Sunday, 22 March 2015

Review: NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation

Hello my lovelies,

After waxing lyrical about my love affair with NARS Sheer Glow, following my long-awaited purchase in December, I have fallen for yet another NARS base... The All Day Luminous Weightless foundation began to pop up on beauty blogs left, right and centre, and inevitably my desire to own it soon outweighed my conscience. Throw an ASOS discount code into the mix and well, you can surely understand how this beautiful bottle ended up in my possession!


NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation is packaged in their usual sleek glass bottle, with a matte black lid (which attracts smudges IMMEDIATELY. I do apologise). It's a taller, more squared off design than Sheer Glow, and looks very sleek and sophisticated in my make up tray.  The main selling point however is the pump - finally an improvement on Sheer Glow!

Shade & Finish

I opted for the same shade I use for Sheer Glow, which is Deauville (I'm a MAC NW15-NW20 for reference and my skin has the occasional olive undertone with some redness and blemishes!). Now this was my first observation - it comes out a lot more yellow than Sheer Glow on me, so necessitates more blending! It's not unwearable, but something to bear in mind if you're expecting to receive an identical shade.

The finish is not terribly matte, but leaves your skin looking nice and glowy. However, it will highlight any dry patches - as you can see, the areas on my skin where I have a few blemishes in the process of healing are quite visible as the foundation clings to them.

Now I need to be honest - I was really disappointed with this foundation at first. It's a risk you take with every purchase but when it's around £30, that's a pretty expensive mistake to make! I couldn't get it to work for me at all in the beginning - it applied weirdly over my usual primers, regardless of whether I used my fingers or a brush to apply. Despite having combination skin, it looked dry and parched whilst showing up every single pore! It also didn't seem to last very long on my skin and at this point I was tempted to sell it on and go back to using Sheer Glow. But I'm not a quitter, so I decided to experiment with different methods to see if I could get it to work for me.

First I started using a pump of All Day Luminous Weightless with a drop of Bobbi Brown Long Wear in an attempt to use it up and it began to look a little better on my skin, although still not the perfect finish I was hoping for. I also mixed up my primers a little bit, and tried applying more moisturiser, but it still didn't quite click.

Finally, I tried applying it alone over the new L'Oreal Infallible primer and immediately fell in love with it. It just seems to apply so much better over a primer with a bit more slip (I usually use matte primers) so if you're struggling to get it to work for you, try a silicone-based primer and see if it helps!

Longevity & Coverage

As with Sheer Glow, the All Day Luminous Weightless foundation lasts especially well when used over a primer and powdered down. I usually apply at 7am and it lasts through until my evening cleansing routine. In fact, recently I applied it at 7am and due to being out and about, didn't remove it until 10.30pm and it genuinely looked the same as when I first applied! Sometimes the redness around my nose will sneak through after a few hours, and I have noticed some transfer on my phone but not enough to completely obliterate the coverage on my face.

The coverage is where this  foundation performs especially well - it's on a par with Sheer Glow. I usually only need concealer under eyes and on very stubborn blemishes or around my nose. On good skin days I can get away with just this on my blemishes, without adding extra concealer.

Despite the claims of needing a single pump to cover your face, I definitely need more than one pump to achieve my desired coverage - I usually use two. I apply using my Zoeva brush, I don't get on with finger application at all as it's a very runny foundation and can cause a bit of a mess! It does feel weightless on the skin, although when I touch my face later in the day I can definitely feel there is product on there!

For the sake of the review I have taken a quite frankly terrifying close up of my face prior to application, followed by a snap of me wearing All Day Luminous Weightless, no concealer, no powder (but lashings of eye make up as I frequently do my eyes before the rest of my face).

Would I repurchase?

I think Sheer Glow just edges it for me but this is a very good alternative. Despite our issues at the start, it has become a staple in my routine now I've found the right primer for it. I can't really put my finger on why I prefer Sheer Glow, as there isn't a lot of difference between the two other than the runnier texture of All Day Luminous Weightless. I suppose if you have oilier skin or dislike the feel of foundation on your face, then ADLW would be best! In all honesty I am more likely to purchase Sheer Glow again before this one, but I'm glad to have it in my collection and can see myself wearing it on a daily basis for quite some time. It's my daily foundation at the moment and meets all my expectations now that I've cracked the best way to apply it!

NARS All Day Luminous Weightless foundation retails at £32, although I used an ASOS discount code to get 10% off mine!

