Saturday, 29 December 2012

Excitement on all fronts

There's plenty to be excited about in the Queendom of Esme at the moment. The arrival of Clinque's Chubby Sticks for eyes has me counting the days to their February arrival. The chubby stick wasn't an instant hit with me but they've become a daytime staple over the last month & I do love an eye crayon so expect a review on Massive Midnight & Whooping Willow towards the end of February.

Whilst on the topic of new releases I'm having a complete girly moment over the Dior Cherie Bow Collection for spring. Its just so pretty, ultra feminine with a nod to quirky in its bow shape. tipping its hat to the iconic bow that was the final flourish on Christian Dior's designs. Love that the packing was designed by the in house jewellery design too. I can feel an indulgence coming on when this super cute palette is released. By the way, the rest of the range is just as lovable.

Nip+Fab have recently entered my bathroom. I've been looking at this range for ages & managed to get a heavily discounted gift set so I could try a few of their products. I'm already in love with the Hydrating Mask & Face Scrub after just 2 uses so will be scouring sales for some more from this range. There a review in the pipe line so won't ramble on too much here.

I happened to find myself on the illamasqua website the other day & the sale was pretty good so dropped a Cream Foundation,  Fundamental eye shadow palette & a Medium Pencil, in a deep candy pink (Manic) into my basket. Can't wait to have a play with these, I love their powder eye shadows and have had good results from the Skin Base foundation in the past. Here's hoping they help me get over the Liquid Metal saga!

I'm lucky enough to have an amazing friend who gifted me a Maybelline Lasting Drama Gel Liner in Ultra Violet. Now my world is complete. My favourite liner in purple, what more can a girl ask for! Just like the others, this limited edition is uber smooth when applying and last all day and night without moving a millimetre. Love it with my Badgal Plum mascara as it lifts my eyes in a way black could never.

Well I think that's enough about what I'm currently enjoying. Its time to look towards spring and explore the pretty pastel-ness of the new collections whilst dreaming of bright (& hopefully drier!) days. Would love to know what you're enjoying on these cold dark nights and grey damp days.

Illamasqua Liquid Metals

At first sight it's easy to fall in love with this quad of highly metallic creams. The pigmentation & shiny is beautiful & the super soft texture is not at all irritating. The shades are wonderfully wintery & scream NYE party. With names like Enrapture, Surge, Electrum and Phenomena (from top left) its hard not to harbour some lust. This is sadly where my love affair ends.

Oh my word! This palette is awful. A friend gave it to me & said "make it work, I really want to love it but everything I try fails". Never one to shy away from a make up related challenge I snatched it from her with gusto, resolute that I'd report back with some stunning results.

Now, I usually like Illamasqua, the colour & shade ranges are exceptional & the goth in me loves the styling but in my opinion the palette (£34) is an epic fail.

I should confess I'm quite picky about cream shadows due to the creasing issues I've experienced but from a fairly high end product with such a good reputation I had higher hopes.

Firstly I tried Surge as a shadow smudged with fingers over eyes prepped with foundation. Creases appeared within 10 minutes but were easily corrected with fingertips. After about a hour it looked horrific with the only colour remaining being crease lines. Then I tried Phenomena over Mac's Soft Ochre paint pot. This faired no better.

Determined to find a use for this seemingly gorgeous palette, I tried applying a thin layer over Urban Decay Primer Potion then patting a Mac Pigment in Old Gold over the top to set it. I fixed this with Urban Decay De-Slick spray. Loved the super dense shine & thought I may have cracked it. However, after a hour of sitting & doing very little, the creases were not only very evident but impossible to correct.

Following some research (& a little sale purchase, whoops!) on the Illamasqua website I tried using the Liquid Metals in different ways. They failed as eyeliner, as disappeared quickly & applying them over a powder shadow was tricky as they either caked or rubbed the shadow off. As a highlight on the cheekbones they looked amazing but faded fast (2hours of sitting in a cool room!). On the collarbone they faired a little better but I was scared of transfer onto not only my clothes but the clothes of anybody I dared to hug.

 Finally I tried them as lip glosses. For photographs this would be fab but after about 3 mouthfuls of wine you're left with a sticky glass and naked lips.

I really do want to like this palette. The colours are stunning & very metallic but sadly I cannot find a use for it that lasts & doesn't require mega efforts to achieve.
I'd love to know how others use it, if only so I can admit defeat & go back to playing with products that work!

Roll on 2013!

So it's been a while since I posted on my poor abandoned blog. Not through choice but December turned out to be pretty shocking as months go. Now we're (mostly) moved into a wonderful new home & have enjoyed a lovely family Christmas with my daddy, it's time to look forward to the New Year.

I'm itching to get back on the blogging pony & have some reviews & looks planned. I've got some exciting purchases in mind & the perfect excuse to organise my collection & set up a new dressing table. I'm off mirror shopping in a bit & hope to find some unusual storage solutions at the same time. You never know 2013 may be the year I finally whip the jumbled box of tricks into shape!

I've got a list of resolutions as long as my arm, my poor neglected face/skin & hair needs some proper TLC, my exercise routine needs a kick up the backside & the month of takeaways needs to end now the kitchen is sorted! So it's time to dust myself off & leap into the glamorising that has been so sorely missing from my life over the last few weeks.

Here's to a beautiful 2013!

