Sunday, 24 May 2015

My Catherine Boden Hair Makeover

For the longest time I've been totally unhappy with my hair. I've always been a blonde since a very young age but the problem with being blonde and getting highlights is that very few hairdressers can get the colour just right. It's a lot more difficult to perfect blonde hair than it is darker tones so I've always been wary about who I get my hair done with. I used to get it done with my cousin Sophie and I was always happy with the results but when she gave up hairdressing I was at a bit of a loss as to where to go and get it done. That's when I asked you guys on Twitter if you could recommend anyone in the Manchester area. I'd been to a very well known chain in Manchester just before Christmas and they completely ruined my hair so I was very wary of going somewhere new and the having the same thing happen again. However, after being recommended Catherine Boden on Twitter, I had a look at her website and instantly knew this was someone I could trust with my hair.

Catherine is a well establish hairdresser based in Manchester who is known for the special 'Hollywood Colour Blend' technique. She's worked with celebrities all over the world and has regular clients coming back to her time and time again. Do any of you remember when Tulisa made her come back and went from jet black to amazing multi-toned ombre hair? Well that was Catherine's amazing work! She's also worked with soap stars and the wives of famous sports stars. After learning all of this I though 'Hey, if she's good enough for them, she's certainly good enough for me' and I dropped her an email to enquire about an appointment. Catherine tends to have a relatively long waiting list and when I got in touch at the end of April, I was told she was fully booked until June. However, when I spoke to her lovely assistant Debbie and told her I'd love to get it done before my holiday at the end of May, they managed to squeeze me in. I went for a consultation a few weeks later so Catherine could check the condition of my hair and see if it could withstand the treatment. She told me my hair is damaged from bleach over-use due to hairdressers I've been to in the past overlapping bleach around my roots. She was slightly wary about doing it as her number one priority is to ensure no damage is caused to her clients hair but because it was only one area of my hair that was damaged, she told me she could work around that and not add any more bleach to the affected areas. I was chuffed to bits and couldn't wait for my appointment!

My actual appointment was on Thursday and I took the day off work as the treatment can take up to five hours due to all the different stages and techniques. As I mentioned earlier, Catherine is known for her 'Hollywood Colour Blend' technique which involves using various different tones in the hair to give it beautiful dimension as well as shading around the roots with a natural colour so it looks more natural. One of my biggest pet hates about being a blonde is dark roots - they look so unsightly when they come through and it means having to make appointments to get my hair bleached every 8-12 weeks. This isn't good for my hair at all and was just causing more damage so I told Catherine I'd love the top section of my hair to be my natural colour and then get lighter towards the ends - a bit like the balyage effect that's so popular at the moment. She told me this was easy enough to achieve and got to work!

As you can see from my before and after photo, my hair was pretty much all one colour so the first step was to add some lowlights to break it up and give my hair some dimension. Catherine said she'd normally add more to make it blonder on the ends but because mine is damaged, she only put a few pieces through to brighten it up. When my hair is in better condition, I'll be able to get more. After washing those out, she then shaded my roots with a colour close to my natural hair colour to give it a more natural look and that soft balyage effect. This also means that when my roots come through, they'll blend in with my new style and I won't need to keep getting my hair covered in bleach and causing further damage. The final step was to tone it all and get rid of any brassy tones so she added an ash toner and as you can see, it's definitely helped remove all of that nasty brassiness. I then had a good few inches cut off the ends as it had gotten way too long and the ends were frazzled with split ends.

As you can see, the final result is a pretty big difference! Before, my hair had no dimension , it was brassy and the ends were frizzy with split ends. Now it has lots of dimension, looks way more natural and ten times healthier. I can't thank Catherine enough for doing such a great job. If you're interested in having Catherine work wonders on your hair too, you can check out her website for all the details, prices and some amazing before and after images. I have to say that this is a pricey treatment and definitely more expensive that your standard highlights at a hair solon but I truly think it's worth the cost as no hairdresser has been able to do this to my hair before. Plus, with this treatment you only need to get your hair done twice a year, sometimes only once, depending on how well your hair keeps colour. That means a huge saving over time - especially if you're like me and usually get your hair done every 8 weeks to cover unsightly roots! Also, as the salon is in Catherine's home, it has a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere. Keeping up with the Kardashians was playing on the TV (ideal!) whilst I was there and I was offered drinks and food throughout the whole day. They even made me a lovely lunch which was a very unexpected treat! 

I'm so happy with my new hair and I can't thank Catherine enough for listening to what I wanted and achieving it so easily. I'm also looking forward to getting my hair back in to a good condition now I don't need to keep having it bleached! Bring on healthy long locks!

What do you think of my new hair?

