Monday, 26 December 2011

Boxing Day NOTD #NARS

NARS Nail Polish in 'Arabesque', £13.50 for 15ml.

Hello lovely girls! How are all of your food babies? My ever expanding belly is a little uncomfortable to say the least today!

Just a quick NOTD to show you my new NARS nail varnish from my boyfriend to me for christmas yesterday. It's my first NARS Nail Varnish and hopefully not the last!!

Anything pink and sparkly appeals to me, and this nail varnish is a sheer gloss with very fine ballet- pink glitter particles. The photos show about three layers of Arabesque on top of a layer of pink polish. As you can see, this week has not been kind to my nails and I bit most of 'em off. New week new start though, my nails will be looking good again in no time!
Did you all have a lovely christmas? I feel so lucky to have had Eve, Day and Boxing off work, it's been so nice to properly relax and enjoy the festive period. I made full christmas dinner yesterday from scratch, and was so proud of myself. Ben told me the roast potatoes were the best he'd ever tasted!!

We had potatoes roasted with fresh thyme and rosemary, honey roasted parsnips, yorkshire puddings (Ben had beef so that's the excuse for those!), sage and onion stuffing, braised red cabbage in balsamic vinegar, and brussel sprouts, peas, carrots and brocolli all baked in a cheese sauce.

Evening nibbles;

Can't wait to see some christmas pressie posts!

As for me, posts I have coming up include; LUSH, Illasmasqua, NARS, YSL, Benefit, Dainty Dolls (Nicola Roberts makeup line), and more. I think I'm also going to do a December favourites post as well this month.

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

Beauty Christmas Gift Idea

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Lipstick £22.50

Not only have they been voted Number One best lipstick on the market by Dominique Major of The Independant, but the YSL Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks have packaging that can be customised...

Image from the YSL Facebook fan page
 Take one lipstick in the shade of your choice, and get it engraved with your personal message. This makes a standard piece of makeup more special and personable and perfect for any female friend or family who likes a bit of luxury. Due to its metal casing, YSL products can be engraved, and because these Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks are square shaped it makes it easy to do this.

I went and got one for my mummy as part of her pressie this Christmas, then my boyfriend liked the idea and we got one for his mam too!! 

Apologies for the photos, it was so hard to capture the engraving, it's much more obvious in real life!
I really like this gift because I think it's a bit different and unique, I'm looking forward to giving it and I'd be absolutely chuffed to get this!

Have you got any great gift ideas to share with me?

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Collection 2000 Review #1 Lipgloss

Collection 2000 Lock N' Hold Lipgloss in Body Pop 1, £2.99 for 5ml

Bored on my lunchbreak and wanting something new that didn't break the bank I bought this Collection 2000 lipgloss. It has won the title of 'my favourite impulse buy recently', & I think I am in love. Having not been a lipgloss gal until recently, I thought I'd buy a cheapo one so if I didn't like it, it wouldn't be the end of the world!!

First off I'll start with a couple of negatives.
1) The packaging. Collection 2000, I know you're cheap but you don't have to look cheap! Hideous, would have been more appealing in simple black packaging. I'm not too bothered though, because it was only £3 and I suppose the bright colours stand out when rumaging through handbag/makeup bag. Why the graffiti style writing though? Maybe to appeal to a younger crowd!
2) I really hate it when brands make claims that it is literally impossible to live up to. Lock N' Hold claims to wear for 6 hours. I wouldn't expect luxury Lauder or Dior lipglosses to live up to that mark. 6 hours, for a lip GLOSS? We all know they're not hugely long wearing and reapplication is a contract we enter into when we buy said product. I'd say this lipgloss lasts comfortably for an hour and a half. After that, the gloss has gone but a slight pink pigmentation remains.

1) Two-three coats of this lipgloss creates a beautiful opague, pink gloss. The undertones are cool lilacs/blues so also quite flattering to the teeth. 
2) The formula isn't sticky, it doesn't irritate me. It glides on smoothly in application.
3) The gloss isn't too wet looking. It provides a nice sheen without looking like I'm drooling which I think some lipglosses can look like (ha ha!)
4) I think it looks like a gloss dupe for M.A.C. St Germain, can anyone else see the similarities? I would never choose to wear St Germain in lipstick form, but this is the right amount of pigmentation and gloss.

