Saturday, 8 January 2011

Get up and shake the glitter off your clothes now. That’s what you get for waking up in Vegas...

Erm yes, once again it's been ridiculously long since I posted. However New Year etc etc blah blah blah. I am going to try and post more.

WOW, a lot has happened since I last posted my IMATS post. Am basically settled into the new house now, although still have an unfeasible amount of things in the garage that I need to get round to unpacking/throwing out. Christmas has come and gone. Was lovely, quiet with all the Grandparents in England but lovely. New Years was the same. This week it was my 22nd Birthday too so everything kind of happened at once!

A few posts back I was lamenting my lack of direction living in Ottawa, not sure about what I was going to do but looking for something related to my degree. I wasn't sure whether there was anything really in Ottawa for me. Well I'm a big believer in The Secret (will post more on that at some point) mainly thanks to my friend Rebecca and lo and behold, I have a new job! I'm still working at my makeup job part-time, as my new job is part-time too at the moment but I'm loving it!

I'm working for a young media company here in Ottawa. I'm doing a variety of things from Social Media to writing a couple of things for one of their magazines to helping with PR/marketing and I'm really enjoying it! Everyone is lovely and it's SO nice to be doing something other than retail. It's the perfect job for me as I get to do all the things I love doing and spent three years at University studying for. Crazy how things just seem to happen.

In other news, I am going to Vegas on monday for a week. VERY EXCITED!
Am going with Best Friend Tia and cannot wait! Shopping, drinking, sightseeing, eating, relaxing. I've been before with my parents when I was about 16 but that's really not the same! Any suggestions on anything we must do while we're there, please let me know!

Wish me safe flights and I'll post when I get back, with a Vegas recap! Am definitely hitting up the Mac Pro store at Caesar's Palace and the CCO at the outlets.

Speak soon!!
Love, Sophie xx

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

The magic's in the makeup - IMATS Toronto 2010

So you've read all about my IMATS London experience here. Now it's time for IMATS Toronto! It's another long one, apparently, despite a Journalism degree, I am incapable of editing and type the way I speak.

It was a totally different experience for me, in London I was 'media' so was going in a more official capacity I suppose. I was soaking it all in for the article and eager to catch a couple of seminars and talks and as I mentioned, I managed to see David Klasfeld, Terry Barber and Alex Box. I was by myself (although me being me, I had accrued a couple of companions by the end of the day!) and it was kind of a more educational day for me, I wasn't sure what to expect and went with the flow of the day.

This time, however I was with Best Friend Tia, I had a much better idea of what to expect and what I was looking for and shopping was the main priority! If I had been by myself I probably would have tried to catch a couple of seminars but I wasn't too too disappointed.

We were staying at the Radisson which couldn't have been more perfect, it was literally next door to the venue. On the hotel shuttle from the airport, guess who we bumped into! None other than Mr Koren, aka Enkore Makeup and Miss Elessa aka Pursebuzz! I had met Koren in London very briefly, not that I expected him to remember! They had both come off flights and I imagine the last thing they wanted to do was make small talk with us, but they were both lovely and very friendly when we saw them again on the Saturday.

So we were up bright and early on the Saturday and headed over to the venue about 8.30 ish after a vital breakfast at Tim Hortons. Tia and I already knew basically what we wanted and by the time we had waited in line to get our wristbands, were eager to start spending money!

The first booth we headed to, as I remembered how popular and quickly sold out they were in London, was Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics to pick up my obsession, the Lip Tars. Tia had never heard of them before and I pretty much waxed lyrical about them, 'No seriously, Tia, you don't understand how good they are, no seriously, like they are so amazing, you will never want to use anything else, seriously though, you don't understand!'. I had pretty much bigged up Lip Tars because I love them so much! I picked up a few new colours, as well as a new Feathered, the white one, because mine is running out. Tia also picked up a few including Momento, I wish I got that one, it's so gorgeous! Next time! I was helped by the man himself, the creator of OCC, David Klasfeld. He is again, so nice and said that he remembered me from London, which was very sweet! I am building up my collection of Lip Tars, I used them on a couple of Prom Make-ups I did this summer and they went down very well! It's so great when a smaller company creates such a fab product that far exceeds anything from the huge powerhouse brands. Judging by the crowds around the OCC booth, I'm mos' def' not the only one who's addicted.

