Thursday, January 31, 2013

New Catrice and Essence Polishes for 2013


In case you haven't heard, Catrice are discontinuing all their nail polishes. Remember what happened when Essence did this? No, not the bottle change. The 50c price hike. I think Catrice are doing the same, going by a couple of different sources - hopefully they don't go over €3.20, that way we could still get 3 of them for under a tenner.

Anyway, here's a look at the new additions to both the Essence Colour & Go range and the Catrice polish range. They've kept some shades, but there are loads of new interesting good ones (thank god, because I haven't bought a Catrice polish in ages).

Keep an eye out for the half-price stands!

All images are copyright and


Hello Marshmallow

Miss Universe

Prom Berry

Flashy Pumpkin

We Rock The Green 

That's What I Mint

Upper Green Side

And Catrice:

Shopping Day at Bluemingdales, Purple Reign, & Denim Moore

George Blueney, Caught on the Red Carpet, & Bloody Mary To Go 

Genius in The Bottle, Goldbusters, & Hugo Moss

I'm Not a Greenager, Miss Piggy's BF, & Walk the Lime 

Bricky Mouse, The Monkey Gets Funky, & The GlamoureX Factor

Fred Said Red, Meet Me at Coral Island, & Rosy One More Time

Robert's Red Ford, Raspberry Fields Forever, & The Pinky and the Brain

The Effect Maker, Vino Tinto, & Black To the Routes

You Better Think Pink, Will You Berry Me? & Lilactric

Fuchsiarama, Pimp My Shrimp, & Papa Don't Peach

Orange-Utan, Earnie & Birdy, & Oh My Goldness!

Even More Heavy Metalilac, The Dark Knight, & In The Armee Glow

Squeeze Me, Petrolpolitan & Mint Me Up
There are also some additions to the Essence "Nude Glam" and Catrice "Ultimate Nudes" so keep an eye out for them.

Completely in love with 99% of the names - The Dark Knight, Denim Moore, Hugo Moss, Walk the Lime and Miss Piggy's BF WILL be mine!

Both ranges are due to hit in February/March 2013.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

DIY Gold Leaf Topcoat with Essence Vintage District


One of the things I was most excited about when I got the Essence Vintage District nail art kits (you can see what I did with the microbeads here) was the little square of gold leaf in one of the kits. It looks tiny, but when you unfold it (carefully), it looks like this:

After my disappointment over the not-very-leafy Catrice gold leaf topcoat, I wanted to see if I could make my own from a clear polish and the gold leaf in this kit. I used an Essence studio nails clear topcoat for this.

Firstly, I chopped the sheet up into tiny little pieces on a piece of card using a nail scissors. This is really fiddly, even breathing on it made them fly off the table! I chopped them up as small as I could.

Then, I rolled another smaller piece of card into a funnel shape and put it into the bottle of polish.

I tipped the gold into the polish and used a cocktail stick to push it down into the base. I gave it a good shake, and voila - gold leaf topcoat! I wanted to try it over a few different polishes, so I used green (Sinful Colors Last Chance), grey (Catrice ASHley), pink (Essence Naughty and Pink), black (Pumpkin Polish) and dark red/wine (China Glaze Short and Sassy).

36 hours later, after a lot of cooking, cleaning and washing up, it's still firmly stuck on with only minor tip wear. My topcoat could have done with a bit more gold leaf - I had to fish the pieces out of the bottle, mainly due to this happening:

Yeah. Anyway, if you can't get your hands on the Essence nail art kits, you can get sheets of gold leaf in most craft shops (mine is ordering it in for me so I can top this up) or on eBay. There are 10 sheets HERE for around  €3 including shipping from the UK.

It's fiddly, but it's completely killed my OPI  topcoat lemming!

*****NOTE: After approximately 2 months, this turned green in the bottle. I tested it and it still worked fine, the green didn't show up, but you might fare better if you shred the gold leaf and keep it in a little storage pot, and use as needed.****

Monday, January 28, 2013

NOTD: Studded Nails with Essence Vintage District


The current Trend Edition from Essence, "Vintage District" just launched in Ireland. I picked up three pieces from the collection - both Nail Art Kits and the Blusher. The blusher, by the way, is the most amazing peach shade and has become my absolute favourite, I'm going to buy a back-up. It's gorgeous. The gold overspray rubs off with the first touch of a brush to reveal a darker peach shade underneath. Highly recommended!

On to the nail art kits - there are two, "Something g-old, Something new" and "Designer for a Day". The silver beads I used today are actually in both kits, but I used the ones from "Something g-old, something new".

Something g-old, Something new.

