Tuesday 19 January 2016

Dolce & Gabbana Eye Shadow Quad Stromboli

There's something about Dolce & Gabbana that makes me go weak at the knees. I could easily live a very Dolce life wearing exquisite lace dresses with outrageous doorknocker earrings, sporting beautifully embellished pompadour shoes and lug around baroque inspired embroidered handbags (although I'm not sure where I'd fit in all my Pilates stuff) - and I'm sure I'm not the only one! Unfortunately my budget simply won't allow that - how rude of it..., but I can treat myself to the occasional little beauty product, to in a very small way participate in the extravagance that is Dolce & Gabbana.

When I first laid eyes on this beautiful palette I was immediately taken in and it has been a firm favourite of mine ever since. The Dolce & Gabbana Smooth Eye Colour Quad (£46) comes in an impressive selection of 16 different shades - all equally beautiful and seductive to the beauty junkie, but for me Stromboli (colour code 130) is the perfect combination of colors, equally wearable for both day and night time.

Dolce & Gabbana Smooth Eye Colour Quad in Stromboli

Now, let me start by saying that I KNOW that it's an expensive product, but as a magpie and packaging fiend, I didn't really stand a chance from the start. True to its brand, the golden metallic and VERY shiny compact is glamorous and opulent, turning every use of it into an indulgent moment and it comes with a velvet pouch to protect it and keep it equally shiny as long as it's used. The palette includes two little foam applicators, and although I prefer to use a good quality brush, these are actually not bad at all. Usually I don't expect a lot from these little token applicators, but after a lot of use these are still as firm (and attached to the handle!) as when I got them.

Stromboli is a palette with 4 velvet smooth golden, earthy, coppery colours - some matte and others with a delicate shimmer (you can find swatches here on Instagram):

Shimmery golden sand - lovely for day wear, or as an evening highlighter
Shimmery russet copper - great on its own (very dramatic on blue eyes), or as a base for an evening look
Matte intense cinnamon brown - nice basic shade for any look
Shimmery gunmetal grey - fab for a smokey eye or as an eyeliner 

Dolce & Gabbana Smooth Eye Colour Quad in Stromboli

All shades are so highly pigmented that you only need the lightest of dabs with your brush or applicator to get enough product to cover the whole lid, and you still need to be prepared for a fair bit of blending. Saying that, the formula is easy to work with to build intensity whether you choose to use them dry or wet and with absolutely no fall out - just the excellent quality I would have expected from this brand. Although it promises extended 8 hours wear, I have to say that I don't think that is the case for most of the shades, with the exception of the cinnamon shade. That's not entirely unexpected since there's definitely a correlation between the amount of shimmer and how an eyeshadow wears. I would say that the shades stay pretty perfect for about 5 hrs and then you'd need to touch them up.

When you've decided you've had enough of these glorious shades for the day, they came off easily, even with a very gentle eye make up remover, or cleansing wipe. This is a gorgeous palette which by its pure extravagance has that feel like a goddess appeal. If you were to buy only one single prestige brand palette - THIS would be the one.    

As you might expect, in the UK you can only get the Dolce & Gabbana range in Harrod's or in Heathrow Terminal 5, but you'll find some of the products at a discounted price on Amazon or Beautyspin.co.uk, (£35.17), making this luxurious palette even more difficult to resist... yes, you're welcome!

Monday 11 January 2016

Manic. Monday: Speckled hen? NO, Speckled egg!

Despite being an avid reader of all the glossy fashion and beauty magazines you can find on the shelves in the supermarket, and being fairly aware of the current trends, in the end I've always "done my own thing". Today's nail polish in the first Manic Monday of the year, is the perfect example of that.

After this season's berry colours, glitzy black and gold designs, and vivid pop art looks I wanted something completely different to really put the Christmas season back in its box and when rummaging through my polsish stash I rediscovered this little gem from 2014. It's Models Own Speckled Egg Nail Polish (£4.99) which is a more affordable option to the Illamasqua polish that was flying off the shelves faster than you could say Speckled hen.... no sorry, I meant Speckled egg!
Models Own Speckled Egg - Duck Blue

Speckled Egg was released for Spring / Summer and  it's a lovely fresh and fun pastel based range with dark specks in different sizes, creating an eyecatching egg shell look. It's available in 4 colours where the base is either; dusky pale pink (Dove Pink), pale watery lilac (Swan Lilac), grassy muted yellow (Goose Yellow) or subtle sky blue (Duck Blue). My favourite is definitely the Duck Blue since the other colours in the range are a bit too muted, and the contrast with the speckles shows up the best. 

