Sunday, June 29, 2014

YSL Babydoll Kiss and Blush review

Ahhhhh YSL have really nailed it with their newest release, I am in serious love!!

YSL Babydoll Kiss and Blush is a hybrid (that word again....) 'whipped mousse' that can be used on lips and cheeks-and it's actually true!

The formula is a soft velvety matte-some of the shades have more 'sheen' to them than others but one dot of the colour on your cheeks, blended out with a stippling brush (Real Techniques stippling brush is my weapon of choice) gives the nicest flush of non sticky, long lasting colour.  I don't recommend blending with your fingers, stick to a brush and work it in as soon as you apply it.

On the lips these really excel.  The applicator shape makes navigating around your lips a synch-even with the brighter colours.  The formula feels lipstick like-it's light and creamy and doesn't set like a stain would.  It's lightweight and non drying, doesn't bleed and has a nice even fade.

I bought four and it's impossible to pick a favourite because I genuinely love them all.  A slight downside?  The packaging is a little clunky to be carried round in your make up bag (especially when you want to carry round all four at once) but they sure look pretty on your dressing table.


Have you tried any of these new YSL stunners?


Saturday, June 28, 2014

MAC Playland Lipstick Giveaway!

I was so desperate to get my hands on the MAC Playland collection, I was literally stalking the website for days-and I still missed out!  Then Selfridges got the collection online and I got the two lipsticks I wanted-and then they lost them somewhere in transit!  Then  they couldn't find them so I re-ordered them for fear of missing out.  And then they found them.  And then I realised in my frantic panic to re-order I had ordered 2 of each.

When I cock up, I do it good!!

So I now have TWO prizes to give away-each prize consists of TWO lipsticks-one in the shade Happy Go Lucky and one in Red Balloon.  And they are utterly gorgeous!

To enter just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below.  This giveaway is open internationally and will run for a 4 weeks.

The winners will be contacted within 24 hours of the giveaway ending and must respond within 24 hours with their postal address.

Good luck and a massive thank you to everyone who takes the time to read my blog!!
a Rafflecopter giveaway


Wednesday, June 25, 2014


My latest installment of 'two new' features an eyeshadow primer and a serum, both of which I have been using for a few weeks now.  These two new posts have been a bit long and rambly but hey, I call it 'thorough'

The Art Deco eyeshadow primer is a very silicone based, almost putty like cream you apply to your lids to prolong the wear of your eyeshadow and give an even finish.  It comes in a tiny 5ml pot costing £8 (I got mine from Beauty Bay if I remember correctly) but you only need a smidgen to even out your lids.  You can then apply shadow directly on top and it does keep your shadow crease free all day.  I have a little niggle in that when you first apply eyeshadow on top of this primer, especially in the inner corner of your lid the eyeshadow can look a bit streaky and uneven but a second coat of shadow resolves the issue.  I would also warn against this if you have sore lids, especially this time of year when hayfever is rife in the UK as the highly silicone-y formula could irritate them further.

It's not a glowing review but it does the job.  If you haven't used an eyeshadow primer before they can do wonders for keeping your eyeshadow in place but also making the pigmentation of the eyeshadow truer to pan.  Space NK used to make the most amazing cream one, I went through literally pots and pots of the stuff but sadly they discontinued it.  Urban Decay, Nars and Too Faced all do highly rated primers and MAC paintpots make great bases for powder eyeshadow.  The Nars eye primer is really good for cream shadows.

I always use a primer but at this point I probably wouldn't purchase this one again.

Elemental Herbology is a brand I have discovered this year and every single thing I have tried from a cleanser to a mask to a moisturiser has been great.  Enter the Elemental Herbology Cell Food.

