Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Making beautiful photo collages for your blog

I'm a follwer of The Beauty Department and oh my how lovely their photo collages always look. I wondered if there was a specific bit of software that would do this for you so did a bit of research. It soon became clear that this is just the work of some very creative people.

So I did a bit more research to try and find out what software bloggers use to help thiscreative flare. It turns out that most people us one version of Photoshop or another. I don't own Photoshop but do hower have an open source (free) image editing software called GIMP (download here). I've done many a photo edit in GIMP so thought I'd have a go at my first ever collage.

This post I came across on The Beautiful Mess helped a lot too.

Now bare in mind this was never someting I made to share so it's rather basic and I need to experiment a bit more to get my own style. But I'm quite impressed and it didn't even take very long.

What do you think?

1. Miss Selfridge £26 2. New Look £24.99 3. Next £28

The basic idea is to use good quality images, make sure they don't have a background (or remove it if they do), select a couple of decent fonts and use full stops (periods) to point towards the products.

Now I know I'm along way off from perfecting this, but it was just a trial and I wanted to share the findings of my research on this.

I'll work on it and hopefully one day my collages will be good enough to officially use in my blog.

Tuesday, 27 August 2013

Pink ombré nails

I was going to go for a nice bright pink summery nail varnish today but couldn't pick which to use.

So I decided to put together 5 pink shades and do this ombré look. If you have the polish, then why not eh?! 

It's not the best graduation of colour, but it looks quite fun. 

I would love to see your ombré efforts. Feel free to post a comment and link to your blog so I can have a mooch.

Monday, 26 August 2013

Latest in Beauty Editor's Picks Unboxing

I've never bitten the bullet and got on the Glossybox bandwagon, but a subscription will be on my birthday list again this year. Maybe one day I'll get it!

I have subscribed to a number of beauty related sites since starting this blog and one of them is Latest in Beauty. I occasionally get emails from them and consider buying things, but until now I hadn't. They work different to Glossybox in that rather than having a subscription, they put together boxes and you can buy them as and when.

I got an email advertising a couple of their  latest boxes and had a little browse at the contents. The "Editor's Pick" box instantly grabbed my interest and bingo the email also had a 15% off code that lasted until midnight. It was 11:57pm and I was laying in bed so I swiftly clicked the buy me button and put in the discount code, it worked so I ordered.

Five days later my box arrived.

This is what I got:

1 x Bellápierre Mineral Eye Shadow (2.35g)
1 x AS London Candle
1 x EVE LOM Rescue Mask (15ml)
1 x Mavala Rouge Rubis Nail Varnish (5ml)
1 x Mirenesse Lip Lift Moisture Shine (1.5g)
1 x Nicky Clarke Instant Calmer (30ml)
1 x Nspa Melting Cleansing Gel (30ml)
1 x The Vintage Cosmetics Company Eye Shadow Brush (Full Size)
1 x Benefit They're Real Mascara (3.0g)
1 x Yardley Refreshing Body Spray (75ml)

Pretty good for £11 after the discount (original price £12.95 - still good value in my opinion).

I carefully removed the products one by one, inspecting each as I went. It was so exciting to have all these new products in front of me to try. They all were 100% usuable to me which was great. I know these boxes can be a bit hit and miss, and sometimes you get things and decide they aren't for you.

On first spray, I wasn't overly impressed with the Yardley "refreshing" body spray. I got the scent English Rose and found it to be quite old fashioned. But later it did grow on me, though I wouldn't call it refreshing!

Something that immediately impressed me was the Mirenesse lip gloss. I have no idea what shade I got but it is a nude/brown with maybe a lilac undertone. I love the colour and it lasts really well. It's got smart packaging and is very wearable. 

I will write reviews on the other products as and when I use them, and link them from the items in the list above. But in the meantime I would recommend you pick up this beauty box before they sell out.

Friday, 23 August 2013

Nivea Express Hydration Primer Review

Nivea Express Hydration Primer 

I don't give myself much time to get ready in the mornings as I prefer to get as much sleep as possible. So I try to have a pretty quick makeup routine and until now didn't bother using a primer on a daily basis. When I saw this advertised on TV - a moisturiser and primer in one, I thought I'd give it a go as it wouldn't add to my getting ready time. I picked up the one for "dry and sensitive skin" as my skin is quite sensitive to break-outs. 

I have been using this every morning after cleansing for nearly two weeks now and so far no breakouts. Not only that, I actually am reallly loving it. Can't fault it all all. My foundation lasts longer and looks more flawless after using this primer. Adding to the fact that my skin is moisturised and feels fresh when I apply it.

I forsee this being a beauty staple for me from now on. Well done Nivea for bringing out such an innovative product!

Monday, 19 August 2013

VO5 Hair Products Review

On a recent shopping trip I purchased me some VO5! So, was it any good I hear you ask? Let's see...

VO5 Dry Backcomb Spray ★★★★ 

I recently saw the VO5 dry backcomb spray being demonstrated on a YouTube video and immediately put it on my shopping list.

