Friday, 27 January 2012

Purple Matte + Shiny French Manicure

I spotted Kelly Osbourne's black matte & shiny manicure the other day on instagram via twitter (here) and got so excited I felt a little bit sick.  I have a matte top coat when the trend first began last year.. But hated the way matte nails looked on me, just like I hated crackle top coats adorning my fingers.  However, Kelly O's nails stuck in my head; they were just too cool.  I went on an online search for matte & shiny French manis today, and after a lot of link clicking I found Chloe's Nails, and my word, this woman is a genius.  On her tutorials, hey presto, is the exact mani that Kelly O has.

I set to work.  Unfortunately I don't have many colours with me at uni, so opted for Rimmel's 'Hot List' which is a deep grey/purple.. a grurple?  Admittedly, I would have preferred black, but I don't have one. Anyway, here's a less than perfect result; but I just can't stop looking at my nails.

Please excuse the messiness around the nails.. I usually just leave it to come off in the shower!  I just couldn't wait until tomorrow to blog about this.  But man.. how cool is the matte & shiny French mani?  I can't get over it!  I used Rimmel's 'Hot List', Rimmel's 5 in 1 Base & Top (for the base), 17 Matte Top Coat and Maybelline Protecting Top Coat for the tips.  I would link, but none exist on anymore.. Hmm!

Also, I've got Seche Vite top coat in my basket on Beauty Bay.. I could do with a new base coat, any suggestions?


Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Follow the yellow brick road

Because today, I'm feeling a little bit like Dorothy.

Excuse the turn ups on my jeans; short legs have difficulty!

I spotted these on last night's shopping trip to Asda; there were only a handful left on the shelf, and I can understand why!  For £10 these pumps are a bargain.  The slight wedge to them positions the foot at a much better angle than the majority of pumps do; they also have a 'proper' sole with bobbly grips, in comparison to other pumps which leave a lot left to be desired in terms of 'grip' or 'sole'.  I often find Asda's shoes to rub less than others, but maybe they just cater well for wide feet like mine!?  And the most obvious aspect about these is the gorgeous bright red colour.  Garish and delightful, all at the same time.


Tuesday, 24 January 2012

It all works out in the end..

I have the kind of hair that's fine, fly-away and gets really dry on the ends.  It's the kind of hair that's hard to grow because the ends get so dry they keep needing to be chopped, which is so aggravating!  I went on a mission to find products which would keep the ends of my hair moisturised and soft, and reduce the need for chopping.  For months I've been using Herbal Essences Beautiful Ends Protection Cream, and later began using Vo5 Miracle Concentrate.  The Herbal Essences really surprised me; I just could not get on with their shampoos, which left my hair 'squeaky' clean, which goes right through me!  Yuck.  But the Protection Cream is absolutely wonderful.  It's around £5 for a bottle at Boots (on offer at the moment for £2.55!), but if you catch Superdrug on a good day, I've bought it for under £2 there before (and bought 2, obviously!)  The bottles last ages because you need one little pump of product on damp hair - I'm still using the first bottle I bought months ago.  And if it isn't testament enough, both my sister and best friend were religiously using this before I was, and was recommended it by both of them!  Vo5's Miracle Concentrate smells gorgeous and leaves hair super soft/shiny; but I can't use it every day, as it doesn't moisturise my ends as much as the Protection Cream does.  However, both these products are absolute staples in my routine in my quest for long hair!


Sunday, 22 January 2012

Beauty Sleep

We're all told that beauty sleep is essential for our bodies; whether it's babies growing, children sleeping away illnesses or adults simply retiring to bed after a stressful day to reinvigorate.  Either way, sleep is something we need.  Since our bodies are busy repairing themselves whilst we're away in the land of nod, I've noticed there isn't as much insistence that we use beauty products whilst we're there.  The amounts of 'day' products companies produce that're paraded all over our lives in adverts telling us we definitely need them far outweigh the 'night' products.  I wondered if this is just because the 'day' products are the ones other people can see the effects of.. or maybe it's because so many people simply aren't bothered about their skin whilst they sleep.  Some products have taken the cosmetic world by storm, such as Estee Lauder's Night Repair Serum because it's simply amazing; but I wondered, is it also because there's a lack of serious rivals?

