Sunday, 30 December 2012

Monster High Monday: Gloom Beach Draculaura

Hello peeps, long time no speak! Hope you all had a good Christmas and are looking forward to the new year. 'Monster High Monday' has come later this week, purely because I haven't had time to edit the post until now. I still took the pics on Monday though, so we don't have to worry about renaming it 'Monster High Sunday' or something! This week the inspiration was the ridiculously beautiful 'Gloom beach' Draculaura.
Now I don't normally collect the Draculaura dolls, my sister does. She's a bit too 'childish' for me, however when the Gloom Beach one came out and looked this pretty, I had to have her. It's possibly one of my favourite makeup looks and I don't want to disappoint you, but I feel like I failed massively this week! Either I didn't get the application right, used the wrong products or more than likely, I'm just not as cute-as-a-button as this little pink skinned vampire! I'm again loving the change in eye colour (this time to lilac) though (top and bottom images).
Now her makeup is actually relatively simple (so it's twice as annoying that I mucked it up), with one eye colour (mauve), pale lips and a little pink blush. Seeing as this was Christmas Eve, I didn't add the heart to my cheek for fear of people thinking I was muddling my 'holidays'! Initially I thought her eyes were very smokey grey, but upon closer inspection realised they were indeed mauvey and all one colour, with an exaggerated sweep. I knew I had a very similar colour with the Karen Millen Eye Colour Powder in Lavender 295. It's been a favourite of mine for years, although I've never used quite so much of it at one time (I usually confine it to the crease or just the lids up to the crease). It looks much more sheer in these images (with the flash) than it did in real life and I was a little sceptical about whether or not so much of it suited me! I swept it outwards and also smudged it along the lower lashline like Draculaura.
I wanted to create a really defined outer edge, so placed a piece of card, at an angle where I wanted the line to finish (you could use a credit card or something similar), applying my shadow up to and over it and much like the 'masking tape' method when painting walls; when the card is removed, you are left with a clean, defined line. Sadly my camera doesn't do it justice in the close-ups : (
My new eyeliner which I've completely fallen head over heels for is YSL waterproof long wear pencil, which is the blackest colour I have ever used, it photographs extremely well as you can see. When I first started using this, I feared it would smudge because it was so slick, but it's absolutely brilliant! I also added L'Oreal SuperLiner in Carbon Black for the flick. My mascara is YSL Shocking.
On my face I'm wearing YSL (again!) Le Teint Touche Eclat in BR10 with a little Illamasqua Rich Liquid foundation in 115 as a concealer under the eyes and finished with ELF Studio HD Powder in Translucent. I used Milani Powder Blush in Pink Craze, which is a very light pink on the cheeks.
I fell apart when it came to the lips. I was sure I knew a combo to get super cute, light mauve-nude lips. I'm pretty sure I've even featured it on the blog before, but I couldn't for the life of me recall the products I used. I ended up using a combination of things and in the end a base of ELF Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose, with MAC Cremesheen lipstick in Restrict over the top to lighten (it's almost a light grey), then added Mac Cremesheen Glass in Ever So Rich, a glossy pale pink gloss over the top. I wasn't 100% happy with the result, but had tried so many combinations, I was losing the will to live!
All in all, I wasn't too happy with what should have been a simple enough look and one that used colours that are normally right up my street. I feel I didn't quite capture the 'smokey eyes with pale lip' look (my lips looked quite dark and the eyes not smokey enough). That evening I added a little ArtDeco eyeshadow in 02, blending into the crease and softened that outer line and it looked a bit better. How do you think this (tamer than last week) look went this week? We'll see what I can come up with on Monday!

Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Pearl Lowe: Peacocks Review

Apologies for this post taking so long. I initially considered a video, then the light was never right and I just feel uncomfortable doing videos, so that was out. I took photos, again the light wasn't great (Scottish winter to blame) and although you can see details, you can't see how the dresses hang etc. So I settled on a combination of the two after much procrastination and here it is. You'll remember I bought all 4 Pearl Lowe pieces online at Peacocks (3 dresses and one jumpsuit) and I had mixed emotions when my order arrived. I'll go through each item separately and at the bottom of the page is my You Tube video, just a quick look at the items hanging on a hanger to give you an idea of length.
First up is the fan print jumpsuit. I bought this with the intention of cutting and sewing it into a dress (still undecided on full length or shorter). I haven't had time to sort that out yet, but I would think it would work well because the legs are so wide. Like so wide. As a jumpsuit, it probably looks like a dress anyway, because of this. I'm saying 'probably' because I've never actually tried it on properly, given that I need it unzipped to get on, but can't do up a centre back zip by myself when wearing it (the dress option will fix this because I never un-do zips to put dresses on). I was happy with this one anyway, it's got a classic PL vibe with the details such as the buttons and piping and great care has been taken over the structure and seaming of the sleeves etc. It's 100% polyester with that crepe like appearance, which although it is polyester, I don't mind, because it's a decent weight and hangs well whilst doing it's 'structural' job in certain places where the design allows. The entire range were marked £10 more expensive on their tags than the retail price online. This could be because it's 'old stock' left over from a collection never released/completed before Peacocks ran into trouble. I think it's well worth it's £35 anyway. My only concern is the colour isn't particularly flattering on me, it's a dusky greyish nude.
Now, I admit to being extremely disappointed with the next two dresses. I could have cried, not from annoyance at a waste of money, but because these dresses could have been so much more and better than they are. The problem lies in the fabric and that alone. It's a poly/elastane mix and feels exactly like the Joy dress from Spring 2011; think slinky, stretchy and bordering on 'swimming costume'. Now I'll start by saying I've decided to keep both dresses and admit they hang very beautifully. HOWEVER, that's where the positivity stops.  These dresses have been constructed exactly the same as the pure poly dresses and these fabrics simply do not work in the same way. The slinky stuff hangs, it's great for draping or stretching, cowl necklines look fabulous in this fabric. A somewhat structured tea-dress does not! Now I've made my own clothes since I was a child, I've studied fashion for 4 years and worked in a fabric shop, so I know all about fabric composition and what they should and shouldn't be used for.
Lets start with the red floral one. There's a panel around the waist (similar to the jumpsuit above without the piping), there's wonderful little gathers above the bust (across from the shoulders) and sleeves, again similar to the jumpsuit, with little darts all around and a quilted section inside to help the sleeves sit properly. ALL of these details are completely lost on this fabric, you can barely see them. Not only that, they in no way add to the structure or purpose of what they are designed to do. Stretchy fabric does not need darts or anything else to shape it.  Had these same design details been included on a crepe like poly dress, they would have added shape and structure, but they do nothing on this dress. It makes me sad and angry that nobody pointed this out at one of the various stages of production.  It's been a complete waste of time for the machinists to even bother sewing these details.
Even the buttons at the back neck are practically useless because the fabric stretches anyway, so you would never need to use them. That aside, I did keep the dress because I decided (touching it aside), it looks alright on, despite these cute details being wasted. It ties at the back, which I really needed to bring it in, because it bordered tent-like on me without that. I also need to wear a camisole or slip underneath because the fabric moulds around the body and to be blunt, wraps itself around each boob, which isn't exactly attractive! A vest underneath just allows it to sit across the chest, without being so revealing and 'seperating'. The colour is extremely bright, so my camera picked it up as orange. I adjusted it to try and avoid the colour bleeding, but the video will show a truer shade.
The floral tea dress again is exactly like the red one. This one even has smocking across the front shoulder and the same quilted insert inside the sleeve. Neither do very much for the dress when it's made in this fabric. The panelling and buttons down the centre front are almost invisible. Disappointing yet again, because I know how fabulous they would've looked in the appropriate fabric. Again it ties around the back and the lengths of these two dresses on me are below the knee, maybe even mid calf. I felt it was a bit unflattering at first, but actually I like that I can wear them bare legged or with tights without fear of bending over and revealing too much! I'd say from afar these dresses pass as looking like cute tea dresses and therefore I'm still relatively happy with them. I hate the fabric to touch and hate that the design details have not only become lost in the fabric, but don't do their purpose. I would hope if there are further collections, that fabric choice would play a bigger part, because it almost completely ruined these two and I don't think they are completely worth their £30.
Now the ballerina print dress is a whole other story, it's beautiful.  It reminds me a little of the bright blue (and white) polka dot dress from many years ago.  It's shorter than the other two dresses; I've only tried it on once, so can't recall if it's too short to wear with tights/bare legs.  It has a full length slip underneath, in the same quality from previous PL collections and has a tie around the back which is stitched in at the centre front.  The positioning may be a little iffy on me (with a large bust) as it wasn't quite sitting comfortable under my boobs, but like I said I'd only tried it once.   The sheer overlay with the beautiful and unusual ballerina print is made in polyester and has smocking details to the front and back shoulder, cuff of the sleeve and both sides of the waist, front and back.  You can see this detail in the fabric and it does it's job (unlike the poly/elastane dresses).  Why they chose the elastane mix on the other two, I'll never know.  Anyway, I originally thought this dress was navy, it arrived and I was convinced it was bold purple.  Judging from my pics it's back to navy and in certain lights, I think it is.  This has been the only reason I haven't worn it yet, because I can't decide whether to pair it with my black or navy cardigans and to be honest don't think either will go!
Finally here is the video.  I totally had shaky hand syndrome filming it and admit I did it very quickly!  I used a 'stabiliser' thing on You Tube which instead compensates for the shaky hand by moving the edges of the video instead which may make you dizzy (no joke)!!  Anyway it just gives you a rough idea and I hope it works because blogger has a new (and much easier way) of uploading videos into posts.  What did you think of the collection, those of you who bought it?

