Sunday, 31 October 2010

The Perfect Christmas Nails!

I don't often purchase MAC nail polishes as I find them a bit overpriced, watery and difficult to work with. However, as I was given Bad Fairy for my Birthday I was eager to try it out, and of course show off just how happy I was with my present. Who knew that this would turn out to be such a spectacular nail varnish, and absolutely perfect for Christmas!

                                With Flash                                          Without Flash                             

To get the maximum glitter effect I used three thin coats topped off with Seche Vite. Unfortunately the photos really can't give the multidimensional, duochrome sparkle justice. It really is beautiful and vibrant - changing between a deep ruby red to a warm orange/gold depending on the angle of your nails.
 Please ignore the horrendous splodges and creases on my nails above. Boys will never understand why it is not a good idea to pounce on you after you have painstakingly applied five coats of varnish to your nails and are peacefully sitting, waiting for them to dry! To say the least, I was not impressed!! :(


Have you tried MAC's Bad Fairy polish from the Venamous Villains collection? I doubt I would have purchased this as it looks a little similar to China Glaze Ruby Pumps, but it is completely different on the nails. I can't wait to use this again for a Christmas party or two ;). xxx

Happy Halloween!

I hope you are all having a super fun Halloween my lovelies! As I absolutely love dressing up I never miss an opportunity to do so, and Halloween is definitely a great time to go a little bit crazy. Even though in England we don't celebrate this holiday half as much as our cousins on the other side of the pond (yes I mean you USA!) I would never let that quash my spirit ;).

Can you guess what I was this year?
Though the coat, Ugg boots and leggings weren't strictly part of my outfit I think you can guess where I was going with this ;).
Since I have pretty much exhausted my 'scary costumes' repertoire I decided to go for something a little more 'exotic' this year. I know it isn't very Halloween(ish), but the theme I was working with was an arabian princess/ Disney's princess Jasmine/ belly-dancer. The bf accordingly went as Aladin... though he was evidently having problems with his lamp ;).
I bought this costume when I visited Dubai a few years ago and still had not had a chance to use it, so what better time. 
My favourite part of the costume was definitely the makeup. I had SO much fun doing a full on arabic style eye, especially as I haven't had a chance to create a really dramatic look in quite a while! Would you guys be interested in a tutorial on this?
 I only used a few shadows in this look to try and match the colours in my costume, but it did take quite a while to get them to blend seamlessly.


 Oh makeup, how I do love thee! I wish everyday was a chance to dress up and play!

What do you think of my efforts? Should I stop scaring the children? What are you dressing up as for Halloween? xxx

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

John Frieda Precision Foam Colour

Last week I attended an event at the Mayfair hotel in London hosted by John Frieda to learn all about their new venture - hair colour! Since I have long been a fan of the John Frieda range my hopes were high and I wanted to be impressed. Luckily, I was not dissappointed!
The new Precision Foam Colour range of permanent at home hair-dye kits are definitely innovative. I was happy to see that instead of bringing out yet another dye that promises 'salon results at home' John Frieda took the time to develop a kit that makes the process easier. During R&D the team carefully listened to real women who had expressed their dislike (and in some cases hatred) of dying their hair at home, with their main concerns being the messy application process and unevenness of results. As someone who hasn't seen their natural hair colour in just under 10 years I can completely sympathise. I have personally struggled with:
  • Tangled hair due to obsessive sectioning in a vain attempt at getting an even spread of colour
  • Dye dripping down the back of my neck
  • Stained (ruined) clothes/ towels/ tiles/ sinks
  • Looks of panic from the bf as I tip toe around the house trying not to drip
  • Stained ears/ neck/ (forehead!!!!)
  • Running out of dye before I have finished half my hair
  • Rinsing out to find patches of colour
  • Black ends due to dye build up
You name it, I have probably sulked over it lol ;). So here come the before photos:

As you can see I had some major 'rootage' as I hadn't dyed my hair in a few months. My hair grows fast and as my natural colour is more ashy than the dyes I use the difference is very noticeable under flash photography as it picks up the red tones in the dyed hair. I was looking to even the colour throughout my hair and get rid of the brassy tones that had developed over the Summer.

 The box contains all the usual suspects - colourant and developer (both liquid for easy mixing), a dispenser that creates foam, black rubber gloves (of the latex variety, which are much easier to use than the plastic sheets stuck together you sometimes get), an instruction leaflet and a generous tube of creamy, rich conditioner.

