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Sunday, 13 July 2014

beach bag must haves


there's no tropical holiday in my diary JUST YET. i've already been to new york and paris this year, but it ain't enough. i'm thinking san sebastián, or maybe barbados, or maybe i just ain't picky at all. either way, i've already sussed out my warm weather favourites. other than a good book (and i really recommend chimamanda ngozi adichie's 'americanah') and sunnies, there a few bases that need to be covered. first up, a really great facial sunscreen. i like institut estederm's adaptasun for the face when i want a little colour, but in strong sun, or as a primer, can't say better than chantecaille's anti-glycation primer. it packs a whopping SPF50, is totally oil and petrochemical free and feels divine on the skin. total love for this bad boy which makes my skin feel all supple and lovely. for my body, i really love adaptasun. it essentially works WITH your body to make it better at protecting itself from the sun. estderm's big belief is that a (safe) tan is actually your body's best defense against damage, and they've got years of research behind them to create this sunscreen which helps boost your melanin but blocks damaging, ageing and cancerous rays from harming you. and you get a nice tan, yay! also, people forget about sunscreen for your hair and scalp. hair can still get damaged by the sun, and go brittle or dry or have your colour kind of fried, so i like phyto's phyto plage sun veil, which is a lovely smelling spritz for the hair that has a UV filter to keep your locks lovely.

when it comes to beach make up, simple is better. when it's really hot, i don't wear anything as a base (however, french pharmacy faves la roche posay make a sunscreen called anthelios XL tinted fluid which is an SPF50 with the coverage of a BB cream, and it's amazing, and like £13 so try that) but if i want a little something to liven things up, a sweep of semi-matte bronzer helps to give me a bit of contour and definition and make my face less flat. i love this bronzer from stila, called sweet treat, which has both pinky tones and bronzed ones that you can sweep together and dust on. it's similar to benefit's sugarbomb, but half the price and less powdery, so it glides on a bit more cream-like. i also love the whole BECCA beach tint range, but the eye tints are really pretty, easy to apply and water-resistant. they give quite a sheer, wearable wash of colour that doesn't look too done.

finally, the REN vita mineral emoillent SOS cream. this is just a great all rounder - i use it as lip balm, and on dry elbows and ankles, and even as a facial moisturiser in a pinch. it's handy for when you feel baked by the sun. what do you take to the beach?

Monday, 7 July 2014

current most loved


it's not all lipsticks and blush, you know. yes, i have been to known to try and curl the eyelashes of unwilling male friends, or passive-aggressively 'gift' moisturiser to my dad, but i have a few pursuits that aren't bottled on my dressing table. that being said, i don't subscribe to this whole 'beauty or brains' dichotomy; as this tumblr user puts it, it's not like mascara glues my eyes shut so i can't read books or do algebra. so, in the spirit of this, my current loves to share are not just beauty. first of all, the reading. i recently finished a bachelor's degree in english literature, with my dissertation speciality being in psychoanalysis. the thesis may be in, but my brain's still with kristeva, freud, et al, and so i've been loving stephen grosz's 'the examined mind' - the real life case stories from grosz's therapy rooms. for the more hardcore enthusiast, the jacqueline rose reader. i had the honour of being taught by dr rose this year, and i find her staggeringly intelligent and inspirational when it comes to feminism and psychoanalysis. she's so eloquent i used to get nervous when i tried to speak up in class, gulp.

onto fashion, i fell pretty hard for this lace bralet in topshop. it was £22 (i think), and since buying it, i've seen it on countless blogs, so clearly, i'm not alone in my love for looking like a goth bridesmaid. i love how delicate the spaghetti straps and eyelash lace is - it's perfect with shorts for a festival or a fitted skirt for a fancy dinner (which i have many of, alone in my flat, while watching orange is the new black)

aaaand beauty. okay, the urban decay perversion mascara* isn't out until august, but trust me, it's worth the wait. even better when used with the subversion lash primer, this gives me the fullest, fluffiest lashes ever. it's even better than benefit's they're real! for me, because it looks more natural but doesn't lack drama. still on my eyes, the charlotte tilbury the uptown girl color coded eyeshadow quad. i'll do a tutorial later, but i love these shades and they're so long-wearing.

i've also been wearing essie's 'blanc'* on my nails continuously for weeks - it's so chic and longwearing. my skincare fave at the moment is my just-repurchased elemental herbology purify and soothe cleanser - it's balmy texture melts away dirt and leaves my skin feel really, really soft.

finally, my fragrance du jour. tom ford's violet blonde. it starts uber-feminine (and kinda sexy) and settles into a more masculine, soft scent. i find it SO sophisticated and i love having a signature scent that feels really, you know, me.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

summer make up with charlotte tilbury and chantecaille


guess who had a birthday? i did! i'm now, gulp, 21. seeing as i started couture and crumpets aged 16, i feel something of a blogging veteran now, like i've earned my stripes or something. my birthday was a pretty special celebration, with my first (gluten free) pizza and beer in years, a poolside breakfast and a party on a rooftop. to be honest, the pizza was the most exciting. i got some great gifts, like the jacqueline rose reader (i was lucky enough to be taught by dr rose this year, and i've been a not-so-closet fangirl ever since), a truly inspiring sketch of myself complete with realistically huge eyebrows, and cocktail making gear. my parents gifted me some charlotte tilbury makeup i've had my eye on for a few months since trying it at their press day, namely the filmstar bronze and glow and the powder and sculpt brush. this is the EASIEST, most natural yet dramatic looking contour kit i've ever used and i'm in love. it gives you an amazing candelit glow, and the bronze tone is just right for me to have some definition without going muddy, which the kevyn aucoin sculpting powder does on me. it's called filmstar for a reason; the packaging is totally chic, but the finish of the product is really special. i've only tried it with the powder and sculpt brush, and then used my real techniques buffing brush to blend it in, but i've always been really happy with how it looks. at £49, no, it ain't cheap, but it's a truly divine product that gives a believable finish.

