Tuesday, 30 August 2011

OOTD - Are You Sure It's Still August?!

Pleather jacket - TK Maxx (£22)
Cardigan - H&M (£7.99)
Trousers - H&M (£14.99)
Vest top - Asda (£3)
Scarf - Primark (£4)
Leopard pumps - Primark (£4)
Imagine having to wear a heavy jacket and scarf on 30th August! Well, I did today. The last Monday and Tuesday of August each year means one thing in my town - the annual Fair, when the main streets are lined with stalls selling all sorts of crap, the park is taken over by amusement rides, and loads of gypsies travelling community people arrive. It is also a major tourist attraction.

Needless to say, I despise it. You can't drive anywhere and the place is overrun. I only ventured out the door today to visit my boyfriend at work in the local sports shop (I also bought a local hurling team top and some O'Neills trackie bottoms for a grand total of £15 - cheers Bruns!)

In other news, I bought the above black skinny fit trousers in H&;M last week and I love them. For a start I managed to fit into a H&M 14, which is nothing short of a goddamn miracle. They are quite high waisted so they don't fall down all the time, and although they are described as jeans they don't feel like denim or jeans material at all? They just seem like trousers to me, and will be good for work. Especially as come winter I can tuck them into boots. Which will be any day now, really.

Apologies for the lack of Monday Montage yesterday; I had a Uni friend from England over this weekend with her boyfriend, and it was so lovely to see her again! :)

I hope you all had a good weekend and bank holiday! I took today off work as I have built up two days of flexi-time that I need to use. Being in work at 8am is good for something!

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette

I had been eyeing up the Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette for aaaages on YouTube and blogs after it was released in the USA. I was immediately smitten and knew that when it came out in the UK I would be straight out to get my hands on it.

So when it was finally in stock, I went to Debebhams one lunch time for a look.  My first impression upon seeing it with my own eyes, was that it was actually a lot smaller than I had expected! I don't know why I had expected it to be larger, especially after watching videos where people are obviously holding it and handling it, but it just seemed very small.

However, size aside, everything else about it, I loved as much as I had thought...

The palette is housed snugly in a rich purple, velvet effect outer box. The lid is silver and highly reflective. The detailed edging and the jewelled 'UD' logo on the lid are beautifully opulent.

The palette has 15 brand new eye shadows, never seen or released by Urban Decay before. There is a good selection of neutrals plus several stunning brights. All the shadows are shimmery, apart from the black.

In the bottom right hand corner of the palette, there is a little gap. You can use a pen or similar to pop the eye shadows out, and this leaves you with a beautiful storage box. I suppose you could put small brushes or some jewellery in it, and still have the eye shadows in it, but I think the 'storage box' gimmick is really only feasible without the shadows in it.

Swatches! (and my thoughts)

Midnight Rodeo - a pale, shimmery brown
Midnight 15 - shimmery, creamy champagne
Vanilla - Pale yellow-ish cream. Not very pigmented.
Flow - Pink champagne
Chase - gold toned bronze/brown

Tainted - lavender toned pink with gold shimmer. Not very pigmented, hence crap swatch
Junkshow - hot, shocking fuchsia pink with a blue sheen that the camera wouldn't capture
Omen - a violet/blue duo chrome with a fantastic sheen. Love <3
Evidence - dark blue with a pearly blue sheen. Not great pigmentation
Deep End - a sea green/aqua/turquoise shimmery blue.

Deeper - bronze toned brown, reminds me of Smog from the Naked palette
M.I.A. - warm toned chocolate brown
Ace - steely blue with a metallic sheen
Blackout - matte black. I thought the pigmentation was questionable
Half-Truth - deep purple with a hint of grey/black sheen

Some colours are more wearable than others, and the pigmentation of a few was dubious, but all in all I am still very pleased with this palette. Also, as it is limited edition, once this sells out, that's it!

To give you an idea of the size, here is the palette beside the Naked palette, and my BlackBerry.

This will set you back £39, which works out at £2.60 per eye shadow. Seeing as Urban Decay single eye shadows retail for £13 and up, this is a good saving.  It is also only £4 more than the Naked palette, with 3 more eye shadows. Plus you have your pretty storage box when you use up the shadows (in about 3 years time...)

Have any of you got your hands on this yet? Let me know your thoughts!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Shattered Eyeshadow Sorrow... and a Solution!