Like many of the Model's Own nail polishes, the formula is quite thin (but not too runny) and you do need several layers to get an opaque look and to get the optimal effect of the specks, and in the photo I've actually used 4 layers. On the otherhand each layer comes on streak free and the polish dries very quickly which means you don't have to wait around too long in between the layers, and once they've set there's no smudging, ruining the effect. The brush is of average width and is very pliable with a flat even tip, making it easy to work with avoiding messing up the cuticles.Unfortunately with that many layers of polish the finish is always going to be sensitive to any bump or scratching which will easily flake it and make it peel, which is why I wasn't surprised when it only lasted 3 days before it started to come off. Although it probably only took 1 minute to remove because of the thickness of the layering - it came off in one piece by simply gently peeling it off the nail.  
Even though it's an oldie, I still love this look and if like me you enjoy different nail polish effects, it's a must try - if nothing else, plan ahead and put it on your list of getting for Easter!

Friday 15 May 2015

No more COLD days!

After the last few week's glorious sunshine and high temperatues there's no doubt that Spring has arrived, but that doesn't necessarily mean that the days of colds and sniffles are over yet. A nutritious and balanced diet is always the best foundation to staying healthy throughout the seasons but sometimes we all might need a little extra help in the form of super foods or vitamins.

My no 1 super food is without a doubt the humble lemon. One lemon contains more than half of the daily vitamin C intake, which can help to boost the immune system but it's also great for ridding the body of toxins, it helps the body to absorb iron and it's also shown to have a positive effect on bone health. I have been known to every now and then peel a lemon and eat it as I would an orange, but I know that might not be for everyone so a much esier way to get a healthy daily dose of lemon is to start the day with some hot water with lemon squeezed into it for a real kick start your system or to drizzle salads and greens with some lemon juice.
 Garlic is another wonderful source of vitamin C, and studies have shown that a high intake of garlic can reduce the amount of days suffering from a cold or the flu with as much as 60%. In addition garlic can help to reduce cholcesterol levels and blood pressure and it's rich in anti-oxidants, protecting the cells against cell damage and supporting detoxification of heavy metals e.g lead. I love garlic and fortunately so does my other half, and anyone who has ever been to ours for dinner knows that sometimes the food is so garlicky it glows in the dark. Again this might not be to everyone's taste, and you can always swap the fabulously tasting cloves for capsules with extract instead.

While lemon and garlic may not be the easiest food in the world to love, surely blueberries are. They're sweet, juicy, delicious and can easily be added to a smoothie or a salad, strewn over your morning yoghurt or eaten raw on the go - what's not to love?! Blueberries are packed with anti-oxidants, rich in firbes to keep you feeling full for longer and low in fat, so no need to feel guilty for indulging in these little gems. In fact since blueberries contain a lot of manganese, the more you eat, the stronger your bones will be. Similarly to cranberries, blueberries can help to ward of urinary infections and it's also been known to lessen the symptoms if you have contracted it.  So go on  - treat yourself to some blueberries every day!

Supplements are exactly that and and you really should try and get what your body needs through your diet, however if your diet is restricted for some reason, they may be useful. While I get a lot of vitamin C naturally through my daily diet I am every now and then a bit short on e.g. vitamin B and amino acids since I don't eat meat or poultry so to support my diet I'll take multivitamins and/or Berocca for that extra boost, but if you take any form of medication, always check with your doctor before starting on a supplement. If despite your best efforts a pesky cold comes calling, add a few drops of Echinaforce to hot or cold water to help manage the symptoms, so you can still get on with the day, making cold days a thing of the past.

