Showing posts with label events. Show all posts
Showing posts with label events. Show all posts

Monday, 4 November 2013

Bare Minerals Christmas Shopping Event - 10% off - 7th November 5-8pm

This post originated at If you're reading it elsewhere, it's been stolen, violating my copyright.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Penhaligon's Peoneve Terrace at Harvey Nichols

Harvey Nicks and Penhaligons have teamed up to create a playful, floral outdoor space up by the 5th floor bar and restaurant at the flagship Knightsbridge store. It's called the Peoneve Terrace, in honour of Penhaligon's latest release Peoneve, a flowery fragrance with a base of pale woods composed by perfumer Oliver Cresp.

There's a full cocktail menu of Penhaligon's-inspired tipples, including the gin-tastic Peoneve Collins, which is served in a 500ml fragrance bottle (with straw), and the Turkish Delight-style Rose Garden. There's a themed selection of desserts too.

The decor is a fun mix of traditional garden furniture, oversized blossoms and insects - and we're talking ants and spiders, not just butterflies. The terrace is designed to be multi-sensory, so as well as the tastes and sights, there's fragrance in the air and if you squint a little and ignore the London architecture rising all around you, you just could be sitting in a country garden. It's definitely a fun way to round off a shopping trip.

The Peoneve Terrace is open now, and will remain until 31 August. You can book a table via the Harvey Nichols website

Monday, 10 October 2011

Soap and Glory makeup launches into Boots

Soap and Glory have unveiled their newest innovation - a range of colour cosmetics which are available now from Boots.

We went to S&G's HQ for an introduction to the range. It features the existing cosmetics like Trick and Treatment concealer and Sexy Motherpucker lipglosses, as well as new eye makeup, foundation, lip colour and blush, amongst other things.

The range is priced for a modest budget, with prices ranging from £5 for a gel eyeliner pencil to £11 for blushes and bronzers. Like the "pink" bath and body range, it delivers maximum bang for your buck (although you will have to appreciate retro kitsch and puns in order to fully benefit).

Eyeliners and cream eyeshadows dry totally smudge-proof and waterproof, while the eyeshadows are richly pigmented and vividly coloured without being greasy or overly shiny. There's also a small but promising range of foundation and lipstick colours with textures and wear that go over and above expectations for their price.

We were especially interested to see 2 eyeshadow primers promising not only eyeshadow-fastening properties, but also skincare benefits. At £8 each, they could present a serious contender to UDPP on the UK market if they're everything they're purported to be. We'll report more as we investigate...

Soap and Glory makeup is out now at Boots

Disclosure - we received some samples from the range

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Clinique Chubby Sticks - pencils with a punch of glossy, wearable colour

This weekend, Clinique release their new Chubby Sticks for lips - an 8-shade range of chunky pencils that deliver a sheer - but buildable - coloured sheen for summer lips.

I was given an early introduction to the Chubby Sticks range on Thursday night via a blogger event at Clinique. So far, I'm definitely a fan. A someone who's not often comfortable leaving the house with a full "lipstick" lip on (or with the maintenance, touch-ups and checking it's not migrated to my teeth or, you know, chin) I love it when spring/summer rolls around and the beauty market fills with sheer, tinted lip colours like these.

The chubby pencil format is great - it's just really pleasing to pick up one of these big colourful sticks and paint on a smile. They're pretty sturdy too - I'd feel confident carrying one around with me in my bag. I also learned today (via LondonMakeupGirl's post on Chubby Sticks - I had no idea!) that once the point has worn down, you can twist the pencil up - so no need for sharpening.

I was really expecting the colours to be scented or flavoured for some reason (probably the "juicy" appearance and the way they're marketed with cubes of jelly), but they're not at all.

Here are swatches of 6 shades (there are two more that I don't have - Woppin' Watermelon and Graped-up (I'm afraid I have to send a general "grooaaann" in Clinique's direction for the "chubby" themed shade names, but they're a bit of fun I guess.)

I was surprised to find myself loving Chunky Cherry the best - usually I'm more into warm colours and neutrals, but this cool-toned red is my definite favourite. Here it is on the lips:

If you're London-based, head down to Selfridges this weekend for the Chubby Sticks launch event - you can have a set of free photos taken at the counter in your own shade of Chubby Stick, and take them away in a Clinique photo wallet. There's also a GWP available when you buy two products (one to be colour), with a 7ml moisturiser, mini High Impact mascara (4ml) and All About Eyes cream (5ml).

