Saturday, 30 June 2012

Nails - Rimmel Crackle First Try

Hi there again!  Hope you're all well today

I have to start this post off by saying that I've never been a fan of the look of crackle.  Have always thought that it looks a bit messy, and for some reason it reminds me of how zombies nails look in films (yes I'm a weirdo). 

I got this one as a Christmas present with some other colours, which was a lovely and thoughtful gift, but I never got inspired enough to pick up the crackle and try it.

However, this morning I was just sitting and watching TV, and for no real reason, the crackle polish popped into my head.  Well, I've never been one to ignore my 'vibes', so upstairs I went to my polish stash and got the crackle out.  I decided to paint it over bright red to give me the biggest contrast.  The red I decided to use was the brightest one I own, Pixi in No. 16.  I only have 2 Pixi polishes, but I love them both because the brush is so thin and precise.

Here's a pic of the bottles and brushes:
I was very surprised by the brush on the crackle, it's kind of like a pro-wide brush and for some reason I wasn't expecting that. 

So after applying my base coat of matte nail envy, I applied 2 coats of the Pixi, and this is how it looked:
As you can just about see, after 2 coats I still had very slight visible nail line, another coat would have sorted this out, but I didn't bother because I'd be applying the crackle over the top.  Its not self levelling, so I had to be quite slow and careful with my application.  It dried nice and quickly though!  I'd say I got both coats done and bone dry in less than 10 minutes.  Please forgive my cuticles being drier than the Sahara, I don't know what their problem is lately, it's an ongoing moisture war.

So onto the application of the crackle, have never done it before, but I have seen it done, so I knew not to just apply it like a normal polish, I did little light zig zags with not much polish on the brush, and this is what I got:
Rimmel Black Crackle Swatch No Topcoat
As you can see, its a kind of rubberised finish, very textured.  For me, this needs a top coat, so on with good ole Seche Vite:
Thats better!  Although it did still have some texture to it even after the top coat.  I did a slightly thicker application of crackle on the other hand, just to see how much difference it made, and here's how it came out:
Its quite handy to see these one on top of the other, as it shows that you can get some variation in the finish even when using exactly the same polishes.  I even used the same brush strokes.  I personally prefer the lighter look, but the heavier look gave more of the 'cracked' finish.

I actually like this more than I thought I would, of course the colours are a bit much for every day wear, but would be perfect to jazz up a LBD for going out dancing!  In some ways it reminds me of lava flow, and that makes me like it more.

Am now wondering (as you do) if I shouldn't have tried this before, I think a grey crackle over a lilac polish would be a nice look... hmmmm...

Anyway, would be interested to hear what you think, how do you feel about crackles?


Friday, 29 June 2012

Nail Art Tutorial - Skyscrapers

I am sooo excited to be bringing this to you - my first ever nail art tutorial!  I will start off by saying that this idea came completely from my own head, I haven't copied anyone elses idea or seen this done anywhere else.  That doesn't mean that it hasn't ever been done, there aren't so many original ideas left anymore, and I'm sure someone else could do it better than me. 

Please feel free to use my idea however you wish, copy it, modify it, link to this blog, whatever.  I'm not precious like that, and I'm not egotistical enough to insist 'oh, make sure you credit me if you use it'... NO! You sure as heck don't have to!  I'm big for sharing ideas, I think that's the greatest thing about the internet, people getting together with common interests and sharing.

So there's my two penneth, lets get on to the money shot - this is what I did, and I'll be showing you how I did it:
So obviously, we'll need some tools, and here are the ones I used, it looks like alot, but it's actually not, will tell you about them as we go along...

Step 1 (optional) : Base coat.  I always use a base coat but I know some people who don't.  I used Matte Nail Envy as my nails are in awful condition right now and I'm trying to improve them.

Step 2 : Base colour.  I used light blue, as I wanted it to look like the sky.  I have farrrr to many light blues, but the one I chose was Nails Inc Albert Place.  A true sky blue, and awesomely this was only one coat:
Step 3: Sketch out your skyscrapers.  I used a silver nail art polish, as its not too intrusive, and it doesn't matter so much if a little bit is left showing at the end.  Basically its just sets of straight(ish) lines so not too tricky.  It was hard to get it to show up on photos but hopefully you can see it.
Step 4: Colour your skyscrapers in with a grey polish.  I used another Nails Inc polish, this one's called Parliament Hill.  I think it tones well with the blue I used, but obviously you can use any grey you've got.  There are two places in this manicure where you have to be patient and wait for it to dry properly, and this is the first.  You really should wait for this step to dry before going on to the next.  It doesn't matter about going over the silver, I just painted straight over it as you don't need the vertical lines any more.
Step 5: Outline your skyscrapers.  I used a Color Club striping polish which I got from TK Maxx in a set.  I don't mind too much about getting it on my fingers, can clean that off later.
Step 6: Dotting. We need to dot the windows in.  I hope you like dotting because there's alot!  The polish I used for the dots was L'Oreal Colour Riche in 'Black Swan', just because that's the only black I've got. 

I'm using an old broken ceramic tile to lean on, and have a cotton pad dampened with polish remover on there to rub my dotter on so I don't get any dry polish building up on it. 

I started off with the purple dotter, but found it too big so changed to the yellow one.  These are the 'cheeky' dotters from Amazon, here's the link: This is what it looked like part way through:
Step 7: Lots of dots later, you should pretty much have your finished nail art!  I took a picture to try and show you the finish, its a bit lumpy and bumpy, but it was impossible to capture.... This is one nailart where I would say it's definitely worth topcoating.  I used Seche Vite as my topcoat.  This is the second place where you have to be patient and wait for everything to dry before you topcoat, or your dots will smudge.

After your topcoat - voila!
Nailart to be proud of!  If you've got something for striping, and something for dotting, you can have a go at this!

Would love to hear your comments, or if you have a go, let me see!

Until next time,


Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Review - Bourjois 1 seconde nail polish

OK, so usually I start off a review knowing whether I like a product or not.  Have decided to do this one a little differently.  At the weekend I saw Bourjois 1 seconde nail polish in Boots on a 'buy 3 get the cheapest free' offer. 

This meant a saving of £5.99, and although so far I haven't found a Bourjois polish I really like, I quite liked the look of these so I thought I would give them a go.  So far I have found that I really like the colour selection that Bourjois do, but their formulations haven't suited me at all, and some of the colours come out a bit too sheer for my liking.

I bought these 3:
06 Rose Cupcake, 14 Rainbow Apparition & 08 Bleu Water, they're shown here sitting on my new box which I love & will do a separate post about

Now, I KNOW I shouldn't have bought the blue, was only thinking to myself on Friday night that I probably have enough light blues, and they're all quite similar, but hey, I just couldn't resist, and I didn't fancy any of the other colours they had, & I had to have 3 to get the offer...

What Bourjois say about it (copied from their webpage):

1 second application per nail. 50 second drying time.
Fan effect brush for the perfect nail curve.

1 nail, 1 coat, 1 second
1 Seconde nail enamel is ultra quick to apply thanks to its patented fan effect brush which adapts to the size of each nail. The one-coat formula, enriched with silicon, dries in 50 seconds, leaving you with beautiful ultra-shiny nails and plenty of time to spare!

All sounds good, right? I did wonder how I was going to get my nail painted in 1 second

So time to give it a go and see what I think....

Coat 1:
Coverage on the creme shades: not bad.  Coverage on the glitter shade: awful.  As dissappointed with that as I was with Max Factor Fantasy Fire.  It didn't dry in 50 seconds on me either.  In fact if you look closely you can see fingerprints in the pink where I tested it at 50 seconds.  In truth the thick coat I put on took a whole 4 minutes to dry, but you could get away with just that one coat so not too bad.

Coat 2:
Bourjois 1 seconde nail polish review
Definitely enough for the cremes, but in the interests of the review I did another coat anyway. 

Coat 3:
There we have it, three coats & still vnl on the glitter coat.  It has to be said that the glitter coat dried much faster than the other two, and was probably dry on me in 1min 15 secs, but in my opinion you would have to use it as a top coat to get the best out of it, which isn't what it looked like in the bottle.  I tried layering it over both the pink and the blue, but didn't take a pic as I hadn't waited long enough for them to dry and sumdged them (ironic?).  It looked better over the pink than the blue though if that helps anyone?

The one thing that impressed me about this polish is the brush:
It was just the right amount of hard/soft & fanned out really nicely at the cuticle.  If you have alot of trouble with neatness at the cuticle area, this would definitely be for you. 

After I'd done these 3 coats I did another nail really thinly to see if I'd just applied it too thick, I found as its a really runny formula I was able to apply it thinner and get a quicker dry time, but still not within the 50 second mark, maybe about 2 minutes for it to be completely dry.

As with everything, atmospheric conditions, my personal nail, the base coat I used (Nails Inc caviar basecoat) will all affect drying time, and someone else might get a different outcome, I can only state what happened in my particular circumstances.

If I'd bought these from QVC I would be sending them back, but as it is I now have them for good, and will probably use them for something, but they wouldn't be in my top ten.  They will probably make good dotting/nail art polishes due to their thin consistency so all is not lost!

I hope you enjoyed my review and as always please feel free to leave a comment if you wish


Sunday, 24 June 2012

Bra Review - Shock Absorber 'Run'

On January 1st 2012 I gave up smoking.  I had had a cough which had been getting steadily worse for the last 12 months, and because of things in my past I knew that it could be the start of a slippery slope into lifelong debilitating illness.... so the cigs had to go!

But, as this isn't what this weeks blog is about, I've just deleted all the other stuff I wrote about that, perhaps I will blog about it another day!

Anyway, it's relevant to this because after I quit I found I had tons of energy to burn!  So I started using my Wii Fit.  I'd already had it for a year but hardly used it, just out of laziness really, but now it seemed like a good idea.

I found that I was really enjoying the exercise, I was doing it every day after work, and the part I was enjoying most was the jogging exercise, which is basically just running on the spot.  I gradually worked my way up from the short lap, which is 3 minutes, to the distance lap, which is 15 minutes.  But I found I was having a slight problem... the 'girls' were jiggling about a bit more than I'd like!  I'm a 38D so as you can imagine thats quite alot of jiggle! 

When the Nintendo said 'swing your arms in big circles to burn more calories' I was like, 'are you joking? My arms are busy in a supporting role!'.  So it was time to look at buying a sports bra, which was a completely foreign concept to me.  I didn't want an underwired one, as I find them uncomfortable, so had to look for something else.

So I went to my internet shop of choice, Amazon, to see which ones were getting the best review.  The one that seemed to stand out for me was the Shock Absorber Run bra.  You can see and buy it from Amazon using this link:

Now these bras aren't cheap, so I didn't want to buy one without trying it on.  I found out that they sell them in Debenhams, so I went there first to find out what they were like.  I found them pretty much true to size, if a little bit snug on the bottom band.  I went with my usual bra size.

Heres a pic of mine:
Shock absorber white run bra
The first time I used it, I was blown away!  The 'girls' didn't budge a bit!  They were safely under control in jogging conditions for the first time ever!  It gave me the confidence to actually take myself out on in public and jog round the block, which was a complete first for me!

I got into the jogging and got the runtastic app, which tells you how far you've gone and how many calories you've burned, which was fun, but once again i digress...

You know me though, if I like something, I can't just buy one thing in the range, so slowly but surely I built up a collection:
Shock absorber bra blue
I've reversed the white one in this picture so you can see the back, if you've got any mobility issues in your shoulders you may have trouble doing it up as the second clasp is quite high.  The bra on the bottom right is not part of the 'Run' range, but a more usual bra shape also from shock absorber which I wear in the daytime.  I also bought the black version of that too, and found they also give good support, although the bottom band on this style has a tendency to roll up sometimes.  That didn't happen to me on the Run shaped ones though. 

Another thing I tried is buying the more conventional bra shaped one in a C cup.  I don't recommend doing this as I got 'side spillage', not a good look!

