High Street v High End: Nail Varnish

 This month I'm comparing nail varnish - although these are very similar colours I'm mainly going to compare longevity and formula. Read on to find out which one wins!

High Street: Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paint in Coconut - RRP £3.99

Like pretty much everyone else I love Barry M nail varnishes - they really are my go to nail polish brand. This is such a good colour for summer and I love how much it stands out because of the shine. I'm sure most of you are familiar with the formula of Barry M nail polishes - it's quite thick so you never need more than two coats for an opaque finish. I do find this one takes a while to dry, but seeing as I usually apply my nail varnish while I'm watching TV it doesn't really bother me that much - I just wouldn't recommend this as one to apply right before leaving the house! I find the longevity of Barry M polishes quite impressive for the price - I'd say on average I get about three days of wear before any chips. 

High End: Illamasqua Nail Varnish in Load - RRP £14.50

This colour is a bit more of a creamy yellow, but is just as perfect for summer as the Barry M offering. This is the first Illamasqua nail polish I've tried and I'm pretty glad that I managed to pick it up in TK Maxx as I would have been disappointed if I'd have paid full price. The formula is quite thin and runny, which means it tends to gather at the edges of your nails. To stop that happening you have to apply a really thin layer and I found I needed at least three coats for an opaque finish because of that. The longevity is similar to Barry M - it was three days before I saw any major chippage.

Winner: Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine. This was a pretty easy decision - a better formula for less than a third of the price? Yes please! 

Have you tried either of these nail polishes? What did you think?

Amy x

15 Signs You're Having a Quarter Life Crisis

1 - You're doing all these adult-type things like thinking about mortgages and buying fresh herbs, but you still feel like you're 10 years old playing grown-ups and you fully expect your mum to call you in for tea at any second.

2 - You double take at what you think is a 12 year old driving a car and then despair at how old you must look in comparison to this newly legal driver.

3 - You have a dilemma about your dress sense - is it still OK to wear crop tops and flowery dresses or do I need to start wearing power suits now?

4 - You're starting to worry that you're never going to be as wise as your mum because surely by now you should also be able to solve anything?

5 - You go to a nightclub and wonder how all these underage people got in. It's because they're not underage.

6 - Thinking about all the things you thought you would have achieved by now makes you hyperventilate.

7 - Discussing with your friends people you went to school with who have recently got married/had babies as if it's a massive scandal, but then realising that it's totally normal because you're all (supposedly) adults.

8 - Following the discussion with your friends about people who are married/having babies you suddenly wonder why you're not getting married or having babies even though you definitely don't feel ready for either of those things.

9 - You see somebody you used to babysit for in a local pub...drinking. You spend the whole night trying to convince yourself it's not them.

10 - Your criteria for a night out is going somewhere where you'll be able to get a seat and it'll be quiet enough to hear each other speak. Oh and your curfew is midnight.

11 - Every time you see friends from school all of your sentences start with 'remember the time when...' because it's much easier to think about the past.

12 - Every so often you'll come up with an amazing idea to go off and do something completely different like be a Disney princess or work on a ranch in Texas (although you don't actually follow any of those ideas through).

13 - Your hangovers are just horrendous. And you only had two drinks.

14 - You have a meltdown when you don't get asked for ID even though you hate having to root through your purse for it.

15 - Every time you're down a beauty aisle you eye up the anti-ageing ranges and think...NO NOT YET PLEASE.

Hope you enjoyed this slightly different post from me - can you relate to any of this? (It's not just me is it?...) 

Amy x

Empties #3

I'm on a roll recently with using things up...here are my newest empties...

Herbal Essences Hello Hydration Shampoo and Conditioner | I'm so glad these are finished - I usually get on well with Herbal Essences products, but I ended up using the shampoo to clean my makeup brushes as I think it was the culprit that completely dried out my scalp. The conditioner was fine though as I was only using it on my ends, but I won't be rushing back to buy these anytime soon. 

Along Came Betty Body Lotion and Body Scrub | These were cast offs from my sister as she wouldn't use them. The brand is by Tesco and it reminds me of Soap & Glory packaging-wise. They both smelt amazing and made my skin smoothy smooth - I was a bit gutted they were such small tubes really! I would definitely buy these myself!

The Body Shop Strawberry Body Mist | The strawberry range from The Body Shop is one of my favourites and I loved using this on days that weren't really special enough to wear perfume, but when I still wanted to smell nice. The scent doesn't last all that long on the skin so I find it works better to spritz on clothes instead!

