Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Believe in the weave - BW by Beauty Works 18" Mixed Blonde Weft Hair Extensions in 613/24

Last week I was invited to Pro Hair Live in Manchester by Beauty Works to get hair extensions fitted as part of the show as a demo to the hundreds of hairdressers who attended. I got a weave which involves creating a braid across the back of the head underneath the hair with braiding thread then sewing a weft of hair into the braid with a curved needle.

I've worn wefts before and find them easy to wear, they're relatively quick to fit, especially compared to something like micro rings or stick tips which take ages as little clumps of hair are attached.  My weave took about 45 minutes plus time for styling at the end - they were fitted by hair extension specialist Jason Meacher who did an absolutely fab job and was so knowledgeable about the whole process (bear in mind it was a trade show so loads of hairdressers were asking him questions).  People kept asking if my head was hurting during the braiding and it really wasn't - you can tell the braiding is tight but it isn't painful. I've had them in for a week now and there way less noticeable.  I'm not having any problems with covering the braids either.

I had BW by Beauty Works 18" Extensions in LA Blonde (613/24) put in, they're human hair - interestingly this is the I hair colour I thought I'd be when I looked at the website beforehand so hey at least I know my colour! I wanted more thickness rather than loads of length as I just wanted it to look like my hair but better so these extensions are only just a little bit longer than my own hair.  Years of bleaching and straightening have taken their toll on my hair which was really thick as a kid.

I'm really impressed with the quality of the hair, it's the same thickness all the way through and the ends are just as full as the roots, they look really natural and shedding so far is pretty minimal and I've had them in for a week now. They're 105g, just one pack and for me that's enough but if you were wanting them to add loads of length you might want a bit thicker.  The quality of the hair for the price is absolutely great and I'd happily buy these in future.  I've been umming and aahing about getting extensions and buying some online for ages but I've never been able to decide on where to get them from, now I know!

I actually got asked out on a date on my way home from the show, this never happens so I'm definitely putting it down to the power of the weave!  I had to decline though as don't think my fiance would be happy with me and my weave heading out on a date...

On a more serious note, hair extensions need a bit more TLC than your own hair.  As they don't get natural oils from your scalp they can look a bit dry which is when they start to tangle up too - I've been using Moroccan oil on mine near enough daily and coconut oil as a bit of a treat.  As I'm lazy I can't be bothered washing and drying my hair and extensions all the time so dry shampoo has become my friend and I've actually just washed my own hair on top in the past - I used to have a 24 inch weave put in years ago which was way more high maintenance than what I have in now.

Pro Hair Live was fab, I was a little early for my appointment so I had a good wander around the stalls and stages and saw some fantastic hairstyles and demos.  There was literally everything hair you could ever want for sale so if you like hair or you're looking for inspiration, I'd recommend it though it is a trade show.

There's a short video on Beauty Works Online's Facebook page of me getting my weave which I've embedded below but in case you're on a phone or something you can see it here.

Beauty Works do a massive range of hair extensions and accessories - some of the fishtail plaits and buns they have available look gorgeous and I definitely plan to try them out in future.  You can buy Beauty Works hair extensions here.  Celebs are often spotted rocking their Beauty Works hair - most recently Georgia May Foote from Corrie and Sam Faiers from Towie.

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

A gorgeous Mothers Day gift (and exclusive discount code!)


If you're like me and don't live around the corner from your Mum then delivered bouquets are always an absolute winner - they're easy/convenient to order and make a fantastic impact. I was sent these flowers to review from the Debenhams Flowers Mothers Day range (click here to see more of the range), my bouquet is the Mums Lily and Rose one which funnily enough contains scented oriental lilies, lilac memory lane roses, pink aqua roses and greenbell.  I love tropical flowers and roses (especially pink and lilac ones) so this is a really great choice for me.

