Thursday, 30 June 2011

Review: Batiste Dry Shampoo.

I woke up today with a bad hair day- because I have very fine, blonde hair, it is very noticeable when my hair is greasy; it looks darker and hangs limp- definitely not my best look... but fortunately my trusty Batiste was there to rescue me from the kind of grumpy mood brought on by having rubbish hair. With the festival season well and truly upon us, I thought I'd share my enthusiasm for what I think is a camping (and everyday) essential.

If you've been living under a rock for several years, Batiste is an aerosolised dry shampoo which promises to 'revitalise greasy, dull and lifeless hair between washes' and to 'instantly leave hair feeling clean, full of body and smelling beautiful', and I have to say I think it really does live up to those claims.

Batiste in Tropical and Blush.

To use just spray the product into your roots; then massage it in and brush out your hair- it's very simple and easy to use whilst camping (which I can definitely vouch for- I've used it in tents many times) and on the go. The spray nozzle is good as it produces a fine, precisely directed mist- just what you need for an even coverage exactly where you want it.

I find that a little product goes a long way, and only a couple of sprays are needed to deal with greasiness at my roots, and add extra volume to my hair to counteract the limp appearance, so even a 50ml bottle will last a long time. I often use Batiste to help style my hair (my hair is very fine so it hates being 'told what to do' and won't stay up or in curls for long without serious help) as it adds texture- particularly useful when you have clean hair.

Batiste comes in lots of different scents- my personal favourite is Tropical, but there is also Original, Blush, Diva, Boho as well as Fresh and Brit (marketed as unisex fragrances), Gold and Silver Shimmer, and coloured sprays (Light, Medium and Dark) which are supposed to eliminate the white powdery colour that can be left on your hair. Nude is a powder in a squeezey tube- the eco-friendly choice; no aerosol, natural ingredients etc. I'd like to try this to see if the powder will be as effective as the spray (let me know if you've tried it) I'm also looking forward to trying XXL volume, which sounds perfect for my hair type, and is due to hit shelves any time soon :)

You can get Batiste in 50 or 150ml bottles, for between £1.50 and £3.50 (depending on fragrance and size) from Boots, Superdrug and most supermarkets. In my opinion they are a MUST HAVE product, they are great for between washes, as well as adding volume and texture- and you certainly can't fault the price

What are your thoughts on dry shampoos? Do you rely on them as much as I do?


Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Nail of the Day: A mad colour combination with crackles!

I've been wanting to try out some different colour combinations with my shatter polishes for a long time- and today I finally got around to it. I have the Barry M Instant Nail Effects in three colours; Black Magic (311) Pink Fizz (314) and Blue Print (315), and I chose 10 different (mostly pastel) shades to go underneath.

Left hand (little finger-- thumb) Models Own Grey Day, Models Own Lemon Meringue, Primark Glo Baby Glo Cornflour, Models Own Fuzzy Peach, XOX (random Australian brand) no. 08

Left hand

I think my favorite nail on this hand is the orange with blue crackle; because they are complementary colours it really stands out. The yellow and blue looks pretty good too (it's brighter in real life).

Right hand (thumb--little finger) Models Own Feeling Blue, e.l.f. Punk Purple, e.l.f. Mint Cream, Barry M Indigo, Models Own Pastel Pink.

Right hand
I really really love the Mint Cream with blue crackle- it's a great summery combination :) Ironically the Barry M Indigo colour really doesn't work well with the crackle polishes, it somehow washes out the colour and it looks all patchy now. The thumb colours also look great- I like blue and pink together.

I'm not sure I'll ever do wacky nails like this again- I quite like my nails to be matching, but it was fun and I got some compliments (albeit from 10 year olds...) plus it gave me some good ideas about which colour combinations work well together :)

Whats the oddest thing you've ever done on your nails?