Recently I've been prescribed a new cream to tackle acne on my cheeks; I used it a few times and before I knew it, the delicate skin around my eyes and mouth were dry, red and so incredibly sore.  I panicked, borrowed Mum's Estee Lauder serum and hoped for the best.  I've used my prescribed cream again at uni, the same thing has happened around my eyes (I didn't even put it there, I can't explain why!).  I tried moisturiser and Sudocrem to no avail; I was plastering on the moisturiser, applying my make-up for the day and suffering with stinging skin, and a red so vivid it glared through my foundation.  Serious action needed to be taken!  Whilst in Asda I checked out the cosmetics aisle and spotted Nivea's Rich Regenerating Night Cream for dry and sensitive skin.  I thought "perfect" and picked up a pot for £3.98.

I love the whole feel of the product.  A glass jar, a foil under the lid and a massive 50g of product.  It screams quality; maybe not high end(!), but certainly a better feel than most plastic tubs with a measly amount in.  The cream itself is thick; it does leave an oily texture on top of my skin, but hasn't caused any breakouts, so I couldn't really care.  There's the single reason for me, however, why it should only be used at night; it just isn't made for daytime!  The result, however, has been wonderfully soft skin in the morning; after two nights of use, my awful eye problem had also completely disappeared.  I now apply this every night without fail, especially around my eyes.  My skin is looking better and feeling better; it's softer and smoother, and interestingly, these changes only started once I'd begun using this cream.  I also love the fact it's so cheap; it proves that you don't have to spend a fortune to get a good quality beauty product; I'd definitely recommend it for those who aren't too fussed about expensive night treatments, since it's not going to break the bank!

I really do wonder how important our sleep 'routine' is.  Night creams are more essential than we probably ever realise; feeding skin whilst it's repairing just seems so.. logical.  Now I chide myself for not doing it sooner.. sorry face!


Saturday, 21 January 2012

Nails Inc. 'Victoria'

In all honesty, I'm not sure just how much I am a fan of Nails Inc.  I find their polishes to be quite expensive for decidedly average quality.  I mean, Rimmel Pro polishes are almost half the price, come with a wide OPI-style brush and are quite chip resistant.  After living in OPI 'Skull & Glossbones' (after I blogged about it) for what must have been at least a month, I decided that a change was needed.  The gloomy winter weather called for a deep shade, cue 'Victoria' by Nails Inc.:

Although I absolutely love the black cherry shade, application is messy.  I normally get a few splodges around the edges of my nails, but golly.  This stuff got everywhere.  It's really runny and thin, and the brush just isn't up to par with the price tag.  As you can see on my index finger, it's already chipped on the corner, and the same for a few nails on my other hand too.  With a base, two coats and a top coat, chipping should be days away.. Not on the night of application!  Needless to say, I don't think I'll be purchasing any more Nails Inc. polishes any time soon.  The colour is lovely, but application and quality don't justify £11 a bottle!  For that price I'll stick with OPI, models own and Rimmel.  With competitors the same price and cheaper with better quality and value overall, I really can't see how Nails Inc. are worth it.. 


Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Winter wonderland?

I think not!

It's not news that winter weather takes its toll on our skin; the harsh temperatures and biting winds seem to affect our skin under layers of clothing, which means our exposed face and hands are especially damaged.  For some reason I've noticed my skin has become particularly upset this winter; it's not been worse than others, since last year for me was snow-covered for weeks!  Maybe my skin has been reflecting my mood too?  I can't say being tight as a knot with stress has been good for my mind, and I'm a firm believer that mind and body are more intrinsically linked than people realise.  Either way, my unhealthy mind and the 'fresh' weather (yes, that's what we say up North when the rest of the country is thinking 'freeezing'!) has ruined my face.  My lips were the first to go..  In autumn I faced dry lips; as winter approached I faced mild chapped lips and by Christmas they had split at both sides of my mouth.  Agony.

I used to swear by Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm in original, but at £3.70ish I cannot justify it since I go through a tube in no time!  Chapsticks aren't my friend, they do nothing.  Carmex, as much as I love it, didn't do much either.  Vaseline is a no-go for me since it doesn't help at all.  My new favourite is Blistex Intensive Repair, and at Asda right now it's on offer for £1.79.  Bargain!

