Friday, October 31, 2008

Bakel: Brand New Skincare Range

Finally, there’s something to be really excited about in the beauty world – new Italian range Bakel. I’ve just tried out some samples and am immediately smitten in a way I haven’t been since I bought a puppy! The premise of Bakel is to only put what’s necessary into the skin – how often have you looked at your skin creams and seen reams and reams of incomprehensible ingredients followed in many cases by mystifying numbers? Many, many ingredients on these lists are entirely superfluous, such fragrance or complex emulsifiers and preservatives.

The 6 strong Bakel range is beauty simplified – without losing any efficacy. In fact, the only things to penetrate your skin are active ingredients and completely get rid of the need for separate creams for areas such as eyes and neck. Each formula targets a specific ageing need, but the one that I have completely fallen for is Jaluronic, made purely of water and sodum hyaluronate that keeps skin hydrated and silky smooth. The formula is so light it disappears into the complexion immediately leaving it ridiculously soft. I’m completely, unashamedly mad about this product. £98. At Harvey Nichols.

Oh Miss Jones!

Liz Jones' feature on fashionistas and beauty editors is a cracking read:

Don't miss it.

Rigaud: Burning Ambition

Barack Obama has been accused by Senator John McCain of being so sure of his victory in the US elections that he has already measured the curtains of The White House. Now, while I'm sure that he is way to busy to get involved with soft furnishings, I do think he could opt for a more sophisticated way of settling right in: Rigaud candles were a favourite of The White House's most iconic resident, Jackie Onassis, who burned Cypres in every room to fill them with fragrance. Mrs Obama - stock up.

Style icon: then and now...Twiggy

My blog is called 'Birkinbagbeauty: stylish items and style items', so I guess I should be talking about style icons as well, LOL.

As my blogname suggests, I absolutely adore Jane Birkin and the iconic Hermes bag inspired by her. However, I want to give Twiggy the first honour of mentioning, because she was THE face of the sixties, and is as stylish and succesful today!

Younger people (in their teens and twenties) probably remember her from her appearance as (the friendliest) judge in American Next Top Model. Or, as Tyra dramatically anounces: "Twiggy, living legend"...

Twiggy is the woman on the far left

Thirty-somethings (meeee) probably remember her name from their mother, who dramatically announced Twiggy their style-muse in their teen years.

So the fifty-somethings remember Twiggy as their ultimate muse for wearing shorter-than-life skirts and dresses, much to their parents dismay.

What I absolutely like about Twiggy, is how she aged. As you can see, she was a real stunner in her younger years. She had her own style (short cropped hair...and ofcourse...the skirts)

Twiggy has aged gracefully. She has adjusted her personal style, and, that makes her as gorgeous as ever. Her hair is long now, and her clothes are fashionable, but not too OTT.

She is not making a karikature of her former famous self...unlike Janice Dickinson

The young Dickinson

The karikature

And Twiggy has such a fab new tv-show, called Frock Exchange, on BBC 2. Every tuesdaynight at 9 pm GMT (or 10 Central European time) I am completely glued to the TV!

Ingredients for this show: a bunch of women who bring one of their clothes for swap, some customizers (a woman who customizes clothes…), some celebrities who donate one of their gorgeous high end items to one of the lucky girls on the show, and Twiggy!!!!

I totally love the idea of merging cool (vintage) with the necessary (the dreadful Credit Crunch and our lack of money)...and let's not forget the environment (swapping is better for your carbon footprint than buying endlessly). Some swappers really hit the jackpot with ultra-fashionable vintage clothes...and really exclusive 'one-off' items as well.

So, that is why I announce Twiggy to be one of the style icons for this blog: she was so influencial in the sixties, she has become a wonderfully friendly and gorgeous woman, and she makes a kick-ass tv show which merges the best of fashion!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Gmarket cutisy galore

Today I received such a wonderful package from Korea, from a site called gmarket. Gmarket is somewhat similar to ebay, only for Korea. Fortunately, lots of sellers ship out their goodies internationally as well.

I found out about gmarket thanks to blogger Kathy from She is the expert in buying Japanese and Korean cosmetics, and her posts on makeupalley and her blog made me enthousiastic about Japanese and Korean cosmetics.

She has written a tutorial on buying on gmarket. Check it out all the post about gmarket (about four) and you will be quite settled.

