Sunday, 31 July 2011

a red warning

Oh yes, red hair is all fun and games when it is freshly-coloured, vibrant and not tainted by roots or washed-out ends. However, once the fade kicks in, the demise of your once colourful coiffure is an unstoppable force and will leave you with a battered barnet and a tricky dilemma.

Let me introduce you to Exhibit A, the shameful state that is my hair.
You will observe a good 12 weeks worth of roots, faded ends and some lovely random blonde streaks. I particularly love how the colour of my top knot doesn't even match the rest of my hair.

I am faced with three options if I wish to rid myself of this atrocity...keep up the red, go darker or, the word that instills dread amongst hairdressers and myself alike, 'cleanse' the hair. 
I have had this done before and I refuse to put my tresses through this again. From what I have experienced, it is a process of stripping the hair completely of all its colour, which will leave you resembling Krusty the Clown, and then dying it an all over base colour and taking it from there. My hair really suffered when I had this done and I therefore am avoiding this option at all costs. I equally don't want to stay red and I know I ultimately don't want to go darker! This leaves me in quite a conundrum...

Ideally I would very much like to be this colour again...
le sigh....

So what am I going to do?
Absolutely nothing. I plan to just embrace the mismatch mane and work on the condition and length of my hair as I am assuming it will fade a lot more over the two weeks I am away in Egypt. I will then return, get a good trim and ponder my next move. There are some really great colour-protecting hair products about which have worked wonders with my hair but inevitably, red hair will always fade and my flirtation with the fiery side is over.
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Saturday, 30 July 2011

Estée Lauder fuchsia velvet

On Wednesday, I had the great pleasure of trotting along to the Estée Lauder HQ in London to take a gander at their new Autumn 2011 releases. The Pure Color Modern Mercury collection has been created by international makeup artist, and Lauder's creative director, Tom Pecheux and offers a range of earthy tones and metallic textures contrasting with bold lips and matte finishes.

I want to share with you several products from the new range but understandably, first and foremost, my eyes were navigated to this gorgeous lipstick from the new collection. Fuchsia Velvet is a Pure Color lipstick offering a semi-matte finish without being drying or chalky. Enriched with apricot kernel and Shea butter, it feels lovely and creamy on your lips and is highly pigmented giving a real punch of colour.  It is simply divine with a sweet, fruity fragrance. Be warned however, this is definitely a lipstick to be applied with a lip brush.

I would describe the shade as a bright magenta with blue undertones. It is one of those lipsticks that can make your teeth look super white! I like matte lipsticks so this was always going to be a winner for me, but I love that it still has a subtle glossy sheen to the finish. I was trying to think of which MAC lipstick it best compares to...and I decided it is similar to Girl about Town but is definitely a lot more vibrant.

Pure Color Modern Mercury is coming soon online and in stores. You can always be notified by email once the products have been released if you so wish.

What are you thoughts on this lipstick?
Will you be checking out this new collection from Estée Lauder?
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Thursday, 28 July 2011

up , up and away

The holiday is booked.
5 weeks, 3 days and an inconsequential number of hours and we shall be jetting off to seek warmth and relaxation, and maybe  few ice creams, under the Egyptian sun! I am so so so very excited. :) I love going on holiday in the later summer months; as everyone else goes and returns, you have that smug feeling knowing your holiday is still to come.

However this late summer excursion means I am fraught with the challenge of tracking down some bikinis for my two weeks away. It feels like I'm swimming against the current with the shops currently tossing all their summer clothes aside to line the floors of their sales section. I became excited, momentarily, when I seized a perfect pair of bikini bottoms, only to be left on my hands and knees scouring for the accompanying top half. I think ASOS and La Senza will be my salvation as they both have a huge range of gorgeous, frilly and colourful bikinis. Which leads me to the immortal question; how many is too many bikinis for a summer holiday??

