Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Pat McGrath Labs MatteTrance Lipstick

If you're a makeup fanatic like myself, you'll probably have heard of British makeup artist Pat McGrath. If you haven't heard of her, you will most definitely have seen her work at some point. It's no surprise, as it seems to be a continuous trend with successful makeup artists, that she started her own range of products two years ago. However in true Pat McGrath fashion, she didn't do it the usual way, instead she began her line with Gold 001, a single pigment sold as a kit with a spatula, mixing liquid and a container. 

She has since released limited runs of eyeshadow kits, highlighting kits and lip kits and most recently the MatteTrance lipsticks. I've been so tempted to buy her products before, but they're incredibly hard to get hold of here in Ireland. When I saw her first posting about the MatteTrance lipsticks on her Instagram I decided I'd have to treat myself (for my birthday) and buy one. It definitely wasn't difficult to decide on a shade, despite there being a selection of nine beautiful shades, my heart was set on Elson, a classic blue toned red. 

I placed an order from Sephora on the day they launched. There are a few options available when buying online from Sephora in Ireland. You could use the likes of Address Pal or My Mall Box which  both create an address for you to ship to in the US and then subsequently, ship your package to Ireland. I'm not sure about Address Pal, but I know with My Mall Box you can amalgamate your orders from several US websites and have them all shipped to Ireland together.

There are great advantages to using these services, first of all it means there are so many brands and websites available to us here in Ireland that ordinarily wouldn't be, it also means you can buy in US Dollars which most of the time saves you money. I'll definitely be trying one of these services in the future to order from Sephora, but this time I actually ordered from the Sephora Canada site and paid in Canadian Dollars which was $52. In USD the lipstick costs $38 so with the conversion it worked out at approximately €35. If I had ordered from the US Sephora, it would have worked out at around €31. So it was about the same price as a Charlotte Tilbury lipstick, not too extortionate in my book. Of course I don't live in Canada, but my brother does, so I had it shipped to him and he very kindly sent it on to me. 

When I was in New York I got a Sephora Beauty Insider Card and I had about 100 points on it so I got a free deluxe sample and three extra samples. There was another bonus perk for if you spend over C$50. I sadly missed my birthday bonus gift by about a week but there's always next year. That whole ordering portion of the post might not be of interest to you, but hopefully some of you will find it helpful for future reference. 

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Now for the best part, the lipstick itself. I have to admit, when I first saw how the Pat McGrath Labs products were packaged I was incredibly excited to get my hands on them some day. I absolutely adore the way they are packaged inside a bag of sequins. It's such a unique and over the top way to package a product but I love it. 

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Once you open the packet and try not to spill the sequins everywhere which I was entirely unsuccessful at doing, you are presented with one of the most gorgeous lipstick cases I've ever seen. As you can see below, it's a sleek black tube with gold trim and gold lips. Another unnecessary detail, but one that lipstick lovers will most definitely appreciate. As much as I'm not fussed about packaging once the product is great, if I'm spending over €30, I do expect the packaging to be something special and this lipstick is just that, truly unique and beautiful. Pat McGrath doesn't do things by halves and her love of makeup, particularly extravagant and over the top makeup, is glaringly apparent with the way in which she has designed her products. So much thought has gone into every last detail. 

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As you can see Elson is such a stunning shade. I went for red because I know no matter what I'll wear it. As for the texture, I was of course wary with it being a matte finish lipstick because it can go either way, however matte formulas are improving all the time and we've come a long way from the drying, difficult to apply MAC matte formula (even though I still love and wear Ruby Woo all the time). I can honestly say this was the most smooth and easy to apply matte lipstick I've ever tried. It glided on  easily and the pigmentation is so rich you only need one layer. Like with most pigmented lipsticks I used a lip brush to perfect the edges and because the formula is so smooth it was easy to do as it didn't drag on my skin. Although it's matte, it definitely doesn't look too dry, it has a sheen to it that gives dimension so that your lips don't look flat. 

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I absolutely love the shade, it's a true blue red which of course is such a flattering shade of red because it supposedly makes your teeth look whiter. I also feel like everyone can wear a blue toned red, not matter what your skin tone or hair colour. As for lasting power, I did think that because the formula is a lot more smooth than the usual matte lipstick, it comes off a bit more easily. However I didn't wear a liner and I know that would help with the lasting power of it. The trade off though is that is it a lot more comfortable to wear all day than most of the matte lipsticks I own. It also doesn't have a scent which I know will please anyone with a sensitive nose. 

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As you can see I swatched some comparable matte red lipsticks so that you have a frame of reference. Left to right is MAC Lady Danger, MAC Ruby Woo, Charlotte Tilbury Red Carpet Red and finally Pat McGrath Elson. As you can see Red Carpet Red is very similar, in both shade, finish and price point, so it's a great alternative if you can't get your hands on Elson.  

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Did I need another red lipstick? Absolutely not, I have more than enough that I could probably wear it every day of the year and never run out. But, this was my birthday treat to myself and I was incredibly curious to try the Pat McGrath Labs products.

