Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Nike Flyknit Roshe Run IDs

Gotta say that I'm loving the fact that sneakers or trainers have been back 'in' these last few years. When I moved to Copenhagen the difference was noticeable - sleek minimal and neutral scandi fashion goodness, with exclusively comfy footwear. Sign me up.



At this stage (2013) I hadn't owned a pair of sneakers since high school, but it seemed acceptable to wear sneakers with basically anything and everything, so I went out and picked up a pair of New Balance 420's in black. Fast forward, and between plimsols and ugly sandals, it seems like fashion has taken a welcomed turn towards comfort. Now if I'm honest, Manchester on the whole is far less casual than Copenhagen, but I'm old enough now and confident enough in my style that I really don't care!

My latest addition are these Nike Roche Run Flyknit IDs, with a marbled sole and metallic gold foil swish. I designed them myself with Nike ID and they took about 3-4 weeks to make and ship, but I think times vary. They are definitely a bit more 'athletic' looking than the New Balance, but in this colourway I've been easily pairing them with black skinnies and whatever jumper or oversized cardigan I happen to be sporting (e.g. my daily uniform). They look great, are super light-weight, and it feels like I'm walking on clouds. The ID process was also good fun, and I'd definitely consider using it again.

I know it's no longer news, but am I the only one loving this whole trainer thing?

Monday, 27 April 2015

The mascara graveyard

I'm chucking out a whole bunch of mascaras that just don't meet the mark for me. Keep reading to find out why.


The charges:


  • Fiberwig: inferior to Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara (also a fiber mascara)
  • Rimmel 100% Waterproof: Does absolutely nothing for my lashes whatsover
  • Make Up For Ever Aqua Smoky Lash: Clump central
  • L'Oreal Hydrofuge Voluminous Carbon Black: Strangely messy to apply and impossible to remove
  • L'Oreal Lash Out Butterfly: Wet messy formula and very much dislike the brush
  • Majolica Majorca Lash King: Wet and messy
  • Barry M Showgirl (not pictured): A very very dry formula, basically unusable after a couple weeks.
It's not all grim, though. I must after all disclose that there are two mascaras I absolutely love, and which together form my benchmark for all others. At the high end is the painfully priced Kevyn Aucoin The Essential Mascara which I've reviewed in full here. It provides the most impact with the least effort of any mascara I've used. Next up is the much more affordable Bourjois Black Jack Volume Clubbing Mascara which again was love at first use. Big voluminous lashes without clumps, a neat application, no smudging or transferring, and a swift removal. i.e. everything I want in a mascara.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

April Favourites

April was a fab month in 'real' life, if not a bit quiet on the blog. I had friends visit from Copenhagen and from Melbourne, and the sun finally emerged. I've also fallen head over heels for a few of these here favourites.



Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream: This base is kinda a big deal. In fact, it's sort of converted me to lighter bases. Decent coverage, feels light, wears well, looks like skin. I apply with fingers and with a bit of powder in the t-zone it lasts all day. It's also moisturising and luminous without being a slippy mess like a lot of tinted moisturizers can be. I've been going for more casual, effortless makeup this month and this base fits the bill perfectly.

Marc Jacobs Eye twinkle pop stick in Volver: While we're on the light makeup thing, I've been loving this eye stick by Marc Jacobs. It's a light, neutral champagne colour (looks more peach-champagne in the stick, looks more gold/straight champagne on the lid. The formula goes on feeling cooling and almost a bit wet but after a few seconds of easy blending time dries down. There is absolutely no dragging or pulling here. Looks great on its own and is also a pretty shimmery base for shadows. And it's just so easy.

Byredo Gypsy Water EDP: After wearing this frequently over the last few months I finally ran out of my beloved Gypsy Water, perhaps my favourite scent of all time. With top notes of lemon, bergamot, pepper and juniper, heart notes of pine needles, incense and orris, and base notes of amber vanilla and sandalwood, it's literally - on paper and in real life - my perfect fragrance. It's fresh but warm and woody, unique and utterly addictive. And Dean loves it (on me) as much as I do. Will absolutely without a doubt be buying a new one.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light: Last but not least in the beauty department, I've pulled out this powder again for daily use and have really been enjoying it. The formula is super light weight and keeps shine at bay without flattening the complexion. And this shade is a bit yellow which is nice to subdue redness.

