Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Asian Benefits and new hair cut picture!

As mentioned a while back, I was invited to attend my first beauty blogger event by Vex in the City. It was hosted by Benefit and aimed for people with Asian/darker skin tones.
To be honest, I’m rather fair (I’ve been colour matched as NC 20, 25 and 30 on three separate occasions at a Mac counter, to my exasperation). However, being ethnically Chinese, I am definitely yellow. Anyone recall the old Pink Panther movies where Peter Seller always referred his Japanese lodger Cato as his ‘yellow friend’? So whilst I’m not in the same spectrum as the Simpsons, I am pretty far away from the classic English Rose complexion. However, good news is Benefit will be bringing out a large range of colours soon. I think the launch will be sometime in April, but don’t quote me on that.
It was lovely to meet some other beauty bloggers on the night and I’ve included some makeover photos as Head Makeup Artist Lisa demonstrated some products.

I also had a mini-makeover done by a lovely MUA (but I’ve forgotten her name now…*bangs head*. I’m blaming my revision cramming here). She focused mostly on my face and lips. Originally, I really wanted a perfect red pout that Jasmine from Benefit showed us. It was on the runway during London Fashion Week and was completed with red glitter. However, it was deemed unsuitable for my complexion (I was rosy red by that time due to downing around 5 sips of the white wine… that’s the Asian flush for ya!), so she went for a pink instead, and I experienced Posey Tint for the first time. Here are some photos of the finished look once I got back home.

I wore an ASOS navy dress and a vest underneath. For my eyes, I played around with the Naked Palette since I distinctly remember having labs that day and was rather rushed in getting ready – I headed for the train station right away and didn’t have time to get changed. That’s how bad it was! Cue lots of makeup touch-ups in the ladies room of the station.

Anyways, since my headshot included the length of my hair before my London cut and haul a week later, I thought to include a photo of my new cut so you can compare the two. Apart from length, not much was changed since I’m trying to grow it out a la Elena-from-Vampire-Diaries.

Whaddya think?

Monday, 28 March 2011

Nails of The Day: Cracked coral

With so many different cracked nail polishes of various colours coming out soon (for example Barry M is bringing out more colours and 17 has already released a few colours like gold), I wanted to dig out my pot of the cracked nail polish from Barry M that I bought last year and only used once.

Since I've only opened the bottle once, I haven't experienced any changes to the formula in the five months of neglect. I applied it over a coral pink MUA shade I picked up recently in my quest for a pretty coral colour. The effect is rather nice. What do you think?

Also, sorry for the photos in the last post - I'm not sure why they're not coming up. If you click on the little boxes, you should be taken to the picture. I've reloaded the photos quite a few times to no avail.

Sunday, 27 March 2011

Nyx round lipgloss in Doll Pink

Ever since my Cherry Culture haul, I feel like I’ve been raving about their products – the quality of their lipsticks and eyeshadows are simply divine. I also got three round lipglosses from Nyx and have tried them out long enough to give a good balanced review.
The price is so good that its almost non-existent: $2 sale with added 20% discount equals roughly £1. Even the glosses at Asda’s George range are £2.75 now! Of course there’s the £7 P&P, but I prefer to think of it as the ugly step sister determined to ride Cinderella’s ball gown train – something you ignore with the best possible poker face (no grimaces!).
Like all Nyx round lipglosses, the applicator comes in a slightly bent doe foot sponge wand. A slight grievance is the fact that the stopper around the neck of the tube isn’t very good at its job and always lets out a little too much product each time. This can be the other ugly stepsister in my fairy tale analogy.  The colour Doll Pink is a pretty bright fuchsia with very small lilac shimmer particles that are only visible only if you stare very closely at the tube for extended periods of time and risk going cross-eyed. It could certainly be Cinderella’s lip colour by choice.

Application-wise, the product glides on smoothly and easily with no hint of drag or uneven colour application. The formula is very light weight and runny. A comparison that comes to mind is the Jemma Kidd Makeup School Hi-Shine Silktouch lipglosses, which are similarly thin. So if you’re a person who dislikes the heavy feeling Mac lip dazzleglasses or Revlon Superlustrous lipglosses give, this would be the perfect lipgloss range for you. Alternatively, if you’re a true beauty addict and like to mix and match things, I’d recommend you go for it anyway.

