Bobbi Brown Ultra-Violet Eye Shadow Palette

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When it comes to makeup products I hoard, eye shadows are right up there at the top. I’ve got boxes of the stuff – most of which is a rainbow of varying shades of taupe. On a daily basis, I rotate between a handful of woody shades, which vary between stone and chestnut, with a shiny finish being the most adventurous I get.

DSC_0279So a palette focused on shades of purple and violet, finished in a variety of high-shine finishes isn’t exactly an obvious choice for me, but honestly, I’m obsessed with it.

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It feels like a departure for the Bobbi Brown brand too, which I normally associate with amplified nudes,  and natural finishes. The Ultra-Violet palette is anything but neutral. It’s a gorgeous celebration of colour – with shadows which are as gorgeous worn during the day, and then easily amped up for evenings.

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A mostly cool-toned selection of shadows, the Ultra-Violet palette feels like an introduction to colour, and I’ve been reaching for it regularly since it arrived, and I just love the mix of finishes in the palette, and the duo-chrome shades feel like they’d be at home in a (much more expensive) Pat McGrath Mothership palette.

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The shadows are soft, and almost creamy in texture, and the glittery ones are most effective when patted onto the lid with a finger. For day look, I love to smudge the light taupe High Fidelity over the lid, with a little Strange Magic (a taupe/violet duo chrome) onto the centre of the lid. If I’m looking for something a little more dramatic, I love blending Violet Hour (the glitter violet) into the lash-line for a little extra glitz.

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White Noise is probably the palette’s dullest shade – you’ll have comparable shades in other palettes, but it’s opaque and creamy, so ideal for a matte highlight or base shade.

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Strange Magic is by far my favourite shadow in the palette – photos do not do this shade a jot of justice. A warm taupe shade shot through with a violet sheen, this absolutely comes alive under lights, and it’s a wonderfully easy way to update your makeup for summer.

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Higher Ground is a warm-toned chocolate brown which almost touches on being Burgundy. Rich and creamy, this is a gorgeous liner shade for a little extra definition around the lash line.

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Electric Plum is a seriously saturated metallic which feels almost like a cream to apply. It smoothes on, and gives a real editorial edge to makeup looks, and it’s like nothing else I have in my collection.

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Violet Hour is another one of the shadows which looks 100 times better in real like than it does in photos. Another chrome finish, it’s dark purple and completely opaque in a single stroke. Absolutely stunning used in a smoky eye – I can’t wait to break this out all summer long!

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High Fidelity is a gorgeously silky finish, which gives lids a subtle gleam of definition – a perfect base for Strange Magic, it’s a workhorse shade which performs really well!

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Twisted Violet is an almost-frosted finish lavender, which for me, is probably the hardest shadow for me to wear. It’s undoubtedly beautiful, but it’s really quite light-toned, so it just feels little weird for me to wear over the lid. I’ve played around with more dramatic purple smoky looks, and it’s lovely in the inner corners as a highlight.

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Lastly is Black Velvet – a perfectly named shadow as it really does look and feel like velvet. Creamy and completely opaque, it’s a really great shadow, and looks absolutely beautiful in the lash line.

Bobbi Brown Ultra Violette Eye Shadow Palette is priced at £36.50 and is available here

Starskin Orglamic Pink Cactus 2 Step Lip Treatment*

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When it comes to facemarks, Starskin make my absolute favourites – they’re super hydrating and an absolute treat to use. Whenever I’m travelling, or the night before an event I’ll always pop one on to keep my skin in as good condition as possible. So, when Starskin sent over their newest release – their Orglasmic Pink Cactus 2 Step Lip Treatment, I couldn’t wait to give them a go!

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Packaged in the most adorable pink jars, the two part set is everything you’ll need for a plump pout all summer long. The duo is part of the ‘Orglamic’ range, which also includes a skin mist, a skin pudding and even masks. So if you’re looking for a summer-ready skincare line up, Orglamic might just be for you!

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The first step in the duo is the scrub. A light, fluffy foam, which is smoothed onto clean dry lips – Starskin has utilised pink Himalayan salt to smooth lips.  Not only does the salt work as an exfoliator, but it also accelerates healing, so if you’ve got any little blisters or chapped lips, this will have them healing quicker than normal.

