Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Recently Read: February and March

Sure look, I know, it's almost the end of April but better late than never, as always! I'm on track with my 60 books for the year goal and for the most part, I'm loving everything I've read so far. There are some truly excellent psychological thrillers out this year and over the last couple of years and some beautiful historical fiction. Here's what I read over February and March, not including A Man With One of Those Faces, which I reviewed HERE. 

Behind Her Eyes by Sarah Pinborough
This received a whole lot of hype when it was released at the start of the year. Its PR campaign used the hashtag #WTFThatEnding and so as you can imagine, I was pretty keen to see how it ends. Louise is a single mum and a secretary in a doctors clinic, generally bored with life with only her (extremely annoying) five year old son to give her life meaning. And so, she inadvertently starts an affair with one of the doctors she works with and also inadvertently becomes best friends with his wife, who obviously doesn't know about the affair…or does she? As the book progresses, the perfect marriage of her friend and lover appears less and less ideal as David seems to be controlling and brooding, while Adele seems fragile and weak. Bizarrely, Louise discovers that both she and Adele can astro-project, for Louise this often happens when she sleeps and she can't go very far but Adele seems to have mastered this supernatural skill. The plot thickens! OK, so there's a few red herrings in this one and most of the characters are terrible people who I found it hard to sympathise with. Louise is a bit of an eejit, truth be told and her child..I can't even explain how irritating he was and yes, I know he's a fictional five year old, I don't care. And that ending. Well, I know it annoyed a lot of people but I can honestly say that it completely floored me. There is literally NO way that you can guess this one so if you're looking for an unpredictable psychological thriller- this is it! #WTFThatEnding indeed!

The Trespasser by Tana French
I love Tana French, I've mentioned that several times before but her Dublin murder squad books have for the most part, all been excellent. This is number 6 in that series, I think? You don't need to read them in order but the previous book will feature the detective that's the main character in the next book in the series. If that makes sense. Here, Antoinette Conway is battling to stay on the Dublin murder squad- it's where she's always wanted to be and since she made detective, she does not want to go back to Vice or Undercover or anywhere else. Her partner Stephen is the same. They both have a hunger for it. Unfortunately, Antoinette is not well liked- partly because she's a woman in an all male environment but also because she takes none of her team's misogynistic bullshit. She's a tough cookie. Because of their persona non-grata status, they get the cases that go nowhere, including the murder of Aislinn Murray, a young, pretty blonde, found murdered by a single blow to the head in her own home. There's a distinct lack of DNA evidence at the scene and no obvious suspects, other than a fella Aislinn was seeing. All is going reasonably well until Antoinette and Stephen realise the rest of the squad are not so subtly pushing them into arresting the boyfriend, fast. What they have to figure out is if this is more of the bullying Antoinette has been on the receiving end of or if there's a more sinister reason why they are being coerced into solving the case in a certain way. This is a good thriller/crime/whodunnit. As always, what makes French's books that bit more interesting is the innate Irishness to them, which often translates quite darkly in her stories. While I enjoyed this, I can't say that it immediately hooked me, the way some of her other novels have but I did enjoy it and was keen to see how it would end. 

Final Girls by Riley Sager
I had seen this reviewed on someone else's blog and the name and concept made me want to read it immediately. I was kind of horrified to find out that it's not released til July so I went and asked for it on NetGalley and they very kindly complied. Thanks NetGalley, you completely put me out of my misery! 
The name "Final Girls" derives from horror movies where there's always one girl left. She's faced the slasher/serial killer and has somehow escaped where all of her friends have been brutally murdered. Quincy has been given the nickname of a Final Girl by the media, after surviving a horrific attack in Pine Cottage, a cabin in the woods that left all of her college friends viciously murdered. There are other Final Girls too, each the victims in their own private but conversely, extremely public horror movies- Lisa, who narrowly avoided being one of nine sorority girls murdered by a serial killer and Sam, who was tortured by the "Sack Man" at a motel she used to work in, where all the guests were left for dead. It's ten years later and Quincy now writes a baking blog and lives as quiet a life as she can with her boyfriend. That is until fellow Final Girl Lisa is found dead and Sam shows up on Quincy's doorstep. Did Lisa really kill herself and is Sam a friend or a foe? It looks like someone is after the Final Girls and is trying to drag Quincy back to that forest where she will eventually find out what really happened in Pine Cottage. I am definitely the right market for this- I love horrors, especially 80's slashers so this was right up my street. I was completely addicted to this book. I took a brief break in reading it (I read it in one day) to go to the cinema but spent the time on the way there and on the way back going "I wonder what's going to happen next in my book…and what the hell happened in Pine Cottage?!!!" etc. Sorry, Cilian and Ailbhe for my poor company that evening. I also held my kindle and continued to read whilst simultaneously making tea. Boiling hot water and a lack of attention do not mix, kids. Some of the plot points are a little bit stretched if I'm honest and it was a bit trashy in places, but that's kind of what I liked about it, it made it feel more like an authentic horror movie but in book form. Awesome! 

Life After Life by Kate Atkinson
I'd been aware of Kate Atkinson as an author for quite a while now but this is the first of hers that I've read. This is an unusual book to try and describe but sure, I'll have a go. The story begins on a cold snowy night in 1910 where a baby girl, Ursula is born. Neither the midwife nor the doctor get there on time and she dies. On an alternative version of that night, she lives and continues her life. This is basically a series of sliding doors universes where Ursula lives but is murdered later in life or lives but someone she loves dies or lives but she in turn kills Hitler. I know. Very cool. It's ultimately about the many possibilities that life gives us and the many possibilities that fate takes away from us. I listened to this on Audible and it did take me a while to get into it. I'm not sure that this particular book lends itself well to audio but after a while I really enjoyed it and I loved Ursula. I rejoiced when she re-lived her life and avoided a decision that had been catastrophic for her in a different life and in turn, felt dejected when all the many awful men she met along the way destroyed her. I felt both sad and triumphant at the end, that it was over but also, that I had survived the saga that was the many lives of Ursula Todd! Still, she felt like a friend and I missed the characters so much that I'm now reading the sequel, A God In Ruins. I'm not sure how I feel about that yet- I will report back of course, but I can definitely recommend Life After Life.

The Essex Serpent by Sarah Perry
This was for our book club but both my sister and Himself had also bought me super fancy hardback editions for Christmas, both of which are very swoon-worthy. It's also nicely fitting for the story itself, which is dark and twisty but also full of descriptions of nature. This was a really pleasant book to read, I loved the use of language and the imagery that it conjured in my mind. Parts of it floored me. 
This whole paragraph for instance: "One day he said: 'In Japan they'll mend a broken pot with drops of molten gold. What a thing it would be: to have me break you and mend your wounds with gold.' But she'd been seventeen, and armour clad with youth, and never felt the blade go in". 
Anyway, the "she" in that paragraph grows up and becomes a widow with a slightly unusual son and a devoted ladies maid. Cora is a complacent widow as her marriage was an unhappy one but she is an intelligent and inquisitive woman and wishes to see more of the world, which was unusual for 1893. With that, all three move to Essex, hoping for fresh air and a fresh start but Cora becomes obsessed with a rumour about a large serpent living in the waters of Essex and killing its inhabitants. She also becomes close at this time to the local vicar and his family. He is a sceptic about the serpent but finds himself more and more drawn to Cora, especially as his wife becomes more and more unwell…so you can see where that's headed, but lots of other weird things happen in the meantime and overall, it's a strange book. At times enjoyable but often slow and convoluted. There's plenty of competing story lines, that I haven't even mentioned here because we actually don't have the space. I'm not sure I'd recommend this one unless you were very specifically looking for a book like this, which is not to say I didn't enjoy it…I still haven't quite made my mind up about this yet!

The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
I saw the film of this a few years ago and thought it was somewhat enjoyable and then I spotted this on the Library ebook section, which I of course then downloaded. I love the Library. Anyway, in case you don't remember, Andy has just graduated and needs a job. She somehow ends up interviewing for a PA position in Runway (a not very well disguised version of Vogue), which she thinks will help her get ahead- she has lofty ambitions to be a serious journalist for the New York Times. Her boss is Miranda Priestly (again, a not super well disguised version of Anna Wintour), the most hated woman in the fashion magazine industry. It turns out that she is the "devil" of the title and treats everyone who works for her with utter contempt using a good old dose of what we now call 'gas lighting' to destroy in particular, Andy's spirit. Meanwhile, Andy is also trying to juggle relationships with her boyfriend and her best friend as she slowly but surely gets sucked into the world of Runway. But can she get out before it consumes who she is? To be honest, by the end of this you probably won't care either way. None of these people are super likeable characters but it passes the time nicely. Having said that, there are plenty of other, better books in this kind of genre, if you're looking for some lighter reading. 

The Killer Next Door by Alex Marwood
This was the second Alex Marwood I've read, having previously enjoyed The Darkest Secret, another psychological thriller that read like a "what really really happen to Madeline McCann" expose. The Killer Next Door is set in a dingy house in London, divided into bedsits and filled with a group of very different people, all with something to hide. Their landlord is an out and out creep and spies on and sexually harasses the female renters. One of them is Collette, she's on the run from her gangster ex-boss who she's stolen from, while Cher is hiding from the social services. Vesta, an elderly woman is trying to cling on to what's left of her home, while the male tenants are all loners, asylum seekers and generally outsiders, trying to keep to themselves. Tension builds up in the house as the Summer heat increases until it comes to a head one night when a crime takes place in the house that they all in turn, become embroiled in. None of that is helped by the fact that separate to that there is also a serial killer living and operating in one of the apartments…but who is it?! This was an absolute gripper of a book, I could not put it down and had finished it in about two days. One thing I would say though is that it can be quite gory and at times even my stomach turned at some of the descriptions, which is saying something- it takes a lot to make me squeamish. Having said that, if you like a good thriller and you enjoy trying to figure out who the killer is, you'll definitely like this. 

Paper Girls, Vol 1 by Brian K Vaughan
I bought this in a comic book shop in Galway on a bit of a whim. I'm a fan of graphic novels anyway and had heard this was a good'un but it wasn't 'til I saw it in real life that I knew I had to have it- it practically jumped at me from the shelf and I can't even explain how much I love it. The guy who sold it to me said if I liked Stranger Things then I'd like this too but it goes way beyond that. I adore the colours, the drawings, the pop culture references and the story itself. Four girls who deliver newspapers in an American suburb in the 80's, cross paths on Halloween night and end up joining forces when the apocalypse hits them. This encompasses time travel, other worlds, monsters, feminism and four kick-ass girls taking all of that on. When a twist was revealed I actually went 'OMG!!!' and tried to tell Himself and ruin it for him, just so I could tell someone (I didn't), so you know it's good. I've already bought Vol 2. Very excited for that! 

