Sunday, 27 November 2011

Not Quite Neutral

I’m really not a neutral eyeshadow kind of gal – neutral lips, yup, nearly always, but I prefer something more colourful on my eyes.  Unfortunately with winter approaching the days have been getting shorter and I’ve been having to do my make-up in the dark recently – well, in very bad lighting anyway.  That means I don’t want to chance leaving the flat looking like a clown because I haven’t realised quite how bright my make-up is, so I’ve been sticking to a very safe mid-tone brown eyeshadow.  However I have been pepping it up with a slick of electric blue mascara because I just love my bright colours too much to go without for too long!



The brown eyeshadow is nothing special, it’s a shade that’s available from countless brands but it just brings a bit of colour and definition to my face and makes me look slightly more awake in the mornings. I do like the way it provides a soft contrast to the bright blue of the mascara though.

The mascara is Super Volume Mascara by The Body Shop in Cobalt Blue.  I had tried a tiny sample version of this in black before and had been quite impressed by it so I decided to pick one up in blue.  I think it works so well on my lashes because of the brush – the way the prongs are wound seems to make it particularly good at grabbing onto my spindly, short lashes and dumping product on them until they’re really quite noticeable.  It’s £10 full price but I picked it up on special offer and Body Shop are always running promotions so you can definitely pick it up for less than £10, which I think is very good value for what you get.


I do think that coloured lashes are a bit retro and make me think of my teenage years, but I have to admit that I’m a bit of a fan.  I’ve had such hits and misses with coloured mascaras over the years though as it seems to be quite a temperamental kind of product.  They either don’t show up on lashes or do show up and just look weird.  I think this colour works quite nicely as a mascara though, and I especially like the way it can just add a subtle hint of colour to an otherwise neutral look.

Russian Doll Make-Up

Ah, perhaps I should clarify the title of this post - this isn’t about how to do your make-up to look like a Russian doll (although that would make for quite an interesting post now that I think about it…) but rather about a super cute make-up palette that I picked up in TK Maxx on Friday that’s shaped like a Russian doll.  I love Russian doll paraphernalia, although bizarrely enough I don’t own an actual Russian doll!  Anyway I saw this and just had to have it.


The palette is called the Puposka and it’s by the Italian cosmetics brand Pupa.  There are various designs of this palette available and mine is called Burlesque Dreams.  While they’re not widely available in the UK you can still purchase their products easily enough online.  The price sticker says RRP £13 but I paid only £7.99.  I think this approximately reflects the prices that you would pay for Pupa online as well.



Above: this tiny doll charm is attached to one of the side compartments.

This palette is so much fun.  It would be the worst gift ever for somebody who loves elegant sophistication, but it’s perfect for big kids or lovers of all things kitsch like me!  There are two compartments that you slide out from the sides of the doll, and you can swing the plastic face upwards to reveal a tiny mirror that’s unfortunately much too tiny to be useful.  It would have been nice to have a lipstick stashed there.

There are four eyeshadows; two shimmery shades perfect for highlighting and two darker glittery shades.  There are also four sheer lipglosses.  The eyeshadows are embossed with dolls and doll faces – again, super cute!



The pigmentation of the shadows was mediocre to poor with the shimmery shadows giving the best colour payoff and the green the worst (2nd from left in pic below), while the lipglosses were very sheer but still glossy enough to be useable.  The glosses provided wouldn’t last long if you were using them regularly though as the portions are so small.


I couldn’t wait to dive into that deep purple eyeshadow and, given the name of the palette, I went for a full on dark glittery eye.



I managed to get OK colour pay off by using a glittery eye crayon as a base.  I also like using pencils as bases when there’s a particular shape I want to create with my make-up as it then becomes as easy as drawing it on.  I just dabbed the purple on top of the base I’d drawn on with quite a small eyeshadow brush then blended a shimmery lilac over the edges.  Unfortunately the camera didn’t quite manage to capture just how super glittery the finished look was, although that was more thanks to the glittery base than the eyeshadow (which is also glittery).  I’ve been wearing this look for 6h now and it’s just started to crease a tiny bit but it’s most definitely still there.

This palette’s definitely not for serious make-up lovers but if you’re stuck for a present to get somebody who loves kitsch tat (that sounds like I’m being ironic in a nasty way but that actually describes my own tastes pretty accurately ha ha!) then this might be worth a look.

Saturday, 26 November 2011

Forest Eyes

I bought a new palette of neutral shades in TK Maxx yesterday so I decided to try one of the eyeshadows out today before reviewing it on the blog.  I thought it would compliment my new Illamasqua matte eyeshadow in Yearn nicely.  The neutral that I wore is a bit of an orangey shimmery peach and Yearn is a deep forest green.  This is also the first time I’ve worn green this autumn and I’ve been meaning to for weeks now, ever since deciding on my autumn colour chart so I was glad to have gotten round to it at last!


