27 April 2012

Reobsession: MAC Patina

I was just thinking these past few days how colourless my blog has been. I've seem to hit a wall with blushes and eyeshadows, my 2 favourite colour products, and have been focusing mainly on foundation. Which I do think is the right way to go - I have so many eyeshadows and blushes, and while I do have loads of foundations, your skin is always changing and I feel my skin is in a strange place right now.

Anyway, I digress. I was applying MAC Brule eyeshadow as I have done for a while, when my long-lost friend, MAC Patina caught my eye. I did fall out of love with it for a while, but it looked so damn purrrdy in the pan today, I just had to try it. And I'm so glad I did, as I'm pretty sure I'm going on another NARS Torrid-like obsession of wearing only this for the next few months!

I wrote about Patina over a year ago when I first got it and I haven't bothered reading it back because I know I'll just cringe - how little did I know! Patina is one of the only MAC shades that I personally have never seen a dupe for, because it is the strangest colour ever. At first glance in the pan, it looks like a very greenish beigey gold - fine. But the strange part is the pink duochrome. And I think in the times I've seen Patina photographed, I've never seen one that really captures this duochrome, and do the eyeshadow justice.

See what I mean? This looks NOTHING like what I described! It's one of those that you just have to see for yourself to really get what it's all about! (Says the girl who bought hers online..)

I've always had a strange relationship with this eyeshadow because in the past, as it's always come out as the greeny beigey gold that I see in the pan, and different from what I saw on other people. But as you can see from the swatch above, today, it's come out quite pink and taupey - which is a description I've definitely read someone use before. I'm not sure if it's because I have Brule underneath, but I'm convinced this thing, to put it simply, has a mind of its own.

As you can see, it's a very understated look for me today and I really enjoy it. I love the subtle sheen, and the unique but subtle colour, that adds a sort of glow to the eyes. I just hope it doesn't change its mind again in a few days, it's like dealing with a PMS-ing girl.

Do you like Patina? :)
What eyeshadows have you been loving?

read more

24 April 2012

Review: Sk:n Aloe Vera Gel

When it comes to skincare, I'm more of a 'nature' skincare person than a 'pharmaceutical' skincare person, but I have my moments of curiosity. It's a healthy level of curiosity because on occasion, it leads to some seriously amazing finds, like this item below.

Sk:n Aloe Vera Gel

My mom has an aloe vera plant, and most of the time I just want to put it out of its misery, as despite being a hippy and an environmental activist, she's not exactly green-fingered. She bought it once to soothe mosquito bites in the humid summers of Japan and to be completely honest, for me, it did sod all. You can imagine my associations with aloe vera weren't exactly positive.

However, my opinions have changed dramatically since I've tried sk:n's "aloe vera in a tube" (as opposed to "dying brown shambles in a terracotta pot"). I don't particularly have sensitive skin, but I have a massive issue with breakouts under the skin that are incredibly uncomfortable, sometimes itchy and even painful. Being a horrible person that I am, I sometimes cannot help but start touching it, scratching it and god forbid, squeezing it. Spot treatments are great, but they don't exactly help with 'coping' - they deal with the 'healing'.

This is where this sk:n Aloe Vera Gel becomes a godsend. It's basically a clear gel that you can apply whenever and wherever your skin needs calming. And I don't know how it does it, but I can only describe it as like feeding ice cream to a crying 5 year old - everything goes silent.

As soon as I rub it in (and I do this in a long, massage-y kind of way so it completely absorbs and doesn't leave any residue - and it's superb because with enough care it can completely sink into your skin), all of a sudden, my itching has stopped, my redness has gone down, I don't feel any pain and literally - it's like time has stopped. I'm not even exaggerating (okay maybe I am).

Either way this has been an absolute saviour for the night time, because maybe it's just me but these spots seem to get really angry and naggy at night. Sometimes I even apply it under my make-up in the morning because it doesn't have any greasy residue or any effect on my make-up. I imagine my touching and itching of the spots really never helped the process of healing so I'm hoping with continued use of this stuff, my skin has more room to do their "thang" and heal the spots.

