July, 2014

25 July
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I have officially moved away from Manchester!

So it’s official! I have moved away from Manchester! Don’t get me wrong, Manchester will always be my home… I love the city, the people, the night-life, the culture, the Mancunian accent and the wicked northern sense of humour! However, it’s time for a new chapter in my life.

I have never lived away from Manchester so I’m delighted to be moving to Essex, so many of my loved ones have lived away from home, my brother lived in America for a while and one of my best friends lives in Oman.. OK Essex isn’t Oman, but my new home is amazing and I am very, very happy getting things organised and choosing fixtures and fittings for our first home together… everyone keeps asking me will I miss my family and friends, but they are all organising to come down and stay, so I really do think I will actually see more of them!

Aside from this rather massive event in my life I have been basically catching up with myself after all the travelling about over the last few months. And also I have started back at the DREADED gym. Yes that right, I have fished out my trainers and reluctantly started working out again!

It’s only because I can feel when I have had a bit of a blow out and after the last few weeks spent in Magaluf, Palma, Alicante etc etc… I thought I needed to get back into it. I hate going, but once I have been for an hour I feel so much better and can cross it off my ‘to do’ list for the day.

I have been also drinking protein shakes like these from My Protein www.myprotein.com and supplements like Super Omega Fish Oil and a Anti-oxidant tablet (need it after Magaluf!) with Vitamins A C E , Zinc, Selenium and Green T Extract to name a few key ingredients. It’s important to give your body these extra supplements when training.

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At the gym I have been training myself and concentrating on low impact weights, squats, walking lunges, jack knifes and a bit of cardio. Not running though – I can’t bear it!

 

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As well as the gym and eating (a bit) healthier I have been looking after my feet as my heels are looking a bit dry, I think its all the sunbathing and walking in flip flops! I have been using this Soap And Glory ‘Heel Genius’ cream which is pretty impressive – in just three days the skin on and around my heels looks less dry and feels silkier. I have to say I love these new flip flops that were sent to me recently Gandys- http://www.gandysflipflops.com.

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Gandys is a social enterprise, and was founded on a commitment to using a portion of all profits to help disadvantaged children through the Gandys Foundation.

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10% of all Gandys profits go directly into the Gandys Foundation whose sole purpose is to support children in need of basic essentials such as shelter, nutrition, medication and education.

With all my recent travelling about I feel like I am a lot better at packing than I ever used to be. I’m not going to lie I was pretty rubbish at it… I tended to over pack with things I would never wear or use, and always forget my toothbrush, hairbrush or towel. Nowadays I’m slightly more organised, especially for short trips of 1-3 days.

Here’s some of my handy hints for packing light on short trips away.

1. Invest in decent hand luggage. Mine is one of those wheeley bags that you don’t have to drag behind you.

2. Try on your outfits beforehand and take 1 full extra (smart casual) outfit, just in case you need it. Resist the temptation to throw as much as possible into your case as its pointless and leaves no room for impulse shopping purchases :-)

3. So many decent beauty brands now do travel sizes – I always take a small moisturiser (Dr Weils Mega Brightening Serum in 30ml), lip balm, shampoo & conditioner (Kevin Murphy do travel sized and are paraben free so are good to your hair) travel sized Simple eye make-up cleansing pads and face wipes, travel hairspray, travel tooth paste, and my favourite Giorgio Armani foundation (I put it in a little pot so that I have enough for 2/3 days and don’t have to try and squeeze the full bottle into the little clear plastic bag you have to use at the airport!).

 

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If you have all of these things in your clear bag, then you should be OK for a mascara, a great liquid blusher like Benefit Benetint or Soap And Glory’s Sexy Mother Blusher (these are perfect for the pool or beach), eye liner and a 30ml perfume too.

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4. I know this sounds silly, but I still take my security blanket with me where ever I go too. I lost it on a train last year and thanks to the power of Twitter, someone found it and handed it in. Yeah I’m 27 and still have a comfort blanket… its a bit cringe ha ha, but I guess it reminds me of home and I know LOTS of other women who still have them and some are older than me ! (you know who you are!)

5. A swimming costume (if your not going abroad – there may still be a pool where you are staying and its nice to go on a spur of the moment swim, bit harder to do that when you don’t have anything to swim in!) and your own beach towel (need to reserve your spot at the pool somehow!)

6. There is no point taking more than 3 pairs of shoes including the ones you are wearing. Take smart flip flops or sandals in your handbag, wear some comfy day shoes for the flight and pack a pair of heeled shoes for going out.

