New Year, New Me?

How does this happen? How does a year move by so fast? I’m not sure if I can actually bring myself to believe we’re entering 2017. In the lead up to the New Year, I’ve been getting that feeling that hits your insides. A dull ache I’ve come to associate with fear. Not pain, and not necessarily sadness – more a muted fear, that I’ve not done enough. That this next year will bring much of the same. That I’ll feel like I failed in someway.

I haven’t achieved what I wanted, I didn’t share my feelings with that guy I sort of kind of but not really liked, or that in some paradoxically universe my life would feel more complete. I wouldn’t be that twenty-four-year-old living with her parents, going through a degree purely because I couldn’t get a job. The excitement of finishing in May tainted with the unknown. Do I leave the country I’m studying in, do I go home? And to what? To do what?

My friends all seem so successful – they have a plan. Or at least I think they do. And for some reason they all seem to be getting engaged, or having babies(!?) It’s amazing, I feel like I’m getting left behind.

I think we can all relate to those feelings. The feelings of shame, fear, disappointment. You’re not good enough for this, you regret not doing that, you hate yourself for making someone upset. If you’d only tried harder…

I guess I’m kind of sick of that now.

I’m sick of hating me, and in that process faking a different me who I hate even more but seems to be accepted by those around me. An ever-so-trying, always caring if slightly unhinged version of the person I should be.

I’m sick of it, and if a fake persona is what you put up too, my vote is now to stop it. I don’t want to be a half person for fear of upsetting someone, not saying something I believe because they might not believe it too. Generally I think I’m okay, but funnily enough it’s the people closest to me who probably don’t know me really, at all. I always just nod, say yes and smile.

Reality is something different.

I just want to scream at them.

So, I’m not making any resolutions, not the usual anyway, you know – be nicer, healthier, fitter.

Nope, none of them.

I guess the only resolution I’m going to make, if I have to call it a resolution, is to be me.

Unapologetically me,
because at the end of the day my happiness is all that counts and I’m a full on believer (even if I haven’t lived my own advice so far) that you have a choice to be happy.

At the end of the day, if friends and if family can’t accept you for you – do you need them anyway?

“People are just as happy as they make up their minds to be,” -Abraham Lincoln

Happy New Year,

-H

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Kanpai, Downtown Dubai – Food/Restaurant Review

Since I moved to Dubai, I’ve been really busy starting my postgraduate and settling into life. I haven’t done any blog posts since moving here and I know that really needs to change. So I decided to kick things off with a review about a Japanese/Asian Fusion Restaurant and Bar in Downtown Dubai, Kanpai.

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Located in Souk Al Bahar just beside the Burj Khalifa, this gem of an Asian restaurant can be found hiding on the second floor. I say hiding, but in reality as you walk towards it you get greeted by this handsome gentleman along the walls.

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It might seem a little strange to feel slightly intimidated as you enter Kanpai, but with those wonderful Samauri-esque greeting you, you might understand my fear. However in reality my family and I were met but some really warm and friendly front of house staff, who took us to our table, asked how the music was for us and really made us feel special about having booked our table with them.

Interestingly enough, whilst we were there Kanpai was having a photoshoot to help further their brand in Dubai. Even though there was this photoshoot going on in the background with the occasional flash of a flash gun or the fake laughter of models told to: “enjoy themselves,” in the next few pictures I didn’t feel like it hindered our visit at all. Perhaps, occasionally they was a longer wait time then we perhaps would’ve liked, particularly when it came to getting the bill, as there were more people dining then, but honestly I felt they dealt with the situation very professionally.

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We had a wonderful server, whose name I’m sure was Mignonne or something similar but in reality she looked just like my favourite Abbi Sciuto from NCIS. I literally couldn’t handle the similarities, she was gorgeous and was there when a glass needed refilling or to guide us through the menu, namely the cocktail menu helping us chose from the different varieties of alcoholic/non-alcoholic drinks which we could then make alcoholic. I have to say I was totally impressed with her as a waitress, as the restaurant seemed to fill she did seem to be serving everybody and she handled that pressure wonderfully. She looked as if she was enjoying herself, she was friendly, calm and helped sort out any issues we had at any given time alongside everybody else.

