Friday, 30 January 2015

Review: Catrice Eyebrow Set

Today I'd like to talk about a product I've been trying for a couple of weeks now.
This is Catrice's Eyebrow Set.

It comes in a little black box. Once you open the lid, you have a mirror in the top part and two colours of eyeshadow for your eyebrows. You can then also pull out a little drawer on the bottom which contains a tiny double-ended tool with an angled brush and a spoolie on the other, as well as small tweezers.
The set is available as part of Catrice's permanent line, and retails for 3,95€. It contains 4g of product.

The eyeshadows are both of a matte brown shade, the top one lighter than the bottom one. At first they looked a little grey-ish to me, but that only comes from them being more ashen than red-toned. Which is actually a very good thing, because it will look very natural with any kind of brow.
The texture of the shadows is very smooth and silky, and they have a nice colour pay-off.

Both tools are actually quite useful. They are very small, and therefore not the best ones ever in terms of handling, but they work fine. Especially on travels, when you don't have the space to pack a lot of extra things, they can definitely do a sufficient job. On a daily basis, however, I prefer to use my specific tools.

I really enjoy doing my eyebrows with this set. What I especially love is that you can mix the colours according to your needs and wants, and are therefore not limited in the amount of different looks you can do.
I personally also prefer eyeshadow for my brows over eyebrow pencils, because they stay a lot longer for me and look more natural. And this set is everything I want and need! It has variety, tools for an emergency, is small and handy as well as inexpensive. What's not to love?

Has anyone of you tried this set? What do you think?

xx, Misch

Thursday, 22 January 2015

Movie Review: The Imitation Game

Time for another movie review! This week, I saw The Imitation Game.

The Imitation Game is based on the real story of British mathematician Alan Turing, who is employed to decipher the code the Germans use for all major communication during the second world war.
It stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, and, as the female lead, Keira Knightley as Joan Clarke.

The movie begins with a narration from Benedict Cumberbatch that appears to be addressing all viewers directly. He urges to listen and watch closely, and pay attention. At the same time, we learn that we are in 1951, and the police are inquiring about a robbery in Alan Turing's home. Alan dismisses them, and they suspect him of keeping a secret.
After a jump back in time, Alan is shown at his job interview in Bletchley Park in 1939. He behaves unintentionally funny and inappropriate, but soon convinces the Commander that his advanced skills as a mathematician are much needed for the classified task, which is to decipher the German Enigma code. Alan is accepted into the team of five others, who have to work against time in order to help the Allies win the war. The combination possibilities for this code are of such a huge number that deciphering it appears to be impossible.
After a unsuccessful start, Alan is put in charge of the group and finds a new valuable team member in Joan. At the same time he conducts that to solve a machine's code, he will have to build his own machine, which he lovingly calls Christopher. He is not believed to succeed, and has to experience a couple of heavy set backs. All the while we learn through flashbacks and flash-forwards what happened in Alan's past and shortly after the war. While still working to crack the code, Alan and Joan become close friends and eventually agree to marry out of convenience. In the meantime Alan's homosexuality is revealed.
It takes a long time, but eventually they figure out how to decipher the German code. In the overwhelming feeling of victory Alan remains rational and explains they cannot simply prevent every German attack in the future. That would obviously lead to the Germans learning that their code had been cracked, which they could not let happen. From then on, the cracking of the code is being kept a secret, and which attacks to prevent and which not is decided on the basis of statistics and probability.
Even after their glorious success, Alan's homosexuality is discovered and he is made to undergo hormonal treatment, a fate Alan accepts rather than prison, because it means he can still continue his work. The treatment slowly devastates and wrecks him, and Alan commits suicide about a year after the beginning of his treatment.
The viewers are then informed about how Alan was one of many who had to undergo such procedures when homosexuality was still considered a crime, and at the same time how valuable Alan's work was not only for the ending of World War II, but also modern science, as his machine was one of the first models of modern computers.

