Tuesday, 26 June 2012

June round up

4 days until the end of June, where has the time gone? Next thing you know it'll be Christmas!

I'm still unemployed (unless you're a teacher, builder or careworker in my town you're pretty much stuffed...) and there doesn't seem to be a job on my horizon any time soon which is irritating as I need the cash to save for uni next year. I've spent June not really doing much in all honesty, just painting my nails and taking pretty pictures of cats and owls.

Lets jump right in with the fiends of the last month... I got a selection of Soap and Glory sample sized products for my birthday, including a tube of Soap and Glory 'Glad Hair Day' Thick Conditioner. Boots tells me that the full size product is sold for £5.50 - I would be so disappointed if I had paid that myself! This conditioner is sticky and just clumps on my hair and seems to disappear within seconds of me putting it on. My hair doesn't feel any different or like it's been conditioned at all and the few times I've used it, I've had to rewash my hair later on because the conditioner just won't budge. I got the small 50ml bottle and have only got four washes out of it, definitely not value for money and not one I'll be buying again. Which is a shame, as I am a massive Soap and Glory fan!

Previously featured in my dotty nails post from last week is the E.L.F 'Mint Cream' nail varnish. I didn't really talk about it much during that post but unfortunately, it's turned out that I feel the need to talk about it here! Application wise this nail varnish is fine, if a little bit too watery, but it really falls down in the longevity stakes. Even with a heavy wear top coat it chipped and peeled within minutes of hardening. After a few days my nails were showing the amount of wear I'd expect to see from a week of heavy duty typing - not lazing around brushing a cat or two. I love E.L.F products for their price and durability but unfortunately this fell through the cracks for me.

Lastly, it's another make up item that I am slamming this month. When I first heard about Superdrug's launch of their bargain bucket make up range 'MUA' the savvy money saver in me jumped for joy; I picked up my first pieces from the brand the other day. I got two black eyeliner pencils and an eyeshadow and I have to say, even for £1 I'm disappointed. I haven't got a link as the MUA website seems to be broken and Superdrug's website appears to have no knowledge of this product, but it was the intense colour eyeliner pencil in Black that I picked up. What's wrong with it? It doesn't stay on my eye for longer than a minute! Literally, I can apply this to my lower lash line and go to pick my mascara up and it's gone. It's so slippery and fluid that you can't touch it, or it transfers onto your finger. Rubbish.

Now for the things I have loved this month! Firstly, I picked up a jar of Tresemme Deep Conditioning Treatment Masque from Asda for the fantastic price of £4. I've been using this once a week and the results are fantastic - it leaves my hair smooth, shiny and feeling nourished. It also has a lovely scent which isn't overpowering but is sweet and delicate. The jar is quite big (500ml) and I've made barely a dent in it so far, so I predict this is a product I will continue to love for many months to come.

Another birthday gift I received was a bottle of Nirvana Spa Raspberry Milkshake bath and shower gel from the n-spa fruits collection. This stuff smells ah-mah-zing. It's simply gorgeous! I hate eating raspberries but the scent of them is one of my favourites. I've been using this for a month and it leaves my skin feeling lovely and is such a nice smell to wake up to in the morning. It's a great size and really brightens up my bathroom with it's bright pink colour and quirky packaging. And the best bit? Whilst I got mine for my birthday, it retails at just £3 and would make a fantastic gift to anyone you love, even yourself ;)

My third and final love for this month is but a simple one, and probably an odd choice but it's something I couldn't live without now. And it's the cheapest item featured this month! Unfortunately, once again, I have no direct link to buy it if you wish but all you need to do is get yourself down to your local Wilkinsons store and pick up a shower comb. The wide teeth untangle knots with no fuss in the shower (I use mine once I've conditioned) and leave my hair manageable and ready to style when I get out. I had one from Boots which was pretty much the same but cost me about 4 times the price - yes, the shower comb in Wilkinsons set me back just 60p. Best purchase of the month I think!

What have you loved and hated this month? What can't you wait for in July? I'm hoping for some decent weather so I get my shorts out!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Have I slipped into a time warp back to the 80s?

... Or is this Bettlejuice trend really happening?

Whaddya gonna do?
I first noticed this trend in my high street, with one of the newer 'market stall' style shops showcasing a wonderful fully co-ordinating blazer, skinny jeans, high heel and bandeaux outfit all in black and white humbug striping. Take a second to sit back and process that image; somewhere, there is probably a 15 year old running around my hometown in that ensemble with her pubescent and undoubtedly tanned to the point of skin cancer belly sticking out believing that she's made the best fashion choice in the world. *Shudder*

Unfortunately, this is a trend that I definitely can not get on board with. Having said that, there are some lovely black and white statement pieces out on the highstreet now that you can wear without looking like you escaped from prison and or a lunatic asylum (or a grave...). Hence forth; the better side of the black and white stripe trend.

