Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Short update about the presentation of the blog

Hi all,

I am working on the layout of my blog at the moment so don't be surprised if some posts are in a certain font and others aren't. I'm updating all the past posts so that they are in the new font I've opted for.

My friend Katrina (Muffin Top Vintage) has helped me change the colours of the blog and add two buttons: a Twitter and a Pinterest one. So now you know what you need to do! Add me, I'll try to my best to entertain you on both platforms!

And to conclude - and improve the interest of this post - here are pictures of Tanya Burr, Fleur de Force and myself when I met them this summer on Soho Square. They are lovely, approachable and I truly admire their work.

Friday, 16 November 2012

Review of Veil - Hourglass Cosmetics primer

Hi Everyone,
Today I am going to review a product who is apparently a best-seller in America: Veil, the mineral primer from Hourglass Cosmetics. 

Recently, Space NKs and Liberty have introduced Hourglass Cosmetics and I had heard about their concealer whilst watching a Pixiwoo video tutorial. One of the sisters seemed to rave about that product and on video, it seemed to glide easily on skin and cover well. Plus, the brand is called 'Hourglass': being one myself, this drew my attention! 
Having enough concealers in my beauty cabinet - probably four or five, ermmm - I decided not to browse that type of products next time I would visit their stand, but just have a look at the range that looks sophisticated and on a par with Laura Mercier and Bobbi Brown in terms of quality and type of eyeshadows. 
I bought a crease brush (n°4) which is made of top-quality hair, not of animal origin and approved by PETA, which is definitely a positive point. I was then given a sample of their primer. Today I decided to test it and take pictures of when I had just applied it and a few hours later. 

 The texture and apperance of the product is a mix between a thin cream and a gel. It is not transparent like the Smashbox or the Sephora I used before, but not as thick as the MAC one. It also has a little bit of opalescent, bluish tint to it. 

 I had previously applied my AR457 day moisturiser and Boots number 7 eye cream and my skin was well prepped and hydrated but I didn't find it very easy to spread the primer and I had to use quite a big amount compared to what I normally use with the other primers. I could tell the substance was with silicone as it had the characteristic touch and feel of products which contain that ingredient. Then I applied one of my favourite foundations, which is YSL Teint Radiance foundation in 5 (I think that in winter, I should maybe go down to number 4). What I like about this foundation is that, as its name states it, it radiates light. The skin is not matte but not too oily and glowing like a disco ball. With the primer underneath, I found it hard to spread the foundation. This forced me to use even more foundation that I normally use. It also mattified my foundation and left my skin drier and tauter than it usually feels without the primer. However I thought that the matt effect would at least help my foundation to stay for longer. 

These are the pictures I took when I just applied the products (at around 9am): 

These are the photos I took after six hours:

It does not show that much here on the pic but my nose was gleaming

This photo is absolutely horrendous but it is to show the enlarged pores!!! 

It is not that apparent on the photos because of the lighting but my nose was shining, the pores were very obvious and it seemed that they had absorbed the foundation, maybe because my skin was parched. So I don't think the virtues the brand mentions on the website which are: 

 - "restores moisture to dehydrated skin"> well, on the contrary, my skin was quite dehydrated after a few hours - minimizes the appearance of large pores and fine lines"> My pores were so large after a few hours and full of foundation that it was definitely not a great look. I had deliberately not powered my T zone to see the results. 

So unfortunately, Hourglass primer, I don't like you very much. I wanted to, but I don't think you're much better than the other primers I have tried before. I think I will stick to MAC and will try Laura Mercier's one day. 

At least, Hourglass primer is oil-, fragrance-, paraben-, gluten-, sulfate-, phthalate-free and vegan. There had to be a few positive points to this overpriced product ($52 in America and £52 in the UK)!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

A short girly one today

Hi girls! (and I wrote 'girls' intentionally because I think this post will not be of any interest to guys unless they're hairdressers, or gay, or both).

A quick one today as I'm quite busy and nothing has really happened this week that is worth writing home about (not even a quick call!).

Plus, when you're broke, it makes it harder to have thrilling activities/buy nice clothes I could showcase.

I just wanted to talk about something most girls would understand: hair dilemna!

Recently, as I am on a budget, I tried to look for a cheap hairdresser. I wandered around Caledonian Road, remembering that I had seen loads of beauty and hair salons which did not seem costly. I entered this rather empty shop and asked how much I would have to pay for a haircut and a blowdry. They offered to do it for 25 pounds. In my head, the word 'BARGAIN' flashed. Well, I should have been more careful!
I ended up with a Rachel Green haircut!

The hairdresser layered my hair so much: I am sure that some that should have been the same length are not even layers. My friend Kathryn laughed and called it 'flickatastic'! I would describe it more as 'catastrophic'. The first layers start at cheek's length and go all around the head... I can't even get an even bob because it would look as if a flying saucer has landed at the top of my head.... This haircut is so dated: it's a blast from the past, back in the 90s.
You're all going to say: "but it will grow back".
Unfortunately, despite my regime of nourishing masks, argan or avocado oil treatment the whole night before I wash my hair, perfectil and heat protection styling products, my hair always tends to be extremely dried and frazzled because of the highlights.

