Beauty Without Fuss

Monday 30 November 2015

LipsNspritz of the ... er ... Fortnight.

I hate being ill, and I really hate being ill to the extent that it interferes with my posting schedule.  Nonetheless, here's a double-dose (whether you wanted it or not, frankly) of my weekly diary of lipstick and perfume-wearing.  The above pic is from the week ending 22/11/15.

Monday was Etat Libre d'Orange Like This, alongside Chantecaille Lip Chic in Wild Rose.  Like This is probably my favourite "gourmand" fragrance, being a blend of pumpkin, mandarin, ginger and immortelle.  It should smell like a pumpkin pie - which it does, to an extent - but it also smells warm, sophisticated and slightly tweedy from the prickle of ginger.  Perfect for autumn, and just plain delicious at any time.  

Tuesday was continuing the gourmand theme with Laura Mercier Ambre Vanille, alongside Laura Mercier Lip Glace in Rose.  Both are easy and simple to wear, without being too challenging.  Ambre Vanille is sweet and warm, and Rose is a beautiful neutral, which will work on many colourings.

Wednesday brought Hermes Eau d'Orange Vert which is one of my favourite citrus fragrances of all time - I go a little insane for mint in fragrances, and this combination of bitter orange, sweet orange, and just a hint of peppermint oil makes me a little weak at the knees.  I only wish it lasted longer.  I wore it with the rosy mauve of Shiseido Lacquer Rouge in RD529, which is quite an opaque liquid lipstick.

Thursday I wanted to wear a classic, so I did.  Guerlain L'Heure Bleue, a beautiful dance of orange blossom and iris, coupled with vanilla and a little spicy carnation, I adore this fragrance.  It feels blue all the way through, so I wore a blue-toned lipstick too, which was Illamasqua Magnetism.  I got several compliments on the fragrance, as I always do when I wear it, and resolved to wear it more often.  Which I will when this project is over.

I fully intended to wear Tuberose Criminelle by Serge Lutens on Friday, but I was too ill to cope with the rubbery camphoraceousness (TOTALLY a word - if possibly not the spelling).  I spent the day feeling sorry for myself in pyjamas instead.

Saturday I was attempting to  make myself feel better, so a hot shower and a thorough dowsing in DKNY Drop of Rose, which I love for its soft and rosy approximation of baby powder, and a slight resemblance to Ombre Rose by Jean Jacques Brosseau.  It is pure comfort in a bottle, and I love it.  I paired it with Becca lipgloss in Palm Breeze, a bubblegum pink that wasn't too challenging.

 Part two tomorrow ...

The Fine Print: PR Samples, purchases, random stuff from the back of the perfume cabinet ...

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Sunday 29 November 2015

Skincare of the week 29.11.15

I've been ill for a fortnight now - why there weren't any posts on the blog last week, sorry! And this is the skincare I've been using to help myself look approximately normal again.  It's not working, I still look like death warmed up, but at least my skin isn't blotchy and flaking.  For now ...

Monday brought Biologique Recherche Lait, with PixiBeauty Glow Tonic, Murad Eye Cream, Medik8 Red Skin serum (something I'm starting to truly love and rely on), and SkinCeuticals moisturiser - of which there is a full review coming up, because it's a great product on my sensitive oily-combination skin. Oh, and Serozinc, which is an all-time favourite!

Tuesday was the same,  only I swapped in Bioderma Crealine spray for the Serozinc (and in all honesty, I use them both interchangably - if you have one, you probably don't need the other), plus I added in Pestle & Mortar Pure Hyaluronic, for more hydration.  Tuesday was a long day at the office, and I knew I'd need a boost of hydration to get through the day, but I needed a bit of exfoliation first to make it sink in well, so the morning also brought in my much-loved Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner.

Wednesday was one of those days where I woke up super exhausted, and it was showing on my face, so I wanted some lovely, buffering, comforting skincare, so I dug out my beloved (truly beloved) May Lindstrom Blue Cocoon Balm, which is an amazing skincare product for sensitised slightly reactive skin like mine.  A rich balm that melts into an oil, and contains natural anti-histamines in the form of blue tansy oil, I use it as a night treatment mostly, but it's superb at protecting from the weather, on occasion.

