Friday, 28 December 2012

Messy Smoky Eye Look

I actually wore this makeup look several weeks ago for a dinner party but forgot to take a picture at the time. I decided to repeat it for a face of the day post as I was pleased with the result and it was quite quick and easy to apply. I took my inspiration from this Lisa Eldridge tutorial but instead of a cream eyeshadow, I used my Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill eyeshadow in #4 which is a cream/powder hybrid.

When I did this look originally, I used Illamasqua Skin Base foundation. I only have a small sample tube of the Illamasqua Skin Base and I wasn't particularly taken with the formula when I first tried it. However, it's the only full coverage foundation that I own so I use it whenever I want a heavier coverage and I must admit that I've warmed to it a lot. You only need a small amount otherwise it looks cakey and I find it looks best buffed into the skin using a dense kabuki-type brush. Instead of Skin Base, today I used a sample pot of the new Rouge Bunny Rouge Time Defying foundation.



Vapour Soft Focus Skin Perfector*
Rouge Bunny Rouge Skin Sanctuary Time Defying foundation in Linen Cream*
Ellis Faas Concealer in S202
Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer in SC-3 on blemishes
Brows freshly dyed with Eylure Dylash kit in Dark Brown
MAC Strada blusher to contour
Rouge Bunny Rouge blusher in Gracilis*
A tiny bit of Rouge Bunny Rouge Sea of Tranquility on the tops of cheek bones



Kevyn Aucoin eye pencil in Basic Black*
Giorgio Armani Eyes to Kill in #4 (Pulp Fiction)
Navy aqua cream from the MUFE Black Tango palette layered in the centre of the mobile lid
Maybelline The Falsies Flared mascara

Rouge Bunny Rouge Irreverence

I wanted to finish off with a few random brush thoughts. I used my MAC 217 to apply the Eyes to Kill eyeshadow, just as Lisa Eldrige demonstrates in her video. I was surprised how well the 217 applies this kind of product, I typically apply with my fingers but I've never been entirely happy with this. I will definitely use the 217 in future. I've been using my new Laura Mercier Eye Finishing brush to buff in concealer which it does really well, one of these days I will get round to using it with eyeshadows as I had intended.

Now this is probably a rather odd brush confession. I have been using my tiny Louise Young eyeliner brush to apply Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage concealer. I've hardly used the Secret Camouflage since I bought it two years ago, as I've always thought the formula looked too dry and obvious. After watching Lisa use it in her videos, I decided to give it a try using a small brush. Unfortunately, all of my concealer brushes are too big for this kind of spot application, hence the misuse of the liner brush. Using a different tool has definitely changed my opinion of Secret Camouflage and I intend to buy a dedicated pinpoint concealer brush to use with it in future.

* Items indicated with asterisk were received without cost for review purposes

Christmas Face of the Day

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and you're looking forward to the New Year. I thought I would share the makeup I wore on Christmas day. I used one of the lipsticks from the Liu palette that I showed you the other day as the basis for my look. Initially, I applied the colour on it's own but I went back and added a bit of extra festive sparkle with Butter London lipgloss in Chancer. After lunch (and a glass of wine), I swapped to the more easy to maintain Ellis Faas L303.



BECCA Luminous Skin Colour in Sand*
Ellis Faas Concealer in S202 on undereyes and around nose
Shu Uemura Brow Pencil (H9) in Seal Brown
Rouge Bunny Rouge Delicata blusher

Ellis Faas E105 cream eyeshadow
Kevyn Aucoin eye pencil in Basic Black* smudged
Maybelline The Falsies Flared mascara


LMdB Dualistic lip liner in Rose*, applied all over the lips
The darker of the two lip colours from the Guerlain Liu palette*

As I mentioned, I went back and added a bit of Butter London lip gloss in Chancer* and you can see how this looked below.



* PR samples are indicated with an asterisk

Monday, 24 December 2012

20% off at Escentual and a glimpse at the Guerlain Liu Palette

I've been struggling to find a moment to post in the last couple of days. Although I've finished preparing for Christmas, I currently have three small children in the house who are all VERY excited about tomorrow, the smallest of whom seems to have decided that sleeping is for wimps. I had intended to write about the Guerlain Liu Eye and Lip Calligraphy, including a FOTD, but I shall have to make do with sharing some pictures of the palette and swatches for now.

Instead, I thought I would take a moment to point out the current sale at They have at least 20% off everything (no code required) including the Guerlain Liu palette, which is currently on sale for £43.20 instead of £54. I thought this might be useful information for anyone expecting to receive a bit of spending money for Christmas, it will certainly make your pounds go a little further. I'm hoping to have a quiet browse myself once the children stop bouncing off the walls. Merry Christmas!






