Spotted: Limited Collection Make Up

As much as I love a luxury cosmetic and tend to splurge on everyday items, sometimes I just want a quick fix with beauty. A season-appropriate nail shade, a new eye colour to try out, or a sought after everyday lip colour. And I can always have another lipgloss or balm… With this in mind I was a little bit over excited when I found the new Limited Collection make-up range in the beauty section at M&S recently.

You might have noticed the Owl eye palette that I chose as a Monday Must-Have recently was from Limited Collection, or perhaps your head was turned by the price – mine certainly was. I purchased a pink polish and nude lipgloss for £3.50 and £4.50 respectively and without any plastic induced guilt whatsoever. Always a bonus.

The packaging is sleek and minimal in transparent casing with white accents and the colours are suited to pretty much whatever you want them to be – there is everything from glitter pink, to understated nude when it comes to nails, plus a few fashion forward choices like emerald green and royal metallic blue, and the rest of the range embraces youthful trends with an undercurrent of M&S safe play – you won’t get pointed out and stared at for the wrong reasons in these colours. 🙂

In terms of quality, I found the polish a bit thin, requiring 3 coats, but it went on well and dried quickly. I absolutely love the gloss – it has a lovely texture, nice smell and builds from sheer and subtle to full on glossy lips.

Have you tried anything from the range? Go on, treat yourself 😉


DIY MakeUp – The Lady is a Vamp

This morning we’ve got another DIY tutorial for you and it’s just a little bit bold… I really wanted to try this as part of the looks we shot for the DIY tutorials, I really fell in love with the vampy looks I saw in the September issues and strong lips have been slowly creeping in for a couple of seasons now. The tricky bit is just how does the average girl pull it off? I think there’s no mistaking that this is a party look, so that’s how we staged it and it’s also one that perhaps darker skins are going to be more suited to wearing, therefore I hope you’ll welcome the lovely Mahj who leant us her fabulous pout for this look 🙂

Image Credit: Zoe Hodson. Makeup, Catherine from Ivy Clara Makeup.

Catherine from Ivy Clara, the makeup artist who glammed Mahj up, is going to talk us through how to create this look – take it away Catherine!

This year, dark lips featured a lot in the A/W collections of a number of design houses. Some of my favourite looks belonged to Gucci, Givenchy and Holly Fulton where dark, glossy lips were the ‘black’ cherry on the cake. I loved this look and stared in awe at the gothic-esque models with their pale skin and vampy look, but even as a makeup artist, have been a bit scared to try and pull this off on my own pout. I should not have doubted this gorgeous winter look. In my opinion it’s all about less is more. By that I mean a dark lip looks classy, but on an average girl like myself, to team it with a dark gothic eye as seen on the Givenchy catwalk, would definitely be too much. Being brave with makeup is more to do with being clever with makeup. Look in Vogue for ideas of course, (I am addicted to the magazine) but don’t assume that the looks you see can’t be transferred from the catwalk to the sidewalk! Think, ‘Maybe I could wear a bright pink lip but leave the orange eyeshaow out’ or as in the case today ‘Maybe I could actually wear a dark lip, but with a little warmth to the skin and a neutral eye…’ Here goes ladies. The makeup for Holly Fulton’s collection, in my opinion, was one of the most wearable, and inspired me for Mahj’s look.

For this look, I created a matte, flawless base, lightly bronzed. Eyes were highlighted with gold to create a really ‘expensive’ finish. The black element was added to the eyes only by lashings of jet black mascara and lips were a sumptuous glossy shade resembling black cherries.

1. Create a flawless base by applying a medium coverage foundation strating at the centre of the face and blending outwards. Skin coverage is needed mostly in the centre of the face so this method ensures that skin is not over loaded with product. Next, apply a concealer such as Laura Mercier’s ‘Secret Camouflage’ under the eyes and pat with your ring finger (the finger with the lightest touch,) or lightly buff with a fluffy brush like the Mac 224. Mahj’s facial skin is flawless and creamy in colour which worked well with this ‘vampesque’ look. A subtle ‘warmth’ was added by sweeping bronzer lightly across the forehead, bridge of the nose, cheekbones and chin. I used Daniel Sandler’s Mineral Bronzing Powder. This helps to soften a winter complexion.

Image Credit: Zoe Hodson. Makeup, Catherine from Ivy Clara Makeup.

