Hello & Goodbye!

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It’s been a long while since I last posted here but there is good reason, honestly.

This year has been a roller coaster. To working in London with some big beauty names and my constant makeup jobs and beauty writing work, i’ve been a busy gal.

So it’s time to explain where i’ve been. I’ve been editing a new site called milk&beauty. It’s a one stop shop for reviews and beauty tips. Plus, soon i’ll be bringing video make up tutorials to the site.

So, I apologise for the lack of time spent here but pop over to http://www.milkandbeauty.com to catch up with me for more regular updates and fun!

Happy 1st Birthday, plainQUIRKY!

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So here it is.  The first birthday of plainQUIRKY.  WOW.  I’ve had an incredible time writing this and the experiences that have accompanied it have been ones I’ll be telling my grandchildren about, for sure.  I know it seems cliché but I really wouldn’t have been able to have experienced them if it wasn’t for my readers, so for that I thank you.  What started as a place to talk about the things I love, quickly blossomed into a domain for some hardcore beauty lovin’ and much of the like.

From working with the likes of Millie Kendall (one half of Ruby & Millie) and Anna Marie Solowij (ex Beauty Editor of Vogue) to assisting Gary Cockerill in his lash launch at Harvey Nichols Beauty Bazaar to meeting Mary Greenwell the God-Mother of the makeup world, I’ve had a very lucky run of things and I’m hoping it’s not going to end.  I’ve worked on a Harvey Nichols event at Aintree race course featured in Grazia magazine and interviewed the lovely Daniel Sandler (coming soon!) It’s been a whirlwind and I wouldn’t change one bit!

So it’s with a Cheshire Cat like grin and a mouthful of cake (c’mon, i’m celebrating here!) that I leave you with this photo of myself and Mary Greenwell. Here’s to many more years of happy blogging and writing shamelessly about my cosmetics addiction. Thanks a bunch!

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Skincare SOS.

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When it comes to skincare I’ll pretty much try anything once, within reason. Lately my skin has been causing me to slightly panic as its once blemish free complexion has begun to house some unsightly, unwanted visitors. My chin especially has been receiving the brunt of this invasion and it has prompted me to call in the big guns.  So here they are, a rundown of my go to skin treats to help in the fight of ridding my complexion of the ugly side of beauty.

Weleda Purifying Lotion. This is brought into action when my skin is uncontrollable. Admittedly this is very rare but on the odd occasion when I feel it necessary to be dramatic in the wake of a facial eruption this all natural Australian remedy brings it.  With a soothing combination of calendula and chamomile to sooth inflamed areas and zit-busting witch hazel, I’m glad I have this in my arsenal in the fight against blemishes. Plus if it’s good enough for models then heck, it’s good enough for little old me….

La Roche-Posay Effaclar Duo.  At first I was a little sceptical to try this.  It seems that if something enjoys a hype on the beauty blogger circuit it still doesn’t guarantee that the product’s going to work.  I bought this when desperate times called for desperate measures and my congested and down right spotty skin needed sorting out.  I’m not going to lie, this stuff takes about a week to work but my goodness does it do wonders.  I’m happily sat on the back of the bandwagon for this one and my sebum blocked pores are quaking in their boots.

REN Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask.  This one is new to my skin care neighbourhood but after needing that perfect mix of exfoliation and radiance boost this little number is quick on its way to becoming my favourite mask.  That’s quite the statement considering my shameless stash of them.  The texture is a little bit tricky to get used to but once you’re over that hurdle you’re on to a skin care winner.  The glycolactic acid exfoliates the dead skin from your face and as I’m the guilty owner of a dehydrated skin this stuff has been a godsend.

GLAMGLOW. Hailed as Hollywood’s best kept secret it would appear to be one of those cliché marketing strategies that has you reaching into the bottom of your purse.  It’s far from it.  It’s a clever mix of volcanic rock, sea clay and green tea that strangely tingles but magically draws out all of the congestion from your pores.  The end result?  Sparking skin without a blackhead in sight.  Sold!  Honestly, I use this once a week to draw out all of the rubbish my skin has held onto through oil cleansers and balms (seriously, how does it get past those?!)  What’s even better?  You can actually see the contents of your blocked pores come to the surface. I’m now massively conscious of how weird that makes me sound but it’s pretty rewarding to see it has worked.

