Monday, 19 December 2016

All about Microblading

If you’re a beauty obsessive, a little like me, you will know all about the craze that’s starting to take over the Brow world which gives you perfectly formed, semi-permanent brows... Microblading. 

If you’re not familiar with it, Microblading is a tattoo-like technique that uses fine strokes to fill in your brows and make them completely ‘on-fleek’. But have no fear, there’s no piercing needle with a horrid vibrating noise - Microblading is a very careful and precise technique that is done by professionals using a handheld tools to draw hair stokes to mimic the brow hair and shape. 

Anyone can go for Microblading - and you don’t even need to have eyebrows! The good thing about it is that it looks so natural that if you have super fine or light hairs, or no hair at all, the brush strokes are formed to look as natural as possible and you wouldn’t know any different. 

The photo above is the work of The queen of brows and professional permanent makeup artist Karen Betts who has over 20 years experience of Microblading, even though it’s only really coming into fashion this year and with celebs like Michelle Keegan at the front of her queue, her team would definitely be the ones to go to if you wanted to get your brows looking perfect this party season. 

Just imagine how much time you’d save on your makeup routine every morning without having to perfect your brows!? I can never get mine right - even in this picture below you can see there still a little odd but nicely filled, might I add...


You can hunt a local Microblading technitian down on Facebook too as more and more people are taking on the technique and if you are a regular to a Beauty salon or spa, someone there is bound to know a professional that can offer Microblading as a service but make sure you do your research beforehand. Don’t go to the first person you’re recommended as it can leave you with some pretty nasty botched up brows and it’s not something that can be wiped away and started again! 

Where I live, I know that Gemma Massey from Gem's Beauty Bar in Tamworth, has an amazing clientele and has been Microblading for a while now so if I ever wanted to take the leap and join the Microblading club, I know where I’d go! 

If you want to know a bit more, take a look at this video featuring  Amy Child’s - one of Karen Betts’ clients having her eyebrows done!

 

Saturday, 17 December 2016

Huge Christmas Gift Guide

With just over a week to go until Christmas Day, now is the time to make sure you’ve got all your gifts sorted and start finalising stockings and wrapping them up! I’m quite pleased to say that I finished this week and just have a few more things to wrap for Millie and a couple of stocking treats to get for Adam - but if you’re still powering through and struggling for what to buy everyone, take a look at the ideas below. With gifts ranging from £1+ there will definitely be something for everyone that’s on your Christmas list. From beauty gifts to home, bath products and toys - you can count on these ideas to help you finish the last of your Christmas shopping and better still, the majority can be bought online! 

Christmas gift ideas

For Kids...
There are a couple of items in here suitable for children - right from around 9months old. I always find kids are the hardest people to buy for as you never really know what they already have at home or what other people have bought so I think that these picks will make sure that your gift stands out and it won’t break the bank either. 

First up are these super fun Kids Stuff Crazy Soap kits which come with a bath sponge and a can of squirt soap. Millie had one of these last year and she absolutely loved it - we covered her in the soap and she found it hilarious but it was getting her clean at the same time as making her laugh! There is a Princess version for girls and an Astronaut version for boys. You can also buy body paint, the individual soaps and colour changing bubble bath from HotHouseDirect here 

For any Disney lovers, these personalised gifts are perfect for Princess lovers which make them a little more unique and individual than just buying from the Disney Store or other places. This personalised Rapunzel book (£12.99) is a Ladybird original but personalised for Millie so throughout the book, she can look out for her name in the pictures and it also has her name on the front too! And this super cute Snow White doll (currently on offer for £14.99) has her name beautifully embroiled onto Snow White’s dress, again, making it just that little bit more unique and individual. You still have 2 days left for Christmas delivery from I Just Love it too! 

Plus, any little girls who’s Mummy’s love makeup (just like me) will know all too well what a lipstick looks like and how to use it so this set of Frozen Lip Smacker (£12.99) set is a perfect gift for little ladies who love to pamper themselves without worrying about them using your Chanel or MAC lipstick. And, if you’re a lover of Disney yourself, why not take this super fun Disney Movie quiz to see how good your Disney knowledge really is... 