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You’ll probably want to hear about the food at some point. But very quickly, the setting.

Honestly I don’t know what everybody’s problem is in Dubai, but for some reason and maybe it’s just me but the last few places I’ve been to the lights have been turned so low they might as well have been off, Nobu I’m literally pointing all fingers at you. Whilst Kanpai was a little dark for my liking actually being able to read the menu without asking for a nightlight, and being able to see the food in from of me as well as the people opposite me was an absolute bonus. The lighting was low enough to set an atmosphere but not low enough to destroy any chance of mood. in the same way the music, which when we entered was pretty loud (probably due to the photoshoot), was turned down to make sure we could all hear any person on our table. Honestly touches like that really make the evening so much more enjoyable. Whilst it was pretty classy inside I loved that I wouldn’t necessarily have felt out of place wearing some smart casual trousers and flat shoes, it just felt like there were no pretensions. For me that is amazing, there is nothing worse then going to an eatery, a club or whatever and feeling like you don’t deserve to be there.

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As for the food, well if telling you we had two lots of starters before our main course doesn’t speak volumes for the quality of the food I don’t know what does. There was plenty to go around, and everything from the Spicy Chilli Edamame Bean to the Vegetable Spring Rolls was a wonderful experience for your tastebuds.

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The chefs and management at Kanpai seriously outdid themselves with their starters, and achieved a succinct and beautiful matching Asian delight. I was impressed with the speed that the starters came out, and there was no problems with us ordering in our very awkward fashion: Starter, Starter, Main without given any time to prepare anything else. Really well done for the starters:

  • Spicy Edamame Beans
  • Crab Cakes
  • Vegetable Spring Rolls
  • Some interesting, not to sure if I liked them/didn’t like them mango and vegetable parcels

Honestly, I can’t qualify if I like the last food item or not, I had one thought: “Not my thing,” and then went back for more because I’m sure it was.

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Main course, for me went a lot like the first course. I ordered:

  • Roast chicken in a spicy cream sauce with mushrooms and baby potatoes

It was delicious. But, and yes really this shouldn’t be a but, BUT: a) I wish the potatoes has been cooked a little longer and b) I felt like I could have had a much bigger portion. But then I’m a pig. Even after two loads of sharing platter starters I wanted more food, which does go to show how well prepared the food was.  We only had a slight problem with one dish, that thankfully wasn’t mine (evil laugh), that was slightly too cold but they rectified the situation immediately, and honestly it’s not even worth complaining about.

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As it was a birthday, they very kindly let me choose a desert for the birthday girl – my beautiful mum, and wrote: “Happy Birthday Veda” (surprisingly her name) on the plate. I chose the desert called Ka, or Fire which was some kind of cheesecake which was set on fire at the table. The photograph I have of it is not wonderful but you get the generally idea. I like they came out with a sparkler as well, and thankfully enough when I asked them not to sing happy birthday because my mum would have sunk under the table stayed true to their word and just brought it all out. Enough for her to be embarrassed, not enough for her to disappear – a good balance I think.

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If you want to book a table at Kanpai – which I strongly suggest visit their website or call them on 04-441-9262. Their opening times are 12pm – 2am.

A fabulous restaurant, with some amazing staff, food and just pure quality entertainment.

My Everyday Eye Make-up

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So, as I sit here with one eye done and the other eye not so done, I realised that perhaps the title is a bit misleading. This is not my everyday eye make-up look, even though it sort of is. I would love to be the sort of person who bothers to do their make-up everyday, and although I do try and go out half decent sometimes those early morning food shopping trips just require stumbling out of bed.

First of I should say, that I pretty much find most of me pretty damn disgusting but my eyes I don’t mind so much. I guess we all have to have one bit that we don’t mind and for me that’s my eyes. They are nothing special but they’ll do and they let me see the beautiful things the world has to offer and that to me is a greater gift then wanting them to look more aesthetically pleasing.

Feeling confident is a difficult one and in another blog I’ll go into things in more detail, but that’s definitely left for a day when I’m feeling more emotional then I am now.

