Monday, 31 December 2012

New Years Eve!

New Years Eve is here, the vodka jelly is in the fridge and I have just returned from a last minute dress hunt. All that's left to do is tidy up, my nails, decorate the flat...eeek, for we are having a flat party.

The Christmas season here has been a very busy one, with trips up north to visit my family, a few days in West Sussex to visit my boyfriends family, and now my brother is staying with us! I have had a wonderful time, however am in denial about the fact I go back to work on Wednesday. Noooooooo...! Even more reason for a great party.

In the past I have found New Years Eve to be a big disappointment. I get so excited, and dream of being at an extravagent ball or boat party on the Thames, but in reality they have mostly been nights in a pub or at a friends house, with everyone just waiting for the fireworks to begin on tv! One day I WILL get my Cinderella moment...

In the meantime I will have to cope with the reality of everyday life (I jest)...My quick shopping trip this morning consisted of a rushed visit to Topshop as I was given some vouchers for Christmas. I am not normally one for Topshop, the sizes can be very strange and all seem geared for tall, straight up and down people, however I struck gold when I browsed through the sale and saw a very cute little dress sat all on its own crying out to me. I wanted a dress that wasn't too dressy, but still enough to get me into the party spirit. I found a black shirt dress that has the sweetest pattern, elbow length sleeves and finishes just above the knee, reduced to £30 from £55, so I snapped it up. I will post a picture on Twitter later when I am all ready!

I love this whimsical pattern all over the dress.
I was quite amazed at how quickly I had found a dress. I had imagined trekking around the shops all day having a nightmare, so something is bound to go wrong today! I then had a sneaky look in Primark, and picked up this lovely vest for £4.99 I think. It has a sweetheart neckline, removable straps and a built in bra, so I imagine I will wear this lots with a cardigan and skirts or trousers.
I then rushed home before any more impulse purchases happened!
I have began setting my hair to give a more 1940's look so I will upload a tutorial soon to show how I do it! You may have already seen the picture that I posted on my Twitter, it gives a lovely vintage look and lasts for days.
Have a wonderful evening and I wish all of you the very best for 2013! This year has been a very emotional, sad one and my family have really had a tough time this year. Things are looking up now, so hopefully 2013 can bring more luck and happiness for everyone.
Happy New Year!
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

And Christmas is nearly upon us...

Hello everyone!

Christmas spirit is in full flow, and scarily enough, a week today it will all be over! I am so, so excited to get back up north to see my family, and I think it will only be then when the true Christmas excitement will take hold!

Over the past few nights I have been making the finishing touches to my Christmas decorations around our little flat, and it is really beginning to look lovely! I may also have been indulging in mince pies, stollen and mulled wine...

Good old M&S ripping me off slightly, 2 bottles for £10 but ah well...

Here is our completed paper chains (and homemade bunting!) that covers the entire flat, it's safe to say I got rather carried away! I have a feeling these won't be coming down for quite a while!

And here is our beautiful Christmas tree. We have it in pride of place in front of a window that overlooks the street. I absolutely love walking home in the evening and can see it shining away, although perhaps that's just too much mulled wine making me all mushy inside!

 My two favourite glass baubles, I love how the one below looks like a giant bubble!

And finally, you may have seen on Twitter (@ABrightonBelle_) that I have been making some teacup candles. I didn't want to just wrap these up in normal wrapping paper, as I was so scared that they would get all banged around and be broken, so instead bought my most beautiful tissue paper from Paperchase. Again, I am slightly ashamed at how much I was tricked into paying for this paper, but it is one of the most beautiful prints, I could just frame a section of this paper! Below you should be able to see it...


It is very delicate, almost hand sketched looking entwined leaves and flowers, with the most beautifully coloured birds sitting among it all. I sense a project coming for the new year, perhaps a charity shop rummage for a photo frame to paint to put some print in!

I hope you are well and wish you all the best for Christmas,
With lots of love from Brighton,
Hannah xxx

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Day 12- A Very Busy but Fun Day!

Hello everyone!

So you may or may not have seen, but this morning I tweeted this picture to giveaway my location...

I have been at Bexhill De La War Pavilion for (drumroll please!) my first Dollydagger photoshoot! We were incredibly lucky to get amazing weather, despite the bitter cold, Mr Sunshine definitely came out to light everything up. We were joined by super stylists Simon and Hannah from Simon Webster hair, make up by Alessia Mancini and our photographer was Toby Amies. My partner in crime for the modelling was the gorgeous Esme Callaghan who looked absolutely stunning!

We had twenty odd dresses ahead of us to model but we did in fine form, and even braved the sea breeze for some outdoor shots! Pictures will be all over the website, soon and I am so so excited to see them.

A sneak peek of two of todays shots are available on Dollydagger's instagram or twitter pages!

And here I am getting my hair prepared to be set into beautiful curls!

Very excitingly, I will also soon be posting a little bit on the Dollydagger website! Please keep your eye out for a full lowdown of todays shoot on there as it will be going up very shortly. For more behind the scenes pictures, please follow @dollydagger_ on twitter!
So that is my twelve days of Christmas over! How quickly has that gone! I have enjoyed writing all these posts so much, and have been surprised to learn a bit about myself too. I have definitely learnt what subjects I am more knowledgeable and passionate about, but also what it is that you all like to read. I do intend to keep posting very regularly so don't worry, I won't be disappearing yet!
With lots of love from a tired but happy Hannah

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Day 11- A More Musical Evening!

