding a splash of colour to the eyes in the warmer months whilst nude/white coloured eyeliner will make the eyes appear larger. It is important to always sharpen the pencil before each use and replace regularly to help avoid eye infections.
Step 1, Gently with your finger pull down the skin underneath your eye exposing the waterline. Take a cotton bud and gently remove any excess moisture to help the eyeliner to sit better.
Step 2, While still pulling down the skin, take your eyeliner and gently run it along the lower waterline. You may feel you need to repeat it a few times to make the colour bolder.
Step 3, Clean any mistakes or slips up with a cotton wool bud.
Feast your eyes!
In my job I hear a lot people saying "red won't suit me" but that's where they are wrong. Red suits everyone, just like blonde hair suits everyone, the trick to both is to fully understand your own colour tone and of course experiment.
Warm Skin Tones
If you have a warm skin tone complexion you don't want to choose a red that will clash with your warm delicious skin. You need to opt for red tones that are 'warm reds' and not 'cool reds'. Look for and experiment with shades of 'orangey reds'; so look for, deep brown based reds, golden reds, tawny reds, tomato reds, warm reds and orange reds. Hold the lipstick up towards a light (natural daylight is best) and these colour tones will show through on the lipstick.
Cool Skin Tones
If you have that lovely cool tone to your skin then a warm red will be far too harsh against your complexion. You need to opt for 'pink red tone'. So experiment with red lip colours that when held up towards the light you see; pink; berry, blue, plum, blackberry, purple and brick red.
All Skin Tones
If you're lucky enough to have a cool skin tone and tan to a fairly warm complexion in the summer and you are looking for a red lipstick that will suit both cool and warm skin then opt for a real pure 'telephone box red'. This shade of red is the only red that is suitable for both skin tones. Maybe if you're a new make-up artist and you have a tight budget and want a nice classic red then a good red lipstick to buy on a budget is 'Loreal Colour Richie Serum in shade True Red'
The comments he left underneath the picture were as follows (I have left the comments unedited);
"i thought this was african fashion week so where are the africans... take a leaf out of burberry, calvin klein etc So why dont we see more and its only the token one we see yet on ours we give even a bigger proportion. Im well in tuned with the fashion industry and had friends turned down for syupid reasons. Why call it African week then. Hello well if 95% of your models are African then lets see more of them as those u keep on publishing do tally with your response. I am not being misled by the colour of the skin and fully aware there are whites not only in South Africa but also in the eastern part of Africa. I am not alone who noticed this but friends of mine also but have decided to reserve their comments. In future think about what the African event stands for as if it was European or other parts of the globe this would of been considered and equality would not come into play. Its just an advice not a criticism pls note"
I love it when he says its just advice and not criticism - according to the English Oxford Dictionary Criticism is deifned as "the expression of disapproval of someone or something on the basis of perceived faults or mistakes" ok I know I am Nigerian and my English is not very good, but to me it sounds like his comments fall under the definition of criticism but who the hell is he to give us advice; when he is spending the money AFWL spent on the show, or he becomes a sponsor or is one of the 100's of people that worked on the show or better still he actually attended the show, then I would very much welcome his advice but at the moment I take it as criticism.
My View on the above:
Yes I am so going to rant, infact I have already started, as it riles me up big time that after all the effort that was put into AFWL and the money spent, the only thing this man could pick up upon was the fact that in his view we had too many non-African models or AFWL was purposely only putting up pictures of the nonblack models on the website and Facebook page.
Before I go on let me break it down for all of you with some hard core facts about the models used.
We had 38 models in total
- 3 white models
- 2 Brazilian (I guest under his definition they are white as well)
- 1 male Asian model
- The rest of the models were either black African/Caribbean or models of dual heritage whom under normal standards are considered as black
I am sooooooooooo confused, so he is saying that we must be like the rest of the world and discriminate against a good model because of the colour of her skin. AFWL is about being inclusive and we welcome models, designers and visitors of any colour or nationality and no matter what people say we would continue to promote all types of models and designers. It just amazes me that people can be so short sighted. I believe that if you have nothing good or positive to say then just SHUT YOUR MOUTH, it's not by force that you must say something especially if it is rubbish.
If he thinks that we did not do a good job then he should go spend £100k and do his own show. He stated that his friends felt the same way, well to that one I say birds of a feather flock together. I think his comments are disrespectful to all of the models not just the non-black models and gives the impression that we don't value our black models.
I have been working in this industry for over 35 years and I have fought hard to the detriment of my business and financial benefit (and I also think that is why I have not yet received my MBE), to make sure that black models, designers and black businesses are given a fair chance to succeed and to have someone say that we are favouring white people over our own, seriously pisses me off (I guess you can tell from my blog).
