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Friday, 31 May 2013

West End Festival: The Best of the West

Today kicks off the West End Festival 2013 (now in it's 18th year) and I thought it might be fun to make a little list of my picks out of the many things there are to see and do during festival time (which will run until Sunday the 30th of June). And believe me, there are lots of events on and projects to get involved in,  thanks to over 100 contributors and organisations. I think that the bigger events such as the parade on Sunday 9th of June are a given and have instead looked at smaller events that might not be as widely-known as the recurring large ones. I have listed the events in order of date, and so without further ado - my top 5 picks for WEF13 include:

Be-Bop-a-Lula #3 at the Grovesnor Cafe
Tonight! The third instalment of rockabilly club night will run at the Grovesnor Cafe from 8:00pm to 1:00am. With live music from the Shivering Sheiks vs The Meatmen, milkshakes, a twist contest and 50s makeovers, I am all over this bad boy. Rockabilly attire is encouraged but not required for this night of raucous rock n' roll.

Saturday Afternoon BBQ's at Bothy Restaurant terrace
Nothing says Summer like the smell of a tasty barbecue and Bothy Restaurant on Ruthven Lane has it sorted with their grills to eat in or take away every Saturday of the festival starting Saturday 1st June and lasts all day. Yum!

Lansdowne International Film Festival
From Sunday 2nd June running every Sunday evening until the end of the festival, The Lansdowne bar & kitchen will be screening different films from world cinema in their Glasshouse area. The Lansdowne is a lovely venue, full of friendly staff and with free popcorn and two pizzas for a tenner thrown into the mix it sounds like lights, camera, awesome to me.

Pingleton at Hillhead Bookclub
One of my favourite West End hangouts, Hillhead Bookclub will be upping their love of ping pong for the tournament to end all tournaments on Monday 24th June at 8pm. They'll bring the cocktails and ping pong tables, you bring your game face!

Night of the Living Dead at the Grovesnor Cafe 
The Grovesnor Cafe invite you do perfect your zombie walk and moan as they celebrate the release of World War Z. On Friday the 28th of June from 8:00pm to 1:00am they are promising a night of ghoultastic fun and encourage guests to dress up as zombies, with a £250 prize for the best dressed! I just hope the DJ plays the Monster Mash...

I hope to get along to as many events as I can - although I will be in London the day of the big parade. These are just a taster of what's on at this year's West End Festival and the full calendar can be found at the WEF13 website

Are you going to any events at the West End Festival? Which ones are you excited about? WIll I see YOU doing the Monster Mash dressed as a zombie?

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, 30 May 2013

Beauty Bites: US Drugstore Haul

On my holiday blog post, I mentioned that I had bought some make-up and beauty products while in Florida. I thought I would split my hauls into two separate posts: what I picked up at drugstores such as Walgreens and Wal-mart, and then I will post separately about the goodies I bought at Sephora. In this post I will summarise my drugstore haul. WARNING: This is a pretty long post by my standards and a lot of make up chat!

Before going on holiday I had made an unofficial list of products that I have read about on some of my favourite overseas blogger babes' and beauty reviewers pages and wanted to try for myself. Normally when I go on holiday I try to take advantage of the lower prices on brands such as MAC and Benefit, but for this trip I decided to focus on brands that are difficult to get in the UK. If I really want that new MAC lipstick, at least I know I can get it in town but there are some things that I can't just stroll into Boots or Frasers and pick up. So as tempting as it was to get some cheaper high-end goodies or some new Revlon Lip Butters, I decided to stick with the harder-to-get products.

I would say that the biggest of my drugstore hauls came from Wal-mart. Not only did I find their prices better than Walgreens, but they had products that were exclusive to their store and I really liked their range. The first brand that I went to look at was Flower, a cruelty-free cosmetics line by Drew Barrymore that promises the quality of a high-end make up brand at an affordable price. I have a lot of love for Ms B as it is, so I was keen to see her new collection of make up and pick up a few things. I would say that Flower (also the name of Drew's film production company, fun fact) offers a lot of choice when it comes to foundations, concealers, BB creams and powders. There seemed to be lots of different textures and coverages to choose from. I knew that I was likely to buy a lot of make-up on this trip so limited myself to only a few things from each brand. I decided on a bottle of About Face foundation in shade LF2 and a Lip Service lip butter in Tempting Tulip. I haven't tried the foundation yet but the lip butter is a nice, non-sticky formula with the option to build a deeper colour.

