Sunday, 17 September 2017

Come, Look at My Trash! #6

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts so I've loads to go through! I love a good empties post. As I've mentioned before, I like to look through what a blogger fully used up; it's a good indicator as to whether they'd buy it again and in turn, whether the person reading the post should buy it.

Quite the collection of empty bottles there!

Skin Care 

First up is a bottle of Lancôme's Bi-Facil eye make up remover. This is one of my favourites, it's effective and great for sensitive skin. It's never caused stinging but on the down side, it's pricier than your average eye make-up remover. Would definitely repurchase.

La Roche Posay Hydraphase Masque. This is ideal in the colder weather when your skin is starting to crack. The recommendation is to apply this thick cream and leave for 10-15 minutes but I mostly used it as a night time moisturiser. It's good. Would repurchase.

Lancôme Visionnaire moisturiser and eye cream. These were both minis in an advent calendar and lasted me aaaages! I liked them both but the Lancôme Absolue over there on the right (in the clear glass pot) blew this range out of the water. Absolue is clearly a more luxurious product and felt extremely comforting on and was so moisturising. I'd buy a full size but it's pricey! I'd probably not buy more Visionnaire but that's purely because I've used better- from the same advent calendar, in fact!

Three Micellar Waters; two from Bioderma, the original (pink top) and Hydrabio (blue top), the latter being for sensitive, drier skin. I thought that would be a winner for me but actually it was scented (which I thought was strange) and it didn't seem any different on my skin. Still took all my make-up off without a problem. I'll probably stay loyal to the original Bioderma, which I love to use as my first cleanse but I also really liked the Garnier version, which I've actually bought again since. 

MyChelle Deep Repair Cream* is a moisturiser I was sent, probably a good year ago. I liked other products in the range from this brand much more, including a really good cleanser but the moisturiser didn't do much for me. 

Organic Surge hand cream* is one of the better hand creams I've tried and that's saying something; I've tried a lot. This one is thick but sinks in nicely with no greasiness and has lots of comforting lavender in there.  

More Micellar Water, this time from Nivea*, loved this one too. Would repurchase. 

Liz Earle Gentle Face Exfoliator is lovely. It has exfoliating grains but they're very fine so it shouldn't be a problem for those with sensitive skin types. Plus, it smells unreal. If I could have eaten this, I would. I wouldn't buy this again, purely as I'm working my way through the Pixi and Alpha H   Liquid Gold chemical exfoliators.

Oskia Renaissance Cleansing Gel* is one of my favourite cleansers of all times. It's a somewhat thick gel, very gentle and removes all traces of make up. I would 100% buy this again, except, again, pricey!

Olay Total Effects 7 Signs Feather Weight Moisturiser* was an absolute joy. It was perfectly light so it sat nicely underneath my foundation and actually was really comfortable on my dry skin. Would definitely repurchase. 

Hair/Body Products

L'Occitane Cherry Blossom Shower Gel. This is a generous mini size and I'd happily buy a full size. I love L'Occitane and the cherry blossom range is lovely. 

L'Oreal Professional Vitamino Color Expert Shampoo and masque (pink pot underneath it). I used these when I had the pink in my hair and they were quite nice, not necessarily sure I'd repurchase them as I'm all about the Kevin Murphy these days but they were decent haircare all the same.

Speaking of which, the Kevin Murphy Angel Wash and Rinse are my go-to shampoo and conditioner now and I'm probably on to my third bottle of each. Again, they're not on the cheap side but they last for a really long time and they leave my hair in excellent condition. 

L'Oreal Professional Techniart mousse. This is for volume and worked reasonably well on my thin hair but as with a lot of products like this, it's almost too much faffing for me. 

Co-Lab Dry Shampoo in the scent New York. I like all of the dry shampoos in this range, I much prefer them to any others I've tried so far. It works well and leaves no residue, most importantly from a dry shampoo.

Roger & Galet Shower Gel*. I loved this one too, it's a really refreshing scent, perfect to wake you up in the mornings. Would definitely buy again. 

Johnson's Baby Shampoo. I use this to wash my make up brushes. It's cheap, works well and smells pleasant. 

The Body Shop Spiced Apple shower Gel*. This was a Christmas limited edition, I liked it, as I like most Body Shop shower gels. Anything apple scented usually gets my vote. 

L'Occitane Almond Shower Oil is one of my favourite products of all time. I've used up two mini sizes here but I've since bought a full size for myself for my birthday. I'm good to myself like that. The almond range is gorgeous, really moisturising for dry skin and smells heavenly. I'll ALWAYS repurchase this fella. 

Another Body Shop buy; Coconut body scrub. This is another fave product. I love using the coconut range in the Summer in particular as it gives me that "by the beach" kinda vibe but really, you need exfoliated skin all year round! 

Make Up/Perfume

We were all a bit obsessed in the beauty blogging world with the Botanics Radiance Balm All Bright when it was first discovered that it was quite the dupe for MAC's Strobe Cream. I've never tired the latter but I sure loved the former. I squeezed that tube dry (and went back after this photo was taken to cut it in half and get the rest!). I mostly used this as a primer but occasionally mixed a bit with my foundation for a dewier finish. I would buy again but I've similar products on the go at the minute. 

