Thursday, 31 January 2013

New In! Illamasqua 'Speckle' Nail Varnish

Illamasqua 'Speckled' Nail Varnish, £14.50 for 10ml. (Limited Edition)

Attention nail polish addicts! There are some new kids on the block, released today as part of Illamasqua's new spring collection named 'I'mperfection' these limited edition pastel shades seem to be a perfect ode to upcoming spring with their 'speckled egg' type finish. I think the finish of them is so unique in their matte glitter type effect and I am a sucker for lilac so had to have this one. The baby blue comes a close second though. I might have to buy it.

I found that one coat was very watery, with two coats it intensifies and the layers of speckles build up. Pictured above is three coats and a top coat to make them shiny. I think that the effect is pretty exciting as I haven't really seen anything like it before. I love that the finish is quite muted, it's a way of wearing decorative nails but with a more mature or sophisticated edge in comparison to outlandish glitter designs (though there ain't nowt wrong that either.) 

The speckled and irregular finish of these fit into the 'I'mperfection' campaign perfectly with Illamasqua encouraging us to embrace our perceived  flaws and make them a feature to be proud of, whether it be freckles or a birthmark. I've got a couple of other bits from this collection, would you be interested in seeing them?

Will you buy one of these polishes? Do you love the finish of them as much as I do?

P.S. Please excuse my horrible looking short nails. But I couldn't wait for them to grow back before I showed you!

Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment

Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment, £3.40 for 10ml from

I have never used an oil specifically designed for hair before so I am just a wee bit late to the party. My hairdresser has used Morroccan Oil on me with every visit but I have never taken the plunge so when I had the opportunity to try this Macadamia Oil I jumped at it! They're similar in consistency- a fairly thick oil that doesn't weigh down the hair or make it greasy- which I think is always a concern when dabbling in hair products, especially something oily. It absorbs into wet hair and makes drying time quicker too.

I have been impressed by this. It keeps the ends of my hair feeling soft and nourished rather than frazzled after a blow dry and the ends remain silky soft until I wash my hair next. It doesn't leave behind an icky residue and is so easy to use! It does contain silicone which is my only gripe with this product (thanks to Fran for pointing that out). Similarly to Moroccan oil I feel they are branded and marketed as natural products, and while they do contain natural products, they're not 100% one ingredient. It can be a little misleading but I imagine wouldn't bother most people, hell it doesn't bother me as long as it does the job, I just think something called 'Macadamia Healing Oil Treatment' sounds a little more pure or organic than it probably is.

You can buy it for only £3.40 for a 10ml sample, a size like that is an excellent way to try out hair oils without spending around the £30 mark for something I wasn't sure I would really like or take to using. P.S. don't assume that this is only for over processed, frazzled or heat damaged hair. Hair oil is suitable for all hair types (including oily) and will help maintain a soft and polished finish!

This product was sent for me to review. is one of the UK's leading online retailers of hair extensions, hair care and beauty products. You can order this product by clicking here

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

Midweek Post: Crescent Moon Mani

I think it has been a little while since I posted my Midweek Post. I do try and post every Wednesday, but as you all know sometimes life just gets in the way! I am not one for nail art per se, but I love the crescent moon manicures that have been flying around since they were first spotted on the runways in 2011 sported by the models at Vena Cava. Since then we've seen it on celebs such as Dita Von Teese and as I had some free time this morning I thought I would give it a whirl. 

I knew I fancied a dark nail polish as I have been wearing Illamasqua's 'Whack' the last few days and while it's been a lovely bright contrast against the icy backdrop of the recent weather I felt the need to go back to near- black. I chose Essie's 'Stylenomics' which is a very, very deep green and was released in the autumn collection of the same title. 

After applying base coat and letting them dry I cut a semi circle shape out of a piece of sellotape and popped it on top, painting the rest of my nail with Stylenomics. I made sure to wait a little more time than I normally do to let these dry, I am a real impatient nail painter but knew I didn't want to mess this up by whipping the sellotape off too quickly and leaving uneven smudges behind. Two layers of top coat later et voila! All in all it took me about an hour but it wasn't as laborious as I had first expected it to be. Making do with sellotape I don't think I did too a bad job (all the online tutorials I read and watched were using stationary circular paper binders as their guide, but I didn't have any of those to hand.) I wanted to leave the cuticle end my natural nail but there is the option to have it coloured you would just need to alter the process slightly.

