30 October 2013

Beauty | House of Holland for Elegant Touch: Zig Zag Stardust

I was browsing Boots a few weeks ago when I spotted the House of Holland nail range on the 'Latest in Beauty' stand. As you know, I love my glue-on/press-on nails and I was instantly drawn to the quirky yet trend led designs and the super cute packaging. 

There are 8 different styles to choose from in the House of Holland range with shapes ranging from (what I would call) the classic round as seen above to the stiletto (long and very pointed) and a whole host of designs. I also picked up the Heartbreaker nails at the same time and they are by far my favourite design of the 8 but unfortunately they were just too long, pointy and sharp for me and I removed them almost instantly.

Zig Zag Stardust were a lot easier to wear than Heartbreaker, the shape isn't as severe which makes them more practical, not that I'm saying I would wear them to work because I wouldn't but in comparison, they're the tamer of the two!

The set comes with 24 nails in 10 different sizes and 5 (I think!) different designs. The whole idea is to mix and match the patterns to create a super cool clashing mani. As I said, Heartbreaker was without doubt my favourite design so when I couldn't wear them I was disappointed as Zig Zag Stardust is probably about as far away from my usual style of anything as can be so I was more than a little apprehensive about the final look.

As you can see they're definitely not for the faint-hearted! Despite my initial concerns I actually loved them in the end because they were so different for me and looked really fun. I wore them out to dinner with my friend and received endless compliments on them which sounds crazy but people stopped to comment on the train, at the bar, at our table! Even the waiter had something to say so they're certainly attention grabbing! 

Elegant Touch are my favourite false nail brand and the quality of the House of Holland nails didn't disappoint, they were typically flexible and easy to apply and once applied they didn't budge! I'm really impressed by the quality and style of these nails and I would definitely try others from the range, I also have my eye on the Little Mix for Elegant Touch range, particularly the Jessy ones! 

What do you think - would you be brave enough to try one of the House of Holland kits?

Vicky x


23 October 2013

Beauty | Halloween Tutorial Skeleton/Screen Siren

Apologies in advance for the lack of step by step pictures of this look, it actually started life as a standard 1950s glamour makeup and somewhere along the way I got a little bored and decided to turn it in to a Halloween look.

The contrast of the two looks make this a great choice for Halloween as it combines scary with pretty (let's be honest, Mean Girls taught us everything we know with regards to dressing up for Halloween...) and chances are, you already have all of the products you'll need so you don't need to go out and spend more money on a face painting kit you'll use once.

Sometimes I'm just so two-faced...

You will need - for the skeleton 
  • Thin black pencil eyeliner 
  • Thick black pencil eyeliner. You can use a thin pencil but you'll need a lot of patience
  • Black liquid eyeliner 
  • Foundation 2/3 shades too light
  • White cream eyeshadow or thick eyeliner stick like NYX 
  • White liquid or cream eyeliner 
  • Matte black eye shadow
  • Matte white eye shadow
  • Matte grey eye shadow, dark and light
  • Full coverage concealer 
  • Translucent powder
You will need - for the 1950s look
  • Your usual foundation (I used Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk)
  • Contour powder
  • Blusher
  • Pressed powder
  • A bone coloured eye shadow 
  • A shimmering white eye shadow
  • Matte brown eye shadow
  • Liquid or gel eyeliner
  • Mascara
  • Red lip liner
  • Red lipstick
  • Eyebrow pencil
You will also need
  • Primer
  • Pritt stick
  • Eyebrow grooming wand
  • Makeup brushes
  • False lashes


1. Start by prepping your skin, moisturise and apply primer to the whole face.

2. Taking your eyebrow groomer, brush one brow upwards and apply a coating of pritt stick. Smooth the layer of glue over the hairs until they are all covered but be careful not to get any on the skin, this won't hurt your skin but the makeup won't adhere as well. Apply your full coverage concealer over the area you've covered until the brow is no longer noticeable. Set with powder.

