Tuesday, 30 November 2010

a winter walk

Snow is falling...all around me.
Any desired movement today by yours truly can only be undertaken on foot. With my mini buried under the snow flurry and many a country road to be navigated around before I reach civilisation, it was the perfect excuse, and postcard setting, for a winter walk...


I fully confess that snow blizzards bring with them upmost inconvenience and spiral the place into cuckoo chaos, but who doesn't love being the first person to bequeath their footprints onto a freshly-cascaded blanket of snow?
















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Monday, 29 November 2010

Motto Monday


Sometimes, just sometimes we all need to stop thinking too much about life, over-analysing the trivialities and becoming indignant with the inconsequential...and well, just live it.


I am devoted to this motto and possibly follow it a little too wholeheartedly...
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Sunday, 28 November 2010

John Frieda - Precision Foam Colour

I am sure many you are au fait with John Frieda's revolutionary new launch of their recently developed, home hair colouring range.
Snazzily named Precision Foam Colour, this new product promises to make colouring your hair as quick and easy as shampooing in five simple steps...

I actually attended the launch of this new range of products last month, which proved a fabulous evening, particularly enlightening as we were able to witness the foam hair colour in action. One willing soul proffered her locks so we could see the entire transformation from start to finish.


Precision Foam Colour comes in 20 different shades to satiate every woman's dream hair colour, through from white blondes to rich warm browns and autumnal plums.
Although I now no longer dye my hair at home due to the infestation of highlights that have adorned my barnet, I used to always reach for the home colour when I was sporting dark tresses. And yes, it was a hassle. Invariably it required two people and a whole evening dedicated to mixing, shaking, parting and slathering, whilst mummified in your grubbiest towels in a futile mission to protect all clothing and furniture from drips and stains!


This product, from what we witness that night, has well and truly eradicated all this messy business. The mixture is combined by gently tilting the developer and colourant together. Shaking is not required here. At this point, you are left with a rather dreary looking, and a rather deceivingly inadequate volume of the mixture. But this is the clever bit...
By gently squeezing the bottle into your gloved hand, the mixture transform into a rich, blossoming foam. I think the John Frieda team quoted that each bottle will generate 2 litres worth of foam!
We then watched the willing volunteer independently apply the solution to her hair. Starting at the roots, she worked her way around, not worry about precision at the point. The beauty of the foam is that it will expand, especially at the end when you start massaging it in as if shampooing your hair. The foam will flawlessly cover all the hair and 100% of greys.
Once the product was applied, you could see there was zero dripping. No need to shuffle about with a towel wrapped round your shoulders. It was just staying put and was easy to wipe away from the hair line without leaving any staining. And another bonus, it didn't have that heinous hair colourant smell!


Whilst, the colour was left to develop, we all enjoyed some japanese delicacies and chit chatted about many a hair colouring disaster!
Luckily, the palatial surroundings of the suite meant our lovely model for the evening could skip off, and get her hair washed, and emerge to showcase the results.
Her hair was blow dried, and we were all summoned up to take a peek and oooh and aaah at her freshly-coloured, and ever-so shiny, locks.
And it did look lovely. The colour was rich and even, and had given it an all over, luscious feel to the hair. Whilst we stroked and gazed at her mane, she gushed how easy the whole application was from start to finish, and it made me sad that due to my current, highly salon-dependent hair colour, I couldn't give it a whirl myself.


The Precision Foam Colour retails at £9.99 which does make it one of the priciest products on the shelves at the moment, but it has launched at Boots and Superdrug with an introductory price of £6.66 and £5.99 respectively. So if you did fancy giving it a cheeky trial, now would be the best time.


Let me know if any of you have tried it yet, and what were your thoughts??
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Saturday, 27 November 2010

let it snow, let it snow, let it snow


Being nestled in the South East of the country, I haven't yet been graced with any snow yet! 
I am a true child when it comes to the white stuff and I hope, and pray, it is en route, and very soon I can fashion some snowballs and take some winter walks with the crisp-crunching sound underfoot.
Have you been frolicking in the festive flurry yet?
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Thursday, 25 November 2010

Double Wear Double Love

I will hold my hands up and proclaim that I honestly thought I was forever destined to be a MAC Studio Fix Fluid kind-of-girl.
I have been using this foundation for possibly the past two years, on and off, and fully admit I thought, and still do think, it is a wonderful foundation. I loved to bask in its medium to full coverage and flawless finish, but recently I have been left feeling a little bit unfulfilled. I think after a while it is all too easy to slip into a foundation rut and I needed some severe intervention to pull myself out of it!