Hello everyone!
So tonight I am off to the O2 Arena in London (the Millenium Dome, I've never been!) to see one of my all time favourite bands....Mumford and Sons!
I have absolutely loved this band for so many years, it is going to be amazing to actually get the chance to see them live! Unfortunately I wasn't able to get the full day off, so am rushing out of work at 4 to meet everyone up in London ready to squeeze in a drink or two before the music gets going!
There is two support acts, Post War Years at 7pm, and Dawes at 7.45, with Mumford and Sons coming onto stage at 9.
I will try to get a picture of my outfit and post it on Twitter, I plan to vintage it up!
I also have a very exciting day on Wednesday, so keep your eyes peeled for any behind the scenes pictures!
With love, from Hannah xxx

Monday, 10 December 2012

Day 10!

Good evening everyone!
It is safe to say that I am feeling much better tonight which is a huge relief!
So Christmas is officially here and the perfect accompaniment for the party season is some gorgeous nails to add some festive charm! Nail art is such a huge trend at the moment, and people seem to be unbelievably talented and can fit so many different patterns onto their nails. Whilst I am nowhere near that creative or talented, I do like to jazz up my nails with a retro pattern or a bit of glitter. I am a nail varnish addict, much to my boyfriends disgust! I store them in a tin that I was given a Cath Kidston mug in, however it is slightly overflowing now!
Around this time last year I had acrylic nails applied the the first (and last) time. I was absolutely gutted when I got them removed the discover the condition of my nails underneath, so thin and dehydrated. I have since always decided to simply paint my nails as I don't want to damage my nails.

Around Christmas, I particularly love some sparkle. You can go all over glitter, but one style I think looks particularly gorgeous is one finger on each hand all sparkly, with the others the matte shade. Another alternative can be to give yourself a glittery french tip! I particularly love these two Barry M shades, they are very reasonably priced and give a great colour! I recommend doing a base coat of the matte colour, then applying the glitter over the top to give the maximum coverage!
A more classic look can come from a neutral shade. One of my particular favourites colour is a stone grey. I think it looks very elegant and compliments all skin tones very well. Below are two of my favourites (and check out the bargain I got!). The OPI bargain is from Sally's on Western Road. You can snap up a serious bargain in there as it is generally a wholesaler for the beauty trade. They have a huge OPI range which is one of the more luxurious nail varnish brands. This shade is Suzi Take The Wheel, a very opaque gun metal grey with a very faint green undertone. The shade to the right is a more purple based grey. It is Essie in Chinchilly, which was an impulse purchase from Boots that I got away with! Again it has a very opaque coverage, so you could even get away with one coat if you were rushing!

Another favourite colour comes from Rimmel's 60 Seconds Range, shade 819 Green with Envy. It is perhaps the perfect shade of green! I adore it. An emeraldy-teal green, it has a slightly metallic sheen so looks different in different lights. The brush is slightly different to normal applicators, slighly flatter, which is supposed to make application only take 1 second, however I think this is a slight exaggeration as I would make such a mess if I was to take 1 second! It does make the process very easy though, as the shape of the nail varnish is much easier to form than with a thinner brush.
I also recently posted on Twitter about a nail varnish actually bought for me by my boyfriend! For my birthday he treated me to one of the one off Marilyn Monroe at MAC range, the nail varnish in Flaming Rose. It is actually a very true, classic red, despite looking slightly pink on this photo. I absolutely love this, and want to keep it for years to cherish!
I particularly love to work a classic Dita Von Teese look for a true retro style. She famously styles her nails in a 'half moon' style, which I think looks so demure and classy. You can buy the acrylic ones that she has released, however I prefer to just paint on the style.
I am going to get painting mine now, I have an exciting couple of days coming up!
With lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Day 9- A Sore Head!

Hello everyone!

Well last night turned out very well and I had an excellent time, however I am most definitely feeling it today! I was in such a rush and completely forgot to get a picture before I left which I am rather disappointed with myself about! I will have to see if any surface on Facebook as today goes on which could be a little dangerous, lets just say I embraced the Christmas spirit and was very merry!

It really does feel like Christmas is very very soon. Over this weekend we have put our tree up and it is looking spectacular! I posted a picture on Twitter last night of the tree in all its glory. I just need to finish making my own decorations and it will be complete!

We decided to buy a small selection of baubles as well which you can see here. The angel, lights, rocking horse and glittery Christmas tree are all from Berts Home Store on Western Road. I absolutely love that shop and it is so so Christmassy in there! I could quite easily buy everything that is in there.

The remaining ones are all from Butlers at the bottom of North Street. They have a great deal where if you buy four, you get the cheapest one free! My favourite is the vintage Mickey Mouse bauble or the glass reindeer scene, I can't decide!

We are also busy making paper chains to decorate the flat with. We are having a New Years Eve Party (eek) and so I want it all looking very festive and they are a cheap solution which looks great! All you need is lots of red and green paper and some pritt stick. Cut the paper into strips and you can easily make the interlocking loops, before you know it there is metres and metres of the stuff!

Here is our (nearly) finished tree for those that didn't catch the picture on Twitter...

I am now going to watch Elf, have some paracetamol and an early night as I am feeling very sorry for myself! I hope you have a lovely evening!
With love from a hungover Hannah xxx

Day Eight! Get Ready With Me!

Hello everyone,

Well what a busy busy day I have had! Breakfast out, Christmas tree shopping, candle making and getting ready for tonights Christmas Do, I feel more like putting my feet up than heels on!

I just want to thank every one of you who has been reading my blog and Tweets. I have just logged onto Blogger and had a lovely surprise, I have had the most blog views ever today so thank you!