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Review

When the new Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue Tinted Hydrating Gel Cream* (wow, what a mouthful) landed at my door, I was SO excited to try it! I'm a big fan of base products and am constantly on the hunt for 'the one' so I wanted to see how this would compare with other products in my collection. Now as you can probably tell by the name, this isn't a foundation but instead a tinted gel cream so its a lot lighter than a classic foundation and the coverage is lighter than the full coverage liquid foundations I'm used to. Bare Minerals class is as a BB, CC and tinted moisturiser all rolled into one. I initially thought this would be a problem for me as I typically like to use full coverage products to get a flawless finish but this product has proven me wrong.

What I love about this cream is that it gives the skin such a healthy dewy finish. The problem I find with some of my full coverage foundations is that they can leave my skin looking too matte and whilst that's all well and good when I'm going somewhere special or on a night out when I need my makeup to last, it isn't always great for day to day wear when I want something more natural looking. That's where the Bare Minerals Complexion Rescue comes in as it has just the right amount of coverage to cover any redness on my skin without looking like I'm wearing any makeup. Instead it gives me a more radiant, even and dewy version of my own skin. I do find it needs a dab of powder on top to stop me looking on the sweaty side of dewy but other than that, a dab of concealer under the eyes is all I need for a quick and fresh base! 

As well as being a great base product, it also doubles up as skincare. It contains marine botanicals to boost hydration, electrolytes to energise the skin and an antioxidant to help protect against environmental stressors. As if that wasn't enough it's been formulated without any nasties and it also contains SPF 30. I can definitely feel this doing my skin some good when I wear it - it feels silky smooth and gives me a boost of hydration as soon as I've applied it. I think its going to be an essential for me on my holiday to Greece at the end of the month as it will let my natural holiday glow shine through as well as protecting my skin from the sun. What a gem!

I believe there's ten shades available so there should be one to suit everyone! I have 'Buttercream' which is fairly yellow toned and it's a great match for my skin. You can buy it here for £26.00!

Does this sound like something you'd like to try?

Friday, 15 May 2015

MAC Twig Lipstick & Spice Lip Liner

As I'm sure you all know by now, I'm a big fan of MAC lip products and every now and then, I find myself giving into the hype after I've seen lots of people talking about certain shades. My two most recent purchases are a lipstick and a lip liner that I didn't really need but obviously had to buy anyway. I picked up a lipstick in the shade 'Twig' after hearing it was a great every day shade and a lip liner in the shade 'Spice' after hearing it was one of Kylie Jenner's fave shades for that famous nineties nude look. 

I've been using them for a couple of weeks now so I thought it was about time to share my thoughts. Firstly, the classic MAC packaging has to be up there with my favourite makeup packaging ever. There's something so sleek about those black lipstick bullets and I love that the lip liner has the colour at the end of the pencil - especially handy if you're a lip product junkie like me and have a pretty big collection to rummage through.

The lipstick is described on the MAC website as a 'Soft muted brownish-pink' and whilst I'd agree, it has more pink tones than brown. It's definitely a muted dusky pink and a 'my lips but better' kind of shade. It's also a Satin finish meaning it's very soft on the lips and has the slightest sheen without being too glossy or too matte. I really like this as I hate anything that feels too dry on my lips! 

The lip liner is one I've been wanting to try for such a long time as I've heard so much about it and seen it look amazing on lots of different people. However, for me personally - I'm not so sure. I feel it's a little too brown for my liking and I find the formula very drying to the point I feel it's tugging at my lips when I apply it. I'm not sure if it's just the one I got as my Soar lip liner from MAC is lovely and creamy. Spice is definitely not one I would wear on its own but with the Twig lipstick over the top, it makes for a nice combo and doesn't feel quite as drying. I do much prefer Soar though as I feel it suits my complexion better.

Overall I'd say I do like these two but they aren't my favourite MAC lip products! The brown tones don't suit my skin tone as well as I'd hoped they would and  I'd say these shades are better suited for Winter makeup looks so perhaps this wasn't the right time of year to buy them!

Do you like the look of these MAC products? What's your favourite lipstick and lip liner?

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Simply Beach Wishlist & £100 Voucher Giveaway

Now Summer is fast approaching, the weather is warming up and I go on holiday in just over two weeks time, I'm becoming a bit obsessed with Swimwear and beach accessories. You only need to be following me on Pinterest to know that - I have a whole board dedicated to pretty bikinis and swimsuits and another dedicated to all things Summery. It's safe to say I'm pining for the hot weather, trips to the beach and a nice golden tan!

With this being said, sites like Simply Beach are my go-to shopping destination at the moment. Simply Beach is a brand which focuses on high quality swim / beach wear, beach accessories and underwear from a range of premium brands including Ted Baker, Sea Folly and Calvin Klein. I absolutely love their clean looking website and there's SO many pieces I love on there that would be perfect for my holiday. I've compiled a little wishlist above featuring some of my favourite pieces from their website so you can get an idea of the kind of things they stock.