Tuesday, 28 June 2011

DIY Lip Scrub (a Lush Bubblegum lip scrub dupe)

As I said in my recent currently loving post I've had really dry, chapped lips this week. After borrowing my sisters Lush Bubblegum Lip Scrub a few times (it works very well at removing dry flaky skin) I thought I'd take a proper look at the ingredients and I was very shocked at the list: Caster sugar, Jojoba oil, flavour and colourings.

So basically, Lush are charging £4.75 for 25g of sugar and jojoba oil... erm... rip-off anyone? I decided I could make my own just as well, and for just a teeny tiny fraction of the price.

After a couple of attempts I came up with a very simple 'recipe' using caster sugar, walnut oil and almond extract (and some food colouring, but that was mainly to satisfy a curiosity; I wanted to match the colour of the Lush scrub)

Start off with 3 heaped teaspoons of caster sugar, then add 1 1/2 teaspoons of walnut oil. I chose walnut oil because of it's nutty, sweet scent and flavour (you could use any other oil if you prefer, I think it would work just as well)

Then I added about 3 drops of almond extract (be careful not to add too much, extracts can taste awful in larger quantities) again, other extracts will probably work just as well- pick whatever taste you like best :) And mix it all together until the sugar and oils are combined (the sugar will start to become translucent, and it'll get kind of crumbly).

I added a few drops of pink food colouring to try and colour match the Lush scrub and look! Practically identical in texture and colour!
Lush, and the DIY

I put my scrub into a little pot (this is an old carmex pot) and the leftovers in a Tupperware for storage (I made 3 batches in total, so I had quite a bit)

DIY and Lush

I worked out the pricing for my recipe, and it comes to approximately 20p for 30g; and although the packaging isn't as pretty, and it doesn't smell as sweet and bubblegummy, there's a £4.50 price difference and it scrubs my lips just as well (the textures really are EXACTLY the same) = TOTAL BARGAIN! :)

I really cannot rave about this enough, it's so nice to be able to scrub away the flakey patches, and leave them nice and smooth for lip products- without the crazy price tag!

If you are a fan of the Lush lip scrubs (or if you're not, but you'd like one) I really really recommend you try this out. Let me know if you do, I'd love to hear about it :)


Currently loving (and loathing) ...

First of all, I am LOVING the weather at the moment- I'm not comfortable wearing just a vest top for the first time in months! I'm definitely a hot weather person- I'd probably be happy living in the Sahara, I hate winter and I am always cold so I'm really glad summer is (sort of) here, though I am painfully aware it'll probably disappear again very soon, I'm enjoying it while it lasts.

Can you spot my camera?
 Make up-wise I've been keeping it simple, since I got my cream eyeliner I haven't touched my pencil liners. My new go-to combination is Coffee Cream Eyeliner, 17 Lash Defining Mascara (review here) in black/brown, with the e.l.f. Natural Radiance Blusher in Shy- a wonderful pastel pink colour. I think the under eye concealer and my eyelash curlers should really go without saying- they are a constant staple, and  I use them even if I have no other make up on. And if I'm feeling more adventurous I like the silvery grey shade in the Silver Lining Brightening Eye Colour quad (It's the shadow with the huge chunk taken out- you can tell I love it!) which is great for all over my lid.

Carmex has been a bit of a life-saver this week, I've had very dry, chapped lips (so bad, I've resorted to making my own lip scrub- I'll post a 'recipe' soon) and it is brilliant- it really moisturises my lips, and lasts a long time :)

I got this from the library a couple of weeks ago, and sort of forgot about it- now I've started reading it I can't put it down. Sophie Kinsella (who also writes under the pen name Madeline Wickham) is a great author- her books (I think I've read most of them now) are funny and very easy to read, it's certainly not classic literature, but they're perfect for some escapism- great holiday reads- and I really like the strong female characters she writes.

