Friday, 31 January 2014

the Balm Lou Manizer Sisters- Mary, Betty and Cindy- review and swatches

I am not a huge lover of the highlighter by any stretch of the imagination- I own plenty, but I never really reached for them, and I resented those highlighters that left chunks of glitter along my cheeks or browbones. I resisted purchasing the cult the Balm wonder product, Mary-Lou Manizer for the longest time because I honestly thought it would be relegated to the back of my makeup drawers where the rest of my highlighters hang out. I could not have been more wrong! So impressed was I was Mary-Lou Manizer that I also picked up her sisters, Betty Lou-Manizer and the baby of the family, Cindy-Lou Manizer.

What I love the most about these is that even though they are powder highlighters, they are so incredibly finely milled that they apply like cream highlighters. A little goes a long way with these guys too so I urge you all to exercise caution when using these and to apply them with a light hand. That said, I do find these are not too glittery, too shiny or too shimmery- they provide just enough highlight to catch the light and draw the eye. I apply these mostly to my cheekbone area but I have often used Mary especially as a browbone highlight and I love the effect that it gives. These are multipurpose products and you can really use them wherever your heart so desires.

Mary-Lou Manizer is a soft champagne/ gold highlight, and this is my favourite out of the three so far. Betty-Lou Manizer is a bronzer/highlighter/shadow with a warm bronze tone and finally, Cindy-Lou Manizer is a peachy pink highlighter/shadow hybrid. See the swatches below for an idea of how the colours compare against each other. 

Overall, these products have pretty much converted me to the highlighting way of life and I could not recommend them highly enough. What's more, them and a variety of other products by the Balm are now available on one of my favourite online haunts Cloud 10 Beauty for your purchasing pleasure. At €19 each, you get masses of product and I doubt you will ever have to actually repurchase these because I have not yet been able to make a dent in my Mary Lou-Manizer and I have been using it non-stop for a month. You really do need these in your life!

Has anybody else fallen head over heels with Mary and her sister offerings from the Balm?

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

FIRST PEEK!! PowderPocket January 2014- Unboxing and First impressions

I almost forgot that it was that time of the month again but when my January PowderPocket box arrived to my desk at world today, I am sure I squealed a little squeal of delight. So impressed was I with the maiden offering (click here to read my post on the first box delivered if you haven't already read it), I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the sequel box.

The packaging and whatnot was exactly the same as the first box but what I LOVED about the January box is that it came with a little personalised sticker where the PowderPocketPeeps assured me that they were here to save my skin. This gave a pretty good indication that this box was to be skincare themed. The little magazine that was included with the first box has been replaced by a A3 poster that folds out and furnishes you with all the deets about the products in the box and details of where to purchase, RRPs and even a few discount codes occasionally!

So I know you are probably all dying to know what’s in the box- (and if you are waiting on your Powderpocket box to arrive, maybe look away now because I don't want to ruin the surprise!)

Overall, there are quite a few brands I have never heard of before and there are two products included in this box that I have already purchased before also. I was happy to see a little travel La Roche Posay Thermal Spring Water in the box- I have quite dehydrated skin and a spritz of this stuff does it no harm at all- also last summer, I kept a bottle of this in the fridge for a quick fix when I thought my face would fall off in our long-forgotten heatwave and it was just dandy for that. I also have picked up the Pixy Natural Skincare Citrus Spring Soap before too- I know I'm playing the role of city shark at the moment living and working in Dublin but I was born and reared in Pixyland so there are not too many products that I haven't tried out at this stage.

Like I said, the reason I love and subscribe to these monthly subscription boxes is because I love trying out samples of things that I ordinarily would not have heard of or purchased. The next few samples fit that bill perfectly. I have never heard of Lavera before but I love me a handcream and this Lavera Basis Sensitiv Hand Cream smells divine! We got a 20ml sample in our boxes but the full size 125ml will only set you back €5.24.