Thursday - I'm experimenting with the Kiehls' Ultra Facial moisturiser at the moment, which I really liked in conjunction with the Blue Cocoon Balm, and, just because I could, I did a double-cleanse with PixiBeauty Nourishing Cleansing Balm, and Bioessense Miracle Cleansing Water Cleansing Jelly (about which more soon).  I don't normally double-cleanse in the morning , but sometimes you just want to kick things up a bit.

FridayKATE SOMERVILLE is back in my routine! I received a little package of the products a while ago, and I've been holding onto them (along with the KS products I've been keeping in my fridge for a good few months now too - thanks to kind friends and family who have been to the US this year, and dragged some back for me) till now.  You're going to be seeing a lot of KS in the coming weeks, but it's always a joy to use them.  I'm currently using the Kate Somerville Nourish Moisturiser, and the Age Arrest Eye Cream, but I'll be rotating a couple of other products in and out of my routine for a couple of weeks.  I also have a couple of pots of Goat Cream, but I'm keeping those mainly as night creams right now.

Saturday - I wanted to do a routine composed entirely of favourite products, both old and new ones, and this was the result.  Zelens Balm Cleanser, which I left on my face for a good five or ten minutes as a mask before removing (not deliberate, but it felt really nice, actually!) Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner, Serozinc, Zelens Antioxidant Serum, and three (count them!) Kate Somerville products, the aforementioned Nourish and Age Arrest eyecream, alongside Quench Hydrating Serum, which is one of my favourite products ever.  I probably need the oil-free version for every day use, to be honest, but I do like to use this on days where I'm in no rush to apply my makeup afterwards.

How has your week in skincare been? 

The Fine Print: PR Samples, purchases, and gifts which were  until recently kept in the back of the fridge ...

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Friday 20 November 2015

Library of Fragrance - Cardamom

Spicy fragrances have been one of my saviours this year.  For some reason that's not quite clear (but which is possibly related to trigeminal rather than olfactory nerve stimulation) my parosmic nose can register spicy scents (and tastes) really quite well.  So, when I discovered Library of Fragrance were bringing out a Cardamom perfume, I was super-excited.  

Cardamom is one of my favourite smells (and tastes) anyway, so I was always destined to love this, but even so, I was a bit surprised by it.  Expecting a sharp and pungent hit of hot perfumed spice, I was greeted with a soft fluffy cloud of warm cardamom-scented powder.  Creamy and gently perfumed with cardamom, this is really lovely.  It smells a lot more expensive than any £15 perfume has any right to, frankly.

Library of Fragrance perfumes aren't particularly known for their lasting power, but this seems to last quite well on my skin, having a 3-4 hour wear time (which, compared to the 30-minutes to an hour I get from Clean Laundry, is nothing short of miraculous).  I was hoping for a sharp punch of spice to use for layering over other fragrances that I have trouble interpreting, but what I got was actually a lovely fragrance in its own right, perfect for wearing alone.  Can't argue with that.

It'll be in-store soon.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Thursday 19 November 2015

United Beauty Gel Touch Top Coat

I'd love to be able to do a complete gel manicure at home, but sadly, I remain the cack-handed muppet I always was, and the thought of having to do all that cuticle-work and tidy-up and preparation makes me a little light-headed.  Luckily, one of my good friends is Nails by Miss Merx, so whenever I fancy a full-on gel manicure, it is to her I go.  Times being what they are, however, I can't afford permanent gel manicures, and my nose being as problematic as it is (I can no longer bear the smell of nail polish) I can't be doing with painting my own nails too often either, so what is a girl to do?

Enter United Beauty Gel Touch Top Coat, which claims to turn any nail polish into a gel manicure.  All you do is apply your nail varnish as usual, wait until dry (incredibly important, this step), cure with the included UV lamp and boom!  You're ready to go!

Costing £49.99, the kit includes a UV lamp, a bottle of topcoat and five cleansing wipes (which you use before and after applying the top coat, initially to remove grease, and then afterwards to remove any residual gel left over after curing).  I really like this, with some caveats - the cleansing wipes are on the dry side, so once you've used them pre-manicure, they're too dry to use to wipe off excess gel, and there are only five of them, and if you need two per manicure, that's only two full manis you have wipes for.  And, of course, there is the fact that your manicure won't last quite as long as a full gel manicure, either.  After a few months of using this, I can get a manicure to last ten days if I apply very (VERY) carefully, but a week is more usual. 

That said, a week is usually more than enough for me, I get bored of wearing the same colour for longer, anyway, and I can cope with only painting once a week, instead of two or three times as with normal nail varnish. 

