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Mani Monday – Nude and Rose Gold Glitter

We did it – we finally caved and put the heating on meaning the cosiness factor has doubled in our house! I admit I had a hot flush about an hour after we turned it on but I always think it signifies a turning point in the seasons.

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This week’s manicure is an old favourite teamed with a newbie (which may be my new favourite glitter polish.)

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I began with a couple of layers of Innocent by ELF. This is one of my favourite nudes and I think it really suits my skin tone.

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To add a bit of sparkle, I applied a couple of layers of a new Essie glitter polish. A Cut Above is from Essie’s ‘Luxeffects’ range and has a good mix of larger, hexagonal pieces mixed with smaller glitter pieces suspended in a clear polish. Described as a ‘pink diamond’ colour, this is a beautiful rose gold when applied and I think it looks great with a nude base.

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Mani Monday – Nails Inc Manor House Drive

I’m having a real moment with the new-look Nails Inc. Ever since they changed up their packaging, the nail varnishes seem to be more of a luxe, high-end brand, with new prices to reflect it too! The bottles have changed from round to rectangular ones but for me, the biggest improvement comes in the form of the chunky new brush which makes application a dream.

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I was recently gifted a couple of colours from ‘The New White’ range, a collection of light bases with a hint of colour for that off-white look. I love a crisp, white manicure but this range is a little more wearable.

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I began with a couple of layers of Manor House Drive, a subtle lilac colour that is almost grey in some lights. I was amazed I only needed two layers of this and it dried to a non-streaky, glossy finish.

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I wasn’t quite finished and decided to try out another new polish – a miniature bottle of Beaumont Mews. This is kind of like a grown-up version of glitter, containing matte pink and blue dots which give an almost polka-dot effect.

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These are both great quality nail varnishes and I love how they look together.

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Mani Monday – Essie Where’s My Chauffeur

Another nail varnish I picked up in America, this bright blue-turquoise is a really pretty shade.

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Two coats were enough for me and it had a lovely glossy finish to it.

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I think the fact that this shade originally formed one of Essie’s Winter collections shows that although it looks quite a tropical, summery colour, it is one that will look good all year round. Another favourite in the collection! x

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Beauty Review – April Birchbox

Hello and Happy Saturday! It’s a sunny one and I was up and out on a run this morning to start the day. I have really been trying to get back into running lately as not only does it burn a few pounds but I just love how awake and energised I feel running through the country lanes with the sun on my face…I’ve even managed a few 6am pre-work runs this week which I never thought would happen!

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I arrived home to find this month’s Birchbox waiting for me on my porch which was a lovely surprise as I had forgotten it was coming. After a couple of average boxes in recent months, I am pleased to report that things are back on track and I think this is a really great box. I love the pink and rose gold box that this month’s goodies arrived in too! Here was my first peek at the contents:

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Now before I get into the products, I am going to have a moan about this week’s theme: ‘Royally Good’. I was slightly distracted by the beautiful pink and mint green design and thought this was a celebration of Britishness. Yet, when I had a read through the cards, I realised that the whole box was dedicated to the second royal baby?!?!

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Yes, apparently we are at fever pitch waiting for the new royal arrival so all products are introduced with the word throne/ rule/ crown/ queen thrown in for good measure. I guess this could all be seen as a bit of fun but the article that really annoyed me was the one that gave us an insight into what we could do if we were queen for a day which included lie-ins, pancakes, chocolate and a ‘pamper sesh’…hardly the most inspiring message for independent women!

Anyway, I have to admit that the reason I subscribe to Birchbox is not the for the accompanying literature but the products inside so here is what I received.

A Laura Mercier Foundation Primer. This is the third one I own and I love this item. It is a perfect base for my make-up and a cult product from a great brand.

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Next, a Bergamot Pear Body Milk by Korres. I love their skin products and think their scents are always a little bit different from what else is on the market. This is going in my travel bag for the summer.

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A foaming face wash next from Bliss. This looks like it will do a good job but I am quite wary of anything foaming as it is usually very drying. I think when I try this I will have to make sure I slather on some moisturisers afterwards.

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I am quite into a hair and skin mask treat on Sunday evenings at the moment and these single sachets are always fun to try out. I received a warming clay mask from Befine with cardamom, arnica and pomegranate. I have a few pomegranate products, which is a great antioxidant, and my skin seems to like them.

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A hair product next – Percy and Reed’s Smoothed, Sealed and Sensational Volumising No Oil Oil. A bit of a mouthful but an interesting product nonetheless! I quite like hair oils and while I don’t need any more volume in my locks, anything that can help tame the frizz is always welcome!

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Finally, a nail varnish which made me very happy! From Lola Barcelona I received a gorgeous coral shade in Rambla which brings back very happy memories of strolling down La Rambla on holiday in this city. I couldn’t wait to try this brand out so popped the polish on my toes. It wasn’t the best formula upon application and I needed three coats for full coverage but it has dried to a lovely glossy finish and looks great. I feel this is a great summer shade to wear with a tan.

