Travel in style

One of my biggest annoyances with travelling is having to lug all my kit around with me all over the country. Having three different places I call 'home', friends all over the country (many of whom have actual sea between us) and liking trotting off to new places far and wide, my hairdryer has seen a lot of land. Top of my birthday/Christmas list this year was a travel dryer so I could not only pick up my case, but have room for more shoes.

This is the dryer I got from Babyliss and I love it. Unlike the majority of travel appliances I've tried which have less clout than Nick Clegg, this is full on Kat Slater... an equipment of power! There's practically no difference in the speed of air coming out of this and my main dryer (which is also a Babyliss) so it leaves me with super shiny, styled locks in no time. What I love about it though is the fact that it folds up in two and even comes with its own little case so it can be packed away safely.

The design of the dryer is also really cute - orange flowers - without being girlie or excessive. The orange pattern is carried throughout onto the buttons, guard and protective case. It's not just something you only use in a hotel room in Bognor, you could use this every day without a problem. For £14.99 I think this is an absolute bargain, so get yourself down to Boots and grab one for yourselves.



The LBQ award goes to...

This year I've discovered so many new brands, fab products and amazing concoctions to share with you that it's time to stop and take a breath. I wanted to whittle down the hundreds (or is it thousands) of beautifying beauties in to my top ten of 2010 - geddit? So here are the first LBQ awards. Sit back, relax and enjoy. (Then spend.)

Top Cleanser - Liz Earle Cleanse & Polish
I'd heard lots about both this brand and product but had never had the chance to try it myself. When C&P first touched my face I knew it would be a life-long partnership as no other cleanser had ever made me feel the way it did... clean, fresh, smooth and supple. This lead me to discover the rest of the amazing Liz Earle range and I've never looked back. This should be on every woman's bathroom shelf.

Top Bath Product - Aromatherapy Associates bath oil
If you follow me on twitter you inevitably know about Bath Tuesdays - the days when I come home, kick off my kecks and chillax in a long, hot bath. Bath Tuesdays should really be re-named AA Tuesdays because I rarely use another product. The bath oils from this brand not only look fabulous in their little frosted bottles, but they smell amazing and really ignite the senses. Baths just aren't the same without them.

Top Mascara - Revlon, Grow Luscious
My lashes have been pulled and pinched every which way this year, under the excuse that I'm hunting for the perfect mascara. The closest I think I have ever come is Revlon's Grow Luscious, purely because every mascara I've used since just hasn't lived up to its wonder. The large brush makes my lashes thick, voluminous, long and separated... you usually have to pick one or the other, but with Grow Luscious you can be as greedy as you like.

Top Perfume - Balenciaga
I'm a massive perfume fiend (at the moment I have around 20 on the go) but ever since I sniffed this fragrance I knew it was for me. The musky, slightly masculine but beautiful, notes take you right through from a Monday morning to a Saturday night - it's the one scent I use when I want to impress, but it's not too much for the day. The brand is classic and the bottle reflects that... a very understated look and a launch in 2010 which was somewhat under the radar.

Top Shampoo/Conditioner - Tommy Guns
The amount of shampoops I've tried this year could sink a battle ship, but the one that I seem to have the most pleasure in using is Tommy Guns. A new addition to my bathroom, I love the angular bottles, the scents, the ingredients and that fact that that they're still affordable. They leave my hair soft and shiny without build-up, plus they smell delicious and make washing my hair a pleasurable experience rather than a chore.

Top Styling Product - Phyto, Phytodefrisant relaxing balm
This was my 'eureka' product of the year without a doubt. I spend so much time straightening and styling my hair from the frizzy mess I was born with into the sleek bob I fashion every day. This relaxing balm has not only cut my styling time in half, but it also saves my hair from needing to be re-styled throughout the day or when it's cold/rainy/humid. Even my housemate had an 'o' for a mouth when she ran into my room saying "I need some de-frizzing stuff". You need such a small amount that the £12.50 price point is an absolute bargain.

