Saturday, 31 December 2011

Pretty in Synth

It’s New Year’s Eve but I’m not going out tonight - instead I’ll be ringing in the New Year with my boyfriend from the familiar cosiness of our own flat whilst drinking beer and watching movies.  I did pop out briefly earlier to visit a friend for some afternoon tea so I decided to do a pretty purple eye make up look.


Actually I hardly ever wear eyeliner on my lower lash line, so this look is quite dressed up for me really!  I especially love the combination of the pale shimmery eyeshadow and the glittery eyeliner.  I’ve been wearing glittery eyeliner a lot throughout December because I’ve considered it my “festive” look and I have to admit that I’ll be sorry to say goodbye to it in Jan but I just don’t think it’ll cut it in the office in the midst of all that January drudgery.

Anyway, here’s what I used to create this look. Apologies for the shocking yellow lighting but it was artificial lighting or nothing I’m afraid.


As you can see I didn’t really use that many products – just one eyeshadow and a few eyeliners then mascara to finish.  I used a navy eyepencil instead of a black because I felt it would go better with the soft lilac and purple eyeliners I had used. 

I consider the two stars of the show to be the eyeshadow which is the shade Synth by Illamasqua and the glitter eyeliner which is the Glam Crystals in Shake It Up! by Collection 2000.  Synth is a pale lilac which has a fantastic multi-tonal shimmer that gives an almost holographic effect on skin.  I tried to capture the shimmer but it’s so much more beautiful in real life.


The Glam Crystals eyeliner is mainly purple glitter but also contains particles that shimmer red and green.  It is suspended in a slightly coloured gel but I wouldn’t recommend wearing it alone simply because it slightly stained my arm when I swatched it alone the first time I tried it.  However, there’s no problem with staining if you wear it over another eyeliner and in fact I find it easier to create a sharp, defined shape by applying a normal dark liquid eyeliner first.


Swatches above

Left: Illamasqua eyeshadow in Synth

Right, top to bottom: liquid eyeliner alone, glam crystals over liquid eyeliner, glam crystals alone, navy eye pencil

And finally, here’s a fun Christmassy shot of me posing in my make-up with a tiny reindeer.  Happy New Year everyone!


Happy Hogmanay!

This is just a quick catch-up post as I’ve been away from blogging for a couple of weeks.  I had a bit of a laptop crisis with a hard drive failure a couple of weeks ago and ended up losing all the data on my hard drive – which worked out at about 18 months worth of photos that I hadn’t backed up.  I never really back my work up, I can just never be bothered and at the end of the day it’s good not to get too sentimental about old data I think!  Anyway these days I mostly use my laptop for blogging and that’s all saved online anyway so now that my laptop is actually working again I’m not too upset.

It’s New Year’s Eve today which in Scotland we call Hogmanay.  Of course it’s obligatory at this time of the year to become a bit pensive what with everybody evaluating the year that’s just passed and thinking of what the future might bring, which led me personally to start pondering the question “is it possible to own too much make-up?”  Sadly, the conclusion that I have come to is that yes, it is possible to own too much, and I most definitely passed the invisible threshold between “acceptable” and “you now own enough to do the make-up for an entire ballet company throughout their winter season” since I started writing this blog.  I’m much more interested in buying new make-up than new clothes and I’ve been convincing myself that since I can fit my stash into cardboard boxes which I can pile up next to my bed and in my wardrobe it’s not a problem to keep buying stacks of new products every month because there’s always room for them. Sadly though I think the pretence has to end.  There are no two ways of looking at it.  I simply own too much make-up, and I have to stop buying new make-up until I’ve used up some of the items that I already own, or one night one of those stacks of make-up that are currently lying piled up next to my bed might just topple over and crush me in my sleep!

Anyway if I manage to stick to my resolution not to buy so much it should hopefully lead to a subtle shift in my blog whereby I have less new products to show and more creative posts on what I’ve actually done with my make-up.  However I do have a confession to make…I got so much make-up for Christmas and in the sales that I have piles and piles of new exciting make-up to share on my blog even though I’ve decided to swear off new products in 2012 – hooray!!

