Friday, 26 July 2013

You just get more beautiful with age

Sometimes there is nothing more annoying than getting your, "Oh your bag is so amazing, where's it from?" answered with the classic, "Thanks! I bought it in a charity shop." I mean, GRR! Why was that bag not in there when I went in? However, beautiful leather satchels that look exactly like-the-one-that-I-just-spent-fifty-pounds-on do tend to be a one off and take a lot of dedication to find (or just luck. Damn their luck.) Therefore, if you really are looking specifically for a leather satchel, I'd say charity shops aren't always the best way to go about it. 

However, recently I was introduced to the serious bargains that can be found by second hand 'interior' shopping when I was re-organising my room (something that I seem to do a lot...) and was looking for some pretty storage pots/jars. Normally I would have headed straight for the highstreet but it just happened that I was walking passed the local community centre shop and I thought I'd take a peep. And lo and behold, I was presented with some li'l gems! After some sifting, I picked out this lovely glass jar and bowl for a grand total of £1.20. I mean really, how could I say no?? I then glanced through the window of a second hand shop just up the road and this adorable little glass bird stared straight back at me. I'd been looking for a small pot or dish to keep my day to day jewellery in when I was asleep, so you can imagine how chuffed I was when I found my own Li'l Sparrow to keep guard for me. (The shopkeeper had labelled it a robin but I say it's cleeaarly a sparrow...)

Glass Jar: Charity Shop (75p)
Glass Bowl: Charity Shop (45p)
Glass Bird Pot: Second Hand Shop (£4)
So, I'm aware that I'm now doing precisely what I just said really annoys me, but my point is that there are some items that are far easier to find when looking in charity shops. Glassware is a classic category that is almost always in abundance (please notice my almost) and will always look in good condition (I mean, you can hardly sell broken glass can you?) In the future if I'm looking for any other li'l extras for my room, and especially if I haven't got my mind set on anything in particular, I will definitely be heading straight for the charity shops before I lose all my cash by hitting the highstreet!

I'd be interested to know whether you've managed to find any second hand gems recently? What are your favourite items to go shopping in the charity shops for?

Essie x

Thursday, 25 July 2013

A week of sun, sea and many a cheeky cocktail

Now, if you aren't managing to get away at all this summer and are feeling a bit bitter then I promise I won't be offended if you stop reading right now. I just thought that as I haven't shut up about my holiday excitement recently, I would share a little with you all now that I'm back. If you are getting away, or are feeling smug because you've actually had the amazing weather without the empty bank account (I mean, who's feeling rather proud of the British weather right now?) then I really hope that you enjoy, and I seriously apologise for the gushing that is about to commence...

So, Rob and I just spent a really wonderful week at the beautiful Savoy Hotel in Sharm el Sheikh. Due to it being the hight of their summer (and perhaps a few other reasons too...) the place felt almost deserted when we first arrived, which meant that there wasn't a single brutal fight for the best sunbed in sight. It was bliss! 

The temperature flitted around 36 degrees all week, which sounds really hot but it was kept feeling perfect by a lovely (and thankfully relentless) sea breeze. We spent almost every day lying on the beach, swimming in the sea and drinking reeeally tasty banana milkshakes, which definitely have to be up there in my top ten favourite drinks of all time. Each evening we would head to one of the restaurants in the hotel or in the square just outside before cracking out the cocktails at the hotel's bar. I think that Rob's main amusement was probably watching my determined and energetic attempts to play table tennis and pool, neither of which I'd say are my strongest talents... although I'm convinced that I got better after a couple of cocktails!

We did manage one day out on a boat to the coral reefs around Tiran Island. We saw two ships that had been wrecked on the reef in the eighties, which were really awful to see but also quite amazing. As well as snorkelling in two different places, both Rob and I went diving, which was something that we had been really excited about. It was incredible! I mean, I know it sounds silly but there are SO many fish down there!! Sadly there are no photos of us diving as you had to buy them along with the a video that cost a fortune, but you'll have to take my word for it. Stunning!

The lovely view from our terrace
So there you are. Sorry for being a tad picture heavy but I hope you enjoyed taking a little peak into our glorious week in the sun. Right, that's it, I promise I'll stop talking about holiday now...

...oh but holiday, I miss you alreadyyy!
Essie x

Sunday, 14 July 2013

If you close your eyes, does it almost feel like nothing changed at all?

I am obsessed with smock dresses at the moment. I saw this on asos when I was looking for a dress for my brother's wedding and, although it is so wrong for any kind of wedding, I cheekily bought it anyway because I lurrve it. Asos have a fab collection at the moment so I'd say that if you fancy a smock, it's the place to look :)

Dress: Asos / Shoes: Old Kew / Necklace: Not on the Highstreet / Sunglasses: Old Topshop (similar here) / Nails: 'Rainy Day' from Topshop
Because this dress has a really comfy, oversized style (believe it or not I'm actually wearing an XS here), I feel a bit like a small child when I'm wearing it and want to run around bare foot with my limbs flying all over the place (thankfully for everyone, I restrained myself).  I've gone for quite subtle accessories here but I'm also looking forwards to wearing it with sandles and and a chunky necklace when I'm away, and hopefully it will look much better with a tan too. Oo and maybe a floppy hat...? Oh dear, you'll be able to spot the Brit a mile off!

