Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Playing the FAME game: A review of Fame EDP by Lady Gaga...

Advantages:Affordable, easy to wear, largely ageless, pretty unique for price range,
Disadvantages:may be too heavy in the heat.
"It was taken out of my own blood sample so it's a sense of having me on your skin, I wanted to extract sort of the feeling and sense of blood and semen from molecular structures, so that's where the rumours [that FAME would smell like blood and semen] came from. That is in the perfume but it doesn't smell like that, Actually the perfume smells like an expensive hooker." - Lady Gaga

First things first; I don't get why this is being described as a fruity/floral - FAME is definitely something that I would describe as a floriental fragrance. On me there is only the tiniest hint of apricot, but it so short lived that it doesn't really make an lasting impression on me. I think some people may be confusing the rich honey accord as apricot, grape or similar.

The belladonna and other florals develop almost as quickly as the honey on me, which evens out the sweet honey with the dark floral notes. FAME was a tricky perfume to review, as the floral center to it seems a bit different every time I wear it and try to jot a few thoughts on it down; sometimes it seems powdered, and sometimes everything seems spicier, thanks to the orchid. The listed belladonna, jasmine and orchid are the most developed floral notes but, overall, the floral heart to FAME is similar to Illamasqua Freak. It also reminds me vaguely of Armani Code, Paco Rabanne Black XS and Yves Saint Laurent Opium. The similarities provide a bit of an insight into which other floral notes may have been used in FAME; for instance carnation, rose, and heliotrope all pop up in those perfumes a few times.

After about an hour or so a lingering sense of liquorice starts to carry through the floral notes, so maybe there's some anise in the mix too? Around this time the florals gradually deepen and become peppery, thanks to the saffron. As the floral notes gradually settle into the background a note of patchouli begins to develop, giving the fragrance a 'dirty' feel and enhancing the spicy notes. I'm not sure which individual spice notes are used in the incense accord, but FAME slowly becomes darker, and as the lingering honey fades, slightly smoky - some wood accords in here too? Again I can't separate the individual notes - the spices are too well blended with everything else.

"The fragrance does not respect the pyramidal structure of the composition, but uses so-called "push-pull technology" by which the ingredients are mixed to highlight different aspects of each fragrant note at the same time, without any hierarchy"... I don't really get the whole push-pull sales speech, but, as mentioned above, the fragrance is not linear which I was worried about.

Official scent notes: Belladonna, incense, honey drops, saffron, apricot, jasmine, tiger orchid.

Whilst FAME does go close to the skin after a couple of hours, I still catch lingering wisps throughout the day. When I wore it to bed, it was still detectable on my skin the next day. Considering that FAME is a Coty perfume, I'm shocked by how well it wears.

FAME was made for evening wear, but I'm now happily wearing it during the day over these colder months, as although it is a noticeable fragrance I don't find it cloying or irritating. When it was warmer, I mostly stuck to using it for special occasions because I find it a 'statement' fragrance and a bit too much for day to day wear. Having said that, it didn't give me a migraine, so if you feel comfy with it, it is wearable.

FAME is smoky and spicy, so I do generally think that it is best worn during the colder months of the year, as I find it rich in structure. It only came out in late august, so I've worn it it warmer weather, but not in really hot conditions; but when it gets to the hotter summer months, I think it will make too much of a statement for me, as I find the perfumes that it shares similarities with too much.

Many people seem to be disappointed by how 'normal' FAME is, but you have to remember that it is one of Coty's celebrity ranges; it is in a lower price bracket and has to appeal to as many people, on a international scale, as possible. Baring these limitations in mind, I'm very happy with my bottle of FAME; it is a bit different from the usual celeb fragrance releases, but it is still easy to wear, with mass appeal. I'm not just saying that as a Lady Gaga fan; I'm looking at the bottles of my favourite perfumes right now and every key scent note in FAME is amongst them a few times. Couple that with the gothic bottle design and black juice and FAME could have been created for my personal tastes.

No: FAME doesn't stain skin or clothes, when used normally. I've even sprayed it directly onto a white t shirt and the liquid does indeed spray clear, despite being black in the bottle. when I sprayed it heavily onto the fabric it left a pale blue mark, but any perfume will stain clothes if you spray it heavily on them, and why would you need to anyway?


30ml - £25
50ml - £32
100ml - £55

Fragranced soap, shower gel and body lotion are meant to be available to buy by mid November.

There are two Christmas giftsets available.
30ml bottle of EDP and 200ml shower gel - £25
50ml bottle of EDP and 200ml shower gel - £32


Sunday, 28 October 2012

Schwarzkopf XXL Cyber Purple in [non-retouched] photos...

