Sunday, 22 March 2015

NEW! Bourjois Rouge Edition Aqua Laque- Review and Swatches

What seems like WAY back when, but was actually less than a year ago, Bourjois took most of the beauty blogosphere by storm with their Rouge Edition Velvet  liquid lipstick offerings. I wasn't struck on them in the beginning but they did win me around. 11 months later, Bourjois have released the shiniest, glossiest additions to the Rouge Edition line- the Rouge Edition Aqua Laque. Available in 8 shades from a nude to a vibrant red, there is probably something for everyone in the line up, and at €12 odd a pop, you can afford to pick up all 8 if you are so inclined. These promise mirror-like shine and intense colour, a water light sensation, 10 hour hydration and a non-sticky formula thanks to the nymphea extract to soothe and moisturise. All very lovely indeed- but the real selling point of this and what really attracted me to this liquid lipsticks is the almighty promise that once applied, it doesn't run or feather or need a lip liner. 

Now all the promises in the world are useless if they don't come good, and I must say, these Bourjois offerings are puzzling little beasts. They are suuuuper watery, and I am paranoid about these when they are on my lips because they feel so soft and slippy slidy. Whilst they don't slip down my face, these are very transferrable and not long lasting. They feel nice and soothing and moisturising on the lips. and they are incredibly shiny and glossy, but they don't last long and they don't set. They don't stain the lips, but god, they are shiny. As charmed and all as I am with the shininess and the smoothness of them on the lips, I can't help but be hypersensitive about these when eating, drinking or any other activity involving my lipsies. So I am in the awkward situation where I really do like what these offer, but I cannot pretend the softness isn't a little offputting. See!? Puzzling little beasts.

I picked up three shades out of the eight available- 01 Appechissant (a peachy nude), 02 Rosé on the rocks (a natural rose) and 04 Viens si tu roses (a raspberry pink). Of the shades I picked out, 04 is the most difficult to apply, and applied quite patchily compared to the other too. These lipsticks are buildable, however, and a second coat soon put that right.

I guess it just depends what you are into and what you are looking for- if you don't mind the maintenance of a super shiny lip, you will love these, If you find them to be more trouble than they are worth, maybe skip on these, or just pick up the one to test it out. What you will get if you purchase one of these is super pigmented, intensely shiny, comfortable to wear liquid lipsticks.

Do these sound like something that would appeal to you? 

Saturday, 21 March 2015

NEW! L'Oreal Infallible 24H-Matte Foundation and Mattifying Primer- Review.

I am probably one of the minority in the blogosphere that has never tried the original L'Oreal Infallible foundation- but it's not for lack of trying in my defense. On several occasions, I have swatched the lightest shade in store but it looked banana yellow on my hand, and yellow is not a good look for me. I received these products for review earlier this week and I have to say- much and all as I adore L'Oreal products, I probably would never have veered towards a matte finish foundation or primer if I was to pop into Boots for a foundation fix- just from personal preference. That said, I was excited to try these out, and the colour that I was sent- 11 Vanilla- appeared to be a pretty good match. I have tried these out over the last few days and I have captured a day of wear in photos so you can see for yourselves how this held up. For reference, I have dehydrated, dry skin and I don't battle with oiliness issues, apart from a little bit of shininess in my nose area towards the end of the day. 

I'm a divil when it comes to skipping primer, and if I was going to use a primer, I would probably opt for an illuminating primer as opposed to something mattifying like this new L'Oreal offering. 
The Infallible Mattifying Primer is a silicon based primer that mattifies, prepares and smoothes the skin but minimises the appearance of pores and imperfections which allows the foundation to glide on seamlessly. 
Interestingly, my instructions that came with this product informed me that when it comes to this primer, less is more, and a few little dots over my T-one, cheeks and chin would be sufficient. I followed the instructions to the letter and this foundation definitely evened out my pores and fine lines and I was satisfied that I had a better base for the foundation. 
It didn't feel heavy or even present on my skin like many other silicone based primers do.
My foundation did hold up well over the course of wear, my pores did not become too visible, and my skin did not have any adverse reaction to the primer. 

