• Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Collection Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Collection
  • GOSH "To Have Fun With In LA" Palette GOSH "To Have Fun With In LA" Palette
  • An afternoon at Highgate Cemetery An afternoon at Highgate Cemetery
  • Deborah Lippmann New York Marquee Deborah Lippmann New York Marquee
  • Illamasqua Once Illamasqua Once


Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Collection

It’s been a long time since I tried anything new from Urban Decay. But when a brand releases a collection inspired by your all-time favourite movie, it’d be rude not to get all over that, right? Inspired by the inimitable Uma Thurman as Mia Wallace in celebration of the film’s 20th anniversary, here is the frigging awesome Urban Decay Pulp Fiction collection*. Hang on, I can’t write this post without the soundtrack on.

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Right, that’s better; with the sounds of Misirlou in my ears, let me now tell you about this collection which has got me truly excited.

Let’s start with lips – a complementary duo of Revolution Lipstick (£15) and 24/7 Glide On Lip Pencil (£13) both in the shade Mrs Mia Wallace which make it easy to replicate the blood-red pout of Tarantino’s glamorous OD-ing bitch (vomit optional and not especially recommended). Jokes aside, this pairing will give you a seriously long-lasting lip with rich, creamy colour that doesn’t bleed, smudge, transfer or anything else. I’ve easily eked a whole day’s wear out of it, only requiring a little touch up after dinner. The shade applies lighter and brighter on the lips than it looks in the bullet, on me anyway, so don’t be frightened if you think it looks a little dark for you. This is my first taste of the Revolution lipstick formula and I’m definitely impressed enough to go and check out the other shades.

For the nails, there’s a Nail Colour (£10) also named Mrs Mia Wallace. A gorgeous deep garnet shade with an understated shimmer, the formula is good – not to thin, not too thick, perfectly opaque in two coats – but the brush is a little on the skinny side for my tastes so it takes a while to paint on. No big deal though; if you like the colour, which is completely on-point for the impending Autumn/Winter season, I’d have no qualms recommending the formula.

Now my personal piece de resistance, the Pulp Fiction Eyeshadow Palette (£17.50). This badass compact comes emblazoned with Jules Winfield’s infamous favourite Bible verse, Ezekiel 25:17 (which I know by heart, by the way), and contains 5 neutral shades with names taken directly from quote. There’s the matte cream Righteous, matte light brown Tyranny, almost-satin deep brown Vengeance, and a diagonal duo of white shimmer and black matte for Furious and Anger. This combination is perfect for a bit of heroin-chic on the eyes and it’s easy to create a Mia-inspired dark, hooded look that just goes so well with the red lip. I’d honestly forgotten how good Urban Decay’s eyeshadows are, and I think anyone would have a hard job finding a bad word to say about this palette, especially at the price which I think is more than reasonable for the quality.

To finish off, the only thing that I feel is slightly out of place, a Heavy Metal Glitter Eyeliner (£14) in the shade Gunmetal. The official description of this sparkly black-and-silver number says “Yes, the people at UD know Mia wasn’t wearing glitter liner in the film, but they figure if there was a glitter liner in the ‘90s, Mia would have worn it”, and yeah, that’s a pretty fair point! Why not, hey? It does add a little extra dimension to the whole look but I don’t think the collection would be lacking without it. Unless you’re a die-hard fan of Pulp Fiction or Urban Decay (or both!), you could probably skip this one and not miss it.

The Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Collection is out now and available from Debenhams, House of Fraser, Beauty Bay and online directly from Urban Decay. I’m super impressed with this little group of products and it’s reminded me just how good Urban Decay can be at putting out frigging excellent makeup.

To conclude, can I just share some movie trivia with you? Ezekiel 25:17, which Jules thought was just some cold blooded shit to say to a motherfucker ‘fore he popped a cap in his ass, is actually a fabricated verse. It is loosely based on a few verses of Ezekiel 25, but made much more hardcore-sounding for theatrical effect. Anyway, it wasn’t actually written for Pulp Fiction. It was originally from a early draft of the script for From Dusk Till Dawn (which was written, but not directed, by Quentin Tarantino and wasn’t released until 2 years after Pulp). It was meant to be recited by Harvey Keitel’s character as he walks backwards through the hallway facing the vampires. And of course, Harvey Keitel also stars in Pulp Fiction, as Mr Wolf. Who knew?