7. invest in some good sunglasses. You need them to protect your eyes, and they can finish an outfit off… I LOVE sunglasses and can spend all that dead time between checking in for a flight and getting on the plane, trying loads of pairs on. Here’s me trying on some Miu Miu sunglasses on Sunday ( they are a bit wacky!). I actually sat on my Michael Kors glasses on holiday in Magaluf and broke them ( gutted) so I’m on the lookout for some new ones – I really liked these mirrored Tiffany ones so will grab them next time I’m away…

 

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Hope this helps some of you to travel a bit lighter !

Until next week,

Lots of love

Michelle xxx

18 July
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Holidaying in Majorca with my girlfriends

My feet have barely touched UK soil this week… More of my girlfriends joined me in Spain mid week, and I’m not gonna lie – we had a BALL!

Can I just say – how amazing is this hotel we stayed in? We stayed at the ME Mallorca hotel http://www.melia.com/en/hotels/spain/majorca/me-mallorca/index.html TWITTER: @MEMallorca

It looks like it could be in Palma, Barcelona or St Tropez but NO! Can you believe it is slap bang in the middle of Magaluf! Yes Magaluf – the resort with all the bad press!!! Well, can I just say that I love Mallorca – and that includes Magaluf- especially because of this gorgeous hotel.

 

Shots on our veranda of the @MEMallorca. How ladylike!!

Shots on our veranda of the @MEMallorca. How ladylike!!

The rooms are really modern and elegant, and the staff are warm and professional. Me and my girls (there were 7 of us) spent the days relaxing by the pool or at the beach, and at night we either went out in Magaluf, or took a cab (15mins) to Puerto Portals or Palma for dinner and dancing!

Here’s some snaps from our trip :

 

In the reception of the ME. This lime green kaftan is from River Island (Pacha) from last year.

In the reception of the ME. This lime green kaftan is from River Island (Pacha) from last year.

 

Yummy ice cream in Palma

Yummy ice cream in Palma

Jet skiing with ma gals!

Jet skiing with ma gals!

 

Mark being slightly outnumbered!! We were at Abaco it's a cool bar in Palma that does amazing cocktails.

Mark being slightly outnumbered!! We were at Abaco it’s a cool bar in Palma that does amazing cocktails.

 

 

Abaco flowers

Abaco flowers

 

So from Tuesday to Friday it was a proper girls holiday. On the Friday Mark flew back over to Mallorca with his pal because he had a PA there on the Saturday, and it was my friend Liz’s birthday so we needed somewhere loud and fun to celebrate this – we decided to watch the world famous Pirates show which is about 10 mins walk from our hotel.

Me and the cast

Me and the cast

I went a couple of months ago to the family show (and told you about it in this very blog!) but this one was the late night *aherm* adult version. It’s basically a bit racier, pumping music and lots of scantily clad acrobatic & breakdancing pirates.

The girls and all of the Pirates

The girls and all of the Pirates

We all LOVED it, it’s a very slick show and you can tell the cast love doing it! For more info go to their website http://www.piratesadventure.com .

 

 Mark and the HOT female cast (Mark looks quite pleased with himself ha ha!)


Mark and the HOT female cast (Mark looks quite pleased with himself ha ha!)

Sadly on Sunday we had to say goodbye to Mallorca because I had a business meeting in London on Monday. It was SO special to be able to spend a week with some of my closest friends.

Now on a slightly different note – whenever I am on shoots I always ask the creatives I work with for handy hints, cheats, products they recommend and and ones they don’t. I’ve decided to start sharing their expert hints and tricks with my HELLO! Blog readers – because they are the ones with the expert know how and help me look A LOT better than I ever do when I first sit down in that makeup chair in the morning…

Or when I arrive at a hotel for a red carpet event in my trackie and greasy hair! Anyway, first thing I asked them was – tricks to take a good picture – be it a selfie snap or a red carpet moment – and here’s what they said:

One of my favourite make-up artists Collette Casey, said her fail safe tricks for looking good in front of a camera are:

Collette and I on a recent Lipsy campaign shoot

Collette and I on a recent Lipsy campaign shoot

1.Lightening your foundation /concealer under eyes and “T” zone area only by a shade or two with flatter your face.

2. Bare in mind the direction of the light you will be in, especially if it’s side lit as it can cast shadows on the face so if you have a side parting – it’s more flattering on the face if it’s got less hair on that side.

