22 June, 2013

Mid-year vacation...

I'm posting this quick update just in case I'm MIA for a few weeks... 

The family is off to Singapore and Hong Kong to indulge in some sightseeing, good food - and hopefully good shopping!  If you don't hear from me sooner I'll be resuming normal posting from Monday 15th July. 

A preview of the Hong Kong skyline by night...
I'll catch up with all of you lovelies soon! xo

20 June, 2013

Special beauty delivery!

It's like Christmas comes early when a surprise beauty package arrives - even more so when it's travelled from far, far away! I was very excited to receive a parcel from one of my special Canadian blogging friends, the ever awesome Liz aka the Beauty Reductionista! We are from different ends of the earth but somehow I feel Liz is one of my kindred spirits when it comes to beauty (and other random things like tea!) and I often resonate with her thoughtful posts.

So...this package travelled a long time, across the sea and finally arrived this week!  I didn't want to wait weeks until I shared this delivery with you (I'm heading off on an overseas holiday soon and won't have the weekend to take daylight pics) so I've quickly taken some artificially lit pics, which didn't turn out too badly actually.  Maybe I should stop complaining about the lack of daylight hours around here!


Clockwise from top:

Annabelle Smoothie Eyeshadow Pencil (Moka Mirage) - This pencil is a lovely shimmery warm taupe shade and is meant to be a long wearing product.  Annabelle is a Canadian brand I've never tried so I'm pretty darn excited just to have the opportunity to try products from the range!

Benefit They're Real! Mascara - I know this mascara is Benefit's number 1 seller. I think I'll pack this travel sized version for my trip.

The Body Shop Flavoured Lip Gloss (Watermelon) - I love these scented glosses and Watermelon is a flattering shade worn alone or over a matching lip colour.

Annabelle Blushon powder blush (44) - This is a very flattering dusty matte pink.  It's such a lovely, well pigmented blush and I wore it today for a natural flush of health on my winter-bleached cheeks.  The texture of this blush is almost creamy to the touch so there's no fallout when applying. 

Maybelline Color Show Nail Lacquer (Boho Gold) - I went wild when I laid my eyes on this LE beauty! Liz you know me so well when it comes to nail polish!  This is the multichrome colour of beetle wings.  Truly beautiful.  I just had to take a close-up of this:

Scents and softeners
Left to Right:

Bath & Bodyworks Warm Vanilla Sugar Shower Gel - I've read so much about this brand and this deliciously scented wash immediately went into my shower caddy.  I love the not too sweet, sort of caramel vanilla scent and the creamy lather - although I know I'm going to have to use this sparingly so it lasts.

Estee Lauder Sensuous Nude EDT -  This is indeed a very sensuous scent with some of my favourite basenotes, namely amber and vanilla.  It makes me crave summer.

Burt's Bees Replenishing Lip Balm with Pomegranate Oil - A richly pomegranate scented balm which feels moisturising, but not slick or greasy.  This will be a handy purse companion for soothing winter-parched lips.

Burt's Bees Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream - I'm always happy to receive a tin of this lemon curd scented delight.  It's one of my favourite cuticle treatments because it softens my cuticles without being oily - and the scent is downright delicious!

Once again - Thank you Liz! xo

18 June, 2013

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer: Viper

I saved the shade with the most dangerous sounding name until last...

Viper is one of those deep, dark aubergine (eggplant) creams that have been in favour ever since OPI really got the craze going with one of my all-time favourites, Lincoln Park After Dark.  And as the name suggests Viper is a dangerous beauty too!  As with 2 of the other 3 TF lacquers I've swatched Viper demands three coats to provide fully opaque, high lacquer coverage and shine but I really think the end result is worth it.



Is this my favourite TF swatch? 
I think it's right up there with Bordeaux Lust as I've been loving the richness of the vampies the best.

Which one's your favourite?

