; une tasse: a beauty and casual fashion blog: 2010

E.L.F Mineral Blush in Plum

"Create a subtle color definition to your cheeks that will add radiance and a glow, for a healthy look you can see. All our blushes are 100% mineral based with no parabens, no preservatives and no chemical dyes"
Although I have about 15 blushes, I couldn't resist adding this to my basket when I was buying some new brushes. There were only 7 colours to choose from so I opted for "Plum". I had recently swatched a Bobbi Brown shimmer blush in "Plum Wine" and fell in love but at £16.50 I talked myself out of it. I was hoping this E.L.F one might be a cheaper alternative.

It turned out to be nothing alike but I really like it. To be honest it's a bit of a faff applying it. You have to tap out the loose powder in the lid, swirl your brush in and apply - not something you can really do on the go. I wouldn't carry this in my makeup bag anyway. I just know it would come loose and end up everywhere!

Looks more pink than mauve but nevertheless a lovely and flattering colour.

Sorry my camera is pants, can't see much of the colour here but it's matte and you don't need to apply much. I find that it doesn't last long but maybe it's because I apply it straight onto my skin (no base)? At £3.50 for 3.4g, this is great value and next time I'm getting the shimmery "Peachy".

Have you tried any E.L.F mineral blushes?

Aishwarya Rai covers Elle December 2010

Images: ontd

I love the makeup and I love the hair even more. Why did they photoshop all the colour out of her though? She could almost pass for a porcelain doll.

Christmas jumpers and Boxing Day sales

After watching the Miranda special last night, I've decided that I really want a Christmas jumper. Now that my siblings and I are older, our family doesn't really celebrate Christmas anymore. We don't have a tree and we don't exchange gifts among ourselves but we do have a massive Christmas feast! I think some gaudy apparel would be just the thing to make me feel extra festive whilst wolfing down my roast.

I used to have amazing cheesy xmas jumpers as a child from good old C&A(R.I.P) but the trouble is I've left it too late this year. I'll try and keep a look out in the sales on Boxing Day.

Speaking of which, I've compiled a list of things I'm buying this year and hope I stick to it!

1. Boring but necessary. I've come to realise that when it comes to socks, it's quality over quantity. I usually buy multipacks from Primark but they're thin and get holey after a few wears.

2. Undercrackers, because you can never have too many right? I'll be hitting M&S's website as I cannot bear to rummage in piles and upon racks looking for my size.

3. I am the cardigan queen. I have so many but they're so versatile and I love them. I especially want this Zara one with faux suede elbow patches. My sister bought it a few weeks ago but I couldn't squeeze into it :(

4. I need a new camera and I'm holding out until the 26th to see if I can get a good deal.

As lists go this is pretty boring but cameras are expensive and I simply don't need anything at the moment. This is the main reason I'm staying away from Topshop as I know I'll get tempted by something shiny.

What are you buying? Do you have any go to shops when it comes to the sales?

P.S Check out Sarah's post for some sales tips

Review: Dr Organic - Royal Jelly Night Cream

It is only recently that I've become more aware of the amount of chemicals in beauty products I use. This is down to one of my best friends who now only uses products that are 100% natural. She uses shea butter (which she buys in bulk), coconut/almond/olive oil, rosewater and even makes her own shampoo and shower gel! I'm not going to go that far just yet but I've started to think more about the ingredients in the products I buy and if there are more natural alternatives.

Whilst I'm aware of the brand, this is the first Dr Organics product I have used. SLS and paraben free, this is made from natural ingredients (see detailed list here). I was expecting the cream to be thin and watery but it's actually thick and performs like any other, just without all the chemicals. It also doesn't feel heavy or greasy. I especially like the swish glass container it comes in. It has a pleasant light scent - to me it smells like the inside of a flower (sorry, I'm terrible when it comes to describing scents).

This is what it says on the back of the box:

I can't comment on if it has made any difference to fine lines/wrinkles as I don't have any but what I can say is that it's rich and very moisturising. I apply this every night before bed and when I wake up my face feels soft and hydrated. In this harsh weather, I've also used this as my daily moisturiser.

