Monday, 28 March 2011

Monday Manicure: Illamasqua Bacterium

There has been quite a lot of hype around this shade, one of five new nail colours released by Illamasqua with its Toxic Tale Collection. Although it was the vibrant acid green that appealed to me initially, I thought it looked too similar to Butter London's recent offering Dosh, so plumped for Bacterium. It is a pearlescent ochre with a similar finish to that of Chanel's Paradoxal, but with the shimmer a lot more apparent.

Illamasqua Nail Colour in Bacterium - £13.50
The colour looks murky and interesting in the bottle and this translates well to the nails. Illamasqua polishes are probably the highest quality out of all I own and this is no exception. One coat was opaque so if you like your manicures to be quick, go for Illamasqua. I applied two coats though plus a top coat for the photos.

2 coats of Bacterium applied plus top coat

2 coats of Bacterium applied plus top coat
I do think this is a unique shade, supported by the fact in my 200+ collection I couldn't find anything like it, but in all honesty, I don't think it suits me at all. I have pale skin with pink undertones and the yellow in the ochre base really fights with this. It is strange because although the base shade is warm, the silver pearl shimmer is cool so it is an odd mix. People with darker skin tones or those with a more yellow or olive base would I think really do this colour justice. Sadly for me, it looks prettier in the bottle.

I wish I'd gone for Radium instead, but this just shows the difficulty when buying online and not being able to see products in person. I still really want to find a flattering nudish colour with a bit of a twist, so I think Butter London's All Hail McQueen will be next on the list as Yummy Mummy (which it is based on) is surprisingly perfect with my ruddy hands!

Illamsaqua Bacterium is available online at Debenhams, Illamasqua and finally ASOS (in case you still haven't spent your Groupon voucher) for £13.50. It is also available in a duo with Purity, a peach creme, for £21.

Saturday, 26 March 2011

Poppy King for Boots No 7 - more colours and swatches

After my initial purchases, I couldn't resist the lure of the Poppy King stand in my local Boots when I headed out to the cinema today (saw Limitless and it was surprisingly good). I had picked up 4 more No 7 vouchers on eBay so thought I would be a little more adventurous with my choices rather than sticking to safe reds and pinks.

Poppy King for Boots No 7: Lipsticks - £12, Lip Glosses - £11

I ended up with lipsticks in Seduction, Intrigue and Allure and lip glosses in Seduction and Allure. For a thorough review on the products see my original post here. This latest post just has photos and swatches of these different shades.
Poppy King for No 7 Lipstick in Seduction

Poppy King for No 7 Lipstick in Intrigue
Poppy King for Boots No 7 Lipstick in Allure
Swatches left to right: Seduction, Intrigue, Allure
Seduction lipstick applied (photo taken with flash)
Intrigue Lipstick applied (photo taken in natural light)
Allure Lipstick applied (photo taken in natural light)
Poppy King for No 7 Lip Gloss in Allure & Seduction

Swatches left to right: Allure Lip Gloss, Seduction Lip Gloss
Hopefully you can see from the pictures that although some shades appear quite frightening in the bullet, they are much sheerer when applied. Seduction is an especially good shade for those wanting to try a dark lip a la Megan Fox, but who want a more toned down version. I find that Allure and Intrigue look too similar when applied but these colours are not what I would normally go for anyway.

My top picks from the collection have to be History lipstick and gloss (red), Glamour lipstick (pink) and Seduction lipstick (dark wine) but that is because these are the colours I feel most comfortable. All the shades I have bought have been of the same quality when it comes to application.

Although I seem to have been the only person to have purchased anything from the range at my local store, the one benefit of living out in the sticks, I have heard they are selling fast elsewhere. Don't forget the No 7 vouchers expire this Sunday.

Friday, 25 March 2011

Think Pink: Nars Nail Polish in Schiap

I finally found my holy grail pink lipstick this week and although that deserves a special post all of its own, I thought I would set the mood by painting my nails in one of the classic pink nail colours, Nars Schiap. Although possibly more famous as a lip colour, it is just as vivid on fingers and toes.