I store some of my palettes in a rack on top of my desk, on top of my nail polish storage boxes... last week, when trying to get some nail polish out, I lifted up the rack of palettes, and my MUA Pro Starry Night palette slipped out and went clattering to the ground. I'll be honest, this was entirely my own clumsy fault; the palette is too thin for the rack so it's not snugly gripped, and it had fallen out before without any damage. This time however, my luck ran out...

I was devastated! I had only used this palette once, and hadn't even used the colour that smashed, sad times. I set the palette aside (so it was lying flat) while I pondered what I should do.  Then the other day, I remembered that I had seen a Klaire de Lys video recently about mending broken eye shadows, so I quickly got on to YouTube to find it again. I thought it seemed easy enough and was worth a try, so I went to Boots today and got some surgical spirit (it was about £4.50) and a dropper (99p). These were the main tools for the operation...

I put a few drops of the surgical spirit on to the eye shadow, until it seemed slightly soft and mushy, then used a 1p coin wrapped in some clean muslin cloth to press it down... et voilà

You can honestly barely tell that it was once in such an awful state! I think a tissue would have worked even better, as it would give a better finish to the shadow, but I am honestly so pleased with the result that I don't care! It maybe seems a bit mental spending over £5 to fix a palette that cost £4, but I now have the tools for any future make up breakages, and I went on a little make up mending spree when I saw how well it worked...

FCUK Bronzer - yes, you can see the coin marks, but the entire top corner
had been totally broken, so this is a huge improvement!
Dark purple eye shadow from 120 Pro Palette - had previously been in several
pieces. I used a 5p coin for this one.

Miners Sun Blushed Duo - my mum dropped this last week and it was literally in smithereens!
I used the base of a Yankee candle to press it! It's not pretty but at least I can get more use of it now.
I also fixed a broken eyeshadow for mum and she was very pleased too. So I would like to say a huge thank you to Klaire and her extremely useful and helpful tip!  Do keep this in mind for your broken powders ladies, it really works!

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Holiday Wardrobe Wishlist

With my impending holiday, I find myself wondering what all I should bring. I am mentally packing an overflowing suitcase, containing outfits for all possible occasions!

If I could, I would love to treat myself to some new dresses. I just love swishing around in a new dress on holiday, relaxed and (hopefully) less pasty than usual.

Upon browsing the Goddiva website I picked out a few fantastic dresses that I think would fulfil my holiday wardrobe quite nicely:

They have a large selection of party dresses, and this beautiful Asymmetric Frill Dress is perfect; floaty material, summery colours… I can just picture myself in this while holding a cocktail.

Another holiday staple is the maxi dress. Stylish but comfortable, plus cool enough to wear in the warmer climates, you can just put it on and go. I think this Peacock Print Maxi Dress would be just the ticket in the Florida sunshine.

Last but not least, what if I need, or simply want, something a bit dressier? Who knows what I could end up doing of an evening?  I love the royal blue of this One Shoulder Dress with Diamanté Trim. The gathered material with the diamanté design is a flattering shape. It would look stunning with a tan (I may bring a bottle of St. Moriz with me, then…)

What dresses are your holiday must-haves?!

Monday, 22 August 2011

Monday Montage #7

1. Clock Watching:  My long, long, looong days often result in plenty of clock watching! Funnily enough, the journey home from work always seems to be the longest part of the day...

2. (More) Antibiotics:  I managed to get another infection; this time in my wisdom tooth. Very irritating. I think I am going to have to get it out soon.

3. Crap Weather:  One minute the sun is shining, the next it's lashing down... What a lovely summer we're having!

4. New Food Processor:  I used my Amazon voucher from the Fairy Hobmother to help me buy this new food processor for my mum, and she was very pleased! I used it to make myself a smoothie one day; I think I need more practice.

5. Cup of Tea:  You can't beat it, can you?! I also have my 'own' mugs that only I use. This Tinkerbell one is one of my favourites and also quite big, so great for a massive cuppa!

7. Yankee Candle:  This is my new favourite; Black Cherry. It smells delicious, and I light it every evening when I'm unwinding after work.

7. Fake Nails:  I took some inspiration from Gem Fatale's Tuesday Tip, and Charlene's new business venture, bought a pack of false nails and got crafty! I found wearing them immensely annoying at first, but after a substantial amount of filing, I quite liked them! They also got several compliments.

8. Nail designs:  I am giving my own nails a break after wearing the falsies all week, but have painted a few sets of nails so that when I fancy sticking more on, they're ready to go! I did these leopard print ones and a set of French manicure ones!