Love Dani

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Spring & Summer at House of Fraser

Hi my loves,

Despite the fact I'm still bundled up in snuggly jumpers and over-knee boots (my fingers turning blue as I type this), I'm feeling rather hopeful that spring is just around the corner, ready to make an appearance any moment now!
Way, way back in November, the lovely team at House of Fraser invited me down to their spring and summer preview, to check out the new collections and trends prepped to hit stores about now! I was all set to post my thoughts back then but got caught up in the muted aesthetic that is winter fashion, and looking at images of brights and pastels just seemed a little alien to me at the time. Not so now! I've put together a selection of my favourite pieces, that I will certainly be keeping an eye on now spring fashion is hitting the shops...

Which are your favourites? Anything jumping out for you?

Love Dani

Wednesday, 4 March 2015

What I Wore #118 : Cambridge edition

Hello my loves,

For this post we are going to revisit Valentine's weekend, where I chose to forsake my long-suffering fiancé and the lure of the Lindt bear he bought (for himself...) to spend a weekend in Cambridge with my mum and sister.

I have always wanted to visit the big university cities - after spending my own higher education in Canterbury I felt like I would truly enjoy wandering cobbled streets and admiring charming old buildings - although I have to admit, part of the charm is stomping around in a billowing coat, pretending to stroll down the halls of Hogwarts... Thankfully Cambridge indulged me in all my uniformed education fantasies as I pranced around in some delightful new Primark purchases (budgeting bride here, remember?)

The skirt was a pre-Xmas purchase for an actual Harry-Potter-inspired birthday party, but it's so comfy I've made it part of my regular wardrobe. The coat was a gift from my lovely mummy after spying it on the sale rack for a tenner - it's the perfect lightweight spring coat, although it was still rather nippy when these photos were taken!

Can I just say how much I am loving the Bardot trend in tops and dresses these days? My ASOS wishlist is rapidly growing and when I spotted these ace tops/dresses in Primark for £5 I had to restrain myself from buying all of them. I can't promise a few more won't make their way into my collection...

Aside from exploring the university (with a sneaky detour to the Bridge of Sighs) and a surprise visit to the local MAC store (ostensibly to buy a gift for my sister's upcoming birthday, but I may have accidentally bought a lipstick too), we enjoyed the culinary side to Cambridge too. Much online research turned up the amazing Smokeworks where we gorged ourselves on pulled pork, ribs, fried chicken and sweet potato fries. Alas, it was too dark for proper photos but it by far rivalled any Southern BBQ dining I've experienced in London, all at rather welcome pricing!

We also experienced our first Bill's brunch which is a meal I would recommend to anyone who is yet to try it. I had the most amazing portion of Eggs Royale (with the ubiquitous side of avocado) and such a tasty green juice, while my mum and sister chose cooked breakfasts and polished them off in record time! It's almost enough to get me out of bed early on a weekend, I assure you!

I would definitely go back for a weekend, I feel like we didn't quite get around to seeing everything it had to offer! Also I was so not prepared for how many bikes there were - wow! Despite nearly getting run over multiple times, they did look rather picturesque when adorned in flowers - it gave the place quite a continental feel, I thought! Have you been to Cambridge?

Love Dani

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Fashion Week - Ong-Oaj Pairam AW15

Autumn & winter fashion has long been a favourite of mine - I'm always the first to whip out tights and snap up new boots as soon as the trees begin to show signs of dropping leaves. Dark and cold nights just seem to demand sumptuous fabrics, glistening metallics, duochrome shades and witchy lace. Ong-Oaj Pairam feels no different, it seems, as his stunning autumn/collection appealed to all of my senses - including smell with one of the most inventively scented invites I've ever seen! Fast becoming a favourite of mine, I could hardly contain my excitement when I was invited to attend his autumn/winter catwalk show as the Grand Connaught hotel last night.

Above are just some of my favourite looks, but in truth I could have happily shared all of them, I adored them all. The collection just brought together everything I enjoy about sumptuous autumnal dressing, but I also thought a lot of it was quite wearable, especially the more streamlined silhouettes and midi lengths - I only wish my work wardrobe could be half as elegant! Also my penchant for a nice faux fur coat has now trebled, especially given the chilly temperatures we're still experiencing in London...

Beauty-wise I had major hair envy, the 70s-inspired float ethereal curls were simply beautiful on every model. As a perennial red-lip-lover I fully appreciated this look and I can't lie, part of me kept thinking of Taylor Swift's current look as the aesthetic was very similar. Also pleased to see sharp brows worn throughout, I do appreciate a good brow!