My natural colour is too mousey and ashy to be luminous.

I've tried being a brunette too but I had to put on some much makeup and colour my eyebrows with a chocolate pencil not to look like a living dead.

I think I have 2 choices: either I wait for months and months for it to regrow without going to the hairdresser's (but knowing my hair, it will desperately need a trim within two months) or when the shortest layers have reached under my jaw, I will go for Scarlett Johansson's bob.

However, I might cry my eyes out for having such short hair...

If you guys could recommend me a stylist who's specialised in nice, natural and not too structured haircuts which can be easily styled and who is also not overpriced, I would be extremely grateful!

I love Jason Cocking at Lisa Shepherd, not far from Oxford Street, but I cannot afford his services regularly, especially in this austere period.

I also discovered a Scottish colourist at Dappa Hair Boutique in Chalk Farm who's created fantastic highlights for me, but when I went, it was with a Wahanda deal. I think I will struggle to pay for them afterwards. Hopefully, she's inserted three different shades in my locks and a couple are closer to my natural colour so I won't have to retouch the roots that often!

Before I wrap up this post, I wanted to ask you what you think of Ombre hair. Here, in London, it's been the ultimate craze for months (as well as rainbow hair). The thing is, I reckon your hair needs to have a particular texture (wavy, not frizzy, not too straight) for it to look pretty and I also don't like when the line between the natural hair and the lighter tips is too straight and too marked. It's all about subtlety and blending for me.
Here are the ladies who I think have the most beautiful ombre manes:

Jenna Ushkowitz from Glee
Lea Michele (from Glee too)
Shenae Grimes
Sarah Jessica Parker

Have you seen that L'Oreal has issued dyes specially for Ombre Hair?

                                Photo found on Real Ree's blog: http://tinyurl.com/bgskzxg
Please leave any of your remarks and recommendations in the comments.

Have a fantastic rest of the weekend everyone!

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

Guest post from Joe Gantdelaine of DEAD ROOSTER

Today, my friend Joe Gantdelaine from the Blog 'Dead Rooster' (www.deadrooster.org) has agreed to write a guest post for my blog. He has decided to review an English band, the Vaccines.
He has written his text in French and I've tried to keep his humorous style intact in the translation. So, first, for my French readers, you can enjoy Joe's original article. And then English-speaking followers, please scroll down to the translation:

Avant d'écouter The Vaccines, j'avais un gros a priori négatif : j'entendais parler de "nouveaux Strokes", de "Ramones du 21ème siècle". La seule réaction que cela provoquait sur moi était cette question : "Ok, mais pour quoi faire ?" Donc, histoire de ne pas en rester là, je profite de la sortie de leur deuxième album "Come Of Age" pour voir si je peux trouver une réponse un tant soit peu positive.

Bon, mais déjà, ça commence mal ! Avec "No Hope", on est directement confronté à du sous Libertines. Comme si Carl Barât & ses (ex-)potes avaient bu du coke plutôt que de la sniffer.

Cela ne s'améliore pas avec I Always Knew. Pendant 5 secondes, on se prend à rêver à un hommage post-rock à Crocodile Rock. Mais finalement, le tempo tatapoumesque fait plutôt penser à un crocodile qui se débat dans une mare de boue, englué par le chant sans conviction de Justin Young.

Ce groupe n'est même pas fun, trop sérieux déjà. Des vieux-jeunes gens qui hésitent entre du rock de stade crétin : Teenage Icon (et sa fin ratée) ou Bad Mood, de la musique pour film d'horreur-carton pâte Burtonesque (Ghost Town) ou de la pop song façon Blur fatigué (Aftershave Ocean). Sauf que l'ensemble n'a ni la fraîcheur, ni la crédibilité de ses références. Tout cela a déjà été fait, en mieux. Tout semble calculé, calibré. Où est la spontanéité, la fougue de la jeunesse ?
Quelques morceaux sont sympathiques (Weirdo), mais trop sont anecdotiques (All In Vain, I Wish I Was A Girl). Avec, pour couronner le tout, sans doute une des pires fins d'album possible : "Lonely World" ou 5 minutes de remplissage insignifiant, sans doute endisqué, parce que sinon, l'album était trop court.

Le principal problème de cet album inoffensif est qu'on n'a pas envie de le réécouter. Il donne plutôt l'envie de filer direct dans notre discographie pour écouter les originaux dont il s'inspire. 10 ans avant, on aurait crié au génie. Là, on baille aux corneilles !

Bien calé dans mon canapé, bien planqué derrière mon ordi, cette critique est facile, j'en conviens. Comme je suis bon joueur, et afin de permettre à mes amis d'outre-Manche de faire pareille critique sur des groupes à nous, je leur propose 2 groupes français que j'apprécie en ce moment : d'abord The Bewitched Hands et leur single Thank You, Goodbye, It's Over,
pas révolutionnaire ok, mais qui s'inspire de leurs aînés (ça me fait penser à Supergrass) avec beaucoup plus de fougue et d'énergie que The Vaccines.

