DIY: Easy Glitter Polish Removal

Today's guestpost is by Isabelle from www.nailsandcupcakes.com, so make sure you check out her super cute and easy to read blog that will leave you feeling inspired!

Today I was wearing a layer of Nubar's Foundation Base Coat, two layers of OPI's Pedal Faster Suzi, two layers of OPI's Rainbow Connection and one layer of Nubar's Diamond Top Coat. Quite a few layers to rub off! Because of the two glitter layers I am using a special technique to get rid of all this polish: the tin foil technique. 

You'll need tin foil, cut into pieces small pieces that will fit your fingertips, some paper towels cut into small pieces that will cover your nail and your favorite polish remover. I am using OPI's Polish Remover, which has a mild acetone formula. Normally I use polish remover without acetone, but I find that some glitter polishes really need the acetone. That's why I only have a small bottle of OPI's Polish Remover: I need it only when the polish doesn't come off easily without acetone. Also, OPI's formula has added aloe vera to condition the nails. Don't be cheap when it comes to polish remover with acetone!

Pour some polish remover on a piece of paper towel and place it on your nail. Then, wrap the top of your finger tightly with a piece of tin foil. Do this for all of your nails. I do one hand at a time, as it gets quite messy when you're trying to do this for both your hands. Wait for about five or six minutes.

Before removing the tin foil & paper towel, rub the 'package' around your finger on the area of your nail to rub off the bits that are the hardest to remove. Then, remove the foil and paper. Now most of the glitter polish will be on the paper towel.

Now remove the glitter leftovers and was your hands with a mild soap. Be sure to use your favorite moisturizing cream afterwards, to take care of your delicate hands. 
Read lots more fab posts here: www.nailsandcupcakes.com


Asian Beauty

Today we have Faye from Girl Does Geek talking all about her favourite Asian beauty brands. Enjoy!

I'm guest posting today for the lovely Hayley as she is having the time of her life in beautiful Paris. Jealous moi? So big thanks to Hayley for giving me the chance to indulge my passion for Asian makeup and share it with you guys. I've been a fan of Asian makeup for a few years now and if it was more widely available here it would probably be the only makeup I use. It is growing in popularity over here thanks to the explosion of BB creams. So today I'm going to introduce you to some of my favorite Japanese and Korean brands, hopefully you'll be tempted to go out and try them for yourselves.

Etude House. This brand is one of Korea's biggest beauty brands. If you love your beauty products in feminine and pretty packaging then Etude House is the brand for you. This brand loves the colour pink and if you're ever in Korea a visit to their physical stores is a bit like entering a sweet shop. But their products are amazing. My favourite product is their Moistfull Collagen Cream. It is the brands biggest seller and it is easy to see why. This cream contains baobab tree extract and marine collagen. It keeps the skin moisturised and hydrated without feeling heavy. It absorbs into skin very quickly and retails for around £8 so it is pretty affordable. Pretty much all of their products retail for under £10. So this brand is great for those of you new to asian beauty.

Jill Stuart. Though it isn't an Asian brand it is sold exclusively in Asia. Jill Stuart is well known in her native America for her fashion lines but in Japan it is her beauty line that she is known for. Her eyeshadow palettes are a particular favorite and like Etude House the packaging is feminine and pretty. The Japanese especially have a fondness for cute packaging. This brand isn't cheap with prices equivalent to Tom Ford's beauty collection in the UK.

Majolica Majorca is the sister brand of well known Japanese brand Shiseido. It has a much lower price point though so it is considered a drugstore brand in Japan. The quality of their products is equivalent to MAC or Nars though. This is one brand I'd love to see sold in the UK especially as Shiseido is so well known over here. Even budget cosmetics brands in Japan have super cute packaging. The thing I love about this brand is that you'd never guess that it is low priced. It even has some of the same formulations as its Shiseido sister.

Kate. Another budget beauty from a Japanese beauty brand that is popular worldwide. Kate is the stable mate of high end brand Kanebo. But unlike Kanebo this brand is affordable. Vivid colour choices and a low price make it ideal for me. Their newly launched 5 shadow palette is one of my favorite products at the moment and the packaging is simple and restrained. Unlike the other brands featured this one avoids the super cute cliche that is the mainstay of most Japanese cosmetic brands.