Disclosure: The palette was my Christmas wish generously granted by Escentual (you can see my wishlist here). It literally beats the socks off the M&S underwear that I'm likely to find under the tree tomorrow...

Saturday, 22 December 2012

Beauty Spotlight 22/12/12

Burberry Sheer Eye Shadows in Pale Barley, Rosewood, and Midnight Brown are so amazing that Lola's Secret Beauty Blog might have to be renamed Burberry's Secret Beauty Blog!

Perilously Pale shares a great last minute holiday gift option with us from Urban Decay. The new Double Ended 24/7 Glide-On Pencil Set. Or heck, just pick it up for yourself!

15 Minute Beauty shared a quick and easy holiday up-do for all of your holiday parties!

Prime Beauty wants you to look your gorgeous best at those festive holiday parties so she's sharing her 4 Easy Steps for long, full, flirty lashes!

There is still some time to shop for the Holidays! Need a last minute gift for a beauty lover? Pammy Blogs Beauty loves Laura Mercier's Limited Edition Glamour Wardrobe Palette! Be sure to check out her full review!

What are you wearing for your holiday look? Beauty Info Zone participated in a Makeup War and chose some pretty products from her favorites of 2012.

The Pink Sith thinks she must have been very naughty if Santa has delivered a Birchbox as woeful as this for the month of December.

Modesty Brown compares Rouge Bunny Rouge Selene Eye Kohl to a couple of her other green liners, including MAC's re-promoted Mystery Kohl Power.

London MakeUp Girl explores a new 4 free nail polish brand with Kure Bazaar Cappuccino, a not-very-festive (but very nice) creamy taupe.

Its time for a bit of enchanted garden magic courtesy of Rouge Bunny Rouge, Visionary Beauty reviews one of their new Fragrant Confections

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed has been sleeping with someone, well something new - kinky right? Actually it's her new Polysporin Visible Lip Healthy Overnight Renewal Therapy and her lips are loving it - come see if you might love it too!

Would you take a pill to reduce fine lines and wrinkles? Paula, from Older Girl Beauty tell us about an anti-aging supplement and is giving away a 90-day supply, too!

Thursday, 20 December 2012

New Short Haircut

Yesterday, I decided to book a last minute and very overdue haircut. Once I'd booked the appointment, I decided on impulse that I was going to go for a crop. The reasons for this impulsive decision will probably sound pretty strange but I will share them anyway. I recently finished my Rahua shampoo and this caused more problems than I had anticipated. Although I swapped the Rahua conditioner for something else without issue, the moment I ran out of the shampoo, my old balling up at the back problem returned with a vengeance. I'm certain the hair was quite badly damaged and rather than try to remedy it with expensive products, I wanted a more long term solution.

This brings me on to my other reason for cutting it off. I stopped colouring my hair several months ago now. My hair has quite a peppering of grey (or nordic blonde as the hairdresser referred to it) and the difference between my natural colour and the brassy remains of colour on the length had been getting on my nerves for a while. The thought of cutting out all the old colour has been niggling at me for a while, but I've talked myself out of it previously.


Both Xiao of Messy Wands and Kate from Drivel About Frivol must be credited with inspiring this radical change. I used this Pinterest board that Kate linked to, to create a montage of pictures to take to the hairdressers. The hairdresser was fantastic too, she gave me lots of styling/drying tips and planted the seed of an idea to try out some wild colours that will only show up on my grey hair. Anyway, I'll stop blithering now and show you what it looks like.

Post blow dry

Messily unstyled by me

Thankfully, none of the children cried when I came home or said they hated it. Although, Mr. MB did make fun of me this morning when I had a rather spectacular case of spiky bed head. I'm looking forward to getting to grips with styling it over the Christmas holiday.

I shall leave you with a quick look at my current festive manicure. I'm wearing China Glaze Ruby Pumps and thanks to some diligent(ish) use of Dr. Lewinn's Renunail, my nails are in much better shape at the moment.


Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Rouge Bunny Rouge Selene Eye Kohl

Rouge Bunny Rouge Eye Kohl in Selene is a shimmering blackened forest green. I've been keen to try this colour since my attempt at re-creating the Santa Ana look. I assumed Selene would be quite similar to MAC Mystery Kohl Power, which I used as a substitute to re-create the look, but swatching the two side by side, Selene looks more of an obvious green whereas Mystery is a black with a hint of colour. It is interesting to note that whilst my Mystery pencil is very old, the shade has been re-promoted as part of the current Glamour Daze collection.