3. Taking your lighter foundation, apply to the half of your face with the blocked brow.

4. Taking your eye liner pencil, begin to draw in the skeleton following the natural hollows of your face. I started with my eye, drawing it the socket and taking it above my blocked brow. I then drew in the hollow of my temple and my nose. I also drew a separating line down the centre of my face at this stage.

5. Apply concealer to one half of your mouth ready to draw your teeth in. Taking your eye liner pencil, draw teeth along the top and bottom, following your jaw line. 

6. Once you have your teeth drawn in, add your jaw and cheek bones.

7. Taking your thicker eye liner, fill in the areas you have hollowed out. When it comes to your eye, make sure you line the top and bottom inner rims to avoid seeing any skin. Whilst we can blend this later, try and keep it as neat as possible.

7. Take your white cream eye shadow or thick pencil and begin to apply to the areas around the hollows, blending to the edges and making sure the whole half of the face is covered.

8. Using your white liquid liner, fill in your teeth.

9. Once you are happy with your line work, set the black areas using a matte black eye shadow and set the white areas using a matte white eye shadow for extra intensity. 

10. Add some shading with the light and dark grey eye shadows, picking out higher points of the face and sculpting your bone structure.

11. Set the whole side of your face with translucent powder.

12. Moving on to the 1950s side of your face, apply your normal foundation as you typically would.

13. Set the foundation with powder and contour your cheekbones, making sure to keep your contouring as symmetrical with your skeleton as possible.

14. Take your bone coloured eye shadow and apply from the lid to the brow bone to even out your skin tone. Take the medium brown shade on a blending brush and apply through the socket line for definition. Apply a wash of the shimmery white over the eye lid up to the crease and finish with a flick of eyeliner.

15. Apply mascara and fake lashes to create the classic winged out look the 1950s stars were famed for.

16. Add a flush of colour to the face with a peachy toned blush.

17. Take your lip liner and trace the outline of your lips, fill this in and then work on your symmetry to ensure a full pout. Apply your lipstick over the top, taking care not to smudge into your teeth on the other side.

18. With your brow pencil, lightly draw in an arch but keep the brows simple. Use the pencil to draw on a beauty spot.

19. Dig out a platinum blonde wig and take a few selfies and add some Instagram filters to make yourself look extra scary.

I hope you enjoyed this and as I said, apologies for the fact there aren't any step-by-step pictures. If you give this a go I'd love to see your results!

Vicky x

21 October 2013

Review: Dettol and E45 Comforting Hand Wash*

Winter plays havoc with my beauty routine from cracked lips to dry hair and skin that battles the elements both outside and inside with central heating and air conditioning it is more important than ever to update your beauty routine to make sure you look after every part of your skin.

Despite our fascination with looking after our nails and making them look as polished and presentable as possible, we often overlook taking care of our hands and they are super important. They're one of the most visible parts of your body and they're also a tell-tale sign of ageing (Madonna I'm talking about you...).

Keeping my hands soft and well looked after is important to me, I meet a lot of people at work and shake a lot of hands and I'm always a little embarrassed if my hands feel a bit rough or dry so I make sure I take care of my hands, because of this when I was contacted to ask if I would like to try a new hand wash from Dettol and E45 I jumped at the chance.

The Dettol and E45 Camomile Comforting Hand Wash* keeps hands soft, hydrated and free from germs which is super important in the winter, especially travelling on the tube every day with people who have colds and flu and sneeze/cough and still touch things. The first thing I do when I get into work every morning is wash my hands with the Comforting Hand Wash.

I have a bit of an obsession with hand cream and always have a tub or a tube handy (pardon the pun) and with every hand wash I've used previously I've always felt like I need to follow up with a hand cream because my hands feel like the surface of a balloon after washing with normal hand wash and the feeling makes me cringe. The E45 ensures this feeling is completely eradicated and my hands feel clean, soft and well hydrated which is very rare.

