Friday, 30 September 2011

Random Pictures I Find On My Camera

There have been a few occasions recently that I've had to hand over control of my camera to other people (other people meaning my family of course, not random strangers). I sometimes find it amusing to see my blog pictures sitting alongside all of our family snaps. It's also interesting to see what pops up when I download a batch of pictures that I haven't had anything to do with. Lately there have been some very random ones sneaking in.

Just because it's Friday and it's sunny I felt like being a bit silly and sharing. So, here are a few of the weird and wonderful (and occasionally jealousy inducing) photographs that have been caught on my little Canon point and shoot.

We had the nursery bear to stay recently. He grudgingly accepted the Bop It challenge.





Just your everyday picture of an Eppendorf??!




Not content with leaving me on my own for a week, I get to see fancy bathroom. Nice!



Happy Friday!

Charli Confesses...

This week we have Charli of Charli... confessing for us. Aunty Brown is cranky from the hot weather so I better just hurry along to the main part. I don't want to risk you having to listen to another rendition of the weather monologue. Or worse still, one of her bad morse code jokes. So, take it away Charli...

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

Hello, I’m Charli and I am here to confess my beauty sins..I hope it doesn’t put you off following my blog ;) Before I started blogging I used to break a number of “beauty rules” that I have come to learn. The worst one was never washing makeup brushes, I never ever used to wash them...and I mean EVER. Ew! Now I wash them at least once a week. I would never throw out mascaras even though they only have a 6 month use by date once opened – who knew?! But now I seem to have a new one every week (maybe this is because I decide that I need every mascara I see that is posted). There are still some things that I still do, even though I have been told that they are bad for me! I still pop spots... I cannot leave it there, they really creep me out! However I have learnt to do it in a more sterile way! I still go to bed with my makeup on, ok not all the time, but some days I am just like “meh...sleep time”...always end up regretting it in the morning. Oh and I still use make up wipes...sometimes even just baby wipes...anyone with me on these? Or am I on my own?

Baby wipes?! I've used them to successfully remove felt tip marks from carpet. Need I say more?

There, don’t you feel better now?

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?
Honestly, about 8 months ago. Shocking I know, but I am trying to grow my hair and I am starting to get a fear of the snip because of this. Although I am not as disgusting as I sound, my boyfriends mum is a hairdresser so has done the odd snip here and there.

You’ve overslept and have 5 minutes to get out of the house. Are you going out with dirty hair or no makeup?
Neither!! I would use dry shampoo and apply makeup like a loon. I have been known to wake up 10 minutes before my shift started (5:50am) and still be clocked in by 6:00am. I wouldn’t feel smart enough if I had dirty hair or no makeup on! I feel like I have cheated my way out of this question...

It’s the day of a special occasion and you wake up with an enormous spot on your face. Do you fiddle or are you the master of disguise?
I would do both, this is the more sterile way that I have created (whether it is right is another story). Warm flannel to draw the spot out, pop with cotton buds that are soaked in TCP, sudocreme on the spot whilst I was getting ready, then conceal like a mad women. That was a bit gross but I would never just leave a spot. I really hate the feel of them on my face, luckily I don’t really suffer from spots, I just get the odd hormonal ones.

Spotbuster kit
The SpotBuster Team!

Have you ever left the house knowingly wearing the wrong shade of foundation?
Unfortunately, yes. If you take a look at my youtube video called “My Makeup Story” you will hear more about this but basically I used to get really red cheeks (still do) and to cover them I would buy whatever foundation I could afford and slap it on...yes I am talking tide marks ladies. In my defence I was about 14 and getting bullied.


Thank you very much for sharing Charli! If you have something you need to get off your chest and want to take a turn 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!

Thursday, 29 September 2011

My Lip Liner Collection

I don't tend to wear lip liner very often these days. It's a speed thing but I certainly think they have their place and I have some particular favourites. Most of the ones I own are quite natural colours. Not beige nude but a colour similar to my natural lip shade. I find them useful for definition and also for using under lipgloss. When I do wear lip liner I tend to apply it all over the lip rather than just on the lip line.


