Wednesday, 22 September 2021

Essie Lilac Tones

Some are saying it's Autumn now, and while that is 'technically' true (Sept 22nd is the official start of Autumn and not a second before!) it takes a lot for me to start feeling autumnal. I can't quite say goodbye to summer and admit that the dark mornings are creeping in just yet, it's not good for me! 

Sunshine makes me happy, just a few minutes with that warmth on my face and my mood is rapidly improved; even a blue sky makes a big difference. For me, it's brightness that is needed, grey skies are on their way but I'm not adding those darker shades to my wardrobe (or nails...) quite yet.


Lilac is a good transition, the deeper purples are perfect for October/November so I'm slowly easing my way in. 


I am always tempted by a purple nail polish and I often have to check how similar the shades actually are before I purchase. Covid has made this rather difficult so I wanted to share some swatches so you don't get told off in Superdrug for opening a bottle to take a closer look! ...we've all been there!

To keep things simple, I'm sticking to 4 shades by my beloved Essie. Their formula is great and they are really affordable too.  

Starting with a classic, on my index finger is the infamous "Play Date". This one is a vibrant purple, it's definitely not a subtle shade and I love it. Swatches really vary for this, and I think that's why it took me a while to add this to my collection; I just wasn't sure what it was going to look like. The truth is, it kind of switches up. In some lights it really pops - even more-so over a white base coat. In others it's a bit more muted, almost heading towards a mauve. It's really unique shade and I get a lot of wear out of it. 


My middle finger is sporting "Lilacism" - a perfect name as it is just that, lilac. My walls were this colour when I was little, I've always been a fan of the blue-toned purples. This one works with everything, next to a pink and there's real 'Barbie girl' vibes, it's the perfect pastel for those rainbow nails we've all been loving recently, it looks fab with grey too. I'll still be wearing this one in winter, for sure. 

Lighten things up a bit, add a touch more pink and you have "Ruffle Your Petals" on my ring finger. I mentioned this previously as it's from the new Feelin' Poppy collection. This is a pretty one, I like it for a subtle nail in place of a french manicure, I'm always after a little bit of colour. It's soft and delicate and wouldn't feel out of place at  a winter wonderland (see, all year round!).


Lastly is a big favourite of mine and I actually need to pick up a new one as it's running out. "Baguette Me Not" is a stand out shade that really pops. Described as a soft  lilac with pink undertones, I actually would keep this with my pinks and it's really beautiful. I get a lot of comments oaths shade when I wear it, it's just a little different. I've always been on the lookout for a pastel neon lilac-pink and I think this is as close as I can get. I think my favourite gel pen in school was this shade actually! (everyone had a favourite gel pen right?) This is a dream to apply too, I could even get away with one coat if I was in a rush. 

All of these swatches are with 2 coats and a base coat, except Ruffle Your Petals which needed one extra as it's a little lighter. All lasted me a week before I changed up the colours again. 

*a selection of these nail polishes were gifted as I work with Essie regularly and this post contains some affiliate links so if you want to help me earn 3p click away.


Tuesday, 6 July 2021

Essie Feelin' Poppy collection

When I opened this package I made a little  noise that's usually reserved for when I see a dog or a shoe sale. A little yelp of excitement, often accompanied by a wiggle. I saw these 3 colours popping out of the shiny, padded envelope and immediately thought "these are a bit of me!"

There were  3 shades from Essie's Feelin' Poppy collection and I'm really excited to share them with  you. They are so gorgeous, and, dare I say it - perfect for sunny days! 

The range is inspired by a playful midsummer afternoon "frolicking in blooming fields with your besties which leaves you feeling poppy" which I admit, I've never done but it does sound rather lovely! 


With the vibrancy of the collection you can really see what they were getting at, bright corals, pinks and soft lilacs in a floral bouquet, complimented by the warm grass and gorgeous blue skies. They've combined soft pastels and brights perfectly. 


These three look lovely together and anyone that knows me knows that I rarely stick to just one colour on my nails. I immediately tried each shade next to each other and it was hard to pick a favourite. 

So here's a rundown of the shades. First is Everything’s Rosy, a creamy peachy pink. It's just beautiful, isn't it? I know this is going to get a lot of wear over the summer. With 2 coats it's opaque and with a floaty summer dress, it's perfect!  



Next is Ruffle your Petals, a soft pastel lilac shade that is a little more on the pink side than your usual lilac shades. I'm going to do a post comparing it to a couple of others from Essie, so look out for that. This one looks really cute on your toenails. 



