Monday, 30 September 2013

Reading List - Books I've Read and Reviewed

It's no secret by now that I'm quite the book worm, so I thought I'd share with you some of the books I've finished recently, and what I thought of them. So basically, a review, I don't make anything simple, do I?

The Time Keeper - Mitch Albom
This one is actually relatively new in terms of its release date, and I'd had it on pre-order for what felt like a lifetime. When it came I'd just finished reading another book so I got cracking straight away, and to my surprise I loved it THAT much I'd read the whole book in 2 days. It was such a compelling story, combining three different people, and the stories of those with too much time, and those with not enough. Its very suggestive on how much we value time, and how much does it really matter? Without giving away too much, I thoroughly recommend it to all of you, and if you get the chance to read this book - TAKE IT. (However, I do not approve of theft...)

Beautiful Ruins - Jess Walter
I'd seen this one flying around in all sorts of press, including Grazia and Glamour magazine, so I was totally intrigued, only when I saw the beautiful cover art in Waterstones was I drawn to it, but this really was quite a pleasant read. The story isn't told chronologically, but yet, manages to tell the story without going back on itself, its well written, set in a 1960's Italy and present-day Hollywood. I find that some of the Italian parts aren't excessively interesting, but for those that like strong descriptions of the scenes, you'll love it. Described in Grazia as a perfect summer beach read, it is just that, a pleasant easy read, and one I can thoroughly recommend if looking for something light-hearted.

The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
We've all seen the film, or at least one of Nicholas Sparks' heart-wrenching romantic dramas. I liked the film and thought the book would be similar, but in my opinion was so awfully written it took me a good few weeks to finish this teeny book as I was simply so uninterested by it. Big thumbs down from me, I can't even say anything more than how boring I thought it was.

Breakfast at Tiffany's - Truman Capote
I'm totally madly obsessed with Audrey Hepburn at the moment, and I decided, before I watch the film, I was going to read the book. This wasn't an issue at all given how tiny this book actually is, it's only around 100 pages but I loved reading it, it really isn't different to the film at all, and now I feel very much like I want to read other books by Truman Capote.

The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
I read this on recommendation of that gorgeous lady Zoe Newlove, and I expected great things from it when she said she'd read it four times! It had big claims to live up to, given it states 65 million copies had been sold on the cover, and quotes from Will Smith and Madonna grace it's back cover. I'll admit, I didn't know what to expect at all, and I found it was such an easy read, and reminded me of books I read as a child. It's a fable about a shepard who crosses the desert to reach his dreams, and the troubles and people he meets along the way. I think it is quite the inspiring book, and does have things you can carry into your everyday lives. I loved this book, and will definitely be keeping to read again, maybe even buying other books by Paulo Coelho.

Hope you've all managed to stick with me through my rambles! Do any of you have any book recommendations you think I may like based on these? And what's your favourite book? I'm all for a new read!

Sunday, 29 September 2013

Straightening Curly Hair and Keeping it Frizz/Kink Free

Hey lovely people! How's the weekend going? I'm currently getting excited like a kid at Christmas anticipating buying my new iPhone 5 this Tuesday. It'll be my first iPhone, but it's joining a well loved iPod and iPad family of mine (I'm such a nerd...) so if anyone has recommendations for apps, accessories or anything I should get, let me know!

Anyway, when I was having a nosey through my blog stats the other day, I realised that my most popular post EVER is actually my post on the Invisibobbles, the little telephone cord like bobbles which give you kink-free hair. So I thought it was about time I updated you on them, aswell as letting you know all the products which add to keeping my hair kink and frizz free.

My hair is very thick and very curly naturally, meaning it requires a lot of maintenance, so I tend to only wash my hair once every 4/5 days, which may seem excessive for some, but it doesn't get greasy or suffer from product build-up. Aswell as this, my routine takes quite a while and is too time-consuming to do every other day like some people. (However, when I leave my hair to dry naturally, it lasts only two days, otherwise I would look like I'd been in a car crash)

So at the moment, my routine starts with shampoo and conditioner, and I've been using the Toni and Guy Blonde products for a few months, which are quite good, but nothing mind-blowing. I leave the conditioner on for as long as I'm in the shower, and ALWAYS wash it off with colder water than I shampooed with, and blast it with freezing cold water, which helps the hair cuticles lie flat, helping eliminate frizz. And once I get out the shower, instead of using a hair towel, I use an old (but clean!) t-shirt, which is a lot gentler on hair, and I think, adds to the elimination of frizz.

After leaving my hair wrapped in a t-shirt for about twenty minutes, I use either my Michael Mercier detangling brush, or wide-tooth comb carefully, as wet hair is more susceptible to split-ends.