I've used it a lot over the last couple of months (after buying myself some alcohol to use as a cleanser) and like it very much.  If you're expecting full-gel manicure wear, you're going to be a little disappointed, but if you're a lazy article, like myself, it'll save you a manicure a week.

Available from the United Beauty website. 

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Wednesday 18 November 2015

Omorovicza Moor Mud Set

Yes, I'm back to Christmas gift sets!  What?  I love them!  And this Moor Mud Set from Omorovicza  is not just a brilliant way to try what is, frankly, one of the best skincare products on the planet, it's a bargain, too.

Containing a full-size Thermal Cleansing Balm (which normally retails at £46), a third-size Refining Facial Polisher (100ml full size retails at £65) and a third-size jar of Deep Cleansing Mask (50ml full-size retails at £57) alongside a mini-cleansing mitt, the entire kit sells for £46, which is the cost of the Thermal Cleansing balm alone!  I've reviewed both the cleansing balm and the facial polisher previously (see the links above), and I've been dying to try the cleansing mask - I've read really good things about it - so to get two good-size samples, alongside an excellent full-size product to boot brings me real joy*.  You can find this (alongside some other kits which look great) on the Omorovicza website, and in Liberty, or wherever stocks Omorovicza near you.

*And isn't that the real meaning of Christmas?** 

The Fine Print: PR Sample 


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Tuesday 17 November 2015

L'Oreal Steampod Review

I don't actually remember the last time I straightened my hair on a regular basis.  There was a time when my (naturally) curly hair was kept such a secret that it frequently came as a huge surprise to people that my hair was anything more than just slightly bouncy. I went through straighteners like no one's business!  For the last year or so though, I've been embracing my inner curly-girl, and occasionally cursing the fact that, actually, curls are a lot more work than straight hair!   And don't even talk to me about frizz ...

Anyhoo, I've about reached the end of my tether with my curls at the moment, so when the chance to review a Steampod Straightener from L'Oreal came up, I kind of leapt at it. Well, not kind of, actually leapt! The system - for it is a system - use both steam and keratin-enriched styling creams to infuse conditioning ingredients into the hair, before the ceramic plates seal the cuticles and straighten your hair.

Inside the rather imposing box are one pair of straighteners (which come complete with a comb attachment, which I love), one steam pod itself, one replenishing styling cream, and one smoothing serum.   The straightener and steam pod are attached to each other by a very sturdy wire, and the pod (which you must keep on a flat surface when in use, as it is full of water - the water chamber itself is removable for easy filling and emptying) comes complete with sucker pads to keep it in one place. 

You do NOT use this on wet hair.  You apply the styling cream to damp hair, and either blow- or air-dry until your hair is 100% dry, then, after applying a little of the protective serum to the ends, you then use the straighteners as you would any others.  Well, almost.  They're a little wider than normal straighteners and this is to encompass the row of steam nozzles (which only activate when the plates are pressed together), and the comb attachment below the heated ceramic plates.  You have to ensure that at all times the steam-holes are below the ceramic plates, so the steam infuses the creams first.  This can mean a bit of manouvering (especially around the back), but the set has arrows to show where the steam holes are - after a bit of practice, it's quite easy to remember.

The Steampod promises mirror-like shine at a lower temperature than a normal straightener, so does it deliver on that promise?  The first time I used these, no it didn't, actually.  I initially used mine at 180 degrees (I usually use my traditional straighteners at the highest  temperature, having learned the hard way that whilst my curls aren't the tightest, they are incredibly tenacious) and tried out the "normal" hair styling cream alongside the low temperature.  I found that my hair needed several passes with the straighteners to get straight, and even with a liberal application of the protective serum, the ends were still a bit frizzled, and, I admit, I was disappointed. Frizzy bits and hard work?  No thanks.

Nonetheless, I tried again (for it is not only my hair that is tenacious, at times), this time pushing the temperature up to maximum, as I am ordinarily wont to do, and this time using the replenishing cream for thick hair. I used it over wavy, air-dried hair, and the difference was amazing.  I won't go so far as to say my hair was mirror-shiny, but it was soft, shiny and straight, and best of all, felt like natural hair.  Sometimes I find that straightening my hair with a styling cream leaves my hair feeling slightly plastic-ky afterwards, and without an ability to bend naturally.  I didn't have this problem this time. Hair felt natural, and looked like naturally straight hair, rather than "ironed" hair. I loved the results, second time around.

