Friday, 24 February 2012

GUEST POST: 'The Healing Power of Makeup' by Jackie Clark

I was recently contacted by a lady named Jackie who asked if I allowed guest posts on my blog. Jackie is an outreach worker for the Mesothelioma Cancer Alliance and I think her message is very important.

Without wanting to get too personal, cancer (though not Mesothelioma) has affected people that I know and love very much and it is probably my greatest fear. 

Recently, somebody I know was diagnosed with cancer; a young, vibrant mother of three young children. Whilst undergoing treatment she lost her hair, her eyelashes and her eyebrows; when you're already going through something so traumatic, to lose something which has previously been your identity is immensely hard and that is the reason why I decided I would gladly allow Jackie's message to be spread via my blog.

I hope you are as touched by it as I am. If you wish to contact Jackie, you can find her on Twitter @jakieClrk.

The Healing Power of Makeup
By: Jackie Clark

It simple really but makeup consists of a bit of pigment that's mixed with powders or liquids; however, the effects it has on women can be profound. According to the Makeup & Cosmetics website, research is beginning to show that women facing challenges such as a mesothelioma cancer prognosis can benefit in tangible ways from regularly wearing makeup. Feeling beautiful again helps a woman feel in control, which aids the healing process and allows a woman to feel fabulous while doing so.
Makeup and Imagination

As anyone who has done a little theater can attest, makeup has the ability to transform a face from light to dark, make noses smaller and eyes look bigger. It also plays a key role in character development; the more an actor looks like the character, the more likely he or she will act the part. This distinction has some real life applications. For those who may not feel so great physically or who are dealing with emotional setbacks, makeup can do wonders. A woman who looks beautiful and healthy will very often begin to act beautiful and healthy. What the mind focuses on is what it moves toward.
Providing Routine

Creating a normal routine is one of the main recommendations to obey by when it comes to dealing with the difficulties in life that cause people to feel trauma. The process of putting on makeup and other grooming tasks are part of the daily routine that most people take for granted. However, by taking the time to pamper yourself and look great can be enormously helpful in treating illness by heightening your self-confidence. This simple act provides a sharp, but welcoming contrast to necessary outings to doctors or other health care professionals and look fabulous while doing it.

As any woman knows, there are activities that are related to putting on makeup, but don't deal with makeup directly. These include activities like taking a leisurely bath, trying out different perfumes or giving oneself a facial. These activities will contribute to a woman's sense of well-being and will potentially help her to de-stress; this counts as another important recommendation that a person facing physical challenges will get from their doctors or mental health care workers. These simple acts are the steps that women can take as she prepares her face and mind for wearing makeup and should not be avoided. They're all part of the healing process.

Makeup is for every woman. It makes a healthy woman feel confident, and it also assists a woman who is facing physical challenges or illnesses to feel better about herself and become more optimistic. As such, it should be considered a necessary part of any cancer treatment regime or mental health program. As the L'Oreal Skin Science website states, “Cosmetics do more than embellish the outside. It also stimulates what is within.” Go out and live a beautiful life inside and out regardless of what obstacles you may be facing. The road to recovery will be so much more fun while looking sexy, fabulous and beautiful!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

REVIEW: Real Techniques Brushes

As you may remember, I picked up some Real Techniques brushes at IMATS earlier this month and now that I've had a chance to use them all, I thought it was time for a review.

Designed to create a 'pixel-perfect' finish, Real Techniques brushes are made from hand-cut Taklon bristles, are cruelty free and labelled and colour coded for ease of use. Oh and they were designed by professional makeup artist Samantha Chapman (aka one half of YouTube sensation Pixiwoo).

I purchased the Core Collection and the much talked about Stippling brush. The Core collection includes: contour brush, pointed foundation brush, detailer brush and buffing brush.

Now I'll get into individual reviews of each brushes a little further down (it's going to be a long one so grab a creme egg and settle in [I've eaten two creme eggs since writing this - somebody save me from myself]) but I want to do a quick overview of the pros and cons first.

  • The bristles are good quality: they're sturdy but not scratchy as I've seen a few people say
  • They wash well: cleaning brushes is something I am very, very fussy about and the RT brushes wash and dry well and as yet, I have witnessed no shedding
  • They're a very reasonable price: the Core Collection retails for £21.99 (in Boots) for four brushes which is approximately £5.50 per brush whilst the Stippling Brush comes in at £10.99. Compare to other brushes on the market and you'll find RT are the best price for their quality
  • The labelling: not something that benefits me personally as a makeup artist (I'll get onto that at the end) but for someone starting to develop an interest in makeup it's a great idea.
  • They're synthetic: synthetic brushes are generally better at applying cream products.
  • The design: I find them bulky - they're not heavy or awkward to hold, they're just different and I don't prefer them to the slimline/tapered brush handles I'm used to. Also, the self-standing base comes across as gimmicky, I don't stand my brushes up nor do I wish to. The case is a good addition but the design means you wouldn't fit them in a standard brush roll.
  • They're in sets: if I had the choice, I would have just bought the Buffing brush from the Core collection as it would be the brush I'm more likely to use - this isn't an option however. Now more brushes is not something to complain about I know but I'd like the option to be able to buy them individually.