I don't have senstive skin but if you do, and you are looking for a cream made from natural ingredients, I would reccommend this or any other in the range.

I'm happy with the results so far and would like to try more products from this brand. I think next on my list will be this Rose Otto hand and nail cream.

Don't forget you can win this night cream as part of a set in my Dr Organics giveaway!

Holland & Barrett paraben and SLS free awareness drive + Dr Organic xmas giveaway

Holland & Barrett has made the decision to reformulate all of their beauty products to be paraben and SLS free, and in future will no longer stock brands containing these ingredients. Earlier this year, they launched Dr Organics, the first natural, organic, paraben and SLS free range of beauty products from a high street store.

Although I have briefly touched on the subject of paraben and SLS free products before, I have never been fully informed and found this editorial to be an interesting read.

Controversial chemicals
Whilst all chemicals must be approved by the EU to be used in cosmetics, there is emerging evidence[1] to suggest some of these chemicals are harmful and may be linked with breast cancer[2]. And there are two particularly controversial chemicals commonly found in cosmetics: parabens and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS).
What are parabens used for?
Parabens are added to everything from food to skin care to deodorants. They come in different types and are essentially preservatives to give products a longer shelf life.
What do they do?
In 2004 a study in the UK found that when applied to the skin (as opposed to eaten) parabens may seep in and accumulate in the body’s tissue. This is significant when you consider that in the same study, 19 out of the 20 cancerous breast tumours examined contained parabens[3].
Dr Phillipa Darbre, who led the study, said “This is the first study to show their accumulation in human tissues. It demonstrates that if people are exposed to these chemicals (parabens), then the chemicals will accumulate in their bodies."
"Detection (of parabens) in human breast tumours is of concern, since parabens have been shown to be able to mimic the action of the female hormone oestrogen."
Oestrogen is thought to stimulate the growth of most breast cancer tumours[4] and so any chemical that acts like the female hormone may increase the chances of developing breast cancer.
Sodium Lauryl Sulphate (SLS)
What is SLS used for?
SLS is a harsh detergent first used as an industrial degreasant to clean garage floors but is now found in most shampoos and toothpastes.
What does it do?
SLS strips the oil layer off skin; irritating and eroding, leaving skin rough and pitted. In fact, the chemical is often used in clinical studies to deliberately irritate the skin so that the effects of other substances can be tested[5].
SLS has a low molecular weight and is easily absorbed by the body. It builds up in the heart, liver and brain and can cause major problems in those areas[6].

[1] Hand et Al, Toxicology. 2006 Oct 3;227(1-2):62-72. Epub 2006 Jul 28 ‘Methylparaben potentiates UV-induced damage of skin keratinocytes’
Philip W. Harvey* and David J. Everett, Significance of the Detection of Esters of p-Hydroxybenzoic Acid (Parabens) in Human Breast Tumours, JOURNAL OF APPLIED TOXICOLOGY J. Appl. Toxicol. 24, 1–4 (2004)
[2] Darbre PD, Aljarrah A, Miller WR, et al. (2004). Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. J Appl Toxicol, 24:5-13.
[3] Darbre PD, Aljarrah A, Miller WR, et al. (2004). Concentrations of parabens in human breast tumours. J Appl Toxicol, 24:5-13.
[4] Cancer Research UK (2009). Types of treatment for Breast Cancer. http://www.cancerhelp.org.uk/type/breast-cancer/treatment/which-treatment-for-breast-cancer
[5] Keith Green, PH.D., D.Sc., Medical College of Georgia: ‘Detergent Penetration into Young and Adult Eyes, Research to Prevent Blindness’ cited by the Wall Street Journal (11.01.1988)
[6] Vance J, Beauty To Die For, Promotion Publishing, 1998

What Holland & Barrett say:

More research is needed to give us conclusive evidence of the affects of these substances. But whilst the majority of retailers continue to stock products containing these chemicals, we have removed all SLS and paraben ingredients from our entire beauty range. 
As part of their awareness drive, I have been provided with a prize for one of you lovely readers!

