BLOGMAS 2018 / Day 22 – the official 2018 highlight reel

As you’re reading this I’m getting ready to travel to Leeds where I will hopefully spend a lovely festive time doing some casual last minute shopping, daytime drinking and winding down in to the Christmas holidays. We did the same last year and it was exactly like this, so hopefully history will repeat! You’ll be able to nosey in on my Instagram stories at what I get up to.

I really like reading posts like this, and writing them each year is a great reminder of the good things that have happened over the past 12 months, so here’s a (probably slightly longer than it should be, but hey it’s me) summary of how 2018 has gone down.

January

I kicked off the year with my 5 Things for 2018 pledge, which was a set of goals I hoped to achieve throughout the next 12 months. I also put myself on a spending detox as an alternative to dry January (which I managed to keep for about 3 weeks if memory serves). This month also saw my first ever comedy review post – Jason Manford’s Muddle Class tour.

February

The Mr and I headed across the Pennines to Manchester for a weekend break, where I finally got to meet the wonderful Dom face to face! I was super thrilled with the custom illustration he did for me. This month also saw the start of things to come in 2 areas of my life – we had a second viewing on a house we really liked, and I met a couple of new blogger friends…more on both of these later.

March

Myself and mama headed to Liverpool on a girl’s trip with our friends – we had drinks, food and did some shopping. We also had a night out to see Sarah Millican’s Control Enthusiast which formed my second comedy review of the year. I headed out to an influencer dinner at Tapasya Hull with blogger friends old and new and had some of THE most delicious Asian food I’ve ever had.

April

April was pretty quiet and not much to mention as we were getting ready to move house, other than a quick update on my 5 Things for 2018.

May

This month was all about 1 key event – WE FINALLY BOUGHT A NEW HOUSE AND MOVED IN.

June

Hello June, hello mid-life crisis mode! I turned 35, became unemployed and finished my microblading treatment. As part of my celebrations I also went to see Tom Allen at Hull Truck Theatre (a mini review was included in my birthday post if you click the link above).

In a bid to get results from the latest weight loss fad, I tried Boom Bod to see if it would help me shift some blubber around my middle (as I’m sure you’ll already have guessed, it didn’t). I a slightly downward twist of fate, I ended up resigning from my job because I had been lied to about what it entailed and it just wasn’t for me (word to the wise kids: be VERY choosy when dealing with recruitment consultants)

By far, the highlight of the month was watching one of my oldest friends get married, which was a truly beautiful day.

July

There’s only one word to describe this month – HOT! As the heat wave hit I busied myself searching for a new job, and by the end of July I’d found it. This picture was taken as I got the call.

I also helped my mum to plan and deliver my grandparents 60th wedding anniversary – we went for vintage themed decor and old photographs alongside a traditional British- themed buffet which all went down a treat.

BUT, there was still more to come from this month…

I said hello to HEY Bloggers! Together with a group of 5 other blogging girls (2 of whom I met back in February) got together and formed an online community for targeted at united bloggers and creatives in Hull and East Yorkshire (hence HEY). We’d be talking about it for a little while but this month provided me with a bit of unexpected free time to work together and get it off the ground.

August

This was a pretty exciting month – as well as getting stuck into my new job, I went to Santorini and had a fabulous time! I shared my thoughts on things you should definitely do, a guide to the island and a guide to Greek food.

Then came #HEYlaunch the first official event for the HEY Bloggers community. It was held at the beautiful Hull Minster and got some great feedback.

As if August wasn’t quite jam-packed enough, I managed to squeeze in a quick 48 hours in London too! We went out of our way to do some different things which turned out really well.

September

This month was all about work and not to much else, however I did get to see Joe Lycett who is one of my very favourite comedians (I didn’t ever get round to writing a review, but it was bloody funny) and Gary Delaney (again, didn’t quite get around to writing a review, but this was I think my third time seeing him so that should give you a feel for my thoughts).

October

In an effort to get back in to my fashion stride on the blog, I re-launched my celeb style round up as weekly fashion faves

and for the very first time I experimented with full face makeup to go out for Halloween (which also saw me visit Spiders nightclub for the first time, a proper Hull institution).

November

I kicked my month with going to the Gok Wan ‘One Size fits All’ tour, bought a load of tea aaaaannnnnnddddddd………

I met freekin’ Santa!! Princes Quay kindly invited me to preview this year’s grotto, and it was everything you’d want a child to experience.

