Monday, 6 May 2013

The shopping edit: May.

It's May bank holiday weekend while I'm writing this and we're sitting in our blankets with the heating on after a rainy, blustery day spent trawling shops and purchasing fudge, accidental beauty products and other nutritionally-devoid items most of which I have already eaten (hey, it's diet cheat day). It's really cold, and I'm feeling a bit whiney about it. I haven't done one of these little shopping edits in a while, because to be frank, I've been dirt poor. Not nibbling at crusts poor, or any kind of poor that would make you think I'm anything other than a hugely privileged young lady, but times have been hard. Thankfully I'm finally starting to come out of that eternal winter and allowing myself a few little treats here and there for the first time since January, and it's nice to really have to be very choosy about what I spend my hard-earned money on, because I can't just buy whatever the hell I feel like anymore.

As I'm now one of those engaged ladies that proudly sports a diamond (yes, a REAL one from actual Tiffany's) and I've got wedding saving on the brain, beauty indulgence has taken a definite back seat as I readjust to saving for the most expensive thing Kiwi and I will ever do in one go. Ever. Isn't that a bit frightening? Gulp. I'm just watching as our little pot of money increases to being able to afford an amazing holiday in Florida and Disneyworld - and that just barely pays for the photographer and my dress. Not that I'm ever complaining - I'm horrendously, vomit-makingly happy right now.



As usual, if you click the image of the product you're interested in, you will be taken to a website you can buy it at and read more.  None of my links are sneaky affiliate links or sponsored and I don't make anything from you clicking, so click away without fear!

1. Hourglass Opaque Rouge in Canvas.

I bought my first Opaque Rouge about a month ago and was so floored that I need another. I think out of the current range, this is the only other shade I really need or want at the moment - a nice rosy neutral pink that will give me a fresh, youthful face for summer. These babies wear like iron and don't dry your lips out as badly as other stains can, plus are paraben and apparently gluten free (haha, what?! I know). These are possibly one of my favourite finds of recent times, because they really put in the hours without budging.  Trust me on these, they are WONDERFUL.

2. Jouer Matte Moisture Tint.

I've been waiting for this forever and I really hope it's as good as I want it to be. I'm coming to the end of my MAC Studio Moisture Tint, which now makes me greasy and slightly yellow like I'm an extra in The Simpsons, so I'm really looking forward to trying a new product in time for summer. Seeing as NARS only just recently expanded their shade line, they missed out on my money for their tinted moisturiser, and I plumped for Jouer in shade porcelain instead.

3. Jouer Tint in Peony.

A bit of an impulse purchase, this is a lip and cheek tint from Jouer that looks to be similar to my beloved Becca Lip and Cheek Crèmes that I always whip out around summer time (other people whip out much more unmentionable things the moment the sun comes out), because I love the convenience and lightness of these kinds of products. I couldn't resist this cool pink flush for my lips and cheeks this summer, and I'm really excited for this one.

4. DJV Beautenizer Volume Lash mascara.

Disappointment du jour. I just think this is not as good as I wanted or expected it to be, and I'll tell you everything in a review a little bit later. It doesn't give me enough volume and is really easy to mess up on application as it just gobs onto the lashes. It's nice and black and stays all day without smudging, but I am left sad and volume-less with this one.

As I'm just getting into the swing of allowing myself a few beauty treats without major self-flagellation or fear of my bank account going so far into minus numbers that it becomes a mathematical puzzle, I think I went for products I was really interested in, rather than things I needed.  I wanted a little variety.

What's your eye on this month?

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Hayches Clive Pouch, a little giveaway... And the sad story of what's in my handbag.


I'm not even going to start this post telling you where I've been or how I got here.  It's been a somnambulistic journey and my eyes are barely open.  Enough about that boring claptrap though, I come to you today with a question (and a promise that I will be posting once a week from now on, because that's the best promise I can currently manage).  Have you ever wondered what's in my handbag?

No?

Well, you're in for a treat.  Here it is in all its glory…


Inventory:

  • 2 mittens.  For the SAME HAND. Different ones.  I am clearly incompetent.
  • A lint roller.  Doesn't everyone keep one of these in their handbag? Not to mention, it doesn't have a cover on it so it just collected all my things in my handbag like a badly-made multi-use tool (including keys, a pack of tissues and some paracetamol)
  • 2 biros.  Neither work.
  • A chewed up drinking straw. This was clearly planted by my cats, who are obsessed with the mystical bendy powers of the straw.
  • A loyalty card for afternoon tea. Don't tell my gym coach. (5 stamps to gooo!)
  • 9 (!!!) lipsticks.  7 pictured, found an extra two later.
The point is, I have 9 lipsticks in my handbag, because I'm nothing if not a woman who likes a lot of choice.  A LOT (hence why when we order Chinese food I order about 5 dishes).  The point is, I'm supposedly an adult, and my handbag is totally full of junk, and I'm one of those people that loves to compartmentalise.

