Friday, January 31, 2014

Everyday neutral eye with the Smashbox Full Exposure palette - video

I'm back with a short video for your viewing pleasure today.  I'm working on a mini series of quick videos showing you how you can achieve different looks with the Smashbox Full Exposure palette.  As I said before, I was given this to play with but would have 100% bought it myself because the love for it was too strong.

Today's post and video is all about the mattes in the Full Exposure palette.  Well some of them anyway.  For me, the key with matte shadows is to layer slowly and blend until you get carpal tunnel syndrome.  It's easier to add more than try to correct it if you apply too much, so gently gently, softly softly.

I love doing neutral eye makeup for work as I work in an office and like to keep things low key in the eyeshadow department.  Sometimes.  Other times I like to go wild with the colour, but that's mainly during the summer when you can get away with a lot more makeup!

Now, one of the main justifications in buying another neutral palette like this one is "Will I use it enough?"  And here's my two cents.  Yes.

Here's a few more cents.  The joys of a versatile palette like this one is being able to use it during the day and at night and while I've been using the warm mattes going to work, I'd be able to use them in a different way for going out at night, thus justifying the purchase of a palette even more.

So here's a quick 5 minute video showing you how to do a matte neutral eye that can be made smokier if you like.  The shadows are a dream to work with and make life so much easier when I'm still half asleep in the morning but still need to look like a human being.

The Smashbox Full Exposure palette is available now in Arnotts and on Smashbox counters for the princely sum of €43.

It is love.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Foundations that made me go "meh"

After my post this week on Maybelline's SuperStay Better Skin foundation, the lovely Yavanna from Makeup Monster left a comment saying I was lucky when it comes to foundations, that my skin seems to work with them.  And it got me thinking.  I do like an aul foundation (or twenty) as you can see from my ridiculous collection and I absolutely love trying new ones out.  I want to have naturally flawless looking skin.  That's not too much to ask is it?  Not at all!

But while I blog a lot about foundations I love on here, I don't really chat about those I don't like.  And I don't have that many because I tend to research a lot now before I invest in a new one.  But there have been a few duds, so I thought I'd share with the class and give you the four foundations that made me go "meh".

About five years ago, I bit the bullet and bought my first ever MAC foundation after seeing so many great things about it on the YouTubes.  'Twas Studio Sculpt and while 'twas my first MAC foundation, 'twas also my last because I hated everything about it.  It actually gives me worms just thinking about it now.

It was way too thick for my liking and no matter how little I put on, I just looked like a dirty big waxwork model and that wasn't the look I was going for.  I was colour matched to an NW15 which wasn't the right shade for me and most of all, it broke me out so badly, I felt like I was back in my greasy teenage years again.  It scarred me for life and put me off trying any more MAC foundations foreverrrrrrrr.  Well, never say never, but still, am totally allowed to be dramatic after what I went through.  You don't know my life...  (See, even now it brings out the inner teenager).

Next on my meh list is Nars Sheer Glow.  I got it in a swap ages ago and wanted to love it so much, mainly because Laura from Buy Now, Blog Later raved about it so much back in her YouTube days.  Coverage wise it was nice but it gave my oily head an even oilier finish and on a sunny day I could blind someone with the shine coming off my massive forehead.  And again, it broke me out so much that I had to go into hiding.  (Not really, am being dramatic again)  Since then, I've kind of given Nars the side eye with everything apart from their amazing blushes.

Another failure on my face was Make Up For Ever's Mat Velvet+.  I saw Makeup By Tiffany D giving it much love in lots of her videos and figured I wanted her perfect matte skin so picked it up.  Now, if you know me on a blogular level, you'll know I have an oily t-zone and normal cheeks.  I don't generally have to deal with dry patches but this sucked every living bit of moisture out of my skin.  It turned my face into one giant Rice Crispie and no matter what I did, I could never get it to work and I tried, I really tried.

Finally is the most recent meh foundation, the YSL Youth Liberator Serum Foundation.  After reading millions of great reviews on it, I hoofed myself into Debenhams ready to pick it up and fall in love.  After being colour matched (well, I had to fight with the sales assistant a little because she was matching me to something mahogany), I thought the finish was lovely and dewy and was ready to hand over the cash, only to find out they didn't have the shade in stock.  So she kindly gave me a sample to do me for the week until they got more stock in.  About three hours after she'd applied it to me, I happened to catch myself in a mirror in a shop and nearly collapsed at the state of me.  Not only was I a dirty big greasy faced bridie, but most of the foundation had slid from my face and set up base camp in the pores on my cheeks, either side of my nose.  I'm talking all the foundation plonked in about 12 pores and after the mini stroke on the ground floor in Marks and Spencer, I couldn't blend it in fast enough and said a novena thanking the powers that be that I'd not seen anyone I knew in that state.

I didn't want to write it off just yet because maybe it needed primer or a powder to help it set on me.  I gave it a few more goes and no matter what I did, it wouldn't stay put for more than a few hours.  I looked like I was perpetually sweating and again, it broke me out.  I know it sounds like I've sensitive skin with all this breakage outage, but I really don't and these three must have a common ingredient that just doesn't work with my visage.

I really want to try Chanel foundations this year so my research has begun again and I'm not going to lie, I'm a little scared about getting burned again.  And getting shiny.  And breaking out.

What foundations have made you go "meh"?  And what foundation do I need to try next bearing in mind I like a medium coverage, have an oily t-zone and don't want to break out thank you very much.  Recommendations on a postcard please.  Or in a comment.  Whichever you prefer!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My makeup collection and storage!

So this video has been a long time coming.  I love watching makeup collection and storage videos and have gotten some great ideas from some fellow makeup obsessives.  When I saw Makeup By Tiffany D's storage video last year, I knew that the Alex on castor units from Ikea would be perfect for me.  So I went out and bought two that I could stack and removed the castors so that they'd not move around in the bedroom.  A word to the wise, bring somebody with you to Ikea as these are bloody heavy, so preferably someone with muscles.  I was sore for days after getting them onto the trolley, then into the car, out of the car and up the stairs.  I had a touch of the vapours after it all but it was totally worth the pain.

