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

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

Supermarket Chic

I was dragging myself around my local supermarket the other day when it struck me how spoilt we are these days to have such a wealth of beauty products so easily available. I find it hard to leave the store without a beauty buy of some description falling into the trolley. This post is an ode to the beauty heroes I've picked up alongside my groceries.

Dirty Works

I was drawn to this range as the styling put me in mind of Soap and Glory, of which I'm a massive fan. I've tried all manner of scrubs, creams and even beauty accessories from this brand and all have been great value for money. I'm currently using Wake Up Call face wash as my post work out/quick morning wash of choice. It foams up nicely, smells clean and leaves my skin feeling clean and soft. I love the Blemish Buster 2 in 1 scrub and mask as it is gentle but effective and when used as a mask leaves pores tiny and complexion bright. Bling It On shimmer lotion was a gift that I've used lots this summer on collar bones and shins, its subtle but catches the light nicely without being too gold. Most Dirty Works products come in at less than £5 band are half price in Sainsbury's at the moment. Certainly worth checking out this range if you've not tried it before. 

Bastiste Dry Shampoo

The thought of a world with no dry shampoo leaves me cold! It adds volume, it saves me on those morning where a blow dry is out of the question and it helps hold hair grips when styling freshly washed hair. Bastiste is definitely my favourite brand and I love the hint of colour in this one as it doesn't leave any chalkiness in my very dark hair. So pleased I can get this in the supermarket as I use so much I'd have to buy in bulk if I couldn't get it round the corner!

Rimmel Lips & Nails
now, there are some beauty products I consider to be essential but what about rewards for braving the hoards on a raining Sunday afternoon? Well Rimmel Have that covered! For less than a fiver you can pick up an on trend lip or nail colour that you know will be good quality. I bagged the perfect red lipstick on a whim, (Kate Moss 001) and my current favourite nail colour (Electric 275). I think the range of eye and face products offered by my local store is a bit limited but the lips and nails always catch my eye.

Nailene So Natural 

Having to keep my nails super short for work I need a bit help to fake gorgeous talons when I'm off duty. These nails (short, beige) a really comfortable to wear and when teamed with nailene So Quick 3 second glue, last for ages. for around £8 they give me salon worth hands in a matter of minutes.

Big Hair Heroes

Sadly my hair lacks the natural bounce I love so I'm always on the look out for something that'll infuse the weave with some pizzazz. Got 2b powder-ful by schwarzkopf is amazing. It gives the same effect as Label M Resurrection Dust but at a fraction of the price (less than £5) and its handbag sized. V05 Plump it Up blow dry spray, adds mega volume and protects from heat damage. I've only had this a couple of weeks but it beats my other mousses/sprays hands down.

Am I the only one who spends longer in the cosmetic aisle than anywhere else? I'd love to know if you guys have any supermarket beauty heores so please leave a comment and let me know.

Oh my, advent calendars grew up!

Whilst doing a bit of research for my Christmas list post I came across these amazing Advent Calendars. Now I love chocolate as much as the next girl but imagine waking up each grey and gloomy December morning and opening a door to reveal a tiny beauty treat. Its the stuff of dreams to me! So, apologies for the Christmas overload today but I couldn't resist sharing these with you.

Selfridges Beauty Advent Calendar

24 mini skin care and make up treats compiled exclusively by Selfridges. Its already sold out and I can't find a price on  the website. Its bursting with premium brands like Lancôme, Kiehls, Viktor & Rolf and Shu Uemura, this look divine!

Ciate Mini Mani Month advent calendar (£38)

I love everything about this, the packaging, the contents, the styling. It contains 17 mini Paint Pot colours, 4 Caviar blends and 3 exclusive glitter shades.  Ciate is one of my favourite nail brands, I'm really looking forward to trying the Caviar products as I've seen so much about them online and in the press. With Christmas being a time of social butterflying what better way to ensure your nails are looking hot than by opening a new polish every morning.

Lancome Christmas Crackers (£50 for 6)

Ok, these are not an advent calendar but they are pretty fabulous. Who wouldn't prefer a miniature Lancome goody to a set of tiny screwdrivers? i hope I get the Génifique Youth Activating Concentrate as I've had my eye on it for a while and I know a girl who'd make good use of the Juicy Tube. There's also a mini Hypnose mascara, Lipstick, Bi Facial and Visionnaire. They may not be the perfect cracker for Christmas with your Grandad but for a Festive dinner party with the girls they'd be a great addition to the table. For the price the packaging could do with a bit of noel style pimping but I still think they're great. 

Right, I think I've exhausted my Festive Spirit for now so I promise not to mention the C word until at least 1st December!

