Lifestyle, fashion and beauty

Monday, March 25, 2013

Marks & Spencer beauty spring/ summer

A while ago I went to the preview of Marks & Spencer's upcoming beauty collections for spring/summer at the Cafe Royal in central London. The building, which has been recently restored, was absolutely beautiful, especially the ceilings. The collections themselves were a welcome surprise, Marks & Spencer's own signature collection from Autograph was there, along with many other brands, including Glam Glow, Tara Smith, REB, and even Hello Kitty.
My favourite among them was a new eyeshadow palette from Autograph with a collection of neutrals, much like Urban Decay's Naked palettes, but a steal at only £12! I have tried some of these colours, and there are some beautiful shimmers in here.
There are also some gorgeous nail polish shades from Leighton Denny, which I am pleased that Marks & Spencer now stocks and haircare from Tara Smith. And during the evening we were pampered with beauty treatments, and had the chance to decorate some cookies. What do you think of my attempt below?
What do you think of Marks & Spencer's spring/summer collection? And is there anything above that catches your eye?

Friday, March 22, 2013

Oz The Great and Powerful Selfridges windows

I went to see Oz The Great and Powerful in the cinema on Saturday and it was every bit as colourful and magical as I expected it to be. It was also funny, and I loved the costumes. I would highly recommend it, and I would love to see it again, but next time in 3D.
I have included some collages in this post of some pictures I took last weekend at Selfridges in Oxford Street. The front two windows include the original costumes from the film, with props, and to celebrate the release of the film Selfridges has also included a collection of shoes by Nicholas Kirkwood inspired by the film.

Do check out the collection and the costumes if you are in the Oxford Street area. They really do look magical! Have you seen the film? And what do you think of the costumes?

Monday, March 18, 2013

Neal and Wolf Intensive Care Treatment

One of my resolutions this year has been to take better care of my hair. My hair has got thinner since last year and my mission is to boost it and get it back to its original state. In my attempt to do this I have been trying out a few different products, the first of which is this Neal and Wolf Intensive Care Treatment. I first received this about a year ago in a Glossy Box, and loved it so much I have got it again. This treatment works much like a hair masque. I started off using it every other day when I washed my hair, and now use it once a week.
 I shampoo, then leave this on my hair for about five minutes, before following with conditioner. The effects are instant as I am washing it out as my hair feels silkier, smoother, and easier to manage. I also notice less tangles while it is wet. When styling it is much softer and shinier; I certainly notice the difference when I haven't used this for a while. It is one of the better treatments I have used on my hair and helps restore and retain moisture.

A 200ml size Neal and Wolf Intensive Care Treatment costs £12.95.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Nicky Clarke DesiRED Ceramic Tongs

I usually wear my hair straight, but I love a curl because it always makes me feel a little more dressed up, and adds some lovely volume to my locks. So I was keen to test out these gorgeous Nicky Clarke DesiRED curling tongs. They are part of a collection, which includes a blow dryer and ceramic straightners in normal and wide, and aims to use the latest technology so that you can get a salon look at home. In particular the ceramic plates in the straightner and tongs give a sleek finish.
The tongs were in a glossy red, which I loved the look of, and have a total of eight different heat settings from 150 - 230˚C. I loved that I could change the heat settings myself, as I hate it when I can sometimes smell my hair burning when I have barely had time to curl my hair. It is also handy to be able to adjust the heat if you would prefer to curl your hair on a lower setting to protect your hair and if you are using a heat protector spray which works up to a lower heat. I loved the LCD screen for this and being able to easily adjust the levels.
I did initially have a concern that the little clasp to clip the ends of your hair into to keep them in place was a little smaller than I am used to, but after I had done a few strands I got used to it, so it wasn't too much of an issue afterwards.
I have tried a variety of styles with these tongs; for softer waves I have thicker strands and used my fingers to brush through to separate them. For more defined tighter curls I curled thiner strands at a time and sprayed them with hairspray to keep them in place. I have found that it is easier to curl on hair washed the day before, and if I don't use a finishing product, like a hairspray after I have curl my hair it keeps in place for about four to six hours before becoming a looser wave. The curl holds for much longer, and keeps its shape with a finishing product to help it.

The DesiRED Ceramic Tongs are £22.99. What do you use to curl your hair?

Where to find me after Google Reader ends

As many of you may already know Google Reader is soon to be RIP. I use my reader when I log on to my computer, but my preferred way of reading blogs on the go or on my laptop has always been on Bloglovin'. I love the handy app that makes it easy to read, like and group blogs together and read on my way to or from work. If you would like to follow my on Bloglovin' you can follow the link. I am also on Hello Cotton, which I think is another great way to discover new blogs, with a great magazine-style interface.
You can also follow me via Facebook and Twitter, and on Instagram (Safiraali) where I post photos of what I'm up to everyday.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Real Techniques Powder Brush

Ever since I tried my set of Real Techniques makeup brushes last year they have been a staple in my makeup kit. So when I picked up the Real techniques Powder Brush I knew I was on to a winner. It has a fairly large head with soft bristles, and easily picks up powder. It helps blend powder softly into the skin and looks flawless when buffed in. I feel the large head and soft bristles help with the application and makes it less likely you will provide too much powder or look cakey.
The Real Techniques Powder Brush is priced £12.99.

Have you got this powder brush? If not, what is your favourite powder brush? Have you tried any of the Real Techniques brushes?

Monday, March 11, 2013

Seche Vite Top Coat

Since getting more into nail art this year I have been investing in more base and top coats. My thinking is why would you invest in a beautiful house that doesn't have a solid foundation or a secure roof. So speaking of the roof I have here the much-talked about Seche Vite top coat.

