Bikini’s at the Ready

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┬áI am currently on hyper excitement mode for my up coming holiday, even though I’m not going until September I can’t help be really excited. Having already mentally packed most of my outfits the one huge hurdle yet to tackle is beachwear. Now it’s only July and most people I know tend to go away in July / August, yet can I find a bikini on the High Street? No. I really think retailers need to wise up to how people shop and stop trying to push us to buy out of season. Do I take any pleasure in rummaging for matching top and bottoms in River Islands sale mess? I do not. I turned to shopping online, which was better plenty of places still had stock and clicking away at the mouse was a lot less stressful.

In the midst of all this I was asked if I wanted to review the new Panache swimwear collection. I won’t like I literally squealed at this news. I already really like the brand, their molded t-shirt bras have been my go to for years so I knew I would be getting quality and most importantly properly fitted bikini tops. Nothing worse for us big busted girls than the meager offerings of a tiny triangle of fabric. I’ve been there done that with a boob flashing at the pool incident, yes I was mortified. Even more so because my parents found it hilarious and teased me about it the entire week. Ah teen angst! So to avoid more mental scarring I have never been all that adventurous in the swimwear department. I have one black cossie which I pull out should the chance of myself and a pool coming in contact ever crop up. Not really representing my fashion obsessed self I know. I’ve not been on a holiday for what feels like forever so this year I was determined to have a wow bikini.

Panach didn’t disappoint, they have a gorgeous range which included mix and match bikini tops and bottoms as well as swimsuits. The choice was so good I had trouble choosing and I am already planning going back to buy another. In the end I chose the Savannah Moulded Balconnet Bikini top and Savannah Folded pant.

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I thought it had a real pin-up style to it, with the wide straps and bow. The colours are nice and vibrant too. But of course the fit is what is most important. I can happily say I find the bikini top has the same fit as my other Panache bra which is great when shopping online. It is fully supporting and I will feel confidant swimming in this as well as lounging around by the pool. The bikini bottoms I would say fit on the small size, Im not sure if I should have gone a size up as they don’t quite sit right on me. I usually go for a high waist brief so it could just be the wrong style for me. Any way even if I just wear the top with shorts I will be more than happy as it is such a great fit. The do have a gorgeous high waist bikini in the Tallulah range which I am going to see if I can buy online, you can see the full range on the Panache website.

Savannah Moulded Balconnet Bikini Top and Folded Pant - Gypsy Print

┬áBecause they are all kinds of awesome I was also sent an amazing O.P.I Euro Central nail varnish set and some nail decal transfers from YRNails.com so I can create nail art to match my bikini, how cute is that! I didn’t want to open the nail varnishes, I wanted to save them for when I go away – yes I am THAT girl. But I did try out two of the decals, mainly because I wasn’t quite sure how they worked. Turns out they are super easy to use, my only tip would be to cut out as close as you can to the design as the backing is quite thick. I tried out the Palm tree and Butterfly designs on top of the mani-pedi I already had which is Chanel Frenzy and Azure. I think they are just perfect for the beach (and basically any other occasion), the Palm tree is my personal favourite. I also got Anchors and Bikinis which will be so much fun to try out.

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What do you think, have you tried out Panache?

Beauty: Easy Ombre Nail Art DIY featuring Illamasqua Speckled Varnishes

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You guys will probably say I am being all obsessive again, but when I find a brand I really love I get a bit carried away with it! I always say I’m not a huge beauty product buyer, but now my dressing table is fighting for space I think its time to admit, I have become a beauty junky. My main loves are always going to be Chanel for their nail colours and lipsticks, Benefit for their innovative products and Bobbi Brown for their sheer natural perfection and long wear products. But I have been getting into nail art lately, I blame Sharon1 nails taking me behind the scenes at London Fashion Week and getting into YouTube (a post on my fav channels to come). I think its the summer (well the thought of it), which really has me in the mood for some fun, bright and creative make up. I still love my classic red lips and slick of eye liner but it’s nice to try something different.

Yesterday afternoon @Illamasqua reached 50,000 Twitter followers and to celebrate they offered 50% off all products for a few hours! I really couldn’t believe it, so generous! Having only just discovered the brand there were a few products I had earmarked to go and check out next time I was at the counter, but I didn’t think I would ever get chance for such a high discount again so I snapped up a few things. Fighting the clock and the frustraitingly slow website, due to the amount of people on it, I had to check out before I added everything I wanted. I wanted to make sure I at least got soemthings. Then Illamasqua announced they would run the offer again at midnight for just one hour for those who missed out. This time I was prepared, I added items to my basket so that when the clock struck 12 I could just check out. There may have been a few extra items that crept into my basket!

