Monday, 23 June 2014

Manic.Monday: A brush with water decals

For being a self confessed polishaholic, I have experimented surprisingly little with nail art and the furthest I've gone into the realm of different nail art techniques is to apply gemstones (surprise, surprise...) or using self adhesive nail stickers so when I got a selection of gorgeous water decals* from Born Pretty the time had come for me to go forth and explore the wonderful world of nail art. I wanted to do something summery with fresh contrasts so as a base for the look I used Barry M nail paint (£2.99) in Matte White. Barry M is one of my go to brands and I have to say that I've got more of their nail polishes than I can count. The consistency of this particular shade is ever so slightly different than the others in that it's a tiny bit more runny which means that you only need the smallest of drops of product for it to cover your nail, which would also help to minimise any mess of excess polish on cuticles etc. Even though the formula is a bit more difficult to work with, the pigmentation is fairly strong for a light shade and far from sheer, although I would definitely recommend that you apply two coats for a nice opaque solid color, which isn't really an effort since each coat will dry quite quickly. Matte White is a lovely crisp, clean and fresh look for summer, perfect for enhancing a tan and despite being a matte finish you still get a lovely and natural shine that lasts for about 3-4 days on its own before it starts to chip.
Having let the white base dry properly I moved on to try my luck with the beautiful water decals*. I absolutely loved the abstract brushstrokes in azure blue with gold specks and I was very excited to see how they actually turned out on the nail, and if they were easy to work with. When it comes to water decals, the clue is in the name and you basically need to plunge them into water to get them pliable enough for sticking them onto the nail. According to the instructions, you should peel the film off the decal before you dip it into water, but I found it impossible to take the film off while dry, so I would recommend that you simply cut out the shape of the decal then put it in the water for up to a minute and when you take it out, it'll already have started to come away from the paper making it very easy to transfer onto the nail using a pair of tweezers. After you've placed the decal on your nail, you soak up any excess water with a cotton pad or some tissue - blast the nail under a blow dryer for about 20 secs so that the decal is completely soft and dry, and then finish off by sealing it in on the nail with a top coat. Once the decal has set on the nail, it'll last for about 4-5 days and it's also surprisingly easy to remove with a good dip and twist nail polish remover, taking no more than a few seconds to remove.
I do like the effect and having got the hang of the technique now, I think that with more practice and experimenting with different colors and also other accents, you can create some really wonderful look, however I also have to say that it is quite fiddly and a fair amount of work just to get a decal on your nail - approximately 5-6 mins for each nail that you decide to decorate. As much as I love different nail looks, personally I prefer a simple self adhesive sticker to the effort you have to put in with a water decal, but if you have some time to spare you should definitely give it a go and see how you get on with it and Born Pretty has a great selection of all kinds of nail art for next to nothing and they always have great offers on, including free worldwide delivery. To make it even more difficult to resist, you get an additional 10% off on whatever you treat yourself to when you enter the discount code CANW10, so head over to Born Pretty and embrace your creative side for some unique, eye catching nails.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Fan di Fendi? Oh yes, I'm definitely a fan!

Before we look at this gem of a scent, Fan di Fendi Eau Fraiche that I've been wearing religiously for the past week, which is a bit of a record for me I thought I would talk a little bit about today since it's one of the most important and popular holidays of the year in Sweden, it is - Midsummer's Eve! Originally it's a pagan fertility celebration of the summer solstice, but today we celebrate it more because it's the official start to summer and we have the the shortest nights of the year, where in some parts of the country you can still see the sun at midnight - an incredibly beautiful sight. At Midsummer the whole country stops, cities and towns are empty as a lot of people go to the countryside or the coast to join in the celebrations, which might seem a little bit "exotic" if you haven't seen them before - just ask Him Indoors about his first encounter with Midsummer, but to sum it up it's all about lots of food, dancing and drinking. When I was a child we would always start the day with picking wild flowers to make a wreath for my hair, and also because according to tradition girls who haven't yet found their other half, should put seven different wild flowers under their pillow, and they'll dream of their future husband - sweet isn't it, and I seem to remember ruining many pillow cases that way... There's also always the equivalent of a May pole with flowers and leaves, that we dance around and you'll see people dressed up in traditional clothing from the different Swedish counties, and this is when the infamous "frog dance" takes place. Having worked up an appetite, there's usually a feast of traditional Midsummer food; pickled herring in lots of different sauces, sour cream, chives, new potatoes, dill and strawberries. Midsummer's Eve is usually a great relaxing day with your friends and family and if I've made you curious about this well loved Swedish tradition or the "frog dance", you should have a look at this short and hilarious You Tube video.

