review posts

Love Thy Neighbour Manchester – Review

January 9, 2018

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After visiting the original Liverpool branch of Love Thy Neighbour last year – where the waitress, unfortunately, spilled coffee all over my jeans and didn’t apologise – I had to check out the Manchester offering that opened less than a month ago in Chorlton. I even wore the same jeans.

Gorgeously kitted-out with its Instagram-ready aesthetic and health-conscious menu, Love Thy Neighbour is the brunch spot to have on your radar. Whether you’re looking for an oat milk peanut butter hot chocolate, or a buddha bowl; you can tick off every delightfully wanky food fad in a mere couple of hours at this place.

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Let’s start with the coffee, as it was a damn good place to start. After hearing the hype about matcha lattes and spotting one on the menu – I had to give it a go. Served picture-perfect and at an ideal temperature; the matcha latte is definitely one that I’d opt for purely for its alleged benefits, as it had a slightly bitter aftertaste and tasted a bit like, er, chalk.

After necking a metric shit-tonne of water and revelling in my virtuous matcha choice, I went balls-deep for the new health-kick bad boy on the block: the turmeric latte (can someone please tell me how you pronounce turmeric – despite being on the planet for quarter of a century – I’m still lost).  This was a winner. Subtle enough not to hugely deviate from your usual latte (and yet hopefully benefit from those anti-inflammatory properties), the turmeric latte is a great alternative for chai latte lovers as it offers that rich creaminess without making you need a lie down after it. Tip: opt for oat milk.

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When it came to the brunch itself, I went with a spin on the coconut-creamed mushroom bagel: switching out the bagel for two poached eggs (soz, am a low-carb loser). Splitting a side of smashed avo with my friend Kara to round it off, this was a great portion size and wasn’t ridiculously expensive. In fact, my share of the bill only came to £15 including tip, which for two coffees and a breakfast in Chorlton – where you can buy hand-sized plants for upwards of £50 – is pretty damn reasonable.

The food was nice, but I didn’t taste any coconut milk on the mushrooms and – if I’m being honest – it didn’t really deviate that far from something I could’ve rustled up in my own kitchen. Next time, I’ll be more adventurous and try a smoothie bowl – Manchester freezy weather permitting.

The good news is, nobody spilled any coffee on me and the wait staff were far more pleasant than their Liverpool counterparts, phew. I’ll definitely be returning to Love Thy Neighbour sometime soon and indulging in that turmeric latte fix again. Also, there’s a shop two doors down that sells cat trinkets and treats – highly recommended.

Have you checked out Love Thy Neighbour in Manchester or Liverpool? What’s your favourite thing on the menu? Hmu @Ebzo.

Review: Netflix Original ‘To The Bone’

August 4, 2017

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Warning: spoilers and potentially triggering content for those suffering with eating disorders.

It’s taken me nearly three weeks to summon the courage to sit down and watch this film. As a former sufferer of Anorexia Nervosa – one of the family of eating disorders that you may recover from, but which never go away – exposure to any material related to restrictive behaviours is usually a surefire trigger. It conjures up memories of sleepless nights binge-watching as many ED documentaries as I could get my hands on in the throes of a relapse, idly stroking my gaping collar bones; proudly exhausted.

However, being fresh out of a relapse around a month ago and in – what I like to think – is a reasonably good place, I thought I’d give it a try. Having read that Lily Collins had suffered from Anorexia Nervosa herself throughout her teens, I marvelled at the strength she must’ve channelled to the lose weight for such a triggering role, without relapsing herself.

The film itself serves to breathe a little life into what is often portrayed and experienced as a pretty lifeless existence, without stirring any prickling sense of glamourisation. It goes beyond the wild-child, untouchable halcyon-days depiction we saw through the likes of Channel 4 Skin’s Cassie Ainsworth; instead opting for a more realistic and well-rounded insight into the characteristically insular lives of those suffering with Anorexia.