Nars Nail Polish in Schiap
This post is also to give Charlie from an idea of what Schiap looks like applied as she is considering purchasing a Nars set with it in so I have taken a few photographs of it against some similar colours from other brands.

Left to right: Chanel Riveria, Nars Schiap, Chanel Pulsion
Left to right: OPI Pink Flamenco, Nars Schiap, OPI Ate Berries in the Canaries
Although they all look similar in the photos than in real life, the nearest match is definitely OPI Pink Flamenco. I would say that Schiap is not your typical Barbie Pink, it has more white in it than that to my eye and so appears slightly more chalky. Barbie Pink to me has more purple in it.

Unfortunately, by the time I'd applied Schiap to my nails, using two coats and a top coat, the natural light had gone so the following photos were taken with flash and has given the colour a bleached effect. The shade is darker and brighter than it appears. For an accurate representation of the colour, see the photos above as they were all taken in daylight.

2 coats of Nars Schiap applied + top coat - picture taken with flash
And finally, here is a picture of the polish alongside the lipstick of the same name, but again both look lighter than they are due to the flash.

Nars Lipstick in Schiap, Nars Nail Polish in Schiap
So there we have it, a quick look at a classic pink polish. I think it works on all skin tones and if you are a little colour shy, would look fantastic on toes. I had no trouble with application but I prefer OPI to Nars for nail polishes, as I occasionally find Nars to be a little thick in texture so OPI is easier to work with.

Hopefully, sometime over the weekend I'll get around to posting my holy grail pink for lips, I didn't think it could get much better than Tom Ford's Pure Pink but quite by accident, for me at least, a new product has beaten it!

Nars Schiap is available from or

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Poppy King for Boots No 7 - Review and swatches

I raced down to Boots today clutching my No.7 vouchers in my hand, and the reason for me abandoning my law revision in such a fashion? Poppy King for No.7.

Poppy King for Boots No.7

As a range, No.7 rarely gets me rushing to the shops. There is nothing wrong with it, but I do think it over priced, although this is remedied by the £5 off vouchers almost in constant circulation. I discovered Lipstick Queen around Christmas and this definitely is an exciting brand in my book. With high quality, sheer textures and wearable colours, creator Poppy King makes lipstick interesting and comfortable. Although I haven't tried the Lipstick Queen glosses. they get very good reviews as well. You can see my previous Lipstick Queen review here.
Poppy King, creator of Lipstick Queen (a brand devoted solely to lip products) has collaborated with No.7 to produce a collection of 7 sheer lipsticks and 7 matching glosses and each is meant to represent the magic of lipstick. The names and shade descriptions are:
  • Allure - Peach
  • Confidence - Warm Golden Glow
  • Glamour - Flirty Pink
  • History - Red
  • Intrigue - Nude (with a hint of pink)
  • Power - Raspberry
  • Seduction - Deep Wine

Friday, 18 March 2011

Chantecaille Sea Turtle Palette - Review and Swatches

Chantecaille Sea Turtle Palette - £72
I bought this palette a couple of weeks ago, when the Space NK GWP offer was on. I have waited a while to review it because it is expensive, £72, and I wasn't sure if it was really worth the money. As I have previously said, one of these palettes will be a giveaway prize fairly soon, so I felt I should really try one out myself so I can give you an honest opinion of it, something beyond 'it looks really pretty'!

Chantecaille regularly produces these kind of beautiful palettes where 5% goes to an endangered species, previous ones have included tigers and dolphins. They usually contain 3 eye shadows (one doubles as a liner) and a blusher. Although they look stunning initially with the shimmer overlay and embossed animal design, this quickly wears away (after around 2 uses) and you are left with more subdued shades. Therefore, it can be a little deceptive when you see the promo pictures and think you are getting very shimmery colours. However, less shimmer is not necessarily a bad thing.