 Traditional Midsummer's Eve celebrations
Midnight Sun 

A fragrance which for me perfectly captures Midsummer is the beautiful Fan Di Fendi Eau Fraiche EdT (£32.75). Before I got the Eau Fraiche I had tried many of Fendi's previous scents, but none of them were right for me, and with their spicy, balsamic wooden notes I found them quite heavy and to be honest - a bit old fashioned. But when I first tested Fan di Fendi Eau Fraiche I was totally surprised at how different it was from the others and I was immediately completely hooked. The scent comes in a stylish and minimalist chic bottle with the classic Fendi logo at the front in a light green color, hinting to its fresh and harmonious character. It's a gorgeously well balanced blend of feminine sensual white flowers including jasmine, zesty fresh citrus and bergamot, green tea, soft orange blossom, and a warm but not overwhelming hint of cardamom.  
Fan di Fendi Eau Fraiche is a gorgeously well balanced blend of feminine sensual white flowers including jasmine, zesty fresh citrus and bergamot, green tea, soft orange blossom, and a warm but not overwhelming hint of cardamom. It's a very unexpected, contemporary scent and on a hot summer day, its airy greenness is a perfect cooling and comforting scent that is also very refined and graceful. I absolutely adore this scent and am so glad that I decided to test it, despite my previous experience of Fendi fragrances and now I definitely call myself a Fan! It's not always easy to get hold of Fendi scents and I actually bought mine at duty free early this year, but you can find Fendi in Harrods and online at where they also offer free UK delivery. Although I only have a small May pole for the table and we won't actually be doing any silly dancing, I've got the food and drink all planned and smelling sweetly I'm off to start celebrating Midsummer. Have a Glad midsommar - Happy Midsummer everyone! Xx

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Jurlique's Herbal Recovery Gel* - Skin magic from Down Under

Hello everyone and happy mid week! It's my first day back in Blogiverse after having been away for a few days and it's so nice to be back since I've really missed writing posts and of course reading all your comments, but I simply couldn't do any blogging at all while I was away. But I'm here now, at least for a few weeks before I have to go away again, and today I've got a skin care product for you that I'm really excited about for several reasons. I'm sure I'm not the only one with a long wish list of  products and brands that I want to try, and one of the brands that I've been very curious about is Jurlique. Before I started reading blogs a few years ago I had never even heard about Jurlique, but the past year I've seen Jurlique products mentioned so often that it's quickly moved higher and higher up on my wish list, so when I was sent a sample of Jurlique's Herbal Recovery Gel* by Beauty Expert I was absolutely thrilled. Jurlique is an Australian natural plant based skin care brand with products that focus on enhancing your skin's radiance and health, using only pure ingredients from its own organic farm which are free from synthetic chemicals and any nasties ending with - cides (pesticides, herbicides, insecticides etc), and the brand also has a strong commitment to sustainable environment policies and supporting education and empowerment of women globally.
Jurlique's Herbal Recovery Gel (£30) is a high performance anti-ageing serum suitable for all skin types, packed with ingredients formulated to completely restore and revitalise your skin. Ginseng root, vitamin C + E, Marshmallow and Evening Primrose help to add and retain moisture, tighten the skin, reducing the look of fine lines, protect the skin from anti-oxidants, while also boosting radiance at the same time. In short, it's the complete package! The serum comes in a lovely frosted glass bottle with a handy little pump and it has a gorgeous harmonious subtle aromatic scent of rose. Even though it's called a gel, the texture is very light and what I would consider more fluid than a gel which means that you only need one pump per application, it's completely non sticky and it quickly absorbs into the skin with some gentle pressing making the skin feeling wonderfully soft, nourished and protected. I've used the serum for more than a month now, before applying moisturiser in the morning and in the evening and already after a few days I noticed that my skin felt very toned and radiant, and after a further few weeks I definitely noticed that the serum has improved how my skin retains moistures throughout the entire day, even when I've been out in the sun and my skin hasn't been thirsty at all in the evenings.

