Almost Dupes

Essie, as some of you may know, is my all time favourite nail polish brand. Their polishes are just so perfect! However, £8 a pop does feel a little steep, and not everyone has access to Essie, so I've come up with a few alternatives.

Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Pomegranate (£3.99) is verrrry close to Essie Exotic Liras. They're both raspberry pinks with a smudge of red, and they both work all year round. I have to admit, though, Pomgranate can be a little thick and the brush isn't great compared to Exotic Liras. However, they're
both really nice polishes, and I lovelovelove the Barry M Gelly range in general.

Another Barry M Gelly is Rose Hip (£3.99), a gorgeous pastel pink very similar to Essie Fiji. Fiji is more of a pink tinted white than a pale pink, which I would look over if it wasn't for the fact that Rose Hip has a terrible formula. It's so streaky, and needs at least four coats, which is really unusual for the Barry m Glly polishes which are generally creamy and opaque. It's not as glossy as Rose Hip, but Fiji only needs two coats so I'd pick it over the cheaper option any day.

Essie Sole Mate is my favourite deep berry polish, it's a one coat wonder with a super glossy finish. There are loads of alternatives out there at 1/4 of the price, but nothing came close until I found Bourjois' 1 Seconde in Rouge Obscur (£5.99). It has the same opaque, shiny formula, and deep vampy colour. My one issue with it is that the brush on mine seems to have been cut unevenly, and there are some bristles longer than they should be, meaning it's quite hard to apply neatly. I haven't heard of other people experiencing this before, so I think I'd recommend the Bourjois over the Essie here, in the hope that you get a good brush.

Oh, Mint Candy Apple. It's been 'duped' so many times, but I actually think I prefer the alternative I found in the form of Maybelline Mint For Life (£4.09). Mint For Life has the same perfect balance of blue and green, but the difference is it contains more white, which in my opinion makes it more wearable and flattering. It's also got an incredibly long lasting formula (I'll admit Essie chips quickly on my without Seche  Vite) and perfect brush. I can't believe I haven't yet tried more from the range!

Finally, another one that's less of a dupe and more of a better alternative. Essie's Sand Tropez, meet Barry M Gelly Hi Shine in Lychee (£3.99). Lychee is the perfect nude for my kind of skin tone, it's as light and airy and fresh as beige gets. Sand Tropez does come close, but Lychee also has a glossier, more opaque formula that totally works in it's favour. If you're looking for a nude, skip Sand Tropez and head right over to the Barry M stand.

Would you go for the dupes, here, or the real thing?

Ella xo


Essie Starter Kit

I like to think of myself as a bit of an Essie veteran - I currently own around 22 of their nail polishes, excluding the hefty amount that I recently threw out! I'm fully aware that £8 for a nail polish may seem a little steep (if that's so, then shh, don't tell anyone, but I have a dupes post coming up!) but the quality of the formula and excellent brush make application an absolute dream. I've split some of my favourites by season, starting with spring.

Essie do pastels like no other. I couldn't leave out the cult classic Mint Candy Apple, the most gorgeous bright 'can't stop staring at my nails' type colour. Mint, like pale blue, is one of those colours that randomly just goes with everything, and don't get me started on pairing this shade with rose gold rings. Fiji is one of my all time favourites, in fact, I'm on my second bottle! Again, it seems to go with everything, and the 'is-it-pink-or-is-it-white' hue is a great alternative to nude when griege looks boring and white looks stark.

Fear Or Desire is not one for the faint hearted. It's a summery, punchy, orangey orange that unfortunately for pale girls looks sickly unless you have a tan or naturally medium/dark skin. However, on darker/tanned skin, it's incredible! I love it in summer as it's a real statement colour. Bikini So Teeny is another favourite, the gorgeous not-quite-pastel blue with lilac tones and silver shimmer sounds wrong but looks so, so right. Wear it with white, grey and tan or camel tones.

Watermelon seems to be out of stock everywhere, but I wanted something a tad more autumnal so I went for Exotic Liras. It's very similar to Watermelon, just with an
extra kick of berry which adds beautiful dimension. Have you been searching for the perfect burgundy nail polish? Well I've found your Sole Mate. Whilst you do most definitely need a base coat to protect against staining, this super hi shine one coat wonder more than makes up for that in it's formula.