Top Foundation - Bare Minerals

This isn't a vaguely new brand or product, but it's a new addition to my make-up routine. I was very sceptical about mineral make-up having seen some truly appalling copies in high street chemists, but this revolutionised how I do my make-up. I'm lucky enough to have pretty good skin that doesn't require a heavy foundation, but this gives me a flawless finish which looks invisible while staying put all day. It makes you look really healthy, while actually helping your skin too.

Top Cheapo Brand - Elf
The day I found Elf is the best day in my make-up history. Cheap means not-so-cheerful in my book because you normally get what you pay for, but in this case cheap gets you fab products in fab colours that work wonders. You can do a haul on their website and not even spend twenty quid. Their eyeliners are to die for, their lipglosses worth their weight in gold and their colours right on-trend. There's no better way to spend a fiver than on Elf make-up.

Top Make-up Range - MeMeMe

There are so many make-up brands to choose from this was the most difficult category. The reason MeMeMe have won in my eyes is because they have continually surprised me throughout 2010. In my mind they were a bit cheap, a bit rubbish and not very good quality - in reality they're now a brand I covet, that has amazingly designed packaging which could compete with brands five times their price, and they make amazing quality products for their price point. Their nail varnishes are my most used and loved, their eyeshadows have graced my eyes more times over the festive period than any other and their blush hasn't been replaced by another brand in six months. If you're in need of a 2011 makeover, then MeMeMe could be the brand to help you on your way.

Top Must-Have - Batiste dry shampoo
Ahhh, last but by no means least, one of my all-time favourites. Batiste have seen me through the good times (Reading Festival 2006) and the bad times (Big Chill 2010) as well as the day-to-day times (too late getting out of bed to wash hair.) There is no other product that I make sure I have to hand at all times, because it does the job I want it to. Add this to the fact that in 2010 they've launched fab new variants including the shimmer cans, Batiste Nude and the British version which is now my personal fave. All bow to Batiste.

So there you have it, my top ten products of 2010. Here's hoping 2011 will be as fun-filled and beautiful. What are your fave products of the year?


Just for the taste of it...

The best thing ever to happen to Diet Coke is back for round two. In 2010 some genius at 'coke HQ' came up with the idea that ladies like nail polish... what better way to get ladies what like polish to also like Diet Coke? Give them free polish! The colours this year were fab (and possibly my most used of 2010) so next year they've pushed out all the stops to make them even better. These great colours launch in store on January 12th and are free when you buy two bottles - that's a free Nails Inc polish worth over a tenner for the cost of a couple of cold beverages. Game, set and match to Diet Coke.



It's all about Eve

I never stop preaching to my friends about the benefits of cleansing properly. If you don't clean your canvas the paint job is only going to look dodgy. One of my favourite finds of the year is Liz Earle's Cleanse and Polish system so I've really got into cleansers that you use with water and muslin cloths. I was sent a 'starter kit' of Eve Lom products a while back and saved it to take away with me for Xmas - all the products are perfectly sized for travelling and even come in the perfect container to keep them all together. I've been using the classic cleanser, which I didn't realise had a cult following until I started chatting about the brand to others, twice a day for the last  week. They say that "with a powerful blend of Egyptian chamomile, hops, clove and eucalyptus oil, together with cocoa butter the Eve Lom Cleanser cleanses, tones, exfoliates all in one. Even the most stubborn make-up and eye make-up will be removed."

The cleanser comes in a pot and has an unusual texture - kind of like an oily scrub with granules - and scent, which for some reason reminds me of the dentist! It's not offensive, but it's really clean and almost clinical smelling. The process is simple... you just apply it over your make-up, massaging into the face and moving around all the dirt to then clean it off with hot water and the muslin cloth. You can also lay the cloth over your face for a few minutes to open pores and give yourself a quick facial (but I don't have time for this... it's valuable Quality Street eating time.) You need such a small amount (about a 5p piece) as it really moves around easily to work your face into a beautiful state, which is probably a good thing as it's not cheap at £48 a pot.