A nice twist on my normal painted nail. Have you ever done a crescent moon manicure?

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Building my Makeup Artist Kit.

I thought I'd write a post to show you some bits I have picked up for my makeup kit. Some of you may know that I have been working on makeup counters in department stores for a while but I have decided to branch out into freelance artistry on the side because it's the creative aspect of makeup that interests me, not so much the retail/sales. I have always been fairly creative, I used to paint a lot and I studied a degree in Art History. I kind of fell into makeup but it's something I have a huge passion and inherent interest in (hence this blog, too!) so it makes sense to persue it and hopefully forge a career out of it.

I am booked into a makeup artistry course run by Louise Constad in April, the course includes a basic makeup kit so there are only a few bits I need to get to 'complete' it!

I recently left my job working for the Estee Lauder companies and thought I had better take advantage of my discount and place one last order to supplement any gaps in my future kit. I think the generous staff discount is the only part of the job I will miss! I decided to just order MAC items this time as they are reasonably priced, of good quality and are a brand I am very familiar with.

I ordered two brushes- the 210 eyeliner brush which is a staple in my personal makeup routine. It's very fine and works great with gel eyeliner or for precise detailing but to be honest you could buy fine paintbrushes from your local arts store for cheaper! I ordered the 188 Duo Fibre brush but I expected the head to be a bit larger. I noticed that there isn't a duo fibre included in Louise's kit and as I am so used to using brushes like this I thought it would add to the brush collection well.

I bought a Fluidline in 'Dipdown'. Louise provides us with the Fluidline in 'Blacktrack' so I thought it would be useful to get a dark brown gel liner as I use both shades regularly.

I bought 6 eyeshadows ready to pop into a pro palette, so I got some extras in shades I know and love and think will be useful. I bought 'Coppering' and 'Cranberry'- two of my favourites. They're so warm and unique. I got 'All The Glitters' as it would be a useful frost colour. 'Cork' and 'Omega'- two matte, natural earthy browns. 'Omega' is also great for filling in blonde brows. Then I got 'Sumptuous Olive' thrown in for good measure- a wearable, moss green.

So that's it so far! I bought a pill box from Muji to decant some lipsticks in. Would you be interested to see a post on that once I have done it? 

Please let me know if you like me including makeup artist related posts. 
What would be your kit essentials?

Friday, 11 January 2013

Empty Products- The December Edition

So I'm going to pretend that it isn't the 11th January and I'll pretend that it is still blog-acceptable to post my empties from December 11 days late! Any other month I'm sure it wouldn't feel so weird but with Christmas and New Years already feeling like a million years ago I feel odd publishing this so late. However I am a creature of habit and the thought of not posting this was going to make me feel all unbalanced and strange so I am posting it anyway. So here you are, my selfish empties post! Enjoy!

Estee Lauder DoubleWear Foundation- I told you all here about how sad I was that my shade was being discontinued and the new 'pale' shades were no where near a suitable replacement. Anyway, this has definitely run out, it lasted me quite a long time as you only need to use the smallest amount for a good medium coverage finish. Read reviews here and here.
Will I buy this again?
I've got one bottle stashed away in my discontinued shade, but to be honest I have gone off this foundation a bit anyway so I am not too heartbroken I won't be able to buy 'Shell' anymore.

Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer 'Fair'- I have a couple of tubes of this knocking around, one in my bedroom and one in my handbag. I think it is a good concealer at a good price- I find it blends well, has fairly good staying power (not sure about the 15hr claims) and good coverage. All factors you would want in a concealer!
Will I buy this again?

LUSH 'Twilight' Shower Gel- I bought a mini bottle of this to try out, I ended up loving it. It's packed full of lavendar and malt so will soothe the senses and the skin. I have been working a lot of night shifts recently, so having a shower with this before bed helped me unwind and get to sleep. I had to go and buy the 250ml bottle as soon as it ran out, such a shame this was limited edition for christmas :-(
Will I buy this again?
Already have!