Tonights post is geared towards getting done up for a glamourous night out. Over the last few weeks, I have gone over my favourite products that really get an excellent result, but tonight we are going to put it all together! The theme for tonights event is Hollywood Glamour, so I am going to make the most of it and show everyone how a vintage girl does glamour!
Polka Dot Dolores Pencil Dress

I am wearing a dress that I chose when I got into the top 8 in the Dollydagger competition. I normally steer clear from quite tight fitting dresses, however I adore this dress and it seems to make my more podgier (is that a word?!) areas disappear. I love the polka dot and super flattering neckline!You can get it directly from the Dollydagger website, it is called the Polka Dot Dolores Pencil Dress. My shoes were bought almost two years ago from Next for a mere £35. They have lasted so well and are extremely comfortable and looking quite well worn now.

My make up is inspired by a look that my favourite make up artist, Lisa Eldridge, created on her website. I decided to go for more of a Vintage Pin Up Girl look than the classic red lipstick as it is a look I often wear, and I fancied a change! You can see Lisa create the look below. I followed the video to apply my make up, something I regularly do to perfect a look as left to my own devices, I will forget to include a certain part! I don't own any of the products that Lisa uses here, however replaced them with similar ones of my own. I used a mixture of two lipsticks to create the darker grape/cherry shade on my lips. These were Rimmel Kate Moss in 107, a darker red shade, with Lancome French Touch in 306 Cherry Kiki. I mixed them simply by applying  a coat of each and blotting in between to really build up the colour. I began with the Lancome as it is the darkest, and did my first coat very thinly like Lisa describes, buffing it into the lip to almost build up a stain that will not shift!

My hair was done much earlier than most of my getting ready process. At about 5pm I curled all my hair using curling tongs, and then pinned them to create pin curls while still hot. I then left them in until the very last minute, so that they cool entirely. This means that the curl stays in much longer and is much glossier than if you just curled in then left the hair down to cool. A little backcombing and I was good to go!

I also fully embraced the pale look, with bare legs and no fake tan! I am very pale at the moment however I think this really finishes the vintage look and gives you a very classic, English rose appeal.

I had best get going now, fingers crossed it will be a good night! Free wine on the tables so I am not complaining!

I hope you have a great weekend,
Lots of love from Brighton,
Hannah xxx 

Friday, 7 December 2012

Day 7! Bath Time

Hello everyone!

So tonight I have decided to give myself a very long pamper session with some of my favourite products. It has been a rather long week and I wanted to refresh myself ready for tomorrow, as it is the regional Christmas Do tomorrow night, fun fun fun!

I generally find it best to give my hair a day or two of wear before styling it. Freshly washed hair that is as thick as mine is a nightmare to try to style in any vintage fashion when it is all fly-away, so the tiniest bit of wear gives some staying power. Here below are my favourite hair products at the moment...

I use the Bumble and Bumble Colour Minded Shampoo to look after my colour and keep my hair in the best condition possible. I am quite conscious of the effect that lots of colouring can have on your hair, this is part of the reason I choose to spend a little more money and get my hair coloured professionally as they use higher quality ingredients and apply the products properly. These two products come at quite a high price (£20-£25 each) however they require about 1/3 as much as a cheaper brand, and also prolong your colour for longer. I like to think this is justification! You can purchase from online beauty brands such as Active Beauty, Look Fantastic or Feel Unique, which generally have free UK delivery. I do know that bigger Boots stores stock them, I got mine directly from Simon Webster Hair who has a range and the expertise to recommend the best product for your needs.

Pictured here are three things I find particularly useful for styling my hair. You will see more of these tomorrow, Loreal Elnett hairspray, Avon heat protector and the Tangle Teezer which is amazing for getting knots out of my hair!

I also then gave my skin a pamper to get it refreshed and looking healthy and dewy. I have been using four of these for well over a year and keep coming back to them as they give me wonderful results. I highly recommend them to you!

The green tube in the back left is my Liz Earle Hot Cloth Cleanse and Polish. I can't recommend this cleanser more, and you can read all about it and Liz's background in the book from my other post here. It comes with full instructions for how to use it to get the best results and really is excellent for cleaning and looking after your skin 100%.

The next step in my cleanse, tone and moisturise routine is the darker green tub to the right of the Liz Earle tube. This is Dr Andrew Weil for Origins Mega Mushroom Skin Relief treatment lotion. If my skin is ever inflamed or irritable, a small wipe of this across my face soon calms things down and brings everything back to normal. I use it as a toner as it is specifically designed for sensitive and redress prone skin, which mine really can be. I do find that a collaboration of the right products does reduce this irritability, however these products actually go further and improve my skin.

My final step is the purple pot in the bottom right. This is Neal's Yard Remedies Frankincense Hydrating Cream which I use as a moisturiser. This keeps my skin from being dry and doesn't over hydrate it either. This is quite pricey at around £23 but again lasts for ages and really does work a treat. I got my first pot of this in November 2011 on my very first visit to Brighton so this brings back some nice memories too!

I think the key to all of these products is following the recommended instructions and using all of them in moderation. Whilst it feels very indulgent to cover your face in moisturiser, this is not going to help matters and will only block your pores and unfortunately make things worse. If your skin is dry, as is so common at this time of year, give it a gentle exfoliate with Dermalogica Gentle Cream Exfoliant face mask (leave on for around 20-25 mins), followed by a light application of moisturiser.

Also in the picture are two new finds- Avene Gentle Eye Make Up Remover (I am still to be decided on this one) and La Roche Posay Targeted Breakout Protector which I love. I have recently suffered from some spots that just don't seem to budge, but a few nights of applying this has cleared them up so I am a very happy customer! Both are available from Boots for around £10. Do any of you know any better eye make up removers? I think I need a more oil based one as this really struggles to remove my long lasting eyeliner :(

I finally wanted to add that all of these products are being recommended wholeheartedly to you, by me! I am not sponsored in any way and would definitely tell you not to buy something if I found fit to. All of these products I have searched the market for and have been using for over a year so would definitely recommend trying them if you are searching for a new product to help your skin or hair this Christmas.

