30 April 2017


Beauty products I've been loving in the month of April...

Hair: I am quite fickle when it comes to the 'cheapy' shampoo and conditioner I have on rotation in my shower. I like to save my SHOW Beauty 'Sublime' duo and my AVEDA 'Shampure' set for special occasions and then I have some bargainous products for everyday use...or for Adam HA! I am currently coveting the L'Oreal Elvive 'Full Restore - Extreme Repairing range and whilst I can say my hair ain't all that bad anymore, certainly not requiring of too many repairing properties, this protein packed duo is ideal for parched, damaged or overly chemically processed hair. The conditioner is brilliant and contains keratin and ceramide to replenish the hair without weighing it down with too much product. A solid 8/10 for me!

Skincare: Never ashamed to admit I LOVE face-wipes for quick fixes for application blunders, giving my make-up a swipe off before the gym, or for when I'm rolling into bed after one too many Espresso Martinis. My favourites are the Superdrug Micellar Oil Cleansing Facial Wipes, they're super wet and are gentle and moisturising without leaving your skin dry and stripped of every essential oil. 

April's monthly favourites could also not be without an honourable mention to the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate which has been a recent introduction to my skincare routine and I am so glad that I made the splurge and invested. The lightweight oil sinks into the skin overnight leaving it heavenly soft and supple, brilliant for dehydrated skin. 

Make-up: Having recently talked about my favourite cruelty-free make-up brushes for base, I had to mention the Eco-Tools mattifying powder brush in this month's favourites. I use this 100% natural brush for setting my foundation with a mineral powder and sealing everything nicely without the worry of the dreaded 'cake-face.'

I spent a little time back in Wakefield over those super sunny weekends and found myself in one of my favourite haunts, Wakefield Antique Store. Filled to the brim with treasures and trinkets it is an antique collectors dream. I particularly love the jewellery and vintage make-up section where I found a 1970s/1980s Stratton Compact (complete with infill and lipstick holder) in an original presentation box. I had to have it and decided to treat myself to the set. There's something particularly special about applying a pop of lippy in front of a vintage gilded mirror.

Body: As we were treated to a few days of sunshine, as much as I protected myself wth an SPF and a cute straw hat, my skin still caught the rays and I turned to my trusty Aloe Vera Gel. I bought it from Superdrug and it contains 99.9% natural Aloe Vera. I use it when I have my brows done to avoid those pesky breakout from the wax, and it is totally soothing on burnt shoulders and noses!

Life. TV. Music and more...

Theatre: I was lucky enough to catch Jodie Prenger at Leeds Grand taking the stage solo for 2 hours as she performed Shirley Valentine's infamous monologues. It was bloody brilliant too, Jodie had the entire audience in the palm of her hand as she portrayed Shirley, a scouse housewife who longs for something more than 'talking to the wall' and becoming further and further away from who she used to be as a young, spritely thing. It's funny, it's heartwarming and it's very, very relatable. If you want to watch something encompassing female empowerment, I suggest and highly recommend watching the film or even catching the stage show. 

Podcast: I won't go on about 'The High Low' again, so this month's podcast nod has to be Bryony Gordon's 'Mad World podcast which discusses mental health experiences and features Prince Harry talking candidly about his charity work for mental health causes as well as his own experiences having tragically lost his mother, the beautiful Princess Diana at just 12 years of age.

TV: One Born Every Minute is back and I have to admit, it is my guilty TV pleasure. Having done my marketing work experience at Liverpool Women's Hospital a few years ago, I was lucky enough to watch some of the episodes with the production team and the LWH team before they aired, so seeing the series back on the TV is super exciting. I remember the production team pointing out inconsistencies such as some of the midwives wearing jewellery and how people would react to that so they could firefight every possible reaction.

Instagram / Youtubing: An absolute must-watch for anybody currently in the grip of a mental health struggle, or somebody who simply just wants to learn more about how this particular mental health issue affects people -  watch Megan aka 'Wonderful You' - let's talk depression video. It is very articulate and open and shares an honest account of how it feels for your known self to change when depression clouds your life.

I just wanted to finish by mentioning an Insta post that I saw last week from Sunday Times journalist, Dolly Alderton. She posted a beautiful image of a young Marilyn Monroe on the beach. She looks breathtaking and is sitting naturally, not posed or 'sucked in' her tummy is rolled as it naturally would be when you sit down, and it just made me so happy to see. My personal Instagram feed is full of #bodygoals that are completely un-relatable to myself and seeing this made me so happy, I wish there was more of it, instead of this need to filter, nip and tuck every image to not show a single piece of cellulite, belly roll or hair.