During the whole movie, jumps in time are used to give the viewer a more complex and varied way of learning about everything that happens. They are very comprehensible and make the story more detailed.
Especially learning about Alan's past makes one understand his character traits a lot better. Early bullying as well as the discovery that he was different shaped his personality. The death of his close friend during his youth, and how rational and repressing he reacts is shown in a great way, and evokes a lot of sympathy for his character.
In addition to that, scenes of actual war recordings are included in the movie to give a lot of authenticity. It is easy to forget what they are actually dealing with when simply being secluded at Bletchley Park, but those little scenes make it a lot more real and dreadful.

What definitely has to be kept in mind with this movie is that it dramatises historic events, and does not always stay true to the definite facts. Important parts of history are being omitted, which is very understandable with the in some ways limited possibilities of a movie and the criteria the story has to match. Nonetheless, it is based on very real events.
What I find shocking is that in all the ways World War II is being taught at school, Alan Turing is mentioned almost never. The tragic story that was his life is something that should not be neglected when talking about the events of the war in my opinion, as he influenced not only that, but many other areas as well.

Some critical voices find this movie to be too patriotic, but I definitely disagree with that. Of course, Alan working for his country during the war and the victory he achieves for them can't help but be patriotic in a way. But in the end, it is that same country that turns against him and ultimately forces him into suicide. This being shown definitely makes you reconsider the patriotic aspect.

I was incredibly touched by the movie, and it made me cry at several points. On the other hand, it also made me laugh quite often. The emotions varied all film long, and were not one-sided at all. A whole spectrum of feelings is shown and at the same time evoked in the audience.
The film captures your attention and makes you forget everything else around you. It would have taken a lot for me to take my eyes off the screen for even a moment, that's how captured I was. 
It's not only moving but also full of suspense. The race against the time, their need to figure out the code; it's very thrilling and exciting. 
The tragedy of Alan Turing's story is told in such a heart-wrenching way that it quite literally makes you rejoice as he does, and also ache as he does. It is very inspiring and makes you think. The whole audience was deeply impressed by the story and the portrayal, and at the end, everyone even clapped. It was the first time that I ever experienced something like this, the audience clapping after a movie, and I walked out of there, and felt ready to cry more. 

Benedict Cumberbatch plays Alan Turing as a very nuanced person, who is brilliant in his topic of expertise, but then lacks personal skills in other ways. A lot of scenes are full of comedy caused by his ignorance and oblivious behaviour towards other people. His arrogance doesn't make you like him any less, though. On the contrary, he is this extremely precious person whom you can't help but sympathise with. His life story is incredibly tragic, which is very well portrayed by the movie.
Joan, as depicted by Keira Knightley, is also a very interesting character. She is very strong and does not dumb herself down at all. In an all-male environment she proves herself to be worthy of the position, and does not let anyone tell her differently, even in a time when feminism was far from developed. Her character develops a lot during the movie, and leaves her being a person who knows what she wants and who is not afraid to put herself first.

Both actors have received an Oscar nomination for their work in this movie, in addition to six other categories the whole film is nominated for, including best picture, best directing and best screenplay. These nominations and in any case an actual win are highly deserved in my opinion. The movie had everything that a very good one needs. It's very moving and touching, is acted superbly and tells a inspiring and important story. People should know about his life and the way he was treated, it's a story to be spread, and luckily that's exactly what the movie does.

Has anyone of you seen The Imitation Game?

xx, Misch

Monday, 19 January 2015

Loch Shiel: the lake where the magic happens

When we were in Scotland, we of course had to visit a couple of the famous lochs located all over the western part of the country. One on the list was Loch Shiel, which is not far from Fort William.

On the northern end of the loch, where we went, you can have a nice view down the lake. You can walk all the way down to the water and along the shore.
Right by the loch there's the Glenfinnan Monument, a very popular monument depicting a highlander in a kilt on top of a tower.

