Build-A-Blog Goodies: Miscellany*

Welcome back to the Great Goody Bag Trawl, 2014! Yesterday, we talked about the amazing workshop run by Antonia Mariconda, and the skincare goodies that I found in my goody bag. As a major skincare junkie, I was thrilled at the lovely face pampering products in the bag, but there were also loads of other things to play with, and today is the day to try them out!

Quick goody bag reminder:

beauty blogger goody bag popart glossybox

The Base Makeup

SONY DSC

Sadly, being the human equivalent of Casper the Friendly Ghost, the Beauty UK CC Cream and the Essence Soft and Natural Makeup were too dark for me, and I figured it’d be pretty unfair to show off a potentially great product by uploading a picture of me looking like Snooki. But be sure to follow me over on Twitter and I’ll retweet any reviews that my fellow workshoppers put up! Or, if you’d like to try them out yourself, give me a shout in the comments and I can send them to you.

However! The Rimmel Matte BB Cream in light was just about perfect for my skin, so I decided to give it a go. I’ve never tried a BB cream before, so was excited to try this one.

SONY DSC

This is me with absolutely no skin makeup on. I have fairly good skin, with no major breakouts, but as you can see, I have a pretty uneven skin tone, with red patches on my nose, forehead and cheeks, as well as shiny skin from worshipping at the altar of Dominos too much.

SONY DSC

This is me wearing the BB cream (and nothing else). I was pretty impressed with how much this evened out my colouring and generally brightened up my face. It also has SPF 15, which is a big, big plus for me – I pretty much never wear sunscreen, even though I know I’m going to end up with a face like Alex Salmond if I don’t start. To be honest, I’m not entirely convinced that BB creams aren’t just fancy tinted moisturisers, but either way, this would be great if you’re the kind of girl who likes a little coverage but doesn’t want the feeling of a face full of makeup.

self tanner

We were also gifted this Gorgeous Bronze self tanner, but due to aforementioned ghostiness, I decided that the medium/dark shade probably wouldn’t be very flattering on me. So again, keep an eye on my Twitter page, where I will be sure to retweet any reviews from my less pigmentally challenged friends. And if you guys would like to give this a go and tell me what you think, let me know down in the comments!

The Eyes

I’m a little nervous when it comes to eye makeup, I’ll be honest. Having deep set eyes means that a lot of the time, eye makeup will make me look like I’ve been punched in the face. But mascara is my absolute desert island must. I can take or leave foundation and lipstick most days, but you will seldom see me outside without a quick swipe of mascara, so I was excited to have not one, but two new mascaras to try out!

SONY DSC

In the name of science, and to avoid having more pictures of my face than absolutely necessary, I decided to try both mascaras at the same time and compare. In this photo, the So Susan Flutter Mascara is on the left and the Essence Lashes Go Wild is on the right.

This looks like the poster for some avant-garde theatre.

This looks like the poster for some avant-garde theatre.

I was actually glad that I put both on at the same time because I don’t think I’d have noticed the difference as much if I was looking at them separately, but looking at them side by side, it was obvious that the Lashes Go Wild gave me significantly more length and curl. Both mascaras went on beautifully, with no clumping and both are lovely and black. The So Susan Flutter mascara lives up to its name by giving you pretty, natural, fluttery eyelashes, but if you’re like me and like a little more oomph, I’d recommend the Lashes Go Wild mascara. Both products are also cruelty free, which is amazing for you animal lovers out there.

As well as the two mascaras, our goody bags also contained pretty eyeshadow duos from Essence in irresistible smoky eye.

SONY DSC

The palette contained two shades, a silvery-lavender highlight and a dark slate-grey shade, perfect for creating pretty smoky eyes. I had a bit of a heart attack when I saw the dark colours, but the shadows actually go on much softer than they look in the palette.

Swatches, dry.

Swatches, dry.

SONY DSC

Swatches, wet.

The shadows can either be applied as normal, or can be applied with a wet brush for more intense colour payoff. I applied the highlight all over my eyelid with a fluffy brush and then pressed the darker shade into my lashline and round the outer corner of my eye for a natural, girly look.

SONY DSC

The shadows were just dark enough to provide a bit of definition and bring out the green in my eyes, while avoiding that classic fist-in-the-face look. To my surprise, I actually really liked this palette.

