Sunday, 1 November 2015

Dia de los muertos - Sugar Skull make-up (first attempt) **PIC HEAVY**

Happy November Sparkles!

I had a relatively tame Halloween (make-up wise at least) so I thought I should make up for it a little with an attempt at a sugar skull look. I see a lot of those online but have never actually gotten around to trying them before - I got a little jealous of a representation by my lovely little L last night though, so thought I'd get cracking.

My parents firmly believe I'm bonkers as I was doing this throughout the X Factor and part of Downton Abbey. Then it was a quick few snaps on the iPhone and removed immediately. In truth matte eyeshadow isn't the most comfortable lip covering!

Pics and products used below. Happy viewing - love and hugs til next time

xx Josephine xx

Thursday, 8 October 2015

Tutorial Thursday: Eyeshadow (1: basic shaping / shading) **PIC HEAVY**

Basic, shaped eye shadow placement. Subtle colours for liner focused look. 
Morning Chaps and Chapettes!

Per my earlier posts on liners, this is the kick off chapter in my second eye tutorial series which is going to be about eye shadow application options (following on from my basic eyeliner tutorial on Saturday - link here, and cat eye liner on Tuesday, here). That, and a few coats of mascara should see you right with any of the eye shadow methods I outline in the coming weeks.

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

How to Tuesday: Eyeliner application (2: Day to night / dramatic) **PIC HEAVY**

Morning readers!
Less subtle than my last version - a cat eye effect liner / flick. A personal fave. 

I hope you've been practicing your basic eyeliner technique - and hopefully gained a little more confidence in your chosen medium (pencil / gel / liquid) or even played with another kind or colour than usual.

I'm going to cover three basic looks over the course of the eyeliner series, which with some Googling you will easily be able to deviate from to cover off lots of different variations.

Saturday, 3 October 2015

How to SaturYAY: Eyeliner application (1: Basic liner) **PIC HEAVY**

Morning Guys and Dolls!
A simple liner look, to begin with. 

It's been a wee while since I did a pictorial (or indeed any post at all) and one of the most common requests I have is around eye make-up. Given the quantity of eye make-up I tend to wear I thought I'd split this into two series - the first eyeliner and then eye shadow. I decided to do liner first because, with the addition of just some red lippy that's much more of a standalone look than shadow alone, so for the next three posts we'll learn a different liner look, perhaps with some shadow inspiration thrown in when the mood strikes!

I'm going to cover three basic looks, which with some Googling you will easily be able to deviate from to cover off lots of different variations.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Blistex Intensive Moisturiser - a tube of tingly heaven (review)

Afternoon Sparkles,

And happy humpday...we're on the joyous slide to the weekend now!

After my Nuxe lipbalm was finished off as an emergency blister salve for little sis on the weekend, I found myself cracked lipped and desperate in the airport this Sunday.

Grabbing a £2.59 tube of moisturiser from the Superdrug frankly my only thoughts were that it needed to see me through the three hours to home and a top up of the wrong I was.

Ingredients include shea butter, allantoin (not sure what this is...!!) and camphor. I was really impressed at the softening and smoothing action of this, even on my yukky cracked lips courtesy of air con.

While I'll still use my little pot of Nuxe Reve de Miel as a matte moisturiser, this sinks in well so I don't think it would disturb your lipstick either (bonus). Totally recommend an urgent buy!!

Til next time kitty kats - love, hugs and moisturised kisses

xx Josephine xx

Thursday, 16 July 2015

BARE SKIN to DAY to NIGHT Maybelline Nudes palette tutorial

Evening, Sparkles!!

Apologies it's been so long - I have started two tutorial lines on liner and shadow but my MacBook has stuttered a little since 'upgrading' to Yosemite (a more deeply ironic upgrade I can not think of...#firstworldproblems). Anyhoo, I was playing with a new palette I picked up in Boots today and an accidental Kylie Jenner spaced face resulted. Here's how...

I started with a well moisturised face. I am not currently using primers much but feel free to throw one on if you're so inclined...shout out to my pimples, freckles and redness ;) 

Bare skin in all its glory!! 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

What's in my make-up bag today?

Morning Sparkles!

I've been chilling out in Ireland this week with the family and operating on a reduced make-up selection given some rather last minute packing at Casa Josephine.

The look to the right has featured almost daily (mostly minus the double vision effect, other than on a slightly longer than anticipated evening in Dublin last week, I'm sure).

