My Perfect Smoothie Bowl

Recently I have adopted a new perspective on eating. Growing up, my fascination with my weight has always consumed me, and it has often led me down the paths of fad diets, restrictive eating and unhealthy tendencies.  However, after becoming hooked to the Youtube channel Bon Appetite I realised that I don’t have to be on a diet, but I do have to educate myself on the differences between wants and needs.

I now eat a lot cleaner than I used to.  I rarely eat junk food and I take pride in eating healthy and nutritious foods.

That’s where this recipe comes from.  I have always gazed hungrily at stunning photos of ‘smoothie bowls’ on Instagram, completely perplexed on how they make them look so delicious, and so I decided to create my own recipe.

  1. The key to a thick smoothie bowl is using frozen fruit.Firstly, you place your frozen fruit in a blender and pulse it until it’s ‘gritty’ in texture.
    • The fruit I like to use are:
      1. A handful of blueberries
      2. Five to six strawberries
  • Half a banana
  1. I then put in a splash of oat milk and pulse it a few more times in the blender. This makes it a bit creamier, but be careful not to over-blend because it will make it less thick.
  2. I then pour the smoothie into a bowl, my recipe usually gives enough to make a perfect individual portion
  3. I then scatter some homemade granola, blueberries, some sliced up banana and some chia seeds.
  4. If you are in the mood to make it a little sweeter, you could drizzle a little honey over the smoothie bowl.

This is honestly one of my favourite meals, regardless of the time of day!  You can customise it depending on your tastes, and enjoy it guilt-free.

 

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My Lip Filler Experience

For some, getting lip fillers is a terrifying and daunting experience and for others, it is a luxurious treat with the added bonus of having the perfect pout.  Unfortunately, I used to have the more negative view with regards to lip fillers due to a bad experience.  However, I am now overjoyed to say that my most recent round of lip fillers was so positive that I cannot wait to get them done again.

What are lip fillers?

There are a few different types of lip fillers (also referred to as dermal fillers), but the type that I use are fillers made of hyaluronic acid.

Hyaluronic acid fillers can last anywhere between six to nine months, depending on how much you get and if you’ve had them before. These fillers work by causing water to rush into your lips, filling them and giving them a more voluminous pout. The good things about this type of filler is that if they go horrifically wrong, you can use hyaluronidase which degrades the hyaluronic acid, lessening and eventually removing the effects.

You can get any amount of filler put into your lips, but I have found that different techniques yield different results, so the best piece of advice I could anyone is to research your aesthetician, look at their work and talk to them thoroughly.

 

What’s it like?

Again, this depends on your aesthetician.  The first time I got lip fillers the experience was so painful that I knew immediately I didn’t want to do it again.  For the few days following the fillers my lips had swollen to twice their size and were so bruised and painful that I could not eat. However, after about a week I was in love with the finished product.  It wasn’t exactly what I wanted, but it was better than my natural lips.

The second time I got my lips done, the most recent time, it was done by my mum who is a nursing sister, specialist nurse practitioner, and newly qualified in aesthetics.  The experience that I had with my mum was completely different.  I was in significantly less pain, I barely bruised, my lips have no lumps or bumps, they weren’t too sore afterwards, and I got the exact look that I wanted.

My mum, Alison, trained in Array Aesthetics and she was taught a unique but effective technique for injecting the filler.  Alison was lighter handed and caused me a lot less pain during the process, not one tear was shed, and my lips looked perfect afterwards.

 

Is it sore?

I won’t lie to you, it can be sore when they are injecting the more delicate areas of your lips (such as your cupids bow), but I was in a lot less pain with Alison than I was the first time.

You are usually given some sort of numbing cream before your treatment to take away the sting, and the actual filler has lidocaine in it to numb the inside of your lips.  So, after the first injection or two I could barely feel anything.

At the end of the day, beauty is pain, but it doesn’t have to be overly painful.  I am so happy with my lips now, and I am so grateful that I have a perfectionist mother who is willing to inject my lips.

I would recommend this experience to everyone who is considering lip fillers!  It is something that I have always wanted to do, and as daunting as it can be, it is most certainly worth it.