On that note, I had better get this face mask rinsed off and hair washed!

With lots of love,

Hannah xxx

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Day Six! A cheap and chic Christmas present idea!

Hello everyone!

So I have just rushed back from a very fun Lindy Hop lesson and just going to do a quick post for this evening. Tonight we put together all of the steps that we have learnt so far, and it actually felt brilliant and I was pleased that I can do it! Next week we are learning how to add some fun moves into the steps which will be fun and really make us look like we know what we are doing!

I received quite a few parcels in the post today (yay I love parcels!) for Christmas presents that I am planning. To encorporate a bit of my recent thrify ventures, I have decided to make some of these...

My plan is to go to a few local Charity shops and purchase some gorgeous china cups and saucers, and then make candles in them to give a very kitsch and cheap present! I managed to find a candle making set on Ebay, from seller 'randallscandles' who sells a set that makes 4 teacup candles, with your choice of scented and coloured wax for £6!Here the package is before I begin making...

Really great, detailed instructions are also included so on Saturday I plan to get making! I will tweet my end results so keep your eyes peeled @ABrightonBelle_!
To finish off my indulgent present I have decided to include some sweet treats alongside the teacup candles that adds to the pampering that this present can give...
Whilst these may look like delicious treats, perfect alongside a cup of tea, they are in fact soaps to pamper yourself with in the bath.  I got these for 95p each from Ditzy Doll, who have an online store. They are scented with a range of luxurious smells, such as Oat and Honey, Strawberry and Dark Chocolate. I am planning on putting on or two on the side of my teacup candle, so an afternoon tea can turn into a relaxing bathtime...what is better than that in winter, I don't know!
I will keep you all posted on Twitter with my making process on Saturday, which is where this plan could all go wrong and things go slightly pear shaped. Fingers crossed it all goes well!
With lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Day Five- Its A Swing Thing!

Good evening everyone!

So every Wednesday back our sofas get pushed back and table dragged out of the way, as it is Lindy Hop practice night! For the past 3 Thursdays, we have been learning to Lindy Hop with the lovely and helpful Graeme and Amanda. This is their website! We found the class advertised on the Evolution Arts website, which you can see here.

I have always been a massive Strictly Come Dancing fan, being completely mesmerised by the Jive and Charleston. The Lindy Hop originated in the 30's and the dancing isn't just the fun bit, the music that goes alongside it is fantastic as well, with artists such as Billie Holiday and Nina Simone. The steps so far are easy enough to follow, but I like to practice to make sure that I remember what I'm doing! I do hope to continue with dancing once our classes are over. It is great exercise, a real laugh and an excuse to have a dance and sing on a weeknight!

Not only has the music inspired me massively, but the thirties and forties swing clothing is amazing! Look at these amazing trousers from Vivien of Holloway! (yes please Father Christmas!). I recently bought a dark grey wool pair that are similar from Beyond Retro in Brighton as they were rather a bargain at £22, however they are slightly too short so I resorted to flashing some ankle in them! This style trouser looks very comfortable, as though they would flatter the hips and waist and give a more unusual vintage style for everyday outfits! Teamed with brougues,a cardigan, blouse or even just a plain top, they would be a great retro look and maybe I could burst into dance to complete the image!

Another excellent website to visit for a similar style is Freddies of Pinewood. They sell 40s and 50s style clothes, for both men and women. Their website is great and very helpful regarding sizes for their items which fit a little differently to those on the high street. They also do jeans in a similar style to the trousers above. I would love to try some of these, they may solve my war against skinny jeans!

I am really loving this style clothing at the moment. The cold weather is just so unbearable even in thick tights, I feel the need to wear trousers for a change! If any readers want any information on Lindy Hopping and how to begin learning, or if you are an experienced Lindy Hopper, please don't hesitate to contact me! I would love to hear from you! Maybe one time I will be brave enough to actually go to a Swing night and dance properly...

I will have to get practising!

With love from Brighton,

Hannah xxx

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Day Four-Where to go in Brighton this Christmas!

Hello everyone,

Hope you are all well! Tonight I have decided to let you know about four of my favourite places to go to in Brighton. These are all very central and in walking distance of each other. All four are completely independant and Brighton based, which I particularly love, as I feel that you really do get a more unique and special experience than when you visit one of the bigger, nationwide brands.

First up is Upper Gardener Street Market in the North Laines. Held every Saturday on Upper Gardener Street (ironically!), you are welcomed with the smells of wonderfully fresh and locally produced food. As you follow the market along, furniture, music, cards, bric a brac and clothes line the streets, all for bargain prices. You can also venture off this down into the Brighton Flea Market  which is located on the right just after entering the street and passing the food stalls. Here it all is in its earlier days!

Follow the market to the end and turn right down the hill, in a few metres on your left will be Sydney Street. This street is full of vintage shops, including the wonderful Hope and Harlequin, which has the most beautiful dresses in! At the bottom of Sydney Street you will meet Trafalger Street, the location of Tramp Vintage which is just on your left up the hill slightly! Tramp contains so so many amazing dresses, it is a dream! It really is somewhere to go if you are looking for something extra special, and everyone who works there is so helpful in working with you to find the ultimate party dress!