Monday 2 March 2015

FABulous FABletics

New Year usually means change in one way or another, and for me 2015 has definitely marked a new beginning in SO many ways. After a long time of being employed full time with an established company with lots of perks, I decided to take stock of what I was doing, and I reached the decision that for me the right thing was to pack it in, leave what I was doing - a nice and secure job and doing something completely different. It was one of the hardest decisions I've ever made and not something I would recommend that you do lightly. I've been fortunate enough to have had a very good job for a long time, but when push comes to shove, it actually didn't make me HAPPY. In these dire economic times you might think that I'm completely crazy to give up something that I know and was at least semi-happy doing, but ultimately it came down to, will I regret not having done something else when I eventually retire? The answer to that very difficult question was YES and having thought things through a besquillion times I decided that it was time for me to put my brave pants on, and to follow my heart and take the leap into the unknown. For me that has meant to commit fully to my biggest passion in life - Pilates, and over night I have become a self-employed Pilates teacher. It's been the scariest thing I've ever done, and it's without a doubt also been the BEST thing I've ever done.

My days are now filled with Pilates classes, working to improve flexibility and mobility of my clients and it's the most rewarding thing I've ever done. Unfortunately that also means that I work long hours and don't have much time for blogging. So, after much consideration I've decided to merge the things that I love the most; Pilates and Blogging. With that I launch my Pilates homepage: Head To Toe Pilates and my professsional FB page, and as of now you might see blog posts that are more Health and Pilates orientated as part of that process. I will still continue to post about beauty products, but sometimes it will be from my sister blog for Head To Toe Pilates. I hope you'll continue to follow Makeup By Candlelight and give me your comments and also to check out my professional FB page (perhaps also Like) and even my Head To Toe Pilates home page from time to time. Today's post is an example of the cross-over between my biggest passions, looking at the amazing FABletics Boutique.
Sad as it may seem, I can't even remember the last time I went on a proper shopping spree, but since I spend every day in some sports outfit or another it's a pretty good chance that my most recent purchase was a pair of black opaque leggings... Not particularly exciting, but what IS exciting is my latest obsession when it comes to sports wear - FABletics Boutique. The concept is based on a membership profile, so when you sign up to become a member of FABletics (free), you take a quick lifestyle quiz to find out amongst other things which your favourite colours are, what type of exercise you prefer to do, where you prefer to exercise and what type of clothes you prefer to wear e.g. long or short sleeves etc.

When you've signed up, you'll get an offer to become a VIP member. All that means is that you are offered to by an outfit at a heavily discounted price to start with, and after that you will receive monthly offers that are handpicked for you at a discounted price. Even though you get these personalised offers, you can still see the complete range of clothes and buy whatever your heart desires - well, as long as it's sports wear... You're under no obligation to buy anything, you can either buiy the outfit selected for you or let them know by the 5th of every month that you don't want the monthly offer. Then you can always go back and buy something completely different or nothing at all. If you decide to become a regular member it means that you can come back at any time and buy whatever you want at a slightly different price, but then again you don't have to worry about being organised enough to say "No" to the monthly offer by the 5th of every month.

I've been a VIP member for 2 months now and a very happy one at that. Why? - Well first of all you're offered to buy a 2- or 3-piece outfit from a starting price of £44 every month. Considering the quality of the items, the fit and styles to choose from, and the wonderful selection of styles to suit everyone, that's a pretty good deal! Secondly if you do decide that what you bought isn't what you wanted, FABletics have an easy to use return policy and you'll get your money credited back after about a week of returning your item free of cost. Thirdly, every time you do a review of an item that you've bought, regardless of whether you returned it or not, you accumulate points which you can then redeem for an item of clothing - brilliant! Not only are you encouraged to share your honest opinions about your purchases, but you actually get rewarded for it too.

The only thing you should be aware of is that sizes are generally generous, and at least half a size too big than your normal size, which is something you might want to consider when you create your profile, since you also get to add your size for tops, bottoms and bra's. 

So far I've bought 2 monthly offers - yes I know I'm greedy, and a shrug on the side and I'm so impressed with the quality, speed of delivery and customer service. The materials are soft, comfortable to wear, they wash well and come in all colours of the rainbow. If you're looking for something a little bit different, something you won't find on the high street, then FABletics is definitely the way to go. Oh, and did I mention that the FABulous Kate Hudson is one of the co-founders, recommending certain picks every month? Well, we can't all be Hollywood stars, but we can certainly feel like one!

Monday 19 January 2015

Roberto Cavalli Exotica

As many of you may know I am a dedicated follower of fashion and have a soft spot especially for Italian designers, so when Roberto Cavalli launched the Roberto Cavalli EdP (£29.99) in 2012 I was ALL over it. I quickly became a fan of the warm, feminine, oriental scent and since then I have also kept a close eye on every new version of  it. The latest summer edition dates to back to 2014, and it's Roberto Cavalli's Exotica EdT (£39.99) in a deliciously pink bottle with a little detail of Cavalli's trademark animal print, that hides a wonderful tropical scent concoction.

