Mini break makeup essentials: 15 items (and all got worn more than once)

Knowing what clothes to pack for a mini break can be challenging enough (is three pairs of shoes too much?) but keeping your bath bag lighter than a bowling ball can equally be a challenge.

Monday morning last week, whilst most people were on their way to work, my boyfriend and I found ourselves grinning shamelessly aboard the 8:04am Eurostar to Brussels. After a pretty hectic Christmas we’d both decided we quite deserved a mini break, plus friends of ours had been raving about a hotel in Bruges called The Pand. Let’s just say they had us at ‘Ralph Lauren sheets’.

I knew I wanted to take a compact bath bag, including some pampery skincare treats as well as some versatile and luxury eye makeup products that I don’t often get to wear. I also knew I’d need makeup that would transition from day to night without too much hassle.

Here’s what I ended up taking…


1. Chantecaille eye shadows are a real investment piece and are well known for their luxurious texture and crease free wear. I first used their Le Chrome Luxe Duo in ‘Tibet’ at a Christmas law firm event back in November. Everyone who requested a makeover that evening opted for the eye shadow duo and walked away delighted.

On our first night away I had about ten minutes to get ready so decided to wear a sheer veil of the silvery shade finished off with a quick flash of mascara. On our last night we treated ourselves to a meal at the Michelin starred restaurant The Golden Herring. As it was a glamorous outing I opted for a dramatic smokey eye, cat flick and lashings of mascara. One sultry, smokey eye later all I needed was a glossy nude lip to finish.

2. Anyone who knows me will tell you I love nothing more than to decant things. In fact, when these little 5ml cosmetic pots arrived in the post I genuinely remember squealing with delight (more on these beauties if and when you make it to No. 11!).

I didn’t want to take my full size perfume* with me (even the 30ml can be quite heavy) so I decanted a few millilitres into this handy and inexpensive Muji atomiser. It can carry almost 5ml of perfume which is way more than I needed for our three nights away.

When I’m not on holiday the atomiser is light enough to keep in my makeup bag for refreshing evening spritzes.

*Escentric Molecules 02 which you can read all about here 🙂

3. If you’ve never heard of Dermalogica Microfoliant, shame on you, where have you been?! A glorious, everyday cleansing product, it dispenses as a super fine powder which you then mix with a little water. Gentle enough for daily use and leaves your skin feeling lightly exfoliated. Love.

4. I knew about Clarins Beauty Flash Balm for years before I tried it, mistakenly thinking it was an old school primer and that ‘things must have moved on’. But, boy is it amazing. I remember asking my housemate Sal one evening what foundation she was wearing (her skin looked incredible) and we worked out it wasn’t the foundation at all but rather Clarins’ BFB.

Apply it liberally over cheekbones and the outside areas of the face to boost dewiness. It can also be applied all over but I like to keep my t-zone shine free. I also love the slightly old school smell and definitely feel pampered when I wear it.

5. I was skeptical about Chanel Healthy Les Beiges having tried it in store and feeling less than enthused when it first launched. Then, one long weekend away, a close girlfriend of mine was raving about it so I thought I’d give it another whirl. I’ve been hooked ever since. It’s the one thing that makes me look like I’ve had ten hours sleep when I’ve had four (in fairness, any bronzer that’s the right shade will do this but the Chanel feels particularly luxurious). I love the fact it’s buildable for evening makeup, although having said that, if I were minted and could justify buying two, I’d quite happily use the ’30’ for day and the ’40’ in the evening (Oh, the decadence). The packaging is also unmistakably chic in a way only Chanel can pull off.

6. I think the marketing for Charlotte Tilbury‘s makeup line is simply extraordinary but I’m staunch about what I like and don’t like. For example, I’m not a huge fan of the Wonderglow Primer (although I have been known to use it sparingly on cheekbones on myself sometimes and on clients but don’t think it does much all over) however, Ms. Tilbury’s lip pencils are something else. I loved the idea of a lip liner to boost one’s own natural lip line – a lip ‘cheat’ in her words – and she seems to get natural tones bang on across several skin tones. After reading several reviews I bought ‘Pillow Talk’* and have been using it pretty much every day ever since. It’s great under lipstick or gloss and has a fantastic waxy texture that I’ve not seen in other brands. *I’ve linked to Net-a-porter here as Pillow Talk doesn’t seem to be listed anymore on CT’s official site. Hope it hasn’t been discontinued?! 🙁 

7. As well as producing fantastic eye shadows Chantecaille also produce quite brilliant lip products. I love their Lip Chic range – a glossy textured lipstick in a compact gun-metal grey case – but equally as fabulous is their range of pigmented lip glosses called Luminous Gloss.

