Monday, 25 March 2013

IS 20 OVER THE HILL?: THE AGE OF THE WOMAN-CHILD

Yes, really. I'm asking. Is 20 the new 40?

There was a time when it felt like we were moving forward. One small step for fashion, one huge step for womankind and all that. SJP teetered down the streets in Sex and the City, giving housewives everywhere a run for their money and making it ok for women to be women and not young, hitched, baby-making machines before their time. The Devil Wears Prada came along and made it glamourous for women to be successful with an enviable career, to see the world and babysit nothing more than their wardrobe. It was a time for power women. Life started at 40. Girls were being girls for longer and women were living out their pre-baby dreams without feeling that society was perpetually frowning at them. So why, as I sit here 2 weeks before my 20th birthday, do I feel like I'm about to be pushed down a slippery slope towards crow's feet?

Having spent the last 3 weeks in female dominated offices, it couldn't be more obvious how many hours have been knocked off the biological clock in recent years. There are women in their mid and early 20s - all either pregnant or desperate to be. There's talk of puppies (for the children), maternity leave and prospective engagement rings. There are even women that vehemently deny their age for fear they'll be considered old at 27. If this is Earth, then send me to Mars.

What bothers me the most, however, is the new meaning of 'mutton dressed as lamb'. Apparently, short shorts are out of the question once you lose the teenager title and it's time to consider a new sophisticated way of dressing. Not that I was keen on pigtails in the first place but I'm not ready for the pearls and twin sets!

With 14 year old girls taking to the tiles - fake IDs and stilettos at hand - is there room for us 20 year old wash outs? Am I destined to a life of breast pumps, cats and powdered milk?

Who am I kidding? Here are my top 4 Topshop mini dresses to steal every gaze at a birthday celebration. I might just get a bejewelled Zimmer frame to match.

1. Colour Block Mirror Dress - For a quiet Corona & Lime with friends, try Brick Lane for the coolest bars in East London.
2. Organza Lantern Dress - This is one for the Mad Hatter's Tea. Cocktails in tea cups and cutesy cakes from the Hummingbird Bakery. Throw one in your back garden if the weather permits or deck out your living room with coloured scarves and cushions for psychedelic Bohemian feel.
3. Florence Dress by Jones & Jones - Perfect for sushi and sake at Nobu. Slick your hair up in a high pony and you'll give the VIP clientele a run for their money.
4. Bow Front Prom Dress - This one's got something of the cutesy dominatrix about it. Head to the West End to party in style. Whisky Mist, Movida or Jalouse will do the trick!
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Saturday, 23 March 2013

AQUAMEMORY MOISTURE REPLENISH MASK: GATINEAU PRODUCT REVIEW

The past 3 weeks have been crazy - hectic in a way that is diabolical in comparison to the prior duvet days and slow-moving sessions of those before that. University is a different world to everything else. A bubble, if you like, in which there is a completely different clock. You often forget about the world around you, the cold drawl of the 9 to 5 and 'grown-up' life. Cue 4 weeks of Buying work placements and I'm hurtling back to Earth. If I thought I needed Gatineau before, the dried out, flaky skin reflected in the mirror in front of me is a horrible reminder that life does get worse after uni. I need a lifesaver, a magic bottled potion like that of the fairytales that turned Shrek from an Ogre into a sexy, chocolate-haired man. I need the Aquamemory Moisture Replenish Mask.

I must admit, I was skeptical when greeted by a duck egg blue, gel-like substance easing out of the sleek white bottle. Given, it felt like liquified silk but drew little to no comparison to the 99p sludge (which mind you has always worked a treat) found in garishly coloured sachets at Superdrug. How could this light as a feather substance fix the train wreck that I am now confronted with?

The bottle instructed me to 'apply in a thick layer', which I did happily - never one to do anything sparingly - and leave on for 10 minutes. The gel glides on clear and gives you that fresh laundry feeling with it's clean, refreshing aroma. It's soft, satiny texture provides an everlasting feeling of hydration while it's on - almost as though you've just splashed your face with cold water...repeatedly. No drying, no cracking. It literally feels as though you've just put it on for the whole 10 minutes. If you're looking for a quick and easy wake-up call, this may be your buy. If you're just looking for a little slice of pure, unadulterated facial luxury, you may as well whip out the debit card as well. The Aquamemory mask feels like a plush blanket of velvet hugging and draping every dry, unloved crevice of your face. 

The results? Smooth, plump and hydrated skin with not a single sign of oily sheen. My face definitely felt in the best shape it had been for a while and the quick use time means that it's a product I could easily fit into my busy schedule.

The cons? Not many of note. If you have any bad spots or open abrasions the cooling/tingling sensation can feel a little like burning and/or be slightly uncomfortable. Nonetheless, it was not painful and didn't leave any damage on my skin. Furthermore, the mask does take quite a while to wash off with hot water and required quite a good scrub to remove all residue.

THE VERDICT:

8/10 - This product is most definitely an investment and a staple in one. It is a skincare saviour for anyone like me - a student nearing her 20s with a schedule that's split between Birmingham and London - who is left with dry, flaky skin and no time to pamper it. Like Fairy Dust in a bottle, this bad boy will be a new must have in my beauty bag. So, what are you waiting for ladies? Get clicking!
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