Sunday, 27 February 2011

1920's Inspired FOTD

I love vintage styles, especially things from the 1920's and 30's like Art Deco and flapper dresses. Here are some of the images that inspired this look.

Clara Bow
Bebe Daniels

Louise Brooks

Anita Page
Marceline Day
I think women from this era were just so classically beautiful. They always wore a red lipstick, often a dark red shade. Their eyeshadow drew out into a point to excentuate the eye, using a sultry dark grey or black. They would often bleach their skin and powder it white as this was a time before Coco Chanel popularised the sun tan. Blush was applied onto the apples of their cheeks in a doll like way and mascara swept through their lashes in an outwards motion towards the outer corner. I wanted to create a look which was inspired by these women but make it wearable for nowadays. My skin isn't as light as these women, my hair is longer and my eyebrows thicker (I'm not plucking them that thin!) so this is my take on it.

Face: MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation NC20 (a lighter colour could be used to make it more accuarate), Bobbi Brown Corrector (Light to Medium Bisque), Bobbi Brown Concealer (Beige), Collection 2000 Translucent Powder (I really powdered my face, much more than I would usually do to make it matte), MAC Oh So Fair Beauty Powder on apples of cheeks and then blended back lightly, MAC Plum Foolery blush stippled onto apples to make them brighter.
Eyes: MAC Carbon eyeshadow, Urban Decay Creep (ideally you would want a dark black matte eyeshadow but I only have Carbon and it is more of a soot colour.)
Lips: Illamasqua Sangers applied with a lip brush, slightly altering the shape of my lips to make them more pouty, MAC Love Peck applied with a brush over the top (the lips were darker in real life than shown here) and MAC Strut Your Stuff added to the centres to brighten them up.

For my hair, I just washed and blow dried it then while I did my makeup, tucked it behind my ears so when finished it has a wave in it. Then I picked up the right side and twisted it around the back of my head, fastening as I went along then when I got to the left side I just twisted it back down to create a sort of false bun. I think I used about four grips in total so it was really easy to do.

- Jennifer

Saturday, 26 February 2011

My first Konad-ing attempt!

I bloody love Konad! It was so much fun to do this and I was actually really pleased with how it turned out. I missed a few bits while transfering it onto my nail but I don't think it is too bad for a first attempt. I used China Glaze FYI for the base colour then stamped using the leopard design from image plate M57. I filled in the spots with OPI Funky Dunkey (purple) and OPI Who The Shrek Are You? (lime green).

What do you think?

- Jennifer

Friday, 25 February 2011

WAH Nail Pens by Models Own Review

I had wanted to get into nail art and then heard about these pens which are a collaboration with WAH Nails. They have a nib and a stiper brush and for around £6 I thought that wasn't too bad. They only come in black and white but Models Own are looking to expand to create pens for all of their colours.

When I first got these, I thought the packaging was nice and the actual pens seemed good. I really looked forward to using them. The packaging gives some ideas of designs you could do such as leopard print (pictured), camouflage, zebra, eye balls - all which are WAH Nail designs. The nib has a pin which you need to remove before using it and replace afterwards to stop the nib getting clogged. To get to the striper brush, you twist where the grip is and it unscrews.

The brush itself isn't that fine and tends to splay out or bend during use which doesn't help to get accurate lines. I think a synthetic bristle brush in an artist's rigger style would have been a much better choice as the bristles would spring back into place, keeping it's sharp shape.

To use the nib, you need to squeeze the pen. This has it's pros and cons. It is good because it means you don't need to press the nib down on the nail to activate the polish flow but the bad thing is the pen is quite hard and that makes it difficult to squeeze to get a constant line. Also it can blob polish out if you don't get the pressure exactly right. It would have been a better design to use a more flexible plastic in the squeezable area so you didn't need to excert as much pressure and making the pen easier to use especially with your non dominant hand.