Oily skinned gals rejoice, because the Infallible 24H Matte Foundation promises to be long wearing, comfortable, mattifying and deliver perfect coverage. 
The folks at L'Oreal have told me that this product is clinically proven to be waterproof and steam proof- and as far as I am aware, there are not too many waterproof foundations on the market. Once my primer had sufficiently settled, I set about applying the foundation. 
It is not a thick texture as I expected but more on the creamy side. I squidged a plop on my hand and used my Blank Canvas Cosmetics F20 flat buffing brush to spread and smooth it out on my skin. 
It spread really well, didn't feel like it was drying as I worked with it or didn't set on my skin half way through application, as is the case with many other matte foundations that I have tried. 
The coverage was medium/full but it genuinely felt like I had nothing on my skin- not cakey, not sticky- which made is easy to build the coverage a little around my problematic chin area. I was expecting this to be mask like, but as you can see from the pics below, my faint freckles were still visible. 
I had the clingy-foundation-nose fear when using a matte foundation but am glad to report that at no point did the foundation cling and gather anywhere on my face over the course of wear any of the days that I tried it- no mean feat because I often suffer from nose clingage. I've even included plenty of pictures of my snout because I am just THAT happy to have found a foundation that doesn't cling.
I really like the packaging, a simple matte tube with a long pointy nozzle which is perfect for dispensing the right amount of product.
The colour 11 Vanilla was a perfect matte for my fair, cool toned skin- no jaundice creeping in here.
This promises to be infallible for 24 hours which I think is crazy (who needs to wear foundation for 24 hours in all honesty and how cruel is that to your skin! This lasted well on me for 16 hours- probably could have tested it for longer but I had to go to bed and let my skin be free!

Onto the pictorial review!

Freshly applied at approx 7am mark- I applied no setting powder on this for honest review purposes.
You can see my pores are nicely covered but my faint freckles are still visible. 
Four hours in and foundation holding up perfectly- absolutely no complaints and barely notice that I even have it on.
Again, delighted to report no nose clingage issues!
Six hour check- happy with how it is holding up. Honestly noticed no difference to when I first applied.
Still cannot quite believe the lack of nose cling!
12 hours later and notice that my nose marginally shinier than it has been all day.

16 hours later and time for bed- again my nose is a little bit shinier than the rest of my face... 
and my pores are a little more visible- but this is pretty dang impressive after 16 hours of wear!
 Overall- I honestly could not possibly fail to be impressed by this foundation and primer combo- and I don't say that lightly. My only disclaimer is that I do not suffer with oily skin generally, so I cannot testify as to the robustness, but I give it full marks for realistic mattification of my face over a 16 hour day. What I am particularly impressed with is the light feeling of this on the face- so easy to just forget you have foundation on at all- even those this is a matte foundation. Also- this does not form a mask- even though the coverage is great, I was happy to still see my freckles peep through, my skin still felt like my skin.

I enjoyed using both of these products and they certainly exceeded my expectations in the performance stakes considering I'm not particularly oily skinned. Matte foundations and my nose typically do not get on but as you saw yourself from the pictures above, this foundation did not break down or gather on my nose in the slightest. Even though it is undoubtedly a matte foundation, it feels like your natural skin, which is probably my absolutely favourite thing about it. Lightweight, not flat, not sticky. You could do way worse things with your €12.29 if you ask me! 

Are you tempted to try out this foundation and primer duo? Would love to hear from any of my oily skinned sistas who have given this a go! 

Thursday, 19 March 2015

Slimming World #1- Back on plan, top tips and a pictorial food diary!

One of my resolutions for 2015 was to get back into the Slimming World frame of mind. As some of you might know, I followed the plan and went to group for a few months last year and was successful in losing some extra pounds. Life got busy, and I slipped back into old routines, and the two stone that I lost just crept back up again. I recently re-enrolled in my Slimming World group and in order to motivate myself and hopefully educate and enlighten any of you who may be interested, I decided that I am going to do a weekly summary post of all things Slimming World related for the next few weeks- recipes, news, daily struggles and the like. I'm not going to go into the details of what a syn is or how many grams of light cheddar you are allowed for your Healthy Extra A, there are threads upon threads explaining that.

The thing with following the Slimming World plan is that it takes ALOT of preparation- and I would not underestimate this in all honesty. Meal planning, shopping lists, planning ahead and contingency snacks have all become the norm. I've taken to Youtube to watch SW recipe videos and, my personal favourites, SW shopping hauls, to get inspiration for recipes and snacks and embrace all things free, speed, protein, superspeed, fibre, calcium and syns. On a daily basis, I make it my business to have three full and balanced meals, and this takes preparation. Do not underestimate the preparation.

The following are things that I have noticed and taken on board in my first three weeks:

1. Almost everything nice has syns. It's sad, but it's true. I know you are allowed 5-15 syns a day but they really don't be long in adding up. I either use all 15 of my syns on a daily basis, or I use about 5. I save all my syns for treats and try to have completely free meals.

