Sunday, 31 July 2011

Grass Green Step by Step

This is a rather exciting post for me as I thought I’d attempt to do a step-by-step photo tutorial of my make-up for the first time today.  As I discovered it’s actually pretty tricky to do your make-up whilst attempting to photograph it at the same time, so things might get a bit wonky from here on, but anyway I had fun and that’s the main thing I guess!

I love grass green eye make-up because it feels so fresh, which is perfect for the hot weather we’ve been enjoying here in London this week.  So without further ado, here’s what I got up to today.
Here’s how it all began, with me with just a touch of foundation on.


I started by applying a thin layer of eye pencil all over my lids as a base.  Mine was a lovely lime green by Gosh which has a nice soft consistency that just glides onto the skin.  I happened to pick mine up 1/2 price in the January sales which was an added bonus but if you like eye pencils then I do recommend Gosh’s as they’re a good buy.

I stroked a thin layer of pencil all over my lids up to the crease – no need to worry about being neat at this stage.  I then stroked it out to slightly above the crease using my ring finger to create a thin even base.

I then took a grass green powder eyeshadow on a shading brush and placed the colour on the outer 3/4 of my lid up to the crease.
OK so now you’ll have created something that looks like this.  Hopefully you can see how I’ve left the inner corner of my eye free from shadow.2011-07-313
At this stage I like to blend the colour from the crease up with a fluffy brush.  I don’t blend the colour that’s on the eyelid as that would just blend the colour out to nothing.
I like to add a very light reflective colour to the inner corners of my eyes to waken them up.  I like to use quite a lot of highlighter in this area rather than under my brow, starting at the inner corner on the upper lid and blending in an upwards arc into the crease, then taking the colour along the inner 1/3 of the lower lash line.  My current favourite highlight colour is this shiny shiny light green called “Moshi Moshi” from my recently purchased “Cutie” quad by MAC but any light colour will have the same effect of “opening up” the eyes.  I use a slightly rounded pencil brush to apply the colour.
OK so at this stage my eyes were looking like this.  I really wasn’t joking when I wrote that I liked a lot of highlighter in this area of the eye ha ha:
Definitely nice and wide-awake looking I think you’ll agree!  Best blend those colours out a bit so I don’t look quite so stare-y and scarey…
That’s the main body of the colour taken care of so now I started adding some definition.  I used my lime green eye pencil along the outer 2/3 of the lower lash line, following the line to join it with the colour on my upper lids.
Next, I ran my favourite green liquid eyeliner along the upper lash line (this was a particularly difficult picture to take!) It’s a Glam Metallics liquid eyeliner by Collection 2000, cost about £3, and is basically fantastic.  If you like coloured eyeliners you must check this range out, they are so easy to apply and really do last all day long (they are waterproof, but easy to remove with a good eye make-up remover).
I then added some brown eyepencil along the waterline for some added definition and added a couple of coats of my favourite everyday mascara to finish the look, voila:
I also think that pink cheeks go particularly well with green eye makeup so I like to wear this with a generous dollop of pink blush (shot below with my current favourite mascara, collagen mascara by Accessorize).
The final effect:
That’s all for today folks, hope you enjoyed my first step-by-step look.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Sunday Afternoon at St Pancras

I had afternoon tea in St Pancras train station today, which was looking lovely in the sunshine.


As I was in the station I had a quick browse around some of the shops while I was there.

I got a straw hat from Accessorize which was £9 in the sale.  I think I shall have to make a trip to the countryside as it seems to be the kind of hat to be worn whilst floating about on a small lake in a rowing boat or whilst running barefoot through a meadow…or maybe that’s just me.  Hmm. 


I’m not wearing any foundation in the photos above – could my skin be looking so refined and dewy thanks to my recently purchased perfecting cream by Melvita, or is it just a coincidence?  Who knows, but if my skin’s still looking like this when I run out then I’ll probably be repurchasing it just in case it is thanks to the perfecting cream!

I also got a pair of tea cup earrings (£6) to add to my growing collection of afternoon tea-themed accessories:


and another baked duo eyeshadow in shade 11 Aphrodite. Accessorize give a student discount of 10% on non-sale items so it worked out cheaper buying it there than in Superdrug. I love the fact that not only are Accessorize baked shadows great quality (apply smoothly, have good pigmentation and are long lasting) they also look so beautiful in the pan – the dark half of this one looks like a chunk of precious rock with its sparkly black with copper and white veining.  I don’t really wear black eyeshadow but the veining in this one gives an interesting finish that’s definitely not just black.