Friday, 23 November 2012

Party Eyes

I love weddings. I particularly love getting dolled up for weddings. I absolutely adore the opulent colour palette of this time of year, so I'm took full advantage of the opportunity to get my glam on & break out a completely decadent smokey eye at a recent wedding. I couldn't resist writing a post about my dress rehearsals.You'll have to excuse the lack of gel liner (usually a staple) as I couldn't find it (it may still be in the hotel!) the evening I had Mr Esme poised with the camera. There will be a part 2 of this post as I've more looks to recreate but waiting for a sunny day to get some decent quality photos for once!

Black & Gold

This super easy look would have complemented my outfit perfectly. I really like black and gold together and with some super sharp liner to finish this off would have been ideal wintery chic. 
Primed with Maybelline 24hr Eye Tattoo in Immortal Charcoal
Took MAC Carbon over outer corner and out into a wing, smudge some under lower lashes.
Blended Benefit Show Off in Jacki into inner corner and over the edge of Carbon. Lined upper lashes with carbon and filled in lower water line. I forgotten how much I love Jacki, its really pinky but turns a beautiful antique gold colour when applied over a darker base.

Navy and Bronze with Teal Liner

This is the look I wore on the day. Its my new favourite eye look. I love the teal under the eye, brightening the look. I love the bronze edges to the navy, not a combination I've tried before but I think the warmth from the bronze really sets the Navy off. 
I primed lids with Urban Decay Primer Potion (Greed) and contoured the crease with a reddish bronze from Sleek The Original Palette. Just underneath the reddish bronze I blended a more gold base tone from the same palette. I covered the lid with MAC Nehru and lined with Carbon  in place of a gel liner. I smudged some Shiseido Hydro Powder in H5 under the lower lashes as a primer then the teal from the Sleek palette over it.

Bright Blue Liner

I've been trying to find an excuse to wear MAC Liquidlast Liner for a while now. It was given to me by a friend who 'could get on with it'. I see her point. Its an amazing colour and REALLY lasts (I have to use baby oil to remove it) but I find it difficult to work with. I always end up with lashes caked in it, whether I use the brush that it comes with or decant onto my favourite liner brushes. Grrr. It stays wet for a really long time too. 
Anyway, I primed my lid with Maybelline 24hr Eye tattoo, Immortal charcoal and covered the lid with Blue Smoke from an Estee Lauder gift palette. I added a thick sweep of Liquidlast, a little flick and some Benefit Bad Gal Blue. I lined the lower water line with MAC Fascinating Pencil. I think its far too casual for a wedding but fun party make up. I love the silver and bright blue combo but still not sold on the Liquidlast formula.

Maybelline Fit Me Foundation, Concealer & Powder

Taking full advantage of Superdrug's 3 for 2 offer I thought I'd road test the latest foundation offering from Maybelline.

What they say..

Fully customisable range of 12 shades with matching concealers & powers.
No nasties like fillers or waxes
Gel formula
100% natural looking skin
Excuse the dirty finger prints!


The pump on my foundation leaks a bit & seems to dispense too much product but it looks classic.

There's only so many ways to package a concealer, this is a pretty standard square-ish tube with rabbit foot applicator, not ground breaking but looks quite slick.

I do really like the way the powder is packaged. Its a sturdy, square compact with a good mirror under the powder so it stays clean & a very soft velour puff.



This takes a bit of blending but gives a very natural finish with just the right amount of luminosity for combo skin like mine. Feels light on skin but seems to stay wet for a bit longer than I'd like, not great if you're in a hurry. It gives a sheer to medium coverage which is a bit light for my normal tastes but adequate for a good skin day.

 I found you need a good primer with it to ensure it lasts past the 4 mark. I haven't set the whole face using the powder yet so perhaps that extends wear time. I didn't want to ruin the natural, fresh finish by adding powder where I don't need it. 


The Concealer is very easy to blend and builds to a full finish without any hint of caking. Applied after foundation, an impressively small amount covers blemishes well. Although I was initially put off by the very liquid consistency of this product, it's light weight texture makes it great for under my eyes, where I need quite a lot of coverage.

 I fear it's longevity is probably not great if its not set but when used with the powder I got around 4 hours from it in normal daytime conditions.  I would normally opt for something more creamy but on top of a light base this really does the trick as it looks so natural but covers what I ask it to, its surprisingly opaque.


It's been a while since I bought a powder in compact form. I use MAC Mineralise Skin Finish (which lasts ages!) & loose powders, so I've gone out on a limb with this one. To be honest, I didn't expect to like it much as I'm very picky with powders. However I think this is probably the star of the trio.

 It's really light & the shade is great for my skin tone. I hated it when applied with the applicator it comes with but once I'd blended it out it gave a nice matt but not mask like finish. Used under my eyes to set concealer, it blended  to almost an invisible finish & didn't settle into my fine lines. It feels a lot more like an expensive powder, fine smooth texture & soft finish.


These are by no means Holy Grail products for me but they are reasonably priced and do seem to work in harmony with each other. The create a really natural base but don't have the staying power I long for in face products. I felt like I should be recommending this range to my 18 year old sister, I'm not sure why but it feels like it'd be suited to younger, clearer skin than mine!

 The shade range seemed quite impressive, with the lightest being really fair and the darkest looked deep and rich. I didn't swatch it but it did not look at all ashy in the bottle. I like the concept of having matching products and I think Maybelline have pulled it off. If you're after a super natural, affordable range of base products this is certainly worth a look but I do think there are better high street products out there. 