My experiences with Debenhams Flowers have always been really good - quick delivery, well packaged and beautiful flowers that last.  These have been in my house for over a week (about 10 days) and only one of the flowers is starting to look a little bit wilted now which I think is pretty good going.  The lilies were all closed when these arrived but they've all opened now and I love them!  I think my Mum would prefer planted rather than cut flowers and luckily they do them too - I'm thinking about getting her something like this from the range.

If you want to say it with flowers this Mothers Day I have an exclusive 15% discount code to use on Debenhams Flowers, just enter the code MDBLOG15 at the checkout to receive 15% off any bouquet.  As I said my experiences with them have always been great so I would recommend.

I'm sure I've mentioned before that I have a real love of cut flowers and would have them fresh in my house all the time if my boyfriend didn't rein me in!  Just call me Elton John.

Happy Mothers Day to all the Mums out there!  Have you got anything special planned for your Mum this weekend?

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

L'Oreal Preference Les Blondissimes Extreme Platinum Review

After thinking about it for ages I finally decided to try going a lot lighter at home.  After shelling out over £100 on a full set of highlights I went to Superdrug on the way home and picked up a couple of box dyes with the vague notion that at some point in time I'd try and get my hair really light. My hair is sort of mousy mid brown but it hasn't been that colour - at least not naturally - for years and I was still trying to get back to blonde after experimenting with ombre last year.

I then decided (when my roots needed done) to try another local hairdressers to save money and had the worst hairdressing experience of my life - to cut a long story short I had to dry my own hair and I came away with gingery highlights at the roots.  Not what I wanted.

After 2 weeks of being annoyed with my hair and watching loads of YouTube videos doing plenty of research I decided to just go for it and use the L'Oreal Extreme Platinum kit* that I had bought when I had a Sunday spare.  As someone who has never dyed her own hair (my Mam dyed it for me once or twice when I was at school much to her behest) I was really nervous but I found this kit and instructions really easy to use.  It comes with dye, developer and purple conditioner to use after bleaching which I really liked.  I also watched this video which helped my technique a bit I think.

What did I think of the end result? Well it's certainly lighter! On the lengths of my hair (where the colour was already kind of light due to highlights/bleach) the colour has really lightened up to a pale blonde but my roots fairly pretty yellow where I just had orangey highlights and my natural colour.  My hair doesn't look or feel to damaged but I think it could do with a little trim on the ends to neaten it up.

I'm a big fan of ashy/white toned blonde hair so the colour is a tiny bit too warm for me so again I've been doing my research only this time I've been looking at toners and purple shampoos to get and maintain that ashy look (as purple counteracts warmer colours such as yellow).  I've bought Fudge Clean Blonde Shampoo* and La Riche Directions Toner in White so I'll let you know how I get on with those.

Would I use this kit again? Quite possibly yes but I'd be a bit more prepared with toners and things next time! It's relatively inexpensive, easy to use and does lighten but as with every home hair dye make sure your expectations are realistic.  They seem to be on offer quite a bit too, plus you get everything you need in the right quantities, packaging and instruction.  I really like the conditioner it comes with too, the fact it's purple is great for light hair.

Now that I feel a bit more confident about bleaching my hair and happier that it isn't going to fall out/turn orange/green (top tip: don't wear or use anything metal when dealing with bleach) I've continued my research and actually just bought myself some bleach powder and developer from Salon Services to give it a shot without an actual kit next time...eek.  I'll let you know how I get on!

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

#NOTD Essie Ballet Slippers with Models Own Pink Paradise and Essie Matte About You Topcoat

Today's #NOTD is Essie Ballet Slippers (reviewed here) - it's a bit whiter than I'd like so I added Models Own Pink Paradise, a pink toned flakie polish (also reviewed here) to pink it up a bit.  I thought it was a bit too girly so I added Essie Matte About You, a matte topcoat to flatten it out.

It looks like icing paste now!  This was one of those polishes that I can't stop looking at on my nails!

Monday, 17 February 2014

Models Own Hed Kandi Beach Party Nail Polish - neon orange!

