Monday, 31 May 2010

What's in my Makeup Bag?

As I love it when other people (such as the fabulous Le Salon De Beaute) write or vlog about the contents of their makeup bag, I thought it was time I did my own. Get ready for some blushers!

Two Topshop cream blushes in 'flush' and 'nutmeg'. Flush is a coral shade and nutmeg is an outdoorsy reddish-terracotta colour. They provide a smooth cream to powder finish, bright colour and work well on both lips and cheeks. Although they don't last as well as...

Laura Mercier Cheek Colour Duo in 'whisper'. Katy at Make-up By Katy gave me this as a thank you for working on her CV. Very kind of her I know, and I absolutely love it! This was the compact that got broken by my oaf brother, and which I reformed using the surgical spirit technique. It didn't look quite so pretty afterwards, and I think it wore down quicker than usual due to the presence of air pockets (bit scientific ain't I!). I usually sweep the brush over the bronze side and use high up on my cheekbones, before applying the pink on the apples of my cheeks. Has been known to last ALL DAY. Brilliant.

Laura Mercier Crème Cheek Colour in 'oleander'. This cream blush is a light pink colour with a bit of white in it, which creates a baby pink flush on the cheeks. Especially pretty if you have a tan (real or fake).

Elf All Over Colour Stick in 'pink lemonade'. A friend bought this for me and it's a handy all-rounder. The colour is a pinky-rose shade and the finish has a tiny bit of shimmer, which looks gorgeous on lips. 

Nars Cream Blush in 'cactus flower'. This looks scary bright in the compact but once applied it produces a wearable bright coral red. It is a bit shimmery, which I don't mind on cheeks and you'll probably only need to buy one per lifetime; it lasts forever.

Clinique True Bronze Pressed Powder Bronzer in 'sunkissed'. I blogged about this a while ago and my sample is still going strong. It's small enough not to take up much room in my makeup bag and the compact is the same size as my Bobbi Brown bronzer brush head. Does exactly what is says on the tin; creates a sunkissed glow. 

Clarins Wonder Perfect Mascara. I also blogged about this when I bought it. It's on its last legs at this point and is rapidly drying up. Despite raving about it in my review and continuing to love it as the months went by, I still cannot stand the packaging. I was also very unimpressed with the unsightly 'gooping' on the neck of the tube. I'm on the lookout for a suitable replacement with more aesthetically appealing packaging. 

Prestige Classic Eyeliner in black/brown. Another one I've blogged about! This is one of my firm favourites and a pencil I use every day. 

Bourjois Black and White Kohl and Contour Duo eyeliner. Nothing amazing about this one, but handy to have on-hand because of the two colours, and it gives soft, blendable colour. 

17 Soft Liner Pen in black. This felt-tip liner is perfect for 60's-style feline flicks and it only costs £3.99, which is ideal seems as I go through these pretty quickly during liquid-liner phases! 

Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich Foundation SPF 15 in 'Porcelain'. This has been a life-saver over the winter while my skin has been dry, dry, dry. I think it might be a bit too much during summer though, and would probably slide off. I'm impressed with BB so I'll probably look into one of the other foundations in the range. 

Laura Mercier Illuminating Tinted Moisturiser SPF 20. This really does give skin a 'lit from within' glow thanks to a super-fine pearlescent quality. It also provides a bit of coverage to even out pink bits, and can be used in conjunction with foundation for more coverage. Only negative is that I'm not convinced the 'glow' lasts all day. 

Natural Collection Duo Eyeshadow in 'mocha/latte'. I got this when I exchanged the crapos Revlon DoubleTwist Mascara. The pale shade is a good neutral to use as a base; the brown is a bit muddy but it's ok for the crease. 

MAC Eye Shadow in 'tempting'. I bought this after a makeup artist used it on me during a makeup lesson. The colour really makes blue eyes 'pop'. I'm not impressed with the texture though - it's a bit glittery and uneven. My one and only bit of MAC.

Prescriptives Flawless Skin Concealer. Not much point in me banging on about how amazing this is now that you can't get it anymore.  You can read about my quest to bag every compact in the county here

Paul & Joe Lip Lacquer in '05'. Zuneta sent me this to test and review for my guest blog on the site. Sheer, peachy colour in a super-shiny and surprisingly long-lasting finish. Always impresses people when you pull the posh tube out of your bag too! 