How to Create Ombre Tips

Whilst I was waiting up for the sale to start I had a play around with the two new nail colours I got from Illamasqua earlier in the week. Speckle (Lilac) and Mottle (Mint Green) from the Speckled Egg inspired collection. This is such an easy manicure to do but it looks really striking, you can easily do this with any nail varnish too.

1. Apply Base Coat

2. Apply two coats of your first colour all over the nail

3. For you accent colour at the tips, make sure you wipe most of the varnish from the brush on the side of the bottle. Very little varnish is needed for this stage. Carefully, using tiny strokes, apply the varnish to the very tips of your nails. In fast strokes, keeping pressure light dab on the varnish to the tips, extending as far down as desired.

4. As the varnish dries it will blend together, I didn’t use a Topcoat as I like the matt textured effect of the varnish I used but you can choose to use Top Coat if you wish. Just be sure the bottom layers are dry first to avoid smudging.

You can play around with this effect, have cascading levels of colour or have them all the same length, try using three colours to build up the Ombre effect and so on.

TIP: If you are struggling to get the Ombre effect try using a sponge to apply the accent colour. You can lightly sponge the varnish onto the tips which will give you a softer application and be easier to blend.

 

 

 

Beauty: 18k Gold Nail Varnish – DIY or OPI?

After seeing my nails in my last post I got so many questions about them, were they a DIY or one of the expensive real gold nail varnishes?

Rarely for me they were a DIY! Ah now don’t get too excited it doesn’t end well – it never does. I first came across the gold leaf nail varnish when I saw the limited edition OPI ‘Man with the Golden Gun’ in honour of the new James Bond film. I tested it and was really taken with the shimmering, gold flakes – real 18k gold, but at ┬ú30 I was a bit hesitant about paying so much for a nail varnish, real gold or not. I went home and deliberated over it, agonised on Twitter where we debated trying it as a DIY.

Hmm I thought, lets see how much gold leaf costs – ┬ú2 for ten sheets of real 24k gold leaf, bargain. So I ordered it, it came, I scrunched it up, cut it into tiny pieces with sharp scissors, used a folded sheet of card as a funnel to pour it into a bottle of spare clear top coat, poked it in with the brush, gave it a good shake and that was it, simples! I painted it on and the results you can see on my nails above.

As you know I suck big time at DIY, so I was amazed I’d managed to pull this off. About an hour later I went to get my newly made nail polish to show off and erm it was starting to turn green. Yep that’s right real gold leaf dissolves in nail polish, in fact it totally dissolved over night and left me with a green lagoon coloured varnish yuck! I scoped around online to see if anyone else had managed to pull this off and there is a light at the end of the tunnel. You can do this so long as you use fake gold nail art foil and not real gold leaf foil, the fake gold foil doesn’t dissolve woop! But if you are a bit like me and find the beauty in this being the sheer luxury of having real gold on your nails there still is another DIY option. Cut up the gold leaf and just sprinkle it onto the nail, you can use a clear base coat or a colour, the leaf will stick to dry polish so let it dry or it gets messy, sprinkle it on and press down – I just used my fingers but you could use tweezers, then use a clear top coat to seal the gold onto the nail. This is what I did on my toes below, over Chanel ‘Rouge Carat’.

The DIY’s were very easy to do and they achieved a nice larger piece effect – you could cut smaller if you wanted to, I also think it would be great if you wanted to cover the whole nail. Whilst I was on ebay I managed to snag an OPI polish for half price, because by then I really wanted to try it for comparison. You can see the OPI varnish in the first photo over Chanel ‘Blue Satin’. The OPI is a richer, warmer toned gold and is in smaller pieces than my own DIY, the flakes sit flat on the nail bed but I put a clear top coat over to seal it. As the bottle is opaque it is hard to see how much you are getting onto the brush, so be sure to give it a good mix up. You can also use the brush to move the pieces around if you end up with a bald patch and of course layer it up for a more dramatic effect. I have to say I really do love the OPI and I think it is worth the money, however this is such an easy DIY if you only want to spend ┬ú2 then go for it. I will be trying out some different looks with the OPI and the DIY. Yes, I did wear my OPI to go see Skyfall, I confess!

Which do you prefer OPI or DIY?