Monday, September 23, 2013

Mini music review: White Lies "Big TV"

This is the first album for ages that I have been looking forward to.  I absolutely loved "To Lose My Life...", it is an album that I listen to at least once a week and all the way through. The music is great and each song is like a mini story.

The second album, Ritual, was a grower and I'm not totally sold on it still. Perhaps the fact that it coincided with my redundancy after 11 years has somewhat coloured it for me. There are a handful of good tracks but I tend to listen to them by themselves.

Big TV is more like To Lose My Life than Ritual. Hooray! I think I've already listened to it more times than its predecessor.

You can listen to a sample of Big TV on Spotify.  If you like Maximo Park or Tears for Fears, you might like White Lies too.

The album described in one word: cinematic
Good track/bad track rating: 10/12 (and one of those is 0.49s!)

Saturday, September 21, 2013

NOTD: Hits Speciallita Glitter World "Cairo"

Todays Nail of the Day is a nude glitter by Hits Speciallita called Cairo. Cairo is part of their Glitters World Collection, which came out some last year. I only have two, Cairo and Londres. Hits Specialliata are a Brazilian brand, but you can get them in the UK, I bought mine from Sally Magpies.


Cairo is a nude base with lots of different sized glitters. I could see blue, pink, yellow, and holo large glitters and lots of tiny gold sparkles. The glitter was easy to get out, didn't curl and didn't "bleed" when I put a topcoat on. The next two pictures are taken indoors with a normal lightbulb.

As it is quite sheer I used a coat of Healthy Glow by Leighton Denny as a base (aka undie) and two coats of Cairo. To get a smooth finish I used one coat of Gelous (you can get this in Sally's Hair & Beauty on the high street) and one coat of Seche Vite to speed up drying time. Before I discovered Gelous I had given up on glitters, as I cannot stand the rough texture you get with most of them. Now with Gelous I can have lovely smooth nails!

These pictures are taken outside in natural light (it was raining!).

Bottom Line: 4/5

I loved this, it was subtle but interesting and the wear was good. I had it on for three days before I got a chip, and as the overall colour is nude I could have got away with wearing it a bit longer if I could have ignored the chip! It reminded me of Luch Lacquer's Color Me Gray, which is another favourite.

Removal was another matter, it was a nightmare even using the foil method for glitter removal. I could feel my nails complaining at me. So although I loved it, it has reminded me that I really don't like glitters all that much as I hate the removal. But don't let that put you off!

Monday, September 16, 2013

NOTD: Color Club Eternal Beauty

Today's post is about Color Club Eternal Beauty, which is a purple linear holo. 

Holographic effect Nail Polish

I love holographic nail polish. Out of all the special effects you can get, this is the best! There are two types of holo available; scattered, where there is holo glitter scattered randomly over the nail (for example Nails Inc Electric Lane, or Butter London All Hail the Queen). Then there are linear holos, which create a rainbow (in a line, i.e. linear) on your nails (for example Color Club Halo Hues, M&S Rainbow, Gosh Holographic).

Color Club Halo Hues

Color Club's Halo Hues are, in my opinion, the best you can get. They have a great colour range, the holo is strong in all of the colours, they go on easily, last well and aren't hideously expensive.  I picked this one up on eBay for £8, but they are also sold at Sally Magpie's and their official stockist R&W Beauty. 

There are two sets of six, so 12 colours in total to get. And yes, you do need all of them if you love holos!


These swatches are two coats, with Nails Inc Kensington Caviar basecoat, no topcoat.  There's a few picture as I wanted to show how different lights affect the holo. And I loved how gorgeous my nails look.

First up, natural light.

You can just about see the linear holo, it was much stronger in person. In direct sunlight it is as good as it is with flash, On a cloudy day with no pinpoint light source, it looks like a metallic lilac. Often holographic nail polish is great when you have the right lighting, but can appear drab and patchy in normal lighting. The Color Club holos look just as good on a dull day.
These next two are taken with flash:
See what I mean about the holo? I can't believe I hesitated over this one, the swatches I had seen suggested that the purple was a lot darker but it really is a nice lilac.

