Marc Jacobs Gel Eye Crayons…Mini review


Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Eye Crayons

Marc Jacobs Highliner Gel Crayons
The new Holy Grail for Gel Eye Pencils

Price: £20 (but now sadly discontinued in the UK, you can only buy it online off Net-a-porter )

Shade range: There are a whopping 22 shades in this range available in the UK (More Stateside). There are also 6 in the Matte Highliner range.(which I have not tested).Therefore there is one for every skin tone in the spectrum

Review: For the longest time, I have resisted buying these .Colours I have tested and loved, Blaqueur (Blackest black), Rococoa ( a limited edition glittery black liner) and Brown(out) a deep dark ever so slightly glittery brown.

I had been sitting on my hands when it came to these, for the longest time. The L-O-N-G-E-S-T time. Everyone and their Aunt Millicent has been raving about these, but let’s be honest. Its £20. Ok…so we’ve got the only painful bit about these out of the way.

They are touted as being the best in the club for tight lining( for those who don’t know- this is it is the technique of drawing eyeliner inside the lash line). And trust me as someone who’s worn kohl liners all my adult life, I have tried almost everything in the drugstore, plus a few luxury ones… I did have a previous favourite, so I was reluctant to try these.

But then something compelled me to buy them, and boy am I glad I did ! They are soft enough to tight line eyes without any struggle, and don’t chug along like wellies on a wet slide. But then they set. AND HOW! No amount of tears, rain, swimming( even hail…I promise you it’s been British weather tested) will shift it.

It does come out easily with a Bi phase makeup remover, or any oil, balm cleanser without too much trouble though.

I always feel slightly apprehensive recommending something pricey (I take my money, and definitely others’ hard earned dosh very seriously) and especially not something as subjective as tighlining.(However a lot of Holy Grail kohl liners that others swear by, have made me look panda eyed.) This one, however seems to have been loved and raved by everyone who’s used it… various ages, eye shapes and skin types.

I even love it slightly smoked out for the easiest smokey eye ever. The colour payoff is amazing. The black is a pure black, the brown is a great shade etc etc.

My current look is Brown(out) smoked out with a taupe from the Nyx warm neutrals palette and a peachy shimmer ( 3INA single is my current fave) shade for a slight pop. It is understated enough for a corporate setting, and its can be deepened for a more intense look should you wish to swing by for a sushi and some sake´ after work.

PS: and you’ll never have to hunt for a sharpener with this. It has an inbuilt one( so handy…)


Vitamin E and Rosa Canina Seed Extract: Soothe, soften, and protect the delicate skin around the eyes.
Trimethylsiloxysilicate, Isohexadecane, Isododecane, Polyethlene, Synthetic Wax, Silica, Ceresin, Polyisobutene, Methicone, Rosa Canina Seed Extract, Tocopheryl Acetate, Iron Oxides (Ci 77499).

Will I repurchase?

Yes. (unfortunately its online only in Net-a-Porter, so you can’t test for shades etc and it’s slightly more expensive.  You get some unfortunate person to become your makeup mule and schlep it from the EU or USA…as it’s definitely cheaper in the USA.)

Au Revoir Marc Jacobs Beauty from all of us in the UK, we hope you come back soon… 

Love Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money. If this was to change at any point, I will disclose this and it will not affect my opinion. Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I have mentioned. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.


39 thoughts at 39…


keep-calm-im-only-39-happy-birthday-to-meI’ve had a self imposed blogging break recently, I’m back and hope you’re still around, and if you’ve just come here, welcome! (I’ve got lots of product reviews, unboxing and even a few VERRRY exciting give-aways coming up! Do please follow  my account @Itsmelle on Instagram for the most up to date information.)

Anyway, Ive turned 39 today and instead of sticking to a blog post on skincare, Ive had some thoughts on life which I thought I’d share .I’ve been noting a thought a day for the last 39 days, so its kind a 39 thoughts, done over 39 days, to celebrate my 39th birthday.

I’m not a spiritual guru, nor am I a celebrity so why would the world care about what I had to say? Because of reason no 1.

