28 November 2009

Eyebrow threading - Glow Beauty Bar

I'd been wanting to try eyebrow threading for a while, and finally got the chance last week when I had a couple of days off up in Newcastle.

The Glow Beauty Bar is situated in the middle of the beauty department of Fenwick Newcastle on the ground floor, next to the food hall. I was apprehensive about having my eyebrows threaded on a chair in front of all and sundry (I've always looked at the women having it done and marvelled at their lack of self-consciousness!), but... well, needs musted and I guess it's just one step up from having your make up done at the beauty counter! Thus I found myself in the chair on a thankfully not-too-busy Monday afternoon.

The lady who did the threading was brilliant - she fully explained the procedure giving me a mirror to explain what she was going to do (I also found myself sitting in the chair before having actually agreed with myself that I was going to have it done - good skills on her part!).

First things first - oww!!! Yes ladies it really does hurt I'm afraid - and I had about three days of painkillers inside me due to painful ribs following a chest infection! But being someone with very dark body hair I have a very high pain threshold for waxing etc, and this wasn't really much worse - I just wasn't used to pain in that particular area - eyewatering to say the least, as you seem to feel each individual hair being ripped out! It only took about 10 minutes though, and I was happy to sit through it for the results....

SPECTACULAR! My eyebrows were very thin to start with due to overplucking, but somehow they managed to shape them, tidy them up and make them look fuller than before! They advised me which bits to grow (I seemed to have some very unsightly vanilla ice-esque gaps in one eyebrow - not deliberate i assure you!)

I think threading is a much better option than waxing for the eyebrows - in my opinion the skin in that area is too delicate for waxing, it often takes a layer off leaving the skin red and irritated. And plucking just doesn't give that great shape.

A week later, it seemed there'd been quite a bit of regrowth - well it's hard to tell if it was regrowth or just new hair, but it seemed spikier and harder to pluck from before. The lady said that a couple of more visits to the threading chair would be all it would take to get them into perfect condition and shape, after which just the occassional tidy up i guess. I have friends who have threading done and always have perfect eyebrows, so I'm going to stick with this one - the shape they've given me is amazing. I've included a picture to show the shape but please note my brows have been filled in with my trusty MAC Charcoal Brown eyeshadow using the 266 brush - unfortunately I didn't get a pic when I'd just had them done, but will try to remember next time. I also went a bit OTT towards my nose - they're not as thick sans powder as I made them.  In this picture I'm also wearing the NARS Tokydo duo on the lids and crease, and eyes are lined with MACs Beauty Marked.

Glow Beauty Bar is available in Fenwicks in Newcastle and London, also in Debenhams Clapham Junction and House of Fraser Victoria Street, plus a few other locations across the UK. Visit www.glowbeautybar.com

Cost £14 for eyebrows.

17 November 2009

10 things about me

Okay no-one has tagged me but I'm going to do this anyway as we all like to talk about ourselves really!

1. I live in London but I was born in Scotland and brought up in Northumberland. For me one of the best sights in the world is the view of Newcastle quayside as the train from London crosses over the Tyne into Central Station. Yes I love the north and think Northumberland is one of the most stunning counties in the UK.

2. I never wanted to live in London but moved there after completing my degree as it was the only place I could find a job (I did find my boyfriend of 9 years here too so it was worth it!)

3. I work for a charity, which I really enjoy though I realise I'm never going to make my fortune this way, so....

4. One day, I would like to write a book (maybe more than one!). I have a few ideas in mind but no time to put pen to paper (excuses, excuses!)

5. If I didn't work in the charity sector, and my back up plan of being a multi-million selling author fails, I'd love to be a make up artist or a beautician. I've also always wanted to work on the tills in a clothes shop. Or just operate a cash register!

6. I love make up and spend horrendous amounts of money on cosmetics and beauty products. I am obssessed. Yet bizarrely I don't wear make up all that often and I don't think I'm that good at applying it. Especially eyeshadow - hopeless!!!

