A Black British Beauty Blogger

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Focus on Accessories: Brixton Market

I am something of a magpie when it comes to accessories, if it’s bright and shiny I have a tendency to swoop in and take a look. This stall in Brixton market is no exception to this. 

In true BLKMimiLDN fashion there is a story behind this discovery....I had admired a cuff a good friend was rocking on a recent night out and she mentioned a stall in Brixton market. Now, I have to confess this kind of went over my head as I hadn't visited the market for a number of years. However, when I saw her with another outstanding piece, I had all the impetus I needed to find this magical place that was providing her with this wounderful bounty. 

Since last summer feathers have been rocking my world and the stall's original, hand-made feather earrings caught my eye initially. After trialling them to see if they irritated my sensitive (eczema) skin, I went back and purchased the necklaces. With over seven purchases I can safely say I'm a fan. The angel wings were worn by me every day when I first picked them up ut, as the sun has gotten brighter, I have been wearing the multi colour feather earings (first two below).

Since finding this stall I have found out that I am well and truly late to this party as the stall is well known locally and I have discovered that they have branched out and pitched up in Peckham (near Morrisons)! 

If you live / work / play in these parts of South London and like to wear unique jewellery then I would seriously recommend you check out the stalls. 

If not then check out your local markets to see if they have any stalls that feature designers selling their wares.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Zara Flats


Let’s face it, during winter our outfits can be a bit drab and so during the spring / summer I like to amp it up, popping colour into my outfits where possible. Increasingly I find that shoes are a fun way to achieve both colour and texture into an outfit. So, in keeping with my focus on accessories, I should like wax lyrical about these turquoises flats I purchased from Zara as they have been a firm staple for me as the sun makes an appearance.

 When I come across something I like I tend to obsess and buy a back up, I am soooo glad I picked up two pairs when I did as I love the colour and scaled texture of theses flats! They are extremely comfortable and serve me well in my commute from my door to office when I can’t be bothered to wear heels. 

Am I the only one who buys a back up pair of shoes when they come across something they like? 

Sunday, 27 May 2012

OFOTD: Summer in the City

Coral Cardigan - Inspire New Look
White Camisole - Forever21
Turquoise Maxi Skirt- Peacocks
Tan Shopper- Zara
Sandals (just seen) - H&M
Black Sunglasses- H&M


I thought I'd post the outfit I wore today. My partner and I headed out to visit his mum; I didn't feel like putting on any make up but wanted to make an effort. Feather earrings are a weakness of mine (I own loads) and was inspired by today's pair.

Over the last few days London has been experiencing sunny weather and I love the fact that everyone is making an effort to be bright and cheerful- could it be the impending Jubilee Bank Holiday or pre-Olympic fever? 

Whatever it is, I'm loving it. 

 Feather Earrings - Peacocks

What items do you own that inspire your outfits?

Friday, 25 May 2012

Fifty Shades of Grey - My Two Pence

I’m an avid reader and last week I was asked to hand over my iPod and a trilogy was loaded on, with firm instructions to listen/ read these books.  On Tuesday I finally decided to give it a chance and began to listen to the first book in ‘Fifty Shades Of Grey’; by the next day I had finished it and sprinted to Tesco to purchase the other two books as I could not get enough!!

Now this book isn’t for the faint hearted; it contains graphic sexual scenes and frequently references ‘deviant’ sexual practices. It was for this reason that I was reticent at reading this ‘erotic’ fiction as I’m more of a crime / suspense fan but this book had me hooked. It has a strong (unexpected) romantic storyline running throughout that captured my imagination and the fact that I read / listened to all three books over three days whilst at work should indicate how good it is.  Admittedly I got annoyed with the peppering of ‘oh my’ throughout the first book but I quickly learnt to skip over this and thankfully the author got this out of her system in the second and third books.  I am glad that I gave the book a chance and have been surprised at the number of people who have begun reading the first instalment as word of mouth continues to increase the popularity of the books. 

