Sunday, 5 December 2010

MyFace: Blingtone Eyeshadow

Not a huge fan of sparkly eyeshadows. I love my shimmers, but glitter- if it's not finely milled- means tacky, means fall out, means mess.

I recently purchased the MyFace Blingtone shadow in Bellbottom Blues (£10) and was so impressed with the pigmentation and the fine glitter particles. This colour is seriously gorgeous and would suit most skintones. You could do a really light wash, blending it out (this would make the glitter more apparent as you would effectively be blending away the base colour) or make it opaque. The latter was the approach I took and the overall effect definitely had impact and - thankfully - staying power. Noone wants to visit the ladies' midway through a night out and find that their glitter eyeshadow has migrated south.

Check out the swatches:

Application wise, I patted this on all over the lid with my fingers to minimise fall out and build up density (when building up the colour I find that brushes just flick the glitter about) and then blended the edges with my trusty 217.

In anticipation of fallout I did my eyes before my base which made cleaning up under the eye easy - a quick sweep with a cleansing wipe sorted it out.

Great colour for Christmas parties and for drama! Also has a bit of 1970s disco vibe to it - I felt a bit like Donna Summer in her heyday!


Alex Box Masterclass, Selfridges, London

As soon as I saw that Alex Box would be holding an intimate masterclass at London's Selfridges, I was all over it like Kate Middleton in a wedding shop. Like Cher Lloyd at a chav convention. Let's just say I was keen. From a previous post you will know that I am a massive fan of Alex and her work as the creative director of Illamasqua and international make up artist.

The masterclass was held in a private room with approximately 16-17 people in attendance, plus a few Illamasqua make up artists to lend a hand and pour the bubbly! The room was set out with tons of Illasmasqua products for us to play with and the setting meant that we were all able to see Ms Box work her magic up close.

Alex -in massively high wedges and a cool colour clash outfit - made up a stunning model from scratch, demonstrating how to create a flawless base and contour the face for a nude but edgy and defined look. She then developed this further by adding colour and texture for a more full-on, night-time editorial look. She then a transformed this into a more 'glamourous' look by adding lashes and more (as she puts it) classical motifs of glamour. Check out the pics!

What I appreciate about Alex's work aside from her technical ability (and the fact that she was able to talk at length whilst perfectly applying everything!) is that her references are so rich. Her background in fine art means she draws inspiration from 18th century art and sub-cultures and uses this to amazing effect. She can turn out something really directional and abstract as well as more classic looks and is fearless with colour. Some artists seem to be stuck in a colour rut but Alex (and Illamasqua in general) encourages experimentation and expression. She explained that Illamasqua is practically the only brand that allows their counter artists to wear progressive make up.

Illamasqua has navy lipstick in their Art of Darkness range ('Disciple') which would scare the shit out of most people, but it was perfectly applied to one lady and it didn't look crazy at all. As Alex explained, perfect application makes you look past the non-conventional colour and you just accept it as being glamourous.

She spoke about her methods of contouring, blending, colour theory, the Illamasqua product range, eyebrow shaping, what differentiates contemporary from glamour and why, and much, much more! She also took questions at the end, offering advice to the make up artists and the plain old enthusiasts amongst us. It was so much fun!

I even got a picture with her! Whoop! And she signed her book for me. Did someone say restraining order?!

Afterwards, we had the opportunity to chat to her and the other make up artists. The lovely Mark (below) taught me how to contour my face, doing one cheek for me and guiding me through the other and we had a good chat about blushers. Seriously - the Illamasqua make up artists are so lovely. They are approachable, knowledgeable, honest and happy to be engaged in lengthy convos about technique and their products.

I could have bought a whole lot more but I exercised some restraint and only bought the following:

  • Cream blush in Rude (a warm coral)
  • Powder blush (for contouring) in Create
  • Pure Pigment in Furore (a pale champagne gold good for highlighting)
The other items I wanted (and will still probably get so not sure why I am bothering to delay the gratification) were:

  • The angled blusher/ contouring brush (sold out at the time)
  • Lipstick in Over (a peach/ orange)
  • Liquid metal palette
I am definitely keen to attend more of their events and I totally recommend to anyone else!


Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Halloween Make Up: LAV IT!!

For the uninitiated, 'Lav it' = 'Love it' in a thick Laaahndan (London) accent.

Now that we have got that out of the way, let's discuss Halloween make up.

Something surely is not right when you put your fancy dress halloween make up on and the responses you get are: 'Wow, you should do your make up like that more often' and 'wow that really suits you'. Erm. Not sure what to do with those comments to be honest.

I went to a fancy dress halloween party on Saturday and my character of choice was a 'nurse of death'. I chose it becuase it was cheap; I did have my eye on the Freddy Krueger outfit but at £45, I don't think so. I think i did a pretty good job on the make up - and it was made all the more fun due to the fact that it broke a few norms for me. I am into my cool browns, corals, hot pinks etc... this was a total departure as I was using black, dark lips and contouring - which I hardly ever do.

Here's a pic - not a close up because I dont do close ups darling:

You get the gist though.

I really liked the overall look. A toned down version would actually look quite wintry and definitely would be on the money in terms of the dark lips trend that seems to be hot at the moment.

Here's a break down of what I used:

Nars Sheer Glow in Barcelona
MUFE HD powder


NO blusher to be inkeeping with the pale theme (no blusher... can't tell you how hard that was. I am a blusher fiend. My hand kept reaching for the blusher but I physically had to restrain it).

Benefit Sugarbomb as a highlight

Physicians Formula Matt Bronzerin Blushing Mocha as a contour (got this in the US)


Revlon Superlustrous in Va Va Violet


Sleek palette in Storm. Used the matt black all over the lid with the intensity focused on the lid and blended out beyond the crease using my 217, then the pale gold as a highlight under the brow.

Eyelure 'Double Lash' false lashes - LAV IT!!

Sounds like a lot of make up. And that's cos it was.

Really love the Revlon lipstick. It's great for this season's trends as it has a good amount of purple in it so adds colour and integrates with your face rather than just looking scary and like it has just been plonked there. In fact, the lipstick is so nice that it warrants a post all of its own. Haven't tried it yet but I reckon it will look really good glossed up for a patent effect.
Stay tuned.

Hope you all had a good halloween.

Mwaha.Mwhahah.Mwhahahahahaahha!!!!! (cue spooky laugh)

You Are Feeling Schleepy...Very Verrry Schleepy

I LOVE this make up tutorial. It is HYPNOTIC.

I love Alex Box's creativity and the whole Illamasqua brand that she helped create - I really do think it is one of the more interesting, daring and inspiring brands out there. Their whole tag line 'make up for you alter ego' says it all really (incidentally, whilst on the subject of Illamasqua, I appear to have lost my Pure Pigment in Furore. Pissed off much? Er YEAH).

In this make up tutorial she creates a smoky eye, contoured cheeks and cupid bow lips using cool purple tones which lend themselves to a very 1920s look.

This may sound weird but watching her blend so artfully makes me feel like I've popped a tranquiliser. The music in the background is so soothing that I often just play this on loop when I am trying to get to sleep, whilst listening to Alex's instructions in the hope I might pick up some of her skills by way of osmosis.

And as for the model - she has an ethereal look and bone structure to die for.

Enough rhapsodising - here it is: Illamasqua - Art of Application - Ingenue

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

The Make Up Tower

I think I have found the solution to the problem that is my dressing table.

The problem I am referring to is that I didn't have a proper storage system for my cosmetics. Things were plonked on the surface in a haphazard fashion and many items rolled off and fell into the abyss behind the radiator. Indeed, many a lipstick has met this fate. My beloved MAC Ruby Woo was MIA for ages until I found it melted and mouldy behind said radiator. What a sorry ass sight that was. A Nars lip laquer - nearly new but reduced to pot of liquid goo - was also recovered from behind said radiator.