The pigmentation of the gloss is very good despite the fact that you’re not caking on the product at all. In terms of wear, I would say I got at least 4 hours from it, although the glossy effect started to fade towards the end so my lips were more pink than shiny, as the pigmentation remained like a stain on my lips. It’s harder to judge for after 4 hours, as I had to eat then. Due to my rational dislike of having food crumbs stuck to my lips or ingesting too much chemicals, I always remove my lip products before eating, so it’s rather hard for me to comment whether the gloss would have lasted beyond the 4 hour mark for me. Judging by its performance, I dare say the pigmentation would have definitely lasted, but don’t quote me on that.
All in all, this is such a fantastic product, even discounting the price. There are so many colours to choose from on the Cherry Culture website, ranging from nudes to pastels to brights. I’m firmly on the Nyx bandwagon now and whilst I’m constantly bemoaning the lack of Nyx in the UK (more expensive online Nyx distributers here in the UK does NOT count!), I confess part of my fascination with Nyx also stems from its limited availability. It was ever so much fun researching all the different colours online and reading up on swatches/reviews before making my choices on whether I should go for the eyeshadow palettes or singles, the lipsticks or the lipglosses, the Megashine range or the Black label range…

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Stila eyeshadows review in Sparkle and Cloud

I really wanted to try Stila after reading rave reviews and hauls around the web and when I saw two new shadow pans up for grabs on Ebay, I couldn’t resist.
The colours are in Sparkle and Cloud, and each pan is pretty big. The outer packaging is the typical Stila brown paper box that I’m not too keen on – it suggests a cheap eco-friendly brand that places more emphasis on hugging trees rather than what it should be all about – makeup quality. Mind you, I’ve nothing against the environment in general. I simply wish for sleeker packaging.
However, the products themselves are nothing like the wishy-washy, nondescript brown outer packaging. The pans were snugly situated in plastic and well protected. Sparkle is a beautiful rich brown/golden duochrome colour with lots of frost. Cloud is equally beautiful and swatches a gorgeous silver with a hint of grey/blue. The colour is duochrome too, so changes according to the light.


Only a single swipe is needed to achieve such a pigmented swatch. The texture is buttery soft. I would compare it to my Urban Decay shadows in terms of pigmentation, but say that it’s even softer in texture. Despite the softness, there’s no need to worry about powdery fallout in my palette – a major bonus when moving between university accommodations and home.

With flash

No flash with horrid yellow lamp light
Overall, I wouldn’t mind owning a few more of these little gems at all. I hate paying jacked up prices here in the UK when it’s so much cheaper in comparison over in USA, so I’ll probably be scouring TKMaxx and Ebay for more Stila bargains. I saw a trio set at TKMaxx a while back but they’ve seem to have gone now, so it’s all based on luck really. Nevertheless, I’m not desperate for makeup anymore, so will happily let serendipity reign.
I’ve got two of their famed lipglosses to try in my stash of unopened goodies too. Can’t wait!
Anyone have good Stila recommendations?

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

RIP: Elizabeth Taylor (1932-2011)

One of the last of Hollywood's golden age giants has died at the age of 79 today. Elizabeth Taylor became a child start in National Velvet and had a career that spanned decades. Her violet eyes, legendary Hollywood history, and infamous marriages will live on in the history books, as the Fossil children aspired in Ballet Shoes.  

Let's also not forget Elizabeth Taylor from Sex and the City, a valiant little dog Charlotte York named after her favourite actress in order to remind her of the strength and courage Elizabeth Taylor possessed.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Nyx eyeshadows in Luster and Golden Bronze review

I fell in love with Nyx after my first Cherry Culture haul and snapped up two more eyeshadows from Ebay recently in the colours Luster and Golden Bronze.

