Urban Decay Naked3: Beauty Review

Urban Decay is one of my favourite brands – I love its creative palettes and high quality products, but I really love its Naked collection.

The much anticipated Naked3 graced us UK folk with its presence on December 16th and I was first in line to collect, and boy am I glad I did.

Urban Decay Naked Collection

Coming in a rose gold tin with an almost ruched effect (to differentiate from the Naked2 packaging), the shadows inside Naked3 are 12 never before seen shades, and who doesn’t love new ways to get Naked?

Okay smutty comments aside, Urban Decay have taken a slight risk with its third instalment of its best-selling palettes. Pink-toned eyeshadows have the somewhat potential to become unwearable as there’s a fine line between complimenting your colouring, and making you look like you’ve been crying your heart out for hours.

The previous Naked shadows were a mixture of warm browns and beiges in a variety of matte, satin and shimmer finishes, but this time, each shade has a rose gold/pink and taupe tone.

Urban Decay Naked Collection Shadows

So what have we got?

There’s a mixture of glitters, shimmers, matte and satin so that a variety of looks can be created as well as offering something for everyone.

If I’m honest, I was dubious as these are colours I’ve never considered wearing. It was more about wanting to own the coveted palette – yes I’m a pathetic person. But I have to say the contents surprised me:

Urban Decay Naked3

Strange – a pale neutral pink matte-satin

Dust – a pale metallic pink shimmer with iridescent micro-glitter

Burnout – light pinky-peach satin

Limit – light dusty rose matte

Buzz – metallic rose shimmer with silver micro-glitter

Trick – light metallic pinky-copper shimmer with tonal micro-sparkle

Urban Decay Naked3

Nooner – medium pinky-brown matte

Liar – medium metallic mauve shimmer

Factory – a pinky-brown satin

Mugshot – metallic taupe shimmer with slight pink shift

Darkside – deep taupe-mauve satin

Blackheart – smoky black matte with rosy red micro-sparkle

Despite my pathetic need to own this palette regardless of whether its offerings are for me, I have to say I really love it. Limit and Nooner are brilliant crease colours and Liar adds a nice bit of sparkle to the lid.

Overall Urban Decay have struck (rose) gold with its latest Naked addition and it’s nice to see the same amazing quality continued without needless repetition.

Urban Decay Naked3 is £37 and available here.

– Love Stef x

A Not So Happy New Year…

I’m not a fan of New Year.

I hate the idea of reflecting on the events of the last 12 months, knowing that at exactly midnight it’s time to do it all over again.

Call me a cynic, hell call me a slight manic depressive, either way as each bong of Big Ben chimes, a little part of me cringes at a memory from the past year while the rest of me fears what the next one may bring.

Plus I always start each new year fat and ill (cheers Christmas)…

I’m really not all doom and gloom though – after January 1st I’m actually quite chirpy (depending on who you ask).

But my main gripe with good ol’ NYE is that, like most things, it’s always extremely underwhelming.

For example, wildly average destinations and hotspots suddenly start charging for services which are normally their only selling point.

Everyone rushes around in chaotic panic because they’re unsure of their plans and unless you booked the said destinations/hotspots in October, you ain’t going nowhere.

Girls get dolled up only to freeze to death or spend the night looking like drowned rats because taking a coat is a no-no. It’s also still December – rain/snow is a given.

2014

Once out and about for the night (if you’re lucky/organised enough to get this far), there’s the time to reminisce about things that have happened (usually nothing) and the things that could happen (again, usually nothing).

All everyone can agree on is that they’ll attempt to get fit/lose weight, give up a habit, better themselves in some way, shape or form, and refrain from doing stupid things.

Yet as we know, these extravagant statements will last for roughly 24hrs, before a pie is consumed, a fag is lit, a religion is lost and an inappropriate email/text is sent (yes, all me).

Maybe I’m just a miserable person. Or maybe it’s because I know I’ve wasted another year of my dwindling youth achieving very little.