To be honest, I haven't used this in any other capacity than for my spots, but I imagine most people are more aware of the functions of aloe vera than I am, and have probably already thought of ways they could use this (sun burn? rashes? shaving burns?). I can't vouch for whether it will work for you or not, because as with anything, I can only tell you about what it did for me. But for me, I cannot rave about this enough.

It's incredibly affordable at £8 for 100mL tube, so it's definitely worth trying out (and it's available online at sk:n's website or in larger Boots stores). I whole-heartedly believe that for as long as I have spots I will continue to buy this. In fact, I'm going to buy one for my mom so she can put that bloody plant out of its misery i.e. give it to my nan. (I do love my mom really, but she did not inherit green fingers.)

What are your experiences with aloe vera?
Any favourites from sk:n? :)

*Received for consideration.
read more

23 April 2012

Review & Application: The Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals Compact

In my March 2012 favourites, I mentioned this foundation and I decided the lack of videos on YouTube and reviews on blogs had to be fixed! :) I've also always wanted to do foundation application videos as they are my favourite to watch on YouTube, so I decided to kick start that as well - please take a look as I think visuals will really help make sense of the crap that sometimes spills onto this poor blog..

The Body Shop Extra Virgin Minerals Compact Foundation in 305 Natural Beige

This has been one of my most used foundations this spring, and it's partly because of the shade match, but mostly because of its everyday finish that's natural with a natural amount of coverage, and also because it's so easy to use :)

Packaging: I love it. It's a matte rubbery packaging like the NARS blushers, and it's incredibly sturdy. Granted they didn't need that window, and could have expanded the mirror behind the lid, the mirror is still a good and useable size. The flip top section beneath the foundation is not wobbly, and the brush is secured in a cut-out so it's not clanging about - near perfection really, this packaging!

Formula: It's slightly moussey, not sure if you can tell in the picture, but it's incredibly incredibly light-weight, and not something you'd expect from a cream compact. It's very slippery and so appliable with pretty much anything under the sun (hands might be a bit messy though).

Coverage: See for yourself in the video, but I'd say somewhere between light to medium, but verging on the medium.

Longevity: I always prime and set, so under those circumstances, all day long baby!

Finish: Unlike many cream foundations which often dry powdery or dewy, this one is incredibly, incredibly natural and lightweight. It'll genuinely look like skin, and with the powder I use it stays that way too :)

Shade Range: For a drugstore brand, they've done well to produce both warm and cool tones. However, they're darkness range is not great as mine's the 2nd to darkest shade! If you do happen to fall on the fair-medium side of the spectrum, Katie from Katie's Beauty Blog has a fantastic post with the swatches from the Extra Virgin Minerals Liquid Foundation line here that you can refer to if you are interested in purchasing things from the line online. I'd say judging from the swatch of my shade, 305, that the cream compact shade is very similar to the liquid. For reference, in the video I'm between a NC30 and 35.

To hear more in detail what I think about the product and see first(ish) hand, then please watch the video below! :)

Overall I think it's a fantastic foundation for all skintypes, because it's SO natural in terms of the finish and coverage, doesn't cling to dry patches, doesn't get too oily if you prep and set, and will last all day if you do that too. The formula is so flexible in the sense that the brush included is actually useable, and you can use it as a base, a concealer and can carry it around to top up too. I also think the ethics of The Body Shop are an added bonus! :) Like I said in the video, the only negative is that there isn't much product and I've hit pan in a few weeks. However, still an absolute winner in my books, and it's made me want to try the rest of the foundations in this line, and has put a lot of faith and interest in other The Body Shop make-up for me! :)