Now over to the South Lanes. Over on Prince Albert Street (past two amazing bars, The Mesmerist and the Black Lion) is the wonderful design shop, The Lollipop Shoppe. Full of design classics and remarkably reasonably priced, this really is the perfect shop to find that extra special gift for someone this Christmas. There is a range of items from beautiful notepads under £10 to very stylish pieces with a few more zeroes on the pricetag. I have always been made to feel very welcome and comfortable to look around. They also have a really great website, that also offers FREE UK Delivery! I love it!

My final recommendation is a beauty boutique just up the road on Duke Street, Powder Beauty. Just nextdoor to The Victory Inn, they offer every beauty treatment you could imagine and some great creative treats to, such as Louboutin Nails! On the 22nd they have a pop up hair parlour from 1pm...check it out on their Facebook page here or look at their website here! A completely independent company too, creating a wonderful atmosphere and great service every time.

These are just a few of the amazing shops I have found so far on my explorations around Brighton, I am sure there will be so many more in a couple more months! Do you have any particular places you always go to in Brighton? I haven't included some of the more obvious places that are on the main routes, such as Komedia or Snoopers Paradise, but they are well worth a visit! I love nothing more than visiting a city and knowing some of the more 'off the beaten track' places, it gives a much more accurate impression of the city and what it is about. I would absolutely love to hear of any more though!

I hope you enjoyed tonights post, and I will get thinking of what to write tomorrow!

Lots of love,

Hannah xxx

Monday, 3 December 2012

Day Three!

Hello everyone!

I must start by thanking all my new followers on Twitter! It really means a lot and I have made sure to check out each and every one of your posts on there. So a big thank you!

Today I have been talking about Christmas as a child. I really did love nothing more than waking up at 6am to drag everyone out of bed to open and play with my presents! The best feeling is when you finish making or have spent hours occupied by the new presents. Whilst I am still just as grateful for any gifts given to me now, often I feel a nostalgic, childish sense of excitement when I open a present that I can enjoy there and then between the Christmas specials and food!

One of the nicest presents that can fulfill my nostalgic dreams is a good book. You can put your new pj's and slippers on, and cuddle up with a good book! Whether fact or fiction, hours of enjoyment are guaranteed. As the years have gone on, I have become a big fan of non fiction books that can inspire some yuletime vintage beauty!

On my list this year is the book below, Style Me Vintage by Belinda Hay. I would particularly like the Hair book, as it shows step by step tutorials on how to create different iconic hairstyles from over the eras, as well as lists of products and equipment needed. I feel I am quite quick at picking up how to do particular styles, especially from YouTube tutorials, however I do feel quite stuck in a rut with my different variations on victory rolls and would love to learn how to do something a bit different!

There is also a Clothes version of this book, which is a guide on how to source and create retro looks. Hours of fun are guaranteed I think, and what beautiful books for the bedside table too.
A firm favourite book of mine is by my skincare saviour, Liz Earle. Whilst this is not a vintage style read, it has so many answers, that most importantly work (!), to all skin and body care dilemas.

 Liz Earle products are completely natural and proven formulas that are non irritating for skin, and do exactly what they say! I have always struggled to find skincare that works but doesn't somehow impact my skin otherwise, for instance, some gets rid of any spots but in turn completely dry my skin out. I have not had any of these problems since using Liz Earle products.
In this book, Liz goes into detail behind her motives behind the brand, but then goes on to suggest helpful skin and body care tips for all ages, ways to pamper yourself naturally and look after your entire body, through food, oils and sun protection.
All us vintage beauties strive for a porcelain complexion, and this book really contains some helpful advice for how to really look after ourselves. The formulas used have also proven the test of time, and are probably nearer to what the beauties of the forties and fifties actually used on their skin!
Another great treat for all us vintage lovers is a magazine subscription. Whilst it doesn't fill the time on Christmas day, I love receiving my monthly magazine through the post and sitting down to read it from cover to cover with a big mug of tea! At this time of year, lots of magazines are offering a present when you subscribe too! Here are some of my favourites:
-Vintage Life. This is a monthly magazine that really does detail all aspects of vintage life. It also has an events calendar and lots of advertisements in so that you can keep track of lots of different events and companies around the country. Produced up north in Congleton, it is especially great for notherners as it contains a lot of the information for the northern vintage scene. If you subscribe this month, you also receive It's a Wonderful Life on DVD!
-Vintage Explorer. A really informative and packed magazine that Brighton's very own Jo-Ann Fortune (editor of is on the editorial team for. It also features an events calendar that is based more around the South. A subscription to this magazine is definitely on my list this year!
Quite a long post this evening, however I think a great, informative book comes around few and far between. These books really do go into detail and show you exactly how to create the looks you want, and do more than tell you to go to a charity shop or flea market!
I hope you have enjoyed reading this post, please let me know of any other books or magazines that you would suggest!
With love from Brighton,
Hannah xxx

Sunday, 2 December 2012

And on the Second Day of Christmas...

Hello everyone!

On this cold Sunday I thought I would give you an insight into my essential pieces in my make up bag. I absolutely am a make up junkie, and have been from my younger days when I would wear purple eyeshadow to school...hey I still even have some now!

Over the months, I find myself continually buying the same products and never becoming any less satisfied with the outcome that they give. I am happy to pay the more expensive prices as I think the right product first of all works, and generally lasts for much much longer than a cheaper alternative. I am also someone who will try to find the cheaper option, but be unimpressed and then maybe spend up to four times as much trying to find a more effective product, only to end up going back to the expensive option that I know works!

