Review: Orly Amp’d Nail Polish

Hello and sorry! Yes I know, I know I’m a terrible blogger and I haven’t written anything for ages but I promise I’ve been busy doing stuff.

Orly2One thing I have done is tested out a new nail polish, well nail polish system really – Orly Amp’d. The other week I was doing the usual pay day, buy loads of stuff I don’t need shopping spree and I came across this in Boots.

I’ve been making a conscious effort to use gel less recently because I always end up picking it off and my nails are consequently in a terrible state. This Orly Amp’d stuff promised that it would provide 7 days of wear, dependent on nail condition and I figured I’d give it a try as it might be a contender as an alternative to the Seche Vite top coat I usually use.

So, how was it?

Firstly, I loved the way it went on. The brush was easy to hold and a good width for covering most of my nail in one stroke. The colour itself went on beautifully as well; each coat provided a strong amount of coverage without being splodgy or me worrying that it would never dry through being so thick. Two coats of colour later and I was ready for the top coat. The top coat also went on nicely and really did make the polish dry quickly to a hard, glossy finish.

My nails are in such awful shape that I didn’t get a week out of the colour, I actually got about 3 days out of it before part of it lifted on one of my nails and I lost half a nail’s worth of polish. I didn’t mind. The reason I didn’t mind is that often that happens to me within 1 day, after I’ve spent an hour waiting for the polish to fully dry. This took 15 minutes and I got 3 days. For someone with strong, healthy nails, this has got to be a win.

The Orly Amp’d colour range includes some stunning, bright colours too so I’m definitely going back. It felt like such luxury polish that I can’t wait to try again with a party colour.

Has anyone else tried it out? What did you think? x

2015- BEST YEAR EVER!

Here we are, it’s 31st December 2015 and I have to say this year has been the best year of my life so far. It’s been simply amazing and if 2016 is even half the year that this one was, I’ll be one lucky girl.

I know everyone does it but I can’t resist bragging a bit because here are some of the things that have made this year fantastic:

Adding Lexi to our family* Moving in with the boy* Paris* Warsaw* Greece* France* New York* Dog walks on the beach* Turning 30* Buying a house* Winning an award at work* Hanging out with friends* Great food* Family*

2015

I’m unbelievably grateful to all who have contributed to making my year what it’s been. I’m on cloud 9 and appreciating every moment of it.

Here’s to a super 2016, may it bring you everything you could possibly wish for! x

Is my clock digital?

I’ve had a truly fabulous festive season as always; any time when I get to hang out with friends and family having a laugh is time well spent in my book. There’s just one thing that’s bothering me though…

Over the course of the last month or so, it’s been made abundantly clear to me by people from all parts of my life that a 30 year old woman should want marriage and children. Prior to my birthday trip to NY, I was asked repeatedly if I thought the boy would pop the question and then on my return, was asked whether he did. I’m not sure how many more ways I can say, “I don’t want him to. I don’t want to get married!”.

Then over Christmas, as well as the usual number of people my age announcing babies or their intention for babies, I had one of the most awkward conversations of my life. Picture this: Boxing Day, round with the would-be-in-laws-if-we-married and I end up having a conversation with just his mum. Firstly, she completely undermines my whole career by telling me that like she did with the boy’s father, I’ll likely be “supporting” the boy by following him around on business trips like some kind of trophy in future. WRONG! Then came the big one…”And what about children? Do you have plans for children?”

I couldn’t believe my ears. That question was so far beyond direct from someone I barely know, that I was completely wrong-footed. What I wanted to say was that it’s none of her business. What I actually did was tell the truth and say that we haven’t any plans for children within the next couple of years and I couldn’t say beyond that.

Why is it that a month ago, at 29, it was OK to not want marriage and children but now I seem to be an old maid and should be desperate for these things? I don’t have a ticking clock. Or I can’t hear it if I do. Maybe mine is digital and it’ll stay silent until some sort of alarm goes off. I feel like I’ve only just got my own life sorted, I don’t want to ruin that now by introducing another life into the mix.

From the prevalence of posts of this nature that I’ve seen all over the blogosphere lately, I think we’re facing an issue with a change of life expectations. There’s not only a generational divide but there’s also a divide among my own age group. It still seems that many people in said age group expect their peers will want marriage and babies by 30 as a default setting. There are so many more choices available now that it’s just not the case. If you are traditionally inclined, please do the rest of us a favour and back off. Sure, if we’re best mates, you can probe a bit more but everyone else can get back to floral arrangements and nappies and leave me to my shoe shopping and cocktails. Please. This pressure is unnecessary and unwelcome; we don’t openly criticise you for “settling down”, so you should afford us the same courtesy.