2. It's not always practical to pull the SW app up on your phone when out shopping to check syn values. A syn is approximately 20 calories. If a bar of chocolate has 200 calories, you can almost be sure it will be 10 syns. Of course- all food, even precious "free" food, has calories which you don't have to syn, so it's not an exact science but it is a pretty efficient method for guesstimating. 

3. Pretty much the only fruit I eat are speed fruits- strawberries, clementines, mandarins, melon. In fact, I eat a whole melon every 2 days. I'm not struck on fruit and would much prefer my veg to be honest but I reckon if I am going to sneak some fruit in for breakfasts and snacks, I need to make it as efficient and useful as possible. 

4. Try to cut out the carbs and go for more veggies. I would skip potatoes/pasta/rice with my dinner a couple of days of the week and have extra veg instead- and again, I always prefer to pick up veg that is a speed food and my favourite and most filling veg include kale and green beans. I try to have more than one type of vegetable on my plate also and try to rotate so I don't get sick of the same ones over and over again.

5. Keep a food diary and be brutally honest. I love this exercise because I feel like it gives me focus. If you write down everything, you will be able to spot all kinds of patterns and bad habits that you can iron out. That splash of ketchup has syns too, don't you know.

6. Go brown or go home. If you're slimming, I don't understand why you wouldn't go for brown rice, pasta or spaghetti as opposed to white versions. The brown has extra fibre and is extra filling, meaning you won't be picking as much after your meals. Just because the plan permits any pasta/rice etc, doesn't mean that there isn't a healthier alternative.

7. You will get sick of eating. I find this in work more than anywhere else. In the morning I will typically have my egg whites and bacon, bowl of melon, coffee and Hifi Light bar, lunch, bowl of fruit, coffee and other HiFi Light bar, mandarin, and another dinner in the evening. All the eating is exhausting

8. Scan Bran is a necessary evil. Yes, it tastes like cardboard and lingers around in your mouth and in between your teeth for longer than any cracker should, but it is like eating a slab of fibre. I've found eating it with spaghetti hoops makes it a bit more bearable as the tomato sauce softens the scan bran a little. A couple of these a week should help you shift a few extra pounds- you deserve it for effort at least!

9. Quark is almost impossible to find. For those of you not in the know, quark is the only cheese that is free on SW. Now, I say cheese, but it's not really cheesey, it's more akin to cream cheese, but it does not taste like cream cheese, it doesn't taste of much, but it makes a mean carbonara sauce. The issues I have had in tracking this down are preposterous- any Tesco I have tried do not stock it in any shape or form, Dunnes Stores used to do two different brands but now only seem to have one and it's not often in stock in the Dunnes that I frequent. Similarly, I've had no joy in SuperValu either. I'm sure there are enough of us in SW now to justify the order so if any of you have buddies in the dairy ordering departments of your local supermarkets, hit them up.

10. Get your proportions right. The two-thirds free, one third super-free rule is key- and it's not the easiest rule to remember. Generally- I think one third meat, one third carbs (both free) and at least one third veggies.

Also- and whilst I by no means pretend to be anyway gifted in the art of food preparation or presentation, I've taken some pics of the process and end results of various meals and snacks that I have created during the last three weeks since I joined SW. I'm not going to go into much detail now because this post will be crazy long but if you would like recipes or details etc, let me know and I can address those in my next post!

Slimming World burgers, veg and sweet potato chips
Typical daily fruit bowl- strawberries, kiwi, grapes and raspberries.
The volume of food I get through at my desk each day!
My take on spaghetti carbonara- completely free and very satisfying!
Slimming World burgers in the making! 
Another day, another fruit bowl- incorporating clementine segments this time!
Laughing Cow Chicken- I mix garlic and herbs with the cheese triangles to give the filling more flavour.
Laughing Cow chicken (syn free, HEA) and a mountain of vegetables for my lunch at work. 
My favourite to date- homemade SW meat balls and sauce- completely syn free and so tasty!
Again, my spaghetti and meatballs- sure you wouldn't even miss the cheese!
Pink Lady straight out of the fridge- one of my fave fruit snacks.
Skinny Syrups from TK Maxx turn your ordinary latte into SUCH a syn-free treat!
Another day- another tupperware lunch! Garlic chicken, petits pois and spinach. 
I always try to skip the carbs at lunchtime and bring two different types of veggies.
Slimming World Chicken Chow Mein with wholewheat noodles.
Slimming World Thai Red Curry with a ton of veg- perfect to toss in the freezer for a later date!  
The most satisfying syn free brunch- omelette with bacon, onion, spinach, sweetcorn, peppers, tomatoes and baked beans!
Another chicken, bacon, red/yellow tomato, onion omelette- completely syn free, so filling!
Hopefully this post will have given you some food for thought whether you are thinking about signing up to SW, whether you are already a member or whether you are just curious. If you have any questions, comments or tips of your own, feel free to comment below.

