Monthly Archives: August 2014

Review: Ciate Flower Manicure Bad-a-Bloom

21 August 2014

ciate flower manicure reviewciate flower manicure reviewGone are the days when I’d painstakingly create tiny masterpieces on my nails – my patience has since worn far too thin for such frivolity (living with a semi-feral cat and a man who can’t make his own sandwiches will do that to you). But when I saw the Ciate flower manicure set, I was instantly drawn (nothing to do with the fact it was half price in the bargain utopia that is TK Maxx). The results on the box look simply stunning, and it’s available in blue (which I’ve got) and pink, which is aptly named ‘Strike a Posy’.

The set includes a pastel blue nail polish and a clear topcoat (both full size), two pots of dried flowers, a nail file and quite a decent pair of tweezers.ciate flower manicure review I whipped out this set on a Saturday night home alone when I had no distractions and plenty of time which are ideal conditions when you’re trying to focus on such a fiddly project. I put on a couple of coats of the pale blue (I’m personally not a massive fan of Ciate nail polishes, they tend to be quite slow-drying and this was no exception). Colour was nice though. Once dry, I put on a layer of the clear topcoat and as quick as I could, fished out a bit of flower and positioned it on my nail. Before it dried, I put on another piece to finish the formation. Once dry, I filed off the over-hanging bits and put on a final layer of topcoat.

The whole process was extremely fiddly and took an eye-watering amount of time. I’m not exactly the most patient gal in the world and frankly, I was glad when it was over. I liked the finished result from a distance, but you can see on the close-up what the problem was. Because you need so many layers of nail polish, you end up with a bit of a gloopy, air-bubbly effect. And because the flowers are more 3D then you’d expect, you don’t get a smooth finish like it looks on the packaging (which I suspect has been heavily photoshopped). The bits were quite sharp and I found they’d catch on everything. Longevity was decent, and even though little bits of flower snapped off during the course of the week, it wasn’t too noticeable.
ciate flower manicure reviewciate flower manicure review All in all, I really liked the look of this flower manicure but I was too embarrassed for my nearest and dearest to get too close. I doubt I’ll try this again any time soon but if I do, I’d probably take a bit more time and try to stop the dreaded bubbles from forming. If I’m being completely honest, I’d save yourself the time, hassle and frustration and just get yourself a set of nail wraps.

Ciate Flower Manicure in Bad-a-Bloom is available at Feel Unique for £18.


Review: Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover

16 August 2014

nivea daily essentials eye make-up remover

More and more budget brands are doing bi-phase eye makeup removers and I’ve been quite the floozy when it comes to trying them. I’m already a fan of the Daily Essentials range from Nivea (well, I’ve tried one other product – the Hydration Primer, review here) and I picked this up for the crazy-ass promotional price of £1.79.

I’d say this eye makeup remover sits somewhere in the middle of the L’Oreal version and the Garnier. It’s much less greasy than L’Oreal but more effective than Garnier. It takes off my eye makeup really easily (although I don’t use waterproof mascara), requires absolutely no scrubbing and doesn’t leave a greasy film. Definitely a repurchase.

The only downside is the sheer speed that this separates again after shaking. We’re talking maybe two seconds so you need to rather nimble-fingered. But at that price it wouldn’t be fair to demand it all.

Nivea Daily Essentials Double Effect Eye Make-Up Remover is available now at Boots for £1.79 (usual price £3.59).

Lush Haul

15 August 2014

lush haul

Since re-embarking upon the fitness ship, I’ve been bathing more to help soothe my weary muscles. Good ol’ Radox has had to take a back seat and make way for something a bit more exotic. I popped into Lush to stock up on a few things, and this is what I got.

Pop in the Bath bath melt, £2.95

I’ve already used this one and it was surprisingly bubbly. It comes in a few colours but I think they’re all the same scent. It was fresh and citrusy and smelled like sweets. It turned the bath water into some kind of moisturising magic liquid which was thoroughly enjoyable.

Avobath bath bomb, £3.25

The infamous bath bomb. This avocado, lemongrass and bergamot concoction is recommended for use in the morning but who the hell has time for a splash in the bath in the morning?! I certainly don’t. Could be a good post-gym option.