With my make up in general, I strive to get a natural look and will sometimes accentuate certain features, such as my eyes OR lips. My mum told me years ago, 'eyes or lips but never both' and it certainly is true! I find that a strong lip looks so much more distinctive with a very natural eye and vice versa. Often when you draw attention to both eyes and lips, focus can be lost and it can just look rather overpowing and just like you have a lot of make up on! I will often wear a red lip/flicked eyeliner when my skin isn't so great- I conceal my skin to give as clear of a canvas as possible, then draw attention to a feature, which in turn draws attention away from my bad skin.

Anyway, here goes with my make up bag favourites!

(I apologise for the messiness of my foundation!)
I will begin with my foundation brush at the forefront of the picture. Before buying this brush, I had been on the search for the ultimate foundation brush for perhaps about 5 years?! This is the Real Techniques Stippling Brush, available in Boots and even from Ocado for around £12! I think it has changed my life. The brush is very comfortable to hold, with very very soft bristles. It has a flat top which I find makes it very easy to blend in the foundation and also ensures that you don't have a super heavy coverage. The bristles are quite well spaced out at the top, which means you can also build up your foundation to increase the coverage without going from natural to caked in one step!
Next is my amazing foundation. I think this is my absolute favourite of all my make up. I use Lancome Teint Miracle in shade 001 which is available in all department stores, Boots etc for £26 I think. The bottle has a glass lid, which pulls off to reveal a pump dispenser which minimises wasteage. This foundation leaves a lovely dewy finish but also has a medium, but buildable, coverage. I find that one small pump can easily be enough to brighten the complexion and cover any blemishes, but it can be built up to a very full coverage for a night out. I have combination/sensitive skin that can be dry and oily (brilliant!) depending on the time of year, and I find this is absolutely fine year round. I use this foundation daily, and one coat in the morning lasts well all day without any topping up. My mum also uses this foundation, proving it looks great on all skin types and ages! 

The small black pot you can see next is my MAC longlasting liquid eyeliner. I previously used a gel liner with a separate brush, however my greasy eyelids meant that I was getting a mark on my eye socket from where it was imprinting, so I switched to the liquid eyeliner and it works a treat! I used to find with gel liner that after a day of wear, the line would have moved slightly and not looked as sharp as it did immediately after application, however no worries with this one as it really stays put! A brush is fitted to the lid that allows it to be drawn on easily and it really does not budge, so much so, that I have had to buy a special oil based cleanser it order to get it off in the evening! The secret to applying this is a pot of cotton buds on hand to quickly make any takes a little longer to dry meaning that you can quickly get rid of any slips of hand. You just have to remember to let it dry fully before moving on with your make up application.

My next staple item is Maybelline's iconic Great Lash mascara. This really is a vintage beauty classic that has lasted the test of time! First developed in the seventies, it has been a popular choice with women worldwide since. Another tip from my clever Mum who has also been using this as far back as I can remember, it really does not move either and works a treat on your lashes and purse, at only £4.99! Get it girls!

Last, but most definitely not least, is a recent purchase that has quickly become a firm favourite. This is a MAC Pro Longwear eyeshadow in the shade Always Sunny. I previously would have steered well clear from what can only be described as orange eyeshadow, however it somehow seems to neutralise my eyelids and makes my eyes look incredibly green! It also lasts all day and can be blended in the crease to add definition, and below the eyes at the outer corner to add a smokier look. I would advise all you green eyed girls to get this on your Christmas list...I can guarantee that it will make your eyes stand out beautifully.

One item that I have never really found a favourite in is blusher. I am naturally very fair with pale skin and rosy cheeks, but I don't always want to have bright pink cheeks. Can any of you recommend any for me to try? Please comment below or Tweet me @ABrightonBelle_ you can just click on the bird on the right hand side to go straight to my Twitter!

I hope you have enjoyed the post and have a few ideas for something you would like to try. I have not included any of my favourite lip products due to my previous post on my favourite lipsticks, which you can find here! I am tempted to do a video of me applying these products to create a classic vintage look... keep reading to see if I am brave enough!

With lots of love from Brighton,
Hannah xxx

Saturday, 1 December 2012

And on the first day of Christmas...Day 1!

My true love gave to me.....thankfully no partridges or other birds, but some felt and dragged the sewing machine out for me! Romance!
This will be mine and my boyfriends first Christmas living together, and I think nothing is nicer than decorating the flat knowing the effort that we have put into being extra creative to make it extra special. We can really make it ours, safe in the knowledge that we are saving our money too.
When I moved down here, I brought my fake Christmas tree but no decorations. Having seen the prices of them in the shops, I have decided to get my craft on and make some!
I went to Fabric World on Western Road and purchased:
1m square of red felt
1m square of green felt
50cm square of yellow felt
White strong thread
Cushion filler
This came to a grand total of £12. Whilst, with hindsight, I think I have bought slightly too much fabric, I still don't think this is bad at all considering this will be the majority of our decorations and a few blankets on top! I am also considering going back for some lace to have on the tree instead of tinsel!
I began by drawing out some stencils on card with a marker pen. I chose a stocking, bow, Christmas tree, two different kind of stars and a cirle which will hopefully look like a bauble.

I then cut these stencils out from the card, and drew them onto the felt as you can see below. Before you draw onto the felt, ensure to fold the felt in half, so that when you cut out the shape, you get two identical pieces, so you can stuff them with filler.

Then simply sew the two pieces together, making sure the pause halfway through to put the cushion filler in between. Fill the pocket (that the two pieces of felt create) to about 75% with the filler, so that you have room to sew the remainder back together. You can see a few of mine below! These are just missing the string that I will attach to the top, so they can be hung on the tree next weekend!
I am so excited to get all of the flat decorated! Are any of you getting crafty this Christmas?! I would love to hear! I have a few other plans too, so please keep an eye out for my next posts to see what I make next!
With love from Brighton,
Hannah xxx

Friday, 30 November 2012

Christmas Is Coming!

