Thursday, 31 May 2012

NOTD ...

I don't usually do Nails Of The Day looks but I really like the way my nails turned out today so I thought I would do a little post on them :) I really struggle with my nails splitting and flaking so they never grow very long at all. I used to bite my nails when I was younger and even though I broke the habit ages ago my nails have never grown much, so I apologise for my nails not being particularly glamorous. I'm always so envious of those people with gorgeous, long nails. Anyway, I used my Sally Hansen maximum growth daily nail treatment as my base coat and then used Topshop's Mermaid 201 with No7 Stay Perfect Glitter Top Coat in Silver on the tips. 

L-R - Sally Hansen Maximum Growth, Topshop 

I really like this nail look, especially the glitter on the tips, because I think it is subtle but who doesn't love a little bit of glitter??? The Topshop nail varnish is £6.00 whereas the other more simple nail varnishes from Topshop are £5.00, which I think is a reasonable price for a really nice nail polish. Like many other people I really like the Topshop packaging, I think the spots are really cute, and the size is pretty reasonable for the price too. The No7 glitter nail varnish is a limited edition one and cost £8.00 but I had a cheeky £5 off No7 voucher so I got it for £3 :) You've gotta love those £5 off vouchers! 


Tuesday, 29 May 2012

Books I have been reading ...

I have been catching up on my reading after I finished my exams, because during exams and doing my dissertation before that, catching up on my latest book was the last thing on my mind. I really enjoy reading and when I get into a book I generally don't stop until I've finished it. I got a Kindle for my last birthday and I absolutely love it. At first I was a bit dubious about the whole Kindle thing because I love reading actual books. I love the smell, the feel and the satisfaction of finishing a book and putting it on my bookshelf whereas with a kindle it's kind of like 'oh', and then you go back to the home page, so I like to mix up reading from my Kindle and actual books. On the other hand, Kindle books are often cheaper and they have a really good range of free books if you ever fancy something new or a good classic.

1. The Hunger Games - I really liked this book. In my opinion, this is the best of the three and I have heard that the author originally intended this to be a stand alone book but wrote the other two after the success of this one, and in my opinion you can tell; the plots tend to weaken and I don't seem to care as much about the outcome during the series. I'm sure most people have heard about this book due to the film that has been made about it but if you don't it is about a post-apocalyptic world, where there are 12 districts and a capitol where each year the 12 districts have to sacrifice 2 children to fight until only one, the victor, survives in a reality tv style programme. Although, the style of the book leans towards the teenage market, I was really intrigued by the concept as it seemed quite interesting, and I wasn't let down. It really explores human nature and makes you think about what you would do and how you would cope with some of the situations in the book. It also makes you really think about how far reality tv will go before it crosses the line, or if it already has. 

2. Catching Fire - I won't say too much about the plot in case you haven't read the first one, but in my opinion it isn't as strong as the first book. I decided to read it because I like finishing stories and I had felt interested in the character's fates in the previous book. It is a really easy book to read and does grip you quickly, I am a quick reader and read both of the first two books in one night for each, but I know slower readers who have still read them quickly. 

3. Mockingjay - This is the last book of the Hunger Games trio. It ties the plots up nicely and unlike other trilogies I have read I felt satisfied with the ending. I would recommend reading all three of the books just because I like knowing the full story, but the first book is, in my opinion, the best. The Hunger Games seem to be the must read book of the year, and although it isn't amazing, I would recommend reading them and I found the whole concept interesting.

4. Pride and Prejudice - This is my favourite book of all time, and I re-read it almost every year. I love the whole story, and Mr Darcy is my ultimate dream man. I also love Colin Firth in the BBC adaptation but that isn't why I love the book. It is the ultimate love story and I love reading it. My dad bought me a lovely hardback copy for my birthday a couple of years ago and it is one of my most treasured books. If you haven't already read this I would definitely recommend this, it's surprising easy to read and has some really funny, quirky moments.

5. Noughts and Crosses - I seem to be revisiting my youth a lot at the moment because this is another book that I used to absolutely love. I would still recommend this to anyone who was looking for an easy but thought provoking read. It is loosely based on Romeo and Juliet and is about two young teenagers, one is black and one is white, and how their relationship evolves in a world where black people (the crosses) are believed to be superior to the white people (the noughts or 'blanks'). This is also part of a trilogy, and although I loved the other books too I haven't re-read them recently as I seem to only be reading series of books at the moment. 