It claims to “immediately add fullness for amazing volume” and I wasn’t disappointed. You spray it in then place your hands in your hair lifting it and giving it a bit of a ruffle. It gives your hair an instant lift, and saves it from any damage that could be caused if you backcombed. The spray also seems to last well throughout the day. It smells beautiful too.

I’ve given this 4 stars as I love it, but it isn’t perfect. My only gripe is that it doesn’t quite give “backcombed” level of volume. It does increase the volume, and for that it is great, but not to the amount you’d get if you were backcombing. Maybe I haven’t quite mastered the use of this product yet, and if this is the case I will change my rating if I change my mind as I do with all of my reviews. 

In summary, I will buy again because it’s always handy to add some extra volume!

VO5 Tousled Texture Spray ★★★★★

The funny this about the tousled style spray is that I never would have bought it if Boots didn’t have an offer on. The VO5 item I already had in my basket was £3.89, so as it was 2 for £5 I thought I may as well spend another £1.11 to get another one of the same value! I scanned the products and this leapt out at me.

I don’t know about you, but when I get up the day after curling my hair and give it a brush, my curls look fluffy and undefined. I normally add some hair spray and/or mousse to try and get some definition back, but it doesn’t do all that much. This product is perfect for this purpose. It instantly gives curls and waves definition and smells good to boot. It also gives my blonde hair a lovely golden healthy looking shine.

I will certainly be trying more VO5 products in the future.

Buy buy buy!

Flat fluffy hair, first thing in the morning

Volumised hair after using the dry backcomb spray

Now hair has added texture after using the tousled style spray


Friday, 16 August 2013


I want to introduce my beautiful adorable Alfie to the World!

Alfie is a blue moggy tabby kitten (his mum was black and his dad ginger). He has this lovely silver grey colouring with some white and slightly sandy bits. He was born on the 7th May and we got him on the 29th June, so he was nearly 8 weeks old. 

He is just so loveable, at first he waas so shy and scared, but after a few days he started getting more and more used to us, and after a few weeks we introduced him to more and more of the house. Now he follows us around and likes to snuggle up on us for cuddles purring until he falls asleep.

Having never had a cat before I didn't know what to expect, but he brings so much love and happiness. Cats are great pets to have if you work also, as they like to sleep a lot during the day (apparently they sleep about 70% of the day) so they aren't going to miss you too much. But at the same time, we always get a lovely greeting when coming home.

I must admit it isn't all roses and lillies. Being a kitten Alfie can be a little boisterous and can sometimes have bursts of energy when he tears around the place. Also my arms, hands and legs sometimes look like I've been self harming. He doesn't mean to scratch but his claws are sharp and sometimes he doesn't realise he is gripping on to your skin rather than the furniture! The one year old sofa is not in the best shape now as Aflie likes to jump up the back and sides digging his claws into the faux leather so there a dozens of little claw marks. Just as well the cushions are material that don't show marks or it would be a right state. We let him off though as he is so damn adorable.

Alfie has two wet meals a day, breakfast and dinner, and has dry food during the day that he can munch at his leisure. He doesn't tend to drink much water, so we give him a small helping of cat milk each day so he gets a bit of liquid. He uses his litter tray very well, we were fortunate enough that he was already litter trained when we got him and we have only had a couple of wee accidents. *touch wood*

He has had his vaccinations now and been microchipped and we will get him neutered at 6 months, and then we will start to introduce him to the outisde world. We live in a vey quiet area, so hope he'll be alright out and about.

Thursday, 15 August 2013

Boots mini haul

I went to Boots the day before yesterday and had myself a bit of a haul, well a mini one anyway. I'll tell you a bit about what I got and my first impressions. Full reviews will follow as I've only tried this stuff out once due to just buying it.

L-R: Essie Grow Stronger base coat, Nivea Express Hydration Primer. VO5 Dry Backcomb Spray, VO5 Tousled Style Spray, Nivea Pearly Shine lip balm

Essie Grow Stronger: My nails are so weak, always have been. It may be down to the fact that I used to bite them when I was younger, or it could be down to my diet (I hardly eat any fruit or veg, this is very bad of me and I'm sorry mum!).

I'm never one to really bother with a base coat, I tend to always have nail varnish on, so I am not worried about stains on my nails and because I do my nails every 4-5 days I try and do them quick quickly. However, it would be nice if I had stronger nails that don't break and peel and would probably make my nail varnish last longer, so thought I'd give this a go.

So far so good. I applied it under fresh nail varnsh two days ago and there's only a slight sign of wear on the ends. We shall see.

Nivea Express Hydration Primer: As I don't give myself much time to get ready in the mornings I try to have a pretty quick makeup routine and don't bother using a primer on a day to day basis, only for special occasions, I do however moisturise. So when I saw this advertised on TV - a moisturiser and primer in one, I thought I'd give it a go. I think Boots had it on a introductory price too at £3.33 rather than the RRP of £4.99. I bought the one for "dry and sensitive skin". My skin is quite sensitive to break-outs so I am always warey of trying new moisturisers. Again, so far so good. It's a really nice moisturiser, not strongly scented, but nicely scented. It does a good job of making you feel moisturised and fresh, and I think my makeup is holding on better too and lasting longer.

