Brow 101

Monday, 2 November 2015

Everyone knows that eyebrows are big news. They're basically the 'in thing' when it comes to makeup right now, and if your brows aren't 'on fleek' (I cringe whilst typing this) then you're only letting your face down. There has definitely been lots of hype surrounding eyebrows over the last few years and it definitely doesn't look like it's about to slow down, so I thought it was about time I popped up a post on some of the brow products I've been trying recently.

Believe it or not, I've never actually been and had my brows done professionally. I'm hoping to get my brows HD'd at long last soon (totes upping my 'brow game'), but I've got by the past 10 years doing them myself, only over-plucking them once and immediately regretting it (we all did it though, right?) Now I tend to let them be, only tidying up every now and again, and I let the makeup products do the talking when it comes to keeping them looking good.

I think the first brow product I ever used was Rimmel's Brow Pencil, and since then I've discovered the joys of powders and even fibre lash products. As great as pencils are, when it comes to the new wave of eyebrow, you need to use a powder if you really want the wow factor. One of my all-time favourite brow powders is actually the HD Brow Powder, which I tried a few years ago after receiving it in a beauty subscription box.

At the moment, however, I'm flitting between Benefit's Brow Zings* and my Hi Impact Brow Palette*. Both products are pretty similar - they feature powders which are super soft and blend seamlessly into the eyebrows, filling in gaps and giving that full, defined brow look. The difference between them, however, is that the Benefit offering comes in a selection of different shades, along with a wax, brushes and a mini pair of tweezers, whereas the Hi Impact palette comes in a palette featuring a brush and four different shades, which can be used to fill your brows as well as an eye liner or eye shadows. The Hi Impact palette is designed so that you can find the perfect shade for your brows - by mixing powders - but I found the first shade to be the perfect colour for me anyway. I'm yet to try the black as an eyeliner or any of the shades as shadows (they're not my usual cup of tea eyeshadow wise) but judging from the shade I use on my brows I'm guessing they're pretty soft and blendable too.

If more of a natural look is your thing, then there are a couple of products that might be for you. Another Benefit product, Gimme Brow* is a 'brow-volumising powder gel' that comes in two shades (light/medium and medium/deep) and is quick and easy to brush on, adding fibre to the brow to give a full but natural brow look. Another product worth mentioning for natural brow lovers is Silk Fibre Brow Enhancer*. Similarly to Gimme Brow, it adds fibres to the brows to give a natural filled in look. Unfortunately I didn't get on too well with this product and would say Gimme Brow is definitely the superior of the two - I think because the Silk Fibre Brow is powder it can be quite messy to apply and really doesn't hold as well.

If your brows are on the thin or very light side and you want to thicken them up whilst darkening them, then LiBrow Serum* is definitely worth trying. This serum conditions your brow follicles while tinting and darkening your brow hair, to give you fuller and more defined brows. Since using it my brow condition has definitely improved, and the added tint is great if you have fair brows.

Finally, if you really want to up your brow game, then you need the Magic Brow Lift* from Chelsea Beautique. This concealer and highlighter duo-pencil is ideal for perfecting your brows. The concealer gets rid of any imperfections whilst brightening the eyes and the highlighter defines and lifts the brow bone, to create the ultimate wow-brow. I've really enjoyed using this and it's definitely helped to define my brows more and make them look lifted. I've never come across a product like it before but would thoroughly recommend it if you're all about the brows!

Phew... so there you go, my pick of the brow products I've been trying lately to give you the perfect eyebrows. Let me know what your favourite brow products are!

LG MusicFLOW Review

Friday, 30 October 2015

Aside from beauty, fashion and my dog, one of my big loves in life is music. I have a really eclectic music taste - everything from your typical Lady Gaga-pop to Sheryl Crow country, emo Brand New, chilled Ed Sheeran or ska No Doubt. I always think if I hadn't been good at writing, then music would have been my thing. If only I could actually read music... those clarinet lessons never paid off unfortunately!

