My First Experience With Microblading

I’ve always dreamt of having the perfect eyebrows, but brow pencil just hasn’t quite cut it for me. Whether it’s my technique or the products I’ve been using, I’ve never been able to get my eyebrows to look just how I’d want to them to; I’m sure every girl understands this struggle! For a long time waking up with ‘fleeky’ eyebrows was just an unachievable dream for me until I discovered the new latest trend – microblading.

What is Microblading?

Microblading is a semi-permanent tattooing technique that uses a handheld tool to make small superficial incisions into the epidermis layer of the skin, depositing pigment under your skin. Microblading strokes are finer and look more natural than a traditional tattoo. Additionally, techniques can also be customised to include a combination of microblading and tattooing to create more defined brows.

Picking the Right Artist

After trawling through Instagram for hours, days, weeks, account after account, I finally found the artist I was looking for – Chelsea Brows! During my search I’d come across a lot of shoddy work and ‘back street’ practitioners advertising their work on Facebook marketplace without having proper training. It’s really important to research the person you’re going to, because they are literally giving you a tattoo on your face which will take a lot of time and money to remove if you don’t like it. Even worse you could end up with a nasty infection and scarring if your practitioner isn’t trained in aseptic techniques.

The Procedure

I’ve always been someone who’s a bit of a wuss and terrified of needles, so the thought of having my eyebrows microbladed terrified me. But beauty is pain right? After hearing some horror stories from friends telling me that the procedure was extremely painful I headed towards Chelsea Brows in Birmingham afraid of what lay ahead of me. Almost certain that I was going regret my decision to get my eyebrows microbladed when I discovered how painful it was I lay down on the table awaiting my fate. My microblading artist, Chelsea, was lovely and assured me it wasn’t going to be as bad as I expected it to be and after the first stroke I felt stupid that I was even scared! The pain was no where near as bad as I expected it and strangely enough I quite liked the weird scratching noise the microblading tool made as it created the strokes. Yes it was a bit sharp, but no where near the pain level I was expecting after reading other people’s reviews of their experiences online. I’m the type of person who faints whilst having blood tests so if I can do it then anyone can!

After the first initial strokes Chelsea applied a numbing cream which meant I could hardly feel anything after and the experience was quite relaxing. I opted for the ‘combination brows’ which was a combination of microblading strokes and shading using a tattoo gun to create more defined look whilst still looking natural. After Chelsea had finished she showed me my eyebrows, to say I was shocked would be an understatement. They were better than I expected, they were the eyebrows I had always dreamt of! I had envisioned in my head exactly how I wanted them to look and she had created that vision perfectly.

The Healing Process

This was definitely the most annoying part of having my eyebrows microbladed. It was amazing having perfect eyebrows but I had to keep them from getting wet for two whole weeks, which resulted in me having to shower in some very unusual positions to keep my eyebrows dry. After the first week and a half my eyebrows started to scab up and itch, which is completely normal but it took extreme concentration to prevent myself from scratching my eyebrows every time they got itchy. Prematurely pulling off scabs instead of letting them fall off naturally can pull out the pigment and leave you with patchy eyebrows so it’s really important that you don’t do this! After 6 weeks when my eyebrows had eventually healed I went for my microblading top up session which was included in the price of my initial session. The purpose of the top up session is to re-shade areas which may had faded during the initial healing process and make sure your brows are looking perfect as they can fade slightly after the first session. After the top up session I had to repeat the whole healing process once again but at least this time I knew what I was doing!

The Results

Following my top up session when my eyebrows had finally healed I was left with the eyebrows I had always dreamt of. It’s crazy how a tattoo can look so natural! Everywhere I’ve been going I’ve had compliments on them which is a definite confidence boost. The best thing about having microbladed eyebrows is waking up in the morning with perfect brows and being able to stroll out the house without the stress of trying to draw them on. I even had a man ask me how I manage to draw my eyebrows on so perfectly, Chelsea Brows is how!

That’s it now, I will be hooked for life on having my eyebrows microblading. How could I ever go back to drawn on eyebrows when I could have beautiful natural looking eyebrows from microblading. It’s safe to say I won’t be picking up the eyebrow pencil anytime soon! For more information and pricing details for where I got my eyebrows microblading you can visit the Chelsea Brows website here.

