A Sincere but Light-Hearted Mission To Make More of Myself!

Archive for June 2010

Merle O’Grady Jewellery

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Merle O’Grady Jewellery.

My obsession with jewllery and all things bling-like continues. . !

I’m liking the work of Merle O’Grady at the moment. I think I am the last person to hear of her. Her work has been featured in In Style, Grazia, The Telegraph, Vogue and Elle among others this year.

Her necklaces are Statement with a capital S. Usually bib like, eye catching and very beautiful.

I especially like this Cosmos Bib necklace (£380). It is glamorous and elegant yet there is something distinctly tribal and summery about it. The rock beads seem to give it some edge.

I also like this small pendant which at £80.50 is slightly closer -but not close enough:(- to my price range.

All of the ear rings seem big and dangly. Ooh and some of the ear rings seem a little more affordable. This pair are £28.

Hmm and if I got them, I would be in very good company because allegedly Beyonce has purchased a pair of earrings designed by O’Grady. Apparently they are big and Beyonce was impressed by how lightweight they were.

Meanwhile Cheryl Cole has this bracelet which I love, the Bombshell bracelet (£215).

I think that this bracelet embodies what the Merle O’Grady designs are all about. Feminine jewellery with a contrasting often industrial type edge. Her style seems to fit in with all the skull-like bracelets I see floating around at the moment and yes indeed, my beautiful scarf. It is strange, I used to think that jewellery had to be delicate and pretty pretty. Now I realise that some of the pretty things are actually pretty because they incorporate this in some way and then go and do the opposite with the rest of the piece.

There is a great interview with Merle in the August Issue of Make Jewellery and you can see or purchase (lucky you if you do!) her current pieces here .

Feed my new jewellery addiction, what other pieces should I be swooning over? Is there one particular brand or designer that I should know about? What do you think of Cheryl’s bracelet, would you wear it?

All images from the Merle O’Grady website except the Cheryl Cole one which came from InStyle online.



Written by essjay23x

June 26, 2010 at 6:47 pm

Colour Me In (No 2)

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Colour Me In (No 2)

Look, what I got in Boots last week for £3.75. Some places sell it for £25.

Make Believe Gradual Self Tan And Tan Extender. Bargain!


Apparently, I saved so much just because the box is damaged. I hope that is correct, I do not want to end up green or something because the lotion is out of date. However, presuming that this is not the case and that my product is A-ok, I am thrilled. I have treated myself with products (very occasionally) from the Make Believe range before and I adore them.

I know that I should probably wait until I’ve used this product before I start raving about the brand but I can’t help myself. I use this brand once or twice each year when I am feeling a bit richer and it has never failed to wow me. So today I am going to tell you a little about that and the brand and I PROMISE that if for some horrible reason, my experience is not the same this time then I will let you know.

The Make Believe product range seems quite extensive with self-tanner, night time products, face tanning products (although I admit I have used the body product on my face), bronzing products, airbrush tans, gradual tans, kits.

I remember been so pleased once when I watched one of the Gok Wan programmes and the testers chose Make Believe as their best tan because I’d never really heard anybody else rave about this brand before and I still don’t. I’m not sure if that is a reflection of the price (I understand that) or what?! I can see no other reason why people would not be singing about this brand but then everybody’s experience may be different.

Make Believe seem to create products that are about more then a good tan, it is about making you believe (and therefore feel) beautiful. Make Believe actually say that their brand ‘allows you to gradually build a natural looking tan by combining leading edge skincare with just a hint of active ingredients, whilst moisturising and conditioning your skin to help promote a longer lasting healhty glow’. It is not unusual for a tanning brand to come out with something like this but all of the Make Believe products I have used do feel quite creamy and silky with quite a pretty fragrance as far as fake tan goes. Apparently the ingredients include Rainforest(!), Jojoba, Hempseed Oils and Shea Butter blended as well as a Lipo Care Complex to tone, moisturise and smooth, antioxidants and fruit extracts. I think the Make Believe tanners, the gradual and the full on one, are the best that I have ever tried. They make me feel (and hopefully look) radiant! Everything is very pretty about the brand, the box, the branding, the smell (very pleasant esp. compared to the Nivea gradual and St Moritz), the colour (not orange, a creamy shimmery brown on my skin), the finish (not streaky), the consistenancy (moisturising). So needless to say I am very excited about using this product again.