I’ve actually been using the night cream (included in this set) over this past week and will be posting my review tomorrow.

Leave a comment below if you would like to be entered. I find “Enter me” comments boring so perhaps let me know your thoughts on parabens and SLS in skincare/cosmetic products? Are you aware of them? Do you actively avoid them? Or are you not convinced?

The giveaway (UK only, sorry!) will close on the 4 January 2010 at 23.00 (GMT) when I will pick someone at random. Looking forward to reading your opinions! Good luck xx

ELF free shipping & free LE nail polish

Great promotion from ELF at the moment which finishes at midnight tomorrow. They actually have lots of different discounts or freebies with orders on different days over this festive period. Follow them on Twitter for the latest.

I'm going to use this opportunity to buy the new brushes from their studio line - the stippling and angled contour brush. I've also got my eye on this bamboo angled blush brush from the mineral range but I'm going to wait for reviews as I don't know if it would be fluffy enough for me.

I have been waiting for a free shipping code for ages and the nail polish is a bonus! Even though it will be selected at random, I'm looking forward to trying it as I've read nothing but positive reviews.

Will you be buying anything? I highly recommend the powder brush which is my favourite.

Get your wellies on

Snow may be pretty but is really difficult to walk in. Especially when it compacts and turns into ice, or disintegrates and turns into slush. Both have been wreaking havoc on my boots so I decided to get some wellies.

My first port of call was Asda, but obviously they had sold out as all the smart people had bought them a week before when snow was first predicted. Office was the only place I found with the widest range of "fashionable" wellies for under £30. I wanted these blue snowflakes ones but they didn't have any in my size so I settled for this gold flock printed pair.

They don't have as much grip as knee high wellies but they are comfortable and keep my feet warm and dry. Affordable at £15 too. I'm a size 6.5 and the 6 was slightly too big but nothing that can't be rectified with a thick pair of socks.

Here's a crappy phone pic of me wearing them, obviously looking full of Christmas spirit and cheer(!!).

The great thing is that they don't look like traditional green wellington boots and I can easily incorporate them into anything I wear (I do wear a lot of black). These biker style wellies actually look like a proper pair of boots!

I haven't worn wellies since I was a kid and it felt really strange walking in them. I did however take great relish splashing in a big puddle when no one was looking :D

What have you been wearing in the snow?

Monthly Favourites: November 2010

I haven't done one of these posts for a while because I haven't been straying from the products I've already blogged about. However these are the few new things I've been loving over the past month.

1. Dove Triple Moisturising Beauty Care Body Wash: The combination of the cold weather and central heating makes my skin really dry. I love this body wash because it's really moisturising and leaves my skin soft. Also there's something really comforting about the classic Dove scent.

2. Aquafresh Iso-active Whitening Foaming Gel: After my recent trip to the dentist I've become obsessed with keeping my teeth clean and white. This gel is so much better than toothpaste and it turns into foam to get in between your teeth. It's really minty and zingy as well which makes my mouth feel fresh and my teeth super clean.

3. Superdrug Deep Action Cleansing Lotion: I used to swear blind by Neutrogena's Visibly Clear Triple Action toner but they have now discontinued it (WHY?!!). This is the best alternative I have found. It has salicylic acid and witch hazel and I find it's good at removing dirt and preventing spots.

3. Revlon Grow Luscious mascara: Never tried a Revlon mascara before and I really like this one. I haven't been using it long enough to notice if my lashes are any longer but I will review it soon.

4. Avon Supershock Gel Eyeliner: Love love love this. Have got a proper post about this coming soon but let's just say that I will no longer be buying any other pencil eyeliner.

5. Blistex Lip Massage: I find the whole massage thing a bit gimmicky especially as it's just a few bits of raised plastic. Despite this it's moisturising, smells yummy and has SPF10 which is an added bonus.

