Thursday 13 October 2016

My Miss Great Britain Experience - Miss Bedfordshire 2016

My Miss Great Britain experience

So apologies for the total lack of blogging in the past few months, if you follow my social media accounts you will have probably seen that in the last few months I have been completely absorbed in the Miss Great Britain competition and the beauty pageant world. It’s safe to say after my first experience earlier this year (see Miss Essex post for details) I have become completely entranced by all things beauty pageants and as I got such a great response from my first post and have people ask me on a daily basis about Miss GB I thought I would share!

Winning a title in the Miss GB pageant came as a total shock to me, I had applied following my first pageant experience but never thought I would get anywhere and to my surprise I managed to win a title and be crowned ‘Miss Bedfordshire’ ..Why Bedfordshire you ask? One thing I must clear up is that although I live in Essex, at the time I had strong links to Bedfordshire in my work and social life as well as living within a 50 mile radius. I had also applied for the Essex title but placed as a runner up, but to a total sweetheart so I didn’t mind!

The lead up to the actual competition, held on the 22/23rd of September, felt like an eternity. We did have a number of optional ‘pre’ competition rounds of charity, beach body, talent etc etc, all of which I got involved in as much as possible and kept me busy during the lead up to the big day. As well as these round I also had the huge job of finding THE dress ..which the more I type the more I realise I’m starting to sound like I’m preparing for a wedding not a pageant.

After the longest wait in the history of ever (okay maybe not but 4 months is a long time when you’re that excited for something) and god knows how much spent on dresses, shows, makeup and so on, it was finally time to make the trip up to Leicester for the final, where everyone’s hard work would finally reach the dramatic crescendo we had all been impatiently waiting for.

The first ‘official’ day of the final consisted of rehearsals, a judge’s interview, pizza and press calls, culminating in a fab dinner and disco at a local Indian restaurant and bar called Chutney Ivy, where me and Miss Cambridge, who is a total babe BTW, decided to get smashed on wine and then work off our guilt in the hotel gym at 11pm, as you do…

The second day, also the day of the main event (!!!) was even more of a whirlwind of breakfast, photos, rehearsals, hair, make up, heels and ridiculously expensive dresses. We spent the morning practicing our routines to within an inch of our lives, no one wants to be the girl that forgets her routine on stage ..or worse ..falls of the stage! At around 4pm, (I think4 pm, to be honest by this point everyone was so high on nerves and adrenaline we barely knew what our own names were) we were finally allowed to get ready! The pressure was on to get everything in order and looking perfect ready for the show to start at 7:30 ..3 and a half hours sounds like a lot of time to get ready but when you’re about as calm as a headless chicken this seems like 3 minutes.

3 or so hours passed and finally all 49 finalists had transformed into beautiful queens, any of which could take the crown and the prestigious title of Miss Great Britain 2016.

After months and months of waiting we were finally here, the Grand Final. Now I’m not normally a nervous person but standing backstage my nerves hit me like a train, after years of dances shows, horse competitions and job interviews as well as previously taking part in regional pageants I had almost forgotten what nerves were, but there I was ..standing backstage at one of the biggest and oldest beauty pageants in the country with my spray tanned legs shaking in my sky high pageant heels. But there was no time to think about that now, it was time for us all to parade on to the stage and smash (try to anyway) the opening dance routine we had been furiously practicing for weeks before the final thanks to the videos one of the organisers and the choreographer posted on Facebook for the world to see, honestly the pair of them deserve a medal for that alone.

The first dance was a blur of arms, hair and girls in black dresses if I’m honest, most of it I was praying my sash didn’t fall down my arm and that I remembered the whole routine, which I did, perfect timing if I say so myself! All too quickly the opening was over and it was time for our black dress round, a fairly simple routine of parading down the catwalk in a groups of 10 then again one by one ..sounds simple right? ..Not when your legs turn to jelly and your brain decides to go to sleep!

