Friday, 26 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

Sorry for the radio silence lately, a couple of illnesses and busy times at work have kept me more or less out of Internetland, but check back soon for more reviews, fashion posts, and more.  I've got a few drafts up my sleeve to come, and new products to test out in the new year.

But really I just want to say Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays, everyone!  I hope you're having a fantastic holiday season and wish you all the best for the coming year and those to follow.

Monday, 8 December 2014

Tried & Tested: Nails Inc Nail Polish - Victoria

£11.00 - Boots | $14.00 - Nails Inc

Nails Inc is definitely one of the industry leaders when it comes to nail art and trends – it seems every other month there’s a brand new gimmick to check out.  I haven’t been too impressed by some – the feather effect polishes are a perfect example of this – but when it comes to others, like the Leather effect and Concrete effect polishes, I am nigh insatiable.  The colour collection is quite vast as well, so you certainly won’t be short of options.

Today there’s one in particular that I’d like to review for you: Victoria.  My namesake in polish form, and I must admit that if I were to choose a nail polish to represent me, this is actually exactly what I would have chosen.  Classic, blood-red, off-black, with a high shine cream finish.  This is everything I’ve been searching for in a vampy wintery red for years. 


I must admit that I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with this one, though.  The consistency of my bottle (and I admit I may have bought an older product that’s been on the shelves for a while, or part of a bad batch, so as always your mileage may vary) was very thick and gloopy.  I applied a coat of OPI’s Nail Envy beneath my Seche Clear base coat, as I’m trying to regrow healthy nails following a spell of brittleness, breakage and peeling.  Once the base had dried down, I began to apply Nails Inc Victoria and… well I was immediately unhappy.  The thick texture applied very unevenly and streaky, and when I went over it to try to even things out it felt like the brush was just removing the polish it had just so haphazardly applied to my nails. 

However I persevered, and I’m glad I did – after three coats (allowing each to fully dry down before applying the next) the polish was perfectly opaque and had an even finish, and the colour.  Oh, the colour.  I instagrammed this a few days into wear and one of my favourite online acquaintances commented on how it looked like blood, which I love so very much!  I feel like I've done a bad job capturing the subtle red tones in these photos, so you may want to head over to said Instagram post, where the red shows through much clearer than it does here.  


Even better, however, was the wear time.  The photos in this blog post are after five days of wear – as you’ll see there may be very minor tip-wear but absolutely no chipping whatsoever – and when I eventually removed the colour after seven days there were still zero chips.  Now I must be honest and put this down in part to my Seche Vite topcoat, but I must also add that even with that topcoat I have experienced chipping and peeling of nail polish from time to time, so I’m impressed by the wear time of Victoria all the same. 

When it comes to removal, this came off very easily using a cotton pad and whatever remover I happened to have around (a Sally Hanson one I picked up from Asda, nothing special).  Although to be honest, it’s rare I have any issues with removal unless there’s glitter involved. 

All in all I would still recommend this shade based mostly on the colour, though with the warning that you must be very patient with application to achieve optimal results.  And so dear readers, as much as I like this polish, I must ask; if you know of a similar shade with a more user-friendly and less-fiddly formula, please do share!  I’m happy to work with Victoria to get the look that I want, but would be even happier if I could get the same look without all of the extra time and effort to get an even finish and application.

Pros: 

  • Absolutely beautiful colour, I've been on a long hunt for the perfect off-black red like this!
  • I love the finish when applied opaque; lovely glossy creme
  • Long-lasting and zero chipping experienced over a week of wear

Cons:

  • Nails Inc is a pricier brand, so this polish retails for around £11 which some may find a bit pricy
  • The texture is quite thick which makes application quite difficult and the first coat or two will go on very streaky.  So this takes a fair amount of work to get the best results, which I know a lot of people do not have the patience for, particularly at this price point
  • Requires 3 coats for fully opaque coverage

Ratings

Quality: 3/5
Value: 3/5
Does What It Says: 3/5
Packaging: 4/5
Bonus*: N/A
TOTAL: 13/20

Note: This post may contain affiliate links; please see Disclosure page for further information.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Giveaway Winner Announced!

If you've been following my MAC + RHPS giveaway post, you'll already know that it closed to entries on Friday.  I didn't get a chance to select the winner this weekend, but I did so this morning: Rafflecopter randomized the winner as Gemma from Touch of Belle who happens to be one of my current favourite bloggers as well!  Congratulations Gemma ^_^ I can't wait to see how the shade looks on you!

The giveaway gained over 700 entries in total, which absolutely floored me as a new blogger.  I want to thank everyone for your participation and for following Lipstick and Lightplay.  I sincerely hope you stick around as readers, and it's been really nice having some audience participation during this event.  I've been so excited to see who the prize would go to!

