Thursday, 31 July 2014

The July Roundup Post! Beauty, Life, Food and Feelings

I have never done a general life round up post like this before but I thought it would be a nice way to give you a little insight into my boring little corner of the world and let you get to know the girl behind the blog a little more. I love reading general catch-up posts like this that go beyond mere monthly makeup favourites. I'm going to make a concerted effort to take some time at the end of every month and just summarise the good, the bad and the ugly. Overall July was a lovely month, recovered nicely from the exam marathon that was the whole month of June and enjoyed some time with friends and family before coming back to the office after study leave of almost four months.

What I've been watching



Anything but the World Cup! I've really been enjoying catching up on my TV again. Pretty Little Liars is back for the fifth series now and I am still glued to it trying to figure out who the heck is "A"- my opinion on this changes like the wind. I caught up on one of my favourite series that I missed out on over the last few months- The Originals- and I watched about ten episodes over the course of a few days because every episode ended with some drama and I couldn't wait to see if the Klaley baby would be born in one piece. I went to the cinema to see The Fault in our Stars after having struggled through the book earlier on this year- I regretted going to see that.

What I've been reading

I haven't been hugely inclined to read books over the last month because I am enjoying not having to devour books of any time but I have been catching up with my favourite mags and I feel sufficiently incorporated in society again. I've just started Rhonda Byrne's The Secret so I will report back on that next month. I've been catching up on my favourite bloggers and Youtubers over the last month also.

What I've been eating

I haven't really been sticking to Slimming World and I haven't been to a meeting in over a month. I'm a bad slimmer! I guess I don't do things if I feel like I am wasting my time and chopping up veg and counting syns was not how I really wanted to spend my holidays, and it was the last thing on my mind when I was actually doing exams. I've still tried to make healthy choices where possible but I have allowed myself treats too- I feel like I deserved them. Fully intending to get my Slimming World mojo back asap and get back to my fatbusting ways again soon. I've been cooking lots over the last month and getting lots of recipes from the Slimming World Fakeaways Book- Thai Red Curry is an adaptation of one of the recipes but it's delicious. I've also loved nectarines and strawberries this month (that time of the year again!), and I've been on a real Maltesers kick recently too. I've enjoyed a few meals out in Cork and Dublin over the last month- all nice but nothing to write home about at this time.

What I've been listening to



The month started off terribly and I wasn't really feeling any music- however, I've had a bit of a musical epiphany over the last few weeks. The Imagine Dragons Night Visions album is absolutely fantastic and I'm only sorry I didn't pick it up sooner. In the charts I've been loving Ella Henderson's Ghost, Iggy Azalea's Fancy, Rita Ora I Will Never Let You Down and Clean Bandit Rather Be. I'm embarrassed to admit that I actually find Cheryl Whateverhersurnameisnow's Crazy Stupid Love incredibly catchy and it's stuck on repeat in my head. My song of the month is probably Klingande's Jubel- I think the saxophone is the only instrument that can successfully replace lyrics in a song and this song backs up my opinion. When I am in a great mood, the saxophone puts wind in my wings, and when I am sad/angry, that same saxophone sounds like it is experiencing my anguish.

What I've been doing

Pretty much chilling. I got my hair cut at the beginning of the month but I'm still on the fence as to what I want to do with the colour. Getting my hair cut makes me feel great, especially given like it grows like a beast and is pretty dry despite my best efforts. I had two and a half weeks of free time in between my exams and starting back in the office and I thoroughly enjoyed the break. Not only did I sort out my entire makeup collection (it didn't take me hours, it took me days!), I got to catch up with loads of friends and family and the doggies. Audrey of The Nail Affair, Anne Marie of Girlfridays Beauty Blog, Anne Marie's Australian cousin Dani and I all had a lovely brunch in Douglas & Kaldi in Dundrum Town Centre and it was nice to catch up with two of my favourite ladies. I can't remember the last time I had such an extended period of free time and whilst it was great whilst it lasted, I was looking forward to getting back into the routine of work.

Family photo courtesy of Fiona (www.dollydowsie.com)
I attended the Cork Meetup (#corkmeetup) a couple of weeks ago and had a fantastic day- got to meet loads of lovely bloggers from my neck of the woods (YES I am a proud Corkonian- county not city!). It was a lovely day, we were spoiled by many companies with treasure trails and demos and show and tells. It was one of the best events of my blogging, eh, career to date and was great to meet so many girls from Twitter in the flesh. I also went on a little road trip to Killarney and it honestly melts my heart and makes me so proud to be Irish when I see the mountains and lakes of Kerry.


I also attended three events in Dublin over the course of July- Oriflame hosted an event to celebrate the launch of 'The One' in the Gresham at the start of the month and we got to meet Gary Cockerill. I attended the Giorgio Armani Eye and Brow Maestro preview with Eoin Whelan and the preview of the new YSL Le Teint Encre de Peau/Fusion Ink foundation with Fred Letailleur. All very glamorous and exciting.

