My Nail Polish Collection

Howdy.  Today I thought I’d show you my nail polish collection.  I love nail maintenance (although I am dismal at actually painting them) and nail art (see: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/05/07/nails-101/ and https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/09/13/nails-102/ for some mild mannered tutorials!) so thought I’d share my ‘collection’ with you.

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So this is how I store my nail polish.  Not particularly exciting or glamorous, just in an Ikea box on my dressing table.  But when I went through and sorted them all, I was pretty impressed with my collection!  It’s the kind of thing that builds up without you really noticing.

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And voila!  I sorted them into 3 categories (loosely following Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain for aesthetic effect..!), plain bold block colours, effect polishes and my trusty clear top coat beauty.

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I remember buying my first ever Barry M nail polish, I think it was about £3.50 in Topshop Oxford Circus when I was about 12.  I think it lasted approximately four hours without chipping and then that was it for me, reputation tarnished!  Until a couple of years ago when the Hi-Shine Gelly range came out.  I bought a couple in a Boots offer because I adored the colours and that was it, hooked!  I also love Model’s Own and their ranges, like the pastel and neon ranges you can see here.  OPI is a personal favourite when I’m feeling like a big spender, and all the extras are just individual ones I like the colours of, or got free somewhere!

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These are my ‘specialty’ polishes if you like, for when you need to add a little glitz and glamour to your talons.  As you can see, predominantly glitter based!  Most of my nights out are pretty impromptu affairs  so what happens to be on my nails usually has to do, but when it’s a planned event like a big night out or a party, that’s when the glitter or the confetti comes out.

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And say hello to my favourite top coat!  I got this free with something at Sydney Airport and have never looked back.  It leaves a beautiful shiny and glossy look and avoids chipping for days.  A must have!

So there you have it!  My nail polish collection, what are you wearing on your talons this season?!

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Social Media Madness

I love social media, I absolutely love it.  I love tweeting and texting and instagramming and facebooking – it’s safe to say I am a social media harlot.

In this day and age of smartphones and 3g, much of our social media participation is done on the go.  I’m talking checking in at the cinema, instagramming your dinner at a restaurant, or tweeting about your night out.  That’s fine, I do it too.  I encourage it, I embrace it.  What I DO have a pet peeve about is social media(ing) in the company of others.  Now I don’t mean walking along, or hanging out in a common room chilling and chatting.  I mean real company, spending quality time with someone.

It has become all too normal to turn up to a bar meeting friends for drinks and put your phone on the table.  It’s of course, fine it you’re waiting for an important call ot an email, but not if you’re waiting for a retweet or a ‘like’ notification.  What, is then wrong with the company you are keeping?  Are they less important to you that one of your 300 facebook friends commenting ‘fit’ on your new selfie?  They can’t be, otherwise you wouldn’t have arranged to meet them in person.

It makes me so mad when I’m having lunch with someone and they check their phone.  Instantly, there’s a digital barrier between us and all connection and conversation flow can vanish.  Again, it’s fine if they’re showing me a picture of something or a hilarious vine, but to connect with the virtual world when they should be connecting with the real world?  No.  Not on.

I recently raised this issue with Boyfriend.  I told him, that when I’m having drinks with friends at Uni, there are no phones on the table, that the conversation and banter is on fire and everyone is genuinely interested in each other – and how utterly refreshing it is.  Then I told him what I’m telling you, how cross I feel when social media company is put before my company (or maybe I’m just THAT boring?!).  He commented, that maybe phones and social media in company is our new norm in society, not something to feel angered or upset about.  This saddened me.  I love social media, I’ll be the first and loudest to admit it.  But not when I’m around others, not when I’m enjoying real life, my life, and living it to the full.

Ever since I can remember, phones or laptops have not been permitted at dinner or drinks in my family.  If you use your phone at our dinner table, you will be asked to leave.  I believe this is how it should be.  It is the height of rudeness to start a conversation with someone else whilst spending quality time with a person, so why is it okay to do it virtually?