So there's my quick overview on the pros and cons, I have a few more general points to make at the end but for now, here are individual brush reviews.

Contour Brush: the contour brush is smaller than it looks so it provides more precision in application. It's brilliant for really getting into the hollow of the cheekbone to create a realistic looking contour and it also works well for highlighting.

Pointed Foundation Brush: probably the brush I'm least likely to use. It's tiny! For that reason I would only use it on certain areas of the face (around the nose for example) rather than the whole face.

Detailer Brush: a nice sturdy little brush that I will use for concealer rather than lips even though I think it would be a decent enough lip brush. It serves its purpose, would I have bought it on its own? Probably not. Was it an added bonus? I'd say yes.

Buffing Brush: my favourite of the set. I've used the buffing brush to apply my foundation and whilst I liked the finish it gave and how quick it made the application, I also found it used a bit too much product and sometimes looked a little too heavy as a result. Since then I've been using it just to buff foundation in (after I've applied it either with the stippling brush or my fingers) and it gives a flawless finish. Vice versa, if you apply your foundation with the buffing brush, using the stippling brush to buff the product into the skin creates an equally beautiful finish.

Stippling Brush: I personally love a stippling brush. The bristles are short and densely packed which I love, I prefer the tension this creates and therefore the finish you get with it as you're able to really work the product into the skin. The stippling brush beautifully applies both foundation and cream blush/bronzer/highlight. I've been using it to both apply my foundation or to blend foundation applied with the buffing brush and I love the finish, they two brushes are very complimentary to one another.

Overall, I do like the Real Techniques brushes and I would say that if you're looking for a set of brushes that are both good quality and affordable you can't go far wrong.

I hope this was somewhat helpful to anyone considering buying the Real Techniques brushes. If you have any questions about them or comments, please leave them below and I'll get back to you as soon as I can.

Vicky xoxo

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Kiss it Better with Clinique

Clinique have once again teamed up with the Great Ormond Street Hospital charity (GOSH) for their Kiss it Better campaign which raises money for children with cancer.

I'll be honest - until I was browsing the Clinique website this evening I was unaware of this charity and because of that, I'm going to give you a few details about the Kiss it Better appeal.

A few facts:

  • Children's cancer is the highest cause of childhood mortality outside of accidental death
  • One in every 500 children under the age of 15 will develop childhood cancer which equates to approximately 1500 new cases of childhood cancer each year
  • Great Ormond Street treat 1 in every 8 children in the UK with cancer
  • Money raised by Kiss it Better will fund specialist nurses who will help enable more children to participate in clinical trials which seek to cure cancer.

Clinique have teamed up with Kiss it Better to launch the beautiful limited edition set I have posted at the top of the page. The set retails at £25 and 50% (£12.50) from all sets sold via and £6.50 from all kits sold at House of Fraser stores nationwide during the month of February will go directly to GOSH/the Kiss it Better campaign.
Also during the month of February, Clinique and House of Fraser will donate a combined £2 for every lipstick and lipgloss purchased in House of Fraser.

click the picture to see how you can help the Kiss it Better campaign.
This isn't the sort of post I would normally do but I was touched after discovering it and I will be heading off to House of Fraser this week to purchase my Kiss it Better kit.

Let's all join forces to give kids cancer the kiss off!

Vicky xoxo

Saturday, 11 February 2012


After flicking through my countless baking books searching for something to bake, I was struck by inspiration whilst out shopping and decided my challenge would be to make profiteroles and here are the results :)

Have a lovely weekend!

Vicky xoxo

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

[CLOSED} 50 Followers MAC Lipstick Giveaway!

I hit 50 followers this weekend and to say thank you for your support I decided to do a quick MAC giveaway. The winner will receive the MAC lipstick of their choice - please no Limited Edition shades.

The giveaway will be open until midnight on Wednesday 29th Feb 2012.

Rules and how to enter:
  • You must follow my blog
  • For one entry leave a comment below saying 'Enter Me' and the MAC lipstick you want if you win
  • For two entries, share this giveaway on your blog
  • EDIT: Forgot to add, please also leave an email address so I can contact the winner :) x
  • The giveaway is open internationally and I will ship worldwide
  • If you're under 16 please get permission from someone at home
  • Enjoy :)

Vicky xoxo

Monday, 6 February 2012

IMATS London 2012 Pro Evening

As a professional makeup artist I was fortunate enough to be invited to attend the pro evening at IMATS on Friday.

