Monday, March 31, 2014

We've been shortlisted for The BOPS!

What are The BOPS I hear you ask?  Only the Blog and Online Publishing Awards by PR Slides in association with Littlewoods!  Something I only found out about today after hearing we were shortlisted in one of the categories!  We've been nominated for Best Beauty Read and we're in great company up against some of our bloggy pals.

So if you're feeling generous and have a couple of minutes to spare, we'd be your best friend forever if you'd vote for us here!  Go on, you know you want to!

Thank you and best of luck to everyone nominated!

New video! 1000 Subscribers Giveaway - Win a Smashbox Full Exposure palette!

So we reached 1000 subscribers on YouTube a few weeks ago and finally filmed our giveaway video last week!  We wanted something really good for our very first YouTube giveaway and it was a no brainer really.  As you know, my love for the Smashbox Full Exposure knows no bounds and so we have one up for grabs for one lucky subscriber!

You can watch the video below but click here to go to our YouTube channel because that's where you'll be entering the giveaway.  All of the terms and conditions are in the description box below the video on YouTube and it'll fill you in on how to enter the giveaway!

Good luck!

My morning skincare routine ft Garnier, La Roche-Posay, Vichy, Shiseido & Alpha-H

My mornings are generally the same each day.  I set my alarm, physically can't get up when it goes off, snooze for another ten minutes or so, get up begrudgingly, run around the house like a lunatic promising to get up early the next morning so this doesn't happen again.

And yet it does.  Every morning.  So I've got my morning routine down pat and while it might be quick, it's effective!  Because I get to try out a lot of skincare products, it's easy for them to all add up and before you know it, I've eleven million things on my face every day.  So I've scaled things back a bit and generally give new products at least a month of trialling before I review them, so I've always a mix of new and older products on the go.

So these are the products that I'm using in the morning at the moment.  I know, only five!  Well, technically four, but I'll explain more below.

I generally use one of two products first thing in the morning.  The Garnier Micellar Cleansing Water which is The Actual Business and I've already bought a backup even though this bottle will do 200 uses, you can't be too careful.  The RRP is just below the €8 mark, but I bought a second one for €3.65 in Superdrug.  Why did I buy a second one when this is my first bottle and you can see how much I've left?  No idea.  Anyway, this cleanses my skin gently and quickly, without drying it out or leaving it feeling tight.  I'm obsessed with these cotton wool pads from Aldi and they're super cheap at something like €1.50 for two packs of 100.

My other go to morning cleanser is La Roche-Posay's Physiological Foaming Water (€14.75).  I've gone through about three bottles of this stuff so far and it leaves my skin feeling refreshed without stripping it and because it's free from soap, colorant, alcohol and parabens, it's a winner for my oily combo skin.  I massage it into damp skin and remove it with a cheapy flannel from Penneys, three for €2.50 if memory serves.

Usually washing my face will have woken me up a bit more, so it's time to get stuck in to the skincare and prepare my face for the slap dash makeup that I'll be applying in about ten minutes.  I use my Vichy Idealia Life Serum (€34.50) which I've written about here in detail.  It's a lightweight serum that absorbs quickly into my skin and the slight pearly sheen adds a bit of luminosity to my tired visage.  Come on, it's 6.30 am when this is all going on.  I need all the help I can get!

Next it's time for eye cream and I've been using the Shiseido Bio-Performance Super Corrective Eye Cream (€70) for the past couple of weeks after noticing some fine lines that had appeared as if from nowhere.  Except they didn't appear from nowhere, I lost the run of myself and hadn't been using eye cream, so decided it was high time I tried this having been given it to try last autumn.  This promises to promote the production of hyaluronic acid and I'm all about that.  The cream itself is nice and light, absorbs quickly and hopefully if I keep using it, will help plump out those fine lines before they become fat lines.

The final step in my routine comes courtesy of the newest member of my routine, the Alpha-H Daily Essential Moisturiser (Alpha-H is stocked on Misebeauty, but this product isn't listed, so I'm linking to Cultbeauty where it retails at £27).  I'll be talking you through the brand and products I have to test out soon, but I had to talk about this beaut because it's true love.  We're talking a moisturiser with SPF50+ in it and not only that, as someone with oily skin who can tend to "forget" to apply SPF because it can tend to make my skin greasy and makeup slide off my face, this stuff is fantastic.  It leaves my skin matte yet moisturised and makes the perfect base for foundation.  I got Joanne to try it one morning last week and she has dry, sensitive skin.  She texted me that afternoon asking for the name of it because she said her skin is super dry at the moment and usually by lunch time she's ready to apply more moisturiser, but not that day.  So it's one of those moisturisers that works for both of us which is very rare as we've completely different skin!  I absolutely love it and will purchase it myself when I'm done, especially being inspired by Tom Ogden, National Training Manager for Alpha-H who said that the best anti-aging cream is sunscreen.  So I'm going to 50+ my face every day now and products like this one makes it a pleasure, especially in the perpetual rush I'm in all the time!