My worst skin day ever!

I'm no stranger to bad skin days (or even weeks) but I've never experienced anything like what I was faced with this morning.

A Bit of History

 Following a painful breakout that resulted from using Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant I was left with angry bumps all over my cheeks that were very sore. They appeared almost immediately after the 2nd use. I cleansed with Bioderma that night & left off any other creams as my face was too sore to touch. The following morning I skipped any foundation (don't worry I was staying at home!) and applied some Avene Recovery Cream in a hope to sooth the itching. Last night I cleansed with Shu Uemura oil as normal, then moisturised with Avene Recovery Cream. This picture shows what I was faced with when I came to do my make up this morning. It's not pretty & it's really painful! 
I couldn't risk bumping into anybody at the shops, so had to attempt a major cover up. I applied a thin layer of MAC Pro Longwear all over my face with my fingers. I then mixed Estée Lauder double wear concealer with Jemma Kidd Front Cover Touch Up & applied over the (great many) areas that were most angry. Still unhappy with the levels of redness I used some more Pro longwear on a concealer brush over the top. I looked less cakey than I felt, honest! It wasn't quite the fresh & flawless effect I was hoping, wishing & praying for but it was fit for human consumption! 

Now I'm about to research the ingredients to find out exactly what it was that caused my skin to rebel in such dramatic fashion and spent the next week nursing my wounds and perfecting the art of hardcore concealing!!

Thursday, 22 November 2012

Collection 2000 Volume Sensation & Lasting Colour lipsticks

On a recent trip around Superdrug I gave Mr Esme the task of choosing me a new lippy. He rose to the challenge admirably and was soon rooting around the testers with a vigour I've only ever seen in a woman on a mission! I told him I was open to anything but something bright and a break from my normal reds and berries. 

He presented me with two he was struggling to decide between and when discovering they were £2.99 each I thought it may be rude not to throw both into the basket. 

I've not really investigated Collection 2000 very closely as a brand. I use the Cream Puff Lip Cream and love the Glam Crystal eye liner but discovered these through recommendations rather than exploring the counter in store. To be quite frank, I didn't expect too much from £3 lipsticks but as it was an exercising in experimenting with different colours it didn't matter if they turned out to be a bit rubbish. They didn't. In fact, I'm considering the shades I want to pick up next. 

Volume Sensation in Plum Perfection claims to contain ingredients to make lips look up to 40% fuller. I'm not sure if 40% might be pushing it a bit but I did notice a more full pout. The pigmentation was good and the colour lasted a good 3 hours with liner. The formula is rich and smooth, it has that sherberty scent that Rimmel lipsticks have, which I find quite appealing, it doesn't linger but is noticeable when applying. I've read some reviews that claim this makes your lips tingle when applied (like DuWop Lip Venom) but I didn't notice this. I'd wear this lipstick anywhere, I love how it makes my lips look, I love the way it feels moisturising but not sticky or greasy and I really like the shade, punchy but not overtly bright. I would say its quite a pinky shade for something labelled as plum but its wearable as it looks surprisingly natural when on the lips.This is perfect for a colour hit in the cold, dark days of winter. It gets a big thumbs up as an every day lipstick that is really affordable and of decent quality.

Lasting Colour in Sweet Tart is a true bright pink, its on the neon side of Barbie but it is definitely in the bubblegum league. It is wearable with a bit of caution, with very natural face and a sweep of black liner takes a plain and simple look and gives it the appearance of much more effort. I've fallen head over heels in love with this shade! As it claimed to be 'lasting colour' I gave it a proper road test by applying a quick slick before sitting down for lunch. No liner, no primer, no second coat. Not only did it withstand lucnh but four hours, two cigarettes, two coffee, some cake and a bottle of water. Impressive.
The formula is beautiful, it is so smooth and soft and unlike a lot of my long lasting lip colours, it doesn't feel at all dry on the lips.  It doesn't crack or sit in the fines on my lips either. I'd call the finish satin, its not flat matt but doesn't have much shine to it. I love the fact it contains an SPF of 15 and feels so moisturising and is available in 11 shades so there's one for every occasion. I really struggle to believe this is a £3 lipstick it rivals and of my higher end brands. 

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Review

I received this sample as part of November's Glossybox. I really liked the sound of it, as I like to exfoliate regularly but gently. It claims to be for 'all skin conditions' from which I take 'suitable for most people. It contains a lot of the ingredients I look for in skin care, salicylic acid, tea tree, plenty of other plant extracts and papaya enzyme.

 I've only ever tried dermalogica once before, when I invested in the mediBac Clearing adult acne kit. At the time I was suffering from a particularly bad flare up that nothing would shift, this was recommended to me so I tried it. Within 48 hours my skin was red raw, think horrendous chemical peel! I attributed it to the fact the products were too strong for my delicate and picky skin.

Sadly, it would seem that my crazy skin refuses to know whats good for it and has a dislike for dermalogica in general. I've used this product twice. The first time it gave beautiful results, softer, brighter skin. The next morning I had a break out on my chin, I didn't initially blame the Microfoliant, just rubbish skin. The next day I used  in the morning and within a few hours I developed painful, angry, cystic acne type lumps on my cheeks and jaw. This time I had to blame the product as I had not used anything else of out the norm and had no make up on. I'm so sad as my first impressions of this were so good. 


