Friday, February 27, 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre review

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre review

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre review

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre review

Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre review

Today I share my thoughts (briefly I promise) on the Charlotte Tilbury Lip Lustre lip glosses.  I think I will let the pictures speak for themselves to be honest-the colour pay off is not what I expected from the colour in the tube which I am really disappointed about.

Candy Darling looks like a glossy red in the tube but is a very sheer pink on application.

Sweet Stiletto looks like a coral toned nude in the tube and actually applies well to the lips with a fairly decent colour payoff.

Hall of Fame looks like a muted pink in the tube but is almost clear on my lips.

I think the formula of these is actually really nice-they're not sticky at all, or too thick and apply very evenly without streaking-they just lack any kind of punch in terms of pigmentation and for that reason I am really disappointed.  Of course you could layer these over a lipstick or liner but personally I prefer not to-I don't like it when applicators pick up lipstick colour as it 'pollutes' the lip gloss in the tube but that might just be me being extra anal!  Sweet Stiletto is a great everyday 'suits everyone' glossy nude but the other two are destined to sit unloved in my stash.


Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Estee Lauder Little Black Primer

Estee Lauder Little Black Primer

Estee Lauder Little Black Primer

Estee Lauder Little Black Primer

Estee Lauder Little Black Primer

I love a good primer me!  I'm such a fan of face primers and eyeshadow primers and they are an essential in my make up routine for giving a smoother foundation on which to apply more make up on top-making it longer lasting and keeping the shades I am wearing true to colour.

I have dabbled in lash primers before-my favourite up til now being the MAC Prep and Prime Lash which really adds volume to your lashes before you add your mascara on top.

But there is a new kid on the block in terms of the Estee Lauder 'Little Black Primer' and when I saw it online on Selfridges I snapped one up.  And it's great.

So the concept is pretty simple-this primer is black as opposed to many primers which are a white base so it can be used to tint your lashes for a natural look, be applied as a first coat (primer) before adding your mascara on top or used as a top coat to waterproof your mascara.  I really like the narrow curved bristle brush, it makes it really easy to work around the lashes.

I am all about the primers so that is how I have been using it and I have found it really does make a difference to the look of my lashes-making them look longer, fatter and blacker.

I am currently using Chanel Inimitable mascara which I absolutely love just on its own.  It offers volume and length, doesn't smudge or flake and holds a curl.  But the Estee Lauder primer just seems to add extra oomph to the lashes and I love the effect.

Hopefully in my photos above you can see the effect of my 'mascara only' lashes versus my 'primer + mascara' lashes, especially in the last picture?

The only downside I have found that when I use the Chanel and the Estee Lauder together, they are such a formidable duo that it takes some getting off at the end of the day and you need a good bi-phase remover and a little patience!  But that is definitely something I will sacrifice for the lashes it gives me!

It's a winner.   Go buy.


Monday, February 23, 2015

Lip Six and a chatty catch up

Hello hello!  Happy Monday!

Today's lip six has a bit of a twist, I thought I would combine it with a little chatty catch up too.

But first lipstick.  As always.

Firstly sorry for the lighting in the last two pictures, they were lip pictures I took whilst I was working in Cairo last week and the lighting in the hotel room was very very bright-I don't have a tan!  

Top row (L) Kat Von D Everlasting liquid lipstick in Berlin  (R)  MAC See Sheer lipstick

Middle row (L) Bite Matte Creme lip pencil in Tatin (review coming soon!!)  (R) L'Oreal Color Riche lipstick in Blakes Red (Full review here)

Bottom row (L) Dior Fluid Stick in 689 Vertigo  (R)  MAC Soar Lip liner with Dior Fluid Stick in Tiny Pink over it

So let's catch up (aka lets talk about me!!).  Life lately is pretty darn good.  

