Sunday, 29 November 2009


I think I've mentioned several times that I really hate using mineral samples out of baggies. I don't mind them being sent that way as it saves a great deal in terms of packaging and postage costs. If baggies mean I'm paying $1.00 for a sample rather than $1.50 then I'm all for it, but I just hate sticking my brush into one of them!

After some searching, I've finally found a decent UK supplier of 3g jars (I prefer 3g to 5g for some reason). I had been ordering from the US which cost a fortune in postage and usually meant a customs charge. Previously, I hadn't had much luck in finding someone selling less than 1000 in the UK and some 5g jars I had bought previously on eBay had been of low quality.

JT Shop sell 3g, 5g, 10g, 20g, and 30g jars in quantities from 2 jars up to lots of 500, with or without sifters. I ordered 50 3g jars without a sifter for £11.95 and £2.99 p&p. I ordered on a Friday night and they were here on the Monday.

They may not be as cheap as when they come from the US, but I think I'll be getting them from here in future.

FOTD: 29/11/09

Having another play with my Sassy Minerals samples! I'm stunned by the complexity of the colours every time I use them. Unfortunately my camera hasn't done a very good job of picking up the gorgeous green iridescence in the lid shade.

I used:
-Bee Luscious Pore Perfecting Primer
-ELF Studio Under Eye Concealer "Light"
-ELF Studio Complexion Perfection - yellow shade to set concealer
-Lily Lolo Foundation "Candy Cane"
-Lancome Colour Dose "#301" - thin layer over lid
-Sassy Minerals Eye Candy Shimmer "Off Kilter" - wet on lid
-Sassy Minerals Eye Candy Shimmer "Why Not?" - dry in crease
-MAC Eye Shadow "Jete" - highlight
-Sassy Minerals Eye Candy Liner "Galaxy" - wet as top liner
-Benefit Kohl Pencil "Stainless" - smudged lower liner
-L'Oreal Panoramic Curl Mascara "Black"
-ELF Studio Blusher "Mellow Mauve"
-ELF Studio Golden Bronzer - cheek highlight
-NYX Lipstick "Rosebud"

Saturday, 28 November 2009

Swatches of Coastal Scents Undercover HD Foundation

I noticed the HD foundations on Coastal Scents a few days ago. They cost $16.95 which seems to be quite reasonable for a HD foundation. It's that new that there are only a few videos about it on YouTube! I hadn't expected to be sent any to be honest as foundation can be hard to judge. I was very surprised to get home from work to find a box containing the full set of 14.

Clearly, I'm not going to be using most of these shades. However, after doing a quick poke around the message boards a common complaint was the poor quality swatches on Coastal Scents. They really don't look anything like the real product. So, why not swatch the whole set?

Please click on the photos to enlarge!

There are some large gaps in shades, so a lot of people are going to find it difficult to find a match. I think there needs to be something between ST-03 and ST-04, there are about two shades between the two. Also, there is a large gap between the very olive toned ST-12 and the more orange based ST-13. I think there could be as many as three missing shades here.

I've been matched to NW15 at MAC and there isn't one foundation here that is an exact match. I'm pretty much there by mixing ST-01 with a tiny amount of ST-04. ST-02 is too beige for me and ST-03 is too yellow. Both shades look very similar in the bottle but once they're on the skin there is a difference.

I will eventually be reviewing this foundation, but I'm planning on at least 2 weeks of use before I can do that. Please also note that I am not familiar with MAC foundations. I cannot tell you which the equivalent will be in the Coastal Scents HD foundation.

I have plans for the spare bottles, please no comments asking me to send you any I'm not using.

These foundations were sent to me for review by Coastal Scents.

I hope these swatches are helpful for anyone planning on trying the foundation! They're not offering samples of these, but I wish they would!

Thursday, 26 November 2009

Little Haul: Tesco 26/11/09

I had no real reason for mooching around Tesco on the way home from work tonight. I didn't fancy any chocolate but I did buy my Euromillions Lotto ticket for tomorrow. I always have to investigate the make up aisle, just to see what's going on. For those outside the UK, Tesco sells most of the "usual" drugstore brands. Mine sells L'Oreal, Max Factor, Barbara Daly, Rimmel, Maybelline, and Collection 2000. Nothing too inspiring but good if I fancy a new mascara or lip gloss.

Beauty stuff is on 3 for 2 right now so I bought a few little bits.

