Monday, 30 April 2012

Hair, there, everywhere!

My hair is something I get questioned about on a daily basis, so I decided it was high time that I made a post dedicated to all things hair. I'm going to answer the most common questions I receive as thoroughly as I can, then we'll finish things off with a run-down of my top five red heads.

Do you dye your hair yourself?

I've been dying my hair myself for over two years. Student budgets simply don't stretch far enough for salon dyes when your hair grows as rapidly as mine does.

What hair dye do you use?

I vary between Live Colour XXL in  Real Red and Passion Red (generally I'll use the former over the summer, and the latter over winter). I've used Garnier dyes in the past and they have some great shades of red, but the colour bleeds more. I never touch bleach.

How often do you dye your hair?

I dye my hair once a month, however it can be more often if I have a casting, photo shoot or event to attend. Like I said, my hair really does grow fast! I despise roots so I probably reach for the dye more often than I should.

How do you maintain your colour?

I strive to use shampoo and conditioner formulated for coloured hair, and in the summer I try to keep the sun off my head  when I'm outside for prolonged periods of time.

Does the dying dry your hair out?

The short answer? Yes. I use serum on the ends whilst they are damp to keep them supple and hydrated, and indulge in intensive masks every week or so. However, keeping on top of split ends can still become a real chore.

How old were you when you first dyed your hair?

I had my first highlights when I was eleven, and my first full-head dye when I was fourteen.

Do you wear extensions?

No. The colour may be artificial, but my hair is all my own.

What are your tips for hair growth?

Start using serum daily to minimise the need for trims, and learn to trim your own hair to avoid scissor happy hairdressers. If you twist sections of hair the endy bits will splay out so you can nip them with a pair of scissors (my hairdresser taught me this trick when I first started growing my hair out!).

What hair products would you recommend?

I keep a bottle of Lush Rehab shampoo around for those days when my hair starts to feel a bit battered and weighed down. I also love Aussie's 3 minute miracle for intensive treatments - their serums are lovely too.

How often do you use heat stylers on your hair?

I let my hair air dry as often as possible, however I usually end up blow drying a few times a week. I straighten it very rarely, since I used to do it daily and it left my hair in a real state after a year or two. Once a week or so I will enhance my natural curls with my curling wand.

How often do you wash your hair?

I was my hair nearly every day. If I do skip a wash then I'll style it in braids or fishtails. I know it's supposedly bad to wash it every day, but it goes fairly frizzy after I've slept on it and I just like the feeling of having clean hair.

Any failsafe hair tips?

Tie your hair back or braid it at night to minimise tangles and unnecessary brushing (the myth about one hundred brush strokes morning and night will do your hair more bad than good!). It's also good for your skin as it stops oils from your hair transferring to your face whilst you're sleep. Spritz it with leave in conditioner and tie in a secure braid or chignon before swimming. Bad hair days are inevitable, so learn to love hats. On days when my hair is looking lifeless, my retro boater is my best friend. If all else fails I'll pull all my hair to one side, braid it into afishtail, and stick on a hat of some description.

What is the worst hair style/colour you have ever had?

A somewhat wonky bob dyed black-brown. I never straightened it thoroughly so there were weird kinks and bumps, and I'd yet to learn how to use blusher properly so the colour completely washed me out. When I was thirteen I had a mousy bob that flicked out at the ends and was streaked with blonde and red - that wasn't much better!

Without any further ado, here are my top five red haired beauties -

1. Lily Cole

Lily is one of my favourite models, and aswell as her sweet
rounded face and orb-like eyes I simply love her wavy red mane.
I wish I'd been born with hair like hers!

1. Florence Welch

Also one of my pale beauties. In the early years of my red hair
when Florence was in the process of becoming a legend, people
compared my hair to hers. I even cut a fringe inspired by her.

1. Karen Elson

Another of my pale beauties. Karen was on the cover of the
first issue of Vogue I ever bought, and since then her photos have
been gracing my bedroom walls. She is simply stunning, hair and all.

Before I announce the final two, I apologise for being such a child. All I can say
is I hope you like kids films, because the honest truth is I probably admire these
two final ladies' hair more than that of any living person...

