Saturday, 30 June 2012

Hmmm, what do we have here?

Ok, maybe I’m a little late jumping on the beauty band wagon but I finally purchased the Urban Decay Naked 2 Palette! You’re probably thinking, oh gosh, not another blog post on that blooming palette but hey ho, that’s how I roll! Hee hee! I decided to wait until to the hype calmed down to give an honest opinion and not be influenced in what I would be reviewing. I remember all the gurus raving about this palette but couldn’t justify putting a good 40 euros into a palette but after passing my exams for my second year of University I really wanted to treat myself! So what do I actually think of the product?

Well, I must say this palette is gorgeous. Every single shade is adaptable and unique. From a subtle nude look to a dramatic smoky eye, this palette has it all. I’ve been using it for about a week now and must say no complaints so far. What impressed me the most was the fact that these shadows stick… I don’t use primer on my eyes and not once has the shadow creased once applied (even on a very hot and sweaty day at work!) … I’ve literally been blown away by the quality of each shade, especially “Blackout” which is the closest colour to black I have ever seen when it comes down to eye shadows.

I don’t want to blab on because I’m pretty sure you’ve heard it all before but this palette is really a staple piece for any makeup collection. Whether it is for a professional or a beginner, this set really is a MUST!

Do you already own the Naked Palette? If so, what is your favourite shade? If not, would you like to purchase this palette?       


Monday, 11 June 2012

♥ My Favourite Foundation ♥

The skin on my face is a bundle of troubles. It is usually dry to combination but can vary suddenly to MEGA OVERLOAD dry which is literally impossible to work with. Not only that, I’m very fair skinned, “la peau anglaise” as the French say or “le milk bottle” as my Mum so kindly puts it. Between finding a product that would suit my skin tone and one that wouldn’t leave my skin as dry as a badger’s bum (excuse my French) I was left furiously trying product after product after product... with no luck whatsoever. 

My favourite foundation of all time!!!

All my wishes were granted whilst in England last year when I stumbled upon this little beauty! It is the Max Factor Xperience foundation in 30ml, retailed at £9.99 in Boots (click here) and by gosh does it do the job for me! It feels so creamy when you apply it and doesn’t feel heavy on your face! I’ve been using it every day for a year now and I still have a little bit left. It is well worth the money! It doesn’t dry out my skin and leaves it looking somewhat dewy and fresh. For the coverage I’d say it was a medium but I’m pretty sure you could build it up no problem! I’ve been using the shade Raw Silk 45, even though the colour is pretty close to my skin colour (compared to most foundations which make me look orange), I heard that there was an even lighter shade which will probably suit me even better (which I shall purchase soon *hee hee hee*)!  I really just love it! I hope this review might help someone  out who was in the same dilemma as me! 

Product on back of hand... it looks good enough to eat!

Please tell me below what YOUR favourite foundation is! 


Sunday, 3 June 2012

Optical Illusions...

Living in the middle of France does have its downfalls. In the city I’m studying at, the waiting list to see an ophthalmologist was over six months and since I’ve been having a lot of migraines lately, I really couldn’t put it off any longer.

I decided to make an appointment at a place closer to my home in the good old French countryside which must be a good hour away from the town I’m currently studying in. The good side? I only had to wait 3 months for this one but the down side was that the trains were all at silly times so I got there 3 hours before I was supposed to. My “rendezvous” was at half past four. My train got there at half past one and my train back was at half seven that night (total bummer). What to do in a little French village with nothing to do especially when most shops close for dinner? The sun was blazing hot and there wasn’t even a slight breeze... I needed refreshment so I nestled down at a small bar! Hmmmm coca-cola you are my hero! 

I decided to read, write some blog posts (for the upcoming weeks) and just chill. The appointment itself was an odd experience. My eyes were checked pretty rapidly so they didn’t get any structured results... yes, I have to go back and put drops in my eyes to examine them in finer detail. These drops are going to dilate my pupils... in other words make me look like I’ve been on crack for the past year (photos to come!!!)

