Sunday, 21 February 2010

Collection 2000 Hot Shot review (and Layla update!)

I’ve seen Hot Shot nail varnishes from Collection 2000 around the blogging sphere when they were first released and have just got round to trying them out myself. I think my opinion of them will no doubt echo what a lot of bloggers have said but here’s my two cents anyway.
Hot Shots are smaller than the average nail varnish size, at just 8ml, but they are super cheap at only £1.99 each. I got these on offer 3 for £5. I suppose at this price I can’t expect a great deal and the first time I used them I was pretty shocked at just how crappy they were - chipping on the same day I painted them! The only consolation was that I only needed a couple of coats for a complete non-streaky glossy finish and they did dry quickly. I didn’t want to completely disregard this product though so I tried it over a coat of Barry M base, top coat and nail hardener et voila! It stays on as long as any other polish, so far I’ve had 3 or 4 days wear with only slight chipping starting on a couple of nails. I suppose I should’ve tried this first as I know it’s recommended to always wear a base coat with nail varnish, but I confess I just don’t do this very often!
So now I’m happy with them I wanted to share with you the colours I got, it seemed pointless before sharing a product I hated! I got three pastel shades, which I love the names of by the way. Wham is a great grey colour, a paler version of Barry M’s Grey. Button Moon is a pretty unique colour I think, it looks kind of mint green in the pot, but on is more a turquoise blue colour, a lot more striking on your nails and guaranteed to get you a few comments. Sorry about the extremely sloppy application in this photo. I did this quick just to throw it in here. At least you get the idea about the colour.Finally Dynasty is a very pretty pinky purple colour, more pink than purple once you’ve painted your nails with it.
So Hot Shots are pretty hot after all, just get yourself a good base coat! I think for the price you can’t really complain. There’s quite a few shades to choose from, a great way to experiment with colour and matching your nails with your outfit.
On a completely different note, I wanted to show you by parent's pup Layla. I mentioned her when they first got her, and meant to keep you updated on her but then for one reason or another I didn't. I'm not sure how relevant it is on a beauty blog! Anyway, here she is, at 7 months old, she's pretty much full grown now. Every time I go to see her she'd grown so much and seemed to forget who I am at first. It's hard to get a good shot of her, she doesn't stay still for long and her fur is so long and wild it covers most of her features. She's a bit of a scaredy cat at times but she's just a bundle of fluff and I really miss her!

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Happy Valentine's Day - Jo Malone Blue Agava and Cacao Cologne Review

Yesterday I did a bit of perfume shopping with my boyfriend. I really wanted to try something by Jo Malone as there are so many different fragrances available, I thought there must be something to suit everybody. Now usually I like to be surprised with gifts, but perfume is one of those things that you can get so horribly wrong so I went along to choose, I wanted to smell as many as I could before deciding! Blue agava and cacao is not a fragrance I would usually be drawn to. To be honest, the reason I even wanted to check it out was because I had read in a magazine a while ago some celebrities favourite perfumes. I think it was Amelle from the Sugababes that chose this one, and it was the only perfume I had not heard of. I usually go for very safe, girly, floral scents, and it was hard actually to not just buy the Rose cologne that they had decorating every corner of their shop in aid of Valentine's Day. Blue agava and cacao is not a safe or convential fragrance for me in any way.
The fragrances on the Jo Malone website are divided into categories, this is under the floral category. There is also a light floral category, which I guess would be where I normally lean towards, this is more of a heady floral. Also, it's not floral in an obvious way, there are a lot of other notes in there to keep this interesting. For example, I can smell hints of cocoa and vanilla. It is described on the website as "Inspired by the rhythm and vibrancy of latin music" and I think I can see what they mean by this. It's a passionate, interesting scent which I'm sure will have a few people asking you what perfume you're wearing. It's a little overwhelming at first, because it is so different from the perfumes I'm used to wearing (to give you and idea, my favourites are YSL Elle, Chanel Coco Mademoiselle and Givenchy Very Irresistible) but after the top notes fade, the smell that lingers through the day is not overwhelming at all. There are supposed to be hints of lime and grapefruit, so this becomes a pleasant mix of warm yet fresh.The cologne is priced at £32 for a 30ml or £64 for a 100ml. Not extortionate I don't think, I'd expect to pay that for a brand like Chanel or Dior and this is definitely a little piece of luxury on par with those brands. Apparently this is a brand popular with a few celebrities, when I was in there, Graham Norton walked in, he was looking at the bubble bath, I found this really amusing for some reason!
I love the presentation when you buy from Jo Malone, the little box had a ribbon around it, and in the bag, the paper was sprayed with the Rose cologne, it's the little touches that matter.
Maybe this fragrance isn't for you, but I think there's plenty on offer for anyone to find one that is. Happy Valentine's Day ladies, I did the whole dinner and wine thing on Friday night, so not really going to do much tonight, how are you spending yours?