I next hit the Covergirl area. We don't have this brand in the UK but anyone that has ever watched America's Next Top Model or read important US magazines will be familiar with the 'Easy, Breezy, Beautiful' tagline and celebrity faces representing the company. In fact, Drew Barrymore was a previous face of Covergirl (do I see a pattern forming here?) . The selection of Covergirl products is MASSIVE - picking out a couple of things is always a hard task when there are lots of nice things to choose from! I opted for the new Outlast Stay Fabulous 3-in-1 foundation, concealer and primer as I had read rave reviews about it declaring it as UH-MAY-ZING and was curious to try it for myself. I bought the shade in ivory, one of the palest shades from the broad spectrum of colours available.

I had only looked at two brands and already picked up two foundations - this is very unlike me as I am a creature of habit when it comes to foundation (normally darting between Soap & Glory's Show Good Face and Benefit's Hello Flawless Oxygen Wow foundations, and no-one else ever gets a look in). But both of the foundations I chose do look high quality and get excellent reviews so I look forward to trying them both.

From Covergirl I also decided to pick up a tube of their newest mascara, called Flamed Out. This has just been launched recently and Pink is the face of the product. It is described as being able to deliver bold lashes that 'curve up and out' so as someone that wants the eyes of a Disney character (not asking too much, am I?) I look forward to seeing if this mascara delivers the goods. The last Covergirl product I picked up was some Clean pressed powder. I haven't tried any of the Covergirl goodies as yet but look forward to it.

Remember Hard Candy? I used to love Hard Candy! Their cute packaging and bright colours made them a favourite of mine as a teenager. And then one day they were gone from the shelves! I re-discovered them a few years back, rebranded and stocked exclusively in Wal-mart. Now, this line is really inexpensive so it's easy to go a little nuts if you aren't careful! I have bought some of their lipstick (meh) and blusher (awesome) in previous years so decided to try out some of their Sheer Envy primer and All Glossed Up lip stain in Pout (their lip stain is a similar idea to a Clinique Chubby Stick). So far I've tried the lip stain, and while it has little staying power is does deliver a hydrating shine with a pop of colour so I still quite like it.On a second trip to the make-up aisles of Wal-mart (OOPS) I treated myself to some of Hard Candy's nail polish but I will write a separate review of that one!

The next brand that I looked at was ELF. Ah, ELF - holy grail of the bargain lover and urban legend to many. Now, I am aware that you can buy ELF online in the UK but I sometimes like to see things (especially make-up) for myself before buying online. ELF (Eyes, Lips, Face) aim to provide studio-quality make-up at extremely low prices - all products are between $1 and $3. Like Hard Candy, the low prices make it easy to toss loads into your trolley and think about it later. I was trying to be considerate of what I was buying though, so settled on a lip stain (this one was more the marker-pen consistency that I'd normally expect) in Pink Petal, an eyelid primer, a concealer stick (have used it a few times and it's fine so far), an all-over colour stick in Pink Lemonade (I really like this product after a couple of uses) and an eyeshadow brush (I've still to use it properly but it feels like nice quality).

Finally, I indulged my lip balm obsession and picked up an EOS ball in Summer Fruit (yum but not pictured - you can see what it looks like here), pomegranate flavoured Carmex (double yum) and Yes To Carrots chapstick in mint. I've tried all three of these so far and they are all great. I especially love the dome shape of the EOS lip balm, it's quite unique to what we have in the UK.

I'm really happy with my US drugstore beauty haul - I'm looking forward to trying all of it!

Have you tried any of these products? Which is your favourites? Any US drugstore goodies that you'd recommend?

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Holiday Wear: Orange Sherbet

As I was not around to blog my usual Weekend Wear posts, I thought I would pick one outfit from my holiday and write a post on that instead! This is an outfit I wore at some point in the second week of our trip and aside from the glasses and hair flower, it was comprised of new purchases I made during the holiday (who wants to read about my Primark shorts and tee shirt combos anyway?), yay!

