Hair Update

If you have been reading my blog since 2013, you'll know it is my mission this year to grow my hair. I've had my hair all shapes and colours but I've realised I love my natural curls and I would like to embrace them! I've been working hard on keeping my hair in good condition and I can really see my hair beginning to grow... finally!

The cut and colour
I made a very wise decision to stop home colouring my hair. Yes, shock horror, I was a box dye addict. I've been going grey since I was about 14 so I have been home colouring my hair for a long time. I was sick of the colour build up and how this was weighing my hair down so I went in search of a new hairdresser. I opted to go to Belfast's blogger's favourite combo: Aidan & Erin at Stafford Hairdressing, Lisburn Road. I have seen Aidan do some many amazing hair transformations so I knew I would be safe in his hands. Number 1) He is the most lovely person ever and number 2) he does not muck about! He was frank about my hair and the state of it from box dying but was positive that he could work his magic. We decided that he would hand paint balayage (think a much more subtle, natural ombre) on the ends in a warm brown and continue to fill my grey in at the roots. He did an amazing job and I've been back since to have my roots touched up and a colour "gloss" to keep the balayage looking fab. Erin did my cut and she cut it EXACTLY how I wanted it. I have very curly hair which hadn't had a good cut in a long time. She gave me some layers and chipped into my bangs to make them sit better. She also does a fantastic curly blow-dry! I feel like I'm truly converted to the world of salon colours. It has also been lovely to actually relax for a couple of hours. 

The products
I have been absolutely loving a number of things. Firstly, the Bumble & Bumble Curl Conscious Shampoo & Conditioner has been the best investment. I have tried so many shampoos targeted at curly hair and they've left my hair greasy/flat/weighed down by product. Bumble & Bumble is expensive but it is highly concentrated meaning that it last an incredibly long time. My curls have been really revitalized and I'm looking forward to investing in more products from the range. I am also a big advocate of Dove haircare and many things from the VO5 range (namely the Oomph Powder which I have put in the hair of almost everyone I know!). I've also been trying to sleep with coconut oil in my hair once a week. Not great for my pillow but my hair seems to like it! 

I have been letting my hair dry naturally at least once a week with a large dollop of Dove Pure Care Oil through the ends to eliminate frizz. However, I do love perfect hair. I blow-dry my hair at least once a week using my GHD Size 2 brush. I try to get this as salon perfect as possible. I then curl my hair with VERY old ceramic tongs and set it to cool (see the picture above!) in clips. Lots of Elnett and a bit of a shake and pulling about with my fingers follow and what I'm left with is a big blowdry which I can get 3 days out of (okay...the third day is really pushing it and requires a BIG amount of Batiste XXL dry shampoo!). At my friend's recent wedding I did a really extreme slicked back bun. I do love my hair off my face but boy, do I need to be sure my makeup is flawless! 

If you have any hair recommendations for me, let me know! Hopefully by Christmas my hair will have grown down to length I want.

That Belfast Girl

Getting the Kylie Jenner pout

Everyone seems obsessed with Kylie Jenner's lips at the moment. The teenage beauty has blossomed into a very curvy young woman lately and her Instagram has seen its fair share of controversy over what she is wearing (or not wearing!). However, I think she's pretty cool. She doesn't follow the typical fashion of her Kardashian sisters and definitely dances to the beat of her own drum.

To recreate Kylie's lip look you will need to find the perfect brown-pink lipstick. These come in dozens of shades from many brands but for my tutorial I have used 077 Asia from Rimmel. I think this is a very good fit for many skintones. The key to this look is a really good lip pencil. You will need something which is rich in colour. I have used the Maybelline Colour Sensational in 630 Velvet Beige. To recreate her lip look, you need to over-exaggerate your own lip-line around the top edges and cupids bow. Make sure your pencil is nice and sharp to give a more defined look. Then proceed to fill your lips in with the lip pencil. This will create a nice matte base for the lipstick. Then top the lips with Asia by Rimmel (or your fave nude). The secret to this pout is making sure to lock all of this in with a matte powder. You don't want your "enhanced" lips to slide away! It also will add to the matte look which Kylie prefers. I used the George Silk Finish Pressed Powder (which is really good value for money!) over the lips for the perfect matte, glam pout. 

