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February Collective Haul {Part 1 ~ Clothing & Accessories}

As promised, here is Part 1 of this month's collective haul, featuring clothes and accessories! I bought all of these items today except for the trainers, the jade dress and the ebay earrings.

First up are my new shoes... 5 pairs to be exact :P I needed a pair of trainers for work and I managed to find a pair that I like from Sketchers for half the price (€25).  

Moving on, today I went shopping just for the sake of retail therapy after having a horrible night shift last night and I picked up a pair of loafers from Peacocks for €20.50 and then, at Stradivarius, I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw a selection of shoes in my size for only €4.99 per pair and cheeky little me picked up three :P

Next, I also bought some clothing items from Peacocks and Stradivarius.  The blazer was almost €40 but I got it at a 5% discount with my BigBon card and the discount was also applied on the mint green denim trousers which were originally €25 something.  

The striped top is from Peacocks and it was €10.50 which is pretty good I guess and I also got this nice red skater dress for €26.90, down from €37.  The jade green skater dress is from boohoo and I got it for €20.

Lastly, here are three pairs of earrings out of which the Eiffel Tower (€1.40) and the Chanel replica ones (€3.23) are from ebay and the nautical inspired ones are from Peacocks (€5.50)

So that's it for Part 1 ladies :) Part 2, i.e. cosmetics will be up tomorrow :) 

Monthly Favourites: February 2012

Another month, more favourites! This month I got to try quite a lot of new products and most of them have managed to make it to my favourites.  I also have some accessories that I have been wearing almost everyday so without further ado, let me get started :)

Starting with cosmetics, the main favourites this month come from Essence cosmetics.  I have bought some new stuff from the brand and cannot wait for the launch of the new products this coming March! I have been enjoying the delicious smelling hand cream most and I like that it seeps rapidly into the skin and leaves no greasy residue.  Being small, I take it with me to work and it is perfect to mask the latex smell of gloves which no matter how many times I wash my hands, seems to cling to me all day.  The mascara is really true to its name and I really like the silicon wand.  As for the lipgloss (I like Cotton Candy), it is a very pigmented ligloss and I like the applicator wand too.  I like to pair it with the Matte Lip Color in Tea Rose from elf cosmetics when I want a more dramatic lip without being too in your face.  Lastly, the Color & Go nail polish in Irreplaceable is a very unique taupe shade with flecks of gold glitter in it that offers a nice alternative to the plain, creme finish nude nail polishes.

This month, I have resorted to BB Cream during the day and I have used it whenever I needed I little coverage yet still not that full on coverage you get with foundation and I set it with the e.l.f. Translucent Matifying Powder. I have also been using Jojoba oil once a week on my face to treat blemishes and prevent them from leaving marks on my face and eliminate any existing ones.  All I can say is that so far I'm pretty satisfied with what it does!

Moving on to my two main purchases this month, my first ever Mac and Chanel lipsticks!! I haven't used the Chanel one much as I only bought it yesterday but I'm so in love with the colour and packaging!!! The Mac one is Milan Mode while the Chanel one is from the Rouge Allure Range and it is no. 66 Confidentielle.

On my nails, I have really been loving the look of magnetic nails, more specifically the Red nail art kit from Pupa Milano.  I like how you can create instant, cool nail art with the magnets, especially when I'm in a hurry! You can read my full review here and, also, my Maltese followers have till tomorrow to enter for a chance to win a kit themesleves (read rules here)!  Also, I have been using Orly's Nailtrition and Top 2 Bottom with every manicure and I can safely my nails have never been this strong!  Lastly, Essie's Shine Of The Times has also been a favourite this month. It is the only flake polish I own and I really like the effect it gives layered over different base colours!

Lastly, I have been wearing my new Spinning Rings which were a Valentine's present from Johan every single time I go out! I do not wear them for work out of fear of accidentally throwing them away with gloves.

What were your favourite products this month?