I'm certain there will be more giveaways to come, although I can't promise what or when - the next one will probably be for a milestone.  But check back and following on BlogLovin' and you'll be the first to know :)

Until next time!
XOXO


Tuesday, 25 November 2014

Tried & Tested : Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment

£42.00 - feelunique | $45.00 - Sephora

This is a new product in my skincare arsenal, which you may recall from my recent International Swap Haul post.  My friend Peggy was kind enough to pick this up from me in the Sephora F&F 20% off sale, which meant it was miles cheaper than the UK retail price.

The only product I've tried from Ole Henriksen before was the Blue/Blackberry Enzyme Mask, which I liked but didn't use as often as I should have (when I bought it back in Canada I was cycling a ton of different masks and the cute packaging of my Korean-branded products kept me reaching for them instead).  However I've been after a night treatment for ages that does more than just intensive moisturization - something with active ingredients that will hopefully help my skin's textural issues.

Just under one pump - I use half to 3/4 of a pump to cover my face.

This treatment is a clear gel formula that comes in a pump bottle.  Apparently it used to come in jar packaging, but I'm glad they made the move to a pump - it's easier to dispense what you need, and most importantly it's far more hygienic.  The consistency is quite thick and when you first apply it can feel a little sticky.  Because this contacts BHAs (Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid are the 2nd and 3rd ingredient, respectively) there can be a slight tingling sensation on your skin.  I do have some sensitivity but for me this wasn't anywhere near uncomfortable or a burning feeling at all.  However if your skin is particularly sensitive I would recommend a patch test first to be on the safe side.

Spread out a bit - the thickish gel has quite a jelly-like texture.

Now my review has to start off with a very bold statement: from one single night of use I was already a big fan of this stuff.  A little goes a long way and less than one pump is enough to cover my face.  I apply this after cleansing and letter my toner sink in, and then leave it to set for a good fifteen minutes or more before applying my night moisturizer.  My skin texture always seems to feel nicer when I put on my moisturizer, and the next morning my skin tone seemed more even and with less redness.  The texture of my skin and pores on my forehead, nose and cheeks seemed finer and smoother, and the next morning my foundation really did apply more smoothly as well.

Once the product has been spread out a bit into a thin, even layer.  At this point it feels quite sticky.

After one use I was really sold at the end of the next day at work.  Because my skin is quite dehydrated, my foundation can tend to go patchy throughout the day, usually by lunchtime it needs a decent touch up.  By this I mean that basically all of my foundation looks like it's been wiped off, leaving behind traces in my pores and not much else.  However the day after I tried this treatment for the first time I had only very minimal patchiness by the end of the day.  For the first time in months my makeup didn't look horrendous by lunchtime and was still passable by the time I got home some eleven hours later!

After it's left to absorb for 5-10 minutes the stickiness and shine disappear.

I've kept using this since then, and I really am a fan.  It's so easy to use - no messing around like you have to with cream or clay masks which, I'll be honest, sometimes I'm too lazy to make proper use of - and I literally saw damn good results after one use.  Over the last couple of weeks, although my skin is still far from perfect, it still does seem clearer and more even in both texture and tone.  This is a bit of a miracle as my skin has been absolutely horrible for the last few months, with a rough feel, clogged pores all over the place, uneven redness in my cheeks and skin, and persistent yet small breakouts.  Most of this has gone now - I still have some clogged pores and roughness (which have both lessened and I'm hoping will continue to go away with time) and the odd spots, but generally speaking my skin looks and feels in much better condition than it has in a long time.

I would recommend this to anyone.

So, full summary below!

Pros: 

  • I really did see instant results - more even skintone and smoother texture literally overnight
  • Very easy to use - just apply and let absorb before applying night cream
  • Hygienic pump dispenser
  • The bottle should last a decent amount of time as I only need to use around half a pump for full facial coverage

Cons:

  • A bit on the pricey side to buy in the UK at £42, particularly when you take into account the US retail price of $45.00 and the current exchange rates (however I feel the effects make it worth the price personally, but I can see how the cost might be prohibitive to others)
  • The texture feels a little sticky when first applied, although this mostly goes away once it's settled into the skin
  • If you rub your face after it's dried down/absorbed it can have a tendency to 'pill' off, so be gentle

Ratings

Quality: 4.5/5
Value: 4/5
Does What It Says: 5/5
Packaging: 4/5
Bonus*: N/A
TOTAL: 17.5/20
Until next time!
XOXOX



Note: This post may contain affiliate links; please see Disclosure page for further information.