Let me know if you try out the Kylie pout!

That Belfast Girl

Italian Delights at Filini

Italian is by far my favourite type of food. I think I am Italian sometimes. I watch too much Nigella (who also likes to think she is Italian), my name means "Little Gem" in Italian and Italian men are also pretty easy on the eye.... 

When I was asked did I want to come an Italian restaurant with one of the best looking menus I had seen in a long time, I jumped at the chance. Filini is situated within the Radisson Blu Belfast which is located at the very handy Gasworks. I actually forgot just HOW handy it was. I went with my friend on the night I finished my post-graduate course as a little celebration. She parked at Limelight and we were able to walk over to the hotel. When you walk into the Gasworks it almost feels like a different world. Although it is in the city centre, it is so calm and serene. There is a huge pond and water-feature outside the hotel. The restaurant looks out on to this with ceiling to floor glass. It felt like a welcome change from the lack of views or extreme hustle and bustle from other restaurants. The restaurant is bright and airy. It does not feel like a standard hotel restaurant which can often feel very impersonal. 

We opted to visit Filini mid-week and the restaurant was quiet but still seemed popular with a few people on dates, girls night's out and business dinners. My friend does not eat gluten so it was interesting to see how she could manage the menu. I started off with some lovely flatbread and focaccia which I dipped into a super tasty balsamic vinegar and oil mix. The flatbread was amazing (so much so that I came home and investigated how I could make such a tasty treat.... needless to say, too much effort!). The staff were so lovely and brought my friend some gluten free bread so she could taste out the balsamic oil mix! We then had some of the Stuzzichini which are essentially mini starters/tapas style bites. I had the bruschetta which was light and tasty and my friend had olives. For the main meal I opted for a steak. I know, bit boring there G-Lou, but I always think a steak is a measure of a good restaurant. The rib-eye was absolutely massive and came accompanied with confit garlic and rocket salad. This in itself would have been enough but of course, I had to order some of the mashed potatoes with rosemary butter and garlic (Good thing I'm single... garlic galore!). The mashed potatoes were the most divine thing. I do have a real soft spot for mash potatoes in general but combined with the steak, they made the most comforting and satisfying meal. My friend opted for the swordfish. I must admit that I am not a fish fan but it looked lovely. She opted for a side of roast potatoes which were very more-ish! I must point out that the restaurant were also really helpful when my friend explained about being gluten free. They said they have gluten free pasta which is always good to know for anyone with that dietary need. We accompanied our meal with Pinot Grigio Blush which was light and sweet. It made a nice balance for amount of garlic we were consuming! 

After dinner, I have to admit I was very stuffed but no review comes without dessert. I opted for the Chocolate Tart (which was very rich and decadent) and my friend opted for the Pistasho ice-cream. Both were delicious and were a nice end to the meal. 

I definitely will be back to Filini as the setting and food combined to make a very pleasant evening. It would be the perfect location for a celebratory dinner or a relaxed Sunday lunch.

To book a reservation at Filini, call 028 90 434065.

That Belfast Girl

A drugstore dupe of By Terry's Ombre Blackstar

One of my favourite luxury brand offerings comes in the form of By Terry. Sold at Space NK, the brand uses high quality products in a hue of flattering colours for all ages. However, as it is a luxury brand, it comes with a luxury price-tag. My beloved By Terry Ombre Blackstar, which is essentially an eye-liner/eye-shadow stick combo, retails for a hefty £28. A huge beauty treat and a stunning product but a huge amount of guilt is usually attached if I use it too much! I've been on the lookout for a high-street alternative and I think I've come across a great dupe in the form of Gosh's Forever Eye-shadow sticks. The colour range of the Gosh sticks come are shockingly similar to the Ombre Blackstar shades. I picked up the Light Copper shade which comes off a nice wearable gold tone. This would be akin to a combination of number 4 (Bronze Moon) and number 11 (Beyond Gold) of the By Terry Ombre Blackstar. I have been wearing this on a daily basis as an all over eye colour and it has really made my eyes look more awake, alive and weirdly, much more green than usual! The draw of the Ombre Blackstar is the huge amount of longevity it gives. It literally will not budge! However, the Gosh dupe comes up fine in comparison. It still manages to stay put but wouldn't last from office to party in the way the expensive original would. 