So, here's what I've been surviving on (not really a very small kit and caboodle but all fits very neatly in my little Illamasqua cosmetic bag - quite impressive effort from me there)...

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

What's new Wednesday - L'Oreal Infallible Matte

Greetings Chaps and chapettes

It's been a wee while since I have been blogging, with all sorts of real life fun and frolics taking up the hours and mental space (not to mention a horrid cold over the Easter weekend when I had intended to draft a few posts for April...the road to hell and all that). However at the behest of one of my favourite blondes, I am back. For how long who knows!

Anyway one of my favourite new purchases - well, I guess two if I'm being exact, is the L'Oreal Infallible Matte primer and foundation duo.

My nearest to work display only had four or five shades so I plumped for Shade 12 Natural Rose.

Following on from a few reviews I was hoping for full coverage and an all day finish.

Wednesday, 11 March 2015

What's New Wednesday: Blush Palette Sugar and Spice by Revolution Cosmetics

Happy Humpday Sparkles

Keeping with the theme of the week I'm enjoying giving some love to quality budget friendly items that I've been turning to since buying on a whim. Revolution Cosmetics are pretty impressive at the moment, with a high level of new product releases for purse friendly dupes of high end products.

This isn't necessarily a dupe of a single product but it's a really nice addition to any kit. There are approximately six to eight colour ways to choose from - this peachy pink edition was the one that appealed the most to me given my pale complexion.

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Tutorial Tuesday: All about brows - the budget edition - Focus and Fix Brow Kit, Revolution Cosmetics

Morning Sparkles!

By popular demand I did a brow tutorial back in February (link here) however I'm conscious that some of the products used might not be priced appropriately for those just dipping a toe in the water of #browgamestrong on Instagram or Twitter.

This little baby is the Focus and Fix Brow Kit from Revolution Cosmetics. It comes in at £2.50 and can be found online here. I've gone for the medium / dark shade to trial it out. The kit has three co-ordinating tones of powder which you can use to fill in your brows and a clear wax which you can use to set them for the rest of the day.

Some dinky little tweezers and a mini slanted brow brush are also included. They're ok but I've just been using my own brush and tweezers with the product - but in a pinch the brush in particular would do the job required.

My personal opinion is that the colours (as with a lot of the less expensive, High Street brow products) is that they run a little too warm for my taste.

While I'm brunette my natural colour is cool toned and as such the browns which pull a little red aren't a perfect match. But let's be honest, for £2.50 for three shades you can't really complain and the middle shade is pretty passable if slightly light for night make-up on me.

Have you tried much by Revolution Cosmetics? What's the verdict? I for one am loving their budget friendly, quality products. Not to mention the speed of their new releases and dupes for high end, popular palettes. 

Til next time kitty kats - love, hugs and economic yet groomed brows

xx Josephine xx

Monday, 9 March 2015

Manicure Monday - Quick and easy removal

Greetings Sparkles…

It's been almost a month since my last post, and hasn't time flown? Well, for me it has - in a whirl of new joiners in work and lots of accounting fun during both the day and evenings sometimes. March is looking like a massively busy month but for lots of fun reasons - not least of all the 30th birthdays of not one but two of my favourite ladies!

This morning I wanted to share with you a great little buy that you can grab in your local Boots, Superdrug or pharmacy.

Wednesday, 11 February 2015

What's that about Wednesday... Brow tutorial

Happy Humpday Sparkles! 

I've had a request for an eyebrow tutorial, so am obliging albeit slightly after the fact for the lady in question! With the rise of Cara Delevigne etc in the bushy brow brigade there's increased awareness of how they really can define and frame your face like no other part of your makeup. Now is a great time to be starting out with a variety of actually good high street products so you can play with various formulations at relatively low prices to figure out which suit you best. 

The tutorial below uses just my trusty Illamasqua brow cake (shade: Motto) as I use powders on a daily basis for a softer finish. While I think some of the stronger looks photograph beautifully I don't personally find them wearable in real life. 

You can get a similar finish with a pencil, a spoolie and a light hand. Alternatively try an eyeshadow in a similar shade to your brows to start out with. For blondes use an ashy taupe colour. Apply with a slanted eyeliner brush (they come in most brush kits so you've probably got one lying around somewhere). 

So...where to start. First make sure your brows are sitting correctly and flat - run a spoolie through them, or an old toothbrush if you're stuck. Btw don't buy a spoolie - make your own in a pinch by cleaning an old mascara wand off once it's done. 

