Monday, 31 March 2014

Manicure Monday: Broadway Nails imPRESS Press-On Manicure

In all honesty, false nails are not my thing. However, I received these imPRESS Press-On Manicure nails by Broadway Nails in my Nottingham Bloggers' Meet goodie bag, and wanted to give them a try, if only because I really liked the colour. I received the shade First Date, a lovely taupe - if you read these manicure posts regularly, you'll know I love a neutral. They are alsoshort length, which appealed to me (long fake nails don't appeal to me at all), but as the thumb nails were much shorter than my own nails I ignored them for a while. Until, that is, I got a horrible cold causing all my nails to weaken and break. That always happens when I am ill, and is highly annoying, but at least it gave me the perfect opportunity to try these out!

The first thing that really appeals to me about this product is the packaging. I love how it looks like a little bottle of nail polish, which opens on a hinge to store all 24 little false nails. It's a cute touch, but also really handy for if you wanted to take the spares out in your bag with you. I think you'd need to, as unlike with traditional false nails, if one comes off you need to put a brand new one on, as there is no glue. 
The actual application process is really easy. A little nail prep pad is enclosed, for you to give your tips a quick swipe. Then each nail has a little sticky tab at the cuticle, which is simply peeled back like double sided sticky tape, before the nail is pressed down onto your own. Peeling back the tape is a little fiddly, especially when you have already got a few nails applied! You do need to stick them on carefully as once they are on, they are on; there's no drying time, and they really are stuck down very firmly pretty much immediately. 

The finished look of the nails has positives and negatives for me. The main positive is, I think, the fact that they are a shorter length. They look almost exactly like my own nails usually do, and I didn't have to spend an age filing them down to get them to look that way. The thumb nail however, is weirdly shorter than the rest, and is barely covering my own thumb nail, despite the fact that I've filed mine right down to match the nails that were broken. To make it cover mine I have had to leave quite a large gap between the cuticle and the nail. Some of the nails are also too slim for me. It's possible that I just have strangely wide nails, but it is only the ring finger and little finger nails that have this problem. So even though they look real enough from the top, side on there is a very obvious gap between the false nail and my finger. 
Excuse my cuticles - it has been a busy month!
Overall, these haven't turned me into a falsies girl - I love my own nails too much for that. They are however, infinitely preferable to the usual false nails offerings with all that gross glue. They also come in a great range of shades and patterns, so I would be tempted to have a few sets on hand in case of nail trouble in the future. It really annoys me when I get poorly and my all nails break, especially if there's an event I want to look my best for, so I'd definitely consider using them for instances like that. I have only had them on for two days, so can't comment on the claims that they last for seven, but so far they are going nowhere. I will edit the post when the first one comes off to let you know how long they lasted. 

Have you ever tried a press-on set of false nails? 

Broadway imPRESS nails are available for £5.99 from Superdrug.

Edit: I lost my first nail on the following Thursday - so 5 full days after I put them on. The others were still stuck down pretty fast, so I imagine that if I'd just replaced that one I could have have another day or so out of them!

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Haul: Primark, beauty and books!

 This is my third haul of March, which is a tad worrying. But it's practically April now, so I'm telling myself it's okay. I only popped into Nottingham to pick up a few extra bits for our mums for Mothers' Day, but as you can see, I spiralled out of control. So, what's in the bags? I warn you, there are many pictures!
We'd parked near Primark, a shop I had zero love or time for until I discovered the Nottingham branch, which is amazingly unlike a jumble sale. I couldn't resist popping in, and without meaning to, managed to grab a very turqouise/mint selection of items. I totally didn't realise until I got home how coordinated it all was! In the pictures it seems more blue, but I would say that everything I bought was Mint Candy Apple coloured!

I picked up this necklace, because I just loved the colours too much to leave it there. I've never actually had any jewellery from Primark before, so I am hoping it doesn't break too easily. It does feel a bit flimsy. I also picked up a bracelet, which I really love and have worn today. The pastel ombre effect just totally grabbed me and I can see myself wearing this non-stop all Spring. It looks far more expensive than it was, too.
 You should also be able to see in the pictures a glimpse of unicorn fabric - that is a pair of pyjama bottoms. I didn't like the top, so just got the bottoms for comfy tv-watching times. They are kind of gathered at the bottom, which I am not 100% sold on, but the print is too adorable. In the same shade, I bought a lovely cardigan with a crochet and pearl collar. I love the details on this cardigan, with the tiny beads and crystals, and pearl buttons. I will be a bit nervous to wash it, as I always am with Primark knits, but it feels so soft and I just couldn't resist it. Finally, I saw some fake eyelashes, something I hardly ever wear, and spontaneously decided I wanted some. I've only ever used Eyelure ones in the past, so am interested to see if these are as nice, as they are far cheaper.

