Back to blogging…

Well hello.

It’s been a while hasn’t it? I can’t even remember the last time I sat down to write a blog post, it’s been that long. There’s good reason though, as life has been pretty busy around these parts as of late. I graduated, got a graduate job, left a graduate job (!!) and then landed a role in a company that I finally feel will start me of on the path I want to be on.

It’s been a pretty exhausting journey.

That being said, having come out the other end it actually feels quite liberating having the time to sit down now and actually write simply for the pleasure of it. It feels good to get back to blogging 🙂

Have any of you recently finished courses, begun the search for your first job or recently decided to change career? Let me know below, i’d love to hear your stories.

H 🙂 X

The Beauty Advice: What’s it like to work on a beauty counter?

Working on a beauty counter has been the most amazing yet exhausting thing on my CV to date. I started out working full time on counter on my gap year, and then dropped my hours down to accommodate university when I began studying. This week marks the end of my beauty journey, and I wanted to share my experiences with you in case you were thinking of starting a career in beauty or are just curious about what it’s like to work on counter.

The single most brilliant thing about working on a counter is the customers. You get to have such good fun meeting people, and no two days are ever the same. The customers are the reason I stayed in this job for so long, I just loved how interesting it was to meet people from all walks of life. Everyone has a story to tell and you’ll be surprised at how much people value being able to sit down, enjoy some pampering and tell theirs to you.

The creativity is also another amazing aspect of working on counter. I think this largely depends on the brand that you work for, but day to day the job is really productive, active and a very creative way to spend your time. I have done literally hundreds of people’s makeup, from brides to birthday girls to ballroom dancers. It’s an incredible way to learn some really good makeup artistry skills as no two faces are the same. If you’re thinking of a career as a makeup artist experience on counter is a must.

The sales are something I enjoyed. I was a really enthusiastic counter girl and I loved the products I was using on customers, so selling them came really naturally to me. I think the key to success in sales lies in two things. Firstly you’ve got to be passionate about the products you are selling and really love and believe in the brand you are representing. Secondly, you’ve got to absolutely have the customers best interest at heart. If you are genuine and give customers the information they want to know in a gentle way you will find success. But you have to listen to them and give them an honest answer. Half of the job is problem solving, and if you’ve got the product that will do that, great. If you don’t, be honest! A customer once asked me a for a dual eye shadow stick, which we didn’t do but a drug store brand did. I told the lady that and she thanked me and left. Less than five minutes later she was back and having a consultation with me using the high end products as she valued my honesty. She became a regular customer and that’s the kind of thing that’s really valuable in such a competitive industry.

That being said, the frustrating thing about working on counter is the sales. Your targets will literally never end. Every week and every shift you’ve got a target to meet which is then analysed and scrutinised by your management. It’s a hard job; it requires a steely determination and a combination of self-belief, focus and motivation in order to succeed. You’ve always got to be switched on, always got to be productive and always got to be making money!

I’ve really enjoyed the past four years on counter; it was a great experience and something I would recommend if you want a challenging part time job or a career in the industry. For me it was a brilliant experience whilst at university, I enjoyed the challenge of the role and it’s taught me so many transferable skills that employers want to see.

But now i’ve officially hung my pinny up and left the beauty halls to start the next chapter of my story.  If you have any questions about working in beauty tweet me @BeautyAdviceBlg or comment below.

 

Hannah

x

My Fashion History

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A frank and funny flashback to my most significant fashion faux-pass growing up.

The ‘Not-Quite-A-Hippy’ Look
One word: Rainbow. Yep, that’s right, rainbow everything. My wrists were adorned with brightly rainbow coloured, thin plastic bracelets. My handbag was a rainbow dyed hemp number with a strap so long it hit the backs of my knees when I walked. I favoured tie-dye over every other type of t-shirt and I had a pair of flares.  In my first year of secondary school, I was cool! I had a Zippy pencil case. My pens housed four different shades of ink! I pinned badges on everything, a mishmash mosaic of peace signs, colours, The Muppets and sayings like ‘Keep on Smilin’.  I was literally a walking rainbow.