As it happened I then picked up an achilles injury and am having to have a break from jogging now, I really miss it and hopefully I'll be able to get some treatment and get back on the road again, and when I do my Shock Absorber Runs will be coming out with me!

Until next time....


Friday, 15 June 2012

Aqueous Cream

Just a super quick post, I had to share this with you...

So, I was shopping in Sainsburys earlier this week, and as usual, loitering in the beauty section, when I happened to see a big pot of Aqueous Cream.  I remembered one of my friends who had eczema used to get this cream prescribed by her doctor, so I was surprised to see if for sale in the supermarket.

I'm not very good at remembering to moisturise my body, but since I've been going swimming have been getting itchy arms due to dryness so I thought I'd give it a go.

It was a really big pot, 500g, and have used a reference item for size that we all know :)

A big pot right?
So, that night after I came out of the shower I thought I'd give it a go.  Its a light(ish) cream, with a very subtle smell about it, a bit like a baby powder smell, after ten minutes or so I couldn't smell it at all anymore.

So, on to the results....  I was impressed!  My arms and legs felt super soft and moisturised, better than any body cream I can remember in a long time.  I kept asking other half to feel my leg, thats how soft it was!  At the end of the next day my legs still felt soft and moisturised.

If I had to make any criticism, it was that my legs still felt a little bit tacky when I went to bed, but I did use alot, and my arms were fine.

And the best thing of all?  This whole massive pot cost........    £2.40 !!!!!!!!!

Its the most amazing bargain beauty purchase I've seen for a long time, if you're in Sainsburys pick one up!

Until next time....


This Weeks Nails 15 June 2012

Hope you are all keeping well this week, and not getting soccer overload (unless you want to!)

I do 'this weeks nails' every week, and I never thought before today to put them on my blog.  I suppose I didn't think there'd be enough to say about them.  But hey, everyone likes pictures of manicures, right?

Earlier this week I was shown pictures of the most amazing, perfect Konad manicures.  I have asked the artist if its ok to put a link here, and if she says yes I will post it.

*EDIT* She has kindly given me her permission.  Here is the link, enjoy these PERFECT Konadicures

It reminded me that I hadn't used my Konad stuff for a while, so I thought I'd get it out and have a play.

So here we go, this weeks nails....

I used Nails Inc Kensington Caviar Base Coat, then Nails Inc Chelsea as a base for my 'Konadicure'.  Chelsea is described as a dark plum, but really it's so close to black as to not make a difference. 

I experimented with a couple of metallic colours over it to see which one I liked the best, and wouldn't you know it, it was a cheap as chips bronze polish that I hardly ever wear, which now has a new lease of life as a stamping polish.  In case you can't read it, the colour is called 79 Aztec Gold.  I was really pleased with how it stamped. I then topped it all off with a coat of Seche Vite, which is good for not smudging Konad manicures.

I used Cheeky Plate B to stamp my image from, which you can see and buy using the following link:

Just as a side note, its worth noting that alot of people seem to think that you have to use a top coat over Konad nail art.  Actually you don't!  Alot of the Konad Special Polish colours don't have a shine to them, so look they better with a top coat on, but if you're using regular polish, in my experience I've found that the manicure lasts as long as the polish would normally on your nails, and it doesn't rub off as I was led to believe.  When I first started Konad stamping, I wish I'd known this.  I wrecked alot of manicures by smudging them with the top coat before I bought a bottle of Seche.  Now I've got the hang of it, I prefer it with the top coat on as it seems to pull all the elements together, and obviously it has a nice glossy professional finish.

Heres another pic (taken with my phone)
In closing, I really like this manicure, even though its quite dark, because of the metallic accent it's sophisticated enough to wear as an everday look, but still special enough for a night out!

Let me know what you think, all comments are appreciated

Til next time..


Sunday, 10 June 2012

Nails - Getting Even

Hello again!

I hope you have all been well this week, the weather has finally calmed down here over the weekend.  It wasn't my intention to blog about nails this week, but as you can see from the pictures below they were starting to get a bit out of control and scraggy looking.  Also I have some dark polishes I want to try and personally I prefer dark polishes on short nails.