I have also never heard of Ginvera Green Tea Marvel Gel which appears to be some sort of miracle working face mask/ treatment that you apply to dry skin before washing off a few minutes later. We were given a 10ml sample to try but we weren't told how big the full size product is but the RRP of the full size is €27 and you can get your mitts on it in Harvey Nicks by all accounts. I'm really loving treatments and all at the moment so I am looking forward to giving that a whirl.

Lastly (and not quite in tune with the skincare theme of the box) is a black eyeliner pencil from a brand called Benecos, another unknown to me. I always use black eyeliner pencils so this should be a welcome addition!

So that’s the contents of the January PowderPocketBox and whilst I am happy with the products included, I feel ever so slightly less impressed that I was with the first box. Whilst I appreciate that this was a skincare themed box, I preferred the selection of products in the first box. The only full size product in this box was the Benecos eyeliner- the rest were sample sizes, and I already owned two of the products included. I know that's the luck of the draw with these mystery boxes but I am always hopeful! All that aside, I am UBER impressed with the personalised sticker in the box which must have taken some organising, and I'm looking forward to the February offering already!

What do you think of these products? Do you think these monthly box subscriptions are worth the bobs or would you rather spend the €15 on a single product of your own choosing and forego the element of surprise?

Monday, 20 January 2014

Maybelline Super Stay Better Skin Foundation - Review

I spied with my little eye this little foundation in Boots last week and something about it sitting there on the shelf just pulled at my heartstrings and compelled me to purchase it. The clinger might have been in the title on the display unit- Better Skin- who doesn't want better skin? A thorough inspection of the bottle informed me that this was put on the market as a flawless finish foundation with an energising vitamin formula that would not only even my skin tone instantly BUT would leave me with better looking skin in 3 weeks. WINNING. So even though I usually research any makeup, especially foundation, before I throw it into the basket, I just threw caution to the wind and picked this bad boy up on the day. I think it hit my purse to the tune of €11 which is pretty much in the middle of the scale as far as foundations go. There was also an accompanying concealer but they only had the darker shade available in the Boots that I went into so I had to regrettably decline picking up one of those. 

This foundation promised me the sun, moon and stars, and surprisingly enough, it delivered. When I pumped it out first, I thought the consistency felt quite thick but as soon as I worked it with my flat top kabuki, my face instantly responded well to it. A few pumps went a long way and it did instantly even out my entire complexion without looking cakey or thick on my face. It concealed any redness and dullness and blemishes easily, but didn't wash me out. The coverage was absolutely outstanding- I have not gotten such good results from most of the high end drugstore foundations I have picked up which at least cost four times the price. 

Alas, whilst it applied like a dream and dried to a semi-matte finish, I did not hold high hopes for the lasting power of this foundation, simply because my past experience with drugstore foundations- including Maybelline's Fit Me foundation, was that they lasted about six hours before needing to be touched up or taken off completely. I am so very glad to tell you all that this has easily lasted 13 hours on my skin with the new Maybelline Baby Skin Primer, and it looked as good when I got home from work as it did when I went into work in the morning. Also, when the formula set on my face, it did not budge- it did not transfer onto my scarf or my clothes or paper at my desk. It is a comfortable foundation to wear. ALSO a huge factor for me is the smell of the actual foundation- if it smells bad, I can't put it near my face, but this one does not have an offensive smell, in fact it barely has any smell.

As for the claim that it will leave me with better looking skin after 3 weeks, I cannot really testify to that, but in any case, I would be highly skeptical of foundation being able to do what decent sleep and a healthy diet would do for your skin. I can vouch for great coverage and lasting power.

I got the shade in 005 Light Beige and this foundation has a built in SPF so those of you who like to engage in a bit of flash photography may have an issue with that. I am suffering from dehydrated skin at the minute and this foundation has done absolutely nothing to aggravate any dryness or patches. There are 8 shades available in total and two shades of concealer.