The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men. Blessed is he, who in the name of charity and goodwill, shepherds the weak through the valley of darkness, for he is truly his brother’s keeper and the finder of lost children. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger, those who attempt to poison and destroy my brothers. And you will know, my name is the Lord, when I lay my vengeance upon thee.

GOSH “To Have Fun With In LA” Palette

Blues, green and purples aren’t my usual choice of eyeshadow colours, but something about this new GOSH eyeshadow palette, To Have Fun With in LA, really drew me in. Take a look…

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Top row

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Middle row

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Bottom row

For the first time ever, high street heroes GOSH have released full-on eyeshadow palettes, three of them in fact, with nine shades apiece. Inspired by the mood and atmosphere of three big American cities, each palette offers a well coordinated selection of colours from which you can create an endless amount of eyeshadow looks – and there’s a big mirror inside, too, which is always a bonus. There’s a palette of chic nudes in To Enjoy in New York, a bevy of wild brights in To Play With in Vegas, and then there’s this one, the aqua toned To Have Fun With in LA*.

The whole top row are the standout shades for me, particularly the middle one which has a hint of silvery-taupe quality to it. I’m also pretty fond of the greens – if you read this post last year you’ll know that GOSH green eyeshadows have a special place in my heart! The blues aren’t so much my cup of tea but I am super impressed with the pigmentation of the leftmost one. The middle one is the only real dud in the palette, chalky and dry with a lack of colour payoff. Excluding that questionable one, the shades have a lovely satin-y finish and are decently pigmented. You may find yourself needing to add a bit more colour after blending as they can fade a little, and I’d also suggest doing your eye makeup before your base when using these as the shadows are soft and a little on the flaky side, leaving them prone to fallout.

Overall though, considering it works out at barely more than a pound per colour, these are pretty nifty little eyeshadow palettes filling what has been quite a huge void on the high street beauty market. GOSH 9 Shades Eyeshadow Palettes are available now in Superdrug (I can’t see them online, but they’re definitely in store) for a very reasonable £9.99 each.

An afternoon at Highgate Cemetery

There’s a quiet romanticism to cemeteries that’s always drawn me in. Highgate Cemetery in North London has been on my to-visit list for several years so I’m really pleased to have been able to cross it off last weekend. Opened in 1839, Highgate Cemetery is a huge 37 acre burial ground that was originally owned by a private company, who allowed it to fall into disrepair in the early 1970s when they realised it was no longer profitable. Fortunately, a charitable organisation was formed in 1975 – the Friends of Highgate Cemetery – to start to repair damage caused by vandals and restore the Grade 1 English Heritage site to at least a semblance of its former glory.

Today, Highgate Cemetery serves as the final resting place for over 170,000 people in 53,000 graves and, despite the arguably macabre nature of the place, is a wonderfully peaceful and tranquil location for a stroll (not to mention packed with great photo opportunities). Among the hundred-and-seventy-thousand resting at Highgate are plenty of notable figures including Karl Marx, Jeremy Beadle, George Eliot, Douglas Adams and dozens more. The fact that these famous figures rest among hundreds of thousands of ordinary people – for want of a better term – really brings home the fact that we’re all heading to the same fate. People from all faiths and all walks of life are buried here, reflected in the colossal variety of memorials. Memorials at Highgate range from the truly impressive architecture of marble family crypts, to enormous angel statues, to the smallest, simplest wooden cross erected in the earth. And the size or perceived importance and impressiveness of the memorials doesn’t necessarily correlate with how well known the deceased was, further demonstrating that, really, fame and fortune means nothing when you pass.

Sheenie and I took a stroll up Highgate Hill on Sunday and spent the afternoon exploring the East Cemetery, which you can wander round by yourself. We enjoyed it so much that we’re already planning a return visit to the West Cemetery, which is accessible by guided tour only. Enjoy the photo spam coming up – and I’ll see you all on the other side.

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“To strive, to seek, to find and not to yield” – this quote from the poem Ulysses by Alfred, Lord Tennyson is one of my favourites

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“So young So fair So brave” – your own mortality hits you when you come across the grave of a woman who died at the same age you are now.

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Visitors to the cemetery sometimes leave pens or pencils in this pot at writer Douglas Adams’ resting place.

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I learned from Sheenie that, on Jewish graves, mourners will leave stones rather than flowers, because flowers decay…

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…rather like these ones.

