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Monday, 30 July 2012

Cath Kidston Inspired Nail Art

Topshop 'Green Room' / Revlon 'Dreamer' / Barry M 'Pink Famingo' / 17 'Mini Skirt' / Barry M 'Mint' / Topcoat (not pictured) Sally Hansen 'Insta Dri' /

I've never been one for nail art - it's not that I don't like it, more just the fact it takes rather a long time and I'm prone to chipped nails because of the hands-on nature of my jobby. However, when I had a flick through my reading list and saw a few posts on intricate flower designs including a couple of Cath Kidston-esque patterns, I took it upon myself to give it a whirl. I'm a massive fan of Cath Kidston - I have a selection of bags that I take with me to work and to uni - I just love the variety of prints and I seem to collect her designs, they're so girly and pretty - what better design to start off my nail art obsession with than one that matches my handbag? I'm rather impressed with the results of my nails to say it's my first go and I don't have a nail art pen to my name. It took a great deal of concentration, a steady hand, a bit of patience and a little help from a cocktail stick - but I managed to create something resembling the famous flowery designs (it may also help that I'm a bit of an art geek...)

After applying a base polish, I coated the whole nail with 2 coats of Revlon's 'Dreamer' for an opaque finish. I waited for this to dry completely (important you do this - the design is harder to apply if the coat underneath is still wet) and then applied little 'cloud' shapes either side of the nail using 17's 'Mini Skirt' - a pearly white colour. This is probably the most difficult bit to create without using a nail pen! Again, after waiting for this to dry I applied a generous blob (yes, blob) of Barry M's 'Pink Flamingo' and whilst it was still wet, quickly swirled in a tiny bit of the white shade again to create the rose effect (i used a cocktail stick to do this). I then applied a couple of dots using the two green polishes to resemble the leaves either side - I used two shades just for added effect. To finish off the design, I added the dots up the middle of the nail - this is where it went wrong slightly and I could have done with the use of a nail pen - I wanted the dots closer together and to follow the cloud shapes I'd previously created - but it was my first go at this after all, and to say i applied the dots with a mahoosive nail polish brush I don't think I did too bad! I then smoothed on a topcoat which seemed to soften any accidental harsh edges, and gave the nails a glossy finish whilst smoothing down any bumps created with the dots (I used Sally Hansens 'Insta Dri' which dried the design almost instantly and I really recommend it if you're a nail art fan - you can read my review here :))

I'm thinking of doing some other variations of this print - I might try to create a pink version with bigger roses next time! If you need some more Cath Kid-spiration (sorry..) then check out this post by Secret Diary of a Fashion Journalist - I have to credit her for the spark in my nail creativity as it was her post that gave me the idea, and there's also another fab post here by Pearls & Poodles.

What do you think of Cath Kidston-ing your nails?
Will you be giving this a try?

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Feeling Fruity | Denman D3 Tutti Frutti Scented Brush

Denman D3 Tutti Frutti Scented Brush

Regular readers of my blog might know I'm a massive fan of haircare - I've always been a little obsessive when it comes to keeping my locks in check and I style my hair every day. I'm never ever without a comb or a brush of some kind - in fact my hair is a bit of a running joke at work as I always keep my 'emergency comb' at the entrance to our stockroom so I can backcomb/smooth/tidy up the ends quickly when I need to during the day (I'm aware of how bad this sounds..but i don't take kindly to bad hair days). So, when I was contacted by Denman asking if I wanted to sample one of their ever popular D3 styling brushes in the Tutti Frutti Scented range, I jumped at the chance. 

This brush is such a great all rounder - it's been in my bag for days out shopping and for work for general touch ups, and I've even used it for blow drying. The bristles are really sturdy and smooth, and glide through the hair effortlessly - which is a task and a half for hairbrushes when it comes to my hair (having long hair, I'm prone to a few tangles)! I found brushing through with this a doddle and it made my hair look glossy, feeling soft and completely frizz-free. When blow drying, after I've used my barrel brush to create volume at the roots, I use this to tame the mid lengths and smooth down the rest of my hair. I'm a massive fan of big, voluminous hair and often curl my hair using a waving wand -  I find using the brush creates the perfect base for my style - the waves come out much softer and smoother, much more professional looking and just generally in better condition.
The Green Apple scent is really great too - of course, it isn't strong enough to transfer to your hair but it makes for a really good little summery brush and has a cute little apple design to match - complete with a bright green anti-static pad. The scent hasn't disappeared since I've bought it, even through blow drying and styling wet hair - it smells just as fruity as it did when i received it. I'm really tempted to grab the 'Orange Tango' version too - although I already have the brush - I think it's such a great idea and being a beauty blogger, I have a tendency to collect things. It's also a fabulous little gift idea for any summer birthdays coming up - especially for fellow hair fanatics like myself. The brush also comes in 'Lemon Sherbet', 'Strawberry Shortcake' and 'Wild Dewberry' - and i believe Denman previously bought out a Coconut version which is right up my street!