The product that I have just brought is the Gradual Self Tanner (and Tan Extender).I have used this mositurising gradual tanning lotion before and find that I just need maybe two coats in one day and I end up with the same results as I do with the Make Believe Self-tan lotion, the tanner. I then top up the next day and after that maybe every other. I remember this tan seems to be quite long lasting. I have had qualms with St Moritz because as soon as I clinique (I know, I probably should not be using St Moritz on my face in the first place), the colour seems to wash away. I also find that the colour quickly wears on my body. I would say that St Moritz is nice and easy to do but for me, I have to keep repeating the routine.

I remember Make Believe as been a little easier but it could just be a memory. However, when I break in to this little bottle, I will let you know what happens and then you can make your own mind up as to whether it is worth the normal price tag of £25. This is quite an expensive product so please do not buy it solely because of my shopping channel style rave here. It has worked for me in the past but I have not used it in the last few months and you need to think about your own body etc. What works for me may not work for you but I guess, at least, you now know Make Believe is out there.

 Do you fake tan? What do you use? Have any of you tried Make Believe?


Written by essjay23x

June 26, 2010 at 11:08 am

Colour Me In (No 1)

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Colour Me In (No 1)

I was looking through what I have been ‘hauling’ recently and it suddenly struck me as I considered the new gems that most of the products were about colour in one way or another. I guess that is not surprising really. Isn’t make up all about colour? If a product is not changing the colour of our lips or other features then it is there to enhance the colour we already have. Foundation just makes our colour look a bit more smoothed and refreshed. Even beauty products are all about enhancing our beauty through colour. Exfoliators scrubs away the baddies and gives us the glow while cleansers are meant to keep those nasty red blemishes at bay.

Anyway enough of the babbling. The next couple of posts will concentrate on two different types of products that I use to colour (me!) in. My next post will be about a couple of fake tan products but this one is all about hair dye.

Yes, those of you who follow me on Twitter may already be aware that I dyed my hair last weekend. It was very brave of me, I don’t colour my hair at home very often and there is a very good reason for this which is that on the odd occasion where I have dyed my hair at home, disaster has struck.

First when I was about 17, I dyed my hair jet black and much of my skin too. It was a permanent colour as well. Ouch, there were a few lessons that I should have learnt there but I think that I only learnt one and that is, that there is a world of difference in the colour between Jet Black, the blackest of black hair and dark brunette. Oops. It looked so wrong. My Granny used to shake her head everytime that she saw me.

The second time I used permanent dye again, duh! It was one of those highlighting kits where you dye your hair and add your highlights. The permanent hair colour was fine, the highlight one not quite so. They were a red, red, red disaster and why did I have to highlight so much around my face? Again it made me look ill and seemed to bring out a very uneven skin tone. Needless to say I was at the hairdressers within a week!

Not this time, I am very impressed with my new colour this time. The delightful colour is NATURAL MEDIUM GOLDEN BROWN 117, a semi-permanent from Clariol Nice n Easy. I heeded what I’ve learnt in the past. Stay away from red, home highlights and permanent dye.


To be honest, I wasn’t sure about the word Golden as when I’ve previously gone ‘golden’ at the hairdressers, the colour quickly became straw-like but I was reassured by the fact that this was predominantly a medium dye.

I was right, there was no need to panic. This dye worked for me!

My barnet was quite dark when I first dyed it but the ‘golden’bits which are more shimmer then golden broke it up just enough to keep the colour soft and flattering. My eyes seemed to look quite bright and more awake.

Since the initial dying session last weekend, I have washed my hair twice and the colour has lightened a little but I still like it. Now it is more or less a glossier and more lively version of my natural hair colour. I doubt you can see the difference in photos hence the lack of. I just look more groomed and that is ok since that is a major part of what my mission is all about!




I also just need to say how impressed I was with the conditioner included in the box with the dye. My hair felt so soft once it was applied, while it was left in and after it was washed out of my hair. It really felt like my hair had enjoyed a good going over and pampering. A softness I did not really expect when I had just dyed my hair.  I left the dye on my hair for about 20 minutes at the most and although the colour change is there subtly, the vibrancy of my colour has increased immensely. There was also plenty of dye in the box. I purchased two boxes (It was 2 boxes for £8 in Boots) because it said you might need to if your hair is longer then shoulder length but one was enough for me. I did panic because I caught my skin a little (again!) but within 24 hours and a couple of scrubs, any staining seemed to disappear. You can never use too much vaseline when dying your hair though!

