Make Up

Palette Profile: Huda Beauty Desert Dusk

Huda7 (2)

In the past 12 months or so, I've gone a little nuts for eyeshadow palettes. With 500+ makeup screenshots saved on my phone, there's always a new colour combination I need to try, and any makeup hoarder will know that a "similar" shade just will not cut it (or cut the crease shall we say).

I've also grown to appreciate how palettes are designed as a family of shades, and generally sticking to the curated selection will mean all colours work and blend together seamlessly, resulting in that dream of wearing ten different shades without looking like a clashing rainbow. You can dive in and dabble without very much planning, and only need one set for a whole week when travelling.

It just so happens too that the current trend for pinks, purples, warm oranges and reds are totally my shades. Each palette offers a billion new looks and once received, I'll be absolutely scrolling through hashtags and searching YouTube for tutorials, fawning over my new obsession. I'm going to start a series of posts called Palette Profiles to share my favourites and not-so favourites with you. I'm totally an enabler! 

First up is the shining star of my palette collection right now: the Huda Beauty Desert Dusk palette. At a hefty £50+, this bad boy offers a range of 18 matte, pearl, duo-chrome and glitter shadows in opulent sunset hues, each almost 1 gram, plus a hugeee mirror. 

Huda5 (3)

Starting with the mattes, they do air on the chalky side but a tacky primer will allow you to pack them on and maximise on the warm peach of Eden, the coral pop of Saffron or the surprisingly flattering orange Blazing. This palette offers the ultimate rose gold eye! Amethyst is by far my favourite though as it's so hard to make a magenta classy rather than barbie.

Cosmo is a satisfyingly chunky glitter that definitely needs the aid of a wet brush or balm.  I've dabbled in the pearls as a contrasting layer over the lid and inner corner, with Twilight and Retrograde lighting up any look without being frosty.

Huda6 (2)

Here are a few (rather filtered) looks I've pulled from the past few months, from deep purple to a fiery sunset. If you're thinking 'oh that bottom right picture looks ten times better than the rest' it's because I had my makeup done by a local artist to get some new inspiration and damn, those brows were amazing! She used the rose shades and a gold pigment for a sparkling lid, plus heavy winged liner that I never thought I could pull off. I did inquire about a Huda makeover but the new counter in Selfridges Birmingham only offered foundation matching at the time as they were so busy! I really want to do the full sunset package next with the burnt oranges and bright purples, so I'll need to hit YouTube!

Despite the price, this really is a shape-shifting palette for bold looks. The colours will surprise you and it is much easier to use than you would assume at first look. If you like playing with colour and going to town on the eyes, you definitely need this to complete your palette arsenal. Thank me later!

A Weekend Face

Ohhh it's nearly the end of the week! Another one flies by, and I'm looking forward to February fun (and pay day!) while trying to resist thinking about my SS15 wardrobe too much. It's just not warm enough to invest in any of the new trends on the high street yet and then spoil them with a gigantic coat, but I might think about some transitional trends to try for Feb - Apr. My most worn clothes are for work though and it's not the place to make a fashion statement, but I'm feeling a '70s blouse maybe.

Otherwise, the weekends are free for me to wear anything I fancy, even though I don't do much in the day time aside from running errands. If I do find myself meeting friends, shopping or doing anything out of the ordinary, I would spend about an hour on my makeup, catching up on YouTube videos as I go.

My hair does look every colour under the sun in these photos but it is more of a sandy colour all over in real life. I do have a hair appointment at the end of the month as I want it to be more of a uniform colour, plus I've just about got rid of these darn blue bits! I dyed a few strands blue in November and they are still tinged with green! The dye said 2-10 washes but proved absolutely indestructible! 

So in the week I wear just foundation, concealer, mascara and a touch of blush or bronzer - literally! I feel like nowadays makeup has streamlined as much as it has exploded, so on one side we are all contouring and over-lining out pouts, but the other side means heavy eye kohl and mahogany fake tan is never to be seen. I'm totally comfortable without eyeliner, even though a few years ago I would not have felt complete without any! However a weekend is a totally different story and I do break out my favourite items. Here's the recent run down...

