The Easter weekend is upon us and aside from stuffing myself with chocolate and generally enjoying not being in work, I also thought I’d take the opportunity to share some of my Easter themed favourites with you…
I loved these Illamasqua nail polishes when they launched last spring and to be honest, I’m still pretty obsessed with them an entire 365 days later. I remember being struck by both their prettiness and distinctiveness and whilst other brands have launched similar polishes in the last year, I still don’t think you can beat the originals. The blue shade, ‘Fragile’, really pops on the nail and the pastel colours are perfect matches if you’re after an ‘I’ve got mini eggs for fingernails’ look (granted on paper it sounds like a slightly sinister look. A bit like that advert where everything the man touches turns to Skittles. But I digress…).
After waxing lyrical about my love of Luella Bartley in my previous post, it seems only fair to also lavish some attention on the other half the duo who in 2013 were appointed Creative Directors at Marc By Marc Jacobs. Katie Hillier has not only created accessories for brands such as Victoria Beckham, Luella and Stella McCartney but also launched her own label, Hillier, in 2010 and her distinctive ‘paperclip’ jewellery designs have been on my wish list ever since. Sadly for me, they’ve always been slightly over my budget so you can imagine my excitement when I spotted the ‘Bunny’ necklace in silver on Zalando at a pretty hefty discount (plus an extra £10 off thanks to a lovely discount code!). It’s super cute without being twee and in my mind a definite modern classic! Now let’s see if I have as much sales shopping luck when it comes to the duo’s first Marc by Marc Jacobs collection for AW14…
I’m now off to eat my way through the M&S Easter eggs which I ‘invested’ in to help style my photos. It’s a hard life…
Spring has well and truly sprung and whilst the glorious weather makes me think of holidays, all of my allowance this year seems to be taken up by attending weddings (although it has meant I have a legitimate excuse to visit New York in October – outfit planning started before the flights were even booked!). At the start of April I headed up to Glasgow for my cousin’s wedding and my four day mini break not only gave me the chance to finally tour the stunning Mackintosh designed Glasgow School Of Art building but also gave me an excuse to wear my amazing Luella prom dress from the SS09 collection.
I’m a massive fan of Luella Bartley and her now defunct ‘Luella’ label (I’m still in mourning!) and this prom dress was yet another eBay find at just a fraction of what it originally cost. I’ve previously documented my love affair with eBay and regular readers may recognise the Miu Miu heels featured in this outfit as another eBay find (after several years of stalking!).
Along with Luella Bartley, Miuccia Prada is another designer whose genius I can’t get enough of (it’s just a shame my bank balance rather restricts me!). I fell in lust with these heels at first sight and of all the pairs I own, they’re definitely my favourite. The deco detailing on the heels echoed the venue for the wedding reception, House For An Art Lover (yet another Mackintosh designed treasure) and despite the ridiculous height of the heel, they’re surprisingly comfortable and I managed to survive a particularly fast Gay Gordons without toppling over!
Apart from fashion, another great love of mine is literature so anything that combines the two is a bonus! I stumbled across P.S. Besitos’s range of book clutches whilst browsing Etsy and after much deliberation as to which title to buy, I plumped for ‘Dracula’. Unlike quite a few book clutches I’ve seen, the ones from P.S. Besitos aren’t made from real books (I’m not sure fashion ever justifies destroying a book!) and instead the covers are printed on cotton which is not only much more book-friendly but also means that Jessica, the woman behind the brand, can create custom orders if you have a favourite title (keep an eye out on her Facebook and Twitter for more details). The clutch itself is roomy enough for everything you need for a wedding (camera, phone, money, make-up, confetti…) and certainly provides a talking point!
To reflect the colours found in my shoes, I painted my nails in Barry M black with gold glitter tips which also helped to strengthen the tips and keep them chip free all day!
I absolutely love, love, LOVE this outfit and am already wondering if it’d be impolite to wear it to all the upcoming weddings I’m attending. If it ain’t broke etc…
As Manchester is for once bathed in glorious sunshine which makes my thoughts turn to spring, it seems a bit unfair to still be banging on about all things wintery but as I’ve *finally* got my hands on some full size bottles from Essie’s Winter 2013 collection, I thought it would be rude not to share some swatches!
First up is ‘Toggle To The Top’, a dark red glitter in a dark red base. This was my first experience of using Essie polishes and I have to say, despite the gorgeousness of the colour, I was a bit disappointed as it chipped horrendously and for £7.99, I want something with a bit more durability. Determined not miss out on having such a lovely shade on my nails however, I decided to layer it over two coats of Barry M’s ‘Red Wine’ which not only gave it staying power but also means that the polish will go much further! The above photo is two coats of ‘Toggle To The Top’ over two layers of ‘Red Wine’ and sealed with a top coat. The glitter distribution in the polish is fabulous and gives a sophisticated sparkle to brighten up dull days.
