27 December 2012

Mulberry Locked Cosmetic Purse in Natural Oak

If there was one item I wanted to treat myself to for graduating from my BA last year, it was a Mulberry make-up bag. The one I had in mind was the Locked Cosmetic Purse in Natural Oak, which I have cherished, used and reused on many occasions for this past year. Many people seem to show an interest in my baby since starting my Today's Make-Up Bag series, so I thought I will do a review to let you know about this wonderful piece :) For reference, here is what it looked like when I first got him. This is him (yes, it's a him!) now..

For me, there were several things that made this the perfect make-up bag I was looking for:

1. A classic design
It's as simple as it gets. No special compartments, just a big bottomed make-up bag with a flip-over lid that will look nice no matter how much you put in. This assured me that I will always like it and find a use for it. The inside is lined with cloth decorated with fabric that surprisingly doesn't get very dirty at all. I also love the details like the little tree on the bottom right at the front, and the "MULBERRY" embossed on the back (you can see it better here).

2. Untreated leather
I love leather. I try not to, as it has severe consequences for the environment, but for something I intend on keeping for a very long time it was a necessity that it was well-made and durable. The stitches are so well done, and you can tell the sides aren't going to split anytime soon. I also picked this colour because it's untreated, which means it will only age with grace :)

3. Multi-purpose
On occasions where I haven't used this as a make-up bag, I've used it as a "bag in a bag" where I put my keys, ID and coins when I move bags frequently. During events, I've used this as a clutch. And day to day, it's a make-up bag. If you're paying as much as you are for something, you want to make the most of it!

4. Floopiness
The last thing that I made me lust after this bag was how organic and floopy it was. It has that almost Victorian feel to it whereby everything is so simple but gorgeously made!

More than a year on, this bag has only gotten prettier. I didn't want to review it straight away because I suppose we want to know if the extra money is worth it in the long run. For me, I've never spent a second since regretting this purchase! Today, patina has start to form, and it gets softer by the day, yet still retaining it shape due to the incredibly well-stitched edges and the thickness of the leather. I have no doubt whatsoever that this make-up bag will be with me for a very long time!

Yep, that was everything that was in there - a lot more than I'd ever carry around in my bag! The bag is quite deceptive, as although the top is tapered, the bottom of the bag is very wide and fits a lot of big products on its side, and little products in the gaps. The leather, naturally, stretches a little as well.

Although I occasionally look at the long Cath Kidston bags that fit full sized brushes, most of the time the only brush I really need on the go is this short-handled powder brush, and occasionally my travel sized E35 that comes with Sigma orders of over $30. Between this and my mahoosive Glitzy Glam wash bag, I'm pretty much sorted for the long run.

To me, this bag is perfect. The design, quality and functionality is spot on for what I need. I'd urge anyone considering this back to really only deliberate on the functionality and whether it'll suit you, because personally, I'm of the opinion that the quality is superb and the design is timeless :)

You can get the Mulberry Cosmetic Lock Pouch for £175 in various colours on their websiteSelfridges, and other outlets. Do note that I bought mine in July 2011 and some things may have changed since then, but as usual, feel free to ask any questions if you'd like :)


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22 December 2012

Pixi Early Bird Palette

A while back I mentioned on my Facebook that my under £20 beauty Christmas pick of the year, would be Pixi's Early Bird Palette. If you're still uhm-ing and ah-ing over what to ask for, what to get someone, or what to get yourself - read on..

The first thing I like about this palette is the packaging. It's neither glittery, red nor green, which means it's acceptable to bust out any time of the year. I also love the matte cardboard which makes it quite light , and the sides close so nicely with a magnet.

The Blushers..

The blushers come in three colours - a lovely coral peach, a bright pink and a red. The coral peach reminds me a lot of MAC Style, so I've been reaching for that a lot. What I like about these is that because they're quite 'pure' in the sense that none of them are very nuanced, so you can mix these colours to make your own nuanced shade. The product has quite a lot of fall-out, but it's only because it's incredibly soft. It's not the annoying kind of fall-out that gets all over your face - it stays in the palette. They're well-pigmented, soft and incredibly easy to blend. Winner!

Eyeshadows & Face Powders..

This side of the palette has lots of useable shades but not too much variety. The first two are quite sheer, glittery shades so better to be layered on top of other shades. The third, fourth and fifth are variants of champagne - pink, beige and gold. Although they look really dark and distinct in the pan, they're quite similar and very easy to use when swatched. The only disappointment in this palette is the next gold. It's crumbly and not pigmented with insane amounts of fall-out. The last two however, are the only non-neutrals in this palette - a mint green and a dark green. This dark green is one of my favourites in this palette, and is perfect for an all over the eye colour for brown eyes when going out. The mint is also lovely especially for brown eyes, and something I will use when I do my Mint Choc look!

The powders, although they were made to be face powders, in my opinion are a bit small for that. So I generally use them as matte eyeshadows (highlights, mostly) or face highlights. Because they're matte, they create a really natural highlight for the face. The first and third shades are quite pale but the other two are slightly darker. Very easy to customise the shade, especially with the bronzers in the next section.

The right side eyeshadows, in my opinion, is like a mini Urban Decay Naked Palette. All the shades are useable, pigmented (maybe less so on the matte brown) and soft. They can be mixed and matched on their own, or with the other side of the palette. This makes it a great palette to have at work or in the bag when you need to transform your make-up throughout the day!

The Bronzers & Highlighters..

