Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Pretty little liars Aria Montgomery Fashion Edit

This week's fashion post focus is on Aria from Pretty Little Liars played by Lucy Hale. Aria's look is probably the most eclectic she blends rock, grunge, vintage and boho. Her look is quite quirky and unpredictable. She mixes and matches patterns, prints and textures with a lot of ethnic, geometric, animal shaped and vintage jewellery. Aria is very artistic and creative and this extends to her sense of style as she literally mixes prints and styles together that you wouldn't think should or would go together but somehow works (see photo no.1: tartan, stripes and spots?) Having lived in Iceland for a year her style developed from Avril Lavinge emo/goth with pink hair stripes into a more sophisticated style, adopting accessories influenced by other cultures (Navaho, Atzec, tribal) and her interest in old black and white films/film noir can be seen in the classic cuts she sometimes wears such as fifties style prom dresses and retro inspired looks (pictures 4 & 5) and vintage jewellery. She often wears skirts, dresses and boots and dark colours- plums, black, grey and browns and chooses the most unique accessories that are either vintage or from independent stores and jewellers. The first outfit I've created is more of an evening going out look and the second a daytime look.


Aria Montgomery Pretty Little Liars Lucy Hale evening edit


Abercrombie Fitch clothing
£29 -


Locket charm
£13 -

Pretty little liars Aria

Mini dress
£9.16 -

Dune high heel boots

Monday, 23 February 2015

Benefit Roller Lash Mascara Review

It's been a couple of years since Benefit launched a new mascara and the latest launch inevitably has plenty of hype. In an unprecedented move Benefit teamed up with Elle to include a sample version with this months Elle before the actual launch in March, a smart move Benefit hopes to get us hooked on their mascara (excuse the pun!)

Benefit Roller Lash is marketed as a 'super-curling and lifting mascara', and the name and packaging reflect this with the full sized tube designed with a wand brush cap shaped like a cute pink retro hair roller and hence the name Roller Lash mascara. The idea is that this mascara will give you such long lasting curled lashes that you can ditch the eye lash curlers (good news for lash curler haters or those just happy to eliminate a step in make up routine.)

So what makes this one different? Well it always seems to be all about the brush! The Roller Lash has a slightly curved plastic comb with uniquely designed 'Hook'n'roll' plastic bristles which lean diagonally upward to catch, lift and curl lashes Just to be clear the brush is a hard plastic/rubber comb.(see Benefit diagram on their box below)

Benefit's consumer panel survey tested this mascara on of 31 women. After 4 weeks of use
97% reported that it visibly lifts lashes, 87% said it gives long lasting curl 94% said their eyes looked more open. Firstly, Benefit 31 women? I'm sure that they could find many more women willing to test out a brand new Benefit mascara, hey I'm sure some would even go so far to give away their first born child for such an opportunity! I get that they would want to keep the results quiet for a while while they fix and improve the mascara before it gets launched but hey it wouldn't kill them to find an extra ten or twenty women to make the results more robust and representative for all us make up lovers out there.

So Does it work?
 I have very straight lashes so I'm an ideal candidate for this. I found that the slightly curved brush separated lashes effortlessly and with most curved brushes worth their salt it lifted the lashes as you swept the wand through them. I was however very impressed by how curled the lashes looked- it was much better than many other curling mascaras I've tried alone without curlers. This mascara can be built up but you do have to be a little careful the lashes don't end up spiky or spidery.

No Mascara

Benefit Rollerlash 3 coats no eye lash curlers

Benefit Rollerlash & Eye Lash Curlers

 If you compare my photos with Benefit on the left the 'So Straight lashes' picture looks like my photo with the mascara on! There are three reasons for this, firstly I have very straight lashes, secondly I don't think the camera was able to pick up how curly they were and thirdly I do  think that Benefit's pictures are a little unrealistic! The last photo using heated lash curlers looks more like the 'Dream Curl' pictured but in real life it looked like I was definitely wearing false lashes even though I wasn't. What I'm trying to say is that sometimes a lot of make up is needed to show up on camera that in real life would look a bit too much. Even so I've never seen my lashes like they are in the rollerlash & curler picture beofre, they did look amazing and would be great for a night out.