I instantly noticed that it left my face feeling clean, smooth and supple. It did get off the majority of my make-up, but there was still some mascara left - something that doesn't bother me though as I don't think I've found many things that do remove my mascara! The muslin cloth that you get with it though was amazing... thicker and more durable than any others I've tried, plus the make-up actually washes off easily rather than hanging around on the cloth looking nasty. (You can get these for £12.50 for a pack of three) If I compare this to Liz Earle (which is much cheaper at around £14) it's better at exfoliating and my skin did feel smoother - however, it's a huge price to pay so I'd recommend this only if you struggle with other products that are too harsh for your skin or don't give you a result that's noticeable. Eve Lom is available in Space NK, Harrods and other department stores so it's definitely for the posher of you lot!


Head, shoulders, knees and toes...

I'm a bit of a snob when it comes to my shampoops. Because I have such problem hair (frizzy, thin, coarse... you name it) I have to really shop for a good shampoo that calms my curls without weighing my barnet down or turn it into a grease bucket. Having worked for a professional hair brand when I first left Uni I've been left with a knowledge of ingredients, processes and claims which has put a lot of pressure on 'Boots brands' as I like to call them - basically anything you can go into Boots and buy off the shelf. You 99% of the time find far too much silicone in shampoos and conditioners that initially give you gleaming, shiny locks, but after a week turn your follicles into something that would be more at home in the local chippy. The silicone just builds up and makes your hair really limp and nasty.

With this in mind it's no surprise that the likes of Pantene and Herbal Essences haven't passed my hands in about ten years. However, having met the lovely peeps of Head & Shoulders and seeing their newly launched 'care' ranges I agreed to give them a whirl. In my head H&S (as from now it shall be named!) is a really old fashioned medicated shampoo than my Nan used to use. I would've never in a million years have picked this up from a supermarket shelf and didn't even know they had 13 different varieties. The bottles have been re-designed so they're a little bit more modern, although they maintain their identity that they're very much 'budget' shampoos with a serious purpose... not the kind of bottle you'd be flaunting when the mates come round!

I've been using the 'sensitive care' variant for about the last ten days. It claims to not only reduce flakes and dandruff, but it contains aloe vera, is dye-free and dermatologically tested to soothe your head and be kind to scalps. Both the shampoo and conditioner are opaque white formulas which are quite thick and easy to use. When I use the shampoo it does leave my hair feeling quite rough and tangled, but after two minutes of the conditioner that is replaced by really smooth, soft and detangled hair. When I dry my barnet it does feel softer than usual, but this also means a bit more flyaway... but I have to admit if I just leave it to dry naturally it's a lot calmer, straighter and smoother than with a lot of other products I've used. Overall, initially I was impressed and my expectations were more than exceeded - I totally expected my barnet to be an absolute dry, crispy mess!

I've now been using this for about 10 days... the reason being that like a lot of 'Boots brands' is that after a while the build-up gets you by surprise. Although I do feel on the second day that I need to wash my hair as it's become a bit limp and 'stuck to my head' it's not visible and nothing like the disasters that I've experienced with brands like Pantene. With a bit of dry shampoo or hairspray it's perfectly wearable on day two without a problem. It hasn't aggravated my scalp in any way (sometimes I do get an attack of the itches, and no it's not nits,) and smells lovely... not overwhelming, but you can sense the aloe vera. I have been pleasantly surprised by this range; it hasn't caused me any problems or really bad issues that would stop me using it again or recommending it to others with scalp problems. It's nice to know you can sort out your flakes while looking after your hair too.



Big Brows

Your eyebrows can totally change your face, which is why I'm currently having a big old faff with them. Mine have been oddly not growing for the past few years and are now about a centimetre shorter than they should be... something that I've become a little bit paranoid about and very conscious of. Having visited the Browhaus eyebrow salon and being told they look like they may start to grow back, I'm leaving them to do what they will. This means that they're looking a bit ropey, a lot 'spacey' and very much in need of a groom. Step up Benefit's Brows a-go-go which was a pretty random, but very useful and gratefully received, gift from one of my best buds who clearly not only reads my blog (well done) but pays attention to me moaning (double well done.)