The ‘Not-Quite-A-Skater’ Look
Sometime during my ‘Hippy’ face, Avril Lavigne had hit MTV armed with Sk8tr Bois, heavily kohled eyes and black baggy clothes. I think I can hail her as my first ever fashion icon. She was cool. Slowly, I started to make the transition from Hippy to Skater Girl. I kept the flairs but added a pair of converse and a black, metal studded belt. I kept only the black plastic rainbow bracelets and bought my first eye liner and a band t-shirt from HMV. I wore a black lace, fingerless glove on just one hand! I was majorly concerned about how would I keep the Sk8tr Bois away. Sadly though, I never did get the skateboard.

The ‘Not-Quite-Marissa-Cooper’ Look
Girls who were born in 90’s England will have been exposed to Marissa Cooper and ultimately witnessed the aftermath. There was pastel silk everywhere. I was heavily influenced by this ‘beach glam’ style in my late school years, though it’s important to note I was neither glam nor lived near a beach. I would plait my wet hair at night, then wake up extra early before school to style and curl it with hot tongs to achieve that beach babe look. I had hair mousse that I squirted from a can and scrunched into my curls to make them extra crispy. I had a fabric belt adorned with sequins which tied to the side of my hip with a ribbon. I wore cami tops with lace edging and detailing. I had a roll on gold glitter eye shadow. I had a gypsy skirt and wore ballerina shoes. This was the most girly I had ever been and it was fun!

I can distinctly remember the music that influenced my fashion experiments too. My Hippy stage was fuelled with music from Abba which I played on repeat none stop. When I was the loosest imitation of a Skater Girl I listened to Fall Out Boy, Green Day and Simple Plan. And then Imogen Heap and Vanessa Carlton played up the hazy summer days of pretending to be Marissa Cooper.

It’s so fun looking back on such distinct fashion decisions! What kind of styles did you experiment with when you were younger?

Top Kindle Reads: August

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Since finishing University I’ve had a lot more time on my hands to read, and the freedom of spare time means I have essentially been devouring stories! To aid me in my new favourite addiction I am the owner of a basic Kindle. Sometimes I miss the tangible aspects of books (does anyone else like the smell?) but this little gadget allows me to access books quicker, and more cheaply, than their printed counterparts. Today, as a bit of a break from beauty, I would like to present my top 3 kindle reads of August.

1. The Pact, Jodi Picoult. I’m sure you’ll have all heard of Jodi Picoult, the author behind cult classics like My Sisters Keeper. I purchased The Pact on a bit of a whim and this turned out to be the most deliriously addictive book of the bunch. The story is a murder/romance/mystery hybrid with a seriously engaging plot. I couldn’t put it down, reading before work in Starbucks, on my lunch and as soon as I got home. If you’re after a juicy tale, this is the one for you!

2. Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn. I’d seen various tweets about this book and decided to give it a whirl. The plot is narrated from two perspectives…with a bit of a twist. A psychological murder mystery laced with secrets and deceit, this book will have you shouting ‘whaaaat?!’ and leave you with a heap of unanswered questions to boot. The ending has been reported as a bit of an anti-climax, but I think there’s a hidden meaning behind it. A good one to try if you’re up for playing mind games.

3. We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, Karen Joy Fowler. This story is centred on a family who have lost both their sister and son, with a surprising twist. An honest and painful look into lives torn apart and left behind, this tale is both a tear jerker and an eye opener. A cult classic that’s definitely a conversation starter.

What books have you been loving this August?

Date Night Make-Up

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On the rare event where I get a Saturday off work, I like to mark the occasion by organising a date night. I love the rarity of a Friday date night; it’s so nice to be able to enjoy a relaxed, chilled evening with no sense of urgency for the next day. Tonight is Friday, and said date night (woohoo) so I’ve cobbled together my make-up staples for the occasion.

