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.

Friday, 9 April 2010

FOTD - Fyrinnae

I've been trying to work my way through the shadows in my last Fyrinnae order and I've reached the more colourful options now. My workplace is is quite relaxed and rainbow eyes are fine, but I'm not always in the mood for bright shadow application first thing in the morning.

Today I applied Estee Lauder Double Wear Stay-in-Place cream shadow in Blue Velvet to the outer third of my eyelid and blended it into the centre to fade. I then tapped a small amount of Fyrinnae Pixie Epoxy on top. Once it had gone tacky, I swept Arcane Magic shadow in Faerie Glamour across the lid and drew it under the lower lashline. I then blended Atomic Afterglow shadow into the crease and inner corner to soften the edges of the Faerie Glamour. I love Atomic Afterglow and have ordered the full size in my second Fyrinnae order. It's a lovely silvery taupey shade with a hint of cool green that seems to blend well with any shade or creates a shimmering neutral eye when used alone.

You can see in the pics that the Estee Lauder Blue Velvet helps intensify and draw out the blue in the Faerie Glamour, which is more violet in appearance towards the inner corner where there was no coloured base. Like all the Arcane Magics,  Faerie Glamour changes dependent upon which light it's seen in, with artificial light having the greatest impact.

The rest of the face was half a pump of Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation, ELF Complexion Perfection powder, Urban Decay Sweetie blush and Fyrinnae Pink Guitar Lip Lustre. It took about ten minutes to do and thanks to the Pixie Epoxy - truly a wonder product - the eyes lasted well all day with no creasing or flaking.

Apparently, my second Fyrinnae order has shipped so I'm waiting with baited breath for some more Arcanes and Lip Lustres. The pricing on the site has been rejigged recently, but it means the sizes are slightly bigger, which is particularly good for the Arcanes (for an extra few cents, the smallest size is now 1/4tsp where it was previously 1/8tsp).

I really recommend Fyrinnae. They clearly post the waiting time for shipments on the home page, but I've never had to wait for the full period. The quality of the products I've tried so far is amazing and there are fun and funky shades alongside more muted naturals. I've never been a fan of loose shadows as I find them too messy but the Pixie Epoxy really helps combat that issue. Also, as a fan of Urban Fantasy I like owning products with names like 'Elven Dagger', 'Warrior-Mage' and 'Druid Werewolf', as if I'm touched by magic as well as make-up.

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

FOTD and review - Trish McEvoy Turquoise Python Petite Make-up Planner

For some reason, I've neglected Trish McEvoy for a few years. I went through a bit of a Trish phase in my late twenties when I managed to get my hands on a few of her excellent Little Black Card palettes and fell in love with the No.9 Blackberry and Vanilla Musk perfume. Then I moved on to my next beauty 'thing' and forgot about Trish for a bit.

Last week, I decided we'd been apart for long enough and came home with the Turquoise Python Petite Make-up Planner. The planner includes a removable mini make-up bag, a petite page, the new Crystal Deluxe Diamond eye shadow, new translucent finishing powder, new Instant Pick-me-up face colour trio, new Irresistible Petal lip gloss, a deluxe travel size of the Eye Base Essential in Bare, Azure Glaze eye shadow and Arabian Nights eye definer. It's a pretty good selection of products and there is plenty of room in the planner itself for adding more petite or mini pages - and thus more make-up - as time goes by.

The shades in the petite page are lovely for spring and summer. Although the Azure Glaze shadow looks quite bright in the palette, it applies as a subtle wash and can be built to increase intensity. It has a nice shimmer to it but is not glittery. The Crystal Deluxe Diamond eye shadow is sparkly, but in a very subtle way. I would definitely only use it on the eyes though, unless you like glitterball highlighters on the cheekbones. The Arabian Nights eye definer applies as a deep navy, just as it appears in the palette. The face colour trio is a good mix of seasonal shades which I think would work well on a variety of skin tones. The finishing powder suffers for being next to the Arabian Nights shadow. I tried to carefully pick some up with a MAC 109 but still managed to get a smear of navy shadow on the bridge of my nose. Nonetheless, I like the palette a lot.

The lipgloss is pretty, feels cushiony on the lips and has a slight mintiness to it, which I quite like. Beyond that, there's nothing much to say about it and I think it would be easy to dupe. The eye base however is an amazing product. I have quite oily lids and I almost always use UDPP or Too Faced Shadow Insurance. Though they are both good, I find shadows more difficult to blend on the former and the latter is a bit too runny for my liking. The Trish McEvoy eye base is quite thick and creamy, applies like UDPP, conceals any redness or veins and shadows apply very smoothly across it. It also holds them tight all day. I will definitely purchase a full size when the travel size is finished. Having checked the website I've found it comes in 6 different shades to match varying skintones. I think it's brilliant for a quick, clean eye with tidy brows and a sweep of mascara.

