DIY Bridal Beauty

emma block getting ready

A bit of DIY is encouraged in almost every aspect of wedding planning apart from hair and beauty. According to wedding magazines and blogs you’d have to be absolutely crazy to attempt to do your own make up on your wedding day. I think it’s a bit silly to be honest. All the groom has to do is wash his face, brush his hair and put on a suit and you’re going to think he looks gorgeous. Women are expected to do a whole lot more than that.

I did my own hair and make up for the wedding and I’m really happy with that decision. The lovely Nikki McWilliams got in touch with me to say that she was thinking of doing the same and to ask for some advice. It got me thinking there must be lots of other brides out there considering doing their own hair or make up, and unfortunately if you look for advice from mainstream sources it’s just going to be people telling you not to do it. Not that there’s anything wrong at all with having your make up, hair, nails, whatever, done professionally at all. If it makes you feel pampered and special then do it. I just don’t think it should be a non-negotiable requirement for getting married.emma block getting ready 2

The thing I reminded myself is that ‘I am preparing to spend the rest of my life with the man I love, and to have an amazing party, I am not preparing for a beauty pageant.’ Doing my own make up was quite an easy decision for me. I don’t wear a lot of make up anyway and I have very sensitive skin. My husband actually asked me not to wear too much make up, he said just want me to look like me. I’ve had my make up done professionally before and I usually end up just wiping it all off because it doesn’t look like me and I hate the feel of it on my skin. So if you are considering doing your own make up here are my top tips.

emma block wedding makeupGo for a makeover or make up lesson

I had a free one hour bridal make up lesson with Bobbi Brown, a makeover with Clinique and a slightly shorter makeover session with Benefit. They were all really helpful and I learned a lot from them. It’s a good idea to take in some photos of the kind of look you are going for, and bring your mum or a bridesmaid with you. I recommended going in the morning so you can see how well the make up lasts throughout the day. The makeovers at Bobbi Brown and benefit were both free, Clinique was £15 but that was redeemable against purchase.

Look after your skin

The healthier your skin is the better your make up is going to look, and now is a good time to deal with any underlying issues. For me the issue was that my skin was very dry and very sensitive and I hadn’t found a moisturiser that was rich enough but also gentle enough. I noticed a big improvement to my skin and I started using this moisturiser from Avene. I also started doing face masks more regularly in the run-up to the wedding.

emma block bridal makeupWatch some tutorials

There are so many brilliant, free make up tutorials on YouTube. I personally really like Lisa Eldridge, but there is something for everyone. Lisa Eldridge does a really good series all about bridal make up actually.

IMG_5815Treat yourself to some new products

Think about all the money you’re saving by not employing a make up artist and treat yourself to some really good products. Most of my make up kit comes free from goody bags so I pretty much bought new everything: foundation, concealer, blusher, lipstick, eyeshadow and of course waterproof mascara.

Most importantly, practice!

It’s important that you know how long it takes you to put your make up on and how well it lasts. It there anything you will need to be re-applying in the day? Is there’s anything you are currently using that irritates your skin? You don’t want to be finding these things out on the day. Also test how it looks in different lighting and in photographs.

Whatever you decide to do I hope you feel beautiful and happy on your wedding day!


#ThisFrenchLife at Chateau de Stylist

chateau illustrationWhen Stylist Magazine email you asking if you’d like to go with them to a chateau in France to drink cocktails and do some painting the answer is definitely yes. I was whisked away to Chateau de Jalesnes, along with the Stylist editorial team, other ‘digital influencers’ and some lucky competition winners. The event was co hosted with Chambord, which meant endless cocktails during our two day stay. pack your bagschambordchateau de stylistI was there to capture the amazing two days via the medium of watercolour. I had my compact watercolour palette, my Aquash brushes and a small sketch book with me, which meant I could sit and do a little bit of painting whatever the situation. During pitch meetings, cocktail mixing classes, woodland picnics and even during breakfast I had the paints out.

chateau de stylist painting13508971_10153909362869620_630959705091722894_nchateau de stylist paintingThe two days were such a incredible experience, not just because of our opulent, fairy tale surroundings, but because of the incredible women. We all clicked immediately, and spent our evenings, watching the sunset, drinking cocktails and putting the world to rights. Some big reoccurring themes were how to support each other in business, knowing our own value and how to find that elusive work life balance as a freelancer.emma block chateau de stylist paintingchateau de stylistchateau de stylistpiece-de-resistance

Thank you so much Stylist Magazine and Chambord for the most incredible experience! You can pick up the special issue of Stylist Magazine this week.