Lily’s character – Ellen, or Eli as the film progresses – has been led through a series of in-patient programmes to fruitless ends, leading her step-mother to suggest the unorthodox approach of Dr. Beckham’s (Keanu Reeves) treatment centre. The general gist of the treatment is a reintroduction to the more positive experiences that life has to offer, through a series of sometimes cringe-inducing outings and tasks.

When watching some of the scenes, it can strike as a tad uncomfortably off-the-wall, as we see the world through the eyes of a starving girl’s loose grip on reality. At first, the more hyperreal moments were off-putting and bordered on cheesy, but afterwards I recalled a number of moments during my illness where sheer lack of food would lead to the dissolution of the real world, leading to me wondering whether the kookiness was an intentional art direction or not.

An element of comic relief comes into play with the introduction of the protagonist’s larger than life love interest – a fellow patient on the programme – Luke (Alex Sharp). Luke is a former dancer who suffers from Anorexia and has recently sustained a knee injury, halting his performing whilst subsequently leading to a relapse.

The character lends a well-needed element of humour to the film: from wacky, to naively inappropriate, to refreshingly dark. You root for Luke throughout, hoping he gets the girl, whilst simultaneously tensing up with second-hand embarrassment from his brazen one-liners. Without this character, the film would struggle to lift itself from the drudgery of its central theme.

However, Luke’s character and his eventual influence on Eli’s illness brings up a quietly problematic trope. As the characters become closer and it becomes apparent that there’s a mutual interest, Eli becomes more receptive to getting better. She eats a chocolate bar Luke buys for her and, in the midst of a mental turning point of a fever dream, he is the main spectacle. The film ends with her returning to the in-patient facility and thus, returning to him; implying that she is opening up to help in the light that they will be together.

This strikes as a bit of a ‘damsel in distress’ ending, where the vastly complicated causes behind her illness are cast aside and immediately replaced by this new-found lust for life inspired by a boy. Her family issues are barely resolved and there’s little touching on the guilt Eli harbours after a girl killed herself due to her ED-themed artwork on Tumblr. It would be damaging for an eating disorder sufferer to finish the film with the take-away that all their problems can be fixed by a boy. Perhaps we can hope for a sequel where these are resolved?

This reductionist slant felt almost as demeaning as simply saying “eat” to somebody suffering with an eating disorder. It also begins to feed into the ‘manic pixie dream girl’ trope, when we consider that the last interaction the pair have before Eli runs away is Luke begging her to stay because – after discovering he can no longer dance – he needs her as she’s all he has left. Bit intense after 4 weeks of dating if you ask me, mate.

On the whole, the film was a carefully-crafted representation of a very difficult illness to portray, without dulling itself at the edges for the sake of playing it safe. Presenting well-rounded characters and a consistent lilt of humour throughout, it’s well worth a watch for anyone who would like to understand more about this ruthless mental illness. 7.75/10 (’cause Keanu Reeves was shite).

If you found yourself affected by anything explored within the film, Beat was a great source of insight and help when I was in the darker days of my eating disorder. 

 

The Pessimistic Northerner’s Guide to La La Land

January 20, 2017

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Betraying my usual disdain for anything that falls under the category of ‘musical’, I went to see the critically-acclaimed Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling bonanza that is ‘La La Land’ this evening. Lauded as ‘the most romantic film of the year’, which – let’s face it – isn’t all that difficult considering we’re only twenty days in, the film follows the entanglement of two dreamers living in Hollywood, Mia and Seb.

To give credit where it is due, the film shed its predictable love-story plotline and finished with an altogether inspiring message – for those of us who are hellbent on pursuing our creative endeavours/are as unlucky in love as  Bridget Jones circa 2001 (I, alas, fit snugly into both categories).

Here are the most pressing matters of the film as perceived by a self-professed Northern pessimist (SPOILERS AHEAD):

As cinematographic musicals tend to, ‘La La Land’ throws us in at the deep end by commencing with a traffic jam that results in an all-singing, all-dancing flashmob-y number. A girl does a high kick and flashes her underwear, which is perfectly matched to the shade of her dress. This would not happen on the M6.