I’ve fallen in love, and then nine months later, fallen out of love. I’ve moved out of my parents house, before promptly moving back into my parents house.

I’ve started a new job and welcomed the accompanying ‘desk-chair arse’ ailment with it. I bought more clothes and shoes than I will ever need, and I’ve blurred a few lines when it comes to friendships with those of the opposite sex.

I’ve laughed and cried, flirted and floundered, all the while maintaining a ‘friendship’ that is less than admirable in its nature (and responsible for all of those aforementioned actions).

But most of all, I’ve spent a year waiting for an epiphany that is never going to come. As the countdown begins, leading us into 2014, I’ll be anticipating The O.C. moment that is unlikely to materialise.

So I’ll leave you with the actual The O.C. moment, and despite this post somewhat negating it, I do wish you all (and myself, fingers crossed) a very happy New Year.

– love Stef x

Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

When: December – January

Weed. Prostitutes. There, now we have gotten that out the way, I can tell you that there are many things to do in the city at this time of year. I went over New Year’s and stayed in the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel right next to Centraal Station. I like to stay central and usually within walking distance to at least one hotspot when travelling, as it always makes for a nice stroll back to the hotel late at night. Luckily for me this particular hotel boasted a Skybar, which come midnight on NYE, saw some seriously cool views of the city.Skybar

As it was winter, it was freezing, so I recommend you take a coat. A big one. It gets so icy cold your bones will be numb – I’d have been lost without my trusty UGG boots (Classic Short in Grey, if you were wondering). Their winter is not like the UK, it is bitterly freezing.

Now, a few things to keep in mind when visiting:

Don’t get run over. Seriously. There are more bikes than there are people (750,000 people to one million bikes!) and their bike lanes aren’t like our rubbish ones – they have real roads just for cyclists. So for example, when attempting to cross the road outside Centraal Station, look out for cars, bikes and trams – in both directions! That’s six lots of traffic, all on the wrong side of the road.

Like the UK, smoking tobacco inside a public place is illegal, but smoking cannabis isn’t. Do not smoke cannabis out on the streets, just your cigarettes. Confused? Me too. Drugs are tolerated by the local authority but it is still a grey area for me. Go to a Coffee Shop, and stay in it, that would be my best advice. There are around 200 registered coffee shops in Amsterdam, so take your pick. They will usually be very obvious from the signage that they sell cannabis, as they are not allowed to advertise in any other way. You are allowed to legally have 5g of ‘soft’ drugs on you, any more and you risk a jail sentence.

Now aside from the Coffee Shops and Red Light District, there is plenty to see and do. Here are my top five activities:

1. Canal Cruise

I recommend first taking a cruise along the extensive map of canals; it’s a must for any first time visitor. It allows you to really get a feel for the city while keeping warm. There is plenty of tourist places that offer a dinner cruise so you can see the city by night and see everywhere all lit up.

2. The Anne Frank HouseAnne Frank House

You don’t need to be a history buff, or even a little bit interested in history, to really appreciate the short life of the girl behind the diary. (A book review is available here). I do recommend you pre-book your tickets via the internet and get the queue jump option – they don’t cost much more and it will literally save you hours of queuing in the aforementioned freezing weather.

3. Albert Cuyp Market

I can’t resist a bit of shopping no matter where I go, and so as soon as I landed I was on a hunt for the best place to go for some retail therapy. Amsterdam is full of markets, but this is the cheapest and longest. It stretches over one kilometre and is packed with hundreds of market traders selling everything from handbags and clothes to fresh fruit and handmade jewellery. It’s easy to get to from Amsterdam Centraal Station via a tram which takes you directly there.

4. The Nine Streets

Like I said, I can’t resist some shopping (even though I flew out a few days after Christmas). The Nine Streets is at the centre of Amsterdam’s canal district and is the most picturesque shopping area in the city. Surrounded by the 17th Century canals and only a short walk from Dam Square, it is definitely worth a trip. Filled with jewellers, vintage Nine Streetsboutiques, gift shops and quirky bars, you can easily spend the day in this area.

