Saturday, November 30, 2013

Nordstrom haul!

Nordstrom is one of my favourite US online department stores to spend my pennies on!  Living in Dubai, I have my orders sent to my US office address who send it to my forwarding address in the US who courier it to Dubai and it works really well.  Shopping in the US is not only cheaper than Dubai but also gives me access to brands that are unavailable here.

The service I have received from Nordstrom has always been flawless.  Standard shipping is free and always includes 3 free samples.  Their customer service is also exceptional.  I recently ordered two Christmas candles and when they arrived at my US office unfortunately the glass cylinders they were in were both smashed.  I could have decanted the candles and used them in an old Bath and Body Works jar but I contacted Nordstrom on twitter so they could feed back to the courier they had handled the package roughly and Nordstrom immediately issued replacement candles to me which I thought was very impressive.

I haven't done a haul post for ages so here's what I recently picked up.  I haven't had chance to try any of these things yet as I have been travelling this week so reviews are to follow!

Nars Guy Bourdin Cinematic Lipstick in Goodbye Emmanuelle and Guy Bourdin blush in Daydream

The only two items I purchased from the Guy Bourdin collection-'Daydream' reminds me of a daytime version of Nars Orgasm which is probably my all time favourite brush.  'Goodbye Emmanuelle' is a bright pink and this lipstick is a new formula from Nars so I am looking forward to trying it.  I've always liked the Nars formula on other lipsticks I own.

Chanel Rouge Allure in Exaltée and Illusion D'Ombre in Initiation and Fatal.  

I saw Exaltée on Fleur De Force's blog and thought it was a really beautiful bold pink.  I also wanted to try the two newly launched Illusion D'ombre's after seeing good reviews and loving the ones I already one.  Sadly, you can see that Initiation is a funny shape and looks dried up so I need to try it this weekend and see if it's ok.  This is quite poor from Chanel I think-it's a luxury brand and I expect better quality control from them when they issue products.  I'll let you know what it's like.

Fatal is a plummy burgundy colour and Initiation is a medium golden bronze.

Philosophy Just Release Me

This is a repurchase!  I picked this up in Sephora in New York in March on a whim and really loved it.  It's so effective and soothing and I really enjoyed using it.

Butter London Petrol Overcoat

I think Butter London is my favourite nail polish brand.  I recently saw this newly released 'Petrol' overcoat and can't wait to try it.  It can be used alone or over other polishes-I want to try it over a black/very dark plum.  I saw some lovely swatches on Rebecca's Be Beautiful Beauty Blog of the whole new collection.

Hanae Mori Butterfly

Finally I managed to pick up this Hanae Mori Butterfly perfume.  I got a sample of this in my last Nordstrom order and fell in love with it!

I searched every perfume retailer in Dubai for it and no one had it and none of the UK retailers had it either.  It's kind of fruity with top notes of blackcurrant, strawberry, blackberry and blueberry.  It also has jasmine, peony, almond and vanilla.  It's not sweet and sickly, it's kind of grown up sexy fruity and gourmand-reminiscent of the Jo Malone Sugar and Spice collection from earlier this year.  It's delicious and I would never have known how good it was if I hadn't have received the sample from Nordstrom.

You can't beat a good haul, I know most of mine are online but it's like Christmas when the box arrives and you open it up!  I will get reviews up of my purchases as soon as possible!

Don't forget I am currently hosting an international giveaway on my blog to say thank you/Happy Holidays and celebrate my blogs first anniversary.  You can enter here


Friday, November 29, 2013

Buxom Serial Kisser

A post for my US readers today as unfortunately Buxom is not available in the UK (or sadly Dubai) but this 'Serial Kisser' limited edition gift set is such good value and so great I just had to feature it on my blog.

I bought mine from Sephora in the US and used my Aramex Shop and Ship account to get it to me in Dubai.

This limited edition lipstick set features five mini lipsticks with the Full Bodied formula, in a velvet covered gift box.  For $32, this set offers incredible value and would be an amazing Christmas gift for an lipstick lover!  Two of the shades (Provocateur and Menace) are from the permanent line and the remaining three are limited edition.

These lipsticks are almost perfection in a (mini) tube.  They are supremely glossy and provide opaque, pigmented colour whilst keeping the lips hydrated.  Lips are plumped with no tingle (my personal pet hate in lipsticks) and the lipsticks have that slightly waxy texture meaning once on the lips the colour stays put with no bleeding outside of lip lines.  The formula reminds me of the new Dior 'Rouge Dior' which I am a big fan of.  Wear time is pretty exceptional on them all-between four and six hours.

