Monday, 17 October 2016

A First Impressions Post

Hi everyone! I'm really sorry about the lack of posts and interaction recently. A few weeks ago I got a chest infection, and even now after being on antibiotics I still feel like rubbish really. I've still got an awful hacking cough aswell, and that's after trying all the remedies and decongestants you can think of! As you can imagine, I am so behind with everything so I've got my hands full!

Anyway, I had a few skincare bits and other products I was trialling so I thought I'd sum them out and let you know what I think of them so far.

FABY Nail Lacquer in Via Montenapoleone*
I recently came across FABY polishes and their Autumn/Winter range 2016 called POSH which looks amazing! As you know, I have plenty of Winter polishes but I still found myself lusting over these. Each of their shades puts a fresh twist on the classic Winter shades we're used to, be it the burnt oranges or the deep burgundies. I was really glad when I got to try Via Montenapoleone* as I don't normally go for greys but I was keen to give this one a go, and I'm glad I did, because I love it! The formula of the polish is great, it's fully opaque in two coats (at the most) and it gives a lovely, incredibly glossy finish. The shade is perfect, it's a cool toned, medium steel grey that would suit everybody and I can see it being hugely popular!

You can see the shade here, each polish contains 15ml and costs £11.75.

Aloe Clear*
I think the main annoyance with hair removal is the horrible after effects, especially with sensitive skin. However, Aloe Clear* is designed to minimise ingrown hairs and reduce the discomfort of hair removal. I'm already a keen fan of aloe vera in it's gel format, so I was really keen to give this roll on a go too. It comes in a few formats, including a bigger roll on (which looks a bit like a deodorant), and also some smaller roll ones. The roll on includes the ingredients: glycolic acid, willow bark extract, aloe vera, multifruit acids and mentha piperita oil. This format is really convenient to apply, and it sinks in almost instantly so you can go and apply your moisturiser straight afterwards. You can really feel the cooling sensation it has too, which is probably down to the cooling mentha. However, I did find it hard to monitor whether it really did minimise the ingrown hairs (unless you kept count!). Also, exfoliation plays a part here too so it's hard to attribute it to one product. However, I would still carry on using this just to see the results in the long term.

You can shop the full range here.

Puriskin Resurfacing Cream*
The Puriskin resurfacing cream* is designed for normal to dry skin, and is marketed as a soothing therapy to help with a range of skin conditions, such as acne scars, blemishes, burns, cracks, split skin etc. I was a bit apprehensive at first as those are a lot of claims for one cream, but at the same time I was intrigued as well. My skin's not too bad at the moment, so I've mainly been using this on the skin between my fingers. The cream comes in a really small screw pot, so it's really convenient for carrying around but there's only 15ml of product in it. At first, the cream does look quite thick, but once you scoop some up it feels like more of a jelly hybrid, more like an emollient. It also doesn't feel thick or greasy when you apply it, it just massages into the skin right away. I do feel like this will be super useful in Winter, but I'm not too sure that it's a miracle product in itself, as there are a lot of moisturisers and lotions on the market that might also have the same effect.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do any of these products catch your eye?

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Friday, 30 September 2016

Essence Matt Touch Blush in 20 Berry Me Up! Review

Essence Matt Touch Blush in 20 Berry Me Up! Review

In the blogosphere I've heard a lot about Essence and their very affordable but great products. There's a small stand in my local Wilkinsons where you can buy their products but nothing had caught my eye, until now! Anyway, for the first time I'm actually looking forward to the return of Autumn for those delightful red, burgundy and berry hues (just not the cold weather!). So when I saw this blush in 20 berry me up! I thought it looked like an affordable dupe of my favourite Bare Minerals blush (here) which is slightly more on the dusky pink side. For £1 I had to give it a try!

Essence Matt Touch Blush in 20 Berry Me Up! Review

The Essence blushers are matte, however they're supposed to have a 'super-soft' finish that gives them more of a freshly, pinched look, rather than in your face matte. I can see this when I swatch them, the formula feels light and airy, although this means it also kicks some of the powder up.

The packaging for £1 is not too bad at all. It's a basic plastic tub with a flip up lid, I don't think it looks too cheap. Although, to be fair, if the product is really good and super affordable, then what's some packaging!