Then there are the numerous absent minded losses; I refer back to MAC Ruby Woo. MAC Ruby Woo #1 met its death behind the radiator and so I diligently repurchased a #2. Even though I don't have the balls to wear this statement red (and bloody hell is this a statement red) on a regular basis, it is a staple of my lipstick wardrobe: I just feel incomplete without a red in the collection. MAC Ruby Woo #2 was put in a 'safe place' which is so frickin' safe I have never found it again...

I set about creating a 'make up tower' out of the perspex drawers available from Muji so that I can ensure my MAC Ruby Woos and other stuff is happily housed and don't feel the need to commit suicide down the back of my radiator to escape the mess or do a runner to the 'safe place', and so for a total of just under £50, I got 6 drawers and a brush holder thing which is stackable and can grow with the make up collection. This is kind of pricey to some people (cue a sharp intake of breath) but - come on - look at how nice it is!:

This is a work in progress - I haven't finished filling it with all my stuff and to be honest I feel like buying new stuff just to put in it. How terrible is that! Anyway this little perspex construction will no doubt prevent the purchase of MAC Ruby Woo #4.


Sunday, 5 September 2010

Rings an' Tings

My mum chastises me for having so many nice pieces of jewellery that sit in my jewellery box unworn. Why? Because I'm afraid I'll lose them! Silly I know - what is the point in having lovely things if you don't display them for all the world to see? Having said that, the more expensive stuff that I have is of great sentimental value and I would never forgive myself if I lost it.

I made an acquisition this week in the shape of this lovely ring from Topshop, for the princely sum of £10:

What a beaut!

This ring is quite large but doesnt restrict any movement because the underside is a lot narrower. I've got a thing for gold jewellery at the moment... and in particular...

Rose gold.

Yes, it's the stuff of Argos catalogue 'Elizabeth Duke' jewellery, but what can I say, I'm just trying to keep it real. I searched through the latest catalogue and to my dismay I couldn't find any rose gold items. Just when I thought that my taste in jewellery must have gone so far downhill that even the jewellery buyers for Argos have left me trailing in their wake, I spotted this sparkler on the Ernest Jones website (Argos --> Ernest Jones. Going up in the world, I tell you, somebody stop me!):


I want it, need it, have to have it.

But at £1050, and with no good reason other than 'I want it, need it, have to have it' it will have to remain on the wishlist. I lurve it. I am dribbling as we speak.

The ring is by a brand called Le Vian, who claim to be the choice of Hollywood stars. Yeah right! What you doing on the Ernest Jones website then?! I always think that if a brand has to proclaim such things, the likelihood is that it ain't true.

I still want it though.

And finally, I made a pair of earrings for my cousin the other day:


Sunday, 25 July 2010

Skin Care Products I'm Liking Right Now (Salicylic Acid Based)

Don't know about you, but I find it so hard to find a combination of skin care products that work on a long-term basis.

Cleansers and toners that work well for a couple of weeks will suddenly lose their effectiveness thereafter.

Finding the right ones is made doubly hard by my skin type. I have oily skin that also happens to be quite sensitive, which puts me in a bit of a skin care dilemma: the products that are effective at treating oily skin are usually those that are a little bit too harsh for sensitive skins, dammit.

BUT, the current combo that seems to be treating the oilyness without irritation are...

Clean & Clear Advantage Quick Clear Daily Treatment Wash (£3.99 from Superdrug)

Garnier Pure Active Pimple Reducing Toner (around £4 from Boots and Superdrug)

Now, I am a sucker for anything that promises quick results and these two do just that. The cleanser claims to contain 'fast acting technology' and the toner claims 'instant' results. In this day and age of instant-gratification, that's just what I want to hear.

Hello, I'll have 5 of each to go please.

The Cleanser

I really love this. It leaves my skin feeling clean, refreshed, not too tight and there's no weird residue. The active ingredient in it is salicylic acid which is effective for clearing blackheads and congested skin. And guess what - I do find that spots are reduced in size and redness the following morning. I've been using it for a while now and there hasn't been any adverse reaction. Touch wood it continues...