Hayches, a little London-based company, contacted me a little while ago, because I'd had some of their beautiful suede pouches pinned forever.  I saw a review a really long time ago, and had been pining over these beautiful suede pouches on their website for about…a year.  That's a lot of pining.  I chose to review the Clive pouch in pale grey, because it looked so simple and classically elegant that I just couldn't not.  I already know that next time I'll be going back in for the black, and also a bigger one (to keep ALL the things in).  I am so messy, but there's something satisfying in compartmentalising my mess into smaller, more manageable messes.

Hayches Clive pouch in pale grey
The Clive pouch is a gorgeous little soft suede pouch to keep emergency things in in a classy and elegant manner (like tampons, because you never know when you're going to pull one out of your bag while rummaging for something else… we've all been there).  It has a silk lining with a print that reminds me of a beautiful Liberty print scarf I once had, and it's soft and pliable and well-made.  



The zipper is brass and chunky, and it's the simplicity of detail that had me at hello with this little pouch.  It's perfect for keeping iPhones, all the lipsticks you have in your handbag, your Oyster card, and those little bits and pieces that don't have a place but always end up getting lost and then you panic (mine is keys).  The thing that blew me away with this little pouch is the quality - the suede is so soft and pliable and smooth feeling, and it's finished beautifully with the detail of the silk lining adding to the understated elegance.  I'd like to point out at this juncture that I'm slightly worried I'm going to ruin it, because it's too pretty for me.

Detail shot - inside label and lining.

The thing that drew me in about Hayches was the simple, understated design of the products on their website, because they are exactly something I'd pick for myself in terms of my own personal style.  I class myself as  'boring', usually, and 'plain' swiftly after.  I usually mean 'classic' - and that's exactly what these pouches are.  They retail for £23 on Hayches.com with free UK shipping...

BUT! There's a little bit more.

Hayches are offering 12% discount and free shipping on the website with the code 'Camiloveskiwi' for the next 10 days...

And! You can win either an iPhone or Blackberry sleeve of your choice by commenting on this post.  Hop on over to the Hayches website to see what sleeves they have to offer, then comment back here with your choice.  The lucky winner will be picked by random drawing in 7 days time, and the giveaway is open internationally!

(Just so you know, I'm logging IPs, so I'll know if you cheat!) 

Good luck!



Friday, 8 February 2013

Getting texturised with the GHD Air hairdryer!

I'd actually heard some buzz surrounding GHD's latest hair accessory prior to its launch, probably because for the first time, it wasn't a new pair of straighteners with new-fangled bits and bobs.  The GHD Air*, GHD's newest hair accessory, then, is a hairdryer, and a new one on the market that makes some bold claims.  It comes loaded with a  powerful 2,100W motor, an extra-long flex cord so you can move around (if that's your game), and what GHD calls 'advanced ionic technology' that is designed to lock in moisture and keep your hair shiny and less frizzy.



GHD Air (accidental fingerprints optional)

Another look at the GHD Air hairdryer.
Now, me… I'm not so much an expert on either hair, or blowdryers.  Personally, I tend to be satisfied when my hairdryer is set to blast setting and I can get my hair done and dusted in a few minutes.  There's nothing more dissatisfying than owning a weak hairdryer that feels like you're being lightly breathed on by an asthmatic pensioner.  My own hair type is fine and flat, but I have a fair bit of it, and it benefits from a powerful dryer that has a variable heat setting - because too hot and it goes knotty and frizzy, but too weak and I end up with horrible, flat hair. 

While testing this dryer out, I was challenged to create a no-fuss, easy-assembly hair look with the dryer, so I used it to create a tousled, volumised look for fine hair - have a little look (it's like a minute long!):



After spending so many years of my teens ironing my hair straight and flat, it seems ironic now that I spend a lot of time and money doing the exact opposite.