So there you have it, those are just a few of my favorite Asian brands. If you're interested in trying any of them then Sasa.com is your best bet. It is based in Hong Kong and all orders over $100
benefit from free international shipping. If you have any Asian beauty related questions feel free to ask away in the comments.

Check out Faye's blog (and fab tips on how to make the most of your own blog - a must stop for any blogger) right here: girldoesgeek.com

Makeup for Men

Today's guest post is a little bit different (I like to shake things up a bit) so you may want to get your boyfriend to peer over your shoulder while you read this one... Let me introduce you to Andii. 
Hey Male Beauties! As you can tell I am not London Beauty Queen - I am Andii James, or MrAJBx3, a makeup artist and blogger from Scotland in the UK. Recently there has been an increasing trend in beauty and makeup where men are becoming more and more interested in how good they look. A while a go it was the stage of the "metrosexual," but now everyone is metrosexual and everyone cares about how they look to some degree, be it more interest in skin care, eg a little moisturising right the way, or actual makeup.

Everyone likes to look nice and these guys know how to do it... Well some of them. There are even some celebrities who are noted for their makeup - even those you wouldn't think wore it! It ranges from the simple little bit of concealer, to eyeliner, to bronzed and beautiful. Some Men like to rock "guyliner," such as Pete Wentz from Fall out Boy and John James Parton from Big Brother in 2010. Gossip Girl star Ed Westwick and even Orlando Bloom have been spotted wearing eyeshadow - quite poorly I might add, but hey, every guy in makeup is a step forward. There are some basic tips in makeup that you could follow to make things easier and these are my suggestions...

1. Don't overdo bronzer. A little in the places where the light would naturally hit can be very flattering.
2. Try to use a concealer with a more thin, liquid consistency for under the eyes (thicker concealers tend to go cakey) rather than something like MAC Studio Finish which is really thick and used for blemishes.
3. "Guy Liner" can look nice if it is pushed into the base of the lashes to give them a fuller look. The Maybelline Eye Studio Lasting Drama Gel Eyeliner is a good choice because it’s in a gel format and wont smudge during the day. Alternatively there is the Maybelline Eye Volume Express Kohl Eyeliner which is really creamy, stays in place and doesn’t budge.
4. Glow enhancers such as the Armani Fluid Sheer #2 or the L'Homme Touche Eclat (it has less shimmer than the original Touch Eclat) which will help to give the skin a really nice glow without looking fake.
5. When using foundation you don’t need to cover your whole face; you could easily get a foundation with medium coverage, put it over your 'trouble areas' and blend in well. You should also use a primer, as this helps to give a smooth base on your skin - when you put foundation on it lasts longer and doesn’t cake together throughout the day.

I would say that the key to doing makeup on yourself for corrective purposes is to blend really well and make sure you have the right tones for your skin - “no makeup” makeup is different for everyone’s skin tones. All in all I think the best way to achieve flawless skin is to really know where to place the products and blend, blend, blend. I know its a lot to take in and makeup will never seem simple, but it's worth it if it's done well... I mean look at Ed Westwick!

These tips could work for girls as well, so don't feel left out. If you want to find more about me visit my blog at www.MrAJBx3.com and follow me on Twitter @MrAJBx3. I will answer any and all questions you have!


Dazzle in Blue

Today's post is written by the lovely Liloo from lilooblog.blogspot.co.uk, someone who makes me green with envy every time I see her makeup posts and re-creations. Enjoy.

While a certain fantasy fire seems to have taken Britain by a storm, it's another little gem from Max Factor which I would love to turn your attention to. It's called 'Dazzling Blue', Colour Effect Mini polish and it's quite simply stunning. I know what you're thinking: it's blue nail polish, it's not everyone's cup of tea and it doesn't go with everything. I bought 2 bright blue nail polishes before and I got rid of them both. But this blue nail polish is a different kettle of fish altogether. Only a quick look at the bottle and you can already catch a glimpse of the depth of its colour: a strong iridescence of bright shimmery green, with subtle flashes of pink onto a sea of blue.

How does it translate on to the nails? The subtle flashes of pink are hardly visible, however the green iridescence left me weak at the knees. The blue base of Dazzling blue reminds me of the exotic waters of the Pacific Ocean and the green shimmer of Tinkerbell. Application was very easy, however it is a sheer polish, which is far from ideal for 5ml of product at £3.99.

