Musings of a self-confessed beauty addict from the heart of London!

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Chanel PRO LUMIÈRE Foundation Review

I've been meaning to write this review for a while, even before I had a blog. I finished my sachet of Sephora foundation today and not being bothered to find another sample sachet I picked out my bottle of Pro Lumiere.

Now, I've been watching make-up videos on youtube for about a year now and can honestly say that I've not seen a foundation raved about as much as the Chanel Pro Lumiere. It seems like it is the ultimate holy grail base. It's used by make-up artists on brides, catwalk models, photo shoots etc. It really seemed like this foundation could do no wrong.

Sold by the hype, I picked up a bottle at Debenhams last April. Yes, last April. I was colour matched, very well I must add, to shade 20. From the tiny smear of product on my jawline I had no qualms at all. It was only when I tried to apply it all over did I realise that it wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Whether I used a foundation brush or my fingers I somehow found that no matter what I did I ended up with an excess of product sliding around looking for a place to sit. My skin looked kind of shiny and not necessarily any better for having foundation on it. It was hard work to blend it in so that it looked natural, but in the end I always managed. I am very VERY patient. I figured out, and fairly recently I may add, that I needed even less than half a pump for my entire face.

So that was a year ago, and a year later I'm still trying to finish the bottle. I suppose you could say that as a little goes a long way it's relatively good value (Chanel... good value.... same sentence... lol).
Now that I've been using this for a year I can honestly give you a complete opinion, having used it in all four seasons and in all skin conditions.

You have to shake the bottle really, really well if haven't used it in a few days, otherwise it's even gloopier. That's the key thing about this foundation, the texture is like a runny wax and that's what it can look like on the skin if you're not careful. Blend, blend, BLEND! And about the packaging... the bottle is heavy and as someone who travels a lot that is not practical for me. It looks very chic though obviously.

On a positive note it creates a lovely natural highlight on the cheekbones, dispensing with the need to add any highlighter at all. It's a very sheeny, glow-y base, but without any shimmer. There is a fine line however between glowing and oily, and sometimes this just crosses that line. It's NOT good if your skin has lumps and bumps, it highlights them.
I didn't wear it that much in the summer as I was a bit tanned and the colour was too pale, but towards the end of the summer I still felt like it was a bit too heavy for me. I did need to powder my t-zone, and I actually had to buy a face powder. Before I bought this foundation I didn't even possess one because I didn't need it.

During the autumn/winter it was a little better, and I would definitely say that it's more suited to a combination-dry skin type, although I have a darling friend with oilier skin than me who loves it, proving that perhaps there is more to foundation matching than skin-type alone.

Another thing I feel I must mention is that fact that I CANNOT use this foundation without a primer. It just slides all over the place within a few hours. With primer it can pretty much go most of the day, my primer of choice being Givenchy Acti'Mine.

All in all I've grown to like this foundation. I don't love it and I wouldn't re-purchase it, but it's ok, and it has to be ok because I will finish that bottle! On days when my skin is at it's best this foundation also looks it's best. Recently I've felt I've needed a bit more coverage and less sheen and the Sephora foundation samples I've been using have proved to be far superior.

I would say that if you are interested in this foundation, and there is no reason why you shouldn't be seeing as more people seem to love it than hate it, I would make sure you ask someone at the counter to apply it all over the face before purchasing and see how you get on with it.

Wow this has turned out to be long! Hope it was helpful at least :)

Score: 6/10

Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Coconut, vanilla and cream....

... how can that possibly be wrong?

And more importantly, what am I banging on about? Well, I'm about to make Mr P's number one favourite cake for his birthday this weekend. It's a so-titled "Italian Coconut Cream Cake" and if Heaven had a taste then this would be it. It is sublime!

I've always had a thing for coconut. Ever since I was a small child anything that tasted or smelled of coconut would send my brain into rapture. I remember the little Raffaello sweets (like Ferrero Rocher but made with white chocolate and coconut) being the ultimate holy grail of .....well.... everything. I could have eaten two boxes easily in one sitting. This coconut obsession obviously extended to anything smelling remotely of coconut. Like shampoo. With my little stash of pocket money I used to go down to Boots and buy the coconut shampoo which came as part of their Natural Collection. This was in the early nineties (really showing my age now..... how daring!) and the Natural Collection had just launched. Thing funny thing is that it really wasn't natural at all, they would simply bung in a fragrance of a fruit or flower and stick a label on the bottle with a picture of said fruit or flower.

