Monday, 22 September 2014

Nail art - Japanese cherry blossom

I'm suffering from a bit of bloggers block at the moment so there was only one post last week, but I attempted some nail art a couple of nights ago that I'm really pleased with so I thought I'd do a post for it. I'm really particular about the nail art that makes it onto my blog and recently all of my attempts haven't been good enough, so this is my first nail art post since June! 

My inspiration for this nail art came from some false nails from Primark that I posted on Instagram. I don't bother with false nails as one always pings off pretty much straight away and then I just pull the others off.  I love Japanese cherry blossom designs though, so I thought I'd give this a try as nail art when I got home.  

I started off with a new base coat (Nails Inc Hyde Park) that I won in Fiona's giveaway over on girl, with lipstick. I then used Barry M's Silk nail varnish in Meadow as a base colour as this is probably the closest colour I have to the base colour on the false nails. I then drew on the branches using a brown Sharpie. I've recently bought a big pack of Sharpie's in various different colours that will be really useful for nail art. I then used a dotting tool with Sinful Colors Snow me white for the white flowers and Models Own Neon in Bubblegum for the centre of each flower. I then left this for a while before applying the top coat as Sharpie's can smudge if you're not careful. Unfortunately the little finger did smudge, either because that was the last nail I did or I went over it a few too many times with the brush.

Please excuse my short and slightly funny shaped middle nail, it snapped off on my car boot earlier in the day and I don't want to cut my other nails down to the same length. The design also doesn't look as good in the photo as it does on my nails, for some reason it looks a little sparse.

What do you think of Japanese cherry blossom nails?


Wednesday, 17 September 2014

Ciate Haute House

If you follow me on Twitter (@lilblogofbeauty) you may have noticed that recently I've been desperate to start painting my nails with dark shades, the darker the better. When I was having a wander round Selfridges before the beauty blogger discovery evening (post here) I came across Ciate's new Haute House collection and I instantly fell in love. I really wanted to buy the set, which isn't that expensive at £22 for five mini nail varnishes, but at that time I couldn't afford it so I dragged myself away with a heavy heart.

I don't go to TK Maxx very often but I do nip in occasionally to see if there's any bargains to be had. I was having a nosey round the nail varnishes, making sure to avoid any that looked particularly dodgy, when I spotted some box sets. I picked up one Ciate set, which I believe was the Dolls house one that contains pastel shades, but as I said my craving is currently for darker than dark shades. It was then that I spotted them, two darker boxes that made my heart flutter as soon as I saw them. Yes, in TK Maxx they had two boxes of the brand new, just released in September, Haute House collection. I'm pretty sure TK Maxx is all about past seasons stock, so I'm not sure why they were there, but was I going to complain? Obviously not! I turned the box over to find that magical price sticker which said RRP £25 (close, it's actually £22) our price £6.99. Yes, just £6.99! So of course this little beauty came home with me.

Ciate Haute House

Ciate Haute House

Ciate Haute House
Ciate Haute House

The Haute House collection contains five mini nails varnishes which have what Ciate have described as a rich ink formula. All five are deep, dark shades and contain shimmer. Ciate say:

'Ciate's Haute House collection brings you a seductive set of one-stroke shades to unleach your inner sex kitten. Inspired by luxe lingerie labels, these colours are perfect for pairing with lace and with lashings of gloss and lustrous shimmer making them a must-have date night mani. With high pigment one stroke colour, this is one satisfying quickie!'

Oh Ciate, aren't you naughty! I love the 'house' style packaging that Ciate's themed sets come in and this one features lovely deep autumn/winter appropriate colours that match the shades inside. The front of the house features a magnetic flap (you can see the magnet taped inside the box!) that opens to give you a better view of the nail varnishes inside. I just know that this is packaging I'm going to struggle to part with so I think I might just keep the nail varnish inside it.

Due to the shades being very dark, bad lighting and my camera not being that good I did struggle to try and get good pictures of the shades, the bottom picture is the best. I'm sorry there's only four there, the fifth one just did not want to play ball! But take my word for it they are amazing winter shades. Can can is a deep purplish-red Clarat colour, For the thrill of it a bronze with flashes of yellow/green in the shimmer, Sass pot a deep Caburys purple, Knee highs a deep inky blue, and Tickle my fancy a petrol blue/green.

I was quite surprised to find that they don't all apply the same. Can can, Knee highs and Tickle my fancy all apply really well and you could easily get away with just one coat. For the thrill of it is actually very thin and the first coat looked very watery, but three coats gives a good coverage that is on par with one coats of the other shades. I'm not quite sure yet if there may be something wrong with my Sass pot as the first coat applied very watery and a strange kind of dark grey colour. I gave the bottle a really good shake and on the second coat I did start to see signs of purple. I went for three coats of this one and it's very dark, almost black, but I'm not sure if this is because I started off with the strange watery grey 'base'. I will try this one again and see if it comes out better next time.

