Vintage Nation

Vintage Nation, from the people behind Judy’s Affordable Vintage Fair, is being held at Brighton Racecourse on Saturday June 9th 2012 (10am til 11pm).

I really want to go, but at the moment, haven’t found anyone to come with me, so I thought I’d put some feelers out to see if any of you lovely people would be interested.
There will obviously be vintage shopping, but also vintage cars, live music, vintage hair styling and make-up, burlesque, a village green (brought to you by Crabbies), a man-made beach, G&T’s, champagne, DJs, dancing and the promise of fireworks!
Check out both the Facebook page and event.
Let me know if you’re interested, or already going! I think it looks like a fantastic day out 🙂

Get the Look (Beauty)

Last week I put up a post about Look Beauty finally being available online, having launched their own website.
I’ve been waiting for Look Beauty to be available online pretty much since in launched towards the end of last year, but no Superdrug near me stocked it and , despite regularly asking, they never got around to putting it on their website. So, when I heard they had got their own website, I headed straight over and started picking out things to try!
While I haven’t been able to try or even see any of the range ‘in the flesh’, I’ve seen and heard plenty about it online – through both the Look Beauty Facebook page and other blogs.
I was most keen to try out their Nail Pop nail polishes, as I’m a bit of a nail polish addict, and their Double Hit Lip lipstick and gloss, as I liked the novel combination of lipstick and gloss in one product. In the end I ordered 2 Nail Pops, one in a pinky-coral shade called Ribbon and another in a purple shade called Flares, and a Double Hit Lip in Pink Punch, a bright hot pink 🙂
Delivery was really quick, especially as we’ve had the epic Easter Bank Holiday weekend, and it was nice to get my hands on my products so quickly! They arrived a few days ago now, so I’ve had a bit of time to play with them. As I was one of the first 100 people to place an order through the site I also received a free Stretch Factor mascara!

The nail polishes were the first thing I tried out. It’s been ages since I last painted my nails, partly because I’m a bit bored of all the colours I have and don’t think any of them are particularly Spring-y. I like these two shades, they feel quite spring appropriate but without being too pastely, I’m still not convinced I can pull of pastels. The polishes have quite a thin consistency, not that that’s a bad thing, it’s easy to start off with a thin coat and then build up. I often find I make an awful mess with thick polishes anyway. I got a good opaque finish in 2 coats still. They dry really quite quickly and have a really high gloss finish, although I would be interested to see them under a matte top coat too. I only painted them yesterday, so they haven’t had to suffer much wear and tear, although I did do the washing up earlier and they’re still fine!

I bloody love the Double Hit Lip!! The colour is fab and the product is easy to use. I was expecting the lipstick to give a bit more of a matte finish, but I still like the slight gloss it has. I’ve been wearing the lippy with gloss over the top all day and have only reapplied once, after lunch, so it’s standing up quite well. It definitely wouldn’t last long in kissing situations though :/ I think, personally, I would always use the two together, but you can easily mix it up between just lipstick, just gloss or combining them.

The mascara is also really nice. I don’t actually change mascara brand a lot, I’ve been using Max Factor Masterpiece or Masterpiece Max for ages. I like the formula, the brush and the finish. I often can’t get on with mascaras with standard brushes anymore. The Look Beauty Stretch Factor has a variation on the Max Factor type brush being made of plastic ‘spikes’ rather than the more traditional bristles. I find I get a more even application, fewer clumps and better lash definition with these brushes. The Stretch Factor brush is also a bit strange having longer spikes on one side, for upper lashes, and short on the other, for corners and lower lashes (I presume anyway). Given how devoted I have been to Max Factor, the fact that I’m impressed by this one is actually a really good sign!

Please excuse my awful eyebrows :/

So, overall, I’m really impressed with Look Beauty. I will be making many more purchases in future (maybe not this month though :/). Has anyone else checked out their website yet?

On another note; what do you think of the slideshow? I was just messing around with new features I found on Photobucket, is it too much?