The second polish I bought from the collection is ‘Parka Perfect’ which is a greeny grey shade with a subtle shimmer. Although my best description of it as ‘somewhere near the colour of blu tack’ doesn’t perhaps make it sound very appealing, this is one of my favourite polishes for a long time and I’ve already stocked up on a couple of bottles before it’s discontinued! Unlike ‘Toggle To The Top’, I had no chipping issues with this polish (I’m typing this wearing a five day old application of the polish and aside from a little wearing at the tips, I’m still chip free!) and it’s so flattering on the nail. The above photo is three layers and a topcoat although you could probably get away with two coats on smaller nails.
So whilst my first foray into the world of Essie polishes was a mainly positive one, I’m not sure I’ll be rushing out to buy more in future unless the shade was spectacular or different enough to warrant it.
I’m not sure if it’s a rebellion against the dullness of January but I can’t seem to get enough of pastels at the moment (I’m also partly blaming Miu Miu’s S/S 14 campaign…). I picked up this turquoise (or ‘petrol’ as the website called it) leather pencil skirt and fluffy knit jumper from Topshop back in October and have been wearing them to death ever since! I always find Topshop very inconsistent when it comes to sizing, which is a shame as they had some really brilliant pieces for A/W 13, so I almost never tried on the skirt as I assumed, like previous Topshop pencil skirts I’d tried, that it would fit very oddly. Reader, it fitted like a glove (or at least a glove that gives you enough movement to walk and sit down in) and I’ve since bought an identical one in black.
I’ve teamed the skirt and jumper with my trusty Dune brogues, Essie nail polish in Parka Perfect and my Katie Mullally peg necklace. I love this necklace as it’s so unusual and it always picks up compliments whenever I wear it! I’m busy debating whether to invest in some New Balance trainers at the moment (another fashion ‘trend’ I was rockin’ at least 10 years ago along with dip dyed/ pink hair) and I think this pair from ASOS would go perfectly.
Now it’s no secret that I love a bit of Barry M when it comes to nail polish. Not only do their polishes come in a massive selection of colours and finishes but when it comes to wear and tear, they’re pretty indestructible and I can often get through an entire working week chip free! Although I love experimenting with polish, I’ve tended to stay away from textured polishes as I’ve worried the ‘gritty’ texture might start to get on my nerves after a few hours wear. That said, when Opi released their ‘Bond Girls’ collection of textured polishes earlier in the year, the jewel like tones almost tempted me to take the plunge if they’d been a tad cheaper (I love Opi but I’m not prepared to pay £10+ for something I might not like!). Thank goodness then for Barry M who seem determined to push the creative boundaries at the lower end of the nail polish market and have brought out a collection of textured glitter polishes at a purse friendly £3.99 each (plus some of the colours are pretty good dupes for a few of the Opi ‘Bond Girls’ polishes…).
I picked up three of the five polishes in the ‘Royal Collection’ – ‘Gold Majesty’, ‘White Pearl’ and ‘Purple Countess’ – on my lunch break last week and I think I can now declare myself a textured polish convert!
‘Gold Majesty’ is a textured polish packed full of, shockingly, gold glitter. I love, love, love this polish and it was the perfect shade to dip my toe into the textured polish water with! The glitter pieces are very small and densely packed together so not only do you get an amazing sparkle but the overall texture is like fine sandpaper. It went on without too much trouble (it’s a bit thicker than a normal glitter polish) and I used two coats although I could probably have gotten away with one as it covered so well.
Second up is ‘White Pearl’. Although I loved this colour in the bottle, on the nail it didn’t feel very ‘me’. Containing a mixture of white and iridescent glitters, it’s a very pretty shade and possibly once the weather becomes more wintery I’ll want something a bit more ‘Snow Queen’ but at the moment I’m just not loving it. The glitter pieces in this one also seem to be bigger than the ones in ‘Gold Majesty’ which means that the application wasn’t as easy and the final texture was a bit rougher than I would have liked.
The final polish I picked up was ‘Purple Countess’ which is a shade I think proper beauty bloggers would describe as ‘complex’. Although primarily a purple based glitter, it also has hints of browns, pinks, oranges and golds which catch the light and shimmer beautifully. I also tried this one with a top coat which really brought the glitter to life but sadly it didn’t photograph well (or at least the photos of no topcoat and topcoat didn’t look as different as they did in real life to make them worth posting). This is a great shade for autumn and also subtle enough for everyday wear if you don’t want to be too OTT but still have a hint of sparkle. Due to the finer glitter, ‘Purple Countess’ was much easier to apply than ‘White Pearl’ and took two coats to become opaque.
Overall I’m really impressed with the polishes and whilst I’m still not convinced about textured polishes in non-glitter shades, I can’t wait to try some more textured glitters. I might just have to purchase some of those Opi shades now…
It’s no secret that I have a bit of a thing for the styling of Wez Anderson films and Moonrise Kingdom in particular. As the start of this week clung on to the last vestige of summer, I decided to channel my inner Suzy Bishop (minus binoculars) with this ensemble.