My October Additions

I've had three weeks to get to know this months new products so here's a quick round up of what's new & what I'm loving. 

MAC Pro Longwear Foundation, if you've read my review you'll know this was an instant hit. I'm completely & utterly obsessed with this & have not touched another foundation for a fortnight! 

L'Oreal Revitalift Eye Cream, promises visible results from first use. I'm not convinced it lived up to this claim but my eyes are looking firmer & my fine lines are less noticeable after 8 days. This is definitely worth sticking with as I'm encouraged by the results so far.

Lord & Berry Ultimate Lipstick Pencils. I got these super cheap on eBay in my quest for a nude lip colour I like on me! I knew absolutely nothing about the brand except seeing the name in In Style Magazine's A to Z of High Street Beauty. Probably more suited to lining the lips than a stand alone colour,the formula feels quite dry on the lips. They last quite well but I'm not overly sold on the shades I chose (nude & egg plant). I have a feeling they may have been discontinued as I can't find them anywhere other than on eBay. Not too disappointed as I wouldn't buy another.

Shu Uemura Pore Clarifying gentle cleansing oil. It's taken some time to get used to using an oil but it's definitely been worth persevering. It does a fab job of melting make up, eye liner & mascara, it feels a bit unusual in that it's not actually all that oily in a greasy sense. It takes some washing off but my skin feels so fresh & squeaky clean afterwards & looks really bright. I like that it doesn't really have a fragrance & that you emulsify it with water & rinse off, as I never feel really clean when I cleanse without water. I'll definitely repurchase this oil, yes it's fairly pricey but a little goes a long way & I think it really has made a difference to my skin.

Jergens Hand & Cuticle cream. I've been using this daily for nearly 2 weeks & I'm yet to notice any difference. My cuticles are still dry & I've had to supplement with another hand cream. This was fairly cheap from Sainsbury's but I'd heard good things about the brand so am a little disappointed. I think I'll repurchase my beloved Arran Aromatics After The Rain Hand & Nail Cream & retire this to my locker at work for emergency use only, bit of a shame as I expected more from it. 

Revlon Photoready Cream Blusher. Loving pinched it's perfect for 'no make up' looks & a healthy everyday glow. These have turned out to be really good investments as I've already used them both loads. I love the look of vitality they give my skin & the weightless texture is amazing. Just wish the shade range was a bit more extensive as I'd like some more!

Shiseido Body Creator Aromatic Energizing Spray. Have developed an addiction to this spray! It claims to be a moisturising mist that gives the body a toned appearance when used on areas prone to puffiness. It has a 'sense stimulating, invigorating scent' to promote feelings of optimism. Well, I've been using it whenever I need a bit of a boost during the day & it definitely leaves me up lifted and more positive. The Shiseido website ( describes a cooling sensation but I find it gives me a warm tingle that lasts about 10 minutes after I've used it. Not sure it's all that moisturising but if my legs are tired or I'm feeling a bit lack lustre, it certainly picks me up. It has a heady, spicy fragrance which I like but it doesn't last too long and I've not notice it competing with my Vivienne Westwood Let It Rock. It is pretty pricey at almost £40 but the magic of eBay allowed me to snatch one up at £10. If you need something to kick you up the bum and motivate you through the winter blues, this is for you! My favourite purchase of the month by far.

It's never too soon to write a Christmas List!

Having devoured the Boots Christmas Catalogue, been seduced by the Debenhams gift sets & had a giddy  moment with Karl Largerfeld for Shu Uemura, I thought it was time I let the big man in red know what I'd like for Christmas!

Dear Santa......

I've been a really good girl this year and would be very grateful if you would perhaps fill my stocking with some of these beautiful things. I promise to write a lovely blog post about them if you do! Many Thanks in anticipation Esme xx

Karl Largerfeld for Shu Uemura

Smokey Velvet
Oh how I love a palette, especially if its full of rich, creamy deep colours that offer amazing colour pay off. The funky packaging reminds me of the Emily the Strange or Pukka bags I loved when I was a student. This palette is available in Bordeaux (rich golds and plummy wine colours) and Smokey Velvet (green and black with silver and pastel blue). They are pricey at £45 ( but of course they are limited edition and offer the high quality colour that Shu's eye shadows are known for. They are also very wearable colours not just for the party season but through the winter and beyond. 

