Layla Caviar Effect Nail Art {AD-GIFTED}

Wotcha!  Hope all is well in your world?

I’m feeling a bit nervous because I’m doing something today that I hate doing, but is a peril of being a blogger… a negative review.

 

As I’ve always said, my blog is completely honest and I’m always totally open with you which is why I write so frankly – I value each and every one of you and therefore will always present things to you as I find them, even if that means I have to say something bad.  Meep.

 

Today’s review is regarding the Layla Caviar Effect Nail Art, sent to me by kind courtesy of The Hut.

Although I’m really, staggeringly rubbish at nail art, it does fascinate me and I’ve been thinking I would love to have a bash at the caviar look, so when I was offered the chance to give it a go, I was very excited.

 

As you can see, the caviar ‘balls’ (is that what they’re called?  Not sure, but that’s what I’m calling them!) were a turquoise sort of shade – not quite blue, not quite green, but stunning.  It reminded me of the colour of a mermaids tail.  I decided the perfect base for this would be Essie’s ‘Naughty Nautical’ and I wasn’t wrong – they looked great together and the statement nail managed to stand out whilst not clashing against all the other fingers once painted.
Applying the balls is a little messy, but I did it over a bowl then used some silver foil to create a funnel and pour the overspill back into the pot – there were some casualties, but the majority of the little guys managed to make their way home safely.  Once the balls had been applied, I put a final coat of clear nail varnish on to provide a protective top layer.
Below is a timeline of how the nail art coped over the coming days…
Wednesday Night
This just after I finished painting them.  All is well and I’m loving the colour contrast.
Thursday Morning
After having a shower, I was disappointed to see I had lost some balls but knew it was a possibility.  More disappointing was the fact the colour had been removed and instead of turquoise they were now silver.  Not great.
Thursday Night
Just before I went to bed – even more loss.
Friday Morning
 Friday Night
Saturday Morning
Considerable loss on both hands, particularly on the right (I’m right handed)
Sunday Morning
As I said, I knew there would be some loss and that the overall effect would be lessened with time, but the loss of colour was a real let-down, and the rate at which the balls were dropping off was disappointing too.  I don’t have an intense manual job, instead working at a desk most of the day, but I type gently with the pads of my fingers, not by slamming my hands backwards down onto the keyboard, so I see no reason why this kind of loss should happen.
Because I’ve never used caviar nail effect art before I’m not in a position to say whether this rate of deterioration is normal, but what I can say is that this experience has put me off the concept altogether as it doesn’t seem suitable for everyday wear – even if just for a week.
As always, this is just my opinion and I’ve no prior experience of the Layla brand or their products so I’m not slating them as I have no grounding to do so, but for me, this particular product ticked all the boxes upon application then very quickly unticked them over the following days.
Have you tried caviar nail art before?  How did you find it?
Or, have you tried Layla products before?  I’d be interested to know what they’re like!
Penny xx
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Fashion Love & My Cat Dress – Blue Banana {AD-GIFTED}

Hello m’lovelies, I hope you’re good?

I’m here today to tell you about a brand I’ve very recently become aware of and, who it seems, I am the last person to become aware of!  When I loaded this outfit onto my Twitter and Instagram, so many people were replying telling me they love this company!  WHERE HAVE I BEEN?  HOW HAVE I MISSED THIS?

 

I’m here to share with you my dress from Blue Banana.

Now, unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that I’m ever-so-slightly-but-actually-incredibly-over-the-top in love with my two cats.  I heart them, I heart them hard.  So, anything I see that has any relevance to a cat immediately finds itself planted on my ‘Want’ list.

 

When Blue Banana contacted me and asked me to pick something from their website I had a good look through and was pleasantly pleased to find that not only do I love so many of their pieces, but they offer a wide range of clothes that have cats on them too.  Cats and fashion.  Fashion and cats.  Oh yes, Blue Banana, you’ve found a fan in me!

 

First up, I’ll show you some of the pieces I considered having…

 

Now here are some of their awesome cat-themed pieces…
Pretty (p)awesome, right?
(Sorry, how could I miss the chance for a pun?!)
Sadly, I don’t think I’m anywhere near edgy and cool enough to be able to pull off any of those cat looks (sad face) so what did I opt for from their range?
Their gorgeous Rat Baby dress by Too Fast Kitty.  I love it!

 

 

I love the uniqueness of this dress – the mad cat print on the skirt, the colour clash of black, white and red, and the stunning mesh panel at the front which adds a little bit of an eyebrow-raising element to the outfit.