The texture of Selene is very good, the colour transfers easily without dragging but isn't so creamy that it moves around during the day. I was especially pleased with the formula as I previously owned Delilah which I found to be too hard and a struggle to apply. My experience of the two shades was so different that I do wonder if perhaps my Delilah pencil was a rogue.

Direct sunlight. L-R: MAC Mystery, RBR Selene, No7 Green and Annabelle Jade

Indoor light. L-R: MAC Mystery, RBR Selene, No7 Green and Annabelle Jade

To put the colour in context, I thought it might be useful to compare Selene to my other green and teal eye pencils. The colours shown in the swatches above are MAC Mystery Kohl Power, RBR Selene, No7 Metallic Eyes Pencil in Green and Annabelle Smootliner in Jade. Despite the name, I think the No7 looks more like a teal when compared to these other colours.

I ordered the Selene pencil from the new Rouge Bunny Rouge online boutique using a voucher sent to my by the brand (I also added some of my own money to the total, so I got a complete picture of using their online store). As I recently spoke about how online shopping experiences can vary, I thought it might be useful to mention that I had a positive experience shopping with Rouge Bunny Rouge. I found the site is easy to navigate, the order arrived quickly and I was able to track the parcels movements from Germany to the UK via the DHL website. The parcel was beautifully (and carefully) presented and they also added a few samples of the tinted moisturiser and one of the primers which I thought was a nice touch.

Disclosure: I ordered this item using a voucher sent to me by the press officer for the brand.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Beauty Spotlight: Desert Island with Perilously Pale

Perilously Pale has been stranded on a desert island by her Beauty Spotlight Team mates. What twelve products did she decide would make the cut on this epic adventure. Will she be looking fabulous or hiding under a coconut hat? Click on the image below to find out.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

When Online Shops Get It Wrong

Now, I must start by mentioning that this post has been prompted by a bad experience that happened to someone I've got to know through blogging. Although it didn't happen to me, it has niggled at me sufficiently that I wanted to write about it. I won't be mentioning any names, the purpose isn't to point the finger, it's more of a ramble about how some online retailers get customer service just right and some get it very wrong, without even realising it.

My nameless friend placed an order with a shop that stocks lots of very nice and relatively niche beauty brands. I asked her if she wouldn't mind telling me how she rated the experience, as it was a shop I was planning to order from in future. So, I was dismayed to hear that her order had arrived minus the main item she had been shopping for. She contacted the shop to find out what had happened and if the item would follow in due course. What happened next is where it all goes wrong.

The online shop emailed her back to say that their system involved two tiers of checks so it was unlikely that they had made a mistake and she would have to wait 48 hours for a stock inventory to confirm whether there had indeed been an error. Now, I don't know about you, but I believe the implication here is that my friend was lying about the missing item which is a frankly shocking way to deal with your customers. My friend was obviously not very happy about this and honestly, who would be? No apology, no 'we'll send it out immediately' and a lengthy wait at her expense to see what would happen. They have since come back to her after she emailed a photograph of the parcel contents and have said they will send out the missing item, but still there was no real apology, no admission of error or, heaven forbid, a discount code for a future purchase to apologise for accusing her of lying!

I think the shop made a really serious error in they way they handled this. Mistakes do happen, everyone understands that but how you deal with mistakes is what sets you apart. If you're a regular online shopper, you probably already have a mental tally of good and bad retailers based on previous experience and customer services is a very important aspect of it, not just their wares and prices. In many cases, there are no bricks and mortar shops to visit to speak to someone in person, so the trust and relationship has to be built in other ways.  I am loyal to particular online shops because experience has taught me I can trust them to give me excellent service. I've seen them deal with the rough and the smooth on Twitter and respect that they don't ignore criticisms or complaints.

Good service is really important to me to the point where I would avoid a particular shop with a bad reputation, even if they did stock excellent products at reasonable prices. Which brings me on to my final point. When I buy from an online shop that I haven't used before, I will always search for reviews or ask for opinions on Twitter first. It is a bad retailer that doesn't realise that people communicate with each other in this way. Just because you don't have a physical shop, doesn't mean your customers aren't talking to one another. My friend's bad experience has put not just me off using them but other people that she talks to on Twitter and elsewhere. They have tarnished their reputation without even realising it and it will likely cost them more than the missing £26 cleanser...

Monday, 10 December 2012

Christmas Ideas: ghd Metallic Collection Gift Sets

I bought my first set of ghd hair straighteners a little over five years ago now and they've always served me well. So, I was intrigued to see what if anything had changed, when I received the Rich Ruby Gift Set from the metallic collection for review. For reference, the model I'm comparing to is the ghd version IV. The limited edition metallic collection straighteners have the same features as the ghd gold V classic styler.