I can't remember the last time I got all these qualities in one product with a noticeable quick improvement, so in short - the Herbal Recovery Gel is the complete product and no wonder it's a bit of a cult product with quite a following among  the rich and famous and celebrities alike. I'm so impressed with Jurlique and have quickly also bought the well known Rosewater Balancing Water, which I'm now looking forward to start testing soon. I got my Herbal Recovery Gel* from Beauty Expert - they have an amazing range of products from skin care to makeup and fragrance from all the best brands, some which can be a bit difficult to find, and they also offer free delivery world wide. If you buy two Jurlique products at the moment, you get 20% discount and a sample of Jurlique's award winning Purely Age Defying Facial Serum, a great opportunity to get to know this lovely brand from Down Under.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

The InstaWeek that was #4

What an amazing warm Sunday, perfect for enjoying an indulgent creamy frappucino (can you tell I haven't had my daily Starbucks fix yet...? ) in the sunshine and a light read. I've had quite a few photos go up on my Instagram lately, so here's a quick recap of the InstaWeek that was.
The InstaWeek that was:
It's summer time and if you read This Summer I Shoes Flats, you'll know that I've swapped my high heels for glamorous flats and these beauties from Dune are this season's favorites for me // Colouring books for grown ups make studying FUN // Lovely refreshing strawberry lemonade from Starbucks US - I so wish we could get that here in the UK // A nice little surprise from Him Indoors, a huge bunch of dried lavender that makes the house smell like Provence // I started the 7 day juice challenge, only having smoothies and juice for 7 days - how difficult can that be... well stay tuned, because I'm doing a post about it in a few weeks // Girls night in with my best beauty pals // After month's of waiting I finally started testing my Ole Henriksen Truth range, so exciting! // Great night at the cinema watching Maleficent, envying those cheekbones // This monster arachnoid invaded my bedroom and with no husband to save me I did sleep in the guest room... yep... 

Highlights this week:
- I published my 300th post on the blog - amazing how time flies, and soon I've got the first anniversary coming up too.
- Packing and preparing for my mini adventure for the next few weeks

I've have to take a few days break from the blog since I'll be away for the next week, but I'll post regularly on my Instagram, so don't forget to check in every now and then. I'll be back again on June 18 and until then I hope you have a brilliant week and see you soon! Xx

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Out and about: Hinton Ampner in Hampshire

I'm a creature of habit and must confess that I have certain routines that I follow, especially at weekends when you've got all the time in the world: long morning workout, Starbucks, a bit of shopping etc. But as much as I like that routine, I'm always up for a day trip out somewhere - it's something different, you'll discover new places and things to do, a great opportunity to do some photography and it's almost like having a mini holiday. It doesn't even have to be great weather but of course it's a welcome bonus when it is, and when we went to Hinton Ampner a few weeks ago, the sun was out and it was a beautiful early summer day - so out with the sandals and show off those colorful, gem covered toe nails. Hinton Ampner is a beautiful manor in the rolling Hampshire countryside with lush colorful and romantic gardens, like something straight out of a Jane Austen novel. You can have a look inside the elegant and tasteful house, picture yourself snuggled up in front one of the gorgeous fireplaces or have a wander through the park or gardens before either heading for the tea room (yep, that's me) or enjoy a picnic looking out over the country side and then finish off with buying some locally made delicacies - cider, wine, jams, relishes and biscuits, everything you need for an evening snack. Needless to say Happy Snapper in me came out and took some photos that I'm showing today and I really hope you like them!
It's a lovely place that I highly recommend for a relaxing few hours out and about, and if like me you enjoy discovering places like this, you might want to invest in a National Trust Membership which gives you "free" (not counting the membership fee) access to more than 500 gorgeous mansion, parks and gardens in the UK, of which a lot of them have been used as filming locations and there are usually lots of interesting activities going on too.

