Wednesday, 23 November 2011

I think we've well established by now that I am a BIG FAN of nail art and nail painting in general. On the rare occasions when my nails are naked, I think they just look so boring and I'm desperate to re-paint them again. I've realised that even though it can be frustrating and time-consuming, I actually really like the process of painting nails; selecting a colour, wiping off the brush, placing it against your cuticle and making that first stroke... oooh that's my idea of fun!
Anyway, I think I've mentioned it before but I'm getting a bit sick of the same old nail art designs - leopard print, polka dot - and have chosen to go for a plain nail a lot more frequently. I thought I'd share some images of my recent nail escapades...

If you read this post, you'll know that I had the Shellac treatment at the Spa where I'm currently interning. The manicure is supposed to last for two weeks without chipping. I didn't make it to two weeks, mainly because a) I didn't like the amount of re-growth that was showing - the picture above was after nine days and although I loved the colour, I hated having that big chunk of bare nail at the bottom. b) I'd just bought the new issue of Glamour magazine that came with a free Nails Inc polish and I couldn't wait to try it out. You're supposed to have Shellac removed in a salon with proper CND nail wraps, but I did it myself using this guide and it was fine, albeit a bit messy. (the polish flakes off into lots of little pieces, which go EVERYWHERE)

Nails Inc polish in Victoria (free with Glamour Magazine). This is the polish I couldn't wait to wear. I'm LOVING dark reds at the moment, I think they're perfect for Autumn and very flattering. It's difficult to get a nice even finish with this polish; as you can probably see, some nails look darker than others. Still a lovely colour though.

Barry M Nail Effects in 314 Pink, Models Own x WAH Nails Smash Up Silver
and Models Own Black Magic

Had a bit of a play with my two crackle polishes, but didn't like this effect at all and took it off pretty much straight away. I tried layering the pink over the silver, expecting them to crackle in different ways, but actually it just cracked in all the same places. I change my mind about the crackle effect all the time; sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it; I think it depends what colours you use The black base I used here made it look a bit too grungey for me, which I'm not a fan of.

Nail Polish by H&M in U Must Have This, 17 Lasting Fix Nail Polish in Tropical Island, Collection 2000 Hot Looks in Spangles, GOSH Special Edition Nail Lacquer in Lavender Love and Barry M Nail Paint in 317 Blue Moon

I had a bit a of 'shopping the stash' moment (if you're not familiar with this term, it's a blogger way of saying going back through your makeup collection and re-discovering some old faves) and found loads of polishes that I'd not worn for a while. Only problem was I couldn't decide on a colour to wear!

Chanel Nail Colour in 505 Particuliere, Models Own Purple Grey, Models Own Red Red Wine, Nail Polish by H&M in Blue My Mind and ASOS Paint by Ciate in Lily.

Right hand. I eventually settled on a combination of the blue (H&M Blue My Mind) and red (Models Own Red Red Wine), which I think go really well together.

I then saw this image on the WAH Nails blog and had to give it a go; which resulted in this...

Nowhere near as good. I just can't master tribal print designs! Even though they're quite simple - dots, stripes, zig zags etc - they have to be very precise for them to look good. I'm good at doing stuff like leopard print because you can get away with being a bit messy with it. Anyone have any tips for getting these designs nice and neat?!

So that's how my nails have been looking over the past couple of weeks. I'm currently sporting the red from the image above with glittery tips (Models Own Juicy Jules), which I'm sure I'll photograph at some point.

What nail looks are you currently loving? Got any ideas for easy but striking nail art designs? Am I the only one whose hands get tired posing for nail photos?

War paint against Mediocrity

Monday, 21 November 2011

If you watched my most recent video, you will have seen me talking about the new Illamasqua store that's just opened in Liverpool. I was lucky enough to be invited to the launch event for the store and had a lovely evening that mainly consisted of playing with some of the most beautiful products I've ever seen.

