Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Autumn dreaming

"Summer" never really hit Manchester, but now that we're in September at least it's socially acceptable to acknowledge this cold weather we've been having as Autumnal. With the crisp weather upon us, I've been hanging for a few bits and pieces.

Military green: Although always seasonally appropriate this time of year, military green seems to be 'on trend' this Autumn. I didn't notice I was developing a thing for it until I bought 2 basic Zara T's in the exact same colour, and then started lusting after this Acne Scarf and Burberry's Khaki Green eyeshadow all in the same week (Side note: I'm growing a pretty hefty list of Burberry eyeshadow 'wants' all of which will be perfect for Autumn!!). Readers of these pages will know that I stick to well-cut neutral basics so this military green not-really-a-trend trend is right up my alley.

Genmaicha tea: Coffee will always be my first love, but these past few months I've been trying to limit myself to my (excessively strong) morning cappuccino. If I'm dragging in the afternoon I'll opt for a tea, and I've recently fallen back in love with this long-time favourite. Genmaicha is Japanese Sencha (green tea) with toasted rice and popcorn kernals. It has the freshness and delicacy of good green tea with the toastyness of the brown rice which is perfect for this time of year. Nb: Make sure not to use boiling water lest your tea will go bitter! Steep for 3 minutes at approx 70-80 degrees celsius.

Navy blue 'fur': This one is a bit random. I was so chuffed with the Theory overcoat I bought last Winter that I neglected all my other outerwear for the whole cold season. The last thing on my mind then, was a new coat. Until I started seeing navy blue fur/shearling coats pop up on a few of my favourite shopping sites (I've seen versions from Whistles, Elizabeth & James, Muubaa, Zara etc). It was love at first sight and despite being a bit 'out there' for me, I've already splurged and purchased this beaut from Danish brand Won Hundred.

Baths: It's been getting colder and Dean is adamant about never turning the heat on in our flat (he LOVES the cold) so to warm up in the evenings I've been indulging in baths, with all manner of added salts, bombs and oils. A favourite is the Laura Mercier Honey Bath in Amber Vanille which smells absolutely divine.

Friday, 7 August 2015

July Favourites and Fails

July was a fab month for favourites. After a couple months of feeling a bit uninspired by makeup and beauty this month was a complete 180! I've been hauling like nobody's business and have also re-fallen in love with a few old-time faves.

  • Lubin Gin Fizz EDT: A new purchase this month that I had lusted after for ages and was an immediate hit. A citrusy, spritely, fresh and summery fragrance that is glamorous in a demure 1950's way. The scent was indeed inspired by Grace Kelly when it first launched in 1955 (re-launch in 2009) and it really does have a low-key elegance that I love. The bottle is gorgeous and it came packaged in the most beautiful satin box. It would make a gorgeous gift or a cheeky seasonal treat for oneself.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Matte Revolution Lipstick in Miss Kensington: I hauled this at the beginning of the month and it has quickly become my favourite-ever nude lip. It is the perfect shade that I think I've always been seeking, in a gorgeous retro matte (but comfortable to wear) finish. See true-to-colour swatches in my haul post.
  • Charlotte Tilbury Eyes to Mesmerise in Mary Antoinette: Another 'win' from CT - her new-ish cream eyeshadow in a gorgeous taupy-bronze shade. Cream shadows are a dime a dozen these days, but this rendition has a very easy to work with formula perfect for blending, sheering, building etc. and once it sets it doesn't budge. An immediate fave.
  • Jouer Matte Moisture Tint in 'Linen': This favourite from last year was a late comer to the party this summer. I had been using other things and it kind of slipped my mind, until this month when I pulled it out again and from day 1 it was love all over again. I've barely used anything else since. It's lightweight, demi-matte, with medium coverage and a finish that is perfecting but also natural looking enough for daytime (read: natural light) wear. Not surprisingly, it made my 'Top 5 Summer Bases'.
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette: Another gem pulled out of the depths is this well-known and well-loved trio from Hourglass. As of late I've especially been loving mixing the two right shades (Incandescent light and Radiant light) for a really glowy-bronzy-highlighty cheek over or under whatever more matte blush I'm sporting. On me it gives enough colour and glow to the tops of my cheekbones to skip a separate bronzer or highlighter.
  • L'Oreal Color Riche L'Ombre Pure Shadow in Matte 106 Breaking Nude: An unlikely favourite - I picked this up for no reason other than to complete a 3-for-2 deal at Boots! It's a matte (but somehow not flat!?) cool-toned taupey brown, in the most beautiful and easy to work with buttery pressed formulation. I've been using it almost daily as part of my monochrome taupe eye look.