A French Kiss bath melt, £4.25

How delightful is this little meringue? It’s packed with lavender so will make quite the bedtime bath treat. The prettiest of the bunch, I’m so excited to use it.

Tender is the Night massage bar, £6.50

When Mr TBL treats me to a home massage, usually we don’t have the oils and have to resort to moisturiser. As you can imagine, moisturiser sinks into skin far too quickly, making the whole thing less romantic and more a cocktail of friction and frustration. I saw this gorgeous-smelling massage bar and thought it would make his life easier. I’ll get him to work as soon as I can.

Review: Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner Black

13 August 2014

maybelline gel linermaybelline gel liner review
It took me a while to get into gel liners but ever since giving Maybelline Eye Studio gel liner a proper go, I haven’t looked back.

It comes in a little glass pot and you get a brush too (people seem to like this brush but quite frankly I can’t stand it for applying eyeliner. It’s better used as a lip brush). The texture is creamy, matte and super black, apparently a dupe for Bobbi Brown. Because it’s thick and almost a solid, I find it much easier to work with than a liquid, and it seems to create less mess. I wrote about my favourite method of applying this here. A little unconventional for some but it works like a dream. The gel liner really glides along the skin, creating a smooth line and doesn’t drag.

It’s waterproof so wear time is great and stays pretty much perfect until I take it off. It even works in the waterline without stinging (however, the feeling of it will most probably make you feel queasy). I love this stuff, and can’t fault it. I was even stopped in John Lewis recently by a girl who was gagging to know what it was. Do you instantly like a product more when you get complimented on it? I know I do.

Maybelline Eye Studio Gel Liner is available at Boots and Superdrug for £7.99

Motivational Monday #3

11 August 2014

motivational monayI don’t want to get my hopes up, but I think I’ve got back into the habit of doing regular exercise. Well, when I say habit I mean I’m ravaged by a crippling guilt if I go more than one day without doing any exercise. On the days where I haven’t felt like doing anything more than lie on the sofa feeling depressed, I’ve taken my own advice from last week and just put my damn gym clothes on. Unsurpisingly,squeezing myself into unspeakable amounts of lycra and seeing the result in mirror is enough to get me in the mood for exercise.

I also for the first time ever, went for a run in hot weather. I’d been using the heat wave as an excuse not to bother but decided enough was enough and got out there. I hate feeling hot and bothered but doing the 30 Day Shred has gotten me used to being literally dripping with sweat. So, I had a run round Wimbledon Common after work one evening and it was actually ok. There were times when I thought I was going to pass out from heat exhaustion but I didn’t and now I know I can run in any weather conditions without dying.

The 30 Day Shred DVD has been getting a good amount of use. It does get a bit repetitive but I’m a little bit in love with Jillian Michaels so it’s all good. On saturday morning I took the plunge and attended my first class at my new gym. I had no idea what to expect from Body Conditioning but it was similar to what I’ve been doing with young Jillian. Lots of squatting, lunging and push-ups.

Meals this week have been easy to keep healthy but it’s the snack attacks that get me. If I need something, I’ll have a bit of full fat Greek style yoghurt with a few berries or a sprinkling of granola. My scales have been crucial, it’s amazing how easy it is to underestimate a portion – I’d totally recommend getting some if you haven’t already. You don’t have to go all Nadine Coyle and take them out in your handbag to weigh out your 50g of sashimi but they’re definitely handy to have when you’re prepping meals and snacks at home.

Weight loss this week: 2.2lbs / 1kg
Total weight loss: 2.2lbs / 1kg

Review: Sleek Eyebrow Stylist

9 August 2014

before and after.jpgsleek eyebrow stylist sleek eyebrow stylistsleek eyebrow stylist

If I was only able to make up one part of my face, it would be eyebrows every time. Even on my no-makeup days, I have to put my eyebrows on. Otherwise I’m left with short and gappy brows which make me look like a 12-year-old boy. So, every time I see a new brow product, I have to give it a go – this time it’s Sleek Eyebrow Stylist in Dark.

