Thursday, December 18, 2014

Avoid town & Dundrum, go to Kildare Village this weekend! #stepintothestory

As you know, Joanne and I are just back from New York, the place where we did all the shopping.  A trip there is never complete without visiting Woodbury Commons outlet and we did some serious damage this year there!  We were invited to visit Kildare Village Outlets last weekend and seeing as we were having serious outlet withdrawals and it was my birthday, Joanne, Mam and I drove out with a list of a few bits we wanted out there and got them, along with things we didn't need, but sure that's the way a shopping trip goes am I right?

We all know that they have fashionistas sorted with shops like Ted Baker (where I saw the most stunning black beaded party dress, I just need a party to go to), Hobbs (where Mam saw a coat she'd bought in Arnotts there for a heavy discount and had the rage, she knows next time where to go!) and Karen Millen who had beautiful gunas for Christmas and New Year's parties.  There was one piece of clothing bought on Saturday and that was by mam in Superdry.  We spent ages convincing her that it wasn't just a shop for "young people" and just because she hit 60 this year, doesn't mean she can't rock a festive jumper like this one!  And she loves it!

Joanne is all about leather gloves and fell in love with these beauties from Ted Baker.  Bright pink with red in between the fingers - brilliant!  Very Penelope Pitstop!

But I wanted to talk to you about the beauty/accessories end of things.  As a bone fida beauty lover, I couldn't wait to head to Molten Brown where I found out that they did skincare.  Who knew?  And they had a sale on it too which sweetened the deal, but wait until you hear how much of a bargain I got.  I bought this cleanser and toner for €8 each and when you bought those, you got a mask for free!  All three should have come to €160 and I got them for €16.  I can't wait to give them a go because a) I love trying new things, b) I wonder why Molten Brown have been holding out on us in terms of skincare and c) it was a mega bargain if ever I saw one!  Oh and FYI, if you're a candle lover, they have them for €29.99 instead of €49.99.  I was this close to picking up Firefly Embers but decided it's my autumn candle scent and I'll get it next year for sure.

I'd never heard of Penhaligons and thought it was too fancy for the likes of us, but once we went in, I couldn't stop smelling all the things.  All of them.  They've got amazing perfumes, candles and body care and I think I got a bit overwhelmed looking at everything because there were a lot of neroli scented bits, plenty of clean smelling bits, my two favourite genres and I wanted to wear everything.    I'll definitely be hitting there again next time we visit Kildare but wait and see what mam got.

How cute are these three candles!  They'd three for €15, so mam got a few trios for Christmas presents and they smell amazing.  See that one in the middle?  It's orange blossom and I need it.  Think she'll miss it?

Now beauty lovers, sit close and hear me now.  L'Occitane is in Kildare Village now and I couldn't cope with the excitement!  As it was my birthday, I knew I'd be treating myself because those are the rules and when I saw they had a huge section with all things Cherry Blossom, I decided it was time to restock as I'm nearly finished the bottle I was given earlier this year.  If you're looking for a perfume-y present to give (or receive) this year, then Cherry Blossom all the way.  You'll love it, whoever you're buying for will love it and this set with the perfume, body lotion and hand cream was the perfect self gift that day.  They'd lots of gift sets in the Cherry Blossom scent so fear not, you'll definitely find something in your budget.

Along with Cherry Blossom, I've loved the Neroli & Orchidee scent from L'Occitane so when I saw this mini set with that scent and the one that was next on my list to try, Jasmin & Bergamot, I whipped it up.  They'd lots of mini fragrance sets like this, so you can either give one as a gift, or separate the scents and make a little hamper of mini treats for friends!  They'd an offer where if you spent €45 (easily done), then you could buy a set full of mini products for €20 which would make a gorgeous gift.  So what I'm saying is get busy in L'Occitane and the beauty lover in you will thank me!

There's a VIP lounge that you can book through the Kildare Village website and it's the perfect place to take a load off, have a drink and get ready to do more shopping!  They're expanding the outlet over the next year and by November 2015, there'll be lots more shops and a much bigger lounge, so we can't wait for that!

