Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Liebster Award

Let me start off by saying that before yesterday I had no idea what the Liebster (not to be mistaken with lobster!) Award was - in fact I'd never even heard of it before!  From the little bit of Googling that I did on it, the Liebster Award is essentially an award/nomination given to a blog with under 200 followers via another blogger. 

I would just like to say a massive thanks to Erica and Liv who both nominated me, I would also like to encourage anyone reading this to check out Erica's and Liv's awesome blogs because they're kind of amazing and so much fun to read! 

So the rules of the Liebster Award are pretty simple (thank goodness!) and they are:
  1. You must list eleven facts about yourself.
  2. You must answer the eleven questions given to you by the blogger who has nominated you.
  3. You need to write eleven brand new questions.
  4. You then have to nominate eleven other bloggers who have under 200 followers to answer your questions. 
  5. Finally, you then must let your blog nominees know that they have been nominated.
Now because I've been nominated by two bloggers, I'm going to try and do it all in one blog post rather than two incredibly similar blog posts as that would seem a little pointless and incredibly dull for you, the reader! 

Here we go!

My eleven facts:
  1. I hate bananas, I hate whipped cream (unless it has brandy in it) and I hate toffee but I LOVE bannoffee pie.  It makes no sense.
  2. I still love Roald Dahl books (even though I'm a little bit past the target age demographic).
  3. I once waved at Ben Elton going down the tube station escalators and he did the thumbs-up sign at me.  It was great.  Trust me.
  4. I must watch Home Alone on Christmas Eve every year.
  5. I hate the cold.
  6. I find doing nail art really therapeutic and relaxing.
  7. A cup of tea and a Tim Tam have the ability to cheer me up in seconds.
  8. I was introduced to Chicken Shawarmas whilst I was out in Qatar and not a day goes by when I don't crave them.
  9. I will never stop loving Australia.  If I could live out there then I would.
  10. I will never sing Christmas songs until it's December as someone once told me that it was unlucky and it has stuck with me ever since.
  11. I still don't know the words to Auld Lang Syne which always makes New Years Eve very awkward for me every year.

Erica/ Kinky Curly ME's questions with my answers:
  1. What inspires your Blog? It can be anything from what I've done that week to something someone has said to me or just what's on my mind that day.
  2. What is your favourite beauty item? It has to be Chanel's Le Volume de Chanel mascara, it's my HG mascara and just incredible at lengthening and volumising lashes.
  3. How old are you? 24........I'm getting on a bit.
  4. How long have you been blogging? Since my second or third year of uni so probably about 4(ish) years now.
  5. Favourite pair of shoes? Probably my Converse sneakers.
  6. Favourite accessory? A big, chunky, statement necklace.
  7. What scares you most? Spiders.
  8. Favourite lip balm? Strawberry Chapstick - which is a mission to find these days, Sainsbury's seems to be the only place that stocks Chapstick now!
  9. Dogs or cats? Cats. Obviously - I mean, look at my last blog post, it pretty much sums my answer up!
  10. What's your favourite Handbag designer? Either Chanel or Lulu Guinness.
  11. Favourite makeup brand? I'm going to go with Benefit as I appear to have quite a few Benefit products in my makeup bag so they must be doing something right!

Liv/ Perfectly Popcorn's questions with my answers:
  1. What do you prefer: Reading a book or watching a film? Reading a book.
  2. Do you have a favourite actor or actress? I mean, there's a lot to choose from but the other day I watched a Reese Witherspoon film and it reminded me how much I love her so I'm just going to choose her for now.
  3. Who is the person who inspires you most? I don't think I have a person who inspires me the most.  My Mum, Dad and brother always inspire me in that no matter what, there is always humour around us and we can make each other laugh - I'm afraid that that's as close to an answer as I can get.
  4. What is your favourite makeup brand? Benefit is probably the brand that I buy from the most so I guess subconsciously that makes it my favourite brand, right?
  5. What bloggers/vloggers do you read/watch/stalk the most? Probably Zoella, and not just because I love her blog and vlogs but also because it's inspiring to see how much can be achieved from blogging.
  6. Who is your OTP (One True Pair)?  Ok, so I had to Google what OTP meant with this question and then hit up the Urban Dictionary, I'm so down with the kids.  Clearly.  So, my answer would have to be Buffy and Angel.       
  7. What high end fashion brand would you love to be at the FROW of at their next fashion show? Either Elie Saab or Moschino, I couldn't possibly choose between the two! 
  8. In a book/film/TV show, would you rather be the main character's best friend who gets killed off within the first 3 episodes, or the main character's arch enemy? I'd rather be the arch enemy as, let's be honest, I'd like to last longer than 3 episodes and also because who's to say that it's not the main character who's the bad guy/villain in this scenario, just because I'm the arch enemy doesn't mean that I can't be the 'goodie' and save the day!
  9. What is the "nerdiest" aspect about yourself? I have a couple of graphic novels (*cough* comic books) in my possession. 
  10. Do you have any aspirations for when you're older? As long as I'm happy and still writing then those are all the aspirations I need!
  11. What's the biggest problem that you've had to overcome? I think being away from home for my first year of uni was something that I struggled with but after I settled in it was all good.
Now it's time for my eleven questions for my Liebster Award nominees:
  1. If you could live in any country in the future, where do you see yourself living?
  2. Where was the last place you went on holiday?
  3. What is your favourite film?
  4. What is the best thing about yourself?
  5. What was the last book you read?
  6. Who is your favourite fashion designer?
  7. What is your HG (Holy Grail) beauty product?
  8. Why did you decide to start a blog?
  9. Shorts or skirts?
  10. Who is your style icon?
  11. What's your favourite perfume?
My Eleven Nominees are:
Thanks so much again to Erica (Kinky Curly ME) and Liv (Perfectly Popcorn) again for the nominations and also big thanks to my nominees for creating such incredible blogs that brighten up my day!
Amanda x

