Friday, 31 October 2014

Manicure Truths From A Non-Expert

One of my manicures as seen on my Instagram page

Hey there!  Hope you are all well.  As someone who has always enjoyed maintaining the health and look of her nails, I figured it would only make sense to write about my learnings regarding the topic of manicures.  Over the years, I have read many a blog claiming to know the "tricks" or "secrets" to a long-lasting, easy-to-do manicure.  After trying most of these suggestions, I now know which ones are true and which ones are definitely false.  Here are my findings --

Rounded tips prolong a manicure | So very true!  If you want your nails to remain chip-free for longer, shape them so that the edges are rounded with no sharp corners.  Nails that are square tend to get chipped sooner due to corners being exposed to wear and tear.

Applying a base coat will help nail polish adhere to nails better | In my experience, I cannot confidently say that this is true.  I find that adding a base coat plus two coats of colour then a top coat only thickens the manicure, causing the polish to bubble and take longer to dry, thus increasing the risk of accidental dents or imprints.  Nail varnish also has a tendency to chip or peel off easier if it is too thick.

A good top coat will provide longer-lasting nails | Yes! But I must emphasise the "good" part.  Many nail professionals advise you to use a fast-drying top coat.  Having tried this myself, I find that these products only serve to harden the outer layer of polish, leaving nails prone to dents if accidentally bumped.  Also, the quick-dry variety doesn't give nails the gloss and enduring shine that slow-drying top coats do.

Nails will set instantly if sprayed with cooking oil | False! This supposed breakthrough tip found on many modern blogs is, with want of a better term, complete hooey.  The first time I read about this, I was so excited that I immediately tried it out.  You can imagine how disappointed I was when I realised it wasn't true.  The science of it makes sense - newly applied nail polish is sticky to the touch, so spraying a non-stick oil on top will make the surface slick and hence less likely to smudge.  It doesn't, however, dry nails completely as claimed.  Nails will get dented and ruined if you go about your business even after spraying with cooking oil.  It's just a fact.  Sorry.

Nails will set instantly if plunged into ice water | Another false tip.  As mentioned above, yes the outer layer of your manicure will harden slightly, but this doesn't completely set it as a whole.  Again, sorry.

Thin layers of polish will last longer | Hell yeah! Two thin layers of colour applied with two minutes between coats then left to dry naturally for 30 minutes before a thin layer of top-coat, is by far the best way to ensure a long-lasting manicure.

Roll don't shake | So many blogs advise you that it is better to roll a bottle of polish between your hands as opposed to shaking it, before application.  I can honestly tell you, that it makes absolutely no difference whatsoever.  Shaking is said to make polish uneven and harder to apply.  I have yet to experience this.  If anything, I find that shaking the bottle loosens varnish, especially if it has been sitting on the shelf for a while.

Here's hoping you have found my personal experiences helpful to your own manicure journeys.  One more suggestion I'd like to make, has probably been the most effective strategy for me, and that is to paint your nails before bed.  This is so they have overnight to dry completely.  Of course you will need to ensure you sleep with your hands exposed so as not to get imprints and smudges in polish.  I have successfully done my nails like this for years and can confidently say that it works!

 photo BlogSignature_zps25af5ec1.jpg

Wednesday, 29 October 2014

An Honest Look Inside My Handbag

My handbag - real or fake? I'll let you decide

Since beginning my adventures in the big wide world of blogging, I have noticed that there are many similarities between those that I have read.  One such similarity, is that people seem to enjoy sharing what lurks within their personal handbag.

Whilst I have thoroughly enjoyed snooping into others' bags of goodies, most of which contain items that make one feel either, claw-her-eyes-out-jealous or does-she-really-carry-that-around? skeptical, I thought I would do my very own "What's In My Handbag" post.  WARNING: Nothing too interesting to see here...

