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Four Aberdeenshire influencers share their secrets on getting summer ready

We speak to four local lifestyle gurus on how to look your best at weddings, on the beach, and everything in between this summer.

From make-up and fashion to photos and fitness, we chat to four experts on how to look good this summer.
From make-up and fashion to photos and fitness, we chat to four experts on how to look good this summer. Images: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

From weddings and barbecues to holidays and hen do’s, stylish summer soirees are sure to be filling up many calendars over the coming months.

And with so many events coming up, it can be a stressful time as you fret about finding the perfect outfit and worry about how to do your make-up or feel anxious about getting your photo taken.

Fear not, four local lifestyle gurus have shared their top tips on everything from make-up and fashion to fitness and how to look good in front of the camera.

1. James Connelly, 23, a personal trainer in Aberdeenshire

PT James Connelly shares his top tips on how to look good and feel great this summer. Image Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Everyone wants to get ready for the summer.

In terms of fitness, I would always motivate people to try and go to the gym at least three times a week – that’s a good starting point.

At the moment, everyone is looking for that toned physique and the way to achieve that is by incorporating some weight training into your routine.

Compound exercises like squats, dumbbell chest press, standing shoulder press and some sort of rowing movement for your back are a great place to start.

I would recommend people try eight to 12 reps per exercise but it’s obviously different for each person.

James says getting your daily steps in is important. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Also, to burn some extra calories, it’s important to get your steps in.

I would encourage people to aim for 10,000 steps a day.

Just think of a way that you can fit your steps in for example, you could go out for a walk on your lunch break or take the stairs instead of the lift in work.

Apps where you can count your steps are great like Strava.

When you start to get your steps in, you’ll start to feel good.

And for people who can’t get to the gym, there’s loads of stuff you can do in the house.

Working out never fails to make you feel good, says James. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

There’s loads of You Tube fitness videos online like Joe Wicks.

Bodyweight circuits are also a good place to start in the house.

In terms of nutrition, if you are wanting to lose weight then the main thing you want to focus on is eating the right amount of calories.

There’s loads of things online that can help with that like calorie calculators like My Fitness Pal that will tell you how much you should be eating.

Weight training will give you a toned physique, says James. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

So if you can get your diet under control and make sure you’re eating lean proteins it will make a difference.

Also don’t restrict yourself from carbs.

As long as your carbs are healthy and clean and you’re not eating 1,000 calories worth of crisps at night then you’re going to need carbs to fuel yourself during the day and when you’re walking.

It’s also important for people to wear workout clothes that they feel comfy in as that will make you feel good before you even start.

2. Julia Stronach, a make-up artist from Inverurie

Julie has shared her secret tips on the best make-up to invest in this summer. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

I love making women more confident.

When it comes to make-up it can be overwhelming as there’s so many products and brands out there so I’ll share some of my favourites and also some tips as well.

To start with, a good skincare routine is important as the more you look after your skin, the better result you’re going to get with your make-up.

Exfoliating your skin is important as it will remove dead skin and will give you a brighter finish with your make-up.

Julia loves helping women to feel their best. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

I also make sure I wear SPF 50 on my face every day and at the moment, I’m using one from the Altruist which you can get for £10.50 off Amazon.

This stuff melts into your skin so you don’t get that white residue and I find it makes a nice base for make-up.

In terms of foundation, there’s not one that will work for everyone.

But foundations from Nars have been in my kit since 2015 as they have bases for everyone.

The right skincare can give you the perfect base for make-up says Julia. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

They have a soft matt foundation which is great for oily skin and they also have sheer glow and light reflecting foundations which are very dewy and light.

The natural radiant longwear foundation is neither dewy nor matt, it’s a happy medium.

There is a common misconception that less is more when you get older and that you should go for dewy bases but actually that is not true.

Julia, pictured with PT James Connelly, fashion infleuncer Christina Horspool and photographer Donna Murray. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Dewy foundation is luminous so it can accentuate fine lines and wrinkles whereas a matt foundation is better as it diffuses them.

For people who don’t like to wear a lot of make-up, there are lovely BB and CC creams from the Korean skincare brand Erborian and I often use a product called ‘Beautiful Skin’ by Charlotte Tilbury.

The Rimmel Multitasker Better Than Filters is also brilliant.

And for a concealer, Tarte Shape Tape is phenomenal as it’s so lightweight and creamy but it covers everything.

Julia is renowned as a bridal make-up artist. Image: Kenny Elrick/ DC Thomson

In terms of summer eye make-up, I tend to put a nice gold shimmer highlighting powder on my eyelids and put some bronzer in the corner of my eye as it gives such a nice sunkissed look.

And don’t be scared of false lashes as the secret is to find out what lashes suit your eye shape.

I would always opt for a lash that has wispy tips and different lengths of lashes so they look natural.

For brows, I use a brow gel called Brow Freeze from Anastasia Beverly Hills and I simply use a disposable mascara wand or a clean mascara brush to simply brush the brows upwards and set them so it gives you an eye lift.

Julia works her magic. Image: Kenny Elrick/DC Thomson

For cheeks, a bronzer looks great with a nice tan and you can also put some on your nose too.

Blush is always flattering too and I would always use a liquid blush for a more natural look but I do find myself reaching for a powder blush when I’m looking for more intensity.

Brand wise I use the Hermès bronzer which is very expensive but there’s nothing like it.

You can also get really good bronzers from Benefit and Anastasia Beverly Hills.

