Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Benefit Gimme Brow Benefit Gimme Brow

Benefit Gimme Brow in Medium Brown
Benefit Gimme Brow
Benefit Gimme Brown

Benefit Bold Is Beautiful

So I popped into my local Debenhams last week for some routine brow maintenance, only to find that Benefit are running a quite amazing project. The Bold is Beautiful campaign aims to raise money for two charities; Look Good Feel Better which helps women and girls with cancer and Refuge which supports those affected by domestic abuse. For the whole month of May, not only are Benefit donating ONE HUNDRED PER CENT of their brow wax profits to these two charities but as a thank you to their customers, everyone who has a brow wax this month will get a full sized Benefit Gimme Brow absolutely free!

Brow Favourites

People who are regulars around these parts know that my holy grail brow product is the Mac Fluidline Brow Gelcreme which gives me the strong power brows that I love. The problem with such strong brows though is that they can look a little unbalanced, if not paired with a full face of products. As a makeup lover of course that isn't usually a chore but sometimes even us beauty bloggers fancy a slightly more natural look. If I'm honest, for me that involves a staggering amount of makeup skillfully applied to fake that bronzed, summery, no make up, make up vibe. It's a look I've always loved, but I've never really known what to do with my brows. Until now! 

What is Gimme Brow?

Benefit Gimme Brow is a clever little product. The packaging is perfect, like a sample size mascara with a tiny brush which allows for beautifully precise application. The product itself is a coloured gel which contains tiny little fibres which gradually build up your brows. Don't worry though, its a gradual process so you will only end up with a Cara if that's the look you're going for. For now at least Gimme Brow comes in just two shades - light-medium and medium-deep - but hopefully in time the shade range will be extended. 

How Does Gimme Brow perform?

I absolutely love this product. I use it much more often than I thought I would, in two quite different ways.  I either lightly pencil in my brows first then add thickness and definition with my Gimme Brow or  on more au natural days, I wear the Gimme Brow on its own for that I Woke Up Looking This Good fiction. Formula wise, it is water resistant enough to withstand the heaviest of April showers and lasts all day without fading, smudging or fading yet is easily removed with your usual night time cleanser - perfection!

Tempted? You can buy your own Benefit Gimme Brow for just £18.50 from the usual stockists but instead why not book in for a Benefit Brow Wax, do your bit for charity and get your Gimme Brow free as a thank you? It is a win-win guys!

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Monday, 11 May 2015

Monday's Munchies - Guilt Free Brownies Monday's Munchies - Guilt Free Brownies

Guilt Free Brownies

I am trying very hard to improve my diet and make it as clean as possible but frankly I am not very good at it and sometimes a little bit of something NOT so healthy, finds its way onto my plate (and very often into my glass!!!).

I try to stay positive though and concentrate on all the good choices I AM making and to be honest, it really isn't hard to choose the healthy option, when it looks as yummy as this plate of brownies. "Healthy?", I hear you snort but no joke, this plate of total nom-iness is sugar free, dairy free and gluten free. Please notice I did NOT say calorie free but each delicious bite is packed full of nutrients so it definitely is guilt free and that is good enough for me.

What goes into my Guilt Free Brownies? 

Here are the ingredients.

1 large sweet potato or 2 small (cooked and mashed)
100g coconut flour (or any other gluten free flour or self raising if you're not gluten-free)
3 dessertspoons of Agave Nectar
3 dessertspoons of Cacao powder
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract or you can add ground ginger or cinnamon, whichever you prefer really.
1/2 teaspoon of gluten free baking powder although again if you are not gluten free just use an ordinary one
100g nuts, whichever are your favourite, I used 50g each of pecans and hazelnuts but just chuck in whatever you have.
A dozen dates - pit them first obviously.

How do you make these healthy Brownies?

