My Little Box comes to the UK

Monday, 22 September 2014



I am somewhat sceptical (shut up at the back) about "beauty boxes".  I'll be honest, I'm not really a fan.  I think some of the Glossybox limited edition boxes have been great (fabulous, even), but ... yeah, £10 (+ p&p) or so a month for a couple of things you can usually get free from department store counters, plus a bonus "full size" product or two just doesn't really float my boat, especially when you can't pick and choose what you get.  So when I heard about My Little Box, the subscription box service from the team behind "My Little Paris"  I simply wasn't that excited about it.

Genuinely.

However, that lasted just until I received my first sample box, and then I realised that My Little Box was actually something quite, quite different.  And rather wonderful to boot. And then, being the sceptical so-and-so that I am, I wondered if it was just that one first box that would be great,  and the next box would be full of those department-store perfume sachets and "lifestyle" teabags that we've all begun to know and dread.

It wasn't:


Not a sad-looking perfume card, "bonus" chocolate, or "artisan" teabag in sight. These are the contents of the last three boxes, two of the French original boxes on the right, and the first UK-exclusive box bottom left (top left is a special one-off box I'll talk to you about a bit later on).  What I hadn't realised about My Little Box at first is that it's not merely a beauty sampling service, it's actually a proper gift box sent to you from Paris.  And they do it beautifully.


What you get every month is a proper magazine (not just a puff-piece for the brands in the box), a "lifestyle item" (these have included playing cards, jewellery, scarves and sarongs in the past), several beauty samples (usually three, at least one of which is always full size), and some other bonus items which fit with the theme of the box, because every single My Little Box has a theme, and it follows through on the theme both inside and out, through the magazine, to the lid of the box, to the actual contents of the box too, it's a joy to unpack.


In this months UK box we got a half-size Laura Mercier Foundation Primer, a travel-size bottle of Nuxe oil, and a full-size My Little Beauty Highlighter Pen, alongside a "My Little Carnet" notebook (which also contained this month's magazine), some "Parisian" stickers, and an iPad cover, which I was delighted with!  (ETA it's actually a laptop cover, but it'll work for iPads too!)


Real thought and care goes into every box, and the house style (created by in-house designer Kanako) is cute without being too whimsical, and it all just adds that little something extra to every month's delivery. Unlike some boxes where all the thought apparently goes into the box itself, it feels like every single My Little Box is a limited edition. It's a lovely feeling.

The reason for this is that the My Little Paris team live and breathe the brand.  Last month I was lucky enough to be invited along to their Paris offices which are in Montmarte, directly in the shadow of Sacre Cour, to see how they work.  I came away with a new appreciation for the company (which started as a mailing list to 50 people every month, and now has 1 million subscribers across France, alongside 80,000 box subscribers every month too) where every member of the team seems to live and breathe beauty and lifestyle through everything that they do.  We were treated to a view of their Paris, which was wonderful, and I now have a new list of places to go and things to do when I go back!    Whilst we were there we were presented with a souvenir "Welcome to Paris" box, which is the one you saw in the group shot above, and now I've finally taken pictures of it, I can't wait to get stuck in! Here's a little photo-essay of my day in Paris with My Little Box:

Breakfast. Check out those Eiffel Tower biccies!

You don't really get more Paris than this view from the roof garden.

They have a book.  Did I mention the book?  There's a book.  It's good.  Get one.

Reference books in the My Little Paris offices

Emails from happy subcribers are hung everywhere around the building.

I want this office.  That is all.
The ideas laboratory where the team get together to brainstorm.


Sacre cour!

Internet circa 1895

Boxes!  Loads of them!

Gorgeous work-spaces 
Art from the Quiet Gallery.  I nearly bought this.  Still regretting that I didn't.

Lunch - a real hidden gem.

BEEF!

Notre Dame
All the boxes cost £11, which is just £1 more than other beauty boxes on the market - and, considering the box is sent direct from Paris, the postage costs just £3.95, which is around 70p more than UK based box services.  The difference in quality, however, is priceless. Think you deserve a treat?  Well so do My Little Box.


The Fine Print: Get Lippie was a guest of My Little Paris in Paris.  Boxes have been sent as PR Samples.   There was no expectation of review, but I've been so delighted and surprised, I just had to.  Even sceptics get excited sometimes, you know.

