Sunday, 29 November 2015

BENEFIT'S BEAUTY BUBBLES & BEATS - MY FIRST EYEBROW WAX


 Thursday signalled the start of a new era, one that would see me with living life with good eyebrows. With the abundance of memes popping up on my instagram relating to women's eyebrows, I am feeling extreme presure to do something about my untamed forehead hair. Apparently you can't trust a women if her brows aren't on fleek! 

 I have never plucked, threaded or dyed my eyebrows before, it is only in the last year, since treating myself to Benefit's Brow Zings, that I have given them any attention at all. 

When I heard about Beauty, Bubbles and Beats at Carnaby Street's Benefit store I thought it might be time to finally do something significant about the wildness above my peepers. 

On the fourth friday of every month they put on a bit of shindig in store to celebrate pay-day, inviting shoppers to enjoy sweet treats, Chandon, and samples, all soundtracked by the Benebabe DJ, Sophie Bond.


There is always a lot of possibility for pampering and self improvement when going into Benefit, with various beauty treatments available to shoppers, including lash tints and spray tans, but from 4pm on the fourth friday of the month it becomes a multi-sensory experience. If you're done browsing the amazing selection of potential christmas gift sets, posed in the photobooth, and finished booging to Sophie's R n B classics, then you can head downstairs for an altogether different experience. More on that later......

So back to main reason of my visit.....

When I arrived I told one of the lovely Benefit ladies that my eyebrows were virgins to any sort of professional or even amateur treatment. They couldn't believe that at my age I was yet to see them at their best and were excited to see my reaction once the process was complete. I think they could tell I was a bit apprehensive, but they did fabulously well to ease any wobbles I was having.


My lovely technician Sarah talked me through the process and checked what I wanted from the end result. I said I liked big brows and would just love mine to look more defined, with less rogue hairs, and perhaps a tad darker. Although I am naturally blonde my brows are fairly dark, but look lighter because they are a bit sparse in certain areas. I was also struggling from a mild case of the uni brow. I say mild, it was actually rather fluffy in that middle section, however, do to its fair nature I've been able to get away with it for a couple of decades. Sunlight has been my nemesis though, a shaft of light directed at my face has at times helped to give the game away. 

First up Sarah removed the make-up on and around my brows so she could survey the area properly and see what she was really dealing with. 


Next up she used a translucent guide to help mark out where the eyebrows should start and finish and where the arch should peak. The good news was that my brows ended at the correct spot ( I think in part because they have never been plucked), but they needed to start slightly closer the middle of my face - nothing that a bit of dye wouldn't sort out. She used a brown brow pencil and a concealer type pencil to mark out what the final look would be, so I could approve it before moving on to the next step.
 
To ensure the dye only stained the hairs Sarah wanted, and didn't get onto my skin too much, she applied a vaseline type product round the edge of my brows. Vaseline works as the perfect barrier. She mixed up a natural brown colour dye to apply which would give me slightly more dramatic brows, without going too far and looking like they'd been painted on.


The dye was removed after a couple of minutes. Then it was for the part I was dreading.... 
I'm not going to lye to you, it does smart a bit, but it was no way as bad as I thought it'd be. Sarah was also so accomplished at the art of waxing, that it was a very swift and smooth operation. I'd say the most stingy bit was the wax trip placed underneath the brow, I'm guessing because that skin is a lot thinner and sensitive there.


After the waxing part of the process was over, Sarah wanted to ensure they were absolutely perfect, so then went in with tweezers to remove any stray hairs. 

Although the dye had managed to thicken the appearance of my brows by capturing some of the fairer baby hairs, there were still some parts that could have benefited from some extra help. Using the brand's Brow Zing, and a combination of the wax and the powder, she added extra oomph to my now improved un-made-up eyebrow. Gimme Brow product was then combed through the hairs to add extra definition and shine.

I think it was all a bit of a shock to my face, which isn't at all used to such attention. I was looking a bit red and blotchy so she applied some cooling cream to the stripped areas. Once that was dry she made sure I was ready to face the public, covering up the angry areas with some Benefit concealer. 

I had been given the handheld mirror so I could feel assured about my eyebrow reonvaton throughout the process, but I was still warned I might be a bit shocked by the final result. Brows make such a difference to a face, that a change can take a bit of getting used to. 

Having seen my boyfriends face change throughout the process, from intrigue and fascination, to laughter (during the waxing part) and then uncertainty, I was a bit worried about the outcome. 

When I looked into the mirror for the big reveal I was a tad shocked at the difference, I almost didn't recognise the person looking back at me. For once I looked like someone who took care of themselves, one of those groomed people on the TV even - bar the blotchy redness of course. 

Whenever you change up your look you feel a tad self conscious and worried about whether you've made the right decidions, but within about half an hour of mirror checks while swigging some much needed Chandon, I decided I was fully in love with my new tamed and dramatic brows. 

My boyfriend, who is known for his straight talking and fairly brutal appraisals, gave it a big thumbs up. He said it's something I should definitely keep doing, continuing to tell me how much better my new brows are in comparison to my old ones - who know he had so much to say on the matter!


 THE FINISHED RESULT

  



Si hadn't been too cockahoop about the prospect of joining me at a beauty event. However his mood promptly changed when he got handed a flute of Chandon bubbles, which was filled up on the regular. The selection of nostalgic tunes didn't do any harm either. 

Even after my treatment was over we decided to enjoy the festivities a bit longer and went downstairs to sample some of the EAT YOUR DRINK products that were displayed throughout the basement level. When we had been upstairs we had sampled one of their the brands Gin and Tonic dib dabs, and were blown away by it, so were interested in seeing what other unqiue creations they had on sale. 

As well as the dib dabs and boozy pastilles (which can already be purchased in Harrods, Harvey Nichols and Selfridges), there were also Candy Floss Jars in various colours. You simply pour in vodka and wait for diamonds to drop down for infusion. I feel like this fascinating company and the ingenious products the've created deserve their own blog post in the future, so keep your eyes peeled for that.






Carnaby Street is always an incredibly vibrant location, with the most eclectic and creative of shops, and a fanstatic amalgamation of history, styles and cultures. But with even more of these fabulous events happening these days, it is an even hotter destination for lovers of fashion, beauty...and fun! It is also looking particular stunning right now thanks to the addition of the Christmas lights, which have well and truly trumped Regent Street's efforts.

Although I've suffered with some spots around my brow region following the treatment, I would thoroughly reccommend everyone and anyone to get theirs done at Carnaby Street's Benefit Store. When daring to have a treatment that effects your looks, it's so very important you feel confident about the ability of the person doing it. Sarah was a complete pro, and even if imy new look too getting used to, I knew she'd done a sitrling job. After I tweeted about my visit and treatment, it turned out that a lot of my friends had had a similarly stellar experience. Why hadn't they made me go sooner? I'll never get those bad brow years back!!



A big thank you to Benefit who invited me down to experience a treatment. 
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RECLAIM YOUR LUNCH BREAK WITH STYLIST MAGAZINE




After the huge success of Stylist's first-ever Reclaim Your Lunch Break Day in the height of summer, they returned this week with a plethora of events taking place on November 27th. This time round, there were more than 30 free events taking place nationwide - and everyone was invited.

I was invited down to this particular event by Twenty-Nine London who are a young global strategic communications consultancy dedicated to delivering a fully integrated 360 communications strategy.  They work with amazing people in the creative industries to tell stories for luxury and lifestyle brands, from the world of fashion, art, music, sport and beyond.


I love the concept, but right now the whole lunch thing in general is a bit of a sore point for me. I've managed to skip three of my weekday lunches this week due to being overworked or covering things that are taking place over lunchtime. It's not like a have a boss who is chaining me to the desk and making me starve, but as a freelancer with no real colleagues or people to help with the workload, I have no one to help me when I start to be swallowed up backlog and deadlines. I also don't have that concerned office mate on a desk next to me nagging and making sure that I've eaten. 

I think what this campaign is trying to do is remind us to take that lunch break - and not just a quick dart out of the office, the full hour we have well and truly earned. I remember when I was in an office situation it was all too easy to just nibble at your desk, do a swift bit of internet shopping, but not take time to leave the building and escape the stresses of the work environment. Even if you need to save money via a packed lunch I'm pretty sure it's sensible for your mental well-being to change your location when it comes to your break-time. The monotony of your working day can really get to you at times, so a simple change of setting to break up the day can do the world of good. 

 They put on an enticing spread for the guests, with canapes and french fancies. I only eat the pink ones, does anyone know if they actually taste different or is it a mind trick?



It's so hard for young adults to earn enough to create a life we have been brought up to believe is one an adult should be living. I feel like we are putting so much pressure on ourselves to try and get into a position where we are at least in pursuit of owning a property, that we are working ourselves into the ground. Our social time is being eaten in to because we now feel it necessary to work second jobs, create side projects or put in extra hours in hope of a bonus or promotion. Maybe the idea of using our lunch breaks to do something that we would have previously done after work is a way we can restore the balance somewhat. In theory I love the idea that I could add a new fun or life improving element into my daily routine, whether it be an art class, motivational talk, pilates, learning to crochet or playing dodgeball. Head to Stylist to see some of the amazing options they came up with.


The only quibble I have is that in using our lunch break for these mood inducing activities we are left with no time to actually eat our lunch. Some people work in places where the allocated lunch time is very rigid, so an hour fitness class will mean they won't have time to get any nosh. Next time they run this campaign ( I really hope they do it again) I'd love to see more and more options that combine eating food with another enjoyable feature. Perhaps destinations where they are serving us proper lunch food while we take in a performance, screening or talk. Perhaps some more opportunities to create food that we go on to eat for our lunch, maybe a half hour fitness class followed by a lunch curated to be healthy and in-keeping with the routine we have just completed.




So, back to the event I attended....
It took place in McQueens, London's premier florist, just a few minutes walk from Bethnal Green station. It's not the most glamorous of locations, but as soon as you step inside their HQ you are transported somewhere else. An amazing space where stunning nature meets an industrial design aesthetic, and a beautiful setting for an acoustic performance.


Set against a backdrop of stunning traditional and exotic flowers Molly Smitten-Downes and her incredibly tight band put on a stunning live performance. As well as performing some of her own incredibly catchy material we were treated to some fantastic covers of Daniel Bedingfield's 'Gotta Get Through This' and The Weeknd's 'Can't feel my face', which were impossible not to groove to. The fact that we had been enjoying 10% alcohol Two Bird cocktails
meant that we were feeling a bit less composed, and far more inclined to boogie. 


If you think you  recognise Molly, then you may well have heard her glorious vocals at Glastonbury or witnessed her get well and truly robbed in the Eurovision song contest. I can't say enough about this lady's talent, her voice was astonishly strong and beautiful, with the welcome bit of sexy huskiness coming in at choice moments. We felt very priveleged to experience her music in this compact and unique environment. Bands, session musicians, and back-up singers often do their thing with little acknowledgment, so I want to make a point of saying how flawless their contribution was too.












I had a little peak into the workshop area of McQueens and could see some stunningly beautiful floral creations being put together. It's no wonder it's the go to florist  for fashion shows, parties and weddings. I found myself vocalising what I would request for my imaginery wedding, much to horror of my boyfriend.



Rather than the usual goodie bag filled with some trendy water and unusually flavoured popcorn, we came away with this lovely orange rose courtesy of McQueen Flowers. Sure to brighten the desks of those who have well and truly reclaimed their lunch break with this charming musical interlude.  

Thanks for having us!! 

@mollysd 

www.stylist.co.uk

www.twentynine.london


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