I do invest quite a bit financially into my skincare routine and this serum is a pricey £45 but I am really enjoying it.  In my laymans terms, it's a viscous serum that I have been using morning and evening-in the evening it's the last stage of my skincare routine every other evening and in the morning I used it after my hydrating toner and before my Hydraluron.  It feels really watery when you apply it but it is literally absorbed into the skin in seconds.  It contains a whole host of ingredients I can barely pronounce never mind know what they are (Kombuchka, Rovisome and Phylderm?  Nope me neither!) but the basic concept is that this is a serum designed to give radiance and vitality to the skin and is particularly good for those with dull, undernourished skin and frequent travellers.  As someone who works long hours in an airconditioned office, gets on a tin can to fly a couple of thousand miles at least twice a month and has a terrible diet this appeals!  The ingredients work to improve tone and radiance, stimulate cell renewal, soften and soothe and help reduce the damaging effects of the environment on the skin.

I can't attribute it soley to this serum but my skincare routine is definitely 'working' at the moment.  Even though I chop and change like a mofo.  It's a nice addition to my routine and my skin is looking a-ok right now.  So it's a keeper.


Sunday, June 22, 2014

Lancome Lip Lover-the review

2014 seems to be all about the hybrid.  Brands boasting of new innovative lip products that are pigmented, hydrating and long lasting.  Am I the only one who thinks there are lipsticks or lip glosses that have always done that and this is just a new buzz word in the market to entice us to spend our hard earned pennies?

Cynicism over (because lets face it I did go out and buy them) there have been two major high end 'hybrid' lip products in the last couple of months-the Dior Fluid Sticks and the Lancome Lip Lover.

Yes the word 'hybrid' can mean a multitude of things so don't be fooled into thinking these two offerings, both branded as 'hybrids' are similar.  The Dior Fluid Sticks market themselves as a 'fabulous wear, high impact, glossy colour lip hybrid' offering the pigmentation and lasting ability of a lipstick with the shine of a gloss-all in a water like formula on the lips.  And in the main I have to agree.  I like the Dior Fluid Sticks once the initially tackiness and tingle has subsided and you can read a more in depth review here

The 'Lip Lover' is Lancomes version and is available in 17 different shades (21 in the US I believe) and I bought two of them-Ambre Arabesque (320) and Lip Lover (337).  The packaging is nice-a simple stubby silver bullet with a click button to release the lid.  The applicator is an elongated doe foot that does the job well.

So what is the 'hybrid' in the Lancome offering?  Well it claims to deliver three luxurious lip perfecting benefits in one-the hydration of a balm, the vivid shine of a gloss and the intense colour of a lipstick.  It claims to have 'saturated pigments' (whilst the Dior offering has 'spheres of gloss') and a balmy base to make lips look flawless and perfected.  'Adjustable colour, buildable shine, lasting comfort.'

Maybe I am wrong to compare the two because I think Dior have gone for 'longevity' and Lancome have gone for 'hydration' but I can't help feeling the Lancome offering is the more disappointing of the two.  First up the good points-it doesn't have the tingle or the stickiness of the Dior Fluid Sticks and does have a more water like, lightweight feel on the lips.

Sadly that's where my positivity ends.  My main problem is that I really struggle to get even coverage of the Lip Lover formula on my lips-the colour just looks constantly streaky.  Now don't get me wrong, one of the main complaints I have heard about the Dior Fluid Sticks is about the difficulty to get an even finish with some of the shades but I found the Lancome Lip Lover to be far more difficult to work with.  Secondly, although they don't dry out the lips, they don't seem to offer any additional hydration benefits-in fact they seem to cling to and highlight every dry, flaky patch that suddenly appears.

Of the two, 'Lip Lover' is the better performer, I really love the colour and the high shine.  Ambre Arabesque seemed to last less than an hour on my lips but I got about 3 hours out of Lip Lover.

I am disappointed as I am quite a fan of Lancome products usually.  I am going to try and persevere with them but at the moment, this formula wouldn't be something I would rave about to my friends.

Isabelle from Nails and Cupcakes has a slighly more positive view and you can read her review here.

Have you tried the Lancome Lip Lover's?  Or any of the new 'hybrid' formulas on the market?


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Currently Loving

June is so far a way better month than May with some super super exciting things coming up (we'll politely ignore the 4000 word assignment I have to do like now and the final exam in October).

