30 January 2013

My Nail Polish Collection

It's quite scary seeing all of my nail varnishes lined up like this. I think my obsession has got a little out of hand. Just. I think I had better steer clear of purchasing any more for a while. For the foreseeable future I shall be working with what I have to create interesting colour combos and nail art. Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated as it's going to be torture trying not to add to the collection. Oh and any storage tips would also be a great help - what room of the house should they live in? Should they be on display or in boxes? 

Barry M makes up for the majority of  my collection. When I first started getting into nail varnish a few years ago Barry M was one of the only brands to offer a ginormous range of colours. Nowadays there is a huge selection of brands out there offering great shades but Barry M remains affordable and fun whilst being easy to apply and fairly chip resistant. 

I haven't tried too many of the Nail Effects from Barry M. I have one crackle and one chameleon polish. They are OK I suppose but I haven't really experimented much with them. There are new effects coming out all the time but I am much more attracted to interesting colours. 

The only downside to Barry M for me is that the names of the polishes are really unimaginative. I do like a good name and will sometimes buy colours based on funny puns. 

My top three from my Barry M collection are: 'Mint Green', '165', and 'Mushroom'. See - great names. Naaat.

I love Nails Inc. polishes but they are a little pricey. Most of these colours were given to me - thank you everyone who added to the collection. Nails Inc varnishes apply like a dream and give good coverage in two coats. The colours are varied and inventive and I find that the Nails Inc team are on top of the effects game. 

Nails Inc. play into my love of nail polish names as I am sucked in by the ones that I have a connection with. 

My top three from the collection are: 'Portobello Road', 'Basil Street', and 'Notting Hill Gate'. 

H&M has the weirdest selection of nail polishes I have ever seen in a shop. All of the polishes above are by H&M but they are housed in eight very different bottles. I get the Disney ones as they are collaborations but the others I just don't understand. They all apply differently too which is baffling. 

I have tried the majority of nail polishes on offer in H&M because they are reasonably priced - from £0.99-£2.99 - and the colours are interesting. The main collection (listed 1-6 above) have fun names and apply really well. If you know H&M nail polishes, these are the ones in the square bottle with the black lid. 

The little collection ones are limited editions, I think, and apply well too. I bought them because they were 'of the time' and really cheap. 

I LOVE the Disney collabs. The packaging is cute (how could it not be - it's Disney?) and the colours seem to fit the characters really well. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for more of these in the future. They seem to be limited runs too. So far I have Bambi and Snow White. 

My top three from H&M are: 'Nerd' (hence why I have two), 'Blue My Mind', and 'On Ice' (Bambi).

I blame Chanel for getting me into nail polish. Their colours have been trendsetting and I always want their seasonal collections even if the colours are a bit out there. The colours and packaging are the only reasons why I would choose Chanel above other brands. Chipping is a huge problem with Chanel nail varnish; you're lucky if your manicure lasts two days. They do apply well but the fact that they last so little time is off-putting, especially considering the extortionate price tag. 

My top three Chanel colours are: 'Blue Satin', 'Particuliere', and 'Miami Peach'. 

Models Own is a brand that I don't buy all that often. The colours are OK but they aren't particularly innovative and I often find I can get them from other brands. The colours do apply well and the names of the main line (not pro) are fun enough to keep me interested. The pro range is not one that I would really buy from. I bought these four because they were on sale. 

My top three are: 'Lavender Blue', 'In the Navy', and 'Fuzzy Peach' (more for the name than the colour). 

Oh Primark! These are typical impulse purchases - I am about to leave and I see a little box of four neon nail varnishes looking out at me for £1.99. Suddenly I have twelve nail varnishes in my hands as I am standing in the world's longest queue waiting to pay. Anyone paying by cash? No. Because no one I know pays by cash any more. Sorry - thinking about these nail polishes brings back bad Primark memories for me. It's OK, I'm over it. Nearly. 

Primark polishes do  not apply all that well - surprise surprise - but what do you expect for 50p a pot? The consistency varies, some are a little thick, some are a little watery. I don't know if they last very long because I have never really worn them out properly. 

I haven't bought too many Essie polishes because the colours don't really grab me. Not for the price of them anyway. They apply really nicely though and have good staying power. I love the 'Sew Psyched' colour.

Topshop nail polishes are my new crush. This goes for all Topshop make-up actually. I love walking in and seeing the huge wall of colours before me (most of them are repeats but who cares?). They don't actually have a massive range of colours but what they do have are interesting and trend-driven. I love the packaging too. My fave is 'Threadbare'. 

