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.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Shu Uemura Prestigious Bordeaux Liberation and Comparisons

Firstly, darkly depotting Dora. Thanks to a comment from Stephanie, I set to without the aid of heat and was done in all of half a minute. All you need is a sanitised pair of tweezers. :)

1. Push down gently on the metal pan at one corner of your victim cruelly imprisoned pigment longing to be free.

2. The glue is so weak this should tilt the opposite angle up:

3. Pinch that exposed pan edge at the tilted-up corner between your tweezers and pull up and out:

4. Repeat.

These pans are tiny, by the way, two-thirds the size of the Colour Atelier singles -- all six will fit perfectly into one of Shu's compact refillable 'quads'.

Random grab-bag of swatches: each pan against the closest / vaguely similar ones in the rest of my collection. Overall I was very pleased to find I didn't really have 'dupes' for any of these colours, and the closest whole palette I own to this -- THREE 4D Eye Palette in 04 Art of Parties -- isn't very similar at all.

On to the single comparisons!

Top Left (Purple)
natural light, full sun
Fyrinnae Cuddlefish and Shinigami
Prestigious Bordeaux
Sonia Rykiel Mousse Eyeshadow 04 (also swatched here)
Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Illusoire
Paul&Joe Eye Gloss Duo B 03 Depth (limited edition)
THREE Flash Performance Liner 04 Eye Belong (also here

Top Right (Bronze)
Rouge Bunny Rouge Automatic Pencil Lola (also here)
Fyrinnae STFU
Prestigious Bordeaux
Chanel Illusion D'Ombre Ebloui

Middle Left (Pink)
Fyrinnae Cupcake Frosting and Meerkat
Shu Uemura G Pink 135
Suqqu Blend 08 Mizuaoi top left (review/swatch)
Prestigious Bordeaux
KATE Deep Trap Eyes PK-1 far right (also here)
RBR Sleeping Under A Mandarin Tree and Capricious Nightingale

Middle Right (Rosy Brown)
natural light, sunny
RBR Bohemian Waxwing (also here)
Suqqu Blend 07 Komorebi top left
Fyrinnae Kurisumasu!
Prestigious Bordeaux
NYX Jumbo Pencil Yoghurt

Bottom Left (Gold)

Prestigious Bordeaux
RMK SH-01 Shiny Brown Gold
Barry M Dazzle Dust 101 Buff
RBR Sleeping Under A Mandarin Tree and Eaten All the Cherries
Shu Uemura G Orange 251
THREE Shimmering Colour Veil 20 Ziggy
Fyrinnae Rapunzel Had Extensions, Gilded Wings and Bastet

Bottom Right (Red)
natural light, angled
Shiseido RD103 Petal [the most shimmery of all of these]
RBR Florita (also here and here)
Prestigious Bordeaux
Dolce and Gabbana Sole (review)

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Flappy Halloween

This is very small beer compared to the plight of those in Sandyland -- may you and your loved ones stay safe, warm and online -- but my personal woecake is that I'm spending Halloween at home this year D: owing a little bit to inclement weather but mostly to incompetent friends who couldn't throw a party if they had a Fisher Price grenade launcher. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE.

Although the grumpy old woman within me is secretly kind of glad since a) it is wet, windy and cold, b) I haz far too many treats and like to stay close for embezzling convenience, and c) getting done up in an ambitious costume is a wee bit less appealing after a long work day than it used to be after a school day....

But Halloween is still my second favourite holiday (obvs Guy Fawkes' is the depotter's holiday) so I cobbled something together in which to open the door, from random bits I had in the closet...

...but mainly from Shu Uemura Prestigious Bordeaux -- oh yes, for we are still in a proper torrid death-shall-not-us-part clinch. (Which is much less scary now that I've freed the delicious pans from Vampire Dora's pernicious grip -- more on that later.)
Pot: Barry M Dazzle Dust 84 Cherry Red
Pans all Shu: Top two and bottom right pans from Prestigious Bordeaux, ME 786, G745
Tubes: Rouge Bunny Rouge Lola automatic eye pencil, Angels' Play eye gloss, YSL Glossy Stain 9 Rouge Lacque

Turban, brooch and pearls are all cheapy charity shop toys.

Inspiration: Moon of My Delight (Henry Clive, 1934) via captainspaceburger


My camera freaked out a bit over all the glitter so I couldn't get a proper eye close-up -- this is the most in-focus eye shot I managed:

Angel's Play as base to get a little of that oil-slickness from HC's brushstrokes.
Prestigious Bordeaux purple on the inner and outer v, blended out with ME786, brought higher up at the inner corner for that partly rounded '30s shape.
Lola smudged along lashline and outer v, and blended out with the Prestigious Bordeaux bronze.
Lower lashline: PB bronze from outside in and ME786 from the inside out.
Dab of Cherry Red in inner corner, and G745 on centre of mobile lid.
PB red blush on the very upper edge of cheekbones.
Rouge Lacque on lips (1 coat).