Ensuite, Gaspard Royant 
dont les EP sonnent très rétro, mais là encore, la conviction du monsieur contrebalance le manque de créativité:

PS : et dans un souci de ne pas faire uniquement de cet article un duel UK/France, que pensez-vous de ces autrichiennes: http://fettkakao.bandcamp.com/album/playdate ? Moi, j'aime énormément !

#*#*#* Now it's time for the English translation:
Before listening to the Vaccines, I had a great prejudice against them: I would hear that they were ‘the new Strokes’ or ‘the 21th century Ramones’. The only reaction it would trigger in me was this question: ‘Ok, but what’s the point?’ Just so that I don’t stay on a negative opinion, I am taking advantage of the release of their second album ‘Come of Age’ to see if I could find any positive answer to my question.

Well it’s starting badly though! With ‘No hope’, we are presented with second rate Libertines. As if Carl Barât and his (ex) friends had drunk coke instead of sniffing it. And it’s not getting better with ‘I always knew’. During five seconds, we have the slight hope that it’s going to be a post-rock homage to ‘Crocodile Rock’. But in the end their trotting tempo reminds us more of a crocodile struggling in a mud pond, stuck because of Justin Young’s unconvinced singing.

The band members are not even fun, they’re already serious for their age. Some old young people who waver between idiotic stadium anthems: ‘Teenage Icon’ (and its botched ending) or Bad Mood, music for cardboard Burtonesque horror movies (‘Ghost Town’) and pop songs in a worn-out Blur kind of way (‘Aftershave Ocean’). Except that the whole thing does not have the freshness or the credibility of his references. This has already been done but in a better way. All the album seems calculated and calibrated. Where is youth’s spontaneity and ardour?

A few songs are pleasant (‘Weirdo’) but too many of them are anecdotic (‘All in vain’, ‘I wish I was a girl’). With, to top it all, undoubtedly one of the worst album endings possible, ‘Lonely world’, or in other words 5 minutes of insignificant gap filling, probably recorded so that the album would not be too short.

The main problem with this harmless album is that you don’t feel like listening to it a second time. It actually makes us want to rush back to our disc racks to listen to the original songs which inspired it. 10 years ago, this album would have been hailed as a brilliant record. Now it’s more of a snooze fest.

All snuggled on my couch and hidden behind my computer, I concede that criticizing is easy. Since I’m a good sport, and in order to give my friends in Blighty an equal opportunity to review our very  own bands, I am suggesting two French bands who I like at the moment: firstly ‘The Bewitched Hands’ and their single ‘Thank you, Goodbye it’s Over’ (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCTJQxjETo4). Not a revolutionary song I admit, but which find their inspiration in their elders (it reminds me of Supergrass) but with much more ardour and energy than the Vaccines. Secondly, Gaspard Royant (http://www.deezer.com/fr/artist/307703), whose EPs have a retro sound, but in that case again, the lack of creativity is made up for by the guy’s conviction.
PS : as a concern not to make this article a mere duel between French and UK bands, what do you think of these Austrian girls: http://fettkakao.bandcamp.com/album/playdate ? I like them a lot!


Monday, 5 November 2012

The Black Widow

So last week, it was Halloween! People started to celebrate the weekend before, and the party I was invited to was the following Saturday. I normally try to avoid fancydress dos because I don't like spending a lot of money on costumes, especially one-offs. At the moment, I barely get any income, so I could not afford to buy or even rent something fancy. Sometimes it's a choice between that and eating for the week...
I racked my brain for some cheap creative ideas, and I ended up investing 16 pounds in a beautiful fascinator from Accessorize which I will wear again, unlike the black net attached to a little top hat that cost 27 pounds. Ok, that hat looked really cool in a Dita-Von-Teese kinda of way, but I don't think I would have any other opportunity to wear it whereas I will be able to wear the fascinator to a wedding or a funeral.

Accessorize fascinator

I also bought a Barry M Blink Precision Eyeliner for the modest sum of £4.59. I LOVE Barry M!!! They have gorgeous eye pencils which are quite cheap and dozens of pretty nail polishes for only 3 pounds.

Barry M Blink Precision Eyeliner
I had previously seen a video on youtube uploaded by Fablesinfashion and I decided to recreate that look. I chose to dress as a black widow - not the spider, but someone whose husband has died and who's still mourning but with a dangerous twist. I thought it would be an intriguing look, very "femme fatale".

I didn't really follow her instructions regarding the eye makeup. I did it my way. Same for the complexion and contouring. I was already made up so I used that as a base.
I doodled flower/leaves shapes, stars and other lines and dots to create the lace. I also drew the netting. I tried to use different types of brushes and gel liner as she suggested (with my Bobbi Brown gel liner and a MAC 210 eyeliner brush) but the brush was not hard enough and bent too much so I couldn't get a really thin line, so I stuck to the Barry M pen.

This is the result:


 This is me with Roberta, one of the girls who threw the party.

People at the party were impressed and the fake mask was a brilliant icebreaker! Loads of people who I didn't know came up to me to talk about my makeup.
What about you, readers? Do you like my cheap costume?