Hope you’re well,

Brush with Greatness

I love make-up. I love wearing it, buying it, looking at it, experimenting with it; The whole kit and caboodle. Except, I don’t own the whole kit or caboodle.
With the exception of one year when I worked full time in retail, I have been a perpetual student, with a student budget. I’m also not a make-up pro, as much as I love to play with the stuff. So, a combination of limited funds and not always really knowing what I’m doing has meant I’ve never really had anything close to a good collection of brushes. I have owned and used some brushes in my time, but mostly cheap ones, bought in sets and usually nothing much use beyond applying blush and basic eyeshadow.
I’ve wanted to improve my make-up skills for quite a while, specifically when it comes to applying eyeshadow. Also, the blogging world has exposed me to a whole world of beauty blogs full of gorgeous girls with flawless make-up! Both of these things have only served to fuel my desire for a good brush set. But, no matter how much I want good brushes, I’m still totally at sea when it comes to knowing what brushes I might need and which brands are any good (or at least, good on a budget).

Ok, I’m not completely ignorant about brands, but I put some feelers out on Twitter and did some of my own research to be sure. The usual suspects all popped up; MAC, Japonesque, Bobbi Brown, NARS. It was only when I started looking at and reading about some of the individual brushes that a few terms kept popping up – synthetic and natural – and that made me stop and think. So many of these high quality, big brand brushes are made from natural fibres or a mixture of natural and synthetic fibres. Now, some people might chose to ignore the fact, or just not realise, but natural fibres mean animal fibres – animal hair. 
I wasn’t really sure how I felt about that.
Now, I don’t want to get into my overall views on animal cruelty, but, basically, when it comes to cosmetics, I try to avoid animal testing as much as possible and I certainly would never wear real fur (with the possible exception of vintage). So why then, would I want to apply my cruelty free make-up with animal hair brushes? 
Come to think of it, why are these brushes even made of animal hair in the first place? Reports on the benefits of natural versus synthetic fibre brushes are mixed, I suspect due to improvements in producing synthetic fibres as well as the price you pay for a particular brush. Supposedly, natural fibre brushes are softer and create a more natural finish. However, they are no good for applying cream based products and can cause allergic reactions in people with sensitive skin. Some sources say that synthetic fibre brushes are not as soft, shed more and become brittle and easily caked with time. Other sources say more or less the exact opposite; that they are softer, shed less and have the added bonus of being cheaper.
Whatever the benefits, I still can’t get my head around the idea of using the hair of a squirrel, goat, pony, sable or badger to put my make-up on. That’s a real sticking point. If I let myself think about it too much things get even worse as I know synthetic fibres are made from oil, and that’s not exactly environmentally friendly either. All this ends in a bit of an internal ethical debate, but I still come out the other side preferring the idea of synthetic fibres.

When you look at a lot of these brushes it can be hard to tell what they are made from. Most website, like MAC and Japonesque, simply describe brushes as being made from natural or a mix of natural and synthetic fibres. As a result of this, I think a lot of people could end up using animal hair brushes without realising, if they don’t know what ‘natural fibres’ really means. On this point, the NARS website is really good, telling you exactly what type of hair each brush is made from.
Just because these well known, high quality brands use natural fibres doesn’t mean that natural is the only way to go if you want a good quality make-up brush. If you take a little time to look, there are actually loads of synthetic fibre brush ranges out there, some from specialist companies and some from brands you’ve probably heard of.

An eco-conscious beauty brand using environmentally sound materials and supporting environmental charities. Their brushes are made from synthetic taklon fibres with bamboo and recycled aluminium handles.
I’ve heard a lot of good things about this brand, these are amongst the synthetic brushes that I’ve heard are as soft if not softer than natural fibres. They have a good, clean look with their natural bamboo handles and the price range is good, definitely cheaper than most of the high-end natural brushes.

Bamboo Foundation Brush. £6.25 from Cocktail Cosmetics
Bamboo 6 Piece Eye Brush Set. £11.05 from CutECOsmetics

The Bambu range from Bdellium is certified vegan friendly. As with the EcoTool brushes, they are made from synthetic fibres with handles made from bamboo and recyclable aluminium. Apparently, bamboo is the most sustainable plant in the world (according to their blurb on Cocktail Cosmetics). They have a funkier look than the EcoTools brushes, going for a bright green finish to the handles and brush fibres, still reflecting their ‘green’ eco credentials. They’re a bit pricier than EcoTools, but still cheaper than a lot of natural fibre brushes.

