Saturday, 11 February 2017

Lancome Cils Booster XL: REVIEW!

How would you feel about a £50 mascara? Well inadvertently I seem to have been trapped into this.

I've always LOVED Lancome Hypnose. I loved Hypnose Drama too but nothing beat Hypnose for every day voluminous, soft, fluttery, dark lashes. However, perhaps due to ageing or perhaps due to wearing it for intense gym workouts (I like to think, the latter) - my mascara had not been holding up. A primer was therefore in order, as sacrificing Lancome Hypnose seemed untenable after so many years of loyal service.

For a while I'd been using L'Oreal Beauty Tubes mascara (red and white packaging) which did the job but didn't seem to maximise the Hypnose potential. After being recommended the Lancome version, and reading amazing reviews, I decided to try it. At £23.50, it's the same price as their mascara. And at a measly 5.2g, it's less than the portion of primer given in the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes mascara.

Part of me wanted to dismiss the Lancome instantly. After all, L'Oreal owns Lancome, so I hoped it was just the "same" product in sleeker packaging. The L'Oreal Beauty Tubes did its job after all. But having fianlly tried it, well, let me just say, my Beauty Tubes mascara is now in the bin.

The Lancome primer makes it look like your lashes have multiplied; a host of secret lashes seem to reveal themselves from some hidden depth. A coat of luscious thick lashes emerge once the mascara is layered on this primer. At first opening Lancome Cils Booster XL, my wand was utterly dry and I wondered if I'd received a defective or dried out product? But I swirled the wand and applied. The formula is white as with L'Oreal Beauty Tubes, however, the texture is far smoother and doesn't have the visible fibre strings that the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes has. It must be noted that L'Oreal Beauty Tubes only claims to be lengthening, and it is, but lashes (unless independently blessed) become long, thin and spindly and even a little gritty up close. The Lancome somehow lengthens and volumises. Perhaps the L'Oreal Beauty Tubes actually lengthens more than the Lancome, now that I think about it, but for me, volume is the most important. Using this primer is like applying my Hypnose 4 times layered. In some ways, this can arguably be said to economise on your mascara usage! The picture below is after only one coat of Lancome Hypnose over the primer.

I do wonder if others have found a magic formula layering two drugstore mascaras to get the same effect for less than half a ton. I never thought I would be prepared for a two step mascara process, let alone devote even more expense than simply using a high end mascara. I am wondering if this Lancome is so magical as to make any (even lacklustre, perhaps even a previously dismissed drugstore) mascara work miracles. I literally look like I've had lash extensions when I wear this Lancome Cils Booster XL with my Lancome Hypnose.

Sadly (and with the caveat that it mustn't dry out/ run out too quickly) this is now an absolute a must-have.

 L'Oreal Beauty Tubes base - notice the somewhat 'gritty' and spindly fibres

 Lancome primer - smooth, and doesn't look like much...

...BAM! Where did all those lashes come from?! A lustrous carpet of lashes

Lancome Hypnose over L'oreal Beauty Tubes. Lovely and natural long lashes, but no wow factor and no dramatic thickness. I can't return to this now!

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Penhaligons Portrait Collection Cocktails and The Coveted Duchess Rose Review

Last night I went to Plateau in Canary Wharf to sample the cocktails inspired by the Portraits collection as imagined by Penhaligons. A complicated but brilliant concept. Penhaligons have devised several cliche - but irresistably fun Agatha Christie/ Dickens like personas. Take The Coveted Duchess Rose - her "biography" reads:  "Daughter of Lady Blanche and Lord George, Rose married a Duke to escape the stifling rigidity of her family and to become the Coveted Duchess Rose. At first naively romantic, she has now become disillusioned and frustrated in an unsatisfactory marriage. Always looking for fun and frivolity (and perhaps love affairs), her fragrance is a not so innocent fresh rose." So in turn Plateau have designed a corresponding cocktail: "the desirous and seductive character of The Coveted Duchess Rose has a delicate and woody scent, with notes of mandarin, rose, and musky wood that are reflected in the Duchess Rose cocktail with Ketel One Vodka, La Diabada Pisco, Rose Syrup, and Peychaud Bitters."