Pigmentation-wise, they are very, very good. In fact, I have been impressed with all the products I’ve tried from Nyx so far and have to say the pigmentation is top notch, regardless of price. I would happily place them in the same range as Mac or Urban Decay for some of the products, if not better, as in the case of the round lipsticks.

Luster is a light olive green colour with golden shimmer, whilst Golden Bronze is browner and contains similar olive undertones, along with shimmer. Golden Bronze is definitely the more wearable of the two, but the two are very complementary and would be a great duo for spring/summer. They’re unique in my collection as I own a stack of true browns/taupe singles, along with the Naked palette, but nothing olive-based.
These blend out nicely and last a long time with UDPP – no creasing for me for at least 8 hours, which is very nice. Of course, my shadows rarely crease as long as I use primer. It’s important to note that only a thin layer of primer is needed (this goes for cream eyeshadows used as base too) – overloading the lids with product is guaranteed crease-city.
With the whole range of colours Nyx offers, I’ll definitely be hitting Cherry Culture or Ebay soon. Any good colour recommendations?

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Moroccan Oil review

I bought this hair treatment oil from a salon as part of my London Haul around two weeks ago and have used it more than half a dozen times now – enough to warrant a good short-term review.
I bought the original version as opposed to the light one that’s recommended for people with fine hair. The key ingredient here is Argan Oil and I wanted the highest concentration of this in the ingredients. The stylist couldn’t tell me what percentage of the Argan Oil was in the original and light versions, so it made sense the original contains more. For me, one pump is enough for my entire head of medium-thick shoulder length hair. Two pumps was needed using the light version, so even economy-wise, the original was the better choice for me. You rub the oil between your palms and smooth it into damp towel dried hair from midway to the ends, followed by heat protectant and hair drier. The oil should sink straight into your shafts and start working its magic on your locks.

My hair is naturally very straight. It’s thick and never frizzes. The texture is smooth and it’s quite easy to work through any tangles from wind or the shower. Following usage of the Moroccan Oil, my hair is even silkier and softer than before. Frankly, that’s saying something. My strands are ridiculously soft, even after tongs and hair spray – so much so that when I dared a friend to stroke it, she couldn’t stop. In combination with my quick trim and the oil, my slightly frazzled ends are history. It would be interesting to see how long I can maintain that state of healthiness.
It is also easier to comb through me hair. Normally, after curling using heat and copious amounts of spray, my curls get tangled and hard to comb through. This is no longer a problem since I started using Moroccan Oil. It also eliminates my non-existent frizz problem, so I can imagine girls with such problems will find it even better than I do.
Overall, I am very impressed with the short term results I’ve seen so far. I was informed by the stylist that the salon had tried several brands of Argan oil treatments before, but that Moroccan Oil was by far the best and is selling like hot cakes. After trying it, I can imagine why.
The 100ml bottle costs £30.45 and is pretty good value for money considering how little I use each time I wash my hair. Truthfully, my hair care routine is pretty low maintenance and I go for the types of shampoos and conditioners you find on the expensive aisles of Boots (i.e. £5 to £10 range). This is the most expensive hair care item I’ve splashed out on, and I’m definitely seeing the results. If you’re unsure, I would recommend finding a salon that offers this treatment and try it there, if you’re due for a trim sometime soon. Alternatively, you can purchase a smaller sample size (I think it’s 15ml for £15). That’s not as cost efficient, but cheaper so you can see how well you like it before committing to a full sized bottle.  

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Weekend haulage and bank breakage

Hello guys and dolls, how’s your Wednesday so far? I’ve been pretty busy moving home from uni and unpacking this week, so the posts have been rather sparse. Well, no worries as everything should be on track again.
I had a good ol’ browse at Boots before I left uni, and here’s what I got! I was rather numb as I entered my card pin, since the total came close to £100… for a single transaction! I think the total on my What’s Your Face Worth post should be updated with my additional purchases, but that number already scared me. However, I do think the great GWP incentives negated the price slightly.
So here’s what I got! There might be a few GWP items missing, as I had packed everything away before remembering to take a photo, and couldn’t recall all the small samples that came with the purchases.