When colour is fresh on your brush I first fill in the tail of the brow. This will be the darkest naturally (on me at least) so I apply first. 

Next up I define the bottom line of the brow. For me, I follow the natural shape of my brow but if you've got really sparse brows you could use a brow or liner pencil to draw on your desired line. Blonde pals check out MAC's brow pencils or Maybelline for light shades which will hopefully work for you. 

Next up I pop on the top of my arch - I fill this in from about halfway across my brow to join up with the tail of my brow. I prefer quite an angular brow shape but you can fill in to your taste.

You'll see above I've left the middle third of the brow empty of product other than the bottom line. That's because the next step is *using only the residual product on your brush* to just buff on colour to fill this in. 

While I've done the rest of the brow using horizontal strokes, to fill on the middle I'm using vertical. With a powder this is less important but if you're using a pencil this will ensure the strokes look as close to the existing hair growth direction as possible. Less "scouse brow" and more natural - but feel free to block off if that's how your tastes run. Nothing like experimenting to see what you like best! 

And here's the finished look as well as a half and half - I definitely can see the difference once the brows are on. So much so it almost pained me to do my face for this look without putting them on!! 

If you want to define more then you can use a concealer pencil underneath the brow and over the arch, blend lightly and set with whichever shadow highlight you use (or not). 

Hopefully that was helpful - if you've got any other brow recommendations in terms of applications or products let me know in the comments!! 

xx Josephine xx

Monday, 9 February 2015

Manicure Monday - Speckle by Illamasqua

Happy Monday Sparkles

I'm not entirely sorry to say that while you read this on your commute to or from the office I will be relaxing in beautiful Norn Iron with the family. Today's plans include a little bit of napping, catching up with Sparkle Sisters 2 & 3 (I'm the eldest, so the numbering is purely chronological) and admiring my new freckled nails.

iPhone camera in some rare sunlight 
Yet another sale purchase from the wonderful Illamasqua, I was originally going to go for the lavender shade as pointed out on Instagram by Sparkle 3, but then realised I have a lot of lilac shades but don't really wear them. So when a certain work Friend (capitalisation intended) suggested Freckle looked cute I plumped for that instead. 

When the box arrived I will admit I was underwhelmed. I'm not sure I could honestly claim this looked attractive in the box. To me at least.

However as I built up the layers on this little beauty on Saturday night I fell firmly in love. It's a bit odd - it does kind of look like I've painted my nails as a speckled hen's egg but it's different, pretty and neutral. I sense a firm favourite coming - and am already thinking it would look ace with a black accent nail etc.

Monday, 26 January 2015

Manicure Monday: Illamasqua Glitteratti

Monday, Monday…

I'm alleviating the January start of week blues with some sparkling burgundy tipped digits. This is one of the two shades that I picked up in my Illamasqua sale haul (see post and look from that here).

Though it's meant to be part of a Christmas pairing with Viridian (red and green, with sparkles and metallics to boot) I think this will be shade which translates well all autumn and winter. The finish is something akin to Raindrops - a semi-transparent jelly polish with holographic glitter suspending within it.

Obviously the colour with Glitteratti is a lot more dramatic than that of Raindrops, so you'll want to make sure that you've got a base coat on underneath.

The picture here shows two coats of colour - with a multipurpose base and top coat used under and over the colour layers. 

Generally, I find the Illamasqua polishes to last relatively well - even on my nails which are ultra prone to chipping - they'll go to the two day mark. This is actually *excellent* on my talon tips although I appreciate that some more fortunate ladies may be aghast and want a week and I you may well get that wear from this polish on your nails. Sadly I'm a 2 - 3 days max gal. Boo!

I really quite like this shade and shall be wearing for a couple of months to come, before the spring sunshine.

Til next time kitty kats - love, hugs and glittery gesticulations!

xx Josephine xx

Sunday, 25 January 2015

Sunday skincare: Lush Cosmetics Lip Scrub Mint Juleps (review)

Morning Sparkles!

It's that time of year where chapped lips provide everyone with a frustrating foil to beautiful pouts - especially with the current trend for matte lips. Those non glossy lippies stick to every single flake on your lips - even where you might have thought you didn't have any, all of a sudden your mouth looks like a sequin dress at the wrong end of a heavy night.

Flaky, for the male readers out there.

And so, to a little number I've seen mentioned a few different places in the blogosphere and have developed a tiny personal addiction to since buying it at Christmas time.