Both times I've used this product I've been really impressed at how it leaves my skin so much softer and smoother. It didn't feel in harsh in any way and my skin looked brighter, results similar to using a vitality mask of some kind. I imagine with regular use this product could really improve the overall texture of the skin and brighten the complexion. The texture is very smooth but feels grainy enough to be doing some good. I really liked the soapy, clean smell too

The Good Bits

Although fairly pricey (£38.50 for 75g) I think this product would last a while as you don't actually need much powder to form enough paste to cover the whole face. It contains some great ingredients, has a clean smell (a bit like old fashioned soap) and I like that it is an addition to an established routine rather than having to swap products out to make room for it.

The Not So Good Bits

Obviously the way I reacted to this product isn't great and looking through the extensive ingredient list, it is probably best avoided by sensitive folk as it  includes methylparaben which has been known to irritate sensitive skin. I think the packaging could be improved too, not sure how but I'd worry that keeping a powder in a steamy bathroom could cause it to swell and clump if the lid is not full closed every time.

November's Glossybox

Its that time of the month again, after a very long week of waiting, I've  received my Glossybox. My box usually arrives the day after the dispatch email, but this month it took a whole week. This served to heighten my excitement so I could not wait to peel back the packing and explore its contents. 
Its with a heavy heavy heart that I inform you that I was not bowled over by this month's offerings. Its not an awful box, just a bit lack lustre. I can't really complain too much, if you do the maths, it is worth over the £10 price tag and my previous boxes have been great. I guess I've got to take the rough with the smooth.

The Products

This months theme was stocking fillers and the products were mostly skincare. Firstly there's an Olay Regenerist 3 Point Treatment Cream, this is a good product, I've tried it before. Its slightly too rich for my skin to be used daily but great if I need a bit of extra TLC. The sample is 7mls (it retails in 50ml jars) which I think is a bit stingey from such a big and easily available brand. It also makes it difficult to give it a proper road test if you've not tried it before. I'll use the sample but without much excitement, It'll probably end up in my locker for post night shift emergencies.

Next I found a pouch containing a tiny 4ml tube of Wei Beauty Jujube age Control Serum. I'm quite excited by this brand as it bases its products on theories from Chinese medicine, which I find fascinating. I've looked at these products on SpaceNK before but they are quite pricey so have yet to pluck up the courage to splurge on something that I've not read too much about. Its a very small sample but a 30ml pot would set you back £60 so price wise the size is understandable. Can't wait to try this out but hoping for great results from it. It claims to renew, revitalise and restore elasticity. I sure as hell could do with some revitalising right now. 

My need for revitalising is partly due to too much fun this weekend but also, in no small part, due to the reaction I've had from the Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant. I won't ramble too much about this as its getting its own post, but it is a good product just not for my fussy skin. Its a good sized sample at around a quarter of a full sized jar. I really like the powder to paste formulation, I thought it was nice to mix your own preferred consistency. The £5 off an order from the Dermalogica was a nice touch, sadly me and this brand have fallen out twice now so I don't think I'll be trying anything else from the range.

The Alison Claire Natural Beauty Body Butter was happily received, I never get bored of body butters. Loved the fact its in a pump, negating the body butter under the nails issue. Its a lovely consistency, thick enough to qualify for body butter status but easily absorbed. It has a delicious, almost edible mango scent and the 50ml bottle makes it ideal for travelling. It is fabulously natural, 70% organic, suitable for sensitive skins and from Devizes (!!) There's 20% off orders on the website until January too, I may well be filling my own stocking from there!

I thought that was my lot, slightly miffed by only recieving 4 products I started to read the info card and realised there should also be a Nails Inc product. After a bit of a rummage among the shredded packing I found a 'so small its cute' bottle Nails Inc Kensington Caviar Top Coat. This is one of my favourite top coats and I already own a full size so was disappointed I didn't get one of the colours on offer (Porchester Square of Notting Hill Gate). It gives a good shine and a bit of longevity to any polish and I'm sure you'd be impressed by it if this was your first try. I don't tend to take nail products away with me but if you do this 4ml pot would be perfect for travelling and at almost half a full size its a good sized sample. 


I think my vague disappointment with this box stems from the fact I already owned two of the samples and the first product I tried from it distroyed my newly healed skin! I've had two fantastic Glossybox's before this one and think I'll renew my subscription. It was certainly worth the price and reminded me to add Wei Beauty to my wish list. I'm happy to have discovered Alison Claire too. Hoping for a really festive box next month with a bit of sparkle and wintery scents.

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Movember Male Grooming Product Round Up

Everywhere I look at the moment men are sprouting moustaches in support of Movember, a charity event to raise money for men's health causes in particular prostate and testicular cancer. I love this concept and its great to see so many people taking part, even if some are looking better than others! Anyway, after a conversation with my husband about beard oil, I thought perhaps I should do a little round up of some of the male grooming products we like the look of. If you're looking to treat the man in your life to a post-Movember treat or something to help a patchy nose beard on its way, keep reading!

I love giving my man beauty gifts, it stops him pilfering my products and indulges his decadent bathroom habit he won't admit too! I'm often a bit disappointed by the 'manly' styling of many of the products I find. Not so with eShave S Stand shaving set I think its classic but modern style would look great in any bathroom.