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Patrick Caulfield’s headstone is nothing if not frank.

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“be still”

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“In Loving Memory of Dear Dolly”

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Gordon Bell (Middle name Ernest, though he placed no importance on it)

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Jeremy Beadle: “Writer, presenter, curator of oddities”

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Malcolm McLaren: “Better a spectacular failure, than a benign success”

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“Here lie buried 78 Sisters of Bethany who died between the years 1912-1962″

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Burials still take place at Highgate, as evidenced by this freshly dug plot.

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The gigantic, looming bust of Karl Marx atop his stone: “Workers of all lands unite”

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To wrap this up; undoubtedly my favourite headstone in the cemetery.

Deborah Lippmann New York Marquee

The last time I tried Deborah Lippmann polishes was back in 2011, and I was distinctly underwhelmed. A really difficult-to-apply glitter and the sheerest polish I’ve ever come across in my life succeeded in tainting my view of the brand, but the new Autumn/Winter Deborah Lippmann New York Marquee Collection caught my eye and luckily, these polishes are faring much better than the ones I tried three years ago.

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I’ll Take Manhattan

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Harlem Nocturne

Inspired equally by the Art Deco movement and New York City, the Deborah Lippmann New York Marquee collection is made up of six polishes in a luxe chrome finish. There’s a gold, a silver, two shades of pink and then, these two bad boys; I’ll Take Manhattan* is a glorious turquoise and Harlem Nocturne* is a bit of a chameleon, hovering somewhere on the cusp of navy, indigo and cool violet. Both of these colours – and I would assume the same goes for the other four – have a really glowy sort of quality about them, as if there’s a light shining behind your nails. Gorgeous.

They are super opaque in just one coat – yes, I, the eternal two-coater am happy with just one coat of these. That is literally unheard of. Chromes are notoriously tricky to apply evenly, as the nature of the formula is more than prone to showing visible brush strokes and naturally these are no exception. Harlem Nocturne shows up the brush strokes a little more obviously than I’ll Take Manhattan, but you should just about get away with it if you are very careful with your application and paint the polish on in the most perfectly vertical lines you can manage. If you suffer from ridges or any other unevenness on the nail surface, I’d definitely recommend giving your nails a good buff before applying these (or any chrome polishes) as they’re quite unforgiving of imperfections. The formula is fairly thick for a chrome, but still easy to work with and you won’t experience any pooling at the cuticle. The consistency and opacity of these polishes means they’ll be super for nail art, particularly stamping. It lasts really well too, resisting any chips for a good few days as long as you’re not bashing your hands about.

All in all, Deborah Lippmann has managed to get back into my good books with this latest release. Far, far better than the polishes that disappointed me years ago! I love the colour of Harlem Nocturne, but the slightly smoother finish on I’ll Take Manhattan just about cinches it so that’s definitely the one I’d recommend. The Deborah Lippmann New York Marquee polishes are out now, and available from Selfridges, Harrods, Harvey Nichols and LookFantastic for £18.

Illamasqua Once

New Illamasqua collection time – squeeeal! It’s not the quirky colour fest I was keeping my fingers crossed for, but I can’t deny that it’s destined to be a very popular collection with universally appealing products and, as ever, a beautifully inspired aesthetic. This is Illamasqua Once*.

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New: Vintage Metallix

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Vintage Metallix: Courtier, Embellish, Bibelot

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Sheer Lipglosses

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Sheer Lipgloss: Exquisite

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Sheer Lipgloss: Opulent

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Nail Varnish: Melange

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Powder Blusher: Naked Rose

“Once is the beauty of the burnished, eroded and erudite. A palette inspired by the gentle and exquisite point when a flower starts to fade and becomes impossibly beautiful in its complex decline. Combined with the subtle opulence of faded gilt layers that reveal themselves the more you blend and search. She is an incandescent moment, a poem alive and a light within a palette of decaying decadence.” – Alex Box, Creative Director

Well, Alex has summed it up pretty damn well there. In fact, just the final two words alone, decaying decadence, seem to perfectly describe Illamasqua Once. The whole collection feels classical and vintage, with that trademark Illamasqua gothic vibe breathing life into it.