Obviously I didn't bother with period brows or falsies :P So just used my usual Browlash EX Natural Brown pencil to curve the ends of my brows down a bit more, and L'Oreal Telescopic False Lash WP mascara applied at an angle to pull my lashes towards the outer corners.

Base: Laura Mercier Silk Creme Soft Ivory + Suki CC Cream Purple mix, RBR Sea of Clouds. I skipped undereye concealer because lazy ghoulish!

I may be handing out E-number-filled crap, but be assured I will be regaling all unfortunate children with a lecture on 1920s/30s makeup, which is, like, totally brain food :P

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

New and Notorious

This is a very similar look to yesterday's, but with glossy textures instead of mattes -- I've been in a bit of a neutral-eye-rosy/berry-lip rut of late, and am going to post this right on the heels of the last both to illustrate said rut [er...again], and also because people have asked to see the specific products I used in action.

Because two are new and shiny:
Lunasol Sheer Glossy Eyes EX-01 Nuance Grey (limited edition)

and YSL Glossy Stain #25 Fuchsia Neo-Classic, one of the six new shades (swatched by Rouge Deluxe)

....and t'other is Notorious. Aka Chanel's Joue Zombie. Recently Miss Lizzie of Glossed in Translation has complained that pigments look unrealistically pretty on my skin...well I call LIES because this powder looks so much better on her. As on Xiao of Messy Wands.
There may be a future blogpost in this if/when I acquire actual Knowledges, but it does seem to be true that my skin is some kind of cosmetic Switzerland, dry, clear and neutral, on which the vast majority of colours and textures read true.
if you can't see the shimmer, click to enlarge
See that microshimmer in the pan? It's very fine, but my, it's plentiful. Every rave blog review has sworn it doesn't translate onto their skin; well, it shows up clearly on mine. Even if you don't share my personal bias against visible shimmer in face products, I think it's pretty widely accepted as a bad plan to have face contour that sparkles like a tinsel-miniskirted starlet desperate for attention...

The other major selling point of this Joue Contraste [uh, assuming we are bein Rational Consumers and putting aside stuff like "new thing" or "limited edition zomg" or "TAUPE"] is the colour: a warm grey. About which I have no bad things to say. A too-cool grey would really read as zombielicious on most, a too-warm taupe would easily tip into orange territory for those of us who already find shadowing shades tricky to shop for; this is an excellent balance, and in Chanel's dryish, sheerish, blendable powder, relatively beginner-friendly.

Here it is against some of my other contouring options:
Burberry Earthy (original review)
Catrice Starlight Espresso and Grey's Philosophy (original swatches), which I mix together
Illamasqua Primal (discontinued holy grail D:)
natural light, shade
Okay, obviously Earthy no longer works on me now that my tan has faded and I'm back in cold London winter light :P Texture-wise, Notorious is the only product to make my arm look were-hairy and patchy and freakishly goose-pimply. And that, my friends, is what a dry texture and visible shimmer does to my dry skin.

To make the Chanel shimmer, visible to my naked eye, register on camera, I used flash:
dark room, direct flash

and cunning angling:
natural light, indirect sun I hope you can see what I mean. Because I nearly fell down the stairs getting that last shot.

Sure, it's not Nars-Multiple obvious. I don't think most people would register it as shimmer, they'd probably just think I was rocking some killer porous sideburns with that red lipstick.... But it bugs me. A lot. And I can get a similar shade by mixing 6Euros' worth of eyeshadows with a finer texture, when my beloved Illamasqua finally runs out :'( Which is possibly kind of never, because despite meaning to get all skilled and stuff, I hardly ever bother to contour, so don't improve, so rarely bother....

In case the subtext isn't coming across clearly: despite all this, I STILL WANT THE DAMN ZOMBIE BLUSH. It looks awesome as eyeshadow. Also, TAUPE.

Chanel Notorious under cheekbones and on eyes (outer v and socket), unblended

Blended....ish. I rarely contour, okay.

EYES Lunasol Sheer Glossy Eyes EX01 Nuance Grey over lid and onto lower lashline -- please note this is layered underneath Notorious on my outer v, pulling it greyer. Notorious is on its own in my socket, and looks more taupe, as it does under my cheekbone. L'Oreal Telescopic False Lash WP mascara. GOSH White eye kohl.
LIPS YSL Glossy Stain 25 Fuchsia Neo-Classic (2 coats)
CHEEKS Kjaer Weiss Cream Blush Lovely
BASICS Laura Mercier Silk Cream Soft Ivory mixed with Yuki CC Cream Purple, Burberry Concealer 01. Browlash EX Natural Brown brow pencil.

Boring look is boring :P This is about the products, remember?

More boring things:
Nuance Grey was a present from a lovely friend.
Notorious was a temporary loan from another delicious friend.
Fuchsia Neo-Classic was an actual purchase, thanks to the SA who put these out early by mistake :P