From the floor and the audience the stage looked like your average, relatively small catwalk but when you’re up there it’s a totally different ball game ..a huge white glossy stage with all eyes on you. I won’t lie although it was slightly terrifying I loved every minute of being on stage and couldn’t wait to get to the next round ..swimwear!

I get a lot of question about swimwear rounds, some people think it’s quite old fashioned but when they don’t realise is that it’s not just about what your body looks like these days, there is so much more to it. Judges want to see you looking confident and proud of yourself, whatever size or shape you may be , not that you’ve been starving yourself for weeks!

I’ll admit I was nervous for this round as it’s the first time I’ve ever done a swimwear round and while many other girls where ‘clean eating’ I was eating pizza (generously provided by Leicester Dominos ..Total babes!)I was trying to think ‘Victoria secret Model’ while on the runway but honestly I think it ended up more Victoria sponge cake ..oops!  I don’t think I did too badly ..again I was nervous which let me down massively but these things happen right?

So swimwear was over ..time to get into our evening gowns! I went back up to our dressing room prepared to get into my massive dress and to my horror someone had stolen my underwear.. WHO STEALS SOMEONE’S UNDERWEAR? I 100% know it was on the top of my bag when I left the dressing room and gone when I came back. Maybe some people are into that kind of thing who knows?

Anyway, knickers or no knickers I was going to have to parade down that catwalk in less than 5 minutes time, so I forgot my troubles, donned my enormous dress and made my way backstage. This was it chance to impress the judges. With a dress weighing what felt like the same as a small car and a train as long the list of things I have to do this weekend, I was going to sashay my little booty off and sashay I did! Without me or my dress falling off the stage which, you know, is always a bonus. Don’t get me wrong though, it’s quite hard to concentrate on your walk or pose when all you can think about is the fact you are completely commando…
Unfortunately I didn’t place in the top 15 but honestly after the nerves and it being my first national pageant I really didn’t expect to, I was so happy just to be there and meet all of the others girls. In the end an absolute beauty won the title, a real life Disney princess with heart of gold who deserved that crown and will do Miss Great Britain proud!

It was honestly the most stressful but most amazing 2 days of my life and I hope to be lucky enough to compete next year.

There are so many people I want to thank for everything they have done for me in the build-up and during the final.

First of all a massive thank you Kate, Jemma and the ModelZed team for putting on a fantastic competition, for such a small team they do an amazing job!

I would also like to thank my sponsor Keen Shay Keen Accountancy in Bedford and especially Charles for believing in me and sponsoring my journey. This brilliant company have been so supportive and so motivating during the build-up. I appreciate the support so much
I have to thank my wonderful family and friends for being so so supportive during the build-up, during the final and after. Thank you for putting up with my constant Miss GB talk, voting pleas and helping with my charity events. Shout out to my dad who has now become a fully-fledged pageant dad ..Toddlers and Tiaras would be proud!

I also want to thank everyone who has supported me on social media, I have had so many beautiful and inspirational messages from people I don’t even know and it does mean so much!
Last but not least I want to thank all of the lovely judges and of course Red Carpet Ready for supplying my gorgeous evening gown!

The pageant bug has no signs of stopping so I’m off to look for my next pageant venture…

Until next time…
Essex Beauty Queen xxx

Saturday 14 May 2016

#eSCexbbmeetup with Saturated Colour - Part 1!

Before I give you goss on Saturdays Saturated Colour blogger meet up I have to apologise for neglecting my blog recently.
I have become far more involved in pageants than I thought I would and have been working flat out to plan out fits, charity events etc but it has all been worth it as I am now through to the miss Popularity final in June (which is like a semi-final) which could win me a place in the Miss England grand final in July! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Anyway ..back to the important stuff!

The lovely girls at Saturated Colour HQ kindly invited me to their blogger meet up last Saturday held in their beautiful Essex HQ.
I found the brand on Instagram a few months ago and have become a fan of their niche lip products and bold colours!