Trish McEvoy Voyager Collection

 I've made no secret of my love for Trish products, especially her brushes. This mini set is right up my street, love the colour combinations, love the tiny pink quilted bag but I ADORE the mini double ended brushes. This is the perfect handbag friendly palette containing 2 concealers, 4 eye shadows, a lip colour and a gloss, a bronzer and blusher. The brushes include travel friendly versions of (my absolutely beloved) Tapered Blending, VaVa Voom & precise lining as well as an angled contour brush. This is available at Selfridges for £65 which I think represents good value when you consider the price of the full size products/brushes and the quality Trish offers.

Clinique Mix It Up Kisses Gift Set

I think this is really cute, I like how you could attach this to a bag (think it'd be a bit heavy for your keys) and have a selection of lip products easily to hand. I carry a massive handbag Monday to Friday and I'm always rummaging for a lip gloss in the bottom, so this would be great for me. It offers a great range of wearable shades and a variety of glosses and lipsticks. This is a lovely way to try host of Clinique colours before deciding whether you want to invest in a full size. For £25 you get 6 mini products (2 lipsticks, 2 superbalm glosses and 2 long last glosses) which I think offers good value for money. This would make a great gift for any woman.

Estee Lauder Art of Lips

It was the super gorgeous bag that first dragged this set into my attention. I love it, it reminds me of the styling used by Prada for their Candy fragrance. Housed within the colour block bag is a full sized Pure Colour  lipstick, double ended Pure Colour lip gloss and a Double Wear lip pencil. I love the Chic Pinks but there's also a nude version but the shades looked a bit too brown ish for my liking. They are available for £30 from Debenhams.

Benefit Gift Sets

How to Look the Best at Everything
Passport to Posh
Oh Benefit, how I do love you! This brand has been consistently in my top 5 for as long as I can remember so I couldn't wait to check out this years Christmas gift sets. I love giving these as much as I love to receive them! I have, after much deliberation narrowed down my 2 favourites. How To Look The Best at Everything Complexion Set (£24.50) This fabulously styled (love the book type packaging) kit contains 2 mini Boi-ing concealers, a mini Porefessional pore minimising primer, a mini Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow Foundation and a Hello Flawless cover up powder complete with brush. Its available in light, medium and dark it offers a great way of trying these products together. I love boi-ing and the wow foundation but sadly Porefessional breaks me out so I was glad of the opportunity to try it before shelling out upwards of £20 for a product I cannot use. Passport to Posh Eye Kit (£25, exclusive to Debenhams) This looks like a handy little kit, not only does it contain a couple of my Benefit favourites but it seems like it would be really usable for everyday. Along with 3 neutral suit all shades of shadow you get a mini Bad Gal mascara, a boi-ing concealer, an Eye Bright, brush and my personal favourite Creaseless Cream colour in RSVP. Creaseless Creams are similar to MAC paint pots,  versatile as colour, liner or base and last all day. I'd keep this in my handbag for post night shift make up or take it away for the weekend for lazy Sunday morning eyes. It would make a great gift as its  universally flattering.

Viktor & Rolf Flower Bomb Roll-On & Lip Gloss Duo

This is  really clever idea, a 5ml roll-on of fragrance coupled with a 5ml lip gloss in the same pen. I love to carry my fragrance with me but all too often it means taking a heavy glass bottle in my bag. This looks chic, the gloss is a neutrally pink shimmer that looks like it's be quite flattering and easy to wear everyday. The roll-on applicator would allow me to add a quick swipe of fragrance at times when you may not want to spray like in the car or staff room. I'm a fan of solid perfume but not so much the scented fingers I end up with, so to me this is a step forward from that! I now want to invent a roll on  atomiser so I can carry all my scents this way. At £19.50 it is a bit pricey for the amount of product you receive but I'd imagine you only need a tiny bit of perfume if rolling on but the lip gloss may not last too long. A great gift as its quite a natty idea and the type of thing you probably would buy for yourself but love once you owned it!

Chantecaille Elephant 

Now, you'd probably have to be extra good for Father Christmas to drop these little beauties down your chimney but I think they are so cute I just had to add them to the list. The SpackNK website says this palette (£74) combines trends from the catwalk and Kenyan Grasslands with simplicity. Each of the 4 shadows is embossed with a little elephant, the shadows look very rich (I've sadly not been able to swatch them) and although dark I think they are wearable colours that would suit most people. I love the look of Grassland (deep green) and Copper Ore (redish brown with a hint of gold). 
There's also an Elephant Cheek colour (£30), peachy pink powder that claims to make pores invisible and won't settle into lines. A very easy to wear everyday colour that would make you smile every time you looked  at it. But could you bring yourself to sweep away the beautiful baby elephant? Not sure I could!

This post could run and run, there are so many gorgeous gifts around this year, but I'm going to leave it there. I'd love to know what you guys are hoping Santa will leave by the fire for you so please leave a comment.