The bottom line: 5/5

I got three days wear out of this, which given it had no topcoat was great. I only changed it as the sun disappeared and I had untried stacking up! Application was easy, I nearly did three coats for no reason other than I was enjoying painting my nails. As these aren't glitter, removal is as easy as normal crèmes, so no worried there.
The only negative is that they can be difficult to get hold of, and need to be an internet purchase as I don't know anywhere on the high street that stocks these.
Obligatory question: How many of these do you have? Heard any rumours of any new releases? Leave a comment!

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Lego set 70502 - Cole's Earth Driller (Ninjago)

So, I totally buy Lego for my children so that I can build the sets. I will be disappointed when they can build them themselves! I love Ninjago, the elemental forces and mythology is something I can appreciate, so I hardly ever say no to a new purchase.

Robert had some birthday money burning a hole in his pocket, so we went to Toys R Us where they have the best choice. Here is today's purchase (perhaps I should have an LOTD?) from the Ninjago range, set number 70502, currently £17.99 in the Entertainer and Toys R Us.  Cole is the Earth Ninja, and this set contains his Earth Driller with a revolving front drill, Cole ZX and an evil henchman. 

Difficulty: The box says from age 7, but there is only one instruction book and the plastic bags are not numbered (hooray!). The gears were tricky to get in place. In fact I had to take it apart because I'd put a cog the wrong side of a brick so the driller part didn't spin when it was pushed along. I also find stickers very fiddly on these as they always go on wonky and then stick too hard to pick up again.  But that's probably my own cack-handedness.

Time taken to build: 40 minutes

Longevity: It's been dropped a few times and only one of the back blades has fallen off, so it may last better than some of the other sets (dragons! you only have to look at them and a wing falls off).

Saturday, September 14, 2013

NOTD: Models Own Sardonyx

When I first started reading blogs, it took me a while to work out what all these "NOTD" posts were. For those no familiar with the acronym it stands for "Nails Of The Day", and usually shows off that day's mani(cure).

On to today's NOTD. This is Model's Own Sardonyx, from their Velvet Goth collection. They have velvet lids!  I got them the day they were released direct from Model's Own (link here you get all five plus a base/topcoat for £20 delivered).  They're also available in Boots (on offer). I've heard they now stock in Superdrug, but I've not seen them (yet).

The Velvet Goth collection is five matte finish polishes, in dark jewel colours. Here is a swatch shot on a nail wheel.

The colours are 6. Obsidian (which has larger glitter pieces), 7. Valerian, 8. Absinthe, 9. Amethyst, 10. Sardonyx.  I had to look up Sardonyx, I'd heard of the other names in this collection, but not this one. Turns out it is the orange/red stone often used for cameos, and was carried by Greek and Roman soldiers into battle (with an engraving of Hercules or Mars) as it was believed to bring courage and victory. I think this doesn't quite fit with the colour of the polish, cameos are more of a burnt orange and the polish is a dark red so I would have though Ruby would have fitted better. But I guess it makes a change from a street name or "hilarious" pun.

This was a tricky polish. For a start the brush is horribly wide. The not helped by the one I had having a couple of stray bristles which were bent, these pulled out so at least I didn't have to get the scissors out. The texture of the polish is quite thick, so it was difficult to get the polish neatly on my nails and there was a lot of clean up required.  It also took a while to dry, given that you end up with thick coats due to the consistency this was to be expected. I tried some Miracle Drops (Leighton Denny) to speed it up but I could still dent it with my fingernail 30 minutes later and I had to redo two nails where I smudged them trying to open a piggy bank.

I've seen a lot of swatches which are freshly painted, so here is a photo after a morning shopping!  There is some tip wear, and a chip (on my other hand).  The following show two coats, with three on my little finger. Base coat used Nails Inc Kensington Caviar. No top coat as these are supposed to be matte.