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Mia is dragged out to a party by her fellow actress-hopeful housemates, in a bid to arse-lick their way into new casting opportunities. This scene presents a whole host of burning questions. Namely, who the fuck goes out in a flock of colour-blocked dresses and why is nobody shit-faced and why is Mia drinking Lilt at a party? Also why does the party end before a restaurant closes downtown? Unrealistic plot, or bunch of squares?

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I fly my quirky-girl-loving flag high for her but, let’s be real: Emma Stone cannot sing for toffee. And given the consistent musical motif throughout the film, surely you could’ve at least made all the lines rhyme, guys? Bring back that 10/10 Easy A miming scene, ta.

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Will Ryan Gosling convey more than one facial expression this movie? And am I the only female alive who thinks he’s nothing to write home about?

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Three words: Griffith Observatory scene. It can only be hoped that Seb slipped something in their popcorn to induce that pure cringe floaty ceiling-dancing. Nearly vommed up my beer.

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After the onslaught of DIY BDSM following the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, are we going to now see an influx of tap dancing in the street? Will starstruck lovers now start foxtrotting into Greggs after too many pints on a Sunday afternoon?

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Tune in next time when another unsuspecting male lures me away from my pit of solitude to the cinema. xo

Illamasqua Favourites

November 8, 2014

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It’s been precisely three months and twenty-six whole days since I wrote about my favourite topic: make-up. So, with the wonderful Reading rain preventing me from wandering out to the gym/shops/every takeaway in the land, I shall instead bestow upon you my recent obsessive purchases from cult brand Illamasqua.

For those of you who may be unfamiliar with the brand at present, Illamasqua’s ethos revolves around a complete freedom of expression, which culminates in its cult following from drag queens and make-up artists worldwide – oh, and their pigmentation is definitely something to call home about. Whilst I’m also a sucker for fancy packaging, this brand really takes the biscuit and offers a jaffa cake. Have a gander at my picks:

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EMPTIES: July

July 13, 2014

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So, last week I graduated with a 2:1 BA Hons English Literature with Creative Writing (and a cheeky first in my dissertation), no biggie – and now I’m on the sad pursuit of the graduate gravy train: population 357485792849347598370187349875. If you know of any copywriting or social media marketing vacancies going (quite literally anywhere, I’m game for a change of scenery), hit me up if you’d be so kind. If you provide me with a successful link, I’ll provide you with a lifetime supply of Jaffa Cakes (or “insert favourite cake/biscuit” – but you’re a lemon, ’cause Jaffa Cakes are the edible bee’s knees). Until I manage to secure a job and shake the dole-y shroud that’s currently drowning me, I’ll be well and truly in your faces through the medium of the ol’blog – apologies in advance if you get sick of my overly verbose ramblings and shoddy iPhone snaps.

Today I have my second ever empties post, primarily because I am almost professionally naff at keeping hold of products until their cessation, mainly because I a) lose them b) have commitment issues and discard everything to the back of a drawer within a week. However, a year after my last empties post, we have something of a breakthrough – and this is only because I’ve just moved out of my flat and unearthed a wealth of sad, abandoned empty products, huddled together in the nooks and crannies of my old dorm room.

MAC Lipstick in ‘Russian Red’ – £15

I’ve just about lost count of how many of these I have collated and finished/snapped/had stolen from my younger sister – but this will be an eternal repurchase for me. I mean, when is pillar-box red going to go out of style?  I’ve actually somehow managed to time it so I’ve ran out of two of these, so I’m currently using Viva Glam 1, which is a surprisingly nice red despite its pink tone in the tube. 10/10

MAC Sheertone Blush in ‘Peaches’ – £18

Another must-have in the empties pile is this delightfully summery shade, again from MAC. For anyone else in the paler-than-pale club, you’ll be with me on the importance of finding that perfect medium between a subtle injection of life into the cheeks, and the ultimate fail of clown cheeks (which are disturbingly easy to achieve in bad lighting). I’m on my second one of these now and will be tempted to find a pinkier shade next. 9/10

