Thursday, 27 September 2012

NOTD: Tape Manicure

I am working from home today, so I did this manicure slowly over the day. I painted the blue base coat (Tip Tip 'Beach Babe') on after breakfast, then let it dry properly for over an hour. When I had my mid-morning tea, I moved on to the next step. I tore off a piece of tape and pressed it to the back of my hand twice to remove the excess stickiness. I then carefully pressed the tape over my thumb nail, ensuring that the edge was properly stuck down, before painting on a coat of the mint green polish (Tip Top 'Cha Cha Cha').  As soon as I was satisfied with the opacity of the polish, I carefully pulled the tape up. I repeated this process with each subsequent nail. After the polish had again had sufficient time to dry and harden, I used tape to similarly section off the final area, which I painted grey (Essence Colour & Go 'Movie Star'). Once all the nails had dried properly, I finished off the manicure with two coats of top coat (Revlon ColourStay Gold Standard Top Coat).

This manicure wasn't absolutely perfect, but for a first attempt, I'm happy. It appears the secret is (a) use polishes with good opacity and layer from your lightest colour to your darkest, (b) remove excess stickiness from the tape to avoid lifting polish, (c) ensure each layer is completely dry before doing the next and (d) remove the tape while the new layer is still wet.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Music Mondays

The big TV nerd inside of me is so excited for the return of my favourite shows this month! How I Met Your Mother starts Season 8 tonight, so I thought I'd share this song which I LOVE! HIMYM fans will recognize this from about 3:06 onward, but the rest of the song is totally awesome.

And just for good measure...

Saturday, 22 September 2012

Weird is just a side effect...

This is now my default response when someone accuses me of being weird.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Words of Wisdom

Tutorial: Upside Down French Braid Topknot

 This is quickly becoming one of my favourite go-to hairstyles. I love top knots for summer as they are perfect for getting your hair up and out of your neck for hot weather, while still remaining stylish. This french-braided version is cute, unusual and always gets a compliment (usually combined with "how on earth do you do that?"). I love that it's actually rather simple to master, but looks like you've put a fair bit of effort in. After getting numerous requests on how I do this style, both IRL and online, I thought I'd put together a step-by-step tutorial.

Start off by flipping your hair over your head and brushing out any tangles.

 Separate a small section in the nape of your neck: I usually take a 1cm section from all along the hairline.

Divide this section into three equal parts.

Start a normal French braid: bringing an outer piece inward to cross over the middle piece.

Continue the French braid as normal, each time adding a bit more hair to the outer piece that you cross inward. This may feel a bit odd, as you're going against the way the hair wants to fall, but with a bit of practice you'll get the hang of it.

Continue braiding until you get to the crown of your head (or wherever you want your bun to be).

Gather your hair into a ponytail and tie it with a hair band.

Flip your head up back the right way. Use a mirror to check your braid - if it's even and you're happy, continue on. (Yes, my mirror has googly eyes in the corner. I put googly eyes on things when I get bored...)

Now for the top-knot. Twist your ponytail until it starts to curl.

Twist your hair until it forms a loose bun.

Grab your bobby pins.

Fix your bun in place. I normally use four pins in a north-south-east-west pattern to get the bun secure with as few pins as possible.

If there are still any pieces that are loose, pin them in place.

Spritz with hairspray (I love using L'Oréal Elnett).

And you're done!

 From behind.

Now it's your turn :) If you post pictures on your blog, or anywhere else, share a link in the comments section so that I can have a look-see ;) If you have any questions or get stuck, feel free to ask me anything.

PS: If you liked this tutorial, why not check out my new one for milkmaid braids?

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

"Be Thankful" Tuesday

  • Some truly crazy and amazing friends :)
  • The past weekend of absolutely glorious weather!
  • Officially having amazing PhD supervisors for next year!
  • Having several exciting possibilities for my PhD project
  • Having planned out exactly which reactions and experiments I still need to do for my MSc. (Ok, it's a long and super scary list considering how little time I have left, but at least now I can get organised.)
  • Getting started on writing my thesis (*minor panic attack*)
  • Being involved in AlchemUS (our kick-ass chemistry society!)
  • Being able to use AlchemUS as a legitimate excuse to drink wine at varsity
  • The return of endless summer fruits - yum :)
  • Lunchtime laughter with my two awesome chemistry friends
  • Exciting plans lined up for the next few weekends
  • Reorganizing my wardrobe to accommodate my spring clothes
  • A sudden streak of good luck
  • Spring flowers everywhere :)
  • Crazy adventures with the chemistry crew

What are you thankful for this week?