So far I've only actually worn Knee highs briefly on my nails (I wanted to get this post up ASAP so you can check your local TK Maxx if you want!) but after just over a day it hadn't chipped at all (doesn't sound much but is good for me) and it looks amazing on the nails. While writing this post I've applied Can can and oh my it's such a gorgeous shade. I'm so happy with this and would happily have paid £22 for it, but obviously I didn't have to!

Will you be picking up the Haute House collection?

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The 'Hello autumn' lip

I think weather wise things are a little confused in the UK at the moment. We're now approaching the half-way point of September, so we're moving into autumn and the leaves are falling from the trees at a rate of knots. Despite this the weather is staying warm and the weather people have predicted that we're going to have an Indian summer. I wasn't actually sure what an 'Indian summer' means, but after consulting my friend Google I've discovered this means a heat wave that occurs in autumn, so that makes perfect sense! In fact, they've said it will actually stay warm until November. I'm kinda hoping this won't be the case as I don't fancy watching fireworks in just a jacket, it's just not right!

Even if it's going to stay warm for another month and a half this hasn't stopped me being desperate to start painting my nails dark autumnal shades and I'm now also starting to crave darker lip shades as well. This weekend I decided to go through my lip stash in search of suitable shades. I thought I only had one or two darker shades but I actually have quite a few. This isn't quite all of them, I do have a few more, but I didn't want to include them all so I've picked a selection that I'll be embracing over the next few weeks.

I'd previously avoided matte lip products as my lips are naturally dry, but I decided to try the Revlon Colorburst Matte balm in Standout after reading reviews that said the formula was really easy to use and not at all drying. This is a deep red that is really soft to apply and has a minty scent that I know some people aren't keen on but I quite like it.

Next is one of my favourite lip products for this time of year and that's the Lord & Berry lipstick crayon in Plum. The name kind of says it all in terms of the shade of this one, as is the case with several of the products I've included. I've spoken about this recently so I won't say much here apart from that I love this crayon.

Next is a lipstick that I'm actually not very keen on and that's the Bourjois Rouge Edition lipstick in Violine Strass. This is quite a light plum shade, not quite as sheer as it appears in the swatch, but I'm not keen on this lipstick containing glitter and I also find the formula a little dry, although it's not a matte product. 

The Revlon Super Lustrous lipstick in Black Cherry looks really dark in the bullet but isn't quite as dark when applied to the lips. I'm not entirely sure where this one came from (I think it may have been a Facebook competition) and I haven't actually tried it yet but I will be giving it a try very soon. 

The MAC Viva Glam l was a blog giveaway prize. I decided to try a MAC matte formula and unfortunately it is a little too dry for my lips. What I do to try and make this a little more comfortable to wear is a little balm underneath and then I apply Revlon Super Lustrous gloss in Berry Allure over the top. That's the only reason why I've included this gloss in my line-up as I'm not a gloss person and don't tend to wear them. 

Next up is another lipstick I haven't actually worn yet and that's the Sleek True Colour lipstick in Cherry. This lipstick is super soft to apply but my concern is that it might be too dark for pale complexion, although this is lighter than Revlon's Black Cherry, so that one may well be too dark for me as well. 

Finally I have the Maybelline Color Drama crayons in Berry Much and Red Essential. Again I haven't tried these yet but that's because I've only had them for about three days now. These are brand new out and as they're just £4.99 each I thought I'd give a couple a try and picked what I thought would be my two perfect autumn lip shades. Obviously I'll pop a review up after I've had a chance to give these a try.

What are your favourite lip shades for autumn/winter?


Thursday, 11 September 2014

Brands - How not to behave on Twitter

I fancied a slightly different post today! I'm by no means a social media expert, but there are certain things that people do on Twitter that annoy me. It's bad enough when just regular Twitter users do really annoying things, but when it's a brand, they should really know better! So these are a few of the things that some brands do on Twitter that drive me mad.

Don't retweet every single tweet that you're tagged in

Every single tweet may be a slight exaggeration, but sometimes it does feel like it! There's nothing worse (I may be slightly exaggerating again here!) than clicking on the 'view 25 new tweets' bit and discovering that the majority, if not every single one is a retweet from the same brand. Often they're not even useful tweets they're just somebody saying something along the lines of 'I love @brand'. I don't mind brands retweeting but please only retweet the ones that might actually interest or be of use to your followers, such as a bloggers post on one of your products, or a competition that involves one or more of your products. Excessive retweets are of no value to you as a brand and will just annoy your followers.