However for me the biggest test was whether the curl is long lasting as most seem to have only a temporary effect or the curl needs to be 'locked in' with lash curlers. I was pleasantly surprised that the curl did hold through the day and did not need to be locked down or boosted with an eyelash curler.

This mascara does a great job at lengthening lashes as well. Perhaps because of the small brush handle or plastic bristles when applying this mascara I had to be careful the mascara didn't smudge under my brow- but with the full sized longer handle this probably won't be the case. This is a wet formula which may also contribute to this, There were no smudges wearing this throughout the day. As a contact lens wearer, it's important to wear mascara that doesn't flake or irritate the eyes and I found Rollerlash didn't irritate or flake during the day. However this mascara isn't waterproof  and is only available in black. Overall I was really impressed with the results and found this mascara can give long lasting curled lashes that are almost as good as using curlers. During the daytime you can skip the lash curlers and just use this but for night time I would amp up the curl with the help of lash curlers.

Overall impression
I know that Benefit's previous mascaras are a bit like Marmite in that you either love them or hate them. I never got the hype with Bad Girl Lash mascara but loved They'll Real although lashes do feel  hard and crispy towards the end of the day. From reading other reviews of Rollerlash it seems even haters of They're Real love this mascara so it's definitely worth checking out. I'm super impressed by Rollerlash's long lasting curl. I think I would rate They're Real and Rollerlash as equally good, I think They're real has a little more volumne but Rollerlash has more curl. However the upshot is that I would definitely recommend this mascara. The full sized mascaras will be in the shops March 1st priced £18.50.

Have you tried this mascara? What did you think? Was it better than Benefit' They're Real Mascara in your opinion? Let me know in the comments below.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

Chinese New Year 2015 Beauty Buys

A new moon on Thursday February 19th marks the beginning of Chinese New Year. Although celebrations will probably take place over this weekend. Each year is named after one of the animals in the Chinese Zodiac calender and this year it is the Year Of the Goat (also known as Ram/Sheep). Those people born in the years 1955 (between 24th Jan 1955-11th Feb 1956) 1967 (9th Feb 1967- 29th Jan 1968) 1979 (28th Jan 1979-15th Feb 1980)  1991 (15th Feb 1991-3rd Feb 1992) are born under the sign of the goat, and are in good company with Nicole Kidman, Claire Danes and Julia Roberts born in these years. Characteristics held by those born in the year of the goat are that they're polite, calm, artistic and creative, dreamy, romantic, charming and can be worriers and sometimes vain! To discover what 'animal' you are see here.

Being half Chinese I often celebrate Chinese New Year, as a child I celebrated with my family and now I'm older with friends (who aren't Chinese but are happy to celebrate with me.)  Living
in London I often go to China town Soho to see the streets decorated, get deafened by the firecrackers (yes the Chinese invented gunpowder) and watch the Lion dance procession. This is a dance where two people (from martial art schools/Chinese guilds) are inside a costume of lion (think of a long flexible pantomime horse) the lion has to pluck the greens/lettuce hung on a pole outside one of the shops. The greens are tied together with a red envelope containing money and sometimes oranges.The "lion" will dance and approach the "greens" and "red envelope" like a curious cat, "eat the green" then "spit" it out and keep the "red envelope" which is the reward for the lion troupe. The lion dance is believed to bring good luck and fortune to the shop. Afterwards I'd have a meal with friends and family. This year I will probably just stay in with my mum and get a Chinese takeaway. Red envelopes containing money are often given to unmarried members of the family as a good luck present.

