Mini Soap & Glory Haul – with first impressions

DSC00237

If there are two areas of make up I wish I had more skill in, it’s eyebrows and eyeliner. If you saw my video on You Tube talking about my make up goals for 2015 (linked here) you will know that one of them is to finally accomplish the winged liner look. I’m still not feeling anywhere near confident with applying it, but have heard lots of good things about the Soap & Glory liner. I’ve also been wanting to try the much-hyped Anastasia Brow Wiz and Hourglass Arch Brow Sculpting Pencil, and the Soap & Glory versions seem to be widely hailed as dupes for these. So when I was in my local Boots and these products were all in stock and on a ‘3 for 2’ offer (the two had never happened at the same time before!) I couldn’t resist a purchase.DSC00242From left to right, I bought the ‘Archery‘ in the colour ‘Brownie Points’ (£10), the ‘Archery Brow Pencil‘ in the colour ‘Hot Chocolate’ (£8), and the ‘Supercat‘ black liquid liner (£6). For reference, I would describe my hair (and eyebrow) colour as dark brown. A definite down side of the Soap & Glory eyebrow pencils compared to their high end counter-parts is the much smaller range of shades (essentially each one comes in two shades – brown and light brown/blonde).

DSC00239

I’ll start with Archery. This is double ended with a pen on one side and a crayon on the other. The pen is the very bottom swatch on the photo above, and the crayon just above it. I was surprised to find that the colours are pretty different, as you can see, with the pen being a much cooler brown and the crayon warmer. The pen ‘nib’ is very flexible, which I like as it makes for a more natural effect, but I found I had to apply a lot of pressure to get a decent colour pay off from the crayon.

The Archery Brow Pencil is also double ended, but this time with a ‘spoolie’ on one end and a crayon on the other. The crayon is the top swatch on the above photo, and is much darker than the colours in the other product. It’s also a lot thinner and therefore easier to work with. The ‘spoolie’ is excellent! For these reasons, and because the colour happens to be a much better match for me, this is definitely my favourite of the two. However, maybe I need more practice with this type of product, but overall I much prefer my current brow routine, using powder and a brush,

DSC00241

Onto the star of the haul for me, the Supercat liner. Initially I had reservations as when I swatched the product on my hand, there was a lot of ‘bleeding’. However, this did not happen at all when applied to the lids (I guess I must just have wrinkly hands!) The ‘nib’ is thicker than I’m used to and I thought that would make it harder to work with, but somehow this wasn’t the case. You can apply different pressures to get various line thickness, as the photo above shows. Best of all, I was magically able to apply a wing on my first attempt. It wasn’t a fluke either, as I did both eyes! It was nowhere near perfect but better than any attempt I’ve made using other products, and with more practice I’ve got high hopes! I would recommend this eyeliner to anyone who usually struggles with this kind of product.

Do you have any Soap & Glory recommendations? Comment below if you do!

Advertisements

5 Disneyland Paris Tips – for couples

DSC00235

My husband and I don’t mind admitting that we are huge Disney fans. I’d say we have visited Disneyland Paris more than your average adults and therefore have some wisdom to share! A quick internet search, and you will find plenty of advice for families visiting Disneyland Paris, which is to be expected as clearly they are Disney’s biggest customer. However, the advice I’d give to couples is very different and so for first timers or veterans alike, here are my top 5 tips.

1. Travel by Eurostar

In larger groups this is unlikely to be the most economical option, considering that if you go by car (through the tunnel or on the ferry) the price is per vehicle rather than per person like on the Eurostar. However, it is so convenient if you live within a reasonable distance from London/Kent, that when there are just two of you, I’d say it’s the only way to travel! Marne-la-Vallee station is so close to the park, it might as well be in it. You can therefore walk to the park straight off the train, but if you have heavy bags there is also a free shuttle to the onsite hotels (which brings me on to my next tip!)

Bonus tip: if you book tickets as soon as they are released (which I think is 6 months in advance) you can get them for £72 return per person.

2. Stay on site

Yes, this is a more expensive option than staying in a hotel outside of the park. However, a trip to Disneyland Paris is expensive regardless and if you have decided to splash out on the trip in the first place, in my opinion, you may as well go all out! Having said that there are 7 themed onsite hotels, with huge variability in price so there are more ‘budget friendly’ options. Why stay on site though? For me, there are two reasons. The first being practical; if you are staying for a short time (which most people do when visiting Disneyland Paris) the hotels are very close to the parks and Disney village (with restaurants and shops) so it’s nice to be able to ‘pop’ back to your hotel without wasting precious time travelling. You also get extra perks such as access to the parks an hour before the general public. The second reason comes from my general love of Disney; if you stay on site you are constantly surrounded by the Disney magic! Our favourite is Sequoia Lodge with it’s theme being inspired by America’s National Parks. It’s especially cosy in the winter as the bar area has a huge open fire, which is lit most of the day at this time of year (which again, brings me on to my next tip!)

3. Go in the Winter

As a couple if you have the flexibility of not having to travel during school holidays, and you don’t mind the cold, then winter is the time to go! You’ll find it’s much cheaper and the parks are quiet. There are still enough people around for there to be a good atmosphere, but in our experience there is barely any queuing. Most, if not all rides seem to remain open too. Wrap up though! We tend to go in February when there is often snow and/or temperatures well below freezing. I’m talking thermals, snow boots, layers, gloves and woolly hat weather!

4. Sign up to the official mailing list

This tip is actually not exclusive to couples and I would recommend this to anybody who is planning a trip to Disneyland Paris. You can sign up by visiting the website, here. You will be tipped off about upcoming special offers. Offers seem to be available at most off-peak times, but peak times too. The best value one we’ve used is the ‘Free half board menu plan’ saving us a lot of money on meals. If you are reading this when published (April 2015) they have this offer on now.

5. Use the concierge service

Another advantage of staying in an onsite hotel, is access to the concierge service. Some people may be surprised to learn that the parks have a selection of decent table service restaurants (i.e. not just the fast food counters and buffets). You can book any of these through the concierge service rather than traipsing around the parks and booking them individually. Popular favourites are the Blue Lagoon and Walt’s. So you can have ‘date night’ even when visiting Disneyland Paris!

Do you have any tips for couples travelling to Disneyland Paris? Share them below!

Favourite YouTube Workouts

DSC00232

If I’m honest, my dedication to fitness has been flaky in the past. I’ve been a gym member on and off for 12 years and have had tried ‘at home’ workouts with mixed results. But as my 30th birthday approached in 2013 it gave me the proverbial kick up the bum I needed to take my health more seriously. Since then I’m happy to say I have kept up with the regular exercise and been more aware of my eating habits, both with more consistency than ever before (*pats self on back*). I’m a member of a gym now and also regularly attend a Pilates class, but in 2013 I was not in a position to haemorrhage money away on a membership or class fees (I had a 30th birthday trip to Las Vegas to save for!) so this time around I started my fitness journey at home. You Tube fitness videos were an absolute blessing, so I thought I’d share my favourites with you.

The first two videos come from the channel ‘Fitness Blender’. Daniel and Kelli are a husband and wife team, highly qualified in fitness and nutrition. A quick scan through their website and You Tube channel, and it’s easy to see why they have over 2 million subscribers. There is literally something for everyone; cardio, focussed strength and toning, low impact, Pilates, yoga, and (my favourite) High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT). They continue to upload really regularly too. There are quite a few videos on the channel that I’ve tried, and many I plan to try in the future, but these are my favourites:

Brutal HIIT Ladder Workout – The clue is in the title. This really is brutal and probably not for beginners. Expect 20 minutes of high intensity repetitions including exercises such as jump squats and burpies (evil things!) It’s difficult, but you can ease yourself into it gradually by taking longer rest periods (well I did!) The advantage of this hard work for me, was seeing improvement in my fitness levels without having to workout for hours on end.

Natural Brazilian Butt Lift – Big toned bums may be en vogue at the moment, but Kelli was clearly ahead of the race as this video was uploaded 4 years ago! This workout lasts 35 minutes and if you are anything like me, your glutes will be burning by the end (or half way through!) Expect lunges, squats, bridges and more. I know this off by heart now so often do it at the gym. I’m still not ready to compete with Kim K, but I’ve definitely seen improvement!

The second two videos can be found on the channel Mike Chang’s ‘Sixpack Shortcuts‘. I will say I’ve seen some criticism online regarding inconsistency in the advice he provides in his videos (there are even spoof videos out there) and his channel seems to be primarily aimed at men. However, there are two workouts on his channel that have really worked for me, and he has over 3 million subscribers so he must be doing something right!

