Saturday, 8 December 2012

Nail It: DIY Designer Nails


I've wasted far too many hours of my life attempting to squeeze a clean and steady Chanel logo onto my nails. Two bottles of acetone-free remover, various paintbrushes, 50 ruined cocktail sticks and 4 clogged up nail pens later, it was apparent I needed a new tactic.

Kim Kardashian's Halloween Chanails

I decided that if I couldn't Kardashian my way to Chanails, I would need a little bit of outside help. My saviour came in the form of some delightful little stickers, from the aptly named At Your Fingertips website (thanks, Google!) Spoilt for choice with both gold AND silver logos from the likes of YSL, Dior, CK, and of course my sought after Chanel, I settled two packs of gold stickers. A price of £1.50 for each, plus £3.45 for delivery seemed reasonable enough to me.


And here's what my nails ended up looking like:


I used a Natural Collection clear as my base coat AND topcoat, and two coats of 17 Lasting Fix Nail Polish in "Midnight Sapphire". You can't go wrong with the classic navy/gold combination, especially in winter.


You'll need a pair of scissors to cut around the stickers you want to use, as you can see in my photos. I found it easier to apply the stickers when the colour coat had dried, simply because I would end up ruining my own paint job. If, unlike me, you're nimble with your fingers and you're careful, then I'm sure you can get away with applying your stickers onto wet paint.


Carefully remove the white backing, and place your sticker (with the clear sheet still stuck on top) exactly where you want. I used a pair of tweezers to shimmy the thing around until I was happy. Press down on the clear sheet before slowly peeling off. If my instructions have worked, you should be left with a Chanail! Use the tip of your tweezers to press down on any edges which might be sticking up. You might notice some glue residue, but you can wipe this off quite easily. Go over the nail with a couple of coats of your clear polish to help set the sticker, and push down with the tweezers for a few more seconds just to make sure.

The Chanail

And hey presto- designer nails that didn't cost the earth (But of course you'll tell everyone they did)!






Friday, 30 November 2012

Zatchels x Hello Kitty

[Update: please scroll down to the bottom of the post for info on the giveaway]

It may have been a while since my last post, but to prove I haven't idly floated through the second half of 2012 (gulp) my return to the blogosphere brings you:

1) insider info on one of the most exciting collaborations since Brandy and Monica
2) what you should be adding to your Christmas list & buying for your loved ones

A couple of weeks ago, I was invited to help out a good friend of mine at the Zatchels x Hello Kitty press launch. Not only have I been an avid Sanrio collector since I was a wee bairn, I am also a huge fan of Zatchels bags. With more and more companies are having their goods churned out abroad, Zatchels have stuck to their British roots and manufacture all of their bags in their Leicester-based factory. Don't know about you, but I think it's extremely important to support home-grown businesses!

The Cici PR, Zatchels and Sanrio Teams

Small Gift, Big Smile

The bags are currently on sale on the Zatchels website, and prices range from £55 for an adorable barrel bag, to £110-£140 for the satchels, which are perfect for work or school. Have a look for yourself! (I've found it impossible to resist adding these to my Christmas shopping list).



The launch itself, run by Cici PR, was a roaring success, with stylists, bloggers and editors queuing to get in. Even a few familiar faces turned up to say hello, including Arlene Phillips, Kate Walsh, the Mac Twins, and celebrity nail wizard Stephanie Staunton.






**UPDATE**

Where's the lovely Christmas giveaway gone you ask? Fear not, it's only been taken down temporarily so as not to clash with another amazing giveaway Zatchels are doing with Vogue for Online Fashion Week.

If you've already entered, don't worry you will still be re-entered when the competition is back up and running, which is hopefully next week. I'm very sorry to all of you!

In the mean time, why not try your chances at winning an exclusive new Zatchels barrel bag every day this week?

You can enter either on Twitter or on Facebook.

Good luck, and keep checking back to see if the competition has been resumed! x





Thursday, 12 July 2012

Back once again with the ill behaviour

Sorry for the very long hiatus. I am now back, with some exciting things to follow in the next few days/weeks/months.