i've been wearing my bronze and glow with two summery favourites from chantecaille's core collection; the laughter blush and daphne lip chic*. the blush is a lovely deep pink with an ever so slight coral note that gives me this really nice, innocent-looking flush. i love my laura mercier angled cheek contour brush* for applying powder blush. i tend to apply on the tops of cheekbones rather than the apples for a more contoured look, but it's such a nice pop of colour that wakes up my face. the daphne lip chic is this great, moisturising, sheer-yet-intense kissable pink that makes my mouth look all pleasantly shiny and juicy. it's a softer pink than an intense one, and it's nice for everyday or for evening looks when you want to play up your eyes. do you like my summer look? (i write this as it pours with rain...)

Friday, 20 June 2014

the (luxe) body beautiful


sometimes, you feel like spoiling yourself. you know those kinds of nights you have alone at home where you're like, 'yeah, i'm gonna do every single mask i own and lie in awkward positions so i can put some super-thick body butter that doesn't really absorb too well and i'm gonna blow dry my hair and EVERYTHING'? (this might just be me being unable to function when i don't have anything to do, but i digress) now it's hot out, i have my legs out basically every day, and i've thus been a bit more aware of when they feel dry, or look a bit lacklustre. plus, in my head, i want to live a totally glossy life where every part of me is shiny and healthy (i think this is called pinterest syndrome). the reality is that i end up doing heaps of unglamorous stuff, like ironing, taking the bins out and wholly undignified aerobic exercises in a crowded gym. BUT, at least my skin looks good, amirite? i've got a few products i love for when i want my legs to look airbrushed perfect; first up, this terrifying looking contraption from sarah chapman, which is called 'the bodylift'*. it's basically a body version of her famous facial massager, which encouraged lymphatic drainage and healthy blood flow to the area. i use it on my upper thighs and backs of my calves, and - sorry dad - my derriere. it doesn't hurt at all, in fact, it's just like having a tiny mini massage. i find it helps smooth out the skin, and temporarily work away stretch marks and what have you. i've not used it regularly enough to be able to vouch for it in the long-run, but it's a nice treat nonetheless. then, for moisture, the aurelia firm and revitalise dry body oil*. don't let the name fool you, this is all about hydration. but it's not sticky, which is great. it has the lovely aurelia scent of neroli, rose and mandarin, and it makes my skin feel super soft. it gives it a kind of nourished glow, and it's a great alternative to moisturiser if you want something lighter. finally, when i'm about to head out, i love the this works skin deep golden skin elixir. it doesn't really get much more luxe than this, as this has actual 24 carat GOLD in it, but all i know is the blend of essential oils and gold make for seriously shiny legs. in a good way, not an oiled-up way. it gives you that kind of red carpet glowy skin look, like how i imagine gwyneth paltrow's elimination diet leaves her looking. as you can tell from the photo, i tried to live that life, but mm, wine and ice cream. anyway, these are my trusty trio for when i want to look totally heavenly. do you have any body faves?

Friday, 13 June 2014

stila magnificent metals metallic foils


sometimes, you just wanna go all out. well, for me, that's kind of every day but i know some people prefer to wear glitter only on 'special occasions' and consider a look that requires more than one shade of eyeshadow an 'evening look' but pfft, amateurs. no, i'm kidding, as much as i love make up, i know lots of people would rather the extra half hour in bed or lack the interest (or dexterity) to anything swish on the day to day. however, when i amp it, i really amp it up, as displayed in this look.
i first got my hands on the stila magnificent metals metallic foil eyeshadows* a while back and i've been transfixed ever since. i really don't know that there's much else on the market like them; tiny pots of sponge like, dense eyeshadow that you mix with the accompanying primer on a tray for a sheer wash of colour, or use neat for a denser block. okay, no, this isn't quick, but the pay off is amazing. you can get really futuristic looks, or use to enhance a smokey eye. i love kitten and comex copper best; kitten's a soft rose gold, copper a burnished bronze. i created this look by using the naked palette*; sin over the lid of my eye and sidecar in the crease, with toasted just above the crease to blend it all together and add a bit of definition. i still love my real techniques brushes for this in the your eyes enhanced set; the creased brush is also good for blending in excess product. next, i used the smashbox waterproof shadow liner in black to draw a little arrowhead in the corner of my eye and opposite in the crease, which i buffed through with the smudger end. this gives the eye a bit of smoke and helps to break through all the pinky tones. i loved the dior style liner, so when i heard it had been replaced i was gutted. turns out, the replacement, the it liner, is EXACTLY the same, just has different packaging. it's still easy to use and gives a great, buildable line, so i did this at the lashes for definition. now, the metallic foil. i did a TINY dab of primer on the centre of each lid, then carefully applied the kitten shadow to the centre, in a thick line. i blended it a little with fingers and a brush, until you get this sort of metallic gleam that makes the eye look bigger and adds drama. i finished it with a hundred coats of kevyn aucoin's the essential mascara* and set it with some NARS light reflecting powder. i love this for a more glam, smokey look that's playful - kind of a fun twist on grey.

i've been wearing my foil eyeshadow during the day as a sheer wash of glitter, but i love using it to accentuate night-time looks. they're very versatile with a truly unique effect, so if you're willing to put in some time playing with them, you'll love the results. also, one pot lasts FOREVER. do you like this? have you tried any of the foils?