Monday, 30 July 2012

August Wishlist

So, I haven't bought *anything* from my July wishlist... For various reasons. Self imposed embargo on nail varnish that didn't really work, a visit to Lush that was more disappointing than pleasing and a complete lack of desire to go clothes shopping really scuppered those plans, hah! But I guess I saved a bit of cash with it, right? And when I'm back at uni, it'll be welcome when I can afford to eat.

However, onwards and upwards with my August wishlist. First up, I am quite randomly and quite suddenly fanatically have set my sights on a Filofax (or similar) to organise my life and uni notes with in year three. For some reason I've decided that I don't want to have one notebook to write my notes in this year as I have the previous two years, but would rather have something that I could have pens, paper, last weeks notes, my diary, a little snack and slides all in one place. I can't be bothered with carrying a ring binder, notepad, pencil case, diary and other bits and bobs again! Plus I always find that I forget my notebook, or lose my pens, or get bored and doodle on the page which then is not good for revision... So a filofax it is. The only thing is I'd want an A4 one for this purpose, which will set me back about £60 - and I probably won't use it again after I graduate. So a smaller one would be more practical... mmm. I dunno. But aren't they sexy?

a4 filofax

Nail related, I have my eye on GOSH Holographic Hero, a re-release of their popular holographic silver polish that was discontinued last year. By popular demand it's due to be re-released in stores across the UK from the 1st of August - I can't wait to get my hands on a bottle! I don't have a picture because all the pictures are from other peoples blogs but here's a link to the google image results; check it out! So shiny and pretty and I need it. Definitely going down to the shops for it on Wednesday!

I can however show you a picture of my next object of affection; New Look wedges! Naturally...

new look wedges
Sigh. I tried them on today and the 5s were *just* too small, and the 6s were far too big :( I'm going to have to keep my eye out for a better fitting pair, whether they're from New Look or not. And hopefully for a little less than £25!

I am also massively in love with Nails Inc A Lister collection, it's stunning and includes what I think may be my 'forever' polish; Covent Garden Ballet. The A Lister collection is currently £15.50 on and features Lower Sloane Street (a soft toffee), Ledbury Road, (a metallic purpley taupey colour), Mayfair (iridiscent, shiny white) and Covent Garden Ballet (a light mushroom brown with gold shimmer). The whole collection is so beautiful and delicate - someone buy me it!

I really need a job. Or a student loan...

Sunday, 29 July 2012

July Round Up

Sorry for the absence recently, it's been all go here! This week I spent some time down at my sisters and had a few really lovely days, shopping and picking out wedding flowers. I've also indulged in some British patriotism and watched the opening ceremony and most of the dressage (three day eventing, somewhat important to be up to date with as I'll be at Greenwich watching the show jumping final day on Tuesday!). So, busy all round. But it's a cloudy Sunday morning now so here's my July round up! It seems crazy that we're nearly in August already...

Since my June round up post, I've now acquired a job volunteering at a charity shop. It's unpaid and I only do two or three hours a week but it's really good fun and it's nice to get out the house and do something that's not pressured or targeted towards selling the most that you can. The people I work with are lovely, and the customers are amusing! Plus I get a nice warm glow knowing that I've contributed to society rather than sat in playing Sims all afternoon.

I struggled a bit with the loves and hates of this past month, as I don't really feel like I've discovered anything that ground breaking. The only things I really want to rave about are graze boxes and poundland bargains, which I think I've covered quite comprehensibly in previous posts here and here! I don't think there's really anything I've hated this month. I've loved the weather, the ability to get my shorts out, and the buzz around the Olympics so much I've been fairly distracted from make up and cosmetics and things! One thing I am definitely not loving is that my nails on my left hand are peeling rather severely and they refuse to stop :(

I've been spending a lot of time this month on money earning website SwagBucks, it's a website where you perform daily tasks such as surveys, polls and games in order to earn points that you can redeem for Amazon gift cards, Paypal gift cards or other rewards - So far, having joined on the 5th of July, I've earned 3 £5 Amazon gift cards and am well on my way to another! Fantastic site that I would thoroughly recommend if you have a few hours free.

