Sunday, 22 March 2015

Fashion spotlight: 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Mini Messenger

My newest luxury edition, and I could not be happier with her. Meet my 3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Mini Messenger in Black.

Anyone who saw my Christmas Gift Guide (which was basically just a roundup of things I have and love or things I was seriously lusting after) would have seen this bag make an appearance in a gorgeous electric blue colour. It wasn't and still isn't mine, but I've been thinking about it for what, going on 3 or 4 months now? It was time!

I was vacillating between that electric blue (check it out here) or the black. The blue is stunning, eye catching and would add a much needed pop of colour to my very neutral wardrobe, but the black is timeless and really does fill a hole in my bag-wardrobe. I have a larger black tote that is great for work, carrying books, my laptop, papers, etc. and a black clutch for nights out but all my day-to-day bags and smaller crossbodies are in other colours. I was also really wanting a structured bag. So I finally went with the black with brass hardware and I'm so unbelievably happy I did.

This bag is made of gorgeous but very sturdy structured leather in the same texture as the other 'Pashli' bags. I really love the Pashli Satchels but was feeling they were becoming a bit 'done' (my perception, don't take my judgement at face value!). And for my style I really just preferred this shape. It is versatile enough to wear during the day or out at night, more casually or slightly more dressed up. It comfortably fits my giant George Costanza wallet, plus phone, keys, lipstick, and some other bits and bobs. Basically anything you would need and want if you're intentionally downsizing. And because it is structured it's a breeze to reach for things (liberating, since I'm usually a carrier of giant bottomless-pit type handbags). I had read some complaints of the clasps used in the Pashli range but it's really not a problem. I really can't express how happy I am with this purchase. It goes with literally everything, looks super chic, and even though its colour palette is basic, you can tell in person that it's a very nice, very well-made, not run-of-the-mill bag. I love that it looks the part without any garish branding or logos, too.

I got mine with a great exchange rate from Monnier Freres, but I also spotted the black at Barneys.

Friday, 20 March 2015

Review: Marc Jacobs Beauty Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in 64 (Luna)tic

Let me introduce you to my latest makeup obsession, the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayon in 64 (Luna)tic. I've been wearing her most days since purchasing at Sephora over a month ago now, and for a non-upper-lash-lining gal that means this product has made a pretty big impression!

I mentioned it in my belated Feb Faves and promised additional thoughts so here they are. Lunatic is a gorgeous metallic pale lavender. It was very hard to photograph the swatch and a I fear the violet tones don't come through enough. It's a complex and very pretty colour - depending on lighting and how you pair it it ranges from indeed a very light lavender to a more silvery gunmetal with slightly violet undertones. The colour was what drew me to it in the first place.

On my eyes, it definitely provides some definition to the lash line, but since it's a lighter colour it doesn't close down eyes and make them look smaller. This is important to me too because I have hooded eyes and therefore a small lid space. Liner can often obliterate any chance of having my shadows show. This colour though is so pretty that I'm happy to show it off. It also offers a tad bit of colour whilst still appearing neutral from a distance. It's just really lovely.

The texture too is pretty awesome. It manages to glide on my lashline in a single pigmented stroke without ever pulling, jumping or skipping. It's also not too wet that it transfers or in anyway gets messy. My liner skills are tragic, and I've never messed up with this. Yes, the colour is a little forgiving, but I have the black too and it's really more about the formula. Which also happens to be very long lasting, non-smudging, etc etc. Oh, and it's a twist up. Score.

Really a fab little liner that I'd recommend checking out. It fills a gap in my collection that I didn't knew existed, and I will definitely re-purchase it when I run out (and I will!)

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Selling pre-loved: designer & high-street online marketplaces

Spring is approaching and as cliche as it may be, the time feels ripe for a good-ole clear out. I've gathered one  and a half (big) bags for donations, and separated out a more curated lot of things to sell. In the past I've used eBay only, but this time I thought I'd branch out a bit to other UK-based online marketplaces.

I've always found eBay secure but laborious and I think maybe others have too. If you have well-known designer stuff you're likely to attract attention, but not all buyers will have confidence in the authenticity of certain items. And because of volume, I think high-street stuff get's lost in the crowd. My search for alternatives uncovered a wide range of US-based sites that looked much better to be honest (including Poshmark) but for UK girls the two I came across were Vinted and Covetique.