The Exit Interview Series: Volume #6

This month I have used up two products which I keep re-purchasing over and over again, especially the concealer.  It is my HG concealer to cover up dark circles and if ever Essence had to come up with the very bad idea of discontinuing it, that would mean that I would have to start my search for a good under concealer all over again. Seriously, ever since I came across this stuff, I have never looked at another concealer!  On the other hand, the Nivea scrub does a very good job in leaving me with peachy-soft skin without being too harsh and it doesn't break the bank!

NOTW: Egyptian Tablet

This week's nail design was inspired by my favourite nail artist on YouTube, LOVE4NAILS.  As soon as I saw her tutorial, I immediately thought of using my new Essence Color & Go nail polishes and this manicure has enabled me to use three of them at one go!  Since my nails are shorter and narrower than Raquel's I opted for a more subtle approach and re-created the design on my ring fingers taking up almost the entire nail while opting for a delicate French manicure on the rest of my nails.  Here is what my nails look like and if you like what you see, scroll down for the step-by-step tutorial!

1. Prep nails with a base coat and when dry, apply two coats of an iridescent gold nail polish over the entire nail where you want to do your main design.  Now you can either opt to do a French manicure like I did by simply applying two coats of the gold polish onto your tips and then contouring with little dots of turquoise and purple polish or else do the design on all of the nails.  My base colour is Irreplaceable from Essence cosmetics.

2. To start working on the design, you will need some gold striping tape and a pair of manicure scissors.  Cut out a long piece of tape and start by affixing it in two vertical lines as shown in the first picture.  Continue to affix the tape and trim the excess as shown in the picture until you end up with a similar pattern:

4. When satisfied with your design, get a small dotting tool and with another two colours fill in different segments as you like.  I used Essence Color & Go nail polishes in Choose Me! and Where Is The Party?

5. Finish off by adding three square rhinestones in between the vertical stripes and seal your design with a top coat!

That's it for the tutorial! Here is a bonus pic of the Burberry inspired gel nails I did on a client :)

*CLOSED* Win a Pupa Milano Magnetic Nail Art Kit worth €10.50!!!

Medimports Ltd., the local distributors of Pupa Milano in Malta have been kind enough to offer the chance to one of my Maltese followers to win a Magnetic Nail Art Kit worth €10.50!!

To enter, all you have to do is to go to the Pupa Milano in Malta facebook page, like it and answer this simple question on their wall: In how many shades is the Pupa Milano Magnetic Nail Art Kit available? Together with your answer, don't forget to include a link to my review of the Magnetic Nail Art Kit and also, link back to my blog's facebook page.

You have until Wednesday 29th February to submit your answers :) Good luck to all!! xx

*The winner has been selected and it is Tania Al Alwanee*

Review & Tutorial: Pupa Milano Magnetic Nail Art Kit in Red

Unless you have spent the last months living on another planet, you should be aware that the latest nail polish trend is Magnetic Nail Polish.  Most nail polish companies have come out with their different colour propositions and magnets to create the different effects and Pupa Milano was no exception! Medimports, the distributors of Pupa Milano in Malta, have kindly permitted me to experiment with this new trend thanks to their Magnetic Nail Art Kits!

Out of the 9 shades available, I chose Red and I'm really pleased with my choice as the actual colour is a nice berry red that is very on-trend at the moment!  Each kit comes in a very professional looking box and it contains a 5ml bottle of polish, two individually wrapped magnets (one to create diagonal lines & the other to create horizontal lines) as well as an instruction leaflet in 5 languages (Italian, English, French, Spanish & Russian).

Although the nail polish is small, it will last you a long time as the formula is quite thick (mainly because it contains metallic particles) and just one coat is enough for the polish to be completely opaque.  It is important that you shake the polish well before use as since the metallic particles are relatively heavy, they will sediment at the bottom of the bottle if it is left to stand.  Thereby, if the particles are not evenly distributed, you may fail at achieving the magnetic effect.  Moreover, the nail polish can still be used as a regular polish with a metallic finish if you so desire; just apply one thick coat, leave to dry and seal it with some top coat!

