Beauty Without Fuss

Friday 31 December 2010

And the Haus of Gloi winner is ...

Oh, I'm delighted by this one, as she's one of my favourite people too ...

It's Emily from Sparkle and Shade!

Please drop me an email, lovely, and I'll get your parcel out to you as soon as I can.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered, I greatly enjoyed reading all the entries, and it looks like I'll have to do duckface on a more regular basis in 2011 .... 

Happy New Year everyone, see you on the other side.

Looking forward to 2011? Guerlain, Lauder, Dior, Lancome and Clarins are ...

Nope, haven't gone quite mad - yet - but I found these pics on my iphone today and thought I'd show you some of the things you'll be able to see on Get Lippie coming up in the next couple of months ...

Here you can see the spring/summer releases from both Dior and Guerlain (Dior on the left, Guerlain on the right).  I'm loving the pressed Meteorites powder there, and the grey lipgloss from Dior.  Dior have a new mascara brush too, which I'm looking forward to trying when I get rid of my eyelash extensions ...

Here you can see the next Tom Pecheaux collection for Estee Lauder - Wild Violet - this looks simply beautiful. I think Tom has done amazing things for Lauder since he became Creative Director, and this looks like no exception:

The palette looks amazing - I'm a sucker for purple, as most of you should already know - and the Untamed Violette eyeliner looks fab too, can't wait to try this.  The range launches at Selfridges on 3rd January, and will be available nationwide from February.

Clarins are specialising in nudes for Spring 2011, and these are some lovely shades. Personally, I can't wait to have a proper look at the one second from the right there.  Those shades of mauvy-pink are perfect for me.  There's an eyeshadow palette too, which has some lovely pinkish neutrals, which looks very interesting.

Lancome are giving us pinks and purples this spring, and this looks very pretty indeed.  That purple eye palette in particular is really calling my name.  I like purple, what can I tell you?

A closer look at Guerlain - I think I need that new Rouge G. It's red, of course I need it!

Urban Decay is launching creme blush this spring, alongside a limited edition box of all of the 24/7 eyeliners.

So ... see anything interesting?  Anything catch your eye?  If so, let me know, and I'll arrange a review for you ...

Friday 24 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

It's Christmas, and Get Lippie is taking a little holiday (literally, whee!) but I'll be back next week, showing you my picks of the year, and some other bits and pieces.

In the meantime though, here's hoping all of you have a wonderful Christmas, and I'll see you next week!

But, if you're really desperate for something to do while I'm away, why don't you enter my Christmas Giveaway?

Wednesday 22 December 2010

Sienna X - Fake Tan

I had a fake tan recently.  Those of you who know me will know how funny this is, but truth be told, when you're offered a tan by Sienna X - the people who are responsible for the tans on Strictly Come Dancing, then it's actually pretty hard to turn down. Honestly!  Plus, I had a party to go to that weekend, so it seemed like a good idea at the time.

I'll be honest.  I've never had a fake tan before, so it was with no little trepidation that I headed to a top-secret location in central London for my spray-down. Elaine, the person who carried out my tan (the lucky, lucky girl) instantly put me at my ease - to be honest, some of the backstage gossip from Strictly kind of helped, I have to admit - and I was all sprayed up and ready to get dressed again in just about six minutes.  Colour me deeply impressed!

On initial spraying the liquid smelled lovely and tropical, slightly coconutty, and not at all biscuit-ish.  There was just a hint of digestive overnight - it can't be denied - but it wasn't too dreadful.  once I'd showered off the guide colour, I was left a gorgeous pale-caramel shade (Elaine had promised me the "party tan", which just makes you look like you've been away for a week or so), and I was exceptionally happy with the golden colour, which didn't look at all orange.  Best of all, in the office the day after getting tanned, I was asked a few times if I'd actually been away!  On one occasion by someone who had actually seen me the previous day, which just goes to show how convincing the shade was.

So impressed was I (especially with my face, as the fake tan had completely covered up my red blotchiness, so I'm going to be more willing to try some facial tanners this coming year, I think), that I gave some of the products to a work colleague to try.  Here's what Joanna had to say about the home-tanning products:

So it is well known fact amongst my friends that I should never be left alone with a bottle of fake tan.  I’ve tried them all, from the sprays to the graduals and ending up with even having slight problems applying after sun creams which contain just a smidgen of fake tan!