Every new razor needs some shaving products to accompany its maiden voyage. Shave Kit & Face Rag by The Botanist is created using natural ingredients, suitable for all skin types and contains a shave oil for a smooth, close shave, a beard oil to moisturise skin beneath a beard or stubble & condition the facial hair. It also comes with a 'face rag' to remove excess oil. Both oils contain essential oils like tea tree, patchouli, lime, and sandlewood and are packaged in the cutest cork topped bottles. 

Tweezerman Moustache scissors and grooming comb (£15.95 are surely an essential for any facial hair cultivationist. This handy set will keep your man's 'tasche neat and tidy with straight, sharp blades for precise trimming of all facial hair and complete with a fine tooth comb to help achieve a  truly professional finish

No man worth his facial hair can be without a tub of moustache wax and we think we've found the finest there is! Toad Satin Wax from is vegan friendly and made in Britain using all natural British ingredients. The website says;
Foad's Toad Satin Wax is our Vegan pomade style moustache and beard wax suitable for everyday use. It has a loose to medium hold and a satin sheen finish. It can be used alone for groomed, neater facial hair, endowing your face fuzz with a natural flowing look. However it can also be used in conjunction with Foad Wax to aid its distribution, and create your own unique mix and level of hold for a more styled look. 
Love the styling of this product and the handy pocket sized tin making those all important on the go touch ups hassle free!   

Grimas Water Make Up (£9 can be used to darken or fill in patchy facial hair. It's probably something that most men (the ones I know anyway!) will need a bit of practise at. Its applied with a damp sponge directly to the area. Its actually a stage make up product but comes highly recommended, check out the Wayne Goss video link at the end of this post for more information on make up for men.

When you consider facial hair, its not actually that different from eyebrows and so a good eye brow pencil or palette would be more than adequate for filling in sparse areas. I really like MAC Eye Brow pencils ( £12.50, as they stay put well and don't need sharpening and are available in 6 shades so there's bound to be something for everybody.

Once Movember is over and your man is once more naked of top lip foliage, why not treat him to some pampering skincare.
Billy Jealousy's Shave3some contains everything a man could possibly need for a luxurious shave. A hot towel pre shave treatment, shave cream and after shave balm work in conjunction to provide a comfortable shave, professional results and minimise irritation.

Elemis Men Post Shave Recovery Mask is formulated to replenish nutrients that are stripped from the skin with shaving. It contains macadamia, lavender and rosemary oil to calm irritation and shea butter to moisturise. My man has not tried this mask, but it smells lovely and has a beautiful texture. If its anything like the other Elemis masks it'll delivery great results.

A Few Good Websites
Need more inspiration for beauty treats for your man? Here are some websites that have been tried and tested by Esme's male counterpart! is definitely worth checking out if you know a man who isn't afraid to conceal, line or buff himself up a bit.  has a great range of skin care brands that are difficult to find in the shops.

Visual Aids
I thought I'd include a couple of YouTube videos that contain some useful tips for male grooming, whether you're a man looking for hints or a woman wanting to learn some male friendly techniques.

The mighty Pixiwoo have done a great tutorial on male grooming, including how to clipper stubble,  that can be found at //

On of my YouTube favourites, Wayne Goss gives a great Make Up for Men tutorial here; //

Friday, 9 November 2012

Urban Decay Afterglow Score

I've recently rekindled my love affair with Urban Decay and this cream blush is well worth a quick review. I picked it up on a recent trip to Debenhams, it cost £18. The formula is really smooth without any greasiness. It is full of niceties for the skin like vitamins A, C and E. It glides on over liquid and cream foundations without any trouble. I've not tried it over powder. Its very sheer which I like as I can use it to give the merest glint of health to my skin or build it for a more noticeable effect. It can be built up without feeling too caked as it is so light weight. I was hoping it'd last a bit longer than it did, about 4 hours wear in normal day time conditions, but the sturdy compact comes with a mirror so touch ups are not a problem. The sales assistant also used it on my lips and although it was fine, a bit balmy with a hint of colour, it was nothing to write home about. If you happened to be caught without a lip product and were in desperate need this would do.
Vice Palette
 It is available in 7 shades and I'll definitely be picking up Greedy and Crush. As a recent convert to cream blushers I want to start experimenting with more dramatic colours and I think the sheerness of these would be a great place to start. At the counter the sales assistant used Urbanglow cream highlight on my cheeks and nose at the same time and I was very tempted by it as it looked amazing. It was really smooth and not too blingy, a lot like Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow but with more punch to it. I showed remarkable restraint and declined but I can see that creeping into my box at some point soon too. Its also worth checking out the Vice palette. Twenty brand, spanking new shades, satins, shimmers and matts with a remarkably good (considering the normal standard of applicators that come with palettes) double ended brush. It RRPs for £42, worth it for Noise and Unhinged alone, in my opinion. I can see this being a really usable collection that I think would do as well for every day looks as it would evening drama. I do hope Father Christmas knows his way round an Urban Decay counter!!

Applying make up in public. A few thoughts.

Lately I've read a few posts/articles discussing women who apply their make up in public. I'm kind of fascinated by the fact people have such strong feelings regarding this seemingly (to me at least) innocuous act, so here's my ten pennies worth!