Plus, it lasts.  The publicity for this states that it "can last up to three days" (emphasis mine) I've found that it does last at least that, and it has survived several bouts of rain this week too, both drizzle and proper stormy wind and rain without any permanent damage.  I'm impressed.   

So yes, there's a bit of a learning curve with this one, taking time to figure out the best positions to straighten your hair in, and figuring out which temperature works best for your hair (personally, I never put much stock in anything that says "styles at a lower temperature", because, frankly, my hair doesn't work that way) and making your choice of styling cream correctly in the first place - my hair isn't particularly thick, but there is a hell of a lot of it, and the ends of mine are bleached, to boot. I'd recommend anyone with anything but the very thinnest/finest of hair avoids the "fine/normal hair" cream, and just goes straight for the "thick/very sensitised" version.

All of which brings me around to the price.  It's £170 (though I have seen it for £143 on LookFantastic this weekend), which is a heck of a lot of moolah.  And then there are the creams/serums at £15 each to boot.  I can't deny that it's a lot of money.  A lot of money.  Do I think it's value for the money?  I'm  not sure, actually.  Yes, it's quicker than traditional straighteners (the combination of the steam, the comb, and the plates mean you can straighten more hair in each "grab" than with just ceramic plates), and yes, hair feels healthy and conditioned - once you get the balance right - afterwards, but £170?  I just don't know.  £143 (even though it is on offer), feels like a better price to me.  Mind, Cloud 9s retail at £130, and even GHDs cost over £100 these days, and I do feel like any of them would be an investment purchase, to be honest.

I tell what though, I have just bought backups of the creams and serums, because I can tell there's going to be a lot straighter hair in my future ... make of that what you will.  My GHDs were binned long ago, and my Cloud9s have been quietly gathering dust under the bed for over a year now. Has the Steampod replaced them?  Only time will tell, but I will be using it again this very evening ... 

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Monday 16 November 2015

Urban Decay Gwen Stefani Eyeshadow Palette

Yawn, celebrity collaborations are so ovah, amirite?  Well, no, actually, I was so happy when this appeared on my doorstep last week that I actually did a little clap in the hallway.  I need to get out more, I know.  Now, I have to admit, that I'm not, particularly, a fan of Gwen Stefani (and I could name two, maybe, No Doubt songs, if I was pressed), but I do know her makeup style quite well, and I like it a lot.  Well, I would, as it is based on my own, being mostly neutral eyes, and a strong, bright lipcolour.  This palette encompasses that look beautifully - though you'll have to supply your own lipstick ...

The packaging is a great - strong graphic black and white, with antique gold edging, it's actually rather misleading in terms of the contents, for they are not as "in your face" as the box leads you to expect:

It's a palette of neutrals with a couple of pops of bright colours and a few deeps for lining.  It's skewed very pale, however, and, whilst this made my heart sing (all the Urban Decay Naked palettes have been either too warm, and/or dark for me - so I don't use any of them), it'll be a huge problem for a lot of warmer-toned, and darker-skinned people than me, I think.

There are mattes, shimmers, satins and glitters, nine neutrals (yay!), three deeps, three "pop" shades and if you're as pale as me, it'll make you very happy indeed.  I've seen a lot of talk on other websites complaining that it is "boring", but I think it's actually hugely versatile - and, it looks exactly how I would have expected, though I'd have thought there would have been more contour shades.  But, if you're pale, which I am, it's great.

Shades are:

Top Row (l-r)
Blonde - a very pale matte gold
Bathwater - pale shimmering wheat
Skimp - extremely pale peach
Steady - shimmering cool peach
Punk - matte blackened burgundy
Middle Row (l-r)
Baby - warm pale taupe
Anaheim - matte slightly-greyed flesh tone (my favourite!)
Stark - Matte peach
Zone - warm matte taupe
Serious - glittery dark grey

Bottom row (l-r)
Pop - glittery peach

Harajuku - cool baby-pink satin
Danger - dark blue satin

1987 - glittering green-gold

Blackout - soft black.

My sample came complete with a little card with four bubbles of "UD Gwen Stefani Lipstick" samples on, which I am - possibly - even more excited about than I am the eyeshadows!  There's no information re the lipsticks available, but the eyeshadow palette will be released on November 22nd, and will cost £40.  There's a waiting list you can put your name on for it on the Urban Decay website - I predict a sell-out very quickly.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Sunday 15 November 2015

LipsNspritz 15 November 2015

I was ill on Wednesday, and yesterday (the day after the Paris terrorist attacks), rightly or wrongly, it simply didn't feel appropriate to celebrate lipstick and perfume on Instagram, so a shortened #LipsNspritz this week.