9. Urban Decay 15th Anniversary Palette:  My new love ♥

Apologies for not having time to do my Monday Montage last week. This is kind of two weeks in one!

With my long hours spent travelling to and from work, I really haven't had very much free time. I miss blogging as regularly as I used to, but I know it just can't be done at the minute. I really hit the wall of exhaustion this week, so I need plenty of early nights to avoid becoming run down.

I hope you all had a great week, and have another great one ahead!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Urban Decay Naked Palette .v. MUA Pro 'Heaven & Earth' Palette

*Warning - photo heavy!*

First, the make up loving ladies (and men?) of the land went mental over the Urban Decay Naked Palette... packed full of neutral toned shades, with a few darks thrown in, it was the ideal palette for everyday make up.  It sold out at Urban Decay counters, it sold out online... now the dust has settled, and UD counters, plus websites, seem to be well stocked and meeting the demand (even if the price has went up).

Then, around June this year, MUA - a brand best known for selling all their items for £1 in Superdrug - released their Professional range, which in includes palettes of 12 eyeshadows. The Heaven & Earth palette, with its neutral shades, was immediately likened as a bargain version of the Naked palette, and lo and behold, H&E soon sold out in Superdrugs across the country, and online!

I think a lot of make up companies are missing a rather glaring, obvious, elephant-sized bandwagon here.... Ladies love the neutrals.

So! Is the MUA H&E palette as good as the Naked palette?

Both palettes are packed full of beautiful shades... but a dupe, it is not.  However, there a few lookalikes, and lots of lovely alternatives. If you are wary about spending so much on the Naked palette (I know all too well the feeling of post-make up indulgence guilt) for any reason, then I suggest you try the MUA H&E. At £4 you really cannot go wrong!

OK, so let's get on to some comparisons...

UD Virgin
(L - R) UD Virgin, MUA 1, MUA 4 and MUA 9
1 is definitely too white to compare to Virgin. 4 is slightly more peach in tone, and 9 is a slightly paler pink in real life (photo couldn't capture it exactly!) and much more shimmery.  I would say that 4 is the closest, but not a dupe.

UD Sin
(L - R) UD Sin and MUA 9
Sin is more pink in tone, while 9 is slightly paler and looks peachier in comparison (I know, this totally contradicts what I said about 9 above; I don't make the rules, I just wrote down my observations!). Both shades are very shimmery and it is quite a good match, though not exact.

UD Naked
(L - R) UD Naked and MUA 8
Obviously, Naked is a matte shade, while all the MUA shades are shimmery. I would say that 8 is quite a close match, except for the shimmer!
Side note - I have seen a few posts on the MUA palette where people have loved the palette, but wished there were some matte shades, like the Naked palette... but the Naked palette only has two mattes, out of 15 shadows?! Hardly a huge loss.

UD Sidecar

(L - R) UD Sidecar, MUA 2, MUA10 and MUA 12
Sidecar is not a shade I venture in to very often... it's just too damn glittery and flaky for my liking! Side by side, 2 is too coppery with less shimmer, 10 is slightly blue toned, and 12 is too dark a brown. I wouldn't say there is a Sidecar dupe is this palette.

UD Buck

(L - R) UD Buck, MUA 8 and MUA 7
With Buck, I would say that 8 is the closest match... even though it's the closest match for Naked too! However it's definitely not a dupe, as it is paler and shimmery.

UD Half Baked

(L - R- ) UD Half Baked, MUA 6 and MUA 3

The first thing I noticed when I swatched these shades side by side was how intense the sheen of Half Baked is compared to 6 and 3... yet this doesn't show up in the photo. Of course! Although Half Baked is supposed to be a coppery bronze shade, I would describe it as a true gold. To my eye, 6 was more copper in tone, with less of a sheen. 3 seemed more bronze, with slightly more sheen than 6.  Basically, these are not dupes, but are very nice alternatives.

UD Smog

(L-R) UD Smog, MUA 2, MUA 3 and MUA 11
Smog is a chocolate brown with a slight touch of shimmer. 2 is too red toned, and 3 is more bronze. 11 is, again, too red, and warmer than Smog. These are the closest you will get to Smog but they are not dupes, but nice alternatives.