Let's take a moment to talk about this dress. It is ORANGE! Like, borderline neon orange. I have never worn anything so bright since my mum stopped dressing me as a kid (there were a lot of Lion King-esque ensembles when I was ten, let's not talk about that though...) and as a teenage goth I never thought I would wear something so bright ever again. It is the second orange frock I have bought in recent times (teenage me would be rolling her kohl-plastered eyes in disgust) and waaaay out of my comfort zone. But! I really like this dress. The cut is seriously cute and the white print (all moons and shooting stars) reminds me of Lucky Charms. So even though it is very bright, I was still drawn to it. The Boy deemed it as approved, declaring it "something a cartoon character would wear" - he always knows just what to say. I have Christened it the 'Orange Sherbet'.

The dress is from JC Penney (or JCP as they are now rebranded as), a large US department store. JCP have introduced some new designer-name collections to their store (think H! By Henry Holland at Debenhams, same kind of concept here) including Lulu Guinness, Betsey Johnson and Nanette Lepore. This dress is part of Nanette Lepore's L'Amour collection for JCP, and I managed to get it in the clearance section which made it even sweeter (I'd have paid full price for it anyway).

I paired the dress with my new Levi's studded denim vest (bought from the Levi's outlet) which I customised with a few pins that I had with me until I got it home to my full magpie-like range of pins, button badges and brooches. This broke up the bright orange a little and I had been dying to wear my new vest anyway so it was a win-win for me!

My hair flower and faithful heart-shaped glasses are from H&M (every girl needs a pair of heart-shaped sunnies...) and I did my 'holiday mani' nails a few days before using OPI's Strawberry Margarita, Sinful Colours' Crystal Clear glitter with a Hello Kitty for Sephora decal on my ring fingers. The result was a bright pink, glittery, kawaii dream - exactly what I was going for.

It was very, very warm and sunny that day (and every day that fornight) so tights were out of the question. I know, I know! I don't actually wear tights in Florida, I go with my bare legs and let my self-consciousness fly out the window for a few weeks. Who's have thunk it, eh? They would have dissolved in the heat though! I had bought two pairs of Vans trainers while at the outlets (perfect summer footwear, so light and comfy) and could not resist the uber-glitter goodness of these shoes! They remind me of Columbia from the Rocky Horror Picture Show, so it really didn't take much else to persuade me to buy them. As I was wearing such an eye-catching dress I really had no clue which shoes to wear, nothing seemed to match or was subtle enough, and black just looked weird. So I decided to fight fire with fire, or at least, glitter!

I wore this wee outfit to go bowling at Splitsville Luxury Lanes, which is new at Downtown Disney, and later that night we played mini golf (so much better in the cooler evenings compared to during the day). We had a blast!

Do you rock the orange sherbet look? What is your latest dress purchase? Have you ever fought fire with glitter?

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

If We Took a Holiday... would be SO NICE! I must say, I agree with Madonna's logic on this one. Well, hello! I am back from my two-week holiday in sunny Florida and apart from a bit of jet-lag, I am feeling relaxed,  rested, refreshed and any other similar words beginning with 'R'. I thought I would post a quick round up of my holiday...

This year was our fifth trip to Florida and it was the best yet! The Boy and I spent a very happy fortnight exploring, shopping, eating and (of course) visiting Disney World. The weather was beautiful and the hotel (the Marriott Village in Lake Buena Vista) was wonderful.

We were based three-quarters of a mile from Downtown Disney which made "going to see The Mouse" (as the locals call it) as many times as we liked a skoosh. The parks themselves were quite quiet so there were no crazy long lines to get on the rides and we even got to meet a few of the characters since they weren't being bombarded with children all the time. Photo op! Disney World is still my favourite place on earth and it was amazing to be back.

Aside from the parks, we sampled lots of yummy things to eat - some highlights included lobster mac & cheese at House of Blues, Doritos Locos Tacos (a taco with the shell made from Doritos, so wrong and yet so right), being reunited with childhood favourites at Dunkin' Donuts and breakfasts so big I surprised myself. Unsurprisingly, in a lot of my holiday snaps I am never far away from the next plate of food...

And of course, there was the shopping! With HUGE malls, chain stores and designer outlets to choose from, Florida is full of excellent shopping destinations. I picked up a few cute dresses, two pairs of shoes, some goodies from Betsey Johnson and Tarina Tarantino (two of my very favourite designers) and a lot of make-up from both high(ish)-end retailer Sephora and drugstores like Walgreens and Wal-mart. I will post separately about my make-up product hauls so I can dissect them in detail for my fellow beauty junkies!  Like at home, I am a total bargain-hunter when I am on holiday and managed to get some really great discounts on everything from dresses to dinners! A lot of the outlet shops offered deals like buy-one-get-one-free or buy-one-get-one-50%-0ff so with vouchers and in-store deals I was able to get a lot of bang for my buck.