I have been aware of Illamasqua for a while, mostly from reading about it on blogs. It's only been around for the past three years so it's still a relatively new brand, but it has become well known in the beauty community as a brand that takes risks, both with the products it releases (green lipgloss anyone?) and the incredibly beautiful, theatrical images it uses when publicising new collections. In the words of M&S, this is no ordinary makeup brand! It's a brand that embraces being different, standing out in a crowd, putting as much colour and sparkly stuff on your face as is physically possible and being bloody fabulous. This is a brand that has been missing from Liverpool for far too long.

The event took place in the new Illamasqua store (which, if you're from Liverpool, is in the Met Quarter) and was a super-glamourous evening featuring flamboyant performers, yummy cocktails and fabulous free lash and lip treatments. I was excited to meet fellow Scouse blogger, Lucy, of Lalalucy, as I've been reading her blog for a while now and it meant I wasn't just wandering around on my lonesome all evening!

Oh so many pretty colours...

The store is absolutely packed full of gorgeous things to look at; I was like a child in a sweetshop! Lucy and I spent a lot of our time just moving from product to product, sticking our fingers into pots of sparkly things and going "oooh!" The lovely Illamasqua team were constantly on hand to demonstrate all of the different products and explain more about the brand. After practically drooling over the amazing display of lashes, we were treated to a lash application of our choice and Lucy and I, being serious magpies, went for the gorgeous Decadence lashes, which are decorated in tiny little crystals.

Lucy and I with our amazing lashes!

Also, did I mention that ALEX BOX was there?! Argh! For some reason I didn't expect her to be there, so when I saw her in the store, all green and fabulous, I got a bit star-struck. Also there was the MD, Joseph Corré, (Vivienne Westwood's son - seriously, how awesome is this brand?!). Both Joseph and Alex just looked far too cool for me to actually go up and speak to, but I did shoot a few awe-filled glances their way, which I'm sure they appreciated and weren't freaked out by at all...

After a quick speech from Alex, thanking everyone for attending, (any time Alex, any time) there was a performance by La Fleur Mecanique, which was basically a very beautifully made up lady dancing inside a big mechanical flower; very intriguing! This was to celebrate the launch of Illamasqua's new perfume, Freak, which has definitely made my Christmas list (the bottle has a SNAIL on it!).

Myself, Lucy and Hayley, who looked after us all night.

What a fab evening! As we were about to leave, we were given ridiculously good gift bags - I would have been happy with just my sparkly lashes! Here's what was inside...

Bronzing Duo in Glint & Writhe, Illumine Oil in Pulse and Intense Lipgloss in Femme

Lashes in 017 and Decadence (these are the ones I had on at the event - they're reusable so I was given the box to keep them in once I'd taken them off. LOOK HOW SPARKLY!)

I can now officially say I am in love with this brand. I was so impressed, I went back to the store the following Saturday for a 'transformation' (makeover). Will probably do a separate post on that soon (I bought something amazing). I now have a list as long as my arm, of products that I desperately need in my life!

What do you think of Illamasqua? Got any products to recommend? Are you jealous of my lashes? You should be ;)

All photos courtesy of the Illamasqua Facebook page, apart from the one of me and Lucy and the ones of my goodie bag, which are my handiwork.

"The prettier the flower, the farther from the path"

Monday, 14 November 2011

Bonjour my little chickens! How are you all? Good weekend? I certainly hope so! This weekend I mainly did a lot of eating (surprise surprise), some singing and dancing (at Into The Woods rehearsals) and plenty of snuggling up with Joe watching stuff on 4OD/BBC iPlayer. Now that the nights are getting darker so much earlier and it's SO DAMN COLD there is literally nothing better than a good snuggle I say!

So this is my November Love/Hate post, I've completely given up trying to come up with monthly pun titles, my brain just isn't as good as it used to be...