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

My 300th post - FOTD

A while back I asked you my wonderful readers what type of posts you would like to see more of and one of the lovely suggestions that I got back was to do more Face Of The Day (FOTD) posts or makeup looks in general. As this is my 300th post today I took a little trip down memory lane looking at all the posts I've done previously, as a reminder of where I started and what I've done since then, and I was genuinely surprised that I haven't done more FOTD posts - after all I wear makeup almost every single day, I change the products that I use constantly so it's unlikely that two looks will ever be exactly the same, so I'm going to make a conscious effort to do more of these types of posts.

The look I'm showing you today has been a bit of a go to look ever since I did my Clinique haul, that I talked about in Clicking with Clinique since I used this to try out a few of the products I had bought. I've also worn it quite a lot since I haven't really been in the mood for wearing complicated, heavy or dramatic statement makeup and this look gives a natural glow and emphasizes my features without being too imposing which you can create in less than 5 minutes. For my foundation I've used the Clinique Moisture Surge CC Cream Colour Corrector (£28) in the shade Medium, which is perfect for a light to medium coverage, for an even skin tone adding a hint of colour and a lovely subtle radiance. For me it's important to get the foundation right, especially when you're aiming for a light and natural look, so I applied the CC Cream using my MOXI O1 Foundation Brush (£13.50) which is brilliant for creating a streak-free, flawless finish.
Since the CC Cream is very long lasting and wears well throughout the day it's been great for these amazing warm days we've had, and I've been 100% confident that my foundation has stayed in place. Because of the colour correcting properties I haven't had to bother with concealer, which has been a very welcome time saver so I've just moved quickly on to do my eyes using another one of the products I bought, Clinique's Chubby Stick Shadow Tint for Eyes (£17). When I first tried chubby sticks for eyes last year I never in a million years thought I would come to like them as much as I have - they are so practical, quick and easy to use and the soft texture is pleasant to wear as well as long lasting. The latest shade I picked up is Whopping Willow, a delicate, golden sage green and which might look a bit unusual but on the eyelid it settles beautifully creating a very natural look with a tiny bit of depth.

To frame my eyes, I've used my trusted Rimmel Professional Eye Brow Pencil (£2.99) in Hazel for a bit of definition and color since otherwise I'll look as mysterious as the Mona Lisa, although on her no eyebrows is a stroke of genius and on me it's just plain wrong. This fuss free eye brow pencil has a soft and formula with just the right amount wax which makes it easy to apply exactly the amount of color you want with a minimum of effort without compromising the long wear. For my lashes I opted for Maybelline Colossal Volume Express (£7.99) in Black, since I never want to compromise on lash length or volume, regardless of which makeup look I'm going for. This was the first time that I tried this mascara, so I'll save my comments on it for a separate review that I'll be doing in a few weeks time so if you're curious about it, don't forget to keep your eyes peeled for that review.