Well cocktails and perfumes are two of my favourite things! The cocktails are served with a sample of the eponymous perfume. I didn't really enjoy my cocktail and my friend didn't enjoy his Lord George cocktail, combining Atlantico Rum, Chilli Truffle Tea, and Lapponica Lingonberry Liqueur. But I am very fussy about cocktails and my friend also is always harping on about the "balance" of cocktail ingredients. And when it came to the perfumes, knowing each full size 75ml bottle is a rather suitably grand (perhaps they took the theme too far?) £178, we were similarly underwhelmed. His perfume smelt very soapy, to the sacrifice of many of the underlying notes. "It smells like my dad", he intoned solemnly. Indeed it mentions having shaving soap as a note, but that is all that could be smelt! Like the cocktails, these seemed one very overwhelming flavour masking any delicate additional elements. For instance, the chilli in the cocktail was imperceptible...


 Yes, I always match my outfit to the decor - doesn't everyone?

 Now to my own sample, which I've worn today. The first thing to mention is that oddly for an EDP it doesn't seem to last that long. I've just had to re-spray to reassess my thoughts. Unless it's just something you get used to, but I don't think so, as it's a strong scent! It blasts out but then suddenly, at some point, it's gone. And now, it's chokingly strong as I type this. Now wait, I do believe every woman should have one rose perfume because roses are beautiful and feminine and whatever your taste, once in a while at least, it's nice to just smell like a lovely generic pleasing and feminine rose. My rose perfume is a limited edition but you can find it online, read about it here, Clarins Par Amour Toujours. But the reason the Clarins perfume won me around is that it did something unexpected. My everyday perfume is DKNY EDP (the tall, glass bottle in silver packaging.) The Clarins perfume combined grapefruit with rose. Almost like a rose version of my DKNY staple: The grapefruit takes the edge right off the cloying molded rose smell. This Penhaligons interpretation, combing woodiness and rose, just smells, as I initially observed in response to the above- related dad comment, "like my grandma". So we had before us, a dad perfume and a grandma perfume. This rose perfume smells like rose pot pourri. I can't smell any subversive elements to what one would disparagingly conjure up when imagining a "rose perfume". It's dupeable, and not in a good way. It doesn't smell expensive or unique or interesting.

Perhaps this review is skewed as my favourite scents are somewhat sharper. My favourite of all time is Hermes Un Jardin sur le Nil, and has been for years. However I do like my oriental or leather scents like Calvin Klein Euphoria, and I have a treasured vintage Donna Karan fragrance which now goes for hundreds of dollars online. It's just called Donna Karan. Described as "Fresh passions of apricot, bergamot, green notes, neroli, osmanthus, peach and pineapple burst out at the top, followed by a floral rhythm of carnation, cassia, heliotrope, jasmine, lily, orchid, rose and ylang-ylang at the heart of the fragrance. Bottom notes bring amber, benzoin, cedar, citruses, tonka bean, vanilla, vetiver, sandalwood, musk, suede, patchouli and incense." Unlike this Penhaligons fragrance, which in theory, claiming notes of mandarin, rose and musky wood, the Donna Karan smells like an enveloping and complex world of an emotionally-charged fragrance. Donna Karan claimed she wanted the fragrance to smell like her husband's neck! You get that authentic raw emotion and conviction. With this The Coveted Duchess Rose, you get the same phoney and unconvincing cliche scent as you do with the idea itself.

I'm all for a sense of humour, but for £178 it's just not that amusing. Anyway although I didn't much care for the cocktails, it is probably the cheapest way to get yourself a sample of the perfume and I daresay the cocktail and tiny perfume sample are pound for pound equal footing, the tiny perfume sample probably winning out. (N.B if you're in London, check out BRUMUS in Haymarket; my favourite ever cocktail is the Turkish Old Fashioned. Funnily enough it's a rose-based cocktail, which is why I was excited to try this rose one. However it's far more delicate and delicious)

But hurry! It ends tonight. The four new cocktails will be available at the Bar up to 30th November. Each will be served with a sample of the fragrance in addition to the cocktail.