Maybelline Baby Skin Instant Pore Eraser - I had used up a few samples of Benefit POREfessional and found this primer in a Superdrug deal. It's more of a silicone gel formula than Benefit's cult offering so it goes a long way and leaves a noticeable base. I wouldn't rave about it but otherwise I do still find applying heavier foundations to just-moisturised skin to be a little patchy.

Sleek I Divine Pallette in Storm - I've had this palette for so long and it really prevents me from wanting a Naked palette as the shimmer and matte nude shades are all gorgeous. The additional jewel toned brown, copper and rust colours are my go-to for a more lavish look and I wear these in the crease to frame my eyes, plus a touch along the lash line.

L'oreal Miss Manga Mega Volume Mascara - This is a repeat buy of what I felt was an amazingly lengthening mascara for serious doll eyes. However my second tube did not agree with my eyes and left them super dry. My lashes started breaking off and I have ended up with a few stubby parts. Since moving onto a Benefit They're Real sample I had stashed away, the problem has stopped!

MAC quad with Orb, Kid, Swiss Chocolate and Corduroy - I've used this palette for my brows for the longest time! I would only use the shades on my eyes for a super matte look, but for brows I mix the colours to get a suited shade and use a stiff angled brush with a small handle.

MAC Harmony Contour Powder - Tanya Burr always raved about MAC Harmony and when it was used in a MAC makeover I one had, I knew it would be a worthy staple product. After using a heavy foundation, this adds the dimension back to your face and is never a conflicting colour to any look. Great for pale gals.

Illamasqua Sculpting Powder Duo - Oh horror of horror, I dropped this and the highlighter smashed! Well I actually smashed the powder when out and about but it was all still all inside of the case, so I vowed to use it carefully at home. Then I went ahead and knocked it off my makeup shelves, covering the floor in shimmer - great! Goodbye beautiful highlight. If I didn't already have a few highlighters, I would definitely buy this again. I do have the contour powder intact though and it's a lovely rich, warm brown that really warms up your look. I wouldn't use it all over the face but save it for some life to my cheeks.

Rimmel Lip Pencil in Addiction - This lip combination may seem a bit odd but stay with me. I've been looking for the perfect matte rose colour and purchased MAC Chili. This is too orange so I layer it with this Rimmel deep rose lip liner to counteract this.  Then to tone down the brightness of the lipstick, I added a touch of the MUA Luxe Velvet Matte Lip Lacquer in Tranquility. I should have bought MAC Retro lipstick I think but it wasn't in stock and Chili looked like the shade I wanted. Oh the error of testing lipsticks on your hand!

The Body Shop: Shimmer Waves

Way, way, way back when, I was a youthful 20 year old at university and my makeup matched my face: glowing, plump and, due to 8 hours of lectures a week and a midday part time job, showing off at least eight hours of glorious sleep each night. Nowadays it's more like a midweek grey-ish hue that shows all too well the early morning commutes, office air-conditioning and that midweek mascara that just won't budge. I started to use my makeup to conceal and wake up my features, but forgot that in the past I added a flush of blusher to add some fun to my face! It's no fun putting heavy liner on tired eyes, but blush is actually one item that can flatter at ALL times, especially when worn high on the cheekbones.

I hadn't invested in a blusher for absolutely ages due to a fair few knocking around in my collection, but nothing to get excited about. I've been wearing bronzer and contour for around a year for my daily work face, but totally neglected how a rosy cheek can add warmth without being too girly. I never want to look too doll-like nowadays as I'm in a more corporate environment, but a beautiful highlight can have way more pay off than a heavy lip or eyeshadow at 7am. How have I neglected blush for so long?!

