Tuesday, 31 January 2012

a fresh look

You may have noticed that my blog has had a little makeover recently. Nothing drastic, but after two years of supporting a three column layout I was becoming bored and irritated at the appearance of my own blog and wanted to freshened it up a bit. I always get a little nervous when I start fiddling around with my blogger template, backing it up a zillion times just in case, so I wanted to enlist some help (ie someone else to blame if it all goes wrong!) Sometimes I wonder how I actually have an operational blog on the internet as I am not the most technical savvy when it comes to blog design and layout. I have seemlingly fumbled my way through the unknown world of HTML and CSS codes thanks to a lot of googling and plenty of patience. However I was truly stumped when I wanted to change my blog from three to two coloumns and to add some smart social media icons.

Faye writes Girl does Geek, a blog which explores all aspects of technical wizardry from layouts to widgets, offering lots of handy hints and step by step tutorials. I knew she was the girl for the job! Faye will admit herself that she loves all that geeky technical stuff, so much so that she has built up her knowledge to a level that enables her to offer consultations and complete whole web designs. Therefore I was more than happy to hand the reigns over to Faye and let her work her magic! She was awesome and literally completed the job on the same day. I am pretty sure my request wasn't particularly challenging but I was still really impressed with the quickness and efficiency, and breathed a sigh of relief when I saw that Pearls and Poodles was still fully functional on the world wide web!

You can contact a Faye via her website or tweet her @fayemarieblogs if you fancy a blog makeover any time soon. I hope you love my new look blog as much as I do!

small print: Faye does charge for her blog redesign work and I of course paid for mine. She certainly didn't ask me to write this post but I just thought it would be really handy for anyone who may be thinking of having a blog revamp and not really knowing where to start.

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Sunday, 29 January 2012

fashionistA lipsticks

With Valentine's Day just around the corner, it is time to brace ourselves for the onslaught of pink packaging, gushing sentiments and overpriced flowers flooding the shops. Usually I am totally immune to all the specially concocted makeup collections that begin to emerge around this time, but unsurprisingly I was quite excited by a new lipstick range from FashionistA. FashionistA, a fun and obtainable makeup range available in Superdrug, have launched a range of seven new lipsticks to ensure you have the most desirable, kissable lips for when Cupid's arrow strikes. Encased in a striking red tube, these lipsticks offer a selection of sumptuous colours to give you the perfect pout this Valentine's Day.

FashionistA Double Take Long Wear lipstick - Natural Pink*
This is an easy to wear, petal pink lipstick with muted tones and a wonderfully creamy finish. In some lights it almost gleams with a hint of coral and is so soft to apply. Both lipsticks are laced with a deliciously coconut scent.

fashionistA lipstick natural pink
fashionistA lipstick natural pink
fashionistA lipstick natural pink

FashionistA Double Take Long Wear lipstick - Raspberry*
This is definitely my favourite out of the two lipsticks. The rich raspberry hue is gorgeous, highly-pigmented and surprisingly long-wearing. It is so creamy and leaves your lips with a lovely sheen.

fashionistA lipstick raspberry
fashionistA lipstick raspberry
fashionistA lipstick raspberry

FashionistA is available from selected Superdrug stores and offers a range of products including their custom design palette system - a fun way to get creative and put together your own palette of blushers and eyeshadows. The Double Take Long Wear lipsticks are now available from the collection and retail at £7 each.

Will you be puckering up for FashionistA lipsticks this Valentine's?

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Thursday, 26 January 2012

static pure pigment


Illamasqua Pure Pigment in Static, £15.50

If you could capture fairy dust, put it in a pot and marvel at its magnificence, I am pretty sure it would look something like this. This stunning iridescent pure pigment from Illamasqua is simply beautiful, perfect for adding a metallic shine to an eyeshadow as well as highlighting brows and cheekbones. In the pot it appears quite tame, but as you begin to swirl the silvery white dust, glimmers of lilac and flashes of pink and blue begin to appear. It becomes a mirage of dancing sparkles. This pigment works best when pressed into a cream base or applied wet for an intense finish.  It definitely requires a base colour to realise its true potential, and be prepared for fall out...lots of fall out!

illamasqua static pigment
illamasqua static pigment
illamasqua static pigment

With quite a dramatic eye, I kept the rest of my makeup simple and natural, and let the glitter take the glory!

