10 Things To Do Whilst in Dublin

Dublin, the capital of the emerald isles that just oozes charm. I’ve been lucky to visit Dublin many times due to my father being born there, but never had chance to see all the main tourist attractions because as you can imagine, my dad had already seen it all hundreds of times and didn’t want to be a tourist in his own city. On an off chance in November I managed to blag some return flights to Dublin with Ryanair for £4 in total. Yes you heard right…four whole British pounds! So me and my friend packed our bags and headed to the airport, and this time I was determined to see ALL that Dublin had to offer.

1. The Guinness Storehouse
A trip to Dublin wouldn’t be complete without visiting the famous Guinness storehouse located at St. James Gate. A visit here will teach you everything you need to know about Guinness, from the history of it, to the fermentation process. The tour begins at the bottom of the worlds largest pint glass and continues up through its 7 floors which are full interactive experiences. Upon reaching the top floor you enter the Gravity Bar, where you receive a complementary pint of Guinness to enjoy the panoramic 360 degree views of Dublin City. With adult ticket prices starting at €14 this is not one to miss!

2. Temple Bar
This thriving cultural hub is the area in Dublin which is most popular with tourists. Temple Bar is a maze of cobbled streets that are full of life and vibrancy. You can find anything here, with many traditional pubs, clubs, art galleries, and restaurants; not to forget a fair share of quirky shops. If you want to expand your cultural horizon, or just have a good old drink then this is the place to go.

3. National Museum of Ireland – Natural History and Archeology
If your on a budget then look no further! Located not far from each other are two museums run by the National Museum of Ireland; the natural history museum and the archeology museum. The archeology museum hosts an array of treasures from Ireland’s prehistoric times, with Celtic, Gaelic, and Viking artefacts on display. The most popular exhibition is the famous ‘bog bodies’, which are mummified bodies from the Bronze Age which were found preserved in bogs; definitely not for the faint hearted! In contrast the natural history museum is almost like a dead zoo. The attraction is filled with 10,000 specimens of species from Ireland and all over the world. Admission is free to both of these attractions so are worth a visit.

4. Phoenix Park
Although Dublin is relatively small for a capital city, it hosts Europe’s largest urban park at 1750 acres. The park is a short bus journey from Dublin City centre and hosts Dublin zoo, the official residency of the president of Ireland, the residency of the US ambassador but best of all a large herd of deer which are tame enough to come up to you if you have food! If walking isn’t your think, bikes can be hired from the main entrance to Phoenix park which is located on Parkgate street which allows you to enjoy the 14km of cycle paths found within the park.

5. Ha’penny Bridge
When I think of Dublin I think of the Ha’penny bridge. Built as a pedestrian bridge over the River Liffey, this bridge has become one of the most iconic spots in Dublin. An average of 30,000 people cross it each day, so why not pop down as well and get your perfect tourist shot for Instagram.

6. The Gravedigger Ghost Bus
Why not hop onto the worlds first ghost bus? This hair raising tour takes you around Dublin’s ghostly past, from the chilling Kilmainham Jail, to the passage tomb known as the hellfire club, where Satan himself is said to have appeared. The tour costs €25 and lasts around 2 hours that are packed full of laughs, frights and interesting stories. The live actors definitely make sure you’ve screamed at least once by the end of this tour, and you even get a free drink included at one of the oldest pubs in Dublin, The Gravediggers pub!

7. Trinity College
Located in the heart of the city, Trinity College is the oldest and most prestige university in Ireland. The university hosts over 40 acres of rich architecture and green open space, with notable alumni including Courtney Love, Niall Horan, Bram Stoker and Oscar Wilde. The university often hosts exhibitions, including the science gallery and the Book of Kels. The 9th century illuminated manuscript known as the Book of Kels is regarded as one of Ireland’s finest treasures and can be seen inside the university for a small entrance fee.

8. St. Michans Mummies
This is one of the lesser known tourist attractions in Dublin but is still worth a visit. Underneath this 1095 Protestant church lies vaults which contain many mummified remains, that have been uniquely preserved by the dry, limestone conditions within the vaults. As you walk down the eerie cobweb lined stairs you will be greeted by a passageway with several rooms off it, all containing coffins and mummified remains. The tour guide gives you information on the people who are found there, as well as letting you get up close and personal with the mummified body of ‘the crusader’ inviting you to touch it! This is definitely not one for the screamish.

