Wednesday, 18 October 2017

Sephora Shopping List 2017!

We're off on our holidays stateside again soon and that can mean only one thing. Not just that Himself is in Extreme Planning Mode (he has maps) again but that I will be visiting the beauty mothership; Sephora. I'll also be in Korea Town and China Town so there'll be some Asian beauty buying in my not-too-distant future.
And so, I do my type of planning; a shopping list! Hurrah! 
Let me know in the comments what I simply HAVE to buy. Chances are I may well have already have it, given my beauty-loving ways, but I always appreciate the suggestion. I've done a fair bit of blog-reading and Pinterest scouring for inspiration, and these are what I'm thinking:

(note that Himself knows much better than to ever question my make-up purchases but I really love this meme so I still wanted to pop it up...I also need to ask you to ignore that missing 're' in you're.)

Y'all know by now that I'm all about my skincare and K beauty in particular does some really great products for a youthful glow so for that, I'll be looking at things like that Watermelon Sleep Mask, which is a big deal at the minute. Not sure what it actually feels or smells like yet but I will investigate further! Tatcha Violet-C Radiance Mask is the one you've seen all over Instagram; bloggers with bright purple face masks, looking very Alien-esque...I'm intrigued!
I just used up an overnight mask from Fresh that I bought in New York two years ago so I'm keen to see what their new Vitamin Nectar masks are like. The Belif aqua Bomb was another sample I tried and really liked and the Farmacy products come recommended by my sister after she discovered them in a Sephora set I bought her, not unlike the one picture below. I love those Sephora sets- it's a great way to try out new products plus you get lots of mini sizes, which are great for travel, save you money and make you feel like a giant- bonus! I'll probably get a few of the Sephora own brand sheet masks too as they're super handy. The Biossance eye gel is a super lightweight product that helps increase circulation around your eye, thus helping those dark circles! Sephora apparently can't keep it in good luck to me! I've been using a mini of the Dr.Jart+ Ceramidin for a while now and my skin seems to like it so I may get a bigger size. They also do some very space-agey looking hydrating masks so I'm gonna check them out too. I'm desperate to try something from Drunk Elephant! They're pricey but come highly recommended! Obviously I won't be buying ALL of these so I'll have to do some back-of-the-hand testing in-store and be very selective!!

There's not a huge amount of make-up stateside that we can no longer get at home. In the last couple of years, Wet n' Wild, Kat Von D, Too Faced, ELF, Milani, Huda Beauty, and Physician's Formula, amongst others have all come to Ireland so really I'm mostly looking at Tarte, Anastasia Beverly Hills, Fresh and Bite Beauty for something a bit different.

Fairy Drops Waterproof mascara is a Japanese brand, I've been informed that it can be found in Asian stores in San Fran and LA and it's kind of a must. It's reached cult status amongst beauty bloggers, and even though I'm pretty loyal to my YSL mascara, I really want to try this. It's been a while since I had an Anastasia Beverley Hills Brow Wiz in my life and I need a new one! I've tried all the dupes and they're just not the same. I had a little test of my friend's Tarte Shape Tape Contour Concealer and now I need my own! We can get these via QVC here but I want to try it out again in person. It Cosmetics are sold in Ulta so I'll be on the hunt for this CC Cream, which is another beauty blogger fave.

I love Fresh's Sugar lip balms and I used up a tube of their rose one last year, which is lovely. The Lip Caramel Hydrating Balm is a new release for them and sounds good! Flower Cosmetics is Drew Barrymore's make up brand and is (unfortunately) exclusively sold in Walmart. I'll be buying more of these jumbo kohl liners in brown, they're the absolute business and really good value! The bunnies are just to symbolise Tony Moly products, a Korean brand that I love! Lastly there, is one of the lipsticks from Bite Beauty. I bought their Lip Mask the last time I was over and I absolutely love it, I'm hoping the lipsticks will be as moisturising. 

