Sunday, 26 September 2010

Fashion: Mumbles Fashion Week - 27th Sep - 1st Oct.

Here is some info from The Wave (local radio) website:

The hugely successful Mumbles Fashion Week is back. Now in its third year, 14 specialist men’s, ladies and children’s fashion boutiques will join to showcase their contemporary and inspirational autumn/ winter collections. The fashion shows which will take place at some of Mumbles most lavish venues start on Monday 27th September - Friday 1st October. Tickets £15 (last year they sold out within a week). Proceeds will go to the RNLI ,who are raising funds to acquire a new life boat. Visitors to Mumbles on Thursday 30th September will see Mumbles really come to life. Shops bars and eating establishments will all get together from 6.30pm to 9.00pm to put Mumbles on the fashion map. This year is going to be the best year yet with some truly spectacular events and the odd celeb floating about enjoying the many treats available throughout the village including live music, cocktails and make-overs. Further information is available from 01792 366133

So if you're in the Swansea area, come and check it out and have fun supporting a good cause.
Maybe I'll see you there! :)

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Beauty: Bare Escentuals Mineral Foundation Review

The first time I tried this foundation I absolutely loathed it. I couldn't get any coverage and it oxidised on me within an hour leaving me a shiny orange mess. Thankfully this little experiment took place while on holiday in Florida, so my return trip to Sephora easily rectified my horrendously unsuitable purchase.

That was in 2004.....

Roll on another four years and my search for the perfect foundation is frustratingly fruitless. My journey has taken me from MAC to Maybelline, from the just ok to the absolutely nightmarish. But through all those products my mineral curiosity remained: why is it so bloody good on some people and rubbish on me?
Then in the Summer of 2008 I attended a Hypnotherapy training course in Marin County, Northern California (over the bridge from San Francisco and absolutely beautiful) and one of my fellow students was waxing lyrical about her B.E. base while I nodded along, keeping my opinions to myself, but after my class my husband took me to the local mall and, as if by kismet, there stood a Bare Escentuals boutique beckoning me in with it's kitschy goodness.

Apprehensively, I wandered in, trying to avoid eye contact with the sales assistants, by some good luck I failed that mission and an assistant (who looked like the woman with the red hair the tutorial DVD) came over and asked me if I needed any help. I muttered something about being pale and shiny and she immediately came back with the original formula in Fair. To my surprise it was an exact match and my Spidey senses start to tingle.

She then showed me one of those introductory kits that hold everything but the kitchen sink: Primer, 2 brushes, 2 foundations, Warmth, (all hail) Mineral Veil and Clear Radiance, all for a bargain price. Bargain, that is, except for the fact that the two foundations are different colours, one of which is completely wrong for me. I mentioned this to the Sales Assistant, feeling rather despondent - wasting money is always a buzzkill - but she told me that it wasn't a problem because she would swap the two small pots for one large pot of the Fair! At this point I loved this woman, I was already getting a good deal but now I was getting a larger amount of foundation ( I made sure of this) in my exact colour, what a result!

I cannot remember the Assistant's name which is a shame because I made many trips back to that store and she, along with everyone else I spoke to in that store actually, was so friendly and helpful that it would have been nice to give her a name check here. The store was in The Village shopping complex in Corte Madera and I would definitely recommend it.

Here is how I like to use B.E. :
I always use the Full Flawless Face brush or one of the Kabukis. These brushes, along with the different shade, was the thing that made the most difference with my B.E. experience.
The Flawless Face brush that came with my first kit just doesn't give enough coverage for me, I use that to apply face colour, like Warmth, and it is perfect for that job.

I use the application method that is recommended, "Swirl, Tap, Buff", most of the time, but if my skin is looking a bit ropey I will just dunk the brush into the minerals and put it directly on my face. It means I can  go through product a bit quickly but I get great coverage this way.

Mineral Veil is a bit of a saviour for my greasy skin, but, again, using the right brushes is what makes it amazing because in my first kit it seemed to do nothing at all. I sometimes use it under my foundation as well as over and it is the only product that has done anything to combat my shiny T-Zone.

Lately my skin has been acting up a bit and Fair just started to look a bit "wrong" on me. I'm not really sure if I was just a bit darker this summer or if it was just some weird fluke but what I found helped was using a light coverage liquid foundation in a slightly too dark shade underneath my mineral foundation. This seemed to warm up the colour and just looked better overall. You could probably do this with tinted moisturizer too.

FYI, I have very pale, very oily, very sensitive, acne prone skin and B.E. has never broken me out, if anything, it has helped clear my skin up a bit.

I hope this (epically long!) review has been helpful.

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Music: The Pretty Reckless

Yes, I know, she is from Gossip Girl and is very, very young but the music is great.
When I was 14 I wanted to be like Courtney Love, these days I want to be like Taylor Momsen.....

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Beauty: Mally Beauty TSV: 8 Piece Rise and Shine Longwear Collection Review

I love QVC.
I also hate QVC.
I love it because it has lots of cool stuff that you get to see demonstrated by the people who created it and the opportunity to buy (sometimes) quite exclusive products.
I hate it because I want it all!!!!!!!
This is a review of a recent TSV (Today's  Special Value for those of you with a life :) )
Here is the description from the QVC website:
Look and feel beautiful with this eight-piece beauty set from Mally. The Rise and Shine kit has everything you need to accentuate your natural beauty with Conditioning Concealer, Brightening Powder Blush, High Shine Liquid Lipstick, Evercolour Starlight Eye pencil, Volumising Mascara, Brightening Shadow Duo, Finish Line Luminiser and Brow Boost. The collection comes with a pink faux snakeskin make-up bag and is available in five colour options to suit almost every skin tone.

and a link if you want to see more:

This was my first ever Mally purchase and, overall, I actually quite liked it.
Here are my thoughts on each product:

Conditioning Concealer (Fair) 
I really liked this. The tube is a nice size, the tiny tip delivers an appropriate amount of product and, most importantly, it actually covers pretty well. My issue is dark circles and, mixed with my Joe Blasco Orange Highlight, it did a decent job of covering them and stayed on all day. No miracles but definitely worth a try.