The Limited Edition Denman Tutti Frutti brushes retail at £7.31 and you can grab them on the website, or from Boots (I've already been in to check out the rest of the range..) The head-hugger hot curl brushes look very promising too.

Have you tried any Denman brushes?
What would be your chosen Tutti Frutti Scent?

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Haul | Stripes, Studs & Lush Goodies

1. Studded Bag £8 - Select / 2. Striped Shirt £10 - Primark / 3. Beaded Crop Top £12 £6 - Primark (Sale) / 4. Studded Nude Heels £12 - Primark / 5. Striped 'Lolly' Jeans £12 - Ark / 6. Striped Bodycon Dress £22.99 - Missguided / 7.  Lush Liquid Lips in 'Passionate' £14 & Charisma Skin Tint £12 - Lush /

I'd had my eyes on a beautiful studded clutch bag from Toppyshoppy for ages, and when pay day came around I finally allowed myself to buy it, only to find it out of stock - online and in the shops. So when I saw Steph from MoreeMilk's blogpost on the bargain studded clutch from Select I knew I had to get it - and it has cured my heartbreak over the Topshop one, and for a fraction of the price.

The studded heels were an impulse buy and they're one of those 'love it or hate it' items - personally, I love nothing more than a bit of tack so I snapped them up. They're so comfy - really soft and squishy and the heel isn't so high that I can't wear them in the day. I might actually have to grab myself a back up pair... 

I'm undecided about the striped jeans. I'm not sure if they're really 'me' yet - I'm very much a tights/black skinnies & heels kind of girl and these are fairly casual for me! But I saw a girl at Uni wearing some similar and they looked amazing - for £12, I'll give them a whirl.. The bodycon dress is a bit of a 'statement' item, but i'll be wearing this for a few birthday drinks next month (I turn 22..eek) It will look so nice with a black blazer and killer heels..

Finally, FINALLY I got my mitts on some of the Lush goodies from their new 'Emotional Brilliance' range - I'm a massive Lush fan, and I spent a good half an hour having a natter about makeup and suchlike with the lovely staff - I originally went in just for the Liquid Lips, but the young man who served me unknowingly talked me into the Charisma Skin Tint too - his general happiness and enthusiasm on life tempted me into buying it - cracking sales technique, young fellow...

Have you tried anything from the new Lush range yet? 
& Is anyone else loving stripes right now?! It's a bit of an obsession for me..

Monday, 23 July 2012

My Top 5 Summer Blushes

Swatches L-R: Nyx 'Natural' / Bobbi Brown 'Fresh Melon' / Illamasqua 'Lover' / Nars 'Orgasm' / Lola '003' /

Ola my little pretties. The sunshine is finally here in the UK and I'm feeling rather summery, typing this post from my back garden with an ice cold beverage and trying my very best to top up my Lanzarote tan I worked so damn hard for (it's fading very fast - wehh). When summer comes around, theres nothing I like more than finding a new blush to pop onto my cheeks (oo I do live life on the edge). I tend to wear different blushes in summer to those in winter, in summer for me it's all about pretty corals and peach tones, and brighter colours to help set off the tan on my face. I thought I would give you the rundown of my top 5 in no particular order...

Illamasqua Powder Blush 'Lover' | £16.50: This has to be the ultimate favourite out of my top 5 - The colour is perfect whether I have a tan or not and instantly brightens up my face. The powder is luciously creamy and blends like a dream, leaving a soft peachy flush to the apples of your cheeks. As well as being super-duper pigmented, it lasts for ages and leaves my cheeks feeling baby-soft and looking flawlessy smooth. If you're after the perfect 'peaches and cream' shade, then look no further. It's slightly pricier than your average drugstore brand but worth every.single.penny in my opinion. It even smells like vanilla. I just loves it. Even if you're not a powder blush fan, I urge you try Illamasqua's blush range - it may just convert you. (Read my previous review here)

Bobbi Brown Pot Rouge Cream Blush in 'Fresh Melon' | £17: If i still haven't sold powder blushes to you enough after my rave about Illamasqua, and you're much more of a cream blush kind of person, then Bobbi Brown do a fabulous range of cream blushes. Being a big coral fan (if you haven't noticed by now!) I opted for the shade 'Fresh Melon', which is a lovely creamy shade of light coral. I tend to opt for this on days when my skin is feeling a little bit dry, or if i'm wearing sunscreen and still want to wear a colour on my cheeks. It also doubles up as a lip product due to the moisturising formula, and when worn on both the lips and cheeks is a beautiful, effortless summer combination. It gives a lovely, light sheen to the skin and looks really dewy - giving your skin a healthy summer glow (You can read my original review here).

