29 September 2014

Red Nails and McQueen

As I get older, the amount of jewellery I wear is getting less and less. Normally you'll see me with a necklace or two and if you're lucky a bracelet. Long gone are the days (or should that be nights out) where my wrists were stacked high of bangles and bracelets and now you'll be lucky if I wear a watch. Over the years my taste has changed and I'm more into dainty bracelets which you can stack. 

Throughout the last few weeks there's been one bracelet which hasn't been off my wrist and it's this McQ by Alexander McQueen bracelet. As much as my OCD tendencies are wanting to move the swallows so they're all facing the right way around - I'm in love with it. If you mention McQueen to me, the first thing which comes to mind is skulls and as you can see this is completely away from the norm of McQueen.

Personally I'm a big fan of the swallow design and its girly enough for work, yet when stacked with other bracelets adds that bit of edginess to an outfit. As you can see there's very little branding on the bracelet and you can only see the McQ logo upon close inspection. Over the last week I've been enjoying my pillar box red shellac and I think this bracelet is the perfect accompaniment to go with it. Also you can get a long necklace in a similar design, both of which would make a brilliant gift for a loved one. Are you a fan of McQueen??

22 September 2014

EZ Soak-Off Gel Nail System

Considering I’m a “beauty” blogger, there’s one job I hate more than anything and that’s painting my nails. I can do a really good paint job (sound like a decorator there), however nine times out of ten I’ll end up chipping my nails. Normally this happens just as I’m about to go somewhere. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will know that normally around Christmas time I get shellac/gel nails to keep my nails looking perfect amongst the 1001 nights out.
Over the last six weeks I’ve been trying out the EZ Soak-Off Gel Nail system at home and I have to admit if I can do (well attempt) gel nails at home, you can too. I’m going to do a more in depth step by step post on how to apply gel nails and then how to remove them, so today’s post is more of a review/overview of the system and my initial thoughts.
As I’m an absolute amateur when it comes to gel polishes – I found an EZ Nails demo on YouTube (link) which I’ve been following on my laptop while doing my nails. This video has been an absolute lifesaver. The EZ nail range contains a nail cleanser which cleans and dehydrates your nails prior to applying the clear foundation gel – cue for a minute. Then two coats of the coloured polish with a curing time of 2 mins between each and then a coat of the top it off top coat to finish.
I’ll be honest doing this process on yourself is a bit time consuming and takes me about 45-50mins to do. Personally I find doing one hand in its entirety is easier than doing each step at a time on both hands. I’ve also had a go at doing Steph’s nails and it took me half the time. It’s worth noting that you can use your normal nail polish with this system – all what you do is use a normal base coat and two coats of your normal nail polish, leave them to dry and then apply the top coat and cure for 2 minutes. If you want just clear nails (ideal to help strengthen them), just use the foundation gel and then the top it off gel.
I haven’t used the remover, instead opting to use acetone to remove them, however as the remover is acetone based, I’ve been using this to clean up any normal nail polish. I’ve been very impressed with the colour selection in the range, and over the last few weeks I’ve had Pink Smoothie on my nails – an opaque baby pink. In the name of research I’ve had this on my nails for three weeks before my hair would get caught in my nails (this is the test of when I need to remove gel polish). The colour doesn't fade, nor look “dirty” which is what I’ve previously seen with other brands of polishes.
Onto the lamp itself – ignore the nail polish stain, is 36 watts and has a 2 minute timer on the back. I found it much easier manually turning the lamp on/off and measuring the time using the stop watch on my phone. However there is one downside with this lamp and that is the fact that the bulbs aren't secure and I've noticed that prior to using the lamp you need to make sure (when the lamp is unplugged) that the bulbs are securely in otherwise the bulb won't turn on. Also I've had to replace one of the bulbs, however you can pick these up for £2 online. As the lamp is UV I would recommend putting some cream with an SPF on the back of your hands prior to using just to protect your skin.
Overall I am very impressed with how affordable and versatile the EZ Soak-Off Nails Gel System can be. I'd be the first to admit that I'm not good painting my own nails, however I am amazed that I can create a salon finish in my own home. My efforts haven't gone unnoticed neither - I've got the women in the office at work, as well as my friends wanting me to do their nails ready for Christmas. Is it time for a career change?? I'll do a more in depth post of gel nail application and removal in two separate posts, so keep your eyes peeled for that.
* This post contains PR samples