My Best Buy of the year so far has been the Too Faced Peach Palette, which I use pretty much daily. I love the shades in it- the shimmers and the mattes are so pigmented and work really well on blue eyes. This is a new release from the brand; a peach palette of only mattes, which look stunning! As far as I know, this is a Sephora exclusive, so we can't get it over here (although I could be wrong there), making it something I'll be seeking out for sure!

And that's that, apart from the "sucker aisle" as I like to call it- those shelves as you queue for the till that contain all the adorable minis of brands you've never tried but always wanted to, perfume rollerballs and things you don't need but all of a sudden, very badly want. 

Have I chosen wisely?
What have I missed!
To the comments!

Sunday, 15 October 2017

Clarins Everlasting Compact | Foundation Review

This is a brand new release for Clarins; a long wearing, matte powder foundation in a compact to take with you on the go. This is also a new one for me! 
I'm not sure I've ever actually used a powder foundation. Feel free to gasp in horror at this stage of the proceedings but bear in mind that I have dry skin so I've pretty much always been about the dewier liquid foundations, a powder feels counter-intuitive for dry skin. Add to that, I've always wondered how well a powder foundation can actually apply. Does it cover what you want to cover?
Well, Clarins describe this as an "a timeless compact powder foundation to achieve an ultra matte complexion that goes anywhere with you and minimises dark spots, imperfections and redness, as well as signs of stress". 

Clarins Everlasting Compact

Clarins also suggest it provides 15 hours of matte coverage with no need for touch ups and that it won't create a "mask" effect. This is all good news for me, I don't like a very heavy foundation look but I guess the repeated use of the word "matte" did ring some alarm bells for my dry skin! 
I haven't tried the 15 hours of coverage as I pretty much never have make up on my face for that length of time, but I can say it stayed on well for 8 hours. It's a super soft and finely milled powder and it applies like a dream. Having said that, I don't have dry patches but I would worry it might catch on them if you did, in spite of how lovely it is to apply. It is still a powder, after all.

Clarins Everlasting Compact

Packaging wise, it's beautifully sleek and lightweight with a mirror and an application sponge that makes it supremely handy for travel, or indeed touch ups, if you found you needed to do so. Other good news is that it has an SPF of 9, not so bad for Winter time and it comes in 13 shades. The shade I have, 108 Sand, is slightly too dark for me normally but works well when I have tan on. 

So, on to the application itself. I prepped for this foundation as I do all of them; cleanse, serum, moisturiser, primer. I used the given sponge for some of my face and a powder foundation brush for the rest and it applied very well with both. 
It definitely has a matte finish and I have to say, it felt weird to me the first time I wore it- I'm just so not used to that sensation! The more I've used it since though, I've found it to actually sit quite comfortably on my skin and furthermore, I absolutely love that you can only apply a small amount and still feel like you've put on your make up. Liquid foundations can be tedious to apply and can take time you might not necessarily have but this is really easy. If I'm doing something or going out for the evening, I'll put on a bit more (see photo below) and build it up. Yesterday though I was just popping out for breakfast in a local cafe and couldn't be bothered with much so I just applied a light layer of this and it gave me a nice glow, without looking overdone. 

If you're still not sure, take a look at the before and after!

I promise that even though they look completely different, neither photo is filtered! Both photos were taken in natural daylight, at the same time of day. No filter, no photoshop. Look how healthy I look in the second one! In the first photo, I'm wearing eye make up and have filled in my brows only, in the second I've added Clarins Everlasting foundation, concealer, bronzer on my neck to even things out and Charlotte Tilbury lipstick in Pillow Talk.

This for me, goes to show that it's always worth breaking out of your comfort zone. With blogging, I've certainly done that but even at my old age blogger status (five years and counting) I can do with mixing things up a bit and trying new formulas, new shades and new ideas, basically! 

If you haven't tried powder foundation but are keen to give it a go, I think this is an ideal option. It's so convenient- pop it in your bag and top it up later in the day if needed, no mess, no fuss. 

If you have dry skin and are worried about powder, bear in mind that you will need to prep your skin properly beforehand and if you suffer from dry patches, you may want to avoid. 

