Monday, December 2, 2013

NARS And God Created the Woman Set

NARS And God Created the Woman set was for me one of my favourite purchases of 2013. It consists of a compact little palette with 6 eyeshadows (1g each), a Pro Prime smudgeproof Eyeshadow Base (2.8g) and an Eyeshadow Brush (#3).

The star of the set is of course the palette: 6 shades ranging from matte to sparkle in colours which would please any neutrals makeup lover. Many comments online were regarding the actual size of the palette which really is just a little bigger than the regular NARS blushes. However, I like how slim and tiny the palette is and as you get 1g of each shade I'm not worried of hitting pan any time soon. In the palette you get two mattes, two shimmers and two sparkly/glittery shades and a good mix of cool and warm toned colours.

Alhambra is a shimmery light pink highlighter with green and gold shimmer, Bellissima a matte medium grey with slight warm undertones, Kalahari a sparkly mix of gold and copper with slight plummy undertones (and slightly prone to fallout), Galapagos is a dark warm-toned brown with gold sparkles, Coconut Grove a dark cool-toned brown and Night Clubbing a black infused with gold and green glitter

Left to right, top to bottom: Alhambra, Bellissima, Kalahari, Galapagos, Cocnut Grove, Night Clubbing
The texture of the shadows is nice - they are well pigmented, not patchy (even if the swatches make some of the colours appear quite dry) and last well on my eyelids, especially when used over any type of primer. They are not as soft and creamy as for example my Rouge Bunny Rouge or Le Metier de Beaute eyeshadows but they are good workhorse shades and I've been reaching for this palette a lot ever since I got it back in May.

Photo taken in natural light

Photo taken with flash
The colours that I use the most are Alhambra which is useful as an all-over shadow or highlight, Bellissima which works beautifully as a crease colour and Coconut Grove which makes for a great liner shade.

I've been also rather happy with the two added minis in the set: the primer prolongs the wear of eyeshadows and doesn't make blending a difficult task as is sometimes the case with the Urban Decay Primer Potion and the eyeshadow brush #3 (which I think is made of natural hair) comes very handy as it's good for packing the colours on the lid and for blending.

The only downside to the palette is its limited distribution: I could only find it online at SpaceNK (UK) and Sephora (US) and I also believe that it's actually not a permanent item.

I know everyone is probably sick of hearing of gift suggestions for this season but still: this would make a really great gift for anyone and especially a great "To Me... Love, Me" type of gift.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Recent Skincare Empties

I don't know if it's just me but I feel like I always run out of multiple skincare products all at the same time which then warrants for some extra shopping or more like shopping of the stash, as is my current situation.

I always loved Clinique's GWP offers and have found many favourites tucked away in those small pouches but the Clinique Rinse-off eye makeup solvent was a huge disappointment for me - it  didn't really remove my eye makeup all that well and it felt oddly soapy and slightly irritating on the skin.

After I used the thankfully, tiny bottle of the Clinique makeup remover I came back to my old faithful, Bioderma Sensibio H2O Micellar water. In the above photo only the mini size is shown but trust me, I go through the bigger bottles very quickly.

Omorovicza Illuminating Moisturizer and Rejuvenating Night Cream were part of the Omorovicza Mini Essential Kit which I got in the beginning of this year, and these two products were the last two I used up from the set. As mentioned in my initial review I  loved the scent and the overall feel of the Rejuvenating Night Cream and would probably purchase the full-size in the future. On the other hand I wasn't as impressed with the Illuminating Moisturizer and found it was just ok - it did moisturize well but it didn't feel as soothing on my skin as the night cream and certainly not worth the price.

La Roche Posay Toleriane Ultra
became one of my staples and I have repurchased another bottle of this soothing moisturizer soon as I ran out. It is a bit too rich for my t-zone but works perfectly for the rest of my face and I just can't be without it each winter.

Lastly, I've used up two eye creams and truthfully, wasn't really impressed with either of them: the Clinique Even Better Eyes is a lightweight eye cream with a slight tint and shimmer to it which only momentarily improve the appearance of the undereye circles. I found that this cream wasn't really enough on days when my undereyes felt very dry but luckily it didn't irritate my skin either. Basically, it's a bit of an inbetween product - it wasn't awful by any means but I wouldn't repurchase it either. The second eye moisturizer was the Lierac Diopticalm - this was a little bit of a funny one as it's supposed to be used more as a balm for the eyelids. I used it all around my eyes and whilst the gel-like formula felt refreshing on my skin it did absolutely nothing for the fine lines, undereye darkness or just general smoothness of the eye area. Looking at the ingredients list I shouldn't really be all that surprised as it's mostly water, witch hazel, escin and a mix of parabens. One last thing which was disappointing with both of the eye products was the size - the Clinique one contained 10 ml and the Lierac one only 8 ml, as opposed to the "regular" 15 ml. Not impressed. I am now happily back at using the Paula's Choice RESIST serum as my undereye cream.
Now that was a mix  of some hits and misses and I think there will be plenty of empty pink Bioderma bottles in the future before I use any other skincare products. But, in the meantime I am *this* close to finishing not one, not two, but three lipsticks. To be continued...