The Dettol germ killing element is very important to me, as mentioned before I shake a lot of hands and travel a lot on public transport and I am partial to catching the old cold so I try and do as much as possible to combat germs and fight infection. I always carry hand sanitizer but this provides a more thorough clean and as it's hydrating doesn't leave my hands feeling dry which is of paramount importance in this weather.

I was a bit apprehensive that this would have the traditional Dettol smell which always reminds me of hospitals but it actually smells very fresh and a little bit like a bubble bath that I used to buy a few years ago so I really like that too. 

As I said, I do have a hand care routine which I'm sure sounds incredibly amusing but I have a separate post coming on that later. I just think it's odd that we overlook our hands when they're so well used and noticeable so I make a conscious effort to ensure my mitts are always tip top!

I can definitely see this being a product I repurchase time and time again.

How do you take care of your hands?

Vicky x

* PR Sample

15 October 2013

Flora by Gucci Glorious Mandarin

I've really got into my fragrances recently and try to purchase a new one each month now rather than constantly repurchasing old favourites and never trying anything new.

I like Gucci perfumes and I've already made my way through several bottles of Guilty and Premiere but whilst browsing (read: spraying myself with everything in sight) at Duty Free when I went to Milan, I discovered the Gucci Flora range - I'd overlooked it previously as I wrongly assumed they would be heavy floral scents as they're not my favourite type of fragrance however I absolutely adored how fresh and unique Glorious Mandarin was.

Glorious Mandarin is a completely unique fragrance, I do not own, nor have I tried, anything like it. The mix of citrus (mandarin) with floral (peony) as the top notes of this fragrance create something very special and ensuring there's no harshness to the citrus element of the fragrance. 

As I've said before, top, middle and base notes are lost on me but the more I get into my fragrances the more I'm trying to learn about notes and picking them up - it's a work in progress but, for example, I have learned that the white musk and creamy wood base notes in this fragrance provide a gentle warmth to the perfume as it sinks into the skin. The mandarin stays strong throughout the wearing time however it shifts from being a crisp fruity scent at application to something decidedly  deeper and warmer.

Top notes: mandarin and peony
Middle notes: jasmin and pina colada accord
Base notes: ambergris, white musk and creamy wood

Whilst there's no doubting this is a gorgeous summer scent, light enough to be worn during the day, distinctive enough to work at night, mandarins are autumn/winter fruits so I think this will also work well during the winter. Given that this was my go-to summer scent, spritzing it throughout winter will definitely give me a much needed boost with the cold, dark days hastily approaching!

Flora by Gucci Glorious Mandarin - £60 for 100ml at World Duty Free

Have you tried any of the Flora by Gucci range? Which fragrances do you prefer?

Vicky x


13 October 2013

The Body Shop Vitamin C Skincare

The Body Shop isn't usually my first stop for skincare but I'd heard such good things about their Vitamin C Microdermabrasion scrub that I popped in to my local store a month or so ago to pick it up. Luckily for me, my store had made up little gift sets worth £44 which they were selling for £25, the Microdermabrasion retails for £13 alone!

I won't be doing a full review of each product in this post as I haven't tried them all properly yet so I'll just give you an overview of the products in the set. 

The Vitamin C range is designed to help refresh and revive tired, dull looking skin by adding Vitamin C to your skincare regime to boost the appearance of radiance which makes one or all of the range perfect for autumn/winter.

Vitamin C Microdermabrasion 

A fine facial exfoliator designed to remove dead skin cells to improve the texture and tone of the skin whilst giving a brighter, more radiant look. I'm very particular when it comes to exfoliators as I like something that feels like it's working but isn't too abrasive. 

Thick in texture, I apply a small amount to a wet face and neck in circular motions, giving my face and neck a little massage as I do so before rinsing off with clean water. You can use a cleansing sponge or face cloth to remove but I prefer to just use water.