Vita Fede Half-Moon Crystal Necklace: Vita Fede is a jewellery brand I've lusted after for a while. It's not super fine but it's certainly not cheap either so I've always held off. But while I was in NY I spotted this necklace on Saks Off 5th and snagged a really good deal. If I'm honest it was a bit of an impulse purchase but I've been finding it's the perfect understated piece to hug my neckline. It has an extender so can be worn as more of a choker or slightly lower, and for someone who doesn't wear a tonne of jewellery it's oddly becoming a bit of a daily staple.

3.1 Phillip Lim Pashli Mini Messenger: Finally, I just wanted to make mention of my latest handbag addition that I reviewed in full here. It's basically perfect. The leather is sturdy, the size its perfect - it accommodates everything I need without cramming things in but is still petite and light, and goes with everything. It looks great crossbody at hip height, or a bit more dressed up with the strap shortened to waist height. I haven't used a single other bag since purchasing this. It's super satisfying when you splash out on a luxury item and find that it's also supremely functional.

Friday, 24 April 2015

In & Out #3

It's about that time again... the months have passed, the season is changing, and I have a new list of things that I'm enjoying and others that are resolutely on hold. Check out my third edition of "in & out".



In


Sun in Manchester: I'm not typically fussed by the weather, but after a number of months of overcast, rainy weather, these past two weeks of pure warmth and sunshine have been glorious. Of course it's Manchester, so runs like this are to be enjoyed, not taken for granted. Nonetheless, it's official that Spring has arrived.

Light bases: Here's a confession. I've always wanted to wear lighter bases but tinted moisturisers always seemed to under-deliver on even a decent amount of coverage and turn into a slippy mess. A confluence of issues have recently turned things around. First and most importantly, I think I'm becoming more comfortable with the look of my actual skin, imperfections and all. I'm beginning to prefer seeing my imperfections than seeing a layer of makeup, so the coverage requirements are slightly less demanding. This at the same time that a few new formulas, which actually do offer pretty amazing coverage, have entered the market. I reviewed the Hourglass Illusion Skin Tint which I love but is still a tad too dark for me, and over the past couple weeks I've been obsessed with the Bourjois 1-2-3 colour correcting CC Cream. It's completely changed my opinion of lighter bases and now I'll be seeking out more!

Eyeliner: While on the light base thing, I've been tending towards very light makeup over the past month or so. Part of it is spring - just a bit brighter and more alive. A slick of shimmery champagne on my lids, a brightening pink blush, and maybe a gloss. One unusual (for me) addition though, has been eyeliner. I've been filling in my waterline again for a few months now, and after finding the Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Pencils have also taken to lining my upper lash line, which I rarely ever do. Something about the formula though makes it really effortless, and the colour Luna(tic) in particular is neutral, but not too neutral, and defines without closing my eye. Obsessed.

Spring fashion, accessories and fragrance: I go through phases where all I'm buying is makeup and beauty stuff, and at the moment it's the polar opposite. I've taken almost zero interest in Spring collections, but have been completely preoccupied with updating my spring wardrobe - clothing, bags, shoes, jewellery, sunnies, fragrance, you name it. Anything and everything to get me in the mood for Spring.


Out


"Unbalanced living": Don't get me wrong. I'm a lover of great wine, craft beer, and expertly prepared cocktails, but I've found since moving to Manchester that a disproportionate amount of our socializing happens over (many) drinks. We've also had a series of houseguests over the last month or so, which I love, but it does mean lots of eating out, drinking and erratic sleep schedules. I'm really hanging to re-start some semblance of an exercise schedule, and almost craving a green juice.

Internet browsing: I *hope* I'm not the only one, but I find myself spending far too much time wasted on the internet. A bit of facebook and instagram here, perusing blogs or shopping websites there. Even when I am doing more substantive things, like reading the NYTimes, The Guardian or The Atlantic, hours end up passing me by and it all feels a tad bit depressing. I really want to make an effort to cut down my internet time, and isolate it away from work and leisure. I've been reading more fiction and loving it, but for some reason the impulse is always to pick up the laptop or turn on the tv instead of grab a book. Needs to change.

