Fitted wardrobes, loft conversions & ensuites – the home improvements that could add thousands to the value of your home

If you’re interested in selling your home, you’re probably wondering how to boost its value, with house prices across Britain increasing at the slowest rate since late 2012*. But with the number of renovation options available, at a range of different costs, home improvements can be a bit of minefield.

That’s why we’ve teamed up with a panel of our builders, interior decorators, plumbers, gardeners, home staging experts, estate agents and property surveyors to outline the best renovations/additions that help homeowners secure the highest possible asking price for their home, along with how much each improvement costs on average.  

Through analysing cost data from our home improvement experts and average valuations from our property surveyors and estate agents, Bark.com has revealed that members of the public could add £130,900 by spending just £70,200 on the below renovations:

  1. Ensuite bathroom – costs £2,000, adds £5,000 to your home on average
  2. Open fireplace – costs £1,500, adds £3,000 to your home on average
  3. Garage – costs £13,000, adds £25,000 to your home on average
  4. Modern fitted kitchen – costs £5,000, adds £10,000 to your home on average
  5. Loft conversion – costs £20,000, adds £43,000 to your home on average
  6. Conservatory – costs £11,000, adds £15,000 to your home on average
  7. Bedroom extension – costs £10,000, adds £19,000 to your home on average
  8. Underfloor heating – costs £4,000, adds £6,000 to your home on average
  9. Fitted wardrobes – costs £3,000, adds £4,000 to your home on average
  10. Jacuzzi bath – costs £700, adds £900 to your home on average

According to the experts, the most valuable addition is an ensuite bathroom, costing on average £2,000, yet increasing the value of a property by £5,000. If a homeowner was willing to do extensive building work, a loft conversion yields the highest return on average.

Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com, said:

“Selling a house can be a complicated process, especially when it comes to trying to please potential buyers. However, there are several steps homeowners can take to add as much value to a property as possible.

“We’ve been monitoring the demand of our home improvement service providers and decided to do some research into the effect these services have on house prices. Some of these changes are small, such as adding an ensuite or a fitted wardrobe, but research has shown that they really do make a huge difference to potential buyers.”

*https://www.ons.gov.uk/economy/inflationandpriceindices/bulletins/housepriceindex/february2019

Self-employed service professionals earn more than double employed professionals

Deciding whether to go self-employed is one of the biggest questions service professionals ask themselves. There are obvious pro’s and con’s, however many have made the transition in the UK, which has seen a steady rise in the number of self-employed people since 2001. In fact self-employed professionals now account for more than 15% of the UK’s workforce*.

This is why we decided to find out whether self-employed professionals get paid more than their employed counterparts.

The research we conducted took a few months to collect, and relied on more than 20,000 of our service professionals, across 11 of our biggest categories, filling out a financial questionnaire on what their salary was last year before tax. We compared all 20,000 salaries with the average salary for that profession according to the latest pre-tax data from the Office of National Statistics**.

Once we received all of the results, one thing held firm across every category: self-employed people earn significantly more. In fact, on average self-employed service professionals earn 103% more, or twice as much.

The sectors which we researched were: plumbers, electricians, personal trainers, builders, landscape gardeners, counsellors, cleaners, painter and decorators, photographers, private tutors and carpenters.

According to our findings, the profession which experiences the biggest increase in earnings when going self-employed is landscape gardening, with providers earning 198.9% more on average – almost four times as much. They are followed closely by carpenters, who’s salaries can increase by 185%  when they become self-employed, on average.

Builders also see a significant increase in earnings when working for themselves, with the average salary going up by around £47,120 a year. On top of this, counsellor’s salaries increase from £23,754 a year to £45,111, an increase of almost 90%.