-Maybelline Volum' Express Lift-Up Mascara "Black"
-Collection 2000 Hot Looks Fast Dry Polish "Hoola Hoop"
-Tesco Vitamin E Cleansing Wipes

I'm not sure exactly why I bought another mascara! I've got a lot that I haven't opened and I need to finish the reviews of the ones I have opened, plus I want to review them on YouTube. I think I'm trying to replace my beloved L'Oreal mascara. The nail polish is the perfect base for a manicure I thought about today.

The Cleansing wipes I don't have high hopes for. They cost £0.26. Yes, 26 pence. Not on sale, that's really how much they were. I noticed a small range of products in the same line, all for less than £1. I did consider buying the lot to test but one sniff of the foaming cleanser had me going "omg, chemical soap!". So, I don't have high hopes for the wipes. I suspect I'll only end up using them for cleaning my arm after swatching. For 26p it really doesn't matter.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Something on Customer Service

I have just been thinking recently about the difference good customer service makes to a shopping experience. I can specifically say that I've been thinking about it since my most recent visit to an Illamasqua counter. I've been twice now and received completely different service each time. I think I'm just going to gather my thoughts on customer service and share a few experiences with you. Before I start, I would like to point out that I've been the one *giving* customer service in the past, both in a supermarket and on a cosmetics counter. I don't currently work with the public, but you never forget the lessons you learn when dealing with customers.

Customer service is one of those issues that divides shoppers. Some people love to be left alone to browse, others will hate not being attended to and call it bad service. I generally like to be left alone to browse unless it is a brand I'm not familiar with. I'm perfectly happy to amuse myself at a MAC counter until I've picked out my products, but at a brand I'm less familiar with I appreciate someone being nearby to answer any questions I have. I do not like someone hovering next to me, it makes me feel as though they're watching in case I steal something (they probably are watching for that!) and I tend to leave without buying or looking at what I want to.

I've noticed high traffic brands such as MAC, Bobbi Brown and Nars fall into the "greet you and leave you to play" category. If you do need help then they're more than happy to give it, but they're not stood over you while you're shopping. Although I've noticed it is exactly like that at Bobbi Brown if you catch them while they're quiet. The more "prestige" brands such as Chanel, Dior, Armarni and the like tend to fall into the "stand on top of you while you browse" category. I'm guessing that's just how the associates are trained. I've never seen a Dior counter get the foot traffic of a MAC one so I assume they want to squeeze every penny out of the sale they can. In these cases I offer a simple "no thank you" to their constant offers of help. To me, in that situation, the bad service is ignoring the answer of the customer.

Location pays a huge part in the type of service you receive, I have noticed. Up in Lincolnshire we don't have many of the big name brands, just the usual Lancome, Chanel, Dior, YSL which are sold in places like Boots. Boots also sell brands like Revlon, Collection 2000 and L'Oreal. The type of customer here is not going to be the same as in Selfridges. I prefer the service given at my Dior counter in Lincoln to that of the counters I visit in London. I have gone as far as swatching at Selfridges then buying it at Lincoln while I'm waiting for the bus home.

I have noticed one of the largest factors in the type of customer service I have received is that of appearance. If you don't look like you can afford the brand then you get ignored. When I visit London I'm dressed up, I have make up on and I look like I can afford that Dior palette, or that Chanel mascara. Shopping in London is a huge treat for me, I want to enjoy every minute I can so I make sure to look the part. Up here, I have visited counters scruffy and smart and have noticed a huge difference in the service I receive. I sometimes visit the town centre if I finish work in time and always have a browse around House of Fraser. I'm not always my most smartly dressed after work, I don't always have make up on and my hair looks more like a bird's nest. Can I ever get any one's attention on the counters? Nope. But if I go and change before visiting the counters then I have no issues with getting served.

It disgusts me that this is the case. The people behind the counters would probably wet themselves if they knew how much money I can spend on make up in one go but because I'm not exactly dressed up then I don't get to spend anything! I don't bother going back to those counters. I had one associate look at me in that state and ask if I'd had a busy day at work. I went back to her every time I wanted something from that counter but eventually she left.

Of course, you get better service the moment you start spending the £££.

After that ramble, I thought I'd share some of the customer service I have received in the past. Some of it's good, some of it's not!