And that's all folks! This is all that resides in the bathroom next to my makeup bag (which is usually empty). If I were to take it with me somewhere I swear I wouldn't pack six blushers. I'd pack three. 

If you fancy doing a post on what's in your makeup bag, be sure to link me to it in the comments so that I can have a gander! 

Thursday, 27 May 2010

Clutching at Straws

When you were a child did you ever have one of those little straw bags with the strap made of rope? Those were the days. I'm harking back to a time when I'd carry a bag with nothing in it except maybe a leaf and a particularly 'good' feather.

These days my bag may be full, but my love of straw purses remains unchanged. These four are some of my current favourites.

Clockwise from top left
Sunrise weave clutch, French Connection, £20
Petra clutch in bamboo, Kate Kanzier, £20
F&F straw clutch bag, Tesco, £7.50
Recife straw in off white, Anya Hindmarch, £225

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

The Lancaster Tortoiseshell Tan Disaster

I'm 27 years old, I've fake-tanned a zillion times: I know the process. Why then, when I look down, or across, or behind, am I confronted by a tortoiseshell tan? Because Lancaster's Fast Dry Bronze Water Spray is flipping impossible to use, that's why.

It's a spray – but not an aerosol – which means you have to pump it. Common sense tells you, if you're after consistent coverage, a pump action is far from ideal. Not to mention your finger feels like it's going to fall off by the time you're halfway done. 

The box has all of two lines of instructions, and no inner leaflet, so I wasn't sure if I was meant to mist from afar, close-up, rub in or not touch. In fact I still don't know. I soon found out that the spray has so much alcohol in it there's no chance of rubbing it in – it would be like trying to rub in a perfume. 

The first time I used it I had actual ovals of tan where the mist had hit my skin: I looked like Gwyneth Paltrow after a particularly vigorous 'cupping' session. By this point I was committed; join the dots or be stuck wearing jeans on the hottest days of the year so far. 

Second application. Still uneven; some areas way too brown, others untouched. Time to call in reinforcements, aka my mother. Still wearing my bikini from a day in the garden I stood on the lawn at dusk and got my mum to mist me with yet another layer of the damn stuff. 

You're probably thinking 'Step AWAY from the fake tan', but the only thing keeping me going (besides from attempting to erase the tortoiseshell effect) was the lovely nut-brown colour some of the more promising patches were turning. It's the colour I'd love to be – not too yellow, not too orange, just golden brown and lovely. I would persevere. 

Having been gassed in the garden by half a bottle of spray tan I crossed my fingers and went to bed dreaming of Jennifer Aniston's tawny tan. 

Even after three applications in around four days my tan isn't even. (I'm sighing heavily as I write this as I know I'll have to use the rest of the bottle.) For quick-drying, smelling pleasant and giving a good colour, this is a great product. None of that matters though when the formulation is delivered in an impossible to use primitive pump contraption that you might as well have fashioned yourself out of an old soap dispenser. I'd consider trying another Lancaster fake tan, purely because of the great colour, but it would have to be a cream.  

Please note: in real life I am a lot more tanned and a lot more patchy than my legs appear in this photo. My belly looks like some kind of caramel swirl icecream.

Friday, 21 May 2010

Bleached Blonde Eyebrows

This 'trend' is a bit of a puzzler if, like me, you've always imagined what it must be like to have strong, defined eyebrows.

You see, my brows are naturally pale blonde; as in they have no colour whatsoever. I don't mind them; sometimes I fill them in (although I never think it looks quite right), but most of the time I just leave them au naturel. I barely pluck them – strays don't really show when your brows are transparent – and I try to feel grateful to have such wonderful 'low maintenance' eyebrows.

One of my friends frequently lambasts me for not filling them in, but I won't subject my little blonde brows to self-hate. No way. Surfers' eyebrows, that's what my mum calls them. Male surfers?

Designers send models down the catwalk with bleached brows at least a few times a year. It makes them look very strange – I guess that's the appeal. There was a bit of an eyebrow-bleaching fad in LA around 2000; Cameron Diaz and Gwen Stefani both partook. Again, not their best looks.

All of which leads me to ask, are my eyebrows unflattering? Hopefully they're not because mine are natural, and none of these ones are. I dyed them dark once with a pack of Eylure eyelash tint. My mum was on me like a sniffer dog the second I arrived home: 'Something's different! I don't like it! What IS it?!'