  • Vinted: Mosly high-street items, designed with a paired app so you can snap photos upload them and trade within minutes. Users are encouraged to photograph the item being worn for a more accurate idea of what you're in for. I find the prices on here to really be scraping the barrel. If you're a buyer (and I haven't been) then you can get high-street clothing and accessories for really cheap prices. If you're a seller though - the same applies. I found I really had to under-price my items to compete with what else was on offer (I'm talking things from Anthropologie and Urban Oufitters which is in the 'higher end' of what's available). I tried it out for those things not designer enough for a designer-exclusive site or not worth the effort of eBay. I'm finding a lot of interest in likes and saves but not always matched with actual purchases. I gather that people want things for very little (the website also has a swapping facility and a 'make me and offer' option). I'm not in a hurry so I figured I'd give it a go. But the volume of items makes me think the inventory will just get lost in the volume. That said, the sale I've so far successfully carried out went very smoothly, both me and the buyer were happy, shipping is determined by the site with set Royal Mail prices and is reimbursed when the money enters your account. So all very easy and straightforward, when it works.
  • Covetique: I came across this asos-owned pre-owned designer marketplace. It works a bit differently. There is a specific list of accepted designers, you fill out a form of the items you have, their condition, where and when you purchased, etc. and they email you back within 48 hours with an assessment of what they will/wont sell and for what price. If you accept, they'll post you a courier box to send them your items which they then sell for the quoted prices. Here's the catch. From what I can tell, they take your items, but you don't see any cash until they sell. Which means you have no way to try other options if things aren't selling. You're basically beholden to the site, without your goods or your money. This is problematic, when the site also takes a 45% cut of the sale price when things finally do sell. I guess if you're not in a hurry and you can't be bothered, (or if you're selling very high end items with a lot of fakes - like Chanel or LV bags) you'll get something rather than nothing, but really it seems like a bit of an unfair deal.
  • eBay: Good old eBay. In the end, I thought I'd take Covetique's price estimates and see if I could get the same on eBay, where I'd get to keep a (much) larger cut. Once you take photos and make the listings it's easy to re-list, try different pricing strategies, etc. And the fees are significantly less. There's a lot of stock, a lot of fakes, and the interface can be a bit clunky, but if you're an honest seller, and a savvy buyer, I still think it comes up tops for the right tier of item (I currently have Chanel sunglasses, a few pairs of flats by Tory Burch and some other designer stuff from the likes of DVF, Marc by Marc Jacobs, See by Chloe, Alexander Wang, etc).

Check out the items I currently have going on Vinted (catheartsshopping) and eBay (catheartsshopping). Ta!

Have you tried any other online marketplaces? What were your experiences? I'd really like to know, so please leave a comment!!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Unsung heroes: 3 forgotten gems

Today I'm talking three products which for no fault of their own, had gotten lost in the depths of my beauty stash, only to recently be recovered. The love is restored, people.

NARS Narsissist 15-pan eyeshadow palette: The blogging community was all over this when it launched, but for some reason, despite the initial excitement, and lack of complaints, I had kind of stopped reaching for it. No reason in particular. I've written a full review, but suffice to say I've picked it up again and have been loving it. I've particularly been enjoying Lhasa (bottom row, second shadow), Fez (top row, third shadow), Madrague II (top row, second shadow) and Belissima I (bottom row, first shadow). It's a pretty flawless palette, and has you covered for any range of light and dark, warm and cool, neutral looks. And, last I saw, you cloud still snag it at Sephora.

Mac 219 Pencil Brush: Next up is a brush I hadn't so much forgotten about, as lost during a drunken work Christmas party over a year ago now *hangs head in shame*. It has always been my favourite brush for smudging eyeliner above or below my eyes. I finally picked up a new one at duty free and it's every bit as good as I remember.

It's a 10 Miracle Leave-in Lite: Another product that had made it to the back of my overflowing stash, despite being a winner in its category. This is a fab all-in-one detangler, leave in conditioner, heat protectant, shine spray, you name it (it's good for 10 things, hence the name!). I have the light version since my hair is fine and easily weighed down. It's neither sticky nor heavy, but makes dealing with my hair effortless. Pretty sure it's not available in the UK but if you're travelling to the US it's worth adding to your shopping list.

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Put your best base forward: Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint Review

Guys. I'm just going to come out and say it. I think the Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic Skin Tint is my favourite base product I've ever used. I know. Stay with me though...

A statement like that deserves a proper review. So here we go.

What Hourglass says:
• A supremely hydrating and firming foundation with a luminous finish that evens out skin tone, softens imperfections and boosts moisture levels in the skin.• Hourglass’ Hyaluronan Complex, powered by an advanced form of hyaluronic acid, plumps and tightens skin while filling in deep wrinkles over the course of a day.• Pearlescent pigments infuse the complexion with a luminous glow.• The whipped creamy texture offers medium-to-full coverage.• Broad spectrum SPF 15 sun protection.
Now, apparently this isn't new but it has been re-packaged (I think it was formerly the Illusion Tinted Moisturizer, which I haven't tried). I am yet to see this new version on UK sites, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time. Why I didn't know about it sooner will remain a mystery, but hopefully I'll save you from the same fate! I'll preface my full thoughts by saying that from the description above I would assume this is aimed at drier ageing skins (e.g. not me) but I love it, and it does make me question if their actual target would feel the same or if there's a gap here. Unfortunately I can't really say from personal experience. But anyway...

Packaging: A squeezy tube that works perfectly for this thick cream. Lightweight and efficient. No complaints here.

Colour: I got this in Warm Ivory. I'm making a concerted effort to go for more yellow-undertoned foundations as of late because I was noticing a few of my existing products leaning a bit too pink for my liking in natural light. Anyway, warm ivory is a bit dark for my winter skin - I definitely need to bring a bit of bronzer down my neck - but I can get away with it and it makes me look less dead and sallow! It will be perfect for summer. Compare to my other shades here.