And when my holidays were over, I came back to the office to a new department (Technology- ooh!). It's great to be back, I missed everyone over the last few months and I missed daily life in the office. There is something to be said for routine, and I really enjoy my job so it's not that much of a chore really! Also, we had a team away day last Friday which was just awesome and a real icebreaker in getting to know my new work colleagues. We went to pitch and putting and for a bite to eat and a few jars in Johnnie Foxes and got a party bus there and back, before coming back into town and popping into our usual Friday haunt for a beverage.

What I've bought

So.much.makeup. It's criminal how much makeup I have bought this month, but I always find it so easy to justify makeup shopping after exams- it feels like a treat to myself for a job well done. I finally bit the bullet and bought the Hourglass Ambient Lighting palette that I've been lusting after for months.  I was finally able to purchase the Clinique Take the Day Off Cleansing Balm (this was just never in stock anywhere). I bought a new YSL Rouge Volupte Shine in 19 Fuchsia In Rage after setting my eyes on it in House of Fraser. As part of #corkmeetup, I was generously gifted with a voucher from Debenhams on Patrick Street, Cork and I used my voucher to pick up the Urban Decay Flushed Palette in Streak and another YSL Rouge Volupte. Manfriend very kindly transported me to Santry to get some more NYX goodies. Avril enabled to me to buy the Wet Brush and the Shine Brush at the end of the month and I also picked up some pieces from No.7 with those vouchers they give out. Next month I'll have to cut the shopping a bit and start shopping my stash because I found many treasures when sorting through my makeup collection and I honestly don't actually need anything. My insatiable makeup curiosity will bankrupt me haha!

I didn't do much sales shopping this year but I did swing by Next and got some new bits and pieces for the office- have to say though, the selection was not great. I picked up a new handbag and necklace from Zara and I have worn these loads since I got them. I also popped into Penneys for a look and bought new bedclothes and some bargains in the sales.

I also finally took the plunge and treated myself to a new set of Ray Bans. Not the most glamorous or girly of glasses to be sure, but I needed something to banish the sun's rays from my delicate little eyes. Hoping that these will be an investment and that they won't break like all my other designer sunglasses have done over the years.

Flights to Poland in September #polishwedding

My brother's birthday present (25 today, my heart breaks!)

What I've blogged about

My experience with the Benefit They're Real Push-Up Liner

My collection of the exquisite L'Oréal Color Riche L'Ombre Pure Eyeshadows

My collection of NYX Matte Lipsticks to date

The new YSL Fusion Ink Foundation

My (current!) top 10 Lush Products

My first Chic Treat Club experience

The new YSL collection for A/W 2014

My favourite hydrating masks for Summer

Best hairsprays for Summer Styles.

Five of the most cheerful Summer nail polishes

Foundation dupe for Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk

The newest Revlon lip offerings

A pre-launch peek at the new products from Blank Canvas Cosmetics

Deals on luxury lipsticks with Debenhams online

Current favourite creams and lotions for my body

What I've loved 

Makeup wise, the Benefit Push-Up Gel Liner is my new favourite eyeliner. The entire Charles Worthington Salon at Home haircare line. Playing Sudoku. Puppy cuddles. Day trips. Making new friends. New bedclothes. Debenhams. Air conditioning. A happy, healthy Nana. Sudoku. Coconut rice. Irish strawberries. Saxophones.

What I've rolled my eyes at

 Joan Burton becoming Tánaiste. Grown men crying over the Germany v Brazil match. Irish weather. Excessive negativia on Facebook.

What made me happy

Subscribing to Chic Treat Club- first box was awesome and looking forward to the next. Making lots of new blogging friends. Paid off my Visa Card bill in full this month, weight lifted off my shoulders. Receiving lots of PR samples in the post this month and getting my blog-spiration back. Being nominated in two categories of the Blog Awards Ireland 2014 was a lovely surprise- best beauty blog and best mobile compatible blog- thank you to whoever nominated me, you nearly made me choke with the shock :)

What made me sad

Unfortunately, despite having only gotten home on the June bank holiday weekend, Manfriend was ordered back to his ship in the middle of July, which came as a complete shock to us both- we were under the impression that he had another six weeks' leave. So that was a bit of a downer in what was otherwise a great month and he headed off the South Africa to join the boat almost a fortnight ago now. Hopefully he will be home for Christmas this year.

The entire situation in Gaza is just terrifying and the pictures in the news scare the life out of me.

I'm also feeling a bit glum about the thought of going on a long haul flight any time soon with three major airplane crashes that I know of killing hundreds of people in the last few months.

Powder Pocket ceasing all operations effective immediately. I could kind of see it coming because the quality of the boxes declined as the months dwindled but I still don't like to see an Irish business failing.

Not being able to find a Physician's Formula stockist yet. I *just* need a bronzer.

Garthgate. Enough said.