They sell a range of innovative lip products from a colour switch lip stick that is great to use on lip colours that may be too dark for you or jazz up a colour you’re getting bored of, to a lipstick that can make any satin lipstick matte without drying out your lips as well as lipsticks and lip vinyl’s in a range of colours to suit all styles and seasons and to make things better they don’t test on animals and almost all of their products (everything but the sheer stick) is vegan friendly!

So ..on to the event itself! Us bloggers arrived at a quaint barn conversion in the Essex countryside, greeted by a selection of summery cocktails and the gorgeous SC girls.
We had some time to mingle while waiting on a few stragglers then it was on to a talk about the business with the girls. It was so interesting to find out what the inspiration was behind Saturated Colour and how they wanted to be a little different to other cosmetics brands and create niche lip products as well as hear about their routes and future plans. Saturated Colour HQ are also a distributer for NYX ..little interesting fact there for you.

After finding out more about the brand we were split into 3 teams and invited to take part in a lip art challenge! The winner receive lots of SC goodies and a £20 voucher for a local pub/restaurant.
I tried to go for a mermaid ombre sort of look ..great idea in my head but not so great in practice, especially as we only had 10 minutes to complete it! The winner created a beaut pink ombre look using lipstick, lip vinyl and the colour switch.

After completing out lip art we were invited to use the SC selfie station to show off our lip art and what products we had  used. To create my mermaid look I use the lip vinyl in ‘first date’ an amazing pink shade, a deep purple lipstick to create the scales and the colour switch to add the ombre effect. To line my lips I used the new ‘Multitasker’ liner that SC are due to release a little later this year ..hands down this is the best liner I have ever used! As it is designed for lips eyes and body art the texture is creamy and glides on to the skin beautifully, it would be perfect for makeup artists, body painters and also those who are not very familiar with liner and are looking for a product that is easy to work with.

You wouldn’t believe how much fun bloggers can have with some lip products, a camera and some chalk boards ..we took so many selfies!
After our selfie sessions we had the chance to mingle some more and speak with the SC girls about their products as well as look at their products up close. It was great to get to know the brand better and meet the lovely ladies behind the social media!

Each blogger was given a goody bag with products handpicked suit them as well as information and coconut oil curtesy of Vita Coco UK who also sponsored the event. Anyone who knows me knows I use coconut oil like it’s going out of fashion and it’s a god send to my blonde hair! My SC products in my goody bag included a multitasker liner in black, I am literally loving it right now I can’t wait for the launch to pick up some other colours, and a ‘Make Me Matte’ lipstick that turns any satin lipstick matte without ruining the colour or drying out your lips like normal matte lipsticks typically do! I will be doing a more in depth follow up review of all the products I was given and purchased at the event so keep your eyes peeled!

I really do rate Saturated Colour products highly, it’s refreshing to see a brand who are not afraid to be a little different and try new products as well as the fact they do not test on animals!

Huge thank you to the Saturated Colour team for inviting me to your fab event and shout out to Vita Coco UK for sponsoring!

To have a closer look at Saturated Colours products they have social media and a brand new website!

Insta - @saturated_colour
Twitter - SC_cosmetics_uk
Website -

Saturday 9 April 2016

OOTD - Little Black Dress ft @boohoo

I have to apologise for my lack of blog posts, I have been quite wrapped up in the pageant world with the Miss Essex finals last month and with the Miss Cambridgeshire finals rapidly approaching!

In between my prep I just have to share my fav LBD with you all!

The little black dress is a classic wardrobe staple and a clear winner for any night out on the town. Black goes with everything and really is the most flattering colour, meaning there is a LBD out there for everyone!

My latest dress obsession is the Sarah dress from boohoo. I have always been a fan of Boohoo, especially their dresses as I find the fit very complementary and true to size. Honestly I reckon 97% of my wardrobe is from boohoo and I'm not afraid to admit it!