From the top left of the image down: Left to right: NYX Mauve, Rimmel Exaggerate Addiction, Kevyn Aucoin Minimal, MAC Subculture, Bourjois Enjoleuse

Left to right: NYX Mauve, Rimmel Exaggerate Addiction, Kevyn Aucoin Minimal, MAC Subculture, Bourjois Enjoleuse

The liners shown above are NYX Mauve, Rimmel Exaggerate Addiction, Kevyn Aucoin Minimal, MAC Subculture and Bourjois Enjoleuse. NYX Mauve is a pinky mauve with a touch of brown. It's a bit darker than my natural lip colour. NYX is a cheaper brand but I find this stands up well to the other more expensive pencils. Rimmel Exaggerate in Addiction in one of the lighter colours that I own. It's a beige pink and it mutes my lip colour a little (though not as much as Subculture). I've had it a very long time and I find it a versatile colour. I've had success using this to make lighter pinks more wearable.

Kevyn Aucoin lip liner in Minimal is a touch darker than NYX Mauve. It's still only a bit darker than my lip colour and it's good for getting a nice shape. I like pairing it with my many 'my lips but better' and rosy lip colours. It has a nice creamy, easy to apply formula though not too slippy that it moves around. MAC Subculture is a good staple colour to own. Like Rimmel Addiction, this mutes my lip colour whilst providing a sharper lip line. It is the most beige of my 'natural' colours, I think it has the driest texture too. Bourjois Enjoleuse is rosy pink and is one of my older items of makeup. This was a favourite alongside Bourjois Cannelle rosée lipstick from my pre-makeup junkie days.


From the top left down: Rimmel Exaggerate 005 Pure, Le Metier de Beaute Rose, MAC Cherry

Top to bottom: Rimmel Exaggerate 005 Pure, Le Metier de Beaute Rose, MAC Cherry

I use red lip liners as base under red lipstick particularly to avoid the 'ring of doom' as the colour fades. For those of you that are not confident wearing red lipstick, Caroline Barnes recommends using a lip liner instead to create a red lip. Apparently this is something she did herself to get used to the colour without the fear that the colour might be roaming! I think red lip liner can also help you draw in the shape you want before reaching for the lipstick. Red lipstick shows up a wonky line like no other colour. I speak from personal experience of course!

The reds I have are Le Métier de Beauté Rose and MAC Cherry. I think the colours are more different than they may appear in the swatches above. Le Métier de Beauté Rose is the lighter of the two and has some subtle shimmer. It appears more orange when compared to MAC Cherry which is quite a dark red.

The odd one out in this line up is the Rimmel Exaggerate Pencil in 005 Pure. It's a bright pink which I bought a long time ago. Again, it's a confidence booster if I want to go out on a special occasion wearing a bright pink as it lengthens the time between touch up. Whereas non-sharpening packaging for eye liners can have it's drawbacks, I like for a lip liner as it's something I'm more likely to need to re-apply when out and about.

Something that I don't currently own but have always wanted to try is a dark purpley shade like MAC Currant or Magenta. I have admired looks that other people have created with these but I'm not sure I'm brave enough to go so bold. Maybe it's time to take another trip out of my comfort zone.

Are you a lip liner devotee? Do you have a favourite trusty pencil?

Disclosure: These liners came from a mixture of sources. The Kevyn Aucoin, Le Metier de Beaute and MAC Cherry were all PR Samples. The rest were purchased by me, some are practically antique....

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Le Métier de Beauté Concealer Brush

A lot of naughty wise beauty bloggers had been tempting me with their tales of how the fabulous concealer brush from Le Métier de Beauté is. I've always been a 'finger in the pot, finger on my face' kind of girl but I do love to try new brushes and I wondered if this would give a more polished finish.

The concealer brush has a short handle, much shorter than other brushes I'm used to but it actually feels lovely in the hand and is easy to manipulate. The bristles are synthetic and shaped in a tapered, flat paddle formation. I found it a little scratchy on the eye area until I had washed it (note to self: always wash brushes before using) and I've had no trouble since. The brush gives just the right level of resistance to make concealer blend seamlessly without rubbing any off. It's like magic packaged in a velvet pouch!

Top - foundation brush, Bottom concealer brush



I use it on the undereye area and on blemishes and it works well for both. I actually prefer it to using my finger on blemishes now. I feel like I might have been converted.

Le Métier de Beauté is only available in the States at the moment and the concealer brush costs $50. It is possible to order from Nordstrom for delivery to the UK, their shipping costs include any customs fees but it's a fairly expensive service. Alternatively you might like to call in a favour from a friend.

Disclosure: This item was received with cost for review purposes.

