Hello, Polly


by Polly on August 9, 2015, no comments

So I’m officially a twentysomething, having hit the big 2-2 yesterday. I believe this means I have to grow up. Luckily for me, though, I’m currently in the Central Standard time zone, so the festivities continued for a full six hours longer than necessary, including dinner at Vermilion. Sadly, nobody sang that Taylor Swift song to me, BUT, as we all know, Sephora is my Mecca, and I got to make a pilgrimage on this most sacred of days. Makeup beats Swifty, sorry not sorry. When I am back in London, with my beloved camera, I will show you my (excess of) purchases, including the Tarte Semi-Sweet Chocolate Bar eyeshadows – the victor in a fiercely-contested battle with the Urban Decay Naked Smoky palette- and the Hourglass Ambience palette. A spa day also featured among my birthday presents, so I think that may have to make an appearance here, too.

For those few people who don’t know where in the world I am (I could never be Carmen Sandiego, clearly…), I’m in Chicago for ten days. It’s warm, if a little cloudy currently, and I’m having a magical time taking everything in, for better or worse. Lunch today, for example, was at Olive Garden. Yes, food constitutes most memories I make on holiday. No, I have no issues with this (well…). I say most, because these are just some of the views I’ve had so far. You know they’re impressive when they inspire me to go running at 8am.



P.S. To everybody who texted, emailed, messaged, or otherwise found some means of wishing me a happy birthday, thank you. It means the world to me.


by Polly on July 26, 2015, no comments

I couldn’t resist sharing this special day with everybody.

Last week, I had my graduation ceremony, on a beautifully sunny day at the Barbican Centre, and it was magical. I spent the whole day on cloud nine, just so thrilled to have this degree, from this university, after four years’ hard graft (and fun with mitigating circumstances). Not to mention that I’m equally delighted for my coursemates, with whom I’ve laughed, cried, and commiserated my way through those four years.

And now, for a brief beauty report…My makeup stayed in place (and my pressed powder clung to my little black dress for all it was worth…thanks) throughout, my hair stayed in one piece despite the fetching cap and an exceedingly windy terrace. Special mention to the following products for sticking with me through a day that started at 6:30 am AND looked good for the many, many photos…

R + Co Park Ave Blow Out Balm + Outer Space Flexible Hairspray
Smashbox Photo Ready Under Eye Primer and Photo Finish Foundation Primer
Laura Mercier Radiance Primer, Undercover Pot in UC-01, Invisible Pressed Setting Powder in Universal, and Secret Finish for touch-ups
…and NARS Larger than Life Lipgloss in Place Vendôme, for being the best hot pink lipgloss a girl could flash at a camera.

Moreover, no graduation day would be complete without my being fed at one point, and my mum and I did so in style. We booked a table at the Sea Containers restaurant at the Mondrian hotel, for a truly delicious meal. The service was attentive without being overbearing, and the surroundings luxurious and comfortable, even when the weather looked threatening enough to warrant closing the bi-folding glass doors. Don’t be fooled by the name like I was, there is no chance of seasickness. Phew.


Harking back to my days of Spanish with some Padrón peppers.

Harking back to my days of Spanish with some Padrón peppers.

The most daunting prospect of the meal...eating octopus.

The most daunting prospect of the meal…eating octopus.

I could never go fully vegetarian with meals like this. I just couldn't.

I could never go fully vegetarian with meals like this. I just couldn’t.

I don't eat meat, but I'm assured that this was also very tasty, and the lamb not cremated.

I don’t eat meat, but I’m assured that this was also very tasty, and the lamb not cremated.

The food, though. Oh, my. If ever you go (and if you can, you should), the Grilled Octopus Salad is fantastic, and there are no words for the transcendental experience that is the Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich. Anybody who knows me knows that three courses and I haven’t been seen in the same room for a long time — until that dessert.

Chocolate cake. And ice cream. Need I say more? (and a seriously unphotogenic but utterly sublime cookie).

Chocolate cake. And ice cream. Need I say more? (and a seriously unphotogenic but utterly sublime cookie).

And one last photo, courtesy of my Mum’s Facebook:

What can I say? I really, really love chocolate.