And who knew things were so sociable out there?  We met our brother and his girlfriend Claire out there who stopped us from going into Kate Spade for a second look (I think some sneaky present buying had occurred) but we did go in for a browse earlier that morning and her stuff is amazing....  We did damage in the Kate Spade outlet in Woodbury Commons, along with her store on 5th Avenue and if you're interested, we can show you what we bought to help you decide whether you should visit her shop in Kildare.  (Note - do go, there are gorgeous wallets, handbags, jewellery, accessories for your phones and iPads!)   We also met Jen out there, a lovely follower of the blog and fellow tormentor of Will, Joanne's hubby!

So if the thoughts of Dundrum and town this weekend are killing your Christmas buzz, get to Kildare early and get shopping!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Christmas Stocking Stuffer Gift Guide!

Em, so Christmas is next week!  I think it's crept up on me this year because I was so focused on New York and now it's nearly here!  We filmed this video and our main gift guide video before we went away and finally have them both up to hopefully help take the edge of any last minute panic you might have when it comes to picking up gifts for loved ones.  Today we have some great little stocking stuffers to help you finish your Christmas shopping in one piece!


Did you see anything you might like in your stocking this year?

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A face of first impressions ft HourGlass, Maybelline, Tarte, NARS

If you've watched my Sephora haul video, you'll know I was quite restrained in the makeup purchasing department.  Restrained in that I could've blown my entire spends in a couple of trips to the happiest place on earth - Sephora!  But as I mentioned in the video, I tried to be smart with my purchases and get things I thought I'd love, use and want to blog about.  It took me a week to film that video and fellow beauty bloggers will know that you cannot use new makeup until you photograph them in natural light!  So I couldn't wait to delve into everything and seeing as I'm off work for a couple of days this week, what better time to play with some of the bits I got!

I'll be doing full reviews on everything once I play and test out a bit more, but thought it might be nice to give some first impressions on some of the products.  I don't know about you, but with me, I generally know if I love something or not pretty early on in the relationship.  I also need to test out new makeup for the first time at home, rather than go to work with nice foundation, only for it to turn orange as the day goes on!  So days off and weekends are perfect testing out times.  Let's see what I put on my visage yesterday shall we?

That's not too much sure it's not?  Not at all.  I think I love the Hourglass palettes more than is humanly possible and think I'm set for life (until they bring out more shades) when it comes to blushes and powders.  I was heading into town for lunch with my friend yesterday so wanted to keep things light, neutral and effortless.  This is what I looked like and yes, I'm wearing the furriest fleeciest thing ever from Penneys that I put on every single evening after work!

On my face is the Sephora Airbrush Foundation that's so weird to use!  I tried spraying it on my face but felt that it was a waste of product as not much was landing on my skin, so I tried spraying it on to the back of my hand and applying it with my Beauty Blender before finally deciding that spraying it on to the Beauty Blender directly was the way to go.  First impressions - this foundation is gorgeous for someone who loves a natural finish and evened out my complexion beautifully while looking invisible.  I believe I'm going to be able to pretend my skin is naturally lovely and lie to everyone I meet with this baby!

I used the NARS Radiant Creamy Concealer under my eyes as I appear to have developed black areas under there for some reason.  This hid them quick smart and I'll be doing a full review once I test it out properly.  I set it with the highlighting part of the Seventeen Define & Contour palette that I fricken love and have talked about millions of times here on the blog.

A quick dusting of the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Palette over my face set everything in place.  I don't know the names of the shades off by heart yet, but see that glow on my cheek there?  That came from the middle shade and I love it.  I used Mood Exposure from the Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette as a contour/blush and it's the perfect neutral dusky pinky blush that will work with every eye look.

