Thursday, 31 March 2011

GOSH Velvet Touch Eyeliner in Funky Violet

My children have been generous with their germs again so this post comes to you by the power of Lemsip and a short nap. I'm sharing this information with you in advance because I imagine this post could be short and sweet.

I was first introduced to the GOSH Velvet Touch Waterproof eyeliners by London Makeup Girl's review of Truly Brown. I bought it and it's become one of my favourite eyeliners. It's a great colour, creamy to apply but once it sets it doesn't move around. It's a really great alternative to black and lasts all day. When I went back to buy another one as part of my recent giveaway they had a 3 for 2 offer on and I thought it would be a good opportunity to try the eyeliner in another colour.

I chose Funky Violet as although I love the colour of my RBR Delilah eyeliner it's quite a hard pencil and can drag my lid as I apply. I had hoped that Funky Violet would be as easy to apply as Truly Brown but unfortunately it isn't. It's not as hard as Delilah but it's definitely not as creamy as I'd hoped. It is a great colour so I can overlook it's faults, especially as it costs a mere £4.99. Like Truly Brown it lasts all day and doesn't smudge.

You can buy GOSH cosmetics from Superdrug. I notice from their website that the 3 for 2 offer is still on, for a change they seem to have quite a lot of the colours available in their online store too.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Mother's Day Ideas: Mandara Spa at Sainsbury's

I was sent some products from the Mandara Spa range recently and I thought it would be an ideal time to mention them in the run up to Mother's Day. The range includes Body and Bath products, hand wash and hand cream as well as gorgeous diffusers and room sprays. There are five scent ranges: Tropical Blooms, Honeymilk Dream, Amber Heaven, Island Paradise and Citrus Spice.


The scent diffusers are beautiful, the fragrance drifts quite a way from the source and I love catching the scent as I walk past. I find the grapefruit and lemon scent of Island Paradise particularly uplifting. I'm also quite hooked on the Citrus Spice fragrance which I have as a room spray. The mix of ginger, bitter orange and nutmeg works really well together. The jars of Pampering Honey Bath are the sorts of products that look great in bathroom and make it look more like a relaxing haven. It certainly makes a change from all the Halos and Horns tubes that sit around my tub!

At the moment the Mandara Spa range is being sold at an introductory offer at Sainsbury's. I noticed they have some lovely sets which I think would make perfect Mother's Day gifts. For example the Blissful Bathing Set at £8 or the Honeymilk Dreams Heavenly Hands set at £6.66. Just in case my husband is reading, one of the bottles of hand wash would be very well received. I don't ask for much you know but it's the simple things that can easily turn a chore into a treat. Though of course, if you have a more generous family that can take a hint, you might want to turn your attention to Mandara Spa itself. I hear the Balinese massage is very good! For a complete list of Mandara Spa locations Worldwide take a look here.

Disclosure: These were PR samples. I will however be going to buy a hand wash if someone doesn't take a hint.

Chanel Ming and MAC Subculture

This is a lip combination that I wore quite a lot last week. I thought it would be interesting to share with you especially as it's not my typical choice of colour.


Chanel Rouge Allure Laque in Ming is a neutral pink with fine shimmer. I think it's more pink than it shows in the swatch below and I will update with a more colour accurate photograph. The formula is like a liquid lipstick and I find it doesn't give me completely opaque coverage. I prefer to use the lip pencil as a base to neutralize my natural lip colour or to replace colour when I have accidentally blotted out my natural lip colour when applying foundation (is it only me this happens to?). Ming has a shaped doe foot applicator and this is my minor gripe about this lipstick. The edges of the applicator are really sharp and it can feel a little uncomfortable as there doesn't seem to be sufficient padding over the plastic. I'm not sure if it's just this one or if all of the Allure Laques are the same.

Top - Subculture, Bottom - Ming
Updated picture

MAC Subculture lip pencil is a beige pink. It's leans a bit more brown than Ming but I do find they work well together, the combination of the two colours produces a slightly more peachy pink. I don't have many lip pencils but I do really like this one and find it really versatile. It's not a creamy lip pencil as you can see from the lip swatch but it's not drying or uncomfortable and lasts well on the lips.




