MAC Haul (Duty-Free and Selfridges)

I should have put this post up ages ago but a few things got in the way but it's here finally . If you are regular reader of my blog, you'd know I travelled to Nigeria in May which meant I went to Duty Free stores in both Amsterdam and London Heathrow and I picked up a few MAC goodies. I own quite a fair few MAC products; mainly lipsticks which I got free via their Back to MAC programme and others I just love and can't find any suitable dupes for e.g. MAC Brow Pencil in Stud. I already had a wishlist at hand and I actually checked in early at the Airport because I wanted a nice little wander in Duty Free. Sadly, the MAC counters both in Amsterdam and London did not have the eye shadow for the flat palettes i.e. the ones that don't need to be depotted.. They also did not have MAC Lipliner in Cork which I really wanted to try. Anyway,  I still picked up other items I had been lusting after and the good thing with duty free is discounted by 20%..:-). I also went to Selfridges a few weeks back and bought a few items as well. I was going to wait till Debenhams had their 10% discount but I knew that may take ages so I just took the plunge. I went in originally to just get another free lipstick via the Back to MAC programme but doing  just that seemed a little impossible when I was surrounded by beautiful beauty and skin care all know how Selfridges Beauty Hall could be so enticing!!

                                                         Duty Free MAC Haul
MAC Mineralize Skin Finish Natural in Dark
I had been lusting after the MSF (as it's called) for a really long time especially after reading and watching many sterling reviews on blogs and videos respectively. It has to be one of the best setting and finishing powder. It is very pigmented and gives good coverage although it does not give you a cakey look. However, for best results, it's always smart to go with a light hand. I got the shade Dark which I think is perfect for my skin. MSF's can also be used as a bronzer and for contour (if you get a darker shade) and a highlighter(if you get a lighter shade). I love it!! I promise a full review soonest; I feel like an absolute tease as this this has been featured in more than a few posts; I just love it!!

MAC Studio Finish Concealer in NC50
This has been my HG concealer for a long time but something strange happened. It just seems a little dry for my skin especially when I came back to London. In Nigeria, it was okay but I just don't know what has come over it. However, I moisten my concealer brush with a Makeup Fix Spray (I am currently loving the Kuddy Cosmetics Makeup Fix Spray for this) and they are amazing together. Apart from its strange dryness, it is a full coverage concealer and it completely hides any blemishes no matter how unsightly this looks. Best to moisturise really well before application but I still love it although I think I may try other MAC concealers soon. I know this is a little dark for me but I apply it with a really light hand and it completely covers my dark blemishes which are super dark and annoying :-(
MAC Lipstick in Spirit
Would you believe this is the first MAC lipstick I have purchased although I already had 4 before this which were all free via Back to MAC. I wanted a nude lipstick because that's the look I prefer especially for everyday/work. I chose this over Freckletone/Shy Girl/Velvet Teddy because it just looked better although I think I may pick these up as well. The thing is I have not really heard/read/watched many reviews on this shade but I really like it. You definitely need a lip liner for this especially if you have a similar skin tone to mine but it is lovely. For my skin tone, I would describe it as a true Nude/Brown with a very slight hue of flesh pink and it has a Satin Finish.

MAC Eyebrow Pencil in Stud
I have gone through at least 15 of this brow pencils through the years because I just love it. I can't find any dupes for this at all and it's just in a world of its own. Of course, it's annoying that it is in a characteristic MAC Opaque packaging so you can't really tell when it is going to finish. One day, you'd discover it's gone and that's a bummer!! Other than that, it is super and my HG brow pencil.  My shade is Stud which is a dark brown shade and it matches my brows really well.  It can used to outline and fill in the brows. It's amazing!! I am keen on trying other products for my eyebrows like the Hourglass Brow Pencil and Anastasia Dip Pomade.

                                                                Selfridges MAC Haul 
MAC Lipstick in Ruby Woo
I don't think this needs any introduction because everyone and their mamas have Ruby Woo or have used it at some point. It is a True Red that matches almost everyone's skin tone; it's like magic and I am in awe as to how MAC has managed to pull this off. It is Matte which means it can be a little drying on the lips and it is  very unforgiving on cracked lips (you really don't want that happening, trust me). I always make sure I Exfoliate (Lush Lip Scrub in Popcorn is perfect) and use a nourishing Lip Balm (Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm is divine for this) underneath to curb any uninspiring dryness. I did not purchase this; I got it back through Back to MAC so it was free.

