How To Keep Your Brow Game Strong

‘Brows should be sisters, not twins’

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that little quote and we all know its true….except when this happens…


Yes girls, I’ll hold my hands up and admit I was a ‘plucker’. The late 90s/early noughties saw us girls OBSESSED with tweezing out those stray hairs. As a result most of us ladies in our late twenties and early thirties onwards have had to resort to a number of treatments to embrace the ‘thicker’ brow trend.

Back in the day, there were very few treatments available for brows, apart from your basic wax. Even then, if you didn’t go to someone who knew what they were doing, you could end up bald-and I don’t mean on your head.

One procedure that has been knocking around a while is HD Brows, now rebranded and known as High Definition Brows. Now, if you had said to me five years ago to go for a HD Brow treatment I would have run a mile. They had a bit of a reputation for being a tad OTT- think super heavy ‘insta brows’ and really dark

Circa 2000


Recent years however, has seen a better ‘toned down’ High Definition Brow, and so I decided that my own naturally fine brows, coupled with the damage done from the crazy excessive tweezing era needed some TLC. Also, the thicker brow trend was taking over my Instagram feed and my brows were certainly not ‘on fleek’. After a bit of research and reading various reviews, I put my brows in the capable hands of local makeup and High Definition Pro Artist, Carla Bailie.

The beautiful Carla Bailie

Carla’s Studio. Photo Cred: Carla Bailie


The HD Brow treatment consists of tinting, waxing and threading to give you perfectly defined brows. Carla collaborates with you to ensure that your eyebrows will be perfectly shaped, arched and tinted to suit your face shape and colouring.

HD Brow Transformations. Photo Cred: Carla Bailie

 

I have been getting mine down now for nearly a year, and the difference is unbelievable. Taking Carla’s advice of rubbing Castor oil on my brows has really helped them grow and I can only describe Carla as a complete brow wizard. I only have to visit once every couple of months-there is very little regrowth and the HD colour lasts for ages. I just tint them myself in between.

Delighted with my brows!


For a low maintenance day, I usually just whip them into shape with a spoolie brush and slick on some Dr Paw Paw or Benefit’s Goof Proof Brow Pencil, finishing with the PS Brow Fixing Gel by Primark.

When I want a bit more definition, my current favourites are the Ingot AMC Brow Gel, Soap & Glory Archery , and The Sephora Eyebrow Editor palette with a slanted brow brush. Also, now that NYX has come to Boots at Sprucefield, I am totally loving their ‘Tame & Frame’ Brow Pomade- long lasting, waterproof and really affordable.

Left to Right: Soap and Glory Archery; Sephora Slanted Brow Brush; Inglot AMC Brow Gel; Sephora Eyebrow Editor Palette.

The cosmetics industry is abundant with brow products now- the new range of from Benefit and Anastacia Beverly Hills Dip Brow are currently on my hit list (as my bank balance weeps).

Not only is she an eyebow fixer, but Carla is also one of the most talented Makeup Artists around. Her Facebook wall (see here) is filled with gorgeous transformations and she has worked on a number of high profile shoots and events, most notably Armagh Rose. She is also extremely modest about her work, which in my opinion goes a long way in the Beauty Industry and she is an absolute stunner herself-both inside and out.

Some of Carla’s amazing work. Photo Cred: Carla Bailie.

So there we have it ladies. Put down the tweezers.

Lots of Love,

Laura xxx

 

Have you tried HD Brows? How do you keep your brows in shape? What are your favourite brow products? Let me know your thoughts xx

 

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Skin Saturday With eléni

A few weeks ago, the lovely Emma contacted me and asked would I be willing to go for an eléni Facial in exchange for a review. Now anybody who knows me, can verify that I am a total product junkie and adore skin treatments- so of course I said yes!

So the very next Saturday I made my way to ‘The Beauty Room’ at Hair Fever Lurgan. The Beauty Room is ran by Natalie, who greeted me with a refreshing cold lemon infused water-great for the skin and quenching the thirst, especially with all this fabulous weather are having at the minute!