Sunday, 23 November 2014

First Impression Friday : Life's Entropy Lip Theory - Fusion

Life's Entropy Lip Theory : Fusion

First off, sorry this First Impression Friday is being posted on Saturday (or I mean, if we're being technical it's actually just before 1am on Sunday morning), but it's been one of those weeks!  Aside from work and Friday night plans with girlfriends and some family stuff that's been going on in my personal life, my cat Pumpkin has been sick this week.  On a sidenote, she went to the vet today and has a fever so she's on some fever-reducing medication and antibiotics and goes back on Monday for a follow-up check, but she's doing mostly okay so that's a relief!

Anyway, excuses aside - if you haven't heard of Life's Entropy before it's a new-ish, independent brand of cosmetics founded by beauty blogger (and now entrepreneur) Jane of lifesentropy.com earlier this year.  I first discovered this brand when I saw a collection of Lip Theory swatches over on Reddit's Makeup Addiction subreddit and immediately had to do some research; the colours looked so nice and opaque and beautiful that I needed to try them for myself.  Lip Theories are, to put it in the most simple of terms, similar to OCC's Lip Tars.  All of the names are science-themed, which the nerd in me absolutely loves.

I found my way to the STORENVY shop and placed my first ever order.  I couldn't settle on the lip theory shades so decided to buy a sample set of the full range of Lip Theories, an easy way to try before you buy.  I was pretty comfortable that the formulation would be something I liked, if other reviews and swatches online were anything to go by, but I really wanted to try the shades out to be sure they suited me before buying them.  That having been said, I did also order a full-size lip theory in the shade Derivative (a light, milky pastel pink) as well as a contouring stick in the palest shade (Proton) and the October Mystery Bag (which contains 2 full-size Lip Theories and a few samples) and also received two free gifts with purchase (another full-size Lip Theory and an eyeshadow sample).  

I haven't used most of the products yet and haven't worn any of the Lip Theories I have tested out long enough to write a full review, but I wanted to share the above lip swatch and my first impressions all the same.  Mostly because I'm very excited by this!  



I've tried on a few of the shades:  Enzyme (light pinky-coral, free gift with purchase), Crystal Violet (mid-tone purple), Fusion (bright fuchsia pink, pictured above), Nucleous (creamy opaque true black).  And honestly?  I absolutely love them all.  Some of the shades probably won't get much use (I'm looking at that bottom row specifically) but I may use the samples to custom blend my own shades as well.  Next time I place an order I'm definitely going to get some of the empty lipgloss tubes, clear lipgloss base, and eyeshadow samples to mix my own Lip Theories.

So, quick review of the shade Fusion above:  Application was easy with the right brush, the product itself is very creamy and the colour opaque, the only real con is that there is slight feathering in the fine lines around my lips but I believe utilizing a clear lipliner will help keep the colour within the border of the lips.

Have any of you guys tried Life's Entropy cosmetics?  I feel like I'm super late onto this bandwagon but I'm in love now and already planning my next purchase!  If you have, what are your favourite products that I need to try out??

(Just a heads up but Life's Entropy's web store is closed this week, but is reopening for Black Friday on 28.11.14 if you wanted to check them out!)

Until next time!
XOXO

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Get To Know The Blogger : 20 Facts Tag


I've been tagged in the 20 Facts tag by my friend Erika from Erika, Eventually (seriously guys, go check out her blog).  I love tags like this, I think they really help you get to know a blogger better ^^ Instructions are up above but it's pretty straightforward so let's get straight on with it!

1.  I've listened almost exclusively to Korean pop music for four or five years.

2.  I never drink enough water and am perpetually dehydrated.  It definitely isn't doing my skin any favours.

3.  Although I'm aware of this fact I'm very bad at remembering to do something about it.

4.  Iced tea is my favourite drink in the world, and it pains me that it's not really a 'thing' in England.

5.  On that note, everything over here is blackcurrant flavour and I hate the taste and smell of blackcurrant more than almost anything else in life.

6.  I make the most amazing gingerbread cupcakes.  Maybe one day I'll make a blog post and share my recipe.  

7.  I have a couple weird phobias - Trypophobia and Submechanophobia.

8.  Halloween and Christmas are my two favourite days of the year.

9.  I was born and raised in Calgary, Alberta.  

10. I then  moved to England one week after my last day of high school at the age of 18.

11. I have dual nationality through my mother who still retains her British citizenship - which means I didn't have to mess around with Visa applications or Immigration to move here.

12.  I've never gone to university.  I still think about it sometimes, but I have a good job and haven't discovered something I'm so passionate about as to quit and go back to school to pursue another career yet.  

13. My estranged father got back into touch with me after nearly 18 years via Facebook - I met him a few years ago and we still keep in touch via email once a month or so.