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Ojon Trade-In Day 29th September

I received this press release recently and thought this might be of interest to a few people. It's not absolutely clear from the wording but I'd guess that you get the choice of one rather being able to get a full bottle of both the shampoo and conditioner. I will check. Make sure you have your empty bottle ready on Thursday!

Ojon are offering their customers the chance to take home a full sized Damage Reverse Shampoo and a full sized Damage Reverse Conditioner by simply trading in any empty shampoo or conditioner bottle, no purchase necessary.

Customers are invited to visit their nearest John Lewis store on September 29th to take part in this one day event. The Damage Reverse Shampoo and Conditioner will be valid until stocks last. The empty shampoo or conditioner bottle may be from any brand.

In line with Ojon’s commitment to ‘protecting the welfare of the land and peoples of the region’, all returned packaging will be sent to our recycling partner, Wastecare, where the packaging will be recycled or used for energy recovery -


Features and Benefits
Ojon Damage Reverse Shampoo and Conditioner is formulated with Ojon™ Oil, this golden pearlescent shampoo and conditioner lathers instantly and hydrates extremely dry, damaged hair and helps strengthen hair to protect from future breakage. Damage Reverse Shampoo and Conditioner deeply nourish the hair with plant-derived conditioning agents Buriti Oil, Murumuru Butter and Wheat Protein and the high concentration of Ojon™ Oil helps repair damage from the inside out. When used together the shampoo and conditioner reduces fly-aways and instantly smoothes the hair providing manageability, softness and suppleness.

Clinical studies confirm that:

Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner instantly reduce breakage by 99%* *in a detangling breakage study, using Ojon Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner In consumer studies using Ojon Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner: 90% of women thought their hair looked healthy, instantly** *in a consumer study, using Ojon Restorative Shampoo and Conditioner

For your nearest John Lewis store please call: 0870 034 2454

VIVO Eyeshadows in Mink and Rich Chocolate

When I first heard about the VIVO Cosmetics line, it was their eyeshadows that caught my eye. I have been sent some samples to try but these are a couple of bits that I picked out for myself on a trip into Tesco (I'm normally a Sainsbury's girl if you must know). I was quite taken with the baked blushers too and I may go back for one soon. My apologies for the broken eyeshadow in the photographs, this is what happens when you have a toddler AND makeup in the same shopping trolley!



Left - Rich Chocolate, Right - Mink

I picked out Rich Chocolate (Shade 4) a matte finish eyeshadow and Mink (Shade 6) which has a pearl finish. I realise I own a lot of similar colours already but at £1.50 each, I thought it would be interesting to compare these to my more expensive neutrals. Both eyeshadows are less pigmented than I am used to (the swatches are both multi-passes on bare skin) but they are buildable and all that is required is a good laydown brush and patience.



Top - Monk , Bottom - Rich Chocolate

Mink is a little smoother in texture than the matte Rich Chocolate. Mink is one of those amazing, complex silvery taupes with hints of plumminess in there too. It makes a beautiful lid colour. The pearl/iridescent finish might be a little too much for everyday but the colour holds up very well to more expensive taupes that I possess.


Rich Chocolate is lighter in the swatch than I was expecting. It looks quite warm compared to mink and a medium rather than 'rich' chocolate brown but when used as a crease colour layered over Mink, it definitely looks darker. The two colours also sit better together than you might imagine from the swatches.

I applied these over a primer and was very impressed with the eye look I achieved. It took more effort than my high end favourites but I didn't have any blending issues which is a pet peeve with cheaper eyeshadows. These are made by the same people than make MUA cosmetics, so I suspect if you have similar colours from one, you may not need to duplicate. If you're ever in Tesco, these are well worth a browse. 

Monday, 26 September 2011

Smashbox Soft Effects Powder Eye Liner in Gunmetal

This is my first foray into Smashbox cosmetics. The Soft Effects Powder Eye Liners come as a small pot with a sponge wand applicator. There is a small ball bearing in the bottom of the pot which stops the powder forming a lump. In all respects it reminds me a lot of the LE No.7 Smoky eyeliner.




Gunmetal is a dark blue-grey packed with silver and icy-blue microshimmer. I failed to pick up in the blue in the swatch but you can just pick it out on the wand in the picture above. Although it contains a lot of shimmer, I don't find it overly spangly and it's perfectly acceptable for day wear. I think it's very pretty and I'm normally very wary of grey. So far I have worn it as a liner with no other eyeshadow but I think it will also work well to create a smoky eye with a complimentary shade of grey.