As the French trains are notorious for being late, my evening train made it into the station half an hour late. Hey, I’m not complaining, I wasn’t going anyway else. I just took my time and savoured the moment whilst walking back in the glorious evening sun. 


Good things come in SMALL prices!

This palette by "Ess Mineral" is a little gold mine! One of the best aspects of this product is that it only cost 4 euros!!! (Which is around £3! Cheap as chips!) 

Yes I dropped the palette, which explains the broken one in the left hand corner, I'm very CLUMSY!!!
To be honest, I've never owned a "real palette" before. The closest thing I had to eyeshadows that I ever owned were either freebies from a Mizz magazine or my kids makeup set from back in the nineties. I've never really felt the need for eyeshadows... until now!  

I don't know how I lived without these 8 natural to nude colours which are pigmented to my exact liking, not too subtle and not too glaring. They apply beautifully and unlike most cheap brands they aren't very chalky at all! Plus they blend out like a charm. The brush isn't half bad either! What adds to this palette is that it is multifunctional, I can use the lightest colour as a highlighter because it doesn't have a lot of glitter in it and a darker colour would be perfect for contouring... The possibilities are endless! One colour even comes close to "Half Baked" by Urban Decay but of course a less expensive version which is great for a student like me! As a starter kit I'm pretty impressed with my little investment. 

Every colour colour is unique and adaptable to all styles. 
Look at all the pretty colours!
I recently bought the Ess eyebrow palette and a pastel Ess nail polish, so watch out for those reviews in the future! 

Oh! Before I forget and leave you wondering where you can get this palette, I got in touch with the company and they informed me that there is a website due for 2013!!! Yessss!!! *Happy me* 

Look achieved using the Ess palette, Maybelline's Long Lasting Gel Eyeliner and Maybelline lipstick (which I shall do a review on soon!!!)
Do you have a bargain in your makeup collection? If so, what is it? 


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

The Hair Diaries #1 – Brief history and Starting Point

*Please excuse the terrible photos ... (they’re cringe-worthy I know!!!)*

Before I begin I feel I need to explain the point of this article and of many to come in the future. I’ve been growing my hair out since April 2011 and I’ve decided to start a Hair Diary on this blog. Every month I shall post a photo and a little article to share any tips I’ve picked up or products that I feel are working on my hair to maybe help someone else who is struggling as much as I am! WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER LADIES! It’s so unbearable waiting for your hair to grow... it’s worse than watching paint dry! I’m sure if I kept a diary I’d realise that all my efforts aren’t in vain and that I am making progress!  

After moving house numerous times I’m unable to provide a lot of photos from when I used to live back in England. However, I managed to come up with this one which shows off my mum’s brilliant hairdressing skills ... everyone’s favourite : THE WONKY FRINGE!

Alreet deaaar? Fancy a ride on meee tractorrrrrr? 
The worst part is that my hair has a cowlick right at the front of my head so I can’t do fringes without it being lopsided, sticking up in the air or looking like a comb over. Why my mum tried to cut one in is beyond me! As you can probably tell, my "real" hair is brown (but changes colour in the sun strangely enough). Anyway, growing up, as my hair grew quite fast, I used to go from long hair to bob, long hair, to bob... (below : longish hair) 

All I wanted for Christmas that year was my other front tooth back!! As you can see, another one of my mums failed attempts at cutting fringes. Hee hee!  
Any typical nineties kid most likely experienced the DREADED BOB but Bob was part of our childhood nevertheless and we shall always look back on him with fond memories of shame and... well, more shame... 
Until the age of about 12 I didn’t touch my hair at all. It was too long so I had no interest in it whatsoever and just tied it up in, what my mum referred to as : “The Italian Grandmother style” which was basically the laziest ponytail of all time. It literally just sat on the nape of my neck... Like a rat tail... Sexy!!!
When I moved to France (9 years ago now) I started experimenting with highlights... I’d chop it from time to time... 
I despise this photo but there seems to be a highlight around my ear...
Then I forgot my hair. My locks grew out for a bit and turned out like this (picture below)You can see that my roots are coming through (a darky browny colour) and my hair is in its normal state when I haven’t straightened the crap out of it : wavy duuuuude... which I hated at the time. Looks like curly rat tails :p 
Highlights finally growing out...
So I proceeded in cutting it to a manageable length, sometimes with lots of layers, so I could straighten it (photo unavailable). Then I started with the dreadful black hair dye...  