Estee Lauder Double Wear Light foundation is another firm favourite, one I've been wearing for years. The original Double Wear is great, but a bit too heavy for me. I use DWL for night time mostly cause it lasts incredibly well and gives a great finish. I'm just finishing up one right now and I will be buying another. 

Chloé Love Story is a stunning perfume. Himself has bought me most of the Chloé range and this is my favourite- I even prefer it to the original. I used every last spritz of this and would have missed it immediately, except that my lovely in-laws bought me a new one last Christmas, so I'm currently about half way through that one. It's fresh, floral, powdery and feminine. I get compliments every time I wear it. 

Maybelline Under Eye concealer Eraser is a great concealer, especially for those of us with under eye bags. I've used a good few of these now. There's a handy sponge applicator on top and when you twist the tube it gives you just the right amount, which can then be blended in. I have a new one ready to start and the illuminating version that's only recently come to our shores, that I must review!

That pink metallic tube is one of the Fresh Rose Lip Balms, the name has when off from constant use! I again, used every last bit. I love Fresh and I particularly love their lip balms. This one is softening, with a pink tint and the faintest floral scent. I'll be stocking up when I'm in the states again.

Bourjois Radiance Concealer is one I picked up a while back on a 3 for 2 in Boots. It turned out to be a good purchase. I felt like they were trying for a Nars Radiant Creamy Concealer dupe with this one, but it fell just short of the mark there. Nevertheless, it's a good concealer and I would repurchase. 

NYX and MAC Brown eyeliners. I prefer a smudgy brown pencil to a black one as black can be a bit harsh on blue eyes. These both smudged nicely but both had their flaws. The NYX seemed a little too tacky, which could be explained by virtue of the fact that it's a gel pencil liner. I like an imperfect line sometimes but this was a little too messy. The MAC was a limited edition and was a good shade and consistency but there wasn't a huge amount in the pencil, it was gone in no time and not worth whatever I spent on it. The never ending search for the perfect brown liner continues.

Underneath them is the Charlotte Tilbury Filmstar Bronze & Glow. I bloody loved this. It contains both the perfect bronzer and highlighter, finely milled and beautifully toned to look natural on. I hit pan completely on the bronze and the highlight cracked and exploded everywhere in my make up bag. Very sad times. I would most definitely buy another. Gorgeous product, full review HERE.

This won't be the last time a YSL Effet Faux Cils mascara appears in an empties post here. It's a beaut and has ruined me for all other mascaras. It gives you full on dramatic lashes without the need for false lashes or extensions. I can't do a "daytime mascara" anymore, I'm all about the drama llama.

If you've made it this far, well done. If you skimmed until you found a product you're interested in, then also, well done. I'll try and keep it shorter and sweeter next time, promise!

Have you used any of these? 
Did you spot any of your own Holy Grail products here?
To the comments!

*Denotes the product was provided for review. All opinions my own, as always. 

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Recently Read: June & July.

Monthly book roundup time y'all! I'm very late with this but that seems to be the standard I've set for myself! We're now well over the halfway point of the year (how did that even happen?) and so that means I need to kick my reading up a notch in order to reach my 60 book goal for the year. 
A couple of these are book club reads, some are audio books, some are library finds. 
Most, were excellent!

Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine by Gail Honeyman
I suggested this one in my Summer Reads post way back in May and I was correct! Eleanor Oliphant Is Completely Fine has been a huge seller this Summer and if the Rick O' Shea book club is anything to go by, then every second person has read it. Eleanor is an unusual character. When I started it, I considered that she might be autistic and it reminded me a little bit of The Rosie Project. Eleanor has her own way of doing things. She has a strict routine; she goes to work and eats the same M&S meal deal for her lunch every day, she doesn't make friends with her work colleagues cause she doesn't see the point, she eats pasta pesto every night, whereas at the weekend it's a Margherita pizza and a litre bottle of vodka. There's something not quite right in Eleanore's life (the vodka was not the only giveaway). The darker side to her is slowly revealed after she decides it's time she got a boyfriend. Her attempts to improve herself in order to achieve this, lead her into the path of good people who treat her with kindness and slowly but surely, she starts to unravel. This is a really great book. It's been slightly over hyped now but it's definitely still worth a read. You'll get sucked into Eleanore's world and find yourself laughing, crying, despairing and hoping for her. 

The Cows by Dawn O' Porter
This is Dawn O' Porter's first non YA novel. I've read her other books so I was interested to see what this would be like. The Cows focuses on three different women who on the surface, don't know each other and have nothing in common. There's Cam; a lifestyle blogger, famous for her somewhat inflammatory feminist-lite posts. She's sponsored by L'Oreal and becomes the "face of childless women". Stella is a hate-reader of Cam's blog- she only reads it to be outraged and then email Cam with abusive comments. Stella works for a lovely man, who she's decided she's going to seduce in order to get pregnant and make her life a little less sad. Lastly, there's Tara, a single mum of one who goes on a really successful date, lets her sexual desires get the better of her and ends up being very publicly shamed. This is a really odd book. When I started it, I thought it was quite an interesting concept and it covers some interesting and important topics; internet shaming, being childless both by choice and not by choice, expression of female sexually and the negative connotations surrounding that, blogging, single parenthood etc, all quite relevant in today's society. Having said that, I feel like the book kind of lost the run of itself and some of the events that took place and the actions of the characters didn't seem at all realistic. I finished it because I wanted to know what would happen (I was both surprised and not surprised by the ending) but I can't say I would recommend this one. 