Rimmel are good quality polishes with a reasonable price tag. No amazingly out there colours but I love their flatter, curved brush as it gives a great application. My fave colour is 'Rose Libertine'. 

The rest of my collection is a bit of a mish-mash. I won't go into detail about all of them as I have probably already bored you to tears with nail polish talk. 

My faves out of this lot are: 'Rust 1' and 'Petrol 1' both from Urban Outfitters and 'Houston We Have A Purple' from OPI. 

So there you have it - the nail polishes of an incessant hoarder. I truly do not know how I am going to store all of these when I get a real person's house. I know that my poxy little shoe box won't hold out much longer. Maybe I'll start Googling it. 

What are your favourite nail polishes? Any new brands I should be aware of?

29 January 2013

365 Day Challenge: Week Four

A bit of a random selection of shots this week. Started the week with the leftover snow and ended with some winter sunshine - the weather in this country is frickin' bonkers sometimes. Have to confess that I haven't really been out and about much this week. The less I wander, the less I spend, and when it gets to the end of January the less I spend, the better. 

Day Twenty Two: Just a bit of Tapestry I am currently making this cross-stitch bookmark. It helps relax me of an evening - how very 19th Century. Maybe I will give it to someone as a gift when I'm done. Look out - it could be you, you lucky thing!

Day Twenty Three: Bedtime Stories I am currently reading Grace:A Memoir, Lolita, and Frankenstein. I am really enjoying Grace Coddington's book; it's filled with fun illustrations and old school fashion shoots. I have only just started the other two. I will give you an update on how I feel about them when they are finished. 

Day Twenty Four: My New BFF Love this little contraption. I'm still not really sure what it is but it's some sort of   re-usable coffee cup. It's basically a mug with a rubbery coffee cup style lid. I don't care what it's officially called; it allows me to drink a peppermint tea on the way to work without having to pay over the odds for it from a coffee shop and that's all that matters. Thanks to the boyf's family for my cherished Christmas gift. 

Day Twenty Five: A Hidden Treat I forgot that I purchased these for Christmas so was super joyed to find them hiding in my living room. I used to hate Turkish Delight until I tried these from Lokum. I went to their little shop on Walton Street where my  good friend G works. He offered me these to try and I was blown away - they are soooo good. I just had to get some. I love the packaging too; you can't tell from this photo but the box is like a little tambourine. 

Day Twenty Six: H&M Haul I wrote about these in my last blog post. Had a little detour in H&M on the way home and gots me a few bits. I have already had loads of compliments on these rings - predominantly the one on the right as I haven't really worn the other one. 

Day Twenty Seven: Here Comes The Sun OMG imagine my surprise to be awoken by the Sun. I thought my old friend had vanished for winter but out he came to give me some much needed vitamin D. I was so happy I could have cried (OK that's a step too far but I was super dooper happy). The black and white doesn't really work here but I couldn't leave the sunshine out of my weekly round-up. 

Day Twenty Eight: The Obsession Continues Oh Dear! More lipsticks. This time No.7 in 'Glam', Hourglass in 'Icon' and Revlon Lip Butter in 'Strawberry Shortcake'. I love the bright red No.7 shade. The Hourglass shade looks great in the tube (it's a really deep red) but on the lips is a bit too pink for my liking. Revlon's Lip Butters feel really nice on, they are really nourishing with a good colour. They don't last very long though which is, I suppose, because they are more like a colouring lip balm. 

27 January 2013

H&M Payday Haul

Oh H&M, taker of my money, why do you tempt me so? I went in to the Regent Street branch with one aim: find an oversized, light weight black jumper. What did I end up with? Two jumpers, a necklace, two rings, and a nail polish. Standard trickery sucking me in at every turn. 

H&M Basics: top, £12.99; bottom, £14.99
There's no real interesting way to photograph black jumpers. I suppose I could get someone to snap me wearing them but as you know, that's not really my thing right now. So you will have to make do with some up-close texture shots. As you can see I gots me one light weight jumper and one chunkier one. They are both quite loose fitting and long in length (they come below the bum but well above the knee). Poifect with blue jeans, grey jeans, just about any jeans actually. Add in some over-the knee boots, ankle boots, heels, flats mmmm, just about any shoe too and you have yourself the simplest outfit in the world. The trick with the oversized black jumper is the styling. Mix it up with some fun jewellery, accessories and nails. 

