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

Monday, 3 May 2010

Accessorize Haul

Popped into Accessorize in Liverpool St Station and ended up staying far longer than I intended - they have loads of fun stuff at the moment so a 5 min visit can easily turn into an hour-long browse!

My one annoyance about Accessorize? The overly attentive sales assistants. I felt like I was constantly being met with choruses of "Can I help you?"/ "Are you ok?"/ "Do you need any help?"

By the end of it I really felt like climbing atop a mountain and hollering "I'M JUST LOOKIIIIIIIIIIIIIING"!!

Except I wasn't just looking, was I. I did end up making a few purchases...

The pic above actually shows two separate necklaces that I think look cute together. As a tea lover, I was drawn to the necklace with the tiny ceramic tea cup, gold tea spoon and pink ribbon bow (£6). And of course, what goes with tea? Cupcakes! So it was almost a forgone conclusion that I was also going to get the cupcake necklace (£6). This one has a mini cake and a small diamante stone suspended from it. The lettering reminds me of Carrie from SATC's namesake necklace... although I really hope no-one thinks my name is Cupcake - it sounds distinctly stripper-ish :S

Next thing I picked up:

Some rose quartz style chandeliers (£12). Recently I haven't been wearing earrings much so i thought I'd get back in the saddle with these babies! These would look nice with some pink toned blusher (MAC Pink Swoon) and lipgloss.

And finally...

Some sweet little gold bows (think these were £5 or £6) for work.

So that concludes my little Accessorize post... enjoy the rest of the bank holiday, I'm off to do some ironing :D

Sunday, 2 May 2010

Cheap Beauty Deals

I hope everyone is enjoying themselves this bank holiday weekend, despite the temperamental weather!

Just thought I'd pass on a great tip that my colleague shared with me. She's the only one at work that knows that I moonlight as a beauty blogger and during one chocolate binge-eating session (Montezuma's chilli and lime dark chocolate, ginger and dark chocolate and honey and banana turtles - yum!), she told me about the page in Martin Lewis's that is dedicated to beauty discounts and deals.

The savings that particularly caught my eye are:

  • Stila cosmetics: up to 50% off through
    Cheek colour pans are £5.99, down from £11
    Lip glazes are £3.99 down from £11.99

  • YSL Touche Eclat for £15.50 inc P&P at
    At the checkout, enter the code YSLNo1. I just tried this and (at the time of writing) this works, but is only valid until May 3...
I'm going to bookmark this page and visit it regularly!!

Why, martin... with all these beauty discounts you are really spoiling us