The Blood Miracles by Lisa McInerney
This is the sequel to The Glorious Heresies, which was one of our book club picks last year. In case you didn't read that one, it's set in Cork city and follows several people; some of which are part of the criminal gang scene- drug dealers, drug users, sex workers etc. The Blood Miracles follows on exactly from where that left off but the focus here is on one of the main characters in the first book;    Ryan Cusack, now 20. In spite of his promises to his girlfriend, he has only gotten deeper into the criminal underworld. His life begins to unravel when he meets both a nosey older woman who thinks she can save him and a beautiful but secretive younger woman, who is "slumming it" with Ryan. I didn't love this as much as the first in the series, the writing itself felt different to me and didn't flow as well. I really like Ryan's character and warmed to him in both books but by focusing only on him in this book, Grew quilt disinterested in his story and I'm not sure I'll read another in the series, if the author writes one. 

Vinegar Girl by Anne Tyler
This is a modern retelling of The Taming of the Shrew. Anne Tyler is a great writer; this flowed along so nicely and was a pleasure to read. Anyone who can take such a well known story from Shakespeare and put their own spin on it is definitely one to read more from. As an aside, you can read more in this series, including Hag-seed by Margaret Atwood, a retelling of The Tempest, which is next on my list to read. Kate is in a bit of a rut. She dropped out of college, works as a teachers assistant, even though she's not very good at it. When she's not working, she looks after the house for her younger sister and dad. She has no romantic prospects, friends, or any real life, sadly. Her dad is a scientist and seems to be going out of his way to get her to his lab, to meet his assistant, Piotr. Kate is horrified when she realises that he's trying to set her up with Piotr, who needs to marry in order to stay in the county and finish his important work with Kate's dad. This is a really light hearted book that would be perfect to bring on holidays; it's in no way mentally taxing and overall was really enjoyable.

Theft by Finding, Diaries, Vol.1 by David Sedaris
I'm a big Sedaris fan and I was really excited about this book coming out. I got it on audible because, if it's read by the man himself you just know it's going to be even funnier. Parts of it made me actually laugh out loud. "I ain't never cooked a squirrel in my life. Wouldn't know how to, wouldn't want to". 
That particular line had me laughing away to myself on the street as I walked to work. There was plenty more like that too- the description of him doing construction work and careening into a tree with a wheelbarrow is priceless, as is the fight he got into on the street with a Native American woman over his broken window frame. So much of this book is incredibly random and bizarre, humorous and of course, poignant. He gets abused on the street a lot in the earlier years of his diary which is always difficult to read..leave David Sedaris alone! There was something missing here for me though, perhaps because it was diary entries it made it less cohesive than his other books. Still worth a read for fans. 

Princess by Jean Sasson
This is one of those cult faves that's been around for years. I remember someone telling me years ago in absolute outrage about how terribly women are treated in Saudi Arabia, after she read this book. This is the first in a series of three books about the life of Princess Sultana, a member of the Saudi Royal family and so, quite a privileged young woman with uncountable wealth. She has absolutely no freedom though and like her mother and sisters is a prisoner in her home, subject to the whims and rules of her brother, father and eventually, husband. It's basically misogyny 101. Parts of it were shocking and enraging but mostly, I knew a lot about this culture already so the interest for me stemmed from reading a first hand experience and even at that I'm still not completely convinced that this really has been written by a Saudi Arabian princess. 
I'm not sure if I'll read the next in the series, it felt poorly written at times and a bit trashy (which sometimes is exactly what you want to read) but engrossing nonetheless. 

I See You by Clare Mackintosh
I See You focuses on Zoe, a forty-something year old mum of two who takes the same route to work every day and the same route home. She favours the same seat on the tube, drops money into the hat of a busker at the same station exit every day, completely unaware that someone is watching her the entire time. Then she spots a photo of herself in a classifieds section of the paper. Surely it's just someone who looks like her and it's a weird coincidence? She puts this out of her mind until other women who's photos were also used without their consent in the paper become victims of crime; house break-ins, muggings, rape, murder. Unfortunately, pretty much no one will take Zoe seriously, including her live-in boyfriend, who we're all supposed to suspect, cause it's always the fella, right? This was really unnecessarily dragged out. There was so much filler that didn't need to be there/ I get "setting the scene" but there was far too much repetition added in there. I hadn't figured out exactly who the baddie was but I knew who it wasn't and even the final twist was one I had worked out thanks to some hinting previously in the book. This just didn't do it for me, it wasn't terrible but there are plenty of better thrillers around, I wouldn't be recommending this one. 

All the Missing Girls by Megan Miranda
The book begins with Nic returning home to small-town Cooley Ridge, where she hasn't stepped foot in ten years. She's now built a successful life for herself in the big city with a fiancé and a good job but has to go back to look after her sick father and tie up loose ends; cleaning and selling the family home. 
As soon as she arrives back she becomes embroiled once again in the unsolved disappearance of her high school best friend, Corrine, which could involve pretty much everyone she knows; her family, friends, neighbours. When another local girl goes missing days after Nic's return, the heat is really on to unravel the truth. 
This one is told backwards, which only served to increase the tension- I was absolutely dying to find out what was going to happen and piecing it together myself because of the way the timeline is written, made it all the more interesting. I really enjoyed the "high school first love" storyline that runs through it as well. Well worth a read.