I have to admit that my favourite thing about this set, is not so much the pretty colour as the handy storage bag. The bag is functional (but still attractive) as the material is heat resistant. I've never owned a heat mat for my ghds, so I've had to put up with placing them on a magazine after use. I much prefer to have the bag to put them into so that I can immediately put them out of reach of the children without having to wait for them to cool down.



The other aspect that I like is the more rounded shape of the barrel compared to my ghd IV model. I found this made it much easier to curl the ends of my hair in as I was styling. I should think this would also help to create a curl using the straighteners, if you're able to use them that way. I've struggled to master this technique in the past and still found it quite tricky with these straighteners, there's definitely a knack to it as it always looks so easy on videos.


The metallic collection straighteners do seem to be a little lighter than my older ghds. I also find the clamping mechanism offers less resistance and the plates are extremely smooth. This translates to less arm ache during use, particularly when straightening the back section of my hair.

Features which remain the same are the long, free rotating cable and travel friendly universal voltage. One change that initially threw me was the on-off switch being replaced with a slider and the lack of light to tell me it was ready for use. However, I noticed the lettering on the slider itself lights up and a tone sounds once the straighteners reach temperature.

The metallic collection gift sets come in three version and cost £135 each. I know it is an expensive outlay all in one go but I've always considered my ghds a worthwhile investment. If you can ask Father Christmas for them, that's all the better in my opinion!

Disclosure: The straighteners were sent to me without cost for review purposes.

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Beauty Spotlight 09/12/12

Beauty Info Zone loves saving time with It Factor Simply It hair products so much that they are thrilled that a giveaway is in the works through 12/17/12. C'mon, learn and enter. (US only)

Teri from Beautiful Makeup Search shares her last minute gift picks for everyone on your list. Happy Holidays!

Looking to try out REN's top pick skincare items, but don't know where to begin? Lola's Secret Beauty Blog has just the solution for you: the REN Six of the Best Gift Set!

Is Essie's Leading Lady as gorgeous as cult favorite Ruby Slippers? Check out polish insomniac's comparison post!

Prime Beauty wants us to get ready for a smooth take-off and a gorgeous landing with Benefit's Holiday She's So Jetset Palette!

Need some gift ideas? Try the gift that keeps giving: A Beauty/Product Sample Subscription! Pammy Blogs Beauty reviews the Birchbox Holiday Boxes for Women and Men

Modesty Brown gives us a little peek at her new brushes and also shares some exciting news about availability of Chikuhodo brushes.

Perilously Pale has always struggled to find bronzers that don't look orange or muddy on her fair skin but she finally found the perfect rosy toned bronzer she's been looking for in Benefit Dallas.

It's time for a bit of glitz, Visionary beauty checks out a stunning Laura Mercier Illuminating Eye Colour.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed gets a chance to compare and contrast salon colour vs. home colour - check out her results and see if the pretty pictures don't have you longing for some Goldwell colour of your own!

Do you like to give or receive makeup palettes as gifts? Paula, from Older Girl Beauty, shows us some of the Holiday palettes that brands have out this season.

15 Minute Beauty thinks that the L'Oreal Diamonds Collection is worth tracking down.

Wednesday, 5 December 2012

A Brush Splurge

After obsessing over brushes for the past two weeks, I decided to treat myself to an early Christmas present (read House of Fraser were offering 10% off). Although I had been considering either a Hakuhodo or Chikuhodo order, what I was particularly looking for were several eyeshadow brushes with a specific shape, as well as at least one for use with cream products. The following brushes all looked like they would fit the bill and the reviews looked promising.

Shu+NARS+Laura Mercier+brushes3

Shu+NARS+Laura Mercier+brushes2

Top to bottom: NARS #15 eye contour brush, NARS #15 smudge brush, Shu Uemura #10 synthetic brush and Laura Mercier Eye Finishing brush.

I won't deny this was a splurge, especially as said I was cutting back on makeup purchases. My justification is that these brushes should help me get the most from the makeup I already own and also improve my application technique. I've come to the conclusion that following the 'lighter lid colour plus darker colour in the crease' colour application just doesn't flatter my eyes and I'm hoping the NARS brushes will help me experiment with different placements.

I touched on Chikuhodo above and I wanted to share a recent discovery. Having previously assumed that you couldn't buy Chikuhodo brushes outside of Japan, I was pleased to learn that you can buy their brushes from Kohlindo, an online store based in Sweden. The website is currently undergoing some changes, so orders must be placed by emailing the shop owner, Malin. I have spent a good deal of time pouring over the various brushes, particularly the long handled Artist Series and Malin has been brilliant at answering my questions via email. I'm planning an order after Christmas if no-one picks up on my very unsubtle hints!

