Wednesday, 25 July 2012

I wish I could buy with my Boots points....

I am being a terrible blogger! In my defense the whole of July has been manic with either guest house work, ad sales work or photography work with a good measure of FUN! thrown in to boot so time has been at a premium.  And I have sort of lost my blogging mojo and as for twitter - I think I might be over it!

Anyhow.   The only time in the day I get a few minutes head space is often when I am doing my make up and this morning whilst I was doing it I began to think again about the £46 on my Boots advantage card that keeps calling me to spend it.  I haven't found anything in Boots that has created a "need" so great that I have lashed out with my card and I keep finding things, thinking they might hit the spot and then discounting them as not worth the points.  I had a moment whilst I did my eye shadow when I wished I had realised how fantastic Urban Decay was, back when it was in Boots.  Then I thought how fab it would be if Laura Mercier was in Boots - and right there I had it - those Boots points would have been long gone if I could have spent them on Laura Mercier in Boots.  Although if I'm honest I'd be saving my points right up until the 2012 Christmas collection came out and praying there would be something like the Luxe Colour portfolio of last year, have goggle imaged it a hundred times!! (When anyone gets wind of what LM is bringing out for 2012 xmas please, please tip me off!)

And I got to wondering, surely I can't be alone with this wish?!  I'm dying to know - what range would you love to see stocked in Boots so that you could save up your points and have a massive splurge?  

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Bed Head Urban Antidotes

Remember my post about Drugstore Hair care (as we Brits like to call it having watched hours of Friends and House)?

I take it all back.

On Saturday after an hour of hugely stressful wedding photography I was paid in cash and decided I needed a treat.  Whilst Kerastase was a step too far I decided I could run to some Bed Head shampoo and conditioner.

S'cuse stock image, the camera is having a week off between weddings!
The Urban Antidotes come in 3 strengths; Re-energize (light green) for normal hair needing daily care, Recovery (blue) for processed, dry hair in need of tlc and Resurrection (Red) for weak, brittle hair in need of an intervention.

The hairdresser in the salon I purchased from had a quick squizz at my hair and suggested I went for No 2 Recovery.  I have used it three times and the difference it has made to my hair is incredible.  I had been using the L'Oreal PureStrength since I wrote about it on the 10th June and whilst my hair never looked fantastic it was OK and for a shampoo and condition from Boots the results weren't bad at all.  But for a combined price of £20.50 the Bed Head Shampoo and Conditioner have totally and utterly changed how my hair looks.  My hair is much less frizzy, with the L'Oreal it started off smooth'ish and frizzed up over the course of the day, with the Bed Head it stays glossy and unfrizzed for the entire day.  I am really loathe to wash my hair daily given that it takes me about 20 mins to blow dry and I found with the L'Oreal it was a real push to make my hair last 2 days, not the case with the Bed Head, in between washes it has stayed frizz free and only needs a slight sorting with a spritz of water and a blat about with the hair dryer to bring it back to bouncy loveliness!

As you'd expect from Bed Head the shampoo and conditioner both smell lovely, sort of citrus, grapefruity kind of smell? I found when I used Kerastase that I still needed a good sized blob to get it to lather, with the Bed Head I do an initial wash with a single pea sized blob and then a 2nd wash with the same amount again (I use a shit load of styling products!) and then a 10p sized blob of conditioner.  I think I might invest in the Resurrection conditioner to use once a week as a bit of an extra boost, I'd be concerned it would be too heavy for every other day.  When I rinse my conditioner I like my hair to feel silky and its not quite achieving that with the Recovery conditioner, although when it's dried it is very smooth and feels thicker and much more moisturised - the feeling of my dry hair is the thing that convinces me most that Urban Antidotes works, with the L'Oreal it felt rough, fluffy and thin.

So yep, for the two it costs £20.50 rather than £11.98 for the L'Oreal so its a bit more of a splurge but I have to say for me the results are totally worth it and I wont be going back to Boots for my shampoo and conditioner any time soon!  What are you using at the moment? Have you tried Urban Antidotes - what did you think? 

*Quick update* I did buy Ressurection conditioner and it is lovely, makes my hair incredibly smooth and silky, think it will come into its own on holiday when I will wash and let my hair dry naturally, hopefully will end up with waves not frizz.  I now use Rescue conditioner all over and a smidge of Ressurection just through the ends and that seems to work a treat.

Thursday, 12 July 2012

I suppose that it was inevitable.

We have 8 guest rooms, are open 7 nights a week for around 46 weeks a year and have been operating for 10 years.  A lot of people have walked through our doors and until yesterday all of them had left in the same way.  Very sadly one guest yesterday didn't.  I wont go into details as this isn't the time nor the place, but it made me realise that whilst we take each day for granted and assume that Thursday follows Wednesday and July will become August for someone, somewhere today might be the full stop, not the comma.

