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Polished by Leanne Nail Varnish | Cocoa & Confidence

Saturday, 16 September 2017
polished by leanne, swatches, review, cocoa, confidence, cruelty free, nail varnish, nail polish, indie brands,

Try as I might to stop collecting them, I'm a bit of a nail polish junkie. Every time a new line launches, I'm there Googling swatches. When new shades are released from my favourite collection, I buy them despite owning about five similar shades (although I've scaled back on this this year!). My mother isn't much better, and between us we have amassed quite the rainbow-hued assembly of nail varnish shades - and we literally just threw a ton of expired and no-longer-used ones out last year! 

The latest gems to land in my collection are a couple of shades by the amazing and lovely blogger known as Leanne, from the blog and shop Polished by Leanne. She makes the nail varnishes herself and labels them with her own logo, finishing the parcel off with her business card. Not only is it always fantastic to support bloggers in general, but when it's helping them to pay their bills then you can rest easy knowing your money is being well spent for both parties!

I'd been eyeing up some of Leanne's nail varnish shades for a while but in all honesty, buying them was often something that slipped my mind - I make such long wishlists that I often end up overwhelming myself as I fight the urge to spend my entire wages the day after payday. Recently though, Polished by Leanne has had a sale on, and not only did this make me get my shit together, but also the fact that a few of the shades I really wanted were low on stock helped too. 

For my first order I nabbed two shades at £2.50 each - normally the nail varnishes come with a £5 price tag, and considering these are handmade products from a lady running her own business, I'm happy to pay that money and I think it's still super affordable! I picked up Confidence, a stunning electric blue with sparkles, and Cocoa, a pretty orangey-tan shade that's actually quite similar to Jeffree Star's Pumpkin Pie liquid lipstick! Cocoa doesn't have any shimmer but I don't think it needs it. I don't have any shades like Cocoa and Confidence in my collection - I really try to seek out the most unusual shades these days. Long gone are my days of picking up neutral after neutral, lilac after lilac. Now I tend to gravitate towards colours I don't already own, and the two I picked up from Leanne fit the bill perfectly.

The consistency of these does sit a little thin for my tastes, as I prefer to generally use two coats for my nail varnish, and for the photo below I used three. That said, I find that thicker formulas are more prone to chipping, so I'm hoping that this runnier formula will help with the staying power. Since it was my first time wearing these, I opted against using any base or top coats to see how the formulas lasted on their own. It was very easy and quick to coat my nails and the layers dried fairly quickly - of both, Confidence dried the fastest. 

At day four, Wednesday, I noticed some minor chipping on the very tips of my nails but nothing too dramatic - essentially what I would find with most nail varnishes! No polish I own can stand up and endure what my hands go through on night shift, which I work Thurs-Sat, so I don't ever consider this as a real test for any shade.

I'm really pleased with how these have worked out - they don't feel thick on my nails so I haven't ever worried about smudging them upon painting, nor have I been concerned about taking chunks of the nail varnish out just by typing or washing dishes. I have my eye on another shade and when I told my mum about them, she even bought a couple for us! (Don't worry, they are also unlike most in our collection!) Oh, and one of the best parts about these nail varnishes is that they're cruelty free! Yay!

polished by leanne, swatches, review, cocoa, confidence, cruelty free, nail varnish, nail polish, indie brands,

Make sure you check out Leanne's blog and shop! What are your favourite shades from the range?

A Peek at My Poetry

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Poetry is a method of venting that I began utilising not long after I started making art books. Although I began writing poetry when I was 14, and I continued to write it often, it became most useful to me during the darkest periods of my depression, and I feel that I wrote some of my best poetry then. 

Some of it is painful to look back on - either from me cringing at things I wrote about my crush when I was 16, to legit pain that I ever felt in such despair. I don't often write poetry these days, the last of which I wrote was probably a few earlier this year about Jack. I would love to publish my own collection of some of the work I find is my personal best, and it's something that I have put together - I just need to sit down and figure out how to put it into an eBook haha. 

Today I thought I'd share some of my poetry. I took bits that were a little less detailed - as all of it is personal -, a little more recent (most of it is from 2015) and a lot of it is short. When I write these days it tends to be shorter pieces than long-winded ones.

Let me know if you would be interested in a small collection of poetry in a book as I'd love to know.

