Archive for the ‘Beauty’ Category

When I read about the new Estée Lauder Mad Men Collection I was so excited-this is a seriously beautiful capsule collection comprising a creme rouge and a perfect, true red lipstick. Unfortunately it’s not available in the UK (or it’s not at the moment anyway-fingers crossed they will release it here one day) but luckily for me my lovely Dad and step-Mum live in the States and responded quickly to my begging emails! They got it in Bloomingdales and it came with a free gift set too which was a nice bonus. (Actually, it was out of stock in their local Bloomingdales so they got it shipped from California to them and then from them to me-they are amazing!)

So here it is, first with the freebies. (There was also a make up bag but I forgot to get a picture of it. It’s nice though-pretty big too which is handy.)


So from left to right, missing out the Mad Men bits, you can see a Pure Colour Blush Trio (the colours are Peach Passion Shimmer, Sensuous Rose Satin and Wild Sunset Shimmer) with a mini but good quality (ish-it’s a little harsh feeling but does blend well) brush, Soft Clean Tender Creme Cleanser, Idealist, Day Wear moisturiser, Pure Colour Lipstick in Pink Parfait Shimmer and a duo of Sumptuous Bold Volume Lifting Mascara and Star Pink Shimmer gloss. Unfortunately the lipstick got a bit squished in transit but it’s going straight into my palette anyway so it doesn’t matter. I’d never tried this particular mascara before and I like it a lot. It’s not particularly good in the volume stakes, despite its name, but it does give lovely definition.

And here are the Mad Men lovelies in all their glory…



As you can see, they are gorgeous. The Creme Rouge is 01, Evening Rose; it’s intensely pigmented so you only need a little but once on it’s quite sheer and is easily blendable. It’s a very good pinky blush for the ‘English Rose’ look but I reckon it would also look great built up a bit on darker skins. The lipstick is 78, Cherry, and is a fabulous red, though not as vampy as I expected. It would suit cool and warm skin tones and lasts a good few hours, leaving a nice stain too. I have to say though, I was a bit disappointed that the lipstick is a miniature size! That was definitely not reflected in the price and it seems a bit bizarre that the freebie lipstick is full size while the very expensive one is only 2g. I’ve read elsewhere that lipsticks in the 50s and 60s did tend to be smaller, so perhaps EL are mirroring that. The packaging, however, is utterly beautiful, and I expect how Estée Lauder get away with the price they’re charging. The rouge was $40 and the lipstick $25, so not cheap, but in my opinion, worth it just for the joy of getting these out in public. They’re satisfyingly heavy and clunky and the rouge has a lovely ‘click’ shut with the blue stone on the front. The gold is glamorous and classy in an obviously vintage way, and I’m really looking forward to slipping them into my handbag! Definitely check out the Estée Lauder website and read the reviews-this collection is proving very popular. Apparently it will be followed by another collection next year, so I can’t wait to see that. I hope there’s a powder compact in there. This collection is beautifully designed and I can imagine the women on Mad Men whipping either piece out in order to freshen up or seduce someone! Who wouldn’t want to be as beautiful as Betty or Joan? This collection takes me one step closer!


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I read this on Sleeping Bootay’s blog and thought it was fun. If you do it too leave a comment with a link to yours!

1) What product makes you feel a million dollars?

Bobbi Brown corrector and concealer, without a doubt. These are two little pots of magic which make my dark circles practically disappear and therefore make me look normal and not quite as zombie-like as I am in my natural state. I discovered them in 2008 and since then have not bought another concealer; I doubt I will ever defect from these!

2) What’s your skin care secret/a passed down tip?

My Mum always told me to use gentle products as she and I both have sensitive skin. I partly credit that little nugget of advice, received as a teenager, with my good skin now; I never used the super strong products aimed at teenage skin when I started playing about with make up/skin care and I think it made a big difference in keeping my skin clear rather than reacting to harsh products. Liz Earle products are the best for my skin and so gentle.


I wish I had also listened to my mum when she told me not to pluck my eyebrows though!

3) What’s your hair care secret?

Buy a Babyliss Big Hair. It has totally transformed my frizzy, messy barnet into wavy, shiny, normal person’s hair. (No BB concealer+no BBH=living dead.)


4) What’s your biggest diet rule?

Don’t ‘diet’ unless it’s absolutely necessary. Eat healthily by all means but don’t actually ‘go on a diet’ when you’re a size 10, 15 years old and annoyed you can’t borrow your friend’s size 8 jeans. You will start a lifelong yo-yo habit that will wreak havoc on your metabolism and result in you weighing a stone more at 30 than is healthy. Seriously. Unless you are actually overweight according to your doctor and given a plan to follow by him/her it is not necessary. Just eat a balanced diet with plenty of protein, fruit, veg, carbs, a bit of fat and play some netball or hockey or something!