These are quite similar to the blushers in the consistency, in that they are all incredibly smooth like butter, pigmented and feather onto the skin but they dust in the pan. Nothing a quick blow can't solve! Anyway, the top shade, although marketed as a bronzer, I think is perfect for highlight or as a neutral blusher if you decide to do something heavy on the eyes. The second shade is a great bronzer - it's not as sheeny as you'd think, and it just seems to blend itself and goes on to give you a very natural but defined contour. In fact, I've loved this bronzer so much that I bust out the palette just for that, even if I don't use anything else in it that day. The third is a highlighter and it's stunning - the perfect amount of sheen and light enough to bring out the features on any skintone!

Pixi, as a brand, seem to confuse a lot of people and while I'm still not 100% sure on who they are yet, one thing I know for certain is that their powder products are remarkable - pigmented, buttery and easy to blend. And what I noticed beyond all else about Pixi is that their products are very affordable - this palette here is a mere £16! Perfect for beginners, jet setters and beauty lovers alike, if you're still scrambling for a gift - this would be a great, good quality option that wont break the bank!

You can get this and their other products either online, ASOS or in their store on Foubert's Place in London. Read more about my experience in the store here.

Have you tried anything from Pixi?


*Received for consideration.
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21 December 2012

Today's Make Up Bag: The Airplane

Someone once said to me, "For someone who hates heights and flying, you did decide to live quite far away from home." I stood there nothing other than speechless, and while I successfully supressed my desire to headbutt the wall in shame of being completely caught out, after what seemed like an age and a half of a blank expression, I replied, "Damn straight". What a donut.

Anyway, as I usually do during this time of the year I embarked on the double-flighted mission that is returning home, and I again, supressed my desire to headbutt the wall when I realised that I still had no idea how to pack my make-up bag for a flight (suitcase, I've nailed). But then again, what's the fun in packing a foundation and a lipgloss when you can shove a few more unnecessary things in there, right?

The Useful..
The Cover FX Cream Compact in G40 and the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector in 02 were the only products I really used on the flight, besides the dusting of the Physicians Formula Bronze Booster which got its use during my stop in Amsterdam because I just looked much too washed out and knackered to be okay with myself. The foundation was chosen because it's a perfect match to my skin, it's not a liquid, super easy to apply with a self-contained sponge and it doubles as a concealer and a foundation. Although I didn't apply it all over my face, it was nice to know that the air steward was not blinded by my pimple-ridden red chin (so sexy).

I learnt the wonders of the Clarins Instant Light Lip Perfector on my last flight, as it's a lipgloss and lip balm in one. It's extremely nourishing as well as making you look slightly more polished - there was no question that despite my laziness to put things in a clear bag, this was going to have to come with me.

In retrospect, I wish I'd bought a bottle of the Shu Uemura Depsea Water, as it hydrates and cools down your skin. The bottle is too big to use as a carry-on so I would've had to depot it, but boy was my skin dry and warm on the flight.. a spritz of that or the LP Skin Therapy Uplifting Facial Water which I'd forgotten to repurchase would've been lovely!

The Useless..
The rest of the crew (i.e. my Kose Junkisei Powder Foundation, By Terry Touch Expert Advanced, Liz Earle Blusher in Nude, Diego dalla Palma MascaraGOGO and Chanel Eyeshadow Quad in Prelude) were basically there to weigh down my bag.

The New Kid in Town..
It seems that I can't walk through Duty Free without purchasing something from Chanel. They seem to have the best discounts when it comes to prices, and in the past I've picked up the Poudre Universelle Compacte, Eyeshadow Quad in Prelude and the Bleu de Chanel (granted not for myself) all in Duty Free. Anyway, this time I decided to pick up a Levres Scintillantes Brilliant Extreme Glossimer (also more commonly and English-ly known as, "lipgloss") in 146 Coral Love.

I've been looking for a "my lips but slightly warmer" lipgloss for a while, and this had been picked up and put back down on numerous occasions. Because I picked it up in Amsterdam (UK Duty Free is always cheapest for fragrance and beauty), I didn't get quite as many pounds off as I could've but I still got it for £17.10 and it killed quite a significant amount of time! Although on the plane it was frankly useless as you can't open the bag until you've landed..

Here's to hoping for a lighter make-up bag on the way home!
What are your favourite products for the plane?


*CoverFX Cream Foundation received for consideration.
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20 December 2012

My Hair Styling Dream Team

You can probably tell that in recent months, there's been a bit of a surge in hair posts on Let's MakeYuUp! Since my perm has completely grown out, I've been having to figure out what exactly to do with my hair, and I think I've finally found a routine that is simple enough but with the results I want!

If you've met me, you probably have seen me either in the above or in a high bun. My hair cycle usually lasts 3 days and it really does depend on how I'm feeling on how I wear it, but the general cycle is: day 1 clean hair or curls and day 2/3 curls or bun, and start again!

Because I love freshly washed hair and often can't bear to add much to it, on days when I wash it, I usually spray a bit of the L'Oreal Elnette Satin Heat Protectant Styling Spray for Volume (£5.99 at Boots and Superdrug) at the roots of my hair when it's still damp. This is so when I blow dry it, I'm not completely ruining the freshly grown hair and so I have a tiny bit of oomph to add to my otherwise au naturel look. It adds a hint of texture to the roots so that you can rustle it up throughout the day for a bit of volume without the weight of a cream or even a mousse. It also doesn't contribute to the build up which I find amazing!

For my 2nd and 3rd day hair, I start off with spraying some L'Oreal Elnette Satin Heat Protectant Styling Spray for Curls (£5.99 from Boots and Superdrug) on my lengths and curling the whole head outwards with my Enrapture Totem Hair Styler on the 1-2-3 setting. I usually get less and less careful as I go up the layers - my top layers usually consist of a handful of hair and 5 seconds of curling, just so I don't get a proper curl but it's waved enough so that it flows into the rest of the lengths nicely.