What made me angry

Luas at rush hour. The newspaper reporting during the period where a man stood on the roof of a building in Dublin for a few hours. The insect that bit me twice, cause my arm to swell and made my Mummy think that I had contracted malaria. Not being able to find a copy of Glamour Magazine with a Chubby stick in Ireland.

My phone is still being a brat and despite numerous calls to Meteor and popping instore for a new SIM card, it's not getting much better. I don't particularly want to upgrade to the iPhone 5S because the battery is even more shocking than the 4S by all accounts. I just cannot rely on my phone at all these days which is so problematic.

Owen Keegan.

What I've been wearing

As little as possible, and not in the way you're thinking! I've been absolutely dying in this heat for weeks now. I think my body temperature is programmed a couple of degrees higher than everybody else anyway because I never really feel the cold even in winter which makes summer just all the more excruciating for me. I'm not and never have been a sun worshipper.

What's on the agenda for August

I want to get a nice plant to spruce my office up a little and I'm thinking about a twin stem orchid. I need an independent plant that won't die if I forget to water it, which is very likely to happen. In July I accidentally killed a basil plant. RIP Basil the Plant.

I have a 1950s Rockabilly themed hen party coming up next month so trying to get an outfit together for that will be some task I'm sure. Thankfully hair and makeup is all part of the hen experience so I don't have to stress myself. I love the 1950s style so hopefully I'll be able to pull a suitable outfit together.

Getting fully immersed in work again.

Something extra

A shameless plug :) My friend Anne-Marie has just become an Ann Summers party ambassador so if you're looking to host a party and get the girls together for a fun night in, hen parties, etc., give her a buzz on 087-6729373 or pop her an email at annsummersdub.meath@gmail.com :)


Please let me know below what you think of these types of posts? Do you feel like you know the girl behind the blog a little better now? And now that I have dished the dirt, you have to tell me about your July too- what crazy things did you people get up to?

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Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Summer Essentials- The Body Kit

I am just bad at body moisturising. Not as bad as I used to be, granted, but still, not even a quarter as diligent as I am with my face. These last few weeks, I've been exposing myself that little bit more because of the heat, and as a result, my skin has deserved/ needed a little more TLC than I have been giving it. I'm a bit of a floozy when it comes to body moisturisers and my body moisturising routine depends on what mood I am in, what time of the day it is, what the weather is like outside and, perhaps most importantly, how much time I have to apply it. The following are some of the moisturisers that I have had on rotation over the last few months.


Kiehls Creme de Corps- this is probably the most hydrating body moisturiser that I own in my collection and is incredibly rich and nurturing on my skin. I have particular issues with my arms since I got very badly scalded by the sun a few years ago (water blisters, the works) and this is the best moisturiser I have tried to pack some hydration back in that area. This leaves my skin feeling incredibly soft, hydrated and enriched and if you have very dry skin, I have no hesitation in recommending this. 

Vaseline Spray & Go - more often than not I am rushing when I get out of the shower- rushing to jump into bed, rushing to get out the door for work, just constantly rushing. When I feel like my skin needs a little hydration boost but I am a bit pressed for time, I use my Vaseline Spray & Go. I really like this, the mist is very fine, it's not messy, straighforward to use and the nozzle works even when upside down so spraying yourself is a doddle. This also smells really nice! 

Garnier Intensive 7 Days- again, this is another intensive body moisturiser that I use to pump some hydration into my skin. I've had this bottle on the go for a long time and I can't seem to get to the end of it, making it good bang for your buck, particularly because this is permanently half price in at least three pharmacies or supermarkets at any given time, meaning you can pick it up for little over 2 euro! It doesn't smell particularly strong/ offensive/ of anything so if you have a delicate nose you are unlikely to be too traumatised. 

Nivea In Shower Body Moisturiser Skin Conditioner is for those days where I barely have time to shower, never mind engage in a moisturising routine (and there are far too many of those days for my liking at present!). I apply this generously in the shower and hope that's it's going to do enough to keep my skin hydrated. It smells nice and I am grateful to have a dual-purpose product on hand for those days where there are just not enough minutes in the day.

Ziaja Orange Butter Body Butter- I like to use this when I have a bit of time to chillax and enjoy a pampering session. It's a gorgeous thick butter, not greasy, and is scented of orange so it takes me to a tropical, happy, citrus-y place when I use it, particularly uplifting given the time of year. 

The Body Shop Shea Body Butter is an old favourite of mine, and it is a close competition for my affection with the Coconut Body Butter which I have loved and adored for about 10 years now. It smells gorgeous and unlike the Ziaja butter above, I love to use this after an evening shower and jump into my bed and just bask in the glorious smell. This is a thick rich cream that does take a minute to sink in but it does not feel oily or greasy, it feels nourishing. I often use this after going at my skin with the Shea Scrub from the Body Shop and the two together just leave my skin feeling amazing.

So those are my summer body essentials and what I've been wearing (besides my clothes!). Have you tried any of the above or are you curious about any of them?
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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

€5/£5 off lipsticks in Debenhams for National Lipstick Day!