I must admit that I find it a challenge to characterize this scent; it's not simply fruity or sweet or woody, it's all those things at the same time - talk about being multi faceted. The first spritz makes you think of golden, juicy exotic fruits, but it's far from a light and fleeting scent, instead the fruitiness is quite concentrated. The fragrance develops quickly and it soon reveals it's flowery sweet side with intense notes of frangipani flowers that vaguely remind me of roses. Despite the very pronounced floral notes, there is nothing sugary or sickly about the scent, probably because of the dry harmonious notes of sandal in the background which adds balance and makes Exotica a velvety smooth and seductive EdT.

Despite being a tropical summer scent, I personally prefer to wear it when the temperatures have dropped since in my opinion Exotica is warm enough in itself and during a hot sunny summer day for me it gets a little bit on the heavy side. Saying that though I'm still intrigued by the depth and complexity of it, and just like Roberto Cavalli's fabulous fashion creations this EdP definitely stands out. Although Exotica is a limited edition, it's still readily available in many stores, and on Fragrance Direct you can find both the original and its pink summer sister.  

Monday 12 January 2015

Red 2015? No - Red 2000!

My festive period love affair with red just continues into the new year, it's the colour that keeps giving. Last week I mentioned a perfect gorgeous and ravishing red for your nails - Boudoir from Ciaté and today I just had to show its lipstick mate. I've mentioned before that I'm not usually one for doing matching nails and lips and personally I find it more interesting to contrast but some pairs are just made for each other. There are so many gorgeous red shades from the big cosmetic brands but I've always found it difficult to find a shade that works with my colouring and doesn't make me feel like the lipstick is wearing me rather than the other way around. Something tells me I'm not the only one doubting which shade suits me since L'Oréal very helpfully has released their Perfect match red range to help us find the right red.

As a blonde with a hint of a tan left from the holidays, and with a warm undertone to my skin anyway deep reds with blue undertones do nothing good for me and I do shy away from them. Instinctively I've always been drawn to the more orange reds anyway, however there's again a fine balance between reds with a warm undertone and intense scarlets that are just a tad too sharp for me. Having tested my way through reds for years I did eventually find a shade that's just right (yes there is one for everyone!) and it's Avon's Ultra Colour Rich Lipstick in Red 2000 (£3.85).
The formula is nice and creamy without being waxy, and it leaves a nice hydrating sensation on your lips. The pigmentation is very strong so I would recommend being careful when you apply it since it does leave a stain and if you get the lip contours wrong you have to remove it and apply it again from scratch. I find that it works best if you use a brush to apply the lipstick and then of course you get a fabulous and precise lip contour as well, if you've got plenty of time that is, otherwise just dabbing it on works really well too. Because of the strong pigmentation the colour is fairly long lasting, and after 4-5 hrs eventually only a stain remains, but that also mean that it does transfer onto coffee mugs etc for quite a while. From a formula and wear point of view it's a pretty good lipstick, but what nudges it into being a great one is definitely the colour; it's a gorgeous sultry golden tomato red that brings out my natural colouring and brightens everything, even the rainiest of days (have a look at my Instagram to see a color swatch). It's a confident and elegant shade and the only thing that bugs me about this gem of a lipstick is that it's no longer part of Avon's range, but you can find it on Amazon and on eBay.

Monday 5 January 2015

Manic.Monday: Ravishing Boudoir red

So what happened to the blog during the last half of the year? Well in short - life! It was a year of massive change for me and I was as disappointed as anyone that I simply wasn't able to include the blog with everything else I had to juggle, and putting the blog on hold certainly wasn't an easy decision but unfortunately a necessary one. We're only a few days into a new year and although I won't be able to post daily, there will be a weekly post every Monday as of now, and I hope that you who have always supported me and been so encouraging will understand and continue to visit and enjoy the weekly articles this year.