Assembly was easy enough and when I stacked them, I found that when I opened the bottom drawer of the top unit, it would cause the top unit to slide slightly, so a little bit of Blue Tac on each corner between the two units to protect the makeup and my tootsies should it fall.

So inside the drawers was my next challenge.  I wanted each one to be organised and when I saw the Linus drawer organisers in Home Store & More, I bought a few of each shape and size.  They're much cheaper in there compared to Howard's Storage World and that's more money you could spend on makeup.  Ahem.

I've done my best to categorise everything and holy moly it took ages, but was so worth it.  I think it's something I'll constantly be rearranging but sure those are the pitfalls of being a makeup junkie.

So if you've a half an hour, have a squizz at my makeup stash and see how I organise it all.  I like to say I'm the Indiana Jones of the makeup world, going around collecting products, except I don't have a hat or a whip.  Ooh I should get a whip....

I know... I have too much stuff... I've more makeup than sense but Carrie Bradshaw said "I like my money where I can see it, hanging in my closet" and that's how I feel about my makeup!  But I feel a purge coming on folks.  I need to clear some stuff out and make space for new products!


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation review, photos, swatches

Ooh things just got interesting in the "drug store" foundation department.... I'd not heard a sausage about the Maybelline SuperStay Better Skin Foundation before it arrived for me to try and yes I do have to look up the name every time I go to type it, so it's safely in the copy and paste for the rest of this post.

Promising to say goodbye to dullness, bumps, redness and spots, this foundation and matching concealer not only provides coverage, but it will give you better skin.  Say what?  It has a combination of provitamin B5, Magnesium, Copper and Zinc which sounds like you've the entire periodic table on your face, and with glycerine to attract moisture, you'll have hydrated skin all day.

Now my skin is in relatively good condition at the moment so I can't comment if I can see any improvements or changes but what I can tell you is that it gives me a flawless finish and that's worth more to me.  Cover my flaws and I'll be happy!

The formulation is quite thick and I first thought I'd have to really work at blending it into my skin.  But lads, it smooths over my face so easily, disappearing into the skin giving an almost satin finish.  I mean look at that photo below, we're talking airbrush finish folks.

It covers up redness easily and evens out my skin tone so that it looks like I've lovely skin altogether. It feels nice and light on the skin and gives me a slight glow without looking shiny.  I've used it on it's own and by lunch time I'm ready to powder my schnoz and forehead.  With the Maybelline Baby Skin primer, it lasts until almost home time at 4 before needing any touching up.  And I know I should be smacked for saying this but if you're heading out after work and can't take off your makeup and start from scratch, it applies easily on top of what you've already on if you're stuck.

I can't get enough of this foundation and while the shade I was sent, 021 Nude, is a smidgen dark for me at the moment, it'll be perfect this summer.  The matching concealer (€8.99) is ok.  I have it on under my eyes in the photos above and while it doesn't completely hide my dark circles, it brings a bit of light to that dark, dark place.  That comes in two shades and I'm wearing Light.

But two thumbs up goes to the SuperStay Better Skin foundation.  At €11.99, it's a great price for something that gives me a soft focus finish to my visage.  It comes in eight shades and I think when my spending ban is finished, I'll be picking up a lighter shade that matches me properly because this one is a keeper folks!

What do we think?  Will you be checking this out?

Monday, January 27, 2014

Nuxe Prodigieux le parfum review

Ok so yes, it's still January, but I have my summer perfume sorted.  Nuxe have turned the fragrance of their famous Huile Prodigieuse into it's own perfume and it is perfection.

As a long time fan of the oil - it's a wonder product for skin, hair and I use it on my cuticles and nails,  I hoped they'd make it into it's own scent and they obviously heard my pleas and you're welcome world.  It's like that Kevin Costner film, if you build it they will come.  Except here it's if you wish for an oil to be turned into a stand alone scent thanks very much then it will come.

Now, the scent is divine.  We're talking head notes of bergamot, mandarin and orange blossom.  I'm obsessed with orange blossom and bergamot so every time I spray it, my mood is instantly lifted, so needless to say, I've been spraying it a lot.  The heart of the scent is made of up florals like roses, gardenias and magnolias which makes it light, more feminine and clean smelling.  Finally, when it dries down, we're talking coconut milk and vanilla which rounds it out nicely.

This smells like holidays to me and since I'm not going anywhere anytime soon, I use my imagination.  Let me paint you a picture.  The orange blossom instantly transports me to sunnier climates where skies are blue and the temperatures are hot.  Except in my imagination, I'm not purple and sweating from the heat.  No, I'm one of those women who look effortlessly lovely and glowy whilst smelling fabulous.  The florals then add a light breeze to my imaginary scenario.  One of those breezes that cools you down but doesn't have your skirt flying all around the place showing everyone your bum.  And the coconut, well, that just has me on the beach, strolling along, no worry that I'm going to get burnt.

Life smells good when I have this on.  Summer feels closer and even if that long range weather forecast man says summer won't be as hot as it was last year, I'm ok with that.  Because I have Prodigieux for this year.   It's light yet warm, feminine yet sexy and I'll be making my way through it pretty fast I suspect.  It'll set you back €48.60 and will be available exclusively in Arnotts from February 13th before going nationwide from March 3rd.

Do yourself a favour and go smell this when it launches.  Then come back here and tell me if you're on my imaginary beach with me and if we're sipping cocktails.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Slimming World Sunday #4 - tips we use

This week was a grand one for us and our Slimming World journey!  Hopefully next week will have us reaching a milestone each and will be the boost to keep us going.  And next Sunday we'll be doing a monthly round up of how we've gotten on since Christmas.  Everyone who has left comments, tweets, sent DMs and emails have all been so supportive and sweet, so thanks a million.  It's made the scary decision to start blogging about it totally worthwhile and it helps us keep on going.

Now, although I've been doing it since September, I'm still learning different things along the way and always have my phone out during meetings to jot recipe ideas, tips and tricks from other members.  So I thought I'd give you some things that have stuck with me and that I use on a weekly basis to give a bit of inspiration, motivation and encouragement!

