*colour prevails nail lacquer // $8 each *

While I was partaking in one of my far-too-regular trips around the drugstore, I stumbled across a collection of beautifully-packaged nail polishes. And, even better, the unique butterfly-winged bottles aren’t just for show – they were actually designed in order to make painting your nails that much easier, acting as a handle that allows you to get a better grip on the brush.

Now I haven’t really had the chance to give these the trial that they deserve – instead I had to settle for a hasty manicure done five minutes before I walked out the door (yes, there were smudges) – but I have to admit I’m impressed with what I see so far. I’m not sure that the polish is the best out there, but it applies pretty well, has a nice opaque formula and, after two generous coats, had a lovely shiny finish.

In terms of the handle, it really does make things a lot easier in terms of the application. I was able to get a much better grip on the brush, which gave me a steadier hand, and all in all the process was really quite easy. I admit it took me a couple of goes to really find the easiest position, particularly when it came to my left hand, but once I’d got it down it was a real breeze.

I’m going to give them another whirl this weekend, but if that goes well you can bet that I’ll be stocking up on several more shades from the rather extensive collection of colours…

I’ve never been one for DIY – in fact G tries to ban me from doing so much as lifting a hammer because he thinks I’ll end up taking out a building, or something silly like that. But while I might not spend that much time using more traditional toolkits, when it comes to beauty, I’ve pretty much mastered exactly what tools I need – and which ones I can never be without.

So, in lieu of screwdrivers, hammers and wrenches, I have amassed a fairly impressive – if I do say so myself – collection of beauty tools, which I thought I would share with you all quickly, just in case you fancied a peek inside my bathroom cupboard. Because in between all that skincare, it’s these items that make up the core of my daily beauty collection…

Firsts up, we have a razor. Probably one of the least glamorous items ever, but necessary nonetheless. Personally, I’m a diehard Gilette Venus kind of gal and have both the Venus Snap ($9.99), which is the itty bitty travel size, and the Venus Swirl, which is a slightly fancier, full-size option.

And on the subject of hair removal (YUM), I must also mention my much-loved Tweezerman Tweezers ($22), which have keeping my eyebrows in check for years now. Precise, simple, and with a ruddy excellent pattern on them, I can’t see myself choosing anything else any time soon.

Another Tweezerman product that I’m totally obsessed with are the Tweezerman Cuticle Clippers ($22). I’m one of those awful people who will nibble away at the side of my nails, particularly when there are any flaky bits (gross, I know, sorry), and that area is often left really sore and raw. Unless I have the foresight to snip any gross bits away using these bad boys, which prevents my from giving into temptation, and also means that they won’t get caught on anything and get any worse. A win win really.

Moving on to some slightly more simple options now – cotton wool pads and Q-tips. Obviously, I hear many of you cry. That’s a given! But you’d be surprised how many people I know who don’t have these easy peasy options on-hand. In all honesty, I get through minimum one packet of cotton wool pads a month. Minimum. And I probably work my way through a pot of Q-tips every six weeks or so. They’re just so useful! From the obvious ear-cleaning functions (gross, again, I know) to removing pesky bits of nail polish, there’s no end to what function they can fulfill.

And last, but by no means least, we have hair clips. These medium-sized butterfly clips are a total god send if, like me, you have a fair few choppy bits in your hair, which tend to fall out of whatever top knot situation they get bundled on up into. I’m honestly never without these bad boys, and always have a good selection rattling round in the bottom of my handbag, just in case.

So, there you have it, my favorite beauty tools. Not the most glamorous beauty bits in the world, but definitely the most important! What beauty tools do you rely on most? 

Now that the sun has decided to make a proper appearance, and looks as though he will be sticking around for a wee while – fingers crossed – my make-up tastes have started leaning more towards an array of bright bold colours and pretty pastel hues, and nowhere is this change in seasonal shades more obvious than on my nails.

Long gone, but by no means forgotten, are the deep, rich autumnal tones that dominated my cosmetics cupboard for so many months, and in their place there is a collection of five trusted, and oh-so pretty, spring tones that will lift my nails right on out of winter and into the warmer months.

For a bright and bold shade, we have Essie Flowerista, a vibrant fuschia-toned purple that seems to suit any skin tone, no matter how pale!

Then we move on to some extraordinarily pretty pastels courtesy of Deborah Lippmann Build Me Up Buttercup, the most beautiful pale yellow shade, and Blue Orchid, a stunning and simple pale blue shade. Both look ace with a tan, and both work so well with any ensemble, sun or not.

I won’t spend too long waxing lyrical over the next option, the incredible Nicole by OPI It Starts With Me. Potentially my favourite polish ever, I can’t see this rose gold beauty ever going too long without being worn.