14. Although I'm probably the only Canadian who doesn't speak a word of French, I'm dying to learn another language (Korean or Japanese).

15. I've already memorized the Korean writing system and alphabet, so that's a start.

16.  I had bright candy-pink hair up until last autumn.  I still miss it now.

17. As much as I know about and love makeup - I still fail out loud at doing my brows.

18. I run a Korean Fashion blog on Tumblr (kfashionobsession, if you're at all interested)

19. I love dark literature - Chuck Palahniuk is one of my all-time favourite authors (Fight Club, Invisible Monsters)

20. I have two cats - a white/ginger-tabby girl named Pumpkin and a little black-and-white baby boy named Miso (Miso will be a year old on the 5th of December!)


As for who I'm tagging:

1. Julia of Miss Julziez

2. Elish at A Piece of Elish

3. Michelle at Teach In Fashion

4. Kelsey at Leather & Lipstick

5. Chloe at Love From Lucky


7. Philippa at Just Philippa

8. Carly at Cee Jay Ell

9. Gemma at Touch of Belle

10. Cassie at Cassie Fairy

11. Beth at The British Girl


13. Sarah at Moshing Zombies


15. Melissa at The Modern Audrey

16-20: You, the reader - if you have a blog, consider yourself tagged.  Please leave your link as well as I'd love to read yours too!



Saturday, 15 November 2014

Oyatsu Box : November 2014

This morning I made my way to our local delivery office to pick up a package that couldn't be delivered on Thursday.  I'd convinced myself it was a Christmas present from Amazon, but when the man behind the counter handed me my package I nearly burst with excitement.  At a glance I knew exactly what it was, and I had completely forgotten all about it!


As soon as I saw that customs declaration and address label I remembered - A couple of months ago I signed up to Oyatsu Cafe's amazing monthly subscription services.  The first, called Kawaii Monthly, is a box full of various cute items like stationery and toys and beauty products.  The second one is called Oyatsu Box - and this is the one I picked up today.  Every month for just over £16, I receive a box full of Japanese candy and snacks.  When I opened my box today, this is the first thing I saw:


THOSE, MY FRIENDS, ARE GREEN TEA KIT KATS.  Caps of excitement necessary.  Sorry, as you can tell I was excited - green tea anything is basically my favourite, but green tea Kit Kats in particular are about as close to Heaven as you can get on earth.  

Click the read more to see everything that came in my box this month!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Swap Haul: Volume 1 : Sephora Custom Purchase

Last week I arrived home from work to find a mysterious package waiting for me! Well it wasn't *that* mysterious to be honest, since I recognized the sender's name on the side of the box. I opened it up with excitement to find my Sephora swap-haul from my dear friend Peggy! I'd link you guys to her blog, except that she doesn't blog - I do have a guest post or two that should be posted here quite soon, so if you enjoy her writing you should insist she start a blog all her own. The girl has serious taste and style ^^


Here's everything laid out - I was taking advantage of the recent Sephora's Friends and Family 20% off sale, but managed to keep myself to a half-decent budget. It was a struggle though, let me tell you. I wanted to buy everything from skincare to makeup and in between. There's always next time, of course! Up top there are some OCC Lip Tars - I had to get the shade Black Dahlia, but couldn't settle on any other shades so decided to go for the three-colour matte vivid set which includes the shades Nylon, Harlot and Trollop.


Here's everything laid out - I was taking advantage of the recent Sephora's Friends and Family 20% off sale, but managed to keep myself to a half-decent budget. It was a struggle though, let me tell you. I wanted to buy everything from skincare to makeup and in between. There's always next time, of course! Up top there are some OCC Lip Tars - I had to get the shade Black Dahlia, but couldn't settle on any other shades so decided to go for the three-colour matte vivid set which includes the shades Nylon, Harlot and Trollop.  On the bottom row we have ExfoliKate Intense Exfoliating Treatment, the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment. Anastasia Beverly Hills Beauty Express for Brows and Eyes, Anastasia Beverly Hills Tamanna Eyeshadow Palette, Kat Von D Autograph Liquid Liner in Puro Amor, and finally Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz and Perfect Brow Pencil, both in the shade Taupe.


Here's a quick shot of just the Anastasia products.  I was particularly excited to receive these, since I've long been searching for some products to make my Quest For The On-Point Brow a little easier.  I'll write more about this later, but seriously I cannot do my brows.  Can.  Not.  And the Tamanna palette was a last minute addition I definitely don't regret!


Here's a close-up shot of the Beauty Express.  Of course I got the shade blonde, and was a little bit apprehensive that it would still be too dark for me (since both my hair and complexion are quite pale) but we'll see.  I was particularly excited about the stencils since they seem foolproof, but my brows are naturally very fine so I'm not sure there are any stencils thin enough.  Or I suppose I can try to just fake it!