So that's what I do every morning.  The evenings is slightly different and I like to make it a mini pamper session each evening to make up for the slap dash thing I have going on in the morning!  Stay tuned for that post next week and you'll be needing a cup of tea because chances are it'll be as long as War and Peace.  I'm warning you!

What's your morning routine like?  Are you a wash and go bridie or do you give yourself time to take care of your skin at stupid o'clock?

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Slimming World Sunday #13

So for the past few weeks I've lost the mojo.  The numbers are still going down, but slowly.  I've been busy at work and with stressful things going on in real life, I just haven't been focused on the whole Slimming World thing.  The stressful things are still going on, but the work stuff finished on Friday, so with only half the things to worry about now, I'm ready to knuckle down and get cracking again!

I didn't do food shopping last week, so wasn't prepared at all when it came to meals and with everything that's been going on, my IBS has been flaring more than it has in years which sucks ass and has been quite debilitating.

So yesterday, as wrecked as I was, I did the food shopping.  I must have had a mini seizure or something because I decided to go to Aldi at 3pm on a Saturday bloody afternoon!  But I knew if I didn't do it then, I'd not have time today to do it.  So I got lots of fruit and vegetables and stocked up on my rice and pasta.  It felt great seeing a fridge full of fresh things and I'm looking forward to getting back into a schedule, snacking on fruit and drinking more water.

I might start Instagramming my meals again because when I did it a few weeks ago, it really helped me stay accountable.  I'm excited to get back on plan and focus!

I just wanted to give you a little heads up because this is life.  Sometimes things get in the way of our journey and we might end up taking the scenic route rather than the fast track.  In the past, I would have thrown in the towel and gone back to my old ways, but even with everything that's been going on, I've still been conscious about what I'm eating.  With the clock going forward, I'm looking forward to longer walks in the evenings with Bailey, trying new dishes and starting to see bigger weight loss numbers again.

Now, next Saturday is Joanne's hen night and so there's no guarantee I'll have a blog post up on the Sunday!  But we're both resolved to be extra good all week to allow for any naughtiness that might occur on Saturday!

Toodle pip old chaps and thanks for reading my waffling this week!


Saturday, March 29, 2014

Daylight savings time - blogger style

Yes, the clocks go forward tonight.  Something about Daylight Saving's Time, but in reality, it should be called Beauty Blogger's Natural Light Savings Time Thanks Be To Jaysis.

It's what we've been waiting for since the clocks went back in October.  No more legging it home from work to take snaps of products in the quickly fading light.  We'll be able to come home, eat dinner, have a rest and then, if it takes our fancy, decide to take photos.  We won't have to carve out chunks of our precious weekends to get a week's worth of photos taken.  Now we have all the time in the world.  We won't have to set up any lights, lamps or other such nonsense to get a decent shot for we shall have daylight in all it's glory and long may it last!

Yes, we'll lose an hour tonight, but in the words of L'Oreal, it's worth it.  Bright evenings, woo hoo!

Favourite Five #13

What a week but it's over and it's the weekend finally!  The past two weeks have been so busy at work and in the evenings I was fit for nothing, except for this past Tuesday where I'd three meetings in three hours.  The busy life of a blogger wha!

So I've had a little squizz at some faboosh beauty blogs and am here to tell you what my Favourite Five posts of the week were.

Oh Kat from Dolly Rouge, your photos are amaze, your pout is perfection and even though I already have two of the L'Oreal L'Extraordinaire Liquid Lipsticks, I want more based on your review!  Rose Melody will be mine!

For ages, I've been wanting the Nars Ita brush but refuse to spend all that money on one itty bitty brush.  Well thanks to Nina's Bargain Beauty, it has come to my attention that Blank Canvas Cosmetics are bringing out a new brush that's very similar to the Ita, so I'll definitely be checking this out!

If you have eyeballs, you need to check out Andreea's blog, Your Beauty.  Her photos are always fab and I love her blog post on the Bourjois Rouge Edition Velvet lippies.  Bright, colourful and oh so pretty, just like the little lady herself!  Go and check the post out and prepare to want to buy them all.

If you're a blogger, you know how expensive it can be trying to keep up with the latest launches and because you're a fully blown makeup junkie, you might feel compelled to keep buying new things "for the blog" and all!  Well Adrienne from The Sunday Girl has some tips on how to blog on a budget, so go read it and you might get some inspiration!