Once blended in you can barely see the exfoliating particles but boy can you feel them, they're just abrasive enough to feel like they're working but not so abrasive that you feel like you're rubbing broken glass into your skin or something equally as awful.

The Body Shop advise using once or twice a week but no more as it is a powerful little product and you shouldn't overuse it. 

I'll be honest, I've only used this a handful of times since I picked it up, more due to wanting to finish other products first that anything else, but I can see myself using it a lot more now that we're in autumn and approaching winter as my skin will need a little boost. 

The only thing I can really find fault in with this product is the smell, it reminds me a bit of bath and ceramic cleaner with the false citrus fragrance scent but it's not unbearable, just mildly unpleasant. 

£13 for 100ml.

Vitamin C Skin Reviver 

This is a radiance fluid designed to add or enhance the skins natural glow whilst refreshing and smoothing the skin. Designed to be applied after moisturiser, it can be used under makeup or alone with the light reflecting particles adding a pearlescent finish to the skin. 

I'm not sure how I feel about this as I'm not a huge fan of the texture, it feels oily to me and it isn't something I can see myself applying to my whole face and wearing all day. I also find it incredibly shimmery so I am reluctant to apply it to my whole face - there's a fine line between radiant and disco ball. That being said, I think it would be a great highlight for arms, legs and across the collarbone.

£14 for 100ml.

Vitamin C Energising Face Spritz

The Body Shop claim this face spritz will provide instant hydration - I'm not sure if that's something I can agree with as I've only tried it briefly. 

It's a great little spray to throw into your handbag or keep on your desk for the summer months when you need a quick fix, something that will make you feel fresh and give you a lift. It's also perfect for flights as it meets the 100ml liquid restriction. 

£9 for 100ml.

Vitamin C Eye Reviver Duo

A dual ended product that consists of a cooling gel and an eye brightening cream to revive tired looking eyes and create a bright eyed look, even if you're not feeling suitably bushy tailed.

The metal rollerball helps to combat puffiness whilst the eye brightener has a soft-tipped applicator to disperse the brightening cream much like many similar products out there at the moment. 

I've never tried a product like this before, as I've said in the past I tend to neglect eye creams and so forth, they're not really on my radar at the moment and I do find the eye brightener too pearlescent, I'd rather use a good eye gel and then apply a colour corrector but that's just me.

£12 for 10ml.

All in all, I'm glad I picked the set up as it has given me the opportunity to try other products in the range and I do think I'll give them a little more love in the winter. I'd quite like to try the Vitamin C Facial Radiance Powder Mix next!

Have you tried this range? What do you think?

Vicky x


6 October 2013

Beauty | Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation

"Your skin looks amazing!" is without a doubt a phrase all women want to hear and one guaranteed to lift even the foulest of moods, with that in mind and without being one to blow my own trumpet, it's one I've heard a lot of recently and I'm going to let you in to my little secret and for once, it's not an Instagram filter.

Firstly, let's be honest, nobody wants to hear the words "Oh my GOD! Your foundation looks amazing, which one is it?" because we want our skin to look like skin and for people to think that it does look that amazing rather than them noticing a layer of foundation which could very well be beautifully and flawlessly applied but still looks like a layer of foundation and not gorgeous skin.

With that in mind let me introduce you to Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation. I first fell in love with this foundation when I temped for Armani a few years ago but it wasn't enough to lure me away from my foundation soulmate, Nars Sheer Glow, so when I finished the bottle I didn't repurchase - put this down to the ignorance of youth or temporary makeup insanity but try not to judge me on it...

About a month or so ago I found myself wandering aimlessly around Selfridges at lunch time as I often do, I meander from the food hall through to the beauty hall and never leave without buying either cupcakes or cosmetics, an expensive habit.. I digress... I was all set to repurchase my Nars Sheer Glow having gone without a bottle for the whole of summer when I decided that actually, I quite fancied trying something else. I wanted to pick up the YSL Youth Liberator foundation but they hadn't launched the full range (I have now purchased this and will review soon!) so I found myself at Giorgio Armani, snapping up a bottle of Luminous Silk Foundation in Shade 5.5. 