My photos show 3 coats of polish which keep me more than happy but some of you might prefer to apply 4 coats for perfect coverage of the nail tip. Alternatively, if you want to maximise the value and life span of your polish, you can apply a coat of nude polish (may I suggest 'Nude Champagne' by Gosh, which is mind blowingly opaque in 1 coat) and 2 coats of Dazzling Blue on top. In an ideal world, this polish would have been opaque in 2 coats but its colour is so enchanting that I am happy to forget that. Think that blue polishes might not be your thing? Dazzling Blue might well win you over.

Check out Liloo's blog here.

LBQ has gone to Paris!

I'm off for a well deserved break in Paris with a group of friends, so don't miss me too much. In the meantime I've got a series of guest posts from a rather fabulous selection of bloggers, covering everything from their favourite nail varnish, to aromatherapy, to asian beauty and makeup for men. Stay tuned for lots of exciting stuff - especially a de-brief on all the Parisian products I manage to pick up while I'm over there! See you soon... xx



Jo Malone: At Home

Our favourite fragrance brand has made the brave step into home fragrance with the launch of their first collection, entitled 'Scent Surround'. It makes perfect sense to me that they've diversified into room sprays, diffusers, drawer liners and sachets to make your home smell as beautiful as your skin. Available in Lime Basil & Mandarin, Pomegranate Noir and Red Roses, these are sure to make you want to sit on your sofa and enjoy the beautiful scents circulating you.  

"Any room, any occasion, transforms when it's styled with scent. A way to personalise your home with candles, and room sprays. Because the ambience of your home should be as inviting as the fragrance on your skin. To uplift, to wind down...or simply to add an air of luxury. The fragrant glow of a candle immediately fills a room with an inviting atmosphere. Understated and sleekly designed. Personalise your home with unexpected scents that are always adored." 

The iconic packaging has also been turned on its head, with cream taking a back seat in favour of a sleeker black - I like it a lot. I've got a room diffuser to take out and play with, so I'll be sure to come back and share my experience with you soon! Would you invest in a Jo Malone home fragrance?

Available now priced between £20.00 and £45.00


Caudalie Vinosource

I'm slowly falling in love with Caudalie, the skincare brand you always think is going to be ridiculously expensive because it's bloody brilliant, only for you to be left with enough cash to treat yourself to that chunky ring you've had your eye on. The French brand is going from strength to strength, launching great products with fabulous ingredients that don't break the bank. The latest launch from them is the Vinosource range especially developed for skin in need of a moisture burst. Caudalie have launched a hero SOS Thirst Quenching Serum and four hydrating moisturisers to offer you dry skin relief depending on your unique needs. They all contain Caudalie's anti-oxidant and moisturizing phyto-aromatic formula, patented anti-oxidant grape-seed polyphenols, as well as moisturizing and strengthening Vinolevure... Sound posh and impressive, but you'll just have to believe that it's all good for you.

The SOS serum is extremely light, feeling more like water than serum, sinking (or melting, almost literally) into the skin easily and quickly. The high potency serum captures and continually diffuses water deep within the skin to restore its moisture balance, leaving it feeling soft and supple. I don't have extremely dry skin, but it certainly gives you a moisture boost, helping your complexion to look and feel rested and healthy. What's fab about this is that you can layer the moisturiser over the top without it feeling too heavy or like you have a full face on underneath your, erm, face. I've never been a fan of serums, but this is something I've happily been using to inject my complexion with a little life and will definitely continue to use it.

The rest of the range includes a moisturising sorbet, a moisturising recovery cream, an intense rescue cream and a moisturising matifying fluid. All four of the products have slightly different uses and textures to ensure your dry skin has a personal solution and the perfect injection of moisture. The sorbet is delicious, melting into the skin, whereas the matifying fluid gives skin a light layer of hydration while removing any shine. You can use it beneath makeup or alone (if you're feeling brave) to control oil throughout the day - and it really does help to reduce sebum, although it doesn't eliminate it. I love this whole range, especially because it smells delicious and is extremely reasonably priced. I've already recomended it to family members, so if you're popping by a Caudalie store then be sure to check it out. What's even better is that if you buy any of the products this week you get a special edition Caudalie tote... How very Francais.