The blush in question is almost a dupe for my favourite and sadly limited edition MAC Redhead MSF, which saw me through my university days. Makeup has took a more neutral, sophisticated turn, but back then it was a glaze of pouty gloss, dark lids and bright cheeks, while Kim K was in her bodycon era and TOWIE was really used for style inspiration. The Body Shop Shimmer Waves in Blush is THE warm, Victoria Secret-esque glow that can never look too princess-y, but creates a warming halo effect for your cheek bones. The kind of product that I would never not use on a daily basis unless I was purposely planning a different particular look. It also layers beautifully, and a main bug bear of mine is patchy blush. I've tried light layers and I've tried blending out a considerable layer, but some products are so darn patchy on me!

And best of all I have the accompanying Face and Body brush and it's the best I have ever tried to avoid this patchy problem. I've invested in many Real Techniques brushes and I find them prickly, whereas this brush feels so silky soft that you actually want to swipe it around your face. I'm going to go back to check out their foundation brushes too as I find the orange Real Techniques one really dense and tough to sweep around, but maybe my foundations are too heavy duty.

When my Benefit Hoola runs out (I've hit pan at the moment!) I'm going to run for Essie Button's favourite Honey Bronzer from them too. Give me a product that works and lasts any day!

Show me the Shu Uemura

After my treat makeover at Illamasqua, beauty goddess Rose hooked me up with a session at Shu Uemura. This Japanese brand has always flown under my radar as a makeup brand but their skin care always attracted me – especially those rainbow coloured oils. I don't have the luxury to chop and change too often between my essential products so being talked through a full face is so valuable (and usually complimentary at many counters!).

After an hour or so with charmingly lovely Eva at the Selfridges Bullring counter, I came away absolutely armed with new tricks, techniques, and a whole lotta lust for the Shu Uemura movement.

In the past few years, beauty blogging turned my attitude to cosmetics into a sea of the ‘latest hype’ and ‘this month I love a whole set of different things’, making me shy away from investing in expensive products just as the next comes on the market and steals the crown as the new must-have. It is very overwhelming and I wanted to read and watch every single review and mention about an item before buying, which is stressful! A new brand would pop up and soon everyone would be touting a concentrated glacial iconic spritz that I never knew I needed, and hadn’t yet mastered even my favourite foundation. I don’t have enough attention or budget left to be trying and buying so many products, and my own beauty routine felt more and more inferior.

I took a step back from beauty shopping for a while but I’ve been feeling so inspired recently by meeting lots of brands and hearing about solid recommendations of staple products from Rose, rather than the new product sent to by PRs. Getting to know products and collections in person takes away the clouds and you have room to get hands on, without reading a rave review and feeling the pressure. I’ve had chance to really think about what it is I need for the next few months and the looks I want to go for myself, without too much comparison with others. Funnily enough, now I feel even more into reading beauty blogs and watching YT videos on beauty! I just needed to get a grip I think.

I began my time with Shu Uemura with a snazzy glass of bubbly – perfect as I’d left work a little early and was ready to ring in the final Bank Holiday weekend of the year. Unlike other counters, Shu begins with a facial. When you go for a purely cosmetic session at other brand counters, you are often handed a face wipe to rub off your makeup and some moisturiser is applied, so this was a wonderful chance to experience the Shu Uemura skincare, and also feel refreshed and prepped for a whole new face of makeup after a day at work.

The facial involved clearing and cleaning the face with one of the famous oils most suited to my skin, which is dehydrated. I also said now that I'm in that 25 -30 age bracket, I want to be feeding my skin to cope with life stress and new fine lines that want to pop up. My oil was the green Anti/Oxi Cleansing Oil, to counteract the pollution of city and office life, and rejuvenate for a youthful glow. I also tried out the new SPF 30 Under Base Mousse primer - yes a mousse! Primer is one of those steps that I always skip day-to-day but could probably make the biggest difference to the lasting power of my makeup. The mousse formula makes skin feel light and breathable rather than smoothed and filled like my night-out silicone face primers. Lovely!