If you follow me on Twitter (@LucyBATB) you might have already seen a swatch of this polish.  This is one of the polishes I bought in the Models Own 50% off sale.  I'm not going to say much really as I think the pics speak for themselves!  It's a gorgeous neon orange that will look great on tanned feet in summer!

Buy Models Own Hed Kandi Beach Party here.

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Models Own HyperGel - is it worth the hype? (Red Lustre swatch)

I went a bit crazy in the Models Own 50% off sale.  One of the polishes I bought was one of Models Own's HyperGel, their new gel effect nail polishes.  I did have several of them in my basket at one point but I did a bit of basket editing bearing in mind I didn't even know if I'd like the HyperGel formula.

I kind of get annoyed by "gel effect" polishes - they're just shiny and most of the time you can just get that effect with a high shine topcoat like Seche Vite*.  I have to say I don't really think this polish is any different - this is 3 coats but I probably could have done with a fourth.  I was a bit worried as the first two coats looked really sheer but it evened out on coat 3.

Overall it's a nice enough polish but I'm not in a big rush to buy the other colours in the range but for £2.50 in the sale I can't complain!

You can find the HyperGel range here, currently 5 for £20.  Look out for more of my Models Own sale haul coming up!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

New discoveries...

Over the last month or so I've made some new beauty discoveries that I want to keep in my repertoire:

Batiste Dry Shampoo in Oriental* - I love Batiste and use it a couple of times a week, it's a godsend when I don't always have time to wash my hair in the morning.  I was in Boots stocking up when I spotted they'd brought out some fragrances I haven't seen before.  Oriental is my favourite out of the new ones I've tried though it hasn't quite beat Batiste Wild (the leopard one) as my overall fave.  They're currently on Buy 1 get 2nd half price at Boots*.

Weleda Skin Food* - I tried this as a sample before Christmas (a 10ml sample which I'm only just about to finish as you only need to use a tiny amount) and fell in love.  It's a rich moisturiser that isn't greasy which is perfect for putting on overnight to combat the cold weather which, combined with heating etc, tends to dry out my skin.  I actually thought this would be way more expensive than it is but it's only £9.95 for 75ml and as I said it lasts ages as you only need a tiny amount!

Tresemme Heat Defence Serum* - I've been toying with the idea of going platinum blonde (eek) or at least much lighter and I've been watching loads of YouTube videos about the process of getting your hair platinum and taking care of it.  Anyway, I saw this mentioned in one of the videos I watched and decided to give it a go.  It's a good serum that protects your hair up to 230 degrees without making it greasy at all - important when you consider how hot straighteners go now!

Orly Bonder* - I'm a bit hit and miss when it comes to using a base coat, I sometimes find them a bit of an unnecessary step when I'm in a rush to get my nails dried and out the door.  I got this in my Boots Beauty Advent Calendar as a sample and I've fallen in love.  It seems to reduce chipping and stops any staining.  Plus if you're using a glitter it's way easier to remove it!

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Ciate Bada Bloom Flower Manicure

Another nail post!  I was sent this for review and really looked forward to the weekend when I could have a play.  I loved the imagery on the packaging and was intrigued by the idea of putting real dried flowers on my nails - somewhere in the back of my mind, I think I've seen this done on liquid/powder nails but not on DIY nails.

This beautifully packaged set comes with a Ciate mini polish, speed dry topcoat, two pots of dried flowers, tweezers and a file.  The colour I got was Ferris Wheel, a really pale blue which initially I wasn't that into at all (I don't tend to wear blues and greens on my nails) but I absolutely loved the colour once it was on and actually thought about not adding the flowers just yet!  I got purple, blue and red flowers which all worked well the the colour of polish.

Application was really easy, you just apply two coats of polish, leave them to dry and then apply the speed dry topcoat.  You then use the tweezers to apply the flowers (I pressed them down with my other hand too just to fix them in place) and apply another layer of topcoat before gently buffing away any flowers overhanging the free edge of your nail.  Here's what I came up with on my first attempt:

I actually liked them a lot more than I initially thought I would (they're better from a distance than close up though!), I think the index and middle fingers are my faves.  I found the purple flowers a bit more fiddly to apply so I don't know if I'd bother with them next time.  This kit would be great for a more subtle accent nail look too I think.  The flowers actually don't feel too rough or bumpy on the nail either, I prefer this as sometimes I get annoyed with nail art if I'm forever catching it on things!