1. Keep bags of frozen vegetables in the freezer ready for times where you need something quick and easy.  Boil them in water or stock for a few minutes, blitz with hand blender and you've a grand soup!  I hate frozen vegetables on their own but this is a great way to get some SuperFree into you.

2. I can't have crisps or sweets in the house.  If I know they're in the cupboard inside, I'll want to eat them and won't have just one.  It's that kind of lack of self control that got me here in the first place!  So if I want a hit of chocolate with a cuppa tea, I buy the one bar.  By the way, Time Outs are 7.5 syns and wellllllll worth it!

3. I'm going through lemons and limes like there's no tomorrow!  I mainly use lemons to squeeze over my salads at lunch and having never been a big fan of dressings, it's not much of an issue for me.  I love frying chicken pieces in Fry Light and when they're cooked, squeeze the juice of half a lime over it and it goes all caramelized and sticky.  So tasty in salads or with rice and vegetables.  When I'm serving it up, I squeeze the other half of the lime over it and I'm done.

4. Some things I can't substitute.  I mentioned this before in a previous post, but this is a lifestyle change for me and I'll be eating like this forever now.  I love my coffee and although sweeteners are syn free, coffee just doesn't taste the same for me and I'd rather sacrifice a couple of syns every day for my bit of sugar and enjoy every gulp of coffee!

5. I can still have a chinese!  I know, best plan ever eh?!  A chicken chow mein is 7 syns and my local chinese does the most amazing one so we get that once a month as a treat.  But let's say you were heading out for a night of drinky poos or to a party, having a chinese before you head out is good for the soul as you'll feel like you were bold but weren't!  There are lots of syn friendly treats you can partake in from the chinese and a quick google will give you proper numbers.

6. I love the Slimming World app.  Once you become a Slimming World member, you get access to the free app and more importantly, the Syns On The Go section.  More often than not, you'll find me in Tesco or Aldi, nose up to the phone seeing how many syns are in things.  I don't like to buy things without knowing the syn value as I made a little promise to myself not to eat things without knowing.

7. Don't fool yourself.  I remember at my very first meeting, someone said that she was finished fooling herself.  What was the point in going to a meeting and being up a pound or two knowing that she'd eaten biscuits all week and wondering why she wasn't down anything that week.  Any of the weeks that I've maintained or been up weight, I've known that I didn't stick to the plan properly.  Going to meeting and weighing in always gets me back on track.

8. Don't miss too many meetings.  I remember our group leader told us about a member from another class who had reached her target.  She didn't go to the meetings for a while and after a few weeks, weighed herself at home and she was up 3lbs.  She didn't want to go back until she was back down to her target but a month later she was up 12lbs and knew that if she'd just gone to the meeting that first week she would have been able to stay on track better.  I missed one in October because I wasn't feeling well and then we missed three over Christmas, and you know what, when I knew I wasn't going to be weighed in the following week, my mind started to switch back to my old way of thinking.  So even if I'm not going to stay to group, I leg it in and get weighed because it's so easy to go back to the old ways.

9. Don't beat yourself up!  As grand as it is sticking to a plan like this, life happens and you'll find yourself at parties, nights out where you just want to go wild and have a few drinks or eat those chicken wings or potato wedges.  And my advice is to go ahead.  But more often than not, you'll find yourself making better choices.  And if not, it's ok.  It's ok to have those times where you let yourself run free because hopefully most of the time you'll be following the plan.  If I'm ever out and about like in town and stuck for things to eat, I find myself making better choices and the way I see it, the old me would have gone for tea and cake and if what I'm having still isn't on plan, I'll have it safe in the knowledge that I could have been having worse.  I hope that makes sense!

So it's your turn now!  Feel free to leave any tips and tricks in the comments to help keep us all motivated!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

My Favourite Five #4

How?  How in the name of all that is good and sacred is it still January?  This month has gone on for the guts of about three months at this point and yet I still haven't gotten paid.  Roll on Friday, the day where I shall be rich, rich I tell you!  This week was great craic.  Joanne and I learned lots at our Slimming World meeting, then had chips on the way home like you do.  Event wise, it was nice and quiet with just the one but it was a goodie! Nuxe have launched a new perfume which is gorgeous and everyone at work was made smell it and they love it, so stand by for a review soon!  I can't do anything exciting this weekend due to lack of fundage and can't wait for February as I've lots of exciting things happening!

But on to the posts that tickled my pickle this week.  Are you ready for this jelly?

Temptalia - Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush.  Oh man I'm in trouble... After seeing the new Hourglass Ambient Light Blushes on Temptalia this week, they're all I can think about.  I use my Ambient Light powder all the time and it's a staple in my routine.  And now we're talking about mixing blush pigment in with the powder?  Well slap my ass and call me Sally, I want them.  I'm secretly hoping the swatches aren't great because I know I'm going to want them all, but I have a feeling they'll be on my face before too long.

Lisa Eldridge - Keira Knightley's Get The Look.  Yes, Keira Knightley's pout does my actual nut in but her eye makeup is always flawless.  Make up artist extraordinaire Lisa Eldridge is talking us through three looks she did on Keira recently and now I want to have a brown smokey eye and a red lip.  Right, I'm off to work on my pout.

It's Only Makeup John - YSL Youth Liberator Serum foundation. I'm so happy to see Lorraine back on the blogging bandwagon and long may she stay, do you hear that Lorraine?!  She's one of the funniest writers out there and has cheekbones that would rival my second husband to be, Benedict Cumberbatch.  You know when you read reviews of a product that everyone loves but it didn't work for you?  Well, until I read Lorraine's review of the new foundation from YSL, I thought I was alone in my dislike for it.  So thanks Lorraine for making me feel like I wasn't a dingbat for not getting on with it.  So folks, moral of the story is go and subscribe to her blog.  The end.