I rounded off the month by hopping on the radio on behalf of HEY Bloggers to talk about all things social media.

December

Which brings neatly to December – as it is for most people, there was quite a lot going on! On 1 December I kicked off #blogmas2018 and and visited the Urban Legends: Northern Lights projections in Hull.

I caught up with old friends for our annual festive night in (this ended up involving way more prosecco than it should have) and helped to host the HEY Bloggers Christmas party (I’ll talk more about that in the new year)

So that’s my year! There’s only really the actual Christmas holidays to go, which I’ll do in a separate post before New Year.

See you tomorrow,

J xx


BLOGMAS 2018 / Day 19 – A thank you to the brands

On #blogmas day 15 I posted the quickest of snapshots into the HEY Bloggers Christmas Party that I co-hosted the same day, what I’d like to dedicate today’s post to is thanking the wonderful and generous brands that collaborated with us on the event. We worked to get some great products for our guests to try, hopefully this shout out will inspire to try something new or re-discover and old fave!

The talented Melissa of Like Sugar Bakery created some amazing looking sweet treats for us, with flavours inspired by her USA heritage. She even branded her salted caramel brownies with our logo!

The stylish Lexington Bar was our venue, as an extra festive treat the bar tenders even created little edible Christmas trees to decorate our cocktails! To create a cute Instagrammable touch Hobbycraft gave us these cool HEY letter balloons. They were very well used indeed.

(Image: @lizzie_florence )

Our ice breaker game was hosted by Jo, the creator of Socialise and Mingle which was the perfect way to get guests mingling in a quirky way

(image: @riareeblog)

Inside the goody bags given to each bags given to each guest, they found the following:

Dom & Ink print by Rock on Ruby / A bag of Metcalfe’s asking Popcorn / VIP invite and branded merchandise from Napoleon’s Casino Hull / Sienna X tanning product / A can of Fentimans Rose Lemonade / Discount voucher for High Maintenance Jewellery / Book marks and pen from Wordery / A Hugh Rice silver heart necklace, silver cleaning cloth and Luxe by Hugh Rice tote bag / A Hull Truck Theatre new season brochure

Our charity raffle, in aid of charity Oscar’s Choice, had prizes up for grabs from the following companies, there were also a few spot prizes up for grabs throughout the event

Rock on Ruby festive jumpers / Bespoke High Maintenance Jewellery bracelet / Tickets to The Deep / Tessies voucher / Afternoon Tea at The Artisan / A selection of Hugh Rice vouchers / A keg of Koppaberg cider / Tickets to see a show at Bonus Arena / House of Beauty voucher / Blow dry vouchers for Hair Art Studio / Bag from Jack Wills / A selection of gifts from Wordery / Shadow Switch brush cleaner / Socialise and Mingle game/ Products from Everything 5 Pounds / Vouchers from Beauty Outlet and gift card from Princes Quay Shopping Centre

Huge huge HUGE thank you to each and every one of you on behalf of the HEY Bloggers team! Oh can catch a full unboxing of the goody bags and the event over on my Instagram story highlights.

Thanks for reading and see you tomorrow,

J xx


BLOGMAS 2018 / Day 14 – this year’s beauty heroes

I wish I was one of these people that could do a regular ‘new in beauty’ or ‘monthly empties’ or something like that, lord knows that some months I do buy a helluva lot of the damn stuff! But I’m not and I do t, so I reserve it to those times where I go nuts and splurge on one particular brand or at the end of the year when I’ve managed to work my way through all the stuff and figure out which of the mountains of stuff I actually like. So here it is, enjoy!

1. Urban Decay Backtalk

I’ve been a fan of pink eye makeup as a daily go to for quite a long time now, and since getting this for my birthday 6 months ago it’s definitely the palettes I’ve reached for the most often day to day (the other has been Naked Petite Heat, if you’re interested). I tend to shy away from the strongest pink and purple shade on the regular but the others all get chucked on my face in some form or other, however the only colour I’m not a massive fan of is 3 Sheets (the lightest pink on the far left) as it feels really chalky compared to others and just doesn’t have any colour payoff on me.

2. The Body Shop chamomile sumptuous cleansing balm

I think I may have even learnt about this balm during Vlogmas one year, how weird! I keep experimenting with other things to take my makeup off but I always go back to this one as it literally melts every little bit off my skin for me to remove it easily. I always struggle with removing my mascara but this shifts it without any bother at all. I tend to use it after a miscellar water face wash and before toner.

