NOTD- Nailtiques protein nail lacquer in Rio

A bright hot pink colour which looks beautiful in the summer sunshine.

What really impressed me is how pigmented the nail varnish is. It only needs one coat for an opaque even colour, and as a result, dries very quickly to give a glossy finish.

All Nailiques nail varnishes contain protein to help strengthen the nail. Sadly I can only wear nail varnish at weekends, so can't say I've noticed a difference. However I do like the idea of it conditioning my nails at the same time, and would love to see more companies do the same.

Have you tried anything from Nailtiques? What did you wear on your nails this weekend?

Disclosure- PR sample

Project bathroom update- July

Another successful month for Project bathroom! Last time I had several items that were almost finished, and combined with a revision imposed shopping ban, I've managed to finish a grand total of 15 items this time:

Elizabeth's Daughter bath and shower gel
Liz Earle botanical shine shampoo
Lush the olive branch shower gel

Superdrug natural high anti-ageing eye cream

Vaseline with spf15 sun protection

Madara moon flower tinted moisturiser satchet

Liz Earle cleanse and polish hot cloth cleanser
Origins cheeks and balances face wash sample
L'oreal Paris solar expertise matte fluid protection
Naked mild shampoo
Pantene aqua light conditioner

No 7 radiance boosting hot cloth cleanser

Garnier intensive 7 days ultra softening body lotion

Neutrogena visibly clear pink grapefruit facial wash

Batiste dry shampoo in blush

Once again, I have several products which are nearly finished, so hopefully next month's project bathroom will be just as successful!

Do you also have far too many products lying around? If you are doing something similar, how are you getting on?

Batiste dry shampoo in Brit and Boho

For the last few years, Batiste dry shampoo has been a near permanent addition to my bathroom shelf. It's great for those in-between days and come summertime, it helps to revive heat induced lanky hair too.

Whilst it's not a substitute for washing my hair, it is good for refreshing and volumising it in between washes. The powder helps to soak up any grease and makes my hair look more presentable. The only downside is that it can leave my hair feeling a little chalky, so I wouldn't recommend using this for more than a day before washing with shampoo.

I was recently sent Brit and Boho, and out of all the different scents, Boho is my favourite one to date. They are both quite sweet, but I'd say Brit is more floral and Boho more fruity.

As I'm not a morning person, I often use this when I wake up then wash my hair in the evening, giving me a much needed extra 20minutes in bed! Overall, I think it's a great product to have handy and I love that in comes in so many different colours and scents.

Are you a fan of dry shampoo? What's your favourite Batiste variant?

Sneak preview: Sleek make up Autumn/winter 2011

As promised, here's a sneak preview of what Sleek make up will be releasing this Autumn/Winter:

First up are the much anticipated pout paints. Similar to OCC lip tars,
these are seriously pigmented and come in a range of 11 colours.

A new range of lipglosses. These are set to replace their
Wonderlast and High shine lipglosses.

There will also be 3 new pout polishes:Frosting, Peach perfection and Bare minimum

For the eyes, they are bringing out a new Molten metal
cream eyeshadow, this time with 2 silver colours.

Finally they will also be lauching an eyebrow kit. There will be
2 palettes -fair and dark, depending on your hair colour.

What do you think about their new releases? What's your favourite product from Sleek make up?

New skincare favourites

Over the last month or so, I've discovered some great products which have quickly become new favourites:

Decleor smoothing roll on
I'd describe this as a light gel with extracts of hibiscus, wild pansy and neroli oil, which gives it a beautiful fresh floral scent. The gel sinks in quickly, hydrates the skin around my eyes, and over time, has helped to firm it up a little.

It comes with 3 mini rollaballs which I'm not convinced has any skincare benefits, and it can sometimes take a while to dispense the gel. However it is nice and cooling which is always a bonus in the summer.

Madara tinting fluid
Currently my go to moisturiser in the morning. It's very sheer coverage, but I love how it helps to even out my skintone and has a low spf for lazy days at home. Click here to read my full review.

Liz Earle brightening treatment mask
This comes in a starter kit with a zip up bag and muslin cloth. The mask has a really light air whipped texture and tingles a little when applied to the skin. It contains purifying white clay and toning witch hazel, and always leaves my skin feeling detoxed and refreshed.