The Toner

The toner seems to be one of the few on the market that contains the highest legal off-the-shelf content of salicylic acid (2%) and claims to reduce spots and fade marks on the skin.

It also contains 'Herba Soothe'... whatever the hell that is.

Well, the Herba Soothe seems to be working, as other 2% SA toners that I've tried left my skin sensitised and drier than the Sahara, but that hasn't happened with this one. This does however leave a moist (slightly clammy) residue on the skin, but I think it's a small price to pay. In fact, this must be what is countering the overly-drying effect of the SA.

There is definitely satisfaction to be had in looking at the cotton wool after using the toner and seeing all the gunk it has removed :S

The best thing about this combination? It costs under £10. How good is that?!


Monday, 19 July 2010

10 Questions

Work. It gets in the way of the fun stuff.

I recall a music teacher once telling me (many moons ago when I was an A level student with my head buried in text books and thus neglecting my extra curricular activities) that 'it's good to nourish the mind, but you have to nourish the soul too'.

All this working has meant that my blogging has taken a hit. And that, people, is where my soul lies. In make up. *Gasp* - how terribly shallow!

Only joking. My soul lies in spiritual and philosophical stuff. Ahem.

Anway - I plan to nourish my soul by completing the tag that seems to be going round the blogger community. Here goes...


1.Would you rather go out with messy hair and nice make-up or Nice hair and no make-up?

Nice hair is all very well and good but without make up I look like Gail from Coronation Street. Those who are unfamiliar with Gail from Coronation Street should Google Image her and you you will understand the gravity of this statement.

I can definitely work the messy hair thing - and if messy means dirty in this instance, then I could always hide it under a cap or something. Assuming we are allowed props in this exercise.

With the nice hair/no make up combo, I have visions of walking down the street, swishing my nice hair and attracting the attention of some fit guy who - having only seen my swishy hair from behind- thinks he's onto a good thing. That is, until I turn around and he realises that he's pulled Gail from Coronation Street.

If Gail from Coronation Street happens to be reading this (I'm sure she has better things to do), I can only apologise.

2.Would you rather shave your eyebrows or have your eyelashes fall out?

Eyelashes can go. I would just wear some false ones until my ones grew back. In fact, I just bought some Girls With Attitude lashes from Boots- the super fluttery ones called 'Madame Butterfly'. They have this lovely criss-cross effect with longer lashes on the outer corner. Can't wait to wear these on Saturday!

3.Would you rather be forced to shop at only MAC or Sephora for the rest of your life?

On the proviso that this is a level playing field and Sephora actually reopens in London, then I would definitely go for Sephora. It has everything from perfume to skin and hair care... plus a range of make up brands such as NARS and (if we're going by what the US has) MUFE. Sephora all the way. I need a range of brands. I love you MAC, but I'm just not ready for the commitment. I can't be tied down right now. I'm just not in a good place. It's not you, it's me.

4.Would you rather wear lipgloss/lipliner look or 80's perm?

There are some days where I catch sight of my hair in a shop window and it reminds me of an 80s perm. But I like it. I have positive connotations of the 80s perm - early Madonna, my mum back in the day... ahhh memories.

Lipliner and lipgloss on the other hand, is just bad to the core. I just could not pull that off without looking like an escapee from a 1990s RnB video. There just hasn't been enough clear blue water between that trend and now for it to become cool again.

5.Would you rather leave the house with an obvious foundation line or overdone blush?

Overdone blush. You can pretend it was meant to be that way! Some looks call for it.

6.Would you rather wear MC Hammer pants or biker shorts in public?

Ooo, a tough one. Biker shorts as in lycra cycling shorts? Would the biker shorts be so tight as to give me camel toe? If so, I'd go for the MC Hammer pants. You could pass these off as harem pants I guess.

