From Devon With Love!

Casa Magnolia is one of those gem like shops you sometimes hear people talking about, like it nearly belongs to them. Well this one is mine!

I try to visit whenever I stay with Mum in Devon. The shop is nestled in the beautiful town of Chagford on the edge of Dartmoor, South West England

We usually decide beforehand whether we are going to go in or not because once past the threshold, it’s nigh on impossible to walk away empty handed. If we decide not to go in, we take necessary precautions to avoid the danger zone and go in search of cake!

Shopping doesn’t always have to be about spending money though. On the contrary. It can also provide a valuable source of inspiration and ideas that fuel creativity in general and it is more than OK to window-shop and walk away.

photo 1

So what makes this shop stand out from the rest? To start with they have fabulous collections. Oska, Terry Macey, NYDJ, Clemente, Lily & Me, Quernstone and Joseph Ribkoff to name just a few. Having an experienced eye and always on the lookout for new labels keeps things current, interesting and buzzing.

Then there are the accessories. Supreme bags designed by Tissa Fontaneda create an entrance and you wonder, are they rubber or leather? (The answer is leather) Jewellery from Florence, bags from Argentina and hand crafted belts and boots from England.

Then there is the service. The dream team consists of Pam (the owner) Vikky and Adam. Any one of them will be waiting with a beaming smile and welcome. Creating an atmosphere and service that is friendly, genuine and relaxed. Combine this with passion and experience and you get a winning combination. Not something in my experience that everyone in retail understands. It goes some way to explain their loyal following of present and new customers alike.

On a recent visit, my eye was drawn to some gorgeous knitwear (shown) from the Serbian label IVKOA collection of high class knitted womens’ fashion and accessories. Ivko combine craftsmanship with state of the art technology. One look at the website will explain their motif handwritten emotions! you will get lost in their dream-like films.

Mum treated me to the cardigan which put a massive smile on my face (also shown) The cardigan does its (100% wool) job by perking up, and putting life into an otherwise dull outfit.

Visiting this shop reminds me that England (as the saying goes) is indeed ”a nation of shopkeepers” for that (and countless other things) it is always good to go back.

Now, where’s that cake!

The Invisible Woman

Looking in front of a mirror can be an uncomfortable prospect for some. It can leave us feeling exposed and revealed for longer than we feel comfortable.

If this is you then a couple of hours of in front of one, will most likely not be on your bucket list!

Recently, a good friend of mine asked me to give her mum who was visiting from the UK a session of colour analysis and makeup.

I had already met Marie on previous visits and I knew she felt a little apprehensive about getting her colours done. It was more so with the make-up as she wore very little, and had a tendency to hide behind her fringe.

As it turned out, Marie enjoyed her sessions enough to inspire me to create this post!

MarieH (webres)Marie- Photograph by Lia Edwards

Having explained the colour analysis. (I use the tonal method) Marie became rapidly absorbed in the process. We discovered a palette of colours that flattered her complexion. Those that picked out her blue eyes and ones that added warmth to the tones in her hair. The mirror became an accessory (not the enemy) and guided her to new possibilities until she started to think about what she had in her wardrobe.

marieblogPhotographs & Styling-Rachel Moss

 

Marie’s shopping habits were based around price and colour. If you get use out of what you buy (no matter what) then the job is done. If however, you rack up a wardrobe of unworn items with the tags still hanging off and things you can’t return. the experience is not only lost, but becomes a costly habit that only tends to repeat itself.

Marie seldom wore her sale items but didn’t always know why. Her instinct was already giving her the answer- Use it next time you go shopping and if nothing else, think about how things can fit in with the rest of your wardrobe.

When it comes to colour, don’t just look at the colour, but take in the whole of your image. hold the colour next to your face and see what it does to your hair, skin and eyes.The right colour can enhance your natural colouring, lift your complexion and energize you in many ways.

 MAKE-UP

”make-up should be a part of you, not apart from you!”

RachelmakeoverMake up and styling for a shoot-Photograph by Lia Edwards

 

Women often tell me they would like to know how to use makeup but don’t know where to begin so they default back to the no- makeup look!

