Catching Up

And all of a sudden it’s Christmas!

We’ve upped the decor this year and this weekend I started to feel like it was Christmas because the tree went up and we bought some more decorations for around the house. We watched Home Alone and wrapped the presents to complete the tree look. My Christmas song playlist got its first outing of the year and I wore an awful lot of fairisle!

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It doesn’t seem like that long since Halloween and I can’t tell you where November went. Before you know it I’ll be posting my 2014 round-up and talking about plans for next year. What I loved about putting the tree up this year was that I was able to involve my friends, metaphorically speaking.

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The top picture is a decoration I got from my friend Beckie, last Christmas, and I just had to put it up again this year. I’ve also put up the mistletoe she sent last year too. Underneath that is a decoration which I got in the summer and usually lives on the mantle but has been moved to the tree for the festive season. It features a photo of all us book club girls and it’s a picture from a special day because it was Easter Sunday and also the day one of the girls announced she was pregnant.  (She has recently had her baby, and he is adorable. I’ve already had cuddles!)

Following the festivities I’ve been working on various themed manicures. Last week was dark grey and snowfall gradient

925617_864513893592866_1698284993_nand this week I have brought out the old favourite, candy canes.

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They took an age to do though, so I’m glad it’s just once a year!

Gary and I visited the Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park to continue the Christmassy-ness. We had bratwurst with red cabbage and potato dumplings, corn cobs, mulled wine and mini pancakes topped with hot Nutella.

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It’s all gotten us into the swing of Christmas and we’re very much looking forward to continuing the festive fun over the next few weekends.

December 5th

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When I think about Christmas I think about the food, weather, spices, family, presents and lights. I also think about glitter. A lot. I usually think about glitter in my day to day life, but at Christmas my glitter appreciation triples and everything is more welcomed with sparkles on top.

What better way to illustrate my love of all things iridescent than by sticking a huge amount on my nails? Yes, it’s a total pain to take off, but I think I can sacrifice my time a little for the love of Christmas frosting.

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Search Pinterest for a second and you’ll find tons of lovely ideas for your nails at Christmas, but above are a few of my own personal collection. As you can see, glitter features a lot! My favourite is the candy cane stripes. I love the base colour (Aspen, Nails Inc) and I only use that shade at this time of year, but adding the stripes adds such a pop to the metallic red. I also like to do gradient glitter on the nails, though I have run out of micro glitter top coat this year, so I need to restock before I can try that again. The bottom right is using Nails Inc’s Nail Jewellery top coat. I forget the exact name of the shade but you’ll recognise it when you see it (I want to say Princes Arcade) For the red and green manicure I used a matte top coat (Essie’s Matte About You) over the whole nail and then used Seche Vite just on the tips. It’s very subtle but I couldn’t stop rubbing my fingers over the top once they were done, and it looked very effective.

I’ve got some Fimo slices this year with festive icons on them so I think I’ll give those a go at some point, and I’ve been eyeing up some water transfer decals on amazon too……. but I’ll never give up on my glitter!

What is your favourite festive manicure?
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A Beauty Blog? Yup…..

My regular readers will have noticed that this is not a beauty blog. In fact I’m just not a beauty person. I have no skin regime, hate putting on makeup and wouldn’t know what to do with most of the stuff I see people blogging about. I’m a fan of the natural look (not the one created with slapping on tons of make-up, I mean the actual natural look). If I put on any kind of foundation I feel like I’m caked and my skin sweats because it’s trying to breathe. That being said, I do have some products that I just can’t do without and I thought I’d share them, because if I need them, you might too! So here goes!

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Let’s start with the nail stuff, because this is the only area I really really take a lot of effort.

Nails Inc Glass Nail File: I got this file about 11 years ago and it was about £25. Yes that seems excessive for a nail file, but like I said I’ve had it 11 years ago and it’s still perfect. Sometimes called crystal nail files, glass files will not rip or tear your nails. They glide silently across your nail and create a lovely smooth edge to your nail. You just run it under cool water to clean it and it’s back to its original self. I even use this file when I’m wearing nail varnish if I need to reshape, and it never makes the polish crack or peel, so I’m still left with a flawless manicure. The only reason I’ll need to replace this is if I drop it and smash it. I have a friend who has a mini one in a little case she keeps in her handbag. I might need to investigate one of those…..