VO5 Dry Backcomb Spray: I saw this being used on SWalkerMakeup's YouTube channel and the results were really impressive. I requires no backcombing and therefore no damaging of your hair, just spray and plump!

I curled my hair yesterday and it was quite volumised to begin with so I didn't use it then. After sleeping on the curls last night, my hair was looking rather flat this morning so I gave it a go. It definitely does work! I didn't get as extreme results as I saw on the video, but this could be due to not using enough, or maybe my hair length or type. When I've used it a few more times I'll be able to tell and report back. Overall I am impressed and it smells lovely.

As Boots were doing 2 VO5 products for £5 and one cost £3.89, I decided to pick up something else too.

VO5 Tousled Style Spray: This also got used on my day-old curled hair this morning. After brushing my hair it had gone a bit fluffy, so I needed something to bring it back to a more sleek look. Great smelling product again and it worked really well. It's a bit like using mousse, it sticks strands of your hair together to give you a bit of the beach hair look, I really like it and will give it a go when having my hair natural as well as curly.

Nivea Pearly Shine: I love having a lip balm on hand at work, something I can slick over my lips inbetween rushing around when I don't have time to look in a mirror and reapply my lippy. I have seen many people referring to this over the years so decided it was time to try it. I like the slightly pinky pearlescent shine it gives you, it looks lovely on. In terms of moisturising the lips it's OK, but it doesn't compare using Vaseline. I probably wouldn't buy again, because for me it's not moisturising enough.

Here concludes my mini haul. Let me know in the comments if you like this type of post as I'll do more in the future. Have a nice day!

Monday, 12 August 2013

Make your own meal planner

I don't know about you, but I was getting into a bit of a rut where every evening it was a struggle to decide what to cook for dinner. Then on some occasions I decided what to have only to look in the refrigerator and realise that I didn't have that food in.

On browsing Pinterest one day, I discovered people had designed all types of menu boards to help plan their meal for the week.  Such as...


These inspired me to have a go at creating my own.

I liked the idea of using mini pegs to pin the meals so I ordered some from eBay. I then started to look for something I could make into a board. Then a Graze box popped through my door and after eating my tasty snacks I kept the box with the thought of finding a nice decorative paper to cover it. 

The box was left laying around for a couple of weeks until I had another brain wave. Inside the graze boxes there are pictures. So I thought I'd see if I could turn the box inside out and eliminate the need to cover it.

The boxes are put together by folding, so I carefully undid it like so...

Note this is a different box to the one I used on the finished product.

Then I put it back together inside out, and put a little tape on the side to hold it together. Next I took my pegs and wrote the days of the week on them, then glued them on the box with PVA evenly spaced out.

Then I took some other brown card (more recycled packaging) and made two little pockets to put the removable food cards in. I did debate over how many pockets to have and what catergories to use. I saw one on Pinterest that had "favs" and "quick" which I really liked the idea of, but then I knew I'd end up confusing myself if a meal fitted into both fav and quick! So I decided to go for meals that I have in and meals that I don't.Again I used PVA to glue these on.

Then I cut out the cards to write the meals on from an old cereal box. And fially here is the finished meal planner! Not the neatest or most professional looking, but it does the job and has got me out of the meal decision quandry every day.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

My first time at nail stamping

Today I had my first go at nail stamping! My sister came over at the weekend and lent me some bundle monster plates so I thought I'd give it a go. I won't go through the "how to" as there are so many videos on YouTube on the subject and they are all quite easy to follow. 

I started off by doing a couple of coats of Rimmel's Marshmallow Heaven then used Barry M's silver foil effect for the stamping as recommended by my sister (thanks sis). Finally I topped it off with a top coat to protect my pretty stamps. Note to self for future; try to apply top coat in one swipe as if you keep going over a spot it smudges the stamp.

Overall, it's a fairly easy method to come up with really effective results. It is harder to do the hand you write with as I'm sure you'd expect, but not impossibly hard.

I think I'll invest in some plates of my own.

I used bundle monster plates 213, 317 and 320.

Monday, 5 August 2013

Green and brown "earthy" bedroom decor

I've done quite a bit of decorating since getting my own place a couple of years ago and I've been an independent woman and done the bulk of it myself. So I thought I'd share some of my interior design ideas to maybe inspire others and let you know of issues I had in case they help people in a similar situation.

My green and brown room is my second bedroom/guest room. I liked the idea of using brown/neutral colours for this room and my boyfriend showed me this picture of a green room with brown furniture which I really liked the look of.

I thought the room might look too dark for a bedroom if I painted all of the walls a strong shade of green, so I decided to do a darker feature wall and the other walls a lighter shade. I should also mention, there is laminate flooring and I painted the ceiling white.

Three of the walls are the Dulux shade "apple white", which is just a hint of green.

The feature wall is Dulux "putting green".

For the corner of the feature wall I purchased a wall transfer with a brown branch design from eBay. I bought a brown suede look lampshade and matching curtains.

I finished the room off with some brown faux suede curtains and a lamp shade and voila!

Here is the finished room:

Update: Moved house since starting this post.

She Said Beauty