Estee Lauder Double Wear/Tawny
Bourjois Delice de Soleil bronzer
Look Beauty Make Me Blush/Pinch
The Body Shop eyeshadow duo/Amethyst
MAC Zoom Fast Black Lash mascara
Urban Decay 24/7 eyeliner /Zero
MAC Hue lipstick

Have you tried any of Illamasqua's pure pigments?

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Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Carmine: the January box

carmine january box
carmine january box

Carmine's January beauty box*

1. Westlab Himalayan Pink Salt: A natural, mineral-rich treasure straight from the Himalayan mountain range that will transform your bath to a heavenly soak, helping you to relax and detox. 

2. Balance Me Radiance Face Oil: This 100% natural face oil is set to dramatically renew your skin, leaving it glowing and moisturised. Simply massage it onto your face and neck to give your skin back the radiance it deserves.

3. Korres Wild Rose 24 hour Moisturising & Brightening Cream: A lovely treat from sunny Greece. This organic face cream will not only brighten and repair your complexion, but it will also pump up the hydration for a full 24 hours.

4. Eyeko Fat Eye Stick: A chubby stick of soft creamy colour works as a liner and as a shadow to create the perfect smoky-eye. Available in six different colours.

5. Eldora handmade lashes: With over 200 different types of lashes, Eldora offer an extension range of hand created lashes fit for every occasion; from diamante encrusted to glow in the dark.

This month's beauty box from Carmine could definitely be described as a bit of a mixed bag. I certainly didn't get a pang of excitement as I lifted the lid and revealed the contents like I have in previous months. I saw bath salts and my heart dropped. Bath salts really don't float my boat! But on closer inspection, I would have been foolish to dismiss this month's box quite so quickly. The eyelashes look fabulous - I am a big fan of falsies and I know I will find the perfect occasion to flaunt these. Eyeko's fat eyestick is a chunky eye kohl ideal for lining the eyes as well as giving your lids a glossy slick of colour. It is soft and creamy and will suffice as a new eyeliner when my current one runs out. I don't go crazy for Eyeko products; I feel much love was lost when they stop doing their dinky nail varnishes, but for an eyeliner, this is actually alright. The Korres Wild Rose Moisturising Cream should be a nice product to try based on my pleasant experiences with a few other Korres products, plus it does smell lovely. And as for the Balance Me Radiance Face Oil with its rollerball applicator...the jury are still out on this one!

So all in all, I felt it was a bit hit and miss this month. The false lashes and Eyeko fat eyestick were good finds in the box and it is nice they can be used in conjunction with each other to create a dramatic, evening eye look. The Korres Moisturising Cream will be a nice addition to my skincare selection, but the other products didn't really bowl me over.

What are your thoughts on this month's box?

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Monday, 23 January 2012

very berry

sleek cranberry l/s
sleek cranberry l/s
sleek cranberry l/s

Sleek Makeup lipstick in Cranberry, part of The Berry Collection*

This gift set was released over Christmas as a party season essential, containing an eye kohl, blusher and lipstick, all deeply enriched with sultry berry tones. Unsurprisingly, the lipstick was the only item that really appealed to me, despite its lacklustre appearance in the tube.  It is a stunning colour; intense with a matte finish. Cranberry lipstick is a spicy reddy-brown shade, not too dissimilar from that mug of mulled wine you may have enjoyed over the festive time. The only disappointment with this lipstick is that it is incredibly drying; I don't suffer from dry lips but it even managed to make my lips look and feel a little scaly. This is such a shame as my lipstick collection is crying out for a beautiful burgundy lipstick like this.

sleek cranberry l/s
sleek cranberry l/s

The Berry Collection is currently still available from Sleek Makeup and is only £10.
Are you going very berry for this lipstick?

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Thursday, 19 January 2012

i've been lovestruck


I'm a big fan of Vera Wang fragrances. Princess, Preppy Princes, Rock Princess; they have all adorned my dressing table at one time or the other. My most recent (Christmas present) addition to the shrine of Wang is Lovestruck, a florally sweet scent with an addictive fruity aroma. It heralds tropical tones of juicy guava and aquatic lotus flower making it the perfect choice for a spirited, classic fragrance.