Nyx Cream Blush in '02 Natural' | £6: When I first found out River Island do Nyx, I went completely bonkers and stocked up on so much stuff I wanted to try - the cream blushes being the first product I got my mitts on. This is very creamy in consistency (oilier skins take note..) but provides a very similar finish to Bobbi Brown's for a slightly more purse friendly price tag! As it's name suggests, it gives a really pretty, natural flush to the cheeks - a beautiful neutral shade with a touch of pink. Again, this looks lovely when worn on the lips and is a great all-round shade. I could probably get away with this in the winter months too. If you prefer pinks to corals, then this is such a pretty colour to go for.

Nars Powder Blush in 'Orgasm' | £20.50: Yes. I threw it in there. How can this not be a summer staple in your summer makeup bag? My obsession with Nars products began with this little beauty (apologies for the state of my rather well used and battered blush compact). I usually hate shimmer on my cheeks but I allow it with this, simply because the colour is beautiful (it's not completely loaded with shimmer); it's just the right amount for a subtle glow and highlights the cheek perfectly. The warm pink/coral shade brings out a summer tan beautifully - even the tiniest bit swept onto the cheeks gives a lovely flush of colour. It's fairly sheer in colour, but looks amazing built up for a bit more depth.  I always pair this with the ever-so famous Nars 'Laguna' bronzer for the perfect summer combination. (You can read my post on the two products here).

Lola Colourette Blush in Shade '003' | €10: I featured this in a recent beauty haul from my trip to Lanzarote. Apologies to my UK readers - I'm aware it's slightly difficult to get your hands on this product unless you happen to be in a country which stocks it - it gives you a fabulous excuse to take a trip to the Canary islands though? :) I believe it is also more widely available in America. The brand was presented beautifully, amongst the stands of YSL and Chanel, and although not as pricey as those, the quality certainly seems to be up there with the best. The colour is so bright, and some people might be put off by such a strong shade but personally, I've always wanted to try a brighter 'statement' shade - and this certainly is just that. It's the most pigmented blush i've ever owned which makes for excellent staying power and value for money (although you do have to watch out for the dreaded 'clown cheek' - I made that mistake at first). I wore this towards the end of my holiday when I had more of a deeper tan and it looked amazing. It has such a soft consistency and applies really well, I dont find it at all drying and it's very easy to blend. If you ever see this brand anywhere in the UK, please let me know, as I have my eye on their peach shade (suprise, suprise...)

What are your favourite blush shades for summer?
Any others you think I would like?

Thursday, 19 July 2012

Holiday Loot Pt.2

1&2. Box Bag - Zara / 3&4. Silk Stud-Effect Shirt - Zara / 5. Clutch Bag - Zara / 6. Aztec Vest - Bershka / 7. Floral Purse - Boutique near where i was staying /

Apologies for the crap-ness of these photos, I had to switch to the iPhone halfway through as my camera died after all the snap-happy useage on holiday and I wasn't waiting for it to charge - ever the impatient blogger.

I bought quite a lot of clothes on this holiday although they aren't all pictured here - I just picked a few of the more interesting pieces and some were impossible to capture properly on camera - prepare for a few outfit photos in the near future! I've been after a box bag for ages; it will be ideal to wear to uni and even on nights out if i'm going for a few drinks. I love Zara bags - they're often very simple but very classic and timeless, and this one was just calling my name. The shirt was a bit of an impulse buy but I know I will get a tonne of wear out of this - especially with my American Apparel Disco Pants (eee you may have seen on my Twitter that I'm just loving them to bits right now).. It's the softest shirt I own and the quality is amazing.  The clutch bag was on sale and it's a bit of a love it or hate it piece but I really liked the mermaid-y sequins - it's a bit of a nod to the metallic/under the sea trend that seems to be around at the moment! I'm sure i'll find something to wear it with.. I also stocked up on a tonne of basics from Bershka - I wish we had more of their stores in the UK. They had a massive sale on and I had to remind myself of my suitcase weight-limit whilst browsing through their dresses and shorts..