Finally - I have to share this picture of the tower of jellies that Clinique laid on for the blogger event. Each shade was custom blended by a specialist jelly company (only in London can you find things like specialist jelly companies) to match the exact shade of an individual Chubby Stick.

Clinique Chubby Sticks, £14 for 1.5ml at Selfridges

Disclosure - PR samples

Saturday, 5 March 2011

Illamasqua Toxic Nature: new Cream Pigments

Disclosure - PR samples

The highlight of our beauty week has definitely been the Illamasqua Toxic Nature event, where we were introduced to Illamasqua's new spring collection, due out on counter 17 March (and online on 10 March at

Toxic Nature is a grungy mixture of post-apocalyptic pastels and eye-searing acid brights. It features some amazing nail polishes, including the neon chartreuse Radium that Gemma posted yesterday, and Glister, a new flesh-toned liner with pink shimmer that was grabbing a lot of attention at the event. (No doubt we'll be examing that in closer detail in a later post.) It's also the vehicle for a new product format, the Cream Pigment, which I'm swatching below.

Product Development Director David Horne explained that the Cream Pigments were created in response to customer feedback about the previous range of cream shadows, which were widely felt to be too oily. Illamasqua are known for their affinity with the straight-talking blogger world (and the feedback of their customers in general), and it's great to see that dialogue resulting in improvements to the line.

Our first question about the Cream Pigments was "will they set"? Both of us have been stung too many times by "creaseless" cream colours that do, indeed, crease, rather than setting to a dependable finish. I'm not sure that the Cream Pigments will work as stand-alone lid colours, but they do have a lot of other potential uses.

The feeling we got from the Illamasqua team was that these are as much pro tools as consumer products. They're intended to be mixed and matched, used on different areas of the face and body, and generally provide pigment where it's needed in an open-ended, non-prescriptive way. Some of the models at the event and in the promo pics even had Cream Pigment in their hair, although that's possibly a shade too experimental for us.

The Cream Pigments are poured in the usual four-cornered Illamasqua pots. The lids don't have screw or snap-shut mechanisms, which means they're not very portable - I'd worry about the lids coming off in my bag and making an unholy mess. However the lids are quite snug-fitting, so there shouldn't be too much problem with the products drying out.

As you can see, I couldn't resist sticking my fingers in before taking pictures. The texture is very creamy and easy to pick up.

I've been playing around with the two colours I received at the event, Mould and Hollow. I tried Mould, which is a deep plum/grape shade, as a lip colour. I thought it worked surprisingly well, although the verdict from Jon, who I live with, was "you look like you've been eating a pen." Maybe not then.

Hollow is a definite candidate for contouring, as it's very blendable and totally without the tell-tale orange stripe effect you get from many bronzers. It's more of a dark tea colour than a bronze. You could also use either shade as a cream blush, as they can be sheered out easily.

The pigment is strong with this one. The above swatches are a single swipe. To show you how well they blend together, here's a merged swatch of both colours.

Six cream pigments will be released with Toxic Nature. If they do well, more colours will be in the pipeline. The colours, all densely-pigmented mattes, are: Mould and Hollow (above), Emerge (a pale peach), Bedaub (pastel mint green), Dab (pale lilac), and Delirium (a dusty rose that would be a killer cream blush).

Cream Pigments will retail at £17 each (8g).

See more Toxic Nature concept art at Illamasqua's official blog. You can also win your Toxic Nature waiting list at prior to the collection's release.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Ahoy! OPI's new Pirates of the Caribbean collection - launch and swatches

Disclosure - goody bags were received at the launch, arrrr!

 Early on Friday morning, we stepped aboard the Golden Hinde in Southwark for the launch of OPI's two new themed collections, Femme du Cirque and Pirates of the Caribbean - On Stranger Tides. The Golden Hinde is a recreated Tudor warship. Not many polish fiends among Francis Drake's original crew, I'll warrant, but it was still a highly appropriate venue for the piratey collection of dusty pinks and swarthy pastel creams that OPI had in store for us.

