Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Good Things Manuka Honey Refining Scrub Review

Good Things Manuka Honey Refining Scrub Review

I always like trying out new skincare products and have recently got quite into face masks and face scrubs to add into my routine, so I was interested to try out Good Things Manuka Honey Refining Scrub* (£4.99).  I'm not familiar with the Good Things range, but having done a little research into them I have found out they are aimed at younger skin and their products contain no nasties and are packed full of superfruit extracts.  They're also really affordable too.

Good Things Manuka Honey Refining Scrub Review

Good Things have a new range of Manuka Honey products - a cleanser, a face mask, this face scrub and a daily moisturiser.  The smell of the face scrub is yummy and all the scent of all the ingredients are definitely there - oatmeal, honey and almond oil.  It also contains kaolin which is there to draw out excess oil.  The oatmeal gives the 'scrub' element and it did feel a bit like I was putting honey porridge all over my face, which although a little bizarre at first, it was really pleasant (and makes for an appropriate addition to the morning routine once or twice a week)!  My skin certainly felt softer and smoother afterwards and had a nice glow to it.  A little goes a long way so this big 150ml tube should last a good long time.  

I'll definitely be looking out for more Good Things products in the future.  You can find them in Boots stores nationwide, www.boots.com and from www.goodthingsbeauty.com.

*PR sample

Monday, 28 April 2014

Graffiti Nails: Mellow, Butterfly Pink and Pistachio Review


There's another new British polish brand on the scene, this week in the form of Graffiti Nails.  They currently have 13 colours in their range - a mix of cremes and glitters - as well as a top and a base coat.  I chose to review Mellow*, Butterfly Pink* and Pistachio* as these pastel shades are all perfect for spring.  (I do love a glitter, but I can't always be bothered with the faff in taking them off).

Graffiti Nails Butterfly Pink, Pistachio and Mellow review
Butterfly Pink, Pistachio and Mellow

I love the packaging of these polishes - I always think a square bottle looks attractive and a square lid for painting has never bothered me (if it's good enough for Chanel, it's good enough for me).  That said, it is possible to pull off the square cap to reveal a small round cap if you're bothered by it!  I think the first thing I noticed on opening the bottles was the smell - it's pretty strong (think Primark polishes and then dumb it down just a little), which is a bit of a shame.  However, that's really only a small thing.  The brushes are a really nice size, not too fat but also not too thin - they make painting the nail very easy.  Formula-wise, I was impressed - I was able to get away with two coats of both Butterfly Pink and Pistachio, but Mellow needed three, which is unsurprising for a yellow polish.  The finish on all the polishes was pretty glossy and I haven't got top coat on in any of the photos below.  They also dried relatively quickly.

Butterfly Pink is a pretty yellow-toned pink, Mellow is a light lemony yellow and Pistachio is a mint, pistachio green (it's darker than Essie's Mint Candy Apple).

Butterfly Pink

Graffiti Nails Butterfly Pink swatchGraffiti Nails Butterfly Pink swatch

Mellow

Graffiti Nails Mellow swatchGraffiti Nails Mellow swatch

Pistachio

Graffiti Nails Pistachio swatchGraffiti Nails Pistachio swatch

Overall I think these are great value polishes for a very purse-friendly £3.99 each - good formula, great colours - you can't really ask for anything else.  My pick of the three colours I reviewed would probably be Mellow because it just screams summer and I don't have any similar yellows in my collection.  It'll be exciting to see Graffiti Nails grow and discover what else they have to offer us over the coming months (there is talk of nail wraps...)

What do you think of these colours?  Which is your favourite?  Will you be checking out Graffiti Nails?

I've done some nail art with these polishes which you may have seen on my Instagram yesterday - hop over there to see the tutorial if you haven't seen it yet.  Why don't you follow me whilst you're there?

Graffiti Nails polishes are £3.99 each and available from graffitinails.co.uk - if you buy three, you get free delivery (so you might as well buy three!)