Lancome Primordiale Skin Recharge night cream (*gulp* £52. Remember my raving review on the day version? Well, I loved it so much I decided to get the other one too. It’s worrying how the combined total of these two creams can almost get me a Clarisonic Mia, which I want desperately).

Lancome GWP, which includes Galateis Douceur, Tonique Douceur (gorgeous scent – light and refreshing), Bi-facil (fantastic makeup remover – no panda eyes please!), Genifique, Hydra Zen day cream (so yummy – leaves my skin soothed and soft. A close favourite to the Primordiale), Genifique Yeux (pretty good, not sure how effective it is on my 20-year old skin, but great moisturiser), Hypnose mascara (very black), and finally a juicy tube in framboise (strawberry, for non-French speakers. It has a yummy scent, great formula).
Max Factor Lip tint pen in Pink Princess (£7.99)
Max Factor lipstick in Pearl Orange (great coral shade for summer, £7.99)
Max Factor GWP, contains a miniature mascara, lipgloss, eye shadow, nail varnish and a coupon for £3 off a foundation, all in a cheap but smartly designed makeup bag that has an attachable mesh bag inside.
Benefit High Beam (£18.50)
Origins serum sample
Did anyone buy anything fun over the weekend? There are so many great GWP deals out there at the moment that I’m rather spoilt for choice! I know Estee Lauder has a ‘customise your own’ freebie deal which sounds like a great idea, and UNE is giving away a free blush with every foundation purchase.


Monday, 14 March 2011

My Top 5 Clinique Products

Following my massive splurge on recent Glamour magazines to get my mitts on the free Clinique goodies, I thought it’d be nice to make a list of all the Clinique products I’ve tried over the last few years which I’ve enjoyed. It’ll hopefully give you some inspiration for when you go past the counter next time a Bonus Time event is happening. I have bought these items full priced at Clinique counters, so have tested them out for quite a while now and am confident in my assessment and preference.

My absolute favourite is the Take the Day Off makeup remover (£14.50). It’s a bi-phase makeup remover and very effective. I prefer this to the No 7 Cleanse Eye care makeup remover and it’s as effective as the Lancome Bi-facial, whilst being £3 cheaper. I simply soak a pad with this and put it on my lids for a second or two, before wiping away. It has yet to leave me with panda eyes before bed.

A close favourite is the All About Eyes eye cream (£22.50), which is a rich, moisturising balm that absorbs quickly, without residue. According to Clinique, it holds makeup in place too. I always wore primer on my lids before shadows, so can’t comment on how effective this is as a primer. When I switched to a Natio day and night eye cream duo, I got a few flaky dry spots on my eye area that I didn’t have before. All About Eyes sorted that out quickly.

I love the Moisture Surge Extended Thirst Relief (£30). It has a gel like texture which reminds me of the Dramatically Different Moisturizing gel, and absorbs as quickly to give the skin a light, refreshed but still moisturised feeling. The Thirst Relief has a longer hydration period than the Dramatically Different gel though.  

The SPF35 Targeted Protection Stick (15.50) is fantastic now that the sun’s coming back. I couldn’t find an eye cream with built in SPF protection, so decided to go for this. I wear it over my eye makeup and have to apply it carefully in order not to smudge the shadows. However, when it’s on, it’s on! It’s water- and sweat-proof, so good for holidays too.

I really like the Anti-Blemish Solutions Clearing Moisturiser (£15) too. It made a difference to the size of my breakouts when I applied it over-night, but not dramatic enough to warrant a repurchase after I finished it. I did enjoy using it though, as you can see in my ‘A de-potting exercise!’ post, when I tried to salvage as much as I could from an empty tube. It sunk in beautifully and left my skin matte, which was nice especially for daytime.

I’m not very keen on the Clinique makeup range. The shadows are quite nice in terms of colour, but rather sheer. After Mac and Urban Decay, I’m more inclined towards punchier pigmentation. The lipsticks are nice and moisturising, so feel free to check that out. The one product I can absolutely not stand is Long Last Gloss Wear – I own two and both feel tacky on my lips. Every time I apply, it feels like I’m smoothing a prick-stick tube over my lips and I end up with extreme stickiness.

