Modcloth Nail Klub

So last week, I was contacted by Modcloth, who invited me to take part in their nail art challenge: creating a nail design based on one of their dresses (you can see some examples here). Now I have tiny tiny child’s hands and proportionately sized nails so I’ve never really attempted anything more than a single colour on my nails, but I do have a ridiculously large collection of polishes and the challenge intrigued me so much I just had to give it a go. After a long long time scrolling through Modcloth’s amazing dress collection and creating an entire shortlist of dresses & matching ideas, I settled on the “Peaches and Dreamy” dress, which I love.

I can totally imagine this dress with long loose waves and a flower crown, possibly at a summer wedding. I figured it needed something quite simple, so I poured out my entire nail collection on the living room floor and set to work. I seem to have misplaced the majority of my nude-y tones (seriously, where are they?!) but luckily the perfect shade had not gone missing. Ciaté’s Ivory Queen is one of my favourite ever nail polishes and it’s basically a perfect match for the dress so I knew I just had to use it.

IMG_2327

IMG_2326

The detail on the dress itself is almost a bronze-y colour, but after experimenting with my Nails Inc mirror gold effect swirled over the top, I decided to keep it even more minimalist. Enter Urban Decay’s Love Light, which I have had in my collection FOREVER and rarely use. It is gorgeous though, and using the very edge of the brush, I just swirled it randomly over each nail in patterns like the one on the dress.

IMG_2330

IMG_2331

It was at this point that I realised that while my design looked great in real life, it is basically IMPOSSIBLE to photograph. Enjoy my attempts…

IMG_2334

IMG_2336

IMG_2339

Maybe not the most extravagant nail art in the world, but a nice subtle design that matches the gorgeous subtle dress. This was a really fun challenge actually – I’m not sure I’ve ever considered matching my outfit to my nails but I think done well, it looks great! Thanks to Modcloth for drawing my attention to this challenge – maybe next time I’ll get a bit more adventurous!

Advertisements

Summer Essentials: Beauty

Summer is my absolute favourite time of year. It’s my birthday, it’s the school holidays (wait…), it’s sunny (or at least we usually get one day of sun). As a result of all my various trips out and about around the South West recently, I finally picked up some colour and that gave me an excuse to delve into my summer makeup supplies. I love being able to just get away with some bronzer and a bit of gold sparkle somewhere or other while on holiday, and while we’re not at that stage just yet, I have been changing up what makeup I use on an everyday basis lately. Here’s what I’ve been playing around with:

Bourjois Bronzing BB Cream

Bourjois Bronzing BB Cream

Bourjois Bronzing BB Cream Swatch

Apologies for a) photographing the French side and b) the state of my nails. So as you may or may not recall, over Easter I won Bourjois’ entire bronzing range as part of a Twitter giveaway (result!), and this “bronzing BB cream” was part of it. The bottle of this claims to be a universal shade which is not exactly a statement I’d agree with. At my winter-palest, this made my face look grubby at best and orange at worst, and I’m not even really on the English rose-porcelain-ivory kinda end of the skintone scale, so it’s stayed firmly at the back of my makeup shelves. However, now that I’ve got a bit of colour on my face I brought this one out again and I’ve been really pleasantly surprised. It still looks terrifyingly dark on the fingers and it does still look a little bit grubby immediately post-application, but after I let it settle for a couple of minutes it gives me a nice, fairly natural brown glow. I wore it to work a couple of times and people kept telling me I looked tanned so it must work. Plus, it smells gorgeous – the whole range has a chocolate-y scent to it and it’s really yummy.

Bourjois Maxi Delight Bronzer (Shade 02, Olive/Tanned Skin)

Bourjois Maxi Delight Bronzer

Bourjois Maxi Delight Bronzer

You guessed it, this one was another part of the kit. The shade it came in is for “tanned/olive” skin so again, I’ve kept this hidden away until the sun made an appearance but I think it’s going to become my go-to bronzer on holiday/if summer proper ever arrives. It’s nice and big so hopefully it’s going to last a while and it’s nice and matte so it’s good for everyday, and there’s a smaller, slightly different version (“Delice de Poudre”) that’s a bit sparklier and will be ideal for my holiday or travelling. Again, it’s got that gorgeous chocolatey smell to it – winner!

