Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Further Foundation Fancies

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A few weeks ago, I posted about my hunt for the perfect pale-friendly foundation. A non-orange tinted solution to my fake tan rehab stint. While I’m perfectly happy with my MAC fluid for those times when I need a slightly heavier coverage, day-to-day it’s just a bit too heavy. At the time of posting, my daytime foundation of choice was Bourgeois Healthy Mix, and I was pretty happy with it. But, always keen to try new products (or at the least new to me) I decided to give L’Oreal True Match a whirl after reading a post by The Beauty Geek. And I have to say, it surpassed all my expectations. I’m actually going to go out on a limb and say I might like it as much as my MAC., and at £9.99 it’s a snip at half the price!

I’ve been using the lightest shade available ‘Rose Ivory’ and it is the perfect shade for my skin tone. I’ve always been slightly dubious of a foundation that claims to adapt to match your skin, surely such magic can only be the work of clever marketing and photoshop? – But either their range of shades is versatile enough to back this claim, or it actually does what it says on the tin. Either way, I no longer need to spend a few minutes carefully blending moisturiser and foundation to avoid a horrible
line situation! 

Definitely worth a try!

And here are Sarah's favourites:

After a recent recommendation from a friend, I've recently started using Clarins Everlasting Foundation, because the cover is fantastic and it really does last. The shade is good for my skin in the summer, but does need a bit of blending around the jawline. It's a little pricey at £24 but I would say it's worth the money and you only need 1-2 pumps for a full face. 

[Clarins Everlasting Foundation SPF 15 in 104 Cream. shu uemura 
cover crayon in 9YR LIGHT/5YR MEDIUM. Cover Crayon swatch]
I found out about the shu uemura cover crayon whilst working as a TV extra - the make-up artists like to use it because they can match it to any skin tone (there are 3 shades) and it covers well. The crayon could be off-putting to some, but it has a creamy consistency and if you're worried about it pulling at the skin, you can mix it on your hand to create the ideal shade then use a make-up brush to avoid this. Priced at £17, it's a little more expensive than your average concealer, however the pencil ensures you don't waste anything, and it also doubles up as a highlighter.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Casper & Co.'s Instaweek

Well, what a crazy week it's been weather-wise! However we've managed to grab a few snippets of loveliness - hope you're having a relaxing Sunday evening enjoying the calm before the storm that is Monday morning!

[Sarah's final masters hand-in, accompanied with a celebratory smoothie. Graffiti and flowers in Hyde Park, Leeds. Cheesy crumpet, yoghurt and apple to start the day. Heather on the sand dunes, Winterton-on-sea. Fish pie and broccoli at Bills in covent garden. How a Saturday morning run should always look]

Monday, 20 August 2012

Casper & Co's Instaweek

Another late one I'm afraid, but here are some of the things we've been doing when we've had a spare moment! Happy Monday everybody, enjoy your week!
[Beautiful blue sky on a Chatsworth House grounds picnic. Pretty ceramic jar from Bombay Duck. Gluten-free chocolate welcome home cake for Sarah's Sydney friend. Near empty bottle of Pimm's...oops. Nat sunbathing on Hampstead Heath with her beautiful best friend. Mini Hummingbird cupcake bites for a mid-week treat]

Sunday, 12 August 2012

Casper & Co's Instaweek

Another week, another insta-snap of the last week. Sarah is away for the week, so here is a little slice of London from me to you. Hope you've had a good one!

[The freshest of fresh coconut juice in Primrose Hill, the ponds on Hampstead Heath on a sunny Sunday, silk scarf from Beyond Retro, Pastel Houses in Notting Hill, Chalk Farm's beautiful art gallery, perfect teacup for a morning wake up]  

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Casper & Co.'s Instaweek

Another odd mix of a week (gone too fast), and another Instaweek to share with you all...
[Melon, raspberry and strawberry fruit bowl for Sunday brunch. Flowers in the garden on a home time visit. Huge downpour of rain and hail in true British summer fashion. Neon nails for summer nights out. The Edge, Leeds, showing some Team GB pride. The Queen Elizabeth docked in Liverpool en route to Ireland]

Thursday, 2 August 2012

The Foundation Quest

If the inspiration for the name of this blog hasn’t been clear to you yet, it originated from an on-going joke within our friendship group that Sarah and I are pale enough to be ghosts. A reformed fake tan addict, I am now embracing the pale skin that has been bestowed upon me, and adjusting to my ‘Casper’ life (with only the occasional St Tropez slip up – my summer wardrobe is better with a tan after all!) 

Thus far, I am finding the experience to be nowhere near as scary as I had imagined during my tan-lathering years. However, there is one issue that I find myself constantly battling with. Foundation. I have tried a variety of brands, price brackets and shades... but always find the base a shade too tan, or even worse orange, for my skin tone. The beauty industry just isn’t nailing the ‘English Rose’ tone that I’m after. So seeking advice from my fellow Casper, I sought out some of the paler foundations that we’ve both tried and tested and thought I would update you of my findings. And hope that perhaps you can share any secret wonders that you have found in the foundation market with us!