Origins Drink Up Intensive.  This Origins miracle worker comes to force when my skin is super dry.  seriously, at times my skin can resemble the Sahara desert and belive me, it’s not a pretty sight.  For once I can’t blame the cold weather so to avoid making excuses I use this as a night-time mask to give a much-needed moisture boost.  I’m not usually into highly scented skincare but I have to say that the smell of this one is incredible.  My skin laps this up and it does exactly what it says on tin; drinks it up.  Goodbye dull and drab – Hello healthy and hydrated!

What do you use when your skin needs a little bit of TLC?

 

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WAH Nailed It.

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I know, its taken me forever, right?  I’ve finally succumbed to my WAH nail urges and got myself a set of nails that ooze cool.  Not content with trying my own DIY versions at home I needed the real deal.  It prompted one of those dilemma scenarios which had me all a flutter in choosing which design to adorn my nails with. After much deliberation, I settled for the pink fade with a white paisley overlay – pretty cool, huh?  I’m not normally a pink kind of gal but when in Shoreditch, you’ve got to experiment a little and I’ve got to say, my nail polish collection needs to make room for some pink neighbours as I feel a love affair coming on for Summer.

WAH has such a chilled out vibe and the girls seriously scream 90′s cool.  The brainchild of founder Sharmadean Reid, WAH is celebrating a huge wave of popularity and it’s not surprising the brand is going from strength to strength. Originating in Dalston it has multiplied into Topshop and collaborated with the likes of Models Own and ASOS; not bad shoulders to be rubbing with. It’s such a shame their 3 month stint at BOXPARK is coming to an end on Sunday because they seem to be like part of the furniture now.  The walls are adorned with Vogue and other glossy publication pages and you just want to sit in there all day admiring the layout.  Do you think BOXPARK will let me move in?

Have you ever been WAH’d?!

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Brow Know How?

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When it comes to brows, women up and down the country have their own set of rules.  There are no guidelines or beauty manuals that universally cover the technique to create the ultimate ‘one size fits all’ brow.  I know from experience that having a good basic understanding is enough to get you by, you just need to invest in the right products and tools and you’re ready to get cracking.

Now I hate to preach but there is definitely one item that should take pride of place in your brow arsenal. Step in the industry adored MAC 266. This has single handedly revolutionised my brows bold statement but it’s the epitome of the perfect brow tool.  It’s angled to give precise application, it has natural bristles so if your brows have a penchant for powder products expect a love affair to form.

Personally, I favour powder products to bridge the gap between sparse brows but there are a whole range of different product to get you to destination Browsville in no time.  Pencils tend to misbehave with me and as the day wears thin they have an annoying habit of sliding out of place.  The Anastasia Brow Wiz is the only pencil product that gets along with my brows and as its a pricey little number, I find it much easier to stick to what I know and use Bobbi Brown shadows in Sable and Mahogany.

Whatever your weapon of choice, the key is to utilise them to create texture and definition.  Avoid colouring in your brows as this will give a flat appearance and people will tell a mile off that they’re not the real McCoy.  Use feathered strokes to create the illusion of extra hairs. Brushing them up with a spooly brush will help to identify the areas where you need to fill in the missing gaps.  For the shape, I always hold a brush to my nose and start where the line meets my nose and inner eye.  Then for the arch I anchor the end of the brush to my nose and cut through the pupil of my eye with the top of the brush. This gives the perfect location to create arch.  Finally I determine the length by keeping the brush at my nose and moving the top of it to the outside edge of my eye.  This will point out the perfect place to end.  After all the faux action is done and I’m sporting my best interpretation of an Elizabeth Taylor brow ahem I fix them into place with my trusty old Face Stockholm Brow Fix – brilliant  for keeping my unruly brows in check and encouraging them to behave.

What do you use for your brows?

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Space.NK Treats.

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There’s nothing a Northern beauty obsessive loves more than a trip to Space NK.  Today I’ve had a day off, so I’ve used and abused my Oyster card and whisked myself off to my nearest store in St Paul’s.  When I’m up North and I read blogs by London gals, I often feel a pang of sadness that Space NK doesn’t currently have a store in Liverpool.  Yeah, I know you can buy online but there’s nothing like perusing the various counters and dousing yourself with Diptyque Philosykos guilty.  I mean don’t get me wrong there are beauty halls in the North but this place is so darn good you want to write home about it.