The good news is, if you want to get your hands on these MatteTrance lipsticks which are currently all sold out, there is going to be a restock on the Pat McGrath website on September 16th at midnight EST and if you really want to guarantee you get one, there is a members only pre-sale happening beforehand if you sign up on her website.

In other exciting news, she is launching an "unlimited" edition collection of products later this month including eyeshadow palettes, LuxeTrance lipsticks and lip liners which all look incredible. I highly recommend following her Instagram to get a sneak peak at the new products and just for some amazing makeup inspiration in general.

Pat McGrath Labs is available from Net-a-Porter and Sephora as well as the Pat McGrath website.

Have you bought anything from Pat McGrath labs or would you like to?

Emma x



Sunday, August 20, 2017

Face Of The Day- Renaissance Red

I was at my sister's new apartment on Wednesday and she gave me her Anastasia Beverly Hills Modern Renaissance Eye Shadow Palette to take home with me and try out. I actually got her the palette, amongst other things, in Sephora in New York (I think she spent as much money as me!)

To be honest until she asked me to get it for her, it hadn't really been on my radar. I knew what it was of course but there's a part of me that tends to ignore brands that are harder to get hold of here in Ireland. I don't see the point in getting exciting over products that I can't actually see in person.

However when I brought it back to our AirBnB that evening I took it out of the box to have a proper look at it and I was so surprised by how much I liked it. I definitely prefer warmer tones on my eyes colour and I loved the unusual mixture of shades and finishes in this palette. There are 14 shades in total, 11 ultra matte, two metallic and one satin finish. As the name might suggest, the palette was inspired by the shades found in Renaissance paintings, a similar idea to that of the Lime Crime Venus palette which I bought when it first came out 3 years ago and barely used because I was so mad about the hacking debacle (thankfully I paid for mine with PayPal so my account wasn't emptied unlike many others but I've refused to support them ever since).

Anyway, on to the palette itself. It has very similar packaging to the original Urban Decay Naked Palette which I'm told has since been revamped. I feel like the price of this palette definitely warrants more sturdy and less prone to getting grubby packaging, but having said that, the pink velvet is quite pretty.

I've been playing with the palette since Wednesday and I've been loving it so far. Here's the first look I created with it. 

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To begin I spritzed my skin with the Urban Decay B6 Priming Spray*. This is definitely one of those makeup steps that you can skip, however I find this absolutely reduces how oily my skin can get throughout the day so if you have oily skin, this might be one to try out. I then applied Lancôme Teint Idole Ultra Wear Foundation* in the shade Beige Opale. This is Lancôme's best selling liquid foundation and has been around for years so I was hoping I'd love it. It's meant to be high coverage, long lasting and smudge proof. I don't know whether it's the fact that it's full coverage and I usually prefer light to medium coverage, but I find a little of this goes a long way. I love the texture and it blends very well, the shade is also an excellent match so this is a great option for fair skin tones like myself. However I do find that sometimes this can sit on my skin and it can also wear away in some areas of my face. It's a pity because once I apply the right amount I really love how it looks at first. It really does give excellent coverage, but I think it's just not suited to my skin and how I like my foundation to look. I much prefer their Miracle Air de Teint foundation which I reviewed in full last year. I tend to save this foundation for evening wear or events where I do sometimes like more coverage and I don't need it to last as long. If like me you prefer lighter coverage and can get oily throughout the day, I highly recommend trying Miracle Air de Teint instead. 

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My beloved Glossier Boy Brow has come to an end so I went in search of something to replace it. I was buying Soap and Glory Archery anyway because I love it and have repurchased it many many times now. As it was 3 for 2 on Soap and Glory in Boots I decided to try out their Archery Volu-Boost Brow Fibre Gel. It comes in three shades, I went for the darkest, Mocha Up Your Mind and it's a perfect match for my naturally dark brows. I really like this, it has a small wand and I like that the fibres helps to add volume to my sparse patches. The only thing that I don't like is that you have to be quite light handed or the product can get on your skin which tends to be the case with less expensive brow gels. However for €13.50, it's not a bad option until Glossier start shipping to Ireland (which I'm hoping will be soon). 

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On my eyes I wanted to create quite a simple look, so after priming my lids with the Urban Decay Eyeshadow Primer Potion*, I blended some of Tempera under my brow bone and then Venetian Red on the lid and blended it out. I applied Antique Bronze on my lower lash line and then KIKO Glamorous Eye Pencil in 401 on my water line which is a gorgeous bronze shade and is sadly discontinued but they have a similar colour in their Intense Colour Long Lasting Eyeliner range. NYX Professional Makeup Slide on Eye Pencil in Golden Bronze is quite similar too. I then curled my lashes using the Eyeko Black Magic Lash Curler that I recently got free in Marie Claire (it replaced my other Eyeko curler which was broken). I then applied my new mascara MAC Upward Lash which was a birthday gift from my sister. I absolutely love this, I'll definitely be writing a full review soon. 