Clarins HydraQuench Tinted Moisturiser

Clarins HydraQuench Tinted Moisturiser

My mum always used to go on about how much she loved tinted moisturisers so when Clarins introduced theirs, I bagged a couple of samples. I love the HydraQuench moisturiser anyway and this is just as good – it’s refreshing and leaves my skin super soft alllll day long. It doesn’t have much in the way of coverage but my skin has been a happy bunny lately, so I wore this by itself for a few days and it definitely leaves more colour than a foundation and is much lighter on the skin, obviously. I was really tempted to splash out on a full-sized version of this but it’s £30 a bottle so I think it’s going to stay on my wishlist for now!

Benefit High Beam

Benefit High Beam

To be honest, Highbeam is often how I differentiate my daytime makeup from my nighttime makeup. Nobody else can probably tell but I know! I only use a little bit on my cheekbones, especially if I’m using a blusher or bronzer that’s already quite shimmery, but it does just leave a nice subtle glow that makes you look ever-so-slightly more “done” with very little effort. I’m not sure I’d buy a full-sized version because I’m sure there are cheaper highlighters out there (like the Topshop one) but I’m very happy with this little guy for now.

Blistex Raspberry Lemonade Blast Lipbalm

Blistex Raspberry Lemonade Blast

Stop right there cause this is one of my all time favourite products. This little tube was actually a gift during my sorority “Clue Week” which was two and a half years ago now and it’s still going strong, which just might make it the best value £2 you’ll ever spend. Quite frankly, it is the nicest tasting thing I’ve ever used and it does a fab job of keeping your lips moisturised and protected from the sun. I’d assumed I’d only be able to get this in the US but I’ve just had a little look and it’s widely available on UK sites too – result! I’ll be stocking up and I’d suggest you do too (at £1.39 from Chemist Direct, is there any reason not to?!)

Topshop Eye Crayon in “Gold Digger”

Topshop Eye Crayon Gold Digger

Topshop Eye Crayon Gold Digger Swatch

This was actually a bit of a rash purchase last summer but it turned into one of my absolute summer staples (as you can tell by the grubby lid). Topshop don’t seem to make these eye crayons anymore, which is a huge shame because they’re fab. I love using this in summer, mostly on the top lid but also sometimes just a smidgen under the bottom lashes in the corner. It’s really pigmented and then you can blend it out quite nicely but once it’s dried, this thing is notttt moving and it has great staying power. I don’t even think it was that expensive and I am really hoping that Topshop bring them out again!

Have you used any of these products? What are your summertime favourites? Let me know if you’ve got anything amazing I have to try – and seriously, buy that lipbalm. 

Love & Lust

Okay, so this month I’ve been doing my best not to spend money on clothes/makeup/anything unnecessary. To be honest it’s been pretty much counterbalanced by the amount of trips I’ve been going on, but I think I’ve done pretty well (although I mayyy have caved in Primark and H&M right at the end of the month). I have, however, spent an inordinate amount of time doing some good old virtual window shopping, as well as delving into the supplies I already own, and it’s inspired me to come up with what I hope will be a recurring feature around these parts. Here’s a little bit of what I’ve been loving, and a little bit more of what I’m lusting after this month.

love june 2014

 

 

Liz Earle Shower Nectar in Bergamot & Ginger

After several weeks of eyeing it up, I finally purchased this on a bit of a whim and it has transformed the way I feel about showers. I’ve never really understood any hype about lux shower gels and so on – Palmolive has always done for me, thanks – but this is DIVINE. It is seriously the creamiest, most delicious smelling thing I’ve ever known. Of the three fragrances, I thought I was going to like saffron & vanilla the best but the bergamot & ginger is perfectly refreshing – the website says zesty and I’d agree. It’s only £12.50 so not really that expensive and it would make a GREAT gift, either to someone else or (my favourite kind) to yourself!

Cocoa Brown 1 Hour Instant Tan

I actually got this months and months ago in my Southwest Bloggers Meet Goodie Bag and I have to say, I was a bit dubious about using it. I’ve never really used fake tan apart from a brief dalliance with St Tropez when I was 18 and I was concerned that something would go horribly wrong and it would all just be horrendous. However, eventually I decided I’d read enough good reviews to give it a go and got it out for the first time for a bit of a glam event a couple of months ago. All my worrying was of course unnecessary and this worked perfectly. I didn’t put a whole lot on because I really just wanted to take the edge off my pastiness rather than look actually tanned, but I’ve used it a couple of times since and am looking forward to experimenting for a deeper tan. I found it a bit difficult to control how much came out at first because the foam expands so quickly, but once I got the hang of it it was really easy and not streaky at all. Result!

