HD Brows on fleek!

…it was time to correct myself before I wrecked myself.

Years of tweezing and waxing have seen my eyebrows take on all of the geometric shapes they could muster, from the ‘comma’ to the ‘flatline’, they’ve done it all! In September, I decided to let my eyebrows grow out where they have been waxed and plucked in the hopes of a new shape presenting itself by years end. By November, it had become too much and there were only so many two-inch hairs I could pull out by hand, it was time to correct myself before I wrecked myself.

I have always lusted after beautifully arched and perfectly lined eyebrows; eyebrows that are matched to the facial shape without looking like they’ve been glued on. I am fortunate in that my eyebrows are still very thick and grow rather long (in the places that they grow) however they have always been relatively short on the ends and bushy as hell. A car accident in my early twenties left me with eyebrow scarring which I have learned to fill (thank you Anastasia Dip Brow Pomade) and dotted hairs line my unibrow. I would love to have my eyebrows microbladed to shape but now that I cannot tattoo (for the moment), it was time to do the next best thing…

H:Room business card and High Definition Brows patch test

High Definition Brows

I must be honest, I usually pop down to the high street salon (American Nails) and have my brows done for a fiver, this is just a tidy up of growth. This time, I did a bit of a Google and found H:Room in Reading that specialises in HD Brows and this concept that is relatively new to me but well known to others.

High Definition (HD) Brows is a bespoke concept, specialising in tailor making your eyebrows for you. This is about using various tools and techniques to give you the brows you so desperately desire by working with what you have and enhancing it. The process involves tinting, measuring, waxing, threading and some trimming to get your eyebrows squeaky fleek.

I called into H:Room to see what it was all about, they advised me that having not had HD Brows done before, I would need to get a patch test from them and make an appointment in salon. Naturally, I sent hubby down to the salon to pick up my patch test, book my appointment and put down the £15 deposit that the salon required (as a new client). The overall cost for the HD Brows treatment at H:Room is £35 and the £20 balance was due on the day of the appointment.

It is important to note that yes, I did find other salons that do HD Brows for a slightly cheaper price (Ranging from £15 to £35) in and around Reading but I liked the look of H:Room and their various services on offer so I chose to pay the £35 and I am very happy that I did!

HD Brows Process

As soon as I arrived at H:Room, I was made to feel very welcome. I chose a nice, quiet morning for a treatment as I don’t even recall seeing another person in there. Lauren, my stylist, came over to me and ushered me through to her brow station.

We had a brief chat about the patch test and how I had no reaction on my arm after application a few days earlier. She looked at my face and listened to my monologue on arches and length and my Psoriasis and so on and so forth and then she got stuck right in. The process took about 35-40 minutes in total, I actually forgot to time it but I know I walked out of there at 10:40 and we got started just before 10am.

First, the brow tint was lathered over my brows (I wish I had actually taken a picture) and left for some time. I have very dark eyebrows so I wasn’t expecting much from the tint but Lauren assured me that despite that fact, the tint will darken any lighter hairs hiding underneath so it can make a difference (note, this tint does not stay on the skin). Next, she measured up my brows in line with my face and came at me with the scissors and trimmed my eyebrow curtains. We then moved onto waxing – which I absolutely abhor – and I was well impressed with how quickly my eyebrows were waxed and tidied after which the threading above and around my brow was done.

At this point, I had a look at my newly shaped brows in the mirror and absolutely loved what I saw, the arches that I longed for were clearly visible without being filled in and falsified. Lauren then went in with the HD Brows Pro Pencil (I am buying myself this pencil!) to fill in any gaps and elongate the brows on the ends leaving me with full, long, arched, fleeky eyebrows! Afterwards, she applied some balm to sooth the skin after all the poking and prodding and I was ready to put my glasses back on and see the final product.

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Before and After using the HD Brows treatment
Before and After my HD Brow treatment

HD Brow Result

While I know that HD Brows are not a permanent solution to a growing problem (literally, a growing one), it was a great way to get a decent shape to my brows so I once again have a new and fresh canvas to work with. I would recommend contacting your nearest HD Brows stylist as soon as possible and having them done, after all, your eyebrows are the focal point of your face.

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Before and After my HD Brow treatment

I will be back in 4-6 weeks (budget permitting) for a top up!

Have you had HD Brows done? What was your experience?

Shevy

Xx

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NO MAKE UP SELFIE

Special thanks to the H:Room in Reading for the great treatment.

I wanted to confirm that I have NOT been paid or compensated in any way for this review – This was paid for out of my own pocket and is an honest recommendation.

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Lip Scrub – ing!

A little pot of sugary, flavoured goodness is all you need to exfoliate that soft lip skin and get rid of any hanging bits of unpleasantness.

