Friday, 31 December 2010

So Far, So Chic: Products of the Year


Bourjois Healthy Mix Foundation
Flawless coverage, dewy finish, fruity smell, doesn't clog pores, not drying, reasonably priced – what's not to like?!

Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara (not pictured)
Love the shape of the brush on this mascara and the smooth application. Not convinced it makes my eyelashes grow longer but it's certainly not hurting them. Doesn't cost a fortune either. Review here.

Avon Luxe Lace SuperShock Gel Eyeliner Pencil
I've been using this constantly the last few weeks. The black pencil is blackest black, an ingenious gel/kohl hybrid and doesn't smudge.

Daniel Sandler Watercolour
My mum wanted a flattering cream blusher so I bought her this in 'flush' – a beautiful raspberry pink. A cult product that deserves its reputation – super wearable, blendable and long lasting. The residue left on the nozzle is enough to colour both cheeks.

Cutler Fly-Away Stick
I was given this at a Zuneta event in the summer and I use it almost every day to tame and smooth the frizzy hairs that spring up on my hairline. Available at

Scruples Renewal Colour Retention Shampoo and Conditioner
Plain and simple products that leave hair shiny and conditioned without being coated or weighed down. Light smell reminds me of Timotei. Cruelty free. Available at

Sigma Flat Top Synthetic Kabuki Brush (F80)
Took about four weeks to arrive from the US but was worth the wait! The densely bristled brush feels beautifully soft and buffs foundation to a perfect finish with zero streaks.

Shu Uemura Cover Crayon
I use the pale end to line my lower waterline. Makes me look wide awake without the artificial doll-like effect of a bright white liner. Any skin-coloured pencil would work as well but this is the one that I have.

Prestige Brow Perfection
Bought in Duane Reade in New York, this brow pencil allows me to give some colour and definition to my eyebrows in a matter of seconds. The ashy colour is unusual for a cheap pencil and doesn't leave brows looking ginger! Available in the UK from spring 2011.

Dermalogica Daily Microfoliant Travel Size
One of my all-time favourite products is now available in a teeny weeny little travel size! Look how cute it is! Could not love this more.

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Four Fab Presents and One Sale Bargain

Accessorize bootie slippers and M&S long woollen socks.
Clarins Hydraquench gift set with moisturiser, serum and mask.
H&M leopard print scarf and Mango bag (that I bought in the sale!).

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Christmas Eve Makeup

I went out on Christmas Eve for what turned out to be a very tame evening. For my makeup I did a silvery, sparkly eye, which as usual doesn't convey in the pictures. I also look like a serial killer. Believe it or not this was the best photo. If you're wondering why I plucked an East 17 style stripe in my eyebrow, I didn't. It's a scar from one of my numerous childhood head injuries. Maybe from the time I was jumping on the sofa and landed on the glass coffee table... aah japes.

For my eyes I used Avon Glimmerstick Diamonds Eyeliner in smokey diamond, Luxe Lace SuperShock Gel Eyeliner Pencil in silver, Luxe Lace SuperShock Mascara and a sparkly liquid liner from an old Lancome collection. I talked about the Glimmersticks here. The gel eyeliners are AWESOME! I use the black one to create a really easy liquid liner effect. You can draw it on and use a brush to smudge it into the base of your lashes and create a flick. It sets in a few seconds and doesn't smudge all day. This silver one is very intense and metallic. It's an impressive colour but not one I think I'll be able to use often.

The mascara applies smoothly and creates great volume but for me the tube and the brush are too fat. My ideal wand is the Rimmel Lash Accelerator Mascara, which tapers at both ends. Fat brushes make it difficult to reach small lashes, however this does apply evenly and lasts brilliantly with no flaking. I wish you could see how sparkly this makeup was! Did you do any special festive makeup this Christmas?

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Review: Jennifer Aniston Perfume

I'm not one for celebrity fragrances, I promise you. I can't think of much worse than smelling like Katie Price... Despite my anti-celeb perfume snobbery, Jennifer Aniston's first fragrance release still managed to intrigue me. Probably because I've always considered Jen to be an elegant, classy lady with good taste (hello Brad, hello Vince) and one who'd no doubt smell rather lovely!

Everyone I spoke to prior to getting hold of this perfume assumed it would be 'beachy'. Even the print ad had Aniston sat tousled and gorgeous on a windblown coastal rock. I was expecting sea, salt, sand, seaweed... a relaxed, hippy sort of smell. None of which was right.

What you get instead is a very grown up perfume with a sophisticated floral finish, clean and soapy. The strongest notes are jasmine and violet, neither of which I'm usually keen on. However, the Eau de Parfum dries down to a lovely, subtle yet lingering scent; highly wearable and I've grown to like it.

The heart notes are blooming jasmine, wild violets and amazon lily. Top notes include citrus grove accord and rose water, while the base notes are sensual musk, golden amber and sandalwood.

Jennifer Aniston is available from The Perfume Shop.