I have had to brave the outside world in a myriad of colours from Oompa Loompa orange to plain good old fashioned jaundice. I’ve been streak ridden, and had blotches and horrendous hair line mistakes, oh and not forgetting very strange coloured eyebrows on some occasions. 

I had in general given up completely and resigned myself to the fact that I will be brown once a year when I return from my holidays, until that is I was very kindly given a set of the Sienna X tan.  Now, I was told by a certain someone who I have huge beauty faith in that this was a different kind of fake tan and the idea behind it is to make you sun kissed, not orange as some well known brands make you, and I am pleased to say it does exactly that.  It is

You exfoliate and put on the gradual tan 1 hour before bed so it can dry and the results are fantastic.  I looked like I had just had a two week holiday in the Caribbean!  The smell of fake tan is still there so I suggest you apply before bed.  Reapply the next day or day after and the results are pretty shocking I have to say.   The texture is pretty thick but it moisturises your skin beautifully and the exfoliator and radiance body moisturiser in the same range are an absolute must too.  I defy anyone to go wrong with this product.  Seriously……. I have found my perfect fake tan at last.

As for me, impressed as I was with my professional spray tan - and I was, very - I don't think it's something I'll be doing on a regular basis, turns out I'm a bit more low-maintenance than I thought I was!

The Fine Print: Products were provided for review consideration, Sometimes you just have to try something different.  I don't think I can take the smell of biscuits too often though ...

Tuesday 21 December 2010

All For Eve on QVC

I make no bones about my support for All for Eve, truly I think it's a great business idea, and I've been proud to be associated with the brand since it's inception earlier this year.  This is just a quick heads up to let you know that All for Eve will be live on QVC tonight at midnight, and they will be the TSV (Today's Special Value) product of the day too.

For those who don't know, All for Eve was set up in November 2009 by George Hammer in memory of his sister in law, Nadia,  who died in December 2008 of cervical cancer.  All for Eve donates 100% of net profits from all it's products to the Eve Appeal, which is committed to supporting research into curing gynaecological cancers of all types.  This is a business model I can really get behind, and I hope that you will too.

So far the range comprises a lipstick (created by Daniel Sandler), a nail polish (created by Sophie Robson), a hand cream, a shower gel, body lotion, body butter and body scrub (created by Urban Retreat) and a nail file (created by Swarovski), I've mentioned many of these products before.

A new product will be launching on QVC tonight too, as Alpha H are launching a new facial oil, with all profits going to the Eve Appeal.  Jam-packed with frankincense, camomile, rosehip, and carrot oils, it's just what the doctor has ordered for adding to your skin-care routine this winter.  I've been trialling a bottle of this for the last couple of days, and it's been perfect for protecting my skin from the dreadful weather, but I'll give you a more in-depth review once I've had a chance to try it out properly.

Oh, and as if it wasn't enough that you can help a deserving charity this Christmas week, if you tune in to QVC this evening - okay, technically tomorrow morning - you'll be able to see the indefatigable Caroline Hirons (aka known as BeautyMouth to other bloggers, but I mainly call her Hilda - you can find out why if you follow her on Twitter), alongside Tom from Alpha H, and my old mate Daniel Sandler.  Show them some support!

Monday 20 December 2010

Malin + Goetz at St Martins Lane Hotel

I do love a little bit of Malin+Goetz, their pared-down very  "New York" aesthetic really speaks to me for some reason.  I think what I love about them is that they don't make outrageous claims for their products (no "reclaiming your lost beauty"-style ramblings for them, thank goodness!) and the range itself is markedly simple, if ever-expanding, but, the products do work, and they work very well.

What I also love is their range of interesting and almost unique scents.  Rum hand soap?  Yes, please!  Eucalyptus deodorant?  I'll take two!  Actually, I genuinely am on my second Malin+ Goetz deodorant, it sounds a bit odd, but the scent is markedly refreshing first thing in the morning, and I find that it doesn't clash with any scent during the day. And it works, which is always a good thing, when it comes to deodorant.  I'm also a fan of their Vetiver candle, which I burn on random occasions to bring a hint of summer to my bedroom.  I'll be talking to you in more detail about their eye-cream very soon (heads up, I love it).

I'm also a big fan of their lip balm, having written about it before, but I was delighted to find recently that they now have a Mojito flavour version, and this is something I'll be investing in soon (obsessed with rum, moi?  I'm sure I don't know what you mean).  Very soon in fact, because up until the 4th January Malin+Goetz have a pop-up shop open in the St Martins Lane hotel in Covent Garden, and the store is actually being manned by Matthew Malin and Andrew Goetz themselves!  I met them recently, and they're a joy to spend some time alongside.