Anyway, on to the face of the day:

I did this on Saturday in about 5 mins, just to get a feel for the products. The face is just a smidge of concealer, mainly to cover redness, and translucent finishing powder. The lack of foundation is all thanks to my new skincare regime which I'll do a full update in in a couple of weeks.

I used the eye base from lashline to brow and then swept the Crystal Deluxe Diamond shadow over the same area. Using a MAC 217, I swept the Azure Glaze shadow into the crease and gently buffed and added more colour until I was happy with the intensity. I used a pencil brush and the Arabian Nights eye definer on my upper lashline and the outer third of my lower lashline. Cheeks were the bottom two colours of the pick-me-up colour trio (my pale blue skin shrank from the bronze) and then finished with a dusting of finishing powder and a slick of the lipgloss. Overall, a speedy basic face with a little kick of colour (click the pics for a closer look).

I'm looking forward to playing with the shades I have in the petite page, using the trio of colours on my eyes or doing a vampier evening look with the blue shades. Overall, I'd recommend this product if you fancy some fresh, polished new shades for spring and summer and you might want to build a Trish McEvoy collection that's portable and well packaged.

I got my Turquoise Python Planner from Harvey Nichols in Birmingham. If you want to take a closer look at some of the products, she has a US website which I believe ships to a number of countries.

Friday, 2 April 2010

Less of your lip

Phew. For a number of different reasons, this week has been very strange and stressful. I promise you there were a couple of great FOTDs, but I just forgot to take photos of them. I will hopefully get back on track after Easter.

In the meantime, I thought I would show you a few of the lip products I like and regularly reach for, plus a new acquisition. As I've said before, I much prefer glosses and glazes to fully pigmented lips. I'm no good with a liner as my lips are a bit wonky, I often find lipstick drying and I like food too much to carefully apply a gorgeous lipstick and then not ruin it with elevenses. As I've already gone through my Julie Hewett faves, I'm leaving those out.

 First of all, a shot of my bare lips. They're fairly pigmented and I learned a couple of years ago that the likes of GOSH Darling and MAC Blankety make me look ill, so I tend to steer clear of those 'nude' shades. My preferred natural lip is a sheerish, glossy berry.

The first batch of faves in the tube, and here they are on the lips:

1. Lipstick Queen - Medieval
This is the new acquisition. As a big fan of the LQ Butterfly Ball lipsticks, I have been lemming this for ages. The shade is supposed to represent the colour achieved in Medieval times when women applied lemon juice to their lips to stimulate blood flow. I don't know about that, but I really like this lip product. Like the Butterfly ball lipsticks, Medieval is lightweight with a glaze finish and feels incredibly moisturising in the lips. The shade is marketed as a 'suits all' so I'd be interested to hear what other Medieval users think.

2. Bare Escentuals Buxom Lips - Jessica
I have a few of these BE plumping glosses, but this is my favourite. The mini size came in a kit with shadows and blush and whilst they don't see much action, Jessica is regularly in use. The gloss is a sort of peachy pink duochrome with a shot of fine gold shimmer. Like the other BE Buxoms, it smells of coffee and caramel and has a slightly warming and tingling effect on the lips. It doesn't seem to plump mine, but I don't really like those sort of products anyway. The tube includes a doe foot applicator, which I don't particularly mind but I know some people hate. BE often does sets of 4 of these glosses which I think are good value for money. In fact there's a set on QVC I have my eye on at the moment.

3. Bobbi Brown Shimmer Lip Gloss - Rose Sugar
Like the rest of the world, I hate the brush. The stupid, scratchy, splayed out brush that eventually becomes an obstacle to applying the product. I really love the lipgloss though. This shade was used on me when I had a Bobbi Brown makeover at House of Fraser and it was one of the products I purchased on the spot (the others were a bronzer and an undereye concealer). It is the perfect shade if I want to look professionally polished. There is enough pigment to even out my lips with a natural mauve, a small amount of shimmer and it's not too sticky. If they repackaged this product, I would buy more shades.

4. Maybelline Watershine Gloss - Mauve Star
This has a similar base shade to the Bobbi Brown Rose Sugar but with less shimmer and more glitter, although they are fine particles of gold so it's not too disco on the lips. I have three of these glosses and I love the absence of stickiness. They are easy to apply and have one of those slightly longer doe foots that have more flexibility than the short ones. There is a strong smell of something fruity but if you don't mind that, I highly recommend these glosses - there's a good range of colours and they are fab value for money.

Now on to the second batch of products

1. Clinique Almost Lipstick - Black Honey
I have used this lipstick since I was a teenager and read a recommendation from a make-up artist in a magazine. I had never bought from Clinique before and I hovered shyly at the counter before rummaging through the testers. When I found Black Honey I immediately chastised myself for getting it wrong, surely this very dark lipstick could not 'suit everyone' as the MUA had suggested? Upon swatching it I saw immediately that this lipstick was actually a sheer, rosy brown and a new love was born. In the years since I have bought numerous tubes, recommended it to dozens of friends and gasped in horror when I heard it was to be discontinued. Happily, it was saved and I intend to keep buying this gorgeous shade.

2. Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick - Vintage Pink
I don't often look at drugstore brand lipsticks, just as I don't often look at high end lipsticks. Seeing this shade reminded me that lipsticks can be just my cup of tea occasionally. Vintage Pink is a soft shade of mauvey pink with a moisturising and lightweight finish. It also works well topped with the Bobbi Brown or Maybelline glosses in my list for a neutral, polished look. Like a lot of women, Rimmel holds a special place in my heart thanks to the Heather shimmer lippie I used to have rolling around in my school bag. The lipsticks still smell the same, so I get the nostalgia trip without the frosted pink lips.

3. Fresh lipgloss - Sugar Fairy
I got this in Sephora on my last trip to NY. It came in a set with Supernova mascara, which I didn't like as much as I thought I would. The gloss is another story, it's non-sticky, very moisturising and has that incredible lemon and sugar smell that Fresh turned into a perfume. It does not smell artificial to me, but like a freshly baked lemon drizzle cake. Yum. It's a pretty sheer pink with micro glitter and I really love it as part of a summer look.

4. Jemma Kidd Ultimate Lip Care SPF12 - Apricot
I bought this to make-up the value of a online purchase in order to qualify for a GWP. I was expecting it to be a glossy balm with a hint of colour and so was quite surprised to find the texture is more like a lipstick and has quite a lot of colour. 'Apricot' translates to a juicy peach on my lips and has a fair amount of shimmer. As this is a lip care product, it does a nice job of moisturising my lips, but it also lasts quite well. I got it just before Christmas, so I'm looking forward to using it in the summer.

So there you go. I have a lot more lip products than that so I think I need a sort out. These are some of the items I reach for more frequently and that I know I can apply on the run without a mirror - my basic requirement for a lip colour!

what are your favourites?

Monday, 29 March 2010

FOTD - more Fyrinnae

Two more of my Fyrinnae shadow samples today. I really cannot get over how easy to work with the Pixie Epoxy makes these. It feels like I'm using one of those magic colouring books where a wet brush reveals the colours of a picture. A fluffy brush dipped in loose, glittery powder eyeshadow should lead to a big old mess, but the precision and ease of blending is phenomenal.

Anyway, here's today's face (click for a closer look):

On top of a base of UDPP and Pixie Epoxy, I applied Equality shadow on the lids - a very sparkly and iridescent platinum shade - and then used Avian Shapeshifter Arcane Magic in the crease, outer corner and blended slightly above the socket. This was one of the smoothest eyeshadows I have ever used in my life and it really did go on like a dream. It looks like a sort of terracotta shade in the pot but once applied and seen in different lights, it ranges from burnished copper to rosy brick and everything in between. I am still loving Fyrinnae very much.

Foundation and concealer were both Bourjois Healthy Mix, lightly dusted with ELF Complexion Perfection. MyFace blush in Holiday and lips were Dior Addict Lip Glow. Once again, the shadows lasted very well all day, thanks to the magic of Pixie Epoxy.

Sunday, 28 March 2010

Regime change - MV Organic Skincare and REN

For the last four weeks I have been trying some new skincare products. I had noticed a few changes in my skin thanks to the relentless march of time etc. Most notably, some fine lines around my eyes and the skin on my cheeks becoming more fragile and a little drier. I also still have the occasional hormonal outbreak of spots around my chin. Wrinkles and spots, lucky me.

Anyway, the first thing I decided to look at was exfoliation. I have used a physical exfoliant since I was a teenager. I can remember gleefully scrubbing my tender skin with Aapri scrubs and/or those scouring pad type foaming mini sponges they did. The thought of it makes me shudder now.

Nails with a twist

I always love reading about other people's beauty bargains and products that have 'changed their life' (I know this is all relative, it's just personal grooming after all). This is one of my life enhancing products:

The Instant Nail Polish remover from Pretty Quik (I don't know why they jettisoned the 'c'). This is a little plastic tub which holds a sponge soaked in polish remover. There is a little slit in the middle into which you insert your fingertip. Then, as it says on the label, simply dip and twist.

I find this product is brilliant for removing polish in a hurry. It is particularly good with dark polishes and even those pesky glitter finishes, though a double dip is sometimes required. Even though it's like a bath of polish remover it does not dry out my nails, in fact it feels quite nourishing. It really does remove polish in seconds though and even with blue polish I never end up with the dreaded 'smurf fingers' and stained nails I usually get with a cotton wool pad.

