Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Fyrinnae Week Part 1

So I'm on Fyrinnae Week as part of a pledge to ditch the neutral-eye-rosy-lip rut I've been mouldering in lately. I know MiraSundari is also concocting deliciousoutrageous things for her Kick The Rut week; will you join us in putting aside those tired old standbys for a whole seven days? :D

Some disclaimers before we start: most of my Fyrinnae shades are pressed and I don't need or use a base with these unless otherwise specified. All my swatches are made by patting on with a fingertip over bare, moisturised skin. There are many excellent  Fyrinnae swatches around, so if you want to see them in their loose natural state or packed over Pixie Epoxy, please hop over to Makeup Me Happy and then google is your oyster. Or something.

All pictures taken in natural light unless otherwise specified.

Aye Captain (loose), OMGWTF, Bitey Tyrannosaur (loose),
Velvet Vampire, Alchemist's Curse, Shinigami
Fyrinnae swatches Aye Captain, OMGWTF, Bitey Tyrannosaur, Velvet Vampire, Alchemist's Curse, Shinigami

EYE A frame of Alchemist's Curse and Shinigami with a mix of acid green from Aye Captain, OMGWTF and Bitey Tyrannosaur in the centre of the lid. Alchemist's Curse and Velvet Vampire to define socket, blended out with Aye Captain. Velvet Vampire to line lower lashline.
with flash

LIP and CHEEK Illamasqua Rude cream blush.
BASE Vapour Organic Atmosphere Luminous stick 90 mixed with Suki CC Cream 02 lavender. Vapour Illusionist concealer 000 under eyes.

Nijiro (loose), Dressed to Kill, Gilded Wings, Sequinned Master
Fyrinnae swatches Nijiro, Dressed to Kill, Gilded Wings, Sequinned Master

EYE Sequinned Master on mobile lid, with Nijiro patted over it, concentrating on the inner corner. Gilded Wings in outer socket, faded inwards, top edge blended with Sequinned Master on its own. Dressed to Kill as liner, Nijiro in centre of lower lashline.
flash -- this picks up the difference between SM + Nijiro and SM on its own 

LIP Guerlain Rouge G Girly.
CHEEK Shu Uemura Sakura (discontinued).
BASE KATE Powderless Liquid BR-C foundation with Burberry concealer 01 under eyes.

Saturday, 10 November 2012


NB I've updated the new Glossy Stain post with skin swatches of 24 and 25.

Anyway, the rut rolls on. I am officially cutting myself off from neutral eyes and roseberry lips today, and hope to share some actually colourful looks in the coming week (mostly Fyrinnae, thanks to a suggestion from the lovely laitae). But if you'll bear with me, here are the last scrapings from this barrel, which do kind of chart a seasonal shift from how I like to play off the golden light of late summer/early autumn to the colder, crisper winter light filtering through now.
Also photographic evidence of how much I love my RBR matte eyeshadows.

FACE: Burberry  concealer 01, Shu Uemura Nobara 584, RBR liquid bronzer, Shiseido High Beam White. RBR Florita blush.
EYE: Softly contoured with RBR Bashful Flamingo and Chestnut-Napped Apalis, and Unforgettable Oriole to highlight inner lower lashline. Addiction Lady of the Lake pencil to line. Curled lashes, no mascara.
LIP: Guerlain Rouge Automatique Samsara, a juicy ripened fig.
HAIR: Blythe Freshlight Juicy Apricot.

Actually I can date this to the 27th September i.e. the day after I saw Lisa Eldridge's Wide-Eyed 60s video, and threw together a very subtle uncostumey and falsies-less version for work. Even kept so understated I think the basic architecture of this look did really make me look a little more dollyishly wide-eyed, if not noticeably more leggy or supercool.
EYES: RBR Sweet Dust Seriema in socket and Grey Go-Away Lourie to line, with Blackpepper Jay to darken lash roots. A long-discontinued Shu Uemura IR Pink Rainbow 900P single (white with opalescent pink flash) over the lid. Fasio Ultra Curl Lock Volume mascara.

FACE: Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 90, Burberry concealer 01, Kjaer Weiss Lovely cream blush (which camera subsequently ate).
LIPS: Guerlain Rouge Automatique Liu.
HAIR: very uneven job thanks to Schwarzkopf Perfect (ha!) Mousse 388 Red Velvet. STRONGLY DO NOT RECOMMEND! Also somewhat perplexed as Schwarzkopf also manufacture the faultless Blythe Freshlight bubble dyes....