Disney Christmas gifts

Disney gifts

Personalised Rapunzel book

Frozen Lip Smackers

For Her...
If you’re still struggling buying Mums, Sisters, Nans or Aunts gifts this year, look no further. You may have seen that Soap and Glory released their Star Gift this year which was this gorgeous tin suitcase style gift which was full of £78+ worth of S&G Bath and Beauty products for just £30.00. Like usual, this has now sold out online on both Soap and Glory and on Boots but it may still be available at full price of £60.00 in some Boots stores so pop into your nearest and double check. Failing that, Soap and Glory also have lots of other small gift sets that are perfect and can be combined in Boots’ 3 for 2 offer too! 

If you want something a little more in particular but still quite luxourious, then Joan Collins Beauty is a great place to start. I have a few of the makeup bits and it’s brilliant quality - the lipsticks are perfectly creamy and pigmented and I actually quite like the fragrance too. Although you may think it’s aimed at older ladies, it can be used by all ages regardless. This Fragrance gift set (£45.00) includes a Body lotion, Eau de Parfum and a small bottle of Essence.  The fragrance is very feminie  embracing citrus top notes, a sensual musk and woody base and romantic floral scents at its heart. It’s the perfect gift for Mums! You can order it direct from Joan Collins Beauty or Marks and Spencers have a similar gift set that includes a perfume and a reed diffuser (£32.00). 

Soap and Glory Star gift 2016



Joan Collins Beauty Gift set

Smaller gifts & Stocking fillers...
If you’re on more of a budget this year or have quite a few people to buy for then take a look at some of these cracking (see the pun?) ideas to help keep you and your bank balance happy. 

Similar to the Frozen Lip Smackers mentioned above, you can get a Fizzy Pop Lip Smacker flavoured set in this cute little Christmas Decoration style gift (£8.00) which is perfect for teachers, secret santa or stocking fillers! This Rose Gold home gift set is also another perfect, budget friendly gift for friends or teachers and believe it or not.. this is from Home Bargains for just £3.99! 

If you want something a little more specific, this Tangle Teezer Ultimate de-tangling brush (£15.00) is a gift that any lady or little girl will love. Better than the original, it has a handle which makes it easier to grip and brush through tangled hair and the colour just adds that little bit of brightness. You can buy this direct from Tangle Teezer or from Boots if you’re heading into store!  

And if you’re looking for something a little more delicious, these gift sets from Patisserie de Bain at Superdrug are super affordable and smell amazing! All 3 of these sets were just£1.00!! Including the Trio of Hand lotions, the bath and body set and the Cranberries and cream bath set. So there’s no excuse not to say thanks to your best mate for looking after the cats or cheers to your favourite teacher for putting up with you all year! 


Beauty gift ideas

Patisserie du Bain gifts




So hopefully you’ve been able to tick some more gifts off your list and finalise things this Christmas. But, before you head off to snack on the Christmas chocolates and Drink too much Mulled Wine, I want to share with you a gift you can give to someone that isn’t on your list - someone you will never meet...

Oxfam are working hard this year to give gifts to those who are in need of the things that potentially, won’t be on our christmas lists this year and I want to make sure that all the Mums and Babies out there are given the gift of Care. Simply working with Oxfam this Christmas, you can give the gift of Care to Mums and Babies (£16.00) to ensure they’re healthy and well and getting the treatment they require this festive season. It will help train community doctors and midwives and give access to safe water for Mums and newborns too. There are other gifts you can give too including Soap, Feed a Family and even a pile of Poo and all you need to do is head over to Oxfam Unwrapped, choose your charity gift and pay for it! choose your gift and pay for it! There are a few that are on offer too at the moment so if you have some spare pennies left over from all of your Christmas shopping, please consider buying one of these gifts and potentially changing someone else life, not just their Christmas. 



(Contains PR samples)

Monday, 12 December 2016

Christmas Gift Guide: Crabtree and Evelyn

One of the last gift guides that are brand focused is this gorgeous trio of gifts from Crabtree and Evelyn. Founded over 40 years ago, Crabtree & Evelyn has evolved from a small, family-run business specialising in fine soaps from around the world, to a huge, well-known, international company. The brand is known now for its original fragrances, fine foods and gorgeous gifts, all beautifully packaged to transform the ordinary into extraordinary and house perfect gifts and treats for men, women and children of all ages.
 