I really like this lip combination, it's simple and works with a variety of other makeup looks. The only downside is it seems a little unforgiving of lip imperfections so if you have dry lips this is something to be aware of. The colour actually reminds me a little of MAC Viva Glam V lipstick, maybe with a little less shimmer? Randomly, Viva Glam V was one of the first lipsticks I ever finished.

What lip combination are you currently favouring? Are you a devotee of lip pencils?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Hand Creams Part II

Although the sun keeps putting in an appearance and Winter is behind us, I'm still finding I'm in need of a regular application of hand cream. I think it's the combination of being outside a lot and the frequent hand washing that comes with looking after small children that ravages my skin. I thought I would give an overview of some I have been using and liking recently.

Best for Maintenance - All for Eve Hand Cream (£7.50)
This is another item that I got as part of my TSV order from QVC. This sits in the kitchen and is used by both my husband and I. It has a lovely fresh fragrance and sinks in easily. I reach for this one when my hands are in good condition, I don't find it heavy duty enough for when my hands are chapped and dry but it's good for everyday use. I particularly like the shape of the packaging too.

Best for Luxury - Dr. Hauschka Hand Cream (£12.77)
I was sent a tube of this by a very lovely blogger after I tried hers and loved it. When I refer to this as being luxurious, it's because of the lovely texture of the cream. It's very moisturising without feeling heavy which is exactly what I'm after. I have a heavy body butter type cream which I use at night but it's too greasy for the day, unless I wear cotton gloves and frankly who wants to do that in the daytime? This is perfect for really soothing and nourishing without leaving me incapable of using my hands.

Best for Repair - Alva Stressed Hands Cream (£7.70)
I was very kindly sent this to try by Alva after they heard about my troubled hands. This cream is excellent for soothing dry, chapped hands. It does have an unusual scent, it's slightly medicinal as well as being quite citrussy. It contains avocado oil, marigold extract and camomile which I think accounts for the moisturising and soothing properties. The other plus is that it's fairly unisex, great for the man in your life if, like mine, they get chapped hands too.

Best for Ladylike Fragrance - The Body Shop Vitamin E Hand and Nail Cream (£8)
This is the most recent acquisition and was a gift from my children for my birthday. It has a nice feel, sinks in easily and my favourite thing is the scent. Oddly, I can't smell it immediately but after it sinks in to my skin I pick up the lovely rosy smell (it contains rose hip oil and geraniol) and I can't stop sniffing my hands.

Have you tried any of these? Do you find dry hands are a year round battle or are yours recovering now that winter is over? 

Friday, 25 March 2011

Kebelo System Hair Treatmemt

When I was invited along to Four London to try out the new Kebelo System smoothing treatment last week, it would fair to say that I jumped at the chance. After my recent disastrous haircut, I thought this could be the perfect disguise for 'the mushroom' whilst I grow out the layers.

The 'mushroom'

One of the things that really interested me about the Kebelo system is that it doesn't contain formaldehyde or keratin unlike many other smoothing treatments, instead the formula is rich in botanical proteins and amino acids. I am aware that the use of formaldehydes in these treatments is becoming a bit of a contentious issue especially as the percentages seems to vary wildly between brands and it doesn't appear to be properly regulated. When proper safety precautions aren't adhered to (such as ensuring a room is properly ventilated) this puts both clients and hairdressers at risk.


Before the treatment there is an initial consultation where your hair type is assessed and you are able to discuss what you hope to achieve from the treatment. I had the great pleasure of having my treatment done my Aeron Beckett, Technical Director and Stylist for Kebelo. Aeron discussed the different stages of the treatment including how long each would take. There was also a visual breakdown of the stages (which you can see behind my head in the picture below) so that you know what to expect. The treatment takes around two and half hours altogether depending on your hair type. 


