Friday, 27 December 2013

Ciaté Very Colourfoil Nail Manicure

I have finally been introduced to Ciaté paint pots. After reading numerous blog posts raving about the quality and seeing the wide range of colours, I've waited for the day to try Ciaté. Even in London though, I've not found this brand too easy to come by. Anyway, that day has finally come, albeit in the form of Ciaté Very Colourfoil Nail Manicure, thanks to TK Maxx and their random selection of nail kits. 

I've only ever bought a manicure kit once before in my life. It was by Maybelline and contained various pieces you would need for a French manicure: a natural shade, a white tip and some stickers that you use to block the colour when applying the white tips. I find these kits very useful for somebody like me, in other words, pretty clueless about manicures, (I have never had a professional manicure of any description!) because you don't need any extras and they usually even contain a step by step guide to help you. Foolproof! 

Here is a visual so you can see what you're getting in this kit.
I wasn't really sure why they put the nail wheel in there to be honest. I'm not going to waste the foils experimenting on it, but I think this will come in useful for showing nail swatches in the future so I'm not complaining. 

More usefully in the kit, you get a 13.5ml bottle of Ciaté paint pot, in this case, a shade called Cream Soda. This applies like a dream and is worthy of a blog post in it's own right but I'll spare you the details and assure you Ciaté paint pots are worth the hype. 

 Along with the paint pot there's a pot of "foil fix" or glue as I call it, and of course, the colour foils. There are 6 of each colour, and 6 colours in total, all with suitably suggestive names such as Fling and Feisty. They look pretty awesome to be honest. This kit had a range of gold and silver, including a couple of holographic, and a plain green and pink.

The instructions tell you to spot the glue wherever you like on the nail and then allow to go clear and tacky before placing the foil (face side up over the nail, pressing firmly down and then peeling off to reveal the foil effect. What I like about this kit, is there isn't a prescribed where of doing this so there is room for creativity; (as well as error!) you can allow each coating of foil to dry and apply two or even three or more different colours over it. Originally I applied two coats of different colour foil on each nail on top of the original paint pot. This had incredible staying power and I had not so much as a chip until day 4 of wearing this.

I've since taken this foil manicure along a festive route and used the green and gold on top of a red nail polish to create this. Admittedly, looking up close at it, it's pretty messy, and I could've done a better job. But when I'm not staring closely at my nails, I quite like catching a glimpse of my uber sparkly, seasonally appropriate nails. I'm on holiday from work at the moment, and let's be honest, this won't be quite as relevant come January. 
There are 3 different versions of this kit, Wonderland (this one), Carnival Couture and Kaleidoscopic Klash, the latter two being much bolder and brighter than the one I've shown here.

This certainly isn't one for everyday and at full price £18 at RRP, I think is a bit of a rip off. However, buy from somewhere like TK Maxx and this will cost you £9.99 which considering a full size bottle of Ciaté will cost you £9, this works out a good deal.

Overall, I'm happy with this as a purchase and for a spot of creative decorating on my nails.

I hope everyone is enjoying the festive period. I'm enjoying the rest, and spending quality time with loved ones. Tomorrow I'm catching up with an old friend who I've known for 16 years, but haven't seen for the last 2! Then I'm heading back to London at the weekend for NYE. I'm probably going to go into town to see the fireworks because in all the years I've lived there or have travelled down there, I've never been to see.

What are your new year's plans?

Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Winter coat 2013/2014 - Marvin Browne

I had been on the hunt for a new winter coat ever since the first bite of winter's wind. I am all about being thrifty and finding a good deal, but some things I feel the quality should not be compromised on; that is boots and coats. These are staple items that you put with the rest of your outfits and hence why I have a comprehensive set of boxes to be ticked before I buy!

I had given up on my hunt because none of the coats I had seen checked all of my said boxes. They were either too long, too short, sleeves too long, wrong material/colour, too expensive. I will accept that I am a fussy coat consumer.

Anywho, pottering around Spitalfields market, East London, fruitlessly looking for anything that could make a Christmas present for my loved ones, I stumbled upon a little coat stall. Now usually I do not associate market stall clothing with good quality but on closer inspection of Marvin Browne's coats I could tell something was different. This is exactly what I love about London markets, the wade through the numerous stalls of tat before finding those gems of good quality products that you just wouldn't get on the high street. I noticed the Marvin Browne coats hanging on a very unobtrusive rail and did what I can only describe as "copping a feel" as a I walked by. I had no intention of stopping and observing closer, as I said, I'd given up the coat hunt. But something made me go "ooh!" and I had to stop and find out a little more about these coats. I think you know you're on to something when the feel alone grabs your attention.

The coat I had fondled was a wool and cashmere blend, extremely soft and happened to be in the exact colour I was looking for, camel. It was, alas, a little too tight under all my many layers, but the very helpful assistant advised me that the pure wool versions of the coat tend to come a little bigger because they are made from a thicker material. She also told me that all of the coats I could see were cut from the exact same pattern, the only thing that differed were the materials and patterns. I knew I was going to buy one of these coats from that moment. There were quite a few different varieties to choose from, but knowing I loved the classic shape of the coat and that I only had to choose a material and colour meant this would be as easy as picking out a pot of Dulux.