The GHD Air, then, is a sleek little model of a hairdryer that is matte black with silver accents; it's sleek and functional and not over-done.  It comes with two different nozzles - one is shorter and wider while the other is narrower and longer, and they attach really well without falling off mid-gust. The first thing I noticed about the GHD Air is that it feels incredibly light and doesn't take a strong bicep to wield.  It's much less weighty than my current hairdryer, and actually kind of felt weirdly light, like when you pick up a dummy mobile phone in a phone shop.  That kind of light.

Isn't it ionic... doncha think?

The ionic technology thing is the selling point for this dryer.  It claims to reduce frizz and increase shine, as well as stopping static in hair.  While I didn't notice a huge reduction in static… because I don't have hair that does that every often, I did notice my hair looking shinier and sleeker after every blow-dry, and it dried my hair quicker than my non-ionic dryer.

Overall, the GHD Air is a really, really good dryer.  It cut drying times for me, and I noticed less frizz and more shine in my hair without feeling like I needed to do bicep curls to wield the dryer for the time needed to get my hair dry.  A thing I would have loved to see is the option to have a multi-region plug, so that it would travel more easily in Europe with a two-prong option - but the plug is moulded, which seems a shame.  Is the advanced ionic technology of the GHD Air unique enough to be its USP? Perhaps not, as other brands have done it for less dollah - but there's no doubt at all that GHD have done very well with their foray into other hair tools.

* PR sample, gifted by GHD.

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Video: Beauty Favourites of 2012

If you don't already watch my Youtube channel, which is the reason I got started on all this wonderfully verbose musing on this here blog, then here's a little video of my beauty favourites of 2012, which took a lot of over-thinking, crossing out and then re-drafting in order to make my final shortlist.


I felt like a crotchety, bored old lady this year with beauty, to be honest.  I tend to love a lot of things all at once, but they were all things I'd already mentioned and loved before.  There's no need to rehash an old flame, is there?  So these were those 10 elusive perfect products of the year of 2012.  Settle in, get a cup of something (I won't judge if it's whisky), and enjoy.

Friday, 25 January 2013

Illamasqua SS12 I'mPerfection - beautifully imperfect.

Illamasqua always does funny things to me.  When I see an invite to the launch of their newest collection, I move everything around to be able to get there, because there's something sort of unmissable about it: here is an intelligent, philanthropic brand who have a very clear idea of who they are, what they're doing and how they're going to do it.

L-R, top-bottom: Lipstick in Immodest, Intense Lipgloss in Shoot; speckled nail polish in Fragile; collection visual; blush duos and nail polishes.
I like a brand that thinks differently and self-analyses at every turn, because that little bit of introspection from their warped square packaging which plays on just pure cosmetic form, to innovative textures, unusual colours and, above all, a narrative to tie it all together... It really sets them apart from everyone else.

Illamasqua's I'mPerfection is a collection that exposes the duality of beauty and imperfection, a celebration of the features that make us all human and different, and that other brands suggest we keep covered.  Freckles, birthmarks, scars and the marks we bear as an example of being living, breathing human beings, and all wonderfully different from one another, are exposed, celebrated and venerated.   In I'mPerfection, Illamasqua is drawing back the veil of factory-churned beauty homogeneity, exposing us bare as the unique beings that we are, in the most beautiful way that they can.

Illamasqua's I'mPerfection collection also celebrates, too, a distortion of traditional concepts of beauty.  The contagion of black liquid liner that Illamasqua so cleverly addressed in the Human Fundamentalism has met a new use in I'mPerfection as a gorgeously ornate, but very simple to recreate speckled eyeliner look, inspired by the patterning on a feather.

Illamasqua's speckled eyeliner, beautifully applied for me at the event.

My own more subtle take on the speckled eyeliner, using Precision Inks in Scribe and Wisdom.  Also wearing Hussy blush from the blush duo on cheeks, and Immodest lipstick.
Those who know their Illamasqua might be surprised to see their nod to the usual pastels of Spring instead of the slashingly loud brights they have made their name from.  The new speckled nail polishes are gorgeous, inspired by the speckled patterns of eggs, and a subverted form of the candy-sweet pastels that flood other makeup counters in their hordes, where hex glitter pieces mar the beautiful pastel finish with a randomised pattern.  It looks effortlessly gorgeous, and these nail polishes are my favourite piece of the whole collection.

Speckled polishes in Freckle (soft neutral) and Speckle (soft lilac)
Celebrating the rites of spring too, is a bright spring green lipgloss called Shoot, which actually (surprisingly) seemed to suit quite a lot of the people I saw wearing it last night, despite the fact that it is possibly, in the words of David Horne, the most artificial texture and colour combined.  The lipstick, Immodest, is a biting neon pink that sears the retinas and jars the vision.  It's a matte finish, however, so is drier, and it also stains to leave a swollen, just-bitten kind of look.