This week's YouTuber is Chloe Morello, all round gorgeous girl from Australia who is the spit of Leighton Meester and knows her stuff when it comes to makeup!  She's down to earth and her tutorials are some of my absolute favourites to watch and never fail to inspire me to play around with makeup.  Subscribe to her now, now I tell you!

Friday, March 28, 2014

Win! 2 tickets to a Benefit Masterclass in Harvey Nichols Dundrum!

Masterclasses are the business.  Not only do you get to learn lots of new makeup tricks and techniques, but you get to schmooz with the likes of Mark Rogers!  Mark is the Head Irish Makeup Artist for Benefit and one of my favourite people in the business.  He's helped me with my eyebrows in times of need and more importantly, taught me the word "jujj".  Fear not, he'll teach it to you too along with lots of insider tips and tricks!

Mark will be in Harvey Nichols Dundrum on Wednesday April 2nd from 7pm - 8.30pm and we've got two tickets up for grabs!  So you'll get to meet Mark, watch him in action, have a glass of Prosecco and be treated to a goody bag!  A grand evening altogether!

To be in with a chance of winning the two tickets worth €25 each -

  1. Leave a comment below telling me your favourite Benefit product and an email address we can contact you at.
  2. Head over to our Facebook page to like and share the image above.
  3. Tweet "I want to win tickets to @mark_benefit's Benefit Masterclass in @HN_Dublin with @lovelygirlybits !"

The competition will close on Tuesday April the 1st at 3pm.  You must be over 18 and be able to attend the masterclass in Itsa Cafe, Harvey Nichols, Dundrum.  We will contact the winner by email.

Good luck everyone!


Scents of a momma - Perfumes for Mother's Day

I don't know if it's the fact that I love perfume, or that I love spring time, or that Mother's Day is in spring, that I love giving Lovely Mammy Bits perfume for Mother's Day.  To me, the milder weather means I can start wearing lighter and brighter fragrances, so I'm very excited altogether with some new arrivals to Girlie Towers and since Mother's Day is this Sunday, I thought I'd give you a little run down of some gorgeous fragrances you can treat the Mothership to.  I've also got some older favourites below and at the end of the post, I've a great bargain too at the very end!

Ok, so scents I haven't talked about yet first.  As you might be able to see from the perfume tray behind the bottles, I do have a strange obsession with smelling nice.  I like to think I've gotten it from Mam, she who went through a mad phase of Anais Anais for years and still has a bottle put aside just in case.  So I present to you the scents I would have given mam if I hadn't opened them and used them myself.

Ah look, it's like a little perfume police line up!  

First up is Figue de Vigne from Caudalie (€28.95).   This fresh, light, fruity fragrance from those who gave us the famous Beauty Elixir, has notes of fig leaf, white cedar and bergamot which the mammy will love.  The first spray gives a grand hit of citrus and brightness before settling down as the woody base notes give warmth and depth to the scent.  I like to pretend I'm in Spain when I wear this and generally imagine I'm sitting in a cafe overlooking the beach with wind in my hair and a cocktail in my hand.  Happy days...

When I think of Lacoste smellies, I always think of fresh, sporty scents but Eau de Lacoste Sensuelle (€60) knocked me upside the head with it's initial hit of blackcurrant which fades away to let the floral notes take over before the soft sweetness settles in for the night.  It's sweet yet creamy, soft yet powdery, floral yet fruity and makes for a gorgeous evening scent.  I don't know why, but when I wear it, it reminds me of being in Sephora in New York and this makes me happy.  So happy.  Mam isn't going to get a look in with this one.  Soz mam.

Oh Aerin.  Why do you have to have five scents that I love so much?  If your mam is into warm, creamy scents then she'd love Amber Musk.  It makes me want to wrap myself up in a blanket and snuggle up on the couch with Henry Cavill.  Gardenia Rattan is a bright and breezy summer's day in perfume form.  It's blend of marine notes with florals makes me feel like I'm having a wander along the pier in Howth and I love it.  Evening Rose is the perfect name for the next fragrance.  It's floral yet warm, woodsy and sensual and I'd be a little worried about what Mammy Girlie Bits would be getting up to if she wore this on a night out!  Oh Lilac Path, you are only perfect for spring with your fresh green notes and florals.  You're light, bright and despite all the florals in you, you're not in any way mammy-ish, so if I did buy this for mam, I'd totally be able to wear it too.  Perks of present giving.  Finally we have Ikat Jasmine.  You know I love my Jasmine and in fact, Jasmine is my middle name.  (It's not.  It's Ann), but when I spray Ikat Jasmine on myself, I feel like a put together, sophisticated bridie because of the jasmine mixed together with the florals.  This is a grand scent for day and night, doubling the justification for it's impending purchase.  At €115 for 50mls, they're not cheap but they're gorgeous and the packaging is beautiful too.

