Sunday Saviour: 19.2.17 My Product of the week – Nail Varnish

So this week it’s all about my favourite nail varnish, in this case I am more or less 100% brand loyal which I can’t say is true in any other clothing or beauty related part of my life.

This is the first Sunday Saviour for a while as I’ve spent the last two weeks laid up with some freaky wonder bugs. I very rarely get poorly but these terrors knocked me right down and killed my blogging mojo. But I have to get right back on this metaphorical horse and today seemed the right day!

Nails – To use Nail varnish or not to use Nail varnish?

Any readers of Mumsnet will know that one of the most common questions on the style and beauty section is “How can I feel put together?” And generally the first answer is have well trimmed, non chipped, varnished nails. This is closely followed by having crease free ironed clothes, thats another story. I have to agree with the so called “nest of vipers” here and say their advice is pretty spot on.

Why do I use Nail Varnish?

I always feel that when I have my nails painted I look smarter, feel put together and confident. (I’ve been pondering on what exactly put together means and have failed to a total definition but I just feel it!) An example of this is I actually hate going out at night without my nails painted. I would go so far as to say I feel my whole outfit is ruined if I don’t have my nails done. It’s not in the slightest about people judging me but simply it improves my own self confidence. There is also no bloody way I could leave my house with chipped nails. I keep nail varnish remover in the car for such occasions. I am a slightly special case I will admit, this focus on the minutiae drives my husband to distraction but I can’t help it!

After I had my babies I didn’t have the time or energy to be bothered. There were far more important things for me to focus on. But once I began to feel more human one of the first things I did to feel more myself was sort my nails out. The baby weight was hanging on and my hair was falling out in handfuls but the simple act of painting my nails made me feel like I regained some element of my self. You might be thinking how vacuous and shallow of you, but to me the better I feel in my outward self the more confident I am, and in turn the better I feel in myself. This is inextricably linked, nothing can break my mental association with the two.

Professional job?:

So where do I go to get my nails done, a swish local salon, a nail bar? No I do them myself. I have had manicures galore and discovered shellac several years ago but I prefer to do them myself. The primary reason for this is that I change my mind so often! I wouldn’t wear the same pair of shoes for two weeks running and the same goes for my nails. I know shellac can be painted over, but I can’t see the point, the nail varnish will only chip revealing the colour I was bored of!

A friend that had trained in beauty therapy showed me the correct way to paint my nails and even if I do say so they look pretty much the same as a salon job for free! To be fair its also a decent money saving, when I was younger an old boyfriend used to compare the price of everything into new tops for me. For example the price for new brakes on your car = six new tops, so the price of a shellac manicure = one top, well it would have been when I was 18 but now its about half a top, but if I had two shellac’s a month that would be a top. I would so rather have a new top then my nails painted twice, so this analogy still lives on today!

My favourite Nail Varnish brand:

So what is my favourite brand – its Rimmel, the simple old Hight Street favourite. I have tried lots of brands including Chanel, OPI, Jessica etc and I still prefer Rimmel. It beats them on staying power, speed of drying and price. I am time poor and hate sitting immobile waiting for my nails to dry so prefer their 60 second range. It dries super fast. I use two coats so I would say it needs 5 minutes to fully harden. The range of colours in the 60 second range are fab and they often bring out new seasonal colours. They are generally priced at £2.99 and are available at all the major drugstores like Boots and Superdrug where the whole Rimmel range is Buy one Get one Half price.  You can even pop them in your grocery shopping at most supermarkets.

More recently I have tried out their Super Gel range. This is slightly more expensive at £5.99 and is designed to be used in a two step process with their gel top coat. I haven’t bought the top coat but instead have been using Seche Vite. This is a fab product, I have it for the rare occasion I can’t find the right colour in Rimmel. You paint this over wet nail varnished it dries pretty instantly and makes it chip resistant. It’s perfect for nail varnish that you love but the formula isn’t quite right. Chanel is a case point, Rouge Noir (here) is amazing, but it chips in less than 24 hours!

My favourite bright Nail Varnish colours:

Going back to my point above about getting bored of a colour quickly,  my nails have to be co-ordinated with my outfits and I like a wide range of colours. So for example, I love navy, but if I was wearing something from the cream/camel/brown range of colours it wouldn’t go. Similarly if I was wearing a blue palette I just couldn’t have brown or green nails. The only near exception to this is coral. The caveat being if I was wearing orange, which I frequently do it would have to go! God its exhausting navigating this minefield!!! So these are the colours I use the most:

This for me is the prefect coral, this is pretty much on my toes all year round. It is also fabulous in the summer with a tan. I like to wear this with khaki, cream and browns.

coral nail varnish

This is a beautiful soft coral that looks amazing in the spring and summer. I would wear this with a simple cream top and jeans for a fresh girly look.

orange nail varnish

Its a bit of a marmite option I know but I love an orange nail. So bright and zingy. I love this with all brown, and with the combination of cream and olive or khaki.

My favourite dark Nail Varnish colours:


brown nail varnish

I’ve perhaps unsurprisingly struggled to find a brown nail varnish, but this one is great, I would personally prefer it without the sparkles but will admit it makes what could be a boring colour more interesting. I wear this with cream, camel and khaki.


navy nail varnish

I’m not a huge fan of sparky nail varnishes and this is a great high shine flat navy. I would wear this when I am wearing navy, peacock, kingfisher, denim and white.

Apologies for the terrible photo, this nail varnish isn’t available on the high street any more but you can buy it from amazon here, I love it! I tend to wear this in the autumn and winter when I am wearing creams, camel, brown and denim.

My favourite neutral Nail Varnish colours:

brown nude nail varnish

This is probably my favourite nude at the moment, you know that griege colour that has been so popular, well I can’t wear it due to its grey undertones but this is perfect. This wasn’t so easy to find but is online at Superdrug herenude nail varnish

This is a great classic nude for pale skin tones, perfect for conservative work environments or those days and occasions where you want to look groomed but toned down.

Also if you havent already check out Rimmel’s Quick Try On service on their website, its great. Click here to take a look. Once on the webpage click the “Try it on” button and you can see the nail varnish colours painted on a range of skin tones.

Well there are a multitude of other colours I could show you but I think that’s probably enough for now. I am a little obsessed with nail colours but at these prices it a vice I can afford to indulge! I hope you enjoyed reading, please leave me a comment below.

I’ve really enjoyed writing this post and hope to be back on Thursday, but its half term here and by then I could have my head buried in a vat of gin!!

Sunday Saviour 21.1.17 – My product of the week.

Good Evening,

Hope you have all had a fab weekend. Tonight its all about my product of the week, but I fancied a bit of a chat first.

You may have seen on my instagram on Friday that its been a challenging week in the Smith household. On Monday I was like, “Blue Monday” what is that? not in this house. However, by Tuesday we had all crashed. I don’t know quite what caused it, the cold grey weather, slightly stressful builder situations? Or the fact that our SKY TV subscription finished so no more Disney junior (clearly that affected the girls not me). Perhaps the fact that my husband and I had a 45 minute row about a rich tea biscuit. Either way we all limped to the weekend, so celebrated with a homemade fake-away. We’ve struggled to get our girls into curry eating but now they are embracing it. I think they are more into it because of the poppadoms and mango chutney but I can live with that. Happy full tummies all round.

Saturday was spent in a whirlwind of playing games, reading books and tidying the house. The latter only because we were going on a much needed night out and therefore a babysitter had been employed. When it was bedtime our youngest daughter said “Mummy it’s so funny I haven’t got to get into my jammies because I’m still in them, can we do it again tomorrow?” a girl after my own heart that one!

Sunday has flashed by with more DIY and a birthday party. I haven’t got the energy to get started on that one, safe to say my biggest mistake was no breakfast (low blood sugar = Grumpy Mummy).  To add to my woes the coffee machine at the bowling alley was broken. Say no more!

So without further ado…..

This weeks product of the week is:


The School Run Style Social Product of the week.

Una Brennan Superfacialist Vitamin C cleansing oil. £10.99 from

Oil Cleansing is it for you?

I have hot cloth cleansed for probably two years now with a variation of products ranging from Liz Earle, Avene and Superdrug. As my make up wearing increased (see last blog post for more detail) my skin started to look dull and feel more congested. This led me to research and I found out about double cleansing, using an oil first and then a hot cloth cleanser. I had always shied away from any kind of oil on my skin as its quite a tricky customer. I’m prone to spots and blackheads if I use anything too rich.

I was sceptical, and there are so many products on offer but a quick google search led me to this Una Brennan product.  It is reasonably priced at £11, easily available in Boots and most importantly it is non comedogenic (meaning it wont block pores, a must for skin like mine). You can get a huge range of cleansing oils with many different blends and fabulous smells but if you skin is easily congested you must research first.  Here is a quick guide:

Steer clear of:

Anything containing coconut, palm, evening primrose, wheat germ, lanolin and linseed oils (to name a few)

Look out for:

Jojoba, aloe, cucumber, olive, organ, hemp and rosehip oils.

So how do you do it?

  1. Tip about two to three small drops of oil into your palm and rub your hands together gently to warm the oil.
  2. Massage the oil into your face using small circular movements. This feels amazing like I am having a mini facial every night. I try to massage upwards as I remember my eccentric art teacher always saying rub your skin upwards to prevent wrinkles. I can do this for as long as two minutes, I’d say one is great, but anything under a wee bit short.
  3. Put a small amount of warm water into your palms and then rub this on to your face, the oil and water should then combine into a milky solution, if it doesn’t add a little more water. This solution means that the oil won’t be absorbed too much by your skin, so won’t block the pores but will remove make up and impurities.
  4. Rinse your face as normal with warm water.
  5. I then follow this with my usual hot cloth cleaner.

What are the results?

In just over a week my skin felt great. I haven’t had any breakouts, it feels healthy, well moisturised and I’ve got my glow back. Without a doubt this product is my hands down Sunday Saviour Product of the Week!

I would highly recommend giving oil cleansing a go. It is suitable for all skin types, just make sure the type of oil is right for your skin.

Thats all from me, have good week. I’ll be back on Thursday with another post, I’m relishing getting into a good routine instagram-ing and blogging bi-weekly . I hope you are enjoying it too, if you are, leave me a comment and let me know.

Make-up, my love of it and my fast five minute morning routine.

Evening, tonight’s post is about make-up, my love of it, and my fast morning make up routine.

The story of my make-up love affair.

My first taste of make-up:

If I’ve not told you before I love make-up. My love affair didn’t get off to the most auspicious start though. Aged around 11 I had a sleepover with a friend whose Mum was awesome, so she allowed us to delve into her make-up bag. I came home wearing an orange bourjois foundation, bright blue eyeshadow and pink blusher. As soon as I got home, the words “get that muck off your face” were uttered by my father. Looking back I would have been a fright but I felt great and everyone has to start somewhere right? From that day on I was a little obsessed by make-up. 

My make-up highs:

It was when I hit university that my make-up collection bloomed and my obsession grew. I felt that my student loan money was well spent on MAC eyeshadows and foundations. I had so many it was ridiculous, I would kill for that make-up bag now! My friends and I loved nothing more than starting to get ready three hours before we were due to leave, the primping, preening and make-up application were almost as much fun as the going out and certainly helped our friendships strengthen in those early days.  I’ve still got a couple of eyeshadows from my Uni days, especially the ones I wore for my graduation ball, they haven’t been used un a while but aren’t going anywhere (MAC Retrospeck and Romp). 

My make-up now:

The next major stage of my life was entering parenthood and whilst I have always worn make-up it was more needing to use it not to scare people than the love of the products. Fast forward to now and post baby three all of a sudden my passion has been reignited. I don’t quite know what did it, probably a quest to regain some of the focus on myself and an improved social life after six years of pregnancy, TTC and breast feeding.

I devour posts on Mrs Gloss and the Goss like they are going out of fashion. (If you don’t know what this is let me tell you about it, it is an amazing Facebook group, with a community of over 30,00 like minded supportive individuals all discussing make up, skincare and everything girly) A trip to my local Superdrug (also a recent discovery, some of the low cost drugstore brands they have are amazing!) features as regularly on my shopping trips as Aldi. Mrs Gloss has I suppose also become a little bit like my university friends all over again, If I want advice or opinions I now have hundreds of people to get ready with!

My 5 minute morning make-up routine:

So on to the good stuff. What make-up do I wear on a daily basis?

Well in the mornings time is precious so this is what I do, it takes 5, maybe 10 minutes maximum.

Step One:

After moisturising my face and my eye area, I have a cup of tea whilst it all absorbs, if you put your make up on too quickly it will be absorbed with the moisturiser and your make up coverage will be poor, patchy and it won’t last long. I only want to apply my make up once a day (unless I’m going out in the evening of course) I haven’t got time for touch ups galore.

Step Two:

Depending how my skin is feeling, and what I have on that day (i.e lunch out, something after school where I would like a more polished and longer lasting make up) I might use a primer, but often only on my cheeks where I suffer from open pores. Again, this should be given a little bit of time to sink in, I’m currently loving Maybelline Baby Skin or if I’ve had little sleep or need a perk up i’ll use this magic in a bottle Charlotte Tilbury Wonderglow, it can be used under foundation or even alone on days I’m in a rush or need little coverage.

Mabelline Baby Skin Make-up primer.

Step Three:

Eyebrows, mine are non existent, I’ve been having them tinted since I was sixteen. Last year I got fed up of it all so I had them micro bladed, they looked amazing at first but have sadly faded very quickly. So at the moment I am having to push some eye brow pomade NYX Tame and Frame in to them to make them stand out, and its vital that I don’t cover them with foundation otherwise they disappear completely. I really need to up my eyebrow game though!

