Sunday, 28 December 2014

Chic Treat Club - December Unboxing

I was very excited for my first Christmas Chic Treat Club box. Honestly, I was very underwhelmed by last month's box so I was looking forward to a little Chic Treat reset. I was a little worried when I realised that I was going to be in Cork and not in work for the delivery of my Christmas Chic Treat Box but a little email to the Chic Treat Crew and all was sorted in a jiffy! I have to say, the customer service is absolutely top notch and incredibly responsive. 

This month's box was a departure from the usual lemon and instead we were treated to a bright red, festive box with red wrinkle paper instead of the usual pink. The Chic Muse was also suitably festive. 

These were the products that were included in the box:

Wet n' Wild MegaRocks Glitter Polishes, RRP €3.99 each. Two of these were included in this month's Chic Treat box. Now I LOVE Wet n Wild as a brand and I generally LOVE Wet n Wild polishes, especially the Mega Last polishes, but I am not a glitter nail polish kind of gal...usually. However, these arrived in the nick of time just before the big man in red called so I applied the silver coat over my Tanya Burr polish in Riding Hood on Christmas eve and it's still lasting chip free four days later. I haven't contemplated taking it off yet but for the glittery payoff and lasting power, I definitely give these the thumbs up. That said, I'm sure once the Christmas season passes, these will be relegated back to my nail polish collection to gather dust until next December again. 

Image Skincare Ormedic Balancing Lip Enhancement Complex RRP €23.00 This is the most exciting product in this month's box in my opinion, and the very reason I subscribe to boxes like these. Image Skincare is a well known and well respected brand and I know I would never in a million years blind buy this myself but it sounds interesting. The Chic Muse tells me that it has been specifically designed to enhance the appearance and volume of lip contours- which is music to my ears since a disastrous experience with a cold sore patch last June left my bottom lip contour a little blurred. If this is the cure and improves the appearance, I will be delirah. It also says that it is ultra hydrating with a powerful polypeptide complex which will add up to 40% extra moisture and volume which is also music to my ears because in this frost, my lips will be in bits. Very very excited to use this!

Thalgo Super Lift Toner (full size €29.00, 50ml sample worth €5.80). Thalgo is a brand that I had never tried before subscribing to Chic Treat Club and I certainly have never tried this toner. 50 ml is a decent sample size and I am a divil for skipping toner so this might incentivise me not to skip toner for the foreseeable. It smells nice and is rich in Vitamin A and gently exfoliating citric acid, I hope I will notice a difference from using it. 

Physician's Formula Shimmer Strips Kohl Kajal Eyeliner , RRP €16.90 for three, individually €5.63. Physician's Formula is another favourite of mine and I have about 6 of these shimmer strip kohl kajals already and I love them all to bits. They are smooth and easy to apply, pigmented, they last incredibly well, the colour range is nice, I think I already have this one but I certainly don't mind having another. 

Elvive Extraordinary Oil (3.5ml sachet) This is just a little extra thrown in- not sure if I'll ever use it but as it's only an extra, I'm not going to give out about it! 

Overall, I much prefer this month's box to last month's Chic Treat collab because the products inside are more appealing. The box has a total combined value of €42.

What do you think of this month's chic treats?

Sunday, 21 December 2014

Irish Beauty Bloggers Secret Santa Extravaganza 2014- the BIG REVEAL is finally here!

Squeee! I can't believe after all this time that the #irishbbloggersSS14 reveal day has finally arrived! After what seems like an eternity (or two months to normal folk), my insatiable curiosity is to be relieved. I cannot believe that SO many lovely Irish bloggers signed up to swap this year- in total, we have 57 bloggers swapping gifts- an unprecedented number! I didn't think we could beat the lovely 37 that signed up last year but so we did! The 2014 swap originated 2 months back when I asked and indeed when I was approached to organise another Secret Santa swap. 2013 was a huge success and there was a lot of appetite for a 2014 repeat. 

I circulated the survey back in October, and collected almost 70 responses, Once the results of the survey were in and the amounts and deadlines were set, I started gathering names. Once I had the names gathered, I wrote out each name twice on paper and had two boxes and picked a name from each box to make a match. I sent emails to 56 ladies and set up the twitter hashtag #irishbbloggersSS14. As soon as the ladies involved got their matches, serious suspicion ensued, and no-one could so much as like a photo on Facebook or favourite a tweet without bloggers assuming the worst! Over the following weeks, the Secret Santas amongst us teased us with clues and mysterious pictures just to whet our appetites.The process went rather swimmingly- apart from a handful of emails and An Post holding one present hostage! 

A huge thank you to everyone who embraced the exchange and I hope you are all delighted with your gifts and enjoyed the experience. It's deeply satisfying to hear good feedback and it makes all the organisation and effort worthwhile! 