I honestly don't need a hairspray because the L'Oreal heat protectant seems to act as both a heat protectant and a hairspray, which is exactly why I liked the Lee Stafford's heat protectant as well. The less products the better in my opinion! This doesn't leave my hair sticky or add to the build up. My hairstyle usually lasts about 2 days looking still quite nice, and at 3 days it's looking a bit messy and looks really voluminous and big in a bun or a ponytail if it's not yet time for a wash. You can get a L'Oreal heat protectant for straightening your hair too :)

The Enrapture Totem Styler (now on sale at Debenham's for £37.50!) as you may know is my favourite hair styling tool. I love the curls it gives me, the customization it spoils you with, and the quality of the product is unmistakable. The product is easy to manoeuvre around your hands and hair, and the curls seem to last longer than most curling tongs even without the hair products. Ultimately though, I love it because it gives me the style I want.

So that's really it when it comes to styling for me. I like to keep things to a minimum when it comes to hair as I'm not entirely sure my hair and I really understand each other yet, but this has worked for both of us thus far! I can highly recommend these products on their own, but together they seem to make a dream team for me! :)

What's your hair routine?
Have you tried these products before?

See my take on hair care here :)


*The L'Oreal products received for consideration, the Enrapture Totem Styler was a giveaway win.
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19 December 2012

Hi Shine Nails Home Gel System

Since I wrote what resembles "a beginner's guide to gel nails" a few weeks ago, I've completely fallen in love with them. In my opinion, gel nails dry faster, they don't stain nails, they look nicer and more polished and they have great wear time. But for beauty lovers like us, changing the nail colour is half the fun, which is why I said I wouldn't be getting my gel nails done professionally any time soon due to the expense..

..but that's exactly why the Hi Shine Nails Home Gel System becomes a godsend for a lover of the gel nail finish! This kit is basically an at-home salon that comes with everything you could need to do your own gel nails without the price tag and in the comfort of your own home - it's only £99, which may sound like a lot but trust me, it's not when you think a professional treatment can cost around £40 each (a Hi Shine one can, anyway!). Let me walk you through it, and I'm sure you'll agree it's an absolute steal!

The Contents..

Here you've got some solutions - the Before & After is great for getting rid of that gel-like texture at the end, and giving it that smooth feel. The Soak Off Remover is excellent for removing the gel when you feel like a change. The Top Coat is also a gel formula that gives your nails that bubbled up, polished look.

As well as letting you give a bit of TLC for your nails with some Cuticle Oil, this set comes with two colours. The two I chose were Dark Secrets and Bolly Beige - both gorgeous colours, but I think I prefer Dark Secrets slightly more. Bolly Beige is like OPI's Dulce de Leche! Then you've got the Base Coat that ensures the gel colours stick well on to your nails.

The set also comes with the bits and bob tools you'll need. The Finger Rest is surprisingly useful and makes applying polish and gel 10x easier, the Prepare for Gel buffs your nails extremely nicely, and the Glitter File is very good and rough, and just too much fun to look at! You get an Orange Stick as well as a Buffer Stick which you use to scratch surfaces of gel so that the Soak Off Remover can penetrate the gel easier.

Ahh the linch pin - the Home Gel System. This is basically like the UV light you see in salons, but slightly weaker so it takes around 2 minutes to cure your nails instead of the 30 seconds in a salon. Super portable and light, I'd happily sacrifice 1 minutes and 30 seconds from each layer for this!

The Results..

Bolly Beige (done myself)

As you can see, super shiny and so polished. I can't stop looking at my OPI nails and thinking how dull they look! The nails above were my first go, so as you can see there is some premature chipping and it's applied slightly too thick, but with practice I'm sure I can get the hang of it! The pack comes with a very thorough step-by-step guide to help you as well. Trust me, I had no idea what I was doing, but I was very proud of the turnout enough to wear it to graduation!

Another thing I adore about gel nails is how fast they dry. As soon as you are done with the treatment, there's no waiting time - you're done! What I hate about normal polishes is the uncertainty of whether they are dry, and completely ruining them after all the hard work. These, you don't have to plan your evening out so all the rough handiwork is done beforehand (excuse the pun)!

Dark Secrets (done professionally)

Now in the last post, I couldn't comment on the wear time but I can assure you that it is loooooong! These professionally done set lasted me a good 3 weeks before I felt the need to take them off. They remained pretty much as they are in the photo for about 2 weeks, until they started chipping (not very noticeably until about 2.5 weeks) from wear and tear.

The removal process was also something I was scared by - will it take forever? No, it really doesn't! Just scratch up the surface of your gel nails with the buffer stick, soak half a cotton pad, wrap it in foil and you will be good to go in 10-15 minutes. The Prepare for Gel is there in case you miss a few bits of gel! What's more, I haven't had a single stain on my nails with these, and my nails usually feel quite healthy underneath which is something I never get with normal varnishes. Yes, even with Dark Secrets!

Overall, I could not recommend this set enough. It's got everything you need so no added costs, it's ridiculous value for money if you compare the price of a professional treatment, it's good fun and can be good for girls' nights in, and it provides the results (granted, with practice). For me, the biggest selling point is the finish of so much shine and gloss, as well as the lack of drying time. I enjoy doing my nails, but even if you're a lazy one, this means you wont have to touch up your nails for weeks! Anyway, if I didn't have this already, it would be straight on the Christmas list - it's one of my favourite products of the year!

You can get this set on the Hi Shine Nails website - and if you feel this one is a bit much for you, you can also get the smaller Travel Kits for £75. Each gel nail bottle on its own is around £15 - we can safely say I'll be going back for the pinker shades when the winter is over!

Have you tried gel nails at home?
What do you reckon about the set?

Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | @MakeYuUp
*Received as a competition prize at a PR event.
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16 December 2012

Instagrunday #12

1. Our Christmas tree :) 2. T5 to pick up my parents! 3. Christmas party/housewarming with the girls 4. Harrod's wine cellar.. amazeballs. 5. Think the English weather was getting to my mom.. 6. The strange things you see on the Thames. 7. Seafood platter! 8. Mince pie, pre-nommage 9. Want! 10. Brunch with the lovely Roseanne! 11. Escort party at the Tower of London 12. Late night gel nailin'. 13. Loved V&A - Hollywood exhibition is a must see! 14. Ted Baker love from Ben :) 15. How many santas can you fit on a tube? 16. We graduated!

What a busy few weeks! This week my parents came to stay with us from Tokyo, which was a ridiculous amount of fun. We ate so much good food and did a lot of touristy things - hence why I think I Instagrammed more than I tweeted this week!

What have you been up to recently?
Crossed fingers the blog will be back in business shortly! :)


Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | @MakeYuUp
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7 December 2012

L'Occitane Delightful Almond Collection

Some people say beauty gift sets are too generic of a gift, and not thoughtful enough. How wrong is that when you're a beauty lover? It's one of my favourite things to receive! It's not so much whether everything inside it is something I've loved and tried, but more the fact that I get to try bits and bobs that I usually wouldn't have tried for whatever reason!

Christmas came early for me this year, as L'Occitane treated me to this Delightful Almond Collection (£48). I had the pleasure of trying everything in it, one by one, and oh.. it was the funnest thing in the world for a beauty lover :)

The box is something anyone concerned with aesthetics would be enchanted by. With cute illustrations, bright colours and lots of sheeny gold, all wrapped in delicate tissue paper, this is a box to be kept much past Christmas. What will I keep in mine when the insides are all loved-up and gone? Nail polishes perhaps? Hair products? Socks? We'll see!

This box contains..

Two Almond Delicious Soaps 50g
Almond Delicious Paste 50ml
Almond Milk Concentrate 100ml
Almond Shower Oil 500ml
Almond Smooth Hands 30ml

Two Almond Delicious Soaps 50g:
These are bars of soap with bits inside that scrubs away while you wash. It reminds me of one of my favourite LUSH soaps, Porridge, and many people complain that that one is too harsh - this one is a milder version as the bits are smaller. But it still scrubs quite well, unlike the Delicious Paste, and the soap simultaneously cleans which means you are left with squeaky clean skin rather than the waxy film that a lot of scrubs leave. I'm super glad there's two of these in this box because I'm in love! The film is sometimes nice, but sometimes I just want that nice clean feeling, and a scrub that does that is actually quite rare. It has a lovely subtle almond smell, and I'd definitely buy these on their own :)

Almond Delicious Paste 50ml:
This is an exfoliating paste for all over the body, and it's very gentle. The paste is really soft and leaves a slightly oily and nourishing film afterwards which may or may not play to your tastes. The grains seem to disintegrate with hot water, and it wasn't long until I was just rubbing with water rather than scrubbing or washing. I felt like I needed a LOT to really scrub or wash because the water just seemed to melt everything. If the scrubbing lasted longer I'd really like it, but because it doesn't and you need a lot of product, I think there are better scrubs out there that leaves that same nourishing feeling.

Almond Milk Concentrate 100ml:
I'm surprised this is considered a concentrate, because I think it feels really light! I didn't feel like it was deeply nourishing, but it sinks in so well so it's really good for the day time, right before you go out, or when you don't want that slippy, oily feeling - it's just enough to get rid of the dry-looking skin and make the surface smoother and softer for the time being. I find moisturisers like this quite hard to find so it's an absolute find, but I still don't think it feels like a concentrate. I'm not a massive body lotion person (naughty, I know), so I'm not sure if I'll ever splurge on this myself but there's no denying it's a great product :)

Almond Shower Oil 500ml:
This is kind of a cult product, and I was so excited to try it and I can safely say I will be treating myself to it in the future! This is an oil that turns into a milk in contact with water, and is meant to cleanse and moisturise your skin. You're left with a light waxy feel that turns into very soft and nourishing skin once you're dried off. For everyday use, this is fab especially in the winter as I didn't feel like I really needed to moisturise after I got out of the shower. And you get double the amount you would get if you were to buy it on its own :) Definitely a must have for the dry-skinned and the winter!

Almond Smooth Hands 30ml:
The almond version of the classic L'Occitane hand cream, this one feels slightly lighter and a bit "wetter" than the original. I feel like it absorbs better with less waxy or oily residue, and really makes your hands look smoother. It feels really similar to the Concentrate! The smell is also not as potent and slightly more zingy. I think I might like this more than the original!

I can highly recommend this gift set for Christmas - yes, there are some bits I could pass on but it's totally worth it because it was fun trying these out, and I've found 3 products I'd happily repurchase! I love gift sets because it's not just about whether a person likes the things inside, but also the fun that the person gets getting to try stuff. Experience can never be a bad gift in my eyes! This box in particular has products that are a good quality that most people would appreciate, and they're products that aren't too obscure that most people would use. 

Although it comes down to taste, I think as long as the person you are thinking of likes the smell of almonds or marzipan this is a definite winner! There's loads of great products in there, and a lot of the negative things I said is really down to taste and not the product. Let's not forget that the box is so gorgeous and full of life, and the products are packaged in such cute containers!

This is definitely my idea of a great Christmas gift :)

Have you tried any of the L'Occitane Almond range?
Would you fancy this on your Christmas list?


