Avenue22 Make Up Sponge

Sunday, 14 December 2014
There has definitely been a craze for make up sponges in the beauty world over the past few months. I never got round to buying the BeautyBlender because they remind me of my horrendous attempts at applying foundation when I was younger, and I didn't want to spend a lot of money on something I didn't think would work well for me. I did buy a dupe for a fraction of the price, but I didn't really get on with it. 

These sponges from Avenue22(*) have completely changed the way I see sponges. 

They arrive in brush protectors to make sure they don't get damaged in transit. I've saved mine so I can pop them back on whenever I'm travelling. 

The sponges have a handle, which I hadn't seen before, but I think this made all the difference. It makes applying your foundation so much easier as you can hold the handle, instead of trying to hold the sponge in your hand whilst applying make up.

The sponges have a tapered end which makes it much easier to get into those hard to reach areas, such as under the eyes and around the nose. It's also useful if you want to use the sponge for contouring, as the tapered end is precise enough to contour the sides of the nose, but the sponge is big enough to blend out any contouring on the rest of the face.

You can use the sponge either wet or dry. As you would expect, the sponge expands when used wet so it covers a greater area.

The photo below shows my make up when I used the sponge dry. It was very easy to use but a tiny bit rigid for my liking, which meant I had to bounce it on my face more to make sure everything was blended. The results were worth the effort though as my foundation looked much better using the sponge than any other brush I've used in the past.

The photo below shows my make up when I used the sponge wet. It was much easier to use as the sponge covered a larger area of my face, meaning I needed to bounce it on my skin less. It was also softer, making it completely effortless. I could definitely tell when I looked in the mirror that using the sponge wet made my skin seem flawless, and I think it shows a little in the photos too. I haven't edited the photos so you can see the true results of the sponges. I also used the exact same products so any differences were down to the sponge being wet or dry.

I found that my foundation applied much faster and nicer using the sponge wet, but if you're travelling and can't wet the sponge then using it dry gives a great finish too.

My make up seems to be lasting much longer on days I use the sponge. Usually towards the end of the day my make up has sheered out, but I find that it remains as high coverage as when I applied it in the morning. 

I have cleaned mine since using them and they clean super easily. I use a face cleanser with water and the sponges come out looking brand new again.

The sponges are currently £10 (including p&p), which I think is more than reasonable. I think that they are incredible value considering the finish they give. I've never thought my foundation looked flawless before, but when using this sponge wet it gets pretty damn close! These would make perfect stocking fillers for anybody who loves their make up or is just starting out!

You can get yours from Premium Beauty Supplies by tweeting them: @Premium_Beauty1

You can also find them on instagram at @premium_beauty_supplies

Coloured Contact Lenses by Geordie Shore's Marnie Simpson

Monday, 24 November 2014
 Geordie Shore’s Marnie Simpson recently debuted her new range of cosmetic contact lenses. Marnie naturally has huge brown eyes, but admits to enjoying experimenting with her eye colour. "I wear contact lenses nearly all the time now so they have to feel and look 100% natural" she says.

Marnie has joined forces with My Cosmetic Lenses to create a stunning range of one-tone fashion lenses. The lenses are intended purely to alter or enhance eye colour and are non-prescription, so don’t do anything to affect sight.

My Cosmetic Lenses is only 6 months old but already seems very popular with a whole host of celebrity fans, including Holly Hagan from Geordie Shore and The Valley’s Lateysha Grace, Carley Belmonte and Natalee Harris. They design their lenses with a high water content, which allows you to wear them for up to 8 hours a day as they hydrate your eyes and stop irritation.

My Cosmetic Lenses focus on offering a range of colours that look natural and fit comfortably. They stock over 30 colours, including 5 from Marnie’s range: Pure Blue, Light Hazel, Misty Grey, Pure Violet and Sea Green.

Speaking about her lenses, Marnie says “It's so important for contact lenses to be comfortable and natural, I've tried loads of different ones that were all irritating, uncomfortable and expensive but MyCosmeticLenses are so different to the rest!". She adds, "I've been wearing contact lenses all throughout Geordie Shore, I don't even notice they're in anymore".

"People always compliment me on my eyes, the contact lenses are so natural nobody can tell. I love it!"

If, like me, you’re a fan of the show, you’ll have seen Marnie’s eye colour change a number of times in the same episode and I could never tell when she was wearing contacts and what her actual eye colour is!

The contact lenses are made to last up to a year, with proper care and cleaning. When you consider that the lenses are priced from £12.99 (with free postage!), this is amazing value and works out at just over £1 a month to give you a whole new look!

You can view all of the colours available over on  www.mycosmeticlenses.co.uk 
You can also find Marnie’s range here: http://www.mycosmeticlenses.co.uk/marnie/

Keep an eye out for an upcoming post to see me wearing some of Marnie's range!