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

It's all about eye

Firstly, Apologies for my terrible, flu ravaged skin & the absolutely shocking photo quality contained in this post but I was desperate to get it published after over a week of blog silence & so tried (& some may say failed!) to photograph my own eyes.

This post is purely self indulgent. I love applying eye make, it's what I love most about doing my face. Finding myself with a rare work/child/husband free morning, I decided to play around with a few eye looks. I had no plan other than to delve deep inside my shadow box & see how the mood took me. This is what happen next!

Royal blue with flashes of emerald green. Pure silliness! My gran would say 'blue & green should never be seen except when worn by a gypsy queen' but when I see striking blue & green I think peacocks & mermaids (how girly does that sound!). I covered my upper lid Mac LiquidLast (can't find the name of this shade) taking it below my lower lashes but keeping it quite round. Next I lined below the blue underneath & my upper lash line with collection 2000 glam crystals in Pizzazz. Who knows what I was thinking but I kind of like it! Having made an unholy mess I skipped mascara as my lashes were caked in liner. Unless a fancy dress party demands it, I think this look will be going firmly back in the box!

Ombré ish Green I love the melting quality of dip dyed ombré silk & have seen a couple of great example of ombré hair over summer so thought I'd give it a whirl on my eyes. On the outer third I applied GO eyes in 577c  then used a mid green from Pixi's Muse pallet in the centre before  blending some Trish Mcevoy Kiwi into inner corner. I used a bit of L'Oreal Chrome Shine Silver Jade to blend the colours in the centre of the lid. I took all three greens underneath the eye too. I finished up by lining upper lashes & waterline with Trish Mcevoy Definer in Clover. A Quick sweep of Maybelline Great Lash Black/Brown to define lashes but not swamp the softness of the look. I do think this look is soft, despite being bright and heavy. I think it's the kind of thing I'd wear for a Saturday daytime with pale pink blush and glossy pink lips. I  think my initial vision was of something less blended with greater definition between shades but I'm happy with the outcome none the less. This is probably my favourite eye of the morning.

Squared off crease colour.Firstly, I blended a neutral from a 120 colour Prettypink palette all over my lid using a big Ms Make Up brush. Using a  bright matt blue from a FCUK gift palette I took a  Mac 266 and drew a sharp corners at the inner an outer corner of my upper eye and filled it in taking the colour across the crease. I took the same colour underneath, hoping for an arty reflection kind of effect! I added a coat of Benefit Bad Gal Blue and lined the waterline with MAC Fascinating Kohl pencil.  I've been wanted to try a squared eye for a whole after seeing picture of the Frankie Morello catwalk. I've envisioned a dark Gothic version worn with a fierce black dress & boots which I do intend to try this winter. This was so easy to achieve & I like it, perhaps not this colour on me & without the colour underneath but I'll definitely keep playing with this until I get something I really like.

Sparkly green with deep pink. I'm loving wearing L'Oreal Chrome Shine silver jade with collection 2000 Hard Candy  underneath as a weekend look at the moment & the is just a sparkly take on that look with a thick liner. I covered my lid with E5 from W7 Cabaret set then lined it with MAC Stormwatch applied with a Real Techniques brow brush so the line was fairly meaty, I didn't wing it as far as I'd usually take a colour liner so not to overwhelm the look.  I smudged some collection 2000 pixie pigment over Stormwatch then I worked some Hard Candy under the eye adding some Benefit show off in a pinky shade to 'pink it up' a bit. Finally i added a touch of Chrome Shine in rose Gold to the inner corner as a highlight. I finished off with MAC opulash mascara. I'm so sad this didn't photograph better because its a really pretty and subtly colourful look that I'm sure I'll recreate again.

All in all, I had great fun and will be spending my next qquiet morning doing exactly the same but with a plan of the looks I want to try. I will also have a husband on hand to take some decent pictures! Oh how I wish I could spend all my mornings playing in my make up box!!

October's Glossybox

Can't believe it's been a month since the last Glossy arrival but it appears I have another before me begging to be dissected.
This months box has had mixed reviews among bloggers and their followers. It seems it's contents were varied & lots of folk only received 4 items (I have since read this is a mistake & if you contact them they'll rectify). I'll admit that at first glance I was slightly underwhelmed but on closer inspection & after trying a couple of things I've concluded its a pretty good box. Here's what I got.