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Once you remove the scrub (I use a warm, damp flannel) I pat lips dry and then apply a generous layer of the Overnight Lip Mask. It’s the dreamiest, richest, most nourishing balm you can imagine, and I love popping a generous layer of the stuff on every night before I head to bed. It feels rich and nourishing, without being too heavy. The formula is enriched with Murumuru Butter, Sea Buckthorn Oil and Carnauba Wax to repair and deeply nourish the lips, and in the morning lips feel absolutely brand new. On days when I’m working at home, I’ll use the mask too, as it means my lips stay feeling hydrated all day long!

Starskin Orglamic Pink Cactus 2 Step Lip Treatment is priced at £45 and is available here.

Henna Brows at Now by One Spa Edinburgh*

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When it comes to beauty treatments, there are the ones you need and the ones you want. For me, massages and manicures fall into the latter category, whilst brows are most definitely in the former. There is nothing quite like a freshly tended set of brows to make you look and feel like you’ve got your priorities in order, and mornings where I can brush through brow gel and go are always dreamy.

DSC_0166So, when Now by One Spa, situated in the dreamy Sheraton hotel in the heart of Edinburgh, got in touch to see if I’d like to try their new Henna brow treatment, and I absolutely jumped at the chance. By sheer coincidence, I’d been growing my brows out, and they were in desperate need for a tidy up, so I popped through to the salon on a Tuesday morning, to find out what Henna brows entailed.

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Now by One Spa, is a perfect spot to visit if you’re looking for a quick relaxation hit. There’s parking on-site, which means you can pop in without worrying about leaving the car, and there is even a gorgeous little cafe, where I sat and enjoyed a tea whilst buzzing through emails before my appointment. Like with all dye jobs, you will need a quick patch test with the henna (it takes about 30 minutes) then you’re good to go.

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My henna treatment may just be the most relaxing brow appointment I’ve ever had – nestled in one of the spa’s massage chairs, my brows were measured out, waxed, and then the henna is applied, and allowed to dry. The henna used in the treatment is Supercilium – a cruelty free, vegan product made of the very purest, finest henna. There are a selection of colours to choose from and the formula is painted on and left to dry, so not only does it tint your hairs, but the skin underneath too. This means your brows look super thick and groomed – the skin tint lasts about a fortnight, whilst the hair tint lasts about six weeks. The whole treatment took about an hour, and honestly, it was so relaxing I fell asleep in the (massage) chair, and I left with brows which were perfectly groomed – thick, angled and groomed, yet natural looking. It’s shaved off about 10 minutes of filling in and gelling each morning, and it’s a perfect spot to try if you’re after great brows in Edinburgh!

A brow wax and henna treatment is priced at £34 and more information is available here

Try it: Umberto Giannini Grow Long Grow Tonic

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When it comes to my hair, admittedly, I’m touch on it. Naturally my hair is mousey brown, wavy, and a bit blah. Since I was 13 I’ve consistently highlighted, straightened and product-ed my hair into submission, and admittedly it’s in need of a little TLC. Over the past few weeks, I’ve been making sure to take a little extra care with my strands in the effort to grow my hair a bit longer pre-summer. I’ve bought silk scrunchies to wear to bed, biotin which I’ve been taking daily (my nails are growing crazy-fast thanks to the stuff) and I’ve also added a couple of products to my nightly routine which are designed to encourage hair to grow longer and stronger.

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Obviously it’s not Rapunzel in a tube, but when I was in Boots the other week, I couldn’t resist picking up Umberto Giannini’s Grow Long Grow Tonic. It’s touted as bio-active hair growth tonic, it’s been specially formulated with natural ingredients proven to accelerate hair growth and hair loss. Obviously, when growing your hair as long and keeping it as healthy as possible, that’s the plan! I’ve been using the tonic nightly for about a fortnight, and although I can’t say I’ve noticed an incredible surge of new growth, it smells good (like coffee cake) it seems to make my hair feel stronger the next morning after washing, and it’s also completely vegan, which is good to know. Part of the wider Grow Long range, I’m tempted to give the scalp scrub and Grow Mask a go too!

Umberto Giannini Grow Tonic is priced at £10 and is available here.