Just a couple of metres away from the loch there's a visitor centre and a trail leads up a hill. After a walk of maybe five minutes, you reach the top of the hill and have a wonderful look down on the lake and the surrounding area.

What you can also see from the hilltop is the Glenfinnan Viaduct. It is a railway viaduct to which you can also walk. It is about another 10 minutes or so into the country, and you can walk right to the foots of the columns. You have a better overview, though, if you stand a little elevated.

On thing that makes Loch Shiel so special to us, and made it a must-see on our list, is that it's the place where Hogwarts is situated. The Great Lake in the movies is Loch Shiel! And the Glenfinnan Viaduct is the way the Hogwarts Express takes to get to the castle.
When we were standing there, it was so simple to imagine Hogwarts there on the side of the lake, or to see Buckbeak flying over the water. It is a very magical place!

Even if you're not a Harry Potter fan, Loch Shiel is definitely worth a visit. We saw the scenery in the autumn, around the middle of October, and it was breathtaking. The leaves in the woods that surround the top of the lake made everything so colourful, which makes for a stunning effect. It's incredibly beautiful and very calm and peaceful. I loved it there! Especially because we went in the late afternoon, which meant that pretty much nobody but us was around.

The loch has a fantastic mirror effect, which adds to the beauty of it. Seeing everything reflected in the water gives the whole scenery a symmetry that is very pleasing for the eye. And it makes it look so much more magical and inspiring.

I can highly recommend seeing Loch Shiel. It's such a pretty loch, and it has to be my favourite of those we saw. It being a Harry Potter filming location only is an added bonus!

Have any of you ever been there?
xx, Misch

Saturday, 17 January 2015

NOTD: Essie - Cute As A Button

Today I'd like to show you Cute As A Button by Essie.

Cute As A Button is a coral-toned pink shade. It's bright enough not to be considered a pastel, and has a very glossy creme finish. In reality it is a little less pink than in the picture.
Its consistency is very jelly-like, making for a visible nail line when wearing it. It's patchy with the first coat, but looks great with the second. If you don't mind to have some nail line showing, you can definitely leave it at 2 coats.

Cute As A Button is one of my favourite shades because it's a lot of fun to wear, but still not obnoxiously bright. It is part of Essie's permanent line.
You can also see me wearing it here with a Paisley nail art design.

Does anyone of you own this nail polish?

xx, Misch

Thursday, 15 January 2015

Movie Review: The Theory of Everything

Here's my review of the latest movie I've seen: The Theory of Everything.
The Theory of Everything is a dramatic biopic portraying the life of Stephen Hawking and his relationship with his first wife, Jane Wilde Hawking. It is based on the book "Travelling to Infinity - My Life With Stephen" which Jane has written.
It stars Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones as Jane Hawking. 

The movie begins with the first encounter of Stephen and Jane at Cambridge, and shows how their relationship evolves while Stephen is trying to find a topic for his doctoral study. Soon he learns about his illness ALS, or motor neurone disease, which gradually makes him lose his physical control over his body, and his ability to move and speak. In spite of Stephen trying to push her away, Jane stays with him, even though Stephen is predicted a life expectancy of no more than 2 more years. The couple gets closer and then marries. Stephen exceeds all expectations by living way longer than the predicted 2 years, but still his illness progresses and his condition worsens. All the while Jane supports him and gives up every personal freedom for him and later also their children. Even though she does not show it to Stephen, Jane slowly loses her spirit at this self-sacrificing duty. In the meantime Stephen continues his works as a physicist, and makes a name for himself in the world with his theories. Their relationship evolves further and they start to somewhat disunite, especially when Jonathan comes into their lives. He proves himself to be a great help for the family, but at the same time starts to develop feelings for Jane. Stephen gets help after a seizure that effectively made him lose his speech, and learns to communicate with the help of a computer-generated speech programme. The end of the movie shows how, even after their divorce, Jane and Stephen are still very fond of each other and are of huge importance in each others' lives.

