Monday, 30 April 2012

Challenge Week 31: Neon/Bright!

(Tiny rant before I start: I slipped down the stairs last night and fell right on my bum- and bounced down some more steps- I think I've bruised my tailbone because it still hurts to sit down!!!)

Well it's already week 31 of the 52 week challenge (time has really flown by recently!) and the theme is pretty appropriate for today, as it's actually been sunny in England (of course it's still cloudy and cold, but the sun is shining!) -so the perfect day for bright, summery nails :)

I picked out a polish that I've not given nearly enough love, Models Own Pro in Hot Salmon- it really is very bright (which is why I sort of feel scared to wear it!) but it's a great shade for summer and I don't understand why I've not used it much before! I could probably have gotten away with one coat (it's very opaque!) but I did two for good measure.

I thought about stamping over the top, and had almost settled on the crackly one from BundleMonster plate 208, until I realised I had my new Croc Effect polish- also itching to be used! So I kept it simple and added just one accent finger. I'm well and truly converted on the croc effect, it's a lot smoother and more sophisticated than the crackles.

And here is is- from what I can see the bottle shot shows the true life shade :) It's so pretty!

Models Own Pro Hot Salmon, Barry M Croc Effects

I have to say I'm loving bright polish- I used to stick to pastels and muted colours, but I think you'll be seeing more brights in the future :)

Are you a fan of bright polishes? If not I think you should give them another try- I was kinda surprised at how much I love it!


p.s. Like the rest of the Models Own Pro polishes, this one smells pretty nice when dry, so I keep sniffing my fingers... I'm not crazy honest!

Sunday, 29 April 2012

Peanut Butter Frosting (with chocolate cupcakes!)

Sorry if you think I've gone a bit peanut butter mad recently, after last weeks peanut butter cookie recipe- but I've been thinking about making peanut butter frosting for quite a while now- and I'm really glad I got around to it this weekend, because it is AMAZING!

I decided that having some kind of peanut butter cupcake would be overkill, so I made a batch of Chocolate Cupcakes; chocolate and peanut butter is a classic combination (for very good reason) :)

You will need:

250g icing sugar
80g unsalted butter (room temperature)
25ml milk
80g Peanut Butter (smooth not crunchy!)

1) Place the icing sugar and butter in a bowl and beat on a low speed (to minimise mess) until it's combined.

2) Add the milk and beat on high for about 5 minutes- to get nice fluffy frosting :)

3) Add the peanut butter and stir it in, then smother your cupcakes in it!

The frosting reminds me a little of the insides of Reece's peanut butter cups- but much smoother and creamier, I could quite happily eat it out of the bowl! I like that it's not a really strong peanut flavour, it's pretty subtle, and very very yummy :)


Friday, 27 April 2012

On Britishness, cupcakes and *That* campaign...

I couldn't think of anything to post today, so I decided I'd ramble on a little bit...

First of all let me be very British for a moment, and complain about the weather... it's been so grey and cold and rainy recently, but I've also been having the worst hay fever I've had in years. I think it must be all the blossom and tree pollen that's out at this time of year, but it's never been this bad (I've had a headache for three days...) Plus the cold weather means that we've used central heating a lot more recently, and my skin is getting all dry again :( Thank goodness for The Body Shop and their Body Butters!

In happier news it was my friends birthday this week so three of us got together, ate Chinese food then made cupcakes (whilst drinking wine, obviously!) They are Red Velvet Cupcakes with cream cheese frosting (yum!) and we decorated them with lots of writing icing from Asda (definitely recommended- 4 tubes for £1.78!)

As I hope you can tell, there are two Ariel cupcakes, a Lilo and Stitch, a Princess Jasmine (on her magic carpet) and a Mickey Mouse (who we decided looks really evil) and Rapunzel in her tower. Also, the red splodgey one on the top row, 2nd from left is supposed to be the Eye of Sauron... don't ask me why!

I have to say that most of the rubbish ones are mine, my two friends both did art at degree level... I'm the odd one out who isn't at all artistic! 

This is my favourite of the ones I decorated

TARDIS cupcake!!!

And finally, I'm sure that by now you'll all have seen *that* animal rights campaign- I think everyone has been talking about it... And I thought I'd talk about my opinion.