Sprinkle of Glitter - MAC Turquatic.  A few years ago, I found myself in the MAC shop in Times Square in New York.  Funny that.  It was so busy in there and I couldn't get near any of the makeup, but I was able to get a whiff of one of their perfumes, Turquatic to be precise and was raging I never bought it.  I forgot I wanted it until seeing Louise's post this week and to be honest, I can't remember what it smells like but I do remember smelling my wrist for the rest of the day in New York so this will be mine!

This week's favourite YouTuber is the one and only Mag from Emerald Eyeliner!  As you might have seen yesterday, Mags and I did our first collaboration post and hopefully there'll be more where that came from!  We may or may not have plans for a collab video or two as well so stay tuned for that.  Speaking of videos, if you haven't already, go and subscribe to her video channel.  Then sit back and get ready to want to buy stuff and to laugh.  Mags is a natural and I can tell you that how she is in the videos is how she is in real life and you may as well be sitting chatting with her when watching her.  A must watch!

So those were my favourite five.  Who were your favourite bloggers this week?  Leave any linky poos in the comments below!


Friday, January 24, 2014

My spending ban wish list - Collaboration with Emerald Eyeliner!

As you probably know by now because we keep moaning about it, my bloggy pal Mags and I are on a spending ban.  It was decided that we'd not buy any makeup or beauty products (necessities don't count) until the 1st of March.  Which means that by the 2nd of March, we'll be broke again.  We know we have a problem when it comes to makeup, but the thing is we love it more than we should and more than you'll ever understand. We are makeup obsessives and it's one of the reasons why I love her blog posts so much.

Part of the spending ban involves consulting each other should we feel that we really need something and I admit, I broke the ban with my NYX purchases but am firmly back on the virtuous wagon again.  And yes, Mags did ask me was it ok to spend her Boots points and each person who knows the  meaning of Boots points knows that this is free money.  So she's totally allowed to spend them as technically it's not spending.

So this is my first wish list.  I know.  I want a lot of things and chances are I'll have another list in February.  So we decided to do a little collaboration post where we both share with you what we're coveting, lusting after and most likely already have in an online basket somewhere on the inter webs.

My spending ban wishlist!

Tarte.  Tarte is coming to QVC.  I love Tarte.  This should be all you need to know.  Tarte's Amazonian Clay Blushes are the absolute best blushes I've ever used.  Supremely pigmented, universal colours and dangerously collectable, I feel like I need to finish my collection and QVC will be the death of me.  Ok, I'm being dramatic.  I won't actually die from Tarte, I'll just be quite poor.  But have beautiful cheeks.

Hourglass Ambient Lighting Blush.  Ok I actually felt like I damaged an eyeball when I first got wind of the new Ambient Lighting Blushes from Hourglass.  The damaged eyeball was from widening my eyes so much from the want and the need for one of these.   I want Dim Infusion which is a coral blush mixed in with Dim Light.  Seriously, I think I need physio after that.

Emma Hardie Moringa Balm.  This cleansing balm is amazing and I've purchased it once since using it a couple of years ago.  Now I want more.  It's gorgeous, luxurious, smells divine and works at getting my makeup like nobody's business.  The fact that it can be used as a treatment for the face just adds to it's appeal to moi and so I want it.

Charlotte Tilbury KISSING lipstick in Bitch Perfect.  The last thing I need is another nude lipstick and yet it's the thing I will always go back to time and time again.  I love watching Charlotte's videos on YouTube and always feel so inspired afterwards, so the next phase is obviously picking up a lipstick and when we're talking luxury prices, it's always good to go with what you're comfortable with so you'll use it.  Is that a grand justification there or what?

Aesop parsley seed mask.  I'm a huge fan of Lily Pebbles and Vivianna Does Makeup and for ages I've been wanting to try the Aesop Parsley Seed mask because when a beauty obsessive repurchases something time and time again, I'm intrigued.  So I shall be taking myself to Cult Beauty and biting the masky bullet.  Does it matter that I have 10 other masks in my bathroom ready to use?  No.  Not one bit.  I need this one.

Tigi haircare.  I bought this shampoo and conditioner in TK Maxx before Christmas and I'm in love with them.  Of course, because they're from TK Maxx, I guarantee I won't be able to find them again, but I'll search online and will be reunited with them soon.  I've still got about a third of each bottle left which I'll have to stretch until March but yes, I need them again.  They give me soft, swishy, shiny, healthy looking hair and I can see them as products I'll keep going back to again and again.  Now, I need your help people.  Would these guys, a shampoo and a conditioner be technically considered a necessity?  And also, because they're rarely in TK Maxx, what if I saw them there?  Would I be allowed to buy them?

Michael Kors Sporty Citrus.  This is a no brainer.  As I have the other two scents in the collection, I obviously need to complete the trio and pick this up.  I love Glam Jasmine and Sexy Amber and as it's going to be warmer soon, don't I need a lighter, brighter scent like this?  Yes, I thought so.

Anastasia Beverly Hills Brow Wiz.  This is also a repurchase and if you're a brow novice, is a great way to shape them and colour them in without the fear of being too heavy handed.  I've dropped mine on the bathroom floor at work so many times over the past month that I think I've killed the pencil inside, but until it finally gives up, I'll keep using it and having grand brows.  But I need a back up so as not to have to go to work with baldy eyebrows.

Lancome Hypnose Eye Palette.  This beaut is from the Spring 2014 collection and is inspired by the unique grace of a dancer.  Since I am not a dancer nor do I have a shred of grace, it's most likely that this eyeshadow palette would give me a bit of poise wouldn't you say?

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to go out and buy all of this because then I'd be even more broke than I am now!  No, it's just nice to do a bit of wishing and hoping, seeing what's out there and what takes my fancy!

Make sure you check out Mags' Wish List post here and if you're on a spending ban like us, then let's be good together and more importantly, let us know what you're coveting while not spending any cashola!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Cleanse Off Mitt review

One of my most loathed jobs in life is removing my makeup.  I'm inherently lazy and most evenings have to force myself to get stuck in and remove the war paint.  Sometimes I pretend that I'm testing out the longievety of an eyeshadow or foundation, but it's just pure laziness at the crux of it.