Brightening Powder Blush (Pink Glow)
This product was a real surprise. It looks scarily pink in the pan and I was resigned to suffering a bit of an Aunt Sally moment as I tried it but, to my shock, it is a lovely, subtle colour that gives a really healthy looking bloom to my pale skin. I was really impressed.

Finish Line Luminiser (Heavenly)
Another nice surprise. The product has a really unusual texture. It's a sort of creamy/siliconey/powdery hybrid texture. Either way, it goes on really well with finger application and gives a really nice subtle dewiness without being too glittery. It was also pretty long lasting on my very oily skin.
Do be careful on areas of enlarged pores though as it can emphasise them if you get carried away.

High Shine Lipstick (Starburst)
This product is lovely. It has the handy Stila "tribute" packaging and smells AMAZING - like sweets.
Sadly it is not very pigmented, or long lasting and it can leave you with a bit of a glittery mouth, but I don't really care because every time I use it makes me happy.

Brightening Shadow Duo (Plums)
I find purples difficult. A lot of purples have too much red in them for me to use without looking punched, but these purples are just right on my skin, especially the darker colour which is just gorgeous and richly pigmented enough to be used dry as an eyeliner and lasts all day.
I have done some lovely smokey looks using these colours.

Evercolour Starlight Waterproof Eye Pencil (Gunmetal)
This colour is so pretty when it is first applied and it stays in place all day, but the metallic sheen that you get when freshly applied does not last and the pencil "lead" tends to snap and break when sharpened so it's a bit wasteful.
I would be interested to try some of the other colours and would really like to see it as a twist up pencil instead.

Brow Boost (taupe)
I am in two minds about this product. The colour is surprisingly great. My eyebrows are almost black but  Taupe really does seem to me universal. However, I could not "style" my brows with this product I had to apply it and then go over it with my usual brow gel to get the shape I wanted. Also, it is very imprecise. It was difficult to fill in small gaps and I would imagine it would be near impossible to use it to build up sparse, thin brows. Ok, but needs refining, the same colour in the form of the new Smashbox product would probably be excellent.

Volumising Mascara (Black)
Sadly, the reason why I purchased this kit is the only real disappointment. I don't know if I got a duff one but I found it very dry and difficult to apply. I did not find it buildable, it did not volumise or lengthen and it did not hold a curl despite being very difficult to remove. Lots of people rave about this product but it was not for me.

If you are a QVC US viewer you may have noticed that there is something missing: an eyeshadow brush. This brush was actually in the bag when Mally was doing her midnight presentation on QVC UK and there was a bit of an awkward moment, so clearly it was still available so why didn't the British customers deserve this extra item? Who knows. A similar situation happened recently on a Laura Geller TSV with a "missing" lipgloss, which was the deciding factor in me not purchasing that kit, and it has happened before with Smashbox and various other US to UK conversions. Is this fair? I do not think so.

Anyway, rant over, back to the review. The products that we do receive come in a fold up pink bag. The bag is small and pretty much only fits the products that come in the kit, but it is cut and kitsch and a good way of keeping your kit together.

So would I recommend the this kit?
Yes, I would, especially the blush, the eyeshadow and the lip gloss. I was quite impressed with most of the products I tried and look forward to trying more Mally Beauty in the future.

Beauty:NARS Sheer Glow Review

Ok, so I am definitely in the minority here in Blog-World but I am very sad to say that I was not impressed with this foundation.
I had read a seen so many good things about this product that by the time I arrived in John Lewis I was like  a two year old on Christmas Eve and spent the rest of m evening smiling moronically knowing the potentially life changing treasure that lay nestled in my handbag.
The next morning I rushed through the rest of my routine in order to get to my foundation application as quickly as humanly possible. I opened the box, shook up the sexy little bottle and, gingerly, tipped a little out on the back of my hand. I dipped in my foundation brush and applied it to my cheek.........
Nothing happened.
I tried a different brush......
My fingers.....
My skin is ok. I have the usual imperfections from old acne war wounds and areas of redness on the sides of my nose and Sheer Glow did NOTHING to cover them. I could see colour on my skin but no actual coverage. Very weird and so disappointing.
My next complaint is the texture of the product. It was quite hard to blend out and had a tendency to look patchy on me. The powderyness(?) of the product made it set too quickly but did nothing at all to stop oil breakthrough during the day.

Now, I have seen a review on YouTube where the reviewer has some of the complaints that I did and those complaints were fixed by trying a different colour. Sadly, as I live in the UK I am denied this opportunity: if you buy the wrong colour, you keep the wrong colour. At least you do where I bought it.

So, would I recommend buying this product? No.
Would I recommend trying it out if you have the chance? Definitely. I wanted to love it and maybe I would have in a different colour but I guess I'll have to wait for my next holiday to find out if that's true.....

Here is the review I mentioned: