Friday, 30 July 2010

Leave it to the experts

Last night I had my monthly trawl of Sophy Robson's blog. I love it so much I like to save it up (anyone else do that with their favourite bloggers?)

I'd watched her how to videos before, but this time I paid pull attention to the Chanel nails tutorial, looking for some tips, and boy, was I blessed!

Here's what I learned:
  • Don't put too much pressure on the brush. I think my three coats obsession is a result of my pressing too hard and making polish streaky, rather than the formula being disappointing. If you think about it, two slightly thicker, more even coats is better than three thin ones, right?
  • Watch how she applies, paying attention to how much is on the brush, then painting the nail bed before sweeping the polish along the nail. My three-lines method seems positively slapdash in comparison.
  • Nail dehydrator? I'd never even heard of the stuff! But now I've been paid I'll be investing on some ASAP.
So, inspired by Olivia Palermo's signature red nails I tested my new skills with Essie Red Nouveau.

Much neater than my usual efforts, much better coverage than I generally get with three coats, and altogether more impressive results. I'll never be a nail goddess like Sophy, but in 10 minutes, I think I improved my efforts by 50 per cent.

Thursday, 29 July 2010

City slicker

I love everything about this editorial. The girl's a fashion genious anyway, despite what I may think about her on-screen personality. And I adore those boots in the middle pic. If only I could wear heels in the city.

Olivia Palermo in ASOS August. Pics courtesy of marieclaire

Chung, drawn and quartered

So I have a slight obsession with her? And? Yeah I know, me and every other loser. And I couldn't be further from her body-shape, so my absolute adoration for her style is ridiculous. Imagine Kelly Brook wearing Alexa's clothes? That's how I'd look if I tried to emulate her. (not that I have the awesome body of Kelly Brook either... oops, just revealled my much less cool celeb-obsession!) Oh well, a  girl can dream....

Pics from L'Officiel August 2010, courtesy of studdedhearts

Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Humpday Hello III

My nail addiction has become fully-fledged since I started blogging, and I sometimes feel like curveinthemode is turning into a nail blog itself. That's until I realise I could just never compete with experts like the fabulous HayleyBee.

I mean seriously, where does she she find the time? These are just beautiful.

I've always just been a block-colour girl on my nails, until I started seeing leopard print nails a couple of years ago (I'm an unashamed leopard addict). Now I'm not very arty, so attempting such delicate work myself is something I'm still working up to. But plans have been made to attempt such finger magic this weekend, and Hayley, you've inspired me!

The lovely lady has also popped a roses how-to on her tumblr, so be sure to check it out. Oh, and how cute is she?!

Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Hair today, gone tomorrow

Let me share a secret - I don't wash my hair every day. I made a discovery that changed my life. Batiste Dry Shampoo.
Now, I know this won't be a revellation to many of you - it's not as if this brand hasn't been around for a while. And they've recently expanded the range to add new scents and colour-specific sprays, so plenty of people must be enjoying their product, but I'd just like to add my two-penneth.

My mane has its pros and cons - it's naturally very shiny (I don't even use conditioner, as it just makes it limp) but shiny hair is often oily hair, and for that reason I was tied to the hairdryer. Until I discovered this.

I was dubious at first - how can a spray just magic away the grease? But it does, and it lasts all day long. You just spray it on the roots, brush it out, and your hair really is fuller, more volumised and looks really clean!

I started with Tropical after sniffing them all in Boots (I regularly get told off for this). Now, Batiste are a little vague when it comes to the actual smells, but this is definitely coconut and I often get compliments on it.

Next I tried Blush - this is a girly, flowery, perfumey scent. Not my fave, but perfectly lovely.

Original is pretty dull. It kind of just smells... cold? But it's great if you already wear a strong scent and don't want anything to interfere with it.

Then things got exciting! Boho, Diva and coloured sprays - I've nearly tried them all!

Boho smells orangey, while Diva smells a little bit like impulse, or a deoderant. But brunette is chocolately and lovely and avoids those pesky white patches you get if you don't brush it out properly.

The other benefit of Batiste is you can use it to add volume to clean hair when doing plaits, pleats, messy buns or up-dos. If you haven't tried it already, it's about £3. The only drawback is the cans don't last that long - I go through about one every two weeks, but then I use it every other day.