Have you tried this perfume? Please comment below with any thoughts...

OH P.S I've just started an instagram please follow me if you like, my interests are art, working out, cocktails (yes somewhat conflicting, sigh) and obviously makeup :) I haven't uploaded much but I hope to post makeup collection and so on too. I'd love to have hints and tips as to who to follow - and of course any readers who have instagram just let me know so I can follow you! Search ooglemakeup or click

Monday, 10 October 2016

Public Service Announcement: MAC Whisper of Gilt really, genuinely IS coming back!!!

In case you haven't heard (and if you haven't, get to checking Trendmood1 on Instagram and you will never be out of the loop ever again) MAC Whisper of Gilt is coming back! Last time I blogged this, I was let down, admittedly beyond all reasonable and acceptable limits. But this time I've waited until the cold hard proof....

And doesn't it look so delicious? A delicious biscuit ready to be devoured. I think the whole nutcracker theme and packaging this year looks incredible, one of their best yet if you ask me. And despite having decided that Anastasia So Hollywood (which has also seemingly disappeared, hmm) is identical even in my fanatical mind, and notwithstanding the plethora of liquid look powders available now thanks to indie brands etc all providing what we want, forcing MAC into a position of putting down prices to be noticed - yes even with all that as disclaimer - when faced with the mythical Whisper of Gilt, sitting there alongside its ginger friend, I'm powerless - and it'll be elbows at the ready for this one! 

Get ready to pounce. (Probably November for my fellow UK and int'l friends; October US)

What do you use for highlighting, is MAC whisper of Gilt still worthy of the hype?

*Picture credit Trendmood1 and original owner as watermarked.

Thursday, 22 September 2016

Random Haul and review time :)

Despite being slack with my blogging duties, I have not 'put down the makeup brush' - I am just as addicted to makeup as ever. Usually I buy in moderate quantities but I felt there were enough goodies this time to just about warrant a haul blog post.

The first thing was another Estee Lauder Lucidity powder (have I mentioned this before? If not I should have...) it's one of the best powders to use with Double Wear foundation. Then, more excitingly, I spotted the new and presumably limited edition "3 minute beauty" bag. The bag itself is probably my favourite ever "GWP" EL bag - and I have a fair few to choose between. It's patterned but transparent, and it's small and slimline with an elegant gold zip that opens it out wide. It contains a full size Illuminating BB Highlighter pen in Soft Pink (2.2ml); a ubiquitous 7ml size of everyone's fave, Advanced night Repair serum; a mini lipgloss in Discreet Nude (surely an oxymoron); and a mini 3.4g size of Bronze Goddess bronzer in Medium 02. The bronzer is slightly pink toned and I really like it. Guerlain Terracotta still reigns supreme but this is a very respectable runner up - and it's oil free so it might even prove better in the summer. The lipgloss is ok but feels a little heavy (I have a low tolerance for sticky or heavy lipgloss and - you guessed it - Guerlain maxi shine is my favourite lipgloss; this doesn't compete. The BB highlighter is great - very much like YSL Touche Eclat (most are never as reflective) but with a little more coverage. The case is a little bulky and I've not decided which I prefer, there is something too classic about YSL Touche Eclat, it feels rude to question its Top Dog status. Plus YSL Touche Eclat is nice and slim and contains more product (2.5ml) so the bulky pen is needlessly deceptive.

 Estee Lauder 3 Minute beauty Bronze and Glow
Close up of Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Medium 

My local chemist has sold Guerlain for decades and I always enjoyed stopping by every (ahem) once in a while for a quick pick me up product. Hence I became a bona fide Guerlain addict. The way Guerlain font is, reminds me of the way I write my own name. Well, ok, it's very much a prettified version, but I always viewed Guerlain as my surrogate makeup line. Every item is so exquisitely packaged and balanced, and most of the time the product inside is every bit as good. Anyway, tragedy has struck: Guerlain is being wrenched off their shelves! I will still get my Guerlain fix, and the upcoming collection looks very tempting as always. But it won't be quite so convenient...