9. Grafton Street
No trip to Dublin is complete without visiting the renowned shopping strips. Just a short walk from Trinity College, Grafton street is usually the first choice for shopping due to its vast array of shops and a multitude of street performers. The famous Brown Thomas department store is located here and is definitely worth a visit; it is often frequented by celebrities so you never know who you’ll bump into! St Stephens green park is located at the top of Grafton Street allowing you to escape the hustle and bustle of the inner city for some peace and tranquility. In addition Henry street is another principle location where you will find a great choice of shops including Arnotts, the oldest department store in Dublin.

10. Have a drink at one of the 751 pubs in Dublin
You’re never far from a pub when you’re in Dublin, with the city hosting over 751 pubs! You’ll find everything from the old traditional pubs, to swanky cocktail bars, but in my opinion you can’t experience Dublin fully if you don’t try and soak up some of the culture, so leave those cocktails bars for now and get yourself through the doors of those little old pubs, for a good pint of Guinness and some Irish music.

Have you been to any great places in Dublin that I didn’t manage to visit?

Laura 

Korean BB Creams – Are they worth the hype? 

Bb creams may have been a recent development in the western beauty industry, but in South Korea these wonder creams have been around for decades. 
Bb creams revolutionised the makeup industry when they were first brought out, and the marrying of skin care benefits and makeup proved a great success. Having the benefits of a moisturiser, anti-ageing cream, SPF, primer and foundation all in one allowed makeup addicts young and old alike to save money and buy one product instead of 5 different products. 

This all sounds amazing right? Well on personal experiences I never found a BB cream that was perfect for me. Either the coverage was too light for my spot prone skin, it didn’t last all day, or the colour was too orange. I had given up on UK drugstore BB creams for a while until I read about Korean BB creams. 

After some research I purchased Lioele -Triple the Solution BB Cream, and I have never adored a BB cream as much as this one! 



Packaging

It comes in a long, pink and white tube with a pump dispenser. The pump is brilliant because not only is it hygienic, but the lid allowed you stand the tube upside down so all the product moves down to the pump so you can get the most out of it. I’ve found most UK BB creams come in the standard size of 30ml, however Lioele Triple the Solution comes in 50ml, so you get more product. 

Application

I found that this was BB cream easier to apply with my fingers, rather than using a brush or beauty blender. It blended really well and did a great job at hiding my pores. On the first application it is a medium coverage, but a great thing about this BB cream is that you can layer it up, and apply another layer to give a full coverage look. A small amount of product goes a long way, and I found one pump was sometimes too much for one facial application. My skin tends to be oily, but I do get occasional dry patches, and this BB cream did not cling to them like some of my other foundations do. One down side to Lioele Triple the Solution is that it only comes in one colour, so it’s not suitable for everyone. 

Left to right: Mac NC15, Mac NC20, Lioele Triple the Solution BB Cream


Lasting Power

With all other BB creams I’ve tried, the lasting power was a big disadvantage for me. I have very oily skin and found that the BB creams I have previously purchased from UK brands seemed to go patchy after a few hours, but I was pleasantly surprised that Lioele Triple the Solution had far superior staying power. For a BB cream I was really impressed with how long it lasted, and I only needed to touch it up once in 7 hours, where as with the other BB creams I was blotting excess oil every hour or so. 

The Benefits

Lioele Triple the Solution boasts to ‘make your skin moist as yoghurt’, which is something I’ve definitely not heard before, and has ‘hyaluronic acid supply moisture and nutrition’. I think with this statement there was a slight translation error as you can see the statement doesn’t sound right, but my skin certainly does feel more moisturised after wearing this BB cream. The Triple benefits it contains are anti-wrinkle, whitening, and SPF 30. I was a bit concerned about the whitening benefit at first, but this is not a product that bleaches your skin or makes it lighter. The whitening refers to how the hyaluronic acid and tangerine extracts helps to fade acne scars to give you an all over even skin tone. I did not notice any change in my skin tone, but the SPF in this BB cream did work perfectly and protected my skin.

So what is my parting view on this product?

Lioele Triple the Solution BB cream is a winner for me! It’s constancy is far superior too any UK makeup brand BB cream I have tried so far, and it is also better than some high end foundations I have tried too. The only bad thing about this product is it’s availability in the UK; I found it difficult to get, and purchased it via amazon for £22.00. Buying this BB cream has opened me up to trying makeup products from the Asian market. I always presumed that makeup from Asian would be lower quality compared to western brands but oh how I was wrong! Next on my list to try is the Korean IOPE XP Air Cushion, which is a BB cream in a compact form, with claims that one sells every 30 seconds in Asia. Can’t wait to try it and see how it lives up to Lioele Triple the Solution! 

Have you found a BB cream that you love?

Laura 

March 2017 Glossybox Review

I’m a big fan of subscription beauty boxes, and Glossybox is one of my favourite brands. I absolutely love receiving these boxes each month; it’s almost like giving yourself a present! This month’s Glossybox has impressed me, featuring an edit of five samples, one of which is a full size Sleek palette. This box contains a range of hair care, skin care and makeup, giving your beauty routine a nice refresh for spring.

Sleek Eye & Cheek Palette  ‘All Day Soiree’ – RRP £10

This month Glossybox allowed their subscribers to pick from four different Sleek palettes, which I was too late for. However I received the one I would have chosen anyway so I was over the moon! The palette contained 4 eyeshadows, a blusher and a highlighter and for me it was love at first sight. This palette definitely had a spring feel to it with the orange tones and baby pink blush. The pigmentation of this palette was brilliant; it’s great to create everyday looks or something subtle for a night out. Another bonus is that champagne eyeshadow can also be used as a highlighter.



oOlution Eye Love – 15ml (full size RRP £30)

I have never brought eye cream so this was something new to me. The great thing about monthly subscription boxes is that they introduce you to products you wouldn’t normally purchase. This cream states it reduces dark circles and puffiness, but I have neither so I cannot judge the effectiveness of the cream. This cream did make the skin under my eyes very smooth which was nice, and made concealer easier to apply.

This Works In Transit Camera Close-up Primer – 20ml (full size RRP £30)

This is great for skin that’s been left a little dull from the winter months! You can use this as a primer, moisturiser and a mask to give your skin the hydration it needs. Most primers I have used in the past dry out my skin a little from the silicon they contain, but this primer actually made my face feel hydrated. My foundation application was a lot smoother using the primer, and it seems to have more staying power when I use it with the primer.

Figs & Rouge Hydra-Activ Smart Nutrient Vital Moisture Day Cream  – 20ml (full size RRP £28)

This cream is lightweight and has a luxurious feel to it. I’m not a big fan of heavy moisturisers due to have oily/spot prone skin, but I really loved this sample. I only used it on the few dry patches I had, but it worked seemingly better than my current body shop vitamin E moisturiser and smelt amazing too! I couldn’t stop touching my skin because of how soft it felt and I will be 100% purchasing the full sized product.

Schwarzkopf BC Bonacure Oil Miracle Brazilnut Oil Pulp Treatment – 30ml (full sized £3.95)

I am obsessed with hair products so I was pleased to see one in the box this month. The first thing I noticed about this mask was how incredible it smelt and I couldn’t wait to try it so my hair would smell nice all day. This mask is for all hair types and claims to remove impurities whilst intensely nourishing and protecting from UV rays. I applied this mask to hair and left it on for 10 minutes. The result was my hair felt super soft and silky, and I can’t forget the amazing smell it left! I was impressed with this mask and would recommend it as a weekly treatment to give your hair the nourishment it needs.

Sometimes beauty boxes can be a hit or miss, but I really liked this months Glossybox. The sleek palette was a big winner for me, as you can’t beat the beautiful spring colours and great pigmentation. You can’t go wrong with this box with it being priced at only £10 + p&p per month; I’d recommend giving it a try if you fancy testing new products but don’t want to purchase the full size. Overall I really enjoyed trying the products in this box and can’t wait for next months!

What did you like best about this months box?

Laura 

My Top 10 Tips To Banish Split Ends For Good

Split ends. Our fierce enemy who we are all familiar with! Whether they are caused from too much heat damage, chemical damage or your just unlucky to get them, my top 10 tips will help you keep the split ends at bay and improve the condition of your hair.

1. Regular Cuts

Nothing beats having regular cuts! The best way to avoid split ends is to prevent them from even happening, by cutting off the dry and damaged ends. This doesn’t mean having to lose your luscious locks; simply having 1-2 inches cut off 6-8 weeks will keep split ends at bay, and help boost hair growth.

2. Silk Pillow

This seems like a strange one but investing in a silk pillow will actually reduce the amount of split ends you get. Standard cotton pillows actually create friction that ‘roughs up’ the hair shaft which leads to split ends and breakage, so if your serious about preventing split ends, a silk pillow is the way forward.

3. Shampoo & Conditioner That Actually Works

Investing in a good shampoo and conditioner is really important, so throw out your herbal essences and invest in salon standard products which will actually do what they say on the bottle! The best I have found is the Redken Extreme range, which contains an interlocking protein network for fortifying complex, which helps protect your hairs strength and reinforces its surface. Products that contain protein really do work wonders for your hair, but be careful, as over proteination of your hair can make it brittle and more likely to snap.

Redken Extreme shampoo 500ml £14.40 (www.feelunique.com)
Redken Extreme conditioner 500ml £18.80 (www.feelunique.com)

4. Use Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which helps prevent protein loss in hair. Additionally the structure of coconut oil allows it to penetrate the hair shaft in ways which other oils cannot. Coconut oil also has a high moisture retaining capacity which is brilliant for locking in moisture and keeping the hair soft. You can apply the oil in many ways:

  • directly on your hair when needed
  • Mixing a small amount with your conditioner to give it a boost
  • After washing hair whilst it is still wet
  • As an overnight intensive hair mask

5. Get the Correct Hair Brush

If you’ve got thick hair that tangles easily, investing in a Tangle Teezer will really help your hair. If you find these too expensive, a wide tooth comb is your next best option for easing out knots to help keep your hair tangle free. Avoiding brushes that have hard spines that rip out hair is important, and always brush your hair from the bottom working up, removing any knots as you go. My top tip is to brush your hair before getting into the shower, and avoid ‘scrubbing’ your hair whilst shampooing to prevent tangles. Brushing your hair when it is wet can cause more split ends because this is when it is at its weakest.

Tangle Teezer Original £10.99 (www.boots.com)

6. Only Use Heat When You Have To

Try use heat less often, such as buying a hairdryer with a cool setting if you don’t already have one. If you really need to use your heated styling tools, make sure to put on some heat protection beforehand to reduce any damage you may do, Toni&Guy Prep Heat Protection Mist works well, conditioning the hair and protecting against heat. Using straighteners or curling wands dehydrates your hair, making it more prone to breakage so remember to use protection every time you style!

7. Style Heat Free

If you’re the type of girl who can’t go a day without looking preened to perfection, learning to style your hair without using heat will prevent a lot of damage. Sleep-In Rollers, or the Aurora Band Night Roller may be two things you need to invest in. Sleep-In Rollers, can create subtle volume, and loose glamorous curls, but if you find it difficult to sleep with something so large in your hair, then the Aurora Band Night Roller may be a better option for you, which creates salon quality curls without the damage and hassle.

Sleep-In Rollers 20 roller set £17.99 (www.very.co.uk)
The Aurora Band Night Roller £12.99 (www.boots.com)

8. Try Olaplex

I first heard of Olaplex when Kim Kardashian debuted her platinum locks at the Paris Fashion Week in 2015. How did she manage such a drastic colour change without frying her hair? Olaplex is how. This miracle treatment permanently rebuilds the damaged disulphide bonds in your hair that are broken during the chemical process of dyeing your hair. It can be used with hair dye, or on its own as an intensive reconstruction treatment. It does come at a hefty price but believe me it’s worth it! Olaplex is intended for use in a professional salon setting, and as such is only available for purchase by certified salon professionals, with many salons now offering this system at an extra price. However the 3rd step in the system, Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector can be purchased online or from your hairdresser to take home.

 Olaplex No. 3 Hair Perfector 100ml £29.95 (www.allbeauty.com)

9. Feed your hair

Your hair can be greatly affected by your diet, and increasing your vitamin and mineral intake can improve the condition of your hair. Your hair is made out of keratin (a type of protein), which provides its strength and structure, so making sure you get enough protein in your diet is important for healthy hair. Protein doesn’t always mean eating your own body weight in red meat, and you can still achieve a high protein intake easily by eating beans, lentils, nut and seeds. Don’t stray away from fats if your hair is brittle or dry; fish, nuts, avocado and eggs all contain healthy fat which will promote glossy hair. If you struggle to fit different foods into your diet, it might be useful to buy some biotin supplements. Biotin helps promote healthy skin, hair and nails because it is an essential ingredient in the process of hair growth, so making sure you’re not deficient in it can improve the condition of your hair over time, making it stronger and thicker.

10. Weekly Hair Treatments

Most people use a face mask once a week to give their skin a little boost, so why not your hair too? Your hair endures abuse to leave it dry and damaged, so giving it a small pick me up is the perfect solution to bring your hair back to life. With hair masks, a little goes a long way, and Bleach London Reincarnation Mask works wonders on coloured or bleached hair that needs some hydration. Regular use of this mask helps repair damaged hair and promotes a healthy shine. But if you can’t afford to splash out on these products, DIY masks can work just as well! Here are some of my favourites:

  • 1 avocado,  2 eggs,  1 tbsp of honey , 1 tbsp of coconut oil
    Mix together, apply to ends of hair and leave on for 20-25  minutes.
  • 2 tbsp of honey and 3 tbsp of olive oil
    Heat in microwave for 30 seconds, apply to ends of hair and leave on for 1-2 hours.
  • 1 over-ripe banana, 1 tbsp of honey, 2 tbsp of olive oil
    Mash the banana into a smooth consistency, mix in honey and olive oil, apply to ends of hair and leave on for 20-25 minutes.

Bleach London Reincarnation Mask 200ml £6.00 (www.boots.com)

 

Do you have any tips on how to prevent much dreaded split ends?

Laura 

February 2017 Birchbox Review

img_2752-1

Birchbox is a monthly beauty box subscription service that provides you with 5 product samples, priced at £12.95 a month. I have always been a fan of Birchbox, and February’s birchbox was definitely one to impress. Teaming up with the stationery brand Papier, this months box featured a gorgeous tropical print, with Papier designing two different boxes, giving you the opportunity to choose which one you wanted. The theme for this month was aimed at helping you to express yourself. So what did I find in my box?

img_2753-1


POP Beauty Bright Up Your Life Eyeshadow Trio in Champagne Mocha
Birchbox Shop RRP: £15.50 for full sized product

I love neutral eyeshadow collections, and this mini palette is perfect for everyday wear and carrying around in your handbag. It contains three flattering shades which work well together creating a nice smokey eye. These shadows sadly don’t have great pigmentation, so the look you create is more subtle. Overall, they’re not great if your after a dramatic look, but this palette is nice for everyday wear and blends easily.

Spectrum Collections Marbleous C06 Tulip Eye Contour Brush
Birchbox RRP: £5.99

This is the first time I’ve ever tried a Spectrum brush, and I have to say I am impressed. The synthetic bristles are extremely soft,  and pick up eyeshadow pigment well. I love the rose gold detail with the white handle (but then again, I love anything rose gold!). This brush is perfect for defining using the tip, or applying eyeshadow all over the lid using the side to blend.

Keeome Hydration Mask Therapy
Birchbox Shop RRP: £29 for 6

Keeome is South Korean company that sells high quality beauty products containing natural ingredients. I had not come across this brand before, which is the main thing I love about Birchbox. This sheet mask had a lot of product on it, and had a strong floral scent. Due to the cold weather, my skin has been feeling dry and tired lately but this mask gave my face the hydrating boost it needed. After applying to my face for 25 minutes my skin was left soft, with a healthy glow.

Beaver Professional Daily Moisture Conditioning Spray
Birchbox Shop RRP: £11.50 for full sized product

Being blessed with frizzy, dry, ‘fly away’ hair, this product sounded perfect for me. Boasting to detangle, hydrate and condition hair without weighing it down I couldn’t wait to try it. Formulated with a blend of organic herbal extracts and amino acids to nourish dry hair, protect against breakage, and reduce frizz this product left my hair soft and manageable. My hair not only feels amazing, but smells amazing too!

NUXE Huile Prodigieuse Multi Usage Dry Oil
Birchbox Shop RRP: £17 for 50ml 

NUXE is one of my favourite skin care brands, but this is the product I was most unsure about. Being a multi purpose oil it can be used on hair, body and face, but having oily, spot prone skin it felt almost wrong putting on my face. I was convinced this oil would break me out terrible, but oh how I was wrong! After a week of using it on my face, my skin was left luxuriously soft and no one spot in sight. Applying this oil before foundation leaves a beautiful smooth finish, and I finally understand all the recent hype over facial oils.
I really loved this months edit from Birchbox x Papier. The lineup of products were fantastic and I enjoyed discovering new brands such as Keeome. I can’t forget the cute box that I don’t have the heart to throw away, which will be recycled into a makeup storage box. Overall my favourite product has to be NUXE Huile Prodigieuse, it opened me up t0 experimenting with facial oils, which I would have never done if I didnt recieve a sample in this months box. I have gotten over my fear of applying oil to oil prone skin, and discovered a new type of skincare product which make my skin look and feel amazing!

What did you think about this months box?

Laura


Battle of Birmingham’s Best Rated Cafés

You don’t have to venture far from Birmingham to experience flavours from all over the world. Being blessed with a handful of mitchelin star restaurants such as Purnell’s which is located on Cornwall Street, ran by the Birmingham born master chef Glynn Purnell. Birmingham is a hub of variety when it comes to food. But good food doesn’t always have to be expensive, with the new street food venue Digbeth Dining Club taking Birmingham by a storm, you can enjoy gourmet foods at a low cost. Hosting weekly events at the Spotlight venue, the Digbeth Dining Club showcases various street food venders who offer fare to tantalise the taste buds and allow you to embrace your senses with the various smells and tastes which this venue has to offer. After moving to Birmingham when I started university, I have been fortunate to try what Birmingham has to offer, and I am impressed. Brunch is one of my favourite meals; I mean who doesn’t love a good coffee paired with eggs benedict? This year I took it upon me to try out two places that I had heard great things about; Boston Tea Party and Yorks Bakery Café.

Boston Tea Party
Boston Tea Party is a chain of independent cafés located around the UK, one of which resides on Birmingham’s Corporation Street. Opening in 2013, this café has gained a lot of fame, being featured in The Times list of top 25 places to eat brunch in the UK, as well as winning Food Magazine’s ‘Best Café’ award in 2015. The chain is proud to be ethically run, being a three star member of the Sustainable Restaurant Association. The rustic, ‘upcycled’ interior is one of the first things you notice as you enter Boston Tea Party, but if you’re food obsessed like me you will probably notice the huge array of baked goods displayed on the counter instead, which I couldn’t resist! As well as an extensive hot drinks and food menu, the café offers a great range of vegetarian, vegan and gluten free food to cater for all dietary needs.
After ordering a latté and eggs benedict, I took a seat in the corner of the room to get a good view of the café itself. My coffee arrived after a few minutes wait, nicely presented with an nice attempt at some latté art on the surface. The coffee here was to die for, it was one of the nicest lattés I have had, but I wasn’t too long into enjoying it when the main event came, my eggs benedict. The presentation was brilliant, enticing me in with the rich, tangy smell of the hollandaise sauce. The eggs were perfect, the coffee was perfect, the experience was perfect, and I left (with cake in hand) feeling very satisfied.

9/10

 

Yorks Bakery Café
Yorks Bakery Café is an independent café with two locations in Birmingham, with one being an espresso bar. Founded in 2012, Yorks Bakery Café has a passion to deliver the very best speciality coffee and uplifting food to Birmingham, with an emphasis on craft and ingredients. Rated by the Sunday Times as one of the best places in Britain to have brunch, I first heard about this café in an article by The Guardian, who stated it as one of the top 50 best breakfast places in the UK in 2017. With high expectations I eagerly made my way to Stephenson Street to locate Yorks Bakery Café. Inspired by the travels of the team, the interior had a similar feel to that of Boston Tea Party, with a more urban feel to it. Excited, I ordered immediately, choosing a latté and the Arabian buttered eggs. Once I settled into my surroundings, I felt that the café itself was small and cramped, but this may be due to the café being entirely full when I visited. The counter hosted a small array of baked goods, but nowhere near the quantity that Boston Tea Party displayed. As this café calls itself a ‘bakery’ I was expecting there to be more on offer. As I sat there staring out the window I had noticed 10 minutes had gone by, and I still had not received my coffee. It arrived a few minutes later, and although there was a wait, I was impressed by the latté art presented to me. The coffee used in the latté itself was a very dark roast, with a bitter taste which I did not enjoy. After drinking my latté my food had still not came yet, with it eventually arriving a good 30 minutes after I ordered. The Arabian buttered eggs were something new to me; I enjoyed the new tastes, and eating things that I normally wouldn’t put together. The presentation was slightly lacklustre compared to Boston Tea Party’s offerings, and I noticed my food was missing the ‘mixed herbs’ which were stated on the menu. Although I enjoyed my food, I left (with cake in hand obviously), feeling rather disappointed. I had high hopes for this café but they sadly didn’t meet them.

6/10

 

After sampling the delights of Birmingham’s best rated cafes – Boston Tea Party and Yorks Bakery Café, I can conclude that Boston Tea Party is hands down the winner. For me first impressions are everything, and Boston Tea Party made a cracking one. Although both cafes are good, and I would recommend going to either if you are in the area, there is no doubt in my mind the Boston Tea Party comes off as superior. Maybe one day I will give Yorks Bakery Café another chance one day to impress me, but when I am not busy, as it’s not the best place to go if you are in a rush! So if your after ethically sourced food, amazing coffee and brilliant service, I highly recommend you pay a visit to Boston Tea Party, you won’t regret it.

Laura


Links to the websites for the cafes in the review can be found below –
BTP: http://www.bostonteaparty.co.uk/our_cafes/birmingham.php
Yorks Bakery Café : http://www.yorksbakerycafe.co.uk/

Review: liner.designer by beautyblender


I first saw liner.designer on a video posted by Camila Bravo, a makeup artist who I follow on Instagram @kamilabravo. Her eye makeup turned out amazing using this tool, and her eyeliner was perfect. As someone who has always struggled to get perfect eyeliner I purchased liner.designer straight away for £14 from Cult Beauty with high expectations.

liner.designer

It came packaged in a plastic case, which contained a compact with 5x magnifying mirror, a suction cup which sticks to the compact so you can position it wherever you want, and the liner.designer itself. Additionally you received a small booklet telling you how to create certain looks.

Review
I was so exciting to receive liner.designer after reading some of its boasts on the beautyblender website, one stating that ‘It’s now easy to achieve your favourite eyeliner styles with ease and makes applying liner effortless‘. I followed the instructions to rub the liner.designer in my hands for 15-20 seconds to warm it up so it would stick to your face. Initially it did stick but would fall off frequently much to my discontent. However I looked past this flaw and went on to try it out. The result? The worst eyeliner I have ever done on myself. I sat there for 20 minutes trying out different ways to do my eyeliner, using this tool at different angles and placements, but I still could not get on with it. I don’t see myself as someone who is amazing at doing eyeliner, but my free hand eyeliner was considerable better than any of the attempts using liner.designer. Overall I was so disappointed with this product, I had very high expectations and was so to say liner.designer did not meet them! Neater eyeliner can be achieved using masking tape, which is considerably cheaper than the liner.designer and a lot better in my opinion. This product reminds me of a guitar pick, which cost around £1, so maybe if you do want to try this product out then you can use a guitar pick as a cheaper option, which I have seen many MUAs on Instagram do so. I’m sad to say liner.designer will probably be thrown to the back of my drawer and never used again.

Have you ever used this product? Would love to know how you got on with it! 

Laura