Friday, 27 July 2012

Another collective haul :)

Once again I've managed to buy quite a few little bits in the past few weeks- working so close to town is way too tempting! Though I have spent a lot of lunchtimes reading my Kindle (currently reading a lovely Marian Keyes book called Sushi For Beginners) :)

I'm sure you'll be really surprised by the first item...

Swatched on the left (Barry M Silver foil on the right)

Revlon Aloof

My lovely poundshop has yet more Revlon polishes- and I think this is another from the US collection I got Catty and Girly from- I love the name, Aloof :) And the shade is beautiful too- somewhere between pale grey and  ivory with quite a bit of shimmer!

Also from the poundshop are two Vinyl Jelly lip pencils from Rimmel, both in lovely shades that actually work really well alone. I've used them quite a bit already.

I fell in love with another perfume a few months ago, and after weeks of thinking about buying it (I wasn't sure I could justify another fragrance, despite the price!) I went in to M&S to pick up a 25ml purse size bottle (RRP £6) to find a 1/2 price sale on- so instead I picked up the full sized 100ml bottle for £7! :)

This is Marks and Spencer Leilah EDT- it smells delicious! It's quite fruity (unusual for me) with an orangey, slightly watermelony scent... though the base notes are vanilla and musk (which goes a long way to explaining why I love it!) it lasts pretty well for an EDT and so far I really like it :)

As a bonus, I love the box and the bottle, so cute!

Next up is a bit of an essential- I ran out of another Batiste can, and decided to go for a different scent, Cherry! I've not used it yet, but it smells just like cherry drops, and I'm sure it will work as awesomely as the Batiste scents I've tried. Another product with cute packaging too :)

And last but not least (actually I'm very excited about these!) I found a bargain in the Boots sale bin, and in a fit of patriotism I picked up these nail foils for £1 :)

I'm not sure when I'll wear these (especially because I want to test how long they'll last) but I'm looking forward to trying them out as I've not used foils/stickers before- hopefully I wont mess these up! The one benefit to having super short nails is that I might be able to get 2 uses out of these.

What have you been purchasing recently? Found any bargains?


p.s. Hands up who's watching the Olympics opening ceremony soon? I'll be watching whilst writing out an enormous shopping list for all the food for Pack Holiday!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Challenge Week 43: Water Marble nails!!!

I've missed posting this week- I'm so sorry I've been AWOL, I've spent all of my free time sleeping, suffering with terrible hay fever, and planning this years Brownie Pack Holiday (only 2 weeks to go, and I still have a lot to do!) Unfortunately this left me no time to do fun things like actually get blog posts written- which has been especially annoying this week as I have several posts I really want to get done, just no time put them together!

Anyway, this weeks 52 week challenge (which I'm thankfully still up-to-date with) theme is water marbling, another theme I was more than a little nervous about- I've never tried it before, and I've been avoiding it for so long because it looks so hard!!!

In actual fact it didn't go too badly, I only fudged up 2 nails before getting the hang of it and I'm very happy with the result :) I used a white base coat (Models Own Snow White, of course) and picked out 3 quite pastely shades; XOX Purple, Models Own Beth's Blue and Barry M Shocking Pink- I thought they worked well together, and I was hoping to formula would all work for marbling (which they did!).

Look- it didn't come out bad at all! Some nails are better than others (I think I like my ring finger best) but I'm really pleased :) I like the colours too- it reminds me of ice cream and sauces melting into each other.

I used vaseline to protect my fingers rather than tape- I originally tried two fingers with tape, and the tape kept the polish off my fingers OK, but when I tried to remove it, it ended up taking ALL of the polish with it...- the vaseline just rubs off easily with a cotton bud (the vaseline doesn't allow the polish to adhere to your skin at all!) and I made a bit of a (total) mess but thankfully I set up a tray to use as a workspace!

The only slight problem I had is that the layer or water marbled polish shrunk a little on my nail as it dried. But I love it anyway!!!!! :)

Have you ever attempted water marbling? If not, you should- it's actually not that hard :)


Wednesday, 18 July 2012

(my sisters) Nail of the Day: The Fault in Our Stars nails :)

As you probably know by now, this weeks 52 week challenge theme is Inspired by a Book (I did Harry Potter nails) and as Amy is currently reading The Fault in Our Stars (on MY Kindle...which I can now barely use myself!) she wanted to do TFiOS nails :)

She created simple clouds- like the book cover- with Models Own Feeling Blue as a base colour (the best colour match we have), then added the clouds with Models Own Snow White with a medium dotter to make the clouds.

I think they're really cute and I love the little clouds, even without the TFiOS association. Though I am very glad she loves this book as much as I do (I might read it again soon, though I want to read the rest of John Greens books first!) and is getting more into reading in general- I've always been a total bookworm, but Amy has only just really started reading for fun.

What are you reading at the moment? (I have a suspicion that a lot of you might say Fifty Shades of Grey...)


Monday, 16 July 2012

Challenge Week 42: Inspired by a Book!