 Yves Rocher Hydra Vegetal, Instant Anti Wrinkle Moisturiser. I've never tried this brand before although I have been tempted & as my motivation for subscribing was to broaden my brand horizons, this is happily received. It contains Hyaluronic Acid & botanic extracts of witch hazel, blue agave sap and maple tree sap. It claims to instantly smooth wrinkles whilst providing deep moisturisation & I reckon it works! I've been using this at night for week as well as some mornings &  I'm hooked. Love the gel texture, it feels refreshing. Love how quickly is absorbs into the skin. Love the fact the wrinkles on my forehead do look improved. This 30ml tube is worth £18 so alone more than justifies the cost if the box. I'll definitely be rebuying this & as glossybox have emailed me a discount code (£5 off and free delivery) valid until December I may try a couple more products from the range too!

Anatomicals 'Don't just clean it woman' Body Scrub. At the risk if sounding snobby, Glossybox was billed to me as luxury samples & I'm not sure I'd class this brand as luxury. However I am a fan of the brand & has just run out of scrub so its arrival is well timed. It smells nice & fresh, which is lovely but I tend to prefer a more indulgent smelling scrub as I like to use them before bed. It left my skin smooth & soft though. It's a good product just not really to my taste. 

Skinetica Anti Blemish Solution. Not really sure about this one yet. Never having heard of the brand I did a bit of googling and it would seem this is their only product but the customer comments are very positive.  I've used it on an outbreak on my chin, which was probably already on its decline, for 2 days & it seemed really gentle which I liked but not sure if the results were due to the lotion or not. It didn't tingle or sting & wasn't drying. I intend to give it a more rigorous test but I do have quite a collection of blemish gels etc so I can see this getting lost amongst them. The website are selling 100ml bottles for £9.99 with a discount for buying in bulk. 

Sally Hanson Complete Salon Manicure in Midnight in NYC. Love the shade I received, its black with an incredibly fine red glitter running through it. The red shimmer is so subtle but catches the light occasionally and adds a bit of dimension to the shade. The 5 in 1 formula (which claims to include base coat, strengthener, conditioner, colour & top coat) is lovely to apply, I only needed one coat which is pretty good going for such a dark shade. I've been looking to update my nail polish collection after taking better care of my nails & this is a great autumn/winter vampy hue. It's worth about £7 too!

Green People Organic Self Tan. I'm kind of renown for my pale & interesting nature therefore I'm not so sure I'll try this but I am in need of a bit of a glow for an up coming wedding so may be brave & try this instead of my usual L'Oreal Nutribronze. It smells ok and i like the idea of an organic tanning product but think the sample is a bit on the stingey side size wise! It certainly won't be enough for a trial and a full application. A 200ml bottle retails for £18.95 and theres a discount code for 30% off before 16/11. 

With the exception of the self tan, I'll definitely use these products and have perhaps been swayed into buying some more Yves Rocher & will be taking a look at the other shades in the Sally Hanson range. I think the box has more than justified its price and will be eagerly awaiting the postman again next month.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Future Plans

I've been blogging  for almost a month now. What started as Friday night experiment now occupies about 60% of my waking thoughts! I know this blog is still in its fledgling stages and I appreciate each view I get so I thought I'd update you with the things I've been considering and what I've got coming up. Thank you to everybody who has read my posts so far, please consider following me either by email or via google +

Bright Ideas.

Now I've taken the plunge and started blogging I've been spending a lot of time considering how to move my blog forward. I've got some ideas that I can't wait to unleash upon you. I've got some 'look' posts planned in which I'll be creating looks on models and having a very talented photographer ( friend take pictures to post on here.
On the subject of pictures, let me take a moment to apologise for the poor quality of images I'm currently posting. My camera should be back in action shortly so I will no longer be using my phone. I'm also trying to teach myself some basic photo editing software to help pimp the pictures up a bit!

Education, Education, Education. 

I'm currently concentrating on Bridal looks as I've got a couple of Weddings coming up but I'm also indulging myself with some striking eyes and futuristic, graphic looks which I'll blog about once I'm happy with them. I've invested in some books from iconic make artists like Francois Nars & Kevyn Aucion, so stay tuned for some books reviews. I'm also looking into a Vintage Make Up apprenticeship, which sounds exciting and has got my creative juices flowing in a retro directions so expected some 'pin up' inspired looks.

Kit Reviews

The reviews I've posted this far have been products I've bought for my own personal use. But as my professional kit starts to grow I hope to start reviewing products based more on what they are like to use on others and who they are best suited to. I think this will offer a more well rounded perspective as opposed to 'what I like for me' opinions that I currently post.