This section covers what I did for Marie who wanted a natural look. Please get in touch if you want to know how colour and makeup can help you.

Like the best clothing and colours, makeup should enhance your natural features and colouring. Ideally and in all cases, you should not see the makeup before the person or be staring quizzically into their face wondering what on earth they have done to their eyebrows!

There should be a harmony in the makeup you apply and the look you want to achieve. At best, makeup allows you to feel in control, confident, beautiful, empowered and sexy. It is a tool that if you know how to use, can make a difference to the way you feel and the way you are perceived.

At worst, it can be distracting, ageing, confusing (and sometimes unintentionally, funny) It can also send out negative signals.

bloon (2)

METHODS

Marie’s skin type was a combination of an oily T-zone (nose, chin and forehead) and normal. She had open pores and a reddish complexion.

aven2

  1. Before applying foundation, I had to take the redness down on her skin. Avene Antirougeurs Jour is a hydrating emulsion that helps reduce redness and the sensation of heat on the skin. It also contains a small amount of green pigment to help diffuse any redness. It is light to wear and contains an SPF 20.
  2. For the foundation, I mixed a combination of two colours together to get the right shade. (Estee Lauder’s Fresco and Mac’s face and body foundation in C7) I Worked with a combination of brush and sponge to create a smooth finish and blend around the corners of her nose and mouth, making sure there were no hard lines.

The smooth foundation and even base really set the stage for Marie’s beautiful blue eyes to stand out!

3. Marie’s eyelashes and eyebrows were naturally dark but she was losing colour and definition. I used a sculpting eyebrow pencil by Chanel (colour 60) to fill in the gaps with light feathery strokes. This gave natural definition framing her eyes and face.

4. I filled in the eye area with a stone shadow from Mac and a soft highligher just beneath the brow bone and applied some mascara.

5. Having created an even skin tone, I needed to put some colour back into her face. With a large blusher brush I used Mac’s (Melba) powder blush gently dusting it on the apple of her cheeks to add a warm glow.

I will finish the post by including an extract of the testimonial Marie wrote  after her sessions. It’s something to remember that everyone one of us has the ability to inspire others’ regardless of age, shape, sex or size. Making the most of what we have got, rather than what we don’t is one of the best places to start!

”I felt like a new woman and couldn’t stop smiling all day. My daughter commented on how natural the make-up was and how great I looked. I would highly recommend the experience to my friends because it has really improved my confidence and made me feel so much happier in myself. I might be in my Sixties, but I still feel 25 inside and I don’t want to be invisible! ”

MarieBEFOREMarieH (webres)

Behind the Scenes

It was a great end to the month of July, working with Munich based portrait Photographer Lia Edwards on a styling and photographic session for a new client. 

A few weeks before the shoot, Margareta checked in for a wardrobe session with me. As owner of MMH life coaching, Margareta wanted a more International look to reflect her business.

First off, we established anything outdated in Margareta’s wardrobe and got rid of things that no longer fit or were tired and worn. At the same time, I looked for the best cut and colours to complement her figure and natural colouring.

Next, we set a date for Personal Shopping. A list of key items was created in order to fill out any gaps in the wardrobe. Margareta had fun discovering selected pieces that added volume, as well as value to her existing wardrobe.

Liabehindthescenes

All that remained, was for hair and makeup and to get ready for the shoot!

As a model on clothing and photographic shoots I have first hand the experience on what is needed for getting the best results. In this work, the devil is (always) in the detail!

Having personally booked Lia for a photoshoot of my own, I was struck by the energy and quality of her work- It seemed a natural step for us to collaborate!

If you are looking to re-brand your business; update your website or simply for a fresh new look! Talk to us today and experience a professional but fun photo shoot with photos that everyone will be talking about!

Think Pink

I love contrasting colours- Here is a study in pink and black with a twist of orange!Grazynapinkwindow Working on Grazyna’s windows in her gorgeous boutique To Be A Woman in Munich always gives me the opportunity to experiment with colour. Since she always has so much, it is like being in a candy store!

I like to be as spontaneous as possible when window dressing, and try not think too much about the end result but rather ‘go with the flow’ Sometimes ideas can take a little time to come to fruition and other occasions they are quick!