*Received for consideration.
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6 December 2012

The Perfect Couple: Maybelline Fit Me & Real Techniques Buffing Brush

Sometimes, we come across the perfect couple - the Rachel and Ross, Bridget and Mark, or the Lily and Marshall of the make-up world. Recently, I stumbled across one that is pretty much what many women want these days from a foundation - natural, flawless and simple. The (I don't watch many romance films so I'm struggling to come up with any more couples..) Gavin and Stacey in this case is..

The Maybelline FIT Me Foundation & the Real Techniques Buffing Brush

On their own, the products are both great. The whole world and their mums have said how the Real Techniques Buffing Brush works with anything, but truthfully, I think as with any foundation brush I think this one is at its best with a certain kind of foundation. The Maybelline Fit Me foundation on its own is nice. Because its gel-based, it hydrates, it looks skin-like without looking dewy, and has a lowish medium coverage - pretty standard sounding. So on their own, the two are good. But together, they pull out the best of each other (so romantic)..

1. The Buffing Brush has lots of bristles, which means you get a bit more coverage out of the foundation, so it's great for us who have a bit of scarring or redness. The foundation is also incredibly buildable, and you'll struggle to make it cakey even with layering. So if you usually like medium-high coverage and matte foundations, this might be a great route to go down if you wanna have a go at a more skin-like finish.

2. It also means because the foundation is gel-based and easy to buff, once you dot it onto your skin (not just the five points, but all over), the brush has the right amount of give to buff it into the skin, and it fits like a puzzle piece onto your skin leaving you with a polished you. For me, the Buffing Brush is not for application - it's for buffing, and with the consistency of Maybelline's Fit Me foundation, it really really gets it into the skin and makes it look so natural and flawless. "Your skin but better" is the phrase that comes to mind.

Some foundations I'd compare the two to are the Chanel Vitalumiere Aqua, Bourjois Healthymix Original and the YSL Touche Eclat. The Chanel is creamier and a smidgen heavier, Bourjois Healthymix Original is much creamier, heavier with much more coverage, and the YSL Touche Eclat is less coverage and better for drier skins. The Maybelline Fit Me is like if the Chanel and YSL had a baby - it has the great fit and skin-like features of Chanel, it's great for combination skins because it hydrates like YSL, it's lightweight, natural coverage, and is an absolute steal for the quality if you use it with the Real Techniques. On its own, it's great, but with its Prince William, it's fantastic.

Truthfully at the moment, I'm just trying to use my paler foundations up. But after I'm done with them, I wouldn't be surprised if I picked up shades for all seasons in this Maybelline Fit Me foundation to use with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush, because it's what so many women, including myself, want: undetectable, flawless and "you".

Have you tried the Maybelline Fit Me Foundation?
What's your favourite base combo?


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4 December 2012

TanOrganic's OilArganic Dry Oil

I dislike body lotions. I use them before applying fake tan, or when I'm getting my legs out and that's about it. I hate the slippy feeling they give (nightmare to cross legs!), they never actually heal anything and just sit on my skin like a layer of wetness.

Which is why I was quite hesitant of the prospect of applying oil to your body. You could say "DRY oil" to me as many times as you like, but I wasn't going to believe it until I recently tried TanOrganic's OilArganic.

TanOrganic is a brand that became a success through Dragon's Den Ireland, and is a genuinely committed green beauty company - they are EcoCertified, their bottles is the classiest slim frosted glass bottle with gold hardware, and the ingredients are as natural as they get, with 95% certified organic ingredients.

The reason why I've not only overcome my fear of moisturising the body everyday, but fallen in love with this product is because..

1. There's no slippy feeling..
The product really sinks in to your skin and gives you a smooth, supple finish as opposed to a wet, slippery feeling. I find myself applying this both day and night, after showers and upon emergency dry patch discoveries. A lot of the times I hate applying body moisturisers because my hand end up wet and impossible to do anything with, but this product is so "dry" that you can just rub the excess onto your cuticles or just all over your hand and you're on your way!

2. Actually heals dry skin..
As I said in my November Favourites, this has argan oil which has a healing property and the product actually states that it's good for scars and stretch marks. I guess that's what I really don't like about moisturisers - a lot of them just wet your skin! With this oil, I always focus on my elbows which are notoriously dry and flakey (yumm), and when I constantly do so over time, they slowly start healing. Unlike with moisturisers, I don't hesitate to use this all over the body either, as I said in 1., it doesn't feel sticky or slimey at all. Although I haven't given it a go on my acne scars, this product is useable on your face, hair, skin - you name it!

3. Lovely scent!
The scent on this oil is predominantly of neroli or orange blossoms, which has slowly become one of my favourite scents. I just love how real the smell is, and it's very relaxing so perfect for when you're in the mood for a little pamper. Guilty of sniffing my arm from time to time, not gonna lie.

4. Prolongs a tan..
Okay, so what I haven't told you yet is that TanOrganic is predominantly a tanning brand, so the creator of the brand had meant this oil to be applied to prolong the tan without it going patchy. Now I do love my fake tan, but it's not something I do religiously but I know there are loads of people who do, so for information, the TanOrganic range is 4 simple products: a liquid tan that's subtle, nourishing and in a similar packaging, an exfoliating glove to remove old tan, a velvety tanning mitt and of course, the OilArganic.

5. Packed full of EcoCertified organic oils..
Here's the ingredients list:
Capric triglyceride, organic orange oil, organic argan oil, tocopheryl acetate, organic hemp seed oil, organic jojoba oil, organic avocado oil, olive oil, organic rosa canina fruit oil, organic evening primrose oil, macadamia temifolia seed oil, sweet almond oil, ubiquinone, phenethyl alcohol, caprlyl glycol, citral limonene, lianool.

The combination of the 5 have made this my absolute favourite product to moisturise my body with. It starts off as a great experience with a gorgeous packaging and exotic smell, the application is easy, and the results are fantastic. I can highly recommend this for the winter, I think it'd be really beneficial to have something this nourishing and with healing properties this time of year!