 Monday brought Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution lipstick in Walk of Shame wjhich is a lovely neutral berried-rose shade (seriously difficult to describe this one, it's not red, and it's not brown) which is one of my favourites for looking polished without drawing attention to itself.  Inspired by the name, I wore it with Acqua di Parma Colonia Intensa, which is Aqua di Parma's hairy-chested big brother, fresh from a hot shower, and about to put on his medallion and dancing shoes. The smell of hot soap, shaving cream, and chest hair, it's about as masculine as it is possible to be.

On Tuesday, I went to the opposite extreme, pairing Estee Lauder Private Collection - the smell of bitter, green boardrooms, shoulder pads, and perfect manicures - with Clinique Color Pop in Kiss Pop.  I liked the idea of pairing the mature femininity of Private Collection with a bubblegum confection of a lipstick.

Thursday brought what is likely to be one of at least five appearances for Guerlain Shalimar in one guise or another.  Seriously, for a fragrance I don't, in all honestly actually like that much, I sure do own a lot of bottles of it!  This time around I wore it's perfect entry-point fragrance: Guerlain Shalimar Parfum Initial, which as it has the addition of a lot of buttery, carroty, rooty iris in the opening is much easier to wear than the tar, fur and vanilla of "grown-up" Shalimar.  I wore it with red lips, regardless, breaking out the Guerlain Gloss d'Enfer in Rouge Parade, which was last year's Christmas lipgloss from Guerlain, and I like it very much indeed.

And finally, because I had a day off on Friday, and was just wandering around a very wet and windy North London (because: reasons), I wore simple and yet still lovely Aerin Waterlily Sun. Which is an aquatic floral - an unknowingly apt choice, considering the bright sunshine I applied it in first thing Friday morning!  It's very lovely, and it's something I wear quite regularly when I just want to smell pretty and simple. I paired it with Tarte Lipsurgence Lip Stain in Swank, which is a sheer and pretty red colour.

What've you been wearing?

The Fine Print: PR Samples and purchases.

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Skincare of the Week 15th November 2015

This was a week of two halves, pre-facial (Monday and Tuesday) and post-facial (Weds-Friday).  Monday and Tuesday were pretty normal routines for me, I'd had a bit of an itchy face over the weekend, so broke out some bits and pieces from my "SOS" kit - and more about my sensitive skin routine in detail soon, btw - from Darphin and Clarins to soothe, but it was only a temporary itch once I'd discovered the culprit, which was a night cream I've been testing.  Dropping that for a few days really helped cure the itchy cycle!

I've introduced a new eye product, which is the Murad Renewing Eye Cream, which is a slightly thick cream that promises to diminish wrinkles and deal with dark circles and bags.  After a week of use, I can say it's good, but that I haven't seen any spectacular results so far!  I'll keep you posted. Post-facial, I've introduced some Biologique Recherche products, specifically BR Lait U - a nut-milk based cleanser designed for oil-combination skins, and Sérum Extraits Tissulaires, which is designed to help strengthen and moisturise stressed skin.  I can't recommend a Biologique Recherche facial highly enough at the moment, I had mine at EF Medispa in Kensington, and I loved it.  So thorough, and with excellent - visible - results for several days afterwards.  I was also recommended the cult product Lotion P50W, (which is the sensitive skin version) but sadly they were out of stock on the day. I can tell that I do still need some kind of daily exfoliating product, however, hence the re-appearance of Clarins Gentle Exfoliator on the Friday routine.

In other news, I'm trying to use cooler water to cleanse with - whilst steam is fabulous for skin, I am beginning to wonder if using hot water on my face so much is exacerbating my redness problems.  I'll let you know how this experiment goes!  The idea of cold water on my face on winter mornings doesn't fill me with joy, I have to admit ...

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Thursday 12 November 2015

Laura Mercier Flawless Skin Kit

Alongside a bunch of lovely and wearable makeup kits this Christmas, Laura Mercier are also releasing this beautiful skincare kit, based on their Infusion de Rose line.  It's not a line I've tried properly (yet) outside of having one of the products used on me a couple of times in makeovers this year, but this is a great value kit if you're a lover of either roses or Laura Mercier skincare, or both.

