LIFESTYLE / 5 Things for 2019, update #1

As this update is coming about 6 weeks later than I had planned, I should probably address the fact that it’s also my first blog post in about 2 months. The reason? Simply, I had a major content block – I wasn’t sure what I wanted to create/write about, I didn’t want to half arse by putting posts out I wasn’t into (as I’ve done in the last during these lulls) so thought it was better to just not bother. I’m now feeling more ready, prepared and excited to get back on it, so I’m starting by sharing my first update on my goals for 2019

1. Shop in my own closet 75% of the time

So far, so good. I’ve found this one a bit easier than I thought I would. Whenever I’ve been getting dressed in the morning or planning to go somewhere I’ve made sure I have a good hard look through my wardrobe…and my ironing basket (because we all know that’s where most of the clothes live) aaaaaaaannnnnd what I’ve come to fondly refer to as my ‘bed-drobe’ (double bed in the spare room, surely the perks of being a home owner) to see what I realistically had to wear. Once I got over the whole “it’s ok to be seen re-wearing outfits in current society” and “I don’t go out lots and lots, so I really don’t need to buy something new every time” I realised I have perfectly nice clothes and I just need to put them on.

I will say that over the last few weeks whilst being in my funk I have ‘tried’ to do some clothes and beauty shopping but it’s been a bit of a fail and most of the stuff has ended up going back.

The biggest test for me was the launch of the Urban Decay Naked Reloaded palette – with the last few drops I’ve literally grabbed them as soon as they’ve gone on sale, but I’m holding strong on this as I just don’t need it…well, at the moment.

2. Get a home bar

Almost done can you believe! There’s a bar option within our actual house (a full blog post coming about this as soon as I can) and we have a physical bar top in one of our outhouses but haven’t stocked or styled it yet. So it’s definitely going, but not quite there.

3. Un-join the gym and get outside

I can definitely put a big fat tick against this one too, ya girl is on a roll here!

I’ve been going for long walks at least once per week and shorter walks another once or twice, and it’s been great for so many reasons. My physical and mental health have both improved from getting fresh air, and it’s been a great opportunity to catch up with friends and be a bit more sociable. I would NEVER have been that sociable in a gym scenario, even if I’ve gone to a class with someone.

So far I’m feeling that this was the best goal I set for myself for the year.

4. Get out of the house more

Yes, weeeeelllllll… I can’t say for definite that I’m fully on with this, however I’ve made steps from where I was before so things are happening but perhaps slower than I would have liked then to. What can I say; the temptation of a Saturday afternoon nap sometimes has more of a pull for me! Haha. I have been doing at least a little something each weekend towards this overall goal – going out for walks with friends and adding in a coffee stop has been one, making an effort to go and see family, popping to look round the shops, go see a film or out for lunch have been others. I’ll be honest and say some of those times I’ve found it quite hard to get going as I just haven’t wanted to move from the couch, but once momentum is going I’ve felt better for it which is making things a bit easier each time.

5. Drinks out, drinks in

I think this one is OK? My only aim was to not drink aimlessly and think about things a bit more, which I think I’ve been achieving.

I’ve only had 3 real points where I’ve had alcohol so far this year – 1 for Valentines day which was unexpected, another on a nice day in March when I suggested to the Mr that we head out for some laid back day drinks (bloody love chilled afternoons like that) and we shared a bottle of prosecco and mojitos. That’s the sort of thing I wanted to avoid doing on the regular however I’m not being hard on myself for it as Im not likely to be doing it all the time and it went a long way to having quality time and relaxation which is important to me.

The final time was on holiday; again another key test as everybody else was very much in ‘I’m on holiday, let’s drink from lunchtime’ mode, but I simply just had two or 3 when I felt like it, only had something I really wanted and mixed plenty of water breaks in for good measure.

So, what else has been happening in my life since we last spoke?

I’ve been holiday

Last week I got back from a family holiday to Lanzarote. It was a week long break (booked by my in-laws to end at the start of the Easter Bank Holiday weekend, extra 4 days off for me) that turned out to be very relaxing and exactly what was called for. I had a great mix of sightseeing, sunbathing, swimming, eating and sleeping (the Mr would probably argue I did too much of the latter!) but I don’t think I’ll be doing any dedicated blog posts about the trip as I haven’t found a content angle that I feel would well. Instead, here are a few pics:

Not gonna lie, I’m petty darn pleased with this update overall! I’m doing well, I’m being realistic and I still have 7 and a bit more months to make a solid difference.

For general day to day updates and more holiday spam, make sure you check in on my social media channels in between blog posts.

Thanks for reading,

J xx

BEAUTY / How I…get high end makeup palette looks for less

So after a brief hiatus (can 3 weeks be classed as brief? The only acceptable answer here is yes btw) I’m back with the next instalment of my little beauty post series. For my first one I focussed on lip products and next up is eyes.