I lusted after the ‘Pink Melon’ shade for a while before I invested. Worn as a sheer veil on its own or over my Charlotte Tilbury lip cheat is perfect for day. At night I use it as more of a lip lacquer, layering it up to give my lips a sultry pout.

8. Australia’s cult product, Lucas Papaw has been around for years and is great ‘all rounder’. The red tube is easy to spot in your handbag or makeup bag and a little goes a long way. Dab onto lips and onto cheekbones. Since writing this post I’ve read Lucas Papaw has come under fire for containing as much as 96% petroleum. The company argues its pharmaceutical grade, but even still, might have to think about switching to Burt’s Bees which (appears) far more natural. 

9. This is, by far, the best tinted brow mascara I’ve come across for blonde/light brown hair (it also comes in a darker brown shade for medium to dark brown hair). Annoyingly it’s only available online in the UK and even though there are plenty of other brow mascaras to choose from (e.g. Benefit Gimme Brow or Maybelline’s Brow Drama, I keep going back to the ModelCo one. I blogged about why it’s so great here.

10. I was lucky enough to get sent Estée Lauder’s Double Wear, Stay in Place Brow Lift Duo or Derek for short (only joking) which has become my ‘go to’ brow pencil. This dual toned / dual ended brow product has small nibs making it easy to gently shape my brows with one end and highlight with the other.

11. I mentioned way back at No. 2 that I am happiest when decanting things (including wine!). Whenever I go away I always take a couple of little pots with me (like these), one containing my favourite tinted moisturiser and one containing my favourite liquid foundation (the latter for when I might want a bit of extra coverage). Even thought the pots hold 5ml it is actually a lot of product, definitely enough for between 5-10 applications, depending how much you like to apply.

For my mini break I decided to take just one pot with me. I filled half with Estée Lauder’s Sheer Tint Release – my go to summer base because of its incredible texture, SPF and dewy glow – and the other half with my favourite tinted moisturiser.  I didn’t take a full coverage foundation with me because a) I wanted my skin to breathe a little and by) I knew I’d have this fantastic high street concealer to give me extra coverage where I needed it.

12. I’m a huge fan of these waterproof eye pencils from Chanel because they. Do. Not. Budge. The shade I wear, ‘Grenat’, a stunning warm, reddy purple, is sadly discontinued from what I can tell but there are lots of other shades suited to all skin tones. Tip: If you’re pale like me and have green eyes, a purple eye pencil will really help to show them off. Just be careful there is no other visible redness in the skin (chin, around the nose, shadows around the eyes etc) as the purple shade will only make you look ill.

13. I’ve been using this eye pencil by Chantecaille for ooh, let’s see now, three years?  It is the perfect shade of matte espresso and easy to smudge if I want to do a smokey eye. It’s also one of the only eye pencils I can wear on my waterline without it coating my contact lenses! The only thing I would change about it would be to make it even more waterproof (it does wear off more quickly than other pencils but I’m too in love with the shade to change. For the time being anyway).

14. I decided to invest in this mascara on the basis the lovely Pixiwoo sisters mention it in nearly every video tutorial. MAC’s Extended Play Lash is a tubing mascara which means it comes off (in little tubes!) with warm water (mixed with your regular cleanser or oil, of course).  Sam (one half of the Pixiwoos) likes to wear it on her lower lashes but I’ve been wearing it on my upper and lower lashes. It’s not waterproof but doesn’t smudge and the thin wand is great at getting right to the base of the lashes. If you’re a fan of big fat mascara brushes this might frustrate you and I’d say you definitely need to be curling your lashes before you apply it, but otherwise it’s dinky, relatively inexpensive (£15) and delivers long, black black, perfectly separated lashes.

15. Lastly but definitely not least(ly), it has been one of my holy grail of searches to find a decent liquid eyeliner, one that stays put, has the right size tip and is matte. It was actually a high street brand that finally came up trumps. Maybelline’s Master Ink Matte liquid liner is a dream to put on and I can achieve a super fine or thick feline flick in mere minutes. My one tip: have a tissue to hand and dab the nib once before you apply to remove any excess liquid.


One of my most hard wearing and happy of bath bags, bought on holiday in Australia. Reserved for holidays and weddings.
One of my most hard wearing and happy of bath bags, bought on holiday in Australia.
Reserved for holidays and weddings.


– Pretty Quik nail varnish remover pot (one of my best discoveries of 2014)Other items I snuck away in my stripy bath bag included:

– Bourjois Poudre de Riz de Java – an ever-so-slightly-sparkling finishing powder that has that old school cosmetics smell

– some Bioderma Sensibio H20 miscellar water, decanted (I did warn you) into a handy spray for speedy eye makeup removal


Did I mention the gin?! :)
Did I mention the gin?! 🙂


What are your travel skin or makeup essentials? Any tips for transporting the goodies?

Until next time, happy Thursday xx


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