Over the next few weeks, I will be bringing you some of my favourite contrasting colours including some more unusual colour ‘flavours’ so watch this space for more!

If you want to know which shade of pink would suit you, then get in touch and book a colour analysis with me today!

Out Of The Blue!

It is usually my job to pick out clothing for others’ on personal shopping trips around Munich. It’s nice for a change when the tables are turned. This usually happens when I go shopping with my Mum. We were walking around the beautiful seaside town of Sidmouth in Devon, England when we decided to take a look inside M&Co.

M&Co (formely Mackays) was established in Scotland fifty years ago and has grown to become one of the largest privately owned fashion clothing retailers in the UK and has over 300 stores including franchises in Dubai, Bulgaria and Malta.

When you walk into the store, it is easy to understand the success of this family fashion empire.The layout is generous and you can actually move clothing to look at it, rather than it being jammed in so tight, you feel like a wrestler (trying not to wrestle) Lighting is ambient but you can still see the colours for what they really are. The music is neither too loud or  piped elevator music (as my Dad liked to call it) and the staff are great. BUT the best thing about M&Co is their pricing. It’s brilliantly budget or (in a French accent) budget!

M&Co3

Take this dress. It already has (as they say in the business) hanger appeal, which makes it easier to imagine how it might look on and a quick turnaround for the retailer. Scouting around shops before personal shopping trips, It was clear to see how the store mixed good basics with embellished pieces perfectly.The website is really good for this too.

Mum took one look at the dress and said ‘It’s Christian Dior’s New Look dress of the 1950’s. It’s charming Rache’ With that, I had to try it on!

The dress feels light on and does have a designer feel about it. I thought It might feel a bit too girly with all the lace, but it doesn’t due to the midnight blue and the elegant cut. There is just enough netting underneath the dress to push it out without making me feel like a music box dancer. The hint of lilac lining beneath the bodice gives it something extra and even the grosgrain belt (which I normally discard) adds to the look. The price of the dress was 59 (GBP) but was reduced further to 40. Of course, I had to get it!

Fashion doesn’t need to be expensive to be beautiful!

 

Take a look at M&Co here.

From Italy With Love

It may seem counterintuitive to go into a knitwear shop when it is close to 30 degrees outside, but it is exactly what I did when I saw the shop window of La Luna Nuova in the beautiful town of Montalcino in Italy on a recent break with my husband.

Since I was in holiday mode and switched-off, I didn’t think to take a photo of weaver, Chiara Franceschetti working at her beautiful wooden loom in the shop. She does not seem to have a website and the only link I found on her work was on facebook (see above)

knitwear

Initially, I only intended to look around and was more than happy to take in all the colours and styles on offer. After some thought (and a little encouragement from my husband!) I found myself being dressed and pinned into various butter soft knitwear. After some deliberating, I decided on this vibrant pink wrap top.

Chiara informed us that she uses mainly alpaca and cashmere or a mix of both. The colours were gorgeous and the shop was bursting with pistachio, red, cornflower blue, yellows, black and purple. From wraps, coats, shawls and capes.

What made the visit to this shop truly unique, was to see stunning artisan craftsmanship at work, with the products being made right in front of you. Something rare and special in these days of mass production.

If you are visiting Montalcino, pop into La Luna Nuova to see an artist at work:

La Luna Nuova. Chiara Franceschetti, Viale Mazzini 31, 53024 Montalcino (Siena) Italy.

French Fancy

The month of May in Munich didn’t get me dancing around in dresses yet, and we are already into June- What is going on people!

It’s been pretty cold and windy here, so I have kept things colourful but warm and have been spotted wearing a coat I bought in the lovely market town of Tavistock, Devon in England. Daretobdifferent is a friendly family run boutique buzzing with atomsphere (and customers) and stocked with some known, and not so known labels.(check out their website for updates) Eva Tralala (yes, really) is a French label specializing in quirky but very wearable pieces.

evatralala

In Munich this coat seems to have the power to stop ladies in the street. They ask me where I got it from and if they can touch it!  As I am talking, I realize I am fiddling with the wool bobbles inside the pockets. It came with two huge safety pins, so I can wrap the coat as I see fit.