Now this stuff really is the bees knees!  It's quite thick and creamy, but frankly I couldn't give a toss about having white-tinted lips if it means they're protected and feeling healthy.  Thanks to this my lips are becoming normal once again!  This magical lip moisturiser is so much better than a 'lip balm', the difference being that this is a moisturiser.  It's packed with shea butter to moisturise, camphor to sooth them, and then allantion to protect the skin.  It works on so many levels, from repairing lips to protecting them; in my opinion this beats a balm any day.  I've also been using a Superdrug's Lip & Cold Sore Cream which heals everything, and compliments Blistex Intensive Moisturiser really well, but unfortunately it was my Dad's so I couldn't bring it with me!  I will try and pick up a tube when I'm next in the city, but for now I can't link it as it's not on their website.  Prepare for another lip product review..


Monday, 16 January 2012

Catching up..

This week has been incredibly hectic.  I've never had to write so many words in one essay, nor stressed over an essay so much.  I've barely eaten what can be considered a meal in days (apparently Mini Cheddars, pears and chocolate digestives don't count?) and generally been a crazy lady.  I've not done my hair, worn make-up or put my contact lenses in.  It's amazing how being stressed and busy can turn someone into a hermit so quickly!  I even went a little nuts and ordered every single damn book of the Sookie Stackhouse series (that's 1 to 11..) by Charlaine Harris, as I decided half way through panicking over my work that I needed every single one.  This is not to mention that I've got 1-3 on my Kindle and my best friend lend me 4-8.. and I read 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8 in four-and-a-bit days whilst writing thousands of words for uni.  Like I said, turned crazy.

So tonight is all about relaxing, Yankee Candles and maybe even a face mask.  Oh, and my reading for tomorrow's three hour seminar, of course!  Wonderful!

1,  Dinner?..  2, A puzzle box that's baffling me  3,  Black Cherry, Christmas Cookie and a load of Sookie Stackhouse .

And to add to the beginning of a stressful week my face is sore and red.  Moisturiser should not sting, right!? Dear, oh dear..


Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Fish in fashion?

High street retailers seem to think so.

Only very recently The Telegraph ran a story on an M&S handbag which smelt very fishy.  I have news for you; it's not a new problem.  Back when I was in sixth form, so around 4 years ago, I purchased a gorgeous bag from Miso in Republic.  The bag cost me around £35, so it wasn't particularly cheap!  After a few days, I noticed a fishy smell emanating from the bag; it was vile.  I sprayed it with perfume, Oust spray, hung it out on the washing line inside out.. Everything I could think of - but the smell would just not go away.  In fact, it was getting worse.  In lessons I'd open my bag and everyone could smell it, and started asking who had fish for lunch.  Cue intense embarrassment when I knew it was my sodding bag!  It began smelling like really old, rotting fish; I decided to return to Republic, handbag in tow.  The shop assistant opened the carrier bag, the smell came out, she gagged and called for the manager because she couldn't even look at it without vomming.  That's how bad it was.  The manager went to check other bags on the shop floor, and even in the stock room, to check I hadn't just popped a sneaky haddock in there.  They all stunk; he was in disbelief and gave me my money back.

I thought this was an isolated incident, although I was very careful afterwards every time I purchased a bag.  I'd meticulously sniff the inside for traces of fish.. Some had a whiff, I put them back on the shelf.  For a while, however, I've not come across any fishy products, so I thought maybe retailers had cottoned on to the manufacturing problem - whether it's the plastic, the glue, the dye.. who knows?  I presumed my bag had been trapped in transit with fish it was so horrific to the nostrils.

How ready I wasn't when I purchased a p-leather jacket from New Look over Christmas.  I'd gotten a gift card and thought I'd treat myself; treat myself to fish, apparently.  This is the jacket:

Very unassuming, isn't it?  Don't be fooled.  The jacket retailed at £35, so I expected a certain decent level of quality.  I've washed it (according to instructions), sprayed it with Oust and hoped for the best.  It still smells fishy in the arms, although it's faded in the body.  Do I return it?  Or hope the smell will fade?  I did wonder if it was just my particular sense of smell, but no, when I wore it the smell heated up and got worse. I got my family members to check and they certainly sensed the whiff.  

I just think it's highly disappointing that retailers have such lax quality control.  Anyone can tell these items smell!  I did wonder if it was something I was doing to the products that means the smell gets worse, but judging by the article from The Telegraph, it's not just me.  It intensely embarrassing to smell fishy, especially someone like me who is so meticulous over cleanliness and hygiene!  Bags are passable, since they're external to your body.. Jackets, however, are wrapped around you.  There's no mistaking where that smell is coming from!

