Saturday, 11 August 2012

Product Review: Nail Rock Nail Art Stickers

Another product review, and this time I'll have to say it was a bit of an impulse buy... I'd seen an advert for Nail Rock nail art stickers in a magazine and thought they looked really cool, so when I saw some in Topshop for £7, I decided to give it a go.

The ones I got were the Spring/Summer 2012 selection, which come with illustrations of cute animals, dolls and various other cute things. If you're familiar with the general Topshop style, it's safe to say that they go with most things you get from there. There are loads of other sorts available which can be found on the website here.

Nail Rock come in a packet like this, with this sheet of cute designs:

The instructions are relatively simple - buff the nail with a file to remove shine, wipe to remove any old polish and stick on a sticker, tucking behind the nail and removing excess with a file.
The kit comes with a wipe, file and cuticle stick.

I got my Mum to help with mine as I'm awful at using my left hand to do my right nails. Unfortunately, my nails on both hands were really short at the time and we realised we couldn't tuck them under properly. I ended up with nails that looked neat from the front but messy from the back. The instructions seemed easy to follow but just make sure your nails are long enough before you apply the stickers. Mine lasted for a grand total of 2 days, although the packet says 'lasts up to 10 days'.

Anyway, here's a picture of the outcome:

Overall, I'd say I wouldn't buy these again, but if you have long nails then maybe try it once, as it may come out nicer than mine.

Please comment on what you think!

Monday, 6 August 2012

Product review: Amazon Kindle

I recently acquired a Kindle for my birthday, after reading a few books on my Mum's and absolutely loving it. A few of my friends have them too so I decided to give it a go. And I LOVE it.

If anyone's been living in a hole for the past two years and doesn't know, a Kindle is an electronic reading device made by Amazon which allows you to store thousands of books in a tiny device and read them on a screen. The screen is particularly awesome because it is just like paper: not illuminated and doesn't hurt your eyes. It's just like reading a book just without having to turn pages - you use a button for that. 

The kindle comes in a neat little box with a charger cable (you need a computer or plug adapter to charge it). You can connect it to your Amazon account and go online using wi-fi or 3g which the Kindle comes with (mine is just wi-fi, which is fine, but 3g can be useful if you're on holiday). I was lucky enough that my friend Alex bought me an Amazon voucher for my birthday, so I loaded it with some books straight away!

In terms of being user friendly, I find the kindle really easy to use as there are simple instruction guides (although you may not need these) and plenty of controls to allow you to browse and read with ease. The internet can be difficult to navigate, especially with my version that has an on-screen keyboard, but that doesn't matter, as the Amazon store is specially set up to be kindle- friendly. There are turning buttons on both sides so that you can turn with either hand, making it comfortable for right or left handed users. The kindle is a plastic material but the back feels grippy, and so is easy to hold safely. The battery life seems very long, having only had to charge it two or three times this month.

Aesthetically, the Kindle looks wonderful: sleek and a large screen, with a font that is adjustable for size and style. One of my favourite things about the Kindle (apart from being able to read all these amazing books so easily) is when it's put on standby, a picture fills the screen. Depending on the model these could be of famous authors or writing materials (pens, pencils, typewriters etc).

To those of you who are still not convinced, I can assure you, I've heard it all before: people saying "no, I have to have a real book" then suddenly converting and falling in love with the Kindle. If you're STILL not convinced, borrow one from a friend and read a book or two (although good luck finding someone willing to part with it). 

Leave a comment with your opinion on the Amazon Kindle! :) Happy reading!

^ The model I have (new Kindle 6" with wi-fi)
Available here for £89

It's Summer and I'm back!

First of all I'd like to say sorry that I haven't posted for so long. I must say I'm guilty of that typical blogger thing: write some posts, and forget about it. I also got caught up in exams, music tours and various other things but now I'd like to proudly announce that (provoked by summer boredom) I am back! :)

I have loads of exciting (I hope) posts lined up, and obviously I don't want to write them all at once... but please watch this space as I'm going to write the first one now :)

Friday, 8 June 2012

The R word...


Now the holidays are drawing to a close it's time to knuckle down and realise that something has to be done about the exam I have on Thursday. To be fair, I'm not one to sit back and forget about school until Sunday night at the end of half term, I'm more content with the 'little and often' approach when it comes to a massive brain-capacity-stretching subject such as physical geography. Now, however, I know it's time to knuckle down and make a mind map, and do some past papers. That brings me to the main element of today's post - how I revise... let's take this in chronological order.

Four weeks to exam:
It dawns on me that revision is needed. I may have been doing some light reviewing in the form of flicking through my book on the bus, mental tests whilst say... drying my hair, but now I start to sit down and start with the first topic. I'll write everything I need to know down and hope most of it sticks to my brain.

Another thing I do is CHECK THE SPEC (it even rhymes to help you remember). Although you're bound to be taught everything you need at school, but just in case you missed a lesson or are unclear, try finding the specification for your exam on the exam board website, or ask your teacher for a copy. That way you'll know that no question could possibly take you by suprise...