However I was sold on the purity of the coconut shampoo, until one disastrous day, as I sat in the bath pondering the bottle, I decided that it must taste as good as it smelt, and I poured a blob into the palm of my hand and licked it off. Cue much choking and spluttering and a harsh realisation that I had been tricked, and that it was more than likely that a coconut had never in fact seen the inside of that bottle.

Dark times.

After that episode I switched to bath products that didn't promise I could eat them. I was always a  hungry teenager, and so it was safer that I switched to Vidal Sassoon or Cream Silk rather than anything with coconut or passionfruit in the description.

Fast forward a few years and upon entering university I had discovered the joys of The Body Shop and, more precisely, their Vanilla collection. You see, my taste had 'matured' somewhat from wanting to smell like coconuts to wanting to smell like custard. I was a girl obsessed. I owned every product from the Vanilla range and smothered myself in it all everytime I had a shower. I loved the way I smelled. Edible! I guess I was still hungry.....

I remember one day I went for one of my lectures and instead of sitting where I would have normally sat I took the desk behind. Someone had scratched into the desk: "Pandora smells gorgeous"
I was flattered to bits. Someone (it was a guy but I don't remember who) had obviously been intoxicated by the Vanilla..... confirming to me that if I wanted to feel attractive then I was going the right way about it. I mean, someone had actually defaced college property to declare to the world that I was...... um, deliciously fragrant!

I was thinking the other day that it had been a long time since I'd sniffed The Body Shop's Vanilla perfume. The novelty wore off after two years of smelling like cake. My mum couldn't understand I wanted to smell like desserts all the time. She has always been eternally chic using ONLY Chanel No5. I've never known her to wear anything else and I doubt she even ever went through a 'smelling like cake' phase. Anyway I'm sure that a few years ago The Body Shop relaunched their Vanilla range so I'm making a mental note to pop by and check it out, maybe pick up a body cream for old time's sake.

Until then I'll have to content myself with the smell of the coconut - vanilla cake in the oven, but at least it won't disappoint me when I try to eat it ;)

Bear or coconut..... :)

Monday, 28 March 2011

Bourjois Delice de Poudre Bronzing Powder Review

I'm supposed to be ironing. I'll just wait for the iron to heat up.... blah blah blah....

Actually I'm in no mood for anything today. I'm jetlagged. The clocks went forward an hour and for some reason that hour of sleep I missed this morning is really taking its toll on me today. It's pathetic, I know. God knows what I'm going to be like when I go to the States later this year.
So I thought I'd do something mildly useful (while the iron heats up,  hehehehe) and review the Bourjois bronzer that I picked up a few weeks ago, seeing as days like today are when I need bronzer the most.
This is what it looks like to begin with......but......

This cute little product has been around for a while but I didn't take much notice of it until I saw a few YouTube gurus raving on about how great it was and using it regularly in tutorials. It's not that expensive.... well, not in the UK anyway. For some bizarre reason it costs about €11-12 euros over here whilst in the UK it's about £6.99, but you can probably get it cheaper with all the special offers and 3 for 2 deals that are so frequently on.

It looks like a little quad of chocolate encased in a mini book and it even smells of chocolate. To be precise, like a very sweet chocolate powder drink, but definitely not unpleasant. I chose the slightly darker shade, number 52. The paler one, number 51 looked like it wouldn't have had that much effect.

I tried using the powder with my big Body Shop powder brush, but it didn't really pick up much colour, I think because it's such a soft brush and in my experience Bourjois powder products need a bit of a denser, rougher brush to pick up the colour (the blushes are terrible for this, I can't get any colour from them unless I use the horrible little scratchy applicator they come with).

When I went to Paris I picked up a special bronzer brush from Sephora (separate review on this to come).  This brush proved much more successful at picking up the colour BUT I noticed that after 2-3 swipes the bronzer kind of 'sealed' over with a shiny layer which prevented me from picking up any more colour. This meant that I had to scratch off a thick layer of the product in order to get to the underneath where it wasn't all shiny.