I am feeling pretty fit and healthy after my cancer diagnosis last year.  I am less tired and have more stamina.  Without a doubt it has changed my life and I am still finding my 'new norm'.  There are things about myself I don't like so much and I need to work on for sure but I am lucky to have amazing people around me-not just my family but I have such a tight knit 'core' of friends that I am in touch with constantly who listen, support, advise and cheer me on constantly.  There are times when I feel overwhelmingly lucky that I was diagnosed at a treatable stage and this was brought home recently when my little brothers best friends wife (am sure there is nothing grammatically correct about that sentence sorry!) passed away from cancer at 32.  Emma Grandison was one of the most inspirational people I have ever met, she fought and fought every step of the way, raising over £40,000 for the Rosemere Cancer Foundation, the neonatal unit at the Royal Preston Hospital where her daughter Erin was born prematurely almost 18 months ago and Cancer Research UK.  I didn't get to meet Emma, but after I was diagnosed she contacted and befriended me via facebook after my brother told her brother about my diagnosis and we kept in touch and she was always so supportive.  Proving she was so full of life and never let cancer dictate her life she recorded this in November last year and self conducted her own funeral. 

I am still undergoing regular tests following my surgery and the all clear last year.  I am currently in talks with both my surgeon and oncologist about some problems with my lymph nodes but I am hugely positive about whatever path lays ahead.  No I don't have a cervix or uterus I don't have a regular smear test but I do have a regular 'vault smear' which specifically checks for tumour regrowth in the part of the vagina I have left and I have now had two consecutive clear ones.

I am back to work full time and loving it.  The people I work with are amazing and not a day goes by without a barrel of laughs.  Of course I work hard and it's very demanding but the environment carries me through that.  Any regular readers will know I adore my assistant James and boss Nick and they have formed Tuesday Club meaning basically we end up in a bar every Tuesday for a quick drink (or 3).  I kind of feel normal again.

I am also travelling regularly again to my beloved Cairo and have been seeing my clients and doing the job I love.  I have done two trips so far this year and am back there again twice in March.

March is shaping up to be an incredibly busy but also fun month.  This week I am in Dubai and then head straight back out to Cairo for 4 days next week before flying back to Dubai and meeting (at the airport!!) one of my oldest, bestest friends who is coming here for a weeks holiday.  Am hoping to do some nice 'Dubai' things with them so check my instagram for some touristy shots of Dubai-and lots of food no doubt.  I hope they'll love it-Sylvia has been before but Robert her partner hasn't and given he is a chef the stakes are high!  If you live in Northern Cumbria you must check out their gastro pub-The Golden Fleece-it's my favourite pub in the world and the food is amazing!!  They've just been awarded an AA rosette for their food-I'm so proud!

Sylvia and I are also going to see Ed Sheeran in concert on the 6th-I can't wait!

My old boss from HSBC Andrew and his family are travelling to Dubai the following week so I have a few things planned with them, including a dinner at The Mango Tree which is a great Thai restaurant with fabulous views over the Dubai Fountains and we are seeing Michael Bublé in concert on the 12th.

Lis from is also in Dubai that week and I am really looking forward to meeting her!!  I am hoping maybe some cocktails and shoe shopping (and of course make up shopping) may occur when we meet!!

It's my birthday on the 18th but we have no plans this year-maybe a nice dinner but that's all before I then hit Cairo again.   Today is officially pay day and also annual bonus day so I am planning shortly to splurge on a new piece of bespoke jewellery-I was surprised how well my post on Buying Jewellery in Dubai went down so if you'd like to see pictures of my new ring let me know!

I am absolutely loving blogging at the moment and just really enjoying make up at the moment.  I look 100% better with make up on than without and I just love making new discoveries and playing with texture and colour.  I am no make up artist but I like to practice!  The community is so supportive and that spurs me on to keep writing.  I vowed to be super organised this year because my work takes over so I am currently working on a '2 weeks ahead' schedule so even if things get extra crazy in March I should have enough to see me through the month.  I feel like I have been doing tons of lipstick and eyeshadow posts recently but they're kind of my favourite to do.

Am hoping to get to the UK asap and meet some of the bloggers who supported me so much whilst I was unwell last year as well as catching up with my brilliant friends across the UK.  I am also planning a trip to the US in the summer as we were forced to cancel our Miami holiday last year when I was diagnosed. 

I hit quite a few milestones recently I feel-1300 followers on Bloglovin, 2000 on instagram, 1800 on twitter and my 500th post is coming up so to say thank you I am going to be hosting a giveaway very soon so keep your eyes peeled...............