Nail Polish in Play it Coral, £0.99
I can't resist the nail polishes in H&M. This little coral number caught my eye by the till point (where I always get sucked into add-ons). It's not a range I've seen in H&M before so I just had to give it a go. This coral is a really nice shade, not overly orange like some others I've tried. At just 99p what's not to love?

Rings £5.99 for two
I'm not usually a huge fan of the jewellery in this branch of H&M. They don't have a great range and there's a lot of tacky plastic shit. I was really happy to find these bad-ass rings in there as I love a bit of gold studding. I imagine there will come a time when my fingers will turn a horrible shade of green from these lovelies but I can live with that as they are just so damned hot. 

Necklace £7.99

I had planned my trip to H&M the night before as I needed a jumper for an event I was going to. AS I was going out straight from work I had meant to take some jewellery with me as I knew that a black jumper and jeans would not an interesting outfit make. However, in the struggle that is getting out of bed and to work on time I forgot to gather some necklaces. That's why I purchased this little number when I ventured into H&M. It was about the only decent necklace they had but it's pretty special. It made my outfit look way better than it was and I got complimented on it - success!

I think I better cut myself off in Feb. No more excessive purchasing. I will have to make do with what I have which is actually quite a lot. I think the problem is that most of it is packed away in boxes so my mind has tricked itself into thinking I need stuff. Oh well - here's to a super saver February. Wish me luck, this will be tough. 

25 January 2013

Tangerine McQueen

I used to hate orange. Orange clothes, orange accessories, orange nails. The whole lot were off my list. Now  though I am all over a bit of tangerine like a rash. I still can't quite stomach orange clothes - on some people they look fab but not against my pasty skin. No sirree. Orange nails and accessories though? Yes please. 

This bag is all kinds of right. The shade is perfect for the transition to summer. Mix with wintry berries and chocolates for now and then move to colour block brights for Spring/Summer. 

Yes it's a bit pricey but it's an investment piece right? And you can use it by day and night meaning that you will get your money's worth in no time. OK, OK, maybe I will try to find a cheaper tangerine bag. I'll let you know if I manage it. I warn you though, there is no way it will be as pretty as this little McQueen number. Ahhh, a girl can dream

23 January 2013

Fox Ate My Ugg Boot

This story made my day today. I absolutely hate Ugg boots. They are ugly and over priced. This little fox, hounded by some animal paparazzi, did what any Ugg hater would do and bit through the woman's fugly shoe. He is my hero. 

My favourite line from the Evening Standard article was "a wildlife expert said the fox may have attacked because it believed the boots were a small animal". HA! I disagree with this though, I think he totally knew what he was biting into. Ridding the world of Ugg boots is totally his life mission and I love him for it. Fox 1, Ugg boots 0. 

22 January 2013

Aztec Nail Art Practice

My nail art has gone to a whole new level recently. Not content with snowflakes and reindeer I have taken on the Aztec Print. It hasn't always been successful but I have had fun trying. I probably won't be showcasing any Aztec nails until later on in the year as they are more of a summery look but practising now means they should look amazing by then.

Most ideas start in my little book-o-notes like this. Just a random little musing which turns into some wonderful(ish) nail art.  

I have been wanting Aztec nails for a while now but kind of resent paying to get my nails done when they probably won't last as long as I'd like. So, as I am a cheapskate, I have been practising with my nail art pens to try and get the look down. The results have been varied but the process was kind of fun. 

As you can tell from this look my hand is a bit shaky when adding the detail. I liked the bright base colours but in future I would probably use the white nail art pen to ad a bit more interest to the pattern. 

You have to love a bit of lilac! This look is more toned down. I like the black and white detail here and the patterns are interesting. Not sure where I got them from, I think it was a random selection from a Google search. 

Here I went for a mint green with a cheeky nude nail thrown in for good luck. I used the same Aztec pattern on each nail which I quite liked at the time but compared to the lilac nails I think I prefer a different design on each finger. 

I like the pastel background colours for this look but think I am going to go all out for summer with some bright backgrounds and garish designs. 

21 January 2013

365 Day Challenge: Week Three

This week has all been about the snow. I have to say I was unprepared. I have been walking around freezing my arse off as I cannot find my scarf and do not have many jumpers unpacked. I really don't know how people manage to look chic in this weather. I feel like I need about fifty layers to stay warm and fifty layers do not a fashionable lady make. Fifty layers a Michelin woman make. 

Day Fifteen: Topshop Nail Art Splurge A quick visit to Topshop for a belt resulted in some nail art tools and a couple of cute lip balms. The belt was for work so the visit was totally justified. After my successful winter nails as seen here I am going to attempt some more funky nail art in the coming weeks. Watch this space. 