Metallic particles sediment at the bottom when polish is left to stand for a long time

All Pupa Magnetic Polishes (image from press presentation)
Left to Right: Fuchsia, Red, Blue, Silver, Black, Green, Khaki, Purple & Brown 

As for the magnets, I like the fact that the kit comes with two different ones however, I think I would have preferred it if there was a different design such as a star for example instead of two striped designs.  Having said that, I still like how both the horizontal and the diagonal lines look.  Also, they are very easy to work with thanks to their curved shape which fits nicely on your fingers.

Onto the application! First and foremost, the polish cap is very ergonomic and allows for easy application and the brush is also nice to work with.  Here is a quick step by step tutorial as to how to use the Pupa Milano Magnetic Nail Art Kit.

1. Start off with a base coat to protect your natural nails and leave to dry thoroughly.

2. As I said earlier, one coat of polish is enough but make sure you apply thick enough otherwise, the magnetic effect cannot be exhibited.  

3. Working quickly while the polish is still fresh, position the magnet slightly over the nail taking care not to touch the polish so as not to ruin the design.  Leave the magnet in the same position for 10 seconds.  Make sure you position the magnet in the correct way with the arrow pointing towards you.  I advise to work one nail at a time and shake the bottle in between to make use that no metallic particles will start to settle down.

4. By now, the magnetic effect should be visible on the nail. Allow more time for the nail polish to dry fully before applying a top-coat to seal in your design.

I quite like the end results achieved with this kit and I found it really easy to use, considering this is my first time working with magnetic nail polish.  I also like that the polish dries quickly and the magnetic effect is achieved in a short time. 

How both designs look on my nails

For those who want to jazz up their nails further, check out this video for a few more nail art ideas that can be achieved without masking the magnetic effect:

With regards staying power, the polish has lasted for a whole week on me before there was some tip wear. Here is a picture of my manicure just before I took it off without any retouching:

Lastly, a point worth mentioning, is that the polish is easily removed with your regular acetone free polish remover and it didn't stain my nails as can be seen from the next picture.

Pupa Magnetic Nail Art Kits retail for €10.50 and are available in leading pharmacies, beauty stores and perfumeries across Malta & Gozo.

Join Pupa Milano on Facebook and YouTube for more fun nail art & make-up tips, tricks and tutorials!

PR Sample

Tag: 7 Deadly Sins of Beauty

I have seen this tag over at Enigmatic Rambles and I thought it was much more fun that the usual tags which I have to agree with the writer of Enigmatic Rambles, I never know what to say in them! So here goes with this tag post!

GREED What is your most expensive beauty item? What is your most inexpensive beauty item?

This one is easy! My most expensive has to be my Givenchy Rouge Interdit Lipstick in Illicit Raspberry which I got as Christmas gift from Mum & Dad (it will soon be joined by a Chanel lipstick too). My most inexpensive beauty item, on the other hand have to be some of the Essence Colour & Go nail polishes which cost €1.41 a pop from a particular pharmacy... can't really beat that can you?

WRATH What beauty product do you have a love/hate relationship with? What product was the hardest to get?

I think it has got to be any bronzer in general, in fact I only have the Studio Warm Bronzer from elf cosmetics.  While I like how I can use it to contour my face, I prefer to use it in summer when I'm tanned rather than during winter as I think it looks harsh against my pale skin.  Hardest product to get was without any doubt my Maybelline Water Shine Lipstick in Beige Glace.  Maybelline had changed it's name and I couldn't find it anywhere and when I looked for it online, it was quite expensive.  When I totally gave up on it, I was browsing the Maybelline stand in a supermarket and there was just one lipstick left in this shade... I grabbed it faster than you can say Maybellne lol.

GLUTTONY What is your most delicious beauty product?

Got loads of these ranging from shower gels to lip glosses! But if I had to pick just one product, it would be Essence 24h Hand Protection Balm in Vanilla Apple Pie.