Have you been to Egypt? And, more importantly, have you seen any decent bikinis out and about in the shops?
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Monday, 25 July 2011

YSL beauty challenge

To celebrate the close collaboration between John Lewis and Yves Saint Laurent in their latest, upcoming fashion campaign, I was recently asked if I wanted to take part in the YSL beauty challenge. I was given the chance to recreate an inspired look from a YSL catwalk, using a few products from their makeup collection. 

Images courtesy of
I was a little hesitant at first - I am no makeup artist, but thought I would give it a go and studied the catwalk imagery to see which photos inspired me most. I chose the above two pictures from the Ready to Wear AW 2010 Paris fashion show because I loved the peach eyeshadow, bravely taken up high to the brow bone, the contoured cheeks and the berry-pink lips.
I received three items from the YSL collection to help me recreate this look.

I knew I wanted to emphasis the peachy shade used around the eyes, so I chose this eyeshadow duo in No.23 Pearly Peach/Mink Brown. The peach shadow wasn't quite as rich and intense as I had hoped, but was still a very pretty colour. I used this all over my lids, taking the colour quite far up towards my brow bone. I also ran the colour under my eyes as well. I then used the mink brown shade to lightly line my upper and lower lash lines. I noticed the rest of the eye was left quite bare, so simply added some mascara (MAC Zoom Fast mascara) and refrained from any eye liner.

I also received the YSL Touche Eclat Complexion Highlighter which I chose in shade 02 which was perfect for my NC25-30 skin shade.  Described as quite the 'cult' product, I hadn't actually tried this wonder wand before as I don't really suffer from dark circles. However, it transpires it can be used for more than disguising tired eyes, using it as a handy highlighter for all areas of your face.

The consistency is lovely and light; and so easy and creamy to blend. I used it under my eyes and in the corners, through my brow bone, down my nose and on my cheeks to add some luminosity to my face. It wasn't at all cakey and really lightened up the area around my eyes and gave my skin a fresh radiance.

Finally the lips. My favourite stage of any makeup look. The images lend themselves to a berry-pink lip so I opted for Candy Volupte Lipstick in No. 4 Succulent Pomegranate. It honestly smells amazing - like sweet watermelon, and glides on wonderfully, leaving a burst of colour and a glossy finish. It is a perfect lip colour that can be applied without any lipliner and keeps your lips feeling soft and hydrated, with a balm-like texture.

Below are the final photos of my inspired look.
Other products used:
Estee Lauder Double Wear (tawny)
MAC MSF Natural (medium plus)
MAC eyebrow pencil (spiked)
Bourjois Délice de Soleil bronzing powder

I had fun taking on this challenge and trying out some new products and recreating a certain look.
All these Yves Saint Laurent products and many other items can be purchased from John Lewis' makeup and skincare ranges online.

What are your thoughts? Is this a look you would try?
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Saturday, 23 July 2011

on impulse

There I was, just innocently queuing to pay for a basic tee and two pair of leggings in H&M, when this shimmering beacon to the left of me caught my eye. I had never paid much attention to the H&M nail polishes until then, but on impulse, I picked up this intriguing shade and popped it in my basket.

No Mambo Jambo (£2.99) is a gorgeously iridescent polish, which I would describe as peacock-green with blue shimmer. It changes colour in every light and with every movement. I love the chunky, slightly stunted bottle and bold lettering. I wasn't expecting great things from this product but am actually very impressed. Below represents the polish after just two coats.

I only painted my nails last night so cannot comment on its staying power but the consistency of the polish was easy to work with, not too thick and not at all streaky. I would definitely return and pay a little bit more attention to the other colours from their range.
Apologies for the diddy nails on my index fingers - does anyone else have certain nails that just refuse to grow?!

Let me know your thoughts on this colour? Have you tried any of the H&M nail polishes?
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Thursday, 21 July 2011

just because...