2. For the eyes I began by sweeping a light gold irredescent eyeshadow all over the lid and ended just above the socket line. I took this colour right into the corner of the eyes to highlight them. I used L’Oreal La Couleur Infallible Eyeshadow in ‘Goldmine’.

3. To create socket definition, I then applied a rich bronze to the outer socket line and buffed this into the gold base underneath. For this, I used Illamasqua Pure Pigment in ‘Rich Russet Bronze’.

Image Credit: Zoe Hodson. Makeup, Catherine from Ivy Clara Makeup.

4. I then added a soft brown line along the upper and lower lash line with Mac’s ‘Espresso’ Matte Eyeshadow to create definition. This finish created a look a lot less harsh than a black eyeliner would have.

5. I then lightly combed through Mahj’s eyeborows with Mac’s Brow Set in ‘Beguile’ to create a groomed look without being too harsh.

6. Next I tackled the lips. I didn’t use a lip pencil as I wanted to ensure the line created was the same colour as the lipstick. These days, a good lipstick does not ‘bleed’ and their formulations lend themselves to being used in this way. It also saves you having to buy a lip liner in various different colours – especially if you are only experimenting! I used a fine lip brush with short strokes until I had taken the line around the entire lips. You can then go over again until you are happy with the lip shape. Don’t attempt to draw a solid line without stopping, this will more often than not look wonky! The product I chose to use was ‘Rouge Interdit – Lune Carmin Lipstick No 52’ by Givenchy.

Image Credit: Zoe Hodson. Makeup, Catherine from Ivy Clara Makeup.

7. At this point I should add that even makeup artists can make the odd mistake, especially with such pigmented colour! Clean up any mistakes with your concealer brush and a spot of concealer. Next fill the lips in with the same colour and blot before re-applying.

8. This could be the last step for the lips but I really wanted Mahj to have a glossy lip to create even more glamour. I added a thin layer of gloss in a similar colour over the entire lips. To create this I used a gloss by the same Givenchy range which compliments the base colour, ‘Gloss Interdit – Lune Carmin Lip Gloss No 31’.

Image Credit: Zoe Hodson. Makeup, Catherine from Ivy Clara Makeup.

9. To finish the look I added lashings of black mascara, tipping my hat to Givenchy but avoiding a run in with Dracula.

I think this is such a strong look, but it’s also a grown up one. I love seeing women who aren’t afraid to play with makeup and are no longer wearing it so everyone thinks they look ‘pretty’ – men included, but because they love it. This is what this look is about for me. I’ll be wearing it come the festive season with loose curls and sparkles 🙂 Thank you so much Mahj, Zoe Hodson and Catherine for showing us how it’s done!

I’d love to hear what you think of this look – is it something you do or don’t like, or have we made you consider trying something new?


PS. I have posted this in the comments below, but as a few of you have been asking for advice on shades for paler skins here is a twit pic of me wearing the same look. Catherine will pop by later to give advice on other shades too. xo

Florence’s Christmas Gift Guide #1

Ok ladies, without wishing to strike the fear of God (or Christmas Shopping) into you all, it’s 5 and a half weeks to Christmas and that means it’s time to turn our attention to gifts.

I’ve been purposely putting off gift guides not wanting to engage in starting the ‘Christmas Fear’ too early this year but you know what, I haven’t bought a single present yet so this is as much a guide for me as you!

I know as I’ve got older (read ‘busier with more presents to buy’) Christmas shopping has become less of an enjoyable thing to do and more a chore to tick off. Of course there are still people I love shopping for, but many of my friends and family are so darn difficult it just becomes an added stress and pressure. The idea of these guides is that you get to find some little gems that perhaps your friends won’t have seen before and as a result you get bonus gift-buying points! They’re all available online too to make life even easier. 🙂

I’m starting with an easy one… finds for beauty queens and some retro style gifts.