Mini-post: Nailbox UK

by Polly on June 26, 2015, no comments

A new post, so quickly? You lucky sausages. Here’s a brief write-up and quick picture of the May edition of Nailbox, the UK’s first nail polish box available by subscription.


Rimmel 60 Seconds in Lucky Lilac
Elegant Touch Cuticle Pusher and Nail Cleaner
Nicole by OPI in Alex by the Book
Essie in Status Symbol
Orly Colour Burst in Fiery Orange Chunky Glitter, aka: the most intimidating polish I have seen on my nails since I was maybe five years old, but not actually as scary as it looks in the bottle. Makes a great top coat over a blue-toned pink for a sparkly coral.

Special mention goes to my two favourites: Alex by the Book and Status Symbol. I’ve never seen Modern Family (am I supposed to?), but I must commend their taste in nail polishes if this is anything to go by. It took three coats (plus OPI Quick Dry), but once applied, stayed on for dear life.

#notd Nicole by OPI "Alex By The Books", courtesy of @nailboxuk!

A photo posted by pollyclare (@hellohellopolly) on

Status Symbol…well, I adore pinks. Love them. My nails can’t get enough of them. And this applied and stayed on like a dream.

As for the Nailbox service itself, I can’t fault it. The parcel arrived so quickly from the very kind email from Nailbox PR asking if I’d like to try, and I’m kicking myself for it taking so long to get this posted. I can only blame 1. my laptop dying and 2. not checking the photos I’d taken in the meantime for exposure. And my general tendency towards procrastination. Sigh. This is a great selection of nail polishes (and manicure tools! Hurray!!), and I can see at least one of these shades appealing to everybody. Long may this continue! For your own bundle of goodies, click here.

And now, for my new rating system, powered by emoji.