Banbu Green Vegan Foundation Brush. £10.50 on Cocktail Cosmetics and cutECOsmetic
5 Piece Bambu Smokey Eye Brush Set. £24.95 on Cocktail Cosmetics and cutECosmetics

You may not know the brand name, but you might have heard of it’s creator – Sam Chapman of Pixiwoo! The brushes are made from synthetic Taklon fibres with aluminium handles. There’s clearly been a lot of thought put into the design, as the brushes are colour coded by stage of use, have their names printed on them so you don’t get confused and stand up on their ends so you can display them on your dressing table. Again, they’re priced well, much cheaper than the big brands using natural fibres.

Foundation Brush. £8.95 from Cocktail Cosmetics
Starter Brush Set. £20.95 from Cocktail Cosmetics

I love Illamasqua make-up, and all their brushes are made from cruelty-free synthetic fibres. If it’s good enough for Illamasqua then it’s good enough for me. In-keeping with the general image of Illamasqua and their products, the brushes are all sleek black in design. In terms of price, these are more on a level with other big brand brushes, but are probably worth it!

Foundation Brush. £26.00 from Illamasqua
Eye Shadow Brush. £18.50 from Illamasqua

These aren’t the only brands specialising in synthetic brushes. Urban Decay brushes are all synthetic and vegan friendly, however, I couldn’t easily find the brushes I wanted so didn’t feature them. Also, some of the brands I mentioned earlier do have some all synthetic brushes. Cocktail Cosmetics make it quite easy, splitting brushes by natural, synthetic and vegan. CutECOsmetics specialise in eco-conscious products, so all brushes they sell are synthetic. Either search specifically for synthetic brushes or make sure you read about the materials used. If you prefer to buy these things in shops rather than online, ask about materials!
You might have guessed by now, that I’m most keen on getting a foundation brush and a set of eyeshadow brushes. I think I’m leaning towards the Real Techniques brushes at the moment, I really like the style and the starter set looks awesome!

I’d love to hear if any of you have any input on this subject; Do you use natural or synthetic? Do you think about your brushes being made from animal hair? What brands do you love? What brushes are in your essential selection?

Hope you’ve all had a good week and are looking forward to the weekend! If you’re going to TOWIB, have  loads of fun, I will be at the next one!

Absolutely Shattered

Today, I tried out my new OPI shatter polish in gold, that came in my December JolieBox.
I don’t own any other OPI polishes, largely due to the price, but have been aware of the brand ever since I first heard about their Muppets collection (want). I have also never used a shatter polish before, but have been interested in trying one out for a while, so I was really pleased when I found this in my box.
While gold isn’t a colour I wear a lot of, this polish is so pretty and just screams Christmas, so I’ve been eager to try it ever since it arrived!

Here I’m wearing a No7 polish in Damson Dream underneath the shatter polish. I liked the combination of the deep purple-toned red under the gold, especially during the festive period 🙂 I’ve also got a top coat on top here, which I don’t always do, as suggested on the bottle, and it did really increase the shine and sparkle of the gold.

The OPI polish was really easy to apply, with a good brush and consistency. The shatter effect developed a lot quicker than I was expecting and was fun to watch. I think I would buy more OPI polishes in future, if I’m feeling flush!

This months JolieBox (actually the first UK JolieBox, previously known as Boudoir Prive) was really impressive. While the (full size) polish is probably my favourite product, the others were all also really exciting. Unfortunately, I’ve had to leave the rest of the box at home while I’m away for Christmas so can’t play with or write about the rest of the box yet.

Hope you are all getting in a festive mood. These nails have definitely helped me 🙂

Matte & Gloss

Apologies for not posting at all this week. I have really wanted to but have been so busy preparing for Christmas and Christmas related events; most significantly the My Street Chic Christmas Blogger Party on Friday in Bristol (I shall post about that later though).

