Summer Nails with Essence and Rimmel

There’s something about the warmer weather that makes me want to have bold, bright and beautiful nails- in the winter I’m not so fussed, perhaps because my hands are mostly hidden by gloves. That being said, I talk an awful lot about painting my nails in the spring and summer months but I still seem to rarely get round to it. I blame work a lot, but at the moment as I’m not doing my usual role I don’t even have that excuse. Thankfully I have some gorgeous new nail polishes to bring on the motivation.
First up I have this selection of colour boost high pigment nail paints c/o my friends at essence. These cost a bargainous £1.80 each (available at Wilko stores and online) and promise high coverage and shiny finish in just one coat.

The swatches are indeed just one coat and they really do deliver on that promise, I’m especially fond of the duck egg blue colour- shade 06: instant happiness for a pretty pastel touch. I highly recommend these nail polishes as an affordable and efficient way to bring your manicure up to date.

Next up is the beach ready 2 step super gel nail collection c/o Rimmel (at Boots and Superdrug). I’ve had a couple of gel manicures lately but can’t afford to keep that habit up so the fact that these polishes claim to last up to 14 days with no UV lamp needed appeals greatly.

All you need to do is apply your chosen colour- no base coat needed, just 1-2 thin coats of your preferred shade. Once it’s dry you add a coat of the self curing gel top coat and there you go.

I absolutely love the colours in this collection, they are all so bright and fun! They cost a reasonable £5.99 each (plus the top coat) and can usually be found on a multi-buy offer too. I’ll have to report back on the longevity of these but from what I’ve heard from other people they live up to the hype. Shade wise my top picks have to be the super bright blue shade named Dive Right In or the pretty pastel Purple Splash for a more subtle, girly approach.

What’s your favourite colour to paint your nails in the summer months? I tend to try and avoid pinks because that’s what I always go for- I’m contemplating trying the orange Rimmel polish first just because I don’t think I’ve ever had orange nails.

Pending me ever getting round to a DIY manicure that is! Someone give me a nudge?

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Products in this post were sent to me for blog consideration.

Essence SS17 new arrivals

It’s been a little while since Essence featured on the blog and they’ve been busy little bees creating some great new products for the Spring/Summer season. If you didn’t already know I am a big fan of Essence products (past features here) so I was really excited when an envelope containing some of these new products arrived at my door.
There were some really intriguing looking products inside the package and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in. So excited it seems I completely forgot to get any swatches of the products but I’ll make sure to pop some up on my instagram over the coming days.
The Blush Play sculpting blush palette (£4) in “play it pink” is a very pretty little palette containing three blush shades that can be used together for a contoured effect or individually. I’m especially fond of the highlight shade, but all three really do work in harmony to create a gorgeous spring flush of pink.
I’ve always raved about Essence’s mascaras and the volume stylist 18h lash extension mascara (£3) is yet another bargain mascara to win my praise. This mascara features a diamond shaped brush which holds lengthening fibres and it creates long, full lashes that don’t budge.

Another product that really excited me was the cushion eyeliner (£3). This little jar holds a sponge soaked with super pigmented eyeliner. Applied with a fine brush this has an amazing texture and again doesn’t budge at all during the day.

You can’t beat Essence for bargain lip products and at a mere £2 these shine shine shine lipglosses are amazing. I’ve got two shades- number 12 and number 13 and they apply smoothly to give a really, really shiny and highly pigmented splash of colour. Out of the two shade 12 is my favourite, I’m really loving purple lips at the moment.

On a side note, these smell incredible too.

Last but not least we have a new nail product- colour boost high pigment nail paint in the shade 11- instant match. Essence nail products are a long standing favourite and a really affordable way to bring your look up to date at a minuscule £1.80 each. This new range takes just one application to provide super shine and solid colour coverage. There are ten shades available and I want them all!
Have you tried any of these new products from Essence, or any others from the brand for that matter? If not then I highly recommend you get acquainted with the brand which you can find in selected Wilko stores or the Wilko website.

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The Denman Cocktail Collection

Ever found yourself wishing that your hair brush could smell like your favourite cocktail? Nope, me neither but when I heard about the new Cocktail Fragrance Collection from Denman Brushes it suddenly seemed like a very appealing, not to mention genius idea.

With flavours such as Strawberry Daiquiri, Pina Colada and Berry Martini these are fun and funky brushes that are the perfect size for popping in your handbag and would make an awesome birthday gift for your girl friends.

Denman kindly sent me the Strawberry Daiquiri brush so that I could see how the idea translates in to real life. It’s a lovely, grown-up looking brush and, despite it’s small size and “novelty” factor it lives up to the renowned quality of Denman Brushes.

The scent of this is SO good, so very good. Good enough that I have to stop myself sniffing my hair brush in public.

I’m not sure if I like the fact that the scent doesn’t transfer to your hair or not though, on the one hand I can see why Denman have done this- walking around smelling like your favourite drinks could grow old fast. On the other hand though, the idea of Strawberry scented hair for the Summer is really kind of appealing!