The first stage in the process is preparing the hair for treatment. The Kebelo Clarifying shampoo was lovely, it cleansed and prepared the hair without tangling. A relief if, like me, your hair breaks easily when knotted. After my hair was washed, it was rough dried, sectioned and the treatment applied to my hair in small sections. The treatment comes in individual tubes for each client. I am told they can be kept so that you could return to have a particularly stubborn area 'topped up'. Once the treatment had been applied, my hair was rough dried, sectioned and the treatment heat sealed with straighteners. Unlike many other smoothing treatments, this doesn't need to be left on the hair for three days. Once it has been heat sealed, the hair is ready to wash and blow dry. I was particularly impressed with this as it means that you can enjoy the benefits immediately.

I was amazed at how shiny and smooth my hair looked as Aeron was blow-drying. It worked wonders on the awful layers and got rid of the mushrooming effect. The treatment can lift the hair colour a bit so it is recommended that you wait for a week or two afterwards to colour. The lifting actually helped remove a bit more of the dark dye that remained in my hair and was a welcome side-effect. I love the way that Aeron styled my hair on the day and he very kindly evened up the 'step' in the layers across my face.


I left the salon with gorgeous, glossy hair and a box with my prescribed aftercare products. There are two different aftercare sets, Revitalising and Enriching. I received the Enriching system as my hair and scalp has tendency to dryness. Both sets include a shampoo, conditioner and weekly masque (they're all SLS free). I haven't used the masque yet but I can report that the shampoo and conditioner are really lovely to use.

Of course, we reach the crucial bit. How did I find it once I washed my hair at home? Again, this is where the Kebelo system differs to the keratin treatment I had previously. My hair is not poker straight, it's smooth and shiny but it still has body. It's mostly frizz free though I still find it can get a little tangled up at the ends where my hair was most dry. It's made styling easier and reduced the bulkiness caused by the layers. Although my hair is smoother than it is naturally when left to air dry, I do prefer how it looks when I blow dry it. My hair feels really healthy which is amazing considering the abuse it has taken of late.

Several washes after initial treatment


This is a smoothing rather than a straightening treatment. It's not going to give a look of permanently straightened hair but it will give you smooth, healthy looking hair that still has body and can be styled in a variety of ways. I think it's an excellent alternative to keratin treatments that contain formaldehyde, especially as I expect tighter regulations to be imposed on the use of formaldehyde in hair treatments in the not too distant future. I also salute the fact that the Kebelo team knows what is in their products and why and that they have full data safety sheets in their training manuals.

It isn't cheap, at just under £200 per treatment but I feel it's competitively priced compared to other smoothing systems plus the large bottle of shampoo and conditioner required for maintenance are included in the price. Also, you can be safe in the knowledge that all stylists have been thoroughly trained to use the treatment. Believe me, I read the training manual!

Four is one of a couple of salons that currently offer the treatment but Kebelo are in the process of training (Worldwide not just the UK) so the treatment will be available in other salons very soon. You can find out more information about the treatment on their website which has an excellent FAQ section. Images of my treatment in the salon were taken from the Kebelo Facebook page and where you can also find out more information about the treatment and where it is available.

Disclosure: The treatment was provided without cost for the purpose of review.

Shimmer Dreamz Confesses

This week we have Cassie from Shimmer Dreamz confessing for us. Get ready for tales of home haircuts and bronzer the CZJ way...

Confession is good for the soul, go ahead and unburden yourself! I promise I won’t judge.

Dear Aunty Brown,

I have sinned and can only pray that you will clutch on to your wimple tightly during my tales of horror.

When I was 8, I developed a nail biting habit in primary school because everyone else was doing it, but it hurt my teeth so I moved on to snacking on pencils. For those interested, I discovered wooden ones were the most satisfactory.

I constantly grew bored with my haircut and demanded changes out of the blue. So my aggrieved mother had to work away in the bathroom many-a-times whilst I fidgeted. The results weren’t very pretty, as one class portrait would show:

That phase lasted well into my teens. In fact, soon after my A-level exams, I got Dad to chop my long hair into something which barely reached my chin. By that time, my Mum was fed up with playing hairdresser and catering to my demands. Thinking back, I can only blame sheer teenage laziness for not heading to a salon in the first place. From the looks of some past photos, I dare say my parents did get their revenge on my impulsiveness.

