Tuesday, 29 July 2014

*Kooky Neon Nail Wraps*

*PR Sample*

I was recently contacted by The Beauty Partnership to ask me if I would try some nail wraps. For those who regularly read my blog, you will understand that I am a massive fan of nail art!! And so I couldn't resist, especially when they told me that they were neon nail wraps, exciting!

So here are the wraps that I was sent:

They are really neon pink, cheeatah print wraps. The brightness of them doesn't seem to photograph well because in real life they look incredibly luminous, but the camera didn't quite seem able to capture that. I know, a bad workman always blames his tools!! But they did look impressive in the packet. Really gorgeous!

The only thing that disappointed me slightly was that on the application instructions it stated to 'Cleanse and dehydrate each nail plate using Kooky dehydrator' which I had not received in my pack. This would worry me that you would need to order that seperately and it is not made clear, hopefully when you purchase these from the website they will send you the dehydrator as part of the pack. I'm hoping it will not make too much of an impact on the application and durability of these nail wraps!

Other than that little blip, they were incredibly easy to apply. I used one strip to do two nails, one on the right hand and the corresponding one on the left. In this way it means that they match up better, luckily they were good sized strips. They were incredibly easy to apply smoothly to the nail, buff on to the nail and remove the excess length. I would definitely recommend these for ease of application. As you can see, they look gorgeous on the nail!

The instructions didn't advise to apply clear polish over the top so I am trying to stick to them as much as possible to really test how good they are. I find the real test with nail wraps is whether they catch and start to peel off when you shower. I washed my hair with these on this morning and there seems to be no sign whatsoever that these are beginning to come off. I leave for holiday on Thursday so I'll keep you updated on how they survived! But I have very high hopes :) But they are so comfortable to wear, you don't even notice them on. Unlike some that I tried once before that started peeling off in minutes and I was so concious of them all day - nightmare!

Now, a little bit about the brand. These wraps are from Kooky Nail Fashionistas who describe their wraps as 'micro thin, high performance vinyl film designed to cover the nail plate' and a big part of their campaign seems to be that they are heatless...I don't know a great deal about nail wraps but I have dabbled with them in the past and I have never known them to require heat for application? Maybe I am missing something, but it seems to be a big point for them. But anyway, they're described as incredibly hardwearing and from what I have experienced so far, they aren't wrong.

Their Summer 2014 collection is called the 'Neon Me' collection, and the wraps I received are from that. They have a wide range of wraps though, and in all honesty they are gorgeous. I would happily wear about 90% of them, my favourites being the 'Front Row Ticket' wraps - lush! There is such a large variety of patterns and colours and also textures (which are new to the brand) so I do believe there is something for everyone.

Each set of nail wraps is £5.00 and includes 16 different sized wraps. It concerns me that on the documentation that they sent me it says 'wrap print may differ slightly from image shown' but I am hoping this is them just covering their backs and being overly cautious... For more info or to purchase go here.

Friday, 25 July 2014

The new exercise class that will near kill you, but keep you coming back for more!

This class is called Les Mills Grit series. It is apparently based around the Insanity Workout (you may have seen the late night/ early morning adverts for Insanity?) and it is tough, so so tough!

 As you can see, I used the picture for Grit rather than a picture of myself actually doing this class. This is solely because they look a lot more glamorous than I do during a Grit class. I'm usually bright red and sweating profusely within about 5mins and I really don't think anyone wants or needs to see that really! So I thought it would be best to show it with all these lovely beautiful people that look like they are having much more fun than I do mid-Grit...!

There are 3 different classes for Grit - Plyo, Strength and Burn. So far I have only done 2 Strength classes (the only ones they have run on a Thursday morning at my gym over the last 2 weeks as I have only just braved going to one) so I can only really comment on that class for now, but hopefully over the next couple of weeks I'll get to do the other two also. Strength involves a quick warm up which includes burpies (a lot of them), low rows with a weight bar, squats with weights and push presses. These are done at high repetitions over 2 minute intervals and it definitely warms you up, I am usually looking a delightful shade of beetroot after just the first 2 minutes of burpies, lovely. In case you aren't sure what a burpie is, you do a squat down then put your hands on the floor and jump back and do a press up then jump your feet back in and stand.