The staff at MAC are always pretty much the same, no matter which MAC I go to. I've noticed a lot of people complain that they always have to wait for service, this is true. But whenever I have been to MAC it has been insanely busy. I've always been greeted by someone though. During my last visit to London I visited the Covent Garden store which was absolutely packed out. I queued at the till and asked for a foundation match. It took 15 minutes, but I was never made to feel as though I was wasting time. It's best to ask at the till in MAC if you want something, usually everyone on the floor is serving someone. Unless you happen to stumble into a quiet MAC of course.

I've had polar opposites at Illamasqua. My first visit nearly turned me off the brand for good. I had only wanted to look at their new collection and buy one of the pigments but even after I had said no to every single product I was shown, I still wasn't taken to the till. I almost walked off without buying anything. After about my fifth "just the pigment please" I finally got to buy it. The brand does intrigue me though so I went to the counter again the last time I went to London and the experience couldn't have been more different. I wanted to try a lip gloss so I was sat down and it was applied. I was asked how I was enjoying London (I have "tourist" on a neon sign above my head), what shopping I'd done and where else I was visiting. I planned on buying a nail polish and I was asked if I'd like to try the colour first, only they loved my polish too much to cover it and everyone else on the counter had to be shown my nails. There was no pressure to buy, it was a much less forceful sale. They tried the polish on their own nails and I ended up buying the three items I had planned.

I do understand about sales targets, but surely annoying a customer almost to the point of walking away is just counter-productive?

I've always had wonderful service at the Shu Uemura Boutique on Neal Street. I've never been in while it's busy so that could be why. No one is ever pushy and they are always polite. Last time I went (where I bought a single lip gloss), the person at the till ran to the other end of the shop to open the door for me on my way out.

I have noticed several complaints about the service at Charles Fox. Mostly due to the fact you are left to browse without help. You do have to consider the type of shop you are in. Charles Fox is a theatre supply store in the heart of Covent Garden. I've seen people in brush belts, clearly in the middle of a job, run in, pay and back out again. It's a shop for pros. It assumed you know why you're in there and know what you're looking for. Whenever I have asked for help, they've always been willing to give it. When I've had questions at Charles Fox, the people there have always been very knowledgeable.

If you've made it this far then I'd love to hear any of your customer service experiences, both good and bad!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Review: Nars Blusher "Orgasm"

I'm well aware that there are probably 100001 reviews of this already out on blog and YouTube land but it's such a supposedly "iconic" product that I thought I would add my thoughts to the pile.

Nars "Orgasm" blusher is one of those products that every beauty junkie seems to have and talk about. I bought mine after reading about it so many times on message boards. I had a visit to London a few years back and decided to take the plunge.

Nars blushers don't come cheap. I think this cost about £18.00 ( quick visit to the Nars website shows a current price of £18.50).

Now, one of the reasons I bought this was that I had seen mentioned how pigmented the blusher was. However, on the Nars website it states that the blusher gives a soft and sheer look. When I have tried testers in store, there has always been plenty of pigment. Though I think that's been helped along by the oils in a thousand other fingers that have poked at the testers.

I don't really have an opinion either way with the packaging. Some hate it as it gets really grubby. I haven't really noticed mine doing that. I'm not storing it with a load of powder, it just sits happily in a large drawer with my other blushers.

This blusher is a pinky peachy with golden shimmer. It's meant to be a universally flattering shade, but I honestly can't see it working that well for those with a deep skin tone. It's a very popular shade with Nars stating this to be their best selling product (or so I've been told at just about *every* visit to a counter).

I'm not a fan of this particular blusher. I love the colour in the pan, but this particular blusher just does not work for me. On my skin it shows up as only the barest hint of pink with quite a bit of golden shimmer. I wanted more pigmentation for my £18.00! Just as well that this is a popular shade and a quick reach into my blusher drawer revealed 3 dupes. I'm sure I could have found more if I looked through properly but these were sat on the top after obviously being recently used!

The top one is Urban Decay "Score", which costs around £10/£11. The pink base is stronger and it shows up much better on my skin.

Lower left is The Body Shop "Golden Pink", which costs £8ish (I think). It's not as pigmented as "Score" and doesn't have so much gold shimmer. There is a tiny amount of sparkle in it.

Lower right is Milani "Luminous" which is the closest colour-wise to "Orgasm". This one cost me around $6.00 from someone I used the chat to in the US. It's more pigmented than "Orgasm" and a heck of a lot cheaper!

I don't really have an issue with blushers fading on me. These will all last on me throughout the day (or evening). At least with "Orgasm" there is still gold shimmer on my cheeks at the end of the day!

