Monday, 29 November 2010

Monday Manicure: Job Interview Worthy Nails

For the first time in a couple of months, my nails are completely bare, with not even a coat of Nail Envy to protect them. So this week's Monday Manicure is over to you, hence the distinct lack of pictures.

I suddenly have to go to London on Friday for a very important career's event. It's not exactly a career's fair or Open Day, not exactly an interview, but could be a huge foot in the door in helping me take my next step in the legal field. Networking is key and as I am totally useless at self promotion and feel incredibly awkward at these kind of things, I am terrified.

It is being held at one of the UK's top commercial law firms so think London and corporate. In order to take my mind off about a hundred more important things, I am now worrying about what to do about my nails. I will try and put this slightly more into context so I don't sound too shallow.

On one of the legal career's websites, they regularly post articles on everything from interview technique to training etc. I remember reading one of these articles last year about how prospective candidates applying for training contracts should avoid French manicures specifically because they give the impression that they are dull and have no imagination.

So of course that begs the question what colour/type of nail varnish would give the right impression (the article didn't mention that!)? This is where my lovely readers come in as I would really appreciate some advice on the nail front. What colours do you wear in the work place? Any complete no no's? If you were interviewing someone what nail colour would you like to see them wearing?

To some this may sound so ridiculous it's not true, but firstly, it stops me worrying about more important things, and secondly, in a very competitive field, the little things count. Another article was giving advice on whether or not to accept complimentary hot drinks and biscuits before your interview. The answer was a definite no because they place the chocolate biscuits on the saucer, the heat melts the chocolate, you get it on your fingers and then get into an awkward situation when you have to shake hands with the interviewer. You see, the little things matter!

Hopefully if I get some good suggestions I will be able to post what I eventually choose on Thursday evening.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Totally devoted to tennis

Federer at work (my own camera work)
Sorry for the lack of posts this week, things will get back to normal tomorrow. The reason for disappearance has been my now annual pilgrimage to the O2 to watch the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals Tennis Tournament, featuring the top 8 male players. It used to be held in Shanghai but moved the London last year and as Wimbledon is near impossible to get tickets for unless you camp out, it is the best chance I have of seeing some great tennis.

I had a fantastic time last year because my favourite player, Juan Martin Del Potro of Argentina, made it to the last 8 and got through to the final so I managed to see all 5 of his matches. Unfortunately, he's been injured since January so he wasn't playing this year but my mum being a Federer fan wanted to go and I am not one to refuse free tickets!

So I've spent most of the week at the O2 Arena watching the likes of Federer, Nadal and Djokovic battle it out (plus regular outings to Pizza Express in between matches). Having a new camera for this year's tournament I spent most of the time trying to master my photography skills and try out the shutter burst function. It is harder than it looks!

Rafael Nadal (my own camera work)
 It was a shame that we only got to see one 3 set match, Nadal v Murray, as it can work out incredibly expensive for only an hours worth of tennis in some cases. Last year every match we watched except the final was a gripping 3 setter so we were spoiled.

My other huge disappoint was tickets to the final. I had guessed and hoped it would be a Federer Nadal final and there probably won't be too many more opportunities to see one in my lifetime. I bought a pair of tickets off eBay for the final, paid, and then the seller immediately refunded the money and cancelled the transaction saying that 'he had forgotten to set a reserve price' and couldn't let them go.

I really think this is disgraceful behaviour as I didn't bid on others as I thought I had secured this pair. I had paid cost price for them so to back out on a contract just because you didn't make the obscene profit you thought you would is not on. By this time there was no way to get another pair so I had to make do with seeing it on TV. Next year I will learn my lesson and get final tickets a long way in advance! Rant over.

It might have been a blessing in disguise as when I woke up this morning this was the view out of the window. Snow in November! Almost unheard of in England, particularly as I live by the sea.

A good couple of inches of snow outside!

My usual beauty ramblings will be starting again tomorrow.

My all time favourite sportsman Juan Martin Del Potro (sadly I've never been close enough to take a photo like this!)

Friday, 26 November 2010

Clarisonic - Initial Thoughts

My Clarisonic arrived a couple of days ago and I have never been so excited about trying out a beauty product. Although I have only had three days use so far, I am so impressed with the results that I wanted to share them with you.

Originally I was very dubious about a glorified sonic toothbrush for the face, and I felt that my cleansing routine was pretty good, having used muslin clothes since I was a teenager. Having seen yet another glowing blogger review on the Clarinsonic, I felt it was worth a trial and as I got it off QVC, it was risk free.

Firstly, it was very easy to use and took just a minute to cleanse my whole face, a lot less time than it takes me to complete my usual Eve Lom routine. Rather than the look of my skin, the main thing I noticed was the feel of it. It was better than if I had used one of my regular exfoliators, beautifully smooth. This improvement in texture seemed to help my makeup apply better.

The second dramatic improvement was better absorption of my skincare. I have posted before about how I find it increasingly difficult to get a good neck cream that doesn't start to flake off after about half an hour. Some moisturisers also have this effect, especially when I try to use a serum underneath. After using the Clarisonic just once, any skincare products I used just sunk in like magic, even the Decleor neck cream that I had previously dismissed.

I think it is too early to say whether the Clarisonic has had or will have a visible effect on the appearance of my skin, I am suffering with acne and I think to cure that is too much to ask from any gadget. If my skin continues to feel smooth and my products continue to work how they are meant to, then I will feel that £150 is a reasonable price to pay for this. In fact, the only downside of my whole Clarisonic experience so far is that when it arrived I had to leave it for 24 hours to charge, I am not a patient person!