Another one coater is Midnight Cami, essentially a poor man's After School Boy Blazer (aka for those of us not lucky enough to get our hands on that). It's a glossy deep navy with royal blue pearlescence that, surprisingly, doesn't take away from the beauty of the shade. I normally steer clear of shimmer in nail polish but here it works. Finally, I couldn't help including a glitter, my favourite glitters are mostly Topshop but Set In Stones is so lovely. It's from their Christmas 2013 collection but I've seen it in Boots and Debenhams very recently (as in last week). If you like glitter, you'll love this chunky silver explosion!

Have you tried much from Essie? What do I need to pick up next?

Ella xo


The Summer Playlist

I'm no music expert. I guess I just listen to stuff I like, makes sense really. I don't really have a particular genre I'm into either. There's a few songs I've been obsessed with recently though so I thought I'd share them!

Sam Smith • Lay Me Down
I think I'm in love with Sam Smith's voice! I've actually cried at this song on more than one occasion. There's just something about it! I need to buy the whole album ASAP as his voice is beautiful.

George Ezra • Budapest
 I'm becoming more and more obsessed with Mr. Ezra, I never skip past anything from his latest album songs when I'm on shuffle! This one is so addictive and I don't know, agh, I just love it. Give it a listen if you haven't already (why?!).

Crystal Fighters • You & I
If this isn't a summery tune, what is? Crystal Fighters are the ultimate summery-sounding band and this song screams out that festival atmosphere. It's a couple of years old but there's nothing to stop me from still loving it. It just gets me in a summery mood. I'm seriously obsessed with these guys at the moment!

Peace • California Daze
Peace must be one of my all time favourite bands, they got famous last year and have been churning out incredible tracks for the last few years too . This song is so Beatles-esque, I love it! The perfect relax-on-the-beach-in-the-sun song. It reminds me of last summer, one of my favourite years.

These are just a few of the songs on my Spotify favourites list, but please tell me what you've been listening to in the comments!

Ella xo


Three Years Later

The Naked palettes. Three words that can get the hearts of even the most hype-immune bloggers beating. It's pretty much a requirement to own all three these days, which is why it will probably surprise you that I bought my first Naked palette (aside from Naked Basics) two weeks ago! Yep, up until very recently I hadn't had *that* beautiful palette bursting with shimmery eyeshadow goodness in my life. I'm not a huge fan of following hype as it's often just mass marketing, but I couldn't resist this one.

Honestly, I didn't think any makeup product could be worth so much hype, and I stick by my views. The Urban Decay Naked Original palette (£37) is a very pretty eyeshadow palette, packed to the brim with twelve gorgeous shadows, in an all-encompassing range of neutral colours. However, I think it's not quite the perfect palette and could do with a few tweaks - a darker, cool toned matte brown would be useful, and I could survive easily without Gunmetal and Creep (dark silver shimmer and sparkly black). I think Sin is more of a highlight, so it would be nicer if it was a bit darker, maybe more neutral, and Virgin is a little too stark even as a highlight, so I don't really use it. Sidecar has a bit too much silver glitter despite being a gorgeous colour.

This is shaping up to be quite a negative review, but I do love this palette, I swear! It's not quite as perfect as you may have been led to believe, but I know I'll still probably use it to death. That doesn't mean I'm in a rush to buy the other two, though - the Naked 2 looks a bit grey and icy for me, and I'm not one for pinks so the 3 isn't very 'me' either. I adore the Naked basics palette (£22) though, I feel like it's featured in all of my recent posts!

How many Naked palettes do you own - if any?

Ella xo


Guest Post Sara Pags

Hello everyone!

I'm Sara from SaraPags, a beauty, fashion and lifestyle blog. 
I'm glad Ella let me the possibility to write on her blog and I'm so excited!

Today I'm going to show you my top summer items I couldn't live without - hope you'll like it!-

First of all, my favourite ZARA shorts! I bought them at the beginning of June and I'm obsessed with them! They're very nautical talking about style, so they're perfect for the hot season. I receive plenty of positive comments from friends and relatives every time I wear them and it's so nice. Well, - think you got it - I love them!

Secondly there's my ebook reader, I have a Kindle which comes so handy in terms of travelling. In fact, it's not heavy at all, it can contain loads of books and you can buy ebooks for half price! Plus, nowadays you can find the most of the books in the ebook format.
In case you're wondering it, yes sometimes I miss flipping through the pages of my paper books and that's why I keep buying them but less than before.
The Kindle can be really useful if you're reading something in a foreign language, because it has the dictionary included and you can buy the vocabulary you need for a very low price: you just put the cursor on a word and it gives you the definition!
Moreover, the standard one has become so cheap, and I think it worth it a lot.

Then, there is my Ipod Armband (this is from Decathlon), which is great for people who run, like me! If you don't have pockets in your running shorts you just put your phone or ipod into this and you tie it round your arm. It's so useful!