7.Would you rather have a bad orange-y spray tan or really weird tan lines that can't be covered?

As soon as the sun came out in the City, London women exhibited some amazing summer outfits. Sitting in Exchange Square was the best people watching experience ever, as I really saw London ladies prove why LDN is hailed as a style capital of the world. However, there were also a few orange tans on exhibit. There were some corkers. Orange legs like you wouldn't believe. Oompa Loompas on parade.

I would go for the tan lines. Surely this is more acceptable and far less embarassing than orange skin?

8.Would you rather have a bad haircut or bad hair color?

Bad hair colour. This could be rectified with another trip to the hairdressers. With a bad haircut, you have no option other than to sit... and wait.... and look like a fool in the process. A bad hair cut changes your face shape and can highlight features you don't like. I think hair colour just alters the way your complexion appears, e.g. making you look more radiant or sallow, lighter or darker.

9.Would you rather have youtube or twitter taken away forever?
Stephen Fry once said; "too many tweets make a twat". While I'm not knocking the whole Twitter thing, I would find it easier to do without it as I never bought into it in the first place. Sorry Twitter, but you gotsta go.

10. Would you rather give up using makeup brushes or mascara?
William Wallace once said; "you may take my make up brushes, but you may never take my mascara". Ok he didn't really say that, but I thought adapting this seminal quote from history would convey my feelings about this one. You will NEVER take my mascara!

Make up brushes are great but I sometimes think that fingers serve the same purpose. I'm pretty good at doing eye make up without brushes. Lips can be done without brushes, as can foundation and blusher. I prefer brushes, but the routine won't fall apart if they were to be, er, confiscated.


Sunday, 4 July 2010

Jelly Pong Pong Haul

Went to the Clothes Show in London last weekend and picked up a bag of 5 Jelly Pong Pong products for £8 - bargainous considering that individually, some of the items retail for more than £10 each.

I've never really tried Jelly Pong Pong before - it doesn't seem to be a brand that's in wide distribution in high street shops, but is sold via its own website, and the Jelly Pong Pong store in London's West End.

Anyway, it seemed like a good opportunity to experiment with their well known products without having to part with too much £££.

Here's the haul:

L-R: red make up box, Gourmet Lip Therapy in Sugar, Supermodel Stain in No Breakfast, Jelly Flush Cheek Stain in Grape Colada, Love Rouge in Taylor and Burton)

What's my overall verdict? Disappointing, disappointing, disa-pong-pong.

So let's appraise the items individually.

Jelly Flush Cheek Stain in 'Grape Colada':
Jelly Flush? Sounds like something you might hang off the rim of your toilet. And to be honest, you'd probably get a better colour pay off if you did actually rub a toilet gel over your face.

This just felt like a watery, patchy mess when I swatched it, and was no better on my face. And what's with the overpowering synthetic grape scent? If anyone remembers a childhood game called Grape Escape (factory thing where you could make your own vile grape scented drink), this smells exactly like that.

Grape Escape: The main ingredient of Jelly Pong Pong's cheek stain?

Gross. I won't be repurchasing, or indeed using at all.

Gourmet Lip Therapy in 'Sugar':
It was hardly worth the effort it took my mate and I to figure out how to get the product flowing to the applicator brush. As with the Jelly Flush, this had a sickly scent. So far this seems to be a common affliction amongst JPP products.

I put this on over lipstick and when I opened my mouth, saw stringy bits of gloopy product between my lips... rather like when you cut a slice of pizza and get the stretchy cheese bits.

Fine on a pizza, not fine on my lips.


Supermodel Stain in 'No Breakfast':
Hmm... I actually quite like this. This is a well pigmented cream that gives a nice nude effect on the lips. I would wear this. It swatches true to colour:

You can also use this on your cheeks but I won't be doing that as 1) it's a bit to greasy for oily skins to wear on the face; and 2) the colour would be all wrong for me as a blush.

I can see myself using this, so at least it's not another dud. Phew!