NOTD: Models Own Nude Beige + Juicy Jules

I've wanted some Models Own nail polish for ages but only got round to buying some the other day. I bought Nude Beige after seeing a lot of people blog about it (most notably Zara from Mouldy Fruit) and Juicy Jules was free (when you buy any two MO products in Boots).

Nude Beige is lovely on its own but I wanted to add a bit of sparkle as I attended a wedding yesterday. I wasn't wowed by the runny/streaky consistency but two coats were all I needed. I love the glitter in Juicy Jules though, really fine and VERY sparkly. Tons better than the Barry M glitters! It's the second day of wear without a top coat and no chips or sign of wear yet. Looks promising so far.

I can't wait to try more colours. There's so many to choose from!

Winter coat woes

(Best photo I could find. That's not my photo face, I was blinded by the flash)

My current coat is a fleece lined parka with a furry hood and it is SO warm. I feel like a bit of a chav in it sometimes but when it gets this cold I forget to care. However it has a few unexplainable rips in the back so I need to replace it.

Before the temperature plummeted to -1 degree celcius I had been eyeing up a cape that I had seen in the xmas Very.co.uk commercial. Sadly I couldn't find it on the website but I did spy these two potentials:

The parka looks so comfy and warm but I'm also drawn to the duffle coat. I don't know if they keep you warm enough though? Argh!

Do you have any winter coat suggestions?

P.s Posts may be sporadic over the next few weeks as my PC died on Friday. Will try my very best to update as often as I can xx

Emma Watson inspired look using the Urban Decay Naked palette

Image: Shareapic

I thought Emma Watson's cropped haircut was a downgrade but this photo from her shoot with Stylist magazine has swayed me. I LOVE her eye makeup and wanted to create something similar, which the Naked palette is perfect for.

- Naked to lightly fill in brows.
- Darkhorse all over the lid and under the eye with Creep in the crease.
- 24/7 eyeliner in Zero smudged on my upper and lower lashline.
Sidecar in the inner corner of my eyes and finished with Revlon Grow Luscious mascara. For all eyeshadow swatches, refer to my previous post.

Emma's look is much smokier and the gold  highlight is more obvious (the latter because the photo probably wasn't taken with a crap camera!). It's not perfect, a little messy but I'm still learning and I'm happy with this look :)

Beauty on a budget: The many uses of Almond oil

A few months ago I bought this bottle of sweet almond oil with the intention of creating my own makeup remover. Sadly this turned out to be a big fat fail as I couldn't get the correct quantities of water and oil. Instead of chucking it, I decided to use it as a hair conditioner.

It's much heavier than coconut oil so a little goes a long way. Mostly on my ends and a little massaged into my roots. I leave it in for at least an hour and wash out throroughly. It makes my hair look glossier than it's usual dull state.

There's many other uses but here are my preferred ways:

On my skin: Instead of using body lotion, I use almond oil after I shower. Almond oil is often one of the main ingredients in body butters because it's a rich source of Vitamin E and a good emollient. It's especially good on rough areas such as elbows, knees and feet. I don't slather myself in it, I rub a pea sized amount between my hands then apply - it isn't greasy at all. It doesn't have a strong scent and I can only smell it if I sniff from the bottle - a faint sweet nutty scent. Body oils are usually really expensive but this does the same job for a fraction of the price. My bottle was only £1.50 from Waitrose.

Conditioning my eyelashes: I wear waterproof mascara everyday which isn't too kind to my lashes. I rub almond oil into my lashes and along the lashline to condition them.

Conditioning my nails and cuticles: Similarly, constant nail polish wear makes my nails dry and brittle. I use almond oil to try and repair the damage. It's also great at softening up ragged cuticles.

All in all, a big thumbs up for almond oil. It's inexpensive, multifunctional and 100% natural.

NOTD: Barry M Vivid Purple + Instant Nail Effects

A trio of Barry M polishes, which were used to create my NOTD, inspired by Charlie's recent NOTD post. I couldn't find my metallic blue polish but ended up rediscovering Vivid Purple, which I haven't worn for yonks! A deep metallic purple, this colour is beautiful and looks even better with the added texture of the black crackle.

