Nailed it!

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This is never going to become a beauty blog. I feel I should lead with that. I love makeup and I know what I’m doing with it most of the time, but plastering my face all over this blog in actual serious pictures with captions about “~*beauty*~” seems far from likely. As proud as I might be of my turd-shining abilities, I still think it unlikely that the world is looking to wade through pictures of my silly mug. It’s not that I have a damaging lack of self-worth, but I can’t deny that my face is cartoonish in the manner of Jim Halpert. I mean, that boy is a cutie but he’s not going to sell mascara, ya know?

A happier place is nail polish. My mum has even told me I should be a hand model. Thrice. And she’s not biased at all. On one occasion, she insisted she would find me an agent and that this hand-modelling business would “support [me] through uni”. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that she may have confused hand-modelling with prostitution.

Nail polish is fun because I was blessed with strong, powerful claws that provide me with a solid canvas. If my nails are bare, I feel like I came out without my cute and colourful finger shields on. I am picky, though, so the polish game can get expensive. There are very few brands that can sway me from my beloved OPI and China Glaze, both of which have a standard retail price well over a tenner a pot. This is fine given the quality of the product, but it does severely limit the number you can try. Now, it seems, there is a heaven-sent solution.

Coloristiq run a (UK-only) service where you rent polishes for £14.49 a month, sending out three of your own picks which you are allowed to use for up to three applications (applications meaning two coats on ten nails). It’s your basic Rent-A-Swag for nail polishes, and it’s excellent. To sweeten the deal, they give you your first month free and, if you keep a good eye out on their Twitter feed, you might even catch other offers that pop up.

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My colours of choice for my first month were OPI’s ‘Chick Flick Cherry’, Essie’s ‘Parka Perfect’ and OPI’s ‘Mod About You’ (from left to right, as pictured above). To begin with, I’m wondering how you get the job of naming nail polishes because I want to apply. In a world run by me, these polishes would instead be titled: ‘The Blood of my Enemies’, ‘Rainy Day’ and ‘Strawberry Mini Milk’. All were beautiful colours and easy to apply, and this is easily one of the best things about Coloristiq – the quality of their multi-brand collection is high. You choose from OPI, Essie, China Glaze and Morgan Taylor, selecting a long list of colours you want to try, and when it comes to the time for your next delivery, a random three of those will come through your door, looking a little like this:

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Note: HAIM bag not included, obv.

I whole-heartedly recommend this service, especially if you’re a fan of nail polish and are buying at least one new polish per month, or if you’re a beauty blogger who would benefit from having new products to review each month. My tip would be to invest in a good base coat and top coat, as well as a good file. Essie do a top and base coat set, though OPI’s will probably last you longer. And for a good nail file, I adore Model’s Own’s all-in-one file/buff/smooth/shine. That way, you will get the most out of every polish. You’ll be a colourful, manicured goddess.

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Essie’s Mod About You, which definitely just reminds me of the strawberry flavoured Mini Milks I was fed in the summers of my childhood.

Parka Perfect. (I promise that beyond the scarf/jacket combo, I was wearing different outfits)

Parka Perfect. (I promise that beyond the scarf/jacket combo, I was wearing different outfits in these pictures)

It’s not super cheap (on student funds, at least) but it is a lot less than a manicure – and it’ll keep your nails shipshape for the whole month! I’m sold, and am already onto my second month of colours to spam my Instagram with.


Photography by Charlotte Hill. Check out her blog here.

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June Favourites

My father warned me yesterday that if I neglected my blog any longer, all of my followers would desert me. This one’s for you, Dad. Partly because I don’t want you to worry about me being forever alone and partly because Sunday was Father’s Day, so.

Upon finishing my (second) second year at university, I have mostly just spent my time doing all the chores that had built up, marathoning TV shows and running around wide open spaces celebrating temporary freedom from academia. Thankfully, I live in Bournemouth so there are lots of outdoorsy havens. To get back into my blogging groove, I thought I’d post a nice variety of favourite things. Some have helped kickstart my summer, while others were the fuel to get me there. Here are my June favourites…

Favourite Places

Poole Park, Poole

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This lovely place is the setting for my weekly Parkrun on a Saturday morning, and it’s dreamy. You have no idea how inviting that water looks after a second lap of running around it in this heat. See that fountain in the second picture? So close and yet so far. That is what I’m thinking about as I stumble through the fourth kilometre wondering if this is it for me. It’s a beautiful park and that’s true all year ’round. Right now, though, it’s peaking. Warning: lotta lotta geese gangs.

Durdle and Diddly Door, Lulworth

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When my parents mentioned the Jurassic Coast, I was thinking velociraptors. But a world heritage site is cool too, I guess. The highlight of this little adventure, surprisingly not the calamitous walk, was discovering that Durdle Door’s tiny little brother is, as yet, unnamed according to the map sign. I, here and now, am calling for the cute little Durdle-wannabe (top right) to be henceforth named Diddly Door. And in a thousand years, when Durdle’s worn down by the fame (and the water), there will just be Diddly left and it will no longer be Diddly. People will come from miles away and say, “Why is it called Diddly?” And it will be lost in folklore and legend. A thousand years is about right, isn’t it? I quit geography young. Rock erosion is the ‘watching paint dry’ of the natural world. I should note, this only applies to geological rocks and should not be confused with rockstars whose careers can be known to break down almost instantaneously.

Favourite Music

HAIM, still.

Basically, since I got my eager claws on Days Are Gone, the days of me listening to other things are, you guessed it, gone. However, as it’s summertime now, to shake things up a little I’m having a phase of replaying the many remixes of the singles. My favourite, which I was unable to embed, is the Cerrone Funk Remix of ‘If I Could Change Your Mind’ but the above Cyril Hahn remix of ‘Don’t Save Me’ is pretty special as well. The sister trio got me through the latter half of second year, and I can’t wait for more tour dates because I will be there will bells on. I’ll run, run, run when they call my name… Remember that time they did, though? #haimlyf

Little Mix

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Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of seeing Little Mix live in concert when they visited my hometown. Me and my lovely friend put on our glad rags and made ourselves at home in a crowd of tweens. Let me break down some pros and cons of being comparatively elderly in terms of concert demographics. Con: the pitch of screaming was almost high enough to be off my hearing frequency, but not quite, and booooy was it loud. Pro: being taller than literally everyone else is a rarity for me, and being that we were only four rows back, I had a perfect view for the entire show! Unheard of! I think it balances out, all in all. All four members of the band were on form, killin’ it with the vocals. While the support acts wore me down a little, clearly aimed at the young’uns, I loved Little Mix.

Favourite TV

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.

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Mostly, if I’m honest, this is about these two dorks. I got into this series totally accidentally, having not cared at all about The Avengers, or any of the related films. After a couple of episodes, I was endeared by adorable, brave Science BFFs and couldn’t stop myself marathoning the series. Yes, my lack of exposure to previous MCU productions left me more sensitive to Clark Gregg’s wooden acting. Yes, perhaps I should have watched the crossover Captain America: The Winter Soldier movie before it was spoiled by the relating plot in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. But you know what, my life’s a mess! I’ll get over it.

While I am, as I mentioned, critical of Gregg’s leading role, the ensemble together is all kinds of brilliant. I don’t mind Coulson. He’s a likeable dude and the crossover is key, but I question whether his leadership of the group should equal leading the show (#Skye4lead). Agent May was badass from the word go, but was all the more interesting once fleshed out towards the first season’s end. Enigmatic Skye is delightfully quippy and I love her. Ward is now dead to me (U CAN’T HURT PUPPIES AND SCIENCE BABIES AND GET AWAY WITH IT!!!). As for Fitz and Simmons, well they’re like a Special Agent Jim and Pam. How could you not love ’em?