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I concealed my hormonal breakouts (I got a gorgeous one in between my brows for my birthday!) and under my eyes with the Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer. I'm not loving this under my eyes, I need to get something that's a bit more hydrating but it'll do for now. It works wonders on the rest of my face though and it's so inexpensive, yet another product I've repurchased again and again. Another Collection product I've been loving recently is the Contour Stick in the shade light (it's actually only €3.99 in Boots at the moment) and it's a great option if you're fair skinned like me and you want a little bit of natural contour that's easy to apply and blend. 

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On my cheeks I applied a little Glossier Cloud Paint in Puff. I absolutely adore this! I wish I'd gotten another shade (or three). It's so light and easy to use and looks pretty and natural. I'll be writing a full review of this soon too. I used some of the No7 Instant Radiance Highlighter which is a cream stick and again it's so quick and easy to use. Mine is almost gone and I'll definitely be repurchasing it. 

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I finished my skin with the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray* which I've repurchased several times and is such a great setting spray. I use this in lieu of and as well as powder depending on the occasion or how long I need my makeup to last. It also comes in a handy 30ml travel size that costs €12 and is great for keeping in your bag for touching up throughout the day. I know so many people who swear by this too. 

I finished the look with something really simple on my lips, the Glossier Lip Gloss. This is a clear lip gloss that feels quite similar on to the Clarins Lip Oils, almost like a thick oil rather than sticky which I hate (doesn't everyone, remember Juicy Tubes!). It also contains Vitamin E so it conditions your lips too. I bought this mainly for early noughties nostalgia purposes so I was surprised by how much I liked it. I think it's great for balancing out a strong matte eye look like this one. There's also nothing like gloss for making your lips instantly more full looking. It was very windy the day I wore this makeup so I actually ended up swapping the gloss for the Bite Beauty Amuse Bouche Lipstick in Meringue. The harsh Irish winds are the main reason I don't ever really wear glosses. 

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You can buy the Modern Renaissance palette in Ireland from Beauty Bay/ Cult Beauty and the Anastasia Beverly Hills UK site at €50.50 (shipping is free on orders over €22), £41 (converts to approximately €45, plus shipping is free to Ireland if you're spending over £40) and £41 (again shipping is free to Ireland when you spend over £25) respectively. I bought the palette in Sephora for $42 which converted to about €36. So if you're in the US, you can get it much cheaper but other than that, Cult Beauty and the ABH UK site are the best options.

So what do you think of this look? Have you tried the Modern Renaissance palette or any of the other products I mentioned?

Emma x

*Products marked with and asterisk are press samples.


Monday, August 14, 2017

What I've Been Loving Recently #4

It's been six weeks since my last WIBLR post and in that time I've consumed quite a lot of popular (and not so popular) culture. I've continued to watch Archer and Twin Peaks. Twin Peaks is continually blowing me away, I'm loving it more and more with every episode. I'm almost caught up with My Favorite Murder (mentioned in the second WIBLR post ) which is crazy because I've been listening to it since the middle of May, so that's over 100 episodes in the past almost 3 months. I don't know what I'm gonna do once I've caught up and have to wait every week for an episode. Binge consuming of culture has ruined me! 

SPIDER-MAN™: HOMECOMING

First up is a film I had really been looking forward to, Spider-Man: Homecoming. I was mostly looking forward to it because I've never been crazy about the other Spider-Man incarnations. Honestly I just wasn't a fan of Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man and I don't think I even saw the Andrew Garfield one. My favourite Spider-Man was probably the nineties animated series which I loved as a kid. After Tom Holland's cameo in Captain America: Civil War I was excited to see him in his own Spider-Man film. The reunion of one of my favourite on screen couples Marisa Tomei and Robert Downey Jr. may have also had something to do with my excitement. 

I really loved this film. It was fun and entertaining and hilarious and the casting was spot on. I've been loving Michael Keaton's return the big screen too. A lot of it was filmed it Queens which was an added bonus because we recognised some of the locations. Since having been in New York I get so excited every time I watch something that's been filmed there. I like the light-heartedness that this film has in comparison with the other Spider-Man films, it doesn't take itself too seriously which is exactly what I want from a superhero movie. My only gripe is that Marisa Tomei wasn't in it enough for me.

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I saw one of the early trailers for Baby Driver without knowing it was an Edgar Wright film and my initial thought was "what the hell is this?". I didn't think the trailer did it any favours and I definitely wouldn't have been convinced to go see it by watching the trailer if I didn't know who directed it. I'm a huge fan of Edgar Wright so when I saw this was one of his films I was a lot more excited to see it than I had been initially (also, two words: Jon Hamm). I was really surprised by how much I liked this. Ansel Elgort is amazing in it. I found the performances by the supporting cast to be a bit tongue in cheek which I'm sure was intentional. The soundtrack was particularly incredible as it is with the other Edgar Wright films. There's also some romance and a lot of humour. I'd highly recommend seeing this if you get a chance.

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I was very excited to see The Beguiled, mostly because it was directed by Sofia Coppola who directed one of my favourite films, Lost in Translation. I loved The Virgin Suicides, Marie Antoinette and Somewhere too, The Bling Ring left me disappointed but I'm always interested in seeing her work. The Beguiled is a (sort of) remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood film of the same name based on the book A Painted Devil by Thomas Cullinan. I'm not going to go to much into the plot for anyone who doesn't know what it's about, but in short it's set in a girl's boarding school in Virginia during the Civil War. One of the girls finds a wounded solider and brings him back to the school to recover and his presence stirs up the relationships between the teachers and students. 

