Saturday, 29 January 2011

Chanel Spring 2011 Nail Polishes: Black Pearl, Pearl Drop and Peche Nacree

For some strange reason I feel the irresistible urge to own every new Chanel Nail Polish that comes out, whether I think it will suit me or not. The latest three from the Spring 2011 Collection released yesterday is the perfect demonstration of this. I knew I wanted Black Pearl, quite liked Peche Nacree and was convinced Pearl Drop would not work on my colouring, surprise surprise, my instincts were correct, when will I learn to listen to them?!!


Left to right, Peche Nacree, Black Pearl, Pearl Drop -- £17 a bottle


Friday, 28 January 2011

January's Must-haves and Lust-haves

For the first post of this kind for 2011 I'm going to cheat a little bit, as I've already been out today and bought most of my lust-haves, but in my defence, Chanel limited editions and nail polishes tend to sell out pretty fast so I doubt they'd have been there if I'd been patient and waited.

My January Must-haves (excuse the burn on the candle casing, matches and I do not make the best combination!)

Lets start with the products that have really impressed me this month:
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge Eyeshadow in Solstice Halcyon  £22 - this was a Christmas present and after hearing so many bloggers rave about it, I was concerned I'd be disappointed. When I first applied it i did so too heavily and wasn't keen but since then I've worn it nearly everyday in January, especially good for when I'm in a hurry.
  • Malin & Goetz Mojito Lip Balm £10 - I saw this recommended somewhere (can't remember eaxctly where) and I can see why. It tastes yummy, and is moisturising without being greasy or waxy. It comes out of the tube like a clear gloss and is a firm favourite. I'm always on the look out for a great lip moisturiser and after being so bitterly disappointed with By Terry's Baume de Rose (too greasy for me), am thrilled to have found this. At £10, it's a lot cheaper too!
  • All for Eve Body Lotion £7.95 - I'm onto my second bottle of this already and I have 3 back ups, that is how much I like it. I found it on sale in Fenwicks after Christmas so thought I'd give it a try and the results have been wonderful, so much better than the Decleor System Corps I previously used. Lightweight but still providing good hydration, with a fresh, clean scent, my skin feels soft when I wake up in the morning after using it at night. It has even helped with those pesky bumps (KP) on the tops of my arms, they are finally smooth for the first time in years!
  • Lipstick Queen Saint Wine £17 - I've posted about Lipstick Queen Saint Nude before, as although I personally don't like nudes (came as part of a set), I was impressed by the formula. On my first visit to Space NK in years, I made a beeline for the Lipstick Queen counter and swatched away. Saint Wine is perfect as it is an easy to wear, darker colour with just a small amount of pigment, and is also fairly moisturising. I prefer a lot of dark lipsticks blotted off to make them less harsh, and this product removes the need for that process. A lovely shade for winter.
  • Clinique Redness Solutions Foundation in calming Alabaster £21 - As my acne has recently got a lot worse, my face is increasingly red and this foundation does a good job of minimising that. It also last well on my oily skin. my only gripe is that this is the fairest shade and it is still a little too dark for me. I need to remember to be extra careful to blend it into the neck and hairline to avoid a tide line. I'd love to try the Clinique Anti-blemish Foundation as well to see how it works with the spots that have taken up permanent residence on my face.
  • Emma Hardie Candle - This came as part of a gift set with the night cream and having never used scented candles before I was initially dismissive. The scent is very similar to that of the cleanser, warming and natural, but I could imagine some people might find it a little heady, my mother can't stand it! I don't think I can buy another as it was never a stand alone item but I definitely want to try out some more scented candles when this runs out. Does anyone have any recommendations?
  • Butter London Yummy Mummy £10 - My perfect nude. Enough said.

 Now onto the products that I would love to get my hands on next month (or at least bought today!):

    Chanel Pearl Drop, OPI The One That Got Away, Chanel Black Pearl, OPI Not Like The Movies, Chanel Peche Nacree
  • Chanel Nail Polish in Black Pearl £17 - You've probably noticed I have a bit of a thing for Chanel nail polishes, I have a tendency to collect them. I got all three of the Spring releases this morning and will try to have some posts up with similar shades/dupes in the next couple of days.
  • Chanel Ombres Perlees Eyeshadow Palette £39 - A limited edition palette of 5 cool, almost metallic looking eyeshadows, I couldn't resist. I've dipped my finger in one shade and am not impressed though, verdict is out on that one.
  • Katy Perry for OPI Collection £9.95 a bottle - I picked up the two non glitter shades, The One That Got Away (a shimmery berry) and Not Like The Movies (an oil on water effect). They look stunning and they'll be a NOTD very soon.
  • Liz Earle Shampoo & Conditioner for Oily Hair - I've been meaning to get this kit off QVC for ages as it is SLS free. Maybe February will be the month I finally do.
  • MAC Peacocky Collection - Released on Thursday, when I have no money, I have had to dramatically adjust my wish list. I would like the new Kissable Lip Colours in Flaunting It (mauve) and Scandleicious (vivid dark pink) and one or two of the new Mega Metal Eyeshadows, maybe Noir Plum and Unflappable. I hope the quality is as good as a lot of American bloggers have said. 
    

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Belated Monday Manicure: Butter London Yummy Mummy

Yummy Mummy is described as the perfect suit everyone nude and I totally agree, it is very flattering, a lot more so than some other nudes I have tried.

