Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Estee Lauder Christmas Spectacular

I love Estée Lauder. It's a relatively new thing for me. I have a couple of lipsticks, mascara, eyeliner and the night repair which I've bought in the last couple of months. My lastest addition and new love is the double wear foundation so I am a convert. I also have more than a little bit of love for their opulent, retro chic kind of packaging which reminds me a bit of the 80s - think it's all that gold!

Estée Lauder has been in my life for as long as I remember as it's the home of my Mum's signature fragrance, Youth Dew. Every year Daddy LoubouLush buys it for my Mum so I was intrigued to see their offer on the Makeup Artist Professional Color Collection 2010.

The Collection is £49 (for £315 of makeup based on RRPs) when bought with any Estée Lauder fragrence so I thought this was too much of a good Christmas present for my Dad to pass up (I'm more than a little jealous I can't afford it for myself just now).

The offer started yesterday, 25th October as far as I know and includes:

Deluxe Eyeshadow Compact with 18 coordinating shades (Ivory Slipper, Silver Bell, Tranquil Moon, Smoky Ember, Candy Crave, Polished Platinum, Enchanted Forest, Hot Cinnamon, Peacock Blue, Sugar Biscuit, Amethyst Spark, French Vanilla, Wild Sable, Nude Fresco, Berry Burst, Safari Green, Tempting Mocha, Provocative Plum)
Deluxe Face Compact (Estée Lauder Signature Silky Powder Blush in Nude Rose, Rosewood and Pink Kiss, plus Bronze Goddess Soft Matte Bronzer)
4 Pure Color Long Lasting Lipsticks (full-size, in Pink Parfait, Tiger Eye, Rose Tea and Bois de Rose)
Pure Color Gloss (exclusive double-ended gloss with shades Pink Kiss and Plum Divine)
3 Artist's Eye Pencils (great for smoky eyes, in SoftSmudge Black, SoftSmudge Brown and Slate Writer)
Gentle Eye Makeup Remover (full-size 100ml)
4 Deluxe Makeup Brushes (Powder, Blush, Lip and Eye)
Look Book with tips on creating great makeup looks with your new shades
Golden Stand-Up Mirror
Cosmetic Traveler Case
Companion Makeup Case

I bought this with a bottle of Youth Dew in my local Boots and I'm not sure if the set looks exactly as this photo but it came with the added bonus of Advantage Points so I'm happy and no doubt my Mum will be pleased when she sees it on Christmas morning. The box it comes in looks nice and festive and the kit overall looks sizable and pretty glam.

All in all a great bargain I think - anyone else snapped it up??

Available online, instore and only while stocks last...

LoubouLush x

Monday, 25 October 2010

Trick or Treat... Malteser/Mint Aero Traybakes

This weekend I decided to give some chocolate tray bakes a go. I’d heard they were simple. I heard they were delicious so I thought they would be worth a shot. Mmm and my tastebuds told me I was right. My scales, mmm not so much!

100g butter
200g milk chocolate
3 tablespoons Golden Syrup
225g finely crushed Digestive biscuits
225g Mint Aero or Maltesers

Melt the butter, milk chocolate and golden syrup in a pan (careful as this can burn if not stirred) or in a bowl over hot water in a saucepan.

Crumble the digestives into fine crumbs using a food processor ideally or put them in a food bag and bash them around.

Add the crumbs to the melted mixture and mix them both well by hand. Fold in the Maltesers or broken pieces of Mint Aero.

Pour the mixture into a lined tin/sided dish to you desired thickness. Allow to set in the fridge for a couple of hours before cutting into portions.

I used this recipe and divided the melted mixture and digestives in two and added half Malteser, half Mint aero and got 8 generous portions of each. Mmmmm.

Possible additions...
100g milk chocolate (for the Malteser version)
100g mint aero (aero version)

The Malteser one is less chocolatey as there is less chocolateyness to melt in the warm mixture so I melted some extra milk chocolate to add to the top.

For the Aero version I added a rectangle of Aero to the top of each tray bake.

Other variations...
You could try this out with so many other chocolately delights... Toffee Crisp, Mars Bar, Crunchie and not forgetting you could substitute Digestives for a different biscuit or add some Marshmallows so extra yumminess.

I'd love to hear if you have tried these or have any ther similar recipes for me to have a go with :D

LoubouLush x

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Winter Wardrobe

I love the winter but hate the cold. So it makes sense that I love layering up and wearing lovely warm clothes. I've been lusting over lots of clothes for the run up to the festive season so thought I'd share some of the things on my wish list (ok I've bought two of them)...

please feel free to add yours and give me even more to drool over ;)

Topshop Faux Fur Cossack Hat (£20)
Bought it, love it, it keeps my head toasty warm. I'm yet to wear it in public...

Joy the Store - Louche Knitted Heart Hat (£12) and Mittens (£8)
- also available in cream
Cute and warm - what is not to love?

Oli - Closet Rouched Tulip Dress (£39)
I have a new found love for dark blues and navies which I'm finding surprisingly flattering. I also love the style of lots of the Closet dresses.

Next Fit and Flare Coat (£75)
- red or camel and available in regular, petite, tall and plus (while stocks last)
I bought the camel and I really love it - great colour, flattering shape - win win!!

ASOS Gispy Heart Tights (£6)
- black or black and white
I love patterned tights, they make me smile and these are just an example of some of the fun ones around.
Next post of winter fashion will no doubt involve sparkly party dresses and ridiculous shoes!

LoubouLush x

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Barry M Nail Effects

It's no secret I like a little bit of nail art. I was therefore intrigued by Barry M Nail Effects which is currently available in black. From what I could see it looks like it would provide a crackle kind of coat, a bit like something Carol Smillie would have oohed and aahed over in Changing Rooms circa 1998. Unlike the rest of the Barry M Nail Paint range this is priced at £3.95 which is still relatively cheap in my opinion.