The Break Down by B.A. Paris
This started out really well. Cass is driving home from a a work night out and decides to take a short cut down a dark path near her home- her husband doesn't like her driving this way but it's raining and visibility isn't great so she chances it. She passes a woman sat, waiting in her car and the side of the road, and although she pauses, Cass decides not to stop, in case its a trap of some sort, plus the woman looked fine. She somehow, forgets about this seconds later when she gets home and goes to bed. Waking up the next day, she's horrified to hear on the radio that the woman was murdered in her car shortly after Cass drove past her. She's worried that she is partially guilty so she tells no one and hopes to forget about it (again. Way to go, Cass) until that is, she starts to get prank phone calls every day and at the same time becomes more forgetful, showing signs of the alzeihmers that killed her mother. Does someone know what she saw and can she outwit them before she succumbs completely to the loss of her mind? 
Lookit, save yourselves. This was brutally bad. Repetitive, extremely predictable, obvious and overall, unsatisfactory. 

And that's that! I'd love to know your thoughts on any of these books if you've read them and of course, what you're currently reading yourself!
To the comments!

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Emergency Flormar Purchasing!

Last weekend we got in the car heading out of Dublin. I was tired from work the day before and having not slept super well, I was both looking disheveled and not well focused on the task at hand, namely getting myself into the passenger seat with the items I needed to not look like a White Walker. That is, my make up bag and my hairbrush.
Sure enough, I had forgotten them both. There they sat on the coffee table, of no use to anyone, except perhaps the 1940's era ghost lady that more than likely lives in our house and likes to try out my new fangled beauty products when I'm not there. Ordinarily I have no problem with leaving the house without make up, but I really and truly looked a state. If I don't wear fake tan, but I do wear make up, people will tell me I look tired. If I wear neither, people will call an ambulance for me, so shocked by my appearance that they fear I may in fact, already be dead. 

So, Himself stopped the car at a pharmacy, ostensibly so I could buy paracetamol, which I did but I also made a supermarket sweep style attack of the make up section and bought a few essentials. 
If you've ever been asked that "what's the one make up item you don't like to leave the house without" question, then you'll know what you would automatically want to purchase here. I previously had tried some Flormar products when they launched in Ireland (HERE) but have tried nothing since, although I do use their bronzer on a daily basis. This pharmacy had a Flormar stand, and as it's reasonably priced, I set about buying my "make up item I can't leave the house without", which as it turns out for me, is four separate items. 

flormar ultra brown eyeliner

I have to have eyeliner. I JUST DO. Without it, I look like I'm twelve. So I got a nice brown kohl liner, which is my fave as I like a smudged line that works with my blue eyes and isn't as harsh as a black liner. This is the Flormar Ultra Brown Liner and it's great. It didn't smudge that easily but then I didn't have any brushes or eyeshadow to smudge it out with so it did well, considering. It applied nicely and was soft enough that it didn't drag my skin but firm enough that it stayed put once on. I also used this to add a bit of definition to my brows and although it was slightly too dark for that, it still did the job. 

Flormar perfect coverage liquid concealer

My second must-have item is concealer, as I have relatively baggy under-eye bags. This is the Perfect Coverage liquid concealer and unfortunately, it's no great shakes. It's far too liquidy and doesn't have enough pigment or thickness to the formula for it to have any purchase on the delicate skin around the eyes. It didn't really do anything for me except for make me laugh at the description of what it does: "it helps to prevent and repair bags under the eyes". 
That ship has sailed long ago, sonny. 

Flormar Spider lash volume mascara

Thirdly, I bought mascara, because as it turns out, it really is all about the eyes for me. This fella immediately made me suspicious because it's called Spider Lash Volume, which I personally don't understand. Surely that's the opposite of the sort of lashes you'd want? Anyway, this is grand, it didn't set my beauty loving brain ablaze or anything but it did the job. Would I repurchase? Well, no, but that might have more to do with my never ending love for YSL's Le Effet Faux Cils Shocking mascara, which I will always be loyal to.

Flormar Perfect Coverage foundation

Lastly, I bought a foundation, which, was weird for me as I normally do a good bit of research before I buy a foundation and even in an emergency (playing fast and loose with the word emergency there), I wouldn't have thought this would be a product I couldn't do without. I guess we learn the most about ourselves in difficult situations like this (joking). This is the Perfect Coverage foundation, with spf 15, sweet almond and olive oil for "young, healthy, hydrated and protected skin". I quite like this except that I got the palest shade without testing it (again, husband waiting in the car outside, probably thinking "just buy the cheapest paracetamol, jeez, what's taking so long") and it is very pale (it's Porcelain Ivory). Pale gals, if you're looking for a good match, shade wise, this is great. I think for me though, it might be slightly too light. I again, looked not quite well, but in an Edward Cullen without the sparkles kinda way. Except with good coverage. I like this- it's prob light to medium coverage and having only applied it with my fingers, I was surprised at how well it went on. It also didn't mattify the bejasus out of me, which I hate and was nicely dewey but with a bit of a glow. I had no powder, but I didn't really need it either. I just need a different shade, totally my own fault. Two thumbs up for this one. 