With temperatures in the high-80s and sometimes early-90s it was important to stay protected in such a strong, direct sun. As well as my usual SPF110 by Banana Boat for all over coverage I also used Neutrogena's Clear Face facial sunscreen in SPF55 which has an anti-breakout formula. This was the first time I'd used this product and I was very impressed. Normally due to applying a greasy sunblock to my face (even ones designed for facial protection, such as Boots' No7 facial sunscreen product) I am prone to a strong breakout on holiday, but this matte-drying formula from Neautrogena left my skin feeling nice and able to breathe. I didn't get a single zit on holiday and it did a great job of protecting my face too! It has earned a permanent spot (ho ho) in  my holiday kit.

It feels like it was over in a heartbeat now, but I can always enjoy the memories from this holiday - and start planning the next one! Now it's all about getting organised and back to Glasgow life (and temperatures - brr!) in my wee West End flat. I'm still catching up with what has been going on over here, in 'real life' and the bloggersphere. If there is anything you think I might enjoy reading up on please leave me a comment below! The West End Festival starts in a mere few days so there is a lot of excitement surrounding that. I will be out of Glasgow for the parade day (London calling...) but I will be posting a feature shortly on some of my top festival picks. Plus, it's officially summer now - hurrah!

Are you going on holiday this year? Are you excited about Summer? Do you like to bargain-hunt too?

Thanks for reading, it's good to be back!

Sunday, 19 May 2013

WestEndGirl Eats - Street Food Cartel

Earlier this month I went along to the Street Food Cartel at SWG3 after reading rave reviews about the last event. Street Food Cartel are a pop-up dining experience who also showcase some of the best local bars and restaurants who are "inspired by the bold flavours of the street". I've previously blogged about Smoak's barbecue delights, who were featured at March's SFC event and, from what I've heard, went down a treat.

Last week's event featured Scoop, who use fresh Scottish produce to create diverse and global-inspired dishes. It also played host to the Spanish/ Mexican culinary treats of Lupe Pintos - yes, the same Lupe Pintos that run the deli on Great Western Road. The last event was a total sell out so I made sure to reserve my ticket to this one so I could pop along and see what all the fuss was about.

On arrival at SWG3 (where the event was held), I was impressed. The venue had been transformed into a unique dining space complete with authentic food truck (indoors) and makeshift tables. I really liked the whole 'cartel' theme of the evening, with complimentary cocktails being served in bottles wrapped in brown paper bags and the fact that the event was being held in a converted warehouse in an empty street (if you didn't know what was going on in there, you'd walk right past it). The Boy and I were greeted by the very friendly and cheery bar staff and about ten minutes later we were shown to our table. 

Music was provided by the Scratch and Sniff DJ's who's funk and soul offerings got my stamp of approval. The only thing was, we were seated right next to the DJ booth, meaning we couldn't hear or speak to each other while we were eating. We ate our food silently and let each other know what we thought of each dish via hand gestures and exaggerated facial expressions. Not ideal on a night out with your boyfriend!

The menu offered five dishes from each guest restaurant and a variety of beers, cocktails and wines. Intended for sharing, we decided  to pick two different dishes from each resturant so we could sample the different flavours on offer. We were told that the dishes would arrive in no particular order and it was the two choices from Lupe Pintos that arrived first. Ever the fairytale lover, I had selected the Three Little Piggies which consisted of pork shoulder, pancetta, chorizo and butter beans served in a bowl like a stew. This came with 4 small pots of sour cream, guacamole, sweet onions & jalepenos and sweet onions. The Boy had opted for Lupe's famous beef, chorizo & chipotle chilli which came with the same sides.

The Three Little Piggies were delicious, a hearty and flavoursome stew that I would have happily huffed and puffed and blown a house down for some more of. The meat was tender and well-portioned and the flavours complimented each other really well. The chilli was equally tasty, with big hunks of tender cooked beef instead of the usual minced variety. Overall the dishes from Lupe Pintos were filling (in a good way!) and very tasty. We were ready for round two! Ding ding!