What do you think?

Have you bought this gloss, or tried any of the other colours from this range? I'd be interested to know what the other shades look like on!

Friday, 16 December 2011

Benefit Review #2 Bronzer & Highlighter

Benefit '10' £23.50 for 7g.

 Underneath the absolutely disgusting packaging (why, why, why?) is a product that I've now come to use daily, without fail as my contour product. 10 contains two shades; a bronze powder and a light pink highlighting powder. There are a couple of options on how to use this product, a blusher brush can be swirled around the box which mixes the two shades together or the blusher brush can be moved in a straight, back and forth motion which picks both sides of the product up on either side of the brush. This is pictured below;

I use this product for a couple of reasons!;
  • It adds warmth to my skin tone during a time of the year when it is so important to have a bit of colour on the skin without trying to look like you've been on a two week holiday to the Caribbean!
  • It adds soft- focus dimensions and contours to my face when brushed on in the '3' pattern.
Because the pink highighter is pale and the bronze isn't too overpowering it works on my pale skin really well. A bit of blush on the apple of the cheeks et voila!! It's soft so blends really easily,blendability is a necessity with bronzer or it can look muddy or overdone on the face.  There isn't any orange pigmentation which is another bonus, I love this powde, but I wish there was more product for the money, I've owned it two weeks and I've hit pan...

Do you use 10? What powder do you use to contour with?

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Dior Review #1 Rock Coat

Dior Rock Coat Nail Polish, available for between £14-£18 for 10ml

My friend Makeda sent this to me a few of weeks ago to test out and review for this 'ere blog. I was pretty chuffed to get this really, as much as I have always loved nail varnish I don't really branch out to high end brands like Dior etc because I would normally choose to spend the money on makeup from brands such as these. However, chuffed to have this in my collection!

Rock Coat is a top coat to be used on the shade of your choice, though I imagine this would work best on darker shades- a smokey nude nail doesn't seem very appealing! Dior claim that Rock Coat 'sets and speed dries' nail varnish, that it 'coats the varnish with a veil of smoky lacquer extending wear and increasing shine' for a 'sensual and enigmatic' finish, - 'citing! 

The image below shows the Rock Coat used on a clear basecoat;
I chose to use Rimmel London Professional Finish nail varnish in 420 Aqua Cool as my 'underneath' colour because I find it a bit too pastel/bright for this time of year when I prefer deeper colours on my nails. While I'm on the subject I'll say that I really think these Rimmel Pro Finish varnishes are amazing for the price; both formula and the application brush. They apply evenly and don't take long to dry at all, plus they come in quite good colours. This is the colour on my nails;
 I applied two coats of Aqua Cool (only takes two coats to create a completely opaque finish) and then put one coat of Rock Coat on top. The Dior brush is great, it's quite large, flat with firm fibres that allow precise application. There's a slight angle point at the end to help getting into any hard to reach corners, two brushstrokes and the nail is covered- dreamy.

I love the results, I was pleasently surprised because I wasn't expecting much of a change really! It dries within a minute or two and the finish is so smooth and so glossy. It has achieved the 'smokey' look it was meant to, but it has also added depth, almost a 3d finish and looks so unique and gorgeous.

 All in all, I'm really pleased I now have this in my collection, I think I have been converted to higher end nail varnish (great news for my future bank balance) because the experience using it was so much more enjoyable than with cheaper brands; a perfect smooth finish and dries quickly (and properly!). With cheaper polishes I have at times sat there for far too long, applying layers and waiting for them to dry inbetween only to pick something up half an hour later and smudging occurring. Not with Dior Rock Coat, oh no. I'm looking forward to trying this on more colours and to using it more, painting my nails was becoming such an inconvenience for me, but this only took about 5 minutes altogether, which is a bit better ;-)

Do you like the effect Rock Coat gives? What other high end varnishes have impressed you?