Rimmel Stay Matte Powder | If you read my An Ode To Rimmel Base Products post then you'll know that this is my ultimate holy grail makeup item. I have already repurchased this!

What have you used up recently? Have you tried any of these products before?

Amy x

Everyday Favourites

It's very rare that I mention those faithful (slightly less interesting) products that I use every single day and constantly repurchase. Here is my round up of those not-so-fancy but oh-so-useful products that I rely on 365 days a year.

Imperial Leather Foamburst Body Wash | Let's begin with the first product that I use each morning! This is my favourite body wash - the tiniest bit of product foams up and expands enough to wash your entire body with. The lathering is insane and I always feel so clean and refreshed after using this each morning! I haven't got a favourite scent yet, I like to try different ones each time. 

Mitchum Deodorant | There isn't much I can say about this except that it works and really is the best deodorant I've tried! It can be a bit more pricey than others but I try to stock up when it's on offer (which it is now!) usually £2.00 in Boots.

Schwarzkopf got2b Texturizing Salt Spray | I use this pretty much every day to give my hair a bit more volume and life and it works a treat. I've pretty much given up hairspray since discovering this product too as I find it keeps waves and curls in place so much better and looks more natural at the same time. £4.19 here.

Soap & Glory Make Yourself Youthful Sunshield Superfluid | I picked this up in my skincare haul last month and it's become an everyday essential because it's the first facial SPF that hasn't broken me out - and it's SPF50! It smells really good, has a slight tint to it and really makes me feel protected from the sun. £15.00 here.

Lush Vanillary Solid Perfume | This has become my everyday perfume. Because it's in solid form you can control how strong the smell is and I prefer a subtle scent for everyday wear so this is just perfect. It's ideal to carry around in my bag and it smells amaaaze for summer too. £7.00 

What are your everyday favourites?

Amy x

Teen Diaries | On This Day...

So a couple of weeks ago when I was at my parents' house I discovered my teenage diaries. I kept a diary pretty religiously from the age of 12 until I was about 17. I got quite engrossed in reading them and boy are they a laugh. So as embarrassing as it may be, I thought I'd share some snippets on here because, well hopefully they'll provide you with a bit of a laugh! I'm going to do this date throughout the years (or roughly as I didn't write every single day). Enjoy!

Lots has gone on. Starting from where I left off, Emily fell asleep when she was supposed to be getting married! Oh well. On Sunday I rode Prince which is good, but we had a crap teacher who didn't let us jump high. On Monday it was boring old school so obviously not much happened there. On Tuesday night we went to the cornfield to play spin the bottle and I had to kiss Walter 3 times luckily not full on! On Wednesday not much happened. On Thursday at school it was a really strange day. We had Pat. A. Toes for P.S.E and she made some of us clean her lab and some of us go to the pond to relax. Me, Jodie, Ni and lots of other people didn't want to do jobs so we legged it down to the pond. We stayed there all lesson even after the pond people had gone in. Then in P.E. we had to clean another teacher's lab. I got to clean the naked model of a man and Emily's class were all laughing at me washing his bum because they were in the room opposite. On Friday not much happened. 

I've been riding and I rode Gem. She was a bit crazy because we were jumping in the field, but at least she didn't refuse. At dinnertime Bethany choked on a crisp so she was a bit sick. She's OK though. I think I like Andrew a bit, but he is a townie, but he's really nice.

I am all of a sadnosity. I just had my last ever paintbrush-a-go-go lesson. I really wish I'd taken it for GCSE but I also wanted to take drama and history. Ah well, life will always go on. Unless you die.

On Friday we went to Flamingo Land which was ACE!!! We went on cooely bum rollercoasters and stuff. We went on the log flume and got soaked! Twas fun! Then we saw Greg when we were very wet aw bless him he's really cutesk. He said bye to me and nodded and smiled! That means nothing but it was cute! Anyways...then it was the leaving in the morning! Aw it was sad! Everyone was crying. Miyu gave me a cute note and a 100 yen coin and a Japanese drama! Yummi gave me a cute note. Aw it was so sad, I miss them all lots. Then I went to the beach with Rach, Livi, Katie and Candase. Twas fun. Then I went to Rach's house dressed up in 60's gear for her party. Twas cooool! 

Shopped today.
Lovely stuff :)
Rachael is going out with Sam.
Also lovely stuff :)
I am craving maleness of some form.
Not a boyfriend though.

Let me know if you enjoyed this post as I'd love to embarrass myself even more and do it again! Did you keep diaries when you were a teenager?