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Natalie Watson, owner and therapist at  The Beauty Room at Hair Fever, Lurgan

Previous to this I had never heard of eléni, so before I got my facial, I done a bit of my own research. Launched in 2014, it is the brainchild of scientist Piet Meyer, which claims to improve skin condition, through deeper penetration of the layers of the skin, promising to leave skin rejuvenated, clear and smooth. Plant oils and extracts make up the significant proportion of their ingredients, and they don’t test on animals or use animal or genetically engineered ingredients. A win win for me! You can check out their product range here.

Natalie then gave me a Skin Analysis sheet to fill out to best prescribe which facial would be suitable with my skin type. After an assessment and chat about the rosacea which I had been suffering from, Natalie decided that I would be best suited to the eléni Liposomal Problem Skin Treatment.

After relaxing myself on Natalie’s comfortable bed, she had more in depth look at my skin under the lamp. Aside from my rosacea, she told me my skin was in really good condition- I’ll put that down to the gallons of water I drink every day!

Natalie first cleansed my skin using the  Eléni Facial Deep Cleanse which is DEVINE.  This mildly lemon scented cleanser  is suitable for all skin types and leaved your skin feeling soft and relaxed. Following this a mask was applied, and while this was working its magic I was treated to the most relaxing arm and hand massage-complete with heated mitts. After a spritz with the Facial Toner, a shoulder, neck and face massage with the Re-Construction Serum literally left me walking on air.  Natalie finished the facial with an application of their Eye Contour Soothing Crème and Mild Stabilising Moisturiser. As a sufferer of an oily T-Zone, I loved the fact that these products absorbed immediately into my skin. I have to say my skin felt amazing after it and the next day it was still glowing.

Happy Skin! my snapchat handle: lksblog

Natalie also very kindly gave me a sample of their Blemishless Cream which I think is one of the best spot treatments I’ve ever tried. You apply this directy to any affected areas and literally the next morning any breakouts had nearly completely disappeared. This product is also suitable for reducing the appearace of blackheads too and if you suffer from oily skin it is definitely a product to invest in. I have spent a LOT of money on spot treatments over the years and this is up there as one of my favourites. I’m nearly all out so must stock up!

Blemishless Cream. Photo cred: eléni skincare

All in all, I loved my eléni facial and would highly recommend you try one. I was extremely impressed with the quality of the products, their packaging and composition, and the price point is great too. If you are in the Lurgan area, do give Natalie a shout-she was so professional and I felt totally comfortable leaving my skin in her capable hands! You can check out ‘The Beauty Room’ here. The facials are really reasonably priced and Natalie also offers a wide range of other treatments including waxing, tanning and Gelish nails.

Thanks again so much to Natalie and Emma-a Saturday morning well spent!

 

Lots of Love,

Laura xxx

Have your tried any of the eleni range? If so, what are your go to products?

 

Getting Back On The Wagon. Again.

So here’s the situation. Sunday night, whilst knocking back a sharing bag of Kettle Chips during a NetFlix binge, you say ‘THAT’s IT! I’m starting again tomorrow!” Go all guns blazing diet and training wise only to get to Wednesday and it all goes to pot. Sound familiar? Read on…

 

I reckon I have been on a ‘diet’ since I was roughly 17, so the better part of thirteen years. Having always had a curvy frame, I was fairly body confident, even during those early teenage years. I was a pretty active teen, enjoyed exercising and could pretty much eat what I wanted without doing too much damage.

Then one day, in school, as our annual school formal was fast approaching, I overhead a snipper of a conversation between two other girls passing me in the corridor. “This is ALL I’m eating until my salad at tea time or I’ll never get into my dress”. I stole a quick glance and realized she was pointing to a bottle of water and a cup-a-soup she was carrying. This girl was beautiful. She was I reckon a size 8-10 and I wondered to myself what she was worrying about. All I was thinking about was my delicious soup and sandwiches that my mum had made me for my lunch.  I polished off my lunch and never thought any more of it until bed time. Then it hit me. “I’m FAR bigger than her and I’m not on a ‘diet’ trying to lose weight. Oh I really should. I need to be thin.” This for me, was when it really started.