The overlay which shows what each colour is to be used for

How the palette looks after a few uses

In the palette you get an all over base colour which is a shimmery nude, a light brown for the crease and a dark green which leans slightly olive to define the eye. The cheek colour is peach with a delicate golden shimmer. They are good quality but overall I am underwhelmed with this latest palette. I have been swatching a lot of different eye shadows today and these three colours are the worst of the lot when compared against Rouge Bunny Rouge, Le Metier de Beaute and MAC Mega Metals. My other issue is that these colours are not special enough to justify the high price. The blush is very similar to Nars Orgasm and I have an assortment of near identical nude and mid brown shadows floating around my dressing table. The green is the only item I would possibly have bought individually and even then I prefer the darker side of the Nars Cleo Duo to the shade included in the palette.

Left to right: Swatches of cheek colour, base colour, crease colour, eye definer

I imagine that Chantecaille has deliberately gone for shades that are universally flattering and suitable for everyday wear to maximise the potential market for this palette. I can't blame them, but I would prefer something unique. Once the pretty overlay has worn away, you are left with an ordinary, good quality palette. I prefer extraordinary when I am paying such a large amount of money.

I did like the previous Chantecaille release, the Tiger in the Wild palette, but maybe my opinion has been tainted since then by my new found love of the Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidoscopes. I simply cannot get enough of these as the colour combinations are always unexpected and the shadows are a generous size and high quality. Along with innovative packaging, these are what I call extraordinary. Sadly, Le Metier are withdrawing from the UK but the Kaleidoscopes retailed for £65, so cheaper than the Chantecaille Palette.

Left to right: Chantecaille Blush from Sea Turtles Palette, The Balm Hot Mama, Nars Orgasm
In the above picture I have tried to show how similar the cheek colour in the Sea Turtles Palette is to The Balm's Hot Mama (a bargain at £6 from TK Maxx) and the cult classic Nars Orgasm. From the swatches it is clear that the Chantecaille is the subtler of the three and a more definite peach, but as a lot of people own Nars Orgasm, I thought it is worth bearing in mind how similar it is when considering parting with £72 for the palette.

I could have found at least 5 or 6 similar shades to the 2 eye colours as well, mainly from Bobbi Brown, but I didn't think they warranted pictures. The green eye definer shade is the hardest to replicate.

Left to right: Chantecaille Blush, The Balm Hot Mama, Nars Orgasm
Although this is a slightly negative review of what is undoubtedly a beautiful and useful palette, supporting a good cause, I don't dislike it. I recently looked up some Chantecaille products on an American website and saw this quad for around the £50 mark, and I think this is a much fairer price. If that is what I had paid then I would consider it relatively good value, especially as it would be £15 cheaper than Le Metier.

If you are anything like me, it is easy to be swayed into a purchase of an item like this from beautiful promo pictures, embossed sea turtles etc, without thinking it through and considering whether you already own similar items as separates. Having had a good rummage through my own makeup collection, I really didn't need this palette. It may come in useful when on holiday and needing to pack lightly, but I don't feel the Chantecaille products are vastly superior to my cheaper individual items.

I hope this post gives a realistic view of the palette and perhaps makes you think twice before parting with £72. I will still be getting one of these as a prize for my upcoming giveaway (I'll let you know the date by the end of the month) as I like prizes to be luxury items rather than essentials, ideally something you wouldn't buy for yourself but you would be delighted to receive it as a gift. I think this should satisfy that remit!

Chantecaille's Sea Turtle Palette is available from Space NK for £72.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine - Revised Pictures of Sari D'eau and Bonheur

More pictures less talk this post. Last time I took photos in artificial light and didn't feel they truly reflected the shades so here are some I took this morning in natural light. I was in a bit of a hurry so please excuse the sloppy application!

Top to bottom: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Sari D'eau, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur - £22.50
Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur applied to the lips
Chanel Rouge Coco Sine in Sari D'eau applied to the lips
Hopefully you can see from these pictures that although some shades can look quite dark and scary in the bullet, because of the sheer texture, when applied they are much more wearable.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine - Swatches and Review

I was beyond delighted when I stumbled by accident accross these new Chanel delights on Friday as I thought they weren't released until the end of this month. If you've read my previous post, you will know that I thought Chantecaille's Lip Chics were my Holy Grail as far as lip products go, but now I might have to revise that opinion.