I still don't really know how I felt about this film. It's beautifully shot, as is the case with all Coppola's films. The performances were excellent, although as much as I love Colin Farrell as an actor I always laugh when he has his own Irish accent in his films. I feel like it lacked something for me, I read some reviews of it that said it cut out some of the back story to the characters and one significant character from the book and 1971 film and I'm not sure if that was a bad choice. It's definitely an interesting plot as it is, seeing how the introduction of a man into the home of a group of women instantly affects them all in different ways, but I did feel there wasn't the character development there that happens with adaptations sometimes. 

If you're a Sofia fan, you'll definitely enjoy this, but I didn't love it the way I did her other films. 

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If you get the chance, try to see Dunkirk in IMAX. The sound design of the film is such an important part of it and the IMAX really immerses you in it, as much as a film can because thankfully most of us will never know what it feels like to be apart of such horrifying circumstances. Again, Christopher Nolan is a director who I have loved for years. The first film I saw of his was Memento and then Insomnia and ever since I've looked forward to seeing each film he has directed. Dunkirk was no exception and I was very interested to see what way he was going to handle a film about World War II. 

I really enjoyed the film, like I said the sound design is incredible as is the cinematography and the performances. I like the way it was split into land, sea and air and you got a glimpse of each perspective. Some characters were more well developed than others. The men from the sea portion of the film had the most development, the pilots were pretty straight forward and group of young guys who were trying to get off the beach were somewhere in between. I don't know whether it's just me expecting a more human element to the story rather than straightforward almost documentary like storytelling of the events. But there was something lacking for me. I appreciate that Nolan wanted show the events of Dunkirk from several different perspectives in such a short space of time and therefore its difficult to go into much depth with any one character. But then it is a film about the war and if you're not going to choose to depict a specific story, then you have to just let it be about the events in order to honour the people who went through it.

Shamefully, I didn't know much about what happened at Dunkirk so it's great that a film like this can remind us all that what happened wasn't all that long ago, especially with what's going on in the world at the moment, we can never remind ourselves too often of the lessons history has taught us and that sadly that fight is still going on for so many people around the world today. We all have our part to play in making sure nothing like World War II ever happens again. 

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I was looking forward to seeing The Big Sick since I first heard about it. I've been a big fan of Kumail Nanjiani for years, he's been in lots of my favourite comedy shows and most recently Silicon Valley which I wrote about here. I knew the story of how he and his wife Emily got together and the very unusual situation that came about when they were first dating. I won't spoil what happens because if you don't know the story yet I don't want to ruin it for anyone but basically himself and Emily wrote the film based on their relationship and the difficulties of coming from two different cultures. I really really loved this film, the cast is so good, Holly Hunter and Ray Romano play Emily's parents and they really stole the show for me. The adorable Zoe Kazan plays Emily and Kumail plays himself. It's hilarious and heartbreaking and a very unromantic, romantic comedy. 

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Glow is a Netflix original series about female wrestling in 1980s Los Angeles. It was created by the women who made Weeds and Orange is the New Black so it has the same dark humour as both of those shows. I was a huge fan of Weeds, but I never actually finished it because I thought it was starting to go downhill however the first few seasons are excellent. 

Glow is probably my least favourite of the three shows. I really like the cast, Kate Nash, the British singer is in it which I found very strange but she's actually really good. I loved Debbie and some of the other characters more than the main character Ruth, played by Alison Brie and Marc Maron who is a great comedian that I've loved for years now. 

It's fairly light-hearted and easy viewing that doesn't demand much from the audience which is just what you need sometimes. If you're a fan of OITNB you'll enjoy this, but I don't think it's as good. 

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Orange is the New Black is now in its fifth season and it's still going strong. I put off starting this most recent season for a while because there were a few other things I wanted to finish watching first. I wasn't overly excited to watch it if I'm honest, but once we watched the first episode I think we finished it in a week. I was really impressed with this season, I loved that they did something a bit different and we got to see the characters in different situations to their normal everyday prison life. I also like how they addressed social issues that mirror what's going on in the world at the moment. There is a lot of humour too, some of my favourite parts were the prison guard talent show and Flaca and Maritza's YouTube channel (I'd definitely subscribe to that). But like I said above, there is a lot of darkness in this show too. I think this was my favourite season yet and it's one of those shows where the writing and cast are so good that there is still so much they can do with it without it going stale. I really hope next season is just as good and if you haven't watched it yet, you've got five seasons to binge watch!

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Friends From College is something I came across one night when I was doing my usual browsing through Netflix for an hour before actually choosing something to watch. I watched the trailer and I was intrigued because I hadn't heard anything about it but it was new to Netflix and has some of my favourite comedians in it- Billy Eichner and Keegan-Michael Key as well as Cobie Smulders from How I Met Your Mother and Fred Savage (yes, from The Wonder Years). It was created by Nicholas Stoller who made Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Get Him to the Greek, The Five Year Engagement and Bad Neighbours and it's the same kind of humour as those films.