Available now. Serum RRP £29.00 and Matifying Fluid RRP £22.00. Find out more info about the whole range on their website.



Pedicures in the Cowshed

If you thought I was going to start talking about painting the toenails of some uber stylish cow folk, then you'd be wrong. A few weeks ago I went down to the Cowshed salon in Shoreditch House, London for a pedicure with some work colleagues. It had been a long month and we were all in desperate need of some de-stressing, so a Friday afternoon sipping pink champagne and having some other poor soul fiddle with our feet seemed like the best idea since American Pie: The Reunion. During the summer months I have pedicures all the time, but as my feet get covered in tights, boots and High School Musical socks, the need for good tootsies goes out the window. After a few months of rejection, they were definitely in need of some love.

The Cowshed is situated in the effortlessly chic Shoreditch House and is open to all members of the public (you have to be a member to go into the actual House.) As soon as you walk in you can see that you're going to be in very comfy company - the chairs are to die for. To. Die. For. Once you're comfy you're treated like a princess for the hour it takes to soak, buff and paint your feet while you sip on either a complementary hot drink or indulge in a glass of bubbles. We went for the bubbles, natch. What was nice about the treatment is that the ladies working were fabulous, delicate, paid attention to detail, were ridiculously friendly and helpful. So many salons I've been to you feel like you're inconveniencing them, but these Cowshed workers were the Cow's Bollocks. The whole aura of the place is fantastic, putting you at ease and giving you a little bit of luxury in a relaxed way - what's more though is it was the best pedicure I've had in years and three weeks later my toes are still 100% perfect. No chips, no need for a top-up, just perfect and flawless.

Check out the virtual tour of the spa here. Book treatments here - pedicures start at £32 but we went for the £48 hour-long option.


Wipe Away Your Day with Kleenex

We've all had one of those days where you've made a right fool of yourself and wish the earth would open up and swallow you whole. (It's only in Doctor Who that actually happens though.) Whether it's falling over as you step on the tube carriage at 8am (done it,) inadvertently insulting the boyfriend's parents (done it) or walking down the road with your skirt tucked in your knickers (done it,) sometimes we all wish we could wipe away the day and start again. Kleenex have launched a new campaign which encourages you to do just that. Their new cleaning range allows you to remove the day's aches, pains, dirt and disasters in one swoop - I've reviewed it before and it's definitely something I'd recommend.

The hilarious adverts have just started to air on your tellybox and they encompass those humiliating moments that you wish you could erase and start again. In celebration of this Kleenex are encouraging you to share your ''Wipe me Away" moments on their Facebook page for your chance to win a prize that could help you get over it... If you’ve tripped up running for the bus, Kleenex could send you some trainers to improve your speed and stability; or if you’ve tried to take your jumper off on a hot date and got it caught on your new hoop earrings, Kleenex might just send you a sensible pair of studs for the future. Although there's no guarantee they've got a solution for tucking your skirt into your knickers. 

Visit their Facebook page here.


Rimmel Match Perfection

The spring has most definitely sprung so it's time to get out the blushers, dust off the bronzers and highlight our cheeks through to the height of summer. Even if you're not traditionally a blush or bronzer girl, let me tempt you with these delicate delights from Rimmel, part of their Match Perfection collection. A little bit of colour goes a long way to highlight and contour the cheekbones, making you look fresher, younger and more awake - what more do you need? These blushers and bronzers provide a very delicate and three-dimensional shade so they're perfect for newbies or those of you who fear of looking like a clown. The unique smart-tone technology also blends perfectly into your skin delivering complementary tones that adapt to the colour and contours of your face - perfect.

The designs of these are pretty awesome, the blush featuring a swirl that appears to have taken inspiration from the Rimmel crown logo, and the bronzer channeling its inner African creature with Zebra-inspired grooves. Both of them feature two slightly different shades so you get a real depth of colour that matches your skintone and doesn't look false. The bronzer even has a little dash of that blue stuff that's in the foundation to bring about a radiant and healthy glow - oooh er. Within the product there's also a light sparkle to catch the light, all in all giving you a really subtle hint of colour that looks perfectly natural and mimics your own skintone. I've been loving both of these for a few weeks now as you can use them all over the face in a very subtle way, bridging the gap between seasons. Roll on Summer!