Okay, this was my second order. The first was a small one to try it out...My second was somewhat bigger. I received one big box, that included these little boxes inside.

Call me a copycat, but I really loved Kathy's post about Castledew's watershot foundation. It looked really good and I ordered that one. The seller did not include any extras, but the foundation was quite cheap, so I did not really mind.

I will swatch and try this foundation soon...The bottle is really big, me likey :)

Seller Tonymoly11 was really generous. I have already tried some Tonymoly on, the BB night cream...I love this product as the last step in my nighttime routine

So I ordered 2 more nighttime mask, the whitening and the Q10 (also recommended by Kathy), and a BB renewing peel.

The mirror, the two masks with Korean landscape...the samples and other items are all generous!!!

Talking about generous. I only bought a Jadilla blusher...and I got all of these lovely goodies....

Quite wonderful, eh...

Finally, from etudehouse I bought a lipstick and the fibre brush. I will review this brush soon. I already have 4 different brands of fibre brushes, so I can compare this one with Alima, Lumierecosmetics and Mac.

Wonderful, I cannot wait to play with all of these goodies....

Burn Cream MD: Wince Pies...

Just in case you're anything like me and really rather useless with kitchen equipment, I've discovered this brilliant first aid essential that contains natural healing ingredients and a hefty dose of Lidocaine to kill any pain. I'm thinking this could be highly useful for any cooking surrounding Christmas - especially when it comes to lighting the Christmas pudding (which you can't do with a cigarette end I discovered). Since I first saw ER, I've had treatment jealousy and always fancied Lidocaine and an IV Push. Now, I've got half my wish at least.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Botox Watch

Okay, the frozen mouth effect has completely worn off - sip action back, can do 'mwahh's' again, probably could whistle for a cab and best of all someone I hadn't seen for years commented on how line-free I am around the mouth. Perfect!!

Trish McEvoy

A few weeks ago, I had a sneaky squirt of Trish McEvoy's fragrance, Snowdrops and Crystal Flowers while passing the counter in store. The friends I was meeting all said it smelled fabulous and since then I can't stop thinking about it. It's my new obsession and the sooner I get my hands on a bottle the better. Without being able to describe it completely because I'm relying on memory, all I can say is it is the prettiest smell in the world.

Kanebo Kate Rouge ex in BE 18

The Kanebo Kate collection of this Autumn consisted of some additions of their existing products, such as the Glamtrick palette.

They also launched a new lipstick: the Rouge extra lipstick. As I am in a lipstick-craving mood lately, I really wanted to purchase this one. The question was, where?

I decided to buy one at I spotted this product a bit cheaper on, however, shipping is more expensive if you buy only a few items, so I decided to order just one product (free shipping) on ichibankao.

So here is the product...

And the beautiful black tube (and I already stained the tube with my fingerprint, LOL)

The product by itself...left in natural light, right in direct sunlight. As you can see, it is a true beige neutral...

When I first swatched it, it looked quite MLBB (my lips but better).
However, on my somewhat pigmented lips, it looked a bit more beige, which makes it ideal for a strong eye and neutral lip. My lips can be a bit red and restless without a lipstick, and this beigy neutral is a wonderful tool to tone them down a notch.

The texture is both moisturizing as medium pigmented. Several japanese lipsticks can be a bit sheer (which i personally love). This lippy, however, is a tad more pigmented, but still sheer enough for a natural look.

Overall, I like this lipstick and I will probably buy some more colours soon.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Too Beautiful

I have such a bad, bad habit. I buy really beautiful beauty items, such as palettes.

That is not even bad. The strange thing is, that I cannot even bring myself to 'devirginalise' these precious items.

Some palettes are so gorgeous in their pure and unused state...I just cannot bear to harm their beauty in order to 'dress' my eyelids.

This is my collection of items I bought this autumn, but I haven't even swatched them yet.


I was even hesitant to take them out of their box, and stain the pretty boxes with my fingerprints...eeeek!

Moreover, I have a even bigger collection of colours I swatched only once.

"Oh, my lovelies....thou art more lovely than a summer's day! Thou could not be as precious as thou art in thy box. My eyelids are not worthy of thou gorgeousness..."
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like a virgin

Hair can become virgin again, unlike other 'aspects' of your body.