My camera utterly failed to show any swatches I tried to do.

Do I really need to say anything about the name?

Thursday, 19 November 2009

FOTD: 19/11/09

I wan in the mood for minerals and green today so I dug out some of my Sassy Minerals to have a play with. If you fancy having a look at the swatches of the samples I received then just click here where I swatched my whole set of samples.

I used:
-Bee Luscious Pore Perfecting Primer
-Lily Lolo Foundation "Candy Cane"
-ELF Studio Under Eye Concealer "Light"
-ELF Studio Complexion Perfection - yellow shade to set under eye concealer
-MAC Paint Pot "Greenstroke" - very thin layer on lids
-Sassy Minerals Pigment "Trust Me" -wet over lid
-Sassy Minerals Pigment "Lyrical" - dry in crease and smudged into lower liner
-MAC Eye Shadow "Jete" - highlight
-Sassy Minerals Liner "Gasoline Rainbow" - wet as top liner
-Boots No7 Metallic Eyes Pencil "Green" - lower liner
-L'Oreal Panoramic Curl Mascara
-Sassy Minerals Blusher "Tart"
-Coastal Scents Smacks "Love Kitten"

I'm really impressed with the minerals from Sassy Minerals. They're very easy to use and blend, which is always a bonus! They work wet really well and the complexity of the colours really shows through.

If you click to open a full size version of my eye ball you can see the rainbow sparkle to "Gasoline Rainbow". I was thrilled to see the gorgeous sparkle comes through on the eye, I was worried that it would vanish and I'd end up with black liner. It looks absolutely amazing! I'm going to be treating myself to the full sized jar once my sample has been used up. Actually, I suspect I'll be buying several of them along with samples of the other pigments I want to try.

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Review: MAC 216 Brush

The MAC 216 brush is long discontinued. I bought mine several years ago from eBay, in the time when MAC found on eBay was really MAC and not some weird fake stuff. It still pops up from time to time, usually under about £7.00. I have decided to include this brush in my reviews as I will eventually be reviewing every single brush in my collection. I can't say that I'd recommend buying MAC from eBay, even fake brushes turn up on a daily basis. Buyer beware and all that.

MAC use a numbering system for their brushes, like a few of the higher end companies do. Those with fewer brushes tend to use names, but MAC have a lot of brushes! The 100 series is for the face, 200 for the eyes and 300 for the lips.

The MAC 216 brush is a very soft animal hair brush with quite long, floppy bristles. I believe this brush was described by MAC as either a "fluff brush" or "blending brush".

This isn't the most useful brush that MAC has ever put out, I don't use this one every time I apply make up. But it can be quite useful. I tend to use this to apply my brow bone highlight as the very soft bristles don't tend to apply too much colour. It will also blend the highlight into the crease but doesn't really do it as well as the MAC 224 or my Eye Base Brush from Mineral Fusion. The softness of the brush prevents it from being a really fantastic blending brush.

It's too soft for me to use to apply my lid colour, even if I wanted nothing but a sheer wash of colour. I did try to use it for that, but absolutely nothing showed up: it's just too soft! Also, I had no luck trying it as a crease brush. It was the wrong shape to apply colour in my crease but it would blend a soft crease. None of your smokey looks here, it won't move that much eye shadow! Keep it for softer, more natural looks.

Really not an essential brush, if you have the 224 it'll do pretty much the same job (but apply a more strongly coloured crease) and it'll blend into the crease colour much more smoothly.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Review: Bee Luscious Fall 2009 Palette

A new palette was launched a couple of months ago from Bee Luscious. I absolutely loved the Spring 2009 one, so I was thrilled when the Fall 2009 version arrived.

I suggest you check out the review I wrote for the Spring/Summer 2009 Palette as I won't be going as much in depth with the Fall one as much of what I would say is the same.

The Fall 2009 palette is available at Bee Royal Products for $79.95.

Compared to the Spring09 palette, the colours are deeper with more of a focus on smoked colours and golden neutrals. This doesn't have the same brights that the Spring09 palette does. The Fall09 palette also has 4 lipsticks, rather than 4 blushers. There are 3 matte eye shadows in the Fall palette, compared to just one in the Spring09 version.

However, the eye shadows are just as richly pigmented as before. They're smooth and easy to use and blend. The two blushers that are included are very shimmery and absolutely loaded with pigment. I need to use a very light hand with those.

