posted by on Uncategorized


Hello, everyone.  I’ve been somewhat absent on this blog due to health reasons and graciously, Helen has been working extra hard to keep these pages ticking over (thank you so much, Helen).  I don’t usually divulge about my personal life on Just Nice Things but it’s reached the point where it means I have to take a back seat on commitments and put my health first.  I wrote a piece about this on my personal blog, which you can read here

I’m going to be fine but I have to endure taking some pretty strong drugs for the next few months, which wipes me out for days sometimes and sucks out the energy from me.  It is very frustrating and beyond my control especially as I miss blogging passionately.  I set time aside at weekends to catch up on blogging but then I’m knocked out and unable to muster up the energy.  It’s amazing I make it into work five days a week!

Consequently I have cut back on social events, both for blogging and in my personal life.  The only blessing is it’s only short-term and I can’t grumble over that.  Having said that, I am doing my best to stick to every-day routines so I won’t be vanishing off Just Nice Things completely. 

I have a backlog of unfinished reviews and photos to complete for blog posts, and hope you can all bear with me as I work at the speed of an old lady to get them done!  I promise I will…starting with one today.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for the kind words of support on Twitter and the emails many of you have sent me.  They’re the best medicine.


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Nars Holiday 2011


posted by on Eyeshadows, Make-Up, NARS


I was on Oxford Street the other day, taking in all of the lights and sights and sounds and I can say that it is definitely festive. Like it or loathe it, Christmas is getting earlier and earlier as the years spin round and whilst I firmly believe that it shouldn’t be getting going any earlier than November, I do like the fact that this means that the holiday collections are on the way!

Today I have some things from Nars’ Holiday collection for you. It only feels like five minutes since we were looking at things from Autum Winter, but things move fast around here. There are three new eyeshadows in the collection, so let’s start with those, shall we?

Ponderosa is my first ever cream shadow from Nars. There’s a black cream that I’ve been meaning to buy for absolutely ages but other things seem to keep taking preference. Generally, cream eyeshadows are a bit scary – what about creasing and melting and all the usual concerns.

I went to the Nars counter in Liberty the other day and had a fantastic hour relaxing and playing with all of the products, and the make-up artist who served me said that often creme eyeshadows are better used in the crease as a contrast shade, rather than all over the lid. Although a light touch and a good whack of primer means that the latter is possible as well. Ponderosa stayed put all day, with no creasing or melting – seriously impressive.

However, Ponderosa is so dark that I haven’t yet summoned up the courage to wear it all over my eye, so you see it here layered over Himalayas, one of my favourite Nars single shadows (it looks white but flashes pink duochrome). It looks lighter in the pan than when it transfers to the eye so you need to go easy – it is like a glossier and smoother creme version of Mekong. It builds and blends perfectly, and has tiny pieces of golden shimmer that actually (shock horror) show up on the eye. It’s love.

St Mark’s Place is one of the two new Larger Than Life eyeliners that have been released for this season. Reportedly based on Nars’ cult eyeshadow Daphne (which I don’t actually own), St Mark’s Place is a stunning bright violet shade. I knew I had to have this the moment I heard about it and I was not disappointed. It glides on beautifully, stays all day, and further fuels the myth that purple shades look best on brown eyes – it’s great.

Mandchourie didn’t really flicker on my radar until I saw it in the shop. The left hand side is a beautiful soft grey that is shot through with flecks of gold shimmer. It isn’t glittery, so there is no fall-out, the gold just gives it an additional dimension. Beautiful.

The blue shade is perfectly matte and really caters to my desire for navy and dark blues at the moment. They’re not the easiest to blend together and I had to work at these for a bit but I had no regrets at all after buying this and actually can’t wait to wear it again.

I think I might even need a back-up of Mandchourie, you know…

Speaking of working at things, here we have Arabian Nights. Probably one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen in the pan, but the hardest to work woth. Like the rest of Nars’ Night collection, this looks divine, until you actually come to get it on your eye.