 

It’s different, it’s daring and I love it!
Obviously you can’t wear a bra with this dress because the mesh slashes so far down at the front, and I was a bit worried because the red material, whilst mostly opaque, can definitely be seen through in terms of shape, but I fashioned myself a modesty panel using a couple of plasters and bobs yer uncle!  (or boobs your uncle as the case may be)  All was well!
I wore this dress to go for afternoon tea in London with my best friend and her mum because I couldn’t wait for a night out to wear it, and I felt like a million dollars!  I’m just waiting for the opportunity to wear this for a night on the town – it’s definitely a dress for painting the town red in rather than wearing to work!
I absolutely love this dress and can’t believe it took me so long to discover Blue Banana, but as they say, better late than never and I think the discovery of this dress makes the wait worthwhile!
Have you heard of Blue Banana before?  WHY did it take me so long to find out about them?
LilliesandLove xx
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Cat-a-Cake Creations – Unique and Quirky Jewellery {AD-GIFTED}

Hello m’dears, hope all is well in your world today and the sun is shining for you!

Today I want to introduce you to a talented jewellery maker I discovered last year – Claire of Cat-A-Cake Creations.   First things first, what a brilliant name!  I love cats and I’m partial to a (large) piece of cake, stick the two together, chuck in some imaginative jewellery and BAM, you’ve got me.

 

I’m lucky enough to own a piece of Cat-a-Cake jewellery, a pair of rattie earrings.  I had pet rats growing up and love them to bits (yes, I know most of you are recoiling at this point but they really are lovely, I promise!) so to have some rattie earrings was just too perfect for me to pass up.  I love them, love how different they are and that although they’re really unique, they manage to be subtle at the same time.  It’s not very often you find something that stands out and is subtle at the same time!

 

 

Cat-a-Cake’s jewellery is all made by laser-cutting, which I find pretty impressive as I have no creative skills whatsoever and struggle with creating anything more complicated than a sandwich.  To take a piece of plastic or wood and turn it into not only a piece of jewellery, but a piece of jewellery that actually looks like what it’s supposed to blows my tiny little mind.

 

 

 

I always love it when a brand or company have a great personal service and when the person behind it is nice, it only ever adds to the experience of dealing with them I find.  Cat-a-Cake are no different, Claire is absolutely lovely!  So, in the spirit of letting you find out more about Claire, her jewellery and what drives and inspires her, I thought I’d ask her to answer a few questions…

 

WHEN DID YOU FIRST REALISE YOU HAD TALENT?
I’ve always been into art, but I started thinking about it in terms of a career when I was about 15.  I knew I wanted to do something within art and design, but I wasn’t quite sure what!

DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT THE FIRST ITEM YOU MADE WAS?
The first items I made in terms of selling were my greetings cards.  I began illustrating them and thinking of how they’d work as a series, and it’s from there that my range of cards was born!

DO YOU REMEMBER WHAT YOUR FIRST SALE WAS?
My first sale was a greeting card – or, in fact, 4 of them!  It might only have been £5 but it meant a lot to me!

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR PROUDEST BUSINESS MOMENT TO DATE?
I run a craft fair in Brighton called The Fairy Tale Fair.  It grew from a tiny idea I had just over a year to where it is today – with over 35 stall-holders, singers, a vintage café, craft workshops and more!  I had over 80 applications for this fair and on each one I get such nice comments about how well organised and advertised it is, which is always nice to hear!

WHERE CAN YOUR ITEMS BE PURCHASED?
I sell at many craft fairs across Brighton and beyond, venturing into Old Spitalfields Market in London from time to time.  I also have an Etsy store.

HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH YOUR COMPANY NAME?
It’s a bit of a random name, but a lot of my work contains cake and cake!  I wanted something unusual and different so it would stand out and be easy to remember.  It sounded a bit like a riddle too, so Cat-a-Cake Creations was born!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE YOU’VE EVER CREATED?
Probably my Buddy the cat necklace, just because he is based on my real pet cat, and it’s a weird and wonderful feeling to be able to wear a laser-cut version of your cat around your neck and for others to do the same!

 

 

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE CURRENTLY FOR SALE?
My Rosie the Robin necklace that I launched for Christmas.  She’s hand designed and double layered with cherrywood, acrylic and red mirror.

 

 

DO YOU HAVE A BUSINESS MOTTO OR MANTRA?
Cuddle cats and eat cake!

HOW OLD IS YOUR BUSINESS?
2-years, although it’s still in it’s ‘hobby’ stage at the moment, I work it around my full-time job as a designer.

Now we know a bit more about the brand, I thought it would be good to find out a little about Claire herself – my nosiness knows no bounds, so I’m always interested to find out about other people!

IF YOU WERE A BISCUIT, WHICH WOULD YOU BE?
A Jammie Dodger – all gooey and with a big heart!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?
Fish ‘n’ Chips – simple, yet the best!  I even have a card with fish and chips on!

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE DRINK?
Hot chocolate with marshmallows, especially on cold winter days!

DOGS OR CATS?
Cats!  Of course!

HOW MANY PAIRS OF SHOES DO YOU OWN?
A lot.  Mainly sparkly ones that I just look at and can’t walk in!

IF YOU WERE AN ANIMAL, WHAT WOULD YOU BE?
A cat of course, then I’d eat, sleep and purr all day long!