If this foundation offering from Maybelline is the first in a suite of new products to be released in 2014, it makes me very excited for the year ahead. I didn't think it would be possible to get a drugstore foundation that ticks as many boxes as this one but honestly, this one is one of the best I have tried.

Have you tried this foundation yet or is it something that would interest you? Or do you think you have to spend a bit more for a high end foundation to get a good one?


Thursday, 16 January 2014

First Peek! ENTIRE Wet n Wild Cosmetics Collection- now available in Ireland!! (pic heavy)

When I spread the good news about the arrival of Wet n Wild in Ireland yesterday, I pretty much took it for granted that everyone was as familiar with the brand and products as I am. Since I posted up my post last night, I have been getting loads of questions about which products I would recommend and what kinds of products WnW have unleashed on the Irish market so without further ado, I'll get straight into it and let the pictures do the talking! I posted a picture of the display yesterday and some of you said you were zooming in to try to get a better look so I have done the hard work for you. I've tried to take the best pics I could bearing in my the display was really busy, I was in a supermarket and I used my iphone, hopefully you will get a good sense of what is available.

Hope this post will be helpful to anyone making the pilgrimage to Dublin to get the lipsticks so you can get your wishlists in order and to look up swatches and reviews before you buy.

Silk Finish Lipstick €1.99

Megalast Lip Color €2.99
(I told you all last night that these were amazing lipsticks and when I went back today they had almost completely sold out!!! The three colours I showcased last night are sold out so I'm glad I nabbed them whilst I could! These are my favourite WnW lip products.

Mega Slicks Lip Gloss €2.99

LEFT: Mega Last Liquid Lip Color €4.69
RIGHT: Mega Slicks Balm Stain €3.99

LEFT: Glassy Gloss Lip Gel €2.99
RIGHT: Juicy Lip Balm SPF 15 €4.49

Coverall Pressed Powder €3.99

Coverall Cream Foundation €4.99
Coverall Concealer €2.99
Coverall Concealer Sticks €2.99

Coverall Concealer Palette €4.49
Mega Glo Illuminating Powder €4.49

Color Icon Blusher €4.49
Ultimate Brow Kit €3.99

Color Icon Eyeshadow Collection €6.49
Unforch 'Comfort Zone' was sold out this evening when I was taking pics- again I am not at all surprised because that was THE palette on everybody's wishlist!!

Color Icon Eyeshadow Palette €5.49

Color Icon Eyeshadow Trio €4.49

Color Icon Eyeshadow Single €1.99

Mascara Mascara!

Color Icon Lip Liner €1.99
Color Icon Brow and Eyeliner €1.99
Idol Eyes Creme Shadow €2.99

Wild Shine Nail Color €1.99

Mega Last Salon Nail Colour €2.99

Mega Rocks Glitter Nail Color €3.99

Color Icon Bronzer SPF 15 €4.49

So I hope that this post has been helpful and has done enough to at least pique your interest if you were only mildly interested in WnW before you started reading!! 

What's jumping out at you from this collection?? 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Wet n Wild hits Irish supermarkets- Haul, Irish Prices and First Impressions

Today started off like any other Wednesday. I started off this day not knowing what a wonderful day this was going to be. When my head was lodged in that guy's armpit on the Luas at 8am this morning and Ms Morning Breath was killing me slowly next to me, I had no idea of the surprise that was in store. When I turned on my computer at my desk and opened my emails and saw that I had a million new jobs to add to my task list, I had no idea of the delight that the day was going to bring. Needless to say, it was a HUGE shock to discover that one of my favourite inexpensive/drugstore brands from across the pond that is the Atlantic Ocean, Wet'n'Wild is now freely available to us Irish ladies in the most glam supermarket of them all (*cough) Dunnes Stores!! Niamh Martin of NIMA Brush fame was the first to break the news of the imminent arrival and it was Katrina that first broke the news on Twitter of the first sighting, before Donna spread the word on Facebook, but I truly think I did not believe it until I saw it with my very own eyes in Dunnes Stores. I'm a longtime fan of WnW cosmetics- particularly the eyeshadows and the Megalast lipsticks, and for the last few years I have had to buy my goodies online from stores like Non Pareil Boutique or eBay, the fact that I could now purchase these so easily with cash in a shop pleased me no end.