And now, on reveal day, let me link you up to the lovely bloggers that took part in this years' swap so you can make sure you click through to all their blogs to see what they got!

Yavanna from Makeup Monster
Kat and Rachelle for DollyRouge
Orla from Makeup Over Mind
Sharon from Behind Green Eyes
Chloe from Nurse Fancy Pants
Sarah from Adoreabubbles
Danielle from LilliwhiteRose
Rebecca from Bec Boop Fashionista
Samantha from All the Buzz
Anne-Marie from Girlfriday's Beauty Blog
Elaine from Ruby Laine Make Up
Leanne from Blather and Beauty
Kelly from Mon Petit Blog
Susan Gaynor from Makeup by Ruby Sue
Nadine Stephens from The Parma Violet
Cat Wilson from Big Blonde Girl
Sarah from Beauty Angel
Avril from Blushful Beauty
Vicki from Happy Bubble Gal 
Bernie from Beauty Minx Blog
Deirdre from Deelightful
Nirina from Killer Fashion
Kayleigh from Cheerful Beauty Nerd
Michelle from Michelle Alice
Nicole from Nicholle Bartlett
Jennifer and Ciara from From Matte to Metallic
Audrey from The Nail Affair
Lesley from Bellinis and Blush
Ciara from Rees Design
Aisling from Coveted Mess
Mary Cate from The Fashion Horn
Zoe from Zoe Coco
Rachel from Oh Hey There Rachel
Olive from the Skinny Doll
Elizabeth from Life with Lizzy
Kayliegh from Kayliegh Land
Rachel from Rachel Brennan Life

Make sure to keep an eye out on Twitter under the #irishbbloggersSS14 hashtag and don't forget to leave lots on comments under the reveal posts and support and retweet/favourite your fellow swapping bloggers. I'll be checking in on the hashtag all day long and will be at the other side of Twitter if you have any questions etc.

So it's a wrap from me for the Irish Beauty Bloggers Secret Santa Extravaganza of 2014, and who knows, if the appetite is there, I might do it all over again in 2015!!


Saturday, 13 December 2014

MeMeMe Cosmetics- The Ultimate Eye Palette - Review and Swatches

The thing with budget eyeshadow palettes is that it's quite difficult to find a good one that doesn't have a couple of dud colours. I'm almost skeptical now before I even try any new eyeshadow palettes out. Last weekend however, I made the conscious (and some would say brave!) decision to bring just one eyeshadow palette away with me for an long weekend break in Belfast, and this MeMeMe Cosmetics Ultimate Eye Palette was the one that made the cut. I first clapped my eyes on this back at the Cork Meetup in July, and it was love at first sight. This palette landed in my hands about three weeks ago (thanks Joan!) and with work being crazy, a stomach bug, terrible skin reaction and crick in my neck, I just didn't get around to devoting any attention to this. And I am REALLY glad that I did bring just this palette to Belfast because I used every single colour over the course of my stay and tried out various combinations for day and night appropriate looks. I have to admit, this is one seriously impressive little palette.

As you can see from the swatches above, this is one remarkably well pigmented palette. 8 neutral colours (you KNOW how I feel about brown eyeshadows), this palette seems to have a little bit of everything, and I feel about it the way I feel about the original Urban Decay Naked palette- a great all rounder. You have your highlighting shade, your matte crease transition colour, plenty of lid wash options, but you also grey and black at the end to smoke out your day time looks to make them more night time appropriate. All of the shadows are soft, totally blendable, apply well with minimal fallout, and lasted at least 10 hours on me when I applied them over a cream eyeshadow base (recently been using the Maybelline Color Tattoo in Creamy Beige). 

I love the usual black Grecian style packaging of the MeMeMe Cosmetics product line and this palette is no exception. It's sleek, compact and I think it looks more expensive than the mere €12 it costs. The case is made out of cardboard so it is perfectly light and portable for transportation. The palette also has a decent mirror (not one of those ones that makes you look like you've stepped into the Twilight Zone).

And I usually do not rate makeup brushes that come with palettes AT ALL, in fact I usually fling them out straight away and resent the gap in the packaging thereafter- BUT the brush in the Ultimate Eye palette is very nice indeed, very soft, not plastic- one side for blending and one side for packing on colour. As far as brushes in palettes go, this is pretty decent!

So if you cannot already tell, I am really enjoying using this palette and I definitely recommend it as a sneaky gift to self, or even pick one up for the perfect stocking filler. I just cannot believe this palette was only €12- it feels almost like a crime. If you are looking for your nearest stockist of MeMeMe, head over to their Facebook page. I have also seen on the MeMeMe Ireland page that there is a new PLUM version of this available now too so I am going to raid all the Dublin city stockists in my search for one and when I find one, I will of course report back. 

