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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Wishlist: Models Own Summer Sale

Models Own are currently holding a massive sale to celebrate reaching a massive 100,000 likes on Facebook, with 50% off everything (excluding their box sets)! With this in mind, I've placed a bit of an order - so this post is half wish list, half pre-haul, I guess. These are things I've had my eye on for a while but have held out, waiting for the sale. I've actually been quite restrained as I really can't afford to be spending lots of money at the moment. Here is what I've ordered:

Nail Art Pens in 'Blue' and 'White' (I already have the 'Black' and 'Pink' ones), £6 each.

Nail Polishes in 'Hed Kandi Beach Party', 'Jade Stone', 'Blooming Pink', and 'Mystic Mauve', £5 each.
Have you placed an order yet, or are you resisting? You can get the 50% discount off orders of £25 or more by using the code 'SUMMERSALE' at the checkout.


Tuesday, 25 September 2012

NOTD: Golden Mint Cream

This nail art was inspired by a post on Lizzie's blog a while back; I just thought it was a gorgeous colour combination and looked so pretty and classy.
I used three coats of ELF's 'Mint Cream' as my base, allowing the polish to dry between coats. I then carefully painted on thin stripes of an un-named W7 gold polish (it was part of a set from TK Maxx) using a fine paintbrush, which was about £1.30 from my local craft shop. I sealed the design with Essie's Good To Go topcoat for a smooth, glossy finish. I really like how this looks, I just wish my gold was a bit more obvious - it's quite hard to see unless it catches the light. Still, it's pretty and not too flashy, I guess - perfect for work!

What do you think? Do you like stripey nails?


Monday, 24 September 2012

Review: Boots Botanics Shine Away Day Cream

Boots have recently given their Botanics range an overhaul, introducing a pretty new floral style of packaging as well as changing a few of their products. To celebrate the new look, they held a few introductory offers, so I picked up this Mattifying Day Cream with SPF 15. If you've been reading my blog for any length of time, you'll know I'm endlessly on the hunt for something to stop my skin being so shiny, so this sounded ideal!

"This mattifying day cream moisturiser is designed for oily to combination skin. Enriched with clarifying willowbark, it has all-day shine control, hydrates and protects, with 5* UVA Protection."
I love the new packaging, with the sleek white box and pretty floral design. I was disappointed to see that this doesn't carry through once you open the box though; the pot itself is just plain white with no embellishment or decoration - it's actually quite boring and clinical-looking. I know it's what's inside that counts, but pretty packaging never hurt anyone!

The cream itself is quite thick but light in texture, and white in colour. It has a slight scent to it, difficult to identify but almost citrussy - I really like the scent, although it doesn't linger on the skin. It applies well, sinking in quickly and leaving the skin feeling soft, smooth and mattified, not greasy in the slightest. My make-up applies nicely over this moisturiser, though I usually leave it a couple of minutes before applying my primer and foundation to allow it to soak in fully. But does it live up to its shine-control claims?

This leaves my skin feeling soft and hydrated, and I really like that it contains SPF. Unfortunately, for me this just isn't a shine-control product; I can't see any difference by lunchtime between using this day cream and my usual moisturiser (Simple, for the record). I still have definite shine across my whole T Zone and on my cheeks as well - even with a mattifying primer, I still need to touch up with powder three or four times a day. I do have extremely oily skin, particularly in my T Zone, so if your oily skin is less severe then this may be effective. For me, the search for matte skin continues!
Boots Botanics Mattifying Day Cream With SPF 15 is available in store or online, priced at £3.33 for 50ml - it's not a bad price for the product, and it does work well as a moisturiser, so it's worth having a go if you have oily skin!
Do you use a mattifying moisturiser? Have you had any more luck than me?


Sunday, 23 September 2012

Passion for Fashion

Money Supermarket are running a 'Passion For Fashion' competition for bloggers, to win one of five £200 prizes or the top prize of £1000 and an iPad3. All you have to do to enter is come up with five outfits from online fashion retailers to create five Autumn/Winter looks. You can find more details and how to enter here, but hurry up because the competition closing date is September 24th! This is quite a long post, but I hope you enjoy the outfits I've chosen. Clicking the images should, in theory, link you through to my Polyvore collage for each outfit, should you wish to see those..