I think I've mentioned that I'm a vegetarian, and from that you can assume (correctly) that I'm definitely against animal cruelty- and I really try my best to avoid products which have been tested on animals. However, I am also a scientist- and I know that a lot of useful and important chemicals/products/medicines would and could never have been produced and allowed to be used on the public without the use of animal testing.

I've spoken to several people who do medical research on animals (some of my lecturers and lab technicians at university) and they've all assured my (honestly, not just to appease me) that the animals are actually well looked after, and are often provided with pain medication to keep them comfortable. As far as I can tell there is no viable alternative to animal testing, and products have to be tested for safety somehow (and I don't think many people would volunteer themselves) which leaves us with what exactly... I personally think we should test on prisoners serving life sentences.

On the whole, I'm really more concerned with fox hunting, badger culling and other completely pointless acts of animal cruelty- testing may be cruel but at least it is very important and useful.

And as for the campaign itself... I think it was absurd- I can understand why they'd want to use use shock tactics to get people thinking, but they did this in a shop window on a busy street- what if children saw it? What if it triggered horrible memories in passers-by? If this were to be shown on television it would certainly be shown after the watershed, and would have warnings about it content. I don't see how they were allowed to let it continue.

I guess it did what it set out to do, and got everyone talking, but they did it in the worst way I can think of.

What did you think of the campaign?


p.s. Am I the only one who thinks the 'performance artist' has some kind of fetish and actually enjoyed the whole thing?

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Nail of the Day: Silvery Lilac (aka Unicorn Blood)

There was pretty much no question about what I'd paint my nails with today- I could not wait to use this new polish :) It's been sitting on my desk since I bought it, and I still can't stop looking at it!

I used two coats, and added a coat of Models Own Swan Lake to my ring finger as a bit of an accent nail (not that it's at all needed, I just love glitter!)

I think it looks even better on the nails than it does on the swatch I posted- the pinky purple and green shades really show through well, and I can now see why Barry M have called it silvery lilac- there are lots of tiny silver shimmery particles running through it :) I've decided that it reminds me of unicorn blood- this is almost the exact colour I pictured when the first Harry Potter book mentions unicorn blood (isn't that a strange coincidence) What do you think?

Are you as addicted to duo chrome polish as I am? :)


Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Review: Burt's Bees Beeswax and Banana Hand Cream.

My (most recent) tube of Neutrogena hand cream finally got used up a couple of weeks ago, so I've been giving my Burt's Bees hand cream a try instead- and I thought I should review it for you :)
I got this hand cream as a Christmas gift, but it retails at £9.99 for 55g in Boots. The packaging is pretty- covered in cute little bees :) But it is pretty heavy as the tub is actually a glass jar- not travel friendly (though I wouldn't use it on the go anyway, more on that later) and it's also not particularly hygienic.

I'm sure you know by now (if you've read any of my posts!) that I have really dry skin (I went to the opticians this morning, and she said the insides of my eyelids are inflamed and dry- there is nowhere I don't have dry skin!) so moisturising products like hand cream are pretty important to me.

I've read a couple of other peoples reviews on this, and the scent really seems to divide opinion. In the jar I think it really smells yummy (almost like real banana) but once you've rubbed it into your hands it does take on that 'fake banana' scent you get with banana sweets etc- I personally don't find it too bad, and it only lasts a few minutes before it fades- but I think you'll definitely want to sniff before purchasing.

The formula is very thick- almost waxy- and reminds me of cream cheese. It softens with your body heat, and does sink in fairly well, but it does leave a greasy film over the skin for about 15 minutes after application. For this reason I wouldn't use it on the go, or really during the day- it leaves fingerprints all over the place and leaves things feeling greasy... but I love it as a rich night-time treatment for my hands (and elbows!) You only need a really small amount to cover your hands, so although 55g isn't much, I think it would last a very long time.

It's full of lovely, moisturising ingredients including almond oil, beeswax, grapefruit seed oil, canola oil and glycerin- and is (according to the label) 100% natural. Plus it's not tested on animals which makes me happy.

