Legendary Nail Shade From a england

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Now here's a nail colour I'd have never 'clicked' up if it hadn't first caught my eye over on The Swatchaholic. The images on this beautiful blog showcase shades in such high-resolution, covetable quality that you just want to own them, all of them. And that's before you've even read the review.

Saint George: my first holographic nail colour

Having fancied a green polish for quite some time - but not a neon bright or sludgy khaki - a england Saint George fits the bill perfectly. Deep emerald green, with a touch of teal, it has a holographic finish packed with micro-fine specks of green, teal and silver glitter.

Daylight swatch: brings out the teal tones but the shade's truer to life in the top pic

The branding of a england has an olde world feel; the shades themselves are inspired by myth, legend and gothic romance. It's not my kind of branding if I'm honest (horses for courses), but I'm still really pleased with my purchase especially since Saint George draws so many compliments when I wear it. On the subject of wear this manicure lasted chip-free for four days with a base and top coat. 

a england Saint George Nail Polish is priced £9 and available online.

P.S: I've just logged onto the a england site to discover a flash 72 hour discount of 30% on all available nail shades - as of 31/03/2012. Saint George is currently out of stock but can be added to a wish-list. Do not fear, there are plenty of other gorgeous shades available in the Legend and Mythicals collections. Go look!

Sunny Side Up: Benefit Cabana Glama

Saturday, 24 March 2012

I'm not a fan of hot weather or the sun (I hate feeling sweaty) but this week's bright skies and warmth have been undeniably pleasant. I even dug out my flip flops. I've also been inspired to break into a box of Benefit loveliness that I was lucky to be sent to trial. Cabana Glama has been patiently sitting on the bathroom shelf waiting for the official signs of spring - sustained, unavoidable sunlight - to enter my shaded world.

This dinky collection of staples perfectly compliments a sunnier mood. Maybe it's the postcard packaging, subliminal jet-away message (the insert pictures a deserted pier and a palm-fringed bar at sundown, yes please!), or the knowledge that if I do decide to embrace an en vacances look I have the means in one place and easily to hand. 

Cabana Glama contains two products I have previously used and loved; Posie Tint and Some Kinda Gorgeous. (Posie Tint is a see through candy-pink cheek tint and Some Kinda Gorgeous, a whisper-light almost invisible base). But it's the Hoola Bronzer that has proven most surprising especially as I generally avoid any kind of faux 'tan' like the plague. Despite looking scarily brown to my eye, I've found (like lots of other Hoola devotees) that the tone is flatteringly true-to-life. I may have discovered a bronzer I could actually learn to live with.

Sunny delight: Cabana Glama 'beach in a box'

Also in the Cabana Glama kit are three neutral eyeshadow shades (a champagne/peach, a soft golden bronze and a mid-cocoa brown) which won't set your make-up collection on fire but nonetheless are very useful, wearable and blend without fallout.

If you already have some of the products in full sizes then this isn't a necessity buy. I don't think the eyeshadow shades alone are inspiring enough to sway a purchase. However, if you like the idea of a 'beach in a box' - where every item works in sunny unison - then this kit has classic Benefit feel-good factor and is a great way to put a spring/summer face together - simply. x

Destination beauty: postcard packaging

• Benefit Cabana Glama is on sale now (online and nationwide) priced £28.50. In this kit Some Kinda Gorgeous is only available in Medium, suited to medium skin tones. 

Reviewed: Rhodes To Heaven The Lip Plumper

Saturday, 17 March 2012

I'm not into the idea of nip/tuck surgery. Each to their own, what a woman does with her body is her perrogative after all but you can't out-smart age forever. Once you're on the cosmetic surgery conveyor belt surely it's a little like the scene at the end of the film Death Becomes Her? Eternally in need of an ally to scoop, skim and scaffold. 

I'd be lying if I said I'd never entertained the idea of a small injectable tweak. Isn't it annoying how features that were once smooth and plump (like the lips) lose volume and crinkle? A bee-stung pout appeals but you can guarantee I'd end up looking like a guppy. Anyway, the husband has categorically stated that any facial meddling will result in divorce. He seemed mighty serious. 

Thrice as nice: rhodes to heaven the lip plumper

Looking for more natural means of regaining lip oomph led me to Rhodes To Heaven The Lip Plumper, which claims to be a multi-tasking plumper, gloss and salve. The ingredients list revealed (amongst others) beeswax, lanolin, castor oil and fruit waxes - all good stuff for hydrating and attracting moisture to thirsty lips - but it was the 'plumping' palmitoyl oligopeptide protein that interested me most. Peptides are commonly used in glosses and lipsticks designed to boost lip volume (they may increase levels of collagen, elastin and hyaluronic acid) but not so often in a lip balm formulation. 

