Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Horse themed Hair Care- Yay or "Neigh"? Mane 'n Tail Hair Strengthener

Hay-lo everybody (I've a theme going on here!)

If you have been reading my blog, you will know that I am a haircare enthusiast  obsessive and I am constantly seeking products that will protect and restore my highlighted, heat damaged hair. I generally don't use regular supermarket shampoos because I despise the silicons of many shampoos. Instead of making my hair look better, I seek out something that will actually treat my hair, make it stronger and stop any further breakage or damage. 

I have heard much about the Mane 'n Tail brand in recent months, with celebrities like Kim Kardashian raving about the brand. Now I am certainly not Kim K's biggest fan but her hair always does look very healthy. I didn't set out to purchase this, I was just drawn to it whilst mingling around the aisles of McCabes pharmacy as I often do. It was about €14 so I picked it up. I was hoping that this would do to my hair what spinach does to Popeye. 

The product itself is very thin and watery. It smells quite strongly and I cannot describe the smell, it's not that offensive. I did use this maybe twice on my hair before I blowdried and straightened it and it stunk to high heaven, it actually smelt like burning which made me very uncomfortable altogether. I have used this on wet hair a few times and I haven't found that it has made the slightest bit of a difference even though I use it quite liberally. I certainly do not feel like this had made my hair any stronger, and I don't feel like it protects or nourishes my hair in the way that I need. This might be a dream product for some but it was a bit of a miss for me- I think I would probably avoid if you have colour treated hair like mine, particularly if you use as many heated styling tools as I do. I really wanted to like this but my hair rejected it so it's a neigh nay from me!

The search continues!

Monday, 10 June 2013

DIY- Lipstick Storage Idea- feat. Ikea Alex Drawer unit

Hi all, 

I purchased an Alex unit from Ikea a few months back and one thing that always really irritated me was the fact that I could not store my lipsticks satisfactorily. I wanted to have them all stacked upwards so I could see what colours I had easily. I bought some Antonius inserts when I bought my Helmer and I was using this but it was a bug bear of mine to be honest. I was trawling through different websites online trying to find some sort of upright storage unit but I was not able to find anything even remotely near what I needed. 

Well they say inspiration strikes in the weirdest places and inspiration struck me when I was in Tesco slotting some wine bottles into one of those disposable carrier boxes. I thought this was a clever way to snuggly pack something, and I set my mind on overdrive trying to figure out how to recreate something similar. I have always been a bit arty and creative, I have quite a good mind for constructing things, and to be honest, once I figured out how I was going to do it, the actual execution was really easy. I am thrilled with the results and I hope that this quick how-to guide will be of use to someone.

The finished product- as you can see, it fits nice and snuggly into the drawer and all the lipsticks I have in it are visible and ready for use.

Step one- get your measurements sorted. My Ikea drawer was 11.5inches x 16inches x 2inches. I decided that I would adopt this and create little horizontal 11 inch walls and vertical 16 inch walls. The depth of all my walls was 2 inches.

Step two- Get your materials in order.

I bought these two A2 sized cardboard sheets in Art n Hobby for €3.30 each. They had a dozen or so different colours so you can pick whatever colours you want- you can barely see them anyway once they go into the drawer. 

You will also need a scissors, 12 inch ruler, a pen/pencil, a few inches of sellotape and a marker.

Step three- start marking. When creating one of my walls, I would measure out two rectangles first of all- either 11 or 16 inches in length and always two inches in width. 

Step four- keep dividing. I decided that each gap  would be one inch to keep my wider or rectangular lipsticks in order. I divided my two rectangles into inch long segments.

Step five- start cutting. I cut out a little V out of each square to make the end product look nicer. I also cut a little slit along one side of the squares which will make it easier to slot all the walls together without any glue.

Step six- start slotting all your walls together. 

It's beginning to take shape!

Step seven- build a frame

Now that you have your intricate weave of little card board walls, build a box to slot them all into. I wanted the depth of my box to be the same as the walls so I took a long strip of cardboard, measured out my two inches and left half an inch all around to help stablise the base of the insert. 

I then made another identical strip- marking 16 inch and 11.5 inch milestones along the way. I bent the half inch border on the bottom up- here you can see what you will be sticking the base of the storage unit to.

Voila, you have a frame!

Now if you have gotten this far, you are so close to finishing!

Step eight- cut out your base.

Keep in mind your original measurements- if you were accurate all the way through, this is the stage where it all comes together. 

Once you have your base cut out, stick it into the bottom of the frame and secure with sellotape.

Step nine- Assembly

So there you have it- upright storage for 176 lipsticks!

Time to take your masterpiece and ease it into your drawer- should be nice and snug!

Step ten- Organise

Take all your beloved lippies and organised whatever way your heart desires- do it by brand like I did, by colour family- the choice is yours!!

I hope that you enjoyed this post and that you found it useful. Overall, the whole thing took me about an hour and a half, but I was glued to the telly at the same time so the time absolutely flew. I am chuffed with it because it is working really well with me and in the last few days, I have been picking lippies that I haven't used in yonks, simply because I can now see them again!! So with a little bit of innovation and the princely sum of €6.60, this could be yours! Alternatively, you would recycle old cardboard boxes that you find at home- cereal boxes etc. You want a relatively stiff cardboard to give the unit structure. 

That's all from me but I hope that this post has inspired you if you were fed up of not being able to see your lipsticks like I was! If anyone has any other makeup storage tips, please share! 

Thanks for reading!! 


Sunday, 9 June 2013

Bourjois BB Bronzing Cream 8 in 1

Hello all!

Today I have a review of a product that is new on the shelf- the BB Bronzing Cream from those clever people chez Bourjois. When I saw this, I got a little shudder of excitement. I have alot of good things to say about Bourjois, and it would definitely be one of my favourite drugstore/highstreet brands available in Ireland. It was my first time seeing it in store and I was very lucky to pick up the last one this weekend. There is only one shade available ("Universal Shade"- imaginative!).

This bronzing cream claims to have 8 uses but to be honest, I only really had two uses in mind for it when purchasing it. I love contouring this summer and I am absolutely obsessed with my Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel for adding colour and warming my face. I have used this new Bourjois incarnation for contouring and it does a mighty fine job. I am quite fair though I have been embracing my Cocoa Brown for the last few months, and I find that this is a really decent match for my skin tone given that this is a universal shade. Whether or not this will be banished to the back of my makeup drawer once the winter kicks in, I am not yet sure, but for now, it is a perfect match. I would not even dare chance this on my face alone as a BB cream or foundation base.

The second use I found for this is mixing it with some of my lighter foundations to darken them up a smidge, and I *LOVE* it for this. Since the summer has rolled around, I have not been able to use a few of my favourite go to foundations and BB creams because they are too light and need to be warmed up once I put them on my face. A pump or two of this along with a pump of my foundation of choice- it's just such a foolproof method of matching up, and it mixes well with other creams and formulas. 

It applies like any other liquid foundation but when it dries, it leaves a nice matte, almost powder like finish. I use my Real Techniques Duo-Fiber Contour Brush to apply this on my face and my Blank Canvas Cosmetics F20 to blend everything and it works a treat. I am very pleasantly surprised with this product and I do believe it will become a staple in my summer makeup routine. 

As for cons- I have two- but they are probably highly pedantic. Firstly, the bottle promises an "addictive fragrance" but to be honest, I find it neither addictive nor appealing nor disgusting. I think it is too heavily fragranced for make-up but I don't believe it to be sickeningly so, and it is definitely not addictive. I prefer any cosmetics I wear to be as neutral as possible. It's hard to describe what kind of a scent it is- quite perfumed, not natural. It kind of reminds me of the smell of that Rimmel Sun Shimmer Tan- that's about the closest comparison I can think of. Like I said, the smell does not bother me that much, but it is worth bearing in mind if that is something that would irritate you.

My second bug bear is the fact that this is the latest in a longest line of 'BB' products, and at this stage, I believed I am BB'd out, and I don't know if I buy into the 'BB' hype anymore. I've seen BB lip glosses, BB powders etc etc. I am becoming increasingly more skeptical about anything claiming to be BB now given the proliferation of BB cosmetics in recent times.

Overall, I like this, and I think it is well worth the €13.99. It is a worthy dupe of the Chanel Soleil Tan de Chanel once applied. I expect to hear alot about this newest line from Bourjois in the coming months so keep your eyes peeled folks!