The Wicked Girls by Alex Marwood
This is actually Marwood's first book, so of course I have read it last in the sequence of her releases. Way behind there. I probably have enjoyed this one the least. Three little girls meet on a hot Summers day, but only two of them get home that evening. Jade is from a deprived background, she wanders the streets looking for food and gets up to mischief wherever possible. She meets and befriends Annabel, from the big mansion in the town but also from an abusive home. They somehow end up being lumbered with a four year old to look after for the day, even though they're only kids themselves and don't have the capacity or ability to look after themselves properly. Through what eventually turns out to be a horror of a day, little Chloe is killed and Jade and Annabel are not only found to be to blame but they are vilified and become the most hated girls in Britain. Fast forward several years and both girls are now grown up, using different names and trying to move on with their lives. Annabel is now Amber, a cleaning supervisor in a funfair, in an unhappy relationship with sleazy ladies man Victor, while Jade is now Kirsty, a happily married journalist with two children. They're under strict instructions never to meet or speak to each other again but they have no choice in breaking that promise when Kirsty travels to Amber's seaside town to investigate a series of grizzly murders. The book is peppered with flashbacks to the day of Chloe's death, so we don't find out until almost at the end of the book what actually happened. Add to that the fact that there seems to be two modern day serial killers added to the storyline, who are nothing to do with each other and this one ends up being a bit convoluted. I think the concept of this book was better than it's execution but it was still a good read, it just didn't quite grip me as much as her others have. 

And that's that! Have you read any of these?
What are you reading right now?

To the comments!

Monday, 17 April 2017

Greek Beauty Haul

One of my favourite things about going away somewhere new (apart from eating all the food) is trying out the beauty products unique to that particular country. Before we went to Crete, I had a little look online and as I was already a fan of Korres, I had that firmly on my mind.
We don't get their full range over here, which covers skincare, shower products, shampoo & conditioner, perfumes, oils, sun-care, hair dye, make up, nail polish etc.

greek beauty products

Mostly though, I wanted skincare. And so, I specifically was looking for a new oil. Step forward Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil
This is for all skin types and is targeted specifically for dull, uneven skin tone, dryness and fine lines and wrinkles. I was looking for this in particular because it has actual wild rose petals floating in the oil and you know I love a pretty product. 
Plus, gimmick. Gimmick is good. 

Korres Wild Rose Vitamin C Active Brightening Oil

Apparently there is ultra concentrated Vitamin C oil in here that does some fancy anti-inflammatory and antioxidant work that brightens your skin as well as smoothing lines and overall leaving you looking dewy and glowy, like a baby deer, I'd imagine. As always, I find a lot of brand claims difficult to confirm myself, so I'll tell you what it does for me. 
I use this at night time, after my moisturiser. It has a little glass dropper, which I love anyway, cause it makes me feel like a ye olde apothecary. I only use about two drops at a time and warm it in the palm of my hand. 
It's incredibly silky and light and sinks in remarkably quickly. It smells beautiful- like an old fashioned, gentle perfume and genuinely leaves my skin feeling soft and refreshed. I think it's one of the nicer facial oils I've ever used. It's a really enjoyable night time ritual now, that signals the end of the day and a total relaxation to gently massage this in, inhale and sink back into my pillows.
Because my skin is on the dry/dehydrated side, I don't love heavy, clogging products so it's kind of a joy to find an oil that's lightweight and still works. Rejoice! 
Plus, look at the petals!!! Squeee!!

korres cheek butter mandarin oil lip balm

To go with this and because I don't like using oils in the morning because of make-up related issues, I went for a non-oil based serum. This is the Wild Rose Brightening and Line-Smoothing Face and Eye Serum. 

Again, this is for reducing the number and dept of wrinkles (I know it's inevitable but every little helps) and adding a luminosity and a radiance to my skin that I'm always trying to add in. What I love about this is again, how light it is and that it can be used around my eyes so I'm not using an additional eye cream in the mornings. I use this under my moisturiser and it is rather lovely. 

I got 20% off on those so it worked out to be really good value- about €45 in total for both, which is great considering the serum alone is €36 to buy here. The make-up was all full price though and nothing really jumped out at me except for this cream blush and mandarin oil lip balm. Both of which were actually on sale..I know, cheapskate.

This is one of their Cheek Butters; it has shea butter and guava extract in there for moisture and vitamin C for antioxidant benefits. Mad into the vitamin C, so they are. I have the shade Philia Rose, which is a flattering, warm pink. So far I've just use my fingers to blend this in but you could equally use a stippling brush or a blending sponge. I think that shade will suit a lot of skin tones but it comes in two other shades also. This was a fiver, not bad at all. 

The lip balm is another good'un. Having used their little pots previously I wanted to try a stick version and this is as lovely as those. It obviously has mandarin oil in there and there's also shea butter and sunflower wax. This was €2, it's €9.60 on the Feel Unique website.
*does a little victory dance*.

Lastly then, I wanted to try something from Apivita, another Greek brand that focuses a lot on shower products and haircare. 

apivita refreshing fig

Again, I got 20% off on these so although I was just going to get the shower gel, I went for the body lotion as well. These smell absolutely stunning- I love fig and cause these are also packed with lavender and geranium essential oils, they have that kind of "expensive hotel shower product" vibes, if that makes sense.  There's also aloe and honey extracts to moisturise. Love them. 

greek beauty haul

And that is that. Although I did pick up a couple of mini tubes of Korres face masks in the duty Free but I haven't tried those yet, so they're not here.
Did I do good?!
Have you tried any of these?
To the comments!

Monday, 10 April 2017

My Spring Reading List

I tend to read books quite randomly but I do enjoy making seasonally appropriate picks. I'm not even sure all of these are particularly ideal for Spring but I have my reasons! 
Let me explain…

I know y'all like to look at the lovely covers (and judge them accordingly) as much as I do, so here's some close ups:

This one is for my book club at the end of the month. Sebastian Barry has been a finalist in the Man Booker prize twice now and it's about time that I picked this particular one up, which I'm hearing great things about. it's described as:

An intensely poignant story of two men and the makeshift family they create with a young Sioux girl, Winona, Days Without End is a fresh and haunting portrait of the most fateful years in American history and is a novel never to be forgotten

I actually have two books to read for that one particular book club and this is the second. Completely different to the first as this one is a real story of a neurosurgeon, diagnosed with lung cancer. He describes the experiences throughout the book of going from saving lives to accepting the imminent loss of his own and is supposed to be both a heartbreaking and eye-opening read. Those two are both coming on holiday with me!