My hair has been quite unvirginalised in the past: I had it bleached, highlighted, permed, cropped, dyed, crimped and styled in a dye-hard way...Agyness Deyn would have looked tame compared to me (ok, highly exaggerated).

But now, my hair is long.... not normal shoulderlength long, but almost-behind-stroking-long...

And it is absolutely virgin dye, bleach, perms, etc.

(not my hair, nor my face...but a dramatically beautiful picture of a long-haired lass)

Does this make me less fashionable, I think not!

I love experimenting with my looks, but my hair remains (can I say) pure (?).

C'est Moi...


Saturday I added a bit of unnecessary luxury in my life.

Ofcourse, credit crunch is crunching at my budget as well. But the forbidden is sometimes too hard to resist. So I caved into buying a exquisite Prada belt on sale.

The head (or clasp) is a snake, and it is gorgeous. This belt can transform a plain LBD or coat into a little bit of Rock Chick Chic...a bit of badass into my groomed and polished life.

Or, channel the 80's rock bands with their extravagant hair and hot rock lyrics

("Your love is like baaad medicine...bad medicine is what I need")

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Nix'ie cosmetics

The internet can present you a plethora of beauty reviews, raves and rants. However, I find that some products are overrepresented (MAC) and others are underrepresented.

One of these products is Nix'ie cosmetics. It is a fascinating brand with beautiful colors and a gorgeous texture. I really like their cream blushes, powder blushes and their eyeshadows. I have not tried any other items of their brand, but I will certainly do so in the future.

Let me show you a picture of two of their wonderfully pigmented, natural shaded color eyeshadows: Babylon and Aloha Friday.

Babylon sound a bit biblical, and a bit rasta to me (actually, you can combine both, as Rastafarians are devoted followers of the bible, they just interpretated it a bit differently. But isn't that the case with most religions...oh stop it, enough about religion, this is a fun and lighthearted blog!!!)

Anyway, I love reggae and have visions of Bob Marley and the Jamaican beach when I think about Babylon.

The first two pictures are made in natural light. As you can see, it is a mixture between mushroom beige, Marihuana green (LOL, sorry for the pun) and a golden sunset.

This picture is made with flash light. See how the bronze parts light up in this kind of light.

And a swatch on my arm...

Aloha Friday is another happy name. Sometimes I tend to buy products for their name...The lust items have been overrepresented lately (Orgasm, Full on Lust, Seductive red) and I feel more attracted to happy or quirky names. Actually, I am waiting for Sesamstreet Blue or Kermit Green eyeshadows...LOL.

Anyway, Aloha Friday is a beautiful taupe-brown color...and as far as I am concerned, taupe is the universal Little Black Dress of eyeshadows: reliable and professional, but it can be dressed up to a bit naughtier if you like.

Last, but not least...a bit of sincerity...the blush Sincerity, I mean.

The blush is medium gives a fresh and rosy color on NW 25- ish skin. I think it can work on darker skintones as well.

I have bought my products at, but American buyers are perhaps better off at the nix'ie site, as they can get a 20% discount with a makeupartists code. For example, I have found several codes online that qualify for 10% discount, for example 2349 or the code of this youtuber sAssAfrAxiA

Very worthy, this brand...try it out yourself and let me know how you feel about it!!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Bourjois: Oh So Pretty

Bourjois new limited edition vintage style pots are gorgeous - using label designs that originally adorned Bourjois perfumes (remember this brand has been on the go since 1863!) - they've turned the classic make up bag staple Little Pots into something very covetable indeed. From November at Asos.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Halloween Beauty

I've been getting a few 'Halloween Beauty' press releases lately. Doesn't there come a point in a girl's life - when she's about 12 usually - when doing 'scary' make up or matching your nails to the pumpkin is a place you'll never go again? Sephora suggests getting guests to 'squish' their hands in a pot of Ole Henriksen's Aloe Vera Gel at your Halloween bash. It's 35 pounds a pot...... are they mad?