The movie, being based on the true story of the Hawkings, is made in a wholly comprehensible way, which makes it simple for the viewers to relate to the characters and their tragic story. It is incredibly moving and makes you anticipate eagerly the continuation of the story.
It covers every possible feeling, from the joy of the young love and the triumph of success all the way to the desperation of failure and helplessness. Some parts are utterly sad, and can definitely make you cry. But it's not a sad movie, sadness is just one aspect shown in it. It's full of excitement and sorrow at the same time. And that is one factor that makes it such a special movie, because it does not portray this story in a one-sided way at all.

The cast of the film does a wonderful job at making this movie as relatable and intense as it is.
Eddie Redmayne is outstanding, his portrayal of Stephen Hawking is unprecedented and utterly brilliant. He manages to depict him in a very realistic way that never feels overdone or unnatural. He adapts the peculiarities of the motor neurone disease in such a manner that makes them understandable and evokes the empathy of the viewers.
Felicity Jones gives an equally stunning performance as Jane Hawking, and perfectly conveys the strength of her character. She expresses the feeling of wanting to help, but at the same time reaching her limits and possibilities, and the subtle variations between those two sides, in a wonderful way. 
Both leading roles have been nominated for an Oscar, which is very much deserved in my opinion.

In conclusion, The Theory of Everything is an extraordinary movie full of emotions of all kinds. It is very touching and definitely worth a view. Personally, I enjoyed it very much and at the same time it gave me lots of reasons to contemplate. It touched me, and made me reflect, which is exactly what a good movie should do.

Has anyone of you seen The Theory of Everything? Did you like it?

xx, Misch

Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Cliffs of Moher: a must-see in Ireland

This stop was one of the most exciting ones we had in Ireland: the Cliffs of Moher.

These cliffs are a super fascinating scenery located directly on the western coast line of Ireland, about halfway between Limerick and Galway. If you follow the Wild Atlantic Way, you will directly drive along them.

When visiting the Cliffs of Moher, you can explore a little exhibition about the cliffs and all kinds of facts in the Exhibition Centre. And then, outside, there's a long way to walk along the cliffs. Starting at the exhibition centre, you can walk quite a couple of kilometres both to the left and the right.
If you prefer to stay safe and a bit away from the actual cliffs, it is better to choose the way to the left, where you have more of an actual path.
To the right, the fixed path ends relatively soon, but you can proceed on a way over some fields. There are no boundaries stopping you from stepping all the way to the edge. This is way more fun, if you like a bit of a risk, but also more dangerous.
We walked in both directions, and they were equally beautiful. The right side was more exciting, though.

You can walk directly along the edge at approximately 200 metres above the sea. The feeling you get up there is indescribable. It's frightening but at the same time very exciting. You're full of adrenaline when you look down, because it really wouldn't take much to fall down.
We sat down at one point, feet dangling in the air, and it was such a strange but good feeling. I was most certainly scared, but I am so glad that I did it and made myself sit down.

The Cliffs of Moher are very popular, not only for their beauty but also because they were a shooting location for Harry Potter. The scene in Harry Potter and the Half-blood Prince, where Harry and Dumbledore are standing on a cliff in the sea, right before they enter Tom Riddle's cave where he hid the amulet horcrux, was filmed there.
You can see the platform on which they stood in the water, but can also tell that in the movie a lot of CGI and editing was used. It's exciting nonetheless!

Even though it was a rainy and windy day when we were there, we spent hours walking along the cliffs, taking pictures and enjoying it as best as we could. We are deeply impressed by the scenery, and I would most certainly go back.