I’m 29 and 13 months old today. That is how I will be counting my age from now on, to avoid these awkward “life” conversations. Just an idea some of the rest of you might want to adopt!

Love to you all, regardless of your marital status :-) x

New York, New York

As you may have gathered from my previous post, I have recently been to New York so it seemed rude not to post a little something about my trip.

What can I say? The city is HUGE and completely unlike any city I’ve ever been to before! All of the buildings are so tall that I don’t think you really appreciate how big they are until you come home and look at the tiddlers we have in the UK again.

Loads of people offered me hints and tips of places to go and things to see while I was there but even a week is barely enough to scratch the surface. I always recommend following your gut; if you think you’ll like it, go and if not, well don’t go.

On advice from a friend, we stayed out in Brooklyn, away from the hustle and bustle of Manhattan and I’d thoroughly recommend that. Try and get central Brooklyn though as there are loads of great bars and restaurants there. It means you have somewhere to explore if you fancy having a more relaxed brunch or a quiet(er) drink.

We also made it out to the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to watch an American football match. I really wanted to watch a sports match out there because I’d heard that they make a huge event of it and I wasn’t disappointed. American football is great if you’re not usually a sports fan because they play for a few seconds, then there’s a minute or so when you can chat and then the play resumes and so on. Ideal for short attention spans!

Overall though, my top tips are just these:

  1. You can never leave enough time to get somewhere in Manhattan, even on foot. Get to know and love the subway
  2. Do the Empire State Building – I know it’s cliché but it’s fantastic and try and get there for sunset because that is beautiful
  3. Department stores are huge, seriously enormous compared to what we have in the UK so allow loads of time for getting lost in them!

Right, now here are some photos!

New York 089

The Rockefeller Christmas Tree

New York 030

The Statue of Liberty – as seen from a helicopter…oh, didn’t I mention that!?!

New York 084

The stunning sunset we saw from the top of the Empire State

There’s so much to see and do in the city, I really just suggest you pick a little part of it that you think will suit you and start there.

Happy travels! x

20somethingfreak has moved on!

Hello everyone!

***It seems that I somehow messed up the scheduling so this didn’t post last Monday as it should have done. Sorry – here it is now!***

Well, the day is finally here and I am 30 years old. As from today, all of my 20somethingfreak followers will be re-directed to 30somethingdreamer.

I’m super excited to begin a new decade of blogging. I thought about giving it up but then I realised that would be the definition of insanity and what I should actually be doing is blogging more frequently, not giving it up. Duh!

I feel like I’m the same old me except that this time, I’m not so much blogging to fill a gap in my life but blogging just because I like to write and ramble on.

I’m in NY right now, likely having the time of my life. I’ll update you on everything when I’m back. In the meantime, have a super week and get those Christmas trees up :-) x

Saying goodbye to my 20s

Yes, I know, I haven’t quite said goodbye to my 20s yet but I’m a mere week away from turning 30 now! Even as I write that, I feel a little anxious flutter at my core and what I can only describe as nervous anticipation. I think I’m going to do well at being in my 30s but I’m also terrified in case I spend the next decade making the same mistakes again.

30s.

Hmm…

Me, in my 30s. That’s a grown up age. Lots of people in their 30s are married with kids and the idea of doing those sorts of things is still TERRIFYING! If I think too much about the fact that I’ve just bought a house and have a dog I freak out, never mind actual lifetime commitments.

Anyway, the real purpose of this stream of consciousness spiel is to reflect on my 20s because I think it’s a difficult decade to get through. Some people sail through it and love it and the rest of us look on, wondering why our lives are a pile of poo by comparison. So if that’s you doing the wondering, don’t worry about it because I’m about to explain why that’s a good thing.

If I look at my 20s as a whole, there are just 3 main themes to the journey I took and the lessons I learned and the ratio isn’t great, 2 bad : 1 good. Here we go…

Theme 1 – Depression

I still can’t really admit that I have ever been depressed because my background tells me that depression leads to suicide, which leads to other depressed people and I refuse to accept that. What I can admit is that I spent months following this routine:

Wake up – cry – stare at the wall – go to work – hold back the tears – come home – cry – stare at the wall – cry – go to bed

I can also admit that when I managed to stop the staring at the wall behaviour, I still spent an inordinate amount of time crying. The reasons for the tears were varied, but in reality I had a huge sadness inside me that I couldn’t confront and it was ruling my life. This sadness sapped my confidence and stopped me doing and achieving as much as I wanted to but I realise now that it was a process I had to go through. It sounds so cliché to say this but I know now that it really doesn’t last forever, as long as you’re prepared to let the good stuff in.

