Sunday 31 July 2011

My First Ever Mac Piece! - MAC Semi Precious Rose Quartz MSF

I have seen lots of MAC collections come and go and not felt an overwhelming urge to purchase anything...until now. The semi precious collection (out now) was the first that really, really caught my eye and I was itching to purchase something. Having looked at swatches on various sites of the range of products available in this collection I knew I had to buy the Rose Quartz MSF. So I placed an order with Debenhams along with an Urban Decay Eye Primer Potion and impatiently waited its arrival!

MAC Semi Precious Collection - Rose Quartz Mineralize Skinfinish (MSF)

This is described by MAC as - A luxurious velvet-soft powder with high-frost metallic finish. Smoothes on: adds buffed-up highlights to cheeks, brows, anywhere on the body: provides an ultra-deluxe polish to the skin

Semi Precious Rose Quartz Open 

Close Up 

I am delighted, this is so pretty!

Swatches of Rose Quartz MSF in natural light (from l-r outer, centre, blended together)

Swatches of Rose Quartz MSF with flash (from l-r outer, centre, blended together)

I am in total love with this MSF, it is gorgeous, like nothing else I own. It is so soft and powdery making it easy to apply and blend. I love that I can use it in three ways. It has a wonderful high sheen to it and if you are looking for a highlighter this does the job nicely too. The outer pink is stunning in its own right, I adore it as a blush swirled together on my blusher brush and if I really want to highlight my cheeks I just use the centre bit on top of the cheek bones. Amazing.

For my first MAC item I am ecstatic, this is lovely to wear now but it will also take my right through Autumn and Winter. This is definitely a makeup staple that I will use again and again.

And finally a photo of me wearing it, I think it is stunning.

MAC Semi Precious Rose Quartz Mineralize Skinfinish costs £20.50

Friday 29 July 2011

One For The Men - Boss Just Different

I find it really interesting that we spend money on buying perfume and aftershave for others, we choose what we like the smell of and want them to smell like, particularly if it is for our other half..

I often wonder whether research has been done on the top ten aftershaves popular with men and if this is echoed by what women would choose for their man and the same research carried out with perfume. I think it would make interesting reading.

I think these days we are far more clued up on the different fragrances families so when we go into a shop or department store we are able a) sniff and identify similar scents or b) mention what the person normally wears and ask the consultant's advice on what would be similar.

I am not a huge fan of Hugo Boss scents for women,  I only really like Hugo Boss Orange. However, I do find myself drawn to the wonderful scents of Hugo Boss men. These really hit the spot for me and luckily my husband agrees. My favourite is 'Boss Bottled' which smells divine and alluring.

At a recent Christmas press launch I was at, a bottle of the latest Hugo Boss fragrance for men was included in the press pack - 'Just Different'.

Just Different is described by Hugo Boss as a vibrant fragrance with a cool twist to inspire whatever you do. With top notes of ice cold mint, heart notes of basil and freesia and base notes of cashmeran.

What this translates to -

A seriously sexy and manly fragrance.

If I had to describe it in simple terms, it would be like Farenheit (Christian Dior) but updated and fresh. I have always loved Fahrenheit which I now consider to be a classic, this is destined to be a classic too. The base note is Cashmeran which is a musky odour. I did detect a bit of vanilla as the scent was fading.. doing a bit of research I found out that Cashmeran's composition contains vanilla.

The bottle is completely black from front to back, just displaying the Hugo Boss logo. The bottle is encased in a 'soft touch' material and the design is a cool hip flask which unscrews.

This bang up to date fragrance fits in well with the Huge Boss brand and I can see it being up there with the best sellers.

The big question is .. did it appeal to my incredibly fussy 'when it comes to scent' husband?... well happily it did, he never leaves home now without a spray or two or three!

Hugo Boss Just Different EDT is available from The Perfume Shop priced at £36.50 for 100ml

Thursday 28 July 2011

Nails Of The Day - Mavala Elegance

A little while ago I won my choice of 5 nail polishes from Mavala on twitter. One of those shades was Mavala Gold which I love. Mavala Elegance was another of my choices. On the site and in the bottle it looks like a beigey/ latte brown shimmery shade and I was really looking forward to applying it. To be honest I am disappointed with this choice as it not a great match for my skin tone, it doesn't lift it all. That said I like Mavala minis a lot, very easy to apply and the ones I have tried so far have not streaked.


With Flash

This polish is another in the pearl range. When applied I think Elegance looks very similar to and would make a good dupe for Orly's Gilded Coral. In fact I was so taken by the similarity I went and applied Gilded Coral to compare. Here is the original picture I took.