When I spray Estee Lauder's Modern Muse (€58/30mls) on me, I walk a bit taller, imagine I'm able to strut in stilettos and a pencil skirt, have a very chic handbag on my arm with perfectly coiffed hair and flawless makeup.  I can take on the world and smell good doing it.  The jasmine accord symbolises femininity and is made up of jasmine, tuberose, fresh lily and honeysuckle and the sleek woods which symbolise strength is made up of vanilla, patchouli, musk and amber.  Femininity and strength, all in one sleek, pretty bottle.  Delish.

I think it's one of my aims in life to collect all of the Fresh Fragrant Waters from Roger & Gallet and after I fell in the deep and ultimate love with the Gingembre scent, I couldn't wait to have a whiff of the new Gingembre Rouge fragrance (€39.75/100mls).  This is more fruity and sweet than the original Gingembre with a hit of ginger flower and orange blossom on first spritz, before mellowing into the fresh ginger heart that's blended with pomegranate and mandarin, finally drying down where the crystallised ginger and woody musky notes add the bit of heat to the light fragrance.  Mammies love Roger & Gallet.  Fact.

Now, I couldn't let the moment pass without reminding you of some of my favourites.  So let's get to it.

Nuxe Prodigieux smells like holidays.  It's soft, beachy and very amazing.  I spend most of my days looking forlornly out the window at work wishing I was on holiday, so instead spray this on me and all is well in the world.  Next is Clarins Eau Des Jardins.  This is a scent that mam loves and we bought her a gift set last year, such is her love for all things Clarins.  Eau Des Jardins is bright, energising and the perfect scent to lift your mood or the mood of your mam.  It's important to keep them in good form isn't it?  Ah Dolce by Dolce & Gabbana.  The scent of 2014 for me so far.  It's floral, it's light, it's perfect.  I'm trying to ration it as Joanne loves it too and yes, when in Debenhams last weekend I kept pointing it out to mam, such is my love for it.

Finally, a proper bargain!

Ok, let me set the scene.  Mam and I were in Spain last year and were doing a bit of shopping in Lidl where I saw the Suddenly Madame Glamour perfume that everyone had been raving about but I hadn't been able to get my paws on one until then.  I explained to mam that it was a dupe for Chanel's Coco Mademoiselle and when she tried it herself, she had to have a moment before buying four of them.  One for her, one for her friend, another for her and one for backup for her.

Well now they've another amazing dupe in shops, just in time for Mother's Day.  Suddenly Diamonds (€3.99) is a dupe of Boss Orange by Hugo Boss, one I've been this close to buying for ages.  It's fruity, creamy, vanilla-y and woodsy and perfect for popping in the handbag.  I predict this will sell out quickly so if you're making a gift bag or hamper for the mammy, then get shopping soon and snap up this bargain!

So that's it.  I now smell like that person you sit beside on the plane who's gone wild in Duty Free and sprayed all of the perfumes on her.  But I smell amazing!!

What are you getting the mammy for Mother's Day?  Anything take your fancy here?

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Balms review, photos, swatches

Give me a product that I can apply walking down the road with no mirror and I'll give you a pat on the bum to say thanks.  So Rimmel, have a virtual pat on the left buttock because not only have you brought a whole new lip crayon collection into my life, but you've made it affordable.  At €7.99, the Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Balms, or lip crayons to you and me, are affordable and amazing.

L-R: Drive Me Nude, Give Me A Cuddle, Rumour Has It, Keep Mauving
There are 12 in the collection which makes me happy/scared but the existence of the Boots 3 for 2 offers that are always on lessens the scaredyness a bit.  I got a few to play with a while back and am finally putting them through their paces while simultaneously giving myself evils for not whipping them out of the stash sooner.

L-R: Drive Me Nude, Give Me A Cuddle, Rumour Has It, Keep Mauving
On my arms, the swatches look like any normal lip crayon, but when applied to the lips, they give more of a lipstick feel rather than the usual glossy finish that comes with lip crayons.  The formula is lightweight, moisturising and wasn't sticky or tacky at all.  They applied easily to the lips and when they faded away, they left my lips lightly stained, with the exception of Drive Me Nude.

Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Balms - Drive Me Nude
Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Balms - Give Me A Cuddle
Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Balms - Rumour Has It
Rimmel Lasting Finish Colour Rush Balms - Keep Mauving
Now you know me, I like my nudes and while Drive Me Nude is nice and all, my favourites are Rumour Has It and Keep Mauving.  They're pigmented, look like lipsticks but keep my lips hydrated for ages and are an absolute joy to wear.  I actually fear for myself going into town this weekend to see if there's a peach or coral one, you know what's going to happen....