I highly recommend this experience, and hope that you too will check it out, should you ever find yourselves in that area. But please be safe and don't risk too much by stepping too close to the edge!

xx, Misch

Sunday, 11 January 2015

NOTD: Peony Flower Nail Art

Here's some new nail art from me! A floral theme, because I'm tired of the grey weather outside. And as we're going to be stuck with it for quite some more time, why not bring colour to my nails at least?
The design are some flowers. I was inspired by peonies, but did not completely stay true to their looks, but rather settled on what looked good in my opinion.

Peony Flower Nail Art - Products used:
Essie Mint Candy Apple (background colour)
Essie Marshmallow (for white parts of the flowers)
Essie Need A Vacation (for light pink parts of the flowers)
Essie Watermelon (for dark pink parts of the flowers)
OPI Jade Is The New Black (for the leaves)
make-up sponge (to dab on the flowers)
BornPrettyStore Nail Brush No. 1 (to draw)

The great things about this type of flower is that you don't have to be exact at all. You can dot on the colours, swirl them together, mix them, everything is possible! You can make them as accurate or random as you like. I first used a make-up sponge to simply dab them on, and then went in with a nail art brush to add some more defined details. But that's totally up to you!

Do you like the design?

xx, Misch

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Real Techniques Brushes: Nic's Picks

Here's what I got myself when I was in Cardiff: a set of Real Techniques Brushes.

One of the most recent sets of brushes that they released are Nic's Picks. It is a little set that contains 5 brushes with a limited edition design, and 3 of the brushes are exclusive ones.
It contains 2 bigger face and 3 smaller eye brushes.

The first brush is called duo-fiber face brush, and it is like a very fluffy stippling brush, only that it's rounded on the top. Its bristles are black on the bottom and white on the top.
It is recommended for powder application, where it gives a very light finish and makes for an easy application. One thing I also love it for is the application of foundation.

Next we have a cheek brush, which is an exclusive one. Its bristles are very dense and super soft, and it is very wide and rounded on the top. 
You can use this brush for all sorts of things concerning the cheeks. I like it a lot for blush and sometimes even highlighter, but I also use it for bronzing and contouring when it doesn't have to be too precise.

Third up is the angled shadow brush, another exclusive. It is very fluffy and the bristles kind of fan out a little towards the top. It is angled, as the name already suggests.
This brush is great for anything you want to do in your crease of the eye. It is great for super quick blending, but can just as well be used to apply eyeshadow to your crease. What I love in that step is that it immediately blends the eyeshadow, too.

This is the base shadow brush. It is a little tapered towards the top, and can therefore be used for all kinds of applications. 
You can use it to blend lightly, or to apply eyeshadow all over the lid. But what I especially use it for is to apply concealer! The bristles are perfect for that job, they blend nicely and don't absorb too much product. A very multi-functional brush!

Last but not least, we have the final exclusive brush: the eyeliner brush. It is extremely tiny, and slanted. It has a very thin shape, and the bristles are very dense. The edge is very clear and good to use.
This brush is great for any precise work you'd be doing around your eyes. You can use it for gel or shadow liner, as well as for any under-eye application. Plus, it works lovely for filling in your eyebrows!

All brushes feel very good in you hand, and are neither too big nor too heavy. Their design is elegant and simple, and each one works perfectly the way it is thought, and in most cases in even more ways! That's what I especially love about these brushes, because they can be used for so many different types of application. 
Each brush is easy to wash and clean, I experienced no problems at all for that matter.

In the UK, the set retails for £29,99, but Superdrug had them in their holiday gift set line for £20. I have seen them online for around $30.

I can highly recommend this set of brushes as I use them daily. 
Does anyone of you also own these brushes, or any other Real Techniques ones that you can recommend? Let me know in the comments below!

xx, Misch

Monday, 5 January 2015

Remember Remember the 5th of November

Today's the 5th of January, which made me think back two months: to the 5th of November.

In the UK, the 5th of November is called Bonfire Night, or Guy Fawkes Night. It is a annual event held to commemorate 5 November 1605, where a guy named Guy Fawkes tried to blow up the parliament and kill the king, in which he did not succeed.