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Deck the Halls by China Glaze

I have some more festive nails to show you tonight, but it’s only fair that I warn you first to prepare yourselves for some major bling!


I got this Christmas trio by China Glaze from Sally’s Hair and Beauty for £12.98.  I’d never tried China Glaze nail polish before and I was keen to do something Christmassy with my nails so this seemed like it would provide me with some good inspiration.

The pack comes with three 14ml nail polishes in Poinsetta (bright red), Twinkle lights (multi-coloured glitter) and Champagne Bubbles (gold + silver glitter).  The glitter in Champagne Bubbles isn’t that obvious from looking at it in the bottle but you can see it clearly once it’s on the nail.

The brushes are long and thin and very nice to work with.  I don’t know how much you’ll be able to tell from these shots but anyway here’s a look at Poinsetta.


I found the application really easy.  The brush holds the varnish really well and allowed for a lot of control.  Here’s how my nails looked after one coat of Poinsetta and Champagne Bubbles.


As you can see the varnish is quite thin which meant that the first coat dried very quickly.  I added a second coat after a couple of minutes which was enough for a nice even finish.


Poinsetta is definitely my favourite of the two, it has such a bright and even finish.  I’ll definitely be wearing it throughout the year, whereas I found Champagne Bubbles a bit ‘80s and brash so I think I’d just save this for the festive season.

I’m really having a glitter phase at the moment so I went ahead and added a topping of Twinkle Lights.  It’s absolutely packed with glitter in gold, green and red and these are the results after just one coat on top of Poinsetta and Champagne Bubbles.




Funnily enough, although I prefer Poinsetta on its own I think that Twinkle Lights looks better over Champagne Bubbles.  I’ll definitely be trying Twinkle Lights both on its own and over different colours too. 

I’m really pleased with the results so far – the consistency of the polish is perfect as it’s thin enough to dry quickly but opaque after 2 coats, and the glitter top coat only requires one coat for dense coverage so yes, it’s a definite thumbs up from me for this festive trio.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Philosophy Marshmallows for Toasting

I had Thu and Fri off work this week so on Fri afternoon I decided to brave Oxford Street – foolhardy, I know, but it does have a John Lewis, House of Fraser and Debenhams (British department stores) right next to each other so it’s one of the obvious choices for panic buying ha ha.  Chances are you’ll always be able to find something lovely and/or amusing.

I’ve managed to tick most people off my list now, thank goodness: mum, dad, boyf, and best friends.  I’ve just got to pick up a few more little things.  I’ll just have to fit in one last shopping session after work next week, urgh.

Anyway I was feeling in need of a treat after having braved the crowds on Friday so I picked up this Philosophy “Marshmallows for Toasting” gift set for myself when I was in John Lewis.  It cost £18.




The packaging is really cute, although the box is in the shape of a house which I think would make it damned awkward to wrap for posting!  I think you’d actually have to put it in another box before you could send it which I imagine would be a bit annoying.

Anyway let’s take a closer look at what’s in the box now.


You get a 280ml body + hair wash, 60ml body lotion and 15ml lip gloss, all with a strong burnt (caramelised) marshmallow scent.  The scent is so strong that I used the body wash and lotion today and went round smelling like a toasted marshmallow all afternoon.  It’s ideal if you’re a fan of sweet smells but definitely to be avoided otherwise!

The size of the body wash and lotion make them ideal for travelling or chucking in a handbag – well, to take the lotion as a handcream anyway, not sure you’d need to carry a mini-sized body wash around in your handbag.  The body wash has a tiny hole in the lid which is very good at dispensing a tiny amount of product which is all you need as it’s so rich and creamy.  I bought a similar set to this last year and the body wash lasted a good few weeks despite being so small.  It’s a great size for travelling although I did have a few issues with mine leaking a bit last year when it wasn’t stored upright but that may just have been me rather than a problem with the packaging but just to be on the safe side I’d recommend popping it in a plastic bag if you’re taking it with you on holiday.  As an added festive touch it’s also a golden shimmery colour, but that just rinses off the skin when you rinse the product off.