3. Taking photos from slightly higher is more flattering on the face.

4. Don’t fake a smile – you can tell when it’s faked! – real smiles make your eyes sparkle.

5. It is more flattering on the arms if they are softly placed sometimes with a soft bend and not squashed to the sides of your body.

Collette doing my make-up on a HELLO! shoot in Spain

Collette doing my make-up on a HELLO! shoot in Spain

And the brilliant Kelvin Barron – red carpet and fashion stylist extraordinaire, gave me these gems to share with you all:

 

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1. For the best results in pictures it’s firstly important that you look after your skin which will lead to a healthy glow. It doesn’t have to be hundreds of pounds investing on expensive treatments, you can buy products such as ‘Simple’ which are great for cleansing, toning and moisturising. For a little treat I advise Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream.

2. Feel good in not only your clothes, but by being yourself. Confidence will transcend into amazing imagery and also help your posture. You will generally have better poise when your feeling amazing, rolling the shoulders back is key to avoid looking slouched. Be proud of the skin your in.

3. Draw attention to your unique features and your strong points rather that worry about the areas you don’t like. Whether you want to show off some killer cleavage (always tasteful), you have amazing legs or maybe even a facial feature like a beauty spot – embrace beauty, femininity and what makes you – you!

4. Match your mood and your facial expressions to your clothes. I love working with actresses as they can play more of a role in pictures. So if your wearing an outfit that’s a little sexy – you can play a little more moody, pouty and vampy. It’s all about playing a character in the clothes your in. Actresses like Blake Lively, Emma Stone and Nicola Peltz are my red carpet pros for this and artists like Rihanna really know when to play and vamp it up.

I will have more expert secrets next week – and I will share a few of mine too!

Until then,

Lots of love

Michelle xxx

11 July
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My relaxing week – a holiday with the girls and how to treat your body

It’s now July and over half the year is over. 5 months till Christmas??!! Seriously where has the time gone? It feels like only a couple of weeks ago I was saying my goodbyes to my friends on Corrie and doing my final scenes, however it was nearly 3 months ago now! Time really does fly…

This week I have decided to take it easy because it’s been a bit of whirlwind the last few weeks with lots of shoots, the Lipsy launch, and acting auditions taking me here, there and everywhere.

I have eaten lots of delicious food, had a few good nights sleep (so important!) and treated myself to getting my nails done. All nine of them!

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(Update: Fingernailgate – it looks all scabby but it’s healing quite well. I didn’t want to put you off your dinner so I have covered it up on this picture ha ha!)

I love bright gel nail colours for summer – and this one looks great – it’s really eye catching and as it’s Shellac it doesn’t peel off after 5 mins like some of the other brands do. My cousin Katie did my nails for me and I love the results.

Her mobile beauty company is called Beyoutiful By Katie. She’s based in Manchester and you can find her on Twitter @BeyoutifulByKf.

I have also been taking care of my skin and did a bath night where I used Origins Ginger Soufflé body cream and Ginger Gloss oil. This contains Jojoba oil and it makes your skin silky soft without being greasy . But the best thing is the smell. It’s AMAZING. You smell like an exotic gingerbread woman! Sounds odd but trust me, it’s dee-lish!!

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I have been away quite a lot this last month or two done a fair bit of sun worshipping, so in turn it’s important to care for your skin – and plenty of exfoliation and moisterising is key.

One of the best products on the market I think for hydrating your skin is Kiehls Creme De Corps. It’s one of their biggest sellers and it’s easy to see why when you try it. It contains sesame oil, beta carotene and lots of cocoa butter. It’s by no means cheap – at £45 a bottle you want to make it last (or stick it on your Christmas list – only 5 months away!!)

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If you need something a little more modest in price then I would suggest Sanctuary 7day Miracle Moisture Balm for your face, elbows, hands, and knees, and their 5 day Moisture Creamy Body oil for the rest of your bod.

On the Sanctuary website you can get both for a very reasonable £12. Bargain!!

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Over the weekend I did a few personal appearances which was fun because I love getting out and about and visiting new people and places, plus my dad took me so it was lovely to spend some quality time with him. Thanks Dad!

After that, myself and my girlfriends all got together and had a lovely mini break in Spain. It’s such a rarity for us all to be under one roof and it’s been such a fun time! Mark and some of his pals stayed with us for a couple of nights too and we hit the town on the Saturday night.

Here’s me, Mark and all the ladies:-) My summery stripey dress is from TopShop Boutique.