Have you seen this palette in shops yet? Does it look like something that would make your heart flutter?


Saturday, 29 November 2014

NARS Audacious Lipsticks- Collection, Review and Swatches

I've made no secret of that fact that I have a new lipstick obsession in my life at the minute and that is the marvel that is the Nars Audacious Lipstick. Never before has my head been turned so sharply towards any lipsticks, and I am not exaggerating or lying when I make the hugely sweeping statement that these lipsticks are my favourite formula of lipsticks EVER. Sorry MAC. I've now got nine, but I am by no means finished yet, I would trade all my other lipsticks just so I could devote more time to these, and if my apartment caught fire in the morning, these would be the first makeup items that I would grab before I jump out the window. So as you can probably tell, I'm obsessed. At €30/£24 a piece, they are not the cheapest lipsticks, but honestly I think you would be hard pressed to find better bang for your buck. 

As you can probably tell from the wear, Anna is my favourite of all the NARS Audacious lipsticks because it is truly such a unique colour- I know the website calls it a mere smoky rose but it is much more than that. Sometimes pink, sometimes leaning grey, sometimes leaning lilac, this is such a gorgeous demure colour and I love wearing it to work and my work colleagues have actually asked me what lipstick I am wearing. I will definitely be keeping this on rotation and I will definitely repurchase.

Next up is Anita which I would consider to be a true pink nude and it's not a million miles apart from my natural lip colour so it's a MLBB colour for me. This is lovely for days when you want a subtle lip look without looking like you have nothing on- it's rosey but not too pink, and the beautiful formula on these lipsticks is extremely forgiving on even chapped and tattered winter lips. I feel like this lipstick allows me to fake better looking natural lips when they are looking a little worse for wear.

Brigitte was one that surprised me because I expected it to be a lot pinker than it actually is but in mind a more coral pink shade than rosey pink. This one is selling like hot cakes, and it is a very universally flattering colour so I can see why. I like these against my blue eyes when I am wearing Charlotte Tilbury's Cheek Swish n Pop in Love Glow.

Claudia is an extremely cool pink that is a little alarming in the bullet and not as alarming in the flesh, but still very pink all the same. I fell for this when I swatched it in store and I don't have anything else exactly like this. 

Angela is probably my second favourite shade because it is a gorgeous blue toned fuschia pink and it's a stunning colour, and somehow, some way this is kind of smoky and muted in the same way Anna is and it's just gorgeous.

Greta is a deep hot pink that leans more red than cool and again, in the 300 odd lipsticks that I own, I don't actually have anything quite like this.  

Audrey is a warm red toned plum that is just darling for this time of the year and is a nice alternative to a traditional red lip, whereas Fanny is a more traditional berry shade. 

I couldn't get my hands on Rita for the longest time because it was out of stock in Brown Thomas both times I tried to purchase so I ended up ordering it from HQ Hair and I'm glad I did because this is one epic red shade by anyone's standards and it screams Hollywood to me.

What I love most about these lipsticks is that they are so non-fuss, no need for liner because they don't bleed, one swipe gives perfect colour payoff AND the lasting power is incredible and it doesn't fade off in patches. The formula feels nice and balmy on the lips and it's easy to forget about these when you have them on, and they haven't exacerbate my lip dryness over the last few cold, frosty weeks. 

This lipsticks are WINNERS and I highly highly suggest you pick up one and try it out for yourself because in my opinion, there is NOTHING else on the market quite like these. 

What do you think? Are there any shades that have caught your eye?

Friday, 28 November 2014

Catrice NEW PRODUCT Alert- sneak peek at the brand new display! (pic heavy)

Catrice is a drugstore brand that I really rate and one that I turn to time and time again. Unlike some other drugstore brands, I find the quality of Catrice cosmetics to be head and shoulders above their competitors. Not quite as girly girly as Essence and slightly harder on your purse (but still bargainous as you will find out), Catrice offers absolutely everything you need to get your face and nails in order. I kid you not. Now imagine my surprise when I stumbled into a pharmacy to pick up cold medicine and anti-histamines to be confronted by a new GIANT display (twice the size of a normal Catrice stand) and ALL the new goodies on it- it was almost too much for my little sick heart to handle, but I did manage to take some pics with my trusty iPhone to let you all know what to expect. I am very very impressed with the new display and product selection- so stay tuned for a whirlwind tour!

One of first things that caught my eye was the new makeup blending sponge which is very reminiscent of the Blank Canvas Cosmetics Blending Sponge. I know so many people rave about applying flawless foundation with a sponge so it's definitely something I want to try out for myself. Catrice also have new All Matt Anti-Shine paper to replace the mattifying sheets that they discontinued over the summer and you might also be able to spy a little kabuki brush in the corner too. 