Butter London Yummy Mummy - £10
Yummy Mummy is the same colour as All Hail McQueen, the Alexander McQueen shade, minus the shimmer. I have worn Leighton Denny's Supermodel quite a lot but for my skin tone, the Butter London is more flattering. It is a caramel with very subtle mauve undertones as opposed to the normal brown undertones that are so common. It really reminds me of Estee Lauder's Surreal Violet, but again without the shimmer. As that was possibly my favourite shade of last year, it's no surprise that I love Yummy Mummy.

It applied well with two giving an opaque finish but I wrecked it a little by using an old bottle of Nails Inc Caviar Top Coat, which was a little odd in texture. If I decide to wear this to London tomorrow, I will try the Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Top Coat instead. I've had no chips, just dents and that is from trying on clothes and reflects worse on the top coat rather than the Butter London Colour.

Two coats of Butter London Yummy Mummy applied with Nails Inc Top Coat
I would really recommend this shade as it is very wearable and should go with everything, by far the most flattering nude I've ever found.

Butter London is available from www.zuneta.com as well as a number of other online retailers. Each bottle of polish is around £10, but most retailers have deals on, either 3 for 2 or 4 for 3 so you can make a bit of a saving, a good thing as the bottles are on the small side!

Outfit of the day - Work Wear

Some of you might remember be whining on about a law careers event in London that I was meant to attend in December but due to the weather it was postponed. Well, it is tomorrow and I have been seriously stressing about it all week. Not even the tennis at the Australian Open could distract me (well, perhaps for a few hours this morning when my favourite was knocked out, did nothing for my mood though).

I thought I had got everything organised before Christmas, what to wear, makeup, nail varnish, handbag etc, but on Monday I suddenly decided that I didn't look smart or business like enough so I have been on a massive spending spree to fill the work wear void in my wardrobe. The benefit of this is that all the things I liked were in the sale at about 75% off and I could get them all online. My various parcels from Hobbs and Karen Millen arrived today and along with a pair of low heels (the most I can cope with) from M&S, I think I am finally set.

I was going to post all the different outfits and see which ones you liked best for tomorrow but that could be quite dull and not to everyone's taste so I'll leave you with what I've decided on - a Karen Millen fitted tweed dress with some subtle neck detail, a grey tweed short tweed jacket with black ribbon detail from Hobbs and the all important spanx black dotty tights. Unfortunately, I seem to have managed to do something to my camera that has made everything look quite squashed so I look shorter and wider than in real life (same with my fingers in the latest manicure picture), but overall I think the dress is quite a flattering shape. I like to give the impression of a hourglass figure and the waist detailing on the dress helps with that.



In an ideal world the outfit would say 'you know you want to give me a job', but at the very least it says smart rather than student. It's quite odd looking at the pictures as the last time I wore clothes like this was in sixth form at school and some holiday jobs during university summer holidays, when I was two sizes smaller. Seeing myself like this takes some getting used to but the problem now is that if I continue with my diet plans, none of my nice new things will fit for very long!

I'm wearing a a black cashmere cardigan and a wool camel trench coat so what I can't decide on is nail varnish. I'm torn between Butter London's Yummy Mummy, the perfect nude (post coming soon) or Chanel Paradoxal as my makeup consists of mauve tones, think Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicate Hummingbird. What do you think?

Hopefully tomorrow will go well and be the perfect kick start I need for my law plans, but I think I'll be glad just to get it over so I can stop feeling so anxious all the time! Wish me luck x

Monday, 17 January 2011

Golden Globes - hits and misses

Having been informed that the talented and generally fabulous Mikey Castillo was advising how to create the makeup looks of Olivia Wilde and Georgina Chapman of Marchesa, I had to post the two look breakdowns for you. I thought they both looked beautiful and although I think Olivia's Marchesa gown would have been better for the Oscars, she was definitely one of the better dressed of the night (possibly because I am still lusting after the Lanvin for H&M tulle prom dress which is similar but more subdued).


Complexion:
To create this flawless complexion use Classic Finish Foundation in Shade #7 with Pressed Powder #4 and Traviata Blush/Bronzer to gently highlight.

Eyes:
Use Champagne eye pencil smudged on lid, rimmed inside the water-eyeline and underneath the lower eyelashes to create a soft base. Then layer Spicy Eyeshadow, Corinthian Eyeshadow and Thunder Eyeshadow blended on the eyelid and gently smoked underneath the eye to intensify mystery. Finish off with Presision Eyeliner in Noir on upper lash line, with two coats of Blackish-Brown Anamorphic Mascara.

Eyebrows: A Blend of Fawn and Brunette Eyebrow Pencils

Lips: Create the soft nude lip with a touch of coral with Les Artistes Lip Kaleidoscope Palette with the Nudite Lip Pencil.
If any of those products will give me Olivia's cheekbones, I will buy them all!
And now onto the designer of Olivia's dress, the equally beautiful Georgina Chapman of Marchesa:
Complexion:
To create this flawless complexion use Classic Finish Foundation in Shade #9 with Peau Vierge Concealer in shade #7. Use the Romeo & Juliet blushing bronzed duo on cheeks with Maldives to Bronze and contour  and finish with Pressed Powder in shade #5

Eyes:
To create this sultry smokey look use the new Splendid Frost Eye Kaleidoscope with all four shades layered.  Layer Precision Liner in Noir smudged in the inner water line and outer rim of eye to increase the smokey effect and finish with tons of Anamorphic Mascara in Noir and individual false lashes for the doe eyed look.