I’m not campaigning we all put down out smartphones and digital detox.  I’m not going to go all crazy and throw a friends phone across a room if they dare brandish it in front of me.  I’m just trying to get us all to have a little think, about our social media habits, about our phone habits when in the company of others.  What do you think?  I’d be really interested to hear another take on this.  Feel free to like, retweet, comment, poke, repost, or any other social media action you can think of.  All I know is, I won’t be checking if you did, whilst in the company of others.

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Woops

A Midsummer Night’s Dream – The Look

So last weekend I was invited to a good friend of mine’s belated 21st birthday party, with the theme ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’.  At first, Boyfriend and I thought we’d go all out with togas, pink body paint and glitter but when we discovered we were heading out on the town afterwards, we thought better of it.  Instead, I opted for this look, and thought I’d tell you guys about how I achieved it.

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The dress is from TK Maxx, and has always been a summer favourite of mine.  (I’m also wearing it in this post: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/04/07/the-day-i-turned-20/).  I thought it suited the brief as it’s flowery, floaty and ethereal – not to mention super comfy.  I teamed this up with a £2 crown from Hobbycraft (the final idea ended that Boyfriend and I were King and Queen of the forest) and lots of fake Hobbycraft flowers.  Using garden twine I wrapped real ivy from my Mum and Dad’s garden around it to make a sash, with the fake flowers.  I also wrapped the fake flowers around a clubbing bag from TK Maxx and my favourite gold sandals from Dune.  And Voila!

ImageMy makeup for the look is very subtle, as I wanted my hair and outfit to do the talking.  All I added (to my standard ‘clubby’ makeup) was liquid eyeliner and gold eyeshadow.  I felt this look was all about the hair!  (You can read about my hair here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/01/23/hair-story/)  I have wavy to curly hair anyway, so this look was created with hair mousse, curling tongs, some braids and a whole lotta hairspray.

There you have it!  My Midsummer Night’s Dream Look.  I do love a good costume party, anyone got any coming up I can come to?  Please and thankyou.  Tarah!

Australian Lookbook

So as I briefly mentioned, I headed to Australia for three and a half weeks!  We were mainly based in Sydney, but had a few trips to the Blue Mountains, Newcastle and the Gold Coast.  My mind couldn’t have been further from blogging this trip, so I didn’t pose for many photos at all regarding ‘What I’m Wearing’ but here’s what I scraped together from the 942 photos from the trip (don’t worry, there aren’t that many!)!

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This photo was taken at a beautiful lookout spot over Sydney.  I thought this outfit was perfect for a bit of tourist sightseeing.  The dress is Dorothy Perkins.  The waistcoat is Primark.  The necklace is Accessorize.  The trainers are Converse.  It was really comfortable, summary in the gorgeous weather and blended well with Sydney City Chic.

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I had about 10 minutes to get ready for this night out in Sydney so I threw this together!  The body is Topshop.  The shorts (trusty favourites!) are Urban Outfitters.  The cardigan is Hollister.  The watch is Swatch.  The tights are Tesco.  The shoes are Office.  The hangbag is Nica.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  I just love wearing shorts on nights out where dancing is involved!  I find it so much more comfortable and you can be more relaxed about accidentally flashing your undies.

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Not so much an outfit, but this is what I wore to the British and Irish Lions Rugby match in Newcastle!  Boyfriend’s a huge rugby fan and truth be told, the rugby was one of the reasons we went to Australia.  The shirt is .. a Lions rugby shirt!  The top underneath is from H and M.  The jeans are my beauts from Urban Outfitters, which you can read about here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/03/19/bdg-bad-boys/

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This is me performing karaoke.  I loved this outfit and couldn’t find a better picture of my outfit during the night, so this action shot will have to do! I think I’m attempting some sort of air guitar..?!  This was taken on a night out in the Gold Coast celebrating a family friend’s 21st.  I know you can’t see particularly well but this outfit is a favourite go-to of mine.  The shirt is Mink Pink at Urban Outfitters.  The necklace is from a market at the Ideal Home Show. (You can read about the Ideal Home Show here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2012/03/26/the-ideal-home-show/)  The leggings are BDG at Urban Outfitters (another favourite find!).

So there’s just a few looks from my Australian wardrobe.  Hope you enjoyed!

