"Zest is the secret of all beauty. There is no beauty that is attractive without zest." - Christian Dior

Saturday, 28 April 2012

NYX Slim Lipliners - a reawakening

Since my recent discovery of the wonderstuff that is Lanolips 101 ointment (reviewed here), and my lips are no longer a scabby, flaky, lip product  no-man’s-land, I am now finding that I can start to dig out all of the old lip products that I thought would never again see the light of day. First on the agenda was to get out my old NYX slim lipliners.

I've had some of these for over a year – yeah, yeah, I know, germ warfare! – but there’s only me that uses them, and I gave them a good sharpening to get rid of any exposed-to-the-air manky bits that may have formed, before I used them again. I’m not made of money, yano?

Anyway, I have a very limited selection of these seeing as I couldn’t wear them before; I have a feeling they will now be top of the shopping list for future purchases because they are divine. My first purchase was frankly one of desperation – I so wanted to wear a red lip, but could never get the bloomin’ stuff to stay on because I had to wear such a ridiculous amount of lip balm underneath. I’d seen Makeup Geek use a NYX slim lipliner in Deep Red underneath Revlon’s matte lipstick in Really Red, and it looked amazing. It worked a dream on me too, although it took about two hours of preparation (not an exaggeration) and my lips did not thank me in the morning.

Flushed with relative success, I then went a bit mad and bought four more; and the problem was similar to the Deep Red one I already had - they sucked what little moisture I had from my lips, leaving them with a downright nasty texture after about five hours of wear. I knew I was fighting a losing battle, so they remained relegated to a drawer. UNTIL NOW.

Here they are – they are great to wear on their own (they make a great alternative to a lipstain when applied lightly), under lipgloss/balm for a shinier look, or under lipstick for extra drama and staying power. I bought mine from NYX Cosmetics directly, for the princely sum of £3.00 each.


L-R: Nectar, Beige, Natural, Deep Red, Prune

Can anyone recommend some other cheap lipliners that might not hate my lips quite as much?


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Lanolips – the start of a beautiful relationship

As a dry skin sufferer of many years, I find that I can (and do) usually do something about the skin issue on my face, but my lips (although just as dry as the rest of my face) get a bit neglected. I tend to buy whatever lip balm is on offer in Boots, and slick a bit onto my lips whenever I remember (usually causing a chain reaction of lip-balm application amongst the ladies in the office!). But I don’t exfoliate them, and I even occasionally succumb to absent-mindedly peeling off the dry skin whenever I am deep in thought (which admittedly, isn’t very often).

So, to summarise; they are dry, cracked, chapped, and also sometimes (due to over enthusiastic peeling) bleeding and scabby. Lovely.

Enter: Lanolips.

I jumped onto the Lanolips bandwagon fairly recently; after having seen rave reviews of the 101 Ointment by several beauty bloggers that I follow religiously. I less-than-enthusiastically hauled my sizeable corse down to my local Boots and, amazingly, they had some of the ointment in stock. While I was there, I noticed that they had some tinted versions too, and ever the sucker for shiny pretty things, I picked up one of these in the colour Apples.

Wow. Just……….. wow.

After only one day of application of the 101 ointment, my lips were smooth, plump and moisturised – a feeling that lasts even after the ointment has long since worn off/soaked in. It’s a bit of a weird application – there is no applicator attached to the tube itself, just a little hole which dispenses this luscious gorgeousness, so it’s a finger-application job. All to the good though, as it could do with a bit of warming up before putting it onto your gob. This stuff is thick.

The tinted version is not quite as plumping and smoothing, but only compared to the original 101 ointment – it still beats all other tinted lip balms hands down.

Me being me, I then got more, with back-ups – including the colours Mulberry and Rose (Mulberry is a limited edition one that I got free when I ordered from Zuneta.com). They are so good, I even felt inspired to send an email to them to thank them, like the gushing, over-emotional basket case I am. I have added Rhubarb and Dark Honey to my wishlist, too.

Lanolips 101 ointment (15g) is currently available from Boots.com for £11.22 (yeah I know – weird price), while the tinted versions (12.5g) are £8.16.

Onto the pics:

L-R: Mulberry, Apples, Rose

My favourite by a country mile is Mulberry (damn you limited editions!) as the cooler tones turn my lips into slightly plummy-coloured kissable unctuousness.

Has anyone else been converted to the ways of the Lanolips ointment? I'd love to hear your opinions.


Monday, 23 April 2012

Products I am loving - April 2012

Yes, I know April hasn't finished yet. But seeing as I don't have anything new to test out for the rest of the month, I thought I would share a few of my April favourites with you all!