Overall I enjoyed using this and liked the look quite a lot, it was really easy to use and I'll definitely be rocking the flower manicure again sometime in the near future.  The kit contained everything I needed to pull it off and I've got a polish colour that I wouldn't have chosen myself but now love, result!  The packaging on this is absolutely gorgeous too and would make a great gift for someone who's into their nail art.

Exclusively available from Selfridges*, the flower manicure set costs £18 and comes in two different designs (I love the colour of the polish and flowers in the Strike-A-Posy one too) - check them both out here*.

Monday, 20 January 2014

Models Own 50% off sale could be coming soon...

I'm a huge Models Own fan - I love their range of colours, the fact the prices don't break the bank and that they're really easy to pick up nowadays on the high street - so to hear that they're planning another 50% sale if they hit 250,000 Facebook followers is a little bit exciting to me!

If you're not already a fan, or you've been meaning to try Models Own for a while, now's the time to get involved!  Just head over to http://www.facebook.com/modelsown and like their page.  If they get 250,000 followers by 31st January 2014 then everyone gets 50% off...woo hoo!

Here's a little preview of some of the items I've got my beady little eye on:

I'm sure I'll end up adding more to my basket once there's 50% off going on!

Wednesday, 8 January 2014

2014 seems to have given me expensive taste...

For some reason, everything I'm really coveting at the moment is around the £200+ mark...which isn't really going to happen so I'm hoping that by blogging about them it'll get that stuff out of my system!

Topshop Boxy Leather Biker Jacket in Blue - I've coveted a blue leather jacket for such a long time and I don't really know why!  I love the colour, style and leather quality on this one...I want it bad but I'm going to wait and see if it gets reduced like the red version.  There's also a pretty gorgeous pink version too that I like nearly as much!  Both are £185.

Cutler & Gross Sunglasses in 0740 - how amazing are these!  After spotting them on a certain Cheryl Cole I totally fell in love with them.  I've sourced what I hope is a good alternative from Ebay for about £5 but I doubt they'll be a patch on the real thing.  Aviators are my favourite sunglasses style, I love mirrored ones and the rainbow effect is just too much!  These are in Dark Turtle and cost £310.

Whistles Spray Print Dress - I think this dress is just the right mix of classic and interesting.  I really want it!  This one's £195.

So there you have it...the best part of £700 mentally dropped on three items.  Just think of all the stuff I could buy from ASOS or River Island with that £700!

Monday, 6 January 2014

House of Holland by Elegant Touch Zig Zag Stardust False Nails

Another nail post!  I bought these during a particularly stressful bout of Christmas shopping and I don't really know what I was thinking...I definitely do love my nail art and neon nails but these are too bright even for me.  I can't ever see myself wearing these out and about.

I kind of wish these were a bit pointier too.  There's also another design with green and yellow neon that wouldn't fit on any of my nails (it was my least favourite one anyway), I probably like the one on my thumb nail and pinkie nails the best.

These don't feel as plasticky as other false nails that I've worn, initially I thought it was just the design that was overlaid on it in paper or something but I think it's just the actual nail, they feel quite thin and papery.  I don't think that's a bad thing in terms of look and they're definitely not flimsy, they're just different.  These come with glue and a nail file, the Elegant Touch glue it comes with is amazing!

Available for £8.99 from Boots.com* - there are loads of other designs on there that they didn't have in my local Boots!

Sunday, 29 December 2013

NOTD - Bourjois So Lacque! in Orange Creation

You might have noticed I've had a bit of a break in December!  Things just got really busy with work and Christmas so I gave myself a bit of time off.  Hope you had a great Christmas and Mr Claus was good to you.