What have you been up to recently?  It's good to talk!


Sunday, February 22, 2015

NARS Audacious lipstick in Greta

NARS Audacious lipstick in Greta

NARS Audacious lipstick in Greta

NARS Audacious lipstick in Greta

Maybe I am starting to get some of the hype around the NARS Audacious lipstick launch finally!

My first experience was Brigitte and I just wasn't blown away.  I thought it was overly creamy to apply and then drying on the lips-an odd combination.

The shade Greta however is certainly more lip friendly as well as being a beautiful hot pink.  It has a glossy finish and in some lights has a little bit of an orange undertone to it-very similar to Daniel Sandler Micro Femme which is one of my all time favourite shades.

It feels less slippery to apply than Brigitte but is creamy.  I do think it's best applied using a lip brush for accuracy.  There is no lipstick on the teeth moments and it didn't migrate off my natural lip line.  Lasting power and fade was pretty good.

Do I need more?  What shades do you recommend I add to my stash?  I definitely have my eye on Anna but it seems impossible to get hold of, Grace and Natalie may also need to be my friends!


Friday, February 20, 2015

Haul post! Show and swatch...

Haul post

I automatically know that when James my assistant reads this post he will take the mickey out of the above picture as he frequently states I am the most uncool person he knows and I shouldn't pretend otherwise!

But yey I have been spending and consensus on twitter was that a haul post was in order so here it is!

haul post

Gucci Magnetic Color Shadow Mono

Gucci Magnetic Color Shadow Mono

After declaring firmly that given the price of the Gucci Magnetic Color Shadow Mono eyeshadows, I would not be purchasing any more here somehow I ended up back at the Gucci counter picking up 3 more!  This time I picked up a darker brown-Cocoa-which has kind of a matter texture than the first two I picked up and has tiny tiny gold flecks set into it.  It still swatches smoothly and in store I layered Oxydus over it and it created an insanely beautiful shade.

I also picked up Sasso which is a medium steel gray colour and good for every day.  It has a satin finish and no obvious sparkle to it when swatches.  It has that lovely smooth, velvety texture to it which tells me it will be a dream to blend.

And finally I was able to get my hands on Iconic Gold which I have wanted for so long but it was always out of stock.  Just look at that shade-look at it!  It's so complex and dazzling I can't wait to use it.  It has an almost foil like finish to it and is a dirty green/gold with teeny tiny microshimmer.  I can't wait to wear it on the lid with a black on the outside or to wear it combined with my Armani Eye Tint in Green Iron.

I have done a little bit of research on Gucci make up since my last post and there aren't a huge amount of reviews out there.  It's pricy stuff so I hope my reviews will be helpful for anyone considering a splurge.  The single eyeshadows do definitely however seem to be the most highly rated of all the products in the line.

Guerlain Poudre De Soie review

Givenchy Le Prisme Color Confetti face powder

Givenchy Le Prisme Color Confetti face powder

Guerlain Poudre de Soie swatch and Givenchy Le Prisme Color Confetti swatch

I then picked up two limited edition products (so sorry......).  Both are oh so beautiful as well.
The first is an extremely limited edition, exclusive to the Middle East (and Asia I believe) highlighting powder from Guerlain called Poudre De Soie.  I first came aware of this when Sara from Color Me Loud tagged me in an instagram picture of it and said would I look out for one for her.  Well I fell in love with it at first sight and managed to get one for her and one for me.

This is a rose gold highlight with a beautiful embossed pattern on it which is inspired by beautiful Asian fabrics but also the ancient art of Origami.  It's such a beautiful pan but I feel the outer packaging is very unimaginative and cheap.  Especially compared to Guerlains usual beautifully packaged offerings.  The outer compact is a plastic pale pink with a screw off lid-it's functional but not overly exciting.

I have very very gingerly swatched it-you know when you just can't bear to damage a pretty pattern??  It's a very smooth and finely milled rose gold with very very tiny bronze and silver microglitter.  I wouldn't say it was overtly sparkly per se and it doesn't have large chunks of glitter but there is an undeniable radiance to it.  But it is definitely a highlight rather than a setting powder.  It's more shimmery than the Meteorites powders for sure.  If any of you got your hands on Guerlains 'Cruel Gardenia' highlight from a couple of years ago, Poudre De Soie is definitely slightly warmer in tone but very similar.