My bottle's a sample and is missing its lid. 

Monday, 20 December 2010

Beehive My Baby Tonight

Despite having a crappy cold on Friday I had to go out in the evening as I'd promised my old workmates. In order to detract from my burgeoning 'cold face' and glowing red nose I decided to attempt this beehive hairstyle I'd seen in Style magazine earlier in the year.

Here's my version of the mag's step-by-step guide:

1) Split hair into two sections from ear to ear. Take the top section and starting at the front of your head backcomb in three-inch wide sections. You will look like a demented Edward Scissorhands. This is correct.

2) Clip the top backcombed section out of the way and roughly tease the bottom section of hair to create texture.  This is to help the kirby grips stay in place rather than for volume.

3) Pull all hair back from your face and use a bristle brush to gently smooth down the top layer of hair without losing the 'nestiness'.

4) Draw all hair down towards your neck as if making a ponytail and pull to the right. Place a vertical line of kirby grips from the middle of the back of your head at the nape of the neck upwards until the structure of your hair feels stable.

5) Your hair should still be loose to the right of the kirby grips so gather this hair and twist it back on itself to form a roll. If your hair is long, tuck the ends under near the top of your head. Push the hair into the beehive shape and secure with more grips.

6) Tease out loose tendrils using a tail comb and spray with a matte-finish hairspray that provides medium hold. I used Umberto Giannini Hold Me Curl Hairspray, which I was really impressed with; very fine, smooth mist; smells good and kept my hair in place all night.

Sounds like a lot of work but it's really all in the backcombing. The bigger the better. This hairstyle is not a friend of your hair – hello split ends! – but I love an occasional retro look for a night out. What do you think? Fancy trying out a beehive 'do this Christmas?

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The M&S Loafer Saga

I am in a deep yet fraught relationship with these Marks & Spencer loafers. I saw them in Grazia ages ago and have hunted for them in four branches of M&S and found a grand total of ONE pair in NAVY BLUE and a size THREE! Oh piss off. So I ordered a six and a half online and had them delivered to the Cheltenham branch hoping that they might fit. They're too small. The sevens are sold out. To summarise: life is cruel. Shoes are nice (and yet also deeply cruel). PS Terribly sorry about the wrinkly tights – you'd think John Lewis woollens would be good...

Quick Gift Idea: Umberto Giannini

All but the most organised (and smug) among us are probably still looking for a few Christmas gifts for friends and family and this Beauty Secrets Perfect Beauty set from Umberto Giannini could be just the ticket. I've always thought the print on their packaging was rather pretty and the same image is used on the large toiletries bag that houses this set. It's made of 'pleather' and niftily lined in waterproof rose-print material. Inside you get a full size Instant Beauty Makeover Spray to revitalise second-day hair, as well as travel size Pure Beauty Shampoo, Intense Beauty Conditioner and Perfect Beauty Finishing Cream. That's a lot of beauty in one bag! It costs £16 and is available from Boots.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Quick Word in Your Shell, Like

If you're looking lustily at my turquoise necklace in the Avon post and thinking 'What a divine vintage piece!' you will be pleased to know it cost £3 from Primarni and I got it t'other day so you can get one too!

Saturday Night Sparkles with Avon

So far, so chic

This weekend I decided to recreate Jackie Tyson's christmas party makeup look using the products Avon sent me. I followed this simple tutorial to the letter and was really pleased with the resulting look.

The Glimmerstick Diamonds Eye Liners are a real joy – soft and blendable to apply but once on they stay put all night. When I washed off these swatches on my arm the shadow and lipstick came straight off but the Glimmersticks didn't smudge even under soap and water! For me they provide the perfect amount of shimmer  subtle and chic but with a flattering twinkle when the light hits.

My fave part of this look was the Ultra Colour Rich Mega Impact Lipstick in 'pink pop' – pink with gold shimmer. These lipsticks have beveled edges like polished jewels and this shade in particular is beautifully wearable. The formulation is sheer, it smells gorgeous and the gold shimmer makes lips look plumped and pretty. I reapplied a gratuitous amount of times throughout the night for the pure pleasure of it! 

The Luxe Lace True Colour Eyeshadow Quad in 'lace hues' offers fashionable, wearable colours that can be worn sheer or built up for added impact. The petrol blue shade used in the video provides a nice alternative to grey or black and worked well with the eye liners. I applied my shadow exactly as Jackie does in the video using the applicator provided and keeping the dark colour confined to the lid. It was super quick and easy to do. 

I've been impressed with every Avon product I've tried so far, especially considering that the most expensive product used here is an £8 lipstick.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Kimberley Walsh is British and Fashionable

How gorgeous did Kimberley Walsh look at the British Fashion Awards this week! She picked the perfect outfit for her figure and colouring – I love everything about it including the red lippy/olive skirt colour clash. Oh to be able to wear a bustier top without looking like an 18th Century bar wench...