Here is a full list of the percentage increase in earnings for each sector we looked at:

  1. Gardener – 198.9%
  2. Carpenter – 185.3%
  3. Builder – 181.3%
  4. Personal Trainers – 91.8%
  5. Counsellors – 90.4%
  6. Photographer – 78.2%
  7. Cleaner – 76.6%
  8. Electrician – 59.1%
  9. Painter/decorator – 57.4%
  10. Plumbers – 50.5%
  11. Private tutor – 39.2%

We also asked 5,000 of our self-employed professionals a few questions on their lifestyle since they started up on their own.

More than half (53%) said they work more hours as a self-employed pro, two thirds (65%) answered they feel more stressed and more than three quarters (77%) said they have more job satisfaction now they’re self-employed.

Kai Feller, Bark.com co-founder, said,

“At Bark we work with thousands of self-employed sole traders, and thought it would be interesting to see how much they earn a year, compared to their employed counterparts. The survey took a good couple of months, but was well worth the wait, because the results speak for themselves – being self-employed results in a much higher income. We were expecting them to earn more, but almost double on average is a huge increase.

“That being said being self-employed comes with a lot more work, responsibility and pressure more often than not, it’s definitely not a career choice to be taken lightly.”

*https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-44887623

**https://www.ons.gov.uk/employmentandlabourmarket/peopleinwork/earningsandworkinghours/bulletins/annualsurveyofhoursandearnings/2018

 

Father posts request for hypnotist to make son support Arsenal, can you help?

At Bark, we cater to the needs of millions of people around the world. From tutors and accountants to plumbers and builders, we’ve got professionals for everyone. However, every now and then we get a slightly more bespoke request that maybe our current providers aren’t used to dealing with. Last week we had one of those.

We’ve pasted a screenshot of the request below. To sum it up, a dad from London is looking for a hypnotist to try and help him persuade his son to support Arsenal, after becoming a Spurs fan in the last six months.

Here’s the request:

After speaking to the dad, he’s asked us if we can make a public appeal to see if we can find the right person for this. If you think you’ve got the skills to make this boy switch to the red side of North London, please get in touch at: team@bark.com

Lip fillers revealed as the most popular cosmetic procedure – Kylie Jenner cited as the main influence behind the trend

Cosmetic surgery has always been well documented in the media, usually lead by celebrity examples or the new ‘vogue’ procedure that you can now have. Cosmetic surgery is everywhere in popular culture, so it’s no surprise that Bark.com has noticed a surge in demand for it.

We decided to interrogate our internal data from the last 24 months, to see exactly what impact the popularity of cosmetic surgery has had on consumer buying habits and the jobs market.

Our data indicates that over the last two years, non-surgical cosmetic practices have soared in popularity, with treatments such as lip fillers and dermal fillers becoming more accessible as more salons adopt these practices in the UK.

Since January 2017, there has been a 138% increase in the number of people looking for ‘non-intrusive’ cosmetic surgery. Non-intrusive surgery is classified as procedures that do not require clients to be put under anaesthetic in an actual hospital.

Our findings show that the most requested cosmetic surgery procedure on Bark.com is a lip filler, which has seen a 156% increase in the last two years, followed by non-surgical nose jobs and dermal face fillers, with increases of 81% and 64% respectively.

Bark.com surveyed 2,032 of its cosmetic practitioners on why they think non-intrusive cosmetic surgery has become so popular recently. Four fifths (81%) of them cited celebrity influence, a tenth (10%) said accessibility and 9% said price.

When asked why lip fillers have become the most popular procedure, every practitioner cited celebrity influence as the main reason, and when asked which celebrities have had the most influence in their opinion, more than two thirds (70%) said Kylie Jenner, a tenth (11%) answered Megan Barton and a tenth (11%) said Charlotte Crosby.

The average cost for a lip filler on Bark.com sits at £340, down 40% from the previous 24 months, however the cheapest option, according to our data, is 0.5mm of lip filler and is just £50 on average in the UK. The most expensive price for a filler treatment on Bark.com is £1800, which includes a full lip, chin, cheek, jawline and nose procedure.