Next I went to Space NK, where I picked up a Laura Mercier lip glacee for my mum in the shade BonBon. I gave it to her in the bag, so couldn't photograph it. We then popped into Lush, and chose the Mum bubble bar wand for my boyfriend's mum, along with the Rose bubble bar. I wish I had got the Rose one too, it's adorably pretty. I did of course treat myself as well, and got the Popcorn lip scrub and the Dragon's Egg ballistic. The Dragon's Egg smells exactly like Honey I Washed the Kids, and is really sparkly and beautiful. It does however, leave glitter everywhere! I can't wait to try it out.

After an odd encounter in John Lewis, where the lady at the Bobbi Brown counter talked me out of buying their concealer, I decided to nip into Boots and try out the Soap and Glory one I keep hearing about. Other than a lipgloss, I've never tried any Soap and Glory make-up, so I picked up a couple of other bits as they were on 3 for 2. I am already in love with the Gloss Stick, which I bought in the shade Nudist, and am looking forward to trying out the Glow All Out powder.
 I needed some shampoo and conditioner, and as Charles Worthington was also on 3 for 2, I grabbed the Moisture Seal hair masque to give my locks a treat.

Finally we popped into Page 45, a comic book shop, to pick up the next book in a series we've really been getting into lately, Fables. We often read books together (we'll have one book on the go each, and one shared at any given time) and comic books lend themselves nicely to this. Fables, if you are interested, is about fairy tale and storybook characters living in New York with a reformed Big Bad Wolf as their Sheriff. I couldn't resist popping into the Oxfam bookshop next door and bought My Name is Mina by David Almond. It's the sequel(ish) to Skellig, a book I read and loved at school. I also got this amazing old hardback copy of What Katy Did, another childhood favourite of mine. Second hand bookshops are like treasure troves to me. 

I didn't feel like I had bought much at the time, but writing this post has made me realise it was really quite the shopping spree! I'll have to be good for a few weeks...

Friday, 28 March 2014

Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in Juicy Papaya

What can I say about the Revlon Colorburst Lip Butters that hasn't already been said? I am guessing you've probably tried one by now, it certainly seems like everyone has, but if not then you need to get on that. For one, they contain Revlon's signature super-hydrating triple butter mix of mango, shea and coconut, meaning that they make your lips feel soft and lovely whilst giving a great wash of colour. Not only are they a dream to apply, but the shade range is excellent, and the packaging is really cute. I love Revlon's thing of making the packaging match the shade inside - so useful. 

My current love is the shade Juicy Papaya, a lovely bright shade, that's kind of  orangey in the bullet, but leans peachier and coralish (definitely real words) once applied. It is one of the sheerer shades in the range, which makes it a perfect everyday colour and lovely for Spring. None of the Lip Butters have the longest wear time ever, but that is pretty much to be expected due to their balm-like consistency. Anyway, it's so gorgeous to apply, I don't mind one bit - I actually enjoy putting it on!

Don't forget, you can win a Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter in the shade Candy Apple in my giveaway here. It ends in one week, so get your entries in!

Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Spring Spruce-up

As Spring gets into full-force, we've taken the idea of Spring cleaning a step further and had a good spruce up of the house. We moved in during September last year, and still don't have things exactly the way we'd like them, so we've tried to do a few little jobs to make the place look more 'us'. Last week the living room and dining room were painted, which has made a huge difference. The house was painted a shade that I am sure was meant to be cream when we moved in, but it has always looked yellowy and cheap to me. We went for whitewashed walls, as always, with a pale blue feature wall in the living room, and a light taupy-grey on the chimney place in the dining room. The grey was called Elephant's Breath, which I think is a great name!

When putting all the shelves back, we decided to rearrange the books by colour. It looks really nice, although we seem to have a lot of black books! Also, it is now harder to find a particular book than it was when they were alphabetised. We'll see. The boyfriend is currently upstairs assembling a new wardrobe (as our things didn't all fit into one, and the floordrobe situation was getting out of control), and a new bed for us. Then our current one can go into the spare room, so we can actually use it for guests, rather than a dumping ground for junk. 