What have you been coveting this month?

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28 April 2017


I never feel 'fully dressed' without a pop of colour on my lips. There are four different shades that I am currently coveting and all of which are unique in formulation an pigment. I am normally a through and through traditional lipstick kind of girl however, I have recently been dabbling with more sheer, light in colour pay-off balms.

For those days when I have to be up and out in a jiffy, I wear the Clinique Chubby Stick in the shade '07 Super Strawberry' I love the super hydrating properties and gloss of colour that looks like bitten lips, or you've had a good old snog. The lasting power is good and keeps your lips looking interesting, even when you don't want to wear any colour.

Another 'balmy' lip favourite is from MUA and their Sweet Sheen Lip Balms which retail at a couple of quid. They are brilliant for throwing in your handbag to hydrate your lips aswell as add a pop of colour. I have two shades, and the one featured here is 'Rouge Rumba' which I loved layering over other lipsticks for a glossy finish, especially over matte reds such as 'Russian Red' or 'Ruby Woo' by MAC.

Next up is an old favourite...and a classic! 'Cherries in the snow' from Revlon is a lip and tip duo that I talked about here and it is a real fail-safe. The bold, raspberry shade is packed full of moisture and sits comfortably on the lips with a glossy finish. If you're going to be eating and drinking, I do recommend a little bit of Lipcoate to seal the deal, as Cherries in the snow does tend to feather a little.

Finally, we have my favourite lipstick in my collection (at the moment) and it is one I bought on my way out to America last summer: 'L'Oreal Colour Riche' in 227 which is a gorgeous, coral-orange shade in one of the most pigmented formulas I have ever discovered. I love wearing this lippy, it's cheery, it's comfortable and it sticks around, even after your fourth cup of tea!

Which lipsticks are you loving at the moment?

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25 April 2017


When it comes to applying really great make-up, it's all in tools! I must admit, for a long time I was one of those girls who would apply blusher with a glittery handled, coarse bristled brush. I probably got it free with some make-up from a shop such as 'The Look' which sells make-up from the likes of Stargazer and Constance Carroll.

As I became more and more interested in makeup, I began to invest in brushes, the first being a MAC 130 stippling brush and since then I have built a collection of quality brushes that get the job done really well. They're not all from MAC, or the Insta-grammable Zoeva, some are from TK Maxx or large professional sets aquired from those days when everyone on Youtube had a 'make-up belt' and thought they were a make-up artist because they used GOSH 'Darling' and MAC 'Woodwinked.'

Whilst I've been getting into cream products more-so than ever before, I still rely on an arsenal of brushes for base. After moisturising with an SPF, the first step in my routine is a foundation, I am currently using the 'Skin Base Foundation' from Illamasqua a medium to full coverage base in the shade 4.5. To apply this, I use the iconic 'Expert Face Brush' by Real Techniques. This is a wide, firm brush that is brilliant for buffing in a cream foundation for a flawless application. The bristles are synthetic and 100% cruelty-free.

For bronzer, I use the 'Bronzed Shimmer' cream stick from Makeup Revolution and draw a line just under my cheekbones before buffing in with the infamous 'Chocolate Bronzer' from Bourjois and an angled 'Eco-tools' brush which I bought Stateside in TJ Hughes. The bristles on this brush are particularly sturdy and are perfect for buffing in a cream product in a concise, non-streaky fashion. I also love the detailing on this brush, the blue and white pattern reminiscent of my collection of Wedgewood plates from Portobello Market. And the cork handle? Just gorgeous!

For blush, I am currently using the softest brush I have ever stumbled upon and I found it in ASDA for an absolute bargain! I mentioned the 'Royal and Langnickel' blush brush in a previous post about a Sleek Blush. The brand are renowned (especially in America) for their 100% vegan brushes and feature synthetic bristles in a dome shape to perfect apply blush to the apples of your cheeks.

Finally, to set my base I use another dome shaped brush, this time with a flatter top and a wider fan, also from Eco-Tools. I love the recycled bamboo handle and the way this brush helps to mattify your skin, Again, this brush is 100% cruelty-free and I really like what the Eco-Tools brand stand for in terms of ethical values.

Which make-up brushes do you like best?

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21 April 2017

Lush Henna Natural Dye In Caca Marron // Before + After

A long time ago, we're talking 6 years or so, I wrote this blog post talking about washing my hair with shampoo and conditioner that contained Henna. And since then, that has been my only dabble with using Henna on my hair. Having made a more conscious effort to look after my hair this year and avoid harsh, chemical dyes, I turned to the natural folk at Lush and found their Henna bricks.