The best thing about these delicious treats is how quick and easy they are to make. Just pop all of the ingredients into a food processor, blitz for about 5 minutes then pop the mixture into a non stick baking tray or one lined with baking paper. Stick it in the oven at gas 6 for about half an hour and they are done. Actually not yet. It is important to leave these little beauties for at least half an hour before eating. I know it is hard, it is TORTURE actually but it's really important to let the flavours combine. Once they are cool, cut into cubes and prepare to be blown away.

Don't they taste a little ODD?

I absolutely know that the ingredient list for these Guilt Free Brownies is pretty odd. The first time I made them I really thought they would taste of POTATOES - until I tried them. Seriously if you make these brownies you will thank me - FOREVER! They really are THAT good. With this recipe, a brownie with your afternoon coffee doesn't need to be a guilty pleasure.

Have you written about a guilt free recipe that you could share with us? If you have, please share your link below. 

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Sunday, 10 May 2015

Controversy Corner - Victim Blaming Controversy Corner - Victim Blaming


I am a lifestyle and beauty blogger first and foremost. I started my blog to write about lipsticks, and learn how to photograph pretty things. That doesn’t mean though, that I am superficial and have a head full of glitter. I do have a brain, a mind that questions and a tongue that can and often does get me into trouble. This side of me is not the Jules most of you know but every now and then she wants to be heard. So let me introduce you to Controversy Corner - the space on my blog where the bolshier Jules gets the opportunity to say what she thinks about whatever topic takes my fancy. The views expressed in Controversy Corner may not always be the same as yours but that’s okay. We all are entitled to our own opinion and this is mine.

Victim Blaming 

Karen Buckley, a young Irish student, went missing from outside a nightclub, in Glasgow last month. Her body parts were later found on a farm just outside the city. From the newspaper coverage I know how much she had been drinking, I know what she was wearing and I know that she had left the club apparently willingly, with the man who was later arrested. I know none of these facts about him. 

A child victim of sexual abuse in Rochdale stated that her family were contacted by strangers who called her a prostitute and stated that her abuse was a "lifestyle choice'.

Adam Johnson, a Sunderland player was charged with three offences of sexual activity with a child and one of grooming. The child involved was immediately named on social media and her picture was shared widely online, with an onslaught of criticism of her appearance and presentation.

I believe there is something deeply wrong with a society that tries to blame the victim rather than the accused but it happens all the time.

One area where victim blaming is regularly seen is in cases of domestic abuse. It can be hard for those who have not been the victim of this type of crime to understand the psychology of the victim, why they hide the abuse, protect the accused, stay in the relationship. But why is this any of our concern? Lets keep our focus where it belongs, on the person committing the crime!!

When naked photographs of Jennifer Lawrence and Demi Levato were leaked on Social Media, my timeline was full of tweets from people who believed that if they were stupid enough to pose for naked photographs and store them online, then they only had themselves to blame. But surely the person to blame is the thief that STOLE them.

We are regularly urged to be careful not to drink too much, not to get private taxis, not to leave our drinks unattended, not to wear revealing clothing - the list goes on and on. Nowadays we have to take so many precautions before a night out with friends that it’s a miracle that we ever leave the house!!!

Obviously none of us should EVER put ourselves at risk but why is it OUR responsibility to protect ourselves - and if we don’t and if we do become victims of crime, does it then become partly OUR fault? 

Of course, we should all do whatever we can to protect ourselves, but it is NOT our responsibility to avoid becoming victims of crime. The person committing a criminal act is ALWAYS the one responsible. It is THEY that need to watch what they drink and how they behave. Why should the rest of us have our freedom curtailed?

We must resist the urge to join the victim blaming and remember that the only person responsible for crime is the criminal. Each of us has a voice, and if we all take responsibility for our attitudes and opinions then together we can change our society.  