Our data also shows that requests for surgical cosmetic procedures, such as breast augmentations and liposuction has actually gone down by 24% since early 2017, and the number of responses for intrusive therapies had only risen by 17%, demonstrating the rising popularity for less intrusive procedures.

Kai Feller, Bark.com co-founder, said,

“We’ve seen a huge spike in demand for non-surgical cosmetic surgery over the last couple of years. The rise of these types of procedures has been well documented in the news, and is a reflection of the society we live in, where it’s now normal and common for people to get work done to their face, so I’m not surprised our data supports that. It will be interesting to see whether this trend continues to grow.

“Our purpose is to give businesses the best possible chance of reaching customers who want their services, and with the increase in demand for cosmetic surgery, it’s encouraging to see an increase in supply on the site as well.”

Bristol woman posts request for a clairvoyant to make decisions for her – can you help?

We get some truly quirky requests through Bark.com sometimes, and we’re always more than happy to try and help find our customers the right professional for them, no matter how weird their request is. Recently a women from Bristol posted a request in our clairvoyant category, asking for a spiritual person to make all of her decisions for her.

This isn’t a service that our clairvoyants/psychics/spiritual guides normally provide – however, we’re hoping that some of our professionals will be able to help her out. The woman has asked to remain anonymous, because she’s using the money from some inheritance she received last year, and doesn’t want her family to find out. She has however agreed to let us make the Bark public in order to help her find the right person for the job.

If you think this sounds like something you’d like to try, here’s the request in full:

Hiya, bit of a weird one I know but basically, I feel like I need someone to make my decisions for me. I’ve had a really rubbish year and would love for someone to take control of my life think of it a bit like a real life Bandersnatch :). I have no idea if this sort of thing exists, but came across clairvoyants when I was looking for another service, so thought it was worth a shot.

As I said, the past year has been awful. I lost money that I loaned to an old friend, I got stranded without any money while backpacking in New Zealand, was in an abusive relationship for 6 months before I got dumped and then I got mugged because I decided to take a shortcut home through a dodgy area. I am obviously completely incapable of making the right choices by myself!

My mum even jokes about it. It seems like every week some minor mishap will happen to me and I’m fed up.

I’ve always been quite spiritual so I’m looking for someone like a clairvoyant or spiritual guide that I can really connect with, who can help me make the right decisions. I think a month should be long enough to get things back on track for me. But if it works, then maybe I’ll keep on going with it.

The type of decisions I’d need help with include who I should go on a Tinder date with (I seem to have terrible taste in men) and what I should spend my savings on, amongst other things. Basically, I’d like the person to be on-call so they can help me whenever and with whatever I need. I text a lot so they should be available to message me frequently and very quick to respond.

I’m really ready to try anything – and I’ve set aside £2,000 for this from some inheritance money I received last year.

Do you think you can help the women out? If you answered yes and you’re a clairvoyant/psychic/spiritual person, then register your services here.

Here’s what our co-founder, Kai Feller had to say about it:

“Despite the fact it’s a bit of a strange idea, with the pressures of modern life I’m surprised that a request like this hasn’t come in sooner. We’re now bombarded with countless decisions and choices and sometimes people don’t always make the best ones.

“It’s a bit extreme to hire someone to make those decisions for you, but I guess people hire financial advisors and trust banks to manage their money, so why not hire someone to manage your life?”

A wingman’s guide to dating this Valentine’s Day

Remember the days before apps like Tinder and Bumble added to the already complicated world of dating?

With Valentine’s Day closing in, it’s time to put down your smartphone and start meeting people in real life! That’s why we’ve partnered with our most successful wingman and wingwoman to create a detailed guide to dating…offline.

A recent survey by YouGov* found that dating apps are the least preferred way to meet someone, despite roughly half of 16-34-year-olds using them. Of more than 2,000 people surveyed, 37% said that apps such as Bumble were their least preferred method of meeting a partner, but almost a third who use dating apps do so because they are too shy to approach people in person.