...And this blog is going to become very very Christmassy!
Over the next twelve days I am going to do a blog post every day for the next 12 days, Brighton's very own 12 Days of Christmas!
I have written a few ideas down but please let me know if there is anything in particular that you would like to me post about! You can comment at the bottom of this post, or Tweet me @ABrightonBelle_
I can't wait to blog every day and hope that you all enjoy reading them. My posts will take a definite Christmassy direction, however may also give you a few ideas for any lovely gifts or ways to get into the Christmas spirit!
I look forward to my first post tomorrow,
Lots of Love,
Hannah xxx

Sunday, 25 November 2012

A Sunday Outing to Lewes Flea Market

Hello everyone!

Today myself and the boyfriend decided to venture over to the flea market on Market Street in Lewes. I have been wanting to go for AGES and woke up to sunshine, so we got ourselves on the bus over there to hunt for some beautiful bargains.

Bargains, Bargains come out wherever you are!

The sunshine quickly changed into rain, rain and more rain but this didn't dampen our spirits to find some beauties. This place is quite literally a treasure chest! Lots of stalls are packed into the market, which is in an old Methodist Church. It is very grand and the building really added to the spirit of things, with beams, vaulted ceilings and this amazing door!

There is so much to hunt through from jewellery, furniture, kitchenware, really does have everything in there. We particularly loved one stall which had an Anglepoise Lamp and a Lloyd Loom Laundry basket. I particularly love the retro classic items, and an original is so nice to find. If we didn't have to get the bus back I think we would have bought both, however we decided to go for the Lloyd Loom basket. It just needs a bit of love and care and it will look wonderful in our bedroom! Here is a sneaky peak, I will update you all soon with how the restoration goes!

Are any of you doing any restorations at the moment? The 'shabby chic' trend is huge at the moment but I think we will be staying as close to the original with this one!
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Saturday, 24 November 2012

Fantastic Shapewear from What Katie Did

Hello everyone!

So another parcel arrived through the door...a beautiful little payday treat to myself from vintage inspired lingerie geniuses, What Katie Did.

I am a true believer in the theory that a great outfit begins from underneath the clothes. It has been well documented by Mad Men goddess Christina Hendricks that the secret behind her amazing figure is some great shapewear. After all, in the forties and fifties, it was still the trend to wear more structured underwear!

What Katie Did provides more than a tight fitting bit of elastic to struggle into. Boned, hook and eye fastening supportwear nips you in much more than is believable, looks fantastic and still maintains a very comfy fit that I find I can easily wear all day.

I purchased the Glamour Longline Bra (see here) a while ago, and it has lived up to all of my expectations. A comfortable fit that makes such a difference, taking my waist down into the twenties from a 31! My payday treat was this Cabaret Waspie. I bought this so that I can get a similar look to the one I achieve in the Longline Bra, but can also wear a strapless bra for halterneck dresses! I was helped out massively on sizing and finer details by the online chat help, an actual human being that was helpful, friendly and knowledgeable!

Another huge bonus was placing my order at around lunchtime, paying for standard delivery...only for the parcel to arrive the very next day, beautifully packaged!

I couldn't recommend What Katie Did more, I am more impressed every time I use them and a few sneaky orders may be placed this weekend; there is free standard delivery ending at midnight on Monday 26th November!

Enjoy and treat yourselves girlies,

Lots of love,

Hannah xxx

Friday, 16 November 2012

What's On Your Christmas List?!

Hello everyone!

The nights are drawing in, Christmas songs are playing in the shops and I have seen the Coca-Cola advert...its official, Christmas is on its way!

I find this time of year very exciting, even just for the delicious food! Christmas is a time perfect for spending with your nearest and dearest, and this is simply a wishlist that I have compiled from recent online is sure to grow and grow as we get nearer to the big day!

Here are my finds that will be on my list this year!

My beloved Topshop brogues are on their last legs so I need a new pair of everyday shoes/boots for winter and I think these Clarks Originals Desert Boots would fit the bill...look how comfy and snug they look! I think the grey will wear nicely and go darker to give a beaten look that looks perfect with jeans on a dressing down day.

A slightly more indulgent option now... Dig for Victory is a Brighton based shop specialising in quality, handmade, beautiful dresses. You can even arrange to have a dress handmade from scratch especially for you! I am well and truly spoilt for choice in here...

Gahh pleaseeee Santa!! Aren't they gorgeous?!
Another amazing treat would be a Jo Malone fragrance. Whilst very pricy, I love the natural base to all perfumes which gives them a wonderful long lastingness. I currently use a body lotion that gives a very strong, longlasting scent and it would be lovely to have the actual perfume to go alongside this. A new store has just opened in Brighton, opposite the MAC store, so I will soon be checking it out to find my favourite! I would also be incredibly grateful for a new bottle of my Chanel Mademoiselle perfume. Two years on of very regular use and I am just about to run out...I think that is great value for money!
The Collections Jo Malone Collection
Finally a few smaller stocking fillers will be on my list...
A 5x5 photo album for my 120mm pictures...these seem to be impossible to find-please help me out if you know of anywhere to get these!
A new purse (mine was stolen :( boo )
A bike (yes, a small stocking filler!)
And finally Santa, a choice of two options...
A pug that I will call Gary (I think this picture is amazing!)
Or a Lakeland terrier...
Oh how I would love a dog...damn our non existant garden!
As much as I would absolutely love everything on this list, this is most definitely a wish list! I am a true animal lover and would love a dog one day when the time is right, and we can treat it with the love and care it deserves.
Have any of you lovelies spotted anything you would like from Santa this year? I can't wait for Christmas party season...keep your eyes peeled and ear plugs in if you spot me in a local kareoke bar!
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

My Dollydagger Journey Begins...