I've been using it every day for about 3 weeks, and every day the shiny layer appears after a few swipes, preventing me from picking up any more colour. It's getting really REALLY annoying. My beautiful chocolate quad now looks like it's been hacked and massacred by all the scraping I've had to do to be able to use it. I've tried cleaning my brush and powdering my skin beforehand but to no avail.

...... this is what I've ended up with. Horribly scrapped and with a mysterious 'sheen' which you can just about see in this photo.

It is such a shame, because the colour is just lovely once it's on the skin and it really does impart a healthy natural glow. It's a matte bronzer with the teensy gold sparkles in it but these are not noticeable on the skin. The packaging is lovely, light and easy to pop into your make-up bag. I'm a bit gutted it hasn't worked for me, but I'll continue to use it until it runs out or until it drives me so mad that I bin it and get the Chanel one I've been hankering after for so long!

Right, that iron must be scorching by now.... 

Score: 5/10

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Soap & Glory Sit Tight Review

To be honest it was the price of this product which convinced me to give it a go. Having spent a small fortune in the past on a number or cellulite creams, body firming lotions and whatnot, I figured that I hadn't actually tried anything in the 'budget' category and so had nothing to lose except about £14, which is roughly the equivalent a meal out (or in certain parts of Brussels, a coffee and a slice of cake!).

But fly my pretties, fly down to Boots because at the moment you can get this for under a tenner! And get it you should, if you need something that really does work hard to firm up and minimise the appearance of cellulite and uneven skin texture.

I have applied this religiously every single day since the 3rd March and have been keeping a rough sort of diary with measurements. The thing is though, the measurements really don't matter. I have actually put on a little weight since I started using this, a combination of a dangerous baking habit and hormonal fluctuations. But.... my thighs and bum LOOK smaller even though by my measurements they are in fact 1cm bigger than the day I started using Sit Tight.

I would say that the tube contains roughly a month's supply. I am almost at the one month mark and it's nearly finished. You are supposed to massage a generous amount of the thick, somewhat sticky, cream-gel into the derriere and the thighs every morning, giving them a good ol' massage while you're at it. Although it feels quite sticky at first, it does get absorbed within about 2 minutes, depending on how much you plaster on. One one desperate day I think I used about 30 mls (waaaaaaay too much) and I was squelching in my jeans for most of the morning feeling rather icky. Funny walks ahoy.
The smell is kind of like menthol, and you're supposed to feel it heat up where you apply it, but on me it felt cool, EXCEPT when I had exfoliated beforehand, after which I felt like I had heat-pads strapped around my legs. If you have very sensitive skin you may find this irritating.

As for the key selling point, the SIT DOWN ACTIVATION. Well, I sat. A lot. Which probably explained the weight gain this month. In the first week I noticed that my skin was feeling incredibly smooth, but not much else. Oh well, I thought, it wasn't expensive, I'll just keep using it and at least I'll have incredibly soft skin by the time it's finished.

Lo and behold, about a week ago I popped into a shop to try on some dresses and I caught sight of myself in the changing rooms mirrors, the ones where you can see your behind without having to do an 'exorcism' neck twist. Hang on a minute..... those aren't my legs! Where are the bumps and ripples,  shadows and dimples that are normally so much more visible in those harsh changing room lights? And my bum! That's not my bum now.......that's my bum 10 years ago! I was smoother, tighter, firmer and generally less bumpy. There were still a few dimples, but nothing, NOTHING like before. I didn't find a dress, but I had come out with new thighs. Result.

Three days ago I went shopping again and in 3 different shops, each with different lights and mirrors, the results were the same. There had been such an improvement that I suddenly felt that it didn't matter that I was a few lbs heavier. In fact I've been slimmer and my legs and bum have looked much worse.

I'm no way near perfect, dimple-free skin yet, but this product has been a revelation for me and I will most definitely be re-purchasing.

Score: 10/10

Parrot Saturday

I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend my dear fellow beauty junkies! It's been a glorious week here in Brussels, the sun shining, blossoms in bloom, cotton replacing wool etc. Definitely time to dig out those brights from your make-up bags and start having a play around with colour again. This is precisely what I spent my Saturday night doing. Too knackered to go out anywhere, Mr P and I were lolling about the house trying not to eat the entire contents of the fridge and while he settled down to watch something ridiculously boring I sauntered upstairs to put a face mask on and ended up digging out my Sleek palettes and having a bit of a play around. First I created a very dramatic smoky eye with 3 shades of blue (3rd, 4th and 5th colours on the top row in picture below) from the Original palette, after which I skipped downstairs to show Mr P my handy work.