  • I always try and get something limited edition for friends who are addicted to make up and it’s always such a treat to recieve so goes down well with any woman in your life. I love this Laura Mercier Face Illuminator (Limited edition) – Rose Rendezvous £31
  • Wipe clean make-up bags are an essential for travelling and organisation but not often as pretty as this Key-Per Triple Pouch, from Fossil – £35
  • New make-up brushes are always good for a beauty queen and this set from Marks and Spencers covers all the basics for a bargain £15. Try Mac for more specialist shapes.
  • We all have lots of basics in our make-up bag but sometimes don’t splash out on the real McCoy when we’re on a budget. Why not upgrade your friends trusty essentials to the top of the range brands? For the last word in lash curling get the Shu Uemura Eyelash Curlers or for brows, these Tweezerman for Benefit slant tweezers.
  • Got a friend who always has perfect nails? Update her nail wardrobe with the Nails Inc Heavy Metals collection – bang on trend metallics for party nails – £25
  • Everyone knows someone who’s addicted to lipgloss and this set has a good range of wearable colours in a cute gift box. Ticket to Glossy Town, Benefit – £19.50

Have you spotted something here that you know someone will love or are you cheating and compiling your own Christmas list?

Is there something you would like to see Florence’s gift guide cover to help your Christmas shopping? Drop me a comment below and I’ll see what I can do!


DIY MakeUp – 70’s Caramels


Apologies for the lack of variation today! Not only did this turn into a mammoth post, but there has been some difficulty behind the scenes for the last 2 days and while I’m working with the hosting company to get things sorted, this was the easiest way of making sure you all got your twice daily fix 🙂

Ok, so we’re back to share the actual how-to for the gorgeous look Laura was sporting in this morning’s post. This tutorial is based around the caramel and bronze look made famous by Farrah Fawcett in the 1970’s. Let’s get going with Catherine’s step by step how-to…

1. To create a matte yet natural base begin by applying a natural semi matte foundation to the face. Start at the t-zone with the product and blend outwards towards the hair and jaw line. Use the foundation brush to then sweep over the eyelids to eye to even the colour of the lids and act as a primer for eye shadow.

2. Next, to brighten the under eye area, apply a light reflective concealer such as Yves Saint Lauren Touche Eclat using a fluffy brush to buff into the delicate skin. Using this form of application will prevent the product lying in any fine lines.

3 & 4. Use a natural bronzer and apply to the skin where the sun would hit you naturally, the top of the forehead, bridge of nose, top of cheeks and chin. Close your eyes and sweep the brush over the eye lids to enhance the sunkissed look. Daniel Sandler’s bronzer is one of my farourites as it is has a natural finish and is not orange in the slightest. It also has two shades which I find fantastic for contouring the skin. Apply the bronzer in light, sweeping motions with a large fluffy brush.

5. Next, apply a light shimmery eyeshadow such as ‘Naked Lunch’ by Mac to the whole lid. Patting the eyeshadow as opposed to sweeping will give it longer staying power.
6. Apply a metallic bronze colour, such as ‘Woodwinked’ by Mac, into the socket line and buff any harsh lines using a fluffy brush like the Mac 224.
7 & 8. Fill in the brows using a matte eyeshadow. I reccomend buying a light brown and dark brown shadow which you can then mix to create the perfect colour and intensity for you. Use a slanted brush and light upward strokes for a natural finish.

9 & 10. To add a healthy flush of colour to the face, lightly apply a peachy toned blusher onto the fleshy part of your cheeks. I used Laura Mercier Second Skin Cheek Colour in ‘Lush Nectarine’. It helps to smile while you do this!
11. Next, apply coating of black mascara, but keep the look light and clump free. I love L’Oreal ‘Million Lashes’ mascara as the brush has fine teeth to create a totally clump free finish.
12. To finish the look apply a shimmery nude gloss to the lips which will keep the look natural while adding fullness. I particulary love Laura Mercier Lip Glacé in ‘Bare Peach’.

And here’s the finished result… Catherine very deftly added some ‘Farrah Flicks’ to complement the makeup and even if I do say so myself, I’m loving this look, particularly on Laura. Even Harry the Guinea Pig couldn’t help himself getting in on the act… his coat was too good a colour match to resist. 😉

With Thanks to:
Catherine, (Ivy Clara makeup) – go check out her work if you’re in need of a make-up artist for anything from make-up lesson parties to events or of course bridal – she’s a star.
Photography – Zoe Hodson
my friend Laura,
…and of course, Harry the Guinea Pig for guest starring!

Drop us all a comment in the box below if you’ll be trying the 70’s caramel look, or if you’re already a fan…


PS Look out for more make-up tutorials coming in future – and if there’s something you would like to recreate, then please drop me a line on and I’ll see what my superstar team can do!

PPS. No animals were harmed in the making of this tutorial. 😉

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