I spray a little of the 3-Day Straight spray on my hair, and comb through, before separating my hair into sections using any clip I can get my hands on, and use the Neal and Wolf Heat Protection spray to shield my hair from the hot tools I use. Then, I use my Tresemme hot-air styler to blow dry my hair, section by section until its finished completely.

I think this cult product is something that everybody loves, and I personally hold this accountable for my hair-growth, as before using this, I never had such healthy and quick-growing hair. I use 2/3 pumps of this on the ends of my hair to almost add back any oils the blow-drying strip away, and let it soak in for about an hour, before I section my hair again, and use a finer-toothed comb and a sectioning clip to straighten my hair (on the lowest heat setting- to avoid any unnecessary heat damage).

As much as I try to keep my hair down, I cannot help but want to scoop it up in a ponytail, and I must confess, that most nights, I prefer sleeping with it up in a ponytail, too. When I had been using regular bobbles I had dreadful kinks in my hair so this wasn't something I could do on a regular basis, without waking up with hair like Cameron Diaz in There's Something About Mary. My original review of these babies is here if you want to read more.

It may seem a little excessive to go through so many steps, but when you wake up upto 3 days after and haven't had to do anything but comb your hair, it's totally worth it!

Tips and Tricks (A summary): 
- Apply shampoo from the crown outwards, and conditioner from the mid-lengths to ends
- Blast wet hair with cold water to flatten the cuticle and eliminate frizz
- Use an old t-shirt instead of a towel
- Take extra care when brushing/combing wet hair
- Always use heat protection
- Don't tie bobbles too tight
- Don't brush hair whilst it's still warm, or put it in a bobble. Let it cool down first...

Hope you've all found this post a little helpful, I'm really happy to have finally found a routine which works for me, I hope it can help someone else too.

If you have any questions or anything you'd like to add, please do so in the comments below!


Saturday, 28 September 2013

The Brush Addiction continues - Crownbrush NEW Infinity Series

A couple weeks back I was doing possibly one of my most dreaded tasks ever, walking to the bus stop (over-dramatic, huh?) and as I strolled casually listening to the same drivel on my iPod I got a little blip on my Blackberry which was an email from the excessively talented Karla Powell make-up artist, asking if I'd like to be sent some of Crownbrushes new Infinity range to review. Being a huge fan of CB as I'm sure you all know by now, I was very giddy, and the thought of receiving some brand spanking new brushes definitely got my through the bus journey!

Anyway, onto the brushes, and large amounts of Crownbrush praise, as usual....

With the revamp of their Infinity range, the new brushes claim to apply powder, cream and liquid without absorption into the bristles, which are soft-synthetic AND vegan friendly. The handles have been changed to a much sleeker matte finish, with an imprint of each brush number to be able to access your favourite brushes easily.

C451 - Small Round Buffer
In the blogging community, everyone seems to go completely cuckoo for the Real Techniques Buffing Brush, which as a part of a set (when no one uses the others!) is a steep price for £20+, however, when compared to this little buffing brush is TERRIBLE in comparison. This buffing brush makes foundation application a breeze, and doesn't pick up excessive amounts of product, whilst smearing it around your face like some do. It makes application, quick, easy, and a lot more comfortable thanks to the super-soft bristles. I can truly recommend this brush to everyone, whether it be for personal or professional use, when looking for an incredible high definition, photo-ready application of base products.

(Note: I've used this with all different foundations, from BB creams, to thicker ones, like Laura Mercier's Silk Creme, as well as using it to buff in MAC Strobe Cream for a dewy finish, and Benefit Sun Beam for a highlighted, Victoria's Secret glow. So yes, it really is a "one size fits all" kind of deal with this brush!)

C453 - Angle Blush
Probably the dark horse of the bunch, and something people are less likely to be drawn to, but this is quite impressive at multi-tasking. So far, I've used this for foundation application, contouring (and with the thinner end of the brush) blush, and highlighter. I found this worked incredibly with powder cream and liquid products, and even when cleaned kept it's shape and original "softness."

C457 - Round Blender
This brush is completely ideal for application of concealer, eyeshadow primer, and for contouring both cheekbones and the bridge of your nose. It picks up just the right amount of product, and blends it in well without leaving little bristles on your face, like I've found with some fluffier small brushes. I've found it works well with my MAC concealer palette, and lighter, more liquid concealers, aswell as my Nars Eyeshadow Primer and Chanel Soliel Tan de Chanel, so like the other two brushes, is once again a miracle does-everything brush!

I've found all of these brushes to be absolutely amazing, and possibly some of my favourite brushes yet, especially for working with cream and liquid products, which I seem to be favouring at the moment.