Every colour is great in this set-there are no poor performers and all of them are totally wearable, I am so happy I was able to snap this up!

Provocateur is a true red.  It doesn't lean particularly blue or orange toned.  Very classic and definitely this years 'Christmas red' for me.  I love how pigmented and glossy it is.

Menace is a deep wine colour, reminiscent of Mac Rebel.  It has a slightly blue undertone and has a glossy, opaque finish.

Mistress is a cool toned almost bubblegum pink.  Very wearable for daytime.

Centrefold is a cool toned rosy pink with a sheen finish.

Moonlighter is one of the most unique lipsticks I own.  I have a couple of glosses with this sort of violet magenta tone to it but no lipsticks.  Definitely a lipstick to wear on a night out and has a pearlised finish.

If you get chance to try anything from Buxom (and they only do lip products) then do-I am a big fan of the range.

PS-I am currently hosting an international giveaway on my blog to say thank you/Happy Holidays and celebrate my blogs first anniversary.  You can enter here

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

More new additions

I know I only just posted a The New Additions post but as I mentioned in that post, I had used up quite a few things recently so I thought a new 'new additions' post was justified!

Here's what else I have pulled out of my stash in the past couple of weeks.

I had to try and get my hands on this cream after Caroline Hirons raved about it.  This is described as an excellent moisturisor for sensitive and acne prone skins and as I am only a couple of weeks into using it I'll leave you to read Caroline's post here to understand the reasons I picked this up.  I have to say I do love the very hygienic dispensing method.  I purchased mine from Nordstrom in the US and had it shipped to me but I believe Kate Somerville now ships to the UK from her website.  It costs $55 (approx £34).  My skin has actually broken out over the past couple of days which is unusual and I am putting down to an enormous amount of stress in my life over the past week and also the water here in Cairo where I am currently typing this post from.  The water here in Cairo seems to leave a residue on the skin so I am extra careful to remove my cleanser with a flannel thoroughly and to ensure I double tone.

The By Terry Teint De Rose is an interesting product.  I purchased it from Space NK back in May but it's been sitting in my skincare stash since.  It's another one of those products that I had a long chat about with the salesgirl in Space NK but now could not for the life of me remember what it was for!

So I went back to the Space NK website and this is a light cream that can be used as a base under foundation (as a primer) or as a night cream to add radiance to the skin.

The skin has a salmon pink colour (the second photo is a true reflection of the colour) and I apply it to my skin after my moisturiser and under my foundation.  The cream gives a luminous rosy, semi matte glow to the skin and the cream almost leaves a metallic sheen to the skin.  I know that sounds awful but actually when you then apply foundation on top the result is just fresh, glowing skin.  It contains anti-blemish and anti-dullness correctors to illuminate tired skin and refresh the radiance of lackluster complexions.  It's a light cream without any greasiness and doesn't have that silicone-y texture to it.  I didn't get on with the Benefit Porefessional at all which I mentioned in my last post and it will be going into my next blog sale.

I would imaging that if you apply this after a late night (and I know party season is on the horizon) you will wake up looking decidedly less tired than you actually are!

It's not your average primer at £56 (I am SO bad for buying things without looking at the price) but it has some skincare benefits also.  The pot looks tiny but because you only need a small bit I think this pot will last absolutely ages.  Repurchase?  Not sure to be honest-I hadn't realised how pricey it was so I would have to seriously fall in love with it to re-buy.

I have had the Nars Sheer Glow for aaaaaages in my stash and just kept pushing it aside for other foundations-I think because I was so worried I was going to be disappointed if I used it after seeing so many rave reviews.  I AM NOT DISAPPOINTED!!  Mont Blanc is the perfect shade for me and I love the way this foundation can be applied with a brush or fingers.  It's quite a runny liquid and I find if I am using my fingers to apply it I only need 2 pumps to cover my whole face (I purchased the pump separately).  We all know the bottle is not well designed because if you purchase the pump you can't put the lid on it and with it being glass I have to cat proof (and Stacey proof it) it at all times.  It gives a medium but buildable coverage with a satin finish.  I powder mine as I prefer a matte finish but it has no SPF so no ghostly flashback face in photos.  It also feels much lighter on the skin than Estee Lauder Double Wear which I loved.  A brilliant foundation.  I bought mine from Liberty in London for £30.50.