6. My grandfather was from the Yemen, hence my (middle) name.

7. I like to play guitar. I play lots of things to a very mediocre standard. My favourite type of guitar music is flamenco / Spanish guitar, and blues. The flamenco guitar player Paco de Lucia is my idol.

8. I love Spain and have recently got half on A-Level in Spanish. I think the language is beautiful. I got a much better grade than any of my A-Levels at school!

9. I studied science at University, and was a freelance science journalist for a while. After uni, I very nearly ended up working in a lab for Nestle in Newcastle (hence the London move). I hate practical science!

10. I love squash and think it should be made an Olympic sport!

16 November 2009

Beauty icons #1 - Jennifer Lopez

I love J-Lo! There, I've said it. Her look may not be the coolest out there, nor the most adventurous, but this is a woman who knows what suits her, and knows how to make the best of what she's got. Before fame and fortune, Jen was what could have been described as plain - pretty, yes, but quite plain, with unruly dark locks that didn't really flatter her, and questionable dress sense (but hey, didn't we all back in the 90s?!) - though she always had that fab curvy figure.

But check her out here a few years down the line, a bronzed beauty with luxe locks and that fabulously bling dress - not many of us could carry off one-shouldered leopard print but Jen does so with aplomb. I think she looks lovely here, feminine, pretty and sexy, not an easy trio to pull off!

I love the fact that J-Lo embraces her femininity - she's proud of her curves and rightly so and although some of her outfits may be revealing (see third photo below!) she rarely looks tacky. In a sea of small, skinny Hollywood startlets that all seem to look the same, Jen to me stands head and shoulders above - always looking glamorous, elegant, and healthy with her glowing skin and curvy but toned frame.

J-Lo has definitely been a beauty and style inspiration to me over the years - my look definitely veers towards shiny and bling from time to time.  My wardrobe contains a healthy smattering of animal print and shiny stuff, I rarely wear non-gold jewellry and one of my favourite make up and hair looks is golden straightened locks with a softly glowing face, tres J-Lo. I also adore Grecian drapes and have a few tops and long dress that I like to think wouldn't look out of place on La Lopez.

But besides the bling, I also appreciate Jen's beauty aesthetic - she always looks groomed, glowing and above all healthy. She doesn't drink alcohol much, which probably contributes to her amazing skin and sparkling eyes. And another thing I love about J-Lo is that she seems to look better the older she gets, inspiration to us all! But I'm sure she works at it, hard.

I don't like J-Lo when she's being too 'street' - too 'Jenny from the block' - I'm talking the crop tops and billowing pants with heeled trainers. It was fine once upon a time but now I think J-Lo's getting, much as I hate to say it, too old for this look. I'd love to see her do a video which embraces Hollywood glamour, for me this is one of the looks she pulls off best.

Off the top of my head, I can think of at least dozen J-Lo looks that I've loved. Some more of my favourites are below:

This teal Temperley dress on Jen blew me away - it could have been made for her, and I adore her hair and make up too.

J-Lo looks godess-like in this divine Marchesa dress - it suits her figure perfectly and the colour and jewelled detailing are just so elegant. I love J-Lo's hair and make up here - she could have easily gone for long waves and this is different and classy - in fact, she is almost unrecognisable here.

Wowser - this is even more daring than I remembered. J-Lo's Versace dress at the 2000 Grammy Awards was one of her definining moments. And yes, she did pull it off!

Another red-carpet do, another Grecian show stopper, another runaway success! The dress, the hair, the clip, the glowing skin, DIVINE! The dress suits Jen's figure perfectly. I'm going to be chanelling this look at a wedding I'm attending this weekend, perhaps will post a pic so you can judge how well I did!

Okay, J-Lo does wear alot of Grecian dresses, but when she looks this good, who can blame her?? (easy on the fake tan though!)

But it's not just Grecian J-Lo can pull off - check her out in this white gathered dress with fab 40s hair and red lips that would make Gwen Stefani proud!