Next, a close-up of the Tamanna palette.  I was so so excited to get this one - I was inspired by Amy Nicola to get this after seeing her make use of Sangria in a beautiful eye look.  I'm really quite loving all of the colours in this, although I've only used it once so far - I can't wait to play with new colour combinations!


The infamous lip tars.  I'm pretty sure I'm the very last person in all of the world to ever try these.  First of all, I love that these come with brushes for application.  I own two lip brushes, one being an excellent one from Illamasqua and the other being a dirt-cheap one from a Hello Kitty brush set I got for Christmas a few years back - but both of them are quite firm and more suited to application of cream products (read: actual lipstick) than these.  The texture of these lip tars wouldn't work with the firmer brush so again, I was grateful to receive these softer brushes with them.  They work perfectly in tandem.  Black Dahlia is definitely my favourite, and I'm saddened that it isn't work-appropriate as I'd love to wear it every day.  I'm still playing around with application, and my dehydrated lips really try to soak these up.  Because they're so opaque I really have to be careful with application so they don't look messy on me, but I really like them so far.


And finally, last but certainly not least, the skincare.  I only went for two exfoliators - as I mentioned in my previous feelunique/allbeauty haul post, I'm all about the exfoliation right now.  My skin texture is a nightmare and on top of being dehydrated, I have all kinds of clogging going on and dead skin that just needs to be gone right now please.  I've heard amazing things about ExfoliKate, so although it was rather pricey, I decided to take the plunge - I justified the purchase to myself using the logic that using the 20% off of everything else, this was basically free if I had paid full price for the rest of the items above ^_^ No more guilt!  And having been on the search for a good treatment, the Ole Henriksen Invigorating Night Treatment was something that has been on my list for a while now, but the pricing in England is pretty horrendous unless you can catch it on sale (it retails for $42 US at Sephora, but here in the UK you're looking at very nearly the same price in Pounds Sterling).  

Now I'll be posting reviews once I've had a chance to really try things out - especially the last two items! - so be sure to check back for that.  In the meantime I just want to say thank you to Peggy for offering your swap services and I'm totally game for a Round Two if ever there's anything else from over here in the UK that you're after!

Until next time!
XOXOX

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

GIVEAWAY: MAC + Rocky Horror Picture Show - Frank N Furter Lipstick



I know I posted about this a while ago now, but it's finally time!

As you may know from my previous MAC + RHPS post, I managed to get my hands on the most coveted lipstick in the shade Frank N Furter.  I'll admit, at first I was drawn in by the name, but since receiving the lipstick I'm seriously in love.  It's a darkened ruby red, but still goes well with my pale complexion - and from the various reviews and swatches and photos (oh my!) online, it's clear that it suits darker skintones just as well.  Personally I find this a very wearable shade in spite of it's almost 'daring' appearance in the tube.

And most important of all, when I placed my order, I picked up an extra one for you!

That's right, it's giveaway time, and it's open internationally! ^___^ Enter using the Rafflecopter below!

Update 06 Nov 14 - Just a quick heads up you guys, but I've noticed some invalid entries this morning as a few have entered by liking on Facebook or Blog Comments but I can see that this hasn't actually been done so I wanted to let you know that I will be checking entries when the winner is randomized to ensure no cheating/lying has gone down. I also want to clarify that the Blog Comment and Daily Comment entries must be comments on THIS blog, please do not enter external links to websites such as QuoteV as they will be counted as invalid entries.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Until next time!
XOXOX

Wishlist Wednesday: Vol2 : GHD V Rose Gold Styler Set


As you may have seen from my previous Wishlist Wednesday post, I'd originally planned on making this series more of a "shopping guide" type of thing, with a selection of coats or boots or red lipsticks or items from a particular brand.  But this week there's one particular thing that has caught my eye that I desperately want but probably won't actually get myself (and so I urge you to consider it instead so that I can live vicariously through your purchases, dear reader!)  - the limited edition GHD V Rose Gold styler.  

Because seriously, look how beautiful it is!  I'm a big fan of rose gold in general, both as a precious metal and a colour finish, and I just love the way this looks.  Even the case/pad that it comes with, with the rose gold accents against the black fabric is so pretty and classy looking.  At the moment I can't really justify the purchase though - at £130 it's only slightly more expensive than your general GHD stylers, but my GHD IV double-wide styler is still going strong so I'm really just not in the market for another set.  

Personally I don't think I'd go back to non-GHD branded hair straighteners now.  For a long time I didn't really understand the hype, but then my favourite straighteners at the time broke (probably a blessing in disguise as I used to use the old Wet-to-Staight ones on hair sopping wet straight out of the shower, and in retrospect I can't imagine that being good for my hair!) and long story short, I decided to take the plunge.  I have very thick, unruly wavy-curly hair that has been as long as my waist, and these babies made straightening it into submission a much easier job than the myriad of tools I've used in the past.  

