Sunday, 24 June 2012

Everyday Look for Work Spring 2012

This is a look that I’ve worn quite a lot this spring and summer so far.  I like it because although it’s super quick to put together (5-10 min for the full face) it looks really colourful and polished.


Here’s what I used to create the look.  As you can see there aren’t that many products to it.


I used a MAC quad from the Spring limited edition collection Shop MAC called Shop and Drop.  I find that these shadows work best over a non-creamy/sticky primer so I like to use my MUA Professional Eye Primer for this look.  It’s a really great budget primer that currently retails for £2.50 and is available from selected Superdrug stores or their website.


I have a few MAC eyeshadow quads from various limited edition collections now but I’m not sure that I’d buy any more. While they may seem at first glance to be good value – four eyeshadows plus a palette for less than the normal cost of four shadows without a palette, there have been issues with the quality of the products in recent MAC limited editions and also it’s only good value if you’re actually going to use all the shades. This is my current favourite MAC quad but I still only use two of the shadows – so not such good value after all really!



I tend to use a flat eyeshadow brush to place Hypnotizing over my eyelids then blend Power Boosted into my crease with a rounded blending brush before adding a couple of coats of black mascara, and that’s it.  I don’t bother with any eyeliner or eyepencil or shadow under my eyes for definition…I think the combination of these colours create a lovely effect just by themselves.


Below: Hypnotizing is a shimmery lilac tinted silvery taupe


Below: Power Boosted is a bright shimmery violet



Above: The finished eye look – colourful and polished, and only takes about five minutes to apply.

I used a light peachy blush with golden shimmer over my cheeks and temples.  One of my current favourites is the central colour from my Sleek Blush by Three trio in Lace.  I mixed it with a tiny amount on the bright coral on the right as well.


Finally I finished off with a slick of light pink lipstick. My everyday lippie at the moment is my H&M lipstick in pink seashell which I’ve posted some more details photos of here.


And that’s it!  Hope you like this look.  I’m always running late in the mornings so I love 5-minute make-up and I’ll be posting some more everyday eyeshadow looks soon!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Silver Bling Nails

It’s been the wettest summer so far that I can remember since having moved to London but the sun’s finally managed to peek out from behind the grey clouds for a few hours these past few days so I decided to embrace the sunshine while it lasted and paint my nails with a mega-bling chunky glitter polish.


This is Techno by China Glaze which I got in a 2-for-£10 offer in Sally’s Hair and Beauty.  The price (mid) to quality (high) ratio of China Glaze means that it’s my favourite make of nail varnish at the moment.

I really like this nail varnish.  It can be worn as a top coat or on its own for some unadulterated glittery bling.  There’s a mixture of fine silver glitter and larger hexagonal chunks and you get a decent amount out on the brush each time without having to resort to scooping.  Here I’m wearing 3 coats as I wanted really dense coverage but it also looked good with one and two coats.  As with any glitter it was difficult to capture a good representation of the sparkle in just one photo so I put together a small collage with a few snaps from different angles.


Hello, Stranger!

I was browsing the Illamasqua counter in Selfridges on Oxford Street with a couple of friends and happened to try on their new golden lipgloss and well, what can I say.  It was a case of love at first sight.  So without further ado allow me to introduce you to Illamasqua’s new Intense lipgloss in Stranger.



You get 7ml for £13 (UK RRP), although I’m actually not convinced that you get 7ml in this tube.  Illamasqua’s standard lipgloss packaging is a cyclindrical squeezy tube with a hard plastic applicator tip but in their Summer 2012 collection Naked Strangers, of which Stranger is one of two lipglosses, the packaging has been changed to a solid rectangular tube with a brush applicator.  The brush applies the gloss pretty well but it’s actually pretty big and surely takes up a lot of space in the tube that could have contained more lipgloss instead…anyway it’s really a matter of personal preference as far as lipgloss packaging is concerned.  Personally I do like brushes as they allow more precise application but it does generally mean that some product has to be sacrificed in the tube.


The consistency of the gloss is very thick and quite sticky and to me it smells a bit like strawberry jam (although I’m sure that’s not the actual fragrance!).  I actually wiped a lot of the product off the brush in the above photo in order to show the shape of the brush more clearly.  It’s very pigmented and very long lasting for a gloss, which is also helped by the fact that it fades away so beautifully, leaving a gentle golden sheen as it goes.