I'd like to think this is more my style!
I'm not the kind of girl who could ever apply anything more than lip balm in a moving vehicle. Firstly, I'm too damn clumsy & secondly my most basic routine involves far too many bits to easily transport. However that does not mean I'm not slightly envious of those who can get on a train straight from the shower & emerge at their station 'done'.
I do however worry about the hygiene of putting my pots & tubes on a table that I can't confirm the cleanliness of. I also like to wash my hands before & after applying anything near my face & don't even get me started on the standards in public toilets! Give me a spotless dressing table & massive, well lit mirror any day but that's just me. If you're the type f girl who has the motivation & ability to do a good enough job of your face on the go, I'm happy for you. 
When it comes to those who wish to ban the application of cosmetics in public, I get quite wound up. I can see how the use of sprays is inappropriate, but slapping a bit of BB cream on whilst on a bus? Really?! How can this be offensive or intrusive to others? It's not noisy, it's not smelly & done correctly its not messy. I understand the strange looks from other commuters. The application of make up could be considered an intimate task, something that takes place behind closed doors & so when performed out of this context could raise the eyebrow of somebody unaccustomed to such a sight. In an article on the Telegraph website (link at end) Celia Walden argues that there is little point in going to the trouble if you're 'publically admitting the fraudulence of it all'. There's a part of me that agrees with her but I'm more inclined to argue that as long as you reach your target audience looking your best, do you care that a carriage full of strangers see you in a less complete state of made up-ness?
I admire the steadiness of hand this requires!
It would appear, from reading numerous blog posts that it is this ruining the mystique of the transformation that most women who disagree it with it finding disturbing. I'm with this argument to a point. I couldn't leave the house without the basics in place but that doesn't mean those who are more confident (or more naturally beautiful!) than me, are in some way betraying the sisterhood and leaking our feminine secrets to the world. Its the 21st century, there are not many men (or women) out there who believe we all roll out of bed  with perfect skin, amazing bone structure and defined eyes!
 What I don't understand is how this can stir up such strength of feeling. I'd be really interested to see make up being applied in such a way as to be considered 'disruptive'! Happily I seldom have to take public transport these days but I've done my fair share & I can safely say there are far more disruptive & down right offensive behaviours than a woman putting her face on. Surely there's more important issues for transport companies to be worrying about? Crime, loud music, poor manners, people leaving rubbish & food scraps, in my mind are all far more off putting to commuters than a woman with a mascara wand. As for it being unhygienic, surely that's more of a concern to those with their cosmetics out and about in a carriage full of coughing, sneezing and even spitting (nasty I know, but I have seen it happen!). As for opening up an intimate act for the world to see, I wonder if these people have ever considered the intimate details of their lives we've overheard whilst they've been on their phones?

I guess the long and the short of it is, the application of make in public is a matter of social etiquette and personal preference. I can't see the British public transport system rolling out a blanket ban, like the Japanese are considering, on powder compacts and lipstick but I can hear the debates in offices countrywide about 'that' woman on the train who dare to crack open her make up bag and set about getting herself beautified for work. 

A few of the articles that lead me to consider this piece are linked below. Images are courtesy of Google Image Search. 

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Urban Decay De-Slick Spray

Picked this (not so little) gem up on my recent make up spree & have fallen in heel over heels in love. It claims to control oil and keep make up in place for 16 hours. Its uses, and I quote the back of the bottle, 'hi tech ingredients' which cool the  make up surface keeping skin 'beautifully matt all day'.
Sprayed over my face (pre mascara!) it keeps me matt all day without powder. It feels really light and not at all sticky but does take a few moments to dry. Once its absorbed, evaporated or whatever it does, it  is undetectable. I was quite heavy handed the first time I used it and it didn't disturbed my make up despite feeling like it was dripping down my face! It has a light scent but doesn't linger. The biggest benefit I noticed is that I didn't need any powder at all, even after wearing a mask all afternoon. This is virtually unheard of and although I'm not sure it made my foundation last any longer it did control oil like nothing I've tried before. I really need to try this under as well as over my make up (as it instructs) as perhaps this will increase the wear time of my foundations. 
I also love spraying this on my brushes to intensify the colour of eye shadows or to apply loose pigments. It really gives the colours staying power and prevents fall out from pigments. 
This was well worth the £23 (XL 177ml) my beloved Husband paid! its a multi tasking product that actually does what it says on the tin.  Its current on offer in Debenhams 177ml is only £4 more than 118ml. I think it'll last me ages as I've been playing about with it lots and not even made a dent as its spray is super fine, you only use a tiny bit of product. Urban Decay hits the (beauty) mark again. 

No7 Colour Match Stay Perfect Foundation

Last week I was so excited to finally get the chance to be colour matched at the No7 counter. I do love a gadget so this sounded like a good bit of sci-fi fun. I headed out, bravely naked of face, intrigued to see the results. 

After a quick blip of the machine on each cheek, the lovely assistant informed me I was cool vanilla. She explained the reading to me, I was interested to see the spots of pigmentation that you cannot see on your skin but are picked up by the scanner. If you're interested in the technology behind it and the stats that went into the research check out Lisa Eldridge's blog post here (

Once I had explained the coverage & finish I was looking for, my chosen product (Stay Perfect) was applied to half of my face. The results were great I really had to look to see the blend line, the match really was good. 

The foundation feels really light weight & blends out beautifully. It is more moisturising than I would expect from a long wear foundation but not too rich that I worried about oiliness. It really does look like really good skin rather than make up.