Our next stop was Make Up For Ever, which was 40 percent off. Um, amazing. The system however was not so amazing. Basically you wrote down what you wanted, handed it to one of the girls at the booth, they then bagged it up and you had to go round to a separate table, wait for your name to be called and pay. The problem was that the sheer number of customers meant that the wait to pay was rather long and people were getting frustrated. I can see that in principle it could have been a good idea but in reality it would have been far easier to just give your money to the girl who bagged your goodies. Anyway so we were there for rather a long time but I have to say a big thank you to the lovely girl from MUFE who gave me the last glitter no. 6 and literally held it in her hand even while helping other people, whilst I was deciding what else I wanted. Thank you! Despite the wait, it was totally worth it. I love MUFE and 40 percent off is pretty damn good!

After that we hit up NYX. I was very excited about that as I was under the impression that it couldn't be bought in stores in Canada. Apparently I've been living under a rock as you can buy nyx at Rexall/Pharmaplus. Cannot believe I only just found that out. Anyway we picked up a few essentials (!) and moved on. We had a quick look at the museum section, which was, as in London, very impressive. I will never cease to be amazed by the amazing special effects and prosthetics. It truly is art. After wandering around, picking up more goodies, I made my way to Face Atelier. I was lucky enough to have a chat with the founder, Debbie Bondar who is fab. I also finally picked up a full size bottle of the amazing foundation! I'm definitely interested in trying some of their other products which I've heard great things about. I love that they're a Canadian company too!

I picked up a few other things but my next post will be an IMATS haul. I feel like I didn't get too much but the things I got, I love!

Here are a couple of my, as to be expected, terrible pictures. To be honest I only brought out my camera for 2 mins. I needed both hands for shopping!

It was a fab day, so glad I went. Definitely want to try and get to Pasadena next year!

Speak soon,
Love Sophie xx

Saturday, 13 November 2010

All the models to the floor right now, All the models to the floor right now - Ottawa Fashion Week recap

As I mentioned a couple of posts back and as you'll know if you follow me on Twitter, a couple of weekends ago was Ottawa Fashion Week. It all kicked off with a Press Party at Foundation which was fun and a nice chance for me to meet some lovely Ottawa fashion people!

It really was quite amazing that there is this little secret fashion world in Ottawa. The city is known for being government central, populated by government workers and diplomats - words like conservative and dare I say, boring are often used to describe the Capital which is a little unfair. Anyway so the Press Party at foundation was great. It gave me a chance to meet some bloggers that I simply didn't know existed. Shout out to Julie at Pop Champagne, Marilou of Twenty York Street, who I met briefly but mostly we waved and tweeted each other over from opposite sides of the catwalk!! Justyna of ChiChiChic and her friend Julie, who made the first day very entertaining! Alex of Ottawa Style, who was sitting next to me both nights I was there, we both coveted a very sparkly Karen McClintock bracelet and had to have reviving chocolate covered cherries when it all got too much! Thanks to you all for making the weekend very enjoyable and a lot more fun that if I had been by myself!

The venue for the shows was the National Gallery and a more magnificent venue could not have been chosen. With the impressive high ceilings and floor to ceiling windows, as well as the sparkling lights of the City in the distance it made for a very fitting and grand location. When I arrived on the Friday, the Great Hall was already buzzing with people. There was a cash bar and standing tables with nibbles on for those who wanted. I found the girls I'd met the night before and we took our seats on the front row. And thus, Fashion Week started.

I went on the Friday and the Sunday, I had all intention of going on the Saturday but with starting to move house that weekend it just wasn't happening, which was a shame as I missed a couple of shows I was looking forward to. Never mind, such is life!