 e.l.f. - they've surprised me again with another amazing deal (50% orders over £25 until tomorrow at noon, the facebook page has more details) and sucked me into ordering (it would be rude not too really...) Despite having some stock issues I got lots of things I wanted (I'm sure you;ll see a haul sometime soon!) but I'm quite disappointed in a lot of facebook fans; how could you complain when you're getting 50% off, and still getting the fantastic customer service and speedy shipped e.l.f. has- there was someone on facebook answering questions and dealing with questions until well after 10pm last night = e.l.f I love you :)

My banana 'ice cream', there's a large tub of it in the freezer, and I'm contemplating eating some right now (even though it's not far off lunch time)

And finally, my hamster, Nibbles (so named because she had chewed her way through her travel box on the way home from the pet shop- a 10 minute car journey- and will nibble on absolutely anything- I have several tiny holes in my clothes thanks to her...) She is alway amusing, and shes super-soft and fluffy at the moment. I know this picture is blurry but she wont stay still- isn't she cute?

Nibbles :)

Currently loathing...

Waiting for packages- I'm very impatient!!! I'm looking forward to a Body Shop and an e.l.f. package, and even though I know they're not due yet, I'm like a child waiting for Christmas! I excitedly answered the door today (expecting a delivery) only to find a pair of Jehovah's Witnesses brandishing leaflets :(

The complete lack of interesting TV programmes, everything I watch has finished- no Doctor Who, Glee, CSI, House, Greys Anatomy... the list goes on... I'm working my way through Castle episodes online instead, it's brilliant- I recommend it if you like CSI/ Law and Order type programmes.

Monday, 27 June 2011

My nail art tool collection.

I love doing nail art- I'm terrible at drawing, but I do like to be creative so I love having tools to help me make pretty patterns on my nails without having to draw/ paint them myself!

Dotting tools are great because you can make simple designs with dots and flowers (and probably lots of other things I haven't thought of yet) very easily. You can use old ballpoint pens or anything else with a rounded tip if you don't want to purchase specific tool. I got mine from ebay (search for nail art dotting tools) for about £1.50, and as you can see each of the 10 points is a different size, which is great for creating a range of dot sizes.

I also have these lovely sparkly rhinestones, there are 1800 rhinestones in the disk package (I really like the packaging, it makes storage and getting at the individual colours very easy) I got them from ebay for about £2.30 and they're great for adding some bling to a design :)

I love love love my nail stampers, they are very easy to use (there are tutorials all over youtube) and are relatively cheap to get hold of. I got my stamper and scraper set for about £1.40 on ebay. I really like the light colour on the rubber stamp because it makes it easy to see if the stamp has picked up the polish properly.

There are many different plates available which have 'M' (like mine) and 'B' numbers. I have 31 plates in total- I got a bundle of 30 from ebay (again, just search something like nail art stamp plates) for around £11, if you search around you get can get some great deals, and they'll often come with a free stamper/scraper set. And the last one I have is a lovely zebra and cheetah print plate (another ebay purchase) which I bought separately.

Top to bottom: m39, 20, 38, 43, 71, 33

m42, 51, 37, 40, 03, 21

m58, 45, 49, 22, 48, 47
m09, 75, 52, 11,  02, 35

m14, 28, 17, 36, 55, 04

I really like these plates, there's a great variety of designs- flowers, animals, patterns etc. I think my favorites are probably the cute ribbons on m17 (last picture) and the roses on m02 (3rd picture). If you'd like to see any of the patterns on my nails let me know :) I'm sure there'll be lots of NOTD to look forward to with all of these tools :)

What are your favorite nail art tools? (is there anything I'm missing out on?)


Sunday, 26 June 2011

Review: e.l.f. Cream Eyeliner (Coffee and Gunmetal)

I held off buying these for quite a long time because I'm not that good at applying liquid eyeliner, but my sister got the black Cream Eyeliner, and after trying it out, I was kicking myself wondering why I took so long to make an order! (and of course, I had to order some other things too!)

Coffee and Gumetal.