I was also a complete disaster at lining my eyes when I was younger. I bought a Rimmel black kohl pencil when I was 14 for the school photos and tried not to poke my eyes out on the day in front of the school toilet mirrors. The result was panda-esque eyes as the line was around 2mm+ above my lash line.

The whole tanned/bronze look was such a foreign concept to me around the same age that I actually applied an entire satchel of Rimmel bronzer that came free with Bliss on my face and scared my friends to death. The only upside was my teeth looked so much whiter in the process.

An excellent demonstration of why less is always more.... Image from

There, don’t you feel better now?
Hmm…I’m actually cringing at some of the embarrassing mistakes in the name of youth. It’s also rather worrying that these words will now be immortalised forever on cyberspace. Then again, the realisation that I’ve managed to navigate my way through the maze of dodgy haircuts and suspicious makeup applications to morph into the beauty goddess that I am today is rather cathartic and rejuvenating. Thanks, Aunty Brown!

Aunty Brown has a few more questions though; it’s true that I’m the nosy type.

When was the last time you visited the hairdresser?
Just recently, at the beginning of March so not too bad there! Of course, my hair did go unloved by the hairdressers for over 9 months before that. I simply don’t see how people can keep up with the recommended 2 months trim magazines always sprout on about. I went to a salon in London this time and headed for an indulgent shopping trip straight after on Oxford Street. Was rather impressed that a MUA from the Nars counter at Harvey Nichols could tell I came straight from the hairdressers, and I remember thinking my stylist must have been a god and my locks were the epitome of salon perfection that the MUA spotted it straight away! That train of thought lasted for less than a second as she proceeded to brush away small pieces of hair from my face. Then a desperate grasp for the mirror ensued and I frantically tried to dash the pieces away in embarrassment.

You have a choice: bad hair or bad nails?
Bad hair is so visible, but I do notice bad nails too. I’m one of those people who even paint her toe nails especially for yoga and then spend the duration of the class admiring my manicure/pedicure. But gun to my head, I’d say hair.

What is the oldest item of make up in your collection?
Nothing too bad – a bunch of No 7 basics (powder compact, kohl pencil and brow pencil) that I bought at the start of university, meaning they’re just under 3 years old. I only started to go overboard at Boots et co during university, away from my parents’ watchful eyes!

Which trend still makes you cringe?
The SJP poodle look from the earlier days of SATC was never big on my list of trends. Matters were made worse when people tied said poodle hair into a pony at the top of their heads.
To be honest, a current trend that I cannot get is the harem pants one. The pants look awesome on the hanger, but oh so wrong on a person.


Thank you so much for sharing Cassie. If you would like to take a turn and unburden yourself in the Friday Confessional you can email me at It's open to everyone: if you have something to confess, I'm happy to hear it!

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

When it just goes HORRIBLY wrong....

Every now and again, I'll feel in the mood to try something a bit different from my usual makeup look. Sometimes, it'll turn out really well and it will inspire me to be more adventurous. Sometimes though, it just goes horribly wrong. Today was a fantastic example of WRONG!

It started with a lipstick. It was a colour I was unsure of but I desperately wanted to try it out. Instead of going with something tried and tested on the eye, I pulled out my palette of often neglected MAC eyeshadows. For reasons best known only to myself, I started applying Sable..... then Carbon. Surely these are eyeshadows I've already mention in my list of 'colours I don't get'? At this point, I realised I'd hit car-crash territory but rather than taking it off and starting again, I just kept on going. Once, I'd finished, I looked a reject from a Robert Palmer video.

Could you point me in the direction of the 80's music video audition?

The experience made me wonder, what do other people do when they go 'wrong' with their makeup. Do you take it off and start again? Or are you like me and when faced with a hole, you keep on digging? Are you happy to wear your mistakes out in public? I also wondered what makeup artists do. Do artists ever get it wrong or does it come off at the first sign of error?