My divine inspiration came in the form of Estee. Estee Lauder Double Wear to be precise.
Foundations are something I really do not mind spending my pennies on and having tried many a drugstore brand, I do feel, for my personal requirements, the higher-end of the foundation spectrum is best. Estee Lauder Double Wear retails at £25.
I am always nervous to run the gauntlet of the beauty counters that litter by local department store. I embark on a buying a new foundation with utmost trepidation. I fear for the removal of my makeup in a public place and am too mild-mannered, at times, to say when I don’t like said product, after they have meticulously plastered it all over my face.
But thankfully, I took solace in my Estee Lauder lady with her amenable attitude. She was so helpful and we tried a few varying shades until I felt happily and successfully colour-matched.
(FYI - I am a MAC nc25 - nc30 and was matched to Tawny in EL Double Wear)


I like to apply any liquid foundation with a brush, namely my MAC 190, and Double Wear is no different. However, this foundation can be left a bit streaky after application, so I tend to buff it in with a stippling brush, MAC 188, or lightly blend with my fingers.




The coverage is medium to high…just how I like it, but a little does go a long way so I don’t find it too heavy at all. Actually, in comparison, it feels a lot lighter than MAC Studio Fix Fluid.
It really is long wearing. Currently, I am plastering my face at roughly 7:25am each morning, and often am not home until gone 7:00pm most nights. Within this 12 hour stint, much brow-furrowing and eye-rubbing has occurred, as well as at least an hour’s exercise either to the dulcet tones of Ricky Martin or around a hockey pitch. And yep, it is still there at the end of the day. No slipping, no sliding and no creasing! Marvellous.
The consistency of Double Wear is luxurious and silky. Once I have applied it, my face does feel rich and velvety and, although I detest the word flawless, it does seem…well…flawless! I don’t really have any blemishes to cover, but I love achieving that even skin tone and the perfect foundation can present the ideal setting for the rest of your makeup. I finish my foundation routine with a dusting of MAC Mineralised Skin Finish, and don’t feel the need to wear any concealer at all when using this product.

The not-so good about this product...obtaining the liquid from the bottle can be quite mischievous, but the MAC foundation pump fits onto the bottle perfectly so I just use this.
The smell is a little solvent-like, but ho hum.

As a little side note: I got given these two tinsy samples to try after I had bought my foundation. I like to hold them in my hand and pretend I'm a giant!



These two little gems are quite frankly, incredible. I have been using the Idealist Pore Minimizing Skin Refinisher in the mornings before applying my foundation, and it really evens out your skin, leaving it silky smooth and acts as the perfect primer for your makeup.
At bedtime, I have been using the Advanced Night Repair in place of any moisturiser and my skin has never felt so hydrated, soft and radiant.
I would seriously debate spending some more of my pennies and purchasing these two products as they are just a dream for my skin.


Have you tried any of these products?
Would love to know your thoughts and which is your fave foundation of the moment?
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Monday, 22 November 2010

Motto Monday


I went dancing tonight.
I say 'dancing' in a plea to make the whole experience sound mildly romantic, but in fact, it was Zumba.
Ricky Martin and the shaking of imaginary maracas was the order of the night.
I had so much fun and just love that post-exercise rush you acquire after an hour of hip shaking and bongo drumming. I am a true convert and will be adding Zumba to my weekly repertoire of fitness festivities.


My Monday Motto of the week: Capture that Moment.
Cliched but oh so true and relevant. Since I began blogging, my love for big lenses and sharp focus has become more astute and I now rarely find myself without my camera by my side, just poised, ready to portrait those little things in life that can so easily pass you by.
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Sunday, 21 November 2010

Fringed with Simplicity

A simple Sunday outfit perfect for a day of tea-drinking and foraging for peculiar foods at a local market.
Today I came to the conclusion that I dislike the proportions of my forehead so I attempted a swishy, side fringe. It was a clear failure and just ended up tickling my nose.


My outfit is nothing spectacular, Sundays are not made for much outfit deliberation.
I opted for denim shorts: H&M
Black tights...M&S
Cream oversized tee - Topshop (this does have a cute pocket on the breast which is sadly concealed in both my photos)
Toy soldier coat - Miss Selfridge
I have MAC's Violetta on my lips
Necklace: Wallpaper Rose




I really adore this sweet spoon necklace, with its charming teapot, heart and flower adornments. It is a perfectly quaint accompaniment for any outfit. If you wish to peruse any of Wallpaper Rose's jewellery, then you can get 10% offer any order until the 14th December 2010 by using the code PEARLSANDPOODLES. 