It is very often the smaller towns that hold the greatest gems. Next time you are shopping, think of going off the main street and away from the mass produced fashion, and start exploring independent shops. At the same time you are supporting local and often family run business. A big plus in my book!

One For The Men!

Men, you don’t have to go around wearing the same old safe, blue, and black. Ok, so you probably can’t go to work wearing red jeans unless you have an open minded boss, work from home or (more likely) an advertising company. Then of course you will need them for your creative play zones. On weekends however, you can wear whatever takes your fancy!

PAmens2Let your personality shine using colour and accessories. If you are not confident with colour, then start from the bottom up. I love these desert boots with blue rims between the soles. Or throw a colourful scarf against a dark jacket. The devil as they say, is in the detail!

Hats are another way to show some style and will give an illusion of height. Kaufhof department store in Munich has a fantastic selection of mens hats and accessories.

Start experimenting or book me for a personal shopping workout to show you how!

Dye-ing For A Change!

For months now, I have had a bag of tired and dull clothing in my wardrobe. I still wanted to wear them but not in their current form.PAbluedye1 My aim was eventually to get round to dyeing them. Fabric dye is a brilliant (and cheap) way of bringing life back to clothing that has lost its colour or appeal. It is also a great way of getting rid of any yellowing (under arm) patches too! I chose a lovely cobalt blue (that happens to be on trend this summer!) but there are dozens of colours to choose from depending on what you want.

The simplicol dye here was around 5,50 Euro. I dyed quite a few pieces, so bought a large box. I also needed an extra 500 gram of salt to fix the colour. After 40 minutes in the washing machine and a quick re-wash, I transformed my clothes and can now mix them with other pieces and accessorize as I wish.

My clothes were 100% cotton and absorbed the colour perfectly. Anything that is not a natural fibre such as nylon stitching or lining etc will not take the dye but can still add interest and contrast to your pieces.

Feeling Blue

I was in the beautiful Bavarian countryside on the weekend and took a photo of the Enzian flower (trumpet gentian) which inspired me (as nature does) to put a blue look together for you! These flowers sprung out of the ground with gusto and provided a colourful force against the still bleached and weathered grass of winter.

The roots of the enzian plant provide bitters for a digestive called Enzian! I’m not a fan of it myself, but I am a fan of this deep violet blue! PAblue

Life Is Rosy!

There are some colours that just make you smile. Fuchsia is one of them. The red pink combination is vibrant but elegant. feminine yet intense. Fuchsia or magenta, is made by combining equal and intense amounts of red and blue light together. The blue gives it a coolness, which is especially great for warmer skin tones. Depending on hue and tone this colour will suit almost every skin tone, so experiment with the colour against your face to see what looks best.PicsArtfuscia If you dont want to give over to fuchsia in a dress or coat, then pick it out in details like bags, shoes and scarves.  Combine this colour beautifully with green and other tones of purple and play the colour off with strong prints such as black and white for a more quirky look!

Hats Off!

Sadly C & A no longer exist in the UK but are huge in Germany and across the globe.

In case you have ever wondered, the initials C and A derive from brothers, Clemens and August Brenninkmeijer who traded in linen and textiles across Europe and founded the company in 1841 in Sneek, Friesland on the Northwest coast of Germany.

Accessories are a cheap and cheerful way of adding to an outfit without costing the earth. The hats here start around 9 Euro and there is always a great range in summer.

picsarthats

 

Make Me Up Mr Ford!

I have wanted a Tom Ford makeover for a while now. I was after a glamorous ’50’s postcard look based on a lipstick I already had my eye on. I asked Nafsika, my lovely Italian consultant to do a makeup befitting the said lipstick, Wild Ginger. The colour is reminiscent of 1950’s Hawaii and I wanted to wear it, even if I couldn’t be there!

Tomfordcollage

Lipsticks have an instant transforming effect to the face. If you don’t want to go heavy on the eyes, then go for a punchy lipstick with a striking colour. You can look instantly made up with a lipstick. After the eyes, the lips are the second most expressive part of the face and people will concentrate on one or the other when talking, so make them count!