If you feel like treating yourself to a luxury lipstick, today may be your lucky day, because the kind folks at Debenhams have shaved €5/£5 off the price of a many luxury lipsticks including YSL, Dior, Lancome, Estee Lauder, Clinique and Urban Decay to name a few (and MAC and Bobbi Brown if you're in the UK)! 

Available online in Ireland through this link and in the UK here, hopefully you can nab yourself a bargain! 

If you are not aware, today is National Lipstick Day, so it would be rude not to pick up an extravagent lippie! I'm nowhere near a Debenhams store so not sure if offer is available instore also- if I hear anything to the contrary, I will add a note to this post.

Think MAC lipsticks for £10.50, Urban Decay Revolution lipsticks for €15! Happy shopping! 

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New Product Alert with Blank Canvas Cosmetics- pictures and details

I LOVE Blank Canvas Cosmetics brushes, I cannot get enough of them. Approximately 70% of my brush collection must be Blank Canvas Cosmetics brushes by now. They are incredible quality for the tiny price and if you wash them regularly and take care of them, they will last you years. The F20 pretty much changed my makeup life (i.e. the way I apply my foundation) and their eye brushes are second to none. I was very excited to be sent some of the new products ahead of the launch on the Blank Canvas Cosmetics website this coming Friday, 1 August, and I'm sharing the spoilers with you all today! If you want to wait until Friday and see for yourself, stop reading! If you, like me, are DYING to know, keep reading!


As I already alluded to above, my favourite Blank Canvas Cosmetics brush, the flat top kabuki F20, is my favourite makeup brush ever. How I ever coped without this brush in my life, I do not know, and it doesn't bear thinking about. I actually have about 7 on the go at this stage. I wash all my brushes regularly and I have never had any problems with shedding or damage to my brushes over the years, and my oldest F20 is almost two and a half years old now!! I have one on my person pretty much all the time, particular in this hot weather, as I like to stipple my MAC Blot Powder on my nose and forehead to try to keep the shine at bay. Which is why my head literally skipped a beat when I clapped eyes on the new shiny retractable F20 brushes.

LARGE RF20




MEDIUM RF20







The retractable F20s come in large (RF20 large) and medium (RF20 medium) varieties- as you can see from the pictures below, the medium brush is shorter than the large and the diameter of the brush head is slightly smaller, but still unbelievably soft. Both brushes come in glossy black versions like mine or adorable metallic baby pink. If, like me, you carry your makeup around with you all the time, you will be SO happy to see these, as they are absolutely perfect for throwing into your handbag. Even though these are travel compatible and retractable, they are amazing quality, synthetic bristles so they are cruelty free and great for washing and hygiene. Perfect for topping up your foundation, face powder or bronzer on the go, for blotting away the shine in this blistering, clammy heat. Sigh- I think it's love. The RF20 large will cost €14.99 and the RF20 medium is €13.99. 

F42




Another new arrival is the F42 Large Tapered Contour Brush, which reminds me of another favourite of mine, the F16. This one has synthetic bristles so will be perfect for use with both cream and powder products. This will be perfect for contouring/shading and particularly for applying and blending your bronzer. The tip of the brush is slightly tapered, but not as tapered as the F16 is, which will help you apply products with precision and precision leads to makeup confidence. I cannot wait to use this with my Soleil Tan de Chanel bronzing cream for a perfectly sculpted face, and this brush is so incredibly soft that I will look forward to using it on my face. It reminds me somewhat of the Louise Young foundation brush that the blogging community went mad after a few months back, but with a much more reasonable €15.99 price tag.

F40





Also launching is the F40 which is the vegan equivalent of the F15. Synthetic bristles again, cruelty free and perfect for cream or powder products, this is your man for any sculpting, contouring, blending or highlighting your visage. The bristles are nice and dense enough to give you control without feeling too stiff and hard to work with. If you like the look of this one and would like to buy one of these yourself, it'll cost your bank balance €13.99.

E42



Now I'm cheating a little here because this one is already available to buy on the Blank Canvas Cosmetics website but this Pointed Crease Blender is one of the newest brushes available and it's just perfect for detailing work around the socket and crease area. I just adore the Blank Canvas Cosmetics eye brushes and if I love this even as half as much as my favourite tapered crease blender (E32), I'll be very happy indeed! Yours for just €6.99!

F30




I also couldn't let the opportunity pass without mentioning my brush find of the YEAR which was the F30 Sculpt Brush (available through this link) which is hands down the best, most foolproof contouring brush ever. I use this to carve out cheekbones and you can literally lift them sky high, and it's just perfect for contouring down the sides of your nose also. Whether you're still trying to master the contour or if you're an old pro, you should definitely check this brush out when you're on the Blank Canvas Cosmetics website. At €19.99, it's simply bargainous for the quality and I have had mine for months and it's still going strong. Even if you don't know it yet, you need this brush in your life.

