Lifestyle, fashion and beauty

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Nails Inc Haymarket

Today's nail art is featuring one of my newest additions to my nail polish collection, Nails Inc Haymarket. I was given this in my goodie bag at last week's QVC Beauty Bash last week and I was so excited to try it. The polish itself is a beautiful thick light green that needs two coats to look polished as one coat was too streaky.

Not happy with a plain green I added some nail art around the edges and some dots with my Model's Own Wah pen in white. I'm quite liking my Model's Own pens but curious to try some others. If you have any other suggestions of good nail art pens that you use yourself do let me know. And let me know what you think of my latest arty nails.


Sunday, January 27, 2013

Red with gold stripes - Nail art

Today's nail art is all about the red and corals and I have used a trip of LA Colors again. I used two coats of Coral Reef a base, followed by the gold glitter across the tip. I didn't really like the consistency of this, and found it a bit too gloopy. It won't be my first choice next time. I then filled in the tip with the red nail art pen.
It's a simple design, but nice enough and was fun to do. What do you think of it?

When blog jealousy turns malicious

He drew the banner himself in MS Paint. Do you like it?!
This post is a bit of a move away from my usual posts, but something I wanted to touch on in light of recent events. I have been blogging now for almost two years and have not had much controversy aimed at me, though I have seen plenty of negativity aimed at others over this time. I wasn't going to say anything until this morning when I realised this negativity isn't aimed solely in the beauty and fashion world.

I bought my husband Asif his first Nerf gun blaster two months ago for his birthday, a week later he set up his own blog, My Last Dart, as he had seen me blogging for so long and he wanted to try it out too. In the seven weeks he has been doing his blog it has grown astronomically, and been invited to toy fairs and product launches in New York, Italy, Japan, and Australia. He is now one of the top two bloggers in this field in the UK, and is sponsored by the company that makes the product.

But sometimes with success comes jealousy, and today we discovered, after weeks of another 'fellow' blogger trying to get in on the action, this other blogger had bought two domain names and which both referred back to his own website, with the supposed aim of taking My Last Dart's traffic. We even discovered the culprits boasting about this in a forum. After Asif outed him in a blog post, and received a lot of support from his own community, with touching comments about them having been bullied, as well as people demanding he take the post down, the culprit admitted what he had done and claimed it was a prank.

Obviously Nerf is a different community to the one I am part of and know, but the question still arises, how do you handle negativity and even bullying in the community you are part of and people telling you what to do on your blog? Ultimately a blog is your own space to do as you please. And over the past few weeks I have seen many comments on Twitter about people saying what they think a blog should be, how bloggers should conduct themselves, how they can give a bad name to other bloggers, and how you effectively have to play by the 'rules'.

But I don't believe anyone else can tell you what to do or try to take over your space. Surely you created your blog for a reason and purpose? So do what you want to do with it. Sure, ask for advice if you want it and need it, but ultimately it's up to you what you do with your blog.

What do you think?

Saturday, January 26, 2013

More by Demi perfume

More by Demi is a perfume by Demi Moore herself for a Swedish beauty brand Oriflame. The Eau de Parfum is amongst the first of the items in the collection that have already gone on sale. Others include a shower cream, body butter, hairspray and a handbag.

This is what Demi said about the range: "It was so exciting to team up with Oriflame and together we’ve created indulgent beauty products and on-trend sophisticated accessories that every woman will adore. As an actress, I absolutely loved playing the fairy tale characters and hope that women everywhere can be the star of their own fairy tale!”
The perfume has been created by perfumer Fabrice Pellegrin and contains: Tahitian ylang-ylang, jasmine sambac, sandalwood. lilac and white musk. Oriflame said the aim was to emulate Demi's glamour and sophistication, and the gold bottle and cap was inspired by an elegant clutch bag appearing in Hollywood galas.

