Beauty Without Fuss

Wednesday 26 October 2016

Murad Eye Lift Firming Treatment

 Getting older sucks, and I can sum up why in just two words: reading glasses.  

I had fairly major eye surgery as a kid, and my optical prescription varies so wildly (one eye is long sighted, and the other is short sighted) that one optician told me years ago that I would never need reading glasses.  He. Was. Wrong. I do so need them, so much so that my eyeballs now feel like they're going to explode out of their sockets if I attempt to read even the largest of large print without my reading bins on.  Talk about feeling cheated!  Anyhoo, I now I have a tendency to squint much more than I used to, which is where Murad Eye Lift Firming Treatment comes in.

Eyes are always the first place on your face to show your real age, because the skin is so thin it wrinkles more easily, and is more prone to dehydration than the skin on any other part of your face.  Certainly, if I haven't had enough water to drink on the average day, my eye wrinkles always look far more pronounced than if I have managed to guzzle down a litre or so on top of my tea-intake, anyway.  I'm very lucky in that I'm not particularly plagued by bags or dark circles, but my "crows feet" are rapidly turning in to emu tracks*, and I HATE THEM.

These made me laugh so hard, thank you Murad!

I also have sensitive skin, and eye cream has a nasty habit of setting off my sensitivity, so I approached Murad Eye Lift Firming Treatment with trepidation, first encountering it after a Murad facial earlier this year.  The packing does warn about a "tingling" sensation, so I was a little sceptical that I'd be able to use it at all, to be honest.  A decent size (30ml!) bottle that comes complete with 40 eye pads (so you can get 20 treatments out of it, by my reckoning), you apply three pumps in a thick layer to the skin under each eye, then rest a pad over the top and relax (or blog!) for 10-15 minutes and pat any excess product into the skin.

I've used this once a week since it arrived, and I have to say, I'm mighty impressed with it.  Yes, it does tingle when I first apply it, but it has never lead to any lasting, or visible, irritation and the skin under my eyes is definitely plumped up and hydrated after using it.  It's particularly good on those mornings after the night before.  Allegedly.  Ahem.  Anyway.  The major ingredient is hyaluronic acid, and it has a great, visible plumping effect, and lines are definitely diminished on using.  I find it sinks in easily (there's never any excess to "pat in" when I remove the pads), even though it feels like you're using a huge amount of product in comparison to a usual eye cream, but the skin never feels overloaded or greasy, and it's never caused a breakout. 

As for long-term effects, I can't speak to those, but for a temporary "refresh", this is great, and makes eyes look younger/less tired/squinty/dehydrated very quickly in a way ordinary eye creams can't.  The box says to use the treatment 2-3 times a week, but I think for my sensitive skin that might be overload, but as a weekly treat whilst I'm sat at my computer searching for the blogging muse, they're hard to beat.

And the price, at around £45-£55 (depending on the supplier) is actually a bit of bargain in comparison to some eye creams with only a fraction of the product in the jar!

* Emus are heavier than crows, right?

The Fine Print: PR samples.

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Tuesday 18 October 2016

Jo Malone London Launch Basil and Neroli Fragrance

I was lucky enough to be invited along to the launch of Jo Malone London Basil and Neroli fragrance earlier this year,  and I'm very glad I did go, because this little bottle of sunshine hasn't left my handbag since.  I'm a huge fan of Lime, Basil and Mandarin, the brands "signature" fragrance and I was delighted when I discovered that Jo Malone London were back using basil in a key perfume launch. It's an interesting scent that doesn't pop up often, which is a shame.

I've spoken of my love of orange blossom before, and whilst Basil and Neroli lacks that hot, soapy, barbershop note that I love in other fragrances so much,  Basil and Neroli is a fine, fine, simple yet beautiful and classy fragrance.  Neroli is a greener scent than orange blossom, less overtly floral, and with overtones more of citrus and leaves than flowers, it is altogether less "sharp" than a regular citrus accord. When amped up with the leafy green basil - completely recognisable, though lacking some of "real life" basil's somewhat aniseed-y notes - Basil & Neroli is a great, light, unisex fragrance that's suitable for all occasions.

It's bright and zesty on first spray, citrus-fizzy without being too sharp or lemony, and light without being too insubstantial, or simply disappearing. It smells of sunshine and grass and happy memories, and has a genuine presence without being overwhelming overwhelming at all.  It's not sweet, and marries the savoury nature of basil really well to the citrussy neroli, then dries down to pleasant white laundry musks  on the skin.  It's in a light, cologne-style, but with hints of foodiness (I was wondering about an orange-basil salad dressing after encountering it, but the fragrance itself isn't foody at all), and would suit a crisp white shirt (on a wearer of any sex/gender, frankly), as well as a white t-short kind of an outfit.