Now there is a lot being made of the ‘oppressive’ gender relationships explored by the Author, EL James and I feel that this is misguided and verging on sexism. This trilogy is clearly touted as erotic fiction and as such, affords the author the liberties she has clearly taken with the characters.  For years publishers have touted ‘fluffy’ romance novels a la Mills and Blooms that young women of my generations have largely been ignored for their traditional gender stereotypical storylines. Whilst this trilogy follows the ‘man meets woman’ formula, the actions and main themes that run throughout are far more up-to-date than the heaving bosoms that you may be expecting. I think that EL James is experiencing ‘debate’ as she brings to the forefront some of the sexual practices that today’s women have been exposed to (via magazines articles /  the internet / films / soap operas etc...) or, for the adventurous among us, may have even engaged in.  In being so honest, James has upset the apple cart (profit model) of the ‘traditional’ formula that publishers have sold to us for the last forty years and risks causing them to have to rethink how they sell 'Chick-Lit' to us in the future.

For those of us in the UK, I don’t think that this debate will gain any ground as we are more liberal in our attitudes towards this subject matter. I wanted to make a point of commenting on these books as I completely misjudged them initially and am sitting at home gutted that I have finished them.I know it’s a bit random having a book review on this blog but I really enjoyed the novels and will reread them again soon.

With holiday season fast approaching I wanted to urge anyone planning their beach time reading material to considering these novels and enjoy.  Hopefully this trilogy marks the beginning of the modernisation of romance/ erotic fiction and gets more of us reading!

Have you read these books, what did you think?

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Focus on Accessories: Primark

One of the ways I try and add a bit of interest to an outfit is the addition of accessories. Over the next few days I will be post some of my favourites that I love at the moment. 

Today's post shall focus on items I have acquired from Primark who, in my opinion, can be relied upon to produce some good on-trend / interesting accessories at a decent price point. This season’s sunglasses in particular, starting from as little as £1 have been floating my boat as I have to wear contacts and sunniess to stave off migraines on brighter days. I need to add the caveat that you need to pick wisely as I have had items fall apart, but I have featured some items that I have had for over two years that are still as good as when originally purchased.

Where do you go for your accessories and what items are you loving at the moment?

Monday, 21 May 2012

Love MakeUp: La Femme & Z Palette

Last weekend Love Makeup decided to have a sale on a few of the blushes from La Femme and I picked up five blushes and a small Z palette.

I was so happy to receive my items that I decided to document my unveiling of the goods.

Each blush was housed in its own separate baggy and thankfully wasn't damaged in anyway. Their names were on the back of each pan with the ingredients labelled on the front.


My items arrived within two days of me placing the order and were wrapped securely in bubble wrap. The Z Palette was accompanied by magnetic stickers to help you place items inside the palette securely. 
The packaging of my products was excellent; as you may be aware La Femme blushes are often sold loose as pan refills. One of my concerns was that I would receive damaged goods, thankfully this wasn't the case. The only negative was the selection of blush colours on offer, hopefully this will improve. Despite this I will definitely be ordering from LoveMakeup again as I was extremely happy with the whole process. Any company that takes such care over how they package my goods will have my repeat custom!

Let me know what you think of the shades and what you store in you palettes. 

Friday, 18 May 2012

Organic Root Stimulator: Hair Repair Nourishing Conditioner

Recently I mentioned that I have embarked upon a Healthy Hair Journey in order to learn more about how to take care of my permed hair. In the process of doing so I had gone out and purchased a number of products to assit me with my task, mainly natural oils and changed shampoo. Despite these purchases, I hadn't noticed a change in the general dryness of my hair, it was beginning to crunch when I handled it - argh!

During one of my many trips to my local hair supply shop, my eyes had lingered on the new line HaiRepair [sic] line from Organic Root Stimulator (ORS).  Recalling the information I had read regarding the need to gain a balance between protein / moisture, the Nourishing Conditioner struck a chord as possible solution to getting moisture back in my hair and I popped a sachet into my basket.  That evening I followed my recent routine of pre-pooing my hair with olive oil, washed with my sulfate free shampoo and decided to add the Nourishing Conditioner in to deep condition (DC) my hair, including olive oil and hemp oil on top (as I had done the previous week). I then left this on for 30 minutes. Although I'm not a fan of bananas I did love the smell and was really happy with the results of the conditioner. My hair was far easier than the previous week to detangle and the resulting texture made me feel that it seemed a lot happier with this new conditioner.