This was one of the products we received in our #xmasbloggerslunch goody bags to review, and as I hadn't tried it or heard much about the range or Oriflame before I was keen to try it out. I like that the bottle is gold and along the edges, though you can't see it in this photo, the bottle is clear, so you can see how much is left. It does look different sat next to my other perfumes on my dressing table.
The perfume itself, I either hate or love smells, and I wasn't keen when I first sprayed it, but once it settled it was actually really lovely. I asked Asif what he thought of it and he said 'Ooh, that's really nice' which is enough of a positive for me that he likes it. I have been wearing it during the day and though I have taken these pictures in the snow, making the most of it while I could, I think this perfume is just as easily wearable in the summer too. I can definitely smell the musk, though it isn't strong or heavy as white musk alone.

The perfume is available from Oriflame and is priced £30.95 for 50ml.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Green stripe nails

I am still wearing my feather nails from Nails Inc, but thought I would show you a design I did the other day and intended to put up yesterday until I got my nails done. I am still new to nail art, and try as I may, I know my designs are still on the messy side, despite me cleaning up afterwards. Any tips from any nail fans on how to get a perfect stripy nails would be welcome!
I used a trio of greens and a white from LA Colors, cheap and cheerful. The greens were Sea Foam and the shimmer was simply labelled Metallic Green. I painted them in stripes down each nail, working one colour at a time. Some needed two coats, and on second thoughts I probably should have used some kind of tape to separate them.
What do you think of the design, and if you have any tips on how I can make this look any neater do let me know!

Slendertone Face

Last month I was lucky enough to receive this Slendertone Face device at the #xmasbloggerslunch event that Julie and I organised. The lovely ladies from Slendertone also attended and gave each of us a one-to-one session to talk us through how to use it. Since then I have been trying it out to see if it really does live up to the hype.
Slendertone says it can be used to "tone the muscles, lift the face, rejuvenate your skin," and "94% reported their face felt firmer" after using it. The device, which looks much like a headphones set, uses electrotherapy to exercise the muscles in the face. It targets the facial muscles which stem from the jawline to tone them and combat the natural 'sag' of the ageing process.
The headset part is place at the nape of the neck, while the pads are worn on the cheekbones and parallel to the ears. The control unit, once charged up, is switched into the wire that connects to the headset, and you can control the electronic pulses to the pads.
The first time I used it I put it on speed 18, as suggested during the session, but as I didn't feel much of a difference I pumped it up to 20. You should feel slight muscle movements, like twinges, but only slightly. If it is too strong or uncomfortable the speed may be too high for you. And the control unit automatically times each session for 20 minutes, which is handy. I have been using it while watching TV and barely notice it.
It is recommended to be used three times a week for 12 weeks, and as wanted/ needed thereafter. I will report back after the three months are up, but already I feel like my skin is more radiant, but I can't say if that is solely down to this device as I have been taking better care of my skin as one of my New Year resolutions.
It normally costs £250, but is currently on sale at Boots for £199 from the Slendertone website. It's not cheap, but if it really does work it is a good alternative to other more costly treatments out there.  I have enjoyed using it and will carry on using it to see what the benefits are like after the initial 12-week period.
I would be interested to hear if you have tried this and if you would be tempted to try it out. What do you think of it?

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Nails Inc Feather effect nails

This morning I went to the QVC Beauty Bash event - a beauty bonanza thrown by the shopping channel. Early morning was a chance for a few of us bloggers to have a look around, speak to experts and have some treatments before it was opened up to the public.
I opted for a manicure by Nails Inc, and since I love nail designs, I wanted to try out their latest polishes. They had concrete and leather effect polishes, but I opted for the new feather effect look. All these polishes will be available from March priced £11, so it was a great chance to try them out.
The base was a beautiful peach called Kensington Palace Gardens, topped with the feather effect polish. I went for the matching peach/white, which looks like hundreds and thousands. I had just one coat, and was told the best method was to dab it on rather than put it on like a standard polish. I think two coats would give a better effect with more of the design packed in together. It was topped with a fast-drying top coat and I was good to go.