Nakd Bars

A little lifestyle detour but I can’t get enough of these. They’re pretty expensive on their own (for a small cereal bar) but I always get them as part of my regular Boots meal deal and if you buy in multipack they’re not too bad, either – or so I tell myself. My favourite is the berry crunch and although I was a little bit underwhelmed by apple pie, I am looking forward to trying out the others and I’m eyeing up banana bread.


 

lust summer 2014

 

Mr Kate Beauty Marks

I. Need. These. This is beauty lust like I have never experienced before and I literally cannot stop thinking about them. At $12 they are an absolute bargain if you live in the US, but I suspect that shipping charges would make them considerably less affordable. Since I began this post I’ve actually discovered UK equivalent Seekers of Sun, which I am also SO ready to buy!

Tom Ford Sunglasses

Call me shallow but I can’t shake the feeling that I just need some Tom Ford sunglasses in my life. I don’t even have a particular pair in mind and neither have I fallen in love with any particular pair of the many I have tried on…I just want some. Black Orchid has made me a Tom Ford junkie and it’s ruining my life.

Benetint Balms

I’ve never really used the Benetints because I’m a powder-blusher kinda gal and I just never bought one. However, as soon as I spotted the new matching lipbalms I knew I kinda wanted one. I’ve tried a couple out and they are super moisturising with a nice sheer colour – the bright red is my favourite because I think it’s the most buildable colour. I really want one but I did just spend £18 or so on my Clarins lipbalm which is basically the same product and I’m not tryna start a lip product addiction on top of everything else, so I’m holding off…for now.

Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess

This IS summer in a bottle and I am officially in love. It’s absolutely perfect – coconutty suncream sweetness without being cloying or cheap-smelling, and distinctive enough that I can recognise it on anyone (and compliment them on their excellent taste). My fragrance crush changes regularly but for now, this is my one and only.

SO. What are you lot lusting after recently? Summer always makes me want to buy things and I’ve got a holiday and an internship in mind to buy for so I am after even more inspiration!

Clarins Goodies

One of the worst parts of my job is the incessant temptation from the perfume aisles, the haircare section, and most of all, the beauty counters. However, on the flipside of that: one of the best parts is that I am newly au fait with what’s what, what I should be buying and what I shouldn’t, and most importantly, who’s on gift with purchase. There is pretty much always some beauty brand or other offering an absurdly generous gift when you buy and I’m always keeping my eyes open. I’ve been needing to buy a full-size version of my recently emptied eye makeup remover, so when Clarins were on gift, I didn’t waste a second.

IMG_1814

So like most companies, Clarins require you to buy 2 products, one being skincare, in order to qualify for your gift. My eye makeup remover qualifies as skincare, so I was left with the entire collection at my disposal. Now, I could have bought a second remover, but the little one I had already lasted me a seriously long time (I’m talking months) and having another full one sitting on my shelf for the next however long just did not seem like a very fun option. Instead, I found myself drawn towards Clarins’ new lip balm crayons. I had initially discounted them because I rarely/never wear lip colour of any kind and frankly I’m just a bit scared of it. But the lovely Jacqui persuaded me to try one, and now I am hooked. To the point that I kept it in my handbag ready for top ups the whole time we were in Croatia, and I am not a girl who carries makeup around with me.

Lip Balm Crayon (in shade 02 “Creamy Pink”)

IMG_1819

IMG_1821

It’s a really subtle colour that matches my natural lip colour pretty exactly, but better, and it’s super moisturising too which is always good news with a really nice shimmery shine. I’m so excited about my first successful foray into lip colour that I’m already eyeing up the other shades, so watch this space!

And now onto my gifts! You pick 3 of 9 possible miniatures, and they’re all great travel sizes – it’s such a great way to try new products without spending!

Water Purity One-Step Cleanser

IMG_1817

I’ve never had the patience for an elaborate makeup remover-cleanser-toner-moisturiser kind of bedtime routine – most days it’s a serious effort to brush my teeth. So this gorgeous fresh one-step product is pretty much my dream and I actually can’t believe I’ve never used it before. I got the version for combination/oily skin, and it is seriously fab: it has mint essential water in it and feels so fresh on my face, and leaves it feeling bright and clean. And best of all, you don’t need to rinse it off, which means I don’t even have to leave my room to apply it. I got a generous 100ml size in my gift but when it runs out I am already planning to repurchase!