So this is a post is one I lined up last weekend, before my super busy week, of two items I picked up during the week. I quite liked the contrast between the two so thought I’d combine them in one post.
I’ve been very interested in trying out matte nail polish for a while, but always seemed to forget to look at matte top coats whenever I was in Boots/Superdrug. Last week I finally remembered and picked up the Rimmel Pro Matte Coat in Boots. At £4.95 I don’t think it’s particularly expensive, especially as it will give you as many matte shades as you have existing nail polishes (so, I have now doubled my nail polish stash!!).
I knew my first try would have to be on a black polish, there was just something so classy and appealing about a matte black nail. I’m really happy with the finished effect. The bottle has a nice wide brush which helps make the polish really easy to apply. The matte finish begins to develop really quickly, although this does give a false impression of being quick drying; I did mine late-ish at night and though it was dry before bed but woke up with fabric impressions in my nails (this was easily solved with another coat of the matte polish in the morning however). An added benefit of the top coat is that it makes your polish last longer, at least it did for me. The bottle says up to 10 days, I got about 5 out of mine without any chips, which is quite a long time for me!
Rimmel Pro Matte Top Coat over M&S Autograph Nail Polish in Black
I haven’t had the time to try it out on other polishes yet, but will hopefully find some spare time tomorrow, if I can make a decision on what polish colour to try next! I also like the idea of trying out a black matte nail with a black gloss leopard print over the top, it sounds awesome in my head, if I can pull it off.
I think I’ll be getting through quite a lot of this stuff, although maybe not until after Christmas now as I have a lot of glittery festive shades that are just crying out to be used at this time of year!
I just looked and Boots have a 3 for 2 offer on Rimmel at the moment, so it could be a good time to try this out!
As I mentioned, two contrasting items, moving from matte to gloss!
I’m sure by now a lot of you have heard about these lipglosses, from Models Own in  association with Diet Coke, that you can get free when you buy two bottles of Diet Coke from Boots until December 27th. For those of you that haven’t, well, you have now!
There are four shades available, all of which are pretty appealing, but the red was always top of my list! So when I was in Boots and feeling a bit thirsty, it was a bit of a no-brainer!
I’m totally in love with it! So much so that I’m a bit worried about what I’ll do when it runs out and they are no longer available in Boots! The colour is great, you can apply it as thin or thick as you like, for a more subtle or bold effect. I’ve been applying it a bit thicker for a bolder, red lipstick look. It lasts as well as any lipgloss and keeps your lips moisturised unlike some lipsticks. Obviously the ultimate benefit is that it was free!! The only possible downside is the smell, it isn’t really bad, but it’s a bit chemically and weird, but does fade pretty quickly after application.
Me out ice skating with Pete (L) and getting ready for a Christmas meal (R)
I would like to get my hands on another, although I would be torn between another red and the pink. I also don’t know if I’ll be able to get to a Boots again between now and New Year 😦 I will be very sad when I run out of this.
If you happen to be in or near a Boots I would really recommend you get yourself a couple of bottles of Diet Coke, I’m more of a Pepsi girl myself, but it’s not often you get the chance to pick up a Models Own lipgloss for free!!
Hope you are all well and getting ready for the festive season!

Beauty Scribbles

A couple of weeks ago the gorgeous ladies over at Beauty Scribbles ran a giveaway to celebrate Jo’s birthday, and I won!
Now, I’m pretty sure everyone says this but, I never win things! I was so excited 🙂 Then I received my parcel of prizes, and was even more excited!!

The prizes (pictured below) included; Fearne Night Compact, Max Factor Lipstick in Pink Brandy, Fearne Leopard Print Nail Art wraps, 3 MUA Eye Liner Pencils in Bright Orange, Starry Night and Silver Sparkle, Rimmel ScandalEyes Mascara, Collection 2000 Luscious Lashes and a No7 Nail Collection containing 5 polishes in Totally Teal, Damson Dream, Vivid Violet, Hot to Trot and Sing the Blues. I think you’ll agree that’s a pretty impressive haul!

Left to Right; Sing the Blues, Hot to Trot, Vivid Violet, Damson Dream, Totally Teal

I’m not sure if there’s one item I’m more excited about that the others! I think I will definitely get use out of all of the items, with the possible exception of the orange eye liner.
I do love nail polish, and don’t actually own anything that’s really similar to any of the ones in the No7 set, so that’s nice. I only own one other No7 polish and have always thought of it as a really good product. I’m not an actual beauty blogger, so I’m not just going to apply all the polishes one after the other just to show you what they look like, but I did start having a play with them the other night. I went for Totally Teal, then because I was feeling experimental, I added leopard print (using my Konad set) in the Hot to Trot gold. I quite like the finished effect actually. The teal was quite a thick polish, not too thick though, and gave good coverage in two coats. The gold is much thinner and was a bit tricky in the Konad print set, as it recommends a thick polish, but it still worked and gave a nice but quite subtle effect (if gold leopard print can ever be subtle!).
All the shades except the teal are sparkly and would be perfect for the glittery party season (not that the teal isn’t, I just get a bit obsessed with sparkle at this time of year).