I'd love to hear your stories and how you deal with makeup blunders. I'm desperately hoping I'm not the only one this happens to!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Face of the Day with Revlon Raspberry Colorburst

I thought I'd go for something a little different today. After a couple of weeks of subtle lip colours, I thought it was high time I cracked open something a bit bolder. I went for Revlon Colorburst in Raspberry and then kept everything else quite simple. I made a little attempt at winging my eyeliner out too. Please excuse the visible grey hairs, I have to wait a week or so before I can colour it and they're really noticable after the colour stripping.

Illamasqua light foundation in 135 (a sample that I'm trying out)
MAC Select Moisturecover concealer in NW20 undereyes
MAC Studio Finish concealer NC20 on blemishes
MAC Cubic blusher
My usual Shu H9 pencil on brows

Laura Mercier Sateen eyeshadow in Sable applied as a wash of colour with a blending brush
RBR Raven Glaze Lacquer Liner
Lancome Hypnose mascara

Raspberry Colourburst
I like the Colorburst lipstick formula and I have tried a few different colours now. Raspberry is a lovely shade, it's quite a Snow White colour on my pale skin and the fine shimmer in it gives a lovely sheen. Like the other Colorbursts, it's comfortable to wear, lasts reasonably well and at £7.99 they're not badly priced,

Monday, 21 March 2011

Chantecaille Sea Turtles Applied

As I mentioned in the swatch post, I'm not absolutely sure that all of the colours in this palette work for me when applied as an ensemble. On my eyelid, the base colour appears to be quite a yellow gold rather than a beige. It's not awful but I'm not convinced that it looks terribly flattering (on my colouring) when applied with the brown. It's possible that changing the placement might help too, so far I have only tried the brown as a crease colour as opposed to a lid colour.

Zinnia Lip Chic

Fresco lipstick

Today, I swapped the base colour from the palette for MAC Brule eyeshadow which I applied from lash line to above the crease. I did add a tiny bit of the base colour in the inner corner. I think this is maybe a little too muted though. I think being more adventurous with the placement of the brown and the green will be my next move.

With MAC Brule eyeshadow and Guerlain Beige Nude lipstick

So far I've tried three lipsticks with this palette; Chantecaille Lip Chic in Zinnia, Hourglass Femme Rouge in Fresco and Guerlain Kiss Kiss Beige Nude. I think the one that works best is the Guerlain Beige Nude (above) as it doesn't seem to complete with the other colours.

One thing I do really love in this palette is the cheek colour. I know it has been compared to NARS Orgasm, a colour that I have never owned nor wanted to, so I'm surprised by how much I like it. There's a gold shimmer through it but it's not overpowering which I really like.

So, what do you think? I know it's not my best effort and I would be interested to hear how you would work it.

The Winner of my Birthday Giveaway is....


(Edit: In The Sweet Shop Nina, I got a bit carried away writing in big letters and forgot to be clear).

Congratulations to Nina, if you email me your postal details I will get the prize off to you as soon as possible.

Thank you all so much for entering. I loved reading all of your messages and was wowed by how many pretty pedicures you all have! With the sun coming out over the weekend, I'm pleased to report there's been lot of swatching and snapping taking place here at MB headquarters. There's also exciting hair stuff to report. I think you're going to enjoy the posts to come!

I hope you all have a lovely Monday,
Ms. Brown x

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Chantecaille Sea Turtles

Worship at the House of Blues is currently having a blog sale to raise funds for the Japanese Tsunami appeal. When I spied the Chantecaille Sea Turtles listed, I knew it had to be mine.

There are rather a lot of pictures, I hope you'll forgive me, but I was very excited. I denied myself the Tigers palette last year so there's been rather a big build up to this Chantecaille purchase. The only thing stopping me before has always been the price. These palettes retail for £73, so they're even more expensive than the Guerlain Ecrin 6 Couleur palettes (£52.50) and the Le Metier Kaleidescopes (£65). I bought this for less than retail, but I don't mind admitting that I think these would be better priced around the £50-60 mark.