I guess it's not surprise that a new season brings with it new foci. I'm really looking forward to getting my sh*t together over the comings weeks! Wardrobe, fresh food, exercise, time outside with a good book. Perfection.


Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Byredo Bal d'Afrique EDP

Byredo Bal d'Afrique has made an appearance on these pages before but always as a coveted wish-list item. I said in my Christmas Gift Guide that this would be my next fragrance purchase from Byredo, and indeed when my Byredo Gypsy Water ran out this week, I finally took the plunge.


I've loved Byredo for a few years now, though they have only recently started to gain recognition in the beauty blogging world in the last 6 months or so I would say. Designed in Stockholm and produced in France, their range of perfumes and home fragrances is utter perfection. Gorgeous, design-conscious, minimal aesthetic, with unique high quality fragrances housed inside. Gypsy Water probably wins as my favourite fragrance I've ever owned, and I will continue to repurchase it. But a few months back on a trip to London I had a go smelling more of the range at Liberty's and got really hung up on Bal d'Afrique, in my opinion, a perfect fragrance for the warmer months that are now upon us.

According to Byredo, Bal d'Afrique comprises:
Top notes: Bergamot, Lemon, Neroli, African Marigold, Bucchu
Heart notes: Violet, Jasmin Petals, Cyclamen
Base notes: Black Amber, Musk, Vetiver Moroccan Cedarwood
On me it's fresh, a bit citrusy, a bit soapy, but also has a warmth that comes through. Dean thought a bit powdery, too. It has great sillage and longevity, which is not always the case for 'fresher' fragrances.

Of course, fragrances are personal and it's always best to try before you buy. If you're in London, Liberty stocks the full range, or you can purchase (like I did) from Parfuma.com, a fab Belgian website that offers free samples of anything they stock with an order, or has the option of buying samples to try prior to investing!

Monday, 20 April 2015

Spring Denim

I've been on a total denim kick lately! I'm all about denim throughout the year, but I typically go for darker washes and skinny cuts, with the exception of my JBrand Boyfriend Jeans which are a total summer staple. But recently the Spring feeling has gotten over me and I've been curating quite the seasonal denim wardrobe. Keep reading for my must-haves!


Chambray Shirt: I've been in the market for a Chambray shirt for a long time but could never quite strike the right balance with shade, length/cut, and the right pocket and button details. I'm going for cool, casual city girl, not western cowboy, and I finally found the perfect shirt. Quite Literally. Current/Elliott's The Perfect Shirt in Pier is everything I've been looking for. It's way more than I anticipated spending for a staple that appears ubiquitous, but for me it's worth it to tick all the right boxes. And, I managed to save a pretty penny, finding it on sale through Intermix a few months back.

Denim Vest: This was a bit of a serendipitous find. I was looking more for an oversized denim jacket, but then this Rag & Bone/JEAN Burney DenimVest just happened to grace the racks of TK Maxx and I was immediately sold. Again, you can find this pretty readily around the web, but I managed to snag a great bargain. I'm usually an XS, but the M is the perfect slightly relaxed fit and I love it! I'm not for the denim on denim look but this looks fab with a pair of black coated skinnies.

Boyfriend shorts: I'm typically not a shorts person - I don't really like to get my legs out. But the desire for a good pair of boyfriend shorts just came over me recently and I went on a bit of a mission! I settled again on a designer pair that I found on sale at over 50% off on Revolve! These are the Current/Elliott 'The Boyfriend Short' in White Wash. I sized up 1 size and they are definitely a boyfriend fit - they sit low on the hips, are slouchy and not too short. They'll look great with casual slides or boots.