For those of you that have already been converted to the Clarisonic, I have a couple of questions. Do you use the Clarisonic cleansers or do you find it works just as well with other brands? How does the body attachment work, more specifically does it help get rid of those annoying red bumps on the back of your arms? Can you use the ordinary Clarisonic on the body or do you need the upgraded model?

Giveaway Winner!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered my recent Tom Ford giveaway. Entries closed on Wednesday and now it's time to announce the winner. I used http://www.random.org/ to pick a winner and that person is (drum roll please), Charlie!

Congratulations!

I am heading to London next Friday so will endeavour to pick up your favourite Tom Ford lipstick shade while I am there and send it off to you that weekend. I hope you will love it as much I do. Just email me your address so I know where to send it.

Sorry to all those who weren't lucky this time, but who's to say when the next generous mood might take me! (in other words I will probably do another giveaway soon, maybe around New Year).

I must also add a huge thank you to the lovely Jane of www.modestybrown.com for helping me publicise the giveaway, I am totally useless at self publicity, so she was a godsend!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Monday Manicure - Dior Czarina Gold

Once again my Monday Manicure has been disrupted, this time by the World Tour Tennis Finals, so it is here on a Tuesday.

I have never used Dior Nail Polish before and probably never would have (I tend to stick to Chanel and OPI) if I hadn't seen Visionary Beauty's post on this very shade. Although it didn't come out how she expected, it peaked my interest enough to check it out in store. From the Holiday collection, it is a dark charcoal with gold shimmer shot through it, and this can almost make it appear a khaki/olive green. I thought it looked a bit like the eyeshadow Abyssinian Catbird from Rouge Bunny Rouge which a lot of people rave about.

I had a look through my current collection and I didn't have anything like it so I thought it might be worth spending on, but I was shocked when I realised it was more expensive than Chanel polish. The Dior is £18 for 10ml and Chanel is £16.50 for 13ml, I am amazed that something makes Chanel seem good value!

When I opened the bottle to use it, the first thing that struck me is what an odd shape the brush is, almost oval, a bit like an oar. I found it quite difficult to get to grips with this and I can't really see any benefit in having a brush like this, but I still managed to get a good finish with two coats. It dried very quickly and I finished with a coat of Nails Inc Caviar Top Coat (have given up with my Seche Vite, seems to have gone off).

2 coats applied + top coat (my hands look a
little greasy because I had just applied
cuticle oil)
When I had finished, I really liked the result. It is definitely a charcoal and not an olive green, but the gold shimmer is more visible than I had thought and that was what I wanted. However, I was not at all happy when after just half an hour, I got my first chip. For £18, I expected better, As this is the only Dior polish I have tried I don't know if this is representative of the whole range, but it has definitely put me off buying from them in the future. I love the colour and the finish but the wear is just not good enough.

Does anyone have any tips as to how to prevent Dior polish chipping so fast?

Giveaway Update

A very quick post to let you know that there is only one day left to enter my giveaway to win the Tom Ford Lipstick of your choice. Entries close at 11pm tomorrow and you can see how to enter here.

Good Luck!

Tom Ford Lipstick - £35

Debenhams and H&M Rant

I will start by stating that I am in a very bad mood. There are two reasons for this and they come in the form of H&M and Debenhams.

Lanvin for H&M - the middle dress is what
I had my heart set on
I have been waiting for the release of the Lanvin for H&M Collection for what feels like months. There was no way I'd be able have got to one of the stores so was relieved that they were finally selling online. It launched at 7am so I was there from 6.30am trying but failing to get into the online store. Apparently they were busy.

I spent 90 minutes refreshing the page until I could access the store only to find that the dress I really wanted for my brother's wedding was sold out. There were a couple of others that I liked so I quickly added to them to my basket and headed to the checkout. I then spent another 45 minutes refreshing that page because there was an error. Finally, the whole site said it was shutting down for maintenance. When it came back up everyone that was in my basket was now sold out.

In all honesty I never really expected to be able to get the dress I wanted online, it seemed too good to be true. What does make me mad though is that they don't anticipate this kind of traffic on the website. It would have been far better if they had kept the online release time a secret and then people would have to check back from midnight onwards, now that would reward determination or fanaticism, whatever you like to call it! Similarly, why not limit the number of items to 3 or 5 per person? There is already a load of items on eBay and this is what makes me so angry. The people who just want one or two items miss out whilst professional eBayers make a fortune.

I know the best way is to not encourage their behaviour by buying off eBay, but in the past when I have wanted something from a collection like this that has been the only way to get hold of what I wanted, and what I really want is that dress!

YSL Holiday 2010 Collection
My other rant is focused on Debenhams and their appalling customer service. I popped in to my local store yesterday afternoon to try to pick up a beauty card and shock horror, buy some cosmetics. There was only one sales assistant on even though there were about t

en different counters so I finally asked her if she could find out some prices for me of YSL products, specifically the Touche D'Or. I was told that it was the same as the normal Touche Eclat. I didn't believe this and didn't know how much the ordinary one was anyway, so looking very annoyed, she started searching. About ten minutes later, with me helping, she found the item I wanted but then her mobile phone (!) started ringing so she told me I'd have to find someone else to serve me as she needed to answer it.