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Since then I reckon I have been on every ‘diet’ and slimming club going. You name it I’ve done it. I’d pay and join and stand on the scales. Go well for a month then gain 2llbs. Then I’d be so annoyed at myself I’d have a little binge. Then when I’d lost that 2llb I’d celebrate with a chinese and a glass of rose. Then I’d put the 2llb back on again…and so the cycle would continue. I also became a SLAVE to the scales or the ‘sad step’ as The Body Coach Joe Wicks calls it. It really is the sad step as you become so fixated with the numbers and nine times out of ten the numbers don’t move in the right direction. It’s as if these numbers define you. Id be on morning, noon and night and be so frustrated if I seen any increase at all. Que another binge. Media inflences didn’t help either. When we were growing up in those early Millenium years it was the size zero trend that graced the front of magazines and I yearned to be as skinny as those celebs. I’d starve myself for half a day and couldn’t hack it any more (I’m a totally foodie) and then eat all round me.

 

It was only until about three or four years ago when I discovered strength training that I also uncovered the importance of ‘clean eating’. I also figured out you CANNOT OUT TRAIN A BAD DIET. I typically would have been busting myself in the gym, maybe double sessions three times a week but at the weekend felt I earned that Friday night chinese, Saturday night dinner out and treats at the cinema then a Dominoes on Sunday night. I felt so frustrated wondering why I wasn’t seeing the results.

 

Then I decided to educate myself a bit. I started reading, following nutritionists on Twitter and Facebook and asking coaches at my gym their advice. Once I managed to distinguish the ‘bro science’ from the actual science, I learned a lot. What I have learned is that this one weekend of binging can completely undo all your hard work during the week. The scales also cannot measure some of the most important things when it comes to your health and well being, including changes in body composition, strength, confidence and happiness. And lifting heavy weights WILL NOT make women bulky. We simply do not have enough testosterone floating about our bodies.

Anyone who knows me, knows I’m a real 110% kinda gal. And when I can’t give 110% that really, really frustrates me. For instance, during the last bootcamp I participated in, I couldn’t complete the programme due to a niggling rotator cuff shoulder injury. I was DEVASTATED. So to ‘comfort’ myself the treats began creeping back in, training went completely out the window and soon I was back to my cheat weekends. With me it’s all or nothing. This was not only detrimental to my waistline but also my head. Exercise for me is definitely a stress release and the lack of endorphin rush was making me miserable and affecting my mood.

Over the past couple of weeks however, something has just ‘clicked’ with me. I don’t know what it is. Maybe it was when I caught my reflection in a shop window and didn’t recognise myself. It could be the fact that I want to get stronger and push to see what my body is capable of. Yes I want to shape up, but your heart and bone health is more important than just the aesthetics. I’m a real goal setter and so I decided to set myself little mini goals for each week. So, I’ve signed up to do ‘Body Blast Bootcamp’ (which I am two weeks in!) with Ruairi Grimes and Ciaran Nash. These two coaches are so knowledgeable in their field and have 50+ victims at their 6:15am bootcamp three mornings a week. Whether you are the competent lifter, or complete beginner they make you feel completely at ease and ensure you as an individual are getting the most out of your workouts. I have also sought professional advice from Paul Magee, of Focus Gym, Portadown, to help me get back into lifting again, whilst rehabbing my shoulder. Paul is one of the knowledgeable coaches in his field and you can check out Focus gym here.

 

 

I’ve also decided to take baby steps. Normally I’d go full hog and try to nail everything at once- which ultimately leads to failure, in my part anyway. Last week was all about getting the nutrition back on track, and this week I’m concentrating on planning my workouts and incorporating these into my schedule. If I have a slip up with my nutrition, that’s fine. Just draw a line under it and start again. Not feel like a failure, beat myself up about it and turn into a binge day, which turns into a binge week, etc etc.