As I said at the start of this post, this is just my opinion. I am not a teacher or a politician. I can't tell you what to do, but I have told you what I think. Everything I have written is my opinion only. Your opinion may be different. If it is then you are entitled to hold it but why not share it with us in the comments below.
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Thursday, 7 May 2015

New Releases from Urban Decay Summer 2015 New Releases from Urban Decay Summer 2015

New Releases From Urban Decay Summer 2015

Urban Decay Summer 2015

Don't you just love this time of year when the shops are getting in all their pretty summer fashions and the beauty brands release their summer collections. One of my favourite brands has to be Urban Decay so I was thrilled to receive some items from their Summer 2015 collection to try and and share with you all.

New Eyeshadows From Urban Decay Summer 2015

New Eyeshadow Shades

Is there anyone who DOESN'T love Urban Decay Eyeshadows? I am sure I don't have to tell you about the velvety texture, intense colour payoff and amazing blendability - these shadows make us all look like professional make up artists. So you will be glad to know that Urban Decay have changed nothing about the formula, that stays the same. Why mess with perfection? But what has changed is the range which has grown to an INCREDIBLE 75 different shades with the addition of the 8 new colours, 6 duochrome shades and 2 matte browns. I was sent the shade Beware which is a gloriously warm, golden brown which will work perfectly either all over the lid or in my outer crease and under the eye. On my wish list are Sideline, a gold with green running through and Lounge a Brick red with green - both glorious. Check out all Urban Decay eyeshadow shades though, there is one for everyone.

New Eyeshadows From Urban Decay Summer 2015
After Glow 8 Hour Powder Blush in the shade Video

Urban Decay Afterglow 8-Hour Powder Blush

The next of the Urban Decay Summer 2015 new releases was the Afterglow 8-Hour Blush. Billed as offering sheer wearable colour that lasts, the range offers 12 shades and comes in both shimmery and matte finishes. I was sent the shade Video which is a soft, warm tawny shade, with a semi matte finish. It gives a very wearable, naturally flushed, look that I love especially for the summer. 

Urban Decay Afterglow in shade Video
Revolution High Colour Lip Gloss in Assassin

Urban Decay Revolution High Colour Lipgloss

If you know me, you know I hate lipgloss. I literally have none in my stash because whenever I am sent one I pass it on to my daughter. I used to love them but simply tired of the constant reapplication and my hair sticking to my lips. So when I was sent the Revolution Lipgloss I really did not expect to like it but thought it fairness I had to give it a shot. I was genuinely blown away. Firstly please check out the colour. This shade which is called Assassin is just gorgeous. Urban Decay describe this as bright pink but it really isn't. It truly is the perfect shade of red. Bright, modern and with that teeth whitening effect that we all love so much, it shimmers and catches the light making the lips look plump and juicy - oo'er missus! Best of all it does not feel the least but sticky on the lips, it is super comfortable to wear and lasts an ASTONISHING 4 hours on me, even when I eat and drink. I never ever thought I would wear a lip gloss but I love this formula and will no doubt pick up a few of the other shades in the range.
Revolution High Colour Lip Gloss Assassin

I wasn't sent the last product released by Urban Decay this summer which is a pity because it looks really interesting. Described as the Ultimate Ozone Multipurpose Primer Pencil, this is a really innovative product. What it is, is a primer in pencil form making it super easy to apply. Perfect as a liner to stop lip colour bleeding, or as lip primer to make your lipstick last all day, it is also claimed this product can be used to fill in any fine lines or wrinkles. Another product for my evergrowing wish list.

Have you tried any of the summer releases from Urban Decay? 

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Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Ten Ways You Can Improve Your Blog Design Without Spending A Penny Ten Ways You Can Improve Your Blog Design Without Spending A Penny


Generally on julie-ellen, I write about the things I love - beauty news and reviews, with a little fashion and lifestyle for good measure. Occasionally I will even write about my efforts to lose  weight or to increase my health and fitness levels. Its all good fun! There is no doubt though that blogging isn't just about fun. As everyone who has tried it knows, writing a blog is incredibly hard work and in the 18 months I have been blogging I have had to learn  to do things I had no experience of before, like photography, editing, web design, negotiation, accounting and so on. I definitely do not hold myself up as any kind of an expert in these areas but hopefully I can help some of you by writing about some of the things I have learned. So I have decided to set up a series of posts called Working Wednesdays. where I will share some of my thoughts about blogging and hopefully in the comment sections, you will share your experience with me too. 