This pretty sky blue is Sway in Crochet. I love the shade, but for some reason this one seemed to peel off a bit. It was good for about 5 days but while the other lasted over a week this one started to peel a bit and when one goes, I can't help but peel them all off and it becomes like a kid with PVA glue on their fingers! 


These all have a wonderful creamy full coverage and Essie's 
easy glide brush makes for quick, even application. 

There's also a coral red, vibrant pink and grassy green in the collection and they  are all out now Superdrug

*These were kindly sent to me but all thoughts are my own and I was not obligated to review


Tuesday, 22 June 2021

Keys Soulcare by Alicia Keys Review

When I listen to Alicia Keys I'm transported back to when I worked in London. Her Songs in A Minor album was the soundtrack to one particular time. I was surrounded by girls way cooler than me, introducing me to new music and a way of life like no other soon followed.
Working with a group of girls who made each other feel empowered, we lifted each other up and always had each other's backs. 


I was given the chance to try a new skincare range by Alicia Keys, I'd like to say she contacted me personally but she's a busy woman! 

Alicia is all about loving yourself and taking some time out each day to reflect.   She wanted these products to give us that time back in our busy lives while we look the day off and reset our minds. I practiced this kind of thing in labour when I tried hypnobirthing and that really opened my eyes to positive affirmations and the power of your own thoughts. 

When I opened up the package that contained Keys Soulcare to try I was really interested to see what Alicia had come up with. The first thing I noticed was how gorgeous the packaging was, the deep purple glass bottles feel very luxurious and wouldn't look out of place in a spa. 

The 'Key' is to turn skincare into more than a rushed routine, to encourage us to take a few minutes alone to have a mini pamper and add uplifting mantras to take care of the mind too. 

The more you hear positive affirmations the more you are able to believe it and it becomes your natural way of thinking. Even just  focussing on the good that happened that day is a great thing to practice while you cleanse your face in the evening. Encouraging you to feel as good as you look by combining a good skincare routine and an uplifting way to be mindful each evening. This results in glowing skin and a positive outlook - two things I find are hugely important as we get older and are more aware of the stresses that life brings us. 

There is a whole range of products from masks, exfoliators, cleansers, and mists to candles and rollers. 

I have been trying three products that work really well together to tell you a little more about. 

Comforting Balm £10 for 7.5g


This is a versatile product to moisturise and nourish any dry areas. It's a generously sized balm that's easy to pop in your handbag. I've used this mostly on my lips, it has a vanilla scent is lovely which is not overpowering at all and feels so lovely and soft. It's replaced my regular lip balm and I'll definitely be repurchasing. 
It can be used on your heels, cuticles, elbows or any places where you have dry patches that need a little help. The camellia oil, avocado oil, and shea butter hydrate and revitalise, leaving you with brighter healthier skin. 

To Use: apply to areas that need relief from drtyness or dullness and massage into skin. 

The subtle gloss is great to use as a natural looking highlight when applied to your cheekbones. The recommended affirmation to work alongside the warming vanilla scent is "I surround myself with things that are good for me" which is something I really believe in and have learnt to practice over the last couple of years.

Be Luminous Exfoliator £22 for 65g


This was my first time trying a powder exfoliator and I was intrigued. 

The water activated powder contains lactic acid, a gentle and hydrating alpha hydroxy acid, gives a gentle chemical exfoliation so your skin is left clean and feeling radiant.

When the powder transforms into a foam, the Hojicha powder, fine oats and mung beans  gets to work smoothing and buffing away any dullness of the skin. 

I've used this twice a week and it's been a joy to use, especially after warmer days when my skin feels very clogged up with sweat and suncream. After rinsing off I instantly feel the difference, my skin is super smooth! I have some dry patches on my cheeks which I can always feel when removing my makeup and this always smoothed them away. 

To Use: Wet your face then add some of the powder to the palm of your wet hand. work the powder into the water and it creates a foam to apply in circles to your face. You can add more water if needed. Rinse off and pat dry.

You add the powder to wet skin, which means you can add more water for a gentler exfoliation. It's great is you have slightly more sensitive skin but still want to be able to scrub away those dead skin cells.

Skin Transformation cream £30 50g


This lovely little face cream has been the wonderful little finale to my skincare routine each night. It calms and soothes the skin while plumping hyaluronic acid and ceramides help lock in the moisture.