I had both the peach shade of Dr. Paw Paw (if that is his/her real name. Seems unlikely) balm which I used as blush and my beloved Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk lipstick in my bag so that completed the look. Overall, I don't think I did too badly (I forgot to take a photo. #WorldsBestBeautyBlogger)! 

Have you tried any of these or anything else from Flormar? What's your "can't leave the house without" make up item?
To the comments!

Sunday, 20 August 2017

Skincare Shakeup #2

I always have new skincare on the go. Only last week I shared the newly reformulated Double Serum from Clarins with ye (read more about that HERE) and I'm really loving that. It's taken over from the oil and water based serums in my skincare routine that are in this post but these are still excellent so it's well worth giving them a nod too!

I picked these face masks from Korres up in the airport on the way home from Crete. They had a really good Korres selection, unsurprisingly, as they are a Greek brand and although I had an option to buy a boxed selection of these smaller sized masks, I felt I'd get better value from these individual ones, which were only a few euro each and better suited to my dry skin than the others that were available. There's only 18ml in each and so I've almost finished the Damask Rose overnight anti-fatigue mask, which I love. It smells like vintage rose perfume in a rich and creamy base that leaves my skin super soft when I wake up the next day. 
The Babassu Butter is for intense moisturising and nourishing and this one is a bit richer. If you have sensitive skin, this may be too heavy for you but I really like it. They'll both be great when the colder weather sets in*.

*auld one alert

Korres face masks

I've also got a whole post on the Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse, HERE, so I won't go into a huge amount of detail now. Honestly though, I love this stuff. 
I've a good chunk used up already with plenty more to go. This is pricey for a cleanser, but so, so worth it.

Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

The last time I needed a new foundation, I took advantage of a "buy two items, receive a load of mini things for free" offer and so that was how I returned to using Esteé Lauder's Advanced Night Repair. I used to use and love this years ago and so it was a pleasant surprise to return to it and find that I still loved it! I forgot just how well this works for my skin. I know it doesn't suit everyone, and again, it's a hefty price tag but it's certainly made me want to buy a big mad bottle once my Clarins is gone. 

I love Image skincare (the Vital C range is one of my all time favourites) and this is a pretty pleasant cleanser from them; The Max* is an acid, parafen and sulfate free, gentle daily cleanser derived from stem cells and plant extracts to nourish and balance the skin. It's kind of a mixture of a gel and a cream cleanser. It has a distinct floral scent which might be too strong for most. I don't have any problem with scented cleansers, but this one doesn't really do it for me. It does the job well and my skin feels squeaky clean after I've used it but that in itself means my skin feels a bit tighter than it does worth the Pixi cleanser, for example. It's fine but I won't be buying a full size. 

I've also blogged about this Vitamin C enriched facial oil from Korres before. It was another Cretan purchase, one I had planed to buy before I got there. Luckily, I got great savings on the brand in its home country, otherwise this is another pricey fella! I love it though, I use my jade roller with it to massage it in over my moisturiser and it's a delight. And yes, there's dried rose petals suspended in the oil. Swoon. Read a full review HERE

Image skincare korres facial oil estee Lauder advanced night repair

I tend to just take advice when I go into Lush, it's mostly foreign territory for me so I picked up the BB Seaweed Fresh face mask on recommendation from the sales assistant. This is packed full of fresh seaweed, ground almonds, rose absolue and aloe vera, all designed to soften, calm and soothe the skin. It also acts as a gentle exfoliator and removes any excess oil or dirt. Himself and I used this on our spa weekend to Monart (in between the official spa visits!) and we both liked it. It did dry out like a clay mask would, even though it's not made with clay, which annoyed my slightly as I avoid clay masks- my skin is dry and I don't like the sensation of a drying mask on my face. Still, it was pleasant to use whilst soaking in the tub! Top tip- save up your black Fresh pots like I did, bring in five and get a free face mask like this one!

The Nivea 3 in 1 Cleansing Micellar Wipes* are new from the brand. I had really high hopes for these as I use Micellar Water a fair amount, mostly for a first cleanse to remove the top layer of make up etc or for travel. These wipes would be handy for the same reasons but I do find them less pleasant to use than a cotton pad soaked with micellar water would be. These dragged on my skin a bit due to being a bit drier than I expected and I felt I had to work harder to remove make up then I would have with the aforementioned cotton pad. If you're planning on taking these on holiday, I'd suggest bringing another cleanser with you to use with it. 

lush bb seaweed nivea micellar water wipes

I also bought this mini of Clinique's Dramatically Different Moisturiser in the airport in Crete, for about €8, which has turned out to be quite the bargain as I'm only half way through now, several months later. I have used this before and I like it. It's not the best or the most moisturising I've ever used for the full year round but it works really well in the Summer, when I want a lighter moisturiser under my make up. This one is perfect for that. 
I love that little pot of Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Lip Balm in the corner there too. It's taken over from Nuxe Reve de Miel as my favourite lip balm, which is no mean feat!

Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturiser

Lastly there is the Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturiser from Neutrogena. Again, this is a very light formula and perfect for warmer weather. It's so cooling on the skin and feels light enough while providing a good base for your make up etc. It's way too light for Winter though so I'll be shaking things up again soon enough!

Hydro Boost Water Gel moisturiser from Neutrogena

Have you used any of these? Are any of them your favourites already or any you've been wanting to try?
To the comments!