Too stunned to say anything, I drifted towards the jewellery counter to try to find someone willing to take my cash off me, and was then told that to get a beauty card I had to go to a member of staff in the beauty department. This sales assistant then went back to the conversation she was having with another staff member, the conversation I had so rudely interrupted to try to buy something.

At last I was saved by a lady who seemed to have returned to the shop floor at the Clarins counter. She was lovely and I got my item and my beauty card. However, I will never be shopping at Debenhams again. I resent being made to feel like I am being awkward just for wanting to buy something. To answer a personal mobile phone call when in the middle of dealing with a customer is beyond bad manners. As a student I worked in M&S and The Body Shop and it was instilled in us that customer service was the most important thing. I would have been sacked or at least disciplined if I had behaved in such a way. The sad thing is that the young girls on the shop floor don't seem to know any better. Management should provide better training for their staff and teach them to value customers. particularly in these hard times.

Rant over and now I feel slightly better. Has anyone else had any bad customer service recently? Did anyone manage to get hold of anything they wanted from Lanvin for H&M? Any advice as to where to shop for beauty products to get a really good customer experience?

(I promise to be in a better mood in future posts!)

Monday, 22 November 2010

All I want for Christmas - How do you decide?

There is no avoiding it, Christmas is coming, and with that is the inevitable Christmas shopping.



I spent most of Friday afternoon in front of the computer actually ordering my own Christmas presents. No, not presents for other people, for me. This year my family decided that it would be better for me to get what I actually want and they doubted their technological skills would be up to using the right discounts on the right websites to get the best deals on my beauty list. So by Friday afternoon, Space NK, Zuneta and HMV orders placed, my Christmas is complete. Now I just have the rest of my family and friends to sort out. If they provided such comprehensive lists or had blogs on which they dropped huge hints about presents, it would make it a much easier task.

This got me thinking, how do you go about ensuring you get the presents you want without ruining the surprise that is such a fun part of Christmas? Now I know exactly what I am getting, there is no sense of anticipation. This is preferable to opening the umpteenth pair of socks and feigning a look of shocked delight, but there must be a better way.

I know that it is the thought that counts and I am grateful if anyone buys me a present, but 'gifting' can become a nightmare for both parties. If I am going to spend money on a present for someone, I would much rather spend it on something that they really want and will appreciate, as opposed to an item that will be shoved to the back of the wardrobe, sold on eBay or donated as a prize for next year's Christmas raffle (I might be guilty of all three of these).


On the subject of Christmas presents, here are a few that would look great under any tree (you'll be able to tell I have a huge weakness for films, Lola Rose and of course beauty products):
  • Chantecaille Les Macarons Palette - £63
  • YSL Touch D'or - £28
  • Laura Mercier Eye Colour Sampler Palette - £35
  • Tom Ford Black Orchid Makeup & Fragrance Coffret - £90
  • Shu Uemura Bowwow Magic Queen Palette - £39
  • Inception on BluRay - £18
  • Eclipse on BluRay - £18
  • Anything from Lanvin for H&M
  • Lola Rose Lana Necklace - £90
  • Lola Rose Jenny Necklace - £85
  • Becca Beach Tint Trio Collection - £44
What will you be hoping to find under the tree this Christmas? Have you ever got something you loved on Christmas Day that was a total surprise? I think the last time that happened to me was in 1990 when I woke up to find a huge Georgian Dolls House at the foot of my bed, I still have it somewhere.

If you want an early Christmas present this year, be sure to enter my Tom Ford giveaway. Click here for details.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Beauty Discount Codes

Just a very quick post as I'm heading to the O2 to watch Federer in the tennis later. Today is the final day for a lot of beauty discount codes so if you are Christmas shopping they might be worth a look.
  • Zuneta - 17.5% off with the code mvczu
  • Space NK - 20% off with the code GLAMSLAM
  • Debenhams - Free delivery and 10% off all beauty products
There is a ticket only event being held at Fenwicks in association with the Telegraph on Wednesday, with 20% off everything, including cosmetics. The downside is you need to have already applied for tickets to get in.


I wish I had realised Space NK had the Tom Ford Black Orchid Gift Set in stock before I placed my order on Friday as 20% would be a very worthwhile saving. Now I'll have to hope it's still there after Christmas.

Happy Shopping!

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Beauty Gadgets: Are they worth the money?

Until recently, the only beauty gadget that has been faithfully by my side for years is my pair of Shu Uemura eyelash curlers. I played around with cheaper versions at first (the supposed curl was more like a right angle) and then tried heated ones (the batteries died within days). Now I get by with my Shus and blast them for a few seconds with a hairdryer if I feel the need. Works a treat.



However, in the last year a number of expensive beauty gadgets have flooded the market, claiming that they will revolutionize our current routines. The two that have caught my eye are the Clarisonic and various IPL hair removal devices.

The Clarisonic was once only available at Space NK but this year was launched at QVC, costing £150. It is a revolutionary cleansing device, promising a much deeper clean that helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and pores. It is also said to leave skin so clean that it absorbs serums and moisturisers much better. I consider cleansing a fundamental part of my skincare regime and have used Eve Lom and a muslin cloth for many years, so the question is does the Clarisonic live up to its claims and even if it does, is it worth £150?