I arrived back in Dubai on Thursday after a very hectic week working in Cairo, only to immediately hit the road and drive up to Fujeirah for a weekend break at the beach.

The view from our room-not bad at all

I am off to London on Friday to see my best best best friend for the weekend (and some other super super special ladies to me) and my mum for five days after that-proper girly time leaving my dad at home to fend for himself!  Oh and my passport needs renewing again-I got a 48 page one three years ago when I started my current one and its full already!  #FrequentFlyer

We've also booked a holiday to Miami in October with my best friend again-Sephora here I come!  The list making starts now.

On to my current loves-I have done two 'currently loving' posts this month but I was a little sick in May and the one I posted at the beginning of June should have been up a lot earlier than it was!

I feel a little giddy today-can you tell lol!

First up this absolutely gorgeous palette from Dior from their permanent collection.  It's perfect for Spring/Summer with its delicate pinks at the top, that beautiful light bronze in the centre, the most stunning vibrant purple and that taupe

The colours are so velvety and blend so easily-I often forget just how bloody amazing Dior shadows are and should dive into my collection more often.  But their palettes are so visually stunning I really struggle to put my brush into the prettiness.

I am literally obsessed with fragrance at the moment and have been spending a fortune but there are two I literally cannot stop spraying.  First up is the Calvin Klein Endless Euphoria*it's kind of intoxicating whilst being light and fresh at the same time.  The guy who sits next to me at work one day said 'I smelt something really nice all the way down the corridor and got to my desk and it's you!'.
The opening note is cherry which to me is just spring/summer personified but it's mellowed by mandarin and bergamot.  It dries down to a more floral sweet scent but without that sickly quality.  I wear this day and night and cannot get enough of that very first spritz smell.

The other perfume I can't get enough of is sadly very limited edition (you may still be able to get it in store but it seems to be sold out online in the UK) is the Jo Malone 'Rain and Angelica' from the London Rain collection.  This was a duty free purchase for me and I just love it so much.  It's much more aquatic than the Calvin Klein but lasts all day even though it's very subtle.  It's very clean and very refreshing.  I love combining it with Jo Malone Orange Blossom.  If you can try it do-and the bottle is obviously stunning and a change from the normal Jo Malone classic bottles.

MAC Well Dressed blush has been in my stash for a couple of years but was very much unloved until recently.  I dug it out after seeing an old Tanya Burr tutorial and thought it looked so pretty!  It's not very pigmented but the plus side of that is that it really is impossible to over do it.  It gives the prettiest pink flush to the cheeks, has a satin finish and I don't feel I need to wear a highlight with it because the finish is quite sheeny and radiant.  A must for pale girls.

Charlotte Tilbury 'Bitch Perfect' is probably my favourite nude of all time now.  Any regular reader of this blog knows I went a bit loopy when Charlotte launched her make up line, practically buying one of everything and the lipsticks are really good.  Slightly syrupy in formula, they don't bleed and last ages.  See a full review here of the lipsticks I own from the line.  And if you fancy seeing my crazy Charlotte Tilbury haul just click here.

Have you tried any of these products?  Apart from the perfumes these were all 'shopped my stash' products and you know what?  It felt goooood.

*Contains a PR sample sent for review.  Opinions are, as always, my very own.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Sephora Haul

Sephora shipping to the UK is like the best thing ever.  Even though I don't actually live in the UK and I have to send it to my mums for her to send it to me.  And the fact that Sephora won't ship everything to the UK.  But apart from that, best thing ever!!

My Sephora 'loves' list is a constant work in progress and the trip we have just booked to Miami in October for 2 weeks should see me turning my 'loves' list into reality #Yey

So here are a few things I picked up recently from Sephora in the US.

First up is the Anastasia Clear Brow Gel (the pink tube that looks like sweeties) and the Tarte Fresh Eyes wipes.  I thought the Tarte wipes might be useful for flights and for clearing up smudges and the Anastasia Brow Gel is a repurchase.  It's so good and one of the only ones I have tried that doesn't go crusty.  Crusty is never a good look.