Applying the foam to dry hair was easy and much less messy than usual. I found that I could quite easily massage the foam into the roots without the need for precise sectioning. The more you massage, the better it spreads. The smell of ammonia wasn't too bad either, which is a very important fact to consider when your bathroom doesn't have good ventilation!
 Although the bottle looks deceptively empty the mixture creates 2L of foam, which was more than enough to saturate my long hair. The foam also made my hair stay in place with no drips and without the need for a shower cap. Though I can't lie, it was still a little messy as sometimes it was difficult to control exactly where the foam is going as it is so lightweight and spreads easily. However, the inevitable blotches of dye around my ears (as shown in the shmexy photo below... woops!) and neck were easy to wipe off with a damp tissue and left no stain.
After 20 minutes I crossed my fingers and hopped in the shower. The dye rinsed out fairly quickly, which is always a relief! The conditioner in the box was creamy and thick, perfect to restore shine and hydrate dyed hair. I was also impressed to find no dye on my towels, and no colour run in subsequent washes or in the rain. Though, no matter how glowing my review, the proof is in the after photos:

As you can see the colour is uniform, with no product build up on the ends. The brassy tones have been removed however, the colour is not as vibrant in real life due to the flash used in these photos.  I am pleased with the results and would definitely recommend the new foam colour for those wary of home-dyes looking for a natural, even all-over tone. This isn't the strongest dye, so I would not recommend it if you are looking for dramatic results. It works best if you chose a colour one or two shades away from your current shade.

The John Frieda Precision Foam Colour launches on the 2nd of November. At a price just shy of £10 it isn't the cheapest on the market, but I do envisage some promotional offers in conjunction with its release - I will be sure to pick up a few boxes ;).

Are you a fan of John Frieda? Are you curious to try this new approach to home colourants?

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Work It Out: Instalment Vingt-Cinq

When my mum reads this post (hi mama!!) she is going to giggle! Even though I inherited my love of fashion from her we do not have the same style. I like to experiment, and keep an eye on what's fashionable while she has always been more conservative and classic. Her usual style includes tailored dresses, suits and fitted jackets with beautiful, towering stilettos. I'm Dior and she is definitely Chanel ;).

Case and point - the pussy bow blouse.


Blouse: Zara. Skirt and belt: M&S.

I fell in love with this blouse as soon as I saw it. Details such as the shoulder pleating and gold buttons on the cuffs and collar give individuality to a classic piece. This blouse is currently available in grey, blue and black (I 'secretly' want them all). 

The only thing I feel compelled to mention is that the quality of the fabric may not lend itself to a £40 price tag. While I was washing my hands I managed to get a few tiny drops of water on the sleeve and they left behind very noticeable water marks. Since the blouse itself is quite synthetic I could see that this could potentially cause problems... Though I did nervously hand wash it and it dried perfectly with no marks! 

Do you ever steel your mum's style? Am I living proof of the age old premise that every daughter turns into her mother? xxx

Rapidlash - The results

Back in July I embarked on my second journey with a lash enhancing product - Rapidlash. If you missed my first post you can find it here. I had previously tried Lilash and had fantastic results, but was not keen on spending £90 every few months to maintain them, so Rapidlash seemed like the obvious choice, at less than half the price.

Now I know you don't want to hear (read) me waffle on so here are the results after almost 3 months of use.

Before:
After:
Yes, I am wearing mascara in both of these photos as my camera is not very good on the macro setting. The same mascara was used in both photos so it shouldn't affect any apparent differences. Plus, as I normally wear mascara I thought it would be more useful to see what my lashes look like on a daily basis.
I can definitely see a change and am happy with the improvement in both the length and the health of my lashes. They definitely feel stronger and less brittle and I seem to be losing fewer than I used to (though this may be just psychosomatic). Although the changes have not been as dramatic as I had with lilash (ie. less curling and length) I actually prefer the effect that Rapidlash has had as the results look much more 'natural'. This is not to say that lilash is not 'natural', as of course it promotes growth of your natural lashes. However, with Lilash my  lashes were far too curly, which made them tangle and look a little strange. As you can see there isn't any noticeable difference in the number or in the volume of my lashes, which was to be expected.