Thanks for reading! x

Friday, 7 June 2013

Fragrance Friday- the iconic Chanel No 5

Hello all, 

I thought I would start a new 'Fragrance Friday' series on my blog and share some of my favourite fragrance finds with you all. These are entirely based on my own experiences, and I know many people are attracted to different smells, but I absolutely adore perfumes and, for me, a spritz or two of perfume in the morning is as essential as brushing my hair before I leave. 

This week, I have chosen one of my favourite perfumes to showcase- the wonderfully classic, effortlessly elegant Chanel No 5. I have always loved the smell of this, but I resisted buying it for the longest time. It wasn't because it was terribly expensive because I love pretty much all the Chanel perfumes, but I always felt like it was the kind of scent that I would wear when I am much older. I believe I formed this opinion on the basis of the Eau de Parfum however. 

This Eau de Toilette was a present from a friend and I was delighted when he first gave it to me, I thought I would be keeping it safe for another decade or two. However, I was weak and I couldn't bear to wait any longer, and I was so pleasantly surprised by the slightly lighter scent of the EDT. I generally prefer the EDT incarnations of many of my favourite perfumes as a rule but it had never crossed my mind to even sample the Chanel No 5 EDT. I was quite happy to wait patiently to grow into what I believed to be a scent becoming of a more mature lady.

Coco Chanel is definitely one of the beauty icons that I have always admired- her famous words- "a girl should be two things: classy and fabulous" always echo in my ears. I received a little book years ago with all her famous quotes and I find it to be very inspiring. I believe the perfume was entitled 'Chanel No 5' because Coco herself was infatuated with the number 5. Everything about this perfume and the brand feels so distinguished and elegant I believe, from the sleek and simplistic packaging to those delicate interlocking Cs that are the ultimate badge of Chanel honour. Okay I was not convinced when it was announced that Brad Pitt would be the new face of Chanel, following on from Nicole Kidman (remember that Baz Lurhrman advert extraordinaire a few years ago!). I definitely do not channel Brad Pitt when I think of Chanel No 5, I think it was a bit of a gimmick to be honest and I have seen far too many spoofs and parodies to ever take that campaign seriously!

As for the smell, you just need to smell this in real life to truly appreciate what a luxurious and sensous scent this is. The EDT in particular smells like baby powder to me, light, fresh, fluffy. Remarkably however, this smells warm to me, and just exudes class and sophistication and good taste. I feel this way about many Chanel perfumes. It's not overpowering when you first spray it on and a little bit goes a mighty long way over the course of the day. I had this underlying fear with this perfume that I would be left looking like I am a kid playing with my mother's perfumes still, but I really feel like I am wearing this and that it does not wear me when I put it on. 

This perfume has definitely escalated to the top of my preferred scent list, and I will keep on repurchasing this for as long as I live. I know it might be a controversial choice because it is an incredibly famous perfume, backed by substantial marketing campaigns, but my opinion is my own and it is based on my personal experience. 

Does anybody else out there love Chanel perfumes as much as I do? And if anybody else has an opinion on the eau de parfum/ eau de toilette dichotomy, I would be very happy to hear from you!

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Happy Haul-idays! feat. MAC and KIKO Milano

Hi everybody,

Some of you may have read my post yesterday where I spilled the beans a little of my recent trip to Italy. Along with the food and wine and everything else, I also undertook a little shopping expedition and picked up some bits and bobs to try out. 

I am a big MAC fan, especially MAC Paint Pots, so I picked up a few more bits and pieces to keep me going. Also, I couldn't travel all the way to Italy and not pick up some Kiko Cosmetics, and I am happy to annouce that I picked up quite a generous cross-section of products to road test. I know Kiko is available online but I wanted my Kiko-cherry popping experience to take place in a real store! 

Since I have come back from my holidays, I have pretty much been working non-stop and have had very little time to road test these babies but watch this space for reviews and other musings!

Ciao for now!

Hallelujah! Finally a dupe for Bioderma Crealine H2O- introducing L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Micellar Water

Hello all! Today I have a very exciting post for you all. Let me elaborate...

I picked up the Bioderma Crealine H2O Micellar Solution about six months ago when I was in Paris, thinking that this substance could not be as magical as it was made out to be. Turned out I was very wrong. I am now half way through my second bottle having purchased one on ebay for an extortionate €30. I've been looking for a replacement product for the longest time- not only something equally as effective, but also something more easily available. I have been waiting for Bioderma to reach Irish shores for the longest time now that I have almost given up. I've tried other micellar water cleansers from other leading french brands like Nuxe and La Roche Posay and none of them came anywhere near my beloved Bioderma.

