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My Great Lengths Hair Extensions Experience




I am known for being very impatient with my hair. I'm lucky that I have really great, healthy hair but I get bored so incredibly easily. I grow it, I cut it.... but my goal and dream has always been to have really long locks. I had extensions earlier this year and although I loved them, the method of micro-loops wasn't the best for my hair type. When I was contacted by world renowned and celebrity favourite Great Lengths, I jumped at the chance to have keratin bonded extensions. I've had my extensions for just over two weeks now and although I'm still getting used to them, I thought I would share my initial experience with you all.

I had my extensions applied at Partners Paul Meekin in East Belfast. The award winning salon is well known for its amazing cut and colours. Kerry-Ann (pictured with me) does their extension work and has been applying Great Lengths for over 8 years. I felt very safe in her capable and knowledagble hands. My whole hair was coloured black to match colour 1 which is the deepest black the Great Lengths range do. My hair was at that awkward shoulder length after growing out my bob so Kerry-Ann opted to apply 40cm extensions to my hair that could be texturised and cut into in order to blend my own hair in. Application was easy as the extensions come pre-bonded allowing Kerry-Ann to simply lightly heat the bond and roll this into my own hair. I have 125 bonds in my hair which I am told is quite a lot but this is due to my own hair being so thick. I also have some extra bonds at the salon which I might get put in if I want it even thicker. On average, most people usually get between 75-100 bonds. My hair took just over 2 hours to apply which was very fast. Kerry-Ann then cut it. Many people are good at applying extensions but not many are great at cutting them! The cutting really made them blend into my hair and feel like my own hair. I was so impressed with the service at Partners and would highly recommend the salon- every one was very welcoming and friendly. The salon is really fun and easy going plus they have the coolest hair washing station ever. I suggest you go for a blow-dry just to experience it! Kerry-Ann curled my hair with GHDs and this stayed in for a few days. The joy of extensions is the hold- they really require much less maintenance than real hair! The hair is a stunning quality and easy to brush. I was kindly gifted the Great Lengths gift pack by the salon- they gave me the Great Lengths Daily Moisture Shampoo, Conditioner, Anti-Tap, leave in conditioner and brush. The brush is really outstanding- you can brush from root to tip like normal hair. 

A few days after having my extensions I travelled to America. I knew this would be the test of working with them away from my straighteners and blow-dryer! I tended to half dry them with the hairdryer then leave them to air dry. The fab thing about Great Lengths is that they adapt to your own hair type. As my hair is naturally curly, they move with that. In the very America picture above, they had been left to air dry and I loved the effect. It was really natural and I felt like a mermaid. I also absolutely adore them up- you cannot see the bonds at all due to Kerry-Ann's expert application. She leaves enough of your own hair out of bonds in order to be able to put it up in a sleek bun or ponytail.

I know this is only the start of my Great Lengths journey- I'm so excited to play with them over the next few months and I'm so excited for my hair to grow underneath! I've got them at a perfect time as I have my birthday and graduation coming up- princess hair at the ready.

Many thanks to Great Lengths and all at Partners for my amazing new locks. 

For more information on Great Lengths visit: www.greatlengthshair.co.uk

To book a consultation with Kerry-Ann at Partners ring or visit their website: 028 90 455444www.partnersbelfast.co.uk

*Although Great Lengths paid for my extensions, all opinions are my own

Falling in love with Boston





I'm so lucky that I get to visit amazing places. I have just returned from Boston after a 6 day tour with Belfast Community Gospel Choir. I adore travelling with the team as we get to see and experience things that normal tourists wouldn't get to. From singing in baptist churches to the State House, I fell in love. Boston has truly captured my heart and out of all the places I have visited in America, I felt so at home here. I would highly recommend it for a trip and I can't wait to go back on a holiday! 