So do you feel the need to change your hair colour or even just liven it up a little once the summer comes? What hair colours do you recommend?


Written by essjay23x

June 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Posted in Babble, Hair

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Barry M 53

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Barry M 53

Back in February Barry M 53 was never a sensible purchase, it just looked so enticing sat on the shelf that it had to come to the till with me.

I know that the orange coral is fated for sunny girls that bear a nice golden glow but I couldn’t help myself. This lipstick is so vibrant, alive and oh so eye catching among the usual pinks and reds. Striking maybe but not really a match for me yet I went and brought it, didn’t I?!

Now it is June and in theory, this lipstick still should not suit me. I am so pale!

Ok, I have been tanning a little with St Moriz (Make Believe next, yay) but it really is only a little and sometimes even with moisturiser so there is little evidence on my pasty skin of my penchant for tanning. A hint of a glow at the very most.

Yet, I think that I can wear 53. There is no mistaking the fact that it is a bright and vibrant orange yet there is a slight shimmer to it which is almost peach and in certain lights, this seems to tone the lippie down a little which is good news for me as this seems to make the electric colour almost wearable.

I have to be careful in application. A full on lipstick application with a harsh outline is never going to work but with soft application and a little gentle rubbing here and there to smooth out the more pigmented areas. I also used a little Erase paste around the lip line area to blur the lip line and merge the two seamlessly (not an easy technique to master, it looked a bit smudgy first like I’d been eating some raspberries_ and ta dah, I have a hint of sunshine about my lips but still look beach ready, pale skin and all.

Benefit Erase Paste

Benefit You Rebel tinted moisturiser mixed with Bourjois 10 hour sleep effect in Apricot

Maybelline Dream Mousse blush in Peach Satin


Max Factor Lash Extension Effect Mascara

Barry M No53

I would have gone with All That Glitters on the eyes but like I said this lippie has a little shimmer and I want to keep the look simple so I opted for my old favourite, Modellette (very apt because it reminds me of wet sand). I don’t mind shimmer but if I’m going to be outside then I find it can add to that sticky, sweaty look too quickly. Nice!!

I think it is also important if this lipstick is not your perfect match to keep everything else about your look simple. I used just one eyeshadow and a natural mascara. I wore simple, block colours. My outfit had no frills or anything complicated about it. Nothing was too obvious or confusing because if it had been then in a look with Barry M 53, everything could have looked too chaotic and then people would hone in on my look and that lip colour that should not really work for me.

At the end of the day, I like this colour. Surely all that matters is that I am comfortable and happy wearing it. I’m not going to be wearing it to any important formal events but this lippie just gives me that little bit more of a sunny feeling on a day destined for lazing in the garden.

Oh but next time when I dab I may add some vaseline in to the equation as my lips are feeling a little dry. Barry M occasionally seem to produce dry lipsticks. I don’t think that this is too bad. Nor was Barry M 100 and that was drier then this one but then I’m out in the sun with 53 so yeah, vaseline or something might be a good idea!

What lippie do you like to greet the sun with?


PS If you get a chance, check out my Share the Love videos on You Tube. There is one for You Tube channels and one for blogs!

Written by essjay23x

June 24, 2010 at 9:34 am


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Blush: Coralista

Coralista is a blush from Benefit. I actually have several blushes from Benefit (all of which will be reviewed at some point) but this is my most recent purchase.

There was a lot of hype surrounding this blush when it was first released. Many You Tubers and Bloggers were raving about it. Many citing it as a dupe for the infamous Deep Throat from Nars.

I find most Benefit products (apart from the Creaseless shadows) very strong. There is no doubt that this blush immediatly impacts on your look as soon as the powder meets your skin for the very first time. Although the colour appears a lot brighter and so much more vibrant in the box then it does on my skin, I still advise using a light hand to apply this product and then building up gradually. If you do so then a you can create a very pretty peach flush to flatter your skintone, no matter what it is.

However if you apply this product quickly and heavily then like all blushes, it will look just a bit odd and clownlike. In addition to this, I would say that with Coralista, you could also end up looking “Cullenfied” because like Photoready, there is some shimmer in Coralista.