This is by the same author as I Let You Go, which was a big deal amongst reading circles for all of last year. I read that one and was completely floored by the twist in the tale so I was intrigued to read her next book, I See You. I've started this one and it's a bit slow to get going but I'm hoping it picks up. This is another thriller. A woman discovers by accident that someone has put her photo into the classifieds section of a newspaper, she's a bit freaked out but puts it out of her mind. That is until other women whose photos are featured next to hers begin to be attacked. 

I've had this on my tbr (to be read) shelf for a while now and for some reason I've decided to pick it up and start it now. I feel like Drew is a Spring sort of person! Basically it's her memoirs to date. 

This is an advanced reader copy of The Witchfinder's Sister, hence why the cover looks like that- the one in store looks way fancier. This has just been released this month and I'm already completely hooked- I'm fascinated by the witch trials in Salem (especially after visiting there the year before last) and this book is focused on the witch hunt of 1640 in England. I love historical fiction and this one is a thriller to boot so you can be sure I'll be reviewing this!

Paper Girls, Volume 2! I only read the first one last month and quickly became obsessed. This is set in 1988, on Halloween night. Four teenage girls who deliver newspapers in their neighbourhoods (hence, paper girls) end up becoming a force to be reckoned with when, seemingly, the apocalypse begins. I can't wait to get stuck into this and see what happens next! 

I also have some great psychological thrillers on my kindle that I'm absolutely ploughing through! I have my reading mojo back at last!

Have you any books put aside in a special Spring pile?!
Have you read any of these?
To the comments! 

Wednesday, 29 March 2017

Too Faced Peach Palette & Its Peachy Friends!

Right. There are A LOT of photos here but for good reason. I am obsessed. When the Too Faced Peach Palette first came out and sold out, I didn't care that much. I didn't think I needed it and thought peach = pastel eyeshadows, which would not suit me. 
Then, a while after that, I read a blog post where the lucky gal with the palette (I can't remember who it was, apologies!) was gushing about how wearable the different shades were and so I took a closer look. And then I wanted it. It was of course, still out of stock. So when it came back in stock, (at last!!), you best be sure I bought one and then also two of its peachy friends, Papa Don't Peach blush and Sweet Peach Creamy Peach Oil Lip Gloss

Too Faced Peach Palette

First up, the palette contains 18 shades; mixes of mattes and shimmers in pinks, nudes, corals, a green, bronzes and a couple of darker purples and a sparkly black in there too. The names are also really fun; Talk Derby To Me (a Peach Derby is a cocktail, fact fans), Bellini and Peaches N' Cream. Typically of Too Faced, this one not only has peach appropriate names and a peach decorated case, but it smells like the yummy fruit too! It's a pure novelty, obviously, but one that I quite like.

Too Faced Peach Palette
Too Faced Peach Palette
Too Faced Peach Palette
Too Faced Peach Palette

These are super pigmented. The first time I used them, I really went to town, thinking as some of the shades were light that I'd need to work my brush in there but, nope! They also blend really nicely and again, lots of flattering shades in there! Personally, I only use very small amounts of Candied Peach and Just Peachy as my skin tone is really too pale to pull off a full eyelid of pink but otherwise, all the shadows are getting a good work out!

too faced papa don't peach blush

A moment for the packaging. I mean, it's just ridiculously cute. The glosses, the blush and the highlighting palette (which I don't have) are all peach scented also. I find the smell of the gloss to be a bit overpowering actually, the blush and the eyeshadows are quite pleasantly peachy but for some reason, the gloss is just too much for me, personally.
Also, that Sweet as a Peach case in the background came free with my delivery, as did a mini glitter eyeshadow lid primer. I love both! I use the case for my brushes. It's adorable. 

too faced papa don't peach blush

I started using the blush way before I took photos so the writing is already wearing off but the powder is embossed with Papa Don't Peach (good luck getting that song out of your head now), another great name. I tend to favour a matte blush but using this reminds me of a Benefit blush from years ago that's now discontinued- that was shot through with shimmer and was so nice on. The shimmer in this one isn't super noticeable actually but I LOVE this particular peach shade on my cheeks- it's gorgeous and makes me look wide awake and alive when I really should still be asleep. I tried using another blush recently instead of this one and I had to go get this fella afterwards. I'm properly hooked. 

too faced papa don't peach blush

Lastly then is the Sweet Peach Creamy Peach Oil Lip Gloss. I got this in the shade Peach, Please which again, is just perfectly named. This is unlike any other gloss I've tried. It is really creamy so the colour comes up more pigmented than you'd expect from a gloss. It's not too thick either though. The peach oil makes it softening and moisturising and it sits comfortably on the lips. I really like the colour and I kind of want to get the peachier/orange shades now too.

too faced Sweet Peach Creamy Peach Oil Lip Gloss

And here it all is on my face because, you need to see it in action:

I've worn a combination of Charmed, I'm Sure, Bellini, Summer Yum, Luscious and Nectar here. I also have the blush and the lip oil gloss on.

Did you get the Peach Palette or any of its similarly lovely companions?
If you want to buy any of these for yourself, Too Faced is available from Debenhams Ireland (HERE) and the Too Faced US site (HERE), which now delivers to Ireland with no custom charges at your front door!