There are so many amazing eyeshadow palettes out there, but for most of the more expensive ones (which I would argue are the ones £40 upwards) there’s more than likely a pretty decent dip that will be significantly cheaper but work pretty much as well.

I’ve picked three high end palettes I’ve lusted after in the past year and have found a drug store alternative for. One thing to remember though – with high end palettes comes more glamorous packaging, you’re very rarely going to get a dupe that comes anywhere close. But, if you can get over that then you could be in for a right treat.

Swap: Huda Beauty Rose Gold Remastered for I Heart Revolution Rose Gold Chocolate saving £47.01

I’ll admit I was OBSESSED with the look of the Huda palette when I first saw it, but no matter how pretty it looks there was no way in heeeeellllll I was going to fork out FIFTY SIX BLEEDING QUID to have it in my life!

I haven’t fully used both palettes but I have swatched both, own the Rose Gold Chocolate palette and have watched a fair amount of YouTube tutorials using the former to know that what I’d call the ‘stand out’ shades (pinks and shimmers) look pretty darn close to me. For those that don’t match up, like the matte black, it’d be a safe bet to presume you’re likely to have this is a palette you already own so won’t be missing it.

As the shimmers are the star shades here I know this is not a palette I would reach for on the daily (I work in an office attached to a factory, so there’s no need for me to be this extra) it would only be now and again, so I felt that a more modest nine pounds was far more justifiable.

Swap: ABH Norvina for I Heart Revolution Violet Chocolate saving £34.01

The YouTube unboxings of Norvina were just so pretty, the purple shades seemed just a little bit unique and really special. But, was I going to spend forty three pounds to enjoy just a couple of shades? Er, no.

Unlike the above that was recommended to me, I proactively sought this dupe out on the Revolution website being pretty certain it would exist. Again I don’t own Norvina but I have swatched the shades I was most excited by (I have plenty of neutral shades already so it was less important to me how these ones looked) and there is some difference, but not so much that means the same kinds of looks can’t be created. There are an extra couple of purple shades in the dupe palette too, so with a bit of mixing I’m willing to bet you’d be closer to more exactly matching the higher end shades.

Swap: Urban Decay Naked Cherry for Collection Eyes Uncovered in Nude Rose and Matte Nude Rose saving £29.52

This is the only one of the three that I’ve done a personal comparison of, and lemme tell ya that these palettes may be small and light but they be mighty!

For a very long time I used the original Nude Rose palette (the one with shimmers in it) which I mentioned in my everyday makeup post last year. I adored these colours for making my eyes pop every, but I’m a sucker for a good gimmick and Naked Cherry looked sooooo appealing and too good to pass up when it dropped towards the end of last year (I already had Urban Decay Backtalk so I really didn’t need it).

Do I like the high end version? Yes. Is it vastly better than the two cheaper versions? Not at all. Will I continue to use the high end version because I paid a lot of money for it to not just sit on my dressing table? You bet your ass I will!

If you have any other new-ish dupes to recommend please do shout them out.

Thanks for reading,

J xx

BEAUTY / How I make make my lips…

Since I have made a commitment this year to be more thoughtful about my fashion and beauty spending, I thought I would do a series sharing the beauty items I reach for most for each part of the face and body.

I’m kicking things off lips – I like to chat so, ya know, makes sense!

…look nicer for everyday: Urban Decay Vice Cream lipstick in Naked.

I’m stopping short of saying this is “my lips but better” as this shade is a bit more pinky than my lips are, but I’d say it definitely helps them a bit more alive and healthy if that’s even a thing?

The formula is really comfortable but a little bit sheer so it kind of mixes with the natural colour and generally makes them look a bit more appealing.

…feel sultry.

I have a couple of different options for this, depending on whether I’m feeling a goody vibe or some colour (which usually depends on what I’m wearing.

Option 1: Fenty Beauty Gloss Bomb in Fenty Glow.

This stuff is Gloss to the next level, definitely worth the money if you were just buying one to use all the time. The shimmery particles reflect the light so nicely and make lips look fuller and poutier yet still fairly natural as there’s not a lot of colour.

Option 2: MAC Lip Duo in Chilli/Chicory

This is a fairly new discovery of mine and I’d probably say this is the perfect red for me. It has a slight brown undertone and is just a little bit deeper which seems to work really well.

I’ve tried the infamous Ruby Woo previous which I really like but can sometimes feel a bit too bright and orange toned for my skin.

…red for days: NYX Liquid Suede in Kitten Heels

Step aside Snow White; if I want a true red that has immense staying power, this is the one I have reached for most over the past few years. I know I’ve just named my perfect red above, but this one is for when you’re not coming to play! Controversial opinion – I much prefer the formula of the Liquid Suede to the soft matte lip cream by NYX, it’s applies easier due to the thinner consistency and you can always get it out of the tube, occasionally with the cream you’re having to kind of scrape around to pick it up not applicator.