The dress comes in black, stone and pink/peach and features an asymmetric skirt to add a little class to your night out (no worrying that your skirt is riding up ..or is that just me?)
The fit is so flattering and gives the impression of curves in all the right places.
I love the dress so much I've order another in the leach colour!

Dress from: - Sarah £18
Heels from: - Shoe Box Gina heels £28

Until next time...
Essex Beauty Queen xxx

Friday 18 March 2016

My Miss England - Essex Experience

Welcome back lovelies!

I'm sorry for the lack of posts recently, I've been wrapped up in the glittering pageant world!

I've had so many of you ask me about me recently competing in the Miss Essex (Miss World) finals I thought I would blog about it!

Before I start, I just want to clear up that this won't be me being a sore loser having a rant and slagging off the pageant world, so if that's what you're ready this for I'm sorry to disappoint! Haha I just wanted to share my experience with you all...

Being my first pageant I honestly had no idea what to expect and was honestly bricking it. I've always taken part in competitions since I was very young, I was a dancer for 12 years then went on to compete with horses in dressage and showing disciplines, I'm not an overly competitive person but I do love a challenge!

When I applied I had no idea that I would actually hear back from the Miss England organisers, let alone make it to the finals. The application was an online form of questions as you would expect, then you are asked to send a number of pictures with your application. I will admit, the picture I sent was actually me half cut in a nightclub toilets but my tan was good and the lighting was bomb so ...why not!

A few weeks passed and I had heard nothing back until one day after work I casually checked my emails and there it was ..and email from Miss England offering me a place in the Miss Essex final! Safe to say I was excited!

For weeks I tried to prepare myself as much as I could ( you would be surprised how much blogs and YouTube channels cater for this kind of thing ) but nothing can really compare you for your first pageant. I also thought being a first timer I would be at a huge disadvantage.

So finally the day arrives, my suitcase (yes I took a suitcase) is packed and I'm ready to go. Now normally I'm a relatively confident person but it's a daunting thought walking into a room full of pretty girls that are competing against you. I thought pageants would be super bitchy but I was surprised by the reality.

On arrival at the Venue I grabbed my case out of the car, took a deep breath and walked into a giant, beautifully decorated marquee expecting the other girls to be giving me their best resting bitch faces but what I encountered was quite the opposite. There were about 25 girls scattered over 4 tables so I decided to find my lady-balls and plant myself on one of these tables of girls. I expected instant interrogation or something, clearly watching too much Sons of Anarchy, but what I really got was genuine, smiling girls talking about life and mishaps, no bragging or trying to impress, just real girls. Okay the worst bit was over right?

After the initial introductions we started on rehearsals for each round. There were 3 rounds we had to rehearse for - the black dress round, the jeans confidence round and the infamous evening round - all of which had different routines you had to master effortlessly while trying not to fall of the stage ...and smile at the same time.

After a good few hours of rehearsals we were given time to get ready for the pageant. In the midst of makeup brushes, false eyelashes and bras flying about, two guys walk in carrying, no lie, 10 large Dominos pizzas for us girls ...heaven! Thanks to Dominos Bishop Stortford for possibly the best food sponsor ever haha!

Okay so after the hour of make up, pizza and our first outfits we were finally ready! At this point I wasn't nervous at all ..I had the routines down, I looked pretty pageant-y, I felt ready for the show.
Our first routine involved all of the girls walking round the catwalk and stage in a sort of snake formation then follow one another backstage ready for our solo experiences. This was flawless, I didn't trip or turn the wrong way but when you've been practicing to an empty room all day then it's suddenly filled with guests and judges you can't help but suddenly get a few butterflies!
I didn't feel like it bothered me at the time until it was my turn to do my solo strut down the catwalk with various poses at the end while smiling sweetly at the judges, then omg it hit me concentration went out of the window and for some reason I decided to march down the catwalk and instead of stopping for my posing/smiling I decided to turn around straight away, March back up the catwalk and proceed off stage ..KILL ME NOW

I'd given up hope after this, how do you recover from that fluff up? Regardless of my doubts I was going to bloody well try! For the jeans round I donned my trust blue Joni's (best jeans ever btw) and give it all I had! Safe to say that round went ALOT better ..lots of posing and smiling trying to redeem myself!