I have never been a big fan of the Chanel Coco Rouge Lipsticks, I own a couple and they are nice, but I'm not exactly blown away by them, so I was expecting to be disappointed with the new formula, especially as they are smaller than the original Coco Rouge Lipsticks. In fact, I couldn't have been happier! They apply like a dream to the lips, in almost balm like fashion, are softer than the Chantecaille Lip Chics, and for the first time ever, I look like I have smooth, hydrated lips.

A Chanel Coco Rouge Lipstick next to a Chanel Coco Rouge Shine
The colour selection is impressive and I'll admit I was overwhelmed when it came to choosing a couple to buy as when swatched in store they can look very similar. The difference in shades with the Chantecaille Lip Chics is easier to spot. In the end I went for my usual my lips but better colour, Bonheur, and something outside my comfort zone, a vivid orange called Sari D'eau. In the bullet picture, Bonheur looks scarily dark. It's not, it is just the lighting conditions. I am wearing it now and it is the perfect neutral rose colour. Many brands call something rose when it has a lot of brown in it, to my eye Bonheur has no brown, always a big plus in my book. I completely adore this shade!

Left to right: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur, Chanel Coco Rouge Shine in Sari D'eau

Left to right: Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Bonheur, Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Sari D'eau
Chanel are giving away a small sampler of 4 of the Rouge Coco Shine colours and this is a great way to try them out before committing to a full size. I received one with my purchase so here are the colours and swatches:

Swatches left to right: Monte-Carlo, Boy, Liberte, Aventure
The above photos were all taken in artificial light and it has really washed out the colours. Aventure is a rose pink, Liberte is a light orange, Boy is mauve and Monte-Carlo is a cherry red. Tomorrow I will try and retake the photos in daylight but for now, below is a picture of Boy applied in the context of my whole face in daylight. I had spent the afternoon playing around with some Rouge Bunny Rouge and Ellis Faas products so the application is a little haphazard. Hopefully it shows how the colour works on my lips and the smoothness it gives.

The pictures above are not intended to be a face of the day or anything, and I can see my lack of blending, but in case you are itnerested, here are some of the products I used (my memory isn't great!):
  • Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua in Beige Pastel
  • By Terry Touche Veloutee Concealer in 1
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge Blush in Delicata
  • Le Metier de Beaute Kaleidscope Eye Kit in Devotion
  • Ellis Faas Eye Lights in 305
  • Le Metier de Beaute Amamorphic Mascara in Aubergine
  • Le Metier de Beaute Dualistic Eye Pencil in Champagne
  • Nars Illuminator in Orgasm
  • Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Boy
  • Laura Mercier Oil Free Primer
  • Le Metier de Beaute Eyebrow Pencil in Natural Blonde
I would highly recommend the new Rouge Coco Shines to anyone and everyone as for me, they are like wearing a lip balm, but more sophisticated. I also don't get the messiness I get from tinted Lanolips. I cannot wait to pick up some more shades and although expensive at £22, they are cheaper than my previous Chantecaille favourite, so I'm happy!

Has anyone else tried the new Rouge Coco Shines yet?

Chantecaille Lip Chics - Swatches and Review

You may well remember me mentioning these wondrous things in some of my past 'Must-haves' so I thought it was about time I did a post on them.

Left to right: Chantecaille Lip Chic in Amaryllis, Zinnia, Bourbon Rose, Heirloom - photo taken in natural light

Left to right: Chantecaille Lip Chic in Amaryllis, Zinnia, Bourbon Rose, Heirloom (photo taken in artificial light)
Originally I saw London Makeup Girl posting about Bourbon Rose, it looked pretty, sounded good for dry lips so I ordered from Space NK. Since then I have totally rethought my lip product purchases and a love affair has begun.