Essie x

Saturday, 13 July 2013

My bikini buys

As I start to think about packing for holiday, (I haven't quite got round to actually packing yet, but surely thinking about it is a good start...?) I thought that I'd do a quick post to show you my new bikinis. I would love to write about how I went for purely monochrome swimwear because I think that it creates a great contrast with their typically tropical environment, but that would just be a lie. The truth is that I came home after a li'l session in London, took a look at what I had bought and realised that it was all black, white and grey. Whoopsie! To be fair, this was before the weather had picked up so maybe that had an influence on me? Anyhow, that aside I'm actually very happy with what I ended up with and can't wait to test them out in Egypt (two days eeeek!!)

Grey Bikini Top: H&M (£12.99) / Grey Bikini Bottoms: H&M (£7.99) / Black Bikini Top: Topshop (£13) / Striped Bikini Bottoms: Topshop (£12)
As you can see, I'm a big fan of structured bikini tops. I think that swimwear is very much an each to their own situation but I prefer a bikini top to give me a bit of shape and still make me feel 'safe', if you know what I mean :) They're also great for minimum tan lines as they stay put when you undo the halterneck straps and, as they're 'bra-shaped', your tan lines should never be visible once you're fully dressed. I bought the Topshop set separately and it came to £25. I love a mismatched bikini and I've also already got some black Primark bottoms that I could wear with the top, so in a way I got two bikinis for one! I wasn't as keen on the colour of the H&M set (although keener on the price as it was £17.98), but the shape is so lovely and flattering that I was totally swayed once I tried it on, and grey's hardly offensive is it?

What do you like to wear around the poolside? Do you stick with bikinis or would you rather a swimsuit? I'm always so tempted by swimsuits and think that high waisted bikini bottoms are gorgeous but I get worried about strange tan lines. I'd love to hear what you think :)

Essie x

Friday, 12 July 2013

Sunny spells with the occasional shower

When faced with a rack of Topshop nail varnishes I simply don't know where to start. Their collection has such a beautiful and wide variety of colours that I go dizzy with excitement! As (unfortunately) buying every colour is slightly out of the question, I've chosen a couple of contrasting colours, both of which I think create lovely, summery nails.


This is a peachy perfect, summer delight of a nail polish. My friends bought me this along with some other Topshop treats for my birthday back in February. Although I had tried it on, I hadn't worn it properly because I felt that it needed some sunshine and a tan to bring out it's full potential. Now that the sun has joined us (the tan's still slightly lacking), I thought that I'd give it a go and I'm so happy with the result. In the bottle it looks like a pretty-in-pink kind of a nail varnish (and it looks totally different on the website all together), but don't let it fool you. After a few coats it brightens up and is much more like a neon pop than a pretty pastel. Topshop's varnishes also have a lovely glossy finish to them, which means that if you're in a hurry and don't get a chance to put a clear coat over the top they still look really good, although of course it won't stay on as long that way. Ooh I can't wait to wear this on holiday! 



This is not the usual pastel nail varnish that I would wear in the summer, but I think maybe that's why I love it so much (in fact I'm wearing it right now!) Rainy day is a very tricky colour to describe. On the Topshop website it's called 'fog grey', which I think is quite a nice description. In fact, it almost seems to change colour depending on what you wear it with, sometimes revealing hints of blue, at other times appearing quite purple and occasionally seeming very grey. The best thing is that it has a very soft, pastel feel to it, which makes it a great twist on the typical 'pastel nails' trend. I've been wearing it with really summery outfits, such as my new Urban Outfitters dress (see my last post), but it's also a great option for those who want to do summer without getting too 'bright', or for those who simply want something a bit different.

What do you think of my summer choices? Do you prefer to go bright and colourful when the sun shows his face or would you rather keep it subtle?

Essie x

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Simply tie dye for

It's happened! That moment that I had almost given up on... the sun has come out!! However, after running to my wardrobe in excitement, I was greeted with an array of black, grey and neutral tones. Now don't get me wrong, I love a monochrome outfit as much as the next person, but it seems wrong when the sun's making such an effort to turn everything so bright and colourful. Therefore, when I saw this tie die beauty in the Urban Outfitters sale this weekend, I simply couldn't resist. I adore UO but, like most people, often consider it a tad overpriced. Thankfully, their sale this summer has been amazing with really lovely things at great discounts, (this dress was £25 down from £50). Of course it always helps a little if you can get a cheeky student discount too :)

As I'm off to Egypt in less than a week where it is going to be HOT (the last time I looked it was at 40 degrees... oof), I thought that this would be the perfect dress to keep me cool whilst still feeling pretty. The colours are so beautiful and it would be great to throw over a bikini by the pool, as well as wearing in the evening for a meal. I can't seem to find it on the internet to add the link, which is odd as there were so many left and in all sizes when I was shopping at the weekend.

