Thursday, 30 September 2010

Dolly Wink false lashes in No.1 Dolly Sweet: Photos

Dolly Wink Dolly Sweet No.1 pack

The other day I came across the Dolly Wink brand while looking online for graduated, spiky false lash styles. I'm not usually one for cutesy stuff, but I found myself thinking "oooh dolly eyes!!" and got onto eBay quick smart to buy the top selling style, "No.1 Dolly Sweet".

I had absolutely no idea who Tsubasa Masuwaka, the girl on the packet was, but apparently she's some top model/singer in Japan according to this blog post on TokyoFashion.com (check it out to see images of other styles in the Dolly Wink range).

Jsubasa's philosophy, printed on the back of the packet, is:

Every girl can become a doll!
For the girl who wants to be "Otona Kawaii",
it's a present from Jsubasa.

Cheers!

The set contained two pairs of lashes and a tube of adhesive. See below for a close-up of the lashes. They're very long, especially on the outer ends (~1.3cm). But they're also graduated and wispy, which helps to give them a relatively natural look and feel. If you're familiar with MAC lashes, these Dolly Sweet lashes are apparently very similar to MAC false lashes in style number 7, but just a little longer.

Dolly Wink Dolly Sweet No.1 lashes close-up

I found the strips slightly long and ended up cutting a chunk from the outer end of each strip to fit my eyes better. The strips are quite fiddly to handle because the chunks of lashes are actually free-moving and will slip off the ends of the strip if you pull at them accidentally. Similarly, you can move the chunks closer together if you want a fuller effect (I'll be doing this next time).

The lashes are on "invisible bands", the kind which are not invisible at all and need to be coloured in with black liner after they've been glued on.

I found these lashes really easy to apply and comfortable to wear. They're ultra lightweight and seem to fall into place without going all lopsided. Or maybe I've just gotten better at applying false lashes over time...

Here are the Dolly Sweet lashes front on. Considering how long they are, I think they still manage to look quite natural.

Dolly Wink Dolly Sweet No.1 applied close-up

Another angle (a weird one, but it was the only photo I had that showed the lashes fully without my eyes lowered)...

Dolly Wink Dolly Sweet No.1 applied

and another...

Dolly Wink Dolly Sweet No.1 applied

And here's how the lashes look from above. I like them. I've never been able to wear lashes this long before without looking like a drag queen.

Dolly Wink Dolly Sweet No.1 applied top

If you're clicking on the photos to enlarge them, try to excuse the awful lip colour application. I was trying to create a similar look to the girl on the packet (see below) and I didn't have a lip colour that was pale enough. So I tried to blank out my lips first using concealer and then get a pale pink colour with lipgloss, with slightly dubious results.

Dolly Wink Dolly Sweet No.1 Jsubasa Masuwaka

The other make-up I am wearing is:

Face
Varama Cover Cream in "VC1" and "VC3" (as undereye concealer)
Urban Decay Razor Sharp Ultra Definition Finishing Powder

Cheeks
Boots No.7 Sun Drenched Sculpting Bronzer
Illamasqua Powder Blusher in "Tremble"
NYX Mosaic Powder in "Highlighter"

Eyes
Dior Powder Eyebrow Pencil in "Sable"
Urban Decay Deluxe Eyeshadow in "Underground"
Bourjois Smoky Eyes trio in "Nude ingénu" (middle brown colour, on lower lashes)
Miss Sporty eyeshadow in "20" on inner corners
L'Oréal Lash Architect mascara in "Midnight Black"
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide-on Eye Pencil in "Zero"

Lips
Varama Cover Cream
Estée Lauder Pure Color lipgloss in "Simply Pink"

I bought this pack of lashes from a UK-based eBay seller for around £10 which I thought was a pretty reasonable price for two pairs. By the way, there are Dolly Wink fake lower lashes available too, but I thought that might just be a little OTT on me.

If you're lucky enough to be able to read Japanese, you can check out more Jsubasa Masuwaka stuff on the Koji website.

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Bourjois Smoky Eyes trio in nude ingénu: Review

Bourjois Smoky Eyes nude ingénu

This Bourjois Smoky Eyes set in "nude ingénu (04)" was part of a birthday gift from my friend a few months ago and I completely forgot I had it. But when I finally retrieved it from its hiding place the other day, I was surprised to find a very useful trio of eyeshadow shades, complete in a handy compact case.