So for now these are my three products that I use on my eyes to try and give them a lift.

1. Eyeshadow, Gold by Giles in Buff, New Look £3.99

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I always base my eyes with a primer, and then add an eyeshadow base. I don’t really have any one primer that I use constantly which is why I haven’t featured a specific one on this post, purely because my skin changes daily and therefore my primer has to as well. So bearing that in mind, this is my favourite eyeshadow palette, at the moment. I do drift towards the Urban Decay palettes as well though.

Meet Gold by Giles in Buff, it’s from New Look and the white tone of the first colour adds a lovely sparkle to the inner corner of the eyes. Beware though, this powder goes on fully pigmented. Seriously you only need a bit otherwise you’ll look like an absolutely fool, been there done that.

I always like to more or less cover, gently my lid and find that the white creates a base for my eyeliner to stick to. The two purplish colours I also use just to add a slight depth to the eye on the outside corner. I find that if I just leave the white I look like a ghost but by adding the touch of pink/purple the eye pops just that little bit more. I do need to add that I can’t find this palette online anymore, so I’m not sure if they are still stocking it. But you could honestly do this with any colours you wanted.

2. Eyeliner – Loreal Paris Super Liner Perfect Slim in Intense Black, Tesco, £5.99

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I can’t tell you how much I love this eyeliner. I find eyeliner an absolutely nightmare to apply.

Hooded eyelids and eyeliner can be two things that just don’t go together. I always seem to find that with any thicker eyeliner it smudges onto my upper lid, even after I left it to dry.

Because this eyeliner glides on with an impeccably thin felt tip you can control the size of the line. For me I don’t have much of an option but to do thin eyeliner purely because otherwise it smudges, but this eyeliner allows me definition and I think makes my eyes appear just that little bit wider.

3. Mascara, Maybelline New York Lash Sensational Lash Multiplying Mascara in Black, Boots, £7.99

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My mascara has to be applied last. Don’t ask me why, it really is just a preference. Part of me thinks that it actually makes me do my makeup quicker, because if I start with mascara I tend to rub it out and redo and rub out and redo numerous times. But if I’ve already got my eyeliner and shadow on I really can’t be rubbing out and redo the whole thing constantly.

I own approximately 30 mascara tubes, but this one is just             . I’ve got no clue how to describe it. I sleep on my front which means my eyelashes squash as I sleep and end up pointing in strange directions in the morning, no matter what I do I can’t change my sleeping position. Because of this I have to really try hard with my mascara to make sure everything is placed where its supposed to be and I don’t have a massive gap in the middle where eyelashes split in half.

This mascara is truly amazing. I will be the first to admit that I tend to coat my lashes quite a lot, and that means my mascara has a tendency to clump. Over the last few years I’ve been trying to minimise the spider legs that can sometimes occur and I’m glad to say it really has made such a difference to how my eyes look. This mascara is wonderful at not clumping and really does leave your eyelashes long but without the grossness of over mascared-eyes.

These products have really helped me tone down the overuse of all other products and really do make a dramatic impact. What’s great about each of these products is that you can alter how much or how little you use of them depending on the event, or day-to-day wear. I love them, I hope you do too.

Nikita By Niki – Statement Jewellery Acasia Review

A few weeks ago I was struck down with what can only be described as awe-inspired lust. Lust doesn’t hit me very often, but when it does boy it hits me hard. So hard that I tend not to be able to think about much else until, I have either gotten over my craving for said object (which rarely happens) or have given myself over to it (99.9% of the time).

Simplistic, minimalistic jewellery take a step back, and embrace how Nikita by Niki (to see our short interview click here) is going to put you in your place.

If big, striking jewellery is not for you look at it anyway. These necklaces have been crafted into works of art, and they need to be seen and appreciated even if you never dare to wear one. I’ll be the first to admit, that the necklace Acasia from the Rhinestone Collection is probably the fanciest piece of jewellery that is currently gracing my jewellery box and for good reason.

Take a look at this.

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It’s wonderfully made, and feels totally secure which, seeing as there is lot of detailing and embellishments on the necklace and it’s not the lightest of object is fantastic. There is nothing worse then reaching for a necklace only for it to snap whilst you’re wearing it. Trust me, I’ve been there (a lot).

