Sunday, 13 June 2010

Get The Look: 80's Pastel Bright

It's my 80's themed birthday party in a couple of weeks time, and as my mother is coming up to visit next weekend and I'll be tied up, I decided this weekend, while my boyfriend was glued to the world cup, was the perfect time to have a trial run of the make-up look I'll be wearing. Mainly because I've never done a look with so much colour, and I wanted to make sure I'd practiced something before the day, because if it all went hideously wrong then, I won't have much time to sort it. I'm also getting ready at my co-host's house, so I needed to figure out what kit to take with me ahead of time.

To be honest, I'm a little apprehensive about it all. I don't go in for big parties as a rule, but the girl I'm co-hosting with has big ideas.
It seems like she's O.D'ed on 'My Super Sweet Sixteen', and wants a big, technicolour affair like that (even though it's my 25th, and her 30th!). I've been getting slightly cold feet about the spectacle she wants to make- from the original idea the party seems to have grown incredibly- but its too late to back out now, so I've just got to embrace it.

On to the make-up. As I'd spent a while researching 80's make-up, I had an idea of the basic elements I wanted to achieve with my look.


I evened out my skintone using Bourjois Fond De Teint Pinceau in 32 Rose Clair. To achieve an ultra-matte effect, I followed up with some Maybelline Dream Matte Mousse in 008 Light Beige, which I blended along my T-zone and out to my cheeks. I topped it all with a dusting of Bourjois Mineral Radiance Pressed Powder in 02 Vanille. This ensured my skin looked flawless in that almost mask-like 80's way seen in pop videos of the time.


I'd decided I wanted rainbow bright eyes with a graphic black element too. Starting with Urban Decay Primer Potion on my lids, I used several shades from the Sustainable Shadow palette. First, I blended 'Grifter',a lavendar shade with silver glitters across the lid. Then in the outer diagonal, I applied some 'Kiddie Pool', a strong blue shade. This I blended into my socket line as well, above the lavendar shade. I pushed some 'Uzi' (white with strong silver glitter) into the inner corners as well. Then I made a strong graphic angle using Urban Decay Ink for Eyes in 'Zero', winging it up and out. I dusted over this with the 'Oil Slick' shade from the palette to set it. Underneath my bottom lid, I also used my angled liner brush with some of the shade 'Flash', a vibrant purple. I followed with two coats of black Lancome Hypnose mascara for maximum, more-is-more 80's impact, and then used Rimmel Extra Super Lash mascara in 103 Electric Blue, on the very tips of my r lashes. I also experiemented with an amazing pair of feather lashes, which are neon pink with black feather tips, that my party co-host bought for me earlier. These aren't really something I'd choose for myself but I was trying to find a way to make them work.

To achieve that really chiselled, OTT cheek so reminiscent of the 80's, I began with the matt bronzer from my Sleek Face Contour Kit, applying it to the hollows of my cheeks with a Mac 168 brush - the best brush for sculpting a really angled cheek.. This alone didn't have enough impact or that bright pink tone they favoured back then, so I topped it with some bright pink eyeshadow I've had for years in the Collection 2000 Trio Eyeshadow in 17-Allure. This mixed with the bronzer was more the tone I was after. I also used the highlight powder from the Sleek compact.


I'd found the perfect 80's looking bold pink with a very slight shimmer. So I simply lined my lips and applied it - Carlo Di Roma Pure Lipstick in 'Sweet Orchid'.

The pictures are doing justice to the array of colours and how vibrant they look, but it was good to have a practice and hopefully on the day I'll look 80's enough to do the party justice. I just hope it goes smoothly!

Saturday, 12 June 2010

June Haul: Zara, Benefit, French Connection, Topshop

I’ve never done a haul post before but when reading other people’s blogs; they’re always what I like the most. I guess I’m just really nosy, because I’m also addicted to all those ‘What’s In My Bag?’ videos on YouTube. Yep, I’m plainly just a voyeur.