A salutary reminder that living each moment to the full should be considered compulsory, not optional.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Benefit Brow Zings

As many of you know I have used the Clinique Super Fine liner for my brows for years and years, I like that its fine tipped so you can draw in accurately where you want to fill in the gaps and you can get a nice thin line if you are extending your brows out past where they naturally grow, essential if like me your brows have been plucked to hell.

I had, however started to feel that the finish with the pencil wasn't all it could be.  It looked a bit too "drawn" on and not as soft and natural as I wanted.  I read everything I could on brow powder and whilst I really liked the softer more natural look of powder applied I couldn't find a single blog where powder had been used to basically create from scratch a brow were none existed.  All the reviews I read showed powder being used on already immaculate and enviable brows and I wasn't convinced that I would be able to use powder and a brush to create the sort of brows that I wanted.

For my birthday Em paid for me to have my brows tinted and shaped.  I have to say for all the things I have done to enhance my looks over the years for anyone over 40 with grey brows, or anyone with pale coloured brows, tinting is pretty much a must do.  Even before they were shaped the transformation was incredible.  For some reason the brows at the inside corner, by my nose, come through grey, so for years I had just plucked them out.  Trouble was as the grey spread back through the body of my brow so I was plucking more and more away, until I got to the point where my brows started halfway along my eye!  I had eventually realised that this had become ridiculous and had grown them back as much as I could and was colouring in the grey with my pencil.  The tinting turned those grey brows a healthy shade of brown - Emma, who was doing my brows - used a fairly light shade on the basis that if she needed to darken it up she could, taking away not being an option.  Suddenly having some brows, even though they were far from verdant, that started at my nose made a big difference.  Once the tinting was done and I was happy Emma combed and trimmed my brows, waxed the middle and underneath each brow, then threaded my upper eye lid to get rid of all those pesky fine hairs and finally finished off with her tweezers just to catch any stragglers.  Considering Emily paid £17 for all of this I was hugely impressed and I was made up with my new brows.

They looked great done with pencil but the following day I decided to bite the bullet and buy a powder.  I usually spend £11 on the pencil and given how much is in the compact I decided that whilst a bigger initial investment, if I was dubious about how well a powder would work and didn't want to waste my money there was no point buggering about with cheaper alternatives, the only way to go was Benefit Brow Zings.  

The lovely lady on the counter did one brow for me, which was all well and good but she was also happy for me to have a go myself, which was vital for me to be sure that I could get the look I wanted at home. She used the lightest of the 3 kits Benefit offer and it is spot on, possibly a teeny hint red but I don't really have an issue with that. I did consider buying the full size brush which was over a tenner, that I used in the shop, but the SA was adamant that the one in the compact was absolutely fine and I'd have no problem with it.  I really respect anyone that talks you out of a sale.
In addition to the fab brush for drawing in there is a blending brush, I have never used and a teeny pair of tweezers - maybe mine are duff but I have binned them, they are pants!

I was genuinely concerned that Brow Zings wouldn't live up to my expectations but I could not have been more wrong.  After a couple of days trial and error I found the technique that worked best for me was to not bother with the wax, it tends to make the powder a bit claggy and ended up looking a bit like the finish I was getting with the pencil which was what I wanted to avoid.  The powder is ideal because I can apply it heavily enough to fill in sparse areas and with a lighter hand where my brows are more lush so that I can actually create a brow that looks even and natural from a reasonable distance.  The little brush in the compact is all the brush you will ever need.  
This little brush is my new bestest friend.

The bristles are stiff and hold their shape so I use it upright to create the nice straight line I like on the inside of my brow and the horizontally to draw a thin line to fill out the arch underneath and to extend the outside ends down to where I want them to be. In fact if you are short sighted the fact that the brush has a short handle is a godsend, I can get the mirror near enough to be able to see what I am doing without having to accommodate a long handled brush. 

 I still comb my brows into shape with a baby toothbrush, draw in, and then comb again as this helps to blend everything and really soften the effect.  I am still being complimented on my eyebrows by complete strangers, which I know is weird, but I love it especially considering what my eye brows without the magic actually look like!

OK so this is the bit I couldn't find any where else - creating a brow from nothing in pictures, using only Brow Zings!
Ta dah! me with one eye brow!!

Of course I only managed to get round to this when I am in dire need of another tint & shape, ignore shoddy brow!

Hold brush vertically to create the nice straight line at the start of your brow

Nice straight line! Already looking much better!

This is with the body of the brow filled in.

Close up of the body of my brow - see how sheer the powder is close too?

And with the tail end of my brow drawn in, total fabrication, there is nothing there in real life!

See why I love this stuff?!

All done and dusted and it took moments.
So what do you think?  Are you already a huge brow powder fan, if so what do you use?  If you weren't already a convert to brow powder could this wonderfully enlightening post sway you?  I paid £22 for Benefit Brow Zings and you can buy it from the Boots website here if I have tempted you!



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