I've used a few different shades of violet over the years, and after recently looking over old photos, decided to go back to my ribina days. After spending a few months googling for photos of Live's various purple/violet shades, I settled for XXL Cyber Purple two weeks ago.

I'm not reviewing it yet, as I want to see how it fades over six weeks, but I wanted to provide pictures to other people searching online for them.

I'm not sure what I think of the colour yet; in daylight it looks lovely, but in most other lighting it is darker then I expected. My natural hair colour [ash] isn't dark and I stripped all off my colour [natural and artificial] before using Cyber Purple anyway, so to end up with dark hair, that doesn't look like the box swatch in most lighting, has left me feeling "meh".


The purple-pink tone in the dye only photographs well in direct sunlight, so late October in north-west England isn't ideal for lounging in windows, whilst suppressing the flash on my cheap-and-cheerful camera for review purposes. In other words; please excuse my bleached-out skin in the two blurry photos...

I'm going to Florida in a couple of weeks, so I'll save my final verdict on the colour until I come back; there'll be plenty of sunlight there to inspect the colour...

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Every breath you take... A review for Soul Seducer by Alicia Dean for Kindle and ebook...


She has spent her entire life fighting death. Now she's falling in love with him. . . .

When nurse Audra Grayson is brutally beaten, the near-death experience opens a door to the world beyond. Two Grim Reapers invade her life. One is charming, with the angelic blonde looks of a saint and the black soul of a psychopath. The other is not charming. He's dark and dangerously attractive. When Audra's patients begin to die unexpectedly and her loved ones are threatened, she will risk her life-even her soul-to save them.

But can she risk her heart to an inhuman being whose very purpose is to take those she is trying to save?

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Happy birthday to me - a mini La Vie Est Belle Lancome review...

I've noticed that I would smell the same mystery fragrance whenever I'd go past the makeup counters in my local Boots,and after a month or so I'd pinpointed the aroma to Lancome's latest perfume release; La Vie Est Belle.
La Vie Est Belle is a new Lancome fragrance, available on the market from fall 2012. The concept of this fragrance is centered on the idea of natural and simple beauty, freedom from conventions and the choice of once own vision of happiness. The fragrance is a kind of outlook on life, inspired by joy and pleasure in small things.

This gourmand yet elegant composition is developed by perfumers Olivier Polge, Dominique Ropion and Anne Flipo. The final formula is the result achieved after three years of probation and 5000 versions. Iris is the key ingredient of the perfume, surrounded by orange blossoms and jasmine in the heart. The composition’s opening provides fruity flavors of black currant and pear, while the base is warm, gourmand and powdery due to almond-like accords of tonka bean, praline, patchouli and vanilla.

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Review: Wonderstruck EDP by Taylor Swift/Elizabeth Arden

Rating: 3/5 stars

Advantages: Reasonable price, easy to wear, striking bottle...
Disadvantages: unoriginal, poor-to-average staying power.

"It's a line from my song 'Enchanted,' and the line says, 'I'm wonderstruck, blushing all the way home. I've always loved that line and that phrase, 'wonderstruck.' You don't hear it very often. So I just felt like if I ever got the chance to make a fragrance, which I've dreamed of doing since I was about 14 years old ... Ever since I wrote that song, I thought that would be the title. And I'd want to create a fragrance that smelled the way that word feels."


I think that most berry notes tend to smell similar when used in perfumes, so I give bonus points to WONDERSTRUCK right away, as it uses slightly more distinctive notes of raspberry. Though after having said that, I wonder if dewberry the same as blackberry? Because that is what I think is actually alongside the raspberry. After the berries the peach is the next strongest fruit - which surprised me as it's meant to be a base note, yet it develops soon after being applied to skin. The soft vanilla is present through all of the fragrance, with adds a creamy sweetness and warmth to the mix.

The heart of WONDERSTUCK is meant to contain thirteen different floral notes as thirteen is meant to be Swift's lucky number, but the tea note develops in under ten minutes and is stronger then most of the floral notes, so hides nearly all of them. I can separate the listed honeysuckle, and sometimes I also pick up on a light hint of the hibiscus, but can't begin to guess at anything else - it all becomes one long powdered note underneath the tea. The tea is the only note that is really able to stand out from the fruits and vanilla. This is definitely a fruity perfume.

There is no strong indication between the heart notes and the base, thanks to the constant trickle of raspberry, peach and vanilla. The sandalwood and musk are mingled closely together so it is a warm and creamy mix - nice, but it is a blend that is used in many fragrances today. The lingering tea note does give WONDERSTRUCK a bit more umph, but I was still disappointed by how linear the blend seemed on me.