3. Fenty Beauty cheek hugging highlighter brush

I had no idea how awesome I would find this when I bought it, I literally just thought it was pretty and didn’t have a highlighter brush. It’s soooo helpful! The shape of it ensures my highlight goes exactly where is needs to on my face, and the more angular parts of the brush can do the smaller areas like Cupids Bow and under brows. Brilliant.

4. Urban Decay primer potion (original)

I used to just think that I was someone who had to keep refreshing makeup through the day cos it literally slid down my face. Thanks to this (and a few other things that I may name check in a 2019 post) that is no more! I really notice e difference when I don’t apply this first, I get about 2/3 trough a day and notice my eyeshadow is creased right down the middle.

5. Bilou shower foam in Tasty Donut

I do wonder if something this cute seem a little bit too young for me, but honestly I don’t care as it’s in my shower so nobody will every really see this! It smells very like Marshmallow, which is a scent I’ve always found very comforting, and the foam means that you get a much better coating on your skin so that it smells delicious all over for longer. Not bad for a spur of them,omens purchase at all!

If there are any products you’ve been loving this year that I should consider picking up to try out, shout them out in the comments section so that I can have a good ol’ nosey!

See you tomorrow,

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


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.

Before

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


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


BEAUTY/ My every day makeup look

Month 1 of 2018 is finished already, wow. Come at me February!

Today I’m sharing the products I use to make myself feel more human and presentable each day – in no way can I profess to be expert in this area, but I’ve found a simple look and items to create it that works well for me and my current capabilities.

This creates what I’d call my ‘regular face’ – the one people will mostly see from me at the office or if I’m having a more casual weekend. Time is usually of the essence as I set of work reasonably early and I’d say it takes me about 20 minutes from start to finish with what I use and how I use it:

Prep

I like a good primer (sometimes I choose to wear it without anything applied over the top) but haven’t got one that I’m loving at the moment so am leaving it out of my routine for the moment. I am however applying Urban Decay Eyeshawdor primer potion my my eyelids as this is really great for keeping shadow in place.

I have two different kinds but I reach for the original formula most often as it has more of a silicon consistency which feels as if it’s ‘grabbing’ the shadow better (though the Eden version I have seems to work just as well, but just applies like a really light concealer consistency).

Base

I keep my base very light as I don’t really like the feel of foundation so instead use NARS Radiant Tinted Moisturise as it gives a bit of colour (and SPF coverage; which was great for my summer trip to NYC) but doesn’t feel too heavy.

I usually apply this with my fingers as I remember a NARS MUA telling me that it warms the product up which helps it to apply more nicely, it I usually finish by using a sponge to blend in any stubborn areas.

I conceal under my eyes and any redder areas (around my nose, the apples of my cheeks and occasionally forehead) with Collection Lasting Perfection – I usually mix up shades 1 and 2 and been using a small dry sponge.

Brows

I use Benefit Goof Proof (shade 3 or 4) by taking the pointier side to create a more defined shape, then the flatter side to fill using small sweeping strokes. I use a cotton bud to clean up any wayward edges.

Eyes

Despite the fact I’ve invested in some more expensive makeup palettes over the past 12 months, most days I still like to use the Collection Eyes Uncovered palette in Nude Rose as I still consider it one of my hero products and a game changer. There’s something about pink shadow that really brightens my eyes and makes me feel very natural yet put together when I’m wearing these. I did try out the matte version when it launched in 2017, but I wasn’t as keen on the the way shades looked without the shimmer.

I use shade 2 all over my lid, shade 4 on my outer crease and a up towards my brow bone (this is also a beautiful colour to wear over the whole lid) and the darkest purple shade in the outer corner.

To apply I use my Nanshy blending brush and eye crease brush and blend with a MAC 217.

I finish with one coat of mascara (2 if I feel a bit of extra sass is needed) – I’m working my way through a Sephora Lash Stash on the go set featuring 4 different brands, at the moment I’m back on which seems to be working for me a little better than the first I tried it last year (read my first impressions in this post)

Lips

I finish off with a slick of Vaseline Lip Therapy Rosy Lips. I have a lot of hot drinks throughout the day so anything more would be constantly wiped off, but weirdly I can’t bear not having anything on my lips when I’m wearing makeup everywhere else so this just allows me to feel ‘finished’.