For a look with subtle glow and color, you can't skip the bronzer and although there are loads of brilliant bronzers on the high street, I keep coming back to the amazing MUA Bronzer (£1) in shade 1, which I have mentioned a few times previously. The powder is light and fine with good pigmentation and you only need a quick dab with your bronzer brush in the pan - I use the Real Techniques Retractable Bronzer Brush (£13.99), to pick up enough product to cover all the area that the sun would naturally reach - temples, forehead, chin and tip of the nose. I also use the MUA Bronzer for some sculpting and during the summer, I'll often choose to skip the blusher and just use this shade on the apples of my cheek too. I really like shade 1 - it's a golden light bronze that adds lots of warmth to the face without that orange tone that you often see.
Last but not least and perhaps the most difficult decision - what to wear on the lips? Since I wanted something soft and girly, but with enough color to bring it all together and keep it from being too pale I decided on my Tanya Burr Lipgloss (£6.99) in Afternoon Tea. This is a lovely non sticky (yes they do exist) moisturising candy smelling formula, packed with pigmentation that creates a glossy slick finish that lasts for hrs and hrs. Out of all of the lovely 12 colors in the Tanya Burr Lipgloss range, the creamy coral pink Afternoon Tea is definitely my favorite, and if you haven't already tried these lipglosses, you're missing out on a amazing product so why not treat yourself this weekend to one of the fabulous shades. So that's it - all done, a nice and casual summery look, and if you check out my Instagram, you'll also see the outfit I was wearing this particular day. Even though this is the face of the day, I have a feeling this quick and easy natural glowing look might also be the face of this summer for me. What makeup do you use for your favorite natural look at the moment?

Monday, 2 June 2014

Manic.Monday: Check out OPI's Can't Find My Czechbook

As a polishaholic I'm almost ashamed and outraged that I haven't previously dedicated a Manic.Monday post to OPI alone, and I can only blame that almost unforgivable polish faux pas on the amount of beautiful shades that have clearly distracted me. Fact is that OPI is one of my absolute favorite brands because of the amazing range of shades (almost 300 different colors) with cheeky names that always make me smile, the excellent formula and the very reasonable price point. So today I'm hoping to remedy myself by focusing entirely on this gorgeous must have shade which is OPI's Can't Find My Czechbook (£6.93). I have a thing about blue nail polishes, and some day I should probably do a post on my more than 50 different shades of blue. Any shade - be it deep, dark, sinister and inky blue or soft, pastel, delicate baby blue, is a magnet to my all color loving nail polish eye so for me to say that a blue shade is a "favorite" is quite a statement - but this beautiful soft blend between Tiffany blue and sky blue is definitely a color that I would wear all year around.
The formula is lovely and liquidy without being too watery, and all the OPI shades that I have tried have a very creamy and rich element to them, regardless of the actual color and you can tell that you're working with a quality polish. OPI brushes are not particularly wide, but they're of good quality and in combination with the formula you can easily get a streak free smooth coverage that dries quickly with an opaque depth, even if you decide to only apply one coat, a testament to how good the pigmentation is. As you probably know I always apply two coats of nail polish since I love the solid opacity, and although you can definitely get away with wearing only one coat, personally I think that two coats really show off the silky satin finish and subtle glass-like sheen that you get even before applying a top coat - and that's exactly what you see in the photo. If you were to apply a top coat as well, you would emphasize that beautiful high shine look even more and you might even prolong the wear. On me OPI lasts about 3-4 days before it starts to chip, which for me is a little longer than average but to be honest with you I wouldn't have cared if the wear was even less than that since the color is so pretty, but should you get fed up with the color even earlier, the OPI polishes are easy to remove with an acetone free nail polish remover. I LOVE this gorgeous summery shade and would definitely recommend that you Czech it out.

Sunday, 1 June 2014

I love nail polish TAG

I wasn't actually asked to do this TAG, but since I am an incorrigible polishaholic - there is just no end to my lust or should I say craving for nail polish, I couldn't think of a more appropriate TAG for me to do than this one. I first saw this TAG a very long time ago, back in 2013 and unfortunately I can't remember on which lovely blog it was for me to give credit to that blog, but whoever it was - Thank you for inspiring me! I saved it for a rainy day, and today it's time to take the umbrella and wellies out and to dive deep into a big puddle of all things nail polish. Hope you enjoy it!
1. Favorite base coat? I like to use Orly's Bonder Rubberized Base Coat (£10.90) because once it dries is has a slightly sticky, tacky feel and the nail polish literally sticks to your nails, making the hold better and longer lasting. 