Essence Matt Touch Blush in 20 Berry Me Up! Review

The Matt touch blushers are also available in 10 peach me up! and 30 rose me up! However, I was so preoccupied with this blush that I didn't really take a look at the other shades.

As you can see in the picture above, 20 berry me up! is more on the muted side of the berry scale. However, when swatched it is a lot brighter than expected and there is a bit of fallout. It's not really a dupe for the Bare Minerals Ready Blush in The One as this is a slightly more on the pinky side and it's also a lot more vivid compared to the Bare Minerals blush.

Essence Matt Touch Blush in 20 Berry Me Up! Review

The blush applies really smoothly, and the one thing I didn't expect is that it in infact much more pigmented than the Bare Minerals blush, which for £1 is pretty amazing! It gives a lovely soft berry glow, and the formula just sort of melts into your skin so it all becomes one. They really do live up to their 'super-soft' claims giving a lovely result without a powdery look. I like to apply this quite high on my cheeks to give a sculpted look, and I use it with a dense angled blush brush to blend as I go along.

Overall, for £1 you are getting WAY more than your money's worth! I would recommend this wholeheartedly, the shade is also universally flattering.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do you have any Essence recommendation for me?

P.S To view more in this Budget Beauty series, click on the logo in the sidebar!

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Monday, 26 September 2016

The Classic Black Dress Revamped

So I'm really excited to be featuring more Fashion on here, continuing on from my summer wardrobe here. First of all, I wanted to show you a really easy go to look when you want to dress up a little but still be ready for whatever the weather throws at you.

The main item in this look is a black dress, which we all probably have tucked away somewhere in the wardrobe. Any will do, seriously, the thing with wearing black is that it all merges into one anyway! I'm wearing one from H&M which I picked up a few years ago.

I then teamed this with a black jacket. The duster coat trend was going around last year when l I picked up one from Primark but I rarely wore it because it just looked strange with jeans.It works perfectly with the dress though, and at £17 it's a really affordable trendy piece.

Then, to pull this look together you'll need some ankle boots. This time I opted for ones that had a block heel, as I think it looks rather nice with a dress. I received these Madisyn ankle boots* from Brantano here. Brantano have many other ladies ankles boots too, if you wanted to browse some more styles.

I just have to add how much I love these boots! It takes me ages to normally break into a pair of boots, but these are some of the most comfortable boots ever! Also, I CANNOT for the life of me walk in heels, but with these boots I really forgot that they even had a heel! So if you're like me, a block heel is the way to go! The suede detailing also gives them a lovely look. As for sizing, I'm somewhere weird between a 4 and a half and a 5, so I went for a 5. These are quite spacious size wise, but it's just right for me as it means I have plenty of room. Best of all, they actually have some grip! I mean, I can go through the entire boot collection in department stores and not find one pair of boots with some decent grip, which isn't ideal for the icy weather here!

I added a necklace for a touch of sparkle. I'm pretty sure I got this years ago from an Argos catalogue, of all places! I just wish I had the matching earrings, but unfortunately one of them went down the plughole (long hair problems!).

Lastly, when it's chilly or you want to protect your hair from the rainstorms, I'd add a scarf. I brought this from Zara last year for £20. I love the colour, but unfortunately on certain clothes (like soft coats) it sheds, so you end up covered with orange fur. It didn't stick to this dress or jacket, but I would still say it's overpriced because you can't wear it with everything.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What do you think of more fashion posts, please let me know your thoughts?

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Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Crafting with Stampin' Up!

Growing up, we were quite arty in my house, always doing a DIY project of some kind or drawing and painting. Lately, my Sister really got into scrapbooking and introduced me to the whole concept. You can use it as a way of documenting your adventures or even creating a memoir for someone else. What really surprised me about crafting and scrapbooking were all the things that go into it; washi tapes, adhesives, stickers, ribbons, paper, stamps, I could go on!

Stampin' Up! UK is one of those companies that really specialises in everything to do with crafts. They kindly sent me over their Oh Happy Day card making kit* (here). These kits have everything you could possible need for the project, and I mean everything.