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No7 MatchMade Lipstick Service

Thursday, 18 September 2014



*Sponsored Post*

My love of lipstick is fairly well-known, I think, after all, there's a reason this blog is called "Get Lippie"!  Even before I started blogging my lip product collection numbered in the (low-ish) three figures, and now I am a fully-fledged five year plus blogger the only reason my lipsticks don't take over the entire house is because I'm fairly ruthless at editing my collection every once in a while and donating anything I haven't used in a month or three to charity.  That said, there are lipsticks in every room of my house, and from the sofa where I'm sitting blogging right now, I can see around 100 lipsticks or so on the book case on the other side of the room ... oh well, everybody needs a hobby, right? And they are very decorative.  THEY ARE.


What might be less-known is that I also love finding lipsticks for other people. I've spent many lovely hours in department stores around the country terrorising sales assistants finding gorgeous lipsticks for my friends, family and even complete strangers, helping to find them that perfect shade that complements their skin, their eyes, their hair and the occasion they need the lipstick for.  I'm a firm believer that there's a perfect red lipstick for absolutely everyone, too.  Everyone.



But I can't be everywhere, sadly.  So, when I heard about the new No7 Match Made Lipstick service, I was intrigued.  Based on their foundation-matching technology, Boots No7 have now created 43 lipstick shades and grouped them according to how well they go with each individual No7 foundation shade.  You go to your favourite Boots store (we've all got one), ask them to scan your skin tone, and you'll come away with a little card that groups your best shades of pink, coral, red, plums and natural lipsticks, in a variety of moisturising and matte finishes. It's painless, and really good fun!

This is Soft Paprika
I popped along to Boots on Oxford Street last Saturday to see the lipstick matching in action, and help people with their pressing lipstick questions - we had lots of fun! We had a photobooth, and we spent a happy hour or four getting people matched up with their best shades, then going for a little singalong in the booth before taking pics of ourselves in our new lipstick shades. We met some lovely people, and if you were one of them, thank you for popping by!

Not constipated.  POUTING.
So, if you can't afford a personal shopper, and you don't have a blogger handy to help pick out your best colours (and hey, who does?), why not pop along to your nearest Boots and let No7 take the strain?

The Fine Print: This is a sponsored post, however,  Boots No7 products photographed in this piece were purchased at the author's own expense.

This post: No7 MatchMade Lipstick Service originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

Urban Decay Pulp Fiction Collection

Monday, 15 September 2014


It's everywhere at the moment, but I couldn't not blog about the Urban Decay Pulp Fiction collection, because it contains one of my favourite beauty items that has been released ALL YEAR.  Yes, one of these items is so lovely and amazing that, literally the day this collection went in-store, I ordered three back-ups of one of the products.  I actually ended up with six back-ups, but more about that later ...



Anyhoo, in news that will make a sizeable percentage of my readershship (myself included) feel really, really really old, this year marks the 20th year since Pulp Fiction was released. TWENTY YEARS!  Jeez.  I remember Quentin Tarantino being the enfant terrible of cinema back then, I bet Quentin thinks he still is.  I'm digressing, of course, as this makeup collection is basically a tribute to Uma Thurman in character as Mrs Mia Wallace, and as Limited Edition collections go, this is a good one.


The collection consists of the eyeshadow palette, a lipstick with matching liner, a nail varnish, and a repromote of one of the Heavy Metal glittery eyeliners.   There's also a makeup instruction card that will help you recreate the definitive Mia Wallace look.



I think they've got the colours spot-on, to be honest, aside from the white, which I don't think is entirely necessary, they already have the highlight colour in Righteous, which makes "Furious" rather redundant, but, anyway.


Colours are velvety and pigmented, and wear very well over a base. The dinky double-ended brush that you get in the palette is extremely good quality as these things go, and is a handy addition to the palette, unlike many of these things.

With Flash

Natural Daylight
The one bit of the collection I'm disappointed with is the addition of the glittery liner, which I think would have been better replaced with one of Urban Decay's excellent black liners (they currently have at least four, and any single one of them would have been more useful than silver glitter, but hey, as I've already discussed, I'm an old gimmer, right?), but Gunmetal it is.


The lips and nails though, are marvellous.  Good and bloody, and very, very red.  I wore Chanel's Rouge Noir for years (both lips and nails) after Pulp Fiction - it was the first time I'd realised that dark nail varnish was even "allowed"! I was a bit hacked off, actually, when Chanel re-released Rouge Noir lipstick a few years ago, only to have changed it to a cruddy, unflattering brown shade rather than the deep bloody red of my memory (actually, not just my memory, I still have a Rouge Noir lip palette in the house, eeep!).  Whilst these colours aren't direct matches to the shades worn by Uma in the film, they are darn good, and beautiful. 