SLOTH What beauty product do you neglect due to laziness?

Not exactly due to laziness but most of the time, I forget to apply a make-up fixer before I head out.

PRIDE What beauty product gives you the most self confidence?

Definitely red lipstick!! More specifically my Givenchy one. Red lipstick exudes glamour and class (when worn flawlessly) and I feel there is no problem in this world a woman can't tackle with the help of a red lippy!

LUST What product did you lust after the longest before buying it? AND What are your favorite attributes in the opposite sex?

It's gotta be one of the Chanel Rouge Allure lipsticks which I will be buying next Saturday as I get my next pay check :D  Favourite attributes in the opposite sex would be personality and broad shoulders, which my hunny is blessed with both ;)

ENVY What beauty product would you most like to receive as a gift?

Anything signed Chanel/Givenchy is a winner with me... I won't complain!

I tag anyone who wants to do this fun tag! Link them back to me as I would love to your responses!

Review: e.l.f. Studio Make-Up Lock & Seal

A few weeks back, Marla has requested a review of the e.l.f. Studio Make-Up Lock & Seal after I had posted my e.l.f. cosmetics collection to take part in a competition.  This Studio line product is a recent addition to the e.l.f. cosmetics UK site but it has been available for quite a while before I got it so I waited to see what others had to say about it and then I gave in.

Basically, this is a make-up primer and sealer in one and it claims to 'increase the intensity of your make-up colors and lock it on instantly... for a sealed smudge-proof wear.  The quick dry and easy to use formula keeps your make-up in place for hours'.

It comes packaged in a sleek, black carton box with a window and the components are kept in a white plastic mold.  So what constitutes this product? You get a 15ml bottle of mixing liquid, a flat tapered brush and a small transparent mixing pot.  

A few words about the liquid first... I'm not really keen on the bottle being black as I can't see how much product I've got left but I do like the nozzle as I can control how much product comes out with ease and it is much more hygienic as well.  The liquid itself has a faint smell that somehow reminds me of surgical spirit but it goes away after a few seconds of application so it's nothing major.

The brush, resembles the bigger Studio line brushes in that it is black and has a black ferrule as well.  It is labelled as 'Mini Blending Brush' but I think it is more of a regular eyeshadow brush with a rather tapered point which I like.  The bristles are taklon-coated just like the other e.l.f. brushes and they are very soft to the touch.  Also, this brush has never shed a hair neither while I'm using it nor whilst washing it.  One thing to bear in mind though is to wash the brush immediately after each use to prevent it from hardening (if hardening does happen however, just rinse the brush under warm water before washing to soften it).

The mixing pot is quite small but I like that as I do not waste a lot of product when using it.  Although it is small, it is quite easy to clean up for the next use with a couple of q-tips.

I like to use this product with the e.l.f. Mineral Eyeshadows and other pigments and eyeshadows that are in powder form as it helps reduce fall out and makes them more easy to work with.  However, with regards staying power of products when paired with the Make-Up Lock & Seal, I find it doesn't differ then when I prime my eyes with the Eyelid Primer and then fix everything in place with the Make-Up Mist & Set; but it does increase colour intensity as you can see in the swatch below. With regards make-up removal, I have never had any problem with removing eyeshadow after using this product and I have never had any adverse reactions to it.  Here is a comparison swatch to see the effect this product has vs when using an eye primer & make-up fixer:

Pigment eyeshadow without any base (far left)
over e.l.f. Eyelid Primer & set with Studio Make-Up Mist & Set (centre)
with Studio Make-Up Lock & Seal (far right)

I would recommend this product to anyone willing to try an alternative method to make make-up stay on longer as well as people with oily eyelids as I think this will work for them.  Also, I think it would be great to use with less pigmented eyeshadows as it makes them look more intense and seals them in place.

The e.l.f. Studio Make-Up Lock & Seal retails for €4/£3.50 and can be bought directly from the e.l.f. cosmetics website.