And on the subject of pretty jewellery and treasured trinkets, my dear friend Claire also creates handmade jewellery and has just established her own site, Sara's Secret, showcasing some of her her precious works of art.  So if you are a jewellery junkie in search of something unique and special, with a quirky twist, then be sure to check out these two fabulous ladies for some pretty pieces.


Let me know your thoughts and what escapades you've been up to on this serene Sunday?
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Friday, 19 November 2010

Treating Your Tresses: Part 2

A couple of weeks ago I blogged the first in my series of hair treatments post in which I reviewed the Shu Uemura Art of Hair Shusu Sleek Smoothing Treatment Mask, which really is sheer amazingness in a tub! I absolutely love this hair masque and would highly recommend it to the masses wishing to achieve gorgeously conditioned and deeply-treated hair.

Dismally, I am not quite as ecstatic about the second product to review.





Philip Kingsley products get an awful lot of hype and exposure, especially their cult Elasticizer, and merely by googling said treatment, I was faced with a multitude of raves and hallelujahs about this wonderment. So needless to say, I was flooded with the utmost excitement and anticipation to try this treatment out. 

But please take note at this point, I was using the Elasticizer Extreme which is different to the normal Elasticizer. The Extreme version is for hair that is extremely thirsty, dry and porous and in need of instant replenishment, hydration and nourishment. I chose this treatment as I felt my hair was an extreme case and in dire need of all of the above and more, especially as it is suited to coarse, curly and damaged hair.
(in hindsight I think the normal Elasticizer would have been better suited.)

So with shower cap in hand (provided with the product) I slathered on the scentless, and highly luxurious cream, onto damp hair, donned the shower cap and proceeded with my bathing ritual as per usual. It suggests leaving the treatment on for 20-30 minutes. With any treatment, I will drown my hair with it for as long as possible and do not believe there is any harm to extend the time as lengthily as you see fit. I have a vast, thick, troublesome mane so left mine on for 40 minutes.

The Elasticizer range is a pre-shampooing conditioning treatment which means, due to the intensity, and ingredients used to carry the treatment to the hair cuticles, it needs to be shampooed out otherwise hair would be left lank, sticky and without shine.

I followed all advice to the tee but was sadly, and lankily, left a little bit lacklustre. 
My hair was left sticky and tacky despite a whole dedication of shampooing and conditioning to wash the treatment out. I also was faced with the mortifying discovery half way through blowdrying my hair, and running late for a hot date, that remnants of the treatment were still loitering in my hair and further ruthlessness under the shower-head was required to eradicated this sticky situation!

This was my first experience with the Elasticizer Extreme, but like the hardened beauty blogger I am, I went back for another trial.
I noted that:
I need to apply a lot less product
I need to be more meticulous with my shampooing. Haphazardness shall not do here.

I followed my own advice and the results were a lot more pleasing ie: my hair was not sticky, and there were no mischievous globules left behind harbouring in my barnet.

I have tried to be fair to this product and have used it a few more times, but I really do not think it is doing anything magical for my hair. I think the consistency is too rich and is very difficult to wash out. Even once I had mastered the correct ratio of product to hair, I didn't find it left my hair feeling noticeably shinier, bouncier or manageable.


All in all, a little miffed with this product from such a highly-acclaimed haircare specialist brand. All I can hope is that the Extreme was too...extreme for my hair and maybe, possibly, the Elasticizer would be better suited, although I did tick all the Elaticizer Extreme boxes.


This treatment, along with the whole Philip Kingsley hair range is available from feelunique, who do actually have a veritable feast of haircare treatments and other delights for purse-happy prices.


I'd love to know your thoughts if you have tried any of the PK Elasticizer products, or if you have ever been disheartened with certain cult products?
xxx

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Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Booted in Brogues

Brogues: a style of low-heeled shoe or boot traditionally characterized by multiple-piece, sturdy leather uppers with decorative perforations (or "brogueing") and serration along the pieces' visible edges.


I have been harbouring after a pair of brogues for a while now. My wardrobe was rather disparaging without them, and my outfits were lacking a certain je ne sais quoi.
I sourced this perfect pair from River Island. They aren't leather but this doesn't concern me with a pair of shoes that will probably be cast to the depths of fashion redundancies this time next year.


I love the style of these shoes. I think the buttery-brown colour is so rich and Autumnal and goes idyllically with so many outfits. I wore them today with black tights, a tube skirt paired with a silk blouse. But they also marry perfectly with harems, floaty dresses and lace ankle socks.