As if I wasn't already madly in love with this brand, they've gone and topped themselves AGAIN. I'd like to thank you so much Crownbrush, for sending me these goodies, which have revolutionized my makeup routine and made a very happy girly. I love you guys!


Sunday, 15 September 2013

Friday, 13 September 2013

Hair like Silk - Neal and Wolf Super Shine Spray Review

I feel as if I'm constantly apologising to you guys at the moment for my absence of posts, but I do promise, that once my laptop is up and running as normal, I WILL be back to posting on a regular basis, and spamming your feeds with endless wittiness (just kiddin'. Orrrrrrr, am I?) Anyway, tonight's post is a quick one too, my iPad battery is about to run out, and the Winchesters are on my TV.

Gloss, elegance and silk are the three words which come to mind when I think of this product. I had to share it with you, just because I'm falling more and more in love with this brand...

Neal and wolf are a brand which seems to be quickly gaining in popularity, and their prices sit in the mid-range of hair products, coming at around £10 a product (roughly, though... Don't hold me to it!) Their products are easy to buy, given they are pretty much a capsule collection, having just the products you REALLY need, no hair dust or any of that silly stuff.

Like the heat protection spray, which is my holy grail for protection, the shine spray is another holy grail of mine, and in all honesty, does boast some similarities to the heat protection, like the way it feels weightless on the hair, and is dispensed as a fine mist, which covers all your hair lightly and evenly. It also has that incredible scent which the heat spray has, which can only be described as luxurious. Having caramel blonde coloured hair, I do occasionally need an extra bit of help with shine, but a lot of products don't actually do anything (I'm looking at you, Oribe, I feel like I want my £30+ back!) this, does make your locks glossier, without looking unnatural and helps to tame frizz and flyaways. This can be used in numerous ways too, which aren't listed on the bottle, including, spraying it on your hands and using to moisturise the ends, mixing in with shampoo, and even mixing in with curl cream to keep curls defined but glossy.

So my lovely followers, I hope you have a fantastic weekend, I'm home alone so I'm unsure just how lazy I want to be. People keep asking me to go out, or offering to come round to mine, but isn't it just SO much more fun watching cheesy telly, and wearing either silly onesies or nothing at all? (Sorry for that bad picture, maybe it's time to go?...)

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

The Quest for that Perfect Glow - Dior Nail Glow Review

Hey chicas! No, you're not seeing things, this is a real post from me. I decided to brave my leg-burning, overheating, old laptop to get a post up so you don't think I've disappeared off the face of the earth.

We're forever searching for that perfect glowing look, whether it be with our hair, skin, eyes, teeth, it seems we're becoming more and more obsessed with looking healthy, and finding products that can recreate it (especially for the girls like me, struggling to say no to chocolate.) One place I'm always whining about wanting to look perfect is my nails, whether it be the hideous flaking or accidental snapping, they're always refusing to do as I tell them to. However, despite numerous buffing tools, files, treatments and cuticle oils, I've never really referred to my nails as glowing, or even wanting them to glow, until now...

Dior nail glow is a pink tinted, completely sheer polish which gives your nails a french manicure effect without the tiresome white tips which, honestly, remind me of us getting giddy with the tip-ex in boring maths lessons. -I know you all did it! I have no idea how this works, but it whitens your tips and makes the pinks of (well, the pink...) your nails pinker (you know you've missed my miraculous language don't you) ;)

As with the majority of Dior products, the Christian Dior logo is etched into the cap, adding to this products luxurious feel. I picked mine up in my local Debenhams store, and I used some of my beauty card points so I think it only ended up costing me a couple pound, but it is available to buy at Escentual for the cheapest price of £15.30. I'm so glad I purchased this, it works amazingly on my nails, and if it runs out, which I cannot imagine it doing soon (a little does go a long way!) I'd definitely recommend. A generous 9.5/10 from me! And not just because I have a little Dior addiction.

- The first hideously hideous snap is my naked nails feat a little tan staining from last week, woops! 
- The second, somewhat less hideous snap is ONE coat of Dior Nail Glow, how fantastic is that?
- The third is my complete manicure, two coats of Essie's Ballet Slippers, one coat of Essie Mademoiselle, and a generous coat of Seche Vite's top coat to give it that gel-like finish.

I personally feel if you're addicted to opaque polishes, this is a complete unnecessary product, and you'll get no use out of it whatsoever, but, if you're not allowed nail polish for work, or school, this is ideal. For sheer pink polish addicts like myself too, this is a perfect base coat, it preps your nails much better than any other base coat.

Hope you've enjoyed this post. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that my Photoshop discs will transfer easy enough onto my new laptop so I can get posting again, because I miss blogging and you lovely guys!

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