I got Coffee and Gunmetal, and I am VERY pleased with them both. You get 4.7g of product, as well as a mini brush for £3.50 (and I managed to get mine at 20% off- total bargain!) from the e.l.f. website, and it's available in several other shades.As you can see, I seem to have an extra full Gunmetal pot- score! Both shades are very long-lasting, they hold up to both smudging and water very well, but it is easily removed with eye make up remover.

Coffee (apologies for the huge shadow, but the lighting is mad today,
and this picture really does give an accurate colour representation)


Coffee is a matte, deep esspresso colour, and is highly pigmented. I only need one brushstroke to get a full, clean line on my lid. I really love this shade- as you can see I've made quite a dent in it over the last two weeks, and it's fast become an absolute must-have for me.

Gunmetal is a steely grey colour with mulitcoloured shimmers (very tiny particles), I don't think it's as pigmented as Coffee (or the Black, which is my sisters) and I often need to go over parts on my lid to get a consistant line. The shimmers in this eyeliner are great; because it has tiny particles theres no problems with chunky glitter, and the overall effect is of a lovely metallic sheen. Again, I love this, and it's already a firm favorite.

Coffee, and Gunmetal (swatched on my sisters hand!)
The mini brush that comes with each liner is brilliant, because it's so short I feel like I have a lot of control, and the angled shape of the brush makes applying the eyeliner rather easy (even I can do it, and I'm useless at liquid liner)

Bottom line- love it! Definitely worth £3.50, they're well pigmented, long-lasting and super easy to apply. For £3.50, it's basically rude not to!

What are your thoughts on the e.l.f. Cream Eyeliners- do you have any of the other shades?


A super easy (and healthy) banana 'ice cream' recipe!

Seeing as it's so sunny today (miracle!) I decided some ice cream was in order. We had a few bananas that were somewhat past their best- so I made some 'ice cream' with them. This is seriously the easiest recipe ever- if you have a freezer, a blender/smoothie maker and a knife, you can make it.

Start by slicing bananas, and laying them out flat on a baking tray or a Tupperware box (whatever you have to hand) If you have lots of banana (like I did) you can layer banana slices with greaseproof or baking paper.

Put your banana in the freezer for a few hours (around 3-5 hours is best, if you leave it too long the banana will freeze solid and you wont be able to blend it easily)

Take your frozen slices and put them into a blender (or smoothie maker, anything that can crush ice or blend food should work)

Blend until your mixture is smooth (it could take a while, depending on how many bananas you have) At this stage you can add a little honey if you wish I used about 1/2 a tablespoon for 7 bananas), and I like to add a bit of  milk so it doesn't freeze into a solid lump, but that's not absolutely necessary.

It looks just like regular ice cream, and has the same smooth texture- but it counts as one of your 5 a day, and it's great if you need to cater for dairy/gluten/anything else free diets- it only contains banana and honey!

Hope you're enjoying the sun :) Whats your favorite summery treat?

Saturday, 25 June 2011

Top Tip: Getting the most out of your products.

I absolutely hate it when you cant squeeze any more product out of a tube, but you can tell there's something there! So I've developed a 'method' (I'm not sure it's complicated enough to be an actual method, but for want of a better word...) to get the most out I possibly can.

Start out with a small, empty bottle (sample bottles and gift set bottles are great, mine is from a Body Shop Gift set) and your product (this is John Freida Sheer Blonde, go blonder shampoo)

Decant as much as you can into the bottle, then snip off the top- look how much is left in there!

Use your fingers to scoop the rest of the product into your little bottle; I usually snip off another section of the tube to get to the bottom properly.

And you're left with a bottle of shampoo (this is almost 50ml) that you might've accidentally thrown away! (plus a big plasticy mess) I now do this with pretty mcuh anything that comes in a tube- particularly when its a product that is likely to stick to the sides of the tube.