16 June, 2013

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer: Ginger Fire

 Happy Sunday everyone :)

Ginger Fire was the one bone fide bright in my Tom Ford birthday surprise box and it was a tricky one to photograph! On my initial glance at the bottles I'd pegged this as a orange-red cream but on closer inspection - and in bright sunlight I might add - I spotted a subtle golden pearly shimmer.  Aha! So this is the fire perhaps?  Well, how hard was it to capture that fire! I don't think you'll see it but it's there, albeit very subtly.  In terms of application Ginger Fire was another 3-coater.



Okay, I was disappointed about the subtlety of the shimmer but I still enjoyed the bright orange-red hue.  It's also the perfect partner for my TF Wild Ginger lipstick :)

Until next time.

14 June, 2013

In neutral...

In my 9 to 5, or more accurately, 8 to 4 working life I'm expected to present in a reasonably conservative (boring but not too boring) way. This means nothing obviously over the top in makeup.  Of course I like wearing makeup - as you know -  and I feel like a little emphasis around the eyes is a good way to make me look more awake and sharp (even when I'm not feeling it!).  Depending on what clothes or lip colour I'm wearing I'll go for either a warm or cool neutral look and I have the eye colour combinations down pat to avoid wasting any precious minutes in the morning fixing up disastrous experiments. Guilty confession:  I do my eye makeup on autopilot when I'm getting ready for work! Anyway, just in case you're curious here are the neutral shades I reach for regularly through the week. 

Warm neutrals
Clockwise from left:

Wet n Wild Color Icon Trio (Walking on Eggshells) - Three neutral colours but so versatile! I can wear any one of these slightly shimmery shades alone all over the lid but I particularly like wearing either the beige browbone shade (left) or the warm peachy pink (right) on the lid with the coppery brown (centre) as an outer crease accent.  These are very softly textured so I pat the colour gently in the pan with my brush to avoid any fallout.  They blend ridiculously easily when applying to my lids so this little palette really is an easy choice for a warm neutral eye.

Revlon Wet/Dry Eyeshadow (Not Quite White) - This matte ivory-beige eyeshadow is literally a dinosaur in my collection and long discontinued so don't go looking for it (Let's face it, it's old and crumbling anyway)! The point is the colour and finish itself. I use this matte shade to soften the crease edge and naturally highlight the brow bone.  Shimmer shades are too aging for me so a soft matte ivory brightens the brow area in a subtle and fresh way.

L'Oreal Color Infaillible (002 Hourglass Beige) - This is quite shimmery so I have to be in the mood for it. However if I want to look really awake then nothing brightens the inner corners of my eyes better than this! Alternatively I'll wear it across the entire lid paired with a deeper matte shade in the crease to really brighten the eyes. I also use this to snappily transition my makeup look from day to evening simply by patting it into the inner corners over my existing eye makeup before I head out after dark.

MAC Matte Eyeshadow (Wedge) - This is a fairly recent addition to my MAC collection and I originally bought it as a lazy option for shading the entire lid however I've discovered the pleasures of wearing this as an easy and natural crease shade.  Wedge is a warm taupe which pairs very easily to accent any of my warm beiges and pinks.

Now for the swatches and yes, my cat-scratched arms!

Swatched on bare skin left to right:
 MAC - Wedge,
Wet n Wild - Brow Bone, Crease, Lid,
L'Oreal - Hourglass Beige,
 Revlon - Not Quite White

Cool neutrals
Left to Right:

Maybelline Stylish Smokes Quad (Charcoal Smokes) - This quad was sitting unloved in my stash for a while but I've rediscovered it for a cool neutral daytime eye or a cool smokey evening eye.  I favour using the lid shade (top left) for a subtle daytime crease worn with Revlon's Not Quite White on the lid and using the darker crease shade (top right) the emphasize the outer corner.  This palette comes into its own in the evening for me and I'll make use of all four shades, although I use the shimmery silver brow bone shade (bottom left) on my inner lids instead of the brow bone area, and I'll use the charcoal black outer corner shade (bottom right) over black liner to help soften and smoke out the line.  Three out of the four shades are quite well pigmented with the surprising exception being the black which takes a few swipes to build up the intensity.  Still, I'm a bit fearful of blackest-black eyeshadow so this palette is good enough for my needs.