With gift ideas in mind for my Mum - this set of mini hand therapy moisturisers is the perfect stocking filler or secret santa gift at just £6.00, with limited edition 2016 Christmas Scents of Rose Pineapple, Spiced Earl Grey and Festive Fig - they all smell incredible and are suitable for both men and women too! (Adam has already claimed the Spiced Earl Grey!) You don't even have to worry about wrapping it up as it comes packaged in this gorgeous festive cracker so pop it on the tree or as a dinner table treat. 



If you have more of a food lover in mind, take a look at Crabtree and Evelyn's Festive Food selection, with everything from Biscuits to Jams there is something to sooth both sweet and savoury tooth's! I thought that these biscuits would make the perfect addition to any hampers that you're putting together for people or even as a sneaky treat for you on Christmas eve - dip them in some hot chocolate or a massive mug of tea and you're well away! 


And finally... another hand cream selection but these are definitely more floral and femine and perfect for Nans, Aunts or as a Secret Santa gift. At just £15.00 for 3 pretty big medium sized tubes, with scents of Lavender, Rosewater and Pear and Pink Magnolia, it's the perfect trio to help fragrance and sooth tired and cracked hands in this cold weather.
 
So if you're still stuck for gifts or just looking for a few extra bits to add onto what you already have, head on over to Crabtree and Evelyn and take a look at their gift selection. You can also get up to 30% off selected Christmas gifts at the moment! 


*Post includes PR samples

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Moving Home & DIY

As most of you will know, we have just recently moved house - it's not our own as we're still renting but we still have some things in and around the house that we want to change and make our own. Our landlord is pretty laidback with what we can do so we're just going to work out what we want and start in the new year! It's all been recently renovated anyway so there isn't a huge amount to do - the majority of things are in the garden including a very old, bodged workman's shed that needs to be demolished and cleared... but that's one for the boys!
 
A lot of people, especially parents who are expecting, like to whip out the paint brush and make things look new and clean, I guess it's just one of those things to do with the list of things to buy and prepare for when you're expecting a new baby?! When we had Millie, we tackled her 'nursery' just after she was born and this time, we'll probably do the same with the spare room as we want to keep it quite neutral still but lots of people who tackle DIY jobs in and around the house aren't aware of the risks that it can pose and it's important to take extra care when you've got little ones around too!
 
 

Slater and Gordon conducted a piece of research around the effects of DIY and home improvements and what issues people were and weren't aware of - we live in an old Victorian house which has quite clearly, had some issues over the years and during this survey, 52% of the people who were asked also live in an older home that is over 50 years old. The problem with these older houses is that the risk of things such as asbestos, is a lot higher and a lot of people are quite naïve to the risks of being exposed to asbestos. Along with numerous other parts of the survey, 48% of people asked were completely unconcerned with health risks when it come to redecorating or renovating their houses! Now, for me, I'm worried about drilling holes into things I didn't know were there and would always prefer someone to come in and install or check something for us rather than us doing it ourselves but I understand that for others, the costs of doing this can be out of budget...
 
If you were faced with the facts of the health and safety concerns surrounding DIY and were more clued up on it, would you perhaps look into this more and reconsider if you wanted to redecorate or renovate your home?! Would you want to expose your children to these risks?! Asbestos can be a cause of cancer especially in these sorts of environments but Slater and Gordon are mesothelioma solicitors that specialise in cases where people have been exposed, unknowingly, to asbestos and if you aren't sure of the risks that come with it you can read up on it over there!

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Christmas Gift Ideas: Mum to Be

With Christmas fast approaching, I’m also creeping closer and closer to my 20 week point of my pregnancy! We’re so excited to find out what we’re having this time round and even though I really have no preference, Millie would love a baby sister so I’m secretly hoping that Baby is a ‘she’! But alongside this, Christmas shopping is in full swing (I’m actually now completely finished!) but I’m still getting asked what it is I want for Christmas and I’m finding it difficult to narrow down things that aren’t Makeup or Food related! It’s tough when I know that I’m not going to have time (or energy) to sit and do things creatively, or to even pamper myself with long baths etc when Baby arrives, and obviously clothes are out of the question which includes pjs and even some shoes as my feet swelled up so much with Millie! 