In order to spruce up my self, I've been a sucker for cute accessories lately. I think it is because I want new seasonal things, but it is too cold to buy anything remotely Summery yet, clothes-wise at least. The happy middle ground has been two new bunny-themed phone cases, bunny slippers and some cute socks with poodles and bows. Lots of nonsense that keeps me happy.

I love this time of year, the changing of the seasons makes me feel more productive next task is to tackle our incredibly boring garden. I'm thinking pastel-painted fences and lots of Marguerites. 

Monday, 24 March 2014

Manicure Monday: My Favourite Glitter, Models Own Ibiza Mix

My name is Amber and I am addicted to glitters. I have a crazy amount of glittery polishes, and use them in lots of ways - all over top-coat style, accent nails, gradients, the lot - and don't even grumble about getting them off. I love fine, subtle sparkle just as much as I love OTT chunky holos, and magically iridescent flakies. I could never ever have picked just one favourite glitter. Until I got this one. 

I am slightly ashamed to admit that I bought this purely because it was called Ibiza Mix, and I have a lot of love for the island. It didn't look too exciting or different in the bottle, and I already had a glitter or two in my basket that day. But I was dreaming of a sunny holiday, and the word Ibiza acted like some sort of trigger, and before I knew it I had handed over my £5. 

As usual, my photos do not do this justice (someone please tell me - how do you capture sparkle on camera?) but this is the prettiest glitter, with different sizes of warm pastel colours and gold. I decided to show you how it looks over white, and how it looks with a second coat, but it also looks divine over black, and I like wearing it over pastel shades. I wore it over Barry M's Gelly Blueberry non-stop last Summer. The PolishAholic has some far superior swatches here, if you'd like to see it over a peachy-orange shade. 

You can buy Model's Own Ibiza Mix from Boots, and I must say, the rest of the Hed Kandi line is worth a look. I also have Sunset Chillout and have wanted Beach Party for ages. You can also win a bottle of this wonderful polish in my 250 followers giveaway! Click through to the post here, follow me on Bloglovin, and enter away!

What's your favourite glitter?

Sunday, 23 March 2014

Mini-Haul: French Skincare

Perhaps not the largest or most exciting of hauls, but I am pretty damn pleased so far with the items I popped into my basket the other week, whilst making the most of their French pharmacy sale. 

It's too early for a full report on the Vichy Normaderm (Anti-ageing, Anti-imperfection, Anti-wrinkle Resurfacing Care, because short names are too easy), but I have been enjoying using it in the mornings as my day cream. The glycolic acid in the ingredients list caught my eye, as I love anything that keeps my skin smooth and unclogged, but I've also been impressed with the gel-cream texture, which sinks into my skin beautifully. I also like that it's tinted light green - if you struggle with redness sometimes (which I do at the minute, as I have an awful cold), this may be helpful for you.

I also picked up the ever-blogged-about Caudalie Beauty Elixir, and despite my disappointment in not receiving the limited edition L'Wren Scott bottle as pictured, have been rather liking it. I'm not convinced this is actually going to make any changes to my skin, but it smells pleasant and is lovely to use. I can see myself using it during the Summer, and I know that many people love to take it on flights.

The star of my haul has definitely been the Nuxe Reve de Miel Baume Levres. Oh my goodness. I don't know why it has taken me so long to get this, but I will never be without it again. My lips get terribly chapped, and usually with a cold like the one I have right now, they'd be sore to the point of bleeding. Not this time. This thick and non-greasy (its texture is honestly unlike any lip balm I have ever used) miracle worker has kept my lips soft and lovely.

Bioderma was annoyingly not in the third-off sale, despite being French, but it seemed as good a time as any to place an order. I don't really need to say anything about the much-loved Sensibio Micelle Solution, other than that it's handy and I like having a bottle in my stash. 

Have you placed an order in Escentual's sale? I held back from getting the La Roche Posay Effaclar duo, but I think I regret it I need to place another order before the end of March? Do let me know in the comments if you would like a full review of any of these items!

Friday, 21 March 2014

Giveaway Time!

When I started this little blog, on the first day of this year, I just wanted a little space to write about the things I love, share my opinions, and generally join in with the world of blogging, which had fascinated me for some time. I didn't think or know much about followers, but had a vague idea that it might be nice to get a few at some point. My ultimate aim was 50. 

Last week, this little space of mine, which has quickly become a labour of love verging of obsession, reached 250 followers. I know that to a lot of you that will seem like a measly little number, but to me it means the world. I am so happy and astounded that 250 people have even seen my blog, let alone liked it enough to hit the follow button. I really appreciate you all, and to say thank you, I thought it was time to give one of you lovelies a little treat.

I chose a Soap and Glory scrub, mainly because we all seem to love the brand rather a lot, and I think their scrubs are a highlight of the range. Revlon Lip Butters haven't been discussed on here yet (that will be amended soon!), but they are pretty great, and if you read this blog you'll already know of my love for this particular shade of Rimmel Scandaleyes. It wouldn't be very 'me' if I didn't include a little treat for your tips, so I have picked my favourite ever glitter, Models Own's Ibiza Mix. Expect a post on that one in the next week - it's beautiful! Hopefully with this little assortment of lovely little things, there will be something for everyone, and whichever of you lovely followers wins will be happy with your thank you gift from me. 

To enter, you just need to be a follower on Bloglovin, though once you've done that there are other ways to get a few more entries. I'm afraid this one is UK only, I'm very sorry about that, followers from overseas. The giveaway will be running for two weeks, so get your entries in before Friday 4th April 2014. Good luck! And once again, thank you very much! 
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Two Toners I Love

pixi glow tonic liz earle instant boost skin tonic review

Toners. For many years, I followed the famous skincare steps - cleanse, tone, moisturise - without ever giving a moment's thought as to why I might be bothering with that middle step. I just did it, unquestioningly, throughout my teens, possibly harbouring some vague notions about opening and closing pores as if they were little doors all over my face. Now that I understand a little bit more about the whys and wherefores of using toners (or, as many tend to be named these days, tonics), I make better choices about which ones to use when, and believe my skin is vastly improved by them. I thought I would tell you a little about my two absolute favourites. I can't pretend to have tried and tested hundreds, or to know lots about the science of skincare, but I know what I like. These two work for me and I love them.

Exfoliating toners were a bit of a revelation to me when I discovered them, and now I am a total convert. If you aren't familiar with the product, Pixi Glow Tonic is often hailed as an alternative for the pricier P50, and comes with the Caroline Hirons stamp of approval, which is usually a good reason to buy something in my eyes. I love how gentle this feels on my skin; the oil-and-alcohol-free formula feels refreshing and light, and does not strip the skin, or feel harsh in the slightest; I don't even experience any tingling. Instead it is packed with ingredients that nourish, such as soothing aloe vera and ginseng, which supplies oxygen to the cells. Glycolic acid sounds like a scary ingredient, but the right kind of acids are actually fantastic for your skin, and its job here is to get rid of dead skin cells, revealing the fresh glowy skin beneath. This means it is a great help if you want to reduce the appearance of imperfections such as sun spots, or scars left behind from blemishes. A quick swipe of this after cleansing in the evening keeps my skin looking and feeling fresh, and I think my skin looks brighter and more even when I use it. Plus I love the delicate scent - just like talcum powder! This used to be a bit of a pain to get hold of, but the website has been consistently in stock for a while now, so hopefully that has changed. 

I am a long-time devotee of Liz Earle's, and their Instant Boost Skin Tonic is no exception. A different type of toner, this one is all about the hydration, and adds a layer of moisture to freshly cleansed and/or exfoliated skin. Basically, aloe vera, chamomile and cucumber soften, refresh and sooth the skin, whilst making it smell all floral and pretty. Perfection. Seriously, I use this every single day, without fail, either after or instead of an exfoliating toner. I have two bottles in stock for when the one I am using is empty because what if I ran out? I have been addicted to this toner for seven years, which makes me feel old, but it is just true love. It makes my skin feel so soft and kind of plumped up - if you are someone who ever feels tightness after cleansing you need this in your life - and calms my skin down if I've been using a scrub or a mask. This is available in a spray bottle, but I like the twisty top version - a little nib pops out and I can easily control the flow onto my cotton pad. 

Do you use either of these toners? What's your favourite toner?

Pixi Glow Tonic available here (£16), Liz Earle Instant Boost Skin Tonic available here (£13.25).