These are available now and for €7.99, you can't go wrong!  Have you tried these yet?  If so, what shade do I need to try next?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

MUA Colour Blast Eyeshadow Tint - A Girl Like Me

Ah MUA, you're a grand brand for bringing out super affordable products which means we can buy multiple shades and still feel no guilt whatsoever.  This is what a true makeup junkie seeks during every shopping trip and if something's under a fiver, then it's a no brainer.  You buy it.

So when I was in Superdrug a few weeks ago, I had a grand time swatching all the things and came across this eyeshadow crayon from MUA.  And being as restrained as I was, I only bought one.  We'll ignore the fact that they only had testers of the other two shades I wanted.  At the end of the day, I walked out of Superdrug with one of them.  And 5 dry shampoos but we won't go there.

Not owning any of the Clinique Chubby Sticks, for eyes or lips, I thought it was high time to release the inner child and get stuck in to colouring in my lids with a crayon.  So I picked up this shade, A Girl Like Me, immediately comparing it to my all-time favourite MAC eyeshadow Patina.

This shade is quite sheer when applied but adds a gorgeous wash of colour to the lids and if you're in a hurry in the morning, a quick colouring in session, blending the edges with your finger and you can run out the door.  The formula is creamy which means application is easy enough with not much pulling or tugging on the delicate skin, but because it's so creamy, it moves around on my lids quite a bit.  A primer is a must for me as I've oily lids.  Without one, within 30 minutes this creases like a mofo, but once I prime, it lasts until lunchtime before the dreaded line appears on my lid.  I've also figured out that if I apply it to my eyelid and then pat it all over with my finger, it sets ever so slightly and stays put a bit longer and if I apply Patina over the top, well it works even better.

If memory serves me correct, this was €3.49 and I'd definitely give other shades a go.  Bargainous and dinky and available from Superdrug or on the MUA website.

Ok so what shade do I need to try next?  I want the copper one and the purple one next.  For the blog and all *ahem*.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

L'Oreal True Match foundation review - before & after photos

For ages, I've watched the gorgeous Lauren Curtis use the L'Oreal True Match foundation and have been meaning to try it out because when a makeup junkie says something is their holy grail product, you take note.  Then when Amelia Liana said it was a dupe for Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk foundation, all reasoning went out the window and I bought it!

There were no testers on display in the Tesco I was in, so I had to hope for the best and chose N1, a neutral toned shade.  The other lightest ones were pinky toned and yellow toned, so in terms of shade selection, they've lots so you will most definitely find the right shade.  Just go somewhere that has testers!  N1 looks so light on the back of my hand and when I first apply it to my face, but once I blend in, it's a grand match.

True Match promises to match the colour and texture of your skin and gives a medium coverage.  Despite it's thick consistency, it feels lightweight on the skin and looks nice on the skin if you're standing at least 6 feet away from me and aren't wearing your glasses.

Oh lads I didn't like this at all.  I've tried it with and without primers, with and without setting sprays and can't get it to work properly on my skin for the life of me.  I have combination skin with normal cheeks and an oily t-zone and somehow this made my whole face look dry.  It clung to dry patches I didn't know I had and decided to apply for residence in every single pore I have on my face.  In the photo below you might be able to see dry patches that appeared under my eye and the eleven million pores I have on the side of my nose and seemed to highlight pores that would usually go unnoticed.

Each time I've tried it, it seems to settle into every nook, cranny and fine line on my face, even my forehead which is the smoothest part of my face!

This is what it does to my schnoz every single time....  Even if I've exfoliated, used my Clarisonic and moisturised the living bajaysis out of my face, it still cakes so much and it just won't do what I want it to do.  I can only imagine what it'd look like on someone with dry skin!

My advice?  Pick up the Nude Magique Eau De Teint instead which gives a natural yet flawless finish and makes it look like you just have gorgeous skin.  And if this is supposed to be like Giorgio Armani Luminous Silk then I don't think I'll be giving that a go either but you can't win 'em all!  It might work perfectly for you but I had to let you know how I got on with it and let the photos speak for themselves.

'Tis a shame.  Not a True Match pour moi.

Monday, March 24, 2014

This month's Glossy Box vs Chic Treat Club box - contents unveiled!