HydraQuench Cream

IMG_1816

I’ve waxed lyrical about how much I adore my Elemis Day Cream, but sadly my travel-size version will soon be coming to an end (although it has lasted a SERIOUSLY long time) so I was very happy to come across this little gem. Like all Clarins products, it smells deliciously clean (I sense eucalyptus or cucumber maybe?) and I only need a tiny bit to leave my skin feeling refreshed and moisturised.

Exfoliating Body Scrub

IMG_1808

This one was my most off-kilter choice, but I’ve recently developed a bit of an obsession with lux shower products (thanks, Liz Earle shower nectar) and I’m pleased to report that this does exactly what it says on the tube and leaves my skin silky smooth and exfoliated – to the point where even the boy noticed how smooth I am right now. It’s a nice peachy colour (irrelevant but nice anyway) and it smells delicious – noticing a theme? Even if Clarins stuff didn’t work so well, I think I’d still be drawn to it for all those gorgeous scents!

I’ve also recently acquired a sample of Clarins’ new Hydraquench tinted moisturiser. If it’s half as good as the regular Hydraquench, this stuff will probably be a godsend for summer and I’m very excited to try it out!

Do you wait for GWP time? Clarins I think have actually officially finished their gift time, but some stores may still be offering it if they have stock left so it’s worth a look!

Percy & Reed Wonder Balm

When it comes to haircare, I’m a very loyal Bumble & bumble kinda girl but lately I’ve been considering trying out Percy & Reed products. A couple of months ago (March, I think), they were giving away their newest product, Wonder Balm, free with Elle Magazine, I jumped on the chance to try one out for real.

IMG_1492

All Percy & Reed products have distinctive, fun packaging and a really distinctive smell that I really love – I believe it’s elderflower, and it’s just nicely sweet enough. The Balm itself is thinner than I expected and with a brand new tube, it’s quite hard to control how much comes out – although I did notice that on the website, the picture has a pump instead of just being a squeezy tube, so they may have changed this!

The first time I used it, I only put in what looked like a little bit (probably just smaller than a 10p piece, and I have a lot of hair) but I did find that it resulted in a few sticky/clumpy bits. The next few times, I used just a tiny tiny amount and I didn’t have this problem at all, so I guess a little bit goes a long way! Also, the tube recommends running it through from roots to ends but after that first time I’ve been using my tried-and-tested hair product method of putting it mostly through the ends and then anything leftover higher up. I’m paranoid about having greasy-looking roots and I don’t want to risk it.

I have to say, at first I wasn’t convinced this did anything to my hair. However, after some consideration and a lot of stroking, I have decided that actually, it does make it a lot softer, especially through the ends. Through a combination of luck and laziness, I very rarely do anything with my hair other than blast dry it or put it in a messy bun so I can’t really say how this works in terms of making your hair more manageable or easier to style, but I do plan on continuing to use it so if/when I decide to do something special with my hair I will definitely see if this help. And I’m seriously consiering investing in their shampoo & conditioner – I can’t get enough of that smell!

Scents of Summer

It’s no secret that I’ve developed a total and utter obsession with perfumes. I used to be all about developing the signature scent and I’d use one perfume religiously (Marc Jacobs Daisy, and then Chance Eau Fraiche, both of which I adore, and Jimmy Choo, which I definitely overused) until it ran out.

However, now I’m embracing a wider range. I’m still obsessed with Tom Ford’s Black Orchid, but it’s definitely an evening scent. With spring definitely upon us, it’s time to turn my attention (and my nose) to some lighter, daytime fragrances and lucky for me my favourite fragrance houses have been bringing out some gorgeous ones! Here’s a little rundown of my favourites so far. I’ve linked them all through to John Lewis to keep things easy but I bet you can find deals online if you want one…

Marc Jacobs Dot

 

I’ve had a sample tube of this but a while now and while I was indifferent to it at first, now I LOVE it. I’m a huge Marc Jacobs fan anyway, and this berry-scented concoction is perfect for summer days.

