Monday, 30 December 2013

Christmas Nail Art: Nails Supreme Plain Nail Art Kit*

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by Presents for Men (they don't just have presents for men!) to take part in their Festive Nail Art Challenge.  The challenge was to use their Nails Supreme Nail Art Kits to design some festive nails - so of course I said I would get involved!  For my final Christmas nails of the year, I used the plain kit (or at least I think that's what it is on the website).

There are 10 pens in the set and each has both a brush and a pen end to it.  Unlike a lot of other nail art pens I've come across, the brush isn't a striper, but a full brush - which means you can paint the whole nail with the polish first.

The pen end and the brush end

A couple of swatches of all 10 colours in the set:

For nail art pens (rather than what I would call 'proper polish') the polish is of a decent quality (though the yellow is, as most yellows are, a bit streaky to work with) - all the swatches above show two coats, which was certainly sufficient.  They painted on smoothly and dried pretty quickly.  I have to say, though, that I find the pen ends quite tricky to work with - usually I would use a striper brush for my nail art - so the more intricate designs were a bit of a challenge!  The polish had a tendency to blob out of the end (funnily enough most frequently with the reds), and some colours came out more vividly than others - the lighter ones didn't work so well on darker colours.  Overall, though, I thought they were fun and make a great addition to my collection - and I'm sure would be a fab gift for any budding nail art enthusiasts.

You can find these Nails Supreme Nail Art Kits on the Presents for Men website, priced at £19.99 each.

*PR sample

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Nail Art: Christmas Jumper Nails

More Christmassy nail art today - and, unusually, on my right hand! I used a base of No 7 Salsa with stamping from MoYou Festive Collection stamping plate 04 and Konad white polish.

Fundamentally Flawless: Christmas jumper nails

Fundamentally Flawless: Christmas jumper nails

Have you tried out any MoYou stamping plates yet? Aren't they awesome?!

Monday, 16 December 2013

Christmas Nail Art: Candy Cane, Tree, Pudding, Jumper and Santa Hat!

I'm all over the Christmas nail art at the moment!  Can't get enough of it and I'm really excited about trying out lots of different designs. I wanted to enter Barry M's #naileditwithBarryM Instagram competition over the weekend so this is one of the designs I entered.  I honestly can't remember all the polishes I used - there were so many! I used striping tape for the candy cane thumbnail and the christmas tree on my index finger, the Barry M white nail art pen for the white top of the Christmas pudding, MoYou's Festive Collection 04 plate for my ring finger and a Rio nail art pen with dotting tools for the Santa hat on my little finger.

 Christmas nail art

Christmas nail art

What Christmas nail art have you tried yet? What should I try next?!

Sunday, 15 December 2013

Dove Hair Express Treatment Conditioner*

A few weeks ago I was asked to try out Dove's Hair Express Treatment Conditioner - of which there are three in the range, to suit all sorts of hair types - and there are two great things about these - one that it only needs to be on your hair for 1 minute, so it's a quick fix, and two that they're just £3.99/180ml (a big tube which honestly I'm not sure you'll ever finish it's so big!)

Dove Hair Express Treatment Conditioner
(L-R) Intensive Repair, Nourishing Oil Care, Colour Radiance

Since my hair is in pretty good condition (a few months ago I had a Nanokeratin treatment on it) and it's not dyed, I went for the Nourishing Oil Care Conditioner first.  It's supposed to have three times the nourishing power of a standard conditioner - and with the weather how it is, I think my hair is certainly in need of a little boost.  It has Nutri-Oils in it which are enriched with argan, coconut and almond. 

Although you can't really see it in the picture below, when the conditioner comes out it has a gold stripe (with the oils in it) and a white stripe (with the conditioner in it for locking in the goodness).  It has a really pleasant smell - quite a standard conditioner sort of smell I think - but you can definitely smell hints of both coconut and almond (maybe argan too, if I knew what that smelled like...!)  My hair felt so soft and smooth after I'd used it - and was in such good condition.  I wouldn't say this is an everyday sort of conditioner, because it's so rich, but certainly once a week.

