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Halloween nail art #2 - Webbed nails

A couple of days ago I posted a very simple nail art look for Halloween and I wanted to try and get another one done before Halloween actually got here.  This is another very simple look but one I've been planning to try for a while, I was just waiting to get my hands on some nail art pens that I could actually work with.

Can you tell I'm enjoying making use of the Halloween photo effects on Picmonkey?!  I wanted a dark base but didn't want it to be a flat black shade so went for W7 in what I believe is called I Don't Know as this is black but with a silver shimmer running through it so it's not as flat and dark.  I then just used a Models Own nail art pen in white to draw a cobweb design on a couple of nails and finished it all off with Seche Vite dry fast top coat for a glossy finish. 

This isn't the most difficult of looks to achieve but you do have to try and get the hang of squeezing the nail art pen just enough so it doesn't come pumping out all over the place!  I would have liked the cobwebs to have been thinner and more detailed but this was a first attempt.

What do you think of webbed nails?

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Halloween nail art - We're watching you!

Ok so this might not be the most Halloween of nail art but my base colour is orange and orange = pumpkins = Halloween!  I've been really busy recently with uni work so I haven't really had time to try anything fancy but I wanted to try and get some kind of Halloween look up so I went for something really simple I could do quite quickly while taking a break from my work.  

For my simple Halloween look I decided to go for little pairs of eyes.  I used Models Own Pink Punch (which is actually an orange colour) for a super bright (much brighter and slightly darker than shows up in the pictures) orange base colour.  I then used a dotting tool and Sinful Colors Snow Me White to make the white eyes with Bad Apple's Bad Bad for the black pupils.  Then I just used Seche Vite Dry Fast top coat for a super shiny finish.  

What do you think of my super simple 'we're watching you' Halloween nails?

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Glossybox October 2013 - Dark Romance

As I've mentioned previously I used to subscribe to Glossybox but I cancelled this a few months ago because of money and also because more often than not I'm either disappointed with the contents or just not really bothered either way.  I have been keeping an eye on the boxes though and if one looks particularly good then I may treat myself to it as a one off order.  When I saw that the theme for October's box was dark romance I thought this sounded like it might be a good box.  I was then delighted to find out that I'd won a 3 month subscription over on Beautiface and that this would start with the October box.  

I normally avoid any spoilers that appear on blogs and Twitter but when I saw a couple of tweets appearing slating this months box curiosity got the better of me and I took a little peek at the products that people had received.  Unfortunately this crushed my expectations and I was no longer looking forward to receiving the box *sad face*.  My box arrived yesterday morning and this is what I received.

For a box based on a theme of dark romance I would have expected mostly makeup items in dark vampy autumn/winter shades, most likely including a nail varnish and lipstick and maybe something for the eyes like a dark eye shadow, liner or mascara.  Opening the box it certainly didn't scream dark romance to me!

Mememe Cherub's Blush cheek and lip tint

This is probably the item that I would say most closely fits the theme.  This is a cheek and lip tint a la Benefit's Benetint and the colour does say dark romance to me.  Unfortunately I'm slightly scared of cheek tints!  I already have Benetint and a similar Modelco version (that I received in a Glossybox not so long ago!) and I haven't tried either of these yet, so I now have another one to add to my collection.

Full size (12ml) - £5.50 

Katy Perry Killer Queen fragrance

I have so many of these tiny perfume samples floating around, most of which have come from Glossyboxes!  I'm not a fan of them as you can pick them up for free in department stores and perfume shops so it's really not very exciting receiving one in a beauty box.  However I do think this one fits the theme reasonably well as I would say it's quite a strong evening type scent, maybe the sort of thing you would wear on a date.

1.5ml (full size 50ml for £29.50) - 89p

Monu Illuminating primer

Call me superficial, but when I open a surprise beauty box I want to see pretty looking products waiting for me and unfortunately the packaging of this one did nothing for me.  Aesthetics aside though this sounds like quite a nice product.  This is a paraben free primer that contains reflective mica particles to brighten the complexion and also contains SPF 15.  I guess at a stretch this could fit the theme, illuminating the skin to make you look your best, but it doesn't scream dark romance to me.

