Monday 23 June 2014

FOTN - Plum Smoky Eyes

I have a confession to make. For someone as obsessed with makeup as I am, I'm pretty rubbish at eyeshadow. It's the shape of my eyes, I think. They're quite round, and the outer corners sort of disappear into my sockets, making anything more than a simple wash of colour quite tricky to apply. (Yeah yeah; excuses excuses. I'm just rubbish.)

Anyway, about a year ago I discovered L'Oreal's Color Riche Quads. These babies are a godsend if, like me, you like a little help (read: a paint by numbers guide) with creating a smoky eye look. A little warning though - once you go and look at them you will need some serious willpower not to buy the lot, because they look pretty damn good all sitting in a row at the makeup counter.

For the moment, at any rate, I'm contenting myself with two. Velours Noir, a classic combination of silvery greys and black, and Eau de Rose, which I'm wearing in the photos below.

FOTN featuring L'Oreal Eau de Rose

Plum smoky eyes featuring L'Oreal Eau de Rose Color Riche Quad

Eau de Rose is a beautiful quad with four eyeshadows ranging from a deep plum to a light pink. On the back of the packaging it tells you where to place each colour - the mid pink all over the lids, the deeper one at the outer corners, the plum as a liner and the palest pink in the outer corners and under the arch of your brows. Of course you can use the quad exactly the way you want, but I'm a good girl, and I do exactly as L'Oreal tells me! The only skill you need is a little bit of brush action - blending out the shadows and smoking the liner a little.

The rest of my makeup:

Face - Estee Lauder Double Wear foundation in Cool Bone, Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in Fair, Rimmel Stay Matte powder in Peach Glow, Bourjois Delice de Poudre bronzing powder, Bourjois Little Round Pot blush in Rose Coup de Foudre, Benefit Watt's Up highlighter.

Eyebrows - Rimmel Eyebrow Pencil in Black Brown.

Eyes - I curled my lashes and applied L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes - I recently rediscovered this mascara in my makeup drawer and it's a good'un.

Lips - L'Oreal liquid lipstick in Molto Mauve. I blogged about my love for this product here.

Makeup look featuring L'Oreal Eau de Rose

At the risk of stating the blindingly obvious, that's Eau de Rose in the middle. ;-)

Do you have a favourite makeup cheat? Let me know below!

Kate x

Saturday 14 June 2014

Kiss Me I'm Brazilian by OPI

The World Cup has kicked off in Brazil, and what better way to celebrate than by… writing a nail polish review? ;-)

I didn’t actually buy this product. It was given to me by my Aunty, who is developing a habit of thrusting brand new, unused makeup at me every time I see her. Not that I’m complaining. Last time I visited, I acquired a Clinique Chubby Stick, because she “couldn’t be bothered faffing with a pencil” and didn’t understand why brands can’t just stick to making “proper lipstick”. This time, I have become the proud owner of OPI's Kiss Me I'm Brazilian, because it takes more than one coat to apply, and she doesn’t have time for that. My Aunty is hard to please when it comes to makeup.

The colour in the bottle is a really pretty, but very sugary, pink. I was a little concerned that it might look - dare I say it? - slightly cheap on my nails. Kind of like Barbie might call any minute to demand the immediate return of her nail polish. But no self-respecting beauty blogger turns down a free OPI polish, right? Besides, it’s called Kiss Me I’m Brazilian! I had no choice but to give it a go.

Since I was trying this out quickly at my Aunty’s house, I didn’t apply a base coat. (I know. I’m one crazy bitch.) I didn’t use a top coat either (oh stop!) but there’s such a lovely sheen to this product that I don’t think you really need one. It glided on smoothly, and I found that two coats gave a nice opaque finish.

As for the colour… I love it. Maybe there is the faintest hint of Barbie about it, but that’s not what I think of when I look at my nails. I think of holidays. I think of palm trees and sunshine and exotic flowers and my tanned hand with these pink nails clamped firmly around a cocktail glass. The shade is very vibrant. In some lights I would say it's bordering on neon, though it’s not a neon polish, and it’s pretty much impossible to be in a bad mood when you look at it. I think it would look great on toes as well and enhance a tan beautifully. Definitely one for the suitcase!

When I visited the OPI website, I realised that this polish is from their recent Brazil collection for Spring/Summer 2014. And now, of course, I want all the others. It's the names that do it. Don't Bossa Nova Me Around. I Just Can't Cope-acabana. How can I find out there's a nail polish called I Just Can't Cope-acabana and not buy it? The fact that it's yellow and I don't like yellow polish doesn't even seem important.

I need help. Is there such a thing as nail polish rehab?

Has anyone tried any of these Brazil shades? Which are your favourites?

Kate x

Monday 9 June 2014

Magical Espa Oils

I have been using Espa's aromatherapy bath and body oils for years. In fact, their Soothing Body Oil is right up there with my favourite products of all time, so it only seems fair that I share the love!