IMG_4510 IMG_4515

The lip gloss is so strongly scented that I think it’d be a great product to use if you were trying to cut down on sweet stuff as really after smelling burnt sugar on your lips all day long you’re probably not going to want to chow down on much sweet stuff too!  Still, the scent is not quite as offensive as my recently purchased Urban Decay pocket rocket glosses so I don’t mind it too much.  The colour looks quite pink in the tube but it’s really quite sheer on the lips and just leaves a subtle shimmery finish.  Unfortunately it’s let down somewhat by its slightly thin consistency so it lacks longevity for me but then I’m sure there are plenty of people out there who prefer their glosses not so tacky anyway.




Overall I really like this little gift set and while pricey at £18 I’d definitely recommend it if it’s within your budget and you’d like to get a sweets and beauty product loving friend or relative a good, fun quality set.

Friday, 9 December 2011

Forgotten Sunset

Last month when I was thinking about what make-up colours I would like to wear during the autumn I totally forgot about my Sleek Sunset palette, which actually contains nearly all the colours I’ve been wearing over the past couple of months – oops!  Just goes to show how easy it can be to overlook items that you already have in your collection when you have a ridiculous amount of make-up I guess!


This palette is part of Sleek’s permanent collection so it’s still available online and from Superdrug stores in the UK.  I think these palettes currently cost around £7.  The colours are all shimmery, except for the matte black which is really quite pigmented and intense, but I hardly hardly ever use black eyeshadow anyway so I have to admit that that’s actually the shade that I’m least interested in.  Most of the other colours have good colour payoff, there were just a couple of shades that took a couple of swipes instead of just one to make the swatches above.  The yellow gold was strangely weak and also the bronze third from the right in the bottom row, but the rest of the colours are really lovely in terms of both finish and colour payoff.

I had a play around with the red on the top row and the bright blue.  I patted these colours on top of a creamy base and the colour payoff was just fantastic.



I also filled my eyebrows in with the eyeshadow just for fun.  They are such bright colours I think they look fantastic as a block colour all over the lid, teamed with plenty of black eyeliner and mascara to frame the eye.

17 Wild Metallics Eyes

Boots were running a 3-for-2 offer on all 17 cosmetics a couple of weeks ago when these dinky little pots of metallic cream eyeshadow caught my eye.  I thought the shimmery finish would be perfect for Christmas party season and the packaging is so cute too.  Normally they cost £3.99 each.



Above from top to bottom: Wild Purple, Wild Midnight Blue, Wild Green

There are six shades in the range so I went for some subtle colours that I thought would be nice for wearing during the day but which would also lend themselves well to smokier evening looks.  They look so pretty and sparkly in their little pots, so how do they wear on the skin?


Not what you were expecting?  I have to admit that I was pretty disappointed by the terrible colour payoff :(  I did swatch a couple of colours in the shop but I think that the shop lighting caught the shimmer well and made me think that the colours were stronger than they actually are.  Even the blue, which looks the strongest in the swatch above, is really just quite washed out.

Another problem that I have with these is the texture.  They are cream eyeshadows and I’ve found them quite difficult to apply evenly.  I’ve found that the best way is to apply a thin layer is with my fingertips.  The main problem I have with them though is that unlike some others these don’t set and it’s a struggle to stop them from creasing more than 10 min after having applied them.  You can see from the picture of the lilac that I’ve really given it a go trying to get them to work too.  I managed to get about 4h without creasing by patting a powder eyeshadow on top and I got them to fare slightly better over Urban Decay Primer Potion but even then they were creasing before the end of the day.

I think I’m going to have to consign these to the beauty bin unfortunately.  As I’ve already bought them I might try to get some use out of the lilac as a highlighter on my brow and cheekbones but I don’t really think I’ll be getting any use out of the other two, what a shame!

Thursday, 8 December 2011

Daytime Pumpkin Eyes

I had the day off work today (hooray!) and came up with this bright but wearable look whilst playing around with my current favourite eyeshadow, Vapour by Illamasqua which I picked up a couple of weeks ago on sale.  It’s an intensely pigmented but very wearable matte orange.  Today I teamed it with a dark green eyeliner.  (Pls see also my Autumn 2011 colour chart for more seasonal colour inspiration).