I definitely find it very moisturising, I've used it on my hands, my elbows, knees and feet, and they all felt nice and smooth and well-moisturised afterwards, and the effects last quite a long time (I reapply every night and don't usually need to re-apply anything else until the next afternoon) I think it's great for those with dry skin, but anyone who doesn't need quite such a rich formula might not like it- it is quite greasy, and it will probably take longer to sink in.

Despite the high price, I know the tub will last me a very long time so I think it is probably worth it; though I'm not entirely sure if I will repurchase (it's nicely moisturising, but the greasy texture is a problem for me!) I'd recommend it to those with dry skin, but I think it would be too rich for those with 'normal' skin. And definitely check you like the scent!

Have you tried this hand cream? What do you think of the scent?


Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Blogger Tag!!!

I know the youtuber tag has been going around for a while, and I thought it would be fun (and interesting) to edit it a bit and create a blogger version :)

I'm not going to tag anyone individually, but I tag everyone who has their own blog to answer the questions!

1) What inspired you to start your blog?

I'd be reading blogs for quite a while, and I gradually started to think it might be fun to post my own- after ages of thinking about it I finally took the plunge and created my blog! I wanted a creative outlet, and I enjoy writing and photography (though claim to be good at neither) so I knew a blog would work well for me.

2) What advice would you give to a beginner blogger?

Only blog about something you're passionate about- if you try and write about something you're not interested in your posts probably wont be interesting! My personal rule is that I wont post anything that I'm not 100% proud of- if I'm not in the mood to blog I know my post wont come out the way I want it, so I just don't bother that day.

3) What do you like most about blogging?

I think the general sense of community we have is awesome- I love receiving comments, and posting comments, and reading other blogs (and the new information and different opinions I can see from them) Plus I really love having a creative outlet- especially as none of my friends are particularly into make up- I can write about make up and nail polish to people who want to listen!

4) What do you dislike most about blogging?

There's not really anything I dislike about it... Sometimes it is frustrating when I get writers block, or I can't be bothered to write, or the light is terrible and I can't take pictures... but as I said above- although I've set myself the goal of posting one post per day and I really do want to stick to it, I can take days off if I want to :)

5) What are your favourite blogs or types of posts to read?

I don't think I have a single favourite blog- I love lots! And I'm not sure I have a particular favourite type of post to read either... I think I generally like to read the kinds of posts I also like to write: reviews and hauls (it's always good to hear about new things) and NOTD posts (they give me inspiration for my nail art), tags, recipes etc. Though I also like OOTD posts, and I know nothing about fashion!

6) What is your personal favourite post you've written?

I'm quite proud of my lip scrub recipe post- as I created the recipe from scratch myself, and it works really well! And there are quite a few NOTD posts I particularly love- like my Doctor Who nails and my Polka Dot nails, but I don't really have a favourite (it's like asking a parent to pick a favourite child!)

7) Do people in your personal life support your blog?

No one really knows about my blog in 'real life'- my sister does (which I hope you'd guess, seeing as she's actually written posts for me!) but no one I know is really interested in nail art or make up, so I haven't bothered to tell them about it!

8) If you could change anything about blogger (or any other blog platform you use), what would it be?

Despite the fact that I'm pretty used to the new interface by now, I still prefer the old one and I'd love to have it back! (though perhaps with a better colour scheme) I also despise word verification on comments- I'm sure some bloggers only have it enabled simply because that's the default setting and they don't realise!

9) How long does it take you to complete a post?

That depends on what kind of post it is- I think NOTD posts probably take me the longest- mostly because I get snap happy and take tonnes of pictures which I then have to edit and narrow down to just the best!
Generally the writing and adding pictures part takes about half an hour, but the photography and editing can take a while sometimes!

10) How do you deal with hate?

Laugh at it, then delete it!

11) When/why did you first start reading blogs?

Not long after I started watching youtube videos- lots of youtubers have blogs too, so I discovered their blogs (via their youtube video info boxes) From there I noticed lots of other blogs, and started reading a whole lot more!

12) What was the first blog you followed?

I really have no clue, I think I got a blogger account and followed at least 20 blogs in one day :)

13) How many blogs do you follow?

275 according to GoogleReader (no wonder I'm always behind reading posts!)