I’ll be honest, the thing that attracted me most about this eye pencil was the spoolie, which are surprisingly hard to come by on their own. I’m also a huge fan of Sleek products so I knew I wanted this as soon as it came out. There’s the spoolie on one end and a waxy wind-up pencil on the other. The pencil itself is slanted so it stays tapered which is a nice touch.
sleek eyebrow stylist
The pencil isn’t super pigmented but can be built up, which can take a bit of time. This is good news if you’re after a natural look or just want to quickly fill in the sparse bits. Because the nib is never going to be sharp, it can be difficult to draw in tiny hairs, so it works better with the spoolie brushed through afterwards to blend it all out. If you like pointed eyebrow tails, this probably isn’t the best thing to use, but perfect if you’re into a more organic look.

You can probably see that the shade Dark is a tiny bit off for my brows but not horrendously so. In terms of longevity, the Sleek Eyebrow Stylist stays put pretty much all day, even through the sweaty weather we’ve been suffering through recently.

I probably seem a bit indifferent to this eye pencil, and I’m not too sure how I feel about it. I like it for the sheer ease and the spoolie comes in especially handy whether I use the pencil or not. If I’m going to use an eye pencil, I do prefer a sharp nib which is the only sad thing about this. Nonetheless, the Sleek Eyebrow Stylist is definitely worth having in your makeup bag for days when you can’t be bothered spending hours on your brows.

Sleek Eyebrow Stylist is available from Boots and Superdrug and costs £5.99

FOTD: Soft Cat Eye

8 August 2014

fotd fotd fotd

I fancied doing a softer cat eye today with my new purple liner from Bourjois. I also used the bargainous Beauty UK Festival Posh Palette for the first time to spice things up a little bit. Apologies for the slightly melted face, I took these photos after enduring a very sweaty journey home from work so things weren’t exactly looking peach. Saying that though, I’m impressed at how good my skin was still looking, three cheers for Garnier!

Garnier Miracle Skin Cream (review)
Sleek Face Form Medium
Accessorize Merged Baked Blush Scandal (review)

MAC Paint Pot Painterly
MAC Eyeshadow Handwritten
Beauty UK Posh Palette Festival No.3 (orange)
Bourjois Liner Feutre Noir Violine
Maybelline Master Drama Khol Liner Dark Brown
Gosh Boombastic Mascara Black (review)

MAC Eyeshadow Handwritten

MAC Matte Lipstick Mehr
Rimmel Moisture Renew Lipstick Notting Hill Nude

Finish 5 by Fall TAG

7 August 2014

finish 5 by fall

I saw this tag floating around and it tickled my fancy as I’ve been considering a spending ban. Truth be told, that probably won’t happen but finishing up some products might make me feel a little less disgusted at the amount of stuff I have. Looking at the photo, I realise I cheated by picking three skincare products which tend to easier to use up than makeup…and the makeup products I’ve chosen are almost finished anyway. What a rubbish start.

MAC Studio Sculpt Foundation NC42, £25

This was my first ever MAC foundation. Actually it was my first ever foundation that matched my skin tone…and that was only two years ago. I realise I should have chucked this away by now but I couldn’t bear it. I’ve got it on today and so far my skin hasn’t fallen off. A trusty old friend that perhaps I’ve neglected recently.

Maybelline Fit Me Concealer 25, £5.99

I really like this concealer for brightening and highlighting the under eye area. I’ve had it for a few months and I use it several times a week. The packaging looks suspiciously like the NARS Creamy Concealer but certainly doesn’t feel as luxe. It’s also got less coverage than NARS but it’s a good choice for daytime.

Una Brennan Super Facialist Vitamin C+ Skin Defence Daily Moisturiser, £16.99

Pump? Check. SPF? Check. Zesty scent? Check. Fast Drying? Check. I’ve been using this as my day cream pretty much every single day since February and it’s still going. I can just about see through it in the light and I think it’s sadly coming to an end. I could buy another one or console myself by cracking open one of the others eagerly waiting in my drawer…we shall see.

The Body Shop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion, £14

One of the most effective exfoliators I’ve come across, I rub my face with with this about once a week. My face is genuinely brighter afterwards although this product feels a lot harsher than I first expected…but I’ll just take that as proof that it actually works.

Soap & Glory Peaches & Clean Cleanser, £8

I like this but I don’t love it enough to use it more than once or twice a week. I’ve got another one of these from the S&G Christmas set which hasn’t been opened so I feel Peaches & Clean will be with me for a while yet!