I also got a couple of loose pigment mineral eyeshadows from Neals Yard Remedies that were on sale at £6 instead of £12. The packaging is quite standard and the pots contain 1g of product each.  They have a sticker on the side saying that they’re 11% organic and 86% minerals, just in case those numbers mean anything to you.  Neal’s Yard also say that these are vegan friendly, they have the leaping bunny from BUAV to show they are not tested on animals, and they’re even Soil Association approved.



I got a light green called Sage and a dark brown called Truffle which I think could be used together to create a nice smoky look.  The shadows have a lovely smooth consistency and a slight shimmer and I’m looking forward to wearing them this week as I’m into my greens at the moment.


Saturday, 23 July 2011

Orange Eyeshadow I: Metallic

I saw a pic in a magazine of a model wearing orange eyeshadow blended into white above the crease this week and I thought it was a great colour combination for the summer.  I don’t wear orange eyeshadow that often – I could probably count the number of times I’ve worn orange eyeshadow this year on one hand – but there was a lovely metallic shade in the Sleek Curaçao palette that I thought would be perfect to try out for a similar look.


clockwise from top left : apres midori, tequila sunrise, martini, blue lagoon

Here’s what I came up with:


My favoured make-up application method is literally to slap it on as I’m very lazy about blending, so this look is perfect for me.  There’s no complicated blending involved at all.  I used Urban Decay Primer Potion all over the lid (the colours are all still going strong now 10 hours later), blended a shimmery white (the shade Martini also from the Sleek Curaçao palette above) into and just above the crease and inner corner, then applied the orange shade to my lid and blended out.  I blended a medium matte brown shadow along my lower lash line and finished with two coats of mascara for added definition.  If I hadn’t been being so lazy I think some brown eyeliner along my upper lash line would have looked good as some extra definition as well.

You can see how un-blended this look is in the shots below which were taken at a different angle.  I think I managed this make-up in under 10 min.


I have to admit that I have been growing my eyebrows as I think some women look great with slightly untamed brows…but to be honest looking at these photos I don’t think it’s a very flattering look for me!

I did enjoy wearing this shimmery orange today, but even though I wore a tiny bit of bronzer on my face I think I still looked a bit washed out because I didn’t have any colour on my lips.  I think this would go nicely with any of the lovely neutral lip colours I bought from Gosh last week.  I think I’m also going to try this colour combination with matte shades to see which eyeshadow finish I prefer – photos will follow once I’ve tried it out.

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Bruised Apple

My new Accessorize blush in Scandal inspired me to create a look based on the colours of a bruised apple.


I really like this look which is something a bit different for me as usually I wear pink or orange blushes or bronzer rather than red on my cheeks.  I wore the blush quite high on my cheekbones and I love the way it gives a wind-swept look, as if I’ve just been for a brisk walk in the country.


I don’t really like this green eyeshadow by Bourjois but as I bought it just recently for £5.99 I’m determined to get some use out of it!  I can’t say that I recommend it though as the colour pay off is really not good at all.  The surface is all scratched up from where I’ve had to score it to get any colour out of it at all.

However I do like the “bruised” colour that I used, which was a violet eyeshadow by Accessorize in shade 15 – Vintage Colour.  Like my other Accessorize eyeshadows this has a creamy consistency and great colour pay-off.  I used the same brush for both eyeshadows in this look and blended the violet a lot so it’s quite sheer in the pics above, but you can see the full intensity of the shadow in the swatch below.


Neutral Lips from Gosh

Once I started playing with the testers I couldn’t choose just one so I ended up buying three new lip products from Gosh this week.  They’re all colours that I would wear every day and the quality is very good, which goes some way to making up for my disappointment with my recently purchased Bourjois summer lipgloss which I wrote about here.


left: Gosh Velvet Touch lipstick in 146 Cappuccino, £4.49

top right: Gosh Light’n Shine Lip Glaze in 07, £5.99

bottom right: Gosh Lip Gloss in 0082, £3.99

(Note: I think a couple if not all of these prices were at special offer so they may be more expensive normally.)