MAC Lipstick in Love Lorn
I was googling MAC lipsticks suitable for dark skinned ladies and I came across Love Lorn and I liked what I saw. Although I have Girl About Town which is more of a deeper pink/purple, I wanted something more sheer but still pink and suitable for a muted everyday look. When I swatched it in-store, I fell in love with it and I know we would have a nice time together.  It has a Lustre finish so there is no need for any Lip Gloss although it all depends on preference but I don't usually pair this with a lip gloss. I would describe it as a sheer pink shade with slight hues of lilac which  think should be flattering for a range of skin tones and it is one of my favourite shades this Summer.

MAC Eye shadow Duo Palette
This was another item I wanted from duty free but they also did not have it. I already have the Quad which was reviewed here. I wanted the Duo to store my crease and brow bone eye shadows and for ease of travelling. Not much to talk about here but it's very travel friendly and makeup bag friendly. The lids click really easily and it is transparent so you can see what eye shadows you have. I think it looks cute!!

MAC Eye shadow in Sumptuous Olive
I first came across this Eye Shadow from Black Pearl Blog and it looked stunning on her. Although, we have very different skin tones, I knew this would be equally flattering on me because it seemed like a universal shade and I was not wrong. As the name implies; it's an olive shade with insane pigmentation as expected with all MAC eye shadows. It can be layered for a deeper olive colour or applied with a light hand for a light olive shade. Either ways, it is beautiful and after Cranberry and Amber Lights, this is my favourite MAC eye shadow.

MAC Eye Shadow in Rice Paper
This is also another Eye shadow  I have had on on my wish list for ages and it always seems to be out of stock on Debenhams website. I bought this mainly to highlight my brow bone and it does this really amazingly. Of course, it can be used as a normal eye shadow especially if you have lighter skin but to be honest, I have the sneaky feeling it would be flat on my eye lids. It now lives in my duo palette with MAC Cork which is one of the best transition and crease eye shadows I have tried.

That's it folks. I hope this has helped elongate your MAC wishlist if you don't have any of the products mentioned. See you in my next haul and apologies for a super long post but c'mon, it's MAC and a long post is the only option to do justice to

Organising my Jewellery with Stackers

I have always loved jewellery because they look so pretty and I used to sell them a little while ago. I was quite disciplined and never took too many from my stash but they were a few pieces I found irresistible and they made their way into my collection. I am not a big fan of wearing huge statement pieces especially heavy, dangling earrings although I love seeing people wear and style them. I am just lazy! However, I love very simple understated pieces like studs and I have more than a handful of them. I think studs just look very classy especially for everyday wear and work plus they go with a wide number of looks and outfits. The challenge with having jewellery especially tiny studs is storing them in a way that protects them (most are costume jewellery). Yes, storing them in the right way ensures you see them, wear them as often and you can switch up your style easily compared to if they are all bunched up in a box, all tangled up with missing pairs. Enter Stackers which make the chicest jewellery organisers ever in a wide variety of styles to suit everyone's taste.

Before now, I had seen them a few times in Elys Wimbledon and I always said I would pick one up when I have some loose change..Ok, I am lying! I was waiting for them to go on sales, not that they were expensive,  but a discount never hurt anyone. They never went on sales even when there was 30% sales in Elys which by the way is still on. I just picked it up anyway because my jewellery organisation was getting very pathetic. I chose the Dark Brown/ almost black leather (maybe pleather) case which has a lid and a clasp. It feels super sturdy and looks very beautiful on my table; I am a little obsessed with it at the moment. Inside the case, there are different compartments for rings, a bracelet and/or watches. Its lined with pink velvety material which looks so lush and girly and it contrasts really well against the outer dark casing. Now I had to do a little DIY. I had some loose felt lining from a previous jewellery case so I measured the little compartments and cut this felt lining to match the Stackers compartments and transferred it.

I think it looks even better  with the little black inserts fitted into it and I did this because almost all my earrings are studs and I needed something to stick them on. It was quite a joy personalising this box and arranging all my little jewellery to fill in the spaces and now I can see all my jewellery and match them to my mood and/or my outfits as pathetic as that might sound but it makes me happy. I don't have many rings so I stuck a few ones in there and my watches live in the little compartments.

The beautiful thing with Stackers Jewellery Organiser is the fact that you can stack them on top of each other as the name implies so if I want another layer, I can just stick it under or on top of this one. Another good thing is you can travel easily with this because your jewellery stays secure and it has a nice click/latch to prevent any unexpected accidents. I think this is a brilliant way to store your jewellery especially if you don't have a lot and you love studs. I picked it up for £20 which I think is reasonable given the quality and practicality you get from it and I am super pleased with this purchase. How do you store your jewellery? See you in my next post..x

Introducing Kuddy Cosmetics Nigeria- Initial Review

If you remember my recent post on Highlights of my Nigeria Trip, you would have noticed that I mentioned a beauty haul mainly of Nigerian indigenous brands which I picked up and I promised a haul post. Today, I will be introducing Kuddy Cosmetics to you. First off, this is an initial review, more like a show and tell, so I am not going into any in-depth review yet; rather I will post a final review of the products I love best from the range. At this juncture, I would recommend a nice cup of tea/coffee/latte/frappe or your favourite drink because this is going to be a really long post and I am apologizing in advance.