So beauty boxes, they can cause quite a bit of controversy and rightly so.  We're basically playing Russian Roulette (slight exaggeration there) with our money, shelling over our hard earned cash for a box of unknown beauty bits.  Sometimes we're happy and sometimes we're not, yet those who are already subscribed to a beauty box can feel like someone who's been playing their own special numbers in the Lotto - what if you stop playing and those numbers come up and you would have won big, except when it comes to beauty box subscriptions, we fear that if we cancel ours, then the next month will be the best one ever and we'll have the ultimate case of FOMO.

Due to having more bills than I know what to do with and having the complete inability to go into Boots and come out empty handed, thus having all of my money spent by the 5th of the month, I haven't subscribed to any beauty boxes, but this month I was sent the Glossybox and Chic Treat Club box.   I thought a little comparison post might be in order to help you decide whether to subscribe or not and I have some thoughts on the whole thing that will be at the end of the post.

I'm a sucker for packaging and love both boxes.  There's something pretty and elegant about the pink Glossybox with black text and the yellow and pale green box from Chic Treat Club is both vintage and cute.  Love em!

But let's look inside the boxes shall we?

Inside we have a Mitchell and Peach body cream which is lightweight, fragrant and is a decent size, so I'd totally keep that for travelling.  The Dove 60 second treatment shot is one of my favourite affordable hair treatments, but I feel we should have gotten at least 2 or 3 in the box, just price wise in terms of how much you'd pay for the box itself.  There are two Vita Liberata tan sachets in here and lads, I don't even think I'd be able to tan my two arms with these and to be honest, I don't know if I'd even bother trying them because what's the point if I'm not sure if I'd have enough.  Knowing me I'd start tanning, run out and then be stuck with wonky tanned arms that last 2-3 weeks.  There's a Sleek Makeup Pout Polish which I'm a fan of and although it's not in a shade I'd choose myself, I'll still enjoy giving it a go.  Finally we have a Bellapierre Cosmetics Ltd Shimmer Powder.  I've never heard of the brand, but this mineral powder can be used as an eyeshadow, mixed into nail polish or lip gloss.  The shade itself isn't one I'd have chosen but I'll definitely try it as a shadow and see if it adds a bit of sparkle to my eyes.

I'll be honest, the Chic Treat Club box made me go ooh.  I've spoken about WaterWipes before and was delighted to see a full packet inside the box!  Inside we have a See See Mineral Hand Cream which smells so citrusy thanks to the lemongrass oil and also has cocoa butter and vitamin E.  First impressions are great as it absorbs into my hands within minutes leaving them nice and soft.  Totally handy for my handbag.  There's a generous sized Nimue Exfoliating Enzyme that I can't wait to try out once my skin is back to normal after an allergic reaction to something.  This helps remove dead skin cells and promotes skin renewal and I'm excited to give it a whirl.  Next is a set of Impress Nails which I've used in the past and love.  I might keep these for Joanne's hen night next month.  Finally we have an NYX Professional Makeup Eyebrow Push Up Bra.  I can't wait to get this on my eyebrows and use one end to fill in my brows and the other to highlight my brow bone!

So here are my thoughts when it comes to beauty box subscriptions:

1. Boxes from a new company will always be great as they want to get people excited and get them subscribing.  So Chic Treat Club wins this round because it's the new kid on the block and really is going all out, not only this month, but everyone who has subscribed so far has loved each box.

2. They won't please everyone.  Some people prefer skincare and some prefer makeup, so unless you like all things makeup and beauty, you'll probably won't love everything, but that's the nature of the beast with the unknown.

3. With skincare samples, they mightn't be tailored to your skin type, which is probably why there are a lot of body and hand products out there.

4. With makeup, you mightn't get a shade that suits you, but again, those are the risks but if you try to look at the positives, it's a way for you to test out how good a product is before possibly buying the correct shade yourself.

5. Hopefully a bit of competition is good for beauty boxes.  For ages, we were only really able to get Glossyboxes here, but now with Chic Treat Club and Powder Pocket Box, both Irish companies, it means that Glossbox has to up it's game big time and it means that the two Irish boxes really can go head to head and try to impress us.

You can subscribe to the Chic Treat Club box here for €44.95/3 months and a Glossybox subscription will set you back £10 plus postage which works out at about €16 a month.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Slimming World Sunday #12 - two quick dinners

So I'm nearly back to normal after being sick for the past couple of weeks and after feeling like crap for so long, am almost back in business!  Work is busy at the moment which means that when I come home, I'm exhausted and the effort of making dinner is too much.  But I've knuckled down and made it my business to make healthy yet quick meals for myself and most days I cook a double batch which means that dinner for the following day is usually sorted which is a bonus.