So, if you want to find out more about the brand, or just have a nose at the entire M+G range, then get yourself along to the St Martins Lane Hotel before the 4th January.  Oh, and if you can pick me up some of the Lotus perfume, and a bottle of the hyaluronic acid serum, I'll be very grateful, thanks.

Sunday 19 December 2010

Christmas Giveaway - Haus of Gloi!

Haus of Gloi has been one of my finds of 2010, anything that could convince me that using body lotion regularly would be a) something that I would do, and b) be something that I would look forward to has to have a certain special something about it!

So I thought I'd share the joi a little.  This week, I'm giving away sample size jars of Bubbling Scrub and Pumpkin Butter in Hearth which the Haus of Gloi website describes as: The warm glowing center of any home. Autumns last apple pickings, warm bread, orange rind, various fire roasted nuts, cracked black pepper all nailed down by an oozing sticky benzoin.

I'll also throw in a full-size perfume oil in Madcap Garden, described as: A lively blend, pure black tea chilled with peppermint and the tiniest spike of sweet honey. Very unisex, stimulating, addictive, and bright.

And, if you're very, very good, I might throw in a couple of sample sizes of some other scents as well.

All you have to do is:
1) be a follower of this blog (I have a list, and I'll be checking it twice) via Google friends connect
2) leave a comment on this post, telling me what your favourite post on Get Lippie has been this year
3) Be UK resident (sorry)
and 4) hang on till New Years Eve, when I'll announce the winner

I'll pick the winner at random, but if this competition shows up on any professional competition/money-saving forums or websites, then I reserve the right to change the entry requirements at will, and/or disqualify any entrants which I believe to be fraudulent.  The judges decision is final, no correspondence will be entered into, and there is no cash equivalent available in lieu of prizes.

Good luck!

Wednesday 15 December 2010

Chanel - Le Coton

I make no apologies - whatsoever - for this post!  I mentioned Chanel cotton wool to some fellow bloggers the other week, and the gorgeous Vex in the City and Virtues of Beauty both blogged about how insane they thought it was straight after.  Can't, in all honesty, say I blame them, they are a little ... mad!

So, Chanel have released Le Coton exclusively to Henri Bendel's in NYC and a good friend of mine was sweet enough to bring me a box as a housewarming present recently.  There is nothing  - and I do mean nothing - as exciting as being handed a Chanel bag as a gift, no matter what the contents, for this particular beauty blogger!  The "coton" is apparently made of three layers, from cotton fibres so fine that they have to be hand-picked.  The box contains 100 pads, costs $20 and each pad is embossed with the Chanel logo on both sides:

Each pad is a more than decent size - you'd easily remove nail varnish from all ten nails with this, and it is very thick and soft:

So .. is it any better than ordinary cotton wool? Errrr In fact, I prefer my Boots double sided pads, which are smaller, but the edges are bonded so you don't get those irritating threads everywhere!  But, that said, this is such an insane item, that it's actually fun to use them.  It's fun to have them around, they were a perfect present for a beauty addict, and for that reason I'm very glad to have them! They do, it must be said, look very stylish on my dressing table.  Which is actually a bookcase, but I digress.  I shall ration my use of them though, as, at 10p (approx) a pad, they're an expensive habit to get into!

What's your most insane beauty purchase?

Tuesday 14 December 2010

Le Metier de Beaute - Turkish Smoke

I'm a big fan of Le Metier de Beaute, I think every product I've tried from them this year has been a winner, with the exception of one lipgloss I was given for my birthday (and that's only because it gave me concealer lips, which is merely a problem of faulty shade selection rather than anything else) so when I was given this lipgloss at a makeover recently, I was delighted.

Then I swatched it and started to worry:

It's a very dark browned-purple with some gorgeous gold and red shimmer particles. I was a bit worried, as I'm better wearing bright shades rather than dark shades on my lips these days.  It swatched very opaquely (which was nice, even though this was billed as a "sheer" lipgloss), but still, I worried it would be unwearable.

On my lips:

On my lips, it actually applies a lot more sheerly, and you just end up with a lovely glossy berry-coloured stain.  The gloss lasts averagely, but I do find that the Le Metier formula is a very moisturising one, if a little stickier than a balm.  I like it a lot!