So there you have it! Have you tried any of the products I mentioned? Or do you have other recommendations? Let me know in the comments and don’t forget to follow!

Cassie xoxo

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Simple makeup simplified!

Hi everyone - hope you're all enjoying the sunshine!

Here's an excerpt from my recent post at American Makeup:

'Over-complicating my makeup is a crime I am constantly guilty of, simply because I have the makeup and know-how to pull it off. However, there is a quiet beauty in the natural look: makeup is used to subtly enhance features, rather than making a loud dramatic statement. I’m going to share a few tips here to simplify this seemingly simple process.

Eyes should always be your first focus point, no matter what the look. This applies even for the nude eyes/red lips combo, since you’ll be prepping the eyes like a clean canvas so not to drawn attention to the lips then.'

If you want to read the full post, then click here. Don't forget to comment and follow!

Friday, 11 March 2011

My mini haul: Mac and the 7 magazines

So the Wonder Woman collection came out last Thursday at Mac counters. I dashed over there as soon as I could to pick up Pink Power, the only thing I was interested in. Good thing too, since it sold out like hotcakes – I checked back two days later and there were ‘Sold Out’ stickers dotted everywhere!
You’re probably sick and tired of seeing photos like these now, but here it is again! I should have included a photo of my hand holding it really, since the thing is BIIIIG! It’s larger than my palm and actually reaches the middle joint of my fingers. Granted, I’ve small hands to complement my small size 3 feet, but I’ve yet to come across such gigantic makeup items before. Bobbi Brown’s compact foundation is a very far second place indeed. I also asked for a Studio Finish foundation sample since my last one did not match. It’s so annoying how I’ve now been matched to NC 30, NC 25 and this time NC 20 in the span of a season – all because the makeup artist was different. This time, at least I didn’t fork out any money for the mistakes.
Also, I grabbed 7 magazines too, since some great freebies were given with them. I got a copy of Marie Claire with a Cowshed body lotion and 7 copies of Glamour for the Clinique goodies. Yes, the checkout lady looked at me strangely. As did my friends when I distributed 6 copies of Glamour to them. See what I have to put up with in a non-makeup addicted real world?

The Clinique freebies I chose were: 3 Moisture Surge moisturisers, two All About Eyes, 1 Take The Day Off and 1 moisturising lip balm gloss tube thing (you can tell I’ve forgotten the name, right?).
I’ve seen quite a few Glamour/Clinique magazine sprees lately, but would love to know if you succumbed to the temptation and bought a stack too. If so, what did you get?

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

A tale of two pans...

You’re probably used to thinking about eyeshadow pans (makeup addict much? :P) rather than the normal kitchen equipment type. For me, I like to use my saucepans but what about you?
Tyra Banks at America’s Next Top Model has started recently introducing the contestants to a range of healthy diets (RE: Ann’s deep fried oreos in Cycle 15!). Since a balanced diet high in vitamins, water and fibre is good for your beauty, and this is a beauty-oriented blog, I wonder what do you eat?
As a student living in brand new accommodations, complete with a fantastic spacious kitchen, I have been doing more cooking this year than ever before. My repertoire is pretty much all things Chinese – stir fries, noodle soups, rice sticks.etc I do occasionally bung the odd thing into the oven, but that’s when I’m craving pizza!
I wanted to show you a photo of my beloved pan which I use as a wok for stir fries, a grill for my chicken breasts and a saucepan for my yummy soups. It’s dirty because when I wanted to take the photo, I had just eaten and was too lazy to trek back to the kitchens and clean.

This post is a preview of an upcoming review of the CNS Stores, which is US-based but branching into the UK. Their range includes lighting, furniture and obviously kitchen equipment. I know kitchenware isn’t exactly a fun beauty related topic, but wouldn’t it be great if I can have a Jamie Oliver effect on all you lovely readers and inspire you to cook at home, eat healthily, have glowing skin and never read my skincare reviews ever again? Ok, for the perfect answer to my rhetorical question, it’s a ‘yes’ for all but the last part.

