Friday, 28 March 2014

Essie No Chips Ahead top coat

I know this isn't the most exciting post I could do, but I've been looking for a new top coat for ages! As I've said before in other posts, I really love Nails Inc and their Kensington Caviar top coat has long been a favourite of mine. The main reason is its super quick drying formula - I love the fact that I can get on with my day just a few minutes after painting my nails.

This Essie No Chips Ahead top coat doesn't dry nearly as quickly - something I've had to adapt to! However it really works.. My nails are very dry and brittle so usually nail polish chips off very quickly. I definitely noticed they lasted longer after using Essie's top coat. 

So glad I found another winner.

Hopefully my next post won't be so far away as the last one - I've been getting an earlier train to work, which means I've had to put my makeup on during my morning commute rather than writing my posts. 

Xx Alice xX

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

& Other Stories - Cleanse and tone treat, Gauzy night cream

I said I went a bit mad in & Other Stories, so here's part II of what I bought..

I've been looking for a new cleanser for a while, having reached the end of my Soap and Glory Peaches and Clean cleanser. I really liked the S&G one - the smell is divine and it was nice and creamy for the cold weather, without being too greasy on my combination skin. However I wanted to try a new brand, so naturally when I saw the range at & Other Stories I had to get some.

I chose the Cleanse and Tone Treat, which at £5 seemed a little too good to be true. You need to put it on a cotton pad and wipe it over your face - I always rinse after as it doesn't feel like cleansing without water! The effect is good - my skin feels fresh, and it smells really nice. However don't believe the claims that it takes off makeup - or rather it does, but only after 4-5 wipes! So I use Bioderma or an oil to remove makeup first and then use the cleanser. 

The other skincare product I bought was Gauzy night cream, as again I have reached the end of my Nivea night cream and wanted to branch out. This is really nice, quite thick but not greasy with a light, pleasant fragrance. 

The whole range are travel/gym bag sizes, which is good too as I'm trying to get myself in the gym a bit more. I would definitely buy more in the & Other Stories range - although quite cheap they don't feel or look it. The primer in particular looks appealing.. 

Xx Alice xX

Monday, 17 March 2014

& other stories - Tartarin Orange

Wow I LOVE this!! 

Sorry I just had to get that out. I went shopping on the weekend and stumbled across & Other Stories on Regent Street. Having heard great things about this shop I had to go in, and I admit I went a bit mad.. (More on the other products at another time - I haven't tested them properly yet)

From a nail perspective I picked up Tartarin Orange because orange is quite big atm and it was a colour my collection was sorely lacking. 

After tidying up my cuticles and applying a base coat of Sally Hansen nail strengthener (yup still persevering!) I went to open my new polish. For such a tiny bottle it really has the most unnecessary amount of packaging! Stickers covering plastic with nail ruining tightness - I had to use my cuticle cutters to get into it! 
Once I got in though I loved this polish. The brush was that nice flat/fat one I raved about on the No7 polishes. The colour is so bright, shiny and dries quickly. I put on 2 coats initially but then went back later with a third as it wasn't quite opaque. 
It has lasted me 2 days so far which is great (for me!). Very spring, I totally love this and can't wait to get more colours! 

Xx Alice xX

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Deborah Lippmann - Marnie

After the disappointment of Jessa I thought it was only fair to try out the other colours. This time I chose Marnie, the pale pink one.

This is much more up my street colour wise, and the application was much smoother. I only needed 2 coats for an opaque coverage, and it looks less streaky than the red. 

I really like how quickly this polish dries. It also seems fairly resistant to chipping, which is a big plus. 

So well done Marnie - you've recovered what seemed like a big fail a few days ago. 

On another note, how amazing is this weather?! I'm currently sitting outside the Tower of London by the river and it is gorgeous. Is summer finally on its way?!

Xx Alice xX 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Deborah Lippmann - Girls

My super amazing Selfridges buy is at last being revealed..... That's right, it's the Girls special edition varnishes by Deborah Lippmann!

Now I've been so excited to try these since I first saw them advertised, and the colours all seem to be something I'd like to wear (don't you hate buying a pack and having one you really would never touch but don't feel like you can just throw it away?!) 

The box is really cute and I like the shape of the bottles too. I decided to try Jessa, which is the red one, as I haven't worn red in a while and it looks so gorgeously vampy. 

