Meet You There

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Some amazing, wonderful, incredible news was announced today. Not just for me, but for the whole world of music. Two of my favourite bands of all time are joining forces and touring together.

Let's go back in time, the year is 2003, a new type of band has exploded on to the scene with the type of credible pop music everyone was waiting for. Now picture me, and angsty 13 year old - desperate for something beautiful but relevant, fun and accessible. That's where Busted came in, their two albums were interchangeably on repeat and every chord resonated with me. I was elated when I secured tickets to see their arena tour, and as the first band I'd ever seen play live I couldn't have been more enamoured. Before Busted took to the stage their support act came on, four fresh faced cheeky teenagers singing about a weirdo with 5 colours in her hair and after that I was hooked.

I spent my spare time cutting every photo or mention of either band from every magazine I could lay my teenage hands on, I'd buy three copies of every single or album and pay for them separately (so they would count for the charts). I'd discuss them on forums for hours and defend them when I got bullied and goaded about it at school.

Not only was it my first experience of love, really loving something so much you cared about every bit of it. I got my first heartbreak when Busted split up but their songs kept their residency on my playlist for years to come. Both Busted and Mcfly gave me a song for everything, taught me how much music could mean and speak to me. They gave me friends that I had shared interests with that I'd never had before and they gave me people I could look up to, who were fun and interesting.

And now, like that very first time I saw them together they will be on stage again , singing the songs that made me fall in love all those years ago. I can't explain what it is that I feel every time I see Mcfly on stage but it's like a warmth inside knowing everything that's happened up till this point they are still consistent. It's very tempting to bankrupt myself so I can relive it every night the tour Is on.

Charlie Simpson will not be joining them, on one hand I feel sad about this because I felt he really brought the tragic,
deep element to Busted's music with his dark vocals and emo subject matter but I'm sure he feels that he has too much to answer to those fans. I'll be interested to see the tone without him.

I feel like I've dreamed about this without realising it for years and I can't wait to see what they have for us. Now I just have to worry about getting the tickets - something tells me they will be in very high demand...
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I've always wanted to be a mermaid...

It's been a while since I wrote a beauty related, or in fact any post here. This blog has gone from a search for 'thinspiration', to beauty outlet to personal outlet station so apologies for the lack of coherence! Now my personal things are starting to calm down, I want to write about my favourite thing again. 

This brings me to the subject of this post, HAIR! Now I have never been one to hugely foray into the area of experimental hair dyes, or in fact any hair dye, Prior to the big 'going blonde' that happened a few years ago I had only strayed from my natural chestnut brown to add a cheeky pink streak underneath to express my latent emo-ism. The pink was short lived (along with the emo) and skipping ahead to the blonde days I have only entrusted my full head of foils to salon professionals. 

Whilst I have never experimented with my own hair colour I have always looked longingly to the girls with that quirky rock style of bold colours and suddenly when Amelia Lily appeared on our screens with her X-Factor live show makeover of pastel candy floss locks and heavy black kohl the lightbulb went on.  I have been desperate to try the look for years but have never been brave enough. I considered pink dip dye, but my short thin hair couldn't really carry it. 

That brings me to my product du jour, trendy London salon 'Bleach London' have recently launched a range of brightly coloured dyes so wannabes such as my self can recreate the amazing creative ,looks at home and for £5 a bottle it would be rude not to try it. I have been going for the natural look lately, having removed my extensions and gone a bit darker (rendering them useless their current colour) I decided to try out their 'Rose' shade.

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Now first thing to say is I love the simplicity of it, it comes as just a bottle - a really funky graffiti style bottle but doing away with the usual box of paraphernalia you associate with home hair dying kits. You simply just get some gloves on and apply. At this point I'll say the product is designed for bleached hair but as my extensions were blonde I was apply to skip that step, The bottle did make it quite hard to get all the product out however I was able to just cut it through the middle using kitchen scissors which helped me get a lot more out. Here were my results....

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As you can see I didn't manage to get very even coverage so next time I would definitely not be so lazy and get a brush to use to make sure I do it properly. But I think if I heat styled it with my natural hair this would look a bit more deliberate than maybe it does in the photos. I'd also try leaving the dye on for longer than the suggested 15 minutes to attempt a bolder look but overall given that I like the pastely come beachy look I am not too bothered by this. If you're using on your real hair bear in mind it's not permanent and its only supposed to last 10ish washes but as I used clip in extensions that should buy me a bit more time. Overall I love how easy it was and I'd definitely be tempted to experiment with some of their other shades, What do you think of my new mermaid look? I can't wait to style it up and wear it out! xx 

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All You Need is One..

I always loved the show One Tree Hill, my favourite characters to begin with were always Lucas, Brooke and Peyton. They had such profound musings and felt the extremes of life so early on I used to love to be deeply involved in their often melodramatic issues.

One thing to note especially about the earlier series of OTH was the beautiful writing- it was replaced by cheesy, self indulgent monologues in the later series but earlier on I thought they were very raw yet beautiful insights into feelings I hadn't had yet.

There's a speech in one episode that I've always remembered and loved. In a time like this where I am looking for hope anywhere I can find it.

" At this moment, there are 6,470,818,671 people in the world. Some are running scared.
Some are coming home.
Some tell lies to make it through the day.
Others are just now facing the truth. Some are evil men, that war with good. And some are good, struggling with evil.
6 billion people in the world. 6 billion souls. And sometimes, all you need is one...."


Through all the confusion, all the uncertainty... All you need is one.


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Secondhand Serenade

Over the last couple of months I have been hearing some amazingly beautiful songs whilst in shops and I have 'Shazzam-ed' them all, and funnily enough they are all by the same band - California acoustic outfit Secondhand Serenade.

 

So I finally thought it was time to take a listen and see if they were as good as the samples I heard. I purchased both albums that I found on iTunes - 'Awake' and 'A Twist in my Story'. They also recorded an acoustic version of ATIMS called 'A Naked Twist in My Story' which will definitely be my next download.

 

I literally have not taken the album off repeat, and I know I have found something great when I don't skip a single track. Front man John Vesely's smooth but beautifully painful vocal really resonates with every part of me - if youre a fan of Something Corporate, Jack's Mannequin and Dashboard Confessional as I am I think you will love it. The instrumentation is never over done always perfect to let the words speak for themselves.

 

It's so hard to pick standout tracks because as I say they're all stellar but lead single from ATIMS 'Fall for You' is undeniably strong especially with how I am feeling at the moment. My other favourite tracks include 'Stay Close Don't Go' and 'Awake'.

 

I hope they plan to tour in the UK soon because I would love to see this music performed in a really intimate venue. I think it's the time of thing that would keep the crowd silent in awe. If you love music that really pulls at your heart strings I beg you to check them out:

 

http://www.secondhandserenade.com/

 
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'Elf-in' Good Looks

As any student knows, getting glammed up for those frequent nights out does not come cheap and it's not getting easier. Whilst I was working at girl scout camp in America, one of the girls put me on the case for a really affordable brand with great choice - ELF aka Eyes Lips Face (http://eyeslipsface.co.uk). With prices rarely stretching above the £8 mark and they often offer amazing student discounts (all the products featured I got at a whopping 50% off - keep an eye on their twitter page) it seemed like my prayers for affordable beauty had been answered.

BEFORE 


IMG_5004 Okay so this is what I have to work with, excuse the hair have been in room tidying mode today. Blank canvas is freckly and interesting (or so I like to think), eyebrows are very weak and messy and slight blemish under my lip. What can we do with this?


BROWS


This is always a tricky area for me, given that due to a shaving incident when I was younger my growth is very thin and irregular. The first product I used to get them under control was ELF's 'Eyebrow Stencil Kit' (RRP £1.50). In the pack is four plastic stencils that pop apart then four paper ones that do the same. For this look I used the plastic, first using the inside to pluck around to get rid of any hairs that weren't sticking to the program. I then, with the help of ELF's 'Studio Eyebrow Kit' (RRP £3.75) used the outside of the stencil to fill in the shape. The kit is in two parts with a double ended brush, there is a dark creme to act as the base and then a lighter powder to give it a more natural look. I love the end result, it's a lot more darker and 'Cara Delevingne' than I usually wear (partly owing to the medium shade being out of stock, and me opting for darker over lighter) but I really think statement brows are back. The make-up sets really nicely however the stencils can be tricky to use because they are hard to keep in place but with a bit of practice and a steady hand it's achievable.


BROWS COLLAGE


SKIN


Seems strange to do it in this order I know but as I find brows the most difficult I sort my skin out afterwards purely so that if I make a mistake with the brows I can just correct it with a face wipe without worrying its going to mess up the rest of the look. The first product I used was ELF's 'Under Eye Concealer and Highlighter' (RRP £3.75). I always suffer from bags under the eye so I applied liberally in their shape, however I found because the concealer was quite thin a little bit went a long way. I also used for the blemish under my lip because at this point its mainly a colour cover up. Afterwards I applied my usual foundation (L'Oreal Lumi-Magnique) over the top because if you really want the best result from a highlighter it should be on top. Again with the highlighter I found a little bit went a long way and used my finger to blend. I found the highlighter a little less effective because it was quite tricky to blend and the lines were still noticeable even after it had set so I used my ELF 'Kabuki Face Brush' (RRP £6.00) to dust a light amount of No.7 bronzer over the apples of my cheeks just to cover the lines a little. Overall for the price I was satisfied the products did the job, and would last a long time given that I'd suggest you used sparingly.


SKIN COLLAGE


EYES


 For my eyes I used ELF's 'Beauty Book - Smoky Eye Edition' (which is now on sale for £3 - bargain!) which is a large palette with shadows for both a brown and grey smoky eyed look. I went with brown as I find its not as harsh with my blonde hair and suits my green eyes better however there is good choice for either. Following the easy instructions on the inside I applied the liner first, then a highlighting light shade to the brow bone and inner eye corner. I then applied a slightly darker shade for a base blending the eye corner to the brow bone and out then finished with the contour shade on the outside then blended. All the shadows went on fantastically, and I didn't need a lot to achieve the look I was going for. They were a little tricky to blend, however the four sided brush included definitely helped with this. As the evening wore on the darkest shade faded very quickly however the overall look stayed in place long enough. Definitely worth the tiny price tag, and allows you the choice to adapt to any occasion.




EYE COLLAGE


I finished the look off with Benefit's 'They're Real' mascara (still student like it is only a sample!) and Rimmel's 'Exaggerate Liquid Liner' both in black. I then used some of Beauty Work UK's great value Lipstick in a pale pink shade (I'm afraid I don't know the name because it's an oldie!) and some of Soap and Glory's plumping lip gloss. Overall I think the main thing to know about ELF's range is it's great value for money and great choice, there are all sorts of shades and colours to suit every need and for a night out it will definitely last the distance. Heres the finished look, let me know your thoughts?


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N x

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With Great Hair Comes Great Responsibility

As any dedicated disciple to the religion of hair extensions will tell you, whilst you enjoy the awed glances, easy styling and general wow factor of a head of hair that isn't yours; caring for it is like caring for an exotic pet. It requires a lot of attention, time and specialist equipment which can get quite pricey and with no guarantees about what will work it can often be a big game of trial and error. I have looked on-line, and there is very little agreement about the best products to use when caring for Remi hair especially concerning affordable products on the UK market.

For my own hair, I have one packet Style Icon by Sleek  hair extensions weaved in. Having used Dream Girl hair for several years before discovering Style Icon, I have found this brand to be much less prone to breakage, tangling and split ends that were such a consistent problem for me before. All this being said, I still find that without the constantly renewing natural oils your natural hair benefits from all the extensions I have ever had become very dry, and almost coarse to the touch and I have been constantly searching for that miracle product that will help inject some of that natural texture into my adopted hair. This problem is also not helped by my reliance on heat styling, both using a curling wand and GHD’s at high temperatures to set the style longer which along with the use of hairspray, give the hair a very dry feel.

I am going to review three products here which all meet the following criteria: designed to ‘repair’ dry or damaged hair, and retail at under £10.

Mark Hill – Magic Drops Rescue & Repair Treatment

RRP £6.49

Not that Magic...

This offering from celebrity hairdresser Mark Hill is a serum and it specifies on the label that a maximum of three ‘drops’ (1 drop = 1 squirt) should be applied evenly from the mid lengths to the end of your hair when damp to make your hair “smoother, softer and shinier”. The product is quite thick and sticky in your hands, and personally I’d say that three drops doesn't really go a long way on my 18 inch mane and I found I needed at least 10 ‘drops’ to go anywhere near covering  all of the ends. The sticky texture really felt unpleasant on the hair and I found actually after drying, the hair felt drier than it had that classic product ‘greasy’ look. Overall I definitely would not recommend it – for the price the bottle is very small and a little bit does not go a long way. Most importantly I didn't see any difference in the areas it claims to improve.

John Freida Full Repair Deep Conditioner Mask 

RRP £6.29

John Freida Full Repair Deep Conditioner

I am already slightly biased to this product because I am an avid user, and lover of John Freida’s range – they always seem to deliver on their promises so I was hoping this one would be no different. I have previously used his ‘Go Blonder’ and the ‘Full Repair’ shampoo and conditioner and was impressed. This deep conditioner works as a mask, in that you apply to wet hair (liberally I’d say) and leave. The recommended leave in time is 5 minutes before washing out, however I gave it a good 15 because I wanted it to go just that bit deeper! It is really easy to apply, goes on just like a cream and smells really fresh and luxurious like many products you would get treated to in a salon. After using it just once my hair felt softer, less tangled and way more manageable. For the price I feel you get a lot of product, and the great news it is it is often on promotion along with the other John Frieda products so you can snap yourself a bargain! Undeniably another Frieda innovation that delivers on its promise.


Aussie Take the Heat Leave-In Spray 

RRP £4.69

Aussie Take the Heat Serum
Aussie’s offering is a spritzer style spray, and goes onto damp hair as a light mist. The first thing I noticed about this product was the smell, as is the hallmark of the Aussie brand it smelt fantastic – sweet and fresh exactly how you would want your hair to smell. It was also very light which I felt was a plus because it would not cause too much build up or weigh the hair down. It was hard to gauge the effects of the spray because whilst the hair was still damp it did not feel too different except a lot easier to brush… It was only really after drying and straightening you could tell the difference and the appearance of the hair was definitely a lot sleeker and shinier. As a bonus it also helped to hold the style for longer than usual throughout the day. Whilst it didn’t leave the hair with that lasting softness of Freida’s condintioner, it definitely went some way to improving the dry appearance of the hair. It is also the cheapest product of the three, and very easy to use with not much time.

Overall I felt like the only product which really went anyway into long term improvement of my dry extensions was the John Freida mask, subsequently I now use the product weekly and feel it has drastically improved the life of my hair. It was a great excuse to give myself a pamper night, and really makes you feel like you have had a salon treatment on a budget. I still don’t think I’ve found the ultimate regime to tame the ‘beast’ that is my weave, but I have definitely found a key component and I’ll be looking out for the others!
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