I actually really like all of these products. The lipstick is quite creamy and non-drying and applies a lovely, even colour straight from the bullet.  The packaging is also nice and slick.  It’s going to become one of my handbag staples this summer.

The lipgloss was a good buy at £3.99.  It’s quite thick and has a creamy rather than sticky consistency.  It’s semi-opaque and the colour can be built up so you can either wear a thin layer and allow your natural lip colour to dominate or apply with a slightly heavier hand for a lovely shiny coral finish. The packaging is quite standard and it comes with a doe-foot applicator.


I have to admit that when I picked up the Light’N Shine lipgloss I just bought it because I liked the colour, and I never actually noticed the rather gimmicky packaging which is quite amusing.  It comes with a mirror on the side and two tiny lights in the lid that switch on when you unscrew the top.  This means that you can easily apply your gloss in the dark – though I’m not sure why this would be terribly useful as after all, who’s going to see your lipgloss if you’re in the dark anyway??  It did make me laugh the first time I used it though.

The applicator is a brush which I like in a gloss as I think it allows for more precise application.  The conistency is quite sticky and the colour is quite subtle, but I like it because I think it catches the light in a lovely way.  The result on lips is more of a very light lilac than the colour that appears in the packaging.


Finally here are some swatches on my skin and lips.  I’m finding it difficult to choose a favourite as I think all of them look great.  If you haven’t tried Gosh before I definitely recommend checking them out.  Gosh products are currently available from Superdrug in the UK.


Left to right above and top to bottom below: lipstick in 146 Cappuccino, lipgloss in 0082, Light’n Shine Lip Glaze in 07


Friday, 15 July 2011

A Touch of Scandal

So it’s been another stressful week and I’ve had another make-up spree at Superdrug – oops.  Anyway, out of that there is some good - allow me to introduce to you today the latest darling of my make-up bag, Accessorize merged baked blush in 6 – Scandal.


This is my third blush from the current Accessorize cosmetics collection (pics of my other two can be found here) so I will try to do an overview post soon as I love them all.  I paid £5 at Superdrug.  This blush is quite red with gold veining.  It delivers quite a sheer red on the skin which can be built up and intensified.  The finish is really quite shimmery.  Here are a couple of pics of the blush on my cheeks.



Hope you can see the colour above as I think it adds a lovely flush to the skin.  I’m not wearing any other make-up apart from the blush in these pics but I think it would also look great worn with a green eyeshadow.  Like channelling the spirit of green and red apples on your face…or maybe a cherry orchard.  I’m feeling inspired by fruit at the moment!

More From Melvita

I paid a second visit to the Melvita shop in Covent Garden last weekend.  Not only is it a lovely little shop for fans of organic beauty, it also seems to be a good place to go if you’re feeling thirsty as I’ve been offered cups of honey tea both times I’ve been – and they’ve been very tasty, too.

Last time I visited the shop back in May I bought some Nigella oil for my face and I got a couple of samples of their other products for oily/problem skin. The Nigella oil was quite expensive compared to what I would normally pay for a night cream (that’s how I use it) at £15 for 50ml which lasted me almost two months of using nearly every night but I really feel that it made a great difference to my skin.  I’ve had a lot fewer spots and flare-ups since I’ve been using it – and just about the same if not more stress at work so the effects probably have been thanks to the Nigella oil.

I had such a positive experience with this product that I decided to buy another, and also one of the products that I received a sample of the last time, their perfecting cream for young skin.


I think the packaging looks as if it could be for products from a gardening centre thanks to all the pictures of bees and flowers and green!  However it matches the ethos of the brand which is towards natural, organic, cruelty free products.  The paper bag is also pretty enough to be re-used as a gift bag at some point – always good to be able to recycle as much as possible.

The perfecting cream was really quite an expensive buy for me at £19 for 50ml but I love the effect it has on my skin.  The cream is thin and is absorbed very quickly to leave the skin looking matte and refined, and I’ve been so happy with the way it’s left my skin looking I haven’t worn any foundation or tinted moisturiser all week.  It’s also quite an unusual green colour and smells of grass, which I think is a great pick-me-up in the mornings.