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Recent MAC and Topshop finds

Really all I wanted to buy this weekend was a new lipstick, but it's hard to buy just one thing! I was after a bright pink shade, a la Cheryl Cole, one that I can wear for going out, or any time I'm feeling a bit more daring. I rarely stray from safe nude shades on my lips so felt like I wanted to experiment a little. Pink Nouveau was my lipstick of choice, it seemed to me a perfect barbie pink, not the brightest pink I saw, but what I'd describe as the "truest" pink. It's a satin finish which I find has a lot more staying power than the Lustre finish. It's also more matte which I find I really need to be careful with because it can be a little drying. Along with this I got a blusher in Peaches, which is a sheertone blush, without shimmer. I'd describe it as similar to Springsheen but without the shimmer, it's very matte which I think makes it more appealing to most people.
Above is a swatch of the blush on top, and the lipstick below. I will at some point do a more detailed review/comparison of these products. Now on to the Topshop goodies. First up, this layered short sleeved top which is a mint green colour. I bought this to go with the high waisted black skirt I showed you as this top is cropped and the shape will complement it nicely. I'm loving all the pastel, nude colours that are about at the moment, it's very flirty and feminine. I like wearing this top to smarten up jeans too, and although it's cropped it doesn't really show much which I like, possibly because of my shortness! I'm not sure how I'd feel about wearing this if I was taller. This is not the best background for the top to be against for you to see it properly!Here's another staple top I bought. Again this is cropped. I like the loose sleeves, and the button detail down the middle. It's just a basic top but looks great with jeans, and it's available in a range of nude and earthy tones.

I love this jumper too. It's very simple, just a plain black jumper, but I love the gold button detailing on the sleeves. I think it's a really nice touch. This is what I love about Topshop, the little details. I like to wear this with a black waisted belt, just because it's not very fitted, and the belt helps to give a nicer figure.

Finally, I had my eyes on these a while ago, but for some reason or another, managed not to buy them. I had to go back to buy them this weekend though because I think they are quite unique. The pattern reminds me of peacock feathers, but they're on a thin piece of metal which is a nice twist, I've not really seen any like this before.

In other news, I went to the Affordable Homes Show in Westminster yesterday to find out some more information for people buying their first home in London. It was quite interesting, if somewhat of a mindfield, there's so much to take into account when buying your first flat. Me and my boyfriend had our first viewing today and it was so exciting thinking about getting our very own place. I love my flat where I live now but it can get a little tedious sharing with another person. At least now the ball's started rolling and I can feel more excited about what's on it's way. Hope everyone's had a great weekend, enjoy what's left of it!

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Make-up Product of the Month: January - Yves Saint Laurent La Laque in Bleu Nuit

First up, sorry for the poor quality photo. It is starting to stay lighter later as the spring is on it's way but still not light enough for me to take decent photos after work. I mentioned that I purchased three YSL nail laquers in another blog post, and the one I have kept coming back to is this one: Bleu Nuit. It's not just the poor quality of photograph, in real life this nail varnish verges on black. Unless you really look closely, it doesn't really appear blue at all. You can only really see the blue when the colour is held up next to black. I think that's what I like about it though, black nails are incredibly harsh looking and not pretty. With a touch of blue this shade manages to look quite sleek and classy. Take my word for it; looking at the picture where I've taken it immediately after painting, pre-washing off the excess, it does not look too classy I know!
What I love about this varnish the most is the quality. This is a high end product so I expect as much, but sometimes you don't always get what you pay for. The varnish retails at £16 but I picked up three for £18 at TK Maxx so that equals excellent value for money! I need only two coats, and this lasts at least 2 days completely chip free, but I could get away with 3 or 4 with a top coat.
This is definitely a staple colour for me, perfect for winter time, and one I will continue reaching for, while I can still get away with wearing it.

Monday, 1 February 2010


I know this is not beauty related but food for me is up there in importance with beauty! Yesterday I discovered the Chinese cash and carry that's near me. I wasn't too sure what to expect, I was hoping it wouldn't be the sort where you have to buy crates of everything. Luckily inside it was more of a supermarket selling all kinds of eastern asian foods which is my absolute favourite kind of food. I love how cheap it is, so much better value than the Asian isle of your regular supermarket, and more authentic! I got 3 huge bottles of Soya sauce on 3 for 2, Teriyaki marinade which is great on chicken and salmon, rice noodles, miso soup (it tastes amazing!!), a whole load of chopsticks for only 90p. I also wanted to try out some snacks and found something called Pocky which are chocolate flavoured sticks similar to Mikado. They're ok, but the chocolate is not that tasty. I also got some pineapple chips, which are just dried pieces of organic pineapple! Quite unusual taste, but I could get used to them. I also went to Greenwich market yesterday, one of my favourite places to mooch around on the weekend. They have some great stalls there and sell a lot of quirky and kitsch clothes and jewellery. I found this great stall I wanted to mention where I found these super cute button earrings! 3 pairs for £5 which I thought was a reasonable price to pay for something original.

The girl who makes them also designs cute jumpers with writing on them, as well as tote bags. She's very talented and her products have been featured in Grazia magazine. Please check out her website at
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