Battle of the Lilac Nail Polishes: Rimmel vs Essie

My go-to Spring nail colour is ALWAYS a pastel colour, be it blue, pink, green, yellow or purple.  Something about them just says freshly mown grass/flowers blossoming/lambs leaping (too far?) to me! I think also for me, it's the perfect colour introduction to the bold corals, turquoises and hot pinks I like to wear throughout Summer.

I recently picked up this Rimmel nail polish in 'Wild-er-ness' from the Rita Ora range as it was on a 3 for 2 deal in Boots and seeing as I was already buying a Rimmel foundation, I couldn't really ignore it, right?! I was also recently sent the colour 'Lilacism' from the Essie collection by the lovely Harpreet over at - this is the first Essie nail polish I've ever owned so I was so excited to try it! The Rimmel polish retails at £2.99 whereas the Essie polish usually retails at £7.99. These two colours however, are very similar.  So I thought I would weigh up the pros and cons of each polish just for you, you lovely reader!

So first things first: application. I applied the Essie polish to my left hand and Rimmel to my right hand. Both polishes were noticeably easy to apply.  The Essie nail polish definitely has a slightly smoother formula.  I think this formula is slightly thinner than the Rimmel one but yet the colour payoff is incredible.  Both were slightly streaky after the first coat but this is to be expected.  Both were also very quick to dry which I LOVE about a nail polish (I am a very busy woman after all). I put three coats of each nail polish over my nails.  The Rimmel polish is definitely a deeper lilac than the Essie one, and has more blue/grey undertones.  If you're looking for a truly pastel lilac colour, the Essie polish definitely gives you this, but this is not to say that the Rimmel polish isn't as nice!  Both polishes gave a very smooth finish, but there is definitely some slight transparency left on my nails with the Rimmel polish - although this is only noticeable close up.

I started to see a couple of small chips on both hands after day three.  I don't know if this is just me but I often see my nail polish chip after day one or two so I was pretty happy with this! As you can see from the photo below, the Essie hand (top) was significantly less chipped by day five, so in terms of lasting power, I would say the Essie polish is superior - as you would expect from a more expensive polish (compared to the Rimmel polish).

To conclude this lilac polish-fuelled battle, if you are on a budget then the Rimmel nail polishes are great value for money and they have a fantastic colour range to suit all seasons and occasions.  If I'm being honest, I don't often keep the same colour nail polish on for more than four days anyway, and if you're the same then I would definitely recommend thenRimmel polish.  However, now I've tried the Essie polish I am definitely going to be buying some more in my staple nail colours (does anyone else have staple nail colours? Colours that they ALWAYS end up reaching for? For me these include some kind of coral, mint green and a turqoise/blue) from the brand because of the stress-free application and the incredible lasting power for those times when you know you're going to be too busy to re-apply during the week (UPDATE: I've already bought 3 more).

Have you ever tried these brands? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

#ShareLove: My Favourite Bloggers #1

I was inspired to do this post by the lovely Olivia-Jade aka Dungarees & Doughnuts who started a #ShareLove campaign on Twitter back in March (you can tell I've been meaning to do this post for a while but y'know, life happens). The idea is to make others feel good about themselves by sharing the love and in this post I'm going to share some of my favourite blogs at the moment and what I love about them.  I'm hoping to do this feature every so often so stay tuned for more of these!

1. Aisling's Beauty Bytes (@aislingsbbytes)

I love the design of Aisling's blog - it's so simple but showcases her lovely photography at the same time, and has a real personal touch to it.  As well as this, her blog posts always draw me in - particularly her "75 Blog Post Ideas For When You're Lacking Inspiration" because this has been happening to me A LOT recently and I love reading these kind of posts to give me a glimmer of motivation.

2. Eliza James (@elizajamesxblog)

I had the pleasure of meeting Elizabeth last month and she is hands down one of the loveliest people I know! The thing I love about her blog is that I find it totally relateable - from beauty to views on mental health - and I think it can be really hard to find another blog like that sometimes! One particular blogpost that stood out to me recently was titled "Signs that you are in an unhealthy relationship".  Although I don't share the same experiences, I could definitely relate to a lot of things she wrote in regards to past relationships and it really made me think. Definitely check out Elizabeth and her blog - you won't regret it!

3. Simple Beauty Chatter (@S_BeautyChatter)

She might not know it but Chloe makes me laugh a lot. In a good way. I feel like we have a similar sense of humour and so I really love her writing style for her posts.  Not only this but whenever I see she's written a new blogpost I always think "oh that's something I definitely want to read" like every single time, which doesn't happen often! She's also on YouTube and I highly recommend you go check that out too.

I hope you enjoyed this post and be sure to #ShareLove whenever you can! Let me know in the comments which blogs you're loving and why they inspire you!

#TBT: That time I went to Japan

I'm trying a new post type venture: a #TBT-style post (for those who aren't "down with the kids" like I am, this stands for "Throwback Thursday", typically used on a Thursday on Instagram to showcase photos of your younger (often more beautiful) self).