Dove Hair Express Treatment Conditioner
(L-R) Colour Radiance, Nourishing Oil Care, Intensive Repair

I passed the Colour Radiance onto a friend who has dyed hair so she could report back to me.  She said since she's used it, a number of people have asked her if she's done something with her hair and said how nice it looks.  She said the general consensus is that it looks darker, shinier and more styled, so I would say that was excellent feedback!

These conditioners are available in major supermarkets and chemists, including Boots and Superdrug, all priced at £3.99/180ml.  Will you be giving your hair a treat this Christmas?

*PR Sample

Thursday, 12 December 2013

TarasTalons Nail Polish Advent Calendar: 'Bauble' Swatch

This year I decided I didn't want a chocolate advent calendar - I never get around to eating the chocolate - and saw that indie polish maker TarasTalons was making her own nail polish advent calendars. I jumped at the chance!  It arrived in mid-October so I had to hide it away in my cupboard to stop me opening all the brightly coloured packages.  You get 24 5ml bottles and a 10ml bottle for Christmas Day.  All the polishes are one-offs or limited editions, which makes them even more special.

So far I've had some beautiful polishes, though I haven't had a chance to try them all out yet - there's a mixture of glitter toppers, glitter cremes and pearlescent ones so far.  Today's polish was the stunning Bauble - a champagne-coloured base with gold micro glitter in it.  It is so pretty and I am absolutely in love with it.  I was considering stamping over it in red but I couldn't bear to cover up its golden beauty! Maybe tomorrow I'll add some stamping to it.  The photos below show two coats of the polish - it has really good coverage and paints very smoothly.  I topped it with a couple of coats of No 7 Stay Perfect topcoat to smooth out the feeling of the glitter.

TarasTalons Bauble Nail Polish Advent Calendar

TarasTalons Bauble Nail Polish Advent Calendar

TarasTalons Bauble Nail Polish Advent Calendar

TarasTalons Nail Polish Advent Calendar

You can already pre-order your advent calendar for next year from Tara's Etsy shop - it's a £15 deposit (or £10 if you already have the fabric tree) with a £20 balance to pay later.  I am definitely going to put an order in for refilling my tree next year - I have absolutely loved opening my little parcels every day (and it's so much healthier than chocolate!)

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Christmas Nail Art: Frosty Snowflakes

I'm still really enjoying my new MoYou Festive Collection stamping plates - both of the snowflake designs came from plate 03.

I used Models Own Blue Candy (from the Ford Fiesta Glam It Up a Gear promotion) on my thumb and middle nails (and to stamp on my little finger), Butter London Diamond Geezer on my index finger, Barry M Lady on my ring finger and Models Own Snow White topped with Models Own Jack Frost.  For the stamping on the thumb and middle fingers I used Barry M Silver Foil.  I topped it all with No 7 Stay Perfect Quick Dry Topcoat (though I made sure the stamping was totally dry because it can drag a little under the topcoat).