The ship was decked out (if you'll excuse the pun) with fantastic props and decorations. It made me realise what a fun profession PR can be, and how much creative energy went into the event. Tri-cornered hats off to the team at Lena White PR!

But anyway, onto the polish! The Pirates collection includes 6 creme pastel shades. There are two pinks (not very piratey), two murky, grungy greens (a bit more like it), a gorgeous dusty turquoise and a delightful faded lilac. Here are the swatches:

L-R - Sparrow Me The Drama, Steady As She Rose, Skull and Glossbones

L-R - Mermaid's Tears, Stranger Tides, Planks a Lot

My picks are the lower three, although Steady As She Rose is also nice in a dirty vintage pink kind of way.

The star of the new Pirates collection though is Silver Shatter, a crackle top-coat in bright metallic silver. Here's the bottle;

 And here are some swatches of it over the other Pirates colours:

Each polish colour was presented along with a fantastic themed prop downstairs in the lower deck - sadly the lighting wasn't great, but you can see the ingenuity nonetheless.

We also saw the sheer colours from Femme du Cirque -

L-R - Step Right Up, In The Spotlight Pink, So Many Clowns... So Little Time, I Juggle... Men

The stand-out from these pale pinks is I Juggle...Men, which has a gorgeous pink/green iridescence to it.

Both collections will be available later this year.

Friday, 28 January 2011

Cult Beauty pop up shop now at Selfridges

Disclosure - goody bags received from Cult Beauty at the launch. Cult Beauty is part of Handpicked Media. 

Cult Beauty's new pop-up shop launched in Selfridges, Oxford St. yesterday evening.

For those not familiar with the site, Cult Beauty is an online retailer-cum-blogazine selling some of the best and most effective beauty products sourced from around the world. One of the nicest things about Cult is that "best" doesn't always mean "most expensive". Some of their most desirable products are refreshingly low in price, like Tara Smith's haircare range (shampoos and conditioners costing £5.50) or Lucas Papaw ointment (£4.50 for 25g).

The pop-up shop in Selfridges will run from now until Monday 31 Jan, and is located in the beauty hall on the ground floor. You won't find the full Cult Beauty range there, but there is a substantial range of hero products selected by founders Jess and Alexia, including the Tara Smith and Lucas Papaw mentioned above, Strange Beautiful nail polishes, Belmacz and Face Atelier cosmetics, Rahua haircare and Immupure skincare. There will also be the chance to meet and learn from some of Cult Beauty's panel of beauty experts who will be in attendance for the duration.

If you get the chance to pop down this weekend, do. It's a great opportunity to get your hands on some superb beauty products not usually available at bricks and mortar shops in the UK. If you need more incentive, check out this offer of a free gift at the shop when you sign up to the Cult Beauty newsletter.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Unique techniques from Paul & Joe's Global Makeup Artist Craig-Ryan French

Disclosure - we received product samples at the Paul & Joe event

A couple of weeks back, Gemma and myself were invited to meet Paul & Joe's Global Makeup Artist Craig-Ryan French during his visit to London. With a table full of products and an audience full of willing volunteers, he quickly won our admiration with his friendly enthusiastic personality (just look at that smile), and his amazing cosmetic know-how.

We were also totally blown away to learn that he was the makeup artist for the "Saw" films. (His background is in special effects makeup.) As major horror movie fans, Gemma and I were both instantly star-struck when we realised we were chatting to the guy who'd created some of cinema's most wince-worthy visuals.

From gore to girliness, Craig-Ryan embraced his career move to Paul & Joe with characteristic enthusiasm and is now a passionate advocate of the line. He talked us through some of his favourite Paul & Joe products and imparted some pearls of wisdom along the way. Here's what we learned...

  • Craig-Ryan's core belief is that beauty arises from a sense of balance. Good makeup isn't about any one area of the face, it's about a harmonious interaction between all the elements. Symmetry, contrast and minute adjustments all help to create this balance. For example, he told us that lip colour is not about complementing the natural colour of the lips themselves - it's about playing up the colour of the eyes. Contrasting the eyes with the lips can shift the perceived colour to make them really stand out. 