Office Wear
Chockers 'Olsen' Shoe Boots, £29.99 (reduced from £39.99!)
Total: £175.97
This outfit teams a nice heavy dress with pretty lace detailing, with a feminine blazer and silk scarf, offset with lovely chunky shoe-boots from my new favourite online shoe store, Chockers. The shoes are reduced and the bag, being from TKMaxx, is automatically a bargain! This outfit comes in nearly £25 under budget, which on reflection should maybe be used to buy an umbrella! The layers would keep you warm on the commute to work, whilst also allowing you to remove some clothing if the office heating gets a bit much. I'm aware the shoes are wildly impractical for Autumn/Winter but hey, what girl doesn't love a pair of impractical shoes every now and again!?

First Date
H&M Jacket, £29.99
Total: £137.96
For me, a first date outfit should be something you feel comfortable and confident in; something that shows you at your best whilst still being "you". In other words, I've always worn jeans on first dates - it's so much less stressful when you don't have to worry about your skirt blowing up/getting tucked into your knickers/some other excruciatingly humiliating occurrence. With that in mind, I've chosen a pretty top to complement a pair of flattering but comfy dark skinny jeans, accessorised with this cute angel wings ring and a co-ordinating clutch to carry the essentials. Finally, just in case your date isn't forthcoming with his jacket, it's always best to take your own for when it gets chilly, along with some woolly mittens in Winter. I'm saving my pennies here by shopping at places that offer student discount, which would knock £10.40 off this outfit's price for anyone with an NUS Extra card!

Total: £150.17
Having grown up on a farm, I'm all about the great outdoors and I'm a firm believer that being comfortable and practical is more important than looking good - there are times it can save your life and it's simply not worth it! That said, it's totally possible to look good whilst being a little bit sensible, and a good pair of wellies are a must. These Fairisle-print beauties are perfect for Winter and their furry lining will help you stay in touch with your toes. Boyfriend jeans mean you can move freely, essential when walking or climbing trees!  Matalan is one of my favourite shops for on-trend pieces at super-affordable prices, and a long-sleeved t-shirt under a cosy jumper makes layering easy and helps keep your core temperature up. A showerproof jacket is a must in England, as this summer has demonstrated; Ski jackets tend to come in a range of pretty colours and have the added bonus of being warm as well as waterproof. Plenty of pockets means phone, purse and camera can easily be carried without having to lug around a bag, so a good warm hat is the perfect finishing touch.

Total: £149.98
This studded black dress is classy and understated, perfect for a night out with the girls. Even better, it's half price from River Island - super bargain! Suspender tights are sexy without being trashy and make the look a little more interesting. Chunky shoes mean you're a little less likely to end up head over heels on the floor, in my experience! These Topshop beauts are a little pricey but complement the dress perfectly, and still come well within budget. A black dress means bright accessories and make-up are allowed, so this Illamasqua nail polish is perfect. A little shoulder bag is perfect to pop your phone, purse and make-up in and means you don't have to worry about it whilst dancing. I'm all about clashing the prints, so this cobalt blue snake print number is perfect to contrast with the dress's Aztec detailing.

Total: £198.72
One of the best things about Autumn/Winter, in my opinion, is big thick woolly tights - perfect for keeping your legs warm and, if you're feeling brave, available in a range of colours to brighten up even the greyest days. Matalan tights are always great quality at great prices, and these orange zig-zag tights are super versatile, great to wear with skirts, dresses or shorts. H&M are fantastic for great value basics like this on-trend swallow-print skirt, which can be dressed up or down and is super comfy for a long day at Uni or lunch out with a friend. Offset with a simple but pretty top, ideal for layering, this look is casual but still presentable. I love Cambridge Satchels for their classic, timeless look; this is perfect for carrying round your everyday essentials, be it a laptop for uni or your Kindle, purse and diary for a lunch date. A jacket brings this outfit almost up to budget, but I feel the investment of the Satchel makes it worth it.
So, there you have my five outfits! Which is your favourite? Have you entered the Passion for Fashion competition? Please feel free to leave your links below, I'd love to check them out!