LUSH 'Snow Fairy'- This certainly isn't my favurite yet I feel compelled to buy it every year. Snow Fairy is so sweet and sugary, great in the mornings but one I have to alternate- I can't handle it every shower!
Will U buy this again?
No, until next year...

Kiehls Ultra Facial Moisturiser - I used this sporadically and then gave it to Ben  to finish because he loves Kiehls. The several different parabens on the ingredients list were fairly high up too and it put me off. In consistency it's a light lotion, yet it never fully absorbed into my skin- I was left with an ultra shiny face for hours after applying this and it left a residue behind. Bens skin on the other hand, soaked it up immediately. It's not one for me.
Will I buy this?

Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish- I've always got one of these on the go even if I am using or trialling another cleanser, I love how creamy and trustworthy it is!
Will I buy this again?

Super Facialist by Una Brennan Tea Flower Deep Clean Purifying Ceansing Wash- A cleanser that after my first use I really wasn't sure about has become a new favourite. What is even more great about it is that it costs only £7.99, the quaity of this range of skincare is fantastic for the price you pay. This has really helped clean my blocked pores and balance my skin. Would recommend if you have oily or combination skin or suffer from breakouts.
Will I buy this again?
Already have!

Yves Saint Laurent 'Shocking' Mascara- I like this jet black formula and the fibruous wand does hold onto lashes. This is definitely a mascara for building bold volume, not for natural lash lovers. I sort of preferred it when it was drying out a bit as it made my lashes look delicate and feathery. Not fantastic at securing a curl, but my eyelashes are notoriously straight.
Will I buy this again?
I'm not sure.

The Body Shop Banana Conditioner- I did really like this conditioner, it made my hair feel really silky soft used in conjunction with the Banana Shampoo. I can't find an ingredients list on the bottle so it is hard to know how natural this product really is however I always have huge respect for The Body Shop not testing on animals and using recycled plastic for their packaging. Since I've been using a different conditioner I have realised how good this one is.
Will I buy this again?

Estee Lauder Gentle Eye Makeup Remover- This was very effective and gentle, it didn't really disturb my senstivie eyes and removed eye makeup really well. It's oil free which is wonderful because there isn't an oily residue left behind that so many eye makeup removers do. It was lightweight and the 100ml bottle lasted me nearly 2 months used daily.
I'm not sure I would pay full price for this, £19 sounds too steep for an eye makeup remover in my opinion.
Will I buy this again?
I would if it wasn't so expensive as I love that it is oil free.

Batiste Dry Shampoo- I always buy the Cherry scent because I think it is the best of a bad bunch. This works like a dream, it's so reliable and I always repurchase (and it's always in my empties posts!)
Will I buy this again?
Already have.

As always, link me to your empties posts and let me know what you think of any of these products!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Viva La Guilty Pleasure!

I like to tell myself that my tastes have matured. In some ways they totally have, in clothes, for example. In fragrance too, but only to an extent. Whilst I love Jo Malone, Tom Ford & Elie Saab, I'm still a little prone to a spritz of a Britney perfume every now and then. I am not ashamed of this ;-) sometimes the occassion just calls for it!

Another favourite, but total guilty pleasure perfume of mine is one I was kindly given for christmas. It had been on my wishlist for a long time and whenever I was in a fragrance dep and I saw it's big pink bow on the shelf I would be sure to have a spritz. There's something so unashamedly gorgeous about this scent, it's sweet but not over powering, and feminine without being too floral. It's youthful, cheeky and fresh. And while I wouldn't be seen dead in a pink velour tracksuit with 'Juicy' embroidered across the butt, I would quite happily bathe in this stuff!

Juicy Couture 'Viva La Juicy' has top notes of Wild Berries, middle notes of Honeysuckle and Jasmine, and it settles down to base notes of Vanilla, Caramel and Amber. It seems to last fairly well on my skin but it is more the initial spritz of this that fills me with happiness. If you've been reading my blog a while you'll know how happy perfume makes me!

Yes, not the most sophisticated of fragrances, but one I love regardless. Do you have any guilty pleasure perfumes?