Monday, 17 December 2012

Monster High Monday: Ghoulia Yelps

I'm hitting you with a brand new feature today, which I'm rather excited about (so hope you will be too)! I was taking some photos of one of my Monster High dolls for the blog at the weekend and I thought how pretty her makeup looked close-up, which inspired me to come up with this new feature. I already have my Lipstick Challenge running every week, but each Monday, I'll be taking inspiration from a Monster High doll for my makeup!
Each post will include images of the doll and my version of the look including a run-down of the products I used. It's so easy to get stuck in a rut and do a similar look or variation of that each day, so with a crazy MH doll as my guide, I'm hoping to try out lots of different things.  Today features the original Ghoulia Yelps. She has deep red lips, winged brown eyeshadow and thick black liner.
Here is my version!
I've even used a little computer trickery for Ghoulia-blue eyes on some of the images! I rather like them, they've grown on me (for some reason my 'real' eyes have looked brown all last week instead of green which has annoyed me)!  Obviously Ghoulia has greyish blue skin and wears no blush, but seeing as I'm not actually a zombie (and look dead without blush), I added a touch of MAC 'Legendary' powder blush from the Marilyn Monroe collection to my base of Yves Saint Laurent Le Teint Touche Eclat and ELF Studio High Definition Loose Powder. I know some people go all-out with their version of MH/FOTD's, but this isn't for Halloween. I'm not aiming to look like an exact replica of the doll, I want it to be wearable whilst still taking the main colours and theme from the doll.
For the lips, Ghoulia's were deep red with a metallic finish, so I mixed Estee Lauder Pure Color in Extravagant Berry (a deep wine) with Dior Rouge in 865 Ruby which is a bright red with loads of glitter and an almost metallic finish. They were perfect together!
I was quite scared about the eye make-up, because it's very dark and very brown (not a colour I normally wear), plus I knew I had to pair it with bold red lips too! It's worked pretty well though, because I chose colours that had a slight sheen to them, so it wasn't so blunt looking. As always I use Too Faced Shadow Insurance as a base. Then I swept the lightest shade from the Lancome Color Design Palette in 103 Golden Frenzy (that I got in the Christmas Beauty Box), all over the lids concentrating on just under the brow. It's got a lovely sparkle and sheen to it, for the glitter bits Ghoulia has. Then I used Too Faced Eyeshadow Duo in Totally Toasted (the light copper shade) across the lid up to the crease. I took a little of the darker colour in that duo and combined it with MAC 'Smoke & Diamonds' to create the dark brown. I started in the crease and built it up, winging it out and also carrying it under the lower lash-line. I always apply my eye makeup before my foundation, so I can clean up any shadow fall-out and in this case wipe away the excess shadow, so I have a defined 'wing' shape.  I then took the tiny brush from the Lancome palette and dipped it into the black powder from that palette to create the black line Ghoulia has in the crease. This bit was quite tricky and I ended up blending it in with a smudge brush, which thankfully turned out very pretty. I went back again over the blended section with a thin, precise, defined black line and it worked much better that time. I finished off with black eye pencil (Lancome Le Crayon Khol) and liquid liner (L'Oreal SuperLiner Carbon Gloss and Topshop Felt Pen Liner) and lots of mascara (Yves Saint Laurent Shocking Volume).
I'm not the worlds best photographer at close-ups of the eye, so you cant properly see the detail, but hopefully you get the idea. I was wearing a black cherry dress which just happened to fit in with the Ghoulia theme-I can't say I'll be sticking to 'inspired by' clothes each week as it could get chilly come 'Lagoona' week (sea monster, swimsuits, erm no).  Sooo, what do you think of my new challenge? Could it be a keeper for the blog? Also time to slot in my massive apology for the lack of Beloved Beauty Bits! I attempted a post several times during the summer and it never materialised, but will be back next month with my December faves.