I hope this has given you inspiration to dive back in to your own beauty collection and re-discover some faves, or some recommendations to test this year.

Thanks for reading,

J xx

BEAUTY/ Skincare haul (August 2018)

I seem to be a bit of skincare junkie lately!

Recently I’ve started to understand my skin a lot better – what it naturally does and what effects my makeup/the environment have on it, so I’ve been doing some research into the best ingredients to improve the bits that need a bit of help, in addition to preserving the good bits, which led me to pick up quite a few things from the drugstore…luckily, there were some discounts so I saved about £30 on the RRP!

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix foaming bubble face mask

I was really just jumping on the sheet/ horror movie serial killer bandwagon with this purchase! I thought it would also be a good ‘support product’ to the other items I bought (keep scrolling to find out what they are)

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix Liquid Glow

This stuff is unbelievable. After one swipe across my skin, I can see my pores instantly shrink (which is the main reason I got it) which is perfect for adding in other similar products to make the effect permanent. They do enlarge again after a little while but regular use has helped to reduce them down from where they were.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix foaming pads

I’ve previous tried the original daily cleansing pads and liked them so thought I’d try the newest version. Boy these babies are intense! I use the bobbled size to exfoliate my face in circular motions as I later the pad around my skin (I pay close attention to the cheek area near my nose, nose and forehead) and it really does get up a good lather. Afterwards my skin feels tingly so I know it’s working (I rinse my skin with cool water to get the foam off, not sure if you’re supposed to) it also has the same instant pore reducing effect as the liquid glow which gives a better skin texture for applying primer.

Nip + Fab Glycolic Fix purifying overnight gel

I bought this to complete the acidic set, as I’m desperate to tackle my pores and reduce blemishes. So far I’m not 100% sold on it purely because it leaves a very sticky texture on my skin for quite a while after applying; I’ve tried using less product and really working it in but it still happens so I think it’s supposed to. I apply at the end of my evening skincare routine (which is usually makeup remover, face wash, cleanser, glow liquid) and by the morning the stickiness is gone. I think I’d be tempted to stay away from this one on holiday though, as I can’t imagine it feeling very nice in extreme humidity.

La Roche Posay Effaclar purifying cleansing gel

I’ve had good experiences with the other LRP I’ve tried which encourage me to try this out. I’ve added it I to my skincare routine in a bid to reduce the oiliness of my face which also contributes to enlarged pores and breakouts, and it’s been working really well. It generates a light foam on the skin when mixed with water, washes off easily and makes everything feel generally really fresh.

So next time you see me IRL and you think I’m looking all fresh and glowing, you’ll know why!

Thanks for reading,

J xx

BEAUTY/ Skincare saviours: helping my face to get its groove back

Over the past few months I’ve noticed that my face has become increasingly ‘muddy’ and that my skin has generally not been looking it’s best at all. I put some of this down to the stress of starting a new job and moving home but, now things have started to settle down I feel as if my skin is in need of some serious TLC! I’ve been experimenting with a few different products to try and improve things, and below I’m sharing what’s been working well so far.

La Roche Posay Rosaliac anti redness serum

I’ve noticed that the amount of redness on my face has increased quite a lot over the past year, despite having more make up free days and taking makeup off more thoroughly. Concealer doesn’t do much to cover it either, so I did a little research online and found this. I’ve used LRP products before, the Effaclar duo + cream and Effaclar anti-blemish clay mask have been in my regular rotation for the past year helping to combat occasional breakouts so I knew the product was worth a test (though at £18 it’s not a massively cheap test). I apply a little bit of the product twice a day to my cheeks and nose -the instructions say you should notice a difference in four weeks, I’ve been using it for about 3 and my skin does appear to be less res in my cheek area. I think my nose (specifically is being a bit more stubborn because I have some angry blood vessels that need

The Body Shop Vitamin C daily glow cleansing polish

I picked this up from my friend Mel who is a TBS rep, purely because I liked the smell and there was 35% off, but it’s been a huge help in getting my skin to feel softer and look less icky on a daily basis. It say use for tired and grump skin, which mine most definitely has been! I’ve been using every evening and most mornings with a little water after removing my makeup everywhere except my eye area.

The Body Shop Vitamin C glow revealing liquid peel

I got this to go with the cleansing polish as I thought my face could do with a little extra kick up the butt. It still smells nice but a bit more chemically, which is how you know a product isn’t playing when delivering on what it promises!

I’ve been using it 3 times a week with a little water, rubbing it vigorously into my skin for around 20 seconds until the product becomes a “peely” consistency like rubber cement (not the reason that I thought it had peel in the same but a bit less scary). As well as helping to keep it soft I’ve noticed that my skin is also a lot smoother; all the nasty little fleshy bumps have gone.