Actually check your mentions

I guess this could kind of be the flip side of not retweeting every tweet you're mentioned in.  I know that some brands rarely retweet or acknowledge tweets that they're mentioned (including reviews of their products) but please at least make it somebody's job to regularly check tweets for genuine queries. I recently tweeted a large popular brand with a query regarding a gift voucher and I never received a response. I've been meaning to email them instead to hopefully get a response but haven't got round to finding the email address yet and it's just so much quicker and easier to tweet them isn't it?

Don't unfollow if the account doesn't follow you back

I think this one only applies to smaller brands, I'd be very disappointed if a large brand did this.  I've had a few brands do this to me and I find it hugely unprofessional and it's unlikely that I'll pay attention to a brand in the future if they have done this to me.  If you're going to do it at least give it a few days so it might not be as obvious, if by the time the person gets the notification that you've followed you've already unfollowed this does not look good.

Don't mass tweet/spam bloggers/celebrities

Again I think this one is probably for smaller brands and in particular ones that are just starting out.  I've followed new brands, either because they've followed me and I've liked the look of them or I've stumbled across them somewhere, but then have unfollowed when they've started mass tweeting people directly. I don't want to see my feed clogged up with exactly the same tweet tweeted to Lilly Pebbles, ZOE LDN, Cheryl Cole, Millie Mackintosh etc. 

Make sure you behave professionally

Some of you may know what brand I'm talking about for this one but I'm not actually going to name the brand.  Last year I unfollowed a brand on Twitter and actually decided not to buy any of their products based on couple of reasons, but mainly because of how they conducted themselves on Twitter. The brand launched a sale on their website that was so popular the site just couldn't cope with the volume of traffic. How did the brand try and deal with this? By taking to their Twitter and Facebook accounts and asking people to 'get off the website'! Yes they actually were pretty much that rude! Updates were along the lines of 'we asked you all not to go on the website all at once, please get off the website so we can fix it'. On another occasion a well-known makeup artist left the company and although I don't know the full ins and outs of what happened and who was in the wrong it was incredibly unprofessional for the brand to write a public Facebook update basically slagging off the makeup artist in question.  That was the final straw for me and I unfollowed them.

Have I missed any? What annoys you about brands (or anybody) on Twitter?


Monday, 8 September 2014

The Body Shop mini Coconut hand cream

I really don't need any more hand creams at the moment, but when I discovered on my last trip to The Body Shop that it was my fourth visit using my Love your body card and that I was entitled to a free gift worth up to £5, I knew I wanted to try one of these. As it happened this was on a buy one get one half price offer with one of the other items I bought and so instead of the already bargainous (I do realise that's not actually a word!) £3.50 this usually costs I got it for just £1.75.

The Body Shop mini Coconut hand cream
These are available in a massive eight fragrances (Shea, Coconut, Honeymania, Mango, Moringa, Satsuma, Pink grapefruit and Strawberry) and at first I really couldn't decide what to try before I settled on one of my all time favourite fragrances, Coconut. 

Of course, being an impatient beauty blogger I couldn't leave trying this until I'd at least used up the two hand creams I currently have on the go, I had to try it straight away and I think this may now be my new favourite hand cream. 

This does contain Community Fairtrade Coconut oil from Samoa with the Coconut oil being listed about half way through the list of ingredients. Half way through the ingredients list isn't too bad, it means there's more than just a minuscule amount in there, but for me in terms of this sort of product (meaning a hand cream) it's more about it smelling of Coconut than it actually containing any. Although obviously if it's called Coconut it's nice to see at least some Coconut in there! It also contains Sweet almond oil (which is the highest placed oil ingredient on the list), Soybean oil and Shea butter.

When I first squeezed some of this out onto my hand I was surprised by how soft it was, I'm not sure why but for some reason I was expecting it to be a thicker cream. It absorbs really quickly, within a couple of minutes there's no trace of it left on the skin, and it leaves skin feeling soft and moisturised. One of the things I love most about this is that the scent really does linger on your hands. I'm a 'at least one hand under the pillow' or a t least near my face kind of sleeper and I've found that I can smell this lingering on my hands as I'm falling asleep. I actually find it quite comforting falling asleep while I can smell one of my favourite scents. Maybe if you have trouble falling asleep you could try one in your favourite scent to see if this might help you relax and drift off. 

For £3.50 this little hand cream is an absolute bargain and as you probably know you rarely have to pay full price for a The Body Shop product anyway because of their amazing offers. I'd definitely recommend grabbing a few of these and popping one in your hand bag, one on your bedside table, one on your get the idea!

You can find The Body Shop mini Coconut hand cream on The Body Shop website here. Are you a fan of The Body Shop hand creams?