Friday, 6 April 2012

Poppy King for No.7 Lip Crayon vs Clinique Chubby Sticks

I was pretty impressed by the original Poppy King for No.7 range sold in Boots last year being a fan of Lipstick Queen, but was confused in my local store when they removed the No.7 Spring collection (which I wanted to buy) and replaced it with Poppy King. Again I thought? I didn't give it a second glance and rather stupidly, spent my £5 vouchers on mascara as I knew I already had the majority of the lipsticks and lip glosses from Poppy King. It was only when browsing the Boots website I realised a new product had come out, the Rain Drops Lip Crayon. Obviously I have been just as lax in reading beauty blogs as I have in writing my own!

Poppy King for No.7 Lip Crayons and Clinique Chubby Sticks
Firstly, let me confess I adore jumbo pencils/crayons of all types, be they eyeliner, lipstick, lip gloss, even concealer. I am lazy and appreciate anything that saves me time. I have long been a fan of the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencils and tried out Clinique's Chubby Sticks last year, the latter turning into a gym bag staple. My only issue with the Chubby Sticks is that half the colours I don't find that appealing or exciting. I was very excited to see then the new Poppy King offerings as they are just my kind of colours. I have 3 Chubby sticks, 05 Chunky Cherry, a muted red, 07 Super Strawberry, a raspberry shade, and finally my favourite, 06 Woppin' Watermelon, a cool pink.

Left to right: Poppy King for No.7 Lip Crayons in Dancing, Singing and Playing
To keep things fair, I have purchased 3 Poppy King Lip Crayons to compare, in a vaguely similar shade range. Singing is a fuchsia pink, Playing a surprisingly vibrant coral and Dancing, a lighter pinky peach. The big difference between the two products is that the Chubby Sticks are twist up but the Poppy King have a sharpener attached to the lid. I prefer to sharpen them because my chubby Sticks were blunt after one use. This isn't a huge problem but it is easier to get a precise shape with Poppy King. This is useful as when swatched, her colours are far more vivid. They remind me more of a semi sheer lipstick rather than a tinted balm, similar in fact to the Nars Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils. I hope that the big difference in pigment comes through in the photos.

There are two colours left in the Poppy King range that I have yet to buy, a red and a dark berry. The lip crayons have surpassed my expectations and I will definitely be purchasing the other two when my credit card has recovered after the announcement yesterday of Le Metier de Beaute's arrival at Zuneta. No.7 was on 3 for 2 when I last checked so if you are interested in the lip crayons, now might be a good time to try them. There are £11.50 each from Boots but I never pay full price for any No.7 product, I always wait for either a voucher or a 3 for 2.

Swatches left to right: Poppy King Lip Crayon in Dancing, Singing, Playing, Clinique Chubby Stick in Super Strawberry, Chunky Cherry and Woppin' Watermelon
I still like my Clinique Chubby Sticks and they are slightly different enough colours to justify owning both, especially when I wear them daily, but Poppy King would win out if I was forced to choose only one brand. In terms of price and the amount of product you get, Clinique are more expensive at £13 but you get 3g of product, compared to 2.8g of Poppy King Lip Crayon. However, I prefer to think of the price of the Poppy King as around £7-8, as that is on average, what I pay when using the excellent Boots offers. If you wanted to try the Nars Velvet Gloss Lip Pencils but find them too expensive, the Poppy King Crayons are a great dupe. When I get a chance, I will do a comparison with those as well.

Poppy King for N0.7 is available at Boots online and in stores nationwide.

As a slight random aside, I saw the film Like Crazy today and would really recommend you see it if you get the chance. Starring Felicity Jones, it is probably the most realistic portrayal of young love I have ever seen on film. Along with Shame and The Hunger Games, it is my favourite film of the year so far.

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Le Metier de Beaute arrives in the UK!

So probably every beauty blogger has possibly written about this today, I haven't checked, but today has turned into a wonderful day when the email arrived in my inbox saying Zuneta have started officially stocking Le Metier de Beaute, my favourite beauty brand in the world. What's more, they have the latest limited edition Northern Lights Lip and Eye kaleidoscopes in stock (lip one is now sold out).

I have been keeping up to date with kaleidoscopes thanks to some lovely American beauty bloggers but for once, I won't have to bother them anymore and can finally get Le Metier nail polish (you aren't meant to send it from the US to UK). I will try and write some posts in the next week on my favourite Le Metier items and contain my excitement but to give you an idea how much I love this brand, when considering holiday destinations last month I very nearly chose a cold Boston over Dubai and Abu Dhabi simply because they stock Le Metier. In the end hot weather won but not before I had worked out how much it would cost me to order the products I wanted from Nordstrom, expensive shipping and all. There is no other brand I would go to these extreme lengths for.

Less than two minutes after I saw the Zuneta email, I bought the latest kaleidoscope and I am having to sit on my credit card to not go crazy and buy more. Zuneta and Le Metier = one very happy Easter!

Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Beauty in Abu Dhabi & other random ramblings

I'm heading away for a couple of days on Sunday, very last minute and for the first time in about 5 years. We've finally decided on Abu Dhabi but as a beauty blogger, obviously my main concern (aside from how to look half decent in a bikini) is what beauty brands are available out there?

I haven't been to UAE for about a decade so I'm guessing it is a totally different place to the one I left behind. If anyone has been recently or is local or just generally has any more knowledge than me, I would love to know what brands are worth looking out for. Is anything in particular cheaper than the UK i.e. OPI nail polish, Tom Ford. Is Le Metier de Beaute stocked anywhere in Abu Dhabi, or is that too much to hope? I seem to remember someone mentioning Rouge Bunny Rouge had counters in Abu Dhabi, is that true? Which are the best malls to visit? I think you get the idea.

Finally, Heathrow Terminal 5. Any idea which brands are stocked in duty free aside from the traditional MAC, Estee Lauder, Dior, Chanel etc? As I've got older I have become more and more petrified of flying, so my plan is to take my mind off it by thinking about duty free instead. Typical that the one time I decide to go away temperatures are a very sunny 18C here in England!

As it has been a while since I updated, here are some very random things I had been loving recently.

Michael Fassbender as Brandon in Shame
Being a huge fan of Michael Fassbender, I was desperate but a little apprehensive to see Shame. My fears were made all the worse when I turned up to buy my ticket at the cinema and the guy serving me stared in disbelief that I wanted to see that film, and then checked to see if I knew what it was about. In case you have been living under a rock, it is about sex addiction. I happened to be the only one in the whole cinema, possibly a good thing, would have felt more awkward if there had been just one other person in there.

It was fantastic though. Fassbender is absolutely amazing, nailing a tough subject to portray and it is a crime he wasn't nominated for an Oscar. Much as I like The Artist, this performance was far superior. The director should also be praised for his whole approach, I have seen perfume adverts on TV that are more sex than the explicit sex scenes in Shame. I hope the film gets a wider release as I couldn't fault it.
Chanel Illusion D'ombre - Emerville
After months of wanting it, I caved yesterday and bought another of the Chanel cream eyeshadows that were released last year. I already have the khaki and mauve ones but don't reach for them as often as I should. Yesterday I chose Emerveille, a subtle coppery tone, and it is the perfect everyday shade for my green eyes. I tried it out today for the first time and love it. it stayed place all day, took seconds to apply with a finger and works well with the Chanel cream bronzer which I got to help hide my milky white skin when on holiday.

Late last year I stupidly switched from using Ellis Faas Skin Veil (amazing) to Chantecaille Just Skin. After spending what seems like a small fortune on Chantecaille's Future Skin the year before and being distinctly underwhelmed, you'd have thought I'd know better, but no. Aside from giving almost no coverage at all (I realise it is their version of a tinted moisturiser, but still I expect some improvement to my normal skin), it made my skin break out like crazy.

I've been using all NV Perricone skincare products, courtesy of another QVC TSV, to try and repair the damage with some Alpha-H Vitamin E serum and La Roche Posey spot treatment. Apart from the few very angry red spots that refuse to disappear, my skin is looking fairly good, and I have been using Perricone No Foundation Foundation successfully for the last month. What I do have a problem with though is concealer.

As I am so pale, the red/purple spots really stick out and no concealer covers without looking cake or turning orange. So Far I have been trying Bobbi Brown creamy Concealer, MAC Studio Fix and Estee Lauder Double Wear Concealer. EL turns orange, MAC is too drying and BB does very little at all. I have Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage but after 5 years have still not got the hang of using it properly. Ideally I want a good colour match for NW15-20 skin, something that blends well and doesn't highlight any dryness. Any ideas?

Whistles Wild Meadow Dress from Spring 2012 Collection
Enough about makeup for now and on to clothes. I love all things Whistles and this week bought a dress and skirt in a slightly crazy bright print which I love, and most of all it matches perfectly my Nails Inc Baker Street Nail Polish. Once my local store gets them in stock, I will be getting some fabulous electric blue skinny jeans. The Whistles Charlie skinny jeans are the only ones I have ever found that are comfy to wear and come in amazing colours. Best of all, they inevitably go in the sale so cost about £40. Not bad. They also have 25% off with Grazia magazine until 13th March.

Marni for H&M - top: £39.99
Having bypassed Versace

Finally, I realise that this is a very long and rambling blog post, blame it on all the accurate, concise legal drafting I am having to do elsewhere, I have to mention the Oscars. I thought the BAFTAs were far more entertaining and was disappointed at the turn out on the red carpet. My favourites by a mile were Jessica Chastain and Michelle Williams. The latter almost convinced me change my hair to a blonde pixie crop but I chickened out at the last minute. Who was your favourite?

I'm not the only one who loves the sun!