In addition, Bark.com has seen a high demand for the ‘pro wingman’ service since its launch in August last year, with more than 400 requests from members of the public in just six months.

Here are the top dating tips from our very own wingman and wingwoman:

  1. Start off in a comfortable environment: If a bar or nightclub isn’t your usual scene, then you won’t feel completely at ease. Find a spot that’s familiar to you, and where you will feel most comfortable, such as your usual coffee shop.
  2. Do your research: If you have a potential date in mind but haven’t plucked up the courage to ask them out, it will be worth your while to do a little social media research beforehand. Use Facebook or Instagram (if available) to find out where they enjoy spending time, what their hobbies are and what you both have in common.
  3. Practice flirting with your friends: You know what they say – practice makes perfect. Your friends are more than likely to be honest with you, so it can be beneficial to try having a naturally flirty conversation with someone you know before speaking to a stranger.
  4. Dress to impress: While you don’t have to throw on your best or most expensive outfit when you’re looking to meet a potential partner, it’s important to remember that confidence and colour are key. Choose clothes that flatter and make you feel great.
  5. Don’t be afraid to give compliments: A lot of effort goes into getting ready for a date and it’s nice to acknowledge this effort, so take the time to give a compliment, like “you look lovely”. Anything more is a bit much for the first date.
  6. Be approachable: When you feel awkward or uncomfortable, people can pick up on that tension. Stay calm, smile and keep your body language open. These non-verbal cues can say a huge amount about a person.
  7. Avoid cheesy one-liners: You might think that you’re breaking the ice, but the majority of pickup lines are sleezy or just plain awful. There’s nothing wrong with saying “hey, how are you?”
  8. Grab tips from romantic movies: There are plenty of lessons to learn from romantic movies. From learning to love yourself first to tackling long distance relationships, dealing with rejection to keeping the romance alive; don’t be afraid to get some inspiration from your favourite flicks.
  9. Turn off your phone: Having your phone on during a date can be a huge distraction and take your attention away from the person you’re spending quality time with. Avoid interruptions and turn your phone off completely.
  10. Don’t forget your manners: Demonstrating poor manners such as foul language is one sure fire way to end the night abruptly. Good manners are not hard to keep up and will set a good first impression.
  11. Don’t be afraid of rejection: You shouldn’t let a fear of rejection stop you from meeting someone in real life. Start by getting comfortable talking to strangers, at coffee shops or the supermarket for example, and build your confidence from there.
  12. Get yourself a wingman: If you’re not 100% confident going out alone, want advice from someone with a little more experience or just want someone to back you up, bringing a wingman or wingwoman along is a great idea.

Professional wingmen and wingwomen advertising their services through Bark.com typically charge upwards of £30 per hour, but as with all our service providers, they can set their own prices.

People can hire a professional wingman or wingwoman here: www.bark.com/en/gb/services/wingmen-wingwomen/

Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com, commented:

“For some people, it can be really nerve-wracking to approach strangers in public, let alone ask them out. Throw in the social pressure to be a smooth talker and appear perfectly groomed and it’s no wonder so many people have admitted to being too shy to approach a potential date!

“We’ve received hundreds of Barks through the site since we launched the wingwoman and wingman service last year, so the demand was certainly there. We’re happy to have accommodated the needs of our users, and we hope that this guide provides further help to anyone looking for love this Valentine’s Day.”

*www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-45007017

Need a medicine drop? Hire a ‘Flu Fighter’

January is undoubtedly one of the most sickly times of the year, and that’s why we’ve decided to launch our new ‘Flu Fighter’ service for sick Brits.

The service will allow customers to request a ‘Flu Fighter’, who will deliver a care package of medicines, such as; Lemsip, Strepsils, Ibuprofen, Paracetamol and cough syrup, as well as any fast food or soft drinks you want.