Mourning aside, my chemist did find some abandoned gems which I snapped up. The pressed Meteorites were replaced years ago by a non multi coloured powder (c'mon now Guerlain, you know we want to see that green popping) in fact it's now beige, not very luminous, and to be frank I find it can even get chalky. Something Meteorites balls themselves never do. But the Meteorites balls are very bulky and I pared down most of my collection, all except the Opera balls, which are my favourite release as they have a sumptuous golden beige glow that gives me that elusive "Bonne mine" look. But I digress. This Mythic is identical to the balls of Mythic but without quite so much bulk. I do prefer the packaging of the new pressed meteorites (this uses the same twist cap packaging as the Cruel Gardenia if anyone has that incredible piece.)
Guerlain Mythic pressed powder
Next my magpie gaze was arrested by the sight of the Guerlain maxi gloss Gloss D'Enfer in 902 which is wildy sparkly. Guerlain lipgloss used to be wonderful but too sticky, these are still wonderful and really do have what Guerlain promises, "bare lip sensation."

Guerlain maxi shine lipgloss 902

Next, another unearthed winning but limited edition wonder- the Terracotta Sun shimmer highlighting blusher called Sunny Pink. It's a peachy pink gleaming blusher but I shan't dwell on it as I fear it's impossible to find under normal circumstances. Hope they bring this one back!

Guerlain Terracotta blush Sunny Pink
My favourite ever liquid eyeliner is the Guerlain previously Divinora but now apparently merely called Guerlain eyeliner. The shade I adore is called Brun Cendre. It's a deep dark cool brown and the fine brush is easy to use while always giving a delicate crisp thin line. It's also very long wearing and never smudges, even during workouts.

 Guerlain eyeliner Brun Cendre
Finally, I just couldn't resist Guerlain's new foundation brush. I have several Guerlain brushes and I hate to admit it, but they are scratchy and not much cop. This one even looked flimsy in the Guerlain official Youtube videos - but it's peach, even the bristles are peach! I prefer my Real Techniques Expert Face brush for foundation. But! I've found I love this for a powerful highlight application. This brush is not scratchy, however despite claiming to be cut perfectly round for a seamless finish, mine has hairs splaying out. It's synthetic hair so it's overpriced, and the case is disappointingly cheap feeling and looks cheap too... But they know it's pretty enough that it will still win out. I love it anyway.


 Guerlain The foundation brush
 Cheapie pouch... Not like the Pucci of yore but I suppose better than nothing...

couple of splayed hairs upclose

I'm really thrilled with all my purchases, even the brush, as it's brilliant for applying highlighter and getting the full impact - it's small enough and gives a dense application.

...Please share any good hauls you've had recently!

Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Nails inc Neon nail polish REVIEW!

I was sent the new Nails inc collection last week and have been enjoying wearing a mix of Great Eastern Street and Claridge Gardens. Does anyone else check their Nails inc polish before setting out? As personally I like to feature at least one street I'll be passing on my nails. Just kidding but it's a good concept isn't it? Forget 'The knowledge' [London cabbie's street knowledge test] and build a Nails inc collection! OK that joke has worn rather thin now. But the point is, rather like Mavala who name their polishes after world cities, Nails inc name their polishes after London streets and attractions. It's rather charming and luckily the quality is good enough to not be an insult to Anglophiles.

This collection, I ♥ Neons, consists of 3 shades and a neon activator. I'm not 100% convinced that the neon activator is any different to a white base coat but the shades are:

Neon Activator Mini (£8) 5ml [this is the only size available] - a white base coat
Golden Lane Stay Bright Neon nail polish - neon highlighter yellow
Claridge Gardens Stay Bright Neon nail polish - neon highlighter pink
Great Eastern Street Stay Bright Neon nail polish - neon highlighter coral

The set available (£19) consists of 3 x 5ml bottles and in addition to the neon activator it contains the pink and coral shades. The yellow is only available as a single full size 14ml (£15)

In my opinion the weakest shades are the yellow and the white. Both can be somewhat streaky but especially the base Neon Activator. The good news is, once the jelly-like polishes go on they seem to mask the streakiness. You will need a high shine top coat as these dry very matte. Personally I find the pink and coral are more wearable against my skintone; the promo images use a dark skintone to showcase the yellow. These have lasted very well and lost none of the vibrancy and they have not chipped either. I used a Mavala base coat and Seche Vite top coat.