Disappointing Products Round-Up #1

Saturday, 9 September 2017
disappointing products round-up, disappointing products 2017, simple micellar water, mua make-up academy conceal and correct palette, george asda super boost concealer, morphe concealer, stargazer lipstick 105, collection illuminating touch foundation, review

Over the last couple of years, I've accumulated a lot of disappointing products. Some I've already voiced (Jeffree Star Queen Bee, I'm looking at you), and a lot of which I haven't discussed. So, today I thought I'd do a small round up of the disappointing products I've gathered and let you know why it just wasn't working. There's a lot more products than what I'm sharing today, but I figure I've got plenty of time to get round to them all in the future. Also stay tuned as I plan on doing a face full of make-up I hate! I'll leave the link for that below whenever I film it and it goes live! 


I really don't have a whole lot to say about this one - it just didn't work for me. It really wasn't great at removing make-up and didn't glide across my skin like most other micellar waters do. It struggled with waterproof formulas and the likes of brow pomades, and it didn't pick up every trace of my foundation. Given that I've been using Simple wipes for years, this was a total let down. Also, yes, I know Simple aren't CF - I bought this stuff ages ago and have already found a replacement for my well-loved make-up wipes!


I don't remember what inspired me to buy this palette. I just remember scrolling down the MUA website one day, casually browsing, and saw this palette and thought I need this in my life. I think I just liked that the concealers and correctors were all in one handy travel-friendly palette, and the fact that the bottom shades looked suitable for contouring or at least bronzing was an added bonus. Fast-forward to when this palette arrived and I remembered why I tend to stay clear of cream-based MUA products like this. Some of them are decent enough - I have the single under-eye corrector and it works just as well as my Pixi Brightening Peach Colour Corrector - but this palette worked about as well for me as the Pro-Base Conceal & Brighten product (i.e. it didn't work at all). The consistency is thin and greasy, and I find that it's lacking in both staying power and real oomph - the pigmentation isn't dire, but it's not enough to cover up my horrific breakouts and the consistency is too slippery to stay put on my nose for more than five seconds.


George at Asda had (and possibly still have, I haven't looked at the range in months and it doesn't appear to be online) an entire range of this Super Boost labelled stuff, and it looked to be modelled on Bourjois's Healthy Mix range. As a big fan of the HM collection, I was totally behind any dupes that would be a little easier on my purse, so I picked up this Super Boost concealer and decided to give it a shot. The problem with this product is that it only has one little flaw - and if it wasn't for that, I actually would use it all the time and it's a very good concealer. It's creamy, it blends well, it covers well, and it's easy to apply. The problem? It oxidises so badly on me no matter what foundation I've tried it with. Despite looking Casper-pale in the tube, this becomes orange through the day and makes me end up looking like I'm part Oompa-Loompa. Not a good look.


OK so this isn't the worst product in the world. The first issue for me is that I picked the wrong colour. I have this in the shade Macciato which is way too orange for me. I dunno about you guys but good old fashioned, well-lit swatches are how I tend to pick colours for brow and skin products these days, you know, when the product isn't readily available in my local Superdrug, so based on this photo, I chose my shade thinking yes, finally it might be yellow enough to work for me! If I purchased again, I would likely go with the shade up from it, Oats. What tempted me to buy this product in the first place is that I remember seeing somebody liken this to a popular MAC concealer - possibly the Pro Longwear, but I can't remember - and I always love a good, cheap dupe. Whilst the product feels nice and creamy, and is easy to blend, I found that it didn't last too long on me (I paired this with a darker base to try and disguise the orangey-ness), but I do plan to revisit this one and give it a second chance to see if I can make it work - once, you know, I buy a lighter shade. (Also it smells really good with this sweet, light vanilla scent. Very similar to MAC lipsticks).


I haven't tried a whole lot from Stargazer, and what I have tried tends to be very hit and miss. Some lipsticks are great, others not so much, and I didn't like their eyeliner pens at all. Their glitter shakers, however, are fantastic, and I've read great things about some of their eyeshadows. Long before the likes of Jeffree Star launched stunningly coloured liquid lipsticks and way before MUA launched bold blue and purple hues in their Lip Lacquer line, I found myself in need of bright lipsticks but with nowhere to go. Enter Stargazer, a brand I'd found on Amazon as a 16-year-old, and it felt like my prayers were answered. I'd had huge success with a purple shade - 130 - that I adored. It was pigmented, not too slippy nor too drying and was only a few quid. You can imagine my disappointment that this stunning metallic blue gave very little colour payoff, and was very difficult to work with, the formula dry and hard to apply. 