Coconut oil

And oldie but goody when it comes to, well everything really, but I’ve been using this in particular to combat dry patches and condition my newly microbladed eyebrows (read about my microblading experience here). I’ve been dabbing a little on the very dry areas of my skin and over my brow area in the evening (I’ve stopped dabbing it on my brows now as they’ve healed, and my brow lady has said too much oil will make the colour smudge, which it has a little) so that it can work its magic overnight.

Hopefully this will help anybody reading who may also be suffering with problem skin at the moment, or at the very least give you some inspo for new products to try out.

Thanks for reading,

J xx

FASHION & BEAUTY / Post birthday haul (2018)

After the birthday celebrations comes… the spending of more money! I was lucky enough to get a bit of money for my birthday too so, coupled with some of my own, I hit ASOS and Harvey Nichols hard.

There were a lot more things as part of this haul, mainly fashion, however they’ve had to go back because they either didn’t fit well or look good, so I decided not to include them.


Palm print shirt, Wednesday’s Girl at ASOS

If this shirt doesn’t scream summer, I don’t know what does! This is actually part of a coord with some wide leg printed trousers which unfortunately went out of stock before I could get my mitts on them, but luckily this works really well with most things. The material is really light and the not too fitted so it’s going to be lovely to wear on hot summer holiday days/nights.

Faux leather biker jacket, ASOS

I’ve been looking for a new biker jacket for absolutely ages, and saw this one recommended on Instagram for an absolute bargain at £35. I thought for the price it was worth giving a shot, and I’m not at all disappointed. It has a great shape (I really don’t like the look of unfitted biker jackets on me) feels really good and looks pretty decent too, not at all shiny or fake as so many cheaper versions do.

Ruched waist jumpsuit in red… and black, ASOS

This is also one I spotted on Instagram (I actually think this a much better way to shop than browsing the ‘new in’ sections these days) and picked it up in both colours (obviously, it is me after all) and felt like this would be perfect for dressing up or down during the warmer weather.

The fit is really flattering with the waist detailing and wide leg, and the material is really light, the only slight issue is the bra sitch – you can’t wear a normal or strapless bra, and I definitely cannot go without! I’m going to try a stick on bra and see how I go, because I can definitely see these as part of my regular rotation for summer.


There’s really only one reason why a gal like me is shopping for beauty products at Harvey Nichols…yup, I finally picked me up some Fenty Beauty!

Cheek hugging highlight brush

This brush just makes so much sense; how on earth is Rih Rih the first person to bring it out?! I’ve always struggled to find the best highlight brush for me, I have a fan brush and a Real Techniques highlight brush but usually end up applying it with my fingers, so I’m hoping this will help position and blend more easily.

I managed to bend some the strands as I was removing the (very tight) brush cover which is why it looks a bit crazy at the side, boo!

Killawatt foil freestyle highlighter duo

And this is one of the things the brush will be out to work on…how pretty! I spotted this Rihanna’s Vogue makeup tutorial and thought the colours were just fabulous for summer. Also, can we just take a moment to appreciate how pretty the summer product packaging is with all the pinks and florals?

I’d describe these colours as pigmented but more sheer when applied so they are buildable, making them great for subtle and more out there looks.

Match Stix trio

I’m determined to get better at the base/contour/highlight thing, and these bad boys are gonna help me do it!

I went for the lightest shades as I’m fairly pale and the swatches online seem to match my skin the best. These feel really creamy which I think will help me to blend things more easily, and the contours shade is more cool toned which I think will be a better match to my skin. The concealer is a similar shade to the one I use now and the highlight has a nice shimmer that’ll really pop in the sunshine.

Bomb Baby mini lip and face set

My final FB purchase was this duo of mini products. I couldn’t justify buying both of these as full sized products so this felt like an easy compromise that would also fit into my travelling makeup pouch so much easier. Win win right!

I really wanted to try the lip gloss since the range first dropped, and so far I’m really liking it. Although it looks dark in the tube, it’s actually applies as a really nice neutral sheen that enhances your natural lip colour and pretty much matches any makeup look.

The highlight is the same formula as the duo and also has a nice buildable colour, which is kind of peach-toned and quite similar to cult fave BECCA Champagne Pop. I think I’m going to experiment with this as an eyeshadow to get a kind of cohesion to my look that more natural but with a bit of shimmer.

I also picked up a few non-Fenty products too

Even though I recently had my eyebrows microbladed (you can read about my experiences here) I thought picking up a super-fine brow product would be really useful for enhancing the areas that didn’t quite take the pigment for nights out. I don’t foresee that I’ll use it too much as I’m fairly happy with how things look at the moment, but it’s good to have it on standby.