It's a perfect example of the things that Jo Malone London do well, actually.  A very simple fragrance that still manages to give an air of sophistication, and smells really good without being too challenging on the nose.  It's a difficult trick to pull off, smelling both good and accessible, without being boring, or bringing up the dread word "inoffensive".  Yes, you won't scare the horses wearing this one, but you will love wearing it.  I do.

Available now, and costing from £42 for a 30ml bottle, it layers well with Blackberry and Bay, and Wood Salt and Sage from the same range.  It'll make someone a great Christmas present.

The Fine Print: PR samples

This post: Jo Malone London Launch Basil and Neroli Fragrance originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper


Friday 14 October 2016

Mugler Alien Candle

Finally, the nights are drawing in, and we have perfect candle weather!  I love candles, own hundreds, but this Saturday was the first night we've lit a candle in the new flat, and we've been here nearly six months now! 

And what a one to start candle-season off with.  Recently released by Mugler perfumes, this Alien-scented candle is a joy.  I love Alien, with its unapologetic oddness (space jasmine, anyone?), but still beautiful in its own right, it's a perfect scent for room fragrance, and candle. We burned this for several hours on Saturday night, and the flat still smelled amazing the next day.  My nose doesn't detect a lot of household fragrances these days (the fault of my olfactory nerve damage, not the products), but this has a surprising amount of "throw", so even I could detect, and love it.

So, what does Alien smell like?  It's white flowers, amber, woods and jasmine, with just a tiny, tiny, tiny hint of licorice, in my view. it's sweet and flowery, but very sophisticated, however, if you don't like jasmine, you won't like Alien at all.  I like jasmine.  A lot.  Which is lucky.

Winter, wine, candles and (not pictured) Strictly Come Dancing.  The perfect autumn evening.

I love the way the purple glass glows whilst the candle is burning, and the scent is great (have I mentioned it smells great?  I should have, it does), every home should have one.  Mugler have also released an Angel-scented candle this autumn, if you know someone who loves Angel or Alien, then here's your Christmas present sorted.

The Mugler candles cost £39 each, and are available wherever Mugler fragrances are sold.  I'll be getting a backup. 

The Fine Print: PR sample

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Thursday 13 October 2016

Armani Lip Magnets Lip Swatches

In yesterday's post, I gave the full review, today is just lip swatches of the newly released Armani Lip Magnets.  The colours are lovely and pigmented, and easy to wear without drying the lips.

Top Row 300, 301 and 302
2nd Row 400, 401 and 402
3rd Row 500, 501 and 506
4th Row 601 and 602.

In the same order, here are the lipswatches, beginning with 300, 301 and 302

 The difference between 301 and 302 is slight, but 302 is slightly deeper and redder.

Now the reds: 400, 401 and 402:

The reds are actually very similar indeed, 400 is a little lighter than the other two, 401 is a little pinker, and 402 is the darkest, but there is very little in it.

Now the pinks, 500, 501 and 506 (the "nude")


 And finally, the berries 601 and 602:


602 - sorry, my lips were absolutely KILLING me by this point.
Armani Lip Magnets cost £27 each and will be released nationwide on October 28th, at the moment they're a Selfridges exclusive.

The Fine Print: PR samples.

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Wednesday 12 October 2016

Armani Lip Magnets launch nationwide on October 28th

 2016 has been a great year for lipstick lovers, especially BRIGHT lipstick lovers, like, er ... me! Armani have launched a great range of mattes recently - they're currently exclusive to Selfridges, but they'll launch nationwide on October 28th, and I have a bunch of them here.  In today's post I'll talk about the colours and the formula, and I'll put swatches into the post tomorrow, otherwise it'll be a bit too much.  Launching in 18 shades, I have 11 of them here to show you - I'm just missing the nudes, I think.

From top (l-r) we have 300, 301 and 302.  Second row is 400, 401 and 402.  Third row is 500, 501, and 506, and the bottom two are 601 and 602.

The shades have been released in four different colour families, corals/oranges, reds, pinks/nudes and purple/berries.  They're all highly pigmented (though some are easier to apply than others), and they literally feel like you have bare lips once they're in place, and have "set" onto your lips.

(l-r) 300, 301, 302 Corals/Oranges
300 is a light, almost neon tangerine shade.
301 is a great medium coral
302 is a deeper warm red-orange.

