ASOS #BeautyChat and AW14 Beauty and Fashion

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ASOS know how to throw a party. The HQ building itself (a glorious combination of art deco and cats) is the perfect indicator of the decadence awaiting you inside. I headed there with Brogan. Walking into the beautiful building we were greeted with cocktails and nail art (by Reecey Roos) – thanks to the lovely ladies at ASOS. As we headed further in we bumped into some of the people behind Google Glass. Combining tech and beauty is a sure fire way to get my attention, so of course I had to pop a pair on and have a go. I think the glasses have a little way to go before the consumer will fall for them, but I like the idea. After staring at one tiny screen it was on to another as I snapped away at the beauty products and fashion that will be on offer this Autumn and Winter at ASOS. I was excited to see some opulent accessories sitting alongside some divine beauty products. I can’t wait for everything to hit the site. Finally it was time for the beauty chat! We gathered around as Patricia Bright took to the adorned stage and answered our questions and gave us some beauty tips. The first question of the night? From yours truly of course! Watch the video below to see what I had to ask Patricia.

Review: Illamasqua Shattered Star Marquise Nail Polish

Orange nail polish isn’t really something I’ve gone out of my way to wear. So when Illamasqua sent me their new Shattered Star Marquise Nail Polish, I internally thanked them for helping me to try something new and fun. There are actually two other shades in the Glamore collection; a champagne, and a pink – both of which are glitter polishes, like Marquise. Illamasqua claim that Marquise is highly pigmented, chip resistant and has a multi-dimensional glitter finish. Well I have a little something to say about that…
Subtle triangle nail art and swatch, using Illamasqua’s Marquise
+ Highly pigmented
+ Chip resistant
+ Applies easily
+ Love the packaging
+ Long lasting
+ Opaque in one coat

– Could dry quicker

As you guessed, I don’t really have anything bad to say about this polish. Yes it does everything it claims to, and it does it with flare. Application can be something which a lot of brands go wrong on. Thanks to a good quality polish and brush Illamasqua has it down to a t. As I mentioned at the beginning of the post, I’ve never been a fan of orange polishes. Illamasqua may just have changed that though as Marquise is a gorgeous, highly pigmented glitter polish that looks amazing on. I really like the other shades in this collection (Trilliant & Fire Rose), but for me, Marquise is just so striking that it stands out from the rest. I can’t explain exactly how the glitter can have a multi-dimensional finish, because I don’t even fully understand that myself, but it does! It’s something unlike any other glitter polish I’ve used before. No it doesn’t dry in an instant, but then it doesn’t take a lifetime either; it just takes about as long as any other standard polish. I love Illamasqua for their high quality, highly-pigmented make-up products and this polish lives up to all of those. For £15 it may seem like a lot, but a little goes a long way (it’s opaque in one coat), and it really is worth paying for this kind of quality.
Marquise is currently out of stock on Illamasqua‘s website, however it is also available in-store.

Inspiration: Japanese Beauty Trends

After my Japanese fashion trend post, it only made sense to compliment it with a beauty post too. Most Japanese fashion magazines have a feature on complimentary beauty looks and tutorials. I’ve always loved the in-depth tutorials and product recommendations Japanese magazines offer. So I flicked through some of the latest issues of Vivi, Jelly and CUTiE looking for inspiration.
It didn’t take long before I found some gorgeous looks that I’d love to imitate. There’s a lot of emphasis on ‘natural’ make-up lately and that suits me just fine. As of late, I’ve come to love a natural look with nude shades and a prominent lip. I also liked the variety of hair styles, from straight, to wavy, to bouffant, it’s all there. I’ll certainly be trying out some of the shorter wavy hairstyles, and the up-dos. Throw in a cheeky nail art tutorial and I’m sold; no need to to show me twice!
You can buy Japanese fashion magazines on eBay or from the Japan Centre.
Unfortunately they’re usually overpriced online, but there are resources to view them online.

Review: The Lacquer Lab Nail Polish

The Lacquer Lab Pool Party, Clarissa Explains It All and Joy Ride polishes*
The Lacquer Lab is a new nail polish brand about to make big waves in the beauty industry. I immediately fell in love with their colour collection, and their simple yet stylish branding. It also caught my eye that their polishes are high quality whilst being free from toxins. I was sent a trio of their polishes to try out, and here’s my review!
Swatch of Joy Ride, Clarissa Explains It All and Pool Party in natural light.
Swatch of Joy Ride and Pool Party together, under artificial light.
+ Opaque in one coat
+ Easy and good application
+ Great collection of colours
+ Stayed on for 5 days without chipping
+ Fair price point
– Started to crack after 5 days of wear
For a new nail polish company I am impressed. The Lacquer Lab have managed to create a high quality, pigmented polish, with amazing coverage. These tick all the boxes: opaque in one coat, easy to apply, good brush and stays on for days. My only con is that whilst it didn’t chip, it did start to crack after wearing it for 5 days. For me that’s not a massive problem though as I change my nail polish once (sometimes twice) a week – 5 days is also quite impressive compared to some brands. At £7, these are more expensive than ‘drugstore’ brands, but I think are fairly priced for the quality of the item. You won’t find this kind of high quality polish from cheaper brands, in fact it’s difficult to find from even more expensive brands. The Lacquer Lab has won me over with their polishes.
You can purchase these shades and more at The Lacquer Lab.

Review: Hair Styling & Nail Art at Cheeky Parlour, Shoreditch

 Manicure & Nail Art, and Up-do created by the lovely people at The Cheeky Parlour
For my birthday celebrations I knew I wanted something a little special. I didn’t want to go over the top but I wanted to be pampered, and look good too. For me, that meant someone styling my hair for me, as I find it such a task myself. So Anna & I returned to our new favourite haunt – The Cheeky Parlour.