He was a bit disturbed as I never really wear blues (men don't like change) and then proceeded to 'constructively' criticise my blending (????).
I returned upstairs and proceeded to spend a good while in front of the mirror batting my eyelashes at myself, trying to work out whether I, as a truly mediterranean olive skinned, dark eyed, curly haired brunette, could carry off this strongly blue look. Conclusion? Yes, on condition that I wear something stark and simple, either all black or all white, and if my skin is totally flawless with a very cool toned pink cheek and a neutral mouth. It's not the easiest of colours to pull off, but boy does it make brown eyes sparkle! I could suddenly see nuances of green and hazel in my eyes which normally are not apparent. Note to self and to all you dark-eyed lovelies: Will definitely be using bright blue as an accent colour rather than an all-over colour.

Not content with my blue adventure, I swiped off the eye make-up to try something else. Here I feel I must add, blue eyeshadow as pigmented as these are a NIGHTMARE to get off! I used Bioderma cleanser as it's extremely gentle and non-oily, important as I was going to be applying more make-up. If however you are going to wear blues, get out an oil based or bi-phase make-up remover, you're going to need it!
Next adventure, Project Acid, aka trying to find wearable looks using the Sleek Acid palette.
I picked the two arguably most 'unwearable' shades, the fluorescent yellow and the orange next to it. Trust, me the photo doesn't really do justice to how fluorescent these colours are. Think highlighter pens. I used the orange on the outer half of my eyes and the yellow on the inner half to create a summer citrus-y look. The good news is that these shades are not as pigmented as in some of the other palettes, which means that you get a really 'friendly' version of what you see in the palette. I ended up with a surprisingly chic-looking matte citrus eye which was very wearable. Noticeable, but not scary and, astonishingly, also very flattering! I added a feline slick of liquid liner and again popped downstairs to subject myself to the judgement of Mr P.

"You look like a parrot"
"Er, is that good or bad?"
"Actually, it's quite nice, you should do that next time we go out"
"So it's 'good' parrot then?"
"Yeah, but it's still parrot"

Conclusion? Fun, chic, wearable.... flattering! I love it, no matter what Mr Parrot says.

Well if I'm a parrot then he is too...
So, will you all be following 'parrot fashion'?

Sleek Make-up (delivers throughout Europe and most other countries)

Monday, 21 March 2011

Maybelline Volum' Express "The One by One" Mascara

Wow, what a long drawn out title for a mascara, huh? I wish Maybelline would come out with a different name for each new mascara rather than confusing us (or is it just me?) with adding a subtitle to an old product name. There seem to be a never-ending variety of mascaras to choose from, and a number of them have Volum' Express in the title. So, which one to go for?

To be honest the only mascaras I've bought from Maybelline in the past have been the original Great Lash, and the hideous Define-A-Lash, probably a contender for the most pathetic mascara I've ever used and absolutely not to be recommended. I was at the checkout in Superdrug last month when this new One by One mascara was "sold" to me by the checkout lad. Yes, a bloke in Superdrug sold me a mascara by telling me that 1) It was on special offer, 2) It had a washable brush & 3) It had vitamin C in it to condition the lashes! It was too cute, he was really trying, so I made him happy and I bought it. I didn't really like the look of the applicator though, it looked to big and bulky and I usually prefer a longer finer applicator, such as that of my Rimmel "Sexy Curves" (love that name).

It took me a good week or so before I ripped it out of it's packaging. The applicator comes separately from the tube which is bizarre, and the tube itself is closed by a little cap. The first time I used it I was determined to wash the brush and keep the cap on the tube so it stayed "hygienic".... but what a faff that turned out to be. I washed the applicator after use and as all the little invisible eye bugs washed down the drain so did half the product. And the state of the sink afterwards??? No, no... I quickly decided the whole washable wand thing is a total waste of time, especially if your mascara is yours alone and you won't be sharing (never advisable in any rate).