I've looked for Bumble and Bumble's Surf Spray for a very long time during my journey in England, but I couldn't find it. Eventually, I discovered that my mother had already bought it. It's a nice product because it makes your hair beachy-looking without being sticky. It doesn't really work on people with very straight hair. On myself, it works better if I let them dry in the open air or using a diffusor. Sometimes, I tie my hair back in two braids and I sleep on them. The morning after, when I untie my hair, it is curly and I use this sea salt spray to add some texture.

I bought this bikini last week from OYSHO which is one of my favourite shops. I really love his shape and his colours. I think it's really cute and it's one of my beach must-have!

So, that's all from me,
really hope you liked it!!

Come and say hi on my  Blog // Twitter // Instagram // Facebook // 

Sara xx

Thanks Sara for the lovely post, make sure to follow her on Bloglovin here! I love Surf Spray too. If you would like to be the guest poster of the month for September, read more about it here (excuse the terrible photo)! Ella xo

PS: I'm away for the next two weeks, wifi-less, and I have scheduled a couple of posts and videos but I won't be replying to comments I'm afraid x


Perfect Packaging

I'm not going to lie, it's rarely 'what's inside' that counts when it comes to makeup. After all, all we're doing is brushing pretty pigments on our skin to look and feel nicer - it's about as shallow as you get! There's nothing wrong with being lured in by a beautiful box...

Oh my, just look at that blush. There's no denying it, the Hourglass Ambient Lighting blushes - I have Dim Infusion - are quite possibly some of the most beautiful products I've ever seen. The marbled powder and *that* click as you close the case, they're pretty perfect. Aside from the price. But we'll ignore the price.

Essie nail polishes are quite easily my favourites, and I'm not going to lie, the cute white bottle caps definitely play a part in that. The polishes inside are generally lovely too, with a creamy formula and wide brush, but that's not what we're here for - the bottles just look so sweet lined up on a dressing table! Essie's shade range is lovely too - pictured here are Mint Candy Apple and Midnight Cami.

I really like the Clarins Instant Light Natural Lip Perfectors, not only are the foam applicators easy to use mirror-free on the go, but the colour coordinated tubes and gold lids feel luxe and make them easy to find at the bottom of my makeup bag. I have Apricot Shimmer and Rose Shimmer, a gorgeous sheer light peach and baby pink respectively.

Which brands package their products in the nicest ways? I forgot to mention a couple of my favourites, like Benefit and Nars, but we'll leave that for another day...

Ella xo


Brows 101

Eyebrows are quite a personal thing, there's been a whole lot of hype in the past couple of years surrounding fuller, bushy, Cara brows, but it's just a fact that that doesn't suit everyone. I like to think of my brows as sort of medium-to-full, when left untamed they are pretty massive but almost sparse-ish yet bushy (painting a pretty picture here) so I give them a bit of a shape every now and then. I
don't trust anyone else with my brows - they've been to hell and back already thanks to me - so I've never had them threaded or waxed professionally. I just use a pair of Benefit tweezers and some straight nail scissors to tidy them up every now and then!

The Everyday Brow
Tinted gels are the easiest for an everyday look if your brows are already a-ok. I like the Maybelline Brow Drama tinted brow gels (£4.99 each), at a fiver a pop they are a serious bargain! Don't expect any dramatic volume, but they are perfect for layering on top of powder or just shaping and tinting. I use Medium Brown on natural brow days, and Dark Brown (my perfect match) on bold brow days.

The Defined Brow
When I have time, my favourite way to do my brows is with an angled brush and matte brown eyeshadow. On an everyday basis when I want to look quite soft and subtle I'll use Naked 2 from my
 Urban Decay Naked Basics palette (£22), which is a cool-toned, one-size-fits-all, greyish taupe/light brown kinda colour. Buuut, if my natural brows are looking a little bit 'meh' then I'll go for Mac Espresso eyeshadow (£13),  which is a medium-dark, neutral brown. This gives a little more definition, but, if used correctly, never looks like too much.

The Bold Brow
I rarely use a pencil to fill in my eyebrows, I'll admit. The Rimmel Brow Pencil in Dark Brown (£2.99) is just far too warm toned, although the formula is excellent and very creamy. Hourglass Arch Sculpt brow pencil, I need you in my life! I personally find it difficult to fill in my brows this way without them looking drawn on and fake, I guess because my eyebrows are quite full as it is and it just all gets a bit too much.

Ella xo
Images by Freepik