Whether it's listening to upbeat dance tracks in the gym, having a cry to a sad song when I'm feeling low or having a dance around the kitchen when I'm baking, I can't go a day without listening (and singing) to music. Therefore, it kind of goes without saying that when LG contacted me about reviewing their MusicFLOW P5 Bluetooth Speaker*, I jumped at the chance. We don't actually have a radio or CD player in our new house, so when it comes to listening to our favourite songs we usually resort to using the TV or, when I'm in the kitchen, making a make-shift speaker out of my phone and a bowl (never very effective, but better than nothing).

Therefore, I was really looking forward to testing the speaker out. I've had little portable speakers in the past but unfortunately they've never really been very good, so I was keen to see how this speaker would fair. I wasn't disappointed. Quick and easy to set up, this speaker charges up with a USB cable which is supplied, but you do need a USB adapter (or, in my case, the plug bit from my iPhone) to plug it in. Once charged it can be placed anywhere and thanks to how diddy it is (I hate nothing more than big ugly speakers) it doesn't compromise the decor in my living room.

For such a little speaker you'd think it wouldn't be that powerful when it comes to sound, right? Wrong. This speaker is LOUD. I had to go outside and crank it up full blast because I didn't want the neighbours getting mad - and it was honestly loud enough to please a busy party. I've always found portable speakers to be really quiet so I was absolutely delighted to see just how loud this one can be.

In terms of switching songs and turning the volume up and down, there are buttons on the speaker (as you can see in the pics above) but you can also control the speaker using your phone, which is really handy if you're lazy (and indecisive when it comes to choosing songs) like myself. I always use Spotify to listen to music so I can just swipe through the songs on my phone and they'll automatically change on the speaker. A really nifty feature which is perfect for parties is that up to three devices can be paired with the speaker at a time - so everyone's unique music tastes can be catered for.

Overall I absolutely love the speaker and I think it does the job perfectly. I think £99.99 is a decent price for it too - after all it's a quality bit of kit and you can take it anywhere. One of my favourite artists to listen to on this little beauty is Ed Sheeran (this man has my heart, swoon - I'm actually listening to him on it right now) and if you enter LG's amazing competition you can be in with a chance of winning a trip to meet the beautiful man himself in Sydney (full details here). To round things off nicely I put together a little playlist of all the songs I'm currently listening to on my LG MusicFLOW. You can check it out here. What are your favourite songs at the moment? Let me know!

Here & Now

Tuesday, 27 October 2015
So, it looks as though my plans to blog more often starting in October haven't really worked out. I've been thinking about my blog constantly this month, but putting words down on this little corner of the internet has started becoming increasingly harder. I think one of the reasons is because I'm a perfectionist - I want every post that goes out to be perfect, so sometimes I find it too difficult to click the 'publish' button in fear of letting myself down, and so I don't post anything at all. With the increase in so many fancy, professional-looking blogs with content updated regularly and fantastic opportunities left right and centre, I feel like I'm no contest in comparison, so why should I waste my time trying to make content, when it will never live up to the ever-climbing standards?

Next February I will have been blogging for a tremendous six years, and when I look back at my blogging experience, aside from feeling incredibly proud of everything I've achieved, I also feel sad that I haven't really put my all into making my blog the best it can be. There are countless posts that I wish I'd written, videos I wish I'd recorded and uploaded to YouTube and even events I was invited to but turned down, through money issues or otherwise. I get jealous when I see bloggers who have only been doing this for one or two years are now incredibly successful, and I always ask myself why, if I've been doing it for this long, haven't I made my blog everything I wanted it to be? Well, I think I've finally got the answer.

As much effort as I've put into my blog over the years, I don't think I've put in enough. Over the past year in particular, my blog has been left neglected thanks to finally having a full-time job I love and not finding the time to get posts photographed and written up, instead prioritising other things (like naps, Netflix and shopping trips) over actually growing this space on the internet and making it bigger and better.