Lips: Use Bondi Beach Lipstick paired with Cannes Lip Brilliance to add a subtle sheen.
I only wish that we were getting the Splendid Frost Eye Kaleidoscope Kit over here in the UK, but apparently yet again we are missing out. I don't think I've ever been so jealous of Americans!
If you want a closer look at it, here is the link to it at Bergdorf Goodman.
This year was the first year I watched the Golden Globes and to be honest, I was a little disappointed. There were only a couple of dresses I would have considered wearing, others either looked dated or more appropriate for a strip club, yes Halle Berry and January Jones I mean you. I can't believe that with all the frocks they have on offer and the stylists they employ, they couldn't have done better and gone for a more sophisticated look.
Maybe I am being a bit harsh but this is coming from the girl that refused to go to her sixth form ball because I didn't have the right dress (I don't think I missed anything). Three months into university I found it, calling to me whilst I was on an escalator in Harvey Nichols Edinburgh, a Matthew Williamson embellished silk column dress in shades of lilac and purple. I blew half my student loan for that term (I did call my parents first and ask if it was OK) and I plan on passing it down to my daughter if I'm ever fortunate enough to have one, so she can go to her school ball!

My beloved Matthew Williamson ball dress - it needs shortening plus the straps also need shortening, but I still adore it!

The back of my Matthew Williamson dress, is much prettier in real life.
I did think that Christina Hendricks look fabulous, I would never have thought to pair such a vivid red with her hair colour but strangely it worked. Her hair, dress and makeup all complimented each other and many stars could learn something from the sexy Mad Men star - more flesh does not mean more sex appeal.

I liked Anne Hathaway's gold Armani number, and although I don't really like Angelina Jolie or her makeup (she looks too corpse like in my opinion), I did like her dress. It was simple and the shade of green was lovely. So lovely in fact that I bought a jacket and pencil skirt from Hobbs today in that same colour. It seemed to be a popular choice with Mila Kunis and Catherine Zeta Jones also wearing greens, but I tend to feel Catherine always looks older than she is with the clothes she picks, maybe she is trying to disguise the age gap between her and her husband? Just a thought.
The cheerleader from Glee looked very grown up and ethereal, but what struck me most about the night was how naturally beautiful Colin Firth's wife Livia is. To my eyes, she outshone all of the starlets there, with the exception of Christina Hendricks. Mr Darcy is one lucky man.
I'm looking forward to the BAFTAS and The Oscars because I love to see what actresses like Carey Mulligan and Keira Knightly will wear. They have both barely put a foot wrong since their rise to stardom, never looking cheap and usually dressing appropriately for their age.
Who did you rate fashion and beauty wise at the award ceremony?

If  you want to see pictures of the actual red carpet dresses, you could do a google search or check out www.tmz.com.

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Chantecaille Hydra Chic Lipstick in Water Lily

Another Christmas gift from my brother (I gave him very strict Space NK related instructions), the Chantecaille Hydra Chic lipsticks are a recent release. I had tried the ordinary Lip Chic in Bourbon Rose and loved it, having found it in early December as one of my Christmas presents, note to parents - the back of the wardrobe is a very obvious place to hide Christmas presents! Not giving it much though, I assumed that the Hydra Chic lipsticks would be pretty much the same, just a little more moisturising and in slimline packaging.

Chantecaille Hydra Chic Lipstick in Water Lily - £27
This assumption was quite wrong, and if I had used some logic, I would have realised the inclusion of the word lipstick after Hydra Chic was quite important! The lip chics are very sheer and have quite a strong vanilla scent but the Hydra Chic Lipsticks are much more pigmented, have far less of a sheen and have no noticeable scent.. I would say the new Hydra Chic Lipsticks are about 80% as pigmented as a normal lipstick, whereas Lip Chics are only about 20%. The Hydra Chic Lipsticks are described as giving matte colour with a natural satin finish and this is pretty accurate.

Left to right: Chantecaille Hydra Chic Lipstick in Water Lily, Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Sex machine
 What immediately drew me to the Chantecaille Hydra Lip Chic Lipsticks was the shade selection, as although there are currently only four to choose from, Water Lily seemed to be my dream shade. It is a mid mauve pink, like my favourite Nars Sex Machine but a little more intense, so for me it is perfect because it is just a little deeper than my natural lip shade.

It applies very well, no dragging, and I can see where the 'hydra' comes in, it feels quite moisturising and very comfortable, quite like the Lip Chics but with more colour pay off.



Chantecaille Hydra Chic Lipsticks in Water Lily applied
 Since the VAT increase, both the Chantecaille Lip Chic and the Chantecaille Hydra Chic Lipstick are £27 on http://www.spacenk.com/. It is worth noting though that the Lip Chic is better value for money at 2g compared to 1.7g for the Hydra Chic Lipstick.

I used to buy a lot of Chanel lipsticks, probably for the simple reason that there is a counter near to me, but I always feel underwhelmed by them. In future, I will be sticking to Chantecaille for the most part because the quality seems superior and they are much better suited to dry lips. Although the shade selection is small for the new Hydra Chic Lipsticks, I plan on collecting them all throughout the year and I'm sure more colours will added to the range.

I will try and post about the 3 Chantecaille Lip Chics I own soon so you can see a direct comparison between the two products.