I really like the hook-and-eye detailing, giving the shoes an authentic touch and the cute chintzy floral lining offers a sweet finishing flair to the brogues.

I just love them and am toe-tapping my merry way through the golden glisten of the fallen leaves. 
Are you a believer in Brogues this season?
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Monday, 15 November 2010

Motto Monday

Every blogger and their mum are doing weekly posts at the moment!
They range from updates, summaries, wish-lists and inspirational prose.
I think it's a really sweet idea, and I too wanted to compose a similar ilk of posts.

I introduce to you...Motto Monday.
It does exactly what it says on the tin. 


Letting the pictures and whimsical wording do the talking for once, and hopefully enkindling some inspiration and brief absentmindedness for your week ahead.
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Saturday, 13 November 2010

My Clarisonic Critique

About four weeks ago, the Clarisonic Classic and I ignited a new relationship with nervous trepidation.

Would we be compatible?
Would it be as good as I hoped?
Would it lead to happy ever after...?

Well, in a nutshell...yes, yes and yes!
The Clarisonic is a professional-caliber brush that uses a gentle sonic micro-massage action to cleanse deeply. I was sent this product to give it a whirl...
It is designed to gently clear pores without harsh abrasion or chemicals and clinical results boast that it removes 6 times more makeup than manual cleansing. Also, claims state it reduces pores, fine lines and wrinkles, whilst improving skin tone.
All sounded rather appealing, and the fact it was pink only heighten my excitement and apprehension for our first date.




The Clarisonic is very simple to use. The most infuriating thing is the fact it needs 24 hours charge time before you can begin using it, but all good things come to those that wait...
The next morning I awoke with Christmas morning eagerness, and prepared to give the Clarisonic its first whirl. 
Its gentle nature lends itself to daily use, and there are three different brush heads you can get to fit the system. I think as a default, all the units come with the white brush head which is the sensitive one, but there is also normal and delicate. You can read more about the different brushes here if you so desire.



Using your Clarisonic over the eye-area is a big no no, so you must ensure you have removed any eye makeup before you begin cleansing. The Clarisonic Classic has 2 speed settings, normal and low and this can be altered by holding down the button for 3 seconds whilst the Clarisonic is on. 
It will be a personal preference whith speed setting you prefer, but I use it set to normal as I feel it is more rewarding for my skin and cleanses more thoroughly whilst still being gentle.


The Clarisonic is set to a 1 minute T-timer setting which beeps to instruct you when to move on to the next area of your face. As the diagram above demonstrates, the recommendation is:
20 seconds on your forehead, 20 seconds on your nose/chin and 10 seconds on each cheek.
But you can alter this to a 2 minute duration if your feel you require longer time cleansing.

Before you begin, wet your face and the brush with warm water and either liberally prep your face with the cleanser or place directly onto the brush head. This is the method I prefer. And then you are ready to press the button and start cleansing. The unit makes a dull buzzing noise and gently vibrates in an inoffensive manner.
The key is not to press the brush too firmly to your face, but just make sure the unit is flush to your skin and move slowly in small circular movements.
The Clarisonic is completely waterproof so can be used confidently in the shower, bath or whenever else takes you fancy...except the dishwasher...apparently!

A full charge of the Clarisonic allows 30 minutes of use, which is great as you don't need to be worrying about charging it after every cleansing session. I always use it in the evening to remove all the grub and grime from the day's escapades. It is so quick and easy, and honestly does remove every speck of makeup.

I carried out an experiment. I embarked on my normal nightly cleansing routine, to which I thought I was removing the majority of my makeup and leaving my face fresh and clean!
How very wrong I was.
I then used the Clarisonic straight afterwards and...let just say, the white bristles weren't so white after my 1 minute session. A lot of unsuspected makeup was removed and staring right back at me from the brush head!




My Clarisonic Classic came with three trial sizes of their different cleansers to be used. They are all really lovely and very gentle , but you can use any cleanser when using the unit. They just advise not to use anything highly concentrated with exfoliating particles, as this combined with the oscillating bristles may be too harsh on your skin.

So I have now been using my Clarisonic for nearly a whole month now, and I can confess I have noticed results.
My skin isn't awful but isn't perfect either. I suffer from blackheads on my nose and those occasional annoying little pimples around my chin and jawline. I have furiously scrubbed my nasal area in an attempt to banish those nasty blackheads, but so very often, I am just left resembling Rudolph and still sporting those little beasts.
I have definitely observed that after using the Clarisonic that my skin feels fresher, and the blackheads and pimples have minimised and become less obvious.
My skin can often look a bit sallow and really rather dull, but when using the unit, it definitely seems to perk the skin up and give it a really healthy, squeaky-clean glow.
I like the fact I can slip into slumber knowing that every scrap of slap has been removed, and my skin is definitely thanking me for it.