1. Ariel

Of course Ariel is on the list! She has been my favourite Disney princess
since I was tiny, and I suppose all those years of longing for a tail may
have been one of the factors in my hair starting to resemble hers. Oops.

1. Thumbelina

An under-appreciated fairytale heroine. I only discovered this film
earlier this year, and despite Thumbelina being hugely impressionable I
really do love her. Not to mention that is some serious hair!

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

My pale skin and I.

If you know me, then you know that I have some sort of love affair going with pale skin. I adore my skin, and go to great lengths to preserve and protect it. I slap on the spf at the slightest promise of sunshine, and revel in the fact that even the palest foundations always look the tiniest bit orange on my skin.

It hasn't always been this way. Until I was about fifteen I tried desperately to achieve the same golden hue that my school friends coveted. I baked myself on the beach, stained my skin with gradual tanning lotions, and my heart would sink when the arm-tan comparisons began around mid-May, my arm looking distinctly milky beside my friend's sun-kissed limbs. Much to my dismay, my skin was a surefire giveaway to my Irish heritage. My sunbathing efforts were rewarded with cutesy freckles and angry sunburn, and I gave up on the fake tan after an embarrassing school trip incident which resulted in some crisp white towels receiving an unexpected dye job...

It was time to come to terms with the fact that I was, and always will be, pale.

So I began to embrace it.

It was around about this time that I started dying my hair red regularly. I learned to love my new look, and my friends and family showered me with compliments regarding how lovely my vibrant hair looked against my fair skin. Unfortunately not everyone was so accepting. At school I was nicknamed 'Moonface', and was routinely mocked for looking like a vampire, corspe, zombie, etc. I was told to get a tan, that 'fake tan is your friend'. I was truly amazed by how much attention I received purely by refusing to join in the annual tanning competition.

I am so glad that I ignored the criticism and saw my decision through. My pale skin has become such an important element of my image, and it's nice to think about all the good those years of dedicated spf use has probably done my skin.

Our cultural obsession with tanning scares me. There are age old arguments against the two most popular tanning methods; sun beds are a concerning contribution to skin cancer rates, and fake tan has a habit of a) smelling like stale biscuits, and b) resulting in a rather unattractive shade of orange. However, despite both methods having inherent faults, social pressures urge women to alter their skin tone, and we continue to stain and bake our way to a 'more desirable' colour.

Pale skin was once considered beautiful, and I truly hope that someday soon our infatuation with tanning comes to it's long-overdue end. Natural tans (and by natural, I mean those that can be attributed to natural skin tone or day-to-day lifestyle) are beautiful - I simply wish that girls who are blessed with naturally pale skin didn't feel so pressured to change themselves. Pale skin is beautiful, just as beautiful as any other skin tone, and it should be embraced. It's far healthier than baking yourself, and it's my honest belief that everyone looks the most beautiful when they embrace their natural colouring. Even when people do pull off fake tan without the orange tint, in 100% of cases I think the person looked just as stunning, if not even more so, before they altered themselves.

No one should feel the need to manipulate their skin tone. You were born with it for a reason, and the chances are it's the shade that suits you best.

Without any further ado, here are my top five pale beauties -

1. Karen Elson

Karen is an inspiration. She's a model, she's a singer, she's a song writer and she
even ran her own vintage boutique. She's a true English beauty, with her glowing
red hair, piercing eyes and, of course, her striking fair complexion.

Karen Elson (source unknown)

 2. Dita Von Teese

 Dita became one of my idols when I first started to embrace pale skin.
She is living proof that 'sexy' doesn't mean endless, golden legs, and that
there is nothing quite like a slick of crimson lipstick on porcelain skin.

 Dita Von Teese (source unknown)

 3. Florence Welch

Florence took pale skin mainstream when she shot to stardom, and with
her glorious ginger hair and fairytale stage ensembles she looks like a creature
straight from The Tales of Mother Goose.

 Florence Welch (source)

 4. Astrid Berges-Frisbey

When I first saw Astrid in Pirates of the Caribbean I fell in love. She
is exactly what I imagine a mermaid would look like, and even out of
costume she looks like a little doll with sweet rosy cheeks.