P.S - never buy the Tony and Guy dry shampoo. It hardly cleans your hair, lasts about two hours and costs almost £7! The only plus point is it smells like Gucci Rush.

Do you guys use any other dry shampoos?

Monday, 26 July 2010

Question time

The amazing Ellie from tagged me in my first questiony quizzy thing. Hurrah! Here are my answers.

1. What never fails to cheer you up?
Buying nail polish. It's becoming an addiction.

2. If you could live one day of your life over again what would it be?
I'd choose my sister's wedding, All sorts of magical things happened, but because el vino did flow, I'm a bit fuzzy on the specifics of some of them. Shame.

3. What do you like best about yourself?
The mere thought of this question makes me want to be sick in my mouth. Anything I say will sound corny. My ability to boss a business meeting?

4. What would you change about yourself?
Much like Ellie, definitely my lack of motivation. And in stark contrast to ellie, I'd really like to wear glasses. I've chosen them and everything... see here.

5. What have you enjoyed most about blogging?
Getting the chance to flex my writing skills, and connecting with other people in the community. I'm yet to hear from anyone who isn't lovely.

6. Who or what is your ultimate source of inspiration? 
Fashion-wise, bfellow bloggers have been a huge inspiration. It's encouraging to see other people take risks, and learn not only the skinny celebs can sport the latest trend. 
Justify Full 
7. If you could be anywhere in the world where would you be?
Either people-watching in NYC or on enjoying a post-beach sundowner at the Rainbird bar in Lindos, Rhodes. God I'm ready for my holiday.

8. Who would you invite to your ideal dinner party?
I used to have a comprehensive list of celebs, all chosen for what they would bring to the party. But since I moved to my tiny flat in London, where entertaining is nigh on impossible, I've just wanted to invite all my best friends round for a dinner party, spoil them with three courses of loveliness and get tiddletown on white wine. Sad, I know.

I don't have eight bloggers I'd like to pass this on to, you guys must get loads of these, but I would like to say hello and here you go to some lovely people whose blogs I love and who often drop in and comment -

Mat Buckets
Claire Jazzpad
Claire at Tweet

Thursday, 22 July 2010

On your bike

Cycling is everywhere at the moment. London's Cycle Hire Scheme launches at the end of the month, Skyrides will fill the streets with bikes pretty soon, and articles in Stylist and the Daily Mail are featuring pedalling ladies, and pushing in a 'look ladies, biking's not just for boys!' angle.

Unfortunately, the Daily Snail is a little behind the times. Across Europe cycling's been seen as an affordable, green and, more excitingly, fashionable option for the fairer sex.

The cyclechic movement has seen ladies (and gents) forsake the lycra to be stylish in the saddle, and there are plenty of websites showcasing sartorially interesting cyclists to chose from - they make me so jealous, because looking good on two wheels is not as easy as it looks.

I've had my beautiful bike (below) for almost a year, and cycle to work about three times a week.
Pashley Poppy in Blue

It's around 35 minutes each way, and pretty good exercise if you get your head down and go for it. Unfortunately, it can be sweaty work. Decked in my gym gear and bright pink helmet, I sail past plenty of ladies looking great in their capes, jeans, even heels, and have no idea how they aren't a total mess when they arrive. All I can deduce is they have much shorter journeys than mine, or are those lucky types who don't break a sweat.

Either way, I bought my bike with visions of sailing through central London, wind whistling through my hair, flowers and baguette in my basket, skirt flowing in the breeze. The realisty is my hunched over the handlebars, basket at home because it weighs me down, lycra glistening in the polluted air. I'm occasionally jealous of those stylish cyclists, but the pursuit is actually so fun I soon forget and just enjoy the ride.

If I were a sweatless lady, with no care for safety (my helmet is a must) I'd like to think I'd look as good as Agyness on my bike.

P.S For cyclechic sites, see londoncyclechic, and the original, copenhagencyclechic, or check out Bobbin Bicycles, where I bought my blue lovely, it's the best bike shop in London!

Wednesday, 21 July 2010

Colour me happy

The sun has got his hat on! I'm in a particularly colourful mood today, so thought I'd share these recent finds with you. Sorry peeps, I can't for the life of me remember where they are from, excenp the top and bottom ones, which are RCVA x Erin Wasson, and have been posted everywhere because they are so frigging awesome.) Please let me know if you recognise t'others.

