What I Brought to England

The 18th-century novelist Samuel Richardson once described himself as a “poor pruner.” It amazes me that the author of a 1500-page novel could also be the king of understatement, but so it goes. (By the way, if you enjoy totally immersive, psychologically harrowing reading experiences, Clarissa is well worth your time.) I too am a poor pruner in most aspects of life, but especially in packing for trips. If Richardson had been a beauty blogger, he would have found it as challenging as I did to decide which products to bring on a five-week Grand Tour. I brought too many; I freely acknowledge this. I assembled the Clarissa of travel makeup collections. But having all my favorite beauty products with me makes me feel safe and grounded. When I’m away from home, I actively miss whatever I didn’t take with me. This is a problem with lipsticks in particular, not because I necessarily want to wear them, but because I just like having them around, taking pleasure in their colors, absent-mindedly swatching them on my hand.

The shades of my Puritan ancestors are weeping at my attachment to material things. But if Clarissa can spend three hundred pages designing her own coffin, I can take thirteen lipsticks to England.

All of this, with the exception of the eyeshadow palette…

…fit into this, the clown car of makeup pouches:


NARS Habanera duo and Lhasa single; NYX After Party eyeshadow, Knight Jumbo Pencil, Jewel Slide-On Liner, and HD Primer; Maybelline Color Tattoo eyeshadow in Bad to the Bronze and Line Express black eye pencil; theBalm Nude ‘Tude palette (at least one post on this in the works!). No mascara because I’m an idiot and forgot to pack it.


Surprise, surprise: NARS Mata Hari (left) and Coeur Battant blushes. I promise you’ll see at least one new blush on this blog before long.


(Yes, that’s a dinner plate on a shag rug. I’m lost without my usual photo backgrounds.)

Top row, left to right: Maybelline Vivids lipsticks in Brazen Berry, Vibrant Mandarin, and Vivid Rose; NYX Butter Glosses in Peach Cobbler and Raspberry Tart; Milani Color Statement Lipstick in Flamingo Pose.

Bottom row, left to right: Revlon Super Lustrous lipgloss in Super Natural; Revlon Matte Balm in Sultry; MAC Satin Lipstick in Pink Nouveau; Urban Decay Revolution Lipstick in Streak; Milani Lip Intense Liquid Color in Pink Rave; Revlon Lip Butter in Pink Truffle; NARS Velvet Matte Lip Pencil in Mysterious Red.


First row, left to right: OPI Eurso Euro; Chanel Tapage; Milani Vanilla Almond and Showy Sea-Green.

Second row: Essie Play Date, Big Spender, Ladylike, Resort Fling, and In the Cab-ana.

Third row: Revlon Quick Dry Top Coat; Sally Hansen Hard as Nails (which I use as a base coat).

Not pictured: nail file and clipper, two Target kabuki brushes, two eyeshadow brushes (one Sonia Kashuk, one Sephora), NARS sharpener for eye and lip pencils, Palmer’s cocoa-butter lip balm, three perfume samples (Lush Tuca Tuca; Jo Malone Wild Bluebell and English Pear & Freesia).

And yes, I made it safely to England, where I am now battling jetlag to write a conference paper on temporality. The irony of this is not lost on me.

I end with the most British pair of signs I’ve ever seen, from the Birmingham airport:

Why, indeed.

7 thoughts on “What I Brought to England

  1. How do you find Essie's creme colours? I tried on a few last week and compared them to the metallic formulas — the metallic ones were great, but the creams were streaky and uneven. Not sure if that's due to their reformulation or what… although some of my older ones are similar.No mascara? To Boots with you! (Jealous.)


  2. I've found that there's a lot of variation between Essie creme polishes. The ones I've photographed in this post all apply evenly, though only In the Cab-ana is a two-coater; the rest need three coats for opacity. (Then again, I apply very thin coats because they dry more quickly, so this could be a personal thing.) In general, Essie's pastels seem to be on the streaky side, while the darker colors are more even. For me, the real annoyance is in the wear time. My old bottle of Play Date was relatively long-wearing, but this new batch chips within 24 hours! I like the color so much that I've just been putting up with it, but argh.


  3. Those signs are making me LOL! 🙂 So polite, but so snarky all at the same time.That clown bag is really impressive. Is there some black hole in there sucking in all those makeup items without end??? O.o


  4. When I first packed the bag, I couldn't believe how much it held! There was actually room for even more stuff. It clearly has eerie powers that I should harness for my own diabolical ends.


  5. If I were you I'd totally forget to take more than just mascara so I could have an even better excuse to go and hit up Illamasqua… 😉


  6. I was annoyed that it was mascara I'd forgotten; I find it so boring and wasn't even excited to get a new one. I ended up just getting a Maybelline, since I'm very picky about mascaras and wanted one I'd already tried. That said, I've already bought a Sleek blush and two Barry M nail polishes, so I think I've done pretty well for myself in 48 hours! 😀


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