Shampoo: Tresemme Vitamin E Moisture Rich for dry/damaged hair
Conditioner: V05 Give Me Moisture Conditioner / Nourish Me Truly conditioner (they’re on two-fer in Boots at the mo….!)
Styling products: the old faithful CHI Silk Infusion Silk Restructuring complex
Shower Gel: Johnson’s 24 hour Extra Rich Bodywash
Body moisturiser: Body Shop Brazil Nut body butter – smells good enough to eat but PLEASE DON’T
Deodorant: Mitchum Powder Fresh for women – the only one that can cope with such a Sweaty Betty as me
Cleanser: No. 7 Radiance Boosting Hot Cloth Cleanser
Exfoliator: Body Shop Vitamin C microdermabrasion
Primer: Erm, none……… I’ve been putting a bit of tinted moisturiser on (No. 7 Triple Protection TM in Fair) before foundation for extra coverage, as I am having a rubbish-skin month
Foundation brush: Crown Brush flat bronzer, used as a stippling brush
Foundation: Diorskin Nude in shade 020
Concealer: NARS cream concealer duo in Vanilla/Honey
Powder: NARS loose powder in Flesh
Blusher: NARS powder blush in Gilda – although you have to use a light hand, it gives a fantastic natural-looking flush to the cheeks
Bronzer: none – it’s only April! Maybe in June………
Highlighter: NARS illuminator in Copacabana
Eyeshadow base: MAC paintpot in Painterly
Eyeshadows: NARS eyeshadow trio in Ramatuelle (swatched here)
Eyeliner: MAC Fluidline in Blacktrack; NYX retractable eye pencil in Black (for a cheapy (£4.00), this one is brill – doesn’t go green and patchy in the slightest!)
Curler:  No. 7 – had it for donkey’s, it could probably do with some new pads because it has started crimping my lashes rather than curling them……!
Mascara: L’Oreal Voluminous in Carbon Black; MAC Mascara X
Lipstick: Chanel Rouge Coco in Mademoiselle (swatched here); MAC amplified crème in Shy Girl
Lipgloss: NYX Juicy Red; Lanolips Lip Tint in Mulberry (limited edition – review coming soon)
Nail Colour: Bog standard Natural Collection clear polish – can’t be bothered at the moment, and my nails are in too poor a condition to take a bashing with heavy colour!

What products have you been loving recently? 


Sunday, 22 April 2012

My Browns of York experience

Mr. S and I recently took a trip to York – not, I confess, to soak up any culture that might be lying about but rather to buy things cheaply. Yep, we went to the McArthur Glen outlet.

I came out a bit shell shocked, after having found NOTHING I wanted in the Cosmetics Company outlet shop, but thankfully hubby took pity on my plight and bought me a gorgeous Paul Smith bag that I have been lemming after for ages.

Anyway, determined not to come home without some form of beauty product, we wandered into York town centre and happened across Browns, a decent-sized department store type thing, and I of course immediately gravitated towards the twinkly lighting of the cosmetic counters.

I needed some Double Wear Light, so I toddled over to the Estee Lauder counter to buy me a top-up of this fabulous not-quite-foundation. And there was where I encountered the lovely Marie.

Now if you have read my previous post about Rouge Coco Mademoiselle you will realise that I am not traditionally a big fan of makeup counter assistants. I rethought that prejudice a little in a recent Boots trip, but Marie was the icing on the cake. A petite little thing, she could not have been more lovely.

There was a Gift With Purchase promo on - I’m guessing it’s on everywhere? – and Marie pointed this out to me because she “didn’t want me to miss out” on £45 worth of free stuff. So I mooched round the counter a bit, and picked up their Double Wear liquid eyeliner in Black, so that I could qualify for the promo. Her little face dropped, as she then informed me that they had just run out of that particular product. But – and this is where I was pleasantly impressed – she took my details, let me have the GWP anyway, and said they would post out the eyeliner as soon as their next shipment came in. She then gave me a card with her contact details on, as well as those of her colleague, in case I wanted to get in touch in the meantime. Throughout the transaction she was very polite, extremely helpful, appeared knowledgeable, and also seemed to be enjoying her job.

Now I imagine quite a few of you are currently thinking, “Yeah – and?”………….. and if you are lucky enough to come from a place where this sort of customer service is the norm, then I envy you. None of the assistants I have ever spoken to before have been a patch on this lady – and I was beginning to seriously believe that good customer service on makeup counters was a myth.

But now……….. MYTH = BUSTED.

Thank you, Marie, for re-instilling me with a little bit of faith in humanity.


