Monday, 17 March 2014

BBL’s essential makeup brushes

I’ve had a quick initiation to makeup brushes, and it’s only a couple of years ago that I was still using those little foam applicators (or fingers) to put on my eye shadow.

But I’ve found the right tools makes everyday looks, and something a bit fancier, much easier.

So here goes with what works for me...


L-R RT buffing brush, MAC 168, RT powder brush.

These are the three brushes I use every day, without fail.

The buffing and powder brush are both Real Techniques, the range developed by Pixiwoo’s Samantha Chapman.

They’re both synthetic fibre, great value for money – they’re regularly on 3 for 2 in Boots – and wash really well.

The flat top on the buffing brush is fantastic for working everything from BB cream or tinted moisturiser to heavy duty foundation into the skin.

The MAC blusher brush is one of my all-time favourites.  Initially, I was freaked out by the (imaginary) whiff of the goat who’d kindly donated his hair to help my cheekbones. 

But it’s got just the right angle to help even a dummy like me contour, and great density of hairs.


L-R angled eye colour, eye crease, smudge.
I love a defined eye, and I’ve narrowed these three Laura Mercier brushes down to my favourites.

The angled eye colour is densely packed and broad enough to cover my lids with a single colour in one fell swoop. I generally use this with to give a base colour, 99% of the time using either Foxy or Walk of Shame from my Urban Decay naked basics palette.

The eye crease is the perfect shape to get into your socket and really give depth during a smokey eye.  And the tip is tapered to help you not make a mess of that outer corner.

And for me, no eye is complete without eyeliner – enter the best smokey eye tool ever!

The smudge is a stiff, domed brush that is great for creating a dark eye that Kristin Stewart would be proud of.  I use it to soften my UD 24/7 eyeliners, or to go over a kohl with a shadow.

Extra special mention to..

I have a love/hate relationship with my Inglot 27TG.

It’s a duo fibre brush, a mix of taklon and goat

It’s in its element if I’ve put on too much base and feel cakey – a quick sweep over my face in circular motions and everything’s perfectly blended and much more like ‘real’ skin.


It sheds hair.  So I’m picking black hairs off my face, and the first couple of times I washed it the colour ran.

So so divided over this brush.

If anyone else has it let me know if you’ve the same problem!!

Sunday, 9 March 2014

Urban Decay the Brow Box

I’ve had the Brow Box* from Urban Decay on my makeup to do list for a few months, and to be honest, I was a bit afraid of using it.

But after being assured that once I went powder, I’d never go back to pencil, I thought it was time to cast off my fears and take out the teeny tiny eyebrow brushes.

The Brow Box is a little two-storey purple box full of goodies, a suitcase for your eyebrows if you will.  The first floor has a mirror in the lid, two brow powders and brow wax.

The second floor has a magnified mirror, two brushes and a miniature set of tweezers.

A one stop shop for brow care.
I had my brows whipped into shape at the Lulu Lounge in Belfast in January and maintain them myself in between times.

But I’m going to use my mum, whose eyebrows are really fair and quite sparse, as an example.

The return of my creepy eye collages. Sorry mum.
I used the paler shade from the Honey Pot brow box (it also comes in Brown Sugar, with darker powders) to fill in her eyebrows.  

I started at the arch and worked outwards, and then used a touch of the darker shadow at the bottom of the arch to give a bit of dimension, and then a quick swipe over with the wax.

Mum likes a natural brow, but the colour and intensity can be built up.

I love how easy this was to use.  The brushes are v small, but they’re also angled, so it’s simple to get into the arches and curves of your eyebrows.

I’ve also found lots of eyebrow powders and pencils, especially the cheaper ones, have reddish tones that make them very unnatural looking, but these look great on most brows up to mid/dark brown and you can blend the powders to make your own custom eyebrow shade.

The only downsides are that the box is quite clumpy to be carrying about, and the tweezers aren’t as fabulous as my Tweezerman ones, but for the odd stray they do the job.  

I’d also like my wax to stay colourless, but double-dipping between the pot and my recently-powdered eyebrows, that’s never going to happen.

I’ve got my brow box routine down to about a minute.

But the big question is... Would I go back to my trusty Laura Mercier brow pencil? Well yes, because I’m a fickle makeup lover but I’d say I use the UD brow box 50% of the time.

Do you use product on your eyebrows?

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Leaving it out for Lent

Tis the season to start giving up some of your favourite things and, anticipating Shrove Tuesday’s huge pancake hangover, I said goodbye to chocolate, and sweet and salty popcorn.

I go off chocolate every year, and I don’t think I’ve ever made it.  Once I got within sight and then got incredibly cheesed off in work and cracked.  I thundered over to the vending machine and promptly ate my rage in the form of a Drifter.  Tasty.

With an already out-of-control addiction to popcorn, I thought this would be another thing to take a step back from for 40 days.

But if you’re already having withdrawal symptoms, I’m here with some help.  Or rather, the internet is.

Check out these tasty treats that won’t break your ban....

These delicious tshirts are unisex, so apt for the hungry man - or woman - in your life.

Burger and pancake t shirts.
Etsy has REAMS of food-inspired jewellery and other knickknacks.
Ice cream earrings, lollipop ring, M&M cufflinks.
Well now these are just practical!
Pizza pot stand, Hershey's kisses walking stick.
My mouth is watering just thinking about these Philosophy goodies, and there's a recipe on each bottle, so when Lent is up you can indulge yourself without leaving the house!
Philosophy Butter Rum Cake, Melon Daiquiri,
and Senorita Margarita bath and shower gels.
And if you don't mind having novelty phone covers, check out these yummy phone accessories.
Chocolate iphone covers.
Well after all that, I'm not sure if I've made my cravings disappear - or just become worse!

Are you giving up anything for Lent?

Sunday, 2 March 2014

Changes and catch ups

First of all, I cannot believe it’s March.  This year is flying in (such an old person thing to say, but it really is) and so much has happened already.

BBL has got off to a somewhat hesitant start this year, but I'm back on track now.

So – this being my triumphant return to blogging – I wanted to let you know what’s been going on with my life so far.  So in no particular order I’ve been....

Centre ice – and backstage – at the Belfast Giants

At the Wedding Journal Show, on another Citybeat Style Stage

And having some wonderful updo’s from Stephen McCusker of Stephen International

Watching an acoustic set from the 1975, and getting DMs from Loyd Grossman

Feeling the love

Watching a lot of rugby

Springing up across Belfast

Buying tickets for the Belfast Film Festival

Looking back...

And forward.  Because I’ve only gone and done something v scary and grown up – I’ve bought a house.

So now I’m kind of obsessed with decor, furniture, patterns, paint, I’ve come over all Kelly Hoppen.  Minus the beige.

So excuse me if BBL takes a slight turn in the coming months, but the good news is I’m still all over lipstick and nail polish, blusher and eyebrows.  And I’m back baby!  

Thursday, 23 January 2014

January purchases – wardrobe classics

I’ve been avoiding the January sales.  Trawling through clothes rails, picking out something that I might wear once (if lucky) just because it’s a fiver is not for me.

And although I have friends who queued up at 5am to get at the bargains in Next, I get up at silly o’clock only when paid to.

So off I dandered to the shops to browse the full price items.  But pieces I know I’ll wear all the time.  So here goes!

Topshop Tall Leigh indigo wash jeans

I LIVE in my black Leighs from Toppers, and when I needed to replace my blue jeans I knew exactly what I wanted. 

These are truly skinny, and wash pretty well - especially for £38. 

Being a lassy of 5’10, this is one of the only shops in NI that actually does clothes for the long of limb. These are ankle grazer, so are great with shoe boots or heels.

Wonderbra Ultimate Strapless

The name says it all.  This is hands down the best strapless bra I’ve ever had – this is a replacement for one that lasted years. 

It’s got sticky bits and a really strong structure (including finger-like panels that hold you in place) that make sure everything stays in the right place all night long.  I've actually gone horse riding wearing this bra and nothing's moved.

And the deep V at the front means there’s always a helping of cleavage!  I buy in nude because it goes under everything, white to black (just avoid the photo flashes).

The lovely ladies at House of Fraser in Belfast helped me out with size and fit.

Dune Sip boots

I’d been searching for a pair of black knee-high boots with a bit of a heel for a while, and was v excited to come across these Dune babies in Belfast’s House of Fraser.

My criteria were: wear with jeans or skirts, able to run to the bus stop in them, not so trendy I couldn’t wear next season, and to fit my calves.

The soft leather in these is snug to my legs, and the heel is a decent height without being too high to walk in.  You don’t get owt for nowt these days and I felt £125 was a reasonable amount to spend on what I see as an investment boot.

River Island grey scoop neck tee

I am always attracted to tshirts and jersey tops in shops, so it’s no surprise this relaxed number caught my eye. 

It’s great with jeans and Converse, or teamed with a leather miniskirt.  And at £14 sure you couldn’t be bad to it!

And thus begins the basis of my 2014 capsule wardrobe!