While, as would be expected, not all the shows were to my taste ( unfinished hems, anyone?) there were a few standouts. On the Friday, one of my favourite shows and perhaps telling of a more professional company was the menswear by Trive by ModaSuite. A show full of amazing Men's tailoring with gorgeous linen suits and skinny tailored pants. Made us all wish that more men dressed like that. Very chic and sophisticated.

I also really enjoyed the Karen McClintock show, a jewelry designer whose work can be found in Holt Renfrew, and as we all know I'm a fan of anything sparkly. There were a few particularly lust worthy pieces!

As for the Sunday there were a couple of shows that everyone seems to agree were fabulous. The first was Adrian Wu, my personal favourite show of the weekend. While most of the designers focused on wearable fashion, Wu's show was an exciting explosion of fantasy and the avant garde. It was a wonderful shock to the system from the previous shows. Here are some picture but I warn you, and as I have mentioned numerous times before, my photography is mediocre at best. Add to that, that these were all taken on my iPhone and you have some seriously shocking photography. I didn't realise it was possible to take quite so many bad photos at one time. You've been warned. 

The second great show was Jessica Biffi. If you watched Project Runway Canada I'm sure you would remember her. Her show was great, a kind of nautical theme and this year she included some really gorgeous menswear. I had a chance to meet her and she was so nice. She said she had been looking at my hair all night! (It was absolutely massive and curly). She was also wearing the most amazing pair of clear and gold Grandmaster glasses, modeled on the trademark Run DMC glasses, I need a pair!

Another shout out to Stacey from Kania Couture who I met and who was absolutely lovely. Each model wore a short white wig, which was such a simple but fantastic idea - the audience was then totally focused on the clothes. Her show of gorgeous luxe wearable pieces was great and her entrance on the runway was the most fun all weekend! She danced along the runway and had the entire audience cheering her on!

(Miss Stacey dancing at the end of the runway with a standing ovation from Marilou of 20ys!)

A big thank you to all of the organizers at Ottawa Fashion Week for having me, particularly Julianne and Chris, it was a great event and you should be very proud! See you next season!

Speak soon,
Sophie xx

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

All we do is shop until we drop - IMATS Toronto

In my final year at LCF, I created a beauty magazine called 'Pretty' ( will do more detailed post on this at some point!). As part of my research I was lucky enough to go to IMATS London which was held at Alexandra Palace in January. I was going to do a write up about it but as I'm typing this I think I might just post the article that went in the magazine...the kind and lovely Charlotte from Lipglossiping gave me permission to use her stunning pictures of the event in the magazine (of which one would be above but Blogger is being a little so and so & not letting me upload any pics!) because mine were so blurry it looked like I'd had a few Cosmos before being let loose with the camera. You might want to fetch a cup of tea, or even better, a cocktail as this might be a very long post...