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So starting with the lower priced products, we have a teenage year stable label – Boot’s 17. When I was 14 this was the first brand of make-up that I ever bought and I occasionally like to dip in to see what they have to offer. I tried out 17 Photo Flawless foundation (£6.49) in Soft Ivory, pretty reasonably priced if you ask me! It did leave a bit of a make-up line that required serious blending; the shade is slightly more orange that I would like, more me-with-a-tan than ‘Soft Ivory’. Also, be sure to properly moisturise before use to ensure a more even finish and avoid it gathering in dry areas. I found that mixing in a little moisturiser tones it down and helps it blend a little smoother, but all in all – I think there are better options out there for
a couple of pounds more.

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Now to through a quick curve ball into the mix – somebody recommended Aldi’s Lacura foundation to me, and curious to see how a supermarket foundation would fare, I purchased a bottle at a mere £2.39.  Unfortunately, the price reflects the quality. The foundation is strangely thick in consistency and very difficult to blend. It also has a rather strange, and unpleasant, smell. I have to say that I have never encountered this issue with a foundation before, and I hope to never again. And although I got the palest shade on offer, I would probably need around 10 months in the Caribbean sun before I achieved a tan to match the tone of this foundation. Just don’t bother.

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A more mid-range foundation, and my day-to-day du jour, is Bourgeois Healthy Mix Serum foundation which is a pretty reasonable £10.99. Of all the mid-range foundations that I have tried (because who can be bothered to wear MAC or YSL to go to the office?!) this is by far the best. It blends into your skin smoothly and is the perfect balance of good coverage but light foundation – there is nothing worse than being caked in make-up at 10 in the morning, unless perhaps being caked in aforementioned smelly foundation! Best of all, when they say ‘vanille’ or ‘vanille clair’, it actually is ‘vanille’. The foundation has the magic ability to apply to your skin the same shade as it appears in the bottle. Bravo Bourgeois... Finally, a drugstore foundation that can get it right. 

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Finally (because I don’t want to bombard you with too many choices) is my all-time favourite foundation, MAC Studio Fix Fluid in NC10 (£20.50). In my humble opinion, this is the foundation of all foundations. I’m sure that there are other fantastic brands out there, but having been introduced to this at 17, this is the one foundation in my life that has never let me down. I’ve always found it to have a perfecting quality, just a few brushes of this and all of those imperfections are magically gone. When combined with Smashbox Photofinish Primer  (£25 - a little pricey but worth it's weight in gold!) the foundation takes on an airbrush perfect finish, matching my skintone perfectly and never drying out, even after a long evening of
                                                                                           dancing or an arduous day at work.    

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So, my 2 recommendations? For day to day wear – Bourgeois Healthy Mix Serum, and when you want to look your best – MAC studio fix. I’m sorry to fall into a classic trap of worshipping MAC, but they just get it so right in my eyes.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

DIY Fascinator

Having been on a short-notice trip to York races on Saturday, it's fair to say I had a little bit of a nightmare when it came to finding a fascinator. Unfortunately my budget did not stretch to the £18 ones in Debenhams and M&S, and it seemed a bit silly in comparison to the price of my dress and shoes. Then there was the task of finding a fascinator that matched my outfit and one that I actually wanted to wear. So I decided to take on a bit of a DIY project. Initially I managed to find a feather clip from Dorothy Perkins in the sale for £2, then purchased some gold ribbon and a detailed button to glue onto it for £1.20. However I forgot to pack these and had to start all over again in Leeds.

This is what my finished fascinator looked like:

[When it's on the feathers spread out more so it looks more like proper headwear rather than a clip, and it's also more cream than the pink the lighting has made it look like]

And it cost a fraction of the ones in the shop (effectively £4 in total, not counting the price of the glue gun - I got mine for around £6 in Wilkinson's and am treating it as a very worthwhile investment given the fact that I've used it twice since. You can also find them in places like B&Q or any good craft store).

To make your DIY fascinator, you will need:

- a pair of scissors
- a glue gun
- a mat or towel to protect any surfaces
- a clip or grip
- feathers
- anything else you want to add as decoration (buttons, ribbons, jewels, sequins, glitter, I almost bought a pair of earrings in the sale because of the jewelled pattern!)

For my fascinator, I got the gold clip for £4.99 for two from H&M, and then found a broken feather clip for £2 in the sale at New Look so I could rob it of its feathers.

To make my fascinator, I did the following:

1. Made sure the work surface was properly covered (I can't stress this enough - you don't want a glue and feather concoction destroying your carpet), got out everything I needed and turned the glue gun on to heat up, which takes 5 minutes.
2. In the meantime, I took apart the New Look clip for the feathers by pulling everything back and cutting as close to the bottom of the feathers as possible, cutting them from the clip one by one.
3. Arranged them all on the clip to see which arrangement worked the best, then lined them up in 3 rows for each layer.
4. Glued in sections at the back of the clip, tucking each feather in behind the grips and allowing it to dry before adding more.
5. After waiting a few minutes for all the glue to set properly (it sets very quickly), I then pulled off all the stringy bits of glue, and the clip was ready to wear!

Unfortunately there aren't any pictures of the DIY process as I decided to make it on the morning of the races - you could say I'm a last-minute kind of girl - so there wasn't a great deal of time. But it's good to know that if you have all the materials, you can easily make this in half an hour and you only have to wait a matter of minutes for it to set and it's ready to wear!

I hope this helps with any headwear dilemmas anyone might be having in the run up to races, weddings or fancy summer events!