The formulation on Urban Decay's lipsticks generally excellent, and Mrs Mia Wallace is no exception.  Creamy, moisturising and deeply pigmented, it's a joy to wear. The lipliner is  just a bonus really, you don't need it for coverage, but it's a nice thing to have, all the same.

My joy from the collection is the nail varnish, however.  Yes, it's no A England in formulation, but the colour!  Oh, the colour, it's a perfect blood-red, with just a tiny hint of shimmer to stop it being too flat, but for me, this is the red I've been looking for.  It can be a tiny bit chip-tastic, but I find the sticky-sandwich technique works really well for combating that.

So, I immediately went out and ordered three bottles of the nail polish from the Urban Decay website.  But, they "lost" my order (well, it was never confirmed, and even after long discussions with the company they never could find my order) so I ordered my backups from Debenhams.  However, the Urban Decay bottles from the lost order turned up anyway!  So now I have SEVEN bottles of Mrs Mia Wallace polish.  Want one?  Leave me a comment (on this post) with your favourite quote from Pulp Fiction and I'll pick two of them at random on Friday and send you each a bottle of polish ... (UK readers only, sorry!)

The Fine Print: Samples were provided for this review by Urban Decay, however the bottles of polish being given away were purchased at my own expense - and the giveaway is not being run in association with the brand.

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Storage Week! How A Makeup Pro Does It ...

Friday, 12 September 2014

Our final post of the Storage Week! series (which is actually going to ending up lasting a fortnight, we're nice like that here at Get Lippie) shows you how a real, working, makeup artist stores their stuff.  we have to tell you, it's not what we expected.

Anyhoo, here's Luke with the lowdown:

As interested as I am in being very organised with stuff, and making products and makeup all nice and neat, what with me being you know, male, it is rather difficult for me to pop anything away neatly as I am ALWAYS having to dredge it out again. Also, storage space is more valuable than the last sheet of toilet roll at my house, and so I have to put stuff wherever there is an available orifice.

It is probably worth mentioning that I do tend to divide my products into two categories:  professional and personal.  Sometimes there is a blur between the two and this causes all sorts of confusion, which results often in a rather stressed out search for a particular item. In a very small nutshell (Ha ha! - Ed), this is how it goes.

The makeup that I use for work is itself between two categories.  Special F/X/Prosthetics/Film & TV, and everything else.  There are some pretty hefty chemicals in the former category, so it’s important that that is stored separately from the “normal” makeup. Everything else pretty much gets sorted thus...


This is my professional kit that I use all the time. No matter what the job is, I know that in here is everything I need to do a half decent makeup.  If I am ever unable to do something out of this bag, I need to hang up my brushes and find something else to do.  It is also handy for running out the door on those last minute bookings that happen from time to time. The excellent Charles Fox bucket bag is a bleeding life saver, and is so well used that it broke last week, but has done a good 3 years of being lugged. Ahhhh, if it could only talk.

Prior to ANY job there is still a certain amount of juggling that goes on.  I need to double check everything, and then edit accordingly. This is often the case when there is a particular season to be considering, or if there are male models involved, if some of the models are darker skinned etc...

That is where these come in handy.  I am only showing ONE of the seventeen of these boxes that I have for brevity (and also I haven’t the time to pull them all out from under the bed, out of the cupboard, the shed, and god knows where else).  But for each job, I will pull all of these out, have a look and replace certain items that are needed, or that I think I may be needed.  It is a long and often very frustratingly tiring process, but my human strength will only allow me to carry so much at any one time.



It is a huge box where each individual item has been lovingly placed into a freezer zip-lock bag and labelled.  The boxes are divided into Face, Eyes, Lips, body and Misc.  On each bag a big red or blue sharpie has on it what is in there. Foundations, Bronzers, Eye Shadows, Cream eye shadows etc...
They are then divided into Spring/Summer then Autumn/Winter.  No actual reason for this, other than I know roughly what sort of colours we’ll be dealing with here. Ie SS is lights, pink, corals, greens etc... and the AW is the darker side of the colour spectrum.

My personal stuff, which is largely skin care is also divided similarly.  However, the stuff that I use every day is spread on my bedside table, and on my chest of drawers in my bedroom. Again, please note the lack of ability to edit.



To save dragging out the boxes again, I have selected a few fragrances that I want to be wearing. This also tends to be seasonally dependant.


The bathroom is a similar sort of affair.  I want to be able to reach for stuff easily, so....


Send help.