This cute little palette contains two eyeshadow-type formulas - one dark and one light - as well as a brown cream, highlighter, pink base, mini tweezers and cute little black eyeliner... basically everything you need to create the perfect brows. I've got a couple of other brow palettes but clearly don't ever use them. This one from Benefit is not only easy to use, but the products it contains are complementary to each other and not overwhelming. The little brush you get is perfectly shaped to 'draw' on the inner part of your brows - you don't have to 'shape' it as the end of the brush forms it perfectly in a couple of strokes. This matched with the brown creamy gel to define the end of the brows means you've got perfect hairy bits in literally a few seconds.  The highlighter can be used just under the brow to catch the light and sculpt the eye, while the tweezers and liner just put the cherry on the cake.

This little palette has become a staple for me in the last few weeks. It lasts practically the whole day (with a primer) so you can rest assured you won't have a wonky brow by lunchtime. At £22.50 I don't think this is bad value for something that actually contains six different elements - especially when you will use it every day. I love the brush as it makes the whole process much easier (I'm rubbish at sculpting or anything like that) so I feel comfortable giving it a whirl. Brows a-go-go is one of those rare products I'll definitely re-purchase when it runs out.


Challenge Jergens

I don't know about you, but in this hideous weather my limbs are turning into something that resembles Lord Voldemort's pet snake. Moisturising in Winter is a ritual for me because I don't want to take off my tights to be greeted with a sight that suggests my legs have got dandruff. One of my favourite moisturisers of the last year has been Jergens Naturals as it's not only cheap as chips, smells great, feels rich and moisturising but it does the job really very well. Add this to a formula that is 96% natural and contains goodies such as jojoba, avocado and olive oil and you're onto a winner for less than a fiver.

Jergens have asked me to 'challenge them' by testing the product throughout this chilly snap to find out if it really does keep skin soft and supple. Because I'm such a nice fellow in a festive spirit, I've also managed to get them to provide products to five of my readers so you can test it out too and start your 2011 on good footing (ahem) - are you ready for the challenge? All you have to do is be a follower of this blog and comment below with your new year's resolution... Here's hoping that resolution will involve moisturising regularly!

T&Cs - Open to UK residents only, giveaway closes on 28th Dec 2010. All entries must be a follower of this blog. The winners will be chosen and notified within 24hrs; they will then have 24hrs to respond - if they do not respond within this time an alternative winner will be chosen. If you are chosen you will be required to partake in a small review and provide a paragraph of your comments. 


Wish Upon a Star

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Cadbury Wishes. All opinions are 100% mine.

Christmas Day isn't Christmas Day until you get a Cadbury's selection box and scoff it before breakfast. We always have a tonne of chocolate in our house for the big occasion, but this year when you stock up on festive goodies remember to pick up some new Cadbury's Wishes and make a sick child's dream come true.

These gorgeous star shaped fluffy truffles not only taste delicious, but Cadbury's will donate 10% of profits from each bar to the Make a Wish Foundation. Make a Wish is a charity that grants wishes to children and young people in the UK who are fighting life-threatening illnesses. Cadbury have been supporting the Make a Wish foundation since 2009, pledging to donate £400,000 over a 3 year period. The launch of Wishes is part of Cadbury’s commitment to extend the reach and impact of this important partnership that makes a difference to so many.

To celebrate this amazing partnership during the festive season, Cadbury's have been touring the country with their Wish Workshops visiting London's Westfield, Liverpool, Milton Keynes and Lincoln among others. People across the country had the opportunity to create their own dream chocolate concoction, all of which were sent directly to Cadbury's HQ - if it's an extra good one they may even make it for you!

Have you tried one of the Cadbury's Wishes? Have you visited the Wish Workshops?

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Is life sweeter ooop north?

This is a bit random, but it really struck a chord and interested me... do our tastes really vary depending on where we live? Well according to Debenhams it's a certainty, as the most floral, feminine fragrances are a sell out success thanks to northern women. South of Watford Gap however, women are snapping up musky, woody and even male scents, according to findings released by the British favourite.