Kuddy Cosmetics started off as a makeup store (they still are) for all things beauty, skincare, hair care, nail care, etc with stores all over Lagos, Nigeria. Recently, they launched their own brand- Kuddy Cosmetics which I was lucky to try and purchase some items when I recently was on holiday. They are one of the oldest makeup stores in Nigeria with enviable rights of distributions of some highly sought after international brands including China Glaze, Ardell, Makari, Queen Helene, Black Opal to mention a few. They also stock MAC, Clinique, Bobbi Brown, Estee Lauder and the list seems to be endless. To top it off, they also own distribution rights to some indigenous Nigerian makeup brands including Tara, Zaron and of course, their own brand Kuddy Cosmetics. I popped in to the Kuddy Cosmetic Store Headquarters in Trade Fair Complex Lagos as I do with my mum and sister for some retail therapy. I was fortunate to meet the owner of the brand who is so soft spoken and gentle and you would never guess she is the owner of this growing empire because she is ever so humble.

Kuddy Cosmetics
Kuddy Cosmetics recently launched a range of products including Hair extensions, Skin care, Makeup tools and of course, makeup which is my favourite of the lot. They stock the following products:
Skincare-Facial Cleansing Wash, Facial Toner( all enriched with Green tea) and Vanilla and Musk Hand and Body Cream
Makeup- Makeup Fix Spray, Waterproof Foundation with SPF, HD Powder, Lip Gloss and a Blush Palette, Primer
Hair Extensions: Human Hair extensions with different lengths
Brushes and Tools: Powder Puffs, Powder wedges, 12 –piece Pro Brush set, 20-Piece Pro Brush set complete with a waist attachment which is perfect for Makeup Artists, Travel Brush Set, Foundation Brush, Powder Brush and a duo eye shadow brush. They are currently working on launching more products.

Kuddy All Matte Invisible Pore Primer*
First off, I really like the packaging and I am so pleased that it is very easy to dispense because when it comes to this primer, a little goes a long way. The packaging reminds me of Black Opal which is a brand I also like. Like the name implies, it is aimed at reducing pores and mattifying the skin. I used this the first day after I received it because I was keen to test out how it held up in the hot and humid weather in Nigeria. It applies really easily and it acts as the perfect barrier between your skin and makeup. It contains silicones which lends it its smooth feeling when it is applied on the skin. I actually like how easily my foundation applies after I use this. In terms of its mattifying power, I have to rate this very highly simply because my foundation stayed put all day and the weather was super hot in Nigeria; needless to say,  I was (and still am) very impressed. I only got a little oily on my forehead around 6pm which was not bad seeing that I applied my makeup around 8am. Using it here in London is even more amazing because my foundation does not budge at all..all day even in the faux Summer we have now. I am so pleased I got to try this primer.

Kuddy Waterproof Foundation with SPF 15 -Shade 1A
I have had a long affair with other high end brands like Clinique, MAC, Bobbi Brown, YSL, etc so naturally,  I had little hopes for this foundation.Can I just say I have been blown away by the Kuddy Foundation? Just like the primer, I really like the packaging, it just feels so smooth and sleek and although it is plastic, it feels so luxurious and I love it. Onto the product, I liked how this matched my skin (a very good match) and it applies really well especially with my Real Techniques Buffing Brush and best of all, it dries matte. I paired this with the Kuddy Primer and the results were very impressive.This foundation deserves its own review complete with swatches which I am working on because it is indeed lovely. It is the one product that has remained one of my favourite from the Kuddy Range and I still reach for it every other day because it feels really light against my skin even though it has very good coverage.

Kuddy Blush Crush Palette
Can we just take a moment to appreciate these gorgeous shades? Honestly, these pictures do not do this any justice at all and my camera was definitely not playing ball when I took these photos. I may have to say this is one of my favourite blushes and this is coming from someone who is very picky with blushes which is why you see only very few reviews of blushes over here. The individual blushes are not named but it does not matter because your eyes can do the naming for you. The shades are complimentary on a variety of skin tones so even if you are pale, olive skinned, dark skinned, whatever undertone you may have, you will find something within this palette for you. The pigmentation is shockingly vibrant and long lasting and I really did not expect the quality given the price. Again, this deserves a full review complete with swatches, don’t you think? Absolutely!!