The first time I heard of this brand was when my Aunty - a dedicated visitor of spas across the globe - bought me the Soothing Body Oil for Christmas a few years ago. It just so happened that at the time I was having difficulty sleeping - something that unfortunately afflicts me from time to time - so I was intrigued when I took this elegant glass bottle from its packaging and read that it was designed to "soothe and destress body and mind" and "gently ease" my poor, stressed out old body into a restful sleep. On first glance, I had assumed that it was simply a moisturising body oil, but oh no. This baby does so much more.

If I've had a couple of bad nights, a long hot bath followed by lashings of this lovely stuff almost always does the trick. Yes, it makes my skin feel silky, but by far the best thing about this product is its incredible fragrance. According to Espa, it's the sweet almond oil it contains that softens the skin, while a combination of sandalwood, rose geranium and frankincense relax the body and myrrh "helps quieten the mind". When I rub this beautiful blend of oils into my skin, not only can I feel it seeping into my pores to soften my tightened muscles, but as I breathe it in, I can also sense the constant whirring of thoughts in my brain gradually slowing down. The scent seems to linger for hours, which sounds like it might be overpowering, but I don't find this at all. In fact, I find it incredibly soothing, as though I've been wrapped in a comforting blanket of fragrance for the night. Now I'm not saying that it knocks me out without fail every time I'm too stressed to sleep. It's not a miracle in a bottle and of course there is still the occasional night when nothing seems to work. But it's such a pleasure to use that it always makes me feel better, and most of the time, it really does help me sleep.

Since discovering the Soothing Body Oil, I have also tried the Soothing Bath Oil and the Restorative
Bath and Body oils. All are lovely. The restorative range is similar to the soothing one, also designed to calm, but with a different blend of oils intended lift the mood as well. It also claims to tone and firm the skin as well as soften it. I can't say that I have noticed this particular benefit, but then again, I haven't been using it on a daily basis. Perhaps I should! The bath oils smell amazing when you add them to your bath water and are lovely things to have, but if you were to only pick one product, I would recommend going for a body oil without hesitation. In my opinion, the body oils do an amazing job on their own, and not having the matching bath oil isn't going to take anything away from the overall effect. Incidentally, the candle in the pictures is also from Espa's soothing range, and smells very much like the oils. I like to light it when I have my bath. Again, you don't need it, but it's a nice thing to have.

If you're looking for a body oil I really can't recommend Espa enough. The quality of the products I've tried is second to none. If, like me, you have trouble sleeping at times, the Soothing Body Oil could well become your new best friend, but there are quite a few other varieties including detoxifying, energising, and nourishing.

Has anyone else tried any of these these products? Or anything else from Espa? Every time I browse their site I see about 150 lotions and potions that I want to try, so I would love some recommendations!

Kate x

Monday 2 June 2014

Brockhill Park, Kent

Last Sunday the weather was sunny, if a little breezy. Once we had finished taking outfit pictures for my previous blog post (my choice of activity) my husband and I went for a walk in the countryside (his). We had a big family barbeque coming up on the bank holiday Monday, and knew we would be doing a lot of eating and not too much moving, so it seemed like a good idea to get out in the fresh air and stretch our legs while we had the chance. We're lucky enough to have some beautiful country walks right on our doorstep, but this time we fancied something a little different, so we took a drive out to Brockhill Park, near Hythe in Kent.

We hadn't visited this place before, but I am sure we will go back, because it's lovely. You pay for parking (£2 at weekends/holidays and £1.50 in the week), but entry to the park itself is free. There is a little cafĂ© where you can buy drinks and snacks, but there are also benches provided for picnics, which is probably a much nicer idea if you plan your trip in advance. We saw some families who had really gone to town and brought feasts with them - some had even brought disposable barbeques - and we were quite jealous!

Once you get past this initial picnic area, you follow a path that leads you to a lovely, peaceful lake. Here, the resident ducks paddle away to their hearts' content, sheltered on all sides by tall, leafy trees.

We stood admiring them for some time, just enjoying the tranquillity of this little spot. Then we continued along the path, eager to see where it would take us.
It leads you all the way around the edge of the lake and beyond, where the landscape begins to open up a little. As you stroll along, you can't help but keep stopping to admire the trees and wild flowers. This is definitely a place for only the very gentlest of exercise. No cardio marching here!

I wore a light parka jacket from Topshop. It's a fairly recent purchase and I've worn it pretty much every day since I bought it. I like the way it looks with jeans and Converse and it's brilliant when you want to keep out the wind and/or rain but don't want to wear a bulky jacket. 

 Parka - Topshop (currently out of stock in the colour I have, but available in tan and blue), Jumper and jeans - both Topshop, Sunglasses - Chanel, Bag - Zara, Trainers - Converse

As the path leads further away from the lake area it eventually takes you out into open fields. You can just see them beginning to appear to the right in the photo below.

This is where the path comes to an end. In the fields we found more picnickers, couples stretched out lazily on blankets and kids playing football. I'm afraid I forgot to get a picture of all this, as I was too busy making new friends.

We thoroughly enjoyed our few hours in Brockhill Park and it set us up beautifully for Monday's festivities. Unfortunately, it rained on Monday. Torrentially. All day. But we enjoyed ourselves anyway!

There has been another weekend since then, so I hope that everyone had a good one.

Where's your favourite place to go when you want to escape the madding crowds?

Kate x
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