Le Metier products are now available exclusively from Selfridges (and I can't even begin to tell you how disappointed I am that the counter has disappeared from Liberty!) and the sheer lipgloss costs £20.

Monday 13 December 2010

Christmas Countdown - Lavish Vouchers

I was the lucky recipient of a Lavish gift voucher recently, and I think they're great.  Beautifully packaged, and available to spend in more than 300 spas nationwide (including places like The Sanctuary,  plus Dove and Elemis spas around the country), these are the ideal gift for those difficult to buy for people who you think deserve a treat.

Being a nosy person, and knowing that Lavish was set up and is run by one woman - the lovely and very charming Susi Pink - I was so impressed with the Lavish gift vouchers that I had a little chat with Suzi about how she got into the business, here's what she had to say:

I set up Lavish a couple of years ago as I was frustrated with the quality of gift vouchers on the market for spa and beauty treatments.  I found that in most cases if you bought a voucher as a present to celebrate a special occasion or milestone birthday, the vouchers themselves would often arrive not looking very special at all. So I went about developing a new spa & beauty brand that could supply gift vouchers that would feel special and indulgent from the minute the recipient opens their gift.

I also wanted to develop a single voucher that could be used for any treatment, one that was as open and flexible as a book token so that for the 'giver' there was no danger of giving the wrong treatment or risk insulting someone with a well-meant treatment choice which could be the absolute opposite of what the recipient would actually consider having. 

Also many of my friends and family live all over the country and so I wanted to develop one single voucher brand that was accepted anywhere in the UK, so that I could be sure the people I was buying a gift for were sure to find somewhere near them to enjoy having a spa or beauty treatment. 

So the concept of Lavish was born! I worked with a wonderful designer who came up with a brand inspired by the decadent 1920s and some beautiful packaging to make Lavish vouchers a gift that is sure to impress, delight and be adored. Once we had come up with the brand, a website was developed that would serve as a place for gift buyers to purchase Lavish vouchers and also for Lavish voucher recipients to find a salons or spa to spend them in.

We now have over 300 gorgeous pampering locations in our portfolio that covers a range of places from sumptuous destination spas, to city day spas, high street salons and mobile therapists.  We aim to make taking time out to be pampered an affordable luxury for everyone all over the UK, whatever their lifestyle and to ensure that spending Lavish vouchers is a simple and delightful experience.  

So, if you're looking to support an independent business woman and buy a present of time for a friend, then please, pick up a Lavish voucher today, they'll thank you for it.  I'll be spending my day today figuring out where to spend mine ...

The Fine Print: Links are, as always, for informational purposes only, and are not affiliate links.  I'm just a sucker for fancy packaging.  And spas ...

Thursday 9 December 2010

My Favourite ... Neutral Blushers

After a few days showing you my favourite bright lip shades, I thought I'd show you what I wear with them. To be honest, my blusher collection is pretty small, as it's only something I discovered properly a few years ago.  When I was younger, I didn't, really, see the point, but now I know it's actually a vital product for ensuring you look healthy and glowing.  Now, I'm not addicted (much ...) but it's something I'm slowly adding to my collection of.

Blush-wise I find pinks and reds tricksy to wear, so I tend to veer towards peachy/coral and bronze shades (rightly or wrongly) these shades though, are neutral enough to wear with whatever other makeup I'm wearing, and they're hard to overapply.

Clockwise from top left, we have, Avon Earthern Rose, NARS Doucer, Daniel Sandler Natural Beauty, MAC Prism (yes, I do occasionally use MAC) and Le Metier de Beaute in Tenne.


(click to enlarge)

These are all swatched very heavily to show up in the photo, part of the joy of these shades is that they tend to blend in with the skin very well, but that kind of makes them difficult to photograph.

Avon Earthen Rose is the shade with the most orange, and is better when I'm wearing warmer makeup, I like to use this as a very pale bronzer shade, and it's good for using as a contour powder too.  Sometimes, a girl NEEDS cheekbones!

NARS Doucer, my current favourite there's a fair bit of pink in this one, which means that it brightens a wee bit more than the Avon shade, and I find it goes perfectly well with most every kind of look.  I bought a backup recently.  It's exceedingly difficult to overapply, so a perfect blush for these dark mornings!

Daniel Sandler Natural Beauty, the lightest, and peachiest of these shades, this is good for just adding a hint of colour to more dramatic makeup, I find.