Have you a fan of powder foundations?
Which is your favourite?
To the comments!

Saturday, 7 October 2017

10 Stephen King Books To Read This Halloween

I normally do a Halloween book list at the time of year; creepy and or downright terrifying books that I intend to read for the season that's in it, but I thought I'd do something a little different, considering all of the Stephen King love that's going around at the minute. I actually can't believe that I haven't done a blog post on this before, given my King super fan status but better late than never.

This is not an exhaustive list, King is a prolific writer; I'm trying but I don't think I'll ever get through his entire back catalogue. Nor is this in any particular order, all the books featured here are ones that I love, no more, no less than each other. I've also read plenty more of his books than what features here but I guess these are the ones that have stayed with me the longest. If you think you know the story because you've seen the film, and that you don't need to read the book, think again. As with all King adaptations, so much of the finer descriptive work and backstory goes missing when it's transformed onto the big screen. This is a timing issue- too much story to fit into an hour and a half/two hours. I'm gonna assume that you, the reader are a King novice for the purpose of this post and go right ahead and explain the storyline of each novel.

I've got a weird love and fascination for his writing. It's often disturbing, scary and bizarre but it's also funny, emotive and extremely clever. I love the many pop culture references, the descriptions of small town Americana and the "Easter eggs" from his own work that are peppered throughout his books. "Easter eggs", in case you think I've gone mad, are the references that are hidden in a book, film, TV show etc. that are placed there specifically as a treat for fans. King does this with aplomb- mentions of killer clowns, "army experiments gone wrong, like that movie, The Mist", the Overlook Hotel, etc. are really enjoyable for utter book nerds like myself when spotted somewhere unexpected. The more of his books you read, the more you'll realise they're all connected and exist in their own little King Universe. Not a place you'd want to live in, sure, but it's the perfect location to get lost in a great story!

The Shining
I was obsessed with the film long before I read the book and for some reason, I chose the time I was very ill in hospital to work my way through this 500 long page-turner. Jack Torrance is a budding writer and part time teacher. He's struggling to make ends meet for him, his wife Wendy and son Danny and so he takes a job offer as a janitor in a hotel during the winter months when its doors will be closed. The family drive on up to the foreboding Overlook Hotel, where they're warned about the dangers of isolation, cold, dark weather and cabin fever. Jack thinks they can handle it and so they're left to their own devices to keep an eye on the boiler and general maintenance. Jack plans to write his novel now he has peace and quiet but the force of evil residing in the hotel has other ideas. Little Danny meanwhile, has "the shining', an unwanted ability to communicate with the dead. Unfortunately for Danny, there's lots of dead people in The Overlook Hotel and they all want to play with him. Let me tell you that this book scared the actual bejaysus out of me. I remember reading this in my hospital bed and debating about whether or not I should attempt to go asleep after a particularly terrifying passage. Forget everything you know about the film, this is where its at. I'd also recommend the sequel, Doctor Sleep.
Be prepared to be scared forevermore of; topiary animals, hotels, abusive fathers/husbands/men in general (to be fair) and boilers.

King's first book and the one his wife Tabitha, fished out from the trash and told him to persevere with. G'wan Tabitha! Carrie is a marginalised teenage girl. She's bullied by her peers for being "weird". Her mother is extremely religious and so they both live in relative poverty- Carrie's clothes are old and unfashionable and because her mother thinks it's sinful, she has never explained to her what menstruation is. Carrie then thinks she is dying when she gets her first period in school and just to compound matters for her, all the mean girls are there to witness her breakdown and torment her even more. One of her schoolmates feels bad for bullying her so makes her boyfriend agree to take Carrie to the prom. All the other bullies have a different idea though, and plan to humiliate Carrie as much as they possibly can. Unfortunately for them, they don't realise that the onset of Carrie's period has given her telekinesis and she will get her revenge for how she's been mistreated her entire life. This is a tricky one cause you do feel very sorry for Carrie, she's a tragic figure, but King being King just pushes the boundaries that little bit to the point where you want her to stop. This is a pretty quick read so if you're a King newbie, it's a good one to start with.
Be prepared to be scared forever more of; teenage girls, religion and high school proms, I guess.