These are available now priced £5.99 each


National No Makeup Day

These days there seems to be a 'nationally recognised' day for everything from cheese appreciation to wear-your-pants-backwards. Most are fun and a little bit pointless, some raise awareness of important issues and others just baffle me completely. A no-smoking day, AIDs awareness or raising the profile of domestic violence have a very important role in today's society, but what does this newest craze of 'no makeup day' actually mean? When I googled the term I couldn't actually find the source of the 'celebration', but instead found article after article of journalists and bloggers daring to bare (or at least proclaiming why they don't have the courage to bare all, even for one day.) Who invented this and why on earth have they done it? For me, makeup is all about self expression and enhancing our features to make the most of what we've got - we're not all blessed with the bone structure of Kate Moss or Zoey Deschanel's lashes, so we have to fake it a little bit.

Makeup personally gives me the confidence to be who I want to be. I don't feel myself without a little bit of blush, a touch of mascara and a slick of lipgloss, so who is society to demand that I rid myself of this for one day a year? What does it achieve? I'm sure there are some people out there that think we all wear the slap as a way of attracting the opposite sex, but for me that isn't the case at all; If I don't feel confident I don't act confident, and that impacts on my job, my performance and my relationships with others. I can do without it, don't get me wrong - I can often be seen at festivals and on holiday without a scrap of the good stuff, but I just much prefer an even skintone. There are of course certain people who could do with laying off the slap a little to let their natural beauty shine through (yes ladies of TOWIE, I'm talking to you) but all in all I think this is the most ridiculous concept ever. I can't imagine somebody conceptualising a no-deodorant-day or a dont-shave-your-legs-for-a-week-day, so why should we put the brushes down, step away from the highlighter and refuse that oh so pretty lipstick?

What do you think?


Molton Brown: Skincare Saviours?

At the height of luxury fragrance stands Molton Brown, known for their amazing shower gels and more recently their unique fragrances. There are few brands that you can always rely on to produce high quality and loveable products, but Molton Brown always delivers. The news hit the online world this week that the brand that specialises in fragrance were diversifying into the world of skincare with the launch of their new collection. I've been a lucky lady over the last few weeks as I got a sneak preview of the entire range before anyone else, not only to see what they had on offer but also to put it to the test. The new collection includes a cleanser, toner, face cream, SPF cream, eye gel, body creme and hand cream - basically all the essentials you need to keep your face and body in tiptop condition.

The packaging, as you would expect from Molton Brown, is divine in a simplistic way. Clean white boxes, embossed logos, a flash of colour and a hint of luxury. They've been careful enough to not go down the route of chucking too much money at what it looks like though, giving you a little bit of Molton style in the metal logo touches without leaving any budget left for what's actually in the product itself. The pump action bottles enable you to get the right amount of product in your hand, preventing any wastage or excess use from a range that isn't exactly on the cheap side. The slim bottles and smooth materials used make these a dream to handle, while looking pretty fabulous on your dresser. So far so good.

The ingredients within the products have been very well thought through, offering a range that's as beautiful as it is effective. Molton Brown say: "We’ve gone to the ends of the earth to find active ingredients that help keep skin clear, comfortable and protected from the sun. Fused with the latest in skincare technology, our formulas are as unique as the skin you’re in." They've been everywhere from Peru, to India, to Madrid to find the most effective ingredients and exotic concoctions to help your skin shine inside and out. I love the idea of using an SPF which is generated in Indian trees or a hand cream that contains exotic plants from Polynesia (I don't even know where that is) - don't you think it sounds a little more glamorous than 'a factory in Germany'?

So what are the products themselves actually like? The hero product for me is definitely the Anti-Ageing Hydra-Creme - it's light as air, absorbs quickly, moisturises skin without leaving excess flakes and doesn't aggravate my sensitive patches or cause spots. I wouldn't say I've experienced a notible glow, but it has made my skin a little more supple and healthy feeling after using this for a few weeks. The body creme is also divine; almond coloured, sweet scented, light and hydrating. Applying this in the morning to limbs while getting ready leaves my skin feeling soft and ready to face the day ahead. The hand cream has been on my person since I opened the package, and although it doesn't give me an intense moisture boost, it does provide relief and a lovely scent to dry chapped hands.