In my book the Christmas period ends on January 6, which strictly speaking means that we've only got one more day of festive joy, silly jumpers and hopefully no more left-over food from the Christmas table.... SO DONE with left-overs! Saying that, I'm not yet quite over the traditional red Christmas nail. As most of you may know I am fairly daring when it comes to nails and am willing to give most looks a try, and I have been surprised at how much I have enjoyed sporting a classic style this winter and there's something about this beautiful and intense pure red that just makes me coming back for more.
This little sassy number is Ciaté's Boudoir (£9, but on sale at the moment for an incredible £4.50!), a glorious, sophisticated red and since it doesn't have overtly strong blue undertones it's likely to suit most skintones.

You can always trust Ciaté formulas; they're just the right consistency, easy to work with and dry quickly. Admittedly the pigmentation varies, and the lighter or sheerer colors will not be as opaque as the others, and they will therefor require more coats. This stunning red does have a sheer element to it, so I would definitely recommend at least 2 coats and a top coat to get as much wear out of it as possible. The longevity of this Ciaté polish is about 4-5 days, which is above average I think, but in all honesty, even if it only lasted 2 days, I would still buy and LOVE to wear this color. To me this is a timeless and beautiful red, and if like me you think that the masters of red like Tom Ford and Manolo Blahnik charge a bit too much for a finger nail of sexy glamour (£23-£32) this is a brilliant alternative. 

Sunday 23 November 2014

Gatineau Skincare Vaganza

Christmas is just around the corner, and apparently it has been even since before Halloween in some shops... If the amount of Christmas food, beautiful wrapping paper and dazzling Christmas lights didn't give it away - the amazing beauty gifts currently on offer everywhere you look certainly do. As you know I'm a bit of a skincare addict and this is the best time of year to stock up on beautiful little jars and bottles and a set I definitely can't resist is the amazing Gatineau Skincare Experts Collection*. It's a luxurious, full sized 5 piece collection which contains 2 bottles (!) of skin serum, a neck cream, a wrinkled corrector, and an anti-ageing moisturiser of your choice to suit your skin type - who can say no to that?!

So let's have a look at the products, starting with the Collagene Expert Targeted Wrinkled Corrector (£39.50), which is a bit of a Cinderella product as I like to call it. It's the type of product that produces great results, and that although you definitely can use it every day, I choose to save for those occasions when I need a Fairy Skin God mother to do some magic. It contains a marine collagene formula which not only adds hydration to the skin, but also helps to retain it for a plump and rested look. Even though the formula almost instantly smoothes lines and revives the skin, it's very light, completely without any scent and it absorbs quickly, which is why I sometimes even apply it over my make up on days when I look especially tired. It comes in a slim tube with a very handy little roll on applicator, which not only makes application quick and easy, but it's also great for carrying with you in your bag. So if you're going to a ball, maybe this is the product for you!
Next up is the Age Benefit Perfect Skin Serum (£49), which is a day version of the Age Benefit Ultra Regenerating Night Elixir. Since I've used this serum on and off for the last 2 years, I think you could say that this is an old friend of mine and I especially like to use this in the winter time since it's great for tired and dull looking skin or if the tone and texture needs to be refined. It comes in a sleek and elegant looking bottle with a pump function to make it easier to control the amount you dispense. Good start right?! The first thing you'll notice about this product is the beautiful pale lilac colour and a very subtle scent that reminds me a tiny bit of violet, but no need to worry -  there's no hint of purple left when your skin has absorbed the serum. The texture is creamy but light, and a little bit thicker than most serums and it leaves your skin feeling incredibly soft, smooth and radiant. The serum is super intensive, which is why it also shows results very quickly, however that means that you should use it as a treatment for a month, and then let your skin rest for at least another month before you use it again.

I mentioned that you get to choose a moisturiser that fits your specific skin needs, from 3 Gatineau ranges which all include anti ageing properties but have slightly different focus areas; Melatogenine which is for smoothing lines and wrinkles, Defilift which targets slack or sagging skin and Age Benefit which targets the 5 signs of ageing (lines, sagging, hydration, pigmentation and radiance) and is great to combat dry skin. My skin tends to get dehydrated even though I consume water like a camel, so the Age Benefit range is a great option for me. The Age Benefit Integral Regenerating Cream (£85) contains artichoke leaf and extracts from Hibiscus seed. In addition to sounding like a delicious salad, these ingredients have qualities to help the skin cells to regenerate and to protect them from early ageing. Thank you Gatineau! The formula is quite rich but it just melts into the skin, giving it a mega boost of moisture, making the skin feel thoroughly hydrated and smooth. This feeling lasts all day, without the skin turning sticky or greasy, and there's no need to to worry about any dry patches showing through your makeup. Although all of Gatineau's products smell lovely in their own ways, this one smells simply divine; it's a clean, natural but elegant scent that makes this cream a delight to wear. For me this is the most luxurious cream from Gatineau's product range and it's worth every penny - not just because of the actual results, but how it makes you feel. So Santa, please get me a barrel of this amazing cream for X-mas, I've been very good...