New beauty brands at M&S




I'm not shy about my love of M&S. It's a brand I feature regularly. I love their clothes and I adore their food. I've been brought up on M&S and now it's a staple of my daily life. I've watched with great joy as their beauty department has grown. I love their own house brand, Autograph. Their eyeshadows and bronzer are some of my favoruites on the market. But now, the beauty department has expanded and features some of my favourite brands and some hard to find items. 

I particularly love the beauty department in M&S Sprucefield as it's really large- it's like going into a Space NK store! M&S kindly allowed me to pop in and pick up some items from the new ranges to test out. I firstly picked up some items from the brand Pixi. This brand is a skincare favourite, especially for their iconic Glow Tonic. One swipe of this post cleanser, leaves the skin refreshed and renewed. It definitely has made my skin brighter. I also picked up the Pixi Glow Mud. This cleanser has a nice texture and leaves the skin feeling really clean. Pixi also have a range of makeup. As I am the queen of brows, I had to try out the Pixi Natural Brow Duo. I picked up the dark brown version and I am in love. One end is a waxy angled pencil and the other is a firm hold brow gel. I have used this everyday since I got it. Firmly, a favourite not only of this haul but of the year. 

Whilst I was in Sprucefield, I also noticed their giant wall of nail products. From Morgan Taylor to Nails Inc, I don't think there is a colour they don't have. I picked up the Nails Inc Kensington Caviar set as I was in need of a good base and top coat. I've been trying these out and they are fantastic- again another hero product of this haul.

A brand I was surprised to see in M&S was Barry M. It's a brand I've loved for years (and I own at lease 20 of their nail polishes!). It's such an affordable line but doesn't lack in quality. I picked up the Barry M Chisel Cheek Contour Kit after seeing Mary Greenwell use it in an M&S tutorial (see below!). The colours in this are excellent for a light/medium skin-tone. They are grey toned making it easy to contour and the handy packaging is a lot like the Urban Decay Naked Palette. I also picked up the Barry M Natural Glow Palette 2. This has lovely eyeshadow shades in it that can easily go from day to night. It also has a glowing cheek colour that is somewhere between a highlighter and a blush. The best bit about these two palettes is that they are £6.50 each. The contour palette in particular is so like many high end products I have tried- a definite must-try bargain.



And lastly, another new brand to M&S is Bourjois. I know and love this brand but I often get over-whelmed in the drugstore. The M&S edit is a little smaller. I picked up a Bourjois Rouge Editon Velvet in Nude-ist as I always hear Vivianna Does Makeup raving about them. They are a liquid lipstick with great staying power. This colour is very Kylie Jenner and I like the texture of it. It's great if you are like me and constantly drinking tea in work! I also picked up the Bourjois Healthy Mix Serum Foundation. I think I was late to the party on this one and I now regret it as I LOVE it. It's a great everyday foundation- medium coverage, lovely texture and looks natural. If you love Laura Mercier Silk Creme, this is a must! 

M&S is definitely my new beauty spot to hit- looking forward to trying more of their brands (and definitely lots more from Pixi) over the coming months!

M&S Beauty is available in selected stores and online at http://www.marksandspencer.com/c/beauty 

The blanket coat


I love a blanket cape. They are so comfy and cosy but a little impractical. I have a few of them that I love to throw on if I'm in the car but for walking about on a windy day, they can flap about a lot. I immediately fell in love with the Warehouse Check Blanket Coat, £90* when I spotted it. It has a great mix of colours- cream, grey, brown and black meaning it can be worn with almost anything. It has fun fringing around the edges and unlike a blanket wrap, it has sleeves. It's so warm and perfect for my upcoming trip to Boston. 

Many thanks to the team at Warehouse for my beautiful new coat. 

Learning to love mineral foundation


I've been scared of mineral makeup for a long time. Largely because I associate it with people who have perfect skin or older ladies who don't want much coverage. However, I've been pleasantly surprised with some mineral products that I have been trying recently that go against my perceptions. All three have good coverage, are easy to apply and have a lovely finish. 