Thursday, 13 December 2012

Heads Up On Soap & Glory Offer!

Every year, I blog about the fabulous Soap & Glory offer at Boots. Usually around the same time each year, the biggest S&G Christmas set is slashed to half price. This year it's The Best Of All gift set, which will be dropping to £27 from £60! Doesn't take a mathematician to work out that's even better than half price! The offer will start tomorrow (Friday 14th December) at 7am and I'm going to shock you by saying for once, I don't think I'm going to buy it! Every year, I've stayed up until midnight then woken at 6am in the hope I could buy it online or else my Mum has gone to Boots before it opens to get it, but I feel I have a ridiculous stash of S&G stuff to get through that I don't actually need more just now. Saying that, I use the hand and foot creams every day (so always need them) and have grown to quite like the mascara. Sexy Mother Pucker I love too, but have loads of, same goes for the shower gel and body butter (yes I'm still working my way through the 1 litre special edition tub). So if you're curious as to exactly what's inside and the value then here's a rundown:

That lot comes in at £70.50, so you're normally saving a little more than a tenner on the set (plus you get it all in a pretty bag too), but you're saving £43.50 if you can snag one tomorrow. Be warned you need to be quick. Yes, Boots will get extra stock in especially for this event (I think mine had at least 100 sets last year), but in the past, stock has already gone by lunchtime and you'll rarely (not sure if it's ever happened) be able to pick it up another day. Last year, I got the set off my points, which meant I paid nothing for it-a double whammy bonus!! Do you think you'll be queueing up for this one? Let me know if you get it x

Monday, 10 December 2012

Clarins Haul & GWP

I had another £15 (and £2 left over from last time) rewards on my Debenhams beauty card (I know the way I bang on about that card, I should be ambassador for it), anyway it was burning a hole in my unicorn purse and so I set off to spend it. It was a week or two ago when they had 10% off and I figured for £17, I'd be able to get a nice lipstick. Last time when I got the Clarins balm, I'd noticed some nice lipsticks, so decided to give them a better look. My hand was absolutely covered in swatches of lovely sparkling lip colours and I couldn't remember which one was where, but had fun trying them all!
The Joli Rouge Brilliant Lipsticks are sheer in colour, so the majority look nothing like the stick inside when swatched (which meant testing them all!). I found there wasn't much difference between some of the shades (hence my struggle to make a decision), especially when you tilted them a certain way. I then started trying out the Joli Rouge and Rouge Prodige colours too until I ran out of hand space and forced myself to make a decision already! So in the end I went with 04 Praline.  It's a pinky brown in the tube and comes in a sleek, nicely weighted silver case with clear end and coloured sticker name/number.
As usual when I got it home and swatched it again, it seemed totally different than I'd first thought (damn those lights in Debenhams that make everything look super sparkly). It's still a pretty sheer nude mind you and as the flash shows, it can look sparkly under bright light.
When going to pay for my lipstick, the assistant pointed out their current GWP and wondered if I might want to purchase a skincare item to qualify (they see me coming); I was going for a free lipstick though and was NOT to spend any money, so politely and not very convincingly declined. Cue Mum looking aghast while saying "but you get ALL that free?" Add to this the fact my Clarins night cream ran out a few days earlier, it was obvious where we were headed, especially judging from the first image of this post (although I want it put on record that I tried to resist). Mum also tells me afterwards she expected me to be spending another £20, not £42 (I also want it on record that I was well aware of this, hence my initial hesitation because in my position I can't really afford £40 moisturisers)! So, my lipstick was £17 reduced to £15.30 with 10% off and my Multi Active Night Cream £42 down to £37.80. Remember I also had my £17 of rewards to use, which meant the lipstick was completely free!
The gift was worth around £44 if I remember correctly and included very generous sizes of bodycare products which I have to admit, I'll totally use. It always makes it that little bit more worthwhile if the free products are things you'll actually use up. First of all they came in this bag, which I wasn't all too keen on at first, but it's grown on me and is extremely roomy.
Inside there are 4 products...
Hand & Nail Treatment Cream 30ml
Relax Bath & Shower Concentrate 50ml
Smoothing Body Scrub 75ml
and a whopping 100ml tube of Extra Firming Body Lotion!
Am I a sucker for a GWP or considering I got 10% off, all these items and the lipstick free, was it worth it? Can I also mention I qualified for 500 bonus points (which I wasn't expecting), so that's another £5 reward, which I think I have stacked up until the end of January now!