The colours are housed in an attractive high shine case with sizable mirror and good size pans of each colour. One thing I did notice was that the pans twisted around in the palette as I swatched. My first attempt at swatching didn't go very well. I used my fingers to apply to bare skin and as the eyeshadow colours are a little sheer, I struggled to get the base colour to show up.

I decided to re-do the swatches using a brush to apply to the colours to primed skin (TFSI). Unfortunately, as the base colour is so close to the colour of my skin, it still doesn't show up well. On my eyes it applies as a sheer pale gold with some shimmer. The other colours in the palette are a warm mid-brown crease colour, the stunning blackened teal liner and a warm peachy pink, orgasm-esque cheek colour.

Indirect light
Direct sunlight
Although the colours are a little sheer, the texture is lovely and I think they're all extremely pretty and work well together. I will share a face of the day in the next couple of days. I'm not 100% sure if they work for me but I will let you decide for yourself. One thing I will say is that I really need to invest in a sealing gel. Both the blackened teal from this palette and the grey from Rue de Rivoli are not reaching their full potential when applied dry.

I think this is a nice palette, but when I try and consider whether it's worth £73, I inevitably want to compare it to my other high end brands. I think the colours are more interesting than the Guerlain palettes and the eyeshadows aren't dissimilar to the finish of those in my Le Cirque Kaleidoscope. I don't think they hold a candle to my RBR eyeshadows, but I appreciate that not everyone gets on well with very pigmented colours. I think the bottom line is that this is good, but not great and I think this experience might stop me from lusting after another one of these, unless I was utterly wowed by the colours. I actually wonder whether the Tiger in the Wild might have been a better choice for me.

I will leave you with a little look at how the wee sea turtles look after a couple of uses. Poor little things, it almost makes me feel guilty for having touched them!

OPI Supports Ovarian Cancer Awareness

I thought I would take a moment to explain the ribbon I have on the top right of my blog at the moment. March is Ovarian Cancer Awareness month. It is a cancer that has affected the lives of family friends and for me the fact that women are mis-diagnosed with IBS or the effects of the menopause is a truth rather than simply a statement.

This month ovarian cancer support network Ovacome have launched their online symptom tracker which you can find on the BEAT online website. Ovacome's BEAT campaign aims to raise awareness of the main symptoms of ovarian cancer and their advice: B is for bloating that is persistent, E is for eating less and feeling fuller, A is for abdominal pain that you feel most days and T is for talk to your GP.

To support the campaign, OPI are donating £1 for every bottle of Ski Teal We Drop sold this month. You can buy from or from stores such as Selfridges and John Lewis, as well as salons and spas that stock OPI. Bottles sold during March will carry a label highlighting the BEAT campaign. You can also support Ovacome directly via their website

Friday, 18 March 2011

Rouge Bunny Rouge Coy

In the tube, Rouge Bunny Rouge Gleaming Temptations lipgloss in Coy is a beautifully strawberry colour packed with silver and gold shimmer. On my lips, it doesn't give a lot of colour rather it enhances my quite pigmented lips and makes them look plump and juicy.

This is my first Rouge Bunny Rouge gloss and unsurprisingly the formula doesn't disappoint. It's quite a thick consistency and has a certain level of stickiness but it feels really moisturising. The 'stickiness' is not of the MAC variety either, more it gives the gloss cling and makes it long lasting.

Viewed in the context of my face, you can see it adds a little colour and lots of shimmer. It's adds warmth too. Even though this isn't my usual 'my lips but better' shade, I find it works with a variety of makeup looks. I can see me reaching for it a lot when the weather gets warmer.

Although I'm not really a big lipgloss person, I'm interested in trying one of these in a different shade. I'm rather keen on the Glassy Gloss in Fleur Parfait first though. I think it was the mention of the word mauve that did it!

Disclosure: This was a really generous Christmas gift from the lovely folks at Zuneta.


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