Sunday, 26 March 2017

Book Review | A Man With One Of Those Faces

A couple of months ago I was asked if I wanted a copy of A Man With One Of Those Faces to read and review. It was described to me thusly:

"Award-winning Irish TV writer and comedian Caimh McDonnell's debut novel, A Man With One Of Those Faces, has recently been published. It's a pacy crime thriller set in his home-town of Dublin and it mixes well crafted storytelling with dashes of distinctly dark Irish wit. One of the main characters is a kick-ass nurse who, whilst it's not explored in the novel, would probably have very fancy pants!".

Now, that is an introduction! 

Needless to say, I gratefully accepted a copy and got reading as soon as I could.

Paul Mulchrone is the sort of fella that wears an extra three jumpers in Winter instead of turning on the heat. He's a cheapskate and is also down on his luck. He's doing community service of sorts in a nursing home, pretending to be the long lost son of several confused residents when a dying man mistakes him for an enemy and tries to kill him. 

He thinks this is the last of his bad luck until another attempt is made on his life and it's then that he must go on the run and simultaneously figure out why people have it in for him. 
Luckily, a nurse from the nursing home, Brigit, feels guilty about the initial injuries he sustained and vows to stay by his side and help him solve the mystery. She has a bit of an obsession for true crime stories and fancies herself a bit of an amateur detective. She's also well versed in Dublin gangland sagas, which ultimately comes very much in handy. 
While those two are gallivanting around, Detective Jimmy Stewart (not that one) is trying to find them before someone makes a third, successful attempt on Paul's life. 

This is one of the wittiest, well written books I've read in a really long time. The dialogue between all of the characters flows beautifully and sings from the pages. And that's another thing, the characters were so well developed that I felt like I had a really good grasp on their motivations, so even when the plot could have been considered far fetched, it was still completely believable. I can see this making an excellent film or TV adaptation, as it would work well in either medium. 
I deducted a point in my rating for this book on Goodreads because I felt that at times, there was so much detail that it slowed the story somewhat. That said, I enjoyed reading the book throughout, so it didn't impact how much I relished reading Paul and Brigit's adventures and the ending had me glued to my kindle, making me late for the cinema!

If you enjoy Irish wit, drama, thrillers, crime, unsolved mysteries and dark humour, then this is very much the book for you. I was really sad to get to the end of this one and have no more Paul, Brigit, Jimmy and Bunny to read about so I was delighted to hear that Caimh is writing a sequel!

You can find it HERE on Amazon if you want copy for yourself!

Does this sound like your cup of tea?
What are you reading right now?!
To the comments!

*This book was provided free of charge for review. This is not a sponsored post and as always, all opinions are my own. Even the terrible ones. 

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Kiko Smokey Purples

While I can, I'm going to get away with as much smokey-eyed make up as possible; even though I'm currently using and loving the Too Faced Peach palette, the weather is still basically Winter-tastic out there, so purples it is! 
I picked these up last Autumn in Amsterdam and even though I usually consider purple smokey shades better suited to green-eyed gals, I decided to give them a go. For very important research purposes.

Kiko make up

Kiko lipstick

It's important to note that this lipstick (Gossamer Emotion in 128), like most from Kiko, has an unbelievably cool James Bond-esque lid that opens with the click of that little button on the top. I like to pretend that I'm also setting off an ejector seat every time I use it. Anyway, that colour is a rich berry that translates as quite a pigmented, glossy finish. It takes about two proper swipes to get the colour you can see in the photo at the end of the post (unfiltered, obviously). On me I think it looks much more plummy than the almost burgundy bullet in the tube but that might have something to do with the finish. I went for the glossy one instead of it's matte counterpart purely because I have and love Rebel, from Mac and was worried they'd be too similar. Although, this fella is moisturising and adds a nice pop of colour so it's win-win really. 

Kiko make up

The eye pencil in the shade 03 (I wish they named their products, it's a pet peeve of mine) is incredibly soft and is easy to apply. I find it perfect for smoking out with shadow on my upper lid but it can leave a fair bit of fall out when I do the same on the lower lid for some strange reason. That's my only issue with it really and I'd be interested to try some other shades in the same pencil.

Kiko make up

Isn't that just a beautiful quad though? So aesthetically pleasing!
This is the Colour Fever Palette in the shade 101. I decided to branch out a little and go for purples instead of my usual nudes, taupes, browns and golds and I really do like these on. They apply and blend well, like much more expensive shadows actually and I've decided I can officially pull off purple eyeshadow, even if this is a more muted, wearable variety!

Kiko make up

Kiko is annoyingly not available in the Republic of Ireland. They now have a store in Belfast, plenty across the UK and in most European cities that are not Dublin. Do I sound cranky about that?! 
I am.
You can also find them online, HERE.

Are you as big a fan of Italian brand Kiko as I clearly am?
Have you embraced the purple eyeshadow?!
To the comments!

*This post was not paid for or sponsored and all products featured were bought using my own meagre nurses salary (a tiny violin plays)

Monday, 20 March 2017

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick | Review

I spent most of last year avoiding the 90's nude lip that became so popular thanks to the Kardashians. 
I lived through it the first time in the 90's and I wasn't impressed then either but I gradually eased myself in this time. I bought and loved Secret Salma, another lipstick from Charlotte Tilbury which, is still quite pink but certainly got the ball rolling. With that, I paired a nude lip liner from NYX, which I loved. 
Then, Pillow Talk came out. Originally this was just a lip liner and quite a popular lip liner at that. Oddly, I still don't have that because I was quite happy with the one I have from NYX (which I've now lost so I may end up getting the CT lip cheat one anyway. Look, it's a saga, is what I'm saying) but I wanted the lipstick which is from the Matte Revolution range and is described as a 'luminous modern matte lipstick'. 