But...washable wand disaster aside..... what lashes! I was so happy with the results! Long, thickened, separated lashes, fanning out beautifully to create a lovely big doe-eyed effect, and with just one coat. It was SO much easier to use this than I thought, and I hardly smudged my eyelids at all, despite the fact that the applicator is quite big. It's a really well designed silicone/plastic brush and the "bristles" are arranged so as to separate and coat each lash equally. It really works. At least, it really works for me. It has not become my mascara of choice, leaving my poor Rimmel one languishing at the bottom of my make-up case.

If you find that volumising mascaras tend to make your lashes clump together then this could be the mascara for you. Even after two coats my lashes were perfectly separated. Lash comb, get thee hence... thy services are no longer required!

Score: 9/10
(1 point deducted for faffy, excessive packaging and amount of mascara lost while trying to wash the wand!)

Saturday, 19 March 2011

Pandora in Paris

This week I got to escape the gloom of Brussels for the bright lights of Paris! It was just one day, but boy did I make the most of it. After the business part of my trip was over, I popped straight onto the metro and headed straight for nirvana (aka Sephora) on the Champs-Élysées.

Oh Sephora, Sephora, wherefore art thou? And WHYfore art thou not in Belgium?? Thou art in France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Greece etc.... but not in this Godforsaken country. Why?????
I had a plan for my pilgrimage to cosmetic paradise. I would systematically work my way through the brands that don't exist here in Brussels, and then treat myself to a few bits and pieces from said brands, WITHOUT going over the top (Mr P reads this, don't you know :))
The plan failed. I headed through the massive store front, the red sloping carpeted entrance drew me in like a moth to a flame and I was blinded by the sparkle of thousands of perfume bottles which lined the entrance and paved the way to Xanadu. I was lost. Where did I begin? I picked up a little basket and walked down through the centre of the store. Beautiful girls with perfectly painted lips dressed in sleek black outfits delicately asked me if I needed assistance. I looked at them with big, wide eyes. "Don't worry about me, I'm ok. I was in Brussels, but now I'm here... here in Paradise. I'm just fine" They would give me a knowing look, which I translated as meaning that they understood my plight. Or they may have thought I was nutter with bad grammar. Either way, they conveyed their expressions with charm and elegance. I felt loved.
The Sephora brand of make-up was my first calling point seeing as I couldn't get that in Brussels, or London come to think of it. Why they ceased operations in London is a mystery and a CRIME.
There were so many eyeshadows, palettes, nail polishes, lipsticks.... all laid out over 4 counters, like a sweetie pick & mix. I began swatching. The pigmentation was great and the texture smooth and soft. But the prices had increased 3 fold since the last time I had been there (a good 10 years ago now). I had to be selective. In the end I picked up a soft pink eye crayon which I thought would be useful for a quick Blossoms and Brownies look and some more brushes, specifically a bronzer brush and a short bristled flat brush for eye definition (I'm a complete brush fiend). The eye palettes were gorgeous, with superb colour combinations but my problem was that I just couldn't choose which ones to get. I could have easily popped them all into the basket but I had to restrain myself. At €16 a pop they weren't exactly the budget option either.
The other brands I was excited to find were Make Up For Ever, Urban Decay and Too Faced. I've been so excited to try the Make Up For Ever HD foundation but for some reason I hesitated this time. A quick glance in a mirror showed me that my make-up had held up incredibly well the whole day, and I actually felt no need to have it all wiped off. In fact, my skin was glowing (it was either the highlighter or the sheer happiness of being there... or both.)
As I lingered about the store, touching, sniffing, swatching, I realised just how restrained I had become. I had envisaged myself filling my basket to the brim with goodies, but in fact my basket was looking extremely modest. There were two products I would have bought on the spot if they had been in stock. MAC's Cream Colour Base in Virgin Isle, which has been sold out for ages, and Urban Decay's Naked eyeshadow palette which I've lusted after for almost a year now and never managed to find. Alas, t'was not to be. I contented myself with some inexpensive treats from the Sephora bath and body range, including a lemon meringue shower gel which smelt so good I could have stood there eating it out of the tube. My one big splurge was on a Chanel Coco Mademoiselle body spray.
Well, I was in Paris, I had to have something Chanel, it would have been rude not too. I've recently fallen in love with this scent, after HATING it for years. In fact, I used to have a bottle of the eau de parfum, but I found it too strong that I gave it away. Maybe my nose has changed because now I really love it, but in small doses only as it's still very intense, hence picking up the body spray instead of the perfume itself. And I'm so glad I did. The smell is just sublime and without the strength of the original eau de parfum it lingers softly on the skin like a veil of roses and musk and makes me feel oh-so chic. It's a much lovelier way to wear scent rather than spritzing a blindingly strong alcohol concoction on your wrists and temporarily blinding your other half when he comes near you.
At the cash desk I was cheerfully asked if I would like a bath to go with my shower products. I thought I had misunderstood and the cashier switched to English and told me that I would in fact receive a free "bath" as I had purchased 3 Sephora bath products. She brought out the cutest ever mini silver bath tub in which she placed my bottles of shampoo and shower gel and I was most delighted.

