Sunday, January 30, 2011

That Was The Weekend When

On Friday
Nothing much happened. I came home, watched Top Gear, and relaxed with my boyfriend.

On Saturday
*Temperatures dropped

*I met up with the French girl from last weekend plus two of her French friends. Some of the conversation escaped me but overall I had a good time with them.
*I put my Boots £5 voucher towards this No7 primer. The bottle's green, so is the product. Bit scared to try this!

*My boyfriend and I had tea at Waxy O'Connor's then went to the cinema to see Blue Valentine. I didn't like it at all. Ryan Gosling is an actor I really don't like and I found the film very boring. We saw The King's Speech during the week and although I wasn't at all keen on seeing it, it was a much more enjoyable and engrossing film. Nice to see Helena Bonham Carter playing a normal character instead of a crazy banshee.

On Sunday
I went to Sally's and made a couple of purchases :-) I'll reveal what I bought during the week!
*I also went shopping in town and bought three Accessorize nail polishes (3 for 2 until 15 February), a dressing gown and a satchel from Matalan.

Do you like it? I'm not sure if I'll be keeping it as I'm beginning to think brown wasn't the best colour to choose. It will look fine with my red coat and various jumpers but what about when I wear my numerous black jackets? I'm not a fan of mixing black and brown.
*I opened a twitter account! My username is butterflyport so please follow me if you tweet too!

How was your weekend? I'd love to know what you got up to!

Bye for now,

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Nail Growth Update

Currently watching: Eastenders

Hi girls,

It's time for an update on my nail growth programme :-) Just under two weeks ago I cut my nails rather drastically as they were in bad condition and I wanted to start on a healthy growth programme for them. You can see the pictures and read the post here

I've been using OPI Avolplex High Intensity Hand & Nail Cream and OPI Avoplex Cuticle Oil several times a day, every day for the last two weeks. Have the products helped my nails grow? Let's see what my nails look like today:

Certainly my nails are longer than they were two weeks ago but oh look, peels!

I am so disappointed by all these peels. The OPI products are good but I don't think they're going to help my peeling nails. What can I use??? Do I have to turn to the dreaded Sally Hansen (I find that brand's products do nothing for me at all)? Any recommendations or suggestions will be gratefully received!

Bye for now,

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Prime Example

Currently listening to: War at Home by Josh Groban

Greetings all,

Hope you're having a lovely day and are enjoying the fact we're more than half-way through the week :-)

Today I want to talk about primer.

I first became aware of face primer thanks to the blogosphere and decided it was a product that would be very useful for me as I do often suffer from areas of dry skin on my face which are still visible when I apply make up. I ended up purchasing E.L.F Mineral Infused Face Primer and was definitely glad I did.

Here's the product decription from the E.L.F site:
"Transform your face into a flawless and smooth canvas with the mineral infused face primer. Developed to combat excess oil, flaky dryness, enlarged pores and fine lines to result in a natural and youthful looking radiance. This clear mutlipurpose skin primer will prepare your skin so makeup goes on evenly for a lasting finish".

The directions state that you should "apply to clean skin prior to makeup application. Use a small amount and blend evenly over the face for a smooth and flawless base". Personally, I find their claims slightly over-rated but this is a definite go-to product for me as my make up slides on much more easily and looks better. I was asked by a friend for some feedback on this product and before that request, I hadn't given any great consideration to the benefits of this product, I just knew it was a welcome addition to my make up kit. However, after doing some experimenting, I can now say that without primer, my make up feels a lot stickier. It really doesn't glide on and it's obvious where I have dry skin. One thing the primer doesn't do though is make my make up last longer.

The E.L.F primer contains 14g and sells for £6. My one criticism of the product is that it's difficult to get your money's worth due to the packaging. A pump dispenser bottle is used and a lot of the product is left at the bottom of the product, out of the dispenser's reach. If you have the right tools, you can cut the bottle in half to access the remaining product and put it in a different container but I simply untwist the lid every morning and use the product which is left on the stick. It's not ideal but there's no way I'm throwing my bottle out when I know there's still a lot of product left inside.

I'm almost finished my second bottle now and I'm thinking of trying a different brand, possibly No7 so I can use my voucher although I know many other companies also have primers in their make up ranges. The only thing that worries me is that the E.L.F primer is a clear gel whereas some other primers are coloured.

Do you use primer? Are there any brands you would recommend?