As I mentioned, a coat is an investment, a staple item, and I wanted one that I could wear with or without my winter warming layers, so I opted for the pure wool version which fit perfectly. The camel equivalent came a little darker in the pure wool and I wasn't as keen on this colour, but I did however find this dark military green very appealing. I also want to add at this point that what I found helpful from the assistant was her honesty...I'd tried on the bigger size in the cashmere, and she told me instantly, it was no good, you can't seen the darting detail like you could in the smaller size. Honesty is definitely the best policy as far as I'm concerned, I'm not shopping for validity from others, I want something that fits and actually looks good! So kudos to her.

So, this coat had so far checked all of my boxes, perfect length, perfect shape (what's not to love about a classic?) and the sleeves weren't too long! The only thing I needed to know was the price. For the cashmere/wool blend, a coat would cost you £95, for a pure wool version: £80. Now there was the thrifty part of me shouting "No that's too expensive." I paid £20 for this wool coat in the sales two winters ago...

 but then there was the realistic side of me that knew this is exactly what I would have paid in the high street. Yet here I would be buying a coat that I was unlikely to encounter somebody else wearing (I'll brush over the fact that I kept bumping into a woman who had just 5 minutes before me purchased the exact same coat). Not only this, but this is a British designed, British made coat which also means it ticks all my ethical consumer boxes. When you weigh it all up, this is a darn good buy, and deservedly, in the 10-15 minutes I was at the stall, at least another 5 coats had been sold.

You can find out more about Marvin Browne coats via

Monday, 23 December 2013

MAC Margin Blush

Hardly an unsung hero in the makeup community, I'm sure everyone has heard of Margin. Beauty bloggers and celebrities alike admire and endorse this blush, and for good reason. I've had this on my wishlist for a long time, and am pleased to be able to finally cross it off. MAC describe this blush as a peach with golden shimmer.

The peach colour is universally flattering, suiting a range of skin tones. I'm pretty pasty this time of year but the blusher suits my skin tone with a tan or it's natural winter hue. The blusher has a frost finish which means the golden shimmer has an almost metallic finish, but this is subtle enough to look pretty and not make you too shiny faced like some frosty finished blushers I've used previously.

I'll leave you with a couple of pictures of this wonderful blusher applied on my face so you can see the understated effect you get. It gives the perfect "natural glow" look  which will complete any natural make-up look you want to create as well as when you're feeling like going heavier on the eyes or lips and you want to keep the cheeks natural looking.

I hope this has helped you if you're looking for a new blusher. It's definitely one I will be repurchasing when I've used it up, which at the rate I'm using it will be sooner than I think! 

On another note...I cannot actually believe it's Christmas in two days!!! I've managed to escape London and am back visiting my parents which is just lovely having meals cooked for me and being looked after, and of course, lots of love from Layla.

Monday, 29 July 2013

A little update

I always feel a little sheepish when I return to blogging after the longest time not blogging. Life has just been a little bit mental over the last few months, you know how it gets... I am going to make more of an effort to be part of the blogging community over summer though. Whenever I'm not a part of it, I do really miss it!

I took the inevitable plunge of buying a DSLR which I'm absolutely loving. It's keeping me busy lately, expect lots of snaps around London to follow soon!

Yesterday I went for brunch at a place called Pimlico Fresh. They serve very delicious, if a little pricey breakfasts and lunches. I was looking for an alternative to The Breakfast Club for a place to get fresh, tasty food, with quirky decor and an eclectic mix of people. Pimlico Fresh is definitely all of these. I particularly liked the communal benches inside the cafe. I can't find a website for it, but you can read more reviews here:
What I didn't enjoy about the place was the lack of toilet facilities! But this turned out to be a good thing it seemed, because it led me to a very extensive second hand sale in Pimlico academy (on the search for said toilet facility.) What a hidden gem it was. So many good finds there, I saw a girl pick up a vintage type writer for under £20 which I know she would have paid a lot more for anywhere else. Granted there was a lot of rubbish there to sift through too, but on a lazy Sunday, I had plenty of time to peruse the mountains of treasure! I came across this top which a lovely lady used to own.

She bought it from Whistles on the King's Road in the 1980s, back when she was working in John Lewis and in her words "spent all of her wages on clothes". We can all relate can't we?! Even without the label and the story behind the top (there's something really appealing to me about owning something that has a bit of history to it!), I still would've bought this top, I love the dusky pink colour and the feel of this top which I obviously can't convey in a photograph and quite smugly I paid £3 for this.

I also bought this rather cute little cami from Topshop. Bit pricier than my second hand Whistles purchase at £22 but I think I got caught up by the heatwave we've been enjoying and decided I needed something bright and summery. Maybe the heatwave is dwindling, but if nothing else I will love wearing this on holiday.
Jewellery wise, this chain on rope necklace is from Topshop priced around £16 if I remember correctly.

The ring is a recycled fork which I purchased from a very cool shop inside Greenwich market. I can't remember the name, but their whole ethos is about upcycling old things so there's some very interesting things to be found in there.

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