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick

Charlotte describes this as;

' A gorgeous nude-y pink, it mimics and enhances the natural hue of your lips, so you can CHEAT a perfect pillow-y pout in seconds. Enriched with soothing orchid and Lipstick Tree extracts, lips appear fuller and wider, with a softer, more youthful feel. Finished with an angled square tip, apply straight from the bullet for the best lips of your life!'

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick

I love this shade. On me it's still quite pink but with enough brown in there that it means I can wear a smokey eye and my face ends up being perfectly balanced with this lipstick. It's a very comfortable matte too, I haven't noticed my lips drying out at all. Plus, and I don't want to sound like a total weirdo, but it also makes me look quite classy.

Charlotte Tilbury Pillow Talk Lipstick

There's two photos here, both unfiltered and taken in natural light but the sun had just come out in the photo on the right so I thought it might be handy to see it in a warmer light! 

If you want this fella you can only get it online, HERE but be aware that it's limited edition so it will eventually be gone, although something tells me they'll be making this a permanent part of the matte revolution collection.

What do you think?
Do you already have Pillow Talk?
Should I just go ahead and buy the lip line too?!
To the comments!

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Latest Oil-Based Dry Skin Saviours

So as you know by now, I'm always looking for products that can help my super dry skin, especially at this time of year when it's not quite Spring yet and the wind threatens to nip the top layer off your face at any random moment.  
I'm mostly relying on a double mix of oils and hardcore body moisturisers but I mix them up a lot so that I don't get too bored with any particular fragrance or finish.
"Latest" here obviously means latest to me, these have all been around for a little while.

Here's what I've been using for the last couple of months:

Emma Hardie Moringa Cleansing Balm
This is a mini size and I'm already a bit obsessed, with plenty of product left in the pot. This is a cleansing balm similar to the likes of Eve Lom, with Emma Hardie similarly being a firm blogging favourite. It looks like Vaseline in the pot but when you scoop out a small amount and warm it in your fingers, it turns to an oil that you then massage onto your face. 
It effectively melts your make up off. I know. Magic. 
Then I use a muslin cloth that's been soaked in warm water to remove it all and I'm left with very clean, non-tight/dried out skin. Using an oil for your first skincare step means you're not stripping your skin the way you can with some cleansers. Also, it smells absolutely delicious. 
When this is empty I will definitely be buying a full size, available from Marks & Spencers

The Oils!
Josh Wood Radiant Shine is a hair treatment oil to be used prior to shampooing. I'm not a big fan of weighing my hair down with oils because my hair is super fine but I only use a little of this on the ends where it's most dry. You can also use it after drying to smooth any wild patches (happens to us all!)
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream Oil. I've yet to actually use this fella as it was part of a gift but I'm looking forward to trying it. If 8 Hour Cream is that good for your dry skin paths, what the hell is this gonna do?!
These two from The Body Shop were also minis but I've been loving them for the last couple of months. I'm really onto overnight masks at the minute so it's perfect timing for the Oils Of Life Intensely Revitalising Sleeping Cream, which I apply first, followed by a couple of drops of it's counterpart, the Intensely Revitalising Facial Oil. Together they're both very comforting and if I'm not mistaken, there's a hint of lavender in there to get you off to sleep!

I've been after the Huile Prodigiuse from French skincare brand Nuxe for a while now. This is a dry oil so you get the best of both worlds- it's moisturising but dries quickly once it's on the skin so you're not left all stickily and oily. I mostly use this on my legs where my skin is driest, in alternation with the This Works Oil. 

I love Crabtree & Evelyn and it's fair to say I'm more than a little obsessed with this body butter. The mix of avocado, olive oil and basil makes for the most delicious, summery I-want-to-eat-you-right-now scent of all time. It also helps that it's very soothing on the skin and is the goldilocks of body butters; not too thick, not too thin. Perfect. 

So I used to be the sort of person that suffered from dry, itchy legs. I know what you're thinking, how did this woman remain unmarried for so long?! No body moisturiser worked and I had all but given up on being able to apply tan without extreme patchiness. 
In stepped Sharon from Behind Green Eyes, who sent me a bottle of This Works Skin Deep Dry Leg Oil. This has been a game changer for me. My legs are actually so moisturised now from the last time I used the oil that even directly after a shower they don't feel dry. No mean feat! It's probably not surprising as it does contain 9 different essential oils, but this actually does work!

In combination with this, I've been using the Ultimate Care Body Lotion with Baobab Oil for very dry skin from Burt's Bees. I picked this up in New Orleans last year so every time I smell it I think of that (very good memories!) and it is honest, just an excellent moisturiser. It's thick enough so it requires a deft hand to work it in but it's worth it.  I've been scraping the last remnants of it out of the bottle but it's pretty much time for me to accept it's gone so I'll have to hunt down a new one!

Lastly then and not in any way an oil so very much the odd one out, is the Clinique Sweet Pot Lip Scrub & Balm. My amazing friend Eileen bought me one of these to celebrate my graduation last year (I'd been after one for ages) and in the shade I wanted; Candied Cassis. I haven't tried the others but the shade of this comes out a light purpley-pink and is super flattering. 

Before I get to that part though, I use the scrub side first. It's a sugar scrub so if you swallow a bit you're not gonna die and that nicely removes any dead skin cells that are hanging around. With me, they're always hanging around. I could drink two litres of water a day and I'd still have dry lips, so a scrub is a necessity. Handily then, the balm is on the other side so as soon as you've exfoliated, you've got that lovely moisturising, flattering balm. I love it. It comes with me on all holidays, nights away etc. The perfect prep pre matte lipstick!

And that's the lot!

Have you tried any of these?
What do you use for dry skin?
To the comments!

Thursday, 2 March 2017

Recently Read: December & January.