*PR sample

Sunday, 27 April 2014

100 Happy Days: Week 4

Week 4 of my 100 Happy Days project on Instagram has passed in a flash and these were the highlights...


If you don't follow me on Instagram already, why not hop over there now? I post a lot of flowers and nails - but I've also done three video tutorials in the last week!

Friday, 25 April 2014

Models Own Nail Art Tool Kit Review

Models Own Nail Art Tool Kit

Driving home from work on Wednesday, I was trying to figure out what sort of nails I was going to do for the next day and had a hundred different ideas going through my mind.  So when I opened my front door, it was a nice surprise to see that that the new Models Own Nail Art Tool Kit* had arrived through my letterbox and solved all my design dilemmas in one fell swoop.

Models Own Nail Art Tool Kit

Models Own Nail Art Tool Kit
Nail art tape, flat brush, short detailing, striping, dotting tool (large), dotting tool (small), fan brush

The Nail Art Tool Kit is an exciting addition to the current range from Models Own - we've seen nail art pens and the Sticky Fingers collection from them so far, both of which help us to create our own nail art at home - but now we have a whole range of options with the different brushes and dotting tools.

The kit contains:

  • 2 Double-ended dotting tools
  • Short detailing brush
  • Fan brush
  • Flat/wide brush
  • Striping brush
  • Nail art tape

To be able to review the whole set fully, I decided I'd try out a different tool on each finger - so this is what I came up with:

Nail Art with new Models Own Nail Art Tool KitNail Art with new Models Own Nail Art Tool Kit

From index to little finger, all on a base of Models Own White Light Hypergel polish...

Index - I used the fan brush, first with Models Own Purple Glaze, then with Models Own Cerise Shine.  I've never used a fan brush before, though I do have one somewhere... there's a certain skill to it I think which I haven't quite mastered yet.  I did realise I had to dab off the polish to make the brush a bit dry otherwise it splodges.  I'm not a huge fan of the overall look of this nail, but I'll do some research into how to use a fan brush properly!

Middle - Using the striping tape in diagonal lines across my nail, I then used the short detailing brush to fill in the diamonds with the pink and purple polishes, before removing the tape before the polish dried.  This was quite fiddly, but not too tricky - and I love how this nail looks. I'll definitely be trying this again with different colours.

Ring - I used the big dotting tool to do this ruffle design, following Chalkboard Nails' tutorial.  This is a super easy design - again not one I've done before, but one I'll definitely do again.

Little - For this Nailasaurus-inspired waterfall design, I used the striping brush to create the long thin lines.  I'm a big fan of a striper brush and often use one in my nail art.  This one is a good thin one and worked well on these lines.

Nail Art with new Models Own Nail Art Tool KitNail Art with new Models Own Nail Art Tool Kit

My thumb ended up being a bit of a doodle nail - I used the dotting tools for the dots, then did a smaller white dot in the middle of some of them (a double dotticure, if you will).  The purple flower was also done with a the dotting tool and for the rose I used the short detailing brush.  I did a tutorial yesterday on Instagram on a rose design, if you're interested in how I did this rose.

Although I didn't use the flat/wide brush for nail art, I did use it as a clean up brush!  The flat end makes it ideal for dipping in acetone and cleaning up those messy edges and cuticles if you get a bit overzealous with the polish application.

Overall thoughts?  I think this is a fab starter kit for any budding nail art enthusiasts, or even for those with more experience.  At £8 it's a bit pricier than a lot of nail art brush sets you'll find on eBay, but they often don't have the combination of brushes, dotting tools and tape in one pack, which is what I think makes this a good bundle buy.  The quality of the brushes also seems good - though time will be the best judge of that (brushes don't really like acetone in the long term) - but so far all the tools do what I would like them to do and the bristles seem to be firmly in the ends of the brushes (another issue I've had with brushes before).  I was impressed with the striping tape, too, which wasn't too flimsy and didn't tear too easily.  Watch out for lots more nail art to come from me now that I've got these among my tools!

