Red tea dressSpring tea dressJoy bag

Round black and floral bagWysteria HysteriaNorthbrook

Tea Dress – River Island

Bag – Joy

Sunglasses – Topshop

Boots – New Look (old)

Last weekend Marc and I took our parents to see our wedding venue as September is fast approaching (eek!) and we wanted them to get to know the venue and feel part of the planning, especially as they have both helped us so much throughout the process.

It turned out to be a beautifully sunny day (fingers crossed that the sun can keep his hat on until 2nd September) so it was the perfect chance to wear this new tea dress I bought from River Island which is perfect for spring and summer gatherings. I teamed it with this round floral bag from Joy which my Uni girlfriends kindly got me for my birthday!

If you are interested in hearing more about the wedding planning, I have already written the articles below, but do leave a comment if there is something in particular you are interested in!

Pictures from our Pre-Wedding Photo Shoot

A Peek Inside Our Wedding Venue

Best Country House Wedding Venues in the UK

Favourite Country Wedding Inspiration

My 5 Favourite Rustic Prop Hire Companies

My Wedding Dress Inspiration

Makeup brushes are an essential part of my daily makeup routine as I find that they give much more of a polished, blended finish than using fingers alone.

I shared some of my favourite makeup brushes last year in this Favourite Everyday Beauty Brushes post and recently got the chance to try Ecotools brushes, which have now made it firmly into my daily collection. There is minimal shedding (although a little to start with, like all new brushes), they apply product really well and they have survived two washes well too.

Ecotools brush review

One of my favourites in particular is this beautiful Highlighting Fan Brush from the Define and Highlight Duo as it makes it so easy to apply highlighter, like this bareMinerals Invisible Glow Powder Highlighter.

Ecotools fan brush bareMinerals highlighter

Not only do Ecotools have a good range of affordable brushes but I also like the brand because they are environmentally friendly and use recycled and renewable materials.  Also, as this year is their 10th anniversary, they are also supporting Glamour’s The Girl Project, a worthwhile campaign that helps to empower women and provide access to education. I love a beauty brand with a story to it, especially one that supports women.

Which brings me onto the giveaway! The good people at Ecotools have kindly offered one entrant the chance to win this limited edition Glow For It Set, which supports the project and includes my favourite fan brush!

Ecotools limited edition setEcotools Glow for it

The Contents Include:

CONCEAL: Use the Pointed Concealer brush to even imperfections.

DUST:  With the full bristles of the Angled Powder brush, add a light dusting of colour.

GLOW: Use the Highlighting Fan brush for precise application of illuminating powders.

SHIMMER: Use the Eye Shading brush to add colour across the eyes.

POP: Define and finish this look by applying your favorite lipstick with the Detailed Lip brush.

RADIATE: Bring the Compact Mirror on-the-go for touch-ups to stay glowing all day

To Enter

To enter, leave a comment underneath this blog post below OR underneath my Instagram picture of the kit sharing your favourite makeup brush technique. 

The competition runs from Sunday 14th May 2017 to 00:00 on Sunday 21st May 2017.

Good luck!

Terms & Conditions

*Samples were sent to me to review but all views are my own. This competition is run in conjunction with Ecotools. You must be based in the UK to enter and have a UK delivery address.

One of the many joys of being a ginger is that you are left with invisible-looking eyelashes (not to mention white skin that needs constant SPF80).

This meant that tinting lashes and wearing mascara were essential for me (Benefit Bad Gal mascara is the best that I’ve found for making lashes look bold, long and wide open, although can be a pain to take off at night. That stuff is sticky.)

But one day when I saw my manager happily rock up to work after having a YUMI lash lift, it looked like there could be a good alternative. Her lashes looked incredibly long, open and full and seemed to stay that way for a good couple of months. I was sold.

Unlike a traditional perm that simply curves lashes, YUMI Lashes Lash Enhancement is designed to turn the eyelashes upwards and give them length, height and volume, as well as a a tint to make them look bolder and more defined.

It was a treatment exclusive to Harrods but is now also available in Mayfair’s Nails & Brows salon, which is where I visited one weekday after work. I had already had a patch test a couple of days beforehand so was taken straight upstairs to the beauty chair where the staff member doing the treatment sweetly sat me down and began to gently take off my eye makeup.

Nails and Brows Mayfair

The Process

She told me that the whole process would last about an hour which I was initially a bit worried about, having never had my eyes closed for that amount of time outside of sleeping. However I didn’t find it that bad at all as that hour was broken up into three chunks, including a lifting serum to extend the lashes upward, a serum to hold the lifted lashes in place, and a tint to darken the lashes and make them look bolder. It meant there was always something going on and we could chat about each step which made the time go much quicker and kept me occupied, rather than thinking about the fact that I had my eyes closed for so long.

Firstly, as the treatment is only applied to the upper lashes, silicone pads were applied under my eyes to separate these from the lower lashes.

YUMI lash lift review

She then used tweezers to lift and extend each upper lash and it felt like she was sticking them onto something high on my eyelid. She applied the serum and after 10-15 minutes, removed it and replaced with the fixing serum which is designed to hold the newly extended lashes in place. This was also left on for another 10-15 minutes but during this time the therapist gave me an incredibly relaxing head massage which I loved and wished she could have done during every section! Finally, she applied the lash tint for approx. 5 minutes. They have different colour tints available for different skin tones but I opted for blue-black as this is the closest colour to black mascara.

After the therapist gently wiped everything off, I opened my eyes tentatively, expecting to feel some stinging like I can sometimes do during a normal lash tint. So I was super happy to find that there was no discomfort whatsoever!

The Result

I was handed a mirror to inspect my new lashes. This is where the therapist told me that she had done a more natural lash lift as it was my first one and even though I loved the colour and curl to the lashes, I couldn’t help feeling that I wanted them to look even longer, higher and more impactful. I wished she had told me this at the beginning as I could have asked her to do a more obvious lift, especially as I don’t have the longest eyelashes naturally and also because I wanted to get more bang for my £80 buck.

YUMI lashesYUMI Lash extension

I was told not to get them wet or use any oils on them for 24 hours but that after that you can treat them like your normal lashes and that they should last for approx. 2 months. I went into work the next day without mascara and even though it felt amazing to wake up with dark, curled lashes and save time & effort not applying mascara, when the rest of my makeup was on I still couldn’t help feeling that I wanted them to look bolder and more open.

Two weeks later and the lashes have held their curl pretty well and the tint is still there, although fading slightly. (I took these pictures as soon as I woke up, so excuse the lack of makeup/eyebrow grooming):

Lash perm LondonYUMI Lashes honest review

Final Thoughts

Overall I think the YUMI lash lift enhancement is a great option for anyone wanting to avoid mascara or save time, such as anyone going on holiday, new mums and those who prefer a natural beauty look. I have enjoyed waking up every morning looking instantly more groomed and would give it another go, providing they feel that my lashes can withstand a more lifted, exaggerated, more obvious treatment.

This was good to try before the wedding as it has made me think that lash extensions might be more impactful and could be better for me on the day – if anyone has any lash extension recommendations in London or Birmingham, please let me know!

Has anyone else tried the YUMI Lashes Enhancement or any other good lash lifts? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!

Caitlin Moran is a wonderful feminist writer best known for her columns in The Times as well as her books How To Be a Woman and How To Build a Girl. (How To Be A Woman actually made it onto my Top 10 Books That Everyone Should Read list).

I love Moran’s writing and there are two letters of hers in particular that really moved me (thanks go to my friend Liv of The London Ladybird for making me aware of the latest one, which is particularly relevant now that it is Mental Health Awareness Week). So without further ado, here are the two letters every woman must read from Caitlin Moran:

Caitlin Moran: Posthumous Letter to my Daughter

(You can also read it on my Pinterest Quotes board here).

Caitlin Moran Letter to my Daughter

 

Caitlin Moran: Letter to Teenage Girls

(You can also read it on the Stylist website here.)

Caitlin Moran Letter to Teenage Girls

Sometimes I want to share my love for something that doesn’t fit into a blog post or my usual categories, so I thought it would be a good idea to start sharing these in a monthly Sunday Favourites series.

So for this April, my Sunday Favourites have been:

Sunday Favourites April

The Liar’s Club by Mary Karr

This memoir was published in the 90s and details Mary’s chaotic childhood in an east Texas oil town with a hard drinking daddy and an oft-married, unpredictable mother. This makes it sound like it could be a depressing read but, like Angela’s Ashes, it has so much energy and warmth to it that it’s actually really enjoyable. Not only did the story have me hooked, especially as it is all true, but I especially loved Karr’s writing. Her imagery and turn of phrase were so vivid and electric that when I finished reading on my Kindle, I immediately went out and bought a hard copy to keep by my bed.

The Edinburgh Candle Company : Fig & Vanilla

I was recently sent some candles from the Edinburgh Candle Company,  a social enterprise that employs local women facing barriers to work in order to teach them skills and provide training for the future. I love candles and have a big collection so it was great to add a worthwhile brand into the mix, especially when the Fig & Vanilla candle is so lovely to burn.

La Roche-Posay Toleriane Rich

I recently raved about the La Roche-Posay Toleriane Ultra moisturiser here and now it’s time to talk about the Rich version. My skin has been feeling a little dry recently so at night I have been wearing the Toleriane Rich and in the morning my skin feels so beautifully soft and any blemishes or redness are massively reduced. I can’t say it enough guys, you need to try this range out.

Last week I celebrated my birthday with drinks & dancing with the girls followed swiftly (and gratefully) by a restful staycation with Marc in the New Forest.

We had left it until the last minute to decide where to go but I’m so happy that we settled on the New Forest as it was so incredibly beautiful and completely beat my expectations.

Predominantly lying in Hampshire, the New Forest is a National Park made up of wild woodland, vast heaths, cute villages and my favourite part:

The Wild Horses

It took us about 2.5 hours to drive from our home in South East London to our hotel in Lyndhurst and we got very excited when we spotted our first sightings of two wild ponies (and a couple of cows) happily munching the grass on a village green.

Little did we know that this was just the start of it and as the weekend went on we saw so many wild horses and ponies in parks, gardens and hidden amongst the yellow and purple heathland – one was even trying his best to get into a shop. Not only was it amazing to see them like this but also, because they were so confident around humans, they would happily let you pet them.

New Forest Hampshire

Wild ponies New Forest

The Scenery

I didn’t think that I would find anywhere in England quite as beautiful as when we went to Loch Lomond in Scotland but I was wrong. The New Forest has everything. From the wide sandy beach at Highcliffe to the vast bluebell woods and wild heathland in the National Park, the nature here is beautiful. For an area so close to London, it couldn’t have felt further from city life.

Bluebells New ForestNew Forest HeathHighcliffe beach

The Cute Villages

We stayed at the Crown Manor House hotel in Lyndhurst on a cute little high street filled with tea rooms, independent shops and a popular Ferrari showroom. At the end of the high street was a pretty park (complete with wild ponies) that offered some great views across the countryside. Other areas we enjoyed visiting were Brockenhurst and Beaulieu.

Wysteria cottageLyndhurst

The Food

Sadly we were too late to make a reservation at the acclaimed The Pig (next time for sure) but we did have a delicious meal at The Fox and Hound pub in Lyndhurst. I loved that so many of the restaurants in the New Forest prided themselves on serving locally sourced food and supporting the local farms.

The Fox and Hounds LyndhurstThe Pig The New Forest

The Accommodation

We stayed at the Crown Manor House hotel in Lydnhurst as it was the only hotel that had a room left when we booked the night before. It ended up being a great base right on the high street with a comfortable room, good breakast included and pretty interiors, although as it was an old building you could hear people moving around and talking in some of the other rooms.
If your budget can stretch to it though, I have heard amazing things about The Pig Hotel, Limewood and the one I would most love to visit – the Chewton Glen treehouses.

Lyndhurst Manor House Hotel

Is there anywhere else worth visiting in The New Forest? Let me know below – I’m desperate to go back!

If you liked this, you might also like:

Visiting Glasgow and Loch Lomond

An Incredible Secret Glen Near Glasgow

Portmerion and Snowdonia