The stars of the makeover were the Lightbulb foundation, shadow palette and the actual blush application. The Lightbulb Fluid comes with a super cute button sponge to apply it with, and you get a new sponge with each bottle so you're getting a good stretch for your money. The crazy thing is the high-tech coating of the sponge means you never need to wash it?! I know my own sponges get clogged after a few uses so this is awesome for the time-strapped gal like myself. The application was also right up my dream street - a definite colour payoff and coverage but a finish as light as air.

We couldn't decide which of the new Vision Of Beauty eye palettes to go with as they were all so darn beautiful. Eva chose the orange palette in the end so my eyes were warm copper and pink with a slight pop of hot tangerine.

Shu Uemura himself saw makeup as an art form and only used one brush for the entire face! It really was a technical process rather than standard beauty methods, and products are applied in vertical pats and strokes rather than sideways wiper motions. This led to my blush being placed under my cheek bone in almost an arrow shape, contouring my face so differently that I had to take multiple photos and rethink my usual curved-cheek application. I've tried to snap the results but alas, shop lighting isn't in my favour!

The makeover was such a technical treat that I really saw a different side to sculpting and perfecting the face, rather than flaunting and pouting. I also took away a sample of the cleansing oil and it really does take off makeup as delicately as it is put on, without a hint of harshness. I'm finishing a daily highstreet foundation right now and am considering adding the Lightbulb foundation to my Christmas list or if I have some funds left over during the next few months. It was just so light and and perfect for a poised, polished work face. Thank you Shu Uemura! 


I'm sure you know my day job involves social media, which in my spare time I take more of a laid-back approach to. The irony is that because I work in marketing, I have to keep my personal accounts quite censored! Not that I am up to no good, but if I ever encounter any celebs, have an annoying experience in a shop, or party it up in a club, I should keep that to myself. The same with any industry nowadays, you must be careful what you post online for anyone to see or share. Despite this, I will post whatever I like to wear on this blog and Instagram, even if Monday - Friday I begrudgingly abide to the office dress code; something I will never get used to! Maybe not until I have the budget for Karen Millen rather than H&M anyway. I definitely need some tips on smart-casual!

I tweeted recently that the NARS Laguna bronzer that I splurged on at Christmas had ran out, sad times! Apart from a MAC face powder, this is the only high-end beauty product I have bought in the whole of 2014, which possibly reflect the 'normal working girl's' beauty budget. NARSissist tweeted me back, which A) is very impressive that a brand engages with it's fans, and B) I think it's very cool that NARS has a personality as their social media ambassador, rather than acting as a brand. Sure the NARSissist may never show her face and is possibly five different people, but it's quirky and chic to imagine a mystery woman in a world of NARS heaven. Laguna bronzer was one of my first NARS purchases and forays into bronzers, though I've used other products to contour in the past. Then funnily enough a few weeks later, the NARSissist asked for my home address and sent some items, just as a thank you for being a brand advocate! I've seen a few brands send out gifts to fans, which might spawn repurchase from that one consumer, but I'm sure would be a brand exposure activity rather than a sales tactic. I was ecstatic to receive this bundle of matte black joy and here's a sneak peek at what I got! I saw a few others posting items they had received and they don't seem to be targeted to bloggers, but to fans who interact with the brand to show their appreciation.

I was sent a selection of new Matte Multiples and the 413 BLKR blush, happy days! I wouldn't use the Multiples for lips or eyes as they felt too creamy, despite being matte. They turn to a powder finish once blended and it is SO FUN to draw on your face with the crayons, almost like war paint, before blending.

413 reminds me of my all time favourite First Flush blush by 17, as I prefer popping shades to a soft pink. The stronger the blush, the bluer my eyes look in comparison.

My favourite Multiple is Altai, the middle peach shade which translates very warm against the skin. I've never used a product so rich, but I began my base makeup with this step below, adding it to my temples and cheek hollows before blending with a synthetic brush (before brows, lips, etc might I add!). A cream product layered under powder give it much more staying power and a more even finish, so I ended up adding a matte powder to set this too. I'd definitely say these sticks do not offer a mattified finish, but they do offer a matte colour pay off. Important to note if your skin is oily.