MAC Prism is very similar in tone to NARS Doucer, but it's base shade is peach rather than pink.  This is actually a recent rediscovery for me (I found it when I was moving house in October), and I've had it for years, I've no idea if it's part of the permanent line or not.  If my makeup is leaning towards gold I'll pick this up over the Doucer, but I find the NARS is slightly more pigmented, making it easier to apply.

Le Metier de Beaute creme blush in Tenne was one of those shades that I thought was deadly dull and "muddy" when I received it in a goody bag earlier this year, but the muddiness was just the top layer, once swatched, this is actually a glorious neutral creme blush, that is great when I'm just wearing tinted moisturiser.  It's not to be used near powder, under any circumstances!

What do you tend to pair with your brights?

Wednesday 8 December 2010

My Favourite ... Red Lipsticks

Yesterday, I showed you my favourite pink lipsticks, today I'm showing you my favourite reds.  My search for the perfect red has been going on longer than the one for the perfect pink, so some of these reds are very old ...

L-R we have Guerlain Geisha, Lord & Berry China Red, Chanel Flash, Chanel Barcelona Red, Beaute Masochist, All for Eve Red, Nars Pop Life.


(click to enlarge)

Guerlain Rouge G and Lord & Berry China Red are very similar in shade, although the Lord & Berry is slightly more matte in texture, both of these are great brick-reds, which are, by far the easiest shades of red for me to wear.  Both longlasting,both vibrant, these are probably my favourites.

The two Chanel shades are rather more brown, Chanel Flash is a limited edition from some years ago, and I bought it mainly because I fell in love with the silver overspray!  As it's probably the darkest shade here, this is one I tend to wear mainly with neutral eye looks.  Barcelona Red is actually quite a bit brighter, but I think being next to Masochist is making it look more brown than it actually is.

Masochist Weighless Lipcreme is the most beautiful glossy shade.  It's impossible to keep neat for more than an hour or so, but it's beautiful.  Very beautiful.

All for Eve Red is the bluest shade here, initially I thought I wouldn't be able to wear it, but it works suprisingly well with my pale olive skin tone.  This is a gorgeous, wearable shade for most people, and it's one I recommend at any and all occasions.

NARS Pop Life is the softest red in this selection, and it veers a little towards coral owing to the fine golden shimmer, again not the longest lasting of reds, but it's a great entry-level red, owing to the softness of the shade.

What are your favourite red lipsticks?

Tuesday 7 December 2010

My Favourite ... Pink Lipsticks

 It's coming up to Christmas, and to me, that always means more colourful makeup.  Well, when I say more colourful makeup, what I actually mean is brighter lipstick, which I'm usually happy to pair with a smokey eye look.  I love pink lipstick almost as much as I do red lipstick, although this year, it's entirely possible that my search for the perfect pink lipstick has overtaken my search for the perfect red!

The products you can see above are (l-r) Edward Bess Island Rose, New CID Daiquiri, Chanel India, Tom Ford Pure Pink, Elf Fuschia Fanatic, Guerlain Georgia.


(click to enlarge)

The Edward Bess, whilst it's not - strictly - a lipstick (it's actually a blusher), is one of my favourite shades, a raspberry that pulls slightly cool on my skin, but has a glorious velvety texture, and it's nice, sometimes, to match your lips to your blush.
New CID Daiquiri is a fairly opaque gloss, with golden sparkles.  I find it gives a good, sheer finish, whilst still giving your lips a nice pop of colour.

Chanel India, long discontinued, you can see from the top picture how much I've loved it over the years!  I'm hoarding this last little nubbin for as long as I possibly can.  A more rosey shade than the others, it's also on the muted side for me, but I love it a great deal.  For a long time, this was one of the "brightest" lipsticks I owned, can you imagine?

Tom Ford, Pure Pink, the coolest, and brightest pink of the lot.  I like this one a great deal. Moist, and allegedly made of purest crack, it's the lipstick that may cause me to bankrupt myself ...

And from the sublimely expensive, to the insanely bargainous: ELF Fuschia Fanatic plumping lipglaze.  A dual-ended lip colour, with a pink stain at one end, and a lightly frosted gloss at the other, you can wear the shades singly or together one over the other (it works whichever shade you apply first too, which is nice), this is a nice, tingly lipcolour that I like to wear for work.