You can get this from the TanOrganic website for €24.99 (around £20), or the Try Me size for €8.99, or their whole range in their TanTrilogy kit for €19.99 (around £16) :)

Have you tried anything from TanOrganic?
What is your favourite body oil?


*Received for consideration.
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30 November 2012

November Favourites & Fails

You know you're getting old when you find yourself thinking how last November feels like it was just yesterday. In fact, 2 Novembers ago, I was starting this blog - and time's flown! Unfortunately for you, rather than a celebration this favourites comes with 2 misfortunes - 1) my "fails" were forgotten and thus are in text below and 2) my favourites video this month will be somewhat reminiscent of my earlier, slightly fuzzy, non-HD days as I forgot my camera at my friends'! Can you tell I've had a hectic month? But I hope you enjoy the video - lots of make-up this month, I don't think I've had this much in ages!

Please see the YouTube page for details :)

What was my "fail" you ask? The Body Shop Coconut Body Scrub. When you have grown up in tropical countries like I have, you have the luxury of smelling real coconut and mangoes in your youth. Which also means you can smell an artificial one from a mile away. THIS, by far, is the worst artificial coconut smell I have ever smelt in my entire life. And the brown beads look like dirt on your skin. Naff. /rant.

Putting aside my disappointing, perhaps slightly overreactive scrub fail, I hope everyone had a great month - can you believe it's the holiday season soon?! Cannot. Wait! How cool are the decorations on Carnaby Street? :)

What are your plans for December?
Remember to link me up to your favourites :)


Facebook | Twitter | YouTube | Instagram: @MakeYuUp
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29 November 2012

An Intro to Gel Nails with Hi-Shine

Here's an embarrassing confession of a beauty blogger - the truth is, I never REALLY knew what gel nails were. I couldn't get my head around the fact that they weren't just your standard nail polish but that they came in the same little bottles. I didn't understand how a gel could possibly work on your nails , and I didn't understand the benefits over normal nail polishes. So don't even get me started on Shellac.

Anyway, so when I was given the chance to book in for a Hi-Shine gel nails treatment at the Lash Bar on Marshall Street I thought - why not?

My nails in Dark Secret

Oh and I LOVE the effects - they're so flawless, polished and shiny that I can't stop staring at them, and most of all - they dried so fast and nothing I do seems to dent them! Although I'm a clear newbie at gel nails, I'm very impressed with Hi-Shine so far.

Hi-Shine has 13 colour choices, which in my opinion is slightly limited, but I found love in their shade, Dark Secret, which is this dark, near-black plum. It's perfect for the winter, and a shade that will go with anything and that I wont get sick of wearing. I saw this on Lauren who was introducing me to the range, and with her black and grey ensemble, this looks very vampy and classy - thought I'd have a shot at it myself! :P

I had lots of questions before I started, so I thought I'd do this post by going through several questions that I had before. As usual, if you have any more questions please do let me know and I'll get the answer for you.. somehow!         

1. What is the process like?
First, your manicurist will add some texture to your nails by slightly buffing them, because gels need something to grab on to. Then a base coat is applied, and you stick your fingers under the UV light for 30 seconds while the other hand is done. Then two coats of the colour are thinly applied, of course with the UV light in between. After two coats, a top coat is applied and again, 30 seconds of UV. Then a Before and After 2 in 1 is applied, where the sticky texture of the gel is removed and gives you the "touchable" typical dry feel. After a slick of cuticle oil, you are good to go - as in, you can stick your hands in your pockets, rummage through a box of whatever, you name it - your nails are actually dry! (Yes, I walked around for a few minutes with claw hands cuz I just couldn't get used to the fact!)

2. Why does the bottle look like any other nail polish?
For those of us who are used to acrylic nail treatments, it may seem odd that gel nails look like something you could do at home (it is now, actually - keep reading til the last paragraph!). However, it's only similar insofar as the product is applicable with a brush and is contained in a bottle. The layers have to be much thinner than normal polishes, and the product doesn't dry like a varnish does. Apparently, it doesn't get gloopy inside the bottle and you need a UV light to dry it on your nails. And even when they're considered "dry", it wont feel like the "dry" you're used to. It'll still feel sticky and it will dent, but wont transfer onto your fingers. That's why the Before and After 2-in-1 must be applied to remove that sticky feeling.

3. How does the gel make a difference to the final result?
* It has a very glossy, wet, jelly look. It's absolutely stunning and I wish all my polishes would do this!

* It smoothes out the ridges on your nails and gives it that high quality, polished look. This makes it great for special occasions and holiday seasons like now.

* You aren't likely to get dents or scratch it because it dries instantly. This is probably my favourite thing about gel nails - I am an impatient brat with a perfectionist's expectations, which makes gel nails ideal!

* Hi-Shine claims their nails last up to 3 weeks. If this is true, this would be perfect for holidays, a time with a string of parties (like now!) and busy periods of time where you wont have time to do them yourself.

There's no question that the results are gorgeous and worth the costs in the right circumstances. My nails look so glossy, polished and just perfect! Hi-Shine charges £45 for a full set, and while I adore the results and learned so much about gel nails, I did get a few nips on the cuticles that bled and is still quite sore, which I don't mind personally but I think I would have done if I'd paid £45 for it. They're highly reputable though so I'd be surprised if I wasn't just unlucky. The staff were lovely, and the application, formula and results, I couldn't complain about. Although it's too early to say about the lasting power, I think my Hi Shine nails look fab!