Christmas Snowflake Nail Art with MoYou Festive Collection Plate 03

Christmas Snowflake Nail Art with MoYou Festive Collection Plate 03

Christmas Snowflake Nail Art with Barry M Silver Foil

Christmas Snowflake Nail Art with Barry M Lady

Christmas Snowflake Nail Art with Models Own Candy Blue

Monday, 9 December 2013

Models Own Limited Edition Glitter Kit Swatch and Review

I'm currently in training for a half marathon in March... this is quite something for me, because before a couple of weeks ago I hadn't actually done any exercise at all for an entire year (which is completely awful and I am ashamed to admit it).  I'm running for a trust that is very important to me and a lot of my close friends - for a few years I've supported them do the half and now it's my turn.  So - since I am in training, I decided to kill two birds with one stone this morning and run to the nearest Boots that stocks Models Own (2.7 miles away, if you're interested).  I needed to pick up a Velvet Goth polish for a present for someone and the new limited edition Models Own Glitter Kits sat staring at me and inviting me to buy another polish so I could get one free (they're free with 2 Models Own purchases from Boots)... and it's never exactly a problem for me to find a new polish to buy.  I'd been thinking about Jack Frost for a while, and since it's winter and nearly Christmas, I plumped for that one - look out for it in a mani on Wednesday this week.  So instead of being able to pop one polish in the little pocket in the back of my running trousers, I had to stuff in two and then carry the glitter kit in my hand... I don't think a serious runner would have approved.

So, the glitter kit.  It comes in a little box and contains a pink polish called Dinky Pinky, two little pots of glitter (silver and gold) and a four-sided buffer (file, buffer, smoother and shiner).

Models Own Glitter Kit

Models Own Glitter Kit

Pink is such a hard colour to photograph accurately - and I'm afraid I've not done a great job with these.  It's a bright, bluey-type pink which I love.  I do think it's a bit of an odd choice for the kit though - because it's not a remotely Christmassy colour - I think a red would have been a much better choice!  It's like most Models Own polishes - goes on smoothly and evenly.  But it smells awful!  I don't usually mind the smell of polish, but this is so strong it actually made wearing it a little unpleasant, even when it was dry.  The photographs below show two coats - though I think one more would have been perfect as it looks a bit thin on my middle finger.  I poured glitter on the top of two wet nails and then put a top coat of No 7 Stay Perfect Quick Dry over them - I've not used glitter like this before and it was a bit of a mission. I got glitter everywhere and then the top coat made it look a bit odd.  Perhaps a glitter gradient would have been a more aesthetically pleasing option!

Models Own Glitter Kit - Dinky Pinky

Models Own Glitter Kit - Dinky Pinky
This one's probably the closest to the actual colour of the pink

Models Own Glitter Kit - Dinky Pinky

You can find Models Own Glitter Kits in participating Boots stores (see here for stockists) when you buy two Models Own products - subject to availablility whilst stocks last - so get yourselves down to Boots quickly before they all run out!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Christmas Nail Art: Reindeer Nails - MoYou Festive Collection 03 Stamping Plate

Last week my first order of stamping plates arrived from MoYou - they seem to be the 'in' stamping plate makers at the moment and I've seen designs using their plates all over the place recently so I wanted a part of the action, particularly with Christmas approaching.

I bought my first proper Christmas jumper recently and I'm wearing it today - so wanted my nails to match it and found a perfect reindeer image on my MoYou Festive Collection 03 plate (£4.99).  This plate has XL size images on it - which is a bit of a shame, because my nails are relatively small so the images are all on the large side.  It didn't matter too much, but it meant I cut the top off a few reindeer!  I also bought the large stamp and scraper (£6.99) which has a really squishy pad on each end and works a lot better than the Konad one I already have.  I used a base of Seventeen Risky Red on all my fingers except my ring finger, which has Models Own Snow White on it.  I used the Seventeen red to stamp on my ring finger and Konad Special White to stamp on the red nails.

Reindeer nail art with MoYou Festive Collection 03 Stamping Plate

Reindeer nail art with MoYou Festive Collection 03 Stamping Plate

Reindeer nail art with MoYou Festive Collection 03 Stamping Plate

Reindeer nail art with MoYou Festive Collection 03 Stamping Plate

MoYou Festive Collection 03 Stamping Plate
How cute are the stockings and the candy canes? I can't wait to try out the other images.

Have you tried any Christmas nail art yet? I'm hoping to get some more up over the next couple of weeks so keep a look out for them!