And, what is one of my favourite lipsticks of all time: Guerlain Rouge G in Georgia.  I love this shade. It's a nice, bright (but not as punchy as, say, the Tom Ford), brightening lipstick, that lightens up your whole face when you wear it, it's glorious.  And a wonderful moisturising, but not too greasy formula too.

What are you favourite pink lipsticks?  Tomorrow, I'll be showing you some of my favourite reds ...

Monday 6 December 2010

Chanel Ombre D'eau Splash and Torrent Comparison

 When I wrote this post recently, one of my wonderful regular readers (the always-lovely Modesty Brown) commented that she thought the colour would be less bronze, so I thought a comparison to the decidedly khaki Torrent as released earlier on in the year would be useful, so here goes:

As you can see, whilst both shades do have a decidedly bronze-y cast to them, Splash is definitely more on the grey side, whilst Torrent runs khaki.  However, Splash is only "taupe" in the same way that Chanel's recent "Taupe Gris" eyeshadow is.  Which is to say, not taupe at all, rather more grey-purple, and not quite as brown as a true taupe.

That said, it fits in very well with my love of sludge-shades and both of these shadows are in regular rotation in my makeup routine.  I wish there was more love for these shadows out there, they're great!

Friday 3 December 2010

Haus of Gloi

I blame London Make Up Girl, as I do for so many things.  This time, and don't ask me how she's done it, the bewitching creature that she is, she's actually converted me to body lotion.

But not just any body lotion, specifically it was her review of the Samhain scents of pumpkin butter and perfume oils from Haus of Gloi that made me think about giving body lotion, well, cream, really, a try.  I tried them a couple of months ago - in  the same scent - and loved them.  Really unusual scents, and a glorious range of products.  I got the bathing dust, pumpkin butter, and bubbling scrub in sample sizes to try, and kind of fell in love.

The major reason I don't really use body oils, creams, butters or lotions is because I don't really suffer from dry skin, once or twice a year I'll get a scaly shin (or two) from shaving but that's about it, so I use body lotions, creams, oils, butters, moisturisers, emollients, etc as an extension of my perfume routine, which is why finding exotically scented body products (etc) is important to me.  If it's not scented, I'm not interested!

Luckily for me, the scents at Haus of Gloi are amazing, and different.  Following my success with the earthy, leafy, almost incense-y Samhain (now discontinued, sorry!) I ordered sample sizes of most of the Yuletide scents and they arrived recently, out of the three I ordered, two I love, and one ... well, one I don't like.  At all.  But hey!  Two out of three ain't bad.  Allegedly.

I'll start with Snow Wolf, Haus of Gloi say:

Bristling and prowling, lonesome and haunting. Three howling firs, white frankincense, vanilla bean husk, tainted by droplets of blood cedar.

Simply put, this smells amazing.  Peppery-spicy, woody and rich with not even a slight hint of sweetness (I can't pick up the vanilla at all), this is a scent perfect for winter, it's highly unusual, almost masculine, and it's something I want to wear every single day.  Oddly, for a spicy scent, it doesn't seem "warm" at all, I think it's because so many spicy scents are based around cinnamon, and clove, that this seems very "clean" for a spicy scent, and is all the better for it.

Hearth.  Haus of Gloi say:

The warm glowing center of any home. Autumns last apple pickings, warm bread, orange rind, various fire roasted nuts, cracked black pepper all nailed down by an oozing sticky benzoin

 In the jar this smells of ginger cake, almost.  Sadly, on my skin, I can't bear it.  At ALL.  It's sticky, sweet and just too food-y.  And something in the formulation clashes with my skin chemistry meaning I want to just scrub the damn stuff off as quickly as possible!  However, I know some people love this scent, so this is just me.  I can totally see it working on other bodies, this is purely my being a bit sensitive to one of the ingredients.  Which one, I don't know, sadly!

Eggnoggin':  What Haus of Gloi say:

The Haus 'nog! Cream, sugar and a shot of dark rum topped with fresh grated nutmeg.
I should hate this.  Technically, it's more or less everything I dislike in a scent, creamy, sweet and a little indistinct.  However, I don't. I love it.  Alongside the warm, creamy sweetness is just a tiny hint of spice (from the nutmeg) and the scent all together on my skin is dazzling.  It's one of those perfumes you wear just for yourself, occasionally sniffing random parts of yourself to remind you how good you smell.  I love it.