Until my next post....


Tuesday, 10 March 2015

FOTD feat MeMeMe Cosmetics- First Impressions

Two weeks ago, I was very lucky to be gifted a little pack of goodies from MeMeMe Cosmetics for consideration of review. For those of you not in the know, MeMeMe is a high street cosmetics brand that prides itself on quality, high end cosmetics for high street prices. It has been a brand that has been available in Ireland for years, but a change in brand ownership a few years back has breathed a whole new lease of life into their offering. Strongly branded by the unique Ancient Greek inspired packaging and font, this whole range certainly looks luxurious, even the names of the various products- Fallen Angel, Seventh Heaven, Goddess Rocks, Cherubs Blush and Lip Tint, Arch Angel, etc.- sounds incredibly plush and luxurious.  The brand carries many dupes for Benefit and Bobbi Brown, so might be worth dropping by your nearest MeMeMe Cosmetics supplier for a peek first!

The products I am writing about today are a mixture of products that I bought myself and that have been gifted to me but my opinions are my own irrespective of whether I parted with my hard earned moolah for them or otherwise. I decided to create a MeMeMe FOTD.

Firstly, I used my Flawless Cream Foundation (€15.99) and Flawless Concealer (€8.50) (which I have already reviewed here) to even out my base and give me a canvas to work off. I am definitely not one of those gals that can put makeup on without putting foundation on first. This foundation gives a nice satin finish, great coverage and applies well with my Blank Canvas Cosmetics F20. The concealer is quite thin in consistency but light enough to use in the undereye area. 

Next, I used the Shimmer Stack in Bronze (€12.50) to warm up my face a little bit. This product is similar in appearance to the Bobbi Brown Shimmer Bricks but not as shimmery I find- which is no bad thing really for me because I often find Bobbi Brown's offering a little too shimmery. 

I applied a little of my Cherub's Blush Cheek & Lip Tint (€6.99) (my, how you look terribly like Benetint!) to the apples of my cheeks before buffing it out with my Blank Canvas Cosmetics F20 for a subtle tint on my cheeks. You have to work quickly with this one to get it blended out so I recommend doing one cheek at a time instead of applying product to both cheeks first, because by the time you come around to the second cheek, you might find it a little more difficult to blend. For that reason, I do find this a little difficult to work with. To apply a little sheen to the tops of my cheekbones, I opted for the Beat the Blues liquid highlighter in Pearl Pink (hello Benefit High Beam dupe!)- I love this and I have long meant to pick up the gold version of this too- for €6.99, it's almost sinful not to. As you can see from the pic below, it leaves a beautiful subtle sheen and can be built up to your own desired level.

Next up, I applied some Arch Angel (€10.50) to my eyebrows to fill them in- I don't like many brow products but I certainly do enjoy using this double ended wonder- a Define section on one side with a tiny little wand to fill in the brows, and a Highlight section with a little doe foot applicator and a cream highlight, similar to Benefit Moon Bean, as a brow highlight to complete the look. I got the shade Dark Brown but it is not too dark at all. I then turned to my Eye Inspire Baked Eyeshadow Quad in 02 Goddess Eyes to put some colour on my lids- this was my first time using one of these quads and I have to admit, I was absolutely blown away by the texture, pigmentation, payoff and rich colour from these shadows. Admittedly, this probably is not something that I would have picked out myself because I normally choose singles or palettes over quads like these, but believe me, now that I have witnessed the fitness of these beautiful shadows, I will definitely stock up on some more pronto. Anyways, back to the Goddess Eyes quad, this contains four unnamed shades- ranging from a cream with gold sheen (similar to MAC Nylon), a gold, antique gold (dead ringer for MAC Woodwinked) and a coppery brown- all completely up my street. I applied a variety of shades on my eyelids- there was no fall out, no issues with blending, and it was very easy to pack the colour on. These were a pleasure to work with, and lasted insanely well over the course of wear- this is despite the fact that I did not pair them with a primer for honest review purposes. Pretty impressive!