Whether you've got perfect arches or see-through brows, let's all take a second to laugh at Chanel Iman's dyed ginger pair. She must have been really miffed at the makeup artist that did that to her.

Thursday, 20 May 2010


£140 for a floppy little summer dress French Connection? Really?

I do see that there's beadwork, but we all know where that's usually done, who by and what for. I wish the price reflected the salaries of the factory workers but I'm doubtful. A few beads does not add £100 worth of cost to what (I believe) this dress should be selling for. It's made of viscose, not gold thread!

We're in an economic depression here, please go and have a word with yourselves.

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Chanel Me About It

There are good days; there are great days; and there are days where you visit Chanel. Last Friday was the latter.

I've never even been into a Chanel shop, let alone stalked into their offices like I belonged there. The reason for my visit was an exclusive blogger preview of the new Coco Cocoon bag range. 

Vanessa Paradis is the model for the gorgeous range of squishy quilted loveliness. Here I am in the photo blocking your view of her as I 'walk' with an elegant wheelie bag.

The collection was beautiful, the Chanel girls were gorgeous (one even said she loved my dress!) and the mini-bagels were 1/17th of the size of a regular bagel. Needless to say I was impressed.

I also got to meet some of my fellow bloggers including Alex of Alex Loves – one very cool lady – and The Very Simon G

One little chap managing to upstage everyone and the bags too was Dhillon, Simon's mini dachshund puppie. After a low-key entrance he proceeded to make himself very at home amongst the thousands of pounds worth of premium baggage. I can't blame him, I wanted to smoother myself in quilted leather as well.

The lovely Ally Pyle of Glam Media modelled the large reversible gold tote for me; its burgundy interior matching perfectly with her gorgeous tortoiseshell Vivienne Westwood Melissa flats (which I now want. Badly).

I was taken with many of the bags, but particularly this navy blue number. So chic! Might as well get the little matching wash bag while I'm at it non?

Thank you very much to Mighela at Chanel for inviting me.

Friday, 14 May 2010

Thursday, 13 May 2010

Cake Makes a Birthday Sweet

I was going to write a message of heartfelt thanks to all of you for following my blog these past five months. Your feedback and comments make me happy; particularly as evidence of people actually reading my blog! I was looking for a pretty cake to accompany this post, but, as often happens with me, I became far more interested in all of the comedy cakes I could find that said Laura. And one that said Des.

I don't know what a 'bearthday' is but to all the Lauras with freakishly long arms who love the world, and all of you who've wished me happy birthday on twitter, I say thank you. Des and I are very pleased (and full of cake).

Special thanks to my mummy for reading my blog every day, checking my spelling and telling me repeatedly when I have no comments. Oh, and of course, for baking me MY special birthday cake (and offering to make a trifle).

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Pretty Little Peppermint Purse

I've noticed recently that a lot of my clothes are either black, grey, navy, or perhaps a mixture of these 'colours' via a print. I do like bright colours, espcially for summer, I just buy them less often.

Everyone knows that perky accessories are an easy way to liven up a bland outfit: I have a particular weakness for red belts, bags and shoes. I've decided my clutch collection needs a bit of an update and I'm on the look out for envelope clutches in bright yellow and red.

Peppermint green was never on my radar before I spotted this beautiful little French Connection number. I love the scalloped edge. It costs £40, so it's not cheap for a little bag, but it is leather.

I'd like to examine it in person before buying, but in the mean time just know that this little peppermint purse is on my mind.

Saturday, 8 May 2010

Review: Scin Luxury Pedicure

Not being a London lass, but having developed a worrying Wahanda Mob Deal habit, I have to cram my treatments in when I can get 'em. Knowing I'd be in London for the Andrew Collinge blogger event I helped to arrange on Wednesday evening, I managed to shoe-horn in my Scin pedicure appointment in the afternoon. 

The fact that my train was twenty minutes late meant that I was late to my appointment; cue me running down Great Portland Street in three inch heels. I rang to say I'd be a little late and they were very nice. I couldn't have my appointment run over as I had to get going to pick up the booze for the event straight after (it's a hard life, I know), but they would have accommodated me if I had wanted this. 

The therapist sat me down and and offered me water, which I glugged back in half a second. She made sure I was comfortable and then fetched the warm water-filled foot bath to soak my tootsies. 