But first please dance around the room to my comeback song.


Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Paris, je t'aime

I'm certainly not the first, and will by no means be the last to fall in love with Paris. So much so that I've visited twice in the last six months. I'm also grateful to Eurostar for our seven hour return journey (compensation included return tickets to Paris), Vive La France!




The 13th arrondissement of the city, more specifically, Les Gobelins, was Home for four nights during my latest Parisian mini break. We had unintentionally chosen to arrive mid Fashion Week, and severe lack of planning left us ticketless for any shows. I imagine a similar feeling would resonate if one were to be stuck in a lift with Leonardo Di Caprio, whom you could neither touch nor see. Exciting but a bit shit.

Rather than giving you a Dear Diary account of my trip, it would surely make for a more interesting read if I am to provide you with my tips of what to do (which is really just "What I Dun") if you visit the City of Light.

Shopping by District:


Champs-Élysées Arguably the most famous road in France, housing a deliciously ENORMOUS Sephora, LV Towers (pointless queue), and a few familiar high street shop fronts. Bravo if you actually make it all the way to the Arc de Triumph like you planned and climbed all 284 steps.
Boulevard Haussmann If department stores are more your scene then pay a visit to the Opera area and prepare to be overwhelmed by Printemps and Galeries Lafayette. Also a great opportunity to salivate over everything you can't afford.
Saint Germain des Prés If I ever end up homeless, this is where I will live. YSL, Carven, Agnes B, American Retro, APC. Yeah, this is basically Heaven. And it's only a stones throw from the supposedly beautiful Jardin de Luxembourg (which I'm saving for a less rainy future visit.)
Louvre-Tuileries/Faubourg Saint-Honor The place to be Scene. You couldn't fail to be amused by the gaggle of starved Fash Pack hipsters furiously posing outside a bursting cafe opposite Collette, desperately hoping to be Street Style Snapped by... ANYONE.
The Marais I wish we'd spent a little more time here; we missed out on Falafel and I'm gutted. On the bright side we discovered a scattering of great little vintage shops, and boutiques with some impressive buying skills.

Sightseeing and Culture:


Institut du Monde Arabe Or en Anglais, the Arab World Institute. Taught me a little more about the history of the Arab World, set in a modern sci-architectural triumph. Head straight for the top for amazing views.
Eiffel Tower Yes, it IS worth doing and I highly recommend booking in advance to avoid the hour long queues.
Louvre Free for under 26s, and the first Sunday of every month. Though parts of the building feel underwhelming and dare I say it... ugly... there's no point in turning down free culture. Forget Mona and instead look for the Egyptian exhibition.
Jeu de Paume China's best Rebel export, Ai Wei Wei, is showing his first retrospective in the heart of Concorde until 29th April. I couldn't recommend this more highly. If you get the chance, please please go. It's worth the queue!


Food:




Bofinger The oldest restaurant in Paris will make you feel like you're in a dream. Contained under an opulent stained-glass dome, suspiciously familiar waiters (I've seen The Meaning of Life far too many times) will lead you to "the best seat in the house". Screw your budget, order what the person next to you is having (it's probably Lobster and fois gras), and indulge on a pudding you would trade in your mother for.
Angelinas The most worthy of tourist traps, but expect to queue for at least 30. If you haven't visited before you should probably try their infamous Chocolat L'Africain (hot chocolate) and a Mont Blanc. If you're a little more peckish, or you're fed up of pâtisserie (JUDAS), then opt for a sandwich accompanied by some marvellous French Fries.
Le Tournebièvre This was a TopTable gem. A little over a hundred Euros will guarantee the beautiful views of the Notre Dame, the friendliest waiters in the city, and heart-achingly tasty grub. (My mouth is watering whilst I remember the most succulent duck gratin ever ever ever).
The Latin Quarter I still don't know what was more fun... wandering around the paved streets of the student-run 5th arrondissement looking through endless irresistibly luring menus, or eating snails (and other deliciousness) in the homely, traditional and most importantly CHEAP restaurant which you finally settle on.