Vegas Fight Night Comes to Manchester

Friday, 21 November 2014
As 2014 is drawing to an end, it's only right to start searching for events to kickstart 2015. What better way to lift the post-New Year blues than to experience a night of superior entertainment. Not only will there be professional boxing, but also live music, casino and tonnes more!

On Saturday 31st January, M-SEL brings a Las Vegas style Super Fight weekend to Manchester. Definitely something Manchester has never seen before! The event will take place at EventCity and will be hosted by talkSport broadcaster and author, Dom McGuinness. 

This night promises to be amazing and will definitely be an excuse to get all dressed up. Hopefully this is the first of many extravagant Vegas style event nights in Manchester!

You can book a table or find out more by visiting: www.mcrsportsandentertainment.com

E-mail: info@mcrsportsandentertainment.com 
Call: 0161 908 759

Primark Facial Cleansing Pad

Thursday, 9 October 2014

I was browsing Primark the other day and wandered into the beauty section to have a look at the nail varnishes. There are so many little make up bits and bobs hanging around, and the Facial Cleansing Pad's bright pink bristles caught my eye. I've heard so many good things about Primark's beauty products recently, but no mention of this!  I picked it up to have a feel through the packaging because it looked so bizarre. It was so soft and flexible, and I'd been looking for something to help with cleansing, so I thought I'd give it a try!

I was so excited to try it, mostly just because I was curious about how it would feel on my face. It's so soft and it definitely delivers it's claim to exfoliate the skin. It definitely doesn't feel harsh or abrasive against my skin, but you can feel it giving you a good clean. I removed my make up first with a make up wipe (you could probably avoid this step, but I like to avoid making a mess!), then applied my Tea Tree Face Wash from The Body Shop. The cleansing pad has a really handy ring so you can put your finger through and get more control when cleaning your face.

 I like that it is tapered at one end to really get under the eyes and sides of my nose. It removes all make up that the make up wipe left on my skin, and also leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft, not only immediately after but throughout the day too. It's helped improve the appearance of my make up too as it has created a smoother base for my application.

It also claims to help 'the removal of blackheads'. I've been battling with blackheads for a while now and nothing I do seems to get rid of them! I've been using this for almost a week, and I can honestly say that I have seen an improvement in their appearance. I definitely have a few less blackheads, and I'm hoping that if I continue to use it, they'll all clear and it'll stop new ones forming. 

The bristles are made out of silicone,  which means that it is easy to clean so there are no unsightly make up stains. I've also heard that silicone bristles are more hygienic than nylon bristles, and that they last a lot longer. It also has a suction cup on the back so you can stick it on the wall near your sink for easy access if you fancy!

I definitely recommend you go and grab this next time you're in Primark. Clearer skin and better looking make up for £1.50? You'd be a fool not to! 

Have you used any of Primark's beauty range? What do you think?

Top Notch Hair & Beauty

Sunday, 5 October 2014
This week I was invited to Top Notch Hair & Beauty Salon in Eccles to see the services they have to offer - and there are a lot! From hair styling to face mapping and everything in between, Top Notch offers affordable prices for to make their services available to any budget.

The salon looks deceptively small and cramped on the outside, but once you step inside you can see the great use of space, with 4 hair stations, a row of backwashes and a nail bar tucked at the back. 

As I arrived I was greeted by the lovely owners of the salon, Jackie and Tony. Jackie took me straight to the comfiest salon waiting area I've ever experienced.

After a few minutes, a hair stylist led me to a hairdressing station and introduced herself as Olivia. She asked me what I wanted doing to my hair and if I had any particular problems with my hair that I'd like addressing. I bleached my hair for five years before dying it back to its natural colour, and so I suffer with extremely dry and damaged hair. Olivia recommended the anti-frizz and shine enhancing treatments, so I had those and a curly blow. Olivia talked me through all of the products she was using on my hair and told me how and why they would benefit my hair. 

All of the products used have the same gorgeous smell, so there is no build up or clash of different scents.

This is how my curly blow looked just as it was finished:

This is my curly blow after around four hours - exactly the same!

I found that my blow dry lasted for a good couple of days, which for £12.30 (or £14.95 for longer hair), is great value.

Some other styles created on the night:

It took about half an hour to get to the salon from Manchester Piccadilly by bus. I would definitely visit again regardless of the time it takes to get there, as all of the staff are super friendly and the results are amazing, especially for such great prices! 

Top Notch offer special deals on Fridays, which have in the past included Lauren's Way Tans, blow dries and one hour facials for £10 each. Top Notch also offer hair removal, lash extensions, dermalogica treatments, make up and more. 

Why not have a pamper day with your girls? Top Notch offer 10% discount to groups of 4 or more!

You can find Top Notch on 
Twitter: @Top_Notch_Salon

or call their salon on 0161 788 8811

how to: make a floral headband for less than £2.50

Monday, 29 September 2014
I always see photos of girls with beautiful floral crowns, but I've never managed to find one that I liked in shops. I also didn't want to spend a tonne of money on something I'd maybe not wear very often or completely chicken out of wearing, so I decided to make one myself! It's actually super easy to do and very cheap.