Love Rouge for Cheeks and Lips in 'Taylor and Burton':
One half of the pan is a lip and cheek gel and the other half is a cream-to-powder blush:

So, on a day that I wasn't at work, I decided to try out the cheek gel as a blusher. I like the colour - it gives a wash of coral/orange colour with a nice sheen, but it didn't stay put during the day and by lunchtime required touching up. I have to caveat this with the fact that I have oily skin, so on drier skins this may well have more staying power.

I also like the cream to powder blush. It looks a bit grey in the pic above, but is actually a nice mauvey-pink - see the swatch below:

L-R: Cream-to-power blush, cheek and lip gel

I would wear this as a blush on 'nude' days. As in, days where I'm wearing nude coloured make up, as opposed to going naked.

So far... 2 out of 4 products are good. Not amazing, and not worth the full price, but... good.

Now. Let's take a look at the final product in closer detail:

Yes, that's right it's a make up box that appears to be made out of Elmo from Sesame Street.

And as if a red furry make up box wasn't tacky enough, they put on a pink tassel. Which has now mostly fallen off. Nice.

Tacky does not even begin to describe it. And that's all I'm going to say on the matter.

All in all - Jelly Pong Pong = extremely hit and miss.

The highs (Supermodel stain and Love Rouge - and I'm not sure they are 'highs' as such) are not really worth the lows, so if you were considering trying the products, I would visit the JPP store in the West End rather than buying off websites. At least then you can be sure of the textures, pigmentations etc.

Enjoy the rest of the weekend! With all this typing I've worked up an appetite so I'm off to eat dinner.


Elle August 2010 Issue - Free Paul & Joe Sister Top

Yesterday I had to make a trip to the local petrol station to stock up on sanitary supplies.

Feeling embarassed to approach the little man behind the till with just a packet of Always Ultra (I clearly haven't matured past the 'embarassed to buy sanitary products' stage... tragic, I know), I also grabbed the August issue of Elle Magazine (£3.70), hoping it would somehow render my other purchase invisible.

It didn't. But it did come with a free gift - a Paul and Joe Sister top with frilly sleeves. And it's kinda cute!:

Not bad for £3.70.

It comes in three colours (khaki, black and I think a white/cream colour). As you can see, I went for the khaki... partly because I didn't have the choice. Why is it that shops never seem to stock the full range of free magazine gifts?! Tres annoying. Same thing happened with the Benefit giveaway that Glamour ran the other month.

To me, khaki calls out for gold jewellery so that's what I shall be accessorising with.


Sunday, 13 June 2010

Primes... Primarni... Primark!

Right. I'm going to try and knock this blog post out in record time - I'm so tired I'm verging on delirious but such is my commitment to blogging that I am pushing through my duvet-desire to tell you about my recent acquisitions!

I prepared for the England vs USA match the only way I knew how - yes - I went shopping!

Went into Primark (codename Primes or Primarni amongst some of my friends) and picked up the following:

Little faux suede cross-body bag for £4 (also comes in navy):

Cute on the outside, crappy firehazard flammable plasticky lining on the inside - but who the heck cares!

Then I found these babies: faux suede platform heels £12. Very similar to a pair that I've seen in Aldo for £70:

Again, cute on the outside, slippy as hell on the underside - nearly went skidding across the shop floor when walking over to the mirror. Going to have to score the soles on these, or risk breaking my neck. Nice and comfy though. Although, not sure what good that is when you are lying in traction in hospital following a particularly nasty fall.

Final item - a pair of sunnies that cost £2 and have the unusual feature of arms that aren't placed in the middle/top of the side of the lens, but at the bottom of them. It almost looks as if you are wearing them upside down:

Cue gratuitous picture of me prancing around in shades:

Told you I was delirious.

I'm off to cleanse, tone, moisturise and all that business, then I'm hitting the sack!

Wishing you all a great forthcoming week...


