Sunday, 27 March 2011

Payday treats from Topshop + Miss Selfridge

Friday was payday, hooray!  This also coincided with an email I got from Topshop telling me about a flash sale they were having (I’m not really sure what a flash sale is, but it had the word sale in it and that was all I needed to hear to pique my interest) so I hot-footed it down to Topshop on Oxford Street after work on Friday to have a browse.

The sale was OK; I grabbed about six or seven items to try on and although there were plenty of “nice” things I was quite restrained and managed to convince myself that I really have enough “nice” things in my wardrobe already and I don’t need any more, so if I was going to buy anything I might as well make it something a bit interesting.  In the end I bought just one thing which was a pair of fluffy shorts reduced from £50 to £25.  They don’t really look like shorts at all and reminded me of a ballet tutu, or perhaps an ostrich’s fluffy bum!  OK so that description perhaps doesn’t make them sound so appealing but really I just liked them because they were good fun.

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Do you think I described them well??  He he.  I wore them today with a fitted blazer and light pink tights which were my nod to the ballet trend.
   
I also popped into Miss Selfridge today where they were also having a mid-season sale and I picked up some accessories.  I really don’t need any more accessories but they are quite inexpensive in the sale and again they’re good fun so I just bought a couple.  I really need to devise a new storage system for all my accessories though as I have so many that I never get round to wearing as I’ve got them squirreled away all over my room and I never think to dig them out.

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A giant pompom to wear on my head!  (Around £3.50)
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It reminded me of Scandinavian knits, of which I’m a big fan.  It’s also just a fun way to lighten up any outfit.  The band is quite easy to cover with my hair too.  (Oh yes and I do wear braces in case you noticed that my teeth look a bit funny above!  I actually love them though as they have straightened my teeth soooo much since I got them fitted just over a year ago).

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Teddy bear cut-out leopard print earrings. So kitsch I just had to buy them!  (Around £3.50)

Spring Nails 2011

It was such a gorgeous sunny day today that I felt inspired to paint my nails for the first time in about six months!

I love pastel nails in spring time and here are my current three favourites.

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with flash w/o flash
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Shades clockwise from left:

Rimmel I Love Lasting Finish Fruities in 053 Apricot Punch; Barry M Nail Paint 308 Berry Ice Cream; Barry M Nail Paint 304 Mint Green (all purchased from Superdrug in the UK)

The Rimmel nail polish is actually scented and gives off a subtle apricot scent when dry.  I’m not 100% sure if this apricot shade is still available as I bought it last year but there are definitely other shades in the I Love Lasting Finish Fruities in Superdrug.  The two Barry M shades are also currently available both in Superdrug and from Barry M online.

All of these nail varnishes take two coats to give good coverage.  I’m never any good at getting my nail varnishes to last though and all of these chip within 3 – 4 days for me (but much longer if used on my toes)…but that’s OK, as that just means I can take the colour off and switch to another shade!

Accessorize Illusion Eye Shadow 21–Iris

I’m a big fan of the Accessorize make-up range, which was released in late autumn 2010.  I’ve bought several eyeshadows and eye dusts, two blushers, two lipglosses, two glitter eye crayons and a cream eyeliner so far and it’s my go-to brand when I fancy a cheap and cheerful make-up treat as the products are so varied and inexpensive.

Today I’d like to share a few photos of one of my favourite eye shadows from the range which is the shimmering lilac shade “Iris”.  Here are some shots of the product in the pan.  You can click on any of the photos for a larger view.

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without flash without flash with flash

Isn’t that packaging cute?  I actually think the photo with flash gives the truest indication of how the colour looks both in the pan and on the skin.

The texture of the shadow is very creamy and smooth due to the fact that paraffinum liquidum or mineral oil is one of its main ingredients.  The pigmentation is excellent so you can pretty much get a colour-payoff that matches the colour in the pan on your skin, and it’s very easy to blend.  You get 2.5g of product which is really quite a generous helping although I do find that I use quite a lot of product with each application, but then I have soooo many eyeshadows that really with 2.5g while I may hit the bottom of the pan eventually I’m probably never going to run out.

Here’s a simple look that I wore yesterday.  I simply primed my eye with Urban Decay Primer Potion, lined close to my upper lash line with a slightly darker purple, then whacked this shadow on top and blended out slightly above my crease and below my lower lash line with a large eyeshadow brush.  I finished with a generous application of Fearne Cotton black mascara.

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I love offsetting purple eyeshadows with bright pink blush, I think it’s a lovely colour combo.  Here I’m wearing Accessorize merged blush in 2. Starlet, which incidentally is my favourite blush at the moment.