When I was happy with my eyeshadow, I took the Eyeline Pencil in Clay to work in my tightline and lashline. This pencil is a dream for that. I adore the rich coffee colour- a nice change from black- and this applied easily, blended out easily with a small pencil brush, and lasted well over the course of wear. I also applied a little to the outer half of my lower lashline. I finished off my eyes with just a lick of mascara. Last piece of the jigsaw from me was lipstick and I opted for the Long Wear Satin Lip Cream in Aglaea Persian Pink (€10.50). This in my mind, was more of a coral meets 1990s Kylie Jenner chic than the dusky smokey pink I was expecting from the packaging but I liked the colour and I think it suited the warmth of the look well. This felt creamy and moisturising on the lips and lasted about 3 hours before reapplication. It didn't taste overpowering or have any strong scent to it.  

Hope you liked the finished look!Are there any MeMeMe products you would like to try out? Or do you any of you diehards have any recommendations for me to try out?

Sunday, 8 March 2015

Irish Beauty Show 2015 Haul

I was up with the larks at 7.30am this morning to get myself in order for the annual Irish Beauty Show which rolled into town over the weekend. I generally prefer the Professional Beauty Show every October to the Irish Beauty Show- they are very similar but definitely not the same in my opinion. I'd preregistered for my ticket a few months back and it arrived a few weeks back. The queue to get in this morning was the longest I had ever seen but it moved quickly- for the first hour or two it was bearable but the more the hall filled up, the harder it was to navigate. I left after a couple of hours because I couldn't hack the mania, but I did manage to pick up some bits and bobs. 

One of my first ports of call was Blank Canvas Cosmetics where all eye brushes were €5 and all face brushes were €10. I stocked up on some of my favourite brushes and I also picked up a teardrop shaped blending sponge and a Winging It eyeliner. 

I couldn't not swing by Nima Brush and pick up their new Elite brushes- the domed kabuki and the fluffy powder brush- and I also picked up a Wendy from the Artistic Collection. I had wanted to pick up a couple of my all time favourite stippling brushes ever but found out today that they have been discontinued :( My little heart! I also picked up a soft cylinder and one of the lavender hard cylinders because I am a sucker for lavender!

I picked up the Strictly Professional Cosmetic Brush Spray (€5.99) and Cosmetic Brush Cleaner (€2.80) from the Salon Savers stand. I've not tried either of these before so can't vouch for their performance just yet.

Also from Salon Savers, I picked up the Ardell Individual Lashes (€3.50), a pair of Ardell Demi Wispies (€2.99), a Velcro headband (€2.29), Ardell Clear Adhesive for Individual Lashes (€2.99) and some SalonSystem Individual Lash Adhesive (€3.75) and Lash Remover (€4.25).

From Salon Savers- some butterfly clips from Head Jogs and Revlon Equave leave in conditioner (€8.65).

I swung by Paese and picked up two Manifestos (€6.99), the Illuminating Makeup Base (€12.99) and Long Cover Fluid (€12.99).

From Salon Savers- Strictly Professional Acetone (€2.45), Creamy Cuticle Remover (€2.49) and Cuticle Massage Cream (€3.49), a three way buffer block (€1.45), Sibel Gel Cleanser (9.99), Cuticle Remover (€5.99), Gella Polish (€5.99). Out the Door top coat (€5.50) and some foil remover wipes (€7.99).

From French Cosmetics, I picked up the Jessica Clarify and Erase (€7.00 each), the Recovery Basecoat (€8.00), the Phenomen Oil (€11.00), Steam Cream (€12.00) and four Jessica Polishes (€6 each). I found the Essie Polishes from Salon Savers and picked up a few shades that I didn't already have (€5.75 each).

From OPI, I got the 5 Steps to Beautiful Nails kit for €25, the Fifty Shades of Grey minis collection for €12 and three individual polishes which are €6.95 each.

I stopped by CND/Sweet Squared and picked up some Vinylux and I got a variety of different shades at the €6ish mark. I also picked up a Weekly Top Coat and the Solar Oil and only noticed when I came home that they threw in a mini nail treatment AND a Weekly Top Coat and Vinylux polish! Very generous! Even though it is Kermit the Frog Green!! 

And my FIND of the Irish Beauty Show 2015 had to be the lovely Celtic Candles that I picked up. I spend a good 20 minutes deliberating and smelling all the candles to make my selection and I swear I felt more zen by the end of my smelling experience. These smell absolutely divine and I cannot wait to burn them and bask in their loveliness. The medium jars were €40 for 4 and the smaller ones were 5 for €20. I have enough candles to keep me going for months now! 

So those were my finds from the Irish Beauty Show this year, and you can let me know whether you think I did a good job or not. On the way out, we were handed the dates for the show next year- 13th and 14th March 2016- so the countdown is on already! Were you at the Irish Beauty Show today? What goodies did you pick up? 
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