When I tried the gloss on in the shop I was wearing the same make-up as above – just a simple flick of black eyeliner (I went over it with an iridescent pigment which is why my eyeliner has a slightly blue tinge).  I think the fact that I have quite strong yellow undertones in my skin does help make this colour more wearable for me as it is a very yellowy gold, although it’s definitely not a typical colour for a lipgloss.  I don’t have any problems wearing this as a daytime colour at weekends though, and it’s such a quick way of creating a statement look – just a quick slick of lipgloss and you can set out and impress the world in 30s!  I personally love the way it makes me look like a bit like a statue in the sunlight, especially paired with a golden highlighter on my cheekbones!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Sleek Blush by Three in Lace & Sugar



Above: the slim packaging and integrated mirror (which fills the whole of the lid) makes these palettes perfect for travelling with.

Below: left – Lace, right – Sugar


When I first saw these blush palettes in Superdrug I have to admit that I did hesitate.  At £9.99 they’re actually the most expensive Sleek products I’ve ever noticed and the colours were so bright I wondered if I’d actually dare to wear any of the shades. They’re not at all expensive for what you get – a whooping 20g of product - but £10 is a lot to shell out on a high street blush product in one go. Curiosity got the better of me though and I decided to try one of the lighter combinations, the trio in Lace (above left). I went on to fall in love with it so much that I picked up another palette in Sugar, which contains three even darker shades but which are actually so wearable that Sugar is actually my current favourite everyday blush.

As you can see from the photo above Lace and Sugar contain three pretty similar shades, but Sugar is slightly redder.  The two outer colours have a matte finish while the centre shade has a gold shimmer finish.  All the shades are very pigmented and I like to apply them by dabbing my brush over the centre shade and one of the matte colours then gently tapping the brush over my cheeks until I get a colour intensity that I’m happy with.  I then tend to take a clean blush brush to blend the colour in either with a highlighter across the top of my cheekbones or just to buff it into my skin a bit more.  The colour is very buildable and I love the fact that you can go from sheer to incredibly bright with these shades depending on your mood, and of course you can mix the colours up however you feel like it – they are so versatile.

Here’s a quick shot of me wearing a blend of the shades from the Sugar palette this weekend.  I’m actually wearing the darkest red here which goes to show that you can wear these colours even if you are very fair. I love the way it totally brightens up my whole face.


These palettes were available from Superdrug for a limited time only but are currently available to buy direct from the Sleek website.

Monday, 11 June 2012

Blog Update: Where did all the Urban Decay Go?


Since writing the below Urban Decay have reversed their decision to enter the Chinese market and their products will no longer need to be tested on animals and the brand has been re-listed on the Leaping Bunny register of cruelty free companies.  It is therefore possible that although I have not purchased any new Urban Decay products since their first announcement in June I may buy or feature Urban Decay products on my blog in future. I have decided this as I think it’s important to incentivise brands to listen to their consumers as Urban Decay on this occasion have.  I have however decided to leave this post up for historical reasons.


This is quite a special post for my blog as I’ve never written a post like this before and in all honesty I hope I never have to write one again.  It was with great shock and disappointment that I discovered last week that Urban Decay have decided to submit their products to be tested on animals by the Chinese government in order to receive approval to sell to the Chinese market.  There were further details made available at the time of the announcement in the form of a press release from Urban Decay posted on their website, but following hundreds of complaints regarding the patronising and hypocritcal tone adopted it was removed from their site within 24 hours.

This is not a cruelty free blog, nor can I make any claim to be a cruelty free shopper.  However, “cruelty free” was the core principal that Urban Decay built their brand on, and it was always a great comfort for me to know that Urban Decay staunchly opposed animal testing and that by paying the high price point for their products I was guaranteed guilt free shopping.  Every box of Urban Decay cosmetics I ever purchased showed the motto, “We don’t test on animals.  How could anybody?”  Well, I guess now that Urban Decay have turned their back on cruelty free they know the answer to that question better than any of us.

Actually thinking about the fact that they are willingly and eagerly submitting their products to be tested on animals makes me feel very uncomfortable indeed, bordering on the physically sick.  I was also confused and angry about the tired, lazy stereotypes the brand kept making regarding their hitherto loyal fans and neo-colonialist attitude towards their new target market of China.  Urban Decay has been my favourite brand of make-up for as long as I’ve been buying it, and that they would so easily give up their cruelty free status and insult and upset their loyal fans by their announcement and handling of the aftermath were actions that were totally impossible to reconcile with the brand I had known and loved for so long.

It is for these reasons that I have decided to not only never purchase another Urban Decay product again, but also to remove all posts solely featuring Urban Decay products.  I had considered leaving them on the blog for historical reasons but I’m afraid I don’t want to encourage anybody else to make any purchases from this brand either.  I would hate to think that a review or pictures on my blog had influenced somebody to purchase some Urban Decay products from this day forward.  I will also be removing the tag “Urban Decay” from the blog entirely except from this post and will try my best to remove any mention of the brand in other posts, although this may not be entirely possible given that I’m just one person who doesn’t ever get around to spending as much time on my blog as I would like to.