NARS bronzing powder in Laguna

I’ve become a bit disillusioned with my Benefit Hoola bronzer recently as it’s starting to feel a bit too warm for my skin (I also have Hoola Lite, but it does virtually nothing as it’s just too light). I remembered that the MUA at the NARS counter applied this for me last summer and that it looked really nice so thought I’d try this out since a lot of people seem to love it.

Although the tones are still quite warm, it’s much less severe so I’m hoping it will work a little better alongside the pink and neutral toned looks I’m planning for the summer.

Urban Decay primer potion

This one is a repurchase of an old fave after temporarily switching to the Eden variation for the past few months (which I’ve been much less impressed with). This version has great tacky-feeling base that keeps eyeshadow put and increased for a good while. I won’t be switching it out ever again!

If you’ve tried any of these products and have some styling or make up looks for me to try please free to link them in the comments; I always enjoy getting inspiration from how other people do things.

Thanks for reading,

J xx

BEAUTY/ My microblading experience

I have rubbish eyebrows.

I was one of the infamous 90s over pluckers (I was 12 and there was nobody around to educate us tweens properly back then) in addition to this I kind of ‘play’ with my brows as a kind of comfort mechanism which is made them extra crazy and sparse.

I’m also rubbish at doing things to my eyebrows to make them look half decent. I’ve tried every kind of powder, pencil and wax (to the tune of hundreds in f pounds I’m sure) read hundreds of blog posts and watched as many YouTube tutorials, but I still haven’t been able to master the illusive #BrowsOnFleek

After being self conscious for years I decided a few months ago that I wanted to get some expert help, so I turned to the brow queen of the Hull and East Yorkshire area, Gemma Winstanley.


I’ve never showed my bare brows to the internet before! They don’t look quite as awful from the angle of this photo, however you can see that they are pretty spares and short. I’m not wearing any makeup because I had the day off work so decided to give my face a break, but it’s absolutely fine to wear your usual products when having the procedure.

Next came stencilling of the shape. This picture is a lot smaller because it was cropped to hide my double chin and resting bitch face!

Gemma spent a lot of time making sure the shape was absolutely spot on, so I trusted she’d picked the right one before I even saw it for myself. One of my brows is slightly lower than the other so this was accounted for; the outline looks a little larger to account for shrinkage of the tattoo line (I know, weird right) although all strokes are kept inside the drawn out shape.

Then came the procedure itself. I have a HUGE phobia of needles so was pretty anxious, however Gemma had shown me her equipment during the initial consultation so I knew what to expect. I have a bit of a low pain threshold so was worried I wouldn’t be able to bear the pain (I even asked her to a bit on each side so they’d still be even if I needed to tap out) but I found it completely bearable – it was a very fine, yet occasionally sharp, scratching sensation. After the initial strokes were in Gemma was able to numb my brow area and then I didn’t feel a thing.

Well, that was until the rubbing alcohol was applied. Damn, that smarted!!

A light/medium colour was used as I was worried they’d end up too dark (There is the option to darken up in a later session) and applied using a manual process (i.e. no machines). It sounds very much like a finger running along comb teeth, which gets louder when covers a section that has more hair.

After treatment 1

After the entire treatment had finished my brow area was extremely sore, like a bad sunburn. However by the time I arrived home (about 40 minutes later) that has reduced significantly to a milder soreness. Another hour later and it was gone completely.

Now Gemma had done her job, I had to do mine. As part of the aftercare I needed to clean my brow area with cooled boiled water a few times per day, before applying a conditioning balm to help them heal well. For the first few days some of the pigment will appear on the cotton pad after wiping, which is just the excess coming away from the treated area.

The soreness returned a teeny bit for the next 2/3 days, which is normal, and I continued to aftercare. Then, after 3 days, part of my brow literally disintegrated as I was applying the balm.

As you can imagine, I freaked don’t just a little bit. After a quick message to Gemma including this delightful photo, she assured me that this sometimes happens and I hadn’t done anything wrong. Just keep at it, and fill in missing areas with pencil until my next treatment.

Treatment 2 (Gemma and I both forgot to take pics of this stage, oops)

On going back for my next appointment, I discovered there had been a bit of an epic fail in my healing process. Part of this was my fault – I had mistaken some of the dead skin on my brows as scabs that needed to heal so hadn’t cleaned them away, which had led to the pigment not taking hold properly and my skin becoming a flaming mess. The other part of the problem was just unfortunate – I seemed to have had a reaction to the conditioning balm that made my skin extra red and flaky.

I was sent home to return a couple of weeks later to apply the next lot of strokes, after being advised by Gemma to switch to coconut oil for the conditioning.