What are your top tips for getting as much use as possible out of your products?


Review: Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat!

The Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat is (in my opinion) the perfect sparkly polish- it gives a really lovely shimmery sheen on the nails, and it doesn't have chunky glitters in- which is a HUGE bonus for me as I have texture issues (the feel of glitter polishes often affects me in the same way nails down a chalkboard does- ick, and texture is usually the reason I won't like a food) Best of all, it takes just one coat, and as well as looking great over polishes, I really love it on its own for a fairly subtle shimmer. It works well as a topcoat to make your polish last longer too- when I do just my ring finger I notice it's always the last to chip (though perhaps my ring finger is less likely to chip anyway, I'm not 100% sure).

What the bottle starts off looking like.

And what my bottle looks like after lots of wear and tear-
 this shows the sparkle nicely though :) 

As you can see I've not used up much polish, even though I use it regularly and I've had it probably over 2 years now. The formula hasn't deteriorated at all, and is just as easy to apply as when I first purchased :) I got mine from Boots for £2 and you can also get it Superdrug and larger supermarkets.

Here's how it actually looks on my nails:

And over e.l.f. Smokey Brown
(as seen in my recent NOTD)

I really, really recommend this polish :) Whats your favorite sparkle or glitter polish?


Friday, 24 June 2011

A little haul (from Boots and Primark) and a mini DIY project.

I had a very odd trip to Boots this week (see a Series of Bizarre Events for more info) but I did pick up some things I am rather excited about!

After seeing so much hype about the Sally Hansen Insta-Dri, I decided I simply had to have it. I've used some Sally Hansen polishes before (I won the Miracle Nail Thickener and NailShine Miracle in last years Glamour Givaway) so I have pretty high hopes for it- I'll let you know how I get on once I've used it a few times :)  I got mine for £6.08 at Boots -but best of all, I paid for it with my advantage card points! (how I love free things) and it's also available at Superdrug and most supermarkets.

I also noticed these shampoos, it seems Boots have brought them out as a copycat to Herbal Essenses range as they're placed right beneath the Herbal Essences products! but at 99p each (or £1.50 for 2) for 400ml, (much cheaper than Herbal Essences: £3/49 for 400ml, though it's often 2 for £4/5) I thought I may as well give them a try; I got Moisture Repair, which smells nice (but somewhat odd- the coconut and orchid extracts combination is a bit unusual) and Goodbye Dry Ends which smells amazing (red berry and silk extracts) We'll see how they measure up to Herbal Essences!

And finally, my sister is a little obssesed with the charm bracelets at Primark (I'm sure you've seen them, they're absolutely everywhere) I'm not a big fan of them, but this charm caught my eye and I decided to buy it (especially as it was just £1).

When I got it home, I snipped off the hook from the top with some small pliers, and voila- a necklace pendant! (I used a silver chain I've had for a while, it has a small end loop so I can interchange several pendants I have)


Nail of the Day: e.l.f. Desert Haze & Smokey Brown, and Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat

As expected, my mismatched nails from my e.l.f. Innocent/ Mod Mauve NOTD did not last long- the novelty wore off and my need for things to match (I definitely have OCD) kicked in and it all came off on Tuesday morning. I gave my nails a bit of a rest with lots of cuticle and nail balms for the last couple of days, and today I did another simple paint job :)

e.l.f. Desert Haze, Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat, e.l.f. Smokey Brown.

I was reminded of Desert Haze by a commenter, and I realised I haven't used it in a really long time! So I used Desert Haze on all but my ring finger, 2 coats may have been enough but- as usual- I wasn't being particularly careful (I was laughing hysterically at this 'getting ready' video from the lovely Tanya Burr/pixi2woo) so 3 coats were needed to correct my streaky painting... I used 2 coats of Smokey Brown on my ring fingers, followed by 1 coat of the Sparkle Top Coat (an absolute favorite of mine, I think a review is in order)

What's on your nails right now?