  •  Makeup looks best about 25 minutes after application. This is because the oils on the skin will have begun to show through the makeup to create a more natural effect. This applies both for film makeup and everyday. Craig-Ryan advises us to hold back on our urge to powder and learn to love a bit of natural glow. The new Paul & Joe pressed powders have a pearlised component for just this reason - to prevent powdered skin looking too flat and artificial.

  • Never underestimate the power of a well-groomed brow. Craig-Ryan is especially fond of the Paul & Joe brow pencils, which have two ends - a thin, precise point for drawing in individual hairs, and a softer smudgier one for shading. His technique for filling in brows was a true revelation to us - instead of following the line of the brow exactly, he makes subtle alterations to widen the eye. He works from the nose outward, beginning underneath the brow. Then at the point where the brow arches (this should be directly above where the white of the eye meets the outer corner) he takes the colour above the line of the brow - only by a couple of millimetres - to create the impression of a higher brow and more space above the eye. Genius.

  • Lips aren't symmetrical. (And balance is beauty, remember.) When we highlight our lips with strong colour,  we also highlight that asymmetry, often in a way that makes our lips look a little "off". We might blame the colour or the texture when lip colour doesn't suit us, but usually it's the way we're accentuating the shape of our lips that's causing the problem, says Craig-Ryan. Instead of following the line of the lips exactly, use the rest of your face as a guide to create a symmetrical lip, adjusting where you put the colour to create an impression of evenness. The nostrils should line up with the top of the cupid's bow, and the curve of the lower lip should sit directly underneath. Sketch these in with lip pencil and you've created the framework for a perfect lip. When applying lipstick, work from the corners inwards to give a softer, more forgiving edge to the colour. Paul & Joe's double-ended lip liners do the job of both lip liner and lipstick, with a matte, pigmented colour at one end and a sheerer more glossy texture at the other.

  • Paul & Joe's waterproof mascara is apparently possessed of some serious staying power. Neither of us have tried it, but we took Craig-Ryan's word for it that it's quite hardcore, even requiring its own dedicated remover. We watched with interest as he showed us how it could be used to tightline the eye - pushing it right into the roots of the upper lashes with an eyeshadow brush to give definition and eliminate that "gap" effect that can occur when black mascara is applied to paler lashes. 

  • Going out for the evening and not keen on lugging around a makeup bag for touch-ups? Craig-Ryan has a simple solution. Pre-load a lip brush with your favourite concealer and carry it with you to ensure a flawless complexion at all times. (NB do choose a lip-brush that comes with its own lid, or this could prove messy). Paul & Joe's Portable Touch Up Brush is perfect for the job.  

Paul & Joe's Holiday Sparkles collection is out now. You can find the brand on counter at London branches of Harvey Nicholls and Harrods.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Word to the wise - look out for Pengaligons Olfactory Owl in London this week

The Olfactory Owl roosting in Burlington Arcade
I have to hand it to Penhaligons - they come up with the most original marketing ideas of any brand I know. First it was the scented taxi roving the streets of London, and now it's a perfumed bird of prey in Victorian formalwear.

The Olfactory Owl will be touring London's landmarks this week, travelling on foot, by tube and on public transport. He'll be giving out discount vouchers and fragrance samples, and if you're lucky enough to spot him out and about you can win prizes by uploading your pictures to Penhaligons' Facebook and Twitter .

My first thought when I saw the press release for this campaign was the "A OWL" sketch from Channel 4's PhoneShop. However I think this owl is considerably more classy than the menacing "Mr Wise"... (link NSFW)

Here's the Olfactory Owl's schedule over the next few days:

Thursday 16th December – Oxford Street, Bond Street, Savile Row, Burlington Arcade, Fortnum & Mason
Saturday 18th December – Regent Street and Trafalgar Square
Sunday 19th December – Knightsbridge, Sloane Square, Green Park, Piccadilly
Tues 21st December – Covent Garden, Somerset House, British Museum

Have you seen the Olfactory Owl out and about in London? Will you be looking out for him?

Thursday, 2 December 2010

IMATS 2011: January 29th + 30th

I can't believe it's been almost a year since the last IMATS!  This year, it was a whirlwind weekend of swatching, shopping, watching and learning - and next year is shaping up to be just as gorgeous.  Already confirmed are sessions from Eve Pearl, OCC's David Klasfeld, and Lauren Luke, with brands such as MAC, CoverFX, Naked and Temptu also presenting demos and classes.  The schedule is tightly packed, the speakers interesting, and given how much we learned last time, we can't wait to get in on the action.

