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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Gift with Purpose

Whenever I amble through department store beauty halls, money burning a hole in my pocket, I'm always drawn towards the counters offering a good GWP - or gift with purchase - offer going on. I don't think I'm alone on that one! Until October 4th, Clarins are giving away a cosmetic bag full of goodies as the first ever gift with purpose, with every purchase of two Clarins products - one to be skincare. Each FEED 10 cosmetics bag provides ten healthy, nutritious meals to children living in developing countries, though the UN World Food Programme.

Each pouch contains five of Clarins' skin and body icons - Moisture-Rich Body Lotion, Gentle Refiner Exfoliating Cream, HydraQuench Cream Mask, Hand and Nail Treatment Cream and the Relax Bath & Shower Concentrate.

My top recommendations for skincare would have to be the Instant Eye Make-Up Remover, Gentle Exfoliator Brightening Toner and the Blue Orchid Face Treatment Oil. As for makeup and other beauty bits, I love the Instant Light Natural Lip Perfector balms, Truly Waterproof Mascara and the Radiance-Plus Golden Glow Booster.

You can read more about the FEED Projects here. If ever there was a good excuse to have a splurge, the time is now!


This post contains press samples. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

LFW SS15: Sophia Webster


I fell head over heels at the AW14 Sophia Webster presentation so I was there with bells on despite the early morning start on the Sunday of London Fashion Week. Sophia Webster is up there with Ashish for my must-see LFW schedule. A true sight to behold. Even from the look of the invite alone I knew I'd be in for a treat.

Revlon were once again behind the makeup look, which was actually kept pretty simple in terms of products used, but fit the collection to a tee. The inspiration for SS15 is a play on Mayan and Aztec tribes mixed with 90s culture and wild animals - 'rave in a cave' as it was put to me. All models had the lightest shade of ColorStay Foundation to give a ghostly white, almost geisha effect to the complexion. The eyes were darkened with black shadow for a devilish appeal with different pops of bright, yet washed out acid tones under the eyes. Four colours were used in total - yellow and purple, from the ColorStay Eyeshadow Quad in Exotic, blue from the PhotoReady Prime + Shadow Palette in Exotic, and orange, which actually came from the ColorBurst Matte Balm in Mischievous. From model to model, corresponding nail colour was applied to match the varying undereye shadow hues. A regular coating of mascara was applied to the lashes and nothing was used on the lips. Pretty straightforward right?

The presentation space was dark, loud and very busy in every sense of the word. I don't think I'll be trying out the look for myself anytime soon - though it sure is one way to hide those dark circles - but the collection itself was eye-candy at its best. Those flamingo sandals! The tiny model baby! The everything!

Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand Collection

When the Bobbi Brown Surf & Sand collection appeared before me I couldn't wait to get using it. I've been trialling it over the summer and although we're in Autumn now and this review may seem a little redundant, a few days ago I had to crack out the instant tan on my pasty pins in a bid to not overheat. In a dress. In September. In England! Can you see where I'm going with this? Great stuff. Anyway.. onto the collection!

The showstopper, Bobbi Brown's Sand Palette (£48), offers eight gorgeous neutrals taking inspiration from the glimmering shades of golden sand. With a mix of matte, shimmer and glitter hues, it looks absolutely stunning houses in hessian fabric with a magnetic close. I found it's better to apply these with your fingers to pack on the colour rather than try and blend on with a brush as you get a lot more colour pay-off. A real feast for the eyes but for the price I'd try to check it out in person before taking the plunge.

I've really been loving the Sheer Lip Color in Peach Sorbet (£19.50) - it gives a beautiful peachy pink sheen to the lips and its creamy formula is right up my street. It does have the teensiest bit of shimmer to it but it doesn't show when worn apart from catching the light in all the right places.

The Long-Wear Eye Pencil in Black Chocolate (£18) is perfect for those wanting to use something a little less harsh than black but don't want to stray too far. It adds definition and does look almost black, yet lends a little something to blue eyes with its warmth and the formula has a good smudge to it. Once set it doesn't budge till you need it to.

Lastly, the Brightening Blush in Pink (£34) is an all-in-one blush and highlight palette in a perky pale pink with pink and white shimmer. Sadly the highlighter doesn't really add anything to the skin as it's quite glittery rather than shimmery. I much prefer a subtle glow when it comes to highlighters so I'll be sticking with my trusty favourites for now!

All in all, it's a beautiful looking collection but worth taking a look at when you're passing the counter. As much as I really wanted to love it I can't help but feel there's something missing. Have you tried anything from the collection?


This post contains press samples. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Monday, September 22, 2014

LFW SS15: Orla Kiely


Orla Kiely's presentation last season was a quintessentially British dream, so I was super excited to go and check out the backstage look as well this time around. For SS15, Bourjois' make-up artist Attracta Courtney wanted to echo the 60s 'Flower Power' collection through the look with a contemporary twist on the signature Twiggy look of the era.

Skin was light and fresh with Healthy Mix Serum Foundation and a dusting of the Java Powder, two of my favourites. The eyebrows were kept very natural and soft. The eyes had a soft-focus, 'Instagram-like' effect using the Smoky Stories Palette in Over Rose - the pale champagne shade was applied all over the lid, whilst the chocolate shade was applied to the crease of the eye with a pointed brush for definition, which was then blended out slightly. Lashes were coated with Volume Glamour Push Up Mascara twice - once as normal, and again wiggled through the lashes to create a clumpy, false lash effect. The mascara was then used in a vertical motion on the bottom lashes and a small number of black dots were applied just underneath to really emphasise the whole 60s look. For the lips, the Color Boost Lip Crayon in Peach on the Beach was followed with the Cream Blush in Nude Velvet for a matte muted coral. The excess cream blush on the fingers was then applied to the cheeks for a subtle flush. Some of the products mentioned aren't available yet, but I'm going to be trying out the look for myself which I'll post nearer the time of release. Are you a fan of this look?