I'm currently loving;

Hollyoaks. I'm not even embarassed to admit this. Yes, it's mainly just a lot of stupidly pretty people whose acting skills leave A LOT to be desired but OHMYGOD how good was the Halloween episode?! The whole Silas-is-a-serial-killer storyline went on for way too long, but by golly they did end it very well. If you don't watch it, you won't have a clue what I'm talking about, but in a nutshell; there was an old man called Silas, who was secretly a serial killer and on Halloween he accidentally killed HIS OWN DAUGHTER because he thought she was Lyndsey because they were both wearing the same Halloween costume!!! Dun dun dun!

ANTM. Season 17 of America's Next Top Model (yes, that's right, there have been SEVENTEEN seasons of this show and it only started in 2003) is absolutely brilliant. Basically, Tyra "I'm literally completely mad" Banks has brought back contestants from all the previous seasons and is forcing them to take part in just the most ridiculously bizarre tasks ever. The best one was when all of the models had to write a song about themselves and then Tyra told them they also had to incorporate the lyrics "Pot Ledom, that's Top Model backwards" into their songs. Just... so very mad and so very wonderful.

Glamour magazine freebies. Even though it meant having to buy a magazine with Old Misery Face on the cover (I don't know why she irritates me so much, but she really does), I managed to get hold of a free Nails Inc polish. There are four to collect; Picadilly Circus - a dark plum, Basil Street - a nude beige, Tate - a dark red and Victoria - a red/black (oxblood?) which is the one I got. I LOVE FREEBIES!

A blast from the past. I spotted these in Poundland last week and couldn't resist. Please don't think I'm some kind of baking heathen (I know how bloggers are supposed to be excellent bakers, but quite frankly, I'm just not) but these reminded me of when I was little and used to go to my Nan's house every Saturday. She'd buy My Little Pony cupcake kits and I remember how amazed I was the first time she explained that the little stickers you decorated the cakes with were made of rice paper. Paper you can eat. PAPER YOU CAN EAT!

Beyonce's new video. How flippin' gorgeous is this woman?! I think the styling for this video, and the makeup in particular, is just stunning. Apparently everything she's wearing in the video is from American Apparel, so if you wanted to recreate the video, look for look, you literally could do that. Not that that wouldn't be a weird thing to do, but if you wanted to, you could do it.

I'm currently hating;

My hair. I feel like I desperately need a new 'do, but I'm so darn indecisive. It's a tricky one because it's naturally curly, which limits what styles would really work (for example, I can't have a fringe because I'd either have to straighten it every day, or clip it back, which kind of defeats the point). Also, I don't really want to lose much of the length, because I like that when it's straight, it reaches really quite far down my back. I'm also a bit scared of hair dye, because once you start dying, you can't really stop. Basically, I need a style that works for long, naturally curly hair, that can be worn straight or curly and doesn't require much maintaining at all. Does anyone have the answer? No? Right, I'm off to buy a selection of wigs instead...

POTM - October

Monday, 7 November 2011

Believe it or not, it's actually a whole year since I did my first ever Products of the Month video! Doesn't time fly when you're having a laugh?! This month's video is a bit of a short one as I really haven't bought much new stuff of late. Also, I don't understand why the quality doesn't look as good in this video as it has done in previous ones. I swear, technology is trying to slowly kill my soul...

Products featured;

Right, off to catch up on last night's TOWIE. Apparently it's a dramatic one. Has anyone heard about the Liverpool version, Desperate Scousewives? I'm preparing myself for a whole world of cringe...


Friday, 4 November 2011

So this is a post I've been meaning to do since about 1986...

Way back in August, the very gorgeous Dani, of polkadani, had a giveaway on her blog. And you know what? I flippin' won it! I never ever win blog giveaways so it was a really lovely surprise when an email landed in my inbox informing me that I was the lucky winner! The prize was a really gorgeous pocket watch pendant from Urban Outfitters and a MeMeMe lip and cheek tint.

Winning. Now I know what it feels like to be Charlie Sheen...