So, I’m getting back on the wagon. Yea, its for the twenty millionth time but its better than being off. I’ve also finally, at thirty years of age to begin to accept myself. Yea I’d like my thighs to be a little slimmer and my arms to be more shapely, but these features do not define me as a person. My heart and more importantly my head are healthy. And guess what? The battery has died in my scales and its not getting replaced. For me, this isn’t just going to last eight weeks, this is a lifestyle change.

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From chatting to a lot of people lately, I don’t think I’m alone with this….Has anyone else experienced this? What do you find throws you off the wagon? What tips do you have to keep you motivated? I’d love to hear from you.

Lots of Love,

Laura xxx

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Feeling the Love at Fields

imageIn February, I was down shopping in Dundrum Shopping Centre, Dublin with my lovely neighbour Carly. We had the most lovely chilled out, retail therapy day (raiding Penny’s as you do!!) supplemented with lots of coffee and a burger you could climb from The Counter Burger. I’d highly recommend a visit if you’re down…their sweet potato fries and malted milkshakes are DEVINE! (all foodies unite!!!)

Photo cred @ counterburger

Photo cred: @counterburger

To round off a lovely day we took a little trip upstairs to the gorgeous Field’s Jewellers who were having a Valentines Event with the fabulous Joanne Larby (aka @makeupfairypro) and James Butler (@jamespatrice), two of Ireland’s leading bloggers.

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Photo cred @james_patrice

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Photo cred : @makeupfairypro

I have been following Joanne for around three years and she is one blogger I not only admire, but can relate to a lot. She recently brought out her book ‘Fairy Tales: A glittering guide to surviving with sparkle’, and girls it is definitely worth a read. I personally loved every single chapter of it….from her makeup tips, to fitness regime, to dealing with anxiety. Joanne is also probably one of my inspirations for getting into blogging- her hard working attitude and her strive for perfection in everything she puts her hand to really struck a chord with me, and her success is evident!

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On entrance to the beautiful Field’s store, we were greeted with glasses of bubbles and nibbles (yes please!) and the chance to enter a competition to win a fabulous piece of jewellery. The extremely helpful Field’s Team were on hand to deliver any help or assistance and Joanne and James also presented their ‘picks’ for the evening. Field’s very kindly gave away a Michael Kors and Guess watch to the best dressed attendees! What an amazing prize! Joanne also very kindly signed my book which I was delighted with.

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Photo cred : @fieldsjewellers

The night would not have been complete without the presence of James. If you are not following him on snapchat do it. NOW. (@jamespatrice). He is without doubt, one of the funniest people you will ever meet, which is mostly at the expense of his dear mum Veronica who he fondly calls ‘Fron. Fron is famous and she doesn’t even know it. James is also a genuinely lovely guy and had so much time to chat to all who attended.

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So with out bellies full and boot filled (with shopping bags!!) we made out way back home after a wonderful day out. SO…imagine my complete surprise, a week later I get an email from the lovely Katie at Fields to inform me I had won the absolutely gorgeous white and rose gold diamond pendant!! Chuffed to bit was an understatement! The pendant is stunning and right up my street, as anyone who knows me, is aware of  my rose gold obsession!!

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So next time you are in Dundrum do check out Fields Jewellers (@FieldsJewellers)-they are based on the second floor of the shopping centre. A wholly Irish owned company, their range of jewellery is fab, as well as hosting an extensive range of quality watches with outstanding customer service. And don’t forget to grab a burger on your way out.

Lots of Love,

Laura xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

VIP Style Studio Beauty Event

Wednesday night is ladies night. Well it most definitely was at The Beauty Event at House of Fraser in Belfast’s Victoria Square! This fabulous event was hosted by the lovely Diane, founder and blogger of The Style Studio, and recently appointed exclusive blogger at House of Fraser. As a self-confessed beauty junkie this was right up my street, so when tickets were released, myself and my friend Debbie quickly claimed our spot. Good job we did as all 50 tickets were snapped up upon release!