I have used the conditioner again, this time DC with a heat cap and received even better results. This week I added ORS HaiRepair Anti Breakage Creme [Sic] to my routine. However I worried that  I could be overdosing my hair with too much protein /moisture and contacted Organic Root Stimulator via Facebook to ask where the product sat on the scale and have provided you with and excerpt of their response below. (I will review the Anti Breakage Creme once I have used it for long enough). 

Organic Root Stimulator response to my question: 

Where does these two products fall on the moisture / protein line?

"...The Nourishing Conditioner is a balance of moisture and protein. With enough moisture to take care of dryness and enough protein to take care of weak and damaged hair. So in summary, if the hair had more or less the same degree of dryness and weakness we would recommend this conditioner (Not extreme breakage). The bamboo adds elasticity to hair, as the type strengthening bamboo adds to the hair is of a strong and flexible nature not only to the hair shaft but also the hair follicle, also adding shine. The bananas adds the moisture and some of the shine. If the hair is so damaged that it's shedding this usually (not always) indicates that more protein than moisture is needed therefore we would recommend hair mayonnaise. If the hair is damaged, dry and weak due to colour or heat we would recommend using the hair masque which is an intense treatment.
Anti Breakage Creme- the same applies, balancing the correct moisture and protein levels in hair allowing it to be moisturised and strengthened. Bamboo extract is used for the strengthening and shea butter for softening and adding moisture both adding shine.

Overall the Hair Repair range is targeted more for the needs of the hair where a large number of our products are designed essentially for the scalp to the hair. There is enough moisture and protein in the said items to balance the moisture and protein levels in hair. Designed to address the needs of hair before it gets to the hair restoration state. "

This explanation made sense to me and I will be continuing to use the conditioner during my wash as I am more than happy with the results thus far. I like the idea of this product being a balance between protein / moisture and will let you know how I get along with the Anti-Breakage Crème in due course. 

*My thanks to Organic Root Stimulator for responding so quickly to my question.

Have you tried products from this line, what did you think?

Thursday, 17 May 2012

OPI Dutch Tulips (NOTD)

Red Nail Polish
OPI Dutch Tulips

Yesterday I picked up a few nail supplies and managed to restock on one of my many favourite reds from OPI, Dutch Tulips.

This sophisticated blue base red is a summer staple during the brighter months as it is a tad less bright than my other OPI reds. In the bottle it almost appears as a crème but comes out as semi sheer when applied; I usually put on two coats to hide the tips of my nails. Apply with a base coat, to prevent staining. The lacquer consistency of OPI nail colours allows my brittle nails a good couple of days wear before needing to reapply.  Hopefully the weather remains bright.

Red nail PolishRed nail polish

 Have you got a favourite summer red?

Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Healthy Hair Journey

For those of you who have followed me on Twitter you may have caught my tweet of this picture, marking my decision to start a Healthy Hair Journey *scary face*.

My hair is chemically relaxed (permed) and has been for the last 15 years. Over the last few months I have enjoyed reading blogs and watching videos of people documenting their Health Hair Journeys (HHJ) be it relaxed to natural / growing their relaxed hair. It has gradually dawned on me that I don’t actually know enough about how to care for my hair in its chemically altered state and this concerned me, prompting my decision to strive for knowledge and invest more time into my hair. 

My hair is very dry and it breaks a lot. It drives my BF mad to find stands of my hair acting like tumble weed on the floor and I hate to see strands on my clothes. Whilst I have read a lot about the benefits of Co-Washing I still can’t get over my need to shampoo first,  so I thought I would compensate by going sulphate free as much as possible with my shampoos and conditioners

This shampoo was one of the first items I purchased and was excited to try it. I didn’t expect the sulphate free shampoo to wash my hair and was pleasantly surprised that it provided a decent lather to successfully cleanse my hair. My hair was moist, smooth and supple in texture after each use; for some reason I expected it to strip my hair but was so glad that this wasn’t the case. 

