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Mani Monday – Kiko Nail Varnish 320

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I recently discovered Bath’s new Kiko store and had to try out a few new things. One of the stands I was drawn to was of course the nail polish. Despite an array of colours available, I decided to skip my usual mint greens and corals and opt for this…

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My only criticism of this brand is that the shades have numbers, not names – I love some of the names that Essie and OPI come up with!

After a bit of online research, I have found that shade 320 is also known as Beige Mauve which is a perfect description of this grey-toned lavender. I like to think of it as a more autumnal Porchester Square (one of my all-time favourite varnishes from Nails Inc.)

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Considering it has such a low price point, the quality of these nail varnishes is excellent and they dry to such a glossy finish that you could easily forgo a top coat.

I only bought one of these polishes to test the water with the brand and formula but after using this one I will no doubt be back for more!

Mani Monday – Nails Inc Stafford Street

A simple mint green manicure this week – a look I like to wear at any time of the year. I had wanted to try out the new Gel Effect formula from Nails Inc for a little while so bought the shade Stafford Street. It came in the new chunky style bottle although you can remove the wide lid and use the thinner inside lid for a steadier application. I really love the thick brushes that these new bottles have which mean less brush strokes when applying.

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This is a pale pastel mint-green colour that looks almost blue in some lights. I liked this colour so much I actually used it on my toes too.

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As expected for a Gel Effect product, it was quite a thick formula. The good thing about this was that it was very pigmented so I only needed to use two layers however the thickness meant that it dried very quickly so you have to act fast when applying it.

The finish of this nail varnish was great – really glossy and quick-drying. You could get away without a top coat but for longevity, it always helps to add one.

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Nails Inc offer many of their shades in the original or Gel Effect formula, so which would I go for? That’s a tough one because the finish and longevity of the Gel Effect is better but I did find the formula a little difficult to work with and prefer a less thick formula. There’s really not too much in it for me if I’m being honest!

Mani Monday – Autumn Tips

I think I saw a picture of a similar manicure on Nails Inc’s website recently and I couldn’t get the combination of coral and burgundy out of my head so I knew exactly what colours I would be using on my nails this week.

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I began with two layers of Fire Coral by ELF which is a vibrant shade I wear over the summer months.

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Paired with that I chose Essie’s Sole Mate, my favourite autumnal berry shade. I bought a selection of nail tip stickers and decided to use my triangular ones for this look.

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All I did was place the sticker on the nail (about two-thirds of the way up), paint on a layer of the Essie polish, wait a few seconds then remove leaving a crisp line.

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I sealed the look with my new bottle of Seche Vite and love how this has turned out! x

Beauty Review – October Birchbox

I thought I’d better get my Birchbox review for this month done before November rolls around!

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This month, I had the choice between the Stylist Guest Editor Box or the Back to Basics Box. I had a quick look at the contents of each and there was one product that swayed it for me…

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The Back to Basics Box contained a bottle of Seche Vite, my holy grail topcoat that I have only just run out of. I thought it would save me an online order plus postage to choose the box with a fresh bottle inside so I opted for this sleek navy Birchbox.

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As well as the bottle of Seche Vite, it contained several ‘beauty essentials’ for eyes, hair, teeth and face.

First up, a duo from the brand Beaver (snigger…)

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I received a moisturising shampoo and matching conditioner which my dyed hair is always in need of.

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Next, a tube of toothpaste from Regenerate. Not something I can get too excited about but useful nonetheless.

From Eyeko, I got the Fat Liquid Eyeliner in Black. Now, this is a brand that people have raved about ever since the Alexa Chung collaboration but I just don’t see the fuss with their eyeliners! I don’t find the black to be dark enough and the staying power on me is poor.

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I am always open to having my mind changed though so will give this eyeliner a go however on first impressions, it seems rather chunky to get that thin, cat-eye flick I like.

Last of all, a mini bottle of Bioderma. I usually use the pink one (for sensitive skin) but this is the Hydrabio H20 which claims to have more hydrating qualities for dull, dry skin. I don’t find a huge amount of difference between the two but both are lovely to use and great at removing make-up from the skin quickly.

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Overall, a pretty good box this month. I was going to buy another bottle of Seche Vite anyway so I’m glad that was included and the rest of the items are all interesting to trial.

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 – Essie Style Cartel

When I look through my nail varnishes, there are certain shades that keep appearing; mint green, coral, nude, grey and navy. I am always on the lookout for the ‘perfect’ version of these and that means testing out several colours and brands. In my latest search for the ideal navy shade, I bought Style Cartel from Essie.

Originally from the 2014 Fall Collection, this deep, inky blue is a very unique colour. In some lights it is a bright, cobalt blue whereas in others, it is a deep navy which looks almost black. I took photos in three different lights which I think shows the differing shades.

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I love these darker colours for Autumn and as always with Essie the application was great. I did find this chipped quite quickly (3-4 days) although maybe it was just a lot more obvious due to the darker colour. Either way, this will be a firm favourite of mine over the next few months – I’m looking forward to pairing it with a gold glitter over Christmas…is it too early for the C-word?! x

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Mani Monday – Geometric Nail Wraps

I have been looking forward to using these Sally Hansen nail wraps since I bought them in America this summer. I have heard that the staying power of these is great and I love the cool geometric black and white print.

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The design is actually called Pitter Pattern and the box comes with 16 strips, a cuticle stick and mini nail file. My nails are short enough that I can make one strip cover two nails so I get double my money’s worth with most sets of nail wraps!

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These were really simple to apply and tidy up using the nail file. I like the fact these little extras were included in the box.

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I decided to do a bit of a test and see if a layer of clear nail varnish would make these nail wraps last any longer. I applied a topcoat to my left hand and although it didn’t make a huge amount of difference, it was right hand that experienced a chip and a bit of peeling first but not until 6 days after application.

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The staying power of these Sally Hansen wraps are amazing and I am already eyeing up my next design to try out!

Sunday Catch-up #37

Hello! I was MIA this week as I spent three days away with my school on a residential trip. It was very fun but extremely tiring so this weekend has been very easy-going. We headed out to Bath Chilli Festival yesterday which probably wasn’t the best idea for me (I am a bit of a wimp with spicy food!) but Ian was a lot more adventurous and had the tears rolling down his face to prove it!

This week I have been…

Making: a blue cheese dipping sauce

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Going: to Bath Chilli Festival

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Wearing: my Hunter wellies again

Eating: Beef brisket and lamb wraps

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Drinking: Chilli beer

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Reading: In the Kitchen by Monica Ali

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Watching: Gogglebox – so glad it’s back!

Buying: some hot sauce

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Planning: a healthy week of no-effort meals

Cooking: more BBQ food

Baking: nothing this week

Writing: to-do lists

Favouriting: this beautiful new glitter from Essie

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Working on: running again (I’ve been a bit lazy lately)

Trying to decide: if it’s cold enough to put the heating on yet

Wishing: for more late summer sun

Enjoying: the great company of my colleagues

Needing: a three day weekend to catch up on life

Feeling: very tired

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Giggling at: Ian trying the ridiculously spicy hot wings from the wings-eating competition

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Mani Monday – Essie Mind Your Mittens

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I may have had a mini Essie splurge recently and one of the shades I bought was Mind Your Mittens from Essie’s 2013 winter collection. This is described as a ‘black teal’ which I think is perfect as it is a very very dark green that can look black in some lights and a kind of deep blue/green/grey in others.

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I love these deep shades and this one was opaque with only two layers.

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I can definitely feel myself shifting away from the summer corals towards the deeper, berry colours of autumn and winter and I can see this shade being a regular on my nails over the next few months.

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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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