Friday, 14 January 2011

Paul & Joe Creamy Matte Foundation - situation resolved

Some of you may remember that shortly before Christmas I posted about the Paul & Joe Creamy Matte Foundation that I had bought from http://www.asos.com/. I first saw it on Lipglossiping, where Charlotte was using shade no.2. I knew it would be quite dark as it is meant to be very blendable, but when I received the lightest shade, 0 Alabaster, I did not expect it to be at least 2-3 shades darker than my current skin tone.

Paul & Joe Creamy Matte Foundation - £16.75 on http://www.asos.com/
I wondered whether there had been a labelling error and after many of you helpfully commented the same and advised m to get on to ASOS customer service, I contacted them and explained the problem. They wanted me to return the product and immediately dispatched a replacement. Unfortunately, the replacement was just as dark. Although it does blend well, even blended out it did not resemble my idea of Alabaster. When I returned the original, I asked for it to be exchanged for shade No.2, Fresh, described as the lightest pink based shade. I never received this but earlier this week I contacted ASOS again and mentioned I was a blogger.

That seemed to be the magic word as the next day my foundation in No.2 arrived. It still looks very dark but because of the pink undertone it is a much better match and I can get away with it when blended out. Despite the problems, I'm really impressed with the ASOS customer service and I look forward to being able to try out the foundation properly. A full review will be posted in about a month or so. I notice that four of the five shades are reduced to £16.75 on ASOS, and I can't  help wondering if this is because a number of other customers have had difficulty with the shades rather than the product itself.

Any excuse to post pictures of Alexander Skarsgard
 Completely unrelated, a quick heads up to let you all know that True Blood Season 3 starts tonight on the FX Channel and even if you aren't into vampires etc, it is well worth watching for the beauty that is Alexander Skarsgard (Eric Northham in the show). I think of it as Twilight with a sense of humour, for grown ups. Having seen all of season 3 already, I can assure you that the cast gets even better looking with the addition of Alcide, a hotter version of Eric Bana, something I didn't think was physically possible. If you don't have Sky, True Blood will probably make it to Channel 4 later on this year.


Alexander Skarsgard
 
Alcide from True Blood Season 3


New releases from Edward Bess and Rouge Bunny Rouge

I spent a lot of last night on Twitter debating whether or not to break my beauty budget (well that's one New Year's Resolution broken) on Rouge Bunny Rouge or Ellis Faas. After some lovely advice from Marina at Makeup4AllGrace London and Modesty Brown, I was thinking today would be the day I ordered my first pieces of Ellis Faas.

The powers that be must have sense my indecision though as this morning I woke to find an email from Zuneta saying the new Rouge Bunny Rouge cream eyeshadows were now in stock, and the latest Edward Bess lipstick shades. So less than 5 minutes later, my mind changed, a Zuneta order was placed and hopefully 2 of the Edward Bess lipsticks, Rose Demure and Blush Allure and 2 of the Rouge Bunny Rouge cream shadows in Chiffon Ringlet and Atlas Swallowtail are winging their way to me. I am beyond excited to receive this parcel!
Edward Bess Ultra Slick Lipstick - £24

In total there are 3 new Edward Bess lip glosses, and 3 new lipsticks, which I think really fill a gap in his range. The lipsticks are all described as 'cool rosebud shades' which to me sound perfect. When looking at his lipsticks, they all seemed a little on the warm side (about from Night Romance, Tender Love and Forever Love), so it is nice to see things evened up a bit. I picked the two pinkest shades and gave Demi Buff a miss a it seemed a little brown for my liking. Blush Allure is said to be light rose whilst Rose Demure is classic rose. For a detailed review on the shades, check out Sabrina from The Beauty Look Book's post..

I'm not a huge lip gloss fan so I found it quite easy to resist those, but the three new shades look quite delectable. Said to suit every skin tone and contain no shimmer or glitter, I might check these out when I have more funds.

Rouge Bunny Rouge Long Lasting Cream Eyeshadow - £26 (photo from Zuneta.com)

Possibly the most exciting launch for me is the Rouge Bunny Rouge Long lasting Cream Eyeshadow Silk Aether. There are five shades on offer and I think I would wear them all, but I chose a semi-sheer satin mauvish chocolate with copper reflections and a satin wash of nude taupe with pewter reflections. They sound divine and if the powder shadows are anything to go by, the quality should be fantastic.

I will try my best to post a review on these items as soon as I receive them, quite unlike me, but if you are interested I sense they might well sell out soon. Don't forget you can save 12.5% on Zuneta until the end of January with the discount code JANZU.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

Lipstick Queen Jean Queen Lipstick review and swatches

This was the other Lipstick Queen item I got for Christmas and again, I'm really impressed. Apparently it was designed to be the perfect lipstick to wear with jeans, and although I personally I have never had an issue with finding a lipstick to wear with my denim, I am happy this product exists, whatever the reason for it.

Lipstick Queen Jean Queen Lipstick

Lipstick Queen Jean Queen - £15
It is a fairly sheer rosy pink that I imagine would flatter most skin tones. It applies easily and looks almost glossy when on. I have really dry chapped lips, literally I end up having to buff off at least two layers of skin every morning, and this is very soothing and comfortable to wear, probably because of the vitamin E it contains. In texture and finish I think it is most similar to the Butterfly Ball range, it doesn't have that balm like feel of Medieval.

I can tell that I am going to get a lot of wear from this lipstick as I can't carry of nudes and this is one step up from that look. It seems I am not the only one who thinks this way as it was out of stock on www.spacenk.com for a good while. A great staple and very useful on those days when makeup is the last thing you want to do is think about makeup.