You could use them for a Ciate-inspired caviar manicure, or individually. I'm not a fan of the caviar mani, so I did this:

The only slightly negative thing I'd say about the nail art kits is that the packaging is a little awkward to work with - the little plastic zip bag is really no addition because you can't mix the different elements afterwards, you still have to keep them separate. If you have an empty rhinestone wheel, it'll come in handy for storing these.

To use the microbeads, I spilled some of them out onto a post-it, and just dampened the tip of a skewer and pressed each individual bead into slightly tacky polish. When I was finished, I rolled the post-it up carefully and funnelled them back into the bag.

I used one coat of an unbranded top coat to seal.

It's completely impractical for a normal day doing housework, cooking & cleaning, but I'm definitely going to do this again on a weekend or a night out.

Well done Essence!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Thin Thursday - Motivation!


For my Thin Thursday post this week I wanted to talk about staying motivated.


We're into week 3 now, and I know I found the patience wearing a little thin this week. A big part of that for me was the weather - I was supposed to go to a party on Saturday night, and stay with my sister - but the roads were too bad. I'd even gotten my husband to start walking the dog with me in the evenings, and we were really getting into the swing of it - but then the bloody snow and frost hit, and I wouldn't walk because I was paranoid I'd slip.

I tried to do as much as I could at home - exercise bike, drinking water, stepper - but last night the whole thing went to pot and I ended up having chips. And a glass of wine. I had the weeklies to cover them, but I still felt awful. I'm actually GLAD I felt awful, because it really did remind me that for me to function properly, and to feel good, I really can't put grease into my body anymore. I felt physically ill all evening.

Looking back over it today, I know exactly where I went wrong yesterday. I didn't plan the day. I had a vague idea that I was going to make something pasta-y with a tub of Philadelphia Light, but I hadn't a clue what was going to be in it. I ended up using a mish-mash of recipes and made a kind of low-fat Carbonara thing, a thing that did not fill me for an hour, let alone for the evening.

Today, I went for a long walk (no frost, WOOHOO), got a pint of water, and sat down and planned today's meals. I know this isn't going to work for everyone, but it's what I need to do in order to keep this programme going, because if I get complacent I don't just fall off the wagon, I de-rail the whole train and drag it off the track, set fire to it, and dance in the ashes with pizza in one hand and beer in the other.

With goals in mind, I wanted to show you a couple of fun things to make your weightloss journey a little more enjoyable. First up is something I originally came across on a facebook group, a website called Model My Diet. On that site, you can input your weight, height, a rough idea of hair, eyes, etc - and get a little virtual look at what you could achieve. I did mine with my current weight & my own personal goal, and here's the result I got:

I kept that picture in my mind on my walk home from the school this morning and shaved 9 minutes off my time! Result!

The second thing I use for motivation is music. I came across the site Walk.Jog.FM and found it absolutely fantastic, you can input your walking, cycling or jogging time and it'll generate lists of songs that have the right beat to move to. I've discovered some fantastic walking songs through this (even if I can now include bizarre novelty rap into my mp3 collection). Here's a quick snapshot of some of my (massive) playlist:

Give it a go if you're sick of the same music all the time, I've discovered some fantastic artists via this site (Grace Potter & The Nocturnals and HAIM are definitely worth a listen).

The last thing I wanted to say, is to put some money away if you can for every pound you lose, so that you can have a treat when you get to 10lbs, 20lbs, etc. It could be a dress, a nail polish (or ten), shoes, a jacket, some books - whatever. But do it, and stick to it. It's so satisfying to see it building up, even if it were just €2 per pound.

I was down 2lbs at Saturday's WI, which makes a total of 8lbs gone in January so far. Another 2lbs and I'll be treating myself to some more of the China Glaze Cirque du Soleil polishes! (Lets all pretend I wouldn't have bought them anyway, mkay?).

I'll leave you with two thoughts. The first one is one I've been guilty of complaining about, but it doesn't look so miserable when you look at it like that, does it? Every half pound lost is fantastic. The second one is just a bit of fun I've seen on a few different forums.


A small tub of butter/spread weighs 227g. THAT'S HALF A POUND.

Secondly, how much have you lost so far? I've lost a human head!

Have a great week, and don't forget to check the #ThinThursday hashtag on twitter for more inspiration.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Book Review: Bohemia by Veronika Carnaby


When Veronika Carnaby got in touch with me to ask if I'd like to read her book, I took a look at the description and decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up. I love finding different genres to read, and a book about the Beat Generation was certainly a new experience for me.

[Image Source]

Bohemia was described by Veronika as:

Influenced by the works of Beat Generation authors and great poets, the story takes place during 1960 and chronicles a group of bohemian twenty-somethings who defy the "ideals" of a mid-twentieth century society to seek creative fulfillment. On a deeper level, it portrays the creative path that artists of all mediums tread, all the while depicting the challenges faced by youth in the '60s. Moreover, the book has also gained support from legendary jazz musician and composer, Archie Shepp, who has contributed some brief words to it.