Topshop - Lip Stick

I went to see Sex & the City 2 on its opening night in Westfield and beforehand, went in search of the Topshop make up collection. I didn't exactly leg it down to Topshop on the launch day... something told me the range would be a total homage to make up mediocrity and I was right, I think. The only products that really drew me in were the 'Lip Stick' lip crayons/pencils (£7).

I picked up the bright pink shade, 'Rosa' and loved the way it swatched - quite opaque in texture and slightly glossy:

It's a white based pink, quite pale but bright at the same time. I think fans of Mac's Lady Gaga/ Pink Nouveau lipsticks might like this one, although it's a darker version of those shades, so is more wearable for skintones like mine.

It doesn't drag when applying and I also like that because it's a pencil, you can be more precise when shaping your lips, but doesn't take too long to fill in your lips because of its jumbo size.

Drawback? I don't have a sharpener for jumbo pencils! Schoolboy error or what?? It is now languishing on my dressing table, blunt. Pointless, in more ways than one. More pointless, in fact, than my World Cup Sweepstake picks - Ivory Coast and Ghana.

Not. A. Chance. In hell.

Although, in their favour, neither of those countries have Butterfingers Green in goal! =D


Monday, 31 May 2010

Believe The Hype: Sleek Eyeshadow Palette

Yeah yeah yeah, it's been blogged about for ages but I thought I would chuck in my 2 cents too.

Sleek eyeshadow palettes are crazily good. I cannot believe the value for money: £4.99 for 12 eyeshadows that are perfectly pigmented, easy to blend, do not fall out onto your cheeks when applying and last all day.

I got the Storm palette and there are no dud colours. There are even a few colours that look like MAC dupes...

My colleague was with me when I was buying it on a Friday after work and she picked one up too... come monday morning, she was also giving it rave reviews!

I apply the shadows with my MAC 217 brush and it goes on smoothly and evenly. You can create so many looks from smokey to natural with this palette.

My favourite right now is the colour in the top right (a dupe for MAC Antiqued?) which although looks like a standard brown, has a bronzey pink tone running through it.

I am still in shock about how good this palette is, honestly. It isn't often that something so cheap impresses so much. Well done Sleek!

Volume Million Lashes: The Verdict

I was going to wait until I had enough advantage card points to buy this mascara, but Superdrug had it on special offer for £7.99. I'm always torn between sticking with Boots and accumulating points, or going to Superdug for their better prices... anyway, after a particularly crap day at work, I decided to pop into Superdrug (dangerously close to my temporary office) to purchase it.

Things did not get off to a good start as I found myself face to face with a grammatical car crash upon arriving at the stand:

Ahem, hhhexcuse me... since when did L'Oreal have the license to invent words?! Last time I checked, 'millionize' was not a word. If I was to use this word in a meeting at work ("Everyone, it appears that our costs have millionized") people would look at me as though I was a few eyeshadows short of a palette. I can see that L'Oreal might be trying to create inventive tag lines by coming up with their own lingo, but all I can say is that if worked in their advertising department, this one would never have slipped through the net.

Anyway, let's talk about the mascara.

Yeah, it's not bad.

Has it usurped my favourite mascara (L'Oreal Lash Architect)? Nah. And this is mainly to do with the brush.

I'm not a really a fan of these new rubbery brushes that Max Factor first used in their Masterpiece mascara. Give me the traditional bristles anyday - they seem to separate lashes better and inject more volume. Loads of companies have jumped on the rubbery brush bandwagon and 'Volume Million Lashes' is the latest offering.

When applying my mascara, I push it into the roots of my upper lashes so that it coats the upper waterline making lashes look more dense and dark. Normally, this is a comfortable experience... but not with VML. The rubbery bristles are pokey and feel a bit too spikey for this task.

As for the performance, I think it does serve to lengthen lashes effectively, but I would prefer a thickening effect too. Clumpiness seems to set in at the second coat, which I don't get as much of with my normal mascara. It wears well during the day - no transferring or crumbling off. Pictures speak a thousand words so here are a few to demonstrate what I mean...

No coats...