White distressed boyfriend Jeans: Last but not least, given how much I love my boyfriend jeans I really wanted to add a distressed white pair to my closet. I saw a few I liked from Rag & Bone, and Blank NYC, but then while perusing Zara I found the pair above. I'm not sure what's gotten into them but Zara's denim offering is killing it this season. Gone are the cheap looking gold zips and in are a seriously good range of silly-well priced jeans in cuts ranging from skinny, cigarette and boyfriend and every wash and level of distressing you could hope for. Highly recommend!

There we have it. 4 new denim additions for Spring that are sure to be seasonable staples.

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Review & Swatches: Marc Jacobs Beauty 212 'The Dreamer' Palette

If there ever was a perfectly conceived spring-summer palette, this is it. The Marc Jacobs Beauty Style Eye-con No. 7 Plush Shadow Palette in 212 The Dreamer is a gorgeous set of 7 buttery shades, housed in slim and sleek packaging. I picked this up as part of my Sephora haul in January, and as I suspected, as the weather has begun to get warmer, it really is becoming a seasonal staple.


The Lolita palette by Marc Jacobs seems to get all the raves, but when I was perusing the Marc Jacobs section of Sephora, The Dreamer really called out to me. It's still neutral but with a bit of summery colour - I'm talking bronze, coral, gold. You get me.

The palette has 7 shades, 3 of which are mattes. Here you get a cream (1st shade) perfect for the lid or brow bone, a dark cocoa brown (4th shade) perfect for smoking out or for a smudgy liner, and a warm peach (5th shade) which is a perfect crease and blending shade. The formulas of the mattes are all great - creamy, buttery, pigmented shadows that blend easily. The 4 shimmers (also perfectly smooth and buttery) include a bronzy shade (2nd shade) slightly reminiscent of Mac's All That Glitters, a very glowy yellow/white-toned highlight (3rd shade) very similar to Mac's Nylon, a golden coral (6th shade) very similar to Mac's Expensive Pink, and a very warm-toned bronzy/orangey/mustardy gold. Together, these scream bronzed, sunkissed skin, and beach holiday, but I'm equally enjoying them in the early days of spring for light and bright easygoing makeup looks.

Obviously if you have the aforementioned Mac shades this may be redundant, but there is something to be said about having everything in one place for a do-it-all, travel friendly spring/summer palette. And the formula and packaging are second to none. Highly highly recommend for a more fun, seasonal take on a neutral eye palette.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Spring fever

With Spring in the air, my shopping itch has been much more oriented to spring fashion than beauty as of late. If I'm honest, I haven't taken too much notice of Spring beauty collections. But that doesn't mean I haven't been pulling out some favourites and almost exclusively rocking light and bright spring looks. Here are some of the bits that have well and truly (re-)acquainted me with Springtime beauty.


Let's start with the odd one out - the Dior Homme Cologne, for men. I've been spritzing this in store since it launched in 2013 and there's something about it I just find utterly intoxicating. I had toyed with the idea of getting it for Dean but it's really the polar opposite of scents that are 'him' (woody, amber, etc etc.) This on the other hand is a very citrusy scent - top notes of bergamot (which I've begun noticing is a theme of perfumes I love), middle notes of grapefruit blossom and base notes of musk. To me it's very light and unisex. And so in my most recent stint in the duty free, I decided to just bite the bullet and buy this men's cologne, for myself! I've got no idea what others think, or if it really even suits me, but I just wanted an excuse to smell it over and over all day long, and it's been absolutely perfect to get me in the mood for Spring.

Next up is a new base that I've been obsessed with - the Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream. I would have never picked this up but I saw a few youtubers mention it, and it caught me just when I was starting to think a few of my bases were looking 'heavy' on my skin. This is moisturizing, blends in super easily, has surprisingly decent coverage for a 'cc' cream, and really leaves my face looking a better version of bare skin. It's so not typically my thing, but dare I say I'm finally seeing the light with lighter coverage bases, and this one manages to do what a tinted moisturizer would without becoming a slippy mess. Love.

The four remaining bits are all colour products. For eyes I've been loving my Marc Jacobs Beauty Twinkle Pop Eye Stick in Volver which on me is a subtle shimmery champagne (it almost matches my skin). It slides on super easily without any pulling or tugging and feels cooling on my lids. I rub it in with my finger and it's great on its own or a perfect light shimmery base for shadows. It does crease if you don't top it with powder shadows so I wouldn't say it's the longest lasting or budge proof of the shadow sticks on offer, but it's quick, effortless, pretty and in a twist-up stick. Perfect for easy looks or for on the go.