This is another 52 week challenge that I've been looking forward to doing for a very long time- and I've always known that I'd do Harry Potter for this week (my sister wasn't impressed that I didn't do HP for movie week...) - in fact I've been 'saving it' for this week- or I could happily have done this months and months ago! :)

Despite having knowing I wanted Harry Potter themed nail art, I wasn't actually sure what I wanted to do. I picked out 8 polishes corresponding to the 4 house colours, I painted each nail with the base colour and sat around searching for inspiration. I didn't want to attempt the house crest things (I wouldn't be able to do them well... and they've been done so many times before!) so I decided to use the colours to (quite abstractly) represent each house animal.

So I did silver waves over the green nail for Slytherin and the Snake, thin black lines over the yellow base to represent the Hufflepuff Badger (this reminds me of humbugs), then (my favourite- and not just because it's my house) I did very simple bronze feathers over dark blue for Ravenclaw and its Eagle, and finally 3 stripes (like claw marks) in gold over the red base- to represent Gryffindor Lions.

On my thumb I used e.l.f. Nude to create a skin colour, then added little black glasses, dots of green for Harry's eyes, and a pink lightening bolt scar.

As you can imagine, I used rather a lot of colours...

Revlon Emerald City, Barry M Silver Foil, Barry M Pale Yellow, Black Art Deco liner, No7 Poolside Blue, Beauty UK Olympic Bronze, 17 Risky Red, Barry M Gold Foil, e.l.f. Nude, MaxFactor Disco Pink, Black nail art pen.

I really loved this weeks challenge- no surprise as it combines my love of both nail art and reading- but I'm very nervous about next weeks- it's water marbling!!!

What book would you like to translate to your nails?


Saturday, 14 July 2012

Currently Loving and Loathing (better late than never!)

I originally wanted to post this last week, then I planned to do it yesterday, but I'm very busy organising this years Brownie Pack Holiday (it's now less than a month away- so I'm confirming menus and putting together the enormous shopping list and equipment!)

Anyway, better late than never! I will not bore you with the standard things that I will always always love (for example my e.l.f. eyelid primer and cream eyeliner) and instead I've tried my hardest to only include new/ different things that I've really been enjoying recently :)

MUA Undressed palette, 17 wild Metalics in Wild Nude, e.l.f. Cream Eyeshadow in Dawn

I'm sure it will come as absolutely NO surprise that I've fallen completely in love with the MUA Undressed palette- it is stunning and super useful for daytime and evening make up. I particularly love shades 2 and 4 so far, though I'm trying to challenge myself to use all the shades in one way or another.

I've also been relying a lot on cream eyeshadows recently- they make eye make a lot faster when I'm rushing to get ready for work in the morning! They are two fail-safe nudey taupe shades that will always look great on their own. The 17 shadow in Wild Nude doesn't have the best staying power alone (it tends to crease, even with primer) but with a quick swipe of powder shadow pressed over the top it will last all day.

e.l.f. Cream Blush in Seductress and e.l.f. Studio Stipple Brush.

Thanks to my new stipple brush (which is still crazy-soft) I've been using my cream blush quite a bit recently. Without the stipple brush it was simply TOO pigmented to work well for me, I really don't need much on my face! The brush allows me to apply it in very thin layers, and it almost gives a 'flushed from within' look :) Because it's a cream product it lasts all day and doesn't have that powdery look that I hate.

I think it's rather unusual for me to feature hair products in my favourites, but these are two that I just had to include. I've had the L'Oreal Studio Straight spray for some time now (I reviewed it over a year ago!) and I still have an almost full bottle, and I still love it! I've been using it a lot recently because I keep leaving the house with damp hair (having run out of time to fully blow dry it) and using this spray eliminates the staticy / flyaway tendencies of my hair when left to dry naturally- and keeps it soft and sleek :)

Likewise, Batiste is a lifesaver for days where my hair is looking past it's best and needs a but of a 'refresher'. I'm nearly running out of this Tropical one- any suggestions for which scent I should try?

I swear these three skincare products have become my Holy Trinity- without them my skin is a mess! As I've mentioned before, work is hard on my hands- I handle a LOT of paper and files etc. so my hands (which are, of course, dry to start with) get very dry during the week. I've been keeping this fast absorbing tube in my bag for use at work and it's awesome- very moisturising and does absorb fast! And I've also been slathering myself in the concentrated formula cream each night before bed.

Rescue oil has also been a staple recently- I've used it on my cuticles and nails (which seem to be the worst affected) as well as my eyelids, elbows and pretty much everywhere else! :)

Olive oil as eye make up remover is still a firm favourite- and I'm certain that wearing make up everyday would be very uncomfortable without it (it doesn't take much to irritate my eyelids, even the sensitive cream removers would irritate after a while!) I've also tried using it in place of rescue oil and it works in that way too (though absorbs slower) I've refilled the 60ml bottle twice since my initial review/rave about it in late march- and my eyelids could  not be happier!

I've not really mentioned it on my blog, but I've been on a bit of a mission to use up samples and old (half empty) products for a while now- they were taking up space and it was pointless to keep them if I was never going to use them! I've also been trying to moisturise my body every day before bed- two little challenges that go hand in hand really.