The main body of the Strength class is doing a lot of high repetition toning exercises, so a lot of squats, jumping lunges (are they called scissor lunges?), low rows etc but at quick bursts of high reps. I thought this didn't sound too difficult, especially as it is only a 30 minute class, but it is by far the hardest I've ever done. I have never so genuinely felt that I was going to puke and pass out at the same time! But I absolutely loved it.

The great thing about Grit is that it has such fast results. Doing high intensity training does give you fast results anyway, but this has been the best work out for me. I did a class yesterday morning and already this morning I could feel aches in muscles I never thought I had. Aches are good! Ok, so i struggled to lift my arms to wash my hair this morning but that's a small price to pay....!

In all honesty though, it is an excellent new class to try if you're thinking about changing up your routine slightly. Don't worry about struggling in it because EVERYONE is struggling, that's just how it is. I would definitely recommend it, or at least look in to it. It is slightly addictive as well, once you have been once you want to keep going back because you just know it is doing wonders for your fitness, despite the fact it feels like torture for that half hour you're in there!

Have any of you tried this class yet? Do you have places locally that are offering it and you have been considering going? All comments are welcome :)

Thursday, 24 July 2014

W7 - Budget but brilliant!

If you had read my earlier post on how I struggle to get on with face powders (here) then you will know that my skin can be a bit of a pain for finding powders that have that 'you but better' effect. I want a powder that looks natural but also gives a good coverage. Then I came across this little beauty from W7 - W7 Sheer Loose Powder.

As you can see from the photos, the powder comes in a screw-top plastic pot that has holes in so you can dispense a small amount of product to pick up with the brush so it doesn't get too messy! I would suggest being sparing with it on your brush as it does have really good coverage and when I first tried it I thought it would be a bit rubbish and require loads to get any coverage and ended up looking slightly mental, so less is more!

It does come with a brush but I personally don't think it is that brilliant. The bristles are a bit stiff and not particularly soft and it doesn't seem to pick up the product brilliantly well so I prefer to use my Real Techniques Multi-Task brush to apply this. It is so simple to sweep over the face and blend across.

You can see from the pictures of it brushed on my hand that it gives a very soft appearance to the skin and goes far to cover imperfections such as those fine lines. I really do think it is a very good product and use it a lot. Especially seeing as I know it will be very cheap to replace!

W7 is a brand that is often stocked in Next (I bought my Urban Decay palette dupe by W7 from Next) but is also available on websites such as Fragrance Direct. They do some really good dupes of high-end products such as Benefit boxed blushers and OPI polishes. Ok, they aren't of quite the same quality as the high-end counterparts but they are very good for the teeny price you are paying for them. I would definitely recommend giving some of their products a try.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Real Techniques brushes - late to the party!

Despite all the raving reviews about how amazing Real Techniques brushes were, I never actually purchased any to see for myself. Well, except one silicone eyeliner brush, which I really liked, but never got anymore.

I was mooching around TK Maxx (which is becoming a favourite for beauty related items, you can get some absolute bargains in there!) a couple of days ago and came across the Real Techniques Travel Essentials Brush Set for £6 off and so I had to buy it to see for myself. I was certainly not disappointed!!

Within this set is l-r: the Essential Foundation brush, Domed Shadow brush and Multi Task brush. They are all of extremely good quality and although I haven't used the shadow brush very often as I don't really wear eyeshadow on a day to day basis, I have used the other 2 pretty much every day. They are just brilliant, far better than my old brushes, which were a bit rubbish to be honest.

I use the foundation brush to apply my liquid foundation and it applies it like an absolute dream. With my old foundation brush I would have to go over my whole face with a sponge after as it would leave brush streaks but this doesn't require you to do this at all. I think it's because the old brush was crappy, plastic-y synthetic bristles were as this feels much higher quality. Loved it instantly!

I use the multi-task brush for applying my setting powder over my liquid foundation. It is so soft on the skin and picks up a good amount of product and buffs beautifully.

I can't fault any of these brushes, they really are great. They even come in this case which can be set as a display case (above photo) or even folded as a protective travel case, perfect!:

Getting this set has really warmed me to using Real Technique brushes and I do have my eye on many more! It's my birthday next week though so I have to force myself to walk away from them in the shops just in case the little birthday fairies bring them for me... All fingers and toes are now crossed!