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Review & Swatches: Burberry Light Glow Blush in 'Peony' & Eyeshadow Silk in 'Nude'

I mentioned in my inaugural Burberry haul a couple weeks back that I may have made a cheeky addition while tipsy. Luckily for my wallet the purchase was made using my Boots points, so using girly maths, I got both of these gorgeous bits for free. (Can we just take a moment to say how fab it is that Burberry Beauty is now available at Boots?!). Ok, moving on.

L-R: Burberry light glow blush in 'Peony' and eyeshadow silk in 'Nude' [artificial/natural light]
First up is Burberry Light Glow Blush in Peony, a light cool-toned 'true' pink. I always forget how much this sort of shade suits me but upon first application I fell in love with this blush. It's smooth, velvety, and surprisingly pigmented. It added the most beautiful fresh pinch of colour to my cheeks in a very brightening and flattering way. Even though the colour is light, a light hand is needed lest you want to look like Aunt Betty. That said, this is amongst the lightest and coolest shades in the burberry lineup - I think darker skins would be better suited to some of their other shades, but on me this is an immediate favourite.

Next up is one of Burberry's newly re-formulated Wet & Dry Eye Colour 'Glow' Shadows in 'Nude'. The name is a bit of a misnomer in my opinion - the colour is much more of a bronzy taupe than a 'nude' shade. Nonetheless it is stunning. It's a finely milled powder but with a fairly metallic and light reflective finish. It need not be used wet but I did try it and it looked amazing patted on the lids, and worked wonders for longevity when worn in this way.

I think both of these shades are 'dupable' and I'm planning a post on that soon. Regardless though, the textures, finishes and quality of all the Burberry products I've tried so far really make makeup application a true pleasure. I'd much rather have a well curated collection of products like these than a proliferation of lesser alternatives. Alongside Charlotte Tilbury which reigns supreme, Burberry Beauty has quickly become a favourite makeup brand.

Friday, 31 July 2015

Matchy matchy skincare ft. Verso

I'm not typically one for matchy-matchy skincare, but something about the simplicity of this numbered and aesthetically gorgeous retinol-based lineup by Verso really appealed to me. After trying so many products a simple no-fuss sequence that 'does it all' is surprisingly refreshing. Of course, the proof is in the pudding, so what do I think?

I've delayed writing this review for a couple months now, because when I first started using this line we had an abrupt family tragedy which caused a significant amount of stress, and the seasons were changing. My skin went from relatively smooth and clear to pretty angry, but given the circumstances I thought it unfair to 'blame' these products. I've now given it about 2.5 months and feel I can write a fairer review.

There are 6 products in total, I have 1-5. The sixth is their dark spot corrector which I'm yet to try. All the products in the line are based on a proprietary compound called 'retinol 8' which is meant to be a more concentrated but less irritating and less drying version of retinol. I must say that this is definitely true - I've noticed very good benefits in terms of hydration and fine lines, and have not experienced any problems with dryness, irritation or flaking which many retinols are known for. The packaging is perfect - it looks nice and minimal, it's lightweight, and the pumps dispense exactly the amount of each product that you would want to use. That said, for me, not all products stack up equally so here is the run-down:

  1. Foaming Cleanser: Now I know for a lot of readers the word 'foaming' will immediately put you off. I think it's a bit of a misnomer - this cleanser is more creamy and in my experience really doesn't foam at all. It does have a lighter texture than a heavy cream cleanser, though. Nonetheless, it is my least favourite product of the lot. It's basic - it smells fairly neutral, it seems to clean my skin, though it is not good around the eye area. I think those with combo or drier skins will find it too 'squeaky'. For me, my skin just hasn't been the same - I had been using clay based cleansers for 1-2 years (the Sunday Riley and then the Sarah Chapman) and since switching I've had way more problems with keeping hormonal acne at bay. For the price it's a bit of a 'blah' product, and I'll definitely be going back to something clay-based.
  2. Day Cream: At the other end of the spectrum, this product I absolutely love. It has done wonders for keeping my skin hydrated during the day without ever making it shiny or greasy. It's a magical formula for underneath makeup, which continues looking fresh throughout the day. No lines or crepey undereyes here. I had worried that it would be too heavy for my combo skin but not so. I think it would work well on a range of skins and more or less for the entire year. This is a standout product for me because I think when you come across effective skincare that also improves the look of your makeup, you're onto a winner!!
  3. Night Cream: I don't have much of an opinion of this night cream in isolation. It's lovely - it feels nourishing on the skin without feeling heavy or suffocating. The texture is of a typical cream - it seems to sink in well and keep my skin hydrated through morning. I've been using it as part of a nightime routine with the following 2 products and together they get a thumbs up.
  4. Super Facial Serum: This is called a 'serum' because it has a higher retinol concentration, but the texture is actually much more like a typical cream. It's definitely not what I think of when I think 'serum'. That said, I put this on cleansed skin and then top it with the night cream and together I feel like I'm getting a lot of 'good for your skin' ingredients and a dose of hydration. I don't have any wrinkles but had begun to show a few 'fine lines' and actually since using this product these have become much less of a concern, especially my smile lines :)
  5. Super Eye Serum: This is my second 'top pick' of the lineup. Unlike the facial serum, this stuff feels very concentrated. I think if you have particularly sensitive skin or eyes this is a no-go. It feels a bit burny on my skin when first applied in a warming way, but doesn't cause any visible irritation. I have noticed a huge difference in my eye area since using this - it is hydrated and stays this way throughout the day, it's smooth and any and all fine lines have disappeared. I really feel like this is a rockstar product for anti-ageing benefits in this notoriously susceptible area.
Overall it's a bit of a weird one! The cleanser I don't think I'll be buying again. The day cream I definitely will, as with the Super Eye Serum. The other nighttime products - the Super Facial Serum and Night Cream - feel more benign and less 'special' as you use them, but the overall effect on my skin has been noticeable over a period of time. My skin feels more balanced, hydrated and definitely more plump, with fewer visible fine lines. I think combined with a few more specialty products that get thrown in here and there when needed- masks, an oil, etc. - this line forms a really solid core skincare regimen that is simple (in the sense of not needing to think about it too much!) but also very effective.

Wednesday, 29 July 2015

The luxury want list

With a few hauls posted lately, I must say that I'm rather content on the purchasing front. That said, I'm already sort of hanging for Autumn... Manchester has been cold and overcast for days, so with the weather feeling like October, I at least want the gorgeous beauty and fashion to match! Here is my very premature wishlist of-the-moment, emphasis on wish. *insert heart-eyed emoji* 

  • Tom Ford Skin Illuminating Powder duo: I've never tried anything from Tom Ford Beauty... like I mentioned in my recent Burberry Haul, I've just found it difficult to narrow down the standouts and actually take the plunge. With that said, this duo just looks absolutely stunning. Do I need more highlighters? A resounding no. But they are just so swoon-worthy. I suspect I'll be at Selfridges picking up this bad boy as soon as it hits shelves in early August. Sorry not sorry.
  • Miu Miu Cap Toe Sneakers in black: You would think after just posting about these in silver I would be set for a while. But indeed it's the opposite - I've so totally fallen for them that I want them in more colours, and the black is the perfect everyday, casual, far-less-of-a-statement option. Cue the obsessive search for a good price.
  • Aerin Amber Musk EDP: This one isn't really up for question. I've gone through a sample of it and it's just as ridiculously amazing as everyone has been saying. A warm, amber-musk-coconut-rose-benzoin scent that will be heavenly for Autumn and Winter. If you want to save a few quid buy it from my go-to, Parfuma.
  • YSL Lipstick Print Monogram Wallet: This one puts the wish in wish-list because I most likely will not spend this much on a wallet I don't need. I'm tempted. But I probably won't succumb. Nonetheless, I thought given this is a mostly-makeup blog I should just point out this awesome gem. I would never want a bag with such a cutesy print, but a wallet? I mean... If money was no object I would have hit 'add to bag' without a second thought. My only slight peeve is I would have preferred it with the more modern and petite 'saint laurent' insignia rather than the big logo plate.
  • Stuart Weitzman Sprite booties in 'taupe':  I spotted these while in Selfridges the other week and in person they just really called out to me! The khaki/taupe colour is gorgeous - neutral without being black. They have a hidden wedge, the most beautiful suede, and a really effortless slouch. If I splurge on an addition to my boot lineup this Autumn, these will be it.