So, if that’s you right now, let it happen. Sometimes the only way you can move on is to fully embrace the problem, let it flood your mind and then mop up the puddles slowly but surely.

Theme 2 – Debt

During those depressed years I racked up a heck of a lot of debt. Tens of thousands of pounds spent on utter shit that I didn’t need but which I thought might change my life and make me happy. A small portion of the debt was spent on fun, but it really was mainly on junk, oh and some bad car choices. (Never buy a used Corsa VXR!)

That level of debt when you’re on a relatively low salary is crippling, so what I did was bury my head in the sand and keep going. I’m hugely fortunate that I was dug out of the hole by a very generous inheritance, else I would still be in that hole now. It was a good lesson though and I’m glad I learned it at a young age. If you’re struggling with a similar situation, please seek help; just Google it and you’ll find places you can turn to for support.

I sound like an old person now, namely my father, when I say that money really isn’t everything and the stuff you think you need, it won’t make you happy. You’ll have the moment of joy looking at those new shoes but you’ll spend far longer worrying about how you’re going to pay off the cumulative sum of 10 new pairs!

Theme 3 – Good Times

Here’s where the biggest lesson lies for me…the good times are there, they are happening no matter what your situation is, it’s just up to you to decide whether or not you want to be part of them. I feel such gratitude toward all of the people who kept dragging me into the good times and showing me what I was missing. The people I feel this most strongly about are my parents who have been through some really tough times themselves in this last decade, but who remained strong enough to pick me up every time I fell, cuddle me and then invite me to start enjoying life again. Without them, I’d probably be rocking back and forward in the foetal position on my bed right now!

I’ve achieved some stuff too and I’ve managed to build up something of a career, even with a couple of redundancies along the way. I’ve just climbed onto the property ladder, I own my car outright (even if it is 12 years old),I have a beautiful dog, a wonderful boy and many friends. I’ve been on girly holidays, I’ve read loads of books, been out for unbelievably delicious dinners at lovely restaurants and generally smiled and laughed loads, all despite themes 1 and 2.

A huge number of the good times have been in the last 3 years, exactly coinciding with the time that I realised that I can’t find my own happiness in other people, it has to come from within. I can’t tell you how many times people said that to me and I poo-pooed their advice, thinking that I was sorted and other people were making me miserable. I was wrong. I was miserable and as soon as I fixed my own misery, my life transformed and I flipped the ratios:

Happy Days : Blue Days – Sam until age 27
1 : 10

Happy Days : Blue Days – Sam post age 27
10 : 1

Well, I think I have rambled on long enough now so I’ll leave this post where it is. Watch out for some interesting changes to the blog; I can’t be a 20something freak forever :-)

30s – I’m comin’ to getcha!!! x

Friday Lust

It’s back…I actually have 30 seconds when I’m not exhausted and I’m able to pull together a quick blog post. I’ve only gone and produced a Friday Lust post!!!

Check these absolute beauties out:

Moda in Pelle Tavani Boots, £189.95 - HoF or Moda in Pelle

Moda in Pelle Tavani Boots, £189.95 – HoF or Moda in Pelle

You might not love leopard as much as I do, but to me those boots are heavenly. They’re leopard, they’re furry and the heel is low enough that you could actually walk in them. WIN!

What’s also a win is that while these would have been totally out of my league a couple of years ago, I might just be able to afford them. Love, love, love!

Happy pay-day shopping weekend everyone. Oh, and obviously there’s that Halloween stuff happening tomorrow too :-) x

60 today

Well, that was a shock. Obviously I know it’s your birthday, I don’t think I will ever forget that, but this year I thought I’d leave the blog post out. I see so many posts on social media where people talk to or about the dearly departed who can’t even read what they’re writing and I’m very conscious of the fact that once a year, (twice if you count what happens in 10 days) I become that person.

And I am that person again right now.

The thing is though, it just hit me that you would have been 60 today. Bloody well 60! Firstly, that shocks the life out of me because I still associate being 60 with people who are the generation above you and secondly because you’re 30-and-a-bit years older than me. If you’re now 60, I’ll soon be 30. If I’m nearly 30, I’m almost the age you were when I was born. All of this is messing with my head. How has that happened?

If I’m brutally honest, I think I wrote this post mainly to express my disgust at how old we’ve become; I probably should wish you many happy returns but you can’t hear me so I’ll stick with the disgust. I would also like to ask why it is that I’ve morphed into you in the last year. Did that happen to you too? Did you suddenly scale up from a size 8 to a size 12 when you were in your late 20s? I know you were a 12 but you told me you used to be a 8. When did that change? Is it reversible? 