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Beauty Spotlight 01/12/12

Beautiful Makeup Search shows off the beautiful Stila Holiday Collection, plus she has an exclusive discount code to share. Who doesn't love 25% off?

The Pink Sith is easily amused with gadgets. This time the gadget is a light up lip gloss wand with a high quality lip gloss inside it. Check out her review of 2 Lise Watier Haute Couleur High Coverage Lip Lacquers.

Don't miss your chance to win Susan Thompson Cosmetics Mim's the Word Liquid Blush, as featured in Lola's Secret Beauty Blog's REDBOOK interview!

Dry your hair in less time? Yes, please! it Factor's Simply It Blow Dry Lotion might just be able to help Pammy Blogs Beauty get out the door quicker!

Beauty Info Zone has a thing about It Cosmetics. We can’t get enough. Please see our latest love Hello Bright Eyes. You’ll want this set before the holidays come.

Prime Beauty got her hands on the newest collaboration between Estee Lauder and Michael Kors. These makeup kits are droll-worthy and the bags are to-die-for!

Modesty Brown tries to prove that one can never have enough taupes, as she lifts the lid on her collection of taupe eyeshadow creams and crayons.

Visionary Beauty finally caved on the much talked about Harmonie du Soir palette from Chanel.

polish insomniac almost didn't review Futurederm's Time Release Retinol 0.5. Why? Because she had to admit she didn't follow directions!

London MakeUp Girl reviews ESpa 24 Hour Revitalising Eye Moisturiser - an eye cream that combats fine lines and doesn't cost an arm and a leg!

Paula, from Older Girl Beauty gives us a look at some of her favorite Kevyn Aucoin products, and wants to know what they have coming up...

Perilously Pale thinks she may have found her perfect pink blush in Yves Saint Laurent Blush Radiance #6. What do you think?

15 Minute Beauty starts her new Favorite Shades of Makeup Artists series with TV veteran Mikki Farrar!

Thursday, 29 November 2012

Recent Budget Finds: Maybelline The Falsies Flared Mascara and Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer

A couple of weeks ago I popped into Boots on a mission to buy a new mascara and concealer. My intention was to pick up old faithful Max Factor Masterpiece Max and the Bourjois Healthy Mix concealer but neither was available in the shades I needed. This threw me somewhat, I'm terrible at making decisions in store especially when I'm accompanied by the whole family (I'm sure you can imagine how much my husband and 3 children love browsing the makeup aisles!). So, in my haste to pick something and get out of there, I bought Maybelline The Falsies Flared in Black and the Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection concealer in Light 2.


Buying in a rush is usually a recipe for disaster but I'm very pleased to report that both of these products have been good budget finds. I was especially pleased about the Maybelline The Falsies Flared as the packaging prevented me from checking the wand first.

The brush is quite large but not so big that I end up with blobs everywhere, it also has slighty curved 'banana' shape. What I particularly like about this mascara is that it's very black and does a good job of winging the lashes out on the outer corner of my eyes. I have small eyes and puny lashes, so the winging out is good for making my eyes appear bigger. My lashes don't feel as flexible as they do with something like Hourglass Film Noir but the formula isn't brittle or flaky either.


I do have one minor grumble and that is the fragrance. I seem to recall my Maybelline Lash Stiletto was similarly scented. It's not an especially nice scent and my nose says nappy cream for some reason. Personally, I dislike the practise of adding fragrance to products like mascara as it is likely to mask the smell of contamination. Anyway, moving on...

I tend not to look at the Collection stand very often. Collection 2000, as it was, is a brand that I associate with my teenage years and not my 30-something self. However, I've seen this concealer used on Pixiwoo videos a few times and I was intrigued to see how I'd get on with it. It comes in a selection of four shades and I chose Light 2.

It has a doe-foot applicator which I use to dot the concealer on and then pat it in with my fingers. It has a liquid consistency not dissimilar to MAC Select Moisturecover and I find it easy to blend. It gives good undereye coverage, especially if I push it gently into the skin rather than rub from side to side. I also use this around my nose to cover winter redness. I don't find it lasts all day despite the 16 hour claims however, I do think it lasts better than some of my other concealers and I haven't noticed any creasing.


L-R: YSL Touche Eclat in #1, Ellis Faas S202 and Lasting Perfection in Light 2

I bought both of these from Boots, the Maybelline Falsies Flared Mascara cost £7.99 and the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer cost £4.19.

Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Update on Operation Use it Up

Despite every intention of updating you once a month on my 'Use it Up' progress, it has been three months since my original post which you can find here. Although I haven't posted updates, I have been sticking to it pretty diligently but my progress has been slow, particularly with respect to the lip products.

