Saturday, 28 February 2015

Acrylic & Gel Nails | Cardiff

Let  me introduce you to Danielle.  This lovely lady used to be my neighbour, and one day when I was in need of having some acrylics, I knocked on her door to ask for help. Back then, she was a nail technician for a big Cardiff salon and was being very neighbourly to me :)  I've bee having my nails done by Dani for a good 4 years, and the quality of her work has always been fantastic.  

These days the main thing she does is shellac nails (gel), and in this, she's combined the two, acrylics nails, with gel polish on the top for extra shine and longevity - genius!!!

She had a stack of nail wheels with gel polish on for me to pick from, but immediately I was drawn to one particular combination.  What I really like is that she includes cream shades, polishes with glitter in, and a bit of nail art using a cream shade, fine glitter and a good clear top coat (that's what I opted for).
Complete nail wheels to pick from

See that blue shade next to the purple? Yep, that's what I opted for.  Normally I'd go for the purple, but I couldn't stop staring at the blue, so I took it as fate :)
My glitter choice!

Please excuse the horrible state of my nails.  This is why I needed acrylics done, I'd started biting my nails again and haven't been able to stop - I started again just after Squidge was born.  I've tried and tried but to no avail.  The only thing I've ever found that's helped to break the habit is having acrylic nails.  They also stop me biting the skin around my nails so it's all good.

It's taken a lot for me to share this picture, I hate my nails and fingers at the moment and I've been avoiding filming YouTube videos as they look so horrible and I've felt so embarrassed by it, so please don't judge me too hard!
My horrible nails, before hand

After prepping my nails, Dani gets to work on my shocking cuticles, I really don't take care of them so she really had her work cut out!
Cuticles being prepped

Next, she added the tips which she fitted to each finger and filed down.  When I have acrylics I like to have them as short as possible so they look as natural as possible.  Having them crazy long isn't a look I like that much, and with a baby it just wouldn't be practical.
Tips on to lengthen the nails

After that, she topped them off with acrylic.  In the past she's included some iridescent glitter in the mix so they're really sparkly (I loved this!) but this time as I was having tips added, I knew I'd want a nail polish on the top, so there was no point having the glitter in the mix.
Acrylic on

After applying the acrylic, she gave them a good file down so they were a better length and nice and smooth, and shaped them and the corners so there weren't any sharp bits.
Acrylic buffed

Next up, gel! She uses the CND system.  A long time ago I reviewed their weekly nail polishes which I was really impressed with.  She had a great selection of shades and finishes (i.e. glitters) and picked the ones out to match my chosen swatch.
CND gel lamp

I forget the name of this shade, but it's a dark blue with a very pretty but subtle sparkle - this would have been gorgeous by itself, but I was excited to have the glitter addition!
Navy blue gel nail base

Next up - adding the glitter and a top coat of clear gel polish.
Glitter and top coat going on

Here's a closeup - now, please excuse my horrible thumb, but OMG how amazing is that glitter!!!?!?! It compliments the navy blue really well and looks gorgeous!
Close up of glitter on acrylic

The finished nails!  I adore how these look, she did an amazing job, the best gel finish I've had. She's so good at applying nail polish, she doesn't get it on my fingers, she doesn't flood the cuticle, it's perfectly neat.  It's because of the time and effort she puts in to prepping the nail, that my nails don't get ruined by having acrylics.  She does such a neat job that even though I've tried other places locally, nowhere has been as good.
Acrylic nails with gel tops done

If you're interested in hiring Dani (if you live in or around Cardiff), you can call her on her mobile or text her here: 07793015777

For more examples of her work, please have a look at her Facebook page, she might be setting up a blog soon to include some tutorials too - if she does I'll update this post with a link :)  If you're in or around Cardiff I really wouldn't recommend anyone else, Dani is fab and friendly, and worth every penny!

The cost for acrylics was £30 (this included a manicure first to prep the nail, and the gel polish on top)
Infills are £20
Gel nails are £20


Friday, 27 February 2015

Maybelline Lash Sensational

Maybelline Lash Sensational

Maybelline Lash Sensational wand

No mascara

Maybelline Lash Sensational one coat

Maybelline Lash Sensational two coats

One of the most coveted mascara's to be released recently on the high street is the Maybelline Lash Sensational mascara.  I've always adored Maybelline for mascara's, for my money, I don't think you get much better on the high street, and Lash Sensational really proves that point.

It comes looking like any other Maybelline mascara in the same packaging shape, but with a different wand.  It's firm, rubbery and curved with short bristles to help really get in there and grip the lashes.

What I love most about this mascara is that it really gives volume at the base of the lash - in the last pic of 'two coats' you can really see how much thicker my lashes look at the root.  My lashes are longer, much more curved (they're usually quite straight) and nice and black.  This actually reminded me a lot of the new Benefit mascara, Rollerlash (pic below for comparison) which I reviewed here. The only difference is, I actually prefer the lashes Lash Sensational gives me - they're darker, longer and have more volume, as you can see for yourself.  Don't get me wrong, Rollerlash is lovely, I really am a fan of this mascara, but Lash Sensational just has a certain je ne sais quoi that Rollerlash is lacking and it's only since comparing the two pictures that I'm really seeing that.

Boots is selling this for £7.99 at the moment, which is a great deal - I mean, just look how awesome it is!!! So often you have to pay £25 for a mascara like that, and even then I'm not sure it could compete with Lash Sensational.

Benefit Rollerlash
Benefit Rollerlash - two coats
What do you think about the comparison to Rollerlash?


Thursday, 26 February 2015

Anastasia Beverly Hills | Brow Wiz

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz

Brows before using Anastasia brow wiz

Brows after using Anastasia brow wiz

As you can see, I haven't been blessed with full brows, even dark brows, they're light, sparse and whispy.  This means to have any kind of definition, they need help, whether that's from a brow powder, wax or pencil.  It's only in the last couple of weeks I've rediscovered my Anastasia Brow Wiz (in the shade Brunette) which I bought some time ago on Cult Beauty (£15.50).

I find it works best on groomed brows - I've started trimming mine on the edges when the hairs get long, that's when it works best in my experience - otherwise I tend to prefer a powder.  However, in an effort to keep my brows trimmed, this is working best for me.

The bad blogger in me hasn't photographed the pen with the lids off - but basically one end has a brush to comb through the brows when they're done, and the other end is the product, a small twist-up pencil.  You can see the massive difference it creates, just filling in my brows.  I don't feel I go over the top, I just try to work with what's there, filling it in and adding some shape and definition, hopefully along the lines of what my brows would be like if they were more normal.

I'm not really a fan of the 'drawn-on-brow' look, but I do like to look like I at least have some brows - I feel that filling them in really helps to frame the face, and the eyes.  This is really easy to work with, the product is the perfect balance of being firm, but not hard to work with, and it's not too soft that you'll over apply product.  Once you've filled them in, if you're looking for a slightly more natural look just run the brush through them which will soften the look further (I didn't use the brush in the picture above).

This has become a go-to brow product for me which I'm certain to replace when it's finished, for me, it's worth every penny of the £15.50 I spent on it. What's your favourite brow product?

Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Five Favs #1

Five Favs
 I'm at it again, starting another blog series! I've been thinking about doing this one for a while, separate to my monthly favourites, just focussing on 5 products I'm currently loving, whether new or old. This won't necessarily be every month, but when I have 5 I feel like sharing.

Anastasia brow wiz
I've recently re-found this in my stash and started using it.  I'm actually preferring it to the powder and waxes I've become accustomed to.  I actually find it easier to use this and create a really nice brow shape, and keep it looking more natural.  Why didn't I instantly fall in love with this when I bought it?  I do think it helps to have groomed brows for the product to work well.

NYX Blusher in Pinched
After chatting to a friend of mine recently about dupes for NARS Orgasm, I've rediscovered my love for NYX Pinched - I'm not sure if I've ever seen a dupe that's quite as good as this - everything about it is on point - the texture, the balance of shimmer, and how it applies, but all for a fraction of the price.

Maybelline Lash Sensational
I'll be reviewing this later in the week.  It's working it's way to being one of my current favourite mascara's - when I applied it the other night, I looked like I was wearing false eye lashes, it gives fantastic volume at the root of the lash, separating and lengthening the lashes.  A great high-street find that I'm really loving right now.

Jouer bronzer
I don't wear bronzer that often, but since I rediscovered this in my stash (I actually bought this in the same haul as my brow wiz from Cult Beauty) I've been wearing it every time I've done my makeup - I might even write a blog post or film a video about how I contour, because this product is gorgeous. It's not orange, it blends in beautifully and helps give your blusher a warmer glow.

MAC mineralize blusher in Gentle
What a stunning blusher this is.  I'm such a fan of blushers that aren't crazy pigmented, I think they tend to blotch and generally don't look good on the skin - I like a blusher that's a harder formula, where you can swirl your blusher picking up the perfect amount to give your cheeks a glow

What did you think of this new blog series?  If you have any ideas on other types of series you'd like to see in the future, just leave a comment with your idea below :)

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

GOSH SS15 Collection & Giveaway

GOSH have announced their new line-up for their SS15 collection, and let me just say this, hummina, hummina, hummina! 

First up we have their Forever Lip Shine's.  These are massively pigmented with a luxurious buttery finish, an absolutely gorgeous product

GOSH Forever lip shines

GOSH Forever lip shines

GOSH Forever lip shine swatches

Next up are some of their new nail polishes.  A gorgeous mixture of brights and pastels - all gorgeous creamy colour and great quality - only the purple was a little streaky with one coat, the others could have passed with just the one, especially the peach.  I can't comment on their quality as my nails are horrific at the moment (bitten down) , but the colours are lovely.  The new wide brush was fab too, not too dissimilar from the OPI brush.

These are available in a total of 7 different shades including a gorgeous minty green called 'Apple Bloom' - it looks similar to Essie's Mint Candy Apple.  You can pick these up for a purse-friendly £3.99 each.

Purple GOSH nail polish

Apple green nail varnish by GOSH

Peach GOSH nail varnish

New GOSH nail varnish brush

Then we have this larger than life mascara - I know I can't convey how big this is without putting it next to a ruler, or another mascara you might know, but trust me, this is the biggest mascara tube I have in my collection!  I haven't tried it on the lashes yet, but I am intrigued by the wand and how well it'll grip the lashes.  It claims to add volume, define the lashes and add length - I'll be putting this through it's paces and a full review will be up in the next couple/few weeks, so don't forget to check back!  (available at your local Superdrug for £8.49)/

GOSH mascara

GOSH mascara wand

Eye shadow trios - available in 4 different colour sets (001 Three of a kind, 002 Fairytale (pictured left), 003 Chunky chocolate (pictured right) and 004 Vanilla sky).  Each set comes with a highlight shade, a glitter shade and a satin shade - however shade 001 is a highlighter set, each one being a different shade (what a lovely idea!).  These are well pigmented, and have a nice creamy consistency. I've only used 003 so far, and the middle shade at that, but it sat on my lids really nicely, the edges blended well and it lasted all day without fading. (n.b. they're also paraben free).  Available for £6.99 each.

GOSH eye shadow trio's

What are your favourites of this collection? For me, it's probably the Forever Lip Shines - they are just gorgeous and a lovely quality

I have 2 of the lovely Forever Lip Shine's to giveaway too! I have shade 001 Baby Baby (pink), and 009 My Valentine (red) - both swatched above.  The giveaway will be open for 1 week - to enter you must be following my blog via Bloglovin' and you must be following GOSH on Twitter (links are in the Rafflecopter widget) :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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*Post contains PR samples

Monday, 23 February 2015

Yves Rocher | Exfoliating Shower Gel in Blackberry

Yves Rocher blackberry shower gel

Whilst I appreciate, a shower gel review might not be the most exciting to read, I felt like I really needed to share just how lovely this one is.  First off, the scent, for some reason blackberry scents always remind me of Christmas? I know, strange.  But this is a gorgeous rich scent filled with kiwi seeds and apricot kernel powder to gently exfoliate.  The gel itself is so luxurious and thick.  When rubbing it into the skin it feels so lovely, and so much more expensive than it is!

This really is just a quick post to share this with you since it's my new favourite shower gel, it smells great, feels lovely and is a gentle exfoliator suitable for daily use :)

This is currently on offer with 29% off, making it just £3.50.  I've also just noticed that at the moment they have a really good gift-with-purchase, this great weekend bag (it reminds me of my Longchamp shopper!) how fab is this!?!?

Yves Rocher Gift with purchase

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*Post contains a PR sample

Sunday, 22 February 2015

MAC Retro Matte in Flat Out Fabulous

MAC Retro Matte in Flat Out Fabulous

MAC Retro Matte in Flat Out Fabulous close up

MAC Retro Matte in Flat Out Fabulous on the lips
** Please note, the lipstick was applied using a lip brush, this will result in the lipstick looking lighter/brighter than if applied directly from the bullet - it also makes the lipstick last longer on the lips **

I don't have many MAC lipsticks, I kicked off my collection with Rebel, and then added Creme Cup, which I subsequently lost, and now I have another one to add to my collection.  I'm a big fan of matte lipsticks, they're my favourite, so when I saw this one crop up when searching online, I had to try it.

This, like any other MAC lipstick you'll have tried, is lovely quality.  Yes it's matte, which can often mean 'dry' but this isn't, it's surprisingly moist for a matte lipstick, and doesn't stain the lips too much either, unlike some.  It applies (with a brush) really nicely and stays put for a long time, another thing I love about matte lipsticks.

I really like the colour, although I'm not sure it goes that well with my freshly dyed red hair! Maybe if I applied it from the bullet it'd look better against my hair?  As much as I'm a total sucker for red lipsticks, I do really love a bright pink too - like the Illamasqua Eurydice matte pink, utterly gorgeous!

Overall I really love this lipstick and I'll definitely be wearing it more - I think it'll look much better in a couple of months when I dye my hair chocolate brown :)

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Beauty UK Shimmer Box in Rose

Beauty UK Shimmer Box in Rose

Beauty UK Shimmer Box in Rose swatches

Beauty UK Shimmer Box in Rose on the cheeks

In my £15 high street challenge post on Tuesday, you'll have seen I picked up this blusher by Beauty UK - it's the first thing I've tried by the brand so I had no real expectations.  On appearance, it reminds me of the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks, and I'd imagine that's no accident.  But, seeing as I've never tried any of the Shimmer Bricks, I really can't compare.

In this box there is a mix of 5 different shades - 4 are pink, and one is pretty much white.  Generally, you'd just swirl your blusher brush over all of them, but if you wanted to add a little bit of highlight, you could just use a smaller brush, or your finger to go into the white shade, could be good to use on the cupids bow?

Just thinking about it, these could also double up as eye shadows.  Personally, I'm not a fan of pink shadow, so I wouldn't use it for that - it'll be staying as a blusher in my collection!  Each stripe is shimmery, so does contain little glitter particles, but I didn't find that this translated onto my skin - it did give me a gorgeous glow though without being overly shimmery.  

The quality is lovely - I only needed one swirl for each cheek.  It's very well pigmented, but not over the top, and blended beautifully.  With blusher, as a rule, I always use my powder brush after applying blusher to soften the look just by brushing it over the cheeks - it helps to soften the edges of the blush.

I bought mine at Superdrug for £4.99 - do I think it's worth the price? Yep, it's a really lovely blusher with a lovely finish that's great quality.  So far my foray into Beauty UK is great, are there any other products of theirs you'd recommend?


Friday, 20 February 2015

Collection Volumising Mascara

Collection volumising mascara

Collection Volumising Mascara wand

Collection Volumising mascara on the lashes

I picked this up in my £15 high street challenge in January for about £3.50, it's actually an annoying story how I came to own this which I won't bore you with, but I will say I had high hopes.  With a claim of 10 times the volume (it's volume I need more than length), they had a lot to live up to.

Generally I'm a fan of Collection products, they've come a long way since I was a young teenager and delving into makeup for the first time (the cheap brands really weren't great back then).  Their fast stroke liner and eye shadow palettes are pretty decent.  This also had the type of wand I like, rubber bristles - the wand is large similar to the Cover Girl Lash Blast too (one of my favs), so again, I was expecting a lot.

Can you see where this review is going?  Yeah... for me, it was quite a disappointment - there's no way I'm getting 10 x the volume.  Yeah it doesn't look totally terrible with 2 coats, but when you compare it to the new Benefit Rollerlash (picture below), there's a massive difference.  With Rollerlash I get definition, length, curl, volume and in general it looks like I have loads more lashes, they just look better. At best, I'd say this Collection mascara is decent enough for wearing to School/College/Uni, but I certainly wouldn't wear it on a night out...
2 coats of Benefit Rollerlash

... scrap that, I doubt I'll reach for it again, end of.  There's much better budget alternatives out there, like the Makeup Revolution Viper mascara (pictured below), very decent and only £3 (cheaper than the Collection one) - so if I were you, I'd spend my money on that one instead.

2 coats of Makeup Revolution Viper mascara

Well, I had intended this review was more positive than that, but after looking at the pictures long and hard, I can see just how rubbish this mascara is.  Sorry Collection, you really missed the mark with this one :/
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