I haven't had any problems with changes in eye colour or irritation. Though like Lilash Rapidlash does occasionally make my eyelids a little red, because my eyes are sensitive and often irritated by dust, pollen etc. this isn't a big issue for me.

As I am nearing the end of the tube I am seriously considering repurchasing as I love the results. Since it is available from Boots.com (here) it is easily accessible, which makes me justify the puchase even more... what else are clubcard points for? ;)

Have you tried Lilash or Rapidlash? What has been your experience? Can you see a real difference in the photos above or am I justifying another unreasonable purchase to myself? xxx

Monday, 25 October 2010

Quick FOTD

Just a quick FOTD from last weekend. Not sure why this lighting makes me look like I'm grey lol??
Make Up Forever HD foundation (hello freckles!)
NARS angelica blush
Soleil Tan de Chanel

Benefit creaseless cream shadow in Birthday Suit
MAC wedge eyeshadow
L'Oreal Volume Million lashes mascara

The Body Shop lipstick no. 58

How gorgeous is this lippie! It's definitely one of my favourite colours at the moment. Although it is a very bright, intense fuchsia in the tube the formulation is very glossy and moisturising so it can easily be sheered out for the day. Here I am wearing it over a tiny bit of Anatomicals 'stop cracking up' lipbalm (which I love as it is non-sticky, hydrating and shiny like a vinyl gloss).

 I seem to be having a love affair with nude eyes and bright lips lately. Perhaps it's something to do with the rapidlash (review coming soon). What lippies are you loving at the moment? xxx

Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Winter Warmer Discount - 20%OFF all coats at New Look!!

It is always the way, isn't it? Whenever you purchase something full price and a week later you see it on sale (sometimes before you have even had a chance to wear it!) your heart sinks a little. As I wouldn't wish you to be a part of my woes I just wanted to let you know that currently New Look are having a sale on their winter coats with a generous 20% OFF (including the new ones). You can view all their styles here.

If you were at all interested in the cape I showed you in my last post (caped crusader) you will be very happy to know that this is now down to £31.99!
You can find it on the NL (same initials as me lol!) website here.

With the freezing temperatures we have recently had in England I think I may well go back and pick up something a little more practical.. it's just a shame they don't do snow suits ;). I believe this offer expires on Sunday the 24th of October, so hurry.

Love and thermal socks,

Natalya xxx

Monday, 18 October 2010

Dollybowbow Competition Winners!!

The Caped Crusader

I have loved the recent trend for capes this Autumn/ Winter and couldn't resist purchasing this little one when I spied it on the mannequin in New Look one lunchtime. Unlike some of the other capes out at the moment I think this one is very wearable and versatile. Most importantly it is not too big and heavy, with it's shorter 'sleeves' and the belt detail helping to retain some shape.
As I am far from a bendy gymnast I pretty much failed at taking a photo of the back, but you can just about see how the belt cinches you in so the cape doesn't just envelop you, and still defines the waist. For better pictures you can visit the New Look website here.

Although it's a bit impractical, both in the dressing (as you have to be careful not to pull the belt out as you awkwardly slip your arms in) and the insulation (your arms will get cold), I absolutely adore it. I sometimes like to pair it with long gloves that add warmth and look chic in contrast to the volume of the jacket.

Winter fashion can get boring when you are hiding away all your clothes under the same overcoat for months and a cape is a great way to add a little more interest. So I was happy with my purchase until I arrived at a meeting last week and began removing it, at which point the kind secretary asked me "May I take your cape for you?". How does one react to that question? I just smiled, while trying to hide it over my chair, but really I was thinking "Yes you may, and my horse and carriage are outside, and the poor steed is probably parched!" So perhaps capes are not as fashion forward as I thought, more 16th century lol?