Great deal: £9 for £20 to spend at ASOS!

Hi guys and dolls - Groupon is bring everyone in the UK a chance to buy a £9 voucher worth £20 to spend on ASOS!

Over 13, 000 people have already bought this and it's on until tomorrow (ie. finishes at midnight on the 9th March, GMT).

ASOS does free delivery and this is a great chance to have a look at some great beauty and fashion stuff they've got, which ranges from cheap highstreet to designer!

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Tag: How much Is my Face Worth?

My first tag post! I saw this on a few blogs and was really curious to find out just how much damage I do to my purse in the name of investing in a ‘good face’. I’ve decided to combine my normal skin care routine (day and night) with a typical makeup look to give a good estimate.
Note, all numbers in brackets indicate my colour match, in case you’re interested.
Skin care
Clinique Liquid Facial Soap £13
Natio Rosewater and Chamomile gentle skin toner £8
Elizabeth Arden Good Morning Skin serum £30.64
Lancome Primordiale Skin Recharge £49.02
Lancome Colour Ideal foundation (010) £28.09 (mixed in with the Skin Recharge)
Lancome Genifique eye cream £36.77
The Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Reviver £13
Clinique Take the Day Off makeup remover £14.50
Simple cream cleanser £3-ish
or Sanctuary Polishing Hot Cloth £10.20
Clinique Clarifying Lotion (Type 2) £23
Lancome Genifique eye cream
Caudalie Pulpe Vitaminee serum £25-ish
Purity Regenerating Overnight moisturiser £8
L’Oreal Lash Renewal serum £11.29
 Makeup (I’m quite minimalist here, so hopefully it won’t be too much!)
Benefit Boiing concealer (01) £16.50
Benefit High Beam £18.50
Benefit Creaseless Cream shadow/liner in Sippin’ n dippin’ or samda dy loves me £14
Eyeshadows varies a lot but my go-to when rushed/uninspired is the Urban Decay Naked Palette £27
Diorshow Extase mascara (sample) free
No 7 Amazing eyes pencil (05 black) £7 something when I bought it a few years back
Blush: varies – currently rotating Mac cream blush in Poesy, Cargo Beach blush in Miami, Laura Geller, Nars multiple... let’s whack a £17 estimate on this!
Lipstick/lipgloss: Loving Nyx lipsticks and glosses at the minute, as well as Too Faced Mirror gloss and Lancome Juicy Tubes, so let’s say a total of £10.

So that’s pretty much it. *Roots around drawer for calculator and whack numbers in*
The grand total of my face is worth....

...After seeing the cumulative Lancome purchases I’ve made over the months, I’m actually a tad worried now...I could have bought a designer handbag with that money!

*drum rolls please*


Oh gad...that’s terrible! I know a lot of it comes from my skincare routine, which I hate to be frugal about, but still...
My only justification would be that I’m quite conserved with all the products and only use the minimal amount necessary for my skin, so they can last longer. Plus I only make Lancome purchases during GWP seasons, so I can get some samples of items I’ve tried before and love, like the Hydrazen moisturiser.
However, given my addiction to makeup too, I know my blush collection alone is worth somewhere in the regions of £200+ (Simply Mac: 3 MSFs, 1 Beauty Powder, 2 powder blush, 1 cream = ~ £140).
The great and bad thing with makeup is that items are so small and don’t seem so expensive when individually priced, so even when you’ve indulged in a £26 Mac Pink Power MSF from the Wonderwoman collection, it doesn’t seem too much. Then you go and add up everything you’ve spent in the past few months and the total sky rocket.
I really should go on a Project 10 Pan, but I know I’ll never finish up any item at all, except mascaras because I just chuck these after the expiration date. My tastes are fickle and it’s so hard to focus all my attention on a single colour in order to use it up. Anyone else have the same problem?
This post would probably be more accurate if it was ‘How much are you worth?’ I spend quite a large amount on body care (moisturisers, scrubs, bath items, shower gels...) and hair products too, so all in all, I probably waste 80% (if not more) of my money on beauty-related items.
Ok, just to share this double-edged beauty wake-up call, I tag everyone who’s reading this to do a similar post and let me know what your total is! Don’t forget to come back and let me know, so I can check it out too!