I apply this foundation using my Sephora mineral powder brush that I picked up in Milan earlier in the year and I only wish I'd bought more than one because honestly, this baby makes it straight into my Top 5 face brushes of all time. 

Two pumps is more than sufficient to cover my whole face and I use the Sephora brush to buff into the skin in circular motions, stippling the product over areas that need slightly more coverage as Luminous Silk isn't a full coverage foundation but it is build able. You can really buff it into the skin for a light coverage, apply normally for medium coverage and layer for full coverage which I absolutely love. 

Luminous Silk is oil free which is a Godsend for me as I do have oily areas and I don't like to apply a matte primer (or any primer really) for every day wear so the oil free formulation helps to balance out my oilier areas whilst gliding effortlessly over the rest of my face. The Micro-Fil technology ensures a silky finish and effortless application whilst providing all day coverage. I never touch up my foundation during the day but I do have foundations that start to split on the skin as the day wears on, Luminous Silk does not budge, it looks the same when I leave work as it does when I arrive.

I apply this over Illamasqua Hyra Veil and set with MAC Studio Fix powder foundation and it provides the most flawless finish - blemishes are covered, imperfections hidden and shine reduced.

Above is a picture of me wearing Luminous Silk, you can see more pictures of how it looks in my birthday post which you can find here

Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation - £34.50 for 30ml 

Have you tried Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk? What do you think? What is your go-to perfect skin foundation?

Vicky x

3 October 2013

Beauty | Illamasqua Hydra Veil

It's not a primer, Illamasqua are adamant about that. It's not skincare, they won't be doing that. It is however, the perfect skin day in a pot and in my opinion, a hybrid of primer and skincare but shh, that can be our secret.

I know I'm late to the party with this review but I've been thinking about the products I have been using most in my daily routine and the products I reached for most often this summer with my brides and Hydra Veil was the first that came to mind - it has been my go to product for myself when I've had a night out or an important day at work or when I've been having a bad skin day when I just want something that is going to ensure I don't scare people on the tube.

It's also been my first choice with the majority of my bridal clients this summer, replacing my faithful Clarins Beauty Flash Balm, which I do still love but I've switched to Hydra Veil for many reasons, including the look of surprise on people's faces when I pull a little pot of what looks like goo out of my bag.

Hydra Veil is designed to have immediate results, giving an instant surge of hydration for tired, dry skin  whilst it's self-levelling properties create a flawless base for all skin types, perfectly covering dry patches, large pores and soothing redness. 

Contained within a little black pot, there's a lid which stops the product drying out and a little spatula which helps you disperse the perfect amount of product and ensures hygiene is at the front of your mind - makeup artists will know how important little triggers can be, having a little spatula as the first thing you see when you take the lid off does the same thing to the brain as when you cut the wands off your mascaras and lip glosses, it reminds you to decant/use disposables. 

As I said, Hydra Veil is self-levelling which is how it is able to create a flawless base and also how once you've taken some out, you can pop the lid back on, peek back in a few moments and see that the surface is completely smooth again. This entertained me far more than it should!!

A pea-sized amount will be sufficient to cover a whole face. Designed to be applied after moisturiser and/or serum, Illamasqua suggest applying it with their foundation brush which I have tried but I prefer applying it with my fingers as it is incredibly slippery and slides all over my hand as I try and chase it with a brush!

Hydra Veil neither illuminates nor mattifies so it works for all skin types, working with your skin type rather than against it. With my combination skin I often find that sometimes my makeup, no matter how well I prep my skin, can settle as dry patches pick up more during the day and the coverage can split on areas that are oiler but with Hydra Veil neither of these issues happen, my base still looks the same at the end of the day as it does at the beginning.