Dylan's Candy Store

Anyone who's visited Dylan's Candy Store in New York will love to see the bath and body range sold at Sephora stores. Dylan is Dylan Lauren (daughter of Ralph), and the candy store is a modern iconic stop-off, with clever design, perspex floor and ice-cream bar. Yes, really I was so interested in the design elements that I barely looked at the candy - NOT! This place is hanging with sweeties...Personally, I don't love candy-flavoured beauty products because they're always too heavy on the vanilla and sugar - you can be sure this range will be loaded to the max. If you adore the sweet stuff though, this Coconut Bon Bon Candy Butter Cream will tick every box in the book.

Botox: Still That Stiff Upper Lip

I reported back to Mr Botox that my whistling days are over - he's horrified! I've told him that I'm not at all fazed by it; it's just one of those things and in a way, great to have first hand experience of something experimental. It won't be the first time I've had something I don't like (I can still not yet speak of my Dr Schramek Green Peel....the most painful experience of my life), and surely not the last. I'm notching it up as proper tried and tested and seeing the funny side (unlike Dr, I still can't go there.....!).

Becca Cosmetics: New Addition

I'm so out of the loop on Becca Cosmetics although I still hang on to a creme blush circa 2001 that is as perfect as cheek colour can get. The brand went quiet for a while in between PR agencies, and now they've taken their PR in house, we're back in touch. It was a timely conversation because it seems that they are now bringing out a skin care range - Beccelle. If it's as good as the make up, then this is a happy arrival. Its due to launch in the next few weeks (which is my way of saying I couldn't prize an exact launch date out of them!), I can't wait to get my hands on prelaunch samples as well as reacquaint with all the fabulous face colours.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Ruby Red Organics

I love the look of these organic body treats - it just proves how much a part packaging has to play in why we like the things we do. The web site is basic, but cheery, bright and enticing, while the products look high end and well thought out. Bath and body products are the easiest things to try since generally most people bathe every day, so I'm really looking forward to trying out some bath soaks and body salt scrubs. I read on another blog that using a salt scrub dry and then getting into the bath is easily the best way to exfoliate the body - I tried it, and apart from a bathroom floor covered in crunchy bits, the result is spectacularly better than trying to do it while immersed in water.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Diamond Dior

A sneaky preview of the must-have beauty buy this Christmas. The Dior Night Diamond Allover Diamond Powder is just delicious - reassuringly heavy in the hand and studded with 30 crystals. I always wonder exactly what to do with these shimmer powders as my decollete is really nothing to be drawing attention to with sparkles and I just won't do twinkling shoulders. I've decided to use it as an eye highlighter under the brow bone. It's absolutely not going anywhere near my cheeks in what magazines love to call a "highlighting" fashion. Sparkles on the face is generally only a very, very small step from looking like you fell in the playgroup glitter tray. From November, 48 pounds. PS: There is a roaring trade on Ebay with these beauty two and take a punt on making a profit with the second.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Botox: A Very Stiff Upper Lip

Since I had Botox in my upper lip last week to smoothe out fine lines around the mouth, I've had a few surprises! Firstly, the result is fabulous - the upper lip area certainly looks less creased and very smooth. However, the unexpected effects are proving a bit tricky. Forget sucking from a straw! I just simply can't do the pucker that's needed enough for it to be effective. I've also noticed that my speech is not nearly as clear as it was - who knew you needed that upper lip movement so much? I've also - being totally honest now, so no judgemental comments thanks, found it much harder to smoke - again because the old pucker isn't up to it! I'm hoping it wears off quickly because sounding a bit slurry mid morning isn't giving the right impression I feel. Saying that, it could just be a question of adjustments - and it's not a very common procedure, maybe for the reasons I've outlined above. But, its a Botox treatment that I really wanted to try. Part of the job is being curious enough to discover exactly how these treatments work and report back. Now I know! Would I recommend it? I'm not sure. I need to see what it's like in a week or so when I've got more used to it and longer term when there will be an optimum point at which the muscles aren't so frozen but are still giving a good look. It's definitely a trial and error this space!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Clang - That Gong Again!