Favourite Things

I Just Can’t Cope-Acabana, OPI

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Just as I was struggling to cope(-acanaba) with my university stress, I treated myself to a manicure at my local beauty salon. Presented with a rainbow of choices, a smorgasbord of colour, I decided to embrace the dawn of summer and go bold with yellow. A wild choice for me. If you’re going to take fashion risks, the nails are a good place to start. I don’t think I’ve ever had so many compliments on a nail colour as when I wear this one. My mother has since treated me to the bottle, so I can bring the sunshine nails whenever I like. Be surprised if you see me not wearing this during the summer now! Yellow is my summer colour.

Daisies

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Forget June Favourites, this is a life favourite that just so happens to be every-bloomin’-where! On the left you can see young Jess, clearly in the middle of telling my mother, “See, THESE, THESE are the flowers I want on my dress pattern!” And on the right, adult Jess is narcissistically telling herself, “NAILING the daisy pattern!”. What you might not be able to tell is that in addition to daisy dress, I’m also wearing daisy headband and daisy bracelet and Daisy perfume. If it’s got daisies on it, I want it. My bank balance is going to go on one hell of an emotional rollercoaster this summer.

And with that, I will sign off my first post-Y2 blog post. This time, I promise I’ll be back v. soon.

**All images, bar the Agents of SHIELD cap, are my own.

Sunglasses

I obviously went from chilled vibes to judging you during the course of this little selfie sesh.

I obviously went from chilled vibes to judging you during the course of this little selfie sesh.

In the last month, I’ve bought two new pairs of sunglasses. People seem confused about this. “You have sunglasses already, why do you need two new pairs?” I don’t, is the answer. I don’t need new sunglasses at all. But as I go into shops with a view to picking out some new items for summer, it becomes clear that there’s a problem. Sunglasses don’t make me feel fat. And they’re the only thing.

Recently my friends and I booked our July holiday (huzzah!). Of course, I’ve got ages before I need to worry about preparing for it but I fancied a little shopping, I thought, and the excuse presented itself! The most practical item on the list was swimwear. Having not had need for it for a long time, I have none and we’re going to be swimming a lot. I thought I’d just search ASOS to see if anything caught my eye. When the search results came up, it was no real surprise to see washboard stomachs and teenie weenie bikinis across the board, but I still felt frustrated by it. I’m a pretty standard size – a “perfect” size, in fact (Beautiful South, 1998) – and I’ve never been someone who gets too hung up on their body issues. I have them, sure, but they’ve never been dangerous. As I browsed through the endless two-pieces thinking of the judgmental looks I’d get if I ever wore any of them (possibly resembling mine in the top right picture), those body issues did start to feel potentially dangerous.

I’d innocently and excitedly gone to shop for swimwear, thinking I’d pick out a patterned tankini with no worries. Of the 775 “styles found”, 26 were tankinis and nine of those were maternity. By the time I was looking at my options for swimming costumes, morale was pretty low. I was making calculations about which body issue I could surrender to; would it be worse to have my belly out or my stretch marks on display?

Every sign that I’m not a pre-pubescent child had to be covered up. God forbid anyone confuse me for a grown woman. It’s not like I was intending to impress anyone. I shan’t be parading around in my swimwear; it’s purely practical. I just want to be able to go for a swim with my buddies. Why do I care? Why can’t I talk myself out of this hole? I stayed resolute about wanting to cover up more, and began to look at other retailers. It’s Next and BHS before I see anything resembling the coverage I want, shops that are targeting a demographic twenty years older than me. The items that I show an interest in are given names like “Tummy Tuck Swim Shorts” or they’re only available in bigger sizes, like anyone needed to draw further attention to the motivation behind picking the items. It’s not long before I’m calculating how many more runs I can get in a week, and wondering if my mum would notice if I snuck a look at her diet books. In retrospect, I’m saddened that my brain so quickly took that path. Unlike when I took up running last year, motivated by the desire to feel fitter and healthier, this move was entirely motivated by unhappiness and a dislike of myself.

After a little while of searching through the bikinis, I began to become self-conscious of my thought process. I felt a profound sadness over the effect it had had on me. It took so little for me to get into that mindset and I hate to think of the effect experiences like that can have over people like me, and younger.