My nails are super short right now but I prefer it this way.

Daylight was fading fast whilst I was taking these photos so they're not the best in the world. The one without flash is a better representative of what it really looks like but with flash you can see the metallic shimmer better. I love how dark and vampy this is. A far cry from my usual pinks and lilacs.

Have you tried crackle nail polishes? What's your favourite colour combo?

Come & Play at Selfridges

Starting on the 25th November, Selfridges is hosting a 10 day celebration dedicated to beauty, packed with events, mini makeovers, demonstrations and giveaways in all store locations.

All the top beauty brands will be there (MAC, Dior, Nars, Estee Lauder etc) and there will be the chance to view new and exclusive products. Plus, there will be some public appearances from VIP beauty experts who will be on hand to answer questions and demonstrate the latest beauty trends.

Some of my picks include:

25th November (All stores): The exclusive launch of Chanel Le Vernis Riva: the latest nail colour inspired by St Tropez.

25th – 27th November & 2nd – 4th December (All Stores): Get made over and become a star at Bobbi Brown. Make up artists will be in store creating new looks: Vintage, Vixen or Hollywood with a a photographer giving customers post make-over pictures to take home.

27th November (Birmingham),  28th November (Trafford), 4th December (London): Master classes from Illamasqua’s innovative and avant garde make-up artist, Alex Box. Alex will be take customers through the fine art of makeup in an exclusive and extraordinary master class.

2nd December (London only): From 6-8pm the Keihl’s Shop For a Cause event launches exclusively at Selfridges. GOSH celebrity ambassadors man the counter in the Selfridges beauty hall whilst American style canap├ęs and refreshments are served. All recruited and spending customers receive a goody bag worth £25.
These are just a few of the things happening, but for full details check Selfridge's Facebook page which will be updated regularly with the latest developments.

New winter boots from New Look

Five years ago I wouldn't be caught dead in boots like these but as fashion changes, so does personal taste (well mine anyway). My previous pair of winter boots were a much beloved calf length leather pair from Next, but after 2 years of constant wear they needed replacing. Each time it rained I silently prayed and hoped for the best but they finally gave way last month and I went home with wet socks/soggy feet.

I wanted a pair of workman/biker style boots but couldn't seem to find the right style until I met up with a friend and she was wearing these, which are from New Look. I hate being a copycat but I loved them so much and I had to have them. I only see her about twice a month anyway and I can wear other shoes! I deliberated over whether I should get the exact same black pair as she had, but decided to go with the brown version.

I have been wearing these everyday for the past month and they are yet to let rain in. They do, however, always end up getting small pebbles inside. How does this happen?! They can be worn with anything but I've been tucking my black skinny jeans into em - poor quality mismatched changing room pic here.

At £26.99, they're not real leather but you can't really tell and they're so sturdy that it makes up for it. However one of the (most stupid) reasons I love them, is because they make a satisfying "clomp" sound when I walk.

Mac Plumful lipstick

Hallelujah! An internet connection at last, so I can finally post about my first Mac lipstick.

It's also the very first lip colour I can wear without thinking, "Does this look okay? Can I pull it off?". As the name would suggest it's a plum but with pink tones so I find it more wearable.

The lustre finish means it goes on sheer, which I prefer as I can build up the colour. This also means it doesn't last very long but I don't mind this because I love reapplying due to it's yummy scent. It also makes me feel lady like (ha).

It's heavily swatched in my previous photo so you can get a better idea of the colour. However because my lips are very pigmented, it shows up darker on me. If I really wanted to, I could blank out my lips with concealer beforehand but it's too much effort!

I'm still new to the world of lipstick so don't think I will be buying another Mac one too soon. For now I'm going to stick with this but look forward to the day I feel confident enough to rock a deep red. I'm looking at you Russian Red.

I love my Aurifere brushes

I attended Britain's Next Top Model Live a few weeks ago after winning tickets from a giveaway on Natalie's blog. I wasn't impressed with the clothing they had on sale, nothing tempted me at all but there were many beauty buys. I picked up a few things from Blistex, Crown Brushes and some fabulous Eldora lashes (post coming soon) but my favourite buys were these two brushes from Aurifere.