Whether they foresaw my love for gel nails yet my simultaneous tight budget, I'll never know, but the exciting thing about Hi Shine is that they've created an at-home kit called the Hi Shine Nails Nail Bar in a Box which retails for £120, but is currently on sale for £99, and a smaller kit called the Travel Kit for £75 (Christmas list alerts!). I personally love the effect of gel nails, but I couldn't justify £45 for every time I want to change my colour so these sets are perfect as they contain every single thing you'll need! With the set, the wait under the UV light is slightly longer at 2 minutes, but I'd happily wait that if it means I can get 60 applications per bottle of gel for the cost of under 3 manicures! A perfect middle ground is what I like! :)

I am super excited to be able to try the set as being a lucky sod, I went and won one in a competition, so keep your eyes out for a review! Thank you to Hi Shine for hosting this competition and teaching me so much about gel nails!

 Have you ever tried gel nails, and if so, what were your thoughts?
If not, would you consider getting some?


*The treatment was complementary at a press event.
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28 November 2012

Diego dalla Palma MascaraGOGO

You guys must know by now how much I adore my Maybelline Hyper Curl Cat Eyes Mascara, but recently I've been having an affair.. a mascaraffair.

The "other" mascara has been the Diego dalla Palma MascaraGOGO *epic name alert*. Why has my fickle soul submitted to such a (not so) treacherous act?

Well, when you look at as many beauty images or try as many mascaras as I do (fickle soul, like I said),  you notice that there are many types of lashes to be had. You've got the natural lashes that are like an extension or a slight thickening of your natural lashes, then there's your spider lashes where it's more about length and slight clump-age of the lashes, and then there's the one that separates,  volumises and fans out for a full, extremely feminine and delicate look. This is that which the Maybelline cannot satisfy, that the MascaraGOGO gives me.

It's hard to show in photographs (sad attempt there), but the brush really picks up on lashes I didn't know were there, giving me a much fuller look than my Maybelline - it feels more "width" oriented than "height", which I really like. It's also super black. What I've noticed about this mascara is that it keeps the lashes separate, yet volumises them all at once. Especially when paired with a smokey eye like the one in the photograph, it really adds gradience anddrama on your eyelids!

The only thing that this lacks slightly for me is enough hold. However, unlike most volumising mascaras, it doesn't lack it enough to straighten my lashes, so I imagine for most people who don't need a mascara to defy gravity, this would be have an epic effect to unknown degrees! Instead of lashes that seem obsessed with the floor, I usually have about a natural amount of curl left at the end of the day. This is something I sacrifice for the gorgeous fanned out, full effect :)

Although it may not be perfect, it's close enough to be a refreshing and nice change from my usual spikey spider lashes that I've stuck to for quite a while now. It's much fuller, more voluminous and fluttery yet natural at the same time. Most volumising mascaras like these make my lashes stick straight in an hour, so to be able to have the volumised lashes option has been a great breather!

Diego dalla Palma is available from M&S Beauty Halls, which is coincidentally holding a 20% off of all items from tomorrow to the 2nd of December - get going if you've ever wanted to try some of the great brands there! :)

Have you tried anything from Diego dalla Palma?
What's your favourite volumising mascara?


*Received for consideration.
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26 November 2012

Fragonard & A Perfume-Making Workshop

I'm sure many beauty bloggers out there have wondered what they'd create if they could create a beauty product of their own.. I've had the time anyway, and I've gotten lost in day dreams about brushes quite a lot myself! But fate decided to throw me in the deep end for my first go at beauty creativity (as we all know, perfume and scents are not my strong points, down there with science and hair styles), and I got to have a shot at making a fragrance to learn more about the brand and the composition of perfumes with Fragonard, a perfumerie from the south of France. 

At the workshop we were taught about various things, including top notes (which make the majority of the formula), middle notes and base notes. The top being the ones you smell first which are usually quite citrussy, the middle being the dominant one that lingers over time, and the base that ties it all together. Since we were making a citrussy scent, we used notes of oranges, citrons, bergamot, mandarin, neroli, petit grain, verbene, rosemary and lavender. The ones that I put extras of were the bergamot, neroli and lavender to give a bit of a orange yet floral and herby tones as well. The end result? I quite like it if I say so myself! Fei from Peonies and Lillies was there too, and she took more of a lemony route, with lots of verbene and citron.

We also learnt about how scents differ from where they've been sourced - a neroli scent from Tunisia can apparently be very different from a scent from elsewhere! And did you know that on the first day of perfume school, you have to be able to identify over 500 scents? With a memory and nose like mine, that's probably not the best career path for me..

After the workshop, I strolled around their stand, sniffing away (my scent senses were thoroughly knackered by the end of it). And I have to say, I have never found a perfume line that I liked all the smells of! All the perfumes are so inoffensive, traditional yet creative, and they're all very feminine and floral in different ways. I can only guess that the nature and landscape of the south of France played a heavy part in inspiring a lot of these floral and natural scents, as I filled my lungs with the Mediterranean French countryside and dreamed of a holiday there soon!

The packaging of the products are all so pretty as well. They vary so much with different lines, but all of them are incredibly French and very arty indeed. I tend to skip perfumes when I go to the M&S Beauty Halls, but Fragonard, alongside Chantal Tomas, another French lingerie-designer-turned-perfumer, has become some of my "not to miss" brands for M&S Beauty Halls! For those of you on the lookout, their bestsellers are Belle de Nuit, Diamant and most of all, Soleil, while Fleur d'Oranger is also a popular one in Britain.

The Feminine Eau de Toilette Collection

The Naturelles Collection

To me, Fragonard seems like the perfect French perfumerie. It's a family business created in 1926 in Grasse by Eugene Fuchs, of whose great granddaughters currently run the company. I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Agnes, and her and the other CEO Francoise, maintain the various aspects of the company today, including the perfume school and their museum.