Hair removal is something all women unfortunately have to battle with and I have tired shaving, waxing and epilators. All have their drawbacks. IPL devices offer a permanent solution and the thought of never having to worry about regrowth again is an appealing one. I've read a few reviews of both the Philips and the Boots versions and I'm impressed by the results users say they've experienced. With the Philips Lumea at nearly £400, this could be a very expensive mistake if it doesn't live up to its promises.


The Clarisonic - £150 from QVC

I've picked just two items out of many. There are hairdryers for £125, acne treatment systems for £130, where does it end?

Do you think this new generation of beauty gadgets are worth such high prices? Will the trusty razor and flannel become obsolete?

Yesterday I took advantage of a QVC Easy Pay code and their extended returns period to give the Clarisonic a try for a few months (I'll keep you posted on my experiences with it), but if I hadn't had the possibility of returning it, I doubt I would ever have spent that much on a gadget.

Are there any beauty gadgets that you can't live without?

Les Tentations de Chanel - My Holiday Picks

I finally caved this week and gave in to Chanel temptation, I don't think it can ever be overcome. The tipping point came when Makeup Supremo Lisa Eldridge was wearing the Chanel blush and gloss in her recent video. It gave such a soft, pretty look that I felt the irresistible urge to dash to my nearest Chanel counter and hand over my credit card.

Here are the results:
Chanel Blush in Tweed Fuchsia, Chanel Lip Gloss in Pink Pulsion, Ombre D'eau in Splash
Blushers are probably my all time favourite Chanel product as I get the most use out of them. I rarely use blush from any other range. I already have the other tweed blushes but I was put off Tweed Fuchsia because it seemed so bright in all the pictures I saw off it. I am in a bit of a rut when it comes to pink on my cheeks so I thought I could easily give Tweed Fuchsia a miss. I was very wrong. Once I saw how the delicate flush it gave when applied (on Lisa Eldridge) I coveted it, and I was clearly in good company as I got the last one from my nearest counter.

If, like me, you were afraid this would give you the Aunt Sally look, don't be. The mixture of shades make the overall effect much more muted than you would think. If applied lightly it gives a healthy glow and because of the deep pink shade, it will look great on all skintones. I have applied it quite heavily in the swatch to show the overall colour, but on the cheeks I would never put on that much.

Left: Chanel Tweed Fuchsia, Right: Chanel Splash

Chanel Ombre D'eau in Splash
Next up was the Ombre D'eau in Splash. This is a liquid shadow in deep metallic taupe. I have a couple of these in much lighter shades and have only ever used them as highlighters for the inner corner of the eye and the brow bone. Splash is obviously too dark for this but it is perfect used all over the lid paired with the taupes from the le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscope Eye Kit in Le Cirque. I have pictured it alongside my existing shades so you can see the contrast. I think these liquid shadows are really overlooked as they are so easy to apply and last forever.

I was originally drawn to the Holiday Collection by the beautiful promo picture and would love to be able to recreate such a look, particularly the chocolate eyes. I did ask the Sales Assistant if she knew exactly which products were used and how, but she didn't know. Obviously the Eyeshadow Quad was vital, but I was unsure whether the liquid shadow was also used. In the end, I decided to leave the quad as it was a bit too glittery and I thought I had enough similar shades already, however it may still get the better of me!


Left to right: 40 (source), 727 (ltd edition), 75 (splash)

Chanel Ombre D'eau Swatches - 40, 727, 75

Finally we have the lip products. I tried the new Rouge Coco in Magnolia but it was a bit on the light side for me. I think I might have just about learnt my lesson when it comes to pale lips. Instead I chose the Levres Scintillantes in Pink Pulsion, a vivid fuchsia pink with a touch of shimmer. It is very wearable because it is a lot less bright on the lips (I have quite pigmented lips so it might be brighter on those with paler lips). As a result, I prefer it used over the top of a blotted down coat of Tom Ford's Pure Pink, this gives a similar look to that in the promo. I much prefer lipstick to gloss, but the Chanel feel comfortable on, no stickiness, and makes a nice change to ordinary lipstick, giving it more dimension when layered.

Chanel released a similar bright pink lip gloss with their summer collection, Laser, but when swatched together you can see how different they are. I was very disappointed with Laser as it is so sheer, nothing like the colour it appears in the tube. Serves me right for not bothering to swatch it before I bought it. Luckily Pink Pulsion is much more me (although it could still be a little brighter for my taste!).

Magazines delight in telling us various rules of makeup, probably the most famous being that you never where heavy eyes and lips together, the emphasis should always be on one or the other. The Chanel Holiday Collection refuses to subscribe to that traditional view and perhaps that is one of the reasons I love it so much. I will have a lot of fun this season trying to emulate the beauty of promo shot, whether I am successful is another matter!

Chanel Levres Scintillantes Swatches, left: Laser, right: Pink Pulsion
All the products in the Chanel Holiday are limited edition and for the best price, try http://www.debenhams.com/ as they have 10% off and free delivery until Sunday night. If you got the Telegraph tickets, Fenwicks have 20% off on Wednesday evening, so it's a great chance to stock up on some beauty Christmas presents.

Chanel Holiday Collection Promo

Chanel Tweed Fuchsia - £31

Chanel Lip Gloss in Pink Pulsion - £19

Chanel Ombre D'eau in Splash - £21.50

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Pulsion - £16.50




Friday, 19 November 2010

Nars Fall Collection Eyeshadow Duos

All I can say is better late than never with this post.