I would say Coralista is a very pretty blush and compliments my skin tone (and in fact, flicking through reviews, most people say it suits their skintone whatever that maybe). However, I don’t think it is a particularly natural shade for me and it could come across as product rather then a natural glow but applied in the right way, this does not necessarily make it any less flattering. Make up can be attractive. Sometimes!


I would say the colour of the product sat in the box was an accurate indicator of the peachy pink shade which materalised on my cheeks but maybe the one on my cheeks was more subtle and teasing.


Coralista certainly stands out in my blush collection. I have a peach cream blush from Maybelline and there is no doubt that the cream product is peach. Meanwhile my other blushs such as Dandelion and Throb are obviously more pink. Even BlushBaby is different more of a matte (mature) product but Coralista is a very vibrant shade combining pink, peach and a shimmer which almost talks to you. I find it quite teasing and tantilising which maybe is why I think it is the blush to use for more casual fun occasions. The shimmer helps to awaken the skin (as I read in a review on Make Up Alley and thought ‘oh yeah, so true’) and keep the years at bay. I would say Coralista is a great blush for looking younger and well, more alive.

As is standard with Benefit blushes, this product comes in a beautiful little box with the standard brush (which I never use, I use my Sigma skunk). A lot of people find this cardboard box thing very annoying. I have mixed feelings, the box is very pretty and summery but if I wanted to take Coralista out with me, it would be very diffcult to do so without damaging the box and possibly the product. Maybe Benefit should design travel back ups in more pratical packaging. Some people say that Coralista is scented, when I think about it and sniff, I think I can smell something pleasant but I wear so much perfume that it might be better for you to test the product out for yourself (and have a sniff) next time you are at the Benefit counter.

The price of Benefit blushes are quite expensive, £23.50. I think that I would happily forego the smell and box if the blush was £5 cheaper. Like all Benefit blushes, this product seems to last. You need so little for it to do its job that even if you use it everyday, one box may well last almost a year.

Although Coralista is not strictly a straight peach, I count it as so and have worn it a lot lately with my friend, Frenched. Tanya Burr suggested in her wearable red lip tutorial that you wear peach blush whenever you wear a red lip. I must say that I have started to take to Coralista. When I first brought it, I was slightly disappointed because I struggled to apply it well. However now that I have got used to the product, I’m liking Coralista again. I think it is quite an original blush which can only mean a thumbs up for me and then of course, it quite a fruity peach, tropical and summery. Double thumbs up, I’m liking all things summery at the moment. Actually Benefit’s promo spill for this product is quite apt, ‘Our warm coral-pink cheek powder is your “coral blush for a tropical flush”! This shade cheers up every skin tone in seconds.’

Oh and I have just noticed that Benefit suggest that you sweep this across your cheeks starting from the hairline and working in. I always work out from inner side of the apple and slightly up to give those cheekbones a little tug and lift. What do you do with your blush? Do Benefit suggest this because there is more colour in the brush to start with and there should be more colour on the outer apple then the in? Argh, now I am confusing myself . . ?

What do you think of Coralista? What Benefit blush would you like me to review next? And also moving away from Benefit, what blushes do you recommend? I’d love to know :)

Girls, I do have a better picture of Coralista on my cheek but uploading seems too mammouth for my connection. I will try to edit it in soon!


Written by essjay23x

June 21, 2010 at 6:59 pm

My Dancing Ring!

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My Dancing Ring!

Hey Girls

I thought I would share with you a little something that I brought this week. I was so excited when I found this on my doormat.

A beautiful Tallulah Tu Gold ring that I purchased from Tanya Burr jewellery. I had seen the ring a couple of times in Tanya’s videos and when I heard that there was only one left to buy. Well, I had no choice but to purchase, did I?

Very eye catching so it is no wonder that this little trinket has already earnt itself a few compliments. The camera really does not do this ring justice. It shimmers and dances when it catches the light. It looks gorgeous in motion, I think this ring was born to move!

Aah, I love this little purchase (well, not so little for my fingers. It is quite heavy but well, my fingers can put up) and I have a feeling that I may be showing off a few more rings soon. I think I may be becoming a little ring obsessed!

My ring cost me £32 and was here within 48 hours. So if you spot a nice piece of jewellery in Tanya’s videos, I would check out her website to see if she is selling it.