Saturday, 22 September 2012

NOTD: Technic 'Carnival'

I mentioned a few weeks back that I'd picked up Technic's 'Carnival', widely touted as a dupe for OPI's 'Rainbow Connection', in Bodycare, for the princely sum of 99p. I've finally got round to taking some photos to share. I'd like to say now, just to be plain, I don't own 'Rainbow Connection' so I can't comment personally on the similarity or otherwise. There are some good swatches here if you'd like to have a look to make your own mind up.
These photos show one coat of 'Carnival' over three (thick) coats of Models Own 'Buff Pink'. Unlike its sister 'Mermaid', I actually found this polish really easy to apply - the glitter went on evenly and quite thickly, I didn't have to fish around in the bottle for glitter, and I didn't have any problems with it curling or bleeding. It smoothed off fairly nicely with one coat of top coat, although I think it'd take two to get it totally smooth.

As you can see, 'Carnival' contains small and medium hexagonal glitters in red, blue, green, silver, and gold, suspended in a clear base. It's gorgeous and eye-catching without being flashy or overstated, and a couple of people have asked if I've had a manicure. It looks lovely over a pale colour like this but I'd imagine it'd go equally well over darker or neon colours.
Overall, I really enjoyed wearing this polish and it's definitely one I'll be coming back to regularly.
Have you tried 'Carnival'? Do you own 'Rainbow Connection', and if so, how do you think the two compare?


Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Review: MUA Primer

I've been off work today with a nasty, violent cold (I'm not the type of person to have days off for a cold so you know it's bad - headache, sore throat, exhausted and achy..) and I've spent most of the day asleep. I'm feeling much better now, touch wood, as I have to go down to Sheffield tomorrow for my Induction day, which will be a five-hour round train journey - fun! As I've mentioned, I'm starting a Masters course in Applied Cognitive Neuroscience soon and I'm super excited. I'm also meeting a couple of friends for lunch before I head into Uni, so hopefully I'll be feeling fine by tomorrow morning.
I was in my local Superdrug recently, and felt a stab of horror when I realised that their MUA stand had vanished! Thankfully, I soon realised that this was because it had been replaced with a shiny new one, now also stocking the MUA Pro range - yay! I stocked up on a few bits and pieces, so you'll be seeing a few MUA reviews over the coming weeks. Today, I'm talking about the Primer from the MUA Pro range.

Presented in a glossy black tube with silver writing, in keeping with the rest of the MUA Pro range, my first impressions of this product were that it looks much more expensive than the £4 it cost me. This Primer claims to, "Flawlessly even out complexion: A velvety smooth formula that feels light on your skin and creates a flawless even complexion. Wear alone or under foundation for a long-lasting finish."

Squeezed out of the tube, this is a very wet, quite runny white cream. It spreads out over the skin nicely and is easy to work in - I just use clean fingers to rub it gently into moisturised skin. Unlike a few primers I've tried, this doesn't have a strong scent, which makes it pleasant to apply, and the texture of it is lovely too. As you can see, once rubbed in the Primer leaves a slightly wet, shiny finish, but this quickly dries to leave a smooth, velvety, and beautifully matte base for my make-up. It's a lightweight formula which really does feel like you're not wearing make-up! The primer isn't enough alone for my skin so I do always wear foundation over it, but if you just needed to fade out fine lines or enlarged pores, this may be perfect for you on its own.

I've been wearing this under MUA's Matte Foundation, which I'll be reviewing soon, and find that it creates a really lovely smooth, natural looking finish on my skin, flawless without looking like I'm wearing make-up. It works well to prolong the wear of my foundation, although I do have to top up with powder around lunchtime, and I haven't had any problems with it going patchy or weird after a few hours. Overall, I really enjoy using this Primer.
MUA Pro's Primer is available from Superdrug or from the MUA Webstore, priced at £4 for 27ml.
This is definitely one of the best primers I've tried, and I'll almost certainly be repurchasing once I run out. Have you tried MUA's Primer? What's your favourite primer?


Monday, 17 September 2012

Focus On: Oasap End-Of-Summer Sale

Oasap are currently holding a massive end-of-season sale, with up to 50% off some items. Here are a few of my favourites!
Hearts Print Chiffon T-Shirt, $19.80
Double Layer Sequin Overlay Bow-Back
Dress, $23.50
Owls Loose-Fit T-Shirt, $19.55
Totem Print Sleeveless Dress, $23.40
Vintage Lace High-Waisted Shorts, $27.90
Which is your favourite piece? I'm torn between the gorgeous pattern on the Totem Print dress, and the beautiful detailing on the Lace High-Waisted Shorts, which I think would look lovely paired with teal or maroon tights! And of course, we know how much I love owls from my recent Handbag Wishlist... I've not actually bought anything from Oasap yet, but I can see I probably won't be able to resist much longer!
You can see all of Oasap's sale items here.