5) Any workout tips?

The 30 Day Shred is amazing! It’s usually on Amazon for about a fiver.

6) What’s your perfume secret weapon?

Chanel No 19 Poudre is my latest obsession, though I tend to have about 20 perfumes on the go at once.


7) Which item of clothing always turns heads?

Erm, I have no idea whether they turn heads but my Gap high waisted skinny jeans make me feel good so hopefully they look good too!

8) What’s your most treasured piece of jewellery?

My engagement and wedding rings. The wedding ring was made to fit around the diamond in my engagement ring so they sit perfectly together. I love them. My husband picked the engagement ring and got it absolutely right-a simple but stunning solitaire. I could get very soppy here so I’ll stop!


9) Who’s your style crush?

This is a hard one…there’s lots of people I think dress amazingly (though they don’t necessarily influence how I dress myself). Tilda Swinton, Monica Belluci, Kate Moss, Rachel Weisz…I also love Naomi from 90210 which is a bit embarrassing!


10) Tell us something we don’t know about you.

There is something of the primary school geek about me and I still love all the things I did then-knitting, writing stories, reading poetry, dressing up etc…

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Today a friend and I went to Leeds to go to Harvey Nichols and do an almighty make up shop. And it was. ALMIGHTY.





The eyeshadows pic is a bit misleading as it’s actually only the 6 in the palette by themselves plus Carbon (the matte black) that are new, but I thought they looked so pretty all together I couldn’t resist taking the photo like that.

Harvey Nicks had a deal on where if you spent over £110 you got a free goody bag and the lovely ladies at MAC gave me two of them as I spent such a hideous amount of money. There’s some great stuff in there. From left to right-Butter London nail varnish, Chloe perfume, Bare Minerals lip gloss, Trish McEvoy eye base, YSL Shocking mascara, Laura Mercier radiance primer, Shu Uemera skin purifier, Bliss body butter (love this), Lancôme Visionnaire, Espa moisturiser, Clarins HydraQuench serum, Elemis hand and nail cream and Eve Lom cleanser and muslins. Phew! The samples are all pretty generous sizes too, particularly the Bliss body butter and the Clarins serum, and the nail varnishes are full size which is brilliant as I love Butter London.

From MAC I got 6 Select Cover concealers, Groundwork paint pot, 7 eyeshadows (although annoyingly one of the ones I asked for, Omega, wasn’t in there as the SA accidentally gave me a different one), a 217 brush, Subculture lipliner, medium dark Mineralise Skin Finish Natural and 6 pigments (smaller, stackable ones which are very handy). Then in Illamasqua they had a brilliant sale so I got the cream eyeshadows for £5 each! Plus the sealing gel and Liquid Metal in Surge which is amazing stuff and I can’t wait to use. In Armani I got the Luminous Silk foundation to replace my trusty Bobbi Brown which has sadly gone off-which I guess shows how rarely I wear it! The SA also gave me a tester of serum and mascara to add to my goodies stash which was lovely. I also got a couple of bags from Muji (which is closing in Leeds sadly) which will come in very handy.

The SA in Illamasqua was a beautiful transsexual-I’d have killed for her bone structure! She looked amazing. Apparently she was stopped on the street and asked whether she wanted to work for them-I wish someone would do that to me! (Someone has told me since reading this that she was Drew from the Channel 4 program ‘My Transsexual Summer’ so now I feel a bit like I’ve met a celebrity, even though I’ve never seen the program so obviously didn’t recognise her.)

So anyway, please pray to the beauty gods that I start to make some money out of make up soon…and in the meantime I will definitely NOT be buying any more make up. For at least a year. Or at least a month…

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I just bought a couple of the new YSL Glossy Stains and had to post immediately as they are marvellous! I got 7, which is a lovely, soft, muted coral and 9, a fabulous true red.

They’re in a category of their own really as they’re lipstick, gloss and stain all at once. You could argue that MaxFactor Lipfinity is the same concept but I’d disagree, mainly because I think Lipfinity are horribly uncomfortable on the lips, very drying, and don’t stain so much as gradually flake off in the middle. The YSL offering also doesn’t have a separate gloss stick; the gloss is in the product itself.

They go on beautifully and do feel a bit sticky but in a far less obtrusive way than a traditional gloss such as a Lancome Juicy Tube. You can build up the layers depending on the desired intensity and the glossy result lasts for a good few hours. I put this on at 4.30pm and it’s now 6.45pm:



(Excuse the shoddy pictures.) You can see the colour and gloss are still in full swing after over two hours, a cup of tea and a lot of talking. (Everybody who knows me knows I do talk a lot!) In order to get the same effect after eating you would need to reapply, however, the genius is that these stain your lips evenly and thoroughly, so when it does wear off you still have a considerable whack of colour. I reckon they’re absolutely perfect for brides as a result.