First I tried it over the red from a couple of posts ago and it seemed to crack and dry very quickly. The colour difference wasn't too striking as the red is relatively dark. The black dries very quickly and almost to a dark charcoal rather than black and the finish is very matte. I thought it gave a nice touch of extra interest to my nails especially if you looked closely.
Next I tried it over a clear basecoat. It applied quite easily on the first nail (thumb) but I realised how fast you need to be to apply it to a nail as the rest dries out so quickly once it has touched the nail. The final result wasn't horrendous, but I would describe it as... patchy. Some brush strokes are visible and where it was applied more lightly the crackling didn't hide the brush stroke look. I think a wider brush might help make the application easier. After 2 quick applications I can see some of the paint getting clumpy in the bottle also as it seems to dry out so quickly which isn't great really...

From a distance they don't look too bad, maybe a bit of a lace effect almost?

All in all I'm a bit on the fence about this one. I love black nails but don't always have the patience to build up the colour and think this could be handy to add a last minute touch of intrigue to otherwise dull nails. I quite like the matte look for a bit of a change though I probably should use a top coat over it. For now though I don't think I'll be wearing it for for very long...

Have you tried it yet? Have I gone wrong with it somewhere?

LoubouLush x

Monday, 11 October 2010

NOTD Free Ciate Paint Pot with Marie Claire Magazine

I'm a sucker for a freebie and picked up Marie Claire magazine at the weekend (November 2010 edition with Lea Michele on the cover) for£3.50 and it had a choice of 2 free Ciate paint pots worth £9 included!
I don't own any of these polishes so was intrigued to have a go. I got the red "Dangerous Affair" pot which looks beautiful in the bottle - a real rich red which would I thought would be great for Halloween or Christmas (as if it needed a special occasion!!)

A clear base coat, and two coats of the Dangerous Affair later, I have lovely warm red nails. As the photo suggests I was in a bit of a rush but overall I'm really impressed. The colour is warm and it went on easily. A third coat might have helped but I think you could get away with two. The colour is a warm winter berry sort of offering and I really like it. The only down side is it seems to be wearing down a little at the tips already. I don't think I'd pay £9 for it if I'm honest though the shade is a welcome addition to my collection and for £3.50 I can't complain.

Have you got either of the freebie colours? Is it worth buying a second Marie Claire for the other one?
LoubouLush x

Sunday, 10 October 2010

MAC Pressed Blot Powder

Hi lovelies, today I bring to you the wonder of blot powder. I love blotting paper but wanted a nice pressed powder I could use to blot as well as set my make up. I tried the Sleek Luminous Powder for setting my make up which I'll do a post about and found it uber shimmery so wanted something nice and matte that I could use for setting and blotting if possible.

I headed to the MAC counter and ended up with MAC Pressed Blot Powder. It costs £17 so isn't particularly cheap. The packaging is simple and the powder itself is very fine. The girl at the counter explained that the colour choice isn't too important and as it's so light and see through. I'm pale and was recommended the medium which I was a little dubious about but it turns out I have no problems with it. Also available is light, medium/dark, dark and deep dark.

According to the MAC website this powder is A unique pressed powder designed primarily to provide shine control without adding any noticeable colour or texture. Sets foundation, finishes faces. For use in professional situations and for frequent touch-ups. Blot Powder contains Mica and Silica to adsorb excess oils and reduce shine on the skin's surface. Can be applied with the puff that comes in the compact or with a powder brush like #129 Powder/Blush Brush. Perfect for touching up Studio Fix Powder Plus Foundation throughout the day.

So far I have used with a large brush to set my make up and bring the compact with powder puff to blot with.
All in all I love it!
My one little gripe is I'm not sure how long it will last so I'm trying to restrict myself to only using it to blot on nights out.
Have you tried it or do you have any recommendations for something else cheaper? I don't think I'll ditch my cheapie blotting paper for it but I'm always on the look out for a cheaper matte setting powder alternative...

LoubouLush xx

Some Budget Brushes

I have a slowly increasing collection of make up brushes. I don't discriminate. I have some fab fairly cheap brushes (mainly GOSH ones) and some fab more expensive ones (mainly MAC and Illamasqua). An Avon foundation brush I had fell apart recently and I have a new found curiosity for loose powder so thought it was time to make a couple of brush purchases.

Budgetary and time constraints meant Superdrug was my only real hope and there I picked up a QVS Compact Powder Brush for £3.99 and a random (think it was a Superdrug own brand?) unmarked foundation brush for a similar price.

So first of all, the powder brush. It's ok. The size makes it handy but to be honest the hairs are... a bit rough. There has been some fall out but the hairs' scratchiness is the most noticeable issue which is a common problem with "cheap" brushes. Now for the slightly weirder bit. The.Smell. There is a really odd and off putting smell from this brush. It is horrible and pretty strong and I don't know what it is. Possibly glue or the hair? Anyway I have washed it and it's still there. Ultimately I would like to try buy something of better quality but it'll do in the meantime.

Verdict - hold your breath when using it (not too long without medical advice ha) and be prepared for it to feel a little bit harsh.

I was wary of the foundation brush after smellybrushgate but I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The hairs are soft although there was a little stray glue matting some of them together, but it came away easily. Foundation brushes seem to be really dear so I wasn't convinced this would be up to much but after dampening it a little it seemed to work well.

Verdict - it isn't the best foundation brush out there of course but for something to practice with or something relatively cheap I think it's pretty impressive.

So what are your make up brush best buys? Is budget as good as high end or is it the other way about?

LoubouLush x