*indicates that a product was provided for review and was gratefully received. This is not a sponsored post, all opinions are mine only, as always.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Clarins Double Serum [Hydric + Lipidic System]

Clarins Double Serum has been around since 1985- it's been a continuous favourite for women and one of Clarins's best sellers. I've been using it for slightly less time than that- two years to be exact and its latest version, for just over two weeks and while that's not actually a long time in the skincare sense of things, I feel like I've got a good enough grasp on the product, to tell you all about it! 

Double Serum is just that- a two chambered bottle, one side containing a lipid based liquid (oil) and the other a hydric based (water). When you press down on the pump, by the power of engineering (and potentially witchcraft), you're given a mixture of the two, that you can then apply for optimum benefit to your skin. This is ideal for me as I have dry skin and I find both water based and oil based serums hugely beneficial and even more so when combined together. There just needs to be the perfect balance of the two, which is where Double Serum comes in. 

I had previously bought and loved the original Double Serum from Clarins- it was pricey but my skin absolutely loved it and so I used every last tiny drop. It was one of those empties that I mourned the loss of; it felt luxurious on and my skin was gloriously soft when I used it. 

The only concern I had was brought to my attention when I blogged about it at the time. It had mineral oil in it, an ingredient which is generally frowned upon by skincare lovers. Personally, mineral oil doesn't have any ill effects for me, so it was never an issue but for those who have sensitive skin, it was a deal breaker. Add to that, mineral oil is often considered a cheap, "filler" product and I can understand why this was problematic.

Speed forward a little bit to Summer 2017 and a new and improved version of Double Serum has been launched. 
You'll want to know what's changed and so I'm breaking it down here for yis in the most non-scientific lingo I can:

  • It now contains 21 plant powerful extracts, all with anti-ageing benefits.
  • The new skincare buzzword is "Turmeric", it's a bit of a miracle ingredient when it comes to optimising the function of your skin's cells, so it helps with things like; regeneration, oxygenation, nutrition, hydration and protection of your skin.
  • Clarins have involved even more women than before in the development of this serum. They claim it has a universal texture that's suitable for all women, all age groups, all ethnic backgrounds and all skin types, even those with sensitive skin (remember that mineral oil from before? That's no longer in Double Serum! Huzzah!)
  • The bottle itself has changed, so the double vial of before now has a measurement system at the top that allows for only a small amount of product, or a larger amount, (depending on your skincare needs) to be pumped out. 

I was seriously impressed by the amount of research that's gone into the new and improved Double Serum. First impressions for me are positive. I loved the last version and I love this one too. My skin feels comfortable when I use this, even relieved sometimes after I've applied it. I'll give this a longer trial and let ye know but so far it's two enthusiastic thumbs up! 

You can find the reformulated Double Serum in stockists nationwide, prices are €72 for 30ml and €92 for 50ml

Have you tried the new Double Serum yet? Did you love the previous version too?
To the comments!

*This post was not sponsored. I received a press sample of this product for review and as always, all opinions are my own. 

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Love Your Local Library!

As it's Book Lovers Day, I thought now would be as good a time as any to write about libraries and why they're so great. My Mum and Dad brought us to the library in Limerick and got us cards before we could even read and I still count this as one of the best things anyone has ever done for me. It meant that I had access to swathes of books suitable to my age at every age, as I grew up but also that I learned from when I was very young that books were wonderful, basically. 

Firstly, it was all about the picture books before moving on to Meg and Mog, Roald Dahl, the Ramona series, the S.K.U.N.K series, the Ruby Ring series and anything by Marita Conlon McKenna, all before moving on to GoosebumpsPoint Horror, Agatha Christie and Stephen King in my early teens*.

*That's only to name a very few of the books I borrowed, growing up. 

I didn't stop there though and kept going back to the library throughout my teens and early twenties. Although, for a time, the college library was more than enough library for me to handle so my own personal reading fell by the wayside. I then went through a brief period of "buy ALL the books" once I had a reliable wage, picking up books I had wanted to actually own for years; some of which had become favourites in the first place thanks to the library. 

When I moved to Dublin, I of course had to get a library card so off to Rathmines with me, drawn as I was to the beautiful building the library sits in there. I enjoyed pottering about in there before getting a coffee and strolling home along the canal with my latest stack of books but now I attend a library closer to work for ease. 

In the last year or so I've realised all of the amazing services the library provides in this country that I was completely unaware of. I've been using BorrowBox for about a year- it's an app for your phone. You log in with your library card number and password and you then have access to hundreds of ebooks and audio books to use on your smartphone. 
Often, the newer releases or very popular books may be on a waiting list so you can request them and will be given a date that it'll be yours. It's automatically downloaded to your phone on that date and you get an email letting you know it's there. It's like getting a little free surprise gift every so often! This has revolutionised how I read. Now, I always have at least one borrow box audio and ebook on the go, along with one or two real life books borrowed from the library and my usual kindle/other books I happen to be reading. 
Life is way too short for the amount of books I want to read so this works really well for me.

I also love that I can request the books I read for my book club and the date I need them by. Even if they're a brand new release and I'll get an email letting me know when it's available to pick up. 

There's way more that the library has to offer; I love mine for the collections of books it'll have on display. Award winners, Irish authors, pyschological thrillers, new releases, book club favourites. Lots of ideas if you're stuck in a book rut! If you have kids there's loads for them there too, along with dvd and music rentals, YA novels, plus a good selection of graphic novels, which can be expensive. There's also computer services and study areas. 