20ml (full size 50ml for £24.95) - £9.98

Broadway Nails impress press-on manicure

To be honest I've never really been one for false nails.  I've only tried them once or twice but in my experience they pop off quite easily or I have trouble getting them to fit my nails as I apparently have super slim skinny fingers.  I am quite looking forward to giving these a go though to see what they're like.  With regard to dark romance, I would say these were more girly romance!  If they were some kind of berry type shade then yes but these are French manicure style complete with glitter over the white part of the nail.

Full size - £7.99

Premae Multi-Vit Smoothie serum

Like the Monu primer, this certainly didn't satisfy my need for prettiness! Also I really can't see how this product fits into the theme, nothing about this says dark romance to me.  However I do like the sound of the product, especially as it's supposed to help soothe redness.

20ml (full size 50ml for £22.50) - £9

Value of box - £33.36

So in general I'm pretty disappointed with this box and I'm glad I didn't actually pay for it.  I may have been less disappointed if Glossybox hadn't built up my expectations with a theme and then not delivered on it.  I would say it might be better if the boxes didn't have themes, or if they do, that Glossyboxes thinks really carefully about the products they use for it.

Are you subscribed to Glossybox and what did you think of this month's box?
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Prairie Charms - Gia bow

A brand that I have recently discovered through Twitter is Prairie Charms; a handmade accessories boutique specialising in girly, flirty and quirky jewellery and accessories.  New products are often added to the site but the items currently available include fabric and flower headbands, floral crowns, and fabric and glitter bows.  As well as making fab quirky accessories Prairie Charms also donate 10% off all profits to the Great Ormond Street Children's Hopsital Charity and the Kiss it better campaign.  

After having a browse round the website I decided I'd like to see what I could do with the Gia bow.  The Gia bow usually comes with a crocodile clip on the back but as Prairie Charms' products are hand made they do offer the option of custom orders where you can request for something to be removed, added or substituted.  As I thought I might be a little bit restricted with a crocodile clip I asked for it to be replaced with elastic.

As you can see from the first picture I did actually order two items but I'll do a separate post for the other one.  Both items came in really pretty packaging and were individually wrapped in tissue paper like little presents.  The Gia bow features forest green or khaki coloured cotton fabric with a ditsy floral print.  It arrives flat, folded like a concertina of fabric and you just need to fan out the ends to make the bow shape.  I would have preferred the centre of the bow to be a little flatter as the bow stands up quite tall but this isn't really a problem.

So what did I come up with for the Gia bow?

I went for two looks using the bow in my hair.  If the bow had a crocodile clip on the back this could obviously be used as a hair clip but I used the elastic as a headband instead.  

When it came to the bun I had a bit of a problem!  I went to the hairdressers last week asking for my hair to be cut to shoulder length.  My hair is usually shoulder length but I've had it up all summer because it's been so hot and didn't realise how long it had got.  So my hairdresser started cutting and then commented that she didn't think she'd cut enough and needed to take a bit more off.  For some reason she then went a bit snip crazy and I've ended up with more of a long bob!  As you can see from the hair falling out of the bottom of the bun it's not really long enough but I did just manage to get my hair to cover the bun ring.  I then just wrapped the elastic round the bun twice to add the bow.  Again if this did have the crocodile clip it could just be clipped into the hair.

Then I went for some slightly more unusual looks using the bow.  I thought the colour of the bow might go with a dress I bought to wear to a couple of weddings this year so to begin with I used the elastic as a slip on belt to make a bow on the waist of the dress.  I'm not sure now that the bow does really match the dress but I like the idea of using it as a waist belt.  I then wrapped the elastic round my wrist to make a kind of oversized bow bracelet (sorry about my freakishly long fingers, at least I remembered not to bend my double-jointed thumb backwards!).  

Finally I used the elastic to pop the bow on my bowler hat.  This would probably look better on a black hat but they were sold out so I had to go for a burgundy one.  

What do you think of what I did with the Gia bow?  You can find the Prairie Charms website here.  