I have to say the artistic capacity of the company is phenomenal. The designs of the bottles, the illustrations of the boxes, and the photography in their magazines are truly inspiring and gorgeous. It really makes me miss France! Again, the scents and the art really capture the beauty of the landscape, and it just makes me long to bask in their sun, green and flowers and stroll around the clay-coloured towns of the region!

Speaking of the range, there are 5 collections - the Feminine EDT Collection (6 scents, £26/100ml each), the Men's EDT Collection (4 scents, £26/100ml each), the Eau de Parfum Collection (2 scents, £32/50ml each), the Eau de Toilette in Organdie Bag Collection (4 scents, £36/200ml each) and the Naturelles Collection (8 scents, £22.50/100ml for 7, and one box of perfumed tissues, which is £8 for 20 sachets). My favourite was definitely the Feminine EDT Collection!

One of the little gift sets that Fragonard makes - they're great for stocking fillers! 

 Fragonard also makes soaps and bath products.

It was such a fun experience, and I feel like I've found a really nice perfume range that I can count on finding something I like if I ever feel like sporting a new scent (or make myself feel bad that I'm not in France!). I think everyone I've seen since then have got a whiff of my perfume, and I'm definitely not sick of flaunting my latest creation just yet! I came home to tell one of my friends who was familiar with and adores Fragonard, and had visited their factories in the south of France before. The factory attracts thousands of visitors a year, so if you're interested in seeing what a perfume factory is like, it's a great place to go! I, for one, would love a visit if I'm ever in the area!

You can get Fragonard products from M&S Beauty Halls or their website. From the 29th of November to the 2nd of December, beauty products from M&S are 20% off! Be sure to check out other faves like Australian Native Botanicals, Diego dalla Palma and NUXE.

What are your favourite perfume notes?
Any favourite perfumes? :)

*This was a press event and workshop.
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21 November 2012

Event: A Pixi Adventure

Tucked away in one of my favourite streets in London, Foubert's Place, is a shop you wont see anywhere else in the country - the Pixi shop. For me, Pixi is the light green brand that I had mixed feelings about - was the green sophisticated, or was it cheap-looking/young? Their massive palettes voted in favour of the latter, but their individual products often came across as the former. Last night I got a chance to swatch to my heart's content at this cozy lovely boutique-like shop and make up my mind about them once and for all!

These are the Succulent Lip Twins (£12), and as you can see highly coveted in the beauty magazine world (take that for what you will!). I got to take home one of these in the shade No 2 Coral Camellia and while the idea is fantastic - a solid, highly pigmented tint for the lips and cheek at the tip and a liquid balm in the tube - I'm still mixed about it. Is it gimmicky? The smell is reminiscent of the plasticy cherry from cheap make-up that you get as a child, but priced at £12 and packed with natural oils and extracts, it's not exactly a toy. A similar thing can be said about their Lip & Line (£12). The formula, engineering and pigment is definitely commendable, but the smell really throws me off.

On the other hand, we have a part of the new Christmas collection. The Lid Shadow Pens (£12) definitely catch my eye, but all your eyes must have drifted to the massive Early Bird palette (£16). While this may have initially fallen into my youthful category, this is actually perfect for any lady! Packed with 3 blushers that come in a red, pink and peach (which I've skillfully cut off the picture.. see the site for a full image), two bronzers and a highlighter, with a vast array of eyeshadows - the right half reminiscent of the Naked Palette and the left more for the creative of girls - and 4 matte multi-purpose powders, you will only make the most of this if you know what you're doing - this is not child's play in any way, shape or form.

The powders are slightly powdery and it'll create some fall out on the pan. However, the formula is oh so buttery, and the pigments smooth on like a dream. At £16, this is a must-have and a perfect Christmas present for any girl who loves her make-up, or who wants to learn more!

Eye Shadow Quartettes (£16) with the Christmas collection with equally as beautiful a formula! Eye colour products from Pixi are a no-fail, with actually smudge-proof Straight On Till Morning Liner (£9.50) and smooth, pigmented Lid Shadow Pens (£12).

Pixi perfumes - absolutely stunning scents and unique, cute packaging!

Some Pixi skincare.

Sneak peek of the Spring collection released in March.

Can some things come across as young? Sure. Are the lip products going down well with me? Not as of yet. That's how it is with most brands right? But I feel we're on to a winner with the Early Bird palette (tutorial coming soon, hopefully!) and eye colour products.

Eyeliners, even those with glitter, did not budge despite my borderline violent attempt at scrubbing it off, and the crayons were similar to my favourite yet inaccessible Sephora Jumbo Liners. And don't get me started about the eyeshadows - SO smoooooth and pigmented! Above all, you're not going to pay an arm and a leg for any these products. Most of the products range from £10 to £20 which is within most peoples' budgets, whether you think of it as a treat or as a good quality everyday product. 

I feel absolutely privileged to have gotten my very own Early Bird palette, because I think it's absolutely genius! And it shows that the powder formula of the brand in general is amazing quality, as I've found from my experience using the bronzers and blushers. On first impressions, they were so soft and applied super evenly and feathered on the skin. An additional thing I like is how the packaging is not overly Christmas, which means you wont look like a knob busting it out come Spring-time..

My verdict? Pixi is an adorable brand with the modern woman in mind - lots of practical engineering, an aim for the fresh face with an edge of cute elegance with the light green packaging. Let's just say Pixi's joined the team of brands I will consult when I need an eye product. The fear of the unknown's been withered away, and I will undoubtedly be popping back to uhm and ah over the crayon liners and the quads! The quality is just superb. 

Have you tried any Pixi products?
What are your thoughts?

You can order Pixi products on their website and on ASOS.


*Press event.
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