Remember, remember, the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot;
I know of no reason why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.
There are bonfires and fireworks all over the country, and lots of people go to watch the spectacle.
On this day we found ourselves near Portsmouth, where we also spent the afternoon. We saw the docks and a bit of the university buildings.
Later in the evening, we drove out to a suburb named Cosham, where there was a fireworks show. The bonfire was really big, but they wouldn't let you go near it. 
There were lots of people, especially families, waiting for the fireworks show. And it was so great! One of the prettiest fireworks I've ever seen. Full of different explosions, and stunning to watch. The whole crowd was ooh-ing and aah-ing, because it was such an impressive show. Also a pretty long one, because it lasted almost 25 minutes!
I really enjoyed that night, and will most certainly remember this 5th of November.

Where did you spend Bonfire Night last year?

xx, Misch

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Chanel Rouge Allure 104 Passion

Is there any better souvenir to get in Paris than a Chanel lipstick? 
There probably is, but when you're on somewhat of a budget, it is already a pretty luxurious thing to buy. So thought my best friend and I, and treated ourselves to one each. We bought them on the Champs Elysées, and felt very special. A bright red lipstick, the perfect thing to get in Paris. I still feel special whenever I wear it!
It is my first Chanel lipstick, and therefore I spent quite some time testing every single shade, texture and finish. I ended up deciding on this one: Rouge Allure 104 Passion.
The colour, 104 Passion, is a very deep red. It's a cool-toned red with lots of blue undertones. It does, however, not look pink. It's a bit darker than your traditional bright red, but not too much. The finish is matte, but still creamy.
Application is rather easy. You definitely have to be careful as the colour is very bold, but the lipstick is shaped in a way that makes it easy to glide on and outline the lips. You can layer it for more intensity, but it's already very apparent with one coat.

The design is very elegant with the black case. The top is golden with the Chanel symbol, and you have to press it down so it pops out and you can pull out the actual lipstick. A very fun way to open it, and kind of special.
What I especially love about this lipstick is the wear. It doesn't dry out my lips at all, and it fades very gradually. Even when you're eating you won't look stupid, and that's perfect. Due to the matte finish it might emphasise dry or chapped areas, but you can easily prevent that by using lip balm before you apply the lipstick.
The lipsticks of the Rouge Allure line all contain 3,5g, and retail for 32,95€. That is a lot of money, I know, and I spent a lot of time thinking about whether it was worth it. But now, I'm super glad I own it, and wear it more often than I'd anticipated.
Do you own any Chanel lipsticks? Or what would you get yourself in Paris?
xx, Misch

Saturday, 3 January 2015

MAC Mineralize Skinfinish Lightscapade

First post of 2015! Cheers to that.

When I was in London, we were at an event in Carnaby Street by chance. I'm gonna tell you more about it in a different post, but the event is the reason why I got this product. The whole street had 20% off everything, so I went to the MAC store and bought myself this beauty (where I had to queue up to get inside and do my shopping): MAC Mineralize Skinfinish in Lightscapade.

The MSFs in general are highlighting powders. Lightscapade in particular is a very light and special colour. It consists of a white-ish, yellow-ish golden base, which is set through with light blue and peach streaks. It's shimmer makes it look somewhat frosted, and the colours blend together to a very subtle shimmery white-ish gold.
What I love about Lightscapade is how wearable it is. The shimmer is so subtle that you don't have to worry about overdoing it, and you can easily layer it. I love to wear it daily, because it makes you look fresh and healthy, but not like you've put on tons of highlighter.
I also own a different MSF, called Soft & Gentle. It is way stronger, and the shimmer is more apparent.
MAC's MSFs contain 10g each, and retail for £23 (I got mine for £18,40) in the UK and 31€ here. 

I can definitely recommend them!
Do you own any of the MSFs, and can maybe recommend another colour to me?

xx, Misch