BRUSH CLUTCH



And lastly, another new product launching this Friday is the new BC Brush Clutch (€21.99) which is made of gorgeous faux leather and feels pretty damn impressive for the price. This has ten elasticated dividers big enough to keep the chunkier face brushes in check (hello to the F30!) or you can put mascaras, liners, eye brushes, face brushes, are even a mixture of all of the above if you wish! This feels very chic indeed and I am looking forward to getting some use out of this- if you are in the market for a safe way of storing and transporting your makeup brushes, definitely consider this one!

So those are the lovely new Blank Canvas Cosmetics products which are launching this Friday, 1 August. Do you see any must haves amongst these? Are you as ecstatic as I was to see the retractable F20s and more synthentic vegan friendly brushes? 
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Monday, 28 July 2014

Revlon Colorstay Moisture Stains- Review and Swatches

I first spotted these on eBay a few months back and being the eager beaver that I am and spurred on by my recent favourable experiences with the Colorburst Matte and Lacquer Balms, I ordered two online to satisfy my curiosity. I picked up two more last week in my local Boots. Didn't bother with reviews or swatches, I just went mad and bought using my heart and not my head. Unfortunately, these have not been the hit that I was hoping for- now they are not terrible by any means- but they are far from the Kissable Balm Stains which I love and have ranted about many a time already.


Not to start off with a negative, we will jump into the positives. The shade range available in Ireland is decent- nude, reds, pinks, an orange and a plum. All very pretty and wearable. Of course we don't get the full spectrum that our Stateside sisters get but we're used to that on this side of the pond now. The packaging is tres chic- it's colour co-ordinated (long time readers of my blog will know that this makes me a very happy lady) and it's nice and neat. There is a nice heart shaped doe-foot applicator included for application, similar to the L'Oreal offering. The packaging feels very sturdy and the names of all the products are included on a little co-ordinated sticker at the bottom. 



This product, overall, has left me feeling a little disappointed. Perhaps my hopes were too high but I don't think this was the case. I have tried and tried to love these, and I will persist, but these are not what I had hoped for. Upon first application, the texture of this product is a bit off-putting - it is very thick and does not apply evenly. The lightest colours in particular seem to glide over my lips without depositing any colour, and I have to smack my lips and reapply more times than I care to admit on the interwebs to just coat my lips once, never mind building up the colour opacity. London Posh is a divil for this in particular, it's the patchiest, most troublesome peachy nude shade that I have ever put on my lips and it takes WAY too much work to get it right. I've found with the other shades that I picked up- L.A. Exclusive, Barcelona Nights and Parisian Passion and that you need to apply a little at a time and blend it into your lips with your finger to get a decent result. Which is SUCH a pity because these have the potential for such greatness. The colour seems to settle somewhat after about 15 minutes so if you have the time to wait, the tricky application might not be a concern for you.



Of the four that I have, L.A. exclusive is my favourite in terms of shade and wear. In terms of wear, these are by no means the longest wearing colours and contrary to the name (when I hear 'Colorstay' and 'stain', I think maximum longevity, long lasting, weatherproof, bulletproof, not-gonna-budge makeup- is that just me??), I haven't found that these stain my lips, but they are very moisturising and gentle on the lips. I get about two-three hours out of these before I need to touch up, but they are high maintenance lip colours that require a lot of topping up, and I can't really relax when I am wearing these because they fade in patches and transfer too easily. Thankfully, these are not sticky so you will not have to keep peeling your hair from your lips. I haven't found that these particularly taste of anything but they do smell a bit plastic or synthetic before application. 



Now I know some people have used and loved these, but they are just not really working for me, and I will keep plugging away with them, but so far I have had no luck. Which breaks my heart because every other Revlon lip product that I have tried has been awesome. I don't these are awful, but I do think that they are troublesome, and I won't be rushing out to pick up any more shades. 

Now you've heard me give out, but I'd like to know what you guys think of these? Can you get them to work for you? If so, let me know in the comments below if you have any tips or tricks!


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Sunday, 27 July 2014

NEW- Catrice Nude Illusion Foundation- dupe for Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk?

I picked up this foundation during the week in my local Penneys, not really expecting much and quite willing to part with the €8.49 that this foundation sells for. I've had mixed feelings about Catrice foundations before- notably the Infinite Matt (now discontinued I believe) and the Photo Finish 16H Foundation which is still available on stands. I am not sure whether it was the simplistic packaging or the fact that this foundation came with a nifty pump, but I was inexplicably drawn to it, and I am damn glad now that I did, because in my quest for the perfect foundation, I have found a dupe for my beloved Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk Foundation!


Let's backtrack a bit. The Nude Illusion is one of three new exciting foundations that Catrice are about to release this Autumn. The Nude Illusion foundation is available in 5 shades and I have the second lightest shade in the range called 020 Rose Vanilla (despite my best efforts not to, I have picked up a bit of colour on my face from the sun over the summer so I am taking a shade more in pretty much everything these days). At €8.49 this is probably the most expensive Catrice product you will find on the shelf, and pretty much on a par with other foundations in the same market. 

