Monday, 29 October 2012

Nails Haul - Barry M, China Glaze, MUA, Accessorize etc

I love nail polish. In fact I'm a total hoarder of the stuff! The volumes I have would only be justifiable if had my own nail salon which sadly, I do not. In addition to this obsession, I also love to get my nails done professionally & as a result 70% of the year I have gel nails. I'm always nervous to change the colour myself in between visits to get them filled in as I know I'll never paint them quite as perfectly as the salon girls do! I also rarely wear glitter polish on my fake nails as it seems to take even longer to get off than normal. Thus meaning, when I do get my gel nails off? Well I get a bit excited, buy lots of new shades & repaint my nails continuously! So I thought I'd share my latest nail polish haul with you. Enjoy!

Broadway Nails Artificial Nail Remover - I always vow that I will go to the salon and get my gel nails taken off professionally. How often has this happened? Never. I always end up using the Broadway Artificial Nail Remover. It takes twice as long but it means I don't get bored sitting in salon only to leave with dull nails (plus it's cheaper)! I also use this to remove glitter polish or caviar (& such like) manicures as the little bristles inside (think sticking your finger into a 360 nail brush cocoon) makes it FAR easier! So even if you don't wear fake nails, this may be well worth investing in!

China Glaze Calcium Gel Fortifier - Even if you haven't experienced it I'm sure you can imagine just how damaging fake nails can be on your natural nails. Whenever I remove my gel nails I always paint this on religiously. It's specifically for weak, dry or splitting nails & contains Vitamin B3 & Calcium. I love the gel formulation as this adds extra protection to sensitive nails and evens out your base. I use this as an bottom coat constantly until my nails are nice & healthy again. 

Barry M Nail Paint in Yellow Topaz Glitter (351) - I've been looking for a gold hexagonal glitter for the longest time & find it bizarre that I've struggled so much to find one! They seem to always have them in silver & a load of other colours but I haven't been able to find a hexagonal gold glitter for love nor money! I was even reluctant to buy this as you can see & as the name suggests it's more yellow than gold than I would like. I'm yet to test it out though so it may work quite nicely however if anyone knows of any better options please do let me know! Apologies for the photo, this bad boy simply REFUSED to focus. 

Barry M Nail Paint in Pink Sapphire Glitter - This has got to be by far one of the most exciting nail polishes in the world, ever. Firstly, it's pink. Secondly, it contains pretty much every type of glitter imaginable  Ok so there aren't actually that many types but well just look at it. You can't deny it's beauty & if you fancy attempting it then we're not friends. It contains pieces of pink & silver hexagonal glitter, smaller pieces of pink glitter & finally rectangular pieces of silver glitter. WOW. That is all. 

Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine in Pomegranate - So as we've established more than once in this post, I like my gel nails but ideally I would like to ween myself off the concept as I know it's not good for my poor nails! Cue the Barry M Gelly Nail Paints. I'm hoping this will have a thick gel like finish to it & be reminiscent of my salon nails. I've seen some swatches and when they say Hi-Shine they really mean it! There is nothing worse than dull nails & nothing better than an ultra glossy finish so I can't wait to test this out.

Accessorize 3D Glitter Polish in Magic - A fitting name. This really is MAGIC. It's another of my favourite glitter polishes finds of the year! It consists of tiny pieces of purple glitter and larger pieces of circular pink glitter. This layers up to form a gorgeous super sparkly dark purple polish. I would recommend an colour undercoat of some description. I opted for lilac & just feel it helps intensify the colour. Definitely be wearing this on & off throughout the festive season.

MUA Nail Constellation in Gemini - ahh the nail trend of the season! Where will they take it next!? From crackle to magnetic & now this. I can't quite get enough of crazy nail products. A trend made famous by Ciate and their Caviar Nails concept, MUA have now jumped on the bandwagon and are offering an incredibly similar product for less than a quarter of the price! They're currently offering 5 colours but I'm hoping they'll bring out more. I picked up Gemini which is a lovely mix of purple, blue, light pink & silver balls. Not the most practical of manicures but undoubtedly one of the most fun. If you've got the time this looks amazing on all 10 digits but if not, pop it on your ring finger & you're away! It's fair to say, MUA - I'm sold. 

Elegant Touch Rapid Dry for Nails (with Vitamin E) - Last but not least, the lazy girls guide to dry nails! Sally Hansen's Insta-Dri is normally my go to top coat for quick dry nails but sometimes where there just isn't time to sit and paint on yet another nail product this is my go to. Spray it on for 2 seconds from a 10cm distance and your nails will be dry by the time you've got to the door. A wonder product that I'm never without!

Hope you all enjoyed my nails etc haul! For swatches & NOTD (& general life) shots follow me on Instagram! My user name is saidshewhat & I've already got photos up of me wearing the MUA Nail Constellation in Gemini & Accessorize 3D Glitter Polish in Magic! Feel free to leave your instagram user names below!


Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Lush Christmas 2012

I can't believe I'm mentioning the word Christmas and we haven't even had Halloween yet! Generally speaking, I want to bash people over the head who get excited about Christmas too early. My rule is no festivities will be engaged in until after Bonfire Night (5th November) but as much as I may want to sigh at the fact that Boots already have their 3 for 2 Christmas gifts out & exclaim at the sight of advent calenders everywhere, secretly? I love it. In fact nothing fills me with more joy than the launch of the Lush Christmas collection purely because it's so darn early! Legally I know I can't publicly express my excitement for Christmas yet but the ridiculously early launch of the Lush Christmas collection allows me to indulge on the sly with a limited edition festive bath...or 5. There are loads more products I want to try from the collection but I thought I'd ease myself in gently & start with 3!

It would be a lie to say I haven't been counting the days until Golden Wonder was available at my local Lush store again, I have. It's undoubtedly my all time favourite bath bomb from Lush and every year I stock up in the January sale! I dedicated a whole post to the little beauty last winter, so feel free to have a gander (here) if you fancy seeing some shots of Golden Wonder in action (that sounds odd, apologies). Aside from the fact that it has by far the most exciting effect on your bath out of all the Lush ballistics, it also smells heavenly (think sweet fizzy citrus scents).

Next up is Party Popper & it's another easy win for me! It turns my bath a gorgeous pastel pink colour which I love and features scents of bergamot oranges, tangerine oil & champagne so it's another citrus number. Have you noticed a theme developing? Yes, I adore citrus scents for bath/shower time! Refreshing in summer & warming in winter. Party Popper also contains confetti made from honeydew melon & soap so you can work them into a bit of a lather in your hands and get washing! Amazing!

Last but not least it's the Magic Wand Bubble Bar! I love everything about this aside from the scent unfortunately. My own fault though, I was aware when I bought it that I wasn't crazy about the smell but loved the look of the product so much I had to buy it anyway! This smells like a combination of the Snow Fairy Shower Gel and Bubblegum Lip Scrub so if you like either of them then this is sure to be right up your street. I love that it's on a popsicle stick which makes using it much easier then just breaking a lump off (as with other regular bubble bars). It also seems to last longer using this method too! This also turns your bath a pastel pink colour and you can't help but feel a little fairy like as you stir it into your bath and as if by magic watch the bubbles appear! I'll definitely be investing in the Bubblebeard Bubble Bar (also on a popsicle but with a sandalwood scent which I think I'll much prefer)!  

That's it for my first Christmas trip to Lush - no doubt there'll be many more to come over the festive season! Let me know if you have any Christmas favourites/recommendations from Lush & don't forget to visit the Retro section of their website where they bring back old favourites online for a limited time only. I've already stocked up on Glogg - a limited edition mulled wine shower gel from last Christmas! Find it included in my Top 3 Favourite Shower Gels post from earlier this year!


Monday, 15 October 2012

Top Tips & Products for Surviving Cold & Flu Season

Seeing as I'm rather ill at the moment & know of at least 5 people who are feeling equally as awful I thought it might be worth dedicating a post to the subject! Yup it seems the world & its dog have come down with a cold/flu at the moment. At this point I should probably mention that this post comes with no official medical knowledge on my part & is simply just what works for me! Just in case anyone plans on suing me because they've become addicted to Olbas Oil tissues. In addition to that disclaimer, I'm also not suggesting you use all of these products at the same time, in fact DON'T. Its just the best ones I've found over the years. So here are my top tips & products to help you survive Cold & Flu season (typically Oct through to Feb). Warning: you can get colds outside of these bracket months, sadly.
Vitamin C - if you have any hopes of getting through the winter without contracting a cold then make Vitamin C your ally. I tend to take Vitamin C every other day during the winter months. It helps to keep your immune system strong which in turn will help you fight off any nasties. Tablets aren't the only way to go though, as I'm sure you all know Vitamin C can be consumed through fruit & veg too such as Broccoli, Oranges & Kiwis!
Echinacea - I know this is a bit of a love/hate remedy! Some people think it's a load of mumbo jumbo & a bit of a placebo. Whatever the case it seems to do the trick for me! You need to take this at the very beginning of your cold (or even as a preventative) for it to be effective & the aim of the game is that you'll wake up the next morning feeling A LOT better. For those of you who aren't familiar with Echinacea it's a herbal remedy which supports your immune system & provides relief from Colds & Flu. FYI it tastes like you're knocking back a shot of the worlds cheapest vodka.
Anti-bacterial Hand Gel - a necessity pretty much all year round (I always have a bottle in my bag) but particularly around this time of year! If you're constantly using public transport or stuck in an office with other people who might be ill, anti-bac hand gel is key in stopping germs spreading! I find most of them a bit overbearing & that the alcohol really dries out my skin (especially in winter) so am over the moon to have found this amazing one by Green & Spring which is alcohol free but still kills all germs & smells incredible!
Vicks Vapo Rub - if a cold/flu does take hold then Vicks is your saviour for a chesty cough, blocked nose or foggy head. Rub it on your chest, under your nose or side of your temples depending on what is giving you the most grief!
Olbas Oil Tissues - these are great for when you're feeling rotten at work/on the go etc. They have the same effects as Vicks Vapo Rub for a stuffy head but without the mess! I always keep these with me when I'm ill as they're great for relieving a blocked nose without smearing Vicks all over your face! Not a great look in public.
Ultra Chloraseptic Anaesthetic Throat Spray - there is nothing worse than an awful sore throat. You know the kind when it feels like you swallowed a bunch of razor blades & it hurts to breathe? This stuff is a godsent. 1 spray numbs the back of your throat & instantly takes away the pain (albeit temporarily). Think throat lozenges but faster acting. Ideal for tickley coughs & sore throats.
Tyrosine Lozenges - speaking of lozenges, these are by far my fav. Absolutely everything nothing to do with the fact that they taste like sambucca (if you're not a fan then avoid). These are smaller than most lozenges & seem get to work quicker. They also contain contain antibiotics which will help fight your throat infection & for that reason are only available over the counter. You should probably only take these if your sore throat is severe & warrants the use of a product containing antibiotics! 
Benylin Cough Syrup - sleep is obviously important when you're ill so there is nothing more annoying than when your cough won't let you. There are a variety of different cough syrups available from Benylin depending on if your cough is dry or chesty etc. I find the dry one really effective & the added side effect of drowsiness is welcomed when I'm trying to get some shut eye. It goes without saying - don't take this during the day! On a side note - if you're suffering from a dry or tickly cough a hot bath always works wonders as the steam soothes it. Further to that, a vaporiser in your room is also really helpful at night.
Manuka Honey - my last fix for a sore throat or cough is an age old saviour. Hot honey & lemon. It's a great natural way to soothe your throat and the bitterness of the lemon can help towards cleaning your airways. For this fix to be really effective though you'll need to switch your regular honey for Manuka! Manuka honey is said to have antibacterial qualities which fight off infection. My fellow gal pal (Andrea) also swears by the addition of freshly grated ginger to the mix! Making the concoction even more effective as ginger is also renowned for its medical properties.
Sudafed Blocked Nose & Headache Capsules - on to the good old painkillers. The idea is basically that these bad boys are slightly more effective than plain old paracetamol as in addition they contain caffeine to boost energy levels (tbh I'd rather a hot cup of coffee) and phenylephrine which is one of the most common over the counter decongestants. Sudafed have a range of tablets for various symptoms but personally I think only ones containing the decongestant are the only ones worth the money.
Night Nurse Capsules - as I mentioned previously when you're trying to nod off you'll pretty much try anything to ease your symptoms for just half an hour while you fall asleep. These capsules claims to relieve pretty much everything from a tickly cough to aches & a runny nose. Again in addition to paracetamol they contain promethazine which claims to be a mild sedative & migraine treatment while the last ingredient, dextromethophan, is a popular cough suppressant. Not sure how that'll fix a runny nose but the Night Nurse Capsules seem to provide relief from everything else so they're my friend!
Phew! Sorry this has been such a long post but hopefully it's been worth the 10 minutes of your life that you've spared & might help you find something new that works for you! I've tried to ensure there's something in there for everyone regardless of if you prefer natural remedies or something a little more hardcore! Finally, always read ALL product instructions before using & only ever take the recommended daily allowance! Please leave any helpful tips below! I'm sure we'd all love to hear them! I'll leave you with this image. It appears there's something rather comforting in knowing one of your best friends is just as ill as you are, holed up in bed & bored out of their brain too so we exchanged snaps of our day to pass the time! To her & all the rest of you who are ill - GET WELL SOON!

Monday, 8 October 2012

2# Empties: Binning or Winning

If you've been following my blog for a little while then firstly, thank you(!) and secondly you might remember that a few months back I decided to introduce an 'Empties' feature to my blog. Well here is the second installment (you can read the first here)! It's my opportunity to show you products I would and wouldn't buy again while also conducting mini reviews of products I may not normally dedicate a whole post to!

L'oreal Perfect Clean Foaming Gentle Scrub (Exfoliating) - I always keep a gentle face scrub in my shower so I can cleanse once the steam has helped open my pores. I also use this an excuse to test out a variety of different face scrubs. Although I haven't noticed any colossal changes to my skin (good or bad) since using this I'm happy that it's gentle enough to be used everyday, that it has a gorgeous citrus smell to it (a fav shower scent) & that it comes with a scrublet attached (I adore that word)! I'm pretty sure I'll be repurchasing this, if not immediately then definitely in the near future.

Freederm Gel - Keeping on the topic of skincare, my skin goes through regular ups & downs. I'll go for months & it'll be perfectly fine & then I'll have a small breakout which can sometimes take a while to disappear. Keeping a good skincare regime is fab but sometimes I want an actual treatment to help get rid of them! I'm yet to come across a product that will make spots disappear overnight (let me know if you find one!) but this definitely helps calm any redness & speed up the disappearance process! It's a winner for me & I've already picked up a new tube. 

No 7 Amazing Eyes Liner - As you'll be able to see from my previous post (Boots No 7 Haul) I've already picked up another bottle of this (they've changed the packaging I think in case you're wondering why they look different). I won't run through the reasons I love this again but have a scan though the aforementioned No 7 post & you'll see why!

YSL False Lash Effect Mascara - I praise the day a certain little birdie gifted this to me for my birthday last year! It's now undoubtedly my favourite mascara along with the YSL Shocking Mascara which I love for a more intense look. I don't know which I'll repurchase first yet as I love them both equally but I always have one or the other on the go! One thing is definitely clear though - YSL does mascara very well indeed!

Sally Hansen Mega Shine - I love this top coat, it dries quickly & does what it says on the tin, however since buying this, I've fallen in love with another Sally Hansen top coat, the Insta-Dri Anti Chip Top Coat. It's less gloopy than the Mega Shine and dries even quicker! For that reason I won't be repurchasing this but will be buying a new bottle of the Insta-Dri polish very soon!