  1. A Purse -- used for holding various items including money notes, coins, bank cards, drivers licences, sentimental photos, random dockets or scraps of paper that need to be shoved somewhere or other.
  2. A Mobile Phone -- historically used for phoning, but now basically manages every possible aspect of a human's life.
  3. An Umbrella -- a very handy device for preventing one from getting soaked in the rain or from one's eyebrows falling off.
  4. A Pen -- a clever little invention which uses ink to make marks on paper if one wishes to either write or draw.  This particular specimen however, is particularly useful as it also includes a rubber tip on the opposite end called a stylus.
  5. Tissues -- light-weight and paper-thin, these marvellous treasures can be used for a number of things ranging from absorbing snotty noses to transforming Cup As to Cup Cs.
  6. Mints -- small lolly-like lozenges intended to prevent one from being known as "that person with the foul breath.
  7. Nurofen tablets -- instant pain relief in a pill.  Good for headaches caused by too much blog reading.
  8. Earphone Box -- used for preventing earphone cords from tangling every other item in your bag up into one big ball.
  9. Band Aides -- self-adhesive strips used for any bloody accident that may come your way or, in times of desperation, nipple covers (don't pretend like you've never done it).
  10. Lipstick -- a breakthrough discovery in Beauty that, when applied to the lips, makes even the least-attractive person feel good about themselves.
  11. Hand-held Mirror -- a small portable reflective device commonly used for checking one's face throughout the day.  Also very handy for post-lunch teeth checks, especially if asparagus was involved. 
So there you have it folks.  These are just a few of the must-have items I carry in my handbag. Not as glamorous as some of yours, but very practical to me.  

 photo BlogSignature_zps25af5ec1.jpg

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Halloween | My Horror Movie Picks

"There's a hole in the world like a big black pit,
who are filled with people,
who are filled with shit"

- Stephen Sondheim, Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

As Halloween 2014 fast approaches, I thought I would post a few of my favourite horror movies for those considering staying in for a night of terror viewing.

Anyone who has seen Sweeney Todd the musical or the Tim Burton motion picture, will be familiar with the above quote.  When I first saw this movie I was instantly impressed.  Having been a Burton fan all my life, I had high expectations for this film.  So I was really happy when it lived up to them. In fact, I enjoyed Sweeney Todd so much that I saw it twice in the cinemas and, as you can see, now own it on DVD.

With a quality cast including Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman and Sacha Baron Cohen, Sweeney Todd follows the story of a wronged barber who returns to his hometown seeking revenge on those responsible for ruining his life.  Filled with catchy musical numbers, bloody throat-slitting scenes and memorable performances, this movie will go down in history as a cult classic with Burton fans.

Along with Sweeney Todd, I also recommend the following horror flicks --

Sleepy Hollow | Another Tim Burton movie starring Johnny Depp and Christina Ricci.  Depp plays Constable Icabod Crane who is sent to the isolated town of Sleepy Hollow to investigate a number of grisly murders whereby three corpses were found decapitated.  This is another film I can watch over and over.  Burton draws the viewer into a dreamy atmosphere with haunting imagery and Depp's character carries the story along nicely with charming wit.  Those of you who have heard the tale of the headless horseman will enjoy this movie, especially with Christopher Walken's performance as the ill-fated villain.

Insidious | Written by Leigh Whannell and directed by James Wan, the duo who brought us Saw, Insidious stars Patrick Wilson and Rose Byrne with a cameo from Whannell himself.  This movie delves into the mystery of OBEs (Out of Body Experiences) and is the first of its kind, as no other horror film has been made about this subject.  A family finds itself haunted by malevolent entities when one of the sons' OBEs opens the door between the worlds of the living and of the dead. Insidious keeps the viewer watching with its effective scoring and editing.  I would also recommend Insidious Chapter 2 if you enjoyed this first film.

The Conjuring | This movie was released at a time when a genuinely scary horror movie had been lacking for what seemed an eternity.  I cannot say enough about The Conjuring.  Written by Chad Hayes and Carey W. Hayes, with James Wan directing, this film looks at one particular experience by real-life ghost hunters, Ed and Lorraine Warren, played by Patrick Wilson and Vera Farmiga respectively.  Wan's uncanny ability to create creepiness and pee-your-pants moments that everyone can relate to, makes The Conjuring so very successful as a horror movie of today.  If you are a horror freak like me, who actually enjoys the feeling of being scared, watch this movie!

Dead Silence | If movies like Child's Play and Puppet Master are your thing, then this is a film you'll probably enjoy.  Again, written by Leigh Whannell and James Wan, who also directed, Dead Silence tells the tale of Mary Shaw and her "children", the many ventriloquist dummies she made and used in her stage shows.  As predicted, these dolls are capable of plenty more than their intended use. Starring Ryan Kwanten and Donnie Wahlberg, Dead Silence has many a creepy scene and a pretty good twist at the end too.

The Grudge | This American adaptation of the Japanese cult classic, Ju-on, explores the formidable consequences of human and supernatural rage.  With original director, Takashi Shimizu behind the lens, The Grudge stars Sarah Michelle Gellar, Bill Pullman, Jason Behr, Clea DuVall and Ted Raimi. Takako Fuji plays the film's merciless antagonist.  This is another movie that will give you genuine chills as Shimizu maintains tension throughout the story by scaring the viewer at unexpected times.  I also recommend The Grudge 2 to those who enjoyed this first offering.