Behind the Mask

Until I began this blog I thought it was make up i was obsessed with but I realise that its beauty products as a whole. I'm surprised by how many 'non' make up products I've written about and there's more to come on that front, as I've just started a new eye cream and about to try a matching night cream. There will be the October Glossybox to look forward to in the next couple of weeks so hopefully that will inspire a couple of beauty reviews. 

Thanks again for reading and I hope you'll come back and enjoy the wealth of post I've got planned in order to banish the winter blues!

Review; MUA Eye Shadows

I'm a sucker for a bargain, especially if they are sat temptingly near a till whilst I'm waiting in line! That's how I discovered these like gems. They were £1 each in Superdrug so I threw a couple in the basket purely because they were super cheap. they are sizable pans holding 2g of product. The packaging is pretty basic, clear plastic lid over a black pan, but feels sturdy enough to withstand a few knocks. I actually like a clear lid as it allows me to easily see which shade is which.
 Now I don't know much about MUA (Make Up Academy) as a brand and have never used anything by them before. A bit of googling has thrown up some really glowing reports. It would appear this brand has quite a following due to offering a wide range of trend lead products that are affordable and decent quality. 

I picked up Shade 4 (shimmery lilac) and Shade 3 (shimmery turquoise), both shades are billed as Pearl and are ultra shiny. They are SO highly pigmented and have an unbelievably soft velvety texture that blends beautiful and (with a primer) lasts all day. The shimmer is finely milled so not too irritating on the eye and considering the price there really wasn't too much fall out. I'd definitely recommend these shadows if you are looking for shades for nights out or occasions where you want to try something new before committing to a higher end product. They really are absolutely fine for the price and a pleasure to work with. 

These shadows have the most beautiful sheen and put me in mind of L'Oreal Chrome Shine shadows which I absolutely adore. I cannot believe these were only £1, I thought they were on offer but have just checked the Superdrug website and that is actually the RRP! MUA also do palettes that look very similar to the Sleek iDivine palettes which are £4 so I've ordered a couple, purely in the name of research of course!

Review; Revlon Photoready Cream Blush

After a brief and poorly executed experiment with a horrendous cream blusher many moons ago I've always preferred a powder. Happily my application skills & knowledge are some what greater these days, so in my quest for radiance I decided it was time to try again. I was pleased to discover the greasy stage paint style formula's of my youth are a thing of the past.

I chose Revlon Photoready as I'm a fan of the other products in the range. I picked up Pinched which is a golden peachy hue & Flushed, a deep fuchsia pink. There is a third shade, Coral Reef which is a bright coral orangey colour which looks really bright but definitely isn't for me! For around £8 you about 8g of product. This seems fairly good value as mine don't look touched after a week of everyday use.
Both are quite vibrant in the pan but swatch very subtly. The texture is so light & silky smooth, it feels beautiful on skin and blend so easily. This allows you to really build the colour without feeling caked in product. This is a good job because to achieve the vibrancy of colour displayed in the pan, you'll need to build it. The colour lasts well, 5+ hours of non strenuous wear, unpowdered.
I've become a bit addicted to Pinched for work day wear as it gives an incredibly natural glow to the skin. Flushed is better suited to casual Girly looks in my opinion, it's pretty & fun with a slightly better colour pay off than Pinched but still glowing and natural. Pinched can also be built to a more intense colour for a strong look.
As with the rest of the Photoready range, these blushes are good quality, affordable and reliable. The shade range is limited at just three which is a shame because these are lovely products that I can see me using regular for a good long while. 

Thursday, 4 October 2012

The Great Make Up Debate. When enough is too much.

Firstly, let me apologise if this post becomes a crazed rant. I was surprised by how strongly I felt about this topic before I considered this post.  

Daytime Chic versus  Full on Glamathon.

I read an interesting forum post the other day, discussing varying amounts of make up in the work place. The reactions to this post really got me thinking, make up can be an emotive topic. Where some go cold at the thought of being caught bare faced, others feel uncomfortably over done with more than a sweep of mascara.
It'll come as no surprise to you that I love a bit of make up, I take pleasure in its application. I use it to create a mood or look that will help me feel ready for whatever I'm faced with that day, be it a stressful shift at work or chores with my son.
I would love to work in an environment where I could rock falsies and a statement lip every day but sadly it would not only be unprofessional but also pose a health hazard. This doesn't mean I go to work bare faced, far from it. but it does mean I realise that not all looks can be appropriate on all occasions.

I like Lipstick,  I have a degree. 