I do love the range (and I'll be doing more in depth reviews of the individual products over the next few weeks) and the whole concept behind it. It hasn't revolutionised my skin or my routine, nor has it left me chomping at the bit for the next product launch or range extension, but it does make a lovely addition to a brand we all know and love. The scent of all the products encaptures what Molton Brown is all about too, so it's lovely to see they haven't forgotten to add some fabulous smells to the range. The only major issue I have is with the price - there's no way in a million years I would pay £65 for the face cream or £50 for the body creme (no matter how delicious the colour) because I feel there are so many brand out there offering just as good a products for a fraction of the cost. If you've got the cash then by all means treat yourself, but for me I think this is definitely one for the Christmas list (because it may take you that long to save up for it!)

Available now online and in-store. Check out the full range and the great ingredients on their website.


La Bougie: By Candlelight

The scent of a burning candle is enough to make me wish it could stay cold and crisp all year long, just so I could cosy up and enjoy the flame. I've always got candles dotted around my flat to infuse a little fragrance or make me feel all homely, so when La Bougie got in touch to say they'd love to treat me to one of their handmade goodies I couldn't wait for it to arrive. The difference between these candles and others is that the fragrances are created by their in-house perfumier, rather than relying on already manufactured oils. A scent takes months to perfect and a typical perfume in a candle may contain as many as 140 different ingredients which is what makes the fragrance so complex and unique. The glass pots are also carved, painted and polished by their own craftsmen, the wax handfilled and each candle individually wrapped with care and attention.

The packaging these come in is adorable - not only are the glass candles wrapped with tissue and placed in a little bag, but the branded ribbon and metal swing tag make this a gift to treasure. I opted for the 'sweet pea and pear' fragrance, knowing it would be something unique and enriching. They describe this as: "the charm of sweet peas in a cottage garden with familiar notes of pear and orange blossom, the sweetness of the fruit enhanced by a pinch of brown sugar." It's amazing. Even before lighting the fragrance filled the room and my housemate instantly breathed in the scent while asking what the beautiful smell was. Upon lighting it the scent delicately fills the room, lingering without being overpowering.

The love put into this candle is easy to see. It's very different from the Jo Malone, Miller Harris and Floris candles currently adorning my windowsills; even if it looks less premium, it smells far nicer. The company is an Irish one, creating these unique candles in their West Cork workshop and sending to homes across the UK. Considering these start at the £20 mark (when converted from Euros) I think it's a few pounds well spent. You won't get anything else on the high street with as much care, love and beautiful fragrance injected into it without forking out twice as much. Are you a candle lover?

Available online here.


Long Lashes: L'Oreal Telescopic

Having had lash extensions for the best part of the last couple of months I've been unable to put any mascaras to the test. Step up LBQ's partner in (muddy festival) crime JimJams who pilfered off this mascara from L'Oreal to try out herself. The mascara is an extension of the existing Telescopic range, containing fibres that help to make lashes look longer and a brush that stretches every lash for a more intense look. Cheryl Cole is the face of the launch, wearing a rather dapper trilby, so was the campaign a load of marketing tosh or did it actually work the wonders it promised? Here's what JimJams thought...

"I've used the same Rimmel mascara for years so was doubtful to find another that I would like as much, but straight away L'Oreal's Telescopic Lashes mascara was better! I admit it - my last mascara was actually quite rubbish in comparison, I just didn't realise it until I tried this one. It's so easy to use and it just glides on with absolutely no clumping - you can go for ages building your lashes bigger and bigger before it starts to mash together. And it stays on... I found by the end of the day my other mascara used to leave black bits under my eyes; I just always assumed this was normal mascara behaviour, but with the L'Oreal there's absolutely no flaking or colour running. Even though it stays around all day it actually comes off so easy with water when in the shower (I don't use wipes anymore on my lashes - I pull too many out!) which is always a bonus. I'm completely sold on this mascara and can't see me ever going back to my previous one."

So it appears that JimJams is sold. Knowing what her lashes normally look like I can tell from the pictures that this gives a vast improvement on her normal eye makeup. I can tell that her lashes look longer, more defined and something LBQ would be proud of. I'm a bit jealous that I didn't get to try this myself now! Have you tried a L'Oreal Telescopic mascara? What did you think?

Available now priced £10.99
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