In this kit I received:

* Set of 13 photopolymer stamps
* 20 card bases and coordinating envelopes
* Giftable kraft box
* Die-cut glittered chipboard shapes
* Embossed sheets
* Printed die-cut images
* Die-cut gold foil sheet
* Die-cut white sheets
* Basic Black Archival Stampin’ Spot
* Printed color doilies
* Baker’s Twine
* Glittered dots
* Stampin’ Dimensionals
* Acrylic stamp block

To make a card you can either use the instructions included, which involve getting all the pieces relating to a card ready and then basically sticking them together. You can also mix it up, but I went for a simpler card for my first go. So for this one I only needed five pieces at hand, the printed pink card, the frame and the 3D embossments, the stars and the stamping set. I then stuck all the pieces together with some PVA glue. For the 'Hello There', I peeled off the 'Hello' and the 'There' stencils and placed them on the acrylic board. I then used the stamping ink to colour them, and I then stamped them onto the card which transferred the ink. I really needed to have a steady hand for this part, but it turned out much better than I had anticipated. What do you think?

(They also have a youtube channel (here) for some tips)

This kit retailed for £31.50, which does look pricey initially, but it does offer good value for everything you get. You might be thinking how expensive can some pieces of paper or cardboard be? The answer to that is very expensive! We normally buy these pieces individually and I can say we've probably spent upwards of £40. Clear stamps are quite expensive on their own too, so if you can get them in sets like this then it's a very big bonus!

Overall, I loved using this set and letting the creative juices flow. I was so impressed by the Autumn/Winter range I saw on their website too that I did a little moodboard for you, enjoy!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Are you into DIY/Crafts?

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Monday, 19 September 2016

What's On My Shopping List

It's not going to be long now till I'm busy with revision, revision, and more revision! So to keep myself warm throughout the freezing British winter, I've started to put together my shopping list of winter essentials. Most of it consists of jumpers, cardigans and sweater dresses, so very versatile pieces. I did get a few nice jumpers last year, but I really want to get more into layering, and teaming jumpers with shirts. I think it's such a cool look!

To help me put together my shopping list, I'm using Lyst* a new online shopping platform. It's really simple! All you have to do is click on the category you wish to view, so in my case jumpers, and it brings up a whole variety from different retailers. It's a great time saving tool as I don't have to go on the Warehouse website, and then the Zara website, it collates them all in one place.

So here's what I've got my eye on so far ....

Asos Oversized Fluffy Scarf
I'm yet to try one of these stripey scarfs. It's such a staple Autumn product, I feel like I'm missing out!

Zara Red Sweater
I love the bold red hue. For some reason, I tend to gravitate towards blue/purple jumpers, but I think it's time I stepped out of my comfort zone. Its not too bad at £26 either!

River Island Black Clutch
You can never have enough bags, right? Clutch bags are some of my favourites, and this one just screams Winter Nights.

Madewell Riverside Sweater
This grey jumper is perfect for casual wear, plus it looks so cosy! I do love these sort of effortless jumpers that look so stylish at the same time.

Vila Long Knit Cardigan
I've been living in one of these long cardigans for most of the Summer anyway, so I wanted to pick up some more for fall. They go with everything, keep you warm and they look great, what's not to love!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What have you got your eye on at the moment?

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* This post includes sponsored content.

Thursday, 15 September 2016

MUA Matte Lipstick in Wild Berry Review

MUA Matte lipstick in wild berry

I initially launched my blog hoping to feature a lot of budget beauty products on here, and in the budget sense, products that are literally as cheap as chips (that's one way to put it). However, with so many reviews on here they get all muddled up. So, I've decided to create a Budget Beauty series, and it'll also give me a chance to showcase a lot of my favourite products that I haven't yet featured. To view all of the Budget Beauty series, all you'll have to do is click on the logo in the sidebar.

Moving on, many moons ago when MUA launched their matte lipstick range (way back in 2013), I was really glad to see a deep berry shade make an appearance. However, the reviews I read weren't very favourable, but I decided to try it out anyway.

