Friday, 9 April 2021

March Favourites

I've realised that I keep looking at each month as my 'new normal'. There seem to be constant  big changes and I guess it's been nice to separate it all and take everything in small pieces. It could all be very overwhelming. M went back to school after having a year off, he's settled back in like a dream. It was a bit weird for me to adjust, homeschooling has been a big thing in my routine for the last year and although I don't do school runs myself, I go in the car with him and sort everything for both of the kids in the morning. Little M is not-so-happy about not having her brother around and there are tears each morning but that was to be expected. She'll get there. 


As I mentioned in the February favourites  post, my health hasn't been great. This month has been full of tests, pretty scary meetings with doctors and planning for the future but it's all working towards things getting easier in the long run. I've been absolutely overwhelmed by the love from friends and family and also everyone online too. My insta-fam have been absolute angels and have kept me going. People knock social media but I've had such a great support and advice from people I now consider friends. That has been a huge thing for me this month, I've really felt the love and it's helped me through a very tough time. I'm sure I'll go into this all in more detail at some point soon, in the meantime let's focus on something more upbeat and look at my March favourites.

What I wore-
It's Springtime and I'm thrilled! I am always keen to get out the Spring wardrobe, in fact I didn't even pack it away last year as we were inside most of the time anyway so I wore shorts and vest tops a lot. Typically, although it's Spring, there have been some chilly days (hello... snow flurries the other day? what was that about?) so layering has been key. For me this is a combination of crop tops and shirts. 


What I ate- 
As I mentioned, I've been feeling the love massively. My wonderful friends know my love for Millies Cookies and sent me a giant one. Honestly, I was dancing around the flat (nothing new there to be fair, I dance a lot!) I was so happy. It went very quickly, I can tell you that much. 


What I read-
Anything and everything to do with all this health stuff. Lots of research. I still haven't finished the book I was reading last month, but I have a feeling I'll have plenty of time to read it in April.

What I bought-
Things needed brightening up and I love a striking nail shade so I picked up this lovely little neon nail polish from Revolution. IT was only £4 so I'm definitely going to check out more of their shades. 


What I watched-
It's another 'social experiment', my favourite type of show to watch. The Circle. I've been a big fan since series one and after the celebrity version was over in a flash, I was ready for the original format. It's all about using your online personality to become popular and win the show. Some go in as themselves, some are playing a character and they're all trying to suss each other out. Personally, I would like Andy to win but there are a few of them playing a very good game. 

What I used-
My hair has really suffered lately, it really wasn't taking in the nutrients it needed so I've been using hair masks and have swapped my conditioner to the SOS Kiss of Life conditioner by Aussie. It's recommended for damaged hair and repairs and restores without having to leave it on for ages. My hair certainly feels a lot softer after using it and it smells good too. 


The next month is going to be BIG for me. We are talking life changing.  It's going to be a big challenge and a lot for me to get through but I'm trying to keep positive and power through the way I usually do. I'm resilient, I have incredible people around me and I know I can get through this. See you on the other (helpfully less cryptic) side!


Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Revolution Neon Nail Polish

My two year old likes to play with my nail polish. I guess a box full of little colourful bottles looks exciting to her. She actually helps me pick a shade from time to time, other times she just rummages around, naming colours (red, pink etc, not like 'bewitching coral' or ballet slippers'.. not yet anyway.)
  But one day the inevitable happened; one of those brightly coloured glass bottles fell to it's death. I was less bothered about the pink stain on the floor than the fact that this was a polish I couldn't replace. Models Own polishes haven't been in circulation for a couple of years now and they were my go-to when it came to Summer brights.

This casualty in particular was 'Bubblegum' from the Neon Ice collection of 2013. A shade that gets a lot of wear in the warmer months. It's been buried under various dusky pinks, nudes, greys and navy's that have taken preference while it's been a bit grey outside. 

We're heading into Spring now and I'm already thinking of brightening things up a bit so I made it my mission to find a replacement. 

Luckily, on a trip to Superdrug to pick up a few essentials (Imperial Leather peach-scented shower gel and some cotton buds, if you must know) my eyes were drawn to the neon bottles of nail polish on the Revolution stand. 

I admit, I haven't tried a great deal from Revolution, and their nail polishes had never crossed my mind so I'm glad I noticed them.

 "One of these could be the answer to my prayers..." 
I thought to myself, dramatically.

 For £4 it was worth a shot anyway!


There were six shades to choose from. I immediately disregarded the yellow, green and purple (though the purple is very nice and I may have to go back for it!) and took a closer look at the three shades, 'Boom Boom', 'Sizzle' and 'Bang On'.
'Boom Boom' was a neon orange, where Model's Own's 'Bubblegum'  was more pink toned, so that ruled that one out. 

