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 


Tuesday, 2 February 2021

January Favourites

So I have done these monthly round-ups in the past which was a good way to keep in touch properly while being a bit more personal with you all. My aim is to to try to speak on a personal level and give this a 'chatting over coffee' vibe. With lockdown changing pretty-much everything for the last year, I've really missed my catch-ups with friends over lunch or a coffee. I'd normally share what I've been up to and no-doubt rave about a new product I've been trying. So let me emulate it here, grab yourself a beverage for full effect. 


I tried to revamp the round-ups last year but it stopped at January. Februrary was when we heard whispers of Covid-19 and with the lockdown was staring to happen there wasn't a lot to write home about. We were actually fully hiding away, making Tik Toks and making Zoom Quizzes before we were told to as we were pretty clued-up on what was going on and knew how serious it was for our household. This has felt like a lifetime inside for us and it has had some really weird challenges (I can't go into it too much yet, but trust me... so weird.) but I'm now taking time to take in the small moments and not see this past year as a total waste.

2021 has started well, the rest of the country joined me in our home schooling challenge (and it is a challenge!) so I felt less alone there and am now pretty clued-up on everything KS2 related... except fractions. It's given me that daily variation that I need and I have to admit, a lot of it is interesting, dare I say it, some actually enjoyable! I may have missed my calling as an art teacher be honest...

Our neighbours had their baby girl who we've got to meet from afar which is torture as you can't beat newborn baby cuddles! Our own little one got to experience her first snow, and although my health hasn't been too great,  I never let that hold me back. I've had my vaccine, things are massively looking up and we’re all so positive. We’ll be dancing our way round town again in no time!


While normal feels a long way off, let's try to adjust, I've always hated the term normal anyway. Here's a little recap of the first month of 2021. 

What I wore-
Obviously, lockdown has meant most of us have spent the majority of our time in loungewear. I could easily get into the mindset of "I'm not going anywhere, why should I bother getting dressed?" but that doesn't do my mental state any good. Getting ready for the day breaks things up a bit and makes me feel more 'me', so while the loungewear is about in abundance I'm making the most of wearing normal clothes too. 

 We limit our trips outside to a weekly walk to the school to pick up some work that they leave out in boxes for parents to collect at allotted times. Those weekly adventures into the world to get some air have been something to look forward to. While it’s been cold I’ve been all about layering. My Bershka zip bodysuit is a good base layer and it’s so soft too.  My leather-look trousers have a fleecy lining so they’re perfect for those chilly days. I wore them the day it snowed actually and I had no complaints about the cold, plus my legs stayed dry too!

I’m hoping the weather picks up a bit soon so I can get more adventurous with my shoes as I’ve been limited to various heeled knee boots. I'm not complaining, I love my boots but there's a lot of shoes in here that are not getting their time to shine!


What I ate-

I’ve been cooking up a storm with various cottage pies and casseroles and even tried out a couple of new pasta recipes to spic things up a bit; I’m doing Gigi Hadid's one next. But after a long old week of home schooling, juggling work and housework while feeling pretty under the weather Sam uttered my favourite words 

"Let’s order Blacks Burgers tonight..."

It’s our friend's restaurant so they know exactly what we like and I can’t go long without craving one of their burgers. 

What I read-   
The other day I read something really close to my heart. I nodded along to Dale's article on ADHD  and how he doesn’t let a disability hold him back. I massively relate to this and think he’s spot on. I totally get not wanting to be be perceived as special or different and have always strived to get on with things as best I can, despite having health problems myself. Most people aren’t even aware of my struggles as I’ve always been determined to not let it define who I am. I love how Dale has looked at the positives that having ADHA/ADD has brought him, rather than the ones that may have held him back. Describing his hyperfocus as 'his superpower' was really lovely and such a great way to look at things.   His drive and ambition along with his passion has given him  a successful career he enjoys and you can ask him anything about the Beatles and he'll have tonnes of fab (four) stories for you. 

Recent events have really hit people hard. I’ve seen first-hand how so many businesses are struggling and know families who have had to cut back due to their income being effected by the pandemic. 

There’s been a lot of doom-and-gloom we could all focus on but it’s really nice to see someone look on the bright side. He explains how we shouldn't be hard on ourselves and not beat ourselves up if things aren't going the way we thought, just focussing on our health is the main thing -that's what this has all been for at the end of the day! 

What I bought- 
I don’t like asking for much for Christmas and if I see a gift set, I keep an eye out for it in the sales. You can get such a bargain when they’re half price, most of the time you’re paying for the festive packaging anyway. I usually stock up on some favourite skincare bits but also look out for products I’ve wanted to try. I treated myself to this Becca ‘Primed and Luminous Kit’ for £17. I absolutely adore the powder and the highlighter is really pretty. I think I’ll get a proper review up on this is a few weeks with a bit more detail. 


What I watched-

Like many people, we spent our evenings binge watching The Serpent which is about serial killer Charles Sobhraj who murdered tourists during the 70s. I'd heard so many people raving about it so jumped on the bandwagon. Jenna Coleman is the lead actress and she was incredible in it, I loved her accent.  

We were up past midnight most evenings, trying to get in another episode and I now basically want everything from Jenna Coleman’s wardrobe.

What I used-

I’ve really been loving the Super Facialist Vitamin C Skin Renew Cleansing Oil. It’s been a lovely addition to my nighttime cleansing routine. Upon contact with water, the oil transforms to a milky texture and melts away makeup and removes daily impurities  It’s infused with Vitamin C and nourishing Olive, Grapeseed and Rosehip oils and is really gentle. Vitamin C helps to repair the damage caused by UV radiation and as I’m not without my SPF 50 on my face, I’m all about reducing sun damage.

My skin is so soft after I use this and all of those lovely ingredients really give me a glow too. I’ve been much happier going make-up free more often. 


So we’re on to February. A month I love! Valentine’s day and pancake day being the biggest highlights and we’re stepping closer to spring! The mornings are getting lighter and there are already more gorgeous blue skies. I’m excited to see what this next month has in store for me!