Hope you enjoyed that guys, and please let me know if there's anything you think I should change on the video (except the glaring sun, that was the force of nature..) or if there's a particular foundation you know I have that you would like to see applied :) I know my old review posts on foundations were more in depth so please let me know if I should keep doing that alongside the video :)

You can purchase this foundation online for £16 on The Body Shop website :)

Have you tried any of The Body Shop make up?
How about a cream compact?

read more

22 April 2012

An Unlikely Read: Boots Health & Beauty Mag

It's been a while since I've purchased a glossy magazine, and I do partly think it's because there's never too much going on about make-up or beauty, and honestly - I trust bloggers more than magazines! But the other day I was strolling through Boots when I saw this mag - one that I've overlooked many-a-times, but thought - meh, why not!

Am I just really late to the party? Because this magazine was brilliant! I'm not being funny, but I'd be VERY surprised if most of my UK readers didn't have a Boots Advantage Card, and with one of those babies, this magazine is completely free. Let me show you a bit of what was inside this one..

Here's a few things people have gotten with their Boots Advantage Card points. Now let's face it, they're never gonna put anything bad about a product in there (that's where us bloggers are useful, right? ;)) but I think it's a great way to see what Boots has to offer. Some of their stores are mahusive, and it's easy to overlook their stock and gravitate towards what we know. And who knows - you might find a gem while you're at it - it's not completely impossible they publish some truth ;)

I liked that it wasn't just about make-up, but also body care, hair care and skin care.  There are SO many cult products in the blogosphere that yes, sometimes it can get repetitive or we can get narrow-minded. Features like these will keep us open-minded about things we can try, and things that brands that don't emphasize PR on bloggers have to offer :)

I really enjoyed the photography in this magazine, and really liked that it wasn't overly dominated by No7 or other Boots exclusive products. I also loved how because Boots, despite being a drugstore, also stock high end brands like Estee Lauder, Origins, Dior, Chanel etc., that their pages weren't filled with just high street affordables, but also with luxury products. I think this is a balance that will appeal to many people - both to high street afficionados or high end lovers, or to us lot who like a bit of both :) Again, the blogosphere does have a tendency to focus on cult products and at times be slightly narrow-minded, both about products and about brands, so it was nice to have the full range of cosmetics and beauty products covered without the bias of what's trending in blogs. Very refreshing!

I genuinely cannot believe that I hadn't picked one of these up before, and for free too! I just felt I had to share, as I really enjoyed reading it and I felt it was much more interesting and easy to relate to than the typical glossy mags that I used to buy! I definitely got a lot more out of it!

Am I the last one on board?
Or do you pick these up once in a while too? :)

read more

21 April 2012

Orly Jealous, Much?

Last weekend I couldn't help but wonder if I was being slightly ambitious by wearing the highly coveted, highly bright and highly summery For Audrey by China Glaze. It's not exactly summer, but we haven't regressed back to winter (wouldn't put it past English weather you know!) - and then this arrived:

Orly Jealous, Much?

From the Orly 2012 Spring collection, adorably named Cool Romance, is Jealous, Much? which is this lovely mixture of mint and pale turquoise which I think is a perfect colour for the spring, and even in the summer months to come. It has a soft feminine touch but retaining the uniqueness and warmth of a summery colour like turquoise.

Now I'm not an Orly connoisseur, but their recent offerings through the She Said Beauty box has definitely intrigued me, and with this collection (which I honestly had the hardest time choosing 1 from!) I think they've won me over! The full range consists of other cool, yet pastel colours (which I think is quite rare as a lot of companies opt for bright colours which are toned down with pastel) that you can see here from The PolishAholic's blog.

The formula, in my opinion, is not 100% up to par with the likes of Mavala, who I imagine is their main competitor with a similar price range - Orly at £5 and Mavala at £4.10. I found it slightly harder to apply, because the formula wasn't runny enough that if the product applied streakily, it wouldn't eventually fall into a flat, level, surface. It does to a certain extent but I've definitely seen better behaved polishes! But it wasn't enough to really show or put me off. The brush is also the dreaded confusion of flat or round, in which you have to swivel the handle a few times to figure out which edge is flat and therefore the most conducive to applying an even layer.