These aren't the only problems with these pens. There is one thing which is a complete FAIL...
Hmmm... that's strange... I'm sure there was meant to be a brush attached to this one... oh yeah, it fell off! After doing a little design on 5 of my nails I noticed the brush wasn't working properly and on closer inspection I saw that it was shedding. I gently removed the loose hair and it seemed to work again. Soon after the same thing was happening, more and more hairs started to come away and then all of a sudden the whole damn thing came off! Useless! I haven't sent it back as I bought it from ASOS and I don't think I've got the invoice anymore and I'm not sure I can send it back to Models Own directly. Besides, I don't want a replacement. I think this product is lacking a lot, even if the brush did stay on. It is difficult to use and badly designed, the brush issue just tops it all off. I'm not the only one who has had a problem with the brush coming away, lots of people have experienced it so there is definitely a design flaw with these. If Models Own are planning to expand to their whole colour range, maybe they should consider actually fixing the problem first, possibly redesigning the whole pen to make it easier?

Whatever you do, don't waste your money on these. Go buy some nail brushes or go to a craft shop for a rigger brush or fine detail brush and that way you can use any colour you want. I am considering getting the Rio Nail Art Pens at some point, they seem to have quite good reviews so if you do want some pens, maybe check out the reviews for these instead.

- Jennifer

Nubar Reclaim

Ooooooh! Ahhhhhhhh! Lookie! I am a green fiend and I adore holographic nail polishes so when I found out that Nubar had made this, I hunted it down. I got it from Feel Unique (super quick delivery) for £6.80. It was worth every penny. Application was a dream, so smooth and perfectly opaque in two coats. It didn't streak at all and when it came to removing, it slid right off with ease. I ended up taking it off after a few days to try something else out, it hadn't chipped at all. It is a linear holographic like the China Glaze OMG collection opposed to the scattered holographic types which are more like the Nubar Prisms. And what makes it even better? It is green! Definitely one of my favourite polishes.

My fingers are a bit red by the way because they were a little stained from the previous colour.

So what do think? Are holographics your thing? Would you wear this?

- Jennifer

MAC Peacocky Mega Metal Eyeshadows Review

Odalisque, Ego, Dalliance, Centre Stage, Sex-pectations, Unflappable
I'm sorry I've taken so long to put this review up. Hopefully if this review makes you want to get any of the colours, they are still available. I purchased six of the colours, they all looked incredibly pigmented and the texture looked gorgeous so I had high expectations of them. The definitely live up to it, they are stunning in the flesh and wear beautifully.
The shades I picked up were:
Odalisque - Turquoise/teal
Ego - Forest Green
Dalliance - Champagne with what looks to me as a bit of golden green
Centre Stage - Chocolate Brown
Sex-pectations - Cranberry
Unflappable - Black/grey with purple tones.

Odalisque, Ego and Dalliance are colours that I often get drawn to, I liked the purply black/grey of Unflappable and thought it would look fantastic with a smokey eye. The other two, Centre Stage and
Sex-pectations are colours that I wouldn't usually go for - browns just don't tend to pull me in and I'm not usually a fan of redish colours. However, Temptalia did a look using these along with Dalliance and it looked beautiful so they were added to my list. I have since recreated it a few times and really love it.

Read on for my review!

Tuesday, 22 February 2011

Pink Spikey Flower Nail Art

So after getting those awful WAH nail pens (sorry for the slow review, it will be up this week!) and the disaster of the disintegrating brush, I decided to get myself down to a craft centre for some thin brushes. I originally wanted some rigger brushes (For those who don't know, they are very fine brushes with length to the bristles but not as long as nail stripers. They are called so because painters traditionally use them to paint the rigging of boats in their work) but they didn't have any so I got some shorter versions. As you can see, longer brushes would have made the tapered ends crisper and finer but these brushes will do for now. I also got some craft rhinestones. I wasn't sure how they'd react with the solvents in nail polish but figured I'd try them anyway. They came in a carousel wheel and are by the well known craft brand Anita's if any of you are interested.

The colours I used were Leighton Denny Berry Nice for the base, Leighton Denny Pure White for the stripes/petals with a little bit of Leighton Denny Cascade (sheer multi coloured fine glitter) over the flowers. Then I dabbed a bit of clear polish where I wanted the gem and gently pressed it down. Two coats of topcoat to be sure it was sealed on (1 regular topcoat, 1 Seche Vite). The gems didn't come loose at all until I wanted to take it off and it was quite hard to get them off so they were well glued lol!

What do you think?