I have never been a sentimental sort when it comes to jewellery. I have always indulged in fast and cheap 'costume' jewellery but never have treated myself, or been treated to, special jewellery as such. It never really appealed to me, even when I saw my friends receiving special pieces for their 18th or 21st. However, following an impromptu trip to Selfridges with Rob, we ended up perusing the glitzy jewellery counters and he bought me this little sparkler from Thomas Sabo. The reason? Just because.
 I have never been a fan of the Thomas Sabo charm bracelets but have always loved their chunky rings and knew this was a firm favourite the moment I spied it. Luckily they had my size (52 FYI) and it fitted perfectly. After Rob bought it, I had one of those childish moments where I wanted to wear it straight away!

(Nail varnish - Illamasqua's Purity)

I really love this ring and it will be a piece I wear and treasure every day.
Thank you Rob.
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Sunday, 17 July 2011

mac lashes .33

Ah, false lashes. 
If only my daily routine allowed more time, I would love to flutter some fake lashes every day, but I tend to just slap on my mascara and scoot out the door. I am not very good at applying falsies under pressure! I do enjoy wearing fake lashes though, and love they way they instantly add so much length and volume; really enhancing your eye look. 
I received these MAC lashes no.33 after attending a recent event and I decided to give them a whirl at the weekend.

I applied the lashes with my trusty duo glue. Once I had lined the edge of the lashes with the glue, I waited 30 seconds or so until the glue had gone tacky. I then manoeuvred the lashes into place with a pair of tweezers and a lot of patience. In hindsight I should have trimmed the length of the lashes as they were a little too long to fit along my lash line, but they looked fine once brushed through with some mascara.

On my lids I decided to use one of The Body Shop's baked-eye-colours in 01. Copper. 
I really love eyeshadows duos - the fact that both your main and crease colours are there in one place really excites me! Its quite a subtle shade but I like the bronzed shimmer it gives to my lids. 

I do really like these lashes although they aren't probably a style I would have chosen. At first inspection they seemed a little 'spiky'. I like lashes to be all uniformed but these ones create a selection of shorter and longer lashes. Once on however, I think they looked quite nice.

What are your thoughts?
Do you enjoy flaunting some falsies?
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to buy and buy again

Yesterday I had a really lovely day in London. Myself and several other bloggers braved the rain and splashed along to the Crazy Bear Club in Covent Garden for a swish luncheon with Herbal Essences to celebrate the launch of their new Smooth and Soft range. It was a great afternoon filled with cocktails (the lychee and blueberry being a particular favourite) plenty of chit chat and a seemingly never-ending supply of delicious food.

After the event I cowered under my umbrella again and headed to Oxford Circus to pay a visit to the MAC store and pick up my ye ol' faithful mineralised skin finish natural. This product is undoubtedly my most repurchased beauty must-have of all time. As you can see, I have already amassed three empties all set to be taken 'back to mac'. This is the only face powder I have gotten along with and I wear it every day without fail. I find it sets my foundation perfectly and leaves my skin looking finished with a natural matte look and a velvety touch. It also works really well on those days when I don't want to wear any foundation, evening out my skin tone with a medium coverage.

I use the shade medium plus which is perfect for my nc25-nc30 skin. I usually use a kabuki brush to apply the powder, gently buffing it in to my skin to create a flawless finish. The luxurious powder is formulated into a dome, and the 10g product (£18.50) lasts me about 6-8 weeks. I don't know if this is particularly good or not, I do seem to be forever buying a new one but this is one product I certainly do not begrudge investing in.

Are you a fellow fan of MAC's MSFN?
Which is your most repurchase product?
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Monday, 11 July 2011

English rose

Dress - In Love With Fashion

A long long time ago, back in those happy days when I had internet, I was kindly sent this gorgeous dress from the online store In Love With Fashion. This brand, as seen in Topshop, is awash with pretty floral dresses, cinched belted waists, pastels and pleats. Due to the delay, I now feel a little bit mean wafting this outfit in front of you as I do believe this actual dress is no longer for sale. In Love With Fashion don't mass produce their clothes, so once they're gone, they're gone! However, they have loads of other prints in this same style as well as having a rather great sale online at the moment. 
It came with the belt included and I was really pleased with the quality and fit of the dress, which is fully lined and available in S/M and M/L. I opted for S/M. The only trouble I did encounter was the top section being a little loose and somewhat revealing, but nothing a sly safety pin didn't sort out. Anyone (everyone) slightly more well-endowed than me probably wouldn't have this issue! I would definitely recommend visiting their site if you are after some pretty new additions to your wardrobe.