Oh, I've read some truly excellent books over the last two months. Some have been Christmas themed so I won't go into depth on those reviews cause let's face it, no one wants to read them now but just in case you want ideas for next year (you're fierce organised, if so), they'll be at the end. The rest are book club picks, new releases, books I've had on my TBR (to be read) list for ages and some were audio books that took several months of terror to get through (I'm looking at you, It. You prick). 

Himself by Jess Kidd
Although this is a relatively new release, I managed to get it at the start of January on my Library app, for free! I must do a post about that actually, cause there are some great books to be found on it. Anyway, Himself is set in Co. Mayo in the 1970's. When Mahony, a mysterious young man with, it has to be said, a very sexy swagger, shows up in search of his long lost mother, he causes quite the upset in the small and unsettling village of Mulderrig. Mahony was abandoned by his teenage mother as a baby and after that she was never seen or heard from again. He joins forces with an elderly, flamboyant actress who knew his mother and believes she was murdered and piece by piece they begin to work out what actually happened to her all those years ago.
Along with her assistance, he also has the added help/hindrance of his own ability to both see and communicate with the dead and they have plenty to say for themselves, as Mulderrig starts to give up its secrets. It sounds very dark but it's peppered throughout with humour and real Irish-isms that had me chuckling away to myself. I'd actually describe it as a cross between Agatha Christie and Father Ted, I've honesty never read anything like it and I loved every second of it. It's masterfully written and I was distraught when I realised I was coming to the end. I know for some, the added element of the supernatural might not sit well with them but I felt it was perfectly placed in this novel- it already has such a creepy vibe that it made perfect sense. Definitely one to read and Jess Kidd is an author to watch out for.

One by Sarah Crossan
This is a YA novel but it's one of those ones that's surprisingly well suited for an older audience too. Grace and Tippi (named after Hitchcock heroines- LOVE) are conjoined twins, joined at the waist and somehow defying modern medicine by still being alive at 16 years old. They share everything and never want to be apart but unfortunately their health has other ideas and the pressure to separate begins to loom over them. The book follows their lives up to making the choice of whether or not to separate and for a little while afterwards too. What I loved about it was that the author really showed their individual personalities- I felt like I got to know them both and also it was interesting and rare to read a book with protagonists living with this condition. This is a quick but heartbreaking read. Prepare to weep, uncontrollably. 

Holding by Graham Norton
This was the big book release towards the end of last year. Graham Norton won an award for Holding at the Irish Book Awards (which I was at and got to see him speak- he's even funnier in real life) and so I was really excited to read his first work of fiction. Holding is set in a small, fictional town in West Cork (write about what you know, I guess) where Sergeant PJ Collins is shaken from his comfortably quiet and dull position of village police chief by the discovery of human remains on an old farm. They're suspected to be that of Tommy Burke- a village Lothario that disappeared well over a decade ago, leaving the lives of two local women, Evelyn and BrĂ­d changed forever. Duneen's inhabitants are seemingly hiding plenty of secrets, lies and resentments that will inevitably be revealed in order to find both the victim and the killer. I enjoyed this book. It moves along at a good pace and it's witty, moving and well written. I'm looking forward to reading Graham's next book, whenever that may come along!

Monsters by Emerald Fennell
Emerald Fennell is that lovely red-haired actress from Call The Midwife and lo and behold, she has more than just acting ability, she's also a rather brilliant author. I wasn't sure when I started this if it was a YA novel or not because it's written from the perspective of a very morbid 12 year old girl. Having said that, it's very dark and takes some grim turns that I might not want any teenagers reading about. Anyway, this girl (we never learn her name), is staying with her extremely unpleasant aunt and uncle in their B&B for the Summer. Her parents have recently mysteriously died on a cruise ship and so she's an orphan.So she's stuck in this miserable guest-house by the sea.
She's already bored when a woman's body shows up, naked and bloated in a fisherman's net.
She's a weird kid, to be honest. Obsessed with serial killers, murder in general and she enjoys causing trouble and upset to others. Everyone seems to dislike her so she has no friends, that is until Miles, a similarly odd 12 year old boy comes to stay with his mother. He also has an eerie fascination for death and murder and so the two join together to find the killer. There's a whole host of creepy characters and disturbing events in this book with a slightly shocking ending that Fennell has left wide open for a sequel. This was definitely not what I was expecting when I picked up this book and I half fear that it may stay with me for quite some time to come. I definitely want to read more from Emerald Fennell though, she's another great author to watch out for.

It by Stephen King
I'd been planning on reading this book for years after accidentally seeing and being horrified by some of the film adaptation as a child. I'm also a big King fan so it seemed like a glaring omission in my pile of read books that I had still to tackle It. I say tackle because it's huge. I started listening to it on Audible in October (for Halloween) and finally finished in December. I veered wildly from enjoying it, to being genuinely terrified, to being emotional, to being disgusted and nauseated and then right back to being amused. That's just classic King though and this beast is no exception. And I mean beast in every possible way.
So, in case you don't know, It is set in small town Derry, Maine where a group of school kids must do battle with an omnipresent, ancient evil that takes the guise of your biggest fear; sharks, spiders, insects, an Egyptian Mummy, a werewolf, blood, homophobia, powerful bullies, child abuse and of course, clowns. Oh yes, clowns. Lots to be scared of here and honestly, there are so many moments that completely stopped me in my tracks where I just couldn't keep walking until I got to where the kids get away…if they were going to.
The book is broken into two parts- set in the 60's when they are kids and fight It for the first time and again in the 80's where they must all return to Derry as adults and fight the unspeakable evil again. As always with King, this is an odyssey. There are novels within novels in there- invented and lengthy histories of the town of Derry where It shows up every 27 years to wreak havoc and take as many lives as possible. I'm struggling even to review this properly because it really was such an experience. My one gripe is parts of the ending which left me loudly exclaiming "WTF!"several times. That said, if you're a King fan and a horror fan, you really do need to read this. Otherwise, do not put yourself through all the mini heart attacks!