As yet, I still haven't used up a single lipstick or lipgloss from the original eight. The lipglosses and the Lip Chic in Zinnia have hardly budged because I keep forgetting to use them. Although the Guerlain lipstick was close to hitting the plastic when I first started this project, I haven't had the heart to finish it off. I never realised I could be so precious about a lipstick. I think the fact that it has been discontinued has a lot to do with it.


I have pretty much concentrated on using the four lipsticks pictured centre: RBR Irreverence, RBR Murmurings, Hourglass Fresco and Chanel Bonheur. They are some of my most favourite lipsticks anyway, so this hasn't been too hard and both Bonheur and Murmurings have the most obvious use. Despite being good to begin with, I've obviously become forgetful about reapplying during the day again, as I really ought to have seen a bigger dent in these lipsticks over the three months. At the rate I'm using things up compared to the size of my stash, I'm going to have to start eating lipsticks in order to get through them!

I seem to have fared a little better with the non-lipstick items. I've used up the Max Factor Second Skin, RBR Sketches on Water and Hourglass Primer. I've also finished both Haus of Gloi Pumpkin Butter pots and the Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre.


I keep forgetting to use the PK Elasticizer. I'm sure this is because you have to apply it pre-shower and as I wash my hair in the mornings, this is simply impractical. The Bourjois Healthy Mix has become harder to tackle too as it's just too dark for my skin in the winter months. I have taken to using it on the outer edges of my face to try and put it to use. I have toyed with the idea of purchasing a bottle of white foundation like Face Atelier Zero Minus or Mac Face & Body White. It seems extreme to do this just to finish off this one foundation but I suspect it might come in handy for the inevitable any future foundation purchasing errors.

Both the Perricone MD Advanced Face Firming Activator and RBR Atlas Swallowtail have been in constant use over the three months. The tube of Atlas Swallowtail must be nearly empty and I am hopeful I can add this to my empties very soon. The Face Firming Activator will probably take another couple of months to finish as you only require a small amount per application and I can see there is still quite a lot left. I have no idea how long it would take me to finish off a full size bottle of this, the one I have here is only a travel sized bottle.


I thought it might be a good idea to add a few more foundations to the pile I want to use up. The BECCA Luminous Skin, NARS Pure Radiant tinted moisturiser and LMdB Peau Vierge are all part used and I would really like to finish these before I buy another foundation. However, I did mention the other day that I am feeling the urge to buy a new base product, so sticking to this will require some heavy duty willpower.

I have to admit that Operation Use it Up has had quite an interesting impact on my cosmetics purchasing. I have bought a handful of items since August but I have only allowed myself things that have been on very long term wishlists, like the Hourglass Illume compact for example. I've forced myself to ignore passing fancies, especially lipsticks. As we're approaching the end of the year, there's a part of me that would love to commit to a full on ban for next year or maybe something similar to Driveller Kate's project of sticking to only twelve new items over the year. I suspect I will still be dithering about this on New Year's Eve but I would be very interested to hear your thoughts.

Christmas Ideas: Jo Malone Christmas Cracker

Jo Malone™ is an excellent brand for gifting and last year my favourite items from their Christmas gift collection, the Christmas Cracker, was a rapid sell-out. I was a little nervous that I wasn't quick enough to post images of this year's cracker, it has sold out online already but my sources tell me that you can still find it in the boutiques.


The Christmas Cracker (£28) contains miniature bottles of Pomegranate Noir Hand & Body Wash, Lime Basil & Mandarin Cologne and Orange Blossom Body Creme. The packaging is delightful and I don't know many people who wouldn't be pleased to find this under the Christmas tree, young or old. I confess that I have put mine well out of the reach of small hands so that I don't have to share.

Sweet Almond & Macaroon Deluxe Candle

Cologne Collection

Other lovely ideas from their Christmas Collection which I am coveting include the Deluxe Candle (£80) in Sweet Almond & Macaroon, the Fragrance Layering Collection (£38) and the Cologne Collection (£60). The Cologne Collection in particular appeals because there are so many Jo Malone™ fragrances that I would love to try but I am always hesitant about buying a full bottle in case they don't work with my skin chemistry. That and the fact that I am real sucker for perfume miniatures!

Disclosure: PR sample

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

Taupe Cream Eyeshadow and Crayon Comparison

Not content with collecting taupe powder eyeshadows, I seem to have branched out into collecting taupes in cream and crayon form. They suit my needs well as I find cream formulas tend to be speed friendly and they also make a good base for eyeshadows for when I have more time.