I hope you are all ok and had a good weekend. Today marks the day when I am back as a fully functioning blogger with super speedy internet and everything! I feel like I have been reunited with my right arm again!
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Saturday, 9 July 2011

a touch of tangerine

With the weather as changeable as ever, here is your chance to bring a little bit of guaranteed sunshine to your makeup bag. Sleek Makeup have launched a limited edition Caribbean collection combining 1970's beauty and bold brights for a paradisiacal palette to encapsulate that holiday feeling! 
The collection follows suit and offers three key products; a palette, a pout polish and a blush.
The Curaçao i-divine palette (£6.49) combines a cocktail of bright pinks, ocean blues and zesty yellows for a really vivid, highly-pigmented eye look.  

Bonaire Pout Polish (£4.29) is a heavenly-scented lip balm enriched with Jojoba, Avocado and Sweet Almond Oil, as well as having SPF 15 protection. I am in love with the fruity smell of this pout polish which whisks you off to a tropical escape, piña colada in hand.

I am not sure I would wear this lip balm on its own as it requires a lot of application to achieve a true tangerine hue. I think it would work best worn over another lipstick, such as MAC's Morange for a more intense, glossy finish. That said, I love the way this pout polish applies, and leaves my lips feeling conditioned and soft.

Aruba Blush (4.29) is certainly a blush for the brave! It offers a rich, unashamed bright orange powder for a tropical touch to your cheeks. Sleek describes Aruba as a cheeky coral...but it is most definitely orange! I know I would be too fearful to wear this shade but I do think it would work well on darker skin tones for a more subtle finish.

The Caribbean collection launched this week, but is only available for a limited time only, from Superdrug stores nationwide and Sleek Makeup online.

This season, are you tantalised by tangerine?
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Monday, 4 July 2011

No.7 Stay Perfect nail colours

The other week I attended a fabulous event hosted by No.7 to mark the launch of their 20 new, fashion-led nail polishes. The new Stay Perfect nail colours range from the punchy to the pastel, flirting with metallic and matte finishes, perfectly capturing the SS11 trends for your talons. The formulation of these nail varnishes has been updated, a welcome discovery as I have previously found No.7 polishes a tad thick and easily chipped. This new formulation however contains Lumiere powder using diamond core technology to lift colour and shine, whilst Okoume extract increases flexibility and prevents nails becoming brittle. I have definitely noticed a difference with the new formula and have enjoyed flaunting a few of their fresh new shades.

During the night, as well as being able to ogle over all the new nail colours, we were treated to the presence of Jamie Nunn, top celebrity nail technician. Jamie is the head of nails on the X-factor as well as transforming the talons of a whole host of women, from models to TV stars. Jamie demonstrated a range of different nail art techniques which we simultaneously were able to recreate on our own nail wheel. My favourite was the antique marble effect which I plan to show you in a separate post. It was really enjoyable and fun to experiment with some new techniques, even if my attempts were a little less than desirable. Practice makes perfect!

Below are a selection of the nail colours that really took my fancy and I was able to take away with me from the night. I have tried to capture the colours best using the flash and then no flash. 

From l-r:
Perky, Stand Back, Hot to Trot, Cheeky Chops

From l-r:
Dollar, Jammy, Disco Nights,  Tangy

The new No.7 Stay Perfect nail colours are out now in Boots and retail at £7.50 (10ml)
Which shade will you be sporting this Spring Summer?
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