See By Chloe

See by Chloe is my go-to when I’m at work. I saw it on a really good offer in the January sales and I wish I’d bought it! It has notes of apple blossom, bergamot, ylang ylang, jasmine and vanilla so it’s quite a gentle, sweet scent, has great staying power, and comes in a really gorgeous, simple bottle that reminds me of a birdcage. What’s not to love?

L’Eau Couture by Elie Saab

L’Eau Couture by Elie Saab is gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous! I wasn’t sure about it when I first smelt it because I think it smells a bit like grass at first (not sure why, it has topnotes of bergamot & magnolia), but it dries beautifully and it’s a perfect fresh spring fragrance that I really love. Plus the bottle is really pretty and the perfume itself is a mint green colour that is bang on trend right now.

If you’re not looking to splash out on a new perfume, though (and I can’t really afford to) I am all about spring-scented lotions & bodywashes, and nobody does those better than Molton Brown. All of their scents are gorgeous, but their limited edition spring release, Rhubarb and Rose, is to die for. I don’t tend to like rose-scented things, but the rhubarb in this is fab and the hand lotion will leave your hands smelling nicely, subtly sweet alllll day long.

While I’m on the subject of Molton Brown, their Coco & Sandalwood body lotion (& matching body wash) is also delicious. I’m obsessed with coconut scented things and have made my way through my tub of Body Shop coconut body butter in record time, but the sandalwood in this adds a clean, fresh dimension that feels a bit more grown up than plain coconut. At £25 a bottle it’s not exactly cheap, but everyone deserves a treat, right?!

What are your favourite spring/summer scents?

 

Laura Mercier Second Skin & Benefit Brow Zings

So as I mentioned in my Spring Essentials post, I recently splashed out on a couple of new additions to my makeup collection.

First up, this gorgeous Laura Mercier “Second Skin” blush in Sweet Mandarin.

IMG_0995

IMG_0994

IMG_0990

Funny story: I actually had my heart set on buying Bobbi Brown blusher in Apricot, but they didn’t have it in stock and as soon as I tried out this one I knew I had to have it – I’m all about instant gratification! Anyway, I’ve never used Laura Mercier makeup before and I’ve been really impressed. The little compact is very sleek and perfectly sized for chucking in whatever bag you’re taking anywhere, and it has a little mirror too if you need to top up on the go (I am no stranger to doing my makeup on the train).

IMG_0997

In the tester pan it looked really shimmery and I was a bit worried it might be too much for everyday use, but actually it gives a really nice warm glow and it’s really easily buildable so you can go as subtle or as bold as you like. The powder is quite loose once you get a brush to it which has resulted in quite a lot of fallout, but I’m hoping that will stop when it’s not so new and full. It’s also nice and easy to blend – I don’t go for the “two pink stripes” look – and I’ve noticed it has great staying power. At £20.50 it’s not cheap (I’m sort of kicking myself because I’ve been saying I’ll buy the similarly-priced Nars Orgasm for ages and totally forgot about it in the heat of the moment) but I think it’s pretty much an investment piece, as makeup goes (that’s a thing, right?!). I think it’s going to work really well with a tan, especially with the slight gold shimmer, so it’ll see me through summer as well – ideal!

IMG_0993

Unlike my impulsive blusher buy, Benefit’s Brow Zings has been on my wishlist for months. After they released Gimme Brow I wavered for a while, wondering whether or not to go for that instead, but in the end I decided that BrowZings offers a bit more flexibility in creating different looks and it will probably last longer. I have had it for a couple of weeks now and I honestly can’t remember what I did without it. My biggest worry with this was that a) it would be easy to go wrong and b) it would take ages in the morning, but it takes no time at all and it really makes SUCH a difference to your overall look.

IMG_1014

It’s all over the blogosphere, but just in case you haven’t seen inside one of these genius little kits before, you get a pan of wax (the darker one), which you use to shape/fill in and one of powder, which sets everything in place and makes everything a little darker. I’ve been using just the wax if I want a subtler look, or mixing them together, and adding more of the powder if I want to make a bit more of a statement. The brushes are really small which can be a bit fiddly but it also means that you’re unlikely to go horribly wrong and it makes it easy to keep things quite subtle. The set comes in 2 colours, light (which is more reddy toned, for if you’re a blonde or a redhead or even brown with reddier tones) or dark, which I’ve got, and it retails at £23.50. I have a feeling this is going to last for a really long time and I am SO glad I invested – I have seen the eyebrow light!