This is me looking a bit tired in 302:

(l-r) 400, 401, and 402.

400 is a strawberry red.
401 is a cherry-pinked red and 
402 is a classic bright neutral red.  A quirk in the Armani packaging makes these look a lot more warm and "orange" than they actually appear on the lips.  Even my husband mentioned that they all looked "really orange" before I swatched them.

(l-r) 500, 501 and 506
500 is classic "bubblegum" pink on the bright side, but not too "Barbie"-looking.
501.  Barbie called, she wants her dream house back.
506 - a pinked mauve that is surprisingly easy to wear on this particular shunner of nudes.

Me moon-faced and slightly insane at 5.30am in 500:

And finally,
601 and 602 (at the front l-r)

601 is a cool-tone liverish purple
602 is a bright berry-purple shade.

602 in wear:
Can we say "goth"?
The formula is great.  A very thin and sheer liquid that can be easily built up in the more opaque shades, but I found that 300, 501 and 601/602 could be a little streaky if not applied carefully.  They have a "water-in-oil" formulation, which means they get more matte as the water in the formula evaporates off the lips, leaving just the pigmentation behind.  I haven't had any issues with my lips drying out whilst wearing these, nor do they feather or crease at all.  I have noticed an odd tendency for them to look glossier in photos than they do in real life.  I think this might have something to do with the light-reflective properties of the colours, which are opaque, but not at all flat, which is quite a feat.

The applicator is, quite possibly, one of the best I've ever used in a liquid lipstick format, it's firm, and doesn't pick up so much of the liquid that you have to smear it all over, and hope for the best.  It's on the small side, and has a very definite point to the tip, so you get an exceptionally precise application with little fuss, even if you're as cack-handed as I am first thing in the mornings!  They're not greasy, or slippery, and nor do they suck the moisture from your lips like other matte lipsticks I could (but won't) name.  They're an exceptionally nice, and easy wear.  That said, the wear time isn't like anything as great as a traditional heavy pigment and wax-based matte lipstick, but they wear off nicely (you do have to watch for the " red ring of doom" with some of the darker shades though), and they leave a nice stain of pigment on the lips.  The best (or worst, depending on your POV) ones for leaving behind a stain are the two brighter pinks (500 and 501) and the pinker berry shade (602).  None of the shades will survive a portion of chips, but they will stand up quite well to a couple of biscuits and a cup of tea (mental note, never blog when hungry).

Full lip-swatches tomorrow.  Armani Lip Magnets cost £27 and will launch nationwide on 28th October.

The Fine Print: PR samples

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Tuesday 11 October 2016

Philosophy Amazing Grace 20th Birthday Special Edition

The last time Amazing Grace appeared on this blog, I referred to it as an "anti-perfume", the smell of clean laundry, and described it as perfect for people who don't really like fragrance.  I stand by those things, but I also confess that I actually have a huge, sneaking, deep vat of love for it. 

"Clean" fragrances are a not-so-secret vice of mine, the urge to smell like laundry  musks and baby powder is a source of shame considering my role as a perfume blogger. I should live for skank, for the smell of musty underwear, of tropical mangroves filled with rotten fruit, of coughdrops, catpoo and honey, of death and foof, of leather and booze, of unshaven armpits, and grannies fighting over the last murray mint in a powdery handbag, that kind of thing.  Well, one thing I've noticed since I lost my sense of smell and it's "recovery" over the last couple of years is that the sense of smell I do have now has changed a lot. Where once Tom Ford Tuscan Leather was a "full-on smack in the face with a driving glove", it's now a fuzzy, fruity suede waistcoat made of raspberries and offcuts, more Top Gear than Top Gun.  The fragrance hasn't changed, but my nose definitely has.  The world of smell is an odd place for me to negotiate these days, but I'm hopeful that my love of skank, of armpits and catpoo will come back one day.

In the meantime, a return to my love of clean and rather unchallenging scents is to be celebrated, considering the alternatives, and so to my delight to find that Philosophy Amazing Grace is having its 20th birthday this year.  Can it really be that long since I bought my first bottle?  Amazingly (see what I did there?) it can.  Blimey. It's just been released in a special edition livery ready for its party, and the smell has hardly changed at all.  At once as familiar as your favourite item of clothing, and as inoffensive as a pretty girl at a beauty pageant, Amazing Grace has charm in a quiet and low-key fresh from the dryer kind of a way.  If it's the kind of thing you like, then you'll love it.

Happy birthday, Amazing Grace! 