Monochrome striped maxi dress, £22.99 New Look

AX Paris mesh detail dress, £20 from House of Fraser

Rare Stripe dress; £36 from Rare London (personally, I'd lose the belt on this if possible)
Slightly off trend but pair these with a casual plain vest top and you're set. £25 from River Island
Classic 80s style blazer; £24.99 from New Look

I think the message in this post is that the 'beetlejuice' trend can work - if applied carefully. Don't backcomb your hair, don't go over board and please GOD do not go out in head to toe black and white stripes. Avoid the blazers unless you can really help it, and you'll be on trend this summer. 

Do you like this trend? Or do you think it's as whacky as it's film heritage?

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Outfit post; Bird Dress

Cardigan; New Look, Necklace; TopShop, Dress; Florence and Fred at Tesco.

This is the gorgeous £10 dress I was talking about in this previous post. 

I had to crop out my hideously sunburnt face, and I wasn't wearing any shoes... but other than that, this is how I would style this dress. Nice and simple and great for a BBQ or summer fete! I am on the lookout for a nice pair of wedge sandals to go with this dress. The cardigan is an old one I have that I threw on when I got a bit chilly and to be honest I don't really like it with this dress; I'd rather wear a longer sleeved one as I feel it balances it better. The necklace is lovely and delicate and if I had one, I'd couple it with a nice gold bracelet or bangle (unfortunately, my bangle collection is awful!). I think this dress would also look great with  with chunky colourful jewellery but it would be hard to strike a balance between the pattern and the colours. Doable maybe, but I don't have the confidence for it!

What do you think? Would you have done this differently? Is black and white over done or is it simple and sophisticated?

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Nail of the Week - Dotty Nails

Nice and simple! Got my dotting tool set through the post yesterday so I set about playing this morning.

Base colour - E.L.F 'Mint Cream'
Dots - NYC 'Pinstripe White'
Top coat - Miss Sporty Clear

Really simple and fun to do! All I did was paint a base colour on, wait for it to dry, then dot white spots on (in as regular a fashion as I could manage) and put a top coat on. Infinitely easier with a dotting tool and on my left hand than my right. Tried it with a cocktail skewer a while back and it worked but wasn't very easy or precise... The actual dotting tools are incredible and they only cost me £3 for a pack of 5 double ended ball tools.

What do you think? Are you dotty for spots? Or are they over done? Creamy pastels or heavy and dark bases?

Coming up next - that dress I promised pictures of :) x

Monday, 18 June 2012

A small post, apologies!

I'm sorry that this isn't a 'proper' post (I promise to do one with my new dotting tool set tomorrow!) but I wanted to show you guys this...


It's a deviantart account I've set up so that my blog isn't clogged up with arty things - when I'd prefer to keep this about fashion and baking! Please go and check it out, I'm currently uploading photos from the Cambridge country show and fair I was at this weekend. Just for a taster, here's a couple of the already uploaded photos...

Do you have a deviantArt account? If so, leave a comment below with your username and I'll check you out! What do you think of art websites like dA? Let me know! I'll be back tomorrow afternoon with some funky nail art! 

Friday, 15 June 2012

Clothing haul

What can you do when you're dragged to Tesco with your parents? Well, lighten up the experience by buying lots of clothes of course! Now, Tesco may not be the most chic of brands or the stomping ground of many fashionistas, but I always have and always will that you do NOT need to pay through the nose to get some great clothes. Hell, I occasionally find Primark expensive! The likes of Topshop and Jack Wills are so far out of my price range that I get sweats from just breathing their air...

First off, I picked up a pair of shorts. Tesco has a large variety of shorts in at the moments, in a variety of colours and patterns. Initially I went for a green denim pair with mint green heart detail (see here) but as nearly all my shorts are either blue denim or green I decided to spice it up a bit with this pink bow detail pair...
I think these will look really cute with a simple tee, big sunnies and some nice wedges! Bring back the summer sun! Find them here.

Another pair of shorts that caught my eye and I nearly bought was this blue and white print pair; however the material (not denim) was just a little too on the low quality plasticky side for me. However, if you're looking for a cheap and smart pair of patterned shorts they more than fit the bill at a penny saving £6.

Find them here
Second buy was this jumper, which at £10 (reduced from £14) it's going to be a staple of my autumn and winter wardrobe! A bit of an odd buy maybe, but I'm terrible for just wearing hoodies every day to uni and next year I want to branch out a bit more rather than just reaching for the same tired hoody day after day. Plus a lot of my winter wardrobe is drab and grey so adding some colour is exactly what I'm looking for. As it has 3/4 length sleeves as well, I imagine I'll be able to get some use out of it over our dreary English summer.