These duos have been on my shopping list for months and even though we are now onto Holiday collections, I thought I'd give you a brief look at the Nars Fall eyeshadow duos in Tzarine and Rajasthan. At first glance they can look very similar, so I thought it would useful to show them side by side to show the difference in shades. If, like me, you are torn between the two, it might help you decide which to go for.

Left: Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Rajasthan, Right: Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Tzarine
Nars eyeshadow duos are one of my favourite products from the brand and I have amassed quite a collection over the years. Having read various blog reviews when they were first released (often quite contradictory), I originally plumped for Rajasthan but left it too late and when I tried to get it from the Nars counter, it was sold out.

I swiftly opted for Tzarine and am pleased I did as otherwise I think I would have overlooked it. It is not quite as striking as Rajasthan, but it seems more delicate, reminding me of the shades you see on snowy Christmas cards (that might seem a really odd thing to say but I have been making about 300 handmade ones the last few months and champagne gold and light silver snow flakes have been a prevalent theme). Described as 'gold infused with silver inflections with a bold, steel grey', I disagree with the 'bold' grey, it is perfect to create a subtle Christmas party eye. If you want sophisticated shimmer rather than out there glitter, this would be a great choice.

Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Tzarine - £23
I managed to get Rajasthan last week and I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn't as similar to Tzarine as I first thought. It is warmer toned, featuring an antique gold and darkened forest green, although Nars official description of the colours is 'glazed almond and cool charcoal'. Although the colours looked great in the pan, I was disappointed with the darker shade when I swatched it, it felt chalky and dragged a little. The lighter shade and both colours in the Tzarine duo felt soft and buttery, with a nice shimmer and smooth application. The dark shade in Rajasthan fell flat on all counts.

Still, I suppose three out of four colours isn't bad, but I would recommendd Tzarine over Rajasthan for quality. If you really want the antique gold shade from the latter duo, you could try Bohemian Gold (leans a little more bronze), Key Largo (leans a little more peach) or Summer Time if you prefer cream shadows.

Nars Eyeshadow Duo in Rajasthan - £23

Here are the swatches of both duos side by side:

Swatches left to right: Rajasthan, Tzarine
Even though part of the Fall Collection, both eyeshadow duos are still available to buy online at www.narscosmetics.co.uk and www.hqhair.com. They are £23 each.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

My Back To MAC Free Lipsticks

Left to right: MAC Midi-Mauve, MAC Pink Nouveau,
MAC Impassioned
I posted a few weeks ago about my MAC depotting experience and besides having a beautifully colourful palette, an added bonus was being able to trade in 6 empty (and somewhat burnt/melted) containers for a brand new lipstick. I think this is a great initiative so I turned up at my nearest MAC counter with a bag full of plastic and left with three great shades to play with.

My experience at MAC counters has never really been a good one, although years ago a lovely girl at the counter in Harvey Nichols, Edinburgh, spent over an hour with me and I was very impressed (I did reward her with a massive spend!). Sadly, that kind of service has never happened since I've been down south and I always feel awkward with MAC, like I'm not cool or edgy enough to be there. I tend to favour a slightly more subtle look than the counter girls so I don't really browse, just go in with a list or order online.

I digress.......

Knowing I could get three lipsticks I went trawling some of my favourite blogs to see which MAC lipsticks they favoured and take a look at some swatches. I ended up with a list of about ten shades (they never seem to have anything I want in stock, tried 5 times to get Ruby Woo, no joy), and then had the job of trying to request these from a very new member of staff. She clearly had no idea of the lipstick names and had difficulty understanding what I was saying, no idea why as I have a fairly traditional, non-regional accent, but the situation was not helped by Disney classics being blasted out of the speakers. The result was that I had to look in the drawers with her to find any lipsticks with a vague resemblance to my list. One was on it, the other two I picked up in desperation as I couldn't take it any more!

Here's what I ended up with:
  • Midi-mauve - lustre
  • Impassioned - amplified
  • Pink Nouveau - satin

Swatches left to right: Impassioned, Pink Nouveau, Midi-mauve
Impassioned was the one on my list and as I had been after it for a while, was thrilled they had it in stock. A very bright coral red, it is actually really wearable, even my mum liked it. Big praise. I was disappointed with Midi-mauve as I wanted more mauve (was thinking Nars Sex machine) and got more brown. However hard I look, I cannot see any mauve at all. I guess that is what comes from picking a lipstick on name alone. Lesson learned. Finally came Pink Nouveau, a cool toned pink, but it is a little chalky for my taste. Maybe I should have been more cautious when I learnt it was Lady Gaga's favourite!

So, a mixed bunch, but I can't really be disappointed when they were freebies. The one I actually paid for, Viva Glam Cyndi, I love so much I would have paid twice the price.

Anyone have any MAC lipsticks they can't live without so I can be more prepared next time I venture in?

MAC lipsticks are available from MAC counters nationwide and cost £12.50 each. The Back to MAC initiative is one new lipstick for every six empty MAC containers taken back to a counter. All ordinary lipsticks are included apart from the Viva Glam range.