Although this is an expensive brand for me if I’m still happy with the results from these products after another two months I’ll definitely be going back to restock on these and try some new products, maybe a cleanser or a face mask.  I will be sure to keep the blog updated if I head back for more.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Everybody Knows I Love Tea

It was my birthday this week and everybody knows I love a good cuppa so I got lots of lovely tea related goodies from my lovely friends and family – thank you guys!


top: porcelain crushed coffee cup (I’ve actually wanted one for ages because I think they’re so funny.  Available from the Southbank Centre shop).

bottom: cupcake cookie jar


union jack cushion

hand-painted teapot

London souvenir teas


robot tea-infuser (from The Tea House, Neal St, Covent Garden.  If you’re in the area this dinky little shop selling popular and unusual tea paraphernalia is a must-visit for all tea fans!)

Sleek Curaçao Swatches

It seems a bit like this summer has been a case of another week, another Sleek eyeshadow palette for me!  This week I picked up their most recent Limited Edition release which is part of their Carribean collection.  Actually I wasn’t sure if I was going to buy this one or not from the previews that I saw on other blogs but when I went to look at it in Superdrug I just thought, well, for £6.99 I might as well!  (Although £6.99 actually represents a price rise of 8% on the last Sleek palette I bought, as I paid £6.49 for the Oh So Special palette about a week ago which is a bit of a steep jump put in those terms).  The Carribean collection also contains an orange pout polish and blush but after my strange experience with their last Limited Edition blush release Santorini from the Mediterranean collection I thought I’d give the blush a miss this time.


The palette is a really fun combination of bright colours and finishes, and all of the shadows are named after different cocktalis.

From left to right:

top row bottom row  
tequila sunrise metallic apres midori shimmer
martini metallic blue lagoon matte
blue hawaiian matte purple haze matte
bloody mary matte green martini metallic
screwdriver matte singapore sling metallic
green iguana metallic espresso martini matte

I’m not sure why I thought I wouldn’t like this palette from the previews I saw because now that I own it I think it’s actually going to become one of my favourite sleek palettes!  It could be that it’s difficult to portray just how vivid the colours really are in photographs – I think some of the mattes especially can appear a bit washed out in photos, but I can promise that the colours are all fantastically bright and well pigmented.  Blue Hawaiian on the top row looks a bit washed out on my skin below, but I wore it the other day over a creamy primer and it looked great.  The only colour I probably won’t use is the matte black.


Saturday, 9 July 2011

Saturday Afternoon in the Pub

I don’t go to the pub that often but I spent a lovely chilled out afternoon with some friends in my local today.  Here’s the smoky eye look I wore for the occassion:


This has been my favourite look for the past week because it looks carefully crafted but is actually super-quick to create.  I love the way the colour looks so multi-dimensional and last all day too.  The trick is in the layering.


I rubbed a tiny amount of cream eyeshadow above my crease and a glitter eye pencil by Topshop over my lid up to the crease as a base, then used a rounded blending brush to work a metallic purple (the mono-shadow in the picture above) into the glitter pencil, which created a fantastic multi-dimensional, intense colour over my lids.  I used the colour left on the brush to rub a tiny bit of colour along my lower lash line to create the familiar smoky eye shape.  I then picked up a very light green shadow (the top shadow in the quad in the pic above) on another, clean blending brush and worked it into my crease to create a blended wash of colour just above my crease.  I like the way it makes a change from the usual darker colour that is used to create depth in the crease in a smoky eye look.  I then finished off with black mascara and shiny pink blush.

So far today I’ve been wearing this make-up for around 10h and while it’s started to crease the colour is still going strong on my lids.  I sense this is going to become one of my signature looks this summer!

Sunday, 3 July 2011

Some Bourjois for the Summer

I picked up some Bourjois make-up on a 3-for-2 offer in Superdrug on Friday and I’ve had a chance to have a play around with it this weekend so here are some pics and my first impressions.


I wrote in my wish list a couple of months ago that I was looking for a pistachio green eyeshadow and this little round pot from Bourjois seemed like a good candidate.  I was also interested in trying one of their new “intense” eyeshadows which claim to offer twice as much coverage in one stroke as their classic eyeshadows and last for up to 16 hours.  The packaging is really cute – both eyeshadows come with mirrors in the lids (although they’re so tiny I’m not sure they’re all that useful!) and the little round pot also comes with a sponge tip applicator.  The intense eyeshadow is housed in a slightly flatter container and doesn’t include an applicator, but it does have a better fastening mechanism involving a magnet rather than the slightly fiddly click to shut lid of the little round pot.  Finally, as there was a 3-for-2 offer I picked up one of their new shades of Effect 3D Gloss from their summer 2011 collection in no. 49. Rose Pacific.