Just like the No.7 Smoky eyeliner, the problems with using this are the applicator. The sponge tip has quite a lot of give so you have to use a light hand. The powder transfers easily and smoothly with little pressure but I have found it impossible to use without extensive fall out. If you're going to use this you need to hold off applying foundation until afterwards (if only I could remember this!). It definitely requires an eye primer as a base. 

The Soft Effects Eye Liner costs £19.50 which I think is a little steep considering the flaws. It comes in three other shades; Black, Brown and Aubergine.  You can find a review and swatches of Aubergine on The Non Blonde. Smashbox cosmetics are available from Debenhams in the UK.

Disclosure: I received this as part of an event bag.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Beauty Spotlight Mystery Makeup Bag

This week we take a peek into the twisted mind of Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed via her makeup bag. What crazy stuff will we find in there? Click on the picture below and read on, if you dare...!

Lisamarie makeup bag

Saturday, 24 September 2011

20 Random Fact About Me

It's another non-beauty post today. These truly are a selection of random facts and I suspect I may regret sharing a few of them! I hope you're all have a lovely weekend.

The Logical Song by Supertramp takes me back to the Summer of '91 I spent in France. Including a week-long stay in hospital after an emergency appendectomy.

I have a degree in Molecular Biology and Genetics.

I used to be a 20 a day smoker but gave up in 2005.

I've lived in Leeds, Norwich, Marseille and Oxfordshire. I'm not sure where life will lead us next but I rather like the adventure.

I used to play the flute but rarely play any more as I'm too shy. However, I was a member of a concert band and appeared on Yorkshire TV. I really did go to band camp too.

Image from

I gave myself a purple fringe once with the aid of a Jerome Russell spray can. I often wonder if you can still buy it.

I like Marlborough Estate Sauvignon Blanc. A lot!

I'm shortsighted and started wearing glasses when I was 19. I can't wear contacts lenses for longer than a couple of hours at a time.

I am a stereotypical Piscean but I don't really believe in horoscopes.

I dropped out of my PhD when my supervisor died in a freak bike accident.

My favourite film is Hot Fuzz. I also have a huge soft spot for films by the Cohen Brothers.

My maternal Grandma was an artist and specialised in miniatures. I can draw stick figures!

I loved David Tennant as Dr Who. Matt Smith has yet to win me over.

I have a mental block when it comes to telling the time and frequently get it wrong but I am never late.

I was an Indie Kid.

A well as work in science, I have worked as an office junior, receptionist and a waitress.

I used to love wearing high heels but now I live in Converse.

I used to member of the Five Star fan club. I'm not entirely sure I should have admitted that, oh dear....

The last book I read and loved was The Historian.

At 35, I still only hold a provisional driving licence.

Feel free to share something totally random about you!

Friday, 23 September 2011

Pai Geranium & Thistle Moisturiser

The offer to try some products from the Pai organic skin care range came at a perfect time for me. I have mentioned that my skin was a little irritated over the summer months. I had various areas of raised red bumps and my skin felt quite itchy. I wasn't really sure what had caused it but suspected sunscreens. I was in desperate need of something that felt soothing on my skin.


I have been using the Geranium & Thistle Moisturiser for a month now. This particular formula is designed for combination skin. My T-zone is definitely more oily in the summer months and this formula is perfect. It's still sufficiently hydrating for drier areas like my cheeks. It has an almost whipped texture which I really enjoy and smells delicious! I use two pumps to cover my face and neck.

I have been using the cream morning and night and I have seen a great improvement in my skin. It is no longer irritated and the cream has been very soothing to apply. The only downside is that my fine lines are more visible around my eye area so I would probably need to use this in combination with a serum in future to tackle the less exciting aspects of my age!


The Pai skin care products are designed for sensitive and allergy-prone skin. Pai products are organic and are certified by the Soil Association. The ingredients are clearly labelled on the packaging and they are also listed on their website, so you would instantly be able to spot anything you wouldn't get on with. Please note that these do contain essential oils. I found the Geranium & Thistle cream very soothing and would happily recommend it.

The Geranium & Thistle moisturiser costs £24 for 30ml. There are also three other moisturisers in their range which cater for sensitive skin, dry/mature skin and normal/dry skin. Pai products are available from, and directly from their website,

Disclosure: This products was received without charge for review purposes.