Day Sixteen: Back to Black After my nail art purchases I went to the opposite extreme by painting my nails black. I was actually testing out my new matte topcoat for chalkboard-esque nails but remembered mid-way that I actually quite like a shiny black nail. Classy in a goth kinda way. 


Day Seventeen: Blog Prep Just creating a little 1920s collage for an upcoming post. I do love a bit of daytime craftiness.  

Day Eighteen: There's No Business Like Snow Business Cute little flakes dropping down over Walthamstow Central today. I don't actually like snow all that much. It looks pretty but I am hopeless at walking on slushy pavements. When I was fourteen I slipped flat on my arse on the way to school and got picked up by a bin man. Twice. I do like watching the snow falling while I'm inside though. 

Day Nineteen: Bye Bye Y Said goodbye to a dear friend today. My lovely Y is headed back to Japan for some much needed r&r. She is, quite possibly, a crazier cat lady than I am and so I made her this card. Suffice to say she loved it. Hopefully I will get to visit her in her home town sometime. 

Day Twenty: More Frosting Snow, snow, snow. Woke up and Walthamstow had been covered with a white blanket. Yes it's pretty but no I still am not 100% into it. Luckily I live opposite the station otherwise this would end in tears. 

Day Twenty One: Sleepy Sunday Best part of working on a Sunday? Having the tube to myself. Oh yeah, signing out loud for one whole stop makes it all worth while. 

15 January 2013

Who is Rue?

Oh Em Gee! Rue is the little cat creature gracing the marc by marc jacobs SS13 accessories collection. I am  in love. I walked past the black velvet loafers in Liberty the other day and did a very sad, crazy cat lady double take. They are quite pricey but I really feel like they are a necessity at this point in my life. I'm thinking white shirt, blue skinny jeans, velvet loafers complete with cat face. They will add that little bit of fun to any outfit. 

The jewellery is super cute too. It's that kind of trashy gold that I love and would go with pretty much any look. The dog tag necklace is just my kind of thing.  The earrings are fun too but I don't really wear studs. 

Had I not just purchased the pup version of the iPhone case I would be all over the Rue one like a rash. I love the neon green and I just can't resist that face! Even though I don't own an iPhone5. Doh! 

So that's Rue. My new crush from marc. Do you love Rue too?

14 January 2013

365 Day Challenge: Week Two

Was a bit busy last week trying to get everything in focus for 2013 hence why I've been a bit lax on the old blogging front. I have been keeping up with my 365 day challenge though but it is still quite tough getting good black and white shots. I think I am going to stop using th'iPhone and start using a proper camera to get better snaps. The filters on the app I'm using just make the contrast a bit too extreme. Feast your peepers on the weekly round-up:

Day Eight: Key Chain I'm not really sure why this bunch of keys caught my imagination. I think it was just the sheer amount of them strung together with a bit of wire. I took a colour shot of this which worked much better I have to say. 

Day Nine: Diet Chef The boyf has his work cut out with me at the mo. as I am embarking on a no-carb diet for a couple of weeks. He cooked me this gorgeous aubergine parmigiana for dinner - five gold stars. 

Day Ten: Arty Cat My dad gave me this print a little while ago as he cleared out his flat. I love cats and cannot wait to get this framed for my new house (all paperwork seems to be going through so am just playing the waiting game). 

Day Eleven: Puppy Love Don't think I have mentioned the fact that I bought the pup phone case featured in my Top 5 Christmas Wish List post. I love it! He works well in black and white. Obvs.

Day Twelve: Lebanese Date Lovely boyf met me from work to go for dinner. I Love going for dinner! We went for Lebanese in Soho. I had the halloumi salad which was tasty but a bit tart. I am not a huge fan of vinegar so my mouth tightened a little but the halloumi was gorgeous. 

Day Thirteen: Uh-Oh! Another Dinner This time with work colleagues. It was actually our Christmas outing - better late than never I suppose. We headed to Carluccio's in St Christopher's Place for a laid back meal. It was quite nice actually. The food was OK, not amazing but pretty standard Italian. Wine was good and conversation was fun. 

Day Fourteen: Boots Addiction Continues I can't stay out of the bloody place. I think of one thing that I need and end up with six products. This time around I went for a Nivea moisturiser, a L'Oreal foundation and BB Cream, and three Rimmel nail polishes. One of the nail polishes was a mattifying top coat - it's amazing! I will do a proper post on this later. 