I was also sent an adorable slogan bag (£12) "I'm outdoorsy... I drink my Prosecco on the patio". Although I instantly think of city wide boys at The Long Bar slurring for a Pross-eh-Oh, I appreciate the sentiment! I love the style of this bag, it reminds me of Anya Hindmarch or Rebecca Minkoff et al slogans and stickers. The inside is a soft pink. It's well made and looks designer and expensive.

My current manicure - No flash - I like the way the orange and pink are closely related, I think it gives a very cool effect and I'm hoping to set a trend...!
An interesting manicure - using the yellow as an accent! May try this...

Above: No flash

Above: With flash (and against my fluro stitch top!)
 With flash - yup, it's NEON
Work in progress: featuring Tweezerman nippers and Mavala nail file

Nails inc  neon collection is available here

*This is not an affiliate link; post not sponsored; items sent by Nails inc for review.*

I must say these colours on my nails are so joyful and they are not neon enough to feel unpleasantly out of my comfort zone!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

My favourite highlighters!

"Wow, you look great - Glowing!" I beamed with gratitude at this praise... but knew I was indebted to my Guerlain Sun in the City, which - despite it being a 2012 collection, had only just been unveiled at my local counter.

"Thank you, it's my new highlighter", I explained. A puzzled expression ensued; I had forgotten most people are not makeup addicts and think of stationery when told about highlighters...

The episode made me realise: I haven't shared my favourite highlighters!!!

Well as an Estee Lauder doublewear foundation addict, I have always had to put the glow back in. Doublewear is amazing for oily skin but it does make one look rather flat. My favourite highlighters are those which look dewy and moist and gleaming (as opposed to frosty or glittery).

My first encounter with a delightful, almost liquid finish, highlighter was Guerlain Cruel Gardenia. Apparently one can still find this at airport Duty Free so be on the lookout! This is probably my favourite... Well gosh, no all these are favourites. I have others, namely liquid ones and cream ones, but I've found that for longevity and that liquid effect, the gelee type formula AKA extra dimension (Estee Lauder and MAC terminology respectively) are the very very best.

 Guerlain Cruel Gardenia - a pale petal pink, almost a champagne rose

I don't like lilac pinks and purples, but a soft warm pink works well. I find lilac tones like NARS Luxor or Urban Decay Afterglow make my pale skin look like a gleaming corpse. I prefer looking like I have the angelic heavenly light of pure sunshine.

I sold my MAC Whisper of Gilt, I've spoken about this before - it was amazing - but I did get the latest evocation of MAC's delicious Extra Dimension skinfinish formula, Oh,Darling. It's a close cousin of Whisper of Gilt but not quite as wonderful. Having said that, once I got my hands on Anastasia So Hollywood, all mourning for Whisper of Gilt ceased. So Hollywood is paler than Oh,Darling and has that very slight murmer of pinky peach about it which I so loved in Whisper of Gilt. Oh,Darling is a gold with a burnt orange murmer rather than a pinky peach one. It almost gives a tan effect. The gleam on all these formulas makes them all exquisite regardless of shade tones.

MAC Oh,Darling beneath Guerlain Cruel Gardenia. Notice shade tones pink v gold

Anastasia So Hollywood (third swatch) - notice lighter than MAC Oh,Darling

As I was saying, I only just got my hands of this, and it's got to be the grandaddy of these wet look highlighters! I imagine Guerlain was the first to seize upon this formula. At any rate, look out for MADE IN ITALY and the ingredients: "GLYCERIN" and also often "SQUALENE". These two moisturising and skin-loving ingredients seem to be the secret to finding winning formulas.