This was the vision that greeted me in and amongst the toiletries in Dunnes Stores Stephens Green when I popped over at lunchtime today.

Isn't it just a sight to behold?! Rows and rows of beautifully packaged goodness just waiting to be purchased! Also, apart from the lipsticks, none of the testers had been opened, everything was so new and fresh and shiny. Unlike other inexpensive make up brands, all the products are pretty securely sealed so you can purchase safe in the knowledge that Mary Bloggs probably has not been swatching the makeup you paid for. There is a huge variety of products available- lip glosses, lip balms, chubby lip pencils, lipsticks, liquid eyeliner, powder/liquid foundation, concealers, bronzers, blushes, brow kits, zillions of eyeshadows, millions of nail polishes, eye and lip pencils and mascaras. PHEW THAT'S A LOT! The products range in price from €1.99 to €6.49 for the 8pan palettes- which are EPIC in the pigmentation stakes in case you don't know- so it's on a par if not cheaper than our beloved Essence and Catrice products. Pretty nifty eh?!

Well I made a few small purchases, I think it would have been very rude not to, and this is what I picked up today- all in all I picked up 15 pieces for a not-too-shabby €58.85.

I have an obsession with WnW eyeshadows. I have all of their now discontinued 6pan Color Icon palettes and a few of their 8 pan palettes from their regular and special edition lines. I am already on my second Walking on Eggshells eyeshadow trio and I absolutely LOVE it, so I was uber eager to pick some more up today. I picked up three 3parters- Sweet as Candy, Silent Treatment and I'm Getting Sunburned. I love these dinky little trios of awesome eyeshadow and best part- they are only €4.49!!!! At that price, if one of the three shadows was outstanding, I would be happy, never mind all three of them! They have a great variety of colour combos too if you are more adventurous than I am!

I also picked up some of these sexy specimens which I had only ever seen on Youtube vids and blog posts up to this point. These are the newish 5 pan palettes and I got the shades The Naked Truth and Tunnel Vision. Again, I know I play it pretty safe with colours but I am a bore like that. They didn't have the blue 8 pan palette that I was looking for, I already had the other two and the third was a crazy colours combination which I would never wear in a million years but if you were in the market for an 8pan palette, they would set you back €6.49- bargainous.

I liked the look of this Color Icon bronzer (with SPF 15 if you don't mind!!) in Reserve Your Cabana because it seemed to be a nice light bronze colour which I would probably use just to warm up my face a bit. €4.99 is great value for the monster pan of product you get I'm sure you'll agree.

Another WnW favourite of mine are the Megalast Salon Nail Colour polishes- these kind of remind me of the Sally Hansen Complete Salon Manicure polishes in colour and the brushes are massive so you can pretty much paint your whole nail with one swipe. They dry quickly, they last well. I didn't bother purchasing any other WnW polishes because I love these ones so much and the shades I have are Haze of Love, Through the Grapevine and Under Your Spell. They have loads of colours available and cost €2.99 each.

My third great WnW love are the Megalast Lipsticks which cost €2.99 each. They are phenomenal for the price. Great payoff, matte like texture so they can be a little unforgiving if your lips are experiencing some chappage but seriously just try one and see how awesome they are for yourself. I got the shades Sugar Plum Fairy, Mauve Outta Here and Stoplight Red today.

I haven't tried their blushes before but I have heard great things from beauty gurus over the Atlantic and thought I would give them a try- I got Pearlscent Pink and it was €4.49.

Finally my last 2 bits were experimental- I haven't tried either of these before but I liked the look of them. I got the Megasticks Balm Stain in the shade Pinky Promise and the Idol Eyes Creme Shadow Pencil in Pixie. They were €3.99 and €2.99 respectively and I cannot comment as to pigmentation etc yet because I haven't put them to good use yet but I'll get cracking on that and let you know. 