What Catrice promise:

The Nude Illusion Make-up scores points as a light foundation with optimal mattifying coverage. Thanks to soft, light-reflecting pigments, the foundation provides a soft focus effect for a healthy glow. The formula is fabulous: moisturizing, longlasting and with protective UVA and UVB filters. The finish: flawless and natural.

So straight off the bat, it's clear that this is not a full coverage, long wearing foundation, but a foundation laced with light reflecting pigments designed to give a healthy glow. I'm not convinced as to the promised mattifying powers because I don't have oily skin to start with and I don't find the foundation is particularly matte once applied. I didn't use any powder with this and I didn't find it was a matte finish but there was luminosity.


When I applied this foundation, I believed it smelt familiar, and I couldn't quite figure out where the familiarity came from. I got some deja-vu complex with the texture and application of the foundation and I realised that I had accidentally stumbled upon a dupe for one of my current favourite foundations, Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk. I've pictured them here side by side  and I hope you can tell that the consistency of these is pretty much the exact same (for reference, the shade of Luminous Silk is 4, whilst Catrice is 020 Rose Vanilla). The products apply the same, sit the same, it's really rather uncanny. There is one difference however and that is staying power- the Armani offering definitely has the edge over the Catrice foundation (but then again, it IS  over five times the price!). I could definitely get a full work day out of Luminous Silk and the Catrice Nude Illusions lasts about 6 hours before beginning to fade along my nose, cheek and chin area. Then again, with the weather we have been having over the last few weeks and the heat, my skin is not particularly reliable at the minute, so I will have to report back on that one! 


I am quite happy to have stumbled across this foundation in my travels and I think it's a worthy addition to your foundation repertoire. As I mentioned already, Catrice have a couple of new foundations and tons of new eye and lip products rolling out in the next few weeks. Keep an eye out in Penneys/ pharmacies/ your local Catrice stockists. And if you're considering trying the Luminous Silk foundation or you're wondering whether it might be a good match for you, before shelling out the big bucks chez Giorgio, swing by a Catrice stand and see if there is a shade that suits!


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Saturday, 26 July 2014

Summer Nails (and swatches)

Much and all as I adore a red or dark nail, I've been trying to resist my urge to stick with what I love to toy with some pretty pinks and pastels for the summer season. Now I own ALOT of nail polishes, but the nail colours that I have been wearing over the last two odd months have come from a very small pool, and today I'm sharing my picks for the summer months. 

The whole blogging community in Ireland and the UK seems to be smitten with the Barry M Gelly Hi-Shine Nail Paints but I have to admit, I am not hugely impressed. I own at least a half dozen of them now, and I find the wear time on them is pretty poor on my nails, not really lasting a day without chipping. Also I find these take a couple of coats to build up opacity and take ages to dry. Which would make you wonder why I am featuring them at all in my favourite summer nail polish round-up. Well, the answer me dears lies in the little glass bottle of lavender loveliness which goes by the name of Prickly Pear (which, might I add, is a ridiculous name for such a pretty colour). This lavender shade is not too pink, not too blue, just a really true lavender colour, and I don't own anything else like it. It looks fab with a tan and pale skin alike. Even though this lasts just a day, I find myself reaching for this over and over. 

Essie nail polishes are my favourite formulations and I have two colours on my hitlist for the last couple of months also- Tart Deco which is a gorgeous orangey coral that's not so orange that it intimidates me (like Fear and Desire does, and yes, I own it). What I love about this is that it feels like a very grown up and mature pop of coral, and I love to wear this one to work. The next Essie offering is Bikini So Teeny which is a gorgeous periwinkle blue shade with very fine shimmers running through. I am definitely not a blue nail polish kinda gal but at the weekends, I've been giving this bad boy a whirl. This draws compliments like no other nail polish I own- even the lady at the tills in Tesco asked me what nail polish was I wearing on my nails (actually, she grabbed my hand as I put my hand out to get my receipt and change- major awks). 

OPI is another favourite of mine in terms of shade range and lasting power, and the beautiful shade Pinking About You is one of my most favourite pink nail polishes of all time ever in the world. Unlike Pink Friday, which I love, this is more work appropriate, it's a bright blue toned pink without the fluorescent bubblegum. This polish, when topped off with some Seche Vite, lasts the full work week on my nails, which is such a miracle. 

Lastly, another shade I have been rocking and loving over the last few months is Jessica's Conch Shell, and I picked this up at the Professional Beauty Show back in March. The formula is divine, the lasting power is excellent, and this gorgeous shade perfectly straddles the balance between a pink and a coral. It absolutely screams summer, it's cute and girly, how could you not be swayed by it! Jessica polishes are becoming firm favourites of mine because they have never let me down in terms of colour payoff and longevity. 