One of the consequences of reading all of these blogs and watching so many videos is that I have become a bit of a product junkie of late. It has gotten to the point where the people in my local hair shops know me by sight enough to stop following me around and actually smile when I come in. I will be documenting my progress in this blog and how I get along with the other products I have been using where appropriate. 

If you have any hints, suggestions or tips them please feel free to drop me a line or send me a link. I initially found it confusing but am getting used to some of the terms (co-washing/ baggying, DC) but am open to receiving any help you care to give.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Illamasqua Beauty School Drop-in

On Sunday (13/05/2012) I decided to head down to Illamasqua's Beauty School Drop-in at their flagship store situated at no. 20 Beak Street. This was a brand that I hear so much about from UK bloggers and so thought it would be an ideal time to find out more about thier products and pick up some tips.
As you can see from the timetable, the programme on offer was pretty extensive but broken down into 15 minutes sessions. As my previous post was dedicated to brows pencils, I was keen to catch the 'Defined Brows' session - my brow tech is also starting maternity leave next week so I need all the help I can get in this area!The store was definitely in keeping with the brand aesthetic and there was a decent sized space for us 'students' to sit and take in the first three lessons.

Beauty School Drop-in
Claire takes us through the Flawless skin / Liquid Liner / Smokey Eye session
Our first 'teacher'  Claire Lile, took us through the Flawless Skin / Liquid Liner / Smokey Eye sessions. Each product used was given a full explanation and useful tips such as using a brush to apply my primer in order to maintain a barrier went down well. Illamasqua's Medium pencils went on my wish list as we saw them being used all over the face - from lips, eyes and to colour correct the skin.

We then moved into the main part of the store where Highlighting & Contouring / Defined Brows/ Perfect Pout was taught by our second teacher, Daniel Sallstrom.  I loved that he took us through a bit of colour theory to help us understand how to achieve our desired looks.

Daniel demonstrates Highlighting  & Contouring / Defined Brows / Perfect Pout

Skin Base - new shades for Women of Colour!

David Horne

Claire was also joined by David Horne, Director of Product Development, who provided us with an insight into the Skin Base foundations. The addition of seven new shades allows Illamasqua to be one of the few major brands to be able to call their foundation range truly diverse. This really appealed to me. As a Black woman I find that brands are happy to take my money through lipstick / blusher sales but ignore my need for decent quality foundation. Whilst I can acknowledge that there has been some movement recently, I still find that MUAs at counters still shy away from touching my friends and I skin. I am pleased to day that this was not my experience at all during my visit in store. David's explanation (and Claire's demonstration) of their limited edition Au (Gold) left me drooling over this golden shimmer shade, designed to be used on the high point of the face -a decent highlighter for Black Women.

The Beauty School Drop-in is an excellent idea. I found it a great way to pick up some useful makeup tips and learn more about the brand. Being a super nerd I took notes throughout the sessions but I was pleased that they had prepared cards for us to take away for each session.  Overall I would recommend the sessions to all.
I think the next Drop-in is scheduled for the 2nd June. If you’re in the area, pop along and let me know what you thought of it.

Sunday, 13 May 2012

The eye's have it- Eyebrow Pencils

Now if eyes are the windows to your soul, I believe that eyebrows deserve equal billing with lashes as the curtains to that window. 

I love a good brow.
Living in London I am fortunate to be surrounded by women (and increasingly men) who think so too and am pleased to see the increase in the number of beauticians who offer a wax, pluck or my favourite, thread - increase.

The art of Threading was introduced to me by a very good friend of mine and I thank God she was kind enough to share this vital grooming process with me. Since this blessed day I haven’t looked back and regularly try to get my girls shaped. On the days that I have a makeup free face I am happy that my brows are giving me the little oomph to my look.