The premise is pretty simple, a group of friends from college get back in touch with each other and chaos ensues. It's a very straight forward comedy/drama that's very easy to watch. I enjoyed it a lot more than I thought I would, it's a great one for rainy days like today when you want to watch something easy and entertaining.

So those are my favourites from the past month. I'm currently watching Ozark and Wet Hot American Summer TenYears Later on Netflix so I'll give you my thoughts on those in the next post. I saw Fleet Foxes live which was amazing and I'm still loving their new album. I also saw Michael Ian Black do a set at the Vodafone Comedy Festival which was so cool. I've listened to the new Arcade Fire album a few times too and I'm not crazy about it so far which is disappointing because we got tickets to see them next year.

Have you seen any of these? What have you been watching/listening to recently?

Emma x

Monday, July 31, 2017

Emile Cordon Cashmere-On Lip Pots

You probably read the title of this post and thought what and who is Emile Cordon and what's a Cashmere-On Lip Pot? I'll admit I thought the exact same thing when I got an email from them to ask if I'd like to try out their products. I was immediately intrigued because I'd never heard of the brand before but I'm always interested in discovering new brands and new products so I agreed to try them out and very soon afterwards, I received a lovely package with two Lip Pots in it.

The reason I'd never heard of Emile Cordon is because it's quite a new brand, in fact it only just launched earlier this year. It was founded in 2016 by a French chemist who is now retired but has been living in New York for over 20 years. When she was young her grandmother used to make homemade multi-purpose balms for her family. After her grandmother passed away she missed the little balms she used to make so she started making them herself but adding her favourite scents and colours to the simple recipe her grandmother used and so the Cashmere-On Lip Pots came about. 

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The Lip Pots are multi purpose, they can be used as a lip balm, to nourish your cuticles, to protect the skin and to soothe the skin after sun exposure. The formula contains castor seed oil, which is an emollient as well as being an anti-inflammatory. Beeswax which again is anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, it protects and heals the skin and softens it. Lauryl Laurate which conditions the skin, Vitamin E and Evening Primrose Extract which again soothes and softens the skin and is a good anti-inflammatory. 

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I was sent two of the pots- Lisa, which is scented with rosé champagne, fresh tea rose and strawberry leaves and Coco, which has a scent of coconut cake, vanilla accord and powder sugar. There are three other scents, Olivia (mint), Dorine (neroli and lemon) and Pamela (mediterranean fig). 

I definitely prefer Lisa out of the two, it has a gorgeous strawberry/rose scent that's not too overpowering. Coco has more of a sweet vanilla coconut scent which I like, but not as much as Lisa. I like that this is a multi purpose balm, I tend to keep it on my bedside table and apply it on my lips and cuticles at night. I had a cold recently and I applied it to the skin around my nose to help heal it after blowing my nose so much and it worked wonders which is down to the soothing and anti-bacterial ingredients.

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The first thing that I noticed about the lip pots was obviously the gorgeous packaging. Rarely does lip balm feel so luxurious, most of the lip balms I've tried have been in squeezy tubes or stick form. The Emile Cordon ones come in a box and inside is a little glass jar with gold lid. You also get a little spatula so that you can scoop out your desired amount of product more hygienically. I really like this little feature because I find lip balms that come in a pot last for quite a long time so it's nice to be able to use the spatula instead of using your finger all the time. 

The most similar lip balm I have to these ones is the NUXE Rêve de Miel Ultra Nourishing Lip Balm, the product itself is quite different as it's a much thicker matte lip balm but it also comes in a glass jar and because of that I keep it beside my bed to use at night rather than bringing it out with me as I wouldn't like applying it with my finger when I'm out and about and I'd be worried about breaking the glass jar. 

As for this formula, it's incredibly soft and smooth. When I've applied it with my fingers it actually melts from the heat of my skin slightly and feels like silk on my lips. It also gives quite a shine when I first apply it but it does sink into my lips and the shine wears off a bit. I was browsing on the Emile Cordon website and they have also suggested using it to tame brows, to highlight cheekbones and as an eyeshadow base for dewy eyes. I've tried it on my cheekbones and it's such a good idea because it gives a natural, glowy highlighted look. I've also tried it on my eyelids because I've been loving the glossy eyelid look recently. You can apply it under or over eyeshadow depending on the look you want to achieve. 

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I wanted to compare the Emile Cordon Lip Pots to some similar products and two that I could find are the Omorovicza Perfecting Lip Balm which is €45 ($42/£32) for 10g and the byTerry Baume de Rose which is €46 (£39/ $60) for 10g. They both share quite a few ingredients with the Cashmere-On Lip Pots which costs $42 (approx. £32/€36, not sure exactly as there is only the price in dollars not he website) and you get 15g of product. I haven't tried the other two so I can't comment as to which is better but I was curious to see if there were similar products at a similar price point on the market because when I first saw the price I thought it was quite expensive for a lip balm. However everyone raves about the byTerry one and that's more money for less product with a very similar ingredients list (the Lip Pots have less ingredients).