On the eyes, I used the Maybelline Color Tattoo Pure Pigment in the shade Downtown Brown all over the lids.  I am obsessed already.  You can use them wet or dry so I'll be trying this one and the other shade I got a bit more before fully reviewing them, but so far, nine hours after applying, it hasn't  creased on me and I'm hoping they arrive on Irish shores soon.  I lashed on a layer of Tarte's Lights, Camera, Flashes Mascara which I'm really enjoying using, but need to figure out how to use it properly as it has a two step application process that I only discovered the other day.  I decided I wanted to put something on my waterline, so rooted out the first brown liner I could find, Bourjois' Contour Clubbing Eyeliner in the shade Up and Brown.  Love this stuff.

I decided it was high time to lash on a bit of Anita from NARS' Audacious collection and it's quite possibly the perfect dusky pink lipstick.  It feels nice and light on the lips and worked well with the whole look.  I wasn't paying attention to longevity so will report back once I take notes.

So far so good folks!  If there's anything you'd like to see a full review on first, leave me a comment below and I'll get working on it.  But I think I've chosen well with my new products and I have a tonne more to play with, so this might be a regular series on the blog next year.

Monday, December 15, 2014

My Sephora haul!

Finally!  After filming this last week, then not being happy with how it looked, I refilmed it yesterday and can't wait to show you what I bought in Sephora on our trip to New York.  This was the first time ever that I found it very overwhelming in there!  I think half of it was that it was so busy in there all the time, and the other half is I didn't have a huge amount of time to prepare for it before we went away and you know me, I like to know what I'm in for!

I found the Formula X stands weren't stocked very well and so I didn't get any polishes, the same went for perfume, but fear not, for I did make a significant dent in the grand scheme of things and so sit back, relax, and decide whether you think I was restrained or went wild!

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Our Christmas Gift Guide! #LovelyJinglyBits

Finally, our first gift guide this year is live!  We filmed this before we went away but I didn't get a chance to edit it until this week, so apologies the delay but hopefully it was worth the wait!  We've been stockpiling the best products that have landed at Lovely Girlie Towers over the past few months to bring you our 2014 beauty gift guide and of course, Bailey the brat makes an appearance!

So grab a cuppa tea, sit back, snuggle up and start preparing to want all the things for yourself!


Products mentioned:

  • Instyler - €84.99
  • No7 Advent Calendar - €45
  • Lush Jingle Bells Gift Box, Golden Wonder Gift Box - € various
  • Michael Kors nail polish set
  • Crabtree & Evelyn goodies - € various 
  • Glossybox - €15
  • British Beauty Blogger makeup - € various
  • NYX Butt Naked Palette - €29.99
  • Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush Palette - €73
  • Clarins The Essentials Palette - €43
  • The Body Shop Frosted Pastels palette - €22.50
  • Charlotte Tilbury Dolce Vita Palette - €50
  • L'Occitane Arlesienne collection - €5 - €45.50
  • The Body Shop - The Schoolbooks of Peace, Love & Joy - €23 each

Did you see anything that tickled your pickle?  Luckily most of our Christmas shopping is done but we've some last minute bits and pieces to get over the next couple of weeks.  Not long to go now!

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara review, before & after photos

I've basically studied all of Charlotte Tilbury's YouTube videos since she started posting them and since the beginning, I've had her Full Fat Lashes mascara on my wish list.  Mascara's my thing and as I've said many times before, it's my desert island product and one I cannot be without.  So when I got this in a gift bag recently, I went straight home, took my mascara off, put this one on and haven't looked back!

With it's laser cut 5 star brush that combs through my lashes easily, this mascara promises curl, separation, volume, length and drama.  That's quite a big list of things for one itty bitty mascara, so does it actually work?

Answer:  Yes it big fat does!

It's become my everyday mascara because I can pack it on without fear of the dreaded clumpage and the wand deposits the right amount of product on the outer lashes giving the illusion of thickness and volume.  On my weeny limp lashes, it gives everything it promises with grand curl, volume, separation, length and drama with a bit of lift added in for good effect.
Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara - 1 coat

The formula allows you to layer on a second coat without any hassle and for nights out or on days when you're wearing lots of eye makeup, this is a good thing.  Who says you have to keep the dramatic eyeballs for night time? 

Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara - 2 coats
I don't have any problems with flaking or smudging apart from the slight smudging that I manage to do every single day when applying mascara.  It's knowing I've to beat the clock first thing in the morning and each morning without fail, I poke myself in the eyeball or smudge my mascara, but apart from that, this has fantastic longevity altogether and is easy to remove at the end of the day with a micellar cleansing water.

At €29.00, it's spendy, but I'd buy it again.  It's one of those mascaras I've been happily wearing without eyeshadow, knowing that it holds it's own and makes my eyes stand out.  The photos show how it transforms my non existent lashes into fluttery, voluminous lashes and for that, Charlotte Tilbury Full Fat Lashes Mascara gets two Full Fat Thumbs Up from moi!  It's available in Brown Thomas and online, so no excuses not to try it!

Have you tried this yet?  Or anything else from the collection for that matter?  Do tell and enable me!

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My current perfect skincare routine! Ft Oskia, L'Occitane, Pixi, Garnier & Yon-Ka

I think I've got my skincare routine sorted at the moment and honestly, my skin has never looked better.  I've had lots of lovely compliments on it recently which is always nice, my makeup is sitting much better on the aul visage and I actually feel and see a difference in my face myself.

Thanks to the blog, I get to try a lot of skincare products and I fully appreciate how lucky I am to be a facial guinea pig!  I go through phases where I try new things, then get bored and go back to my usual favourites but this time, I think I've cracked it and wouldn't you know it, when I go to purchase these myself, I'll be out of pocket big time but with the huge improvement I've seen in my skin, it's an investment I don't mind shelling out on.  No, that's a lie, I do mind, but I want nice skin more!

Behold the eight superstars that I love lots.

There are extra products that I haven't put in here, like masks and treatments, but they'll get their own post soon.  I just wanted to talk you through the products I use every day.

Morning skincare.

I'm up at 5am every day which means that a) I'm gee eyed and b) I want minimum fuss and faff at that hour.  I don't have long to play around with makeup so these are the products that help prepare my skin for the war paint that will make me look human at stupid o'clock.

This is the newest addition to the family and I got it in a gift bag recently.  I met Oskia founder Georgie Cleeve a few weeks ago and knew I'd be giving this a go (along with lots of other gorgeous products!)  The Renaissance Cleansing Gel is unlike any other cleanser I've tried in that it's a gel to oil cleanser that breaks down any makeup while giving a deep clean to the skin, leaving it super soft. Any gel cleansers I've tried in the past has left my skin feeling a bit dry and tight after using it, but this one... Oh I just want people to touch my face when I use it!  I massage a couple of pumps into my face, before using a small amount of water to emulsify it into milk.  Then I use a face cloth to remove it and my skin is clean and soft, and completely nourished.  Obsessed with this stuff like nowt else.

Described as the ultimate concentrate to help strengthen the skin's defences against environmental factors and daily stress, this promises to help give your skin a boost by working with your serum and moisturiser to help them work better while helping your skin fight against the visible signs of ageing. I know we all get older and ageing is a natural process, but if I can put the breaks on it a little bit, then so be it!

This feels nice and light on my skin, absorbing quickly, which is what I need first thing in the morning.  I don't usually use a serum in the morning and can't say I saw an immediate difference in my skin when using it.  But I think it's a grower and needs a few weeks to let it do it's business and I've been using it for a couple of months now and wonder if this has given my skin the boost it needed and has helped it work better with the rest of my skincare routine?

I think this is the thickest moisturiser I've ever used on my skin and I love it!  Aimed and normal to dry skin, my normal/combination skin and I are thoroughly enjoying using this in the morning.  I like to warm it between my fingers and work it into my skin, immediately feeling how smooth and firm my face feels.  Now I don't have deep wrinkles which this is said to visibly correct (fill in), so I can't say anything about that, but it'd be a great summer moisturiser with it's SPF20 and while I'm not using it for that benefit as it's dark when I go to work and is almost dark when I'm coming home, it makes for a lovely, even base for my foundation and helps keeps my skin looking fabulous!