Benefit Porefessional – Sample 

If you’ve ever picked up a magazine or basically, if you have a vagina and a reasonable interest in beauty, you’re probably as inundated with these samples as I am: does anyone ever actually invest in Porefessional? Once my decent stash has disintegrated (still got at least one more brand new one), I’ll still be very tempted to buy the fullsize of this product, despite it being a rather pricey £24.50 bank-drainer. Its non-oil formula is great for temperamental skin like my own, although I have been prone to the occasional major breakout whilst using this product, but I don’t think it’s solely to blame. It really does help with base application and I like the little protective layer between my skin and my rather thick slap. 8/10

MAC Prep & Prime Transparent Powder – £20

For probably the first time with a MAC product, I’m going to say it: this isn’t much to write home about, guys. Granted, it definitely does some favours with regards to its truly transparent pigmentation – practically every powder (Rimmel’s Stay Matte aside, surprisingly) I’ve ever used leaves me looking a strange shade of Wotsit, but it didn’t exactly do much for the overall effect. Minimal mattefying occurred and it gave a slightly more polished finish, yet I was never convinced. Then it went and disintegrated on me, so I don’t think I’ll be after this one again. 6/10

CK Shock – Prize

I won this alongside a bunch of other Beauty Cupboard treasures from Cosmopolitan last year, and decided to give it a whirl once I’d ran out of my trusty Gucci Guilty – it’s pretty nice! I’m usually one for musky floral scents, so this was a light change for the summer and saw me through until I finally got my paws on Viktor + Rolf’s Flowerbomb, which has to be one of the most moreish scents going – although I’m getting mildly bewildered by the amount of people thinking it smells like Palma Violets. 8.5/10

Benefit They’re Real Mascara – £19.50 

I did a review of this mascara a while back, go have a gander! 9/10

Beauty Haul Review.

June 10, 2014

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Greetings from unemployed beauty blogger bum land. Sounded slightly weirder than intended, but we’ll roll with it… I’m currently in the midst of emailing half of the entire Internet in the grand endeavour of a Fashion Copywriting job. I’ve been to two interviews; didn’t get the first as someone else had more ‘outdoor-wear experience’; the second I’m due to hear back about this week – and now I have another one coming up in the Big Smoke – MegaBus here I come. I’ve also been inhaling the latest series of Orange Is The New Black: if you haven’t seen it, you need to – and I’m not even a big TV fan. Anywaaaay, back to the point – today I’ve got a little review for you guys from that ridiculous £91 haul I did last month.

Bourjois Paris – ‘Happy Light’ Base Serum Matte – £7.99 (usually £10.99 at Boots)

My skin has a serious case of amnesia. One day it thinks it’s dry, the next it thinks it’s oily: it never really knows what’s going on. However, my eye bags are consistently, religiously and without fail, always a little on the shiny-shiny side irrespective of the amount of powder I drown them under, hence my purchase of this unique little primer. The product itself comes out as a peachy tone which blends into any skin without any visible pigmentation (trust me, I’m a ghost – I’d know) and offers a reasonably easy foundation application process – but the primer aspect itself isn’t really much to call home about. Whilst it does do a admirable job on the shiny bits, I’ve already found myself reaching back for my Benefit Porefessional. 7/10.

L’Oréal Paris – Super Liner Perfect Slim – £6.99

I’ve been sporting the cat eye look nearly everyday for the past 7 years, and I’ve yet to settle on an unbeatable liquid liner – but this one might just be close. After the absolute let down that was the Alexa Eyeko collection (how was that so crap – how?), and a brief affair with a Ted Baker liner from a Christmas set, I finally decided to go back to my high street roots and pick up a new product. Save your finicky gel liners, paintbrush styles and wacky colour pots – I wanted something thin, versatile and ultimately: blacker than black. L’Oréal delivered. The applicator is thin (0.4mm thin, to be precise) and sturdy, something that I’d long missed after the days of Rimmel’s weird little paintbrush applicator. Precision is practically signed, sealed, delivered to even the shakiest of hands (trust me – I have days where I question the possibility of an early Parkinson’s onset, it’s bad), and the colour is consistently dark after extensive usage. One bugbear I do have is that it’s a printer: you need to factor in some sexy daydreaming or a spot of meditation after applying this stuff, as it takes a good while to properly dry. 9/10.