Debenhams says: "Northern and Scottish ladies are drawn to glamorous fragrances with a sweet, edible ‘gourmand’ edge. They choose the most ‘girly’ of fragrances with the current bestseller in the region, Viktor & Rolf Flowerbomb. Southerners opt for more masculine fragrances with an edge, such as Clinique Aromatics Elixir. Men’s fragrances are also popular with Southern girls who wear them on a night out for a more distinctive, dramatic scent. Women in the Midlands and Wales are the most traditional, opting for the enduring classic perfumes such as Chanel No. 5 and Chanel Coco Mademoiselle. Irish women are plumping for fresh, light fragrances, even through the winter months, choosing Calvin Klein Euphoria and Marc Jacobs Daisy."

Research from Debenhams also showed:

  • Northern women are very loyal to perfume brands and invest in big bottles that last months
  • Southern women are much more likely to buy several small bottles of fragrance that they interchange on a regular basis
  • Northern women spritz the most – topping up their perfume in the morning, lunchtime and often twice in the evening
  • Southern women are more likely to go fragrance free during the day, keeping a bottle in their handbags or office draw ready for a night out
  • Northern women wouldn’t even consider borrowing their man’s scent – less than 5 per cent have done so
  • Southern women are frequent offenders and borrow their partner’s aftershave on average once a fortnight

Ruth Attridge, spokesperson for Debenhams says, “We see the same trends in fragrance as we do in fashion. Just as Northern women snap up our party dresses and highest heels, they also love the most feminine sweet scents. In the South however, it’s distinctive, often masculine fragrances that are teamed with a more edgy style."

Having been a southerner for all of my life, but with my family living ooop north for the last ten years I can say that there's a distinct difference in taste, fashion, attitude and beauty products across the invisible border. But does this really transfer to scent too? Are you a northerner/southerner and use any of the fragrances they've mentioned? Be good to get your thoughts!


All Sensitive

Aveda have just launched two new products into their skincare range, formulated for very sensitive skin. In the harsh winter months you can really suffer from dry, irritated, red skin from all that flipping back and forth between the freezing outdoors and the super cosy indoors. The concept behind the All Sensitive Cleanser and Moisturiser is that you should be re-dressing the balance of your skin so that it's bright, radiant and hydrated. Both products are aroma and paraben free, as well as being dermotologically tested, so there are no nasties that could aggravate your already sensitive face.

The pump bottles are really handy (I know what I'm like given a bottle with just a lid - I end up using way too much and spilling most of it all over the floor,) and make sure that these products last for a long time. I love the look of the simple, clean packaging as it really fits in with what the ethos is all about. The cleanser is supposed to be used with water, but  I've found it's equally effective just used on cotton wool alone... it gets rid of all of the dirt and grime build-up, as well as those last smidgens of make-up from the day. It cleanses without leaving your face tight or in any way irritated - you just feel clean and refreshed without being stripped.

The moisturiser is very light, surprisingly so. You need only one pump to cover the whole of your face in a film which isn't greasy or offensive. (It's amazing that you read to really search and pay for something that's so natural and stripped back!) My face did feel moisturised, but the only problem I had was that it just didn't seem to sink in to my skin... a good two hours later and it was still sticky to touch. I couldn't apply my make-up over it so I had to use a baby wipe to get rid of the residue, so for this reason I'd only wear it in the evening or overnight. Overall I do like the products, but I'm not 'wowed' by them... they make a nice addition to a beauty hall and may save the face of some super-sensitive souls, but they haven't revolutionised my skin. They just keep it looking as fab as it's always been!


Christmas Come Early

A little off topic here, but I've had a miserable few days. I was really looking forward to going home for a long weekend before Christmas, seeing my mates, catching up with my family, filling my face with lunch dates... but thanks to the snow (which stupid idiot wished for that... come on, own up?!) this has all been wiped from my diary in favour of sitting, watching, eating and moping. My friend who was flying back from Australia for festive celebrations is currently in Germany, my mate who was celebrating his birthday cancelled the big night with hours to spare and I haven't even given my family their presents! Mis. Er. Able.