I also added a very thin slick of shimmery brown eyeliner just to pull the two colours together.  I really like the colour combination - I just can’t help but think of Robin Hood when I see browns or golds and greens together.  It’s also a great way to wear Yearn as it’’s such a deep, intense colour it could easily overpower a look, but the shimmery orangey peach just seems to balance it out perfectly.


It’s been getting noticeably chilly in London this week (finally!  Just before December!  It’s almost been t-shirt weather up until now which has been very weird) so I wasn’t going to go out today without a hat.  Usually I wouldn’t bother with make-up on my lips if I were wearing a lot of colour on my eyes but I thought because of the hat I could get away with a bit more make-up so I wore a shiny neutral lip with it.  I’m generally very boring with my lip colours because I just hate it when my lip colour starts to fade.  Unfortunately this lip look didn’t survive for long outside as I went to the German Christmas market that’s open at the moment near my flat and had a hotdog.  Still I did like the colour while it lasted - just very demure and shiny and healthy looking.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Accessorize Ultimate Collection

This is a Christmas gift set that’s currently available from Superdrug in the UK.  The price has been fluctuating between £10 and £24 over the past month so you could pick it up for a good price.

I’m already a fan of Accessorize make-up so when I saw this on special offer at £9.99 the other weekend I just had to buy it.  It contains three eyeshadows, a mascara, a blush, a highlighter, a body wash and a body butter, packaged in a fun animal and rose print box.  The packaging of the products themselves is embossed with a lovely golden butterfly print – very cute.


The eyeshadows have a creamy, silky texture that makes them very smooth to apply.  You get a huge 2.5g of each, and they usually retail at around £4 each.  The blurb on the back of the set suggests creating a look using the silver all over the eye with the black in the outer corner and crease and a dot of purple right in the centre of the eye for a pop of colour.  I quite like the sound of that, although I haven’t had a chance to try that look out for myself yet – but of course I will keep you updated when I do get round to it!




I actually already own this blush which is the shade Scandal, and I wrote a first thoughts post on it here.  It can be bought separately for around £5.  At the moment it’s actually my everyday (and evening!) blush for autumn as it just imparts a wonderful rosy glow that’s very buildable – you can swipe on a light layer for a sheer glow or add more to create a lovely flush, so I’m quite happy to have a spare now – although it comes in such a huge 8g size that I really don’t know if I’ll ever hit pan on my first one!


The highlighter is also huge and although it’s a product that I use on occassion I don’t know if I will ever be able to finish such a generously sized tube – you get a whopping 50ml and it usually retails around £7 individually.  The consistency is nice and creamy which I prefer to runnier liquid highlighters as I find creams easier to blend to avoid streakiness.


The mascara is a nice everyday black, although at the moment my favourite is the collagen mascara by Accessorize. Still it’s always nice to be well stocked with mascara! It costs around £5 individually. 

Finally the body wash and body butter have light floral scents and do their jobs well enough.  I’m not sure if these are available individually or not but I think they would retail for around £6 for both.  All in all this set represents great value for the products that you get, if you were going to buy them all separately.  Otherwise it is a slightly odd selection as they are not really basics but rather products that you could create quite a full on glamorous look with.  It’s also odd that it contains a blush and a highlighter but no lip product, for example.  I’m a fan of Accessorize anyway so I’m really happy to have picked this up for a tenner, but I would be slightly wary of buying this as a gift as I’m not sure who it would appeal to most.  So basically I guess what I’m saying is if you like the look of it then it’s definitely worth buying as a gift to yourself!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Dandelion Dreams

If you have a few spare walls that you’d like to add a bit of interest to but feel like you’re too old for posters, then wall stickers could be the answer.  I have a couple of blank spaces around my flat but I didn’t want to invest in any expensive art.  I also can’t be bothered trying to redecorate my flat as I only rent so I don’t see much point in changing the paint or hanging wallpaper.

I picked up this wall sticker on special offer for £10.  I love the unusual design and I think the black silhouette looks really striking against the magnolia backdrop.



Explode for Lilac Lips

Today I have a couple of shots of the Illamasqua lipgloss that I picked up last weekend to show you.


It’s a sheer lipgloss and you get 7ml in the tube.  The lid pulls off to reveal a hard plastic applicator which you can squeeze the product out onto and use to apply directly to the lips (my preferred method as I like to apply a lot of product) or to squeeze onto a lip brush for more precise application.


I picked this up at the bargain price of £5 but I think it normally retails nearer £15.  You do get a generous amount of product at 7ml and whilst the packaging does have much going in its favour – sleek shape that is perfect for handbags, flexible squeezy plastic that allows good control when dispensing the product, and no brush so hygenic and with more room for product, it’s really nothing special…in fact although I like the fact that the tube is squeezy it does feel a bit cheap.