I've also discovered Lookbook, a website that most of you fashion bloggers will be familiar with I imagine! It's not one I've really explored before but I'm giving it a go and so far, it seems fun and a great source of inspiration.

In August I'd love to get a twitter account for this blog set up, something I keep saying but not getting round to! I'd also like to experiment more with different nail varnish techniques (I have one planned for this evening that is very unusual - Olympic themed with a twist! If it goes well that post will be up soon, either tomorrow or Tuesday as a scheduled post as I won't be here) and hopefully earn a few more Amazon gift cards and paypal credits from SwagBucks, to fund my uni books in year 3. I'll need to have a good good clear out; another thing I've been putting off for a while, and make sure that everything is ready to go back to uni with. Where has the summer gone?!

Monday, 23 July 2012

Nail of the Week - Matte top coat

I never really wear reds on my nails, they're rarely the right tone for my pale skin and they remind me of a desperate 45 year old secretary trying to get into her bosses pants... Yeah. However I knew that the new Matte top coat by Rimmel I'd bought would need a really high gloss finish varnish to show of the effect to the max so I reached for my Nails Inc 'Milan' bottle and voila!

nails inc milan matte top coat

My idea was simple; mattify the middle finger half the index/ring fingers and leave the rest glossy (which later turned into put matte dots on the thumb and pinkies - failed quite considerably). As you can see, Milan is really glossy which is great when you want to make a feature with matte effect top coats!

I really like the matte top coat, it's so easy to use and makes a massive change if you use it on the right nail varnish. It doesn't work very well on muted colours or metallics but on really glossy colours it's great. I definitely prefer it used in conjunction with the normal colour as well - I've had my eye on some lovely reverse manicures done with matte top coats recently, can't wait to try that!

As a tag onto this post, I've set up a lookbook account! You can access it here or from the tab in the sidebar. I'd love to know if you have one - share me your link!

Saturday, 21 July 2012

Mini haul

I'm sure at some point I promised someone somewhere that I'd stop buying stuff, especially nail stuff... After cataloging my (somewhat modest) collection last week I'm certain it came out my mouth. Seems that that lasted about five minutes... Here's my mini haul from the last few weeks:

1) Chit Chat Lip Pencils 2) Models Own Beetlejuice Mini, 3) Rimmel Matte Top Coat,
4) Chit Chat 'Purple' varnish 5) Allura Nail Art Kit 6) Models Own Glitter Mini
First, two lip pencils from the Chit Chat line - find it in your local Poundstore! I'll review these in a later post so there's not much to say here apart from the colours are Fiery Red and Damson, and they cost £1 each. They're a blatent cheaper version of the chubby sticks that Clinique are currently advertising every time I turn the TV on.

Number 2 is my Models Own Beetlejuice mini, a set I am in LOVE with as the colours really pop and are absolutely stunning, both in the bottle and on your nails. The colours are from left to right; Pink Cocktail (exclusive to the mini collection), Golden Green and Pinky Brown. They apply so easily and only need one coat to look fantastic - which is great as these bottles are unfortunately definitely mini! These were in the ASOS sale for £5.50.

I couldn't resist number 3, the only matte top coat in any of the stores in my town... I was hoping to find a cheaper version of this as at £4.59 it's incredibly expensive for what I initially regarded as a gimicky top coat,  but the truth is it's worth every penny as it transforms nail colours to something completely different. I've been having lots of fun playing around with it and you can expect to see it feature in a few NOTD and manicures from here on!

Another Poundland bargain - I was originally only in Poundland to pick up a drink and see if I could find a bottle of their violet glitter nail varnish... Instead I found lipstick, nail art and this beautiful polish! As I have hardly any nice purples I had to add this to my collection. It's a lovely bright purple and I think it'll be great in autumn for transitioning between summer and winter.