The Ring | Originally a Japanese horror cult classic (Ringu) by Hideo Nakata, The Ring is the American remake by Gore Verbinski, starring Naomi Watts and Martin Henderson.  Focussing on the deadly effects of a mysterious video tape, this movie draws the viewer into the mind of Samara, a young girl killed by her adopted mother for possessing extraordinary abilities.  The Ring takes you on a chilling journey of discovery as you learn about the connection between Samara and the tape.  With disturbing imagery and compelling performances, this movie is a must for anyone who considers themselves a horror junkie.  I also enjoyed The Ring 2.

If you do choose to watch some of the movies suggested here, I hope you find them as spook-tacular as I did.  Have a fun and safe Halloween everyone!

 photo BlogSignature_zps25af5ec1.jpg

Sunday, 26 October 2014

My New Phone | The Nokia Lumia 1320

Hi guys! A few weeks ago, my mobile contract ended and so I decided it was time to also get a new phone.  My old one, a Samsung Galaxy S3 (which I LOVE) had been giving problems lately, so I sadly conceded that it had to be changed.  After a lot of research online, I set my eyes on this big boy -- the Nokia Lumia 1320.  For those who are not yet familiar with this Windows phone, here are some stats for you:
  • 6 inch screen (hello phablet!), with a display resolution of HD720 (1280x720)
  • Dimensions are: H 164.2mm  W 85.9mm  Thickness 9.8mm  Weight  220g
  • Super-sensitive touch screen sensitivity
  • 5MP main camera sensor
  • Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor
  • Battery capacity: 3400 mAh
  • Max standby time: 28 days 
  • Max talk time: 25 hours
  • Max music playback time: 98 hours
  • Max video playback: 9 hours
  • Max internet browsing time: 11.5 hours
  • 8 GB memory with an expandable memory size of 64 GB
Needless to say, there are A LOT of reasons to like this baby.  The main thing that impressed me was its battery.  Having had both Apple and Android phones in the past, I had always had issues with batteries.  Either they didn't provide me with the longevity I needed or they purely played up. Remember how I said my Galaxy S3 was giving problems?  Well, it was its battery -- it would charge extra slowly or not at all sometimes.  And when it did charge fully, the battery depleted in a couple of hours even though I hardly used it. 

Since buying my Nokia, however, I have experienced the complete opposite.  I cannot rave enough about the battery power in this phone! Like most people, I charge my mobile overnight.  In the morning, say around 7am, I unplug it and it is at 100%.  Throughout the day, I use my phone generously with emailing, messaging, taking photos, surfing the web and making phone calls.  By the end of the day, around 10pm, the battery is still at 61%! Amazing!! 

So, what apps do I have on my Nokia? 

Plus others in the Apps Menu...

Windows phones are not difficult to get use to.  Unlike Apple and Android ones, the home screen is made up of live tiles which display the number of notifications on them when you get alerts.  You also have the option of making the tiles transparent if you'd like to set a photo as your wallpaper, as shown on my phone.  Yes, it's Justin Timberlake.  For those of you who know me personally, I know it is so unlike me, but I recently went to his concert and am now kinda in love with him, so stop laughing *giggle giggle* 

If I had to find something negative about the Nokia Lumia 1320, it would have to be the Windows App Store.  Whilst it includes most of the common apps found in the Apple Store and Google Play, there are certain ones that are noticeably absent.  Hopefully, however, Microsoft will improve this feature in the future.

Finding a cover for my new Nokia was also hard.  For whatever reason, none of the places I looked in had any, so I had to shop online.  I bought the cover below for $4 (Woop!) And delivery was free too (Woop!) So, I'm kind of glad I didn't find one in a local store as they are usually at least $20.

All in all, I am very content with my new phone and highly recommend it to anyone thinking of going Windows.  If you have any questions please feel free to ask me!

 photo BlogSignature_zps25af5ec1.jpg

Saturday, 25 October 2014

Annabelle (2014) | My Review

As a fan of James Wan, the man who brought us Saw, Dead Silence, Insidious and The Conjuring, I was absolutely ecstatic when I heard he was making a film about Annabelle, the creepy-as-hell doll introduced in The Conjuring

Annabelle the doll as seen in The Conjuring

Annabelle tells the story of a couple in 1967, John (Ward Horton) and Mia (Annabelle Wallis), who begin experiencing supernatural occurrences after their home is broken into by a duo of satanic cultists. Annabelle, the doll given to Mia as a gift from her husband, develops terrifying abilities which antagonise the couple and their newborn baby.   