Lord Alan Sugar - King of The Apprentice UK
Now it's Apprentice time. I wish the BBC would offer some kind of live streaming of the candidates on tasks, they must have so much more footage and it would be a lot more interesting than Big Brother. Is it just me that thinks Chris Bates (the blonde one) is hot? Could be the hormones talking. Looking back I think my last 3 boyfriends have looked like him, a pattern emerges! Anyway, he's my favourite to win since Paloma left, I liked her purely because she was by far the most elegant and her makeup was great. Any other Apprentice fans out there?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Monday Manicure: Nars Nail Polish in King Kong

Nars Nail Polish in King Kong - £13
For once the Monday Manicure is being posted on a Monday, miracles really do happen! Today I thought I would try out one of the Nars Vintage Collection polishes. Released back in early October, these shades were originally out in the late 1990s and have returned with the new Nars formula. They are Toluene, Formaldehyde and DBP free. The colours are named after some top Hollywood films and I chose King Kong. Is it wrong to admit that I remember looking at these polishes the first time round?

King Kong is described by Nars as 'copper brown infused with gold'. I am usually quite hard to convince about mid-brown shades as, how can I put this, they tend to remind me of dog shit (sorry, there was no delicate way to put that). However, I thought it was time I tried something new and I like copper so King Kong seemed a good way to go.
Nars Vintage Nail Collection - £13 each

2 coats of Nars King Kong applied + top
coat
Never having used Nars polishes before, I am really surprised at how good they are. Better than both Chanel and OPI in my opinion, and they have been my favourites for a long time. The polish applied smoothly and was perfect with one coat, but I applied the usual two. The finish is like molten Galaxy chocolate, but with a very fine shimmer. It is more subtle than a lot of OPI shimmers.I'm only annoyed that I messed up this lovely finish by applying Seche Vite that seems to have gone off in the last few weeks. I had no problems with it at the beginning and I still have half a bottle left, but it is now quite lumpy and stiff, and is impossible to apply evenly.

I can't believe that I ignored Nars Nail Polish for so long, always got distracted by their eyeshadow duos, but I won't make that mistake again. Having been browsing on their website, they have a fantastic shade selection so maybe Father Christmas might bring me a few.

Nars Nail Polish in King Kong is limited edition and available from http://www.narscosmetics.com/ for £13.

Finally a quick reminder to everyone that my Tom Ford Private Blend Lipstick giveaway is now open. Just follow my blog and leave a comment on the giveaway post saying which are the top 2 shades you would like to win. It's that simple!

Tom Ford Private Blend Lipstick - £35

My Tom Ford Private Blend Lipstick Giveaway!

The day has finally come for my Tom Ford Giveaway!

Before I launch into the details, I just want to explain a little bit about why I am doing it. I am passionate about beauty products, especially the one's I like and Tom Ford's lipstick line is one of those. At £35, it is a crazy amount for a lipstick and many people would probably not bother trying it because of the price.

Due to my health I have been living at home with my parents since graduating, and I am truly thankful to them for putting up with me otherwise I don't know what I'd do. However, a major plus of this arrangement is that my living costs are greatly reduced and so I can spend more than I would normally on beauty. A couple of years ago I would never have considered (or been able to) buying Tom Ford and I hope that this giveaway will offer a chance for everyone to try such a fabulous product.

In short, I have mentioned these lipsticks a lot in previous posts and so I thought it was about time I put my money where my mouth is and rather than buy another shade for myself, offer someone else the opportunity to try one.

So I will be postponing (adding to my Christmas List) my Moroccan Rouge purchase so that I can buy one for this giveaway and hopefully give someone an early Christmas present.

The Details
One winner will be picked at random either through a random number generator or names in a hat (depending on volume of entries) to win the Tom Ford Private Blend Lip Colour of their choice. I thought this would be better than me choosing a colour as everyone has their own individual preferences. There are 12 colours to choose from and you can see the full list here. There are swatches of five of the colours in previous posts and Grace London at www.londonmakeupgirl.com also has great swatches of a lot of the shades that might help you when choosing.

To be in with a chance of winning, all you need to do is be a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post with your first and second choice of Tom Ford Lip Colour (in case I can't get your first choice from Harrods or Selfridges).

There is only one entry per person and any more than one comment from the same individual will be discounted. The giveaway closes 11pm (UK time) on Wednesday 24th November and the winner will be announced on Friday 26th November. If I don't hear back from the winner within a week, another will be chosen. This giveaway is open internationally.

I will have to purchase the prize from either Selfridges or Harrods once I hear back from the winner so I cannot help if your chosen shade is sold out at that time. I will endeavor to get your first choice shade but in the event I can't, I will go to your second preference. If that is also out of stock, I will wait to hear from the winner what shade they would like from what what is available in store.

To recap:
  • The winner will receive one Tom Ford Lipstick in the colour of their choice (RRP £35)
  • There will only be one winner
  • To enter you must be a follower of my blog and leave a comment on this post with your first and second choices of shade
  • The giveaway closes at 11pm on Wednesday 24th November 2010
  • Only one entry per person will be accepted
  • The winner will be picked at random using either a random number generator or names from a hat (depending on volume of entries)
  • The winner will be announced on Friday 26th November 2010
  • If I don't hear back from the winner within 1 week, another will be chosen
  • I cannot be held responsible for the winner not getting their first choice of colour if that is sold out at Selfridges and Harrods. In that situation, the winner's second choice colour will be purchased.
I think that is everything so all that remains to be said is good luck everyone!

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Dior Minaudiere in Pink Golds - Swatches and Review

I am trying to write this as a distraction from the current Formula One race which is going on, I needed to do something otherwise I'll have no fingernails left in two hours time!