So those are my summer nail polish picks. Let me know in the comments below what you have been loving on your nails this summer :)


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Friday, 25 July 2014

Summer Hair Stylers- My top 5 Hair Styling Sprays for Summer

The second in my 'Summer Staples' series is a show and tell of the five products that I have been using to style my hair or to keep my style in place over these hot and humid summer weeks that we have been getting. I can't speak for y'all but I absolutely have zero tolerance and willpower to spend hours under my hairdryer, hair straightener or heated rollers now that the temperatures have rocketed, so I've been using more styling products to keep my fuzzy mane somewhat civilised. 

By way of a very brief background, I have thick coarse hair that generally holds a style all by itself without the need for any excess products. I spend a fair amount of my wage packet on decent shampoos, conditioners, hair masks and treatments to compensate for what I put my hair through. My hair is naturally very wavy and has been colour processed so is prone to breakage and split ends.


The products I have been reaching for this summer are products that will either enhance the waves that I already have or keep my hair neat if I decide to style it in some other non-heated method. I've been plaiting my hair post shower for a few months now and wearing my hair wavy- a few of you have asked me about this following my Youtube vids but honestly there is no trick to it- shower in the evening, plait my hair whilst it's still wet, undo plaits in the morning, run my fingers through my hair, bit of hairspray to keep it from frizzing and that's it- the most easy haircare regime EVER. The following are the products that I have been using and enjoying.


Fudge Iced Raspberry and Vanilla Hair Spray- this line is new to Boots and I have to admit, it was the pink and orange packaging that caught my eye, and the promise of iced raspberry and vanilla scents that swung me over. Boy- this hairspray smells good, and does not get caught in my throat the way some other strong hold hairsprays do (Tres Semme, I'm looking at you here!). It applies via a very fine mist that does not leave any visible residue on the hair, does not appear wet when applied and most importantly, does not leave your hair looking or feeling crispy. I still have swish and swoosh in my hair over the course of the day and I find that even though the hold is strong and does withstand this heat that we are getting, my hair does not feel like an immovable object on my head. 


Before the Fudge offering came into my life, I was loving the Schwarzkopf got2b 2 sexy BIG VOLUME push up volumizing HAIRSPRAY (holy mother of God that was a mouthful), and in many respects, this performs similarly to the Fudge hairspray without the tropical scent (that said, the scent of this is quite pleasant and does not choke me). Again, you don't really notice this on your hair but you notice it doing something to your hair, keeping it all in check. This hairspray is far more widely available than the Fudge one to date and is often on special offer in supermarkets or pharmacies where you can pick a big can up for about 3 quid.

I've also been enjoying using some texturising sprays to rough my hair up a bit. I toyed with the idea of picking up the Oribe Dry Texturising Spray in our swanky new Space NK but I honestly just cannot justify the price of it which is in the region of €50 I believe or over €20 for a little baby travel sized bottle. Much and all as I love my haircare products, to pay that much for a hair styling product which will wash out as opposed to a hair treatment which should leave your hair in better condition is not justifiable. That aside, I have found and been using two pharmacy/supermarket/drugstore/high street alternatives that have been working nicely.


The Charles Worthington Salon at Home Volume and Bounce Texturising Spray is a hit in my eyes, and I actually will be cheeky now and shout out to the whole range because I have been loving their products recently- in fact, I will probably do a specific blogpost on this in the near future). Again, a very fine spray that is not visible on the actual hair, this gives a nice amount of grit and faux messiness when you want to achieve texture and edge in your hairstyle. What I like about this one is that it easily brushes out and does not take half your hair with it, and it smells quite nice too. These are available in pretty much all Boots stores and I would definitely recommend giving these a try, whether you have long or short hair, straight or curly. 


The L'Oreal Studio Line #TXT Texture Volume supersizing spray performs similarly to the Charles Worthington spray, and I often use this one near my roots if I am wearing my hair wavy to give a bit of volume. Even though it applies completely transparently, I find that it has quite a matte texture, making it perfect for oily roots in this blistering heat.


Lastly, I don't always have evening showers and therefore am not always in a position to plait my hair before bed etc. I'm also not a fan of rocking the Pippy Longstocking look in public. What I have been doing however is using a little bit of the Toni & Guy Sea Salt Texturising Spray in the lengths of my hair to give my waves a bit more definition. I've tried a couple of sea salt sprays but now and this is by fair the least crunchiest of the bunch but it does a good job of keeping my naturally unruly hair a little more ruly.

So those are my top 5 hair styling sprays to get me through these summer months. Tell me, what are you doing with your mops in this weather? And how is your hair reacting to these weather conditions?

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Thursday, 24 July 2014

Summer Skin Saviours- Hydrating Masks


I don't know if any of your skins are suffering as much as my skin is in this heatwave. From the soaring temperatures outside, the humidity, the air conditioning at work, the fact I am sleeping next to an oscillating fan so I don't melt- this is all taking a toll on my already dry skin. Accordingly, I've felt the need to compensate, and for the last two weeks, I have been turning to some of my favourite moisture masks to hydrate my skin and help combat all the environmental badness that I seem to be putting it through currently.

