Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Christmas nail art - Frosty the snowman

A very simple design today and I'm afraid this is my last Christmas nail art design for this year. Despite planning the designs I wanted to do quite early I've just run out of time to try them all out. I know, bad planning. Looking back I've discovered I haven't done very much nail art this year so I'm aiming to do much better next year.

On to today's design.

Christmas nail art - Frosty the snowman

Christmas nail art - Frosty the snowman
As I said, a very simple design this time. I just used Barry M's Silk in Pearl for a white slightly snowy looking base, used a dotting tool and black varnish for the eyes, mouth and buttons and then a brown and orange Sharpie for the nose and arms. Finally as usual I sealed everything with a top coat, and that's pretty much it. 

Mum was a little confused when I showed her so just to be clear my middle finger is obviously his face, my ring finger his tummy with buttons running down (although thinking about it now do you usually do 'buttons' down the front of a snowman?) and my index finger and little finger feature a twig arm each. So each finger is supposed to be a separate part of the snowman.

What do you think of Mr Frosty?


Sunday, 14 December 2014

Lush Butterbear Christmas bath bomb

Even though I knew Butterbear wasn't going to be the most impressive of the bath bombs from my Lush Christmas haul in terms of putting on a show, I think this is the one I was looking forward to using the most. So I left this little cutie until last. 

Lush Butterbear Christmas bath bomb

This one isn't about lots of pretty colours, glitter and maybe a hidden surprise in the middle but is more about being good for your skin. Butterbear has a vanilla fragrance and contains fair trade Colombian cocoa butter, ylang ylang oil and cocoa powder. 

You drop Mr Butterbear into your bath and he fizzes away turning the water cloudy and releasing a lovely vanilla fragrance, but the cloudiness in the water and fragrance disappears once he's fully dissolved. He releases some little brown specks into the water, I'm guessing this might be the cocoa powder, but that's all he releases and after maybe a minute at the most he's gone.

What you're left with is clear water with the little brown specks floating in it but also you can see the oil from this floating on the surface of the water. If like me you've got very dry skin then this is the sort of bath bomb you need as when you come out of the bath any excessively dry and rough patches you have will be soothed and feeling soft. With these sort of bath products I'm always slightly concerned that I'll be left with a oily bath making it slippy, but it just required a quick rinse down to wash away any lingering traces of oil.

Although this isn't the most impressive bath bomb this is definitely my favourite as it's very reasonably priced and I feel like I'm actually getting something out of it rather than paying £3/£4 for a few pretty colours. 

Have you tried Butterbear?


Friday, 12 December 2014

Christmas nail art - Snow globe nails (day & night)

If you follow me on Twitter you may have noticed some of my tweets regarding finding the perfect 'snow' effect nail varnish that wasn't going to set me back somewhere between £9 and £16. Last year I picked up Ciate's advent calender at The Clothes Show for just a tenner and one of the mini varnishes included looked perfect for using as snow at Christmas time. My mum borrowed this particular one earlier in the year and when I came to hunt it out ready to start my Christmas nail art I discovered that between us we'd lost it. 

I did try another mini Ciate varnish from my advent calender that looked promising but it contained silver glitter and just didn't look right. For snow I think you either need white pieces or holographic glitter. I was giving up as I couldn't seem to find a suitable one that was reasonably priced and I couldn't afford, and didn't want to pay a lot of money for this sort of nail varnish. Then I discovered Models Own's Wonderland collection and in particular, Jack Frost.

Christmas nail art - Snow globe nails

Christmas nail art - Snow globe nails
Christmas nail art - Snow globe nails
Whenever I see these pictures I want to go all 'Let it gooo, let it gooo' and I haven't even seen Frozen and those are the only words I know!

I started with a standard French manicure because I wanted the white tips to represent snow laying on the ground and the pale pink on the rest of the nail as I'm not keen on negative space. I was going to use Ciate's Amazing Gracie for the pink but when I went to use it I discovered it had gone off, so I just used Rimmel's French manicure pink and tip whitener. I then applied a couple of coats of Jack Frost for the falling snow.

Although I would love to say that I'd expertly hand drawn the snowflakes and Christmas tree as you can probably tell these are actually nail stickers. I just peeled each one off the backing plastic, using a pair of tweezers to grip the corner of the sticker, and then placed the sticker where I wanted it on the nail. I wish I'd actually trimmed the Christmas tree sticker down to remove the slightly pointless curled ends but you couldn't actually see them very well against the white tip. Finally I sealed it all with a coat of top coat. This looks so pretty on your nails because the glitter in Jack Frost catches the light so your nails kind of twinkle. I might actually go for this one for my Christmas day nails.

I thought Jack Frost would also look pretty over a dark nail varnish so I decided to do a night version as well.

Christmas nail art - Snow globe nails night
Christmas nail art - Snow globe nails night
I'm afraid these are a little bit rough because I did them quickly at my boyfriends house (I don't usually attempt nail art at his because all my stuff is at home) because I realised I'm running out of time to try and get my Christmas designs done. I'd tried to remember to take everything with me that I needed but I forgot my base coat, so I attempted to use a gel top coat as a base coat so the blue didn't stain my nails. This was one coat of Ciate's Knee highs from the Haute house collection, one coat of Jack frost, the nail stickers and then top coat. 