Monday, 7 March 2011

London Haul: Clothes, makeup, hair care and more!

Hi guys, hope everyone had a great weekend! I hit 100 page views for a single day’s count and was so happy! Thanks for remaining with me and continuing to read this blog!
So I went to London on Saturday for a haircut at Bloww hair salon/spa in Piccadilly Circus. The staff there was lovely and I really like my new cut. I did take some before and after photos, which I’ll post in the upcoming days, should you be interested. I had a Redken shot treatment which nourished my hair, and after seeing the Moroccan Oil display, I requested Tom, my hairdresser to use it on my locks.
The end results left me quite amazed. I don’t suffer from frizzy hair, and they’re in pretty good condition anyway, but the oil gave my hair such softness that I can’t stop stroking it, even two days after. So I went ahead and grabbed a bottle for £30.45.

Afterwards, I went to Oxford Circus and did a bit of shopping there. I saw a long line of women protesters for International Women's day at around 2pm, each representing some female-oriented cause.

 Seasoned Londoners may know just how packed Oxford Street is during the weekend. It wasn’t too bad for me initially – I went to Harvey Nichols and had a browse around, checked out the new Nars Illuminators and talked to the MUA there for a bit. I really liked the Super Orgasm illuminator, but I wanted to see if there were other makeup stuff I’d rather buy.
And indeed there was! As you may or may not know, Ruby and Millie is being discontinued in Boots. There were some great bargains to be found and I snapped up two eyeshadows, a lipstick and a lipgloss for £3 each – they were around £12 originally! I really wish I bought more eyeshadows now, as I’m really impressed with the softness and pigmentation, plus the circular pots can be clicked onto of one and another – very convenient. However, there weren’t many good colours left and I don’t particularly wish to buy more rarely worn colours. I also got the brand’s eyeliner brush for £1.50 but haven’t used it yet.

From top: The Body Shop hemp hand cream, Ruby and Millie lipgloss, lipstick and two eyeshadows

From top: Ruby and Millie eyeliner brush, Body Shop blending brush, mineral foundation sample
I hauled a large stash of mainly facial stuff from the Body Shop and grabbed a few sample pots of serums too. The total came to £32, since I got the Vitamin C facial scrub free, having spent over £15 on skincare.

From left: Vit C microdermabrasion, Vit C Skin Reviver (repurchase), Tea tree oil, Ruby and Millie lipstick (Matte orange)
I was on the hunt for some cool summer wedges, but it seemed like they were all size 5 or larger, probably because of the height on the heels. This is rather unfortunate considering I’ve size 3 to 4 feet, and have been known to fit into size 2 heels. My desperation to find a suitable pair or wedges may have prompted me to venture into Primark, where I thought the selection will be large. What a mistake that was! I managed to get on to the first floor and have a quick glance around before I needed to leave. The place was stuffy, smelly and packed with people – vicious, bargain hunting natives and foreigners hell-bent on snatching that last dress on the racks. Now I’ve participated in some pushy Boxing Day sales before, but the experience at Primark was simply traumatising. Kudos to any reader who can navigate around the place on a Saturday afternoon without breaking sweat!
I escaped to New Look and managed to snag two pretty outfits – a green leopard print, long sleeved dress and a heather grey dress shirt. Ever since I bought my Calvin Klein heather grey snood last month, I’ve loved the colour. My wardrobe normally consists of blacks, whites, pinks, reds and purples – very few neutral or cool-toned outfits as they don’t flatter my skin tone as much. However, I’ve been selecting some specifically coloured items now to broaden my clothes palette, since I like expanding my range.

The lighting's pretty yellow since I took the photos at night, as soon as I got back, since I wanted to pack all the hauls away.