Bourjois describe this product as "Silky, easy-to-blend texture, 8-hour wear", and I would agree. The eyeshadows don't have the melty softness of say, Urban Decay eyeshadows, but they're really not bad at all. You might need to swipe your eyeshadow brush once more on the domes to pick up more colour, but the shadows stretch surprisingly far when applied. I also find they last all day with no problem whatsoever.

Here are the shades in this particular set. In cute Bourjois style, the individual shadows are domed and come with a double-ended applicator.

Bourjois Smoky Eyes nude ingénu

And below are the swatches. We have a pale, creamy highlighter shade (shimmer), a slightly red-toned mid brown (non-glittery shimmer) and a neutral, smoky dark brown (matte).

Bourjois Smoky Eyes nude ingénu swatches

On the bottom of the compact, there are instructions for a "classic smoky" look. Nothing new here - they're the same instructions that have been on these kinds of sets for decades.

Bourjois Smoky Eyes nude ingénu instructions

Here are the shadows applied with a very thin line of black eyeliner (over Urban Decay Primer Potion as always). I still haven't mastered a full-on "smoky eye" look (and probably never will!) but this is just an everyday look I've been wearing.

Beauty Scribbler Bourjois Smoky Eyes nude ingénu applied

I really like this product from Bourjois... and these brown shades in particular. The friend who gave it to me knows me too well!

The Bourjois Smoky Eyes trio costs £7.99 and comes in 6 different colour combinations which you can see on the Bourjois product page. There are combos to suit most tastes, with greys, blues, pinks, purples and golds all covered. I'd definitely recommend taking a look.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer: Don't get on a plane without it!

Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer

I was already a massive fan of Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic used as a toner. But on my recent honeymoon, I took with me this 30ml travel-sized "spritzer" bottle to help save my skin during the 15-hour flights, and I am so glad I did.

I hate the way long haul flights suck all the moisture out of my skin (... and eyes, mouth and even inside my nose). It's really gross. It's the kind of deep dehydration that no amount of moisturiser can help with because in that situation, my skin needs water not oil. In the past, I've used Avene mineral water mists, which help to refresh my skin during flights but don't offer any long-lasting hydration.

I can't recommend highly enough spraying Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic Spritzer onto the face during long haul flights. Trust me, it feels like heaven to use when you've woken from a crooked-neck sleep feeling like a dried out, crusty piece of stale bread.

I didn't bother to reapply moisturiser on flights as long as I spritzed this "tonic" on my face. True to its name, it gives an instant boost to the skin and seems to reactivate moisturiser. It hydrates the skin in a way that slapping on moisturiser alone just won't do. It has a gentle, naturally floral scent which is just enough to revitalise, without being perfume-y and overpowering.

Despite being an air pump spray rather than aerosol, the mist is light and fine and covers a decent-sized area. Before using it, I had visions of the tonic coming out water pistol-style, but don't worry, it doesn't. On flights, my sapped skin would absorb the mist so quickly that I was pumping out at least five sprays a go.

Instant Boost Skin Tonic looks and feels just like water, so there's no greasiness or uncomfortable residue left over once it's absorbed. And because it's a spray, there's no faffing around with disinfecting hands then juggling cotton wool pads, miniature pots of moisturiser and mirrors etc. It's just one tiny bottle that takes up very little space in my hand luggage. I'm never getting on a plane without this product ever again!

I also used this spritzer bottle as my toner every morning and evening for the entire three weeks instead of taking my larger "pour" bottle of the same product. As there's no wastage on cotton wool when spraying it directly onto the face, this 30ml bottle easily lasted three weeks, with plenty spare. My next purchase of Instant Boost Skin Tonic is definitely going to be the spritzer version rather than the "pour" bottle... it's so much more convenient.

The full ingredients of Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic are:

Aqua (water), Aloe barbadensis (aloe vera) leaf juice, Glycerin, PEG-40 hydrogenated castor oil, Cucumis sativus (cucumber) fruit extract, Calendula officinalis (calendula) flower extract, Anthemis nobilis (chamomile) extract, Humulus lupulus (hops) extract, Panthenol, Allantoin, Tocopherol (vitamin E), Tocopheryl acetate, Parfum (fragrance), Citronellol, Coumarin, Geraniol, Linalool, Sodium hydroxide, Phenoxyethanol, Benzoic acid, Dehydroacetic acid, Ethylexylglycerin, Polyaminopropyl biguanide.