WOULD YOU RATHER FIGHT 1O DUCK-SIZED HORSES OR 1 HORSE-SIZED DUCK?
This reminds me of the Chris Moyles radio show!  10 duck-sized horses because I think they would be cute!

DO YOU HAVE ANY FEARS?
Spiders and other horrible things like that!

DO YOU PREFER A ROAST DINNER IN THE WINTER OR A BBQ IN THE SUMMER?
Roast dinner in winter, for sure!  I’m much more of a cosy winter person than summer, I like sitting in fluffy PJ’s and wrapping up warm!

DO YOU HAVE A MESSAGE FOR THE LILLIESANDLOVE READERS?
I hope you’ve enjoyed finding out about Cat-a-Cake Creations!  You can find out more on my website and I’m always happy to answer any questions!

 

 

Claire is honestly such a lovely person and it’s clear to see how much she loves what she does, plus how much effort she puts in to making sure everything is top quality.  I love my rattie earrings and have no doubt you will love anything you buy from her too!

 

What do you think of Claire’s designs?  Aren’t they cute?
LilliesandLove xx
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Sparkly Nails – Low Cost Nail Art Products {AD-GIFTED}

First of all, I have to apologise for the poor quality of the photos in this blog post, they were taken prior to me getting my lovely new camera and I was having to rely on my phone, which isn’t exactly mind-blowing when it comes to imagery!

 

I want to introduce you today to nail art accessories company Sparkly Nails.  I first became aware of them when they contacted me via Twitter and was very excited when they said they would be sending me out some nail stickers for the Christmas period; I do love a little nail decoration!

 

 

As you can see the pack I received had some great seasonal little decals in them and the sheet was generous with enough on it to decorate your nails several times over!

 

 

I opted for the snow flake and holly berry branch as my nails are short at the moment while I’m trying to get them to recover from years of nail biting, but with the stickers being quite small themselves it meant I could still make use of them.

 

Being impressed by the samples I received I thought I’d have a little nosey at the Sparkly Nails website and I can’t believe what a range they have, nor how cheap they are!  They’re more than reasonable when it comes to pricing – the sheet I received cost just £1.65!  Bargain!!

 

As well as the decals, there’s a HUGE range of other items for nail design on their website – charms, foils, glitters, gems, stamps, stencils, wraps, paints and brushes plus a whole heap more, and everything is at low cost!

 

I’m VERY excited to have discovered Sparkly Nails and once my spending ban is over I’m definitely going to be stocking up on some goodies from them so I can play around and have my hands looking glam!

 

As well as their website, they also have a Twitter page where they tell you about products and offers they’ve got going on so make sure you’re following them to be kept up to date!

Have you bought from Sparkly Nails before or are they a new discovery for you too?  Are you going to treat yourself to anything from their website?
LilliesandLove xx

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My Very Secret Santa {AD-GIFTED}

I was very (excuse the pun) excited to receive an email from the people at Very a few weeks ago asking if I would like to take part in their Very Secret Santa for bloggers.  I’m a total Christmas nut and get so excited at this time of year, so the opportunity to get involved with this was one that I couldn’t let slip by!

 

Very allocated me a recipient, told me I had £20 to spend and directed me to the Gift Guru app on their website.  You might have seen similar tools on other websites whilst you’ve been browsing the Christmas goodies and they’re a brilliant little addition which can save a lot of time when looking for the perfect present for that special someone.

 

 

Simply select the relevant choices from the drop-down menu and BAM, you’ve got a list of gifts to suit the individual.

 

 

I have to say, I think this tool is particularly useful when it comes to things like Secret Santa where you don’t know the recipient too well.  I was lucky in that I was allocated a blogger who I’ve been reading for a while, so I felt I knew what they would like, but imagine if you drew the name of Stan from IT in your Secret Santa and the only thing you know about him is that he leaves soggy teabags on the draining board in the communal kitchen?  NIGHTMARE.  What do you buy a man like Stan?!  Never fear, pop onto the Very Gift Guru and it’ll help you find something to suit!

 

I actually used this tool when choosing the present for my Secret Santa recipient and I loved what I got them – in fact, I kind of wished I was picking a gift for myself!  I’ve since read their blog post and they loved it, so that’s definitely good to hear!

 

But what did I get, I hear you ask…!
This Butter London ‘Double Take’ nail varnish duo – I love it!

I’ve never used any Butter London products before but I’m so impressed!  They go on really nicely and the blue had such great pigmentation I only had to do one coat before putting the glitter over the top.  I’ve also had the polish on for 5-days now and despite a whole day of decorating and furniture building yesterday, there’s not a single chip on any nail!  Amazing!

 

 

These colours are just perfect for this time of year and together they remind me a clear, crisp winters night when you look up at the sky and can see every single star twinkling above you.

 

I want to say a big thank you to Very for asking me to get involved with this little project and a HUGE thank you to my Secret Santa (whoever you are!) for choosing this gift for me; it’s perfect and I love it!

 

 

LilliesandLove xx
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