Kuddy Cosmetics  HD Powder*
Is it bad that I have never tried any HD powder before this? Nah, I think I am good. I was actually quite excited to try this as expected given that it was my first HD Powder. It comes in a nice tub complete with a powder puff which I don’t really use. I just tilt a little powder onto the lid and lightly dust my face with it with a large powder brush. It’s just the perfect finish to my makeup. No matter how much of this powder you use, you never stand a chance of having a cakey look. The only down side is the little holes inside the packaging does not have a screw lid so travelling with this means you have to be really carefully else, you may experience some spillage. Other than that, I really like this and I use it every time as a finishing powder and it can also act as a mattifier and a setting powder.

Kuddy Cosmetics Makeup Fix Spray*
I am going to be honest; I am not a fan of any Makeup fix including the cult-favourite MAC Fix Plus. I just don’t like spraying anything on my face after applying makeup because I wear contacts and many silly accidents have happened while trying to be funky with makeup fix sprays. I tried this a couple of times and I decided it was not really for me as makeup fix rather I love using it to moisten my makeup brushes just before application and it is amazing. If you love MAC Fix Plus, you may want to give this a whirl because it feels just like it. If you are like me and hate any makeup sprays, use this with those eye shadows that are not well pigmented; it makes it more vibrant and increases their lasting power...thank me later J

Kuddy Cosmetics Lip Gloss Smoothie*
I did not actually use this until I came back to England and my lips started acting funky. The weather somewhat got them really dry and my current favourite nude/matte lipsticks were just not the same. Enter this lip gloss, it feels thick but on application, it just sinks in and maintains the gloss without that added stickiness that is associated with many a lip gloss. I actually like this a lot and it can be worn on its own or on top of a lipstick. I also like the packaging because it is clear and the wand/doe foot applicator is really nice and applies the product really well.

Kuddy Cosmetic Vanilla and Musk Hand and Body Cream*
Longest name ever but it has the most amazing scent you can imagine from a combination of vanilla and musk as its major ingredients. Although, it comes in a small tub which indicates it is chiefly a hand cream, I have been using this for both my hands and body because it smells amazing. It is moisturising and the fragrance lingers for a good while which is lovely especially after a fresh bath. I wish it was in a tube because it would have been my handbag hand cream. I wonder if there is a bigger size because it would be perfect as a moisturiser especially with its non-greasy texture

Kuddy Cosmetic Eye Primer*
Last but not lease is the eye primer which I was very excited to try out. From the packaging, I liked the creamy look but I was quite apprehensive about its application because it had no doe foot applicator, however, it applies really well with my fingers.This really helps my eye shadows last longer and appear vibrant. One sad thing though is the packaging. It is not very sturdy and it eventually broke before I made it back to England and I think I may have just been unlucky with this one. I reach for this product more often than I normally do for other primers mainly because I actually like it and its lasting power is excellent.

Where to Buy
They stock all their products on a market store website which is also under the Kuddy Brand and it is called IyaOloja which is Yoruba (one of  Nigerian's major languages) and it translates to the "Mother of the Markets" literary and I can assure you, this website caters to all beauty, skin care and hair care needs. I only recently stumbled upon this website and it is a perfect way to buy various brands especially if you live in Nigeria and they can even deliver to your office address which is fantastic. It’s sad that they don’t do international shipping because if they did, I would have been ordering quite a few products now but I am pretty sure they are working on this. You can also buy them in Kuddy Cosmetic Stores all over Lagos Nigeria and their details can be found here on their website complete with contact details, addresses and telephone numbers. If you follow them on FacebookTwitter and Instagram, you will be the first to know of any discounts they have on offer.

As with my reviews especially with products sent for my consideration, I always include the cons to keep it balances so you my readers can make your own conclusions and not take my word for it based on my experiences. With Kuddy Cosmetics, I was seriously blown away with majority of the products sent to me. But here is one draw back for me: 
1. No International Delivery/Shipping: I am pretty sure they are working on this but they only deliver within Nigeria which is a bummer because I know their products will be well appreciated across the shores especially among ladies who have darker/warmer skin like myself that find it really hard to find nice and inexpensive makeup that has great quality.

Other than these, I love majority of the products I received and it was so much fun writing this post and taking these lovely pictures. If you made it to the end, I love you..No seriously I do!!! I usually don’t read very long posts except it is very engaging and I am hoping you can classify this as engaging.. See you in my next post..x

Disclaimer:Products marked with Asterisk (*) indicates that they were given to me for consideration. As always, all opinions are mine and I have not been swayed/compensated for my review.


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