One tub can last quite a long time, but it depends on how many dark polishes you remove as the sponge obviously becomes saturated with colour eventually. I buy mine from Superdrug and they cost about £2.50, I think. They also do a similar product for use with acrylic nails.

Friday, 26 March 2010

FOTD - Fyrinnae, MAC, RMK, Daniel Sandler

So, I've spent some time doing crazy experiments in my bathroom with the Pixie Epoxy and all my Fyrinnae samples and can officially confirm I love all of them. The shadows are amazing, the mixture of colours is great, the shimmer and sparkle are fantastic and the Pixie Epoxy is a wonder product. When using this product, you must work against type with the loose shadow. There is no delicate patting on of colour with a dense shader brush. You can swipe a flufffy brush coated with loose powder across your lid and it will stick and give an amazingly intense wash of colour. I highly recommend it.

Anyway, moving on to today's look:

Let's take a closer look at those eyelids and the gorgeous Fyrinnae shadows:

*sigh* I just love them.

Anyway, the technical deets. After priming my eye with UDPP in sin I applied a tiny amount of Pixie Epoxy from lashline to brow on both eyes. I also took a tinier amount and ran it along my lower lashline (avoid the waterline). After leaving it to dry a little and go tacky - about 20 seconds - I used a fluffy shader and stroked Fyrinnae Atomic Afterglow across my lid and below the lower lashline. It goes on incredibly smoothly and the epoxy really grabs hold of it and gives a smooth, almost foiled look. Atomic Afterglow is described as silvery taupe with silver and gold highlights, but I definitely get a soft green undertone.

I then used the same fluffy brush to apply Arcane Magic in Archmage in the crease and then blended both inwards and upwards. Again, it was a dream to work with. The Arcane Magics change colour dependent upon which light they are seen in. Archmage is a deep green with a lighter shimmer that changes from pale green to silver to pink in various lights. Someone at work commented on how lovely my eyeshadow was today and how it 'kept changing colour'. The Arcanes are really something. I took another photo with flash to try to show a shift in colour:

I highlighted the inner corner up to the middle of the socket line with MAC Vanilla pigment, then used MAC Vanilla shadow to highlight under the brow. The face was RMK Liquid Foundation, Daniel Sandler Watercolour in Truth on the cheeks and on the lips is MAC Naked Honey Skin Salve topped with Fyrinnae Lip Lustre in Flavor of the Day. I will do a separate post on the Lip Lustres at some point.

This look lasted well all day and the shadows did not flake or crease. I am looking forward to more adventures with my sample shadows, Arcanes and Pixie Epoxy. I am also planning another order with Fyrinnae for some full size shadows as I am so impressed with these. Delivery took a lot less than the 16-20 working days initially outlined on the website and even if I'd had to wait a month, it would have been worth it. I also got two free sample shadows included in the order, which I thought was a nice touch.

I leave you with an 'eyes open' pic, in order that the Lip Lustre can have a bit of attention while the amazing shadows are hiding:

Anyone else a Fyrinnae fan? Any recommendations?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Ceci n'est pas une haul

I'm not a big fan of haul posts or YouTube vids, I prefer to see products in action rather than trotted out for no apparent purpose. Having said that, I am trotting out some new products for you now, with a promise that I WILL show them in action when I get a moment.

Real life has thrust its greasy nose into my beauty reverie in the last few days so my opportunities to post have been somewhat curtailed. Nevertheless, my first ever order placed with Fyrinnae arrived through the letterbox today, and I am excited as a result. Behold:

I ordered samples sizes of a number of eyeshadows, three Lip Lustres, several Arcanes and a full size Pixie Epoxy. They all look beautiful in the pot and the mixture of sparkles in some is amazing. I snapped a few quick pictures to show you, but I will give them the attention they deserve and do a proper post soon. In the meantime, here is a visual amuse-gueule:

Sunday, 21 March 2010

FOTD - Suqqu, Daniel Sandler, Julie Hewett, Bourjois

Even if I get up 5 minutes earlier than usual in the morning, I never seem to have time to click a few photos of my FOTD lately. I finally managed it on Friday for the first time in ages.  

I was rushing to get ready for work and was a little flustered, which hopefully explains my dishevelled mop. I decided to use my Suqqu EX-02 Sukashizumi palette on Friday, but wanted to try a slightly different look from the last one I featured using that palette.

I really like the shimmery taupe shade in the palette, so decided to make it more of a feature this time. As before, the shadows blended beautifully, even on top of a base of Urban Decay Primer Potion, which normally hampers smooth blending slightly for me. I was pleased with the finished look, which only took a few minutes. I love the pale lilac shade for highlighting, it's such a brightening colour.

