Friday, 27 February 2015

How to: Grow your Brows

Growing your eyebrows can seem like the most heart-rending task. 

Thin, barely-there brows were popular in the late 90's but now, with the likes of Cara Delevigne and Lily Collins, big brows are back with a vengeance and women are now trying anything to have thicker, fuller looking brows.

It's so hard to grow eyebrows back once they've been obliterated by wax, tweezers and thread. I've been there! I was a victim of the monobrow when I was younger; shoutout to all the boys in year 7 who probably felt like they were looking at a walking, talking eyebrow on legs. Not eyebrows. Just one eyebrow.  Once you've passed the messy stage of leaving them be and growing them out, you'll be so happy with your new natural look and it'll require next to no effort to maintain them. 

I used to get my eyebrows threaded about every three weeks, but somehow managed to go 5 months without having them shaped. I've recently had them threaded again but before this, I was adamant to grow them out. I lasted weeks and weeks with untouched eyebrows (aside from minimal avoid retaining a Count Olaf monobrow).  If you don't know who Count Olaf is then google him; no one wants an eyebrow like that, do they? 

How to regain your natural brows:
- Pluck only if necessary. For weeks I had stray hair forming its own line which seemed to lie below my 'actual eyebrow'. Now, the lines have joined forces and they look a lot fuller.
- Coconut oil is said to be the best thing for growing eyelashes and eyebrows! This starts as a solid and once warm turns into a liquid. To speed up the process, place a tsp of the solidified coconut oil into a small dish and heat in the microwave for about 15 seconds. 
- Similarly to the hair on your head, massaging works wonders for hair growth. Massage your brows! 
- Brown eyeshadow is great if you want to hide gaps! I sometimes find eyebrow pencil and eyeliner far too harsh on the brow. A form of powder looks a lot more natural, and less drawn on. If you have dark eyebrows like me, Mac eye-liner in shade Earthline works as a great filler, and isn't too dark! 
- When you recognise a considerable amount of regrowth, go to a nearby beauticians and ask them to make them as natural as possible. Taking a photo is always a good idea, as this will inform them of the look you're trying to achieve! 
- Brow gel is always helpful. I'm keen to try Benefit's Brow Zing for this. Stray hairs that may look out of place are often part of your natural brow shape - all they need is gel to help keep them in place. 

Thursday, 26 February 2015

Little Comets at Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth

Live music is always a lot of fun to listen to and little comets of happiness took over as Little Comets performed at Wedgewood Rooms located in Portsmouth. 

Most of their songs are upbeat and some of their lyrics are so meaningful which I love. I've been to the O2 a few times but much prefer watching acts perform in smaller venues. Nothing compares to the intimate settings and I prefer actually being able to see the singers' faces, as opposed to watching figures (a good one to listen to) perform in the distance! I first listened to 'Bridge Burn' and have been hooked ever since. 

The band is great to watch live because it looks like they're having a lot of fun; described as an indie band, their music is actually so different to anything else out there. Their guitar playing is quite literally out of this world (just like little comets) and Robert Coles has a really distinctive voice (and a pretty smile to match) which makes the band perfect in my opinion!

Accompanied by the amazing instrumentals is the depth of the lyrical content. Each song focuses intently on a story and their capacity to write such well thought out content is commendable given the fact a select few songs highlight serious matters. 

If you can drive and listen to the music without singing in your best Robert Coles voice then you're doing it all wrong! And if you can listen to Dancing Song and not sing the line 'so take your 37 digits and put them in her mobile PHONE'  then I just don't know. 

Bridge Burn | Worry | Little Italy (the acoustic version is great)One Night In October | Dancing Song | Her Black Eyes | Mathilda | Bayonne | Friday Don't Need It | Violence Out Tonight | Figures | The Western Boy

Monday, 23 February 2015

Body Shop Haul & Review

My mum and I love Body Shop products. Pictured below is a range of items we've bought over the past few months. It is common knowledge that Body Shop products can't be faulted! The body butters are loved by many (the coconut and vanilla ones are my favourite) but have you ever tried products that you'd otherwise pay little attention to? I've compiled a list of product reviews; if you're thinking about purchasing some new skincare/make-up, hopefully this will help. Body Shop products are comparatively cheaper than other brands but by no means are they of less greatness! 