Salon de Beaute Confesses

This week we have Rebecca of Salon de Beaute confessing for our reading pleasure. Rebecca is a professional makeup artist, cat Mum and all round good egg. She can't have a shady past surely? What could be so bad that she felt compelled to jet off to Morocco?!

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

I didn’t start wearing makeup till much later than most of the girls I know. I started wearing mascara and some pale pink lipstick for special occasions when I was 16. In boarding school when I was 17 it was cool for us to concoct our own rouge noir shade of lipstick and wear it out. The other girls made fun of how big my lips looked so I would spend hours trying to make my lips thinner. Argh!!!

I'd like to think that this is how you looked. Am I close?!

There, don’t you feel better now?

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?
I hate being poked and prodded and sitting down for very long. I last had someone else cut my hair in June. I cut and colour it myself most of the time.

You’ve overslept and have 5 minutes to get out of the house. Are you going out with dirty hair or no makeup?
Isn’t that what dry shampoo is for? I’d rather spend five minutes putting on some concealer and mascara with my hair tied back.

Which trend still makes you cringe?
There are so many! I hate orange people, I hate that chalky, nude lipstick look that orange girls wear. Oh, if lace isn’t expensive then you shouldn’t be wearing it on your person. It looks cheap and tacky. Designer handbags with thick, spidery lashes and caked on foundation. I could rant about this kind of thing for years.

Have you ever left the house knowingly wearing the wrong shade of foundation?
Yes! Being an Aussie, sticks of zinc are readily available to any and all as a brilliant form of sun protection. You see cricketers and life guards with that white streak across their nose and that’s their zinc stick. I used to use it all over my face throughout high school. Partly as sun protection for my insanely fair skin and partly as a foundation to pale my skin a little more for that truly gothic look I loved.

The white nose is fine but those hats are something else!


Thank you for sharing Rebecca! If you have something you need to get off your chest and want to take a turn 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!

Illamasqua image -
Zinc stick image -

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Hourglass Lash Lacquer Giveaway - CLOSED

It seems like an age since my last giveaway and I couldn't resist picking this up when I was at the Hourglass counter a couple of weeks ago. The prize is a tube of the new Hourglass Lash Lacquer. I posted about the Lash Lacquer here if you would like to read more about it. My apologies for the lack of tube photograph but the box is sealed and I didn't want to tamper with it. It's always nice to get things in their brand new state!


To enter the giveaway please leave me a comment telling me your favourite evening makeup look along with a valid email address (alternatively you email me with your contact details if you prefer). This giveaway is for followers only so please make sure to tell me how you follow in the comment (GFC, Facebook, Bloglovin', Feedburner etc.).

The prize is one Hourglass Lash Lacquer and I'm afraid I cannot offer any alternatives. This giveaway is open Internationally and will remain open for entry until Midnight (BST), 1st October.

Good luck!

Max Factor Colour Elixir Lipsticks

Last week I showed you lip swatches of the seven Colour Elixir lipsticks I wore as part of my Elixir Challenge and I talked about how colours can boost your mood or make you feel self-conscious. Today, I want to talk a bit about the 'Elixir' formula as well as show you a lot more pictures and swatches.











The Colour Elixir lipsticks are designed to be a lip treatment as well as a lip colour. The 'Elixir' treatment makes up 60% of the lipsticks and includes ingredients such as shea, avocado and aloe butters, as well as anti-oxidant white tea. Having worn these lip colours consistently for a week, I noticed that my lips definitely felt soft and hydrated. I was especially impressed that the comfortable formula was consistent across the colours. It's rare to find a drugstore red or bright coral that is long-lasting, pigmented AND non-drying.

All seven of the colours I tried were very pigmented. I had wondered if they might be a little sheer with all of the moisturising ingredients. The colours have good wear time too. One thing I did notice is that all of the colours left a stain on my lips and in the case English Rose, the stain was actually a little darker than the lipstick. The finishes of the lipsticks vary across the range; most had a satin with a couple of frosty finishes and micro-shimmer thrown in for good measure. There are 15 shades altogether and having looked at the stand the other day, I spotted a couple of very appealing rosy brown colours.

If you are a fan of lipsticks, I would highly recommend taking a look at the Colour Elixir range. Priced £7.99 (or £5.99 in Superdrug at the moment), they have the feel and pigmentation of more expensive lipsticks. I think they've covered all the bases with the colours too.

Disclosure: These items were received without cost as part of a blogger challenge. 


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