Possibly one of the key pieces of the new collection was Illamasqua's reinvention of the way in which we apply blush - which is usually with a round blush.  The Blush Up Brush was one of the most exciting new launches for me, because it's something innovative and is forcing us to reprogram from the somnambulistic way in which we apply our makeup in its same routine order.  Its unique shape allows you to apply flush in an upward-flicked motion, and it really is worth its salt.  Illamasqua brushes are fantastic anyway, and I expected the best on this one.

Lipstick in Immodest; Blush Up Brush in full glory.
Last but not least, the blush duos, a launch hinted at by Illamasqua during Christmas when their first one, a duo of Lover and Hussy, was launched.  Lover is a pure soft apricot shade, and Hussy is a bright candy pink - both are matte and apply with no chalkiness.  My pick, however, is the duo of Katie and Ambition, and I'm eagerly awaiting its launch online to snap up.  I love the idea of these duos as you get 2 blushes in one - though overall you do get less product.

Blush duo, featuring shades Lover (soft apricot) and Hussy (bright candy pink)

My picks?
- Speckled nail varnishes - grab these while you can! I'm going to need to get Fragile (a soft blue), Mottle (a mint green) and Scarce (a soft pink).
- Blush duo in Katie and Ambition.
- Blush Up Brush - this is going to change everything. I can feel it.



This collection, like the last, was a sensitive and lovely feel-good mix of a collection, where there was a prevailing beautiful use of aesthetic to create stunning makeup looks out of the things we'd usually cover up.  As with every new Illamasqua collection, I'm so excited for this collection because once again Illamasqua have delivered a beautiful collection with a story to match.  I'mPerfection launches in stores from the 31st of January.

What's on your wishlist?

Saturday, 19 January 2013

I love you, but I can't commit: Chantecaille Future Skin Foundation


 A little while ago, I convinced myself I had to have Chantecaille's Future Skin foundation, a product with a price tag that doesn't just make me gulp, but it also provokes spontaneous religion in me, in the sign of the cross, and a kind of terrified backing away-type of movement.  £55 is a lot of money to spend on something I'm going to smear on my face, keep it there for around 10 hours or so, and then remove.  And what's more, £55 is a lot of money to spend on the aforementioned when it's not utterly perfect…

Because Chantecaille Future Skin didn't turn out to be as perfect as I wanted it to, and that is a bit of a hard stab.

Future Skin foundation is one of those kind of perfect-on-paper type product that boasts a good array of ingredients that should offer benefits to the skin, alongside an oil-free gel-crème texture that blends flawlessly into the skin with no lines, crêpey face, and a light texture that looks like your skin if it wasn't your skin at all.  



It basically boasts a recipe of ingredients, rather than a list, a set of edible, natural sources from rosemary leaf extract to chamomile that are included with particular purposes in mind.  One ingredient makes the boldest claim, though, and this is where the product falls on its ass in a huge and unceremonious manner.  Natto gum, an ingredient derived from soybeans, is one such ingredient that claims to reduce sebum production by 26% after 7 days of consistent use…

Er, yeah okay (not).  This foundation turns me into an oily mess after a few hours.  Despite the fact that I love the finish, I have found this makes me oily like no other foundation I own, and others have vouched for that too.  It's the most beautiful make-love-to-it finish and you almost want to dedicate a song to it on account of how perfect it looks (I'd go with Eric Clapton's Wonderful Tonight), but GIIIIRL, that oil? No way.  No can do, sorry Chantecaille!

The foundation itself is a thick gel-crème that smoothes like buttah into the skin with no lines or heaviness.  It feels so light on the skin and beautifully smooth, while photographing wonderfully and giving you the skin of a baby hippo, or the skin you always wish you had.  It's your skin, but enhanced.  The coverage is light-medium, has a fantastic shade range for paler skins and it's endlessly buildable - but it just falls so short on wear time and makes me oily to the point of having to remove my makeup earlier than scheduled.

Wearing Chantecaille Future Skin foundation in Porcelain - no flash.
Honestly? I'd save your money on this - do you know what's similar? Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation - which gives you £45 extra to play with.  Go buy yourself a McDonalds and a trip to the cinema (because the cinema is horrendously expensive these days - do I want 3D?! NO I JUST WANT TO SEE THE MOVIE).  Then sit down and give yourself a pat on the head, because these foundations (with a few adjustments) are pretty similar indeed.