I read a comment from a girl who had been judged as a 'bimbo' because she wears a full face in an office where her colleagues favour a barely there approach, this made her uncomfortable and, quite rightly, offended. The post went on to discuss the trend for subtly in everyday make up. Now don't get me wrong, applying make up to look like you're bare faced is a real skill, and there's definitely a place for it. However, sometimes a girl just needs to feel made up. The amount or style of make up a person wears to work should by no means alter the way in which a women a viewed as it certainly doesn't impact on how capable she is at doing her job.
Why shouldn't this girl wear what makes her feel confident and beautiful. Is her penchant for lipstick not just a harmless expression of her personality?  For goodness sake, its the 21st century, Women are not only empowered, but have created a beauty industry worth close to £15billion here in the UK. If an intelligent woman wishes to go all out with her new red lipstick, nobody should care! This outdated attitude that a love of noticable make up somehow detracts from a persons capabilities angers me so much! Women in particular are so quick to judge other women based on the superficial. So much for sisterhood! This story made me examine how people judge me on my make up habits. Two situations came to mind.

Does my face look big in this?

 I took my son to  a baby group where one of the other mum's commented on how organised I must be to be able to get out of the house fully made up in the morning. She wished she had the 'time and motivation' to get 'glammed up' for the sake of it. I didn't really know how to take this comment as I prioritise time to do my face just like I do showering, ok its often means sacrificing blow drying my hair but that's my beauty hierarchy for you!
The next time somebody commented on my make up in a way that made me feel uncomfortable was in the supermarket. I bumped into an old friend who asked where I was off to, when I replied I was just shopping she implied I'd gone to a lot of 'effort' for a trip to the shops. But why shouldn't I go to the shops feeling my best? 

Beauty is in the eye of the brush holder.

Now due to having to wear super subtle looks for work I love to play around with colour, texture and styles when I'm off duty. To me applying make up is a kind of therapy, its a hobby and I'll indulge myself whenever I get the chance. Its my creative outlet, I make no apology for it.
 The majority of my colleagues wear very little make up but I've never felt them judging my full coverage base or smirking when my black eye liner has crept closer to my lips than my eyes. Yes I have to tweak and touch up throughout the day but this is a process that allows me to refocus and return from my break feeling rested and more together.
In a society that is saturated by media images of celebrities and articles telling women how they should aspire to look, our collective self esteem is suffering. Its the transformative abilities of make up, not only visually but psychological too that fascinates me. Make up can hide a multitude of flaws, enhance natural beauty drawing attention away from areas that make us feel self conscious. We can create different persona's in the way we wear our cosmetics. I'm all in favour of anything that can make a woman feel good about herself.

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Review; Collection 2000 Cream Puff

I've seen this product pop up in a couple of YouTube videos lately & was intrigued by the descriptions of the texture & smell so couldn't wait to get my mitts on one to try out. It's available in 4 shades, Cotton Candy, Powder Puff, Fairy Cake & Angel Delight. All of the shades are quite muted & very wearable.
I opted for the Angel Delight which is a deep nude brown, nowhere near as scary as it appears in the tube.Its a great daytime shade with a hint of gold to it, nude enough to be natural but with enough colour to be 'there'. This shade smells completely edible! I'm not usually a fan of scented products but I do make an exception when it comes to lips. This actually smells a bit like Angel Delight, sweetly vanilla-esque which I think complements the shade nicely. 

It's an unusual texture, it feels super light & a bit puffy in that it's a velvety cream. It applies smoothly from the rabbit foot applicator. The colour pay off is good & it lasts a lot longer than you'd imagine (3 hours later it was still noticeable) but I found it did collect in the hair line cracks in my lips as the formula is soft but dries out a bit with wear.
For the price (£2.99 in Boots) this is a lovely lip colour, I'll definitely be pick up the other shades soon. 

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

MAC Stormwatch

I'm not a fan of this time of year. The cold, wet, dark days just don't do it for me. My one consolation as the nights draw in is I feel drawn to richer, jewel like colours &  smokey eyes to get me in the mood for a bit of festive partying.
I think Stormwatch is just perfect for this time of year.
It's a deep matt teal colour which blends out well making it quite versatile. As is standard for MAC shadows, it's well pigmented & lasts with with no flaking, I do think it needs a good primer for ultimate colour pay off though.
I've tried it as a contour for daytime, applied with a damp 266 brush for a vivid flash of liner but my favourite way to wear it is as part of a bright smokey eye.
Inspired by a Lisa Eldridge video ( I was itching to try a more 'me' version of her colourful smokey eye. I prepped my lids with Benefit Lemon Aid & applied Stormwatch from the inner corner about two thirds over the upper lid, up to & just over the crease (239 brush). I smudged a little of the mid colour from a Bourjois Smokey Eyes trio into the inner corner (266 brush) & just below the tear duct. I took Bourjois Noir Emeraude over the outer third of the lid & below the lower lashes, winging it out & bring it through the crease. I lined the upper lid & water line with Maybelline gel eyeliner & applied plenty of MAC Opulash mascara. I was tempted to add to feathery lashes but didn't want to look 'too drag' but I think a good set of thick lashes would have really finished the look.
I kept the skin light with a bit of Jemma Kidd Dewy Glow over cheek bones & contoured using MAC bronzing powder. For lips I used a dark berry for colour that wouldn't compete with such strong eyes.
I can see this look coming out to play a couple if times over the festive season, teamed with a little black dress, some fierce heels & a cocktail or two! 
Apologies for the terrible photos, I've recreated this look a couple of times to photograph for this post, each time the weather has been terrible and there has been so little natural light in my house. I've included the following photo as a rough idea of the look, unfortunately its a bit dark and the Stormwatch has failed to shine through. I'll update with better pictures if we ever get some nice day light here in Brum!! 