The second limited edition compact I picked up was the Givenchy Le Prisme Color Confetti face powder.  This was enabled by another Sarah, the one from And Beauty Or Something.  I keep telling her she needs to get her shit together and write some posts because I love her blog and she has been slacking.  Sarah posted this on instagram saying she needed it and I knew it was here in Dubai so I managed to get her one-and decided to get one for myself too. 

The compact is really cute and fun and has multicoloured tiny floating balls in the lid.  The powder inside has the same colourful 'ball' pattern on the top half.  Swatched, the powder is very finely milled and contains no glitter.  It very much looks like a radiance adding powder and it reminds me of the MAC Maleficent Beauty Powder that I absolutely loved-it has a very subtle peachy undertone but should suit everyone.  I think it will add luminosity to the skin but will let you know if I feel any different once I have a good play with it.

Armani Eye Tint review

Armani Eye Tint review

I picked up three more Armani Eye Tints.  I picked up two from Nordstrom and reviewed them here and I am just obsessed.

Three more shades were added-Shadow, which is a mid grey with a slight purple undertone to it.  In artificial light it has tiny multicolour glitter in it but I can't detect it on the eye or in my swatch above.  It is just a gorgeous shade.

Cold copper is the kind of colour I live for!! Strange name for the shade as it's not dark or orange enough to be a true copper and is more of a cool biege-y colour reminiscent of Stila 'Kitten'.

Rose Ashes is a warmer light bronze-y colour with a definite pink undertone.  It's kind of duochrome on the lid and has a bit of sparkle in it.  But because of the formula of these there is no fallout of glitter on the face.  It kind of reminds of me of MAC Vex but without the green undertone.  This one is the least pigmented of the five I own on the initial swipe across the eyelid but it's definitely buildable.

I am so in love with this launch-the formulas seem so consistent across the range-they are wetter than a cream but they're denser than a liquid.  I find the best way to apply is to literally swipe directly on and blend with a finger or fluffy brush.  They set after about a minute to an immovable powder and they last all day!  They have enough pigment to stand up just fine on their own but they are also great for using as a base shadow and applying more shadow on top.  However because they dry quite quickly, you need to work fast if you want to add a pigment on top of them to ensure it 'sticks'.  They can be easily built up and not one of them has cracked, creased, faded or smudged on my eyelid.  I've been testing them out this week in Cairo where I work really long days and they're just fabulous.  Love love love, well done Armani.

Louis Vuitton IconMania scarf

Louis Vuitton IconMania scarf

My last splurge was on a non beauty item.  I really love the Louis Vuitton Monogram Shawls and the Leopard Stoles and have about 6 or 7 now in different colours but I wanted something a bit warmer.  Yes I know, bizarre when I live in Dubai and it's never really 'cold' but as I am not travelling frequently again to Egypt I was very cold on my last visit here (when it was a freezing 17 degrees-don't roll your eyes!) and I also often get really cold on planes too.  So I went to Louis Vuitton and picked out this LogoMania scarf in the colour Pearl Gray.  I do really like it but it's not as soft as I hoped it would be.  I have also seen people say this is reversible but I it isn't, the pattern is just embossed right through the scarf.  My main concerns with this scarf is that it will pull very very easily and I think it might start to look tatty quite quickly because it is 97% wool.  But it has definitely done the job this week as I was so cold on the flight before I whipped this out!  I probably wouldn't buy any more of these though, I prefer the silk pashmina style shawls.

Phew I feel like that was a long and wordy post-thanks for sticking with me if you have got this far!  What have you been splurging recently?


Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Four Disappointing Mascaras

Hands up if you're a mascara whore?!?  I definitely fall into that category, on Mastermind mascara would be my specialist subject.  But not all mascaras are great and here are 4 that just don't do it for me.