I do like the effect and it is worth some hassle to apply, as this is unique in my collection. I love these rich jewel colours. The matte is sparkly and appears softly textured, but without the grittiness of the Concrete/Pixie Dust/Liquid Sand polishes. I'm not going to scratch infants by mistake with this one! After some initial tip wear, the polish has stood up well to a day's normal stuff, building a Lego Ninja driller, and a hot bath. The tiny bits of silver glitter are obvious on the nail to the wearer, but I doubt you'd see it on someone else. I have a feeling removal may require soaking, as this is a glitter polish.

Obligatory question to provoke comments: Have you bought these yet? More importantly, have you taken it off?

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Mini Music Review: Arctic Monkeys - AM

Spotify notified me this morning that the new Arctic Monkeys album was available to listen to (here's a link to it on Spotify Arctic Monkeys – AM). I've been a sort of fan of them since the beginning, I say "sort of" because I've found them to be a bit samey of late and I didn't even bother pre-ordering this one.

My feelings on it after two listens? If you like the single "Why do you only call me when you're high?", you'll be sad to hear that is the most catchy of the tracks and there is no other track that stands out. The lyrics are as well written as ever but I feel it is at the expense of actual tunes.

I don't think that this new album is moving their sound forward at all. If you liked Humbug or Suck It and See then this will suit. I can't see this getting any new fans, and after listening to it twice, I can't say that I feel the need to listen to it again.

The album described in one word: Worthy
Good track/bad track count: 2/12

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

The first post! Ciate's Mini Mani Month 2013

New Blog

So here is my new blog. I have been inspired by the many that I read to take the plunge into blogging (plus it looks good on your CV). I am sure I will look back on this post and think "that's messy" (assuming I have continued) or "wow I did that" (if I didn't).

Ciate's Mini Mani Month - first look

Anyway, on to the subject of the first post. Ciate's 2013 Mini Mani Month advent calendar.  This arrived from by Parcelforce from Selfridges yesterday. I was totally sucked in by the hype and the fact it was "limited edition" and bought it as soon as I got the email from Ciate saying it was available. I've heard (on Facebook) that there were only 50 of these made available at launch, but if it is like last year you will be able to pick one up closer to Christmas from Selfridges, or from the Ciate website or even QVC (and it will be cheaper after Christmas if you can wait that long!).

The contents

What everyone wants to know. Again there are 24 windows with each one containing a bottle. These colours are different to last year, and contain a few colours from 2013 collections. I'm a bit disappointed to see that they have included a base and top coat in your 24, but they have included a full size polish for number 24! Another slight difference is that along with caviar beads, they have also put a sequin and glitter pot. I never wanted to try caviar as I don't sit around on my backside all day admiring my nails (Disclaimer - I do sometimes!), but I might give the glitter a go.

Here is a shot of the back. Apologies for the quality of the photo, it's on my iPhone!

The back of the box showing the colours

We have:
Snow Globe
Ferris Wheel (Fairground Spring 2013)
Hopscotch (2012)
Sugar Plum
Fit for a queen
Kiss chase (2012)
Amazing Gracie
Pepperminty (2012)
Encore! (Dragonfly collection AW2013)
Party Shoes (2012)
Members only
Play Date (2012)
Ivory Queen (Complexion 2012)
Locket (Treasured Possessions 2013)
Pillow Fight (2012)
Speed Coat
Base Coat
Frost Yourself (caviar - exclusive)
Christmas Tree (caviar - exclusive)
Jingle Bells (glitter - exclusive)
Miss Mistletoe (sequins - exclusive)
Plus a secret full size Paint Pot!

My first impressions are this is a bit hit and miss, some of the colours I like I have already (thanks to the half price weekend they did a couple of months ago). Pepperminty and Kiss Chase are included in the Colourfoil kits, possibly others are in kits too but these are the only ones I have (thanks to TKMaxx!). Given the price tag (£42 plus p&p from Selfridges) it is less than £2 per mini so it does represent good value. I can't resist anything that promises to be "hard to find" so it was a no-brainer for me.

Did you manage to grab one in the launch? Are you going to try and get one nearer to Christmas?

So ends my first post. I may do another one (although this has taken me 4 hours!)