And so, I've decided that in order to not look back on my time blogging and regret all the things I didn't achieve or the progress I didn't make, I'm going to take my blog seriously and learn to prioritise it over things that really don't matter. I'm going to stop telling myself that 'one day' I'll be happy enough with a certain blog post to hit publish, 'one day' I'll be the right size to upload regular outfit posts, or 'one day' I'll have a better camera for making YouTube videos, so I may as well hold off until then... no. I need to remember to live in the here and now, and if I want to be happy, I need to put the effort in now - and who cares if that means not every post I write will be perfect? I've decided progress is always better than silly ideas about 'perfection'.

So, expect to see a lot more from me from now on - I'm planning on having a complete redesign on the layout of my blog, as I'm sure it's been the same for about four years now, and with that I'll hopefully have more drive and motivation to keep my blog updated with fresh new content. I love blogging and I feel like my fears around never being 'good enough' for this new world of blogging need to stop - and I just need to keep doing what I love, no matter what.

A Stay at Leeds Marriott

Tuesday, 20 October 2015
A little while ago me and my boyfriend headed up to Leeds for a weekend away to celebrate my 25th birthday (eep). I wanted a trip consisting of eating lots of yummy food, spending lots of money shopping and dancing the night away, as well as just enjoying the city - and I definitely got it. We stayed at the beautiful Marriott Leeds hotel and I honestly couldn't have asked for a better place to stay.

We took the trip to Leeds by car on a Friday morning, with the plan to spend the day shopping and eating yummy food, then going out on the Friday night. We pulled up right outside the hotel and I immediately fell in love with the location - tucked away enough that we could appreciate the beauty of the little square it was a part of (complete with gorgeous fountain) but near enough to access all the shops and nightlife (it was directly across from the Trinity shopping centre, so we literally only had to cross a road and we were in shopping heaven). Inside the hotel itself was grand and gorgeous - it even smelt divine.

We checked in, having our car valet-parked for us (ooh, posh) and headed up to see our room. We were lucky enough to be staying in the Executive Suite in the hotel and it was honestly so beautiful. As you can see from the photographs, it was a really big room with everything we needed for the weekend - all the coffee and tea (and hot chocolate!) making facilities we could ask for, including paper coffee cups so we could take our drinks to go, and even some super snazzy beauty products (including the cutest little bottle of mouthwash I'd ever seen) sitting waiting for us in the bathroom. The bed was huge and the comfiest thing ever, and we had our own sofa area too, which was a lovely addition.

Once we'd dropped off our bags and freshened up, we headed out to experience the sights of Leeds... okay, so we went shopping. I do really love Leeds for its shopping selection - Victoria's Secret, Harvey Nichols, Cath Kidston, Vivienne Westwood and Illamasqua to name a few - and quite a lot of money was spent on the delights that Leeds' shops had to offer.

Once back to the hotel, we headed for some dinner at the hotel grill - Midtown Grill - which was absolutely delicious and a really lovely atmosphere. I was a bit apprehensive, being a vegetarian, but they had a veggie option on the menu (which was seriously yummy) so I was immediately put at ease. The desserts were delicious too and beautifully presented (not that I really care about that, I tend to inhale my food!) Once our bellies were full, we headed out into Leeds to see what the nightlife had to offer. Angelica's and The Alchemist were two glamorous rooftop bars definitely worth a mention (both in the Trinity Centre, so really near the hotel) and after a few drinks we were ready to head back to the hotel after spending all day on our feet!

The next morning we woke early to experience the hotel's breakfast and it was absolutely delicious - a choice of everything you could ever ask for at breakfast time, with fry ups, toast, cereal, fresh fruit, pastries and yoghurt just a few things on offer. Then we made the most of the hotel's pool and gym facilities (okay, I lied, we just used the pool). It was complete with sauna, steam room and jacuzzi, a big pool for adults and a smaller children's pool. For someone who is usually very anti-swimming pools (other than when I'm abroad) I felt 100% relaxed here and wasn't worrying at all - the pool was super clean, quiet I left feeling utterly content.

I had an absolutely fantastic time in Leeds and my stay at Leeds Marriott most definitely made it. The hotel is one of the best I've ever stayed in and everything about the trip was stress-free, convenient and completely brilliant. Whenever I am next in Leeds for a weekend or overnight stay I will definitely be paying Leeds Marriott a visit.