I broke my first set right out of the warranty when I placed them on the floor next to my bed and them promptly stood on / tripped over them and completely busted the hinge.  I replaced them with the double-wide "salon" model and haven't looked back since - that was a good four years ago and they're still working just as well as they did out of the box.  But if I were in the market for a new hair straightener, this is definitely the one I'd go for.  I like it even more than the cherry-blossom ones that were being sold at duty free when I went on a cruise this time last year, and let me tell you, that's saying something.  

Anyway if you're so inclined, and you can't find these locally, you can purchase online from ghdHair.com or alternatively from one of my favourite online retailers feelunique.com has these in stock as well.  Both sell at the retail price of £130.00, which you'll be happy to hear includes free shipping from either website!

Until next time!
XOXOX

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Fashion Fix : Frost Bitten Featuring NewLook

Frost Bitten



This outfit really encapsulates this time of year to me. It reminds me of living in Canada, where autumn and winter often blurred into a single chilly, frostbitten season with red and orange leaves dusted in snow and ice on early weekday mornings.  I can imagine wearing this while window-shopping downtown for Christmas presents, gingerbread latte in hand.  Now that Halloween is over, Lady Winter will begin stretching her arms far and wide, to pull you into her cozy, Christmassy embrace.
Until next time!
XOXOX


Note: This post may contain affiliate links; please see Disclosure page for further information.

Sunday, 2 November 2014

FOTD Vol 2: Kozuecha Featuring SUQQU


Today's Face of the Day again features Circle Lenses from Eye Candy's - these ones are Royal Vision Girly Chip in Rose Pink.  They don't look obviously in-your-face pink unless you're up close and under bright light, but I really like them.

Onto the products!

FACE:
MAC Studio Fix Fluid Foundation: NW10
MAC Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation: NC15
MAC Sculpt/Shape Duo: Bone Beige/Emphasize
MAC Mineralize Skinfinish: By Candlelight

LIPS:
MAC Matte Lipstick: Nouvelle Vogue

EYES:
MAC Pro Longwear Paint Pot: Tailor Grey
SUQQU Blend Colour Eyeshadow Palette: 10- Kozuecha
MAC Fluidline: Blacktrack
Diorshow Iconic Overcurl Mascara: Black
Canmake Mix Eyebrow Palette: 01

Until next time!
XOXOX

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Skincare Haul: Featuring allbeauty.com and feelunique.com

Also pictured: Caudalie Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil sample, Lady Gaga Eau De Gaga De Parfum samples - both complimentary from feelunique.com

I should preface this by saying that this is neither an advertorial nor a sponsored post.  Like my last entry, which was heavy on links to Escentual.com, I really just want to pass on my experiences and the good deals I managed to find online from some of my favourite online retailers.  This started life as your average haul/shopping post, but it inadvertently turned into something of a review for the websites themselves, so enjoy!!

A couple of weeks ago I found myself online shopping.  Which should surprise absolutely nobody, because if online shopping was an Olympic sport I would definitely be holding records and a Platinum medal.  My initial reasoning for said online shopping was completely altruistic - I wanted to see if I could get my aunt's favourite perfume (well, cologne as she wears a lot of men's scents) for Christmas.  Don't worry, she knows I'm buying it. 

This foray into fragrance found me on an old favourite, allbeauty.com (formerly CheapSmells), as they had the fragrance I needed for a very very reasonable price - which again isn't a surprise as in my experience they almost always have the best deals on any fragrance I've been looking for and which they stocked.  Pleased that I’d hit the proverbial jackpot, I added the perfume to my shopping basket and then proceeded to peruse the rest of the website.  It had admittedly been a good couple of years since I’d made a purchase from them (I’d been getting my fragrance from Duty Free stores overseas when I’d been on vacation) so I wanted to see what they had available.  I’ve also been on the hunt for the old original Polo in the green bottle by Ralph Lauren for my grandfather, as it’s getting more and more difficult to find now that the new Polo scents seem to be saturating the market everywhere instead now.  I don’t know if the original has actually been discontinued now?  I hope not!  Anyway, allbeauty did have the Polo Green in stock, and cheap  too (the 59ml size EDT retails at £45.00 but they’re selling it for £36.25 right now which is an amazing 19% off!).  Unfortunately for me, they didn’t have the larger size in stock, but it didn’t stop me from looking around to buy a little ‘Christmas’ treat for myself. 