So then, time for a cut! Not using those scissors obviously, I have some small nail scissors and a file.  I like the Leighton Denny crystal file because it files down my nails quite quickly, I can file in both directions, and I can rinse it under the tap when I've finished using it:

Yes, somehow I managed to get nail polish on my scissors at some point, no idea what I was doing to manage that...

Anyway! I'm not very good at judging where to make the first cut in my nails to get them all even, so I had to devise another way to do it - I decided french tip nail guides would be a good idea!  I don't know if alot of people do this, or if no-one does it, but it works for me so I thought I'd share.  Simple really, just place the french tip on your nail so that you have covered the amount of nail you want to keep - like so:

I then use the small scissors to cut close to (not not right next to) the guide, and file the last little bit.  This is because sometimes when I cut my nails the top layer of nail peels back and I end up having to cut a bit shorter than I want. 

Also if you hold your nail up to the light and look from behind, it helps to get the tip on straight, you can judge it against the curve of your finger like so, and keep repositioning until you find the length you're happy with:

So there we go, repeat this process for each nail, and you're done!  This is what I ended up with:

Much neater and nicer than the nails in the 'before' shot, and all ready for a nice coat of dark colour...   ooooh, which to pick!

I hope this helps you if you have trouble getting your nails an even length like I did before I thought of this.  If you have a different way to do it I'd love to hear about it!

Until next time, take care and have fun,


Saturday, 2 June 2012

Lotions, Potions & Perfumes

Hits, Misses & Maybes

So, for this weeks blog, which has turned out MUCH longer than I thought it was going to, I thought I would share with you some of the items in my beauty arsenal that you might be interested in seeing.  As we're going from spring to summer, some of my heavier duty products are starting to take a back seat, and the lighter more summery stuff is coming back into use.  Also am starting to think about legs and feet coming out to play, so they're getting a bit of TLC now too, after a winter of neglect (sorry feet!).

So, the first section is Desert Island Heroes.  Obviously my first choice would have to be Ray Mears, for so many, many, reasons...... BUT! He doesn't really fit in with the theme of this weeks blog, so on to the first lot of goodies...

From left to right:

Estee Lauder perfume Youth Dew - I love this! I wear it pretty much every day, its spicy and sexy, a bit floral, and it's easy to put a bit on for daytime without overpowering a room.  In my opinion, day time perfume should just be the right amount of smell so that if someone stands close to you they say 'you smell nice', but otherwise not really noticeable.  I can't stand it when someone walks past me and nearly knocks me out with their perfume!  As you see I have the body lotion there too.  I'm a sucker for buying lots of stuff in the same range if I find something I like.

Decleor Experience De L'Age rich face cream - another must have, and another product I use every day, but this is one I hate buying as it's so expensive!  Am not surprised it has 'rich' in it's name, because you'd have to be to buy the big pot!  I got this little selection from Ebay for about £15, which is a bargain.  Not hugely blown away by Aromessence Iris, but will still use it until its gone as I did with the Tonilastil Oil from the same range.

Zovirax Cold Sore Cream - speaks for itself really, does the job if you catch the tingle fast enough.  If you catch it a bit late you can still avert the worst of the attack.  Have tried all kinds of chemist own brands, and for me, this really does work better than the rest.

Liz Earle Eyebright Lotion - fabulous for dry or tired eyes.  You pop it on a couple of cotton pads, and put those on your eyes.  Lie back for 10 mins and daydream (about Ray Mears, but maybe thats just me haha), and when you take the cotton pads off you'll have bright sparkling eyes!  I keep this on my bedside table so its always to hand.  It's supposed to reduce puffiness too, but so far have been lucky and don't have a problem with that, so can't tell you if it works.  Also in a Liz Earle vein, her muslin cloths are brill.

Boots Sparkling Eyes eye drops - I bought these because I've been using Bare Minerals powder foundation, and despite the fact that I love the coverage and ease of use, I found it was getting in my eyes and irritating them.  No point having lovely skin if your eyes look like you've been up drinking all night!  So I apply the powder, and my eyeliner, then I pop the eyedrops in to wash out any powder that might have got in there, and this seems to be working for me. No more red eyes!  There were two in Boots side by side and I bought this one as it has a blue colour in to make your eyes look whiter.