2. Favorite top coat? I don't have a favorite top coat as such since I like to experiment with different top coats that create different effects e.g. matte, sparkly etc, but the top coat that I have been using most recently is Seche's Vite Dry Fast Top Coat (£9.95). The Seche Vite Top Coat is famous for making nail polishes dry quicker than you can say Seche Vite, but since I don't really mind if it takes a few minutes for a nail polish to dry properly, it's a great excuse to have a latte and relax a little while - this isn't the main selling point for me. Instead I really like that Seche Vite helps the finish last a day longer than with other top coats, which is always a welcome thing.

3. Top 3 favorite nail polish brands? I guess this depends on what you're looking for - is it an amazing range of colors, long lasting wear, quick drying formula, wide brush or maybe even all of the above (yep, that would be little ol' demanding me)? Nevertheless, I immediately think of Zoya, Sally Hansen and Ciaté. There are a lot of good brands available on the high street, although they may not necessarily be the most popular or most mentioned brands in Blogiverse, but for me Zoya, Sally Hansen and Ciaté are playing in a different nail league altogether. They may not be the most affordable brands, but they are very moderately priced considering the excellent product quality you get.

4. How often do you paint your nails? As soon as a nail polish starts to chip. I don't care what anyone says; that it may be grungy or heroin chic to have chipped nails, I think it's absolutely AWFUL and if that means that I have to paint my nails more than once a day sometimes when I wear a polish of really poor quality (but the color is irresistible), then so be it - it only takes a few seconds and it looks like I actually care, which I DO!

5. Favorite neutral nail polish? I'm a bit of a peacock when it comes to nail polish and I love to use different colors regardless of whether they're light or dark, but neutral colors rarely excite me. I do have quite a few neutral shades, but I only wear them very rarely and the only one that I really love to wear and go back to somewhat regularly (a few times a year perhaps) is the YSL's 38 Gris Underground (£22) - a chic, stylish and understated cool grey that is about as neutral as it gets with me.

6. Pink or red nail polishes? Easy - red! Pink looks amazing on others, but personally I've never been very comfortable wearing pink nails and I much prefer any shade of red from vibrant intense fire engine red to dark, vampy and sophisticated blood red. 

7. Favorite finish (matte, glitter, etc.)? This is a very tricky one for me since nail effects is one of my beauty passions, but I would have to say that my absolute favourite is the Pixi dust, or sugared effect. I can't get enough of that matte, shimmery and unusual concrete glam look and I guess my more than 10 different bottles of this beautiful finish is evidence of that. 

8. Your go-to nail polish at the moment? As a polishaholic I can't honestly say that I have a go-to polish brand or even color. I chop and change colors and effects so often and I have very few specific shades that I call my favorites, but one of them is the incredible Blu from Zoya, which was one of the first nail polishes I ever reviewed on my blog in the post My new BNFF (Best Nail Friend Forever).    

 9. What's on your nails now? Believe it or not - NOTHING! I'm currently going through two weeks of nail detox, which I suffer through a couple of times a year to give my nails a well deserved break filled with TLC, showering them with attention using my go to nail care products; Lush Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter (£6.50) which is fantastic for turning cuticles from frayed and dried into supple and nourished, and Sally Hansen's Miracle Nail Growth (£9.99), which actually DOES work. 

10. If you had nail polish line how would you name it? What a fantastic question! Since I'm a bit of a crazy cat lady I would call it Felin' Fine. I have it all worked out - the bottle would be in the shape of a cat, with little whiskers and a tail, and the top would be the cat's face with little pointy cat ears and two little gems as eyes and the color of the gems would differ between polish shades so that the eyes either matched or contrasted the polish color. I've put far too much thought into this.... scary...

This was so much fun to do and I'm more than a little tempted to give my Felin' Fine nail brand a go! I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that since I wasn't tagged to do this, I've decided that I won't nominate anyone in particular to join in either, but I really hope that it's inspired some of you enough to pick this cute TAG up - and if you do, please share the link since I would love to read your version of it! Have a wonderful relaxing Sunday and I'm back again tomorrow for more nail polish - after all it wouldn't be Monday if it wasn't Manic.