If you're not familiar with MeMeMe, it's a brand that's quite Benefit-esque (but much cheaper) and is available in Superdrug. I've used one of their blushers before (which I reviewed ages ago here) but had never tried the tints so was excited to give one a go. Dani was actually kind enough to let me choose which tint I'd like as MeMeMe do two different ones; Pussy Cat, which is a dupe for BeneTint and Poppy Tint, which, you've guessed it, is a dupe for Posie Tint. As I've been LOVING the mini Posie Tint I got with Glamour magazine a while back, I went for Poppy Tint and have been really impressed with it. I'll be honest, I tried to photograph some swatches of it alongside Posie Tint, just to show how similar the two are, but my camera was having none of it and I just gave up out of sheer frustration. I do however, now have two lovely pink smudges on my hand which will not budge. Excellent.

Here's a close up of my pendant, it's so pretty and ornate! I've worn it loads since I got it; I'm really enjoying clicking the little button at the top to make the door open to check the time! It makes me feel like a Victorian gentleman. I just need a monacle now...

So a very belated THANK YOU to Dani for my prizes - I love them both!

Have you tried any MeMeMe products? What did you think? Also, should I get a monacle???


Thursday, 3 November 2011

So, I have had yet another ridiculously long blogging absence, even though I'd promised after the shambolic effort I'd put in in September, that October would be much better. In actual fact it was worse. I. AM. CRAP.

Ah well, I think we all go through these good blogger/bad blogger phases - sometimes, for a variety of reasons, you just don't manage to get down with the blogosphere like you should. Anyway, I'm back now, with absolutely bloody loads of posts planned, so let's forget about the past and move on.

I'm currently doing an internship at a beauty spa in Liverpool, which I'm loving; it's exactly the sort of thing I want to be doing as a career - online marketing, PR, social media etc but specifically in the beauty industry. Anyway, I've had a few complimentary treatments since I've been there (hot stone massage is A.MAZ.ING) and this week I decided to try out a Shellac manicure. If you've not heard of it before, Shellac is a nail system that lasts for up to two weeks without chipping. It's produced by CND who do lots of lovely nail products and are used by salons worldwide. Shellac is applied like a normal nail varnish; there's a base coat, then the colour, then a top coat, however, the difference is that each time a layer of the product is applied to your nails, you put your hand into a special UV lamp which sets the product, making it completely chip-resistant.

If you're a regular reader of my blog, you'll know that I change my nails quite frequently - I must have a very short attention span as I tend to get bored with the same colour after a few days, so while I thought that Shellac was a good idea, I didn't really think I could hack having the same colour on my nails for two weeks. Recently though, I've been getting so sick of my nails chipping really quickly - I think it's down to the Sally Hansen topcoat I'm using (it's rubbish), so I thought I might as well bite the bullet and try Shellac. Also, I went to an Illamasqua event last night (I'll do a separate post on that at some point over the next week), so I wanted to make sure my nails were looking lovely for that.

I had my nails done on Tuesday evening and it probably took around 35/40 minutes. The other great thing about a Shellac manicure is that there's no drying time; normally once your nails have been freshly painted you have that really annoying period afterwards where you can't touch anything or they'll smudge. With Shellac there's no waiting around at all - the product is applied, treated with the UV lamp and you're ready to go. AMAZING!

As it's still a relatively new product , there's only about thirty colours in the range at the moment and most of those are reds and pinks, however, six new, edgier colours have been released recently, including a turquoise and a slate grey. I decided to go for one of the new colours, Purple Purple, as I loved the shimmer running through it and thought it was the perfect unusual shade for the Illamasqua event.

Purple Purple - sooo pretty!

It's been two days since it was applied and so far there's absolutely no sign of chipping and my nails still look as glossy and perfect as they did on Tuesday. So far so good! I'll keep you posted on how long this lasts (and whether I manage to stick with it for the next two weeks without getting bored...)
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