The ones pictured below are, from left to right, Julie Hewett Hue in Mystere, RBR Atlas Swallowtail, Topshop Mystical Crayon and Sephora Jumbo Crayon in Taupe.




I would say that the Julie Hewett Hue in Mystere (£13) is the darkest of the four and has quite a cool silvery tone to it. I've talked about Mystere before and mentioned that the fact that it does have quite a dry texture and I find it can crease. Despite this, I would say it is my favourite if want to wear a cream it on it's own as I love the colour.

My favourite to use as a base for powder eyeshadows is the Rouge Bunny Rouge Atlas Swallowtail cream (£24.50). It has quite a more golden tone compared to the others and I find it gives my favourite taupe eyeshadows an extra dimension. I apply straight from the doe-foot applicator and as it gives a subtle wash of colour, it requires minimal blending (I use my fingertips to blend rather than a brush).

Swatches L-R: Julie Hewett Mystere, RBR Atlas Swallowtail, Topshop Mystical and Sephora Taupe


The Sephora Taupe Crayon (€9.90) is a good multi-tasker. It's creamy and deposits colour easily with no dragging. It works well on its own or as a base and I find it delivers the long-wearing claims. When I use this, I don't feel the need to use a separate eyeshadow primer. It does have a metallic shimmer to it as you can see from the swatch. I would absolutely love it if Sephora made a non-shimmer finish version of this crayon too.

Unfortunately, it isn't obvious from my swatches (curse the winter lighting) but the Topshop Mystical crayon (£7.50) has the most spangly finish of the bunch, containing flecks of warm coppery glitter within the cream base. Mystical is still relatively new to my collection so I haven't used it as much as the others. I can't really offer a full run down of its pros or cons but one obvious advantage is the twist up pen format. Price wise, it's similar to the Sephora crayon but more accessible if you're in the UK.

I realised after I had edited all of the pictures that I made some omissions, namely Chanel Ombre d'Eau in Splash and Ellis Faas Creamy Eyes E105 (I've included links to previous posts). I would say that both of these are darker than the taupes I've mentioned here and, more importantly, they are both trickier to apply. The other taupe cream that I have often considered adding to my collection is the MUFE Aqua Cream in Taupe, however, I believe it is a little warmer than I usually go for.

Sephora Jumbo Crayon in Taupe with GOSH Truly Brown liner

Do you like cream eyeshadows or crayons? Have I missed any of your personal favourites here?

Monday, 26 November 2012

November Empties


I've had another flurry of finishing products off recently. Unfortunately, it only includes one makeup item which reminds me that I must update you on my progress with project Use it Up.

The first item that I finished off was my tube of Embryolisse Lait Creme Concentre. I quite like the Embryolisse as a fairly bland moisturiser that I turn to if my skin is upset or used in conjunction with other more active products. I know it has a garnered rather a cult status but I wouldn't refer to it as a must have. I can see why it's very useful for makeup artists but I can also understand the 'huh, is that it?' anti-climax from people expecting a wonder cream. I may ask my Mum to replace it when she's next in France but for now, I'm concentrating on using up other products.

The Kneipp Pure Bliss Bath* is something that was actually adopted by my children. I like to think that it helped calm them down before bed. It certainly calmed my nerves whilst bathing them and left them smelling beautiful. They were also quite keen on the fact that it turned the bath water pink. We've replaced it with the Kneipp Lavender Bath product which I find needs to be used more sparingly for the children than the Pure Bliss.

I was really sad to finish both the Live Native Essential Mist MSM Toner* and the Rahua Conditioner. The Live Native has such a beautiful fine misting action and I've appreciated it even more now that I'm using something with a much more vigorous spray. This is something I will definitely replace. The Rahua Conditioner was the first bottle out of the shampoo and conditioner to go but the shampoo isn't far behind. It's not unusual for me to use up two bottles of conditioner to every one shampoo, so I think it's lasted very well. I've loved using the Rahua but in the run up to Christmas, I can't justify the expense of replacing it. I won't rule out repurchasing when I'm feeling more flush though, as it's the nicest 'clean' haircare that I've tried so far.

The last item to go was my Max Factor Second Skin foundation*. When the pump stopped working towards the end, I took to using the tube inside as a spatula. I've always liked this foundation as the finish was between a tinted moisturiser and a foundation on my skin. I believe it has been discontinued now so unfortunately there's no option of replacing it. I do feel a strong urge to try a new winter base but I'm still working at finishing off various bottles of half-filled foundation and tinted moisturiser, so hopefully I will stay strong instead of adding a new bottle to the pile!

Disclosure: Items indicated with an asterisk were originally received as PR samples for review.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Beauty Spotlight 25/11/12

Pammy Blogs Beauty has a new blog series: Check out MAC Matters: Building a Core MAC Collection with less than $21 per month!