Under the bright lights of  the store it was hard to see a big difference between 'Sizzle' and 'Bang on' so I just bit the bullet and sent with 'Sizzle', from memory it looked like it was pretty similar to what I was looking for. 

It turns out I didn't get the shade just right, this is definitely learning more towards coral than pink. I think I'll be going back to pick up to 'Bang On' to see the difference, I suspect it will be more on the pink side and more along the lines of what I was after. I'm interested to compare them, either way because they looked almost identical in the bottles on the shelf. 

I do really love this colour and will definitely be wearing it over the Summer. It's the perfect shade for tanned toes. I'm really impressed with the pigment, it only needed one coat and lasted really well too. A tip for making neon shades really pop is to apply them over a white base. In this case it makes a slight difference but it really is bright when worn alone. These nail polishes are also enriched with avocado oil, which helps to nourish nails while you’re wearing them. It’s worth mentioning they are also 100% vgan and cruelty-free too.


So although this wasn't exactly what I was after, I'm really pleased with my purchase and will definitely be trying out a few more nail shades from Revolution. It was a nice mini adventure anyway, we have to see things this way during a pandemic!


Saturday, 20 March 2021

February Favourites

Yes, we are well into March and I'm only just posting about my February favourites! It has been very hectic with a lot of changes, but better late than never, hey? 
I've still got the Valentine's decorations in the window, after some very good news we had good reason to string out the celebration a bit! ...and yes, we had Valentine's decorations, I am going all out with every type of holiday this year, it's what we need after 2020; I've always been the type that will use any excuse to have a party. 


I'm so excited to be seeing signs of Spring already, I noticed pretty pink blossom starting to bloom outside our flat on a day where we realised that things were about to get 100 times easier for us; it felt like a sign of brighter days to come. I'm feeling positive.

So, I was off to a good start with my January Favourites  (and I will try my best to get the March one up on time!) Although it was a pretty short month, there were a few things I was particularly loving in February. 

What I wore- 
Without going into it too much, I spent a lot of February either in an ambulance, in a hospital or resting so interesting outfits were few and far between. However, one of the ways I pick myself up is to keep my mind off the mundane and keep busy. 
So I did some sorting out, and one thing that takes a while to sort through is my shoe collection! I love my shoes, anyone who knows me will know they are my 'thing'. Photography is another passion so on a day I was due to go into hospital I combined the two and had a little at-home photoshoot. I'm looking forward to getting out the pastel heels more in Spring time. Spring is when my shoe collection gets a time to shine! These court shoes are from Office and naturally, I bought them in every colour. I feel there will be a lot more shoe photos this year.


What I ate- 
I made Sam a big chocolate heart slab for Valentine's day. It isn't perfect, the foil hearts sank a bit and I only had blue icing, it would have looked better in white but going out for icing during a pandemic didn't feel 'essential. But there's Rolos, Maltesers, and chocolate buttons and of course I got to try some. It was pretty fantastic, I have to admit. 


What I read- 
I fully intended to have more time to read but time just got away from me. I'm 2 chapters into a new thriller that I added to my kindle called 'Precious You'. It follows magazine editor Katherine who feels threatened by the new intern which develops into a dark fascination. -A little close to home for me, but I'm persevering! I'm interested to see how the author focuses on the age divide between millennials and the older generation and how manipulative women can be. It's already pretty gripping, I just need to make more time to finish it. 

What I bought-
My daily make-up needed a complete overhaul. I ran out of everything at the same time so I picked up a few Maybelline bits. I just had to try out the much-hyped  Lash Sensational Sky High Mascara. I think there needs to be a proper review of this soon, so keep an eye out for that one. 

With another month before the salons open I'm still sorting out my brows myself so I thought I'd try out a different brow pencil. I have to admit, the Tattoo Brow Semi Permanent 36HR Eyebrow Pencil is... ok. It's nothing to write home about. It does stay put all day, I'll give it that. It's really soft which makes it hard to get a precise point to the tip and I have sharped it loads already so I'm just hoping it holds out til I can get a professional shape and tint sorted. 

A couple of people had recommended Maybelline's Superstay 24hour foundation but that wasn't available, so assuming it had just changed slightly I grabbed the Superstay 30 hour Foundation. It really has amazing staying power, I don't know about 30 hours, I haven't needed my make-up to last that long since my London days. I did find it pretty drying in places and it needed a bit of work with a damp beauty blender to look alright on my skin. I actually picked up a shade that was slightly too dark (no testers- Covid problems!) I'm going to give it another go in the summer when my skin should  be a little more hydrated and is slightly less pale! Maybe adding a drop of liquid highlighter might help too. I won't give up on it just yet. 