Amy x


Crochet is a trend I've really been loving this summer...on other people. It can look so amazing, but I found it hard to find a piece that I would wear enough - I tend to only really buy clothes that are work appropriate because let's face it, that's where I am most of the time! I finally found this beautiful vest top in New Look - 100% my new favourite shop! Paired with this striped midi dress from Asos it makes such a good summer outfit - all I need now is a tan to go with it!

Vest top - New Look 
Dress - Asos (link)
Shoes - Primark 

What do you think of the crochet trend? 

Amy x

Vitamin E Eye Cream | The Body Shop vs Boots

As nice as this lady's sunglasses are I like to feel confident without having to cover up my eyes (pretty sure that's not why she's wearing them but roll with it). Everyone and their dog raves about the Vitamin E range from The Body Shop and rightly so, but following the hype both Superdrug and Boots have brought out their own, much cheaper Vitamin E ranges. I picked up the Vitamin E Eye Cream from Boots to see how it compared to my go to Body Shop eye cream. 

The first big difference is the consistency. The Body Shop offering has quite a thin, easy to apply consistency which makes it super quick to use. In comparison the Boots equivalent is actually quite thick and takes longer to rub in but feels really nice and creamy. This does mean that you need to use less of the Boots version so a tube would last you longer. Another great bonus of the Boots offering is that it has SPF, which is always a good thing! 

To properly compare these I thought I'd do an experiment to see if one works better than the other. I applied a different one under each eye for two weeks to see if I could notice any difference in the appearance of bags.

So apparently my bags spread to my nose according to this picture? I took this picture just after we got back from camping for the week so I hadn't used any eye cream for a week. 

Annoyingly the light was quite different in this picture, but I think you can tell the difference in my bags - they're still there but looking better! I wouldn't say I've seen a massive difference between the two in terms of results - they're both pretty good so I think I'll be using the Boots eye cream in the morning as it has SPF in it and carrying on with The Body Shop version overnight!  

Have you tried anything from either of these ranges? Would love to hear from you if you've tried out the Superdrug range too - what's that one like? 

Amy x

What It's Really Like Growing Up With a Disabled Sibling

I umm-ed and ahh-ed over the title of this post for ages because actually I can't tell you what it's really like growing up with a disabled sibling, I can only tell you what it's like growing up with my disabled sibling. 

The reason I wanted to write this post was because whenever people find out that I have a disabled sister one of the first things they say is 'oh that must have been hard for you growing up.' Well I'm writing this to tell you that no actually, it wasn't at all hard for me growing up. I suppose some people may think that it was hard for me because I might have got less attention than my sister, but I never felt like that and I reckon it takes some pretty skilled parenting to achieve that so a massive hats off to my mum and dad.

Bethany was born when I was five. I'd been wanting a little sister for ages and I was completely over the moon. She stayed in hospital for a while because she wasn't breathing when she was born and the doctor told my parents she would only have days to live. The doctor was very wrong!

Bethany was in and out of hospital for the first few years of her life, which must have been really worrying for my parents. For me though, it was a chance to make friends with other girls whose siblings were in hospital, sing on the hospital radio station and play Sonic the Hedgehog in the playroom for hours on end.

I think children tend to see the best in situations and for me as a child, the best thing about every worrying situation involving Bethany was that I had a little sister that I adored and that fact overshadowed all of the negative.

Our relationship as sisters is obviously much different to most sibling relationships. I've always felt fiercely protective over her and these days I feel like I have the same type of unconditional love for her that a parent has for a child. Nothing makes me happier than making her laugh and if I ever see her upset or in pain (which luckily is not very often at all) it physically hurts me inside.

There is nothing hard about growing up with a disabled sibling because whatever experiences you may have because of it or whatever you might have to do or compromise is all made 100% worth it by the fact that your sibling is there and they are the most important thing in your life.

I suppose I'm not really saying that it's not hard, it's just so worth it that it doesn't seem so.

Luckily her hospital visits are very rare nowadays and she's generally a very happy person. She is immensely brave and takes everything life throws in her way completely in her stride. She can't walk, talk or do a lot of other things for herself, yet she's still learning and developing all the time.

I was lucky enough to attend Bethany's prom with her on Thursday evening and I was so proud. It's been nothing but a joy growing up with her and I can't imagine my childhood any other way. 