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Autumn Wishlist

Autumn Wishlist

Runny nose, first spritz of Shalimar, thick black stockings, soups for lunch, lazy afternoons. Yep, it's beginning to look a lot like Autumn. It is also the perfect time to make a new Wishlist of some items perfect for this beautiful and moody Month (I swear it has nothing to do with the fact that my birthday is just a few days away, ahem).

1. By Kilian Amber Oud
After finishing two rather generous samples of the Amber Oud and still sighing at its beauty everytime I apply it, I think it's finally time for a full bottle (or rather the beautifully ornate travel and purse friendly refillable spray).

2. Hourglass Ambient Lighting Powder in Diffused Light
After the initial hype about these powders I still see favourable reviews on blogs and online forums so I guess it must be good. The colour in Diffused Light had me at "conceals redness and gives skin clarity". Sold!

3. Monica Vinader Siren Stacking ring
I've been looking at the Monica Vinader website way too often lately. I really like the simplicity of her jewellery and the possibility of endless combinations and I'm actually finding it hard to decide which colour/stone I would go for. I think that the combination of yellow gold with the lapis stone is my (current) favourite - and as a side note, a little bit of googling revealed that Lapis is actually one of the birthstones of Libras.

4. Charlotte Tilbury Colour Chameleons in Amber Haze and Bronzed Garnet
This new beauty brand on the block was at least for me a highly anticipated new launch. After the initial excitement, these Colour Chameleon pencils look like clear winners from the range and I think Amber Haze and Bronzed Garnet are the obvious first choice for my "are they hazel, are they brown" eye colour. Oh, and some good news for us non-UK folks: Selfridges who sotck the Charlotte Tilbury range now ship internationally!

5. George R. R. Martin Song of Ice and Fire book set
First I started watching the Game of Thrones series and now I'm going through the first book of the set, to help me pass the time until Season 4 starts. I like the book so far and it makes me appreciate how well done the series are even more.
6. Chanel Le Blush Creme de Chanel in Presage
I haven't had a proper look at these new-ish Chanel cream blushes yet but I think I'd like the cream-to-powder consistency. I'm especially interested in the bright coral Presage.

7. Neom Organics Scent with Love Gift Set 
Autumn is the perfect time to scent the home with the help of some candles. I don't have much experience with scented candles but I think this Neom Organics set would be a good place to start. Another highly tempting option is the Diptyque Exclusive Collection, a set of 10 mini 35g candles with a beautiful mix of floral, spicy and woody scents.

8. Lastly, for some accessories: now, most of my bags are black so I think I can safely justify a burgundy/maroon coloured bag for Autumn, right? The bag in the above Polyvore set is oh, I don't know, about 10.000€ above my budget, but I think I can find something similar which won't force me to sell my kidney. And to go with a bag a scarf like the Liberty print one above with a mish mash of bright and subdued colours would be perfect.
I'll keep you updated whether/when I'll get my hands on any of the above beauties. Tell me, what's on your wishlist at the moment? 


Thursday, July 18, 2013

How skincare samples should be done

I love samples! I know, who doesn't but honestly I sometimes get more excited about a pretty little sample than a regular sized product.

Makeup samples are of course great, especially foundation sachets and the more generous Barbie-sized lipsticks but when it comes to skincare, sampling the products before splurging on the full size product is at least for me very important. Reading the ingredients list is one thing and it is a good indicator on whether the product would hopefully work for me (or in most cases not work for me), but having the chance of trying the lotions and potions for at least a week or two and see the initial reaction of the skin is even better.

Not many brands offer any type of sampling prior to purchasing but in my opinion this part of the purchasing process is becoming more and more important especially since a lot of brands are now available on the virtual store shelves and may be harder to find in regular stores. Case in point, Pai Skincare and Paula's Choice: Pai products are not available in any stores here in Slovenia and the distribution of Paula's Choice skincare is limited to beauty salons. That's why I think that offering these sample sets is a brilliant way for us potential customers to at least get an idea of the brand and the products they sell.