EYES: Chanel Notorious on its own. Yes it is just that shimmery on me, yes it does catch the light differently, looking more brown or more grey depending on the contours of my eye, no I have still not succumbed to its charms [have now returned it to the kind friend who let me play]. RBR automatic eye pencil Salome, GOSH white eye kohl, Armani ETK Waterproof mascara.

FACE: Vapour Organic Beauty Atmosphere Luminous Foundation 90, Illusionist Concealer 000, Aura Stain 209 Impulse.
LIPS: YSL Glossy Stain 24 Fuchsia Intemporel.
HAIR: Kao Prettia Antique Rose.
y so blurry. sorry.
So makeup-rut-induced boredom, still reeling from the Schwarzkopf dyesaster and realising it had been a year since my last haircut... I quite literally stumbled onto a cheapy walk-in appointment at Headmasters while running a mild fever. But really we're going to blame the trinity of iniquity consisting of a certain pixie of my acquaintance, Ginnifer Goodwin and xiao. Mmmkay?

PS recommendations for styling ideas and products very welcome i.e. sorely needed! Also, I am blogally obligated to buy a wardobe of wigs now, yes?

PPS the roseberry nail polish that's been rarely off my nails since a pal surprised me with it: Zoya Paloma. Sandwiched with Barry M 349 Rose Quartz, 351 Yellow Topaz, 352 Pink Sapphire and 354 Amethyst, and Models Own Dancing Queen.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Ellis Faas Paper Swatches: Eyes

Swatches of the lips and cheeks here, made an embarrassingly long time ago. Since then the Ellis Faas site has become even more awesome-fied with skin swatches and what-not, although I know many of you still find paper swatches the most helpful. So here we go :)

All pictures taken in natural light, no flash.

All the Ellis Faas Eye colours now come with a redesigned, improved click-pen brush applicator (Milky Eyes no longer include the showerhead sponge of doom), which seems to dispense product more reliably with every click, but which still retains a tendency to splay if you're not careful....

Creamy Eyes (£23) are opaque, semi-matte, and apocalypse-proof cream shadows which 'set' very quickly on the skin -- I find them easiest to wear as smudgy liners. The original lineup of 10x shades was very 'human colours' heavy on the sludge, but this autumn a further range of more colourful shades (11x) were added, which retained all the strengths of the original formula.
Ellis Faas creamy eyes eyeshadow swatches E103 E104 E105 E106 E107 E108 E109
E103: a slightly warm, sooty black
E104: a neutral-warm ash yelow brown
E105: a warmer chestnut yellow brown
E106: a lighter neutral brown with peachy pink notes
E107: a mid-toned warm peachy chestnut
E108: light warm apricot-beige
E109: light warm ivory-beige

Ellis Faas creamy eyes eyeshadow swatches E113 E114 E115 E116 E117 E118 E119
E113: inky blue-black with a tinge of teal
E114: rich burgundy
E115: mid-tone greyed lavender
E116: lighter, warmer rose taupe
E117: light-but-not-pastel greyed mint
E118: cloudy seafoam slate
E119: mid-tone ochre

Milky Eyes (£23) are slightly less pigmented than Creamy (but still medium and buildable), more blendable and feature relatively brighter colours in a lighter satin-with-microshimmer finish. Like the Creamy Eyes, these set to a dry, very long-lasting finish but are easier to work with -- Milky Eyes are the most versatile formula for me, working as liner, all-over shades, and accents.
Ellis Faas Milky Eyes eyeshadow swatches E203 E204 E205 E206 E207 E208 E209
E203: dark blurple with navy shimmer
E304: deep jade with tonal shimmer
E205: midtone khaki-brown
E206: midtone warm rusty brown
E207: burnt terracotta
E208: warm coral pink
E209: neutral peachy beige

Eye Lights (£23) are intensely gleaming, metallic liquids which set to a siliconey 'film' rather than the soft powdery finishes of the Creamy and Milky Eyes. If you have dry lids like me, you may also experience flaking and minor fallout from this formula throughout the day -- I have similar issues with the popular sparkle liquid liners from MUFE, Stila etc. These work best used sparingly as a glitter 'topcoat' for me, rather than all over the lid.
Ellis Faas Eye Lights eyeshadow swatches E301 E302 E303 E304 E305
E301: sparkly metallic white gold
E302: metallic chartreuse with lighter lime reflect
E303: foiled metallic copper with softer gold reflect
E304: foiled metallic burgundy-plum duochrome
E305: foiled metallic blood-teal duochrome

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

New YSL Glossy Stain paper swatches and comparisons

Since I first tried these last December, the YSL Rouge Pur Couture Vernis À Lèvres Glossy Stains have become one of my favourite lip formulas, genuinely innovative lacquers which I never have to touch up, and whose 90%-proof-rose-petal-booze scent I find surprisingly addictive....