Night time skincare.

In the evening I have more time to get stuck into a proper routine and while I don't always have the inclination to do it, I just think about how great my skin has been looking and feeling lately and up the stairs I go!

I know, I've mentioned this about 11 million times but I love it.  This is probably the 5th or 6th bottle I've gone through and I use it every evening to remove my make up, mainly my eye makeup.  As I've said time and time again, it doesn't irritate my eyes, it takes off all my mascara and doesn't leave my skin feeling stripped.  It also means I only have to use one pump of the next product to remove the remainder of my makeup and the longer that lasts, the better for my bank balance!  I don't mind lashing my way through this cleansing water because it's cheap as chips and is the best one I've tried.

Yep, I use this in the evening too!  It's just so effective at removing every shred of makeup and I take my time in the evening working it into my skin (not the eyes) before wiping it off and going around the house saying "Seriously, how soft is my skin!"  Can you tell I love this?

An extremely generous reader sent me a bottle of Pixi Glow Tonic (thanks a million Audra!) and for the past couple of months, I've finally started using it every evening.  This glycolic acid toner chomps away at dead skin while help toning and tightening the skin without leaving the skin feeling stripped or tight.  I feel like this has helped completely even out my skin's texture and I've waved bye bye to the dry patches on my cheeks that were starting to rear their heads again.  This stuff is brilliant and while my skin isn't usually sensitive, I've had a couple of bad reactions to products this year, but not with this guy.  It's true love folks.

Yon-ka Guarana Scrub

On days where I end up washing my face in the shower rather than beforehand, I give this scrub from Yon-ka a whirl.  The Guarana Scrub polishes and exfoliates my skin without tearing the face off me, leaving my skin soft and smooth.  And it's got the perfect ratio of cleanser/scrubby bits in it which is very important for professional exfoliators like myself!  I love that it's gentle on my skin while giving it a good and proper scrub and I use it maybe once or twice a week.  If your skin is on the dull side, then the guarana and brown rice micro beads will give you instant radiance bish bash bosh.

Have you ever spoken actual words to your skincare products?  After a couple of uses of these last two products, I asked them both the same question - "Where have you been all my life", sometimes singing the question like I'm Rihanna.  The Divine Cream from L'Occitane's Immortelle range is the actual business and I see and feel why it's won so many awards.  This anti-ageing cream is super thick, needing to be warmed up in my hands before slathering my face in it.  It leaves my skin feeling intensely nourished and while I use this just at night, I could use it in the morning too, but I'm trying to make it last as long as possible!  A little goes a long way and it'll be a good while before I reach the end of this pot.  I brought this and the next product to New York with me because I couldn't handle leaving them behind!  Ob. Sessed.

The final step in my skincare routine is this beast of an oil.  I don't know why I've just called it a beast... But it packs an absolute punch when it comes to looking after my visage.   This golden bottle makes my skin look and feel plumped, radiant and all round fabulous.  I've learned from Caroline Hirons and Kat from DollyRouge that putting oil on over your moisturiser helps seal in your moisturiser as the oil acts as a barrier.  Sometimes I use this on it's own without moisturiser and sometimes I layer it over the Divine Cream, depending on how lazy I'm feeling.  I think I will cry actual tears when I finish this bottle, but only for a little while until I repurchase.  The fact that the bottle itself looks and feels luxurious is the icing on the cake.  Love you forever Divine Youth Oil.

So that's my current skincare routine.  Is it bad that I don't really want to introduce anything new into the mix, such is the level of happiness I have with everything?  I think between now and Christmas I'll hold tight and continue to enjoy using this team of products so that I can have perfect skin and in the new year I'll start trying new things.  Slowly...

What are you using on your skin at the moment?  Is there anything I need to try considering I want to constantly repurchase all of these forever and ever amen (for now)?  To the comments!
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