 

My tips

  1. Moisturise your lips a lot for about three days before your treatment, and for the first week after.
  2. Drink more water before and after the treatment, especially after. The hyaluronic acid draws water into your lips, so it’s important to replenish the water in your surrounding tissues and keep yourself hydrated.
  3. If you’re nervous about the pain, call into the chemist and buy some Amitop or Elma numbing cream and keep it on for an hour before the appointment.
  4. Be picky about your aesthetician and research them and their work.
    1. Not everyone is qualified to do this, they must complete a specialist course.
    2. Beauty technicians will not be allowed to do this in the coming months due to changing guidelines.
    3. If it is not done right there can be bad consequences, so it is important that you go to someone who has been properly trained, and who will take their time.
    4. One person may be capable of doing multiple styles or catering to different needs, so make sure you talk to your aesthetician and tell them what you do and don’t want

 

My lips after the first experience:

IMG_0943

My second experience (8 months apart):

IMG_0922

 

I hope you enjoyed this blog post.  If you do decide to get lip fillers, tag me in any before and after photographs on Instagram!

xoxo

Makeup Must-Haves​

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Building a good and reliable makeup kit from scratch can be difficult, daunting and expensive, especially when you veer towards the more expensive products.  A makeup artist once told me that a powder is a powder whether you put it on your eyes, your eyebrows or your face.  Makeup is your medium, it has no rules and you can use it how you like.

That is some of the best advice I have ever been given as a makeup artist, and it has saved me a lot of time and money.

On this blog post, I am going to list some of the best makeup I have used on both a personal and professional basis.  The majority of these products are more ‘drugstore’, and the main reason for this is because through the years of having a ridiculous makeup obsession, I have spent a little too much money on higher end makeup products because I thought that I needed them. Products can be multi-purpose and you don’t have to buy a million of them.

For example, in my professional kit, I have a few darker shades of foundation, a few of the lightest shades, and one or two in between.  I then just custom-make the perfect shade for each and every client.  This saves me a lot of money and space in my kit, which is a blessing for my back and my purse.

  1. B Perfect Carnival Palette

It is so useful to have a brighter eyeshadow palette in your collection, despite how scary bright eyeshadows can be. Before using this, I loved the NYX Ultimate Eyeshadow palette in bright lights (I think).  Colourful eyeshadows can add a creative flair to any look; a little blue pop on the inner corner of a bronze smokey eye, a little red underneath the eyes of a black smokey liner… the possibilities are endless.

The reason I love this particular palette is because of the wide colour variety, the continuity of the quality of the palette, and how long-lasting the shades are.  There are warmer shades and cooler neutral shades, colourful shades and two beautiful highlighters.

This multipurpose palette is an absolute must.

  1. Translucent Setting Powder

The Ben Nye is one of my personal favourites as this fine powder is amazing for baking or setting any area of your face.  My under eyes rarely crease, my face doesn’t look powdery and it doesn’t get oily either.

I also love the Coty Airspun Loose Translucent Powder, and I still do, but sometimes the scent can be overpowering.

  1. L’Oréal Pore Refining Primer

This primer is beyond the laws of physics… it is complete magic!  It completely removes the appearance of any pores, leaving your skin looking airbrushed before you apply your foundation.

I usually apply this to my t-zone and upper area of my cheeks to minimise pores, and then an illuminating primer on the rest of my face.

  1. Foundation Stick

There are two different types of foundation stick that I like; Tarte CC foundation stick, and the L’Oréal foundation stick. The L’Oréal stick is fuller coverage but unfortunately, they don’t have it in a shade for my skin tone.

The reason I recommend these foundation sticks is for contouring. If you’re a makeup artist you can carry a few different shades, and use some of them as contour shades.  I love the L’Oréal foundation stick in shade 200 for contouring.

It’s a perfect multi-purpose product.

Another great use for contour sticks is lipstick’s, lip liners, or the perfect under eye definition shade.

  1. Cream Blush

This is an underrated but must have product. It gives a natural glow and blush to the skin, and you can easily build it up, or dull it down.  Cream blush can also be used as a perfect lipstick that compliments your blush, a cream eyeshadow, or even an eyeshadow base.

Similarly, a lipstick can also make a perfect cream blush. Regardless, you put it on before you powder, and I promise you will not be disappointed.

New Purchases

This week I have been making a bit of an effort to find some new and exciting products for me to review for you.  I have been frantically searching Superdrug, Debenhams and Boots in hopes of finding some holy grail products, and it seems as though I have been very successful in my mission.

My first stop was Kiko Milano. This is a brand that I have wanted to try for so long but I’ve never got around to it.  I was actually looking for a new foundation to wear to my formal that day, so I guess you could say that I took a serious gamble on this foundation, however it came through!  With help from the wonderful sales lady, I purchased the Skin Tone foundation and the Hydra Pro Glow.  The Skin Tone foundation is a light-medium buildable foundation with a radiant finish.  It builds perfectly, lasts about eight hours and it makes your skin look like skin.  It doesn’t look cakey, it doesn’t crease and it doesn’t become patchy throughout the day.  I can see all of my freckles underneath this, which I love, and it hides all of my imperfections.

The Hydra Pro Glow is a light effect moisturising cream that contains both hyaluronic acid and Actiglow formula.  It gives the skin a perfect luminosity while hydrating it, and when you combine it with the Skin Tone foundation you get the perfect base.