Yes, number 5 came from Poundland as well. They had wheels with both flat backed beads and the glitter-y sequin things as well which to be honest look like a much neater and more practical storage option but it was either beads or sequins and I didn't want to have to make that choice; it'd be like choosing your favourite child. So far I haven't had much chance to play with the sequins but the beads are great for a bit of bling and seem to have the same properties as any other nail art beads so a definite bargain there!

And finally - number 6, the nail varnish set I'd leave my boyfriend for (not really! but it is really lovely) ;) So glittery, so beautiful, so easy to use and so much fun! Sigh. From left to right, the colours are; Emerald City, Scarlett Sparkle and Bluebell. This set was £4.50 in the recent ASOS sale - I'm not sure if they're still in  stock but if they are, go run and buy them now! You won't regret it.

Yes, I definitely fell off the 'not buying stuff' wagon... But it was a spectacularly glittery fall and I'll do it again! What do you think of the Poundland cosmetics range? Matte nail varnish - faux or fashion?

Friday, 20 July 2012

Models Own 'Emerald City'

Swoon... I am in LOVE with this nail varnish. Move over boyfriend, my heart belongs to Models Own now! I picked up both the Models Own mini sets (Beetlejuice and Glitters) the other week when they were on sale on - £10 for both!

models own emerald city

I have to say though, it's not the easiest polish ever to work with! I layered one hand over a dark green (which peeled off almost immediately - in future I'll just do it straight onto my clear base coat) and one on it's own. The colour difference in the end was minimal but the layered hand took one coat less polish so if you're trying to cut down on the amount of Emerald City you use then this may be a solution. I suspect as well that a base colour that wasn't bought for £1 would work better too... 

However as you can see the glitter effect is totally worth it, and this polish is better than I ever hoped it would be. Admittedly, I'd prefer it a tiny bit more if it was a more grass green but the sparkles win me over totally!

models own emerald city

Mm, lovely. Can't wait to try out Scarlett Sparkle and Bluebell!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Graze Box

I had these when I was at uni (the first time I went, and last year as well) and I've always been impressed with what I got so when I got an email telling me I could get a box free again I jumped on it!

For those who aren't in the know, a graze box looks like this:
graze box

And contains four punnets of healthy treats and snacks like this:
graze box inside

In my box today I got 'Tutti frutti', 'My Thai', 'Strawberry Milkshake' and 'Carrot Cake with Afternoon Tea'. The point of a graze box is that you get healthy snacks to enjoy across your day and you reach for them rather than a packet of crisps or chocolate bar (even though some of the snacks contain chocolate too!). For those watching their weight, it's great as you can read the nutritional information for each punnet in the leaflet you get inside your box (not pictured) and you can eat what you want of it, when you want it! I imagine if I worked a desk job that this would be invaluable as having something to snack on that's easy and healthy is a must! In fact when I was at uni and writing essays I used to have a one of the seed-y graze punnets at hand to snack on.

So far I've tried the carrot cake and afternoon tea infusion; the carrot cake was SO moist and tasty, the pumpkin seeds add a little crunch on top and the texture was just perfect. I wish I could make carrot cake as good as that! It also proves that you don't need fatty cream cheese toppings to make a carrot cake great. The infusion was lovely and I could see it becoming a tea I need to put on my shopping list. If you're having a stressful day at work what better way to relax than to sit back for five minutes with a piece of lovely moist carrot cake and a cup of relaxing, musty tea?

graze box tea carrot cake
If you want to try a graze box for yourself, you can try them free with the code 3JY1CHPD; just go to Graze, fill your details in and the code (in step 3) and you'll get your box! The system is totally flexible, you can have as many or as few as you want - I get one a week but you could have one a day, one a fortnight, one a month! Or you can just try your first one and then turn deliveries off so you don't get any more. You don't get charged for boxes you don't get sent and the customer service is great so don't be worried about it. If you've tried them in the past but cancelled them it's worth checking your account to see whether you're eligible for a free one to entice you back!