The photo washes the colours out slightly, but it was a nice, office-friendly look. On the rest of the face I used Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation and concealer, Daniel Sandler Watercolour in Truth as a blusher, Suqqu Noble Nuance face powder and lips were Julie Hewett Camelia balm in Rose. The Daniel Sandler Watercolour is a new acquisition and I really like it. The shade is a very pale peach which is recommended for helping to camouflage high colour in the cheeks. I will do a full review on it once I've used it a few more times.

I tried to capture the full look in natural light, but as you can see I managed to skew the shot slightly thanks to the slatted blinds in my lounge. Oh well, I suppose it adds a bit of atmosphere, or a great impression of cack-handedness, dependent upon your opinion.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Ruddy hell!

*long, and very picture heavy post*

As I've mentioned before, I have naturally ruddy cheeks. I am also getting more broken veins in my cheeks as I get older. I'm generally happy with my skin, it's usually clear apart from the occasional hormonal outbreak but I'm currently trying out some new skincare that seems to be helping (I'll post on that once I've been following it for a month). My mum has lovely skin and my nan did too, so I know genetics plays a big part. I do make an effort to look after my skin though and have been cleansing, moisturising and using a minumum of SPF 15 daily since I was about 14.

Anyway, back to the ruddiness. this is what my cheek looks like without any make-up:

I thought I would review and show you how several of my favourite foundations deal with that...

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

'It's after 7, don't waste good lipgloss'

*lotsa pics again*

For the second entry in my occasional series on my favourite 80s films, I thought I would focus on Pretty in Pink.

I love John Hughes films and Pretty in Pink is one of my favourites. It was releasd in 1986 when I was nine, so I did not see it at the cinema. My first encounter with it was when I read in the Radio Times that it was going to be on tv, I think I was about 11 or 12 at the time. I asked my mum to tape it for me as it was on quite late at night. She only remembered after it had been on for about twenty minutes. It didn't really matter as I fell in love with Andie, Duckie and Iona immediately and I rewatched that recording until the tape wore out.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

ELF Complexion Perfection powder

I have mixed feelings about ELF products. I think the range is great value for money - most items are £1.50 - and offers an amazing selection of products to experiment with. Based on numerous purchases from ELF, I do feel that the quality goes up and down dependent upon what you buy.

The Studio range of products is really quite impressive. It's the more upmarket range with packaging that mimics the tactile design of Nars products but with a finish far less likely to get covered with fingerprints. Most items are £3.50.

Monday, 15 March 2010

L'Occitane hand creams

I panic if I realise I've left the house without hand cream. A bit like my lip balm obsession, I am always finding half finished tubes of hand cream in handbags or random drawers around the house. I hate to have dry hands and I always find the soap available in public loos, the office and restaurants seems to strip so much moisture from my hands. I also like to wash my hands a lot as I use public transport every day and I've seen what people put on seats, handrails and the like. Urgh.

After years of trial and error, I've found my favourite hand creams are those from L'Occitane. I find them to be rich, non greasy, nourishing and they smell gorgeous. My absolute favourite handbag standby is the travel size of the Shea Butter Hand Cream.

This cream is incredibly thick yet a small amount is enouch to cover the front and back of my hands and immediately soften the skin. It absorbs well and feels as though it protects my hands from cold weather and general dehydration and it smells a bit like baby powder to me - very delicate and a bit sweet. I've bought individual tubes but they also come as part of gift sets occasionally and I even acquired one tube as a free gift with a magazine last year.

I also always keep a tube of hand cream on my bedside table and (at least) one on my desk at work. I do try other brands from time to time - Burt's Bees is good but comes in a jar, which I hate, Liz Earle's is also good, but I find the fragrance a bit strong - but I always return to L'Occitane.

Also rich in shea butter, but not as heavy duty and thick as the one above, the Honey & Lemon Hand Cream is a real pampering treat. The cream can be squeezed from the tube in a thin ribbon from the lovely gold twist cap and it feels silky upon application. Again it is absorbed quickly and moisturises well but one of the real pleasures of using it is the scent. The sweeteness of the honey is curbed by a tart citrus hit and it will easily fragrance the room in which you apply it, though it is not headache-inducing.

Once I'd used a full tube of the Honey & Lemon - and it lasted for at least four months of daily applications at work - I decided to check out the other fragrances to see if they were all as delicious.

I toyed with Lavender, Cherry Blossom and Rose 4 Reines (which I succumbed to in the travel size as a handbag back up) but once I smelled the Green Tea Hand Cream, the hunt was over. This cream has the same silky moisturising qualities as the Honey & Lemon but the fragrance is even better, in my opinion. It is light, refreshing and sweet with a bitter undertone of  leaf tea. As with the Lemon & Honey it wafts around the room and every time I apply it at work, someone will comment on the delicious smell. The fragrance then lingers on your hands which means you get wafts of it every now and then.