And that’s my face! As part of my current spending detox (which I’m sure you’ll be sick of hearing about by the time I complete it) I’m trying to use the make up products I already have and know work me as much as possible – unless something runs out and needs re-purchasing or there’s a new release that blows my mind (I don’t think we can rule out another Naked Heat – style scenario this early in the year). I may do more posts throughout the year when my makeup bag favourites change as the seasons progress, so do shout out in the comments if that’s something you’d like to nosey at.

Thanks for reading,

J xx


LIFESTYLE/ Ways to get into sleepy mode

I sleep really badly. When people say they sleep like a baby and they mean well, I sleep like an actual baby – waking up regularly, wriggling around and getting upset with mysel that I can’t nod back off. We’re always being told by experts that we need to get ‘enough’ sleep to be able to function effectively, and about 90% of the time I don’t!

I’ve tried various things to get a more restful night’s sleep that have helped to improve this over the years, so I’m sharing the top 5 things I now use regularly that work for me.

1. A relaxing shower. Palmolive Milk and Honey shower gel

Having lived in homes and areas for the past decade that have had very low water pressure, iffy temperature control and dry old facilities, I have learnt that this step is definitely not to be underestimated! A lovely hot shower (as warm as you’re comfortable with) is physically very soothing on your skin and muscles, so adding in a product that has a relaxing and calming smell on your skin for the rest of the evening really helps me to wind down. I’ve used this Milk and Honey shower gel for years, it’s historically been the one I’ve taken on holiday with me for the precise reason that I find the smell relaxing. I now alternate between this and Imperial Leather Marshmallow – the scent is is very subtle and uplifting; it’s described on the bottle as ‘comforting’ which I most definitely agree with.

2. Sleepy body lotion, Lush

I’ve heard mixed reports in this since buying it; like any product it will work well for some people and not for others, however I’ve found I respond pretty well to this when used with other things on this list. I bought this without having heard about it’s cult following in summer last year – it was simply an impulse purchase because I adored the combination of the lavender and cocoa scents. I don’t have a set way in which I use this; sometimes I put it all over, other times I just use a little on my pulse points.

3. Comfortable clean PJs

Again, it may sound really obvious to suggest this, having great nightwear is as high priority as having any other kind of staple/go-to item in my opinion. What people find comfortable to wear in bed is vastly different and very much a personal choice but I would say the top things to consider across the board would be:

– Temperature. What sort of heating conditions are in the room you sleep in? If it’s a warm room or you have a really thick duvet, you may prefer to have lighter sleepwear. If you have a fan on/window open/ there’s no regular heating, you may something thicker is going to keep you toaster, and therefore asleep for longer. I personally like to have a mixture of items to suit all temperatures so have sleep t-shirts and full length PJs in my wardrobe.

– Fabric. What fabrics do you like the feel of and find nice to wear for long periods of time? I like jersey as it moves and washes well and feels soft against my skin which relaxes me more.

– Style. What features do you need to ensure your sleep isn’t interrupted? For me, if I’m wearing PJs I can’t stand it when the leg ride up in the night, so I usually opt for a more fitted style (e.g. Leggings) so that they stay put. I also like patterns that are a little more quirky and and fun, I’m partial to a slogan or print.

4. Pukka Night Time tea

Most people find having a cup of something warm a pretty relaxing thing anyway, but a herbal tea can really ramp up the effects of this. I’ve noticed quite a few launch over the past few months too so there are plenty of brands and blends to choose from to find the one that may suit you best. Anything containing camomile as a base ingredient is usually a winner I find. Little tip – have this at least an hour before you go to bed, you don’t want to be woken up needing to pee!

5. DVD

I struggle with complete silence a lot of the time and going to sleep is no exception. I like to have s little bit of background noise to drown out, I can’t explain it very well but it kind of helps me concentrate on going to sleep. If this is something you’re going to try, I’d recommend putting something on that you’ve watched hundreds of times before so that you don’t feel like you have to concentrate and can passively listen to. For me this is a comedy DVD – I’ve watched many of mine so often I know what’s coming up, and they’re about as long it takes for me to drift off so that hubby can switch it off without me complaining I’m still awake.

I hope that by sharing some of the things I use you will be able to have a good or better night’s sleep in future. It’s by no means a perfect science and there will still be times where nothing will work sadly, but these certainly improve the quality and/or quantity of evening rest I get.

Thanks for reading,

J xx