Bye for now,

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

No7 Crystal Lilac Nails

Currently watching: Top Gear

Hello dear readers,

Today I have a Boots No7 nail polish to show you. I was given this shade, Crystal Lilac, at Christmas and didn't think much of it initially as I tend to find No7 polishes a bit of a letdown. This also wasn't really a colour that appealed to me. However, I'm glad I tried it because it may actually be one of my favourite nail polishes now.

I used this a few weeks ago, before I cut my nails, but didn't manage to take good pictures hence I didn't feature it as a NOTD post. The only reason I'm showing you these pictures now is because the Boots vouchers offering £5 off No7 products are doing the rounds until Sunday 31st January and I thought anyone wondering what to use their voucher on might like to consider this polish which will cost £2 using your voucher.

I hesitate to use the word "duochrome" because I'm not entirely sure when to apply it to a nail polish, but I do consider this shade a duochrome. In some lights it's very pink whereas under other lighting it's much more of a bronze colour (which I never managed to capture on camera). I think duochrome polishes are quite popular at the moments, judging by the coverage on other blogs about those in MAC's Venomous Villains collection and in the Accessorize range of make up.

While I was pleasantly surprised by the easy application and long staying power of this polish, I can't vouch that all No7 polishes are the same, as I've certainly found a few of them rather troublesome and disappointing in the past.

Do you have a No7 voucher to use? Are you a fan of No7 polishes?

Bye for now,

Monday, January 24, 2011

Montagne Jeunesse mango lip balm

Currently listening to: Science and Faith by The Script

Hello girls,

Today I have a Montagne Jeunesse product to show you, their shea butter and mango sore lips lip balm.

In November and December lots of bloggers seemed to be posting about the Montagne Jeunesse range. It wasn't a brand I had tried but I realised I'd seen the packaging before in the likes of Superdrug and Bodycare. After reading some blogs and looking at the company's website, I decided I'd quite like to try their mango lip balm, partly because the cold weather at that time was making my lips sore, partly because I love mango and partly because I hate applying lip balm with my finger, I much prefer using a stick and applying it directly to my lips. Since I knew where to find Montagne Jeunesse products, I didn't think getting the lip balm would be a problem. Oh how wrong I was. Eventually I ended up buying a Body Care strawberry lip balm which did the trick.

However, at the beginning of January, I actually saw the Montagne Jeunesse lip balm in Tesco, which wasn't a place I thought sold this brand, so decided to give it a try.

I suppose the brand's claim to fame is that its products ingredients are as natural as possible. Here's what the website says about this product, "With 100% natural Beeswax our "Sore Lips" moisturising lip balm is completely free from nasty petroleum jelly. With 99% natural ingredients including Liquorice, Olive Oil, Mango, Aloe Vera and Shea Butter- and the tiny percent that aren't natural yet...we're working on them".

To be honest, the *natural* angle of this product wasn't what attracted me, I simply found the idea of mango lip balm appealing.

So, what did I think of the lip balm after finally tracking it down? Well, to start with, the packaging was troublesome. The whole tube was wrapped in plastic and the top of it had perforated holes in it to help you tear of the plastic covering the lid. It wasn't easy to remove this neatly and as the photo below shows, I made a mess of mine, tearing off too much of the plastic to reveal the yellow tube underneath. I really don't like the appearance of this.

The product itself is not one which I can rave about. The scent is nice, you can definitely smell the mango, but the flavour isn't very strong. It is a moisturising lip balm which protects my lips from the cold but it isn't as moisturising as other balms and my lips feel waxy after using it, which isn't a nice sensation. I paid £2.99 for this and while I was happy to give it a try and will continue to use it until the weather improves, it's not a product I would repurchase or recommend.

Have you tried any Montagne Jeunesse products? If so, what do you think of them? I must say I'd quite like to try some of their face masks.

Bye for now,

PS What did you think of my first "in depth" review?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

That Was The Weekend When

On Friday
*I left work to find the most beautiful evening sky I have ever seen. Pink, orange, red, purple, blue, white. Swirls of colour and pretty patterns in all directions. Truly amazing. Possibly the first time I wished my phone had a camera.

On Saturday
*I met up with a French girl who moved to Manchester around the same time as me (August 2010) and is also looking for ways to meet people. We chatted for a few hours over a couple of chai lattes (yum) and both had a great time. Feels so good to meet other people socially after all these months of it just being my boyfriend and I or just me on my own now that most of his spare time is spent working on his dissertation.