London- Soho-Chinatown UK

Chinese New Year is also an opportunity for all you make up fans out there to pick up pretty limited edition products. Although this year it seems luxury brands haven't embraced the Goat/ Ram as much as previous years of the horse and dragon, perhaps the Goat/Ram/Sheep seems less exciting in comparison.. Estee Lauder has launched a new blue, gold and white 'Year of the Goat' powder compact although it's priced at a rather expensive £125, however they have also brought back their Aries Zodiac compact which is a more affordable alternative at £38 (both exclusive to Harrods.) These compacts are stunning and if I had the money and space I could easily become a compact hoarder/obsessive!  Yves Saint Laurent have reissued their best selling couture eye shadow palette in No. 3 Afrique, a neutral palette of long wearing shadows. YSL have been savvy with their new design, with the red coloured enamel being considered lucky for Chinese New Year and romantic with hearts for Valentines day, potentially doubling sales. Swatches of this palette are available over at Jane Cunningham's British Beauty Blogger's post hereClarisonic have brought out a beautifully decorated Mia 3 Sonic Skin Cleansing System, a rotating brush to be used behind a face cloth to deep clean the skin. The Mia 3 comes with an extra brush head and gel cleanser. Unfortunately Clarisonic Mia 3 doesn't seem to be available in the UK yet- If I'm wrong please let me know in the comments.You can buy this online in the US (though I'm not sure if they will ship to the UK-its always worth a try) and Asia at various retailers. Online retailer Zazzle have some really pretty nail wraps, mainly by brand 'Minx' which was a nice surprise as I didn't realise they sold cosmetics!

Onto ingredients, goats milk is brilliant for sensitive skins due to the lactic acid maintaining a gentle pH balance preventing irritations. It's especially good for dry skin because the milk has a short strand protein structure that enables it to be easily absorbed into the skin. Goats milk is anti-inflammatory so removes redness and heals when applied to the skin. Yana Grammer, a marketing and product development consultant to the beauty industry says "It's refreshing to see modern brands now incorporating ancient beauty secrets into their products. Many brands are launching goat milk derived formulas that offer consumers countless anti ageing and skin softening benefits." Cult brand 
Kate Somerville Goat Milk cream also contains coconut and sweet almond to soothe and hydrate skin. Beauty Blogger Caroline Hirons who specialises in skincare recommends this for acne as wel,l see her post here. Chuckling Goats is a brand I'd never heard of before this post but it sounds amazing, experts in skin allergies such as as eczema, psoriasis, Rosacia and acne their Sensitive Skin Magic Lotion for Face, Body and Hands is for healing skin. It contains raw goats milk and probiotic kefir, hazelnut oil, rice bran oil and olive oil. It is free from any parabens, chemicals, dyes or perfumes and suitable for face and/or body. Since I have eczema I will be checking this out. The cute sheep shaped soap is unscented and made with goats milk from goats living in Aberdeenshire Scotland. All proceeds of the soap go to the Children's Adventure Farm Trust. The goats milk in the London Brush Company brush shampoo will cleanse and condition brushes (suitable for all brush hair types) while the tea tree is anti bacterial with a nice scent of lavender. 

Another ingredient Lanolin is a substance found in freshly shorn sheep wool and is naturally moisturising. Lanolips uses ultra pure medical grade lanolin to give lips moisture and a glossy look without stickiness. Lanolips lip ointment with colour contains SFP15 as well as giving colour to lips. It is animal cruelty free, dermatologically tested, vegetarian and baby friendly and fragrance free. It has won many awards including Marie Claire and Red Best of Beauty award 2010 and the Bazaar Beauty Hot 100 2013.

There you go- Kung Hei Fat Choi to you all! (translates as Happy Chinese New Year to you all!)