Inside are a full-size Infusion de Rose Nourishing Oil (normally £43.50), which I've tried once or twice, a 30ml jar of Infusion de Rose Nourishing Creme (normally £55 for 50ml) and a sneak peek at a brand new product, a full-size Infusion de Rose Nourishing Lip Balm (which I guess will retail at around £18 when released).

The oil is quite thick and beautifully (but gently) scented with rose,  but it blends easily into skin.  It's plant-oil based, and free from artificial fragrance and mineral oils.  Whenever I've used it previously, I've loved it.  You'll be seeing it a fair bit in my skincare of the week posts from now on, I think.  I've not tried the Creme version, but I've read good things - Laura Mercier skincare generally isn't bad at all.  I've tried the lip balm a few times now and like it very much - the tube has an innovative rubber tip, which makes applying to the lips very easy, but the balm tends to harden in cold weather, so you may want to warm it between your hands before applying.

At £75 for all three, this is a good interesting way to try the range before plunging into full-sizes. 

The Fine Print: PR Sample 

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Wednesday 11 November 2015

Maison Francis Kurkdjian Globe Trotter

I never leave the house without a perfume (occasionally without things like my wedding ring, my oyster card, and house keys though), and nine times out of ten, the perfume I carry with me throughout the day is in one of these glorious atomisers from Francis Kurkdjian.  I apply whatever fragrance I'm wearing for the day in the morning before I leave the house, and if I think I need a top up before I head somewhere else in the evening, I spritz myself with whatever I have in one of these.

Heavyweight and beautifully crafted, these feel wonderful in the hand.  The tops are magnetised so they won't fall off in your bag - the magnets are incredibly strong, and you can have literally minutes of fun putting them on the wrong way round only to watch them spin and settle themselves correctly with a satisfying "clunk" when they land.

The atomisers take 11ml bottles of a wide range of Maison Frances Kurkdjian fragrances (which come in sets of 3 bottles and are available from £60 - bottles are usable without the atomiser too, which is really handy) mine are both currently filled with Aqua Universalis Forte, which is possibly the cleanest - and I really do mean that in a good way - fragrance ever.  The refills are sold separately from the atomisers, but there are a wide range of fragrances to pick from.

My personal favourite is the zinc finish, as I love the textured effect, but the gold is really pretty too. The Zinc finish costs £85, and the gold finish is £95, and both are available from Selfridges.

They come complete with leather covers - matched to the colour of the EU passports! - to protect the atomisers in your bag.  The zinc atomiser in the pictures here is a couple of years old now - and has been carried around with me almost every day in that time - and is still as good as new.  A pricey investment, perhaps, but a thing of beauty is a joy forever. 

The Fine Print: PR Samples

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Tuesday 10 November 2015

Laura Mercier Glam to Go Kit

I do love this time of year for makeup kits!   Laura Mercier is one of my favourite makeup brands (my all-time favourite eyeshadow of all time is Laura Mercier Twilight Grey) and they have some cracking kits this Christmas, and this is my favourite one.  Look at that gorgeous packaging!

Opening it up, there's more of that gorgeous burnished packaging, and a sparkly lipgloss (Lip Glace in Sparkling Daiquiri), and when you flip up the flap, these are revealed:

A blush (Rich Nectar - gently peachy), a mid-tone bronzer, and four neutral eyeshadows, which  are: Espresso Bean (dark brown), Ro-Cocoa (taupe), Vie en Rose (grey-taupe) and Coquette (soft off-white).  All the shades except Espresso Bean are lightly shimmering.  I love that they are all neutrals, it makes the palette beautifully versatile, and very useful.  I'd have liked a pinker lipgloss, personally, but that's just me.  At £35 this contains practically everything you need for a full makeup (barring foundation and mascara) and this price, for Laura Mercier, is quite a bargain.

A great accessory for any handbag, this one.

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Monday 9 November 2015

Clinique Days of the Week Lipstick Set

To say I have no need for a Day of the Week lipstick set would be a mild understatement - I probably have enough lipsticks here for a Days of the Year lipstick set, if not eighteen months - but nonetheless when this turned up last week I laughed.  It's great.

Containing seven not-quite-full-size, but also not-quite-miniature lipsticks, one (you might have guessed) for each day of the week, this is both witty and fun.