I'll pop some of my other photos up on my Pinterest later as I was so pleased with my position, I sat right where the models came out so got a first glimpse of every look - what more can a girl ask for?

What do you think of these looks? Have you got any Fashion Week faves?

Love Dani

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

Mini review: MUA Undress Me Too palette

So I have recently become obsessed with an eye make up look I spotted on Pinterest a while back. Absolutely obsessed. The look in question is here and I have basically convinced myself it's the look I want for my wedding.

Trouble is, I cannot for the life of me uncover a tutorial or anything regarding the products used, so I sent out a distress call on Instagram the other day and the general consensus is it looks like the Naked 2 palette - or similar! As I am trying to save money here, I haven't been able to get my hands on the Naked 2 (I own 1 and 3, how typical it's the exact palette that isn't mine!) so quickly set about looking for a dupe.

This is why I love blogs - within seconds I had established that MUA do a very similar palette called Undress Me Too - for £4. FOUR POUNDS. A quick lunchtime jaunt to Superdrug later, it was mine.

On first glance it looks (and smells! If you know what I mean) cheap. I'm guessing because it is - who knew - but if you are a stickler for fancy packaging this could bother you. I'm absolutely not, so I got stuck into the shades. Your get 12 for your money, so that works out at something ridiculous like 33p per shade, and you know what, I'm quite happy with them for that price!

There is a lot of fall out when swiping or swatching, you can see a fair bit of eyeshadow dust in the images above, but again I wasn't overly distressed by this. The colour payoff varies from shade to shade - some require a bit of work or even a wet brush, but others are really, really lovely. I had read that these needed a primer for staying power but I use a primer on my eyes anyway, either a Zoeva one or a MAC Paint Pot depending on the look I'm going for. I particularly love the shimmery shades Wink and Corrupted but have also been using the matte Lavish (top row, second from right) on my brows as good for a neutral everyday look.

Pictured above is my first attempt which wasn't quite what I had in mind, but I felt it was a nice look nonetheless! Please ignore the untamed brow, I am growing them out...
I'm definitely going to need more practice - in fact, I'm tempted to take a photo of my dream look to a make up counter and try and get help that way!

I haven't done swatches for these but if you are that way inclined, may I direct you to the blogs that introduced me to this palette - particularly the Black Pearl blog which has a rather excellent comparison with the Naked 2! Find that here and also Beauty's Bad Habit has a lovely review as well!

Love Dani

Saturday, 7 February 2015

Review: NARS Sheer Glow foundation

I'm so late to this party. So late, there aren't even any inebriated stragglers left picking at the crisps and the host has passed out midway through tidying up. So late, I shouldn't even bother knocking on the door, I really ought to slink away as though I never meant to show up. But here I am, so let's get this review on the road!

For a very long time, NARS was one of those brands I coveted but never actually purchased. I would cover my hands in swatches every time I passed a Sephora, but never made it to the till (primarily because Luxembourg cosmetics are ridiculously expensive). Then, one day, they released a lip pencil with my name on it (literally, my last name!) so I bought it. And loved it. Since then, I've had a steady trickle of products making their way into my collection, courtesy of my sister and her enviable Sephora card (I now count the lip pencil in Luxembourg among my beauty hoard, as well as an eyeshadow palette and a single shadow).

Quite literally any beauty lover worth their salt has heard of the Sheer Glow foundation. It's a name I recall from my early days of beauty blog reading, and my favourite vlogger Tanya Burr mentions it in nearly every make up look I've watched. It has been the base of choice for my bestie Geo for some months now, but I was only converted at the end of November after an impromptu foundation swap. Geo promptly went out and purchased Bobbi Brown Long Wear after using mine, and I... well, I was conflicted. On the one hand, there was my self-imposed foundation ban. On the other, I couldn't get Sheer Glow out of my head.
My resolve lasted all of 24 hours. ASOS had a 20% off discount code running, they stocked a shade I thought might suit me... so I pressed the checkout button. Then promptly suffered two weeks of guilt and confliction while I waited for it to arrive (curse Christmas couriers).

I didn't even wait for daylight to test it, instead opting to wear it for that night's Christmas party. Straight away, the coverage impressed me - it covered blemishes and uneven skintone immediately, with only a dab of concealer needed under my eyes and on some particularly dark marks. As to longevity, it lasted incredibly well throughout that night, and lasts an entire working day (which, to be honest, is my only requirement in a foundation. Ain't nobody got time for touch ups!).