Anyway, I got a very random hankering for glossy, bright orange nails so I treated myself to a Bourjois nail varnish.  I don't really buy much from Bourjois, not sure why, it just never appeals to me that much.  So here we have it:

I also used Orly Bonder as a basecoat which I got as part of my Boots Advent Calendar and I really liked it! I topped this with Seche Vite too for a bit of extra shine.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Weleda goes crackers this Christmas!

I was sent this and I just think it's such a fab stocking filler, especially when Skin Food is such a fab winter product!  It comes in gorgeous cracker packaging which you open up to reveal.....

I love Weleda Skin Food, it's so nourishing and moisturising, especially when your skin's suffering from that annoying mix of central heating and cold weather outside!  Available from £3.50 from Weleda , it comes in a range of other products too.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Environ Active Vitamin Facial at Harvey Nichols, Manchester

Last weekend I was lucky enough to visit Harvey Nichols in Manchester for an Environ facial.  Environ is a cosmeceutical company developed by a South African plastic surgeon which fuses traditional beauty therapy and modern medical science.

First of all I had a really in depth consultation to get an idea about my skins condition and what my needs were.  My therapist was called Mary by the way, she was absolutely great, that perfect mix of professional, knowledgeable and friendly.  Another part of the consultation is taking really close up photos in this futuristic looking machine:

The photos are a real eye opener and highlights where there are signs of ageing, bacteria on the skin and areas damage etc.  The biggest shock for me was the one that showed damage under the top layer of skin and also the "fast forward" which showed how my skin will be in 3 years time if it continues on the way it is.  From this, Mary recommended me various products which I'll review later once I've tried them out properly - they include vitamin supplements as well as skincare as the principle behind Environ is to take care of inside and outside.

Back to the facial - this was easily the best, and most interesting, facial I've ever had.  It uses a combination of pulsed electrical currents and low frequency sound waves to boost the penetration of high-dosage anti-ageing and re-hydrating ingredients, including vitamin A and C, into your skin.  It's all pretty high tech and I imagine I looked a bit like a science experiment during my facial!

It starts off as a normal facial where your skin is cleansed etc. and then a metal tool is used on your face (which I believe is the ultrasound/galvanic part) you sort of hear a little electrical sound when this goes near your face but it isn't uncomfortable or disturbing or anything.  After this, a thick, plasticised mask is applied over your entire face including your eyes and mouth - they can leave these parts out if you're claustrophobic - and then you're hooked up to a low electrical field (which you can't feel other than the occassional little twitch).  After which point the mask is peeled off in one go to leave you with dewy, fresh skin.

It doesn't sound relaxing at all but it really is and at one point I definitely fell asleep!  I just sorted of floated away out of the salon - I'd planned to do all sorts in town but I was far too chilled out so I just went home.  My skin felt amazing and looked fantastic, the ultimate evidence of this was that a couple of people at work commented on how good my skin was looking which NEVER happens.

The treatment rooms at Harvey Nichols were really relaxing and kind of high tech too.  As I mentioned, the girl who did my facial was really nice and very professional.  I would fully recommend this and I actually can't wait to book my next appointment, it was the first facial I've had that was relaxing and made a visible difference to my skin.  No wonder it has a celebrity following!

To make an appointment contact the Beyond Beauty counter at Harvey Nichols here.  You can also find Environ products at the counter too.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

So, Aldi do beauty products?

Right, as a recent Aldi convert for my weekly shop (exciting insight there!), a few people at work have said they swear by some of Aldi's own beauty products.  As I can be a bit of a beauty snob at times I hadn't tried them until recently when I was sent some items to review.  None of them are branded as "Aldi's own" which I think is a good move as it means people are more likely to have them on display in their bathroom/on their dressing table.  So, on with the review!

The first thing I used was the Miracle Oil with Argan Oil - this is one of the exact products that one of my colleagues swears by - and I'm actually pretty impressed by it.  It's not in a squeeze, pump action or open neck bottle so you only get a tiny amount dispensed which is right and means that you don't add too much oil to your hair.  It doesn't smell really strongly or anything and actually feels really nourishing on you hair.  I'd happily buy this in future as it helps smooth down my damaged ends without totally weighing it down.