The shades are (l-r):
Sweet Sunday - A soft taupe-pink mid-nude.
Monday Mojo - a cool fuchsia with blue micro-shimmer
Take On Tuesday - A pink-nude
Welcome Wednesday - warm caramel
Throwback Thursday - Baby Pink
Finally Friday - A deep, slightly warm pink
Sassy Saturday - deep warm red.

It's a cute and clever gift idea, the lipsticks will cover most colourings and most occasions.  They're all in the Soft Shine formulation, which is a mid-coverage but non-drying formula.  Whilst not totally sheer, they're shiny and easy to wear:

And they're only £35 for seven lipsticks.  What finer present for a lipstick lover (even a lipstick lover with more lipsticks than she knows what to do with) than that?

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Sunday 8 November 2015

LipsNspritz of the week 08.11.15

 I ended up having a week of musk, it wasn't planned, but after wearing The Body Shop White Musk layered up with Serge Lutens Clair de Musc (a combination I'd planned to wear for my wedding, till I realised I needed something with a little more oomph!), I realised that I wanted to wear more of it. I wore these with ByTerry lipstick in Cherry Cherry, which is a great matte fuchsia.

My hyposmia/parosmia means that I still can't smell much when it comes to musk, but I do love musky fragrances a great deal, particularly "clean ones" like the ones here.  Tuesday saw me in Maison Francis Kurkdijan's Aqua Universalis Forte (possibly the cleanest perfume on the planet ever) alongside Guerlain's Christmas Rouge G offering, which is a nice, easy to wear rose shade.  Wednesday brought along an old-school musk in Musk by Alyssa Ashley, alongside Me Me Me Lip Sheen in Wild Plum.

 Thursday saw me in Kiehl's Original Musk Oil (layered over the matching body lotion, which is a little more flowery-smelling than the spray), and Chanel Dragon Lip Lacquer. Both classics, so a combination made in heaven.  Friday brought Jovan Musk which is probably the ur-musk of many people's childhoods.  I wish I had the oil version of this one!  I wore it with Zelens Lip Enhancer, which is a product that always makes me laugh.  A healing and nutritious balm with colour-changing properties, it always ends up a bright bubblegum pink on me, and reminds me of the lipsticks that were just the same in the early 80's.  Nothing changes.

Saturday saw the arrival, finally, of a full-size bottle of Seville a l'Aube by L'Artisan Perfumer, a fragrance I've loved since its initial release, but had finished my sample of.  It was another perfume I nearly wore for my wedding, but the groom-to-be found the mixture of wax, orange blossom, incense and amber had a little too much "oomph" for his taste (he's a buffoon, but I married him regardless) and so it remains my own perfume pleasure.  I wore it with EOS lip balm in Soft Lemon because it was the weekend, and I can't be bothered wearing makeup at the weekends ...

What've you been wearing?

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Skincare of the Week 8th November 2015

A bit of a mixed bag this week, skincare wise.  Looking at the pictures all in one place kind of makes it clear that I have certain patterns in product usage - Pixi Glow Tonic, for example, I tend to use for two days then swap to Clarins Gentle Exfoliating Toner.  The one product I've used consistently this week has been Medik8 Red Alert Serum, which I'm liking more and more the more often I use it.  I find it gentle and soothing, and my redness, particularly in the mornings is much reduced.  Doesn't make any difference to my redness when I drink booze though ... oops.  I really like the Skinceuticals moisturiser too.  It's quite a lightweight texture, but it is still plenty hydrating on my combination-oily skin, without leaving a greasy residue.  I'll write more in detail about both these products soon, and there's a full review of the gorgeous Votary Cleansing Oil upcoming too.

I've picked up some more of the Pixi Skintreats range this week, as I've been incredibly impressed with what I've tried from the range so far and I was intrigued to try more - you can see the Milky Hydrating Mist and Glowtion Day Dew in Thursday's picture, but I also have the Glow Pads and a couple of other bits as well. And I'm trialling some new things from Dermalogica and Murad over the next two weeks, it's all go on the skincare front, but I'm looking forward to trying them out!  Have a few more Christmas-themed posts coming up this week first though ...

 The Fine Print: PR samples and purchases

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Friday 6 November 2015

Urban Decay Vice Palette 4 - first look!

Okay, it's not a Christmas collection, but I think any makeup addict would be delighted with this in 
their Christmas stocking this year!  The Vice palettes from Urban Decay have long been a cult with beauty bloggers, and I suspect this will be no exception, either.  Inspired by the colours of an oil slick, it's so pretty!