What's next, a haddock line of handbags?  Pollock purses?  Sardine shoes?
Should retailers be pushed to pick better manufacturing products and methods?  And why hasn't this issue been more prominent?  Because if the media have noticed, it's not exactly 'under the radar'...

Fishy love,

Monday, 9 January 2012

Leather and a face

As I mentioned a while ago I bought a chocolate brown leather jacket from the Next sales over new year.  It was very kind of my boyfriend's mum to pay for half for my Christmas present, so I only technically paid £30 for it!  I'm super made up; I love leather jackets, so to finally have an actual leather one.. I'm in love!  I've worn it tonight out for a meal with my best friend.  I live so far away from home that I hardly ever see her, cue sad face!  So when I do get to see her a like to make an effort.  Tonight was a beautiful Chinese meal, filled with gossip, catching up and general giggles.

I never bother doing a FOTD because I'm not exactly amazing at make-up, but I thought since I put so much effort in today I'd show you.  The eyes are all from UD's Naked Palette and Collection 2000 Big Fake Mascara, and face is Witch primer, Max Factor Xperience foundation and ELF's Natural Radiance blusher.

And here's the Next leather jacket..
It's kind of a 'paper bag' effect leather, with big cuffs on the wrists and the bottom, and the hood has a big fold which gives it a bit of a funnel neck when zipped up.

I love love love this jacket.  I wear it out every day.  If you can find one left in a Next store, bag yourself a bargain!  £65 from £135 is incredible value.

If you want a review of the make-up products just let me know.  I might review some when I feel like it at a later date though!


Friday, 6 January 2012

Britney - Fantasy: Review

Now I know Britney's Fantasy is not a new perfume by any stretch of the imagination; it was however, a new one to me until I purchased it in the Boots' Boxing Day sale!  I had heard the reputation of Britney's perfumes around the internet and by word of mouth, so at about £10 for a box set, I thought 'why not!?'  Britney is one of the few celebrities who have managed to bring out a successful perfume line, and to me, that's more than just one or two fragrances!  Britney incredibly boasts many, which seem to be popular with mainly girls, teens and young women with their fruity, light fragrances and more than popular price tags.

I think it's quite obvious that Britney is more than aware of her target audience with the whole design and feel of her products - especially Fantasy - with it's Fairytale-esque bottle covered in sparkles.  So, so perfect.  And the smell, my God.  I'm hooked.  I was looking for a cheap, everyday perfume which would keep me smelling lovely for the day.  This does the job, and more.  To me, it smells fruity, floral, vanilla-ry and light; perfect!  Unknown to me, the back of the tubes state that the Britney range is actually licensed to Elizabeth Arden - who knew!?  So no wonder the fragrances are so high quality.  I actually realised that on the tiny print on the bottle, so tiny, I could barely read, let alone photograph, that the perfume is EDP, not EDT.  The likes of my Coco Chanel Mademoiselle sport the EDP tag with glee, so to find Britney's perfumes do too with a bargain price tag is incredible.  The perfume literally stays on my skin until I shower, it's so powerful.

Elizabeth Arden, see?
The Perfume Shop will do the scents for me, because I'm rubbish, I just say 'smells nice', which is no help!

Heart notes - Jasmine Petals, White Chocolate Orchid
Top notes - Red Lychee, Golden Quince, Kiwi
Base notes - Musk, Orris Root, Sensual Woods
Scent - Floral 
Feel - Charismatic, Enchanting, Seductive

In fact, The Perfume Shop is still retailing the gift set I bought from Boots at £9.99 which is an absolute steal! 30ml perfume and 2x 50ml tubes which smell just as good? I might buy another!  So there you have it, Britney isn't only a goddess of the music business.. In fact, I think I prefer her perfume!


Wednesday, 4 January 2012

Clarins Skin Spa

I was a very lucky lady this week, not only did I get go spend a lovely relaxed week with my boyfriend, but also got spoiled with a complimentary treatment at the Clarins Skin Spa! Of course, an offer of a complimentary facial was an offer I could not refuse!  I'm not sure if I've outlined before, but my skin is typical combination skin; I have a super oily forehead, nose and chin, with dry cheeks that are prone to acne.  Not the most attractive, nor particularly easy-to-manage skin!  My consultant was the lovely Olivia, who was knowledgeable, pleasant and gave an incredible massage ;).