A little bit old granny, a little bit awesome. It's a balance thing.
 I am totally in love with my third buy, a simple black and white bird pattern printed dress. It's beautiful! A little longer than I'd normally plum for as it falls below my knee but it hugs every curve and clings in all the right places. I can't wait to get a nice pair of wedged sandals to wear with it. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be on the website but on Sunday I'm going to wear it to a county fair so I'll do an outfit of the day with it. And the best bit? It was only £10! Lovely jubbly. I can't wait to show you it! 

Whilst I was perusing the shelves, I of course took a long look at their shoe selection. I was unfortunately massively underwhelmed as the majority of shoes on sale were cheap looking sandals with little to no soul that I knew would a) kill my feet from rubbing and b) killing my legs from lack of support. I'm desperately trying to find a nice pair of wedges/heeled sandals for casual wear over the summer but Tescos does not sell my solution! I did stumble across a nice pair for £15, but eventually decided they weren't worth it as they were quite rough on my feet and I would be hobbling from two minutes in walking in them. Here they are:
Aren't they gorgeous? So summery and light :)
I don't normally spend so much time in the clothing section of Tescos, but all through June they have a special discount which I used. In store, if you grab one of their leaflets you get £5 off any clothing purchases over £25 and online you can get £10 off any £40 purchase. Fantastic for stocking up for holidays or just because you're in love with a few garments!

Do you enjoy rummaging through the rails in Tesco or are you exclusively upper market? Is savvy shopping worth it or do we sacrifice style with savings? And please - where can I find a comfy, stylish pair of sandal wedges that won't break my bank?!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Lemon and Poppy seed muffins

I'm not lying when I say I've been wanting to make these for about a year; the biggest problem I had was procuring poppy seeds (which seem to be non-existant in my town). However on Saturday I managed to find two packs of the elusive things and so I was free to bake! I made these yesterday. Recipe and verdict after the cut :)

Lemon and poppy seed muffins

Monday, 11 June 2012

Mauve and gold; an insight into an addiction!

First post, lets jump right in!

There's been a lot of buzz around the beauty blog/nail blog community at the moment about the free gift on this months edition of Marie Claire - a full sized bottle of Ciate nail polish in a choice of three shades (Bon Bon, a browny mauve colour, Purple Sherbert, a lilacy colour and Jelly Bean, a shocking pink).

There were no copies with Jelly Bean avaliable in my local newsagent, with just Bon Bon and Purple Sherbert on sale. Personally, I've never been a massive fan of purpley shades of nail varnish despite purple being my favourite colour, especially not pastel ones. £3.70 later and Bon Bon was mine! I'm still picking my way through the magazine, which is not one I'd normally bother even looking at on the shelf but it'd be nice to read in the bath I guess.

Whilst out on my expedition to town, I also bought poppy seeds (an amazing, miraculous discovery, which I shall cover in a later post), a lemon, some vegetables and three more bottles of nail varnish. Oops. That makes my (combined from buying, getting as freebies and receiving for my birthday) haul of nail varnish from the 26th of May to today a grand total of... 10 bottles? Eek. I think I have a problem. In my defence, the three bottles were on reduced price.. so today, I added a lovely brown, a metallic gold, a white and a beautiful deep blue to my collection.

Here's what I did with my free Ciate colour and the bottle of Accessorize metallic gold (picked up for half price in my Superdrug store, not sure if this is a nationwide offer or not though).

Despite the white balance issues, this is pretty true to life colourwise.
I'm really sorry for the quite frankly appalling photo and nails, my nice camera needs a) a new battery charger and b) a new memory card reader so until I get a job it's a tiny little point and shoot that has colour balance problems! My little finger got the brunt of the damage when I was rooting through a box to try and find cotton buds - as you can see, my nails hadn't quite set at that point. Bad me.

As you can see, I accented my ring finger with Accessorize polish in Jewel and I must say, I am really taken by it. It sits really nicely against Bon Bon and was so easy to apply - it says one coat polish on the bottle and by gum, it's true! The Ciate, unfortunately, I am not so massively impressed with. It was fairly easy to apply but even after half an hour hadn't hardened fully so my little finger and now my thumb finger have dented quite considerably. I'll keep it on for a few days to see how it wears and chips because I like the way it's turned out but if I didn't I'd probably lose it quite quickly (I'm fickle like that). Another complaint is that even though I applied two coats, it is still quite translucent on some of my fingers, which for a top end nail varnish is something that would bother me if I'd paid for it. I'm unsure whether I'll use the 25% off voucher in Marie Claire to get myself another colour of it as yet. I'll probably use it again though I really do adore this look!

My right hand. Not being a fan of symmetry, I decided to accent my index finger this time - and I love it!
I can't help but think that Bon Bon would be the perfect colour for day to day work, it is a lovely subtle colour and one that despite the issues I've noticed I can't help but like.

Did you buy Marie Claire just for the free gift? If so, how did you find it? Which colour did you go for (or could you not decide and buy all three?!)? Comment and let me know!

In my next few posts I'll reveal why the poppy seeds were so important, the other colours I bought today and what this blog is all about!