Astrid Berges-Frisbey (Vogue Italia/Ellen von Unwerth)

 5. Emily Browning

When A Series of Unfortunate Events was released, I was an
impressionable twelve year old, and Emily's pretty pale skin made
me stick to the shade for the entire following summer. 

Emily Browning (Bullett Magazine/Simon Procter) 

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Sunday, 22 April 2012

Marshmallow twist.

 Embellished Top - New Look
Net Skirt -Stylezi
Petticoat - American Apparel
Heels - Dorothy Perkins
Sunglasses - Ebay

Another short but sweet post - I don't know where time is going at the moment! Heading back to Bath tomorrow now after confusion with hospital/doctor appointments (gah!). I am so sick of blood tests and being stuck on antibiotics. I just want to know what is going on!

On a happier note, I am so so pleased with this net skirt from Stylezi. It's proving even more versatile than I'd dreamed it to be. Very, very impressed by their store and the girlish delights within - definitely worth a peek.

Marty, my gorgeous black cat, paid acute interest to today's shoot. He starred alongside this cute cherub ornament who has been photographed a fair few times now... I feel like he needs a name.

Any suggestions?

Sponsor - DresseShop.

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Saturday, 21 April 2012


Embellished Top - New Look
Skirt - Dahlia Fashion
Leaf Brooch - Vintage
Headband - Poppy Daisy

Despite some very good intentions to spend as little money as possible at the moment, I bought this top today in New Look's sale for £14. I've been eying it for a while, and although I couldn't justify it at the full price, at just £14 is had to be fate.
This look was so much fun to style - I felt like Kate Bush playing Miss Havisham! One of my roses was starting to wilt, so I sacrificed it in the name of arty photos. I've been wearing my new brooch with everything recently, I'm so pleased with it.

Back to Bath tomorrow, I'll sure I'll miss Cornwall, but I'll be back soon enough!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Carousel pony.

Mermaid Top  - River Island
Dress (worn as top) - Primark
Heels - Dorothy Perkins
Headband - Poppy Daisy

I ordered a bunch of white tights last week and today they arrived! They look adorable paired with my new blush heels from Dorothy Perkins. The roses are actually a get well soon present from Grant's mum, which is sweet. Unfortunately I haven't heard back from the doctor yet, but for now I'll go with no news being good news.

We were supposed to be having our engagement shoot on Friday, but this morning our photographer cancelled  due to an injured leg. I hope she feels better soon, and potentially we'll be able to reschedule.

I'm off now, since Grant just came back from a run to the fish and chip shop! I've been craving fish all day.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Photographic florals.

Floral Dress - AX Paris
Boater Hat - Next
Bow - ASOS
Shoes - New Look

I'm so pleased with this dress from AX Paris, the vivid floral print is so striking and pretty. It's feminine, but more edgy than the typical pastel hued florals. I'm also surprised by how much I love the peplum shape. I wasn't convinced when they first started appearing, but on this kind of silhouette I think it really works. I'm still not sure about peplum tops, but now skirts and dresses get a big thumbs up.

I went to the doctor today, and they stole my blood! Well, maybe they didn't steal it, but I'm still being precious about my little wound. They ran some tests and are going to get back to me if they find anything. If it gets worse they'll sort me out with some kind of scan... It's nice that things are in motion, but I wish we had some idea what it was.

On the bright side, I stopped off at a lovely little vintage and antiques store on the way back and picked up these gorgeous brooches. One is missing a gemstone, but I don't mind. I still think it's beautiful and I'm hoping to use it on some kind of hair accessory. Time to get crafty!

Monday, 16 April 2012

Products for April.


 recently received an email asking me to do another products post, so here we go...