The moment I saw pictures of the Dior Minaudiere it was love at first sight, and my feelings only deepened when I saw it in person. I'll be clear, I was not in love with the products themselves, but the beautiful vintage compact that they come in. I would probably have bought it even if the colours were neons or if it was empty. I think the design is stunning and so that will probably bias this review.

The Minaudiere looks like a perfect mini clutch bag/evening purse with its embossed patent leather exterior and gold clasp detail. It closes with magnets, not the clasps themselves. It fits perfectly in my hand (I have small hands) and is around four inches wide and two and a half inches tall. Just looking at it transports me back to a more glamorous era.

Now onto the colours. The Minaudiere is available in two colour combinations, Grey Golds and Pink Golds. Each one has 3 eyeshadows and 2 lip glosses. I chose the Pink Golds as I preferred the eyeshadow shades and didn't think I would ever wear brown/gold lip glosses.

The eyeshadows are embossed with the hounds tooth pattern that appears on the outer leather and they are the perfect shades to create a smokey eye. There is a rich chocolate with a hint of plum and burgundy to it, a shimmery taupe and finally a light oyster pink, good as a highlighter. I'm not sure how much you'll be able to see of the latter shade because it has blended right into my skintone. The two lightest colours are very very shimmery, and they make the darker colour look almost matte in comparison. It's not, but it does have a lot less shimmer than the others and it did feel a little chalky and harder to apply when I swatched it.


I am not keen on the two lip glosses at all. In general I am not a massive fan of lip glosses but these have a lot of micro glitter in them, a big no no where I am concerned. In the swatches, you can  hardly see the colours of them, just the glitter. I suppose Dior are thinking it's Christmas and Christmas equals glitter, but I would have preferred at least one of the shades to be a more pigmented non glitter gloss. A nice touch is that the glosses are separated from the eyeshadows by a little metal door to ensure that both stay in pristine condition and that there is no mixing of products.


I'm sorry that I can't give you more information on how the products actually apply but this is meant to be a Christmas present. Boots had one of their special advantage card points evenings last week and as my mum was buying some crazily expensive blood pressure/breathing machine (not entirely sure what it does), she had enough points to get the Minaudiere for me. It took much persuasion to be allowed to see and swatch it, but I hope the pictures and swatches will give you an idea as to whether or not you think it is worth £59.


Swatches left to right: Eyeshadows from darkest to lightest, then the two lip glosses. Swatched in the order they are in the palette.
For me, I am pleased I have it because f the design but I don't think the products are worth £59. If the Holiday Eye Quints had been more to my liking, I would have preferred to save £20 and got one of them as the glosses in this kit are a total waste in my mind. However, I then wouldn't the stunning compact. What it comes down to really is style over substance.





Will any of you be adding this to your Christmas list?

The Dior Minaudiere is available nationwide for £59. If you want it, it might be worth waiting for one of the Boots Advantage Card Evenings where you get £12 worth of points for every £50 you spend.

Now back to the racing, and I think Mark Webber has blown his chances of being World Champion. He can only be saved by a crash and I'd feel bad if I wished for one, especially as Michael Schumacher had a very nasty one at the first corner.

Friday, 12 November 2010

RBR - no, it doesn't stand for Rouge Bunny Rouge

I will confess now that this post has little (make that nothing) to do with makeup. When I turned on my laptop this morning the first thing that appeared on my dashboard was the latest Nom or Vom by the lovely Big Fashionista. I have only recently started to follow her so this was the first Friday morning that I got to experience this weekly highlight! I immediately had to email her my own suggestions, this is a serious matter after all, and I felt inspired to do a homage in this post.

Really that is a long winded way of saying I have been in a freezing cold church all day setting up for a Christmas Craft Fair tomorrow (the number of handmade cards I sell directly correlates to the amount of makeup I can buy) and am too tired to do write the post I intended (Dior Minaudiere review, will be posted tomorrow). If the fair goes well, I might finally be able to make my first Rouge Bunny Rouge purchase, about time!

Some of you may or may not know that this weekend sees the final race in the Formula One calender and I am Formula One obsessed. This is made all the more exciting by the rare occurrence of four drivers still being in contention to win the World Championship. I support Red Bull Racing (now you see where RBR comes in), and most of all the divine creature that is their Australian driver Mark Webber. Now less of the talking and onto the pictures.

Formula 1 driver Mark Webber


Tall, dark, handsome, talented and with amazing bone structure, what's not to love? Definitely makes Formula One more watchable, even though he is sadly wearing a helmet for most of it!

As this post is about as random as it gets, here is another of my all time favourites:


Knut the baby polar bear

Yes, I love polar bears. One of main ambitions is to get to see them in the wild, something my very lucky brother has already done, and did not appreciate!

Apologies for the odd nature of this post but it's been a long day, I'm really tired and am a Formula One fanatic. I'm really hoping that Mark will win the championship this weekend, although I have a horrible feeling that there might be a replay of Turkey with both Red Bull drivers taking each other out. Getting nervous just thinking about it. Good luck Mark!

Normal service will be resumed tomorrow, and my Tom Ford lipstick giveaway will be launched on Monday, probably more exciting to most of you than F1.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Hair Woes - I need your help!

So along with my usually clear skin, my hair has decided to play up as well since changing medication. Hair is not my forte and I freely admit that I am incredibly lazy with it and generally find it quite an inconvenience. I love makeup and skincare, but haircare, not so much.