  1. You have one shot at life, if you want to out your thoughts on paper, follow your passions especially hobbies…do it.
  2. Love your body. Oh it’s almost a trend now, body positivity- plus size models, disabled models, but I’m talking the average Susan she still sees retouched photos and images all around her. Your body is the only vehicle for your soul. Stop hating on it( been there done that) if you’re unhappy about your size do something about it. But, don’t turn it inward. Weight loss is not the same as winning at life. 
  3. Learn to grab opportunities just outside your comfort zone. You never know where this may lead you.
  4. Learn how to do one killer smokey eye look, perfect it. It’ll come in handy.
  5. Sometimes life will hand you lemons. You can make it into a fizzy drink or take a bite of that and complain or option c you could be the one that brings the lemons to the party – there’s always margarita.
  6. It’s never too late to make friends. Don’t think that the only mates that you are stuck with are the ones from school.
  7. Travel. Catch a flight by yourself, take a train – don’t feel shy just because you might not have a travel companion.
  8. If you have a book with you, you are never alone. Carry a book always.
  9. Taking care of yourself is not vanity. Let no one tell you it is. This having said inner beauty counts too. This last  bit is non negotiable.
  10. Always dress smart, this isn’t because you’re being judged by others, but because in an increasingly spiralling world. You’ll feel that much better pulled together.
  11. Don’t go on a diet. It’s not worth it.
  12. Memorise point 11, And always bear it in mind.
  13. Wear SPF always. It’s non negotiable at any age, but especially yours. (Also make your concealer your best friend.)
  14. This is the last time I’ll bring up age. Let no one tell you that you “must act your age” this is your roller coaster- you determine what you want to do.
  15. There’s a difference between doing things for yourself and being selfish. It’s a fine line. I hope you’ll always bear that in mind.
  16. This having said, you are now in a place where you don’t have to prove anything to anyone.
  17. Nor do you ever have to chase anyone for their friendship or love. If they don’t have it for you, it was never yours to have.
  18. Be there. For those who love you.
  19. Following on from above – love freely and let those in your life know you love them
  20. Don’t forget to say something nice to everyone in your life.
  21. Don’t forget to speak up, speak out. But for Pete’s sake be polite about it.
  22. Your opinion matters. Use it and vote in your local elections
  23. You enjoy fashion. Don’t apologise for it.
  24. Always keep lipbalm. In every nook and cranny you can find, in your bag, home, workplace.
  25. Handcream too, as above.
  26. Sanitisier too.
  27. Lift weights. It’s good for you, and you love it. Yes… that means dreaded early morning wakeups.
  28. There will be people who don’t get why you don’t want to “grow old” ignore them. As you’d ignored those bullies on the playground all those years ago. Trying to change their minds is futile.
  29. People will assume that you must be unilaterally minded so hence cannot be a feminist whilst wearing a red lipstick. They cannot understand that we can do/ be both. Ignore them too.
  30. Throw parties, I know you struggle with the hassle of pre and post party prep- but you’ve always loved playing host.  Do more of what you enjoy.
  31. Write poetry, share them. Who cares if they are good/ bad. That’s subjective; but you’ll have fun?
  32. Don’t forget to have fun and seek adventure. Dance when your hear music you like. Who knows? You might start a flash mob.
  33. You love wearing heels, who cares if you touch the ceiling…wear them.
  34. Pay no mind to intellectual snobs, this is an odd one – but at 39, you don’t need to answer to anyone about your reading or life choices, this having said…your kids are watching :0
  35. Laugh…deep, belly ones. Your time is finite, pay mind to those who matter. The rest are white noise.
  36. You enjoy a filthy joke, don’t apologise for it, (refer to point 1)
  37. Be a role model to your kids by being your most authentic self. They will suss out fakery.
  38. Sometimes good enough has to be enough
  39. Wear red lipstick, when and where you can… There isn’t an occasion where a red lip would look out of place. (Perhaps a funeral, and the gym, but that’s about it!)

And one for the year ahead…

Read the above, memorise them and tear up the list. Make up the rules as you go along. Life doesn’t come with a rule book… so why should you?


Elle xx

Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money. If this was to change at any point, I will disclose this and it will not affect my opinion. Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I have mentioned. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.

Mum on the run? How to maintain your champagne skincare routine (on a lemonade timescale)


I’m perennially rushing around to get a gazillion tasks done in the
morning, and I would love to have a great 10-step skincare routine.
However, I barely have ten seconds to breathe, let alone lovingly pat my face with the essence of a million roses, and gently massage a cream that has the whisper of a dozen unicorns…

FullSizeRender 2

So here I am rushing about trying to get my kids dressed, breakfasts ready, fed and cleared. Not to mention try to get myself to look halfway human. My A.M routine is pared down and also in bits and pieces. Does this seem familiar?

Ok, here it is, warts (metaphorical of course 😉 ) and all.