Lots of layers.
Frizzled ends :'(
The straightening was followed by lots of damage. I never used to put any products on my hair or any good conditioner so I ended up frying it. I may as well have served it with sausages and eggs... it was cooked to smithereens!

Before hairdresser ...
After hairdresser ...
Being naive and all, I didn’t care (rebel... LOL) and carried on straightening it, dying it black and bleaching streaks into it when I had the chance. But of course, just ruined my hair even more. This ended up with the hairdresser cutting my hair to almost shoulder length without asking me... as it was “for the benefit of my hair” (picture above on the right). Looking back I should have just taken better care of it and took that chop as a warning. But no! I had better plans... like hacking a fringe into it... Which looked fowl (see picture below) as the lopsided fringe took its revenge by refusing to stay centred and flopping to the left... I kept dying it black (more and more frequently)... straightening it everyday... layering it and taking a razor to it to "thin it out" (I am ashamed... my poor poor poor hair!!!) I do believe you can save hair with the right advice and the right hair products. If my old hairdresser had told me how to look after my hair I would have at least used a hair protecting spray! I had no idea how to take care of my hair but thanks to Youtube, blogs and people's advice I'm a lot more wiser today and more careful! 

After the hairdresser decided to cut my hair the length she saw fit I didn't go back for an extremely long time. I took matters into my own hands from the cutting to the dying. It looked... let's not go there, eh? *TERRIBLE* 
The summer before I started University I was sick and tired of my “broken” and ragged hair and had it all chopped off whilst back in England for a few weeks. Which looked like this :

The benefit of having short hair was being able to wear extensions!! I really loved mine but they were just too much of a hassle to put in every morning!

This fad of having 2 looks lasted until December when I decided I wanted to be ginger-ish... tadaaaaaaaa! To get out years of black dye it took nearly 6 hours of bleaching at the hairdressers (please don't attempt this at home!)

I loved this colour but I didn’t like the cut. So I had it cut into a bob (which took 2 trips to the hairdressers as the first one messed it up at the back because guess what? I have a cowlick at the back of my blooming head as well! Hallelujah to my head being a right pain in the arse). I saw my bob as a new start... no more evil black dye (which is nearly impossible to get out) and more TLC. Unfortunately I couldn't stop straightening it... so the the big chop was kind of pointless... 

UNTIL!!!!!!! For some unknown reason I felt another urge to cut my hair... one side shorter than the other and to go a little darker :

I haven’t cut my hair since (so yes, it is growing out LOPSIDED!!!!). I died it red multiple times, back to brown and even purple for a few weeks... but always come back to dying it to my natural hair colour (well ... as close as I can get). For maybe 4 to 5 months now I've refused to use any heat on my hair, I let it dry naturally and if for a special occasion I need to use heat, I now have the right products to protect it! Learn from your mistakes, right? My goal isn't to just have long hair, I want it to look and feel healthy too. Unlike my teenage years, I don't want to be a scarecrow with straw for hair!  

Today, May the 28th, my hair looks like this:

Lopsided but healthier and fuller!

I shall be back in a month with tips and hopefully longer hair! I'm hoping that if my hair is long enough by the end of the summer I shall cut it evenly (as I'm really terrified a hairdresser will just cut it short again).

Left photo : scaaaary face with longer hair
Right photo : normal face with longer hair

Are you letting your hair grow out? Do you have any tips and tricks to share?  


Sunday, 27 May 2012

A Magician Nevers Reveals His Secrets ...