On the other hand, one of my favourite lip balms that I've loved for years is the aforementioned Rêve de Miel which is only €12 and for that you get 16.5g of product. Despite the price difference I wouldn't have a problem spending $42 on a lip balm because they last for such a long time that you do get value for money, especially if the ingredients are good (and who can say no to beautiful packaging). I'd have no problem paying three times the price for my Rêve de Miel because it lasts me about 9 months of using it once per day. I'll be interested to see how long the Lip Pots last in comparison but at the moment I'm absolutely loving using them and I think it's going to be a while before I run out of lip balm.

Emile Cordon also ship internationally from their online store.

Have you tried any of the lip balms I've mentioned? What's your all time favourite lip balm?

Emma x

*PR Sample, all opinions are my own.


Sunday, July 23, 2017

Surratt Beauty Surreal Skin Foundation Wand

For the past year or so I've been hearing about Surratt Beauty. For anyone who hasn't heard of it, the brand was founded in 2013 by US makeup artist Troy Surratt. After studying to become a fashion illustrator, he decided to use his artistic skill to become a makeup artist. Over the Years, Troy Surratt worked under the guidance of the legendary Kevyn Aucoin and has since become one of the most sought after and well respected make up artists in the industry. While visiting Japan, he discovered new and innovative materials, textures and products that inspired him to start his own brand. After years of research Surratt found that he wanted to manufacture his products in Japan where they had the best quality materials and attention to detail. 

So now that you know a little bit about the brand, let's talk about what I bought from Surratt Beauty in Sephora in New York. I actually only ended up buying the Surreal Skin Foundation Wand (although had I more time and money I would have bought a lot more, the eyelash curler is next on my list). I'd seen this foundation mentioned countless times by makeup artist Katie Jane Hughes who is a huge fan of the brand and particularly this foundation. I had also seen Lisa Eldridge using it in one of her videos, she also wrote some of her thoughts about it on her website which you can read here. So after being endorsed by two of my favourite makeup artists I had to check it out for myself in Sephora. I colour matched myself to shade 01 (the lightest shade, of course), I tried a little on my face but I didn't buy it that day because I wanted to think about it some more and see the colour in the daylight. On our last day in New York I was doing a dash around Sephora 15 minutes before they closed and I had a list from my sister and I didn't have much time to think about it so I ended up with this in my basket. The reason I was so hesitant to buy this is because it costs $65! Yes, that's right, $65! Not only does it cost that much, that's only for 15ml/0.5oz of product, so half the amount you would usually get from a bottle of foundation. 

I've been dying to write about this foundation for the past couple of months but I wanted to try it out properly and really put it through its paces because of how much it costs. I've never spent that much on a beauty product that I can think of except possibly perfume.

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Let's begin with what this foundation is supposed to give you for your hard earned $65. It's medium to full coverage, oil free, long wearing and it comes in 15 shades. It has a built in angled, anti-bacterial brush to make application quick and easy and handy for topping up on the go. The brush apparently only needs to be washed once a month. It's supposed to reduce the appearance of pores and fine lines and is self-setting. It's also formulated without sulphates or parabens. 

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I completely agree that the formula is medium to full coverage. You can apply as much or as little of this as you desire by clicking the pen and dispensing the right amount onto the brush. You can see from the photos below that it has evened out my skin tone, and significantly reduced the appearance of my pores and any redness. That's with only one thing layer buffed out with the built in brush. It's easy enough to layer this up if you need more coverage, I don't find that it looks heavy on the skin.

It contains ingredients that help make it anti-bacterial (Phenoxyethanol) which is great for the built in brush and vitamin E to condition the skin and act as an anti-oxidant (Tocopheryl). It also contains a silicone called Cyclopentasiloxane which makes it easy to blend and also can fill in lines to give the skin a temporary plumped look. This is something to bear in mind if you're not a fan of silicones, however I don't find it has that usual silicone feeling at all. 

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bare, moisturised skin

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foundation and concealer under my eyes

So what did I think of the most expensive foundation I'v ever tried? First off, the packaging is incredibly impressive. It's clear that a great amount of thought and time has gone into developing the packaging of this foundation. The matte into glossy/shimmery case is weighted and feels expensive (whatever that means) but not too heavy that your hand gets tired when you're blending it in. The duo fibre brush is soft but that's where my love of the brush ends. There aren't that many reviews on this foundation online, I watched a few videos and read a few reviews and the majority of them said exactly what I thought. The brush just doesn't do it for me. I love the idea in theory and if you have the time to spend blending and blending it actually gives an amazing full coverage finish but for my face, the brush is far too small. In fact it's marginally bigger than the brush I use for my concealer. I found that the first time I used this I ended up blending and blending and it really annoyed me. I couldn't believe I'd spent so much money on something that was adding so much time to my makeup routine. The first time I used it I applied too much by accident so obviously that added to the problem because it took longer to blend and then it didn't wear as well as I thought it would because there was just far too much foundation on my face. 