Have you tried any RT brushes? What were your opinions on the brand? Or maybe you can suggest some other good ones for me to try? All comments are very much welcomed :)

Real Techniques Travel Essentials brush set is £20.99 in Superdrug here - but as I said, keep an eye out in TK Maxx for some great bargains! I got mine for £14.99

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Glossybox July

I was actually pretty impressed with this month's Glossybox. I had been starting to go off it, but actually they really pulled their socks up this month (in my opinion). I even think that this was much better than Birchbox's July offering. Very happy indeed!

So the contents of this month's box included Carmex Moisturizing Lip Balm, Absolute New York Eyeshadow Primer, Bellapierre Lipstick, Color Club Nail Polish and NYC Cream to Powder Blush Stick.

I had never previously heard of this brand before getting it in my Glossybox so it is completely new to me and I wasn't biased when trying it. I really liked this as it had a great consistency and shade, plus I liked the soft doe-foot applicator. In the picture you can see on top where it is just applied and beneath where it has been blended (barely visible). It has a slight shimmer to it, so slight it is barely noticeable but I do think it means it highlights slightly which is always nice. I haven't tried it out to see if it does prolong my eyeshadow but based on application etc, it is winning. I shall write a post on this soon!

This polish is one that was specifically created for Glossybox, and so is an exclusive. I get that the shade is aimed to fit the theme of 'Stars and Stripes' but I just think it's not brilliant for summer. It's too dark and more of an autumn/ winter shade for me. A red or white would have been better for ticking both the theme box and the season box. Regardless, it is a great nail polish, as is expected for Color Club and I will definitely be putting it away to use in the colder months.

There isn't really a great amount you can say about Carmex. It's a great lip balm and I do use it a lot (I have three tubes of the stuff at home!) so I am a real fan of it, it just doesn't really set your world alight does it? Glad to have extra but would have preferred something a little more exciting! Also, if I'm being picky, I would have preferred the squeezy tube version. The only thing with having the pots is that you can it all under your nails when getting the product out the pot!

I'm so in love with this lipstick! I had found that with a lot of the lipsticks that came in these subscription boxes, they were a bit rubbish. The pigmentation was always really weak and they were a bit...pointless. But not with this Bellapierre offering! It is a highly pigmented, vivid red shade and I just love it! It applies really smoothly and is very moisturising and even stays on for a good couple of hours before reapplication is needed and is just a bright, cute, girly shade.Raving about this!!

Now this is the product I thought I wouldn't really be interested in, but oh how wrong I was! I always think of NYC as being a bit cheap and rubbish, this is definitely not rubbish. It applies so easily to the skin, the top picture is just one swipe across the back of my hand with the stick then the second is it blended in. It is a lush shade that isn't too over the top and the whole concept it just great and easy to use. I will definitely be using this a lot over the summer, especially as it is so handy to do on the go!

So that was my box for July, have you tried any of these? Or do you subscribe to Glossybox and received different products? All comments are very welcome!

Monday, 21 July 2014

Birchbox July

When I received this month's Birchbox I was initially slightly disappointed. There was one product that I was really excited to have received but the others I felt a bit 'meh' towards. After trying them a couple of times I am still not massively sold on them, it seems a lot of people had received the same products as me though so I can't complain too much!

So here is what products were found in my Birchbox this month:

From left to right is: Ultra Dex Fresh Breath Spray (WTF???), LAQA & Co Lip Lube, Whish Body Butter, Gilchrist & Soames Mineral Bath Gel, Balance Me Wonder Eye Cream and Weleda Nourishing Shampoo. A good range of products, just not anything mega exciting...

I was instantly put off by this body butter because it stated that it was lavender scented, is it just me or does that not instantly make you think of your gran?! Now, I love my nan but I really don't want to smell like her (no offence). So I put off trying this for a while, but then the body lotion I was using ran out (I get through these sample bottles so quickly) and so I thought I better at least give it a try. Luckily I was quite surprised as this doesn't smell strongly of lavender at all, it was quite subtle and therefore bearable to use in the mornings. It had quite a nice texture and absorbed really well, despite the fact it had an almost gel like consistency. Left my skin feeling very well moisturised and so I would recommend it, possibly in a different fragrance though if I'm perfectly honest.