But to me, seeing what an average girl on a similar budget to mine buys, and how she wears it, is perhaps the most inspirational thing of all. Sure, I’m ravenous for glossy magazines full of desirable pictures from the catwalks, and they are hugely inspiring too. But all that stuff is almost like fine art to me – and although it gives me something to aspire to, which is no bad thing, the levels of expertise and perfection are more than I could reasonably hope to re-create myself. But with ‘real girl’ stuff, the inspiration is accessible and immediate. It’s an instant hit of ideas that it’s easy for me to try if I like something.
And so, much as I love catwalk coverage, I do a little cheer when my favourite bloggers reveal all about what they’ve bought. Here is my first go at joining in with them:


Grey chiffon puffball skirt – Zara
I wanted a new skirt I could wear for work or for play, and I thought this number ticked both boxes. I wear too much grey, I know, but I just love how it doesn’t look out of place in winter or summer (I want my clothes to work hard!). I thought this skirt would work both with black tights or bare legs. It can be difficult to wear more directional, extreme shapes if you have hips at all, but I always think Zara are very good at translating high fashion looks into wearable, elegant shapes. The thick black waist band helps balance the wider cut of the skirt. I love the chiffon fabric and how it looks like a little storm cloud! I think this was about £15.00.

Navy and beige A-line skirt – Primark

I just thought this was so cute, spring like and quite ‘Blair Waldorf’, who has become a style heroine of mine (or at least the wardrobe team from Gossip Girl have). An A-line shape is a new one for me, I haven’t worn that style of skirt since school! All the magazines are full of it this season though, and I think it can work okay as long as you keep your top half quite fitted around the wais
t. It’s quite a heavy fabric, and this, combined with the colour palette of powder blue, navy and beige makes the skirt look a lot more sophisticated and expensive than it was, I thought. I’m planning to wear it with semi-opaque grey tights until the sun comes out a bit more! For the bargain rpice of £9.00, you can’t go far wrong.

Black dress – French Connection

Okay, so I know this dress isn’t exactly summery! But I do work in an environment where I need to dress a certain way, and I think this dress is one of those classic pieces that will be part of my work wardrobe for quite a while. It’s a very nice fit, with a lovely cross-over fabric panel detail at the bust and I think it would look killer worn with black patent courts and a large colourful necklace. I feel really strong and powerful in it. Can’t go wrong with French Connection for office wear with a bit of an edge – there’s nothing that will date too much on this dress either, so I’m hoping it’ll serve me well for a few years!

Black polo neck t-shirt – Zara
I know, I know, another boring black item. I bought this mainly to go with my grey puffball skirt, or a couple of other lighter toned skirts I have. It has a neat little elasticated patterned bit around the waist which pulls it all in and together. I think I would dress this with black beads for some texture.

Sparkly halterneck top baby pink and grey – Topshop

So this is a bit of colour. I thought it was a casual top that would go well with skinny jeans or some grey shorts I have. I liked the clean, graphic design with the neck band and the looser fit. A bit of sparkle for summer appealed to me – why should it all be saved for the winter party season?. The very pale pink is a new colour for me.


Sustainable Shadow Palette – Urban Decay

I really wanted to buy Book of Shadows 2 after seeing a number of genius looks people had created with it. But I hadn’t countered for the fact it’s sold out everywhere, apart from some sets with massively inflated price tags on eBay. So I plumped for the Sustainable Shadow Box instead. I mainly bo
ught it because I wanted some brighter, more out there shades to help me create an OTT, 80-‘s style colourful eye look for my birthday party next month. But I thought there were also a couple of more neutral tones I could wear anyway. Their high-pigment, glowing colours are great for a night out too. This set also contains a small size of the Primer Potion, Its is not a product I’ve felt a need for before, but I can see how it makes sense if you’re going for an extreme look on the eyes, and I’m excited to try it out and see if I’m a primer convert afterwards.