First up is the swimwear and I'm completely obsessed with this Ted Baker plunge front swimsuit. I absolutely adore the tropical palm tree print and the shape is super flattering. The plunging front is really sexy and womanly but because it's a one-piece, its a bit less revealing and great for those of you who might not feel confident to rock a two piece. However, if bikinis are more up your street, I think this multi-coloured Sea Folly bandeau bikini and matching bikini bottoms are totally stunning. I actually have this on the way to me as I just love it so much and think it will look amazing on my holiday with a tan. I love the cut out detail on the front of the bikini and the colours are so vibrant, fun and summery! 

As well as the swimwear, Simply Beach also offer a lovely range of beach wear that can be popped on over your bikini or swimsuit when you're at the beach! I really like this Seafolly Splendour dress as it's loose fitting and the ombre colour effect and tassles hanging around the hem give it that real boho vibe! This would look great with messy beach hair and some over sized sunnies! Another cover up I really love is this Ted Baker dress. Whilst it's plain and a simple shape, I love the neckline and the sheer mesh fabric and because it's plain black, it will match any beach bag or accessories!

Talking of accessories, there's a few I'm loving on the Simply Beach website. First up is this striped straw clutch bag which has a cute nautical look. I think this would look great for a more dressed up day time occasion as it's big enough for all the essentials without being too big and bulky. Another bag I'm loving is this woven brown beach bag which is big enough to fit everything you could need for the beach, including towels. I really love big beach bags so I can throw everything in there and this one is perfect. I love the natural woven fabric too - very beachy indeed!

Finally, a beach look wouldn't be complete without sandals, a hat and sunglasses! I'm totally in love with these neon yellow sandals - I love the multi straps that go across the foot and that they tie around the ankle. Also, how amazing would these look with a tan? I'm also a big fan of oversized floppy hats and this Gottex hat will look fabulous whilst also protecting my head from the sun! I'm also a big fan of these cat eye tortoise shell sunglasses. I'm not sure I can pull them off but I've seen other people wearing this style and I think they look fab!

Now for the exciting part - Simply Beach are very kindly giving you guys the chance to win a £100 voucher to spend on their website! All you need to do is enter by the Rafflecopter entry below which is super easy to do and there's only one compulsory entry to tell me your favourite item from this post or from their website in the comments below. I'd love to know what you'd buy if you won the voucher! There's also a few other things you can do to up your chances of winning such as following Simply Beach and mysefl on social media. The giveaway is going to be open for 2 weeks and it's international.

Good luck guys!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sponsored giveaway*

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Real Techniques Sculpting Set Review

As I'm sure you all probably know by now, I'm a big fan of Real Techniques. I wasn't keen on their Bold Metals collection but when it comes to their original line, I can't get enough. With this being said, when I heard they'd released a new set of brushes called the 'Sculpting Set', I knew they had to be mine.

The set includes three brushes and they all have a pretty Pink metallic finish, just like the Stippling, Blush and Setting brushes from the original line. As the name 'sculpting' states, these brushes have been designed with the intention to help define the face and most of them can be used with contour and highlighting products which is the main way we give our face some definition. The three brushes include the Sculpting brush, the fan brush and the setting brush. 

The Sculpting brush has a wide angled shape and dense bristles. It can be used to contour the cheekbones and create a defined line or it can be used with a liquid foundation to buff the prod it's in to the skin. I haven't used it for the latter yet but I think that's how I'm most likely to use it as I feel it's a little dense and too chunky to create a precise contour. Nonetheless it's s lovely brush and one I'll get a lot of use out of.

The Fan brush is exclusive to this set and although I've never really understood the need for these kinds of brushes in the past, since using this, my opinion has changed completely. I've been using it to lightly dust highlighter over the tops of my cheekbones and because the bristles are light and wispy, it applies just the right amount of product to the skin. It could also be used for sweeping fallen eyeshadow from under the eyes or even for a very light contour as the thin shape allows you to add product with precision to specific areas.

Finally, the Setting brush is one I already own but one I really, really really love. As you would imagine from the name, this brush is amazing at setting products on the skin, especially under eye concealer and highlighter. I like to use it with a MAC brightening powder under my eyes after using my concealer as the small size and shape of the brush allows me to get into all the hard to reach areas. It's also great for any precision work needed around the nose and again, it can also be used to contour with.

Overall I think this is a brilliant little set from Real Techniques as there isn't one brush I won't get a lot of use from. I love how they can all be used for different reasons too so you can really play around and see what works best for you. 

If you love contouring and highlighting your face like I do, these brushes are definitely worth trying out and they're available to buy here for £20.99 which works at just less than £7 per brush!

Do you like the look of these brushes?