Facing Facts with MAC Face and Body


As a member of the pale, fair skinned club, I have foundation woes all the time! I generally do a light tan if I'm going to bare my limbs at the weekend, and I would welcome a Sally Hansen-style skin foundation in my milky shade, but a light coat of fake tan usually does the job to give a more even skin tone on my legs, cover any bruises or veins, and feel a little exotic. I like to either be definitely tanned or 100% not, as the in-between patchy stage is just rough! I don't tan my face so across the week it means my body is various shades and I need to warm up my face to avoid looking ghostly from the neck up in comparison.

If you've ever tried wearing a foundation that isn't your colour, you will know that in a number of hours, it naturally fades or wears off in certain areas and leaves that not-so-hot patchy complexion. I'll pile on the primer and powder for a night out, but on your standard Tuesday, I don't want to look various shades of orange!

So I racked my brains for a past foundation that worked for my pale days and faux tanned days. I'm a fan of good coverage but that means you have to take your unnatural shade right down your neck and up to your ears, and for day time it's just too much. I needed a product that gave a wash of pigmented colour for those in-between days that wasn't too heavy. Light foundations with good colour pay-offs are hard to come by and I remembered when I had Face and Body, way back when. I believe this was one of my first MAC purchases when I went to an awards ceremony in London in the early days of this blog and I had a MAC makeover. Face and Body dribbles like water; it's so smooth and liquid, but it has that deep colour payoff that MAC products offer. When you first apply it in long sweeping motions, the formula glides over every contour without drying out on the brush and it feels almost tacky; the feeling like when you apply fake tan and have to wait for it to dry. A few moments later, the benefits are a definite colour pay off, rather than mattifying or masking your skin. In the day time I don't really have the time or need to be wearing anything heavier that then warrants contouring and highlighting. I don't mind being any skin tone as long as it's even, and that's the aim here!

I went to the stand-alone MAC store in Birmingham, which has an MUA I really like, but I generally prefer the Selfridges counter, which is now HUGE and also has an MUA friend! I assumed the large Face and Body bottles were only available at the store though, but due to the poor lighting I couldn't tell which shade to get! It's so hard to choose a tone different to your own, and communicate that you want a colour for when you are slightly tanned. I ended up with C3, which is deeper than my skin tone but for reference, I used to wear C2 for nights out at uni when I didn't wear tan. Face and Body is perfect to add to legs and arms, which I would do with a lighter shade if I didn't fear it rubbing off on light clothing, and I would want to cover my entire legs! But for daytime it's the perfect light-coverage-but-full-pigment shade that I need as my tan is being scrubbed away as fast as possible. Now I'm slightly blonde (ahhh!) I'm embracing the pale skin even more though... watch this space! If you are pale skinned, do you know a way to help out legs and arms without tanning? I'm lusting after Iggy Azelia's perfect paleness!


Party Time Chapter 5

My laptop is misbehaving at the moment so I'm overjoyed it's working tonight. I have a stack of things to share but last but not least is the final instalment of my Party Time treats, which are a few glamorous touches. The first is just a lipgloss I got free with Elle magazine last month by Benefit. I haven't had a new gloss in just about forever and this is a solid, peaches-and-cream glaze. Lipgloss is something I never ever buy because I always seen to receive them as freebies or would just end up hating them. Cheap lipglosses really can look cheap and I don't use lip products for more than a few months anyway as I'm a bit of a germophobe where they are concerned.

As for perfume, I swapped one with my mom for this Viktor & Rolf set, which I've already had once upon a time as my 21st birthday present. It reminds me of my final year at Uni and the makeup I wore then and the clothes I had. It literally transports me to Topshop cream blush, liquid liner and hair bows! Flowerbomb is very sharp and sweet, almost like tangy lime. Then the floral blossom scent settles and it really lasts. There's nothing childish about this!

