Friday, 31 January 2014

Packing my bags for London

Just incase you haven't heard yet, I'm moving to London on Saturday to start my new job. This is my first proper office job and I have had to reboot my wardrobe after 4 yrs of casual living which including buying a new bag! I bought a stunning brown leather bag for a third of the original price at TK Maxx and then set about buying mini essentials to fill it.
After watching Vivianna Does Makeup's What's in my bag video this week I picked up an antibacterial hand gel from Carex moisturising to try and protect my hands a little more and Tisserand De-Stress aromatherapy roller ball for the tube journey home at the end of the day. I also chose the Revlon Highlighting Palette in Bronze Glow to add a healthy glow to my complexion (I use this under my foundation ala Goss Makeup Artist) and the Rimmel Exaggerate eye shadow primer as I needed a cheap primer. The mouthwash is for use after lunch (I don't like gum) and I will fill it up from a big bottle when I run out.
I did buy the Superdrug own Vitamin E eye cream and Radiance moisture cream- under no circumstances should you buy these; they both have large amounts of glitter in (presumably to add radiance, but it's way over the top) and the eye cream dries to a chalky texture which is particularly unpleasant. I'm not too annoyed because they were so cheap but I'm going to be saving my pennies to buy a high quality eye cream and moisturiser and I'l make sure I'm shopping somewhere I can test a little bit for texture first!

Thursday, 30 January 2014

London baby!

This weekend I move to London to start my new job so I have been packing like crazy and trying to do some extra nail art to schedule for next week because I will be too busy to blog. A while ago I got the Moyou London plate which has stamping patterns linked to London on it and thought this was the perfect time to try it out.
The base polish here is a fantastic Nails Inc that I have had in my collection for months and never tried. There is just the perfect amount of glitter, you can see it through the cream base and it is opaque in two coats. I give you Nails Inc Grove Cottages:
The patterns included are the tube map, the skyline and a beefeater.
Yesterday I also discovered the app Citymapper which is just incredible- if you are visiting London you need this app, it offers you multiple different ways of transport between points and tells you how long it will take and how much it will cost as well as many other cool features-genius!
I had fun making this little tribute to my new home city (slightly over excited!) if you have any great suggestions for things to do/eat in London please let me know.

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

My Ten Friends: Carbon Based Life Form

I picked up My Ten Friends Carbon based Life Form in a sale somewhere and then didn't wear it for a while until I saw it this weekend and decided to try it out on top of Orly Country Club Khaki. This is two coats and the awesome blue reflection you can see is due to spectacular amounts of blue shimmer int his polish.
My-ten-friends-carbon-based-lifeform-manicure-nails

My-ten-friends-carbon-based-lifeform-manicure-nails
I like how holo all of the glitters in this polish are- it really sparkles, but the big hexagons were reluctant to come out and frankly I think it looks better without them.
My-ten-friends-carbon-based-lifeform-manicure-nails
I would wear this polish to an event where I needed less flashy nails but still wanted some glitter and I would carefully apply it to avoid the large glitter pieces entirely.

Monday, 27 January 2014

Farewell Pocket Money Polishes

The sad news from this weekend is that Charlie is retiring Pocket Money Polishes to move forward with other parts of her life. I love my collection of glitter toppers from her and will treasure them all the more now. I thought I'd do a little mani to show off two of mine.
The background gradient here is Sinful Colours Cinderella to Blue by You, this also has an added change from pink shimmer to green shimmer which would not photograph!
The two PMPs are Firework and Yellow Submarine. I love Yellow Submarine the most :)
And mattified, gradients always look good mattified. Farewell Pocket Money Polish, you will be missed.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Cambridge Haul