The formulas of the products are good too.  The pumpkin butters are an amazing texture, thick and creamy but almost immediately absorbed by the skin, and they perfume your skin beautifully.  I'm also a fan of the bubbling scrubs, despite not having any dry skin in need of exfoliating (don't hate me, I neglect it terribly you know!) they're almost solid, and don't go runny until you actually are exfoliating with them, and this makes them much easier to use than traditional sugar or salt scrubs.  I just wish they hadn't discontinued the bathing dusts!  I think a jacuzzi full of Eggnoggin' would be huge fun!

I've just ordered full-size backups of both Snow Wolf and Eggnoggin' pumpkin butters, bubbling scrubs and perfume oils.  That's how much I love them.  Hearth, however is going to languish on the shelf until I find someone to give it to.... Haus of Gloi?  Haus of Joi more like ...

Thursday 2 December 2010

Love Story - The Musical

Or, time for something completely different.

No, I haven't gone completely crazy, one of my very first posts on this here blog was about opera, which I don't think anyone ever read, so I think it's okay for me to talk about my love of musical theatre here too.  And, I do love it. Growing up we were banned from watching musicals in my house, as my mum hated them - used to say that "people just don't do that" whenever people burst into song.  As a result, as an adult, it's entirely possible that I love them a bit too much.  I may have more musical soundtracks on my ipod than is entirely healthy, but hey, a good tune is a good tune!

However, I have to admit that when the opportunity to watch a preview of Love Story, which has been made into a musical by Howard Goodall and Stephen Clark, and has been produced by Michael Ball came up this week, I boggled a bit.  "But how's that going to work?" I wondered to myself, imagining such delights as the "Leukemia Boogie Woogie" and other such nonsense.

Luckily, the starkly staged, surprisingly non-schmaltzy musical bypasses such cheese (aside from during the Pasta song, which is actually rather amusing, and it's a tune I've had in my head ever since) and is played both well, and admirably straight.  The one act chamber-musical zips by, drawing you into the heart of the piece, and making you care for the characters, in spite of their flaws, and almost eradicates the memory of the incredibly saccharine seventies film it's based on.

Everyone knows how it ends, of course - and if you don't, they tell you in the first few minutes - and this should, realistically, stop you getting that engrossed in the story, but I don't mind admitting that I had the biggest, most painful lumps in my throat throughout the last 20 minutes of the show, and I am one of the biggest cynics of all time.  And, I had something in my eye - yes, something in my eye, dammit - at several points, too.

I adored the simple costuming of the characters and Emma Williams (who plays Jenny) has one of the most gorgeous wardrobes I've seen in a long time. I wasn't too sure that choosing to signify her illness via the cunning use of a cardigan was a great idea though.  It's a simple motif, but hey, Cardigan of Death?  Hmn ...

If I have a criticism of the play, it would be that Michael Xavier, whilst more than adequate, isn't actually good-looking enough to play Oliver.  Shallow, perhaps, but hey, I'm a beauty blogger, sue me. It was just always in the back of my mind that - as written - Oliver is a bit of a boor (not to mention a bore, but that's more the fault of the source material than the play), and it's hard to see why Jenny would be so dazzled with him in the first place.  Your mileage, as always, may vary.

So, why did they do it?  The answer is, I guess, because they could.  And they did it well, if you ask me, I didn't roll my eyes once.  And,  I haven't enjoyed crying so much in ages.

Find out more about Love Story on Stage here. Or you can see their facebook page here.

Wednesday 1 December 2010

Andy Tauer's Advent Giveaway

I'm a massive fan of Andy Tauer, I was lucky enough to meet with him recently (more about that anon), and I enjoyed a great deal hearing about how he is inspired to create his perfumes, and to be able to smell some of the ingredients that make up his creations. He is certainly an artist of perfume in an increasingly corporate bland and fruity-smelling miasma.  If you're interested how perfumes are created, rather than designed, then you should certainly read his blog.

Anyhoo, this year, he's having an advent giveaway, with a chance to win a scent every single day, and it's something I'll be entering at every opportunity (I have some samples of his fragrances here that I'll be reviewing very soon) how about you?  It's 24 opportunities to win a wonderful prize!

Click here for details of Andy Tauer's Advent Giveaway

Beauty Bloggers Backstage - Sparklecrack Central

This month, I got to interview the lovely and charming - and patient! - LiAnn of Sparklecrack Central.  I love her blog as it's an astonishing fount of information about all things mineral, and nail varnish, who could ask for more?   Also, hers is possibly the best named blog out there.  Well, after this one, of course ... [cough]  Without further ado, I bring you LiAnn:

1) You run a multitude of great sites, how on earth do you find the time?