Hello everyone!

Recently I have had the pleasure of being able to do every girls dream...try lots and lots of beautiful dresses on! My first shoot for Dollydagger is being planned as we speak, so I have been nipping into the shop to have my fittings in the different dresses.

The wonderful and lovely Simon runs the shop in the Brighton Lanes, and he played my assistant, passing me dress after dress to try on. I admit I found myself transformed by each dress into a different vintage icon, what a great dress can do!

 I was first presented with the Dita dress which you can see below. I absolutely adore this dress! The lines of this dress very cleverly creates the ultimate hourglass figure. The neckline covers more of your collarbones that this picture would suggest, however this enhances the bust, and equally makes the waist look even smaller. The ruching around the hips exxagerates the hourglass figure again, but also magically hides any belly as your eye is naturally drawn to the shape that this dress creates. I then wiggled around the shop like Dita herself!

Dollydagger Dita Dress

There is also a skirt in the same style, the High Waist Dita Skirt.
Dollydagger High Waist Dita Skirt
This sits just under the bust and finishes just below the knee. I was quite surprised and pleased to find that the skirt actually didn't look too dramatic, so would look wonderful for during the day as well as out in the evening, making it a very cost efficient purchase!
Next up was the Greta Leopard Collar Dress. This is very much the same shape as the Dita dress, both of which finish at the super flattering length just below the knee. This dress turned me into Joan Holloway from Mad Men!
Dollydagger Greta Leopard Collar Dress
Another beauty, perfect for the winter seasons with the fur cuffs and neckline! This was very flattering again, the necklines really do suit any figure and I also found them very accomodating and not tight at all for my boobs! I really really like this dress, the fur and slightly thicker material mean you probably wouldn't need any jacket etc to go with this one!
Dollydagger Scarlet Dress
This is the Scarlet dress. Another great investment- a very sutble, elegant choice or, with the addition of a petticoat, a wonderful statement 1950s dress. This is slightly more lower cut than the others I have mentioned, which really draws the eye down the the teeny tiny waist it creates. Once I put the petticoat on, I definitely felt like Betty Draper from Mad Men! I think this would look absolutely stunning with plenty of diamonds and simple, elegant hair and make up.
Finally I tried the gorgeous Strawberry Fayre Bustle Dress on. I adore this too! This was perhaps my favourite of them all, as I feel it is maybe the most wearable. You can dress it down for a 1940s look with brogues and victory rolls during the day or dress it up for the evening and really show off the shape it gives you.
Dollydagger Strawberry Fayre Bustle Dress
Tight in at the waist, with pleats over the stomach, it finishes at that brilliant length again...just beneath the knees. It has another super neckline that shows off the collar bones and adds a uniqueness to the dress. Around the waist is a tie of matching fabric. You can take it completely out if you like, to maybe add a brown waist belt, or make a big bow at the back. Very cleverly, the tie is made out of quite strong, stiff fabric, so any bows make will actually hold themselves up and out rather than fall down and lose their shape. I can't think of anything more flattering than a tiny waist with a big bow showing it off!
I also tried the beautiful Scarlet dress and the Brighton Belle (!) Swing dress. See these on the Dollydagger website here. More gorgeous dresses, I really do feel incredibly lucky to have been chosen!
It is clear to see that Emma, the owner and designer at Dollydagger, really does know what suits real women. It is a relief to try so many dresses on that actually fit perfectly, with no horrible getting stuck moments or looking at yourself in the mirror thinking ohhhh no! Every one slipped on and made me feel amazing! I think the minute you try something on and instantly do a little dance (or is that just me?!), you know it's the right dress for you!
Keep your eyes peeled- soon it will be the photoshoot and my face will be plastered all over the Website, Facebook, Twitter and Shop Front! Its going to be weird but amazing too!
Thats all folks! Well done if you made it this far!
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx

Friday, 9 November 2012

Not More Lipstick...

Hello again!
Just a quick post to show off a recent purchase! After my post on Lipsticks, I decided I definitely needed to bulk out the collection, and purchase a true red. I absolutely love a red lip, it can exude glamour in an evening with a black dress or look great with very very natural make up during the day and a vivid red lip.
Eeek look at those clouds :(
This is MAC Matte in Ruby Woo and the lipliner is MAC in Redd. This lipstick is very matte which gives such an intense colour, however it is fairly neutral (not too blue/orange shaded) so tends to suit everyone. I absolutely love it as it is such a strong, classy look, whatever style you have. I was lucky enough to manage to get the lipliner from the Marilyn Monroe collection that is quickly selling out at the moment. Redd is a permanent colour in their everyday collection, it just seems to be the packaging that is slightly different for it in the Marilyn collection.
When going for a strong lip I love a bit of lipliner. Sometimes I very slightly overline my lips purposely, especially in the cupids bow part to really make my lips stand out. I do believe this is what Marilyn herself did. This video by Lisa Eldridge beautifully recreates the perfect Marilyn look (click on 'this' at the start of this sentence) and details some of the tricks her personal make up artist used.
I think the next lipstick that I would like to try is MAC Ladydanger; it was recommended by the MAC counter girl as it is a mixture of my two favourites, Ruby Woo and So Chaud. Are there any particular lipsticks you would recommend? I would also like to try a more wintery, wine shade lipstick so would welcome any recommendations!
Lots of love,
Hannah xxx