From Scoop's menu The Boy ordered the confit pork belly, smokey chorizo (we were all about the chorizo that night), black pudding & chickpea stew. That sounded delicious when reading it off the menu but was actually a little disappointing. Don't get me wrong, the portion size was decent and there was plenty meat to be had, but it didn't taste very memorable. Plus, there was no black pudding to be had on the plate. I had the Thai haddock and prawn cakes, served with prawn crackers, a shredded herby salad and prik nam pla. These were good, I got 4 fat cakes served in a crumb coating and the prawn crackers tasted lovely.

We skipped dessert (although the cinnamon sugared churros were mighty tempting) and called it a night. The lack of proper ventilation and spices used in cooking was resulting in watery eyes all round. I loved the smell of the food when I came in, but I didn't want to sit and inhale it all night and the steam from the meal preparation grew thicker as time went on.

All in all, I'm a bit on the fence with this one. I like the idea of Street Food Cartel in theory - a pop-up dining experience giving people the opportunity to try new and exciting dishes from the best of local cuisine. As a big food fan, I love this concept. I also loved the variety and quality of food on the menu (particularly from Lupe Pintos) and the staff were awesome and very welcoming. However, I wasn't a big fan of the price. Paying a fiver each before you even order any food was not very popular, and it was clear from those sitting around us that this was not well-received. I got the impression that many of the diners thought they were paying a cover charge to come and taste some sample-sized portions of excellent local food. Yes we got to taste some excellent local food, but only after paying to get in, and then paying for each separate dish. It all added up and paying twice for my dinner isn't something I want to make a habit of. I like Street Food Cartel's vision, and really want it to work (and as their events are all sell-outs, I'm sure others do too) but I think a re-assessment of the pricing is in order. Also, the noise and ventilation issues made the experience a little less enjoyable than it could have been.

I don't know if I would go back to SFC right away, but I would keep an eye on things to see how things are progressing and then maybe return in the future. 

Did you go to Street Food Cartel? What did you think? What was your favourite dish?

Monday, 13 May 2013

Weekend Wear: Warehouse Wandering

So it's May and the weather is still horrible. We had one freakishly lovely day on Tuesday and it has been raining ever since. SADFACE! I'm dying to wear all my cute summer dresses but it's hard to justify it when everyone else is still wearing scarves and coats. It also means that whenever you go out, you turn up to your destination looking a bit bedraggled and mildly-traumatised-looking (if you're anything like me...). Not cool, weather gods. 

When The Boy and I went to SWG3 this weekend, it was cold, wet and truly miserable outside. A cardigan was definitely an essential so I wore my H&M leopard cardigan to add a pop of sunshine to the dreary weather. It's one of the brightest items in my wardrobe, I love it. I wore it with my NFD (new favourite dress) - a speckled purple Topshop cotton t-shirt dress that I can see myself living in in the coming months. This baby will go with everything. I had been silly enough to wear ballet flats during the day and my feet were soaked so it was time to call in the big guns for the evening in the form of my shiny, violet Doc Martens.

For those of you who haven't been to SWG3, it is a converted warehouse now home to a multi-functional facility and venue. It hosts a diverse range of events, exhibitions, performances and programmes. I was a bit skeptical at first but it is a huge space and after visiting it this weekend, I'd like to go back and see what a gig or art exhibition might be like.

I wore Louise Gray x Topshop lipstick in Legend which isn't very prominent-looking in the pictures due to the low lighting of the warehouse but it is a shocking pink very deserving of its name! I also wore accessories by Tatty Devine and H&M (I'm actually wearing a small feather fascinator from H&M's Fashion Against AIDS collection from last year but it is totally invisible in these photos due the the lighting and my wind-beaten hair!).

What did you wear this weekend? Did you avoid getting soaked? Do you have an NFD of the moment?

Thanks (as always) for reading!

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Be Right Back...

Hello! I'm off to the Happiest Place on Earth for two glorious weeks so I won't be blogging for a bit. I do have one or two scheduled posts lined up while I'm away but won't be posting anything new until I'm back.

I will (wifi permitting) be posting updates of my adventures on Twitter and Instagram (@misswestendgirl) so feel free to have a nosey at what I'm up to!

Love, smiles and sparkly mouse ears,

WestEndGirl x

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Feelin' Lucky, Punk?