This post looks back to April 2010 when we went on a family holiday to Japan. It really was the holiday of a lifetime! I'm lucky enough to have an Uncle who lived in Japan at the time and who was able to show us round and sort out a full 2-week itinery of exciting activities which really showcased Japan in its full beauty. 

As it turned out, we actually spent about 4 weeks there as it was at this time that the Icelandic volcano erupted and a subsequent ash cloud halted thousands of flights over Europe for weeks.  It was a stressful time (more so for my parents than my brother and I!) but it did mean we got to explore Tokyo much further than initially expected.

Throughout our stay we were able to explore further than the capital, and we visited places such as Kyoto, Osaka & Nara.  I was lucky enough to taste all kinds of Japanese cuisine, from traditional dishes to more modern foods, as well as cuisines from other countries too. I loved the busy city side to the tip, but we also explored the Japanese countryside on walks, short hikes and a bike ride and saw some truly stunning views on the way.  Along with the scenery and the food, we also took a day trip to Universal Studios, went to a karaoke bar, did A LOT of shopping around Tokyo and I even performed at an open mic bar.

I would love to go back someday (perhaps when I'm a real adult) as it was one of the best experiences ever! If you've ever been to Japan I'd love to hear about your experiences! Thanks for reading and leave me nice comments below (or mean ones about my 16-year old fashion sense, that's fine with me also).

#LetsGetFoodieChallenge: Blondies Made By A Blondie

It's the first of Amanda Bootes' #LetsGetFoodieChallenge and the theme is... CHOCOLATE.  Chocolate is great. Chocolate is my friend. Chocolate is there for me in times of need. However, I am quite an amateur baker so I needed a recipe that wasn't too challenging.  I've made brownies before but blondies (which are essentially a white chocolate brownie) was a new venture for me! Here's how I made them:

200g of white chocolate
4 eggs
200g butter
300g golden caster sugar
150g plain flour
1-2 tsp vanilla essence

1. Melt the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of boiling water until both ingredients have melted fully.  The ingredients will have different consistencies and will seperate if left unstirred but don't worry (like I did) - this is fine! Leave to cool a little.

2. Beat the eggs in with the golden caster sugar and then gradually poor in the white chocolate and butter mixture.  Again, it'll probably look pretty weird at this point but DON'T PANIC. 

3.  Sift in the flour and mix in. Add the vanilla essence.  This is when the mixture should come together to make a runny paste.  When this is all mixed together (I just used a wooden spoon - didn't need an elctric whisk or anything) pour into a baking tin.  I lined mine with greaseproof paper but it ended up sticking to some of the brownie and I had to cut bits off.  So maybe just grease the tin with butter!

4. Pop in the oven at 180C for roughly 40 minutes (you can check whether it's cooked fully by sticking a knife in the middle - if it comes out clean it's ready!)

5. Leave to cool and cut into squares/bars and enjoy! I think I managed to get about 18 bars from this batch.

The verdict? These didn't really taste like brownies, more like really lovely vanilla-y sponge cake. But hey that's fine with me! (And the rest of my flat who demolished these in less than 24 hours.)

a picture of homemade blondie browniesa picture of homemade blondie brownies

#LookAfterYourself: Motivation through Compassion

I had a request from my oldest and bestest friend Amy to do a post about how to get motivated.  It seems like a good time of year to do this kind of post because most of us have exams, or are finishing off last bits of coursework, or perhaps you just want to be motivated to get fit, start a new hobby or whatever!  Personally, I would not call myself an overly motivated person.  I leave things to the last minute and get stressed and beat myself up over it.  However, I thought I would take a subject I have become very accustomed to in the last few months while on placement - a new(ish) therapy called Compassion-Focused Therapy - and use this to inform the topic of motivation.

First things first: what is compassion-focused therapy (CFT)?  CFT, predominantly useful for those who are overly self-critical and experience high levels of shame, helps to develop genuine feelings of inner warmth and soothing through self-compassion.  It teaches one to accept and validate themselves.  However, it can be argued that the basic teachings of CFT can be useful to anyone. I, myself, would say I have benefited just from reading up on the techniques used in CFT.

How can this help me become motivated, I hear you cry. It is clear we have all, at one stage or another, tried to motivate ourselves towards something.  However, many of us may be going the wrong way about it.  Like I said, I leave things late and then I beat myself up about it. I self-critcise.  Self-criticism is a common technique people employ to motivate themselves.  This is because it is thought that by criticising your own efforts it might push you to achieve more. Tough love and all that. The more this method of motivation is used the more likely it is to become a habit.

However, very few people realise how damaging self-criticism can actually be. Countless studies have shown that there tends to be a strong correlation between self-criticism and the development of psychological disorders such as depression and anxiety (Teasdale & Cox, 2001; Gilbert et al., 2006; Irons et al., 2006) - just to name a few.  In fact, this correlation has been recorded back to the early 80's - Blatt and Schichman (1983) found that being self-critical by personality trait led to a predisposition for depression.