Soap & Glory Girligo Spray On Body Moisturising Mist - I love Soap & Glory products and they've got some real winners in their range but sadly this isn't one of them. This moisturising mist smells good but that's about it. The scent doesn't really last & it doesn't seem particularly fab on the moisturising front either. I love the principle of moisturising sprays as they're perfect when you're in a rush but even if it's a mist I need something that's going to sink in & nourish my skin which unfortunately this doesn't. I'll be saving my pennies for other Soap & Glory products. 

Mac Fix + Spray - I'm fully aware I'm about to put something out in the universe that might upset a lot of people BUT I don't get the Fix + hype. Sorry fans but I just don't find it particularly effective at setting my make up! I also find it slightly sticky and that as a result I can feel it on my skin which I don't like. Since buying this I've discovered the Caudalie Beauty Elixir (see my rave review here) and am in love with that. I find it really effective at setting my make up so for now I think I'll be staying with that!

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I'm throwing away this month, what I'll be restocking on & what I'll be giving a wide berth!  Let me know if you share my thoughts on any of the above or what you can't wait to repurchase/tell people to avoid!


Monday, 1 October 2012

Boots No 7 Voucher - Mini Haul

This post is going to be 2 fold - firstly to tell you about the amazing offer that No 7 at Boots are currently running until the 7th October 2012 (quick sticks kiddy winks) and secondly to show you just how useful those pesky No 7 vouchers purse fillers can be (see mini haul)!

Boots are giving away No 7 vouchers 99.9% of the time (yes that is an exact statistic from my imagination) and until recent years 99.9% of the time, I'd bin them. I eventually realised I was being an idiot and that while the vouchers made their products cheap as chips I might as well check out what they had to offer and I'm glad I did as they really do have some fantastic products!

Last week I happened to glance at the most recent voucher I'd received and when I realised that I could use it in conjunction with the 3 for 2 offer that they're currently running I knew I was onto a winner and had to a) use to straight away and b) blog about it so I could let everyone else know! I pretty much felt like I was stealing from them with £5 off skincare, £3 off make up and third product I chose being free!? I'll let the receipt below do most of talking...

If I'd paid full price for the 3 items I bought (No 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Water, No 7 Stay Precise Liquid Liner & No 7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour) this little haul would have cost me £21.50 instead of £8.50. That's less than half price! Things could not have been more bargainious. 

I have to admit this offer was particularly enticing as their Stay Precise Black Liquid Liner is my preferred choice anyway so I thought I might as well get another one while it was going cheap. I'm rather fussy when it comes to liquid liners. I can't get to grips with the pen ones and the liquid ones have to have a very thin brush. This ticks all the boxes for me - I like the brush and as a result it's easy to apply, it's a rich black colour & it stays put. Can't ask for much more really & I doubt I'll be straying from this any time soon given the price!

My second purchase (aka my freebie in the 3 for 2 part of the deal) was the No 7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour. I have a slight obsession with nail polish and was looking for something wintery to add to my collection now the colder months are well & truly upon us. Their nail polish range isn't the most exciting in the world. The colours are very safe and most annoyingly they're not named or numbered! However I settled on this gorgeous glittery plum colour which I'm going name Glittery Plum (for want of a more original name). I can't wait to try this out!

Last but not least I picked up the No 7 Beautiful Skin Cleansing Water. I had heard a few good things about this cleanser and was keen to try it and see if I could find something that was more readily available to counteract my addition to Bioderma! Alas, this has not been the case. Although this is undoubtedly a good cleanser which I'll definitely use up, Bioderma is a great one so unfortunately my views on this product were slightly biased from the get go! I won't say much more as I've planning on doing a post on cleansers in the near future! What I will say though is; go and get yourself a No 7 voucher and make the most of the amazing offer mentioned offer or any others they have on! It's such a great way to try out new products without parting with too many of your pennies! Who knows? You might find something you can't live without!