MAC Satin Eyeshadow (Shale) - This grey-toned purple has popped up in many of my posts and it's not at all surprising because it's a wonderful neutral purple crease shade.  The purple makes my green eyes pop but it doesn't at all scream purple. I won't get into it in detail again - just know that I love it and consider it the perfect cool neutral eye accent.

Swatched on bare skin left to right:
MAC - Shale,
 Maybelline - Brow bone, Lid, Crease, Outer Corner

What are your no-fail neutral favourites?

11 June, 2013

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer: African Violet

There's no need for any big introductory spiel this time so I'll get right into it. 

African Violet is the second of my Tom Ford lacquer swatches and I see it as a pretty straightforward magenta-purple, violet cream.  Does it remind me of actual African Violets? Sure it does - yes my mum used to have a collection of potted African Violets so, umm, yes - that's all I have to say about that.  What else can I say about this polish? Unlike Bordeaux Lust this one is more of a true opaque cream formula and a two-coater. 



And just for the obviously corny comparison a real African Violet!

Until next time.

10 June, 2013

Tom Ford Nail Lacquer: Bordeaux Lust

Sorry for the break between posts.  It's just the general busy-ness in my life getting in the way of my creativity again. I haven't lost my blogging mojo, I just haven't had the time to let it get out! 

Now for the first of my Tom Ford Nail Lacquer swatches.  I was delightedly overwhelmed to receive a boxed set of TF nail lacquers for my birthday (see here) and the hardest decision was what to wear first! I ended up basing my decision on my husband's favourite pick - the vampy Bordeaux Lust.  This shade is the colour of dried blood or deep wine.  I was a little surprised to find a dark shade like this took three coats to build to full opacity but I think the end result was worth it.  I understand why these nail colours are called nail lacquers because the finish totally reminded me of lacquered Japanese boxes.  This polish is almost a jelly in its sheerness but definitely a lacquer in its finish.



That's all for now.

06 June, 2013

May's farewelled products (2013 edition)

So what did I finish up this month?  What were my loves, likes, loathes?  Read on...

Skin care

41) Maybelline City Rescue Total Clean! Express Eye & Lip Makeup Remover (70ml) - So this is the new updated remover from Maybelline.  The notable differences are: the dual-phase liquid is now colourless and the bottle is now a teeny 70ml so I'm going to easily go through a bottle a month (I guess 2 for 1 Maybelline purchases will be a no-brainer!) Aside from that the product seems to be basically the same:  A dual-phase formula you shake up then sweep over the lids and lashes to remove makeup - yes, even waterproof makeup - with a sweep of a soaked cotton pad.  Because of the travel-friendly size and drugstore price I'm happy enough to stick with this for now.

42) Avon Anew Reversalist Renewal Serum (30ml) - After being seduced by a sample tube of this stuff over a year ago, I bought a full-sized bottle on sale.  Suitable for 40+ skin this serum claims to reduce the appearance of fine wrinkles and skin discolouration.  I liked how soft and velvety this felt when applying and how my skin immediately felt super-soft to the touch.  I also noticed some minor reduction in my pigmentation over time but I don't know that I noticed any wrinkle reduction.  To tell you the truth I try never to get that close - I don't fancy checking out my fine wrinkles! What I didn't like was the strange pump dispenser which threatened to break my nails and how I had no way of guaging just how much was left in the bottle until it ran out! I think I'll wait for another sale before I buy another one of these.