MUA Matte lipstick in wild berry

First of all, the shade isn't anywhere near as deep or as pigmented as it appears to be. Whilst in the tube it looks quite vampy, it's actually more of a medium raspberry when applied. However, the feeling of disappointment subsided incredibly quickly when I realised that infact this toned down version of the berry lip was actually super flattering, as well as being super wearable. You can built it up in layers, and whilst it does have a matte finish, it doesn't look dry or cracked in the slightest. I normally pair mine with the Body Shop lip balm in Plum (which is very similar in shade), it adds some hydration and stops it from drying out quicker.

MUA Matte lipstick in wild berry

One great thing about MUA lipsticks is that they include some extra product at the bottom of the base to help you get a better idea of the shade, you can also use a lip brush to apply it straight from there (great if you're running out!).

Now, onto the downfalls. I've tried quite a few shades from MUA's original line (shade 1 is spectacular and immensely popular), and the formula has always been spot on with those. However, with this one I found the formula was crumblier, and this was similar to other reviews I read. It has a tendency to ball up and some bits can literally crumble off. Hence, why in the pictures you can see there is a lot of product around the tube as sometimes it crumbled off into the lid and went all over the tube. (I might have left the messy tube as it was to illustrate my point, or I might have forgotten to wipe it down before taking pictures, but hey that is the point of reviews, you know it's been well loved!).

Application can therefore be a bit patchy, due to the above. However, you can just use a brush or your finger to blend it in.

MUA Matte lipstick in wild berry
The wear time for me is about 4-6 hours, and it actually fades off evenly. The biggest selling point of this lipstick, for me, is the shade! This is my go-to, favourite lipstick of all time. Yes, the formula isn't the best, but I've gotten more wear out of this £1 lipstick than I have out all of my other lipsticks combined. You probably just need to spend an extra minute working with this lipstick, but it's all worth it! I spotted another shade 'Marsala' in the range which I'm keen to get my hands on too.

I hope you enjoyed this post!
What is your favourite lipstick?

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Tuesday, 6 September 2016

Beauty Finds from M&S

This is a really overdue post, but a couple of months ago Mother's day was looming and I still hadn't picked up a present. I would have probably ended up buying something really predictable, but as luck would have it I saw that M&S were doing a deal on beauty where if you spent a certain amount you got an M&S beauty hamper completely free.

Nuxe lip cream

So not only does my Mum get a present, but so do I! It did sound a bit too good to be true but after browsing the site for a good few hours I decided to get the Nuxe Lip Cream and Pixi Glow Tonic for myself, and I received the hamper for my Mum. Even in summer my lips were still constantly peeling and they're always so dry, so investing in the lip cream was a must for me. I honestly thought it'd be similar to a lip balm but it's a really intensive lip cream. I can get half a day's wear from it, even with eating and drinking. The only downside of the Nuxe lip cream is that if I miss a day, then I'm back to square one. At the time, I did think £9.50 (here) was far too pricey for a lip balm, but it's worth every penny! My lips would literally get so dry that they'd turn white, so this has been a life saver for me. It's packaged in a fancy glass jar and the lip balm comes in solid form which melts when you apply it, you only need the tiniest bit so I'm sure it's going to last me ages. I've been using it for a few months now and I haven't even got through the top layer yet.

The Pixi Glow Tonic was more of a spontaneous pick, I had read so many positive reviews on it that it was one of those products I just had to try out! I'm always dubious when I buy hyped up products but I haven't been left disappointed at all. I apply it to my face on a cotton pad once or twice a day, and I can really see the difference. My skin feels softer, the dry patches are all but gone and my skin looks more radiant. It is marketed as a toner, but I would say it's more of a low strength chemical exfoliator for daily use. You can get the 250ml for £18 (here), there's also a 100ml for £10.

Pixi Glow Tonic

I'm sure I'm probably late to the party but I was so surprised when I went to M&S to pick up my order. I mean they had everything, from Pixi, Stila, Nuxe to the Roxie Huntlington makeup range, which looks amazing! There's a cream blush and eyeshadow quad with my name on it, I've also seen Pixiwoo do a tutorial using her products and the concealer looks so good.

M&S beauty box

I know this is a present for my Mum, but it wouldn't be fair if I didn't show you all the goodies! The beauty hamper come really well packaged in a lovely box, so it saved me wrapping it!