After three months of use my verdict is that this is a very impressive balm on a par with my beloved Lanolips. The medium-thick consistency has good wearability, of around half an hour, and leaves lips feeling nourished, cushioned and looking super-shiny. The pretty ballet slipper pink colour tints lips ever-so-slightly and I love the fact that it is available in a click-pen brush applicator. I loathe dipping my fingers into balm especially when I've been commuting or on public transport (germ phobic).

The plumping effect definitely isn't going to give Angelina Jolie sleepless nights but I have seen a moderate, visible increase in volume - especially in the centre of my top lip - and a smoother lip surface. Please note that my lips are marked from past cold sores so their tone is naturally uneven.

My only slight niggle with The Lip Plumper is that one end of the box was quite scuffed on delivery which took the shine off of the 'treat' somewhat. If it had been a gift for someone else I would have asked for a replacement. Though, in fairness to Rhodes To Heaven, I didn't give them the chance to provide an alternative as I was itching to put its plumping prowess to the test straight away.

To dip or not to dip, that is the question

Overall, this is a very lovely lip treatment and definitely worth a look if you're in the market for adding a new anti-aging balm to your collection. I'll be repurchasing the jar version (better value) and using the empty pen dispenser as an applicator - genius, huh? Although it's worth pointing out that the pen has lasted three months of daily use. Good going, I'd say.

The Lip Plumper is available from Rhodes To Heaven in a 5ml click-pen for £8.95 or a 10ml jar for £13.95.

Vintage Finds: Dressing Table Treasures

Monday, 5 March 2012

Today I thought I'd showcase some of the vintage finds I love unearthing in charity shops, at car boots and on Ebay and Etsy.

Sometimes objects are poignant and intimate; I own a woman's diary from the 1930s that chronicles a courtship (he bought her diamonds and furs for Christmas), which I couldn't bear to see tossed onto a car boot scrap heap. It cost just 20p to save. Sometimes items are a perfect fit; my wedding ring is a 'previously owned' Art Deco design that I knew had been waiting for me the minute I laid eyes on it. Most often I just find the history and romance of the past compelling. The husband grumbles that hours of his life have ebbed away watching me rifle through 'bits of s%*t.' Send me into a good flea market and I enter a trance. Truly I do. 

Beyond general retro relics, I'm also a keen collector of vintage cosmetics and will be sharing more trinkets in upcoming posts for those similarly inclined. But for now here are a few of my pink, black and gold powder-room pretties. Aren't they just charming.

From top left;

  • 'Springtime' portrait by Enid Elliot Linder - £4 from Cancer Research. This little image caught my eye in a charity shop window. I love the colour combinations (black, gold, pink and peach) and the whimsical illustration. Enid Elliot Linder was a talented artist from Torquay who began producing silhouettes in 1972. Her work can still be found in antique shops and on eBay.

  • Elizabeth Arden Ardena Powder from eBay & Sarah Coventry Pearl Magic Pendant from Etsy. Both appear to date from the 1950s or 1960s. The Ardena Powder is as new and has an unusual box compact design. The faux pearl pendant remains in its original packaging (the top of the case is clear plastic and faceted like a jewel) and is deceptively weighty. I plan to wear it on a long gold chain. For more beautiful vintage cosmetics and collectibles take a look at Rose Petal Curiosity Shop on Etsy here.

  • Boots La Question Face Powder from eBay. The La Question range was introduced by Boots in the 1930s/1940s. Still retaining its beautiful peach pigment and distinctive heritage scent (think Nana's), this powder pot is pure make-up history.
  • Minature Chanel No5 fragrance bottle (empty) and Max Factor Hollywood Face Powder in SUM'R TAN from eBay. These were purchased as props for use in a still-life set, although I ended up buying them myself. The Chanel bottle is definitely vintage but difficult to date; I would hazard 1980s at a push. The Max Factor Powder is unused and has the most fantastic description on the reverse that reads -
'Created by Max Factor Hollywood... Correct colour harmony shades to blend with individual complexion colourings.
Made from purest ingredients, superfine in texture, delicately perfumed to please the most fastidious tastes.
Guaranteed free from lead, orris root, and any other harmful ingredients.
 Its adherent qualities make it "stay on" and "cling" under the most trying conditions.'  

Are you hooked on the history of vintage make-up? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Thank you for reading x

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