I haven't had a huge amount of success getting the matte blue eye shadow to fit in with any looks I create. It doesn't quite fit in with the tone of the rest of the palette. Perhaps a richer, deeper blue would have fitted in better. It works OK with the silvers, but still isn't quite the right shade of blue.

All swatches are done in the same order as they feature in the palette.

-Volcanic Ash
-Sooty Plum
-Freesia Freeze

-Canary Diamond
-Cinnamon Stone
-Peach Quartz

-Pink Quartz blusher
-Cinnabar Blusher
-Love Struck Lipstick
-Impulse Lipstick
-Micro Undressed Lipstick
-Toasted Gold Lipstick

Sunday, 15 November 2009

FOTD: 15/11/09

I got a whole chunk of recording done today! I had planned two tutorials but I loved this make up so much that I couldn't take it off to do the second one. I dug out the Urban Decay Book of Shadows 2 again, and I adore it! I recorded a review on that as well today so I will try and get that up soon, I know a few of you are wanting it for Christmas!

I used:
-Bee Luscious Pore Perfecting Primer
-L'Oreal True Match Foundation "Rose Ivory"
-ELF Studio Under Eye Concealer "Light"
-ELF Studio Complexion Perfection - yellow shade to set concealer
-ELF Studio High Definition Powder
-ELF Studio Brow Treat & Tame "Light"
-MAC Paint "Untitled" - very thin layer over lids
-MAC Shadestick "Beige-Ing"
-Urban Decay Eye Shadow "Half Baked" - inner corner of lid
-Urban Decay Eye Shadow "Mushroom" - most of the remaining lid space
-Urban Decay Eye Shadow "Misdemeanour" - outer edge of lid
-Use the three Urban Decay shadows in the same order on the lower lashline
-Urban Decay Eye Shadow "Perversion" - touch to the very outer edge
-Urban Decay Eye Shadow "Sellout" - highlight
-Urban Decay Liquid Liner "Oil Slick"
-Urban Decay 24/7 Pencil "Zero" - waterlines
-Urban Decay Blusher "Score"
-Space NK Sheer Lipstick "Rose"
-Body Shop Shimmer Gloss "Iced Candy"

Friday, 13 November 2009

Haul - London Nov 2009

Since I've been down to London recently, there can only be one post I have to get done! The trip was under 2 weeks ago so I'm doing quite well to get my haul up already. I didn't quite go nuts this time, like I did last time! There's quite a bit of drugstore and not nearly as much MAC as I usually bring home from London. I have a holiday to save up for now, so I'd better behave.

Yes, seriously, that was it from MAC. I forgot to buy brush cleaner though! None of the new collections were out yet and pretty much all of the previous collections were sold out.

-MAC Select SPF15 Foundation "NW15"
-MAC Mineralize Duo "Fresh Green Mix"
-MAC Eye Shadow "Night Divine"
-MAC Eye Kohl "Smolder"
-MAC Foundation Pump

I had decided to try Illamasqua again as I admit, the brand does interest me. This time the sales people weren't trying so hard to get me to buy more and more. They showed me the new stuff but listened when I said "no thanks".

-Illamasqua Nail Polish "Phallic"
-Illamasqua Sher Lipgloss "Provoke"
-Illamasqua Liquid Metal "Phenomena"

I took a trip over to Covent Garden again as I think it's my favourite place to visit in London. After going to MAC, I visited the Shu Uemura Boutique and Charles Fox.

-Shu Uemura Cleansing Oil Samples x2
-Shu Uemura Gloss Unlimited "BG 980N"
-Kryolan Kajal "Black"
-Kryolan Satin Powder "96M"
-Kryolan Satin Powder "SP885"

I discovered the other Superdrug on Oxford Street and that one does have a Sleek stand! I was surprised to see so much new stuff, Sleek have only been sending out the palettes and blushers to bloggers so the other stuff hasn't been getting shown. The palettes were all sold out, as expected.

-Collection 2000 Metallic Liner "Groupie"
-Sleek Foundation "Shell"
-Sleek Blusher "Pixie Pink"
-Sleek Lipgloss "In Your Dreams"
-Sleek Liquid Eye Liner "Mint Green"
-Sleek Eye Dust "Livid Lilac"
-Sleek Eye Dust "Green With Envy"
-Sleek Nail Polish "Oxford"
-Sleek Nail Polish "Poison Ivy"

If you want to see reviews of any of that then just let me know and I'll add you to my list! It might take a while, I've got a whole load of stuff waiting for review!