So that's it for my first Wet n Wild show and tell. Did you see anything that catches your eye? Have you wanted to try anything from WnW? What are your must have products that we should add to our shopping lists? And who is going to be running to their nearest Dunnes Stores to check out the cosmetics aisle to see if they stock the loot? 


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

The Frugal February Challenge

I'm not one for New Years Resolutions really. Most of my goals that are not professional/career oriented are short term flash-in-the-pan type affairs. I decide to grow my hair and I get sick of it three months later. I give up chocolate and start eating cheese until I go back to chocolate. I go on a spending ban and then I go mad in Brown Thomas. I wasn't too fussed about making all the big promises to myself this year because I know full well in my heart I have absolutely no staying power to maintain any such resolution over a 12 month period. Anybody that knows me in the real world will know that I am a spender not a saver, I like to treat myself for working so hard, and I am a great believer in the (not-so-cheerful) philosophy that you can't take it with you when you're gone. I don't want to buy into the resolution fad because I want to learn good habits and not just keep repeating bad old ones!

And that got me thinking (I can hear you all go oooooh!). December and January are such months of excess for me- spending a fortune on gifts and buying heaps of gifts to me from me, shopping the sales and eating and drinking WAY too much. Whilst intoxicated with the materiality of it all, I began to ponder as to what it would be like to live without these things for a short period of time, like a month for example. To live with less excess. And so my idea of 'Frugal February' was born. It's not Extreme Cheapskates and it's not Operation Transformation, it's just about cutting out as much of the excess as possible, standing back, appreciating everything you have already been blessed with and embracing a new way of life. I can't speak for everyone but I know I have certainly stepped back from my wardrobe/ makeup collection and been angry with myself for getting so consumed with consumption and shopping and owning too many things and feeling almost burdened by possessions, spending too much money on useless things and not getting the value out of things you already have and letting food and products go to waste.

I'm not really one to set blogger challenges and the likes, but if you are sitting there nodding your head and feeling like this is something you would like to do, then keep reading, have a think about it, and let me know in the comments below if it is something you might be interested in because I'd love company on this Frugal Friday adventure. You can take on whatsoever and however many challenges you like, as long as you are embracing frugality and taking stock. There are no rules per se, and there is no point making promises you cannot keep.

I have decided that for the month of February this year, I am going to:

1. Keep a diary of my incoming cash, outgoing cash, bills etc.

I think this would be a useful exercise to see where all my hard earned bucks go to. I did a blog post a few months back about how much my face would be worth and I was flabbergasted with the end result when I sat down and worked out how much the final tally came to. I think if I could see the actual amount of money that I squander on a weekly or monthly basis that I would be horrified into reassessing my spending habits pretty sharpish!

2. Use up some of the products in my bathroom/makeup collection

I am literally tripping over makeup and beauty products in my little ensuite bathroom and I am a demon for opening something, using about half of it and then buying something else in Boots and forgetting about the half full bottle of something in my bathroom already, and the cycle continues. I am going to make a conscious effort to use up some of these products over the month of February before they go out of date or before I will get killed by an avalanche of bottles the next time I knock my display unit over. 

3. Put money into a savings account every week. 

I save very sporadically when the notion takes me, and I have often considered setting up a direct debit to send some of my hard earned bobs into a magical safe secure locked savings account but have neglected to do this so far. In February, I am going to make the conscious decision to save as much money as I can over the month for a rainy day.

4. Only spend money on the essentials- food, petrol, etc., and even then shop around for the best deal. 

If I need it, I'll get it, but only if I need it. Absolutely no non-essential purchases for 28 whole days- no magazines, no clothes... I'm not going to be couponing or the likes but I will try to shop smart and plan meals (with the hours I work food wastage is a huge problem for me- I buy groceries at weekend thinking I'll cook when I go home, get home from work circa 10pm and have no mind for cooking, food goes off, food gets dumped.) I'm going to shop smart for the month of February and plan my week in advance. Anything I have to buy, I'm going to try to do so as economically as possible.