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On arrival at the event, we were shown to our seats and greeted with a delicious pink cocktail and chocolate covered strawberries. DELISH. Diane then introduced the beautiful Amyleigh, who was our model for the evening. Amyleigh is a fellow follower of The Style Studio, and she had entered the Blog Model search for the event. Both Diane and Amyleigh were wearing fabulous pieces from Polo Ralph Lauren at House of Fraser.

Clarins were first up to show us how to achieve the perfect canvas for  your makeup with a good skincare routine. They talked about the importance of cleansing, toning and moisturising twice a day, as well as the importance of using a facial oil or serum and removing your eye makeup gently. The skin around your eye is a lot thinner there ladies, so tread carefully!

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Next up, Laura Mercier talked us through creating the perfect base. Prime, prime, prime. This is one step I personally have adopted into my own skincare routine over the last couple of years, and it really does make all the difference.  Benefit then showcased their brows, eyes and cheeks products, including the ‘They’re Real Push-Up Liner’, Benefit ‘Cheekathon’ Kit, and a personal favourite of mine ‘Yes They’re Real’ mascara. Having road tested hundreds of mascaras over the years, this is one I adore and keep coming back to- it’s not hard to see why it’s one of the best selling on the market.

Fresh from London Fashion Week, Estée Lauder’s Premier Makeup Artist Michael Curran, was giving out the lip tips. Their ‘Micro Essence: Skin Activating Treatment Lotion’ is particularly useful for exfoliating the lips before applying a lip stick- I cannot wait to try this out! I know with the colder weather my lips have been really dry and flakey and this is not a good look with a matte lipstick! We also got to colour swatch their new Double Wear Matt Lipsticks, which have an AMAZING colour payoff and like the rest of the Double Wear Range, great longevity.

Finally, the fabulous Brenda Shankey from Jason Shankey Hairdressing showed us how to recreate one of the most sought after hair looks- The Hollywood Wave. Curl, spray, and brush out. Amazing! They were also launching the new ghd wand (fab!!) and ghd Split End Treatment. If you want to give this a whirl, you can find them on the second floor of House of Fraser. With every purchase of any electrical ghd styler they are also offering a FREE gift, worth £32, containing a ghd paddle brush and bottle of ghd heat protection spray (while stocks last).One lucky winner from The Style Studio’s facebook page also won a complete ghd  Set worth £182!

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Throughout the evening Diane was also giving away a £100 skincare hamper, which was won by follower and attendee Paula Smith, and ten of Lancôme’s new Juicy Shaker LipGlosses. These are the new ‘Juicy Tubes’, which I think every girl, including me had in their makeup bag at one point! The packaging of these are absolutely gorgeous, they are shaped like a little cocktail shaker and come in thirteen beautiful shades. These smell and taste amazing and most importantly are non sticky and non-drying-a big plus in my eyes. Hello plump, natural looking, glossy lips!

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Well done to Diane for organising such a fantastic night.Thank you to Clarins, Laura Mercier, Benefit, Estee Lauder and Brenda Shankey for sharing their knowledge and arming us all with those beauty tips! And to the lovely Anna, Polo Ralph Lauren representative for helping attendees browse their range after the event.

Thanks to Skinny Lambrini who supplied us with unlimited amounts of prosecco (only 28 cals per glass!) and to the fab waiters from The Ivory Restaurant who willingly served us drinks all night! Behind the scenes, decor for the night was kindly provided by Changing Events, Dungannon. I know Diane would personally like to thank Emma at Jason Shankey Hairdressing, Natalie at Laura Mercier, and Nails Inc all located in House of Fraser for taking care of her hair, makeup and nails for the event.

Finally, a big mention must go to House of Fraser. They not only made us all feel like a VIP, but also gave away £130 worth of skincare in conjunction with The Style Studio-Blog to lucky follower Sharon Crawford White. Cocktails consumed, prosecco sipped and our beauty brains buzzing, we were gifted with a House of Fraser goody bag, including a £10 voucher to spend in store. What more could a girl ask for?!

Have you tried any of the products or brands mentioned? What is your one beauty staple?

Lots of Love,

Laura x