How does Graze give you foods you like/what if you're a picky eater? Well, don't worry because the first thing you do is rate the products that Graze has; with either 'bin it' (it'll never be sent to you), 'try it' (try it once), 'like it' (send it again) or 'love it' (send it as often as possible. The products range from cakes to dipping crackers, from dried fruit medleys in any flavour you can imagine to seed punnets flavoured with juices and wonderfully exciting things like that. You can specify if you want a product to be sent every time or if you want it to be completely random - and if you're a picky eater what better way to get yourself to try new foods?

Unfortunately Graze is not currently safe for those with nut or sesame allergies due to the environment that they pack the punnets in - I'm hoping that this will change soon though!

Let me know what you think about Graze - do you already get graze boxes or have you tried them before? What do you think of the product range? If you do go ahead and get one, let me know what you think! Don't forget to use the code above if you do go for it!

Monday, 16 July 2012

Weekend bake; 'healthier' chocolate chip cookies

I love cookies and baking them but they're not exactly the healthiest of bakes!

However I recently discovered the wonderful 'Chocolate Covered Katie' blog which has loads of gluten free, healthier, diet, often vegan/vegetarian recipes you can use to make healthier versions of your favourite treats. It's a wonderful website and she has so many great ideas that you'd be a fool to not read through it.

I made her no bake mocha chocolate chip cookies, which honestly are gorgeous! I baked mine as I don't like raw cookies at 160 degrees for about 8 minutes (as I made very small ones) - I was a little skeptical that they wouldn't really work but they are the perfect oaty cookie. Mine are a little powdery as I put too much cocoa in but other than that, they're a definite repeat make! Next time however I'll cut the cocoa powder in half. I also used real sugar as it's all we keep in.

Definitely check her site out, and if you fancy a healthy sweet fix then make these cookies! Unfortunately my memory card reader has gone walkies so no pictures :( Normal service will be resumed soon, I promise!

Thursday, 12 July 2012

Liebster blog award

The wonderful Sarah from Flowers at Dawn nominated me for this award!

Here's how it works. You get nominated, then you reply with your post, and tag other bloggers who have under 200 followers to do the same. Cut and paste rules from Flowers at Dawn:

1. You must link back to the person who gave the award to you!
2. Post eleven things about yourself 
3. Answer the questions the person giving you the award has set for you.
4. Create 11 questions for the people to answer that you have given the award to.
5. Choose people to give the award to and link them in your post.
6. Go to their blog and tell them.
7. You can't give the award back to the blogger who gave it to you! 

11 facts about me (I'm so terrible at these :o):
1. Growing up I never really cared about fashion much, in the last year or so I've got a lot more into it. 
2. I'm a bit of a computer geek and love playing games such as Age of Empires/Mythology, The Sims and rather shamefully, Fish Tycoon.
3. My boyfriend often tells people I'm fluent in German. I'm not and I'm waiting for the day this backfires...
4. I love drawing and creating things but often get frustrated with my efforts.
5. I'm studying psychology at university in north Wales; I hate the town but love my subject and am willing to put up with living somewhere I hate for something that I truly enjoy.
6. Up!, The Fox and the Hound and Black Beauty are the only films guaranteed to make me cry.
7. I lived in Germany as a kid until the age of 4; prompting a life long love of the German country, culture and language!
8. When I was 18 I went to the University of Kent for about 4 months, dropping out from my German degree just after Christmas. There were 22 of us in the entire year (including people taking German as a joint degree).
9. I did a module and a half (kinda) in Japanese at UKC and yet I can't speak, read or write a word of it. 
10. I sub to Epic Meal Time, Jenna Marbles and a random Sims game reviewer on youtube and nothing else; I have no desire to sub to anyone else either.
11. I'm a massive magpie and anything shiny/glittery/unusual needs to get into my life RIGHT NOW.