On closer inspection the difference is subtle, Gilded Coral is a thicker, creamier texture which only needs one coat to achieve the same look as Elegance which needs two.. It has more gold running through it so when the sun/light hits it is more gold in appearance, whereas Elegance has more of a pinky/peach tone to it.  Looking at these pictures I am not sure if I was able to capture the similarity between the two but it is definitely there!

I wish I had been more adventurous when choosing the five shades. Now Summer is here a fab, bright orange or coral would have been ideal.. I have three more shades to try from those that I won so look out for future Nails Of The Day.

Wednesday 27 July 2011

Clinique Autumn 2011 Collection - The New Black

The New Black collection has been created by taking its inspiration from a single lip colour, the iconic Black Honey. A range of products featuring violet and berry hues for the eyes, lips and cheeks.

This collection has really caught my eye, I think these shades are wonderful for Autumn and will suit most skin tones.

The items that I am most excited about are the

Gradient Powder Blusher in Black Honey (limited edition) £24.00 / €34.00

I admit I am getting a little addicted to blushers and I think this would make a welcome addition to my collection. This blusher is interesting as it has a slight graduation in the palette, which is not apparent in the above photograph. For darker skins this would make a great blush and I also think it could be excellent as a contour blush for lighter skins...

I cannot wait to see this in the flesh!

Black Honey Lip Duo - Dual Ended Almost Lipstick and Long Last Glosswear SPF15 (limited edition) - £17.00 / €20.00

I love lipgloss, it is no secret and this is whetting my appetite . A dual-ended lip product -  Almost Lipstick for a more classic Black Honey look with a soft dewy finish or, Long Last Glosswear SPF 15 for a sensational look with a high shine finish.

Available at all Clinique counters nationwide from 1st August 2011

Dermalogica Total Eye Care Spf15

I have a terrible time in Summer suffering with hay fever. Most affected are my eyes, they itch like crazy and water, I end up with puffy, red eyes that are dry and wrinkled. I was also also suffering from dark circles. I knew I had to take action as my eyes looked truly awful and were ageing. I had come to the end of Clinique All About Eyes and was looking for something else to try.

A few people on twitter recommended Dermalogica Total Eye Care and having read their website I thought it seemed like it would be ideal so I thought I would buy this and give it a go.

Claims - An advanced alpha hydroxy eye treatment cream to help protect and repair the delicate eye area while reducing the appearance of dark circles and lines. Contains no artificial fragrance or color.

Instructions for use

I like the tube as it has a handy and hygienic nozzle to dispense the cream out.

I have been using Total Eye Care for about a couple of months now and I really like it. As the eye area is so delicate I have to be careful trying out eye creams as they can bring me out in spots but I have had no adverse effects using this. The cream is light and blends well. It hydrates the eye area, reduces puffiness, smooths out the lines I already have and diminishes their appearance with light reflecting particles or optical light diffusers as Dermalogica call it. The cream is ever so slightly tinted in colour, which helps with the camouflage!

I think it is great that it contains a chemical free SPF15 as this will help to reduce future damage and has no artificial colour or fragrance.

I like the fact that it disguises the bad bits immediately for a fast solution but is working away long term. I have seen a real improvement in the texture of my under eye area, it is less wrinkly and my dark circles are lighter. My eyes are not so puffy now either, but I do find that going to bed earlier and getting plenty of rest also helps!

I would definitely repurchase.

Dermalogica Total Eye Care SPF15 for 15mls - Cost varies depending on stockist. 

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Airbase Foundation Review - High Definition Airbrush Makeup

I was recently invited to an event where Airbase foundation was being demonstrated in use with the airbrush gun. When I arrived the model was not wearing any makeup and you could quite clearly see her blemishes. At the end of the demonstration the model had the most beautiful, amazingly flawless and natural looking skin. She looked stunning. I saw first hand what a great tool airbrushing is, sadly I don't have the kit at home and personally I think it is more of a professional tool.

However, I was given a bottle of the Airbase foundation and a brush to take away and try for myself.


I was matched on the night with shade 03 however there are seven shades to choose from ranging from 0-6, 0 being the palest shade. The bottle is basic and functional but that is because it is designed to be used with the airbrush tool. 

Dispensing is easy as it has a thin nozzle.

I have applied it both with my fingers and with the foundation brush, both work well but I do prefer to use the brush when applying it. The foundation contains silicone which makes it sit on the skin like a bubble, before being blended. Airbase also contains Vitamins A and E.