For an amateur like me, applying a matte liquid lipstick is an art form in itself; the perfect application takes time, practice and a lot of concealer around the mouth to get the straightest of edges and cleanest of applications. There is however another step frequently omitted that would make your lipstick life that much easier in the future, one I cottoned onto a little later in life but something I felt absolutely necessary to share with you, this step requires a little bit of a lip scrub and a whole lot of restraint.

As an avid reader, by now it is no secret that I have very dry, Psoriasis prone skin and I can assure you, my lips are no different. I have had to learn very quickly that dry lips make for very unattractive lipstick applications and after spending considerable funds on my extensive collection (Jeffree Star and Kat von D included), I have found a ritual that ensures my lips are just as kissable – liquid lipstick or none.

All of the liquid lipsticks I own are quick drying, matte products that dry down onto your lips showing every crack, every crevice and every peeling piece of dead skin (yuck!) so for me, no matter what I do to keep my lips lipstick lush, there is a little ritual I follow shortly before I start my make-up routine that has become mandatory…

Burning tea light candle with lip scrub around it

LIP SCRUB LICENSE

A little pot of sugary, flavoured goodness is all you need to exfoliate that soft lip skin and get rid of any hanging bits of unpleasantness. There is a reason that Jeffree Star made a lip scrub not long after he started selling the velour liquid lips, these two beauty products go hand in hand and if you haven’t used any before, now is a good time to start.

I have two go-to pots of lip scrub that I would recommend for use prior to your lipstick application, only a little bit of either lip scrub on the finger rubbed into the lips in a circular motion can do wonders for your after lipstick look. Alternatively, grab a toothbrush and with soft, circular motions, rub the scrub into your lips or rub your lips together softly.

You will have to dig deep to find that restraint I mentioned earlier because both of my recommendations taste as good as they smell but any product that could pass for candy in a jar is going to get a little lick, in fact my daughters can always be found nearby trying to stick their fingers into the lip scrub jars. After applying, feel free to lick the edible lip scrub off of your lips or wipe with a tissue or cleansing wipe if you prefer, but you won’t.

MY LIP SCRUB SAVERS

My first go to jar is (of course) Jeffree Star Cosmetics Velour Lip Scrub in Strawberry Gum. This lip scrub is Vegan, 100% cruelty free, Paraben and Gluten free and with this product; a moment on the lips is most certainly NOT a lifetime in on the hips. It has very gentle exfoliation and smells and tastes divine, just like a bag of Strawberry Laces (who can say no to those?) I believe there are now 12 different lip scrubs to choose from so if Strawberry isn’t your thing, you could grab a Root beer or Mojito instead and for just £12 for 30 grams from UK appointed reseller Beauty Bay this is a make up bag must have!

Jeffree Star Velour Lip Scrub in flavour Strawberry Gum flat lay

Secondly, the Lush lip Scrub in Sugar Plum Fairy is another favourite of mine and at only £5.95 for 25 grams, it is impossible to say no (That and the fact that they are strategically placed at the check out at my local Lush). This product is Vegan and cruelty free and consists of exfoliating castor sugar and wild orange oil that make this scrub irresistible to the palette. You can grab this scrub or any of the other flavours such as Naked Scrub, Chocolate or Honey at your nearest Lush store.

Lush Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub spilling out of the jar

SCRUB UP ON THE INGREDIENTS

A quick look at what both of these products are made of :

Jeffree Star Strawberry Gum Lip Scrub

  • Glycerine
  • Vegetable
  • Sucrose
  • Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil
  • Flavour (Strawberry)
  • Sodium Benzoate
  • Potassium Sorbate
  • Vitis Vinifera (Grape Seed) Oil
  • Tocopherol (Vitamin E)
  • Red 40 (CI 16035)

Lush Sugar Plum Fairy Lip Scrub

  • Castor Sugar
  • Organic Jojoba Oil
  • Sweet Wild Orange Oil
  • Titanium Dioxide
  • Synthetic Fluorphlogopite
  • Citral
  • Limonene
  • Flavour
  • Colour 77007

DIY SCRUB LIFE

Now you may feel that these products are a little overpriced for some flavoured sugar and though I am far too lazy to make my own – my motto is why make it if I can buy it, the ultimate consumer – you may feel that you can do it better yourself… and you should! A lip scrub is a beauty regime essential and you can put together your own little lip scrub recipe with the ingredients, oils and sugars you prefer to get rid of those chapped winter lips. With only two ingredients, brown sugar and honey, you can make a lip scrub that rivals the greats and is still just as edible (if not more so).

Ultimately, these are products that I just can’t live without when it comes to the liquid lipstick life and trust me; I am all about that life! A little circular scrub before my make up routine and I have soft, dead skin free lips ready for their Instagram debut.

Do you use lip scrub? If so, what are you favourites and why?

Shevy

Xx

The beautiful makeup brushes in the image are from the Ombre Gardenia brush set courtesy of Blush Tribe Cosmetics.

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5 quick tips on SEO for blogging beginners!