The Hand and Nail Cream is pretty good too, very nourishing without being greasy.  It absorbs quickly, comes in a squeeze tube and I think it's ideal for carrying in your bag or keeping in your desk at work.  It's a pretty good budget option.  It's not too heavily scented but I'm not wildly keen on the smell of it, but that's just me.

The Aqua Complete Serum is really light, absorbs well and feels great on the skin.  It's a decent enough everyday moisturiser that I'll happily use.

I've also got a moisturiser that I'm getting my boyfriend to test without revealing that it's an Aldi one (I normally buy him pretty high end moisturisers, bless him) - so far his feedback is that it's his favourite moisturiser and feels really good on his skin, albeit quite rich.  We'll see what his thoughts continue to be!

Friday, 29 November 2013

Winter fashion

There's so much stuff in the shops that I want at the minute, most of it's totally wintery things with fur and in pale colours.

As camouflage is also one of the big trends this winter, I've also been checking out womens military jackets too, I actually used to have a jacket like this from ASOS a few years ago but ended up either throwing it away or Ebaying it (can't remember which) as I never quite felt it was my style as I'm not really into the grunge look usually!  I really regret getting rid of it though because it was so comfy and easy to throw on without being too heavy or hot.  It was also an essential companion when I went to V Fest a few years ago, even though the weather was gorgeous through the day it was freezing at night!

I know loads of people have this jacket (or a variation of it) but I love this one too, think it takes me back to my youth when All Saints were big and everyone had a fancy camo coat:

I've also been looking at cheap skater dresses too - I'm not convinced the dress style actually suits me so I don't want to spend too much money on something I might only wear a couple of times.

What are your winter fashion picks this year?

* Sponsored post

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

I come with baggage.

I've had my trusty Primark zebra print case for quite a few years now, it's been all around the world with me and to various different places in the UK.  I still hold a soft spot in my heart for it, as it was really cheap, at the time I loved the design plus it's lightweight  but sturdy and carries loads.  Every time I go to the airport I hold my breath while they weigh my case, even if I've already weighed it at home.  Luckily my boyfriend normally packs relatively light for holiday so even if I'm over, he's usually under so it all balances out.

However my trusty zebra case has definitely seen better days and I have this horrible feeling that one day the zip is going to burst or all of a sudden it's going crack open without me realising and I'm going to lose loads of stuff out of it.

So I've been browsing the internet for cheap lightweight suitcases.  I tend to like suitcases that are a bit bright or different so I can easily spot them at check in, I'm rubbish at distinguishing one black suit case from another.  I also want one that's lightweight but sturdy and carries plenty of things like my current one does.

The website I've been looking at even has a Lulu Guinness lips suitcase (or two) which is absolutely gorgeous!

* Sponsored post

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Debenhams Christmas Flowers - gorgeous bouquets with a festive feel! Plus exclusive discount code.

I'm sure I've said this before but I absolutely love cut flowers and occasionally treat myself to the odd bouquet or two so I was ridiculously pleased to receive this absolutely gorgeous bunch from Debenhams Flowers.

They're actually kind of different to what I'd choose for myself, I usually prefer brighter, more contemporary flowers but I've actually really surprised myself by actually loving the mix of deep red roses, pink carnations, pink/white lilies, red berries and gold painted leaves.  I think it's really pretty and looks very festive and traditional.  They'd make a totally gorgeous present or a treat for someone and the Debenhams Flowers Christmas shop actually has other gifts too like wine, hampers and personalised items.

The flowers are amazing quality too, they were really fresh on arrival and the lillies were just starting to open, they've fully opened up now and look so pretty.  I love the berries and gold leaves that are in with the flowers, they're what makes it look so Christmassy I think.  They come well packaged in a sturdy box with a water soaked sponge type thing that the flowers are sat in so they don't dry out and of course you can include a personal message in with them.