Last but not least, the infamous evening gown round. We all thought it would be a great idea to get the kind of dresses that require lacing up at the back even after being told we had to quick change! Backstage was a tangle of girls yanking other girls into their glittering dresses ASAP!

This was the round I was most looking forward to ..the round where you could really show off and make the most of the catwalk, which I did of course! Some girls did get a bit carried away apparently but I was too busy lacing dresses to see!

So this was it dress was on and laced, I was next on stage and couldn't wait. It's a daunting yet amazing feeling Knowing all eyes are on you. My turn on stage was over all to soon, by this point it was time for an interval so the judges could make their decisions.

I think it's not until you stand back stage, surrounded by gorgeous girls in beautiful dresses, that you realise how high the standards are. By this point I really thought I had no chance at all in reaching the top 10 and was considering trying to unlace my dress when shock name was called as judges choice top 10 'number 20 ...Nicola!'
I won't lie, I was not expecting that at all as there were so many amazing girls and only 10 top spots, it was a real proud moment!
I made my way on stage to join the top ten line up and to be asked my question. We had been warned of the questions beforehand and there was one I wanted to avoid ..'why did you enter Miss Essex' and of course this is the one I got! There are so many ways this can be answered but it can sound so cliche. I did my best to answer as truthfully as I could on the spot ..I can't tell you what I said because I honestly have no idea was all waffle to me but apparently the judges liked it!

After, the top 10 line up the girls go backstage to await for the runners up and the winner to be announced. This was a very tense moment if I'm honest, so many girls so close to that winning spot but there's only one crown. In the end a beaut blonde named Emily Evans took the crown for her great performance and all of her fundraising efforts including climbing Mount Kilimanjaro! A worthy winner in my eyes and an excellent ambassador for Essex white stilettos in sight...

Although I had sore feet from wearing heels all day and was exhausted it was one of the best competitions I've ever experienced, so well organised by the Heslewood family and I made some wonderful friends and have even landed myself a spot in the Miss Cambridgshire finals in a months time! No rest for the wicked ay!

I would really recommend these kind of competitions to any girls that want to boost their confidence and challenge themselves. Gone are the days when these pageants were purely beauty based ..they now focus on so many factors like personality, kindness and education.

I hope you've enjoyed my little insight into my pageant experience so far!

Thanks for reading ..until next time
Essex Beauty Queen xxx

Tuesday 23 February 2016

Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipstick Review

Everyone has their weaknesses and one of mine happens to be lipstick. I can’t go a day without wearing lipstick and I literally own so many I’ve lost count but I really can’t help myself, every time a new lipstick comes out I just have to have it!

My latest lipstick obsession happens to be the Gerard Cosmetics Hydra Matte Liquid Lipsticks, I cannot get enough of these beauties!
I had previously tried a few other brands of liquid lipstick but just wasn’t feeling them as some would never dry properly, some would smudge and a few even started to crumble after only 10 minutes or so of wearing them!
I had seen some mixed reviews on social media due to the scandal that hit the internet is 2015 but decided to give them a try for myself.

I took a guess with the colours as the online swatches on Beauty Bay are pretty off to be honest, and ordered Serenity as this was the shade I liked most and had heard a lot about.
As expected the shade that arrived was different to that shown on Beauty Bay but if anything it was actually nicer than what I had expected.