Pricing info and the creams themselves (along with others) are all available from the L'Occitane website though I've always bought from freestanding shops or concessions in Department stores. The travel size shea butter tubes are really worth a try, though I can't vouch for how well they'd work on sensitive skin or those with eczema. What works well for me might not for someone else. L'Occitane are pretty generous with sample sachets though.

Saturday, 13 March 2010

Julie Hewett and FOTD

*picture heavy post*

I love stumbling across fantastic things - I'm fairly certain most people do. The thing is once I find something new that I love, whether it's books, music, make-up or even cleaning products, I want to buy whatever is available to me in that range or genre. So it is with Julie Hewett. I've ordered items from the brand's website three times and and there is not a single item I don't like. This of course means I want to try more and more.

Friday, 12 March 2010

FOTD - Suqqu, Bourjois, Julie Hewett

Just a quick post to show a face of the day from a couple of days ago. I've been on the back foot all week and keep forgetting to take photos in the morning so I rushed to get this after work, before the light went completely.

After falling completely in love with my first ever Suqqu purchases I decided to drop by the counter to look at the other two eye quads in the Spring range. I decided to get EX03 Koukon, a mixture of warm browns in matte and shimmer shades.

I used Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation and concealer, set with E.L.F. Complexion Perfection powder. Blush was MyFace blusher in Holiday (my favourite blush) and lips were Julie Hewett Gem Noir lipstick, which is a lovely soft and sheer raspberry. I've just received some more Julie Hewett products so I'll aim to do a post on them soon.

Considering I took these pics at the end of the day when the whole lot had been on for 12 hours, I think the make-up lasted really well. I don't know what's going on with the simpering expression though. I tried to avoid my normal grumpy 'in repose' face, but I think this might be even worse. I can definitely see a touch of the Mr Bean about it.

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Suki skincare

A couple of years ago I was given a Suki skincare starter set. The Suki range is described as '100% natural, non toxic and cruelty free skincare' and was created by Suki Kramer when she could find nothing to ease her very sensitive skin.

I'd describe my skin as more fragile or delicate than sensitive, but I found the skincare worked well for me and I really liked two products in particular. I went on to purchase full sizes of the exfoliating lemongrass cleanser (now called exfoliate foaming cleanser) and the concentrated facial toner with shitake, burdock and olive leaf (now called nourishing facial toner - shitake). I loved them so much that the last time I went to New York, I brought back three bottles of each as they were still hard to get hold of in the UK.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Smooth lips and a classy lady

If I were stranded on a desert island and could only have one luxury cosmetic item (assuming sunscreen is classed as a necessary item) I would pick lip balm. I have a lot of lip balm. I have sticks, pots, tins and tubes and they are dotted around my house. Every time the season changes I become reacquainted with previous favourites as I change coats and bags and find several I've left in the pockets.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Face the past

*picture heavy post*

One of the things that fuelled my obsession with make-up when I was growing up was teen magazines and annuals. Though I was still far from being a teenager in the mid to late 80s, I had female relatives and family friends who were aged between 15 and 21 and who all seemed impossibly glamorous to me. I would snaffle their back issues of Blue Jeans, My Guy and Just 17 as often as I could.

The Blue Jeans annual of 1984 was one of my particular favourites and I would spend hours studying the photo love stories, problem pages, beauty tips and fashion. I could not wait to be 18 when I would be able to live my life as I wanted, and what I wanted was a life based on the Blue Jeans annual, 1984. I wanted stripes of tawny blusher, lurid blue eyeshadow and frosted pink lips. I wanted a curly perm sculpted into an immovable style and enhanced with plastic hoop earrings. I wanted to be a sophisticated woman. When I eventually did reach 18 in 1995, that dream had been long forgotten.

Saturday, 6 March 2010

Sunshine Sweeties

Inspired by the sunshine and all the lovely sandals that seem to have popped up in the shops, I decided to look for some pretty pastel cream nail colours. I've seen the new Illamasqua collection and - while they look lovely - was sure I could find much cheaper dupes on the high street.

Sure enough, a trip to Boots resulted in me finding the new range of delicious pastel varnishes from their 17 brand. Even better, there was a three for two offer. For under £6 I walked away with Sherbet Lemon (pale yellow), Fairy cake (sugary pink) and Mint Choc Chip (looks pale blue to me, rather than the green the name might suggest).

I did a really quick swatch of each and found one coat was streaky but two coats were smooth and opaque. The lemon is the only one that might need a further touch up due to Tippex-like streakiness. I think they look nice together too, so I might do a full set of alternating colours.

From memory, the range also includes a soft coral and a sugared almond lilac, as well as lip gloss and a new shadow trio in similar ice cream colours which looked pretty cute.