Featuring the finest Persian Henna, cocoa butter and essential oils each brick costs just over £10 for 325g and includes four shades (in order of darkest to reddest) Noir for inky black, Brun for chocolate tones, Marron for chestnut tones and Rouge for a fiery red. I opted for 'Caca Marron' which translates as 'Brown-red poo' HA, though since writing this post I have also dabbled with 'Caca Rouge' which is the only brick that contains no indigo to darken the pigment.

Caca Marron is described as...
"The henna hair dye that bathes you in an autumnal glow. Turn heads with deep auburn and rich chestnut tones. Glimmers of red bounce from tumbling tresses under the light helped along by a splash of lemon juice to lift out lighter shades. A dash of indigo herb and ground coffee deepen the colour."

How lovely ey? Red henna adds body and shine and fair trade, organic cocoa butter softens the hair, the natural dye coats each strand like a varnish to add an extra layer of protection, as well as a glossy coating and is safe for the hair allowing you to add henna as often as you'd like. The final outcome wholly depends on the colour of your hair, to begin with.

My faded colour before using Henna...

Using the Henna bricks is messy work, let me tell you! I began by breaking a few blocks off the bar and placed them (along with a little boiling water) into a heatproof glass bowl that was perched on a pan that was also filled with boiling water on the hob... Bain-Marie style! You melt the Henna bricks similar to how you melt chocolate, looking for a similar, thick but smooth consistency. Lush advise the hotter the Henna, the better which I must admit (Asperger's problems) took literally when applying the lava-like consistency to my scalp! DOH!

I then wore rubber gloves to apply the consistency to my hair and I felt like I should have been doing it outside amongst nature...the Henna dries quickly when applied to the hair and resembles dreadlocks, hair all matted together in a bizarre dry mud consistency! It's certainly not the sexiest nor the cleanest look let me tell you and I definitely recommend you using newspaper to pad the floor because this stuff looks like two monkeys have had a mud fight in the bathroom.

After applying, you must wrap your head in clingfilm, not only does this prevent even more mess, but it helps to keep the hair warm, which intensifies the redder tones. If you leave it unwrapped, your colour result is likely to be darker. I even blasted my cling-filmed head a few times with the hairdryer to keep the heat locked- in. Lush recommend leaving the dye on for 2 hours, but I did 4 and the colour continues to develop for up to 24 hours even after shampooing/ rinsing and 48 hours for the darker shades, Brun and Noir.

My hair colour after using Henna...

Autumnal shades? 100% achieved, I mean how gorgeous is that colour? My hair looks healthier, the colour richer and the tones are a gorgeous auburn shade and I couldn't be more pleased!

My only qualm with the organic Henna bricks is the way my hair is left super, super parched upon rinsing and requires a pretty heavy duty conditioner and masque to pat the moisture back in, This is something I really wasn't expecting with the added nourishing cocoa butter and coating properties that don't penetrate the hair's cortex in the way that artificial dyes do. But it hasn't deterred me, I can't wait to do it again and see what tones I can bring out next!

Interested in trying Henna to dye your hair?

I recommend reading this super handy, in-depth guide from LUSH

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18 April 2017


It's taken me a good few years to start singing on the same hymn sheet as those who wax lyrical about blush. As someone who has a face filled with plenty of natural redness as it is, I couldn't see the need to add fuel to the fire. That was until I read Sali Hughes' Pretty Iconic, which I rave about all the time and is my go-to book for a little self-indulgent me-time. Sali talks about the iconic Bourjois 'Little Pot Blushes' which inspired me to go out and buy my own and start dabbling with blusher.

And when a friend came over to my flat to get ready before a Blossoms gig, she tipped out the contents of her make-up bag and out fell the much-loved 'Orgasm' blush by Nars. I loved the punch of pink combined with gold flecks and I loved the idea of 'just pinched cheeks' especially now that I have hung my hat up on fake-tan.

Having done a little Googling I came across a 'wear and compare' from Cosmopolitan magazine which pitched Orgasm against a much more budget option from Sleek. And with an £18 price difference, I was keen to see if the budget option was indeed a 'dupe' for Orgasm, which the tester confirmed it near enough as dammit, was. 