When I came back everything had healed much better and the second lot of strokes were applied with darker pigment, which took less time to do (about 35 mins v 50/60 mins the first time). This time, the pain was heightened a little due to there already being an ‘open wound’ when product was being applied. Again, after the skin had been broken numbing cream could be applied and took the sensation away. Then it was the same rubbing alcohol and sunburn like feeling.

I was a lot braver with my brow care this time and made sure the area was cleaned gently but firmly twice per day and followed up with coconut oil. I noticed the results were better immediately, and the pigment took hold much more easily.

The only downside to the coconut oil was that it would slide throughout the day and destroy any attempt at eye makeup; even when only using a tiny bit and wiping the area underneath thoroughly did little to help.

Before treatment 3

As you can see, the pigment definitely established after the second go, but still needed a bit more ‘oomph’ to get it to stay put. Over the course of the month I’d still felt as I could manage without product in the brow area though which has been brilliant, it saved a hell of a lot of time getting ready is the mornings!

After treatment 3

As this was a fresh wound that had now been aggravated twice, the pain went up just a little bit more again, to the point were even the numbing cream didn’t take it away completely.

This time the healing process was much quicker and less “messy” there was less scabby fallout or flaking skin. I kept up the wiping and coconut oil application for a couple of weeks, then went to just applying coconut oil in the evenings for another weeks or so.

How do they look now?

Overall I’m mostly pleased; I feel more confident going out without eyebrow makeup in the daytime and it takes less time to do my make up (not to mention how much money I’ve saved on brow products that I use, break, re-purchase and lose).

However – it has been a little tricky to get the pigment to ‘take’ to my skin so they’re not perfect like they were immediately after each treatment, parts of the pigment simply peeled off without leaving any colour whatsoever, which sadly I think is just bad luck as we had three sessions of treating the area. More than a bit annoying for the amount of money it cost, but unfortunately just “one of those things”.

My overall aim now is the keep conditioning the area in the hope that this will maintain the colour of the pigment for as long as possible and encourage hair growth in the sparse areas at long last.

Cost and advice

My treatment with Gemma cost £350 – this included 1 consultation and up to 3 treatment sessions. This was split into instalments – £20 to secure the consultation, £80 after consultation to secure 3 treatment sessions (both non-refundable) and the final balance after treatment 1. Top up treatments are charged at £175 and include 2 sessions.

If you’re considering microblading, these are my top tips

– Be sure: this is pretty permanent and costly procedure, so take some time and give it some serious thought before you take the plunge.

– Pick a reputable and qualified practitioner: this is a procedure on your face, and a pretty permanent one at that, so do your research and find the best person for the job. View results of their work and ask people you trust for recommendations. As Gemma herself says, the end result is like a billboard showing the quality of her work.

– Be prepared to wait: both for the treatments and the end result. If they’re good at what they do, it’s likely that they’ll be busy and therefore not have appointment straight away (unless you’re lucky and manage to get a last minute cancellation). From booking my consultation I had to wait around 8 weeks for the first available appointment, then another 6 weeks for the first available treatment session. Each treatment is 4 weeks apart to allow your brows to heal and then ‘settle’ into the pigment. You may also have short periods where your brows don’t look their best whilst they’re healing, as I did.

-Ask questions: about anything you’re not sure of. A good practitioner will have answers for you and be more than happy to speak to you on the phone/online about any concerns between treatments.

-Consider a trainee practitioner: I don’t make this suggestion lightly! There are opportunities to receive the treatment from someone who is in training that will be supervised by someone qualified throughout, which would come at a reduced cost if you’re unable to afford the kind of price I paid. If this is something you’d consider then any research you do should focus on the training academy and the supervising practitioner; reputable establishments will not allow someone to practice on a real person if they don’t have faith in their ability and are in hand to assist if anything didn’t go quite as smoothly as planned. That said there is always a risk, as there is with anybody carrying out a cosmetic procedure, that something could go wrong, which is why you should be sure you want to start the process.

I hope sharing my experiences have provided a more real insight into microblading overall, whether this encourages or dissuades you from doing it.

Thanks for reading,

J xx

LIFESTYLE/ 20 years since Sex and the City: how relevant is it today?

I first saw Sex and the City when I was about 18, and last year I made a pilgrimage to Carrie Bradshaw’s famous stoop whilst on holiday in New York City. Even at the age of 34, 16 years later, I was beyond excited to pay it a visit.

Although I’m asking this question as a die-hard SATC fan, I can’t help but wonder (see what I did there?) if asking this next question out loud makes me a bit judgey/traitor-ish, or merely philosophical. If women of this generation watched the show, how much of it would resonate in the context of today’s society?

Blooming heck; I feeling the English graduate in me coming out a bit here! BUT; this isn’t an academic essay applying any kind of critical theory, promise! I’m merely going to chat about some key quotes from the show and see if they’re still a thing. K? Let’s do this….