6. Game of Thrones - My housemates had been going on and on about these books and I had not understood a word they were saying, so after finishing my exams I thought it was about time I delved into this whole world full of knights, ladies and the odd giant. This book really gripped me, and as someone who doesn't really tend to read fantasy books, I really enjoyed it. The characters are really interesting, as is the format of the book as the chapters rotate from different characters' perspectives. I find this gives the story a lot of depth and you start arguing with yourself about which side you are on, but if you don't like this style, or short chapters, I would probably steer clear. Also, be aware that this author does not mind killing off main characters, as someone who cried for days when a minor character that my mum assured me would be fine died in the Hobbit, my best friend warned me of this before I started reading and I'm glad she did. 

7. A Clash of Kings - This is the second book in the Game of Throne series and although it was still good, in my opinion it wasn't as good as the first book. However, with this book you do get a more in depth understanding view of the characters and their stores. How the author (George R.R Martin) keeps track of all of the characters I do not know. 

8. A Storm of Swords I: Steel and Snow - This is the third book which has been split into 2 books as it was rather large, all of the books are pretty big at around 800 pages so this one must have originally been mahhoooossive. It is pretty similar to the second book as it develops the story and gradually introduces new characters and plots. I'm really enjoying this series and would strongly recommend them to anyone who is either looking for something a bit different to their usual book or someone who enjoys this type of genre. The series isn't complete yet as George R.R Martin is still writing the last books but I am really enjoying them although as I am quite a fast reader I tend to miss bits that other slower readers seem to take in more so I think I will have to re-read them in a couple of months to really get all the subtleties Martin has hidden. 


Saturday, 26 May 2012

May Glossybox ...

I know a lot of people have been talking about this month's glossybox recently but I was quite disappointed with this one, especially compared to last month's, so I thought I would share my opinions as well. 
My first impressions of the box were really good. This is only my second box, and as the last one was for the natural theme, I hadn't seen this pink box before and I thought it was quite sleek and something I would keep for future use. I also really liked the tissue paper! It's such a nice, simple way to conceal the contents and the packaging provides the protection. I will definitely be saving it for wrapping a small present or something. I also thought the sticker was pretty cute too.
Initially, I wasn't overly impressed with any of the products in the box and it hasn't really improved much since. I don't want to be negative but seeing as it was their one year anniversary box I really thought they would have made it more special. They have included a fairly nice mirror, and although it is always useful to have a mirror in your bag, I already have several mirrors that I really like to use. They also included a balloon which is ok but really I wouldn't have been fussed if it hadn't been included. 

I really wasn't impressed with the fact that these two samples count as one of the five products included. They are perfumes that I haven't tried before but is it just me who finds it weird that in most department stores you can get perfume samples for free so why are they being included as a product in a box that you pay for?? Last time I bought my boyfriend an aftershave from Debenhams the sales assistant gave me about 6 samples. Also, these scents aren't really for me, and I already have a pretty long list of perfumes I want to try when my current ones run out. So, in summary, the samples might go into my bag on the odd occasion but I won't be buying them, especially as they are quite pricey at over £60, and I'm a bit disappointed that for a supposedly special box for their anniversary they have been included. 

I don't want to be too negative with this review, but compared to last month's box this month's is pretty underwhelming. I received these eyelashes, which from this range seem to be some of the nicer ones, as some of them are really big or have gold all over them, but they still aren't really my thing. I'm not a huge fake eyelash lover anyway but if I do wear them I go for  the ones that look fairly natural, and these aren't really natural at all. They are nice, but they look really spiky and obviously fake. Although, I'm sure these will be nice for a special occasion I'm not overly impressed that these have been included either. Also, I have heard that some people received different eyelashes that at about £8, are much more expensive than these which are worth £3.90, which seems a bit odd. I imagine that the Glossybox team do their best to make the boxes all add up to a similar price, but I don't think my box is worth £10 let alone the postage on top of that, especially compared to how much my box was worth last month. 
This is another product that I'm not over the moon about. I was given two packets but I don't really wear face masks very often as I have quite sensitive skin. Although I probably will use these at some point, maybe a girly night in or a sleepover, I wouldn't buy them myself and I wouldn't have been fussed at all if they hadn't been included in the box. 
This is a product that I actually am quite positive about (at last!). It has got quite a masculine scent which at first is a bit off putting but I have tried it in the bath and the scent was much more pleasing when it wasn't so concentrated. It also lathered up really well and was really relaxing. The size of the product isn't great, it is more like something you would get in a hotel but I travel up to Manchester quite a lot so it will be handy for that. I'm not blown away by this product, but I do like it and I imagine I will use it all up. 
This product is the one I am most pleased with. It is a hair oil and although the sample is tiny at 10ml I'm still pleased I got it. I have been wanting to try hair oils for a really long time but they are quite expensive. The scent is really nice and feels really lovely on my hair. It seems to be working in the last two days I have been using it, so hopefully it will work with my hair in the long term but I will be using it sparingly because I don't think I will pay £19.99 for 100ml when it runs out. I'm really glad this was included in this month's glossybox, and is the best product by far for me. 