If you're interested to attend the event at London's Alexandra Palace, you'll find all the details on the London IMATS website.  We'll be there both days, taking photos and writing up our experiences... hope to see you there!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

NOTD Strawberry nails by WAH Nails & Models Own

Disclosure - PR sample/treatment

Here's a bit of nail art inspiration courtesy of WAH Nails, who invited us to their ultra-hip Dalston salon to celebrate the launch of the new WAH/Models Own nail art pen.

I was given a preview sample of one of the nail art pens (initially available in black and white, but planned to roll out in all of Models Own's stupendous shades). Unfortunately, I've not been able to produce anything fit to see the light of day. I thought I was the artistic type. Sigh.

I'll keep practicing. In the meantime, here's some much more accomplished work from WAH nail technician Zara, who adorned my digits with the very sweet Strawberry manicure (RRP £26).

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Le Métier de Beauté Makeup Masterclasses

Le Métier de Beauté are celebrating the opening of their new Selfridges counter by getting their All Star Team in to run a week of themed days highlighting makeup techniques.  Now, this wouldn't be quite so exciting - it's not unusual for brands to bring their makeup artists on counter for special events - but as it's 
Le Métier, there's a twist.  They're giving away product.  Oh yes.  

If you're in London between the 29th October and the 2nd November, it's well worth taking a trip to Selfridges to check out the new counter.  Here are the details:

Friday 29th October – Flawless Foundation
Create the perfect base and glow with immaculate skin.  The first 5 customers to quote ‘Flawless Foundation’ at the counter will receive a complimentary Blonzer.

Saturday 30th October – Treat Yourself
Discover Peau Vierge and the first 5 customers to quote ‘Peau Vierge’ at the counter will receive a complimentary Peau Vierge Anti-Ageing Correcteur.

Sunday 31st October – Perfect Lips
Perfect your pout with luscious glosses and lip sticks.  The first 5 customers to quote ‘Perfect Lips’ at the counter will receive a complimentary limited edition Sheer Brilliance in Turkish Smoke (not available at retail).

Monday 1st November – Couche de Couleur
Learn the Le Métier de Beauté signature smoky eye.  The first 5 customers to quote ‘Couche de Couleur’ at the counter will receive a complimentary Precision Liquid Liner in Noir.

Tuesday 2nd November – The Finale
Attend a master class with Mikey Castillo to create your signature look.  The first 5 customers to book in and attend will receive a goody bag including the coveted Precision Liquid Liner, Sheer Brilliance Lip Gloss, Blonzer in Maldives Magic and the versatile Dualistic Lip Liner in Rose.

Monday, 4 October 2010

MAC Blogger event and Venomous Villains

Disclosure - some samples were given out at this event

Being invited to a MAC event was a real "wow" moment for us. Like most makeup fanatics, both Gemma and myself went through that "MAC-a-holic" phase. Although we don't go wild for every new collection these days, the brand still has a special place in both our hearts.

I wasn't sure what to expect when I travelled to the Kensington Church Street store for the Venomous Villains blogger event last Thursday, but I had an idea about why MAC would choose to connect with UK bloggers at the present time.

The brand received a storm of criticism from the blogger community over their Rodarte collaboration, which has since been withdrawn from the release calendar, and anti-MAC sentiments and talk of boycotting the brand spread like wildfire across Twitter. The brand's reputation with UK bloggers has been substantially damaged, and I interpreted the Venomous Villains event as a move towards reparation. Although I suspected that PR damage-control strategy was part of the picture, I was still glad of the opportunity to connect with the brand.

After some confusion about whether or not we were going to be let in (a huddle of bloggers waited outside at the appointed time for the event, but were ignored by staff until they were ready to admit us 5 minutes late - not a great first impression), we were escorted in via the back door and served with some beautifully presented refreshments.

We then descended stairs to an additional studio space beneath the store, which was arranged with rows of chairs (each one with a sleek black goody bag sitting on it). At the front was a stool and a counter where UK pro artist Debbie was ready to give us a demonstration using products from the new Venomous Villains collection.