I had received a shower gel from Gilchrist & Soames in a previous month's box and was not particularly blown away by it. I think it was because I had researched it and found it was quite a high end brand so was expecting big things when in fact I didn't like the smell and found it slightly dehydrating. Because of that, I wasn't interested in this product at all. It said on the product card to pour this under running water for your bath, so I gave this a go. Again, I didn't think the scent was all that impressive. It didn't really dry my skin out too much but it didn't really have any beneficial effects on it either. Just a pretty bog-standard, boring product in my opinion. Sorry Gilchrist & Soames, I'm just not sold on your products. Possibly make them more affordable and I'll reconsider?

The product card advised to use this product as a normal shampoo, but don't expect a lather. I instantly felt a bit disappointed - again! I was quite excited to use a Weleda product as I read so many great reviews on this brand but I'm just not a fan of shampoos that don't lather. I have tried non-sulphate shampoos in the past and am just of the opinion that a good shampoo should have a good lather, that's what makes it feel really clean. I'm fully aware that this is completely psychological and that this non-foamy shampoo will probably wash my hair just as good, I just am put off using it a bit. Saying that though, the scent is quite nice and my hair did certainly look clean and shiny after use, just would have liked a few bubbles with it!

I here so many great things about Balance Me and so I can't really understand why I don't feel blown away by it. The products work well, the price isn't bad and the packaging always looks appealing, and yet I still think of it as a bit of a basic brand. This eye cream is pretty good, does exactly what it says on the tin, but I have been using Clinique's eye cream up until now and just find that one so much better for fine lines and dark circles. I'll continue to use this because it is quite nice, I just probably won't repurchase it.

I recently got sent a couple of PR samples from LAQA & Co to review (here) and loved them! I even mentioned in the review that I really wanted to try their lip lubes as they looked gorgeous and came in some great colours so I was SOOO pleased to receive this in my box, and I love the shade!! It really is a great product, I have been wearing it nearly every day. It just applies so smoothly to the lip and is so easy to apply neatly and on the go. The shade is beautiful for the summer and really would compliment a tan. I can't sing this products praises enough! It was by far my favourite product in this month's box and I would recommend these to any one.

Now this 'lifestyle extra' just seemed a really random 'WTF??' addition to this month's box, what are you trying to say Birchbox?! I hope I'm not the only person that thought this (or received this for that matter!). Ok, it's alright for what it is. It tastes pretty nice and minty, it does freshen your breath without the need to chew gum. But it is just not anything to get excited about is it?! A bit odd in my opinion.

So that's all this month's products. In hindsight, they actually weren't too disappointing but Birchbox has done a lot better with past boxes. I hope this was just a blip! But I did like the design of the box and this month's theme, here is a photo of one of the cards included in this month's box because I just thought they were simple yet very cute (and a bit of a nail art inspiration!)

Friday, 11 July 2014

Leibster Award - my second nomination!

First of all I would like to thank Jennificient for nominating me. It's always nice to have your blog 'discovered' by other bloggers and promoted within their blog, especially when you have under 200 followers yourself! It seems I am close to reaching that point now, but thank you again Jenni!

So these are the questions I was asked and my answers:

1. What is your most essential summer beauty product?
Erm...has to be suncream! I don't usually burn but I think this is because I always start the summer with at least a SPF8 cream. Once my skin has begun to get a bit of colour I drop down to about an SPF4 oil but I do like to protect my skin in the sun.

2. If you would have to choose only one, would you choose bronzer or blush?
I use both! I'm a bit of a fan of contouring and so I need both for that look :( but I think if I had to pick I would choose blush.

3. What was the first item of makeup you ever bought with your own money?
God that was sooo long ago! When I first started buying make-up I didn't have the first clue what I was doing - my mum has no interest in make-up and has worn it probably twice in her entire life and I have no sisters for advice either! So my first item was most likely something a bit cheap and rubbish! It was definitely a mascara though, I started hoarding them from when I first got into make-up.

4. How old were you when you first took an interest in beauty & makeup?

I think I was around 12 or 13. I had got bought an eye shadow palette for my birthday and I loved all the colours and got really in to it from there. I then used to save my pocket money to get little bits and pieces here and there.

5. How would you describe your beauty style?

I usually go for something quite natural looking just for day to day (like for work etc). I do like to mix it up with a bold lip from time to time or a bold coloured eyeliner. Who doesn't love a splash of colour?!