But I have to say I feel slightly disappointed. The application is not great - the consistency seems very thin and watery, so that the layers go on quite streaky. It took 3/4 layers to get it looking even. I don't know if this is normal for Deborah Lippmann polishes but I don't really like that personally. The thinness also meant it bled into my cuticles on almost every nail which is annoying. 

On the positive side, it dried amazingly fast so you don't have to hang around long between coats. I like the colour - it's exactly how I thought it would look from the bottle. 

Sadly I wasn't as wowed as I had hoped. Maybe when I try a lighter colour it will work out better for me.

Have a great weekend!

Xx Alice xX

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Pancake time!

Ok so this has nothing to do with nails whatsoever except that it meant I didn't have time last night to paint mine! 

Pancake day crept up on me big time this year - I only realised it was yesterday when I heard a woman talking about it on the train whilst on my way to work. Where's the year gone?! Seriously, it's March already?! You know what that means though.. Spring and sunshine and no more frost (you wouldn't believe it walking outside this morning though).

So we made ours from scratch and they turned out pretty well! I had 2 cheese and tomato, one Nutella and one sugar and lemon. In all my 24 years I'd never tried sugar and lemon pancakes! It was a revelation. So much so that I've made a couple to have as a snack at work today. I'm hoping they won't be too soggy!

Hope you all had a lovely pancake day.

I promise to get back to nails tomorrow 😄 

Xx Alice xX

Monday, 3 March 2014

Essie Sleek Stick nail stickers

Happy Monday!

As promised, I did try out the Essie nail stickers this weekend. They are a really nice colour, and definitely added something to my going-out outfit this weekend. 

But how easy were they to do?

Well I started by taking out everything from the packet and reading the (very short!) instructions.

Step 1: choose the right sized sticker.
Now here I had some issues. My fingers are very small and none of the stickers were a perfect fit. 

Step 2: stick on nail. Ok, easy enough! The first couple of nails creased up quite a bit before I got the hang of how to smooth them down. 
Also as you can see the stickers are huge! So I had to cut the ends off to do them properly. 

Step 3: fold over the ends and file off the excess. Again, this was a lot easier than I had anticipated. I didn't fold them completely over as my nails are a bit small to do this easily but the filing worked anyway. 
Step 4: repeat on all nails!
This picture is of my first hand, but the second hand was a lot better - practice really helps with these! Next time I feel they will look nicer. 

So my overall verdict:
    Timing: 9/10 - doing nail stickers is so quick! I was done in about 20 minutes, and you don't need to include drying time. 
    Finish: 6/10 - the stickers were too big on a couple of my nails, so I should've cut them before putting them on. I do think it would be good if Essie did different sizes because I don't believe I'm the only one with small hands! 
    Difficulty: 8/10 - I was surprised at how easy these were to do! I got better with practice and even the left hand wasn't hard. 

One other observation: don't wash your hair after applying the stickers! Water makes them loose, and they will peel off. Not so long lasting after all.. 

Xx Alice xX

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Creatively uncreative - can I do it?!

I think I'm obsessed with nail art blogs. They're so amazingly clever. I was never creative at school - my art work comprised mainly of stick men and crumpled up pieces of paper. I had to endure art exams for several years before gsce's finally allowed me to drop it. I have terrible memories of drawing a piece of fruit in 5 minutes then sitting bored out of my mind for the next 1 hour 55 minutes of the exam. 

And yet I love art. Probably because I can't do it, so its a sort of magical mystery cloud that is always just out of my reach. 

I wasn't going to admit this when I first started my blog for fear that no one would care to read about a substandard wannabe nail artist. But then I thought, hang on there must be others like me right? Those who love nail polish, have literally hundreds of bottles, who play around anyway despite a notable lack of talent?! 

So then I decided to start a piece on how easy various nail art designs are. Inspired by Grav3yard Girl's "does this thing really work" (which btw is totally addictive YouTube viewing) I thought I'd do something similar with nails. Can I do more than just a plain base, colour, top coat combo?! 

I don't know. I have some nail wraps in my drawer sitting untouched, which I got in a Glossybox, that I'm too scared to use in case I ruin them and therefore waste them. So that will be my first challenge. I think I'll do that on the weekend as I feel it may take me a while! Watch this space for the results..

Xx Alice xX

Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Nails Inc Lowndes Square

So it's back to my old fave today - Nails Inc. 