Bringing up the rear is Ciate Pepperminty, which looks a bit greener in this picture than it actually comes out in real life. Still, to me this bad boy may we’ll end up being this year’s Mint Candy Apple thanks to its perfectly green blue colouring and easy-to-apply formula. Watch this space…

image3* boscia charcoal pore-minimizing hydrogel mask // $8 *

On Sunday evening, as I occasionally (always) do, I treated myself to a cheeky evening pamper. Nothing over the top or crazy, just a delightfully scented bath filled with Lush goodies, a sweet-smelling candle, or five, and a nice face mask

And rather than resort to my usual line-up of much-loved masks, I thought I’d really push the boat out and opt for something a little bit different, in the form of the Boscia Charcoal Pore-Minimizing Hydrogel Mask ($8). Now there’s a mouthful. Picked up on a whim in Sephora a few weeks ago, this mask has been sitting in my bathroom cupboard for a while now and I felt like the time had at last come to whip it out, give it a go, and potentially scare anyone and everyone who dared to happen upon me while the terrifying thing was on my face.

Sounds like a Sunday evening well spent to me?

Anywho, onto the mask itself. Now for those of you who have tried sheet masks before, you’ll undoubtedly know what a ruddy fiddly task it is getting the bloody thing out of the packet and onto your face, and, I’ll be honest, this one is even worse than the usual suspects. Not only is it the slimiest thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life – seriously, it’s like an eel skin, URGH – but it also comes wrapped up in the most extraordinary amount of packaging, making the whole process even more fiddly.

Plus it comes in two halves, as opposed to one whole mask, which I guess would be super if you only wanted to treat the top or bottom half of your face, but when you’re whacking it on and want to be fairly prompt about the whole thing, you may run into trouble.

In terms of the results, I noticed a couple of things after taking the mask off (after 20 minutes), and massaging in the excess, um, stuff, into my face. First of all, my face felt a whole heap smoother than it had pre-mask. Not sure why, it just did. My skin also felt softer and plumper, like I’d just had a 15-hour sleep in a magic water bed (don’t ask).

However, I found that it did very little to actually sort out my skin issues. I’ve also had a problem with blocked pores and congestion in my complexion, but instead of doing anything about it, this mask seemed to only worsen the issue, flaring up a fair few angry beasts the following morning.

So, if it’s super soft, fluffy skin that you’re after, then this is the mask for you – if de-congestion and anti-acne are your thing, I’d suggest heading elsewhere.

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* shoes fit for a queen (bee) *

It’s been a very busy week – but oh such a fun one too. And I have a feeling this one is going to be even better…

Five favourites

Place: The rooftop bar at the Ganservoort Hotel. The view is amazing, the drinks even better, and it’s the perfect place to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon post-brunch.

Food: Buffalo Chicken Salad from Just Salad. Deeeelicious.

Experience: A surprise birthday brunch for a lovely friend. Haps B’day Louise.

Read/watch: Don’t judge, but I may or may not be reading Jilly Cooper…

Beauty bit: I bought a new lipstick – MAC Amorous – and I am totally obsessed.

Have a good weekend everyone and don’t forget to follow me over on Instagram and @CharlieLanks!

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* soho house creeping *

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* beautiful spring evening *

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* brunch babes *

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* #sunsetsforshalin *

Untitled1* jo malone peony & blush suede candle // $65 *

Last week, I received the most delightful gift – thank you Hind, Melissa and the lovely Claire’s ladies – in the form of a Jo Malone candle. Now if you have been reading this ole blog for a while, you will know that I found this delivery particularly exciting for a number of reasons; I love candles and I’m obsessed with pretty much every Jo Malone fragrance I’ve tried thus far. And Peony and Blush Suede is one of the few that I have yet to invest in, and of all the scents available, it seems to me one of the best springtime options.

Now there are some who might think that candle burning is an activity best left in the winter, but I have to disagree. Yes flames equal heat, and heat is often something you’re trying to avoid when inside on a hot spring day, but really now, how much ‘heat’ does a little candle like this actually give off? Not much. Instead you get the benefit of having a beautifully fragranced room that is full of the sweetest floral scents, without having to shell out bucket-loads of money restocking your fresh flower supplies.

Because that is what this fragrance conjures up, for me at least. Images of massive pink peony bouquets and sunshine – the perfect springtime vision in my oh-so humble opinion. Especially when combined with my all-time favorite Bath and Body Works Honeysuckle Bouquet candle. Then you have yourself a floral fragrance party.

In terms of the whole blush suede element of the scent, I’ll be honest – I’m not really sure what that’s about. However I can tell you that Jo Malone describes it as ‘the sensuality of soft, blush suede’. So, there you go then.

* tony moly pocket bunny moist mist // $15 *

Every now and then I get the urge to buy something totally silly and random; it can be anything from an out-there fashion item to a fun foodie something or other to a new and unique beauty product. And yep, I’ll admit, more often than not it’s the beauty product option. 