- Jennifer

Transdesign Haul!

Don't you just hate how much OPI and China Glaze nail polishes cost in the UK? £10.50 for a bottle of OPI is just extortionate! While they are fantastic quality and my favourite brand of nail polish, I do begrudge having to pay that price when they are so much cheaper in the USA. I used to buy my polish from ASOS singly or QVC in kits to get a bit of a discount and there are a few cheaper UK based e-tailers that sell them a bit cheaper. Then while online, I read about Transdesign and the fantastic prices of the big brand nail polishes they stock. They are a US based e-tailer and sell OPI for $5.75 and China Glaze for $2.99, a BIG difference! I was very dubious before as I didn't know how much the shipping would be and didn't was to incur import tax to set it over the edge, making it not really worth ordering. Then I read that they did flat rate shipping for $20 which you can get up to 9 bottles of polish in (any brand) and I decided to take the plunge. I didn't think that was too bad for shipping really when we can pay £4.95 here sometimes for standard shipping and the warehouse might only be up the road.

Despatch was very quick and my parcel arrived about a week later! Very good service there I think. I mainly chose OPI but picked out a couple of Color Club polishes to try.

Read on for my haul!

Monday, 21 February 2011

Bobbi Brown Corrector and Creamy Concealer

I have been on the search for a suitable concealer for so long and tried so many, never finding one that lives up to my expectations. I have awful dark undereye circles and they make me feel so ugly if I don't conceal them. I look tired constantly no matter how much sleep I get and nothing else seems to make them lighten. I've tried eye cream that promises to reduce dark circles and that doesn't work, drinking more water, laying higher up in bed so the blood can flow away from my eyes... I think this one is a total myth. Nothing has made them better. I need a very full coverage concealer to hide them and after getting Bobbi Brown's Makeup Manual for Christmas, I saw the corrector and concealer in there and thought they looked great. Off I trotted to a counter to try the out. I was shown how to use this concealer along with the corrector due to how dark my circles are on one eye and the difference was amazing. My boyfriend told me afterwards that the eye which hadn't been made up looked so strange in comparision and once she had finished with that one I looked far more awake. I felt really happy afterwards with my pesky shadows hidden, really fresh and awake - obviously this was all subconcious but that is one of the great things about makeup - how it can make your mind feel :D

Bobbi Brown Corrector
Bobbi Brown Corrector

Bobbi Brown Concealer
Bobbi Brown Concealer
Bobbi Brown Concealer powder

Sunday, 20 February 2011

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Plaid Nails

More nail art! This was also done a few weeks ago, I followed a tutorial from 'Nails by Asami' who is one of my favourite nail bloggers and so talented. Her Pokemon nails are a must see! Her tutorial for the plaid nails is here.

I used OPI Ogre The Top Blue for the base, OPI Ski Teal We Drop for the teal stripe and the white Models Own WAH nail pen nib for the white stripes.

I was quite happy with it apart from the splodgy parts where the pen shot out too much paint. I ended up taking it off pretty quickly as I wanted to try something else. What do you think?

- Jennifer

MAC Kissable Lipcolour Review

I've been so slow at putting my review for these up so I apologise but it did give me a chance to test them out for a while! I really loved the idea for these, a lip product which had the shine of a gloss and the feel of a lipstick. It sounded right up my street and I'm pleased to say that now I've got some of them, they are really nice. The aren't as glossy as a gloss and definately aren't sticky. They hug your lips like a lipstick and are really pigmented. I went for the brighter colours as the paler ones didn't appeal to me and seemed quite similar to each other. Like all MAC lip products, these are vanilla scented (I actually found these to be a bit stronger than normal) but the smell fades after a little while.

The products come in long skinny tubes with a doe foot lip gloss applicator. They are quite easy to apply but you may choose to use a brush for the very dark colours to get precision application. They are lightweight and don't feel like you are wearing much product on your lips. They are smooth and don't show up imperfections or gather in lines (the colours I have). I do like to use a liner with them though as dark lipstick tends to move out of my lip area or smudge when I use them and it also helps me to get crisper lines. For the swatches, I haven't used any, they are the colours alone. The outside of my mouth probably looks a bit red for some as I did all of the swatches in one session and they got a bit sore from removing them. This brings me to my next point, they don't come off completely and can stain so their wear is prolonged.