14) Do you wish you had more followers?

I don't necessarily wish I had more; obviously I'd be totally thrilled if I did gain more followers, but I'd still be happily blogging away if I never gained another single one, or even if you all disappeared!

15) If you weren't a blogger, what would you do?

I really have no idea- it's not even been a whole year yet and I can't think what I did before blogging or how else I could spend my time. I'm sure I'd have some kind of creative thing on the go; though what that could be I have no idea!

Well there you have it, 15 questions which explain the background of me and my blog!

Hope you like the tag- let me know if you post your own answers on your blog! :)


Monday, 23 April 2012

Challenge Week 30: Galaxy Nails!

I've been quite excited about this weeks 52 week challenge theme for a while now, I love galaxy nails! For once I didn't really have a clear plan (or any plan really) about what I wanted to do for this week, I basically surrounded myself in all of my polishes and nail art tools, then did a tonne of Google image searches for galaxy, nebula and galaxy nails for inspiration.

I started off with two coats of No7 Beautifully Black- a lovely black with black and silver glitter. I then went a little crazy and added lots of different polishes over my nails at random using a cotton bud as a tiny sponge applicator. I generally started with the darker shades and worked up to the lighter shades. I topped that all off with a coat of my lovely Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat, and finally added little dots of e.l.f. Pearl with the smallest dotting tool I have :)

Prepare for photo spam!

Some of my dots (stars!) came out a little larger than I would have wanted, but I'm actually really pleased with how they came out. Especially as I had a moment about halfway through where my nails look awful- like a bunch of polishes had just exploded all over them... but they came together with the sparkle top coat and I love it! I particularly love Fantasy Fire and Amethyst, they give such a pretty, multi-dimensional effect to the nails- I hope it came through in the pictures :)

In approximate order of use:  No7 Beautifully Black, e.l.f. Dark Navy, Rimmel Midnight Blue, Maxfactor Fantasy Fire, Technic Amethyst
Bottom row: e.l.f. Pearl Pink, e.l.f. Sunset, Barry M Pale Yellow, Collection 2000 Sparkle Top Coat, e.l.f. Pearl

Have you ever tried galaxy nails? You should- they're so much easier than they look! :)


p.s. Blogger dictionary doesn't even accept Google as a word.... silly thing!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Review: 17 Peep Show Mascara :)

I was really excited to try this mascara out, as I'd never tried this kind of brush before- it's an hourglass shape :) And I know I generally enjoy 17 mascaras, so this was a very easy choice for me (especially as it was included in Boots 3 for 2 offer, so I actually got it free with the purchase of my two new lip butters!)

I really like the packaging of this mascara, the pink shade is pretty unique for a mascara wand, and the pretty lace effect on the top is a nice touch. The shape of the tube echos the shape of the wand too- clever packaging designers!

There are two shades available, Black and Brown/Black, and costs £6.29 (though it's currently only £4!) As usual, I picked out the Brown/Black shade, as I find black to harsh against my pale skin for day-to-day use :)

I think I've really fallen in love with the brush, the shape makes it so easy to use, and it grabs all my lashes (especially my outer corner lashes, which often stick out at odd angles and escape mascara). I generally do prefer bristle brushes, rather than rubbery ones- they seem to coat each lash better, and this is no exception.

The only small problem with it is that the end is flat, and does tend to gather quite a bit of excess product on the end; nothing a quick swipe against the tube wont fix, but kind of annoying nonetheless. The flat to also means that using the tip to get into smaller sections of lashes (which I sometimes like to do with the outer corners) is very hard.

I hope you can tell from the above pictures that the formula has a lot of little fibres in it, they are supposedly to give length and volume without clumps, but I don't find it lengthening at all (a good thing for me, as my lashes are long enough on their own) It does, however, provide quite a bit of volume- making each lash look a little thicker and, and my lashes look fuller :)

The fibres do make the formula quite heavy, and after application I do have to re-curl my lashes to make sure they are properly curled as they are weighed down by the mascara (very important for me, as my lashes are very straight) though once the mascara is dry/set, my lashes stay curled and in place until I remove my make up.