Until L'Oreal Skin Perfection 3 in 1 Purifying Micellar Solution. I was not expecting this to remove my makeup as easily and gently and quickly as it did. I have painfully sensitive eyes- probably 10 years of contact lense wearing catching up on me- and I love to wear eyeliner everyday- gel mostly- so finding something gentle enough not to irritate my eyes and strong enough to take away every trace of my makeup was never going to be an easy task. I never expected that this magical micellar would be able to do it so quickly but it did. It has completely exceeded my expectations, and I would happily repurchase this instead of Bioderma in future.

Along with completely dissolving the make-up off your face, this marvellous multi-tasker also unclogs pores and tones and soothes the skin. In my three odd weeks of using this, I have not experienced any breakouts or reactions, and my skin would be pretty prone to adverse reactions. It looks like water, and has no particular smell.

I believe it costs around the €7 for 200ml, as opposed to the €11 you would pay in French pharmacies for 500 ml. The extortionate ebay prices are too steep to mention. I think this stuff is magic in a bottle and I am converted! I think a drugstore/ high street equivalent of Bioderma is long overdue and I am only delirah that one of my favourite brands in L'Oreal was the one to bring this to the market.

Have you tried this yet? If so, let me know what you think!

Toodle pip!

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Four days in Italy- La Dolce Vita

Ciao everybody!

I'm not long back from a lovely little sejour in Italy and I said I would share some of my experiences with you. When an opportunity to visit one of my best friends in Italy cropped up, and when I learned that most of my other bestest friends would also be in attendance, I couldn't pass on the opportunity for a bit of a reunion. We spent a blissful few days in Florence taking in the sunshine, fine food, nice wine and the beautiful scenery. 

Whilst in Florence, I made it my business to:

Eat authentic Italian food- pizza, tiramisu, gnocchi, bistecca alla Fiorentina, calzone, bruschetta. The food was amazeballs for the most part- everything was just so fresh. I did get a bistecca that was drowned in olive oil which I did not much appreciate. Italian bread- not so amazing. And copious amounts of garlic in everything!

Eat my body weight in gelato. Oh the gelato. Happy frozen goodness. Big shout out must go to the Mango gelato in particular- so tasty and the most fantastic texture to ever grace my tongue! Honorable mentions must also go to the Cioccolato (chocolate) and Fragola (strawberry) varieties too!

Have an ice cold Limoncello after my meal (as the Italians do- was not an easy feat admittedly- it was much sweeter and thicker than I thought it would be). I do generally like a bit of a lemon twang but it was a very strange experience- not awful, just not as satisfying as I thought it would be.

Try to pick up the language and speak as much Italian as I could (even though I had been to Italy twice before, I did not have a word of Italian! I pretty much just got to grips with the basics, and anything I did not know the Italian for, I just said it in English with an Italian accent and it seemed to work!!)

Go to a museum and 'ooh' and 'aah' at statues. The museum of choice was the Bargello- a former prison which was converted into a museum. I never saw so many statues of naked people in one place. Quite remarkable, I almost blushed everytime I chanced upon another one. 

Get to see Florence's most famous resident, Michelangelo's David. I mean it's like going to Paris and not seeing the Eiffel Tower or hitting NYC and missing Lady Liberty herself!! Unfortunately we did not have time to spend the day queuing outside the Galleria dell'Accademia to catch a glimpse of the real David, but we made do with the fake David in the Piazza della Signoria. I was a little underwhelmed by the man himself because in my mind, I thought he was going to be bigger. 

Not succumb to my bird phobia- FAIL! I failed miserably in this task I set myself. Not only did I have to endure a meal in one of the main squares with pigeons eyeing me up and a little sparrow thing attacking the woman next to me - seriously it was hovering over her plate and she had to stab it away with a fork- I felt an immense weakness and nearly fainted. My dear friends know how terrified I am of birds and kindly sheltered me from them as much as they could. I did let out a bit of a scream when I came across the corpse of a dead pigeon. Just terrifying! You have no idea how debilitating it is having a phobia of birds.

All in all, it was an absolutely amazing trip, and nice to get away from Dublin for a while. I love Italy and I will definitely return again and experience la dolce vita once more!

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