The film is typical of Wan, known for his ability to unnervingly exact fear from his viewers through effective use of music and editing.  There are quite a few jump-scare moments in this movie (as evidenced by the people sitting in front and behind me in the cinema).  It also manages to maintain your level of unease through a number of anxiety-building scenes, for instance, the basement elevator sequence.  Horton and Wallis' performances are believable as they uncover the truth behind their evil doll.  

Given the fact that Annabelle is based on an actual doll believed to be possessed, it delivers on the thrills and chills.  The only negative thing I can say about the movie is that, unlike its predecessor The Conjuring, Annabelle doesn't quite manage to continue its psychological affect on the viewer afterwards.  That said, I still enjoyed watching this movie and recommend it to anyone who is a horror fan.

The real Annabelle doll with its keeper, Lorraine Warren

Annabelle is kept in the Warren's Occult Museum 

 photo BlogSignature_zps25af5ec1.jpg

Friday, 24 October 2014

Recent Buys

Shampoo Brush | $2.80 

This little pink gadget is meant for massaging your scalp when shampooing your hair, however the reason I bought it was to save my nail polish from chipping.  It is made from a flexible silicone which feels quite nice on your scalp without any harsh scratching.  The ergonomic handle also makes using this device very easy.  Washing my hair just got a little more exciting. Haha.

Hair ties | $2.80

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for cuteness.  So, it was only natural that I couldn't go pass buying these gorgeous little hair ties.  Yes, they are meant for kids, but who isn't a big kid at heart, right? I don't usually wear my hair up, however I may be doing so a little more often now that I have these! Kawaii!!

Simple Shine Control Moisturiser | $7.99

This is the first Simple product that I've ever tried and I must say, my initial impression of it is pretty good.  As someone who has relatively sensitive skin, most moisturisers that I use which claim to control shine, usually leave some kind of residue after application and also tend to make my skin feel tight.  This particular cream from Simple, however, had none of these side-effects! My face felt nourished and normal after applying it.  Although I feel that it hasn't really been successful in keeping my face oil-free, I will continue to use it purely as a moisturiser, as it definitely hydrates my skin in a gentle way.

Cat collar | $2.80

Selene playing with her toys in her new collar

A fancy new collar for Selene! Doesn't she look adorable in it? I don't usually put collars on her as she is a house cat, however, I couldn't help putting this one on.  I was a little hesitant to as I thought the little ribbon would be annoying for her, however she seems to be ok with it.  Love my little princess!

 photo BlogSignature_zps25af5ec1.jpg

Add Moi!

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Hey y'all! I am now a member, so if you would like to follow me, my username is --


 photo BlogSignature_zps25af5ec1.jpg

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

A Few Products I Use | My views

Rimmel Face Primer | $12.75

I recently began using this primer and I have to say, it is by far the best one I've tried so far.  I have oily skin with a number of marks from spots and I find that this product evens out my complexion as well as keeps the shine at bay.  You can wear it alone or under your foundation.  Personally, I just wear it on its own as it is lightly tinted and seems to blend in quite well with my natural skin tone. This primer has a fluid consistency and is very easy to apply.  It lasts the whole day and does not transfer which is a plus.  I would highly recommend you try this product if you have a similar complexion to me.

Natio Eyebrow Kit | $19.95

I have been using this particular kit for a couple of years now and it still hasn't run out! What great worth for your dollar! As you can see, it comes with two shades of brown powder - the lighter shade is for filling in your brows whilst the darker one is for defining the lower outline. It also comes with wax for holding hairs in place and for sealing your work.  I love how Natio have included a built-in mirror, perfect for touch-ups on the go.  Whilst the included tweezers, brow brush and dual-ended applicator are wonderful, I tend to use my own eyebrow brush to apply the powder out of personal preference. All in all, a really fine product which I will continue to use.

                                               Garnier BB Cream | $13.99

Before I discovered Rimmel's Fix and Perfect Primer, I used this BB Cream as my daily makeup.  I found the consistency of this product nice and velvety and applied pretty well.  This particular variety is for Oily/Combination skin and leaves you with a light matte finish.  Whilst my skin remained fairly shine-free for a couple of hours after application, I found that I still needed to dab oil from my face a few times throughout the day. I also noticed that after removing the cream after a day's wear, my skin developed slightly red, patchy splotches here and there.  If you have sensitive skin, I wouldn't recommend this product.  At the moment, I tend to use this just as a concealer on stubborn spots as it has nice coverage.  

Thanks for reading and I hope this has helped you in choosing your beauty products. 

 photo BlogSignature_zps25af5ec1.jpg