The Nail Polishes

I am obsessed with my nails. I absolutely love painting them, and tend to let them grow until it becomes physically difficult to carry out everyday tasks before I cut them.

nail polish review

This is the Ciate´ London Paint Pot in talent scout and oh my lord I love it. I mean, do I even need to say anything? Look how great that colour is. It’s the quintessential Daphne from Mystery Inc purple, and what more do we really need in life? The nail varnish comes with a nice big brush (small nail varnish brushes are a serious pet peeve), meaning the full nail can be covered in three strokes. It dried quickly and only took two coats to hit a glossy opaque finish. Go buy this guys, seriously, it’s great.

nail polish review

This is the Essence Colour & Go Polish in snazzy pumpkin (I didn’t know that was the name of it until right this second and I’m so damn happy), and was I ready to hate it. I took one look at this bottle and got ready to write it off. I mean, who wants nails the colour of a traffic cone, right? Turns out that I DO, all day, every day, for the rest of my life. This colour, which looks hilarious in the bottle, is absolutely beautiful on. It manages to be simultaneously funky and pretty and looks totally kickass with pale Casper skin. It also took ONE COAT to be totally opaque, in comparison with my Nails Inc orange, which takes at least three or four. I am in love. My nails are so very, very happy with this goody bag.

The Perfume

Well, there was bound to be something in the gift bag that I didn’t like, and I’m sorry to say, dear readers, that we have reached that point. I’m gutted that I didn’t like the Yves Rocher Quelques Notes D’Amour, because it came in the most adorable tiny packaging I’ve ever seen in my life. And I am a sucker for tiny packaging. The blurb for this perfume claims that it will recreate the feeling of falling in love through sensuous rose and patchouli. For me? Not so much. This perfume reminded me a lot of Dior’s classic, Poison, which I’ve also never liked, so if you love Poison, it might be your dream come true! I did like the scent better the longer I wore it, it softened and lost it’s sharpness, and the woodiness started to come through, but I don’t think it’ll be becoming a regular on my dressing table. As if I have a dressing table and not an unorganised box in my wardrobe.

The Miscellany

There are a couple of products that haven’t gotten a shoutout yet, because I think they’ll need more than one use to get to know them properly, including a genuinely terrifying tongue scraper.

IMG_4224

So if there’s anything you’re curious about from the goody bag that I haven’t mentioned yet, do keep an eye on my Twitter page, where I’ll be sharing more of my thoughts as they happen. All in all, this was a bloody amazing goody bag, and has done a great job of introducing me to new brands that I think I’ll be investigating in the very near future (hello, Essence!). Very happy, very pampered, very lucky.

What’s the best goody bag you’ve ever gotten? Did you all know about Essence already and now think that I’m super-lame? Should I just man up and get a Glossybox subscription? Chat with me in the comments or at @EscapologistGl.

*I was gifted these products for the purposes of review. All opinions are completely my own and completely truthful – promise!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

The Broke Folks’ Guide To London: Fashion’s Night Out

This week saw the glamourous and gorgeous of London descend on the shopping district for a night of fun, fashion and freebies. Enjoy that alliteration, I did it just for you guys. That’s right, it was time for British Vogue’s Fashion’s Night Out.

At first glance, I might not seem like the best fit for Fashion’s Night Out.

Everything in my wardrobe is at least two years old.

The vast majority of photos on my phone are failed selfies, deemed too embarrassing to ever see the light of day.

And I’m so skint that my dad took pity on me and topped up my Oyster card for me last week.

But I do love a good night out, and I thought, why shouldn’t the broke girls of London be represented? Note: these people can smell poverty, they really can. But if you can hold your own in a little River Island dress among a sea of Chanel and Mulberry, and feel totally fine quaffing the free champagne and sailing purchaseless past cross security guards, go for it.

Problem number one: I had nothing to wear. I raided my wardrobe and decided that you can’t really go far wrong with a pretty dress.

Tah-dah! My pretty little dress.

Tah-dah! My pretty little dress.

I examined my outfit from every angle, only to be completely ignored by the majority of people I encountered. Seriously, even the flyerers didn’t see me half the time. They can sense the high street coming off me.

I called my driver and had him take me to Oxford Street.

My driver is so darn generous.

My driver is so darn generous.

SONY DSC

Yes, that is a portable Elemis spa. I seriously considered it, but figured that it would probably be unwise having spent the past 45 minutes carefully applying my face.

First stop on my whirlwind tour was Jo Malone, who were launching a new fragrance: Wood Sage & Sea Salt. I grabbed my first glass of bubbles and set about sampling as many gorgeous fragrances as I could.

SONY DSC SONY DSC

The new fragrance was lovely, but as predicted, failed to knock Peony & Blush Suede off the pedestal as my favourite of their scents. What surprised me though, was that I did find a perfume which did: Nectarine Blossom & Honey. I’m not usually a fan of honey scents, but this one was light and sweet without being cloying, and had me wandering around creepily sniffing my hand for the rest of the evening.

Having hung around sipping champagne and sniffing things for as long as I could without becoming suspicious, I headed to my next shop, my favourite of the evening: Space.NK Apothecary. Despite the River Island dress, I received a genuinely lovely, warm welcome, and the ladies on the door made me feel right at home straight away. By the time I got inside the shop, I had another glass of champagne in one hand and a stripy box of popcorn in the other. Excellent.