Gloriously detailed on the outside, with iridescent overlays, and coming in a foiled pouch, Vice 4 is beautifully packed up.

Inside though, is what really matters, and inside doesn't disappoint:

A pretty mixture of neutrals and brights (but mostly brights, admitedly) this a gorgeous palette for all ages, especially if you love playing with your makeup.  I can think of one little girl who's going to love this one this year! (it's okay, I don't think she's reading this ...)

Urban Decay Vice 4 palette is instore now, and costs £43 for 20 eyeshadows and one double ended brush.  Will you be splashing out on colour this Christmas?

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Thursday 5 November 2015

Burberry Christmas 2015 - Military Red Lips and Nails

Nothing says Christmas like red and gold, and Burberry have gone out of their way this year to package up some of their cult products (and add a couple of new ones) in a festive manner.  This might be my favourite collection of theirs in quite some time.

Packaged in shiny golden livery, in a festive change from the traditional pewter, the mini-collection consists of Burberry Kisses glosses and lipsticks in either Festive Gold or Military Red,  Nail polishes in the same, an eye cream-shadow in Festive Gold, alongside a shimmering fragrance powder, and a fluid base in Nude 01.  I have the Military Red selections to show you with the fragranced powder today.

Military Red is a perfect bright scarlet, bringing to mind holly berries, and, of course the colour of Christmas itself!  I haven't tried the nail varnish yet, but it'll be the next thing on my nails for sure, it's such a beautiful colour (I've long been a fan of Military Red - I reviewed it first on here back in 2012!).  The golden fragranced powder has only a slight hint of the My Burberry that it is fragranced with, but it's a subtle golden glow for the decolletage and shoulder blades.  If you find a fluffy enough brush, you could possibly decorate your hair with it too.  

In-store (at Harrods) and online now, the pieces in this collection start at £15 for the nail varnish and rise to £45 for the fragranced powder.  See anything you like? 

The Fine Print: PR Sample

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Wednesday 4 November 2015

Burberry Christmas 2015 - My Burberry

For Christmas 2015 Burberry have re-released a bunch of their cult favourite products in a seasonally appropriate golden livery.  Today I'll take a look at the fragranced products, and tomorrow I'll show you the (beyond beautiful) Christmas makeup.

In beautifully textured golden boxes, My Burberry, a blend of sweet pea, geranium and rose over a base of patchouli, has been released in both a golden "snowflake" version of the Eau de Parfum and a lightly glittering solid version, perfect for your handbag.

Topped with a magnificent faux-bakelite knob, the EdP has been tied with a pale golden bow, and the fragrance is filled with tiny golden sparkles.  For the solid version, the brand's signature pewter lid has been switched to gold too.

But let's take a closer look at those sparkles: will be engraving up to three initials onto My Burberry bottles in the run up to Christmas, and a personalised anything makes a great present!  And this is a gorgeous bottle to engrave, as well.

My Burberry EdP will cost £90 for 90mls, and £55 for 50mls.  The solid fragrance version is £30,  and you can buy it online and from Harrods now.

The Fine Print: PR Samples
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Tuesday 3 November 2015

Guerlain Meteorites Flocons Enchantes Christmas 2015

The first sight of Guerlain's Christmas collection every year is the real sign that the festive season is on the way, and frankly, this year's Meteorites have excelled themselves.  They're beautiful, and so is the packaging.

Moving away from the traditional fluted tin, Guerlain are presenting this year's Meteorites in a beautiful snowglobe complete with golden accents. The last time they moved away from the tin was a cardboard box, so I'm glad they went all-out to create a beautiful package this time. Inside the globe they're also doing a couple of things they've never ever done before, and they've done them beautifully, but to see more, you'll need to click through below:


Monday 2 November 2015

Sleek Christmas Collection 2015

I'm a sucker for a Christmas collection, I am and this is a very pretty one from Sleek this year!  Glittering finishes and beautiful metallics abound including the gorgeous i-lust palette above.

Named after famous designers, Margiela and Louis are cream shades and the rest are sparkling powders.  The pigmentation is deep and lush, as you would expect from Sleek, and this is a nice, neutral selection of quite sparkly colours.  Did I mention they're quite sparkly?

To see the lipglosses, and the unusual highlighter collection please click the link to get to the rest of the post:

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