'Shimmer Rose Gold Blush' from Sleek is available at Superdrug for £4.99 where you can bag yourself 10g of product in sturdy packaging which is inclusive of a really good mirror. Having scoured a number of drugstores it appeared to me that finding this, is like locating gold dust, everywhere was continually sold out. Once I did actually track it down, there was only one left, which was crumbled.

I apply the blush with a seriously fluffy brush from Royal and Langnickel which is available at ASD and this stuff is super, super pigmented so a little really does go a hella long way! In fact on my first few applications, I went seriously overboard and did look a little Aunt Sally!

The formula of the Sleek blushes is a lovely, fine powder that provides a lush glow without looking chalky. The lasting power is alright too, especially if you have set your base first with a pressed powder.

Have you ever tried 'Shimmer Rose Gold Blush?'

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14 April 2017


Outfits i've been wearing recently....

Outfit 1: I think here I was channeling my inner Parisian, or perhaps my inner Virgin Atlantic flight attendant - you decide! Anyhow, I was feeling like red was the dominant shade I wanted to wear to a client meeting / going round for tea at Adam's parents' house. My striped tee is from Primark and I love the cut out detailing on the chest. I often wear it tucked into a denim skirt, this one is also from Primark and was a steal at £5! It features a zip front, which I love because it zips away a multitude of sins. My super bold blazer is from H+M maybe like, 5 years ago??!! It has definitely featured on this very blog back in the early days. Onto accessorise, belt TK Maxx which has a sort of western feel about it, and my polka-dot neck scarf is from Zara.

Outfit 2: Of course, no outfit round-up of mine could be without an ode to something leopardy. I dig this collared leopard print shift dress out every now and again, especially when i'm feeling a-ok about having some prominent bottom half curves. This dress is from F+F at Tesco, I think! It was a hand-me-down from a friend and I bloody love it...Total throw-on-and-go! My orange, flower necklace is from The Happiness Boutique which I blogged about here and my scarf is from Zara. I'm rarely without this scarf, it just works.

Outfit 3: I love this outfit, it makes me feel full of sunshine and is one of my favourites. My dress is from Zara and I love the warm orange shade, especially perfect for Autumn. I am wearing it with a headband from Anthropogie which I also love the colour of, and my fluffy shrug also Anthro - definitely the day for it! My beads were from a charity shop and I like the way the olive green contrasts with the brighter sunny shades.

Outfit 4: And in stark contrast, cool tones were sported on this particular day! I have been very much inclined to wear blue and green hues lately and this crazy bat-sleeve shirt is from Primark, a steal at a fiver in the sale! I tucked it into my trusty denim mini and again, rocked the headband. My beads are also from the same charity shop as the ones above.

What have you been wearing recently?


11 April 2017


If you follow me on Pinterest/holliebradbury you will probably be well aware that a good 80% of my pins are related in some way to Anthropologie, I have a seriously love for the photographic content that they put out and I have always longed to visit one of their stores, which I might add are few and far between for us folk of the North West! (Another reason to move nearer home, the Leeds Anthropologie!)

I am a big advocate of the whimsical, arty, boho, hippy?-esc vibe of Anthro and feel like their homeware and clothing lines really suit who I am in terms of my personal taste. Anyway upon my visit to beautiful Bath my heart was quite literally racing as I walked into the store which lured so wilfully. It was a haven of everything (materialistic) that makes me glad.

Even Adam, who is a die-hard minimalist when it comes to personal taste loved the displays adorned with brightly coloured pots filled with candles, and delightfully printed tableware. It made me happy that he appreciated it too.

I knew my visit would be spendy and having pooled together some extra pennies to actually buy something, I still found myself reaching for my credit card, oops. I ended up buying one of the iconic, 'Celestial' shattered coasters in my new favourite colour, bottle green as I liked the way the light caught the different shades. 

Also added to the basket was one of the infamous 'pot candles' which my word were hella difficult to choose between! Adam offered to go halves so I could actually afford one (lol) and so I choose the Capri Blue Henri Candle, thanks to it's cute, floral/paisley print and delicious scent of tropical fruits, sugared oranges, lemons, limes, pineapple, verbene and coconut! It's a soy candle too so no mess, totally clean burning and the charming pot will be super handy afterwards.

My hair is pretty short and shit atm and so I find anything that distracts myself from wanting to chop it all off ala-Emma Willis or bleach it platinum blonde is an absolute bonus.  I decided my main 'treat' of the trip as it were would be a headband, or dolly bow! Anthro do the nicest ones, that actually  fit my head properly and actually look really nice. I found the mustard, woven headband from Emin and Paul complimented most of my wardrobe and my red-ish hair! I'll definitely be saving for more too, the Poppy dolly bow is gorgeous!