The brushes retail at £8.00 each and are available from the Denman online store.

What do you think of this idea? And what’s your favourite cocktail?

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How to Add a Pop of Colour to your Summer Wardrobe

When the sun is shining I feel the sudden urge to get out my bright clothes and I’m not the only one. Knowing how and where to add colour can be hard though as you don’t want to overdo it. I feel at ease with red lips and fun prints but what other ways are there of adding a pop of colour to your summer outfit if you’re not quite so brave?

Colour block skirt
I own more A-line skirts than I’d care to mention and have them in pretty much every length, colour and print. It makes sense then that for summer I like to colour block with a bright skirt and a complimentary colour top. For those with a curvier frame wearing bright colours from the waist down works really well and an A-line shape skims the hips. If you want a more toned down look just pair with a neutral top instead.

Bold Summer dresses
For the ultimate boost of colour and energy to your wardrobe it has to be a patterned summer dress. There are so many patterns that are trending right now- from pastel gingham to bright stripes and vintage florals to fun food prints – pineapple anyone? Aztec prints also never go out of style so I’m keeping an eye out for this trapeze dress from Sainsbury’s holiday shop when doing the weekly shop.

Add colour in your accessories
In winter it’s easier to accessorise with colour simply because you wear more accessories and can layer up with hats, gloves and scarves. It’s still possible to do it in summer though – albeit in a slightly more subtle way. I like to add colour with a big bright bag to carry all of my everyday essentials (i.e. my entire life) or in or a pair of platform heels.

Off the top of your head
You can use your head, quite literally, to top off your colour offering. My cat beret gets a little rest over summer but out comes the sun hat instead. Even if yours is plain it’s always possible to wrap around a colour-coordinating scarf to match your outfit. For another instant colour update using a pretty silk scarf tie it round some classic vintage rolls- with the added bonus of keeping your neck nice and cool!
Finishing touches
Last but not least don’t neglect your face and fingers. If you’ve gone for accessories to add tones to your outfit pick the same shades out in your eyeshadow, lipstick or nails for added zing. While I stick to reds and darker shades of make-up in winter, spring is the time to experiment and I’m not afraid of orange lipstick, purple eyeshadow or pastel green nails – as long as it matches something I’m wearing! If you’re not feeling too brave start with a bold nail colour and go from there. This guide to nail shades covers orange, green, bronze, hot pink and everything in between.
How will you be adding colour to your Spring/Summer looks? I’d love to know.

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Lee Stafford Academy Hair Straighteners review and giveaway

I’m still very much a novice when it comes to hair, really it’s only since I had it cut and coloured in October that I’ve managed to get any kind of grip in styling it myself and my once neglected hair straighteners became one of my most used items. I’d had them for a few years already by this point and over the last few weeks I’d noticed they were failing to heat properly and were losing their ability to you know, actually straighten my hair. So when an opportunity came up to review the Lee Stafford Academy Hair Straighteners* the timing could not have been more perfect.
I’m not hugely au-fait with many hair styling brands but Lee Stafford is one I know well [by which I mean I already own one of his hair dryers]. My previous straightener was by Corioliss and I have never owned a pair of GHDs. Because of this I also roped by Mum in on this review and we both tried out the product- she is the queen of hair straightening so if something impresses her then it’s definitely a good ‘un.
I know looks aren’t everything but these are some sleek looking straighteners which gave a good first impression. I was a little worried about the size of the plates as my hair is very thick and there is a LOT of it and I was concerned that it would prove too much for this tool to cope with. I needn’t have worried.

Thanks to the adjustable heating settings [up to 230 degrees] and handy quick start guide I quickly established the optimum temperature for my hair, waited a mere matter of seconds for the straightener to heat up and got going. This straightener made short work of getting my hair smooth and sleek which in itself is no mean feat. More impressive was that after sleeping on it my hair was still straight the next day- with my old straightener I found that I needed to re-do it the next day as my natural waves had fought back.
Mum thought the same, she was impressed with how easily this straightened her naturally curly hair [please note I have never actually seen it curly] and how sleek a finish it left.

Because I tend to straighten my hair and then curl or wave the top layers with a curling wand I decided to have a go at creating curls with this as well. I probably should have taken a picture but being me I didn’t think of it at the time but this straightener also creates smooth and shiny waves quickly and easily without looking like they had obviously been done with a straightener if you know what I mean?

I 100% would recommend this straightener for anyone who’s on the lookout for a new one, with an RRP of £79.99 it’s on the more affordable scale of things and at the time of writing it’s currently on sale on Amazon for £49.95.

I also happen to have one of these straighteners to give away to one lucky reader- see the widget below for how to enter and the T&C [and good luck!]

Win Lee Stafford Academy Hair Straighteners #1

The giveaway will run until 29th March and the winner will be contacted directly by Review Directory.

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Product sent to me for purpose of review. Opinions and shiny sleek hair are entirely my own.