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A Very Wicked Girl with Very Wicked Nails

Avon sent me some gorgeous treats yesterday, one of which was this dark and sultry nail polish. It begged for immediate application.

The shade is called 'wicked' and it's tricky to photograph in a way that does it justice (and my toes certainly don't  sorry about that). In the bottle the polish looks like shimmery black-red but once applied it's more like dark chocolate brown with a hint of burgundy/red. Often these types of colours look dark in the bottle but light and wishy-washy on the nail. Well, my friends, this is the opposite – you get perfect coverage in just one coat. I love it. It's really unusual and the warm tone is more flattering on pale skin than black.

Having had a look at the Avon website I see that Nailwear Pro polishes are on offer for £3! That's a ruddy bargain! I haven't had chance to see how it wears but I'll update this post and let you know in a few days. It certainly gets my vote in terms of colour, coverage and application.

And on the Seventh Day...

... Timberland created Earthkeepers.

My new boots have been a godsend in this weather as they're super comfy with deep tread on the soles, perfect for slippy conditions. I've been wearing them with skirts, jeans and leggings and have found them very adaptable. They also have good, strong zips that stretch the whole depth of the boot so they're easy to get on and off.

I love the burgundy colour: rich jewel tones look good in autumn and winter and liven up a plain outfit. My Bethel Buckle Tall Zip-Up Boots also come in light brown, dark brown (even though this colour is missing from the website) and black. The dark brown ones are lovely.

As I said in my previous post, my calves are smallish so I have the fastener on the tightest notch. This makes for a snug fit with no bunching of the leather. There are three different notches, which I think would fit most average-sized calves. Made from a mixture of leather and soft nubuck, they mould quickly to the shape of your feet. The insole is bouncy and supportive. I did find them quite narrow and had to size up from my normal 7 to a 7.5 but they fit perfectly.

My mum and I have been cracking up at Charlie the dog creeping stealthily into all the photos. The fact is, he's always by my side! He likes my Earthkeepers too because they're perfect for walkies!

Friday, 3 December 2010

Hot Nightwear for Cold Nights

As promised, for all the lucky ladies with enough heat (nudge nudge) in the bedroom to allow for sexy smalls, here's my selection of the prettiest nightwear around at the moment...

Clockwise from top right:
Sorrel Parma Violet Babydoll, Myla, £149 (just the top!)
Cara Camisole, Agent Provocateur, £95 (also just the top!)
Butterfly Blue Enchanted Silky Teddy, Figleaves, £25 (20% off)
Boudoir Drop Waist Teddy, ASOS, £26
Elle Macpherson Intimates Spree Chemise, Figleaves, £60 (20% off)
Nightslip, H&M, £12
Juliette Silk Cowl Neck Chemise, La Senza, £55

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

The Pyjama Confessions

Confession time: my pyjama selection is shocking. I cannot bear traditional pyjama tops – they're too wide, too short and the buttons are uncomfy when you lie on your belly. Instead I wear a bohemian selection of t-shirts and vests; none of which are winter suitable.

I buy pyjama bottoms whenever I see a good pair: the ones I like are cotton, long and loose, in pretty fabric with a ribbon or tie waistband. Without fail these end up flapping about my ankles, shrunken and embarrassing. I think it's obvious that I need some new pyjamas.

Me being me, I know exactly the type I want and they belong to Kim Kardashian! She wears her stripy Victoria's Secret jammies in the 'Kardashian Family Vacation' episode of KUWTK. If you live in the US or have access to the new Bond Street London store, their Fireside Long Jane Pajama (winter season) is the closest thing on offer at present. I also love the Afterhours Satin Pajama which I've seen Kourtney wear in other episodes. 

The cupcake pyjamas took a while to find. I won't tell you how long (it's disgusting) but I will say that Heat Magazine need to give me a job working on their 'What are they wearing?' celeb pages. These pjs are by a company called 'Scanty' but their Yummy Cupcake Thermals are no longer available.

So, what now? Well the UK shops have presented me with some fairly sparse offerings. This Butterfly Blue Merry-go-round Long John Set fits most of my criteria (cuffed sleeves and ankles, matching top and bottom, bright, 100% cotton) but the colour's a bit pukey and it costs £50! The Carnival Long John Pj Set is cuter and cheaper but lacks sleeves. These La Senza Stripe Long John Set and H&M Pyjamas are both quite nice but I really do want matching top and bottoms.

If money was no object I'd order these Hanna Andersson pjs from the US and scamp about the house like a happy little Christmas elf. They're the best thing EVER! Masochistic types can dress their husband and children in matching pairs and wait for social services to call.

For those who actually have a man to share their bed and may not desire to dress like an overgrown toddler in kiddie pjs, I might do a post on nightwear of the sexier variety...

In the mean time, share your pyjama shame: what do you wear to bed? Do you favour proper pjs or a menagerie of offcasts? I know there are some faded and frayed pyjama skeletons scrunched up under your pillows! Confess here. I bet you need new jammies too!

Edited March 2013.