In the industry, it’s known simply as ‘the show.’ IMATS, or the International Makeup Artists Trade Show happens five times a year, in London, Los Angeles, Sydney, Vancouver and Toronto. With press pass in hand, Editor Sophie went to Alexandra Palace, host of this year’s London extravaganza to mingle with makeup artists, schmooze with students and return home with aching arms.
By 9 am on the first day of IMATS 2010, the queues at Alexandra Palace were trailing outside the door. With presales of 3000 tickets, the London version of IMATS this year outsold it’s Los Angeles counterpart (generally thought of as the main event). Every makeup artist, beauty blogger and cosmetics enthusiast in the country could be found in the North London venue on this cold, sunny weekend with big shiny IMATS carrier bag in hand ready to be filled with goodies. 
Upon arrival by trusty Addison Lee (early at 8.30, beating the crowds thankfully) I was waiting outside with the other eager girls and boys. When the big doors opened, I made my way into the main convention centre. IMATS is basically a huge makeup convention, yes in the manner of those famous Star Trek conventions, but it’s not Kirk and Spock who float these boats - big beauty brands, makeup schools, prosthetic and special effects artists from all over the world come to showcase their products (often at a budget friendly discount!) and impart their wisdom to enthusiastic makeup artists. Alexandra Palace is set up with booths adorned with bright pigments, shiny new brushes and impressive stands of headless monsters and hairy beasts. The air was heavy with the smell of anticipation and lipstick. 
The biggest component of IMATS is the exhibitors. The great thing about the show is the variety of exhibitors and the opportunity to be introduced to new companies and products that may otherwise have been overlooked. While famous and ever popular brands like MAC are present, the real gem are the lesser known companies who get the chance to showcase their products. (See my pick of the top 3 companies exhibiting). In the era of YouTube Gurus, many of whom are American, it allows us Brits a chance to access the products that they have recommended but which are not readily available in the UK. As well as tempting booths, there is an impressive makeup museum, filled with wax figures from films, beheaded characters so real one felt as though any minute they might jump and and scream at you in manner of the London Dungeon.
There is also a big student competition - students from various makeup schools were given the theme of Alice in Wonderland and tasked to create a look based on this theme. The results were fantastic and the calibre of work very impressive. 
I then spent the next hour or so wondering around the stalls, getting the lay of the land and not buying anything (honest, guv’nor!). 
At 10am I headed to the West stage where David Klasfeld, founder of Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics was conducting a talk about airbrush makeup. These talks are perhaps the main draw of IMATS for makeup artists. Industry professionals and makeup ‘celebrities’ perform seminars, demonstrations and talks on stage and those in attendance get a rare insight into the minds and work of these successful professionals. It is an invaluable opportunity to be able to hear these individuals at the top of their profession talk about what they love. Klasfeld discussed the merits of airbrushing - particularly relevant in these days of Hi Definition. I then hotfooted it over to the mainstage to join a huge queue of people waiting to be allowed into the room to hear Terry Barber, director of Mac Cosmetics for Europe and the UK. This was one of the big events of the weekend and the line of Mac addicts, wide eyed and hearts racing from the excitement of the day, trailed around the corner. Once we were finally in and everyone had elbowed themselves to the best seats we waited for the man himself, who was to talk about Makeup for music videos. His inspiration for the particular look he was going to demonstrate was ‘blackspoitation’ and he proceeded to makeup a model effortlessly, all the while telling the audience stories about his celebrity encounters with the likes of Grace Jones, who allowed him to shave off her eyebrows, on the premise that she spent most of the 70’s without them, so why would she need them now? His tips about lighting the face using contour and highlight were of particular interest. After another few hours spent walking around, talking to people and filling my increasingly heavy shiny IMATS bag with brochures, booklets and products (needed for vital research, you understand) I headed back to the mainstage. The final talk of the afternoon and one for which seats were in serious demand was the inimitable Alex Box, Makeup Artist and founder of Illamasqua, a relatively new brand which has taken the makeup world by storm since it’s creation. Instead of a demonstration or seminar, her talk was in the form of a sit down interview with Makeup Artist Magazine. A vision in sky high stilettos and blue lipstick, Box was softly spoken and engaging - talking about her start in makeup and her vision for Illamasqua. After a rousing round of applause, I headed back to the exhibition room catching the extremely impressive entrants into the student competition wandering around for photos.. After another quick look around the exhibitors, I left Alexandra Palace just before closing with aching arms, a considerably lighter bank account and a smile on my face. 

It was a fab day, I was SO exhausted when I got home! It was also the day I first met the fabulous KatyRebecca who have gone on to become firm friends of mine, so that alone was worth it!

The point of all of this is that IMATS is coming to Toronto on the weekend of November 6th and 7th. I, of course will be there, elbows extra pointy and cash at the ready. I am going with Best Friend Tia, who has already made a list and detailed map as to which booths we need to visit first. (Do I need to point out why we are best friends?!) As well as the usual suspects (Mac, MUFE, Nars etc) there are a couple of companies going which I am thrilled about! 