Revlon – Colour Stay Foundation in 150 Buff – £9.49 (usually £12.49 at Boots)

I’m going to whinge a little at this one, but it’s through no fault of the product itself (particularly, anyway). After no less than THREE trips to Boots before purchasing, during which I sampled the product extensively on my hand, I decided to take the plunge and opt for this slightly olive-toned shade in a vain bid to cover up my pinkish/red tones which I thoroughly despise: thanks Irish/Scottish heritage, thanks. I took it home and applied it for an evening out and was wonderfully impressed with the coverage, especially after discovering my Illamasqua foundation can seemingly no longer keep up with my third-year degree skin. However, the next morning, in my mildly hungover haze, I made the horrendously predictable, but ever-saddening discovery that it was too dark for my ghost skin. So ever since, I’d been applying a mix of the Illamasqua and the Revlon, but now I’m out of Illamasqua and have about a third of the bottle’s price to my name. Here’s to being tangoed! 8.5/10.

REVIEW: Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water

May 31, 2014

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Check me out: three posts in as many days, I’m well and truly back bitches – I mean, ladies/(gents?). Today, I’m going to be writing up a cheeky review of my new wonder product, and seemingly, the wonder product of the entire blogosphere: the drug-store holy grail that is Garnier’s Micellar Cleansing Water. Generally, I’m the reigning queen of lazy make-up apathy: the traditional, three or four step wash? You’d be lucky. I save that for showers – don’t judge me. Given that face-wipes are universally known as the beauty devil incarnate, I’ve recently revoked my love affair with those too and, following the finals of my third year, a replacement was needed and it was needed yesterday. If you spotted my post from Thursday, you’ll be aware that I am now currently living off scraps and thin air after a (£91) Boots binge – during which I picked up this critically acclaimed Bioderma dupe and a L’Oréal Skin Perfection Toner, anticipating something mildly wonderful to happen. Although, there is one thing I do have to question with the concept of switching up your skincare routine and actually getting results: how do you know it’s not merely an improvement simply because having a new product is a novelty factor and therefore, you’re more inclined to use it religiously? To be honest, I think in this case, it is very much a mix of the two and, as someone plagued with the odd mega-spot party at the (surely-too-old) age of 21, I sure ain’t complaining either way.

The formula is applied with a trusty cotton pad and smushed around the face until you feel all make-up has been suitably removed. Or, in my case, halfway through the pad packet by the time you’ve scrubbed the panda eyes away. The beauty of this product is that you can be as lazy as you like – personally I keep the product and pads next to my bed – so I can idly wipe everything off in the screffy fashion I did with face-wipes, but I wake up the next morning pristine and, most importantly: hydrated. Instead of essentially burning your skin cells off with removal, the water is perfectly hydrating and doesn’t even leave me cringing to use astringent-y toner afterwards. I would totally, totally recommend this product to anyone who hasn’t got their life straight enough to even sort out a sensible bedtime, nevermind construct a lengthy, religious washing routine. However, I’m not advocating true laziness: I always use St Ives Apricot Scrub in the shower. Squeaky clean ladies, squeaky clean…

At £3.99 instead of £4.99 in Boots at the moment, I am totally advocating a little shopping time.

Who else is a fan of this product? Let me know in the comments or drop me a tweet @Ebzo.

 

GIRLS: Don’t Believe The Hype?