I moved my cursor to the sunglasses search. There I find a happier place, somewhere between the meadows of joy and the valley of contentment. “Ooh, heart-shaped ones!”

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OMBRE

Photo 18-02-2014 18 20 29Oh, ombre. The best trend that no one’s entirely sure how to pronounce.

A friend just assured me that “an entry about your transformation into the fourth Haim sister will be a thrilling read” so I thought I would post about my third ombre. It was definitely the most successful attempt yet and I think we’ve mastered it, folks. Before I continue, let me apologise for the weird pictures I include – nothing can be done about my not-so-photogenic awkwardness. C’est la vie.

This is my straight-up before and after:

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Jerome-Russell-bblonde-highlighting-kitI used Jerome Russell’s Bblonde Highlight Kit. If you have trouble remembering it, it’s the one with the Natalie Dormer lookalike on the front. It’s really good value in Boots for about a fiver (sorry, can’t find it online!). I chose it because a lot of the ombre blogs and tutorials I’d read beforehand had used this one, and I really like it because it picks up on the natural highlights in your hair so that the blonde is not just an unnatural block colour. For ombre, I want it to look as natural as possible with a gentle fade to blonde.

Both times previously, I was very eager to see the results and took out the dye after only about twenty minutes. Both of those times young, naive Jess ended up reapplying for a second go to get a bolder effect for a further twenty minutes. This time, I was a little more strategic about it.

Clairey, my trustee hair-dyer and commander-in-chief, first applied about half the dye mixture/ blue stuff up to about halfway down my hair – about chin level – and we waited half an hour for it to take effect. I used a Haim playlist to kill the time, which is a very important step that you should not miss under any circumstances. We washed out the dye and used the shampoo and condish that they give you in the pack, and it looked a little like this after drying:

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I was a little disappointed because it looked slightly lighter but it had to catch the light for any real effect to show up. I suggested that the second dye should just be about an inch or two up so that I could have much blonder ends. Claire also made sure to put a little dye onto the ends of my growing-out fringe too, which was a nice touch. I left this on for about 45-50 minutes. AND HOT DAMN IT WORKED SO MUCH BETTER. I also gave my hair a deep condition after because gotta look after my mane.

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Thanks to Claire for helping with the blondifying. I’m very happy with how my hair looks now! I plan to do a few more deep conditions over the next week or two, just so that the dye doesn’t damage my hair too much.

Born To Dye

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Lana Del Rey puns. Yeah, baby.

Tonight I dyed my hair for the first time ever. Okay, not ever. There was that one time when I dyed it black to rebel. (My mum didn’t care, so I didn’t do it again.) This is the only serious time, when it’s actually been in the interest of making me look nice ‘n’ stuff.

With the help of my trusted hairdresser (read: complete novice), Louise Jones, today was the day: the day for change. I decided I wanted to change things up in the hair department, ruling out legs, bums and armpits and going for the classic head hair. About two years after the rest of the world, I opted to get on board with the ombre trend.

Instructions, you say:

  • You put the lime in the coconut and mix them both up.
  • Dab and scrunch.
  • Find an astonishing number of sexual innuendos regarding the hair dying process (e.g. “this is gonna make you wet”, “bend over” – standard immaturity).
  • Grab a friend, get in a shower and wash your sillies out.
  • Rinse and repeat.
  • Take selfies.

Yes, you now have stunning ombre hair, you stunner. Wow. I am blown away. Twirl. Walk with a jaunt. That’s it. Now you’re ready to be unleashed. You must now immediately take up all opportunities to socialise so as to maximise utility.

The ombre is not the ombre without the obligatory root to tip comparison. Yeah, grab the ends of your hair and put it over your face like a fringe. Crazy stuff. It’ll bring back all the memories of yesterday’s hair. Like, remember when it was the same colour all the way down? Good times. But it’s more exciting now – this was a good decision.

And that’s ombre, folks! I’ve been Jessica Eve Kennedy, and you’ve been dyed.