The range of glorious skincare on offer was heaven for a skincare junkie like me. Seriously, reading about other people’s skincare routines is like meditation to me – tell me what you put on your face! I did consider sneakily giving myself a full Eve Lom facial with all the testers, but decided that would probably be frowned upon. But I am so definitely heading back there for some goodies when I am less broke. They were also launching their beautiful new Silver Screen lipstick range, which they were showing off by giving glamourous femme fatale makeovers in the back of the shop. And they were running a lucky dip, which proved very lucky for me!

Such happiness.

Such happiness.

IMG_4085

I won a gorgeous Lipstick Queen lipstick in Sinner Red, a cool-toned Cruella red that made my eyes green like whoa.

Lipstick and swatch:

IMG_4106

Swatch on my face:

IMG_4113

This creamy lipstick packed one hell of a colour punch, with not a hint of shimmer in sight. This was a big plus: I have serious attitude problems when it comes to shimmery lipsticks. It also boasts awesome staying power, surviving a plate of risotto and two cups of tea after I got home. Can you feel the glamour?

Heading up Oxford Street, I came to House of Fraser, where the red carpet was well and truly rolled out. Here, the official Vogue Fashion’s Night Out cover shoot was taking place, complete with the chance to get your makeup done by YSL head makeup artist, Fred Letailleur and YSL goodie bags. This was an agonising decision, dear readers, because if I had gone for it, this would have been a very short blog post: the queue was all the way into the back of the shop. If anyone got one of the coveted YSL goodie bags, it would be great if you could tell me that what was in them wasn’t even that good. Slightly heartbroken, I gawked at the skills of the makeup artist for a while and then slunk away to continue my journey.

SONY DSC

I stopped off at Molton Brown, my favourite splurging site, to try out the new fragrance they were launching: Oudh Accord and Gold. The scent was a bit honey-y for me, so I wasn’t crazy about it, but the packaging is typically beautiful for Molton Brown, with gold flakes suspended all through the product. Also, they had macaroons, champagne with gold leaf and a super-friendly security guard, so I’m willing to forgive them.

Continuing down Regent Street, I passed shop after designer shop that looked more like nightclubs than shops. DJs, photographers, velvet roped queues, even live magic acts were on full display all the way down the street.

SONY DSC

I browsed J Crew, which had the best champagne, but also the snootiest assistants by far. I seriously considered buying something, just to show them up, but then figured that that was probably the point, so refrained. They were launching two new fragrances, and having read a lovely interview with Creative Director, Jenna Lyons, I decided to try them out. No. 57 is a unisex fragrance, and of the two, it was the one I preferred. It was woody and smoky, and very sexy, but still not a patch on my beloved Jo Malone. I wasn’t a fan of the No. 31, it reminded me of the sickly sweet body sprays you fog yourself with as a teen. But if you like sweet, flowery scents, you might be onto a winner.

SONY DSC

The accessories section was absolutely jumping, and I soon discovered that free gifts were being given away with every purchase. However, even the embellished hair ties and coasters were coming in at about £15, so again, I had to resist. Lots of shops were doing free gifts with purchases, so if you were a broke girl with a little bit of money, as opposed to a broke girl who actually doesn’t know if she’ll be able to buy food in a month, the evening could be very lucrative indeed.

Last on my trip was a little flurry of bath and body shops. I nipped into Crabtree and Evelyn, and immediately fell in love with their Wisteria scent. It smells so much like parma violets. I realise that I just said I didn’t like sweet floral scents, but I will always, always make an exception for parma violets.

SONY DSC

Right next door was L’Occitane, a longtime favourite of anyone with a nose. I feel like I’m not alone in saying that I’d buy up the entire shop in a heartbeat, but I particularly fell for the Jasmine & Bergamot range from their Grasse collection. This was the one time in the evening that I truly swithered over getting my purse out. It is absolutely gorgeous.

SONY DSC

Last up was a shop a bit closer to my price range, and my heart: Lush. At this point, things were starting to wind down, but after five glasses of champagne, I didn’t really mind that too much. I just had time to nip in and pick up a tub of their much-applauded Ultrabland cleanser. Only having used it once, I can’t really say what it’s going to do for my skin in the long run, but in the short term, I’m impressed. The waxy texture makes it loads of fun to use, and the oil base means that it melts makeup away with no scrubbing or scraping. It’s also super moisturising, making it one of the few cleansers I’ve used that doesn’t leave my face feeling tight. Just soft, glowing glowiness.