I've tried this with a range of foundations and found it has worked well with all of them, from water based to silicone based to creams, it doesn't affect the finish or the formula of the foundation itself which is hugely important to me, especially when working on clients.

All in all, I'm not sure I would want to be without this product now. Even on days when I don't wear makeup (yes, those days exist), I'll apply a thin layer of Hydra Veil to give my skin an added boost.

Have you tried Hydra Veil? What do you think?

Vicky x


1 October 2013

Beauty | The Perfect Nude Lip ft Tom Ford

I've been tempted by the Tom Ford lip products now for a long time but the price tag has always put me off, that was until I had a moment of shopping weakness and decided that I simply had to find the perfect nude lip products. It was my lunch time mission and I wouldn't return to my desk without them. I'm not sure how well that would have gone down with my manager but I was a girl on a mission.

My first stop is always Selfridges and I knew I'd be heading to Tom Ford as my friend Hayley has recommended the gloss I chose for about 18 months so I knew I'd be picking that up but I wanted a nude lipstick too.

I find good nude lipsticks are quite hard to find, ones I think suit my colouring anyway. I either find them to be too pink, too brown or far too pale which I know sounds contradictory for a nude lipstick but I am incredibly fussy and I have huge expectations of every product I purchase. 

Tom Ford Lip Colour (Lipstick) Spanish Pink - £36 for 3g

The first product my eyes were drawn to on the counter were the lipsticks, with their sleek packaging and embossed tips they are the epitome of luxury and look amazing when being pulled out for a touch-up. I know, for £36 the last thing you want to do is touch-up your lipstick at any point within at least 36 hours of application (a pound an hour would make me feel so much better about the price...) but believe it or not, you actually want to touch it up, just so you can reapply it again!

The lipstick is creamy in texture which is a result of the "rare and exotic" ingredients it contains including chamomilla flower oil and Brazilian murumuru butter (no, I've never heard of them either but they feel awesome) and the pigment is fantastic. 

Despite my comments about touch-ups, the lipstick actually stays put for hours and doesn't bleed without a lip liner. The colour is solid and when it isn't paired with a gloss, the transfer is minimal.

The only downsides I can think of are: a) I'm a bit scared to keep it in my clutch bag in case I drop it in a taxi or a bar and b) I'm so in love with them I think this could become a very expensive new addiction. 

I already have my eye on the following shades: Cherry Lush, Crimson Noir, Flamingo, Wild Ginger and Bruised Plum from the Jasmine Rouge collection.

Tom Ford Ultra Shine Lip Gloss (Lip Gloss) Tawny Pink - £32 for 7ml

As I said, Hayley has been raving about this lip gloss for months, she even included it in her Top 5 Nude Glosses post which you can read here so I knew it would be good. 

The gloss is designed to pack a punch when it comes to colour and to shine, Tom Ford is all about creating a statement lip no matter the colour, and it really creates the perfect glossy pout. I usually find lip glosses with good pigmentation to be sticky and not the most comfortable to wear but the Tom Ford gloss is neither - whilst it isn't exactly light on the lips, the creamy texture makes it comfortable to wear.

It reminds me a lot of a pigmented version of MAC 'Boy Bait' which is one of my favourite lip products ever, I must have bought about 5 over the years, so if you like that you'll like this. The quality is infinitely better though and the colour far more opaque which means this can be worn alone or layered over gloss without the worry that it will look patchy or streaky as some glosses can.

The range of colours compliment the lipstick range perfectly and I think you could create some beautiful contrasting looks, especially with Wet Violet which is the only other shade that really jumps out at me.

Here they are worn together.

I think the two paired together create my perfect nude lip so despite the insane (because let's be honest it is insane, when I revealed to the girls how much I had paid when we were on the way out they were disgusted) prices, I will repurchase them both.

The lipstick is definitely the hands down winner for me and I'll be treating myself to a new little Tom Ford baby soon - aside from the colours I said previously, do you have any suggestions for me? 

What are your favourite Tom Ford pieces?

Vicky x

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