During a recent trip to Sephora, I experienced one such urge. Luckily, I was in the oh-so dangerous aisle of temptation, surrounded by adorable baby-sized beauty products and dinky little cosmetics – where better to buy something fun and weird, huh? And that’s when my eyes landed on the Tony Moly Pocket Bunny Moist Mist ($15)possibly the cutest – yet most suggestive – beauty product ever to work its way into my skincare supply.

Now I’ll admit it was the packaging that caught my eye before anything else – perhaps if I had seen exactly what it was called before I made my way to the till, I might have been a bit more hesitant about buying it. Because really, let’s be honest now, it sounds like some sort of weird sex toy, doesn’t it? No? Just me then…

However, once you see past the product’s highly suggestive name and shape, you get to what is actually a really nice product, packaged in what can only be described as the cutest bottle ever. Look at those little ears! Beyond the bottle, this is essentially a cooling, refreshing and hydrating face spray and it’s full to the brim of various fruit extracts and some aloe vera thrown in to keep your skin looking nice and relaxed.

No, the product is probably not going to win any awards any time soon (apologies if it already has…) but it does the trick just fine with regards to refreshing and de-redenning my face, while also looking superbly adorable at the same time. It’s the little things…

* nicole by opi lacquer in it starts with me // $7.99 *

I”m a big old fan of rose gold. It’s because something of an obsession recently, and it’s one that has very quickly filtered into my beauty arsenal. From packaging to the products themselves, my make up bag is full to the brim of rose gold brilliance – and, up until very recently, the only thing that was really missing from my stocks was the perfect rose gold nail polish.

Then I found this bad boy – Nicole by OPI’s It Starts With Me ($7.99), a perfectly rose-toned metallic gold polish that fulfills all of my rose gold dreams.

And, thankfully, it’s not just the colour that’s perfect – the formula is also pretty dreamy too. It applies so smoothly, has a really lovely finish – shiny but not glittery or shimmery – and it lasts a long ole time, too, which is extremely useful as it’s pretty much all I’ve wanted to wear on my nails (and my toenails!) since I picked it up a couple of weeks ago.

Now all I need is to pick up an extra bottle (or five) just on the off chance that they decide to do something crazy and discontinue the shade… *runs to Walgreens*

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* rainbow delights *

Oooof it’s been a busy week. From working a long old shift to cover the Met Gala on Monday to a lengthy Friday, I’m very happy that the weekend is at last here.

Five favourites

Place: Story. It’s an amazing concept store on 10th Avenue that has regularly-changing stories, or themes if you will. It’s so so fun.

Food: A restaurant near my apartment does the most amazing brown rice and broccoli stir fry that I’ve been eating pretty much twice a week.

Experience: Spending a Saturday chilling out (maxin, relaxin, all cool) without worrying about any to do lists…

Read/watch: I finally finished the Gilmore Girls, and pretty much sobbed my way through the entire last episode.

Beauty bit: The Lush Eau Roma Water Toner. It’s so refreshing, calming and soothing on the ole skin.

Have a good weekend everyone and don’t forget to follow me over on Instagram and @CharlieLanks!

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* cutest (and perhaps the most suggestive) beauty product ever *

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* sunshine *

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* new kicks *

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* in a spin *

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In amongst my rather large beauty collection, there are a few special items that hold a place of utmost importance in my beauty arsenal. You know the kinds of products that I mean – those ones that are so precious to you that the thought of going without them makes you break out in a cold sweat.

And, in order to avoid this devastation and feeling of sweaty fear, I always ensure that I have at least one back-up of these products on-hand, ready to be put into action at a moment’s notice.

My first must-have-all-the-time item is the First Aid Beauty Facial Radiance Pads ($30)a truly superb acid exfoliator that leaves my face feeling so soft and smooth, while also ensuring that I maintain a good glow in my complexion – which, I’ll admit, has been looking a wee bit lacklustre of late.

Then there’s the Cetaphil Daily Facial Cleanser ($10.99)which, while not the most glamorous product in the world, just works such wonders on my skin. When used in the evenings, it ensures all the nastiness of the day is gone, while in the mornings it helps to clear away any and all grossness that may have built up overnight. Plus it’s sweet and simple, never irritates my face and does exactly what it says on the packaging.

Last up is something a bit more swanky, the Elizabeth and James Nirvana White Fragrance ($75)I picked up my first bottle of this stuff around ten months ago, and quickly worked my way through the entire thing, spritz by spritz. And, having realized that my supplied were slowly starting to deplete, I high-tailed it to Sephora to invest in the biggest bottle possible because no way I am running out of this sweet scent any time soon….!

What products are you guys loving at the moment?

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