Obsessed with her hair, Teri constantly tests and tries the latest hair tools. On Beautiful Makeup Search this week, she has the hottest hair tools for the hair you want this Holiday season.

Wouldn't it be great if you could indulge in your chocolate cravings without the calories? Prime Beauty shows you how with the LORAC Sweet Temptations Holiday Collection!

The Pink Sith has gone plum crazy over her MANNA Cosmetics Plum Crazy Eyeshadow Palette!

15 Minute Beauty shares which beauty products the founder of Tavarua Skin loves!

Marcia from Beauty Info Zone seems to be obsessed with subscription boxes. She’s constantly on the hunt to find the latest and greatest. Since there’s a new nail polish box, Color Me Monthly, she just had to see what it was all about.

Looking for No-Fail Beauty Shortcuts? Check out what Helen from Lola's Secret Beauty Blog had to say in her REDBOOK interview!!.

Perilously Pale has found the perfect traditional grey toned smoky eye palette with a kick. Taupe and sparkle! Check out why she's so smitten with the Yves Saint Laurent Pure Chromatics Palette in #12 released as part of YSL's Holiday 2012 collection.

Whilst it’s all about the holiday collections at the moment, the Becca Fall Smoke & Grace collection has made a quiet appearance. Beautiful soft smoky eyes paired with a nude lip, Visionary Beauty thinks this is definitely not a collection to be missed.

Jessika from polish insomniac shows us her favorite polishes from the China Glaze Holiday Joy collection.

With all of the talk (ie, jokes) about the new Chanel No.5 commercials with Brad Pitt, Paula from Older Girl Beauty wants to remind you of the history of this iconic scent.

Lisamarie from Beauty Crazed gets a chance to take the new MAC In Extreme Dimension Mascara for a test drive. Y'all can't buy it until after Christmas but until then, feel free to admire her lashes!

Friday, 23 November 2012

BECCA Ultimate Colour Gloss in Hummingbird

I'm not the biggest lipgloss wearer but I was intrigued to try the BECCA Ultimate Colour Glosses after seeing a selection of colours showcased on their Facebook page. I'm also a bit behind the times because I believe they have released three more colours in this formula with the Autumn collection.



I think Hummingbird isn't particularly representative of the pigmentation of the other Ultimate Gloss shades as it is quite sheer, and I was aware of this disparity from looking up swatches on other blogs. However, sheer autumnal berry shades are one of my favoured lip looks so this colour is perfect for me. The texture is very comfortable to wear and not especially tacky. I do find that I have to take care when applying to ensure an even coverage. I think this is probably the only downside to it being a gloss as opposed to a sheer lipstick.


The Ultimate Colour Glosses are scented and I presume all the shades share the same creme caramel fragrance as Hummingbird. I find it rather pleasant (I have a very sweet tooth) but I know scented lip products aren't for everyone.

The BECCA Ultimate Colour Glosses cost £18 each and come in a total of ten shades. I purchased Hummingbird from Zuneta.

Monday, 19 November 2012

Christmas Ideas: Nourish Golden Glow Toning Soufflé

Sorry to be mentioning the C word already. Although, having said that, I get the distinct impression that I am a little odd in my refusal to start planning Christmas until the last minute. A friend confessed today that she already has her tree up and frankly it's cold enough here for me to pretend it is December for a short while.


I've received a few things recently which I would definitely put in the Christmas gift ideas category so I thought it might be useful to do a short series on stocking filler ideas. The first item I want to mention is Nourish Golden Glow Toning Soufflé. The Nourish Skin range is an organic line which has a good selection of facial skincare staples (I have some long overdue reviews coming soon) as well as shower gels, hand wash and body moisturisers.

The Golden Glow Toning Soufflé has a nice creamy texture, sinks in well and contains a beautiful white gold shimmer. Unlike many shimmery body moisturisers, the shimmer doesn't disappear to nothing as you massage the moisturiser in. It does leave a visible sheen on the skin which I hope you can see in the image below. I wore this on my decollete when I dressed up for Halloween and found it really did give my skin a lovely glow.



As well as the party appropriate golden glow, I think the scent choice is rather festive too as it is fragranced with frankincense and myrrh oils. Unfortunately, for me the scent is a slight downside and I've mentioned before that I'm not a big fan of frankincense. However, this is just a personal thing and probably more evidence of my Christmas Bah Humbug!

The Nourish Golden Glow Toning Soufflé costs £24.95 for a 150ml pot. Nourish skincare products are available from and also from Being Content.

Disclosure: PR Sample


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