I get a unique feeling of enjoyment from visiting the library, which I know, makes me a total book nerd and I'm totally ok with that. I love reading and I love that there's a place that facilitates that love for absolutely no money whatsoever. On that note though, bear in mind that our library services will be cut back unless we use them. I know I'm paying towards mine with my taxes, and that's great but I found out recently that they no longer charge to renew your account when it's out of date, like they used to. Support your local library- attend, borrow, start a book club, tell everyone else how great it is!!

And that is the end of my nerdiness! Tell me all about your own love of the library, let's be book dragons together!

*How many times do you think I said "library" in this post? Eleventy billion? You'd be correct. Also, I was not paid by the library to write this post, although I can totally see why you might think that...

Monday, 24 July 2017

Kiko Summer Sale Haul!

I'm a big Kiko Milano fan. Whenever we're in a European city I try and get near one so I can do a little bargain make up hauling. One of the best of those times was when we were in Rome for my birthday and Himself handed me a basket and told me to work away. That was a great present! This Summer we're saving our funds for a holiday stateside in the Winter so we haven't been to any European cities and therefore, no actual in real life Kiko store.
They do however, have a great online site where you can shop their Summer sale to your hearts content. Granted, they are good value anyway, but add in a sale and you're doing really well!

Kiko milano

I had never tried any of their foundations or skincare so I had to give them a go, alongside my fave Kiko products; blushers and lip products. 

Kiko milano

2 in 1 Blush/lip sticks are a big thing every Summer. I had seen similar shades from No.7 that were a bit too pricey for me so when I spotted these Tropic Heat Lips & Cheeks for €3.90 each, I had to try them. I picked up Exotic coral and Sweety Mauve. 
At the bottom of the photo there is the Urban Sheen gloss, that's a really Summery lip gloss stick in a coral shade and only €1!

Kiko milano

These are the ideal "throw in your holiday luggage" make up. 

Kiko milano

The BB Cream Coloured Beauty Balm is described as a "foundation treatment with moisturising active ingredients and a medium sun protection factor". It looks like a white cream but on closer inspection you can see micro-pigments that react with your skin tone to give you a natural looking finish that's super flattering. It's like your skin but better, not to be a total cliché. I really like this, it's perfect for the days where you can't be arsed putting on make-up but still need something to control the death-like pallor. This was €4.40.

Kiko milano

The Skin Tone Hydration Foundation also has an SPF15, and is a light, smooth foundation with a radiant finish. This isn't one to wear on a night out and then for the next 42 hours straight- it's light to medium coverage only. It reminds me of Bourjois Healthy glow, it's a great option for daytime and work. This was €11.

Kiko milano

On the end there is the Hydra Pro Mask, a moisturising intensive mask. I haven't used this yet but it's just my cup of tea- I always have a couple of dry-skin face masks on my bedside table, they're a vital part of my skincare routine! This was €6.25.

Kiko milano

I'll always re-buy brown kohl liners- perfect for a smudged eye and black liquid pen liners when I feel like making a bit more effort. The Precision eye pencil is kind of perfect, it'll still smudge with the help of a brush and a taupe eyeshadow but it doesn't disappear when I smudge it either, like a lot of them do. This was only €2.25.
The Ultimate Pen liquid eyeliner is really good too, very dark, applies easily, lasts well. €4.85.

Kiko milano

Just a moment for this packaging please. 

Kiko milano

And inside! Glorious! This is the Two-tone baked bush in the shade Natural Beach. There's three versions but this pink and the bronze is really flattering on pale skin. There's great colour payoff too- one swipe and you're in pigment city! It's really lovely on and is only €8.45. Love it. 

That's that! Other good news is Kiko are also cruelty free, something I'm trying really hard to adhere to. You'd be surprised how many brands aren't. 
You can find more from the Kiko Summer sale HERE.

Have you tried anything from Kiko?
To the comments!

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Irish Bloggers Made Me Do It!

I'm sure that over the years since I first started blogging that I've enabled others into buying things and that's equally true of all the bloggers I know, love and follow and the effect they've had on my own poor, cowering bank account!

I love blogs and bloggers- I trust the bloggers I follow and I know if they recommend something, then it's good. That got me thinking about the things I've bought or tried recently and who enticed me to pick them up!
There's loads of other bloggers aside from those mentioned here who only need to mention something and I want it but we'd have been here forever so I've narrowed it down to recent buys! 

This is really only a small smattering of the many products I have bought thanks to my fellow Irish bloggers but these are some of my recent faves. 

Sue from Cherry Sue Doin' The Do
Sue is particularly spot on with the fancier things in life so I kept the Tartelette palette filed way in my brain after seeing her recommendation. I think Sue might have actually featured this on her instagram rather than her blog but she praised this palette from Tarte and while I was stateside I fell for it too. I haven't had a chance to review this yet but I love it. Sue was (as always) right, the shadows are buttery soft and so pigmented. Plus they smell like Kinder Bueno, so, bonus. Unfortunately for me, I got this all the way home in my case in perfect condition and then dropped it on my wooden floor at home. Typical, as I am the clumsiest person in the world. As you can see, it's not in the best condition anymore but I still use it on the regular.