Lancôme Hypnôse Drama Waterproof Mascara (£20) - I bought this full size product after getting the sample in last months Glossybox. I fell in love with the effortless length and definition it gave my lashes. It was in a different league to mascaras I have used in the past, giving you the most wonderful doll-like lashes with just a couple of coats. I opted for the waterproof version, simply because my lifestyle suits a more hardy mascara and removing waterproof make up has never really bothered me. This is my favourite make up product I have discovered this year. The formula is great, it goes on extremely well and overall it has changed the way I see mascara - my new make up bag essential! 
Revlon ColorBurst Lip Butter in 'macaroon' (£7.99) - I had been hearing about this product everywhere, and at a fairly friendly price it seemed rude not to give it a try. I am addicted to lip balm, and often skip on lipstick since I find most dry and uncomfortable. The name 'butter' instantly drew me in, and whilst it's not quite so moisturising as I'd hoped, it is still far more wearable than lipsticks I've used in the past and the colour is just the right intensity. It feels lovely going on, but does need topping up throughout the day. I love the 'macaroon' shade, but I might treat myself to 'candy apple' as well once I get back to Bath.
Shu Uemura – Cleansing beauty oil (£21 for 150ml) - Unfortunately I only had a sample of this product, however what I did use really excited me. The product lathers up so satisfyingly on your skin and really does melt away make up - even stubborn waterproof stuff! It left my skin feeling so soft and hydrated that I didn't feel like I need moisturiser - two jobs in one! I may well be investing in this one, a very nifty little product.

Jean Paul Gaultier - Classique (£36 for 50ml) - This has been my signature scent for over a year. I simply love it; it's feminine, floral, classic and understated. Not only is the scent itself lovely, but I've always adored JPG's perfume bottles, and this one especially looks so pretty beside my mirror. It's the finishing touch to all of my outfits and I don't feel properly dressed until I'm wearing it.

Aussie Mega Shampoo (£3 for 300ml) - This is my bargain product of the month. Aussie have been on of my favourite hair brands for a while now - they just smell so good! I often get stuck in a rut of using the same shampoo, and this is generally the one I switch to when my hair is starting to feel weighed down. It leaves my hair feeling clean, but still full and soft with a wonderful scent that stays with me all day. It's a great value hair product with a real pay off - more than worth the money!

Today is also my fiancé, Grant's, birthday. I've been pretty much house-bound with incapacitating stomach pains (hence no outfit post... I'm going to the doctor's tomorrow - I promise!), but he's still had a good day of DVDs, cake, Indian food and eggy bread. I bought him a new pair of shoes which he opened this morning, he's so hard to buy gifts for...

But regardless - happy birthday, Grant. Thank you for all of the lovely photos you take for this blog!

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Sunday, 15 April 2012

Little bow peep.

Blouse - New Look
Skirt - River Island
Wedges - New Look
Bow - ASOS
Temp Tattoo - Inkwear

I am feeling absolutely terrible today. I've been feeling unwell for a while now, this afternoon it's just got worse and worse. Tomorrow is Grant's birthday, so we're going to have a day of coconut and chocolate cake (which I made today - it looks AMAZING) and Indian food, however I will be going to the doctors on Tuesday... It's somewhat against my will, but Grant and my mum are not above dragging me if I refuse.

Despite all this, I made the effort to put on some make up, style my hair (all done from the comfort of my bed - who needs a mirror?) and actually piece together an outfit. Nothing too colourful, since I'm not feeling all that colourful, but I think the bow makes it a bit more fun. I also used my temporary tattoo I was sent by the people at Inkwear, and I think I may be a tattoo convert. I'm far too fickle to get a proper tattoo, but with their delicate, pretty designs I can see myself using Inkwear tattoos for photo shoots or special events. Supposedly it'll last for a few days so I may photograph it again tomorrow, if I get out of bed at all.

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Saturday, 14 April 2012

Aquatic fanatic.

Shell Print Play Suit - AX Paris
Mermaid Top - River Island
Pearl Bracelt (worn in hair) - Thrifted
Socks - TopShop
Shoes - New Look

Perhaps it's due to the amount of time I've been spending at my parent's house in Cornwall, but I am besotted with the aquatic trend going on at the moment. The ocean-inspired prints, sea-green hues and pearl details are all right up my street. I picked up this shirt from River Island with some of my Company vouchers whilst we were in London, and my new shell print play suit arrived yesterday from AX Paris. I am so pleased with the play suit - the fabric is so light and easy to move in, it's definitely something I can see myself throwing on over my bikini this summer.