Dress: Urban Outfitters / Shoes: Office / Necklace: Urban Outfitters / Nails: Barry M / Sunglasses: Old Topshop (Similar Here)
I'm also wearing my brand new white leather peep-toes here, which make me both truly, truly happy, and also incredibly heartbroken. I bought them to wear with the lovely midi dress that I have got lined up for my brother's wedding at the end of August. I LOVE the dress. I LOVE the shoes. But, when trying them on together, I got that sinking feeling in my stomach as I realised that they didn't quite work as an outfit. Therefore, I should take them back so that I have the money to buy some more suitable shoes... but I just can't face it! I am officially in love!! Haha, oookay so I'm sometimes prone to exaggeration, but they are great! As well as looking fab, the chunky heel and strap also means that they'd be comfy for a day on your feet ( a wedding maybe?), whilst still having some height (...vital for a midi dress?) Hopefully by the time that I post my outfit for the wedding, I'll be able to reveal that these shoes are a permanent part of my wardrobe... I just need to have a serious discussion with my bank account first. 

My other little Urban Outfitters sale item was this adorable turtle necklace for only £7. I don't have a huge collection of jewellery and prefer simple items, so when I saw this little guy I thought he was too cute to leave sitting in the shop. Although he's tiny he seems to give every outfit a summery feel and I've decided that he's going to be my holiday charm. Who knows, maybe I can take him to meet the real turtles in the Red Sea?

Essie x

Saturday, 6 July 2013

Makeup Review: Highstreet Mini Haul

A few weeks ago I was watching a Zoella beauty vlog (love that lady), in which she shared some of her favourite highstreet makeup buys. As I'm trying not to be too excessive with my money at the moment (...massively failing), and as my MAC and Benefit are seriously running out, I thought that I would give a few of her picks a go. Here's a li'l review of what I got.

No 7 Exquisite Curl Mascara/ L'Oreal Superliner Perfect Slim  / Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer

No 7 Exquisite Curl Mascara - £11
So I hate to be obvious, but this mascara does exactly what it says on the bottle; it curls! As well as being in a pretty pink tube (I do appreciate nice packaging), the wand is curved to create maximum curl effect. I've never actually used a wand like this before, but I really think that it makes a difference. This mascara is perfect for people who prefer a more natural look as I personally don't think that it layers very well, and if you want dark, thicker eyelashes then maybe this isn't the mascara for you (I'm going to invest in the Maybelline Falsies mascara for nights out). However, if you like long, natural looking eyelashes, this is the perfect product and I am loving it to create a more natural, summery daytime look.

This eyeliner's black and gold exterior mirrors the Yves Saint Laurent Effet Faux Cils eyeliner, but thankfully comes without the price tag. I've tried several high street felt tip eyeliners in the past as they are generally so much easier to control and therefore perfect for creating a winged effect. The problem that I usually find with them is that they run out quite quickly and aren't as black as I would like (I like my eyeliner to be BLACK, if you know what I mean). As I've only been using this liner for a couple of weeks, it's difficult to say whether it will break the drying out trend, but so far it's my favourite. The tip is the perfect thickness and I find it very easy to control (even for li'l old me, who's pretty bad at doing wings!) However if you too like really dark eyeliner, I would advise going over it with a liquid liner. My FAV highstreet eyeliner of all time is the Collection 2000 Fast Stroke liquid eyeliner, which I've been returning to for years. It's really black, stays on all day, the bottle lasts aaages AND it's incredibly cheap at only £2.50!! The only thing I would say is that I sometimes struggle controlling it and my flicks can go pretty wonky. But hey, no need to fret because now: L'Oreal Superliner + Collection 2000 Liquid Eyeliner = Problem Solved! Hurray :) 


Collection 2000 Lasting Perfection Concealer - £4.19
This concealer is a total bargain! It's a fabulous price at only £4.19, and as well as that it's just, well, fabulous! I've been applying it under my eyes and on blemishes and spots before I put on my foundation every day for the last couple of weeks, and I can't really fault it. It's quite thick, so if your skin's not too bad you could probably just use it to cover up blemishes and then skip the foundation (my skin's not fantastic, but I might try this when I'm on holiday). My only negative comment about this product would be that the packaging isn't great. The first tube that I bought had a crack in it somewhere and leaked all over my other makeup. Luckily Boots let me exchange it, however the black writing on my current tube came off all over my hands the first time that I used it and got everrrrywhere before I noticed ( it on my face somehow). I'm not sure whether I was just unlucky but if this does happen to anyone else just take a makeup wipe and scrub the bottle (...and your face if necessary). It worked for me :) Anyway, as it's what's inside the bottle that really counts, I'm giving this product a big thumbs up!

I really hope that's helped anyone looking to fill their makeup bag with some highstreet bargains! I would love to know if you've tried any of these products, or if you have any other suggestions to keep me away from the Mac counter and my bank account looking a bit healthier. I'm feeling very excited at the moment as I've only got a week until I go away on holiday now and I can't waittt :) I'm a tad nervous as I'm off to Egypt (yikes!), but it's the safe touristy bit so I'm keeping my fingers crossed that all will be fine. Anyway, expect some serious holiday preparation posts to come very soon.

Essie x