I wore Scandelicious yesterday, applying it at around 9am and had lunch at about 1.30 and it was still there although fading a bit since I'd eaten. However, it failed the kiss test miserably. My poor boyfriend was left with a lovely lip shaped impression on his mouth haha. Strangely it didn't transfer onto my glass when drinking though.

The colours I picked were:
Temper Tantra - red tinged brown.
Scandelicious - bright pink with shimmer which seems a little blue.
Exxxhibitionist - brightened redish coral.
Love Peck - dark brownish red.
Strut Your Stuff - oranged based red
Flaunting It - light pinkish plum.

Read on for photos and swatches...

Friday, 18 February 2011

Spotty Purple Nails

Sorry for the lack of blogging, I have had some computer issues at home and have been away at the boyfriend's house so not really had a chance but I am back now :)

This is some nail art that I did a few weeks ago, I used Leighton Denny Rebel and the white WAH Nail Pen from Models Own (do NOT recommend - review to come). I love this LD polish, it is a gorgeous shimmery purple shade, the perfect kind of purple and what I think of when I imagine purple. Often purples are too red or too blue but this one is just right. If you are not familiar with Leighton Denny or his polishes, definately go check them out. He has some fantastic shades, the bright pinks are lovely and make sure you check back for his Spring collection which is gorgeous (I will be reviewing some of the shades from this soon). You can also get his colours from QVC which is where I buy from as the kits are such good value.

Anyway, on to the manicure.

I really enjoyed doing this and it was so simple and effective. I recieved lots of comments when wearing this, even the ticket lady at the train station called me back so she could look at them! I do think a cream polish would look nicer as the base colour as the spots sort of ruin the shimmery effect of Rebel. Also a dotting tool would have been more accurate for the spots but I am totally blaming the shoddy nail pen.

So what do you guys think?

- Jennifer

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Cherry Blossom Nails

I love cherry blossom trees. I think they are so pretty and I like it when people have cherry blossom tattoos. Now I'm not going to go get a tattoo so I decided to paint them on my nails. I don't really know what I was thinking, this isn't what I had visioned in my head and I think it looks damn awful. I had wanted to do just a branch with some blossoms on it but ended up doing the whole tree. I used a Models Own Nail Pen for the black... awful product. The brush disintegrated while I was using it and I couldn't get a crisp line no matter how I tried using it. I will do a proper review at a later date on these pens.

This was my second attempt at nail art. It is really difficult and I'm actually pretty good at drawing as I used to be an art student but doing it on your nails is another story altogether. I will probably try to do a better version at some point because these really are naff!

- Jennifer

Sleek One Waterbased Finishing Powder

I was having slight problems with my foundation lasting a full days wear so I wanted to get a setting powder to help it along so that it didn't slip off or fade too much. I mean I don't wear a lot of foundation but for me it needs to last from around 7am when I put it on until about 6pm when I get home so 11 hours wear, that is a tough ask for any foundation and I expect it to fade a bit but I just wanted it to last a bit longer than it was so by the time I got home it still looked half decent. I'm not one to top up my makeup throughout the day, I just can't be bothered. The only thing I will top up is lipstick/gloss. I decided to go for a cheap brand - I can't remember where I saw this or if I just decided to go to sleek for some reason. But something made me go pick this up as I went to Superdrug specifically for it. It was about £7 so quite inexpensive to the MAC or Laura Mercier powders I'd been looking at previously - I mean, it is just powder to set my foundation to last a bit longer. I don't need anything fancy and just wanted to try something out to see if it made the difference.

Benefit Powder Time Lover

I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with Benefit. I tend to buy things from them and then get them home and go 'meh' but for some reason they manage to lure me back again and again. This time it was because Debenhams had a sale on and this was included. The day before I had visited a Benefit counter in Brighton and had a quick look at some of the things but was pestered by one of the counter girls because I was touching things and she asked me if I was actually going to buy anything. I told her I was browsing and then picked up a catalogue and left. Silly girl, I would have probably bought something had she left me to it. I hate being pressurised in stores, if sales assistants do it, I'm off. I just like to browse before asking for help but anyway, rant over.