I used the Maggie So Tender Italian Herbs (read more here) during the week making a quick double batch of dinner.  I made a quick tomato sauce with onion, garlic, a tin of tomatoes and basil, added it all to boiled pasta, for a dinner worth 1.5 syns.  I cooked the sauce and chicken for as long as it took the pasta to cook, so 10 minutes and my dinner was on the plate.  It was so tasty and something I'll definitely be making again.  Yummy.

On Friday, for some reason I was craving chicken soup, so I went with that craving, happy I wasn't yearning for a pizza!  I used my food processor to slice an onion, 3 carrots, 1/4 of a head of cabbage and softened it all in a big pot with Fry Light.  I crumbled in a vegetable stock cube and then added enough hot water to cover everything before adding in some raw chicken boobs to poach.  I decided I wanted it to be even more chicken-y, and added in a chicken stock cube too and let it all simmer away for about 45 minutes, or as long as it took me to watch the season finale of Pretty Little Liars!  In another pot, I boiled some pasta and I know it sounds weird that I did it separately, but I knew I was making a double batch and didn't want to cook the pasta in the soup itself because it would have gone all claggy by the second day.  So after I boiled the pasta, I plopped it into the bottom of my bowl and poured the soup over it, adding a little black pepper at the very end.  Syn free, comforting and filling.

I really want to start making more soups now because they're quick, easy, generally low in syns and grand for freezing for future dinners.

So tell me, what are your favourite quick and healthy dinners?  I want to try and incorporate some new dishes into my repertoire, so any suggestions are very welcome!

Saturday, March 22, 2014

My Favourite Five #12

What a week!  It was a short work week, but being super busy at work and recovering from the flu that knocked the living jaysus out of me, meant that it was a bit of a struggle, but we're here.  It's Saturday and I spent a bit of time last night catching up on my favourite beauty blogs and seeing what's new and what I want to buy but shouldn't.

It'll come as no surprise to see Orla from Makeup Over Mind making me want to buy something, but this week she gave us her first impressions of No7's Stay Perfect Superlight Foundation and I want it. I want it with all my heart.  I want to have glowy skin like Orla's and I want to find the stupid No7 voucher I got a couple of weeks ago but have lost so I can get €4 off this baby.  Go read her post and watch her video now like a good child.

Every time I see Andreea from Your Beauty, I want to pick her up and put her in my pocket because she's so cute, then know I'm going to spend my time laughing with her because she's hilarious and finally, I always come away wanting her to come shopping with me because I love her style.  I have no style and so until I can get her to be my personal stylist, I'll just have to read posts like this one, showing us what she bought from H&M with her 25% discount!

If there's one thing I love in life, it's makeup storage.  And while I'm not a fan of Muji makeup drawers, I find myself drooling over everyone else's and love how I get to see what people have in their drawers!  Danielle from The Imperfect Beauty is showing us her makeup storage this week and already I have a list as long as my arm of things I want to try!

I'll keep this intro short and sweet.  Sinead from The Beautiful Truth got some amazing news, so stop what you're doing and go read the post.

Usually I'd be listing a YouTuber here but I didn't have time all week to watch any videos, so instead I've another bloggy post for you.  I want these two Estee Lauder Pure Color Envy Sculpting lipsticks as seen on Temptalia.  They are perfect.  They are me.  They need to be on my face now.

Friday, March 21, 2014

L'Oreal Color Riche Les Blancs Peach Neglige & Pistachio Drage

You know me, it takes a special kind of neutral polish to get me excited, but the Les Blancs collection from L'Oreal is very special indeed.  Four shades make up the collection, each one a lighter than light pastel, giving a more modern take on the traditional spring time pastel polish.  I've two to show you today and having seen swatches of the others, these are definitely my picks and my favourites!

Feast your eyeballs on them.  Don't you feel all sophisticated just looking at them?  I've tried white polishes in the past and every single time will come away looking like I've Tipp-Exed my nails.  These guys give a softer white finish to the nails, with a hue of pastel, meaning I don't look like I've been in the stationary cupboard at work getting busy.

I found that like most pastel polishes, these needed three coats until I was fully happy with the finish. I could have gotten away with two coats if I wasn't doing photos for the blog.  They both dried to a glossy finish and in the photos below, I haven't used a topcoat so you could see the proper shine.

Peach Neglige is soft, delicate and one of my favourite shades of polish of the year so far.  In real life it's slightly warmer looking on the nails and I bet you a million squid it's going to look gorgeous with a tan, fake of course!  This is one of those work friendly, weekend friendly polishes and I'm going to get a lot of wear out of it.  Fact.

Pistachio Drage was an absolute surprise to me because I don't wear green polishes that much as I associate them with St Patrick's Day.  This, however, has changed all that and it looks fresh, clean and minty on my nails.  I do realise I've made it sound like a toothpaste with my description but look at it.  Doesn't it make you want to have the windows open and eat an ice cream?  No?  Just me?  Ok!