I got bored with my Ellis Faas mascara and decided it was time for a change and literally did a lucky dip by sticking my hand in my mascara stash with my eyes closed, and out came Illamasqua Masquara.  I am not a massive fan of Illamasqua make up, I am not sure why, I just don't get on with it.  I find the lipsticks incredibly drying and didn't like the skin base foundation or primer.  Having said that I think their blushes-cream and powder-are exceptional.

I forgot I had bought this mascara but it's a little beauty.  It has a fairly chunky medium size brush and basically does everything I want from a mascara.  Its black-black, lengthens, volumises and slightly curls the lashes.  It doesn't flake or smudge (and trust me I cried all the way through Wednesday last week and I am surprised I had any mascara left but I definitely did) and it lasts all day.  It also dries fairly quickly which I like, there is nothing worse than waiting for your lashes to dry, trying not to blink like a demon!  Because of that, I recommend building it up on the lashes whilst it's still wet but doing one eye at a time.  Once it's dry it's harder to build. 

I like it a lot!

Finally I also dug out the Shiseido Nourishing Mascara Base to use as a primer for my lashes under my mascara.  The wand is very slim on this and the product is a grey-ish gel that appears clear on the lashes-the last 2 mascara primers I have used have both been white.   I'll be honest, at the moment I am not loving this because I am not seeing much benefit from using it.  Mascara primers should intensify the look of your mascara, adding extra volume and length but I don't see any difference at all when I am using it.  I also don't feel like it's putting much product on my lashes either.  But it gets rave reviews (I saw one girl saying it made her lashes look like they were on steroids lol!) so I need to maybe try it with another mascara to see how it fairs.  The best mascara primer I have used so far is the Mac Prep and Prime Lash, it is immense for building your lashes!

Have you tried any of these products?

I am currently hosting an international giveaway on my blog to say thank you/Happy Holidays and celebrate my blogs first anniversary.  You can enter here


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Lip Six

I haven't done a Lip Six post in what seems like aaaaaagges so here's this last weeks lip choices-a very bold week!

Top row (L) Dior Rouge Dior 775 in Darling (R) Mac Amplified lipstick in Chatterbox

Middle row (L) Daniel Sandler Micro Bubble lipstick in Micro Femme (R) Mac Retro Matte lipstick in All Fired Up

Bottom row (L) Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Damned (R) Marc Jacobs LoveMarc Lip Gel in Voila!


Sunday, November 24, 2013

Lancôme Star Eyes in Quartz Taupe

Lancôme have released 4 limited edition Hypnôse Star Eyes eyeshadows for the holiday season. 

I haven't seen this advertised anywhere!  I saw it on the 'new in' section of Selfridges and decided to order one to try-choosing Quartz Taupe.

These eyeshadows are very very similar to the Chanel Illusion D'Ombre.  They have almost the same glass jar packaging with screw top lid and the same 'bouncy' mousse like texture.

Quartz Taupe doesn't sound like the most exciting shade but it is a beautiful greyed purple with a stunning 'dazzling' finish with sparkles of gold, bronze and silver.  It's very similar in tone to Chanel Illusion D'Ombre in Illusoire as you can see from my swatches below.  What I did find is that the Chanel eyeshadow faded much quicker than the Lancôme one.  Both eyeshadows have a very smooth mousse like texture, there is absolutely no gritty feeling in either of the shadows from the sparkles.  There's also zero fallout which is brilliant in such a glitzy eyeshadow!

In shade

In direct sunlight
I love this eyeshadow!  I pretty much think it is going to be a staple for me over the holiday season.  I applied it two ways just to see which worked best.  One the left I applied the Nars eyeshadow primer over my lid and then used my finger to pat the product onto my eyelid and smudge out at the crease.

On the right I packed the shadow onto an unprimed lid with a Mac 239 brush and then I blended out the crease with a Mac 217 blending brush.   As you can see the finish is almost identical.  My personal preference (in terms of speed and ease) was to just pat it onto my lid with my finger.

The wear is incredible-I have had it on for 8 hours now without it creasing at all and still looking as good as when I first applied it.  I could make it more dramatic by blending in a darker grey or black out to the outer corner but I just love this shadow swept over the lid for a casually easy glamorous look.

These shadows deserve more kudos!  They are limited edition so if you like the look, snap it up now!  They're also a couple of ££'s cheaper than the Chanel counterpart.

What do you think?

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