The first is Face Atelier, a Canadian brand who reached out to me when I was starting 'Pretty'. They sent me some samples including their foundation which is AMAZING! I cannot wait to get my hands on a full size bottle. Actually now I think about it I never sent them a copy of the magazine, in post hand-in relief I sort of blocked all thoughts of 'Pretty' out for the summer. Actually there's a few people who probably want to take a look at the finished product. Will have to send some emails! Anyway my point is that they have this fantastic foundation, I can't imagine why it's not more easily available because it truly is great. Face Atelier, if you're reading this, I will bring a copy of the mag to IMATS for you! 

The second is Obsessive Compulsive Cosmetics. Like most who try them, I am obsessed with their Lip Tars. Seriously if you're a makeup junkie and you haven't tried these yet, you need to get a move on! I have four but am expecting my collection to grow considerably after the show! It's hard to describe them well enough to do them justice. They're in a tube like a gloss, look and feel like a lipstick and stay on like a stain. Hello Lip heaven.

It's going to be so much fun! What with Ottawa Fashion Week and IMATS, the next couple of weekends are super busy which is just how I like it. Oh and did I mention I also move house next week?! Talk about eggs and baskets!

Speak soon,
Love Sophie

ps. Check out the IMATS website for info

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Go somewhere private where we can discuss Fashion - Ottawa Fashion Week

I was rooting around in the basement yesterday, trying desperately to sort out my seemingly never-ending boxes of junk (erm prized possessions) which have moved with me over the last few years, without ever actually being opened. I came across a box of postcards from my Grade 10 Art class, we all designed 'postcards', one for every member of the class which were then handed out to aforementioned classmates to modify and write a message on. Obviously a deeply important project (!) They were then returned to the original 'artist'. (I use the term loosely, as mine consisted of plain painted backgrounds with scrunched tissue paper stuck on...) Anyway, in a fit of nostalgia I started reading the messages. They all, practically without exception said the same two things. 1) 'I like, luuuurvveeee your accent, it's like ssoooo cute!'  2) 'I like, luuuuurvvvvee your style.'

 This brought me all the way back to when I arrived in Ottawa, in 2004. Believe me, my style was nothing special at all, I was only wearing what all of my peers and friends in England were wearing but at my high school in Canada where everyone wore Abercrombie, Old Navy, American Eagle and Hollister exclusively, and had no access to trendy fast fashion outlets like Topshop, Zara or H & M, I guess I stood out. Anyway fast forward 6 years and it's quite unbelievable how much has changed in Ottawa. Whilst when I first moved here, I lamented that there was nowhere to shop and everyone wore T-shirts and Jeans all the time, Ottawa is starting to become fashionable! Whilst Holt Renfrew has always been the place to go for high end fashion (and while I love it, I think the Ottawa location could do with a bit of an overhaul) we now have a Zara, Michael Kors, BCBG, Urban Outfitters etc! It may not be Bond Street or Westfield but at least it's something. While this is all a step in the right direction, the real indication that Ottawa is becoming far more fashionable is that there is now ...

Ottawa Fashion Week! 

The last few days of October, Ottawans with an interest in Fashion, as well as Media, Buyers and Stylists will gather in the National Art Gallery to watch various Ottawa and Canadian designers show their collections. I am so excited that Ottawa has this little piece of fashion and I'm sure it's going to be a great event. In the name of research, I've had a look at all the designer's websites and there's a few I'm really excited about. If you watch Project Runway Canada (which was filmed in Ottawa) you may remember Jessica Biffi? Her collection is closing OFW and should make for great viewing. Off the top of my head, some of the other designers who caught my eye are Andrew Majtenyi, Keera Sama & Birds of North America to name but a few. 

I'm really looking forward to getting a bit more involved in Ottawa Fashion now that I'm back and am very intrigued to see what these local and not so local designers have to offer. It's fabulous that Ottawa has an event like this to showcase their work and I am thoroughly looking forward to it! I will be blogging about the shows, as well as tweeting live throughout the entire thing, I may also try and take some pictures with my camera aka the world's cheapest digital camera. On the other hand, perhaps photography is best left to those who don't accidentally turn their camera off every time they try and take a picture?!