The main item I bought was the Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette.  I have ummed and ahhed over this for months.  Mainly because I own about 178,932 eyeshadow palettes already.  But after reading rave reviews from Jen at Vibrant Vivacious Veracious Beauty Blog and Tiffany from Make Up By Tiffany D I felt my resolve weakening by the day.

The first thing that hit me about the palette was the smell-wowzers it is like chocolate on steroids.  I am not sure if I love it or hate it at the moment but it's sickly sweet.  The palette is packaged in a tin so is great for travelling.  There's a good mixture of shimmery and matte shades and looks pretty damn good to me.  I'll try and review asap.

I bought yet another Bite lipstick.  I love this brand so much and I am gutted that I have just found out they have a lab in Soho, NYC where you can go and make your own lipstick.  I wish I had known that when I was in NYC last year.  Definitely one for the 'to do list'.  My latest pick is from the Deconstructed Rose collection which comes in really pretty outer packaging covered in roses but the lipstick itself is in the standard grey rubberised Bite packaging.  This is the shade Grandifolia, a fiery coral red.  I am kicking myself for not picking up the Deconstructed Rose gloss library and now it's out of stock.

Finally I picked up two new releases and a highly rated mascara.

The Josie Maran Lip and Cheek creamy oil is a tinted argon oil treatment for lips and cheeks.  I absolutely adore the Josie Maran Coconut Watercolour Cheek Gelee so I have high hopes for this.  I chose Limitless Pink.

The Too Faced Melted Liquified lipstick has been getting rave reviews in the States.  Am not sure what to expect in terms of formula-am kind of expecting something like the OCC lip tars so again I will review asap.

Finally I picked up the Kat Von D Immortal Lash.  I struggle to resist a mascara, especially one that is described as blacker than black and intensely volumising.  SOLD.

What have you been splurging on recently?

PS-my last blogpost was a review of 2 of Sephora own in house brand lipstick glosses-you can read it here


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Sephora lip products-tried and tested

Not only a Mecca for beauty brands, Sephora also has its own in house range of cosmetics and now that Sephora is shipping to the UK it's tempting to explore the range.  But blind buying is always difficult-unless you have a friendly beauty blogger to tell you whats hot and whats not from their line up.  That's me by the way!

I thought I would start with two of their lip products-the Rouge Infusion Lip Stain and the Cream Lip Stain.

One is literally amazing and the other did nothing at all for me.

The Rouge Infusion Lip Stain is the 'miss' in this post.  I like the packaging-the black glossy test tube with the long doe foot applicator is quite funky.  Sephora describe this as 'zero texture, lips bathed in intense colour with no sticky residue' and I concur with two out of three of those claims.  On application the gloss feels water-like and cooling, once on the lips it's balm like and non sticky.  But on me the colour just disappeared-literally in minutes-it was like my lips just absorbed the colour and it was nowhere to be seen! Magenta Ink was the worst performer, it was gone in seconds.  Strawberry Tint was a little better but the colour does nothing for me and it was difficult to get an even finish.  Not something I would purchase again and it receives very mixed reviews on the Sephora website.

The Cream Lip Stains are a different story though-these are utterly wow!  More traditionally packaged as a lip gloss, they have a doe foot applicator which is easy to use.  It has the same water like texture of the lip stain but the pigmentation is amazing.  It dries to a true matte stain and is completely opaque with one layer.  The colour is smooth, even and none drying.  It doesn't bleed but it doesn't fade very evenly, it needs a bit of maintenance throughout the day but instead of checking my lippy every couple of hours, I can leave this for 4-5 hours without worrying.  For $13 (less than £10) these are a worthy rival of the Bourjois Velvet Matte liquid lipsticks and well worth checking out.

Let me know if these reviews are useful-we do have Sephora here in Dubai and I am always happy to
pick bits up and test them out-all in the name of research obviously.....


