Barry M Brow Kit: Shape & Define

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

Everyone loves a good brow, amirite? For me, discovering how good eyebrows can really make a difference to your overall look was pretty much a beauty game-changer. But for those of us that (like me) spent silly teenage years plucking the caterpillars to infinity, a bit of filling and preening is needed to get some good eyebrow game going on. Up until it got smashed in my bag (sob, wahh) I was using the HD Brows palette, and then after that a random shade in an M&S shadow palette that just about fit my colouring. So when I went for a little Superdrug haulin' session last week, a new eyebrow palette was definitely on the 'must have' list.

I was initially torn between this and the Sleek brow palette - but this won over as it was a little bit cheaper, and also anything advertised as NEW has me sniffing around it like an overexcited puppy. The set is great for carrying around, and includes a wax, shadow and highlighter, as well as a double ended application brush and some tweezers (I actually immediately replaced the tweezers for my favourite mini Nouveau Lashes pair - the original ones are good enough for doing the job, but it was simply personal preference on that one). The packaging is pretty snazzy, I like the 'etched' gold feel. I'm an idiot and forgot to take a picture of the back, but it actually has illustrated 3 step instructions on how to use the kit, which is pretty handy for those just starting out with eyebrow 'maintenance'. I was worried about it coming open in my makeup bag - but it locks closed with magnets and as of yet, I haven't had an in-bag disaster.

This is actually the first time I've used wax on my brows, and after an initial bit of confusion it works really well to hold the hairs down and makes the shadow much easier to apply neatly. Although, the wax isn't majorly long-lasting as I did have the odd hair slip out of place during the day. Initially, I thought the powder a bit dark for me, but actually stepping back they pretty much achieved the look I wanted to, as I do have quite dark hair. I'd advise starting off with a very small amount of it, and building up for the desired effect. After doing my brows with the kit, I didn't feel that they looked at all unnaturally 'overdone', and the shape I achieved with them looked really clean and suited my face well. The powder end of the brush isn't a bad shape for application, and the pointed wax brush is great for either thin or thick brows.

Finally - the highlighter. I've never really highlighted under my brows before, but it definitely adds to the effect and is a great finisher, drawing attention to the arches of my eyes. For a simple eyebrow kit, I think this is definitely worth £5.99 - and the fact that it's easy to use and comes with illustrated instructions means it's great for beauty beginners. The only letdown is the shade - I'd probably prefer it a fraction lighter, but in the end it still works out fine! With affordable and decent products like this, I definitely think Barry M might be becoming my go-to high street makeup brand!

What do you use to keep your brows in check? (or do you just leave them be?)

Full product ingredients list here.

Weekend Wishlist 19.04.14 - Flower Power!

Saturday, 19 April 2014

1 // 2 // 3 // 4 // 5 // 6 // 7

This weekend's wishlist was pretty easy for me to put together, as I'm a sucker for anything floral! Thankfully, they're everywhere at the moment in the run up to Summer, and these are a few of my favourite flowery picks.

There's both a playsuit (1) and a dress (7) in the mix, the playsuit is much more casual but I love the mint and monochrome of the dress (the playsuit is also quite a bit cheaper!). I don't really wear trousers much, but I do love a good pair of shorts, and this pair from River Island (6) would look great with a plain vest top tucked in for an easy, summery look.

If you're after a floral headband for pub garden lunches in the sun, it's all about blogger favourite Crown and Glory - this pastel coloured headband (5) is made up of such lovely, spring shades. Speaking of blogger faves...Marc Jacobs Oh, Lola! perfume (3) comes in such a pretty bottle with a lid that looks like a bright pink flower - cute! And Models Own have recently brought out their Sticky Fingers range - including one with flower stickers (2), making for easy, flower power nail art.

Are you a fan of all things flowery?

