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Nail varnish sale picks

Recently I've been slightly obsessed with nail varnish. Even though I already own a load I can't help lusting over more and have added several to my collection recently, although I've only added cheaper brands such as Barry M and Models Own. I am a big fan of some higher end brands of nail varnish, but I only really tend to buy them when they're on some kind of offer, so a little more reasonably priced.

I think 2015 is going to be a big year for nails on my blog as I'm itching to try so many nail art designs and as it's sale time I though I'd do a little round up of some of the best nail varnish bargains I've found in the Boxing day sales. 

I apologise if any of these offers have sold out by the time you've read this post!  



OPI is one of my favourite nail varnish brands and I've added a couple of their varnishes to my stash recently. Two of their most recent collaborations are with Coca Cola and Gwen Stefani and both ranges have some lovely shades. A few shades from each collection are reduced over on ASOS for £7/£8. I picked up I carol about you from the Gwen Stefani range for £8. 

The Rollin in cashmere collection is now just £20.96 from Debenhams and contains a gold base shade (Rollin in cashmere), a snow effect topper (Snow globetrotter) and a dark glitter topper (Comet in the sky). The Coca Cola trio pack is also now just £20.96 from Debenhams and contains a red (Coa Cola red), silver (Turn on the haute light) and purple (A grape affair). 

I haven't actually seen the Pencil you in for a polish set before but you get two full size nail varnishes and a free note pad for £7.20 from Look Fantastic. As full size OPI shades are at least £11.95 each this is a bit of a bargain. It's also worth noting that some single OPI shades are reduced down to as little as £3.99 on Look Fantastic.


I've mentioned before that I love Nails Inc's new shape bottles, but I wasn't so keen on was the price hike to accompany their new look. You can now expect to pay around £14/£15 for a Nails Inc shade in a new bottle. Nails Inc have some lovely gift sets featuring their new bottles that already offered a discount compared to buying them separately and now some of them are available in the sale. 

The Winter wonderland collection is now £20.30 from Debenhams and contains three seasonally appropriate shades, Trafalgar Square (red glitter), St George's Square (white and silver glitter) and Buckingham Square (rose gold glitter). The Nails Inc Be Gelous collection contains six gel affect nail varnishes in a range of shades (including a glitter) and is now just £29.40 from Debenhams. 

I know the postage charge (£4.95!) from Selfridges is rather off putting, especially when it comes to sale purchases, but even adding the delivery charge the Nails Inc Message in a manicure set is still quite a bargain at £20 down from £45. This includes 18 mini shades in a good range of colours and effects (including a top coat) and 150 letters/characters to personalise your manicure.


You can grab an exclusive to ASOS Ciate tree trinket for £5 reduced from £8. I know £5 is not that cheap for a mini nail varnish but it's a gorgeous glitter that you can only get from ASOS so I think it's worth adding it to your order if you're making one. 

I've never really considered trying a Deborah Lippmann varnish before as I believe they comes in at £18 each, but the Steal my kisses set caught my eye as it's less than half price from Look Fantastic at just £12.09. They are only mini shades rather than full size, but this is still a bargain and they're actually magnetic varnishes so you can create a pretty effect with the included magnet. I might just be adding this to my basket so I can try Deborah Lippmann for a very reasonable price. 

Last but not least, although I've never heard of Azature before I've noticed that several shades of their Diamond nail varnish are reduced from £17 down to just £3 at Selfridges. Azature Black diamond is apparently the most expensive polish in the world (as it contains real black diamonds) and this has been created as a more purse friendly option at a fraction of the price, so this really is a bargain. 

Over on Beauty bay there doesn't appear to be any nail varnish in the sale but they are offering 3 for 2 mix and match on Essie and OPI, so if you're willing to pay full price for a couple of shades or sets you will get the third one free. Finally if you'd still like to get your hands on any Christmas Ciate I'd recommend TK Maxx as before Christmas (they may be even cheaper now) the advent calender was around £25, the tree trinket set £15 and the Candy cane house £7.

Have you treated yourself to any new nail varnish in the sales?

 
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As seen in - Trollied

I haven't done many of these posts over the second half of this year as I've mostly worked in TV and film, which has a slower turn around time than music video's. A music video will usually be released around four weeks after filming, but it can be several months before you see a TV show and when it comes to films it can be a couple of years. I worked on The Theory of Everything back in 2013 and that is only just being released on New years day 2015.

As series four of Sky 1 comedy Trollied has just finished I thought I'd let you know that I was in this series. I came in towards the end of filming but did five days on set and made it into three of the eight episodes that aired.  I had fun working on Trollied, filming isn't London based so it wasn't too far for me to travel and the supermarket set is really quite impressive, although very strange to walk into the first time. The worst part was that the 'fresh' fruit and veg really wasn't very fresh any more! 