nail polishnail polishnail polishnail polish

You’re My Favourite

by Polly on June 24, 2015, no comments

The great thing about being funemployed is that I have all this time to spend on makeup, hair, skin, etc. The less great thing is that I have less motivation to do so when I’m up to my neck in CVs, cover letters, job descriptions, so on…but at least I look presentable at the odd interview I get invited to.
I might be in the midst of an existential crisis occasioned by the insanity of the current graduate job market, but I can’t overstate how much better I feel with a few products on my face. At a time in my life when – don’t laugh – sometimes I feel almost apologetic for existing in society because I actively contribute precisely nada, I might as well fake it until I make it; these are the products I reach for when my self-confidence is flagging and I’m seriously considering the myriad benefits of, well, claiming benefits. A round of applause for them please, everybody.
First to be congratulated: the concealers, which I generally use to cover my dark circles, the one true bane of my life.
L-R Smashbox Photo Op Under Eye Brightener – this carries on the good work of Touche Éclat. I love the brush application system and the formula is soft enough to blend in with your fingers without feeling like you’re tearing all that delicate skin to shreds.
Touche Éclat, shade 1.5 – is it a “cult classic” when everybody knows that this is the best thing since caffeine?
Laura Mercier Undercover Pot, shade UC-01 – The rosier shade of this is the perfect one to cover those pesky, persistent purple tones, especially applied with a concealer brush (I use the MAC one). The left hand one is slightly more difficult to manipulate, and needs warming up to leave the pot, but I use that on blemishes. There is a pot of powder below, to make sure it does what it’s told. Magic, I tell you.
Smashbox Photo Finish Hydrating Under-Eye Primer – of course I’d save the product I use first for last…just call it keeping you on your toes. The hydrating effect takes plenty of the “bagginess” out of the area, and makes applying the other products a much smoother process.
Next up: NARS Highlighting Illuminator in Copacabana and BeneTint
I don’t obsess about contouring because I don’t think it translates well to everyday wear – great for photos, less so for popping to Waitrose. That said, every bit of brightness helps, and the NARS illuminator is great for the brow bone and just beside the nose. Be warned: a little goes a long, long way. Ask me about the first time I tried it and ended up looking like I’d been dragged through 2005 backwards.
BeneTint: liquid gold for making me look (and feel) alive. I swear by the liquid formulation, and will generally choose it over powders.
Eyes: Hope you brought snacks, this is a long one.
NARS Eyebrow Pencil in Jodhpur: I do not and probably never will to aspire to Cara Delevingne levels of eyebrow game, but I won’t be caught dead with patchy, odd-looking things. This pencil agrees.
NARS Eyeliner Stylo in Carpates: This isn’t, strictly speaking, an everyday product, but my quest to find the best liquid eyeliner ever may have just ended, and not just because I gave up on perfecting those wings. Lasts forever (I first tried it for grad ball, and a hurried application lasted through pitchers of Pimm’s, several rounds of Taylor Swift karaoke, and dancing in a packed marquee. Kudos, NARS), applies smoothly, can’t fault it — and trust me, I like finding faults in things.
BeneFit Roller Lash – another newcomer to the cosmetic repertoire, I was so hopelessly underwhelmed by They’re Real that I gave Benefit one last chance to shape up and remind me why it was the first makeup brand I really fell in love with. I think this fits the bill for my objectives – long, thick, black. I have these gorgeous, adorable, super-powered eyelash curlers and I’m prepared to use them, as long as my lashes are sufficiently lacquered without being “spidery”.
NARS Soft Touch Shadow Pencil in Empire – this is my second purchase. Ever since BeneFit discontinued Bad Gal in that gloriously chunky pencil, I’ve been hunting for a pencil that could measure up. This pulls a little, so a well-moisturised eye area is essential, and warming the pencil before application. Great for the upper water line (I will be forever grateful to the gorgeous ladies of Smashbox for this tip!) and upper lid. With a very, very light touch, you can use it for the lower lash line without looking like Marilyn Manson.
Urban Decay Naked 2 Basics palette: I love the warmer tones of this palette on me better than its predecessor. It still has the problem of the powder making a desperate leap for freedom at every single opportunity (in fact, the first one of these I bought at the Sephora on 5th Ave had to go back because the entire black shade just exploded), so proceed with great caution, and many tissues.
Finally…my problem with nude lips may have reached crisis point.
Lipstick Queen lip pencil in Bare Nude (generally paired with the matching pencil, , Laura Mercier lipstick in Petal Pout, or NARS Odalisque) – my lips, but better and fuller.
NARS lip pencil in Bolero – my lips, but better, fuller, and slightly darker. Pairs with the matching pencil in Dolce Vita, but I’ve used it with MAC’s Party Line to great effect.
NARS lip gloss in Odalisque – keep your hair away from this one, oh my. A strong wind and you practically have a beard. I just can’t help it though, I love the colour.
Chanel lip gloss in Murmure – the prettiest petal pink, minimal stickiness.
And there we have it. My dedication to makeup and not looking like I’m dead may yet pull me out of the slump that is funemployment. These products are well-loved, ergo well-used, and the pictures show that. They’re not perfect, and I’m in two minds as to whether I should apologise for that. Just consider it evidence that they don’t hide away, please.
See? They can serve me well. (I’ve been asked to ignore the questionable choice in tie. You should, too.)

Vote Polly…

by Polly on May 14, 2015, no comments

…because if the last ten days have taught me anything, it’s that there’s no “correct” way to vote. I don’t like discussing my political beliefs on social media, and never have done, but the onslaught of outraged posts on my Facebook wall recently has left a pretty horrific taste in my mouth.

I don’t know about you, but I’m quite a fan of the fact that Britain is a democracy. I’m so, so proud to live in a country that has free and fair elections for all, whether or not you agree with the electoral system (I can’t say I do, but it saved us from UKIP this time, soooo…), whether or not you agree with the party who benefited most from it. The problem with democracy on a grand scale is – guess what? – you can’t always get what you want, no matter how loudly or vociferously you shout. If that were the case, our government could have been chosen by means of a day-long collective tantrum. Please, don’t ruin my delight at the fact that everyone, regardless of ideology, gets a say.