Friday, 5 March 2010

Nicky Clarke Desired hair straighteners - bargain

I have needed some new hair straighteners for a while. My current pair (I don't even know the brand) had started falling to bits. I've always been loathe to pay the best part of £100 for a pair of GHDs. I know this makes absoloutely no sense if you've read my preceding post given what I'll spend on a highlighter. I can offer no rational explanation.

I had seen a Pixiwoo blogpost recommending Nicky Clarke's Desired hair straighteners and thought they looked great. I researched, but found they were £87. I decided it was not to be and then thought I'd pick up some other straighteners in Boots at some point. Today, I was on my way to Boots to look for a pair as the old ones have finally given up the ghost. I decided to pop into Argos on the way to see what they had. I was amazed to find they had the Nicky Clarke Desired straighteners at half price, so I snapped a pair up. Further research tells me they're also half price on Amazon too. They still seem to be £87 elsewhere so be quick if you're interested in getting a pair as stocks are dwindling!

More Rouge Bunny Rouge

I wrote a post about my two Rouge Bunny Rouge Seas of Illumination Highlighting Fluids, but I thought I would do a quick review of the other RBR roducts I have.


Thursday, 4 March 2010

NOTD - Misa Dirty, Sexy money

Last year I cultivated my nails to a beautiful length thanks to Sally Hansen Nail Growth Miracle. Then I went camping during a gale in Dorset (the wind broke the tent poles in the night and I woke up with the ceiling on my head) and the lovely nails broke during a tent peg incident.

Since then, I've not devoted much care to my nails at all. Inspired by the blue skies of the past few days, I decided to put a bit of colour on them. I thought I should at least try to reinvigorate the relationship with my poor, neglected nails.

This is two coats of Misa Dirty, Sexy Money on top of Seche base coat. It's a green cream with a hint of grey (though it shows up more blue in the photo). I really like Misa polish. I've had their Hot People Like You (an almost neon pink with a slight blue/purple flash) on my toes for a week and it's lasting very well.

I got my Misa polishes from At Your Fingertips. Delivery was quick and the items well packaged.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

FOTD - Suqqu

Today was going to be a make-up free day. I was feeling a bit off colour and did not have to leave the house, so I planned to spend the day reclining languidly on my sofa, gorging on Gilmore Girls DVDs. It seems my husband had a similar plan, though in his case it was recordings of Match of the Day and Football Focus he wanted to watch.

I retreated upstairs to watch DVDs in the bedroom. Within an hour the urge to play with my new make-up was too strong - it called to me from its new home by my dressing table. The light was good and I was itching to see if my Suqqu Noble Nuance face powder would look as good when I used it as it did when the MUA demonstrated it for me.

Tuesday, 2 March 2010

New to Suqqu

As an avid reader of the brilliant London MakeUp Girl I have been exposed to several new and wonderful products. I've already talked about Villainess products which I bought from Posh Brats. Both were recommended on London MakeUp Girl's blog. I also own some Julie Hewett products after reading her reviews. I'll post about those in the future.

London Makeup Girl's favourite brand seems to be Suqqu and I love the elegance of her FOTDs using these products. Suqqu is a Japanese brand which I would describe as high end. Apparently the name was derived from a Japanese word meaning 'posture with attitude' and the brand concept states 'our Japanese cultural tradition of inner composure and serenity is echoed by the range'.

When I was at the RMK counter in Selfridges, Birmingham  last week, I decided to check out the newly released Suqqu Spring 2010 range. It looked absolutely beautiful, particularly the Noble Nuance Face Colour which reminded me of the Guerlain Les Meteorites powder compact. I decided to think about potential purchases for a few days as the high end quality also means high end price.

Maybelline 'The Falsies' mascara - deliberate provocation?

There's a lot to get your goat about beauty advertising, I think. Celebrity endorsements of products particularly annoy me because so many of them are obviously a steaming pile of horse manure. Cheryl Cole's beautifully volumised hair? Oh yeah, it's all shampoo and nothing to do with the extensions. Jane Fonda's well-preserved skin? Oh yeah, it's all face cream and nothing to do with surgical enhancement. There are more I could name, but I think you know what I'm talking about.

The one I find the most seethe-makingly infuriating is mascara adverts. For years many mascara advertisers seemed to expect us to believe that one coat of their magical potion would really make our lashes look like the model's. The same model who anyone with an ounce of make-up nous could see was wearing false lashes, either a few individuals or a full on strip. This kind of false (geddit?) advertising used to drive me up the wall and the fact advertisers now have to admit the enhancement hasn't helped matters. It now seems lashes in adverts are even more amped up than before yet this is excused by the 'styled using lash inserts' disclaimer which now appears in an almost invisible font and point size at the bottom of the picture.