Admittedly, St Paul’s isn’t Space NK’s biggest store but its enough for a beauty junkie like me to get a quick fix.  I’m not going to lie, Space NK isn’t easy on the old purse strings and I’ll be eating beans on toast for the next week but its a cracking treat, especially after getting lost on the tube and getting caught in the London rain wearing gladiator sandals I digress……  It is one of my favourite spots to stock up on my much-loved beauty bounty.

So here’s what’s giving my bank manager a heart attack this week.  Ren is a brand that has been on the lips of many a beauty blogger over the past few months.  I havent actually tried anything from them yet but I’ve heard great things on the blogger grapevine and with my skin experiencing the harshness of the London air, I thought the Glycolactic Radiance Renewal Mask would be a welcome treat.  It promises to banish dreaded pore congestion and is a non abrasive alternative to beaded exfoliants. Swoon.

Now Caudalie is a brand that I’ve championed in the past.  I’m a lover of a few of their products and the Beauty Elixir is a repurchase.  Since being down here, I’ve found that my skin has started to look tired and in need of a little somethin’ somethin’, you know what I mean? Plus the zesty fragrance always has me humming Outkast’s ‘so fresh, so clean’….OK, just me? What I like about this is the even application.  There’s nothing worse than spraying your face with a product that only applies directly where pointed.  It’s such a great all-rounder, too.  Not only can it be used to tighten pores but it can be used as a toner and it’s jam-packed with skin care benefits. Whats more, it’s 30ml size means its handy to throw into your bag as a trusty travel companion.

Last but my no means least is the Kiehls lip balm with an SPF 25. Now admittedly, this isn’t the most exciting beauty purchase, however now that the sun has decided to rear his all too vacant head, my skin care SPF count has been well and truly amplified.  The consistency of this is quite oily meaning it makes for easy application and it easily absorbs into the lips.   There is nothing I hate more than a lip product that just sits there doing nothing.  My lips feel moisturised and protected against the sun all at the same time! Winner!

Have you ever tried any of these?  What are your favourite Space NK treats?

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BeautyMART at BOXPARK.

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If you’re in the Shoreditch area, why the heck aren’t you checking out BeautyMART at Boxpark? BeautyMART have decided to set up shop in the heart of London’s most happening venue and do you know what? They fit in perfectly.  Boxpark has to be the perfect location to house the concept that BeautyMART pioneer so well.  A hybrid of high-end and low-end industry adored loot.  You know something is worth forking out for when Millie Kendall and Anna-Marie Solowij have given it their seal of approval, right?

The atmosphere is so different from their Harvey Nichols backdrop.  It’s like looking at all of the Knightbridge offerings but through fresh eyes.  My personal favourites are the Face Stockholm treats and the notoriously hard to get a hold of Asian skincare offerings from DHC.  Oh, and *disclaimer* if you didn’t have a nail polish addiction before, BeautyMART can’t be held responsible after you leave, the collection on offer is that good.  Plus, if you didnt need more reason to check it out, BeautyMART are the exclusive stockists of Fashion House Balmain’s very first hair care range. Believe me, your hair will thank you for it.

Everyone seems to be heading East to get a glimpse of the action.  But be quick, BeautyMART are only at Boxpark for 6 weeks.  Yes you heard it right, so what are you waiting for?  Strap skates to those stillettos and get yourselves down to the most talked about venue in beauty right now…..

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Current Concealer Rotation.

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Being the proud owner of an OK-ish complexion, concealer was something I used to overlook in my everyday makeup rotation.  I was happy to sport the dreaded under eye bags and around the nose redness, honestly….. Well I’m happy to announce that those days sans concealer are a definite thing of yesteryear. I’ve welcomed with open arms the addition of the odd blemish coverup and my under eyes are doing the mexican wave thanks to the introduction of a bit of a highlighted bag busting formulation.

Bobbi Brown Corrector in Extra Light Bisque:  I’ve talked about how my first encounter with this was when I purchased the shade Peach *shudder*.  Since getting properly colour matched I haven’t been able to live without this.  It’s not the creamiest formulation of the three but with that being said the risk of it settling into fine lines is minimal.  I find it best to apply this with your finger by first rubbing it between your ring finger and thumb to make it more workable.  It works well at neutralising any blue tones and is a perfect base for a highlighting concealer, which leads me on nicely to…

YSL Touche Eclat Highlighting Pen in shade 1:  I’d reserve this one for more of a pale complexion as I personally don’t find the shade very versatile.  It’s my go to for highlighting the under eyes and making me look more awake.  It’s not the most hygienic product but I can overlook that for its ability to freshen up my look.  It’s a keeper as they say and my eyes thank me for it.  Not the cheapest but I’ve had mine for a while now and who isn’t a sucker for luxe gold packaging? Guilty