I smiled all the way to the station, clutching my black and white striped bag with my little silver bathtub filled with lemon meringue shower gel, coconut shampoo, mint shampoo, make-up brushes, eye crayon, foundation samples and Chanel body spray. As I was passing through the metro station there was an old man selling beautiful bunches of fresh mimosa. I stood there for a moment, transfixed by the cheeriness of the fluffy yellow buds. He smiled at me, and I bought bunch to take back to Brussels. This is my Parisian take on throwing a coin in Rome's Trevi fountain. I'm determined I will be back to Paris soon, and back to Sephora with a plan. Next time I buy Chanel in Paris, it will be Spring and I will honour that by picking up the new Chanel varnish....

In "Mimosa" :)

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Saturday, 12 March 2011


It's not exactly been fun and games chez moi this week, the winter blues suddenly arrived unannounced and at the same time the boiler broke down. So what did I do? I painted my nails. Coral. Oh how I love this colour.... so vibrant, juicy and oh-so cheering to look it. I can honestly say that staring at my hands all week has saved my sanity, after all nail polish is the only make-up that we can admire on ourselves. All that slap on our faces is mostly for the benefit of others. Lucky them!
I have worshipped nail polish from a very young age, and always begged my mum to buy me that peel-off nail varnish that was sold in toy shops. She acquiesced on occasion, but more often or not it did not satisfy my curiosity for the real stuff. I knew the real stuff was better. It stayed on for more than 5 minutes for a start and the colours.... oh the colours! I wanted nothing more than fuschia pink, shiny nails, and one day I got them, much to my mum's disgust. I must have found a bottle lying around and I just went for it. She promptly removed the colour with acetone and told me that it was not right for me to have painted nails at my age (I think I was about 8). Of course, this just made me want them more. One of the first make-up items I ever bought was a bottle of pale pink pearly nail polish by Rimmel from the old Woolworths store in Camden Town. I agonised for ages over which colour to spend my pocket money on, and decided in my wisdom to choose a pale "natural" colour that wouldn't make my mum go ballistic. In reality the colour was horrible. A thick, white-y pink which was so pearly it was tacky. I didn't really understand tacky until I put this colour on my nails. I remember feeling a bit sick that I had wasted my money on something so unwearable. I'm pretty sure that after that incident I didn't buy another nail polish until my first visit to Harrods some 7 years later where I made straight for the Chanel counter and purchased a bottle of Rouge Noir. I think I still have the original bottle somewhere, all thick and gloopy, but of tremendous sentimental value nonetheless.
So back to this week, and my gorgeous coral nails, courtesy of Coralicious, by Rimmel. My, how Rimmel have improved over the years.

Now, I'm not sure if it's the polish or the base coat, but for the first time in my life, no exaggeration, my manicure stayed in an entirely decent state for almost a week. If I had been clever I would have painted my nails with another colour and the same base coat today (Boots Expert Nail Ridge Filler) in order to see which of the two was the miracle product but at the moment I have a strong feeling that it has something to do with the ridge filling base coat. It certainly creates the smoothest nail base I've ever encountered.
And it's good old Boots' brand, nothing fancy...
So completely enamoured am I by Coralicious that I put it on again today so that I can have another week of juicy, summery nails! Another first for me, sticking with the same colour. Usually I get bored after 2 days, or it chips off, and I always switch colours, however this time I think I have finally found my Holy Grail colour. It brightens up everything I wear and garners compliments everywhere I go but, above all, it makes me happy. Who says colour therapy doesn't work?