So, here is a guide to what to buy a Mum to Be without worrying you’re going to offend her or get her something she can only stare at for the next 5 months... 


Soap and Glory have an amazing range of gifts at Christmas time, they come in all shapes and sizes and suit all budgets too! With smaller sets starting out from £5.00 going right up to £50.00 for the ultimate Soap and Glory bundles. I find that they’re used by most people and are suitable to use during pregnancy too so whether you go for a pre-packed kit that has everything a Mum to Be would need or you choose to go DIY in the 3 for 2 section in Boots, then chances are, whatever you get will be loved and used! 

My picks: I suggest going for a Body scrub to ease the itchy skin that comes alongside pregnancy (hands up if you’ve been there...) and some lovely, sweet smelling body lotions or Body soufflé's that can be applied to bump and any growing stretch marks. 


Something that would go nicely with the above are some Candles, below are a few Home Bargain Yankee Candle dupes that I got myself ready for Christmas and the littlest ones are just 79p!! The Gingerbread scent smells incredible and I’d actually buy that one over a Yankee Candle too (it’s also like 10% of the price of a Yankee Candle!!). But if you’re looking for more of a gift set then I managed to get my hands on this gorgeous Rose Gold Home fragrance set. It includes a Reed Diffuser in a lovely glass bottle with Rose Gold patterns and 2 Rose Gold coloured candles. Whether it’s going to be used for relaxing in the bath or to disguise the smell of baby poo, either way, the Rose Gold aesthetics will be appreciated by any Mum to Be. 


I see an on-going theme appearing here as here’s something else that doesn’t take very much effort to do... Magazine subscriptions are an odd gift but a very much appreciated one. You do the maths - paying £3.50 every month for a magazine that you read once or twice then chuck away, or, get gifted a subscription and have the magazine popped through your door monthly and you neither have to pay a penny or leave the house! Mother & Baby is a magazine targeted at Mums and Mums to Be and have all kinds of stories and articles that can help answer any burning questions or scary thoughts. ALSO if you purchase a subscription before the end of December, you also receive a FREE Dr Browns Gift set worth over £50 which includes: 
• Microwave steriliser with tongs
• 3 x 240ml bottles
• 2 x 120ml bottles
• 2 x level 2 teats
• 2 x level 3 teats
• Bottle brush
• 2 x travel caps
• Level 1 teats already supplied on each bottle
Head over to Great Magazines to buy your subscription now! 


If you’re looking for more of a unique touch then Etsy have some wonderful handmade gifts that are sentimental and perfect for any Mum or Mum to Be. This cute little bracelet is from WishWearBelieve* and the bracelets come in all different colours and charms with lots of other ones for other people too including Unicorn styled ones and Charms from Santa for being Nice!  


What Mum to Be doesn’t want to make herself look good for the big day?! We’re talking manicures, pedicures, waxing (everywhere!), hair done and tan. So what better way than to tick one of those things off their list with some instant tan from Bondi Sands. You can read a more in depth post here about the tan as I love the stuff and using a Gradual tanning lotion(save £1.99 at Boots at the moment) also helps with their ever growing belly and body and will help their skin to feel smooth and hydrated too. Or, if you have a dedicated tanner, go for a Self Tanning Mist* (save £4.99 at Boots at the moment!) which means that theres no awkward bending to rub it in and she should be able to reach all those ‘hard to get’ areas with ease! 


Last but definitely not least, this is definitely a gift just for Mum’s to Be... It’s a way to let Mum and Baby connect through something mutual and help them to develop their bond. BellyBuds* are a specialised speaker/headphone system that gently sticks to bumps and allows Mum to play music straight into the womb. Whether it’s hardcore Drum and Bass or soothing melodies, you can also play voice recordings back too and it’s a safe way to connect with baby. Mum can plug in her headphones too and listen along with baby or siblings can listen along too! BellyBuds are available on Amazon at the moment for £49.99 so it’s something that can be a main present or a treat if you know someone who has just announced their pregnancy! I love plugging in my headphones and popping on some classic RnB which gives a bit of both bass and songs as I sing along too! I’ve only recently started to feel baby move so it’s really nice to sit and relax and take in the movements when the music is on! The little green patches simply apply with a removable adhesive (like the sticky things in hospitals) and you can buy replacement ones too! 