Collection Lasting Perfection Concealer:  Last but by no means least is this little number that has been enjoying the rotation of the Beauty domain.  It’s a snip at around £5 but what this little chap can’t conceal isn’t worth writing home about.  It boasts a thick, opaque consistency with a promised 16 hour staying power.  Personally, I havent tested this theory, however I covers the occasional breakout without having to apply multiple layers.  I avoid using this under the eyes as I find it a little too thick and it can crease but over any redness it’s a sure-fire way to cheat a perfect complexion.  Always set with a powder to give it a little more reason to stick around.

Have you tried any of these concealers?  What are your secrets to a perfect complexion?

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Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Review.

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Hand in the bucket if you’re a fan of a good night time treatment?  I sure as hell am.  In the early days of my beauty obsession, the idea of oils and serums seriously intimidated me.  When it came to it,  I didn’t know my arm from my elbow and I thought that a simple cleanse, tone and moisturise would cut the mustard.  Well those days are long gone and my skincare regime ante has been well and truly amped.

I’m only 23 but as the old saying goes, prevention is certainly better than cure.  I was first introduced to Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum when I complained of really dull skin at the Lauder counter.  I played about with the prospect of buying it for around a millisecond and have to say, my night time routine would be one hell of a sad place without it. It seems to be a trend in the industry at the moment to christen products with a novel sized title but I guess it does everything the name suggests. As a night repair rookie, I began with smearing it all over my face and was massively puzzled at how two drops of the stuff would cover my whole face.  Now after a nifty google search, I quickly learned the trick was to drop it into your hands, rub them together and press it into your face using your palms to push the product into your lower dermis.  It covers a whole load of beauty bases, too.  It repairs uneven skin tone, past damage and gives an instant injection of hydration thanks to its Chronolux technology and the beauty industry buzz word of the moment: Hyluronic acid.

I honestly think this has done wonders for my skin’s redness and it is enjoying a new wave of hydration.  The smell is an acquired taste and if you can get over that hurdle it really is a great addition to any skincare regime. After a good cleanse and tone, this plumps the skin to look radiant and glowing.  It’s a shame the only thing that gets to see my skin after use is my pillow.  Oh, and don’t forget to moisurise afterwards.  I normally follow with a hefty dose of whatever souped up moisturiser I have on rotation but I sometimes lather on the Origins Drink Up Intensive Overnight Mask and breathe.

Have you tried the Estée Lauder Advanced Night Repair Serum.  What do you think?

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Diorskin BB Creme

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It’s no secret that BB creams have caused a huge divide in the beauty industry. Loved by some, loathed by others they can quite rightly be seen as a glorified tinted moisturizer. I mostly agree with the latter.  I’ve been left feeling darn disappointed that the true spirit of BB creams had been lost in translation in transit from Asia to the Western world. Enriched with skin care benefits and a hefty dose of SPF, Asia had it down in the BB stakes. However here, it seems to be a money spinning cash cow for beauty brands who havent truly embraced what it takes to create a cracking BB formula.

I had always sat happily on the fence. I’m a light to medium coverage kinda gal and have always been rather satisfied with my Chanel Lift Lumiere. Fast forward to the appearance of some long-awaited sunshine and the little skin care niggle for extra SPF reared his little head. What happened next rocked my world, bold statement. I discovered the Diorskin BB Creme and i’m pretty sure it’s going to keep rocking my world for a loooong time.

Rather unlike others on the BB spectrum, this little gem has all of the qualities a BB cream should offer.  SPF check, light formulation check, hydration check, blurs imperfections check.  It doesn’t have the greatest SPF count, admittedly but it does make your skin look ah-mazing.  After burning my face last weekend (I know, shame on me) my normally dry skin has well and truly fallen out with me.  The formulation of this little lifesaver is so that it doesn’t cling to any dry patches and for this reason, I salute it.  I’ve worn it all day today shopping for more beauty treats don’t judge me and it hasn’t budged.  Not one teeny little bit.  If anything, it’s actually wearing better as the day goes on.  Not totally matte and not too dewy it is setting the bar for all of the other BB offerings out there.  Heck, i’m just going to throw this out there:  Skin, say hello to your new best friend.

Have you tried Diorskin Nude?  What did you think?

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