Now, since I bought this foundation at some point in 2016, I've started using a makeup sponge, and I genuinely think that this may help with the application of this foundation. When I first got this raved about product, I was still using my RT Expert Face brush, and I found this to be a little bit orangey and quite cakey. It didn't sit well with me and it certainly didn't give me a glowing or dewy look like I expected. After hearing so many good things about it, I was definitely disappointed - I look forward to using this in the aforementioned 'products I hate' video to see if I've changed my mind now!

Do you agree with any of these or do you love what I've shared here? Let me know in the comments!

3 Ways to Wear: Culottes

Wednesday, 6 September 2017
how to style culottes, how to wear culottes, culottes,

When culottes first started weaselling their way into the world of fashion, I was wary. In fact, I hated them. But it turns out it was one of those trends that I just hated because it was weird and new, but the more I saw people experimenting with them and styling them to suit their own personal tastes, I began to see the attraction. After all, they're baggy and comfortable, and essentially make a more stylish alternative to the likes of joggers and leggings, but without being as restrictive as the faithful skinny jean. 

I was still wary when I ordered my first pair - a black crepe pair from Boohoo that cost me £15. I was in a rut with my fashion tastes (and still am as I write this mid-August) and needed something new and exciting in the 'bottoms' section of my wardrobe to freshen things up. I figured culottes may be worth a shot, and I'm pretty glad I picked this pair up. The only downside of this specific pair is that they don't have pockets! Which, for £15, is ridic in my opinion. In the future I'd like to try out a black and white striped pair, the blush pink of this pair and maybe another patterned pair - who knows? But for now, these black ones will see me through those days where I want to look casual and cool whilst feeling comfortable. 

At first I had no idea how to style cullotes, so here are three ways in which I often style my own!


how to style culottes, how to wear culottes, culottes,

how to style culottes, how to wear culottes, culottes,

Top: H&M
Jacket: Primark
Shoes: New Look Comfort

As you will soon expect to find with my '3 ways to wear' posts, I chose to incorporate a 'grown-up' option for nights out on the town or date nights, to show you just how versatile this piece is. Culottes look super flattering with a top tucked in, and I think this leopard print cami I got from H&M does the job perfectly - the lace and leopard print are such girly details but channel grunge vibes when paired with the leather jacket. Another reason I think this H&M number fits the bill is that it's not quite slim-fitting, but it's not too baggy, meaning it's the right kind of size for the wide-legged culottes. I chose my pointy black heels because they add sophistication to the outfit IMO. I'd pair this with a bunch of rings and some statement earrings to finish it off.


how to style culottes, how to wear culottes, culottes,

how to style culottes, how to wear culottes, culottes,

Jacket: New Look Petite
Tee: Forever 21
Shoes: Primark

If you're spending the day at the shops or running errands and just want to be comfy, there's nothing cuter than culottes paired with an oversized, grungey denim jacket and a cut-out tee. I'm generally not a fan of the 'choker' trend t-shirts, but I think this one from Forever 21 is perfect because it's just a cut out, and the neck doesn't sit high up and, well, feel like a choker. I paired this with my pretend Old Skool Vans that are £8 from Primark because they are super comfy and are my go-to shoes right now.


how to style culottes, how to wear culottes, culottes,

how to style culottes, how to wear culottes, culottes,

Cardigan: Boohoo
Tee: Monki (old)
Shoes: Primark (old)

Basically pyjamas, but socially acceptable, this outfit is one that I put together specifically for this post but have reached for countless times since. I bought this cute striped tee from Monki when we were in Amsterdam, and it's perfectly oversized. I personally wouldn't style culottes with a long oversized tee unless it was tucked in (due to my height and body shape it would overwhelm and drown me), but leaving this cropped number untucked works well, I think! I chose flats because sometimes I can't be arsed to put on proper shoes, and a big cardigan to keep the outfit feeling casual and cosy. 

Are you a fan of culottes? How do you style yours?