And this sixties-style shorter colour block dress looks perfect on J-Lo, showing off her super slender pins. I love the tousled hair and natural make up too.

Okay okay, she is only human (despite being J-Lo) and of course there have been a few mishaps along the way, I'm thinking that velvet rouched abomination she wore to a music awards ceremony recently! But I'm not here to dwell on those - there are plenty of magazines out there ripping female celebs to shreds without me adding to it in the blogosphere. The fact is, with J-Lo's face and figure she can carry off just about anything.. and she knows it...

All hail J-Lo, queen of bling-beauty!

Do you love J-Lo?? Who are your beauty icons. I plan on a whole series of these with some pretty eclectic choices in there, so I hope you enjoyed reading.

11 November 2009

In lust - Nars Lust for Life palette!

Loving it! Bought this on eBay for about £25 and it is so worth every penny! I think I'm a bit lazy when it comes to make up and like to stick to tried and tested combinations, whilst at the same time admiring those faces in magazines and on celebrities that look made up yet in a way that's hard to pinpoint - a subtle lip teamed with a defined eye and a glowing cheek but none of them jumping out at you - just a polished, sophisticated look.... FOUND IT! (Woop!)

So there are three lipsticks, an old favourite of mine Dolce Vita, a new favourite of mine Pigalle (where has it been all my life) and the famous red Fire Down Below which I haven't even got round to trying yet so enamoured am I with everything else.

The blushes, Mata Hari and Amour look frankly frightening in the pan but once on they really do transform both themselves and your skin, giving a flush of either peach or pink colour that can be a subtle or unsubtle as you like.

The eyeshadows are the fairly subtle Tokyo duo (a grey white highlight shade and a soft, light heather) and a dark burgundy New York that I have to confess has me puzzled - not sure how to make this one work other than popping a bit in the crease - seems to make me look a bit tired anywhere else... but I'll let that one go as the rest of the palette is so fabulous and the Tokyo duo seems to work really well with my brown eyes.

Shadows top-bottom: Tokyo I, Tokyo II, New York
Blush top-bottom: Amour, Mata Hari
Lips l-r: Pigalle, Fire Down Below, Dolce Vita

So my face of the day which is fast becoming face of the week / month is as follows:

Lips - Pigalle
Eyes - Tokyo duo, New York in crease
Cheeks - Mata Hari
(I'm also wearing Kiehl's Ultra Facial Tinted Moisturiser in Light, MAC Charcoal Brown eyeshadow on the brows and Lancome Hypnose mascara though most of that wore off at work!)

It's frustratingly difficult to get accurate representation of the colours on the face, especially in this abominable light. I hope however the FOTD pics show the fresh look that I think this palette enables, a rosy cheeked, bitten lip bright eyed look that I think is perfect for this colder weather. The strength of the lip and cheek colours plus the burgundy eyeshadow also means this could be ramped up quite a lot for evening / party looks, and I'll certainly be making lots of use of this baby at Christmas and New Year (don't see this getting much use in Spring / Summer).

I'm not sure if this Nars palette can still be purchased at counters but if you like the look it check eBay or it's currently available through HQ Hair at £48 (ouch!). I'm definitely going to be looking out for more palettes in future - I already I have my eye on Skin Deep!

The green 'n' blues - Illamasqua Muse and Barry M Racing Green nail polish

As I mentioned in a previous post, my head has been turned recently by some nail colours, such as greens, greys and, heavens, even yellows, which I would never in a billion years have even looked at BBB (before beauty blogs - I hereby copyright that phrase!). And as my make up enlightenment continues, I have now officially dipped a toe (rather a fingertip!) into the tempting polishes inspired, it seems, by the myriad colours of the oceans.

It began with Illamasqua's Muse, appropriately, from their Sirens Collection.

I didn't know much about Illamasqua other than what I'd read on a few blogs, so last time I was in Selfridges I thought I'd check it out. The staff were certainly very helpful, though I wasn't too impressed with the counter, which seemed a bit scruffy and disorganised.