Extreme Six Pack Abs Workout & Intense Cardio and Abs Workout – When I do these videos, I do them together. They are 12-15 minutes long but the actual exercise part is around 5-10 minutes in each (he likes to talk a lot!) Expect rotations of focused abs exercises including toe touches, mountain climbers and half burpies (those evil things again!) Prior to our Vegas holiday my husband and I did these almost every day for 8 weeks and for the first time in my life I actually had the beginnings of a six pack! In other words, if you eat right too, these work!

Leave a comment if you have tried any of these workouts, or if you have any recommendations.

My Little Dream Box – a quirky beauty subscription

DSC00206

My Little Box is the first beauty subscription box that has made me part with my cash. I’ve dabbled in beauty boxes before having received a three month subscription to Glossy Box and a one off box from Look Fantastic as gifts, and really enjoyed both of them. However, I haven’t been persuaded to sign up for a subscription myself – until I found out about My Little Box that is.

DSC00209

So what made me sign up to My Little Box? The subscription contains French beauty products – a market I have been interested in ever since I discovered the ‘magic’ of Micellar water. Even better – the box always contains fashion or lifestyle accessories too so you are getting more than just another beauty box subscription. All this for £11 per month plus £3.95 postage and packaging makes it competitively priced. I’m on my third box, and each one has had a different theme. All have been winners as far as I’m concerned!

DSC00210

Onto April’s box – the My Little Dream box. It came beautifully packaged as you can see, and contains a card with a Walt Disney quote. All boxes so far have included inspirational quotes, and being a huge Disney fan this is my favourite yet! Also included, as is every month, is the My Little World magazine. Always well worth a read including beauty and lifestyle tips.

DSC00218

The beauty products always come in a cute little canvas bag, which makes a lovely keepsake. As with other subscriptions, there seems to be some variability between the boxes which makes it a surprise even if, like me, you are addicted to reading blog posts about subscription boxes, or watching unboxing videos on You Tube!

DSC00224

This month I received a Loved by Lou Lesage tinted lip balm (worth £8), a Cowshed wild cow body lotion (worth £18) and a My Little Beauty hair mask (worth £7). My Little Beauty is a company created my My Little Box themselves, and they include a product in the box every month. The box also contains cards explaining about the products and are beautifully written, telling a story rather than being purely factual. These cards come in very handy when a lot of the time the writing on the packaging is in French!

DSC00213Onto the ‘non-beauty’ content. First up this month is a stamp with ink (worth £8). This box is definitely a good pick for lovers of both beauty and stationery or crafts, as there have been previous items of this nature.

DSC00214Keeping with the positivity theme the stamp is full of both inspirational and practical phrases, in French and English.

DSC00215Finally, was an exciting little package! The way items in this subscription are presented is another draw of the box for me – always very girly but stylish.

DSC00217Inside is a beautiful pendant on a cord necklace by the designer Delphine Pariente (worth £20). The card explains that ‘bonne etoile’ means ‘lucky star’. Even if the necklace is not to your taste as far as jewellery is concerned, it makes a gorgeous little trinket to display somewhere in your home – mine is currently hanging over my dressing table mirror.

The mathematically minded of you (not me – calculator required!) may have noted that the total value in the box is £61. So for value for money, originality and design – this is a great subscription service in my opinion. You can sign up for My Little Box here (not an affiliate link). Let me know your thoughts if you decide to sign up, or are already subscribed!

Welcome to Victoria Jay life!

For my first post, I thought I’d tell you a little bit about me, and what to expect from this blog.

After much dithering, I have finally decided to start a blog. It’s ‘kind of’ an extension of my You Tube channel (linked here). I say ‘kind of’ because my channel is mainly beauty related with a little sprinkle of fashion and lifestyle. I have so many other loves that I often feel inspired to share with others, and I thought a blog would be the perfect place to do this.

Beauty will still feature on this blog, as it is one of my main loves! But you will also find reviews, hauls, wish lists and more, on other subjects. Below is a more specific list of more of my ‘loves’ so you know exactly what to expect:

Fashion, Restaurants, Travel, Food, Fitness, Shopping, Home Decor, Musicals, Cats(!), Days Out.

I don’t plan to have a specific schedule. Blogging and You Tube are a hobby for me, to be fitted in around a full time job and other responsibilities. But I promise to upload as often as I can and keep posts varied and interesting!

So, I hope you join me on my blogging journey by following my blog. I look forward to interacting with you in the comments! My first ‘proper’ post will be up before the beginning of May 🙂