5. Bring my lunch to work with me each day and forego the takeaway coffees.

This one is going to be REALLY tough for me, not least because I find it hard to function at my desk without my skinny hazelnut latte. I HATE packed lunches and I don't actually find them that much more cost effective/ healthier/ time saving than just picking up a sandwich or salad somewhere. I think I will struggle with this more so than the rest of my objectives but time will tell.

6. Try to have at least 10 spend free days (days where you don't actually spend a dime!). 

Bearing in mind that February is a 28 day month this year, I'm already down 2/3 days from the get-go making it even more challenging! If my Luas ticket is prepaid at the start of the month and I bring lunches into my desk with me, this shouldn't be an insurmountable obstacle.

7. Try to stick to three meals a day and no snacking in between. 

I am a terror for grazing in between meals and alot of the time it's more habitual than satisfying hunger. I just think this is a bad habit that I should be able to eliminate pretty easily, especially at my desk at work. 

8. Try to cut down consumption of Coca-Cola.

I hate to admit it, but I have at least one glass/bottle/can of Coke a day. I have tried to kick this habit to the curb completely and only lasted days, but it's one of those things that I didn't even really devote to breaking. I know how bad it is for me, but I guess I excused it on the basis that I don't drink or smoke or have any other vices really. Well the excuses are up now, and even if I cannot cut it out completely, I am going to try to dramatically reduce my intake.

9. Use up the food in my freezer/ store cupboard.

There are no excuses really as to why I don't do this already. I think it's laziness or silliness or maybe a combination of both. I have so much treasure in that freezer that just has to be eaten. I think I prob have enough meat, waffles and frozen veg to last me for the whole month!

10. I am going to read and finish four books over the month.

And I mean real books and not kindle or e-reader books. I used to absolutely love and adore reading when I was younger but I have pretty much completely given up reading books in recent years, mostly because I am reading all day long every day in work and the last thing I want to do is to be confronted with black and white text when I get home from work in the evenings or worse still, on my precious weekends at home.

Now I know that it is going to be unbearably tough and I am going to be very strict with myself because I want to challenge myself and I want to be proud of myself for being disciplined enough to carry this off. Right now as I am thinking about all the things I could do not only to save money but also to be healthier and more environmentally aware. I don't often delve into lifestyle type posts but I would love to share my Frugal February adventures with you all. Over the course of February you will see all the usual beauty chatter from me, but you will also see my Frugal News bulletins and updates. I'm going to keep an online diary of my progress/successes and failures over the month of February, and I am hoping that by the end of it that I will have more money in the bank, a few less pounds under the belt and a healthy, reinvigorated attitude. Hopefully you will find that you have developed a new savvy money habit that you won't want to stop in February! 

So if you're interested, let me know in the comments below and we can support each other in our frugality. If you want to blog about your own Frugal Fun, link your blog posts below. If you want to tweet about your progress, use the hashtag #FrugalFebruaryFun to keep us posted. Check in with news of frugal findings, frugal food, frugal funds, frugal fails and ways to have good old-fashioned frugal fun.

If you have any suggestions on frugality or the Frugal February challenge, do share them below on the Frugal Forum!


Thursday, 9 January 2014

2013- the year in review and goals going forward

It's taken me a week of careful consideration, I feel like the time has come to reflect on the year that was 2013. 2013 was a year of amazing highs and unfortunately, there were some sad lows in the midst aswell. There have also been personal lows, most notably the death of our beloved family pet Jack which broke my heart back in October, and also the death of my grandaunt in December. My poor Nana has been in and out of hospital several times this year, and was in hospital over the whole entire Christmas period, which was very tough on us all. Christmas kind of just passed our family by this year.