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Holiday Loot Pt.1

YSL Rouge Volupte Lipsticks in Shade 1 'Nude Beige' and Shade 8 'Fetish Pink'
I have been lusting after these lipsticks ever since I started blogging and I've finally given in and treated myself. I bought the first and was amazed at the quality - so of course I decided to splash out on a second (oops - sorry bank account). They've fast become my go to lipsticks and I shall be reviewing them very soon. I thought i'd opt for more neutral shades to start with as I will get more wear out of them, but I have my eye on some of the reds and corals for my birthday..('Red Muse' - please be mine?) They took a mahoosive chunk out of my holiday spends but every girl needs a bit of luxury in her life, no?

Lancaster Tan Maximiser Aftersun
A staple in my holiday beauty bag, this product is seriously amazing and I will continue to repurchase every time I run out. A lot of people would cry a little inside at spending £25 on an aftersun, and I must admit it kills me inside each time, but I always use it alongside a cheaper alternative and I make it last. It has no self tan in it but deepens the colour you have naturally (it also smells amazingly yummy) and feels beautifully light and soothing on suntanned skin - I usually get mine in Duty Free for the discount so if you fancy trying something new at the airport then I really recommend this. You can read my full review here.

Hello Kitty Mini-Perfume, Nail Polish & Baked Eyeshadow
*ahem* Please don't judge me on this. But i'm a sucker for anything Hello Kitty (or anything cute), and on a little mooch around one of the beauty stores on holiday I just couldn't stop myself. They actually had a proper make-up stand full of beauty goodies and it didn't look tacky in the slightest (honestly!) I wanted the perfume just for pure cuteness factor (how can anyone resist the mini cat head?!) and of course the nail polish happened to just jump into my basket..
I'm going to try and use the eyeshadow as a highlighter for contouring - it's suprisingly pigmented.

Lola Blush in Shade '003'
Lola is a brand i'd never heard of before, but it was stacked alongside Chanel and YSL at the counters, so i figured the makeup would be of decent quality. I really liked the blush range they had and decided to try this eye-popping pink shade to go with my tan! It's so pigmented and you only need the tiniest bit to provide an amazing colour pay off. They also have an amazing range of lipsticks and glosses...

Nail Polishes
I've never tried Technic polishes before, so I decided to give them a go. The bright pink shade was a cheap polish from a random shop on the beachfront and I picked it up for a couple of euros - suprisingly a really good polish! 

Ahh I need to go on another holiday purely for the makeup sesh at the airport..
Does anyone else go a bit beauty-crazy whilst on holiday? My shopping starts in duty-free and doesn't stop until I get back..

Monday, 16 July 2012

Nail Rock Nail Wraps | Review (& I'm Backk!)

Aloha sunshines :) I'm now back from my summer holiday and am suffering from a rather bad case of holiday blues after coming back to rainy old England. Theres nothing worse than stepping off the plane and getting rain drops in your sandals instead of sand! *crys* Apologies for my lack of comments and twitter-y activities the past 10 days (although i did schedule a few posts) and a big hello to my new followers i've gained since i've been away - i promise you I'm not usually this ignorant on the blogging scene!

Whilst I've been sunning myself, I've also been photographing new products and such-like that I've been using whilst out there - the first being this little summery packet of Nail Rocks. I've never thought of trying them before - I've always thought their £7(ish) price tag was a little expensive for what is essentially a pack of posh nail transfers and I've always assumed they would be a bit of a fiddle! A few days before my holiday I spent some time browsing ASOS looking for some last minute bargains and I came across this design - I just love the intricate Hawaii-inspired design adorned with pretty flowers.

'The new NAIL ROCK designer nail wrap range is designed to last up to 7 days on nails and 8 weeks on the toes, with each at home nail wrapping treatment taking just 15 minutes to apply. Unlike nail polish they won’t chip or stain the nail and quicker to apply as no drying time required. Choose to embellish your nails with a vast choice of styles which can’t be achieved with regular polish. Designs include metallic gold, silver, dots and animal print' 

Application: The pack comes with everything you need for application: Cuticle stick, nail file and an acetone-based nail wipe. For the Nail Rocks to stick properly the nail surface has to be as matte as possible - the acetone wipe is used to prepare the nails and remove every trace of previous polish. After this, the nail surface has to be filed slightly to remove any 'shine' and the cuticles pushed back. Once you've done all this then you simply select the size best suited to the nail and apply using a firm pressure smoothing outwards towards the edge of the nail (I found it best to use a size slightly smaller than your actual nail as any bigger looks a little fake - they can be trimmed if need be). It took me a while to get the hang of it completely but it definitely got quicker and easier to do as I got to the second hand - the only bit i found difficult was getting the tips to stick properly. Luckily, they give you a few extras so if you do make a mistake or find that one peels off before the others, you have a couple of spares handy.