Monday, 17 March 2014

Manicure Monday: Speckled Egg Nail Art How-To

saran wrap clingfilm manicure eggs nail art
 I did warn you that I'd gone Easter mad. I'm just impressed I managed to keep bunnies out of this post. 

This week, rather than just showing you a few of my many polishes, I thought I would actually show you one of the ways in which I like to use them. I am quite a fan of nail art, though totally lack any skills, so these kinds of foolproof looks are my speciality. I love to do this cling film technique at this time of year, because I think it looks a bit like speckled eggs! When I first started seeing this look popping up on nail blogs, it was always referred to as a saran-wrap mani, which I thought must be something fancy, not realising that was just the American term for good old cling film. I rarely use anything for nail art that I don't have lying around the house anyway, so this is perfect for me! I used the Essie colours Blanc and Where's My Chauffeur? for this look. This is the world's easiest non-tutorial, so apologies if I'm stating the obvious here, but I thought I would do a little how-to, just in case!

clingfilm saran-wrap nail art how-to tutorial
 1. Paint your nails white - I like to use two coats - or whatever colour you are using as your base.
2. Scrunch up a little ball of cling film, and dab a little bit of your chosen colour on to the top.
3. Lightly dab your cling film over your nails randomly. You can experiment with using more or less polish on the cling film, or rolling it into a tighter/looser ball to create different effects. 
4. Voil√†! Told you it was foolproof. A quick coat of Seche Vite gives a glossy finish. 

I think this looks cool with gold and silver polish too. I tried black out, hoping it would look like real eggs, but I don't think I did a great job of that nail. I think the metallic shades would look great over black though -  that's one for me to try out in the Winter, I think. 

Have you ever tried out this look before? 

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Wishlist: Spring Accessories

Spring has most definitely sprung, and I have gone pastel-and-bunny-cray. In a wild attempt to curb my spending, I've indulged in the window-shopping of the blogging world, and compiled a little wishlist of the little bits and bobs I'm craving. It needed to happen - this month I have already bought two bunny phone cases, a pair of bunny slippers and some Thumper pyjamas. This is me staging my own intervention.

spring accessories wishlist pastels
1. How adorable are these Moschino ear buds? Gennarino the Bear has stolen my heart. I have the bunny phone case so these are practically a requirement! (£28 at Net-a-Porter)
2. The new Clinique Cheek Pops are almost to pretty to use, but I know I would get plenty of wear out of Ginger Pop; I tend to go a little coral-crazy towards the end of Spring. (£16.50 from Clinique)
3. This is scented with vanilla and coconut. It has pink wax. It has a bunny. There is some connection to cake. I need this candle. (£19.49 from
4. My nail polish ban has gone terribly so far, and it's still killing me. I have blues a-plenty, but am still hankering after the beautiful Bikini So Teeny. (£7.99 at Superdrug)
5. I love the little gems in place of boring old numbers on this rose-gold beauty. (£185 from Marc by Marc Jacobs, available at Asos)
6. I'm clearly ready for Easter, but this ring is too cute for words. (£40 at Marc by Marc Jacobs, available at
7. As much as I love my bright yellow Cambridge Satchel, there's definitely room in my life for a smaller, pastel pink version. (£125 from The Cambridge Satchel Company)
8. These nude leather and metallic plimsolls are the perfect way to do comfy and casual footwear in Spring - I'm not ready for sandals yet. (£89 from Mint Velvet)
9. I love a clear umbrella to see me through the April (and March, and May) showers, and this birdcage print is too pretty. (£32 from Lulu Guinness)

Has anyone else gone bunny/pastel mad? No? Just me then.

Friday, 14 March 2014

Products For Tousled Hair

hair products percy and reed texturising spray charles worthington volume and bounce bumble and bumble thickening hairspray

Tousled tresses are always a good idea. From full-on bed-head hair, to sleek with neatly shaken up roots, and everything in-between, most of us like to avoid looking too 'done'. Unless you are lucky enough to possess naturally perfect waves, chances are your oh-so-effortless styles actually take a fair bit of effort, and it is here that the right products are a massive help. 

In my case, my hair is long and thick, so often gets weighed down and can look a bit flat and heavy. Yes, my annoyingly super-thick hair can end up looking like it lacks volume. It's also pretty wavy, and unruly, so needs quite a bit of taming to look good...which can lead to that overdone look we're trying to avoid here. These are the products I've been loving lately, to help me on my quest to get sexy tousled locks √† la Gwyneth, Blake Lively, the Olsen twins and the VS girls...because the main difference between me and them is definitely hair. 