My treatment consisted of first a consultation about my skin type and the programme of treatments I was going to have; then the exciting bit started!  I was told to remove jewellery and garments to my waist (but to keep my underwear on) so she could access my shoulders, neck and arms, and to get in the 'bed' they have.  I was given a cooling eye compress whilst she cleansed my hands and feet with warm towels, and I was then given an alternation of facial masks and treatments, with a massage.  The intention with my face was to draw out any impurities and clarify my skin, and the massaging would drain the toxins, reduce puffiness and drain the lymph nodes too.  Whilst my face was being treated, I was also given exfoliation to my hands and feet, along with massages to my head, my neck and shoulders, my hands and arms, and feet.  It was genuinely the most wonderful experience I've had!  Headaches/tensions just drifted away; I even began to slip consciousness near the end I was so relaxed.  I can genuinely say I was, and still am, hugely impressed.

I'm not completely certain of the products that were used, since there were so many!  But there were cleansers, masks, oils, exfoliators, moisturisers... and coupled with a lovely lady who can really work a massage it's to die for.  There's definitely something really special about the Clarins Spa treatments; there's a magical connection between the client, the products and the consultant.  As a client, your senses come alive with the use of touch and smell that you experience.  Lots of the products used are warmed up, which not only makes them feel amazing when applied to your skin, but it also brings the essential oils alive.  The consultant is an expert, of course, in knowing how to use the products in certain ways to enhance your experience as a client.  The mixture of the feeling of the products, the massaging and the smells was incredible, and something I've never experienced before.  And I loved it!

What's also seriously lovely is that you get a little bag of sample products to take home and try.  It's almost like the caring side of the Spa doesn't just stop when you leave.  Here's what I received:

Apologies for the battered boxes, I told you my suitcase was crammed!

All the products are trial size

I also should say that Olivia informed me that any spots I may have coming would be brought out.. I didn't realise this would be within a few hours!  But since they've erupted (what a disgusting word!) my cheeks are looking a lot clearer and healthier.. as for the rest of my face?  It's clear, healthy and glowing.  I'm starting to think that maybe I should start investing in seriously intensive skin care in addition to my daily routine, because 1) there's nothing like getting pampered, and 2) my skin looks so much better for it!

I'd highly, highly recommend the Clarins Skin Spa; everything was just wonderful.  It's worth every penny.. although my treatment was complimentary, I would genuinely pay for the relaxation, pampering and for my skin to look this good on a regular basis!


Monday, 2 January 2012

And 2012 begins..

Sorry things have been a little quiet around here!  I'm still visiting my boyfriend in London so I've got a serious lack of products with me (my tiny suitcase could barely accommodate my clothes and skincare essentials, let alone extras!), and with his slow internet it's even more difficult to update TBS..  So apart from wishing I could be blogging, I've been keeping myself busy with eating, shopping, reading endless amounts on my Kindle and spending new year gazing at the London Eye fireworks!

Here's a few photos from the past couple of days:

The London Eye looking pretty from Westminster Bridge!
A cupcake shop in Kingston-Upon-Thames.
Check out the size of these bad boys!  My boyfriend is a real sucker for desserts, sadly he didn't buy one quite this massive..
I've also bought a replacement mascara (Collection 2000 Big Fake False Lash Effect if you wanted to know), some more Liz Earle muslin face cloths because you can never have enough, and some The Body Shop Seaweed Mattifying Day Cream to try and combat my excessively oily skin.  I will let you know how I get on with this after a bit of useage, as I don't think I could give you a decent review.  If you are interested though, The Body Shop is running a couple of promotions, there's a sale on Christmas stock, and 'buy one half price' on skincare, fragrance and make up.. After much deliberation I bought two pots of day cream, as there was nothing else I wanted after my Christmas haul of goodies.  Much to my surprise, I checked the receipt afterwards and realised there's a voucher on the bottom for £10 off when I spend £25 between 14th January and 21st February, which is wonderful as well.  If you want to know more about The Body Shop promotions that are running, here's a useful link to their website which lists them all: click here.

Before I end this post, I have to tell you about my super duper bargain of .. ever.  I don't have a photo as of yet, but I picked up a chocolate brown leather biker-style jacket from Next reduced from £135 to £65.  I know.  I couldn't not buy it!  Once I'm home on Wednesday I'll try and get a photo to show you how much of a bargain I found!  It has been the only item of clothing I've got in the Christmas sale, so you know how much I must love it.. It's been worn every day since I purchased!

I hope you've all had a wonderful new year and have enjoyed yourselves!