The Lip Chics are similar to the Lipstick Queen Saint range, in that they are less pigmented than ordinary lipsticks but therefore more moisturising and glossy. I don't like lip gloss for the sole reason that when I wear my long hair down outside, the wind blows and it gets stuck to my lips. Not a great look. So no more lip gloss for me. However, I am a person of extremes, I either like a glossy lipstick or a matte (yes, i know matte lipsticks are the most unforgiving on dry lips like mine, I make no sense!).

The Chantecaille Lip Chics come in a reasonable colour selection but the main thing I notice about them is their glorious vanilla scent. They are easy to apply and give me just the right amount of colour for when I don't want to look too done, in other words when my Tom Fords are having a day off!

Left to right: Swatches - Amaryllis, Zinnia, Bourbon Rose, Heirloom
Bourbon Rose is a definite my lips but better colour, a little rosy, and from then I got Amaryllis and Zinnia in the sale from HQHair. Amaryllis is a light red whilst Zinnia is a light pink. Finally, on my trip to London last week I managed to dash into Space NK Liverpool Street and get Heirloom, a more plummy colour.

Amaryllis applied to the lips
Zinnia applied to the lips
Bourbon Rose applied to the lips
Heirloom applied to the lips

My only gripe with the product is the price. They were £25 each and are now £27 each since the VAT increase. In America, they are a more reasonable £19. Everything from Chantecaille is expensive but these are good quality, much better than cheaper versions I own from brands like No.7 and as I wear them everyday, I can justify the price.

I was about to say that I would recommend them to anyone, but I feel I need to adjust that slightly since I stopped by the Chanel counter on Friday and saw the new Coco Rouge Shines. They are available in a mass of colours and although they seem sheerer, I prefer their more balm like texture to the Chantecaille, and they are cheaper at £22. Both are great products and you can see my review on the Chanel Rouge Coco Shines here.

You can purchase Chantecaille Lip Chics online from Space NK or Nordstrom in the US.

Chanel Rouge Coco Shine should be available on counters nationwide.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

February's Must-haves and Lust-haves

I'm a little late with this one but then my sense of date and time has been totally screwed by puppy affected sleeping patterns! Here goes:

Must-haves - things I've been loving during the past month
  • Jo Malone Pomegranate Noir Bath Oil - I have wanted to try some Jo Malone fragrances for ages but was never sure what to go for as there is nowhere near me to sample them. I got some testers off eBay and was surprised to really love this fragrance. I spend an astronomical amount of time in the bath so I used up 30ml of bath oil in less than a week. The full size is now on my shopping list.
  • Caudalie Vine Body Butter - I got a sample of this with a recent Space NK order and the smell is completely divine. I can't really describe it, you just have to try it! I need a perfume in this scent1
  • Rouge Bunny Rouge Blush in Gracilis - This is probably my all time favourite blush colour, a cool mauve, stunning.
  • By Terry Touche Veloutee - Not the greatest shade selection but luckily the lightest colour is a good match for me, the best under eye concealer I've ever used. I can't get to grips with the more greasy, creamy formulas like Bobbi Brown and Laura Mercier, so this is perfect. Gives natural looking coverage with a matte finish.Worth the price.
  • La Roche-Posay Effaclar A.I Targeted Breakout Corrector - Recommended by London Makeup Girl, this is ideal for those nasty cystic spots that feel more like mosquito bites and never come to a head. I would now never be without it.
  • Butter London No More Waity Katie Nail Polish - I couldn't resist this polish and although the glitter is on the chunky side and a right pain to get off, I like it. It gets extra bonus points for being the exact same shade as my bridesmaid outfit for my brother's wedding in July. Result.
Lust-haves - things that are on my shopping list this month
  • Chanel Coco Rouge Shine Lipstick - I don't care what shade, I just want one. Chantecaille Lip Chics are probably one of my favourite lip products in the world and I hope the Chanel lipstick/gloss hybrid will be just as good.
  • Illamasqua Nail Polish in Bacterium - Part of the new Toxic Nature Collection that is released online tomorrow, this taupe with  a twist looks fabulous. Loads of other blogs including London makeup Girl and Just Nice Things have great swatches of this shades and some other products from the range.
  • Jo Malone Lime, Basil & Mandarin Cologne - I only tried the body lotion in this fragrance but that was enough to convince me that I need the cologne in my life. It clearly is iconic for a reason and I wish I'd discovered it years ago.
  • Nars Eyeshadow Duos in Bateau Ivre and Noveau Monde - Even though I own loads of the eyeshadow duos and rarely use them, these colour combinations look like something special and with the recent ASOS Groupon deal, should cost a lot less than the usual £23.50.
  • Butter London Nail Polish in Dosh - I shouldn't like this lime green shimmery shade, but I do. There, I said it. It does look a lot like one of the new Illamasqua shades but as it's cheaper, I think I'll go for this one.
  • Clinique Chubby Sticks - Out in April, these a jumbo sticks of what seems to be a chubby balm. Being inherently lazy, I love jumbo pencils and as I have permanently chapped lips, this should
  • Lanolips 101 Ointment - I have the tinted versions in Apple and Rhubarb but I think this clear, intensive version is what I need. As all skincare, including luxury lines like Caudalie are on 3 for 2 this month in Boots, it seems a great time to stock up.
Finally, I developed a huge urge to own a Burberry Trench Coat. I have a lot of coats, some over 10 years old as I see them as an investment and a classic Burberry Trench would fit right in to my collection. Sadly, at £650 this is never going to happen, but what is even sadder is the realisation that if I hadn't spent so much this year on makeup and skincare I could probably have had the coat and a designer handbag! I think there is a lesson here for me.