This is DEFINITELY still a thing, it’s sooooo a thing! We see this assertion from men all the time – If a woman has a alternative opinion, she’s a bitch. Not simping over a man? Bitch. If women don’t act in accordance with male expectation, they’re usually referred to as either a bitch or “on the blob”. Because it couldn’t possibly be their problem could it? Don’t be silly.

This is one that should still be relevant but that women of today struggle to accept because of social media. We all see the perfect girls on IG (our own Natasha’s, if you will) and feel just a little bit inadequate that we don’t seem to be nailing life like they are. Sometimes they can’t either, we just don’t see that, but there’s a definite movement to raise up womankind and celebrate “imperfections” (or as I call them “what you look like irl”) which will hopefully get society back to a more Carrie frame of mind.

Social media is definitely responsible for making this more of a problem than ever before! How many times have you thought “I can’t wear that, I’ve been seen wearing it on IG” because I’ve thought this A LOT over the past 10 years of being on social media! That’s probably why I’ve had a borderline online shopping obsession and constantly have suitcases full of clothes to sell or donate. Thanks to celebs like Kate Middleton it’s becoming more acceptable to ‘shop in your own closet’ again and re-wear items (though if I was paying as much as she does for a frock, I’d be wearing it multiple times too) and I’ve noticed a few recent YouTube styling videos based on pieces people already own, so I think one is going to make a brief u-turn…before we go back to the same old dilemma. Sometimes we just can’t resist the lure of a ‘New In’ section!

Men; mocking the things they do not understand and cannot appreciate since the dawn of time. Fortunately, fashion is subjective and it doesn’t matter. That being said I do have times where I dress because I’d like the Mr to think I look nice, but primarily I dress for me. Oh, and for the approval of other women.

This quote has two current meanings attached for me. The first is the currently trendy “I don’t want to be around other humans, I’m gonna stay in and communicate using only the mediums of reality tv and food delivery apps” which is kinda cute and not entirely concerning. However, I’m present day society a statement like this could also be symptomatic isolating oneself due to their mental health, which is troubling. It’s fine to have time out for yourself, but don’t feel as if you have to be alone because you think you’re a burden or that nobody will care. They do, promise. We should all make sure we have each other’s backs as much as possible.

She’s not wrong – we should all have the guts to channel a little of Samantha’s confidence! I’ve always been a firm believer that what you wear on the outside can have a huge impact on how you feel inside, which will the help to improve you state of mind – so pull on your favourite outfit, take a look in the mirror and think “yass queen” before strutting out of the house to show the world who’s boss.

Although everything in this post is still pretty relevant, I’m very aware that there are things I haven’t mentioned that would raise more eyebrows today than perhaps they did back then – casual racism (remember when Samantha dated the black music producer and the rich guy with an Asian maid) the portrayal of ethnic minorities in lesser skilled roles (with Lucy Liu’s cameo as the only notable exception) are just a couple of examples. However, I believe that the overall vibe of female empowerment and independence most definitely sits well within the current issues facing women in society.

So what do you think; am I right or wrong? Which episode still resonates the most with you and why? Don’t leave a gal hanging; shout me out in comments below!

Thanks for reading,

J xx

FASHION, BEAUTY & LIFESTLYE/ My birthday wish list (2018)

It’s almost that time of year again….I really like birthdays, but this year I’m feel a bit oversensitive about getting older. Ugh.

So I’ve put together a few things I’ve had my eye on lately, hopefully one or two of them will end up in my hot little hands come 21 June!

1. Oliver Bonas mug

I’ve coveted this mug for a while but it keeps going out of stock so I haven’t managed to snaffle it yet, though I’ve managed to pickup the turquoise version. I just think the design is cool, it’s wide so it holds more tea, and the colours are just simple yet pretty.

2. Quay Australia x Missguided cat eye sunnies

Ah, my obsession for sunglasses continues. I only found out about this collab on YouTube last week and I’m already obsessed, however I find it super annoying that Quay prices seem to have rocketed up over the last year or so for no discernible reason. Still doesn’t stop me imagining how fierce these shades would look when I head off Santorini in a few months…

3. New Look linen look jumpsuit

This really caught my attention because it’s so simple and chic, yet comfortable looking, it could easily be dressed up or down during warmer weather. The material feels pretty nice when I’ve seen it in store so I think it will also help to keep me cool when the weather is (hopefully) hot hot hot.

4. Huawei media pad

I’ve recently ditched my iPhone in favour of a Huawei P Smart, which is working out pretty well so far, but I do miss my photos automatically synching up with my iPad. Solution? Upgrade my tablet to this cute lil’ number!

5. Urban Decay Beached eye shadow palette

UD have brought out yet another palette for me to lose my shi*t over (the last one being Naked Heat, obv) and neeeeeeeed it! I’m dying to jump on this blue shadow bandwagon – unlike the last time I experimented with it sometime in the 90s, I may be able to make it look half decent this time.