Jane Iredale Glow Time*, £39.50
I had heard about this via loads of makeup artists and had heard my the lovely Deborah rave about it as she stocks Jane Iredale in her salon. The only way to describe this mineral BB is as a baby version of Estee Lauder Double Wear. It has the best coverage of any mineral product I've ever tried. It applies easily, has a lovely texture, a lovely fruity scent and also has the added bonus of SPF 25 in it. This is perfect for anyone with dry skin- I found I got longer out of it if I powdered it. Without powdering, I got a little oily around the T Zone area. It's a great alternative to heavy foundations and has much more skin benefits than a regular foundation.

Physician's Formula Mineral Wear Powder*
I have been using this for a long time. Physician's Formula is available in America and in some places across the South of Ireland. I love this mineral powder for two reasons. Firstly, it's in a super easy to carry compact. Some mineral powders that are in loose format annoy me as they get everywhere. This has a small brush and mirror which are very handy. Secondly, the formula of this product is fab. It's very finely milled making it perfect to set foundations or concealers. I love using this to set my T Zone when using the Jane Iredale Glow Time. I carry this with me in my bag- it's a great powder because of its light texture. Depending on what I am up to, I can wear quite a lot of makeup. This doesn't add any heaviness to the skin but instead is as light as air. 

Young Blood Liquid Mineral Foundation*, £32
I was recently gifted this foundation from Destination Skin in House of Fraser Belfast. I have visited this clinic before for microdermabrasion (you can read the full review here). It's a great, very professional clinic. They found that many of their clients wanted to have a wee something to cover up any redness from treatments but after peels and dermabrasion, the skin should be left without heavy makeup. In arrives the brand Young Blood. The light, liquid mineral makeup is perfect to cover up any red patches post treatment so you can go about your day shopping without feeling naked. I have been testing this foundation for a few weeks. I really like the texture of this and unlike Jane Iredale, I feel like this is much better for more oily skin types. The colour range is great- mine is very yellow toned to suit my natural complexion. I definitely recommend this as an everyday foundation. I apply mine with my Beauty Blender and it looks so natural. I would also recommend this for younger girl sor people who struggle with acne or heavy makeup breaking them out. Young Blood can be purchased in Destination Skin Belfast.

Let me know your mineral foundation recommendations in the comments below or by tweeting me @GemmaLEBond. 

Style Showdown with George at Asda

I'm always game for a challenge so when George at Asda asked me and two other ladies to have style showdown I was more than game. Myself, stylist and Cool FM Presenter Rebecca McKinney and blogger Louise Vance from The Real Elle Woods were tasked with picking two outfits from George at Asda for £75 (which we were kindly gifted with). One of the below outfits will be displayed at Belfast Fashion Week's High Street Night which George at Asda is taking part in. It's all a bit of fun that we've had a great time taking part in!



I love George at Asda- it's a brand I've featured many times on the blog. Their jumpsuits have been my go to for many years! Their trends for this season are wearable and affordable. I picked two different looks. One is relaxed and fun with the other being more dressy and formal.


Look 1
I tapped into George at Asda's 'Wilderness' trend. It's 70s boho chic on steroids for the autumn/winter.  I teamed the Crochet Trim Top in Navy, £14 with the Faux Fur Gillet, £25. The top also came with a cute necklace that I am also wearing. I think this is a really easy and fun trend to tap into. The faux fur gillet is a real stand out piece and I can't wait to layer it more coming into the winter. My jeans are the Lucy style from Simply Be and my boots are by Ash.




Look 2
I actually wore this outfit to work! The formal jacket with faux leather lapels, £25 was great to throw on for work and made the outfit look much more pulled together. The top was £14 and I picked it because it's such an easy piece to wear. Sparkly and fun but still very wearable. It looks much more expensive than £14 and adds a little bit of festive glam to a working day! My trousers are old from Primark and shoes are also old from Heaton's.




Many thanks to George at Asda for having me take part in the challenge. Let me know which outfit you would choose below or by tweeting me @GemmaLEBond.