*Post contains PR samples

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Christmas Gift Ideas: Makeup Revolution


If you’re trying to compose your Christmas List or looking for gifts to buy others, one of my favourite brands this year, Makeup Revolution, have released a lorry load of gifts and treats that are perfect for Christmas! If you’re a beauty lover or a lover of the brand too, take a look at some of my top picks this Christmas... 


If you’re looking for stocking fillers or a Secret Santa gift then try one of the Lip Trend kits that are just £4.50 and include 3 lip glosses - 1 gloss, 1 creme and 1 Amplified creme and comes in the Nudes or the Vamp collection. These kits mean that you don’t need to worry about getting the right colour for someone as you get a choice of 3 and chances are, 1 out of 3 is better than 0 out of 1! 

If you don’t think they’re much of a lipstick or lip gloss wearer, then try one of the new Chocolate eyeshadow palettes (no, not real chocolate unfortunately) but with 6 to choose from including: Pink Fizz, Salted Caramel, Naked Chocolate, Chocolate, Death by Chocolate and the newest Chocolate and Peaches - there will be a shadow palette for everyone. They all come with 14 eyeshadow shades and 2 brow highlights plus a double ended brush! For £7.99 you could get a couple of different palettes and still be on budget! These are some of the best palettes I’ve tried, especially for the price! 



If you’re looking for something a little more specific, Makeup Revolution have released 5 different gift sets that have a mixture of products and accessories in them to target a certain area or makeup style. This HD Pro correct and perfect set is the perfect base gift for everyone! For just £12.00 it comes with a correcting and concealing palette, 2x correct and conceal brushes and then a setting spray for the finishing touch, it’s the perfect collection to gift without worrying about whether each product will compliment each other. Along with this set there are 4 others including HD Pro brows, HD Pro Eyes and Brows, HD Pro Sculpt and Contour and HD Pro Strobe - all have brushes and accessories included along with a full sized palette. 


And last but definitely not least, a gift that keeps on giving... Makeup Revolution have released their very own Beauty Advent Calendar which has 25 doors - one for each day leading up to Christmas and all with full sized items behind each one! With over £50+ worth of products for just £30.00! Even if you’re gifting this after christmas, it’s a great way to try out lots of new products or you could  gift it early so that they have a new gift every day! Who wouldn’t want an early christmas present?! Not to mention one with 25 smaller gifts inside it!! 

Hopefully these beauty gifts have given you some ideas as to what you may want for Christmas or what you could get everyone else - whether you’re on a budget, shopping for friends, family or yourself, you’re bound to find something over at Makeup Revolution. Go and take a look at what they have on offer - and don’t miss their Black Friday deals too with up to 80% off some of their products! 



*Pr samples included

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Letters To Santa & Giveaway

No, it's not my letter to Santa, before you all start wondering! It's Millie's letter to Santa with a little help from Peppa Pig! This year, LadyBird have an activity online in which you can download and/or print the letter and fill it in with your little one and send it off to Santa! It's got a tick box for whether they've been Naughty or Nice (because we all know that he's gonna find out!) and they can write a few of their Christmas requests too!
Image source: https://www.penguin.co.uk/ladybird/articles/2016/nov/send-a-peppa-pig-santa-letter/
 
 
Peppa Pig's Post Book is a Christmas story about how Peppa and George help Mummy and Daddy pig at Christmas time and getting ready for the big day - but the story also includes six envelopes containing a Christmas card to fill in, decorations to make and a little book of Christmas recipes so you can be sure to have lots of fun getting ready for Christmas with your children too!
Ladybird Books are also giving one lucky person the chance to win a Peppa's Post Book and all you need to do is simply complete the Christmas list available here and tweet a photo of your little ones holding their Christmas lists with the hashtag #LadybirdChristmas!
 
Millie's Christmas list has already been sent to Santa but we've agreed that we're going to put this one out on Christmas eve, just to remind him what she wants in-case he forgets!
 
If you tweet a picture, make sure you tag me too as I'd love to see what your little ones want for Christmas! @EmmaLouB_
 
 

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Urban Decay Basic Picks

I’m not one to change my makeup as the seasons change, if I want to rock a berry lip in summer then I will but I do love the fact that all the sparkle and smokey eyes can make an appearance throughout the ‘Party’ season and Winter is very well known for browns and neutral colours with perhaps a bit more of a focus on lips! 