Guerlain Sun in the City - the most true gold. Notice more clean gold than MAC Oh,Darling

I tried to swatch Guerlain Wulong powder next to the Sun in the City (5th swatch) but it's rather faint. On the face however, Guerlain Wulong; Guerlain meteorites and pressed meteorites; Laura Mercier Secret Brightening powder; Benefit Powderflage, and the Estee Lauder loose powder from the Cyberwhite range, all give soft glowing finishes and in photos as well as real life, they make a huge difference.

Swatched here (below and between MAC Oh,Darling and Anastasia So Hollywood) I've tried to show Becca loose pigment in Hyawatha (which I pressed into a pan) but it's rather hard to detect. These are in the category of all over brightening veil rather than strategic highlighters.

Staying with loose pigments, MAC pigment in Vanilla is another safe bet. It's a pale gold with a pinky duochrome reflect.

A guilty pleasure of mine is Illamasqua Beguile pigment. It's rather gritty and sandy textured, and let's face it it's essentially a loose glitter - but I love the way it looks like drops of water. It looks terrible in daylight and rather garish at the best of times, but for nights or evenings when you feel joyful and want to let the magpie spirit free - it's such wonderful stuff! It's white - but reflects blue and green and pink and purple and gold...!

Illamasqua Beguile; MAC Vanilla 

 A frustrating and futile exercise trying to capture the mesmerising glitter of Illamasqua Beguile - here in artificial light

I must mention - without veering into favourite glowy blushers of course - the beauty of Laura Geller Blush n Brighten. I have chosen Pink Grapefruit here. I threw away all my MAC mineralised blushers! I used to adore the likes of Daft Pink and Moon River (youth, sob) but now I can only bear the super refined powders. MAC mineralised blushers and, to a lesser extent, the Milani baked blushers, are not as flattering anymore. I also like the texture of Too Faced Pink Leopard which is a similar peachy shade. I often use these lightly with a fluffy brush, as all-over brighteners when I am especially pallid.

Second row shows Too Faced Pink Leopard, Becca Hyawatha, Laura Geller Blush n Brighten in Pink Grapefruit
Top row top to bottom: Guerlain Sun in the City, Anastasia So Hollywood, MAC Oh,Darling, Guerlain Cruel Gardenia. Second row top to bottom: Laura Geller Blush n Brighten in Pink Grapefruit, Becca Hyawatha, Too Faced Pink Leopard

Artficial light, L-R: Guerlain Cruel Gardenia, MAC Oh,Darling, Anastasia So Hollywood, Guerlain Sun in the City

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

Current Faves

Current Faves

Having become simultaneously disillusioned but also gratified by the way blogging has evolved (see my previous garbled post) i.e. I can't trust 'em like I used to; but I'm happy that companies, and people generally, don't disparage bloggers and Youtubers as just talentless and disposable non entities  - I still hold sacred that ubiquitous blogger classic, "Current Faves". So, here are mine!

- Guerlain Pressed Meteorites

Guerlain is probably my favourite makeup brand; the way they do highlighters and lipsticks - well, it sets the gold standard. Until recently the only way to get pressed meteorites was to cough up for the £180 compacts. I did get Wulong as a gift (and promptly dropped it on the floor into a thousand pieces... but I can't bear to relive that memory.) I managed to salvage Wulong and it is delightful. Aside from Wulong my only knowledge is of the legendary Meteorites in ball form (affectionately known on makeup forums everywhere as 'Ballz', with all the accompanying hilarity that moniker can provoke, especially when waxing lyrical about one's purple balls, blue balls, red balls - well, you get the picture. The balls are highly collectible and indeed I did build rather a collection. My favourite are the Opera balls. But in truth and as a rule, most balls look identical on the skin. What Guerlain Meteorites do is make you look amazing in photos, and in real life they give you an unmistakable glow that makes you look like you love life and wake up radiant every day. It has captured and gives you, the joie de vivre. This compact is thankfully permanent and also priced lower than expected (around £40) and there is as always, plenty in there. One of the best things about Guerlain is that whilst it is expensive, you generally get a lot of product and it lasts years! There's 10g in here - and just the merest pat gives that luminosity. Perhaps I will do a full post with pictures on this if anyone wants more info, though it has just been given a rather indulgent write up already here, oops!

