Rockalily Lipstick Swatches

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Perfect 10: the range houses 4 core shades and
6 limited editions which I've mixed up here - darn!

At the end of January, on a freezing cold night, I attended my first blogger event for the launch of ZOMG! the lipstick collaboration between ReeRee Rockette of Rockalily and Zozo of the The London Lipgloss.

It was a jam-packed turnout and the entertainment (cupcake crafting, pin-up photography, marvellous millinery and a library of retro hairstyles and make-up history) was brilliant, but I had my eyes on the prize - swatching. These would have been better swatched onto skin for sure, but I just couldn't get decent shots with flash. I really need to dig out the manual for my camera and actually read it. The eager hive of activity around the lipstick table also meant there was next to no time for faffing. 

I've checked my swatches against those on the Rockalily site and they're a pretty decent match on paper with the exception of Vintage Vixen, which has picked up too much warmth and is more of a dusky rose in real life. Talking of real life, to see the shades swatched in the flesh take a look at the Rockalily gallery. If you're into pinks you might also like a peek at my previous post on the gorgeous Pompadour Pink. Get me, back-linking and everything ;)

Although I loved the new ZOMG! fuschia shade (a serious pout-popper), I've got my eye on two summery corals - Mae Hem and Mermaid. But which to buy? Decisions, decisions.

Do you have a Rockalily favourite or a shade you're tempted to try? x

Reviewed:17 BB Blemish Balm All In One Magic Make-Up

Friday, 24 February 2012

Now that's almost magic: i like this really quite alot

It seems every woman with a beauty blog has been there, done the BB thing and moved swiftly on, but I'm so pleased with this product that I thought a behind-the-times review might still be of interest? Hope so.

The last time I bought anything from 17 it was called Boots No.17. I guess I felt I'd outgrown the target market but having read some highly positive reviews (who says that blogs don't drive sales?), decided that £6.99 wasn't a break the bank risk.

So what the heck is a blemish balm (A.K.A a BB balm or cream)? It's a tough one to call as I haven't tried any of the 'original' trendsetting brands from Asia. However, from what I can gather BB creams/balms were created to be multitasking make-up improving the appearance of skin tone and blemishes whilst offering skincare benefits and decent levels of SPF.

When I first heard of the BB phenomenon I couldn't help but think that this was surely just tinted moisturiser or foundation with great PR. But I can definitely see a difference in the texture of the 17 BB which, I've read, is similar to Asian offerings. 

So, straight to that texture which looks alarmingly thick when squeezed onto the back of your hand. Applied to the skin it immediately feels different too. It doesn't glide over large areas, like the new breed of barely-there foundations, but instead smooths on and then sticks a little covering a much smaller surface. I'd liken it to the days when sunscreen didn't spread well and required diligent rubbing in. This 'resistance' means that it stays where it's needed but is best applied with your fingers. My foundation brushes just won't play BB ball.

 Shade (Light): thick straight out of the tube
but surprisingly natural blended onto the skin

And now *drumroll* my face without any maquillage other than 17 Blemish Balm and eyebrow pencil. I don't do brow-less, ever. To quote the fabulous Nadine from Stella (we're loving Stella in our house), I look as 'bleak as a sheep' without the slap but I wanted you to see the coverage level in context. 

To begin with I found the finish heavier than I'm used to but after 5-10 minutes it softens to a lovely semi-matte look. The texture suits my combination skin, is still fairly fresh at the end of the day and I like the fact it has SPF but those with drier skin would probably need to prep with a good moisturiser. As you can see from the picture above it doesn't cover pigmentation and you need to go back with a concealer for blemishes (when don't you have to, let's face it), but in general it does a brilliant job of evening the complexion.

I'm wearing Light, which works well with my fair olive skin but may be too warm for cooler fair skin tones. It's also a shame that there isn't a wider range of shades available; Western BB's seem limited to just light, medium or dark. A friend pointed out she has yet to see a BB cream that would work for black skin and she'd love to try one too. 

Overall, 17 Blemish Balm is a bit of a bargain and has definitely reignited interest in a blast-from-my-past brand. In fact, this new Spring Fling Palette (£5.99) may well be my next purchase.

What do you think? Have you tried a BB cream yet and - if so - which are your favourites? x

*17 BB Blemish Balm All In One Magic Make-up is £6.99 at Boots.

Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle - French Lover & Musc Ravageur

Thursday, 16 February 2012

This was going to my Valentine's post but - as usual - I'm blogging on the back foot and didn't quite get it together in time. Nevertheless, if you're looking to gift a lover (now or in the future), with seriously stylish, sensual fragrance then Frederic Malle could fit the bill.

Pitch perfect: frederic malle commissions celebrated 
perfumers to compose fragrance masterpieces

First off, I really like the brand concept. As a fragrance 'editor' Malle commissions his wish list of the world's most feted noses to blend one-off olfactory essays. Without the influence of focus groups, briefs and boundaries each is free to bring their unique, distilled vision to the table. Only when the fragrance is perfected is it finally published. Cool huh?