You've probably seen eleventy million reviews of this already and after reading everyone's, I wasn't going to bother writing my own as I thought what's the point in saying what's already been said twenty times already.  But my review is different unfortunately.  And I'm very conflicted as you'll see below!

The Cleanse Off Mitt arrived here before Christmas and over the past couple of weeks I've finally gotten around to playing with it.  The idea behind it is that once wet, the microfibres hook under the bonds of your makeup, promising to remove it with just water, no cleanser needed.

The first time I used it was after a day of photographing a bunch of makeup products and I'd everything on from foundation to blush, mascara to eyeliner.  So a typical day for me!  Following the instructions, I saturated the mitt with warm water and got busy, working it over my skin.  You don't need to scrub at your face to see the product coming off, just use as much pressure as if you were using a face cloth.

It seemed to remove my foundation and most of my mascara and liner, but there was some residue left around my eyes and wouldn't budge no matter how many times I rubbed at it.  I don't like rubbing at my eyes too much, so left it.  I rinsed the mitt out after working on each section of my face, cheeks, chin, forehead and eyes to make sure I wasn't rubbing more makeup back into my skin.  It took all of a few minutes to do the job, as long as it would take you with a wipe.  Looking at the mitt when you've finished the job at hand is scary because it looks filthy and you'd assume all the makeup was gone from your face.

After I'd finished grimacing at the state of the poor mitt, I had a proper look at my face.  My skin looked clean but I wanted to test just how clean it actually was, so sprayed some toner onto cotton wool and swiped them over my face only to find them covered with makeup.  I'd to give it two rounds of toner on cotton wool before I was fully happy that my skin was clean.  So not the best first impression.

I've since used it another five or six times and spent a bit longer going through the motions.  Yes, it removes about 80% of my makeup but I still need to cleanse again and use an eye makeup remover to get rid of all traces of my mascara.  When I use it in conjunction with a cleanser, it's great but then I could use any facecloth for that and it doesn't make it stand out from my Emma Hardie Micro Fibre cloth.

Now, I'd still use it over wipes as apart from WaterWipes, they're generally full of chemicals and the mitt just involves using water.  As a makeup remover that claims to remove everything with just water, it's only ok.   And yet I'm still using it.  For days where I've to come home from work and head back into town for a meeting, I use it as a quick fix, knowing that I'll be putting makeup back on and don't need my skin to be fully clean.  I want to love it, I really do and I think that's why I keep using it in the hopes that some day I'll use my toner and have clean cotton wool!

 I know it's worked great for some people after reading lots of glowing reviews.  I feel like the odd man out but the cotton wool spoke for itself!

To clean it you can wash it with hand soap or plonk it in the washing machine and hang it up.  It's supposed to last three months which is odd because my Emma Hardie face cloth which is a muslin cloth on one side and a microfibre on the other lasts me months and months.   You can buy the Cleanse Off Mitt for €5 on Beauty Emporium.

Tell me, am I using it wrong or do you have any tips to make it work better for me?

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Michael Kors Lip Lacquer - Diva, Bombshell, Dame - photos, swatches, review

I'm back with more gorgeous goodies from Michael Kors!  It's time for the lipsticks, except they're called Lip Lacquer lipsticks which confuses me, so for the purpose of this post, it'll be lipsticks!  Look at them all perfect in their shiny gold packaging that no matter who you taking it out of your bag in front of, makeup lover or not, they will ooh and ahh.

There are three lipsticks in the collection and like the rest of the products in the range, fall under the Sport, Sexy, Glam category.

As you can see from the swatches above, they're semi-sheer and have a glossy finish to them.  Because they're so moisturising thanks to the Vitamin E and shea butter, there's a lot of slip in them when applying and they only last a couple of hours.

Diva is a soft, easy to wear nude shade that thankfully looks less shimmery on than in the bullet.  When I first saw it, I thought we were going to have issues as I was expecting it to be frosty and frosty is never good when it comes to lipsticks unless you're back in 1988.  However, this has an almost rose gold feel to it and would make a lovely accompaniment to a smokey eye without going down the nude concealer lips route.

Bombshell is a bright yet wearable fuchsia pink shade with micro shimmer.  It goes on evenly and is one I can see myself wearing out and about because of the finish.  See because I've dry lips, I always tend to go for the more moisturising lippies.  There's nothing I hate more than wearing a strong colour, then looking at it an hour later to find it's clinging to my dry patches and highlighting the yukness.  This doesn't happen at all with Bombshell, so it can stay.

Of the three shades, I was most scared of Dame when I saw it in the bullet, but once I swatched it and saw that it was on the sheer side and glossy, my fear subsided.  One shouldn't be afraid of a piece of makeup.  But one is sometimes.  Anyway, on the lips it takes more work than the other two to get a finish like the one in the photo above.  It goes on slightly patchy and takes a couple of coats to even things out.  This also has shimmer in it but unlike the other, the shimmer isn't obvious and doesn't reflect the light, instead looking like flat flecks that you have to look closely at to see properly.  Either way, I'm surprised I love the shade more than the other two once it's on!  I like that it's more brown than plum and it warms up my face a bit too.

As someone with dry lips at the best of times, I love how nourishing they feel on.  That being said, they don't last for ages.  I'd say a couple of hours at best, but they feel like a lip treatment when they're on and I don't mind swapping longevity for nourishment.

These are available in Arnotts now for €30.50 and I'm hoping they bring out more shades soon.  I think a coral lippie and I would be very happy together!


Tuesday, January 21, 2014

NYX Butter Glosses - Tiramisu, Cherry Cheesecake & Peach Cobbler review, photos, swatches

I know I know I'm on a spending ban, but I had a momentary lapse in self control and it's all Orla's fault.  She blogged about NYX's blush in Taupe and I just lost the run of myself, went onto the NYX UK website and started adding things into my basket.  When I saw they'd the new Butter Glosses, in went three along with something else I'll show you soon, and it was only when the order arrived last week that I realised I never actually ordered the blush.... I am crap at life and must have talked myself out of it or had a momentary seizure when I laid eyes on the Butter Glosses....