Was delighted to see that Maria Hatzistefanis, founder of Rodial, picked up an Achiever's award at the recent CEW do. Rodial is just a very, very cleverly formulated brand that delivers on it's promises - a rare find in beauty. I don't make any bones about the fact that Glam Balm is easily a favourite find and I use it almost every day.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Face at Boots

Boots are clearly on a buying spree - I came across this new range on the internet set to launch any second now. They're not giving anything away and officially the range is embargoed until November, but since they already have a web site it can't be so much of a secret.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Top Tip

You'd think years in the beauty industry might have taught me something. Yesterday, after yet another haul of dusty, fiddly pots of mineral make up arrived on my doorstep, I spoke to a make up artist friend, bemoaning the fact that I just can't make minerals or loose sparkles work. Somehow the dust always ends up sprinkled all over my face - and the pigment is so high that even a sweep with a fluffly brush ends in little coloured stripes on my cheeks. Her solution? Do my eyes first before foundation and blush, and always use an eye primer so the colour has something to adhere to. How simple is that?

Ted Baker Cosmetic Line

While I'm not a fan of 'credit-crunch' beauty pieces (it's not beyond the wit of anyone to know if you can't feed yourself or pay your mortgage, a cheap mascara is going to be neither here nor there) but the new Ted Baker range of cosmetics offers good value for money - starting at 6.50 pounds for the lip kit above, and a very reasonable 9 pounds for the eye set. It's a kind of Urban Decay/Hard Candy Hybrid in terms of looks and vibe, and basically just fun to use. At branches of Boots nationwide.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Botox: Needled

Regular readers of this blog know it's no secret that I love a bit of Botox. I've just had my regular pinpoints topped up. A recent study by Dr Patrick Bowler found that over time, if you have regular Botox, there's a long term anti-ageing effect even if you stop having it because muscles have been re-educated. Although there are no studies that I know of on fillers having the same effect, it's strange that I no longer need filler in places I used to have them (nose to mouth lines for example). In the interests of curiosity, and for journalistic investigation (honest) I've just tried a relatively lesser known form of Botox - around the mouth. With a stern warning that (highly unlikely) contra-indications could be having trouble saying the letters B and P, I'm still waiting for this to take effect - and ensuring that I'll be buying petrol from Texaco instead. This procedure supposedly gives a softening effect around the mouth and lessens lines and creases. As I live in fear of getting what I call a 'cats bum mouth' I am intrigued to find out what effects it will have.

A friend's dentist recently advertised a Botox evening - I would never recommend going anywhere other than a proper, medically qualified practitioner. A dentist may be great at fixing teeth but is he/she really the right person to assess your ageing face? Probably not. I go to the same person every time - Dr Ravi Jain at Courthouse Clinic in Wimpole St - and he is thankfully one of those rare practitioners who doesn't just jab and run. He talks me out of more, saying less will do - I've learnt to trust his opinion and sent many friends to him. Personal recommendation counts far more than a dentist discount.

Monday, October 13, 2008

New Guerlain

A whole new collection from Guerlain is set to launch next week. Ridiculously pretty and frivolous, this gorgeous butterfly embossed compact is a sure winner. I'm also loving their Limited Edition Kiss Kiss Gloss Butterfly that is just the right shade of edgy purple to be actually wearable.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Exclusive News: Selfridges

Due to the rise in popularity of beauty gadgets - I'm told by the buyers that this is a huge growth area - Selfridges are due to open a beauty gadget store-within-a-store...and where they lead others will follow. I'm currently on my third week of trialling the Stop machine and genuinely think it improves my skin - just looking a tad more plumped these days!

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Avon Ads Fade

Avon has been made to withdraw claims that it's 'Anew' Advanced Dermabrasion System fades away wrinkles on the discovery that the system was tested on arm skin. It is very basic beauty knowledge - and common sense - that wrinkles never just 'fade away' - you can plump them slightly, botox them into oblivion, pump them with fillers, but fade them? No. And as for testing on arms? Almost as silly as another company who offer anti-ageing for armpits with no proven anti-ageing ingredients other than moisturiser. Guys, you are just letting the side down.

Brilliant Beauty Buys

My current three favourite beauty items that I find literally indispensible aren't especially glossy or glamorous. The first, Kiss Color Magnet, 7.99 pounds at Boots, keeps manicures chip free for longer - I'm wearing Rouge Noir and it still looks like it was applied moments ago. The second, Parissa Mini Wax Strips for Eyebrows, 7.99 pounds, is saving a fortune on professional waxing and is (luckily for me) idiot proof. Lastly, Max Factor's False Lash Effect Mascara, 10.99 pounds, is probably one of the best mascaras I've used in a decade. No smudging, flaking or undereye genuinely lasts all day long.

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