When I think of Body Shop, I hear the words organic, clean and effective. The products contain no nasty chemicals - favouring plant based, natural ingredients. What's even lovelier is that they're against animal testing! A caring company intent on producing excellent essentials. 

Body Shop Sparkler Atomizer - This is a fine dry shimmer for the body. These are no longer available to buy but I'm sure Body Shop will release a similar product soon. The shimmer is subtle and is great for when you're going out out. I don't use this often but it adds a really nice touch and leaves skin sparkling.

Baked-To-Last Bronzer (in Warm Glow) - Walking into the Body Shop, I intended to buy just the BB Cream. Then, scripted on a sign, read the words '3 for 2'. THREE FOR TWO. That meant, if I bought three things, I'd essentially only be paying for two. What a great way to convince me to spend money that I should really be saving. Truthfully, I would have bought this product even if its only use was to be stared at. I've taken a photo extremely close up, just so you can enjoy it as much as I do. It looks like magic. I brushed it across my hand and instantly fell in love with the soft bronzed shimmer.

All-In-One BB Cream (in shade 02) - After lectures, I head for the high street and test new products in Body Shop, adding them to the list of things I intend to buy after 'payday'. I wear Mac foundation, but wanted to try something a little lighter. This starts as a white product, and when you begin to blend in the white fluid, the minuscule dark pigments burst which changes the colour of the product entirely. This adapts to your skin colour and leaves a flawless, dewey finish. 

Easily convinced when it comes to skincare like me, my mum was amazed by the shop assistant's description of the Nutriganics range. Mum is an avid Decleor user but was amazed when the assistant tested it on her hand; her skin was left smoother and brighter in tone. Containg no parabens and no silicones, Nutriganics Drops of Youth (do the words organic and chemical free spring to mind?) leaves skin feeling soft and supple. However it is worth mentioning that I only tested this as I don't like to use too many products on my skin. 

Nutriganics Smoothing Mask is great for cleaning out pores and removing any stubborn make-up. This isn't an everyday product, so will last quite a while. It dries somewhat like a clay mask. 

I've mentioned Body Shop's Vitamin C range in a previous post, but I can't emphasise how brilliant is it. It's Body Shop's no.1 best selling range, and it's so obvious why. It brightens the complexion: the microdermabrasion removes all impurities and the skin reviver (applied onto cleansed skin before make-up, or on its own) leaves my face feeling smooth. I tend to us this as a make-up primer but I sometimes apply if ever my skin feels dry and in need of some moisture. 

Signing up for a Body Shop card is an excellent idea if you're a Body Shop lover, and a regular buyer. You receive 10% discount for every purchase made and receive a free gift worth £5 when it's your birthday! PAR-TAY. 

Sunday, 22 February 2015

Coconut, Almond, Cranberry & Apricot Balls

When you have a somewhat busy lifestyle, whereby you're trying to juggle a part-time job; university lectures; and the forty million essays and presentations that come with it, snacks are very convenient!
When I'm working, my 10 minute break is usually a game of 'how much food can I shove in my mouth before time runs out?'. Snacks usually include a banana and a breakfast bar because these are things that are quick to eat and leave minimal mess. I've recently been thinking of new snacks I can pop in my bag that are ready to eat and can be eaten within such a small space of time. 

 I questioned just how 'healthy' granola breakfast bars actually are and wanted to make something from scratch, including only healthy ingredients; this way, I know everything that's been used in the process! 

In search for snack recipes, I came across 'apricot balls' and, with the addition of a few extra ingredients, have somehow managed to produce something that looks and tastes great. 