Scent notes: Raspberry, dewberry, green tea, freesia, apple blossom, vanilla, honeysuckle, white hibiscus, amber, musk and sandalwood.


WONDERSTRUCK is richer with the fruits then it is with the florals, so the lasting power is good but not great: I can still detect berries, creamy vanilla and sandalwood four to five hours after first applying the perfume, but it is close to the skin.

I think that this is nice for daywear - I mainly used it as casual wear, but would occasionally wear it for work. Some people may think that it's too sweet for work [even I didn't feel very comfortable], but as it's non-invasive it won't bother your colleagues. As it's mild and not very long lasting I did think of it as too gentle for evening wear, but if you don't wear perfume whilst out for a statement and to be noticed then I think WONDERSTRUCK is perfectly adaptable.

WONDERSTRUCK was released in America this time last year, which is when I bought a bottle [it was the bottle design that sold me], so I've had the chance to wear it during every season - this is a winner in the wearability stakes. In the spring/summer I found that the fruits and tea were refreshing and didn't seem so sweet, whilst in autumn/winter the vanilla and wood seemed stronger and added warmth and boasted the sweetness of the fruits.

Although I think WONDERSTRUCK is pleasant, very wearable and wears quite well for the price, I won't be replacing my bottle. I don't really regret buying it, but after a year I have to admit that I've become bored with it, as there is nothing unique about it and the fragrance is a bit too linear for my tastes. I don't like putting perfumes into different age groups, but I have to admit that this does seem rather youthful. There's nothing wrong with that, but I personally didn't feel very confident wearing it. I think that I'm going to pass my bottle on to someone else.

Lots of people compare this to either Britney Spears Fantasy or Midnight Fantasy [also Elizabeth Arden releases], but I don't get the comparisons at all. I'd say this is more along the lines of a Harajuku Lovers release; Music.

The first flanker for WONDERSTRUCK has already been released in America, but no word on it getting released over here yet. Wonderstruck Enchanted is a oriental - gourmand. It opens with notes of wild berries, pink poppy and passion fruit. Heart notes include peony blossoms, sugar-glazed champaca petals and white freesia. White musk, hypnotic vanilla and blonde woods are the main base notes.


30ml - £20
50ml - £29
100ml - £38

It's that time of year again - Christmas gift set time! This year WONDERSTRUCK has a gift set containing both a 30ml bottle and a 5ml bottle of EDP, plus a 50ml tube of perfumed body lotion.

Summary: Would make a nice gift choice for a Taylor swift fan.

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Album review - Talk That Talk by Rihanna

"There's nobody really in my league. There's competition everywhere. The whole music industry is competition. There are people who like other artists, those who like me and others who like both. Beyonce is a great artist, and I feel honored to be mentioned in the same sentence, but we're different performers with different styles." - Rihanna


TALK THAT TALK is the sixth album by Barbadian born Rihanna [Robyn Fenty]. The album was recorded between February - November 2011 and was released in November 2011, through Def Jam Recordings.

Rihanna and Evan Rogers are the executive producers for TALK THAT TALK. Producers for the individual tracks include Alex da Kid, Mr. Bangladesh, Calvin Harris, Chase & Status, Dr. Luke, Ester Dean, Hit-Boy, No I.D., Priscilla Renea, Rob Swire, Stargate and The-Dream. The impressive list of song writers for TALK THAT TALK includes Jay-Z, P Diddy, Calvin Harris, Ester Dean, Lukasz Gottwald, John Hill, Baria Qureshi, Romy Croft, Oliver Sim, Jamie Smith, Priscilla Renea and Chauncey Hollis.

Friday, 5 October 2012

Para bailar la bamba...

I'm still on a blush kick, so have once again dug through my makeup bag to find a little somethin-somethin' to show off. Today I'll focus on my Benefit Bella blush. It is a little bit too bright on my [very] fair skin, so I don't wear it a lot, but when I do I fall in love with it all over again...

BELLA BAMBA is a bright pink shade of blusher, with a golden, gleaming undertone, ala NARS Orgasm. The Benefit website calls the shade watermelon pink, which I think is accurate.

I'm impressed with the pigmentation; a little goes a long way. You don't get a lot of product, but it'll still last a while since you just need a light dusting of powder. BELLA BAMBA lasts all day on me, with no touch-ups, and the powder doesn't enhance my dry skin.

As it a bright shade with great pigmentation, I do need to be careful with application as I have porcelain skin, so it is easy to look overdone. But that is the only downside that I can think of.

Overall this is another winning blush from Benefit.