I hope you enjoyed my little guide to Paris... of course there's still so much I didn't do and mention, but when I return I promise to bring you more!
Have you visited Paris recently and what would you recommend? Did you visit any amazing restaurants, or find the most perfect boutique?  I would love to know... leave your comments below!


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Review: Bio Sculpture Gel Nails

I haven't done a product review in quite a while, let alone a post (though for this I have an honest excuse... I have been in PARIS, but another post will cover my trip).

As you may be aware, I love love love nail art, and I try and stick by my DIY ethic as much as possible. Sometimes, however, it's just not feasible for me to do certain treatments myself... whether it's due to lack of equipment or skill, or even patience! With my Parisian adventure imminent, I needed a classic and chip-proof strategy. I didn't fancy a tacky acrylic mess or shop bought temporaries (stomach curdling memories of scrubbing Zebra Print falsies with Acetone at 5am in the morning before work three hours later still resonate in my mind). It seemed appropriate to go for a french manicure, since colour was a no-go at work and if done properly looks damn pretty.


So the question remained: Where on earth do I find this chip-proof, long-lasting, recommended, non-acrylic, classic French manicure?
After hunting around on the internet for various types of nail treatment options (I didn't realise there were so many!) I came across something called "Bio Sculpture": it's essentially a gel set using UV light, which sits on your nail, growing out with it whilst strengthening it at the same time. Perfect, non?!

Next was finding a beautician near me who offered Bio Sculpture. Luckily I found Simply Tips'N'Toes, a mere stones throw from my Leopard Palace who offered a French Bio Sculpture Manicure for £32 (though 10% off as it was my first visit).
I was given excellent instructions by the very lovely and knowledgeable beautician, on what the treatment would entail, up to the after-care.

The process itself was pretty logical. First, a good cuticle clean up was in order, before a layer of clear Bio Sculpture gel was applied to two fingers at a time.



Next, my hand went under a UV light in order for the gel to set for two minutes. Whilst this (along with a healthy tan) was working it's magic, the step was repeated on my other hand (and continued until a couple of layers had more or less set on each nail).


Very carefully, a French White was painted on two tips at a time. This was again using Bio Sculptures own gel. It seems as though they sell literally EVERYTHING to do with nails, from the UV lights down to different nail files and brushes, and they offer their nail technicians the opportunity to sell on to customers. Anyway, after the tips were complete, another clear gel coat was applied, followed by a coat of "normal" clear nail varnish.
All of the aftercare instructions were provided on a leaflet to supplement what I had been told, but were also on the website (for when I inevitably lost said leaflet).

As for the outcome and my opinion? I LOVE. Perfect for work since nothing chips and they look "clean", I can paint over them at weekends if I desire any colour, it's GOOD for my nails and they just look CLASSIC.

 

OK, I have to be honest... I took these photos a week after having this treatment done, so my nails have grown a teensy bit. But surely this is proof that Bio Sculpture lasts? Well I know I'll be returning for more! How about you? Have you ever had Bio Sculpture, and what did you think? Let me know in the comments below!


Friday, 24 February 2012

London Fashion Week: Falling for 2012


I rarely write about designer fashion, with my puny excuse most aptly summed up as "I can't afford it, therefore don't wear it, so it's irrelevant to me". Of course this logic is massively faulty due   to the cannibalistic nature of high street fashion (which a blog post at a later date could explore further). Regardless, my point to make today is that... whether or not I buy a Burberry or Erdem piece next season, the chances are I'll be wearing a replica of their designs in six months anyway. To sum up: I'm nosy and eager, and I like planning ahead. So much so, in fact, that I already know what I will be wearing for New Years Eve. (It's very likely to involve orange leather).

This week I have mostly been viewing the Style.com bookmark on my browser. It has probably the best Fashion Week photo libraries on the Internet, with some fantastic commentary for the majority of shows. Since work commitments meant I couldn't make it to any shows/my invitations were conveniently lost in the post, my FROW seat was in the comfort of my own living room. On the plus side, without the distractions of glorious goody bags, Azealia Banks's bright pink hair, and practising my good-side-pout, I managed to get a good rifle through most of the LFW shows.