Percy & Reed Quite Wonderfully Wavy Texturising Spray
Where has this been all my life? For those who like the idea of a salt spray, but fancy a glossier finish, this sweet-smelling concoction is a pretty good bet. Salt has been replaced with willow-leaf extract and strengthening pro-vitamins; this is for a glam take on the tousled look. Sprayed into damp hair, and worked through with a comb, this leaves me with the glossy waves I've always wanted. 

One of my favourite ways to use this product is to spray it onto towel-dried hair, and then make two high pigtails. I then twist the pigtails into little buns (think Miley at the VMAs, foam finger not required) and go to bed. If they do need a little blast with the hairdryer in the morning so be it, and when they are cool, I gently unfurl my soft, shiny waves. If that made no sense to you, or you'd like a few more details, see Jade at skinsweet's post here, explaining a one-bun version of the method. 

Available from (£14)

Charles Worthington Salon at Home Volume and Bounce Texturising Spray
I have a feeling you'll have heard of this already, as the blogging world has gone a bit crazy for this product. Hailed as a dupe for the eye-wateringly expensive Oribe Dry Texturising Spray (which I can't comment on, as I haven't tried...yet), this adds a bit of volume and texture to your hair. I like this when I've styled my hair (whether that be a blow dry or a few curls with the straightener), and I want to add a bit of oomph. A quick spritz, and a ruffle through with my fingers, and my hair is looking considerable better. Do go easy though - one spray too many and you will be left with crunchy hair that is a textured step too far. It's certainly a product that you will know you have in your hair, but used with a light hand, it can give great results. I am mainly in love with the price, holding me off from a £38 splurge in Space NK a little longer.

Available from Boots  (£6.99) - if you're lucky, as it seems forever out of stock!

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Hairspray
This is actually a magazine freebie that I got (and hated!) last year. I was trying to use it in the way that I now use the Percy & Reed spray, a bad move that resulted in a sticky, gunky mess. Having had a Google and a re-try a few months ago, I am now fully converted, and will repurchase this when it runs out. It transpires that a few spritzes of this on damp roots (5-8 actually, and don't get carried away) are all it takes to get some pretty impressive volume and general mussiness going on around my crown. I sometimes use this alongside the Percy & Reed when using the technique I mentioned, and sometimes use it before blow-drying (and sometimes even straightening) my hair to get the sleek-with-oomph-at-the-roots look favoured by Gwyneth. I do notice it works a bit better when I dry my hair with a hairdryer, unlike the Percy and Reed which works just as well with or without heat. I do however, love it, and can't believe I criticised and ignored it for months when it was just a bit misunderstood. I'm sorry hairspray, I get you now.

Available from (£20.50)

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Magazine Freebies: April 2014 Issues

Everybody loves a bargain, and there's no bargain quite like a freebie. I know I am not the only one who has occasionally picked up a magazine purely because it came with an exciting free gift, and this month there has been more than one freebie-induced buy! I thought I would give you a little run down of who's giving what, and whether they are worth a try.
I've actually not bought a copy of Company in years; it wasn't very exciting the few times I picked it up many years ago, and although it has sky-rocketed in popularity since its recent rebranding, I hadn't got round to giving it a go. I know lots of you love it, but I can't say I was blown away by the East London themed issue, though I did enjoy Jameela Jamil's column. The free gift was perhaps the least initially-exciting one of the lot - an own brand mascara. However, it seems surprisingly decent, with a nice big brush and a formula that gives a natural, fluttery look. It's not very volumising, but on the plus side, it doesn't clump at all; it's okay for an everyday kind of look. 
Ah, Elle. You of the pretty pictures, and about five actual sentences. I was so excited to get hold of my Percy & Reed Wonderbalm (I am a big fan of the brand), that I didn't realise quite how much glue had been used to secure it to the mag, and ripped the whole front cover almost in two. I haven't read it yet, but I doubt I'd recommend buying Elle for the read. I do however, heartily recommend snapping up this balm, which is not yet available to buy in shops. Billed as a primer for hair, this is effectively an all-in-one that can be used on wet hair to prep and help your other products to maximise their effect, or on styled hair to finish and add definition. I have only used this on dry hair as yet, but so far, I'm impressed. If you'd like a full review once I have given this a more thorough test, do let me know. 