Step Four:

Now I conceal under my eyes, I have terrible dark circles and can remember having them since puberty, no amount of sleep or water can reduce these babies. So I first use a colour corrective concealer Pixi Colour Correct dabbed on with my fingers, then once this has set I use a light reflective concealer Charlotte Tilbury the Retoucher in a v shape under my eye, lightly patted in with my beauty blender.

Step Five:

Next I apply Charlotte Tilbury Magic Foundation, I use a dampened beauty blender and tap it into my skin, I don’t apply foundation under my eye area at all I just make sure it is all blended around that area to ensure there are no lines. 

Step Six:

I set my concealer with a pressed power dabbed on with a big fluffy brush. I’ll also put a small amount on my cheeks as it helps my blusher blend and stay put. Cheap and cheerful is fine with pressed powder, I use Rimmel Stay Matte.

Step Seven:

When applying blusher I imagine a line directly under my pupil down to the apple of my cheeks and apply from there across and blended up to my cheek bones. If I’ve time I’ll apply highlighter across the top of my cheekbones, forehead, nose and brow bone. My current favourite blusher is Charlotte Tilbury Cheek to Cheek in colour First Love

Step Eight:

I apply a slick of mascara to the top lashes and a very small amount to the bottom ones. I’m currently using Boots No7 Extravagant Volume Mascara in Brown. I haven’t found my holy grail mascara so I would be grateful of any recommendations.

No7 Extravagant Volume Mascara.

Step Nine:

Finally, lipstick or gloss depending on the colour clothes I’m wearing and the time I have left. Lipstick is a little more time consuming as you need to be precise. Most days I reach for Charlotte Tilbury Kissing Lipstick in Bitch PerfectCharlotte Tilbury Kissing lipstick in Bitch Perfect.

And thats it out the door as fast as I can! I hope you found that useful. Next week’s post will be more of my favourite go to make-up products including cheap dupes for high end products. Be sure to check back for my next scintillating instalment!

Thanks for reading, as always please get in touch I’d love to hear your views and any tips you have for your School Run make-up.


Sunday Saviour 15.01.17 – My product of the week – Lipbalm

Tonight is the first of my weekly “Sunday Saviour” posts. Each Sunday night I’m going to be telling you all about my favourite product of the week.

The product I simply could not have lived without this week is:

My new Burts Bees Lip Shimmer, a tinted lip balm. It was very kindly bought for me by the husband as the entire Burt’s Bees range is buy one get one half price at Marks and Spencer, so when treating himself he could hardly leave me out could he? Well try he might, the words “spending to save” may have been uttered but I stood my ground right up to the till point.

I chose the apricot shade, which as the name suggests is a creamy, warm peach shade, it gives a lovely pop of colour without being over powering. The reason I couldn’t live without it? It is perfect for slicking on whilst half running up the road dragging two grumpy children and pushing a pushchair, plus unlike my favourite Charlotte Tilbury lipsticks no passing wing mirrors are required to ensure perfect application!

At only £6 it provides great colour and contains all of the lovely nourishing ingredients Burt’s Bees is known for, so it keeps your lips moisturised and protected, perfect given the current weather being thrown at us.

Burt’s Bees is a brand I have great affection for, I remember discovering its lip balms on a visit to Florida some 20 or so years ago and bringing them home, I then rediscovered them at possibly SpaceNK when it first opened. Fast forward to 2010, when Baby Smith the 1st was “cooking” we purchased a Baby Bee starter set and once she was big enough to have products on her skin, she was bathed in the bath product and smothered in the oil. They have been must have products for all three, I will remember the scent on their gorgeous chubby baby skin for as long as I live. The dog has also been known to bathe in it but those memories are not quite so evocative.

I’m starting to think that this might sound like an advert, it very definitely isn’t, all of these views are my own. As you get to know me you’ll realise that I gain very strong affinity with things; my favourite flower isn’t based on its beauty, its because it reminds me of my lovely Mum, my deodorant? not the one on offer that stops me from “glowing” but the one whose scent reminds me of our trip to Boston, our best ever holiday as a couple and where our gorgeous big girl was conceived. Very little is simply just because in my world. I’m pretty sure I’m not on my own with this, are you the same? What’s been your must have product this week? Have you tried this lip balm what did you think?   

I hope you have enjoyed my new look blog post, and comments would be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.

P.s Has anyone else noticed the demise of the justify button in the new WordPress update? After fifteen minutes of frantic googling I have discovered its still available in shortcut form, (Shift+Alt+J). This and the hyphens have almost sent the laptop through the window!

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