Book In: Jazz Nights at New Chapter*

Over the past couple of years, it feels like the standard of restaurants opening in Edinburgh has skyrocketed. It feels like there are new spots popping up all over the place, so obviously, my supper wish-list grows pretty much on a weekly basis. The New Chapter had been pretty high on the list – sister restaurant of Otro (event review here) I had heard great things about the spot, so when I was invited to enjoy one of their weekly Jazz Nights, I couldn’t resist!

Tucked into a quiet New Town street, the New Chapter restaurant feels like a real institution. Tables are clustered around an intimate dining room, with chandeliers twinkling and conversation bubbling up. Jazz nights are held each Wednesday evening, and when we visited, the clientele were a mix of couples enjoying date nights and families chatting away as Robert Pettigrew and Kenny Ellis performed some truly wonderful jazz.

The live music was absolutely glorious – and we heard pretty much every other diner remark at how lovely it was to enjoy such talent. We were no different – I’m not usually the biggest jazz aficionado, but the two gentlemen’s talent was so wonderful to enjoy! Since I wasn’t driving, I got to enjoy a cocktail, and opted for the New Chapter take on an espresso martini. Smooth and gloriously boozy, it was the perfect accompaniment to sip alongside the great music and delicious food.

New Chapter pride themselves on the seasonal produce championed by their menus, so we couldn’t resist ordering the Hand-dived Orkney scallops, warm pork belly & black pudding terrine, bacon broth & crushed celeriac (£14). The presentation of the dish was absolutely glorious, and the mix of sweet scallop, and salty pork belly was incredible.

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I was thrilled to see octopus on the menu, so opted for the Grilled Octopus, brandade mouse, chorizo with wild garlic emulsion and Amalfi Lemon Dressing (£9.50).

An absolute love song to summer produce, I absolutely loved this dish. The octopus was perfectly charred and almost buttery in texture. It worked well with the spicy chorizo, and the brandade mouse brought a light savoury note to the dish. As beautiful as it was tasty, this dish really highlighted the talent on offer at New Chapter.

We couldn’t resist the sound of 35 days dry-aged Ribeye steak from the Borders, lamb’s lettuce & peppercorn sauce (£23). Served medium-rare, the steak was perfection – both incredibly tender and flavourful. The peppery lambs lettuce and peppercorn sauce were a great match with the rich meat.

The steak also gave us the perfect opportunity to add a side – parmesan and truffle chips (£5) which were out of this world good. Super thick cut, the chips were crisp on the outside and deliciously fluffy on the inside. The truffle oil was delicately scented, and paired perfectly with the salty parmesan. I’m not going to lie, I probably enjoyed more than my fair share, but they were beyond tasty!

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Even though I’m not the biggest seafood person, I couldn’t resist the sound of Halibut, crispy confit potato, mussels, charred leeks, mussels & olive oil sauce (£25), and I’m so glad I chose something a little different from my usual, because honestly, I’m still dreaming of this dish.

The chefs at New Chapter really know their way around seafood, and this dish was perfection. The halibut was a perfect anchor for the dish. It sat on top of a mussel and olive oil sauce which I could have eaten like a soup, and the mussels were perched on top like little tasty jewels. The charred leeks gave a delicious hit of flavour and colour, whilst the confit potato was absolute perfection – all crisp exterior and clouds of potato on the inside.

Even though we were more than full after enjoying such glorious dishes, we couldn’t resist a little dessert to round off the evening. We settled on the Caramelised apple terrine, calvados creme & apple sorbet (£7) first. Something between an apple pie, mille fuille and crumble, it was absolutely divine. The calvados creme was boozy enough to give the dish a kick, whilst the apple was fresh and zesty.

I opted for the rather indulgent Chocolate cremeux, mango, sea buckthorn curd, mango & yoghurt sorbet (£7.95) since I can’t pass by the mention of sea buckthorn without trying a little. It was a glorious end to the evening – the rich chocolate cremeux was silky smooth, and the mango and sea buckthorn gave the dish a lightness which stopped it from all feeling like a bit too much.

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As you can probably tell, we had an absolutely wonderful time at the New Chapter Jazz Night, and have been recommending it to pretty much every person I come into contact with. The music of Robert Pettigrew on piano and Kenny Ellis on bass was an absolute treat to enjoy, and the service we received was truly second to none.

Thank you so much to New Chapter for having us – you can find out more about the restaurant here.

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