In an ideal world, this is what my hair would look like, full and healthy as opposed to lank and flat.

This is why I'm hoping that some of the more hair savvy amongst you might be able to offer me some advice.

I have long, very fine, coloured dark brown hair. I don't blow dry it or use any electrical appliances on it so theoretically it shouldn't be in too bad condition. However, I haven't seen the inside of a hairdressers in over a year (for health reasons, honest!).

I would love to add more body to my hair but appreciate this can probably only be done with heat and time. My main concern is that in the last two months, it has got very lank and greasy. It can get like this if I use a heavy conditioner but now I'm skipping the conditioner completely and it still feels like product is left in the hair. Added to this, I am now getting painful and unsightly spots around my temples on my neck and back, where my hair falls, aren't I painting a pretty picture!

This is the style I resorted to last time I
had hair issues. Unfortunately mine never
looked this good!
Last time my hair got like this I took an extreme approach and cut it all off, sporting a nice pixi cut. It has taken until now for it to grow back and I'd quite like to keep the length this time.

I've done some brief research on some other beauty blogs and read a bit about SLS and I think my current problems seem to fit with using products containing SLS. I don't really know a lot about it but I'd like to try a range that is possibly SLS free. My main priority is to be able to wash my hair and for it to not be lank and feel like it still has product in it. Shine, volume etc would be just an added bonus.

So I hope this is where you come in. If anyone has had similar hair horror stories or knows about SLS, their effects and good products without them, or really any hair product you think could be a solution for me, I would love to know. I really want to make more of an effort with my hair and in it's current state it is both ugly and uncomfortable. Something has to change. Any suggestions will be gratefully received!

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Pulsion - Potential Dupes

Pretty in Pink - My collection of pink polishes
This post is a day late as the weather was so foul yesterday it was impossible to get a decent photograph of anything, let alone the intricacies of nail varnish! This is unashamedly a picture heavy post as I've already talked about Chanel Pulsion, so this is just a comparison between that shade and an assortment from my collection.

From looking at the colours in the bottle, I thought I had found at least of couple of shades that could be dupes for the Chanel, but as usual, once on the nails this changed. None of the ten colours I tried was an exact match to Chanel Pulsion but the nearest was OPI's Pink Flamenco. It looks identical in the bottle but is a fraction lighter when applied to the nails.

I have applied the OPI Pink Flamenco on one hand and Chanel Pulsion on the other to give you a direct comparison. I would have been all day if I had tried to do this with all the other colours so they only got one nail each. Hopefully this should still give you a good idea of the variation in the shades.

The colours I compared to Pulsion (Neutral Fuchsia Pink Creme) are:
  • OPI Pink Flamenco - a fraction lighter but the closest match out of those tested
  • Nars Schiap - a little lighter but very similar in shade and finish
  • Chanel Rivera - more of a baby pink than the fuchsia of Pulsion
  • Chanel Cassis - more purple to it and a jelly finish (I hope jelly is known nail term otherwise I'll feel very stupid!)
  • Chanel Cherry - more red to it and a jelly finish
  • Leighton Denny Glamourpuss - similar tone but with shimmer
  • Leighton Denny She's in Fashion - more purple to it
  • Nails Inc Sloane Ave - lighter and warmer
  • OPI Dim Sum Plum - more purple
  • OPI Ate Berries in the Canaries - more purple

Monday, 8 November 2010

Monday Manicure: Chanel Le Vernis Nail Colour in Pulsion

As promised, this week's manicure is all about Chanel. My mother kindly ventured out on Friday morning to pick me up a bottle of Pulsion, the latest offering from the Holiday 2010 Collection. I thought it was safer that I didn't see all the new products in person, would be disastrous for my finances.

Chanel Nail Colour in Pulsion £16.50 - photo taken outside in natural light

Pulsion is a vibrant, fuchsia pink. Although not a unique concept, the world is awash with pink creme nail polishes, it is a beautiful, rich shade and I for one always have room for another pink. I love something bright on my nails, especially if I am wearing black or grey as it adds a nice pop of colour. This shade is perfect for that and would also be fabulous on toes.

It is quite a bit deeper than Summer's Chanel pink, Riviera, and is a cooler tone. It is almost like a nail varnish version of Tom Ford's Pure Pink Lipstick, that's the easiest way to describe it.


2 coats of Pulsion applied + top coat - photo taken in artificial light

The above photo shows 2 coats of Pulsion applied to the nails with Seche Vite as a top coat. It applied like a dream and was opaque with just one coat. The first photo is a much better indication of the true colour of Pulsion as it was taken outdoors in natural light. The artificial light of the second photo washes out the colour a bit but I couldn't take any photos outside today due to rain, hail and thunder storms.

I have been rummaging through my nail polish stash to find similar shades to Pulsion and have come up with about ten, ranging from OPI to Nails Inc. As there are so many, I want to do a proper comparison for you with all the shades applied so that you can decide whether Chanel's Pulsion is worth £16.50. Weather dependant, that post will be up tomorrow evening.

Chanel Nail Colour in Pulsion - photo taken outdoors in natural light

If you love deep pinks like me (not a fan of baby pinks, it has to be bright), then Pulsion is a must, but if you are debating whether or not to get it, check out tomorrow's comparison post before heading to the shops.

Has anyone else been tempted by Chanel Holiday 2010 yet? My theory is that if I don't see it in person, I won't be so upset about missing out on most of it. That's the plan anyway..............