Okay, time for a little aside.  I have to confess that this is entirely how I operate.  It’s October and I started my Christmas shopping around three weeks ago.  And when I do my Christmas shopping online I almost always wind up buying a treat or two for myself as well.  I call it buying Christmas presents for myself but I’m sure you know as well as I do that I’m going to tear open and use those babies as soon as they reach my house.  And that I probably would have bought things for myself even if I weren’t Christmas shopping at the same time.  But that’s how I wind up justifying the extra purchases to myself haha. 

Anyway, this is what I bought from allbeauty!

Korres White Tea Fluid Gel Cleanser, Shiseido White Lucency Recovery Night Cream

I’ve been on the hunt for a night cream for a while now, and while I was looking around the website I found that they had a certain one that’s been on my Want To Try list for… three years?  Maybe longer actually Easily since the last time I went to Canada, as I very nearly bought it from Sephora last time I was at home visiting my family.  From allbeauty the price for the Shiseido White Lucency Recovery Night Cream was £35.00, which was a whopping 36% off the RRP of £54.50.  I couldn’t pass up a deal like that, so it swiftly found its way into my cart. 


The only product I’ve tried from this line before was the foaming cleanser, which I absolutely loved even if it was maybe a little drying on me.  Since then I’ve wanted to try the whole range, but I didn’t see the point in splurging for the day and night mousturiser from the White Lucency line right now, as it would have been a tragic waste of the pricey Chanel day cream I just repurchased a couple of weeks ago.   I’ll not do a full review just yet, as I’ve only just started using it, but it does seem to be decently hydrating and feels very nice on my skin.  I’m happy with this purchase, I just wish it came in a slightly bigger tub for the price.  Although again, I can’t complain too much as I saved just shy of £20!


I don’t even remember how this wound up in my cart, I just remember seeing it and immediately needing it - Korres' White Tea Fluid Gel Cleanser.  I love a good flavoured latte as much as the next girl, but truth be told I’m more of a tea addict than anything else.  Up until recently I kept a fancy glass looseleaf teapot with matching glass cup and saucer on my desk at work to enjoy a variety of different teas – my favourite being the jasmine green tea pearls, or a nice cup of lightly sweetened white tea.  So you can probably see why this cleanser appealed to me. It cost £15 which I don't believe was on sale, but is still very reasonable if it gets along with my skin well.

I don’t have much firsthand experience with Korres as a brand, but I’ve heard good things about their skincare from numerous friends and other bloggers in the webosphere.  The one product I have tried is their lip butters, which I absolutely love.  Korres products are touted to be natural and containing less chemicals than many other brands, which also appealed to me.  So the cleanser has now replaced my usual Clinique gel cleanser.  Again, a full review of this will come later when I’ve had a chance to use it for a while and see how it gets along with my skin, but my first thought after using it was that my skin immediately didn’t feel quite as dry and tight as it does when I use the Clinique cleanser – even though the Clinique is for Skin Type 2 which is a dry skin type.  Very weird!  I’ll see how I get along with this one.  I just wish it came with a pump top as I feel like it’s going to slip and I’ll drop it when I pick it up with wet hands.



Not long after I placed by allbeauty order, I stumbled across a discount code for feelunique.com - £10 off a £25 spend.  Feelunique was one of those websites I had heard about and seen once or twice, but I’d never made a purchase before.  But seeing the discount code, I thought I might as well take a look and see if there was anything that caught my eye.  In fact, there was one product in particular that I’ve been dying to try for a while, so it was the first thing I searched for.  Lo and behold, feelunique came through! 


I’ve been doing some reading up on chemical exfoliation lately, as physical scrubs just aren’t really cutting it for me.  I still have clogged pores all up in there, I still get flaky patches and, most tragic of all, I’m almost out of the only facial exfoliator that I’ve ever felt worked well enough on my skin (MAC’s sadly discontinued Microfine Refinisher, RIP and let us say a brief word of mourning over its loss).  From my research, I knew that I wanted to incorporate both an AHA and BHA into my routine – with a Beta-Hydroxy Acid in the morning and an Alpha-Hydroxy Acid at night (as AHA’s can increase photosensitivity and I wouldn’t like to put it on my face just before walking outside, sunscreen or no).  Several reviews made me convinced that the FAB Facial Radiance Pads were the AHA I wanted to try, containing both Glycolic Acid and Lactic Acid.  The pads are convenient to store and to use, and I’ve heard very good things about their effectiveness as well.  And I mean, with £10 off I really couldn’t go wrong!