What are your thoughts on "the cape", or as the bf calls it "the bat"? Will you be sporting one this Autumn? xxx

Sunday, 17 October 2010

Mannequin Hands

A few weeks ago I was sent this polish from E.L.F. in Innocent and didn't really think a lot of it. It's a difficult colour to describe (a creamy greyish pink neutral?) and it didn't really stand out. Nevertheless, as I was well overdue to get my gel nail infills I decided to give it a go in an attempt to mask the re-growth.
I can't believe I was so dismissive! The colour is gorgeous and is a perfect nude for my skintone - not too beige/ yellow and not too dark. It applied smoothly and topped with my trusty Seche Vite dried quickly to a lovely even finish. You can see just how good the payoff is after two coats as the line between my natural nail and the gel is well hidden. I can't comment on the chipping as with gel nails most polishes last much longer, but there was minimal wear at the tips, as you can see in this photo, which was taken after 6 days of wear. All this for £1.50, I am mighty impressed and will be sure to order some more... well it would be a crime not to ;). Currently I have my eye on:
Mod Mauve

Purple Pleaser
 Mango Madness
Champagne

You can find E.L.F's nail varnish range here. Have you tried E.L.F. nail polish before? Are there any that take your fancy? xxx

The Body Shop 30% discount!!

This weekend The Body Shop have a 30% discount on ALL online purchases. Plus if you spend over £15 (pre-discount) you get free delivery.

Just enter the code: Autumn30 at the checkout.

I have already taken advantage of this and have stocked up on my favourite Neroli Jasmin body lotion, shower gel and body mist. If you haven't had a chance to try the beautiful Neroli Jasmin scent this may be the perfect time!
I use the lotion as my hand cream and every time I apply it (be it at work, on public transport, at the checkout at Waitrose or in the cinema) I always get compliments on how amazing it smells, and not just from girls either ;). Who would have thought that a simple lotion from The Body Shop would have such an effect on the gentlemen? I guess it may be time for me to stop spending £40 on those expensive, sophisticated perfumes, when a £7.00 body mist seems to do it all. (If you have seen Anchor Man - think ladies' version of Sex Panther - 60% of the time works every time ;) lol.)
I really can't recommend it highly enough!! xxx

Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Work It Out: Installment Vingt-Quatre

I promise there will be minimal rambling from me tonight as I am dying (hypochondriac? me?) from a horrendous cold. Between the tissues, Calpol and revision for my upcoming exams my outfit choices have been far from noteworthy this week. Since it has taken every ounce of energy to drag myself out of bed each morning for work and then back home to the books it's been polo necks and baggy trousers (yuck) all the way... not that I'm one to complain or anything ;).

However, last week while the weather was still tolerable and I was tanned (insert wistful smile at your convenience)...
 Dress: Laundry (purchased from Brand Alley). Hair Band: H&M. Shoes: Kurt Geiger.
Here is a better (though stolen from google) picture of the shoesies for your admiration. They are deceptively comfortable, and knowing that I got the last ones in my size on sale makes life seem that little bit brighter ;).

I hope you are all keeping well my lovelies! If any of you, like me, are suffering with the weather changes do look after yourself. My current cocktail recommendation of choice is 1 part Berroca to two parts soluble aspirin - tastes like poop, but it gets me through the day ;). xxx

Monday, 11 October 2010

Weekend FOTD and L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes Review

Despite spending most of the weekend hiding under a blanket and sniffling and sneezing my way through three boxes of Kleenex I was determined not to let it show when I headed out into the afternoon sunshine for a Sunday lunch date. 
 Even though I am still somewhat tanned after my holiday, after giving up the fight and surrendering to my cold my skin has been looking very pale and dull. To try and add a little natural looking colour I used MAC's MSF natural as my foundation, YSL Soleil D'Afrique bronzer and MAC's harmony powder as a blush.

On my lips I patted on a red lipstick (L'ancome gift with purchase) as a base topped with Mac's wondershine 3D glass.
On the eyes I used the Bourjois shimmering shine liquid shadow in no.33 beige metallique, L'Oreal carbon gloss liquid liner and L'Oreal Volume Million Lashes mascara. This was the first time I had used this mascara, and I was very pleasantly surprised. Although the brush is very large (which is usually bad news for my shaky hands)it is sturdy and accurate, with the plastic bristles working hard to separate every lash. I wouldn't say that this mascara gives the volume it promises it definitely defines and lengthens my lashes. However, by the evening I did notice it smearing a little on the corner of my eyes (though they are extremely watery at the moment) and on my lower lashline. This mascara was also very easy and quick to remove, which indicates that it is not the most long lasting.
This morning I used a coat of L'ancome's Hypnose followed by the Volume Million Lashes, which gave a really lovely effect with long, thick, separated lashes and absolutely no clumps. I shall be testing out this little combo further in days to come ;).

Have you tried this mascara? Do let me know your thoughts!

I hope you all had a good weekend my lovelies! xxx