Friday, 9 December 2011


NARS Sheer Matte Foundation in 'Fiji' (full price £29.50)
NARS Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base (full price £18)
Illamasqua 'Freak' fragrance (full price £59 for 75ml)
Yves Saint Laurent Shocking Mascara (full price £22)

My boyfriend bought me some christmas presents from NARS and the man on the counter threw in some samples, which made me feel a bit better about not being able to play with my new makeup until Christmas day!! (so frustrating! Boyf has now had to go and hide all my presents at his mums house to stop me finding them!)
He threw in two samples of Smudge Proof Eyeshadow Base; "No smudging, no creasing, no caking, no looking back."

Review; The consistency is a thick, creamy texture and is colourless. I've used a few eyelid primers and am very happy with the one I'm currently using, and I've got to say this NARS primer won't be replacing the one in my collection. I found it a little hard to manage, in terms of it's texture, and the length of time it seemed to take to dry (still felt a bit tacky/sticky for a while after application). It seemed to collect in the outer corners of my eyes throughout the day, and end up a bit dry/crusty on the skin. I really think eyelid primers are down to personal preference, but I'm glad I've tried it and it did work, in terms of making eye makeup last longer and aiding the colour pigmentation to both remain and 'pop'
2x 4ml sample pots of NARS Sheer Matte Foundation made me very happy as I'd already been looking at the foundations and who wouldn't want free foundation?! It's oil free (bonus) and works on controlling shine throughout the day. It's in the shade 'Fiji' which is one of the light shades; 'Light with yellow undertones'. See full information including shade swatches here.

Review; Although I think the shade may be a touch too yellow- toned for me, I have worn it for two days now and am really happy with it; it's a thin, light liquid that offers medium to high coverage from one layer. It remained quite fresh looking throughout the day, apart from some slight drying areas. The only thing I'll say is it didn't really prevent shine throughout the day, but this can be overlooked as I liked the formula. I'll be buying this full sized, but perhaps trying a couple of the other lighter shades to find my best match.

A few weeks ago Illamasqua sent me this sample of their Freak fragrance. I was proper chuffed when I opened up my box and saw it in there because I've been wanting to try it for aaaaages but hadn't been near a counter to have a spritz, and if you read my blog regularly you'll know I am their biggest fan. I loved the campaign with the purple-octopus-on-girl images for Freak. I also ADORE the bottle, so imaginative and beautiful. The fragrance includes scents of opium flower, Queen of the Night and Frankincense.

Review; I had my suspicions it wouldn't be for me, and it did smell how I kind of expected it to. I am usually a fan of quite heavy scents, but I am instantly drawn to sweet scents (think Prada 'Candy', Marc Jacobs 'Lola') and this smelt just that little bit too masculine for me. The scent definitely does develop through wear, and it is long lasting, both of these factors are a huge plus. I'd recommend it for girls who wear scents like Tom Ford 'Black Orchid', spicy, heavy scents. Just not 'girly' enough for me, I like to smell sweet like cherry pie!

I bought a couple of bits from YSL for christmas presents and thrown in was 'Shocking' mascara. It is one of their newest products and claims to give a false lash effect, available in 6 variants of black including cherry black and and bronze black.

Review; The wand is quite slim which allows more control as it's easier to use and you can get to the root of the lash- I cannot work with big, round brushes so was happy when I saw that the YSL wand was the 'type' I like. Its fibrous rather than plastic which was a nice change to my regular L'Oreal Telescopic and I really love the results. It instantly thickens, extends, volumises and colours lashes a deep black. It is quite a thick formula so a good outcome comes from only one coat. I'd say this product is suited for girls who like big, obvious lashes. If you prefer your lashes soft/subtle then this may not be for you. See for yourself the results;

When the samples run out, I'll be buying this full sized.  I like my lashes full, thick and defined, but for some this might be more of an evening mascara! It doesn't flake or cake throughout the day and comes off easily with makeup remover.

Do you own any of these full sized? Do you love getting samples as much as I do?!!