6. How would you describe your clothes?

Erm...I wouldn't say I am exactly the most fashionable of people. I have nice clothes that I like and think suits me but I am far from being a style icon. I like collared tops and skinny jeans, midi dresses etc. Quite feminine but simple style.

7. What is the one item of clothing you would never wear?

Crocs! Shoes count as an item of clothing right? Because I would never be seen dead in them! An actual clothing item, for anyone that may be slightly picky on this question, would be....those harem/genie bottoms. I have next to no hips and so they just really don't flatter me at all.

8. Have you ever regretted wearing something? If so, what was it?

Oh so many things! Erm the worst was probably... these really baggy jeans I had when I was about 14. They were sooo baggy at the feet that I could have climbed in them and curled up for a nap inside the leg of those jeans. I was in a bit of a grunge phase and thought they were really cool, I wish I had listened to everyone else telling me they weren't!

9. Which trend would you like to see return? (fashion or beauty – or both)

If I'm completely honest, I am not a massive follower of fashions. Whether it be clothing or beauty trends, I usually just do what makes me feel comfortable in myself. So there isn't really anything I think 'Oh I wish that would come back in to fashion'. One thing I don't want to make a comeback are those trousers with a skirt attached, do any of you remember them?! I had a pair at primary school and thought I was soo cool, they were a pretty ridiculous fashion!

10. Is there a celebrity whose sense of style you admire? If so, who is it?

I love Kelly Osbourne's style. She is so confident in herself and her style and I really admire that. Plus, she always looks awesome! Especially her new hair, everyone should have a lilac mohawk!

11. If you could select 5 new items for your wardrobe and money wouldn’t be an issue, what would you choose?

Wow this one is tricky! Mainly because when I buy new clothes it's just because I've had a mooch around the shops and really liked them so bought them! No forward planning involved at all. Therefore I'll give a pretty broad answer - shoes! I just don't feel I have enough (does any woman?)

So there are all my answers, I hope they were slightly insightful as to the inner workings of my mind! I'm a pretty normal, average person so I'm afraid there wasn't anything too exciting in there. The questions for my nominees are:

1) What is your most treasured beauty product that you repurchase over and over again?
2) How did you get into beauty blogging?
3) What beauty bloggers are the biggest inspiration to you?
4) What do you find to be the most difficult thing about blogging?
5) Which make-up brand, if you had to pick just one, is your stand out favourite? (high-end or high street)
6) If you won the lottery, what would be the first thing you spent money on?
7) What would be your ideal job? Are you already doing it?
8) What is your earliest memory?
9) What was the last book you read?
10) Do you have a fitness routine? If so, what does it involve?
11) What is your guilty pleasure?

And last but not least, my nominees are:

1) Katy Smith at whatkatydidnextxo.blogspot.co.uk
2) Rebecca Poage at WanderingDish.com
3) Molly Francesca at mollyfrancesca.blogspot.co.uk
4) Alexandra at anawkwardblogger.wordpress.com
5) Faraloo at faraloo.com
6) Bee at beebeautiful0.blogspot.co.uk
7) Hatti at peachileo.blogspot.co.uk
8) Julie Kelly at styleadmiring.blogspot.ie

I'm sorry there is not the full 11 but it is so difficult to find bloggers with under 200 followers right now!

Good luck guys! I hope you find my questions interesting and I look forward to seeing your answers :)

And to all my followers, I hope this introduced you to some new bloggers!

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Empties of the Month - June

The days/ weeks/ months keep rushing straight past me! I can't believe June is already over and we are already 9 days in to July, seems mad to me. But I got through a lot of products in June, and so I have broken them down into 3 groups: hair, body and face.

Starting with hair - I finished the Garnier Ultimate Blends Vanilla milk and Papaya shampoo and conditioner. I really liked these 2 together actually, they weren't the ones from the Ultimate Blends range that I would usually have picked (I love all things coconut!) but I actually loved the scent of this. And that smell lasts all day, I could still smell it's lightly sweet scent in the afternoon! I think they made my hair look quite glossy and soft as well so thumbs up from me.

