It seemed everywhere I looked, I saw perfect brows; softly rounded, high arched, extended, groomed. Whilst mine could only truthfully be described as… overgrown. Years of hiding my brows under a fringe had left them rather neglected. That’s why when Debenhams asked if I would like to review a brow product, I jumped at the chance.
Being a complete beginner in the brow world, I chose Urban Decay’s Brow Box in Brown Sugar based on the brand’s reputation. I certainly was not disappointed. Packing all the tools needed to preen my brows, this palm-size kit was perfect for taking on my travels to Berlin. The box contained two shades of brow colour, perfecting/setting wax, two mini-angled brushes and mini tweezers.
With my fringe length getting shorter and shorter, I decided now was the time to take the plunge. Whilst locked in a Berlin bathroom, I watched countless YouTube videos, searching for the nuggets of advice that would send me on my way to beautiful brows.
Tweezing advice sought, I plucked tentatively. You’d be surprised at the precision and speed offered by the mini-tweezers. In no time at all, my brows were groomed. Next up, brow colour. I chose to use a darker shade because of my dark, dark hair. Using the angled brush, I lightly applied the shadow at first building up the colour until I was happy with the coverage. Considering this was the first time I’ve ever applied make up to my eye brows, I was incredibly impressed with the effect I managed to create in little time.
Urban Decay promise to deliver the tools for amazing brows and they certainly don’t disappoint. Have I got it completely right? Not yet, not even close. However, I love the ease that this product offers. In just five minutes, I can make sure my eyebrows are groomed should that gust of wind come and make them centre stage.
Do you believe in the power of the brow?
How do you look after your brows?
*Product received free of charge. All opinions are my own.
We’d been in Berlin for just over 12 hours and had experienced it through the eyes of a local, now it was time to revert to tourist mode. Spreepark, an East German amusement park, was next on our list. Hopping off the S-Bahn one stop past Treptower Park, we walked through a sea of autumn leaves until we arrived at what once was the GDR’s idea of fun for all the family.
First known as the Kulturpark Plänterwald, it opened in 1969 and was host to 1.7 million visitors a year at its peak. Standing in grounds of 29.5 hectares, the abandoned park boasts an iconic 40m Riesenrad (Ferris wheel). It was the only entertainment park in either East or West Berlin. In 1991, it became Spreepark and new attractions were added. Ten years later, falling visitor numbers (amongst other reasons) caused the park to give its last ride.
With tales of security, this was one urban exploration trip we daren’t risk, so we booked ourselves onto the Spreepark tour. 15 Euros earned us 2.5 hours of exploring the park and listening to its tales…in German. With the language barrier we were oblivious, we chose to absorb ourselves in capturing the park through the eye of the lens. John with his SLR and me with my brand new DianaF+ camera, complete with instant back.
To say it was eerie would be an understatement. The ferris wheel moving in the wind, squealing into the stagnant air, the algae covered log flume hiding its last splash and the dinosaurs which lay abandoned, their bite long since lost.
Over ten years of being open to the elements and the abuse of spray paint revelers had turned this park into a relic, a shadow of its former self. Interesting to see, but entwined with an inexplicable sadness. A long lost era, a lost culture, a last reminded of a former country which no longer exists.
Sipping on a glass of sparkling wine, I was handed my third present from the large pile beside my feet. I stared in surprise, you see… it was two weeks before my birthday. Tearing open the wrapping paper, I was baffled to find a wide-angled lens, then an instant back and finally a Diana F+ lomography camera.
The logic behind getting to open one of presents early was that I needed to learn how to use it before Berlin. You see, I’ve always loved photography (just see my countless Instagram posts if you need proof) but until now, I’ve mainly used digital photography. Ten years ago, I was the girl with the disposable camera but back then my lens was focused on capturing the latest band or nights out with university friends. It’s safe to say that I’ve come a long way since then and safe to say, I have a long way to go now I’m back to analogue photography.
Using an instant back and Fuji Instax Mini film has been a steep learning curve. The film is the size of a credit card, great for popping memories in my purse but difficult, for a beginner like me, to shoot with. Too dark and the image is lost entirely. Too central and the image is skewed. Out of 35 shots, there have been some disasters which have been binned almost immediately. Pleasingly, some shots have turned out and I have instantly loved them. So I thought I’d share some of my experiments with you here!
|Olympia-Stadion U-Bahn Station
For most Berliners it was just another Saturday night, but not for us. For me, it was the night I got to try out Madame Claude and for the boy, the night he was reunited with Burgermeister! Hopping off the s-bahn at Friedrichshain’s Warschauer Strasse, we’d found our apartment within minutes. Bags dropped off, a quick change and we were headed to a former brothel with plans to visit a former public toilet for a burger later.
Madame Claude, an upside down bar located in the district of Kreuzberg, offered us a unique experience…to say the least. Nursing an Augustiner Helles, we stood in the crowded basement bar observing the empty chairs and tables above our heads whilst underneath us, a Canadian shoe-gazer band sang with melancholy in a pitch black room. As a Berlin regular, the boy took us to Wendels (yes, I sang the song! Mr Wendal) to sample another brew. A delightful herb beer. Support your DJ! No entry fee, but a donation for the records being spun.
An evening of travelling, added to a beer or two in Kreuzberg could only mean one thing, Burgermeister. Once a public toilet, this take away invites you to take a number whilst you wait. Mouth wateringly juicy, the boy wolfed a burger before we stumbled back to the u-bahn giddy to be back in our city.
The next day, the boy had us up early with a treat in mind. A morning of thrifting on Boxenhager Platz. The weather was fine, the sun bright and the market packed with furniture, cameras, vinyls, vintage clothing and hidden gems. Ah, the furniture. In Berlin, it seems they have tightly held on to their furniture over the years. There was so much that caught my eye and pulled at my heart strings, I could have furnished my entire house. However, with hand luggage as a restriction it was destined never to be. No purchases were made, but many wish lists were formed.
Next stop? Aunt Benny for a late morning brunch of peanut butter bagel and a latte to set us up for a day of exploring. Delicious! Our next stop? Spreepark. An abandoned East German amusement park on the edge of Treptower. A perfect opportunity to try out my new Diana F+ camera!
To be continued…