The Pai Sample Pack comes with a set of six 4-5 mls jars giving you a chance to try their cleanser, moisturizers and exfoliator. Plus, there's a cute little muslin cloth included in the package. Price? 6€ and the shipping's free!

Paula's Choice on the other hand lets you choose samples of almost all her products on their website but it was the Paula's Choice Resist sample set that I chose. For 3€ and again free shipping you get a selection of at least 10 samples from her Resist line. One bad thing though is that you can't choose the exact samples you'll receive but in my package there was a complete range of products - from cleanser, toner, serum to moisturizers.

I truly wish more brands would do such sample sets, for a reasonable price of course. Do tell if you know of any similar sampling programme by any other skincare brands!

Monday, July 15, 2013

Illamasqua now in Slovenia!

Illamasqua products are now much to my surprise available in Slovenia - you can find them in some of the larger Müller stores. The selection of makeup brands in Slovenia is quite standard and there hasn't been much change for years so I'm happy that the colourful Illamasqua products can now be tested, swatched and purchased in our brick&mortar stores.

Funnily enough, the first product I picked out is probably one of the least colourful options from their range, the Cream Pigment in Hollow which I intend to use mostly as a contour. So far the colour seems to work well with my skintone but I'll report more about it once I'll have it tested thoroughly.

Next on my wishlist is their Powder Blusher in Lover or the blusher duo in Lover and Hussy. When I swatched these blushes their pigmentation and texture were just so soft and silky to the touch and I really don't have anything like the beautiful apricot coloured Lover in my makeup stash.

What are some of your favourites and recommendations from Illamasqua?

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Some fantastic offers from Cult Beauty

This week Cult Beauty started their week-long birthday celebrations by putting out some really great offers - unfortunately, I missed the free goody bag on Sunday but if you are a sample lover like me you will love today's offer of 5 free samples with every order above 30 GBP. There is no code necessary you simply add 5 samples of your choice at checkout. Currently they have a good selection of samples from the standard sachets to what looks like much more generally sized tubes (for example the Caudalie Divine Oil, REN Satin Perfection BB Cream).

Also, an e-mail from "Zuneta" (which has recently been acquired by Cult Beauty - by the way, I really hope Cult Beauty will start carrying some of the brands which were previously sold on Zuneta) landed in my inbox this morning with a great GWP: a free DJV mascara with all orders above 40 GBP - simply enter the code DJV at checkout. Add to this free worldwide shipping on orders above 50 GBP and you're all set.

Are you getting anything from Cult Beauty? If so, please share!

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Becca Lip & Cheek Palette in Dusty Rose

About a year ago BECCA Cosmetics released their 10 year anniversary Collection and amongst the limited edition items was also their Lip & Cheek palette in Dusty Rose. After some "umming and ahhing" a  5 GBP coupon on LookFantastic was all the push I needed to order this little palette. And as I've now hit pan on two of the colours I can clearly say that I'm happy with the purchase.

The palette contains four different products (clockwise from top left):
- Creme Blush in Turkish Rose: a lovely no-fuss pink-brown colour that is a joy to use because of its neutral colour and light, almost oily texture which blends in to the skin without a problem. This is part of their regular line and is my most used product in this palette and will therefore most likely be a repurchase.
- Lip Gloss in Cassini: this for me is the most underwhelming product in the palette. It's a very sheer peachy lip colour which apart from stickiness and some shine doesn't add much else to the lips.
- Creme Highlighter in Narcissus: is a golden toned highlighter with a very refined shimmer. It feels very compact to the touch and is not too creamy. The colour works well for me but I think it may be a bit tricky for those with a cool-toned skintone.
- Lip & Cheek Creme in Tuberose: lastly is the quite popular Lip & Cheek Creme in Tuberose, a bright and very pigmented pink coral shade. In comparison to the Creme Blush in Turkish Rose the pigmentation of Tuberose is much higher and therefore requires some caution with application. It is also not as soft in texture as Turkish Rose and may be a better choice for those with an oilier skin type. Surprisingly it also looks very nice on the lips - I find most Lip&Cheek products usually work well either as a blush or a lip product but not as both. Tuberose is pigmented and soft enough that it does the job well on both counts (for example it is not as dry as the Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge but not as greasy as Stila's Convertible Colours).

L-R: Creme Blush in Turkish Rose, Lip & Cheek Creme in Tuberose, Highlighter in Narcissus, Lip Gloss in Cassini

The names of each product are only written on the ingredients list and even there it is not indicated which quarter is which product but you can tell quite easily by trying the products and by checking out some swatches online.

Overall, I really like this palette - my favourites are the luckily not limited edition Cheek products in Turkish Rose and Tuberose and I liked Narcissus but was a bit meh about Cassini so for me this palette would work even better if another cheek product or a more pigmented lipstick would have replaced the lipgloss.