Last but definitely not least is the wonderful Strategie Jeunesse Firming Throat Gel (£42). I know that there are different camps when it comes to neck and decolletage products, but I'm definitely in the camp of frequent and dedicated users, and since I'm such a fan I have also mentioned this little gem previously. This product is more of a gel than a cream, with a lovely light weight consistency that sinks into the skin making it feel toned and refreshed. It contains vitamins, minerals and protein extracts with powerful anti-oxidants that help to tighten up and lift the skin of the jawline and smooth the delicate area of the decolletage.

The total value of this wonderful collection is over a heart stopping £260, but you can get it on special offer at QVC.com as of this weekend for an incredible £61.92! This is a great gift for someone - don't forget about yourself, we all know a little pampering, especially in the busy weeks leading up to Christmas!

Thursday 7 August 2014

FOTD - Recreating my wedding makeup look

Doesn't time fly when you're having fun? Today we're celebrating our wedding anniversary and although it feels like we got married only yesterday, it's been 5 years already. Traditionally 5 years is considered the Wooden anniversary - maybe that means that Him Indoors will give me a couple of acres of Amazon forest...  Since it's our anniversary I thought it would be fun to recreate the makeup look I was wearing on my wedding day and even though I won't be using exactly the same products, the colors will be very similar.

At the moment I have much more of a tan than I did at my wedding and for an every day look at this time of year I normally wouldn't even bother with foundation, but since I'm making a bit more of an effort with this look I applied the No 7 Instant Radiance Foundation (£12.50) in Wheat. In my opnion the No 7 foundations don't get nearly enough credit and mention in Blogiverse. Not only are they great value for money, but the matching service means that you will definitely get a shade that is as close to your skin tone as possible for a perfect seamless match. The radiance foundation is a lovely and light medium coverage foundation that adds a nice warm and natural glow to your skin but without that heavy, caked feeling on your skin. It's fairly long lasting so it should stand a fair chance during these hot sweltering days we've been having lately. Now, I know that a lot of wedding looks are quite soft, natural and paired down, but I like a defined eye - always have and always will and it's a look I wear most days of the year. So for my wedding makeup I didn't want the complete opposite or something totally out of character since after all, this is the day of all days to feel comfortable and great about yourself, so my makeup artist and I decided to do a lighter version of a defined eye that was still in keeping with what I would usually emphasize, using slightly softer colors
For the eyes I used Avon's True Colour Eyeshasdow Quad Nudes (£9) in Barely There. All of the shades have surprisingly strong pigmentation and the formula is soft and creamy that allows for gradual building up of the colours, which will last the majority of day before you start seeing them fade. As a base for the entire lid I used shade no 2, which is a beautiful muted, dusky rose colour which blends so well with shade no 4 - an intense sepia brown, and on the middle of the lid I added a light sweep of shade no 3, a chamoisee with a beautiful subtle shimmer. I also used shade no 1 as a highlighter and in the inner corner of my eye, and the pale but warm cream colour is a nice contrast to the other colours. I really like these Barely There shades and even though they definitely are on the nude side they don't disappear into the background and are anything but bland. To add some depth and eye definition I applied Rimmel's Soft Khol Kajal Eye Pencil (£2.99) in Sable Brown on the lower waterline. It has a wonderful soft and water resistant formula that stays in place even on the teariest of days, so if you've got a special occasion coming up - give this one a go!