Last weekend was the much-anticipated Tatty Devine Sample Sale. This event is held every year at their Brick Lane store and for Londoners (and those able to travel of course!) it means an opportunity for perspex princesses and jewellery lovers to get their hands on Tatty Devine pieces at sample sale prices for a whole bank holiday weekend. Score! These are, predictably (and quite rightly) very popular events and photos from the weekends always show oodles of shoppers crammed into the store to try and snap up a bargain - be it that statement necklace they have been eyeing up for moths, or something special from the Tatty Devine archives.

Unfortunately, I never manage to time my trips to London to be able to hit the Sample Sale myself (this year is no exception, I'm a whole month behind) but us more remote fans are still able to join in the fun thanks to the Lucky Dip Weekend on Tatty Devine's online store. Anyone that knows me knows that I am obsessed with lucky bags, mystery boxes and everything in between (I'm blaming all those Kinder eggs as a child...). I just can't resist the lure of them! In fact, my friend was kind enough to get me a gorgeous Illamasqua mystery selection box for Christmas last year, because (in her words) "it combines two of your favourite things: lucky bags and make-up". What a doll!

That same friend shares my Tatty Devine obsession and it is rare that a birthday passes without us buying each other a little black box. You can keep your little blue boxes, I'm a little black box girl through and through!

With a love for lucky dips and Tatty Devine, it is no surprise that I am a regular shopper at Tatty Devine's Lucky Dip Weekends. Although tempting in terms of value (£15 for a small box and £35 for a larger box) I do limit myself to buying just one box. Last year I bought a big box which I adored, this year with an imminent holiday followed up by a trip to London to pay for, I chose a small box. Following placing my order, I saw other shoppers start to receive their orders and post
pictures online. It was fun to see what everyone else was getting in their Lucky Dips. Anticipation was building, hurry up postman! I got home from work yesterday to find my white and pink package waiting for me. "I've arrived!" it exclaimed. Hurrah!

I was really excited for this, I was just hoping that I didn't get anything I already had. I opened up my package and was really pleased to find what was inside: a necklace, earrings, and brooch. Getting a few different types of jewellery was really great and I'm over the moon with the actual pieces themselves. I got the original (and much-copied)  Moustache necklace (from The Best of Tatty Devine collection - normally £25 if you're wondering), an Anchor brooch (from 2009's Button Up collection) and a little blue ring (I'm not 100% sure which collection this ring is from but from he design I think it might be either the Leisure Pursuits or the Pierrot collection? If you know what it is, please leave a comment - I'd love to know for sure!). There is no doubt that the contents were worth far more than the £15 price tag, making the Lucky Dip boxes excellent value.
For anyone that maybe received something they already had in their collection, or just not their thing, Tatty Devine have set up a Swap Shop on Facebook which is running for one month.

This year's Lucky Dip weekend was a roaring success - with all of the boxes being sold out by Saturday teatime, I was glad to have ordered mine early. I'm delighted with my goodies - so much so that I decided to wear my new necklace immediately and took it on an outing last night! I hope other people were as happy with their boxes as I was with mine - I love surprises and being able to add to my ever-growing Tatty Devine collection. The boxes also make great gifts for other people (as well as yourself!). I'd certainly recommend checking it out next year.

Did you get anything from Tatty Devine's Lucky Dip Weekend? What is your favourite Tatty Devine piece? Were you obsessed with Kinder eggs as a child?

Thanks for reading!

Monday, 6 May 2013

Beauty Bites: Beautiful Brows

After attending the Speed Beauty event the other week I had said that I was going to post a review of the Beautiful Brows kit that I picked up. I decided to wait until I had used it a couple of times before posting a review. After all, it was quick and easy when I had one of the Beautiful Brows girls applying it for me - but was it going to be as simple and effective to use by myself at home? In a word, yes!

When it comes to my make-up, I've played around with enough different products and tools to be able to create looks that I'm happy with, but an area I've always neglected was my eyebrows. With my pale skin and very dark hair, I never thought that I had to pay much attention to my eyebrows, other than plucking them. However, they do look a bit patchy and underwhelming when I have full eye make-up sitting underneath them, but I wasn't confident enough to fill and shape them in a way that I was happy with. I'd started using a really good Soap & Glory pencil but I still wasn't 100% happy with the way my eyebrows looked.