Base: I’ve recently purchased the Laura Mercier Silk Crème Foundation in Bamboo Beige. The creamy formula packs a punch with pigmentation and manages to look velvety smooth with a slight glowing undertone on the skin. Expect a full review here soon, but for now just know that this foundation is ticking all my boxes.

Bronze:  This chocolate scented bronzer is doing a great job of warming up my complexion whilst allowing me to cling on the tendrils of summer. The pressed bronze powder is a cult classic, with the matt-ish formula doing a great job of warming and contouring the skin. I have the lighter version of the product which allows me to distribute evenly over the skin, looking natural and fresh.

Lashes: I still haven’t found a better combination for lashes than two of the Benefit Cosmetics classics. First step; curling with the Tweezerman for Benefit Eyelash Curlers to achieve a pretty, lashy flush. Second step; apply a generous coating of They’re Real mascara. Thick, full curled lashes with length and volume are effortlessly achieved with this duo.

Lids: Another Benefit appearance but this time with the World Famous Neutral Palette in Glamourous. Six shades of honey warmed hues create the perfect combination of a subtly sexy eye. For evening I reach for My Two Cents, a copper cream shadow washed all over the lid, with Kiss Me I’m Tipsy, a deep bronze with a hint of aubergine contouring the crease. Very glam indeed.

Do you have any date night essentials?

Benefit Cosmetics ‘Majorette’

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I’ve never been a fan of cream blushers. I find the texture either too oily or dry and the finish either too greasy or chalky on the skin. Having said all the above, I think I have been converted into a bit of a cream blush fan by Benefit Cosmetics new launch ‘Majorette’.

The apricot blush is housed in a pretty pot, inside of which sits a pigmented peach cream dome. Texture wise this blush has just the balance, it’s firm but still soft and it’s smooth without being oily. You can dab this onto cheeks with fingers or a brush, and once the product has been transferred onto the skin it has a soft powder finish.

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Colour wise this blush is beautiful. It lends itself more to the peachy, coral tones but the best way I would describe it is as looking ‘healthy’ on the skin. It perks up the complexion, adds a hint of colour but is the type of shade that could be worn with any eye or lip combination. I found this product lasted all day on my cheeks too, bonus!

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All in all I’m really impressed by Benefits new launch, the formula is brilliant, the colour mimics a perky flush and has true lasting power. As with all Benefit’s products the packaging is really cute and even comes complete with a mirror! And as for the scent? It’s worth a trip to the counter alone; a blend of peach, apricot and citrus. Delicious!

What a Lovely event…

So last week I received an invitation to attend an event with Lovely Cosmetics. The beauty entrepreneurs have opened a pop-up shop with My Vintage Sister in the Winter Gardens in Sheffield and as a lover of the brand I could not wait to have a look around.

If you’ve never heard of Lovely Cosmetics before, they are a 100% natural cosmetics brand who make the most beautiful, vintage packaged products. From hair to lips to toes and tips they have all your beauty essentials covered.

I’ve currently got my hands on the Peppermint Lip Balm and the Avocado Cuticle Oil which are two of my beauty staples. I love the ethos behind the brand; cruelty free, 100% natural, feel good products. Ingredients are also sourced locally if possible, including the use of honey from of The Sheffield Honey Company.

Caz, one half of the duo behind the brand, welcomed myself and my plus one (my mom) to the event wearing a fabulous, vintage pink dress. We had a lovely time chatting about the products, hearing about the ingredients, the packaging and the best sellers. We may have even had a little sneak preview into the upcoming Christmas Collections.

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It was such an nice experience to enter the world of ‘Lovely Cosmetics’ in the pop up shop setting, the products have such unique branding and packaging and it was fab to be immersed in the personality of the brand. The Lovely Cosmetics pop up is shop is not around for long, it closes on August 30th so if you are in the Sheffield area head down ASAP to have a look around!

I even made a cheeky purchase to add to my collection, having been swayed by the most amazing formula and texture of the product. It may just be my favourite purchase yet, look out for a review coming your way very soon.

You can find information about Lovely Cosmetics and stockists here.