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So despite a rather naff theme this month, I love April’s Birchbox. There isn’t one product I’m not excited to use and I have some welcome additions to my travel make-up bag for our July/August holiday! x

This Week’s Nails – Models Own Obsidian

A simple no-nail-art post today about a nail varnish I tried out last week. Part of their Velvet Goth collection (my inner 17 year old would love this range!), I received the Models Own shade Obsidian in a Birchbox delivery.

There were other shades available in the collection but I was drawn to this black, glittery polish.

You will notice these bottles come with a fuzzy velvet lid to reflect the Velvet Goth name and these claim to be matte yet sparkly with a velvet-like slightly textured finish.

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The bottle shows the shade to be an off-black, more of a very dark charcoal-grey with a variety of silver glitters inside.

This is a quick-drying formula which is good as you needed at least 2-3 layers for this to work.

Here are my nails after one layer:

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Two:

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And three layers:

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The formula is packed with glitter and the different shapes (some small, some hexes) give real depth to the polish once on the nails.

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Whilst it contains a good amount of glitter, it isn’t the most pigmented shade and was almost sheer with just one layer applied. The good news is that you can layer this up quite easily.

Models Own claim that this dries smooth but as expected with this much glitter, I found that it was a slightly raised finish. You can of course use a top coat to smooth things over but I didn’t want to lose the matte effect that this had.

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Overall, a deep, glittery and slightly goth manicure look. I’d quite like to try one of the brighter colours in this range to see if they colour pay-off is any better but on the whole a nice release from Models Own.

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This Week’s Nails – Speckled

For this week’s manicure, I got the chance to test out and review two new nail products.

First up is the colour I used as my base coat; a lovely pale, milky peach colour from H&M. I have to admit that that I have never tried this range before although I always notice them when I am queuing up at the till, and they seem to have a good range of colours. This was quite a ‘safe’ shade to purchase but I thought it suited my skin tone quite well so had to give it a go!

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As a nail varnish, this was OK although it did take 3 coats to achieve opacity. I do love this colour though and I would wear it again on its own.

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The second product has become somewhat of a cult buy amongst beauty bloggers recently. I have had my eye on it for a little while but every time I went to buy it I found it had sold out, so when I spotted it in Boots recently I had to snap it up! As an aside, Boots are currently offering a 3 for 2 deal on all L’Oreal products which was the perfect excuse to treat myself to a few other items too!

Known as a ‘top coat confetti’, this formula contains different sized black and white pieces which give a lovely speckled look, something that is huge for Spring/Summer ’13.

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I compared it to Mini-Eggs so had to buy some…solely for blogging purposes, of course!

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Also, I’m not sure if my photos have picked it up, but there is also a very fine glitter within the formula which adds a nice shine.

This formula is packed full of pieces meaning every brush stroke transfers lots of these shapes to the nail as opposed to having to keep fishing in the bottle to ensure good coverage.

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Whilst black and white will obviously go with most colours, I think this confetti top coat works well with a pastel or nude colour underneath to really show it off. I have seen another blogger layer it over a lovely grey nail varnish which looked great (note to self…buy  grey nail varnish!)

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I finished off the look with my trusty Calvin Klein top coat, just to make sure my nails had a smooth finish, and also to buy me an extra few days of wear from this manicure!

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This L’Oreal nail varnish retails for £4.99 which seems quite pricy when you see how slim the bottle is but when you compare it to the £15 price tag of an Illamasqua speckled nail varnish (which was the original brand to nail this speckled look) it really isn’t too bad. Also, by changing the colour of the undercoat you can get lots of different looks from this one little bottle…see, I can justify any purchase!

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This has been called ‘the new glitter’…what do you think?

This Week’s Nails – Barry M Gelly Nail Paint

Hello to another week!

I hope you had a good weekend. It was cold here and we even had a light sprinkling of snow on Saturday! We are both getting over coughs and colds so had a very relaxed weekend at home.

Without even meaning to, we started stripping some wallpaper whilst trying to get another job finished so lo and behold and new DIY project is born!

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As I mentioned in my last nail post, there are loads of cool new nail varnishes hitting the shelves this season embracing different textures and finishes.

For Valentine’s Day, Ian was lovely enough to treat me to a little selection of new nail varnishes I had wanted for a little while, proving he did listen when I was going on about them!

Today, I wanted to share a new Barry M polish:

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A high-shine varnish from their new Gelly range which has a lovely, glossy, gel-like finish.

This shade, Prickly Pear, is a pretty pastel lilac which I think is perfect for spring. I needed 3 coats for total opacity but I was really impressed at the coverage and how smooth it dried.

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I hope my pictures capture just how lovely and shiny the finish of this nail varnish is, and my nails have kept this shine for a few days now.

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I have another shade in this range to try out but I have to say that I am really impressed with this formula so far.

It is rare for me to keep my nails so plain and simple for a whole week so I may have to add some nail art to them later on in the week, especially as I have just had an ebay delivery of some fab new nail stickers this weekend!

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