Three weeks:
I'll buy a revision guide. I TOTALLY recommend CGP. They are so tongue in cheek funny, it's hard to explain without reading one. The puns are so purposefully bad you feel like you have a comical revision buddy to help you all the way, something I find most entertaining up until the last few days before the exam...

(Remember to check if you have a specific guide needed for school, CGP is amazing but little use if the rest of your class is pouring, bored to death, over some other, not as funny, revision guide)

Two weeks:
Review what you've done so far, start a mind map, stick it on your wall, make flash cards... Whatever suits your style (you're bound to have done countless exercises at school on 'your personal learning style'. I, for one, am a visual learner with an interpersonal aptitude, so, in non-schooly English,  I like mind maps and learning with others :) )

Past papers!!! Find them online, or from your teacher. Actually, it may be an even better idea to start these earlier, but two weeks is the latest you should. This gives you time to check them with your teacher.

One week:
Mock. You'll probably already have had one at school but I always save one past paper and do it at home in timed conditions. If all goes well you'll know you're completely ready.

Now review your notes throughout the week leading up to the exam.

Good luck (and sorry about the boringness of this post, but revision is important!!)

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Nail marbling - fabulous is it works, a complete disaster if it doesn't...

With it being the holidays and me stuck for jubilee fashion, I decided to paint my nails for the occasion. The original plan was simple red, white and blue. What could possibly go wrong? Unfortunately, I'm prone to having big ideas, and decided to take it one step further. Nail marbling!

If you're unfamiliar with the concept, here's a quick video and picture to show you the desired intended effect:

Warning: Do not leap out of your seat with excitement and do it straight away, you'll just make a complete mess. Read the whole post to find out what happened to me...

And the desired effect...

Unfortunately mine ended up looking more like this...

Basically, I was unaware that the polish would form a film (which I now know to be the whole point) and on my first try picked all the film up on one finger and scrunched it into a mess. Wasn't going well.
Then, I realised that because I used glitter and normal nail polish from different brands, they weren't going to make a nice swirl. Instead, they each took their own side of the bowl and when I tried to mix them the same thing happened - the film clumped onto my brush and I had no choice but to (unsuccessfully) dump it onto one nail. At this point I'd exhausted all hope of doing my nails and was now cleaning the bathroom with my last remaining drop of nail polish remover (after knocking the bottle over) and trying to prise flakes of polish off my nails and the sink. What an epic fail, all for some nice nails...

So, before you try this. Think realistically. It probably won't work and you'll end up in a mess. On a more positive note, if anyone has had any nail art successes feel free to comment, I might summon you for a guest article on how to be a nail marbling hero...

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Abandoned the blog :( BUT I'M BACK

Oh dear. The 'keeping up the blog' thing didn't quite work, but I'm back. I've had a quiet few months apart from various violin related ramblings. My exam is looming (3 weeks although I don't have an exact date) so I'm in crazy practice mode for that. I guess I'll have to start again with blog promotion and all that but that will be after I've done my practice. I have an exciting idea for a post, one which is very, very out of date but I've wanting to post for a while. I hope some of you read it.
Again, sosososo sorry for abandoning this, it was going quite well too :'(

Sunday, 22 April 2012

Film Review: Titanic in 3D

Last weekend marked the hundredth anniversary of the sinking of the titanic, and to celebrate the film makers decided to release it in 3D, so that we could watch the ship subside once again in a suitably modern way. And what a success it was!

Very, very quick overview in case you've been living under a rock for the past decade: Two people meet on the maiden voyage of a ship travelling to America, the girl, Rose, is from an upper class family but the boy, Jack  is from the American lower class. Of course their families don't get on but they don't let anything stop them being together, until the ship sinks...

Before the film I was slightly apprehensive of sitting through three hours, but the story is told in such a detailed yet well moving way that it doesn't feel too long at all. The film is split about fifty fifty between the exploration of character interactions and class (of course the relationship between our two lovers but also the relationship between Rose and her mother) and the actual sinking of the ship (from the moment it hits the ice berg until the end of the rescue operation). All is nicely encased in a back story of an old Rose helping scientists explore the wreck.

The actors are magnificent, Rose (Kate Winslet) and Jack (Leonardo Di Caprio) gel brilliantly as a couple, as well as members of Rose's family, crew of the ship and the wonderful string quartet delivering some great lines.

My favourite moment had to be when Rose and Jack were dancing in the third class lounge, it looked like they were having so much fun, and the way it was filmed made it feel like we were there.

As for the 3D, scenes that were made particularly impressive included the exploration of the wreck and the scene when the boat was upended. It made it seem a lot scarier and definitely added an exciting touch to the film.

Every time this week when I have told someone I had never seen the titanic before last Saturday afternoon they look at shocked and horrified as if they couldn't believe what they were hearing. Now I know why, the film is such a classic everyone has to see it sometime. So if you haven't, see it. NOW. Whether you go and catch it in 3D while there's still the chance or rent a DVD from the library. You'll love it, and that's a fact.