Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Boots offer free store collection for online orders

EDIT - it seems that Boots have seen the error of their ways and are now offering collect in store free whatever size your order! Go to the Boots main page to see the new details.

Here's a thing - spend £25 on Boots.com and you can have your bits and bobs delivered to your local store. Free of charge.

This is a definite improvement on their old system, where you had to pay the regular delivery charge for this service, however much you spent.

This is a good way of getting your Urban Decay, Clarins, Clinique, Too Faced etc. delivered to you locally for free if you don't have a counter nearby.

They could have lowered the minimum charge, but let's be honest, it's not difficult to think up ways to spend £25 in Boots now, is it?

Thursday, 23 July 2009

DIY Stila eyeshadow palette

[caption id="attachment_224" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="DIY Stila palette with pans"]DIY Stila palette with pans[/caption]

I found myself in the position of having more Stila shadows than I did slots in my Stila palettes. That's a pretty luxurious dilemma, I think you'll agree.

The reason is that I availed myself of the amazing £2.95 Stila Eyeshadow offer at BeautySpotCosmetics. They're selling Stila pans at £2.95 each, and you will receive a free palette when you order 6 or more shades. A lot of the colours are sold out now. I'm afraid that's partly my fault. Sorry.

In order to store my new bounty of shadows without displacing my existing ones from their palettes (I got greedy and ordered more than 6 at a time from BeautySpot), I decided to DIY my own palette using an old Boots 17 freebie one that had long been sitting disused at the bottom of my stash.

Read on to find out how I did it. (NB, it's not using magic.)

Wednesday, 22 July 2009

Slap Happy - a common-sense UK beauty blog

Visit Slap Happy at www.slaphappybeauty.com

Modest MAC Haul - Seedy Pearl and Sumptuous Olive

[caption id="attachment_215" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Seedy Pearl and Sumptuous Olive eyeshadow pans"]Seedy Pearl and Sumptuous Olive eyeshadow pans[/caption]

Blogging has taken a bit of a back seat this week, falling victim to a more urgent but far less enjoyable demand on my time - huge numbers of job applications. However, a trip to MAC yesterday has put me back in touch with what is truly important in my life: Eyeshadow.

With the last of my store credit (left over from Christmas 2008 - never let it be said that I'm not thrifty sometimes), I picked up two permanent-line eyeshadows that have been softly purring my name.

Limited Editions have come and gone, but I remain convinced that most of MAC's best work resides in its permanent collection. That's why it's permanent I guess (although it's the LE stuff that tends to grab headlines). Passing over the warm shadows from Naked Honey and the Mineralize quads from Colour Craft (is it just me, or are these really sheer?), I picked out Sumptuous Olive, and Seedy Pearl. Two shadows that appeal to my long-standing love of all things duochrome.

Click through for swatches and descriptions.

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Curl products: Tigi Catwalk Curls Rock, reviewed

bedhead-bottlesA few days ago I announced my intention to use and review some of the curly hair specific products gathering dust in my drawer. Summer's a good time to do this, since walking around with naturally-drying wet hair doesn't necessarily result in instant pneumonia and icicles hanging from one's forelock.

So - Curls Rock Shampoo, Conditioner and Curl Amplifier. There are more products in the range (Curl Booster and Leave-in Moisturiser, I believe) but this trio is what I'll be assessing for you today. Click through for a firm but fair appraisal - and a picture of my "rocked" curls.

Wednesday, 15 July 2009

The scent of yesterderday - Discontinued product nostalgia


I'll be frank with you - there is no stone I leave unturned when I'm looking for a bargain, and never more so than when it's a bargain of a beauty-product nature. I was thirsty the other day, and rather than pay £1 for a bottle of Evian, I nipped into nearby LIDL to get a 19p no-name-brand spring water instead. And while I was there, I thought I'd see if they had any beauty items worth nabbing.

Lo and behold, I found 400ml bottles of Herbal Essences shampoo and conditioner at just £1.45 each. They had a mixture of new and old versions, so I picked up the "2nd gen" conditioner in "Hello Hydration" (that's the blue coconutty one), and for old times's sake, a bottle of the old pink rose-scented "Silk'n'Shine" shampoo.

A journey back in time was soon to commence...

Sunday, 12 July 2009

Wowza! Model's Own Neon PM trio, reviewed


When these neon bottles tumbled out of their jiffy bag onto the garden table, my housemate looked up from his laptop and said "What is that?? Is it makeup?"

Yes, it most definitely is!

Neon PM is one of several nail polish trio collections assembled by stylish new British cosmetics brand Models Own. The pink, green and highlighter-yellow shades are all available to buy individually for £5, while the trio together costs £12.

I'm reviewing all three of these brighter-than-bright polishes. Read on to find out if the result is dazzling or simply extreme...

Friday, 10 July 2009

Illamasqua in motion

I went across to Selfridges yesterday for a browse and paid a visit to beautiful Mika at the Illamasqua counter. He mentioned that the Youtube video I posted of my Illamasqua makeover has been getting a lot of notice, and so I thought I'd give it an official home on the blog.