I wanted to do something different with my hair for this look, so I dressed up a side ponytail with an old faux pearl bracelet I had lying around. I tried the outfit with a pair of white lace tights, but it was looking a little too much. Maybe it was just me... I need to start being more adventurous with my accessorizing.

Curious about what else was around, I dug up a few more aquatic goodies...
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Friday, 13 April 2012

Becky B's Wardrobe giveaway.

Blouse - F&F at Tesco
Dress (worn as skirt) - Primark
Shoes - New Look
I've had so much fun working with Becky Bloomwood's Wardrobe recently, and now it's my readers' turn to get a piece of BBW magic! BBW have a wonderful variety of fun clothes and accessories, and their collection simply spills over with pretty lace, pearls and embellishments. It's chock full of thoughtful details, innovative designs and soft fabrics.

I'm offering one lucky reader this lovely pair of print shorts, courtesy of BBW. To be in with a chance of winning, here's what you have to do.

1. Be following my blog with Google Friend Connect.
2. Like Briar Rose and BBW on Facebook.
3. Leave your email address below.

For an extra chance to win, share this giveaway on Twitter and comment with the link!

Unfortunately, this giveaway is only open to UK residents. The shorts are one size and fit up to a UK size 10/12.

The giveaway is open until Friday 27th April

On a slight tangent, since I have been recently inundated with hair related questions I have decided to do a post dedicated to all things hair. If you have anything in particular you'd like to ask, send me an email at

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Head candy, with Company magazine.

photos courtesy of Company and Cameron James Wilson photography

Today I finally bought my copy of Company's May issue, and so I've finally seen my beauty spread! I'm so pleased with the final result - the styling and photography are gorgeous, I just can't believe it's actually me in the photos. I knew that one of my local papers was covering the story, however a little Googling discovered that there were actually two featuring the photos, and both within the first few pages! Needless to say we bought a couple of keepsakes copies of all three publications, and I even bought an extra copy of Company to send to my Nan (can I get an 'awww'?).

If you can get your hands on a copy I'd definitely recommend it. The other Casting Call girls; Katharine, Rebecca, Natasha and Sarah-Jane all look wonderful in their shoots, and of course there are the usual insightful articles alongside lots of blogger-friendly material.

We celebrated with some champagne and my favourite meal - Thai green curry! I'm now enjoying a pina colada and there's Ben & Jerry's in the freezer. Celebrating with excessive calories is the way to go.

My favourite look has the one with the scarves knotted in the my hair and the orange lips - which do you like?

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Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Cornish cream tea, with BBW.

Dress - H&M
Floral Belt - Primark
Shoes - New Look
Flower Socks - DIY
Sunglasses - Ebay
Boater Hat - Next

I loved shooting this look, it was so much fun! My new scarf from Becky B's Wardrobe is very playful and I couldn't resist running and jumping with it trailing behind me. This is my favourite kind of outfit; simple, but with plenty of quirky accessories. Instead of my usual braided belt, I used this floral Primark one which has been floating around my wardrobe for a month or so just waiting to be paired with spring pastels. The socks were a quick DIY job this morning, done with a handful of wire-stemmed flowers in shades that matched the scarf.

It's two days until Company magazine officially comes out with my hair and beauty spread, however I know that some people already have their copies. It's so frustrating, but I've yet to get one! If anyone has seen the May issue yet, let me know what you think - I haven't even seen the photos yet!

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Saturday, 7 April 2012

Blooming delightful.

Mermaid Print Top - River Island
Scalloped Lace Skirt - New Look
Boater Hat - Next
Retro Sunglasses - Ebay
Heels - New Look
Socks - TopShop

I've had this skirt ferreted away since last year's January sales when I picked it up for a very satisfactory £4, however it was one of those things that never quite seemed to pair quite right with the rest of my clothes. Finally, I have found it's soul mate; my new mermaid print top. The outfit felt pretty, but quite pared down, so I dressed it up with plenty of accessories; boater, sunglasses, socks - done!