Containing Bakuchiol, a plant compound often compared to retinol it helps to smooth and improve texture of the skin as well as the skin tone as well as hyaluronic acid provideing long-lasting hydration. 

To Use: massage into face and neck using a circular motion. Use after cleansing in the morning and at night. 

I've enjoyed using it and taking the time to really massage it into my skin as I wind down, that little time alone in the bathroom is some well needed quiet time after long busy days. 

I've looked up some face massage techniques to really get the most out of it, focussing on my temples and forehead. Alternatively, you can also use a facial roller to really feel like you're giving yourself a mini spa experience. 


Overall, I'm really impressed with the range and I really love the thought that has gone into each product. I'll definitely be making sure I make the most of my time alone taking the day off and really focussing on being mindful too. 


*these products were kindly gifted but thoughts are my own


Wednesday, 9 June 2021

Essie Gel Couture - new shades

Essie have featured a lot in my beauty routine over recent months, their treat love and color shades have been helping me get my nails back into shape after surgery. While I've always been a big fan of Essie polishes, I've never tried their Gel Couture range before now.

This package arrived the day before I was heading into hospital - a day where I was fasting and having to strip back to basics. For me having no nail colour on was weird enough, but not being able to try these new polishes right away was torture! 
So it's only since being in recovery that I've really been able to give them a proper try - luckily they were worth the wait!


The Gel Couture range is a simple 2-Step home manicure which leaves you with a long lasting colour with an absolutely  gorgeous shine... more on that in a moment.

The bottle stands out from the regular Essie line with its twisted shape that matches the brush design. Inspired by haute couture, the bottle mimics the swirl of a dress so definitely has a sense of elegance about it. I love how they slot next to each other, it's very satisfying to line them up. 

As the brush is curved it allows perfect, even application and ensures that just the right amount of formula is applied. This great if you don't have a particularly steady hand. 

They've made it super easy for you, with no base coat needed to you can easily add 2 coats of colour and a topcoat and you're good to go. There are times when I like to be a little more thorough and also give myself a treat with a file, hand cream and use some of their gorgeous Apricot nail and cuticle oil, which I have really been loving lately. 

I have 4 of the newest shades. The first is Matter of Fiction, a pale pink which is perfect for wedding season. I used 2 coats there and it still has a slight sheerness to it. 


Next is Lace is Morea creamy white with a subtle gold shimmer. It's really pretty when the light catches it. This is great for a really fresh, everyday manicure. I've tried to capture the shimmer in the picture of the bottle. 



Lady in Red is, as the name suggests a bold classic red with a blue tone to it. You just can't go wrong with a bold red nails with a matching red lip. 


I've saved the best til last. Bodice Goddess  is my favourite and you may have seen this one on my Instagram a few times. Just look at it! You would think those nails are done at a salon, not by little old me on my sofa while watching Netflix!  It's a dusky pink, almost a mauve which really looks gorgeous with that glossy top coat. 

Now, the top coat is the secret weapon; it really just takes the manicure to another level with the shine it gives while ensuring the colour is locked in. It helps to avoid any chipping and gives you the confidence that your manicure will be looking fresh for much longer.  

What's more...
Now that's not all!
(and other infomercial type phrases), these are easy to remove. Just like your regular nail shades, they come off with nail polish remover so you can change up the colour when ever you fancy. It's the look of  gel manicure without the hassle.

I personally will definitely be trying out some more shades from the collection. 

*these were kindly gifted to me but all thoughts are my own


Sunday, 25 April 2021

Maybelline Sky High Mascara

It takes a fair amount of restraint for me to resit a new mascara. There are a few high street brands that I expect great things from and I'm always up for trying out new releases when they hit the shelves. 

Maybelline is a brand I trust. Their recent Falsies lash lift mascara  was a big hit so when I heard whispers of a new mascara coming our way, I knew I had to try it. 


In my February favourites I mentioned that I did a mini make-up haul where I picked up a few bits; that was my perfect excuse to try out their latest 
Sky High Mascara It's been widely talked about all over Instagram and Tik Tok so I had (sky) high hopes! 


I feel like I've really given this a good try. I've been using it a few weeks now. I admit, at first I was pleased with the results but it didn't exactly 'wow' me. I always expect good things from Maybelline mascaras so I knew it wasn't going to be bad. Maybe I was expecting more after all the hype.  
However, after going back to other mascaras and then returning to Sky High, that's when I fell in love. Maybe the formula just needed to dry out ever-so-slightly, maybe I needed to get used to applying it, or maybe I just take a little while to really open up to something new (speak to my therapist about that one!).