Friday, 14 September 2012

Wish List: Handbag Edition

A girl can never have too many handbags, right!? A girl can, however, be too far into her overdraft, so with that in mind, I thought I'd share a few I'm eyeing up in case of a surprise lottery win.

Animal Boxie Bag, £25, Accessorize
Woodland Laser Cut Clutch, £28, Topshop
Yenzi Owl Across-Body Bag, £25, Accessorize
Studded Side-Panel Hobo Bag, £19.99, New Look
Antoni & Alison Brown Leather Bag, £69.99, TK Maxx
Jade Shoulder / Clutch Bag, ~£143, Etsy
Which is your favourite? Do you own a million handbags yet always crave more, too?


Thursday, 13 September 2012

NOTD: Body Collection Crystal Suede 'Mint Breeze'

Today, I'm sharing another NOTD, this time using Body Collections Crystal Suede Nail Lacquer in 'Mint Breeze'. I bought this through sheer intrigue from Bodycare a couple of weeks back for the princely sum of £2.99.
This polish applies smoothly, is pretty much opaque in two coats and completely opaque in three, and dries super-quickly. I didn't have any problems with patchy application or dragging. I'd say Crystal Suede is actually a pretty good name for this polish, which has an expensive-looking sort of matte-glitter finish - a lot like suede but kind of crystal-y. It's really pretty anyway, glittery in a subtle way without being too in-your-face, and smooth to the touch. The colour is lovely too, more of a Seafoam Green than Mint in my opinion, but gorgeous nonetheless. My only issue with this polish is that I'm not sure how well it'll wear, as applying a top coat would ruin the effect. The photos below show three coats with no base coat (naughty naughty!) or top coat. Sorry about the polish all over my cuticles...

Do you own any Body Collection nail polishes? What's your favourite budget polish brand?


Friday, 7 September 2012

NOTD: Storm in a Teacup

This is one coat of NFU.Oh's 'Storm In A Teacup', from their Opal Collection, over two coats of Nails Inc.'s 'Paddington', a deep, slightly translucent smokey grey-brown creme. Both polishes applied well, with no fishing around for the flakies and minimal streaking. I'll be honest, I'm not so keen on the base colour on its own, but 'Storm In A Teacup' is a stunning topcoat, going from gold through red and orange to green depending on the light. I've had several compliments on this and can't wait to try it over more bases!

(Stacking rings part of a set from H&M) What do you think?

(I paid for the NFU.Oh polish with a gift voucher I won on their Facebook page; I bought the Nails Inc polish with my own money. As always, these are my honest thoughts and opinions.)

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Chiffon & Studs

Fashion Vouchers are currently holding a Blogger Competition to win one of four £50 vouchers for Boohoo.com. For more details and to find out how to enter, check out their blog! This is my entry.

Orla Dress, £20 / Saffiya Wedges, £25 / Tara Diamante Cuff, £5 (Total: £50)

I love the colour of this dress, and the floaty chiffon skirt with dipped hem is still a key trend. The studded wedges add height without loss of balance, which is always a key consideration for me! The shoe are quite a statement piece so I've finished this outfit off with a simple silver diamante cuff bracelet to bring it all together.
What do you think of my choices? If you've entered this competition, please feel free to leave me a link in the comments, I'd love to check out your outfit!


Saturday, 1 September 2012

Chit Chat Juicy Lipsticks: Damson, Fiery Red and Autumn Leaves

You may remember me posting a couple of weeks back about a bargain I found in my local Poundland; ChitChat's Juicy Lipstick. On browsing Poundland at a later date, I discovered three other shades, which I immediately purchased - all for you guys, honestly! Here I have, from top to bottom, 'Damson', a pinky-red shade; 'Fiery Red', a deeper reddish colour; and 'Autumn Leaves', a coppery/bronzey shade. Keep reading for some swatches on my lips!
Chit Chat Juicy Lipsticks Swatches Review Fiery Red Autumn Leaves Damson
Overall, I think 'Damson' is my favourite; I'm not such a fan of 'Autumn Leaves' as I'm not sure it suits me, but I'm sure it'll grow on me. 'Fiery Red' doesn't come out very pigmented on my lips, but it's quite a good my-lips-only-better shade, perfect for more natural make-up looks.
Which is your favourite?

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