Review; MAC Pro Longwear Foundation

Foundation reviews are funny things, one persons sheer delight is somebody's ultimate horror. For that reason I feel a bit iffy about writing one but I've found myself with quite a lot to say about this product so here goes.....

Overcoming Prejudice

I've held off from investing a Pro Longwear for a while because I've not had much love for MAC foundations in the past. The ones they've tried on me in store have never filled me with delight shade wise and Studio Sculpt & Studio Fix really upset my skin. Having read some really glowing reports about Pro Longwear I finally decide to let MAC prove me wrong. 

200 Shades of Pale

I made a controversial choice in terms of shade and went slightly darker than I'd normally opt for. Mainly because I've found my foundation collection to be looking a bit pale lately but I've just dyed my hair darker too and don't want to look too washed out.

A Dubious Start

So, NC25 arrived, 30ml of product for £24, housed in a glass bottle with a lockable pump dispenser. I really like the dispenser for two reasons, firstly I'm always losing lids & secondly I've had a couple of pump related incidents in my make up bag! Its easy to pump out the exact amount of product you require and the packing feels quite sturdy so should last the duration of the bottle. 
I was quite alarmed at how orange this appeared when I first swatched it on my hand but once I'd applied it to my face the colour was actually a good match. I think wearing my base so pale for so long has warped my opinion of foundation shades!


I found the consistency of the liquid easy to work with, it blends easily and sets fairly quickly. I've been applying it with a Real Techniques Expert Face Brush or my fingers and have achieved a lovely fresh finish. I think it needs a bit of buffing as I imagine it'd streak a bit with a 190 type brush. Its billed as sheer to medium coverage but I think it sits closer to the medium side of the fence, I certainly need less concealing than I would expect after using a more sheer product. It leaves a lovely fresh finish which is neither too radiant or too matt, it just looks like good skin. I didn't powder it as I wanted to see how it fared standing alone.

Sticking With It

I really gave this foundation a run for its money in terms of testing its staying power. MAC claim it'll stay put and control oil for up to 15 hours whatever the environmental conditions, they don't lie.  My job involves wear a mask for long periods of time, something that plays havoc with almost every foundation I've ever tried. Not Pro Longwear! By lunchtime my face is usually a state, foundation evaporated and shining like a mirror ball. After 4 hours behind a mask Pro Longwear still looked fresh, my pores were still invisible and I wasn't greasy. Not once did I need to touch it up during the day. This is a revelation! I wanted to shout from the roof tops 'I may have found the one!'.When I got home I examined my face thoroughly and over 13 hours in my face was still holding up. Not only that but my skin had felt great all day, it almost felt naked! My oiliness was controlled but my drier patches weren't at all irritated.

So What's the Catch?

I've really tried to look for some cons to this product, if only to keep this post from being a gushy ramble but really there are very few downsides for me. However...
It only contains a SPF of 10 which I think is a bit weedy but hey I'm looking at winter in the Midlands, it'll do! It also takes some real effort to remove, now I don't feel like I can complain about this as I've been searching for something that will last and then some, but I can see how it might put some people off. I've been using a cleansing oil, face wash and Bioderma H20 before I feel squeaky clean. This is not a foundation that a quick face wipe will remove adequately so be warned and stock up on cotton wool!

A Match Made in Heaven?

To be honest, this is as close to my Holy Grail of foundation as I've ever found. The oil controlling properties and the longevity are way beyond what I expect from a good foundation and its so comfortable to wear and so far no breakout. It'll never be my one and only, I'm not ready to forsake all others but this is an absolute winner for work and for nights out or occasions when I don't want/need the hassle of touching up too often.  I'm in love!!