Blends effortlessly and seamlessly

I love this foundation and have been wearing it almost daily since I received it. It feels so light on, provides fantastic, flawless coverage and gives an almost soft focus appearance to the skin. Another bonus is that it won't budge in the summer heat, so you won't feel it sliding off half way through the day. It compares well to my absolute favourite foundation Estee Lauder Double Wear. It is long lasting so a great foundation if you are going to be at a function for a long time or hate the fact that your foundation disappears after a couple of hours. I know a few people love Double Wear but hate the 'white' look it gives in photographs, I personally don't mind that but if you do.. Airbase doesn't do that so that is yet another reason to try it. 

Airbase Foundation costs £32.95 for 30ml and is available to buy by clicking here 

Monday 25 July 2011

Balinese Massage - Mandara Spa At Park Plaza Hotel, Westminster Bridge

One of my regrets on my honeymoon was not having a his and hers massage in Hawaii. I think it would have been lovely to have massaged away all the stresses of planning the wedding. So, when the opportunity arose for my husband and I to try the Balinese Massage at the Mandara Spa, Park Plaza we gladly accepted.

So a few hot Saturday's ago we hopped onto the train and found ourselves in the midst of the hustle and bustle of Westminster Bridge, where mime artists, human statues and hot dog vendors mingle with tourists. Having navigated out of the maze of people we walked a short distance to our destination, The Park Plaza. The hotel is in an excellent location for lots of tourist attractions but for once we were heading in the opposite direction.

 The building is a huge modern building, contemporary in design and pretty much impossible to miss. As we were early we sat down in the Espressamente illy coffee bar for a drink and a read of the papers (I managed to resist the gorgeously tempting cakes). Fifteen minutes before our massage appointment we took the designated 'spa lift' to the Mandara Spa located in the basement of the Hotel.

The Mandara Spa is the first Mandara Spa in the UK. The decor takes its inspiration from Asia with dark wood, bamboo and cream colour scheme and completes the feel with a wonderful black stone water fountain. This was in such contrast to the outside world that we had come from that it was a welcome escape and we were able to fully immerse ourselves in the Bali experience.

Having tried the Mandara Spa Honeymilk Dream Body Butter and loving it, I was looking forward to having the Balinese Massage. This is one of the Spa's signature services and described as 'Our most relaxing massage, harnessing the therapeutic properties of 100% pure essential oils. Used for centuries to renew, strengthen and heal both body and mind, this traditional therapy combines stretching, long strokes, skin rolling and palm and thumb pressure techniques to relieve tension, improve blood flow, ease stress and calm the mind. It can also help to improve the circulatory, lymphatic, muscular and nervous systems.'

We completed the obligatory health questionnaire and waited for our therapists to arrive. We were having our massages in the sole double therapy room.

Once shown to the room we were asked to remove our clothing and lie on the bed, a slight awkward moment occurred when I asked whether we should be completely naked or keep our pants on... the therapist replied that it was up to us, whichever made us more comfortable. The last time I had a massage the therapist had provided paper pants to wear and as this offer was not forthcoming on this occasion, I had to ask the question! We opted to keep our underwear on...However, had I read the PDF on the website a bit more closely I would have seen a section on what to wear and spared our blushes.

The room was warm, welcoming and extremely calming. The decor echoed what was outside, the lighting subdued and the music authentic. Once the therapists set to work my eyes were closed and I just drifted away while they performed their magic. The Balinese Massage was incredible as it combines different techniques of massage which really do work on all the senses. Just as you get comfortable with one style like rolling the therapist changes to another technique which felt really nice. As I was lying there I could smell essential oils being used on my body which was a sensory experience of its own, though I could not identify them.  Apparently you have the option of choosing from four aromatherapy oils depending on your requirements - Calming, Comforting, Sensual and Energising. We were not asked what we would like used on us but I 'think' that my husband had Citrus Spice oil used on him as he came away feeling energised and invigorated. I felt calm and relaxed after my massage so I may have had Tropical Blooms oil used on me, I cannot be sure but what I do know was that I smelt lovely and my skin was left soft and conditioned.

Once the massage was over we headed back to the waiting lounge and enjoyed the cold drinks of fresh lemon, orange and water on offer. There was also a selection of herbal teas. To eat, a choice of fresh fruit and tasty 'healthy' cakes.

We then headed to the Health Centre for a dip in the pool and use of the Sauna and Steam room. This belongs to the hotel so it is possible there will be other guests in there, which being a Saturday afternoon was full of boisterous youths

We left the Mandara Spa with a wonderful sense of contentment. My husband had a real spring in his step and for me, what made my day. was my mum saying that the massage must have done us a world of good as we both looked so well and ten years younger!