I thought I'd show you what I picked up while I was in Cambridge because we all love a good haul post :). Nail polish wise I got hold of No 7 Galaxy which is rumoured to be a dupe of Chanel Taboo; whether it is or not Galaxy is an amazing wine shade with tons of shimmer including occasional flashes of blue shimmer- it's just beautiful. I also went to the pound shop and got three Sinful Colours polishes; Cinderella, UFO and ___. To finish off the nail polish buy I went into M&S and was seduced by their textured nail polishes in pastel shades. There are beautiful lilac, peach, blue and sage green colours and I eventually chose the sage green colour to try at home before maybe buying more. I would say these are slightly less textured than OPI Liquid Sands, more similar to the Zoya Pixie Dusts.
On Friday while I was on the tube (in London) I saw a girl putting on a lip product and it looked so amazing on her that I knew I had to have it! Luckily I recognised the packaging and went straight to Boots to buy Rimmel Apocalips in Eclipse. Although this looks a little scary in the tube it gives a fantastic glossy but not sticky finish and the colour is not overpowering for girls with very fair skin. It is also relatively easy to apply- I put mine on while on a bus, it does require a mirror though. I also picked up two of the new Revlon Matte Balm Crayons in Standout and Mischievous. I ordered these online to pick up in Boots and actually thought I was ordering Complex instead of Mischievous but now I've tried Mischievous I really like it. I also have my eye on Sultry and may well pick that up at some point. 
My fabulous boyfriend also got me this gorgeous yellow leather Filofax in the January sales- he knew I'd been looking for one. I've been using it non-stop since and I love it so much.
And to top off a brilliant weekend I got home and my mum had bought me a tangle teaser (the red thing in the background of the first pic), although it is not good for styling it's fantastic for making your hair shiny and detangled. I can't really say if it is less painful than other brushes though as I don't have knotty hair. The daisy bracelet was my treat to myself after a long series of interviews and looks very delicate and classy on.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

No 7 Galaxy, The Chanel dupe

On a  nail group someone mentioned this No7 polish, Galaxy is supposedly a dupe for Chanel Tabboo. I had to get it and try it out- especially because I had a £3 off voucher. It did not disappoint.
This polish is  really deep purple colour with red and blue shimmer. I'm showing you 3 coats for the camera but it is opaque to the eye at 2.
The brush isn't the most amazing but for this beauty I can live with that.
None of these pictures have been altered- this is exactly how the polish looks in real life, it's amazing! As far as I know if you spend more than £4 on anything in Boots (toothpaste, shampoo, chocolate) at the moment you will get the £3 off voucher which then makes this polish £4.

Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Weekend in Cambridge and exciting news!

I had a fantastic weekend in Cambridge visiting my boyfriend and seeing all of my friends who are still there finishing off their degrees. I visited a lot of caf├ęs and thought I'd share my thoughts on them here for anyone who might fancy visiting Cambridge sometime soon and wants to know where the locals go. On Saturday morning I took Stuart out for a mid-morning snack at Pret a Manger, their croissants with ham, bacon, tomato and mozzarella are fantastic if you want a hot snack and they do a relatively cheap cup of coffee. They have also started doing a teriyaki salmon salad which is also amazing if you like Japanese food. Scary picture of me with no makeup here ;).
I had another snack at Eat, if you are visiting Cambridge I recommend going into Eat and going to the upstairs eating area to get a better view of Christ's College (my old college) and Lloyds Bank (well worth a trip in to look at the amazing Art Deco tiling). They also have free wifi.
In the afternoon I met two of my university friends for afternoon tea and cake at Afternoon Tease, a new cafe that has opened on King Street where they use lots of mismatched vintage crockery, have a great selection of teas and bake wonderful cakes. We also cooked together later and went to a quiz in college.
On Sunday Stuart and I started off the day at Bills with their Healthy breakfast board and a full English. If you order a tea you get this enormous pot which easily does four cups and the coffee is also really good.
 The breakfast board is exceptional and I would highly recommend it. You get granola, yoghurt, honey and these awesome fruit skewers. It all comes unmixed so you can have whichever ratio of yoghurt:honey:granola you like.
Bills gets very busy so be prepared to queue or book in advance- I have never queued for more than 15 minutes there though. If you like olives they have the juiciest green olives I've ever come across. Eventually Stuart will get fed up of me taking surprise photos of him but I quite like this one below of tea pouring :)
We then did some work in the library before having afternoon tea at Sticky Beaks. On Hobson Street Sticky Beaks is a gem of a cafe where the menu changes every day and everything is made fresh daily. We shared a walnut and mushroom frittata followed by lime and rose water crunch cake (my favourite).
Now for the exciting news; I have finally had a job offer from an amazing company! I start in a week and a half so there will be a little bit of upheaval as I move down to London and get started so although I do not plan to abandon my blog I do apologise if there are fewer posts than normal.