Have you ever contemplated having your eyebrows microbladed?

Laura 

Disclaimer: I paid for the treatment in full, all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

The Victoria, Barnt Green Festive Menu Review

My favourite part about Christmas isn’t the presents but the food. There’s nothing more that I love than a delicious freshly cooked roast turkey dinner with all the trimmings. I can’t forget the mince pies either! Now it’s reached November it means the festive menus have started appearing at many places, great news for me then! There’s nothing better to do on a cold winters night than divulge in some delicious heart warming food, so I headed to The Victoria in Barnt Green to sample their new festive menu.

Located in Bromsgrove, just 10 miles south from Birmingham city centre, The Victoria is a quaint village pub that hosts a warm homely ambience with a touch of luxury. Upon entering the pub I could see it had been tastefully decorated for Christmas and friendly staff promptly seated me at my table, next to a crackling open fire. There are three different choices with the festive menu currently on offer at The Victoria:

  • Three course classic festive menu – £26.95
  • Four course indulgent festive menu (choice of premium dishes), with a glass of Prosecco on arrival and luxury chocolate truffles to finish – £33.95
  • Five course extra special festive menu (choice of premium dishes), with a glass of Moët & Chandon champagne on arrival, rustic breads and olives, and a cocktail of your choice – £48.95

I opted for the three course classic festive menu, as well as one of the the special festive cocktails! I chose the festive pornstar martini, which was a standard pornstar martini with the added twist of winter berry syrup to give it a lovely spiced festive taste which didn’t overpower the drink. My partner chose the festive espresso martini, which like my drink, also had the addition of the winter berry syrup with complimented the coffee aroma perfectly.

For my starter I opted for the ‘duck liver & port parfait served with toasted walnut & raisin bread and a spiced fruit & sloe gin chutney’. Duck liver parfait is a classic Christmas favourite of mine so I couldn’t resist choosing it and I definitely made the right choice because it was delicious! Even though I’m not a fan of port, it perfectly complimented the rich creamy flavour of the parfait, with the spiced fruit and sloe gin chutney really giving the dish the festive feeling it needed. Spread over the warm toasted walnut and raisin bread this dish was to die for! My partner opted for the ‘creamy garlic mushrooms on toasted sourdough topped with Blacksticks Blue cheese’, I managed to steal a forkful from him and even though I’m not a big fan of blue cheese I found there was just the right amount in this dish for me to enjoy it and not be too overpowered by it.

Our mains arrived not long after our starters were cleared and WOW were we impressed! Laid before us was a feast fit for a king and we couldn’t wait to get stuck in. I opted for the ‘maple pork belly and pig cheek, on Dijon chive mash, cavolo nero, crisp prosciutto and a red wine & sage jus’, although apprehensive as I’ve never tried pig cheek before I was assured by the waitress that I’d love it. The pork belly crisp but juicy too, being cooked to perfection with the maple glaze browning at the edges giving it the perfect caramelised sweetness. The Dijon chive mash and cavolo nero was equality as tasty. When I was feeling brave enough I tried the pig cheek for the first time and was surprised that it wasn’t like anything I’d tasted before. It was deliciously tender and melted in your mouth, overall bringing a unique twist to the dish. My partner opted for the ‘roasted turkey with fluffy beef-dripping roasted potatoes, a honey mustard duvet and pork & clementine stuffing. Served with red wine gravy and bread sauce’. I didn’t personally try this dish but my partner told me everything was all cooked to perfection; usually turkey can be quite dry but it was flavoursome and moist. I was also extremely jealous that he got pigs in blankets as I adore them! Both meals came with an accompaniment of seasonal vegetables which consisted of sprouts, carrots and roasted parsnips coated in a tasty seasoning. The pictures don’t do the meals justice as the portion size was so plentiful for both the meals and the accompaniments, with it all being seasoned to perfection. Me and my partner both agreed that this festive meal was one of the nicest that we’ve ever had. The attention to detail with every aspect of the meal, making sure everything was seasoned and glazed accordingly, really excited my taste buds putting The Victoria up there as one of my all time favourite places for a heartwarming festive fayre.

I was pleasantly full after the first two courses, but as they say ‘there’s always room for dessert!’. Fancying something a bit fruity I opted for the ‘apple and plum crumble topped with a demerara sugar crumb, served with custard’. Served in its own mini saucepan the crumble was just as delicious as I expected it to be, tart and heartwarming balanced perfectly with the vanilla custard. The perfect way to end any meal! My partner being a chocoholic chose the ‘chocolate brownie with Belgian chocolate sauce, honeycomb ice cream and a brandy snap crumb‘. He couldn’t get enough of this decadent dessert and only wished he could eat another! He’s tried many chocolate brownies in his time but he did comment that this one was gorgeous compared.

Christmas is a time of the year best spend enjoying yourself and I can’t think of a better way to enjoy yourself than divulging in the gastronomic delights that The Victoria has the offer. From fun festive cocktails to the heartwarming food than you can eat next to a crackling fire, you can’t go wrong with The Victoria. You can check out their festive menus and full menus here.

What’s your favourite food to eat at Christmas?

Laura 

Disclaimer: the food I received was complimentary however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

The Village, Moseley

In late October one of Moseley’s best eateries, The Village, opened its doors after an exciting refurbishment seeing in a whole new menu and fresh modern interior. Located in the heart of Moseley, The Village has always been a favourite of mine due to its friendly, laid back vibe and heart warming food. Their new decor has given the whole place a face lift, with a vibrant chic finish but still maintaining its warm friendly feeling. Not to forget there is now a log burner, perfect to relax by on those cold winter nights!

Photo courtesy of The Village

Not being able to resist the sound of their new menu, me and my partner visited to try out the new offerings. For starters I opted for the Chilli & Garlic King Prawns, a favourite dish of mine that I’ve had in many restaurants. I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty it was compared to others I’ve had in the past. It was just the right spice level but was also bursting with flavour; the garlic and ginger complimented this dish just nicely. Not to mention the delicious warm bread it came with which I could have ate twice over!

My partner opted for the Chicken Wings doused in cola BBQ sauce served with coleslaw. I was cheeky and managed to steal a few off him, but I wish I could have eaten them all. The cola BBQ sauce was sweet and sticky, just how I like it! The wings themselves were cooked just right so they were juicy with a little crispness on the outside. The coleslaw was crunchy, flavoursome and tasted homemade, the perfect accompaniment to some sticky BBQ wings.

Our mains arrived not long after finishing our starters. I had chosen the Fish & Chips, which to my surprise consisted of not one but two large pieces of beer battered Cod. This was accompanied by chunky chips, crushed peas, green olive tartare and a lemon wedge. The portion size was enormous! I couldn’t believe how much you got for the reasonable price of £12. I love fish and can always tell when the fish cooked isn’t fresh, but this wasn’t the case at The Village. The perfectly white fresh cod was coated in a delicious crispy batter that was to die for. I was apprehensive over the crushed peas as I’d never tried them before and assumed they would taste similar to mushy peas (which I hate) but I was surprised to find they were quite delicious! Everything with this dish was faultless.

My partner opted for the Halloumi Burger. This consisted of a crisp battered thick slice of halloumi on a brioche bun, accompanied by fresh salsa, jalapeños, burger sauce, lettuce and tomato with a side of skinny fries and coleslaw. The burger itself looked amazing and my partner said it tasted amazing too, with the flavours flawlessly complimenting each other. I wasn’t able to try it myself because my partner said it was too good to share but I’ll have to take his word for it!

No matter how much food I eat I always have room for dessert, so I opted for the Pavlova, which was different to any other pavlova I had tried before at it contained poached peaches which were delicious! It was the perfect light fruity dessert to finish off with; not too heavy but just as delicious.

One aspect that really stands out to me about The Village is the value for money. The food itself is fantastic and you get so much if it too for the cost. It really is great quality food and you also get a great quantity; it’s rare to get both of these aspects when dining out, usually the food is good quality but small portions. After having such outstanding food for a reasonable price I can’t wait to return to The Village to try the other offerings on their menu, especially their famed Sunday roast.

Photo courtesy of The Village

One thing I noted on my visit was the fantastic range of daily offers they have, including a pizza and quiz every Tuesday which sounds like my perfect kinda’ night!Their modern chic interior and friendly welcome makes The Village the perfect hangout or place to go when your in the mood for some delicious expertly cooked food. No matter what you’re after, you’ll always feel home from home at The Village. To check out their weekly specials, live music and the menu you can visit The Village here.

Have you ever visited The Village?

Laura 

Disclaimer: the food I received was complimentary however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

Thēmaē Exfoliant Pur Théïshu Review

Being a skincare junkie I can never have enough products, especially my favourite product for achieving perfectly soft and clean skin: exfoliator! I thought I’d tried every exfoliator you can think of until I recently came across a brand called Thēmaē. Thēmaē is an independent French brand that are unique within the skincare market as they combine the pharmaceutical benefits of tea with natural ingredients and spring water to create a pure product that have amazing effects.

The Thēmaē laboratory developed a unique technology where the precious mixed blend of green tea, black tea, white tea and blue tea produced a product with exceptional antioxidant effects. This new technology is the Complexe des 4 Thés. What I love about this company is that they rely on the natural power of biotechnology where formulas of natural ingredients are used in combination to create products suited perfectly for the skin, instead of using the lab-made chemicals found within many other brands.

Not only does Thēmaē produce amazing skincare products but also premium teas that provide an extra dose of polyphenols, one of the most powerful antioxidants in the world; the perfect accompaniment to the antioxidant effects within the products themselves. Surprisingly I also found out that Thēmaē has renowned spa in Paris and exclusive face & body treatments using their products are available at other spas too!

Exfoliant Pur Théïshu

After hearing about Thēmaē I was excited to try to the Exfoliant Pur Théïshu, which is a creamy facial exfoliant. Usually I am reluctant to try exfoliants that aren’t chemical exfoliants as they can be quite abrasive however this wasn’t the case with Exfoliant Pur Théïshu. The exfoliant component used was an very finely ground organic rice powder, micronised so it would be suitable for the most sensitive skin without causing the damaging abrasion associated with many exfoliants. I found that the product also contained other key ingredients to help promote the skins appearance which included:

Complexe des 4 Thés – Thēmaē’s trademark complex of 4 teas, with high concentrations of polyphenols which protect the skin from the effects of free radicals and delay the appearance of signs of ageing.

Macadamia virgin organic oil: due to its amazing ability to penetrate the skin this oil not only moisturises and reconstructs, but repairs the the most fragile skin.

Organic water young barley sprout: a concentrate of multi-vitamins and trace elements, helping to maintain vital functions of the skin. It additionally has a high vitamin C concentration which give the skin radiance.

Olive squalene: strengthens the hydrolipidic film of the skin for more comfort and protection.

Results

My first impression of the product was that I couldn’t believe how creamy and moisturising it was. With many exfoliants my skin is left feeling a little dry after but this creamy texture of this product left my skin feeling so smooth that I couldn’t stop touching it! I continued to use the product for a few weeks to see if it really lived up to its claims and was pleasantly surprised. Over the period of time I used it my skins appearance improved looking smoother and my pores looked a lot smaller. The rice powder which is the exfoliant in the product is so small in particle size and fine that it gives you a really gentle exfoliation which is perfect for my skin. Overall, after using this products for a few weeks my skin was glowing! I actually got a few compliments off friends and even my beautician about my skin. The Exfoliant Pur Théïshu will definitely be replacing my usual chemical exfoliant in my skincare routine because I can’t get enough of its moisturising effects. Also recently, reaching the age of 25, I think it’s important to start thinking about preventative measures against the signs of ageing and what better than using Thēmaē products, with their strong antioxidant effects to help prevent it.

If your looking for smoother skin and preventative measures to stop the signs of ageing then I’d definitely recommend Thēmaē’s Exfoliant Pur Théïshu. Being paraben free, using natural and also organic ingredients where possible, in addition to being cruelty free Thēmaē’s products are the perfect addition to your skin care regime, because if anything…your skin deserves it!

The product itself retails for £33 but using code LAURA10 at checkout you can receive 10% off your order at www.themaeuk.co.uk

Have you tried any Thēmaē products?

Laura 

Disclaimer: the product I received was complimentary however all opinions are genuine and my own.

 

Rico Libre: tapas with a twist!

Recently the ever popular Birmingham eatery Rico Libre, that has been situation in the city for over 5 years, has moved location joining forces with Kanteen based in the custard factory. This new unique collaboration of independent restaurants sees Rico Libre’s delicious tapas being served daily at the new location after 6pm.

I recently had the opportunity to visit Rico Libre in their new home and divulge in their delicious and authentic food! The first thing I noticed after walking through the door was how vibrant and fresh the new interior was. I’m definitely a fan of modern interiors so this one won me over instantly. The one thing that hasn’t changed about Rico Libre is that it still has the same ‘bring your own alcohol’ policy which I love! Sometimes going out to restaurants can become quite costly if you’re drinking a lot of alcohol with your meal but because of Rico Libre’s fantastic BYOB policy you’re able to get top quality delicious food without all the expensive alcohol costs! If you’re not a fan of alcohol then there is an extensive range of soft drinks and hot drinks available also.

Now onto the food! Rico Libre offer a vibrant menu with something available for everyone’s taste. From meat lovers to vegans, Rico Libre has you covered! As well as the main menu they offer a daily specials menu so you have the chance to try something different every time you go. There was so much delicious food to choose from I found it hard to narrow it down but eventually settled with 9 different dishes which I was shared with other people. The first dish to arrive at the table was the Pan de Ajo, which was a deliciously freshly toasted flatbread covered in garlic and herbs. I adore garlic so this was definitely a winner for me! The rest of the dishes arrived soon after and the selection we had opted forward:

  • Grilled Halloumi
  • Patatas Alioli
  • Pescado Blanco Frito
  • Gambas Pil Pil
  • Pollo Marbella
  • Chicken Wings with Alioli
  • Pork Belly
  • Duck Breast

All the food arrived hot and fresh and surprisingly there honestly wasn’t a single dish that I didn’t love! But out of all the dishes my favourite has to be the Duck Breast, not only because it was plated up so beautifully but because it was cooked to absolute perfection. The fresh raspberry and blackberry also complimented the dish nicely. A second favourite was the Pollo Marbella as it was unlike any dish I’ve ever had before. This dish consisted of chicken breast in a creamy white wine sauced with chorizo. The creaminess of the sauce was perfectly paired with the spicy chorizo making it a well balanced unique dish.

I’ve been to many establishments serving tapas where every dish tastes the same but that was certainly not the case at Rico Libre, with each dish having its own flavour explosion. I ate until I couldn’t eat anymore but as they always say “there’s always room for dessert!”, so being greedy I opted for two; the Crème Catalan and the Mousse de Maracuya. The Créme Catalan is in essence the Catalan version of a créme brûlée and is just as, if not more, delicious. It was cooked perfectly with it’s crisp caramel topping followed by a rich custard interior; what’s not to love about that! The Mousse de Maracuya was different to any dessert I have tried before. It consisted of a creamy passion fruit mousse inside of a chocolate cup topped with a fresh raspberry. You wouldn’t think passion fruit and chocolate go well together but trust me, they do! I found both desserts to be delicious and to my taste, but my favourite has to be the Créme Catalan because it makes me reminisce of the many good times I’ve had this dish whilst on holiday in Spain.

In a food coma I left Rico Libre feeling cheerful and content, if not a little bloated from the sheer amount of food I managed to eat! What I love about Rico Libre is that you almost feel like you’re being invited into someone’s home because of how warm and friendly the service is; you really feel like you’re being looked after as a guest in this establishment. Tapas has always been one of my favourite styles of food because I’m so indecisive about what dish to choose when in normal restaurants but with tapas I don’t have that issue as you can choose as many dishes as you want. This being said I’ve tried many restaurants within Birmingham serving tapas but Rico Libre has now taken the top spot as my favourite tapas restaurant. Delicious fresh food, a genuine warm service and a clean vibrant interior…this is what sets Rico Libre above all the rest. The extensive menu of daily specials means you could never get bored of coming to this restaurant time and time again, with each visit being a new flavour journey!

The full menus for Rico Libre can be found on there website here.

Have you been to Rico Libre yet?

Laura 

Disclaimer: the food I received was complimentary however I was not expected to write a blog post in return, all opinions are genuine and my own.