Enjoy the sunshine, if you have some. I'm off to say a liquid sayonara to a friend who's moving to Tokyo.

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Tatt's the way to do it

Nope, still not getting one. But discovered a flippin' good blog for wiling the hours away...

PS - Do reeeeally like the first one mind, for family/owl-related reasons.

Monday, 19 July 2010

Monday mumbling

Thought I'd round up a couple of thoughts I've been having today, in no particular order (I know, lucky you, right?).
If I were engaged and incredibly rich, I'd consider this Givenchy A/W 2010 gown as a wedding dress. I can just imagine my mother's face...
This is the nicest tattoo I've ever seen. I don't have any myself, and probably never will because I'm far too fickle. But this is really sweet. And if they break up, they can just pretend they really like milk. Or cereal. Or change it to Milko forever... whatever.
It's my friends Emma and Andrew's wedding on Saturday, and there better be some flippin' Britney on the playlist for old times' sake.

As you were.

Friday, 16 July 2010

A Misguided fool


1 - £19.99 // 2 - £22.99 // 3 - £19.99 // 4 - £22.99 // 5 - £11.99 // 6 - £32.00 // 7 - £22.99 // 8 - £32.99

A number of cheaper online fashion retailers have popped up in recent years, in a supposed bid for the ASOS crown - boohoo and linzishoes are just a couple.

I've tended to have a quick browse when they're brought to my attention, but never find anything I like, and by that I mean anything that doesn't look like the Mark One bargain bin. That's until I came across Missguided.

Don't get me wrong, there's the usual shower of shit on there, and plenty of poly for static fans, but this little-known site boasts some absolute beauties, especially now I'm in holiday mode. (A week in Samos, Greece is booked for August. Get in.)

This is also a good opportunity to introduce you to my love of leopard print. It started small - a pair of earings I think - and before I knew it I had a vertitable zoo of leopard print pieces cluttering my wardrobe. Anyway, that's just a little bit about me! 

Enjoy your weekend peeps, and don't forget to swing by pretty much penniless to check out her amazing giveaway. Unless you're lucky, then bugger off because I really want to win!

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Resort yourself out

Sorry is supposed to be the hardest word, but I'll use it with wild abandon here to apologies for yet another nail post. I just couldn't resist testing these babies as soon as they arrived. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you, the Essie Resort Collection 2010.
From left to right: Lapis of Luxury, Splash of Grenadine, Playa Del Platinum and Turquoise & Caicos.

Now, one gripe I have with these is they don't come in a set of minis, so this haul (which came from America through the fabulous Major Sam Dexter - thanks Sam!) set me back a cool £24 ($32 to be precise). But you can't put a price on my excitement at ripping off their bubble wrap.

So last night I settled down with wine and Mary Queen of Shops to play with them, and I was more than happy with the quality after three coats.
Coat one was pretty insipid. Coat two was slightly streaky (though that could be my poor polish performance) but three was a wonderfully vivid coating that, despite what the hundred pictures I took in different lighting conditions might suggest, is actually the same as how it looks in the bottle, for all four - pretty rare I tell you! And these are basically my four favourite colours in the world for clothing, interiors, everything... all though not, at first, my nails. 

The blue is that beautiful shade you see in hydrangeas...
This was certainly my favourite, so I've been sporting that today and have had a couple of compliments.

This weekend will be the turn of Splash of Grenadine. It's a rare punchy-purply-blush-pink (if you can imagine that) - not too girly. I often find paler pink polishes a little eighties, but this is gorgeous and refreshingly different.

The Playa Del Platinum was probably the least exciting, but then I suppose that's the point of a nude. It's somewhere in between stone, cream and nude, and would be an excellent bridal shade this season.

And Tuquoise and Caicos is a great, more grown up alternative to my Nails Inc Satin, It's more turquoise than mint - I'd love to do a comparison between all the turquoisy minty greens on the market (I'd also like to get my hands on Isadora Vintage Mint - anyone know where stocks it?)

So, in summation, these polishes will pretty much set you up for summer. So what's my reservation? At first I was a little underwhelmed, because I'm so used to incredibly bright strong nails - strange because everywhere else I love exactly these colours. But on reflection, they are all beautiful shades that definitely have a place in my repertoire. They will certainly suit those who want to try colour, but aren't quite ready for ridiculously bright nails (or whose work environment doesn't approve of them) and they go with almost everything in my wardrobe.