Unfortunately by the time I came out of the backstage area to catch the presentation, the space was absolutely packed so I grabbed a spot by the pretty floral backdrop instead. My favourite piece might just have to be the bright blue & khaki floral print shift dress, as well as all of the grey and mustard print.. and don't even get me started on the shoes!


Saturday, September 20, 2014

My London Fashion Week Essentials

LFW has come and gone already, but I always love to have a little nose into the handbag essentials of those with busy schedules as it helps me to rethink my 'everything but the kitchen sink' approach to what I lug around with me usually. This season I've been pretty restrained - if we choose to ignore the makeup bag I brought with me so I could apply my warpaint on the tube and get an extra 20 minutes in bed, that is - of course this isn't absolutely everything I had with me over the week but it's a collective of the bits and bobs I made sure I had to hand every single day. Without further ado:

iPhone: this one's a no-brainer and an absolute essential for me regardless. Housed in my favourite ridiculous accessory, the Moschino Gennarino. Ashamedly, I do tend to get a bit itchy once I get below 50% battery. Which brings me on to..

Power: be it extra camera batteries, portable chargers and/or cables, you can be sure you'll run out of juice just as soon as you really need it. Better surplus than sorry. And make sure to clear space on your phone/SD card(s)!

Sunglasses: my Miu Miu 10NS are by far my most-worn pair - really comfortable and they go with everything without being plain. I always get flooded with compliments over them and for good reason!

Foundation: I've been trying out Max Factor's new Skin Luminizer Foundation over Fashion Week and it has become something of a staple already! Max Factor's very own make-up artist Caroline Barnes matched me up to a mix of shades 'Light Ivory' and 'Golden' which were applied in a way I'd never thought of and I'm still trying to master at home, but the foundation works just as well mixed in equal parts as I would normally do. Somehow my face was still looking pretty perfect after sweaty tube journeys, packed backstage areas and running from A to B. It's not dewy - on me, could be to do with my dehydrated skin at the moment - but has a certain luminosity to it. Great for this time of year especially!

Waterproof mascara: a daily must for me anyway, but I've been carrying one of my favourites, the YSL Mascara Volume Effet Faux Cils Waterproof around with me. It's super black, lasts all day and isn't one of the 'wetter' formulas I have, so I can use it in a hurry without the worry of imminent panda eyes.

Eye drops: I've been using the Optrex Refreshing Eye Drops in the mornings - and let's face it, about five more times per day - to wipe away any redness and keep me looking a little more alert. I've not quite perfected the process and do look like I've been crying when I apply them but for the most part I've found them a success!

Water spray: equal parts makeup-freshener-upper and cooler-downer, I usually have a can of water in my bag but for LFW it's even more appreciated. I'm not sure just how good they are for the skin but they're good for temporary relief.

Lip balm: I switched up my lipstick each day (and sometimes more than that) but Lanolips 101 Ointment has been keeping my lips moisturised and protected, as well as helping to keep my cuticles looking a lot less haggard. A great multi-purpose balm - no fragrance or nasties here - that hasn't left my pocket.

Oyster/contactless card(s): I rarely carry cash around with me anyway - a habit I need to get out of so I can monitor what I'm actually spending - but even for out-of-towners, all you need is a contactless card to travel around London and make quick purchases under £20 pretty much anywhere now. I've definitely drank a lot more coffee recently due to this..

Have I missed anything? What are your day-to-day handbag essentials? Beauty, tech, anything - go!


This post is sponsored by Max Factor. For more information, check out my full disclaimer policy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

LFW SS15: Ashley Isham


My Friday at London Fashion Week started with appointments, meetings and diving head first into the deep end of social peacocking around Somerset House. Annoyingly I missed the Shrimps backstage call time by matter of minutes - note to self, it's actually quicker to walk than to sit in a car in heaving traffic.. even wearing heels - but check out Zoe's post! Anyway, I then headed to Fashion Scout at Freemasons' Hall to see what was going on at Ashley Isham.

As Lan Nguyen-Grealis worked her magic for The Body Shop, the models were transformed into beautiful Art Deco dolls. With inspiration being taken from Mata Hari and sexy spy, the look was perfect for a fashion show but at the same time I don't think it's too much of a far cry from the kind of makeup I like to wear on a daily basis. Take from that what you will!

First of all, brows were multi-tonal and almost fluffy - built up to look natural and using a flat brush with the Brow & Liner Kits this was achieved effortlessly. A mix of Colour Crush Eyeshadows in Golden Cinnamon, Gorgeous Gold and Sunshine Love gave a soft, warm wash to the lids along with Sugar Glaze used as a highlight in the inner corners of the eye. Eylure 101s gave a classic, doll-like look to the lashes and the Smoky 2 in 1 Gel Liner made for a seamless flick.

For the lips, the Colour Crush Lipstick in 105 Coral Cutie was used straight from the bullet for a rounded, pouty look that went slightly over the natural line, rather than precise with a lip liner. This was then blended into the corners with a brush followed by a good slick of Mint Lip Gloss to give an extra zing and added shine. All-in-One Cheek Colour in Guava was placed onto the apples and just above the hollows of the cheeks, with Pink Crush Eyeshadow applied above with a squashed down brush in a perfect fan shape. No contour required.

A last wash of Sugar Glaze on top of the pink highlight along with a little down the centre of the nose, and the look was complete. Finished with a spritz of Vitamin E Face Mist, the models were catwalk-ready. What do you think?

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