2013, however, has been my best blogging year to date, and when I think back on the year that it was, it is probably my greatest personal achievement. I started off 2013 with just under 15,000 views and about 60 followers, and over the course of the year, I accumulated over 120,000 pageviews, and my daily pageviews have increased from 200 per day to anywhere between 600-800 per day. I have also seen my followers quadruple in numbers which was amazing. I have been to many different brand events this year- including events by Lancome, Yves St Laurent, Kiehls, Giorgio Armani, Cocoa Brown Tan, Inglot, the Body Shop, Youngblood Cosmetics to name a few, and I have attended two beauty shows in the RDS and a blog awards ceremony courtesy of Ooh La La magazine. I've been to a few blogger meetups and I even hosted a blogger meetup back in October. I took part in a blogger challenge, the September Beauty Blog Challenge organised by the lovely Girl Friday. This post is my 249th post. I organised the first major Irish Beauty Bloggers Secret Santa Exchange in December and it seemed to be a resounding success. I embraced Twitter this year for the first time and have enjoyed participating in the usual Monday night scheduled blogger chats.

I feel like my blog has come into its own in 2013, and I have found my blogging voice. I've taken part in tags and seen the number of comments left on my blog by my lovely readers surge over the year. I still love getting feedback from others, and I get kicks from talking to other bloggers who tell you that your blogpost on X 6 months ago made them go out and purchase that very item and that they love it as much as you do. Before I began blogging, I had no-one that I could talk to so freely about makeup and the likes, nobody close to me was interested (though my friend Elaine loved perusing through my makeup collection) and nobody at work ever demonstrated any interest in makeup (though I was asked in a court room during a break in a trial if I could recommend a good foundation!).

The main pro of this whole blogging experience however has to be the friends I have made along the way, some of the sweetest, smartest, savviest women I have ever come across. On paper the only thing we have in common is an obsession with cosmeticals, but in truth, we are a tight-knit bunch of chums. I've experienced extraordinary support and kindness from so many of my fellow Irish beauty bloggers especially, and I talk to several ladies on a daily basis, and many more on a sporadic basis. I would be afraid to list out names in case I inadvertently forget anyone! I sincerely hope I will be friends with these lovely ladies for many more moons, and I look forward to further adventures in 2014.

My main blogging goals for 2014 are as follows:

1. Put up at least 120 posts over the course of the year to be my 2013 tally.
2. Comment more actively on posts and remember to respond to blog comments on my own blog (doh!)
3. Take my camera with me more to events and stop relying so much on my iphone for photos
4. Embrace Instagram more, I am a bad blogger!
5. Update my Facebook page, promote posts and engage with Facebook more.
6. Revamp my blog with new design and layout.
7. Attend as many events and meetups as possible.

Are you undertaking any blogging goals this year? What do you hope is in store for your blog in 2014?


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Irish Beauty Bloggers Secret Santa 2013- Wrap Up and what Santa brought me

Now I know this post is a two weeks late but there are several good reasons for that- mostly involving a very poorly Nana in hospital, a dose of a headcold and An Post letting me down in the run up to Christmas. All that aside, I have been following everybody's #irishbbloggersSS reveal and today I am laying the affair to rest until next November when you all hear from me again about organising #irishbbloggersSS2014. The whole initiative, which began during one of our #irishbbloggers group chats on Twitter about 2 months ago now, ran quite swimmingly, and there were alot of lovely vibes amongst Irish beauty bloggers in the run up to Christmas. Who doesn't love to get a mystery gift in the post and stalking blogs/ Youtube channels looking for inspiration for the gift that you have to pick out for your own Kris Kringle. 