But let's put it into perspective here - Orly polishes are £5 for 5.3mL, and boasts a unique take on shades ranging from pastels to brights that should have Mavala running for its money. The polishes also has a nice glossy finish, a relatively quick-dry formula (I'm so impatient with polishes so this could only mean a good thing!) and perfect pigmentation at 3 coats that doesn't feel heavy or chunky on the finger tips.

And the colour - how could you say no? Previously limited to Essie's Nice is Nice, Orly's Jealous, Much? has irrefutably joined the ranks of Yu's Spring Polishes 2012 ;) I urge you to check out the rest of the collection at the link above because by god - that pink, purple and nude shades are sure to catch your eyes too!

Overall, I'm confident I'll be checking back on Orly when I'm looking for colours. I really like the packaging, and I think it's great value for money - I think I can cope with the little negatives for a £5! I currently have Black Out that I got in my arsenal of nail polishes, but I would like a few others like the other Cool Romance shades, and I'm dying to get my hands on Gilded Coral from last year's Spring Collection too!

Do you have any Orly polishes?
What do you reckon about the Cool Romance collection? :)


*Received for consideration.
read more

17 April 2012


Having been a student for almost 4 years now, it's no surprise that some of the things in my closet have been there for.. well, 4 years. Between the span of 18 and 21, your tastes REALLY change, and you no longer wear clothes just to class, or just to party - there comes the inbetweens, like going to a nice bar, a more casual party, or things like interviews or work do's. Because of this, I've felt my wardrobe REALLY lacking in many things..

MANGO has been my biggest eye catcher since late last year, but I've yet to buy anything from them! Their things are always so classy yet down-to-earth and completely up my street - and I genuinely cannot wait til I can have a splurge if/when I get a job! Does anyone have experience with MANGO items? Anyway, here are a few things that I've been lemming these past few days.. the * are the ones that are currently in my basket!

 Bowling Handbag* £42.99/Quilted Shopper Handbag* £29.99/Zip Closure Messenger Handbag £9.99
Zip Pocket Jeans £22.99/Button Down Jumpsuit* £29.99/Decorative Ruffles Blouson* £24.99
 Classic Style Sunglasses* £14.99/Roll Up Shorts £17.99/Denim Shorts £24.99

So do I take the plunge?!
What are some of your favourite stores? :) Does anyone have any opinions about MANGO?


P.S. Hi to all my new followers, and thank you to both my old and new followers - I've hit 1,400 and very happy! :) I hope this blog continues to not disappoint! :)

 *All photos from MANGO website.
read more

8 April 2012

Event: Modus PR Press Day

Modus PR look after several brands that I like and/or am curious about - including Stila, Moroccan Oil, Cover FX and L'Occitane. A week or so ago, I was invited to their press day which I was quite keen on attending as it was my first event with them and I wanted to see what they were all about!

The first brand that caught my eye was Moroccan Oil. Now I know their hair oils and masks are raved about, but knowing my luck with popular hair items, I'm relatively skeptical about whether they'd work on me. I did get a waft of the hairspray though, and it smelt really sweet and lovely! The brushes you see above also look excellent - they have a compartment at the bottom with a little toothpick-like thing that you can use to separate your hair, so no need for a separate comb!

Windle & Moodie were there, and I was lucky enough to get my hair done by Michael with their innovative revolving curlers - absolutely mind-boggling but cool products! My curls were in for a really long time (kudos to WAM and the Moroccan Oil hair spray!), and the product seems to run really smoothly (no jerkiness or tugging) and well-made, and generally luxurious. You can see them in action here, they're really cool to watch so I'd definitely recommend a peek.