Giles
Temperley London
Erdem
Peter Pilotto
Basso & Brooke



Mary Katranzou
Moschino Cheap and Chic
Mulberry
Louise Gray
House of Holland

Rather than regurgitate everything Style.com covered, I thought it might be better to provide more of a "key trends for autumn" roundup. I certainly had my favourites (Felder Felder and Temperley London were outstanding) and my disappointments (I never thought this day would come... Acne and McQ), but there was far too much in between that was also worthy of a mention. Here are the trends for Autumn/Fall/Winter 2012 which I will definitely be wearing:

Prints - There's no such thing as too much print according to the looks seen at Peter Pitollo (last seasons darlings), Basso & Brooke, Mary Katranzou and Issa. Louise Gray took the idea further with her cleverly created print on print fabrics. Houndstooth was also a returning character, featured quite heavily in the Henry Holland collection.

Orange - Pantone's "Tangerine Tango" certainly took to the catwalk this season, with Brit-giant Mulberry memorably introducing the colour amongst autumnal reds and browns. Seen littered through many of the other shows, this is set to replace 2011's burgundy phase.

Parka/Raincoat - I hope this trend won't dictate the weather, but it's unanimous: You will be buying outerwear intended to keep you safe from wet and windy conditions. Christopher Raeburn and JW Anderson might have taken their Millets-Chic thing a little too far though...

Fur - Mulberry gets another mention here, for THAT coat. Fur was present in more collections than not, including Moschino Cheap and Chic, and John Rocha. PPQ in particular took a more glamorous approach than usual, using a lot of fur alongside tartan sashes and monochrome wools.

Opulence - Perhaps too early to say this has been influenced by December's release of the (ohmygodicantwait) Great Gatsby, but deep, rich, and lavish fabrics were repeatedly seen throughout the week. From Giles to Felder Felder, we'll be seeing an aristocratic edge to our partywear in late 2012.

Leather and Lace - If you're considering packing away your leather trousers for the summer, make sure they're still handy for next season. Whether it's a gothic gilet, a skin tight colour blocked skirt, or it makes up the sleeves of your panelled fur coat: Leather isn't going anywhere (See McQ, Topshop and Mulberry). Erdem and Giles continued the long term love affair we've been having with lace, keeping it ladylike and romantic.


John Rocha
PPQ
Temperley London
Mulberry

Temperley London
Topshop Unique
Meadham Kirchhoff

Other notable collections which have managed to escape my prediction categories include Topshops dystopian utility tailoring, Peter Jensen's 60s pamphlet looks, and Meadham Kirchhoff's brilliance with 90s rave meeting alien Mardi Gras.

What trends are you looking forward to wearing (or avoiding) next season? Are you sick of the sight of leather and fur yet, or will you be glad to recycle them again? As always, I'd love to know your thoughts so leave your comments below.

 
(All photo's courtesy of Style.com. Post proof-read by the wonderful Matthew Soczywko)

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Can Buy Me Love

Today is difficult to ignore, and those of you in relationships may have already been dropping hints over the past few weeks... whether the intention is to relieve his panic of what to buy you, or to inadvertently stimulate his premature balding accompanied by sleepless sweaty nights of pressurised worry. I don't know whether it's because I've signed up to more mailing lists, or whether I'm just more aware of the love stench, but are we being totally bombarded with Valentines Day 'Lust Have' lists this year or what?

Regardless of my overflowing-and-bordering-on-heart-shaped-spammy emails, my other half seems to have escaped any hints so far from me since we've decided to postpone this 'holiday' until we're in Paris next month.

Unfortunately for him, however, today I realised that I do have a list of "bits and bobs I wouldn't be disappointed in receiving on Valentines Day". This post, therefore, is my hint and list. 