We’re aiming the service at sick members of the public who don’t want to leave the house, but need access to all of their cold and flu essentials. Each ‘care package’ will cost £10, plus the additional cost for extra food or special requests you make, with Flu Fighters aiming to be at your house within an hour.

To reach our goal of this becoming a nationwide service by the end of January, we’re now recruiting for more ‘Flu Fighters’ across the UK ahead of the February colds. Each ‘Flu Fighter’ can expect to earn upwards of £10 an hour, dependent on the number of drops they make.

Fancy dropping Lemsip to sick people? Apply to become a Flu Fighter here: https://www.bark.com/en/gb/sellers/create/

Kai Feller, Bark.com co-founder, said,

“It’s common knowledge that illness and flu is especially rife this time of year, and it’s only going to get worse heading into February. We’ve got a few guys in the office who’ve been feeling a bit worse for wear, and that’s what sparked the idea.

“We want the service to span as much of the UK as possible by the end of January, which is why we’re appealing for people across the country to register to offer it.”

Can you help? Couple post request for ‘sexpert’ to watch and critique their sex tape

To help our customers find the professionals they need, we share some of the more alternative requests we get through bark.com – with their consent of course. This time, a couple is looking for a ‘sexpert’ to analyse their sex tape, in a bid to improve their relationship and save their marriage.

This isn’t a job our counsellors normally procure through the site or a service we facilitate, however we’re hoping that either one of our experts will be able to help or an expert will see this and get in touch with them. The couple have asked to remain anonymous but are happy to make their Bark public in order to help them find the right person for the job.

Here’s their request in full:

My husband and I have been married for twelve years and have two children together, aged 7 and 3. We have always seen sex as a huge part of our relationship and used to make time to ‘get intimate’ a couple of times a week at least. However, despite devoting time and energy to it neither of us have found making love pleasurable for the last few years. I hate to sound cliché but it feels like the spark has gone out. Luckily, my husband and I are very open and honest with each other, and we both feel the same.

After the birth of our second daughter three years ago, I stopped feeling sexy or desirable and although I remember this happening after giving birth to my first, I soon felt like myself after a couple of weeks. This time round I don’t feel like I’ve ever gotten back to that. My husband regularly compliments me, but this doesn’t help me get in the mood and I think it’s contributed to us viewing sex as a chore.

We still have sex a few times a month, but it’s rare that either of us will be fully satisfied by the act. We keep trying to make it work as we still find each other sexually attractive and love each other, but the lack of sexual enjoyment is starting to put a strain on other areas of our relationship.

We need help soon otherwise we are scared this might be the end for us, which is why we are looking for a professional sexpert (if that’s such a thing) or counsellor to help us see where we are going wrong and give us some pointers so we can rekindle our once amazing sex life and marriage.

We would like the professional to sit down with us first, so we can get to know each other and discuss our needs and we’re open to how many sessions the expert thinks we’ll need. One thing that we’re adamant on is we’d like them to watch a video of us having sex and analyse what they think we are doing wrong, which would then be fed back to us in a sort of debrief session. I know this is unconventional, but after discussions with my husband, we’ve both agreed that for someone to really help us, they need to see how we interact with each other.

Any candidate must have at least 10 years’ experience in the sex/relationship field and MUST sign an NDA to keep our video, identities and all subjects discussed private. We don’t want the tape to go anywhere and it’s crucial we find someone who we can 100% trust.

We really believe this is make or break and have set aside around £1,000 to work with an expert and are open to negotiations depending on the candidate.

We are looking for some help ASAP, but we will discuss all finer details in person.

Do you think you can help the couple out? If you answered yes, then register your services here to apply for the job: https://www.bark.com/en/gb/sellers/create/ 

Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com said:

“With counselling being one of our most popular categories onsite we are used to requests from couples looking for a professional to help with their marriage, however we haven’t seen one quite like this before.