Amy x

Palmer's Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze Body Lotion

In the past couple of years I've become a lot more conscious of looking after my skin in the sun - once upon a time I would have happily worn no suncream on a sunny day in the hopes of getting a tan, when in reality my pale skin just couldn't handle it and would end up a nasty lobster coloured mess. Now I always wear SPF and don't sunbathe so my only option if I want to have a bit of bronze in the summer is to fake it up. 

I bought the Palmer's Cocoa Butter Natural Bronze Body Lotion (why always such long names?!) after I went swimming with a friend who had an amazing natural looking tan which she told me was down to only one use of this! I'm a fan of gradual tanning moisturisers rather than full on fake tan just because I'm less scared of it!

I was so pleased that the scent is exactly the same as the normal cocoa butter moisturiser from Palmer's - not only is there zero fake tan smell, but there's that scrummy chocolate smell instead! Even though this is a gradual tan I still apply with a mitt to save my hands from going orange. It doesn't dry straight away, but I've actually put clothes on when it hasn't dried yet and it doesn't make it go streaky. I think this is the first gradual tan that I've used successfully (ie no streakage) and it gives a really nice colour. I wish I'd done a before photo so I could show you the difference! It really does only take one application to see a difference as well, although I've been using it every other day to maintain it. 

If you're a gradual tan lover then I would definitely recommend this product as the best one I've tried (and that's a fair few!). Have you tried this tan? What did you think? Any other gradual tanning recommendations I should know about?

Amy x

An Ode to Stripes

Stripes are by far one of my favourite things to wear - you really can't go wrong with them! I was planning on putting together outfits for this post based on everything stripey in my wardrobe until I realised that I've actually already featured a hefty amount of striped outfits on here so I thought I'd collate those instead. Proof that I probably wear stripes far too much!

Outfit 1

Way back in January I featured my favourite breton top in my Wardrobe Staples post - I'm hoping that my posing for blog photos has improved since then #awkwardblogger

Outfit 2

I still have so much love for this striped shirt dress that I featured here in April. Just looking at a picture of it makes me want to go and put it on!

Outfit 3

I paired this well loved Topshop striped crop top with my mum jeans in this post back in May. 

Outfit 4

Also in May I showed you my laid back approach to weekends here with a striped top that isn't blue and white! Hooray for the slightest bit of variety!

Outfit 5

Bit of another #awkwardblogger moment in this post in June where I showed you five ways to style a white shirt - surprise surprise, stripes was one of them!

Outfit 6

And most recently I wore this striped dress to work and featured it in one of my What I Wore This Week posts - I love this dress so much and have had it for about 8 years now (can't believe I'm old enough to have owned something for 8 years that still fits!)

What do you think of stripes? Let me know which stripey outfit is your favourite!

Amy x

Healthy Ice Cream!

Recently I've been trying to look after my body and health a bit more by eating more of the good things and less of the bad! I do think this is easier in summer because in general I always feel a bit more like eating salads and fruit when it's warmer than in winter when all I want is a whole heap of comfort food! 

I do have a pretty sweet tooth though and have recently been experimenting with ways to curb my cravings healthily. This is where healthy ice cream comes in! 

All you need is a banana and a spoonful of peanut butter. Mash the banana in a plastic tub, stir in the peanut butter and place in the freezer. Once it's frozen it tastes really sweet and like you're eating something really bad, when actually it's just a banana and some peanut butter! I like to add some chopped nuts on the top too. I'm thinking of experimenting with different fruits and adding different things so if you have any combinations you think would work let me know in the comments! 

Have you ever tried something like this? Do you think you'll be trying this?

Amy x

Wardrobe Staples | 5 Ways to Wear Black Trousers

For the second installment of my Wardrobe Staples series (see the first here) I chose black trousers because they go with everything, can be dressed up or down and are 100% a staple in my wardrobe. The ones I chose are from H&M, are super comfy and I can throw them on with pretty much anything! Here are the five ways I styled them:


Trousers - H&M (link)
Denim shirt - H&M (similar)
Trainers - H&M (old)


Trousers - H&M (link)
Crop top - Topshop (old)
Sandals - Urban Outfitters (old)

Meal out

Trousers - H&M (link)
Top - Topshop (similar)
Flatforms - Asos 


Trousers - H&M (link)
Blouse - H&M
Heeled boots - Topshop (old)
Dopey expression - My own

All black

Trousers - H&M (link)
Top - H&M 
Shoes - Primark (current)

I didn't realise how much H&M there is in this post - it's not an advert I promise! Which outfit is your favourite? Would you wear any of these?

Amy x