Overall, as I'm sure you can tell I'm pretty underwhelmed by this month's box and if this had been my first box I would have probably unsubscribed, but I loved last month's box so hopefully this is just an exception, which is a shame considering that it is their one year anniversary box. I don't like to be so negative and I'm sure there are some people who are really happy with their box, but unfortunately I'm not and I feel that it is important to be honest.


Friday, 25 May 2012

White eyeliner vs black ...

I have always generally used black and occasionally brown eyeliner, but I thought I would switch it up and try a white one for a change. I bought mine for £2.99 from Rimmel because I didn't want to go crazy and buy a really expensive one from Mac for example, if I ended up not liking the effect. The one I got was a soft kohl eyeliner in 071 - Pure White, and it is a pretty standard eyeliner really. 
This eyeliner is really pigmented and creamy. It applies really easily, and although it doesn't have a blending tool at the end or anything fancy like that, for only £2.99 it is still good. 

I actually really like this, especially for a lighter day look, and although black eyeliner makes my eyes look more defined, I think the white eye liner makes them look bigger. 
With black eyeliner - No7 
I will definitely be experimenting with different coloured eye liners now rather than just the standard black I have been wearing for god knows how long. I don't know whether I would wear white everyday but it is nice to mix things up every now and again. 


Thursday, 24 May 2012

Lancome hypnose ...

My mum was given a sample of the Lancome hypnose mascara - the custom wear volume mascara not the doll eyes one - and seeing as she has loads of mascara and mine had just ran out she let me have it. Thanks mum!!! The full size Lancome hypnose mascara costs £21.00, which is quite a lot compared to the high street mascaras which can also be quite good. Previously, I have usually worn No7 mascaras but I have heard such good things about this mascara that I'm really glad I have had the chance to try it out. Normally, I go for a mascara that is quite subtle but can be built up to be more dramatic, so here are some pictures with different layers of the mascara. 

The sample is 2ml, whereas a full size mascara is 6.5ml, which I think is a good size for a sample. Initially, the brush looks like any other standard mascara brush but after closer inspection, it has short strands on one vertical section and then longer strands etc. I also really like the packaging of the sample and the full size mascara. In my opinion, it's very sleek and elegant. Also, when you apply the product it doesn't feel like it's dragging your eyelashes out but it still applies quickly and evenly. I know some of the other mascaras in their range have different brushes but I really like this one so far. 

No mascara

No mascara
I think I have pretty normal eyelashes, they aren't particularly thick or long but aren't really short either. However, you might be able to tell that the ends of my eyelashes are blonde (??? - weird) so I wear mascara almost every day so they appear as long as they actually are. 

1 Coat

I really like it with one layer of mascara and I think this will be how I wear it day to day. It doesn't clump and it's really dark, which I like. I feel like it really lengthens my eyelashes and keeps their natural curl ( I haven't curled them because I haven't brought my eyelash curlers home with me :(  ). 

2 Coats

I quite like it with 2 coats, because although it might look a bit clumpy this close up, in real life it really doesn't look that clumpy, and it is quite dramatic which is good for a night out. It stayed put all day, which seeing as I went for a run and how hot it was yesterday is pretty good, and it was also quite easy to get off at the end of the day.

All in all, I really like this mascara. It is definitely one of the best I have tried, but at £21.00 I'm not sure if I will be repurchasing it. High street mascaras are so good now that spending that much on a mascara for every day use seems excessive, but I do really like it so I might think about repurchasing it and only using it as for special occasions, because I'm not sure about anyone else but I go through my every day mascaras so quickly. 


Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Simple nail art 3 ...

I have been really enjoying simple nail art recently, so I thought I  would give another idea from  The Beauty Department a go. I found this really easy to do, and I really like the finished effect.