We had the 50 minute Mandara Spa Balinese Massage which costs £85 per person. For more details on this and other treatments visit Mandara Spa 

Wednesday 20 July 2011

Nails Of The Day - FashionistA Magnetic Polish

I have not really been taken by the craze for crackle polishes hence not featuring it here, glitter polishes are just too hard to remove, so whilst they look pretty on I will rarely buy them. Nail art is not easy on small nails like mine, so I have also given that a miss. However, this Autumn trend I am sure will really take off as it looks amazing and feels so smooth on the nails.

I love it!

FashionistA Magnetic Polish are set to launch exclusively in Superdrug and on sale on their own website in September with a choice of 5 shades of polish. The magnet that is used to create this look is attached to the lid of the polish. Achieve this effect easily in just seconds by holding the magnet over the polish.

 I am wearing a dark red/pink colour, but I saw people having purple and silver shades applied, which were equally gorgeous.

Keep a look out for this as I think this trend will be huge!

Monday 18 July 2011

Blush Love - Nars Deep Throat Blush Review

I have been lusting after Nars Deep Throat blush ever since I swatched it back at Christmas time along with Torrid blush (coral with shimmer). Simply put, I love the product hate the name.

My little sister came up trumps and surprised me with the blush as one of my birthday presents, thank heaven for little sisters!

Before this I had never owned anything from Nars but I knew from reading magazines, blogs and Twitter that Nars blushes are highly thought of, even my sister has had one of their blushes....

The outer packaging

Closed - This is lovely and velvety to the touch, light but not flimsy.

The product - Comes with an inbuilt mirror which is a good size, I think this is really portable.

Tiny shimmer particles

Nars Deep Throat is described as a peach blush with shimmer. I think this is on the pink side of peach and the shimmer is so subtle and fine that it provides a healthy, natural glow as opposed to being shiny or glittery.

The blush itself has a wonderful light powdery sheer texture which is perfect for layering if you want a more intense look but I love the naturalness of it.

I can see why people love Nars blushers and I am certain this will not be my last purchase, in fact next on my list is Torrid.

I am wearing Deep Throat in my FOTD 

Nars blushes are £20.50 to purchase but I think they are worth every penny.

Which Nars blush do you love ?

Saturday 16 July 2011

Eyebrow Threading At Shavata Brow Studio - Review

Last Wednesday I had my eyebrows threaded for the very first time at the Shavata Brow Studio in House of Fraser Oxford Street, London.

In the past the most I would do would be a small pluck with tweezers so I am well aware that my eyebrows were in dire need of shaping. I have often read that if you get the eyebrows right it can take years off you, similarly pluck too much and they can age you! I chose Shavata as there has been a lot in the printed press about how good they are.

I am going to admit that I really do not do pain well so I was quite nervous as I have heard that threading can be painful and I wasn't really sure what to expect... Nevertheless I headed to House of Fraser, had a coffee and then booked myself in. There was no waiting list so I was seen immediately.

The lady who did my brows asked me how I would like them done, for some reason I was under the impression that the threader would look at your overall face and eyes to determine what the perfect shape was for you. I said I wasn't really sure, I knew I didn't want too thin, but a nice arch and thinner at the ends. I haven't a clue! She then said she had an idea of what she would do and to leave it to her.

There were a few seats at the open stand, I preferred the look of the ones within the stand, people wouldn't be walking around you as they ended up doing to me as I was seated with my head facing the traipsing crowds.First she trimmed the hairs with scissors and then set to work, I was then asked to hold my eye area taut. Again, I had no idea that I would be asked to do this but I went along with it anyway. I won't lie, it stung and hurt like mad, it felt like the hairs were being ripped out violently..I did not show my pain though inside I was silently screaming. I actually think I coped very well. I could feel the hairs being flicked across my face, that is a strange sensation.

The whole experience was over in about 15 minutes. I was given something to put on my eye as one of them had bleeding from the threading, I was told this was because I hadn't held it taut enough. I could feel the hairs on my face but the lady didn't attempt to remove them, I asked the lady if she had something to remove them (like a hairdresser does) I was given a tissue and told to wipe away. My eyebrows felt battered and bruised but they had a nice shape.

The pics..



Right eye

Eyes closed

Left eye

I paid £17.50 for the eyebrow threading and I must say I came away feeling underwhelmed and disappointed in the service I received. I found the girl unfriendly, she didn't put me at ease at all, even though she knew I had never had it done before. I didn't really enjoy the fact that I was 'on show' for the price that I was paying. I felt she was blaming me for not being good at holding my eyes taut enough and ending up with the blood (They hurt when I touched them for a good 24 hours after). I know this is meant to be an express service but I don't think it would hurt to remove the client's hairs off their face. It did feel like I was on a conveyer belt yet there was noone else there!

She offered me a loyalty card but to be honest I don't think I will be returning in a hurry.

Have you had your brows threaded? What do you think of my new eyebrows?


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