A good brow tech is worth their weight in saffron and the search for one akin to finding a four leaf clover. Some of the few beauty disasters I have had the misfortune to suffer have been through unknowingly using a ‘bad’ brow tech: someone who wasn’t skilled enough to create / maintain a shape suited to my face.  These episodes have precipitated my use of eyebrow pencils to correct my ever thinned brow tail or to plug gaps left by a doggy tech.

The true colour of my hair often leaves me in a pickle as I have really dark, jet black hair during the winter and the sun bleaches my hair slightly in summer, so finding a colour can be tricky. Despite the recent trend for thicker brows and the influx of the ‘scouse brow' south of the border, I have no desire to rock a thick black brow on my face and so have narrowed down my pencils to the following three. 


Eyebrow pencil

MILANI Easybrow (Dark Brown)
Retractable pencil that can create a thick line so needs a light hand. The spoolie is quite thick and dense and so I like to use this when my brow is in that iccky growing out faze.

MUA Eyebrow Pencil

MUA Eyebrow (Brunette)
Surpised at the colour that the pencil provide due to it's name but is quite a decent pencil when sharpened. Provides a finer line than the MILANI so I tend to reach for this a lot more to fill in gaps, particularly with freshly threaded brows. 

Surprise contender

Sorry there isn't a close up but photographing wasn't easy

IMAN Perfect Eyebrow Pencil (Blackest Brown)
For the last two weeks I have been playing around with IMAN's Perfect Eyebrow Pencil in the colour Blackest Brown.  After sharpening I found that the colour blends well with my natural colour when worked in with the attached brush.

Examples of Scouse Brows:



Keeping it real: This post contains a product that was part of a gift from a makeup company. This in no way affected my write up and I would like to assure you that no payment was provided for it's inclusion in the above post.

Saturday, 12 May 2012

NOTD: Revlon - Jaded Rose 121

This colour has been my 'go to' choice for my hands for the last two weeks. A  lovely creme finish, this colour leaves my nails an adorable pink colour without being too ostinatious.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Sleek Makeup - i Divine Ultra Mattes v2 Darks

This afternoon I purchased Sleek's new addition to the i-Divine palettes: Ultra Mattes v2 Dark. 

There are two palettes in total, Brights and Darks, and I had intended to purchase both palettes but unfortunately the colours came off as very faint on my skin, not at all pigmented in the infamous Sleek way.

*should be Flesh not Fresh!

Fortunately Ultra Mattes V2 Darks were up to their usual pigmented standard as my swatches show

At my age matt eye shadow increasingly appeal to me, I find myself increasingly staying away from shimmery, glittery products during the day and so am pleased to see this palette. 

 Flesh and Orbit are my favourite shades at the moment; Ink reminds me of a colour from the excellent Bad Gal palette - what do you think? 

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Thursday, 3 May 2012

NYX Jumbo Pens

 Black Bean, Dark Brown, Pots & Pans, Milk, French Fries, Purple

Continuing with my NYX products, I have swatched the Jumbo Pens that I reach for on a regular basis.
There are around 32 different colours in this range with the famous 'Milk' attaining almost cult like status among many beauty enthusiast.

Black Bean, Dark Brown, Pots & Pans, Milk, French Fries, Purple Colours

Black Bean- Black
Dark Brown- Deep brown-almost appears black on my skin
Pots & Pans- Shimmery white colour
Milk- Matt white
French Fries- Copper / gold
Purple- blue based with shimmer

The texture of the pens allows them to be blended easily. Dark Brown is a great colour to use when creating a smoky eye; I tend to reserve Black Bean when I'm really going for a dramatic effect, a la  Haifa Wehbe.

Be warned though, these pen's are renown for creasing so I recommend investing in a good eye primer. 
The cost of the pens makes them an affordable option for many and I have no doubt that more colours will be added to my collection at sm point in future.

I think Slate, Rocky Moutain Green and Oyster will be on my wish list, if you have any recomendations please let me know.


Tuesday, 1 May 2012