I was given this delightful top coat by QVC to try out and review, and boy was I excited when I got it! I have heard others swear by it and I can't understand why I didn't get hold of it before now. I want you to look at the three pictures below, now I must admit, there is one missing, I should have included a before shot pre-Seche Vite.
The design above is one of the last nail art designs and I thought it was a perfect opportunity to try out the staying power of the top coat. Before applying I fell asleep and ended up with duvet nails. I should have taken a picture to show you, but there were ridges and indenting in the pattern. After a coat of Seche Vite the unevenness was smoothed out - I was really impressed. By day 9 I saw the first noticeable chips, but even then it was just around the tips, and didn't peel off as usual. And by Day 12 it was more noticeable again, but still had good staying power compared to my usual top coat.

I have used it since, and still love it as it smooths out the polish, especially any bumps from paint or multiple polishes when doing nail art, and it makes my nails look super glossy.

Seche Vite top coat is currently available - two for £15.50 from QVC.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day today. I hope you get to spend some quality time with your mum and give her the attention she deserves today. I am not able to go back to Wales to see my mum today, but will be spending the day with my mother-in-law. What do you have planned with your mum today? xx

Saturday, March 9, 2013

International Women's Day

Yesterday was International Women's Day. Did you do anything to mark it? I wanted to share with you some pictures from Oxford Street, London this afternoon of a march by various groups, refuge centres and unions. It was very energetic with lots of music. Here are a few photos and a video as I was passing. 


Friday, March 8, 2013

Money Smart Nail Art: Cotton buds and bobby pins

Today's nail art is something a little different, not using the usual tools I use, but making the most of household, or regular beauty items. This is my entry to Money Supermarket's Money Smart Nail Art competition, which asks entrants to create a nail art look or submit nail art tips for those looking to save money, but still wanting great looking nails.
I decided to use five different designs on my nails using different polishes and tools from bobby pins and cotton buds, to a cheap art brush from the 99p shop. I started with a pale pink base of Topshop Powder, then on my ring finger used a cotton bud dotted Bourjois Violet Couture all over the nail. For this look I didn't pour a lot of polish out, it was a little, that was still tacky and when I dabbed it on the nail the tackiness allowed the pale pink to come through.
On my middle finger I used a bobby pin and again dabbed Bourjois Violet Couture randomly over the nails. While it was still wet I took an art brush I got in a pack of 10 from the 99p shop and dipped it in nail polish remover and dotted it over the still wet polish to make it blend in. I followed with Barry M Bright Pink, Rimmel in Rose Libertine and 17 fairy Cake, following each with the art brush and nail polish remover. I swirled them slightly to get a less defined look.
On my pointer I used a cotton bud again, but this time went for big dots. I poured more Bourjois Violet Couture than before and while wet loaded the cotton bud with more polish than before making for bigger dots. I followed with the other polishes. I used the same method on my little finger, but packed the dots in closer together. And then finally for my thumb nail I dotted the Barry M Bright Pink using the polish brush randomly. When dry I outlined the dots randomly and filled in the spaces with Violet Couture. While still wet I topped all the nails with Seche Vite top coat, which smoothed all the bumps, helped it dry quickly and made it look glossy.

So there you have it! What do you think of my nail art look? And do you ever multi-task with items around the house for your nail art designs? I would love to hear what you use for your designs.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

3LAB Super Cream

I was lucky enough to be invited to Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge a while back for the launch of 3LAB's Super Cream. Erica Chung, the co-founder of the brand talked to us about how she created the company with her husband David Chung and how they got to where they are now. She said she wanted to produce an anti-ageing skincare line to combat all signs of ageing, imperfections, wrinkles and uneven skintone.
 She has used the most up to date cutting edge technology to create this range of high-end skincare. I say high-end as it costs £630 for a 50ml pot. Not exactly cheap. I was given this tub pictured to try out, and as it's worth £100 I have been using it sparingly as a night cream. It is lighter than I expected it to be and sinks in nicely and leaves behind a citrus/lemon scent.
 Initial thoughts are that it did make my skin look and feel more radiant, and was a lovely treat to use at night, but I couldn't justify spending £630 on a face cream. But I would love to know, what price would you put on your skincare, and how much would you pay for a skincream?
3LAB Super Cream is available from Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge and online. 

Saturday, March 2, 2013

RapidShield eyelash conditioner

I have never made too much of a fuss over my eyelashes, I rarely use anything to condition them beyond Vaseline, though I have noticed them looking more dry and sparse than they were previously, especially my bottom lashes.  When I was invited to the launch of RapidShield eyelash conditioner, from  the makers of RapidLash, I was intrigued. I had heard so many good things about RapidLash, so was certain their new product would be just as good.

The conditioner comes with a brush, much like a mascara brush, and the product is a clear gel that you apply by brushing through your top and bottom lashes morning and night. It aims to improve the overall appearance of your lashes, but can act as a primer before you put your mascara on. I have just read you can apply it on top of mascara to perk them up too and add some shine, which is always welcome.

I'm always interested in seeing what ingredients are in products, and what difference they make, and in this case there is sodium hyaluronate to help hydrate your lashes, and panthenol to help lock in the moisture. The combination of the two is meant to improve elasticity and prevent breakage/damage.

After using RapidShield for a week I started seeing results and after about a month I have noticed less fallout than before. Considering they were quite sparse before they look more fuller and defined now. RapidShield won't stimulate growth, but works with the lashes already there, but I did feel my lashes were more noticeable than before I started using this. And they feel softer and look more shiny. I haven't been wearing mascara as much during the day and reserving it more for going out as I wanted to see the effects of the conditioner. And my sister (who has amazingly long eyelashes, that I am sooo jealous of!) even asked what I had been doing to my eyelashes, so I think it is a visible difference, as well as the physical softness.

Have you tried RapidShield? What do you use to condition your lashes?
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