Six new (permanent) shades have just been released, and they represent subtle nuance/undertone variations [as the whole 'fuchsia + random art movement' thing suggests] rather than genuinely expanding the twenty-strong shade range into brave new worlds. This isn't really bad news, as I'm sure you all know by now it can prove surprisingly tricky to find exactly the right tone of rose, plum or cerise in such a pigmented formula, which can sometimes change colours as it sets on the lips; these new variations round things out nicely.

* starred shades contain shimmer

YSL Glossy Stain swatches 21 Orange Fusion, 22 Prune Minimale. 23 Fuchsia Cubiste, 24 Fuchsia Intemporel, 25 Fuchsia Neo-Classic, 26 Violine Surrealiste
21 Orange Fusion
22 Prune Minimale*
23 Fuchsia Cubiste*
24 Fuchsia Intemporel
25 Fuchsia Neo-Classic (see my look here)
26 Violine Surrealiste

21 Orange Fusion, 22 Prune Minimale. 23 Fuchsia Cubiste, 24 Fuchsia Intemporel, 25 Fuchsia Neo-Classic, 26 Violine Surrealiste comparison

(Following notes I made from swatching on skin -- apologies if some of these nuances don't come across in the paper swatches.)
21 is lighter and less red than 8; less pink than 6 -- the most orange orange in the line so far.
22 is browner than 1 but less brown/more plum than 3. Has shimmer.
23 is more red and less brown than 4; deeper and more berried than 5. Has shimmer.
24 is rosier than 25, which is a clearer reddened pink. 24 is also more purple than 11 and more pink than 10.
25 is deeper and less pink than 13; lighter and cooler than 14; more reddened than 15. It's a reddened pink to 11's pinky red.
26 is slightly deeper and redder than 16.

I think those with a substantial existing wardrobe of glossy stains would probably be able to mix their current shades to get most if not all of these new ones. Based on my dabblings,
1 + 4 = 22
4 + 5 = 23
10 + 13 = 24
11 + 15 = 25
10 + 16 = 26

E.g. Here are 11 and 15 on my hand -- can you see them adding up to 25?
YSL Glossy Stain 15 25 11 mixing swatches

Whereas 24, with its more muted, rosier depths, is a shade I can't achieve from my GS palette [1, 7, 9, 11, 15], and that's the one I'll be keeping.
YSL Glossy Stain 15 25 11 mixing swatches

Do you have any glossy sums of your own? :) Any of the new shades tempting you?

YSL Glossy Stains retail for £22.50 each in the UK.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Prestigious Bordeaux Looks Part 1

aka Exploring Dora? The Vampire Dora Diaries? Anyway....

1. I set out to use all six shades in the palette, and kept the overal shape soft-but-defined, in an attempt to translate my current hankerings after 'graphic' makeup into more 'subtle/wearable' for day/work.
Bronze silk smooth shade (top right) all over lid and lower lashline as base.
Pink (middle left) in the inner third of lid and lower lashline.
Rose-brown to (middle right) to deepen/define outer corner.
Purple silk smooth (top left) to upper lashline and outer corner of lower.
Gold glitter (bottom left) dabbed at centre of mobile lid.
[GOSH white kohl on waterline, L'Oreal TFLWP mascara]

With the red blush (bottom right pan) and Suqqu Creamy Glow 6 Umegasumi (swatch/review).

2. A less forced look, built around my favourite pan in the palette, the awesome purple Silk Smooth shadow (top left). Because until my belated contacts order comes in, I'm constrained enough by my glasses. Anyway, it was about time I did a look with specs, to show some of the ways in which I tweak my makeup:

  • stronger defined eye shape, achieved with shadows (as here) or graphic liner
  • defined, slightly thickened brows
  • curled lashes and either no mascara or a single swipe of subtle defining (absolutely not lengthening) mascara, to prevent my lashes from being smushed up against my lenses whenever I blink (this is Armani ETK waterproof)
  • lined waterline -- either white (as here) or a dark/black shade
  • a bright blush (no neutrals with glasses) and lower placement on the apples
  • skip highlighter on edge of cheekbones / temples, keeping it strictly to the centre of the face
  • I can also skip undereye concealer but usually don't out of habit
Yeah, blah blah shutup Kate -- as you can see it's just minor tweaks for my own satisfaction as usual, and I could/would definitely wear this without glasses too...
Purple all over lid and lower lashline, rose-brown to blend edges, gold glitter patted over inner corner and blended up. 