The catalogue had this amazing smell coming out of it from one of the perfume scratch and sniff pages and it got me a bit addicted to the catalogue so I decided to go online shopping for this perfume but couldn't find it on Benefit's website and then ended up seeing the Debenhams sale and spotted this mini collection of boxed powders - one of the things I'd been playing with the day before.

It was just over £16 I think and was originally about £10 more so I thought it would be good to try out. I'm glad I did, they're really nice and one of the few Benefit products I've fallen for.

No. 17 Va Va Voom Eyeshadow Quad

Last month I met up with some friend who I hadn't seen in a while and we did our Christmas present exchange. One of them got me this eyeshadow quad from No. 17. I've never really looked at No. 17 before, there are only a couple of drugstore brands which I tend to go towards - Barry M, Collection 2000 to name a couple so unless something gets a great review I am unlikely to look at it. In the past I've bought a lot of drugstore makeup and usually I'm not that impressed so just tend to stick to the brands which I have found nice things from.

Anyway, she knows I love makeup so decided to get me this quad. It has lovely colours in it and to be honest I wasn't expecting amazing results compared to Urban Decay and MAC eyeshadows but actually it was really nice.

Boyfriend Nails

A few weeks ago I wanted to paint my nails but couldn't decide what colour to do them so I enlisted the help of my boyfriend. He told me he would 'like to see a nice blue like the ocean' (lol) so I went searching through my polishes for a nice sparkly blue but then decided I could use the ocean reference to try out some nail art. I picked out Leighton Denny's Miss Behavin' (shimmery dark blue) for the base and then having seen him layer his Butterfly Wings (a sheer peach with subtle blue irridecence) over the top to change it to a lighter blue, chose this too. Then I picked out OPI Happy Anniversary (a sparkly silver) and set about painting stripes across the corner of my nails - kind of like waves I guess. This was the first time I'd ever done nail art so I thought the results were okay but as a perfectionist I wasn't happy with it. A colleague who used to be a nail technician said she thought it looked really good for a first attempt so she spurred me on to try more later on which I will be posting about later.

What do you think? It is difficult to see the shimmer in the dark blue but you can get the idea. This was done completely freehand using the brushes straight from the bottles.

- Jennifer

Saturday, 5 February 2011

January Favourites

My first favourites post! These are some products that I've really liked through January. I tend to mix and match a lot of things because I like to try out different products but these things I've used quite a lot.

At the top we have Benefit's Powder Time Lover. This was a Christmas product which I got in the Debenhams January sale. It contains 3 mini versions of Benefit's boxed powders in Dandelion, Dallas and Coralista. I think they are really nice powders and have enjoyed using them and trying out some of the colours Benefit has to offer.

Next, in the bottom left is MAC Paint Pot in Bare Study. It is a really pretty colour, a kind of pale gold. I like this to use for days when I can't be bothered or don't have time to do eyeshadow so just quickly apply this instead. You can't really get it wrong and it is lovely to brighten tired eyes.

The two skin toned products are Bobbi Brown Corrector (pinky colour) and Bobbi Brown Creamy Concealer (yellower colour). I adore these products, the best products I've tried for concealing my dark circles and I am really glad I've tried them. I use the corrector to neutralise the dark circles and then the concealer to cover them up and blend them into my skintone.

Lastly, MAC Fluidline in Dark Diversion. This is a great colour, I like it as an alternative to black and it really flatters my green eyes as they seem to look greener against the plum colour.

I will be doing full reviews for the Benefit powders and the Bobbi Brown Corrector and Concealer soon with swatches etc. Swatches for the two MAC products can be found in my Cham-Pale paint pot comparison and my Stylishly Yours purchases.

- Jennifer

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Leighton Denny QVC Today's Special Value

I do like Leighton Denny's products and yet I hardly ever see them reviewed by bloggers and wonder why. Of the ones I've seen, bloggers complain that they chip and don't last. I don't understand that, I've worn Leighton Denny's colours for over a week and only had slight tip wear and then on say the 8-9th day they've chipped. That suits me perfectly, I'm easily bored so often end up changing my colour before that anyway but when I've gone to stay with the boyfriend and worn Leighton's colours they have worn fine.