First of all, let’s rejoice at a new product innovation for eyes – something I’ve been waiting for Illamasqua to bust out for a while. Good things come to those who wait, as proved by new Vintage Metallix (£16.50). These beautiful little pots are something of a cross between Cream Pigments, Liquid Metals and a hint of mousse-like texture. Luckily, they don’t suffer the same tendency towards creasing as the Cream Pigments and Liquid Metals do but they certainly pack the same high-impact pigmentation. All three shades are infused with a stunning golden sparkle; I predict the dusky nude shade Courtier being an instant sell-out. My favourite might actually be the rich chocolate-y brown Embellish which makes a great smoky eye, and the blackened teal hue of Bibelot is equally swoon-worthy. These are really easy to apply and blend out using good ol’ fingers, and provided you apply over a good primer should resist creasing through the day. Be mindful of applying a thin enough layer – but don’t worry, you won’t be compromising on colour payoff.

Illamasqua Once also contains two shades of Sheer Lipgloss (£16.50), one new and one repromote. Exquisite is the new’un, a pale pink with an oyster-like pearlised finish which makes for a great nude lip look on casper faces like me but might not be the first choice for women of colour. Opulent makes an appearance after its initial release as part of 2012′s Generation Q collection (which still remains my favourite Illamasqua collection ever, by the way). Described as a ‘rainbow beige’, this is strangely wearable for pretty much anyone. Lipgloss fans will love these but those who prefer lipstick won’t be converted by them as they are just slightly on the sticky side.

I am absolutely in love with new Nail Varnish in Melange (£14.50). Alex Box’s influence for this shade was, unsurprisingly for her, dying hydrangea flowers which turn into a palette of blues and greens as they decay. This manifests as an antique teal shade packed with flecks of gold sparkle which flash a more pinky, rose gold colour in the light. This is easily one of my favourite Illamasqua Nail Varnishes, and there’s more good news in that it’s really easy to remove which I didn’t expect because of the glitter.

Illamasqua Once wraps up with the repromoted Powder Blusher in Naked Rose (£21.50), brought back from the 2012 capsule collection Naked Strangers. I’ve professed my love for this one before and I wear it at least a few times a week, so I’m really glad to see it back. Illamasqua have a much wider audience these days than they did just two years ago, so the more people who are exposed to this flattering shade the better, as far as I’m concerned.

All in all, like I said, it might not be the explosion of colour I was hoping for but Illamasqua Once is certainly a beautiful collection – and the model imagery is incredible, too. I also have a snippet of teasing info; next Summer’s collection promises to be just what I’ve been waiting for so, if you’re in the same boat as me, sit tight, it’s coming!

Illamasqua Once will be available from next Friday 29th August 2014 nationwide, on counters, online and in standalone Illamasqua stores. What will you be picking up?

Clinique Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm

It’s not been too long since I spoke about the Clinique Chubby Stick Baby Tints, but hot on their heels is another new release from the brand in the tried and tested Chubby style. Here’s the Chubby Stick Cheek Colour Balm* – or Clinique Chubby Cheeks for short!

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These creamy cheek colours are considerably chunkier and with a flatter top than their lip-focused predecessors, for obvious reasons; a pointy tip isn’t going to be conducive to quick application and blending on the cheeks. The oil free formula provides a natural colour and healthy glow with no effort at all. I prefer to apply a couple of dots straight from the pencil to one cheek, give it a quick blend with my fingers and then repeat on the other side. Going at it one cheek at a time gives you more time to blend the colour out to a realistic flush before it sets, but honestly I think you’d be hard pushed to make any major mistakes while using Clinique Chubby Cheeks. You could also blend with a brush if that’s your preference, but I do prefer blending creamy products with good ol’ fingers.

My favourite shade is probably Amp’d Up Apple, it’s got a fairly neutral undertone and I think it’s the one that works best with my colouring. Robust Rhubarb isn’t dissimilar, just more on the peachy side of things and a little warmer in undertone. I imagine Roly Poly Rosy should be another suits-all shade, whereas Plumped Up Peony will probably be better worn on darker skins.

I really, really like these but, much like the Baby Tints, I don’t think you need to rush out and buy all of them. Just pick the shade that you like best and it will become indispensable to you. They cost £19 each and are available on Clinique counters nationwide, as well as in larger Boots stores and online from Clinique. If you’re after something similar on a tighter budget, pop to Superdrug and scout out Gosh’s latest releases – they have something pretty similar but far cheaper.