11 questions left for me to answer:
1. What is your favourite colour? Purple!
2. What is the last thing you bought? This afternoon I bought some bits off of ebay for my mum as she doesn't know how to use it. The last thing I bought for myself was some cellophane card bags...
3. Do you have any pets? Two white pussy cats, who are now entering old age at 14 years old! 
4. What colour of nail polish are you wearing right now? One hand is Accessorize 'Aztec' on it's own, the other is Accessorize 'Aztec' with Models Own 'Ibiza Mix' layered over the top. See this post.
5. Where has your favourite holiday been? Germany! I love the place and hope to holiday there many more times.
6. What shampoo/conditioner are you currently using? Whatever I grab in the shower; something cheap no doubt.
7. Is your hair naturally straight, wavy or curly? Naturally wavy. 
8. What do you see yourself doing in 5 years time? (Sorry, this is sounding more like a job interview!) Oh gosh :o I really don't know! Hopefully settling down into a long term career with my own place, or at least renting somewhere long term.
9. Name one place you've always wanted to go to, but never been to. Canada
10. What was the last thing you saw at the cinema? Men In Black III - it was awesome!
11. What's your favourite film? Constantine, or similarly as emo-y, Girl, Interrupted. It's Kind Of A Funny Story is a great film as well... as is The Edukators... I just can't pick!

11 questions for the nominees:
1. Would you rather go abroad for a holiday or stay in your country?
2. Whats your favourite go-to hair style?
3. If you could change your first name, what would you change it to?
4. Would you rather leave the house with no shoes on or no make up on?
5. What's your favourite book?
6. Favourite food?
7. If you could visit any date in history, to watch what happened, which day would it be? 
8. What's your ambition?
9. What kind of phone do you have?
10. What's your least favourite drink?
11. Do you wear glasses/contact lenses?

And I tag Emily over at Emily Says Bonjour and Rosie from Rosie Dares You :)

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

ASOS £100 Challenge

Whilst browsing the wonderful 'The Tyrannosaur' blog I found a wonderful competition that I just had to enter! The Discount Coder blog ladies are currently running a competition to find who can put together the best outfit from ASOS without going over £100, sale items included but no discounts allowed. Here's what I came up with:
1) Mega Stud Bracelet, £15 2) Embroidered Denim Shorts, £28 3) Fiji Leather Sandals, £20 4) Skull Head Anklet, £6 5) Models Own 'Nude Beige', £5, 6) White Skinny Belt £6, 7) Union Jack Tee, £15.
Outfit total: £95

I envisioned this outfit as being great for a sunny afternoon barbecue, chilling with friends in the park or even a house party with friends. This would also be a great outfit for a beach day over seas - a little bit patriotic, a lot stylish!

1) This chunky bracelet breaks up the arm and adds an interesting point. I would probably not wear a necklace with this so I feel that a bracelet is necessary - plus I love the strength that this one has! It's punky and rebellious and yet at the same time fairly elegant. 

2) These shorts are gorgeous! Honestly, I want a pair. The embroidery on them takes them from being a casual garment to fashionable and a talking point. Would definitely be the first thing I bought if I won the £100 prize ;)

3) Sandals are a must for summer, especially on the beach. When it's hot, you don't want your feet covered up. I've carried the gold from the shorts and bracelet on here as I feel it ties the look together.

4) This anklet looks dainty from a distance but up close you notice that it's a skull design. Matched with the bracelet it marries the whole look together - plus anklets give off that free, breezy boho chic that summer just cries out for. 

5) Well this is a nail blog after all! You're never fully dressed if your nails are painted in my mind :D This nude colour is perfect for giving off the impression that you've made a lot of effort when really you haven't. I would possibly do an accent nail in gold if I was wearing this outfit just to be a little more on trend.