Having said in a post couple day's ago that I don't really do purple, I found Lowndes Square in my drawer which is a dark purple with sort of grey tones. I had forgotten about this one and it had separated a bit from lack of love. So I had to show it some love today. 

I generally only do 2 coats but I found on my right hand (painted with my left) that its a bit transparent still. Not sure why I don't paint thick layers with my left hand - must be the concentration of not getting it all over my skin! But it could've done with a 3rd layer.

I topped it off, as usual, with Nails Inc Kensington Caviar and I'm still going strong with my Sally Hansen nail strengthener as a base coat (pun intended). 

I'm looking to try a new top coat, so I'm gonna hunt around for suggestions on other blogs..

My Selfridges trip yesterday was lovely btw. I always walk in the handbag entrance and browse a bit. I'm currently obsessed with Kate Spade, which is relatively affordable compared to some of the other brands! I just love the stripey interior. If I get one i'll be sure to show you! 

Xx Alice xX

Tuesday, 25 February 2014

Take me to Selfridge's!

I'm very excited today because I've just received an email saying my purchase is now ready to be collected from Selfridge's.

Now yes, part of my excitement is to do with the purchase itself (to be revealed soon!). But actually most of my excitement is having an excuse to go to my favourite shop in London. I don't often buy anything there but the place is magical to walk around.

I've been avidly watching the Mr Selfridge TV series on my Sunday nights. What beautiful clothes! Rose's dress at the concert was so fabulous, and I love the jewels and fancy hair pieces. And the manners! As I stand on a train in my work heels with 10 men in suits sitting around me not giving a damn, I do often wonder what it was like when chivalry was a real thing. But we asked to be treated equally didn't we girls, so I suppose I shouldn't complain. Courtship was a funny thing in those days too, without mobile phones they actually had to go out and find the person to ask on a date! I'm thinking of Kitty and Mr Edwards here, where that kiss meant so much more than a kiss nowadays. 

Anyway I guess it's easy to look back and see the past through rose tinted glasses. In real life, the people were very much like us - people. Some nice, some not. There's no doubt the possibilities are much more exciting right now - they couldn't blog about nails back then could they?! 

But it would be nice to travel back just once and see Selfridge's as it was then....

Xx Alice xX

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Barry M Silk nail paint - Heather

It's that time of the week again - Sunday night, work in the morning, just enough time to sort out those last little bits and bobs.

Yes, time also to take off my "weekend" nails and get serious again. 

I was in Boots today (that place makes a killing out of me!) and having read a fair bit about Barry M's new silk polishes, I decided to pick one up - Heather. It's a violet colour with a shimmery finish, that makes it feel sort of princess-y (or is that just me?!)

Now the first thing that struck me about this when I applied it was how quickly it dried. A very useful last-minute-on-Sunday attribute! Then I noticed that it also dried matt. The shimmer gives it a nice reflection off light, but it's not got that gel like shine. I personally prefer shine, but the matt is quite refreshing. Overall I really like this varnish. 

In case you were wondering, I also used Sally Hansen miracle cure strengthener as a base coat to get my nails growing a bit more.

The green No7 Spring Meadow that I used and reviewed last time was fab by the way, lasted even though I cleaned and washed up a dozen times this weekend. It did slightly stain my nails though, but not badly. 

Have a lovely Monday! 

Xx Alice xX

Saturday, 22 February 2014

No7 Stay Perfect Nail Colour - Spring Meadow

As usual when I buy something in Boots, I'm rewarded with a £3 off No7 makeup voucher. So naturally my gaze wandered off to the No7 counter to see what newbies I could find..

Lo and behold, there in front of me stood 3 new nail polish colours, in pale green, pink and orange (I didn't take note of the names, but they're pretty obvious if you go into any Boots store!) With the voucher they were only £3. Bargainous compared to my usual love of Nails Inc and OPI. 

So I went for the green as it was a colour my collection was sadly lacking in. The name is Spring Meadow, and yes Spring is exactly what it reminds me of. Well done No7 marketing team.

Now I've never used No7 nail polishes so excuse my excitement which I'm sure you all experienced like 10 years ago. But OMG the brush is amazing! It's such a good shape - like a normal brush that's been squashed under a car tyre. Flat and wide enough to cover my whole nail in one swipe (I have pathetically small fingers) 

So much better than the Nails Inc brush. 

The formula is a bit weak - it took 3 coats to get a good solid colour, and even then it's not that opaque - but it dried quick enough and has so far not chipped (we'll see what happens after cleaning the house today!) 