There are about 20 colours, from the very dark to the very light and they’re selling out pretty fast from what I can see. At over £20 a pop they’re not cheap but I can see them becoming my go to lipstick for long lasting colour. I already want a couple more…

UPDATE: I’ve now eaten supper, it’s 9.30pm and I’ve still got perfectly applied lipstick! I’m quite amazed. The gloss effect has worn off to some extent but all the colour is still there. I’m definitely getting more of these.

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Boots (and Superdrug I think) have the Kate Moss for Rimmel collection at £1 off at the moment so I thought I’d take the opportunity to stock up on some colours that I wouldn’t normally wear but which will be useful for my kit, either as stand alone colours or for mixing. Swatched above (in pretty rubbish light but the colours came out true I think) are 02, 04, 05 and 12. They’re very creamy and moisturising on and the pigment is super rich so they look exactly the same on lips as they do in the bullet. Staying power is also excellent though lip liner and a touch up would be necessary if you were planning on eating lunch. Overall I’m really very impressed-given that I ordinarily buy Chanel or Bobbi Brown lipsticks these are marvellous value for money. (I didn’t buy 01 which is a true red as it looks very similar to Bobbi Brown Red which I already have and love, but it looks like a good dupe.) The packaging isn’t exciting and looks fairly cheap but given that these went straight into a palette I don’t particularly care. I haven’t bought Rimmel lipsticks since I was a teenager but I’ll definitely be going back for more of these!

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I recently tried No 7’s Dry Skin Rescue, which is part of the new Beautiful Skin range. I was expecting an intensive moisturiser and the cream looks and smells like it would be nice on the skin. The blurb says:

‘The weather, central heating and daily stresses can all take their toll on your skin resulting in dry, flaky patches. This intensely hydrating multi-purpose balm, formulated with nourishing shea and cocoa butters and enriched with skin loving vitamins and minerals, provides an instant and long lasting moisture hit to relieve, soothe and visibly improve dry patches. For best results apply to dry patches at the beginning and end of the day or whenever your skin is in need of extra moisturising care.’

I have quite dry skin and it’s definitely worse in the winter so with the snow falling all around us I thought this might make a good treat for my flaky bits. It says it’s hypo-allergenic and for all skin types.

I put it on my cheeks and forehead as they were feeling dry and horrid and pretty much immediately felt my skin tightening up. Odd, I thought, that’s not what I expected. Within a minute or so I felt like I had wiped my face with alcohol. My skin was red, seemed significantly drier than before I’d used the ‘rescue’ product and, worse, was beginning to hurt. Probably stupidly I gave it ten minutes to settle in, thinking it would pass. By the end of that I felt like I had on one of those pore cleansing masks that dries sort of tight and ‘plasticky’ on your face and you peel off-about as far from ‘intensely hydrated’ as you can get. I had to go and wash it off with my beloved Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish. I’m pretty disappointed as I thought it would make a good alternative to 8 Hour Cream for dry patches, but this is going straight back to Boots instead.


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Kit building.

As part of my recent make up course I was given a set of make up brushes – they’re pretty good quality (Royal & Langnickel), though obviously not the best, and it got me thinking about the necessity of having a proper kit if I’m going to do make up for other people, and particularly if I’m going to charge them for it!  I have a disgusting amount of make up but of course it was all bought because it suits me, and when I was shopping for each item I wasn’t considering using it on people of different skin colours, or different ages, or with different hair colours etc.  My first thought, on realising this, was a gleeful ‘I’m going to have to go shopping!’, swiftly followed by a more sobering ‘and that’s going to be bloody expensive’.

Plenty of the stuff I’ve got will be fine to use on other people, once it’s been made hygienic of course.  The first step to that was to buy a good brush cleanser, so off I toddled to MAC for theirs, which is excellent stuff.  It’s not too expensive at just over a tenner a bottle (less with a pro discount) and, although I’m sure MAC would rather that you didn’t, you can dilute it half and half with water and get the same results.

MAC Brush Cleanser

You just put some on a bit of tissue or kitchen roll, swirl your brushes around in it and voila, perfectly clean brushes!  Next I need to find something I can spray on powder products to make sure they’re clean between uses, as although I like to think I have peachy clean skin, I’m sure a client wouldn’t want my dead skin cells being transferred onto her face.  Mascara is fine because I have gazillions of disposable wands, and creme products are also fine because I can use a spatula and/or transfer them to palettes.

And for all my palette-y type needs, I’ve discovered this wonderful website:

Oh my goodness is there a lot to play with there…if I’m not careful I shall bankrupt myself before I’ve even started!

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