My skin is usually in quite a good conditon anyway so the effects are subtle, but it does seem to have more of a 'glow' whenever I use this. What I like most is the fact that it only needs 2 minutes to work, so it's great as a quick pick me up, especially after a night out!

Have you tried any of these products? What are your favourite skincare products this month?

Superdrug Christmas preview

On Wednesday, I was lucky enough to attend the Superdrug Christmas in July event, where I was able get a preview of some of the gift sets they'll be bringing out in October:

Studio- Superdrug's answer to Frontcover cosmetics. I was especially
impressed with their set of eyelashes and the Pretty natural gift set.

Flutter- A pink and girly range with some really cute gift sets.

Andrea Fulerton and GOSH cosmetic gift sets


Nivea, Vaseline and Simple skincare

In the last year or so, The Perfume Shop have started popping up in Superdrug stores, and they were also there with a display of fragrances, including some which have yet to hit the shelves.

I was particularly interested in Vera Wang lovestruck with the beautiful floral bouquet bottle and Thomas Sabo charm rose, which reminds me of a nicer more wearable version of Thierry Mugler Angel.

Sleek make up were also there to showcase some new releases, but I'll be blogging more about that in a separate post.

Did any of the products catch your eye? What are you most looking forward to this Christmas?

July's Glossybox - Ready, steady, glow

Blink +Go ultimate strip lashes in Tease
Weleda pomegranate regenerating body oil (full size 100ml)
Ciate nail enamel in mojito (full size 13.5ml)
Illamasqua pure pigment in Tingle (full size 1.3g)
2x Etat Libre eau de parfum (1.5ml)

Themed 'Ready, steady, glow' this box aims to get you looking your best this summer. Unlike May's Glossybox, July's box is more personalised with some people receiving an Illamasqua lipgloss instead of the pigment and others receiving a Xen tan sample instead of the perfume.

This month, Glossybox have definitely upped their game and there are 4 full sized products to try out. The only product I was slightly disappointed in was the Ciate nail varnish as it's not a colour I'd use, but the other 4 are lovely and I can see myself getting a lot of use out of them.

From September, Glossybox will be charging £2.95 p+p per box, however if this box is anything to go by, the value of the products will still far exceed all subscription costs.

Did you sign up for this month's Glossybox? What do you think about the products?

*Disclosure- PR sample*

Magnetic nail varnish!

How cool is this magnetic nail varnish!!

To create this amazing pattern, you simply paint it on like normal, then hold a magnet over the top whilst it's still wet. And voila- super cool nail in an instant!

The Fashionista range will launch in September and there'll be 5 shades to choose from. You can also use the nail varnishes on their own. If this purple shade is anything to go by, they'll be super pigmented and you'll only need one coat for a streak free even finish.

Are you a fan of nail art? What do you think of the magnetic ripple effect?

New additions to my jewellery collection

My earring collection has been rather lacking recently. So when I spotted these in Accessorize, I couldn't resist making a sneaky purchase, especially as they were only £5.40 with student discount!

This was a giveaway prize from the lovely Lauren and Cutie Pie jewellery. I love how simple and elegant they look, and they're perfect for everyday wear.

I've been on the lookout for a long chained necklace to accessorize a new dress, and this £3 one from Primark does the job perfectly. Plus it looks super pretty with all the mini beads and charms.

Have you brought any new jewellery recently? What's your favourite jewellery shop?

Elegant touch flawless french manicure kit

Another French manicure, this time using the Elegant touch french manicure kit:

The French tips came in a variety of sizes and the tabs made application nice and easy. My only advice is to not overapply the glue and keep a cotton bud nearby to wipe away any excess.

I was given the medium size to try out, which is a little too long for my nails, but it was quick and easy to trim and file them down to size.

To finish off the manicure, I applied a nude pink varnish and finally the top coat that came in the kit. I was a little disappointed that it came with a clear base coat rather than a nude pink one and I ended up buying a Bourjois nail varnish to use instead.

I wore the manicure for 5 days and although 2 started to come off on the last day, the others looked almost as good as new.

As for removal, any acetone based nail varnish remover would work. I used my usual Cutex one, and although it took some time, I was left with clean nails afterwards.