But.... yea, it's a good!

haven't held back. I've shown this baby applied on my Insta stories and there's even a couple of Reels where I feature it too. Instagram is where it's at if you're after   videos of products being applied. They give a good idea of how it looks day-to-day but I thought I'd share my thoughts properly on here too. I like to keep things relatively old school and I think this allows me to be a little more thorough. Plus taking product photos calms me so I needed an excuse to use them!


The name Sky High tells you this mascara is going to be all about lengthening. I really notice  this on the lower lashes, even applied quickly the formula clings on to even the finest lashes and makes them look super long. They claim this is down the the flex tower brush which bends and gets right in and coats the lashes from root to tip. 


Infused with bamboo extract and fibres it feels nice and light while still giving your lashes the volume and length that really opens the eyes. I've put together a little 'before and after' to give you an idea of how well it performs. Although my lashes are long, (fun fact, when I was younger so many people would comment on my lashes I got self conscious and trimmed them!) the tips of my lashes are really fair so when they are covered they look so much thicker and longer. 


The best part is this is that it stays all day without smudging or flaking, even through a very sick day with a few tears it hadn't really budged much at all. You need a decent make-up remover to take it off but I think that should be the case for all eye makeup so you avoid too much rubbing on the delicate skin. All-in-all, another hit for Maybelline here! 


Monday, 19 April 2021

Spring Nail Designs

I love Spring... I adore Spring! It just feels like a fresh start, like everything is getting brighter and it makes me feel so much more positive. This year in particular, I have felt such a huge wave of positivity. Maybe it's because I've been through so much over the last 18 months and now we're coming out of the other side of everything. The blue skies, brighter days and flowers popping up to give a bit of colour feel really symbolic. 

I love to add a pop of colour and I'm usually sporting a bright shade or two on my nails. Spring gives me that little boost to really get creative and mix things up a bit. 

So here's a few looks I've been trying out lately-


Pastels in Spring? Revolutionary, right? 
I love pastel shades all year round and the combination of a few thrown together just looks so cute. This pastel rainbow look is my favourite and it's so simple too. It even made me feel ok about my nail having a chip in it!

The colours I used from left to right-

Revlon 100 buttercup, Barry M Sugar Apple, the total bargain that is Wild-er-ness by RimmelModels Own Pink Veneer and Royal Botanical by Nails Inc on my thumb.


I love this colour combination, there's almost a mermaid feel to it. These are all Barry M. 
From Left to right -
Barry M's Gelly High Shine in Greenberry, Then Blueberry from their regular nail paints, followed by and Blueberry and Prickley Pear (both Gelly High Shine polishes). You can really notice the difference in the shine with those Gelly High Shine polishes here. 




I admit, I got a little creative and have been told to rest as much as possible so this gave me a good excuse to sit still for a while.
I turned to the turquoise Gelly Hi Shine polishes again (Greenberry and 'The Way you make me Teal' which is the darker shade).  but added Orly Scenic Route for a pop of pink and combined it all with a touch of glitter. I kind-of like it! 


Lilac is one of my favourite colours, I really should try and get to lavender field this year! This is a fairly simple one, starting with the classic ballet slippers from Essie on my index finger, Essie's lilacism on the middle and little fingers. I jazzed up the the ring finger with some silver glitter on top of Illamasqua's Speckled which is lilac with navy blue specks throughout it, a favourite of mine over Easter as it looks like mini eggs!


Lastly I had to add one that reflected that weird old weather we've been having. Snow, rain, cloud... a heatwave? Who even knows what's around the corner? So this look is a mixture of pastels and neutrals and I think it works. 

On my thumb is the pretty pastel pink Romper Room by Essie, A gorgeous shade from Nails Inc called Lilac Love which was actually a freebie with a razor if I remember rightly. Next to that is Queen Street Nail's Inc, followed by Misty Grey by Models Own. The flash of peachy orange on my little finger is Palm Peach by Bourjois. 

Funny story, I was finding the link for the peach shade and the picture being used for it looked familiar, turns out it is my hand! They took the photo from my blog when I first reviewed it back in 2015. It's been removed now but it was pretty amusing to see! 

I'll definitely be playing around with some more nail looks and brightening things up a lot more as we head into summer.