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.