Overall, I found the product easy to use, and was impressed with how long it lasted, I just wish it included a nude pink varnish instead of the clear base coat.

Elegant touch nail kits are available from Boots and Superdrug.

Have you tried any of the nail kits from Elegant touch? Are you a fan of the French Manicure?

Rave review- Burt's Bees tinted lip balms

When it comes to lip products, I love anything that's sheer yet moisturising, so not surprisingly, these new Burt's Bees lip balms have been a big hit with me:

L-R: Honeysuckle, Tiger lily, Pink blossom, Hibiscus, Rose, Red dahlia
(available from John Lewis and Feel Unique)

All 6 lip balms contain shea butter to help hydrate the lips and give it a nice creamy feel when applied. Although sheer to start off with, they can easily be built up for a stronger, more vibrant colour.

Of the 6 shades that I was sent, my favourite has to be Hibicus, a pretty berry shade that's close to my natural lip colour. In fact, its now my go to lipbalm during the day as it also doubles up as a lipgloss and saves me carrying 2 separate products.

Have you tried any of the Burt's Bees lipbalms? What's your go to lipbalm?

SPC bath & massage oil collection

Over the last year or so, I've become addicted to massages, so when I was given a pack of SPC oils, I couldn't wait to put them to the test.

Packaged in mini 10ml glass bottles with silver topped lids and a sleek cardboard presentation box, they look and feel as luxurious as the 5 star spa they came from.

There are 4 scents in the collection- Exhilarating, Cocooning, Pampering and Active. I'm not a big fan of the Active scent, but the others are lovely and they all have that herbal aromotherapy smell.

Like all body oils, they give the perfect amount of 'slip' for massages and leaves my skin feeling soft and nourished.

The oils can also be used as a moisturiser or to fragrance a bath, however, as they're such luxury products, I like to save mine just for massages!

Have you tried any of the products from SPC skincare? What are your favourite massage oils?

Illamasqua skin base foundation review and swatches

Inspired by the popular Asian BB cream, Illamsqua's latest foundation aims to give a natural buildable coverage, yet at the same time condition and soften the skin. However, unlike most BB creams, it won't whiten the skin or offer any spf protection.

(L-R: shades 03, 04 and 05)

I would describe it as a buildable medium to full coverage foundation, which looks best when applied with a make up brush. The finish is on the dewy side, so I like to set it with a tiny bit of translucent powder.

I was sent samples of shades 3-5, and although I can get away with shade 3, shade 4 is the best match for my NC25 skintone.

A litttle bit goes a long way with this foundation, and once dried, it feels weightless on the skin. It lasts well throughout the day, but if you are prone to oiliness (like myself) then blotting will be required in the afternoon.

Personally, I find the coverage too much to use as an everyday foundation, but because it has good lasting power and photographs well, its a good choice on days when I need more coverage or for a night out.

Illamasqua skin base foundation is priced at £25, and available from Selfridges.

Have you tried this new Illamsqua foundation? What are your thoughts on BB creams?

Spa quality haircare from.......Pantene!

A few weeks ago, I was invited to the beautiful Stoke Park spa in Buckinghamshire to find out more about Pantene's smooth and sleek range.

It turns out Pantene had been carrying out blind trials and the range gave the same results as a £60 spa treatment.

(the beautiful SPC spa, I'd highly recommend if you fancy a day of indulgent pampering!)

As I've gone SLS free, I haven't tried the shampoo, but I can confirm the conditioner lives up to it's claim of leaving hair 'smooth and sleek'.

It's nice and creamy and has a light musky scent, which instantly takes me back to when I used it as a teenager. However it seems to rinse out easier and leaves my hair feeling conditioned without weighing it down.

Personally, I prefer the fresher scent of the Aqua light range, but this leaves my hair feeling so silky smooth and tangle free. Best of all, it only retails for £2.19.

Have you tried anything from the Smooth and sleek range? What's your favourite conditioner for silky smooth hair?

