Tuesday 25 November 2014

The Great Foundation Challenge #3 - Vichy Dermablend

Hi guys! Sorry I haven't been around much lately. It's the usual story - work and life getting in the way, etc etc. Still, I have managed to find some time and so I am back with another foundation challenge post. It's ages since I did one of these. If you remember, I embarked on a quest some time ago to find myself a good drugstore dupe for my favourite foundation, Estee Lauder Double Wear. So far I've tried L'Oreal Infallible, which I hated, and Revlon ColorStay, which I remain seriously impressed by and now wear on a regular basis. You can read the post on the L'Oreal base here and the Revlon one here. Today, I shall be talking about the latest edition to my steadily growing collection - Vichy Dermablend.

Vichy Dermablend Foundation

I've been keen to try this foundation for a while as I've heard a lot of good things about it. Vichy market it as a "camouflage foundation" and claim that it will cover all manner of flaws from an uneven complexion and dark circles to vitiligo and acne. My skin isn't terrible, but it isn't amazing either and one of the most important qualities I look for when choosing a base is high coverage. This one certainly sounded like it would fit the bill! It's also hypoallergenic, free from parabens and non-comedogenic - which basically means it won't irritate your skin or clog your pores. All this and SPF 35! Sounds too good to be true, right? Well, read on and find out!

Vichy Dermablend Camouflage Foundation

First off, let's talk packaging. It's not exactly stunning, is it? Not that this is ever something that would deter me from purchasing a product I know is good or have been recommended. It would just be nice if it was a bit prettier. That's all I'm saying.

Secondly, it's only available in five shades. To quote the girls from Made in Chelsea, that's not ideal. I went for the second palest shade (25), which isn't a fantastic match on me but is just about OK. It is definitely a better match than the above picture would suggest. For some reason the lighting is turning my hand into a red dragon's claw. Still, it gives you a good idea of the thickness of the product. Here it is on my face.

Vichy Dermablend Camouflage Foundation

I cannot fault the coverage of this foundation. It gives you flawless skin and it lasts all day. For me, these are the two things I want most of all from a base so for that reason, I do like Vichy Dermablend. However, limited colour range and uninspiring packaging aside, there is one major downside of this product - it just doesn't seem to set. Like, ever. Do not wrap your arms around your husband/boyfriend and bury your face in his chest while wearing Vichy Dermablend. The romantic moment will come to an abrupt end when he sees the mess it makes of his t-shirt. I have learnt this to my cost! Not only this, but it feels tacky on your skin the whole time you are wearing it, which isn't very comfortable.

So mixed feelings on this one! Has anyone else tried it? What did you think? What are your favourite drugstore foundations?

Kate x

Friday 7 November 2014

My Birthday Lunch at Read's, Faversham

It has been a little while since I last posted. This is partly because I've been very busy doing fun stuff (and work!) and partly because I've had a real stinker of a cold. I spent a very exciting few days in London last week, helping my sister shop for a wedding dress. It was such a fun time and it brought back some lovely memories of shopping for mine. It was also quite intense. I'd forgotten how pressured the decision is - so many stunning dresses, and you can only pick one! Mum, Stephanie and I spent four days searching every corner of the city and we have narrowed it down to a handful of beautiful gowns in one store. Needless to say, we were shattered when the visit came to an end, but there was no time to rest as the day after we got back to Kent we all had to go out to lunch to celebrate my birthday. I know, I know, it's a tough life!

The next day, all this living the high life caught up with me and I came down with this evil cold. Do you ever go through phases where you manage to avoid getting sick for ages and ages, but then you finally catch something, and it's like getting six different bugs at once and it totally knocks you out? Well, that's what happened to me. I'm just about over it now, so I thought I'd share this lovely restaurant with you.

Isn't it fancy? It's called Read's and it's located in Faversham, near Canterbury, in Kent. Eight of us went for lunch last Saturday. And just in case you were wondering who that tiny figure on the doorstep is...

That's right. It's me. Here's a close-up with some pumpkins.

Jeans, Blazer - Topshop, Blouse - River Island, Shoes, Bag - Zara

The setting is a Georgian manor house and it really feels more like that than a restaurant. It's incredibly peaceful and relaxed, as though you have been invited to lunch at someone's beautiful family home. Even when the dining room was full, it still kept that intimate feel.

Inside, it looks like this.

The food is locally sourced. In fact, some of it is grown in the grounds of the restaurant and I am kicking myself that I didn't pop outside to take a look. I guess that's a good excuse to go back!

I went for three courses, starting with a ham hock and vegetable broth with a chestnut brioche.

The broth was beautiful. Generous chunks of tender, salty ham, crunchy vegetables and a piping hot clear soup. The only problem was, it was a meal in itself, and when there are eight of you all talking at once it can be difficult to do justice to such a dish. Before I knew it, everyone else had finished their starters and I had barely got going with mine. Still, I thoroughly enjoyed what I had. I can't say I was crazy about the brioche, but then I'm not a fan of them in general. It was the broth I wanted - the brioche just happened to come with it.

For my main course, I chose the filet of hake with mashed potato, spinach and broccoli. This was simply cooked and really delicious, particularly the fish. The white sauce it came in was lovely but deceptively rich, and I couldn't quite finish the dish in the end.

My favourite course was definitely dessert. I ordered a chocolate delice with peanut brittle, banana ice cream and slices of caramelised banana. The desserts aren't actually listed on the menu. Instead, the waiter tells you what's available. I have to be honest - he had me at the word "chocolate". I actually had no idea there was any banana in the dish until it was sitting in front of me. If I had, I probably wouldn't have ordered it, as it's not really a favourite of mine, but I'm so glad I did. The combination with the smooth chocolate and crunchy, caramel flavours was perfect and I finished every last scrap.

Once lunch was over, we were invited to have our coffee (or peppermint tea in my case) in the lounge. This was also where we had enjoyed pre-lunch drinks while studying the menu and was a lovely relaxing space with arm chairs, sofas and coffee tables.

It was a mild, sunny day, but I can imagine this room being really cosy in the winter with the fire lit.

I would definitely recommend Read's if you're in the Canterbury area. The food was great and the surroundings were even better. Definitely a lovely setting for a family celebration.

I''ve got some fashion and beauty posts coming up next week, so stay tuned!

Kate x
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