Healthy Eats: Boots Shapers Meal Deal

Thursday, 17 April 2014

This week I've been making a bit of an effort to eat somewhat more healthily - particularly in the office, where I'm often tempted to snack and head to less-than-healthy places for a burrito or a mayo-heavy sandwich and crisps. I do try and make my own lunches when I can, but when it comes to popping out to grab a quick and easy meal deal, I usually head to Boots. Recently I've been favouring their Shapers range - for £3.29 (£3.79 in London/airports), you get to choose a main, snack and a drink, which is a decent price not far off your usual supermarket meal deal. All three components in the Shapers meal deal come to under 500 calories, which is great if you're calorie counting or just want to pick up a slightly healthier option.

My favourite main course so far is definitely the Chipotle Caesar Salad - I found it a bit weird at first as chipotle sauce, as much as I love it, seems like an odd choice on salad. But it was actually really good! (the normal Caesar Salad is too!) Snacks-wise, I'm a huge popcorn fan, so I like that they do it in the meal deal. Their range of snacks is actually brilliant - from baked snacks to fruit to breadsticks and dip, as well as indulgent chocolate and strawberry mousses. (I'm beginning to sound like an ad from Boots...this isn't even sponsored!!)

On the drinks side, the Apple and Elderflower 'Vitamin Water' is tasty and refreshing - although I'm usually quite sceptical of drinks that claim to have 'healthy' properties. If I fancy something a bit fizzy, their sparkling drinks are full of flavour, moreso than your average sugar-free/low sugar fizzy drink.

They may not live up to the expectations of the super-healthy weight loss brigade, but for those of us on the go, they're a great option over the ususal supermarket sandwich, and have a surprisingly diverse and tasty range. If you don't want to go the whole hog, all the Shapers products can be worked into the normal meal deal too. Boots seem to change up their options quite regularly as well, and with the mix and match it's easy to not get bored! Just make sure you avoid the make-up aisle, or you could be losing pounds in a totally different sense...

My meals:
1. Chipotle Chicken Caesar Salad; Pineapple, Mango & Grape; Apple and Elderflower vitamin water
2. Prawn Cocktail Layered Pasta Salad; Salted Popcorn; Sparkling Cloudy Lemonade

Where do you head to for a healthy lunch? 

Five Favourites: Soap & Glory

Tuesday, 15 April 2014

My skincare/body stuff storage drawers (all two of them) are currently overflowing with pink, girly packaging. Yep, I'm a bit of a Soap & Glory hoarder. Most of it comes from treating myself to the Yule Monty gift set at Christmas, and then being given a fair few gift sets by people who know me and my hearty appreciation of things that smell pretty! I'm working my way through using them all, but there are five stand out products of theirs that I really love...

Heel Genius
£5.50 (125ml) (miniature version pictured)
I've already featured Heel Genius in another post, and it's still a real go-to product when my feet need some TLC - especially with summer round the corner. It has a great consistency, and feels really refreshing too.

Scrub Of Your Life
£7 (200ml)
With SUMMER(!) feeling like it's on it's way at last and the awesome weather we've been having, I forsee plenty of legs and arms coming out of their winter hibernation. To get mine into a condition that won't make everyone in London run off screaming, I've been using Scrub Of Your Life. I really like that it creates a lather as well as having gentle exfoliating beads, it makes my arms and legs feel really exfoliated without making them sore or drying them out.

The Righteous Butter
£10.50 (300ml) // £2.50 (50ml)
I do love me a good body butter, and I alternate between using this and Butter Yourself - honestly, there's not a lot of difference between the two, but I do find The Righteous Butter great for really dry patches, which I get quite badly around my elbows. I love the way my skin feels in the morning when I've used this before bed, and the scent is gentle but rather lovely and comforting. I have both the full size (pictured) and travel size of this, which is pretty handy!

Sugar Crush Body Wash
£6.50 (500ml)
The scent of this is just amazing! I'm the worst morning person ever, but the zingy citrus smell is ace at waking me up from zombieland. It's quite creamy, but still lathers well. £6.50 is a bit more than I'd usually think to pay for a shower gel, but I definitely think it's good value as the bottle is HUGE - I'm barely getting through it!

Thick & Fast Mascara - Superjet Black
£10 (10ml)
I've been through a lot of mascaras in my time - but few have ever REALLY impressed me. Thick & Fast actually makes it up there, due to it's ability to make my lashes look noticeably thicker and longer without clumping or going flaky. It has great staying power too, and the Superjet Black shade is a really striking, PROPER black.