STEMCELL facial oil

One of the products included was the Rodial Stemcell Super-food facial oil. The full size facial oil retails at £60 for 30ml! However, my Mum's feedback on this was that it was decent, but not as hydrating as expected, the consistency is a bit thinner than you might expect.

M&S Autograph Marsala nail polish

I have plenty of nail polishes, yet none that could dupe this one in colour. Marsala is from M&S own polish range. I'm sure many of you will recognise Marsala from the Pantone Colour of the Year 2015, it's a stunning shade. This version is slightly lighter but still beautiful, it's still available here for £6.

Moroccan Escape bath essence with Argan oil

Another M&S product; the Moroccan Escape bath essence with Argan oil. A bath product is quite a nice addition to the pack, but I can't say that anyone in my house is really fussed about bath smellies.

Alpha H Liquid Gold

The main reason I wanted to pick up the hamper is because it included the Alpha H Liquid Gold. The 100ml retails for £33.50 here, so the 50ml was a very generous sample size! I knew my Mum would like to try this because she has a bit of sun damage, but her skin's been on the sensitive side lately so she hasn't tried this out yet.

Nuxe Hand and Nail cream

The Nuxe Hand and Nail cream is a lovely size to pop in your handbag, and again very nourishing! Although, I have to say as a household we have so many hand creams that it'll probabaly be a while before this gets used up.

night treatment from StriVectin-AR

A lot of skincare companies exaggerate their claims when it comes to anti-ageing, but if there is anything that works, it is retinol! My Mum's pigmentation marks used to be a lot worse a few years ago than they are now, so after doing some research I brought her the Neutrogena Healthy Skin range that includes retinol as one of it's main ingredients. There weren't many retinol skincare products available to buy instore/online here in the UK so I ordered them over from the US. Within a short space of using the range the pigmentation marks had broken up into smaller marks, and in a few weeks they were nearly gone.

Now that she has a few coming back, I'm interested to see how this night treatment from StriVectin-AR work.

Philip Kingsley Elasticizer

The Philip Kingsley Elasticizer is another coveted product, and I'm really interested to see the results from this one too.

REN Cleansing Milk

The REN Cleansing Milk is a nice addition too, although we prefer hot cloth cleansers, it's a good size for travel purposes.

Lastly, there were two masks included for a good pampering session. I don't think my Mum's ever given a mask a go before, so this should be entertaining!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do you shop for beauty at M&S, or are you new to it like me?

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Thursday, 1 September 2016

The Summer Loving Tag

I remember when I started blogging and I used to do these tags, they're a great way to get to know other bloggers and interact. Anyway, it's been ages since I did one of these, so I was really glad to be tagged by Danielle to do the Summer Loving Tag. Do check out her great blog here!

Favourite Perfume
My favourite summer perfumes are more on the floral side. If I had to limit it down it would either be Chloe Love Story (here) or Marc Jacobs Daisy. Although, lately I feel like I'm falling in love with every new release, I tried a Guerlian one at the department store the other day which comes in different aromas, including blueberries! It was actually quite nice.

Favourite Lip Colour
This stays the same for me all year around! It's the lipstick that you automatically reach for when you're running late, you know the one that just makes such a difference and livens your face up. For me, it's the MUA matte lipstick in Wild Berry. The formula might not be the best, and it's not a deep or pigmented berry shade either, but it literally works wonders for me. I'll have a full review up soon.

Favourite Drink
I've been really trying to up my water intake in the last year so I rarely drink anything else, apart from the odd fruit juice every now and again and some fizzy drink with greasy foods. I do love Cherry Cola though!

Favourite Blush
Again, for blush this is an all year favourite. It's the Bare Minerals Ready Blush I reviewed in The One (here). The dusky pink shade also works brilliantly with my complexion.

Favourite Clothing Item
So, I have a story to tell you. Around the time I set up my blog I spent almost two weeks trying to think of a name. I was also obsessed with velvet dresses at this time (as you will probably know). Therefore, I wanted to call my blog Velvet Dress. However, that was taken and after a couple of hours pairing everything with Velvet I could think of, I settled on; Velvet Blush. I liked the effect it had, and it felt like me. It's also allowed me to stay somewhat anonymous, because as well as being shy, I like the idea that anyone can write a beauty blog (even me!). I was just starting out and my application skills are still probably rubbish, but hey as the blog is growing, so am I continuing to learn!