That's why Beautiful Brows, for me at least, are a total game changing product. After hearing rave reviews from other beauty junkies I was intrigued to see what was so great about this supposed 'miracle product' that has managed to convert even the most devoted Benefit Brow-zings users. After seeing the slick demo performed by the girls from Beautiful Brows, I was even more intrigued.

I learned a bit more about the brand and they have an impressive CV - they are a UK-based company who offer a semi-permanent eyebrow make-up product. They originally created their product for people that for various reasons, had lost their hair or that it had thinned significantly, and would benefit from a product that creates the 'illusion' of a coloured and shaped brow. As their popularity and reputation grew, Beautiful Brows are now seen as a high-quality make-up essential for all kinds of customers. After having the brows applied, I was surprised to see how much my new brows changed my look, creating a more polished finish.

The fact that the kit is so quick and easy to use is another huge bonus - in under 30 seconds both eyebrows were started and finished and I was starting to see what all the fuss was about. Essentially you are using a stencil, which is placed over your natural eyebrow, and blending a small amount of product over your eyebrow with a small brush in a quick backwards-and-forwards motion. I know the idea of using a stencil and brush all sounds very Art Attack, but trust me, I wouldn't be surprised if Neil Buchanan himself was rocking one of these kits. It is very easy to use, and because you are only using a small amount of the product at a time, it lasts a couple of years, making it very good value for money. After it runs out, you can just buy a refill, there is no need to purchase the whole kit again.

The product is referred to as 'semi permenant' - I have found that it will last if you are caught in the rain without an umbrella and will also survive a night on the dancefloor. I have been told that you can go swimming with them on too but have yet to test this theory (learning to swim would be a good start). The product will come off easily with make-up remover or facewash so at least you won't be rubbing it for hours!

So what do you get in the kit? In the box, which features a mirror in the lid (designed for use on the go, but to be honest after applying it once before you leave the house is plenty, I have found that there are no touchups required), you get instructions, three stencils to give different looks (so far I found that 'sleek' is best stencil for me, as it is the smallest one but still gives a full shape) the eyebrow colour palette (in a bespoke shade picked out for you depending on your skin and hair colour), a highlighter, tweezers, a brush to apply the eyebrow colour and a highlighter brush.

Overall I am very happy with the Beautiful Brows system, it's easy for eyebrow novices (like me!) to use and at £35 for about 3 years' worth (and that's if you use it daily) I think it's a bargain. If you fancy finding out more, you can visit their website, or they have a retail stand in Buchanan Galleries shopping centre where you can talk through the process with one of the girls.

Have you used Beautiful Brows? What do you think of their products? Did you ever watch Art Attack as a kid?

Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 5 May 2013

Weekend Wear: May the Fourth

This weekend is The Boy's birthday which makes it a special one. It was also May the Fourth (also known as Star Wars Day) - which to any sci-fi or movie fans out there is significant as it's also an opportunity for fans of the Star Wars movies to celebrate all things Star Wars. When I asked The Boy what he wanted to do for his birthday this year he told me that he wanted to stay in, eat some of his favourite food with a couple of pals and watch The Empire Strikes Back - his favourite of the Star Wars franchise. The plan was laid back and fun, just like The Boy himself!

Always keen to throw myself headfirst into a theme, I wanted to make sure the evening would be as Star Wars-y as possible so started planning out what food to make, how to decorate and - of course - what to wear!

With a couple of t-shirts to pick from and the fact that we were spending the evening at home watching a movie, a t-shirt and skirt combo sounded like the ideal ensemble. I picked up this Star Tours tee at the re-opening of the Star Tours attraction at Disney's Hollywood Studios park in 2011 and paired it with a navy blue and white polka dot skirt from Tommy Hilfiger. Since I'd already started a blue and white theme I wore a pair of blue tights from H&M and didn't bother with shoes since I was hanging out in my own flat.

The Boy wore his Star Tours tee as well, although it was a harder choice for him as he has more Star Wars clothes to choose from (including some pretty awesome Adidas x Star Wars limited edition items).

Hair-wise, it was all about the Princess Leia buns of course! I mean, how could I (k)not? I also jumped at the chance to wear my new DIY Nails R2D2 decals, hurrah! These were a little bit more fiddly than your average nail wraps but looked great on. I will need to invest in a stronger topcoat though, and I'm not ruling out PVA glue, because my usual Sally Hansen just wasn't cutting it! I also made a couple of button badges for us to wear - mine said Ewok Princess because when watching the films as a kid I loved the Ewoks best.