 Where are your favourite places in Leeds? I'd love to know if there are any hidden gems (shopping or food-wise) for my next trip there!

Aims for October

Sunday, 4 October 2015

October has come out of nowhere and I'm not sure I was ready for it. Summer has flown past in a blur - I feel like I didn't really achieve much over the past few months and so I'm making it my aim for autumn to get back on track and start making things happen again. I'm looking forward to the next few cosy months and everything they have to bring, but mostly I'm looking forward to improving myself, my blog, and just generally making things better for me.

I thought with a new month (and a new season) it made perfect sense to write some of my goals down on here to really cement them in place, and motivate me to achieve them. I think there's no better motivation than writing it down for the whole world to see, right?!

First up, I need to get back on it with blogging. I feel like I write a blog post about this every few months, but lately it's got to me so much I've felt like I'm never going to get to where I want to be with my blog. I've fallen out of love with my layout after having it for what seems like forever now, so I'm hoping I'll be able to get myself a nice, shiny new layout together over the next month or so. That in itself will probably motivate me to blog more, but I've also got lots more posts scheduled for over the next few weeks and I'm planning on keeping it up from here on in. My main problem with keeping up my blog is motivation, prioritising and feeling so overwhelmed with all the posts I want/need to write - I'm the type of person who, if I feel like I have loads to do, will just be even more put off starting because I feel like I'll never finish. I really need to get out of that mindset and just channel all my energy into being consistent and giving my blog my all.

Another big aim for the next month (and beyond) is losing weight. I've spoken about my issues with food and weightloss in this post, and so far things are, thankfully, heading in the right direction. I've been incorporating fruit into my diet a lot more, exercising much more regularly, feeling more positive about food and I'm just hoping I can keep it up. I still have a long way to go diet-wise (I just can't resist sweet treats), but I'm happy that my body is changing (slowly but surely) and with it my bad habits. I plan on doing more diet and fitness-based posts too so that I can take you guys along on this journey with me too.

Finally, my last goal for October is to start being more organised. This applies to everything in life - organised with my house, health and beauty regime and everything else in between. I'm really not the most organised person in the world, especially when I'm feeling down, and it just ends up making me feel worse when I can't find things, or my skin breaks out because I've not been applying all the skincare I should. So I'm making it my mission to stop being lazy with housework, to ensure I do my FULL skincare routine morning and night, and to make sure I allow myself enough time to do the things I need to get done. I've been trying my best over the past few weeks and I'm slowly getting there but I've still got a long way to go organisation-wise. I'm also hoping to do some organisation posts on here too if I'm successful, so watch this space.

What are your hopes and aims for October?

An Autumn Walk

Saturday, 3 October 2015
Top: Primark
Kimono*: Boohoo
Skirt*: Boohoo
Bracelets*: Buckley
Necklace: Disney Couture
Boots*: Boohoo

It's been a little while since I uploaded an outfit post hasn't it?! I think my last few outfit posts were really summery and bright so it's nice to delve into autumn and show you my current favourite autumnal outfit. As much as I adore the pastels that come with spring, this year's trends for autumn are incredible and it's got me so excited for the next few months. 

The seventies trend is HUGE for autumn, and despite not being too fussed about it to begin with, I've now fallen head-over-heels for all things seventies and was so excited to work with Boohoo on putting this awesome seventies-inspired outfit together. I've become a little bit obsessed with Boohoo lately, and they have the absolute best pick of all things seventies on there at the moment. 

I definitely think this outfit fits the whole boho seventies vibe down to a tee - the suedette pleated skirt screams seventies, whilst the cut-out kimono adds just the right amount of boho. I thought it seemed only right to top the whole outfit off with some brown boots - which despite being a black boot girl through-and-through, I think it's safe to say I'm converted! 

In terms of jewellery, I kept things fairly simple with my Disney Mrs Potts necklace and some absolutely beautiful rose gold 'XO' bracelets from Buckley. I've been wearing them with everything lately and absolutely love them! 

Overall I adore this outfit and it's made me so excited for autumn leaves, the cooler weather and lots of browns, suede and cosy colours. Are you excited for autumn?