The second time I tried it I applied less and that definitely helped but I was still annoyed that it was taking me so long to blend it in and get rid of the streaks. I did like that it was angled as I felt that helped to blend around my nose. Like most of the other reviews I read I have now taken to using it with one of my own brushes. I click the pen and apply the foundation in patches around my face with the built in brush and then blend it out with my own Zoeva face brush which is about three times the size.

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Other than the brush issue I've found that this makes my skin look amazing. I do have to powder it in the centre of my face because my t-zone gets quite oily throughout the day but if you have dry skin you could probably leave it without powering. It gives excellent coverage but I like that you can still see my skins texture and my freckles underneath it. It's very lightweight and doesn't feel like I have a full coverage foundation on at all. It wears very well and evenly and the good thing about the wand is that you could bring it out to top it up if necessary but I wouldn't ever do that really, I don't find I need to but if you have oilier skin than me you might want to top it up. 

You don't need to worry about cleaning the brush because it's made in such a way that no water or anything can get into the tube so you can wash away and it won't effect the product inside. They say it only needs to be washed once a month but personally I'd probably wash it more often than that just to make sure that the bristles don't get loaded with too much product and become less effective. 

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My final thoughts are that I love the foundation and the packaging but for me, the brush is too small. If it was twice the size I'd be much happier with spending that much money on it. I also don't know what I'm supposed to do once the wand is empty, it would feel strange throwing away something so expensive, I could use the brush for something else after all, like blush or contouring or even concealer. I understand that the expensive price is probably mostly due to the innovative packaging and the brush but I'd really love if I could buy the foundation alone, pay less and use my own brush. Or if the brush came separately and could be reused again and again. I would find it strange if I did like the built in brush to finish the foundation, throw it away and then buy a new one. It would be such a waste. I'd love to know what your thoughts are. As much as I love the formula I just couldn't justify spending another $65 on this because I just don't get the use of the brush which is half the idea of it. I also think it's far too much money to spend on only 15ml of product. 

Surratt Beauty is available online from Sephora, Liberty London, Cult Beauty and Net-a-Porter.

Just to break it down for you price wise. In Sephora I paid $65 for this which ended up working out at around €56. If you buy it from Net-a-porter is costs $65 too, but if you convert the price to buy in Euro, their price is €74, which is significantly more than what it ended up working out at for me. You can buy from Cult Beauty and Liberty London if you're based in the UK and Ireland and it costs £62 on both sites. This works out at €69/$80. Obviously as Surratt Beauty is a US brand, the price is going to be higher for anyone buying from Europe because of the import charges involved. It's something to think about if you are interested in trying out this brand.

All of that being said I'd really love to try more from the brand. Have you tried Surratt Beauty yet? What do you think of this foundation wand?

Emma x

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

New York- Part Four

I'm finally bringing you the last instalment of my New York series (although that's kind of a lie because I will be writing a dedicated post about all of the places where we ate while we were there). I wasn't going to even post these photos because they're from my phone but the last two days we went to two museums and I loved both of them so I wanted to share the experiences with you all. 

Our last full day got off to a terrible start because it absolutely lashed rain for half of the day. So much so that there was no way we could have left the apartment to walk to the subway station. We had an umbrella but sadly we weren't equipped for such heavy rain so we decided to take it easy and then go get lunch in Astoria before heading into Manhattan to visit the Met. Entry to the Met was part of our City Pass so we just went up to the desk and got stickers to go in. I didn't actually realise that you can pay what you want to gain entry to the Met. The recommended price is $25 though which is something that kind of annoys me, I feel like they should either charge or just say pay what you want because from what I've heard if you pay less than $25 they don't like it. It is a good idea for those living in New York who want to go a few times a year because I guess you could just pay whatever you wanted so that it doesn't cost you $25 each time. It's such a big museum that I know if I lived there I'd want to go a few times to see more of the exhibits. 

In fact we only ended up seeing two exhibits, the Rei Kawakubo/ Comme des Garçons Art of the In-Between which actually opened while we were there ( I watched The First Monday in May on the plane so I was even more excited to go to the museum). The second was the Irving Penn: Centennial exhibition which blew me away, it was incredible to see such iconic photographs all in one place. It's actually closing soon so if you happen to be in New York and interested in photography it's a must!

I adored the Rei Kawakubo exhibit too, it was amazing to finally see one of the Costume Institute exhibitions in person, it's something I've wanted to do for years. I was conscious of the fact that I dragged Simon along to see this and I knew he wouldn't be hugely interested and it was quite crowded so we didn't stay that long, we tried to just see everything and not linger, although I could have stayed longer. We went on a Friday when the museum is open until 9pm as it is on Saturdays too, every other day it's only open until 5.30 so bear that in mind if you're planning to visit. It was the perfect activity for such a rainy day when walking around the city would have been difficult. 

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After a few hours in the museum we decided to get an uber to Fifth Avenue to do some shopping because we wanted to get a few presents for our nieces and nephew. We actually got a carpool again which only ended up costing $4 for both of us which saved us the 30 minute walk or trying to find the nearest subway and our 7 day subway pass had run out anyway so it made sense.