We watched the movie, played Star Wars Trivial Pursuit, laughed all night and ate our body weight in junk food (including some birthday cupcakes that I had just enough time to whip up during the day). A good time was had by all and The Boy said it was his best birthday yet.

What did you wear this weekend? Did you celebrate May the Fourth? Do you know any insanely strong topcoats I could try?

Thanks for reading!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Events: INAA Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards 2013 Bloggers Event

At the start of this week I was invited to attend the Bloggers Do It Best Event as part of the run up to INAA's Scottish Hair and Beauty awards 2013. The event gave us an opportunity to learn a little more about the awards, who was involved and get to know some of the contributing brands. INAA (which stands for 'I Need An Appointment') are the first ever online booking portal in the UK who also offer marketing and management support to salons. I learned at the event that INAA believe in the link between looking good and feeling great - and that taking a the time to pamper and treat ourselves generally makes us feel better. I do agree with that sentiment - after a fresh dye job and the right manicure I sometimes feel like I can take on the world!

The event was also the first time that I got to meet the other Scottish blogger babes, which was a pleasure in itself! What a friendly bunch! Thanks to them I didn't feel like the new girl at school for very long and we were chatting away for most of the night. After meeting up with some of the other girls beforehand, we headed to Apartment 29 where the evening was being held. I must say, this was my first time at this venue and I was impressed. The interior was very pretty, keeping some of the original features of the building (like the stairwell and the high ceilings) and mixing them with contemporary decorating. It made for a very pleasant space to spend the evening in! We were greeted at the top of the stairs and after being signed in, were shown to a room where we were seated and offered drinks and nibbles while waiting for everyone to arrive and for the evening to start.

The INAA ladies sure know how to make a room full of bloggers feel loved! They explained the concept behind the Bloggers Do It Best event and the role that bloggers play in today's market. After the INAA ladies kicked off the event there was a short speech from special guest Lauren Goodger (of TOWIE fame and now a beauty entrepreneur with her salon brand, Lauren's Way). Following this, we were then shown into another area, a bright airy space (which still managed to feel very busy do to the huge turn out) with some very popular beauty brands occupying different parts of the room. Guests from GHD, Bare Minerals, Lauren's Way (including the lady herself) and Bumble and Bumble were carrying out free demos and chatting to everyone about their products. There was also a raffle for one lucky girl to win a new set of GHD straighteners.

I enjoyed the Bumble and Bumble stand the best - Bee from Bumble & Bumble was an absolute star, doing a variety of awesome styles on lots of people's hair. I enjoyed watching her at work, seeing what she would decide to do and coming up with something different each time. She even did yours truly's hair, giving me a sweet retro pin-up style that I was gutted to wash out later! I loved it! The lovely Roz from The Olive Dragonfly (pictured below, bottom left) got a stunning sixties-inspired beehive 'do that she really suited. Plus, I found out that Bee and I both get our tattoos at the same studio and by the same person - small world eh? I must admit getting my hair styled without a mirror was a little daunting at first, but the other bloggers were smiling and giving me the thumbs-up throughout so then I knew it must've been OK!

During the evening some of the Alison James PR team were mingling with us, taking Instagram pictures and making sure we were having a good time. I also spied the other girls getting their tan on at Lauren's Way, checking out the makeup at Bare Minerals and drooling over the new pastel coloured GHD tools. I enjoyed having a nosey at the different brands and chatting with the other bloggers (and to everyone I spoke to - it was great to meet you, you lovely ladies! I don't want to list absolutely everyone because I might forget a name by accident and don't want to miss anybody out!) - before I knew it the evening had come to an end.

We were given some fab goody bags on our way out of the event which included treats from OPI (hurrah!), Bare Minerals and Lauren's Way. We were also given a top secret list of the nominees for this years Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards (held on 26th of May) A big thank you to Alison James PR and INAA for a smashing evening, Apartment 29 and it's staff for their hospitality and the Scottish Blogger Network for co-ordinating our attendance.

More information on the INAA Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards can be found at

Did you vote in the Scottish Hair and Beauty Awards? Have you ever booked through INAA? Do you feel like a superhero after getting your pamper on?

Thanks for reading!