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Yves Saint Laurent 'Look Noel' 2011 Holiday Collection

I've got quite a lot to say about Yves Saint Laurent at the moment so I've decided to split it into two posts; one with a description and review of their Christmas '11 collection, and the other with YSL gifts I bought & reviews of the contents of my free makeup bag I got.

The only christmas collection that has truley excited me this season is the YSL Noel Christmas Collection. I work opposite YSL and it was becoming murder having to walk past this absolutely stunning collection everyday and remain resistant. Eventually I caved, but I remained sensible and only purchased one item when I could have easily purchased at least 4 items.

Image contains promotional photographs and some of the items in the collection (not all items are pictured here)
 The collection includes;

Two main focus palettes;
  • Limited Edition Highlighter -The White Tuxedo Palette- Palette Blanc Terriblement which is the palette I chose to buy. I'm a complete sucker for highlighters and illuminators and the beauty of this palette drew me in, it was love at first sight because it looks and sparkles like freshly fallen snow (photographs don't do it much justice!). Consisting of three stripes; one pure white with dense white sparkle, pink toned glitter stripe and cool/blue toned shimmer stripe it means we can either stroke a highlighter brush up and down, or swirl to mix them together. The results are stunning and I love the finish it gives, the first day I applied this a stranger even asked what I had used on my cheekbones! It's different to any other highlighters I have, and as much as I'd like to say I'll save this for special occasions, I am beginning to use it nearly everyday! It is packaged in the YSL gold casing, but as a special addition is it is wrapped in a miniature black cumberband, linking the inspiration of the tuxedo throughout the products.

  • LE Eyeshadow- The Black Tuxedo Palette- Palette Noir Terriblement (View Here) is the perfect smokey eye palette. Consisting of 5 colours, the centre stripe is a pure sparkle white, and is surrounded by two black variants either side. It looks like a tuxedo and is packaged also with a cumberband surrounding the case. Lloyd Simmonds is a MUA for YSL and has quoted;
“Black is a color. Without black there is no line. At Yves Saint Laurent, black is rebel, potent, yet all so elegant. It is alive, it is the supreme emotion. Its force comes from the interior. It is light itself.” 

So while some may deem this palette as a bit of a cop- out, as it contains 4/5 shadows in black I believe it encompasses what YSL stand for; classic,stylish, stunning. To me, the palette is an artwork in itself, but that may be the makeup junkie/Art History graduate in me speaking!
  • Two miniature eyeshadow palettes that embody classic winter/seasonal shades; Ombres Duolumières Noel 39 and 41 (View Here). 39 is rich gold pigment and a contrasting dark shadow. 41 is the same but with pure silver pigment. Combined both shadows are embossed with the YSL symbol and are accompanied with two miniature applicators. Both are beautiful, I was really tempted by 39 as I'm really into golds at the moment. The are soft and buttery in texture so would blend brilliantly.
  • 3 LE lip gloss shades in Sparkling Transparent White, Sparkling Snow White and my personal favourite (which I need in my life) Sparkling Fushia- a stunning purple with fine holographic glitter particles. All add a frosted, icy finish to the lips and are shades that are completely different to any others I've seen recently.
  • 8 shades of the bestselling Rouge Pur Couture lipsticks, these have also recently been voted the best lipstick on the market by The Independant. Shades include beautiful purples, burgundy reds and roses.
  • Two nail varnishes- one gloss black finish and one matte black finish- Manucire Couture N°6 Terriblement Noir Duo- to create the YSL black manicure pictured in the campaign photographs. As striking as this take is on the classic french manicure, I do believe this look could be created with a cheap black varnish- using a matte top coat and then keeping it glossy for the tips.
The collection is inspired by the iconic YSL Le Smoking Tuxedo. This was created in the 60s and caught attention because it was a tuxedo for women, therefore breaking traditional boundaries of male and female dress, and in turn offering empowerment to women. We can thank the androgynous fashion that we all adopt now to Le Smoking Tuxedo.
Photography by Helmut Newton, 1975
The collection embraces everything that is winter and what winter should be; glamourous, exciting, using deep hues and daring colour. I think it is forward thinking and a new/improved version of the 2008 Autumn Androgyny collection. I adore the contrast between the black and white, laced with seasonal metallics and then the warmth from the deep magenta and purple accents found in the lipglosses and lipsticks. Sophistication is the word to decribe the collection, (compare this to the M.A.C. Glitter and Ice holiday collection which I found to be completely uninspiring and tacky this year) and that is why it is so appealing, it is a product of the YSL brand and it really is something special.