Lipstick Queen Jean Queen Swatch

Lipstick Queen Jean Queen

Lipstick Queen Jean Queen Lipstick is available online from www.spacenk.com for £15.

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Some thoughts on the new Chanel foundation

On 14th January, Chanel are launching the latest addition to their foundation line, Vitalumiere Aqua. I have been really looking forward to trying this out and in a couple of magazines this month there was some samples, albeit about 3 shades darker than I would have chosen- Beige Tendre (B20).

In Chanel foundation I tend to go for the lightest shade they have, either Faience or Porcelain, but even then I can find them to be a bit too yellow for my skin tone. Despite this I keep repurchasing because I find them the easiest to wear. Many people link Chanel with lipstick, but to me they will always first and foremost be the makers of beautiful bases. They were the first foundations I ever wore, one of the only I have bought more than once (Teint Innocence) and even though I sometimes stray to other brands, whenever I come back I wonder why I thought I could get better elsewhere. I suppose a case of the grass is always greener!


Vitalumiere Aqua - £31

Taking that into account I had really high expectations of the new formula. It is described as:
                 
'Ultra-light skin perfecting makeup - instant natural radiance, spf 15'

I would say it really lives up to that description. I had recently bought the Bourjois Healthy Mix foundation and was very impressed and the two do feel and smell similar. However, for me the Chanel gives a better finish (as it should at over £20 more expensive!) as it is less dewy and more matte, but not in a harsh way.

The main test I have with foundation is whether or not I can wear it with no other makeup and look like a better version of myself, not like someone who hasn't finished their makeup. The Bourjois fails this test but the Chanel passes it with flying colours, even when wearing a shade too dark for me! It felt great on my currently problematic skin, and blended like a dream.

I'm actually happy that I had the chance to try out a darker shade as it persuaded me to dig out my bronzer, covered in dust for over a year, and wear a much different style of makeup that I am used to. I really enjoyed playing with warmer tones and doing a bit of contouring with the bronzer, so much so that I am seriously considering buying two shades of this foundation when it comes out, one as perfect match as I can get and one one or two shades darker, for when I want to look like I have actually seen the sun in my lifetime!

In short, I think this is a great foundation and I prefer it to the ordinary Vitalumiere and Teint Innocence that I already own. Here are the ingredients:

Aqua, Methyl Trimethicone, Ethylhexyl Methoxycinnamate, Titanium  Dioxide, Alcohol, Dimethicone, Phenyl Trimethicone, Talc, Butylene Glycol, Isododecane, Polmethylsilsesquioxane, Acrylates/Polytrimethylsiloxmethacrylate Copolymer, Polymethl Methacrylate, Peg-10 Dimethicone, Stearic Acid, Dimethicone/Peg-10/15 Crosspolymer, Alumina, Aluminum Hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, C9-15 Fluoroalalcohol, Phosphate, Magnesium Sulfate, Parfum (fragrance), Nellumbo Nucifera Flower Water, Methylparaben, Triethoxycaprylysilane, Sodium Hyaluronate, Silica, Tocopheryl Acetate, Dipropylene Glycol, Polyurethane-15, BHT, Laminaria Digitata Extract, Tocopherol, Propylparaben, Ethylparaben.

The only thing that I think could be a little confusing is the shade range. According to British Beauty Blogger and from what I have seen on the US Chanel website, the shades are split into 3 groups. As I will definitely be buying this in store I hope it shouldn't be a problem and maybe, there will be a shade with a little pink in it that will be an even better match for me, fingers crossed.

Vitalumiere Aqua will be available nationwide from 14th January and costs £31.

Monday, 10 January 2011

Monday Manicure: MAC Soiree and Illamasqua Viridian

So today we have not one, but two Monday Manicures, mainly because the first one I did I hated but I felt it might be useful for you to see anyway. I'll start the the worst and then as they say, 'things can only get better'!

I was quite interested in the recently released and by now, mostly sold out MAC Cham-pale Collection because a lot of it seemed like my kind of shades. When I saw it in store I had a brief browse for about 30 seconds and then chose my products, as I like to get out of MAC as quickly as possible (full of teenage girls, loud music, crowded, you get the idea!), especially as it was New Year's Eve. I had been looking online at a Butter London Christmas polish, Fairy Lights, for a while but couldn't find anywhere that offered it with free postage so when I saw MAC's Soiree, I thought it looked similar and I bought it.


MAC Soiree

I'd been quite impressed with the quality and wear of the MAC Venomous Villains nail polishes I got so I had high hopes for Soiree. It failed on all counts. The shade is best described as a champagne foil, something I thought I'd like - note to self, I don't like foils. The colour is too close to my skin tone for it to look right and the foil finish made things worse, all in all I hate it and it on my stayed on my nails for a few hours.

Although it is a matter of personal taste whether or not you like a shade (I think Soiree would look great on a dark skintone like in the promo), everyone wants a good quality polish. I found application to be problematic because the ultra fine glitter/shimmer tended to get everywhere and it took an absolute age to neaten with Leighton Denny Corrector Fluid because of this. I let it dry for over an hour and then still got horrible smudging when I picked something up. Not happy. This experience has definitely put me off buying MAC nail polishes in the future and I will be passing on Butter London's Fairy Lights as I'm pretty sure it won't suit me at all.


