I spend an alarming amount of time thinking about how different I’d be as a teenager if I could just go back and know all the wonderful shit I know now.
I think about how I’d handle relationships and boys differently, about how I’d be more confident and sure of myself, about the sort of friend I’d be, and about how I’d make myself look y’know, a bit more A++.
I mean sure OK yes, my greasy straightened-three-times-a-day hairstyle was cute as fuck in the noughties, and yes I looked shit hot in a push up bra and a halterneck top if you maybe had your eyes closed – but I just wish someone had handed me a nice big juicy sexy can of Batiste.
So yeah, here’s the fashion and beauty tips I wish I’d known sooner…
1. I have a greasy face, and the sweet wonderful joy with having a greasy face is that my make-up likes to slide about and do its own thang within an hour of being applied. It’s especially great when you’ve spent 27 minutes attempting to nail a smokey eye like an Instagram beauty guru and then lol you go for a wee and check yourself out in the mirror and FFS WHY IS IT CREASED ALREADY.
Someone introduced me to Urban Decay’s Primer Potion a couple of years ago and I’ve never looked back – it actually keeps my eye shadow and my eye liner on my eyes. You just apply it before your eye make-up and voila, you’re sorted for the day. It is genius.
2. I tried to home-dye my hair so much in my teens and it always ended up a really wonderful bright shade of Sunny Delight yellow (something to do with having warm-toned hair appaz), which was obviously exactly the slayin’ look I was going for.
The only way to keep it even remotely the colour I like is with purple and silver shampoo which take out all the brassiness and golden hues. My fave one and the one I’m always recommended by hairdressers is the L’Oreal Professsionnel Silver Shampoo – I try to use it once a week and leave it in anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour as though it’s a hair mask and then hello, who is this Pinterest angel emerging from the bathroom.
3. It’s not that I want to make myself look slimmer, it’s more that I don’t want gross lumpy knicker lines stealing the show when I’m wearing something a little bit tight – and Primark’s nude suck-in pants have been my go-to for the past couple of years.
They cost about £4 and come in a thong, pants or shorts style and have seen me through 97% of the outfit posts on this blog. SURPRISE. They’re also not so tight that they make me feel sick – even if I go out for a three-course meal and wine in them, which, let’s face it, is always a strong plus.
4. People often message me and are like ‘Hey girl, how did you make that dress fit on your boobs because I tried it on and it gaped open?’ and my response is always SAFETY PINS SAFETY PINS SAFETY PINS.
I mean, you can always whack in a bit of tit tape for extra measure, but I swear by safety pins (I have a collection with a few different sizes for different styling needs) to hold every wrap dress and strappy summer number in place without accidentally flashing a nipple in public.
5. When I first jumped on the ooh-let’s-fill-in-our-brows craze in 2012, I was using a brown Bobbi Brown eye shadow and a cotton bud to attempt some sort of miracle. Spoiler: it didn’t look so cute.
Fast-forward five years and not only do I attempt to leave my brows completely alone (I get them waxed and tinted at Benefit maybe twice a year, but aside from that, I try not to touch them too much), but I have a fail-safe applying my brows routine.
I start with a pencil because I find it them much more precise than a pomade or powder, an then I blend the pencil using a slanted brush – especially the start and end of my brow, which I like to think makes them look more natural. Then I finish off with a few swipes of clear brow gel to hold them in place.
6. I love a biker jacket as much as the next gal, but whenever I look back at photos of me, I always feel most confident and GUUUURL in a longer jacket – something like a blazer or trench coat, something structured and longline that balances out my hips and thighs a bit.
Which is why, if you snoop about on my Insta, you’ll see me in a blazer or trench 97% of the time – purely because I love the way they work with my body shape.
7. Y’know when your hair isn’t actually greasy but you’ve bunged it up in a top knot and now it’s fucked it all into some weird frizzy, full-of-kinks mess that looks like it can’t be saved?
I used to just wash it again, even when it didn’t need it (or just admit defeat and whack it back up into said top knot) but then I realised if I just spritzed my hair with water using the spray bottle I bought to water house plants, and then blasted it with the hairdryer, I could basically have fresh hair again within five minutes.
Sometimes I’ll throw in a bit of dry shampoo too, and then curl it and then voila, a good cheat hair day.
8. Which leads me onto my next gal – dry shampoo. I use this almost every day, not only because y’know, it soaks up excess grease, but because it gives my curls something to cling to which means they tend to stay in for longer than about seven minutes.
I used to wash my hair every other day (although quite honestly it probs needed it every day) but can now get away with doing it twice a week.
My fave is still Batiste, although I know there are a lot of swankier brands out there that other people rave about.
9. Men’s t-shirts and shirts fit so much better than woman’s styles do – even with big boobs, which makes no sense what-so-ever.
I love the H&M men’s £3.99 t-shirts and used to wear a size medium for something simple to team with a midi skirt, but now rock an XL so it’ll hang down over my bum and baby bump so I can wear them with leggings.
Same with shirts – my fave classic white shirts have always been oversized men’s ones because they don’t seem to gape open at the bust the way a lot of women’s ones tend to.
10. Back in my uni days I used to fake tan with my bare hands and lol, make a heck of a lot of mess.
But guys, if you do not use a tanning mitt then YOU ARE LIVING YOUR LIFE WRONG. It makes the tan so much more even and streak-free, plus it means you don’t end up with weird orange palms which is always a dreamy bonus.
11. As a bit of a short ass (coo-ey over here at 5ft 2), I’ve always wanted to be the kind of gal who could sashay about in stiletto heels without wanting to cry at omg all the pain, but alas no.
You might have noticed that I wear a lot of what I’m going to call the ‘midi heels’. Shoes that have a bit of height to them, but none of the pain of actual high heels – shoes that, you can get away with wearing for most of the day pain-free.
They make me feel a bit more swish and WHO RUN THE WORLD than the casual ballet flat, but they also make my legs look just a smidge longer which is no bad thing by any means.