Friday, 29 January 2010

Sonia Kashuk Brushes

A little while ago now, Space NK were having an awesome January sale in the UK, where they had brushes from the Sonia Kashuk brand on sale for a ridiculously cheap price. Having previously tried to sell them for ridiculously high prices of £25 and upwards, Space NK shrewdly marked them down to about £4 per brush for the sale period.

Obviously I, like a lot of other UK beauty lovers, jumped on this and ordered a few. I have to admit, until this point I'd been completely unfamiliar with the brand. Although I'd heard mentions of them several times on Youtube, I had not yet heard of anyone saying anything about these particular brushes.

So, when the package came (which is another story on its own, and partly why I won't be ordering online from Space NK for a while), I was particularly curious about the products I'd ordered, especially as they retail on US site for a lot less than they do in the UK.

I was so pleasantly surprised, I had to reexamine my previous preconceptions (and indeed misconceptions) about 'branding' of makeup and focus on the product inside! For a brand I'd never used or really heard much about, these brushes have quickly become my daily staple and I like them even better than my coveted MAC brushes. The handles of these brushes seem to be ergonomically designed with the client's hand shape in mind, and they fit easily and comfortably into my hand... although I do find the design a bit gimmicky, and I'm not keen on the plastic handles. I like the colour of these brushes too - they look classy and neatly made, and that's always a plus!

So, onto a bit more of a detailed description of each one...

Retractable Kabuki Brush

I ordered this brush purely for a specific purpose. I've been wanting a retractable kabuki brush for my handbag for a while now for when I want to touch up with some Blot Powder for oily days, but it's one of those things I never got around to buying. At about £5 for this one, it was high time I got one! This brush isn't half as soft as the other ones, possibly because
the hair is natural rather than synthetic, but it's compact, it looks nice and swish and it does exactly what I want it to do. On that note it's perfect.

Large Eyeshadow Brush

I never realised I needed a brush so much! As soon as I started using this brush, it quickly became one of those essential brushes for 'everyday-can't-be-arsed' makeup as it grabs enough product and covers a large surface area in one swoop. It's awesome if I just want a sheer wash of colour, and works particularly well with shimmery eyeshadows. This brush is so soft, though for me it's hard to master as I've been used to a MAC 239 for so long.

Large Crease Brush

This brush is amazing. It's so soft and dense, but it has enough give and precision for really great blending. What I love in particular about this brush is the fact that it does two jobs in one for me. Where my MAC 219 has always been the stalwart brush for my crease colour, I found that it wasn't always very good for blending out. Sure, it's good for precision blending, but when I want to blend harsh lines without much effort, I now turn to my Sonia Kashuk brush.

Synthetic Flat Top Brush

I have no idea where this brush has been all of my life, but this is one of those multi-task brushes which is quickly worming its way into my top 3. This brush is awesome: it can apply foundation effortlessly, you can use it for both cream blush and powder blush, you can use it to apply and blend out bronzer... The possibilities are endless for this useful little brush. The density of the bristles, plus the fact it's synthetic make it an ideal brush for cream-based products because it doesn't soak up product and you get more mileage out of just a pea-sized amount.

On the whole, I am ecstatic with these brushes, and if you can get your hands on them, do. The quality and price alone justify buying them, plus they are really well made and none have shed one hair since I've had them. Give them a go :)

Sunday, 24 January 2010

Subject-change Sunday: Awful Celebrity Crushes

Sometimes I feel like I get so caught up in beauty that I need a little respite in other types of frivolity, or something completely unrelated. So, I'm making Sunday a day to talk about something a little different, a day where I can talk about myself, the things that have been bothering me, a completely trivial outpouring of thoughts. Whatever it may be, if you're only here for the beauty then feel free to skip over.

This week's post is inspired by ridiculous celebrity crushes, for no reason other than that Sundays are my day for frivolity unlimited. And because I wanted to share my potentially embarrassing celebrity crushes with you and seek assurance that I'm maybe not the only one in the world.

In my head, there is a little file of awful celebrity crushes, neatly stacked away between 'acceptably attractive people', and 'men who people think are the most attractive man alive but they're not really because they have x, y or z wrong with their face and I don't like it.' Brad Pitt fits in the latter category - there's something so unintelligent and Neanderthal about him... And something so obvious.


Brad Pitt: Do not pass Go. Do not collect £200.

When I was eleven, I read those types of magazines aimed at pre-teens; the ones in the UK that existed in my small teenage universe were Mizz, Shout, Sugar, Bliss and the slightly more mature 17. After several terrible teen movies where the guy always gets the girl, I arrived at my first real crush (after Stephen Gately, after whom I girlishly lusted for years). His name was Freddie Prinze Jr.