You can find Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic online on the Liz Earle website, or at Liz Earle stores and department stores, see here for stockist locations. If you're looking to buy the 30ml spritzer bottle on its own rather than in a travel set, I believe it's only available at Liz Earle stores and online rather than from department store concessions.

The 200ml spritzer costs £11.75 and the 30ml spritzer costs £4.75.



Onto other things... I was going to do a standalone post on my honeymoon, but I figured no-one's going to be interested enough for it to warrant its own post. So I'm just going to tack a small and oddly out-of-place excerpt about it onto the end of this post.

We went to Thailand (Koh Phangan), Vietnam (Ho Chi Minh City, Hoi An, Hue, Hanoi and Halong Bay), Singapore and Bali (Seminyak). It involved a lot of grump-inducing airport palaver but in between all the flights, we got to see loads of completely different destinations.

Even within Vietnam, each of the destinations had a completely distinct personality to the last. I'd really recommend visiting Hoi An for a few days if you ever get the chance to. It's really pretty, the locals are genuinely kind and friendly, and the food was the best out of the whole trip (and the cheapest too, at around £3-£6 per person max). I'd skip Hue - I hated it! Apart from the citadel, it didn't seem to have anything going for it. It had zero charm and the locals were rude and noticeably more eager to cheat and steal from you, which was strange given its proximity to Hoi An.

One of the many activities I got up to was visiting the "Sacred Monkey Forest" in Bali, home to thousands and thousands of monkeys. Anyone who knows me knows that I looooooove monkeys. It's completely inexplicable and I don't know when it all started but I go crazy for monkeys and chimps. The monkeys must have sensed my sheer joy, because a couple of cheeky ones randomly climbed onto me. Man, I love monkeys.

The three weeks definitely made the once-in-a-lifetime trip we hoped for. It was great to see a bit more of Asia. But it's nice to get home to our new lives too, with no more wedding to organise woohoo!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

I'm baaack! A few wedding photos for ya

Soz for the lack of posts recently - I believe it's been a month since my last! But I'm back from a loooong honeymoon and am finally getting back on the blogging treadmill.

I had the most perfect day. It was everything we could have hoped for. I know every bride says that, but somehow weddings always seem to turn out that way. I was never a "wedding" type... I always thought I'd elope one day to avoid all the attention and hoopla if a man ever had the cheek to propose ("Don't you know me at all??"). But actually, it was really special having our family and friends there to celebrate our marriage with us... many of whom hadn't seen each other for years. It was an utterly joyful day.

Lots of you wanted to see some wedding photos (aww I'm very flattered by the interest! Just don't give me a "Four Weddings"-style score, ok?), so here are a handful (or two) of the official photos. As always, you can click on the photos to enlarge.


Above, the finishing touch from Sam Sham, my hair and make-up artist. A diamante and pearl hair vine which I bought at the last minute after deciding I needed some glitz (given that my ear piercings have healed up and I can't wear earrings). I love this vine!


Above, all done!


Above, leaving the Langham hotel with my gorgeous bridesmaids. I was laughing at the photographer, Douglas, trying to take a nice photo of us, but we're all laden down with bags like bag ladies, especially my sister (couldn't it have been something more stylish than M&S, Smello??).


Above, the ceremony and reception were both at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)... a really interesting-looking art deco (slash Egyptian) public building in Portland Place, London.


Above, walking down the aisle. It's all real now!


Above, the ring is on, hurrah!


Above, after the ceremony we walked down the road to Park Crescent, a private garden of Regents Park, for champagne and canapés.


Above, but it's not a British wedding without a spot of rain. Oh dear. Good job we decided the day before to get a marquee as backup, eh?


Above, it's still raining. But smiling through the thoughts of muddy shoes and dress hem.


Above, it's back to RIBA for dinner and jazz...


... and dancing!

Our photographer was Douglas Fry, who managed to produce over 500 amazing photos from the day. We love every single one. We chose him for his "reportage" style. I'm rubbish at posing for photos (cue involuntary gurning and double thumbs up) so we kept the formal photos down to fifteen minutes of post-ceremony "bridal party" group photos and everything else on the day was natural. We have so many memorable photos of our friends and family laughing, with every emotion perfectly captured. I just wish I could jump into the photos and be with everyone again!
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