January 29, 2014

Lena Dunham is everywhere. Everywhere. I mean, I’ve seen her breasts more than I think I’ve seen my own in the past few days – although admittedly, I have been having a marathon GIRLS catch-up this week. Since the kooky show dropped its pilot on the world in 2012, Dunham has become this burgeoning beacon of ‘hope’ for the media: but, I have to ask, is this the kind of hope we really want? I started watching GIRLS about a year ago now, in quick succession, and the overbearing sense of ‘wait a minute, this is supposed to relate to me!?’ prevailed throughout. The show follows four New York-dwelling early-20s ‘GIRLS’; three-quarters of whom are presented as absolutely abhorrent, over-privileged twits. Let’s do a little character run-down:

  • Hannah (as played by Lena Dunham)

Main character – main bugbear. Hannah is depicted, on the very fine top onion layer, as your typical neurotic 20-something: confused, fighting her way into the big bad world, neurotic – you get me. However, early in the first series, we discover that – oh fresh hell: Hannah is getting ‘cut off’ from her parents and will now have to fight her own financial battles. Instant dislike. If, like me and the majority of the people I’ve ever known, you’ve been living off your own back (give or take the government’s help for uni alone), since the tender age of 18, Hannah’s plight will evoke nothing but aggressive malteaser-pelting at your TV screen. The sense of entitlement that absolutely resonates from every HD pore of these characters just really puts me off. Hannah is brattish, obnoxious and ultimately selfish. I know living in NY is supposed to do that to people, but jeez guys… seriously?

Dunham consistently seems to write herself into character scenarios that, in the stark light of reality, just wouldn’t ever happen. The biggest one of these has to be the time she ends up sleeping with the stereotypically very attractive older man and staying at his apartment for the weekend. Now, this may just be my internalised self-deprecation and institutionalised sexism but, in the real world, whether I am being cruel or not – Lena Dunham, nor Hannah Horvath would ever pair up with that guy. Maybe it’s supposed to be ironic? Maybe it’s supposed to show real girls doing the things that we generally only see on TV? But I am so fucking sick of seeing her breasts by now. And yet I’m still watching away in Series 3.

  • Shoshannah (Zosia Mamet)

The one saving grace of character: Shosh. If it wasn’t for her, I’d have probably thrown the towel in by now. Yes, she may be over-the-top and constantly spouting insane quips that, if your friends in real life started saying – you’d probably have them sectioned by now. Yes, she may sometimes seem as narrow-minded and shallow as the rest of them (e.g. starting a conversation about how her neckerchiefs may just be her best collection) – but she gets away with it. Predominantly due to the fact that she doesn’t psychobabble every other sentence, or make out she’s the guru of the world like Jessa.

  • Jessa (Jemima Kirke)

Speaking of. Fighting her way into the lead position for my biggest GIRLS character disdain is Jessa. Jessa is like that girl you know who’s snorted a few lines, banged a good 40+ guys and hell, maybe even had a threesome – but then, they see this as entitlement to be the smuggest, most unfoundedly ‘world-wise’ twit known to any guy going’s manhood. She is the know it all that, contrary to her allegedly wise and all-seeing ways, has no job – ever – and by Series 3, is even getting screamed at by Shoshanna for doing sweet fudge all. Are we really making role models here? I just do not understand what this show was trying to convey. And she punched Roy from the IT Crowd. Unforgivable.

  • Marni (Allison Williams)

I’ve just realised that every character’s initials are the same for their first and surname. Really now? Marni is the ‘beauty’ of the group – she’s stereotypically tall, skinny, attractive – but still, all she does is whine. Is this program simply a social commentary implying that all girls ever do is whine? She begins the show in a promising light – the only one with a responsible job at an art gallery, but soon that goes under and she ends up scrabbling like everyone else. What I want to know is – how is everyone affording to live in NYC on invisible funds? If I thought all you had to do was excessively whinge and say vapid prophetic nonsense to live in New York, I’d be there in a heartbeat. For all the gritty realism of this show, this loophole never fails to baffle me.

What is the purpose of GIRLS? Is it simply an excuse for Dunham to just play out her life in a visual “memoir” just like her character in the show? Why isn’t it renamed the Lena Dunham show? Either way, I just can’t help myself from loving to hate and hating to love it…

Are you a true fan, or are you stuck perilously on the fence like me?

(oh and just to make it more fashion-related, here’s my favourite Lena Dunham wardrobe mishap):

Review: Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation in SB02.