We all know how important design and layout are and the impact they can have on our blog stats so today I thought I would share with you ten ways you can improve your blog design without spending a penny.  

1. Connect with your Visitors 

As a blogger it is important to connect with your visitors. Show them who you are. Display your photograph on your home page with a short bio. Add an About Me page with fuller details about yourself and your blog. Another page every blog should have is a Contact page with clickable links to all of your social media accounts and an email address for readers and brands to get in touch.

2. Improve Your Images

Images are so important to the impression your blog makes. Work on your photography.  Learn how to produce images that are light, bright and well focussed. When you take a photograph that you are happy with, make it BIG.

3. No Fuss Navigation

Make it easy for your readers to find what they are looking for. Display categories (either under your Header or in your sidebar), show your archives and install a search bar.

4. Sort Out Your SEO

SEO is important. If you're not sure where to start, check out my Easy Introduction to SEO for Bloggers.

5. Keep it Clean

Make sure your blog is neat and tidy. Spring clean your sidebar regular to keep it clutter free. 

6. Make your Readers Comfortable

Ensure your blog is easy on the eye by using a light background with dark text. 

7. Coordinate your Fonts. 

Use no more than two - one for titles and headings and one for your content. Sizewise 14-16px has been shown to be most popular with readers. 

8. Follow and Share 

Make your blog easy to follow and your posts easy to share by adding social media icons in your sidebar AND below each post. 

9. Keep your Bounce Rate Low 

Add a Related Posts section at the end of every post to encourage readers to keep reading.

10. Last but not Least

For goodness sake, if you want to keep your visitors happy and encourage them to comment then  turn off CAPTCHA . 

So there you have it - ten ways you can improve your blog design without spending a penny. I hope at least some of them were helpful to you. 

If you have any tips that would help the rest of us, why not spread the love by posting them below.
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Tuesday, 5 May 2015

My Segway Experience My Segway Experience

A post about my Segway Experience at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow
Segway Experience Glasgow
Segway Experience Glasgow

I can't deny it I am a creature of habit. I love nothing more that a day spent in my PJs in front of   Netflicks with a fridge full of unhealthy snacks. This summer though I am determined to make some changes. As well as eating more healthily I am determined to move more, get out there and have fun, and see some of the beautiful city I live in. Put simply - it's time to FEEL ALIVE!!! 

In this new spirit of adventure I was excited to be invited by the lovely people at Alive, the women’s 50+ multi-vitamins, to try out the Segway Experience in Glasgow. We turned up at the Riverside Museum at lunchtime on a cold Bank Holiday Saturday with absolutely no idea what to expect. I was a little scared to be honest but I needn't have been - we were in a group of four with a lovely leader who issued us with Hi-Vis vests, hard hats and soon put us all at ease. It was quite hard at first to get the hang of controlling the Segway - it was all about where you put your weight - but after a quick practise run in the capark we were soon all confident enough to set off on the tour. 

It's easy to stop noticing the beauty of your home town. I have lived in Glasgow all of my life and take for granted its unique beauty but where else but Glasgow can you stand in the city centre amidst Victorian architecture, looking out over a sea estuary at a snowy mountain view. 
The tour opened my eyes to all of that as it took us alone the banks of the Clyde past the Squinty Bridge to the Tall Ship, highlighting all of the points of interest along the way. I do love a bit of sight seeing but travelling on the Segways just made it so much more fun. 

At the end of the tour we were given the opportunity to race the Segways along a straight flat course. My competitive instinct got the better of me and I pushed the machine so hard it was rearing back against me - a bit scary but totally exhilarating!

I absolutely loved my Segway Experience and the chance to see Glasgow from a whole new perspective. I went home feeling more alive than I have done for weeks and determined that this is just the start of a summer of living life and embracing new experiences. 