I'd never been to IMATS before so I was exceptionally excited to have been invited to attend, not only for free but also a day before the exhibition opened to the general public meaning the crowds were at a bare minimum. Having worked at exhibitions before I'm very aware of just how busy they can be and I've heard IMATS weekend can be even busier!

The event ran from 2pm to 7pm and I arrived at around 3pm and stayed for about an hour which gave me more than enough time to browse all of the exhibitors and pick up the pieces I wanted. The event itself was quite quiet when I was there, there were a few talks held but I missed most of them - I had plans for Friday evening so I couldn't stay until the end and I was worried the snow would arrive and I'd be stuck at Ally Pally!

Here's a look at what I bought...


L-to-R: Bioderma Crealine H2O, Real Techniques Core Collection, Real Techniques Stippling Brush, Embryolisse.

Bioderma Crealine H2O - I picked this up from the Guru Makeup Emporium stand and I've used it every day since. It is absolutely brilliant and so far it's the only thing I've found that completely removes Benefit They're Real! mascara.

Embryolisse Lait-Creme Concentre - I've been meaning to pick some of this up for ages but I couldn't find anywhere that stocked in so when I saw it on the Embryolisse stand I pounced! I've used it a few times since Friday and it's a beautiful moisturiser. 

Real Techniques Core Collection (contains - contour brush, angled foundation brush, detailer brush, buffing brush) - apologies for the dirty buffing brush; I used it this morning and have used it since Friday and I really like it. I love how it creates a truly flawless base. I've yet to wash it so I don't know how it washes and I haven't used the other brushes yet so I can't comment on them either.

Real Techniques Stippling Brush - I've yet to try this but it feels beautiful! The bristles are really dense and stable.

Illamasqua Kabuki - I've had my eye on this for so long yet even with my pro discount I've felt unable to justify the price so when I saw it was only £10 at IMATS I practically sprinted to the till!

Eve Pearl Black Eyelash Adhesive - I'm yet to try this but I've wanted a black eyelash glue for a while and as this was £4, I couldn't resist.


NYX Lip Liners (L-toR; top to bottom) - Fuschia, Pale Pink, Plush Red, Rose.
Lovely lip liners and beautifully pigmented, I wore Plush Red on Friday night along with another product I bought at IMATS at it lasted all night despite drinking/eating. 

NYX Jumbo Pencil - Milk

NYX - Condealer in a Jar (Green)

NYX - Glitter in Disco Ball

NYX - Salon Formula Nail Polish in 215 Multi Glitter

OCC Lip Tar (L-to-R) - Pagent, Harlot, Memento.
These little beauties pack a serious punch, they're super pigmented and you only need the tiniest amount of product. I wore Harlot out on Friday night over the NYX pencil and it did not budge. Amaze!

Did you attend IMATS this year? What did you think/buy?

Vicky xoxo

Thursday, 2 February 2012

TAG: Nail Polish

I saw this tag on xbonjourbelle earlier and fancied giving it a go. If you would like to do this tag then I tag you all - please leave your post in the comments so I can read it :)

 credit: weheartit

1. What is your favourite nail polish company?
I have a few; for high end I love OPI and Nails Inc and when it comes to High Street brands I really like Barry M and Rimmel. Illamasqua also make divine nail polish.

2. Glitter or no glitter?
Glitter all the way!

3. OPI, China Glaze or Essie?
OPI. China Glaze are a bit hit and miss for me and I'm yet to try Essie.

4. When do you change your nail polish?
Usually as soon as it chips! I do tend to get bored quite quickly and depending on my mood and the time I have available I can go from changing it every day to leaving it for a week!

5. What is your favourite colour on your nails?
This changes all the time - one colour I always return to though is OPI 'Lincoln Park After Dark', it's such a staple.

6. Darks or brights?
Both! I love a really deep, dark nail polish but I also love bright orange or neon pink. I don't bother with seasonal colours either - if I want to wear black in summer and teal in winter, I will!

7. What are you wearing on your nails right at this moment?
Nubar - Knight's Armour

8. Matte nails: in or out?
I like them so in!

9. French Manicure?
Love a French manicure! It's picked up a bit of a bad rep over the past few years for being tacky but I still don't think you can beat a classic French manicure.

10. Favourite Winter Colour?
OPI 'Lincoln Park After Dark', 'Russian Navy', Chanel 'Rouge Noir'.
As I mentioned at the start, I tag you all :)
Hope you have a lovely weekend!
Vicky xoxo

NOTD: Double Decker Red

I love a good red nail polish as much as I love a classic red lip and Rimmel Double Decker Red is without a doubt one of my favourite reds! It's opaque after just one coat and it's just the right shade.

On a different note - I'm going to IMATS tomorrow to the Pro event and I am SOOOO excited. I've never been to IMATS before and I really can't wait to have a browse and spend some money so expect a few posts on that in the coming days - I may even try to vlog but don't hold me to it!

Have a lovely day!

Vicky xoxo