Disclaimer - Although I did pay for this item I received a 50% discount as part of Project Blogger

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Soap & Glory Supercat carbon black eye liner pen

A new post, yay! I've been a little bit busy recently so haven't been able to get any new posts written.  My final submission date for my PhD thesis is in less than four weeks time and I was trying to get as much as possible done while staying at my boyfriend's house as he had some software I needed on his computer.  I came home yesterday but had to make a little stop on the way home to do an 11 hour shoot (a freezing cold outdoor shoot!) and didn't get home until the evening.  So today is the first chance I've had to try and start writing something, so here it comes!

I'm a big fan of eye liner as a look but as I've mentioned previously, I'm pretty rubbish at applying it.  More recently I've been trying to practice and I am getting better but it does help if you have a product that is simple to use to help make it easier.  When I do attempt eye liner I currently use a gel liner with a brush, but I've wanted to try a pen type liner for a while as these look pretty easy to use.  Recently I've noticed a couple of posts about Soap & Glory's Supercat liner and as it's only £6 and Soap & Glory products have been on offer in Boots I decided to give it a try.

This is called carbon black but I'm not quite sure that it is that black. I'd expect carbon black to be blackest black (although I may be wrong) but I find this settles to a lighter black and I usually have to go over it again to make it darker.  I don't mind this though as my skin is really pale, so a really dark black would probably be too black for me, and I usually go over it again anyway as I start off really thin and then build it up to whatever thickness I want that day.

I do find this really simple to use, so much so that I've actually started to wear eye liner regularly.  Previously I've always been too scared to attempt it regularly in case I messed it up.  I find this doesn't appear to dry completely but I actually kind of like it like this.  Yes it does mean that it can smudge but it also makes it really easy to remove and another reason why I haven't worn eye liner much previously is because it can make my eyes really sore when I try to remove it all later.  When I was watching something on TV recently I was crying with laughter (no idea what I was watching at the time!) and forgetting I had liner on I wiped my eye and smudged my flick right across my face.  However even though it did smudge it was incredibly easy to remove without making any more of a mess.  I just wiped it off and it didn't leave any kind of black mark behind so if I'd wanted I could have just reapplied my flick and nobody would have been any wiser.

I've found that this lasts quite well despite not drying down completely and me apparently having slightly oily eye lids at the moment.  I would say this would make it through a days work still reasonably intact but if you were going out straight from work you may want to top it up a little.  

This may sound like a slightly mixed review but I do actually really like this.  As I said I feel confident enough using this to have started going for the eye liner look more often and when this runs out I will be repurchasing. I'd also love to see this in some more colours.  I've got a bit of a thing about greeny turquoise kind of coloured eye liners so if you fancy releasing this in that kind of colour Soap & Glory you'd definitely have one customer!

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My reaction to a product - an update

Recently I posted to talk about a bad reaction I had to a product which left me with burned eyelids (you can find the post here).  I thought I would do an update to this post to let you know what happened/what I discovered after this. 

The only reason I have the products I'm going to be talking about is because I was one of 5 Valentines day competition winners on the Philosophy website and I won something like £110 worth of products.  I've never actually bought anything from them myself as I think their products are quite expensive.  I did consider buying one of their bath/shower gel products in the Boots sale after Christmas, but for some reason I just didn't get one.

So as you will know if you've read my previous post I believe the product that burned my eyelids was the Philosophy Purity cleanser.  I also received the Hope in a jar moisturiser but I gave this to my mum to use as it contains lavender, which I'm allergic to.  Although my reaction happened when I was staying at my boyfriend's house I showed my mum my dry flaky post burn eyelids when I got home and told her I thought it was the cleanser.  She then told me that actually she'd noticed that when using the moisturiser, even though she didn't apply it near her eyes, her eyes would often sting while using it.  After finding out about my reaction she decided to throw it away rather than risk using it anymore.

I decided it was time to pull out the other products I won to see what they were and dispose of them.  When I wrote my first post I mentioned Holly Arabella who had recently also posted about a problem with one of Philosophy's products.  Holly's skin had become really dry and irritated and she noticed that it improved again as soon as she stopped using one of Philosophy's shampoo/bath/shower gels.  On checking the ingredients Holly discovered that the second ingredient in this was Sodium Laureth Sulphate, also known as SLS.  I don't know much about this ingredient (although I do know it's best to try and avoid it) but from Holly I've learnt that this is a cheap emulsifier and detergent.  The back of the bottle also included a warning that prolonged or excessive use may cause irritation to the skin and urinary tract.