Saturday, 18 January 2014

Editorial: Hand Care

The basics of my hand care include lots and lots of hand cream. I'm not sure how I acquired so many but I have rounded them all up to show you. There are choices here for both budget and for those who wish to spend a little bit more, but I have been using all of these for months and they are very effective.
I pick up the L'Occitane hand creams (£8.00 for 30ml, L'Occitane) whenever they're free with Marie Claire (usually about twice a year) and got this tiny one in a gift set. They have quite a thick texture and take a little rubbing in but sink into your skin very quickly without leaving that greasy texture you sometimes get with hand creams. The OPI Avojuices (£2.25 for 30ml, OPI) smell amazing, especially Coconut Melon which is fruity and nutty, they are quite a liquidy texture which rubs in incredibly quickly and you need very very little to get an effect. I sometimes use these as facial moisturiser if I'm travelling or don't have one to hand. The final one I have here is Dirty Works Hand Cream(£1.20 for 50ml, Sainsburys), this has more of a traditional hand cream smell and again rubs in very quickly leaving little to no residue. My problem with the majority of cheap hand creams is the greasy feeling of your hands but these three are all excellent
Lets talk cuticles; my number one choice in the cuticle balm category is Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter (£6.50 for 50ml, Lush) and the pot is so huge that I haven't bought a different one to try. I decanted a little into this smaller pot which is very convenient for everyday use. Honestly I would buy one pot between a few people and all decant some because it would take years to get through this if you only use it on your cuticles. This is more of a greasy product but it actually is much nicer to use when it's cold, if the temperature is high where you live I would keep it in the fridge to use.
Finally we come to oils and treatments. I have two different oils that I use, one is actually a face oil but works perfectly well on cuticles if I have accidentally dispensed too much. Sukin Rose Hip Oil (£11.17 for 25ml, Amazon.co.uk) is designated as a facial oil and is a nice dry oil, you need one drop to cover the back of your hand rubbed in and it doesn't leave any greasy residue. I think this smells a little weird but for the effect it has I'm willing to overlook that. OPI Avoplex (£7.50 for 15ml, amazon.co.uk) is a nail and cuticle oil with excellent effects, it quickly absorbs into the cuticle area but due to the nail polish style brush it is very easy to use to much, leaving more of an unpleasant residue but I much prefer the smell of this.
Having nice nails finishes off having nice looking hands. Now I don't mean having super long nails or even long nails, you should decided based on how your nails grow and how active you are with your hands how long you want your nails to be. A good nail strengthening treatment can help prevent nails from peeling and breaking. I am currently using OPI Nail Envy (£9.85 for 15ml, amazon.co.uk) which is great as a treatment and also works as a base coat so you can paint over the top of it. I have also used Save the Nail Repair and Rescue Base Coat (£7.50 for 10ml, Boots) and Essie Base Coat- Grow Stronger (£8.99 for 15ml, Boots) which I also like and found effective.
I hope this has been useful for anyone considering adding to (or starting) their hand care routine

Friday, 17 January 2014

Orly Country Club Khaki

When Cosmopolitan Magazine was giving away mini Orly nail polishes I picked up two, the gold glitter and Country Club Khaki. I thought Country Club Khaki would be good for nail art and never intended to wear it as a full manicure, however I thought I would just swatch it and see.
I am slightly undecided about this colour, it doesn't look bad on its own but I'm just not sure I would ever wear it like this. It's quite an unusual colour but I think one of the Barry M matte polishes would look exactly the same if you top coated it (and be significantly cheaper than Orly). If you had slightly darker skin than me and were looking for a neutral colour that would make your nails fade into the background this could be it, what I mean by this is if you had had a break and your nail weren't quite even I think you could use this nude polish and people wouldn't notice it, whereas if you used OPI Bubblebath (my go to nude colour) you can still see the white tips so it would be pretty obvious that they were different lengths.
If you wanted to try this colour I would go for Barry M Caramel first and see if you liked it, I think this is slightly greyer but it's also more expensive.