Saturday, 21 April 2012

NARS eyeshadows - a piteously small collection

I confess; I don’t have many of these. Hardly any, in fact. My wallet protests vociferously every time I go on the NARS website and even think of putting anything in my shopping basket. However, I recently put some cotton wool in my ears, made sure there was a minimum distance of 10 metres between myself and aforementioned wallet and splashed out on an eyeshadow trio from the new Summer 2012 collection.
Ah, Ramatuelle – how I love thee. Not a first choice for any cool-skinned gal, but I’m so glad I went for this – the iciness of the silver more than outweighs the warmth of the peach and apricot colours.
The silver and peach are both shimmery, whereas the apricot is a matte shade and blends beautifully as a crease colour. Normally, Nars + shimmer = disastrous fall-out, but I am very impressed with these. Even without primer, they stay put for around five or six hours - I can eke it out to eight hours if I put them over my beloved MAC Painterly paintpot.
For the sake of completeness I have also added pics of the other two NARS eyeshadow sets I currently own (two! How does the make-up addict in me sleep at night? This frankly pitiful display needs improving, pronto). Top of the list of potential future additions is the Lhasa single – it looks like a beguiling combination of lavender and taupe and I MUST OWN IT SOON. 
Right, pics.
Ramatuelle trio - Summer 2012

Delphes trio - Fall 2011

Grand Palais duo - Fall 2011
Any others I should go for? 

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Urban Decay - Naked palette

Just a quick one today folks – I’ve had the Naked palette for about a year and must admit I use it……… occasionally. Certainly not daily, which is what I was expecting from such a “versatile palette of neutrals”. Unfortunately, most of the colours in here are a bit too warm for me. Might potentially splash out on Naked 2 at some point, as I’ve heard that that it leans a bit cooler. Then again – do I need yet another palette of neutrals………? Answers on a postcard, folks.
On the upside, the packaging is nice – picks up all the dust though, and when you leave it on a windowsill for as long as I have…… tsk tsk, it’s a mess. Can’t say as I have used the kohl liner much either, although the black (“Zero”) is very  black, it is also very spready-roundy, and therefore ends up all over my face by lunchtime. Not a good look, unless you’re deliberately trying to attract pandas or something.
Anyway, pics.
Dust? Anybody? No?

L-R: Sin, Virgin, Naked

L-R: Sidecar (major-league fallout!), Buck, Halfbaked
L-R: Smog, Darkhorse, Toasted
L-R: Hustle, Creep, Gunmetal
 Nighty night!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

Say hello to my little friend - Rouge Coco Mademoiselle

A recent addition to the collection – and perhaps my most considered, debated, deliberated and cogitated decision. I spent the better part of three weeks wondering what to do. I’d heard rave reviews about the colour and formula – and of course, what else would you expect from this brand? – so like any self-respecting makeup addict I eagerly trawled through dozens of Google hits for online swatches.
But, what’s this? In this swatch, it’s medium pink! In this one, it’s pinky-brown! In this one, it looks positively rosy! In this one, it’s a plummy-pinky-peachy-browny-red! Aaaarrrgh!!!!
 I knew what that meant. I had to psych myself up to go to my local makeup emporium and….. *gulp*……….. have a look for myself. Goddamnit.
 I’d been here before. I knew the score. There would be many obstacles in my path, against which I would need to steel myself. The crowds of people……. the ridiculously unflattering shop lighting. And, perhaps worse of all…… the shop assistants.
 Now, I’m sure this differs from shop to shop, from town to town. But here in the deepest darkest depths of the Midlands, every single makeup counter assistant I have encountered has been, to not put too fine a point on it, orange.  Add on top of that the fake, plasticky smiles , smug “what-on-earth-do-you-think-you’re-doing-here” faces and pushy sales techniques, and I am officially living through my worst nightmare.
 So, expecting the worst, I arrived at Boots – only to find that the sales assistant on the Chanel counter was informative, patient, laid-back, and only mildly Tango-ed. What is this wizardry?!!!!!
So, £23 lighter and suitably chastised about my horrific pre-conceptions, I brought the fabulous Mademoiselle home, and here she is.
Two words: Amaze. Balls.
Look at it, sitting there looking all posh

 As you can probably tell, I've been using it pretty much every day since I got it.

This is a unique colour in my stash at the moment. On me, it turns a delicious pinky-red with brown-ish undertones, with a fabulously long-wearing creme-satin finish. I normally get a couple of hours of wear from this, and afterwards it leaves a "just-bitten" stain on the lips which lingers for another hour or so. A perfect polished day-time look, this allows me to dip my toe into the water of wearing something slightly darker and redder to work, while not screaming "Aaaaaargh! She's got red lips!". 
As an added bonus, it's the perfect partner to my NARS Gilda blush, as the undertones turn pretty similar on my neutral-cool skin. WIN WIN.