2011-11-133Above left to right: powder eyeshadow by Illamasqua in Yearn and Vapour – both used in this look


I applied Yearn over an eyepencil as the dark green eyeliner.  I’m also wearing my favourite cold weather blush in Scandal by Accessorize, which looks very red in the pan but applies to the skin as a lovely subtle golden rose shimmer.


I’m wearing some funky golden monkey drop earrings that I picked up on sale in Topshop a couple of months ago.  I have buckets of crazy costume jewellery like this already but I just couldn’t resist these when I saw them!


I just wanted to do a quick post tonight but I’ll hopefully be back tomorrow with some amusing shots of some of my latest crazy hair/head accessories.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Party Eyes with Illamasqua

Just wanted to post a couple of pics to show the eye make-up that I did on my friend for a lovely afternoon tea that we went to at a posh hotel today.  I used Illamasqua pure pigment in Berber (a wonderfully multi-dimensional sparkly red) over a creamy base and Illamasqua lashes in Decadence.

The pigment currently costs £15.50 which is expensive but the colour is amazing and will not only last for several hours as an eyeshadow over a creamy base, you can basically use it wherever your imagination takes you – I also used it as a highlighter on the cheekbones but it could easily also be used as a highlight on the collarbone, patted over lipstick to create a glossy finish, or dusted through hair – to name just a few alternate uses.

At the time of posting these lashes are available in a Christmas gift set that comes with a free liquid eyeliner in Glister – you get both for £25 which is the normal price for just the lashes.  The liquid eyeliners currently cost around £17.50.  It’s pricey, but it is an expensive brand and the lashes can be used over and over again if you treat them nicely. They have a nice thick band which meant that they were really not too difficult to apply.  These lashes have diamante crystals on both the top and the bottom so you see the sparkle from whichever angle you look at them from, and they reminded me of tiny dew drops sparkling on the lashes – which was actually very pretty in a not-too-imposing way.  They also sometimes reminded me of bird feathers to me because of the way the white crystals create a pattern on the black lashes.  I really like the whole look and think it’s perfect for Christmas parties – bit of red, bit of sparkle, what more do you need to exude the aura of Christmas glam??



Festive Nails

What better way to start the countdown to Christmas than with some sparkly metallic nails?  I used a Barry M silver nail polish and some Body Shop glitter to create this design.  It’s the first time I’ve created a nail design by simply sprinkling some glitter over still wet nail polish and I really like the effect so I can definitely see myself experimenting with lots of different colour combinations this December.



Sunday, 27 November 2011

Not Quite Neutral

I’m really not a neutral eyeshadow kind of gal – neutral lips, yup, nearly always, but I prefer something more colourful on my eyes.  Unfortunately with winter approaching the days have been getting shorter and I’ve been having to do my make-up in the dark recently – well, in very bad lighting anyway.  That means I don’t want to chance leaving the flat looking like a clown because I haven’t realised quite how bright my make-up is, so I’ve been sticking to a very safe mid-tone brown eyeshadow.  However I have been pepping it up with a slick of electric blue mascara because I just love my bright colours too much to go without for too long!



The brown eyeshadow is nothing special, it’s a shade that’s available from countless brands but it just brings a bit of colour and definition to my face and makes me look slightly more awake in the mornings. I do like the way it provides a soft contrast to the bright blue of the mascara though.

The mascara is Super Volume Mascara by The Body Shop in Cobalt Blue.  I had tried a tiny sample version of this in black before and had been quite impressed by it so I decided to pick one up in blue.  I think it works so well on my lashes because of the brush – the way the prongs are wound seems to make it particularly good at grabbing onto my spindly, short lashes and dumping product on them until they’re really quite noticeable.  It’s £10 full price but I picked it up on special offer and Body Shop are always running promotions so you can definitely pick it up for less than £10, which I think is very good value for what you get.


I do think that coloured lashes are a bit retro and make me think of my teenage years, but I have to admit that I’m a bit of a fan.  I’ve had such hits and misses with coloured mascaras over the years though as it seems to be quite a temperamental kind of product.  They either don’t show up on lashes or do show up and just look weird.  I think this colour works quite nicely as a mascara though, and I especially like the way it can just add a subtle hint of colour to an otherwise neutral look.