Would you like to see tutorials for any of the designs above?  Let me know in the comments below!

The Models Own Nail Art Tool Kit is available now from www.modelsownit.com and in Boots stores.  It is launching at the Models Own Bottleshops on May 3rd.

*PR sample

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Butterfly Wing Nail Art with Models Own Polish For Tans Neon Gradient

I'm not going to do a lot of writing in today's post - I think the photos can speak for themselves!  It was meant to be a make up post today, but I ran out of time - so it's nail art again today...!  I've been meaning to do some butterfly nail art for a long time now and when I got the Models Own Polish for Tans collection, I thought it was the perfect opportunity.  I started with a gradient of the four polishes - from Bikini (yellow), to Beach Bag (orange), then Shades (red) through to Sun Hat (pink) - over a white base.  I'm often asked how to do a gradient, so you can find my tutorial here.

Models Own Polish for Tans Gradient

Models Own Polish for Tans GradientModels Own Polish for Tans Gradient

For the butterfly nail art I checked out various tutorials online, but this one from Nail Art 101 is a particularly good one.  It's surprisingly easy, as long as you have a striper brush and a steady hand!  I used the Rio Nail Art Pen in black and did the white dots with a dotting tool.

Butterfly Nail Art with Models Own Polish for Tans GradientButterfly Nail Art with Models Own Polish for Tans Gradient

Have you ever tried butterfly nail art?  What other nail art could I try over a gradient base?  Stamping is something I do want to try...  Leave your thoughts in the comments below!

Monday, 21 April 2014

The Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Swatches and Review

The Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Swatches and Review

Today I'm excited to be showing swatches from a new British boutique lacquer brand called The Lacquer Lab.  They are cruelty and toxin-free and take influence from all the British indie polish-makers currently around.  At the moment they have a lots of different sorts of polishes in their range including cremes, holos, glitters and pearls.  One of their new collections, however, is called the Naked Ladies*, which is a nod towards the nude nail trend and is inspired by iconic ladies who like to bare their skin!  It's a fun name for a collection, although I'm hoping as a blogger it's not going to bring my blog untoward traffic...

The Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection
Dita, Pamela, Nude Maja and Nymphette

Let's introduce the Naked Ladies then... I was sent four from the collection of six to review: Dita*, Pamela*, Nude Maja* and Nymphette*.  (The other two are Venus, a pearlescent peach, and Kleopatra, a milky chocolate nude creme).  They're all fab colours for the spring/summer season especially now the trend is for lighter, brighter polishes on our talons.  What's also great about the collection is that there is a shade to suit everybody.  All of the polishes are really well pigmented - and almost opaque with just one coat (with the exception of Nymphette because it's pearlescent it's a bit sheer).  I found that I needed to do three coats for the swatches below of Pamela and Nude Maja, because even though they were pretty opaque, I found them looking a bit streaky in places when I first painted on the polish.  When it dried it did look more smooth, but I opted for a third coat just to make sure.  They dried well and are glossy, too - I wasn't wearing any top coat in the photos below.

Pamela

The Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Pamela swatchThe Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Pamela swatch

Pamela, named after the 90s beach babe of the Anderson variety, is what I would describe as a salmony rosy pink - the photos above are pretty accurate colour match (my camera often doesn't like pinks).  Two coats would really be enough, but it started drying quite quickly which meant it was a little tricky to smooth out. Three coats was perfect though.

Dita

The Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Dita swatchThe Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Dita swatch

Dita, inspired by the iconic burlesque beauty Dita Von Teese, really is an iconic shade in itself.  It is just stunning. A peachy nude polish with a warm tone to it. Perfection in just two coats.

Nude Maja

The Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Nude Maja swatchThe Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Nude Maja swatch

Nude Maja, taking its name from Goya's painting La Maja Desnuda, is a colder nude polish, described as greige - a mixture of cream and grey tones. 