Boots claim this resists make up melt down all day. Well without a primer or powder this still looked fresh after a 6 hour shopping trip so it bodes well for lasting daytime wear. After giving it a proper road test I found it lives up to normal everyday wear fairly well (8hours +) but doesn't cut it for a day at work behind the dreaded mask! I'll be wearing this faithfully at weekends and on days off but it won't replace my beloved Pro Longwear for work days or nights out. 
I certainly recommend the matching service and the impressive 17 shade and 10 finishes this range offers. i really believe there is something for everybody here. 

Just a couple of other things about the No7 counter itself. I loved the chart that showed the properties of each foundation, once you've been matched this would make it easy to pop in and quickly grab the finish you're after. I wasn't over keen on the revamped layout of the counter in my local Boots. It took me a few minutes to find the products I was after & the lip colour selection seemed a bit lacking. However the sales assistant was fab, she was friendly, helpful & knew her stuff. I watched her help the lady before me & despite the customer being fairly difficult she handled her brilliantly.
I've never really bought much other than lip liners (which are very good!) from this range but after a positive experience & a lovely foundation I may become a more frequent No7 flyer.

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Out of the rut #3

I had an urge for something rich & autumnal to wear with a cream blouse and a berry lip. I rarely wear pale clothing so I was breaking out the rut in more ways than one! 

I primed my lids with a mixture of Jemma Kidd Front Cover Touch Up Concealer & Rimmel Colour mousse in 007. I swept the pinky bronze from Bourjois Harmony & Contour palette (11 Miss Spirit) over the whole lid. I blended L'oreal chrome shine rose gold into the inner corner & a reddish brown from Sleek Au Natrel palette into outer corner & crease. I lined under my lower lashes with MAC's Teddy pencil then blended a deep gold from a La Femme palette over it. I lined upper & lower water lines & added mascara (opulash, my current Holy Grail). 

The lips I'd been desperate to try were, Max Factor Lipfinity Pen 06 Royal Plum worn under Models Own Pure Plum Lip Gloss. I love berry colours, especially on my lips at this time of year and think the overall look worked well.  I kept my foundation light and added just a touch of MAC Melba blush to give a bit of shape to my cheeks. The eyes were much more subtle than I initially planned but think this helped balance the lips and keep the look casual enough for a Saturday daytime.
 I should probably wear more brown/bronze colours as they looked good with my (currently) reddish hair & warmed my skin up nicely.

Sleek The Original Palette

Whilst looking for some dramatic, jewel toned eye colours in Superdrug,I found the Sleek Original palette. I've looked at this palette so many times before but it's always been out of stock or I've gone for something else. Today I couldn't resist. For £8 you get 12, 1g colours. There's 11 shimmering, deep colours ranging from yellowy gold through to a midnight blue. There's also a matt black that could be used wet as a liner. I'm besotted with the olivey green and teal.
I love my Au Natrel palette so I knew the kind of quality to expect from Sleek. I've totally fallen for the highly pigmented, soft shimmery colours. There is bit of fall out but nothing I can't cope with considering the pigmentation and the price.
This palette certainly satisfies my urge for a bit of sparkle & drama that rears up every autumn. The colours last a good 6 hours with a primer but the shimmer fades a bit after 4 ish. Over a MAC Paint Pot or Benefit Lemonaid they don't crease.I think its a well put together collection of colours as they work together well and Ican see myself using all of them. All in all a great value palette for creating stunning evening eyes, I'm going to have lots of fun with this one. 

 And this is the fun I had........
I couldn't resist having a quick play so did an ultra shimmery, bright teal and purple eye. Unfortunately the bright sunlight detracted from the striking 'colour pop' of the teal. I used Rimmel Colour Mousse in 007 as a base to add extra umph to the shimmer. This look lasted 6 hours before the colours looked old and threatened to flake, the shimmer lasted for around 4 hours. The colours blended beautifully and fall out was minimal. I've found that the trick with Sleek colours to put a tiny amount of colour on the brush and build up reduces fall out and the colours build really well.

Friday, 26 October 2012

Out of the Rut #2, Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month & I've been loving the wealth of amazing pink products that have been launch to raise money & awareness for this worthy cause. I have included my picks at the end of this post.
Anyway on with my ramble about today's look. It has been partially inspired by the pink theme of the campaign, a song from Funny Face (fabulous Audrey Hepburn film) & the crazy amount of pink shadows that are gathering dust in my box! Hope you like it. 

After priming lids with Benefit Lemon Aid I swept some Sand 01 (3) from an Estee Lauder palette across the lid and brow bone. I blended Bourjois  34 Rose Tentation  into the inner corners. I took Cherry from NYX palette (TS13) through the crease and over the outer corner before running some Hot Pink from the same palette under the eye. To add an extra touch of girlishness, I dabbed a some Benefit Show Off (Lola) into the very centre of my lids To avoid looking like I'd spent the day in tears, I lined the upper and lower water lines with Maybelline Gel Liner, curled lashes and applied some MAC  Opulash. I left my brows naked.

I finished the look with Bourjois 34 Rose D'or blusher to highlight my cheek bones and a touch of MAC Melba powder blush on the apples of my cheeks. A quick slick of Benefit Her Glossines in My People  Your People gave my lips a cute sheen and I was good to go.
I liked this pretty little look more than I expected, I think the black liner pulled it together.  I think keeping the rest of my face fresh and light helped to keep the overall look from being to Barbie Girl. I'm definitely more likely to give my pinks a more frequent outing after trying this.