This style is called Acasia and cost me £22, which in my head is an absolute bargain. Topshop sell eeny-weeney necklaces for about the same price, so really rock on Niki. From the Rhinestone Collection it features (perhaps obviously) rhinestones. I was taught to beware the rhinestone in great quantities as rhinestone can often equal pure tack. Shudder. But with this carefully crafted piece around my neck I don’t feel the slightest bit cheap considering the price or the amount of rhinestone featured. For me to find a necklace with this many embellishments and like it, not in the least wear it is a small miracle in itself. This necklace is positively beautiful, it screams elegance and for being a relatively chunky piece feels and looks delicate. Each flower, each beaded link and each wonderful dangle dingle (my name for the hanging bits) create a mesmerising look, and really stand out when paired with a super simple outfit.

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It’s totally okay to be jealous of this piece. Even though I am the proud owner of this gem of a necklace I’m jealous of it. In some respects necklaces like this really worry me. How the heck can someone like me; pretty frumpy and plus size pull of a necklace like this? I see them wrapped round the necks of girls who I consider to be Twiggy-esque and think: “Nah, that would never work on me,”BUT and it has to be capitalised I think, now I own the necklace it’s less to do with what I look like and more to do with confidence.

I do think a person needs a certain amount of confidence to pull of a necklace of this sort. It’s a total standout piece and looks and feels beautiful on. The only issue I can really comment on is that I think I have a rather large neck, caused by a mixture of too much food and genes I would imagine and therefore I think the necklace is a little snug, but for 50p online you can buy a little extender so that really is not an issue at all.

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I really can’t give Niki enough praise when it comes to this piece as it well and truly has me astounded. It’s wonderful and so far has been a talking point when I wear it. Everybody wants to know where I got it from, clearly they have amazing taste. So I’ve had another look at Niki’s website and chosen my favourite two pieces which are going on my birthday wish list.

1. PARIS by NikitabyNiki

Paris

2. AZURE by NikitabyNiki

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For Niki’s beautiful website click here!

If you want to find out more about Niki, read our interview here.

To follow Niki on:

TUMBLR

FACEBOOK

TWITTER

INSTAGRAM

Not That Kind Of Girl, Lena Dunham – Review

IMG_0844So this week, I went through two books the first was The Miniaturist, and next was this fantastmiscal (yes made up but necessary) book by Lena Dunham. In fact this little gem is so good, I read it in one day. I simply couldn’t put it down, and when I did it made my head hurt so I picked it straight back up so I could finish it.

Oh Lena, well done.

I am not a fan of Lena Dunham, I have never once watched HBO’s Girls which she writes, directs, and stars in as I just thought it looked boring. I would go as far as to say that when I saw the advert, I almost felt a bit sick. I sort of stuffed Lena Dunham into the category of: she’s there but I’m not bothered by her, in fact I can’t remember what she look like. Harsh, but a reality in my life. I do tend to categorise. Well I should have listened to my mum and dad when they said never judge a book by its cover, because how hilarious is this woman. Utterly hilarious is the answer.

This book is the correct mix of; shock factor – when she discusses her rape which she herself is confused about and some odd and slightly worrying bits about her sister, humour – all the other bits, and generally giving the air that you could get to know this woman and actually, maybe even surprisingly like her. Now I’ve read it I feel bad about how I sort of judged her before I even ‘got to know her’. You feel as if you can relate to Lena if not because some her weird confessions and hilarious anecdotes remind you of your own life but, because of her language. The way a friend talks to a friend, and not just a friend but someone they feel like they can really trust. And you, the reader feel sort of special because it seems as if she is discussing things that are usually keep confined inside.

Dunham is honest, and that counts for a lot.

In a world where so many people lie about the big things and so many lie about the small things, whether that’s in their books,  television, press or just their daily lives Lena Dunham seems, at least, to be epitomise honesty. From declaring that she had a weird sex dream involving her dad, yikes, to how she coped with therapy, Lena explores what it means to be a woman, the pros and the cons. Blanched with feminism, but supportive of men at the same time, she seems to have a rather quirky self awareness and she imparts the wisdom that she has ‘learned’ to all those who chose to read this.