My first attempt at a French Manicure

I've always been a fan of the French manicure, but struggled to do it myself. However a few weeks ago, Charlotte blogged about using an old eyeliner brush to achieve neat tips, so when I was sent a Nailtiques nail polish in Vienna, it seemed the perfect time give it a try:

To start off with, I simply put a blob of Vienna nail varnish onto a plastic surface. I then used an old Sleek liquid eyeliner nib to apply some of the white nail varnish to my tips. As it was my first time, it was a little messy, so I ended up dipping the eyeliner nib into some nail varnish remover and tidied up a little. Finally I applied a coat of No 7 so strong nail varnish.

Sadly I didn't have a nude pink varnish to hand and the results aren't perfect, but for a first attempt I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out and I'll definitely be attempting more french manicures in the future.

What's your favourite nude pink nail varnish? Have you tried any of the Nailtiques nail polishes?

The Body Shop honey bronze collection

Launched in May, the Honey Bronze collection has a range of 9 products, all of which contain fair trade honey and beeswax and are designed to give you a healthy glow for the summer:

Shimmering dry oil
A moisturising body oil, which looks super shimmery in the bottle, but actually gives more of a nice sheen when applied to the skin. The scented oil takes a while to sink in but once it does there's no greasy afterfeel.

At £16, I don't think this a must have from the collection, but if you are looking for a dry body oil, then this would be a good one to try.

Bronzing powder
From the promotional images, I was most excited about this product. Encased in a sturdy compact with a mirror, the matte powder is finely milled and non cakey.

I was sent shade 2, which is just a bit darker than my NC25 skintone, so I tend to use it all over for a healthy glow, but it can also be used as a contouring powder.

Bronzing gel for face (shade 01 honey glow)
I'd describe this as a light, easily absorbed liquid with a very slight shimmer. Like the powder, it also gives a subtle bronzed glow to the face, although it can be layered for a deeper colour. I tend to use this as a tinted moisturiser if I've been fake tanning, so that my naturally pale face matches the rest of my body.

Overall, a good range of bronzing products. The products aren't particularly cheap, but like most things from The Body Shop, they are good quality and contain fair trade ingredients, so definitely worth a look if you want some new bronzers for the summer.

Have you tried anything from this collection? What are your favourite bronzing products for the summer?

A Benetint and Carmex lip of the day

Like a lot of people, I took advantage of the Glamour Benefit freebie, and treated myself to a mini bottle of Benetint, which has since become a new make up favourite.

Not only does it give a long lasting flush of colour to the cheeks, it also doubles up as a pretty lip stain. As you can see, it's a lovely pinky red colour, and I like to add a slick of Carmex lip balm over the top, which moisturises my lips and gives it a lovely glossy finish.

On a side note, has anyone tried the new Benefit Cha Cha tint? What's did you wear on your lips today?

Madara tinting fluid review and swatches

During my exam period, make up was not a priority, but having gotten used to wearing foundation, I soon found myself reaching for Madara tinting fluid everyday to help even out my skin.

When I first tried it, I was a little disappointed as it didn't seem to give much coverage. However after a few uses, I realised it helps to even out my skintone and can be layered for a little more coverage. It also contains subtle illuminating particles to help brighten the skin.

The fluid contains a range of plant extracts, so not surprisingly it smells very herbal and green. Despite the differences in colour, it really is very sheer and I can get away with using both shades on my NC25 skintone.

(L-R: Moon flower, Sun flower and MAC face and body c2 for comparision)

As it's a light fluid, it sinks in very quickly and keeps my skin hydrated throughout the day. It has a natural spf of 8, but I would recommend using an extra sunscreen on top.

Whilst this won't replace my MAC face and body, I do think it's a good alternative to foundation and I can see myself getting a lot of use out of this as the weather gets warmer this summer.

Do you tend to switch to a lighter coverage in the summer? What are your favourite tinted moisturisers?

*Disclosure- PR sample*

Quick update & Sleek make up giveaway winner

Before I announce the winner, I just wanted to say a big thank you to all of you for bearing with me whilst I had my exams, and also for all the good luck messages. It really does mean a lot to me.

Thankfully my exams finish this week, and I've got a few posts scheduled until then so it should blogging as normal from now on :)

So onto the giveaway, after numbering all the valid entries, I used to select a winner:

LinkAnd the winner is Sophie (Melovemakeup)

Well done Sophie! Can you please email/DM me your address and I'll get the prizes posted asap.

Thanks again to everyone for entering and look out for more giveaways in the future if you didn't win this time :)
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