Mint Julips lip scrub from Lush.

Tuesday, 20 January 2015

Bourjois matte top coat - double your polish for pennies!!

Morning Sparkles!

I picked up this little beauty a while ago, while admiring some matte manis but at the same time lamenting the death of my Essie Liquorice polish. I was about to buy a matte black when suddenly I thought...hang about!! Two birds with one stone! 

Monday, 19 January 2015

Hit or Miss? Maybelline "The Eraser" concealer (Light)

Morning Sparkles!

Monday yet again and time to hit the Bakerloo line and get my Dolly 9 to 5 vibe on. Let's account the heck out of some tax today!! Whaddaya mean that's off topic...? Hmm.

Well failing that somehow when the Sunday blues hit the first thing I'm nat risk of doing is watching 'just one more' episode of my current box set of choice. This wreaks havoc on my dark circles of a Monday! Enter the concealer of choice for the very beautiful Kasey over at StillGlamorous.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Jo Malone Cologne Intense: Velvet Rose and Oud

Happy Friday afternoon…

What have you guys and gals gotten planned for the weekend? I can't wait to chill out and catch up with some friends - and I'm sure there'll be a tipple or two thrown in there for good measure!

Before leaving the desk and hitting the bar, I'll be spritzing a little of my newest obsession on - Jo Malone's Cologne Intense in Velvet Rose and Oud.

Illamasqua Winter 2014 sale haul - bags, liners, lippie and more!

Morning readers!!

Today will be a pic heavy post of the new goodies I've grabbed from the Illamasqua winter sale. I buy from this brand all year but it's safe to say sale times encourage some moments of madness and practicality being thrown to the wind!

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Smooth skin ritual: Ro's Argan Skin Conditioner by Lush Cosmetics

Hello readers!

I've recently jumped on the celebrity bandwagon of Epsom salts baths. Sounds odd (and I don't quite see the alleged slimming benefits) but they're really softening to skin and any excuse for a warm lie down is good in my book!

After my most recent I slathered on some of the Ro's Argan Skin Conditioner by Lush. This stuff had all manner of oils in it and smells of roses - completely luxurious and feels very decadent for a reasonable £16.50 for 225g.

Wednesday, 14 January 2015

Elizabeth Arden Beautiful Color Lash Enhancing Mascara

Morning chaps and chapettes!

Happy Humpday :) 

Taking us from the dreary start of the week into the party half and weekend is a new mascara discovery I've made. Entirely by accident.

This is Elizabeth Arden's Beautiful Color Lash Enhancing Mascara - I never would have picked it up on my own because of the teeny tiny brush. I love my L'Oreal Collagene fat brush and the fairly full brush of Illamasqua's Masquara.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Sparkling clean in 2015: Favourite cleansers

Happy Sunday morning my little Sparkles!

By request of one of my most frequent readers, today I'll be chatting about the cleansers that I use time after time. In addition to my guilty little secret of make-up wipes in one of my Blogmas posts (here), there are essentially three cleansers which I come back to time and time again.

Friday, 9 January 2015

Beauty poll - what's your desert island product?

Use the link to the right to vote - closes in a week!

Let's see what the Sparkles community really can't live without :)

xx Josephine xx

FOTD: Kevyn Aucoin Sensual Skin Enhancer (Shade SX 04) **PIC HEAVY**

Morning Sparkles!

Today the blog takes a little twist towards the premium after a while of quite thrifty beauty spends. This is one that I've had my eye on for a little while but before taking the plunge for a foundation of this price I wanted to go to a stockist and get a proper shade match I was happy with in store.

Or more precisely, standing outside the store in the middle of the street twiddling a mirror every which way around my head. All in a day's work for Josephine and all… The nearest stockist to my NI Christmas base was Space NK in Belfast, where the assistant helped me try on several shades.

From online swatches I had thought that my best match was going to be either shade 5 or 6 - which just goes to show that actually you're much better trying something on in real life before shelling out your pennies! Shade 5 was just wrong and Shade 6 would do for nighttime or when tanned (but rarely for myself - fake or natural).

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Sparkling 2015: Lip of the Day (LOTD) Maybelline Color Drama Pencil - Keep it Classy #210

Salutations lovelies!

Today's lip of the day has a bit of Drama to it - courtesy of Maybelline. Lip colour pencils are handy as you can pop them in even the smallest of clutch bags and they act as both lippie and liner all in one.