I have never been a fan of autobiographies or any type of biographies at all, in fact I avoid them like the plague. I don’t really know why, they don’t tend to offend me or amuse me, but really I think why should I care that much about that person’s life. It’s not my business. It’s theirs, and personal life should be personal, even if you live in the public eye. You shouldn’t relive your childhood for a profit. But maybe once again, I’ve been too quick to judge. I would seriously consider reading another biography now, but I truly wonder if anyone can touch on Lena Dunham’s honest way of writing and her satirical self-deprecation which makes her, to me a person I would actually invest my time in. Any ideas for my next biography?

So bring it on, I’m off to buy Girls!

If you want to take a peek into Lena’s life you can purchase you copy of Not That Kind Of Girl here.

The Body Shop and Lush Haul

So after my glorious brow treatment at Beau Brows and Beauty, if you’ve not read that post here’s the link, I decided I needed to pop into The Body Shop to get one little thing…

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Now of course if you’re anything like me, you can’t just buy one little thing. Instead you buy a few little things. So here’s what I bought from two of my favourite beauty shops; The Body Shop and Lush.

First up is The Body Shop.

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Now I know that looks like a lot of Vitamin E Moisture Cream but believe you me when I say I use this every morning, so although it lasts a good while, I tend to go through them. When the perkiest lady I think I’ve ever met announced a cheerful Hello as I walked into TBS I knew I wasn’t leaving empty handed. Massive shout out to Danielle, Body Shop you need to give this girl a pay rise. She was simply an amazing sales person and she knew so much about the products.

What was really the sales point for me was that the Moisture Cream which retails for £11 per pot was buy 3 for 2 and a saving a £11 sounded like a deal to me. Each tub contains 50ml of this amazing little product which keeps my skin looking, at least I think, pretty damn silky during the day.

As I was talking to Danielle I realised how much I needed help with the fact that although the Vitamin E works great for during the day, I just can’t wear it at night as for some reason I end up with some hideous breakouts, for some reason extra dry skin in the morning and it can feel really heavy on my skin, but only on the evening. Yes I know I’m an interesting case. So Danielle pointed me in the direction of Aloe Protective Restoring Mask for sensitive skin. Well I haven’t obviously tried to on a night yet but I did test a bit on my hand and it felt beautiful. Lightweight but seemingly intense this mask according to Danielle I can just leave on for the night as well as using it as a mask. I’m so excited to try it because unlike other night moisturisers that I’ve tried it doesn’t come with a sleep-interfering smell. This was priced at £13.

Lastly as I re-signed up, as my poor little Body Shop card had expired I got a free Warming Mineral Mask which as I’ve just looked up now retails at £10. Score! I tried this as soon as I got home and praise the high heavens and those lovely people who come up with this formula because this a treasure. The product gets warm without entering that burning stage that some other heating masks like to reach and when I rinsed it off after the elective five minutes i just couldn’t stop touching my skin. My skin looks lovely presently. I’m looking forward to seeing how long this last but this could be a real keeper in my weekly skin regime.

Now onto Lush:

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I didn’t spend so much in Lush, which is what I usually do but I went in for a specific purpose and that was to try out some of Lush’s Lip Scrub. I picked up the Mint Julips one which literally smells like mint chocolate and actually although I’m sure you shouldn’t really eat it tastes like it too. It smells divine and it has made my lips look fuller, which was unexpected and softer. I knew caster sugar wasn’t just good for cakes. This product costs £5.50 and comes in three different flavours. Mint Julips (scrum), Popcorn (savoury not the sweet kind) and Bubblegum (self-explanatory). Also which is very exciting although I didn’t buy it they do one for a limited time called The Kiss which perhaps unsurprisingly is for Valentines day. This one to me was a little too sweet but it’s still a lovely touch.