Ottawa Fashion Week begins on October 29th. For more info check out or follow them on Twitter : OFW_LIVE

If you're attending Ottawa Fashion Week, let me know! If you're there, I'll be the English girl with the Chanel bag and tangled hair, say hello! 


Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Don't stop stop your dreaming, Let yourself float upon the notion we can work it out, we gonna work it out baby. Go ahead lose yourself inside this opportunity & we gonna make it right now, make it right now.., it's been 2 months. I guess I...took the summer off?

Now that I'm back in Ottawa, I've been doing a lot of thinking. I imagine like many recent graduates, It's suddenly hit me like a ton of bricks that University is over. I have this BA(Hons) Fashion Journalism degree and no idea what to do with it. The last three years in London have been SO busy and purposeful. Being at LCF I got to meet some amazing people in the industry, work on some amazing projects and in the last year, focus on my final magazine which consumed me entirely for 8 months. Yes, it was bloody stressful and I basically didn't sleep for the entire time but I loved having that purpose. I've gone from living in Central London, being all busy & fashion-y & journalist-y (new words and I'm stickin' with 'em!) to living in the burbs in Ottawa, having nothing to do with fashion or writing at all. I'm just trying to figure out what to do and it's freaking me out! I hate having no purpose and I just feel like it would be so easy for me to be ambivalent and not take the risks that perhaps I should to further/start my career. Anyway that's just where my head's at. I think the first step is maybe getting to know the Ottawa fashion scene a bit better. I've been away for three years and the City is definitely becoming more fashionable, there's Ottawa Fashion Week now! I hope I'll be able to go to some shows and maybe that will give me the kickstart I need to end this bout of ennui and start heading in the right direction. Here's to new challenges and fab opportunities!! Anyone have any tips to help me with my lack of focus? Please comment!

On a related note: If anyone would like to offer me a fabulous fashion/beauty/lifestyle journalism/PR job in Ottawa or anywhere, that would really help with this whole identity crisis issue I'm having!

Speak soon (sooner than two months, I promise!)
Love Sophie xx

Sunday, 25 July 2010

I live for the nights that I can't remember, with the people that I won't forget...

I had an amazing night last night celebrating my birthday with my friends. I love them so much, far too many drinks were consumed and a good time was had by all!  This photo probably shows my makeup the best, I'm on the right as you look at the pic and my best friend Tia is on the left. (I think if you click on it,  it will get bigger?!) It was slightly over the top. Let’s just say drag queens would have been proud but sometimes, more is more! Let me know in the comments if you'd like a tutorial!

In other news, today I am going to the most glamourous of destinations that is Syracuse, Central New York State. About a four hour drive (merely down the road to North Americans!), Syracuse is a University town, home of the famous ‘Orange’ basketball teams. It holds a special place in my heart; when I was thinking about going to University and trying to decide where to go, for some reason I was really interested in Syracuse. We went with some American friends on homecoming weekend and it was just SO fantastic, eventually I decided to go back to London but Syracuse still holds something for me. The city itself is nothing special but the reason many Canadians flock there is for the shopping. The shopping is great. The main attraction is the Carousel Center Mall, home of faves like Abercrombie & Fitch, Hollister & J. Crew for basics, Old Navy, Forever 21 and H&M for cheap & trendy, Pottery Barn, Yankee Candle & Williams Sonoma for my Mum and department stores JC Penney, Macys and Lord & Taylor plus much much more! As well as the mall the Waterloo Outlets are nearby. Unfortunately these outlets are definitely no Bicester or Woodbury Common but there is a Cosmetics Company Outlet so I will be stopping by to see if there are any bargains to be had!
I am SO looking forward to going! It’s just for four days but it will be nice to relax, get away and indulge in some retail therapy! Will report on any purchases when I’m back!
Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend, will be back after my short trip!
Speak soon, 
Love Sophie xx