Have found a sale rail, I naturally wanted to see if there was anything on it that I could actually afford, of course it was still all crazily priced but I did find the Callas Faux Fur Cardigan which I knew after much deliberating between that and another style, needed to join my wardrobe. I sized up to a L and love wrapping myself in the pure softness of this shrug. It works with dresses, vest and skinny jean combos and I have not stopped wearing it since I bought it.

Do you like Anthropologie?


7 April 2017


When I was a child, I had large, rounded eyes which you can see in this picture I uploaded to Instagram on Mother's Day. As I have gotten older and my face has changed and matured, my eyes have become hooded and teeny tiny. I barely have an eye-lid and if I don't wear some kind of eye makeup, i'm not sure if you'd be able to see my eyes at all! 

Okay...Complete exaggeration there but you get the jist! 

This brings me nicely onto the fact that mascara is one of my holy grail beauty products as it helps  to open up my eyes and add some definition to my face. 

I have recently been giving the new Rimmel 'Volume Shake Mascara'* a whirl. Rimmel markets this product as a first-to-market patented shaker system that refreshes the formula when needed - goodbye dried up mascara and hello satisfying 'pop' as the brush retracts from the tube! Apparently this is breakthrough technology.

Here's what I thought...

The packaging is bulky and pretty heavy as it contains a shaker that you can give a little rattle before each use, it makes a satisfying sound. The brush itself is made from a bristled material and is again quite chunky (Not particularly brilliant for my tiny eyes, er hello smudging!) I prefer those plastically applicators on a thin wand as opposed to the phat ones, think Maybelline colossal lash etc. 

Now, my gripe with this product is that the tube does not reduce in size so that excess product can not be wiped off by the tube before application, instead, as you pull the want through the wide neck of the tube - what is on that brush is darn well staying on that brush. Again, not great for miss small eyes here as I end up with a lot of wet, watery mascara all over my eyelids. And man, this formula is wet!

The formula itself is okay and staying power is pretty good and I hate to be so middle of the road with my description on the wand / packaging, but it hasn't wowed me because I just don't think it is geared up for small eyes and the practicalities of this make-up applying business. Yep, it fans out my lashes with a little work and gives a little volume but it doesn't give the effect of the mascara's I prefer, such as the L'Oreal Telescopic. I find myself applying the formula and going back over it with a drier mascara to avoid any smudging...especially on my bottom lashes!

So there you go, a 4/10 from me...You can find the Rimmel Volume Shake Mascara in the usual haunts, Superdrug and Boots and is priced at £8.99. 

What do you think to the Rimmel Volume Shake Mascara? 

Would you give it a go?


4 April 2017


I have to admit, I was suckered by the seriously satisfying apothecary-esc packaging, the blogger hype and a sample I was given to try when wandering by the Kiehl's counter a little while ago. Yep, I have succumbed to the blogger-sphere and added the Kiehl's Midnight Recovery Concentrate to my everyday skincare routine.

I have to admit, I certainly wouldn't look back either because this stuff is ah-mazing.

At £38 it's a seriously spendy oil, but a little really does go a long way, and I've read in numerous places that using merely one to two drops per night will make the product last up to a year. 

Originally saving for the iconic Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair, I bought the MRC thanks to its 99.8% of natural ingredients and replenishing properties such as oil of evening primrose, lavender oil and squalene, Kiehls' signature botanical lipid which helps preserve hydration. 

Other vegetable oils such as rosehip, jojoba, rosemary, rose, sunflower, coriander and geranium are also included, so of course there is no room for mineral oils, silicones, parabens or synthetic perfumes.

Kiehl's describes the MRC as

 "a replenishing elixir of pure essential oils and distilled botanicals
to visibly restore the appearance of skin by morning..." 

and it can be worn alone or with moisturiser. Every night I cleanse my skin with a cold cream and a warm flannel before pressing a few drops of the oil into my forehead, chin and cheeks and applying a generous amount of my favourite night cream, the oil of evening primrose moisturiser from Boots.

The oil is intended to restore the appearance of the skin while you're asleep so that you wake up with seriously plump and radiant skin - and I can vouch for that.

Regeneration skincare like this work to make the skin smoother while hydrating the lines and wrinkles as well as healing any imperfections. It is best suited to those who are starting a serious skincare routine as it's tailored to anti-ageing. If you're looking to take a more serious interest in your skincare, I 100% recommend this.

Have you ever tried anything from Kiehl's?

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