I had actually never heard of this brand until I read about them on Lipglossiping a while ago. They had a small stall with an even smaller selection of brushes. I bought the 480 squirrel brush which is a fluffy blending brush that makes applying concealer an absolute breeze. As it's so soft, it blends effortlessly and leaves my concealer non cakey. I also bought the 790 thin eyeliner brush to use with my fluidline.

Brushes can be notoriously expensive, especially if they aren't synthetic but Aurifere brushes are very affordable. I paid £7.99 for the 480 and £3.50 for the 790 which is great value for high quality brushes (prices are different on their website though). Next on my wishlist is the 190 racoon powder brush.

If you'd like to look at their range of brushes, they are sold on http://paesecosmetics.com and UK shipping is free on orders over £10 :)

Lanvin for H&M

On sale from the 23 November 2010, this is another collaboration I will be avoiding (even though I think it's 100x better than the Jimmy Choo one). It's not that the collection is awful but not much stood out and items are highly priced. The least expensive item is a tee shirt at £24.99 whilst shoes are £69.99 and dresses from £99+. However I do love the men's collection which is more fairly priced. The shirts and blazers are really snazzy!

I love Alber Elbaz's dresses for Lanvin so it was natural that the only pieces in this H&M collection I was drawn to were these two dresses.

With the price tag of £99 each, they are out of my budget but if you're looking for a pretty party dress for the upcoming festive season, don't think you could go wrong with these.

I'm really intrigued about this lipstick though which I think is the same colour as the packaging. Might pick this up seeing as it's an affordable £7.99.

Do you think I can get away with asking for a bag for my teeny tiny lipstick purchase? I love them!

All images taken from the H&M website.

Urban Decay Naked Palette + Swatches

I was so excited when I first read about the neutral palette that Urban Decay was bringing out, that I rushed to buy it when it was released here in September. The eyeshadows are gorgeous and every colour is wearable, no matter what your skintone.

If you can't tell from my swatches, they're soft and very pigmented which I have found to be the usual case with UD shadows. However unlike my chunky Box of Shadows vol.II this palette is slim and easy to carry/store away.

I bought mine from House of Fraser for £27 which I think is well worth the price for 12 shadows, 2 mini eyeliners and a mini primer potion.

Debenhams have a 15% online discount code (enter PD9P at the checkout) until the 12 November but annoyingly this palette is out of stock. However they still seem to have the limited edition NYC Book of Shadows if you also fancy that.

Where do you buy yours?

I'm talking about bras here. I'm usually a M&S girl but I was wondering if anyone could highly reccommend anywhere else? Is La Senza any good? Debenhams? If I was rolling in it, it would be Stella McCartney all the way (honestly, just take a look at the pretty). Sadly my budget is more high street so any suggestions along those lines would be much appreciated. Not Primark though - worst underwear ever!

Nail Rock Nail Wraps

I love the look of Minx nails but as is the story with most things, I can't really afford them. Then I read about these nail wraps on BritishBeautyBlogger which seemed like a good and affordable substitute.

I bought mine for £6.50 from Topshop but you can also get them on Asos. I originally wanted leopard printed ones but they didn't have any so settled for these plain silver wraps.

Application is simple - place the wrap on your finger nail, apply heat from a hairdryer to activate the glue, press down firmly and file off the excess. However it's so fiddly and time consuming. It took me a good 30minutes to do one hand and I managed to burn my cuticles with the heat from my hairdryer :(

I have to say I'm a bit disappointed with the outcome. My thumb, forefinger and middle finger came out so crap and I couldn't smooth out the wrinkles. I think this is because my nail beds are more curved on these fingers than on my ring and little finger which came out great. That's what I'm telling myself anyway!

They didn't last long, about two days? The edges became flappy and I ended up peeling them off because they were irritating me so much. I won't be repurchasing these because they're too much hassle for me. But for special occasions they would be great.