“’Sexpert’ is not a profession we currently have onsite as a standard service, but hopefully one of our relationship experts or counsellors will be able to help this couple out. Alternatively, any suitably qualified ‘Sexperts’ can sign up onsite to offer their services too.”

The top ten most requested makeup looks of 2018

Images of celebrities are everywhere in today’s world, and more often than not, their makeup catches the eye. As 2018 comes to a close, we have decided to team up with our beauty experts to compile a list of the top 10 most requested makeup looks of the last 12 months.  

We have surveyed 2,000 of our makeup artists, stylists and beauticians who advertise their services through Bark.com, to reveal the signature celebrity makeup trends most requested by their customers. Kylie Jenner’s famous pout and Meghan Markle’s flawless wedding makeup feature on the list, along with a set of top tips to help you recreate each look.

The top 10 makeup looks requested in 2018 are:

  1.       Kylie Jenner:

Not only has the reality star and owner of Kylie Cosmetics become one of the world’s most talked about celebrities, her full pout has captivated the nation. Kylie’s trend-setting lipstick style has seen her build a multi-million-dollar brand and become the most sought-after look of 2018.

Our experts say…

Start by exfoliating your lips to remove any dead skin, then use a concealer to hide your lip line. Next, take a lip liner that matches your lipstick and trace just outside of your natural lip line to create a bigger pout. Fill in your lips with matte lipstick or use a lip liner to colour your entire lip.

  1.       Meghan Markle:

With 1.9 billion people tuning in to watch Meghan Markle wed Prince Harry earlier this year, it’s no wonder that her makeup was so popular in 2018. Her elegant and simple look highlighted her natural beauty and was in high demand with makeup artists across the country.

Our experts say…

Prepare your skin with a primer or moisturiser before applying a light layer of concealer and foundation. Don’t forget, less is more with this look. To achieve Meghan’s smokey eye, use a copper or light brown eyeshadow, line your lids with a warm brown eye pencil and finish off with a layer of black mascara, but nothing too heavy. For your lips, use a fresh nude or pink shade of gloss.

  1.       Kim Kardashian:

Arguably the most famous face in the Kardashian family, Kim’s signature contour makeup technique inspired millions to experiment with shading and highlighting, making her perfectly sculpted skin the third most highly requested look of last year.

Our experts say…

Use a primer to prep your skin, then take a foundation or concealer one shade lighter than your skin tone and apply to the centre of your forehead, nose, under your eyes, cheekbones and the centre of your chin. Next, use a darker shade to swipe under your cheekbones, jawline, hairline and sides of your nose. Blend the darker foundation followed by the lighter shade and even out your complexion. Use highlighter under your brows, on the tops of your cheekbones and down the ridge of your nose. Finish and set your makeup with translucent powder.

  1.       Cara Delevingne:

The 26-year-old model has been recognised for her unique look for years. Her thick statement brows and smokey eyes kick-started a trend that trickled from the runway to celebrities, vloggers and beyond to become one of the top five most requested looks of the last 12 months.

Our experts say…

This look is much easier to copy if you have a fuller brow to work with! First, use an eyebrow brush to comb your brow hair upwards, then use a pencil to trace underneath your brow, following your natural arch. Fill in the front part of your brow using vertical strokes. Next, fill in any sparse areas using a brown eyeshadow or eyebrow powder. Keep the brows as natural as possible without too much styling.

  1.    Ariana Grande:

It’s not just a long, high ponytail that’s defined her look – Ariana Grande is rarely seen without pristine cat-eye-liner. The pop star’s signature look adds drama, accentuates her almond eyes and has led many to turn to makeup artists for the perfect wing every time.

Our experts say…

After applying your choice of eyeshadow, outline your cat-eye with a pencil, angling the wing upwards toward the end of your eyebrow. This helps to make the eyes look larger and eyelashes to appear denser. Next, trace and fill in the outlined wing with liquid liner – Ariana typically uses a rolling applicator to achieve her famous look. Finish the look with false eyelashes to add even more drama.