This post: Storage Week! How A Makeup Pro Does It ... originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

On anosmia and other stuff.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

By Get Lippie

The sharp-eyed amongst you might have noticed that I've been doing fewer perfume reviews than usual, and for that I have to apologise.  I'm ill.  I've been ill for a while now, and whilst it's nothing life-threatening (or even anything painful for that matter), it has been life-changing.

It began inauspiciously - as these things tend to - with a severe cold back in May, and I had no sense of smell for around six weeks after.  If you read my piece for Basenotes around this time: Anosmia - Don't Take Your Noses For Granted! then you'll know how heartbroken I was by this turn of events.  Since then, I've started to recover, and things have got better in that respect, but in a few ways, they've also got worse, in ways I wasn't really prepared for.

My sense of smell has been returning for a while now, and I'm what is termed "hyposmic", ie I now "merely" have a diminished sense of smell, rather than a complete lack of it, but alongside that return of smell have been some pretty horrendous side-effects: namely "phantosmia" and "parosmia".

Phantosmia is where you can smell things that aren't there, either things that don't exist, or you react to smells that aren't actually there.  In my case I could smell burning meats, specifically that red-lacquered pork belly you get at Chinese restaurants.  Imagine smelling burning, slightly sweet from the red-laquered meat, but also deeply charred and smokey from the carbonisation of the rind, 24 hours a day, to the exclusion of all other smells.  Even applying neat lavender oil to the inside of the nostrils doesn't help when this happens. It's maddening and distracting, and there's no relief when it occurs

But worse, oh so much more worse, has been my experience with parosmia.  Unlike phantosmia - where you are reacting to smells that aren't there - parosmia is where you are reacting to smells that are happening (and do exist), but they are distorted by the time your olfactory system registers them properly.  And, of course, they are not distorted in a nice way, where roses might smell like daisies, or peanuts suddenly taste like chocolate. No, everything, and I do literally mean every single thing you encounter literally smells and.or tastes completely disgusting.

Imagine, for a moment that, you have the worst halitosis ever (you know those hangovers where you wake up wondering if an elephant took a dump in your mouth when you were asleep? That), and now further imagine that every thing you encounter smells like that, and purely of that, with nothing else.  That you can't recognise the scent or flavour of anything you encounter as itself, everyday smells are filtered through this smell, so that you can't recognise any smell individually, they just smell bad.

Imagine that every single thing you taste, even your own saliva, tastes like that. Constantly. 24 hours a day. Seven days a week. Sometimes it's only a noticeable hint, but occasionally, like playing Russian Roulette, something you encounter either nasally or orally will be like a nugget of raw, pure sewage, topped with a sauce of slimy rotted onions,  mustard gas, and well-rotted swamp.  Chocolate, coffee and cigarette smoke make me sick with monotonous regularity. Water, even - which had been a revelation during anosmia, owing to it not having any taste to miss - tasting rotten.

Well. That's my life right now. And has been for a little while.

Nothing I eat, drink or smell tastes like it should, and there is little joy in my life as a result.  I don't know, when faced with foods I haven't prepared myself, whether I can eat them.  Supermarkets are a form of torture, as I can't identify which items will set off the "sewage" nausea reaction rather than simply the "elephant halitosis" smell, which I've simply had to learn to live with.  Kitchens.  Well, let's not even talk about kitchens, okay?  I used to love to cook, let's leave it at that.

It's heartbreaking.  Over the years of writing this blog, perfume and fragrance have been an intense pleasure to me, and something I'd learned a lot about. However, I still have hopes that smell will come back properly, that the parosmia will pass. An ENT surgeon I saw recently confirmed that there is nothing physically wrong, and that the parosmia could be a sign that any nerves which were killed by the infection back in May (which would have caused the initial anosmia) are regenerating, but he also warned that these things are unpredictable, and confirmed that there is no current treatment which will lessen my parosmia symptoms.  This wasn't good news for me, as the parosmia is currently one of the worst things I've ever suffered, and I can't deny that I'm finding it very difficult to deal with.

In the meantime, I'm spending a lot of time talking to Fifth Sense, in the hopes that my troubles may help other people who are affected by any of these symptoms, and I'm hoping to be able to attend  their annual conference in November, in order to meet more people who know what this condition is like.  In the meantime, however, in the words of my surgeon, I'm just going to have to ride this out.

If you made it this far, thanks for reading.  Getting it down - and out! - has been helpful.

This post: On anosmia and other stuff. originated at: Get Lippie All rights reserved. If you are not reading this post at Get Lippie, then this content has been stolen by a scraper

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