There were Essie varnishes in a box next to me so I started having a browse. The therapist then seemed to want me to pick which colour I wanted immediately, even though I'd only just sat down and she hadn't even started yet. I felt slightly harangued but luckily I knew EXACTLY what I wanted, as I'd already researched Essie colours on the net. (Yes I researched nail polish: what do you expect from a beauty boffin?) Geranium was my choice  a bright orange-red. Except they didn't have it. Gutted. They didn't have any orange-reds in fact, only a coral, or a christmassy shade. 

Me: Oh, but I wanted an orange-red. I wanted Geranium. 
Her: This one? This one? 
Me: No that's not it. 
Her: *blank face* 

Riggggght. Guess I'll just pick from these 20 non orange-red colours then. I choose the coral; I don't know what it's called – I wasn't enthusiastic enough about it to find out. 

The therapist then started filing my nails; asking me what shape I wanted. Nail-shaped? She filed my feet briefly, and in a ticklish, non-brutal way, which I was a bit disappointed about. She put cuticle remover on and pushed back and cut my cuticles slightly, which didn't hurt (unlike my only other pedi, in Thailand. Let's just say there was blood-loss). She applied a very satisfyingly scratchy foot scrub, rinsed it off and added some cuticle oil. I promptly dunked one of my feet back into the basin as she hadn't moved it and hadn't told me not to. Whoopsy.

Next up was moisturiser and a little foot massage. She rubbed my legs and caused my RioBlush to start pilling and coming off. Forgot to warn her about that, but then didn't expect my legs to be massaged. She was very sweet and we patched my pins back together with some moisturiser and a tissue to blur the tan/no-tan line. 

Base coat, two layers of coral and a top coat later and I was ready to put my flipflops on and dash off, heels dangling from my finger (so that people knew I'd had a pedi and wouldn't think that I thought a shift dress and flipflops was an acceptable combo. It isn't, Kelly Brook.)

So, to summarise: the technician was gentle, she did a great job and my nails looked pretty. My feet weren't totally free of dry skin, which I was disappointed about, but then I did lose ten minutes of appointment time. I paid £20 for this pedi via the Wahanda deal. Its full-price cost was £50 and I would never pay that in a million years. If I was paying £50 I'd expect feet the likes of which the world had never seen, so intense was their beauty. As you can see this is not the case.

Apologies to all those who hate feet; I'd get complaints if people couldn't see the result. 

Friday, 7 May 2010

How I'd like to Look Every Day

Every time I see this advert for YSL Singulier Mascara I'm inspired and annoyed in equal measure. I want to be that girl!

This image encapsulates my all-time favourite makeup look. The immaculate liquid liner, flicked out at the corners at a perfect angle; the heavy lashes and neat brows; the pretty pink lips and matching flushed cheeks... I'm in love, and I've been keeping it to myself for months.

This girl would never bash into anything or trip over and stub her toe on the street. She'd know what to say and when to say it. She'd have a boyfriend when she wanted and be single 'for fun', not through awe-inspiring, ground-cracking drought.

I'm not fussed about the mascara, I just want to be that girl.

Thursday, 6 May 2010

Sunday Afternoon Baking Session

There are many blogs that I turn to on a daily basis for different reasons. If I feel like browsing delicious recipes that are mostly achievable for the likes of me, I head over to Liberty London Girl.

I've been meaning to make her caramelised apple cinnamon cake for a while. I mean, gooey, apply, crumbly goodness? What's not to like! Last Sunday, to a soundtrack of The Police, I happily peeled and chopped and whisked my cake together (for quite a while, I must say!).

Cooking in my mother's kitchen has the advantage of providing access to every bowl, utensil and gadget a person could wish for. The spices left over from the 1970's are another bonus. Sell-by dates? Pah! Dried spice doesn't go off! Look at this antique! Perfectly good still.

Mine looks a bit different to Sasha's; I went a little overboard on the crumble, which meant less caramelising, but it tastes amazing...

I should know, I've eaten most of it.

Sunday, 2 May 2010

What I Bought Today: Tan Heels

A wear-with-anything pair of tan heels or wedges is an underrated summer essential. They are super-flattering; making legs look longer, and neutral, so they don't clash with the colours or prints in your outfit. I try to buy a new pair every year because I wear them out. This year I spotted these vintage-looking beauties on the New Look website.

They're made of buttery-soft leather, which is unlined, so the inside is soft suede. The heel is wooden, not naff wood-effect plastic, and a wearable height that (hopefully) won't cause me pain. I love 'em! And they only cost £25. Maybe I should buy a spare pair?