Thursday, 16 January 2014

Blue heart nail art

I recently made a list of polishes I want to swatch and one of them was Emily de Molly Turbulence, a gorgeous deep blue jelly polish filled with holographic glitters in different shapes. I paired it with a negative space heart design.
Using negative space is a great way to use a glitter polish which requires a few coats to form the base of a shape. The photo below shows what Turbulence looks like at three coats alone with top coat. When it was released it was fairly unusual for a polish to have those diamond shaped glitters in although they are a little bit more common now.
The polish I used to outline the heart shape is Nails Inc Abbey Road, a very dense holographic glitter. The below photo is blurred to show a little of the colours that reflect off this polish in the sun.
My ring finger has three coats of Colour Club Total Mystery to provide a contrast to the glitter polish. This is a beautiful blue jelly with pink shimmer.
If you are thinking about valentines day manicures this would be an awesome choice- it would work in so many colours and is super super easy if you have any type of nail art brush (or a small paint brush/toothpick etc.).

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

What's on my face?

I thought I would show you what I use most often in my neutral makeup look. I am usually aiming to look like I'm not wearing any makeup and these products are how I achieve that.
First my cheek products, the fabulous Elf Baked Blush in Pinktastic and Bourjois Cream Blush 03. I use the ELF as a highlighter not a blush as it's very light reflecting and a very small amount blended in looks amazing. I apply the cream brush with my fingers and it's very easy to get just a light wash of colour.
My go to mascara is Bobbi Brown Intensifying Long Wear Mascara, the wand is very small and easy to use on my small eyes and short lashes and gives a fantastic natural but defined look. I love the Maybelline Colour Tattoo in Pink Gold to create a sheer wash of brightening colour across the eyelid, I prefer to use my fingers to apply this. I also use the Bare Minerals The Affair to Remember palette for a neutral eye look, however the brush that came with it is a little stiff so I use other brushes I own. Finally for an enhancing natural look I use Bourjois Intuitive Liner to add dots into my lash line which adds volume to my lashes without the bold look of a black eyeliner.
For my base I use Bobbi Brown Moisture Rich Foundation in Porcelain, this gives a dewy look to the skin and doesn't interfere with my combination skin,. I also use the Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer in porcelain although I feel that a liquid concealer such as the Nars Creamy Concealer might be easier to apply. However, I love the Bobbi Brown Corrector in Porcelain Bisque which erases my dark circles and can easily be blended into the under eye area. I use Benefit the Porefessional under my foundation. For a finished look I use Revlon Just Bitten Balm Stain in Honey on my lips, I have very dry lips and this adds both colour and moisture, I really like the peppermint fragrance as well.
My top pick here is the Revlon Lip Stain, I use it all the time- so much so that the writing has worn off! You don't need a mirror to apply it and you don't need to sharpen it at all. I'm very excited to try the new matte lip stains when they come out this month.

Tuesday, 14 January 2014

Polished by KPT Siren's Song

Now that it's cold I wanted to retry my thermal polishes when they will actually change. This one I have and have never tried and it is Polished by KPT Siren Song, a store exclusive for Rainbow Connection. I decided to compare it to Liquid Sky Lacquer Teal it Like it is to show how the glitter makes a difference to the appearance of a thermal. So the LSL is on my ring finger and Siren Song is on all the others.
I think these polishes were made using the same pigment because the colours are the same but the glitter really makes a difference to how they look in the warm phase (above). In the cold phase the dark teal doesn't really show the glitter.
What makes these two so amazing is the holographic flash contained in the polish. Just spectacular.
I don't think Sinren's Song is available any longer- sorry about that, but you could easily mimic this look with Teal it like it is and a clear based glitter topper. The polish was really changing colours all the time and it was really interesting to watch.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Floral ruffian