Being a sucker for teals and turquoises in every day life (well mainly in clothes and in my house!), the dreamy-looking Muse really stood out. I tried it in the store and was very impressed with the creaminess and opacity, and the enthusiasm of the salesperson won me over. I applied it at home to blog about it, and while I like it, I'm not blown away. I just don't think I'm a teal / turquoise nail kinda girl! That said, if I ever get to wear those turquoise tights I bought from Dotty P's a few weeks ago, this could be just the ticket.
Applies well, cost £12.75 I think.

I have to say that overall this line didn't really speak to me - perhaps it's not pretty enough or perhaps I'm just not a 'colour' person - but I'd probably go back for a second look. There was a stunning purply-lilac I also tried - I can't tell from the website swatches whether it was Velocity or Poke - but it seemed a bit similar to OPI's Parlez-vous OPI so I didn't get it. While some seem to love the cardboard Illamasqua packaging with the illustrations on, I can take it or leave it - I think I prefer something plain and classic like Chanel to be honest (perhaps I'm just boring!). The bottle itself is square and cool although I was disappointed to find when I got home I'd been sold one with a dodgy lid! Love the fact that they call them 'nail varnish' though - British and old-school!

I had better luck with Barry M's Racing Green nail paint. Barry M is a brand I've never paid much attention to in the past being more of a high-end lover, but that will be changing. I'm going to blog on my Barry M haul separately, but in amongst it was this gorgeous shimmering shade - more turquoise than it looks in the bottle.

I prefer this to Muse - it's prettier somehow, quite mermaidy, whereas Muse is more edgy (and the Barry M is only £2.75!). But even so, again, I just can't get as excited about this as I can say a beautiful deep brown or a shimmering rose. Ultimately, I think my foray into green 'n' blue polishes may end here... or at least as soon as Essie's Sag Harbor turns up from eBay!!!

Anyone got any favourite green 'n' blues?

1 November 2009

Essie - Sexy Divide nail polish

I popped into Liberty after attending a course in central London last week - and popped out with my first Essie nail polish (and a Shu eyeshadow!)

I was hoping to find Mint Candy Apple, a lovely light aqua colour which I've seen on a few blogs and which I think
will look lovely in winter (preferably on a snowy day!), but I don't think it's out in the UK yet. There were however a few other tempting colours on display, and I plumped for the decadent shimmering purple pictured left - Sexy Divide (odd name!)

I'm not usually drawn to purples, and to be honest, despite this being a very nice purple, I don't think I'd purchase any more. I bought it mainly as I don't have any purple nail polishes in my collection, and wanted something to match my increasing number of purple eyeshadows. Why I like purple eyes but not nails I don't know - I do like lavenders, lilacs and heather colours such as OPI's Parlez vous OPI but for some reason true purples just don't speak to me.

I'm not sure what I make of the Essie formulation - I vaguely recall having tried them a few years ago and finding them a bit watery which probably explains their absence from my make up bag. They definitely seem to be thinner than other polishes and although they don't go on very evenly, you can kind of apply as much as you need in one go if you see what I mean (e.g if it's too thin you can apply more straight away as it's still quite wet on the nail, to get the right coverage). Unfortunately this means it doesn't dry very quickly, but when it does, the lasting power actually seems quite good.

I did a manicure and a pedicure with this colour and think I prefer it as a pedicure. It's a great evening colour but somehow it just looks too much like a party colour for me to wear during the daytime. It will however be a great Christmas colour and I'll probably get a lot of wear out of this over the forthcoming festive season. So in summary, if you like purples, Sexy Divide is definitely worth checking out, but personally, I doubt I'll be repurchasing when it runs out.

I have bought a couple of more Essie shades from eBay though which look promising, Angora cardigan and Sag Harbor . Will report on those shortly!

Pictured with Nails Inc Kensington Caviar top coat.