So overall very impressed. Definitely going to try out some more. The new blusher sticks and powder palette also looked tempting...

Xx Alice xX

Thursday, 20 February 2014

OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go

All this cold weather is really playing havoc with my nails. They have become fragile and flakey, and my cuticles are dry and rough. 

For years I have used Nails Inc's cuticle oil which comes in a cute silver pen. It smells good, is easy to apply and seems to work pretty well. But I've just become bored with it, so while in Boots yesterday sorting out my tights issue (I got dressed in the dark that morning and put on blue tights with a brown skirt.. Looked just a bit odd in broad daylight!) I had a look at some cuticle oils.

OPI caught my eye right away. I have loved their nail polishes ever since I had a manicure that lasted for well over a week without chipping (that never happens to me, ever). So I decided to get their Avoplex Cuticle Oil To Go. 

It has a gel like texture, much more solid than the Nails Inc one, which comes out onto a small brush.
The smell is divine - like watermelon - but it's not so strong that its all you can smell. It rubs in ok and sinks in quickly. The short term effects are good, my cuticles are looking instantly better. The longer term effects are yet to be seen - i'll keep you updated! 

Xx Alice xX

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

A splash of colour

After the plainness of today's work nails I decided to add a splash of colour, inspired by the beautiful colours seen on the catwalk this week (and because I love pink!)
I will admit I messed up the middle nail - the coloured diamonds are more like coloured smudges. Sigh.

Anyway I achieved this look by starting with a thin layer of Barry M in bright pink (13) and waiting for it to dry completely.
I then made a diamond with cello tape and stuck it firmly onto my nail. Then I chose a colour and painted over the hole. 
I left this for a couple of minutes before peeling it off and starting again. I had 3 sizes of diamond shapes which I reused on all my nails (which is why the last few got a bit smudgy as the polish started to bleed under the cello tape).
My polishes of choice were:
Barry M in Lemon (16), Pure Turquoise (17) and Bright Pink (13), Leighton Denny in Lilac Lust and Nails Inc Albert bridge topcoat. 

I would def do this again and be more patient with waiting for the diamonds to dry because I think the effect looks awesome! It's also a great way of using those slightly odd colours you don't necessarily want on your whole nail too.

Cya soon! Xx Alice xX

Monday, 17 February 2014

Simple nails for work

My first nail design is very simple - I have a big meeting tomorrow so can't really go mad with colour/sparkles! I love this pale look because it's quick and hides smudges/chips well.
I used a new base coat: a Boots own brand one that I found in my drawer. I think I borrowed it from my mum! Usually I use Nails Inc Kensington Caviar, but I fancied a change. It was ok, dried fairly quickly but we'll see how long it lasts! 
The colour is Rimmel 60 seconds in Pearly Pink. It took longer than 60 seconds to dry but that's probably because the base coat wasn't completely dry when I put it on. It has a lovely pearlescent pinky-blue sheen. In some lights it looks like I'm not wearing nail polish but in others the colour is quite strong. 
I topped it off with a Nails Inc matt top coat. Generally I prefer shiny top coats but I think matt suits this understated look. 
So that's it! Hope you like it, and see you again soon
Xx Alice xX

Hello, let me introduce myself...

Hi! I'm Alice... 

Wow this is like one of those awkward moments in an interview when they say "so tell me about yourself" and there's just so much to say you don't quite know where to start. A sort of rabbit-in-the-headlights moment. 

Well, I guess I'll start with what I'm doing here. I love beauty products and makeup and perfume, but my favourite beauty "thing" is nails. There's something so wonderfully feminine about having painted nails, but its also amazing how much your nails can say about you and your mood. At school, painting a French manicure was one of the first things I mastered and now I'm all grown up I love nothing more then having a professional manicure and a gossip to cheer me up. 

I have become obsessed with blogs and vlogs over the past year - I'm not sure why it took me so long to get involved actually, but now I'm here and I'm ready to add my penny's worth over the latest beauty trends. 

I must add a side note here: whilst I love fashion, I'm not one of those effortlessly cool people whose fashion sense is just so... enviable... So I probably won't talk much about fashion on this blog. But I do love handbags and shoes, so they will definitely feature somewhere! 

Anyway I hope there are some people out there who feel the same way as I do and would like a friendly chat with me about beauty things. 

I'm off to paint my nails now. Until next time! 
Xx Alice xX