All in all I think this is a fab gift and I'd be really pleased if someone got me this (hint hint ahem).  You can check out the full range at http://www.debenhamsflowers.com/christmas.  Debenhams Flowers are also offering £5 off all gifts until 21st December 2013 with the code XMASBLOG.

Saturday, 23 November 2013

Topshop Lipstick in Wicked Review

I had a craving for something a bit different to my usual light pink lipsticks and I decided that a dark wine coloured lipstick was it.  I had a parcel to pick up from Topshop (the fact that they now do free delivery to stores is possibly the worst thing that has happened for my bank account...postage costs used to discourage me from ordering little bits and pieces here and there.  Not any more!) so I had a little browse of the make up while I was there too in the hope of finding a dark lipstick.

I found wicked, which is exactly the kind of colour I wanted.  I really like it and I don't feel like it's too dark or gothy though it's very definitely a winter lipstick.

However I feel like it looks a bit silly on my lips because they're quite full.  I think it would look better on smaller lips where it isn't such a dramatic look.  I've tried it on a couple of times now for nights out etc and each time I've ended up wiping it off before I leave the house!  I need to be braver!

Having worn it around the house, it lasts quite well and isn't too messy to wear though I'd say you still need to be careful when you're eating or drinking as it may well transfer across your face.  Even when it fades it leaves a little stain behind it which I personally quite like.

Wicked costs £8 from Topshop - God I miss my student discount!

Sunday, 17 November 2013

Winter Pointy NOTD

There have been loads of winter nails popping up on Pinterest (you can find my Nails board here) which inspired me to do my own version.

I used my trusty Ebay false nails (review here) and then painted my nails with these polishes in the order pictured:

L-R: Models Own Snow White, Models Own Snowflakes, Darling Diva Polish Snowball (from Etsy), Seche Vite

I'm really pleased with how these turned out.  I think they look really wintery, eyecatching (but not quite too OTT) and actually even better than I thought.  I was actually going to stick some diamantes on to the half moons of my ring fingers (like this) but I liked them too much with just polish so decided not to in the end.

Thursday, 14 November 2013

Quickie post about my laser eye surgery

If you've been reading Beauty and the Blogger for the last few months or more, you might have seen that I got my eyes lasered in September.  I haven't updated for a little while but at my one month check up, my eyes were pretty dry.  Apparently 1 in 500 people may experience long term dryness in their eyes after surgery so obviously I was a little bit worried.

At my check up the optician said that it was more likely that it was because it was the time of the year that heating starts going on everywhere, which can cause dry eyes anyway, so mine are no different. I got some different eye drops - more of a cream rather than liquid drops, so a bit more hydrating - and these seem to have worked much better to the point where I only need to put them in once or twice a day.  Phew!

My eyesight is still better than 20/20, I can drive without any lenses/specs, my nighttime vision doesn't have any blurriness or glow around lights, which was something I had with my glasses previously and I've had no pain or real discomfort.  All in all I still think that getting my eyes done has been one of the best decisions I have ever made, and I've recommended my clinic all over the place as people seem really interested once they find out I've had my vision corrected.

For more information about the clinic I visited you can read my previous laser eye surgery posts here or go to http://www.freedom-vision.co.uk/ - the team there are so lovely and will be able to answer any questions you may have.  I don't need to go back until around Christmas time now as they're just keeping an eye (ho, ho) onmy progress to make sure the dryness was a temporary, rather than a permanent, occurrence.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Models Own Flakie Love (Snowflake and Pink Paradise swatches)

As someone who has been into flakie polishes for a long time, I'm delighted that they're so much more easier to get hold of than they once were.  I've not really been keeping that up to date with new nail collection launches because I still have a ridiculous amount of polishes in my spare room (aka my dressing room).

For some reason I've suddently gone all obsessive about flakie polishes again and found the Models Own Splash Box Set.  These are some ridiculously pretty polishes that definitely have bottle appeal.