This black cherry and nutmeg 'body yoghurt' is the one of the last products I have to use up, and I really like it! It's rather old and isn't available anymore (though a regular body lotion with the black cherry and nutmeg scent is) I love the scent and texture- it really is like a cherry yogurt! (I wouldn't try eating it though) The formula is light and sinks in quite fast, but is still moisturising and although it's fragranced it doesn't irritate my skin.

I'm also loving:
  • My Kindle!!!!!! I love it SO MUCH! :) I have a case for it now so I've been taking it to work and reading in my lunch break (especially good as the weather has been icky) I've downloaded way too many books on it, and I'm reading so much more than I was :)
  • Work- I know I've complained about the effect it's having on my skin and I will never be a morning person, but overall I'm really enjoying it- the work is getting more and more interesting and my colleagues are all lovely, hilarious and easy to get along with.
  • Jewellery- for a while I neglected wearing jewellery, but I'm back in the habit again :)

And a few things I'm curently loathing:
  • Not having time to blog- I really really miss writing and posting everyday! But I'm super-busy at the moment, and when I do have spare time I'm usually so tired I can't string sentences together (or reading my Kindle...)
  • Not be able to sleep properly- I don't know why but I seem to be having a bout of insomnia, I just cannot fall asleep :(
  • The weather... again, this is JULY- it should not be this cold and rainy. I hope it clears up for my Brownie Pack Holiday- Brownies get crazy when cooped up inside all day!

What are you loving and loathing at the moment?


Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Challenge Week 41: Tribal Nails!

Unlike last weeks 52 week challenge theme (glitter!!!) I was not really looking forward  to this week- I've never attempted tribal nail art, partly because I thought it looked to hard, and partly because I'm just not a huge fan of the look... Well I tried my best!

I used a couple of coats of Nails Inc Basil Street as a base (such a lovely nudey beige shade) then added lines and dots and zigzags with several of my nail art pens (sorry, I now don't remember which ones...)

Nails Inc. Basil Street with the nail art pens I used.
 I'm not entirely sure I like this look- I think it's the kind of design that looks really good if done well, and a total mess if not! (Unfortunately I'm inclined to think my attempt falls into the latter category...) Though I do have to say it was quite fun to do, and I am getting much better with the pens now, so all is not lost!

Weirdly, I think this nail art looks a lot better close up- from further away it looked like a blurred mess; which is why I decided to remove it about 3 hours after I painted my nails! As I said to someone on reddit, this is a challenge- and I like that I've made myself do tribal nails despite not particularly wanting to; I may not be in love with the overall effect, but it was fun and I learnt something :)

What have you challenged yourself to do recently?


p.s. I've altered the colour scheme around a little bit- what do you think?

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Carrot cake recipe! :)

I've been craving carrot cake for over a week now, I saw some in a cafe but I was too full from a yummy lunch that I didn't get any. I found this lovely recipe in a book I have called Chocolate & Baking (I think it was about £3 from The Works) last week, so why it took me so long to bake it I do not know...

It's another very simple recipe- though the preparation (grating carrots) can take a while, and it does require over an hour of baking; but it is very yummy! (and the icing is awesome) :)

You will need:

200g plain flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon bicarbonate of soda
150 dark brown sugar
200ml oil (vegetable would probably be best)
3 eggs
225g of grated carrot
70g sultanas

1) Place the flour (sifted) baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl and mix.

2) Add the sugar and mix well (mine was quite lumpy, and I now regret not getting all of the lumps out properly!)

3) Add the eggs and oil, and mix very thoroughly again (be wary of flour lumps!)

4) Prepare your carrots (peel then top and tail them) and weigh out 225g. Roughly grate them and add to the mixture. I don't recommend grating before you actually need them, you don't want brown carrot! Stir it in, then add the sultanas (the original recipe called for 50g of chopped walnuts, but I don't really like nuts in cake so I switched them out for sultanas instead- I imagine it would work without either!)

5) Line a baking tin with greaseproof of baking paper (my tin is about 20x25cm) and pour the mixture in. Bake at 150C (300F/Gas Mark 2) for approximately 1 and 1/4 hours (my cake took about 1 hour, but the bottom oven on was on too, and I think that probably made the top oven warmer than 150C) until cooked though :)

6) Leave to cool for a while in the tin, then turn it out and allow it to cool completely.

Now it's icing time! You will need:

175g cream cheese (DO NOT USE LOW FAT CREAM CHEESE!!!!)
1 tablespoon orange juice
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g icing sugar

1) Place the cream cheese, orange juice and vanilla extract into a bowl and mix together.

2) Sift in the icing sugar and mix thoroughly, then spread over your cooled cake!!!

Mine was a little too runny....

OK, a LOT too runny...

I'm 99% certain that the reason for the silly runniness is that I used 70% reduced fat cheese spread- turns out you need the fat to hold it all together! This recipe is not one for making healthier! (though there is carrot in it... could it be 1 of your 5 a day?)

Despite the runniness, it tastes amazing! And the slightly orangy flavour compliments the cake really well. The cake is moist and very light; overall deliciousness :)

What have you been baking recently?