The next item is the Elf Illuminating Setting Mist.  I love this setting mist because it brings the life and the luminosity back to your skin while setting your makeup in place.  I bought it for £5 in Superdrug, and I would honestly spend more on it.

The next new purchase was the Revolution Reloaded Iconic Division eyeshadow palette. This palette is bittersweet for me.  I absolutely love the shade range, there is a lot of variation and some pretty unique shades. However, the formulation is a little inconsistent, especially with the shimmers.  The bronze shimmer is creamy and relatively pigmented, but the green toned shimmer has little pigment, in fact it resembles a pressed glitter than a shimmer shade.  I have tried to use setting spray with it but the shade just isn’t as good as it could be, the same applies to the pink toned shimmer.  The remaining matte shades are good, they last all day, they blend pretty well and they are quite creamy.  For only £5 this palette is an absolute steal.

The last product I am going to talk about is a bit odd.  It’s not that I don’t like the product, it’s just not what I was expecting.  Different highlighters are formulated for different purposes.  Some are chunky, glitter based, shimmer based, and each highlighter gives a different effect. The Elf highlighter in Moonlight Pearls is a more natural highlight than I am used to, but it is absolutely stunning in its own right.  I had read some pretty mixed reviews online, but the most common opinion was that you had to scrape the top layer off it in order to get a good payoff, and that is so true!  When I first tried it out I was unbelievably disappointed, but I used a spoolie to scrape off the top layer and now it is one of my favourite highlights.

xoxo

My Daily Makeup Routine

Every month and every year there are new and exciting beauty trends.  One day contouring is out, strobing is in, and the glorious lip-gloss trend of the early 2000’s has resurfaced.  Beauty and fashion trends go around in circles, and that’s the beauty of them.

We all watched Megan Markle and Harry’s wedding on the television, and I was especially impressed with her understated and elegant look that has inspired a global ‘make-under’.  In recent years the ‘Instagram makeup trend’ has gained a lot of popularity, and rightfully so.  The perfectly sculpted brows, sharp liners, wispy eyelashes and perfect complexions are a work of art, but that’s the thing…  Makeup is an art form, and our makeup is our medium.

There are so many trends, just as there are types of art, and each one is just as beautiful as the next.

I am quite enjoying the new ‘make-under’ trend, as I am getting rather bored of painting the same picture on my face.  I was once told by a very successful makeup artist that ‘anyone can paint a daisy, and they can paint it whatever colour they like, but a true artist can paint any flower, any colour, with any medium.  That’s what it takes to be a great makeup artist.’

If I am being honest, after years of layering the foundation, concealer and highlighter on, I am finding it difficult to keep things minimalistic.  In fact, it took me a while to get used to using only a few products, and I was rather uncomfortable with it at the start.  I have

managed to reduce my routine to taking only fifteen minutes and using a handful of products.

  1. I usually don’t prime my skin, and instead I ensure that I thoroughly moisturise it with my Your Good Skin daily moisturiser or the Kiko Milano Hydra Pro Glow.
  2. For foundation, I have been loving the Laura Mercier BB cream or the Kiko Milano Skin Tone foundation, and I usually apply that with my Beauty Blender
  3. If I really need concealer I will use my Collection 2000 Lasting Finish concealer or my Revlon concealer. However, recently I haven’t been putting any on because I think it can make the look a little too ‘perfect’.
  4. Next, I apply some Max Factor Crème blush, and I put that on with a duo-fibre stippling brush.
  5. I cream contour with my Sleek Contour Kit in light, and sometimes I will brighten my under eyes with the lighter shades.
  6. Then I set my under-eyes and oily areas with some Ben Nye loose translucent powder, and I use as little of this as possible as I prefer a glowy and natural look.
  7. Next, I sweep some bronzer on my face, and I blend the same shade into the crease of my eye to give a little definition. On the days I want my look to be more dramatic I will blend this under my eyes as well.
  8. Next, I curl my lashes and lightly apply some mascara to my top lashes, and for dramatic effect I will sometimes apply it to my bottom lashes as well.
  9. Lastly, I will apply some Gilded Honey highlight by Laura Geller and spray my face with some Fix + to set everything in place.

You should try this, consider it a challenge.  Try to reduce your routine to as little products as possible, and then comment below how many products you used and how long it took.

Good luck xo

 

Rape

This blog is primarily about makeup, but it is also a place where I can express myself, a place where I can vent and feel safe.  This has become increasingly important to me in the recent weeks.  Why?  Because I no longer feel safe in this country.

Rape is something that is often spoken about but seldom understood.  It is something that petrifies some people but is a joke to others.  To the survivors, the word strikes fear, and to the innocent, it is just a word.

Rape isn’t a small thing, and it is unbelievably complicated.  Rape isn’t just about consent, it is about informed consent, safety and trust.