Sunday, June 15, 2014

MAC Limited Edition Lovelies

I blogged about my picks from the MAC Osbournes collection earlier this week but at the end of last week some more online orders of limited edition lovelies rocked up at my office.  I was hoping to include two lipsticks from the Playland collection that were supposed to be in the Selfridges order that arrived on Thursday but they were missing when I opened the parcel.  I contacted Selfridges who are 'investigating' but the fact is, they weren't in the box.  It's transpired today that they were dispatched separately but Selfridges didn't tell me that, I have found out myself.  From their end they were supposed to update me yesterday but didn't and the tone of the girl at Selfridges customer service on Thursday was a clear indication that she thought I was swinging the lead.  She should have looked at my order history with them.  Luckily the social media team at Selfridges have been far more responsive and professional.  I'll keep you updated to the outcome.

On to happier things, I could not more chuffed with these items-they are all fabulous.

First up, two lipsticks.  Pinkfringe from the Proenza Schuler collection with it's divine ombre metallic packaging (I got both blushers too, swoon) and Kelly Yum Yum in it's Kelly-esque lilac packaging.  I didn't need Kelly Yum Yum, I could dupe it from my existing stash but want and need are very different things.

Next up is the Pedro Lourenço Nude Quad.  I was having a late lunch one day and scrolling through instagram and saw this on Sara from Color Me Loud's feed.  Sara is one of my biggest enablers especially when it comes to eyeshadows and I immediately logged on to MAC US on my iphone and bought it.  I didn't read reviews or look at the shades in the palette-and guess what, I own two of the already!!!  However, I am SO happy I did buy this because a) the limited edition packaging is stunning b) MAC Sable is MY ALL TIME FAVE SHADOW and I have a big pan shaped hole in the one in my pro palette and c) sooo good for travelling to have such a well put together quad to hand.  Amazeballs.

Have you picked up anything from any of MAC's recent collections?  Love or disappointment?  Have you missed out on something swoon-worthy?

I am writing this from Cairo today where I am for 5 days on a business trip-Cairo is without doubt the most crazy city I have ever visited but having been over 30 times in the last 3 years (I look after Egypt as part of my job so am there at least once a month) it always fills me with a sense of calm and belonging.  I am excited about going back as it's six weeks since I was last there and I have missed it!  It's very much work work work (I've still never seen the Pyramids) but as someone who struggles to sit still I love it!  I got the most amazing welcome back to the Four Seasons Nile Plaza in Cairo in the form of a tempered chocolate smart phone and a whole host of handmade chocolates.  If you follow me on  Instagram you can see cool it was!


Saturday, June 14, 2014

Doll eyed mascaras

Mascara is an addiction.  I have more than 20 unopened mascaras at home in the pursuit of the perfect one.

I recently finished one tube and picked a replacement and noticed there was a theme-they were both 'doll eyed' mascaras.  So I thought a comparison post might be useful for anyone considering a purchase!

So what is the 'doll eyed' look?  Well I would describe it as separated, fluttery lashes to give a wide eyed look.

First up is the Lancome Hypnose Doll Eyes mascara.  Lancome make the most amazing mascaras.  I haven't tried one I haven't loved.

The formula of this mascara is relatively dry making it easy to work with and meaning the mascara stays on your lashes not your lids.  It has a cone shaped brush which makes it really easy to get into all the little lashes on the inner and outer corners of your lashes.

It lifts and separates lashes easily and dries quite quickly-but not too quickly that you can't go in with a second (or third) coat.  It doesn't flake, but sadly on me it can smudge under my eyes-but this problem can be easily solved with a coat of a lash topcoat on top (my HG is the Bare Minerals Locked and Coated).  However your lashes still look blackest black even after 14 hours wear.

The YSL Babydoll mascara has a wetter formula initially but soon starts to dry out.  It has a plastic bristle brush that I know some people aren't a fan of but I have no issue with, I find it easy to work with.  This mascara is more volumising than the Lancome Hypnose and still gives that 'separated lash' effect.  Easily buildable, it lasts all day with no flaking or smudging.

Both are great mascaras but the YSL just nudges ahead as the winner for me because it doesn't smudge at all.

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