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Carnival Queen

It's carnival time girls (and boys!). It's not really a UK tradition to dress up and party but it really should be. In the rest of Europe the fancy dress and feathers come out and everyone has a whale of a time. There are delicious specialities on offer during carnival week, in Italy they fry EVERYTHING and then coat it in sugar. How can that possibly be wrong?? I decided I wanted to make little fried doughnuts, but then I settled on brownies as a "healthier" option. So carnival brownies in the oven, I sat down at my laptop and caught up with one of my gorgeous girlfriends. The lucky lass was going out partying tonight with a pink wig and she needed make-up help. Always happy to oblige, I brought down my massive haul of make-up and designed a look for her. What a blissful way to spend a Sunday evening, playing with make-up with the smell of warm chocolate in the air...

My friend being the ultimate blonde-haired, blue-green eyed beauty that she is can carry off almost anything, including the pink wig. She wanted to keep everything looking quite feminine and soft but with a twist, so first I demonstrated (over Skype!) a soft pink shimmery eye winged out with a deep purple and lined on the inner rims with black. Then on the the other eye I decided on a deeper brighter pink, almost magenta actually, all over the eye lid to just above the crease line and the lower lash line, again lining the inner rims with black and using lashes of black mascara. The second look won. I was so surprised by how much I loved it as it was so simple. Just one colour had so much more impact and lining the waterline top and bottom just made it even more punchy.

I used the first pink colour on the top row of the Sleek iDivine palette in "Acid" (pictured above) with a shimmery pale pink Benefit eyeshadow underneath. This palette is perfect for carnival time where the only limit is your imagination, but for any other occasion try using just one of any of these colours all over, just as I used the pink, line the waterline in black, and you've got a very on-trend monotone smoky eye. Yes, even the fluorescent colours, just don't forget to blend properly. Patchy is not a good look. Skin must also look flawless and go with a light hand when you apply blush or you'll look like you've just stepped off a float in Rio... but of course it's carnival week, so maybe right now that's the look you're going for.

Er, no, the blush goes on your other cheeks
To my darling friend in the pink wig, have a great time at the carnival party!
To all my lovely readers, how will you all be celebrating this week?
Carnival kisses to you all!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Puss in BOOTS (it's not what you think... or maybe it is.... I don't know!)

London called,  hence the uncharacteristic silence this week. There was a lot of shopping to be done and I had no time to update baby bloggie while I was away. Apologies my sweets, but in return for your patience I promise you some juicy reviews and lots of shopping gossip :)

Here in Belgium we don't have Boots or Superdrug, and how I've wept over this in the last few years. Who doesn't relish a wander around either stores in search of little treats to brighten your day, a sniff of a new perfume (always on special offer), a swatch of that new lipstick you've been eyeing up, and all this whilst picking up your boring everyday bits and pieces and pharmacy goods? And always, always there are offers available and points to pick up and then spend on more little treats! It's a never-ending circle of pure joy in my opinion, and how I miss it ...*sad face*
Here in Brussels we have Di, a mini-supermarket style chain of drugstores (without the pharmacy bit). Shopping there is not a treat, it's a necessity. It doesn't entice you, you just get what you went in for and leave, completely unsatisfied in your purchase because you wanted some sort of offer on it, or freebie thrown in, or points which you can then spend. Well, at least I do.
When a visit to London looms, I make a mental note of everything that I've been itching to get my hands on and then I go out and get it. Or I do a massive online order beforehand so that I won't have to trudge Oxford Street like a cosmetic junkie bag lady. Yes, I do bring back that much stuff. One suitcase and two rucksacks worth of double points, 3 for 2's and GWP's ( 'gifts with purchase' :))
Despite the online order, I still made 2 visits to Superdrug and 3 to Boots within the space of 4 days. I think on one day I was even in Boots twice... the same branch!
So, minus the more mundane purchases, here's what I picked up:

Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick in "Spotlight Beige". This was recommended by the lovely Tanya Burr in her youtube review video of nude lipsticks. It came out top and I can see why. It's just the perfect nude lip colour and goes with everything. Lovely and creamy too. Was really excited to find this in store as it's sold out online.