Staying Power: I wasn't expecting them to last too long if i'm honest (i bought a spare polish with me because the thought of bare nails for 10 days sparked utter fear in me :)) - suprisingly they lasted a good 7 days before they became a little tatty round the edges and looked a bit bedraggled. I thought as soon as i washed my hair they would peel off but they still looked as good as new - even the heat of the sun didn't make them budge! The pack says they last up to 10 days (i reckon they would have done with a little bit more practice) I had to peel mine off after 7 days because they had started to peel up quite a bit around the nail tips, but they came off so easily! I must admit, after 3 days I noticed the odd bit of wear and tear but if you compare this to a nail varnish which would probably be a little bit chipped after this amount of time, it's quite good staying power!

Overall I was really impressed and I will be ordering more of these without a doubt. They made a nice change to nail polish and were great for a 10 day holiday. If you have an event coming up and want something a bif different i'd really recommend these - once you get the hang of it I can imagine they would last even longer than the 7 days they did with me (as you can see, my first attempt wasn't exactly perfect but I was still chuffed with the results) You can even use them on your toes! I purchased mine from ASOS here for £6.70, but you can find other designs on the highstreet - i've seen some of the best designs in Topshop.

Have you tried the Nail Rock wraps? What were your thoughts?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Holiday Makeup | Lipsticks

(Swatches - L-R Top to Bottom) 

Rimmel 'Undressed' 
Mac 'Creme Cup'
Revlon Lip Butter 'Cupcake'
Mac 'Saint Germain'
Collection 2000 'Pink Shock'
Revlon Lip Butter 'Lollipop'
Mac 'Costa Chic'
Topshop 'Charmed'
Topshop 'Infrared'
Topshop 'Rio Rio'

Those of you who read my blog on a regular basis will know I am a lipstick obsessive. This in mind, the fact I managed to choose just 10 for a holiday is somewhat of an achievement for me. To some of you this might seem a little bit 'OTT' - it probably is, but the lipstick hoarder within me just couldn't let some of these beauties stay at home.

What's your favourite summery lipstick?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Whats In My Suitcase | Bikinis

1. Bright Coral Bikini - La Senza
2. Yellow Bikini - River Island | Turquoise Rose Bikini - River Island (last season)
3. Blue Frilly Bikini - River Island
4. Bright Pink Bikini - Primark | Rose Gold Bikini - H&M
5. Striped - Primark (seasons ago!)
6. Bright Pink Bow Bikini - ASOS
7. Broderie Bandeau Bikini - Next (last season)

So, I thought i would kick off my 'What's In My Suitcase' posts with a very bright and colourful one on bikinis (wow theres only so many times you can type the word 'bikini' before it starts to look wrong)... I do seem to have a bit of a weakness for buying them and whereas the normal person would take about 3 or 4 for a week in the sunshine, I go a little bit crazy with my over-packing tendancies and take atleast one for each day - sometimes even more (I kid you not..I'm awful). I'm going away for 10 days so taking only the 9 featured in this post is somewhat of an achievement for me (please reassure me I'm not the only girl in the world with this bikini-buying obsessh?) I find the best place to go for bikini's and swimwear is, without a doubt, River Island - they always have an amazing range in all sorts of colours and designs and although they are a little pricier than your average, they really make a statement and always fit amazingly. I had quite a few people asking me where the Turquoise one was from last time I went away! I was rather chuffed with myself for digging out the striped Primark bikini; i bought this years ago and never really wore it much, but stripes are really in fashion at the moment so I delved into my bedroom drawers and managed to find it. I'm planning on saving the bright coral one from La Senza until later in the holiday when I'm really tanned - It was meant to be about £32 but I snapped it up on the way home from work for a more purse-friendly £15 in the sale *high five*

I really wish we could get our hands on Victoria's Secret much more easily here in the UK - although it's probably a good job as I don't think my bank account could take much more bikini-buying abuse...If you're reading this I should have arrived in the sunshine by now! I'm planning a few of these Whats In My Suitcase posts (the rest hopefully will be up when i'm back) - I hope I manage to bring some sunshine back with me...