Semi-Permanent Hairstroke Eyebrows | What To Expect

Friday, November 27, 2015

Semi-Permanent Hairstroke Eyebrows

During my teenage years I serious over-plucked my eye brows. Since Cara Delevinge graced the catwalk and created an nationwide obsession with the perfectly shaped, natural looking brow I've been trying to grow mine back.

Luckily most of the hair has recovered, although I've been left with sparse patches which means I've been pencilling them in to give the illusion of a perfect arch and square beginning.

Eyebrows are a big topic in my family, with my sister being a brow expert after working for Benefit and Laura Mercier, and my whole family have lovely, thick brows. Wanting to add definition, a friend recommend I meet El Truchan, a permanent make-up specialist based in Harley Street and Holborn, who specialised is Hairstoke Brows. This treatment involves tattooing imitation hair with a natural semi-permanent pigment to look like natural brow hairs.

Semi-Permanent Hairstroke Eyebrows Semi-Permanent Hairstroke Eyebrows

The treatment thickens and shapes the already existing brow and also stimulates growth on sparse areas. After stalking her Instagram and discovering she trained with the Nouveau Contour Academy, I made an appointment for a consultation but didn't really know what to expect, so decided to write a blog to outline the experience for anyone else interested in the procedure.

I met El at her Holborn treatment room after work and she instantly put me at ease with her laid back attitude and friendly personality. She talked me through the treatment whilst I filled out what seemed to be a never ending supply of medical forms, and after she checked everything was OK I started to explain the shape I wanted.

After showing numerous screen shots on my phone, El starting measuring the design on my face based on my features. She drew the design with a black pencil for me to check before she started, and I honestly thought I'd have to tweak the shape (I told myself before going to make sure I was 100% happy and to not hold back), but El had magically drawn exactly what I wanted!

Semi-Permanent Hairstroke Eyebrows

Together we chose a shade of brown to match my natural hair colour, and then it was time to lay back and relax. After applying anaesthetic cream to my brows, El opened the first of two needles - the first one is a larger needle that makes bigger strokes, whilst the second needle is finer to draw on the 'finishing touches'.

I was really worried the needles would hurt, but was surprised to find it slightly stung (a bit like getting scratched by a cat) but was totally manageable. And after she finished an initial sketch on each brow she topped up the cream which then fully numbed the area.

In total I think El went over each brow twice with the first needle, and then again with the finer needle to add smaller details. It took around an hour and a half, and I got to peak in the mirror half way through.

Semi-Permanent Hairstroke Eyebrows

After the treatment I couldn't have been happier! They looked super dark but El reassured me that the pigment would fade over the next few days. She talked me through the healing process, which in total takes 28 days, and gave me a balm to apply to help them heal.

The next day my brows were sore, but as long as I didn't touch them they weren't uncomfortable. The following day the pain had worn off, and they looked fantastic - I received SO many complements from my co-workers. The picture above shows how they looked two and three days after the treatment.

On the fourth day I started to develop little scabs which were super itchy. El warned me not to touch them as if I picked them off it can remove the pigment in my skin, so I resisted temptation and slavered on more balm.

Arcadia press day charlotte clarke

A week after and the scabs and dry skin had peeled, but I was horrified to see most of the hair strokes El had applied had disappeared! She warned me that baby skin would grow on top of the pigment and therefore they wouldn't be visible to the human eye, but I didn't believe they'd completely disappear! After a few frantic emails and numerous pictures, El reassured me that everything seemed fine and that the pigment would re-appear soon.

charlotte clarke charlotte clarke

It's not been almost 4 weeks since the treatment and the pigment is finally starting to reappear. The above pictures were taken this week, and baring in mind I have foundation on and no brow make-up, my eyebrows look super defined.

I have to say It took a while to get used to my new facial feature - I actually had dark, arched eyebrows even straight after the bath! I was really worried my boyfriend wouldn't like them too, but he said because they look natural he prefers them to the block colour I used to draw on.

charlotte clarke charlotte clarke

I'm booked in for a touch-up during early December when the healing process will start again, but after that my brows will be framing my face for 12-18 months until my next touch up.

If you are considering having permanent brows done then El is your lady! She created me an incredible individual style, and having looked through her previous client's pictures she's managed to create so many different shapes to suit each person's features and personality.

I'll post another update after my touch-up to show the end results, so keep your eyes peeled around Christmas time, but the above pictures are of my eyebrows yesterday and today, make-up free and looking fierce.

Wagamama Ramen Review

Monday, November 23, 2015

Wagamama RamenWagamama Ramen
Those who know me, or follow me on Instagram, will know I'm a huge ramen fan. Having worked in the centre of Soho for a few years, there's nothing I find more comforting than a big bowl of noodles and broth - especially on a cold winter's day.

So when Wagamama asked me to review their new ramen dishes, I was pretty sceptical. For the last few years I haven't visited the restaurant as I've fed my comfort food cravings with the likes of Bone Daddies, Tonkotsu and Dozo.

 Wagamama Ramen Wagamama Ramen

Last week Russell and I stepped in from the cold and sheltered from the rain at Wagamama London Bridge. I ordered their new seafood ramen, which is made up of sea bream, grilled tiger prawns and breaded tilapia - all served on a bed of noodles in a steaming vegetable broth and garnished with pea shoots, wakame and samphire. I have to say I was really impressed with the depth of flavours in the broth and found the dish to be fresh, fragrant and  hearty.