S&G products are often on some kind of offer at the high street emporium of beauty dreams (otherwise known as Boots...), and although some of their products would probably be classed as more expensive than 'budget' ranges, I'd say they definitely offer good value for money. Plus...y'know...CUTESY PINK PACKAGING.

Are you a Soap and Glory fan? Let me know your favourite products in the comments below!

(on a side note - I'm loving having a garden and sunlight when I get in for taking blog photos!)

Swan, Duck, Goose: Models Own Speckled Eggs Polishes

Monday, 7 April 2014

Models Own have brought out a fair few new collections this year already - including the Speckled Eggs collection, very similar to the Illamasqua Speckled collection, but at around a third of the RRP at £5 each. The collection features pastel tones with a speckled finish, and are named after egg-laying birds. My lovely housemate bought me a selection of the shades for my recent birthday, and I've been trying them out since. The three shades she picked for me, as you can see, are pretty straightforward - Swan's a light purple, Duck is blue and Goose, a yellow.

The consistency of the polishes is quite thin, meaning using at least two coats is necessary to build up colour, which can result in a look that's heavy on the speckles. I've realised I much prefer the results when just one thin coat is used over a base colour - Ciate's Sugar Plum and Chinchilla are both great base colours and I really like the lighter speckling that it creates. It's also a brilliant way of creating new shades with your speckles - as you can see - when Goose is layered lightly over Ciate's Apple & Custard, it results in a green speckled nail.

The only slight downside to these is removal - I ended up with lots of speckles stuck to my fingers which were a bit annoying to remove! Otherwise though, I really like the way the polishes look, so I think it's definitely worth a little bit of extra cleaning up.

Have you picked up any of the latest Models Own collections?

Vintage Style Lingerie On A Budget

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Bra, £7 and knickers, £3, Primark

As a wee little treat for my birthday (we won't talk about the silly money I spent during the rest of the shopping trip...) I decided to grab myself some pretty new underwear. I was originally planning on visiting New Look (which I also did, and came out with a bulging bag still...) as I'm a big fan of their styles. But having a browse in Primark, I stumbled across these absolute beauties.

Not all of Primark's bras go up past a D, but they do have a lovely range for those of us with 'more up top', with bras in sizes DD-G. Annoyingly, they're a bit more expensive than some of the 'regular' selections - but I've actually found I prefer the styles, and the quality is actually really decent. This vintage looking set has such a lovely rose pattern, and the lace detailing makes them pretty as well as practical. The bra itself is a great fit, and I feel adequately supported by the sturdy straps and strong underwiring. I also like that they sell the bra and briefs seperately - nothing is more annoying in the world of underoos than assuming everyone with a certain bra size has the same pants size!

There were also some other lovely sets that I might have to casually wander back to and grab off the shelves. At £10 for the matching set, they're a great bargain and much better quality than I'd have imagined from Primark!

Lush The Comforter Bubble Bar

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Last weekend I went out to get something from New Look in Shepherd's Bush Westfield - only to find out it was closed for refurbishment, helpful! To cheer myself up, I popped into Lush and decided to pick up something nice for my Sunday night bath. I decided on The Comforter bubble bar - I tend to prefer the bubble bars to the ballistics as they last longer.

The Comforter has the same scent as one of my favourite Lush shower jellies, Sweetie Pie, so I'm surprised I hadn't picked this one up sooner. It's sweet and blackcurrant scented without being too overpowering, and felt really calming and relaxing and generally really lovely. I crumbled about a quarter of the bar into a running bath, then settled down with an episode of Castle on my laptop for some quality me-time. The bar turned the water very pink, and created a good amount of bubbles that lasted the duration of my soak. It also left my skin feeling soft and smooth after, thanks to the essential oils.

I'd say I'll get about 4 baths using this quite generously, which makes £4.50 for the bar a rather good deal. It's definitely a new favourite Lush product, one I'll definitely be picking up again for my Sunday night bathtime!

Are you a fan of Lush's bubble bars?