What do you think of snow globe nails and is day or night your favourite?

Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Lush Oatifix face mask

Back in September I attended a blogger preview of the Lush spa experience evening at Lush Meadowhall and the treatment that I received was the Validation facial (you can my post on the evening here). Part of the facial involves using a face mask and the one I went for was Oatifix. I actually had five empty Lush pots with me to return in exchange for a free face mask, so I decided to take an Oatifix home with me.

Lush Oatifix fresh face mask

Lush Oatifix fresh face mask
In case you're not familiar with Lush face masks these are supposed to be kept in the fridge, so that's why my pot is covered in condensation (I'd taken it out of the fridge to take the picture). Oatifix contains fresh bananas and something called illipe butter to moisturise dry skin. It also contains oatmeal, ground almonds and kaolin to work together in a mildly exfoliating base to help remove dead skin leaving your skin soft, supple and moisturised. Finally there's also fair trade vanilla absolute and sandlewood oil in there. While I was sat wearing this is Lush Meadowhall I was delighted to discover that it smells like flapjacks, so I knew I had to take some home with me to try out. 

When this was removed in the Lush store the lady used cotton pads and a toner water, but she did tell me that in the proper full facial it's removed with a warm cloth. This is important, as you will discover shortly! The first time I came to use this I discovered it's actually quite difficult to use. You can't really tell from the photo but this is like a kind of thick porridge suspended in an oily base. When you apply it to your face the oil spreads around quite easily, but the oaty thicker part of the mask tends to ball up and refuse to stick to your skin. You have to try and kind of smear it on, pressing it onto your face to try and make it stay in place.

When it comes to removing this you hit another problem. I usually remove face masks by splashing my face with water repeatedly until it's all gone, maybe using my hands to rub slightly if required. The first time I tried to remove this one it became apparent quite quickly that the oaty parts that I'd had trouble getting to stick to my face were now 'welded on'. One it's in place it really does stick. So I've found the only way to remove this properly is to use a muslin cloth or flannel, which also helps to remove the oily base that is also quite stubborn. 

I do really like this mask, it smells amazing and it does work well on my dry skin leaving it soft and moisturised, but I'm just not sure I can be bothered with how difficult it is to apply and then remove afterwards. Also I've noticed that no matter how much I wipe around the top of the pot it keeps oozing some of the oil out, which makes an oily ring in the fridge that I'm not sure my mum has spotted yet! I do like Lush face masks, but I'm not sure this one is for me.

Have you tried any Lush face masks?


Friday, 5 December 2014

Illamasqua Glamore lipstick in Glissade

I'm a big fan of Illamasqua as a brand but I quickly learnt that I couldn't use their existing lipstick line as the very dry formula just doesn't work with my naturally dry lips. I was pleased to hear that Illamasqua were releasing a new range of lipsticks called Glamore that were supposed to have a softer formula, but I was a little unsure about investing in one. The original formula is so dry I was concerned that a new softer formula may still be too dry for me and at £18.50 each I wasn't really willing to risk trying one, just in case.

When Debenhams were offering £5 off lipsticks to celebrate National lipstick day I took the opportunity to use the discount to pick up a Glamore lipstick at a slightly more reasonable price.

Illamasqua Glamore lipstick in Glissade
Illamasqua Glamore lipstick in Glissade
Illamasqua Glamore lipstick in Glissade
The original Glamore range included just three shades, Glissade (deep pink), Soaked (orange) and Luster (candy pink). Illamasqua later released a range of nude shades in the Glamore line, which was available at the time I bought my lipstick, but as I'm not a fan of nude shades I went with the only shade that really appealed to me, Glissade. Illamasqua have since released a red shade called Virgin, which is an exact shade match for Virgin Atlantic cabin crews red uniform, and at some point it appears they've slipped in another new shade called Rockabilly (cherry red). 

The Glamour lipsticks come in exactly the same sleek, black, mirrored packaging as the original matte lipsticks. Being square they store well next to each other but you'd need to store them upside down to see the name of the shade to be able to pick out a shade at a glance. 

I completely forgot to swatch this shade but as always you can find a very good swatch over on Temptalia. Whereas the original Illamasqua lipsticks are very matte the new Glamore lipsticks have a satin finish with a slight sheen. I was pleased to discover that the Glamore lipsticks are a lot softer than the original formula, however I do still find this reasonably hard and dry. Application does tug on my lips slightly but I can get the colour to transfer over onto my lips, something I had a problem with using the original formula, and once in place it lasts well, is very comfortable to wear and leaves a stain behind.

Although I can actually use this lipstick I find that I just don't reach for it very often, probably because I still find it quite dry to apply. Before the release of easier to apply and less drying matte lip products, like the Revlon Colorburst matte balms, I wouldn't have touched matte lip products at all, so if I have softer matte products in my stash I'll tend to reach for them more. It's a nice product but unfortunately it's just not ideal for me. You can find the complete Glamore lipstick range over on the Illamasqua website.

Have you tried any of Illamsqua's lipsticks?