L'Oreal False Lash Wings mascara // £10.99

They say: False Lash Flutter extends the look of lashes towards the outer eye without clumps. 
Get full on, fluttery volume with False Lash Flutter Mascara.Our first double winged butterfly brush together with Cocoon fibres lengthen the look of lashes towards the outer eye. 

I say: The brush is odd.  It kind of reminds me of a weapon and looks quite scary!  The formula did nothing for my lashes, in fact the outer lashes looked spindly and odd.  It added a little length but barely any volume, even after 4 coats (which is what I put on in this picture).  This mascara also flaked (3 times in one day my other half told me I had mascara on my cheek/nose) and by the end of the day it had faded dramatically.

L'Oreal False Lash wings mascara review
Bare Minerals Lash Domination // £17

They say: Volume you can see. Power you can feel. The be-all, end-all, 10-in-1 volumising, lengthening, thickening, separating, long-wearing mascara has arrived. The exclusive ProTwist180™ Wand is spiralled 180 degrees to curve around each lash and coat ALL angles with intense black colour. Powered by nourishing minerals and quinoa protein complex for larger-than-life lashes.

I say: When I first opened the mascara and removed the wand I actually gasped.  It is huge and definitely looks like something that would hurt you.  I was actually quite scared to put it to my lashes given I am somewhat clumsy.
I was completely and utterly underwhelmed.  My lashes looked very natural.  Not volumised or longer or thicker or blacker or lifted.  Again I have 4 coats on in these photos and with every layer I was extremely disappointed with the impact of 'nothingness', it wasn't buildable at all.  Plus points-no smudging or flaking.  But that's all.

Bare Minerals Lash Domination mascara review
Dolce and Gabbana Intenseyes Black Intensity Mascara // $32

They say: This mascara offers intensely black color that's as black as the iconic Sicilian lace, and it creates three times the volume of natural lashes. Ultramarine pigments help maximize the density of color for a deep black effect while a specially designed application brush separates for irresistible, perfectly coated lashes. Developed in collaboration with the brand's creative advisor Pat McGrath, Intenseyes Mascara's formula offers a multidimensional look of volume and separation that allows lashes to stand out. The long-lasting and smudge-proof formula is adaptable thanks to a silky, luxuriant texture and flexible polymers. 

I say: Love the packaging of this mascara with the sexy embossed lace pattern on the tube.  The wand is a pretty standard, straight, medium side bristle wand.  I had such high expectations for this mascara-I am always drawn to formulas with the word 'intense' in them but it just didn't deliver.  First of all the formula feels very very dry from day one making it hard to work with and the impact on the lashes is definitely on the 'casual' side than the 'intense' side.   I just felt it offered average everything and really overpromised and underdelivered.

Clinique High Impact Curling mascara review
Clinique High Impact Curling Mascara // £18

They say: Coaxes lashes to their longest, boldest, most upturned look yet, without a pinch, pull, tug or tear. Arched wand scoops up, lifts up every last lash. Smudge, flake, smear-resistant for up to 24 eye-opening hours. Remove easily with warm water. Ophthalmologist tested. 

I say:  I actually really like the formula and curved wand on this mascaraIt does hold a curl and it thickens and lengthens-it's also really black.  But its a tubing mascara-one of those ones you remove with warm water and that's where the problem lies-I hate tubing mascaras!  Yes they don't smudge or flake but removing it is just a pain in the ass.  And it annoys me to the point where it makes daily use of it unbearable for me.

Clinique High Impact Curling mascara review

Have you tried any of these mascaras and felt the same?

Keep your eye on my blog for a post on a really excellent mascara I am loving at the moment coming soon!


Monday, February 16, 2015

Lip Six

Here's my last six lip picks!

Top row (L) Lipstick Queen Silver Screen lipstick in Have Paris (full review here) and MAC Redd lipliner (R) MAC Mineralize lipstick in Grande Dame

Middle row (L) Marc Jacobs LoveMarc Lip Gel in Voila (R) Christian Dior Addict Extreme lipstick in Lucky

Bottom row (L)  MAC Satin lipstick in Twig (R) Sephora Cream Lip Stain in Strawberry Kissed 03  (full review here)

Which is your favourite?