Sunday, 19 February 2012

NOTD: Nails Inc Baker Street

I own a lot of Nails Inc polishes, mainly because I have bought quite a few QVC TSVs in my time, and last week was no different. However, I tend to overlook Nails Inc in favour of Chanel, OPI and Butter London, partly because it had almost got to saturation point when bottles were given away with magazines and drinks etc and also because I can't stand the shade names. I don't live in London so hardly any are familiar to me and at least with OPI, when the bottles are lined up in a drawer I can tell which colour I am picking up, with Nails Inc they all look identical, and after picking up the 10th bottle to search for a specific shade I lose patience!

2 coats of Nails Inc Baker Street + Caviar Top Coat
Anyway, Baker Street is the exception. Being a big fan of Sherlock, this name sticks in the mind and the shade is perfect. A real vibrant, bordering on neon, blue. I have at least a dozen blues but none quite like this. It is a definite electric blue and I have my eye on a pair of Whistles skinny jeans in this shade. It might not be to everyone's taste, but I much prefer it to a nude nail and it adds some interest to the most boring outfit.

I had full coverage with just one coat of Baker Street but applied two just in case, and topped it with Nails Inc Caviar top coat. The only downside is that it has chipped a lot (one chip was just two hours after application). I love the colour so much though that I would still repurchase it and I will be wearing it all through summer. This shade has made me realise why I bought so many colours from the brand originally and I will enjoy rediscovering them in the weeks to come.

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Emma Hardie on QVC Beauty Day

A very quick post just to alert you to a fantastic new Emma Hardie kit on QVC. I started using Emma Hardie products over a year ago after getting a lot for Christmas and I haven't really stopped since. The star product is normally heralded as the Moringa Balm but every product deserves a gold star (and I've tried all but one). The great thing is that all of the products are reasonably priced compared to similar brands, as the sizes are so much bigger.
Emma Hardie Amazing Face set available at QVC
The set I wanted to mention contains a full size Moringa Cleansing Balm, a full size Professional Eye Serum, a full size Moisturising Cream, exfoliating seeds, professional cleansing cloth, slippers and most importantly a Votive Candle. I got the candle in a gift set last Christmas and it was the first scented candle I had ever used, let's just say it has started a slight obsession!

The best thing about the set is the price, it is £79.20 and currently on offer in 3 easy payments of £26.40 so the cost can be spread over 3 months. The full product details can be found here. If nearly £80 is too much, there are some cheaper starter kits also available that don't contain the full sizes but allow you to try the range. Remember that anything bought from QVC can be returned within 30 days even if used, which makes it my number one choice for skincare, allowing costly mistakes to be avoided.

I was lucky enough to attend a special talk by Emma herself back in summer and found her really inspirational. A lot of brands can feel so similar but speaking to Emma, you can see how much of herself and her background she has poured into the products. When I can take a break from law applications/interviews, I will write about all the products I have used in more detail but this evening I just wanted to let you know about this particular kit.

Sunday, 22 January 2012

Chanel Jade vs Dior Waterlily NOTD

As you might have guessed from the title, I am of course talking about nail polish. The release a few years ago of Chanel Jade was what really sparked my interest in nails and I have been collecting colours ever since. Jade was very successful and incredibly difficult to get hold of so I thought that as Dior have just released a similar shade, a comparison might be useful in case you missed out first time around.

As you can hopefully tell from the above picture, Chanel Jade leans more Aqua than green. Both colours have a subtle turquoise micro shimmer running through them. The main difference to my eye is that the Chanel is cool toned, whereas the Dior is warm. The Dior is also meant to smell of flowers I think but that didn't influence my decision to buy it. Smelling it now, it sort of smell alike bad air freshener, so I would not buy it for scent alone!

3 coats of Chanel Jade applied + Nails Inc Caviar Top Coat

2 coats of Dior Waterlily applied + Nails Inc Caviar Top Coat

I don't own many Dior polishes so the different shaped brush has taken a bit of getting used to. The formula is quite a bit thicker than the Chanel, not necessarily a good thing. I had to use three coats of Chanel Jade and two of Dior Waterlily. I applied Jade to my left hand and Waterlily to my right and although I can tell the subtle difference, no one else has been able to yet. It is not often I am happy to go out with different colours on different hands but this gives you an indication of how similar the two shades are.

Bottom hand: Chanel Jade, Top Hand: Dior Waterlily

As I have cool undertones to my skin, I am always drawn to colours that are also cool, so unsurprisingly my favourite is the Chanel. However, if you missed out on it years ago or have warmer undertones, Waterlily is a great choice. Both are around the same price but you get 3ml more from Chanel.

Sorry for having been very lax on the posting front but January is a hectic time in the law recruitment cycle. I officially have my law degree now so it is on with the training contract applications. the applications are probably more time consuming than my studies and having to travel to London for interviews etc means I am seeing far too much of St Pancras International, and not enough of Space NK and Selfridges. If by some miracle I do get a training contract through the Tom Ford counter will be my first port of call. Hopefully I will have a bit more time to blog in the Spring and I will hold a giveaway at 250 followers as a thank you, something Edward bess shaped I think.

A very belated Happy New Year to everyone!