Click through for more pictures and some product images.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

At the Court of Illamasqua - new AW Art of Darkness Collection at the Soho flagship store

Disclosure - products were provided for review

Yesterday afternoon I attended Illamasqua's new flagship store in Soho for a much-anticipated blogger event. The store, on Beak St (no 20 to be exact), is metres from the end of Carnaby Street. It's a large, welcoming space with glittering holographic walls and floors, and is also home to the new Illamasqua School of Makeup Art, the brand's first teaching venture. The store opens on Monday (13th September), but yesterday a horde of bloggers were given first look at the premises and at Illamasqua's new Art of Darkness collection, the second of two seasonal releases this year.

Art of Darkness goes well beyond the usual concept/product format of seasonal cosmetic collections (and certainly blows summer's Body Electrics out of the water). It's an entire fairytale that touches on the subjects of alchemy, immortality, temptation and danger. The scene is a banquet with 13 guests, each one a persona from the imagination of Creative Director Alex Box. Wanton Woman, Wolfen, Faerie, Ceremonia, the Queen of the Gypsies... scanning the promotional material I begin to think I've strayed off the cosmetic highway and wandered into an RPG or cosplay situation. But the thread leads back to the products - the 13 guests (each one exquisitely made up, of course) are all engaged in a quest to create the Elixir of Life, i.e immortality bottled. They don't succeed, but they do manage to come up with some transformative tools that render mortal forms exquisite - "a beautiful array of jewel-like substances", to quote the promo material.

And here they are. Presented in custom packaging with the emblem of an iridescent beetle (great minds think alike), the collection consists of 3 new Liquid Metals, 2 new Pure Pigments, 2 new nail polishes, a Powdered Metal face and body highlighter, a navy blue lipstick (Disciple), an Intense Lipgloss and two shades of Precision Ink liquid liner. The dominant colours are metallic red, blue and green, although gold is also a feature (which ties in with the alchemy theme, with the idea of base metals being turned into gold).

I didn't realise until this event that Illamasqua's colour products are produced by cult pro makeup brand Kryolan, who are famous for their bright, vivid pigments. 

Most high on my wishlist are the two new polishes, Viridian and Scarab. Viridian (blue/green) is especially lovely.

Here is the navy blue lipstick, Disciple. Could this be a new trend?

The three new Liquid Metals, Resolute, Superior and Stoic. These will be available separately, and also in a 4-way palette along with the pre-existing gold shade Solstice.

Pure Pigment in Alluvium (which has gold and pink sparkle) layered over Superior Liquid Metal to create a deep, opaque metallic blue.

Precision Ink in Alchemy. More of a very very dense sparkle than a metallic, and wonderfully long-wearing (it's a polymer-based formula, so no smudging or transfer)

Creative Director Alex Box was in attendance, and after addressing the guests, she went to work creating looks on willing models. Here's one similar to the Wanton Woman campaign concept.

Here's a red and gold devilish character.

While most brands offer blogger-tailored events alongside more traditional press days (if they offer them at all), Illamasqua put bloggers emphatically centre-stage. Addressing the guests, Alex Box explained that the blogger community was first in the door of the Beak Street shop, and that that was deliberate. Bloggers are prioritised because of the strong fit between Illamasqua's ethos and the blogger phenomenon. "It's about passion for pigment, no bullshit, and really getting stuck into the product." She encouraged us to "get out there and stick your fingers in every pot."

Despite her seniority, Box was present a a matter of course and very accessible. I spoke to her and thanked her for the event, and she was extremely willing to chat. I had heard her speak before during a lengthy interview at IMATS but had never met her and was charmed by how open and down to earth she was.

I came away from the event feeling excited and positive. Illamasqua is a brand that's very much still growing, is charged with creativity and idealism and is absolutely bubbling with new ideas. It's primarily an artistic venture, rather than a commercial one (although to run a large retail concern in central London there must be some serious business acumen at play too) and the sincerity and passion on show is a real breath of fresh air in the beauty industry.

The Art of Darkness collection is not yet released, apart from the Precision Ink liquid liners, which are out now. The Beak Street store will open on Monday 13th, and the attached School of Makeup Art will begin courses in mid October.
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