Taking to social media to vent your rage when all this goes tits-up is the modern-day equivalent of shouting into a room into which everyone else is shouting and those who aren’t are banging their heads against a brick wall; furthermore, painting somebody who doesn’t vote the way you do as “morally reprehensible” is a pretty low move. And, again, lacks the desired vehemence when uttered from the safety of a computer screen.  What do you actually expect to happen as a result of you sharing yet another article on how the country will go to the dogs in the next five years? Do, please, tell me more about the success you’ve enjoyed in your adventures in keyboard activism. I’ll file it away with my no-makeup selfies and the colour of my bra for breast cancer awareness. If you’re going to channel your rage, at least make it productive (not to be confused with destructive). It’s also pretty damn condescending to assume that you are more informed/correct than anyone else by virtue of your beliefs. When you assume and all that.

All in, this, ladies and gentlemen, is why the way I vote is (and always will be) a closely guarded secret between the ballot box and myself. Inform yourself through manifestos, vote, vote your conscience, and encourage others to do the same. If you don’t get the answer you want, please, channel it effectively rather than into yet another hysterical post inflicted on others. I strongly believe that political beliefs are personal, and if this ugly, ugly rhetoric continues for the next five years, I’m emigrating. Let me decide for myself, and keep Facebook for your holiday snaps. Ta.

Anyway, to avoid this looking like an exercise in hypocrisy: where’ve I been since January?

February: I went to Chicago for a wedding. It was really, really, really cold, but the fact that I witnessed an attraction named the Cheese Castle more than makes up for this. 

March-May: I studied. And studied some more. Then I wrote a few essays. Basically, I became incredibly boring, and for all I spend way too much in Space NK, I forgot to care about what I looked like, on and off-line. How about you?

New Year, Same Me

by Polly on January 12, 2015, 2 comments

…because if it isn’t broken, why fix it?


Anyway, hello from this very quiet corner of the Internet. I know that my updates have been sporadic at best, but that’s just how it goes when you’re balancing final-year blues with a serious case of anxious wreckiness. C’est la vie. While I was “away”, though, I realised one thing – I don’t want to blog about beauty. For one thing, it might lead me to erroneously believe that I can write a novel (ahem). For another, how can I tell people I woke up like this when my web presence is contingent on precisely the opposite? So there it is. I love makeup and will happily spend a relative fortune on it, but not enough to outline its every swoop and swoosh across my face in painstaking detail for all the world to see. Haul videos rank up there with parking tickets for the dubious honour of being my idea of absolute torture, thanks all the same.

By way of apology, have some pretty pictures from New York, because going there as a tourist is very different from seeing the city from the perspective of someone who would “rather blow [his] brains out” – a direct quote – than queue to get to the top of the Empire State Building. I still spent the vast majority of my time on Fifth Avenue, though. IMG_1457IMG_1469_edited-1

Shu Uemura x Karl Lagerfeld

by Polly on November 4, 2014, no comments

Bonjour and welcome back. Thanks to some slightly inept tinkering with domains on my part, you can now find the new! shiny! Hello, Polly here at hellopolly.co for the time being.

I have a very, very sweet treat for you today, in the form of the holiday collection from Shu Uemura.

IMG_1436_edited-1 IMG_1432_edited-1

Meet Choupette. This little cutie is Karl Lagerfeld’s beloved cat – who knew he had a soft spot for felines? Lucky girl, she has inspired a makeup collection I can only describe as “darling”. Here are some sneak peeks, courtesy of the Selfridges pop-up counter.




IMG_1438_edited-1  These aren’t highly pigmented, but the textures are utterly dreamy, and something a little lighter makes a change from my usual palette of deep, heavy neutrals…and black (on black on black on black). That gold shadow on the Eye-Need-Shu palette (yes, really) is a perfect highlighter, and you can mix and match the colours to your heart’s content. IMG_1437_edited-1

The lip colours are right up my street. Berry! Red! Dusky pink! And some seriously mottled hands!


Honestly, forget candy canes and the purple one in the Quality Street…all I want this Christmas is a marshmallow with my face on it. Aren’t Boomf amazing?

IMG_1431_edited-1 Oh, and these eyelashes are just to die for, aren’t they? You can get your hands on items from the collection online here, or at Shu Uemura counters nationwide.