That’s all the stuff I bought this weekend! It was a very tiring experience and not a pilgrimage I’d likely to make often. I do want to check out the Camden or Portobello markets next term, after my exams though. Any seasoned Londoners with good advice on which stalls I should check out and the time-frame I should go? I think stall holders normally pack up around 3 or 4 in the afternoon and call it a day, so do I need to go in the mornings?
Let me know if you want specific reviews on any of the products I bought on Saturday!
xoxo Cassie

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Let's get flexible with Lizzy A's 8 Hour Cream!

Further to my last post on top celeb beauty loves, I thought to share with you the top 10 ways I use the versatile Elizabeth Arden cult classic, ever since I bought it last year in the 100 years anniversary set featuring a 50 ml tube and two 14.9 ml lip tins.

Quick note - I only bought a tin to university with me this term and wanted to use some on my nose but couldn't open the evil thing. I have been straining my arms on and off for the past few hours to no avail, so I really recommend you NOT to go for those fiddly tins that gets stuck so easily. Yes, it might seem cute, but It. Is. Evil.

Anyway, shall we move on? I wrote this post for American Makeup and thought you may like to check it out!

1. Lip balm
2. Dry patches of facial or body skin.....

For the complete Top 10 (the possible uses does get more inventive), click here.

Have a great Sunday! I was in London yesterday getting my hair cut and did a spot of shopping around Oxford Circus, so will post about that next week. I'm really tired today since I've tons of journals to read. On top of that, my ensuite toilet isn't flushing. This is the third time in three weeks a water-related problem has occured (always on Sundays too....) and my building was only built last year. So NOT impressed!

Friday, 4 March 2011

Top Celebrity Beauty Buys from £2!

I spotted this slideshow feature on the Marie Claire website and clicked through the 25 products current celebs love and rave about. I picked out 5 of my favorites which I’ve tried before to share with you guys. If you want to check out all 25, click here.

Cheryl Cole

Loves: Vaseline Lip Therapy stick, £2.03 and L’oreal Glam Shine Reflexion in Sheer Cassis, £6.99.

Vaseline is such a cult product, isn’t it? The original blue tin one was my first lip balm ever and I used it for at least five years to moisturize my lips overnight, before I got bored and discovered Boots Lip Wonderbalm. I love the new stick formula and the fact that it contains great ingredients like pro-vitamin E. However, I still prefer a lip balm that contains a lil’ bit less of petroleum, since that taste irritates me so much.

The L’oreal Glam Shine lipgloss is great! Smooth application, fantastic pigmentation and non-sticky wear. My lips feel slick and light after application. I would estimate it lasts more than 4 hours on me, but it’s hard to say since I always wipe off any lip product before eating as I hate the feeling of crumbs stuck to any product.

Leighton Meester

Loves: Benefit Benetint, £23.50

She says that 'It creates the most natural flush.’

I totally agree with Leighton that the Benetint is a fab product, but I actually prefer its little sister – Posietint, which I tried out during my Benefit evening on Tuesday. I think the pink would suit more skin tones and be easier to carry off.

The stain is long lasting and fades pretty evenly. I still had to apply a lipbalm over the top as I’ve tried lips, but low maintenance girls can use this from day to night without need for reapplications.

Jessica Alba

Loves: Epsom salts, £2.15

She says she ‘adds them to the bath along with eucalyptus essential oil to ease water retention.'

I love all sorts of bath products and have a selection to suit my mood, be they bubbly and fun or natural and soothing. Something really has to be said for the medicinal qualities of bath salts though. I don’t know if it’s because of the minerals in the salt crystals which give these benefits or if it’s purely a placebo effect, but my muscles feel more relaxed using bath salts.

Also, my mum loves the Dead Sea sea salts (around £6 for 1 kg at Boots) for occasional joint paints when the weather is damp and cold.

Loves: Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream, £23

She says 'It's so versatile. I use it on my skin and lips.'

To be honest, Vaseline is rather similar since it's mainly petroleum and the 8 hours cream contains ~55% petroleum, but there’s also salicylic acid, vitamin E and corn oil. Perhaps it's the the price that makes me think its more effective.

Let me know in the comments below what you think of these tips! Are there any cheap products worthy of sharing?

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