Another excellent film adaptation, but I felt the book put me right into the main characters shoes so I got double the terror! Paul Sheldon is a very successful writer. He's the author of a series of romance/drama novels whose main character, Misery Chastain, he is desperate to be rid of. She's haunted his career and so, with relief, he writes the final in the series, where he finally kills off Mercy. His tradition upon completing a book is to drive up to a cabin in Colorado where he enjoys a bottle of champagne and a cigar but the roads are snowed in and he gets into a terrible car accident. His biggest fan, Annie Wilkes saves him from the wreckage but instead of bringing him to the hospital, she takes him home where she tells him she'll nurse him back to health..he just has to write a new book the way she wants it where Misery lives. Annie isn't in any way mentally stable and becomes Paul's jailer and tormentor. Good sweet Jesus, the horrors poor Paul has to go through. Even the description of pain in this book is so very real that it can be difficult reading at times, but it is oh so brilliantly written. This was another one that I read into the long hours of the night, sat bolt upright, adrenaline pumping through my veins, hoping Paul would win.
Be prepared to be scared forevermore of; nurses, small animal figurines, being bed-bound, and hobbling (that's ankle bashing with a sledgehammer), if you already weren't, for some reason.

OK, deep breath for this one. I only read this book last year. I'd been putting it off because the TV mini series back in 1990/1991 scared the living daylights out of me and I didn't even really see it (my sisters were watching it, they made me sit with my back to it so I heard everything and peeked around in time to see goddamn Pennywise and his massive array of teeth). Himself and I re-watched it a few years back (lads, we rented a DVD version, so that should age us even further) and although it has aged incredibly badly, the concept was still scary. Fast forward to last October then and I thought it would be the ideal time to finally read IT, and so I got all 1,200 pages of it on Audible where some voice actor proceeded to scare the crap out of me for the following two months. I listened to this primarily walking to and from work and so many times I found myself stopped in my tracks, internally screaming at something absolutely horrifying that was taking place in my headphones. Pennywise is just a representation of an unspeakable evil that's lived in Derry since the beginning. It reappears every 27 years to feed by luring children and then eating them and It takes the shape of whatever your biggest fear is. That varies from child to child obviously, providing a rich and imaginative storyline that keeps you scared witless for the entire book. If you've seen the new movie, which was great, I'd recommend reading the book now as it combines all the lovely nostalgia from the first half, where the kids fight Pennywise, to the newer setting of the second half of the book, where the kids, now adults, must return to Derry and take on the evil yet again. Plus, you'll be ahead of everyone else before the next film comes out!
Be prepared to be scared forever more of; clowns (although you really should have been anyway, to be honest. What's wrong with you?), lepers, old women, sewers, syphilis, storm drains, balloons, abandoned houses, being a girl, bullies, small town Maine, birds, werewolves, libraries, Chinese food, perverts, abusive husbands/fathers/men in general, blood, bathrooms, being a small child.

This is a more recent book from King and one that I recommend the most to people who want to read King but don't like horror. This is a time travel novel that brings us back to the 1950's and poses the question, "would the world be a better place if John F. Kennedy had never been shot?".
Jake Epping is a high school teacher in a modern day setting and comes across an essay written by a mature student; a janitor who fifty years ago survived a violent assault by his father on Halloween night that killed his mother, his siblings and left Harry disabled. When Jake is approached by a friend and the local diner owner who tells him he can travel through time, he sceptically agrees to try to change history, firstly by helping Harry, and if that works he can work on saving J.F.K, as is his friend's goal. Jake doesn't realise it yet but every action he takes is changing something else, and not always for the better. I absolutely devoured this book. I loved it so much. That's a period of time I find fascinating anyway but the book deals with much more than just time travel; there's a love story, a whole host of perfectly drawn characters and even though it's not technically a horror, it has plenty of spine chilling moments. I laughed, I cried, I was shocked to my core but also thoroughly entertained. Oh and you best believe I sweated absolute buckets with the sheer tension of it when it gets to the part on the grassy knoll. I'm jealous of anyone who hasn't read it yet..go read, now!
Be prepared to be scared forever more of; sledge hammers, small town Maine, Russia, abusive husbands/fathers/men in general, the government, time travel.