5. Vincent Van Gogh Museum

I wouldn’t call myself cultured, but I really did love visiting this museum. I went initially as I felt that I just should, and I’m genuinely pleased that I did. Priceless works of art really are something to be appreciated, don’t underestimate how much you will love wandering through the halls of over 200 pieces of art. Again this was something I pre-booked online, but I went mid-afternoon and I feel I missed most of the crowds and queuing so I really didn’t need to. But I like to be organised.

There is so much more to see and do, I only went for four days but I could have done with longer. There are some lovely restaurants and bars with authentic Dutch food, not that I ate any of it. I am typically British I’m afraid; I ate Italian food the entire time. Apart from Stroopwaffels (they are very Dutch), and have a crunchy/gooey consistency – a perfect cure for the munchies. When in Amsterdam and all that…

Happy travelling!

Anne Frank – The Diary of a Young Girl

12 June 1942: I hope I will be able to confide everything to you, as I have never been able to confide in anyone, and I hope you will be a great source of comfort and support.”  – Anne Frank

German-Jewish teenager Anne Frank was just 15 when she died in Bergen-Belsen.Anne Frank Diary of a Young Girl

This book is a memoir of the young teen’s final two years living in a secret annex above her father’s office in Amsterdam.

From the mind of such an intelligent young girl who aspired to one day be a writer, Anne Frank explores puberty, love, and the naïve hope that one day she will see the outside world again.

Knowing the people that she writes about are real, and died at the hands of the Nazis, really brings her story into perspective. Readers can connect with her as a person who has no shame in talking about her love of popular culture. I fear that in this day and age, she probably would have been a ‘Belieber’. Sigh.

It is still unknown exactly when she died, but her date of death is believed to have been just two months before Bergen-Belsen was liberated by the British, and there she lies, in an unmarked mass grave.

It comes as no surprise that this book has sold over 30 million copies and has been translated in to 67 languages. Anne’s writing is poignant, witty and touching. This is an inspirational and heart-wrenching book, and it should be read by everyone.

I purchased this special 70th anniversary edition from the Anne Frank Huis Museumkaart gift shop on my travels to Amsterdam. See my travel guide here for more information.

– love Carla x

Mani Monday – Barry M Magenta Glitter

Barry M Sally Hansen Nails

Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream // Sally Hansen Natural Nail Growth Revitalizer // Sally Hansen Continuous Growth Treatment for Natural Nails // Barry M Nail Paint in Magenta Glitter

Welcome to Mani Monday!

This week I’ve gone for a super sparkly pretty pink look.

I always start by cleaning any dirt from my nails – I actually use a toothbrush and whitening toothpaste so my natural nails stay stain free.

Then I rub Sally Hansen Cuticle Massage Cream on to my cuticles to soften them before using an orange stick to gently push them back.

Next I use Sally Hansen Natural Nail Growth Revitalizer to make my nails stronger (nine years of waitressing has ruined my lovely strong nails) as they can become quite brittle and tear easily. I will be posting a tutorial for fixing tears without cutting your nails shortly.

I then use the Sally Hansen Continuous Growth Treatment as a base coat to really strengthen my nails.

Now for the good bit…

I absolutely love love love anything that comes from Barry M, and their nail paint is at the top of my list. They are definitely hard-wearing and are super cheap for such high quality.

Glitter polishes are a pain to get off (tutorial for an a-maz-ing-ly easy way to remove glitter coming soon), but when you have to build up so many layers for the perfect look, it can be even harder, but totally worth it!

Here’s the glitter polish after just one coat, and then the final product after four coats.

Barry M Magenta Glitter nail varnish nail1Barry M Magenta Glitter nail varnish nail

Happy Monday!

– love Carla x