1. Christian Louboutin Cris studded leopard-print calf hair iPad case, £475, Just because it's utterly ridiculous. The only problem? I might need an iPad as well...

2. Alexander McQueen Leopard skull scarf brown, £285, Having sickeningly LOST a beautiful silk McQ scarf a few months back, the medicine is in a replacement. And I might not even miss the old one anymore with this beautiful creature.

3. Dior Vernis in Aloha and Garden Party, £18 each, Do these qualify as stocking fillers? Who knew you could cover cheap and classy in one fell swoop.

4. Jeffery Campbell Blyke Stud, $249.95, In every relationship there comes a point where if man does not buy a particular shoe for his lady, then his lady must explain that she will literally die without said shoe. He should then proceed to gift her with this life-saving shoe. If this does not work, the relationship is doomed. This is that shoe.

5. Yves Saint Laurent Arty gold-plated glass ring (special Love edition), £165, I have spent the last 6 months trying to resist this ring. Now it pretty much owns me.

Although it seems my poor guy needs to start saving, I'd still gush and splutter like a fourteen year old Gossip Girl fan with a little box from Ladurée and a wander through the streets of the Latin Quarter. But I certainly wouldn't say no to any of the Love Junk above...
Are you a romantic when it comes to Feb 14th? Did your other half need hints (or even lists!) when it came to gifts, or were you surprised with an adorable gesture? I'd also love to hear any tales of horror Valentines Day gifts/dates!

LUV Madonna

The queen of pop is back on form with a little help from M.I.A., Nicki Minaj... and those bizarre fingerless gloves. Give Me All Your Love is the first track released from the highly anticipated (and cheekily named) MDNA album. Have some FUN on VALENTINES DAY with Madonna x

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Only Way Is Blogging


What it was... The fifth installment of the Only Way is Blogging event. A networking opportunity devised by London Beauty Queen blogger, Hayley, to bring the blogging community together whilst hopefully teaching the TOWIB-goers a few tricks of the trade. 


Where it was... A rather intimate conference room at the Montague Hotel, well located in the heart of Bloomsbury. Or, as my cab driver described, "close enough for you to walk from here, love, but I'll drive you because you're wearing ridiculous shoes."

Who was there... Over 100 excited bloggers (both new and established), ASOS Fashion Finder representatives, PR guest panellists from Dove and Motel, the social media group eBuzzing, the lovely Annabel's Wigs, and Superbloggers KingsRoadRocks, Get Lippie, and London Beauty Queen.

Oestrogen

The eBuzzing team

Beautiful ladies, Danielle of For the Love of Frock and Uju of Vintage Pin Up

What we ate/drank... Cupcakes, brownies, scones and plenty of tea. No photos of all of this, as I ate them too.

What we did... Catching up with friends, frantic swapping of URLs and business cards, taking plenty of notes, tweeting more in one hour than I have in my entire tweeting history, and uncovering previously guarded secrets to running a successful blog. All whilst eating cake... #proofofmultitasking

What we learned... Fake hair is acceptable, contrary to popular belief PR agencies do not accept shopping lists, Leopard Print will absolutely HAVE to succeed otherwise I've wasted a fiver, and of course the importance of Blogger Community-based Sisterhood (or words to that effect).

The adorable and super stylish @ITLT_LDN and @FashwahRobots

Q&A Panel: KingsRoadRocks, Get Lippie, and London Beauty Queen

I will now share what I believe to be the most valuable bounty of the day; my exclusive list of blogs that you should certainly dedicate some time to reading (all with a starred Leopard Print approval rating). I failed miserably at the initial ice-breaking task of gathering everyone's URLs, however these are the lucky ones I did manage to obtain. If I've missed anyone off (well, I clearly have!) it was unintentional. Please please leave your blog address and twitter details below as I would love to check it out and would VERY MUCH like to compile a reasonably complete list of all the bloggers who attended this event. 




Thanks to Hayley for organising this event. It was an absolute pleasure meeting so many enterprising, inspiring, enthusiastic and interesting people... I'm certainly looking forward to the next blogger meet wherever that may be!

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