Thankfully all the shops were open late because it was about 8pm by the time we got there so we dashed around looking for presents and I made a quick final trip to Sephora to get a few things for myself and my sister. We then decided to walk around Times Square before getting the subway home because we hadn't seen it at night yet. We got some Cold Stone Creamery ice cream (which was amazing!) and just people watched for a bit before going home. It was our last night and also happened to be Cinco de Mayo so we went out for some tacos and $5 margaritas and had the perfect last night in New York.

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Our flight wasn't until 10pm on the Saturday so we had the most of the day to do a few more things before we left. We packed up and cleaned the apartment and our kind hostess let us leave our bags there until we had to go to the airport. Instead of going back into Manhattan we decided to explore a bit more of Queens. We had read about the Museum of Moving Image which is beside Kaufman Studios. Kaufman Studios was opened in 1920 and was home to Paramount Pictures for about 20 years before most of the film industry moved to Hollywood. Films and tv shows made there include Goodfellas, Sesame Street, Orange is the New Black, First Wives Club, The Wiz, Carlito's Way, The Affair, The OA, Birdman, Angels in America and many films during the Silent and Talkies eras of cinema. Being a huge film fan and having studied it in college it was so cool to be in the place where they filmed so many amazing films and tv shows. 

We both loved the Museum of Moving Image, it was $15 entry which we thought was reasonable however there is usually an bigger exhibition on as well as the usual museum exhibits that are there all year round. We had just missed the Martin Scorsese one and I was devastated to learn they were about to open their Jim Henson exhibition (which actually opens this Saturday) and has been in the works for years. I was so sad because they're apparently going to have lots of props, costumes and memorabilia from Labyrinth (which is one of my favourite films!), The Muppet Show, Fraggle Rock, The Dark Crystal and Sesame Street. It's basically my dream exhibition. It's supposed to be a permanent fixture so I'll definitely be going to see it when/if we go back to New York. 

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The actual Chewbacca head from of the the original Star Wars films, I can't remember which one!

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Marlon Brando's prosthetic teeth from The Godfather

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Makeup used in one of the Sex and the City films, not exactly cinematic greatness but interesting to any beauty fans reading this!

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Sketches and models of the sets from Silence of the Lambs which is one of my favourite films

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Robin Williams Mork costume from Mork and Mindy

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Robin William's costumes from Mrs Doubtfire

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Part of the miniature model that was used as the Tyrell Skyscraper from Blade Runner

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The head turning animatronic Linda Blair from The Exorcist

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Props from A Nightmare on Elm Street

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I loved the museum despite missing out on those other two exhibitions. It had props, sketches and memorabilia from lots of film and television including film and tv cameras from throughout the years. There was also interactive rooms which would be great for kids (we loved them too). The staff were so friendly and helpful too. I'd highly recommend visiting this museum if you're in the area. I'm so glad we got to do something like this that was a bit different than the usual New York touristy museums. 

Afterwards we went and got our last New York brunch and then our last coffee in our favourite café Astoria Coffee and went and collected our bags and got an uber to the airport. I thought JFK was a great airport, as airports go. It's kind of like a shopping centre, there's plenty of shops and places to eat. We got our last Shake Shack which was amazing and everything was pretty straight forward with travelling home which hugely helped with my travel anxiety. The only thing I would have changed is I wouldn't fly overnight again because I didn't sleep at all and therefore was awake for about 24 hours so I had to have a few hours nap when I got home. I didn't really know what to expect with the jet lag. Going over was fine because it was just like we were staying up late which I tend to do anyway. But the week after coming home I was all over the place. Thankfully I had the good sense to book a few extra days of work so that I could readjust to life after New York without jumping back into work straight away. 

So that's it (almost) for our New York adventure. Like I said already I'm going to put together a post with all of the places we ate as a sort of guide for anyone who is planning a trip to NY. I found these kinds of posts really helpful when we were planning our trip and I have lots to say about eating out and food in New York so I'm hoping some of you will find it helpful and insightful. 

To sum it all up, New York exceeded my expectations. I'm so happy we went for the length of time we did and that we stayed where we did. I don't think we'd go for as long the next time but I'd definitely stay in Queens again or perhaps Brooklyn. If you're looking to do New York on a budget there are definitely ways to do it such as staying outside of Manhattan (air bnb is the only way to go), combination tickets, finding the right places to eat, doing lots of free activities like the High Line, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge etc. Most museums have an afternoon per week where admission is free so if you time things right you can see a lot without paying anything. 

We're both dying to go back again, there's still so much I want to see and do. We did fit a lot into our trip but not too much that we were exhausted. I also think late April/ early May is a great time of year to go. I think next time I'd like to go in October. 

There's so much more I could say but I think four long blog posts with close to 200 photos is more than enough. If you haven't been to New York, then I hope reading my series of posts about it has convinced you that you need to go. I think about our trip at least a few times a days and I'm constantly looking at the photos on my phone. It was the trip of a lifetime!

If you have any questions at all please ask away and I'll help if I can. Let me know if you've been to New York and what you thought and what the best place you've ever visited is. 

Emma x


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