I also used up a Dove 60 Second Treatment Shot Intensive Repair for Damaged Hair (wow, that was a mouthful!). I received this in one of my monthly subscription boxes and I was actually quite impressed with it. I went off Dove hair products years ago (as in when I was a teenager) because the conditioners were so watery and thin that they did absolutely nothing and I thought they were a huge waste of money and never went back to them again. But it seems that Dove haircare has come a long way since then as this had a great effect on my hair. It was a much better consistency and really did leave my hair feeling nourished and silky. I may give their shampoos and conditioners another try if this is anything to go by.

These are the body products I got through, from left to right. Firstly, French Connection Body Wash. This was a beautifully fragranced body wash, I don't really know how to describe the smell but it was lush. Sadly it left my skin a bit dry but I think it has got too used to having all the 'nourishing' and 'moisturising' body wash products so this left it a bit bleurgh. Was fine after I whacked on some of the body lotion that came in the set though. Definitely worth it for the smell.

Radox Nourish Shea Butter and Ginger was a really lovely shower gel. I always come back to Radox or Nivea when it comes to shower gels as they are just so softening on the skin, and my legs can get really dry without it. I am not a massive fan of the scent of ginger but I actually couldn't really smell it in this.

MonuSpa Warming Ginger Massage and Body Oil was another product I liked a lot more than I thought I would. This does smell quite obviously of ginger but was surprisingly not off-putting. I used it by adding a few drops to my bath as the water was running and you could see it on your skin when you got out the bath because the water beaded on your skin. It made my skin feel soft but not oily. I did only use this in the evenings though, I wouldn't recommend using it in the morning before work etc!

Nspa Coconut Body Milk- I loved this body milk, I just love the smell of coconut in general. It was quite thin but with a milk that is kind of what you would expect. It wasn't an amazing moisturizer but was good for quickly spraying on when I had got out the showers at the gym. Good on the go and a great fragrance that lasts hours.

Next Sparkle - I have spoken about this perfume from Next before here. It is a brilliant dupe for Dolce and Gabbana The One and really does have longevity - great for if you are on a budget! I have already bought a new, bigger sized bottle because I love it so much.

Embryolisse Nourishing Moisturiser - I wasn't overly keen on this moisturiser if I'm honest. I had read some good reviews so I was quite looking forward to using it but I actually found it really thick for a face moisturiser and it didn't absorb amazingly well. I saw it through to the end though! But I wouldn't be re-purchasing.

RMK Makeup Base - I loved this primer. It seemed to help my face combat the excessive oiliness and hold my makeup relatively intact. if I was to make one complaint it would be that it is a bit watery but that isn't really a major issue as it still does a really good job. I would definitely repurchase this if it wasn't so expensive, I just don't think it is quite good enough for that kind of price tag! I am now using Rimmel's Stay Matte primer and that is very close to being just as good and for a mere fraction of the price.

Visibly Clear Pink Grapefruit Daily Scrub - This scrub feels like it has lasted me forever!! I bought it roughly a year ago but was told that you should only use an exfoliant on your face once every couple of days and so have only used it 2-3 times a week and it has only just run out now. The smell of it is great and really refreshing. The exfoliant in it isn't harsh on your face but gritty enough so that you can feel it and get the impression it is working. It also did a pretty good job of keeping my skin clear - can't fault it! I would repurchase this product, even though I am now using something different.

Clinique Rinse Off Foaming Cleanser Mousse - Hmmm... I don't really know what to say about this product. It left my skin feeling 'squeaky clean', but I didn't like that. It made my face feel completely stripped of all oils, and it is nice to have a bit of oil on your face to keep it from being completely dried out. It's a good concept, I personally quite like foaming facial cleansers, but this is just far too harsh. My skin was left feeling a bit dry and itchy from this most days, and I usually suffer from very oily skin so I would not recommend this to those who usually have quite dry skin! Will definitely not be repurchasing.

L'oreal True Match The Powder - I love this powder too much, I'm always repurchasing. You may remember me writing a post on how this is the only powder for me (here) but I am now trying one from Sleek (the velvet one) and it really is very good. So I would therefore recommend this one, but also give the Sleek offering a try too.

So they are all my empties from June. I can't believe I got through so much! But again, a lot of them are only sample sizes and others I had been using for a couple of months before finishing them up.

Have you used any of these products? What are your favourites? All comments are welcome as always :)