To do this nail art, you will need:
A base colour (I chose 424 - Bordeaux from Essie)
A colour for the detail (I chose Rimmel - Black Cab)
A dotting tool (Bought or homemade)

Firstly, I thought I would show you how I made the dotting tool, which I found instructions for on the Beauty Department website. To do this I used a pencil with a rubber on the end, and a normal dressing pin. I then put the pin in the rubber and voila! a dotting tool! 

After applying the base coat you can now add the dots to the 
base coat using the dotting tool. I did it by putting some of the nail polish onto a scrap piece of paper and then dotting the pin into it, but I'm sure several ways work equally well. I did it in a random pattern, but more dense at the nail bed becoming more sparse towards the end of the nail. I really like this effect, I think it's pretty subtle but different, and I'm definitely going to try this technique with different colours. 

Tuesday, 22 May 2012

Tinted moisturiser ...

I have always been really lucky with my skin and although it is quite dry I have never really suffered from spots. I usually get the odd one here and there but I generally don't need lots of coverage from my foundation, especially in the summer when my face has a bit more colour. This year, I decided to buy a tinted moisturiser instead of wearing foundation, especially because I used to really like the discontinued Chanel foundation as it was quite light compared to the new one, Perfection Lumière. I had heard really good things about the Laura Mercier tinted moisturisers, and I had been given a Laura Mercier foundation a couple of years ago and liked it, so I thought I would try the normal tinted moisturiser. It is the lightweight flawless coverage one rather than the illuminating or oil-free ones, because that was what the make up artist recommended but I am intrigued by the illuminating one. 

Laura Mercier Tinted Moisturiser in Nude

One thing that I really look for in face products are whether or not they contain SPF or not. I have quite pale skin and I tend to burn before I tan so protecting my skin is quite important, not only to protect against premature ageing of my skin, but skin cancer as well. I like to wear a product with SPF on my face every day, no matter the season,  because there is still a benefit to SPF even if it doesn't seem sunny enough. Bearing that in mind, I really like that this tinted moisturiser is SPF 20 because that is definitely towards the higher end of the SPF that make-up brands offer in their face products. However, it does seem that the fairly new BB creams can go as high SPF 30, but my Perfection Lumiere is only SPF 10 and I don't think my NARS foundation had any at all. 

This is often how I like to wear my tinted moisturiser; with just simple eyes and lips. It applies really evenly and is easily blended, with just a hint of colour. As it also a moisturiser, it leaves my skin feeling really soft. However, it is quite expensive, especially as it doesn't create such an obvious effect as foundation. It costs £33 for 40 ml which does seem a lot but I'm hoping it will last a long time and I do really like it. I would recommend this to someone who is looking for a light coverage, moisturising product with a high SPF at the higher end of the price range.


Monday, 21 May 2012

My weekend ....

All my course friends finished their exams on Friday so I went back up to Birmingham and we all went out to Gatecrasher. This has been the club that we have gone to the most during my time at uni. It is huge and you will lose people throughout the night. I still couldn't tell you where all the rooms are, but it definitely makes for a good night out! We started off with pre-drinks at my friends house, where I got handed 3 drinks at once upon arriving. The evening started off pretty civilised with champagne, leading to drinking games with vodka and lemonade, ending with the straight vodka we had snuck into the club. This is never a good idea, and I do not recommend it. But, it was celebrating the end of my degree! Which is quite a big deal really. Anyway, here are some pictures! Most of them are shocking quality so sorry!

I'm wearing a Motel dress that I got two years ago, and a New Look clutch bag.

Haha definitely worse for wear!

I thought I would just add that I do not condone excessive or binge drinking, and you should always drink responsibly :) . I definitely did not feel great in the morning, but on Saturday I had my boyfriend's mum's surprise party! We went to the dogs at Hall Green, and it was so much fun! It costs £12.50 to enter, and you got a meal and a drink with that. The meal was just scampi/chicken and chips but I was hungry and it was good enough for me. I had such a good night and I would definitely recommend going to something similar if you want a fun, random night out. I can see why people get addicted to it and we were all getting really into it by about two races in.

On Sunday, I chilled out for most of the day, watching the voice and tidying my room and then came back home in the evening. All round, a darn good weekend really!


Sunday, 20 May 2012

Real Techniques 3 ...

By now I'm sure you have all realised that I'm pretty obsessed with Real Techniques brushes. I really wasn't into brushes before but now I don't know how I applied my make up before I bought these. The most recent ones I have bought are the Powder Brush, and the Core Collection (I will do a review on this at a later date), and I think this is where I should leave brush buying for a while :) . The Powder Brush costs £12.99 from Boots, and as you might have guessed from how I feel about the other Real Techniques brushes I love it. 