On a more positive note I repurchased the Eraser for the 500th time as it is so so good for a high street concealer and really great value. It's really helped me look brighter and more alive while I've not been feeling (or looking!) 100%. They now have a lot more shades available and I went into more detail on the Maybelline Age Rewind Eraser a little while back. 

Lash-Sensational-Sky-High-Mascara-Maybelline-Tattoo-Brow-Semi Permanent-36HR-Eyebrow-Pencil Superstay-30-hour-Foundation-eraser

What  I watched-
Rather smugly, I felt very ahead of the curve with Married at First Sight Australia. It's been my not-so-guilty pleasure for the last 3 series and I was so pleased that the rest of the UK got into it, I had more people to talk about it with. I love anything that dubs itself as a social experiment. People fascinate me and analysing behaviour is my jam. For anyone not aware, singles apply to the show and 'trust the process' to get matched up by specialists after going through tests to find their perfect match. Then they meet on their wedding day and see how they get on as a married couple. This series was full of drama and so good to watch. Pre-loved up with children Jenn would totally have applied! I'm actually convinced Sam and I would get matched up if we applied separately. Get it back on All 4 if you like this kind of thing.

What I used-
Winding down and properly taking the time to do my skincare routine routine is the one thing that is the same each day for me. I mix up my products a bit but it's the one time (two if you count the evening too, I guess!) I take 15 mins to just zone out. I've been using Bioderma Sensibio Mild Cleansing Foaming Gel each morning to gently cleanse my face before I start the day. Developed specifically for sensitive skin types, it’s ultra-hydrating properties soothes and hydrates to leave skin feeling soft, fresh and comfortable after use.
 It's as gentle as splashing my face with water but I know it's removing any traces of oil that may have appeared overnight. The pump on the bottle disperses the gel which quickly turns to a light foam when smoothed over damp skin. It feels so refreshing and light so it makes for the perfect start to my skincare routine.


March is off to such a good start! I can't even describe how much better things are already! It really feels like life is starting to go back to normal. I'm seeing March as a kind-of interim to my new normal. My new normal is going to be a big change but all for the better. 


Monday, 22 February 2021

Essie Treat Love and Color

You all know my love for Essie polishes, I’ve made no secret of it over the years. They offer such a great selection of colours and perfect application.

Some of my favourites were mentioned in my recent post on Essie's best selling shades and I'm forever posting photos of my nails on my Instagram which often include Essie, especially when I want to go for something classic and timeless. 


What if I told you they’re not just making your nails look pretty, they’re looking after your nails too?

Their new Treat, Love and Color range is here to give your nails the TLC they need.  Essie claim to treat damage in just 3 days while keeping them looking presentable too. The nourishing and strengthening formula is infused with calcium and camellia extract and promises 60% less peeling and 35% less breakage. This will leave dry, brittle nails feeling stronger and more nourished than ever before.


You don’t need a base coat as 'Treat, Love and Color' polishes are applied directly to your bare nail to let all of that goodness soak in. 

I was sent a couple of their shades to try out for myself. 

Final Stretch  is a pretty nude shade and I applied it as soon as I opened the package, it looked so lovely, I just didn't want to wait! It's a great neutral for everyday with yellow and red undertones. The glossy finish makes it perfect for a sophisticated no-nonsense manicure. There is no need for a top coat so it really is as simple as sweeping it on with their exclusive brush which gives really quick, even application. 

Essie Final Stretch

The next one feels so Spring like, which excites me greatly! I'm so ready for the lighter days. Punch it Up  is  a pretty, mid tone pink gloss with a subtle golden shimmer when light catches it. This has such  good coverage, I could have gotten away without the second coat.  Offering a beautiful pop of colour, it's such a great way to brighten things up a bit.

Essie Punch It Up

There are 15 long lasting, sheer, shimmer & full coverage shades in the collection. It’s recommended to apply two or three coats but I only needed two on both of the shades I tried. Some shades may differ of course, depending on your desired coverage.


To further nourish your nails, apply Apricot nail and cuticle oil  to the cuticle bed to leave cuticles feeling soft and supple. We’ve all been washing our hands more and applying hand sanitiser like it was going out of fashion so our hands need a bit of a treat. This little baby conditions nails and hydrates cuticles, helping to combat any dryness. The 97% natural formula with apricot kernel oil and jojoba oil, intensely conditions nails and hydrates which leaves your nails feeling so soft. It’s absorbed quickly so you’re not left feeling greasy at all and your nails are in great shape for your manicure. 

A little goes a long way, I can do one hand without having to dip the brush back in the bottle. I have this on my desk and apply a couple of times a week, especially after using nail polish remover which can really dry the cuticles. I’m really impressed with it, I like this a lot. 

I think I'll have to pick up a couple more shades, I have my eye on a pretty coral for Summertime!