Yes, I actually bought three copies of Glamour this month so that I could try everything out. Annoyingly, I mistakenly picked up the eye liner (which I got last year, and know to be rubbish) instead of the lip liner, but I cannot buy any more copies of this magazine; I've run out of people to give them to! So, was it worth it? The liner is soft, smudgy and disappointing - just don't bother with it. I was excited to try out the Fibre LashXtend mascara, having heard a lot about their other fibre lash products, but I am afraid this didn't live up to my expectations. The fibres are interesting, and certainly lengthen, but they aren't buildable at all; more than one coat and my lashes started to get tangles. Which means you need to make sure your first coat goes on perfectly; there's no going over this a second time to get the shape right. I'd say the mascara is interesting enough to be worth picking up though - for £2, it's worth a try, for the novelty alone. Finally the lip gloss, which I picked up in the shade Berry Pink, comes in quite nice packaging which like the mascara, has a little mirror on. Handy. It is a lovely pink with a touch of gold shimmer in the swatch (below), but this pigmentation doesn't transfer brilliantly to the lips. It's nice enough though, and reminds me both in just-slightly-sticky consistency and (overly-sweet) smell of Tanya Burr's glosses. These products all retail for around £15, which I don't personally think they are worth; for £2 however, I am glad I tried them out.
Last but not least, Marie Claire are giving away a Neal's Yard Remedies Lip Gloss in the shade Goji Berry, worth £9.50. Last year I remember getting a freebie of their Power Berry Daily Moisturiser (which was lovely, and had such a good smell!) so I was excited to try this. The colour of this looks less exciting than the Model Co one in the swatch, but looks far nicer on the lips, and is a my-lips-but-better shade. This feels really moisturising and not at all sticky, plus it has a delicious citrussy scent. I actually really love this, and can see myself using this a lot. I hadn't tried any Neal's Yard make up before, but now I would definitely consider buying other lip products from their line. Big recommend! 

Despite now having more mags than I can read, I still got Cosmo this month. I know, I am insane. I am pretty annoyed with them for not having a free gift though, seeing as everyone else did!

Have you ever bought a magazine just for the gift? Will you be snapping up any of these freebies? Let me know if you enjoy this type of post, and I will do more whenever there's a good month for freebies! 

Monday, 10 March 2014

Manicure Monday: Pretty Purples

Now that Spring is in full force (we've had Pancake Day, people are wearing pastels and my neighbours had a barbecue yesterday; it's Spring), we can really embrace pretty colours, and there is no better place to do this than on your nails. I'm not normally a purple girl, but shades that are either bright or delicate (bonus points for both!) do tend to win me over. I thought I would show you a few that I like at this time of year, although annoyingly, one of my Essie favourites, a lovely lilac, has gone missing. If I do find it, I'll give it a post all to itself in celebration!

Front Cover - Sloe Berry
I thought that as I had thrown away the box of the set this came in, I wouldn't be able to tell you the name of this shade, which is why it isn't labelled on the swatch. It was however, written on the bottle - duh. This was part of the Metallic Collection, which I believe is no longer available; they change their collections seasonally, but I would definitely recommend giving them a go. The sets make excellent presents, and the formulas apply really nicely. I know this one looks a bit streaky, but it needed 3 coats. However, in the interests of fairness, I always do two coats and no top coat for all of my nail swatches. 

I do realise I am being highly unhelpful today, but this little mini also came in a set, so I don't know its name. I can't even find the set by Googling, which is odd. However, I have used this little bottle loads, and still have plenty left, which is quite impressive really. If you are very keen on the colour, from what I can tell, it is fairly similar to Planks A Lot from OPI's Pirates of the Caribbean collection. It's also a smidge lighter than it looks in my photos. 

Barry M Gelly - Prickly Pear
Okay, here's one I do know! The Gelly polishes are fantastically glossy, and this one is one of my favourites from the range, and incidentally, my favourite of the polishes featured here today. I love how it leans neither pink nor blue; it's a true pastel purple. I wore this loads last year, and I know I will use it just as much this Spring.