This was a Makeup Lesson, one of Illamasqua's counter services. It's an hour long session with an Illamasqua artist, and it's all filmed on a DVD for you to take away at the end. What you see here is an hour's worth of footage, edited into a few minutes.

The Makeup Lesson costs £30, which is redeemable on products at the end of the session. There is also a Transformation session, which is a full-on makeover ideal for big nights out.


Thursday, 9 July 2009

Juliette Has a Gun - a tale of two testers

On my left forearm - Juliette Has a Gun's fragrance "Miss Charming". A rosey-powdery confection of lacy subtlety and gentle blossom. Maybe a little cloying? Drying down, it gathers warmth, and a kind of bright, cheerful optimism. It's not quite right for me, but with skin chemistry to complement it this would be a sweet daytime scent for work and days out.

On my right forearm - Juliette Has a Gun's "Lady Vengeance". I should confess that it's already in the lead after one look at the label thanks to my fondness for Park Chan Wook's sophisticated and gritty thriller of the same name. Like the leading lady of this flick, the fragrance is dark and complex, with a spicy topnote peppering a cedary, burnished base with trailing tendrils of musk. It's ever so slightly rosey-sweet, too, like a distant cousin of "Miss Charming" perhaps, but definitely not a daytime scent. This is one for the evening, a scent to take out on the tiles.

Juliette Has a Gun is a niche perfume house that has been running since 2006, with an international following. There is a third "sister" to the two fragrances I mention here, "Citizen Queen". Find out more at juliettehasagun.comJuliette Has a Gun - Miss Charming and Lady Vengeance bottles

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Curls - a haircare challenge.


My hair is naturally curly, although many people I know would be surprised to hear it. Most days I straighten or blow-dry my hair into more-or-less straight submission. It's not that I don't like my curls, it's just that I've never been able to make them look presentable.

If I leave my hair to dry naturally, I get ringlets, but also frizz. And if I go to sleep, the next day I wake up with a matted mane of kinks and fluff.

It could be that I need to invest a bit more time and effort in styling my hair in order for it to form happy curls. Hairdressers have suggested mousse, serum and even gel spray... none of which I ever remember to bother with when I come out of the shower.

As a result, I've amassed a drawer full of curl-powering unguents that have been hardly touched. I decided that it was time to "choose or lose" among these languishing bottles and cans. Join me as I decimate my curling product collection and sort the good from the not-so-good... stay tuned.

Saturday, 4 July 2009

MAC Colour Craft is coming! (And they spelled it British style!)

Colourcraft lipglasses

Amid confused reports, it seems like the release date for MAC's limited edition Colour Craft collection in the UK will be JULY 13 according to VexInTheCity, who got it from the horse's mouth by calling her counter.

There's often a bit of fuzz around the exact time we'll be graced with the presence of new collections at different counters, so best to call your intended target up before you make any journeys. I'd call on Friday, as you never know your luck, it could be there early...

The pic above (reposted with thanks from Temptalia.com) shows the visually stunning lipglasses from the collection. We'll also see a new batch of Mineralize Blushes, 6 Mineralize Skinfinishes including the return of the much-coveted Porcelain Pink, and the first ever Mineralize eyeshadow quads.

The buzz around this collection is big, and I'm guessing the sell-out will happen within a few days.

Me though, I'm hanging on for Love Your Look, which will be released around autumn time. That collection has a repromote of Smoke and Diamonds eyeshadow, which I much regretted missing out on last time it was released. Obviously if I was richer I'd be picking up some of the swirling loveliness of Colour Craft too, but unfortunately for us (and fortunately for MAC perhaps), a person could go bankrupt keeping up with every desirable product this brand conceives.

Thursday, 2 July 2009



Are you warm enough there?

I don't think I've experienced heat like this in the UK since I was a little kid running under sprinklers in the heatwaves of the 1980s. It's truly Mediterranean, especially here in London where parks and streets are full of the sunburned, the shirtless and the be-shaded. 23 degrees feels like a distant idyllic memory.

If you're struggling to keep your cool, here are a few tips -

- Keep a spray bottle of water at your desk. A plant spray will do, or you could pick up a travel refill bottle from Boots or Superdrug. Spritz over your face and neck during the day to keep fresh. The water will evaporate, taking the heat with it.

- Do away with face powder and heavy foundation if you can. It'll simply slide off your face thanks to the extra sweating you'll do in the heat. Instead, use a light tinted moisturiser and make your concealer do the work. A solid creamy pencil format like Urban Decay 24/7 or Jelly Pong Pong's Nude and Improved will provide a long-lasting coverage.

- Invest in a fan. No, not an electric fan, but a simple cloth or paper fan that will slip into your handbag. It's an age-old way of providing relief from hot, humid conditions, helping to displace air and create a breeze around your face. Sweat evaporates faster, and your body heat is carried with it. It really does work. If you can find some acolytes to fan you with large palm leaves, even better.

- Drink water! The temptation is to head straight for the Magnums when the mercury reaches these heights, but a glass of water will do a better job of keeping you cool and comfortable, and is a more effective way to stay hydrated. Healthier too (although I'm in no way suggesting that Magnums don't have an important place in a balanced diet).

Stay cool, and enjoy the sunshine. Chances are it'll soon be grey again and we'll be longing for more golden rays.