2 coats of MAC Soiree + top coat

As I only had Soiree on my nails for such a short time, I wanted to replace it with something I thought I'd love, Illamasqua Viridian. I've never used Illamasqua before and was really impressed. I saw a lot of reviews of this shade on other blogs before Christmas and was sold when I saw it as a duo with Scarab (a metallic red) for just £11.50 on ASOS.


Illamasqua Viridian

I absolutely love this shade. It is the most stunning deep blue green with a metallic finish. It looks like my imaginary idea of molten emeralds. As it is quite a cool shade, it also works well with my skintone, an added bonus. It applied easily with two smooth coats and I finished with Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Top Coat. It dried fairly quickly and I am pleased to report no smudges. The only slight grip I have is a small chip after one day of wear and a bit of tip wear, but when the colour is as beautiful as this, I don't mind. Viridian has to be one of my favourite ever nail polish shades and when I have somewhere in the region of 250 bottles, that is saying something! I can't wait to try out the sister shade, Scarab.


2 coats of Illamasqua Viridian + top coat
 The Illamasqua Nail Polish Duo of Viridian and Scarab costs £11.50 from http://www.asos.com/.

MAC Soiree costs £9 from MAC but is currently sold out online (you might be able to find it at your local counter if my review hasn't put you off!).

Sunday, 9 January 2011

My Favourite Christmas Present - Lipstick Queen Discovery Set

The sun has finally come out today so it was full steam ahead with the swatches. I decided to start with probably my favourite Christmas present, the Lipstick Queen Discovery Set. I did a lot of research on Lipstick Queen before deciding what to ask for from Santa and found most beauty bloggers raving about Medieval, a red tinted balm. London Makeup Girl and Makeup Merriment both have great posts showing Medieval which encouraged me to go for this shade, but what sealed the deal was Jan from Beauty Diarist revealing that she had more than one back up of this.



Lipstick Queen Discovery Set

As a single item, Lipstick Queen Medieval costs £20 from Space NK but the Discovery Set, including Medieval, Butterfly Ball Fly and Saint Nude, cost just about £42 from what I can remember, giving a saving of over £10 if you bought all three individually. I've just checked the Space NK website and can't find the kit at the moment, but it was there before Christmas so might appear again or still be available in store.



Left to right: Butterfly Ball Fly, Medieval, Sant Nude

Swatches Left to Right: Butterfly Ball Fly, Medieval, Saint Nude

I love the look you get when you wear a dark lipstick or a red and then blot almost all of it off with tissue. I know a lot of people swear by liquid lip tints like Benefit's Benetint for this but I find that too drying and patchy in application. The Benetint Balm I also found much too waxy for my taste, I guess there is just no pleasing me! I was really happy when Medieval gave me just the kind of look I wanted, subtle but an improvement on my natural lip colour and reasonably moisturising to boot. It look a little scary in the bullet but is very sheer when swatched and on the lips. I'd definitely repurchase.

Medieval

I wasn't too sure what the other shades of textures were in the kit so Butterfly Ball Fly was a pleasant surprise. It is an easy to wear, vibrant sheer pink. Not as sheer as Medieval but not as opaque as a normal lipstick. I love the shade and the finish, almost glossy, as it is very flattering on dry, chapped lips like mine!


Butterfly Ball Fly

The one shade I wouldn't have picked myself is Saint Nude, just because I don't like muddy, brown colours. The Saint lipsticks only have 10% pigment in them and are made to be sheer and moisturising. It is strange but I actually find the Butterfly Ball lipstick to be more moisturising, although both are very comfortable on the lips. I always tend to find nude shades too brown on my lips, which are naturally quite pigmented and this is no exception. If that is what you like, then I'm sure this would be a great choice, but it is just not for me. However, I would definitely get another of the Saint lipsticks in a different colour. I'm hoping that when I go to London at the end of the month I'll be able to to try some of the range out in store so I can make some more informed choices.

Saint Nude

Overall I am really impressed with what I have tried so far from lipstick Queen. I think it is quite reasonably priced for the quality of the product and in future I will leave Chanel and MAC lipsticks behind in favour of these, as although I own a lot from both brands, I can find them a bit drying. Lipstick Queen Medieval has earned its place as a staple in my handbag.
  • Lipstick Queen Medieval - £20
  • Lipstick Queen Saint Nude - £17
  • Lipstick Queen Butterfly Ball Fly - £18
All prices from http://www.spacenk.com/

Please excuse the sorry state of my lipstick application and the odd shape of my lips, unfortunately years of orthodontic work on my teeth and jaw has taken its toll - basically screwing up my mouth!

Saturday, 8 January 2011

Sneak Peek at this month's posts

My camera is finally out of its case and I am steadily trying to work my way through photographing the array of beauty products now scattered on my bedroom floor. This post is just a little preview of what will be coming up in the next few weeks, with products from Chantecaille, Illamasqua, Lipstick Queen, Emma Hardie, Sarah Chapman, Edward Bess, Rouge Bunny Rouge and MAC amongst others. Now all I need to do is write the posts!




Friday, 7 January 2011

Purchase of the week

Right, I need to apologise for being a very bad beauty blogger. I've not posted as frequently as I have meant to and starting tomorrow that is something I intend to remedy. I've loads of new beauty items due to a massive overspend (I nearly fainted when I opened my credit card receipt) and they are currently siting in a basket on my bedroom floor waiting to be swatched and photographed. The problem is that I haven't been getting up until after midday recently as my sleep pattern is totally screwed, and this means there is hardly any time when there is enough natural light to take photos.