BDG Bad Boys

Holla!  So it was about 5 years ago I first met the trusty jean brand BDG (on sale at Urban Outfitters) in the form of a ‘Slim Boyriend’ look.  Since then, they’ve been ripped to shreds, but still emerge from my wardrobe when I need a chilled, laid back look for the day.  In January, in my obligatory Oxford Street Urban Outfitters sale haul, I picked up these lovelies, which I teamed up with this outfit to head to my Dissertation hand in day at Uni:

ImageCardigan – John Lewis

T Shirt – Gap

Necklace – Amsterdam Market

Jeans – BDG

Boots – New York

Black, wet, leather sort of look? Uh, how boring!  But NO.  Check this out ..

ImageAha!  And then at the back they are blue denim!  ‘What an absolute mind****!’ my housemate shrilly shrieked as I paraded up and down the corridor.  You know when you just find the perfect pair of jeans?  The perfect length, fit and size, perfect for you?  I think these might just be them.  They’re definitely my ‘good jeans’ of the moment, wearing them out for dinner, on a pub evening, maybe to a night club. In love.

Do you have a favourite pair of jeans?

(N.B.  I apologise for the background!  This was taken in the alleyway next to my flat.  Just ignore the beaten up TV, STILL there from our Halloween house party!  Student living, eh?!) 

 

 

Hair Story

Ever since the lovely Louise over at Sprinkle of Glitter (I blogged about her beauty challenge here: https://bellasbits.wordpress.com/2013/01/20/bedroom-beauty-challenge-january-vivacious-vixen/ – check it out!) did a post about her Hair History, I thought what a great idea!  Though mine isn’t really a history, it’s more of a story.  So here goes:

Even since I was little I’ve had blonde, fluffy, frizzy wavy hair and to be perfectly honest, it’s only in the last year or two I’ve learnt how to manage it!  It’s always been about boob length, with no layers making it quite heavy, but I’ve learnt how to roll with that, and I like it, so why change it?!  

ImageHere’s me way back when in 2007, at a Wedding I believe.  As you can see, no product, no accessories (apart from the John Lewis red peacock thing going on..!), no nothing really.  I think I just spritzed it with some hair spray and off I went.  How wrong of me!  I mean, it’s fine because I was only 15, but looking back it looks awful!  It was around about this time my hair started to go darker and my Mum sat me down and we had the highlights talk .. and I’ve never looked back!

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Gosh, how terribly natural!  Aha!  This is me in Kenya, Africa in 2009 whilst I was out there at a school teaching street dance to kids.  Apologies for the dazed look, I discovered my love of coffee on this trip and think I was off on a caffeine high somewhere above.  This is pretty much my hair, completely natural!  This is what I have to work with everyday, and NOW, I think I do okay.  But here’s what happened next …

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Oh hey there cheeky.  This is one of my MANY dance looks I’ve had over the years.  I’ve had braids, the tightest plaits in the world, up dos, down dos and lots and lots of hairspray.  All the hairspray from dance was seriously starting to damage my hair around this point (2009) as well, until I discovered deep conditioning hair treatments.  L’Oreal do a great one for highlighted hair.  You have a shower normally, shampoo your hair normally, then whack on the treatment and leave it for as long as you like really!  My hair dresser told me if I wear a plastic shower cap over the treatment it works more effectively so I do that as well, cling film works just fine also.  I tend to do that about once a month when I feel like my hair needs some loving.

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And the girl discovered straighteners!  I don’t tend to straighten my hair very much at all really, only ever usually for nights out clubbing.  Every time I have a special event, it’s always curls r us over at Bella Land.  I love this picture because my hair looks so shiny!  As it tends to when it’s straight.  I always prep it with a heat protection serum or spray, that really helps with the shine factor!

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This was taken in 2010, and probably when my hair was the longest it’s ever been.  It also shows my pretty signature style: curls (created with tongs) and my side parting kirby gripped to the side/up.  I discovered my side parting when I was about 11, and it only ever heads central when I forget to brush it after it’s washed (usually being when I have a lot of work on).  The side parting is my saviour.  It makes my face look slimmer and I love all the styles you can do with it, without looking like a 5 year old: braids, plaits, even bunches!