The Fine Print: PR sample

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Monday 10 October 2016

Cabrini Studded Leather Jacket from Navabi (A tale of intense nervousness and the BBC)

"Just wear whatever you feel most comfortable in!"  

Was there ever a sentence designed to fill a fat lass with such dread?  I heard it from the producer of a BBC2 TV programme I'd been invited to take part in, and, well, the thought of making my national telly debut in a decades old pair of Coca Cola-themed pyjamas and a lightly Doritos-stained Motley Crue hoody didn't really appeal, if I'm being honest*. Particularly not when the TV show in question is a serious scientific documentary about my anosmia and parosmia problems over the last couple of years, anyway.  So for several weeks in September, I was in a serious tailspin over what to wear for making a documentary, I have NOTHING to wear!

Actually, not quite true, I have lots of clothes, and I scrub up quite well (for an accountant), but I wouldn't say I really had style, unless "cardigan chic" is the topic in question, that is.  As some of the filming was to take place on Shepherd's Bush market (and you haven't lived until someone calls you a wanker on film when you're trying to talk about your trials with potatoes whilst walking backwards through a market, let me tell you) I knew a coat would be necessary, but in September a winter coat would have been too much and my rain coats were all designed with thinner people in mind (that thinner person being me, two summers ago, but hey ho).  I harboured idle thoughts about a purple coat from Joe Brown for about two minutes before the idea of a leather jacket popped into my head and I remembered about Navabi.

Navabi, if you don't know, is a supplier of designer clothes for the more generously proportioned amongst us. I discovered it quite by accident last winter, and went a bit bonkers buying faux-leather trimmed skirts and dresses by the score ("Leather dresses!  For big girls! Wheeeeee!" went my brain), then I went on a total clothes no-buy for the summer, because I was busy buying furniture instead.  I love Navabi (and no, they're not paying me for this blog post) because unlike SOME plus-size clothing suppliers they don't a) feature celebrity "designed" ranges b) don't cover absolutely everything in sequinned appliqué butterflies and c) don't feature "celebrity" "designed" ranges covered in appliquéd sequinned butterflies.  Whilst I'm all for appropriate sequinnage - yes, I do wear them to the office, more regularly than you might think, actually - butterflies and applique can get stuffed, frankly.  I also love it because it's proper designer-wear (sometimes with prices to match), and whilst there are the occasional potato-sack-style couple of items, they're deliberately done so, and not your only option if you're above a size 14, unlike some websites. Whatever your style, and whatever your budget, and whatever the occasion (and your size), there's something you can wear.  I have a selection of their shift dresses and long jumpers from last winter, and the styles are both classic and timeless. A trawl through the website is always a treat - even for me, a confirmed clothes and shoe-shopping hater.  Oh yes, I went there.  Not even slightly sorry.

Anyway, where was I?  I spotted this Cabrini studded leather jacket, and I fell, completely, utterly head over heels in love.  A biker style, but so much more feminine (and flattering) than that, it had to be mine. HAD TO! And, luckily for me, Navabi were incredibly generous on hearing about my "plight" (such as it was, I know, I know) and agreed to send me a sample for the filming.  I haven't worn any other coat since it arrived, and, after a couple of years without a leather jacket in my wardrobe, I'm wondering how the heck I managed without one.  You know when an item of clothing turns up, you put it on, and it feels so completely like "you", you never want to be parted from it again?  Well, that's this jacket for me.  "Wear whatever you feel most comfortable in"?  No problem.  Thank you so much, Navabi!  You can find the jacket (and much, much more!) here: (not an affiliate link) It's buttery soft, comfortable, and aside from the studs being brass rather than the silver I'd expected, is exactly as advertised.

Me (sadly, sans jacket) with Sarah McCartney and the BBC Scotland production team

I'll talk more about the filming nearer the time of broadcast (providing, of course, that my section makes the cut!), but it was a huge amount of fun being a telly "presenter" for the first (and, no doubt, last) time, and, as well as being grateful to Navabi for solving my clothing woes, I'm also indebted a huge amount to the wonderful Sarah McCartney at 4160Tuesdays and the gorgeous Linda Pilkington of Ormonde Jayne, without either of whom the filming probably wouldn't have happened. 

Me in the jacket of joy - I had flu when this pic was taken
though, so please don't enlarge it, you won't thank me.
 I just have to save up BIG TIME for my next Navabi spree now ...

* And if you think I'm not wearing them RIGHT NOW as I type this, you'd be sadly mistaken, I'm afraid.
The Fine Print: PR sample.

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