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We have done lots of sunbathing, shopping, swimming, had the *aherm* odd cocktail and just generally lazed about. BLISS!!!!!!!

Here’s me on a girls night in one of my very own creations with Lipsy London – I love this dress you can buy it here

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Oh, on the subject of my Lipsy range – please keep posting your pictures in the clothes.

I love seeing them and it’s great to hear your feedback so keep the tweets coming @michkeegan and feel free to message me here too :-)

Until next week

Love from
Michelle xx

04 July
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My Lipsy London collection has finally launched!

Hurray!!! My first ever collection with Lipsy London has finally launched! At the time I am typing this (now back in Manchester and having a very lazy night in with Phoebe and Pip) the feedback so far has been really positive and the range is selling well. In fact, some of the pieces have even sold out already! Thank you to everyone who has supported me, and like the clothes! It means ALOT!

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This week has been a real whirlwind. I was already down in Essex and had my third photoshoot with Lipsy on the Tuesday. It was a beautifully decorated home in Maida Vale and I got a lot of style inspiration for my own (new) home from it.

 

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It was for the third wave of the Autumn/Winter collection and this one contains lots of party dresses, knits and coats. My favourite piece is a floor length black dress. Perfect for a Christmas ball or works do! As soon as I can show you a sneaky piccy I will!

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I worked with two new creatives on this shoot: the lovely Caroline Barnes for my make-up and Ben Cooke for hair.

 

They have worked with a lot of great ladies like Cheryl Cole, Victoria Beckham and Nicole Scherzinger so it was fab to have them on board. Ben introduced me to these fab hair products which are Tamara Ecclestone’s new venture.

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I LOVED the style of packaging, the bottles were suprsingly heavy, and the actual product was great on my hair – these I loved the best : SHOW Divine Thickening Lotion and the SHOW Finishing Spray. It’s not a cheap brand by any means (around £30-£40 a bottle, so maybe best if you are a professional or it’s a present for someone?), but you pay for the feminine and luxury bottles, and the product.

 

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Caroline used these products on me and I was very impressed with them, so I begged her to give them to me after for my own make-up bag (thanks Caroline!) Max Factor Black False Lash effect (and as I had taken my lash extensions off, I really needed this for extra oomph!) and this Bobbi Brown eyeliner. It’s great for a precise, smooth eyeline and it goes on really easily.

 

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The following morning I had some hair extensions fitted (I was really missing the thickness in my hair so decided to get some for summer) at the great Inanch in London.

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Then later on that day I went to Ben’s salon across the city to get some sun kissed highlights in my hair. I had been thinking about it for a while, and have never had my hair lightened before so I’m not gonna lie I did feel a bit apprehensive, but I love it and think it’s very subtle and gives my hair a bit more texture and shine :-)

 

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Here’s me in the salon with Sophie the colourist and Ben …

 

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I have got some of this Philip Kinglsey to look after my hair and keep it in good condition. It’s extra important when you colour your hair or get extensions.

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I also use this supplement from www.myvitamins.com – the thicker, fuller hair bundle which contains Vit B complex Vit C Zinc and a combination of minerals that concentrate on hair growth and strength. Nioxin Diaboost is also a quality product when you have or have had hair extensions. It contains Panthenol and other good stuff which makes your hair feel thicker, especially at the roots.

 

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After my morning of pampering, I hot footed it over to the very swanky Sanderson Hotel for a catch up with my pal Sandy – of Sandy Bay London fame – if you don’t know – she makes THE MOST amazing luxury candles. www.sandybaylondon.com. She gave me some for my new home as a moving in present – they smell so amazing and the candles last for a long time. (Oriental Jasmine is my new fave)

 

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It wasn’t long until it was time to get ready for the launch of my Lipsy London collection. The event was held in the boutique style Rosewood Hotel across London. I did one to one interviews with some very aspirational and cool fashion bloggers, mingled with buyers and the press and had a really good time aside. Some lovely ladies actually came wearing my dresses which was SUCH a proud moment for me as they all looked GORGEOUS!

The following morning the collection launched round the country so my team and I had an early start, I must admit I didn’t find it easy getting up in that morning! We visited various radio stations – here’s me with Lucie Cave from Heat, she’s so much fun and I loved our chat, and I also did a fashion based ‘ask Michelle’ on Twitter later on in the day, which went really well too.

 

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After this is was back up to Manchester on the train, where I slept the whole train journey! What can I say, a girl needs her beauty sleep :-)

Until next week

Lots of love Michelle xxx

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