I definitely don't have any issues with flaking throughout the day either, once it's set it really doesn't budge! And like the other 17 mascaras I've tried, it does not claim to be waterproof, but does last through rain and tears very well, as long as you don't rub at it when it's still damp.  

I also have a little trouble with clumping after application- I think again because of the little fibres- but thankfully it's not really a problem for me, as I always use a little wand to brush through my lashes no matter which mascara I use. I know it might really annoy some people though, as I haven't really found a way to apply it with no clumps. That said, I think my lashes are prone to clumping, as they are so long they tend to hit each other then stick together...

Overall, I do really like this mascara, the problems I have with clumping and needing to re-curl are definitely outweighed by the awesome brush and the staying power. Though I'm not sure I'd repurchase it- I would recommend it to those who like the fibrey mascaras, and want a nice volumising mascara for everyday :)

What's your favourite mascara?


Saturday, 21 April 2012

So the nail polish spending ban went out the window....

Silly Barry M have brought out a new polish, and they're so pretty I 'HAD' to buy one! And I also 'had' to buy two others... They are on a buy two save £1 deal in Superdrug, I couldn't say no! I've wanted Blue Glitter for absolutely ages (since before Christmas!), but it never seems to be in stock so I may have squealed in excitement when I saw it in stock today!

Blue Glitter, Croc Effect, Silvery Lilac

Silvery Lilac is one of Barry M's new shades, and I LOVE it! You probably have guessed by now that I'm a total sucker for a duo chrome polish, and this is another beautiful one; it shows up as mainly pink and sea-green, with a little turquoise and silver in there too. It reminds me of mermaids :)

I wasn't sure about Croc Effect for a long time, but I tried (it thanks to my sisters friend) a few days ago, and I really enjoy the effect it gives, and as a bonus the texture doesn't bother me as much as regular crackle!

Croc Effect (over a clear base so it cracked) Silvery Lilac and Blue Glitter

Croc Effect over the seriously chipped remains of Mondays NOTD,
much better Croc effect this time :)

I also failed in my attempts to find nail polish or paint thinner to rescue my Insta-Dri, which I've sorely missed since I've been unable to use it, so I got a replacement for that too.

Have you seen the new Barry M polishes? Given in and bought any yet?


Friday, 20 April 2012

Peanut Butter Cookies!

I got this recipe from a friend (after she made them and brought them to a meeting we were both at) and I have no idea where she got it from, but it is a GREAT recipe! It's easy and the cookies are very very yummy :)

I made them on Tuesday evening, and I ate the last one this afternoon (I had a perfect afternoon coffee and cookie) and there were about 25 of them- maybe they're too yummy?! I already want to make more!

You will need:

115g butter
115g peanut butter (I used smooth, but crunchy is just as good!)
115g caster sugar
115g light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
85g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
115g rolled oats

1) Beat the butter and peanut butter together, then add the sugars (both caster and light brown) and beat again until smooth and well-mixed

2) Add the egg and vanilla extract, and beat again!

3) Add the rest of the dry ingredients (flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and oats) and stir together, until the mixture is thoroughly mixed- and feels like cookie dough!

4) Take small balls of dough and place them onto a greased or lined baking tray (I lined mine with greaseproof paper). I used a desert spoon to spoon it out of thebowl, then rolled it gently with wet hands (so it doesn't stick) to form balls.

5) Press the balls down a little with a wet (so it doesn't stick) fork- it makes a pretty pattern on top, and helps them to spread out better in the oven.

6) Bake at 180C (350F, Gas mark 4) for about 12 minutes- until they are golden on top :) Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, then put them onto a cooing rack. (try not to eat them all when they're warm, they extra yummy then !)

I did a really silly thing, and added 1 whole teaspoon of both bicarbonate of soda and baking powder (instead of 1/2), so my cookies expanded and rose too much, then flopped and became rather flat... they still taste amazing though! But I'm sure yours will look prettier than these...

I particularly enjoy them dunked into a cup of warm milk, or with a thin coat of chocolate spread over one side (peanut butter and chocolate is an awesome combination) :)

What was the last thing you baked?


p.s. This recipe has reminded me how much I love peanut butter, and I'm currently thinking up some kind of peanut butter cupcake recipe- watch this space!