Nymphette

The Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Nymphette swatchThe Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection Nymphette swatch

Nymphette, amusingly defined as a sexually precocious and desirable girl, is a milky chocolatey nude polish with a pearlescent, slightly matte finish.  A lovely sophisticated shade with a playful edge, it's sensible but says coyly that it could be persuaded to have fun.  It was opaque in two coats.

Overall thoughts?  Well as a rule I'm not usually a nude polish wearer since I gravitate towards more colourful, stand out shades.  That said, I love having nude polishes in my collection because occasionally when I want to be a bit more sensible and demure, I'll opt for one - and I'm sure that I'll be reaching towards these over the coming months.  My particular favourite has to be Dita, she looked so perfect against my skin tone and will match one of my pairs of court shoes to the note!  I think my least favourite (though not to say I didn't like it) was Nude Maja because I didn't think her grey tone went quite so well with my skin.

Venus, Nymphette, Kleopatra, Nude Maja, Pamela and Dita

I love  a brand that is friendly and keen to interact with its customers - and The Lacquer Lab certainly fits the bill in that regard. Since it's a newbie to the polish scene they're all about increasing their presence on social media - so go follow them on InstagramTwitter and Facebook to keep up to date with new collections, swatches and sales.

You can find The Lacquer Lab Naked Ladies Collection (and others) on www.thelacquerlab.com priced at £7 each, or £35 for the collection.  [I couldn't resist buying the glitters in their Easter sale as a little back to work present for myself... oh come on, how could I not, one is called Clarissa Explains It All! Brilliant.]

*PR samples

Sunday, 20 April 2014

100 Happy Days: Week 3

Week three of my 100 Happy Days project on Instagram has now been and gone - most of the week was spent in Berlin, learning all about its history through World War 2 and the Cold War. I knew hardly anything before I went as I gave up history at the age of 14, so I now feel much better informed and wish I had studied it. Easter weekend has brought me home and to family to relax before work starts again on Tuesday... so until next week, here's a snapshot from this week:


Friday, 18 April 2014

Born Pretty Store Mini Black and White Nail Art Studs Review


Born Pretty Store got in touch to ask me if I'd like to review some products from their website.  The likelihood is that if you're into nail art, you've heard of Born Pretty Store.  If you haven't, you should definitely head over to take a look.  It's all really reasonably priced and it's free worldwide shipping (they ship from Hong Kong I think so can take a little while for orders to arrive).  First, though, have a look at the studs I chose to review.  These studs are item 12419* in black and white and they're 2.5mm squares.


The polishes I used were Models Own Hypergel White Light and Models Own Black Magic.  The studs are super easy to use - wait for the base to dry, then top coat it - but straight after, place the studs on top of the wet top coat.  I use tweezers because my fingers would make a mess and it helps me to get them pretty straight.

For the zig-zag nails I used Nail Vinyls in big chevrons - they are also super easy to use and so much quicker than cutting out strips of Scotch tape!



These studs are $2.22 for 200 from www.bornprettystore.com - and they've very kindly given me an offer code to share with you so you can get 10% off your whole order - it's FFH10 which you put in when you checkout.  Let me know in the comments below what you think of this design... will you be getting some studs for yourself?!



*PR sample

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Nuxe: Huile Prodigieuse OR, Reve de Miel Lip Balm and Sun Protection Review


Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, Reve de Miel Lip Balm and Sun Protection

Last week I went to a launch event for Nuxe, a brand very well known in France but little known over here at the moment.  We were introduced to one of their hero products, Huile Prodigieuse, in both its original and OR forms.  This is a multi-purpose dry oil for use on face, body and hair - on the face it can be used as a highlighter on cheekbones; on the body it optimises moisturiser and softens skin; and on hair it can be used as a mask by applying and then wrapping in a warm towel for 10 minutes before rinsing and washing with normal shampoo.  We were given a bottle of Huile Prodigieuse OR* (£34/100ml) to try out and I am so excited about being able to use this in the summer.  It has a beautiful golden shimmer to it which doesn't look like you've plastered yourself in 90s glitter, but will really enhance a golden tan.  The smell is so very luxurious - buttery and slightly nutty (unsurprising when it contains sweet almond, hazelnut and macadamia oils).