So you can imagine my face when this email flew into my inbox this morning.... "Congratulations London Beauty Queen! You're the winner of the Westfield London blogger competition!" WHOOOOOOOOP. All I had to do was write a little post about shoe shopping to enter (could they have set an easier task for me?) and I've won myself a £225 gift card to spend on whatever I please... *read more shoes* This has literally pulled my face out of the pits of despair and now I can't wait to get shopping in the best shopping centre in the country. If you don't hear from me in a while it's because I've got lost in handbags.


Crash Diet?

This time of year we all start to overeat and drown our Winter woes in chocolate and biscuits, which ironically is the one time of year we're all donning our party outfits and flashing the flesh. In the past I've been known to spend the couple of weeks before a big event on the Slimfast shakes, just so I can lose a few pounds and feel better about myself in that slinky number. I know it's not a long term solution (and on the whole I'm happy the way I am, even though I've been a lot smaller and a hellova lot bigger) but sometimes it gives you a boost, as well as a slight detox from all that rubbish you shove in your gob. (Or is that just me?) Rodial have just launched Crash Diet smoothies to their slimming range, which contain only 70 calories and 70% of your daily proteins meaning you should feel fuller for longer.

The name, in my opinion, wasn't probably the best choice by their marketing department as I can just sense the outrage at calling something a 'Crash Diet'! The worse thing you can possibly do to lose weight in the long term is to go on a crash diet as you just end up putting the weight back on again as soon as you start eating again. Having spent the majority of my teenage years yo-yo dieting, I can honestly say this isn't the best way. However, if you take it for what it is, the Crash Diet smoothies can really provide you with a quick way of shaping up for a special occasion... they claim to enable you to drop a dress size in 10 days, which is a strong claim. For me, these meal replacements work best as I'm much more focused if I strip meals out altogether rather than being tempted into a sauce or side order.

The shakes themselves come in banana and strawberry flavour and can be mixed with either milk, juice or water - something I think is a great idea as milky shakes can get a bit dull after a few days. I also know of people that detest milk, so mixing it with your morning OJ is the next best thing. The shakes taste lovely - you get a hint of both banana and strawberry without it being a really strong, sweet, sickly taste - and make a light pink concoction. At £48 for a pack (presumably with the 10 days supply) these aren't cheap, but if they provide a solution that works I know people wil pay the price. To start the new year off on a good footing I'll be trying out the full routine thanks to Rodial to see if a) I can stick to it b) I can stomach ten days worth of milkshake and c) if I can really drop a dress size! Keep your eyes peeled this January for more info...


Cover Model

I've seen these boxes from Frontcover Cosmetics in my local Boots store and have always picked them up and put them down again, basically because I haven't been able to test the quality. When the Hot Rods set arrived with my postie yesterday morning I ripped the box open and started to have a play. Frontcover is the brainchild of Liz and Michelle, both of whom have extensive knowledge and experience in the beauty industry - they wanted to create a brand that matched beauty with fashion and a little bit of expertise. This means that Frontcover cosmetics come in these handy little boxes that not only contain the product, but 'how to' guides, tips, tricks and even accessories.

The packaging in my opinion is a little excessive for only six pencils and a sharpener, but it does give a lot of room for the explanations and pictures, making this more of an experience than just a product purchase. For anyone that always wants to experiment and push the boundaries of their make-up expertise I'm sure this is a great range for you. What I was most concerned about was the quality of the products... for £15 I wasn't expecting the pencils to be great (read scratchy and cheap) but they really were. (Great, not scratchy and cheap!) The colours included are lilac, turquoise, blue, brown and navy - all great pay-offs after only one swipe of the pencil. You get a better result after a few layers, but the formula is creamy and smooth so the smudgers on the end of the pencil can be used well.

The pencils are metallic so that you get a really strong result on the eye, making way for experimentation and layering. You even get a highlighter pencil in the pack to use around the corner of the eyes to really brighten and contrast against the colour, and a sharpener to keep those pencils in tip-top condition. For £15 I think it's an absolute bargain - that works out £3 for each pencil, plus a free highlighter/sharpener... you won't get anything cheaper that doesn't scratch your eye out. These boxes would make fab presents or even a treat for yourself... you can't grumble at great colours for less than a couple of Mojitos.