So, the alternative - and more effective - way of motivating yourself is through self-compassion.  Over the last 7 years in the world of psychology, self-compassion has proven to be a powerful way of improving general wellbeing as well as being a tool for motivation.  It involves accepting things for how they are, learning that failure is sometimes inevitable and that imperfection is only human.  By understanding that failure can happen and that perfection is an unrealistic target, we can learn to improve ourselves in order to thrive, grow and enhance our lives, rather than to just avoid an intense fear of failure.  Create small, achieveable goals rather than large, unattainable ones and give yourself praise when you reach each goal.

Think of it like this: what would you say if a friend came up to you and told you they were struggling?  Would you punish them and tell them they were useless? Or would you be positive and reassure them?  Hopefully you chose the latter. Now apply that to yourself.  Treat yourself as you would treat a friend in need.

I know this may not be for everyone, but I hope it helps some of you.  Let me know what you think in the comments below! What do you do to motivate yourself?

Get Ready With Me: #LadbrokesPartyLife

I was lucky enough to be invited to the #LadbrokesPartyLife boat party on the Thames by the lovely Elizabeth. So I spent my Friday night taking advantage of free food, wine and casino games on the Golden Jubilee Party Boat whilst meeting some amazing bloggers along the way!

I thought I would share some "Get Ready With Me" style photos to show you how I did my make up and hair, what I wore and just some photos from the night!

I started with my Laura Mercier foundation primer after moisturising. I don't always use a primer and this is only used on special occasions as it's fairly pricey! However I love the consistency of it, it's like a very slippery gel and it sinks in really well, leaving my skin smooth before I apply my foundation.  I was recommended Rimmel's Lasting Finish 25 Hour Nude foundation by Chloe over at Simple Beauty Chatter earlier in the week and I've already fallen in love with it! I bought it in Ivory. It boasts a medium coverage but does not look cakey at all and leaves my skin looking reasonably matte. I applied this foundation using the Real Techniques buffing brush.

 I then covered any blemishes, acne scarring and under-the-eye darkness with my Collection Lasting Perfection concealer in Fair.  This is my all time favourite concealer and I don't actually use any other one. Ever. I'm yet to find one to better it.  And here I am on the right looking pretty disgusted at the fact my Collection pressed powder is almost finished.  I usually use Rimmel Stay Matte pressed powder but this has been in my make up bag for whatever reason and it does the job pretty well so no complaints!

I used this pink blusher from MUA on my cheeks to add a pop of colour.  I've been using this daily at the moment and can't believe it only cost £1! Such amazing value for money as it's really well pigmented too.  I also decided to debut my Eyes Uncovered eye palette from Collection. I am yet to use all the colours but overall I was pretty pleased with the palette.  The colours, even the shimmery ones, were very pigmented which is a massive plus! The colours I used aren't exactly the shades I tend to go for, but I'll see what the others are like before I rule it out!

As you can see, I kept the shadow fairly simple.  Just a lighter champagne colour in the inner corners and a darker brown in the crease.  I blended using an ELF eyeshadow brush and then lined my eyes with a No7 felt tip liner. I usually use the Collection Extreme 24 Hour felt tip liner but I seemed to have misplaced it! However, I actually really like this No7 one! It's not something I'd ever pick up myself, it was a gift from a friend for my 21st birthday.

I finished off the look with Benefit's Roller Lash and Collection's Work The Colour Eyebrow Kit which I am absolutely LOVING at the moment. I decided to leave the lip colour until just before the event, which you'll see later!

I didn't want to fuss too much with my hair, in case it rained in the evening (thank you wonderful British weather) so I just put some really soft waves in my hair with my GHD's and scrunched with my hand to give it a more natural look.  I washed my hair the evening before so the style would stay in all evening!  And so face and hair was done! I then ventured to Elizabeth's and Beth's hotel in Southwark to get ready with them and Georgina - all of whom I only met that day but they were so lovely and we were soon chatting away! When we got there, I was able to catch up with an old friend of mine, Josh, and I finally met his girlfriend Lorna aka Studs & Dreams, who was equally as lovely as the other girls!

The actual event was incredible - there was music, food, wine (a LOT of wine), a magician, photos and of course the casino.  We stuck to the roulette but it paid off as I ended up walking away with a £40 gift voucher (thanks to Beth and Elizabeth giving me the last scraps of their chips)! I had a truly amazing time living the high life in the middle of the Thames for one night only! Somehow, Beth, Elizabeth and I ended up dancing the night away in Walkabout but it really topped off a fantastic night! Making a cheese toastie at 4am and the hangover the next day was less memorable.

Dress from Miso; Flatforms from Primark; Bag & Belt from Peacocks; Jewellery from Primark