Under The Dome
Another more recently written work, I'm actually currently reading this one so I can't give my full verdict yet but I'm completely absorbed and the story has fully pulled me in. Another winner! Chester's Mill is a small town in Maine where on a crisp October day (congrats to me for starting a book in the month in which it's set- not planned at all) the town is suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible border. It takes the town's inhabitants a day to figure it out after several deaths and car crashes. Now the issue becomes how can the town generators survive? Will the patients in the hospital die? Who will take over the police force? Will there be enough food? All of that is aside from the very obvious; what is it, how did it get here and how will they get out? As with so many of King's books, the main threat is supernatural and obviously scary but the real worry becomes mankind itself. We're introduced to both good and very bad people living under the dome but who will survive? I'm loving this one, it's set in the modern day, so there's plenty of mentions of the internet, blackberries, iPods etc. but at the same time, it has that old school small town Stephen King vibe that's associated so clearly with his books. The perfect mix!
Be prepared to be scared forever more of (based on my reading so far); people but let's face it, mostly men, religion, terrifying invisible dome structures that effectively trap you with some undercover psychopaths, small town Maine, police brutality.

Pet Sematary
I still think about this one quite regularly. Another story that made my hairs stand on end. King calls this one his scariest book and I think he may be right. Louis Creed is a doctor, moving to small town Maine (guess what I'll be telling you to be scared of at the end of this? I've actually been to Maine and it's rather lovely but you should probably still be scared) for a job and bringing his wife Rachel, son Gage and daughter Ellen with him. They move into their new home and instantly become friends with the elderly couple living across the road. Their new neighbour, Judd, brings the family to see the local "pet sematary", so spelt as it was created by a group of children as a place to bury their pets when they died. The family are a little freaked out but think no more of it. In Louis' first day in his new job a young man is brought in following a road traffic accident with most of his head missing. Louis dreams he's visited by the young man that night and although the dream seemed very real, well it can't be cause he's dead, right? WRONG. You're in Maine now, buddy. Things go from bad to worse after that and I won't go into it cause if I had to be close to tears with fear and stress then you should too. Let me just say one name though. Zelda. *shudders intensely*
Be prepared to be scared forever more of; kindly old men that seem helpful, cats, pet cemeteries, actual people cemeteries, road traffic accidents, the dead, small town Maine, children (always creepy).

Salem's Lot
King's ode to Vampire movies and or Dracula, the novel. This might be one of my lesser favourites but it's still up there cause several parts of it terrified me good-o.  Guess where Salem's Lot is situated? You guessed it, Maine!! Ben Mears, a writer and former resident of Salem's Lot, returns to town, still haunted and fascinated by the old Marsten House, a forbidding and ghostly building overlooking the town. He plans to write a book about it and starts dating a local women, Susan, and all is going well except that the new owner of the house is so mysterious and then of course, people start to go missing. Including a local boy that is found almost entirely drained of his blood. He's buried but begins to make nightly visits to his little brothers window, knocking from the outside and begging to be let in *cue blood curdling scream*. The head vampire himself is not overly scary but the build up and the tension in this book is masterful.
Be prepared to be scared forever more of; Vampires (obvs), small town Maine, night-time, small children, windows.