All in all, a £5.99 well spent for eye-shadow lazy dolls like myself. I'm going to invest in more colours- less guilt and more money in my pocket!

That Belfast Girl

You Can't Hurry Love

The age old fashion drama: what does one wear to a wedding? Not just any wedding but the wedding of a fellow fashion blogger! My gorgeous friend Dawn and her lovely husband tied the knot a few weeks ago in Vegas and came home to celebrate with a Motown supper at the fab Cabaret Supper Club. It's not a place I would associate with weddings but it made the perfect venue. We had drinks up on the roof at the "Treehouse" and came down to the actual Cabaret room for the dinner. It was really cosy and fun. For the occasion, I somehow wanted to embrace the "Motown" vibe and did my best 21st century girl meets the 1960s look. I bought this dress in a very last minute dash to TK Maxx. Some of my blog friends are obsessed with TK Maxx and I've decided I want to try my best to get a hold of some bargains like them! I've always been somewhat dismissive of it because of the amount of effort which is often required but this week I picked up some amazing items. This Ronni Nicole dress cost me £15. I am trying to incorporate more colour in my wardrobe and I think I suit blue. It's also a really good length on me and who doesn't love a dress with sleeves?! I teamed my dress with my new favourite bag from H&M. This cost £19.99 and the quality is unbelievable. It reminds me of a lot of the bags you would see in Zara. It has a chain handle which I tucked inside. My shoes were a major bargain (and are quite comfortable!) from Heatons

Congrats to my beautiful friends on their marriage!

That Belfast Girl 

The eye brightening trick

I've had one to many late nights this year. I could blame it on my post-grad course but mostly, it's because I am 22! Time flies when you are having fun. A friend recently sent me a picture which said "No one remembers the nights you went to bed early" which is incredibly true. However, my late nights have been catching up with me. I've never been one for huge dark circles (unless I don't drink enough water!) but I am prone to very dry, tired eyes. I don't have the biggest of eyes (cue laughing from my friends who know I blink in every picture they take of me) so I have dabbled in white eye-liner in my teen years. However, my recent discovery of Rimmel's Scandaleyes in Nude has made my morning face look somewhat more pleasant. Before I rush out the door, I have been putting this in my inner third of my eyes with lashings of mascara. It has left me looking more alive and alert..... well, you have to fake it 'til you make it!

That Belfast Girl 

They're probably all out at the Hamptons

(10 points to you if you understood the Kanye related title). I am loving that summer is almost around the corner and I was delighted to be invited to the annual SPAR-B-Q at The Merchant Hotel. The Merchant Roof Garden has been transformed into a Hamptons themed summer area and made the perfect location for the BBQ, despite the changeable weather. Spar are a company I try to champion because it is so important that we try to support our local traders. They sell many products which are manufactured here in Northern Ireland- some of which I have sampled and they are delicious! I thought I would share my outfit from the event. It was a bit of a "sunny one minute and raining the next" night so I tried to work this into my outfit! I teamed a pink gingham shirt from H&M with my favourite Boden boyfriend jeans. I teamed this with my trusty Primark mac and comfy  Zara heels. Despite the weather it was a great event with fab food and lovely friends! 

I can almost smell the summer months. And I'm on count down until New York! Just under 3 weeks....

That Belfast Girl

My summer scent: Guess Girl Summer

The weather is really starting to pick up. For me, this means a few things. Number one: my eyes have been absolutely streaming from hay-fever which means for the first couple of hours each morning I sound like I've smoked 20 cigarettes and had a mad night out (I wish...). Number two: I've been getting the legs out at work... dresses and sandals, hooray. Number three: My perfume has changed. Oh yes. I'm a fragrance addict and when the weather changes I want nothing more than a fresh and summery scent to reflect this. I've blogged about how lovely Guess Girl is and I recently received the stunning Guess Girl Summer. If you didn't want to go on holiday before smelling this, boy will you want to go after! Guess Girl Summer takes all the beautiful musk notes of the original Guess Girl but tops this with citrus smells and top notes of bergamot, mandarin and neroli. As you can see I've been using this perfume a lot recently and I've received numerous compliments on how lovely it is.

A must try for the summer months!

That Belfast Girl