Incidentally, I tried them all in matte too, but really struggled to take a picture of my right hand without a tripod. Here's my best effort for reference - I'm keeping it small!

Tuesday, 13 July 2010

A few things I know...

As this is my fiftieth post, I thought I'd look back on a couple of things I've learned in the few short months I've been blogging...

  • Bloggers are lovely: Pretty much everyone I've come into contact with has been friendly, encouraging and a pleasure to meet. Thanks guys!
  • There are a million blogs: Until I started blogging I had a fair few I'd bookmarked, but didn't follow anyone officially or comment much. Since I started my own I appreciate the effect a nice comment can have on your day, and try to send a little message to everyone whose post I enjoy.
  • Blogging is hard work: It takes me about an hour a day, and my blog is pretty simple! I really try to do a post Monday to Friday (I'm generally out and about on weekends) and it can be tricky fitting it in.
  • Don't blog if you want to save money: I shop even more now so I have plenty to review. Fun for me, not so fun for my bank manager.
  • Followers become an obsession: There's something lovely about knowing someone checks in regularly. I literally get giddy each time I get another follower (16 and counting!) and will hold a fab competition when I hit 30.
So there you go - any followers hiding in the woodwork, make it official to be in with a chance of winning a haul of goodies!

Thanks for reading people! I'm having so much fun doing this, and reading your comments is always a pleasure.

As a small treat I thought I'd share my new favourite band, First Aid Kit, with you all. They're swedish and amazing and a treat if you're into Tegan and Sara, or Fleet Foxes, or folk, or just good stuff in general. Enjoy!

PS. You can also follow me on Twitter, if you so wish. I'm @Tortlington... please say hi!

Monday, 12 July 2010

Take matte

During a fleeting visit to Superdrug to grab some painkillers, I was momentarily distracted by the kaleidoscopic Barry M counter.

A friend had mentioned Barry M's Cyan, and once I saw it, I couldn't resist. It helped that she lives a few doors down from me, and we can effectively share a nail polish collection, so in my mind I was doing a public service by picking up this little beauty. (£2.99)

I hope you ladies (and gentlemen) are sitting down because what I'm about to tell you could knock you off your feet... this is only two coats! This polish is a flippin' gem. Regular readers will know I'm a three-coat addict, but there was absolutely no need with this creamy, opaque beauty. And the colour is great. (Coated with Seche Vite here for extra gloss)
Then I took things to another level. I picked up Topshop's Matte with my other items last Wednesday, and although I was pretty dubious as to whether I'd take to matte nails, on a vibrant colour like this I'm sold.
Don't get me wrong, I'll always love that shiny manicured look. But for the crazier colours in my repertoire this gives a more casual edge I'm a real fan of. Would rather like to try it with some of Barry's ice cream colours, and definitely with Topshop's Gypsy Night, just to see what it does to glitter polishes. Either way, it's a fun product for a fiver, worked well here on top of my topcoat, letting you change it up on a whim, and dried in seconds with no brushstroaks. Go forth and mattify!

Friday, 9 July 2010

All that glitters

I couldn't resist this. I know others have blogged about it, and you're probably bored of hearing of it, but it's just such a fabulous concept. Topshop Make up's Gypsy Night Nail Polish.
Now it's obviously not the most summery polish, but it's like having a little slice of outer space on each nail.
Multi-coloured glitter mixed with gold flecks in a stormy black base? Yes please! This is going to be my go-to colour come colder months.

I would have liked a slightly thicker consistency - there's no way you could get away with less than two coats; I did three here and even considered four. But the polish is much more magical than these pictures suggest. (Note to self, work on photography skills!)

Now some say size matters, but when it comes to polish I must disagree. These aren't big bottles - about half the size of OPI, but I've never personally used up more than half a nail polish anyway, so I don't see this as a downside. Especially as nail polish is, now more than ever, a trend-driven purchase rather than an investment.

The brush is also worthy of comment. It's a nice size, matching the small bottle. Am I the only one who finds OPI's large brushes, and the amount of polish they pick up, a little unweidly? I may be on my own here, as they are a professional favourite so can't be hard for experts to use, but with my amateur painting skills I prefer a more accurate tool.

Either way, I'm looking forward to Topshop restocking the bright blue colour. They're out of stock at the moment and I'm pretty happy with this for £5.