Haul for the evening:

  • Five glasses of champagne.
  • A macaroon.
  • A box of popcorn.
  • A cone of donuts.
  • A beautiful lipstick.
  • A snazzy new cleanser.

And all that for only £8. Not a bad night out for a broke girl. I did all this in two hours as well, so if you were more committed/wearing more comfortable shoes, there was loads more on offer.

Things I’m gutted I missed:

  • Topshop were doing glittery lips. I know I said I had attitude about shimmer, but straight up glitter? Bring it on. They looked amazing.
  • SOMEONE was giving out champagne ice lollies. If anyone knows who, do let me know.
  • Links London were doing fashion illustrations of their guests. I walked past just after 6 and foolishly thought that the queue was too big. This was only because I had not yet seen the queues to come. So beautiful, and a lovely keepsake.
  • The Radley dogs were in House of Fraser somewhere. There are photos of them all over Instagram. I just have no idea where they were. Curse you, enormous department store!

Would I do it again? Hell yes I would. It was loads of fun, and I got to do tons of research for when my broke-ness finally ends (no word yet on when that will happen). Who knows, maybe next year I’ll have enough money to go on a shopping spree. But for this year, I’ll take all the free champagne I can get.

It Was Acceptable In the Noughties

As previously discussed, I am not good at accomplishing little tasks that I can avoid. I put the pro in procrastination. This is how, 5 years after moving out, my teenage bedroom remains relatively untouched. Sure, the surfaces are all bare and shiny, but lurking just beneath lies a powerful undercurrent of teenage angst, circa 2004.

Oh yeah, this is where the magic happened. And by magic, I mean this is where I read all seven Harry Potter books

Oh yeah, this is where the magic happened. And by magic, I mean this is where I read all seven Harry Potter books

My mum seems to have finally realised that she could actually use that space for things if I moved all the shit I haven’t looked at in five years, and has started to insist that I clear out my drawers. Enlisting the help of the sister, I decided to tackle one such drawer last night.

When, upon opening said drawer, the first thing out of my mouth was “OMG SCRUNCHIES!”, I could tell that this was going to be a lot more fun than I had originally thought. Hilarity ensued. Cleaning out of drawers did not.

Obviously, having laid our hands on a load of scrunchies, the first thing to do was put our hair up in awesome early noughties styles.

We also found fairy wands. Because what teenage girl doesn't need two tiny plastic wands?

Bunches FTW. We also found fairy wands. Because what teenage girl doesn’t need two tiny plastic wands?

Suitably prepared, it was time to empty the drawer. In the drawer, we found:

All of the Miss Sporty and 17 Makeup

IMG_1909

I assume that at some point, I heard someone say you could use makeup to bring out the colour in your eyes, and took it quite literally. I can just imagine 15 year old me, with my train track braces and ill-advised blunt fringe, trowelling various shades of green onto my eyelid and reassuring myself that not only were glittery green eyes totally cool and sexy, but also completely school-appropriate.

The worst foundation in the world

I’m going to stick up for my teenage self here and assume that this was a freebie. As much as my early eyeshadow game left a lot to be desired, I’ve always been pretty good at the whole foundation thing. But get a load of this.

IMG_1911

Seriously, whose face is this colour? Can we stop manufacturing orange foundations and instead concentrate on developing colours that resemble what real women’s faces look like? Why are the only two foundation colours available white or orange? Get it together, makeup companies.

This very fetching hairnet. And sunglasses.

Photo on 06-02-2014 at 23.10 #2

Why do I own this?

The original iPod shuffle

Photo on 06-02-2014 at 23.12

Featuring such delights as Anastacia, Good Charlotte and the entire Les Miserables soundtrack (some things never change). I was the coolest cat in town with this little guy.

A battery that was probably seconds away from becoming sentient

Photo on 06-02-2014 at 23.11 #3

Okay, this is straight up dangerous. What makes a battery ooze? Is Sophie going to get superpowers from touching it?

A veritable plethora of disposable razors

Photo on 06-02-2014 at 23.13

I took this opportunity to bust out my lesser known alter ego, Edward Razorhands.

Literally all of the lipgloss in the world

IMG_1913

And these are only the ones that didn’t make it to uni with me. I loved me some lipgloss. The one in the pot with the tassle smelled pretty funky, I’ll be honest. But I think it always smelled like that. Maybe.

Photo on 06-02-2014 at 23.25

Pungent.

At this point, we realised it had gotten pretty late, so just scooped everything up, stuck it back in the drawer and vowed never to speak of it again.

And now, I can go back to employing the excellent doublethink that allows me to be exceptionally proud of a makeup drawer that looks like this…

Dat organisation.

Dat organisation.

…while completely ignoring the fact that I also own a drawer that, for all I know, could be the final resting place of Shergar.

God only knows what’s lurking in the rest of them…