In the words of Vera herself - "Lovestruck is about the emotion and rush you feel when you are falling in love and going for it, those heart-pounding moments of spontaneity." Definitely more of a daytime than an evening time perfume, I can be found dousing myself most mornings in this luscious scent.

What perfumes are you lovestruck with at the moment?

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Monday, 16 January 2012

getting lashed

Of course every girl dreams of long, fluttery, gorgeous lashes. Of course not every girl can achieve this through mascara alone and sometimes a little intervention is needed. I had always shied away from the idea of eyelash extensions. With a plethora of fake lashes on the market for quick and easy, stick 'em on, whip 'em off application, I never felt the attraction of having individual lashes painstakingly applied for long full lashes, day and night, for up to two weeks or more.

As part of my freelance writing work for Carmine, I was sent to the Benito Brow Bar on Oxford Street, London to have a set of dramatic semi-permanent eyelash extensions applied in order to report back on my experience. The brow bar was in the main Debenhams on Oxford Street and was quite a mission to find as I weaved between the beauty counters in a haze of hairspray and perfume. Once I arrived it was like a haven of tranquility as I was shown to a sumptuous reclining chair and calmly told how the procedure would unveil. The whole process took about 50 minutes, 25 minutes per eye and simply involved me lying there with my eyes closed the whole time. Sounds easy enough...but I actually found it quite hard, forcing my eyes closed for a long length of time under the harsh glare of the store's lights. So much so that a mortifying eye twitch ensued for about 3 minutes where I, and my lash technician, could do nothing but pray for the spasms to cease. Thankfully they did!

So here are the results...

lash extensions
lash extensions

My first impression was wow. Wow at how natural they looked and the way they blended beautifully into my own lashes. They seemed to perfectly flaunt that fine line between "you have amazing natural eyelashes" and "you have had eyelash extensions" and most definitely steered clear of any spider legs connotations. They felt so light and completely normal on my eyelashes, not alien or intrusive at all, and I very quickly forgot I had them on. The extensions are meant to last up to two weeks providing you take care of them, avoiding oil-based makeup remover and staying clear of steam and hot water for the first 24 hours.

lash extensions
lash extensions

I definitely under-estimated how robust the eyelashes were and I was extremely delicate when removing my makeup for the first couple of days. I needn't have been so careful. These eyelash extensions were solid and weren't going anywhere. As I became more use to them, I was able to judge how much they could take and I even wore mascara on them a few times, which gave a really dramatic look, and was easy enough to remove with an oil-free cleanser. My lashes lasted a good week before I noticed any falling out.

I think after a week of having my lashes, I ready to get rid of them. They weren't at all irritating or annoying, but I kind of missed my oil based products and really being able to scrub my face and rub my eyes without fear of losing a handful of eyelashes. And once a few started falling out, I felt the need to apply mascara every day to fill in any (very unnoticeable) gaps. Benito Brow Bar suggest that you should return to them after the two weeks to have the extensions professionally removed, which I foolishly did not do! It was over Christmas and I felt that with a bottle of bio oil, a tube of vaseline and some patience, I could do a little bit of home removal. Two hours later, I was de-lashed. I would definitely not recommend taking this course of action and next time, I would just go back and have them removed by the experts, especially considering it is all included in the initial price.

Benito Brow Bar offer two types of eyelash extensions, natural and dramatic. The ones that I had done were the dramatic set and would cost £45, however mine were gifted for review purposes.

What are your thoughts?
Are you eager for some extensions or more than fulfilled with your falsies?
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Thursday, 12 January 2012

Glossybox for men

gb for men
glossybox for men 
gb for men
gb for men

Let me introduce to you Glossybox for men.* A quarterly beauty box filled with 7 luxury sized grooming products to satiate every modern man's needs. January's box is packed full of finely picked, yet little less than man-sized samples, that range from haircare, shaving and fragrance. I presented my boyfriend Rob with this latest offering from Glossybox and we unveiled the contents in unison with great anticipation. As the charcoal grey lid was lifted, the ribbon untied and the paper parted ripped open, we were met with some familiar brands, as well as some lesser known names.