An eye for eyebrows

This week I had the pleasure of being invited down to Tracie Giles' clinic on Harley Street to find out more about her cosmetic procedures. Tracie has been working in the industry for 25 years which makes the fact that she looks fantastic even more testament to her work. Making the decision to invest in a cosmetic procedure is a big one and one you shouldn't enter into lightly. It was great to see that Tracie had a strong policy on making sure her clients want to go through with the procedure, finding out why and what their expectations are before she even starts - in her words "you don't want people walking around with rubbish work" so she only takes on clients that she can 100% satisfy.

On the night itself two of my fellow bloggers had a procedure in Tracie's surgery - Priya (from Beauty Wowzer) had a beauty spot added above her lip, whilst Aly (from The Truth About Beauty) had her eyebrows 'filled in'. You'll notice that I haven't used the word 'tattoo'... these treatments aren't permanent and last from 1-3 years dependant on your skin/beauty regime. The ink Tracie uses is 100% mineral, meaning you not only get a natural looking result, but you're not permanently adjusting your face - we all may want those big brows now, but in a few years who knows what the trends will be!

I was surprised how quick the beauty spot procedure was, literally a few minutes from start to finish. Priya was really happy with the end result and we all thought it looked fab, as well as natural. Aly's eyebrows took a lot longer as Tracie spent a good 30mins measuring out the distance between brows, getting the lines right and making sure they were exactly as she wanted. The first part seemed to be quite uncomfortable, but Aly stormed through it and once the anaesthetic kicked in we didn't hear a peep out of her.

Not a great picture, but you get the idea...

Both girls will have to go back in a month for a follow up treatment as the ink will fade slightly, but apart from that they're done. As someone that's considered eyebrow tattooing for some time, this evening certainly quashed a lot of my concerns as I was able to see exactly what was done/what the result would be. Tracie's skills are clearly the thing that has made her business so successful as she's incredibly talented to get her work looking so natural. She also does a lot of reconstructive tattooing, as well as facial 'adjustments' so if you've been thinking about treating yourself in the New Year I'd definitely give her a call.


MeMeMe - These are MINE!

I think MeMeMe is one of the best brands I've found in 2010. Their products are not only great quality, reasonably priced, contain fab colours and quirky packaging, but they surprise me every time. This time round it was the opportunity of their new eyeshadows to impress me and make me drool with desire... they didn't disappoint. The eyeshadows are available in monos, trios or quads meaning you can afford to experiment with colour and push the boundaries that you wouldn't necessarily normally challenge. These are the colours that I've been trying... Dusk mono, Desire Eyes trio, Electric Eyes quad and Goddess Eyes quad

The quads are in a cone shape, I guess so that you get a decent amount of product, and the trios and monos are flat. As there's no 'partition' between the shades the edges get a bit blurred and you can end up getting a random mixed colour if you're not careful, but with the prices being £4.50-£6.50 you can't grumble. On first glance I didn't expect much out of the shadows because they look quite 'plastic-ey' and cheap, not unlike those products you pick up from Superdrug for a quid. However, as soon as I started swatching them I had to eat my words (or my thoughts) because the colour and pay-off is incredible.

Electric Eyes quad
Desire Eyes trio & Dusk mono
Goddess Eyes quad
The shades are all really shimmery and shiny, catching the light and reflecting it so you get a really stunning shade. You do need a few layers to build up to the colours to the quality in the picture, but when you do it's really worth it. The blue shade in the Electric Eyes quad is stunning - you can't really see but within the dark blue (almost black shade) you have flecks of blue glitter which are truly embedded within the eyeshadow so they look amazing. For eyeshadows from a mass brand that cost less than seven quid, these are fabulous. They do a good selection of shades, a lot of them wearable but a few 'out there' so there's something for everyone. Pick these up from Boots or Superdrug just in time for some New Year shimmer.
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