6) You probably won't see the belt but if you're like me (smaller on the hips and waist than on your thighs) it's a necessary evil! This is unobtrusive and simple but provides a service that's invaluable.

7) Olympic fever is definitely about to take over as the games draw ever nearer; support your country with pride with this casual tee! I love the slightly distressed look it has as well. Again, it says casual but with a touch of class as well. 

There we go, an outfit for £95! You could probably do away with the belt and nail varnish and spend the remaining cash on a nice nude/gold clutch but practicality is boring. 

Have you entered? What would you spend the prize money on? 

Monday, 9 July 2012

Storage solutions

I realised rather quickly a couple of weeks ago that my nail varnish collection had gone from 'acceptably scattered' to 'all over the place and in danger of breaking' - and with the addition of my new Models Own polishes, I needed somewhere decent to store it all. That might sound like an odd comment but most of my nail varnishes have been gifts or under £3 drug store bargains! Having a proper branded bottle or two around the place has left me wondering how exactly I could store them properly, efficiently and most importantly, safely. Bunging them all into a make up bag just wasn't cutting it; it was heavy, refused to do up and clinked rather ominously every single time I touched it. A disaster waiting to happen!

First, I thought about building myself a rack, such as the racks that you get in nail salons. Unfortunately I am not good at DIY and I don't have spare materials lying around - nor do I currently have the space to place or mount something of a considerable size. Secondly, my nail varnishes are all different brands and I wasn't sure I'd be able to keep them all in it! However along the way I found some great tutorials on how to make yourself a rack which I want to share with you. The first video is a big, wall mounted rack and the second is a smaller, desktop display stand.

Find it here
You can, of course, buy the second type off of Amazon and ebay, but there's no fun in that! For now, making myself a nail polish rack is sadly out (I may try something along the lines of the second video when I go back to uni though, if I have room on my desk). So I started looking into other forms of storage - some quick googling told me that by far one of the most popular storage solutions for nail varnish addicts out there is an Ikea product called a 'Helmer'. What's a Helmer? It's this nifty little thing...

It's very friendly looking, but again, as I pointed out I am massively limited on space (not to mention funds) in my bedroom at the moment. This article points out that they have many uses, and without a doubt the storage of nail varnish is not the most unusual one, which makes me want to buy many when I eventually get my own place and have them in every room. One for nail varnish, two as the legs to a craft desk, one for filing, one just for the sheer amusement of having another one in my house... sigh.

I thought about really useful boxes, an idea bought to my attention by the Super Gorgeous blog... and spice racks, a brain wave of my mum (and various other blogs) - both things that I think would work really well if I had the space to put them or the cash to buy them! Spice racks can be seen in use on Katies Beauty Blog - they look extremely cute and tidy next her make up collection.

Eventually I got a bit desperate and saddened by all the lovely wall mounted and drawer related storage options often displayed on nail varnish related blogs, and started to think there was no storage solution out there for me and my collection! It was then that a poster on one of the forums I use pointed out that she stores her nail varnish in an A4 document box. Hold on, I thought, I have one of them! So I ran upstairs and ditched all the documents out onto my bed (tidy I aint, especially not in times of great excitement) and retrieved it along with my make up bag of nail varnish.

Lo and behold, here is my new and improved nail varnish storage solution:
Eventually, I will organise these, and finish putting the colour dots on top of them. Eventually.
Yes! The solution was sitting in my bedroom all along. An A4 document box from W H Smiths, which you can buy in many different colours and styles (or indeed different retails) to match your room decor. Perfect. Plus it has the lovely side effect of making my collection appear quite small! Mine slides under my bed until I want it - next year at uni I plan to have it on my desk, which I won't feel guilty about as it'll be neatly out of sight! As for the fact that I won't be able to see them all at one time, well... I'm a little ashamed to admit this but I've written up an Excel sheet with all my nail varnishes on in colour order and I shall be consulting it whenever I buy a new one!