The next cheeky thing i bought at Lush was completely spur of the moment and that was my lovely Unicorn Horn Bubble Bar. There are no words to describe the smell of this beauty. It’s is simply glorious. I just…I just lose all words. It’s smells like perfection and I can’t wait to have a bubble bath now. I’m not sure if this is just for Valentine’s Day I damn well hope it’s not. I’ll have to stock pile. They cost £3.25 for each one and can last for a couple of baths as you break them into running water. I can’t wait to feel like a unicorn!

Neigh!

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Don’t judge me!

HD Brows at Beau Brows and Beauty, Chelmsford Essex

Late last night I realised that the caterpillars growing above my eyes were not going to suddenly change into beautiful ‘butterfly eyebrows’ and instead were growing just a little too out of control, for example meeting in the middle is never a good look no matter who you are nor is making yourself look like Charlie from Busted (please tell me some of you still remember him). So with a desperate desire to have them ‘fixed’ I turned to my friend Louise, whose eyebrows are second to none and she lovingly informed me of a miracle brow bar that offered HD Brows!

“Where?!” I demanded across our Whatsapp chat…and that is how I discovered the brow haven that is Beau Brows and Beauty.  You will find Beau Brows tucked away neatly next to Chicago’s on Moulsham Street in Chelmsford, Essex. It’s a wonderfully ‘little’ building with three floors which contain different businesses, hairdressing etc. However, take note Beau Brows is on the third floor of the building and the building has on the outside Silhouette du Barry. To help with any confusion, that I mostly had about it I’ve got a little picture of the front of the shop to help you find it! (Yep, I am so helpful plus I really want you to go there)

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Now before I just go off on a tangent about my brows and how wonderful they are, I need to tell you that you should book. These ladies are busy, not too busy for new customers just sought after. I was lucky enough that in my desperation the lovely Caroline who happened to be checking that Facebook last night managed to fit my desperate ass in at 9:45 this morning. So book book book!

Anyway, I know that I do actually have to show you what my brows looked like before I went in so I’m just going to get it over with. I guess in some respects I’m lucky I have light eyebrows because I guess the picture doesn’t really amplify just how horrendous they were. So take a quick look, only 5 seconds then continue to scroll.

Promise?

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Ahhh quick move on, move on…

As I tripped up the stairs to the top of the building I slugged my coat off and sat down but in a whirlwind of amazing platinum cropped hair and to-die-for boots Caroline, my new hero told me to come on through, and hop onto the chair. The chairs at places like these always remind me of dentists or something nasty but this one was covered in one of those faux fur blankets and had a cushion next to it. I could of fallen asleep it was so comfy.

Caroline was simply amazing. She’s HD trained and she talked me through what I would be having done and then quite frankly we had a nice old chat about everything as I laid back and waited for the usual pain to commence. I am a baby when it comes to threading, waxing, plucking and all other hair removal things. I hate it, but after doing some complicated string measuring across my brows Caroline had formed my shape. I’ll be honest I have no idea what she did next, but I think there was a combination of cutting, precision waxing and plucking (which made me sneeze, Caroline if you’re reading this sorry again) and after about 15 minutes I was done. Best of all there was literally no pain. Maybe it’s because she had trimmed my two caterpillars before hand or it was just lovely talking to someone whilst it was being done but I just didn’t notice any pain.

So the after photo. Excuse the no make-up look I’m rocking I decided that today I was going commando.

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Now isn’t that better.

We should probably talk about the price of this all, because with HD Brows there is an increase in price compared to shall we say Benefit’s Waxing ladies. For a tint and shaping it cost £33, which is quite a bit of money but and it’s a big but because I am the kind of person who doesn’t like to fork out money like that for my face, I can’t explain to you the difference in how I felt after I had them done. You suddenly have an aura of confidence about you, and it really does, maybe stupidly so make you walk taller and maybe with a bit of booty shaking. I mean I probably looked like a fool, but I don’t care my eyebrows flaming rock. And you want to know how I know that.

I got complimented by a complete stranger in the street, and do you want to know what I did? I pointed them in the direction of Beau Brows and Beauty, because honestly for the feeling that they’ve given me right now I would pay the money twice over.

To book in with Beau Brows and Beauty here’s their number: 07908 278304 and you can also visit their Facebook page.

So go get your coat, and go now. You won’t regret it.