Oh, Freddie. Your poster was pritt-sticked to my expensive wallpaper, much to the chagrin of my parents. You took pride of place next to my desk so that I could sit and gaze lovingly into your eyes. You always knew exactly how I was feeling, and felt the same too...

Next came Kavana. For the uninitiated, Kavana is a popstar of the 90's hailing from the UK. Even back in his day, he was the CEO of the Male Popstars who clearly wear lipstain Conglomerate and we all wanted lips just like him. He had an angelic face and a pretty voice. And his dreamily smiling face adorned my wall, even though he wasn't a touch on Freddie.

At this point in my life, I hit the age of 14 and I am sad to report, developed slightly more generic crushes; Johnny Depp was high on my list, and more attainable skater boys, or band boys were residing just below. However, there is one man who I wanted to bang a bit, and it pains me to say it was...

David Schwimmer.

All I can say is: I'M SORRY. DEAR GOD I'M SORRY.

I had a slightly better crush of Orlando Bloom at this point in my life, but this by no means makes up for the trainwreck of David Schwimmer.

There is no excuse for any of this.

My crushes waxed and waned over the years, but recently I've noticed a worrying (and perhaps disturbing) little trend in them: They're mostly over 40.

Now, Tom Felton aside (I'm 23, and I have to admit he's just not that into older women), who heads up the last of my recent crushes, the humbly delicious man who tops my list of most nommable man ever is:

Alan Rickman.

Alan Rickman is the owner of the most mellifluous voice in the world. There is no fact truer than this. I can't even say what it is about Mr. Rickman which makes him the paragon of male attractiveness in my eyes; it could be the cloak and evil attitude, but could equally be the breeches and forlorn look in his eyes.


Oh Alzy, whisk me away.

I would dump Kiwi if this man asked for my hand in marriage.

Other honourable mentions at this point may have included Jason Isaacs and the googly-eyed Robert Downey Junior.

And here ends the ridiculous post about my embarrassing inner-psyche. I'm sure Freud would particularly enjoy the last crush admission.

Anyone else got any heinous crushes?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Subject-change Sunday: Kiwi and I

Sometimes I feel like I get so caught up in beauty that I need a little respite in other types of frivolity, or something completely unrelated. So, I'm making Sunday a day to talk about something a little different, a day where I can talk about myself, the things that have been bothering me, a completely trivial outpouring of thoughts. Whatever it may be, if you're only here for the beauty then feel free to skip over.

But for now, I'd like to talk about a boy whose mention crops up a lot in my videos: Kiwi.

Kiwi's real name is Kieran, and he still doesn't know how he came about getting the nickname 'Kiwi'. I met him by accident on the internet whilst cruising Myspace (account since deleted, happy to report) for pretty boys on a slow Friday night in my first year of university.

... Yes. We met on Myspace.

It's probably one of the more awful things I have admitted (armed robbery and conspiracy to steal kittens come close joint second), and even my parents don't know about it...yet.

So, 3 months after my initial friend request, a message arrived. It developed into a string of messages, late-night MSN conversations about not much at all, and one night at about 2am, a message popped up saying 'I'm coming over to yours with stolen champagne, text me on this number to tell me where I'm going.'

A boy I'd never met had decided to impose himself on me at 2am.

After 20 minutes, I'd begun to wonder. It turned out he'd got lost... on a 5-minute walk in a straight line. But then, he showed up, grinning and triumphant in a terrible green parka. He presented me the bottle of stolen champagne (which turned out to be sparkling wine purloined from his flatmate's fridge), took off his clothes and climbed into my bed. 5 minutes later, he was fast asleep.

Now, I have to say, at this juncture... I don't normally invite strange men into my room, nor do I invite them to get into my bed. But what can you do when there's a 6'3" inebriated deadweight?

I slept in my jeans and t-shirt, awkwardly and incredibly unsure.

He woke up the next morning, completely unabashed that he'd fallen asleep completely starkers in someone else's bed, gave me a kiss on the cheek, and left (clothed, this time).

Unfortunately for me, he'd left his wallet in my room. I had to return it to him, the naked boy who'd fallen asleep in my bed with no prior invitation. Not 12 hours after I'd blushingly handed him back his wallet, he turned up at my door. This time, he was sober, and unapologetic. He told me my taste in music was shit, and then kissed me. And then we went to sleep.

These kinds of bizarre (and completely innocent, I hasten to add!) meetings carried on for a while, until he asked me out on a date. I wore too-small vintage shoes (and I have really small feet, so it's a feat (ha!) for them to be too small for me) and we went to various craptastic bars. We played pool and held hands and ate pizza at 2am.