These were a very welcome addition to my insanely vast nail polish stash and it's safe to say I've nothing like them at all.  They'll set you back €7.49 and honestly, I can't pick which one I love more. When I think I have, I look at the other one and feel guilty, so like twins, fraternal twins, I love them both so much.

Which is your favourite?

Thursday, March 20, 2014

My favourite body moisturisers ft Rituals, Garnier, The Body Shop & Vaseline

Who'd have thunk it, me, actually enjoying moisturising after my shower, and not just my face.  I've spoken about one of my least favourite beauty chores lots on the blog and that is moisturising my body after a bath or shower.  I generally tend to go wild with my hatred of it as autumn kicks in as I live in a cold house and there's nothing worse in life than cold bathroom after hot shower.  Goosepimples galore.

So yes, in the winter, I'm a little crispier than usual as I try to stay warm while drying off as quickly as possible.  But now that it's spring and it's a little bit milder, I've loved getting back into using some gorgeous products and am now sporting mighty soft skin!

Ok, so I've broken it down into two categories - morning moisturising and evening moisturising.  Not very groundbreaking but I've got my reasons!

In the morning, I'm always late.  No matter how early I set my alarm, by the time I check Instagram, Twitter, emails and The Daily Mail (don't judge me), I only have time for a quick shower.  The fanny, tits and pits kind of shower, but a shower nonetheless.  So when it comes to moisturising afterwards, I need something that requires no faffing about whatsoever.  I want it to be quick, effective and not have too much of a scent as I generally apply perfume heading out the door.

I've blogged about Vaseline's Spray & Go body moisturiser (€6.15) before but I had to reiterate my love for it.  I'm obsessed with the light, fresh scent and no matter how much I try to be like the girl in the ad, my clothes don't put themselves on afterwards.  Recently, Joanne, Mam and I were out and I had to take my jacket off because I was too warm.  I'd a short sleeved top on and proceeded to make Mam and Joanne stroke my arm because it was so smooth.  Smooth like I'd waxed it smooth.  So for that reason, it stays and is one of my favourite morning products.  Oh and it dries in quickly and is a really lovely light moisturiser.

My other go to morning moisturiser is Garnier's Body Ultimate Regenerating Oil (€9.99).  You know me and my oils.  I love 'em and will spend the rest of my days trying out different ones for my face, body and hair.  This offering from Garnier is enriched with Pomegranate, Camellia, Jojoba and Geranium oils and despite it's oily nature, isn't greasy.  It's lightweight, is lightly scented and texture-wise, it's in-between a regular oil and a dry oil if that makes sense.  I usually have to give it a couple of minutes before getting dressed, but it's a winner for me and I'm going to keep using it to see if it firms up my skin.

Now, in the evenings, I've a lot more time and love to slather on a body cream or body butter.  Mainly because I want to say the word "slather".  A grand word.  I like thicker, more luxurious moisturisers and don't mind waiting for them to sink it because I know I'll be smelling lovely in my bed and will wake up with baby soft skin.

I think the world and it's mother is obsessed with body butters from The Body Shop.  Of all the scents I've tried, and I've pretty much tried them all at this point, my absolute favourites are the Moringa and Honeymania Body Butters (€18.95).  If you like white florals and feeling like you are springtime in human form, then you need to check out the Moringa scent.  It's feminine, light, bright and fabulous.  I love using this on weekend mornings when I've more time to faff about and like to pair it with the Moringa body spray and I end up smelling delicious for the day.  The Honeymania Body Butter smells like honey blossom and it's one you need to go and smell yourself.  I thought it'd smell sickly sweet like honey itself, but the floral notes in it just speak to me and I'm lashing this on like there's no tomorrow.

Finally we have a Rituals body cream.  The Mei Dao body cream (€15.00) to be exact.  I've no idea what it means but I don't need to.  All I need to know is that I love it so much.  It has a lighter texture than the body butters which means that if I want to, I can use it in the morning and go about my day with softer skin, calmer in my head and smelling fabulous.  It has a light, floral scent but is so delicate and feminine that if I use this on a sunny morning, I definitely have a spring in my step and if I use it at night, I feel so clean and refreshed.  I'm obsessed with this and now want to try more from the same range.  Off to Arnotts I go!

So those are my must have, go to body moisturisers.  If I meet you, I will make you stroke me.  My arm.  Let's keep it professional.  You will love it and I will be smug with my skin smoothness.  We'll both come away from the moment happy and you will want to buy things.  The end.

What are you using on your body at the moment?  And there was no way of phrasing that without it sounding weird.

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