You're welcome.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

How to come back from the dead and/or the story of PhD.


If anyone, ever, in your life, jogs up to you in a velour tracksuit and offers you an opportunity to study for a PhD, don't do it.  The jogging part (and the velour tracksuit) actually never happened - how it happened was that an old professor dropped me in it, and then my current professor accepted me on the basis of the other professor's words of encouragement about the apparent amazingness of my brain. And then I went for an 'interview' in a too-short skirt where I was informed that very-well-done, it looked like I had a place on a PhD course.

Anyway, that was over 3 years ago.  And what I will say is that it has consumed my life, to the point where I'm mostly a gibbering wreck.  I can't sleep, I panic quietly, and then loudly once the quiet panicking has run out, and then I neglect the things that I truly enjoy - like this.  So if everyone could just promise me that if some madman offers you the chance to study for a PhD, you won't accept? It's for the sake of your sanity, truly.

My PhD still isn't over.  I have piles and piles of indecipherable notes and am a veritable fire hazard in my own home.  I am also at flood risk due to the ridiculous amounts of nervous crying I keep managing to do, which isn't me grasping at self-pity, just that my tiny brain keeps short-circuiting with worry and then it falls over and needs rebooting.  So blogging kind of takes a back seat a lot.

Mostly my makeup routine is the same, and accompanied by a good amount of coffee and one eye shut, but I have been enjoying a few little products that I've been finding solace in recently, mainly for their melty, can't-see-the-streak-marks and do well when terribly applied (because of the one-eye-closed application):



1. Perfect complexion: Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum foundation.

My love for this has been reignited in the last 2 months, this is one of my absolute top five foundations, even though the colour is too yellow and too dark. I reviewed it a long time ago on my Youtube channel, and still get comments from people thanking me for bringing it to their attention. It's this beautiful gel-based formula that is light on the skin and blends beautifully and smoothly. It has a light-medium coverage and gives me this soft-focus my-skin-but-better look, it just looks perfect. This is a fantastic product. I find it pretty similar, if I'm honest, to my £55 Chantecaille Future Skin foundation... except for the fact that it's better and a fifth of the price. Trust me on this one.

2. Cheery cheeks: Illamasqua powder blusher in Sophie.

This cheers me up, it's a big bright smack of colour that brightens up my face and cuts through all the sludgy plum colours I dug out for winter recently. I know we're currently teetering on the edge of snow (and therefore, in the UK, the entire shutdown of the country and no public transport after a small sprinkling of it), but I'm so over it. This little baby is brightening my mood, and I only need the tiniest bit to feel less grey.

3. Vintage classic: MAC Viva Glam Cyndi lipstick.

A while ago, convinced by Kiwi, I sold my one back-up of this, and then regretted it. This is a stunner of a watermelon coral that I dug out about a week ago and haven't let go of since. It just goes so perfectly with Illamasqua's Sophie that the two combine to create the sunniest face of the day.

4. Lazy-day lips: Sleek Pout Polish in Perfect Plum.

This lives in my handbag, and where I go, it goes... But I completely forgot about it, and recently it's all I've reached for, especially when I'm in search of a lip balm with a bit of colour to enhance my pallid lips but condition them from that biting sea breeze. I have loved this for a long time, and I'm glad to come back to it again. It's a sheer, moisturising balm (scented very strongly with coconut, beware!), that gives me a put-together look, even when I'm in the laziest of moods.

5. Skin food: Emma Hardie Rejuvenating Night Cream.

I got this in some kind of special value gift set and never thought much of it, but when my regular night cream made me so oily in the morning I felt like I'd slept in a chip pan, I had to change my nightly skin care routine. This cream (although smelling like geraniums, bleeeugh), is this gorgeous, thick cream that makes my skin feel really plump and nourished after I use it. It sinks in well without leaving a greasy film and just feels lovely to use.

6. Because science: Hydraluron Moisture Booster.

Living right on the sea this winter has forced me to rethink my skin care. When my skin started feeling tight, and needed multiple applications of moisturiser in the morning, I turned to Hydraluron to try and help my skin out a bit. This is a serum of pure hyaluronic acid, which binds water/moisture to the skin, so application before moisturiser basically helps your skin to make better use of it. My skin had been getting so dry, and then so oily later in the day that it needed fixing, and this worked by rebalancing my skin.

What's been floating your boat recently in terms of makeup and skin care? Sometimes I don't even think of the products that I grab without thinking, and these are those.

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