  1.       Lily Collins:

This year’s Met Gala was one of the most creative when it came to hair and makeup, but with her bold brows, dark lips, intense eye makeup and gem stones to finish, Lily Collins’ take on ‘Heavenly bodies’ stuck in everyone’s minds.  

Our experts say…

Once you’ve prepped your skin, apply a foundation and concealer base, and set with powder. To achieve Lily’s full brows, brush hairs up and out before lining with a brow pencil. Fill in sparse areas with vertical pencil strokes and eyebrow powder. For the eyes, apply a smokey brown eyeshadow over your upper lid followed by a layer of shimmery bronze and a couple of generous layers of black mascara. If you’re going for the full look, add adhesive gems to the centre of your lids and under your lash line, and a red tear drop under one eye. To finish the look, add a light layer of dark purple or red lip gloss.

  1.       Beyoncé:

Not only did Beyoncé make history as Coachella’s first headlining woman of colour, she did it looking flawless, with dramatic and sparkling makeup that saw the performance become one of her most memorable to date.

Our experts say…

To achieve Beyoncé’s glow, apply your foundation as usual and set with powder, followed by a touch of bronzer and highlighter. The glittery eye is the highlight of this look, so it’s important to use layers to create extra dimension. Start with a luminescent powder and layer with gold or copper glittery tones. Next, line the lid to create a feline flick and swipe on black mascara. Finish the look with a dark nude lipstick.

  1.       Bella Hadid:

At just 22-years-old, Bella Hadid has become one of the most in-demand supermodel’s in the world. The dark-haired beauty is famous for her feline, smokey eye makeup, so it comes as no surprise that so many people would want to replicate her look.

Our experts say…

This look is all about the drama, so don’t be afraid to layer on the liner. Start with a metallic silver eyeshadow and apply from the inner corner to the centre of your eye. Take a charcoal grey or black powder and apply to the other half of your eyelid, sloping upwards slightly towards your eyebrow to create a cat-eye. Repeat to build up the intensity then use a brush or your finger to blend. Line your lid with liquid eyeliner, following the outline of your eyeshadow. For your lower lash line, use a densely packed powder brush and layer on the darker eyeshadow. Finish with a generous coat of mascara.

  1.       Rihanna:

The singer, fashion designer and pioneering founder of Fenty Beauty is famous for her flawless foundation, making her glowing skin the envy of millions and securing her spot in the top ten most requested makeup looks of the last 12 months.

Our experts say…

Start by using a primer to prepare your skin before applying foundation using a brush or makeup sponge and blending evenly. Next, blend a darker shade of foundation or contour stick below your cheekbones, along your hairline, your jawline and the sides of your nose. Swipe concealer down the bridge of your nose and under your eyes for a subtle highlight, and blend once more. Set with powder. Add some warmth to your look by swiping a little bronzer over the top of the areas you have contoured. Finish by applying blusher on your cheeks, followed by generous layers of highlighter on the tops of your cheekbones, the bridge of your nose, your browbone and the corner of your eyes.

  1.   Taylor Swift:

Taylor Swift’s style has evolved almost as much as her music, seeing her go from country darling to global superstar, but it’s one of her recent looks, channelling the 1960s at this year’s American Music Awards, that’s proven most popular.

Our experts say…

To achieve the hitmaker’s 1960s inspired look, start by applying primer, foundation and concealer as usual. Set with powder for a flawless, matte finish, then add a peach-toned blush and highlighter to your cheekbones. Next, swipe a silver eyeshadow across your lids, sloping upwards toward your brow to create a cat-eye. Line your lid with liquid eyeliner, following the curve of your eyeshadow, then add white liner to your waterline. Line your lower lash with a black or charcoal pencil, give your lashes a generous coat of mascara and add false lashes for extra drama. Finish the look with a pale pink or nude lip gloss.