1) Alarm goes off, I wake up, shut off the alarm, hoping it is Saturday (no such luck), hop out of bed and wash my face with a cream cleanser. (Like the No 7 beautiful cleansing balm from Boots £9.50 but always on offer and use those coupons, The Glossier Milky Jelly cleanser £15 ,or my new favourite: the Aldi Lacura Hot cloth cleanser £3.99, this is…how do I say this the identical twin to a famous cleanse and polish brand which set off the trend of using muslin cloths; even though said cleanser was not the first in the market to use a muslin cloth system…Clue: the brand rhymes with ~Miss Pearl)

I brush my teeth for two minutes, whilst my face dries.


2) Then I use a Glycolic toning pad (for ease of use, Nip& Fab are great(£6.45 currently here but I’ve always seen an offer on these, and the new Aldi Lacura glycolic pads £2.49 which look nothing like the Nip+Fab pads 😉 (I use this every other day, if unsure start once a week and build it up)

Glycolic acid works to exfoliate the face by using a chemical liquid to gently slough off the dead top layers of skin, giving you, glowing brighter skin. (Please let me know in comments, if you want me to talk about Glycolic acid and I’ll ensure that I write about this later) I use one side of the pad for one side of the face, and the second side for the other half of the face in a quick swipe. Whatever is left, goes down the neck and to the décolletage. As Caroline Hirons says…take it to the tits.


3) It’s at this time that I go downstairs, get the kids’ cereal sorted and let the Glycolic sink in. (takes about ten minutes, in the middle of which they’d have a massive fight resulting in tears, uh, oh) I holler at the kids to finish their Weetabix…put the kettle on and soak two teabags in an attempt to make a massive mug of tea. I gently remind, (ok, yell at the warring twins about hurrying up and getting changed). All the while running up and madly trying to mist my face with either Superdrug’s B range Hyaluronic Acid spritz( currently £3.95 – check for BOGOF offers as these keep popping up, this one is also great for the handbag) or Superdrug’s Vitamin E mist (£2.99 currently and there’s always offers). I do this so that I can give my dehydrated face a moisture sandwich. Only to rush back downstairs as I’ve remembered that I have yet to make the actual lunchbox sandwiches.

(Note to self- do it the night before) (Another note to self, make sure you take heed of previous note and not ignore it like you have done for the last five years)


4) In between all this malarkey, I’m manically trying to put on my work clothes, whilst attempting to put on my Vitamic C serum( some of which, inevitably gets rubbed onto my shirt collar…Great! Now I’ve to use a face wipe to get this off; only reason to ever use wipes to be honest, this or wiping the sink. I’m using this one Vitamin C spheres 23% by the Ordinary £4.90 which requires a bit of massaging to dissolve the vitamin c granules, this is gritty and you need to leave it for a few minutes, or alternatively use this oil; Balance cosmetics Active formula £.2.99 on Amazon.  The time this cream/oil takes to sink in fully (5-7minutes tops) is enough for me to frantically pop my head out of the bedroom door…gently remind ( cough…alright yell, ear splittingly at ) the kids to make sure they haven’t forgotten to brush their teeth, wash their faces, make their beds, worn tIMG_4080IMG_4076IMG_4075

5) I pop back to my vanity and then depending on how my skin is behaving that day, I’ll go for a light Hydrating serum (Superdrug Pure range does a great hydrating one is nearly always on offer and even if its not, the full priced version is about £3.99 and is highly raved about by Sali Hughes, its either this or HadaLabo Gokujyun premium Hyaluronic Acid serum between £10.33-£10.39; its a massive bottle which will last me till I’m 90 I’m sure! Yes… saying the name of the serum takes longer than the time it takes for this serum to penetrate your skin.)This usually takes about a few seconds, unfortunately wrangling with my tights doesn’t.


6) Anyway somehow tights are on, and I’ve managed to wipe the Vitamin c stains off my shirt, and I’m onto my next step of the routine…the moisturiser. But of course my kids sense that I’ve been gone a while.( 5 minutes is a millennium in their heads obviously ) and decide to murder each other, all I can hear is shouts of Mummmmmmmmmyyyy. Do I ignore them and pamper myself, or break up the fight? Urm choices, choices…anyway I decide to step in…one hand dipped in in moisturiser, which I end up smearing all over my battling kids. This breaks that up immediately…hmm moisturiser should be standard regulation weapons issued to the riot control police.

If I’m feeling dryer than usual, I go for Weleda skin food, (£6 at the time of checking) which is an absolute skin saviour. Thick, unctuous and sinks in quick. If I’m not feeling as dry, I love the Aldi Lacura Day Cream( it’s meant to the be a dupe of the La Prarie cream and is cheap as chips at £3.99) Any and all moisturisers from my previous post will do the trick here.