The Color Drama pencils are relatively new and I've not historically had a lot of luck with pencils as they've been relatively matte in formulation and so drying (and potentially dragging across the lips). Not so with this little beauty - smooth and shiny this feels very comfortable to wear. Although the creme formulation means that the wear time might be a little reduced.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Sparkling 2015: Second day hair - Aussie Volume Dry Shampoo

Aloha readers!

For any lady (or chap) with hair that's past your ears, one fact is true - blow drying your hair is an absolute pain in the behind. Not to mention the advice that daily shampooing strips hair and scalp of natural oils.

With my coloured hair, my ends can take a couple of days without washing but the roots get quite oily on day two - given my natural greasy skin state (mantra: it's good, it keeps wrinkles at bay. It's good…)

Enter dry shampoo! In this particular case, Aussie Volume Dry Shampoo:

Monday, 5 January 2015

Sparkling 2015: Bourjois Smoky Stories (Good Nude) EOTD

Happy Monday Sparkles!

Let's not dwell on the fact that this is the first Monday of the year (*le sigh*) and instead turn our minds to something much more pleasant to think of…

It seems to be somewhat of a theme within premium brand eyeshadow quads and quints to have a selection of complimentary shades with a final glitter shade, which can be used to convert the look from day to night. Dior, Tom Ford and Charlotte Tilbury all have formulations with this being the taken approach.

It's great news for those of us whose purse strings (or confidence levels) don't stretch to £40 for four or five eyeshadows that Bourjois have replicated this approach in their new Smoky Stories quad range.

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Sparkling 2015: FOTD Concealer - L'Oreal's True Match Crayon Correcteur

Morning Sparkles!

How's your Sunday so far? Ok, so actually this post comes out so early most of your Sundays won't actually have started thus far. That being said, if they have you may find yourself in need of a bit of an under eye pick me up!

Or indeed, if you are like me and just genetically resemble a boxer in training given the depth of the black circles under your eyes - you might want an under eye pick me up generally - to release the maximum peeper sparkling you can. I've recently picked up L'Oreal's True Match Corrector Pencil (here) in shades #10 and #20.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Sparkling 2015: Warming up with MUA Bronzed Perfection (Superdrug)

Morning Sparkles!

I hope that your first Friday was as fun as mine (a spot of shopping, a couple of cocktails and then chilling out in front of bad tv - heavenly) and here's to the first Saturday of 2015!

While we're in the midst of winter, you might want to add a glow to your party or Saturday glam look! Alternatively, if new-Mum status has you trapped in the house it might just be that you want to fake that healthy glow you had pre-sleep deprivation!

Watching post-Christmas purse strings needn't mean that you have to sacrifice the faux-St Lucia glow. Enter… MUA Bronzed Perfection courtesy of Superdrug here in the UK.

Friday, 2 January 2015

Sparkling 2015: LOTD Burt's Bees Lip Shimmer (Rhubarb Shimmer)

Morning Sparkles,

Today, for our first Friday of the year I'm plumping for a subtle piece of shimmer - trying to enliven my January one little shimmer at a time!

Some friends are lip balm addicts and love the normal balm from Burt's Bees. I'd tried one of their tinted balms some years ago and found it sadly lacking in… well… *tint*!

You may therefore surmise that I did not purchase this one of my own volition, but (like greatness) had it thrust upon me!

Resolving to help everyone have a "Sparkling" 2015...

Morning all, and a proper happy new year!!

I've not gone blonde…and I must confess to stealing this fab photo from
Ms Tilbury's Instagram. Huge heart, couldn't resist it!
I'm not sure about you, but I always feel slightly jaded at this time of year.  We're about to take down the Christmas lights and trudge through the dreariest two months of the year.  

Fear not, readers!!

It shall be my mission for the next year to inject some subtle shimmer, fuller sparkle and just downright glitter into your life. This year, my mission is to find new ways and / or means to incorporate glitter and sparkles into life. 

Making those dreary winter days more bearable and beautiful spring days even more picture perfect.

Let's see how this resolution goes….

Til next time, kitty kats

xx Josephine xx

Thursday, 1 January 2015

Happy New Year!! Welcome to 2015!!

Good morning Sparkles!

I hope you're not feeling too jaded this morning after the NYE exuberance. I always love watching the fireworks - and let's face it any excuse to cover myself in as much glitter as possible. Not that I require it to be New Year to do that!

I got inspired by drag queens (particularly Bianca del Rio) and the swinging sixties this year with my makeup:
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