In order to make use of the discount code, I needed to spend over £25 – and at £20.50 the pads didn’t take me above that threshold on their own.  So I had a look around and settled on the Korres Pomegranate Tonic Lotion for £14.00 – which also helpfully contains Salicylic Acid and therefore fits the bill for the BHA toner I’ve been looking for.  This is a pretty standard toner to be honest – after cleansing, you put some on a cotton pad and wipe over your face before you apply your moisturiser.  I’ll be using this one in the morning, and hopefully the BHA will help unclog my pores over time.  It has to be a damn sight better than the no-toner I’ve been using recently, anyway – I had to nix my Clinique 3-step toner as although it’s meant to be formulated for dry skin, it feels like pure alcohol and completely strips my skin when I use it.  So far I’ve used it a couple of times and I like the way it feels, but time will be the deciding factor as to whether this becomes a staple of my skincare routing or I wind up BHA hunting again in a couple months’ time.

Just a note on feelunique’s services, since I went a bit more indepth about allbeauty already.  First and foremost, I find that while they do have some items available cheaper than alternative retailers, they do sell primarily around RRP - however I find their customer service is well worth the fact that it's not a "everything on super-sale all of the time" website.  Although having said that, their promotions and discount codes are really quite frequent, so I really think you'll be able to find a great deal basically any time you want to take a look.  Plus another little added bonus is that you can select samples when checking out as well, which I think is a nice little extra touch you don't get at a lot of beauty retailers.

Samples from feelunique.com

Again though it was feelunique's service that really made an impression on me.  When I placed my order, they were doing some revamp work which meant that orders weren’t being processed for a few days.  So I placed my order on Saturday night and it was processed closer to mid-week than the next working day.  However this was all very clear up front when I made my order, so was not at all a problem – it would have been very irritating to place an order and then for it to not be dispatched without any word of an update as to why.  I really appreciated the proactive approach here for the customers.  And then even after that, I received an email later on offering a 10% discount code as an “apology for the delay.”  I mean really, how sweet is that?  Completely unnecessary, but feelunique is very clearly a website that cares about its customers and strives to achieve a high level of customer satisfaction.  Just from my initial order I would have been a repeat customer anyway, as I was happy with the service at that point and they have a wide range available online which includes things that I’ve struggled to find elsewhere here in the UK.  But things like this really make a difference, you know?  So thank you!

Until next time!
XOXOX

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

Wishlist Wednesday: Vol1 : Guerlain Edition

It wasn't all that long ago that I made my first foray into the wonderful world of Guerlain.  I'd coveted their beautiful packaging for absolutely ages, but for a long time I guess it just felt a little too high end.  All of that changed a couple of months ago, however, when I stumbled across some EOTD posts using some Guerlain eyeshadow palettes.  This led to reading reviews and swatches and other EOTDs using them and I very desperately needed them in my life.  Luckily I stumbled across a little website called Escentual at the same time, which sells a lot of premium brands at a discounted price.  I wound up buying four of the palettes.  And a liquid liner for good measure.

And now it's safe to say I'm hooked. Those shadows are probably the prettiest beauty products I own, and I'm in love with them as much for the product inside as well.  Which brings me to this week's Wishlist Wednesday: products I need in my life, featuring Guerlain.  These are all things I've wanted to try for ages - and eventually, I will.  One of these days.

Wednesday Wishlist: Guerlain Cosmetics



1. Meteorites Voyage (01 Mythic) - £94.50 at Escentual
2. Meteorites Brush - £24.30 at Escentual
3. Meteorites Travel Touch Powder (01 Mythic) - £31.95 at Escentual
4. Meteorites Pearls (02 Clair) - £33.75 at Escentual
5. Ecrin 4 Couleurs Long-Lasting Eyeshadow Palette (various) - £35.10 at Escentual
6. Rouge G Exceptional Complete Lip Colour (various) - £28.35 at Escentual
7. Meteorites Base Perfectrice Pearls - £39.15 at Escentual
8. Lingerie De Peau Foundation (02 Beige Clair) - £33.75 at Escentual
9. Meteorites Bubble Blush (02 Cherry) - £25.65 at Escentual




Until next time!
XOXOX

Note: This post is not sponsored by Escentual in any way, however does contain affiliate links.  Please see the Disclosure page for more information.

Monday, 27 October 2014

Fashion Fix: Which Witch : Halloween 2014

Which Witch : Halloween 2014



Back on the theme of homemade Halloween costume ideas, here's a modern take on the old classic: Witch.  Now these pieces are all things that you could wear again at any time of the year, from that beautiful Ted Baker cloak to that dress, which I am absolutely in love with.  Adding a cute little headband-come-hat makes the Witchiness stick out a little bit more, but even without it I think you could carry it off.  And those boots?  They scream witch but they're also completely utilitarian, with good grips on the bottom which are perfect for traipsing over fallen leaves and keeping your toes warm in these chilly autumn evenings.

Until next time!
XOXOX