I’m a massive fan of Urban Decay and have all 3 Naked palettes so when the new Naked Ultimate Basics palette came out, I just knew that I had to add it to my collection and as for what I said about the smokey eyes, it’s the best selection of colours to give you that! With 12 Matte shades including a gorgeous burnt orange and plum colour, you can be sure that you can go from Office dread to Party Glam in a matter of swift brush stokes! 

Urban Decay Ultimate Basics

Urban Decay Basics


Unlike the other Naked palettes, there are no shimmer shades in the Ultimate Basics which I kinda like but I kinda wish there was one or two, perhaps highlighting shimmers which would completely finish the entire look off. What I usually do, however, is apply a tiny it of shimmer glitter from the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette which can give it a bit of glam rather than matte smokiness and I’m good to go! If you know an Urban Decay lover, this palette will be on their Christmas list, guaranteed! 

Along with eyes, comes lashes! I love trying new mascara’s but what I was yet to try was a lash primer... I think I had a dual ended one years and years ago which just clumped my lashes together (of course that was the going trend back in 2002!) so when I saw this Subversion lash primer, the baby to the Perversion mascara, I just had to try it! If you’re a lover of big lashes but don’t want the fuss of falsies, then maybe primer is the way forward... A few strokes of this white primer makes your lashes longer and prepped for the coating of mascara. I used my Rollerlash Mascara from Benefit after applying just one coat of Subversion and I was very impressed with the results! The Perversion mascara is next on my list to try and buy, to see how they work as a duo. 


With any makeup look, especially if it’s going to get you through 6 hours of Christmas partying, dinners and cocktails and numerous games of Pie Face or even a trip to the garden centre battling wind, rain and snow, you’re going to need something that ensures your face doesn’t melt like the chocolate on the pudding! I’ve heard such good things about the UD ‘Chill’ setting spray so knew that it was going to be a saviour throughout winter and Christmas. The oil free setting spray is perfect for anyone with oily skin and is used in a few simple spritz’ once your makeup has been applied. The Temperature control technology actually chills your makeup helping it stay in place for up to 12 hours! 

So if you’re either looking for some new bits of makeup to try out this season or you’re on the hunt for some gifts for a makeup loving friend, then head over to Urban Decay and take a look at what else they have on offer! 

*Features PR Samples

Saturday, 12 November 2016

Pregnancy: First Trimester


I feel a massive sigh of relief writing this post, for a number of reasons! These first 14/15 weeks have been super tough, mentally and physically and I am so pleased that we've reached the second trimester and are well on our way to the half way mark. Working 38 hours a week in a very demanding job, out of the house at 7:15am each morning and not getting back until 6pm at night would drain anyone, but try adding a 3 year old into the mix and on top of that 24/7 Nausea and pregnancy symptoms. Not. Nice.

When I was pregnant with Millie back in 2012, I was only working part time and had a lot of spare time to relax at home, do what I wanted, when I wanted and the whole first trimester passed a lot more smoothly than what it has this time round. The tiredness, the nausea, the stomach cramps have all been horrendous and up until this point, I have really hated being pregnant but I'm hoping that's going to change now I'm past the 12 week mark.

I am 16 weeks pregnant this weekend and am extremely happy to say that the nausea has gone (however certain smells and foods still make me want to vom!), I'm not going to bed at 8pm anymore (well, not all the time!) and I've finally got a bump! But we do have a lot coming up and a lot to think about still as we have a consultant appointment in a few weeks to chat about what birth option I'm going to go for as Millie's Birth was an Emergency C-Section and so VBAC is an option but so is an elected section. It's a tough call but I'm sure that meeting with the consultant will help me to make my mind up.

The nice thing about the whole pregnancy so far is that Millie is interested in everything. She likes to see how big my belly has got each day, she asks whether the baby is moving and whether she will be able to read books to baby when it's here and how long it's going to be too! It's sweet and the main reason we actually decided to have a second child, was more for her sake. We wanted her to have a friend for life, we wanted her to be supported for when we're not around anymore and most of all, we wanted the family unit that we both had when we grew up.

Just 24 more weeks and I guess we’ll be having just that...