Despite the name, it isn't as glowy as YSL Touche Eclat (my usual go-to when suffering dullness), but the coverage is much better. The coverage even exceeds Bobbi Brown Long Wear in my opinion, but I only noticed this when switching up bases after two weeks of Nars on the trot. It genuinely doesn't feel like you are wearing a lot of make up, and in all honesty I find I don't need to use a lot to achieve good results - and I have dreadful skin! So if you have pretty decent skin to begin with you'll only need a dab of this! I have had some really stubborn blemishes recently and found I needed to keep going back with multiple layers of foundation when using a couple of others, but I only need one layer of Sheer Glow and a dab of concealer to finish.

The shade I chose is Deauville, and it's perfect for my winter skintone - for reference, I am NW15-NW20 in MAC shades, and BD40/B20 in YSL. I didn't swatch it before purchasing online, which is most unlike me, but for once the gamble paid off! They have so many shades though, I would recommend testing before you buy if you have a Nars counter near you. I can already foresee me purchasing another shade when the summer begins, and I would be lying if I said this wasn't with my wedding in mind... I love the foundation THAT much. I've been using it virtually non-stop since the 12th December so I feel I've had plenty of time to form an opinion!

If the above ramblings are simply too long for you, I'll summarise here:

- longwearing
- good coverage
- less glowy than the name suggests (but not completely matte)
- no pump (and if you add a pump it makes it difficult to travel with? Personally I haven't felt the need to add a pump though.)
- varied shade range
- feels light on the skin
- hasn't irritated my sensitive skin

I genuinely love this foundation and can see myself repurchasing again and again, my only regret is that I didn't buy it sooner!

Finally, because I always feel a foundation review is incomplete without proof, as it were... I leave you with a terrifying close-up of my face, sans base... and then with Sheer Glow applied (no concealer, no powder).

I feel like the proof is in the pudding, don't you?

Love Dani

Tuesday, 3 February 2015

Wedding: colour moodboard

Hi my loves,

Today I thought I'd share some of my ideas for our wedding colour scheme - for those of you uninterested in weddings, look away now! I have a bit of a ramble prepared...

I wouldn't say wedding planning is consuming me at the moment - with just under 7 months to go, I'm still feeling fairly relaxed! Our most pressing need is sorting some kind of invitation; as it falls on a bank holiday in August, we want to give our guests as much warning as possible. We have a few ideas floating around in terms of designs but can't really get started with anything until we have confirmed a schedule for the day with our venue. As such, I'm feeling a bit stuck at the moment as we've pretty much sorted everything else (!) so instead I have been busying myself with collecting decorations and little DIY projects!

I never really had a colour scheme in mind prior to booking our venue - although I was quite taken with the rainbow pastel idea for a time, then mismatched florals!- but upon seeing the farm decided it would suit something simple, yet effective. I am currently in the throes of a five-year-and-counting love affair with rose gold, as you may have noticed! If I recall correctly it began with my discovery of the Sleek blush way back when, and intensified when I began working in jewellery. After much perusing of Pinterest I hit upon the idea of combining soft pinks with hints of metallic copper and gold glitter, helped along by the copper trend emerging in homeware at the moment - it'll be a rose gold dream! I find Pinterest such an indispensable tool for inspiration at the moment, but I've also been trawling through clothing and homeware sites looking for bits and bobs to fit in with my ideas.

A lot of our decorations will be DIY - I'm planning a post dedicated to this somewhat closer to the day - but I've been collecting jars and bottles like they're going out of fashion, and armed with a few cans of gold and copper spray paint I'm fairly confident I can pull off some of the delightful table centrepieces I've seen along the way! I'm also planning on wearing gold sparkly shoes, have purchased rose gold jewellery for my lovely bridesmaids and am determined to find a method of incorporating the colour scheme into Jon's outfit (but ssh, he doesn't know it yet).In terms of make up I haven't quite decided yet but will try and incorporate the colour scheme somehow, just to keep it all tied together.

Above is just a selection of beautiful ideas I've collated on my Pinterest boards - I would love to hear your thoughts! Brides and brides-to-be (and indeed, anyone who has such thoughts about their wedding!)  - what colours are your favourite? How did you go about adding them into your day?

Much love,

Dani xoxo