43) Yes to Carrots C Me Smile Lip Butter (Melon) - I loved this little tube of lip balm! I used it as my nightly lip treatment and it was very moisturising without being overly slick or greasy on my lips.  This little 4.25g tube lasted me months too.  Other pluses?  This is certified 95% organic and is paraben free. 

44) Hydratherapy Q10 Replenishing Cleansing Wipes (25 wipes) - I'd never heard of this brand when I spotted this pack of wipes to try.  They claim to hydrate the skin as they remove makeup.  The wipes were a good size, nicely textured so I could feel them cleansing my skin, and nice and wet with the alcohol and oil free cleanser.  One wipe was easily enough to cleanse my entire face. I really liked the fresh slightly citrus scent too and my skin definitely felt moisturized afterward.  At around $5AUD a pack I would definitely repurchase these.

Hand and body care

45) MOR Marshmallow Body Butter - This strange little pink tub was a discount purchase I think.  Anyway I've been going through a lot of small bottles, tubs and sample sachets of body moisturizers lately and this is one of those.  The body butter is pungently strong with MOR's marshmallow (musk candy) scent so I used it occasionally, and sparingly on my knees and elbows.  It's a very thick formula but very well absorbed and it did a decent job of softening the extra-dry bits.  However...I just can't handle the strength of the scent which seemed to be much stronger than the vial of Marshmallow fragrance oil I have!  I'm relieved to see it go.

46) Sportsgirl Hands Down Moisturising Hand Creme (60ml/2.02 fl.oz) - Another disappointing discount purchase.  I bought this reduced from $7.95 to $1.95 and the reason it was discounted became apparent to me very quickly!  For a hand cream this had the potential to make a good body lotion - it was soooo watery to the point of running out of the tube.  I had to tilt the tube upwards to avoid pouring this milky lotion everywhere. That drove me crazy!  On the plus side I did like the soft vanilla fragrance.  Also it did a reasonable job of moisturising my hands, although it did wash away very easily so I had to reapply constantly.

47) OPI Original Nail Envy (15ml/0.5 fl.oz) - My go-to nail strengthener and base coat.  My father also swears by the matte version for his crumbly, splitting nails.

48) Kiehl's Creme de Corps (5ml/0.17 fl.oz sample) - I'm sure I'm preaching to the converted out there but this is the first time I've tried Kiehl's famed body moisturizer and I loved it! It was thick but instantly absorbed, left my skin feeling soft and not at all greasy and there's no perfume to fight with whatever fragrance you feel like wearing.  I'll definitely treat myself to some of this when I clear my current backlog!

Hair care

49) John Frieda Luxurious Volume Lavish Lift Root Booster (29ml/ 1 fl.oz travel size) - Another old sample I found lurking and I wish I'd saved this for my upcoming trip. It gave my hair soft volume and I liked the expensive salon product scent.  After returning to my usual L'Oreal thickening spray I can say I prefer John Frieda so I'll be purchasing the full size product in future.


50) Christian Dior Diorshow Mascara - After too many months of use it was simply time to go for this mascara.  It remains one of my favourites as it beautifully separates and coats the individual lashes.  No clumping with this one right up to the end!

51) Essence Shimmer Effect Eyeshadow (Cappucino, Please!) - I absolutely adored this pretty shimmery beige eyeshadow and I used it as my MAC Shroom backup because it was such a close dupe.  See my original comparison post here.

Until next month!

02 June, 2013

w7: Cosmic Purple

Ah the frustration when you lose the label off something! I was nearly going to post this as an unnamed w7 polish but I was successful with my internet sleuthing and found what I think is the correct name for it:  Cosmic Purple.

Cosmic Purple is a good name for this polish actually as the mix of pink and purple glitter swimming in the purple jelly base polish does look kind of cosmic and 'spacey' to me.  I applied two coats over a purple cream base to add to the intensity and loved the result.  This is definitely my kind of winter weekend mani...



Indoors daylight

Thanks for looking as always!
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