What was the last thing you did that made you FEEL ALIVE?

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Sunday, 3 May 2015

Controversy Corner - Who Cares about Politics?? Controversy Corner - Who Cares about Politics??


Controversy Corner

I am a lifestyle and beauty blogger first and foremost. I started my blog to write about lipsticks, and learn how to photograph pretty things. That doesn’t mean though, that I am superficial and have a head full of glitter. I do have a brain, a mind that questions and a tongue that can and often does get me into trouble. This side of me is not the Jules most of you know but every now and then she wants to be heard. So let me introduce you to Controversy Corner - the space on my blog where the bolshier Jules gets the opportunity to say what she thinks about whatever topic takes my fancy. The views expressed in Controversy Corner may not always be the same as yours but that’s okay. We all are entitled to our own opinion and this is mine.

Who Cares About Politics

With the general election fast approaching, we are bombarded with messages from politicians about what they stand for and why we should vote for them. But do we really care? In the last general election more than a third of us made it very clear that we were totally turned off by politics and politicians by simply refusing to engage in the process. Some would see no problem with that and would say that the decision NOT to vote is as significant as the decision about WHO to vote for, as it sends a message to the politicians that we are unconvinced. But I disagree!!

Who DID Care About Politics?

Until 90 years ago women were not allowed to vote. Socially and legally they were considered inferior to men and so they weren't allowed to make big decisions like buying a house, going to university, divorcing a husband or having a say in how the country was run. But women were not willing to accept this inequity and in 1903 the Suffragettes were founded. The members of the movement were early feminists - they stood up for their rights and the rights of their daughters, granddaughter and great granddaughters, in other words for you and me. They heckled politicians, held marches, chained themselves to railings, attacked policemen, broke windows, slashed paintings, set fire to buildings, threw bombs and went on hunger strike when they were sent to prison. The truth is that they gave up their lives to fight for the right of every woman to vote - and they won! Should we not be grateful to them for that??

Who Doesn't Care About Politics?

But somehow over the years we have lost our passion for politics. We feel at best disconnected from what happens at Westminister and at worst disgusted by it. And it is getting worse. Only 56% of people under 24 are registered to vote, while a massive 96% of people aged over 65 are registered. This basically means that only people your grandparents age have their say about who is in power. And the politicians know that - so their policies, their priorities, are all about people your grandparents age. 

Why You SHOULD Care About Politics?

The more of us that vote the more likely politicians are to make policies that benefit us. Voting gives YOU the power to influence how this country is run. If you aren't happy about something, don't just bitch about it, do something about it, vote for the party that will do things YOUR way! .
Even if you live in a so called 'safe seat', never think your vote won't make a difference. Safe seats can be lost but only when people like you and I make our voices heard. 
Very simply, the more of us that vote, the more Parliament will represent people like us and create laws that represent what we believe in. Don't YOU want to decide who runs the country, who creates the laws and make the decisions that will affect you and your family.

Who You Should Vote For?

I can't tell you who to vote for. Everyone's vote is personal to them and my opinion about many things may be totally different to yours. But if you aren't sure which party is most suited to you, there is help out there. You don't need to spend hours reading political manifestos, or attending boring meetings in your local town hall, there is an easy way to do this. Just follow this link and answer some simple questions aimed at finding out what you believe in and what your priorities are. The website will then analyse your answers and compare them against the manifestos of all the main political parties and identify which one best represents you.

Who Cares About Politics?

I do! I care about the environment, I care about human rights, I care about the old and the vulnerable. I care about how safe our streets are, about the NHS, about education. I care about how much money I make, how much tax I pay and how much things cost when I go shopping. I care about the decision that are made about my life - don't you?

Who cares about politics? I do and you should too!!

As I said at the start this is just my opinion. I am not a teacher, a politician or your Mum. I can't tell you what to do, but I have told you what I think. Everything I have written is my opinion only. Your opinion may be different. If it is then you are entitled to hold it but why not share it with us in the comments below.
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