Latest picture of Jussi, she's decided that our green recycling bags make the perfect sun lounger!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Butter London No More Waity Katie - review and swatches

Butter London No More Waity Katie - £15 from
I've never been especially interested in the Royals but I do love a good nail polish. Butter London have released the limited edition shade No More Waity Katie to celebrate the marriage of Kate Middleton & Prince William next month, the name coming from the Royals' alleged nickname for Kate as she waited nearly a decade for a proposal. I've only recently discovered Butter London and am impressed with the quality and shade selection, so I was very keen to see what this colour would be like and pre-ordered it from Zuneta as soon as I could. I must admit I'm also quite pleased to have a little piece of memorabilia of the occasion that I can use as I was at university with the couple for two years and I miss St Andrews and that special time more and more each day.

I think that originally this polish was described as a nude with lavender glitter, this is not the case. It is most definitely a lavender/mauve base colour shot through with lavender glitter, be under no illusions there. However, I love these kind of shades, similar to Paradoxal, and it seems very on trend given that two of my favourite Oscar outfits this year, Cate Blanchett and Mila Kunis, were this very colour. I don't normally go for glitter but as it is quite muted, it makes this shade something special. Elegant and timeless but with a nod to 2011,  a reflection of the Royal couple I assume.

2 coats of No More Waity Katie applied plus Leighton Denny Crystal Finish Top Coat

2 coats of No More Waity Katie applied plus top coat - photos taken in natural light
The application was the same as other Butter London glitters I've tried, one coat looks pretty dreadful, but a second rectifies this and gives an opaque finish. My only gripe is that it is harder to get a neat finish with glitters as my Leighton Denny Corrector Fluid doesn't work as well. A small price to pay though for something so pretty.

Whether or not you like Kate & William, if you love a good nail polish I'm sure you will like this. Mauve is my favourite colour in terms of makeup so No More Waity Katie scores full marks from me. I hope that you should still be able to order this from for £15, but if you want it you had better be quick. I don't expect it will stick around for long!

Finally, as it is the 600th anniversary of the founding of St Andrews University, I thought you might like to see how beautiful the town is. When I went there we were told that it has the highest percentage of students marrying fellow students of any university and with a backdrop like this, I think you can see how Kate & William fell in love there.

The castle ruins of St Andrews, Scotland - the section of water you can see is where students traditionally go for the May dip at sunrise on 1st May, it may look pretty but it is freezing!