My dress is from Topshop and my shoes are from Dune. I bought both at the start of spring so they’re no longer available in store although Dune do have the same style of brogues in updated colour ways for A/W13 here which I’m quite tempted by for the party season. I liked the Topshop dress so much that I also bought it in a couple of other colours (if it ain’t broke… etc) and have spent a good chunk of the summer in them. My bag, which has featured on this blog before, is from The Cambridge Satchel Company and has pretty much been worn to death over the last few months! My necklace is from Tatty Devine and I love the trompe l’oeil effect of the digitally printed perspex jewels!
When it came to my nails I wanted to echo the jewel tones of the necklace so I loaded up my nail tips with a few coats of Barry M glitter polishes in Aqua, Yellow Topaz and Rose Quartz and then added a top coat. Pretty pleased with the result!
Now, whether or not I should be using a 12 year old fictional character as a style icon when I’m nearly 30 is a whole other debate but seeing as Orla Kiely also seems to be firmly on the Suzy Bishop bandwagon if her S/S14 collection is anything to go by, I don’t think I’m quite willing to give her up just yet…
I have a bit of an obsession when it comes to nail polish and not content with owning the majority of what Barry M has to offer (seriously, their polishes are amazing and can go a whole week without chipping), I’ve recently turned my attention to the amazing indie brands coming out of the US at the moment. New York based brand Cirque have recently launched their 12 piece ‘Arcus’ collection and when I saw the amazing glitter polishes online, I knew I had to have them I my life!
Lullaby is packed with various shapes and sizes of satin-finish pastel glitter suspended in a clear base. The above photo shows two coats over Barry M nail polish in ‘Black’ (np47). I absolutely LOVE this nail polish – normally I’m not overly keen on glitters with chunky pieces in them as I have fairly small nails so the larger pieces don’t tend to sit flat and have a habit of catching and coming off but I had no such problems with ‘Lullaby’ to the point where I managed to go five days without a single chip! It looks so pretty on the nail, especially contrasted against a darker base coat and the satin-finish of the glitter really catches the eye. The glitter distribution is great although I had to move some of the bigger star shaped pieces around to get them into a better position. I really wish I’d bought two bottles of this as I know I’m going to be wearing it a lot this A/W!
Kaleidoscope is another satin-finish but this time with multi-coloured brights in a clear base which, according to the Cirque website, contains over 30 different types of glitter. Again the above photo shows two coats over Barry M ‘Black’. The colours in this one remind me of the circus and children’s birthday parties and whilst I love the colour combination when it’s in the bottle, on the nail I’m not sure it’s really ‘me’. Possibly I need to try it over a different colour or add more layers for extra intensity but I’m not sure how often I’ll be reaching for this polish. Once again the glitter distribution is good but unlike the big pieces in ‘Lullaby’, I found that the larger pieces didn’t sit very well on my nail (despite a couple of layers of a top coat) and after a couple of days a few of them had come off.
Out of the three polishes I bought from the collection, I thought Electric Circus would probably be my least favourite but, despite my initial hesitance, it really grew on me. It’s another satin-finish in a clear base but this time has smaller sized neon glitter pieces in red, yellow and blue. As the glitter pieces were smaller, it needed three – four coats over the Barry M ‘Black’ to build up a decent amount of glitter (unless I was just unlucky with the distribution) but once layered up, I loved the subtle, spray paint effect it gave.
Of the three colours, ‘Lullaby’ is hands down my favourite as it’s so lovely on the nail and very different to anything else I own. I’m going to persevere with ‘Kaleidoscope’ though as it looks so amazing in the bottle, there must be a way of making it look equally show stopping on my nails!
As I mentioned in a previous post, I recently added a couple of bottles from US indie brand Lush Lacquer to my ever expanding collection of polishes and I thought I’d share a swatch of one of the polishes, Clowning Around.
‘Clowning Around’ is an electro-rainbow colour mixture of different sized neon glitters in a clear base. I wanted the effect on the nail to be as noticeable as possible so I used three coats of Barry M’s ‘Matt White’ as a base.
Once dry, I then added ‘Clowning Around’ over the top. The consistency of ‘Clowning Around’ is great but as with all glitters, if you want a decent build up then you have to be prepared to fish a bit for the bigger pieces of glitter and layer, layer, layer! I think I ended up using three coats of ‘Clowning Around’ but it does depend on how lucky you are with the glitter distribution and how densely packed you want it. I think I could probably have gotten away with two coats on some of my nails and to be honest, ‘Clowning Around’ is such an unusual and eye catching polish that even one coat over a pale shade would ‘pop’. I love the splattered effect it gives my nails and it rather reminds me of a ‘disco’ version of Illamasqua’s speckled polishes from earlier this year.
Lush Lacquer have just launched the second half of their ‘Neon’ collection and I’ve already placed an order for some of the new colours. I love that they’re coming up with polishes which are so distinctive and I can’t wait to try out the new shades as well as seeing what ‘Clowning Around’ looks like layered over pastel colours for the summer!