So, with so many gorgeous products on sale in aid of Breast Cancer Awareness, what has caught my eye?

Origins Make a Difference/Peace of Mind Duo (£10) These seem to have sold out everywhere, have been desperately seeking one for a a couple of weeks. I love Peace of Mind, it really helps chill a frazzled brain when applied to temples or pulse points and I'm sure the Make a Difference hand cream is as divine as the rest of the range. I love the keyring design as these are two great products to have to hand. Origins will be donating £2 to The Breast Cancer Research Foundation (UK) and Cancer Clinical Research Trust (ROI).

Nails Inc Pinkie Pink Polish (£11) 7 OPI Pink of Hearts Shatter (£11) Love the glitter heavy Pinkie Pink Polish (available from Debenhams) & think the concept of the Paint Your Pinkie Pink campaign to raise awareness for this important cause. I'm yet to try a shatter nail polish (not sure I like the effect) but Pink of Heart could be the one that changes my mind! I love the candy pink colour, it'd would compliment today's make up look beautifully! I can't seem to find the details of how much is donated per purchase but you can be sure that your good deed will be rewarded with high quality, on trend polishes that you'd expect from these brands.

Clinique Great Lips, Great Causes Keyring (£15) I featured a Clinique Lip colour key ring in my Christmas wish so you know I love things that I can attach to bags and keys. This all pink version is so pretty, comprising of 3 mini Long Last Glosswear glosses and a pink heart embossed with the ribbon emblem.  £2 from each sale goes to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation.   This was available from Boots but its no longer on their website and sadly sold out at my local store. 

As ever, thanks for reading and if you've found a beautiful Pink Product this month please comment, I'd love to hear about them. I'll be donating 50p for each person who reads this post the the campaign, so please share.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

November's Wish List

Ok so we're fast approaching payday & I'm already scouring the net for my November Haul!
This month I'm hunting for rich, deep jewel tones & Maybelline's Eye Tattoo range is topping the list. I'll probably grab Endless Purple and Eternal God and seeing as its 3 for 2 at Superdrug it'd be rude to leave Turquoise Forever on the shelf! I already own a couple of these & I love them, so versatile as they work well as shadow, bases & liners & really do last until I deem it is time to remove them.

Hot on the heels of the successful cream blush experiment I think I'll pick up a MAC Cream Colour Base (Hush or Improper Copper) or Bobbi Brown Pot Rogue (Powder Pink). Whilst I'm hovering around MAC I've been eyeing up Lickable & Moxie. I love wearing naked looking make up with a bright lip at the moment & feel I need to mix it up a bit shade wise.

The biggest beauty challenge this month is dressing table & lighting. The darker mornings and a bedroom shift about have left my mirror lacking any kind of decent light. Now I've finally got my collection into some sort of order it's time create the dressing table of dreams! I've seen a few I like & I've been dribbling over hinged mirrors. I've also been trawling eBay for unusual storage ideas. I hope to create a kind of beauty table utopia where I can comfortably sit & learn my craft, have others sit for me to practise on & somewhere to escape to when I need to feel lady-like & spoilt! I love dressing tables, especially when styled with a vintage vibe. I can't wait to get my teeth into this project, I'm sure I'll post photos a plenty when I eventually perfect my vision!

I'd love to hear what you guys are lusting after this month so leave a comment!

Out of the Rut. Eye look #1

One of the nicest things about having a week off work is not having to wear the same super subtle make up everyday! I intend to make good use of this time by trying out some of the looks from my piles of inspiration pictures, books, pinterest boards etc. I hope to try a different look each day & break out of my daytime make up rut.
Today's eye is inspired by a look from Linda Mason's Eye Candy ( It's a great little book full of inspiring looks from everyday to full on drama. I've  put Amazon link at the bottom for this post, if you're interested.
I took Linda's original idea (Playful, page 99) but didn't follow the instructions, instead I used my own favoured techniques to create something similar.
After priming my lids by taking my foundation over them, I used MAC Girlie on a large Ms Make Up brush over the upper lid & brow bone. Then I blended  Bourjois Mini 68 into the inner  third of the  upper lid using a Real Techniques Base Shadow Fluff Brush. Next I took Melton Mauve (also MAC) on a Jemma Kidd Deepen Brush & applied a heavy smudge over the centre of the eye, above the crease. Using the same colour on a MAC 266, I smudged a bit under the centre of the lower lashes. Finally I took some MAC Nehru on a Real Techniques Accent Brush & blended from my lash line up & out taking it slightly into the crease and under the outer third of my eye. I blended this gently with the Fluff Brush but I wanted the colours to be quite distinct so only softened the harsh lines of the Nehru.
After curling my lashes a applied one coat of MAC Opulash to define lashes & add a bit of volume but I wanted the colours to be the star of the look so kept lashes fairly soft.
I teamed these eyes with a pinky-nude lip, Lord & Berry Ultimate Lipstick in Nude topped with Rimmel Vinyl Gloss in Pin Up. For cheeks I smeared the smallest hint of Revlon Photoready cream blush (Pinched) over the apples of my cheeks & swept a touch of MAC powder blush (Melba) over the pink and up through my cheek bones.
I think this is a really fun weekend look that could easily be paired with jeans & a t shirt or a flirty tea dress. I'm really pleased with the results & will definitely wear this look again. 

Linda Mason Eye Candy can be purchased from Amazon for £5.39