Beauty: Nails for the Office

Having started a professional placement recently I’ve definitely had to smarten up my appearance. I’m by no means suggesting all work places are like this, but my office is quite strict on workwear and smartness. The men wear ties, everyone is in suits, and personally I’d never show up with overly bright, sparkly or (God forbid) chipped nails.

 photo 10fa5b41-869e-49fa-89c8-fda21a656fc5_zpsac8687d8.jpgI have nothing against bright nails. In fact the shade on my toe nails right now is definitely eye-catching, and I do wear brights on my finger nails. But I don’t particularly like them against workwear, particularly mine (I wear a lot of brown-toned suits) so I’ve found myself gravitating to more neutral shades.

 photo d92452d0-e2a9-4f5c-a3fb-a75175fb1b9d_zps6902c316.jpgThe grey tones in this little collection are earmarked for the cooler weather; I bought a set of four from Primark this time last year and love them. The shades are so unique compared to anything I’ve seen, and I like the thin precise brushes. Admittedly the quality isn’t the best, it’s a little gloopy, but finished with a top coat I can get three days wear out of these. I’ve not got a full week out of any nails ever (including Shellac) so three days isn’t too shabby at all.

 photo 443ed9c1-31c8-4244-95e0-6b68055834ad_zps693e7c27.jpgHere’s my two favourites. The dark shade is Essie’s Shearling Darling – I might not like brights, but I do like dark nails! This was in their last Winter collection, though I bought the single bottle on Ebay. Essie polishes are expensive, but I love the shade range, love the brushes, and they last well without chipping. I can virtually guarantee that if I can’t find the shade I have in mind anywhere else, Essie will have it. Now the nude. This is my perfect nude! A lot are too cream or brown toned, but this is just pink enough to warm my skin tone without being pink. Pretty impressed with the formula for Collection too (it’s not a brand I hold highly in my opinions), and I can just squeeze four days wear out of this one.

 photo 7d4bbb87-20cd-4381-a0a5-e695ad8b2073_zpsdaa624f5.jpgMaybe I need a new topcoat. I’m currently relying on Barry M’s, and I do love it – but I need something a little more chip resistant. Any non Seche Vite recommendations?

What are your current favourite nail polishes?

Budget Beauty: Spring Nails

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In the past week the weather has been beautiful, all I have wanted to do is go on walks in fields or by the sea (Whitstable is calling my name right now!). But unfortunately for this student I’ve hit my busy period and it feels like I won’t see the light of day until the end of May at the very least…

To make up for the fact I can’t go and wallow in the sun I’ve been splitting my time between staring out of the window, working out premiums using empirical bayesian credibility theory models (don’t ask!) and trying to get as much spring-like things into my life in possible. This includes switching my dark nail colours for lighter, prettier colours. Here are some of my favourites! (no idea why this photo is appearing darker than the others – they all look pretty similar until I transport to WordPress!)

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All of these products are pretty cheap (I picked up the Revlon one on a market stall last summer!), with the pink MUA (Ameretto Crush) being my favourite. This surprised me actually as I’m usually a fan of muted colours and this is very vivid! Topped with Barry M’s clear coat this stayed chip-free for 5 days (a record for me!) and had a very high-shine finish -impressed with this budget offering!

The Revlon (Sheer Peach) is my current favourite, and is my go-to colour for interviews and assessment centres – its so sophisticated, looks so more ‘done’ that a clear coat yet still doesn’t really show chips (and it lasts ages too!).

I bought the other MUA shade (Mud Pie) over the Christmas holidays and I’m undecided whether I like it – it is a very brown shade. I purchased Collection’s Milkshake over the weekend in the hope that it’s a pinkier-toned nude colour! If you have any other nude shade suggestions I’d be happy to hear them – everything seems too cream/brown/grey for my skin tone!

Another purchase over the weekend was Rimmel’s Nail White Pencil, and I have to say I am in love. My nails are in quite good condition and I have to confess 50% of the time I can’t be bothered to paint them. However I hate how the tips can occasionally look a little yellow (I’ve been experimenting with a lot of curry recipes recently!) and this rectifies it immediately. Obviously not as great as a proper French manicure, but they help my nails look lovely, healthy and well-groomed when in reality it takes about a minute to do. Coupled with the Revlon polish I can have a pretty well done ‘manicure’ in about five minutes, and this is fast becoming my favourite look.

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What’s your favourite spring manicure?