Barry M - Berry Ice Cream
Another gem from good old Barry, and this one is the most typically lilac/lavender shade I own. Far pinker than Prickly Pear, this is perfect for Easter time, and a lovely middle ground for those more accustomed to wearing safe colours such as pink on their nails, wanting to try out something a bit different. This is also a bit Radiant Orchid, so very 2014. Wear it with Benefit's Lollitint for a matchy-matchy candy-girl look. 

Do you love a purple nail? What's your favourite purple polish?

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Run, run, run!

In an attempt to inject some movement into my Netflix-based lifestyle, I have recently been using a fun little running app on my iPhone. I know, fun and running. I realise there are people out there for whom running and exercise in general comes naturally and enjoyably, but I am just not one of them. I seriously lack motivation, particularly when it's cold and I'm tired from work - so basically, every day. However, my energy and fitness levels are feeling pretty shabby, so the time has come for me to get moving. 

The things I enjoy most are reading (books, blogs, whatever), tv, films and games with a story. In fact, anything with a story. So in order to make exercise fun, it needed a bit of story to it, something to make me want to keep going. Naturally, there's an app for that. I've been using Zombies, Run! which basically tells me a little story as I run, all about how I am on post-apocalyptic running missions. The idea is, anyone can run faster than a zombie, so anyone can do it! Perfect for me. Each run is a little mission in itself, and they are all part of a bigger season-arc storyline. This is basically a geeky tv show, that I get to be in. The story is split into parts, integrated with whatever playlist you have put on your phone. I realise this all sounds incredibly nerdy, but if emotional attachment to characters in an app is what makes me want to run, so be it. The voice acting is really quite good, and it tells you all of your stats at the end, putting them on a little map for you.

Inspired by Shannon at DimpletoDimple, who posted recently with examples of inspirational geeky gymwear, I have put together a little wishlist of items that might make me feel a bit more motivated to run. 

1. Who doesn't want to be Batman? (Active Apparel $27)

2. My fringe is at that awkward stage of growing out, and this would keep it from driving me insane. (Sweaty Betty, £6)
3.A font-based choice. (Active Apparel, $27)
4. This jacket is for those of us who like to spend over £200 on clothes that are going to get sweat on them. Hey, I said this was a wish list. (Adidas by Stella McCartney, £240)
5. I always knew that if I ever had the urge to run, I'd want to do it in Roche Runs. I also like the pink versions, and there's a customisation option on the website. (Nike, £70)
6. Not convinced I'd look as good as the model in these, but they are rather nice, and I suppose that can be one of my wishes. (Nike, £50)
7. This is pretty perfect for me and my dorky little game. (Active Apparel $27)
8. A t-shirt that sums up my feelings towards running some days...(coming soon to TruffleShuffle)
9. Would I pay this much for a vest top that I plan on running in? See number 8. It's rather pretty though. (Adidas by Stella McCartney £40)

My current running attire consists of ancient tracksuit bottoms, trainers from the children's section of adidas, and more often than not, a Sunnydale High t-shirt. So yeah, probably need to up my game. Where do you buy workout clothes? 

Friday, 7 March 2014

Primark Mini-Haul

A little trip to Primark after the Nottingham Bloggers' Meet on Saturday led to a little pay-day splurge, but one I don't feel too guilty about, as there are far worse places to leave with a large bag when you're on a budget. 

Having seen it on a few blogs, I had to have the pale pink Beverly Hills jumper; this is a Sunday jumper to me, casual and cosy, and appropriate both for Spring and cold weather. I had a hard time picking just one set of pyjamas, as they had so many characters I love. My Little Pony and The Muppets were close contenders, but once I saw these fluffy Bambi socks, I had to have the pyjamas to match. I also could resist neither the little London mirror (it was only £1), as I seem to have lost my old mirror, nor the little star fairy lights. For only £3, they probably won't last too long, but I'm sure I will find some little use for them. Finally I grabbed a navy dress, with a little Peter Pan collar. It's not like I need another navy dress, but it seemed like it might be nice for work; I just need to try it on and check it isn't too short.
Naturally after all that budget-buying, I couldn't help but try to balance things out with a little higher-end purchase. Luckily my boyfriend whipped out his wallet at the till, and so I am finally the owner of a full-sized NARS Laguna bronzer. I'm sure I'll tell you all about it some other time!

I am getting into a bit of Primark these days, so if you've done or seen a good haul, do link me up in the comments! Have you bought any of the same items as me? Am I going to be one of millions in that pink jumper? 

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