Within ten days, he'd told me he loved me, like a ridiculously trite fairy-tale.

Photo posed by actors (not really, but we were a lot younger and slimmer then!)

And nearly 4 years on... he's still awesome. He's just as skinny, and his eyelashes are much longer and more fluttery than mine. He's much less shy and consequently much more annoying. He thinks fart jokes are hilarious and talks about computers 90% of the time. But he's a good boyfriend really, and indulges my small obsession with dinosaurs and my large obsession with makeup.
Sorry for all the silly slush, but allow me self-indulgence once a week.

Over and out.

Friday, 8 January 2010

Recent Ins and Outs:

- Wide-legged trousers: I don't know why, but I'm really fancying a pair of nice, wide-legged sailor-style (enough hyphens yet?!) trousers for going into Spring with... I've picked out my perfect pair on ASOS, I just need to wait for the money to actually buy them with. I think they look awesome paired with some high heels, a tight scoop neck t-shirt, a neutral eye, red lip and a nonchalant expression.
- E.L.F.: Having never, ever ordered from E.L.F., much less even tried any of their products, I am anticipating my first ever online order from them. I didn't spend too much, but I've been eyeing up a few things recently and so I finally took the plunge. I'm getting into buying more drugstore makeup recently because I've got to teach myself not to be such a makeup snob! It's okay to have high-end brands too, but if you only have high-end, you're missing out on what could be some great products due to your own snobbery. So, I'm trying out some E.L.F. I've been bolstered recently by the fact I bought a Max Factor mascara (2ooo Calorie) and loved it, so maybe I should cut the drugstore products some more slack :)
- Wardrobe revamp: I don't know whether or not this is because I'm turning 23 next week or not, but I've recently felt the urge to shop, shop, shop and have been picking up things I'd never normally wear. This does not bode well for my bank balance, but I'm genuinely enjoying putting outfits together again and revamping my personal style from the previous flatline of blah state it was in. My personal style is pretty tame by all accounts; I like my clothes plain with no ruffles, no beading, definitely no glitter or sparkles, no unnecessary adornments. I like the shape of my clothes to be simple and the colours are generally uniform - I don't like things with huge pattern or loads of colours. But recently I've been playing with a few more options and I even bought a leather jacket. AND I LOVE IT! I'm enjoying the new me.
- Bright eye makeup: After a long period with neutrals, I'm slowly getting into the swing of using some more bright colours on my eye. I love the colours I used on my most recent tutorial as it's bright and fun, but still wearable and it really flatters my eye colour. I'm looking forward to coming up with some more tutorials now :)

- Space N.K.: Put an order through to Space N.K. on the 31st December and only had a call from them yesterday saying they were 'packaging' parts of my order. What they were referring to was a skin product I ordered, and not the other 4 things I ordered from them. So, after taking 8 days to process and charge me for my order, they were sending me 1 of 5 items? Not cool. Even with all that going on, the fact that it took them 8 days to contact me (after I'd complained twice via email) and that I'll have been waiting almost two weeks for a parcel is too much, especially as they failed to cancel another order I'd made in time and are now dispatching me two identical parcels. I'm extremely disappointed with their apparent lack of customer service... Although they've taken a few steps to redeem their poor service, I'm still left cold by my first experience of shopping online with them.
- Snow: If you haven't heard, many of us in the UK are stuck inside because of the snow, and have been since Tuesday. This is fine, but I'm beginning to go stir-crazy! I have no suitable shoes for walking about and we can't get out of the drive because it's turned into a skating rink. Add this to the fact that whenever there are weather conditions in the UK like this, we are always completely unprepared and the whole country falls to a standstill: trains cancelled, panic-buying of milk in the supermarket and of course, the local councils forget to grit the roads and pavements. Useless.
- Aveda Volumizing Tonic: I've been using this everyday for a couple of months, and I've seen no marked difference in the volume of my hair using this product. I've taken to tipping my head upside down whilst blowdrying to make it more voluminous, but even when I do that and use the product, it makes no difference. I'm so disappointed in this as I wanted it to be so much more than what it was. It also makes my hair feel crispy because the nozzle is crap and deposits too much product on some parts of my hair. I'll keep using it until it's gone, but I'm completely unimpressed.
- Constant dry lips: It doesn't matter what I do, my lips feel like they are going to fall off at all times - really sore and dry like the skin is stretched across them. Although I've been using MAC's Honey Salve, Vaseline and assorted other lip balms, nothing is moisturising enough. The Honey Salve is doing okay for an overnight lip treatment, but I don't like it for during the day. Perhaps it's time to try the famous Elizabeth Arden 8 Hour Cream.


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