In all, not a bad shopping trip considering the horrible weather! Not sure when I'm going down to London again, probably not until some time into next year.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Swap with Jo

Recently I had the opportunity to have a swap with Jo, who runs a fab new blog Makeup Mayhem (go have a look, she's new to blogging but she goes into lovely amounts of detail). She had something I wanted, and in exchange I offered to pick up a couple of bits from London that she had wanted but hadn't been able to get.

Jo had snuck a couple of extra bits into the parcel, which was very sweet of her!

-Gosh Nail Lacquer "Purple Heart"
-Nails Inc Polish "Hans Palace"
-Nails Inc Polish "Hanover Square"
-Beautyuk Eye Shadow Collection "2"

I'm really looking forward to using the "Hanover Square" polish (the blue cream) for a full manicure as a quick swatch on one nail was pretty much opaque in one coat!

I'm also quite intrigued by the Beautyuk palette. I've seen the stands in Superdrug and it's a really cheap brand that I hadn't paid much attention to. I hadn't actually tried any of it which I think it why Jo sent me one of the palettes! I had a look at the website and was quite surprised to see how large the range was as I have only ever seen a few bits at my local Superdrug. I've had a quick swatch and the eye shadows seem nicely pigmented. They remind me a lot of the 120 palette that I used to have.

Monday, 9 November 2009

FOTD: 09/11/09

I almost forgot to take pictures from today's FOTD. I really dislike full face photos that I take, but this was the best of the bunch.

I used:
-Bee Luscious Retexturising Primer
-Lily Lolo Foundation "Candy Cane"
-ELF Studio Under Eye Concealer
-ELF Studio Complexion Perfection
-MAC Piant "Untitled" - very thin layer over lids
-MAC Shadestick "Beige-Ing" - over lid
-MAC Mineralize Duo "Illusionary/Burning Ambition" - cream shade over lid, deep shade in crease
-MAC Eye Shadow "Jete" - as highlight
-Stila Smudgepot "Bronze" - top liner
-Boots No7 Metallic Eye Pencil "Purple" - lower liner, I picked this up by mistake but I like the contrast of colours
-NYX Cream Blusher "Rose Petal"
-NYX Round Lipstick "Rosebud"

Monthy Faves - October 2009

A slight delay for October as I was away for the beginning of November and only got chance to sit down and record some videos on Sunday.

I made a couple of rediscoveries this month and fell in love with a couple of newer items.

-MAC Paint "Untitled" - Used to be a daily staple for me, but I stopped using it a while back. Recently I've been using a very thin layer under my shadesticks to prevent creasing.
-Lush Lemony Flutter - My workplace can dry out my hands and my cuticles, this is a very rich cream that smells divine. It moisturises brilliantly and prevents the cracking and soreness I used to suffer on my hands.
-MAC Nail Polish "Baby Goth Girl" - I adore this shade! A blackened base with purple shimmer and coppery/gold flakie glitter. It chips and doesn't last on the nails but I love the colour enough to forgive that!
-Body Shop Liquid Lip Colour "Golden Coral" - Very pretty lipgloss! I have been wearing this one every day lately, it's a fairly neutral lip colour but just adds a little bit of sparkle.
-NYX Cream Blush "Rose Petal" - I thought this would be too bright, but it blends out to a lovely flush of colour. I'm sure I'll do a more in depth post on this, and other NYX, very soon.

My NYX goodies have come from Smart Beauty Shop, who are UK based.

Sunday, 8 November 2009

ELF Event!

In my London write up I had mentioned that I had gone down to London and Oxford for an event, so here's the write up on that! ELF held an event so that we could have a look at the new ranges that are on the way. There's some gorgeous stuff coming!

Due to trains, buses, etc being rubbish up here, I had to travel down to Oxford the night before in order to get to the event at 1pm on the Monday. If I traveled on Monday, the earliest I could have got into Oxford was about 2:30pm.

It was lovely to catch up with Jasmine and have a good chatter about make up, Youtube and blogging! Fortunately we woke up to blue skies on the Monday! After Sunday's complete washout we had been worried about the weather on Monday, but the whole day ended up being lovely.

Jasmine had been kind enough to book her hairdresser friend to come and do our hair while we were getting ready. My only instructions were "I don't want it straightened". She created some lovely loose curls instead.