I have been looking at some fashion pieces to get ideas for my nail art and this dress by Albert Ferretti inspired these off centre ruffian floral nails:
I used Nails Inc Porchester Place for the orange base then painted on the ruffian (tutorial) with Barry M Lychee, sitting it slightly off centre so I had a sweep of colour down the side of the nail. I then used a small nail art brush and Barry M Passionfruit and Key Lime, NYC Blue Sky and Nails Inc Phoenix Place to draw on the flowers. The accent nail is NYC Blue Sky with Digital Nails Ultimate Ginger. 
I love this! I'm making a really effort to come up with some unusual colour combinations and nail art choices and I just love how this came out. The off centre ruffian is very fresh and cool, and incredibly easy to do if you have steady hands. 
For my right hand instead of using a brush to draw the flowers I used my dotting tool to put on splotches of the same colours- it looks exactly the same from a normal distance but you can see the difference here:
If you are not confident using a brush I would just go in with a dotting tool- it's still very effective.  For such a simple design it looks amazing! 

Saturday, 11 January 2014

Sinful Colours Let's Talk

The second Sinful Colours polish that I picked up is Let's Talk, a gorgeous purple polish which almost has an inner glow. My camera did not like the colour of this polish and was picking up a totally different colour so I changed the settings to get a more realistic interpretation of the colour, which means that I have very yellow skin in the photo.
It is just beautiful- and I don't really wear purple polish so that's saying something. This is two coats. Again, find a Sinful Colours stand and see if there are any that catch your attention- you can get 6 of these for the price of one OPI polish (Uk prices) and by my experience you won't be disappointed. On Monday I'll have some gorgeous thermal polish nail art to show you.

Friday, 10 January 2014

My favourite colour scheme watercolour

When I was looking at my nude nails after my interview and deciding what to paint on top of them I reverted back to one of my favourite colour combinations; grey, blue and yellow. I used the watercolour technique that I learnt from Mr. Candipants (which I used with a different colour combination here.)
 The colours I used here are Barry M Blue Grape, Mavala Berlin and NYC Lexington Yellow, I diluted them with acetone before applying them to my nail then used a brush with some more acetone on it to smudge the edges a little bit more.
This is one of those designs that looks better at arms length rather than the close ups you see on my blog. Still easy instant wow factor if you choose a striking colour scheme and do bold sections of colour.
I am currently deciding what (if any) nail art I want to do over this but trust me it doesn't need it.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

The perfect naked nails

Occasionally I need to wear very subtle nail polish (mostly for job interviews) I don't like going without because that is when my nails tend to break so I have found my perfect sheer pink colour to paint over the top. Opi Bubblebath is the 'my nails but better' shade for my skin tone (pale, very pale)
I apologise that this photo was taken on my iPhone, this is one coat of Bubblebath and a topcoat so you get a very shiny but also very natural effect. I love it and if you've ever wanted this sort of look and have my skin tone you should definitely check it out! 

Monday, 6 January 2014

Sinful Colours Pinky Glitter

Yesterday I went to IKEA to get a free standing clothes rail. I want to make more of an effort with my wardrobe this year as I leave student life behind me and thought this would be a great way to make more informed clothing choices. While in the Boots next to IKEA I came across Sinful Colours for the first time. The bottles were so much bigger than I was expecting at 15ml and the range of colours was great. I picked up four bottles and this is one of them, Pinky Glitter:
Pinky Glitter is a sheer neon pink polish with iridescent glitter flakes through it. It takes 3-4 coats alone to be opaque but I layered it and used 2 coats here.
It's just stunning! The formula is great, the colour is really neon and the glitter flakes reflect loads of light.
For the price of £1.99 Sinful Colours Pinky Glitter is a gem and I would recommend that you try to find a stand to look at. I will be showing you the other colours that I picked up very soon but I swatted them on a nail wheel and they are also awesome :).