I refrained from buying the whole set even though I fell in love with the blue, orange and pink polishes because as I mentioned earlier: I have too many polishes.  And also:  for something which is essentially a layering polish and the look will depend on what you layer it over...did I really need to buy five polishes that would all look much of a muchness on the nail.  So I settled on Pink Paradise and then bought another flakie (Snowflake, clear with holographic flakie pieces) and Nude Beige, an old favourite of mine that I'd ran out of as there was a 3 for 2 offer going on at Boots.com*.

There are plenty of holographic pieces in both of these polishes and these lie fairly flat on the nail without feeling too bumpy, especially if you smooth out with a topcoat such as Seche Vite*.  Also, when I said I felt like these polishes would all look the same on the nail as they're for layering, I actually think you could build up a decent enough coverage on the nail with these to look good on their own, though they would still be more of a sheer wash of colour than opaque.  Pink Paradise actually contains really fine pink glitter so I think each one would look slightly different, though probably not to any non-nail-obsessed people.

Looking forward to doing some Christmas/winter themed art with these, especially Snowflake.  I'm actually tempted to go and get the orange and blue from the Splash set too...

Sunday, 10 November 2013

Carex Nourish & Protection Antibacterial Hand Cream Review - Vitamin E and Aloe Vera

I start getting really dry skin as the weather turns colder and my hands are no exception.  My palms and cuticles start feeling so dry and can crack if I'm not careful.  Since it's currently absolutely freezing, I decided this was the perfect time to try a new hand cream.

I was sent some Carex Antibacterial Hand Creams for review so decided to give them a shot.  Seeing that this weekend has seen rain, hail and frost if it can help them now, then it can help any time.  These hand creams also protect against bacteria, which isn't something I'm massively concerned about (come on, I wash my hands when I should...) but nevertheless some people will be really into it!

In terms of the packaging, I'd say it's more functional than pretty but I think the fact it's in a squeezy tube's really important.  Who wants to dip their hands into a pot of cream that's meant to be antibacterial!  It's a handy size to carry around in our bag too, I've got one at home and one at work.  Both of these creams smell really fresh and clean without smelling like disinfectant or anything like that.  I very slightly prefer the Vitamin E one but think that's just a personal thing.

Both of these creams are light and not at all greasy, they sink into the skin really quickly so you don't have to sit and avoid touching anything for ages which is a bit of a bonus as sometimes these type of products feel really oily.   They still feel very moisturising and nourishing though, my hands feel so much better after I use these which is the whole point of course.  I don't feel like I need to be putting this on every 5 minutes to feel the benefit of them, every few hours is more than enough.

Carex Antibacterial Hand Creams cost just £2.49 a tube and are available from Sainsbury's and  Superdrug

Monday, 4 November 2013

Lord and Berry 20100 Matte Lipstick Pencil in Allure - plus exclusive Lord and Berry 10% off discount code for Beauty and the Blogger readers!

I was sent this to review and I have to admit it isn't really a colour I'd pick for myself, I tend to prefer pinks and reds to brown and nude colour.  Saying that though I actually kind of liked the colour of the lips but I've yet to wear it outside!

So, colour aside, what did I think of the product?  It actually reminds me a lot of the Nars Velvet Matte Lip Pencil*, which retails at £17.50 both in terms of packaging and the product itself.  It feels gorgeous and creamy on the lips without being too glossy or dragging on application, I don't think I'd call it matte really though.  Applying this product is really simple - just draw it onto your lips, the pencil is nice and chunky and easy to hold.  It isn't the longest lasting of lip products but to be honest it's no different to the majority of lipsticks out there.

I was actually really pleasantly surprised by this product, I haven't tried any Lord and Berry products before but I will definitely be trying more.  This is a really fantastic alternative to more expensive brands - less than half the price of the NARS version - and for me just as effective.

I've also got an exclusive 10% Lord and Berry discount code for readers of Beauty and the Blogger - just enter code BATB10 at  HQhair.com* on any Lord and Berry item.  Happy shopping!

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