From Top
Estee Lauder Year Of the Goat Compact Harrods £120
Yves Saint Laurent Compact (closed and below open) Selfridges £48
Clarisonic Mia 3 Year of the Goat Sonic Skin Cleansing System Limited Edition Nordstrom £137
Estee Lauder Aries Zodiac Powder Compact Harrods £38
Nail art from L-R
Chinese Lanterns Minx Nail Art Zazzle £18.95
Year of The Sheep Ram Minx Nail Art Zazzle £18.85
2015 Chinese New Year Goat and Tree Nails Stickers Zazzle £18.95
Chang'e Flying to the Moon Minx Nail Wraps Zazzle £18.95
Lanolips Lip Ointment with Colour in Rose and Rubarb Waitrose £8.16
London Brush Company Lavender and Goats Milk Brush Shampoo Liberty £16
Sheep Soap The Gamrie Goat £6
Kate Somerville Goats Milk Cream Kate Somerville online $65
Sensitive Skin Magic Lotion for Face, Body and Hands Chuckling Goat £6.95

TOP photo credit :changes credit: <a href="">Lantern corpses</a> via <a href="">photopin</a> <a href="">(license)</a>

Monday, 16 February 2015

Pretty Little Liars Hanna Inspired Outfits

These are outfits I can imagine Hanna of PLL wearing (season 1-4 since Hanna's style in season 5 has become more '90s grunge.) The first look is a going out evening look that's sexy and fashionable while the second is more of a day look that could still be worn in the evening since it's smart and stylish. Hanna is played by Ashley Benson who plays 18 year old Hanna Marin although she is actually 26 in real life!

Photo Source here Ashley Benson 2012  JJ Duncan (Changes Made)

Dress Girl on Film Black Lace Insert Dress (front and back) Dorothy Perkins Now £27
Gold Filigree Tassel Earrings New Look Now £2
Gold tone Wrap Arm Cuff River Island £8
Shoes Red Herring Black Laser Cut High Shoe Boots Debenhams Now £31.50
Bag Alexander McQueen Al duca daosta Now £675

Dress French Connection Manhattan Bodycon Dress with Ring Detail in Colour Block ASOS £70
Earrings Dew Rope Style Hoops House Of Fraser £20
ASOS Double Bar Cuff Bracelet ASOS Now £8
Shoes KG Haze High Heeled Strappy Sandals House of Fraser £120
Bag Love Moschino Black Quilt Medium Shoulder Bag House of Fraser £145

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

3 Valentine's Day Dress Outfits

This is my first outfit post and I really enjoyed putting these looks together- although now I have discovered a bit of a fetish for Jenny Packham shoes! As for my favourite outfit-I'm torn between the Lace and the Red outfits. The best value buys are the Swarovski earrings down from £60 to £28, Jenny Packham Black lace heels down from £85 to £42, the Mooncolour Diamond encrusted bag at £15.90 and Dorothy Perkins's red dress both look much more expensive that they really are! Hope you like the outfits-which do you like best?

Dress Ax Paris Stone Lace Overlay Panel Midi Dress New Look £35
Shoes No.1 Jenny Packham Designer Black Lace High Court Shoes Debenhams Now £42.50
Bag Kelly Brook Black Metal Tab Lace Clutch New Look £19.99
Earrings Hanging Garden Metallic Chandelier Earrings Accessorize £12

Dress Little Mistress Striped Fit and Flare Dress Dorothy Perkinss Now £44.20
Bag Stone Glitter Baroque Cut Out Chelsea Bag New Look £12.99
Earrings Jasmine Floral Short Drop Earrings Accessorize £12
Shoes No. 1 Jenny Packham Designer Ivory Louella Jewel Bow Sandals Debenhams £85

Dress Red Embellished Cut Out Pencil Dress Dorothy Perkins Now £34
Earrings Krystal Swarovski Crystal Navette Drop Earrings ASOS now £28
Bag Mooncolour Luxury Crystal Shell Wallet Diamond Encrusted Evening Bag Amazon £15.90
Shoes Nine West Red Asvelia2 High Heels Court Shoes Debenhams Now £42
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