7) I take this stolen moment to do a quick face massage (upward motions remember!) and then throw on a sunscreen ( previous blogpost) and a lip balm ( I’m loving the Aldi Miracle cream £3.99 which is a fantastic dupe of the iconic 8 hour cream) I give this a few minutes to sink in. Wave at my face frantically and probably futilely, hoping for it to dry before I move on to my makeup routine, and/or I get a call from social services.

I hear no sounds from downstairs, and now I’m seriously worried that ‘Thing 1’ might have done some serious damage to ‘Thing 2’…I rush downstairs, only to find them doing some colouring (on a piece of paper, not my walls thankfully!)  also, I discover that the cup of tea…still languishing sadly in its water, which is now manky and cold and probably strong enough to grow hairs on my chest…Ah! the life of a mum, cold cups of tea and playing the referee, in between attempts to perfect a winged liner. I wouldn’t have it any other way!

Love Elle xx

(For routines, I do not invent any of my own, I recommend that you read Caroline Hirons “Routines cheat sheets”, as it is futile to better something done so well. They are the Rolls Royce of routines. All I’ve done is added my two pennies, using affordable options.)
(Ps: All the products have been rigorously tested on me and I also love a champagne lifestyle but have  a lemonade budget this is why I’ve been using budget skincare for the last month, thanks to my friend JP( xxx) . And guess what? It’s just as good.( if not better).  I’ll just leave this little beauty by Aldi here.)


Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money. If this was to change at any point, I will disclose this and it will not affect my opinion. Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I have mentioned. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.
PPS: Life got in the way of the blog, I promise to get more regular with my posts.


Unmasking my mask drawer- the DUPE EDITION: Part Uné

If 2016 was about strobing, 2017 was all about the mask. We had sheet masks, clay masks, bubble masks, Gold masks, dry masks, silicone masks, rubber masks…you name it, and you could have it. Some as little as 40p going all the way to, wait for it…take a deep breath, £230!

Now this is my humble opinion, I personally wouldn’t spend more than £20 (at a stretch… for something that lasts for only 20 minutes on my face once a week) I’d rather invest that money in a good serum, where the results are more beneficial as it’s used more regularly, given more time to penetrate and hence more effective.(My two pennies, you can disagree…respectfully please!) And don’t get me started on brands that have exorbitantly priced clay masks. Clay is one of the cheapest ingredients out there. Save your pennies for a product that contains real luxury ingredients.


I got this Peter Thomas Roth mask (a part of a set as a present) and don’t get me wrong, I cannot diss it. I love it. Love, love, love it. But it’s pricey, like… I need me a sugar daddy pricey, and the cost per wear is £££. But then I  randomly bought this Andalou mask, and then I realised OMG this was a dupe for the Peter Thomas Roth Mask!

Ingredients comparison between the Peter Thomas Roth and Andalou Mask:

Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme mask  ingredients: 

Water, Aluminum Oxide, Glycerin, Cucurbita Pepo (Pumpkin), Triethanolamine, Carbomer, Ascorbic Acid, Tocopherol, Lactobacillus/Pumpkin Ferment Extract, Retinyl Palmitate, Sodium Hyaluronate, Leuconostoc/Radish Root Ferment Filtrate, Edta Edetate Discodium Dihydrate USP, Methyl Eugenol, Potassium Sorbate, Sodium Benzoate, Phenoxyethanol.

Andalou Pumpkin Glycolic Honey mask ingredients: 

Cucurbita pepo (pumpkin) puree*, aloe barbadensis juice*, helianthus annuus (sunflower) oil*, vegetable glycerin, manuka honey, ananas sativus (pineapple) juice*, pectin, glycolic acid, sodium hyaluronate, cyamopsis tetragonolobus (guar) gum*, fruit stem cells (malus domestica, solar vitis) and BioActive 8 berry complex*, lecithin, saccharum officinarum (sugar cane) extract*, calophyllum tacamahaca (tamanu) and limnanthes alba (meadowfoam) oils, magnesium ascorbyl phosphate (vitamin C), tocopherol (vitamin E), aspalathus linearis (rooibos) extract*†, phenethyl alcohol, ethylhexylglycerin, cinnamomum cassia (cinnamon), myristica fragrans (nutmeg) and eugenia caryophyllus (clove) powders*. * Certified Organic. † Fair Trade.