Cheeky Fix Me Up

Last time we went we both had a manicure and nail art – rememberThe parlour has been renovated since then and looks even better. This time we went for the ‘CHEEKY fix me up’ hair & nail combo. This entitled us to a file & paint manicure, a blow dry/up-do and a free drink. Anna went for a blow dry, with big luscious curls, which looked amazing on her. I went for an up-do partly due to the weather, and partly because I just wanted to…ok? My stylist asked me what kind of up-do I would like and I told her “Anything with plaits.” Since my hair is so short I didn’t expect anything amazing but it turned out wonderfully.  She did French Plaits down both sides and secured the rest in a big fluffy bun – impressive! Then it was time for our manicures – I had given my nails a fortnight rest from polish in preparation. Anna decided on a gorgeous mocha nail polish, and went matte. Yes you get to decide matte or shiny! I went for black, because black goes with everything duh. I also added some gold polka dot nail art. I went for shiny, of course, to accentuate the sparkly gold of the polka dots even more. All during this time we sipped on cocktails, and laughed about all kinds of nonsense.

Final thoughts?

For only £25 the CHEEKY fix me up combo is definitely worth the money! I can’t say I’d do it every Friday night, but I’ll definitely be going back again, for sure. The combo is perfect for a night out, and I love treating myself every now and again to a manicure. If you’re looking for something a bit more special, they now offer make-up and pedicures as well.
Visit The Cheeky Parlour for more info and a list of beauty treatments.

Review: Inside the Ciate Advent Calendar 2013

Why am I talking about advent calendars in January?
No I’m not trying to make a head start, and no I’m not a bit slow either.
I’m not someone who is bothered by Advent calendars, so I never get myself one.
Even so I still wanted the Ciate advent calendar last year but didn’t like the price tag.
Don’t get me wrong, you get a lot for your money, but £42 was a bit too steep for me.
So I decided to wait and see what would happen after Christmas and if it would be reduced.
Well luckily for me I managed to grab the last one in the Selfridges in-store sale on Boxing Day.
I’d been thinking about it for ages and as a nail polish addict I figured it would be worth it.
I even used it as an excuse to throw out all of my old nail polishes.
The Calendar contains:
19 x 5ml Mini Ciate Polishes
1 x 13.5ml Ciate Polish
2 x 10g Ciate Caviar Pearls
1 x Ciate Caviar Pearl Funnel
2 x 5g Ciate Sequin/Glitter Pots
– With a total value of £119 –

I removed them all from the calendar, which was still fun even after Advent by the way.
And looking at them all together made me realise that they are actually great value for money.
Even though the majority of the polishes are mini pots, you’re going to get plenty of uses from them.
I liked the inclusion of Ciate’s famous caviar pearls, even if they are slightly off-trend right now.
They’re still a fun item to play with and are still sold in stores for full price, so it’s not bad value.
The sequin and glitter pots excited me immensely, as did the amount of glitter polishes – I live for glitter!
The full size polish wasn’t exactly to my taste but I thought it was a good colour to include.
The majority of the polishes are inoffensive and would suit most tastes and styles.
There are a couple of shades I’ll be giving away but I’m pretty happy with the rest.
You can purchase the Ciate Advent Calendar 2013 at Ciate for £21.
In case it sells out, it’s also available on ASOS for £33.50.

5 Nail Art Instagrams You Should Be Following

Do you remember the ‘Instagram 5 Series‘ I started last year. Well it’s back and I thought we’d start with one of my favourite topics – nail art. I’ve picked out 5 of my favourite Instagram accounts where you can find amazing nail art inspiration.
Who? @nancy_mc
Why? Before we became friends and worked together I loved Nancy’s nail art. I followed her on Tumblr & Instagram, so it seemed only fitting that she should be part of this line up. She is an amazing nail artist who is always coming up with fun, cute and sassy designs – they’re honestly some of the best I’ve seen. I think she has a real signature design to her work too. You know when you spot some Nancy Mc nails!
Who? @nailyuu
Why? Luna-che is a Japanese nail salon that really stands out to me. In a country where nail art is so good, it takes a lot for a particular salon, or in this case salon’s Instagram to stand out! I think the more personal aspect to this account is why I like it. Not only do you see the designs created for customers, but you see what Luna Che’s nail artist Yuu (et al) is up to – and it’s always something fabulous. It’s nice to have that personality.
Who? @glossin
Why? I’ve been lucky enough to have my nails done by Jessica and she is a great nail artist. Her designs are absolutely gorgeous and always on-trend. She has a lot of experience and has now started her own company – it’s great to see her share her designs and creations through her Instagram. I always end up pressing ‘like’ when I see one of her photos pop up on my feed.
Why? DIY Nails is a nail art Instagram with a difference. The brand, started by the lovely Tammy, is all about making nail art easier and more accessible for everyone. It features Tammy’s designs and the DIY Nails products, namely their nail transfers (which are now stocked in Urban Outfitters). The account is full of fun designs, customer photos and the gorgeous Betty (Tammy’s French Bulldog).
Why? Of course it wouldn’t be fitting not to include The Illustrated Nail in my line up. Fans of nail art and nail artists alike will have seen or heard of The Illustrated Nail somewhere down the line, and if you haven’t, then what have you been doing all this time? I love that she includes mini-tutorials from time to time, so you can diy it. From creating original designs for celebrities, to designs for Dior, this is one nail artists who has earnt her stripes.
I often post photos of my nails, and you can follow me @bloomzy

Source: Please see individual Instagram accounts listed above.