I also love this eyeshadow because I have dark brown eyes and lilacs make my eyes look darker and more intense (the colours are complementary and absorb different ends of the spectrum of light).  Lilacs and purples also make green eyes look more vibrant and hazel eyes look greener if any of those are effects that you are interested in.

I’m happy to report that I wore this look all day long yesterday and it was still in place by the time I removed my make-up before bed, so this shadow gets top marks for longevity too.
 
Accessorize eyeshadow singles currently retail for £4 and are available from Superdrug stores and Accessorize online.  As I mentioned at the start I now have loads of Accessorize make-up so I will try to post some more photos soon to introduce you to my whole collection!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Sleek Avoir La Peche: Completing the collection…

I’ve been very excited this week by the launch of the Sleek spring 2011 collection Avoir la Peche and I posted a few pics of the eyeshadows and lip gloss a couple of days ago which you can check out here.  I’m happy to report that I managed to pick up the blush in Pan Tao (£4.29) from the Superdrug on Tottenham Court Road in London yesterday which means I’ve now purchased all the items in the collection.  As it’s the weekend I had a bit of time this morning to play around with the collection for the first time so I can finally show you a look that I came up with to give an idea of how the products look on.

First up here are a couple of pics of the blush.  I really like the slim black packaging which houses a generous 8g of product and a perfectly useable mirror in the lid.  There’s a peach-themed print on the cover which I think looks simple yet elegant and also helps differentiate this blush from the other Sleek shades which are all packaged in identical black cases.

The second pic gives quite a good indication of the colour of the blush which looks bright orange in the pan.

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Here’s the look that I came up with - I went for a muted peachy feel across my whole face.  Hopefully the second picture gives a better impression of the blush – I’m actually wearing quite a lot, but it was a bit difficult to get it to show up on camera.  Also I hope this can allay some of the fears I know a lot of people would feel when confronted by that bright orange colour of the blush in the pan for the first time by showing that it is actually wearable!

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Eyes: (pls check the pic to the right for shades)

I swept Blush across my lids up to the crease and darkened the outer 1/3 with Cameo which I also took along my lower lash line, then I blended using a fluffy brush to try to create a hazy wash of colour that extended just above the crease and faded out to the brow.  I used a slanted liner brush to intensify my upper lash line with Stone and used Sandstone as a highlight on my browbone.  I wanted to keep this look soft and hazy rather than very defined so I didn’t bother with any eye-pencil on the inner lash lines, eye liner or mascara.

I used a very thin layer of the light gold from the Sleek Primer palette as a base.  I applied my eyeshadow around 10h ago now and while I have suffered creasing the colours are still quite visible and defined on my eyelids – so Ihave  no complaints so far regarding the staying power of this palette.


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Lips: I paled down my lips with the foundation left on my brush after having applied my base to my face and simply popped the Pout Polish in Sugar May on top.  The product is very soft and smoothes out over the lips beautifully, and as you can see leaves a lovely subtle wash of colour that doesn’t look orange at all.  I didn’t find it very long lasting, but it does describe itself as a lip conditioner and my lips did feel softer after I applied the product.  It also contains some sun screen (SPF15 but as with any sunscreen I think you’d need a whacking great layer to get the full 15x protection) which is good for being out-and-about in spring-time London, but I wouldn’t depend on it to avoid getting sunburnt lips anywhere really sunny.

Face:  I used a soft fluffy blusher brush to apply the Sleek Blush in Pan Tao onto my cheeks and across the top of my cheekbones.  I know that some people like to apply their blush by starting with a tiny amount and building up the colour, but I actually like to start by applying slightly more colour at first then toning it down by spraying some face spray onto a duo-fibre face brush and sweeping it across the blush and washing the colour out.  I find that this method gives both a radiant, glowing finish (thanks to the face spray – at the moment my favourite is The Body Shop’s Vitamin C Energizing Face Spritz, around £8) and also helps to fix the colour in place.

I’ve really enjoyed playing around with these products so far and in fact I’m pretty sure I’m going to be heading back to Superdrug pretty soon to stock up on some more Paraguaya eyeshadow palettes as both gifts and as a reserve for me when my own one runs out because I like these colours so much!

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Introduction to the Sleek Spring 2011 Collection Avoir la Peche

Sleek make-up have just released their new Spring 2011 collection called Avoir la PĂȘche which is based around peachy tones. I think it will be available for the next month or so (until mid April 2011) from the Sleek website and in Superdrug stores in the UK. Well I've been working hard lately so I figured I'd treat myself and went to pick up the pieces in the collection from Superdrug after work today.