1. Goldwell StyleSign Roughman - Matt Cream Paste  2. Monu Vitru Energy Rub
3. Monu Vitru Conditioning Body Wash  4. Goldwell Dualsenses Hair & Body Shampoo
5. Shaveworks The Cool Fix  6. Murad Clarifying Mask  7. Yves Saint Laurent La Nuit de L'Homme and L'Homme fragrances

I think it is transparent that, broadly speaking, the female demographic have been reeled in by the lure of beauty boxes, hook, line and sinker! A further excuse to laden our already brimming beauty bounty with more products and new discoveries was always going to be a no-brainer. But is this move by Glossybox into a male beauty box imprudent or ingenious? Let's hear the verdict from the man himself...


- Hair and body shampoo? Legendary! A product that does two jobs in one is a winner with me.
The samples are the perfect size for my gym bag - much more feasible than lugging around a full sized body wash with me.
This is the perfect lazy boy's option to shopping and sampling new products.
I would definitely consider ordering one for a friend as a gift.
I especially like that it only comes every three months. I like trying new products but would feel a bit overwhelmed if seven new samples were descending upon me each month! -

The products in this (first) month's box are high-end and varied and were really liked by Rob. Whereas I would usually be the first to snubbed the fragrance samples, I think these were a really good addition to the box. From experience, men can get stuck in a rut with aftershave; just repurchasing their trusty old faithfuls. Sometimes it is time to put down the Old Spice and branch out and sniff new things! And the YSL samples are actually divine, such an amazing scent. I will definitely be urging Rob to purchase the full sized product of La Nuit de L'Homme in particular. Rob was impressed, genuinely impressed with Glossybox for men, and rather thrilled that he for once was in receipt of a parcel from the postman!

For more information, the details and deals on Glossybox for men, then you can visit their website.
What are you thoughts on Glossybox's maverick move into a male grooming beauty box? Would the man in your life be pleased or perplexed by this?
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Wednesday, 11 January 2012

parallel universe

yukit2 copy
yukit copy

Dress - Yuki Tokyo*
Lipstick - Revlon Love that Red

So here we have it, my first outfit photos from the new abode. I seem to be very small and a little startled, having not quite mastered the whole logistics of my new photo area setup. My new camera is pretty amazing but I have so much swotting up to do. I am pretty sure I am nowhere near using it to its full potential. However, the best part of it surely has to be the ten consecutive photos it can take all in one go...bam bam bam! This is a whole new world to me which may explain the slightly 'rabbit caught in headlights' look in the second photo!

This dress was a recent sample sent to me from Yuki Tokyo and I was instantly enamoured with the fierce angular shoulders. The cut and material of the dress is really flattering, and the cinched waist with the contrasting bow is a really sweet addition. This dress is not actually available yet but will be coming soon to their SS12 collection so keep your eyes peeled!

Since my recent move I am totally embracing the fact that I can now walk to work. It is the best feeling ever, inducing a fresh glow and heightened heartbeat as I power walk the two miles or so into the office. The soundtrack of the week is the Red Hot Chili Peppers, hence the blog title. Such great motivation for the morning!
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Monday, 9 January 2012

blonde ambition


Lipstick - MAC Petals & Peacocks

I am blonde. Blonder. And so unbelievably happy with my new colour. A creamy white blonde has been my sometimes unachievable dream ever since I ditched the red last year. I wanted to turn my warm golden tones of two months ago to a cooler, brighter, whiter blonde which, if my plan comes together, will lend itself to some pastel pink and lilac dip dying in the near future. I had half a head of highlights as I didn't want the colour to become too dense all over; I like to keep a few different threads of colour running through my hair. I had my locks blown dried straight at the hairdressers (I never wear my hair poker straight nowadays since I've embraced my natural curls) and was left marvelling at how long it has gotten. I am going back in six weeks time for a whole head of highlights on the one condition that I have my ratty ends trimmed, a small price to pay I feel to be one step close to my blonde ambition.

I apologise for being a bit AWOL recently. Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat whilst I have been moving abode, heaving boxes up and down stairs, unpacking numerous hoarded items and generally trying to settle myself. There was a time when lipstick shades used to fill my thoughts, now it is all about lampshades...momentarily anyway! I have generated the winner of my Benefit gift set giveaway, thank you all who entered, and the lucky lady is... KatieCakes. Well done Katie.
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