Totally Teal with Hot to Trot Leopard Print

The lipstick is lovely too. An interesting but wearable shade with great coverage and consistency. I wore it during the day earlier this week as, personally, I see it as more of a daytime colour than the bolder lippies I would normally wear of an evening. It would also be a great summer shade as, as much as I love bright red lipstick, it can be a bit much on the beach (crikey, did I actually say beach in a post 2 weeks before Christmas!?).
I also gave the Rimmel ScandalEyes mascara a test run. Now, mascara isn’t normally a product I change much, and I’ve been using Max Factor Masterpiece for years now, but I like Rimmel as a brand and there’s something very appealing about that big chunky orange packaging! I have to say I was a little taken aback by the size of the applicator wand though, it’s huge!! (Sniggers) Especially compared to the thin rubber applicator from my usual mascara. It took a fair bit of getting used to and doing my lower lashes was especially difficult, but I managed to do it without stabbing myself in the eye. Apart from my personal issues in wielding the thing, the mascara applied well, wasn’t lumpy and lasted well.

Wearing Max Factor Pink Brandy Lipstick and Rimmel ScandalEyes Macara

There’s so much in this awesome prize haul that I still haven’t got around to trying it all out. Basically I won hours and hours of fun! I’m saving the lashes and nail wraps for wearing at a Christmas party, so I’ll show you those when I get round to it. The Fearne Eyeshadow set is so beautiful, with the beetle design pressed into the actual shadows, that I’m not sure I’m ever going to want to use it! Well, I will, but I’ll have to look at it a lot first.

Fearne Night Compact

I would like to thank Jo and Lauren at Beauty Scribbles once again for having a great blog, running an awesome giveaway and selecting me as their winner! If you haven’t checked them out before then head over there now – BeautyScribbles – or follow them on Twitter @beautyscribbles.

Have you used any of these products before?


Models Own: Beetlejuice Collection

On Tuesday, Models Own launched their new Beetlejuice collection (inspired by the iridescence of beetle shells) and I decided to treat myself and pick up a few of the new colours.
I only bought three of the shades rather than going for the full five shade set, as I just didn’t see myself wearing the two greener shades. Instead I went for Aqua-Violet, Purple-Blue and Pinky-Brown, which were more in-keeping with my preferred colours and therefore more likely to get used! Also, Models Own have an offer on their polishes, buy 3 save £3 or buy 5 and save £7. I’m not sure if that’s just online or if it’s in stores as well, but the Beetlejuice collection is only available online anyway.
Pinky-Brown was clearly the most popular of the whole collection, as it had already sold out by the Wednesday.

While the website pictures clearly over-exaggerate the multi-tonal properties, I’m still really impressed with the colours.

Purple Blue, Aqua Violet and Pinky Brown
Pinky Brown
Purple Blue

This picture is quite zoomed in, so the quality isn’t amazing, but shows the multi-tones a bit better. In some lights it can look entirely bronze, sometimes it’s a deep rusty pink and sometimes, when you catch both tones at once, it looks like fire.

Another very zoomed picture, showing off the pinky-purpley-blue tones. As with the pinky-brown, sometimes you see just one shade, sometimes you catch a flash of all. I particularly like this one as at face value it’s quite subtle and dark, but when you look closer you can see all the different colours.

The multi-tones are quite hard to capture in photos, I did my best, but the colours show up best when they’re moving in the light. The tones in the Purple Blue are probably slightly more obvious, and I find both look show up best in natural light. I haven’t tried the Aqua-Violet yet, not because I don’t like it, I just only have two hands! Even if you don’t think the multi-tonal-ness is that impressive, they’re still really nice colours in their own rights and these two in particular are nice and glittery. I know some people don’t think a lot of the staying power of Models Own polishes, but I actually find they don’t chip too quickly, at least not compared to other brands. I’ve had mine on for 24 hours with no problems, even through a bath and washing my hair, which is when I usually pick up the most damage. They are more interesting than a standard polish but without being over-the-top or garish. I think they’re really wearable and perfect for autumn/winter when we’re all looking to add a bit of sparkle into our lives.

Speaking of sparkle, I also splashed out and bought the full glitter collection :/ What can I say, I’m a sucker for glitter 🙂 I’ll definitely get a lot of use out of these as we get closer to Xmas. I wonder if they’ll work with my leopard print stamp?

I love all of these, except the green, Jenny, if you’re reading, do you fancy it?

Lots of Love,