‘The first time I saw the words ‘Domain Authority (DA)’ I felt like I was a very small Neon Tetra in an aquarium of Oscars…’

It seems I have the daunting task of optimising three months worth of blog post images to include alt text, a task that is going to need a lot of coffee and even more patience as I edit and re position all images since September 2017. While the best blogging advice I’ve ever received would be NOT to focus too heavily on SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), it’s important to have an understanding of these concepts to get the basics right from the outset, the rest will follow.

Up until a few months ago, SEO was something I had only ever heard in passing, another acronym or piece of IT jargon that was completely irrelevant to me. I was wrong, in fact, as intimidating as an acronym can be, optimising your blog for favourable search engine results is not as difficult as it sounds and now I can be heard rattling off the latest facts and figures at my husband after dinner and excitedly watching my baby (Moonsomnia) grow.

The first time I saw the words ‘Domain Authority (DA)’ I felt like I was a very small Neon Tetra in an aquarium of Oscars. So many fish, both small and large, all floundering for the same thing – the right to post an incredible DA rating on their media kit, a little number that has huge influence on the sponsored content offered to bloggers; both in quality and in frequency. (Unfortunately, my media kit is at this time, in parody format hopefully soon to be upgraded to the real thing).

What is Domain Authority when it comes to SEO?

In short, it’s a race held by SEO gurus Moz. You’re either at 1 (the back) or at 100 (you’re winning). How well your blog does on a search engine results page is predicted by how close to the winner of this race you are. The higher your DA rating, the better your search engine rankings will fair against other sites and the closer to the front page you’ll appear (you hope). The DA of your blog is its search engine power; the quality of your site and extra effort put into ensuring everything is ‘as it should be’ will ensure a favourable rating – one I don’t yet have.

I promised myself I wouldn’t get hung up on my DA rating but currently I’m sitting at 1/100. I thought this meant that my blog was awful and I was being shunned by search engines and bloggers alike but thanks to a group discussion in a bloggers SEO group on Facebook, I was assured that actually my blog is just still a little too new to index and I shouldn’t panic just yet… I still check on it daily, waiting for my baby to age.

Feel free to head on over to Moz to check your own rating but don’t get too hung up on the numbers (yes brands, that means you as well)! A blog with a rating of 1 can put out some high quality content; read the blog first, check the DA later.

If you’re lucky enough to already have a DA rating, which, if you’re reading this you probably already know everything I’m about to say, you may want to keep track of how to improve this rating. If you don’t yet have one that is above 1 or are new to blogging and this SEO mind boggle, pay close attention (I wish I had!).

You need only search the internet and various other social media platforms to find a myriad of ways to increase your SEO, I am going to focus on the basics here (I am but an amateur) and what I’ve been able to ascertain up until now.

Macbook on a desk being closed but light still on

SEO Tips and Tricks – The basics

Alt text!!!!

I’d been posting happily for the last 3 months, creating bright and image rich content and really enjoying the look of my blog. I was involved in another conversation in a Facebook group that saw a few bloggers pose the ‘alt text’ question… after a bit of conversation and a lot of head scratching, it was clear that I had missed out a VERY important step.

Alt (alternative) text is a word or phrase that is attached to an image to tell readers what is in said image. Now, while you as a seeing reader don’t actually need me to tell you what is in an image you can see with your own eyes, blind and visually impaired viewers using screen readers are able to tell what is in the image by the alt text being read out to them. Without alt text, the image is just… well, nothing.

This is an easy and essential correction, when inserting an image in a WordPress blog there is actually a blank alt text box, which you can complete with the description of your image. Remember, this is being read out to some of your audience members so ensure it’s clear and concise!

Example of where the Alt Text box shows on WordPress

Long form content.

There is nothing worse than reading a blog and you’re in a rush, you do a quick scroll and it looks like the London marathon rather than a 100m sprint. Perhaps it doesn’t get your full attention, you have the concentration span of a goldfish and give it a skip or maybe you get halfway and get distracted. From the writer’s perspective you’d think that a short form post would be better, something under about 700 words to keep your reader engaged but not for too long…

Wrong again.

There is a lot of speculation as to the number of words that Google sees as a knowledgeable, quality post but the principle is clear. Long form posts fair better in terms of SEO as they’re considered to be more in depth and more valuable than its shorter alternative. The average word count for top ranking Google content is somewhere around 1200 words!

This is fairly easy for those of us with verbal diarrhoea.

Keywords

Think about your post. If you wanted to find your post on the internet, which words or phrases would you use to search for it? (Think vague as well as specific). You will have multiple keywords within your blog post that will connect your readers to your site, these keywords will draw your target audience to your posts and using the right keywords is a process of trial and error.

It’s a little bit of skill to establish the right keywords, the words that your target audience are using to find what you’re offering. This could be product; service or subject related and needs to be relevant to your post. You want to have the most applicable keywords but also try not to use the same keywords as everyone else does in order to remain competitive.

