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November Collective Haul

It's officially less than a month till Christmas :) How does it feel? Here in Malta, shopkeepers are already busy decorating their premises and hosting mini-sales and I couldn't help but to shop for a few essentials as well as some impulse purchases as it so often happens.

From Tally Weijl, I bought this cashmere feel polo neck just because I desperately need some knitwear and from Peacocks I bought this set of two skinny belts as I needed a skinny gold one.

Last Friday I finally, managed to visit the newly opened SuiteBlanco outlet at the Plaza Shopping Complex and ended up buying a pair of baroque shoes and a dress.

From Stradivarius and New Look I got these cardigan and embellished peter pan collar blouse respectively.

Online shopping was quite a highlight this month especially as far as nail polishes are concerned. After seeing the new Bond movie Skyfall, I was intrigued by the polish worn by the Bond Girl Severine and my curiosity was immediately killed after I saw the O.P.I. advert in November's Glamour magazine. So I bought three shades of the collection...Skyfall, The World Is Not Enough and The Man With The Golden Gun 18c gold leaf top coat. I also bought Zoya Lara (for obvious reasons) and a back-up of Orly's Nailtrition.

I also won an Effaclar gift pack this month on their local facebook page and this is what was inside. I am very happy to have received a sample size of the cleanser to take with me when travelling!

I also bought a back-up of Lycia wipes and my aunt is currently visiting and she got me two sets of shower gels and body lotions.

Purchases this month also included a lipstick rack, nail wheels and cosmetics from E.L.F. and Essence which you can check out here as well as some amazing high end products from Meg's Make-up that I blogged about here.

That's just about it for this month ladies :) I have to start Christmas shopping soon so better save up the pennies :P What did you treat yourself to this month?

OOTD: Shopping with Mum & Dad

Last Friday, both Mum & Dad were on leave and it was my off day so we headed for some shopping in Sliema. I opted for a comfortable, casual outfit as I usually do when I'm going to hit the shops. Have a look at what I wore:

Cream cable-knit jumper, H&M | Jeans, Peacocks
Cross-body bag, New Look | Wedges, Peacocks
Leopard & chain print scarf, ebay | Moustache ring, ebay | Chunky bangle, M&S
Charm bracelet, Pimkie | Gold flower stud earrings, H&M
I really love this jumper as it feels really comfortable and goes with anything. It is a very versatile piece that can be either dressed up or down. Do you like the pink decorated trees? Here are more pictures:


Monthly Favourites: November

This month I have a mix of old and new favourites and I will start with the new discoveries first.

My absolute favourite this month was the E.L.F Studio Lip Exfoliator which keeps my lips soft and supple thanks to the exfoliating sugars and moisturising oils it is made of. I am a big fan of the sleek packaging too. Another new favourite from E.L.F. is the Studio Glitter Gloss in Sparkling Wine as it is a nice unique colour with gold flakes throughout and it complements many of my lipsticks. It also looks great alone thanks to the awesome pigmentation! Lastly from E.L.F I have two old favourites, namely the Studio Make-up Mist & Set and the Studio Mattifying Translucent Powder which have been the perfect companions to my oily skin this past month. I like how the Mist & Set removes the powdery feeling while setting make-up and thanks to the powder, my skin stays matte longer.

Moving on, this Born Pretty Store Retractable Kabuki Brush is the best brush I have to apply the powder with as it gives a nice, smooth application.  I have also found a new favourite perfume, namely, Zadig & Voltaire Tome 1 - For Her La Purete. It smells nice and clean, just like the name implies and it is good for both day and night.

Two more products from the lip department come from Chanel and Revlon. Chanel's Rouge Coco in 16 Taffetas Rose is my favourite lipstick this month and I like just how moisturising it feels. As for the Revlon ColorStay Lipliner in Nude, it is the perfect lip shaper for both nude and the darker lipstick hues.

Lastly, I have Catrice Eyeliner Pen in 030 Carbon Black. Although it doesn't have that skinny tip, I like the stiffness of the felt tip as it makes it perfect to create cat-eyes effortlessly. Pigmentation is a bonus.

What were your favourites this month?

The Exit Interview Series: Volume #14

This month I have quite a good number of products that I used up vs last month where I had none so I'm gonna get right into this post.

The nail polish remover, concealer and face wipes certainly need no introduction and needless to say, I have already bought back-ups for them.  The Face Mask is from H&M and I got it and two others in Paris last month.  I am pleased to say that my skin has reaped the benefits of such a mask that compares very well to Montagne Jeunesse's Blemish Mud. I didn't break out or anything, I was just left with smooth, radiant skin. I am currently using another mask from H&M and will certainly buy more if I step into an H&M store again.

Again, I have already bought a back-up of the Nivea scrub so there's not much to say here.  On the other hand, I won't be buying the Biovax Hair masque again for the simple reason that my hair got greasy just after a day of using it when this mask is supposed to control oily hair. Moreover, no matter how much I washed my hair after the treatment, it still felt oily so I am glad I finished the product.  The Scholl products are the perfect combo for an exfoliating and smoothing pedicure after a hectic week and I will therefore be re-purchasing both products.  As for the Lycia Hair Minimizser soothing milk, I have definitely seen the expected results, now I just wish they come up with an alternative as apparently it is discontinued.

I have also used up this Nair Roll On Wax and I have done a rave review about it soon after. It goes without saying that I will definitely be re-purchasing it!

Lastly, I used up two sample products from the La Roche Posay Effaclar gift pack that I won this month.  I really like the astringent lotion and will probably end up purchasing it but I am not sure about Effaclar Duo. You can't really see results with a sample this small so I'm not sure whether I should buy it or not. I will be keeping the astringent's bottle will come in handy for travelling!

Meg's Make-up Haul

If you have been following my blog for a while now, you would now that I am member of this fantastic blog called Meg's Make-up (anyone wanting to join, please feel free to send me your email address for an invite to join).

The website is run by Megan O'Brien and a bunch of her blogger friends where they write product reviews and topics about life in general. All you have to do is sign up for an account and contribute to the website by commenting and rating posts; in return you will start accumulating make-up points which you can redeem for fabulous full sized make-up products.  The maximum number of points you can earn is 250 and this time, that is what I did! I held on till I accumulated 250 points and redeemed them against the Most Fab Gift category. It only took me 25 days to accumulate the points as you earn a maximum of 10 points per day from contributions.

I redeemed the points in the last week of July and the package arrived last Friday. The reason for the delay was that some companies didn't keep their word and kept Meg waiting for their products.  However, the package was soooo worth the wait! Here are all the products that I received:

Liptini Lip Liqueur in 4013 Pink Lady ($18, 8ml)
Revitalash Volumizing Primer ($24, 7.39ml)
Urban Decay Matte Eyeshadow in ABC Gum ($18, 1.5g)
Urban Decay 24/7 Glide On Eye Pencil in Dime ($19, 1.2g)
Napoleon Perdis Ultimate Contour Palette ($38, 7.4g)

That's a total of $118 worth of products for which I only paid the $15 international shipping fee!! I'd compare the website to these beauty boxes that have been circulating for some time now; the differences being that you only redeem the points when you want to without paying a monthly subscription fee and you always get full-sized products! 

I have only tried the Liptini for now and I already love it! I am curious about the lash primer and the UD eyeshadow is a very close dupe to Wet 'n' Wild's and MAC Brulee. The thing I am most fond of out of the whole package is the Napoleon Perdis palette which has awesome packaging and the bronzer looks like it will suit my pale skin tone! As for the eyeliner, I am already thinking of a multitude of looks I can use it with!

Thank you so much Meg for the amazing stuff!

NOTW: Baroque Details

Baroque detailing is one of the biggest trends in fashion this season but it is definitely not for the faint hearted.  If however you still want to have a go at the look but fear you might look like King Louis XIV, you can always experiment with nail art for a minimalist take on this anything but subtle look.

This week I had a go at some baroque inspired nail art myself, and as usual, here is the step-by-step tutorial for you all to try and re-create the look :)

1. Start with a base coat to protect your natural nails and then apply two coats of an opaque black polish to all the nails, omitting the ring fingers. I chose Essie Licorice.

2. For the ring fingers, I applied two coats of Essence Vampire's Love Trend Edition Nail Polish in Gold Old Buffy which is a black base with tons of golden shimmers.

3. When the base colours have dried, apply one or two coats of a gold-leaf top coat to the plain black nails. I used O.P.I. Skyfall 007 The Man With The Golden Gun.

4. On the ring fingers, I created some baroque inspired scrolls with Essence Breaking Dawn Part 2 Trend Edition Nail Polish in 03 A Piece Of Forever which is a yellow gold shade.

5. Seal in your design with a top coat and you're done!

Review: Nair Milk & Honey Roll-On Wax

Good morning ladies! How many of you dread the thought of shaving your legs with a razor? I myself, am a self-confessed hater of such a hair removal method mainly because results only last a couple of days. I have been waxing my legs for around 10 years now and over time, I have noted that the hairs have gotten finer and I don't even get hairs on certain areas of my legs.

Like most other teenage girls, I started booking waxing sessions every three weeks at the beautician but as I grew older and my schedules were getting busier, I had to find an alternative wax hair removal method that I could do at home.  I have tried different methods and once I came across a Veet warm wax kit which was very good but for some reason it was discontinued and now they do an electrical system that doesn't even come to Malta and it is a bit expensive to buy off the internet. And so my search has once again begun until I found this roll-on wax from Nair.

Enough rambling and on with the raving! I got the kit off ebay a couple of months back and it has lasted me for 4 sessions of full leg waxing which in my opinion is quite good.  Now let's have a look at the kit contents and packaging.

The wax is supplied in a thick plastic bottle with a roll-on applicator and safety plug together with 10 fabric wax strips and instructions, all enclosed in a transparent plastic case. The wax bottle contains 100ml of product and the strips are of the right size and can be re-used from one session to the next. Furthermore, the outer plastic casing can be used to rest the bottle on in between applications in any given session.

What you do is heat the wax for just 15 seconds in the microwave and wax away unwanted hair.  It is important to read all instructions before waxing and this video that I found on YouTube is very helpful for first-timers with this product.

What I like most about this wax is the honey scent, the fact that residues can be removed with water (it is sugar-based) and also, it removes all hairs in one swift move.  Moreover, the redness that you normally get with waxing is minimal and disappears within a short period of time.  The applicator is very convenient and spreads wax evenly onto the skin. I didn't get any allergic reactions from the product and my skin felt very smooth and soft following treatment.

This is definitely a re-purchase for me, I just have to check if we get Nair in Malta as I got this off ebay for like €12. 

Have you ever tried any hair removal products from Nair? - The First Ever Maltese Beauty Portal!

Hello everyone :) Hope every one has had a good week! If you follow me on my facebook page, you would know that I have been working on a collaboration but I didn't want to spoil all the fun before everything was launched.

So, a few months ago, in summer, I was contacted by a company, Just Publications after they saw my blog post on the fish pedicure I had won from a competition they were hosting on the beauty magazine they publish quarterly for all beauty professionals in Malta where they asked me if I would like to join them on a new project they were working on.

I was over the moon and agreed to meet them for a short meeting where they explained what they wanted from me and what the project would entail. Turns out, I am now a contributor on Malta's first ever beauty portal on the internet...say hello to!

The website was launched two days ago at opening of the Me Am Chic! Women's Expo. I will be writing beauty and fashion related articles but there will also be more articles from various other contributors coming from different walks of life.

Go on and have a peek at the website and let me know what you think!

E.L.F., Essence & Catrice Cosmetics Haul

Good afternoon everyone :) This morning I went shopping with Mum and 2 of my aunts to beat the gloomy, grey, rainy weather.  Sadly, I didn't find anything that fit so as soon as I saw a pharmacy that carries Essence and Catrice products, I knew I was going to indulge myself a little and that I did. I only got a lip gloss from Catrice while the rest of the products are from Essence.

There was the Circus Circus Trend Edition on sale and everything was still there but nothing appealed to me so I didn't get anything.  The products I got are: Catrice Colour Show Lip Gloss in 080 Nude-Tritious, Essence Stay Natural Concealer in 01 Soft Beige, Essence XXXL Shine Lip Glosses in 08 Glamour To Go, 03 Timeless Beauty, 15 True Love, Essence Lipstick in 12 Sparking Miracle, Essence Colour & Go Polish in 140 Go Bold! and Essence Kiss Care Love Lipbalm in 02 Purple Berries.  The total for this purchase was €17.47.

I also placed two separate orders on the E.L.F. Cosmetics website because they had some new stuff in. I haven't ordered from E.L.F. in a long while but as soon as I saw the Studio Lip Exfoliator I placed an order right away to ensure the product didn't sell out. I then placed another order and used the free shipping code they had going on. 

In the first order, I got the Studio Lip Exfoliator, Studio Small Stipple Brush and Essentials Eyelash Curler Replacement Pads while in the second order I got Nail Polish Remover Pads, Studio Stipple Brush, Studio Matte Eyeshadow in Charcoal, Studio Glossy Gloss in Berry Blush and Studio Glitter Gloss in Sparkling Wine.  Both orders cost €39.69 together. 

 Is there anything you'd like to see a review or swatches of? Just let me know below :)

Review: E.L.F. Studio Lip Exfoliator

Finally, it's here sitting on my vanity! As you can tell by the title of this post, I am talking about the E.L.F. Studio Lip Exfoliator for which I have been waiting ages to be available on the E.L.F. Cosmetics UK website.

My lips get chapped every so often and while a good lip balm helps restore moisture levels, it won't remove all the flakiness that usually accompanies chapped and wind-burnt lips.  Hence, when I saw this product on the US website for E.L.F. Cosmetics, I knew I needed it.  Such need continued to increase each time I read or saw a video review on this product, all of which give it a thumbs up.  Consequently, as soon as this product made its way to the UK website i.e. only last week, I placed a little order straight away for fear that the product might go out of stock overnight.

As usual, my order arrived just three days after shipping and I used the Lip Exfoliator straight away and since  I have been using it religiously every other day, I can already share my thoughts on it.

The packaging is typical of the Studio range with the product being supplied in a sleek, black carton box that bears the ingredients and product description on the sides and back respectively.  The Lip Exfoliator itself comes in the form of a lipstick in a sleek matte black case that I personally find really elegant.

I have read some reviews where people claimed that there was a very thick layer of waxes initially and they couldn't get to the exfoliating granules if they didn't remove this waxy layer. I think e.l.f. have taken this into consideration because mine only had a very thin layer and I could use the product as intended right away.  The texture is in fact very granular while the waxes are very moisturising on the lips. Furthermore, it smells (ad tastes!) divinely sweet.

What you do is dampen your lips with a little water and gently work your way around your lips with the exfoliator in circular motions to relieve the lips of any flakes and restore their smooth, supple feel.

Overall, I really like and totally recommend this product as part of my ultimate E.L.F. Cosmetics favourite products and I will definitely re-purchase!

You can buy yours from the e.l.f. cosmetics website for only €4.50.

Review: Born Pretty Store Flocking Powder Kit

It's time to jump on another nail art bandwagon and this time I am talking about the Velvet Manicure which basically involves the use of flocking powder to give the nails a 'fuzzy sweater' effect.

Thanks to Born Pretty Store, you can now achieve this look without the hefty price tag that accompanies the high end kits.  The BPS kit comes complete with all that you need to create the velvet manicure, namely the flocking powder (13g), a pair of specially designed tweezers and a mini brush. The powder comes in a screw-top jar that ensures the powder will not come out and since it is transparent, you can see how much powder is left as well as the colour. I chose the brown-red variation.

The powder is very finely 'milled' and the texture really feels like velvet.  The brush is very soft and although it is not the best brush I have ever seen, it is perfect to use with the powder and the tweezers is intended to break up the clumps of powder prior to use.

Although it may seem a little messy at first, with a few tweaks, you can get velvet, mess-free nails so here is a step-by-step tutorial on how to achieve the look:

1. Apply a base coat and follow with one coat of nail polish that is similar in colour to the flocking powder you are using (for reference, the nail polish is O.P.I. Skyfall from the new Skyfall 007 Collection). Leave to dry completely.

2. If you are going to apply the flocking powder to all nails, work one nail at a time and start painting on the second coat of nail polish. Carefully, dispense the powder over the nail while the polish is still wet. I advise you keep a small tray or the jar's cap under your finger so you can catch fall-outs and re-use the powder.

3. Dust away any excess powder with the brush and voila'! Velvet nails in no time! Make sure to leave the nails to fully dry for around 20 minutes.

For the design I created here, I first applied striping tape (you can also get this from BPS) in a criss-cross fashion on my ring finger and then applied the second coat nail polish. Subsequently, I dispensed the powder over my nails and took off the striping tape after a couple of seconds.  For a more complete finish, I applied 1.5mm round gold stud rhinestones (also from BPS) to the intersecting points so as to give the impression of a quilted effect.

I was amazed at how easy it is to achieve velvet nails and the end result is very neat indeed! Moreover, the excess powder is easy to put back into the container after use without worrying that it will end up all over the place.

Since you won't be using top coat for this design (otherwise the effect is ruined), I recommend this manicure for special occasions as it will only last around 5 days; an yes, you can still wash your hands while wearing this manicure. Do avoid getting hand cream or cuticle oil on the powder though as it will make it look funny. Removal was also pretty easy with just some acetone-free nail polish remover.

You can find all the different colours and sets among other nail art supplies here on the Born Pretty Store website. The retail price for this particular kit is $7.99 and you can get 10% off with the code EBABK31 at checkout.

What do you think of this nail look?

PR Sample

NOTW: Contrasting Stripes

Good morning everyone! As it so happens, whenever I have some time to myself, I am usually searching for nail art ideas for clients and myself on the internet and I keep all the pictures that I like in a folder.  This week, I was flipping through these pictures and there was this design with alternating green and yellow nails and contrasting stripes on each of them.  Although I liked the design, the colours are not really my cup of tea and they are not so appropriate for work and fall.  Hence I chose a purple and a burnt orange combination instead. This is the finished result:

1. Start with a clear base coat on your natural nails and when dry, apply two coats of a deep purple polish  (Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer in 110 Poison Me, Poison You) on all nails omitting the ring fingers.

2. Apply two coats of a burnt orange polish such as Catrice Ultimate Nail Lacquer in 895 I'm A Lob-Star on the ring fingers and allow to dry thoroughly before proceeding.

3. To create evenly thick and straight stripes, I used striping tape to draw out guidelines.  Start by applying two stripes a little off-centre, leaving a 3mm gap in between. Subsequently, apply another two stripes, one on each side of the middle ones, leaving a 1mm gap between the middle stripe and the one you are about to affix.  You should end up with something like this:

4. Paint on two thin coats of purple polish on the middle part only, making sure not to go out of the striping tape guides at the sides.

5. Wait for about 40 seconds and gently, start removing the striping tape, preferably in the same order they were adhered. You should be left with three clean, purple stripes.

6. Finish with a glossy top coat and you're done!