Julia loves sharing her hints and tips. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

A good highlighter is also a must for summer.

I can’t see past the Mac highlighters specifically ‘Double Gleam’ which is great for lighter skin tones and ‘Oh Darling’ for deeper skin tones.

For summer lips, you can’t go wrong with a nude lip.

I absolutely love the Pat McGrath lipsticks especially one called Nude Venus.

And fake tan always makes you feel better.

The one I’m using at the moment is Iconic Bronze and it’s a mousse and you apply it with a glove.

3. Christina Horspool, a fashion influencer and co founder and creative director at Manar House and Estate near Inverurie

Social media influencer and businesswoman Christina Horspool, loves promoting sustainable fashion on Instagram. Image:  Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

When you leave the house feeling good in an outfit, it lifts your mood – I call it dopamine dressing.

I’ve always been into style and design as I’m quite a creative person and I always feel better when I’ve actually thought about what what I’m going to wear and how I’m going to put it together.

When we were renovating Manar House, we made sure our interiors were sustainable and that has been something that has transferred over to my wardrobe.

I’m really big on sustainable fashion so I’m conscious of where I’m buying things from.

Christina Horspool, wears an outfit by designer Aje which she hired from online site Hurr. Image Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

I think it’s important to have a capsule wardrobe with key items that you can mix and match.

In my summer capsule wardrobe you’ll find some nice tailored shorts, a rain coat – for the Scottish summer weather – a linen dress and a good quality pair of sandals.

My must have sandals would be a tan pair from Hermès but I’ve got similar sandals from Zara and they have lasted for years.

Christina loves to look round charity shops. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

You’ll also find a pair of wedges and some slingback flat court shoes from Dune in my summer wardrobe.

It’s also worth investing in swimwear that makes you feel good and fits well.

You can get some nice quality pieces from the likes of Reiss and Ted Baker and Zimmermann has some nice pieces although they’re a bit more expensive.

It’s also a good idea to have a some basics in your capsule like white, blacks and cream tops and also a good pair of jeans as you can dress them up or down.

Christina also loves to find secondhand clothes on Vinted. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

I’ve got a pair of ‘brut sexy’ jeans from Sezane which are a classic cut and work well with so many things.

Don’t be afraid to shop second hand as that’s the best way to get really cool investment pieces at great prices.

I’ve always been a thrifter so I love rooting around charity shops as you never know what you’ll find.

My favourite charity shops are the British Red Cross charity shops in Inverurie and on Union Street in Aberdeen.

I also love the online site Vinted for second hand clothes and shoes.

Christina says bright colours makes her feel great. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

I recently got some vintage electric blue Chloé shoes for £20 from  Vinted.

When I’m buying from Vinted I’m looking for the brands that I know have good quality materials which will last.

There’s also a shop in Inverurie called Aleca which isn’t a charity shop but it has some lovely quality, capsule pieces from brands like French Connection, Banana Republic, Massimo Dutti or Gap.

Also, instead of buying a dress that I’ll only wear once, I’ve started to hire dresses for things like weddings and black tie events.

The website Hurr is amazing as you can hire designer dresses for a fraction of the price.

For example a Rebecca Vallance dress might cost £890 but you could hire it for £110.

I’m actually going to start hiring out some of my more expensive outfits on that site.

Overall, fashion to me is about the feel-good factor.

Don’t be a prisoner to sizes and labels.

I used to feel terrible if I wasn’t a certain size in different stores but now I’ve learned that if something fits well then it doesn’t matter what the label says.

4. Donna Murray, photographer based in Aberdeenshire

Donna has shared some simple tips about how to look good in front of the camera. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Photos make people happy so capturing memories for them is great especially at weddings as they’re such a big life moment for people.

For people who have a big event coming up like a wedding, I’ll share some of my top tips for how to look good in front of the camera.

Firstly, good lighting is really important so window light is definitely your friend if you’re inside.

But make sure the window is facing you not behind you.

Donna loves capturing special moments at weddings. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

I see so many people standing in front of windows but it often creates a terrible light.

Also, try not to stand straight on to the camera as you’re going to look bigger.

Just slightly turn your body and do something with your hands.

A good tip for men is to pop your thumbs in your pockets.

If you’re taking photos outside then look for somewhere shaded as too much sun can create black shadows under your eyes.

Donna says the way you stand can make a difference to a photo. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

Popping your leg or hip out a little is also good as having a bend in your leg gives your body a bit of shape.

Also slightly bend your arm so your arm isn’t flat against your body.

You don’t need to exaggerate it and do the full tea pot look, just slightly raise your elbow and that will make a difference.

Another thing to watch out for is the background as you don’t want anything too cluttered or fussy.

Keep an eye out for things like plugs, plants, fire extinguishers, bags and TVs.

Our experts share their top tips on how to look good ahead of the summer wedding season. Image: Kami Thomson/DC Thomson

For me, I also check people’s outfits to make sure things like button holes are the right way up and that necklaces and ties are straight.

Also avoid wearing sunglasses if you can.

In terms of what colours work best at summer events, I would advise people to go for really vivacious colours especially at weddings.

Avoid black if you can as it doesn’t photograph well.

Also looking confident is a big thing with photos.

Don’t hide behind someone else or hunch over because you’re not going to get a good photo that way.

Thanks to Christina Horspool for kindly hosting the photo shoot at the beautiful Manar House and Estate.