There are three new items: the "Paraguaya" eyeshadow palette (£6.49), a pout polish in Sugar May (£4.29), and a blush in Pan-Tao (£4.29). I managed to pick up the Paraguaya palette and the pout polish today but unfortunately the Superdrug I went to seemed to have already sold out of the blush. I guess I'll have to check back in Superdrug again soon in order to complete my collection.

Anyway here are some quick snaps I just took to give a rough idea of the aesthetics of the new collection.

The packaging has a pretty floral design, but for the i-divine palette it's only printed on the cardboard box and not the palette itself. However, the palette does have its name printed on the front.













I really like the packaging of the Pout Polish. The container is wide and shallow which makes it easier to pick the product up on your fingertips without getting it stuck under your nails (which I find can be a problem with narrower, deeper pots).

(I changed the contrast on the picture on the left below because I thought it gave it a bit of a cool '60s grainy feel! I haven't changed the contrast on the second pic which was taken in my living room under artificial lighting but which I feel gives quite a good indication of the actual colour of the gloss).











I-Divine Paraguaya eyeshadow palette (left: with flash, right: without flash). There is a clear overlay which has the names of the shadows printed on it. The names are cute but I'll probably just throw the overlay away when I start using the palette as I find that it just gets in the way. Hopefully Sleek will move on to printing the names on the palettes themselves soon.
You can click on the pics for a larger view.








Finally here's a shot of some swatches on my arm in the same order as in the palette (artificial lighting, without flash). All the shadows have been swatched over the light gold creamy primer from the Sleek primer palette. You can click on the pic for a larger view.

Top row left - right:
parfait: shimmer
blush: matt
cameo: matt
Persian orange: shimmer
peach gold: shimmer
sandstone: matt

Bottom row left - right:
bellini: shimmer
redstone: matt
persimmon: matt
tangelo: matt
bittersweet: matt
stone: matt

I really like the colours in the collection and the palette should be great for neutral(ish) looks that are still colourful. Although the shades are all peachy, they are much more varied than the shades in the Good Girl palette. I might pick up a couple more palettes when I go back to check for the blush because I think they'd also make nice gifts as none of the colours are too intimidating to wear so I think they have wide appeal to people of all make-up tastes.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Why I Prefer the Sleek Good Girl Palette

Sleek launched two eyeshadow palettes at the same time at the end of Oct '10 called Good Girl (limited edition) and Bad Girl (permanent). I know that there have been loads of reviews and pics all over blogging-land already so I'm a few months behind, but that has given me the advantage of having had some time to try the palettes out.

I've noticed that most people seem to prefer the Bad Girl palette, but I actually prefer Good Girl. I have very pale skin and very dark hair, so I have to be careful with dark eyeshadows as I can end up looking like a vampire, and like I have tiny eyes, which is not terribly flattering. I don't wear many pink clothes but I do love the way that pink make-up can really wake up my face.

First up here are some shots of the palette - sorry they're not great quality, but they do give a general idea of the palette and the colours:

right: with flash
left: without flash







You can click on the pic below for a close-up of the shades:










Here are the colours swatched onto my arm over a creamy primer:

The shadows are very pigmented and apply onto the skin as they appear in the palette. I left the colours on my arm for about three hours before washing them off, during which time they hadn't budged. They came off with warm soapy water and didn't stain my skin. I always wear these shadows over a primer and they can last all day so no complaints there.


As I mentioned I've had this palette for a few months and I have made noticeable dents in a few of the colours already even though I only use it some weekends. The palette contains just over 1g of each colour, which is a generous portion but I do feel that I do use a good whack of shadow with each application. The texture is very soft and and the shadows crumble at the touch of a brush so there is a lot of fall-out within the palette and potentially on the face when applying the product. The palette comes with a double-ended sponge applicator which I actually find quite useful for picking up the product and patting it onto the eyelid before blending it out with a brush. I find that it also helps to reduce fall-out and mess within the palette itself, as sometimes if I use a brush it can flick the colour about as the shadows are so soft. Also for this reason I wouldn't really recommend travelling with this product as it does feel a bit fragile.

The palette contains 12 different shades, but as you can see a lot of them are very similar, so even when I do run out of one particular shade it won't be a huge leap to switch to using another one - so that's kind of a disadvantage with an advantage tacked on.

I use this palette in two different ways - either as a block of colour across the lid (paired with a big flick of eyeliner if I want extra definition) or as a cloud of colour above the crease, which is the look I went for today.

I used the 2nd lightest shade across my lid and the intense pinks from the top-right of the palette, mixed with a tiny bit of Fishnet from my Urban Decay Deluxe Shadow Palette blended up from the crease and taken half-way across my lower lash line. I find that it's a great way to introduce a splash of colour into my look that's not overwhelming.