But I don't have to worry about not getting my paws on the blush because NYX will be launching nationwide here in Ireland very soon!  This is good and bad.  Good because I want to try so many things and will be able to now.  Bad because I want to try so many things and will be able to now.

But let me talk to you about the Butter Glosses.  I limited myself to these three shades, Tiramisu, Cherry Cheesecake and Peach Cobbler.

L-R: Tiramisu, Cherry Cheesecake, Peach Cobbler
L-R: Tiramisu, Cherry Cheesecake, Peach Cobbler
Each of these shades feel so moisturising and nourishing on the lips it's insane.  I think the clue is in the name!  They sink into my lips and no matter how much of a dry lip day I'm having, they always feel better after having the Butter Glosses on.  They smell like caramel, aren't sticky but there's a slight tackiness to them which makes them stay on the lips for a good three hours or so.  I'm in love folks and now want more....

NYX Butter Gloss - Tiramisu
Tiramisu is a lovely nudey dusky pinky shade that is one of the most fabulous nudes I've over owned.  I haven't stopped wearing it since last week and will be absolutely poifect with a smokey eye, or on a day where I want to look fresh faced.  I'll definitely repurchase this shade when I'm done with it and it's one that I believe I will actually finish!

NYX Butter Gloss - Cherry Cheesecake
Cherry Cheesecake is orange with a capital O.  So Orange.  If Fanta was a lip product it'd be this.  And surprisingly, I like it!  I think I'll have to wait until summer to wear it but with a tan, I'll be able to rock it.  It looked peachier in the swatches I saw online, but if you're into having lips the colour of the orange on an Irish flag, look no further.

NYX Butter Gloss - Peach Cobbler
Now, Peach Cobbler is not peach at all at all, but is rather a coral pinky shade that I am obsessed with.  I'm wearing it right now as I'm sitting in my pyjamas under a blanket on the couch.  This is going to be perfection for summer and because I love it so much, I'll be wearing it during the spring whenever that decides to arrive.  

These guys worked out at €6 each from the NYX website and hopefully when the brand launches here, they'll keep the price nice as I need more of these guys.  A quick note is if you can't wait for the Irish launch and need these now, then Parcel Motel it because the shipping cost is mad.  

These are one of my favourite lip products for 2014 already and I can't see them being out of rotation over the coming months!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Smashbox Full Exposure palette - photos, swatches, review

 Hello lover....

It's rare that a product will leave me speechless, giddy and in full knowledge that I'll be buying it if I'm not sent it to try.  Say hello to the Smashbox Full Exposure palette.  This only arrived last week and I sat at my desk, dying for 4pm to come so I could collect it from Joanne on my way home!

I kind of felt bad for the Wondervision Christmas collection that we were shown when the team was over in November, because as gorgeous as Wondervision was, and it was, sure I bought a palette and lip gloss set, when we all saw the Full Exposure palette, there was gasping, swooning, oohing and aahing.  At the photoshoot last week, National Makeup Coach for Smashbox, Janine Bird, used the palette on my peepers and it solidified my love for it forever.

So the palette.  We're talking 14 eyeshadows, 7 matte and 7 shimmer graduating from light to dark and like any Smashbox shadow I've tried, each shade is soft, pigmented and beautiful.  It comes with a mini Full Exposure mascara and a double ended brush which is quite interesting altogether.  One end is a flat eyeshadow brush that's to be used with the shimmery shades.  It has black hairs on one side to use with the darker shades and white hairs on the other side for use with the lighter shimmery shades.  The other end is a fluffy blending brush that you can use with the matte shades.

First impressions are that I'm not mad on the duo fibre flat brush.  It doesn't work great with the shimmery shades, picking up more of the fine shimmer than the actual colour itself.  It needs to be more tapered at the tip, rather than being as thick as it is because it's too fluffy to work properly for me.  I've been using it to pick up the matte shades and it works better that way, but there's still fall out.  The blender side however is fantastic.  It's nice and soft and blends away any harsh edges no muss no fuss.

On to the main event though, the palette....  There are varying shades of nudes, browns and greys, with a mix of warm and cool tones meaning that it's nice and versatile.  The shimmers are wonderfully soft and buttery and are finely milled so you don't have to worry about big chunks of glitter blinding anyone who's looking at you!

A tip that Janine gave me last week was to apply the shimmer shades with your finger because you won't lose any of the shimmer, the pigmentation will be even stronger and you won't have any fall out.  So listen to the professional!  My favourite shade is the darkest, gunmetal one.  It's the one Janine was wearing last week and in turn, I wanted it on my eyes!  I do love a shimmery shadow and I know I'll get so much use out of this lot.

The mattes... Oh they're just gorgeous. Velvety soft, buttery goodness in eyeshadow form.  There's not one shade I don't love and the swatches below speak for themselves.  There's no chalkiness, no dryness, just loveliness!  I can't wait to rock a neutral eye with a feline flick thrown in for good measure.

So €43 is the damage and of course the main question on everyone's lips is "Do I need another neutral palette"?  As I said above, I was ready to break my spending ban and go and buy this myself, that's how much I wanted it.  I haven't seen this many matte shades in a palette before and none of them are duds and the same goes for the shimmers.  If you're daunted by this many shades and aren't sure how to use them, there's a chart that shows you how to achieve different looks with it depending on your eye shape which I'll be using myself!

I believe Full Exposure and I are going to have a long and happy relationship.  It's on counters now and should be there until March or thereabouts.  So tell me, are you intrigued?

Stay tuned for a video coming up featuring the palette!

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Slimming World Sunday #3

So last week I posted some photos of meals that we've been enjoying while dropping the pounds.  I love Instagram for meal inspiration and our group is a great source for tips and tricks.

One of my favourite ever meals is mam's curry.  This is a dish she used to make when we were younger with leftover turkey after Christmas.  We loved it and then kind of forgot about it for a few years.  Then about five years ago, it came up in conversation and she said she couldn't remember what went in it.  It was only about three years ago that she suddenly remembered and you'll see why we all gave her "WTF" looks!  We'd waited all these years for this and it has like 6 ingredients!?  Anyway, it's a dish we make a couple of times a month because it's quick, easy, has a low syn value, is comforting and tasty!