However I may be wrong and maybe when I was selecting the models I did have far more non black models than models of colour and if that is the case I am man enough to take the criticism, so please feel free to leave your comments on the AFWL page with your honest thoughts (this is the link).
I am particularly keen to hear from the models, designers and those that actually attended the show and once I see the feedback – good or bad I will do a part two to this saga.
For now I need to take a cold shower to calm down and for my readers that really let their thoughts go wild please note that is the only reason I am taking a cold shower.
Moving on and enough about me, lets me get to the crux of the matter, I went to a very nice and intimate fashion presentation by Jide Adedeji formerly a top makeup artist with Sleek Nigeria and now runs his own styling and makeup company and is also making great strides towards becoming a top designer with his label "JReason".
His specialty is menswear but the great thing is that women can also wear his clothes. Besides the fact that it started two hours late (and you know me I am a stickler for time) it was a very nice show, really intimate with people seated around the pool and scattered around the venue sitting on nice comfortable sofa's eating club sandwiches and drinking Fanta (well that was me), other guests were drinking beer, wine and eating proper food.
It was also good to catch up with some great Nigerian supermodels such as Dami Teidi who also runs Styljunki, check it out, well worth the looksee, Uju was also there and she seriously is a mega model and I also chilled out with Alex Nwokedi who is the current Face of Sleek and a seriously good business woman, so overall I had a good time.
The fix of the Century?
I better give you a bit of background before I get into my big issue about this competition. MBNG stands for Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria and is by far the biggest beauty pageant in Nigeria if not Africa with the top three going to Miss World, Miss Universe and Miss Tourism respectively and it was from this competition that Agbani Darego came from, who later went on to be the first ever black winner of Miss World, finally it has been in existence for about 26 years so as you can see it has a lot of substance and credibility.
Was it fixed? This year the Silverbird Group who own the pageant were asked by the Bayelsa State Government (a state in Nigeria) to host the competition in their state. Now I love money so for me I have no problem with MBGN being hosted by Bayelsa State, especially when they are footing the entire bill of the competition and not to mention putting some few extra coins into the pockets of Silverbird.
But hello, please don't make it so obvious that you feel you have to give something back to your major sponsor by making the winner of MBGN coming from Bayelsa State. Normally people would come and tell me that they felt a competition was fixed and I would defend all competitions, that people would not do that as it is not in their interests to do so.
Sadly I sat through two hours of the competition, the "sadly" bit was more to do with the fact that I was a bit bored at the speeches made by the numerous Bayelsa State government representatives including the Governor himself (no disrespect to the Governor) and the political speech by Omotola Jalade Ekeinde (top Nollywood actress), poor MBGN they weren't expecting that and that is what comes of giving an award to an actress at a beauty pageant, seriously I could not see the relevance of that despite the fact that I love her loads as an actress, activist (her words not mine) and as a person (I have met her a few times and she is a very nice person).
Anyway where was I, oh yes now I remember – there were 32 girls that competed in the competition one representing every state in Nigeria. I am not saying the Miss Bayelsa was ugly or did not speak well cos that would be a lie, I did expect her to be in the top 5 as that would be expected as Bayelsa sponsored the event but I did not expect her to win as there were better girls and it always worries me that just as they give the result to the presenter the judge states that it is not fixed, you don't need to say that if you don't think people would think it was fixed.
I would love to take a secret straw poll of the other 31 contestants and see what they felt, yes I know that their opinions would not be valid as people would expect them to say it was fixed because they did not win.
I always wonder how they do it as there were about 5 different judges. I am sure they were not worried that they would face an angry crowd if Miss Bayelsa did not win so how did they get to their decision. I sort of feel like a hypocrite writing this piece as I know people have said that Top Model of Colour International is fixed and I have strongly defended the integrity of the competition, so I may be being unfair to MBGN – judge for yourself.
Winner - Miss Bayelsa
1st Runner Up - Miss Imo
2nd Runner Up - Miss Adamawa
In my humble opinion and someone that has been a judge on numerous pageants around the world and who watched the show (I must specify I watched it on TV as no one was prepared to buy me a ticket to fly to Bayelsa and watch the show, I am still not a superstar in Nigeria to warrant such treatment), I think there were a lot of other girls that were taller and prettier that could have won it and would have given Nigeria a much better chance of the person doing relatively well at Miss World.
I must state that I cannot prove or have any evidence that it was fixed and genuinely the judges may have felt she was the best person to win without any influence from anyone (yeah right) but already I have received lots of BB's and calls from people clearly stating their reservations about how they came to deciding on who should win MBGN.
I will leave it to you to decide and give your own opinion of the competition if you watched it and if you did not then you would have to just come to your own conclusion based on my interpretation.
Have a great week ahead.