Beauty Review: Ted Baker Giftset

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I received this as a little though much appreciated stocking filler. A generous pot of nail polish with matching lip gloss, these two products were in my favourite shade of berry-toned pink and I couldn’t wait to try them out. I actually wore them both for the first time on New Year’s Eve, so this post has been a long time in the making! No swatches I’m afraid as I really struggle doing those on a mobile phone (I am looking into a tripod and remote combination to help!) so you’ll just have to put up with my descriptions!

The nail-varnish is definitely lovely – a deep berry colour, with a complete covering on two thin coats. It’s not the shiniest, and also has a metallic finish so didn’t look right with a top coat, but it did last a good three days without chipping, which on me is very good! Only downside is that it lefts my nails feeling a little brittle, though it was easy to remove. A definite keeper in my polish collection.

Onto the lipgloss, and here I’m more on the fence. I love, love, love the colour, its bright and vivid, a true raspberry tone without being overly vampy. It plumps up the lips (slight tingling on applying) and isn’t overly glossy (a look I despise). But it seemed to wear off unevenly and ended up patching after drinking. Not a problem, but what was left was very definitely a stain, and it was very difficult to neaten up! I haven’t attempted to wear this since, but I will update if I do and if priming my lips better improves the staying power.

 photo IMAG0702_zpsrgoifm6j.jpgAnd the packaging is gorgeous! All in all, it was a good little gift-set. I wouldn’t rush out and buy it for myself, but I would look into other Ted Baker sets when buying gifts for friends and family, and I definitely wouldn’t complain if I received this!


January Buys

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After having my birthday (and Christmas of course) in December, I knew I had a little bit of spare money to spend in any sales I saw popping up. I didn’t want to spend all my money as up until last week I was planning on treating myself to a camera as an upgrade from my phone. That plan came to an end when I dropped and smashed my boyfriend’s tablet. That wasn’t insured. Two days after the warranty ran out. Ooops. With the help of my lovely parents I bought a new one and insured both that and my rather more expensive phone (which I dropped at the same time, but managed to catch), but its put an end to my camera lust.

Anyway, I did managed to score quite a few bargains in the sales this year, as well as updating my make-up collection with some full-price but still low-budget items. I also managed to get hold of some excellent bargains, but that’s a separate blog post altogether!

First up – general makeup items…

2014-01-26 09.46.18I picked up another Bodyshop Eyeshadow Blending Brush in one of their 40% off events. I bought a lot of brushes from there a few months ago, and this turned out to be one of my favourites and most-used so I wanted a back up! Funnily enough my new one seems even softer than the first!

The hunt for a concealer pale enough for me seems to have finally ended upon discovering 17 Stay Time in Extra Fair. My first impressions are that is it lightweight and easily blendable, although perhaps not the highest coverage. This doesn’t seem to be online, hence the lack of link!

I gave into Blogger Hype and bought a Revlon Colourburst Matte Balm in Standout. I absolutely love this, and its now become one of my favourite lip products. I’ll definitely be picking up more shades!

On the cheaper side of lip products, I picked up an MUA Power Pout in Rendezvous. This shade looks awful in the packing and on the crayon, but on my lips its lovely and neutral, but leaves a slight ‘my-lips-but-better’ stain. For £3 I don’t think you can go wrong!

Moving forward I splashed out on a Bourjois Colour Edition 24H cream eyeshadow – though no idea which shade I got as its not on the tub! Its a pale, neutral, slightly shimmery bronze which just looks really natural, and is the perfect base for my Naked 3 colours.

I then treated myself to something that has been on my list for ages – Bourjois Java Rice Powder. I haven’t tried this yet due to a weird skin reaction, but I will be doing so soon (rather excited by this one!).

Finally I got myself a Rimmel Scandaleyes Waterproof Kohl Liner in Taupe. Have to say I’m really impressed by this – I’ve always used Rimmel eyeliners and this is definitely one of the best I’ve tried!

2014-01-26 09.50.32Living with Libby I knew it wouldn’t be long before I started getting into painting my nails, but I wasn’t quite expecting to literally triple my colour collection in the last few months! These are my last buys – including a neutrally-brown, a rose-gold glitter, a navy, a burgundy, and a gold.

2014-01-26 09.51.21This gold glitter polish was only 50p in the clearance section of boots, so I couldn’t resist!

You might also be wondering about the pattern in the background of these pictures – that’s actually a dress I bought in Primark for an amazing £2! Its obviously wrongly sized (1, the two labels claim different sizes, and 2, it is definitely not a 14!) but whatever size it actually is it fits really nicely, and I think it will look great with ballet pumps, belt and cardigan in the spring. I can’r wait until the weather brightens up!

Did you treat yourself to any beauty buys in the sales?