Russell ordered the new short rib ramen, which features tender beef short rib served on the bone on top 
of noodles in a fragrant chicken broth, finished with carrots, mangetout, red onions, sweet potato and pea shoots. Russell wouldn't describe himself as a massive noodle fan, however he found the rich BBQ flavour delicious and hardly looked up from his meal.

Wagamama Ramen Wagamama Ramen

Would we go back? Absolutely, we both enjoyed the dishes and would happily go back to eat them again. We were caught off guard as we honestly didn't think they would rival their competitor's rich flavours, but *hands up* we think they've cracked it with these dishes.

giraffe Restaurant Review

Saturday, November 21, 2015

I'll be honest, neither of us had eaten at giraffe before our review last week. We're both not too sure why, we hadn't heard bad things, but the restaurant hadn't managed to tempt us in previously.

We visited the Strarford branch and were greeted by very friendly staff. After order a few very strong cocktails (which were half price as we visited during happy hour) we started to study the menu. 
We were a little confused - there was every type of food on the menu, from Japanese inspired Katsu curries to American style Burgers and Greek style mezze. After a quick Google we discovered the resturant offers food from around the globe in a friendly and welcooming atmosphere. We remembered reading that Tesco recently acquired giraffe to transform their larger stores into destinations,  and soon realised giraffe is aimed at families with varied tastes, allowing them to all dine in one resturant.

In true restaurant review style we ordered three starters to share (pictures from the restaurant website above vs what we were served below).

The Hallumi Skewers (£3.85) were very tasty, and paired with the courgette, pea & mint salad was super refreshing. The "Firecracker" Chicken Tenders (£5.35) were overpriced for what they were. Coated in a sesame crunch coating and served with Asian slaw and a wasabi aioli, they didn't really taste of much which was a surprise as the ingredient list promised a flavour explosion. The mini mezze (£4.25) compromised of three falafel balls, tabbouleh and a smokey red pepper relish. Simple, but satisfying.

We ordered a main each and an additional vegetarian dish to review. The Firecracker Chicken Katsu (£11.25) was disappointing - the same chicken was used as our bland starter, the noodles were smothered in a VERY salty teryaki sauce and the drizzle of peanut and coconut curry sauce was so little it was absorbed by the coating of the chicken, making it mushy.

Russell's "Rodeo" Chicken Burger (£11.60) was good, but wasn't something you wouldn't write home about. Featuring grilled herby chicken breast, an onion ring, melted cheddar, grilled mushrooms and bbq sauce, the dish certainly filled him up.

Probably the most disappointing dish of the meal, the Green Veggie & Kale Enchiladas (£9.65) were a poor excuse for a vegetarian option. The menu stated they'd be packed with broccoli, kale, roasted sweetcorn and feta topped with tomatillo salsa, sour cream & crunchy seeds. I didn't come across any feta cheese or salsa throughout the dish, making the filling extremely bland. I couldn't help but feel jealous of those dining at Las Iguanas opposite, who's veggie options are full of flavour.

Would we go back? No, It's just not for us I'm afraid, but we can see the appeal for families.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Christmas Hampers

Thursday, November 19, 2015

 Berry Bros. & Rudd Christmas Hampers Berry Bros. & Rudd Christmas Hampers

Decadent almost by definition, hampers are perhaps the most luxurious way to present a gift, and with a selection including fine wines, spirits and artisan food, there's something for everyone. They're my go-to Christmas present for hard to buy for couples, and following in my mother's footsteps I always buy them from Fortnum & Mason or Harrods.

However, in the last few years both brands haven't offered many affordable variations, which has left me creating the hampers from scratch after raiding the food hall. With a dwindling supply of wicker baskets, I was pretty pleased when I came across Berry Bros. & Rudd's selection.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Christmas Hampers

Presented at their press day way back in July, I've been sitting on this secret for a while now. Starting at £35, I was surprised to see even the lower price point hampers displayed in beautiful packaging. Filled with mouth-watering culinary creations from around the world, there really is something for everyone.

I won't reveal the hampers I'm buying this year in case a nosey family member peeps on here and ruins the surprise, but you can view the collection here.

Berry Bros. & Rudd Christmas Hampers

Water Babies | Underwater Photo Shoot

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

water babies underwater photo shoot

In July my nephew Riley had an underwater photo shoot with Water Babies, and I couldn't resist sharing the photos. 

 Babies have a real affinity with water, and because they’ve spent 9 months floating in the womb, being in warm water feels much more familiar to them than being on dry land. However, this early confidence usually diminishes with time, which is why my sister started swimming lessons with Riley at a young age.  

water babies underwater photo shoot

The lessons focus on teaching water safety, and with drowning the third-biggest cause of accidental death among children under five in the UK, learning to get to the side, hold on, get out and/or swim could save your child’s life one day. These vital safety techniques can be taught from birth and we were happy to see Riley holding onto the side independently after his first term. 

My sister found swimming was fantastic for Riley's development, with each lesson providing a physical work-out and stimulating all 5 senses, and with each lesson burning up to 300 calories, mums and dads get a work-out, too. 

water babies underwater photo shoot

The shoot was based on activities from his normal lessons, with the photography carefully interwoven. The best time to photograph your baby us between 3 and 9 months old. Before then, they can be too small for the frame, and any later they tend to be such strong swimmers that it’s sometimes tricky (but not impossible) to get the shot. 

And forget the stories you might have heard, you can start swimming from birth - even the NHS agrees that you don’t need to wait until your baby has had his or her vaccinations before they go swimming. 

water babies underwater photo shoot