*These were kindly gifted to me but all thoughts are 100% my own


Sunday, 14 February 2021

Valentine's Day Nails and me

Listen, I love Valentine's Day. There, I said it. 

On the average year it's beneficial to throw a little extra love around but during a pandemic especially, it's good to show the person you love that you appreciate them. MAN, this past year has been tough, like really tough! Sam has helped me through so much and together we've kept our heads up during one of the toughest challenges of our lives. You wouldn't believe the stuff we've (figuratively) had thrown at us this year! 


"Well I think Valentine's Day is stupid, you should appreciate your partner all year, not just for one day!" 
ok Karen.

Of course I believe you should appreciate your partner all year round ...who doesn't think this?!  If one Wednesday evening, you randomly think  'they're bloody great, I'm buying flowers, some lingerie, a bag of Crunchy Rocks and ordering us burgers (catering to my own tastes here but I'm never one to stick to tradition) or decide a night away in a hotel is needed 'just because' then good on you! But I think life gets in the way sometimes. Aside from anniversaries or birthdays we just don't think to make that extra effort as often, so if there's an excuse for a treat - go for it! Like you're allowed to buy loads of chocolate all year round but you still go nuts at Easter, right? 

If you're not about the love then this post might not be for you, scroll to the bottom for the nail pics instead! 

Cynics might say that Valentine's is just a way to make money (so is Christmas) but anything that means you get a little nudge to go ' hey you, I appreciate you'  can't  be bad. Plus there are some pretty fantastic meal deals out at the moment and if that's not reason enough to celebrate, I don't know what is! Marks and Spencer are doing heart shaped churros, for crying out loud. 

I'm not about the material stuff, I like the excuse to make a card or a reason to have a load of chocolate treats in the house. Flowers brighten up the place a bit too, plus they block the window a bit so prying eyes can't look in!  

I've had fabulous Valentine's days in my single days, whether it was at the early 'talking stages' where I had flowers delivered to work and text a guy saying thanks, only to find out it was actually from my 'it's complicated' ex. 
We had dinner parties as a group of single friends where we exchanged cards, had great food and spent the night pleased that none of us had any relationship dramas that year!

I've had a pretty underwhelming Valentine's meal out with a guy that was definitely wrong for me. Petrol station flowers, a drive to the restaurant with his mate on speaker chatting about cars and a strop about the waiter all adding to the ambiance. It made for a good story though and has been laughed about for many years since. 


I loved Valentine's at school when you had cards left in your locker or on your desk - a lolly pop, rose and creme egg being a highlight of mine. Or remember when you got Happy Valentine's day texts as a cute heart picture message made of pixels? (showing my age here!).

10 years ago I shamelessly sent Sam a text saying 'What... no Valentine's card?'  little did I know we'd spend every Valentine's day together after that. The only year it wasn't celebrated was the year our daughter was born as we had other things going on and we were in our lovely newborn baby bubble. 

Sam has surprised me with trips to Disneyland and fancy meals in central but no matter how we celebrate, I know I'm with the right person and appreciating that time together - even if it's only a couple of hours before we're interrupted by our toddler who decides it's time to watch Zootroplis again. 
He treats me all the time as it is, it doesn't have to be a special occasion. By 'treats me' I mean in the small acts that make me appreciate the little things, like if he goes to the garage for milk he will always come back with my favourite chocolate or when I'm running around doing too much (as usual) he makes me sit down while he washes up. Things like that are far more valuable than roses and a teddy bear. 

This year is of course different. I really feel for the restaurants missing out on a weekend trade of guaranteed bookings and I really wish I could be one of the customers filling those tables. We'll be at home as Boris has ordered, but feeling more loved up while I think to myself 'Good GOD I'm glad I'm spending lockdown with you instead of anyone else!'. 

Anyway, that's enough of a trip down memory lane. I'm suitably feeling the love now. Shall we tie this in nicely with some Valentine's themed nail art? GO ON THEN!


First is a little mixture of red and pink from Essie. I used 
Be Cherry!  on my index and little fingers (such a gorgeous red and fabulous formula!) and Lovie Dovie on my ring finger. I always like to add some sparkle to the occasion so popped on some gold glitter with the help of Barry M. A couple of kisses with a nail art brush and we're good to go.


Pink and white feels damn cutesy, doesn't it? How perfect for Valentine's! This pink is two coats of Hoopla by Ciate and the white nail art brush paired with a steady hand allowed me to doodle on some hearts and stripes while I watched Married at First Sight Australia! 


Sending love to you all, no matter how you spend this Valentine's day! Be kind to yourself, and don't go searching for negativity or things that make you angry - life is too short!

*for full transparency, these nail polishes were previously gifted to me