I think, the fact that pumpkin was the first ingredient in the Andalou Pumpkin mask tells me that the active ingredients* in the Andalou mask is further up in the ingredients list** and this means this mask is pretty powerful ( yet gentle, the slight tingle is normal). Great…So basically ingredient wise, the dupe is has better active ingredients  than the original, but how does it perform? Because let’s be honest, a dupe is only so much fun as its performance, isn’t this true of life in general? Hahaha…

The Andalou mask isn’t as gritty as the Peter Thomas Roth (PTR henceforth,) it slides  on smoother than PTR. It’s less of a physical exfoliant, and more of a chemical one (Glycolic acid is a clue) So if Glycolic acid isn’t your jam( allergies or you get reactions), then maybe you’re better off with the PTR one. If however, if you are okay with Glycolic acid then this baby has got your name all over it. It has a lot of fruit acids, which help slough of the dead layers of skin and give you that elusive “Glow”. (Please don’t let the word acid scare you, skin care guru Caroline Hirons has written a great blogpost on this… long and short, it’s not going to melt your face.)


Image courtesy Holland & Barrett

This is a gentle and effective way of getting  your acid and mask fix. It does what it says on the tin, Which, let’s face it, rarely happens. I feel that calling the Andalou mask a dupe is doing it a disservice… it stands on its own merit.

I’m sat typing this post, wearing this mask and I know that 20 minutes later- voila, smoother, brighter skin! (Both masks give you this effect, but I feel Andalou wins on the brightness front) It’s only mildly gritty which when applied, but I can’t find the compound which causes this in the ingredients list (Chemistry degree FAIL lol) I reckon it’s the fruit compounds. (If you do happen know what it is, please do let me know in comments section below please?) It has Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) and Vitamin E( Tocopherol) too. (Vitamin C is known to brighten the skin and Vitamin E is an antioxidant.)

The PTR mask has Vitamin C,  Vitamin E so it relies on the Vitamin C ,Pumpkin enzymes, AHA’s  as its chemical exfoliant. It contains Retinyl Palmitate (Vitamin A) which is said to brighten the skin. However, in my humble opinion, the Vitamin A ingredient usedis too weak to really work its anti ageing goodness. It’s a physical scrub which I personally can’t get on board with. (minute tears on the skin etc etc. Hey, if that’s the way you like to play, I ain’t gonna judge you) Plus when you wash it away, it feels gritty. I always feel like I need to use a cleanse to clean the grit after this mask (totally defeats the purpose 😦 )

If you are in a rush, this is a great mask as you only need to put it on your face for a maximum of 7 minutes(minimum of 3)


Image courtesy Cult Beauty

What makes Andalou a dupe of the cult fave Peter Thomas Roth mask? Its  The Pumpkin enzyme, which is a fruit enzyme (Exfoliant) and Alpha hydroxy Acids (AHA’s) which gently slough away dead skin cells. And they both smell like pumpkin pie, cinnamon-ey….mmm. Wherein PTR has added Vitamin C , and Vitamin A and has Aluminium Oxide(used in microdermabrasion ) which is what gives it its characteristic grittiness. The Andalou mask is based on all the above (except the Aluminium Oxide) and the added punch of the Glycolic Acid, which is what takes it a notch higher (in my books), And Honey which is said both an emollient and a brightening agent.

If all of this doesn’t sway you, the Peter Thomas Roth Pumpkin Enzyme Mask is £55 for 50 ml at Cult Beauty. Whereas the Andalou Pumpkin Glycolic enzyme mask is £9.99 for 50g from Holland & Barrett ( there is shipping involved, so just buy two and throw in a lip balm and a few other bits and bobs too 🙂 and this way you save on shipping. See? I’m a maths genius :).  Both claim to be cruelty free, though neither are vegan.

I have another dupe coming up… and I could’ve stuck it in this post, but it was getting so long and science-y (sorry about both) that I decided to break this up as I don’t want to bore you lovely, lovely readers. Besides, absence doth make the heart grow fonder 😉

Love Elle xx

*( the ingredients that cause physical changes in skin)
**( the further up an ingredient is on the ingredients list on a product, the higher its concentration is)
Note of disclaimer: All opinions are my own, I have no affiliations with any company, there are no affiliate links on this post and all products are purchased with my own money . Please check ingredients list of all products that you buy, in case you have allergies to any of the products that I mentioned. If you are particularly sensitive or even if you’re not, allergies can happen suddenly, even with products that you have used for years. If unsure, please do a patch test on your elbow, and wait 48 hours before using any of the products I’ve suggested. Please do not copy, publish any photos on this blog or contents in its entirety or otherwise without my express permission.





%d bloggers like this: