I was having one of ‘those’ weeks last week, so it was rather lovely when I got a message from a  PR inviting me to come and have some beauty themed fun at Brent Cross Shopping centre. They were holding a two day Spring Beauty Fix event at the centre – which included makeovers and
consultations with various therapists and beauticians located alongside an area dedicated to a make up amnesty. The initiative involved inviting shoppers to de clutter their make up bags/cabinets/drawers, removing the out of date/style items, and popping them in the pink bin aka make up graveyard. In return for saying goodbye to their past their best beauty goods (5 items) they were given a ten pound voucher to spend in the store on brand new beauty goods. Pretty good deal eh! That said, it is hard for a hoarder like my self to muster the courage to get reid of old make up – even if its glooby, turned a very odd colour or potentially a very dangerous health hazard. I was pretty proud that I managed to collate ten items to bring along and ditch.

As I was covering the event the kind PR’s gave me a an extra £50 to spend on beauty gubbins in the shopping centre. Sounds wonderful, and yes it was….but it did bring up a conundrum that indecisive people like myself find difficult to resolve. But, you know when your mum used to ask you whether you wanted a big gift or lots of small gifts for your Birthday/Christmas and you spent a considerable amount of time tussling the pros and cons of both…..

There are lots of products I look at in magazines and covet on the big beauty bloggers posts that are way beyond my budget. Should I treat myself to 2/3 of these arguably overpriced but lovely high end products (endorsed by celebrities and the top make up artists) or do I get an impressive qualtity of products from affordable brands and ranges….. hmmm.

I ended up doing various lengths, widths and heights of the centre, going to and fro from counter to counter trying to decide what to do – popping by Zara and Topshop on route of course  ( there Zara is Brent Cross is a good one btw).

In the end I thought ok I’ll get one expensive product, something I’ve never tried before, for a part of my face I largely neglect, then spend a bit of soothing bath time products, a bit on anti ageing and the rest on affordable fun and useful products.

I recently lost my favourite new product – Alexa for Eyeko eyeliner – so shopped around in Fenwicks and John Lewis to investigate getting a replacement. On closer inspection at the likes of Bobby Brown and Max Factor I decide to just pray for a miracle and hope for the safe return of my beloved Eyeko. Instead I decided my eyebrows would get the luxury treatment…..

I’m one of those people that doesn’t like to bother people, so generally I don’t ask people for advice, particularly when shopping. That said, when it comes to my brows it is clear for all to see that I need all the help I can get. In the last few years brows have become a big thing in realms of beauty –  thanks Cara and Keira! I’ve never plucked my eyebrows, nor tamed, or attempted to enhance in any way. Seeing so many articles and watching so many tutorials by beauty vloggers I think its about time I do something about the hairy canopy over my eyes.  I asked the lovely ladies at Benefit for advice. I had informed them of my struggles to find light enough products to put on my brows – I am a natural blonde but my eyebrows are light brown. They showed me various options including a straight forward pencil, but it was the above item that appealed on first glance. I had seen this featured by many of the bloggers I trust and I thought if I’m going to delve into this new area of beauty I’m going to do it properly. She gave me a little demo, while frankly but correctly pointing out that there is a fair amount of hair that needs to be removed to create the optimum effect. She managed to avoid making me look like Lily Savage and proved that good eyebrows are essential at enhancing the structure and general polish of your face…..I was sold. Expensive purchase done…..

Thos who had participated in the make up amnesty were also gifted a discount booklet which was hefty in deals and pampering opportunities available in the centre. It was so extensive I had to take a few minutes to flick through and fold over the pages I wanted to take advantage of. One of the stand out ones for me was a free sample of the Liz Earle Cleanse and Polish Hot Cloth Cleansers – one of those products that appears in many editors favourites lists. As a quick scrub and go girl, the idea of using a warm muslin was a bit fancy pants, but I have to admit this gentler approach is doing wanders for my skin.

So on route to Zara (again), to debate investing in a pair of denim dungarees (man repellers) I stopped by the Models Own stand alone store. The aesthetic is like a candy shop, rows and rows of pretty colours, whilst also appealing to my inner magpie with an array of sparking and metallic pots, bottles and tubes. I wasn’t going to get away without having a major splurge…I was well and truly sucked into the kaleidoscopic vortex. They and an amazing deal too, with 5 items for £20. Being the penny pincher I am I wanted to make sure I included a couple of more pricey products within my bundle.
After the girls talked me through various options, I for two eye palettes (£8 each) – a smokey and a nude palette. Another favourite thing amongst beauty bloggers are the Urban Decay Pallettes – but I thought the compact size (and pleasing price tag) of these two made for a intelligent alternative.
I can report that I am thoroughly pleased with these too, they have become a handy addition to my handbag essentials.

I’ve been wanting to try Chrome finish nail polished for a while so added the Rose and Silver version to my basket as well as a neon yellow polish. I’m hoping that buying a colour intended for tanned skin and holiday’s in sun drenched locations that the chances of me booking a trip will be increased.

So I’ve tried all the polished in the week since my beauty splurge. If reviewing the chrome polishes in relation to all other normal metallic nail varnishes on the market then they are pretty good. Sadly they didn’t deliver that intense shine that the adverts had led me to believe that deliver.

The neon one of the other hand is as vibrant and blind as you’d hope and has perked up my outfits a treat this week!

I’ve always past Lush without going in, purely because I found the smell exiting the shop space so overwhelming. I have heard so many great things about their products it was about time I got over this…I mean there are worse smells than fruit, perfume, soap! It is the bath bombs that have really intrigued me…images of brightly coloured tinted water have become a bit of an instagram trend over the last few months and I want a piece of the action.

As soon as you step in there are people on hand to help you select from the impressively extensive collection of smelly/soothing stuff. I sought out the bombs and opted for the Sex Bomb – apparently a good choice for a sensual bath. I will attempt to save this for when my fella returns from tour but I fear this is highly unlikely.

I informed the friendly gal behind the counter that I was a Lush version and without me knowing she sweetly popped in an extra gift! This will now been known as a new era…a very lush one.

P.S They don’t test on animals

As much as I try to ignore it, I am at the age where preserving my skin should be at the top of my beauty tick list. The sagging is starting to happen, as are the fine lines. Damn…just writing it makes it feel more real. I digress….. So I wanted to allocate some of the voucher to a youth enhancing product of some type. I have always been a fan of Boots NO 7 so opted for their Beautiful Skin Pore Minimising Serum. From years of blackhead squeezing and roasting in the sun my pores are large enough to balance Maltesers in so this seemed like the best choice. So far I am loving the light and refreshing nature of this Serum, which also acts as a lovely base for my make up.

The next voucher was utilised at the beautiful Kiehls space, guarded by their friendly skeleton. This is another brand I haven’t really even investigated, purely because their products surpass my current beauty budget. Today was the perfect opportunity to investigate whether all the positive word of mouth reviews are warranted. I popped in and requested the arm massage that was on offer during the Spring Beauty Fix weekend and Andre de Wet was there to oblige. My arms were pretty tired from all the shopping (poor me) so I would have been grateful of any sort of attention – even if he’d done a Ross Geller and prodded me with spoons. With no prior experience of the brand I had not predicted the thorough nature of the experience. Andre wasn’t going to slap on any old lotion…he would decipher the one the would gift me with the optimum results, and deliver a scent most appealing to my particular senses. While soothing my achy limbs, we decided he would curate an entire skin care program for my face. We discussed my skin queries or problems as well as the things I particularly want to tackle. We discussed my acne ridden past and my current battle with plump dark bags. Before he was able to pick out the ideal tonics to my issues we had to work out my skin type and hydration level. I was slightly dehydrated, not the worst he’s accounted but not at the ideal 44 level.`From the description of my pretty lazy current skin regime, he deduced it was due to the over use of exfoliants/scrubs. From pressing this little pad on my cheek and forehead we discovered I was normal to oily – which also influenced the system he was going to introduce to me.

As I hinted to before, it is a lengthy process (so make sure you have this in mind before sitting down), but wholly necessary and sensible. After all, if you are going to spend a bit more on your skincare is would be foolish not to ensure you are getting products best suited to your skin/lifestyle. The extremely knowledgable and award winning Andre put together a selection of samples to try over a week, catering to my eye area as well as the rest of my skin, and filled me with a confidence that I was really going to be feeding and nurturing my skin in a very positive way. I highly recommend this to anyone who cares about the state of their skin…which should be everyone!

So one final voucher treat before departing was at the Fenwicks Creme de la Mere Counter who were offering free samples of one of their eye products. The helpful ladies quickly turned their shock relating to my confession that I have no eye regime to helpful efficiency, quickly dabbing some of their wonder creams on my neglected under eye area. With it’s uber expensive price tag and celebrity heavy fan base I’ve always wondered if its more of a status product, but I have to admit my eyes felt instantly revived and smoother. The warm nature of the staff even made me almost make a purchase…which says a lot considering how tight these purse strings are at the moment.

So that is all of my purchases and freebies. A big thank you to Tristen and Mace and all the lovely staff at Brent Cross who helped me make my beauty decisions and deliver some lovely pampering treats!

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