So there you have my black and white weekly report. So far so good. Still only the second week so am expecting much bigger improvements throughout the year. Exciting. 

7 January 2013

365 Day Challenge: Week One

Part of making this year one of my best yet is trying new things. I decided to start a 365 day challenge which is something I have seen on one of my favourite blogs, A Beautiful Mess. For my challenge I am going to take a black and white photo every day. It is actually harder than I thought it would be. Trying to make black and white photos look interesting can be difficult. Hopefully I will get black and white photography down to a fine art throughout the year and you will see a marked improvement.  

Day One: Scrapbook Cats Look out for a DIY post later in the year with these amazing cat pictures. Purchased from Tiger for 50p I could not be more excited to use them. If you have any ideas for what I should do with them, let me know. 

Day Two: Too Much Choice Sorting through the nail polishes is a bad idea when you have nearly a hundred shoved into a shoe box. This photo didn't work too well. It would probably have looked better in colour. 

Day Three: Sleeping Tubesters Ahh I know this feeling only too well. I'm sure the motion of the tube rocks you to sleep. 

Day Four: Mr Sax Man Catching some jazz with friends at the Soho Pizzeria. I'm not a huge jazz fan but it's perfect for accompanying a low-key meal. 

Day Five: E is for Emma Couldn't resist this little cutie from Accessorize. 

Day Six: Twit Twoo I have been keeping all of my cards in an Oyster card holder which isn't ideal.  So on the way home the other day I had a little detour to look for a new card house. I opted for this little Accessorize (gosh I go there too much) one. It's navy with a little owl motif. Nice. Again this photo didn't turn out too well. I am starting to learn what works and what doesn't with this black and white malarkey. 

Day Seven: From Dummy to HTML Genius Let's be honest, this photo isn't a great masterpiece but never mind. This challenge is all about the learning for me and I am sure I will start taking better shots than this. I am also excited about teaching myself to become an HTML whizz. If anyone has any pointers on making this easier, please let me know. Although this book is written in the most basic of basic English HTML still looks like gobbledygook to me. 

What are you guys challenging yourself on this year? 

6 January 2013

H&M Haul

So I decided to be good this month and not go crazy spending. Unfortunately I can't walk past H&M without going in. I didn't go too mental in there this time around. I made most of my purchases from the sale rails. The other two items were work clothes so totally guilt-free. 

The Haul

Surprisingly I went for a plethora of candy-coloured clothes. I usually go for a more muted palette - my taste is evolving, how exciting. I managed to get 5 tops, 1 cardie, a skirt and three nail polishes for £70. Not bad. 

Snow White for Nails

I think I've mentioned before that I'm not a huge fan of sale shopping. The rails tend to be disorganised and you have to sift through a whole heap of junk to find a real bargain. However, the H&M on Regent Street is quite a little oasis as people tend to bypass it for the three Oxford Street branches. 

it's in the detail

The cropped cardigan is really classy looking. It was £10 down from £20 and comes in cream and black. 
The sheer studded peplum top was £14.99 and not in the sale. I got it for work as wearing black all day can be super dull and the little studs add some much needed interest. 
How could I resist Snow White nail varnish? It's too cute. I actually have some Bambi nail varnish too which I will blog about later this month. Love these little H&M/Disney collabs. 
The pink top was £3 down from £7.99 while the sequinned skirt was £7 down from £14.99. The top is super bright, especially for me, but looks great with the skirt. I'm just hoping that fluro brights will take off again at some point in the year. 

Have you guys been shopping in the sales yet? What bargains have you found?

3 January 2013

I Can Sing A Rainbow

Happy New Year everyone! I have a feeling that 2013 is going to be a good year. 2012 was a great year for Britain and sport and blah blah blah but for me it was a bit of a mood drain. So I am determined that 2013 will bring good things. I think I am going to become a bit of a yes girl and start getting involved in life! 

In terms of blogging I am going to try and be a bit more regular. At the moment I just kind of write when the feeling takes me so hopefully I'll start getting the feeling a bit more regularly. As a nail polish fiend I am going to start writing about me nails a bit more. I am also doing a 365 day challenge. I am going to try and take a black and white photo every day. I will post these weekly on here. I've started this already and I'm hoping the pics will start getting better. Black and white photography is a whole new ball game. 

It's always good to start a new year on a positive and what better way than having a rainbow on your hands? I'm not usually one for copying other people's style but I had to copy these rainbow nails from Lauren Conrad. I only wish I could wear them to work; they would brighten up my black uniform and keep me thinking happy thoughts.