Honeymooning in Tulum

tulum mexico guideWhen it came to choosing our honeymoon destination we were looking for beaches, good weather and culture. I saw a picture of Mayan ruins over looking a stunning beach and we were sold. Two flights to Mexico booked.

Tulum is a tale of two halves; a stunning beach with trendy boutique Eco hotels, and the town with is more rough around the edges but full of local colour and flavour. We stayed in the town and cycled down to beach on the purpose built cycle path. I have read a lot of travel pieces on Tulum recently that pretend that the town doesn’t exist and that you should spend your whole time staying in beach hotels in eating in beach restaurants. I think that is a bit of a shame because you miss out so much of the local culture and colour if you never venture into the town.tulum mexico guidetulum mexico guidetulum mexico guidetulum mexico guideOn out first day we made the mistake of heading down to the beach, having a swim then lying down on our towels for a read and sunbathe. Big mistake, we both ended up with very burnt backs, despite slapping on the sun cream. I also fell off my bike, stepped in wet cement and turning green in the swimming pool, so we had a hilarious first day. You really can’t over estimate how strong the Mexican sun is. A few days later when our sun burn had healed we ventured back to the beach and did things the smart way. We went to Papaya Playa Project and rented a sun lounger for the day. The loungers are free if you are eating and drinking at the beach club. The days we spent at Papaya Playa were complete bliss; going for a swim in the incredibly warm, clear sea, coming back to our lounger to read, paint, drink smoothies and eat octopus tacos. Being served delicious Mexican food and cold beers whilst reclining on a lounger on a breathtaking almost empty beach was a new level of luxury for me, and I think Tulum has spoilt me for all other beaches.13336007_10153851501679620_7682445332836821203_nIMG_6156thumbnail_IMG_1245One of the amazing things about Mexico is how full of wild life it is. One of the best things that we did was to swim with wild sea turtles. You can swim with sea turtles for free at Akumel, you just need to hire a life jacket and snorkelling equipment. It’s a good idea to get there as early as possible before the crowds arrive. While in Mexico you should also keep an eye out for iguanas, pelicans, tropical birds and giant butterflies.13312762_10153851514834620_6383060410564938682_nsea turtleAnother must do thing in this region of Mexico is to visit some cenotes. Cenotes are natural sink holes filled with fresh water. They are incredibly beautiful and an amazing place to go for a swim. We visited a few and our favourite was the Gran Cenote. Large crowds tend to arrive from 11am onwards so I would recommend getting there before 9. If you have snorkelling gear bring it with you, and if you scuba-dive you are in for a real treat. Cenotes Dos Ojos is great for divers.cenote mexicocenote mexicocenote mexico
thumbnail_IMG_1452If you love colour and folk art and want to see a less touristy side to Mexico you have to visit Valladolid. Its streets are full of colourful colonial buildings, perfect for exploring and taking pictures. If you go you must Cenote Zaci, the folk art museum and Coqui Coqui.valladolidtulum mexico guidetulum mexico guidecenote zacitulum mexico guideIMG_6127
There there are lots of Mayan ruins around Tulum but the ones at Coba were our favourite. They are in the jungle which thankfully provides some shade and also makes them super cool to explore. Hiring bikes is the best way to get around. Mexico doesn’t do health and safety, which is why seat belts are optional, you can swim in caves and you can climb up really tall Mayan temples. I didn’t know I had a fear of heights until I got to the top and couldn’t look down! The steps are steep and uneven so don’t wear sandals like l did! Whilst you’re in the area you can also check out the local cenotes and zipline across the lake.coba mexicocoba mexico

That is the end of part one, but stay tuned for tips on where to eat, what to buy and getting around!


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