The only mascara for me at the moment, which you'll probably remember from my July favourites,  is Bourjois Volume 1 Seconde Mascara (£9.99). Already from the start it has just the right texture, as if it's been used for a while and the wide, firm brush makes it very easy to apply layers upon layers to quickly volumise and shape the lashes as much as you want in a few seconds and the effect is amazing. It's very long lasting but also easy to remove in the evening. I'm very lucky with my eye lashes and even the bottom ones are fairly long, but these days many mascaras with their wacky and strangely shaped wands make it tricky to get a nice and smudge free application. The solution to that issuette is the famous Clinique Bottom Lash Mascara (£13) which has the tiniest brush I've ever seen, making messy lines under your bottom lashes a thing of the past. I prefer to use the shade brown since I personally am not a fan of the lower lashes being too distinct and spider leggy and I think it works well, even with black mascara on the upper lashes.

For my cheeks I used my beloved Sleek MakeUp Blush (£4.49) in the most stunning shade ever - Rose Gold. I love this romantic coral shade with its golden shimmer, that makes your cheeks look so dewy and glowy making it perfect for a romantic occasion. The consistency is silky smooth and blendable and the blusher is so richly pigmented that you only need to dab your brush in it to get enough product for both cheeks - in the photo I've literally just lightly swept the brush over the apples of my cheeks, and as you can see that's more than enough for a radiant finish. When I tried to recreate my wedding day look I wasn't surprised at all to see that I had almost identical shades for all the products but one - the one item that I had to rummage around for was a lip colour and the closest I could find in my stash was the L'Oréal L'Extraordinaire Liquid Lipstick (£8.99) in Rose Symphony. This is supposedly a dupe for the fantastic YSL Glossy Stains, and there are definitely a lot of similarities. Let's look at the formula; it's soft, moisturising, silky, non sticky, intensely pigmented and with a brilliant glossy shine and it comes with a great flexible doe foot applicator. It's long lasting and when the shine has faded you're left with a noticeable stain that lasts literally ALL day. It's an excellent product and definitely a more affordable option to YSL. Rose Symphony is a warm vermillion pink shade, and although the colour I wore on my wedding day had more coral in it and the finish was not quite as glossy, the overall look is very similar. I had so much fun recreating the look again and now I'm off to pack a bag since apparently I'm going away somewhere, and I mustn't forget to take all these items with me so I can create the same look for this evening.

Wednesday 6 August 2014

The latest from Jo Malone - Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne

Getting a new lipstick always cheers me up, a new nail polish is sure to put a smile on my face and a new eye shadow palette definitely makes my day, but what truly makes me giddy and excited is a new perfume. Scent has always been very important to me and not only does it compliment an outfit or a look, it has the ability to inspire, comfort and relax making you the most confident person in the world, or the complete opposite if you get a fragrance that for whatever reason doesn't work for you. I don't knock any type of fragrance until I've tried it; fruity, floral, spicy, green, foody, classic, contemporary - I've tried it all, but what really draws me in is a scent that captures a mood, an atmosphere or a scene, and the latest one to do just that is Jo Malone's Wood Sage & Sea Salt Cologne (£40).
Many of the most well known Jo Malone scents belong to either the citrus, floral/light floral or fruity category but for me this latest addition to the "quintessentially British" fragrance library doesn't fit in any of them, and in fact it opens the door to a completely new category. It's described as a combination of fresh air, sea spray and woody notes that capture the scent of the English coast. When you first spray it you'll get a burst of zesty but soft grapefruit and an undertone of cool marine saltiness, which makes the scent initially airy and light and after that it gives way to deeper tones of subtle musky, warm ambrette seed and sensual, aromatic sage. I've never come across a composition like this and it creates a very natural, understated and dreamy fragrance with a slightly raw and gritty undertone reminding me of salty sun kissed skin. It's a sophisticated, relaxed and harmonious scent as far away from florals as you can get and I would even say that it can easily be worn by both women and men.

As much as I am enamoured with this scent unfortunately I have to say that as with many of the other Jo Malone colognes the scent doesn't last as long as I would have liked and on me it starts to fade after only a few hrs. That's not going to stop me from wearing it and it doesn't take away from that fact that it's a scentsational fragrance. I absolutely adore this modern, beachy and woody scent and it has definitely captured the spirit of summer, which will be perfect for keeping spirits up as we move into Autumn. Jo Malone has a wonderful range of scents that are now modern classics, but I love the innovative concepts and new directions we've seen this year - first with the London Rain Collection and now this amazing evocative scent. The unique Wood Sage & Sea Salt launches in September and it will be available in a hand & body wash, body creme and candle as well so you can surround yourself with the memory of summer, and we can all live the rest of the year by the sea side.