So the first product I pull out I discover is one of the shampoo/bath/shower gels complete with SLS in the ingredients and the warning on the back.  Now, I do always check ingredients in case there's lavender in the product but before reading Holly's post I wouldn't have realised that Sodium Laureth Sulphate was SLS and I'm not sure that I would have read the warning either, so I probably would have just started using this.  I'm very glad I didn't though.  My skin is dry and sensitive and prone to eczema so this is really not a product I would want to be using.  The urinary tract warning also really scares me.  I've always been prone to bladder/urine infections and had loads when I was younger.  I hadn't suffered for years but then this year I've had two really bad infections that have resulted in (sorry for the details) weeing blood, a nasty stinging pain when I did go to the toilet and stabbing pains in my abdomen.  So there's absolutely no way I would use a product that may contribute to me having to go through another one of these infections. 

Another product I received was the Hope in a tube eye and lip firming cream.  A quick read of the box found no scary warning and no SLS in the ingredients but what I did find sitting as the 4th ingredient was mineral oil.  Now I'm not necessarily opposed to mineral oil, I recently discovered that my favourite body lotion contains this and it works well for me.  I do know that many people don't like mineral oil though and avoid it in products.  Although I may be okay with the mineral oil, I'm not going to try this product in case I have another reaction.

It's not all bad news though!  I also received the Kiss me tonight lip therapy and I've had no problem at all with this and really like it.  There's no warning accompanying this product and no SLS or mineral oil.  So I will continue to use this product.

By writing this post I'm not trying to convince you to stop using Philosophy's products or not to try any of them, that's completely up to you, I just wanted to talk about my experience so other people are aware.  I have to say I'm disappointed that a brand that charges so much for it's product uses such cheap ingredients that may actually cause you harm.

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Head Full of Feathers - Rainbow stars glitter shoe clips

This is the first of some accessories posts I'm going to start putting up on my blog.  I'm a big fan of quirky and unusual shoes and accessories and within the last year or so I've discovered some amazing brands that make just the sort of accessories I love.  I think my love of quirky accessories began when I discovered the shoe brand Irregular Choice.  I think I first became aware of them around 10 years ago and I had two pairs of their shoes that I absolutely adored and literally wore until they fell apart!  I have had a couple of pairs since but at the moment I can't really afford them and also a lot of their designs feature high heels (at 6ft tall I don't need any extra height) but my boyfriend did buy me a pair for Christmas a couple of years ago that I might feature on the blog shortly.

When I attended the Bristol Blogger Meetup earlier this year I met the lovely Jen who has her own accessories business called Head Full of Feathers.  Jen very kindly donated a glitter bow hair clip to go in each goody bag (I'll be featuring this on the blog in the future) and as soon as I saw it I knew I would love Jen's other stuff.

Recently I was chatting to Jen on Twitter about one of her newest items that she had posted a photo of and she very kindly offered to send me some Rainbow stars glitter shoe clips* to feature on my blog.  When I got home after filming last week (at 2:20am after 11 hours on set!) I discovered a parcel waiting for me and I squealed with delight when I opened it!

The shoe clips consist of 7 non-shed glitter stars which are felt backed and have a clip on each end.  The clips have teeth inside, to grip to whatever you attach them to, but are smooth on the outside so as not irritate your feet.  These can be clipped to the shoes themselves, straps, laces or to anything really.

I also tried clipping one onto my bag strap (as shown above), in my hair (you do have to be a little careful with this one) and even suddenly had the idea to try clipping one to the hem of my skirt while I was sat typing this up!  You really could put one pretty much anywhere you wanted to.  I would have tried clipping one to my new bowler hat but I'm currently waiting for it to arrive.  I checked in two H&M stores and couldn't find any so I've had to order online so I'll probably receive it some time in January!

The Rainbow stars glitter shoes clips are £19 for a pair and can be ordered from Head Full of Feathers.  They're also available in pastel rainbow and single colours. 

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