UD Darkhorse

(L - R) UD Darkhorse, MUA 5, MUA 11 and MUA 12

To my eye, Darkhorse is a dark, chocolate brown with a small amount of shimmer. 5 is too red toned to be a dupe, while 11 also is too red and coppery. 12 is similar, but warmer toned and very glittery.  There's no dupe here, but all the colours are still lovely, and would be great in the crease or for a smoky eye look.

UD Toasted

(L-R) UD Toasted, MUA 2, MUA 5 and MUA 11
Urban Decay's Toasted is described as a medium, pink toned brown with a shimmery finish. It is a lovely colour that I often neglect, to be honest. 2 and 11 both lean slightly too copper in tone, while 5 is a smidgen too brown. Really though, to me this seemed a seriously close call. To me, somewhere in between shades 2 and 5, lies Toasted!

UD Hustle 
(L-R) UD Hustle, MUA 5 and MUA 7

Hustle is a chocolate brown with purple undertones; the plum tones are much more obvious in the pan than when swatched. Shade 5 is definitely too red, and while 7 is closer in tone, it's still too coppery. Both are too wishy-washy (i.e.: weak) to be dupes, as neither is a deep enough brown.

Of course, the MUA H&E palette doesn't have dupes or lookalikes for Gunmetal or Creep... but would you believe that the MUA Starry Night Palette does?! Less glittery, but good colour matches. So even if you bought both MUA palettes, you would have 24 eyeshadows in total for a quarter of the price of what I paid for the Naked Palette (£32 in May 2011, it's now £35).

I hope you don't mind the long, photo heavy post, but I wanted to give as much information as I could.  I am no expert, and all these views are from my own observations, but I found it an interesting experiment to try. If you made it to the end, here's an imaginary medal!

Let me know your thoughts!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

Review: MUA Professional 'Heaven & Earth' Palette

I had seen this palette on a few blogs and was constantly lusting after it... I know, I know, it makes no sense - I already had the Urban Decay Naked Palette, which I'd spent £32 of my hard earned cash on in May, so why was I yearning after a palette from the range that's known for £1 items?!

I don't have an answer I'm afraid... but I do not regret buying this little gem for one second!

I bought this about two weeks ago when Superdrug were doing free shipping with all online orders.  I bought two of the Heaven & Earth palettes (one for me, one for mum) and a Starry Night palette. The grand total? £12!

The palette is described as '12 beautiful earth tone shades that blend effortlessly to give a soft shimmery finish'.  All the shadows have at least a hint of shimmer, and there are no matte shades.  This would probably be a problem for some, but not for everyone.  It wasn't for me, as I think all the shades are gorgeous, and for £4 I could hardly complain!

My only complaint would be that the shades aren't named or numbered... so I have numbered them myself for the sake of swatching. (Be warned that the below photo with the numbers isn't the truest colour-wise... refer to the above photo or the swatch photos for that! But I just thought it might help).

Top Row of Shadows:  1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6
Bottom Row of Shadows: 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12
Most of these are fantastic shimmery, neutral colours. The least shimmery colours would probably be #5, #7 and #8. My favourites so far are #1 (beautiful creamy white which I use as a highlight and on the inner corner), #4 (a gorgeous peachy champagne) and #11 (a rich bronze/brown).

The texture of the shadows is, for the most part, creamy and very well pigmented.  However #12 is slightly lacking in pigmentation compared to the others, and is one of the most glittery shades too.  They blend nicely and have little fallout on the face.  They are so soft in the pan that I use my brushes lightly as they can crumble under pressure!

You could use these shades to create a barely-there look, something more bronzed, or even a lovely brown smoky eye.  The little case seems quite sturdy, and I have been taking it to work in my handbag almost every day (I only do my foundation at home, then do my eye make up once I get there!) and it has been so handy.

There are some similar colours in this to the Naked Palette, although I wouldn't say there are exact dupes.  However the Naked palette is eight times the price of this little beauty, so if you're not totally sure about splashing the cash on the former, you should definitely get a taste for neutrals with this one... Only problem is, this seems to have become as elusive as the Naked Palette once was!  I will do a comparison post soon, if anyone is interested.  Also, I had been worrying about taking my Naked Palette on holidays with me next month, as if it got lost/damaged it would be £32 gone... but now I can take both this and the Starry Night palette, and all my eye shadow needs will be more than covered!

In my opinion, for £4 you really can't go wrong with this palette!  My mum is using hers every day too and really likes it.  Have you tried this yet, or any of the other MUA Pro palettes?  I think once they're released in all Superdrug shops I will be investing in most, if not all, of them!

Thanks for reading! x