14 September 2014

Sunday Edit #75

Currently having a Jason Derulo marathon as you do while I type this. Even though this week has been manic, it honestly feels like its dragged. Anyway I'm now onto week two of the Bootea detox and I have to admit I'm in shock with the weight loss after 14 days. I'll post more about this week later on in the week though. Also I'm still in pain from the return to metafit on Wednesday after a 6 month hiatus. I suppose the phrase no pain, no gain is quite apt here isn't it. Currently binge watching RuPaul's drag race - honestly can't get enough of the show.

Posts you may have missed this week - Lighting // Fresh breath // Statement necklace

12 September 2014

Light Up, Light Up

There’s no two ways about it, lighting sets a mood. In some unfortunate circumstances, the mood can be a harsh fluorescent one, prompting feelings of uneasiness or discontent. For the style conscious and sartorially savvy set, designing a great lighting scheme is key to the transformation from a house into a home.

While many will opt for a basic overhead grid lighting design or a series of strategically placed lamps to create a certain ambiance, the reality is that wall lights are some of the most effective (and stylish) luminary options available. Here are just a few of the many reasons why...

Perception is everything
It’s a little known lighting fact that the eye perceives light very well against vertical surfaces. Wall lights can create an enhanced perception of brightness in any space with half the energy output of other options like recessed downlights. With a few strategically placed fixtures, wall lights can make a space feel warm and bright in no time.

Vamp up the Vanity
Many bathroom vanities feature downlights over the mirror without any light on the sides. For functional vanity spaces where activities like tweezing, shaving and makeup applications take place, installing wall fixtures on either side of the mirror at eye level help to minimise shadows and provide even distribution, which can make time spent in the mirror endlessly flattering.

Flood a Feature
Wall lights are also great accent lights, literally highlighting particularly great pieces of artwork or architecture in any space. Consider installing some stylish and understated wall lights to accent some of your favourite nooks, crannies and collectibles for the ultimate in sophisticated style.

Creating a beautiful and functional lighting scheme in the home is no easy feat. Every light source needs to work together to create a cohesive look and feel that provides both functional light and stylish accents throughout. 

10 September 2014

Hello, is it fresh breath you're looking for...

Quite frankly THE GREATEST BLOG TITLE EVER!! I'm not going to lie, as soon as I agreed to try out some products from Hello, there was only one song which came to mind... Anyway moving along... Hello oral hygiene has just launched in the UK from America. The tag line with their products is naturally friendly and aims to do what any regular toothpastes/mouthwash/breath sprays do but without all the added nasties. 

Over the last few weeks I've been trying their mouthwash in mojito mint and a breath spray in pink grapefruit mint. Personally I have a love/hate relationship with mouth wash, I think since having my tonsils out last year, My mouth has become more sensitive and any time I use mouthwash, cue tears running down my face. All of Hello's products are alcohol free and are ideal for those who suffer from sensitivity. I won't lie, the first few times I used this, I found the product strange - not in a bad way, instead just thinking when is the sensitivity about to start (this didn't). 

Personally I'm not a fan of mojito's (the drink), however I found the mouthwash not to be overbearing and leaves my teeth/mouth feeling clean. The only niggle I have with this product is the lid - when fasted it doesn't feel secure and product does slightly leak if I knock it over/lying it down to take these photos. However it may be the case that I haven't mastered closing the bottle securely. 

Onto the breath spray - this divided my table at work over whether they liked it or not. Personally I love the dinky little spray. It fits perfectly into any handbag and due to the screw fastening, it's hygienic and you don't run the risk of loosing a top in your bag in more conventional sprays. The spray itself does initially taste of pink grapefruit, but with an after taste of mint. The breath spray does pass the curry and red onion test, which shows how much of an excellent product it is. At the moment the products are being sold exclusively in Boots and Selfridges, although if you're from the North East I'm yet to see these products in any of my local Boots so it will probably be worth ordering offline. Next up on the list to try is their toothpaste.