Mutual Weirdness Called Love

Sunday, 16 September 2012

Photo A Day: September Challenge, 1/2

[I can't believe how quickly the first half of September has flown by!]

Day 1: Me, now

Day 2: Father (My Daddy & I <3)

Day 3: Far Away (Mountains in the distance on the morning’s commute) 

Day 4: In my mailbox (no junk mail!)

Day 5: Bright (Just a touch of neon pink)

Day 6: Every day (involves the fabulous hot chocolate from my regular spot)

Day 7: Natural (How gorgeous are these spring flowers?)

Day 8: At night 

Day 9: Something you do most weekends (Cooking and baking!)

Day 10: Black and White

Day 11: Hero (Father of my field of chemistry) 

Day 12: Together (team effort decorating my friend's cast after she broke her foot)

Day 13: Table (Place setting at dinner) 

Day 14: Favourite (just a pop of my favourite colour in my hair) (plus my favourite top - sequinned and open-backed)

Day 15: First thing I saw (fairy lights this morning during phase 1 of my wakeup routine)

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Good Things Skincare

About Good Things

Good Things is range of simple, affordable, effective skincare products with superfruit beauty boosters, developed by award-winning beauty writer Alice Hart-Davis, specifically aimed at young skin. All the products are free of SLS (sodium laureth sulphate), parabens, mineral oils and animal ingredients (vegetarian and vegan friendly).

Fresh Start Creamy Cleanser

I've been using this cleanser every morning in the shower. It does a wonderful job of getting my skin lovely and clean, without drying in out (which my previous cleanser was doing). The grape and pomegranate extracts contain lots of antioxidants, which are great for your skin, and smell divine. Like all Good Things products, it doesn't contain SLS, which is what gives the beautiful foam in most products (but is very drying), so this cleanser doesn't foam up at all. Instead, you massage it into your skin for a minute (lots of circulation-boosting massage!) before removing it with a warm, damp facecloth.

Total Wipe Out Cleansing Wipes

I will admit that I fairly regularly commit one of the biggest skincare sins ever: going to sleep without taking my makeup off/washing my face. In a nutshell, I'm incredibly lazy. Which is why I absolutely love cleansing wipes. However, the main problems I had were (a) many of the brands I tried dried and tightened my skin and (b) were very expensive per wipe. This offering by Good Things counters both of those problems. They cleanse gently, but still remove all of my makeup (including my eye makeup) and don't dry out my skin (if I'm very lazy, I don't even moisturize afterwards). A major bonus is that these wipes are also biodegradable: which most aren't. And, like all Good Things products, they smell divine!

Miracle Mattifier Moisturizer

This is a fantastic moisturizer if you have oily or combination skin. It is a light cream that absorbs really quickly into your skin. (I normally pat my skin with a tissue after I apply moisturizer to remove any excess product, and with this, that tissue was bone dry.) This product provided my combination skin with enough moisture to satisfy the dry patches, without leaving behind a greasy or oily finish. Instead, your skin has a lovely matte finish that minimizes the appearance of pores. I haven't tested this yet in really hot weather, but with our springtime sunshine (basically warmer than a UK summer), I haven't needed to apply mattifying powder over my foundation when using this moisturizer. The fruit extracts also give this moisturizer a wonderful, natural fragrance. 

My overall opinion

I'm very impressed with Good Things skincare products. They have worked wonderfully on my skin, and are very easy on my student budget! As a result of their fabulous superfruit ingredients, they all smell fantastic. I will definitely be trying more of their products and repurchasing the ones that I've reviewed.

Good Things products are available at Clicks stores.

Good Things: Facebook, Twitter, Website