Ink for Eyes in ‘Zero’ – Urban Decay

I wanted to give this a go back when it first came out, but somehow kept putting it off, because I was happy with my Bourjois felt-tip eyeliner if I wanted winged eyes. I also didn’t know what this would apply like, and I never imagined it being as good as it is. The brush it comes with is phenomenal – there’s a smudger at one end, and a stiff angled brush at the other which is just magic – giving a really smooth defined line that its easy to shape with. The colour is nice and dark and it wears fairly well – not exactly all day wear (although perhaps if I used their primer, it might be) but decent enough. It glides on really creamy and creating angles and shapes, thicker or thinner lines, is a dream. Really good for a 60’s style cat flick or for smoky eyes as there’s so much control in the application. The packaging is also super-cute - a long slim compact with a peacock on the front – gorgeous! It feels like a real premium product to use, and I would now like to try some other colours as well as the black

Sexy Motherpucker lipgloss – Soap and Glory

I’ve wanted to try this gloss ever since one of my favourite guru’s revealed it was a must-have for her. It’s a nice, thick consistency, and it tingles so much as it goes on, you think it must be working. It goes on practically clear though, which is a shame because the colour in the tube is so pretty, a medium peach-pink, I don’t think it made my lips look noticeably bigger though. It was worth a try but I’m not sure I’d repurchase- perhaps I’ll change my opinion over time though.

Benefit Brush Set and ‘Get Bent’ mascara

I’ve been wanting a proper set of make-up brushes for a really long time. I currently have a rather rag-tag collection of different brushes from different sets, and there are some gaps in what I have too. I would love a full set of Mac brushes, but I can’t afford that at the moment, so I went for these Benefit brushes instead. The main thing that attracted me was that you got their famous bent eyeliner brush in the set (an unusual inclusion!). You also got a foundation brush (which I don’t have), an angled powder brush –perfect for contouring-, a concealer brush, a wide eyeshadow brush and an short angled brush. The set have shorter handles, which I like for greater control and they’re a pretty pearl colour. I bought these from a seller on eBay I know and trust (never buy cosmetics on eBay if you aren’t sure they’re genuine). My brushes were late arriving, and by way of apology, she very kindly sent me a full size of the Get Bent mascara. Bonus! I’ve never tried this one before, so I’m excited to see what its like.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Fashion Inspiration: 80's Fancy Dress

80s Makeup Looks

Wholesale Cosmetics & Makeup Suppliers - 5star Cosmetics (Wholesale) -...

As you might have guessed from the set I posted below, I'm investigating 80's looks. At the end of the month, its my joint birthday party with a girl friend and the theme is 80's prom. So my look is set to involve puffballs and big hair! I'm trying to work out the basics for my make-up look for the evening. Obviously, more is more, so instead of my usual rule of having the focus on either eyes OR lips, I'll be doing both naturellement!
The key points are:

  • Pale, matte skin

  • Defined brows

  • Chiselled and highlighted cheeks - bright magenta blusher, bronzer and deep hollows!

  • Multi-coloured eyes with angled, graphic wings out

  • Feather lashes

  • Magenta lips

I'm going to trial some looks at the weekend, and I'll be posting the results!


Friday, 4 June 2010

New Skincare Routine for Summer Skin

Out with the old - Garnier Soft Essentials, Botanics Face Hydrating Cream and No7 Heavenly Hydration Face Mask. In with the new - Olay Gentle Cleansing Wipes and Toner, cotton pads, Lavender Clay Mask and Clean & Clear Morning Fresh Moisturising Lotion.

As summer seems at long last to have arrived after six months of freezing winter, my skincare routine needed overhauling. The products I'd been using throughout the cold snap were no longer suitable - they'd become too heavy and my skin was beginning to suffer.

My skin is pretty normal really, and I'm fortunate in that I've never had a problem with spots. However, my t-zone does get a lot more oily in the summer, and my skin can also dry out a lot in the winter, so I believe in adapting my skincare regime to suit the changing needs of my skin over the seasons.

I hadn't caught up fast enough this year, and my skin was feeling the effects. I'd started to break out around my chin and mouth. The clincher was when I had my lovely facial at
Champney's the other day, which also included a skincare consultation. The therapist agreed my winter products had become far too heavy and were aggravating my skin. I needed a lighter, brighter regime more suited to the season.