Now - I'm not familiar with the world of jazz at all, so I had to google Archie Shepp.  I'm actually none the wiser having googled him, apologies Mr. Shepp. I didn't have to google the Beat Generation - I'm sure there will be comparisions drawn between Bohemia and Jack Kerouac's On The Road - Kerouac being one of the original generation of  bohemians and a big part of the movement in the 50's & 60's.

The Beat Generation is something that's worth a google, if you've never heard of it - it was full of fascinating characters (also, the term Hipster? Totally a Beat Generation word). Bohemia is told from the perspective of one of those characters - Valerie Freed, who aches for something more than a 9-to-5, stifled existence in the town she grew up in. With her best friend Emm, and two free-spirited lads (Jimmy and Lester), Valerie sets off on a journey that changes her life in several ways.

The writing is beautiful. Veronika manages to draw us in to this magical, creative, eccentric little community of musicians, writers, dancers and all-round like-minded people on a mission to do exactly what they want to do, and makes us feel as if we are right there with Valerie. I was aching for her to succeed, for her to accomplish something. The people she meets on her travels are fascinating, each one leaving their own little mark on Val, and I felt a little sense of loss every time one of them moved on. It's actually hard to believe that Valerie herself hasn't written the book.

It's not a fast-paced rip-roaring thriller by any means, nor is it a book that I found easy to get into. I had to give it a couple of tries (I think in all honesty this was because it's one of the only e-books I've read, I find it very odd not to have the paper book) and I'd definitely love to tackle it again in a hard copy to give different chapters the attention they deserve.  The ones in particular about The Ladybug Club were so descriptive and colourful - Veronika has a serious flair for making a particular place as much of a main character as any of the human ones. This book is - it's a journey, an insight, an experience. I can't believe this is only Veronika's first novel, nor can I believe this isn't a real first-hand account of life in 60's Bohemia.

I'm glad I stuck it out, because I won't forget Bohemia for a long time.

Also, Roxford - very cool cat.

Veronika has a blog, which you can check out HERE.

Monday, January 21, 2013

Comparison: GOSH Holographic vs GOSH Holographic Hero vs Color Club Harp On It


I've spoken before about my Voldemort polishes (the ones of which we do not speak) - those polishes I lust after, track down, get sick of, then buy again. The original GOSH holographic is one of them.

I found my original one in a bargain basket in a tiny chemist a few years ago, bought it, then got sick of it and sold it. Fool!! When Holographic Hero was released last year, I immediately wanted to get my grubby little paws on it. Sadly, it proved no match for the original. When Color Club released their "Halo Hues" collection, I pounced on "Harp on It" - a silver holo that looked pretty similar to the original GOSH Holographic.

I was itching to compare the three, but didn't have a swatch of original Holographic. Or so I thought. When I was cleaning my stash out the other day, I found some old nail swatches that my son had broken off a nail wheel. Amongst them was a swatch of original Holographic, so I swatched the other colours on two nail tips (because I'm lazy and I didn't want to take my polish off). Here we go:

Outside, in natural light, there isn't much of a difference.

Front: GOSH Holographic Original. Centre: GOSH Holographic Hero.
Back: Color Club Harp On It.

Again, indoors, in natural light, there wasn't a huge difference either:

Front: Original Holographic. Top: Color Club. Bottom: Holo Hero.

I blu-tacced (yes, that's a word) the nails on so that I could get different angles for you.

Outside, natural light: 

L-R: Original Holo, Holo Hero, Color Club.

I really hate Holographic Hero in natural light - you have to wave your hands around like a mad thing to even detect a hint of holographic loveliness. This polish disappointed me so much when I got it (and it was bloody expensive). Here they are again in natural light, indoors this time:

L-R: Original Holo, Holo Hero, Color Club.

As we all know, holos are at their best with a flash. And here's where the comparison gets good. 

L-R: Original Holo, Holo Hero, Color Club.
LOOK at the holo in the Color Club (and that dirty great fingerprint, oops). It's an even stronger effect than the original GOSH one, which is pretty impressive in its own right. Holographic Hero is a more subtle holographic polish, you can immediately tell that it's completely different from its predecessor.

Top: Color Club. Middle: Holo Hero. Bottom: Original Holo.
Verdict? If you're aching for original GOSH Holographic but can't get your hands on it, leave Holographic Hero where it is and seek out Color Club Harp on It. I got mine from beautyzone2007 on eBay a while back (where, incidentally, it was the same price as the GOSH one AFTER international postage was added).  

I've worn the Color Club as a full mani once, and it lasted five days with a top coat, I was hugely surprised by its staying power.