As a consumer pretty much the only power that I have to influence is with my money and how I spend it, and from now on I can promise not one penny of my money is going to Urban Decay.

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Accessorize Intense Colour Lipgloss: Bright Coral

Superdrug were running a 3-for-2 offer on all cosmetics so I picked up this lipgloss when I bought a couple of Accessorize lipsticks the other day.  Usually they cost around £4 full price.  I’m not sure of the name of this shade, it just says Incite Shade 5 on the label.




The gloss comes with a pretty standard doe foot applicator.


This is from Accessorize’s new range of lipglosses for summer 2012. With a name like “Intense Colour Lipgloss” I’d expect this gloss to pack a bit of a colour punch, so I choose this bright orangey coral colour to brighten up my days and hoped for the best.



I have to say, I’m pretty impressed.  The colour applies true to the colour you see in the tube and it lasts pretty well.  The consistency is quite thick but it’s not actually sticky and it feels quite moisturising and comfortable on the lips too.  I can definitely see myself picking up more of these lipglosses.

Scribe in Action

Here’s me wearing my white liquid eyeliner which is Illamasqua’s precision ink in the shade Scribe.  What do you think?  I like it!



Above: the tools of the trade…Illamasqua Precision Ink in Scribe, ca £17.50

Accessorize Matte Lipsticks for Summer 2012


Accessorize is one of my favourite make-up brands but I hadn’t actually tried any of their lipsticks before.  I picked up a couple of bright colours (nudey coral Smitten and fuschia Love-Struck) from their newly released matte range because 1) they looked like cute colours for the summer and 2) how cute is this packaging??  Yeah, I’m a sucker for animals on packaging…



The lipsticks also come with a tiny removable gloss/balm on the end which is the exact same shade as the lipstick.  Although it is a useable product the container is so tiny I can only get any product out by scooping it out on the back of my nail and I actually think it’s mainly there to give a true indication of the colour of the lipstick.



I’ve been testing out these products this weekend and I do quite like them.  The colours are lovely but they are somewhat difficult to apply as they are very, very dry.  They have a very matte finish.  I find them much easier to apply straight from the bullet than with a lip brush as rubbing them on my lips helps to warm the product up and allow it to glide over my lips a bit better.  The biggest plus point is that they’re really long lasting and don’t need any lip pencil underneath to help them adhere to the lips any better and I get four hours of wear minimum with these (which takes into account numerous cups of tea/coffee on my part). 



Above: the coloured balms are the exact same shade as the lipsticks.

These lippies cost £3.95 each and are available in selected Superdrug and Accessorize stores which I think is really great value for the colour and lasting power that you get.  On a bit of a side note, I’m not really sure why Accessorize doesn’t get greater publicity – I don’t read about it much on other blogs and even Accessorize’s own website and twitter feed seem to largely overlook their cosmetics range, so it remains a bit of a hidden gem.

Turquoise, Gold, Coral, Pink…

I couldn’t decide which colours to wear today, so I ended up with...


I’m not sure that this is the right blush for this look – I think something warmer would have worked better.  I do think this is a fun combination for summer though, with turquoise and gold on the eyes and coral on the lips.  I’ll definitely be playing around with these shades a lot this summer.

Turquoise from the Sleek Mediterranean palette (top row, 2nd from left)



Intense Colour Lipgloss by Accessorize in Incite Shade 5 (around £4 for 4ml)


Nails to Match the Weather

Just in time for the start of the British summer the weather’s been rainy and dull the whole weekend long, so I decided to make the best of it and paint my nails to match.



Above: three thin coats of I Don’t Give a Rotterdam!

This is the shade I Don’t Give A Rotterdam! from the OPI Holland Collection released this spring.  I really dislike the name.  What’s the point of it? It’s a pun on “I don’t give a damn” and the Dutch port city of Rotterdam…so what? That’s not funny, and what does that have to do with the colour of this nail varnish?


Anyway, grievances with the name aside this is quite a good nail varnish.  I apply two to three thin coats to get good coverage which lasts at least a week without chipping.  The consistency is great and the varnish dries very quickly. I also really like the steely blue colour which is shot through with a super fine silver shimmer. OPI nail varnishes don’t come cheap in the UK though and I paid £11 full price for this (15ml) in John Lewis.  So, while it is one of the best performing nail varnishes I have I probably won’t be buying any more OPI until there’s either a sale or I’ve used most of this one up in a couple of years as I think OPI would be an expensive indulgence when I have quite a large collection of other colours to choose from already.