Monday, 9 April 2012

NYX Round Lipsticks - initial swatches

Back in the times of my mis-spent youth, there was one makeup item that I avoided like the plague.  It made me think of old ladies, of Grandma puckering up for a kiss at Christmas, smelling like a giddy mixture of last-week’s cut flowers and pink wafer biscuits. On top of that, the up-keep put me right off. Have to reapply every hour or so? More, if you’ve had a cuppa? No thank you.
I’m talking, of course, about lippie.
I don’t know whether it’s just a sign of old age, or whether the smell/formula of lipsticks has changed drastically – but now I love ‘em. Can’t get enough of them. A few years ago, I was more about the quantity than the quality, and thus began my love affair with NYX. Since then, I have also added to my collection some Chanel Rouge Cocos, some Dior Addicts, and plenty of MAC cremesheens and lustres. But I always go back to NYX, like a heroin addict returning to a dealer. The variety of colours and finishes! And the supreme cheapness!  How can I resist?

I used to get mine from Love Makeup because they were cheaper than RRP (http://www.love-makeup.co.uk/cosmetics-round-lipstick-p-4181.html), but unfortunately I think they are no longer allowed to sell them this cheaply. You can also get them directly through NYX Cosmetics in the UK: http://www.nyxcosmetics.co.uk/

One thing I have found though, is that the online swatches are RUBBISH. Absolutely nothing like the actual product that ends up on your lips.
Having collected a few of these bad boys, I thought I would provide you lovely peeps with some slightly more representative swatches. These have been done on NW15-20 skin (my arm is a bit lighter than my face!), in natural light (apologies for the lighting, it’s tres overcast today!).
If and when I get a bit better camera, I’ll try to do these properly, but for now here are the arm swatches (they appear to have leant a little dark I'm afraid):

From left to right: Miracle, Spellbound, Georgia, Vitamin, Watermelon, Doll, Tea Rose, Milan, Darling, Chambord

Hope this helps those of you looking for a first foray into NYX – the quality is fantastic for the price. Round Lipsticks are currently £3.50 each on the NYX website.
Do you have any favourite NYX items? Any more of their lippies you recommend I should try…….?

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Me and my skin

I am a dry-skinned gal. No two ways about it. Although I have always suffered a little bit (tight face after washing, the occasional flaky patch in winter), since hitting a certain age it has got exponentially worse. It means my face routine has had to change dramatically over the past few years (I’ll post about that one day) but thankfully, I seem to have hit on the right combination to cease and desist the whole Sahara-desert skin thing. But I still have to be relatively choosy about which primers and foundations I use. I tend to favour a dewy-satin look for the daytime, but do also occasionally dig out the more flawless and matte look for the evenings (if I’m having a good skin day!).
Just in case you were wondering, here are my current foundations. Unfortunately, now I’m getting on a bit, my colouring changes daily – but generally, this is the stuff I buy and wear regularly. I am neutral to cool, but do occasionally have “warmer” days.

Foundation matches:
Diorskin Nude – 020
MAC Face and Body – N1
Nars Sheer Glow – Mont Blanc (I usually use this one more in winter)
MAC Studio Fix Fluid – NW20 (I don’t usually wear this one – it oxidises like a bi-yatch)
NARS Loose/Pressed Powder – Flesh
Guerlain Lingerie de Peau – 02 Beige Clair (not a completely perfect match – might try 12 Rose Clair next time)
I’m always on the hunt for my “holy grail” foundation – the one that gives perfect coverage while looking natural, lasts all day but doesn’t clog pores, is buildable but not cakey-looking etc. I’m not entirely convinced that it exists, but so far it’s been fun trying to find it! Not sure my wallet would agree though……..
Anyone got any suggestions of good foundations to try for dry skin?

Oh hai!!! I am pleased to see you.

Hmmmmm, this is interesting. First blog post – what on earth does one do now? Well, if you’re reading this, it means there must be at least two of us here. So we may as well crack on – be rude not to, really.
Why do a blog? Well, I have an obsession. Technically, one of many…….. but the one I shall be dealing with here primarily is my obsession with make-up.
I love it. I love it when you get out of bed feeling like Ken Dodd’s ugly sister, put a bit of face on and suddenly feel as though you can take on the world. I know beauty isn’t everything – now I have hit (and exceeded) the magic 30, I know that very well! – but it’s a jolly good place to start. And without such trivial fripperies such as make-up, perfume and skin care,  how could we begin to distinguish those things which are actually quite important?
Ok, here’s the disclaimer.
I am not a professional make-up artist (purely amateur, and that’s the way I like it!). I am also no model. I scrub up fine, don’t get me wrong, but I am nothing but average-ish really. BUT – and here’s the “but” – aren’t most of us? It wouldn’t be an average, otherwise.   #normaldistribution
So here’s a blog for those of us who freely admit we probably wouldn’t win any awards if we were pitted against Elle MacPherson, but also those of us who wouldn’t want to – we’re happy being us, and being the best “us” we can be.