In keeping with its origins as part of a summer collection the lipgloss smells like pina colada, is a pretty shimmery peachy colour and contains SPF 15.  The packaging is very sleek and chic and slips into even the smallest of handbags nicely, and I like the brush applicator which allows for precise application.  The coverage is very sheer which could be a pro or a con depending on how you like your lipglosses, but I have been a bit disappointed by the thin consistency which is a lot runnier than the other Effect 3D lipglosses I’ve tried in the past, and I found it doesn’t last that long on my lips.  It’s also definitely not a cheap choice at £6.99 full price for 5.7ml so I have to say that while I will be using this a lot this summer since I’ve already bought it I won’t be buying this shade again.

OK so now onto the eyeshadows.  I was hoping that the intense eyeshadow would be a good alternative for my much-loved but extremely expensive Urban Decay eyeshadow in Midnight Cowboy.



left = Bourjois; right = Urban Decay

I actually preferred the look of the Bourjois shadow on the back of my hand as the glitter particles are much finer than those in Midnight Cowboy, which has quite large chunks of glitter which have an annoying tendency to fall out of the eyeshadow and all over your face.  As a result the Bourjois shade looked much more shimmery on my hand.  However, from the pics below where you can see the shadow on my eye, the glitter is actually not that noticeable.  In fact, it’s barely visible at all!  That would be fine if I were looking for a shadow with an extremely subtle glitter effect, but I was looking for a glittery shadow after all.  The texture was also quite chalky and gritty to apply so I was a bit disappointed in this shadow as well.  I do think it’s a nice peachy colour, and the pigmentation is good, but again at £6.99 full price for just 1g of shadow (Urban Decay single shadows currently retail at around £13.50 for 1.5g making them approx. £9 per gram so only £2 per gram more expensive than Bourjois) I won’t be buying this shadow again.


OK, so moving on to my little round pot perhaps it will be 3rd time lucky for me with Bourjois.  I do love this colour, but again the consistency of the product has let me down.  The shadow is quite chalky and not very pigmented and I really struggled to get any colour pay off at all when applying it dry (the swatch on my arm was the result of 3 finger swipes), so I decided to try applying it wet.  I sprayed a bit of MAC’s Fix+ face spray onto my brush, but that was a disaster – not only did I still struggle to get good colour pay-off, it also resulted in an awful shiny crust on my eyeshadow!


The crust in effect sealed the eyeshadow and meant that I couldn’t get any colour from it at all – the two gashes you can see in the shot above were where I gouged some small chunks of the crust out with my thumb nail to just try to get some colour onto my brush.

I figured I would give the shadow the benefit of the doubt as maybe I shouldn’t have used a face spray to apply the shadow wet and should just have stuck to water instead, so I gave it another go today.  In order to release some colour I scored the surface of the shadow using a clean, sharp kitchen knife and applied the shadow to my lids wet, using a brush dampened with water, without any primer underneath.  The result was a vibrant green colour which has lasted a good 8 hours on my lids so far.


But just look at the state of my poor eyeshadow now after my having used it just twice:


What a mess!  And I’m going to have to score it again before I want to use it again because I’m still not getting decent colour payoff from this surface – basically I was only getting good pay off when I was picking up the loose powder that came away when I created the scores, and now that there’s no loose powder left sitting on the surface I’m back to square one again.  I think this colour – when I can get to it – is lovely so I would say that if you liked the colour the shadow is probably worth buying just because I think it’s quite unique, but hopefully you can learn from my mistakes and avoid a crust on your shadow.  At £5.99 full price though I expect much better from an eyeshadow and I have to admit that I’ve been quite put off buying any more Bourjois round pots now.

Phew, that was a rare all-round disappointing haul.  Hopefully my next post will be written as a happier customer!  I’m saving myself now for the release of the Semi-Precious collection from MAC which I believe will be released in the UK next week so hopefully I’ll pick a couple of items up to share on my blog then.