Monday, 24 January 2011

New blog

I've started a new blog which I'm intending to use as a place to talk about my new plans for life since my husband died. I'm sure there will be make-up too, as that features quite heavily in my new plans. If you fancy taking a look, it's here.

Friday, 27 August 2010

One day at a time

I started my blog at the beginning of the year in order to have something enjoyable to do while I was going through some very difficult times at home. In June 2008 my husband was diagnosed with an incurable brain tumour. He received aggressive treatment and stayed strong and independent for as long as he possibly could. At the end of April his condition worsened and he was admitted to hospital. He improved enough to come home to die, which had always been his wish. With huge and fantastic support from the NHS and local hospice, I cared for him at home until he passed away on June 22nd, aged just 39.

Writing about make-up on here was a normalising activity for me and allowed me a bit of a release and escapism. It's still something I love and so I hope to return to blogging soon, if anyone is still reading - and probably even if they're not!

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Saving face

I've used a moisturiser with an SPF 15 or above since I was about 14 years old. I have very fair skin with freckles that tends to burn easily and I like to feel protected year round. Once the sun comes out in England I up the protection factor with a separate sunscreen.

I used to use Clarins SPF 40 UV Plus Dayscreen, which was quite nice but at £28 for 30ml, it didn't really inspire me to apply as liberally as you should with a sunscreen. I've also used Clinique Cityblock before, both the tinted and colour free versions, but found I did not really like the texture.

This year I've discovered what is fast becoming my perfect product - La Roche-Posay Anthelios Extreme Face Fluid SPF 50. I know the name doesn't exactly trip off the tongue and the idea of an 'extreme face fluid' is mildly amusing to me, but it's a really good product.

The bottle contains 50ml and the product is formulated for sensitive skin that may be oil prone, which mine tends to be during the summer months. The fluid is lightweight and quite runny and absorbs quickly and easily into the skin. There is no white cast and it feels quite hydrating to me. My make-up applies well over the top and it does not seem to increase oiliness, in fact I'm finding it works quite well as a primer.

Regarding the sun protection qualities it provides broad spectrum UVA and UVB protection due to containing Mexoryl SX and XL filters. It's also non comedogenic and paraben free, according to my bottle.

La Roche-Posay is now available on although this product is currently sold out. I bought mine for about 12 euro from where I also buy Bioderma Crealine cleanser and Embryolisse moisturiser.

Thursday, 22 April 2010

Let there be light

After being ill and not sleeping well for a while, I've been steering clear of any darker eyeshadows or anything with a blue or purple undertone as they just enhance the existing darkness around my tired and squinty eyes.

Whilst rooting through my shadow collection the other day to find something that would give me a quick wash of colour, I pulled out one of my MAC palettes and remembered an old favourite - Jest.

I bought several peachy, shimmery neutrals from MAC a while ago and I remember reading loads in the blogosphere about All that Glitters and Naked Lunch but I'd never read any raves about Jest. It's a frost finish, which I don't normally like very much, but the description of soft peach with an icy shimmer piqued my interest. I ordered it thinking it sounded like a nice neutral and was amazed when I swatched it for the first time.

For me, this shadow applies like butter and is the perfect wash of colour. It lightens and brightens in a subtle and pretty way and the peachiness brings out the blue of my eyes. It looks great on its own with mascara but equally fab with darker shadows blended into the crease such as Woodwinked. On my post illness eyelids it worked wonders - it's particulaly effective on the inner corners for a soft highlight if you're a bit tired.

As you can see, you get a soft, sheeny reflection of light at one angle, and the deeper peachiness comes out at another angle. Like an idiot I forgot to take a photo of it actually on my eyelid, but rest assured it was the perfect choice to help me in my quest to look human again. I think this shadow would suit a lot of different skintones and I'd love to know if anyone else rates it highly too.

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Glitter and smells in the pipeline

Hurrah - I no longer feel like the grotesque lead role in a horror film. Unfortunately, I still look a bit like one so there are no pictures of my face for a few days. I bet you're gutted, aren't you.

If there's one thing that's good about having to lie in bed for four days, it's the combined joys of owning a laptop and the existence of internet shopping. Instead of being at work, I could spend hours perusing various beauty websites and reaching for my credit card in between bouts of hacking coughing or feverish sleep. I can also blame any shopping excesses on a drug-induced delirium. Sorted.

A package that I ordered pre-illness arrived on Thursday to bolster my spirits. It contained more mini  shadows and lip lustres from my new love Fyrinnae:

I got more Arcane Magics, a few brights and some neutrals to try out. I will be back with more FOTDs in the next few weeks. From my sick bed, I placed a new Julie Hewett order which includes my first custom palette selection, so I'm looking forward to seeing if the colour representations on the website are accurate.