Thursday, 3 January 2013

12 Products of 2012.

Happy new year everyone! It was so hard choosing only 12 products as there were so many favourites this year, but limiting myself was a good idea or you lot would have been subject to a blog post of mammoth proportions. Hope you are all enjoying January so far. It's a funny month isn't it? I'm still living and eating as if it were a week ago, for lunch I polished off yet another cheese plate. Talk about denial...

Super Facialist by Una Brennan- Tea Flower range (£7.99 and £12.99)- I posted about two products form this range just a few days ago, I only bought these in November but they transformed my skin in such a noticeable way- less spots, clearer pores. Whats makes this duo even better in my opinion is that you can buy both for £20. Superb skincare on a budget!

Avene Very High Protection Emulsion SPF 50+ (£15)- This saved my skin in the summer sun. It absorbs quickly leaving behind minimal white residue, protects all day without reapplication and is reasonably priced, gentle enough to use on the face- it didn't cause me any disturbances and I know it'll be a summer 2013 handbag staple too. 

LUSH 'Twilight' Shower Gel (£4.25++)- I didn't think I would fall in love with this as much as I have but it is definitely my favourite shower gel of 2012. An aromatherapic blend of lavendar and malt, it has been lovely to use at night after a long day or night shift. If nothing else, it makes me feel calm, relaxed and clean. Shame that it is limited edition.

Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat (£28)- I think this has to be my favourite foundation of 2012- and I have road tested quite a few. Glowing finish, buildable coverage. It is trustworthy and lasts a surprisingly long timewithout primer considering it is a radiant foundation- they normally slide right off my t-zone! Get a sample first though, YSL products are high in chemicals and this foundation didn't agree with everyones skin (it doesn't affect mine though.)

Collection 'Lasting Perfection' Concealer (£4.19)- Another product that I would struggle to be without now. Good quality, medium-high coverage concealer for around the £4-5 mark. Easy to use, blendable and fairly long lasting.

Bobbi Brown Brighening Face Powder (£40)- I pondered over whether to include this as I do find it a bit too pink, but the formula of this is perfect. So Bobbi Brown if you're reading this- please release more shades in this!! See a full review by clicking here.

MAC Lipglass (£13.50-£17)- This was the year of the MAC Lipglass. After trying one I have now accumulated a few. I love that they are so pigmented and long lasting. This is probably a controversial favourite- I'm sure many people would hate their stickiness.

Yves Saint Laurent Rouge Pur Couture Glossy Stain (£22.50)- Super glossy, super long lasting and soft on the lips. This product has paved the way for innovative lip products and have defintiely filled a void. The lasting power of something that feels like a lipgloss is astonishing. I love the vivid shade range and I think every girl needs one of these in their lives.

Bobbi Brown Gel Eyeliner (£17)- I've got this in 01 Black an 02 Sepia Ink and both are in regular rotation in my makeup bag. Gel eyeliner is a great multi use product- it can be used on the eyelids for a winged look, underneath and smudged for a sultry look, on the waterline for a long lasting definition. The list goes on! Both these shades are fabuously pigmented and last the majority of the day without showing many signs of fade or wear and tear. I have found that Black is better at fighting wear and tear than Sepia Ink. Worth the price tag.

Batiste Dry Shampoo (£2.99)- This is literally a life saver. I don't know how I would have got through this year without Batiste in my life! It's not too expensive and good at what it does, and there's lots of variables to choose from should you want a different scent or one formulated for brunette hair etc. The best dry shampoo that I have tried so far and would always recommend it.

Essie Nail Varnish (£7.99)- If I had to choose a shade I would be town between my beloved 'Sand Tropez' or 'Stylenomics' both were reapplied so many times and I never got bored of them. I love my whole Essie collection, they're definitely one of my favourite brands of 2012, so glad that they launched in Boots and Superdrug.

Sally Hansen MegaShine Topcoat (£6.39)- Quick drying, super super shiny top coat. Need I say more? (Not pictured.)

What am I searching for in 2013?
 The perfect serum/face oil (preferably natural)
The perfect night cream
The perfect brow filler
The perfect mascara
The perfect lip liner

What are your top products of 2012? Do you have a favourite brand this year?