A few days ago I decided to take a trip to my local Sephora and I stumbled upon this little treasure! It’s called « Studio Secrets Universal Lip Glow » by L’Oréal Paris. I’m not quite sure what caught my eye at first, maybe it was the very appealing sleek black and pink packaging or just the fact it was screaming : TRY ME!!!. I opened it up to find a curious pink translucent sort of lip stick. I’ll admit it, I thought it was just going to turn out to be a fancy lip balm ... but then came the mind boggling swatch. In a blink of an eye, it had gone from transparent to pink! *Mind just blown*  From that moment, I was hooked! That magical transition had me frantically striding towards the checkout and forgetting why I had actually gone into the store in the first place.

It looks so elegant ... perfect to just slip into your handbag! 
Let the magic commence!
As you can see, it looks quite fancy for a product that only cost around 14 euros (only £8.49 in Boots (click here)! You jammie lot back in the UK !) I can’t complain about the odour as it doesn’t really have one (unless you count a slight lemony tinge when you first purchase it). It glides on easily enough and I really adore the fact that it adapts so naturally to my lip colour. I find it really difficult to get the right shade of lipstick for my pale skin and this seems to be the solution! Plus you don’t have the hassle of getting it everywhere, especially on your teeth! I would say that you'd probably get away with applying this blindfolded which is a bonus for me as I'm as blind as a bat. The sheer and modest shimmer of this Lip Glow is so appealing and would compliment most skin tones.   

A swatch ... (a bit naff, I know, but you should go check it out for yourself!!!)

The only downside to this product is that it tends to dry my lips out a little, so I always apply a transparent lip balm or Vaseline over the top just for good measure. Be patient with the product as when applied to the lips (since they are already coloured), you won't notice it yourself straight away. Another downfall is that you'll most likely never get the same shade twice (in my case anyway) because the product reacts to the warmth and moisture of your lips. Personally I’m really enjoying it so far and hope that this review has maybe helped someone take the plunge into Lip Glow paradise. As I mentioned before, I rarely wear lipstick beacuse of my skin colour and extremely dry lips. This product has managed to fish me out a few compliments for the dash of colour that it adds to my lips ... (oh yeeeaaah!) It gives a complete natural finish to your lips without the hassle of a lipstick ... who said magic doesn't exist, eh?

As you can see, the pink achieved always seems to vary ... but it still looks great!


Saturday, 26 May 2012

Sephora Evening à la Française!

Last night I was invited to a private evening at Sephora. After hearing about these evenings, thanks to the American bloggers and their experiences, I was intrigued to discover what our little French Sephora had in store for us! I invited my friend Victoria, who you will see in the photos, a very close friend of mine who is equally obsessed with beauty and fashion!

We were first welcomed with a glass of champagne. Initial thoughts : OH MY GOSH I FEEL SO BLOODY POSH! Which was then followed by a feast of sweeties, macaroons, mini pâtisseries and fresh fruit. I must say, I was impressed! From the overall presentation, the kindness of the staff and down to every fine detail that had gone into this evening ... I was just left speechless!!! (A very rare occasion, I might add!)  

The infamous macaroon mountain!! Yummy! 
More culinary delights ... how they kept my greedy paws away I'll never know!

The staff had set out several workshops including a perfume stand, a nail polish stand and Victoria’s favourite : the make-up stand. I loved how there were little games to discover the products on offer and to be able to interact with the staff and merch without being eyed by the security guard (yes, being a student does have its disadvantages!) We truly felt like royalty. I know that this is just a technique to get us to purchase more from Sephora, but to be honest, I don’t really mind spending money there after a brilliant night like that! 

Victoria getting ready for her makeover!
"I'm ready for my close up!"
A lovely member of the Sephora staff (sorry about the shoddy lighting)
Sephora stand

During the evening we were offered roses and a professional photographer took a few snaps of us both in front of a Sephora back drop. Victoria and I felt like we were in the middle of the Cannes Film Festival, it was just a fantastic atmosphere.

I wanted everything on this stand ...
And Victoria wanted everything on this one!
Victoria getting pampered.
I was so honoured to be invited and can’t wait to go back again soon! Thank you to all the Sephora staff for making the night so unforgettable and to Victoria, my amazing guest of honour, for being herself (coccinelle!!! <3 ).

Have you ever been to a Sephora private event, what did you think about it? 
If not, would you like to ?