Russian Doll Make-Up

Ah, perhaps I should clarify the title of this post - this isn’t about how to do your make-up to look like a Russian doll (although that would make for quite an interesting post now that I think about it…) but rather about a super cute make-up palette that I picked up in TK Maxx on Friday that’s shaped like a Russian doll.  I love Russian doll paraphernalia, although bizarrely enough I don’t own an actual Russian doll!  Anyway I saw this and just had to have it.


The palette is called the Puposka and it’s by the Italian cosmetics brand Pupa.  There are various designs of this palette available and mine is called Burlesque Dreams.  While they’re not widely available in the UK you can still purchase their products easily enough online.  The price sticker says RRP £13 but I paid only £7.99.  I think this approximately reflects the prices that you would pay for Pupa online as well.



Above: this tiny doll charm is attached to one of the side compartments.

This palette is so much fun.  It would be the worst gift ever for somebody who loves elegant sophistication, but it’s perfect for big kids or lovers of all things kitsch like me!  There are two compartments that you slide out from the sides of the doll, and you can swing the plastic face upwards to reveal a tiny mirror that’s unfortunately much too tiny to be useful.  It would have been nice to have a lipstick stashed there.

There are four eyeshadows; two shimmery shades perfect for highlighting and two darker glittery shades.  There are also four sheer lipglosses.  The eyeshadows are embossed with dolls and doll faces – again, super cute!



The pigmentation of the shadows was mediocre to poor with the shimmery shadows giving the best colour payoff and the green the worst (2nd from left in pic below), while the lipglosses were very sheer but still glossy enough to be useable.  The glosses provided wouldn’t last long if you were using them regularly though as the portions are so small.


I couldn’t wait to dive into that deep purple eyeshadow and, given the name of the palette, I went for a full on dark glittery eye.



I managed to get OK colour pay off by using a glittery eye crayon as a base.  I also like using pencils as bases when there’s a particular shape I want to create with my make-up as it then becomes as easy as drawing it on.  I just dabbed the purple on top of the base I’d drawn on with quite a small eyeshadow brush then blended a shimmery lilac over the edges.  Unfortunately the camera didn’t quite manage to capture just how super glittery the finished look was, although that was more thanks to the glittery base than the eyeshadow (which is also glittery).  I’ve been wearing this look for 6h now and it’s just started to crease a tiny bit but it’s most definitely still there.

This palette’s definitely not for serious make-up lovers but if you’re stuck for a present to get somebody who loves kitsch tat (that sounds like I’m being ironic in a nasty way but that actually describes my own tastes pretty accurately ha ha!) then this might be worth a look.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Forest Eyes

I bought a new palette of neutral shades in TK Maxx yesterday so I decided to try one of the eyeshadows out today before reviewing it on the blog.  I thought it would compliment my new Illamasqua matte eyeshadow in Yearn nicely.  The neutral that I wore is a bit of an orangey shimmery peach and Yearn is a deep forest green.  This is also the first time I’ve worn green this autumn and I’ve been meaning to for weeks now, ever since deciding on my autumn colour chart so I was glad to have gotten round to it at last!


I also added a very thin slick of shimmery brown eyeliner just to pull the two colours together.  I really like the colour combination - I just can’t help but think of Robin Hood when I see browns or golds and greens together.  It’s also a great way to wear Yearn as it’’s such a deep, intense colour it could easily overpower a look, but the shimmery orangey peach just seems to balance it out perfectly.


It’s been getting noticeably chilly in London this week (finally!  Just before December!  It’s almost been t-shirt weather up until now which has been very weird) so I wasn’t going to go out today without a hat.  Usually I wouldn’t bother with make-up on my lips if I were wearing a lot of colour on my eyes but I thought because of the hat I could get away with a bit more make-up so I wore a shiny neutral lip with it.  I’m generally very boring with my lip colours because I just hate it when my lip colour starts to fade.  Unfortunately this lip look didn’t survive for long outside as I went to the German Christmas market that’s open at the moment near my flat and had a hotdog.  Still I did like the colour while it lasted - just very demure and shiny and healthy looking.