Anyway, I diverge. What I should have said is Happy Birthday. What I still mean is: fuck me, you’d be 60 if you were here!

Love you always xxx

What being a dog mummy has taught me…

My beautiful Lexi

My beautiful Lexi

In January of this year, the bf and I took the HUGE step of adopting a pooch of our very own. We found our little Lexi online as her family were splitting up so she needed a new home. The instant he saw a photo, the bf knew she was the one; he kept coming back to her profile over and over again until he finally took the step of making contact with her family.

As soon as we met her, I was also convinced; she was shy, her tail didn’t wag but she still climbed straight onto our laps for cuddles and had the most beautiful face I’ve ever seen. Her eyes were and still are full of hope, trust and optimism; she really couldn’t have sold herself to us any better than she did. So we said we’d give her a new home and we haven’t looked back since.

When our baby girl first arrived home, she was understandably nervous, very clingy and couldn’t relax enough to fall asleep for any decent period of time. When we took her for walks, she’d stick to us like glue, unsure of what to do as if we might punish her. When we let her into the garden for toilet time she’d tremble like mad and refuse to go out there unless we both went out with her and proved that we weren’t going to lock her outside. It was difficult to watch and all we could do was give her love and time and hope that she’d settle in, luckily she did that just fine :-)

Then she attacked a dog.

We thought it was a one-off and she’d been provoked. Then she did it again and then attempted it many more times; no real damage to the dogs but enough aggression to know she couldn’t be trusted with other dogs. It petrified me and I freaked out, I thought we’d made a mistake and that we couldn’t possibly handle looking after a dog like that. But we had to, we’d promised her we’d look after her and that meant we bloody well would. The bf, being much stronger and more mature than me just told me to stop being so dramatic and that we’d deal with it one way or another and we have.

These days, we walk Lexi on the lead – always. We don’t let her get near other dogs unless she has her muzzle on and we’re good at spotting which dogs are riling her up before she has a chance to get fully into that frame of mind. It’s not a perfect solution and we want to get beyond this, to the point where she ignores other dogs but it’s a good start and it means we can take her out in public with safety. It’s the opposite of what I wanted though, I wanted to have that dog that I could trust to trot along by my side with no problems at all. I wanted that perfection that the media shows you dog ownership should be but I was being stupid.

As I sit here writing this, Lexi is curled up with her head on my lap, snoozing soundly because she knows she’s safe and that I’ve got her back so she doesn’t need to stay alert. Every time I look at her face I smile and I feel a warm swell of pride at my core, because this loving beauty is ours and we’ve given her a home that’s allowed her to relax with us and do crazy things like go in the garden on her own. In return, she makes us laugh and smile every single day; even when we were on holiday without her, we spoke about her and her crazy facial expressions constantly and that made us giggle like children. When I was ill, she was my nurse laying by my side almost constantly for 3 solid days so I didn’t feel alone. Every time one of us comes into the house or down the stairs, she greets us with utter joy and excitement that makes us feel incredibly loved and wanted. She gives us everything and in return all she asks for is cuddles, (lots of cuddles) some food and some walks. What an absolute babe!

So, what have I learned from having Lexi? I’ve learned loads; I’ve learned that happiness really doesn’t cost the earth, I’ve learned that real achievements are about the relationships you build, not the things you buy. My ideas of what perfection would be are not always right, sometimes you find that what you were looking for is not what you really wanted. Compromise isn’t always a bad thing; my dog doesn’t trot by my side with no problems but she is more cuddly than any other dog I’ve met and she’s never once woken me in the night. That’s not bad as trade offs go! Biggest of all though, I’ve learned that I do have that “maternal” instinct that enables me to consider the needs of others above my own and love unconditionally. There’s not a thing that Lexi could do that would stop me loving her, she’s incredible and genuinely has a heart of gold.

Having Lexi has been a real awakening; she’s shaken up my life and I can’t thank her enough for it. Here’s to all the gorgeous souls in this world helping people like me every day! x

Friday Lust!

Well hello there, it’s that time of the week again…it’s FRIDAY!

You’ll notice a strong commonality between this and my previous Friday Lust post; they’re both red. I love red at the best of times but I always become especially obsessed around the beginning of the AW season when the berry tones start coming back in.

This for me represents the ultimate in simple but statement elegance and I wish I had a party that would justify the purchase!

Reiss Jasmine Dress, £245

Reiss Jasmine Dress, £245

It’s just that little bit too expensive to buy on a whim but if I reach a weight loss goal I have set myself, I’ll buy it then if it’s still available in my size. Now there’s an incentive to skinny on down!

Have a wonderful weekend everyone :-) x