It's quite difficult to get screen shots of Trollied to try and show the background as anything out of main shot is usually blurry or people come out as blurs because they're walking. But I have managed to get some shots of me, or at least the ones that I actually managed to spot. I think I've got the episode numbers correct but Sky have got them confused online so I'm not entirely sure!

Episode 6


This one looks really strange because they shot it through a glass door at the entrance to the supermarket. It's not very clear but I'm in the back of the shot stacking a shelf just over Margaret's shoulder.

Episode 7 

I'm sat in the back right hand corner eating my lunch (or not eating my lunch because it was stone cold so I was just pushing it around the plate!). I know I need to try and sit up straight but I do have a curvature at the top of my spine which makes it a little difficult.

Episode 8

Most of my appearances were in the last episode of the series. The first image is pretty unflattering but I'm just behind the lady in the Sombrero. We were watching Gavin having his legs shaved for charity. In the second shot I'm just behind the man in the cheese costume while we're waiting for the raffle to be drawn. In the third one I'm actually right at the front of the shot but I'm blurry because I'm walking away (after not winning the raffle) and the shot is focused on Daniel behind me. The last shot was just before the end of the episode and I just walk across in front of the camera. 

So I got to be a Valco staff member. 'Serves you right'!

 
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Barry M Ruby slippers

I've taken a bit of an unplanned break from blogging since my last post but I just had to do a quick post on one of the latest additions to my nail varnish collection. After many years avoiding it (more on that in a second) I've decided to embrace glitter nail varnishes again and a few days ago I picked up Barry M's Ruby slippers.

Barry M Ruby slippers (more ruby coloured than this shows!)
This is much more ruby coloured than my picture shows (sorry about that, it looked better on my phone screen but doesn't transfer to computer screen) but take my word for it this is a gorgeous, glittery, ruby/cherry red that is absolutely perfect for this time of year. I've completely fallen in love with it. If you check the image on the Superdrug website this will give you a much better idea of the correct colour.

Although this is a full coverage kind of glitter I think it's always better to use a base in a similar colour to give it a little support, or a different colour if that's the sort of look you want to go for. My boyfriend seems determined to make me try some of Poundland's new makeup range and has bought me a couple of their nails varnishes. One of them was a lovely red, just slightly orange shade called Pillar box red, which is what I've used as a base for this. The reason I bought Ruby slippers is a few days ago I picked up NYC's peel off base coat from Superdrug, so I could start wearing glitter nail varnishes like this. I'll be posting a full review of the base coat in the future but so far I'm thinking it's pretty amazing and may just have changed my life! A little excessive? Maybe just a little! 

Although this involves three different nail varnishes it's actually a complete bargain. The NYC Strip me off base coat is just £2.99, the Poundland nail varnish is obviously just £1 and Barry M Ruby slippers is £2.99, so the whole thing comes in at just under £7. 

If you still need to get into town this week for some last minute Christmas shopping I'd recommend picking up each of these little beauties for perfect, cheap, quick and easy to remove Christmas day nails.

What will you be wearing on your nails for Christmas day?

 
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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?

 
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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?

 
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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?

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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?

 
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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?

 
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Christmas nail art - Gift wrapped nails

My first Christmas nail art post, yay! I've actually attempted a couple of different designs so far and I haven't had very much luck. In fact at one point I thought I wasn't going to be able to get any design up to a level that I was happy to post about. I'm quite a perfectionist so only the designs I'm really happy with make it here. 

I did a gift wrapped nails design last Christmas but decided to do it again this year and update the design slightly. 

Christmas nail art - Gift wrapped nails
Christmas nail art - Gift wrapped nails
Christmas nail art - Gift wrapped nails
As usual I started with a base coat and then painted two coats of Orly's Luxe which is a lovely sparkly gold shade. I then applied a topcoat to help seal this and gave it some time to dry properly before moving onto the next step. I then used stripping tape to make a cross over each nail, making sure I left enough extra tape over the edge of the nail to be able to remove the strip easily. I painted over the top of the whole nail using Barry M's Silk in Poppy and then removed the stripping tape straight away before the varnish had started to dry. I use tweezers to remove the tape as it makes it easier to get hold of it and is less messy (although my tweezers now don't work as they're covered with varnish!). I left this to dry and then sealed the whole design with another layer of top coat.

To finish the design I just added a small 3D bow which is from a little set of different coloured bows I bought from Born pretty store. I used my tweezers to hold onto the bow (gripping each side of the bow from the top), applied a small amount of nail glue to the bottom of the bow and then positioned it where I wanted on my nail. After a few seconds it should stick to the nail enough for you to remove the tweezers without knocking it off/out of place and after a couple of minutes it should be completely dry. Once in place with nail glue I find the bows tend to stay there and don't come off easily, although obviously if you run your fingers through your hair it will catch slightly. I usually end up having to remove the bow when I want to remove the varnish and I use my teeth to kind of bite it off!