I have gotten so many shout outs on all the posts for organising the whole #irishbbloggersSS "movement" but there wasn't much organising to it really. Back in November I circulated a mini-survey amongst Irish beauty and fashion bloggers and vloggers so I could get some input from the bloggers that wished to take part. I gathered names of the people who would like to participate and randomly selected pairings before emailing every participant individually to let them know who their random gift recipient was going to be. I policed Twitter to make sure that nobody let the cat out of the bag  in advance of the big reveal and to co-ordinate the delivery of presents and make sure that everybody who signed up had a present to showcase on the big day. I also kept a constant eye on the Twitter hashtag #irishbbloggersSS which was where most of the questions/queries came from and tried to make sure that everybody was singing off the same hymn sheet. Every single participant that was involved really embraced their task and I was delighted with the uptake and enthusiasm. 

All in all, 37 Irish Beauty Bloggers participated in the gift exchange, a number which far exceeded my expectations if I am honest! Below I have a list of all the Irish Beauty Bloggers/Youtubers that took part, so I highly encourage you to visit/follow/subscribe to their blogs/websites/channels if you have not done so already, and once you do that, have a look and see what their Secret Santa's picked out for them!

Lauren from Makeup by Lauren Marie
Orla from Makeup Over Mind
Kat and Rachelle from Dolly Rouge
Anita from Anita's Beauty Spot
Anne Marie from GirlFridays Beauty Blog
Audrey from The Nail Affair
Sarah G from Adoreabubbles
Lisa from Pink Sugar Sparkles
Sarah L from Rara Giggle's Blog
Nina from Nina's Bargain Beauty
Cindy from Girl with the Skew Earring
Aundrea from Dancing with Disaster
Eimear from Bargain Hunter Byrne
Ashley from Miss Beauty Babble
Megan Rose from A Little Bit of Makeup and Beauty
Michelle from Kandigloss Makeup
Samantha from All The Buzz
Sharon from Behind Green Eyes
Alex from Pink Elephant Blog
Sarah E from Never Fully Dressed
Seana from Innocent Illusion
Chloe from Very Lovely Stuff
Emma G from Belightful by Nature
Rachel from Oh Hey There Rachel!
Rosaleen from Roses and Rockets
Sarah C from Sarah Blogs Beauty
Emma S from Mastering Your Makeup
Colette from The World in my Wardrobe
Michelle F from Belle Morte Beauty
Sarah F from Beauty with Brushes
Stephanie from Polished and Primed
Zita from Zee Railed
Vicki from Happy Bubble Gal
Nirina from Killer Fashion
Yvonne from One For The Wishlist
Nora from Too Many Muffins

Finally, I myself have been totally blown away by very kind and very unexpected gifts following on from #irishbbloggersSS, and I just want to take this opportunity to shout out to the lovely ladies that surprised me. I originally didn't count myself into the mix because I thought as organiser, it would be best if I kind of hovered and oversaw everything from the outside. I honestly thought it was a small sacrifice but nonetheless some of my lovely blogger friends were appalled that I was missing out on a gift and they begged, borrowed and conned me into giving over my address and they sent me some lovely gifts. My good chum Anne Marie of GirlFridays Beauty Blog sent me along an Elf DVD and a gorgeous Marie Reynolds body massage candle, the lovely Lauren from Makeup by Lauren Marie sent on a gorgeous lip gloss set from Smashbox which I have been using to death over the last fortnight. The equally lovely Sharon from Behind Green Eyes sent me a lovely EOS gift set. Not only did some lovely Irish beauty bloggers also surprised me. Blanaid from Cloud 10 Beauty sent me on the Real Techniques Sam's Picks brush set which I have been dying to try out and Stephanie from Beauty Emporium sent my a lovely package jammed with beautyifying and skincare goodies. I was so incredibly touched by each one of these very thoughtful and very unexpected gifts so thank you so much to all of my Secret Santas!

So, it gives me great pride to declare #irishbbloggersSS 2013 a resounding success and I would like to thank everybody that participated and embraced the Christmas spirit. I hope that you have all enjoyed discovering newer blogs and Youtube channels and welcoming new bloggers/vloggers to the Irish Beauty Blogging community. I personally would like to thank everyone for all the lovely comments and sharing the love. I very much enjoyed the experience and hope you all enjoyed it too!

Until next year..... ;-)

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