How do you store your nail varnish? I'm always on the look out for more interesting and colourful ways! Do you have a list of all your nail varnishes to keep track of them, or do you just buy what you like and hope you don't already have it?

P.S. What do you think of the new look of the blog? :) Drop me a comment and let me know!

Saturday, 7 July 2012

Accessorize 'Aztec' and Models Own 'Ibiza Mix' nails

I just don't know how I feel about this Accessorize nail varnish - it's not easy to apply, doesn't cover very well and I'm always massively disappointed when I put the first coat on as it comes out initially a really weird sewage green colour. However when it's on and it's on properly, it is a really nice purple and green duochrome that reminds me of an oil slick. It also has microglitter pigments in it which pick up the light and shimmer as you move your fingers! It seems prone to chipping though, which is disappointing.

Models Own 'Ibiza Mix' is a fantastic glitter polish and layering it over 'Aztec' creates a stunning look full of bling and depth. If anything, it's a little heavy for me (I'm not a massive fan of dark nails) but the duochrome looks so fab under the co-ordinating glitter that I'm willing to forgo it this once! It applies really easily and every stroke has loads of glittery bits in it, of all different shapes, sizes and colours. Next time I'll layer it over a lighter colour and see if I prefer it.

So here we go, first we have Aztec on it's own, and then with Ibiza Mix on top. No flash used in these photos. It's pretty hard to capture on camera but you can kind of see the green hues of Aztec in this first photo.


Next, with a flash...

Do you prefer Aztec with Ibiza Mix over the top or does it work on its own? Should Ibiza Mix be reserved for lighter base colours or does it work on a darker one?

July Wishlist

...AKA what I'd be spending my cash on if I had any.

Firstly; I have had my eye on it for a while and I am now eyeing up my Boots card points to buy myself a bottle... It's the stunning Models Own 'Aqua Violet' from the Beetlejuice collection. If I'm honest, I'd like them all but I thought I'd try and act a little conservative and just go for one of them.

You can buy it here or here if you have some pennies to spend

Secondly, I'd love a bottle of Nailtiques Formula 2 - my nails are peeling something terrible right now and it's really annoying, not to mention unsightly and painful at times! I should pick up some Acetone free nail varnish remover as well.

Find it here
I've been hankering for a visit to a Lush shop for a while, namely so I can get my hands on some solid perfume. From the names alone (lol, making a perfume decision over the internet is a bit ridiculous I know, but I'm bored) I think 'Orange Blossom' would be the best candidate. Sounds yummy.

Lush stuff, as always, comes from the lush website
I'm definitely in 'dress' mode despite the rain in good ole' England, and of course, I need to have more. MOAR. Ahem. This lace skater number is lovely - albeit it a little short. I love the sleeves!

You can buy this here

Lastly, I really want a new set of storage drawers for my room at uni - I obviously need a new set, as I've got two already that I used the last two years and I have an inability to reuse anything. Even if it's exactly the same. Kinda.

But OMG this set has a set of MINI DRAWERS on top! Perfect for storing my nail varnish (currently in an A4 document box) and make up (currently in a A4 drawer thingy) and hair stuff (also in an A4 drawer thingy) and ALL MY STUFF. Yeh. I get excited about storage.
Buy this amazingly sexy beast here

Sigh. One day... one day it shall all be mine.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Nail of the Week - Glitter gradient

I love this look, it's so simple and easy that anyone can do it. All you need is your nail varnishes! I used a base coat/top coat from Barry M, No. 17 Fast Finish in 'Moonstruck' and Models Own Glitter in 'Juicy Jules' (now possible one of my favourite nail varnishes out of my collection!). 'Moonstruck' is a lovely chrome silver and 'Juicy Jules' is a small glittery holochromatic white/iridescent polish.