6. Topshop round straw bag

I can’t think of any gals who either don’t want want this bag, or already have it. I already have it in black (the Mr ‘lovingly’ refers to it as my “sewing box”) and really like it, and you know I like to buy things in all the colours…but it wouldn’t count if I got it as a present, right?

7. Urban Decay Backtalk palette

2 UD palettes on the list? You better believe it! This one would be a genuinely good investment, as I wear a lot of subtle pink shades for my everyday makeup (you can nosey at all of my go to makeup products here) as well as having a few brighter shades to experiment with. Coupled with the cheek colours, I thought it would be a great one to take on the go.

As I have done for the past couple of years I’ll probably be doing a ‘what I got for my birthday’ post so keep you eye out for that to, feel free to pop over to my social media channels for a nosey at my birthday shenanigans and general random life events!

Thanks for reading,

J xx

BEAUTY/ I tried the Primark ‘Nudes’ collection

I’m not usually a ‘do a review on a current beauty product’ kind of a girl, in fact I usually go out of my way to avoid being that girl. However, I’ve been seeing some chatter online about the new Primark ‘PS… Nudes’ collection and decided that actually, this time I am going to be that girl! I’ve jumped on many a beauty bandwagon over the years but this time I’ve done so purely in the name of finding out if a product was worth the hype, rather than because it was something I was desperate to get my mitts on. Bit of a game changer for me, but I hope you like it…

Firstly, let’s talk packaging and overall concept. It’s obvious that this collection is positioning itself as a high street alternative to the KKW Beauty and Kylie Cosmetics – the products within the collection, shade names and neutral-coloured packaging, it’s all there. If any of the products end up being as good as their higher end counterparts this will be great news for the gals in the UK and Ireland, as it’s trickier (not to mention more expensive with exchange rates and customs charges) to get this side of the Atlantic.

Eyeshadow palette

It has a good range of the neutral colours I use on a daily basis – pinks, browns and some highlighter shades – which in theory means I’d find it very wearable. I tried out a pink smoky eye (in the same kind of style as I do my everyday makeup) using three colours on the lid and a really pale pink underneath. I was pleased with the result (no photos because I haven’t learnt the art of taking a good photo of my makeup. Tips welcomed) although it’s a little too bright to be referred to as a ‘nude’ shade, and after about 4 hours out and about it’d creased quite significantly. However, I forgot to apply primer before the shadow, so I gave it another shot.

Next I tried out some of the brown shades for a natural yet slightly smoky look, after applying my trusty Urban Decay primer. This time the shadow lasted longer and only creased a tiny bit towards the end of the day. The colours are nice and the payoff is as good as some of my more expensive palettes, which is amazing.

Lip liner and matte liquid lipstick duo in ‘Fling’

The liner seems to have a nice consistency but I just couldn’t see any proper colour payoff when I applied it Me lips. The liquid lipstick is a lovely consistency and wasn’t too drying but the colour was awful – instead of the nice pink shade indicated by the tube, I can only describe it in real life as ‘neon nude’. Its not a wearable colour and I can’t imagine a natural fit for anybody’s skin tone. The liner/lip colours also aren’t an exact match, so a bit of work needs to be done if they want to compete with Kylie; there are already plenty of other high street rip-offs trying to do just that.

Matte eye collection in ‘Girl Code’

The liner is the same kind of creamy consistency and finish as the lip liner (I suspect it’s exactly the same formula but passed off as an eye product) and the shadow dries down in a very similar way. It’s a really nice colour, but my concern is the durability of both – the liner is pretty soft and may slide, the shadow could crack when it gets too dry. I haven’t quite made up my mind about them yet.

Body shimmer dust

I think this is my favourite of all the products I’ve tried, and I’d go as far as to say a hero product of the whole collection. It has amazing colour payoff, a little bit goes a long way, and I’d say it’s a pretty great dupe for the BECCA Shimmering Skin Perfector in the Pearl shade….which is kind of annoying, given that I just bought that very item a few weeks ago. Take my advice – buy this one and save yourself £28; it won’t quite fit as nicely into your handbag but you’ll get just as many compliments.

Contour stick duo

I thought with the sponge and brush ends this could make a decent tool for ‘on the go’. The brush end is pretty soft yet firm enough to buff in a good contour

Overall verdict: I think Primark have been clever to develop a product that taps in to the cult beauty/social media market, and they’ve definitely captured people’s interest. Some of the products work fine for regular use, others less so, which is probably about right for a budget high street range. The Body shimmer dust was a surprising highlight, no pun intended! I hope that Primark carry on developing and expanding this range, as I think it could become something pretty decent.

Thanks for reading,

J xx