Dove Beauty Finish Deodorant - smells nice and seems to reduce shaving dryness

Burts Bees Lemon Cuticle Balm - loving the smell of this, and love anything to do with Bees so a double winner!  Have only had it a week or so, so can't give proper verdict on results, but have used it alot without hardly anything missing from the pot, and have noticed a possible positive change in cuticles.  My cuticles are super-stubborn and am having a problem with dermatitis on my hands (which I always get when the sun comes out), so its not fair to give it judgement right now.  Will save judging for another day, but it made it into this pic so must have something going for it!

Next section - thumbs up - ther things I like, but could leave at home if I only had a tiny baggage allowance.... will try not to rattle on too long about these ones

Decleor Prolagene Gel - I use this as a barrier between my moisturiser and my powder foundation.  I do have the Bare Minerals primer, but it makes my hands too slippy to open the pots.  Can't do with faffing about when I'm getting ready for work so this works for me.

Jessica Phenomen Oil - working well on my dermatitis, supposed to be good for nails but not seen a big difference

Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish - good for getting off make up with the minimum of fuss after a night out, love how it takes off even waterproof mascara

Vanderbilt eau de toilette - lovely for when the day is too sunny for Youth Dew and I want to smell summery, somehow smells cheerful - once again note how I can't just buy ONE thing out of the range, tut at myself

Gliss Corimist spray - makes your hair smell nice & makes it shiny - have been using it for years and never found a shine spray that I like better

Flexitol Cuticle Cream - once again, the big cuticle problem - this one actually definitely made my cuticles better, but I don't like how sticky it feels - I may buy more though when this tube runs out

Boots Softening Foot Balm - it does work to soften feet but I didn't get the drastic results I wanted when I slathered it on & went to bed in cotton socks

Ojon hair treatment - got this from QVC when they had it on special offer P&P free, it did make my permed hair less frizzy but wasn't as amazing as they claimed - I will use it all but probably not repurchase

Next up - things I'm not that keen on - thumbs down products!

John Frieda Frizz Ease - I so want to like this, I do have frizzy hair and would love to tame it... being a naturally optimistic person I keep buying different Frizz Ease products, and have never yet found one that makes me completely frizz free

Tigi Rockaholic Born to Rock detangler & defrizzer - this one actually did detangle & defrizz a bit, but I HATE the smell! Kind of like apples or grapes that are going bad

Batiste dry shampoo - really wanted to like this too, used it a couple of times when my fringe was greasy but the rest of my hair was ok.... my hair felt dirty afterwards, and by lunchtime my fringe was just as bad (if not worse) than it had been in the morning when I applied it

How funny that 3 of my 4 thumbs down products are hair ones!

Last but not least in the disappointment stakes is Elemis Pro-Collagen Radiantly Smooth Body Cream.  This was a Christmas present and I was chuffed to bits when I got it, but its got so many shimmery gold bits in it, it almost makes it unusable!  Lets say you put some of this cream on your arms, ta-daa! they're all nice n shimmery, then you have to immediately go and wash your hands or you will get shimmery gold glitter EVERYWHERE!!!  And even then, it doesn't all come off your hands, and it will eventually make its way to your nose where it will distract you all day.... sigh.... rant over...

One bonus thumbs down not pictured, because I threw it away, is Benefits Dr Feelgood Balm - it didn't do anything, it was expensive, and any bit of fluff in the atmosphere would stick to the sponge - yuk!

Soooooooo there we have it, my favourite and not-so-favourite lotions & potions, what do you think?  What's your number one must have, and number one thumbs down?

On closing, I will wish you all a happy Diamond Jubilee Bank Holiday (if you get it), and show you the nail art I did to celebrate it!  The base colour is Orly Lollipop, then a coat of Nails Inc Electric Lane holographic glitter, then I drew the bunting with Color Club nail art polish, and a top coat of Seche Vite, all done!  I tried a few different colour combo's but this was my favourite:

Until next week, take care and whatever you do, have fun!