Those who aren't familiar with QVC, they offer a Today's Special Value (TSV) every day which is a special product which they sell for a bargain price or a great group of products which can often be exclusive with a nice saving.

I bought the last Leighton Denny TSV and was very impressed with it so I decided to go for this one too. I also needed a bit of cheering up after an awful week and for this special price, I couldn't resist.

This kit is called the Leighton Denny 7 Piece Desireables Collection with Accessories and the QVC price is £29.98 plus £4.95 P&P (if you order more than 1 set, you only pay 1 set of P&P but if you order another product with it, you will have to pay P&P for that too). This is a fantastic price, even with the P&P which is quite high. The kit comes in a lovely limited edition silver presentation box (usually they are white) which you can store your kit in or use for something else or would be great for giving as a gift. On Leighton Denny's website, his nail polishes retail for £11 each, yes, more than OPI and China Glaze in the UK! As you can see, there is a massive saving to be made with this kit.

The kit contains:
5 nail colours 12ml each - Supermodel (creamy mink - a QVC presenter favourite), Lollypop (watermelon pink), Indulgence (deep creamy red - from the Autumn 2010 collection), Berry Nice (deep berry - Spring 2011 Gelato collection) and Leading Lilac (shimmery lilac - Spring 2011 Gelato collection).
Miracle Drops 12ml (RRP £9) - quick dry drops to speed up drying time of your manicure.
Cuti Lips 10ml (RRP £6.74 for pot version) - dual action conditioning treatment for cuticles and lips (new tube packaging).
Demi Trio Buffer (RRP £4.50 for full size version) - a small version of Leighton's regular Trio Buffer to smooth ridges and buff nails to a glass like finish.
Uno File (RRP £3.25 for two)- a double sided file with a fine grit  for shaping nails.
Hoof Stick (RRP £1.10) - a cuticle pusher to help keep cuticles neat and tidy - can be used with cuti lips as a full cuticle treatment.

All together, this kit is worth over £75 and you get a nice box to go with it whilst you only pay £34.93 from QVC for the lot. See, I told you it was a bargain! Also bare in mind that QVC have a fantastic returns policy - 30 day money back guarantee EVEN AFTER TESTING! Yep, if you are dissatisfied with anything and you even used the kit, changing your nails every day until you sent it back they will still refund you. I doubt I will be sending mine back though because the colours are gorgeous. Also, the two spring colours aren't available yet even on his own website and Leading Lilac is only available in this kit until it's proper release.

If you are unsure about anything and want to see the colours on the nails, either check out QVC on the hour for the TSV showing with Leighton himself presenting the kit (plus lots of other lovely things) it is available at this price all today until 23.59 tonight and you can order via their website or over the phone.

I will do a review when mine arrives. If you would like reviews on any other Leighton Denny products (I have a few colours in various kits), let me know in the comments and I will see if I have it to help you.

- Jennifer

Tuesday, 1 February 2011

Hair update!

I wasn't able to get my hair dye topped up last Wednesday so I had to rebook an appointment for this afternoon. I've been itching to get it redone because the colour just wasn't what I wanted. It was sort of a coppery brown and barely noticeable. You can see it here. I went in today and my hairdresser joked how she doubted many people noticed it - which they didn't. She assured me that this time they would with this brighter dye she had picked out for me. Aparrently I wasn't the only one to end up with faint colour from the same dye and they had complained to the manufacturer about it not taking properly so it was probably a faulty batch.

Anyway, she came out with the new colour mixed up which was definately red! I didn't have it on for as long as last time but she did put a couple more foils in this time. After checking a few times she decided it was time to take it off before it got too bright and I ended up like a postbox. She washed it out and I could definately see it and after drying it was even better. I love it, it is the perfect brightness too. It isn't the purply red I had wanted to start with but I really like it anyway. Here are some photos.

The colour underneath shows more when I've put my hair up.
- Jennifer

MAC Peacocky Online!

The MAC Peacocky collection is available online on the UK website NOW! New formula Mega Metal Eyeshadows available in 15 shades, priced at £15.50 each and new Kissable Lipcolour which combines the feel of a lipstick and the shine of a gloss, priced at £16. Go check it out!

- Jennifer
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