- Ibiza G4 round brush

Any brush which is idiot-proof like this one, gets my vote! I'm lousy at hair but using this, it's so pleasantly lightweight - and its large barrel gives voluminous classic blow dry results every time. I use this with my Parlux hairdryer and after spraying my damp hair with Tresseme heat protector and Redken anti-snap. I think it was around £14 but well worth it!

- Clinique Mild Clarifying lotion

Yes this is already a known favourite so nothing new here... I had been using the famous P50 Lotion for quite a while, I'd bought 3 or 4 bottles. It was always a purchase I'd make by ordering it from a beauty parlour and it was around £60 a pop. The bottle lasted ages so it wasn't unjustified, but I decided to try this Clinique lotion out to see if I'd miss the P50. In short, I don't. The P50 is glycolic acid and this is a lot milder (4%) and Salicylic acid, but it still exfoliates and I'm really liking it so far.

- Illamasqua Neutral palette

If you only get one thing from Illamasqua...

Illamasqua have lost Alex Box, and with it, the initial identity of Illamasqua as a goth's fave, has fairly well vanished. Nowadays Illamasqua are all about neutrals and contouring and flesh toned lipsticks. They are very successful in the UAE and they've adapted to the crowd-pleasing neutrals. But you know what, they are brilliant at neutrals. And although they might still throw out a token and symbolic blue lipstick, it's clear that their heart is now well away from those roots. This palette is flawless and highly recommended. I have so many neutral palettes (as we all do I suppose) but this one is utterly prefect. Wolf, the brown shade, is permanent and available separately. It's a soft and blendable minky brown. The white is like MAC's Blanc Type in shade and texture, the black is a true, pigmented black, the gold is a divine antique gold but without any greenish cast. It's a little like MAC Tempting but a far better texture and a prettier gold. I adore this palette!

- Anastasia So Hollywood highlighter

I'd mourned selling my MAC Whisper of Gilt for so long; my heart skipped a beat, then skipped another, when I heard it was coming back, then not really coming back... I did buy the cousin of Whisper of Gilt, Oh Darling. But it's only thanks to Anastasia So Hollywood that my tragedy was assuaged. It has the same merest hint of pink which Whisper of Gilt had. And the texture is identical, that Guerlain-like texture which I've discovered always includes Glycerine in the ingredients and is made in Italy. I only bought one (it's 9g so the same size as MAC and should last a while) but I'm confused whether it's limited edition or permanent? Cult Beauty has ceased stocking it... Well, this will last until the next release; I've learnt not to panic anymore about running out of supposedly unique things. I use this everyday.

- Nubar Purple Love

This is my favourite colour! I am always looking for tops and dresses and bags in this colour. It's a beautiful balance between hot pink and purple. It truly is Purple Love for me! Surprisingly, it's hard to find this exact shade. I've tried. This formula is wonderful: a creamy shiny finish, and the brush is just the right size, wide and easy to achieve streak-free and glossy results.

- L'Oreal Double Extension Tubing mascara

I am most indebted to this favourite. It has allowed me to continue to enjoy my beloved Lancome  Hypnose mascara. For some reason, it had started to smudge on me. I tried everything and finally discovered that just using the white (primer) side of this magic stuff, no more smudging! And not only that, but it lengthens my lashes and I get the wonderful thickening that Hypnose does so well, amplified by the lengthening of this primer. *New HG alert!*

At the risk of seeming too positive, let me complain now! My erstwhile HG, Estee Lauder Perfectly Clean, is just not the same. It was reformulated a while back but I continued to use it and I even have a stockpile. But it's just not half as good as it was. I like the caffeine in it, and the reassuringly tortuous pain when it gets in your eyes, but that's all that's left. I'm also severely unimpressed with their choice to collaborate with Kendall Jenner. I just watched the interview with her and Fleur de Force and, well, it confirmed by initial judgement. I still love Estee Lauder but it feels distinctly like an insult to bring that kind of teenage vibe into a brand which has established itself as grown up and dependable; it reminds me of M&S's doomed attempts to be trendy and youthful.

... I'd love to know your faves too?