Tomorrow I am setting my alarm and plan on spending the whole day taking photos and swatching. So here is the last of my somewhat lazy posts, dedicated to the beautiful Whistles leather biker jacket my mum treated me to this week after a day of awful medical appointments. Thanks mum!



I've been watching a lot of The Good Wife on TV recently and although Alicia's style is probably mot similar to mine, timeless classic and figure flattering, I love Calinda's biker jackets. I saw the Whistles one back in October and almost got it for my birthday, but went for the aviator on instead. When I popped into Whistles on Wednesday there was only one left of this jacket at less than half price, and although I could have done with a size bigger, I never wear jackets done up so it still fits. The leather is gorgeous, buttery soft and I love the color - not quite brown, not quite burgundy, I call it rust. This make it that little bit more unusual so that was what I was drawn to.



I normally hate clothes shopping and end up buying makeup instead, but it is even more disheartening since I put on weight over the last year. I knew I was bigger, but I was kind of denial until I finally stepped on the scales at New Year. I was shocked to be a stone more than I thought I was,and 2 stone more than I normally am. Sadly that is what can happen all to easily when you have mobility problems. As only 1 pair out of 15 jeans still fits me, and I don't want to buy any new ones as I'd prefer to spend on beauty, the diet has started. Hopefully the fact that my jacket is a size too small will help with motivation!

Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Q&A: Do you have a beauty product with one fatal flaw?

Right, this may sound like a bit of an odd question and it might only apply to me (possibly as the rest of you have more common sense), but it occurred to me today when I returned home and saw my face in the mirror, scary stuff.

I'd just had the most ludicrous appointment with my consultant this morning, he was running 90 minutes late, random people just wandering in to the consulting room without even knocking, consultant answering his mobile phone TWICE during the appointment and that is not even getting started on the medical side, but I digress. I had put on a bit of makeup to look respectable and grabbed the first mascara I had to hand, YSL Faux Cils. All was well with the world. When I returned home and saw my face, it looked like I had two black eyes and that is not an exaggeration.
YSL Faux Cils Mascara

I know that smudging is a problem for me with this mascara, and yet because it gives me the fullest looking lashes any mascara ever has, I have repurchased it more than once. I find myself thinking that if I carry a compact around with me I can just check my eyes every 30 minutes for smudging, maybe by now they'll have done something different with the formula to prevent it or my skin will be different and smudging will not occur. Madness.

So am I the only one that is so blinded by one positive feature of a beauty product that you choose to repeatedly ignore the negatives? I suppose in some ways it is like having a favourite nail varnish that always chips within half an hour or a lipstick that is incredibly drying but is your favourite colour.

I'm hoping that this is the last time I will be drawn in to buying YSL Faux Cils again, but who knows when the next bout of temporary insanity will strike?

As a random aside, is it only me that somehow manages to always end up with the most contagious person sitting next to me in the doctor's waiting room? I have carefully tried to avoid bugs of any kind all winter and then this very loud man plonks himself down by my side telling all and sundry in the most explicit detail how he has the most horrible virus, has given it to the rest of his family and it ruined his Christmas. Meanwhile worried glances are exchanged by all the other patients whilst I wonder how long I can hold my breath! Delightful.

Monday, 3 January 2011

Monday Manicure: Butter London's Henley Regatta

This is my first ever Butter London nail polish and although I would have been happy with any of their shades as they all look stunning and that little bit different, for my first purchase I decided to go for something out of my comfort zone. The sparkly turquoise glitter of Henley Regatta appealed to my inner magpie and seemed to fit the bill.


Butter London Nail Polish in Henley Regatta - £10
 Somehow I managed to refrain from buying any of the OPI Burlesque Collection which was full of glitter shades, so I thought Henley Regatta would fill that void. Even though my nail polish collection is well into 3 figures, I can safely say that I have nothing like this shade. It is a very cool vibrant aqua with a lighter, turquoise glitter. A bit of a strange choice for winter but I thought I'd see the New Year in with a burst of colour, I think it will come into its own in summer. It would look fantastic with a tan.

Although I am very happy with the shade and the quality of the polish, I was quite shocked when I opened my parcel and saw just how small the bottle was. I don't know why but I automatically assumed the bottle would be a lot bigger and wondered if I had by mistake ordered a miniature size. I think the problem is that in all the photos I have seen of Butter London polishes, it is hard to get an accurate idea of size. To resolve this I have gone all QVC on you and done a photo of the bottle next to a ruler, been watching too many jewellery shows!


I applied OPI Nail Envy as a base coat and then used three coats of Henley Regatta to get an opaque finish. It could probably have done with a fourth but I was getting impatient! I finished with one coat of Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Top Coat and the wear has been excellent. The photos were taken about 3 days after application and as I am writing this, I have had no chips, just some very slight wear to the tips after a week.


3 coats of Henley Regatta applied
 Overall I am really pleased to have finally tried this brand that I heard a lot about on other blogs in 2010. Even though I was disappointed with the size, it didn't stop me ordering another 4 shades from http://www.lookfantastic.com/ as they were 20% off with free shipping (on New Year's Day). Having stuck to OPI for a long time, it is quite refreshing to try a new make and see their quirky range of colours. I think I'll still be able to find room for OPI Texas though!