GOSH Review #1 Nail Glitter

GOSH Nail Glitter in 05 Ruby Red, £3.99.

I love and need a solid sparkle nail as much as the next girl, but sad to say that this product was a disappointment. ( :( )
The GOSH stand in Superdrug was a mess but I managed to pick up the glitter pot '05 Ruby Red' and applied it that evening.

What is it? A loose glitter dust in a screw top pot (similar to Barry M Dazzle Dust). 
How do you use it? You apply a clear coat of nail polish onto the nail (though I don't see why you couldn't use any colour you like), dip the nail into the pot, dust off any excess.
Pros- The instant solid glitter is absolutely stunning. It caught the light and glimmered constantly, and I was absolutely chuffed with the result. It also removes easily, which surprised me! It was so seasonal and happy making....for about an hour...
Cons- It is a messy and time consuming process. The initial sparkly result is soon followed by it becoming mattified and dullened within a few hours wear. After 5 hours the tips of my nails had chipped (you can't use a topcoat as this seems to prevent the sparkle..I did try this!). Use of water or hand product seems to ruin the effect and parts of whatever you touch will become attached to the nail surface as it is rough rather than smooth (because of the lack of top coat) which of course also contributes to ruining the overall effect.
I don't really have the patience to try again but I had a thought on the train yesterday that perhaps a spritz of hairspray over the nails may seal them better and prevent chipping for a bit longer? Someone try it and tell me!!

I'm afraid I wouldn't recommend this product, it was such a shame because the initial effects were so beautiful! It's impractical because the process is quite fiddly and the effects don't last long enough to make it worthwhile.

My search for the perfect sparkle nail lacquer continues!! I might just get the Nails Inc Electric Avenue like I spoke of here, especially since there is 15% off cosmetics and fragrance at Debenhams at the moment!! 

Have you used this yet? Was your experience similar to mine?
Oh and come and say hello, here. :-)

Friday, 2 December 2011

Rimmel Review #2 Kate Lipstick

Rimmel London Kate Lasting Finish Lipstick in 04, £5.49

 I used look up to/take inspiration from Kate Moss back in my teens when I was borderline obsessive with The Libertines, Babyshambles and anything Peter Doherty related. Having never really taken a shine to her TopShop collection, I was quite intrigued when I heard she was releasing a few shades of lipstick for Rimmel. It made sense as she used to be the face of the brand a couple of years ago, -pre Cocaine snapshot. I know they were released ages ago now, but I've been so busy it's hard to keep on top of things!!!
A reasonably priced lipstick, and I am really impressed with the results. I would describe the finish as matte with a natural sheen. A thin 'patted' coat of this lipstick is a deep purple plum, heavier application I would say it's almost black with a purple sheen. The packaging is sleek, matte black with the Rimmel crown on the lid, and 'Kate <3' in a signature style scribble. I really like this packaging!

If I'm honest, this shade is quite daring for me! I like it when I see it on most other girls, but with my pale skin and dark hair I didn't want to look too goffic and wasn't sure there was a place for it in Swansea!! It's beginning to grow on me though, and I think I'll whip it out a few more times. Not going to be a 'go to' shade for me though, but the actual formulation of the lipstick is wonderful, and the other shades that have been released are the shades that every girl should own; excellent neutrals, a true red, bright pink, etc. The shades are supposed to capture Kate's 'timeless look' (Rimmel website) and I agree that they do.

Opinions please peeps?
 I think it is complimented by the lilac Vivo eyeshadow that I reviewed here.

Do you wear plum on your lips? Have you bought any of the Kate lipsticks?