I bought the palette on LookFantastic but I don't think it's available there anymore although as mentioned above, the two cheek products are part of Becca's regular lineup.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Essie nail polishes in Slovenia

This post will be of most interest for the Slovenian readers so here it goes: the Essie polishes are now finally available in DMs in Slovenia - the list of DMs where you can find Essie stands is HERE. Not all colours from the range are available, I think they picked out 60 or so most popular shades. 

These drugstore versions of Essie polishes have a flatter and wider brush than the salon version (woo hoo!) but also contains slightly less product, 13.75 ml vs. 15 ml (boo!). 

The two colours that I picked up are Mint Candy Apple and Meet me at Sunset, both perfect as a reminder that summer is just around the corner, or so they say.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

It's Macarons time!

Lately I have been just a little bit obsessed with these little sweets. Now that I've had more time on my hands (I had a big exam in April which was also the reason for me being quiet on this blog) I've been talking macarons, thinking macarons and fortunately for everyone around me making macarons.

Thanks to a tried and tested recipe shared by my work colleague and the book Macarons by Pierre Hermé making the macarons was probably much easier than if I'd just go with the first recipe I found on google. Although there are now literally hundreds of (some very useful) posts with tips and tricks to prevent these fragile shells from cracking, spilling all over the baking sheets and just looking like a hot mess. 

I haven't yet tried making the macarons shells using the recipes in Pierre Hermés book - something about putting hot sugar in egg whites makes me think of disaster. I have however tried quite a few of the recipes for the ganaches and other fillings in his book and most of them were wonderful, with the lemon, mint and chocolate-caramel being my favourites.

I will admit that making macarons just makes me very happy. They don't always end up great and it still bugs me that they are so temperamental but seeing those little feet form in the oven, sadwiching the two shells with some kind of chocolatey goodness and just watching how other people enjoy eating them puts a big smile on my face.

Let me know what are some of your favourite macarons flavours or recipes, I'm all ears!

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

You've got Mail! - Bioderma

Bioderma products are relatively easy or at least not too difficult to come by in Slovenia. There is a pharmacy near where I live where I've been getting all those bottles of the Sensibio H20 from for years now. I've also found that it was never excruciatingly difficult to get samples of the Bioderma products in stores and this set of tiny tubes arrived my mail box a few weeks ago.
This may be more of interest for the Slovenian readers but Bioderma now has its separate Slovenian website and if you fill-out form on their website with some basic data  about your skin you should receive a set of their pretty generous samples, selected to suit your skin type. As you can see, the samples which were chosen for me are from their Sensitive range (Atoderm) and from their acne-prone skin range (Sebium). So far I've only tried the Atoderm PP Baume and it was very calming and gentle on my winter-dry skin.
The company which distributes Bioderma in Slovenia also has a new webshop Sophia which next to Bioderma currently stocks also products from Nuxe and Bio-Beaute brands. I have already placed an order on their website (guess what I got?) and was happy with the customer services. The package arrived quickly and some lovely samples and a full size bottle of the NUXE Micellar Water which was/is part of the special promo for the first 200 customers, were included as well.
Have you tried any Bioderma products and do you like them or do you think they are over-hyped? I am glad that they are now available to purchase online as well so that I can keep a regular stash of those pink Bioderma bottles on my bathroom shelves.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Omorovicza Essentials travel kit and Queen of Hungary Mist

The Omorovicza Essentials travel kit was amongst the lemmings on my Winter Wishlist and as you can most probably tell, the set made its way into my grubby little hands. As the price of Omorovicza products is definitely high I jumped right in to their 30% Black Friday Sale back in November.

The Essentials kit contains four different products: the Queen of Hungary Mist (30 ml), Illuminating Moisturiser (20 ml), Rejuvenating Night Cream (20 ml) and two little jars of the Deep Cleansing Mask (2 x 5 ml). I would have preferred if a sample jar of their cleansing balm was added to the set because that way I could get a clear picture of the whole skincare range from this brand (added: I have noticed on the website that the cleansing balm has now replaced the mask in the set). 

The Queen of Hungary Mist is a lovely neroli and rose scented hydrating toner that comes in a nice spray bottle. I wouldn't say that this did wonders for my skin but it is definitely amongst the very few toners which don't irritate my skin and is moisturising but not too heavy on my skin. I ran out of this bottle first and after not using it for a few weeks decided I need one of these:

The second product which I really like from the set is the Rejuvenating Night Cream - this rich night cream works really well with my dry winter skin but I think that it will probably be too nourishing for me for the warmer months. After I put this on in the evening my skin looks calm and feels very soft. Another thing I loved with this one was its wonderful spicy fruity scent and this is coming from someone who generally hates fragranced skincare products.