So today I did a little 'out with the old, in with the new' skincare shopping trip and overhauled my regime.


I was using
Garnier Soft Essentials make-up removing wipes for dry and sensitive skin, but these are too heavy for my skin at the moment. I've swapped them for Olay Gentle Clean Face Wipes, which should be lighter.

For a
facewash, although I rotate what I use, I'd been relying a lot on Botanics Clarifying Foaming Wash, which I've swapped for Neutrogena Deep Clean Cream Cleanser, as the latter is a lot more astringent.

I've never included a toner in my skincare before, but I was really impressed with how fresh and calmed my skin felt after they'd used one during my facial. So I purchased some
Olay Refreshing Toner, which I'll sweep over my face using cotton pads after cleansing, to make sure my face is clean, fresh and balanced.

I had been using the lovely smelling but rather heavy Botanics Day Face Cream, which lately was beginning to smother my skin as its a very rich, cream formulation. I've replaced this with Clean & Clear Morning Fresh Oil-Free Moisturizing Lotion.

I'm still using my Sanctuary Spa Refreshing Eye Gel. This is a product I love, as its so nice and light and it also dually targets puffiness and dark circles, whereas most eye treatments seem to do one or the other - I have both problems. I'm also carrying on using
EverySun Everyday Antioxidant Factor 40 cream on my face. This is 100% more effective than Vitamin E at combating free radicals and UVA and UVB radiation, meaning I'm keeping the burn and the wrinkles both at bay. I really believe if you do one thing for your face, it should be using a sun screen daily. Factor 15 is generally adequate, I'm just being very cautious!

I'm binning off my No 7 Heavenly Hydration Moisture Mask, which has served me well through the winter months, and bought in some Lavender Clay Mask, which absorbs a lot of oil and impurities in the skin, which I'll be doing once a week in my Sunday night 'Gear up for the working week' candleit bubble bath. I'll also be persevering with my favourite
Neutrogena Deep Clean Invigorating Scrub once a week to keep my face exfoliated and fresh. Hopefully this will sort out my current skin woes and leave me fresher faced for summer!
And most importantly...
Tonnes more water! I don't drink nearly enough water, especially considering I've suffered from kidney stones before. But now, at my annual health check the nurse told me I must drink more, and my
facialist also commented my dark eye bags are linked to dehydration. I know it's important, so I'm making a big effort to take in a lot more H20 and feel the benefits.

Have you made any seasonal changes to your skincare? What's worked for you

How To: Clean Makeup Brushes for Next to Nothing

Ok, I'm paying it forward with this one. This method of cleaning your make-up brushes was one I learnt after watching a video tutorial from the amazing Miss Michelle Phan, and she in turn learnt it from an oil painting class, so we're all just spreading the love and letting more people know about this method.

It's genius, because its dirt cheap, and you can use things you'll already have around the house, rather than spending a fortune on brush cleansers. You're supposed to clean brushes around once a week, but its generally okay to leave them a bit longer, with the exception of foundation and concealer brushes, which you should do even more frequently.

I was slightly sceptical of how well this would work at first, but after trying it out, I'm really impressed. This method will clean, sanitize and condition your make-up brushes and leave them as good as new.

You'll need:

  • Some antibacterial dish soap (washing-up liquid) - Fairy etc.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • A large plate
  • A wide rimmed cup
  • Some paper towels
Here's how it works:

  • Squirt equal amounts of the dish washing soap and the olive oil on your clean plate. An amount about the size of a playing card should do for each - depending on how many brushes you have to clean
  • Take your brush and swirl it back and forth, first in the dish soap, then in the olive oil. You'll see the colour pigments from old cosmetics come out and make a paste. The antibacterial dish soap kills all the germs on the brush, and cleans and sterilises really effectively, but on its own, it would ruin the condition of the bristles. The olive oil is the best natural conditioner around, and will leave your brushes silky smooth, restoring the condition of the bristles.
  • Run the coated brush back and forth in the palm of your hand to gently work the cleaning mixture in. This is apparently what artists do to clean their brushes.
  • Rinse the brush under lukewarm running water. To protect the glue holding the bristles in the barrel, always point the brush downwards. Never let water run up into the barrel as this risks melting the glue and making the bristles shed, ruining the brush. This is also why you should use only lukewarm water - anything hotter might run the same risk. Rinse until the water runs clear.
  • When finished rinsing, gently blot the bristles with kitchen paper to mop up the excess water and shape the bristles with your fingers to ensure they dry straight
  • Dry the brush by placing it in a wide-rimmed tumbler or glass, again with the bristles pointing downward so any excess water runs down into the glass, not back into the barrel. Prop the brush up and leave to dry overnight. Most brushes will be dry by morning, but some, such as a thick powder or a kabuki brush may take two days, depending on how warm the atmosphere is.
And there we go - simple, easy, really cheap and amazing results.

Happy Birthday to Me (and Marilyn..)

So I turned 25 on the 1st June. Traditionally, I've always kept a diary, and on my birthday each year, I would review the past year,look at where I'd gone wrong and what I'd managed to achieve and make some plans for the coming year.

I haven't handwritten a diary for a very long time, and I'm perhaps not quite so introspective as when I was a teenager, so I'm not going to write a long entry full of self-analysis - suffice to say, I think 25 has been a decent year. I'm in a good place, which takes the sting out of getting older and the years creeping up before I'm ready. Great relationship, steady job, nice house, good friends. And I'm more settled than I ever thought would be possible for me, the typical restless spirit.

So, what's in store for my 25
th year? Well, my goals are roughly the same as I wrote in a previous entry:
  • Lose half a stone - get down to a proper size 8 rather than hovering between sizes, just so I can know I did it, and what it felt like...
  • Write my novel- now my laptop's finally sorted, I'll stick to scheduling time in to do some writing
  • Look after my skin - I'm already fairly good at this but I want to get really strict with myself now. I plan to start using anti-aging products, to always take my make-up off at night, to drink more water, to treat myself to a proper facial every so often and to do my own mask and exfoliation once a week.
  • Have a good time - accept all the invitations going and really make an effort to keep connecting with people and experiencing things in good company
  • Push up the career ladder - I enjoy my job, but I can't help thinking I've gotten a little comfortable and I'm not pushing myself anymore. With the recent change in government making a veiled threat to my job anyway, now would seem to be a good time to push onwards and upwards.
In my last 'goals' post, I did also mention I'd unfortunately started biting my nails again (quite randomly after a few years of breaking the habit) and how I was trying to grow them. I'm pleased to say that with the help of the amazing Sally Hansen Get Growing - a miracle in a bottle- my nails are now long and beautiful again. So I'm excited to treat myself to some new nail polishes to celebrate!

This week I've been on holiday from work, and its been a really nice week. On Sunday, we had a barbecue, and friends and family came round. 1st June was my actual birthday (same as Marilyn Monroe, my idol!) and I went into town shopping with my boyfriend. Unfortunately, it was a bit of a wash-out, both because it rained solidly, and because we both felt quite under the weather.
it was one of those rare days where I couldn't see anything much I liked in the shops as well, although he did treat me to a gorgeous butterfly print clutch bag from Ted Baker I fell a bit in love with. We also went for lunch at The Walk, my favourite cafe, all mismatched china and white-
aproned waitresses, a bit like the Mad Hatters Tea Party, which I loved!

On Tuesday, I had a day at
Champney's spa in Ashby-De-La-Zouch, which was total heaven. I had thalassotherapy and the best, most relaxing facial, plus I did gym, swim, jacuzzi, sauna and steam which was heaven. It was such a good day I've resolved to try and do it once a year. I was so relaxed driving home, I felt like I was floating on a cloud of bliss. I've never been to a health spa before and it was so much better than I thought it would be.

Tonight, I'm having all my girls round for some bubbly and cupcakes and a few films. But my actual party is on the 26
th. It's a joint one with my girlfriend, with an 80's theme...more on that later. I don't normally do anything much on my birthday, so this one has been pretty extraordinary. Perhaps 25 isn't so bad after all!
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