But hopefully they will make more sense in the context of my frames and where they sit on (and seriously distort, because I am bliiiiind) my face.
Blush is the Shu red pan, lips Korres Cherry Oil Gloss in 25 Natural Purple (which as you can see, aint remotely).

In both looks I'm wearing a mix of Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory mixed with Suki CC Cream 02 Whitening and RBR Sea of Clouds highlighter as base. Burberry Sheer Touch 01 under eyes, Browlash EX Natural Brown brow pencil.

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Seasonal Baking

Because clearing out picture folders and also autumn fetish. I am quite indifferent about cooking (whaddya mean, I have to do repetitive food prep three times a day just to stay alive?! BORING) but baking, like makeup, is an actual hobby. And one that's perfectly suited to autumn, because while it can be fun to try my hand at finicky French patisserie things or new flavour combinations in ice creams, the kind of baking that gives me most pleasure both in the making and the eating is the more slapdash, homey variety, which pairs best with autumnal elements of fruit and veg, spice and rich, dark sugar.

Some recent acquisitions: Matryoshka nested measuring cups! :D So I can play with all the American recipes on pinterest;
Two books by Dan Lepard, one of my favourite baking writers (see his Guardian columns);
and Scandilicious by Signe Johansen, who seems a lovely, greedy, unpretentious sweetheart [though the recipes themselves have some proofing errors].

Better look at the cups, disassembled

In this post I'll just be showing you some of the especially seasonal stuff I've been nomming. It is of course also fun to make/eat something totally impractically unseasonal to cheer a drear rainy day too... but I think blogposts have word/picture limits.

1. Signe Johansen's Chestnut Cinnamon Buns involves a ridiculously fragrant yeasted spelt and cardamom dough, softened with milk and butter:

Which is, after rising and rolling-out, filled with a crumble of cinnamon, dark sugar, butter and chopped chestnuts:

Cut up into rolls, glazed with egg and sprinkled heavily with demerara sugar (because I like my cinnamon buns to come out with a creme-brulee-ish crust):

SO GOOD. I made fifteen and have no idea how well they'd keep because *burp* (If you are going to make these, I would recommend doubling the quantity of filling -- because SO GOOD -- and cutting the rolls 1" (2.5cm) thick before the second rising.)

2. Another Johansen recipe, this time for spelt bread because I had that posh spelt flour leftover from the buns :P No really, it's very pleasurable working with this stuff, smells so nutty and soothing. And I fancied a change from Dan Lepard's Sour Cream Sandwich Bread (basically a cheat's sourdough, toasts amazingly well) which has become a bit of a recent staple.

And it also used up some leftover treacle from previous failed rye bread experiments. Dammit, anyone have a reliable recipe / tips?

Anyway, this loaf came out gorgeous, and almost rye-breadish. Goes so nicely with cream cheese and smoked trout. Also a very quick riser due to the spelt, despite my arctic kitchen.

3. I found Libby's canned pumpkin at the supermarket! The first time I've found it here for sale (not at some marked-up US-expat shop) and had to try out the Pumpkin Espresso Bread (recipe) which had been taunting me from pinterest. 
the main flavourings: espresso powder, pumpkin puree, light muscovado sugar, cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg
[ I don't like cloves] 
After making the cake batter, you sprinkle MOAR sugar/cinnamon/coffee on top

and it comes out with a rich, intensely flavoured crust, and seepy sugary bits beneath and the rest is dense yet light :O~

My only issue with this was that using bicarbonate of soda (baking soda) as per the original recipe gave way too much rise and I could still taste it afterwards; I would try it with baking powder next time... and wonder if Americans can taste baking powder in stuff as being a bit foreign....
Also, I would love to have more pumpkinny recipes to play with, so comment please!

4. Finally, a more or less family recipe [which really just means we've been making and tinkering with it so long the original source has been lost to knowledge and is probably someone really obvious like Mary Berry] for spiced courgette and walnut cake.
For which you beat 1 1/4 cups of caster sugar with 1 cup of bland vegetable oil then gradually add three beaten eggs until smooth.
Sift together the dry ingredients (3/4 cup self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp salt) and then fold into the other ingredients.
Add 1 cup grated, drained courgettes and 1/2 cup chopped walnuts. Don't overmix.
Tip into a greased, lined 20cm cake tin and bake at 180ºC for 75ish minutes or until the top springs back when pressed.

Icing consists of icing sugar, lemon juice, lemon zest and mascarpone. Played by ear.