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Liz Earle Hand Repair*

Another hand cream review today!  I can't get enough of them, obviously!  Today it's Liz Earle's Hand Repair hand cream.  I've become a huge Liz Earle fan recently - you may have seen my skin care, make up or nail polish reviews recently - both the skin care and make up have become part of my daily routine and I'm not sure how I managed before them.  So I was keen to try out this hand cream, like I've said before, I'm always on the look out for decent hand creams because my hands suffer so much from all the acetone I use on my nails, but also this cold weather and warm heating don't do the dryness of my skin any good.

The hand cream comes in a little pump bottle (similar to the pump bottle for the Hot Cloth Cleanser, if you've seen that) which means dispensing the cream is nice and easy - though I think if you do a whole pump, it dispenses far too much, so watch out for that.  It is a lovely silky smooth cream which rubs in really easily.  It's a little on the greasy side for my liking - I'm aware of it being on my skin for a little while after, which when I'm using my iPad and iPhone as much as I am, is a bit annoying.  When I put it on at night, the next morning my hands are super smooth and feel really replenished.

It has an interesting fragrance - on the back it says it contains bergamot, chamomile, neroli and lavender - so I suppose that's what it smells of!  I think until this moment when I read that, it was the chamomile I couldn't put my finger on - I'm not a chamomile tea drinker because I don't like the smell of it so much, so I think that's what makes me less taken with this hand cream than other hand creams I've used.

It is very moisturising and I really like the feel of how silky it is - so it's the sort of hand cream I'll keep by my bed and use before I go to sleep so I don't notice the fragrance or the slight greasiness.

Liz Earle Hand Repair is available from the Liz Earle website in 100ml and 150ml pump sizes and 15ml and 50ml tube sizes.  It's £15.75 for the 100ml pump.  (At the moment there's free delivery on all orders until Wednesday 11th December - and receiving stuff from them in the post is like Christmas, everything is so beautifully wrapped in tissue paper and it arrives really quickly, a definite plus!)

*PR sample

Monday, 2 December 2013

Lauren's Nails, Beacon Hill, Boston MA - Manicure Review

During half term I visited New York and Boston - you have have seen my USA Beauty Haul post - I had such a busy time sightseeing in New York that by the time I got to Boston, I was exhausted! So on my first day, after visiting the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum (which is great, by the way), I decided to pop into Lauren's Nails on Charles Street in the Beacon Hill area of Boston.  (I think there are also a couple of other salons around the city with the same name/owner).

(Excuse the quality of the photos - I only had my point and shoot with me and no light box!)

Lauren's Nails Beacon Hill

Lauren's Nails Beacon Hill OPI Bastille My Heart

Lauren's Nails Beacon Hill OPI Bastille My Heart

Lauren's Nails Beacon Hill OPI Bastille My Heart

I was greeted warmly and seen very quickly by the manicurist (there were probably about 6 working on the Sunday afternoon I popped in).  I decided to go for the full manicure [I can't quite remember what it was actually called] which was $20 (rather than the mini one for $12).  After choosing my polish (OPI Bastille My Heart, which you can also see in my red and black nails mani here), I had the full works on my hands - my cuticles were removed (and my horrible hang nails were got rid of) and my nails filed (I wish I could get the shape she managed).  I also had a lovely 10 minute massage on my hands and forearms (admittedly, this was quite a strong massage and even hurt a little at times...!) After she put the polish and top coat on (honestly, I just wish I could apply polish as beautifully and perfectly as she did), I sat with my nails under the drying machine for a while... at this point I felt that they rather forgot about me as nobody told me for about 15 minutes that I could go (it wasn't until I asked).

Overall I was so pleased with how my nails turned out - I couldn't stop looking at them for a few days.  Sadly the polish didn't last chip free more than a few days, and if I was the sort of person who only ever got manicures and never did it myself, I'd find that a bit irritating. It's clearly a place that gets return business - from sitting in there for 45 minutes or so, a number of clients came in and had full conversations with Lauren and the other manicurists as if they pop in every week.