One coat...

Impressive lengthening

Two coats...

NB: A furry caterpillar has not crawled onto my face and died. That is indeed my eyebrow. I am long overdue a threading session

As you can see, there are little clumps forming. I could probably get rid of these with an eyelash comb, but I don't have to comb my lashes with my other mascara and don't see why I should have to add another step to the getting ready routine. It looks best after one coat and doesn't seem to be be a mascara that you can build, coat after coat. And that's what I love about Lash Architect - if going out after work, I can amp up my lashes with a few more coats to achieve a dense look. With VML, you get length and curl. With Lash Architect, you get length, curl AND thickness.

As I said before, mascaras are so subjective. None of my circle of friends swear by the same one. But in my humble opinion...

Does it live up to the hype of best mascara ever, per the Femail article?

Will I repurchase?
Only if my other mascara is sold out.

Is it better than some of the more luxe mascaras?
Yes - I preferred this to Smokey Lash by MUFE and YSL Faux Cils.

So there you have it.

Now excuse me whilst I plot ways of 'millionizing' my bank balance.


Thursday, 20 May 2010

Earrings I've Made...

Right chicks, in my last post I promised some pics of the earrings I've made since the jewellery workshop I went to. They're probably not to everyone's taste but I think I'll wear all of these at some point.

I've kind of tried to go down the vintage-y route, using golds and pearls.
Fake, of course darling ;)

I estimate that each pair cost £1- £2 to make in terms of materials. Cheap as chips!

Item number one:




And five...!

I can knock up a pair of earrings in about 15mins now.

Upcoming post: My review of the Volume Million Lashes mascara from L'Oreal. I bought this in Superdrug as they had it on special offer for £7.99. I've used it twice, but I shall reserve judgement until it's at least been a week. I find that mascaras aren't at their best when they're brand spanking new... they're a little bit too watery and almost need some exposure to air to let it thicken. And breathe. Rather like a fine wine. Or not.

Stay tuned!

Sunday, 16 May 2010

Jewellery Workshop!

Feels like it's been a while since I last wrote something - work appears to be getting in the way of the fun stuff :s

Having said that, I had such a good weekend spending time with family, letting my hair down with friends... and I finally got round to redeeming the jewellery workshop vouchers that my mates had bought me for my birthday! The voucher was for two, so I took my mum along and on Saturday afternoon we toddled off into LDN town for the workshop, followed by dinner and a cheeky beverage. Or 5.

I've never made jewellery before so wasn't quite sure what to expect in terms of how fiddly it would be etc, but I was pleasantly surprised: we were taught two techniques along with how to use the tools and that seemed to equip us with enough know-how to make our own necklaces and bracelets.

So... drum roll please as I unveil my handywork...

Ok, so Tiffany's have got nothing to worry about but not bad, huh?

A close up of the beadwork:

Being surrounded with shiny beads and metals was a bit like being a kid in a candyshop and to be honest it was hard to know when to stop - but I think (I hope) I managed to avoid the Mr T look.

As for the bracelet:
I have *officially* caught the jewellery making bug now. I'm addicted. I even found myself in Hobbycraft today, buying beads.

Hobbycraft... that's for people with... hobbies. There were lots of hobby-looking people in there buying hobby stuff. And I have now joined in with the hobbyness. Does this make me a... Hobbit? No, I think that's something else entirely.

Hobbits on their way to Hobbycraft. Probably.

If you are a jewellery fiend then I definitely recommend a course like this. It opens your eyes to how fun and cost-effective it can be to make your own stuff, as well as how big the profit margins of places like Accessorize must be (and I say this having spent mucho £££ on my last haul from there). The swindling bastids!

The jewellery workshop was run by the Claire Aristides Jewellery School. Whilst the instructors were obviously quite knowledgeable, their organisation left a lot to be desired - a community hall was used as the workshop space and it wasn't really sufficiently lit or set up in advance.

I've since made some earrings and I'll post some pics of those too.

Have a good week everyone x