  • Fry Light
  • 4 Chicken breasts
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 packet of button mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp curry powder (or to taste depending on if you want to blow the hole off yourself or not).
  • 1 tin low fat chicken soup (7.5 syns for the can)
  • Serve with basmati rice
Starting off with the chicken.  You can either fry it off in Fry Light or do what I do which is poach it in the slow cooker for the day.  I generally do a big batch of this and freeze it, so either 4 or 6 chicken diddies will go into the slow cooker while I'm at work.  You can poach them in a pot of boiling water too if you should be so inclined.  We like when it breaks down in the sauce, going all soft and stringy, but you can cook it howevr you like.

In a saucepan, soften your onion in Fry Light for a few minutes until translucent.
Chop up your mushrooms and add them in to the onions, letting them cook for about 5 minutes.
Add in your curry powder and stir for two minutes.
Plop the low fat chicken soup into the pot and stir it all well so that there are no lumps of curry powder in the sauce.
Add your chicken diddies in and let them break down in the sauce as you stir everything together.  Add water if you need to loosen the sauce a bit.
After about 5 minutes, your sauce is ready to serve with some lovely basmati rice.
And that's it!
Eat and burp.

I'm definitely making this next week as it's just so quick and easy.  We'll have more recipes on the blog and I think next week's post will be some tips and tricks I've learned to keep me going over the past few months.  They're ones I use every day and are little things I love by and have helped me change the whole way I think about food.

Tomorrow is weigh in day so keep your fingers crossed for us!  We didn't stay for group and I found out I got Slimmer of the Week, so we're definitely staying for group every week now.  Promise!

Saturday, January 18, 2014

My Favourite Five #3

What a week eh?  It flew by for me and for good reason!  I had a successful weigh in at Slimming World on Monday where I hit a milestone and then totally treated myself to a Toffee Crisp on the way home which was gorgeous!  I blogged about my brilliant Tuesday here which then had me awake half the night as I kept playing it over in my noggin, so Wednesday was spent as a zombie.  Joanne and I went to the relaunch of Rimmel's sunshimmer which was great craic and look, it's the weekend again!

As I'm on a self imposed spending ban, I'm afraid to read blogs as they're full to the brim of things I want to buy but don't need one bit.  And yet I have a list below....

1. I'm a Topshop makeup virgin but now want to pop my cherry after seeing Fleur de Force's post on their gloss inks.  Oh holy Moses these look gorgeous and although she shade she's rocking is way too dark for me, I still want it.  So now I can't go into Topshop.

2. Orla from Make Up Over Mind had me in stitches with her post spilling the secrets on things her boyfriend says!  I won't ruin it for you by going into too much detail, but go forth and read.  And she gets extra points for putting a Benedict Cumberbatch gif in it!

3. Aisling and I have a relationship where we enable each other to equal measures.  But she's won this round with her preview of Wet n Wild which just launched it Ireland to much secrecy.  I mean we knew it was coming, but poof it's already in shops now!  She picked up some bits in Dunnes and now I can't go into Dunnes for fear I shall go wild, wet n' wild!  See what I did there?  Le sigh.  Read this post at your peril.

4. As a sucker for all things coral, and if they have the word coral in the name then they get bonus points, I knew resistance was futile when I saw this stunning Dior blush over on Temptalia.... Oh I want it so much... It is quite possibly the perfect coral blush I've ever seen in my whole life and I don't think I'd ever need another blush as long as I live.  (Until the next perfect one comes along.)  I need to start saving now eh?  I actually don't know how I'm going to be without this.....

Finally, one of my favourite YouTubers is Sharon Farrell, an Irish makeup artist living in Australia.  Sharon (are ye alright Shard'n? Couldn't help that) is so talented, makes everything look so easy and explains everything really well so that the likes of moi has a chance to be able to do the makeup look.  I'm definitely going to try this one, Effortlessly sexy makeup tutorial.  Sure that's me all over!  Go subscribe to her and tell her I sent you!

Now, I just have two more things to tell you.  Firstly, you know Joanne's fella Will (or Will from The Bake Off as we like to torment him with)?  Well he's got some great things lined up over the coming months that you can check out for yourself here on his blog.  He's going to be a busy bee, but sure he's well able and if you want to learn how to make bread or fancy French cake-y things, then sign up through his blog and then feel free to send me samples of things wot you baked.

Finally.  This post written by Rosanne from Like Mam Used to Bake is quite possibly the most beautiful, touching piece I've read in ages.  It gets me every single time I've read it (about seven times so far) and it makes me think of dad and what he's missing in our lives right now.  Just lovely to read.

So that's it.  This week was a biggie and hopefully next week will be a bit quieter, but who knows what's in store!  Have a great weekend!

Friday, January 17, 2014

Bourjois 123 Perfect CC Cream & CC Eye Cream review, before & after photos

Oh Bourjois, just when I thought I couldn't love another BB or CC cream, you big fat went and brought this one out.  One that has rarely been off my face since I was given it back mid November.  I bring you the 123 Perfect CC Cream which comes in three shades.  And each shade has a matching CC Eye Cream to boot.

Like the Perfect 123 foundation, it contains three pigments, apricot to eliminate the signs of fatigue and lets be honest, I'm quite fatigued all the time, a green pigment helps combat redness and white to help disguise age spots.  It has a respectable SPF 15 in it, contains white tea and has a really lightweight, oil-free formula that my skin just loves.

I was given two shades, the lightest, which is really quite pale and would absolutely suit fair skin and I gave it to Joanne to try out, and this one, the medium shade Beige Clair which is ever so slightly dark for me but I've still been wearing it nearly every day, blended down the neck a smidge.

Like every other foundation type product, I apply this with my buffing brush and it sinks in right away, evening out my skin tone and covering my redness and blotchiness.  I love that it gives me just enough coverage but still lets my skin show through, making it look healthy and glowy.  I mean look at the photo below.  My cheek looks lovely!

Once I powder it into place, generally just my t-zone, it stays put all day and yes, I have been known to apply more over what's already on my face if I'm going out from work... So bold but it has to be done sometimes!  And it perks my face right up.