The brush is huge, and so soft! Below is a picture comparing the powder brush to my stippling brush to show how big it is! It hasn't shed at all, which I know can be a problem with some brushes, and it is really soft. This brush didn't come with a travel case, like some of the other kits did, but it fits in the cases I already have, along with the other brushes perfectly. It is also probably the best powder brush I have ever used. It distributes the powder evenly and lightly, and helps to create a flawless finish. 

Overall, I would definitely recommend this brush, particularly for someone who is just building there collection. It is a lovely brush that ticks all of the boxes without being overly expensive, and I think Samantha Chapman has created a brilliant range of brushes. 


Thursday, 17 May 2012

Simple nail art 2 ...

I first saw this look on the Beauty Department website (click here ), and thought that it looked really interesting and unique, so I thought I would give it a go. I used three nail polishes and self adhesive washers. The colours that I used for this  nail look are the ones that are free with InStyle magazine by Nails Inc. They are Powder Pink, Bluebell and Peach Sorbet. This technique is quite easy to do but there are some pitfalls. Firstly, you paint the base coat, which in this case is Powder Pink and wait for it to dry (after applying the normal clear base coat). This is important because if you apply the self adhesive washers when the nail polish isn't dry, when you take them off the nail polish will come straight off too. Not ideal. After applying the first set of adhesive washers in a peak design, apply the second coat of nail varnish and wait for it to dry before peeling off the washers. Then apply a second set of washers and the third colour of nail 
polish and wait for it to dry. Finally, peel off the washers and apply a top coat to make the nails look shiny, and it also evens out any ridges between the colours nicely. I really enjoyed doing this design, and it was really easy to do. The Beauty Department have some really interesting ideas, and is definitely worth taking a look at. Some things to watch out for if you want to try this yourself are peeling off any of the base colours which can look so messy but is so easy 
to do, so make sure the bottom 

colours are properly dry before applying the adhesive washers. Also, be very careful when you are peeling off the washers as they can pull the design of the upper coat and make it look a bit misshapen. Finally, take care to make sure the peaks are in line with each other so it looks like a uniform design. I have tried this with other colours and I would definitely recommend doing this if you are interested in doing some simple but unique nail art.   

L-R: Powder Pink, Bluebell, Peach Sorbet (all Nails Inc for InStyle)
Self adhesive washers

L-R: Essie Capri, Topshop World's End, Nails Inc Bluebell


Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Home ...

After finishing my exams and going up to Manchester, I decided to go home to my parent's house for some rest and relaxation, and I thought I would share some pictures with you! I live in a tiny village in Warwickshire, but we don't even live in the village but on a farm outside. (We don't own the farm just the farm house but the farmer let's us wander all over the place). It is an old house that is slowly falling to pieces and is freezing all year round, but I have lived here since I was 4 and I will be so sad when my parents decide to sell. My mum has already said that in the next 3 years they will think about selling and everyone is so sad about it, but they bought it when they had all 5 of us children living with them, so it is far too big and expensive for just the two of them. But I'm still sad. We have quite a few animals, including some chickens, which my Dad adores, so here are some pictures ....

All my stuff on the train. I decided to take the flowers with me and they survived the journey (phew), and are now in my kitchen x
These are the chicks we raised from fertilised eggs. We had 5 eggs, but only 3 survived and they are now a month old and so cute! We have two cockerels (the lighter ones) and one hen.
The chicks have their own separate pen to protect them from the other hens until they are bigger.Tthis hen isn't their mother but was broody when we got the eggs so has looked after them ever since! 

These hens are our other chickens of all different breeds. The one on the right is one of five rescue hens that we got earlier this year. They were battery hens and they had lost a lot of their feathers and couldn't walk properly and we didn't think many of them would live very long but they have all coped really well! My Dad calls them his girls :) 

The one on the left is a hen and on the right is a cockerel. So cute!

This is my dog Tilly - she is a black lab cross and we got her from a rescue shelter 10 years ago, and on the right is my house. 

My brother is a tree surgeon and is obsessed with landrovers. It's absolutely ridiculous. These are both his and he does use them for his job, and has fixed them up himself. The one on the right is called Matilda and I can't remember what the other one is  called, but it's probably something equally appropriate :) 

The rape fields behind my garden! It was only nice like this for about 5 minutes but it was lovely while it lasted. 

Anyway, I thought I would just share a little bit of where I grew up. I really like living in a city now but I'm a country girl at heart :)