Nafsika applied everything to my face with brushes including facecream, highlighter and foundation. You can of course use sponges and fingers to apply these products. She probably couldn’t opt out from using the exquisite brushes made of horse hair, since the cost of a complete set could fly you to Hawaii and back and still give you change for dinoir!

There is no obligation to buy, but of course, you will be seduced by any number of the products used or on display. Since I already wanted to purchase the lipstick, there was no contest. So there!

Verdict: The makeup photographs well and that is what the brand is all about. Strong. confident. sexy. glamorous. It is not however a makeup where you could pick a pint of milk up without getting a few looks, but I loved how it made me feel.

Walking home, I am sure I could hear the sound of palm trees rustling in the breeze…

Products used: Foundation- Traceless foundation stick ’03 Fawn’ -Illuminating highlighter pen in ‘Dusk Bisque’ -Powder ‘Ivory Fawn’ -Eye shadow from an eye quad ‘Golden Mink‘ and ‘Cocoa Mirage‘ Eye -Defining pencil ‘06 Midnight‘ -Mascara Extreme Mascara -Bronzing powder, ‘Gold Dust‘ -Blush ‘Ravish‘ and Lipstick ‘Wild Ginger‘

Colour Is Always In Fashion

collagepinkDepending on mood, I can dress in shades of one colour palette, or mix and match colours together for more of an impact. Wearing certain colours can act as a natural ‘pick me up’ and make you feel more energised.

Colour can draw and provoke emotion and memories for different reasons. From childhood, education or simply memories of buying something from a first wage packet!

I draw inspiration from the great outdoors and love to watch how the colours of nature blend and clash without ever looking out of place If you love colour but aren’t sure what goes with what. rather than play it safe, experiment until you are happy with the mix you have got and use your instinct. If it doesn’t look right, it probably isn’t. Start again and play around until something clicks!

If you don’t want an overload of colour then choose a base of colour such as navy or black and accent it with accessories like a red belt, necklace, loafers and a handbag!

This is an elegant way to play off and highlight your favourite colours without going over the top.

Better still, take a colour analysis with me to find out which colours impact your business and social life and those that make you feel and look ten years younger!

In Pursuit of Happiness

It seems that you can’t mention the word beauty these days, without protest and outrage. Women it seems are fed up with being told what to look like. Especially on being beautiful.
Below is the recent Dove campaign: Patches. You will carve out your own opinion for sure. On the whole though, it seems to have drawn more annoyance than praise.

‘‘I want Dove to stop capitalizing on the insecurities of women and using it as a marketing tactic’’ and ‘‘Stop telling me that I need to feel beautiful because I do not’’ read some comments including those who dislike the trickster way in which the film was made.

Without exception, the Women who have inspired me over the years have all had one important thing in common. They are all comfortable in their own skin. Regardless of shape age or size, they have an innner confidence and self-acceptance that cannot be ignored (or acted out) and one which positively effects not only themselves, but those of the lives around them.

One of these Women inspired me to create a presentation called ”Bringing out the Goddess in you” which follows my journey as a model in London to setting up my style consultancy business in 2006. I met my Goddess while working at an event in London. A tall lady with a full rubenesque figure  wearing a deep magenta bustier and long fishtail skirt. She stood out like a Valkyrie in a Wagner opera. I took a moment to step ahead of her to tell her just how fantastic she looked.

She thanked me with a beaming smile, looked me straight in the eye and with one hand over mine, said quietly and confidently. ”I KNOW”

In accepting my compliment, she acknowledged this and I havent forgotten her for it.

As the women said in Dove’s Real Beauty Sketches. ‘We spend alot of time as women analysing and trying to fix the things that aren’t quite right, when we should spend time appreciating the things that we do like’

Beauty and whatever you perceive it to be, is not only in the eye of the beholder, it is in the eye of the holder.

Take a look around and see if you can spot a Goddess in the crowd. They will not be rushing out to buy the latest beauty product in pursuit of happiness.

They have already found it. Inside themselves.