Texture and Application: It is indeed a thick creamy product, closest probably to Laura Mercier Silk Creme when you first squeeze it out, albeit slightly more whipped. I've tried brushes but prefer applying it with my fingers. I only need a pea-sized amount to cover my whole face. Even though the texture is thick, I don't find it very emollient. It doesn't slip and slide across your face, but somehow still spreads easily enough. It also doesn't have the opposite problem of drying too quickly or pulling on skin. I do find it looks best when really worked into skin, and when you do, it seems to 'sink in' rather than sitting on top of the surface. Which brings me to finish...

Finish: Despite the connotations of 'tint', this is indeed medium to full coverage. But, because it sinks into skin so nicely it has an uncanny ability to resemble skin. Unlike tinted moisturizers and other lightweight foundations that tend to feel heavier than they look, this is the opposite. You get a nice coverage in a little amount of product, and it ends up feeling very comfortable and barely there on the skin. I find sometimes with full cover foundations that you need a full face of makeup to match (and add back in some definition) otherwise your base looks like a mask. This does not have that problem. You could easily wear this alone on a the weekend and go for a bare faced or 'no makeup makeup' look, but it also perfects skin adequately for a night out. I think this is what I've always wanted (and never really got) from lighter coverage foundations - somehow perfected skin that doesn't look like you're wearing a heavy foundation. The finish has dimension but I wouldn't call it luminous. Certainly not dewy but also not matte. Again, skin like. It does not crease under my eyes, nor get crepey, and my emerging fine lines or smile lines are nowhere to be seen.

Longevity: Let's talk lasting power. I don't find powder necessary, but my T-zone can get a little shiny by late afternoon so I've been lightly powdering just down the centre with my (also new) Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder. Also to keep my glasses from slipping around my nose. I've read a couple people saying this transfers, which I haven't found, but certainly a tiny bit of powder fixes that. Last but not least, this foundation looks perfect in the morning but also looks perfect in the evening. Not necessarily in a 'it looks exactly the same way' but it wears extremely naturally and somehow becomes one with your skin, so that it almost gets better - not worse - with extended wear. I can't make this stuff up.

I'm not sure if people with dry skin would love this as much as I do (it's an open question). My skin is combo and has been dehydrated from winter, but I think if you have very parched skin you may find you need to really prep skin beforehand. That said, if you do, the hyaluronic acid in this should hopefully keep you hydrated throughout the day. This review may sound fake it's so positive, but really I truly love this product. I don't really get how it does what it does but I'm certainly not complaining. It makes me love my skin. And surely, in the end, that's the whole point of foundation.

Friday, 13 March 2015

(Belated) February favourites

I'm going to skip over the fact that we're half-way through March (say whaaat?) and dwell instead on these now belated favourites, simply because they're too good not to. Three new finds, three rediscovered standbys, sorted.

Marc Jacobs Beauty highliner gel crayon in 64 (Luna)tic: Oh my love for this eyeliner. It's a gorgeous light metallic silvery lavender (very similar in shade to MAC idol eyes eyeshadow) and I'm obsessed with it. I bought it in New York last month and have been wearing pretty light eyes with this along my upper lash line nearly every day since. I'm not typically an eyeliner gal but this one has totally got me. And the formula slides on perfectly - no pulling or tugging and no mistakes. And it's a twist up. I'll post a full review with swatch soon.

Hourglass Illusion Hyaluronic skin tint: Another freaking rave. I kind of sort of thought this wouldn't be for me since hyaluronic indicates 'good for dry skin' and it's targeted at ageing complexions. I anticipated a slippery mess. How wrong I was!! The coverage of this is more than a tint, and it blends into skin far superior to other foundations I own. It covers most things and still manages to look like my skin. A really fabulous version of it. I've even forgotten undereye concealer a couple times which is unheard of because it's my biggest 'problem' area. I have far more to say about this magical product so expect to see a full review coming soon.

Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien: A freebie in my Sephora birthday gift, this mini was my first foray into Nars lip pencils. This one is a beautiful rosey colour in a very comfortable 'satin' formula - not matte but not quite glossy. It's super easy to apply and leaves a nice stain on the lips. The only drawback to these is they require a sharpener.

Sigma F84 Angled Kabuki: An oldie but a goodie. This was the only foundation brush I brought with me to NY and it worked fab with all the base products I was using (though I apply the hourglass above with my fingers). It's a dense, synthetic angled brush that buffs foundation in seamlessly without any streaks or brush lines, and without tugging on skin. And it's affordable.

Bioderma: After a good 10 months or so trying to make due with other - more easily accessible - cleansing waters I finally bit the bullet and went back to Bioderma. And my skin is loving me for it. I found most others clogged my pores. I'm not talking red irritated blemishes, but more blackhead type things that are hard to attribute until you start using bioderma again and have consistently smooth and clear skin (again). The original. The best.

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Light Bisque: Another product I've gone through a handful of but hadn't repurchased in an attempt to use up other concealers. I thought the others were doing fine enough and convinced myself I had always been so dissatisfied with my underye circles... until I finally bought a new one of these and on first use was astonished at the difference. Will never be without this little pot of goodness again.