Of course, being the klutz I am I did scuff a bit of it when I picked up my coat, but I loved the design and the effect. There are three other feather looks in this collection, a blue/white, a green/gold, and green/ yellow. What do you think of these? Will you be trying any of these, or the other new Nails Inc effects out when they come out in March?

*A big thank you to QVC for the invite to the event. A full review of the event is to follow.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lattice nail art

Yesterday I decided to try out some nail art after having signed up to Pinterest again (username safira786). There's so much inspiration there that I was itching to try it out again. I hadn't painted my nails since getting them done last week and wanted a change as they started to chip. This design was taken from a design I saw, I'm not sure whose it was originally, but it was a peach nail with a think white lattice design. I changed it up by using a nude base in Model's Own Naked Shimmer. I topped this with a lattice design using Model's Own Wah pen in white. I then filled in the design with a Wah pen in black. It reminds me of a vanilla pod!
What do you think of the design? Have you tried anything similar?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A day at Toy Fair 2013

A bit of a random one today but I spent the day at Kensington Olympia with Asif at the annual Toy Fair 2013. I didn't realise how big it was until I saw it on BBC breakfast this morning and media vying for exclusive launches.

Asif runs the top Nerf blog in the UK - go check out My Last Dart - and has managed to get some exclusives from Hasbro this morning. I was just along for the ride and his camera woman and videographer but had fun all the same.

Here are a few shots of what I was allowed to take photos of.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Milkshake Conditioning Whipped Cream

I have been trying Milkshake Conditioning Whipped Cream, a leave-in conditioner, for the past few weeks to give it a good try out so thought it was a good time to now post my views on it. I got this (200ml) as part of the goody bags for the #xmasbloggerslunch that Julie and I organised, and also received a half size one a couple of weeks later in the December Glossy Box. I was especially intrigued to try it as it was the winner of "The Best Leave In Conditioner" at the 2012 Hair Awards!
For my long hair I used a small handful of mousse, and distributed it through my hair before styling. I combed it through then blow-died it straight. I have tried it both in London and in Wales at my parents' house, as my hair gets notoriously dry and frizzy in London, but is always softer when I wash it in Wales - it's something to do with the water being harder in London. And on both occasions it has made my hair softer and shinier than usual. In Wales it was much softer and frizz-free, but there was a noticeable difference in London too.

The foam is light, non-greasy and easy to use. It kind of melts into the hair, and as long as you don't overuse it, it leaves the hair easy to style once blow-dried. And the smell is AMAZING! I think it smells like buttery popcorn or toffee, I can't decide.
Have you tried this product? And if you have, what did you think of it?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Beauty tip #16 - Celebrity facialist Nuz Shugaa

Today's beauty tips are from celebrity facialist Nuz Shugaa who is known as the bespoke facial queen. She has worked with celebrities including Rachel Weisz and Amanda Seyfried, and has tips on how to achieve flawless skin at home.

Which celebs have you worked with?
My regular clients include Amanda Seyfried, Dominic Cooper and Kimberly Wyatt.

Favourite skincare product and why?
At the moment it is Inlight Organic Skincare. The less complicated ingredients mean less breakouts.

Top tip for beating dry and flaky skin after the cold weather?
Apply a treatment oil nightly to reduce dry, flaky skin. After one application the oil will leave you with great hydrated and dewy skin.

Best way to tackle fine lines and wrinkles around the eyes?
I always tell my clients that a night-time skin routine is absolutely vital for youthful skin, especially after a day exposed to make-up and the elements. Seven Seas ilumina 30+ contains clinically-proven Botanical Nutri.4 Formula - a complex of Grapeseed Extract, Bilberry Extract, lutein and Green Tea Oil - and has been scientifically proven to reduce the appearance of fine lines and improve skin elasticity.