Things you will need:

- A metal headband (I bought mine here)
- flowers with a wire stem (I bought mine here

(the ones I bought came from China, so allow a week or two for delivery)

 Place the base of your first flower on the metal headband where you want the flowers to begin. Wrap the wire stem around the headband in a figure of 8 kind of motion, until all of the wire is wrapped tightly around. Tuck the end of the wire in to avoid it digging into your head!

Take the second flower and repeat the process, but this time wrap the wire stem around the base of the first flower as well as around the headband. This helps to secure the flowers and make sure they don't move around the headband.

Repeat this until you've put as many flower heads as you want onto the headband, and it should look something like this. 

Don't worry about the stems looking unsightly, because once it's in your hair they'll be hidden.

Give it a go! It takes just a couple of minutes to do, is probably cheaper than buying one and you can customise it to your taste.

Why not experiment with different sizes and colours of flowers? Here's another one I made:

You can get these smaller flowers here 

Illamasqua Skin Base Foundation

Sunday, 27 July 2014
A while ago, I made the risky decision to buy Skin Base online without first seeing the shades in person. After looking at a few swatches online, I decided I was shade 6, which felt like a high number and quite daunting as I'm usually too pale even for some brands' lightest shades.

Skin Base creates flawless looking skin that actually feels like a second skin. The coverage is great as you can keep it light or build it up for a heavier look, but it feels so light on your face you forget you're wearing it. As it doesn't contain any SPF, it is undetectable on photographs - eliminating the dreaded ghost face! It made my skin feel very soft and covered redness/spots very well, and a little bit really does go a long way. I was worried that the bottle seemed quite small and that it'd run out super fast, but you need the tiniest blob to cover your whole face and it's already lasted months and I'm not halfway through yet. It does dry quite quickly so make sure you blend it out fast.

The one issue I've had with this is the bottle. At first it's absolutely fine, but as I use the foundation I find it harder and harder to squeeze the bottle to get the foundation out. I could easily solve this by cutting this bottle and putting the foundation into an easier-to-use one. The results I get from Skin Base are really worth me continuing to have a tiny wrestle with the packaging.

You can buy Skin Base here, or visit your nearest Illamasqua counter. Obviously it's always a good idea to get matched to a shade by a make up artist, but if you don't have one near you or you already know what kind of shade you are, you can have a go at guessing yourself as the descriptions and swatches on the site are quite accurate. It retails at £32, so it is a bit pricey, but considering the results you get it is more than worth it. I like to save mine for 'special occasions' (not just nipping to the shop) to make sure I get the most out of it when I need it.

are you going to give Skin Base a go? have you tried it before? what are your thoughts on it?

Kara's Blow Dry Bar event

Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Last night I visited Kara's Blow Dry Bar in Manchester for an opening event. Kara’s offers a selection of blow dries and makeup. Blow dries are priced at £18 (or £24 with extensions) and you can choose from a number of styles including their fabulous curly blow, a straight blow or an up-do. There are also a number of packages to suit how much pampering you want!

Having attended Kara’s before, I was very excited to visit again. They definitely offer the best blow dry I have ever had (and probably the best in Manchester!) and they always last for at least a couple of days.  I find myself washing my hair before the curls or volume have disappeared, definitely the best for value! My hair is incredibly thick and it only takes the blowettes around half an hour to completely wash and finish my hair, which is super quick. I opted for their curly blow called 'Californian Wave' and they somehow managed to transform my hair into this: 

 This is how it looked on day two after sleeping on it:

Upon arriving at the event, I was offered canapés, champagne and a beautiful glittery pink cupcake. There was a DJ playing music that accompanied the event perfectly and provided a great atmosphere amongst the blow dries, makeovers and mingling.

The event was planned by Ledigo PR, who you can find here and on Twitter here, formed by Stephanie who managed to represent Kara’s perfectly with the pamper evening. From looking at pictures of previous events she has created, she manages to capture companies perfectly and provide wonderful and memorable events.

There were MUAs at the event creating beautiful make up looks using Motives cosmetics. I sat in the chair and told the lovely MUA to do whatever she wanted to my face, and this is the result:

The make up lasted all evening without budging and so I would definitely recommend checking out their products, as I definitely will be, here

I was given an amazing goody bag featuring TIGI products which I am super excited to test out, and the cutest little jar of sweets provided by Truly Scrumptious.

Kara’s Blow Dry Bar is situated in Manchester City Centre, on John Dalton street – just a couple of minutes walk from Deansgate/town hall. You can visit their website here, Facebook and Twitter. One of my favourite things about Kara's is that you can tweet them to book an appointment, which makes booking so easy and convenient. Will definitely be booking in very soon!