Monday, 25 August 2014

Cats and Cakes

I am the first to admit that my Instagram posts are probably 60% cat-related, 30% nail art-related and just 10% randomness so having focused heavily on nail art recently, I figure that it's only right that I acknowledge that sneaky (or not-so-sneaky) 60% love of mine - CATS.

Cake time!

Cats, I love them, and not just because I'm single, my relationship status has no bearing on the fact that fundamentally, I always have and always will be a crazy cat lady and I'm very much ok with that.  Cats are just cute and cuddly and oh-so-sassy, and being sassy is possibly the best attribute to have in life whether you're a cat OR a human. 

Today, like the crazy, living-life-on-the-edge kind of person that I am, I spent the bank holiday at the Cats Protection League National Cat Centre where not only do they have, well, cats, but also a café with some of the most delicious homemade cakes ever.  I got to not only dramatically increase my daily calorie intake thanks to one incredibly indulgent piece of chocolate cake but also go around the centre and look at all the kitties.  There were SO many kittens that I very nearly passed out from an overload of cuteness and the adult cats were equally as adorable.  To be honest, if I had a big enough house then I would probably have adopted all the cats there (which wouldn't be a great idea as cats tend to dislike each other. See what I mean? SASSY!).

So sassy!
If you're looking to adopt a cat or a kitten then I would really encourage you to visit the Cats Protection League (and not just because of the cake......although it certainly doesn't hurt!). 

So there you have it, a day full of cats and cake - what more could you want in life?! Unless you're a dog lover on a diet and in that case - what the hell are you doing reading this?!

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Nail Update: Summer, glitter and sparkles!

So last week I was working the black gloopy nail art look which I absolutely loved, in fact I loved the gloopy factor so much so that this week I decided to update this nail art design and give it a more summery twist by swapping black for pink, glitter and sparkles!

Check it out my lovelies:

I can't help but smile when I look at these - is that a bit weird?

This design is not only cute but also pretty damn easy to do so it ticks all those pesky nail art boxes!

If you're interested (and I'm naively assuming you are seeing as you've read this far!), here's everything that I used for this look (minus the nail glue which I threw away because I used it all up):

(Top to bottom, left to right: nail diamante pin wheel (purchased from New Look but there are loads of these available on eBay), cosmetic sponge. Nail polishes (left to right): OPI Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener, Seche Vite Dry Fast Top Coat, Maybelline Color Show Nail Polish (shade - Sugar Crystals), Models Own Nail Polish (shade - Snowflakes NP145), Bourjois So Laque! Ultra Shine Nail Polish (shade - Rosé Merveille 45), Barry M Nail Paint (shade - Matt White 66). Nail art brushes both purchased via eBay).

To create this look start off with a base coat, I used OPI's Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener  which is my standard base coat because it keeps my nails nice and strong.  Then for all the nails except your ring fingers, apply one coat of Maybelline's Color Show Nail Polish in the shade Sugar Crystals followed by two coats of Model's Own Nail Polish in the shade Snowflakes NP145.  While your nails are drying move onto your ring fingers and apply two coats of the Bourjois So Laque! Ultra Shine Nail Polish in the shade Rosé Merveille 45 and leave to dry whilst going back to the rest of your nails you painted earlier.