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Code red

Last night I swooped by Topshop for one thing, and came out with three. Thankfully they were all make-up, otherwise I would have seriously destroyed my July clothing embargo.

Regular readers will remember my quest for a red lipstick, and I thought, before diving headfirst into an expensive Mac purchase, I'd try something more thrifty and see if I wear it often enough to warrant the big investment.
So I picked up Topshop Lip Stick in Flame.
Here's the rather embarassing picture of me wearing it...
(pic by David Cotter)
You see, whenever I've tried to take lippy pictures myself in the past they are blurry, or washed out, or a totally different colour to real life, so I asked my photographer colleague to lend a hand. I asked him to just crop the lips but he wouldn't play ball.
No, I haven't had a stroke, I just appear to have a rather droopy eye... who knew! Anyway, the stick is very pigmented, to the point that it's actually quite nervewracking to apply without a brush. It's quite versatile; nice and shiny, matte if you blot. I did somewhere in between here.
It lasted around two hours before I needed to reapply, and surprisingly for a pencil it isn't drying - it's more of a regular lipstick in pencil form. Altogether, this product is really impressive for £7.
The only problem is, I just realised I now also need a big fat pencil sharpener.

PS I didn't take a 'swatch' hand photo, because I'm never sure how useful it is to know what a lipstick looks like on your hand, unless you are comparing a few? Please do let me know though if you find these helpful though!

UPDATE: This lasted about 5 hours, including a strenuous aerobics class! It's amazing! 


The UK online store launches on 16 September... GET THE HELL IN!

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

We had a time...

The greatest tv program ever made. I know I'm not the first to say it, or see it as fashion inspiration, but I can say with hand on heart that since I watched this with my sister more than a decade ago, I knew that was how I wanted to dress.
I made my Mum buy me some cork-heeled logger boots from the market, a lumberjack shirt from C&A, and counted the days until I was 16 and allowed to die my hair red. Oh how I loved Angela...
Then, around 2005 I noticed Mary-Kate Olsen start to wear clothes I'd only ever seen before on Rayanne Graff - the checked shirt, the maxis, the clothes that would become ubiquitous four years later.
From autumn to winter 2009 I scoured ebay for a pair of those loggers. I tried to pluck up the courage to ask the awesome girl at my train station how the hell she tracked hers down, and I failed on both counts.
And now, as the high street starts to stock it's autumn lines (how already? It's not even August!) I'm starting to think once more about the boots that will complete my life. This year you will be mine!

Teen TV has never been as good as this, so I can't wait to see creator Winnie Holtzman's new show Huge. The fat-camp-based pilot was picked up, and if the series is as honest, accurate and well-acted as MSCL, I know I'll be totally hooked!

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Excuse me Miss

So my twitter is all, well, atwitter with the Miss Selfridge A/W collection... and it's not good. Someone even mentioned doing a mouthsick... a visceral reaction so strong it should be reserved for furry crocs, surely?

Anyway, I've had a little shufty, and I have to say, I've seen some gems! Now, this being a blog and all, I must be true to myself and say I probably won't buy any of these items. They fit firmly into the looks-awesome-on-someone-else-who-is-thinner-and-goes-to-more-interesting-places-than-me camp... but it's fun to play around outside out usual style boundaries, right?

1 - Can't you just see yourself swanning around an illicit party in the seventies, cigarette in one hand, martini in another, draped in this baby? It's fabulous!
2 - A lined cardie/coat seems so warm right now while I'm trapped in my over-air-conditioned office. It's only 25 outside people, just crack a window!
3 - I would definitely wear this if I were Florence. With number 6. But more about them later.
4 - Do I love 'em? Do I hate 'em? There's definitely something I love about the heel... it reminds me of my forever style-icon Angela Chase. They would look amazing with woolly tights. (Yep, I'm still cold).
5 - A duo I would wear if I were off out on a fabulous night anytime soon. There's something really interesting about how eclectic this whole collection is... seventies, sixties, witchies...
6 - These are the only thing I'm really coveting. I can see these teamed with a million mini shifts I've seen recently, or my skinnies, or even some J Brand Houlihans (and I don't even like 'em much!). Alas, I can't walk around London all day in a heel. Oh God. I just used the fashion singular. Now that deserves a mouthsick!