All of the coloured “pearls” vanish into oblivion, leaving you with a chalky, charcoal effect. Even the lighter pink shade smudges out to a blargh grey. Below you see it used wet, tapering off into dry.

I spent an hour trying to get Arabian Nights to work for me. I tried it over my usual primer, then the Nars’ own primer, then over a white creme shadow. Nothing. It all looked like this:

Crap. And before the Make-Up Alley fanatics get on at me, yes, I do know how to apply Nars eyeshadows. I own 30 of them. I know about patting not sweeping and all the rest of it, but this didn’t stop me from feeling frustrated witn Arabian Nights.

I decided to try it wet as liner, in an attempt to salvage something from the trio. Slightly Winehouse-esque maybe, but it worked! Phew.

Then, inspiration hit. I soaked a brush in water and applied a really light wash of the middle shade to my eyelid. It was like one of those painting by numbers things you used to do when you were little. Whilst that was still damp, I then packed the shadow onto the brush, and slapped it on to my damp base. It took a while, and there was absolutely no blending to be done.

It’s a look any way. Not one for every day, perhaps but I am pleased I made it work. I’m used to a light lid shade and dark in the crease, and there is no way you can get this with Arabian Nights. But look, the glitter shows, and it looks good, if very vampy block colour is your thing. If not, stick to using it as liner. But if you ask me whether you need it? No, you don’t. No one should have to work this hard at eye make-up.

Finally… Albatross gloss. It’s no secret that I adore Albatross highlighter and will recommend it to anyone after either a new highlighter or a Nars product, so I was interested to see the lipgloss version. In the tube it looks like a very alarming shade of white, but on the lip is perfectly reminiscent of the highlighter – shimmery and with a gorgeous hint of gold. Love it, this will also be really nice for layering over a matte lipstick.

So, there we have it. What do you think? It’s not the most straightforward collection but I love Mandchourie and Ponderosa. I can see myself recreating the Arabian Nights look next month when I go and see Motley Crue but probably not at many other times. Is there anything here you like the look of?


*Ponderosa, Albatross & Arabian Nights were PR samples,.Mandchourie & St Mark’s Place were purchased by me*

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Illamasqua Obsess


posted by on Illamasqua, Nails, Nails of the Day


OK, so this isn’t the first time you’ve seen this polish here, but I figure Sheenie and I have picked up a fair few new readers in the last 18months or so (hi!) and it would be a crying shame not to show this to you again. Even if I’ve only got one new photo of it, thanks to colour accuracy/camera issues!

Obsess is one of the two polishes that Illamasqua released in the autumn of 2009 as part of their Dystopia collection. Like I have mentioned before, I was surprised when I saw Obsess at the Dystopia blogger event as it is pink. I’d always associated Illamasqua with darker or more “out there” shades than what appeared to be an OPI-esque hot pink.

But, oh no. Obsess is a hot, hot pink! The photos really dull this down – what we have here is a gloriously bright shade that isn’t neon, but isn’t far from it. It has real blue tones, making it perfect for all skintones, even the warmer ones that would usually steer well clear of such shades.

I loved the Dystopia collection for the sole reason that it appealed to my sense (ahem) of style. I love the idea of wearing mainly blacks and greys (and indeed, I do this daily) but brighten things up with an interesting flash of colour. Today I am wearing a big black cardigan and it really cheers me to see the pops of crazy pink peeking out from the bottom of my sleeves. Also, my computer keyboard is black. I don’t usually look at my hands when I am typing, but I can’t help myself today!

Application was great. This is two coats over some Orly Ridgefiller and a layer of Seche Vite. I don’t mind using Seche over Illamasqua as the latter arent Big-3 Free, and therefore the two items gel together rather nicely.

What do you think? I love this gorgeous flash of cheerful colour on a wintery day, or a great hit of colour to complement your summer outfit. Does it do it for you?


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