Using a thin nail art brush, apply the same Bourjois nail polish used on your ring fingers along the tips of your nails creating French tips.  Once done, use an even thinner nail art brush (you'll want this for the precision of your 'gloops') and paint in your 'gloops' and connect them to the French tips you just painted on. 

Going back to your ring fingers, make sure that they are completely dry and if so, grab a cosmetic sponge and dab a little bit of Barry M's Nail Polish in the shade Matt White 66 onto the sponge and then blot it onto some kitchen roll, tissue or tin foil and carefully dab it onto the tips of your nails working down to create a subtle ombre/dip dye effect.  Once your happy with your ombre effect, then apply Seche Vite's Dry Fast Top Coat to blend the white and pink nail polish together even more so.  Then apply the same top coat to the rest of your nails.

To finish off, grab a selection of diamantes for your two ring fingers and using some nail glue apply the diamantes to your ring finger nails.  Finish off with a final application of your top coat and you're all done! 

I hope my explanation made sense, I'm one of those people that has a tendency to waffle on a bit so it can be a real mission for me to explain something relatively simple without making it sound incredibly complicated and daunting.

Well, there you have it, a simple guide to some super summery and sparkly nail art - let me know what you think!

I could stare at these all day!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Black Gloopy Nails

Anybody for some black gloopy nails?  Yes?  Fab!  Imagine how awkward that could have been if you'd said no?!

I'm going to be honest with you here, these are probably one of my best nail art designs that I've done in terms of neatness so please recognise that when you see the pics and gasp in admiration at my unrivalled nail art skills.  Also, in case you hadn't noticed, this new 'neatness' skill may have gone to my head just a little bit so apologies for that.

What's that I hear? 'Amanda, please tell us what inspired your black gloopy nails?' - Well of course, I'd be happy to!  I'll try and keep this brief because I have a tendency to ramble when writing about nail art.  So this nail art design was inspired by Supernatural, if that means nothing to you other than ghosts and stuff then let's just pause for a moment whilst myself and everyone else around the world feels extremely embarrassed for your ignorance regarding this matter.  If the names Sam and Dean Winchester, Bobby Singer, Castiel or Crowley simply pass you by without the slightest bit of recognition then, well, you should be incredibly ashamed of yourself.  Oh and I should probably mention that it's a TV series (just in case you hadn't picked up on that) and I should also add that it's pretty great.

Now I do have something somewhat shameful to admit about this TV series - I somehow managed to end up about 4 seasons behind and I'm not quite sure how it happened.  OK, so that's a lie, I kind of know how it happened - basically, I went to uni and I didn't exactly forget about it but I found that I had no time to fit it in around my social life and workload.  Again, that's no excuse but let's also factor in the fact that in order to watch Supernatural, I had to borrow the series from my brother which I just kept forgetting to do.  This all changed though last week when I was ill and kind of pathetic and feeling sorry for myself whilst being confined to my bed.  Bored and with nothing to do, the thought hit me - 'Amanda, now is the PERFECT time to catch up on Supernatural, you can do this, you can TOTALLY do this!' - and I did!  I had since borrowed the series off my brother and had it at my disposal to watch so like the pro that I was, I speedily ploughed my way through season 6 and just yesterday finished season 7.  Yay me!  The only problem now is that I don't have season 8 and season 9 won't be released on DVD in the UK until October so I still have two more seasons to catch up on and I'm craving it so badly.  It's fine though, I can handle the Supernatural craving because I'm actually pretty tough - one time I got stung by a bee and didn't even cry, that's how tough I am.

Ok, so back to the nails - I knew I'd get side-tracked!  Basically, these black gloopy nails were inspired by Supernatural's season 7 title sequence, which looks like this:

 Pretty gloopy, right?  Not quite as gloopy as my nail art though (does that mean I win?):

I'm really enjoying how shiny these look!

All that I used for this nail art design was two nail art brushes (which you can get super cheap off eBay), OPI's Original Nail Envy Nail Strengthener as my base coat, one coat of Maybelline's Color Show nail polish in the shade 'Sugar Crystals' as my base colour, Barry M's Nail Paint in the shade '47 Black' for my gloopy design and Seche Vite's Dry Fast Top Coat.  I discovered that this was a really quick nail art process which made me incredibly happy.  All I did was apply my base coat and base colour, I then used my slightly thicker nail art brush and painted over the whites of my nails with the black nail polish giving myself black French tips and then using the thinner nail art brush for precision, I painted in the drippy gloops and then finished with my top coat and that was it.  Pretty simple, huh?

Nail Art Tools

Ok, so I think I'm done here - feel free to brighten up my day by letting me know what you think about this nail art design or anything else covered in this blog post, you lovely bunch of people!      