January 15, 2014

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I’ve had this foundation for quite some time now – the second anyone mentions it on Twitter, I can’t help but swoop in with adulation and pale-girl solidarity. It’s a gem. As a ridiculously pink-toned pale lady (I know, awful combination), finding a foundation that manages to get me from one season to another has been a huge strain on both my patience and bank account over the years. However, at least six months on; I’m still very much infatuated with this little beauty. A couple of bloggers were interested in trying out the shade and suggested I did some swatches and a post – so here you go – hope it helps!

illamasqua-skin-base-foundation-swatch-02As you can see, the foundation is super pale, with a more yellowy undertone than my skin really deserves (does a great job of toning down my pinkness!). It goes on reasonably smoothly, though I’d suggest applying in light splodges with a brush at first, then smoothing in with fingers – it doesn’t take too well to my MAC foundation brush. To be honest, I think it looks best when applied with fingers alone, but that’s often more time consuming. The only flaw I can note with this product is that, undoubtedly due to its insanely pale pigment, it isn’t the best of foundations for covering up pesky spots. You’re still going to need to rely on your good pals Mr Concealer and Miss Powder with this one. It is definitely best for general consistent coverage on pale skin. Below is a picture of me wearing just the foundation as a base, without concealer/powder/blush (without flash too):

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Review: Body Shop Vitamin C Skin Care Set

January 15, 2014

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I picked up these ‘best-seller’ products in the Body Shop, when I was supposed to be buying presents – two days prior to Christmas Day. Oops. Either way, they were in a set of two for £16, instead of the £27 it would cost to buy the two separately now that the offer is over (at least online). I like the Body Shop. Like – not love. The products are all things that I could quite easily live without – on the premise that I was quite happy continuing life as a scaly-skinned, scentless bore. To me, buying body butters and all that jazz usually fills me with about as much joy as buying toothpaste, but Body Shop and Lush are always my firm favourites for when I’m having a particularly feminine day. And, now that I’ve quit smoking, it’s nice to focus on smelling lovely without the unfortunately unsubtle linger of ash.

So, onto the products. I’m gonna warn you: I’m not blown away. Staring scathingly at the constellation of spots around my chin after using this stuff, I’m really not blown away. Let me tell you why:

  • Vitamin C Skin Reviver – 30ml £14

This stuff is technically lush: it smells like a mandarin orgy and it makes skin look smooth as a baby’s behind. However, I’ve thrust it over to the dark side of ‘unsure’ products due to one big fat flaw: it’s like battery acid. Now, hear me out on this one. Am I alone in thinking that a skin reviver – that doesn’t cite any warning about putting near eyes – really shouldn’t leave you looking like you’ve spent three hours in a torture cell, being played the Lion King clip where Simba realises Mufasa has snuffed it, on loop? I have naturally sensitive eyes anyway, so maybe I really am alone in this one – applying eyeliner anywhere near a window leaves me looking more Corpse Bride than Alexa Chung.

  • Vitamin C Microdermabrasion – 75ml £16

I’m struggling to review both of these, if I’m honest, as I’m posing anomalies anywhere. In regards to this microdermabrasion product, I started using it but very soon after, the dreaded ‘Time of the Month’ took over, so I’m unsure as to which one spurred the breakout. I whinged about it on Twitter recently, and someone said she had a similar breakout after incorporating microdermabrasion into her skincare routine – so I’m not going to pass judgement. To be honest, my favourite part about this product is the application itself. It’s beyond cathartic. Divinely tiny little grainy beads getting scrubbed into the deep depths of my pores? Give me some of that. The feeling after rinsing it off is equally great: it’s like what I’d image a skin peel to feel like, sans the burn and general painful-sounding connotations.

As someone with infamously dull, pale skin, I find it hard to find any products that truly brighten up my complexion in the winter months. This definitely had a good go and, whilst I probably won’t bother to repurchase, I would definitely recommend it to people who are less prone to breakouts/shit leaky eyes.


Ebony. 25. Manchester.
Marketing Manager who likes to mouth off on here about stuff she cares about. Expect mental health, Borderline Personality Disorder, and reviews - from restaurants, to books, to fashion. Talks to cats more than people, but seemingly has a lot to say.
ebonylaurenn@gmail.com