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When I discovered dip dying!  I had this done in 2012 and I remember it only happened a day or two before Jessie J went public with her purple tips.  Annoyed?  Me?!  I love dip dying with random colours because it allows you to have the freedom of a different colour without going too drastic, and it usually washes out in about 6 weeks anyway.  My hair style here is literally just braided in plaits when wet the night before, then spruced with some hairspray.  If in doubt, that’s what I usually go for.

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And here’s me just a few weeks ago!  My hair dresser persuaded me to move away from the dip dye because he thought it was a bit too blocky (and to some extent, I agree with him) and allow him to just brush casual streaks of this deep red through my hair from about half way down.  And I have to say, I loved it!  Definitely my favourite so far :)

So there’s my sort of hair story!  The red has almost gone now and my hair is still about the same length because it grows at snails pace but I can’t wait to try some more colours!  I don’t have a hair appointment til around March time now, but I’m thinking some copper streaks?  What do we think guys?  

What’s your Hair Story?

Love Bella x

 

 

Bedroom Beauty Challenge January – Vivacious Vixen

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So Louise over at Sprinkle of Glitter (www.sprinkleofglitter.blogspot.co.uk – go check her out, she’s lovely) has come up with a fabulous idea of a monthly Bedroom Beauty Challenge.  This is perfect for me.  I’ve been wanting to get into Beauty Blogging for a while but wasn’t quite sure how, so this is the perfect opportunity for me to give it a go to see if a) I’m any good at it and b) if you guys like it!  So January’s challenge was ‘Vivacious Vixen’.  My immediate thoughts on reading that was the word ‘voluptuous’ so full of sex and steam, and Vixen, who I believe was one of Santa’s reindeer, so a bit cheeky and happy too.  I tried to combine these thoughts.  

Note: all my makeup I used here is my clubby, evening, night out makeup.  So it looks seriously dark in the natural light!  I don’t look like this normally!!

Here’s how I got on:

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So here are Bella’s make up bits I used to create the look.  I started with Maybelline Fit Concealer in Shade 10 which I used under my eyes and on my spots.  Next I used my L’Oreal Nude Maguique BB Cream in Light skin tone to get even coverage on my base.  I applied this with my fingers.  After, I applied MAC Pro Longwear SPF 10 Foundation in Shade N20, again applying with my fingers.  I used to apply my foundation with brushes and sponges but a couple of months ago I decided to try and use my fingers, and I haven’t looked back.  I find that personally the blend I can create is much neater, and because I have combination skin I can apply more and less to my red patchy skin areas and my oily areas.  I would definitely recommend giving finger foundation application (gosh, that sounds a bit naughty..!) a try if you haven’t.

I then moved onto power.  Firstly using No7 Starfish Bronzer which I applied with a Body Shop Blusher Blush into my contours heading up to my temples.  I applied a small dot of L’Oreal Blush in Sandalwood Pink to the apple of my cheek.  I then applied my main powder oven the top, still using the same brush, which is L’Oreal The Minerals True Match powder in N3 Creamy Beige.

Once my face was completed I moved onto my eyes, using Naked by Urban Decay eye shadow pallet.  If I would recommend any eye product I’ve ever used, it would be this.  It’s amazing!  I used 5 different colours to create my eye look, and you can’t see them very clearly in the picture I’ve used, so I might do an in depth review of the pallet at some point.  I applied L’Oreal Infallible Studio Eyeliner in Chocolate Addiction to my top lid and bottom lid creating a sharp flick.  Next I applied my mascara, L’Oreal Falsh Lash Telescopic in Hypnotic Brown to my top and bottom lashes.  I finished off my look with a few spritzes of MAC Fix+, a fixing spray that keeps all your makeup in place.

And here was the result:

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So there we have it!  My first ever go at Beauty Blogging using Sprinkle of Glitter’s Bedroom Beauty Challenge.  Things I’ve Learnt:

  • As this was all my going out, night clubby make-up, it looked really weird and FAR too dark for any day time activities.  So I will know to steer clear of that I future.
  • I really need to work on my lip stick application!
  • Next Bedroom Beauty Challenge – I will do my hair to match.
  • My eye brows need a good pluck.
  • And note to self: remove ear plaster!

I really enjoyed this challenge.  Will you be taking part?!  Love Bella x