Keywords and search terms are constantly changing and staying ahead of this wave can be tricky, thankfully there are a number of online keyword tools that you can use to help choose popular and particular keywords and phrases for your posts, URL’s and your headings…

WordPress Headings

Did you even know that each Heading (Text format) in WordPress came with its own purpose, not just to increase or decrease text size? When formatting your text, you’ll have the opportunity to convert text to one of the Headings provided – H1 being the largest, which is generally only used for the title of your post and not again in the body of your writing. H2 to H6 are hierarchical headings which can be used throughout the rest of your content, not only as bold and clear page breakers BUT as more keyword baskets… that’s right, chuck them in!

It is very important to use the main keywords in your sub heading (H2) because this reminds and clearly tells your reader what it is they’re reading. Without overly spamming your keywords, make sure that your headings contain the relevant info for SEO to ensure you rank as high as possible.

Screenshot of the WordPress Heading list.

Good quality needs media!

I know, I mentioned alt text first and images and media last. That’s because I want ALT TEXT to stick in your mind when you’ve finished sharing and commenting on this post. That said, if you’re following my alt text notes then you already have images so you’re winning at point number 5.

Posts and pages with good visuals make text a little bit more attractive than just a whole load of words on a digital page. Some surveys report that posts with pictures do twice as well than posts without when it comes to both traffic and SEO. While stock imagery is great, there is nothing wrong with showcasing your own photography skills – you may even find a hidden talent!

So now what?

These are merely 5 short ways you can improve your site’s SEO. 5 of many! After a little bit of search engine usage of my own, it’s easy to become completely overwhelmed by all of the information but remember, you had to first learn how to turn on the oven before you learnt how to cook. These things take time.

All of the above said, don’t lose site of your personal touch amidst all of the technical mumbo jumbo. While SEO is important in a lot of ways, it’s more important for me to stay true to myself and post content that is meaningful to me, it’s still my blog after all. While a higher DA rating may get you more sponsored posts, it doesn’t make your content any better without you making it so. The key ingredient here is YOU so keep that your primary focus and the rest should fall into place. Personally, I’m just trying to smash out great posts that’ll make you giggle a little and if they happen to get further forward in the DA race, I won’t say no.

By only offering 5 tips, I’ve left the advice column open ended! What are your SEO tips and tricks for new bloggers out there, I would love to know.

Thanks for reading and don’t forget to spam your social media with the share button below! 

Shevy

Xx

Please bear in mind that I am not an SEO specialist, this is my personal experience as a blogger.

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Stock images – Source

Moonsomnia logo moon and crystals with SEO tips text

10 November Netflix picks!

… I couldn’t help but feel like I was stuck in a Tenacious D music video…

November has been a particularly busy Netflix month for me, being home and in recovery means that a lot of time was spent laying in bed or assuming the position on the sofa in front of my favourite Netflix series or movie. It also saw me watching a lot more movies than I normally do (which is hardly any) so those have been included for you below.

October the 27th not only happened to be my birthday but also the day that the second series of award winning Stranger Things was released. The reason I am mentioning this is because Stranger Things is NOT in my Netflix picks list – Yes, you have scoured the internet and here she is, the only NON Stranger Things fan. Despite my ‘seriesaholic’ faux pas, I know that all is forgiven as I bring a whole load of other suggestions of what you can watch once you have finished binge watching ST or any other series and / or movies not mentioned below.

So here they are, starting with the most recently watched in this order taken straight from my viewing activity history:

1. She’s Gotta Have It – Season 1

This 10 part series is an easy binge watch and I raced through it over a period of two days or so, each episode only a little more than half an hour. Directed by Spike Lee, this is a new take on the 1986 movie by the same director of the same name. It has been modernised and revamped for a naughties audience yet still retains that 80’s charm. I found myself having to shoo the children out of the living room on more than one occasion when watching this, there is a reason for the age restriction of 18 as Nola Darling navigates the world of polyamorous pansexualism in the most honest way. I absolutely loved this series and the way it is presented to a modern audience, it is identifiable in all kinds of ways and will definitely leave you questioning your feminist views.

She's gotta have it Nola and Mars

2. Hacksaw Ridge – Movie

I really dislike war movies so when I came across this one in the recently added category, I was going to give it my usual skip. Then I remember seeing a tweet (I can’t remember by who, I am sorry!) suggesting to another user that they should watch this movie so I decided to give it a bash. It is safe to say that for 2 hours and 19 minutes, I was absolutely glued to the screen in what I would say is the best work Mel Gibson has ever done (on and off the screen). The story focuses on Doss who, with his blinding faith, enters into a WW2 war zone with all of the Spiderman strength Andrew Garfield can muster. There are so many elements to the movie including a complex father-son relationship, a beautiful love story and a crisis of Christianity that it makes up for how gory and realistic it is. It’s based on a true story, it is personal, it is excellent and if the end credits don’t bring a tear to your eye then I don’t know what will.

Hacksaw Ridge Gif

3. The Mortal Instruments, City of Bones – Movie

If, like me, you are an absolute fantasy addict, this movie is a must see. I absolutely love and adore the books written by Cassandra Clare (Both the Mortal Instruments and Infernal devices series) and am currently making my way through the Dark Artifices series. The movie was released in 2013 and though steering very near to the book storyline, did not do so well at the box office. If you want to see Lena Headey play someone other than a Lannister and Lily Collins develop a complicated love triangle between a Lestat de Lioncourt lookalike and the nerdy neighbour next door mixed in with a little bit of demonic deviancy, this is the movie for you. The acting isn’t world class, the effects are behind the times and the ginger is unnatural but it will make a perfect date night movie because you don’t have to pay too much attention. Oh, did I mention Jonathan Rhys Meyers?

Poster of City of Bones actors

4. Horns – Movie

Where has this movie been all my life? It is so terrible it is brilliant! Again, you have found one of the only NON Harry Potter fans so the thought of seeing good old HP in a dark comedy like this was hardly appealing… and then I watched it! This movie is pure gold, from the awful special effects to the rather odd storyline and yet I couldn’t look away. It delves deep into the human psyche and the darkness laying dormant in all of us and I couldn’t help but feel like I was stuck in a Tenacious D music video. It is the story of a man fighting for his innocence and searching for the truth in a world that has gone mad, he also has a pretty badass snake collection as for as unrealistic looking snakes go. As the world confess their sins to a horned man, the man himself loses his identity; there is some heavy innuendo in this movie, but only if you’re looking for it.

Horns movie actor smoking cigarette

5. Once Upon a Time – Season 7 (Weekly release)

I must be honest with you: I am not even sure why I still watch this, I just do. I have watched OUAT from Season 1 and so I feel like if I stop watching now, I am missing out and yet when I watch it I question my taste in series. The reboot in Season 7 has taken the storyline on a whole other tangent that gets a little confusing and with two Hooks, one here and one not, it is difficult to see the same character played by the gorgeous Colin O’Donoghue as someone else. Confused yet? I usually am too at this point. I can’t say too much as we are 7 seasons in and you would need more than a few sentences to catch you up. The special effects have gotten a little better over the years and the acting isn’t as amateur as it once was but there is little change to the story and the characters are becoming so warped and out of sync with their fairy tale that the book no longer starts with ‘Once upon a time…’

once upon a time henry and cinderella on a motorcycle

6. Crazy ex-girlfriend –Season 3 (Weekly release)

Can we all just give a massive round of applause to the creators of this absolutely epic series? Rebecca Bunch has been dancing, prancing and singing all over our screens since 2015 and despite its stalker like undertones, the show has had a rather jovial and light-hearted feel up until now. Season 3 of CexG is going where not many TV shows or movies have gone before, delving into the deep darkness of mental illness and the importance of being diagnosed, not to mention the repercussions of being misdiagnosed. In this realistic portrayal of a woman battling her own demons and their attached stigma, the show hits the nail on the head in dealing with mental illness’ incurability. Rebecca Bunch is a W.I.P and I couldn’t identify more!

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7. Riverdale – Season 2 (Weekly release)

When did this series get so dark and when did Jughead get so badass? I remember when I started watching Season 1 of Riverdale and how excited I was that it was ‘based on the Archie comics’ (Please imagine in your mind, me using these parenthesis over my head in a sarcastic manner). The only thing that Riverdale has in common with the Archie comics is the character names; that is pretty much it. Instead, it has been perverted into a Halloween High School Musical and I feel that most of the characters lack depth and development. Perhaps I am not the intended demographic and those who recognise Cole Sprouse are better suited to an opinion on the series but that said, at least it tackles some important topics that are pertinent to the target audience such as date rape and peer pressure. It has all of the ingredients for a really good ‘series cake’ and instead we have been given dough balls. Make sense? No? Neither does Riverdale.

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8. Designated Survivor – Season 2 (Weekly release)

Surely I cannot be the only person that wants to nominate Kiefer Sutherland to take over from Donald Trump as US president? I mean, he does a fantastic job in this series and anyone else would be better at it, right? I was really hooked to this series from episode 1 and I feel like the first season followed a good storyline throughout the season; that said, Season 2 has more of a story per episode feel. Despite Mr President’s unwavering acting performance and aside from a small handful of regular cast members, the show can be a bit wishy-washy; it is easy to mentally switch off and play Pocket Camp with Maggie Q running around in the background constantly looking for an unobtainable target. It can’t be that bad though, I am still watching it.

designated survivor cover

9. Dynasty – Season 1 (Weekly release)

If you want to constantly feel jealous and envious of another person’s wealth, this is the show for you. Dynasty follows the Carrington family in a soap opera like offering with all of the trimmings, money, fame, sex and scandal. There is jealousy, trashiness and bitchiness at every turn, from the boys and girls alike and every episode comes with some major revelation to keep you wanting more. Despite this not being my usual cup of tea, I am thoroughly enjoying waiting for someone to get demon possessed. To be honest, this remake of the 80’s classic could probably pull it off with the brilliant acting these characters offer. Yay for trash TV!

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10. Fallen – Movie

Based on the book of the same name written by Lauren Kate, this 2016 movie was a great one to watch with my 11-year-old daughter as I tried to convince her to read the book series. It follows Luce and her otherworldly love triangle with Daniel and Cam as it spans the test of time since the fall of the angels. It is the young adult (YA) version of the battle between good and evil influenced by an inexplicable love story. Yes, the movie is aimed at a more teenage audience who appreciate the good looks of the actors over their acting abilities but it is a somewhat decent portrayal of the book (which I loved) and offers easy watching. Say what you want about my taste in weird; fantasy; YA type movies, I liked it.

fallentrailer.jpg

I have stopped the list at 10 but I can assure you there were many more, I found myself watching Merlin (I am now on Season 3), Scorpion (all seasons), The Sinner (which I did a separate review on as I absolutely loved it!) and the Good Place (this one deserves it’s own review), all of which have kept me pleasantly entertained for the month of November.

What did you watch on Netflix recently? Give me your top picks and opinions and maybe I will watch that next.

Shevy

Xx

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All GIF’s from GIPHY

MOONFACE GIVEAWAY

***GIVEAWAY ENDED*** This giveaway will run from today, 1 December 2017 until Friday, the 8th of December 2017 at 1700 after which I will announce the winner. 

***UK ONLY***

GIVEAWAY ENDED – Congratulations 

It feels like only yesterday that I was thanking everyone for over 2000 views on Moonsomnia and now we are nearing 3000 – hopefully reachable by the end of the year. Thank you to everyone who supports me: my readers on the blog, my followers and fans on social media and of course the amazing brands that allow me to collaborate with them.

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I did a survey on Twitter regarding a little giveaway to celebrate my blog getting off to a wonderful start and it is only fitting that the majority of votes wanted a FACE MASK giveaway, so here it is. Don’t forget to head on over to my face mask reviews for more information about some of the masks you can win in this little hamper:

I have put together a few of my favourite masks to give away, you need only follow the link below! This giveaway will run from today, 1 December 2017 until Friday, the 8th of December 2017 at 1700 after which I will announce the UK winner at random. 

MOONFACE GIVEAWAY – CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Unfortunately this giveaway is only open to UK residents, hopefully in the future I will be able to do international giveaways.

A list of the masks in the little hamper :

  • Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask – Green Tea
  • Garnier SkinActive Moisture Bomb Tissue Mask – Pomegranate
  • L’Oreal Paris Pure Clay Detox Mask (50ml)
  • Freeman Pomegranate Peel-Off Gel Mask
  • Garnier SkinActive Matcha + Kaolin Mask

If you don’t already follow me, you can find me on all of the below social media accounts:

Facebook

LinkedIn

Instagram

Twitter

Google+

Pinterest 

Thank you again and have an amazing December!

Shevy

XXX

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(This is NOT a sponsored post)

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Days Out – Oxford Museum of Natural History.

My husband describes Oxford as ‘Camden on holiday’ with a diverse melting pot of people all with similar cultural interests.

Nearly 8 weeks after my initial DVT diagnosis and then later, a more severe diagnosis of clotting in other parts of my body, it was time for me to attempt an actual adventure out of the house. While my mobility has been greatly affected by these latest medical developments, every so often I wake up and feel like I can face the day. When this happens, I absolutely HAVE to jump on it, if I didn’t I would be permanently housebound and this would drive me nuts.

When I moved back to the UK in 2014, I made it one of my personal missions to explore as much of this beautiful country as I could before holidaying in Europe or far away exotic Indian Ocean islands. What better way to get to know a city and its heritage than by visiting one of its most historic buildings, a museum.

I woke up feeling like I could take on the world and after a brief internet search of things to do, I came across the Oxford Museum of Natural History located in the beautiful city of Oxford, a place I had never been and merely an hours drive from my doorstep. Admission to the museum is free (Music to all parent’s ears) however a donation would be appreciated.

Shevy Moonsomnia and daughter in car

Parking in Oxford

Fortunately, the museum’s website was very informative and quite useful in making the decision to use a park and ride. There is very limited roadside parking in and around Oxford centre and there is no parking at the museum itself. City Centre parkades can cost up to £20 for the day, a little expensive for a family day out on a budget.

We opted for the Pear Tree park and ride where we could park our car and pay £6.80 to get a combined parking and return bus ticket for the family (2 adults and up to 3 children). The buses run throughout the day every 10 minutes and drop you right in the middle of the bustling and very busy town centre.

I am not sure if these park and rides are always so busy but the buses get jam packed pretty quickly, this meant that we were separated on board (as I had to have a seat) but this worked out well as the Oxford local next to me was able to tell me which stop to get off at to be closest to the museum – It isn’t as complicated as it sounds, the bus stops a few times to collect travellers en route to town but once in town, we got off at George street (Stop A2).

The Museum

Once we got into the town centre, we had a short walk of about 12 minutes from the bus stop to the museum. I was a little worried about this as I had already had a long car ride but it was a pleasant stroll through the town Christmas market (Warning! Take cash… or don’t if you don’t want to buy EVERYTHING) and down the tree lined streets filled with autumn glow. The town was heaving with people, locals and tourists alike but the overall vibe was fun and energetic, despite the misty rain falling. My husband describes Oxford as ‘Camden on holiday’ with a diverse melting pot of people all with similar cultural interests.

Young girl walking through autumn leaves

The museum, founded in 1860, proudly parades its Neo-Gothic architecture for the visitors and residents of Oxford to see. The building is as beautiful on the outside as it is inside and has all the feel of historic heritage. Once inside it is near impossible to look straight ahead as your eyes will immediately wander upwards to the sprawling ceiling and its impressive architecture. Whale carcasses suspended from the rafters and taxidermy bears at the entrance are merely a taste of the treasures hidden inside.

Despite the number of people crammed into the town centre, the museum itself was actually pleasantly occupied. There weren’t too many crowds that one could feel claustrophobic and the museum had chairs laid out sparsely along the exhibits for their mobility challenged visitors, namely me. I was able to sit down when the standing became too much and thanks to the open plan nature of the museum, easily spotted my family when I was ready to brave the next few steps.

The museum is one large floor space that has been partitioned by various exhibits including taxidermy, skeletons, dinosaurs, rocks and fossils all accommpanied by their written facts and findings. There are so many different types of creatures to see and many sensory experiences for the children, like touching a hippo head and cuddling a badger. My youngest was particularly excited about the dinosaurs and couldn’t wait to have a picture with the triceratops. On the ground floor, you can also find a lecture hall, the gift shop and then the doorway to the Pitt rivers museum (I will have to visit on my next trip).

Upstairs on the 1st floor, you can find a coffee shop and a gallery, while sitting having a bite to eat I also spotted the individual pillars that are sourced from different rock and stone from all over the country. Sadly, by this point I was not able to do much more walking so was not able to look at the gallery. The cafe was sufficient but it definitely had more of a student budget feel, there was not much on offer and the seating was limited but it was relatively inexpensive and all four of us had a snacky lunch and drink for £14!

Down the rabbit hole. 

It isn’t a suprise that Lewis Carroll drew inspiration from the museums zoology, entomology, palaeontology and mineral collections to create some of his characters in the legendary tale of Alice in Wonderland. I feel like a heathen not knowing as much about the famous author as I should have and now have an excuse to venture back into Wonderland to experience all of the ‘Alice’ adventures that Oxford has to offer.

Overall this was a fabulous day out and for a little over £20, we had a family day out for 4 including a light lunch and the exploration of a new little town and its treasures.

Oxford, I will be back!

Shevy

Xx

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Tried & Tested – RégimA Derma Zest Cleansing + Toning Gel

After a few more makeup applications, some iPhone X portrait mode photography testing (priorities) and some seriously dirty brushes, I put the RégimA Derma Zest Cleansing + Toning gel to work on these beauties and was ecstatic with the results.

Disclosure: “This is a sponsored post for RégimA which I have been compensated for. All opinions remain my own and I was in no way influenced by the company.”

A few years ago I started getting very seriously into makeup, I went through a period of binge shopping the latest trends online and discovering a myriad of brands thanks to bloggers and vloggers alike, some of whom I still take advice from and follow today. I have always worn makeup but my experience was limited to Christmas stocking fillers and the free applicator that they came with, never had I splurged on extravagant beauty tools or the Instagram worthy brushes I coveted. Last year, I finally went out and topped up my makup brush collection with a fairly expensive haul of gorgeous tools of unrivalled quality and only then did I think about how much care I needed to take in prolonging the life of these tools.

So I did what most people do, I did a full face of makeup including but not limited to liquid foundation, concealer, cream contour and even cream shadow. In my rush to race out of the door to whichever event I was attending and inevitably late for (perfection takes time), I would shove the brushes back in the drawer as an afterthought. The weekend after would roll around and I would take all of my brushes that had been fermenting in my dressing table for a week and begin the loathsome task of washing them all, with whichever product I had nearest at hand. This, like most makeup addicts and beauty enthusiasts, would often be baby shampoo.

Aerial view of dirty make up brushes in a jar.

Until I realized that this was just not good enough.

I was spending a fortune on makeup brushes yet they were getting sub par treatment and even less care. I couldn’t understand why I was spending so much time concealing concerning breakouts on my skin for which I had no explanation. I didn’t even think to second-guess the integrity of the brushes and then couldn’t understand why the blended and airbrushed look that I desired was near impossible.

The reality is that baby shampoo is designed to wash the hair on a babies’ head, it is a product that is not harsh and leaves a baby with the gorgeous smell we know and love, not to mention a clean head of hair. It is not designed to remove bacteria; dirt; grease; make-up or oily residue from make-up brushes and despite leaving your brushes looking outwardly clean, all the grime it doesn’t get to is left to build up in the bristles of the brush only to be applied to your skin and contaminate your makeup at the next use. You wouldn’t wash your face with baby shampoo would you, so why sentence your beauty tools to the same fate?

This is where RégimA, Derma Zest Cleansing + Toning Gel comes in. Not only is Derma Zest a renowned spa quality, cleansing; clarifying and toning gel for your face, it is also recommended by RégimA for use twice weekly for the washing and maintenance of your daily use liquid foundation makeup brushes. Now my first thought would not be to use a facial cleanser as a brush cleaner but after some consideration and then putting it to use, this made perfect sense. Standard brush cleaners available for purchase generally contain alcohol, not good news in preserving the life of your brushes as it damages the bristles and more importantly, your face; alcohol is for cleaning but NOT cleaning of the dermis. RégimA DZ cleanser is full of good plant extracts that actually work to preserve the bristles while the anti-bacterial properties get to work on the nasties embedded inside.

Over the past few weeks I have been using both baby shampoo and RégimA Derma Zest on my brushes for an overall comparison, I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that after the first wash with the DZ cleanser, the baby shampoo went back in the cupboard, never to be used to wash a brush again.

My experience with baby shampoo was that yes, the brushes looked clean and smelled great but I had some built up liquid foundation stains on my stippling brush that just wouldn’t clean off. Despite a thorough rub of the brushes under warm water using a silicon brush cleaner, there was still some foundation residue on the brush after use – Had I not been looking for it, I probably never would have noticed!

Baby shampoo and dirty brushes
Before – Baby Shampoo
Make up brushes after being washed with baby shampoo
After – Baby Shampoo

After a few more makeup applications, some iPhone X portrait mode photography testing (priorities) and some seriously dirty brushes, I put the RégimA Derma Zest Cleansing + Toning gel to work on these beauties and was ecstatic with the results. On one occasion I washed my brushes in the basin using a silicon brush cleaner (You can use the palm of your hand, it works just as well) and with only a small pump of the product, you get a decent lather under water which is more than sufficient to remove all of the brush impurities and caked foundation.

On another occasion, I decided to give it a whirl in my Lilumia brush cleaner, pumping the product directly onto the brushes and pouring in water to substitute the usual cleaner. This process is of course a little longer as the machine runs for 15 minutes or so but the brushes came out just as clean as if I had done them by hand and you would never catch me putting baby shampoo in the Lilumia machine, another task that Derma Zest can do that baby shampoo can’t! The result in both cases was my brushes coming out as clean as the day I received them, even the stubborn liquid foundation stains my stippling brush had were long gone and the white ended bristles were whiter than white.

Dirty make up brushes and the regimA dermazest cleanser
Before – RégimA Derma Zest
Clean make up brushes after use with Derma Zest
After – RégimA Derma Zest

For a slightly more in-depth look at the review, you can watch this video I put together for you here, a brief before and after comparison of these products.

 

Overall, I am so thankful to the team at RégimA for sending this product through to me; I haven’t used another like it. If it weren’t for them, my poor brushes would still be getting cleaned with baby shampoo and my skin would be breaking out at every application!

At a recommended retail price from only £29.95, RégimA, Derma Zest Cleansing + Toning Gel is an absolute steal for the multi faceted product that it is. Not only am I using it to cleanse my face but also to clean and maintain my brushes as well, they look great and thanks to its plant extract rich list of ingredients, they smell just as good (Oranges and grapefruit, loving the citrus life). I have been using Derma Zest as a brush cleaner for a few weeks now and have noticed a considerable change in my skin; where I used to break out after wearing makeup for a number of days in a row, I no longer have this problem. So, is it the cleaner brushes or the face cleanser doing the hard work? Well, it doesn’t really matter which routine is giving me great skin because you only have to use one product, cleanliness all the way from application to removal.

I know… you want to go and buy this product immediately AND YOU SHOULD but it is important to note that many of RegimA’s products are manufactured for professional use and therefore should not be used in conjunction with any other skin care products. The team at RegimA are always on hand to guide you so please contact them on the links provided below in order to consult with them prior to purchase.

This tried and tested product is definitely #MoonsomniaApproved!

Now that you would like to learn more about the product and the masterminds behind it, head on over to RégimA’s website and / or social media below.

Until next time

Shevy

Xx

Some of the beautiful makeup brushes in the images above are from the Ombre Gardenia brush set courtesy of Blush Tribe Cosmetics.

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Shevy Moonsomnia with dirty make up brushes.

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