My Sister's Bones by Nuala Ellwood*
Kate Rafter is a well respected journalist, returned home from a harrowing stint in Syria which has left her exhausted and broken. The book begins with Kate being questioned in a police station in the UK by a psychologist. We don't know why she's there or what she has done but she clearly has more than a stressful job causing her problems- we learn that her mother who has dementia has just died, her father was abusive, her sister is an alcoholic and Kate herself is alone following her relationship breakdown. Her incarceration continues and I'll admit, I loved every time a chapter started with this because it felt like I was picking up clues and was slowly piecing it together. Interspersed with these chapters are flashbacks to her trip home. The second half of the book changes direction somewhat and at first I was disappointed. I was completely sure I had the ending worked out- I remember saying to Himself that I couldn't wait to finish it to be proved correct! Well, it turns out that I was only partly correct but I was also very wrong. If you enjoy a good psychological thriller, this is a good choice.

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed.
I haven't seen the film of this but I wanted something uplifting to listen to for the start of January and I feel like this was a great choice. Cheryl Strayed (not her original name, she changed it cause she thought "Strayed" was more appropriate…hmm), feeling like a shell of herself following the death of her mother from cancer, her own divorce and her brief foray into heroin abuse, decided to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. At the time, and probably still now, this was a Herculean feat for someone unused to hiking and hiking at that level, on your own. A woman hiking the PCT on her own was virtually unheard of and yet, off she went. The book follows her on the trail through all of her trials and tribulations and I found it surprisingly interesting. I was looking forward every day to hearing how she was getting on apart from certain times (her being really mean about her dying mother and feeling sorry for herself) and it was overall, a pretty positive read for what is a particularly grim month. 

Nine Folds Make A Paper Swan by Ruth Gilligan
There's three different stories in contention with each other in this book- a family emigrating from Lithuania to America at the start of the 20th century, a mute Jewish boy locked away in an Irish Catholic institution in 1958 and a young woman in present day London trying to decide whether or not to accept the Jewish faith when her boyfriend proposes. I'll be honest, this one really dragged for me and I only finished it because it was a book club read. Otherwise, I'm not sure I would have continued with it. It was reasonably well written but the three intertwining plots were convoluted and confusing at times and I struggled to stay interested and not completely depressed. 

Christmas Books!

A Nightingale Christmas Carol by Donna Douglas
This is another in the Nightingale Nurses series that I've been reading for the last few years. The books are set in the 1940's and by now we're smack bang in the middle of WW2. There's a whole host of recurring characters, love stories, cool nurses and war heroes. What's not to love! Honestly, for me it's a really enjoyable and somewhat trashy read but that's just what you need sometimes.

Hercule Poirot's Christmas by Agatha Christie
The thought of Agatha Christie, a big country house and Christmas time always seems like the perfect combination but for some reason it never quite works out that way. So in this one Poirot is asked to assist in finding the murderer of an elderly businessman and father at Christmas. His horrible children are all potential suspects and with the return of a long lost son, a Spanish granddaughter and the son of a former enemy, there's red herrings a plenty. This was entertaining enough and has a locked door mystery o there that I would never have figured out for myself. Overall, worth a read.

The Cosy Christmas Teashop by Caroline Roberts
I don't have enough bad things to say about this one. Poor spelling and grammar, constant repetition and an incredibly dull storyline where nothing happened and I had no interest in what happened to any of the characters. There's some pleasant descriptions of baking but that's about it. Save yisserselves.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
I've read A Christmas Carol before, years ago but this was a free audiobook with Audible so I said I'd have a re-read. This is a classic Christmas story and the audio version of it was wonderful. Perfect for popping on while decorating, baking Christmas cookies, or in my case, walking to and from work in the cold. 

And that's the lot for now. I'm finishing off my February reads and already started my March books but what are you reading at the minute? Anything good? Have you read any of this lot?

*Kindly sent to me for review. As always, all opinions my own. 

Monday, 20 February 2017

Spring Wishlist 2017!

It's that time of the year when the shops start to fill up with things other than wool knits, black tights and bobble hats. This is good news for a couple of reasons. 
For one, it means that I can hopefully put away my Icelandic hyper insulated coat and for two, Spring is springing!!

I, of course have my eye on lots of pretty things but this lot are the main bits and pieces on the revolving carousel that is my mental wish list. 

Links are in pink and don't buy everything before I get the chance to!

I'm a bit Flamingo obsessed and this tee from Oasis has the benefit of being casual (comfy grey marl is the best) but it's also pink and sparkly, so win-win all around. 

The second I saw the limited edition Crayola box from Clinique, I had to have it. Unfortunately for me, a reliable little birdy (thanks Andreea!) has told me that they've been out of stock in Ireland and the UK since the start of February (weeps). I'll be keeping an eye out for a last minute restock but I may just end up buying an individual one, although it obviously won't be the same…

I love this vintage-feel black top, also from Oasis. The bird-embroidered collar is adorable and just the right side of kitsch and will look as well paired with jeans as it would tucked into a skirt.

This spot and floral tea dress from Topshop is very pretty- I'm already picturing it with a (fake) tan and a pair of sandals on my holidays..
*goes into daydream mode*

I'm in the market for a new primer and this one from Too Faced has been on my mind for a while. A product to sort out your hungover face? Ah, yes please!

And lastly, the shoe of dreams from Asos. These are marketed as a bridal shoe but they'd look great with absolutely everything in my opinion (see how I'm already justifying the purchase?) It's a moot point anyway as they are currently sold out in every size but 3. 
Again, I have serious plans to stalk their "back in stock" section. 

Any of these on your Wishlist?