Monday, 28 August 2017

Beauty Review: Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint

Now that I'm in a job that actually allows me to wear nail polish again, I've recently been on the hunt to find something amazing. I should start by saying that my standards are probably higher than most for a very simple reason - my work. I work in an environment that is not remotely good for nail polish health, because a lot of what I do involves basically sticking my hands inside of trains. That means a lot of catching them on random corners and other sharp bits of machinery and lots of getting them covered in oil and whatever other chemicals trains like to create. None of which, of course, is ideal for keeping your nail varnish looking on top form.

I've sampled a fair few different brands in the last few weeks and most of the ones I've tried have had lovely colours but just haven't quite been up to the standards that I need to keep them looking good. Again, I know my circumstances aren't great for nail quality, but I've been surprised to find that some of even the more expensive brands just don't last for more than a day before beginning to fall apart.

However, I'm pleased to report back that I have found two different brands that have both beautiful colours and have lasted a minimum of five days on my nails with no problems whatsoever - and even then, they tend to only come off because I'm ready for a change of colour! So this week and next week, I'll be sharing with you the two brands that I've found that create pretty colours with lots of durability.

 I'm a little surprised to tell you that the first of my long lasting colours has been the Barry M Gelly Hi Shine Nail Paint. The surprise doesn't come from the brand - I think Barry M is great - but from the fact that out of all the brands I've tried, the nail polishes that cost just £3.99 have been one of the absolute best. To be fair in each test, I always used the base coat/top coat made by the same brand to fully test their range.

 The first colour I used actually became my favourite - Blueberry. This is a really pretty sky blue that manages to be an unusual colour whilst still looking great. Out of all the nail polishes that I've been using, including those I'll be showing you next week, this has been the colour that I've reapplied more than any other. It's just SUCH a pretty colour, and so high shine.

 The second colour I tried was Pink Lemonade. And to be honest, I didn't keep this colour for more than a day. It's nothing against the quality of the polish at all, I just simply didn't like the colour as much as I expected to. I had a feeling it may go that way when I purchased it but remained optimistic, and I just don't like how it looks against my skin tone.

 And finally, Pomegranate! This colour is a little redder than it appears in the bottle which was originally a disappointment to me as I was looking forward to a really vibrant hot pink, but actually this colour is one that really grew on me.

Overall, I absolutely love these shades. I would say that the base/top coat takes quite a long time to dry compared to other products, but it does the job and I suppose that's what matters. But I am a huge fan of the colours of the polishes themselves, and especially of how long they last. I have consistently worn these without problems, maybe getting a tiny chip by day six but small enough that only I'm going to notice.

I found that application wasn't amazing with these - on applying the first coat these never seem to apply particularly well and I wasn't feeling very optimistic the first time I used them. However, the second coat seems to sort this out and you're left with a lovely super shiny finish.

More than anything, I love the fact that these are such good quality for such a low price. £3.99 is an amazing price for colours that last so long, and can be removed so easily. I would put these as my second favourite brand overall (of course, tune in next week for the winner!) and that's largely because I feel they could really do with a bigger variety of colours. Right now, I feel like there's not too many that I really want, and I hope that the colour range is extended in the future because this is a lovely formula.

Want to buy some of your own? They are available for just £3.99 from Superdrug, here!

Monday, 21 August 2017

Before...And After; Part 1. The Lounge!

It's been about three months since I first posted the BEFORE photos of my new flat, and finally, FINALLY, I have a room that is complete enough that I'm ready to show you.

I've been really picky with the fact that absolutely no one is seeing the flat until it's done. Friends are not allowed to visit. Photos will not be taken. And unfortunately I'm even pickier than that too, as I've been insisting on repainting everything and getting everything just perfect before it's all revealed. But finally, the lounge is ready to be revealed!

Let's ignore the fact that I've already show you a completed photo up at the top there, and let's remind ourselves of the before photos...

So that was back in May... And this is now! (It's also significantly less dark than it looks in the photos, thanks sun)
I figure you may be interested in buying a few of the bits yourself, so let's go through a couple....

With the bigger furniture, it's basically all from Ikea. My sofa is a Norsborg and cost £375, link here. The coffee table is also from Ikea and is a Lack, costing £27 (here). Underneath the table I've got a couple of board games, some cook books that I use the most frequently, a small pile of National Geographic magazines I've not got through yet, and, uh, a trashy celeb magazine to balance it all out... The rug is yet another Ikea purchase, but I can't tell you the name or the price as I actually bought it used from an out flatmate, and I'm very glad I did as it really makes the room! The TV stand is from Argos, and is this one for £57.99. The flowers on the unit are from a Tesco Express, randomly. Finally, the cushions are from Debenhams and are these ones for £12.99 each. It was wonderful to finally find these cushions as it took absolutely ages to find some that are the right shade, everything was either neon or this horrible mustardy colour and absolutely nothing in between. The lamp in the corner is another Ikea one, it's this one for £25 and makes a really nice glow!

If you're considering a Norsborg, I really like mine. The main reason for purchasing it was because it was one of the cheaper ones I could find that was still big and comfortable, but it's been a good addition. The rug is by far my favourite part though, it brings everything together so nicely and is such a nice texture!

Let's look at a couple of the smaller details...
 This wonderful doorstop is from Next for £18, here. I originally went out with the intention of buying a dog one to make a joke about the fact I can't really keep a dog here, but I thought this zebra was just the cutest thing of all time. I was worried he wouldn't quite suit the flat so I went back to Next and considered him about ten times before seeing there was only one left and giving in and buying him quickly!

 First of all, the bird artwork you can just about see in the top photo is from The Range. It's called "Gathering Bird Canvas" and cost £17.99 from here. We'll get on to the unit!

 This adorable hedgehog coaster holder is also from Next. He was £12.99 (here) which I suppose is a bit steep for some coasters, but frankly he was really cute and well made and has given the coffee table some personality so I really don't mind at all!

 By the TV I've got this delightful purple alpaca! I love him, I was worried he wouldn't fit into the room but luckily his colours really match that of the two pictures above him. He's from Arkapasso, but unfortunately I can't give you an up to date price for him as I got him at Comic Con. The candle in front of him is from M&S, it's part of one of their seasonal ranges so sadly not available anymore.

 For additional artwork, I've shown you these two before as they were in my last flat as well. I've got these amazing canvases of San Francisco and Paris that I bought from etsy. I remember it took me absolutely ages to choose which two I wanted, but I'm very happy with these ones. They're so bright and really liven up a white room! They're from lauraamiss on etsy, here.

 In the corner I have this crazy display case situation going on. This is made of three units from Ikea all shoved together - they are all Billy bookcases, which amazingly cost just £25 each, here.

  The ducks on the top row are from this set from Next and cost £12.99. Scroll right to the bottom if you want the same colours I have as they have a few others!

  The second row includes a little sheep that is actually from Waitrose, this picture from Next, and a little owl that I bought in Epcot in Disney World a few years ago.

  Row three is a little pig candle holder from Next and a big Hello sculpture, also from Next for £16 here. The sculpture wasn't originally going to go here as it's amazingly versatile and looked great no matter where I put it! The owl calendar on the right is from a market, and as you can see, almost never gets updated...

  The two candle holders on row four are both from Clintons, and the plant is from M&S.

  Finally the boxes at the bottom are all from Ikea and are absolutely enormous. The majority of them are completely empty, naturally, but one of them includes lots of art supplies and colouring books and the other includes all the cooking books and recipes that I don't use all that often, but might one day!

I'm very happy with the lounge, and it came out exactly how I wanted. I went in with a grey and yellow theme but was a little worried about how everything would look together or if it would look a bit too feminine or over the top but actually I think it's all come together really nicely. I was also worried that the blue of the sofa wouldn't fit together with everything else, but I think it all looks really good together.

As I often mention on twitter, my favourite thing about the whole flat is how bright it is, and how much I love my view from the lounge. It's not completely done yet but probably won't ever warrant a full post anyway, so let's show you the balcony too - it does lead off from the lounge, after all!

As you can see, the balcony overlooks a park and is basically my favourite thing ever. Even when I can't be bothered to actually go down there or don't want to go out onto the balcony, I love being able to see so much green.

I don't know where the chair on the left is as it was already there when I moved in (and it's a real shame too as it's really comfortable for an outdoor chair, but I can't find a copy of it anywhere!) and unsurprisingly the other two are from Ikea. The table is this one for £15, and the chair is this one for £35. (It's also really annoying to carry around the store so don't be like me, save it til last!)

So, part one is finally done! What do you think? :-)


Monday, 14 August 2017

Beauty Review: Urban Decay Naked Heat Palette

If you follow me on twitter, you've probably noticed that I am absolutely in love with my new Naked Heat palette.

I don't normally fall into the hype with these sorts of products. I've got the Basics 2 Palette and I really love it - until Naked Heat came on the scene, it's by far my most used eyeshadows. Despite my love for it, I just didn't feel the need to get any of the other Naked sets - how many similar brown colours do I need, afterall?

I got the Heat palette the day that online orders opened up, and I fell in love with it pretty much straight away. It's been so hard to not post a review of it before now, but I wanted to get some proper useage out of it to make sure there were no unpleasant surprises that turned up along the way first. And so, here we are!

 As always, the packaging is lovely. I know it's a weird thing to compliment them on, but I think Urban Decay always do the best boxes.

 And the tin itself is nice as well! It's definitely got a holiday feel to it, but my favourite thing about this tin is simply the fact that it's really easy to open. I know that sounds like a weird thing to compliment the box on, but frankly I hate how many palettes I own that I just can't bloody open. I end up squeezing them at all sorts of odd angles, chipping my nail polish in the process and then finally managing to open them whilst dumping the contents everywhere in the process. Not so with this box! It opens without difficulty and genuinely doesn't feel like it's going to fall apart on me any time soon.

 The reason I was so interested in this palette is obvious - the colours are very pretty, and as you'd expect from the name are all lovely warm tones. I was a little worried that some of them wouldn't be all that wearable as there are a lot of red tones and in the past these kind of shades have just made me look like I have some horrendous eye infection, but that hasn't happened at all. The colours are all warm tones, obviously, but they're very versatile. They stand out, but in a good way.

My skin is very pale and so I did worry a little about this, but frankly I've never come across a natural palette that suits my skin tone quite as well as these colours do. The colours are all very bright and vibrant but make a great contrast to my very pale white skin!

To my surprise, my most worn colour has been Lumbre. I don't typically go for the shimmery colours but this one just looks so nice on that I wear it all the time, typically lined using Cayenne. These colours are SO well pigmented that even after owning the palette for a little while now, I'm still surprised by just how quickly they go on. Often, just one brush stroke is all I need to fully load an eyelid up with beautiful colour, and there's almost no fall out. The durability is very good as well - I'm terrible at rubbing my eyes throughout the day after forgetting I've got colour on, but these colours still look great at the end of the day. The longest I've kept a colour on is from around 8am - 11pm and even then I would say the colour was very slightly faded but still very much there and looking great!

If I could recommend just one beauty product to you this year, it would be this one. I am in love with this palette and how versatile it has proven to be, and it's actually encouraging me to experiment with shades and combinations again after a very long time of just always using the exact same combos!

I bought my palette from Selfridges for £39.50 - and you can buy yours here too!

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