This may sound somewhat snobbish, arty farty even, but the proof is in the perfumes and there's nothing elitist about the way they are best enjoyed. Frederic Malle fragrances love body contact and many are, how shall I put this, quite libido-lifting. You may notice embraces lingering just a tad longer than is strictly necessary. 

The first fragrance I bought was French Lover for the occasion of the husband's birthday; no sniggering at the back please. So much more enigmatic than South London Lover don't you think? Earthy notes of cedarwood, galbanum (which conjures roughly cut flower stalks), and vetiver blend with powdery iris and spicy pimento. Patchouli, incense and musk lays down a depth that creates the sexiest man-who-scrubs-up-well scent you'll ever smell. 

For my birthday the husband returned the favour with Musc Ravageur; he's generous like that. I absolutely ADORE this fragrance. Warm and sweet without being sickly, musky without being musty it's like the perfect red lipstick or elegant leg-lengthening heels. The effect is very grownup, sophisticated and puts a wiggle in your walk. Notes of bergamot, tangerine and cinnamon lift what could otherwise be a classically cloying scent but my nose still heads straight to the vanilla, musk and amber - there's the tiniest suggestion of Angel in there. Musc Ravageur wears well on my olive skin (which seems to grab onto musks), and is a beautiful evening scent that lingers, permeating clothing with good old-fashioned glamour.

The lady is a vamp: evening elegance bottled 

The hubby and I bought our respective gifts from Liberty where the service was knowledgeable and exceptional, as you would expect when purchasing a perfume that costs £130 for 100ml or £90 for 50ml. We also received the samples below of which Angeliques Sous La Pluie, by fragrance legend Jean-Claude Ellena, is my absolute favourite. Reminiscent of gin and tonic on the top notes (owing to juniper berries), moving into coriander and musk it has a sparkling, breezy quality. Sadly, it leaves my skin almost as quickly as it settles so I'm not sure that I can justify the cost and will eek out the sample instead. 

Frederic Malle sample vials from Liberty London

Finally, I'll leave you with some images of Malle's super-stylish packaging which 
speaks volumes about quality, luxury and simplicity

Editions De Parfums Frederic Malle are available at Liberty and samples can be purchased online for trial from Les Senteurs at a cost of £5 per vial (max 4 vials, including p&p), or are free if you swing by the store. Thank you for reading! x

Sasa's Handcrafts - The Sweetest Baby Knits

Thursday, 9 February 2012

If you like retro-inspired children's wear you'll love these cute-as-a-button hand knits. The use of cheery sunshine colours, kooky patterns and whimsical, naive detailing are right up my street. And the adorable booties? Well, they just make me smile :)  

Sasa's handcrafts: one-of-a-kind pretty knits

Little miss sunshine: crochet dress and bolero

Visit Sasa's Handcrafts Etsy shop to see more beautiful pieces handcrafted in Latvia - here.

Fresh Therapies Eden Natural Nail Polish Remover

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Last year I went to the HPM Social blogging conference where I picked up some useful newbie blogger tips. I also picked up a goodie bag containing a sample vial of a completely natural nail varnish remover, which I promptly put in a drawer for safekeeping and forgot about. Like Alice In Wonderland, BB's curious mind seems to think that minature bottles of unidentifiable liquid are for his consumption. Imagined conversation as he prepares to tip it down the hatch: 'Ooh, look mummy!! A tiny baby boc-boc of water. Can I drink it?' NOOOOOooooooo!!!!

Smells like clean spirit: a new, natural
take on nail varnish remover

Visions of my overactive imagination aside, I've been meaning to put Fresh Therapies to the test. So this morning I dug the vial out of the drawer. And you know what? It really, actually works. Moreover, it's a pleasure to use. Pleasure and nail polish remover being four words that rarely sit in the same sentence together.

I've never previously questioned if nail varnish could be shifted with something less chemically abrasive and nostril affronting than highstreet formulas. Heck, I've even bought huge bottles of acetone-laden remover for £1. I just took it as read that the tough stuff was what was needed when actually, Eden fares almost as well on performance using vegetable derived solvents and conditioning citrus oils.

2 1/2 passes per nail removed all trace of
Illamasqua nail varnish in strike.
middle nail shows one swipe

I say almost, because it did take me two and a half swipes - to be precise - of each nail barring the little fingernails, to completely remove all traces of varnish. BUT, the lovely (yes, lovely), fresh lime and lemongrass scent and the fact that my bare nails looked shiny and moisturised - rather than brittle and scuffed - definitely made the extra couple of minutes work worth it.

£9.95 for 50ml of nail polish remover (no matter how stylish and appealing the packaging), is a price-point I've never considered paying for a product I tend to view as a basic essential. Then, there's the fact that a natural, water-clear liquid that effectively removes nail varnish sounds almost too good to be true. But here's the thing. It is good and it is true and you don't have to take my word for it. To try for yourself, visit click on 'products' and you'll see the link to order a free sample. I'd love to hear what you think x

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