The product has quite a sticky consistency and applies surprisingly opaque.  I wasn’t expecting such intense colour payoff given that the product is described as a “sheer” lipgloss.  I can only guess at how intense their intense glosses are.  The gloss applies as a lovely multi-faceted, shimmery lilac, and I may well just be in love with this colour.  Unfortunately though it doesn’t last very long on me, fading within a couple of hours.  Fortunatley since it fits so nicely in my handbag I can take it with me everywhere I go and reapply as necessary since I like the effect so much!



Sunday, 13 November 2011

Autumn Weekend Look

How I’ll be leaving the house at weekends this autumn…


My new double pom-pom beanie hat from Topshop (around £14) + Illamasqua lipstick in Kontrol (around £15).

Illamasqua Lipstick in Kontrol

This was one of my purchases when I visited the Illamasqua flagship London store on Beak Street (Soho) for the first time this weekend.  I don’t actually buy lipstick that often so if I’m going to buy a colour that’s not a nude I’m willing to spend a bit more to buy something a bit special.  I paid £15.50 for this which is the current full RRP in the UK.  Kontrol is a lovely deep, blue-grey purple in a creamy, semi-matte finish.  It’s part of the current season Illamasqua collection Theatre of the Nameless which you can currently see the promo pics for at the Illamasqua website.


The shape of the lipstick bullet is quite flat and angled at the top so if you’re better at lipstick than me you might be able to apply this straight from the bullet.  I managed to create a better shape with a brush though.  I used a slanted eyeliner brush as the angled shape makes it easy to create a defined cupid’s bow and straight edges to the lips.


The consistency is lovely and very creamy, so it’s not at all drying to wear.  The finish is also creamy rather than matte or glossy, but you could either pat a matte purple eyeshadow on top to mattify or add lipgloss or a shimmery eyeshadow on top to create a shiny effect if you felt like a different finish.

I wore this lipstick yesterday and today and it lasted around 5 hours on me which I was quite pleased with.  To be honest, even when it faded it created quite an interesting effect as my natural lip colour began to show through in the centre of my lips but the edges remained purple.

The colour is a little bit unforgiving on my skin tone as, being quite blue, it brings out yellow tones so it makes my teeth and skin look more yellow.  However I just offset this by not showing my teeth too much and whacking on plenty of rosy blush (my current favourite is Accessorize baked blush in Scandal).  I also love the way that a slick of this lipstick and a spot of blush are enough to create a really polished, finished look – perfect 5-minute weekend make-up for autumn & winter.


First visit to the Illamasqua Store

I’d never actually tried any Illamasqua make-up before this weekend although it’s an up and coming brand that I keep seeing great things about online and quite appeals to my tastes, so when my friend and I were passing their flagship store on Beak Street in Soho this weekend (nestled conveniently between Regent Street and Carnaby St and a 5 min walk to Oxford Circus) we decided to go in to have a look.  The store was decorated in quite dark colours but the layout was spacious and airy, and the staff were exactly the right level of helpfulness – i.e not leaving us feeling harassed or constantly stared-at but always at hand to answer any questions!

There was a corner full of sale make-up so I picked a few reduced eyeshadows and a lipgloss, and I also ended up buying one of the lipsticks from their current autumn/winter 2011 collection which is called Theatre of the Nameless.  Unfortunately these long nights are killing me photography-wise and I didn’t manage to take swatches of most of these before it became too dull to take any accurate ones, so this is more of a sneak-peak to hopefully whet your appetite for the posts to come.


Above: my Illamasqua carrier bag – how cool is the image?  It’s one of the promo-shots for their Theatre of the Nameless collection.  I’m going to save this and reuse it to give somebody their Christmas present in.


Above: what I picked up – three eyeshadows, one lipgloss (all sale items) and a lipstick (current collection).  Altogether this cost me £35.50, which was brilliant value for so many high-end goodies.


Above: Kontrol lipstick


Above: Yearn (dark green) and Vapour powder eyeshadows (2g each).


Above: Sheer Lipgloss in Explode (7ml) and powder eyeshadow in Synth – both shimmery light lilacs

First Taste of Christmas 2011

I decided to pick up a new Body Shop lip balm this week to try to fend off chapped lips as the weather turns colder.  I picked up one of their seasonal Christmassy flavours in Candied Ginger.  It’s a similar size (15ml) and price (around £4) to their normal lip butters but in a metal tin with a clip on instead of screw on lid.


The consistency is quite different to the Body Shop lip butters though, being much more solid and oily rather than buttery, which I did find made it more difficult to get the product out of the tin and onto the lips.  It also doesn’t last as long as the consistency is quite thin.  However, it does leave quite a nice glossy finish and you could also wear this on top of lipsticks as a gloss which doesn’t really work with their normal lip butters.  I find the scent and taste quite pleasant, but then I am quite a big fan of ginger.

All in all it’s a matter of personal preference as to how you prefer the finish and taste of your lip balms if you would like this or not.  I personally quite like it, and I’m sure I’ll have dug quite a hole in it by the time the New Year comes.


Above: Candied Ginger lip balm worn on lips