The event was held at the Oxford Malmaison Hotel which was the most amazing venue!

The hotel is a converted prison and they've kept as much of the original architecture as possible. That picture is the corridor outside the meeting room that the event was held in. I had tried to take some pictures of the room but they didn't really show just how jaw-dropping the place was. The staff were also very polite, occasionally dropping in to see if we needed our drinks restocking and dropping off a tray of the most delicious berry crumble.

Several table were set up around the room, each holding various ranges. The mineral table was very popular! A few of us sat and got stuck into the new mineral eye shadow and lip gloss shades. I'm also quite excited about the new Studio blushers. There's quite a range of colours which should arrive soon. Also, there's a new Studio brush coming out - the blusher brush. I think the line definitely needed one, the complexion brush is just a bit on the large side for blusher.

ELF were very generous and had bought some samples of some of the new products for us! The stock hadn't even come into the country yet so we were very privileged to try these.

-Studio Blusher Brush
-HD Powder
-Eye Transformer Palette
-Shimmer Palette
-Corrective Concealer Palette

I can't wait to try these out! It's been pretty much non-stop for me since I got home on Tuesday night so I haven't had chance to play yet.

I just have to give a huge thank you to ELF and Jasmine!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

My Brushes Are Happy!

I have a large and growing collection of make up brushes. My current brush storage had room for them all but was not ideal. I had bought a cutlery drainer from Tesco which even had a little space for all my short handle brushes. I think it had cost no more than £4.00! The issue I was having was that the section dividers do not reach to the bottom of the tub, so there is space for the brushes to fall down and lie horizontally. One or two always manage to do this and the heads can get bent out of shape.

I have tried glass tumblers in the past, but I would need quite a few of them and I like to have all my brushes together so I'm not fumbling around when I'm applying make up.

ELF have come up with my solution! This is called a "Large Makeup Holder" and very soon will be available with all the Studio products. This has 3 sections, they will also be releasing one that is just the 1 section. For people without millions of brushes, this would be a great place to store eye liners.

It looks a little empty, most of my brushes are dirty and are in dire need of a clean!

Friday, 6 November 2009

Adventuring in London! Again.

Those with a weak stomach, please do not scroll all the way to the bottom of the page! Stop at the mention of Charles Fox.

I warned you!

I had the opportunity to visit our nation's fine capital this past weekend for an event I've been looking forward to for quite some time! More on the event in my next post, though if you've seen my Youtube Channel then you've seen a video about the event.

There was one recurring theme for this trip to London. Rain.

Not quite the horrifically early start this time as I travelled down on a Sunday. Within 10 seconds of leaving the house to walk 5 minutes up the road to the bus stop, I was absolutely soaked through. The rain was bucketing down. Oh, great. I had to get to London in that weather.

How lovely. The view from the bus stop while I was shivering and getting soaked. Also found out that my waterproof travel rucksack isn't waterproof. My spare clothes were very damp once I got to Oxford.

Trains, as usual were no fun. Rural public transport, in its very nature, is crap. One of them just stopped for no apparent reason, only for someone to announce it was actually broken but don't worry, it'll be moving again soon. We were quite late getting into London but I had nothing planned. The coach I needed to get runs regularly all day, so I got some shopping in!

Oh, then the Tube was pretty much shut on Sunday. A combination of the torrential rain, engineering works and fire seemed to have shut most of the network down. I managed to get to Oxford Street without too much issue (you ever tried the Tube with a heavy and large rucksack?), only to find the Central Line wasn't running so I had to walk. Ah, well. Since I was up that end, I dropped into Liberty's and walked out again. I've never felt so out of place anywhere. MAC Pro is right behind Liberty's but I didn't buy anything from there.

Only down Oxford Street will you see a Brass Band walking down the middle of the road. I don't think the buses and taxis were that impressed.

I did some damage at Superdrug. I found out there was a second one on Oxford Street in the shopping centre attached to the Bond Street Tube station. And it sells Sleek! I'm not sure I should ever go back. I'm pretty sure I was about to get removed from the shop for being a pain in the arse customer (I got eyeliner smeared over my new coat from broken makeup and I was not impressed, a foundation I wanted was broken and I opened up the Sleek palettes I bought to check they hadn't been used).

The decorations were up in Oxford Street but the lights hadn't been switched on yet. It looked fantastic. Plus, Selfridges looked amazing. I took a couple of pictures of the window displays but it's always difficult with the sheer amount of people around.