*We went to Tesco for food shopping and I picked up a couple of bunches of tulips that had been reduced from £4 down to 30p! Some of the flowers aren't in a very good state but the rest are fine. I like having flowers to brighten the place up and look at while I sit at my computer. They may not last beyond a week but I've definitely had my money's worth from them already :-)

On Sunday
I was supposed to meet up with another French girl but she cancelled so I ended up having a walk round a couple of local shops, making a couple of purchases which I'll tell you about during the week, reading magazines and reading your blogs. A nice relaxing Sunday :-)

What did you get up to this weekend? I hope you enjoyed yourselves whatever you did.

Bye for now,

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Naked Truth

Currently listening to: War at Home by Josh Groban

Hi girls,

How are you and how was your Monday? Mine wasn't too bad, better than expected.

I mentioned yesterday that I cut my nails. Oh yes. I often comment here that my nails are in terrible condition and I always have to have them painted because they look so dreadful bare. Well, in case you ever wondered just how bad my bare nails looked, this was them yesterday:

I have never in my life had strong, white tips. There is always a yellow tinge to them and they're weak and transparent. You can see I also have a problem with colour on my nail beds- although at the base of the nail the pink colour is healthy, it turns dark pink and orange towards the tip. Not nice.

So once again I decided to go for the chop and embark on a healthy nail growth programme and this time I'm hoping some new products might help improve the condition of my nails and make a real, long-lasting, noticeable difference.

What do you think, girls? Do you have problems with your nails? Are there any products you can recommend to me to help with my growth programme?

Bye for now,

Sunday, January 16, 2011

That Was The Weekend When

*I spent some serious time in front of my computer screen watching EastEnders and Jamie's American Food Revolution and reading your blogs but somehow didn't find the time to write any posts for my own blog.

*I read a lot of Alan Sugar's book, What You See Is What You Get, and really enjoyed what I read, but am only up to March 1986.

*I went out to my first bar in Manchester. £8.50 for a cocktail! Ouch!

*I had the opportunity to do something fun and creative with my make-up, especially my eye make-up, when I went to this bar and I didn't. Wasted opportunity.

*I broke two of my beloved glass flower ornaments I bought on holiday in Prague. They cannot be replaced. I'm quite devasted.

*I invested in some O.P.I Avoplex products, cut my nails and started on a new growth programme for my nails (more about this later). I know it's the right thing to do but oh my nails look hideous when they're so short and bare. Please grow back quickly.

*I didn't relish the thought of going to work on Monday.

How was your weekend?

Bye for now,

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing

Currently reading: What You See Is What You Get by Alan Sugar

Hi folks,

How are we all today? Not long until the weekend now, yay.

Yesterday I decided to sort my jewellery collection as I was given a few pieces at Christmas and needed to find places for them as well as unpack the items I took away with me for the holidays.

At the moment I have four boxes on the go plus a stand for necklaces and an organiser for my earrings. I don't like having so many boxes but I haven't been able to find one big enough to house everything, especially one that fits all my criteria. I'm not bothered about whether or not there's a mirror inside but what I would like is a row of hooks inside the lid that I can hang my chains from.

While I was organising and looking at all this jewellery I realised how few pieces I actually wear on a daily basis. I always wear earrings and now I always wear my new silver twist ring but I hardly ever wear necklaces which is strange since most of my work outfits consist of an open-neck shirt. As for bracelets and bangles, during the week I would only wear them on my right arm (my left wrist is reserved for my watch and I don't like to mix) but I find it uncomfortable to type or write with bracelets on.

A lot of my jewellery is gifted to me so it's a real shame that I don't make full use out of it. I definitely plan to start wearing more and making sure I wear a variety of pieces rather than simply sticking to a few key items.

What are you like when it comes to jewellery? Are you as passionate about necklaces as you are nail polish? Do you feel naked if you leave the house without earrings? Let me know!

Bye for now,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Hi girls!

The lovely Leslie over at Girly's Beauty gave me this Stylish Blogger Award; thank you Leslie!

The rules:
With the acceptance of the award, you must follow these rules:

1. Thank and link back to the person that awarded you this award
2. Share 7 things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
4. Contact these bloggers and tell them about the award

So, 7 facts about myself:
*I've discovered today that I apparently live 5mins away from a Sally's store. Think I'll be going there soon!
*I work as a trainee chartered accountant.
*I used to work as an English teacher in France and Poland. Sometimes I miss teaching and I miss my students.
*Every morning I have a cup of green tea with my breakfast.
*I have been to 16 countries and visited 15 capital cities. I love traveling.
*I love playing cards and completing Sudoku puzzles.
*I would like to set up my own business.