A Tale of Two Handbags

I actually managed to drag myself out of bed early enough to get to the Primrose Hill Vintage Fashion Fair being held at Cecil Sharp House for its opening at 11am today, and I'm glad I did because I got something for the first time ever at a Vintage Fair. I've actually been to a few and while I usually don't buy stuff but I do like having a nosy around and I go with friends so somebody usually does manage to pick some nice things up. They also often have tea rooms attached so they're as much a social event as a shopping occassion for me.

I'm not a huge fan of vintage stuff as I often feel that it's overpriced for what it is, but then sometimes you do spot lovely items that you would never get in a high-street store, and it is also nice knowing that you're re-using something old and not consuming something new which makes buying vintage feel slightly more ethical than buying new.

I spotted this red handbag because it's a lovely bright colour and quite an unusual box-y shape. I think it's leather and it looks very well made. I paid £25.


















You can see from the last pic that it's quite a generous size as those are my "handbag essentials" sitting at the very bottom of the bag, leaving plenty of room for any other junk I fancy chucking into my bag as well on any given day!

Since I'm writing a post about a handbag I thought I might as well take this opportunity to show another one of my bags which I got as a Christmas present. It's from Topshop so it was bought new, not vintage, but I love how it looks like it's stepped straight out of the '80s with its faux snake-skin detailing and over-sized metal clasp. I also really like the rectangular shape, and the strap is detachable so you can wear it over the shoulder or carry it as a clutch. You can see from the pics that it's not a large bag, so it's also perfect for a night out when I'm trying to reduce my bulk.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Babushka treats from Sass and Belle

For some reason I really like the visual theme of Russian Dolls - don't ask me why, I just think they're really cute. Funnily enough even though I'm often drawn to items with Russian Doll images on them I don't actually own any Russian Dolls...hmm.

Anyway after ballet class last week I was walking through Covent Garden with a friend and we popped into the Aladdin's Cave of kitsch that is Sass & Belle. It's a great place to spend a tenner on a quirky gift, or on cute stuff that you don't actually need but find amusing if you're in that kind of shopping mood. On this occassion I got two things and actually left with change from a tenner because they were both on sale. I got some babushka bunting for £2.99 and a little babushka bag for £4.99.


I hang this up in my kitchen to brighten up my wall.




Here's the bag next to my Blackberry to give an idea of the size.


So what will I be using my babushka bag for? Hmm...

Storing make-up in I think! It's a nice size for a travel make-up bag. Here you can see I've already stuffed it with some of my new season favourites from the Accessorize make-up range that came out in Autumn last year. I really like this range so I've got quite a few items from it and I'll try to do some posts on some of the pieces soon.

No 7 Limited Edition Turquoise Eyeliner

I stopped by Boots today and decided to make use of the £5 off No 7 voucher that I got last week when I bought the Front Cover Rainbow Eyes reborn palette (will try to do a post on that soon too). No 7 launched a range of limited edition products for Spring 2011 a few weeks ago now which amongst other things includes a couple of lip colours, a couple of nail colours, and three gel/cream eyeliners in navy, turquoise and black. The eyeliners are retailing at £10.00 a pop which is a bit pricey for me, especially since I'm not the hugest fan of gel eyeliners, but with £5 off I decided to give the turquoise one a go since the colour looked beautiful.

The packaging is really cute and makes me think of the French Riviera for some reason...must be all that white criss-crossed with blue lines:




















As you can see from my pics, the product also comes with its own tiny brush, but I haven't actually tried this out. If you don't have another eyeliner brush that you already favour using then it looks as if it would get the job done fine, although it's perhaps a bit fiddly to use as it's so tiny.

I think this photo is quite true to the colour of the product, which is a very opaque turquoise. It's very similar to the colour on the box which is good as you can get a true idea of what the product looks like.

I created a golden and blue shimmery look to try the eyeliner out with:

I used a slanted eyeliner brush and found it very easy to apply. I just dipped my brush in and slowly drew the line in using multiple strokes. You can just wipe your brush with a tissue afterwards and it'll be good to go for the next application so no need to wash your brush every time. The consistency is nice and thick and creamy which makes it much more user friendly than a runnier liquid eyeliner, although it would be difficult to create very thin lines with. However, with a beautiful bright colour like this, who wants thin lines? A nice thick line of turquoise is a great way to show the world that you're feeling that spring in the air, right?

So far I've had the eyeliner on for six hours and it hasn't budged, so it looks like it has good staying power too. When I tried the product on the back of my hand it was easily removed with warm soapy water. So basically I'd say if you fancy the idea of waking up your make-up look for spring with some bright blues, then this could be the eyeliner for you.

No 7. products are available from Boots in the UK and online at http://www.boots.com/en/No-7/