The survey results revealed that 75% of people looking for a makeup artist will request a specific celebrity look, highlighting some of the biggest trends in the UK cosmetics industry, which has been dubbed the third largest in Europe*.

The research also showed that people in London, Birmingham and Essex are more likely to hire a makeup artist than the rest of the UK, with weddings listed as the top reason for hiring a makeup artist.

Kai Feller, co-founder of Bark.com, said:

“Considering the popularity of these celebrities, it’s no surprise to see many of them on the list. The influence of celebrity culture on the cosmetics industry is huge, with many of these stars even capitalising on this and starting their own successful beauty lines.

“It’s always interesting to see how celebrity culture impacts consumer buying habits – who would have thought that an American singer’s eyeliner would impact what British makeup artists do day-to-day!”

*https://www.cosmeticsbusiness.com/news/article_page/UK_cosmetics_market_dubbed_third_largest_in_EU/149236 

Tension between your partner and parents? Here’s a handy guide to resolve those issues before Christmas

With Christmas approaching, we noticed an increase in requests for counsellors on our site. When we investigated, we realised that the increase was mostly due to the fact that partners and in-laws were seeking counselling together to resolve their differences.

Due to this, we decided to work with counsellors on the site to create a guide on how to relieve the tension between partners and their in-laws.

Try to understand the other person’s perspective and respect it

Thinking about a situation from other person’s point of view can be a tricky thing to do, but crucial. In a stressful situation, you need to distance yourself and consider how you would feel in the other person’s shoes. That way, you’ll be able to empathise with them more and be able to resolve the situation.

Find something to bond over

Finding something your partner and parents both like might be difficult, but it gives them a topic to talk about. It could be grandkids, football, a hobby – anything! This demonstrates to them that they have something in common and can discuss something at length. Once they find a topic they have in common, they may find more and build a better relationship.

Concentrate on something else

By focusing on an activity, it diverts their attention to something else and not the uncomfortable situation they may be in. They could watch a film or play a board game, anything that will distract them. It also allows them to relax and have fun in each other’s company.

Be flexible

Your partner and parents need to learn to be more flexible around each other. This also means compromising with each other on different situations. It takes a lot of patience on both sides, but it’s something that will greatly help ease the tension and lighten the atmosphere.

If you feel an argument brewing, walk away

If you, your partner or your parents begin to feel an argument is about to happen, excuse yourself and leave the situation. During an argument, things can be said in the heat of the moment that cannot be taken back. It’s best to leave the situation and discuss it at another time when everyone is calmer.

Try to forgive and forget

It’s a difficult thing to do but trying to forgive and forget is crucial to improving relationships. There may be something that happened years ago that caused the rift and because no-one has wanted to forget about it, no-one’s moved on. Try to confront the problem, explain why it was an issue and then set out to resolve it.

Set healthy boundaries and don’t be afraid to enforce them

An issue that may be arising is the lack of boundaries parents have when at your house. To prevent this, you need to clearly tell them what you and your partner are and are not comfortable with and they need to respect that.

Focus on the positives

Everyone has their good points and it’s important to focus on those rather than the bad. While it’s not always easy, the effort you put into focusing on the good things will give you a more positive view, which will, therefore, improve your relationship.

Have realistic expectations of people

No-one’s perfect and people do get on one another’s nerves. It’s important not to have unrealistic expectations of others and accept they have flaws (and that you do too!).

Talk about the issues in a safe environment

There is most likely a root cause to much of the conflict between partners and in-laws and it’s important to be able to discuss this reason in a safe environment where everyone can talk freely. With the conflict out in the open, it gives everyone a chance to address it and try to resolve it.

We also have dedicated family counsellors on site, if this is something you feel you need: https://www.bark.com/en/gb/services/family-counselling/