It seems like a lot of bloggers on my blog list have recently been given this award so, since all of you deserve this Stylish Blogger Award, I give this award to everyone who reads this and has not already received the award. Your blogs are all great :-)

Bye for now,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

NOTD Dior Graphic Berry

Currently watching: Arctic with Bruce Parry

Good evening gals,

Today I'm going to show you the first of my two new designer polishes, Graphic Berry by Dior.

This is a difficult shade to capture on camera as it changes quite dramatically depending on the light. At times it is deep pink, at others blood red, and sometimes dark plum. In essence, it's what I wanted Nails Inc Saville Row to be.

Application was lovely. The design of the brush is unique to me although perhaps other brands have the same style. The mast of the handle, between the brush and the handle cap, is flat instead of tubular, and the brush is nail-shaped. I've never seen a brush like that before. Of course I tried to take pictures of it for you but my camera just didn't want to play.

Drying time was unremarkable, except for the fact that I was able to paint my nails at 8pm, go to bed at 11pm and not wake up the following morning with duvet lines and smudge marks. That made me happy.

Durability was where this polish fell short of expectations. It chipped quite badly before a day's wear and was seriously damaged by the end of the second day. That's with a topcoat. I read reviews of Dior polishes and discovered that lots of consumers have experienced the same problem which is a real shame as ultimately it is a very nice polish indeed.

What do you think of this shade? Have you tried any Dior polishes?

Bye for now,

Sunday, January 9, 2011

That Was The Weekend When

On Friday
*I hurried home from work to drop off my laptop then went into town with my boyfriend to have McDonald's for tea (we had vouchers) and watch 127 Hours at the cinema
*I almost passed out in the cinema during the arm-cutting scene. Lost my vision, couldn't hear properly, felt dizzy and sick for a few minutes. Luckily I was sitting down and made a quick recovery

On Saturday
I slept in then went to the post office to pick up Lord Sugar's book (a bargain at £5.99 from Amazon)
*Had lunch while watching an episode of The Big Bang Theory
*Walked to the library to return a couple of novels then walked around Stockport town centre
*Relaxed in the evening and watched Fireflies in the Garden with David. Have you seen it? It's a couple of years old and stars Ryan Reynolds, Willem Dafoe, Julia Roberts and Emily Watson. Neither of us had seen it before or heard anything about it so we weren't sure what to expect but it was disppointing. Lots of unanswered questions and storylines that were never followed up.

On Sunday
*Went into Manchester town centre for some clothes shopping. I bought a work shirt from H&M and a dress from New Look. One of my colleagues is going out for drinks to celebrate her birthday next Saturday and I (plus another 100 or so people) have been invited so I needed something to wear although I imagine it will be the kind of event where I can go, spend an hour or so, but never actually see the birthday girl.
*Tried something new for lunch: spinach and ricotta pasta (not new) accompanied with red onion and gorgonzola sauce (new). Lovely.
*Spent the afternoon blogging and watching Dawson's Creek.

How was your weekend?

Bye for now,

Saturday, January 8, 2011

L'Occitane en Provence and Lancome

Currently listening to: War at Home by Josh Groban

Hello dear readers,

Hope you're all enjoying the first weekend after the first week back :-)

Today I'd like to show you a couple of gifts my boyfriend's family gave me for Christmas, which came as a total surprise considering I have only met his family once, a year ago, and didn't see them at Christmas. It was very nice of them to think of me though and I do love the gifts :-)

Firstly, I was given this gift set of body creams from L'Occitane en Provence:

I love the packaging and the scents of all the creams so I'm looking forward to using them. To me, this is a luxury brand and one which I haven't tried before. Have you tried any products from L'Occitane en Provence?

Secondly, I was given Lancome Hypnose Senses perfume. It's funny, this Christmas I was given two perfumes, this one and Lush solid Tuca Tuca perfume, neither of which I had tried before so I think they were slightly risky purchases but I actually love them both so the gamble paid off :-)

And now I get to have fun using my beautiful butterfly stationery to write thank you cards to my boyfriend's family

So ladies, how was your first week back at work/uni and what are your plans for the weekend?

Bye for now,