Nail Envy by OPI: Anyone who knows me or follows me on twitter will know how much I love this product and recommend it to anyone who has problem nails. It saved mine. I had soft, brittle, peeling nails that I couldn’t keep long because they broke all the time. The weakness of my nails would mean that my nails would bend and by bending would chip my nail varnish. My manicure wouldn’t last more than a day. I started using this a few years back. You start off with a week-long treatment, where you just put a layer on each day for 7 days, one on top of the other, and at the end of the week take it all off and just replace it with one layer. Some people say that they notice a difference straight away. I certainly felt that my nails were stronger. There are different types of Nail Envy for different nail problems and I’m sure there’s now a pink shade with treatment in it. I started with the weak nails version, but now I use the Original and Matte. I like the matte one because I don’t like the look of clear nail polish on bare nails – it looks greasy to me. They recommend the matte option for men but it does come out more pearlescent than matte. Nail Envy isn’t cheap but it lasts a while and it works. I use it instead of base coat so I get a treatment every time I paint my nails. You can paint it on top of your manicure if you need an extra treatment. But be warned, if you stop using it, your nails will go back to how they were! I’m converted. I love the stuff and can’t see myself ever wanting to stop using it.

Seche Vite: Working in retail, opening boxes, counting out money, ripping off plastic, my manicure never used to last more than a few days. Sometimes I would spend ages on some nail art only to have it wrecked within 20 mins of starting work. So I was after a top coat that would make it last. I’d heard about Seche Vite mainly from nail art fans, because they claimed it doesn’t drag the design when you’re sealing it. This was a big plus for me – spending ages on a design only to have it ruined by the top coat was a huge deal. I was sold. I bought mine from amazon marketplace, as it’s the cheapest I found. I’ve been so happy with it and have bought and re bought as I’ve worked my way through each bottle. It’s got a nice thick texture, and all you need to do is let a bead of polish form on the end of the brush before you paint and it’ll seal your colour with a nice even layer. It dries pretty quickly too. My only issue is that it does tend to shrink the colour at the ends of the nail so you can be left with a millimetre of bare nail at the tip. I’ve been trying different painting techniques to see if I can prevent this but not come up with anything. Sometimes I just file the ends the next day. Other people have said that after a while the texture of their polish changes and they get white bits but I always just turn the bottle upside down once I’ve capped it, and wait for two (sometimes three) air bubbles to rise to the top. Then I turn it right side up again. I think taking the air out of the polish makes a difference.

Frizz Ease Secret Agent: This stuff is my one must have hair product. I started using this because for some reason when I was about 16 I started to get really long flyaways along my parting and hairline. Hairdressers say it’s regrowth, but I always disagree. 15cm long regrowth? I don’t think so. Without this stuff I look like I have a mohawk growing along the centre of my head. My Mum had this product in the bathroom and so I started to use it, and it’s still my hair saviour. It’s the only think that works! When I get my hair done at the salon, I always take this with my in my bag and go to the bathroom afterwards to fix it.

Chapstick: I was always a Vaseline girl, but my Mum always swore by cherry Chapstick and I wanted to see what the fuss was about. Turns out she was right!

Touche Eclat: I’ve been using Touche Eclat for about 13 years. It’s light, reflective, easy to use and covers my massive dark circles. It’s been perfect. But 13 years ago my skin was a lot different. And now I have fine lines around my eyes which this stuff settles into. Benefit have just launched something called FakeUp which claims to solve this problem. So I bought some. I’ll do a comparison review on the two once I’ve had a chance to play.

Rimmel Blusher: in Smoked Oyster. I’ve used this blusher since I was in my teens. I used it through the cream blusher phase, I used it through the bronzer phase. This is my colour. What can I say?

Lemony Flutter Cuticle Butter: by Lush. Feel what you like about Lush at the moment, I love this stuff. It’s a big pot of lemon scented butter. I use it on my cuticles (perfect for recovering my weather wrecked fingers) but I also use it on my heels, elbows, knees – anywhere dry and chapped. The pot is massive and it expires after about a year. I’ve never finished a pot. But it’s not really expensive and it works so I don’t really mind!

Light Blue by D&G: This is my perfume, my scent. Given to me by a friend for my birthday just after I met Gary (this very bottle actually!) it reminds me of that time every time I smell it. I wore it on my wedding day and save it only for special occasions because I don’t want to lose the memories associated with the scent. Which is why this bottle has lasted me 11 years!

Gillette Venus Spa Breeze Blades: As someone who suffers with folliculitis, I have spent a lot of time working through different products to find the most comfortable way to deal with hair removal on my legs. These razor blade cartridges have shaving gel already on them and I have found them to be the best. They shave well but leave my legs moisturised and comfortable. Each blade will last a week. They’re not cheap but they work!

Philips Sonicare Electric Toothbrush: After using this toothbrush I can only compare using a manual toothbrush to brushing my teeth using a blunt stick. I couldn’t believe the difference this toothbrush made to my mouth! After using it for the first time my teeth felt SO clean and my mouth felt so fresh. I’ll never use a manual brush again – there doesn’t seem much point!

So those are my beauty staples! Let me know if you try any of these, because I’d love to know what you think!
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