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

I Am Not Kryptonite

I'm a pretty easy going person, I go with the flow, get on with what needs to be done and just, well, do it.  Sometimes though, I think people get muddled up and confuse 'going with the flow' with 'pushover and/or doormat', or at least this is what I've been finding lately.

There are and have been people in my life who have this expectation of me to drop everything for them without making a fuss.  'Making a fuss' is not my style, which they know all too well and which I think at times, they take advantage of.  The thing is, I do go with the flow, I can admit that, because I like being there for people and helping them out if or when they need it.  This being said, I am only human and therefore can't always drop everything just to suit someone else.  That's why on the rare occasions when I don't go with the flow and say 'no', certain people don't react well because they've become so accustomed to me saying 'yes'. 

Now me being the 'going with the flow' type, I always say 'no' in the nicest way possible, I don't shout or say it rudely, I simply say 'no', give my (legitimate, may I add!) reason and apologise - but this is not enough for some people.  Some people expect me to grovel or rearrange my life just to accommodate their own, which, I mean, come on - would they do the same for me?  Probably not, and they know that all too well but they like the power.  The power to know that they have some element of control over me and when they realise that in fact the power isn't there and was never really there in the first place, well, they can't really handle that because power is what makes them feel popular and gives their self-esteem, confidence and ego a real boost. 

We all like to feel powerful, don't get me wrong, but that power shouldn't come from someone else.  If your power is based on someone else then you become too self-reliant on other people to make yourself feel good, so that when you lose that power over someone then suddenly you don't feel so great about yourself because things haven't gone your way.  When I feel powerful, it's not through exerting (or attempting to) exert power over someone else, it comes down to achieving personal goals, from the simplest and most ridiculous thing such as doing 100 skips with the skipping rope (honestly, in that moment,  I felt like Thor and I was surprised when I looked in the mirror afterwards and didn't see Chris Hemsworth's scarily attractive appearance peeking back at me!) or when I won the French prize when I was in year 9 at school.  Even writing this blog post, right now, makes me feel powerful and that's because I am taking control of MY life and no one else's. 

The truth is, these 'powerful' individuals who think that they can control you, will in truth never really be able to do that because they aren't powerful, they possess a weak power, a power reliant on other people - there's no strength to that and it will inevitably crumble. 

Everyone should feel powerful but it shouldn't be dependent on other people, that's not true power.  True power comes from self-belief and yourself and nobody else (I am aware that that sounds incredibly cheesy but it's also incredibly true.).

So yes, I may go with the flow but that doesn't mean that you can control me because I am powerful, I just don't drain other people for it. I am not kryptonite. 

Monday, 11 August 2014

Eye-Catching Nail Art

It's pretty obvious by now that I'm partial to a bit of nail art, it's kind of my obsession.  If I had it my way I would get my nails done every week at WAH Nails and be some kind of nail-art-wielding legend.  However, a weekly trip to WAH Nails is just not possible - mostly due to the fact that it would be INSANELY expensive (if worth it) but there is no way that I could justify spending that much money on my nails on a weekly/fortnightly or even monthly basis.   

(If you want to know how much I really love WAH Nails then check out the piece I wrote about them for LiveLikeAVIP.com by clicking here).

Anyway, since a regular visit to WAH Nails is not an option for me, it leaves me with no choice but to wipe away those self-pitying tears and do my own nail art - which I do actually enjoy so it's not really that big of a deal (sorry, I'll admit it, I was just trying to get sympathy before!).

In my last post 'Guardians of the Galaxy European Premiere' I forgot to mention how I styled out my nails for the film premiere (I think I was a bit overexcited about the whole situation so my nail art didn't even get a look-in and for which I can only apologise as I have not only let myself down but also all the other nail art enthusiasts around the world - forgive me? Cool. Thanks. I knew you would.). 

The nail art that I opted for didn't really have much to do with Guardians of the Galaxy or any relevance to the Marvel franchise BUT it was bright and in your face which I felt was appropriate for cruising down a red (or blue) carpet.  I went for an eye-inspired nail design which took me about 4 hours to do - I know that some people may think that that's a crazy amount of time to spend on your nails but let's bear in mind that I was watching TV at the same time plus I find doing nail art quite therapeutic so 4 hours of it doesn't really bother me.  Wow, that was a long sentence.  Now that we've covered the fact that 4 hours is a long (but therapeutic) amount of time to spend on your nails, let's check out the finished result:

Eye can see yoooooou!
What do you think - eye-catching enough? (I'm really sorry, I'll quit with the eye puns!).  Drop me a comment and let me know.................or don't and just send me some good vibes - I'll take what I can get!