You will need:
- Desiccated coconut 
- Almonds and cashew nuts (or other nuts of your choice)
- Dried cranberries
- Dried apricot
- A drizzle of acacia honey
- 3 tbsp of water 
- A pinch of salt 

How to create:
- I finely chopped the almonds, cashews, cranberries and apricots with a knife. Note: this took longer than I thought, so a food processor is always an option. 
- Once finely cut into tiny pieces, I placed the fruit and nuts into a bowl and added 3 tbsp of water, some desiccated coconut and and a pinch of salt. 
- I began to press the mixture into small individual balls but found the ingredients weren't sticking together as much as I'd have liked, so I added some honey in the hope it would act as a glue. (This helped a lot, so I'd advise adding honey - it doesn't have to be acacia honey!)
- Roll in coconut (or sprinkle coconut over if the balls are too delicate) 
- Leave in the freezer to harden and ultimately strengthen the consistency
- Ignore the fact I've used the word 'balls' profusely...and try not to laugh

I'm coconut's biggest fan and these bite-sized pieces will be perfect for in between lectures, and for short breaks at work.  

London Love

I can't help but become a typical tourist whenever I'm in London. If I'm not on the hunt for food, you'll find me with a camera in my hand taking photos of everything and anything. Literally. I love looking back and reading previous posts which is why you'll see posting about most things I do.

My love for taking photos + my love for London = a snap-happy me. 

You can't really explore London in a day but I was adamant to revisit as many places as I could! I hope to visit Notting Hill (in search for Will and his bookshop), Soho and Covent Garden. I think I'll wait until it's a bit warmer because despite having the best time, the cold weather did start to take its toll. At one point I genuinely thought my hand was going to detach itself from my arm - it was freezing

Approaching Trafalgar Square, a street artist used chalk to create the loveliest message - introducing individuals from across the world to engage in peace, with the words 'Welcome to London' next to many drawings of flags. So simply done but the most beautiful thing to have seen, especially at a time when nearly every county seems to be at war with one another. This sort of restores faith, knowing that there is more good in the world than there is bad. If only everyone had this outlook on life. 

If you've read previous posts, you'll know that we somehow, magically, unknowingly entered into the realms of SHOPPING. If this has ever happened to you, you'll understand the power of shopping for clothes. It sometimes just happens - we were bribed by a force...something forced us to head to Oxford Street, we tried to refrain but to no avail. Therefore, we can't be blamed. The effort to prevent ourselves spending money was there. If you do end up in Oxford Street, it is a rule that you must enter Selfridges. I only go in because I feel like I'm in a scene from Elf (the scene in which a shop assistant offers him a spray of perfume and he politely accepts and sprays it in his mouth). There was a beautiful floral decorative counter advertising a new perfume, you can see this below! Possibly the prettiest counter I've ever encountered

Saturday, 21 February 2015

Victoria and Albert Museum, London

There's something really special about walking around a museum, surrounded by art and design. Equipped with marble walls and ceilings that bestow such grand architecture, they can arguably be regarded as pieces of art too (to be gawped at by me). What I love about the V&A is that they pay close attention to fashion as pieces of art, as well as sculpture and paintings. I love fashion although in this instance, the sculptures and paintings were much more exciting to look at. 

The V&A is well worth a visit and I urge anyone to go. They regularly hold exhibitions and there are a few exciting ones coming up in forthcoming months. Entry is free, although some separate exhibitions require an entry fee. 

I love buildings that look very Rome-esque. This is the outside of the V&A so instantly you know the museum itself is a lovely one. The V&A's exterior is beautiful, and what's inside is equally as stunning. 

I think I'm the only one who walks in and stares at the high ceilings, instantly accompanied by the phrases 'woooooooow' and 'aaaaaaaaaah' and 'THIS IS AMAAAZING'. I should really attempt to mask my amazement... 

Stain glass windows always catch my attention. So much work is involved to create such grand, colourful designs and the attention to detail is brilliant. I passed a man who was concentrating intently on recreating the sculpture with pencil and paper; he was so focused and from what I saw, his drawing looked amazing.