With all of these masks, I apply them at nighttime after I have cleansed my face and I let them work their magic overnight without rinsing them off. You might go to bed like a greasy monkey but you will wake up fresh faced in the morning.


Lancome Hydra Intense Hydrating Gel mask is a gorgeous cooling mask that just quenches the thirstiness in my skin overnight- effortlessly. A bit on the pricey side at €39, a little goes a long way with this one. Relaxing, refreshing and intensively moisturising, nice and fresh feeling on the skin, this is an amazing product and I try to use it once if not twice weekly for a skin treat.


Bioderma Hydrabio Masque Hydratant is an absolute wonder product and deserves every shred of hype that comes its way. Gentle, effective, and about a tenner if you happen to live in France. I pray every night that Bioderma will become more easily available in Ireland (not really every night, but I always have hope!). Their entire Hydrabio hydrating line is fantastic, even if the packaging is not very sexy. I had to use this mask every day for the first week- 7 days in a row- and I was afraid that I was going to effectively drown my skin- but my skin genuinely never felt more hydrated than it did that week. I'm running low now so I think another trip to Paris is a must!


Origins Drink Up Intensive is an old favourite of mine but one I keep coming back to. This is also the one that I bring travelling with me due to the handy travel size option (they do these in Boots Liffey Valley and House of Fraser). I've mentioned this on the blog before and I am still loving it- probably one of my favourite Origins products. 


For a budget friendly version, I cannot fault The Body Shop Vitamin E Sink-In Moisture Mask. I love the whole Vitamin E range from The Body Shop, and this mask is a firm favourite of mine. I like to through the pot of this into the fridge and spread the beautiful smelling, cool jelly-like text all over my face and just feel the moisture seeping in. 

So tell me, is your skin suffering in this heat like mine is? Do you find it hard to treat your skin when it's warm outside or from air conditioned environments? 
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Wednesday, 23 July 2014

YSL 'Black Fetish'- A/W 2014 Collection

I mentioned already in my post of the brand shiny new YSL foundation that I had the privilege of having a one-on-one showcase with Fred Letailleur in Brown Thomas last week and I got to sample the new YSL foundation and get a sneak peak at the new A/W collection which has just hit the shelves. Today I am bringing you news of this new collection and sharing some snaps of the goods.



The new collection is called 'Black Fetish' and as you can see from the very saucy snaps of Ms Cara Delevingne, this is not a collection for the faint hearted! The runways have been completely inspired by leather of late and it's no surprise to see that YSL have incorporated this theme into their newest seasonal collection.



First up is a gorgeous Couture Palette Collector Fétiche- encased in gold and leather- the neutral colours of this sing to my heart and there is a beautiful deep green and black thrown in for good measure. The packaging is gorgeous and this palette just feels like a naughty, decadent treat. At €55, it might blow the budget, but tell me you don't *need* this in your life. 



There are two baby doll liquid eyeliners in the collection- one in a denim blue colour and one in a chrome metal grey. Lloyd Simmonds created these for highlighting and sculpting the eye, and they can be used as standalone products or layered over other lines for a subtle pop of colour. There are also two mascaras in the line- Baby Doll and Effet Faux Cils which are €32.50. 


Next up are goodies for the kissers and boy oh boy did Lloyd Simmons and the crew at YSL deliver BIG TIME in this department. 4 gorgeous colours– a fuchsia, red, rose and nude- and a matte finish to complement the leather theme, the Rouge Pur Couture “The Mats” are absolute must-haves from this collection for me. These have been formulated with “Velvet Complex, a combination of spherical powders and silk oil, and promise to give the lips “a perfect matte finish, a sensual sheen and 6-hour colour hold that never fades or smudges.” Winning. The lipsticks retail for €33 each.

There are also two new shades of the YSL Glossy Lip Stains or Rouge Pur Couture Vernis à Lèvres in sophisticated brown and beige shades (neither of which particularly appealed to me colourwise because I'm a pinks and a reds girl but that's ok because I will be buying all the matte lipsticks!) (€33). The two shades of the Gloss Volupte that are being released are also so far up my street they might as well be knocking on my front door, and these will set you back €25.

     

Lastly, but by no means leastly, it seems YSL are jumping aboard the leather effect nail polish trend with the inclusion of two leather effect nail polishes or Laque Couture in a metallic blue-grey and a matte suede brown. Both are stunnahs but the last one in particular is actually too appealing. At €24, they are definitely not cheap, but if you want to cut yourself a slice of very shiny YSL nail polish pie, these polishes seem to be the way to go. 

These arrived in Brown Thomas on Grafton Street last week and are available for purchase now now. I reckon this collection will sell like hot cakes and the units were flying out the door last week so if you want in, I wouldn't waste time in getting yourself instore!


Is there anything in particular that appeals to you in this range? Do you think YSL did a good job with their picks for this collection? 

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