So, that’s your lot, you’ll hopefully be seeing these in an upcoming Empties post. If like me, you haven’t been tagged, you should do it anyway – break free from the shackles of etiquette! Don’t forget to leave me your links if you do.

I tag:


July 2014 Favourites

6 August 2014

july 2014 favourites
Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme, £27.50

I mentioned this in my last Repurchases post and can see it being repurchased until kingdom come. After I’ve used this and then shampooed and conditioned my usually frizzy barnet, I can instantly feel the difference. My hair has that ‘slip’ and movement that non-Caucasian hair types are absolutely desperate for. My hair is finally getting longer and snapping less, and I’m certain it’s because of this. Worth every penny.

Lush Lip Scrub Bubblegum, £5.50

Later you’ll see I’ve been absolutely BUMMING bold matte lips recently and my lips needed some TLC. This is basic sugar scrub that exfoliates the lips and gets rid of flaky skin. It does the job pretty well and tastes quite nice, prepping my lips for a slathering of balm.

Nuxe Reve de Miel Lip Balm, £9.50

I use this most nights and I love everything about it. The taste, the consistency, the little glass pot, the matte finish, the way it moistens my lips (not those ones, you cheeky scoundrel) until the morning…if I could marry this and have tiny Reve de Miel babies with it I would. I had £5 off at Space NK when I got it but I’d still definitely pay full price for it. Luxury at its best!

Sleek Face Form Medium, £9.99

I think this was my first ever Sleek product and it sparked a passionate love affair with the brand. If you have dark skin and you’re looking for a drugstore contour powder, I can’t recommend this enough. It comes in four shades and there’s literally a palette to suit everyone. The bronzer is quite nice, and the highlighter is okay, but I’d buy this for the contour colour alone. You can see it in action in basically any FOTD I’ve done.(Butterfingers here dropped it and broke off the lid in case you were wondering what the hell happened.)

MAC Matte Lipstick Ruby Woo, £15.50

I mentioned this in my MAC haul and although I’ve only had it a couple of weeks, I have worn it so many times and I now see why it’s such a classic. It’s the perfect red and it’s impossible to not feel like a sexy siren with it on. I wore this to a wedding last weekend and had so many compliments – even from the bride herself – if that’s not enough to make you want to try it then I don’t know what is.

MAC Lip Pencil Cherry, £12.50

Don’t believe anyone who says you don’t need a lip liner with a bold lip – they’re probably not your friend…I’m your friend now. This is SO pigmented and creamy but stays in place all day. With this on, I only had to touch up Ruby Woo twice the WHOLE day (she loved it), as in noon to midnight. Impressive. Definitely going to purchase in Spice to wear with nudes.

The Repurchases #1

5 August 2014

beauty repurchases

Maybelline Master Drama Cream Khol Eyeliner, £4.49

As far as drugstore black eyeliners go, this is my favourite (I have the brown one pictured because I thought it would look a little better than all the black stubs currently plaguing my life). Creamy, rich and long-lasting, it was the pencil that tempted me away from Urban Decay 24/7 liners. I’ve repurchased this 5 or 6 times and I don’t see this relationship ending any time soon.

Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water, £3.33

A new yet trusty friend. The last bottle lasted me AGES even with daily use. Good for the first stage of facial cleansing, fixing eyeliner cock-ups and early-morning face wiping when I can’t be bothered washing it. I don’t see the point of paying more for Bioderma when they essentially do the exact same thing.

Seche Vite Fast Drying Top Coat, £9.00

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve repurchased this, and I refuse to paint my nails without it. It does turn gloopy quite quickly which can be infuriating, so I tend to snap this up any time I see it a bit cheaper.

Carmex Moisture Plus Ultra Hydrating Lip Balm Pink Tint, £4.49

(review here) I repurchased this after dropping the last one behind a chest of drawers and will never be seen again (imagine if it was a high end product! I’d have taken a sledgehammer to the bloody thing to get it back). I love this, it’s really moisturising and tingly, and one of the few pink tinted balms that shows up on my lips.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer Extreme, £27.50

This is the only thing that tames my wild mass of frizzy curls. I first tried it in a sample size I had and bought the full size as soon as I ran out. Seems pricey but it does wonders. I simply can’t wash my hair without it now.

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