As you can probably see it's not quite perfect. I haven't managed to cover all of the gold near my cuticles on a couple of nails (I didn't realise this when I was doing them) and on my index finger there was a slight accident with the gold 'ribbon', but in general I'm really pleased with this.  

What do you think of Gift wrapped nails?

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Tag: The things that make Christmas

I adore Christmas and everything about it, but there are a few things that I think make Christmas particularly special. So I thought I'd create a tag so we can all share the things that really make Christmas special for us. 

There's no questions, if you want to do the tag all you need to do is talk about the top 5 things that get you really excited for Christmas. I haven't included spending time with friends and family, as I think that's a given at Christmas, but obviously you can include that in yours if you want to. So here are mine:

Seasonal food

Pigs in blankets! I know you can technically get these any time of year, but in my house we cannot have a Christmas day dinner without pigs in blankets and if my mum and dad dared to try and leave them out I think my brother would go on the rampage!

Cheeselets, or this year TREESELETS! Who would have thought that my favourite cheesy biscuit (they are biscuits right, not crisps?) just being reshaped into Christmas trees could make me excited enough to let out a little squeal and actually do a little happy dance. I know Christmas is on the way when our house slowly starts filling up with tubs of Cheeselets as mum stocks up for me and my brother. Even better this year, he's moved out, so they're all mine! 

A slightly more unusual one is Lebkuchen. If you've never heard of these before they're traditional German baked Christmas treats that are a little like gingerbread. I believe they can come in slightly different forms but the ones I have are star shaped, covered in either a white or brown thin crisp icing with the bottoms dipped in chocolate. I've been eating these since I was a teenager and I love them.

Christmas markets

I love Christmas markets! Wandering around browsing the little trinkets carved out of woods or made of glass, choosing which sweets to buy and wondering whether you can get away with having a huge hot chocolate, whatever form of roast meat in a cob/roll/bap (delete as regionally appropriate) they have on offer and a crepe/waffle. 

Five years ago my boyfriend and I booked some coach tickets to head to London for a conference, but the night before I was ill and we were unable to catch the coach. We contacted the coach company and they were kind enough to let us transfer the tickets to use on another date so we decided to take a trip to London close to Christmas to look at the lights etc. When we got there we were delighted to find a huge German Christmas market (I think it might be called Winter Wonderland) that opened in the evening. It was obviously packed but we had a wander round and I spent all my boyfriends money stuffing myself with all the food!

It was while we were wandering round London beforehand visiting some famous shops that we discovered that Harrods had landed on the Wicked witch of the west.



The Boots Christmas catalogue

Ever since I can remember I've got excited about the Boots Christmas catalogue being released. I don't think it's as good now as it used to be, but I can certainly waste some time flicking through looking at all the gorgeous Christmas gifts. I'm not buying any gifts from Boots this year for anyone, but there's no harm checking out what bits I might want to try and grab in the sale after Christmas!

Christmas adverts

Christmas adverts have become a huge thing now and each year there's competition to see who produces the best Christmas advert. I think this has probably come from the Coca Cola Christmas advert. Although they use the same advert every year there's no need for them to produce a new one as there would probably be uproar if they did!  I actually wrote this post at the beginning of November and was almost bursting with excitement for the début of the John Lewis Christmas advert. Lasts years Bear & Hare advert did make me cry every time I saw it but I don't think it was quite as good as the one from the year before, where the snowman trekked to John Lewis to buy winter woollies for Mrs Snowman (I'm even getting a bit tearful thinking about it!). Marks and Spencer also had a very good advert last year with an Alice in Wonderland theme with David Gandy, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Helena Bonham Cater and a little white Scotty dog. Although I do like Monty the penguin I still don't think it beats Bare & Hare or The journey (the snowman one) and I'm actually a little disappointed with this years adverts.

The retailer that disappoints me every year is Harvey Nichols, as they do make Christmas adverts but they only put them online, hoping they'll go viral. In 2012 I was actually in their Christmas viral and it was quite a good concept and good fun to film, but even now it only has half a million views on Youtube. If you want to see it just type 'Avoid a same dress disaster' into Youtube.

 Snow

So this isn't one that I, or anybody else, has any control over, but I think even people who aren't very keen on snow usually would love to wake up on Christmas day to at least a little. Even if it can't actually manage to snow, a nice thick covering of frost would do just to give everything that lovely white Christmasy look. It's actually only been four years since we last had a white Christmas with a reasonable covering (rather than the one flake falling on certain locations like Buckingham Palace that technically makes it a white Christmas!) but fingers crossed for this year.

If you do decide to do this tag please let me know so I can link your post to this one and please feel free to use my image if you want to. I tag:

Shona
Sasha
Danniella
Sian

Merry Christmas!
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