The inspiration for this look came from various places; I've seen it done a lot recently on blogs and since my first attempt many months ago was so terrible I wanted to see if I could do it better. Secondly, I was in town today looking specifically for a silver chrome nail varnish and when I saw the new Models Own stand in my local Boots had buy one get one half price on nail varnishes, I couldn't resist 'Juicy Jules' to go with it. For my second nail varnish I picked up one that's been on my lust list since I found out about it and I can't wait to play with it - Yep, the Models Own Hed Kandi 'Ibiza Mix'. Eee! I'll do a post with that soon, trust me!

Anyway, on with the pictures. I'm afraid they really don't do the finished nails any justice, I was hoping for sun so I could get some sparkly pictures but alas it's been rainy and overcast all day. If it's nicer tomorrow I'll take some better pictures and update this post. Better pictures at the bottom which actually show you the glittery gradient!

It's so easy to do. All I did was a base coat in 'Moonstruck', then I painted a (thick with polish) line across the top of my nail in 'Juicy Jules' and wipe the excess polish off onto the inside of the bottle. Then I dragged the line down a bit so that it faded out and there was more polish at the top than the bottom. Wait for it to dry and whack a top coat on to smooth it out and voila! Beautiful, shimmery nails.

'Juicy Jules' would look fantastic over pretty much any colour, and I can't wait til Christmas turns up so I can layer it over icy blues and reds and greens! I think 'Moonstruck' would work really well for water marbling, which is something else I plan to try. What do you think?

Updated pictures:

These photos show rather better the act of gradienting the glitter and how it's done. They also show the massive amount of tip wear and chipping on my thumb and index finger - I'm fairly disappointed with that but it's so easy to fix that if I can be bothered I can restore my nails in no time!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

Baking bonanza

Had a bit of a baking splurge these last few days, hence the absence and lack of posts! Firstly, my Dad wanted me to make him some soft centre cupcakes to take back to work with him and then my sister requested I make a few desserts for the BBQ she held yesterday. Finally I  made a sausage pie for dinner today and some lovely little fruit pastries with the left over bits.

Boozey ganache centred cupcakes boxed up and ready to go. I got the recipe from the recipe section of the Baileys GB facebook page and adapted it slightly as I wanted a chocolate sponge and I didn't actually have any Baileys in. Instead I used 'Amarula cream' which my sister brought back from Sweden for us (more info here, if you can you should definitely get some as it's lovely!) which made it sweeter and fruitier than the original recipe would've but overall, very tasty. Poured slightly too much in which is why the buttercream was too runny; obviously if you made this measuring out your liqueur would be advisable.

Next I made a selection of muffins. My favourite, lemon and poppy seed (from this post) and some chocolate ones from a general google search. Apologies for the lack of recipe link there! I used some of the remaining ganache to fill the centres of the chocolate muffins, and put a teaspoon of lemon curd into the centres of the lemon and poppy seed ones. It's definitely how I'm going to make them from now on, as the gooey centre gives them a lovely texture and a great surprise for those who don't know how you've made them! It's also really simple, all you do is spoon a small amount of mixture into the muffin case, put a spoonful of curd/ganache on top, and then cover it with more mixture. Yum!

Lastly, my fruit tarts. So easy, so simple, so tasty! Just get some ready rolled puff pastry (cheating I know, but I don't have the time to make my own), lay it on a baking sheet in rectangles and spread some jam on it. Slice up the fruits you have - I used strawberries and nectarines -, add a pastry border to hold it all in, egg wash the exposed pastry and sprinkle with a little icing sugar! They're really summery and can be made to your own individual taste. Probably would be better with sweet pastry but for a quick throw together dessert if you're making something with puff pastry in the first place they're great. As you can see the pastry doesn't really rise very much as the ingredients are quite heavy but it doesn't really matter. Just make sure it's browned underneath.

I also made a 'cheesecake' but that went, uhm, a bit wrong and is probably best not mentioned...

What do you use your left over pastry for? Do you know of a better substitute to Baileys? And why did we get it as a gift from Sweden when it's an African drink? Mysterious.