Butter London Nail Polsihes are 0.3 fl oz in size and generally retail for £10. You can buy them direct from Butter London or other beauty websites like Zuneta, HQhair and Look Fantastic. I have also found them on http://www.uniqueluxe.co.uk/ and although I haven't used the site myself, it appeals because everything is free shipping. They claim to have a 4 for 3 offer going on at the moment but I can't get it to work and even after emailing them have heard nothing.

Sunday, 2 January 2011

2011 - The battle against acne and stretch marks!

Sounds like the title of some Dr Who episode or ancient Science Fiction film, but alas, I feel the majority of beauty purchases made this year are going to be an attempt to either hide or cure the acne and stretch marks that are currently plaguing me. Even though I often sound and act like one, I am not a teenager and I am not pregnant, so in typical teenage fashion 'It's not fair'!

I had carefully planned my skincare regime for the New Year, saving and then stocking up on a load of Sarah Chapman and Emma Hardie, but they might have to wait while I try all the acne products out there until I find one that works (have been using the Sarah Chapman Eye Recovery though which I like a lot). It never ceases to amaze me how hormones can affect the skin so quickly.


My Lovely Sarah Chapman Collection that will be going into hibernation
 I am probably massively over sharing here but here goes, I came off the contraceptive pill in September, having been on it for the best part of a decade, not for contraceptive purposes but medical reasons. Just two weeks later my skin and hair started getting very oily and the spots began. I had hoped that the Alpha-H I was using would have balanced things out but over four months on, no periods but full blown acne instead. I never realised it was even possible to have this many spots on my back, but obviously it is my face I am most concerned about. I just start to think that a couple of spots are clearing when the next morning, another ten appear!

The items I had got to really treat my skin in the New Year are:
  • Sarah Chapman Ultimate Cleanse
  • Sarah Chapman Overnight Facial
  • Sarah Chapman Eye Recovery
  • Sarah Chapman Dynamic Defence Day Cream
  • Sarah Chapman Hydrating Skin Booster
  • Sarah Chapman Skin-Tone Perfecting Booster
  • Emma Hardie Rejuvenating Night Cream
  • Emma Hardie Lift & Sculpt Skin Plumping Serum
  • Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complex
Unfortunately, the only ones I have been able to use so far are the eye recovery and the Peau Vierge. The rest will be sat under my bed for a while. I had thought that this would cover all my skincare needs for the year, but obviously my skin hadn't realised I had a plan (maybe even a cunning plan at that - been watching too much Blackadder this Christmas!).

So my current skincare routine is currently this:
Morning
  • Vichy Normaderm Purifying Cleanser (used with Clarisonic)
  • Vichey Normaderm Purifying Astringent Toner
  • Sarah Chapman Eye Recovery
  • Le Metier de Beaute Peau Vierge Anti-Aging Complex
Evening
  • Vichy Normaderm Purifying Cleanser (used with Clarisonic)
  • Caudalie Cleansing Water
  • Vichy Normaderm Purifying Astringent Toner
  • Vichy Normaderm Night Cream
  • Sarah Chapman Eye Recovery
For my body I have been slathering on Bio Oil like a mad person, going through 200ml in two weeks, am sure it should last longer than that! I 've had a lot of stretch marks on my hips and thighs for ages, a delightful side effect of my medical condition, but just before Christmas I noticed them on my bust. This was a bit of a shock and as my skin is so pale, dark purple marks tend to be much more noticeable. I know that you can't really do anything once the marks are silver so I thought I'd attack as best I can right now. They have faded a little, enough of an improvement for me to restock with Bio Oil.

Sorry that this post is so long, whenever I think I will try to endeavour to make them more concise, I end up with a thesis! In short, does anyone have any good ideas about how to help acne and stretch marks? I really want something I can use on my back and I'd also be interested to know from more knowledgeable people than I, whether reverting to acne skincare ranges is beneficial or would I be better sticking to the Emma Hardie/Sarah Chapman as I had originally planned?

I've been browsing on a few beauty sites and Murad makes a clarifying spray for acne on the body which sounds pretty good, best I can find so far. Fingers crossed something will start working soon as I have to be a bridesmaid (my first time, very scared) at my brother's wedding on 30th June. The dress is strapless so I'd prefer not to have acne on show to all 150 guests!

Saturday, 1 January 2011

I'm on Twitter!

So I have managed to keep my first New Year's resolution, to get on Twitter. I've thought about it for ages but finally with some encouragement from Charlie I've done it. Not overly sure how the whole thing works yet, convinced I will soon make some horrible faux pas, if I haven't already, plus I will reveal how atrocious my spelling is to the world!



I'm currently following a lovely mix of beauty bloggers (those I could remember off the top of my head) and Formula 1 commentators, possibly a strange mix but it's enough to get me started. Let me know if you're on Twitter and I will try to work out how to follow you, I really am that useless. My mum got an iPad for Christmas (ironic seeing as she was the one person in my family who didn't want one or even know what it was and yet she is the first to get one!) and she is using it like a pro now, puts me to shame.

 Unfortunately my second New Year's resolution, to build my own website, might be a lot trickier. I am armed with Dummies books though so am giving myself till the end of January. I have kept postponing it in the desperate hope that my Cambridge Computer Science graduate older brother will help me, but no joy. As he delights in reminding me, he has a 'proper' job.

You can find me on Twitter as LipstickLuvvies, and a big thank you to Klara for welcoming me so quickly! Hopefully Twitter plus blogging will provide a wonderful distraction from studying for my Law finals in April.

Happy New Year everyone X