These were my two favourites!

So, then I caught the coach over to Oxford and had some lovely adventures over there! I shall tell you about that very soon.

Back to London on the Tuesday, only get off the coach to rain again. Oxford Street was as empty as I've ever seen it so I could put up my umbrella without stabbing someone in the eye. I've discovered that Primark on Oxford Street is the most frightening place in the universe, even if I did buy a couple of very nice things.

I had a couple of hours left until I had to get the train home so I nipped over to Covent Gardens, which I think is my favourite part of London. Fortunately the Tube was back to normal (or as normal as it ever gets)! A quick visit to MAC, Shu Uemrua and Charles Fox, followed by a bowl of Poutine at the Maple Leaf bar. A great end to a fantastic trip.

I'll leave you with the severed head from Charles Fox, which I finally obtained permission to photograph! They've never let me before.

More on the event in Oxford and my complete haul very soon!

Thursday, 5 November 2009

Review: Sleek MakeUp Blusher "Flamingo"

Although Sleek are known for their palettes, they do have a complete range of other make up. One of the newest additions are their blushers. I think these got sent out along with the Graphite palettes but got somewhat over shadowed!

In total 5 shades were launched. The one I have, "Flamingo", is not quite the lightest. The darkest shades are very rich and deep in colour. Far too dark for my skin! There are 2 shades that I can easily wear. I had a look at them all during my visit to London, all the shades looked gorgeous from the testers but most were sold out.

Available at selected Superdrugs for a little under £3.50. Each blusher contains 8g.

So, what do I think?

Firstly, the packaging. The blushers are packaged in a mini version of the eye shadow palette packaging. It's very solid feeling packaging. This isn't going to crack the minute you put it in your bag. It also doesn't look cheap. I think solid black packaging for make up always looks expensive!! There's no brush along with this blusher, which is a huge bonus for me. I always find the brushes included with a blusher to be pretty much useless. Also that means no money wasted on a brush that isn't going to get used and more streamlined packaging.

This blusher is incredibly pigmented! Very, very pigmented! I have to be very careful with application (thank you whoever invented the duo fibre brushes!) or I end up with bright pink stripes on each cheek. So make sure you build this slowly and carefully. It does blend out very easily so a little goes a very long way. There is a slight satin finish to this, it isn't completely matte. I think this is very flattering compared to overt shimmer or complete matte.

It's finely milled and feels very smooth when I swipe over the surface. When I use a brush, quite a bit of loose powder is created on the surface.

This shade of pink gives me quite a natural looking flush if I apply with a very light hand. It does last a good few hours on my skin, but fades late on in the day. This is true of all blushers for me and it has lasted nearly as long as my MAC blushers on my skin.

I was sent this at the same time as the Graphite palette, but I was very impressed and bought another shade during my London trip. I would buy this if I ever managed to get to the bottom, but I expect this will be well used for quite some time!

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Sleek MakeUp Palette "Graphite"

I had my fingers and toes crossed that this would still be in stock when I got down to London on 1st November! I knew the limited edition palettes sold out very quickly and this looked to be a gorgeous one. I'd seen a lot of nice blog posts about the two new palettes (the other is permanent and I will hopefully get that from London) and added it to my "want now!" list. So I was pleasantly surprised, when after settling down to Star Trek Voyager, to hear a parcel drop through the letter box. Star Trek is good, but the thought of a parcel was more exciting. It was from Sleek! I had the new Graphite palette!


That's quite a lot of similar grey and black. It's certainly "on trend", as they say. Sleek MakeUp are fantastic at getting new products out for new trends, and the purple/bluish smokey look it certainly the look of the minute (thank you MAC Style Black!). But that was a lot of similar shades.

So, the palette contains two highlight shades in white and cream, four varying shades of silvery grey, three blacks and three purpley/bluish shades. The texture of this palette is improved compared to others. The shadows aren't quite so crumbly and have more of the creamy texture. It comes with a dual ended sponge applicator. I hate those.

The flash of my camera does exaggerate the differences in colour of the swatches. But to my eyes there isn't a huge variation in the shades of grey and black. Once they're on my eyes I doubt I'll be able to tell the difference in shades.

As usual, the Sleek MakeUp palettes are fantastic value for money. Sold for less than £5 at selected Superdrugs (still not in Lincolnshire though).

I adore the smokey look so I'll be getting plenty of use out of this palette, but I do with there had been more variation in the shadows.