Gnomes, clones, and alternate dimensions.

No, actually, I've been installing scripts, working with HTML and CSS, and
running multiple sites of one variety or another since the early 1990s -
so while the nature of the sites may change and site projects may come and
go, the mechanics are kind of second nature by now. What changes are what
content's being prepped, and any other organizational facets (like herding
cats for Beauty Blogs' Backstage :D )

2) Mineral makeup, why?

Because most pressed makeup (and all liquid makeup) contains
preservatives, and has a definite shelf life. You swipe the applicator
through it, bacteria gets deposited in the medium (the
eyeshadow/foundation/blush/whatever), the bacteria grows in the medium and
on the applicator, and eventually - after a few months or years, even if
they're not used much after the first few times - the medium might be
unsafe for continued use. Plus pressed powders can crumble after either
rough handling or the passage of time; and when that happens they're
messier to store and sometimes can't be stored without some juryrigging.
Mineral makeup, specifically (for me) loose-powder makeup, is largely
inorganic so bacteria can't grow as easily so the makeup is effectively
"good" for longer; it's easier for me to work with to get the effects I
want; and because it starts out as a loose powder, I can easily repackage
it or even repot into smaller jars - for nice-neat-uniform storage (yay,
OCD!!), for travel, for giving some to a friend, whatever. (I know that
companies spend a lot of money on their packaging, and so they -=really=-
don't want to hear that last. But there you go.) I've spent a lot of money
these past three years on makeup; but each year I've spent less money; and
unless a product performed extremely poorly (I'm thinking of Ulta's
mineral eyeshadows and a few other ultra-cheapies), I didn't have to throw
anything out. They're like investment-clothes-shopping: I buy an item like
a loose-powder mineral eyeshadow or blush, and I'll be able to use it
safely for years, even decades to come.

I still prefer non-"mineral" lipstick, because I use lip products rather
infrequently, when compared to eyeshadows and blush; and without
preservatives, the lip stuff will start to "sweat" and go off in a year.
(And my fridge is already full of my nail polishes; I don't want to add my
lipstuff, too. I need room in there for milk and eggs and food and

3) 3 Desert Island items (not makeup-related)

My books (if I can only pick one: Cyteen, by C J Cherryh); SPF 85
sunscreen, so I don't fry or get skin cancer; and a sat-phone to call when
I'm quite ready to head back to civilization. (I have a strong practical
streak....which apparently doesn't extend to moderation when buying

4) Who inspires you?

Anyone who lives their principles, quietly goes about their life
exemplifying said principles, and neither gives nor takes crap from
others. It's not easy sometimes, because we all have that part of
ourselves that really wants to "correct" others or give them information
we don't think they have, and we honestly think they would be happy to
have; but every adult has both the right and the responsibility to make
their own choices and deal with the results thereof. It's one thing to
give someone information about this, that, or the other thing -=when they
ask for it=-. It's another thing altogether to assume that someone is
either so stupid or so overwhelmed with everything else that they can't
possibly know X, or so insensitive that they have to be guilted into doing
Y. It's hard to resist the voices that say, "You're right! Now tell
everyone so that they can be right, too!" But people who do manage to
resist The Drive To Be Right more often than not, ESPECIALLY with humans'
pack-mentality, inspire me. They make it easier for me to do the same
thing, to extend to others the courtesy that is so often denied to all of
us in ways so small...that we may not realize.

5) If you could have dinner with anyone (throughout history), who would
you pick?

Someone who can cook well and is willing to clean up. Julia Child and her
kitchen staff, possibly. Or Alton Brown and -=his=- kitchen staff. With
either of those two, I'd be looking forward to quizzing them during the
prep as much as I would be eating and enjoying the food. :D

6) What is your favourite movie, and why?

Real Genius, because that virtually -=was=- my college experience,
surrounded by geeks and pyrotechs and wisenheimers (but minus Ick, who
made the "exploding" homemade dry ice); or Blade Runner, because of the
story, the issues, the concepts, and the cinematography.

 7) Finally (and most importantly): Kittens or penguins?

Kittens!! Both are cute (good), both have herring-breath (not so good),
but penguins just aren't great cuddlers.

So there you have it.  You can read the utter drivel I wrote in response to some great questions from Liann here: (sorry LiAnn!)
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