I also ordered and received (very quickly) a number of samples from Lucky Scent, a US-based website for hard to find fragrances. I'm increasingly intrigued by more unusual fragrances and I also want to find my perfect 'earthy' scent that captures damp cellars and loamy earth but in a non hideous way. Here is what I got samples of, including a short description from the website:

Boudicca - Wode
a play of dark and light - soft musk and dry spice and brooding black hemlock. A stroll in the woods becomes a trek through a primeval forest with a few glowing yellow eyes peering at you from the shadows. 

Profumum - Thundra
A solitary walk through a cool, damp forest, just after the rain. You can smell the rich earth as it drinks in the water, the bark on the trees, the carpet of fallen leaves and wild mint crushed under your feet. 

Profumum - Fumidus
The smokiness of aged Laphroaig scotch served neat, It is also earthy – the earthiness of rich, freshly tilled land surrounded by uncut forest.

Profumum - Oxiana 
a union between the more Western cleanness of musk infused by a fresh oceanic accord joining with the earthier and slightly sweet balsamic accords from the East.  

Hilde Soliani - Fraaagola Saalaaata
With notes of strawberries and salt, this is a unique mixture of pulpy, juicy, fruity innocence and strangely saline, at times almost earthy sensuality. 

Montale - Patchouli Leaves
These are patchouli leaves wrapped in the softest and the most expensive of cashmeres, brought in oak trunks from exotic faraway lands.

Montale - Fougeres Marine
The creators take fern out of its traditional foresty context and place it by the sea, thus achieving a quality that is simultaneously fresh, green and earthy. 

Parfumerie Generale - Private Collection: L'Oiseau de Nuit
this is a complex and modern salute to leather. Very sweet and earthy all at once, L’oiseau makes your eyes glaze over and your jaw tighten with the need to get as close to it as possible.

I'll be testing these over the next couple of weeks, so let me know if anyone has any requests for what gets reviewed first.

I'd really recommend a look at the Lucky Scent website as the scent descriptions alone are amazing. The samples I bought were $3-$4 each and postage was a flat $5 and they arrived well packaged and within a week.

One fragrance I really wanted to try - but they had no samples of - was CB I Hate Perfume Black March. The 'nose' behind this line is the same person that created the Demeter line of unusual fragrances, of which Dirt and Thunderstorm are some of my all time favourites. I've seen Black March described as 'Dirt in HD', so it sounds like perfection to me. The perfume notes are listed as: 'rain drops, leaf buds, wet twigs, tree sap, bark, mossy earth and the faintest hint of spring flower bulbs'. How can I resist that?! Fortunately, this range is stocked at Liberty, so I think I will be making a fragrance pilgrimage in the not too distant future.

Friday, 16 April 2010

Glamour free zone

Though I remain beauty obsessed in spirit, I'm afraid the body is not willing this week. Thanks to a hideous throat infection and four days in bed, I currently look a lot like this:

The most I have been able to manage is showers and the occasional swipe of my clammy face with one of these:

Normal service will resume when I look less like a reject from Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Summer scrubbin'

I've written before about my love for Villainess products. I really like all the Smooches I've tried, with the scrubby, earthy smelling Grundy being my favourite. I recently ran out of Grundy so I investigated my stash for something else to use in the shower. I decided to give the Paradise Misplaced Smooch a go which, unlike Grundy, is described as a body conditioner rather than a scrub.

The scent description is 'sweetly creamed coconut and touches of mango offset by crisp green tea'. As a lover of green tea anything I was hoping this product would be delicately scented, fresh and perfect for spring/summer. Turns out it is just that.

As this is a body conditioner rather than scrub, it has a very smooth texture. It does exfoliate gently thanks to coconut flakes and green tea flecks. It is quite thick and reminds me of the texture and consistency of goose fat at room temperature (sorry if that's a bit gross). Fortunately that's where the similarity ends.

You are supposed to apply this over your body in the shower, it then reacts a bit like a facial cleansing oil and emulsifies on contact with water, turning into a silky body treatment. Once I'd rinsed it away, my skin felt very smooth and soft and had a delicate, fresh  fragrance which lingers all day. It is so moisturising that there is no need to apply body moisturiser.

I am planning to stock up on this for the summer. I love that I still smell of green tea and a bit of mango seven or eight hours after showering and the moisturising properties are brilliant thanks to all the coconut oil. I will use this on my legs and feet when I'm in full on bare legs and sandals mode and I think it will help pedicures last a bit longer.

I really recommend the Villainess line. All the products I've tried so far have been brilliant and the fragrances are really unusual. Even the 'foodie' fragrances have a slight edge and are not just sickly sweet. I've bought all mine from Posh Brats which is an excellent site. I recently received a fairly large order which included some Posh Brats own brand products and I'll be reviewing those soon.