Just because someone doesn’t say no, doesn’t mean that they say yes

Is alcohol or drugs involved?  Is the person of sound mind?  Are you really making sure they are consenting?  Sometimes people don’t get the opportunity to say no because they are ambushed, knocked out or paralysed with fear.

The rape culture in Northern Ireland has recently come into the spotlight due to a certain individual… Paddy Jackson.  The details of the case are known by the public, and seemingly everyone thinks that he did it, and yet he was found innocent.  Despite the text messages, the statements, the witness… this man was found innocent.

I know that some people are wondering whether she is telling the truth.  They are asking if it was nothing more than a cry for attention, but unfortunately, the results of this trial have affected more than just her.  This trial has affected every victim, every potential victim, and every assailant in the country.

I can’t imagine how that poor girl feels.  The strength it must have taken to open up about that, to speak about it in a courtroom, to live through that experience.  The strength it must have taken to relive that experience, to have your horror story questioned, to have your nightmare made into a joke.

Every victim shed a tear at that result because it was the day that their worst nightmare came true, the day their hope was shattered.  It was the day that they realised that anyone could get away with it, the day that they felt worthless, the day the fear of no-one believing them came true.

Every attacker felt a sigh of relief because if someone could get away with it, why can’t they?

I have never felt more afraid walking around town that what I do right now.  This trial has stripped my hope, my belief in the justice system, and my belief in people.  However, one good thing has come from this… conversation.

Rape has never been talked about more, people have never been as aware as they are now, and as unsafe as everyone feels, at least we can support one another because we are not alone.

 

L’Oréal Paris Infallible​ Foundation Stick and Primer Review

 

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Foundation sticks are a staple in the beauty industry thanks to the Makeup Forever and Hourglass foundation sticks.  They can be incredibly useful as you as buy highlighting shades, contour shades, foundation shades, strobing shades and even some blush shades!  They can be a wonderful product, and if the formula is right, they can be a must-have in a makeup artist or makeup lover’s collection.

Recently L’Oréal Paris has released a range of foundation sticks, primers and full coverage concealers.  L’Oréal has been releasing some amazing products over the past few months, and one of my favourites is the Lash Paradise mascara, and so I had high hopes for these products.

————————–  Primer  ————————–

There are numerous types of primers, but the one that I purchased was the pore refining one.  This primer is magic in a bottle.  I have really bad pores on my nose and chin, and no other primer has been able to dramatically reduce their appearance.

It has a gel formula, but it doesn’t ‘spread or blend’ across the face easily as it gets tacky quite quickly.  I usually just focus this product on the centre of my face, and half a pump is usually all I would use.

I love this primer.  I think that it is much better than the Benefit Porefessional primer, and it is half of the price.  I am keen to try the other primers, especially the luminous primer as it looks fantastic.

————————–  Foundation  ————————–

This foundation is creamy, bendable and relatively pigmented.  It applies as medium coverage, and you can build it up to a fuller coverage if you wish, but it can start to look a little heavy so be careful!

I have a few issues with this foundation, the first one being the shade range.  I have found that most of the L’Oréal foundations run orange, or they don’t have a shade pale enough for me.  There are 12 foundation shades in total, which is ridiculous coming from such a large and established brand.  I purchased shade 100 (the lightest shade) and it is still too dark and very orange.  However, the shade issue gets worse throughout the day as the foundation oxidises.

L’Oréal true match has over 28 shades of varying undertones, however, each shade in the infallible foundation stick line seem to run very orange.  There are massive gaps between each shade, and there are only 3 deeper shades. I think that this is ridiculous, especially with all of the media attention that Tarte has been receiving for the lack of shades in their foundation ranges.

Moving onto the contour shade that I chose.  I decided to purchase shade 200 as a contour shade as it was the coolest shade.  This foundation works well as a contour.  It blends out seamlessly, it is buildable and has a lovely natural finish.  This is one of the better stick contour products that I have used, and I use this product every day.

The last thing that I want to mention about this product is the longevity of this foundation.  On my skin, this foundation gets pretty oily quite quickly and, if I am not careful, I can end up looking really cakey at the end of the day.  My recommendation would be to try using an oil reducing matte primer with this foundation as it really seems to help.

————————–  Overall  ————————–

Unfortunately, I was not able to purchase and try the concealers as there wasn’t a shade suitable for me.

However, my overall thoughts on this range are that the primers are unbelievable and I will continue to repurchase and use the pore-reducing primer.

With regards to the foundation, I will use this foundation when I fake tan as unfortunately, that is the only time that my skin will be that shade.  I wish that L’Oréal would expand this foundation line to accommodate more skin tones (both lighter and deeper tones), and I wish that they would do the same with their concealers.

Below are photos of the 12 different shades available, and these photos have been taken from Boots.com

 

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I hope you enjoyed this review, and if you have any opinions or questions please leave a comment below!