Investments in happiness and all that ;)


Written by essjay23x

June 20, 2010 at 5:17 pm

Posted in Babble

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A Benefit FOTD!

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A Benefit FOTD!

For me at the moment, it is all about Benefit! I think the Glamour promotion got me digging out my Benefit products  again. As you all know I am currently besotted with Benefit Frenched so I decided to give the other Benefit products a chance to shine and do a Benefit FOTD.

So here we are



Some Kind of Gorgeous Foundation faker

Erase Paste

It Stick


(Touch of Mac Mineralise SkinFinish in Light to Medium)


Erase paste

Birthday Suit Creme Shadow

Skinny Jeans Creme Shadow

Eye Bright

Bad Gal liner

Get Bent Mascara


Skinny Dip

I like this look. It is perfect for everyday. Boring maybe but quite tidy and groomed. I feel comfortable wearing it.

I’m not too worried about the lipstick wearing away and leaving patches. Skinny Dip is an ideal nude for me (and one that seems to last a few hours), it is like a mauvy peach. Not as peach as Hue but not as pink as Angel. I have just made a You Tube video about Frenched and Skinny Dip  and when I was swatching I found that the Benefit lipsticks seemed more pigmented then MAC.


For the eye make up, there is also little to fret about. I’m not thinking is this eye make up too much or too bright! It does just enough to highlight my eyes. It is very rare that I wear the creme shadows as the eye look. Normally I use them as a base in the same way that I would use my MAC paint tube or Erase paste. It is slightly more subtle then powder shadows but there is certainly colour there. Birthday Suit is a lovely light brown shade remniscent of Satin Taupe from MAC. While Skinny Jeans is probably the equilivent to Carbon. However, it is not quite as black more a dark grey and does need building up for impact. These Benefit shadows are meant to be creaseless. Um, not on me but my shadows are old and my application amateurish so I would imagine that most of you could get a better finish and to be honest, even my creases wouldn’t stop me from picking up these shadows for an everyday look again. I do like the added sheen, the subtle gloss, that you seem to get with these creme shadows but I find the shadows have a very subtle impact on the ovarall look. Somehow the color impact from the pot seems to disappear when applied to my skin, as if my skin sucks it up or something. I know that Lisa Eldridge has done a tutorial for a Smoky eye using only Cream Shadows but I would be surprised if a cream look could ever have as much impact on my eyes as powder. Personally I would use cream shadows to support a powdered eye or alone to complete a look which needed light eye make up.

 I have used the Get Bent mascara to slowly wean myself off the Max Factor Lash Extension Effect and it is working a little. The consistenancy of the mascara is similar to the Max Factor one and creates defined lashes with very few, if any, clumps. However, the innotative brush means the lashes are pulled up a little and slightly curls. Sometimes make up seems to close my eyes especially eye liner and mascara, the curl that this product gives lashes creates more of a wide eyed look. Yay!

 Oh and going back to the cream shadows, I tried to apply them with a brush but I found that the product seems to get lost in a eye shadow brush and it was just easier to use my fingers THEN a brush to define the edges once the colour was on my lid.

I haven’t really used the Foundation Faker for a long time. I used to use it a lot but the shade is a little dark for me. As with many Benefit face products, I think there are only limited shades available (in this case,2?) and even though I have the lighter one. I find I either need to be tanned or I need to work to ensure good application down my neck and decollatage area. I do love the product concept though because the foundation faker is in a little compact and almost like a cream shadow until it hits your skin and seems to matify. It does work well with the Erase Paste which as you all know is a much loved everyday staple for me. When I did this look, I was also very impressed with some of my Glamour freebies. The Eye Bright does brighten the eye but I’m not sure if you would see a big difference in the final look as to a time when you haven’t used it so I am not sure if i would actually buy this product again. However, the IT stick is magnificent just like my Erase Paste really but in pencil form even the shade for the IT stick suits me. I can see how my skin appears younger and more awake when I have used it. Very, very impressed. So much so that if my worse nightmare happened and when I run of Erase Paste, I can not get a replacement then I would not be so worried if the IT stick was available instead.

As for Coralista, well, it is with this product that I am going to leave you hanging as it is the next in my blush series so expect a review very, very soon.

I hope you are all well. Please let me know what you think of Benefit, I’d love to know! Don’t forget you can follow and comment at;; and