For cheeks I've been loving the NARS Matte Multiple in Laos - a really pretty bright rose colour, that blends perfectly with my Real Techniques Stippling Brush. The formula is barely there but long lasting, and has the ease of a cream, with the finish of a matte, without being either sticky nor powdery. After being neglected through the colder months, I've also pulled out my Dior Rosy Glow blush with is one of my all time favourite products. A super cool toned bright pink, that adapts to skin to give the most flattering Springtime rosy cheeks.

Last but not least, after wearing mostly peaches and berry/mauves through the winter, I've been loving Dior Addict High Shine in 864 Rose Croquis (alongside the Rosy Glow) for a brightening pink lip. It's a moisturizing, glossy, easy to wear formula in a flattering wearable magenta.

Today was 15 degrees C and sunny in Manchester. It was utterly glorious. Spring. has. arrived.

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

March Favourites

Instead of beginning another favourites making excuses about why it's late, I'll just wish you a happy belated Easter and get into things :)



Laura Mercier Smooth Finish Flawless Fluid foundation: As you can see I only have a deluxe mini of this, in shade 'vanilla' but it's given me a few weeks of wear and it's quickly become a favourite. Of all the recent super liquid, (most) oil free, satin/matte foundations - I'm thinking the YSL Fusion Ink, Dior Nude Air, NARS All Day Luminous, etc) this one is my favourite. It has a satin, skin-like finish without looking too dry, mask-like, or powdery, and it stays on my skin looking great all day. The formula is indeed smooth and extremely light weight - it feels like nothing, but still delivers medium coverage. Vanilla is a tad pink for me so I'm going to explore the full shade range when I pick up the full size, which I definitely plan to do.

Laura Mercier Translucent Loose Setting Powder: Another recent find that I've just fallen in love with. In fact, I'm going to name this my favourite powder ever. As the name suggests it's translucent, so no coverage here, but also no white or ghost-like residue that some translucent powders can give. It mattifies skin without obliterating any luminosity, and is undetectable in terms of powdery-ness or looking heavy or cakey. It's even finely milled enough to set concealer under my eyes without looking dry or crepey. It's a tad more high maintenance using a loose powder than a compact, but for me the finish has been very well worth it. I got the mini pot in the Sephora aisle of doom and it's a great size to have if you want to take it on the go or for travel, too.

Burberry Fresh Glow: I've mentioned this before but I've been loving it recently to make my makeup feel a bit brighter as we head into spring. You can put this on prior to foundation or mix it in together. It's subtle enough to put all over, rather than a strict highlight, and works to give a more luminous finish to skin, or to sheer-out a heavier foundation. I love it because the formula itself is super light and dries down, rather than being particularly mosturizing or dewy, meaning it adds luminosity without feeling like you've added more product than usual. The perfect product for glow without shine. Love it.

Too Faced 'Birthday Suit': The Too Faced Boudoir Eyes palette houses two of my favourite spring/summer lid shades (the other being the pictured 'satin sheets'), and this month I've particularly been loving 'Birthday Suit'. It's a gorgeous almost icy latte colour that is super flattering on my skintone. The texture is extremely fine milled which means you get a gorgeous eye-catching sheen without any noticeable glitter or shimmer particles.

Dove Advanced Oxygen Moisture for Fine, Flat Hair Shampoo & Conditioner: Last but not least, after a series of haircare fails, I finally found a duo this month that I'm really loving. My hair is super fine and prone to being flat, weighed down, etc, but also quite fluffy and flyaway. Fab. The shampoo lathers well and really feels like it's cleaning my hair well without it feeling stripped or strawlike afterwards, and the conditioner leaves my hair feeling utterly silky. They strike a really good balance between moisture, detangling and cleanliness. And I do find my hair to feel 'thicker' and with more body since using these. And they're affordable and smell amazing. Score.