So here is a picture of the dress that started this!

Favourite Movie
Lately, I've become really interested in movies about artificial intelligence and so on; like Ex Machina and Lucy. There's already robots around that can do so much, so for me this does open up a lot of questions. I liked Lucy because as her brain function increased (although it is a myth that we only use 10% of brain function), she started to feel all the emotions in her surroundings and she started looking at the bigger picture instead of all the petty things we probably bother ourselves with. Wouldn't we live in a better world if everyone saw the bigger picture?

Favourite TV Show
I don't have a favourite show per se, I do enjoy the odd documentary though. However, I did love two recent BBC adaptations; War and Peace, and The Night Manager. The former is based on a novel by Leo Tolstoy (which I'm currently reading), and the latter is based on a novel by John Le Carre. I really like the fact that they changed some of the settings for The Night Manager so it reflects current crisis taking place, it was a great eye opener.

Favourite Food
I'm not really fussy with food, as long as it tastes good haha! I am a fan of pizza, burritos and wraps.

Now that it's the first day of Autumn here, I think it might be a bit too late for nominations, so I'll nominate whoever wants to do the Summer tag, or if your Summer is just starting!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Please let me know something about you, or link me up if you've done a similar post :)

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Thursday, 25 August 2016

AllThatJazz Polishes Review

Lately, I was given the chance to try a nail polish brand completely new to me; All That Jazz. They offer a professional lacquer range that boasts a quick drying time and an exceptional lasting period up to one week. Salon quality from the comfort of your home, sounds good right? They also provide tools and nail art foils.

Although I hadn't heard of them before, I was quite impressed when I received the polishes in the post. They have that heavy glass bottle feeling, quite reminiscent of the OPI polishes. The bottles have 'All That Jazz' printed in bold at the front, and the shades really pop against the packaging. Each polish contains 15ml of product, which is the same as OPI and more than China Glaze (and they have the most that I've seen).

I received the following three shades:
  • Apples and Pears* - A pale mint green (here).
  • Disco Devotion* - A really fine silver glitter (here). 
  • Don't Step On My Red Bottoms* - A bright, statement red with fine golden specks (here).

The formula of these polishes is quite good in general. Don't Step On My Red Bottoms (goodness me, that sounds weird aloud) was opaque in one go, and so was Disco Devotion ( as opaque as glitter polishes go). Apple and Pears could also have been opaque in one coat, but it was slightly more runny so I had to do two coats to avoid streaks. The drying time was great! They do dry super quick in less than a minute, but you'll need to leave another minute aside to avoid the tacky feel.

My favourite shades are Don't Step On My Red Bottoms and Disco Devotion as I'm like a magpie with anything glittery. Disco Devotion can either be used as an overcoat but also on it's own as the glitter really does build up in 2 layers, so it gives it a nice effect rather than a sparse bit of glitter here and there. The only reason Apple and Pears isn't one of my top shades too is because I find it quite hard to pull off pale/pastel shades, but I think this will be a nice Summer shade if you can pull them off.

I was also given two nail art foils to try. Previously, I gave some Essie foils a go and it went badly to say the least! They were fiddly and most of them ended up falling off after 10 minutes.

The foils I tried were the Love - Gold* and Spiral - Silver*. The foils are quite inexpensive at £1.79 (here), however I'm not to keen on the patterns. They do however have some more designs on their website, you can also get them in more colours such as rose gold. I think these would look a lot better than the standard silver/black I see quite often. These metallic foils are stickers, so you're supposed to be able to peel them off and then stick them on top of your nail. However, I had recently cut my nails so these were a bit long for me. In this situation you would apply them as usual but then use nail scissors or a file to get rid of the ends. They can also be a bit flimsy, as I mentioned before, part of one sticker just came off when I was trying to apply it. The end results didn't look too bad though! However, I still don't think I'm a convert to nail foils.

P.S I'm sorry for my absence over the last month, I had a family emergency which has kept me quite busy. It's nothing to worry about though as things are finally starting to look up!

I hope you enjoyed this post!
Do you prefer nail polishes or foils?

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