Clarisonic offer three varying systems to suit every skin need and purse limitation; the mia (seemingly only available on the US website) the Classic and the Plus.
As the price tag increases, so does the brush speeds, and the Plus unit also offers the ability to attach a body brush to the handle for top to toe cleansing!
The Clarisonic Classic (my one) - price: £150
The Clarisonic Plus - price: £175

For US readers, this is the Clarisonic website
For UK readers, please click here

I am really pleased with how our relationship is working out. So far, my skin tone has become more even, and it feels a lot smoother and generally healthier. Blackheads and pimples have been minimised and in some areas irradiated, and my skin generally feel more glowing since using the Clarisonic. Also, my makeup seems to sit more evenly on my face as my skin is undeniably silkier and less oily. 
As for fine lines, pores and wrinkles, I do not suffer from any of these...yet...so cannot comment.

The question is: would I recommend the Clarisonic?
Hmmm...I think if your skin is pretty perfect already, then I do not think the Clarisonic could really offer you anything that you clearly aren't blessed with already. We must note, it isn't a miracle worker. It won't directly cure acne and if you do suffer from any skin conditions, a consultation with a medical professional before buying this would be advisable. But it can indirectly promote the skin's health by reducing oiliness, blemishes and dry patches, and judging by some before and after testimonials on the website, it seems to have really have worked wonders for some people.

If your skin isn't perfect and you have some disposable cash to drop, then the Clarisonic could be your new best friend, and can definitely offer you something special which you aren't achieving from your current cleansing regime. It is a wonderfully relaxing addition to my skin care routine and I enjoy using it and seeing the benefits; and I won't be reverting back to my conventional cleansing routine any time soon. But also I do believe the longer you use it, and the more integrated it becomes into your beauty regime, the better the results. I'd like to come back after 4-6 months and update you again with how my skin is faring.

I hope you have found this review helpful, and please if you have any further questions, leave me a comment and I shall endeavour to respond asap!
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Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Does my balm look big in this?

Eyeko Fat Balms.
Little tubes of wonderment to lavish your lips and colour your cheeks.
Here before you is Frosting and Minty, but Eyeko also tease us with four other deliciously-scented and shimmering treats: toffee, strawberry, raspberry and cherry.




The packaging is unmistakably Eyeko, cutesy, colourful and playful; and adorned with candy canes and cupcakes, they are perfect delights for any self-confessed girlie girl. 


Eyeko Fat Balms are rich in Jojoba Oil and added SPF 15 for soft, hydrated lips, whilst adding a subtle, reflective glisten and a smooch of colour. They also boast the ability to be used on the cheeks for a sweet, delicate flush but I personally do not like using them on my face. I find the finish a bit tacky and greasy, and much prefer to preserve them for my pout...





Top: Minty Fat Balm - a very subtle glaze on the lips, laced which sweet glints of shimmer. It echos freshly-brushed teeth and slightly tingles the pout.


Bottom: Frosting Fat Balm - a much richer, pigmented hue. A deep pink with tinkles of reflective particles makes the lips look sugar-coated, as if you have just taken a bite of a freshly-frosted cupcake.


You can acquire these fat balms, £6, and many other pretty purchases from Eyeko.
Let me know if you are fanatical about the fat balms, and if you have tried any of the other delights they offer?
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Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Here comes the rain again

Possibly a rather aptly timed and titled post considering the dismal state of affairs currently lashing down outside my window.
I have raindrops falling on my head, and now I have them on my nails too!
This is one of the three nail polishes which were selected as the wondrous winners of Illamasqua's global Nail Varnish Competition, launched earlier this year.
I delve into more detail about this in my post here where I feature Eclipse, a gorgeous blue and purple hue, spiked with greyish undertones.

Here however is Raindrops.  The brains behind this beauty was Ann from California.

"Inspired by a photograph I took from the monorail in Seattle, through the rain on the window you glimpse the Seattle Space Needle. I want a polish that looks like raindrops on my fingernails. A light, creamy grey with the sheerest silver glimmer, lightly reflective...like a raindrop."



Raindrops was a little trickier to work with than Eclipse. It definitely needed its two coats, and could possibly have warranted one more application to achieve complete opaqueness and richness in colour.

This nail polish, along with the other competition winners, are available from Illamasqua online.
What do you think? Are you ravished with Raindrops or a little bit washed out?
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