They don't actually cost too much compared to other salon electricals at about £75. It has auto-shut off which may be handy for us forgetfuls out there, and there's also a heat-detecting band at the tip that will tell you if the iron is hot or not. A very thought-through and clever product. For the 2 larger sizes, I felt if you already have a good curler, these aren't a must, but if you don't, I think these would be an excellent investment. I think their real strength is in the tiny curler you see up top - I do love my small curls, and you wont find something as tiny as that in many places!

REN isn't a brand I know a lot about, so it was fun to hear about what they have to offer. Their Moroccan Rose body oil smells DIVINE so I've definitely got my eye on that for a treat! This is a brand I felt I want to do more research on, and put on my 'to consider' list when I run out of body or skincare products :)

I'm a complete L'Occitane Shea Butter handcream convert, so I have recently become intrigued by this brand, and have since stopped by their Canary Wharf shop and looked around at their other products. However, their special ranges like these don't quite intrigue me as much as their core range - not quite sure why, I feel it deviates a bit from their image? However, I thought the lipgloss/perfume roll-on you see at the bottom is an absolutely genius idea! What are the two things you always need to top-up on when you go out? Perfume and lipgloss - DURRRR! Genius.

How many times have I googled 'water-based foundation' and came up with Cover FX's Water-based Foundation? I had a little swatch and it felt really thick and high coverage, so I was surprised it was water-based! At a whopping £37, it's not cheap, but one I'd like to try at some point. They also had little brochures which had a foundation colour guide which I think is always a good move for companies.

Sadly there was no one there at the counter when I was there, but those little pots in the photos really intrigued me - foundation/concealer/loose powder in one compact? If it is, I'm there. Their emphasis on base really draws me in, and they have sets of smaller-sized products you can buy, which are tailored for different purposes - Acne & Concealing kit is the one I'm keen on!

I think my favourite stand of the day had to be Stila. I was shown around by their MUA, Martin Carter  who is an absolute legend! He is so passionate about make-up, and walked me through each product, why it was made, what it does and why it's brilliant. Did I mention he also took out all the lip glazes you see above, just so I can get a cool picture for you guys? Yeah, he's that awesome.

These are some of Stila's new base products - their star being the One Step Primer you see in the middle, which brightens, evens out and smoothes your skin. It was used in London Fashion Week and apparently made their skin glow and make up last the whole time for the models. The two on the side are illuminators, and the line in the back is their mixture of primer and foundation, which Martin told me has a pretty big range.

And they also come in powder form - how cool is that? You swivel the clear wheel, which dispenses the right amount of product  to dip your brush in :)

Who could forget the Convertible Colours that I'm so obsessed with? The bright pans on the left are blushes that adjust to your skin's pH levels :)

The BB cream caught me by surprise. I swatched it on the back of my hand, and the instant brightness and coverage was phenomenal! Very impressed. At the moment it only comes in one shade which is a bit of a shame, but he did say they are hoping to expand the shade range after they gauge how people like the formula - cannot wait.

All in all, a fantastic time was had. I was shown around by Martha, who was such a lovely host and a pleasure to finally meet! As you can see, Modus PR have some exciting clients that I knew little or nothing about, which made this the perfect event in my eyes! My favourite thing about going to events is to learn more about the brand and really understand what they're about - very different from reading reviews or going to a counter at a store! So hopefully you got a taste of that through this post :)

Hope you are all having a great Easter Sunday! :)

*PR Event
read more

4 April 2012

March Favourites 2012

So, so late - I know. I try to make it a point to post favourites on the last day of each month but totally failed! Either way, I took this extra time to make a video, as February favourites just wasn't the same without one! :)

This month's favourites has a lot of products that haven't even featured on this blog before, never mind in a favourites! Not quite sure why this is the case, as not all of these are spanking new purchases - the oldest goes almost a year back! Anyway, enough blabbering - hope you enjoy the video! :)

(Great screenshot right? ;) SEXAYYYY.)

Do you like any of these products?
What were your monthly favourites? :)

read more