The liquid lipstick has a typical ‘lipgloss’ wand applicator which usually I despise with normal lipglosses but the wand actually makes application of the liquid lipstick so much easier than applying standard bullet lipstick. It is great for getting the right shape without the use of lipliner, perfect if you’re on the go all of the time!

The product itself is what really impressed me. Liquid lipsticks get a bad name for smudging, crumbling or the colour being to diluted but Gerard Cosmetics have really out done themselves with this lipstick! The colours are so bold and look the same on your lips as they do in the tube. The lipstick glides on effortlessly and dry’s in a few minutes, while it does leave a slightly sticky residue this does go once fully dry. Another factor that impressed me is just how long the product lasts, I wear it to work on a daily basis and only have to apply once in the morning and rarely have to touch it up, even after lunch. Even on nights out I find the lipstick lasts all night and doesn’t smudge at all. What more could a girl ask for!

The only slight downside is if you do have to reapply it, if you try to reapply too much it does become a little cakey but this can be resolved with a makeup wipe or cotton bud without ruining your makeup.

Because I was so impressed with just how good this liquid lipstick is I obviously had to buy more ..4 more in fact, of various shades and tones to suit every occasion and outfit.
I don’t even think I could choose a favourite shade!

Although Gerard Cosmetics is an American company (cry!) some of their makeup range is stocked on the Beauty Bay website, although this is very limited at least you have the option of next day delivery.

The shades shown here are:
Ballet Slipper
Iced Mocha

All are £9.50 each from Beauty Bay.

Thanks for reading!

Until next time…
Essex Beauty Queen xxx

Monday 15 February 2016

Winter Dry Lips Survival Guide

In light of the recent horrific weather we've been having in the UK (I hate winter btw) I decided to cover a real beauty issue I am having right now caused by this horrible cold weather! (I am not a winter person!) I wanted to share some of tips with anyone else having the same problem ..dry lips!

Having dry lips seems like such a small issue but can cause so much pain with cracking/splitting and once they do your lips seem to take FOREVER to heal again.

I have created a daily routine and tips to keep your lips in top condition:

Step one: exfoliate - getting rid of dry/dead skin will expose soft/heathy skin and aid healing. I use Lush Bubblegum Sugar Lip scrub to exfoliate as its not too harsh on your skin and tastes amazing! Just try not to eat it!
Be careful not to scrub too hard as you may do more damage than good.

Step two: moisturise - once to you have removed all of the dead skin apply an intensive lip balm such as the Nivea essential care balm or Vaseline. Try to stay away from coloured/flavoured lip balms as I tend to find they don't provide to moisture needed to heal lips and can just end up going all crusty ..eww!

Step three: healing - this step is only for if you have really sore split lips ( especially at the corners of your mouth ) that do not seem to heal at all. Use a small dab of savlon at the corners of your mouth as this will aid speedy recovery. Be careful not to get any in your mouth though! I find it best to do this at night.

- Drink lots of water to keep your body and skin hydrated.
- DO NOT lick or pick at your lips constantly as you will just dry out/ damage your lips further
- Apply colour/flavour free intensive lip balm/ Vaseline as often as possible during the winter, especially if you have a cold/flu and are breathing through your mouth.

I hope this little guide will help you and your lips through the winter months!

Until next time...
Essex Beauty Queen

Wednesday 10 February 2016

Valentines Day - Date Night Inspo ft. Boohoo

Valentine's is one of those special occasions where you can really dress up and let out your inner goddess, whether you're out with your man or out with the girls, Boohoo's Valentines Day edit has something for everyone.

Boohoo is one of my all time online clothes stores as they have such a wide range of styles, from LBD's to slouchy boyfriend jeans. I also love how they cater for all shapes and sizes including regular, tall, plus and petite unlike many other online and high street retailers.

Anyway is my pick of the Boohoo Valentines Day edit to help give you girls some date night inspo no matter what you have planned!

Happy Valentine's Day Girls!

Until next time...
Essex Beauty Queen