Nuxe Sun Protection review

Nuxe are also launching this summer a range of sun protection products, from tanning oil to sun lotion to self tanner.  These again have a really delicious scent, which has subtle notes of coconut and really hardly smells like sun lotion at all!  If you're in to your higher-end sun protection ranges then this may be a good one to look into (certainly go to M&S to smell it, you won't regret it!)  I've been trying out the Nuxe Milky Spray for Face and Body SPF 20* (£17/150ml) which has a lovely non-oily and non-greasy consistency which is something I always appreciate in sun lotion (means I don't mind reapplying it!) and rubs in really quickly.  The fragrance is really special and means that the lotion is enjoyable to wear (you won't need perfume...)

Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse, Reve de Miel Lip Balm and Sun Protection

The final product from Nuxe I've been trying out is the Reve de Miel Lip Balm* (£9.50/15ml).  Apparently this is another must-have product and one is sold every 28 seconds throughout the world (or was in 2009-2010) which sounds mad but obviously it's a pretty popular lip balm!  It nourishes, repairs and protects lips with its formula containing honey, plant oils, shea butter and grapefruit essence.  It's a thick balm and both the honey and grapefruit can be identified.  When I wear it at night, I can still feel it on my lips the next morning and they do feel super soft.  I probably wouldn't wear it during the day, because it's quite heavy duty and a little sticky, but for night repair I think it's great.

Nuxe products can be found online at uk.nuxe.com, as well as at various stockists such as Marks and Spencer, Look Fantastic, Feel Unique and Space NK.

*PR samples

Monday, 14 April 2014

Models Own Polish For Tans Collection Swatches and Review

Models Own Polish For Tans Collection
Models Own Polish For Tans Collection

Models Own have released yet another collection in recent weeks - and this is one I'm particularly excited about because I'll put it out there: I Love Neon.  I can't get enough of it - and now that the days are getting longer and lighter and the sun is showing its face a little bit more regularly, there's absolutely no reason not to wear neon at any given opportunity!  This collection is the Polish For Tans collection and differs from last year's Ice Neons collection in that these are more pastel neons, since they've been mixed with white.  I have to say I'm not enamoured with the name of the collection - I know that they've been designed to enhance and compliment both real and fake tans, but I think it could potentially put people off buying them if they're neither tanned nor a tanner.  That said, I think these polishes will look great on all skin colours (again, another reason the name is a bit silly!) - they're so bright, cheerful and really stand out.

As usual for a Models Own collection, there are five polishes - (left to right above): Shades (neon red), Bikini (neon yellow), Sun Hat (neon pink), Beach Bag (neon orange) and Flip Flop (neon green, not pictured as I figured I'd never wear it so I didn't buy it).

Shades

Models Own Polish For Tans Shades swatchModels Own Polish For Tans Shades swatch

Bikini

Models Own Polish For Tans Bikini swatchModels Own Polish For Tans Bikini swatch

Sun Hat

Models Own Polish For Tans Sun Hat swatchModels Own Polish For Tans Sun Hat swatch

Beach Bag

Models Own Polish For Tans Beach Bag swatchModels Own Polish For Tans Beach Bag swatch

In all the photos above I put the polishes over a white base to make the neon pop more.  They all have a similar formula, which is on the thick side so I only needed to do one coat over the white base.  Out of all of them, I found that Bikini (yellow) was the most tricky to work with because it wanted to streak a little.  Overall though, they apply really easily and dry quickly to a semi-matte finish.

My favourites are probably Beach Bag and Shades - Sun Hat is very Beach Barbie and I can't really see myself wearing Bikini (because it just makes me feel like I'm 15 again and have 'painted' my nails with yellow highlighter).

The Models Own Polish for Tans Collection is available now from the Bottleshops, online at www.modelsownit.com, in Superdrug and in Boots from April 16th.