The 123 CC Eye Cream comes with a silicon applicator which can be used to work the product into the skin and while it does a great job of brightening under my eyes, it sits on my skin and looks slightly crepey, so I haven't used it too much.  At €10.49, it's a decent concealer if the skin under your eyes isn't too dry.

The CC cream will be €13.99 and will launch on January 23rd, but I bet it'll show up in Boots earlier.  If I hadn't been given the CC cream as a sample to try, I'd have bought one anyway because hands down Bourjois do amazing foundations.

If you see me these days, I'm wearing the 123 Perfect CC Cream, just so you know.  Am in the love with it and will purchase it myself when I run out.

Will you be trying this folks?

Thursday, January 16, 2014

L'Oreal Miss Manga Mascara review, before & after photos

Hot on the heels of their False Lash Flutter mascara, L'Oreal have released a new mascara collection, Miss Manga, inspired by the Japanese Kawaii attitude.  What's that I hear you say?  Well, Kawaii means cute, loveable and pretty in Japanese and has fast become part of the Japanese culture.  Who knew?  If you're unsure what Manga eyes are exactly, have a google and you'll see cartoons with characters who have big, round, doll shaped eyes with lots of lashes.

The Miss Manga mascaras promise mega volume thanks to the flexible cone shaped wand and the polymer formula that helps strengthen the lashes.  The wand itself is tapered with bristles that apply lots of product to the outer lashes, giving the illusion of wider set eyes.  The flexible stem doesn't do much for me at all.  I have to push the wand down on my hand to get any kind of bend in the wand, so they probably could have done away with that feature as the brush combs through my lashes easily without any need for an aul bend.

The formula is a tad on the wet side and tends to cling to the tip of the brush, but once you scrape any excess off, you're sorted.  Because of said wet formula, you need to be careful not to pack on too many coats or you'll get clumping, but for me, one coat is perfect for my daytime makeup look.  Two coats would be grand if you're heading out and want thicker, more voluminous lashes, but you need to be careful of the clumping.

You can see in the photo below how much lift and curl you get with one coat.  I love this mascara so much on my lower lashes especially.  It makes it look like I've naturally long dark lashes which is always a good thing.

There are two other colours in the collection, purple and turquoise and lads, the turquoise is fabulous!  It properly coats the lashes and is more pigmented than any other brightly coloured mascara I've ever used.   This will be absolutely perfect for this summer.  I'm thinking bronze and gold with a hit of turquoise on the lower lashes will be only grand!

The Miss Manga mascaras are on counters now and are €11.99.  Do we like?


Wednesday, January 15, 2014

An afternoon with Smashbox

If every day could be like yesterday, I'd be the happiest bridie alive!  I had a lie in, I had a relaxing shower before heading out, I'd a gorgeous facial from Origins in Arnotts, I met my friend for a delicious lunch in Musashi, I had a photoshoot done by Davis Factor, great grandson of Max Factor, hair done by stylist Bea Watson using Bumble and Bumble products and makeup done by Janine Bird, national makeup coach for Smashbox before having a drink and a chat with two of my favourite ladies Emma of Fluff and Fripperies and Sue from Bright And Beautyfull.  Best day ever!  And this was the after effect...

On days like this I really do have to pinch myself that I'm getting to do brilliant things thanks to the blog and your support.  Yes, I was cringing on the inside getting my photo taken and felt sorry for Davis as he's used to photographing celebs and models and instead had moi standing in front of him like Chandler Bing trying to smile for a photo.

So stylist Bea Watson made my hair look amazing.  I think she'd been asked by everyone to do beachy waves and when she suggested doing a big, voluminous Bridget Bardot inspired look, I knew we were on to a winner.  She was an absolute pro and made me go from this...

To this!

Yes, selfie in the mirror time!  And if you can believe it, the hair was even bigger than it was here!  I can't wait to give it a go myself in the future and I'll show you the products she used on my hair.

This was the set up with hair and makeup stations in the banquet hall in the Smock Alley Theatre which is a stunning location, especially for a shoot.  Look at me, I'm not even calling it a photoshoot anymore, now that I'm in the business now!  

Of course when you get beauty bloggers in a room and they look fancier than they ever have before, they go camera crazy as it's quite possible they'll never look this lovely again.  When told that they look beautiful, their response may be "I know!" as this is a once in a lifetime occasion, the likes of which will never happen again, so they will milk it as long as they can.  They will run back to the scene of their cringey photoshoot to get more selfies in proper lighting because they're used to it now. They are ruined for life.  

Emma and Moi

Sue, Moi and Emma, blurry as it is, check out our glowy visages!

So after the shoot, Sue, Emma and I had to go for a drink like you do when you're in full hair and makeup.  We needed to be seen in all our glory, so went to the quietest pub in Dublin as it turned out.  Laughs were had, good lighting was found, hair was flipped, great times!

So on the drive home, I was totally checking myself out in the rearview mirror as I was obsessed with the eye makeup.  I'll be recreating it in a post soon, but Janine did me proud.  As soon as I saw her, I asked her what was on her eyes, which is the norm when I see her, and when it was make up time, I said to her "I want what you have"!   She used the new Full Exposure palette that I'll be reviewing soon but lads let me just say that come payday, you're going to want it.

I told Janine I'd been playing around with one of Smashbox's liners in Cabana (more on that soon) which is a stunning peacock green and so she suggested putting it on the waterline.  Why can't I think of things like that?  I'm obsessed with this look and will definitely (hopefully) be able to recreate this myself, so I'm thinking a video might be in order don't you think?

As I type this tonight, I'm wondering if I can go to bed with my make up on....

I've just been sitting here smiling as I've written this entire blog post as it really was one of the best days ever and we're only at the middle of January.  I've had a good feeling about 2014 and if today is anything to go by, it's going to be brilliant!

© Lovely Girlie Bits - Best Irish Beauty Blog Image Magazine Blog Awards & Aussie Blog Awards 2014 | All rights reserved.
Blog Layout Created by pipdig