Hello Again…

So, it’s been a long while since I sat down to write a blog post. All for good reasons mind you; I’ve finally officially finished University! The past few months have been very hectic and full on. I had my last exam in May, and then went straight into an internship which I finished last week. I’m still not quite sure which was a busier time, the run up to finishing my course or beginning my internship… I kept my part time beauty job throughout both! I’m so glad I can now relax a little bit now. Hopefully the hard work will pay off in time, but for now I’ll let you in on a little secret… I achieved First Class Honours in my degree which is proof that if you want something and work your bum off, you can achieve it! So I’m now currently sat, with fingers poised and ready to begin blogging again. It’s nice to be back!

Hannah x

Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm

I will be the first to admit that the concept of a cleansing balm has always baffled me. Cleaning your face with oil rather than a frothy, soap based formula? Weird.

However, the skin care geek within was just too intrigued not to try these bedtime editions , and a tube of the Merumaya Melting Cleansing Balm soon found itself in my hands at a nod of £14.50.

Merumaya is a relatively new skincare brand and is currently only available through John Lewis and Debenhams. I nabbed mine of the John Lewis website, but these bad boys are selling out fast.

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Onto the product. The balm itself is housed in a squeezey tube which makes application super easy. Squeezing a blob of the caramel coloured formula onto fingertips is accompanied with the most delicious smell. The ‘signature blend’ is unlike anything I’ve experienced before with skincare; the most amazing mixture of spicy, sweet, almost nutty ginger aromas.

After you’ve inhaled the lovely scent, you rub the smooth balm all over dry skin and as you’re doing this it turns into oil. The oil melts away makeup and impurities on the skin and feels nourishing, smooth and gentle; almost a therapeutic experience. Adding a few drops of warm water emulsifies the oil into a light, milky texture which gets to work cleansing and cleaning the skin. You can also rub this gently across lids and lashes to melt away eye makeup. Yep, even stubborn mascara melts away without the need to tug or pull at lashes with stingy makeup removers.

I purchased the Daily Cleansing Cloths alongside the product, the textures of which are lovely; the surface is slightly uneven so provides a very satisfying exfoliating experience. You dip them into warm water and then gently rub the formula from the skin for an ultimate deep cleaning experience.

Repeat the steps for a double cleanse and your skin is left feeling soft, plumped and super clean. The product also makes your skin feel so incredibly nourished and hydrated.

I didn’t know what to expect from this product but I was blown away by the results; it has revolutionised my skin care routine and I love it. So much so that I noticed John Lewis had sold out of the balm a couple of days after I had purchased mine. As soon as it came back in stock I bought another one, just to be sure I’d definitely have supplies for the future.

What was that I was saying about being a skincare geek…?

Revlon Lip Butters

I’ve been on a lip mission this month. After bagging my coveted Revlon Matte Balms for a super pigmented pout, I decided that I needed to find the perfect natural rose colour for natural hued days. Cue the Revlon Lip Butters…

Now I may be a little late to jump onto the bandwagon with these ones but I have to say I’ve been seriously impressed by this lipstick formula. Sheer, glossy and provided a wash of semi-translucent colour, these lip offerings give you the perfect rose pout suitable for everyday ease.

Though my two shades look similar (got to have a choice right 😉 Macaroon is a slightly peachier brown colour that gives a deeper finish on the lips. I’ve been pairing this with a sheer base and brown gel liner to get a defined but soft look.

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Berry Smoothie is more raspberry toned and comes up slightly brighter and pinker on the lips. This is probably my preferred colour out of the two as it brightens and lifts my complexion instantly. I find I can wear most eye colours with this hue too, so it gets the thumbs up for versatility.

I also delved into the world of lip liners with this purchase, picking up the Revlon Liner in 10 Pink. I found it really easy to smooth and scribble this all over my pout and then slick on the Berry Smoothie after for an evening rose affair. Below is a pic of the combo I wore for a date night, and the liner stuck in place all evening.

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Have you used the Revlon Lip Butters before?