Little wonder then that when I saw the name of Maybelline's new mascara I took it as a personal challenge. Were Maybelline deliberately provoking me with their new 'The Falsies Volum' Express' (don't even get me started on the use of the word Volum'). There was only one way to find out.

Monday, 1 March 2010


After a couple of days of smearing cream shadow on with a finger as part of my pared down travel routine, I was ready to wield the blending brush again this morning, and fancied some colour.

When I was at the RMK counter last week, I bought one of the shadow quads from their Spring Modern range, which takes its inspiration from 20th Century contemporary art. I couldn't choose which of the palettes to buy, but the fact that two were sold out made it a little easier. I eventually came home with the Coral Green palette.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Teeny tiny toiletries

Greetings my small band of followers. I am happily reunited with my laptop after almost three days as I have been experiencing that most exciting rite of passage:  a country house hotel mini break. Despite my advancing years, I have never been on such a trip before. If I holiday in this country, it tends to be in a tent with my best mate. Holidays with the other half have usually been abroad in some sort of 'budget' accommodation, so this was a real treat involving Champagne, a creaky antique wardrobe and the sort of overabundant eating that may now be turning my liver to foie gras.

Anyway, one of the things I love about being away from home is travel toiletries. I have amassed a big collection of these by various means. Some were samples and gifts with purchase from cosmetic counters and online beauty companies. A lot are also due to my need to buy ridiculously uneconomical small bottles of stuff from Boots and Superdrug because awww, they're cute.

Thursday, 25 February 2010

Lush locks

I long for thick, lustrous locks. Unfortunately, I have an abundance of fine hair which does a lot of strange things. It has its own natural wave which can be coaxed to a full on curl, but sometimes chooses not to. Likewise, it can be coaxed to a shiny straightness, but sometimes chooses not to. I think you get the idea.

I've never really done much with it, due to its changeable behaviour. I tend to keep it shoulder length, with a half fringe as I also have a cowlick. This way I can tie it back occasionally but mostly I just - ahem - wash and go.

I have to wash it every day becaue it's so fine it looks greasy quickly. I have to wash it each morning because even if I go to bed with a beautifully clean, silky barnet I wake up looking like the lovechild of Tim Burton and Don King.

Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Jingle jangle jewellery

I love accessories almost as much as make-up. I love a bit of extra colour, texture and/or sparkle about my person and I find it cheering. I like the differences accessorising can make to one item of clothing and I also find it's a fairly cost effective way of buying into new trends if you like them. 

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Rouge Bunny Rouge Seas of Illumination highlighters

When I first read about Rouge Bunny Rouge products, I was captivated by the names of the products. Lipglosses called Sweet Excesses and Gleaming Temptations, loose pigments called Fire Drops and eye shadows named for birds such as Delicate Hummingbird and Abyssinian Catbird. I decided I did not want to try any of the products as I couldn't bear it if they did not live up to their magical names. Oh, and I did look at the prices and mentally shriek 'how much?!'

Now, I am not at all shy of spending my cash on quality products. Whether it's a Chanel foundation or a Rimmel mascara, it's results I'm after. In my experience, there are great products to be found in both Superdrug and Selfridges and I'd never ignore either of those options. At the same time, if a new range launches and everything costs twice as much as I'd normally expect to pay, I will research it as thoroughly as I can before waving bye bye to my hard earned de Niros.

Monday, 22 February 2010

GOSH Irresistible Intensity mascara

Whilst perusing the aisles of my local Superdrug this afternoon, I noticed a display of new mascara from GOSH. I love mascara and I only ever buy drugstore brands.There's no way I'm dropping £20 on something from Chanel or Estee Lauder when I'll need to bin it in three months. I am a big fan of Rimmel Sexy Curves. I like buildable mascaras and my eyelashes don't have much natural curl, so I also prefer a mascara to lock the work of my Shu lash curler in place.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Blue flash

I don't wear much make-up at the weekends. Despite my love for it, I prefer my weekend routine to be quite different to that of the week. This means no alarms, no hair dryer, a decent breakfast and no faffing with foundation and blending.

Yesterday's crisp air and blue sky inspired me to wear my new H&M Breton stripe top and try the bright blue pearl paint in my Yaby palette. I defined my brows, washed a silvery grey across my lid and into the crease and then used an angled brush to draw a rough line of the bright blue shade along my lashline. Precision was jettisoned in favour of speed, but I was happy with the final look.

I dotted MAC Select Moisture Cover concealer where needed, dusted E.L.F Complexion Perfection powder over my face and finished with a hint of Bobbi Brown blusher in sandwash pink and a slick of Lipstick Queen 15 minutes of fame gloss (a random colour from 'The Nudes' Christmas gift set).

It took all of ten minutes to do, lasted well and withstood a visit to the supermarket, a trip round TK Maxx and a few afternoon drinks with my bezzie. Poi-fict!