The Illuminating Moisturiser was for me the only product in the set which I imagine I won't miss too much after I'm through this bottle. It's an ok hydrating moisturiser, in my opinion best suited for normal skin types but "just ok" is in my opinion not enough for such a steep price. 

Last but not least is the Deep Cleansing Mask: this sounds like your typical mud face mask but what I like about it is that it's not drying on my skin and after I take it off there is no redness left on my face which is rather unusual for a clay mask. This mask strikes the right balance between actually working and being gentle to the skin. It is certainly a very good cleansing mask and will make even those blemishes you didn't know you had pop out quicker (I know, sounds so attractive, right?). 

It is difficult to say which products I like the most and which have made the biggest difference to my skin because I started using the whole set at the same time together with some products from other brands but I predict that my next purchase will be the Cleansing Mask.

I purchased the set and the toner from Omorovicza website where they regularly have really good deals and GWPs. Currently they are having a really nice offer valid until the end of February: with each order above 150€ (gulp!) you receive a pink bag with four generously sized skincare minis including the Queen of Hungary Mist, Copper Peel, Instant Plumping Cream and Deep Cleansing Mask.

Monday, February 11, 2013

New lippies: NARS, Chanel and Giorgio Armani

These three black-cased lipsticks above have been some of my newest lipstick purchases in the last few months. Not necessarily what you would call typical fall/winter colours, except for the browned purple (or now the popularly called oxblood) that is Chanel's Rouge Allure in Rouge Noir. This is Chanel's third lipstick that goes by the name of Rouge Noir - this colour was previously done in the Hydrabase and Rouge Coco formulas, a comparison of which you can check out over at Cafe Makeup.

I've wanted to try one of the vampy lipsticks which get so popular each time the temperatures drop below zero and after a complete fail with Revlon's extremely dry and patchy matte lipstick in the colour Wine Not  I decided to just give Chanel's take on the vampy trend a try. Luckily, the formula of Rouge Noir is much nicer than that of Revlon - for such a dark colour it is surprisingly easy to apply although I would still recommend using a lip brush so that you don't end up looking like you've smeared blood all over your mouth. Rouge Noir also has a nice creamy finish with some slight red shimmer. I have found that the best way for me to pull off this colour is to cheat by lightly tapping the colour onto my lips and then blending it in with my finger or a brush - this takes off the brown undertones of the colour and gives a very beautiful soft purple toned effect to the lips, the colour I wish my lips naturally looked like.

Next up is Giorgio Armani's Rouge d'Armani in Pink 511. I have posted before about my love for the Rouge d'Armani formula and as soon as I had a chance to grab another colour, I did. I decided to go for this warm toned pink shade as I knew that I would get a lot of wear out of it. The formula as with the other Rouge d'Armanis is wonderful, it goes on very creamy but sets to a long-lasting finish. I wish Armani makeup was available here in Slovenia as their colour range is very nicely done and I can see myself trying and buying  a few other shades from the line.

Last and certainly least is NARS Sheer Lipstick in Cruising. I've had good experience with NARS sheer lipstick formula before (the colour Damage is one of my most used and I have nearly finished my first tube) so I was a little bit disappointed by the sheer shimmery pink nude that is Cruising. I don't know what I was expecting really, as the description of this shade on NARS website reads "nude pink" but it just looks very "blah" when applied. This doesn't mean that I haven't been using it, coupled with a pink lip pencil as a base it actually doesn't look all that bad. 

Next up on my lipstick wishlist is Maybelline's lipstick in Rose Vivid and I'm sure that I will find more lippies I like with the bright summer collections coming up (says I, wearing thick wool socks in the middle of the winter wonderland).

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Meet Muri and Lili!

Happy New Year! See, I'm late even with my new year wishes but I hope that wishing you happy and healthy 328 remaining days of 2013 still counts.

This is just a quick post to say hi and show you a few photos of two precious little kittens who have kept us all very occupied ever since we got them back in July. Honestly I never imagined I could spend so much time just watching them and laughing at their little boxing sessions.

That fluffy little thing up in the basket is Lili - that photo was taken back in the summer and she is much bigger now. She may look cute and harmless but if anyone stands between her and her food it's not going to end well.

Muri here is photographed doing what he loves best - sleeping. He is certainly one lazy kitty but when he's in the zone no flower pot in the house is safe.

I hope your 2013 is off to a good start. I have no doubt that very soon we will be at the end of December wondering just how has another year gone by so quickly.


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