Maybelline Volum'Express Mascara, the One by One. Ok, I usually hate massive mascara wands. I didn't want to buy this but the guy (yes, guy!) at the till sold it to me. Since when do blokes at the till know ANYTHING about mascaras? He told me "it's got vitamin C in it and everything!" Well, I had to after that. You'll notice that the wand is separate from the tube.... that's because, ladies, it's washable! It's going to be interesting trying this out, so I told myself that I'm buying it for research purposes.... it's goooooood to have a blog!

Ecotools Make-Up Brushes. I have heard good things about this inexpensive, ecologically sound,  high performance range of brushes, available at Boots' larger stores. I'm a total brush hound, you can never have too many in my humble opinion, so I was jumping around with glee when I found this set which comes complete with a little pouch. They are so so soft, even Mr P likes them!

No7 Make-Up Brushes. I love love love this range of brushes from Boots. I picked up another eyeshadow blending brush (a great dupe for the famous, and also excellent, MAC 217 blending brush, at a fraction of the price), a foundation brush and an eyeliner brush. I adore the foundation brush which is so much better than my usual Body Shop one because it's thicker, softer and doesn't make foundation streak on application. The eyeliner brush I'm still making my mind up on. It looks like a tiny lip brush. I'm going to trial it over the next few days.

No7 Triple Protection Tinted Moisturiser (New). I needed one to replace my Laura Mercier which has but a drop left in it, but not wanting to fork out £32 again I saw this new launch from No7 and thought I'd give it a go. I've only used it twice so far, but from what I can tell I really like it. It has less coverage than the Laura Mercier one, but definitely gives more of a healthy glow. My skin was so soft when I put it on, I couldn't stop touching my cheeks! It's a good price too (£12.50) especially if you have one of those £5 vouchers to put against it.

No7 Stay Perfect Eyeliner in "Sea" (Navy blue). I have been hankering after the limited edition gel eyeliner in navy, also by No7 but it's sold out everywhere. The assistant recommended this one instead and although the colour is gorgeous, a really deep midnight navy blue with a hint of shimmer, it's quite a hard product to work with. The liquid is quite gloopy and the applicator very thin. I think I'm going to have to spend an evening practicing (maybe on Mr P :))

Benefit Speed Brow. A re-purchase. This is my favourite brow tamer of them all. The wand is very small and firm, which is great for brushing my brows through, and the product itself has just the right consistency to hold the hairs in place. It's slightly tinted which adds a hint of definition but doesn't make me look like I've got two slugs sitting over my eyes.... I love this so much, but it's way overpriced for such a tiny tube.

Soap and Glory "Sit Tight". Maybe I should have posted this as an add-on to Project Slim. It's a "sit-activated special lower body firming formula"! I'm trialling this as pure research. With a blog comes great responsibility after all. It's a caffeine-loaded formula which claims to work best whilst you're sitting down as it's activated by the heat caused by the friction. I've made a diary with my thigh measurements starting from today and I'll note any changes/improvements. I'll report back in due course, but as I sit here writing this there is a faint drizzle of hope that my bum is getting smaller.

Speaking of Project Slim, I also picked up my Rodial Skinny Beach Sticks which I had had delivered to London. Here they are in all their glory, waiting to transform me into a waif.

Leighton Denny Crystal Nail File. Repeat after me: "My nails are NOT a tool". Yes, yours truly is indeed guilty of the aforementioned crime of trying to use her nails as a screwdriver and dish scrubber amongst other things. They've been crappy for the last few months, so I figured, hey, they're not getting any better, so lets kick' em while they're down. Not any more. This is the only nail file in the world (they claim) which doesn't cause your nails to split. All nail files are bad for me. I hate them with a passion. However, I really need to sort my nails out and I picked this up with my Boots points along with a bottle of Boots Expert Ridge Filler. It's probably the most expensive nail file in the world, but it's guaranteed for life. I used it last night and it is definitely much nicer to use than your bog standard sand paper on a stick. Still HATE that filing feeling though..... *shudder*

Umberto Giannini Flirty Curls Scrunching Jelly, Silky Curls Smoothing Balm & John Frieda Frizz Ease Serum. As you can probably guess from this I'm a curly mop head. The Umberto G products were on offer, so I thought I'd give them a go, although in my experience hair jellys, or gels, tend to make me look, in Mr P's words, like an Argentinian footballer circa 1975.

Now give me a reason NOT to practice eyeliner on him...