Party Time Chapter 3

The weekend is approaching! I can certainly feel it but I can also feel a few more days of hard work too. I'm working on a few projects that involve giant chocolate snowmen amongst other things, and I do like to work super hard in the week in order to have a totally refreshing weekend. I'm going to the Clothes Show which should be extra fantastic and I'm hopefully off out on the town too. Shock horror though, I don't have an outfit in mind yet, and it's definitely too far into winter to be wearing anything sleeveless, which eliminates 50% of my options. Hmm we'll see! I have a few in mind of course.

As for something I know I will be doing is having a Friday night pamper session and applying copious amounts of fake tan, amongst even more other things. When wearing lots of makeup I like to be a warmer shade, and no one wants an orange face and light body! My tan of choice at the moment is St. Tropez though, which many would consider quite light. It gives you a nice sun-kissed glow without any red or green tints. Now that sounds bizarre, but tan enthusiasts will know what I mean! My MAC Lust MSF that I have blogged about previously adds that Victoria Secret-style flush too, with rosy, shimmering cheekbones. I've gone off bright blush for daytime but at night I make sure it is rich, popping, and sets off a dark smokey eye.

Party Time Chapter 1

Living for the weekend is certainly something I do, filling my calendar with concerts and girly nights. If you have nothing to look forward to, the weeks sure go slowly! I have not been in the shops hunting for new party outfits although I have a few dresses flying high on my wishlist that I have spotted online. Do I wear something I already have or buy something new? My argument is if I buy something new I can always resell it... not the best analogy for my savings!

So I have picked out a few items that I definitely have on my agenda this season. There are quite a few so I will space them out across the week and by the end I know I will be so ready to begin the party season. First up is this Miss Selfridge fluffy bag, which I actually got earlier this year. I had another fluffy bag a few years ago too as I love fur textures, but I have yet to take this one out as it is SO FLUFFY! It's a gorgeous lavender, nude colour and may look like a small animal being carried under my arm, but it definitely adds something new to an outfit. Fur is an alternative to sequins for the most glamorous month of the year, and will add that grown up touch that I definitely need to explore now that I am almost in the year I turn 25, eeek! How did that happen?!

This bag isn't sold anymore but Topshop have a few fur offerings and I could definitely imagine this River Island fur backpack sitting on my lap on the train to work. A few years ago fur wasn't a common fabric unless it was a vintage coat so I'm loving the texture now in daily life.

My next MUST have are lashes, and when I say must, I mean must. My makeup just doesn't look right without lashes, and I don't feel like I'm really making the most of the night without a fluttering pair. My signature 202 Eylure Double Lashes are now around £7.50 in shops which is eye-wateringly expensive for something that you stick on your face, but I've found my local bargain Savers store has a selection of Eylure lashes for sale, and I found this top-and-bottom pair for a mere £1.99. Lower lashes is definitely something I'm looking forward to trying wish a shimmering champagne eye, bronze blush and a deep rose lip. Eylure lashes are by far the best out there because the strip is super thin, so they can sit very close to your lash-line without pinging off. See you tomorrow for the next post!

French Fancies: Bioderma Buys

I have just returned from a few days in France and like everything this year, it went so fast! You spend all week wishing for the weekend and the days just fly by, and this holiday was no different. I will go into the trip details when I have gathered all the photos from friends and chose the best to show you but these items are the only things I bought. The whole trip was on a budget as the flights were £15 and we stayed in a budget hotel, so shopping wasn't really the point. The point was to party!

We travelled via Ryanair which is super cheap and cheerful, especially at 5am in the morning, and only allows 10kg hand luggage, which isn't much. Security restrictions of 100ml liquids also mean I couldn't buy or take anything large, which had my friends and I squeezing all of our makeup, products and perfume into one teeny clear bag each. I visited a French pharmacy though and spotted these baby Biodermas; they are so cute! The perfect way to try the toner without splashing out on an online order. I heard they stocked it at the Birmingham Boots store but I didn't find any and I have just ran out of my Superdrug B. Micellar water. A sweet daily reminder of my holiday and hopefully I will like it as much as every beauty blogger I read!