Sunday, February 15, 2015

Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Colour Morphing Eye Pencils review

My first experience of the Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleon Colour Morphing eye pencils was not great.  I pretty much slated the Champagne Diamonds one, it was so packed full of glitter I stated it was bordering on inappropriate for daytime.

But my best friend Danielle loves these and raves about how easy they are to use and last all day and I admit my curiosity got the better of me.  So when we were in Selfridges beauty hall in Manchester over Xmas I ended up buying a few more.  For research purposes.

The idea behind these chunky eye pencils is simple-a day and a night version to enhance the colour of the eye itself.  I have green eyes.  I bought pencils designed for hazel, brown and green eyes.  #Rebel

My research gave a mixed bag of results.  They all swatched amazingly.  Way less glitter than Champagne Diamonds and look at the multi tone sparkle in the swatches in sunlight.  Beaut.  They also all worked brilliantly under the eye as a liner-lasting the distance with fading or smudging.

Golden Quartz is an olive green with golden glitter than blends out grey.  There is a lot of glitter in this one, not as bad as Champagne Diamonds but still visible.   Whilst all the pencils do without doubt glide on easily without tugging you don't get a huge amount of time to work with them before they set and Golden Quartz was one of the fastest to fade and crease.  It wasn't horrendous and when I was testing these I was wearing them in Cairo and working 14 hour days but at the end of the day they definitely looked better from a distance than up close.  I applied straight to the lid and then blended out a bit with a MAC 217 fluffy brush.  When blending it diluted the colour dramatically and I definitely needed to 'top up' the lid on a couple of shades.  I didn't use a primer but I definitely recommend powdering your eyelids if you have even slightly oily eyelids to try and prolong the wear by giving a dry clean matte canvas to start with.  You can see I have crease-y eyelids and 9 times out of 10, powder eyeshadow works better on my lids.  Another thing that was common to all the shades was the need to sharpen the pencil after just one use.

Dark Pearl is pretty but perhaps the least pigmented of all but easiest to work with and longest lasting.  I would say this shade is a purply taupe and has no glitter making it great for daytime.

Amber Haze is the worst of the bunch which is a shame as it's the colour I wanted the most.  You can see from my swatches above that within minutes it was already creasing-this was already after a second application of the pencil on my lid.  Again Amber Haze is quite heavy on the glitter and was difficult to work with.

Shade wise, Bronzed Garnet is my favourite and as cliched as it seems is the one designed for green eyes.  It definitely makes my green eyes greener but because of the strong red metallic tone also makes my skin look paler.  This is again one of the better pencils, definitely visible after 14 hours and smooth and glitter free to apply.

I totally get why people like this kind of eyeshadow-especially when they are as smooth and creamy to apply as these pencils.  It's swipe and go eyeshadow.  But for longevity the Trish McEvoy shadow sticks (that I know I bang on and on about) are definitely better and don't crease or fade as much.

Have you tried any of these pencils?  How do you feel about the formula?


Saturday, February 14, 2015

L'Oreal Color Riche lipstick in Blakes Red

L'Oreal Color Riche lipstick in Blakes Red

L'Oreal Color Riche lipstick in Blakes Red

L'Oreal Color Riche lipstick in Blakes Red

Admittedly it's not often I feature a drugstore lipstick here but this one is so good I had to share!

L'Oreal have brought out another 4 celebrity inspired lipsticks in the Color Riche range-Eva, Julianne, Liya and the one I picked up in the UK-Blake, inspired by Blake Lively.

The shade is a bright pop of blue based cherry red with a velvet matte finish.  The formula is really comfortable on the lips, doesn't bleed (I did use a lip liner as I always do with red lipstick-MAC Redd is perfect with this) and doesn't get all over your teeth.  It's not a high maintenance red-the colour lasts ages and the fade is really even-better than some high end lipsticks.  The matte formula doesn't dry out the lips or tug on application.  In fact the very pointed bullet makes application direct from the tube pretty easy.

The only 'but' I have is that it's very transferable.  Be very careful putting your hands anywhere near your mouth as you will end up with stained red fingers-trust me I did lol!

But for me this is a very good, classic red that I can put on and be confident it's going to stay on pretty much all day!

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