Gemma from Beauty Nook
Gemma has a great eye for bargain beauty products and is always way ahead of everyone when it comes to new releases and new trends. These Cream Puff Blushes from Max Factor have been out a while now and at the time, Gemma championed them, so of course I had to try them! These are fab and feel like a much more expensive product than they are.
You can read Gemma's post HERE.

Lorraine from John, It's Only Make Up.
I love Lorraine. She's super witty and make up looks gorgeous on her, with some of the credit for that owing to her extensive skincare knowledge. It's because of Lorraine that I bought NYX Taupe Blush and The Ordinary Vitamin C Suspension 23% & HA Spheres 2% (HERE). Granted, I had been aware of the cult following that that particular blush has when used as a contour for pale skin, but it was only when I saw it on Lorraine's blog (HERE) that I added it to the list. I'm still not sure how I feel about that Vit C suspension but Lorraine introduced me to the brand and has more posts on what to try from them HERE and HERE

Sinéad from The Beautiful Truth
Sinéad is a blogger, a mum and a teacher so when she recommended Moxi Eye Catcher Cleasnsing & Correcting Buds on TV3 for when you're on the go, I had to try them for myself and I love them! My eye make up is usually pretty smudged after an 8 hour day in work so if I'm on my way somewhere at that stage, I have a few of these ready to go in my bag! If you don't know much about them, they're essentially cotton buds that when activated (snapping the top), they release make up remover to one side, which you can then use to clean off any smudges or mistakes. You can find these in Penneys.

Sera from The Style Guide
Sera is an absolute gem for finding niche products that I didn't know I needed til she tells us all about them! I could spend hours reading her blog- her writing is just the best. After seeing her post on face masks, I had to buy a 10 pack of these bargain-tastic under eye collagen gold masks from eBay. I love them, they're packed with serum that leaves my skin really soft. Plus, they make me look like a superhero. Win-win.
HERE's her review.

Emma from Ol' Green Eyes
Anything Emma puts on her face instantly makes me want to go out and buy it- she's a stunner! I had been debating buying Charlotte Tilbury's Pillow Talk lipstick and then I saw it on Emma and sure, that was that. And I love it!
There's a review from Emma HERE and my own HERE if you're interested in seeing it for yourself. I also want a pair of Emma's tassel earrings but that's another matter..

Karen from Lovely Girlie Bits
I had seen the Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita palette on Karen's blog long before I bought it (as a getting-out-of-hospital-present for myself) and it was seeing what that bronze shade did to her irises that made me want it. This is a perfect little palette- great for the blue or green eyed amongst us. As Karen would say, you need this on your eyeballs, stat! (I added the 'stat' part myself). 
You can see it in action on Karen's face, HERE

I'll probably make this a series cause there's really no end to the brilliant Irish bloggers that are out there who influence all of my purchases!
If in the meantime you need more ideas, check out Andreea of Your Beauty, Yavanna of Make Up Monster, Edel from The Pharmer's Journal, and Siobhán from Beautylymin, to name but a very few. 

So, Confession time! 
What have you bought because of an Irish blogger and which of my purchases here have you tried?
To the comments!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse | Review

You have by now, more than likely heard about the collaboration between makeup/skincare brand Pixi & beauty blogger/skincare lover, Caroline Hirons
Hirons knows her stuff when it comes to skincare and her thing is the double cleanse; that is, the use of an oil based cleanser to remove the obvious layer of make up from your face and another cleanse after that with a cream or liquid based cleanser to remove what's left. 
This has been a big seller for cult US brand Pixi so it was only a matter of time before I gave it a go myself.

Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

As you can see, you get two sections for your cleanse; a solid oil that melts when warmed on your fingers/face and following that, a cleansing cream to clean your actual skin, now that the make up has been removed. If you think that sounds like a lot of faffing and believe me, that is EXACTLY what I thought, it's well worth giving this a go. 
If you are also thinking- why not just use one if they're both such great cleansers? Well, Caroline (I feel like we should be on first name terms as I watch her giving out to her sons on her Insta-stories all the time), says that the oil part is really just for loosening and removing makeup and SPF, while the cream cleanser has more beneficial ingredients to properly clean and massage your skin.

Pixi + Caroline Hirons Double Cleanse

Caroline also says that they've done their best to make this product as user friendly to as many skin types as possible, so there's no mineral oil or Shea butter in there (not great for oily skins) and instead there's camellia oil and evening primrose oil. She's also made both cleansers scent free, so if you're of a sensitive disposition, that'll sit well with you too. As for my own dry skin, I really like it. The oil is very comfortable on and removes all my make up, even from my eyes with no stinging or discomfort, along with a muslin cloth soaked in warm water. The temptation to stop there and go put on serum and moisturiser is strong, especially when tired but the cream cleanser is lovely too and leaves my skin nice and soft with that super clean feeling.

So basically, it's thumbs up from me. It's very handy to have both cleansers in the one tub and it would be great for travel, if you were that committed to your double cleanse. I can't say I am but then, I tend to bring miniatures away with me when travelling to afford more weight for all the shite I then buy in the likes of Sephora etc. Sure look, it's why we're all here!

If you're looking to try a double cleanse for yourself, you can find Pixi online from Cloud 10 Beauty or in the beauty hall in Marks and Spencers.

Are you a fan of the double cleanse? Have you tried this offering from Pixi and Caroline Hirons?
To the comments!