Mr. Mercedes
Another relative newbie, this is the first part of a trilogy about retired detective, Bill Hodges. The book gives us a really shocking introduction to the killer, Mr. Mercedes and his first known crime, for which he is never caught. Bill is not enjoying his retirement; he's begun to put on weight, feels he has no purpose and is considering shooting himself with his service revolver. That is until Mr. Mercedes begins to send him taunting emails begging him to play the game and try and catch him, or more people will get hurt. This is a bit gory in places but is really more of a thriller, so it's another good one for those who don't love horror. It's also now a TV series starring Brendan Gleeson and from what I've seen, it's pretty good. This book was my favourite in the trilogy but when you read this one, you'll be hooked and will want to read the rest anyway!
Be prepared to be scared forevermore of; clowns (as always), psychopaths, cars, computers, computer nerds, inappropriate mother/son relationships, burgers, retirement, ice cream vans.

The Stand
I'm saving the longest for almost last. I think it took me most of a Summer to read this but it was so worth it. This is pure dystopia at its very best. A bio-engineered virus, produced in a U.S government lab is accidentally released, and within a couple of weeks almost all of humanity has succumbed to a super flu that kills within days. Those who are left, quickly fall into two categories; good and evil. The two groupings begin to have the same dreams every night about two mysterious figures; Mother Abigail, a kindly and wise old black woman, telling them to come to her in Colorado and Randall Flagg, a dark shadowy figure telling them to come to Vegas. Bad enough to have an apocalypse thanks to a virus but Flagg intends to destroy humanity altogether and this book feels quite biblical because of that. Flagg could definitely be seen as the Devil's representative on Earth and Mother Abigail, as God's representative but it's really more about the individual characters and what they bring to the storyline. This is an absolutely epic read and one of the very best from King- it's a mixture of fantasy and horror but will make you think on a deeper level about humankind and why we are here in the first place- not always what you would have expected from either of those genres.
Be prepared to be scared forevermore of; the flu/common cold/any randomer even barely coughing near you on the Luas, viruses in general, pyromaniacs, the Devil, the sort of people who can survive an apocalypse (I'll be gone first anyway- I have no survival skills and the people who don't have those but survive anyway, survive cause they kill everyone else), the government.

Bonus round: The Mist
The Mist is a novella so will be a super quick read if you're looking for just one of these to add to your Halloween reading list. You can read the others throughout the rest of the year!
It's actually the first King book I read and I became a lifelong fan based on this one alone. You might have seen the movie adaptation a few years ago that has the most depressing ending of all time (different to the book) but if you haven't and even if you have, I'd recommend giving it a read. I think about this book constantly. What I would do in a similar situation (I think I'd just stay in the grocery store, I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to face the giant spiders and all the winged things) and if I too would become a follower of local religious lunatic, Mrs Carmody. I'd like to think not, but you know, extreme circumstances and all.
Basic plot here; David sets off from his (say it with me folks) SMALL TOWN MAINE home, bringing his son to the grocery store after a violent storm that night. By the time they get to the parking lot a sudden mist has begun to creep across the town and with it comes gigantic, stomach churning creatures who only want to eat you and make you suffer while they do it. Gigantic spiders that shoot webs of acid, anyone? Nope, didn't think so. Oh god, the scuttling. And the flying ones. Vomit. Vomit all over my keyboard. Anyways, David and his son become trapped in the supermarket with a whole host of random people (again, who's more of a threat, the supernatural creatures or the people surrounding you?) who are under constant attack from the beasts living in the mist outside. They need medicines but the pharmacy is next door...oh and they may eventually need to escape but can they get to the car in one piece and how far does the mist even go?
Prepare to be scared forevermore of; Mist (obvs), the government, viruses, people but let's face it, mostly men, gigantic winged creatures that want to eat you, gigantic scuttling insects that want to eat you, gigantic acid spitting spiders that want to kill you and use you as a nest for their many evil spider babies, supermarkets, religion, small town Maine.

Before you start any of these, I obviously recommend clearing some space in your freezer, a la Joey Tribbiani.

And that's your lot. Give me a couple more years and I'll return with a part two! Speaking of which, any recommendations for what to read next? I hear the Dark Tower series is good, any thoughts? I'm definitely more old school King but I'm hoping to read them all at some stage so it's more of a matter of what to read first! 
To the comments!

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.