How can we achieve a natural looking, radiant glow at home?
Exfoliate regularly to remove dead skin and apply a good facial mask to give you that extra glow.

Any tips for beating dark patches under eyes?
Sleep! If you don't sleep well you'll never get rid of dark patches under your eyes. Take a good skin supplement too, Illumina contains lutein, which is brilliant for the delicate tissue around the eye contour area. Try applying camomile teabags soaked in warm water to your eyes.

A great skincare bargain?
Purity skincare - it's organic, safe and so affordable.

Favourite luxury skincare product?
Jean D'Estrees Paris. It contains very active ingredients and is one of the skincare brands that I know actually works. 

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Nail art by Michelle Humphrey

Today's nails are a bit different and a bit of a cheat as I didn't do them myself! But I will put them up anyway. I have just come back from a Radox event at the Mayfair Hotel for the launch of their new body washes, which smell divine! A full review of the event will be up next week, but I wanted to show you my nails as done by Michelle Humphrey, nail artist to the stars. She has painted the nails of celebrities including Lily Allen, Pixie Geldof, Amelia Lily - and now me!
I went for a simple design with pink flowers on my accent nails. I think they look cute and make me look forward to the summer. What do you think of them?

Beauty tip #15 - Fitness celebrity Rachel Evans' top tips

For today's beauty tip I spoke to Rachel Evans, a fitness celebrity and founder of Make Over Essex fitness and beauty makeovers. She talked to me about her makeup artist tips for great skin and makeup products for staying beautiful and radiant during the January months through to the spring/summer bikini season.

Rachel Evans from Make Over Essex
For day to night makeup tips:

*Always use a base for makeup and always prep your skin properly for make up. Then add a primer like Prep and Prime by MAC or a high SPF tinted moisturiser like Dermalogica. Opt for non -greasy light coverage which will sink into skin quickly.
Do remember to exfoliate at least once a week to get rid of dead skin cells which dull the skin. Try a fruit scrub like Papaya Enzyme Elemis product which is light and not too harsh for sensitive winter skin.

After moisturising your face use a concealer to hide blemishes and any imperfections. I use Touch Eclat by Yves Saint Laurent, or you can budget buy from Revlon Photoready  concealer is good coverage. You can use concealer instead of foundation like I do. Especially redness can be toned down around the nose mouth lines. Apply under dark circles and then lightly dust the whole face with a mineral powder. A good one I use is Bodyography which is light reflective and so natural you can sleep in it. Or party till the early hours and still look groomed.  

Then apply bronzer to the face where the sunlight hits the face including cheekbones apples of cheeks then t-zone forehead and nose bridge. I think bronzer is good as it is more natural looking than a pink blusher which in harsh daylight can look too doll-like.

Next do your eyes with a volumising mascara like Dior Show for instant two coats glam volume or budget buy Maybelline Collossal for daytime which is amazing for instant build up for a natural to fake lash look, depending on how many coats you apply. Both products do not clog, but if any stray lashes get clogged take an old mascara wand and comb through lashes. Keep lower lashes clean and mascara free.   
For a day to night mascara look use mascara on the lower lashes and then finish eyes with a smoky eye look- use a MAC or Maybelline kohl pencil on the inside of they eyes.  

Finally, for daytime lips use a sheer lipstick and for night go for colour.  MAC pigment lipsticks are fashionable now, I use pink lemonade lipgloss. It has mirror-sheen staying power and only needs reapplying twice. For the brave, opt for a high pigment MAC lipstick like Nicky Minaj. Or for an understated night-time nude lip go for a natural Bardot pout just add a nude tone gloss for high shine glamour. Mac does the best nude lipsticks.
REMEMBER, smile and be confident. Do once a day touch ups at lunchtime, and if going from day to night -  just add the khol eye liner and lip color for an instant evening glam look.
You should wear your make up it should not wear you! 
Rachel's website is: and you can find her on Twitter at @MakeOverEssex
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