Sticking with the new brush theme, They have also released a new foundation brush- one of those paint brush style ones and a concealer and camouflage brush. Love to see drugstore brands bring out new brushes and I've not yet been disappointed with any of the Catrice brushes that I have tried. 

I blogged about the Catrice Nude Illusion Foundation a few months' back when I first spied it on the shelves and I was mucho impressed with it because it's the closest high street alternative that I have found to Giorgio Armani's Luminous Silk foundation. Holla! 

I've also noticed that along with their Absolute Nude and Absolute Bright palette, Catrice have also released a new Absolute Matt palette packed with neutral shades. 

A new feature of the new, improved display units was this little Lash Bar section which includes not only a variety of lashes but also a dinky little applicator and lash glue. Will definitely try these over the Christmas season if I can wean myself off my beloved Eylure lashes!

I loved this giant double tiered nail wheel also with the different samples of the various nail lacquers on offer- I love that Catrice do these because not many brands do and it's great to give you a feel for a colour against your skin tone instead of just holding the bottle in your hand. Winner!

The Liquid Metal Gel Eye Pencils are another new addition to the Catrice line up this season and they have a very impressive eight shade selection in a variety of metallic tones up for grabs. I've my eye on the copper one!

I've also reviewed these new Velvet Matt eyeshadows and I loved them- happy to see all 6 shades are now in stock, and looking forward to seeing the new shade releases every season. The quality and texture of these is JUST... and you should really put these on your list if you struggle to find a decent matte eyeshadow like I do! 

Another new feature of the Catrice new and improved display stand is the Eyebrow Bar packed to the rafters with goodies for people who like to do things with their brows- including the new Longlasting Brow Definers which are little finely nibbed felt tip markers for popping on your brows. 

The Catrice Gel Liner was one of my faves and I was very disappointed when it was discontinued a while back. I am delighted to see a new Waterproof version on the shelves and if it performs half as well as the other one did, I will be happy. There is also a new Cake Eyeliner which can be applied wet or dry and I bought one of these to try it out because I was curious about it!

There is a new range of lipsticks out also called the Stay Ultimate Lipstick which are meant to be, presumably, a longer lasting version of the original Ultimate lipsticks which I do love. I picked up a few of these to try out and I also laid my hands on some of the new Ultimate Stay Lip Liners which are retractable (my favourite kind) and have a pretty impressive colour selection. I will of course report back!

Two of the new specials released included the Vitamin Lip Treatment which is a lip cream infused with Vitamin E and also the Volumizing Lip Booster which has packed in the menthol for tingly, lip plumping goodness. 

Catrice fans may be sick of looking at the Prime and Fine Bases but there is a new player on the scene, the enticing sounding Healthy Look Primer if you don't mind. When you are feeling as poorly as I have been this last week, anything that even remote hints or suggests that it can make you look like you are in better health even if you feel like crap is a very lucrative prospect indeed. 

Catrice also released a new blush line- the Illuminating Blush- if you don't mind, and it comes in three different shades- a peach, a coral and a pink. These have a lovely sheen when swatched and I am definitely going to make one of these my own on my next visit to the Catrice stand. 

Bearing in mind how impressed I was with the Nude Illusion foundation, I was very excited to see the new Velvet Finish Foundation. This is formulated with hyaluron which according to the signage promises a repair complex and to be longlasting. I picked up one of these to try out so expect a full review on that one I have gotten the feels for how it works for me!

Also in the same Velvet Finish line are a Velvet Finish Powder and a Velvet Finish Concealer- again both laced with Hyaluron. I picked up the concealer in the lightest shade which was 010 Velvet Ivory so I will report back on this in due course also.

Another new addition were the Pure Shine Tinted Colour Lip Balms- fans of Catrice may already be aware of the Pure Shine Colour Lip Balms so this is presumably a longer lasting version of this which will also leave a tint as it fades. I did enjoy the originals but I will be very impressed indeed if these new ones are longer lasting and these are added to my shopping list.

Next up is the Catrice Lash Booster line which promises longer and more voluminous lashes. YES PLEASE! There is a new base coat, a new lash extensions fibres mascara (which unfortunately is not contact lense friendly) and a new overnight growth serum if you don't mind, which I am probably daft enough to try! 

There are also some new mascaras to try out- a waterproof version of the Ultimate Lash Multimizer Volume Mascara and two new Eye Opening Eyeconic mascaras. Historically, I quite like many Catrice mascaras so I am predisposed to be willing to give these a shot. 

I was curious to see that Catrice are now offering Liquid Metal nail polishes with both a shiny and matt finish- now to me, this seems like the impossible achievement because surely matt and shiiny are like black and white in terms of being at opposite ends of the spectrum so that in itself has me curious and gagging to try!

ALL the polishes! 

And finally, just another overview shot of the new double display!

So what new Catrice bits have caught your eye from this lineup? :) 

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